ONES TO WATCH: A SPOTLIGHT ON EMERGING DESIGNERS

- - Fashion Shows
Black Iris Founders: Aly Gradone, Candice Miller, Chloe Rosenberg, and Rachel Wexler. (Courtesy photo from label)

Black Iris Founders: Aly Gradone, Candice Miller, Chloe Rosenberg, and Rachel Wexler. (Courtesy photo from label)

As we prepare for the glitz and glamour of fashion month, Fall 2019,  and eagerly await looks from our favorite designers that will be live-streamed, Snapchatted, Tweeted, Pinterested  and Instagramed by brands, their fans and their influencers, we thought we’d stop for a moment and take a look what goes into creating a collection; the skills , the hard work, the time and the sacrifice. As many aspiring designers know, this is no easy feat.

And so, before we’re bombarded with fashion week images, let’s take a moment to celebrate a new crop of young talent who are throwing their hats in the ring and who we believe are worth watching.

BLACK IRIS

A look from Black Iris (Photo courtesy of the designer)

A look from Black Iris (Photo courtesy of the designer)

Here’s a story of four fashionable friends who started a fashion label together in NYC – Black Iris – that is launching for spring/summer 2019. Aly Gradone, Candice Miller, Chloe Rosenberg and Rachel Wexler all worked in various roles within the fashion industry, but came together to create a collection that would fill a void in the market that they found was missing. These fashionably chic working moms were looking for pieces to fit into their lifestyle, they wanted romantic yet easy-to-wear pieces cohesive enough to wear from school events to social gatherings and back to the office. So together, these four talented women created Black Iris.

According to an article in WWD that ran on Jan. 16, 2019, “Gradone, formerly a fit model with Fashion Fit Models, works as the company’s chief merchandising officer; Miller, lifestyle blogger of Mama & Tata, handles all their social media, press and events as chief marketing officer; Rosenberg, previously having designed for Rebecca Taylor, Madewell and Angel Textiles, manages the overall brand aesthetic as the chief of design and creative director; Wexler, previously an investor at Allen & Company, as well as equity research analyst at J.P. Morgan, is the company’s chief operating officer. The name “Black Iris” itself derived from the idea of the brand being as delicate and beautiful, but as “highly coveted and difficult to find as the black iris flower itself.”

The collection includes 23 pieces, with multiple drops planned throughout spring on their own e-commerce (shopblackiris.com), as well as available exclusively on Moda Operandi and ShopBAZAAR for their launch on Jan. 23; priced from $395 to $1,395 (U.S. Dollars). The collection is filled with ladylike dresses and separates inspired by woman’s fashion in the late fifties, but with a modern silhouette.

“Romantic, edgy pieces made for women by women,” they noted. While the brand leans far more romantic than the latter, these wearable pieces are for the girly-girl at heart.

 LA DRAFT

A look from La Draft (Photo courtesy of Sam Sarabandi)

A look from La Draft (Photo courtesy of Sam Sarabandi)

Saving the environment is a cause close to everyone’s heart, no matter what side of the Atlantic you live on. Today, more than ever, many fashion companies are thinking of ways to produce their collections in sustainable ways. A new crop of designers are even recycling existing garments and giving them new life. Meet Smith Boulet-Tongier, Ousmane Ndour and Ab Phetmanivong, the designers behind the French unisex brand La Draft.  The concept for the collection began when the fashionable friends began reworking their existing old pieces that they were tired of and created new looks — cutting off a coat collar, adding a zip pocket — these re-created looks started gaining attention from family and friends.  In December, 2017, the three friends took the plunge and created their fashion line La Draft.

Their business model took off and quickly evolved. When the brand started, the designers were sourcing their clothing from local thrift stores and reworking them into new designs with the help of ateliers in La Goutte d’Or, an area in the north of Paris known for its African community. Ninety percent of the line is made of upcycled fabric.

In January, 2018, the designers opened a pop-up store named Upcycling Experience, which was a great success. The designers invited customers to bring in their unwanted clothes and they would be customized for a fee right on the spot, and so La Draft decided to launch its own upcycling service. “We want to get customers to reuse things rather than overconsume,” Boulet-Tongier said to WWD on Dec. 20, 2018. “So we came up with a subscription service: For 100 euros per month, customers can ‘draft’ two items from their wardrobe, giving them a second life rather than hitting the shops to buy more clothes.” Individual pieces can also be upcycled for a fee.

GIDDY UP

A look from Giddy Up (Photo courtesy of the designer)

A look from Giddy Up (Photo courtesy of the designer)

Giddy Up is a new Japanese label that perfectly combines classic techniques with special high-tech materials; the goal, to create a new high fashion experience, and the brand founder Mikio Sakabe and designer Yusuke Hotchi, put it to the test when they staged their first runway show in Paris on September 25, 2018. The duo developed a cutting-edge collection in collaboration with Japanese internet giant and 3-D printing specialist DMM.

“Hi-tech always sounds so serious, I wanted to do something light,” said Mikio Sakabe to WWD in an article published on September 25, 2018. “Hi-tech trends tend to be associated with experimental design, but our focus is more on smoothly connecting people’s lives,” continued Sakabe.

The duo positioned the label as a high-end fashion brand, which is why showing in Paris made perfect sense to them. During the show, the brand logo was flash up as a hologram on the garments and sneakers, with the direction centered on a mix of sportswear and tailoring basics. “The aim is not to be too extreme [in the hi-tech innovation], for it to be wearable,” said Sakabe.  The collection focused on landscape prints, interesting surface textures, fabric manipulation, and 3-D printed zippers.

PUSHBUTTON

A look from PushButton (Photo courtesy of Francisco De Villaboa)

A look from PushButton (Photo courtesy of Francisco De Villaboa)

It’s not every day that a young label gets dubbed by Net-a-porter as “one of Seoul’s most exciting labels”. Meet Seung-Gun Park, the talented designer behind the label Pushbutton. The former K-Pop star argues that his music career and fashion brand are completely separate from one another. But that may be hard to argue when his designs have already been worn by South Korean rapper Zico and Chinese singer Chris Lee. While Park has become a popular designer in South Korea, the designer is ready to expand his business internationally.

“I wondered what I could bring to London on this new platform. I decided to go through PushButton’s archives and express my inspirations in a signature PushButton way, but add new elements,” Park said in a WWD article published on September 4, 2018. “I’m afraid of becoming too complacent.”

The outcome, a bold collection filled with vivid colors inspired by the Nineties bubble economy in Japan and South Korea. “It was all about shopping and showing-off. Fashion was very extravagant and I find myself going back to that time and how we used to imagine the 21st century. This collection is my interpretation of the future from the past,” he noted. There were plenty of signature oversized silhouettes, shoulder padded blazers and coats, ruched cropped tops.

PushButton’s pieces are available on Net-a-porter, Shopbop, Browns, LuisaViaRoma and on their own e-commerce site, which retail at around 450 pounds for pants and around 600 pounds for coats (UK Currency).

WESLEY HARRIOTT

A look from Wesley Harriott (Photo courtesy of Francisco De Villaboa)

A look from Wesley Harriott (Photo courtesy of Francisco De Villaboa)

Born and raised in North London, womenswear designer Ricky Wesley Harriott favors utilitarian and multifunctional fashion that have an edgy and modern twist for his label Wesley Harriott. The designer plays with the juxtaposition between feminine and sporty, offering athletic lines and influences alongside corset-style lace up backs and sleeves.

In 2018, the designer won the ASOS Fashion Discovery Prize – a competition run by the global online retailer created to help nurture and alleviate some of the financial pressure many young designers face today. The label has already been worn by a slew of celebrities ranging from Lady Gaga to Kylie Jenner.

In September, 2018, Ricky Wesley Harriott held his first solo runway show during London Fashion Week with great reviews.  The designer is inspired by strong and powerful women such as his mother as well as comic book and manga female heroes. Harriott states that his brand “seeks to tell stories inspired by the women I love and continue to encounter, creating a uniform that supports them as they blur the lines between civilian and superhero” according to FashionMonitor.com. The designer also says, “This collection is called ‘You can (not) be everything’ It is very much rooted in reality more so than anime and superheroes, which I always reference due to my nerdy obsession. The collection draws on some conversations I initiated based around the things women have to consider when they get dressed everyday, and I have touched on my thoughts on this in a way that continues the Wesley Harriott narrative.”

