SPRING 2023 SHOWS: LONDON MOURNS THEIR QUEEN BUT THE SHOWS MUST GO ON

- - Fashion Shows, Trends

 

Erdem’s show finale felt like a page being inscribed in the annals of British fashion history. This was a tribute to the Queen. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

London Fashion Week’s Spring 2023 season was like no other. England’s longest reigning monarch passed away on Sept. 8, at Balmoral Castle, plunging the nation into 10 days of official mourning. Queen Elizabeth II was 96 years old when she passed and ruled Britain 70 years. As per the Queen’s wishes, Prince Charles became King Charles III, as he promises to walk in his mother’s footsteps.

The Final Portrait of Queen Elizabeth II. (Photo Credit: Ranald Mackechnie, Courtesy of Buckingham Palace)

Shows were scheduled to begin September 15th and end on September20th, but major brands like Burberry chose to cancel their show altogether, and some wondered if fashion week would — or should — happen at all. But of course, the shows forged on as many designers paid their respects to her Royal Majesty.

On Sunday night, Sept. 18th — the eve of the funeral of Queen Elizabeth II — the line of people waiting to pay their last respects to the late monarch stretched so far through the heart of the British capital that it could be seen from space, according to The New York Times. The following morning, September 19, the queen’s state funeral took place at Westminster Abbey; then a legion of military officers towed her casket through the streets of London in a processional to Windsor Castle. Naturally, it was all very touching — from the little tantrums to the unbelievable crowds to the mournful bongs of Big Ben that backdropped the funeral march. Queen Elizabeth II is now at her final resting place which is marked with a new ledger stone in the King George VI Memorial chapel, Buckingham Palace has said. The stone slab bears the name of the late Queen, her husband Prince Philip, and her parents, with the two generations separated by a metal garter star.

While Britain is also a country with a national identity forged in times of heartache and trouble — of which there recently has been plenty for designers: the continuing fallout from Brexit, the pandemic, and the likelihood of recession. Out of respect for the Queen, all of the parties this season had been canceled, but many young designers rallied for their shows to go on. And thankfully they did, because London Fashion Week always serves up such inspirational fashion moments.

A look from JW Anderson’s Spring 2023 Collection. (Photo Credit: Ayesha Kazim for The New York Times)

“It has been a challenging two years,” Harris Reed said in an interview with The New York Times. “Speaking with my fellow young designers, most of whom have put their entire brand budgets into shows to bring in sales and brand awareness, it is so important, now more than ever, to support the small brands in London.”

A look from Harris Reed’s Spring 2023 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

London has a reputation for embracing and nurturing young fashion talent, and this season there were a number of breakthrough emerging designers, such as Chopova Lowena and Karoline Vitto; but the fashion old guard also reminded us of why the capital’s fashion reputation also rests on the rich depth of its storytelling. And while London Fashion Week was filled with emotion, fashion designers proudly honored their Queen.

Looks from SimoneRocha’s Spring 2023 Collection. (Photo Credit: Acielle)

A look from Chopova Lowena’s Spring 2023 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

Here are a few of the biggest trends that came out of London Fashion Week:

PAYING TRIBUTE TO THE QUEEN (ELIZABETH NOT ALEXANDER)

A number of British designers paid tribute to Queen Elizabeth II in their collections. Case in point, designer JW Anderson, whose finale was a black T-shirt with the words “Her Majesty The Queen 1926-2022 Thank you” on the front.

“It felt important to keep going, because this is a time when London needs to stick together, and right now some of this city’s young designers are at risk of losing their businesses,” JW Anderson said to New York Times reporters backstage, as revelers outside drank the night away. “That is an extremely British attitude.”

Here are a few other designers who honored the Queen this season.