The collection will feature tight tops with face mask extensions, pinstripe jumpsuits, structured blazers nipped at the waist, and bag attachments sewn into skirts and dresses. He will also introduce eveningwear with dramatic Lurex jersey gowns and leather minidresses.

Harriott’s collection is exclusive to Asos and will be a mix pieces from his archives as well as his new pieces, but they will all be interpreted for the ASOS client. Prices will range from 150 pounds (U.K. Currency) for the ninja-style crop tops, 300 pounds for trousers and 700 pounds for blazers.

AS WE HEAD INTO FASHION MONTH, LET US KNOW WHAT NEW COLLECTIONS THAT YOU WILL BE FOLLOWING. AS EVERYONE KNOWS, HERE AT UNIVERSITY OF FASHION WE ARE DEDICATED TO TEACHING AND PRESERVING THE ART & CRAFT OF FASHION DESIGN!

 

High-Tech Future of Retail – Behind the Scenes

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The High-Tech Future of Retail is coming, and it may be closer than we think.   Customers are demanding improvements to the apparel experience, and the Retail industry is actively responding.  This blog highlights some of the research and development in process to bring the High-Tech Future of Retail to the everyday Retail customer.  This group of industry leaders and researchers are focusing on automating the experience of product selection and fit, for improved time to market, and product customization, particularly to regard to bespoke fit.

From Foot Scans to AI-Based Style Recommendations – Italy

The fashion industry is transitioning to Direct-to-Consumer and Product-as-Service models, thanks to the automation of product customization and associated personalization-for-style processes. This is known as mass customization in the US and in Europe as an industrial approach to retail Made-to-Order and its extreme option of made-to-measure.  An Italian company, ELSE-Corp, has expanded on this concept by incorporating Deep Learning and Small Data oriented versions of Artificial Intelligence (AI) for use in fashion design, retail and manufacturing.

Their Virtual Couture Fashion™, is a vision for a Real Time Fashion System bringing AI driven design, new technologies, an improved value chain, a completely new business model and novel manufacturing methods to the Fashion industry. It aims to accelerate the transformation of the industry towards a direct-to-consumer, customer-pull approach; enhancing the customer’s virtual shopping experience and optimizing the Virtual Retail value and service delivery chain using 3D and 2D computer aided design (CAD), teamed with AI.

The Big Data approach focuses on general business intelligence, with multi-channel analytics and real-time demand planning.

Permission granted by Andrey Golub, ELSE Corp

Permission granted by Andrey Golub, ELSE Corp

The Small Data approach focuses on personal (AI-driven) demand for optimized product design and retailing.

Permission granted by Andrey Golub, ELSE Corp

Permission granted by Andrey Golub, ELSE Corp

The Virtual Couture Fashion™ system provides accurate predictions of the style and size/ shape needs of individual customers, while forecasting product demand and improving supply chain planning and optimization.  Just-in-time on-demand manufacturing is made possible, and customer needs are met through either product customization or algorithms that search for products likely to fit based on customer characteristics.  Brands benefit from better customer satisfaction and better on-demand planning.  The environmental impact of the global fashion industry is improved through less wasteful practices related to excess inventory and customer returns.

How will customer needs and preferences impact retail in the future?

Links:

https://www.else-corp.com/

www.virtual-couture.org

Dreams of Retailer and Brands – Belgium/ The Netherlands

The dream of a Retailer: “Empower customer with their unique data, use our knowledge to get the data to her and in the end, she can shop seamlessly without any effort in any channel that she likes.”

Lien Van de Velde from Van de Velde Lingerie and Swimwear, on a PI Apparel’s Fashion Made podcast, explains the behind-the-scenes of development of an on-line try-on augmented reality tool or app. Expanding their company’s mission to improve the self-image of women through fashionable lingerie and fitting assistance to be in all channels, (in-store, on-line or mobile app). 

Utilizing their Summer 2018 Lingerie Collection, Van de Velde tested the app with core customers in their central Amsterdam store. They were surprised to learn that Millennials (age 18-25) still enjoyed interacting with a fitting expert in selecting proper fitting and fashionable bras. Customers judged this to be even more important than using an avatar that reflected the customer or the ability to share their choices with friends. Testing of the app began in Summer 2018 and still under development.

Permission granted from Lien Ven De Velde, Van de Velde Lingerie and Swimwear

Permission granted from Lien Ven De Velde, Van de Velde Lingerie and Swimwear

How to keep the brand’s strengths with the new technology?

Links:

https://www.vandevelde.eu/en

Brands – Marie Jo, PrimaDonna, Andres Sarda, sold in Rigby & Peller, Lincherie, and Private Shops

http://apparel.pi.tv/

Podcast: titled the “Virtually Trying On Lingerie”, Oct 30th, 2018

From Scans to Patterns – Canada

The Clone BlockTM, developed by Emma Scott of Fashion Should Empower (Vancouver Island, BC, Canada), offers to solve the problem of garment fit for body shape with a new method of translating body dimensions to a 2D pattern.  An inability to quantify body shape has hindered the automation of fit.  Scanning allows for a quick understanding of the customer’s body shape but without a method to quantify it, custom pattern shaping must rely on trial and error fittings to perfect fit.  Traditional methods of body shape assessment merely approximate shape (twin block).  The Clone BlockTM replicates the body in 2D thereby offering a mathematical representation and a new approach to garment fit assessment compatible with automated technologies. Where traditional garment fit assessment practices have previously relied on the comparison of 1D (tape measure) measurements, the Clone BlockTM offers a 2D assessment compatible with 3D technologies.

By permitting the comparison of the body shape inherent in the garment, to the body shape of a unique individual, sizing recommendations can more accurately be focused on pattern shaping and fit preference than sizing charts.  As quoted from Emma Scott’s paper presented at the 3D Body Tech 2018 conference, and shown in Figure 10 from the paper, “Body shape dictates the amount of hidden ease (affecting fit preference) available as it directly relates to shaping of the pattern during the design process.”

Permission granted by Emma Scott, Fashion Should Empower

Permission granted by Emma Scott, Fashion Should Empower

How do we make the Little Black Dress look good on every Body?

How will 3D body scanning impact pattern-making and understanding of garment ease?

Links:

https://fashionshouldempower.ca/

http://www.3dbody.tech/

From Scans to Patterns – UK

What do Aerospace engineering and pattern making have in common? At the University of Manchester, U.K., a collaborative project between the School of Materials and the School of Mechanical, Aerospace and Civil Engineering developed the JBlock2D package – an automatic block-creation-geometry library. This library is the beginning of new open source software dedicated to the realization of a fully-automated custom-clothing production process.  The key is to create pattern blocks that accurately reflect the shape and proportion of customers.  The JBlock2D forms a platform for the analysis of pattern-to-person relationships coupled with body scanning.

Dr. Simeon Gill’s research (School of Materials) focuses on how patterns are related to the body and how this relationship drives the product.  His work will be facilitated by body scanning and analysis that allows for algorithm directed measurement, and thereby leads to a better understanding of body shape. Dr. Simeon Gill is convinced that pattern drafting can only really evolve in tandem with body scanning.

The current version of JBlock2D library includes 2D geometrical features that mimic the geometries used in traditional hand-created garment pattern blocks.  The library can be used to automate any pattern drafting method. The goal is to enable mass-market automation of custom apparel production and perhaps improve and ultimately standardize pattern drafting methods. There is a guide on YouTube showing how the JBlock2D software provides and interface to create dxf patterns drafted to an individual’s measurements directly from a SizeStream body scanner. It allows for direct creation of individual pattern blocks.

Body to Bodice

Permission granted by Simeon Gill, University of Manchester, UK

Permission granted by Simeon Gill, University of Manchester, UK

Scan to Pattern Bodice

Permission granted by Simeon Gill, University of Manchester, UK

Permission granted by Simeon Gill, University of Manchester, UK

Will 3D scanning cause the pattern drafting techniques to converge?

Links:

https://www.adriantheengineer.co.uk/single-post/JBlock2D2018

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V5zsIK7ZCv4&t=6s

Definition of terms – Global

The High-Tech Future of Retail will also require new vocabulary and terms. The common terms of sloper versus block are sometimes used interchangeability.  However, as Rochelle New noted on the website Craftsy.com: “a sloper is a type of basic pattern that is used as the building block for all other patternmaking. Slopers are drafted based on specific body measurements and do not include a seam allowance, wearing ease, or any other design elements. They are simply a representation of a three-dimensional model in two-dimensional form.”

Clone BlockTM:  A Clone BlockTM is a mathematical representation of 3D body scanned data and translated to 2D, it replaces the traditional sloper or block with a block that mirrors body shape. While like other traditional blocks, in that it is base pattern from which other designs may be made, proprietary landmarks make the Clone BlockTM uniquely suited for technological platforms.  Unlike traditional garment blocks which use static unchanging darting and shaping, the Clone BlockTM is digitally marked for body shape parametrization with darting and shaping that adjust to match 3D body scanned data. Void of seam allowances, wearing ease and design elements, the Clone BlockTM can serve the purpose of a traditional block while also providing the foundation for mass garment customization.

JBlock2D: a JBlock2D is a type of basic pattern stored in a digital library that is used as a building block for all other patternmaking. A JBlock2D pattern is generated from body scans, thus allowing for improved understanding of body shape, as derived from body measurements extracted from the point cloud.  The JBlock2D library allows for seam allowance, wearing ease or any other pertinent design elements.

Sloper

Permission granted by Craftsy.com

Permission granted by Craftsy.com

Clone Block

Permission granted by Emma Scott, Fashion Should Empower

Permission granted by Emma Scott, Fashion Should Empower

Will 3D scanning create new definitions for very similar items that have manual or digital versions?

Links:

https://www.craftsy.com/sewing/article/making-a-sloper/

From Scans to Designs – UK

At Sheffield Hallam University, U.K., technology from the research centers are being used to enhance teaching and learning in fashion.  During the Semester 2 (Winter 2019), fashion design students will use 3D- imaging technology (developed by the Centre for Sports Engineering Research) to explore design in new ways. A video presentation, created with students, will demonstrate the potential of this collaboration.

Dr Alice Bullas, a researcher from Advanced Wellbeing Research Centre, Sport and Health Innovation, provided the details of the project.  As she explained in a project write-up “A member of the Centre for Sports Engineering Research Centre will teach members of the Fashion Design degree how to use a custom 3D scanning system (manufactured for the purpose of this project). Each student will have the opportunity to be scanned so that they are given a ‘virtual mannequin’ of themselves. A 3D likeness in a pose of their choice. The Fashion Design teaching team will work with the students and their virtual mannequins to explore designs, material choices and the way in which materials and designs interact over body shapes and forms. This will be done in an existing 3D design package.”

Towards the end of the project, a video will be produced which details: the technology that has been developed, the designs, creations and experiences of the students and the wider contexts for this technology. This video will be the core of a social media campaign which aims to showcase the project and what it produced. The intention is to repeat the project year on year.

Will designers understand body shape better with 3D scanning?

Links:

https://shu.ac.uk/research/specialisms/advanced-wellbeing-research-centre

Humming the Lyrics – US

As a WSJ article stated in “9 Movies That Can Teach Your Children About Business”, the movie Singing in the Rain reminds us that coping with change is a forever process. Strategies for learning how to work with new technologies are a lifelong skill.  Singing in the Rain shows how a movie studio made the transition from silent film to talkies.   The new technology referenced in that movie has now been around for over 100 years and is available even on your phone.  So, at the end of the day, when all the new technology gets overwhelming, just start humming the lyrics from a classic song….

Remember even old technologies were new, once upon a time.

Links:

https://www.wsj.com/articles/nine-movies-that-can-teach-your-children-about-business-1543201740

Let’s get nude!

- - Color Theory

Screen Shot 2019-01-18 at 10.01.15 PM

Have you ever stopped to think about the color nude?

Have you ever stood nude in front of a mirror and tried to describe the color of your skin?

And do you think your descriptors would be the same as if your neighbors, coworkers or classmates tried the same exercise?

Most likely not. Read More

INDIA: AN EMERGING PLAYER IN GLOBAL FASHION

Priyanka Chopra Jonas and Nick Jonas in Sabyasachi at their Mumbai reception

Priyanka Chopra Jonas in a dress designed by Indian fashion designer Sabyasachi Mukherji   (Courtesy: Vogue.com)

Well, 2018 went out with a bang. A number of celebrities tied the knot at the end of the year, but the biggest celebrity wedding of all, according to Us Weekly, was that of Nick Jonas (former Jonas Brother) and Indian actress Priyanka Chopra (former Miss World 2000). Events leading up to the wedding were absolute spectacles and their colorful wedding photos were shared all over social media. The pair said their “I do’s” at the Umaid Bhawan Palace in Jodhpur, Rajasthan, and the events literally sparked a new interest in Indian culture and fashion.

Priyanka Chopra Jonas in Sabyasachi and kalire by Mrinalini Chandra for the wedding (Photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

Priyanka Chopra Jonas in Sabyasachi and kalire by Mrinalini Chandra for the wedding (Courtesy of Vogue.com)

Priyanka Chopra and Nick Jonas’s combo Western/traditional Punjabi wedding was complete with a chooda and kalire ceremony. Held one after the other on the morning of the wedding day at the bride’s place, beautiful red and white chooda (bangles) and the beautiful golden accessories that hang on them, famously known as kalire, were custom-made by Mrinalini Chandra. For the Christian wedding, Chopra wore a white modest gown created by Ralph Lauren—not a common choice for an Indian bride, but the gown had plenty of exquisite details. According to RL Mag, Ralph Lauren’s official internal publication, “At Priyanka’s request, eight special words and phrases were incorporated into the embroidery pattern of the coat: “Hope” and “Compassion,” a Hindu mantra “Om Namaha Shivay,” and “December 1, 2018,” the date of the ceremony. The placement of the groom’s full name, Nicholas Jerry Jonas, on the front of the coat, was mirrored on the back with the names of her parents. (A piece of lace from Nick’s mother’s own wedding dress was sewn into the pattern) and the word “Family” scrolled down the right sleeve, where Priyanka has a wrist tattoo reading “Daddy’s Lil Girl…” And finally, just over her heart, the word “Love” was stitched in ivory thread.”

Priyanka Chopra and Nick Jonas in Ralph Lauren on their wedding day in India (Photo Courtesy of Vogue.com)

Priyanka Chopra and Nick Jonas at their traditional White Wedding ceremony- dress by Ralph Lauren (Courtesy: Vogue.com)

Priyanka Chopra, Nick Jonas and their guests wore plenty of traditional looks created by Indian designers – placing the spotlight on Indian fashion around the world.

Models in Monisha Jaising at Lakme Absolute Grand Finale courtesy of WWD

Models in Monisha Jaising at Lakme Absolute Grand Finale (Courtesy: WWD)

 THE INDIAN FASHION INDUSTRY

The Fashion Design Council of India (FDCI), a not-for-profit organization, is the apex body of fashion design in India. It is represented by over 400 members and was created to promote, nurture and represent the most incredible talents in the country. Its prime objective is to propagate the business of fashion in India in the form of coveted fashion weeks. As part of its initiatives, the FDCI’s calendar of events include the annual prêt week for women and menswear for Autumn/Winter and Spring/Summer, the India Fashion Week and the yearly luxurious offering, the India Couture Week. India Fashion Week is a bi-annual fashion week organized and promoted by the Fashion Design Council of India. It was sponsored by Wills Lifestyle from 2006-2014 before Amazon became and continues to be its sponsor.

Lakmé Fashion Week (LFW) has earned renown as one of India’s most prestigious fashion shows, which takes place twice a year, with the Summer/Resort show in the early months of the year, and the Winter/Festive show in August. Run through a collaborative effort between cosmetic brand Lakmé and IMG Reliance Ltd, which has made a name for itself in fashion, and entertainment marketing and management, the fashion show was conceived to allow Indian fashion to gain a foothold in the global fashion industry.

Over the past few years, the fashion scene in India has finally been receiving global recognition. According to an article in WWD, published on Sept. 3, 2018, India’s Lakmé Fashion Week has been rapidly growing with sponsorship up 40 percent, according to Jaspreet Chandok, vice president and head of fashion at IMG Reliance. “This season is going to be the highest amount of sponsorship the LFW has had, having grown consistently for the last four seasons.” While individual designers are finding sponsors, “the sponsors that are coming directly through fashion week, because of the large platform where multiple conversations can happen,” Chandok observed.

INDIAN DESIGNERS: CLASSICS WITH A TWIST

 Here are a few of the best looks from India’s Lakmé Fashion Week Fall/Winter 2018: 

 THE DENIM SARI 

Diksha Khanna's runway show

Diksha Khanna’s runway show (Courtesy: Sagar Ahuji)

East meets West as the sari enters the 21st century.  This edgy, distressed denim sari was created by Diksha Khanna, an alumni of National Institute of Fashion Technology (NIFT), Delhi and University of Leeds, UK. Diksha has worked internationally with several design houses before shifting her base to India. She is known for fine needlepoint embroideries on handloom linens, rugged, hand-distressed scrap denim pieces and languid drapes in combination with structured tailoring.

 THE DHOTI SARI

Shivan Narresh's runway show

Shivan & Narresh’s runway show (Courtesy:  Sagar Ahuji)

The traditional dhoti gets a sultry sari makeover by Shivan & Narresh, advocates of the high-flying, party-hopping lifestyle. Shivan Bhatia and Narresh Kukreja were known as the first, and so far the only, beachwear designers in India, when they introduced their innovative Bikini Sarees. Their signature Bikini Sarees are in vogue these days and many actresses like Kareena Kapoor, Maliaka Arora Khan and Bipasha Basu have been seen dazzling in them on the red carpet. Their global clientele includes Nicki Minaj, Dita Von Tesse, Fergie, Padma Lakshmi and Selita Banks. Both designers are alumni of National Institute of Fashion Technology, where they met and combined their creativity to form an invincible team for the designing competitions. Their efforts earned them a scholarship in 2006 after winning Mittelmoda International Beachwear Award in Bali. The Shivan and Narresh 2014 summer collection featured cut out sleek gowns and bold knee length dresses, which were later adorned by actress Lisa Haydon and Priyanka Chopra, making their dresses a cool alternative to conventional cocktail dresses.

NEHRU SLEEVELESS VEST

Akaaro By Gaurav Jai Gupta's runway show

Gaurav Jai Gupta’s runway show for Akaaro (Courtesy: Sagar Ahhuji)

Sustainable fashion designer Gaurav Jai Gupta for Akaaro (meaning the alphabet ‘A’ in sanskrit), reinvents the classic Nehru vest by oversizing and elongating it. He updates the look by substituting a dress over slim pants instead of the traditional Indian kurta over churidar pants. Trained as a fashion and textile designer from Chelsea College of Art and Design London and National Institute of Fashion Technology (NIFT) New Delhi, Gaurav started his company in 2010 and became the first Indian designer to be commissioned by The Woolmark Company to launch the 2014 Cool Wool Menswear collection for Raymonds in India.

 INDIAN EMBROIDERY REIMAGINED

PÉRO's runway show

Aneeth Arora for Péro (Courtesy: Sagar Ahuja)

Aneeth Arora holds a diploma in paper technology and started out making paper clothing. Her company Péro (means ‘to wear’ in Marwari) launched in 2009. She has since won numerous awards, such as the Marie Claire for Eco Fashion in 2010, Young Creative Fashion Entrepreneur in 2011, and Vogue India’s first-ever Fashion Fund Award, which inevitably turned her into quite a hot seller in the Indian fashion industry.

 THE CHINTZ TRENCH

Abraham Thakore's runway show

Abraham & Thakore’s runway show (Courtesy: Sagar Ahuja)

Known as the ‘quiet revolutionaries of Indian fashion,’ David Abraham and Rakesh Thakore (graduates of the National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad) along with Kevin Nigli, launched their label, Abraham & Thakore (A&T), in 1992. Their collections cater to the working urban Indian woman who prefers fashion that draws on tradition.

 THE SHIMMERY PANTSUIT  - INDIAN STYLE

Namrata Joshipura's runway show

Namrata Joshipura’s runway show (Courtesy: Sagar Ahuja)

In an era of female empowerment, it’s no surprise that the pantsuit continues its reign. Here Namrata Joshipura’s millennial pink version is the perfect antidote to the LBD (slang for little black dress). Joshipura, a NIFT graduate, started her company in 1996. She fuses contemporary silhouettes with modern interpretations of artisanal embellishments. Internationally her clothes are sold at Bon Marche (Paris), Sauce (Dubai), American Rag (Los Angeles) and Beams (Japan), and she spends her time between New York and New Delhi.

 THE VELVET PUFFER 

Siddartha Tytler's runway show

Siddartha Tytler’s runway show (Courtesy: Sagar Ahija)

Delhi-based Siddartha Tytler graduated from St. Columba’s in 1997 and spent a year at the National Institute of Fashion Technology before moving on to the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT). In 2002, after his return to India, he had his first show at the Hyatt Regency in New Delhi. Luscious velvet is a winter favorite. Here the traditionally regal fabric gets a youthful transformation in Siddartha Tytler’s crimson velvet puffer jacket.

 COLOR-BLOCKING

Kanika Goyal's runway show

Kanika Goyal’s runway show (Courtesy: Sagar Ahuja)

Kanika Goyal has a knack for creating abstract print dresses in clashing hues. Born in Chandigarh, Kanika graduated from the National Institute of Technology and continued her studies at Parsons. She showcased her ground-breaking “Bio:Sonic” collection in 2015 at Lakmé Fashion Week and continues to refine modern Indian fashion on the global stage.

MAKE A STATEMENT

Nitin Bal Chauhan's runway show

Nitin Bal Chauhan’s runway show (Courtesy: Sagar Ahuja)

Nitin Bal Chauhan, known for his label Bhootsavar, aims to bring out the dark side of human nature. As an artist he studies society closely and finds a way to deliver a message through his work. His last runway collection conveyed a strong political message on behalf of the displaced refugees all around the world.

GDP Growth Projection for Asia,  2018 (Source World Bank, 2017)

GDP Growth Projection for Asia, 2018 (Source World Bank, 2017)

As India’s economy continues to grow, the country is becoming a key player in the fashion world. According to BOF: State of Fashion 2019  - an overall benchmark of the industry comprised from data gathered by McKinsey Global Fashion Index (MGFI) – “India is increasingly a focal point for the fashion industry, reflecting a rapidly growing middle-class and increasingly powerful manufacturing sector. These, together with strong economic fundamentals and growing tech-savvy, make India too important for international brands to ignore.”

According to the study, “economic expansion is happening across Asia, but we expect that 2019 will be the year in which India will take center stage. The country is being propelled by strong macroeconomic tailwinds and is predicted to grow 8 percent a year between 2018 and 2022. The Indian middle-class is forecast to expand at 19.4 percent a year over the same period, outpacing China, Mexico and Brazil. As a result, India is set to move from being an increasingly important sourcing hub to being one of the most attractive consumer markets outside the Western world. India’s apparel market will be worth $59.3 billion in 2022, making it the sixth-largest in the world, and comparable to the UK ($65 billion) and Germany ($63.1 billion), according to data from McKinsey’s FashionScope. The aggregate income of the addressable population (individuals with over $9,500 in annual income) is expected to triple between now and 2025. According to Sanjay Kapoor, founder of Genesis Luxury, an Indian luxury retail conglomerate, higher incomes are likely to create a whole new class of consumer: “We are moving on towards the ‘gold collar’ worker. It’s a term that defines the well paid, highly paid professionals, who are happy to look good, happy to feel good and are expanding the consumption of today.” Given these dynamics, it is little surprise that more than 300 international fashion brands are expected to open stores in India in the next two years. “

The Indian market offers great promise. Do you think it will overtake the U.S. and China as the next big global fashion opportunity?

WHAT TO EXPECT IN FASHION 2019

Team Maison Martin Margiela (Courtesy:Edward Enninful Instagram)

Team Maison Martin Margiela (Courtesy:Edward Enninful Instagram)

Diversity and inclusion have not always been synonymous with the fashion industry, but in 2018 fashion finally “got woke.” Millennials and Gen Zers, the industry’s new generation of consumers, are much more politically active and brands are now realizing that to stay relevant, they need to take a stand on racism, gun control and socio-political issues. The age of ‘corporate neutrality’ is over.

Watchdogs like Diet Prada have become the fashion police, calling out brands for their missteps. With one million Instagram followers (and growing), the duo of Tony Liu and Lindsey Schuyler are a force to be reckoned with.

Nike’s decision to take a stand, using Colin Kaepernick in its 30th anniversary ad campaign, turned out to be a one of its smartest marketing moves yet. Gucci, who has been taking a stand on issues since 2013 with their ‘Chime for Change’ campaign (advocating for women’s rights and anti-poverty efforts), took on gun control in 2018 with a $500,000 donation to March for Our Lives, in support of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. Other designers have supported gun control over the past few years too, including Kenneth Cole, Tom Ford, Christian Siriano and Zac Posen.

For those brands who are clinging to ‘neutrality’ for fear that they’ll alienate their customer base, we offer this information, because learning from past mistakes is one thing, but putting what is learned into practice is another. So, let’s reflect back and then take a peek into the future of where fashion has been and where it hopes to go (and grow).

LOOKING BACK TO MOVE FORWARD

Historically, fashion as an industry has primarily catered to a “rich, thin and white” demographic. Think Charles Frederick Worth (1856) and all of those lovely French aristocrats, and the birth of haute couture. It wasn’t until the Industrial Revolution, the invention of standardized sizing followed by the concept of ready-to-wear, that fashion’s demographic expanded. However, fashion marketing and advertising lagged behind in terms of diversity and inclusion, especially within fashion magazines, runway models, and even among fashion designers.

 DIVERSITY: IN MAGAZINES

 Donyale Luna, Beverly Johnson, Naomi Campbell (Courtesy: Pinterest)

Donyale Luna, Beverly Johnson, Naomi Campbell (Courtesy: Pinterest)

The first black woman to grace a fashion magazine cover was Donyale Luna, who appeared in British Vogue in March 1966, shot by photographer David Bailey. The iconic cover image showed Luna covering most of her face, which was allegedly a request of the magazine’s editors to help mask her ethnicity. At the time, it was not popular to put a colored woman in a high-level fashion brand, nor on a luxury fashion magazine cover. Donyanle Luna, an American, is known as the first black supermodel.

It took 8 more years for U.S. Vogue to feature a woman of color. In 1974, Beverly Johnson broke America’s glass ceiling with her Vogue cover photographed by Francesco Scavullo. Johnson’s blackness was not itself the subject of the cover. Instead, Vogue presented a vision of elegant beauty that was relatable, real, and totally about the times. But as Johnson said herself, it was not easy to get there due to her race.

It took 14 more years for French Vogue to feature a woman of color on their cover. In 1988 Naomi Campbell became the first colored woman in the magazine, even though she had been working with renowned designers. In fact, Yves Saint Laurent threatened to take away their magazine advertising in order to make this happen.

Gemma Ward & Du Juan (Courtesy: Pinterest)                    Fei Fei Sun (Courtesy: Vogue)

Gemma Ward & Du Juan (Courtesy: Pinterest) Fei Fei Sun (Courtesy: Vogue)

The lack of diversity in magazines was not exclusive to Afro descendants. The Asian community only got its first model cover in 2005, shot Patrick Demarchelier for French Vogue.  However, Chinese model Du Juan had to share the cover with Australian supermodel Gemma Ward. It would take another 8 years for an Asian model to get a solo cover, this time Fei Fei Sun for Italian Vogue in 2013.

These examples of models from diverse backgrounds were more often treated as tokens or novelties, rather than representing a real market demographic. Fashion brands didn’t see the need for including these and other diverse populations and therefore neglected a broader share of the market. By placing importance on ‘exclusiveness’, rather than realizing and embracing the idea of diversity and inclusion, brands actually missed a major opportunity for increased profitability.

DIVERSITY: ON THE RUNWAY

Eleanor Lambert’s Battle of Versailles 1973 fashion show

Eleanor Lambert’s Battle of Versailles 1973 fashion show

Diversity on the fashion runway was non-existent until 1973 when American publicist Eleanor Lambert introduced American fashion to Europe at the Palace of Versailles. Lambert was the first to use 12 black models in her fashion show. However ground-breaking that 1973 show was, several decades would pass with predominately white models walking the runway, featured in advertising campaigns and on magazine covers.

HOW GLOBALIZATION AFFECTED THE FASHION INDUSTRY

By 2008 things began to change in fashion as a result of globalization. An increase in international travel and intercultural exposure, a high volume of migration and mass movement of consumers, as well as the rapid growth of information and communication though social media platforms, were all catalysts for change. Society was evolving, and this was no better reflected than in the election of the first black U.S. president, Barack Obama, followed by the first woman chancellor elected in Germany, Angela Merkel. Increased visibility for the LGBTQ movement around the world, social responsibility and the sustainability movement all came together to awaken the world and the fashion industry.

 

(Courtesy:Vogue)

(Courtesy:Vogue)

In July 2008, U.S. Vogue published an article entitled, Is Fashion Racist? The article addressed the elephant in the room. It spoke to how fashion runway shows concentrated on a single homogeneous look, “the same procession of anonymous, blandly pretty, very young, very skinny, washed-out blondes with their hair scraped back.”  This acknowledgement, in such a highly regarded publication, forced the industry to rethink their strategy. The problem was not only a lack of diverse models on the runway, but also in magazines, in fashion campaigns and other related fashion branded products. This marked a long overdue turning point in the industry, one that had taken more than 35 years to get to, ever since the first British Vogue cover featuring Donyale Luna in 1966.

FASHION ‘GOT WOKE’ IN 2018 

As millennials and GenZers became important market cohorts, a more socially-conscious fashion industry began to emerge. Words like ‘transparency,’ ‘carbon-footprint’, ‘fair trade,’ ‘gender equality,’ ‘androgynous,’ and ‘gender-binary,’ as well as movements like “MeToo’ and “Time’s Up’, did much to change the conversation, especially between 2016 and 2018. We finally began to see the fashion industry’s positive response to diversity, inclusion and other issues.

Dolce & Gabbana 2018 (Courtesy: The Fashion Spot)

Dolce & Gabbana 2018 (Courtesy: The Fashion Spot)

According to the The Fashion Spot, the fall 2018 fashion campaigns were the most diverse in terms of race with 35% of the models in the campaigns were non-white and it has been an upward trend since 2016. In addition, runway shows for Spring 2019 were the most racially diverse ever with 36% of all castings across New York, London, Milan and Paris went to models of color compared to 17% in 2015.

Diverse magazine covers 2018 (Courtesy: Pinterest)

Diverse magazine covers 2018 (Courtesy: Pinterest)

The 2018 September issues of fashion magazines, which are the most anticipated and that sell the most copies with the highest number of pages and advertisements, were also the most diverse ever. A total of 16 magazines brought their A game, featuring Afro descendants on their covers, something never before seen in the fashion industry.

Courtesy of the Cut (Yalitza Aparicio)

Courtesy of the Cut (Yalitza Aparicio)

And let’s not forget the spectacular cover of Vogue Mexico for January 2019, which featured Yalitza Aparicio, a Mixteco indigenous descendant actress from the movie Roma. It is the first time an indigenous descendant was featured in the magazine.

March 2017 Vogue’s “Diverse Cover” (Courtesy: Vogue)

March 2017 Vogue’s “Diverse Cover” (Courtesy: Vogue)

And although Vogue’s March 2017 ‘diverse cover’ was slammed for not being diverse enough, we saw a range of models that included Chinese model Lui Wen, American plus-sized model Ashley Graham, American model Kendall Jenner, American model Gigi Hadid (Dutch and Palestinian descent), Dutch model Imaan Hammam (of Egyptian and Moroccan descent), British model Adwoa Aboah (British and Ghanaian descent) and Italian model Vittoria Ceretti.

DIVERSITY IS MORE THAN COLOR

During the past few years, we have also learned that diversity is not only about color, it is also about body size, ethnicity, gender and age inclusivity and therefore the definition of what it means to be a ‘diverse’ model has changed. Since 2017, The Fashion Spot has included age, size, transgender to measure diversity on the runway.

Ashley Graham plus-size model (Courtesy: The Fashion Spot)

Ashley Graham plus-size model (Courtesy: The Fashion Spot)

We have seen the popularity of plus size models increase. In 2016, Ashley Graham became the first plus-size model to appear on the cover of the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue and in January 2017, had her first British Vogue cover. Graham has been part of major fashion shows, from Dolce & Gabbana to Michael Kors and Christian Soriano, and has landed important jewelry campaigns, such as David Yurman Fall 2018.

73-year-old model Betty Catroux (Courtesy: The Fashion Spot)

73-year-old model Betty Catroux (Courtesy: The Fashion Spot)

Age barriers were finally torn down in 2018, as models over the age of 50 were chosen for runway shows and advertising campaigns at luxury fashion houses. In fact, Saint Laurent announced 73-year-old Betty Catroux as the face of creative director Anthony Vaccarello’s Fall 2018 ad campaign. Eighteen women over the age of 50 starred in a total of 11 campaigns for Fall 2018, not including 44-year-old supermodel Amber Valletta, who, with seven campaigns to her name, was one of the season’s most-booked model.

Adut Akech (Courtesy:Pinterest)

Adut Akech (Courtesy:Pinterest)

And let’s not forget my favorite model of the year, Adut Akech, a South Sudan refugee, that since her debut in 2017 at Saint Laurent, has robbed the hearts of the most acclaimed fashion houses, including Chanel and Valentino, and is disrupting the meaning of beauty in fashion today. Diversity and inclusivity are definitely on the front row of fashion and are here to stay.

DIVERSITY BEHIND THE SCENES

I have always been interested in fashion, ever since I was 9 years old. As an Afro-Latino woman, I always wondered why models on the runway didn’t look like me. Curves and color were not exactly popular in the industry as I was growing up in the 1980s and 90s. So, you can imagine how exciting this moment in fashion is for me. However, I am still concerned about things that happen (or don’t) behind the scenes.

I started working in the fashion industry in 2005, and I can assure you that corporate positions at internationally acclaimed fashion houses are not very diverse. In 2017, Business of Fashion examined 15 of the largest public companies in fashion. They concluded that, “the vast majority (73 percent) are led by white male chief executives. On average, men and women of any ethnic minority represented only 11 percent of the board of directors at these companies.”

This is an extremely low statistic. Brands cannot adopt a language of inclusion and diversity in their marketing campaigns without extending this inclusivity to the boardroom and to the business branch of a company. According to a McKinsey & Company report entitled, “Delivering through Diversity”, companies with the most ethnically/culturally diverse boards are 43% more likely to deliver higher profits, because they are more likely to attract and retain talent, as well as improve customer service decisions.” So, why are fashion’s corporate offices not more on board with diversity when it benefits everyone? Hopefully, that will begin to change.

We not only need representation of ethnically diverse people at magazines, on runways, and in ad campaigns, we also need fashion managers of different cultures, color, size, age and gender. Choosing people who represent the world in which we currently live, and who understand, first hand, the needs of different types of consumers, has proven to be more profitable for those brands who have become more inclusive.

So, here’s my 2019 wish list for the fashion industry, in terms of diversity and inclusion:

1.     Appoint more designers with cultural and color diversity at major fashion houses, following the example of Virgil Abloh for Louis Vuitton, who perfectly understands emerging subcultures.

Virgil Abloh for Louis Vuitton (Courtesy: BoF)

Virgil Abloh for Louis Vuitton (Courtesy: BoF)

 

2.     More cosmetics and lingerie brands, such as Fenty, that are color and size inclusive and that think about the real customer.

Savage X Fenty (Courtesy: Getty Images)

Savage X Fenty (Courtesy: Getty Images)

 

3.     More influencers of ethnic diversity used for fashion brand campaigns that include a broader representation of the consumer market.

Influencers (Courtesy: BoF)

Influencers (Courtesy: BoF)

 

4.     More high-profile advocates like Beyoncé, who can help other minorities gain exposure in the fashion industry. Beyoncé created history by appointing the first black photographer, Tyler Mitchell, to shoot her 2018 September Vogue cover.

Courtesy of Instagram

Courtesy of Instagram

 

5.     More powerful Caucasian advocates who call out the lack of diversity in the fashion industry, such as Ellen Pompeo, with her Porter Magazine team.

(Courtesy: Porter Magazine)

(Courtesy: Porter Magazine)

 

6.     More important fashion magazine appointments, such as Edward Enninful, editor-in-chief of British Vogue, who has given the magazine a fresh and diverse viewpoint and who has transformed it into a more inclusive magazine that better represents the global audience it seeks to serve.

Edward Enninful – editor British Vogue (Courtesy: The Washington Post)

Edward Enninful – editor British Vogue (Courtesy: The Washington Post)

 

7.     And finally, more fashion companies that give opportunities to ethnic and culturally diverse managers who can bring a different perspective to the brand, to better serve the final consumer.

 

So, as we begin 2019, let’s hope that the fashion industry’s New Year’s Resolution will become the definition of the word ‘diversity’:  

Diversity: “the inclusion of different types of people (such as people of different races or cultures) in a group or organization.”

———————————————————————————————————————————————————

And, another thing we are excited about at the University of Fashion is the launch of our new three-book beginner series on Draping, Sewing and Pattern making techniques which launches on January 8, 2019.

DRAPING                        https://www.amazon.com/Draping-Techniques-Beginners-University-Fashion/dp/1786271761?tag=univeoffash00-20

Draping (Courtesy Photo)

Draping (Courtesy Photo)

 

PATTERN MAKING             https://www.amazon.com/Pattern-Making-Techniques-Beginners-University/dp/1786271966?tag=univeoffash00-20

Pattern Making (Courtesy Photo)

Pattern Making (Courtesy Photo)

 

SEWING                            https://www.amazon.com/Sewing-Techniques-Beginners-University-Fashion/dp/1786271982?tag=univeoffash00-20

Sewing (Courtesy Photo)

Sewing (Courtesy Photo)

 

 

Best wishes for the new year! ✨

2019UoFAnime

Anyone can gift a sweater for the Holidays
But the gift of fashion education is forever!

May the new year bring you all the best in fashion, fun and fellowship

Happy New Year 2019!

From all of us here at University of FashionHave a great one!
Best Wishes
www.universityoffashion.com

TIS THE SEASON: THE MAGIC OF HOLIDAY WINDOWS

 Louis Vuitton NYC Window display (Courtesy Photo)

Louis Vuitton NYC Window display (Courtesy Photo)

It’s the most wonderful time of the year…..the holiday season is a magical time when joyful cheer is celebrated and generosity for others is spread throughout the world. No matter what your religious beliefs, there is no denying that this season is filled with hope for a better tomorrow.  The holidays are also an opportunity for retailers and brands to end the year with high profit margins, as consumers shop for the perfect gifts family and friends.

The holiday season seems to be getting earlier and earlier. This year many retailers even officially kicked off the season by staying open on Thanksgiving! “Black Friday,” which is a public holiday in more than 20 states, presumably got it’s name from one of two theories: that the wheels of vehicles in heavy shopping traffic on the day after Thanksgiving Day left many black markings on the road surface. The other theory is that the term Black Friday comes from an old way of recording business accounts. Losses were recorded in red ink and profits in black ink. Many businesses, particularly small businesses, started making profits before Christmas especially on the Friday after Thanksgiving. “Cyber Monday” on the other hand, was first used in 2005 by the National Retail Federation (NRF), which needed a name for the flurry of online sales the Monday after Thanksgiving, since online merchants wanted the money that  brick-and-mortar stores were making on Black Friday.

But with today’s retail market being so saturated, and online shopping being so competitive, how do traditional brick-and-mortar retailers compete? The answer is simple, major department stores and retailers around the world lure customers in with their brilliant, spare-no-expense race for an exuberant gasp… holiday display windows, that have become a destination tourist attraction and in many cases a family tradition around the world!

Each store has their own unique style when it comes to their holiday windows. Macy’s and Lord & Taylor are known for their classic displays that delight Christmas shoppers and their children. Barneys New York is known for innovative and provocative displays, while Bergdorf Goodman and Saks Fifth Avenue are known for over-the top glitz. No matter what, these windows attract costumers, something that an eCommerce site can’t do.

The tradition of holiday window displays dates back to the Industrial Revolution, when in the late 1800s plate glass became readily available and allowed shop owners to build large, full length storefront windows to display merchandise. This was the birth of window shopping as we know it today.

It shouldn’t come as a surprise, but one of the first major holiday window displays was created by the Macy’s New York store in 1874, featuring a collection of porcelain dolls and scenes from Harriet Beecher Stowe’s book, Uncle Tom’s Cabin.

Children at the Macy’s toy window, ca. 1910 via The Library of Congress

Children at the Macy’s toy window, ca. 1910 via The Library of Congress

In the early 1900s major retailers across the U.S. began competing with each other. Store owners and managers used window displays to lure window shoppers into their stores, and holiday displays became more colorful and creative. By 1937, department store owner, specifically Lord & Taylor, decorated their windows with gilded bells that swung in sync with the sounds of recorded bells. This was a  turning point for retailers, as each began to transition their holiday windows into magical fantasy experiences, as opposed to just showcasing merchandise.

“Bell Windows” at Lord & Taylor, 1937 via MCNY

“Bell Windows” at Lord & Taylor, 1937 via MCNY

From that point on, year after year, competition among major brick-and-mortar retailers intensifies, as online shopping increases. But it’s this magical time of year that consumers are lured into stores to view these masterful works of art.  The grander and more innovative the display, the more attention it receives and let’s face it…the more likes on social media is always a good thing!

Here is a fantastical journey of holiday window displays from across the globe. Each retailer had a clear and strategic message to attract their customers.
Printemps Windows 2018 in Paris (Courtesy Photo)

Printemps Windows 2018 in Paris (Courtesy Photo)

At Printemps, in Paris,  Jules and Violette, the retailer’s recurring holiday mascots, are sent on a hunt for Santa Claus visiting the desert, Antarctica, the bottom of the sea, and mushroom-and flower-covered terrain with flapping butterflies.

Macy's Holiday Windows 2018 in NYC (Courtesy Photo)

Macy’s Holiday Windows 2018 in NYC (Courtesy Photo)

At Macy’s Herald Square in Manhattan, a tale of friendship, family, adventure and teamwork unfolds as Sunny the Snowpal works to save Christmas, befriending a fox along the way.

Bloomingdale's Holiday Windows 2018 in New York (Coutesy Photo)

Bloomingdale’s Holiday Windows 2018 in New York (Coutesy Photo)

Bloomingdale’s 59th Street flagship store in New York City was inspired by “The Grinch.”

Bergdorf Goodman's Holiday Windows 2018 in NYC (Courtesy Photo)

Bergdorf Goodman’s Holiday Windows 2018 in NYC (Courtesy Photo)

Bergdorf Goodman’s windows in NYC are a sugar-filled delight with everything from a gingerbread cuckoo clock, whose timekeeper is prone to wander from her enormous chalet, to a peppermint-hued dream featuring a candy cane wizard.

Saks Fifth Avenue Holiday Windows 2018 in NYC (Courtesy Photo)

Saks Fifth Avenue Holiday Windows 2018 in NYC (Courtesy Photo)

Saks Fifth Avenue’s NYC window portrays a fashionable shopper’s visit to the theater, where instead of watching the show, she dreams of the retailer in a whimsical fantasy.

Barneys Holiday Windows 2018 in NYC (courtesy Photo)

Barneys Holiday Windows 2018 in NYC (courtesy Photo)

Barneys New York takes the penny to greater heights with its Making Change theme, presented by the Barneys New York Foundation. The campaign, in partnership with Save the Children, invites guests to create some currency during the holidays, including using the hashtag #centiments, which results in a $5 donation by the foundation to Save the Children for every post. Now that’s spreading holiday cheer!

Galeries Lafayette Windows 2018 in Paris (Courtesy Photo)

Galeries Lafayette Windows 2018 in Paris (Courtesy Photo)

Galeries Lafayette in Paris envisions a “reverie with La fabrique des Rêves,” or manufacturer of dreams, featuring delightful characters imagined by children: furry dinosaurs and silly monsters in a playful and whimsical window is packed with toys and presents, plus seasonal pieces from the shop’s shoe and clothing collection.

Harvey Nichols in London Holiday Window (Courtesy Photo)

Harvey Nichols in London Holiday Window (Courtesy Photo)

Harvey Nichols, London is celebrating the new Disney film Mary Poppins Returns by showcasing four costumes worn by the cast. In reference to the iconic character’s favorite mode of transport, gold and silver umbrellas also decorate the windows.

Harrods in London Holiday Window Display (Courtesy Photo)

Harrods in London Holiday Window Display (Courtesy Photo)

Harrods in London serves up sweet treats in a festive celebration with oversized, mouthwatering  desserts.

Liberty in London Holiday Window Display (Courtesy Photo)

Liberty in London Holiday Window Display (Courtesy Photo)

Liberty London’s animal etchings on pillars and panels are a well-known part of the decor. The creatures appear in windows as two-dimensional black-and-white cutouts.

Selfridges in London Holiday Window Display (Courtesy Photo)

Selfridges in London Holiday Window Display (Courtesy Photo)

Selfridges’ “Santa on Tour” in London has St. Nick hitting the road and rocking designer created looks.

Mitsukoshi Holiday Windows 2018 in Tokyo (Courtesy Photo)

Mitsukoshi Holiday Windows 2018 in Tokyo (Courtesy Photo)

Mitsukoshi, located in Tokyo, mark the last Christmas of Japan’s Heisei period; the current emperor plans to abdicate in April, which will mark the beginning of a new period. Isetan creates a retro vision of the future featuring a rocking horse and snow globes cavorting with reindeer aided in flight by jet packs and Santa in a motorized sleigh.

Takashimaya Holiday Windows 2018 in Tokyo (Courtesy Photo)

Takashimaya Holiday Windows 2018 in Tokyo (Courtesy Photo)

Takashimaya’s in Japan’s Nihonbashi district store appeals to kids with mini carousels, model train and Ferris Wheel surrounded by plush animals.

Harbour City Holiday Windows 2018 in Hong Kong (Courtesy Photo)

Harbour City Holiday Windows 2018 in Hong Kong (Courtesy Photo)

At Harbour City, Hong Kong, shoppers who donate to the Hong Kong Blood Cancer Foundation can take a selfie with a giant video kaleidoscope where LED screen walls are filled with snowflakes, stars and rainbows.

Joyce Holiday Windows 2018 in Hong Kong (Courtesy Photo)

Joyce Holiday Windows 2018 in Hong Kong (Courtesy Photo)

Joyce’s dramatic holiday décor in Asia is a cross between, “The Wizard of Oz” and “Stranger Things.” The outcome is an upside-down Emerald City topped by a right-side-up Indiana cabin. The cutting edge retailer also has a 50 foot Christmas tree suspended from its ceiling.

So tell us, which is your favorite Holiday window display?

 

For those of you still on the hunt for the perfect gift for that fav fashionista:

.Historical Dictionary of the Fashion Industry

Historical Dictionary of the Fashion Industry (Courtesy Photo)

Historical Dictionary of the Fashion Industry (Courtesy Photo)

https://www.amazon.com/Historical-Dictionary-Dictionaries-Professions-Industries/dp/1442239085/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1543860001&sr=1-1&keywords=historical+dictionary+of+the+fashion+industry

You can also pre-order our various technique books to perfect your skills:

To pre-order the Sewing: Techniques for Beginners – https://www.amazon.com/Sewing-Techniques-Beginners-University-Fashion/dp/1786271982/ref=sr_1_7?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1543860128&sr=1-7&keywords=Sewing+Techniques+for+Beginners

Sewing (Courtesy Photo)

Sewing (Courtesy Photo)

To pre-order the Draping: Techniques for Beginners – https://www.amazon.com/Draping-Techniques-Beginners-University-Fashion/dp/1786271761/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1543860392&sr=8-1&keywords=Draping%3A+Techniques+for+Beginners

Draping (Courtesy Photo)

Draping (Courtesy Photo)

To pre-order the Pattern Making: Techniques for Beginners – https://www.amazon.com/Pattern-Making-Techniques-Beginners-University/dp/1786271966/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1543860796&sr=8-3&keywords=Pattern+Making%3A+Beginner+Techniques

Pattern Making (Courtesy Photo)

Pattern Making (Courtesy Photo)

 

 

And how about a gift certificate to the UoF?

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Two Holiday Subscription Deals
  • Get $60 off a new Yearly subscription here!
  • That’s more than 30% off our usual $189 yearly rate!
  • Offer Only available for new Yearly subscribers. Current Monthly subscribers or Free Members, see below.

  • Get $5 off your first month of a new Monthly subscription here!
  • That’s more than 25% off our usual $19.95 monthly rate!
  • Offer only available for new Monthly subscribers. Current Free Members, see below.

  • Current Free Members and Monthly subscribers: Log in as usual, then look to the left and click “Upgrade to Monthly [or Yearly] Subscription (Special holiday rate)”.


  • All subscriptions give you unlimited access to every lesson on our entire website!

All I want for—fill in the holiday—is the gift of fashion

Screen Shot 2018-12-16 at 9.08.08 PM

If you’ve been keeping up with the U of F blog, you’ll know that the Gen Zers on your holiday lists crave experiences. And when it comes to gift giving in 2018 (and beyond), the University of Fashion has experiences galore for the fashionistas in your life, no matter their age. In fact, we have unique gifts that will inspire year-round learning and making for the fashion lovers you know. Read More

THE NEW REIGNING GENERATION – GEN Z

Courtesy of Elle

(Courtesy of Elle)

Let’s face it, the focus of the last decade has been mostly all about Millennials (the group also known as Gen Y and Echo Boomers/the children of Baby Boomers). Millennials being the demographic cohort born between 1980 – 1994, who came of age (10 – 22 years old) between 1990 to 2004 and who represent approximately 71 million in the United States alone. Fashion brands and marketers got to know them well over the years and they expended lots of time and money understanding their shopping patterns.

But now…a new generation is taking center stage, Generation Z (also known as post-Millennials and the digital generation). Gen Z is defined as those born between the years 1995 to 2009 and who are coming of age between 2005 – 2020. Their current population is 21 million, but according to the U.S. Census, that number is projected to grow to 80 million, with spending power estimated at $200 billion annually and over $1 trillion globally in indirect spending power when you factor in their influence on parental or household purchases. Gen Zers are mega influencers and you can believe that fashion brands and retailers have been working overtime, trying to understand and cater to this new demographic.

Never mind the fact that some of this new cohort are not even old enough to vote, they are for sure driving the present and future of the fashion industry. According to a report by Barclays, “by 2020 Generation Z will be the largest group of consumers globally. They will account for 40% of consumers in the U.S., Europe and the BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia, India and China) and 10% of the rest of the world.” This generation has huge spending power.

Gen Zers are the first generation to be connected to social media from birth. They have the capacity to share events, opinions and experiences, and are changing society at lightning speed. In addition, they are empowered on how they view life and are simultaneously setting the stage for common attitudes within their own tribe. Gen Z are living in an exceptional world, one that is very different from previous generations. Let’s explore what Gen Zers are all about.

Photo Courtesy: Getty Images, Payton Hartsell

(Photo Courtesy: Getty Images, Payton Hartsell)

Digital Natives

Millennials were introduced to the rise of social media, tablets, smart devices and the mobility/connection that the digital revolution created as they were growing up. Gen Zers, on the other hand, were born digital and therefore have no idea that this is something new. Being digital is part of their DNA and as a result they are extremely tech-savvy and are self-learners. They have never known a world whereby they couldn’t instantly get connected or find the answer to any question that crosses their mind. They literally are growing up online and are connected more than 90% of their free time.

Courtesy of Getty Images

(Courtesy of Getty Images)

Economically Conservative

Another fact about Gen Z, is that they have only known turbulence and instability, having lived through the aftermath of 9/11 and experienced war and economic recession. They may have older siblings who struggled to find work during the recession, and this has now driven them to focus on self-awareness, personal reliance, financial conservatism and hard work. Therefore, they are more conscious on how they spend their money. They are aware of volatility within the market. And although the economy is currently strong, they are very careful where they invest and spend their money, should the economy slow. This also leads them to analyze brands more carefully. Contrary to Millennials, Gen Z are less idealistic and more realistic and for that reason fashion is less about ‘fitting in’ and more about making choices that reflect their identity. They are not spending less, they are just making smarter choices that reflect who they really are.

 

Social Activists

Gen Z is the first generation that has grown up in a world that is more openly diverse than in the past. They are much more conscious about their future. Globalization has allowed the mix and migration of cultures. Most of this generation grew up having an African American president in the U.S. – Barack Obama – and a woman Chancellor in Germany – Angela Merkle, phenomena that was not even thinkable in the past. The increased attention on the LGBT and environmental movements have forced impressive changes in history, making marriage equality a reality in places such as the U.S. and India, as well as the banning of plastic bags from different places, like China and the U.K. These and other related events have shaped Generation Z. Therefore, it is no surprise that this demographic cohort looks for brands that are conscious of the environment, diversely-inclusive and that offer non-gendered products.

Courtesy Time magazine

(Courtesy Time magazine)

A Generation Empowered

Contrary to Millennials, Gen Zers didn’t grow up over protected. They have not been given trophies just for participating. This generation has not been sheltered from the evils of the world. On the other hand, parents of this generation have taught their kids how to defend themselves in a world, where there is easy access to everything. They have been educating their kids and preparing them to deal with life’s difficulties, such as internet bullies, predators, school violence, economic setbacks and career challenges. Parents of Generation Z tend to have more open and consultative relationships with their children. They are pushing stronger to prepare them for life and this has created individuals with higher expectations. This unique social environment has made them a generation that is intuitively innovative, goal-oriented and realistic.

All the social characteristics and traits discussed above, can be seen in their preferences for fashion, entertainment and advertisement. And that is why they are so interesting. They have a unique way of seeing the world, and we need to see the world through their eyes in order to cater to them correctly.

 

So, what are Gen Zers looking for?

Generation Z may be perceived as impatient with short attention spans, but they are not superficial, they are quite hungry for authenticity. They want brands that meet their real needs, and they are always looking for the better, faster and more fun option in a brand. They are looking for brands with a realistic storytelling, something that connects with their individuality and their tribe. They are not obsessing with stereotypes, or images of beauty standards that have been created so far. Instead they actually challenge those old standards, because they want to relate with brands that resembles themselves. This generation doesn’t feel the need to change to fit in, in this world. They simply want to be their own true self and they are choosing brands that honestly reflect this inclusivity and diversity.

Generation Z is highly educated, technologically savvy and naturally creative. Even if they are immersed in social media, which may seem to some as trivial, they best use it to create a positive impact in the world. Therefore, you see them more likely pointing out injustice, racism and inequality. They only want to be associated with brands that are social and environmentally responsible, or which have a greater purpose than just “selling a shirt.” They are not to be fooled, they do not fall for beautiful things without content. They may be young, but they are way advanced for their time.

 

Courtesy of Business of Fashion

(Courtesy of Business of Fashion)

How can brands and retailers connect to these savvy consumers?

Thanks to Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter, Gen Zers get to share everything they do, buy, and experience with their friends – real time. Because of this, they expect shopping to also be experiential. They don’t want to only buy “stuff,” they also want to buy the “experience,” with the product becoming an added bonus. For retailers, it’s as simple as encouraging a consumer to upload to their new outfit to Instagram, to personalize a bag with their initials, or, as complex as what some stores in N.Y.’s Soho have done, adding interactive technology, a meditation studio, or in-store basketball court among others. Retail stores are now realizing that they need to offer more than just a ‘transaction.’ A great example of this is Farfetch. Last year they launched their pop-up “Store of the Future,” where they provided a screen for customers to sign in and search for their bucket list or purchase history. They also have smart mirrors, so customers can request different sizes, alternative products or even pay without leaving the dressing room. Another example is the House of Vans London Skatepark, a location where art, music, BMX, street culture and fashion all meet up.

 

Farfetch’s  pop-up Store of the Future (Courtesy of Bloomberg)

Farfetch’s pop-up Store of the Future (Courtesy of Bloomberg)

 

House of Vans   Deep Bowl    London Skatepark                                            (Courtesy of Skateparks)

House of Vans Deep Bowl London Skatepark (Courtesy of Skateparks)

What experimental shopping tells us about Generation Z is that they care about things that connect them to other people. They are constantly looking for something that is going to stay with them, that is going to feel authentic and not robotic. Also, they are looking to ‘connect’ to the brand and the retailer. So today, smart brands realize that they must sell an experience along with their product. This experience doesn’t necessarily mean having to have complex in-store technology to ensure a remarkable customer experience, but they will need to offer a memorable interaction with the consumer. It has to be original, meaning it has to be close to the brand’s values and authenticity. The interaction needs to connect with the personality of the consumer and it needs to be unexpected and unique. It is all about personalizing the shopping experience and providing more than just a product.

As the fashion industry continues to decode the likes and preferences for Gen Z, others like futurist/demographer Mark McCrindle is leading the campaign to call anyone born after 2010 a part of Generation Alpha. According to him, 2.5 million Alphas are born around the globe every week.

 

Care to share a favorite Gen Z story of this group is helping to change the world?