JW Anderson, who fought to keep London Fashion Week alive in the midst of unprecedented “royal mourning,” ended his London Fashion Week show with six lovely words. (Photo Credit: Vogue)

A silent catwalk with the Union Jack wrapped tight around the heart at Dilara Findikoglu’s Spring Show. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)Traditional lace collars and black netted crowns took the spotlight at Richard Quinn, whose 2018 fashion show was attended by Queen Elizabeth II herself. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

Tiny crochet corgi dolls became a key accessory at RuiRui’s show. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

The speakers went silent at the show for Halpern’s opening look, which paid homage to the 1957 ballgown the Queen wore to greet French president Charles de Gaulle. (Photo Credit: Vogue)

Great Britain, ultra tiny dress. The Union Jack rises at Poster Girl’s Spring Show. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

Bora Aksu’s show opened with a military drum salute before turning into a parade of looks inspired partly by the Queen’s military service in World War II. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

DOT ON

We will all be seeing spots this season as designers offered the playful graphic print on everything from dramatic suits to frothy frocks.

A look from Richard Quinn’s Spring 2023 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Molly Goddard’s Spring 2023 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Harris Reed’s Spring 2023 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Bora Aksu’s Spring 2023 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Halpern’s Spring 2023 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

CUT-IT-OUT

The sexy cut-out trend is going strong for spring especially in sultry gowns that will surly get you noticed at your next bash.

A look from Nensi Dojaka’s Spring 2023 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Halpern’s Spring 2023 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Christopher Kane’s Spring 2023 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from JW Anderson’s Spring 2023 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from David Koma’s Spring 2023 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A-ROUND-WE-GO

Bubble shapes are all the rage this spring 2023 season. From futuristic spear-shaped hemlines to rounded peplum shapes, these dramatic objects add a playful flare to your wardrobe.

A look from Richard Quinn’s Spring 2023 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from JW Anderson’s Spring 2023 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Harris Reed’s Spring 2023 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Dilara Findikoglu’s Spring 2023 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Christopher Kane’s Spring 2023 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

YOUR NOT SO BASIC TEE

Everyone’s favorite basic gets a quirky make-over this spring. And what timing! Just as UoF is about to launch an entire series on drafting cut & sew T-shirts and 4-way stretch knits!

A look from Christopher Kane’s Spring 2023 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Dilara Findikoglu’s Spring 2023 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Molly Goddard’s Spring 2023 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from JW Anderson’s Spring 2023 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

TRAINING DAY

Add some drama to your next affair with floor-sweeping trains. Whether you opt for the minimal slip dress version or a maximalist feathered skirt, these dramatic hemlines are oh so sexy.

A look from Harris Reed’s Spring 2023 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Halpern’s Spring 2023 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Erdem’s Spring 2023 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Christopher Kane’s Spring 2023 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from David Koma’s Spring 2023 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

FEELING FROU

Frothy, romantic ruffles were all over the runways during London Fashion Week.

A look from Molly Goddard’s Spring 2023 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Halpern’s Spring 2023 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Erdem’s Spring 2023 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Bora Aksu’s Spring 2023 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Simone Rocha’s Spring 2023 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

So tell us, what is your favorite spring 2023 trend so far?

 

NEW YORK FASHION WEEK RECAP : ANNIVERSARIES AND COLLABORATIONS GALORE

- - Fashion Shows, Trends

NEW YORK FASHION WEEK SPRING 2023

Looks from Tom Ford’s Spring 2023 Show. (Photo Credit: Hunter Abrams)

New York Fashion Week just wrapped up and it was so exciting to finally see shows back in IRL. And the schedule was packed with back-to-back shows, presentations, and parties. One of the most notable gatherings was the NYFW cocktail reception  kick-off  held at Gracie Mansion hosted by New York City Mayor Eric Adams, Anna Wintour (chief content officer and global editorial director of Vogue) and Steven Kolb (chief executive officer of the Council of Fashion Designers of America).

Show dates ran from Friday, Sept. 9 – Wednesday September 14th. Proenza Schouler opened fashion week with their 20th anniversary show and Tom Ford closed the week with his runway extravaganza. Participants ranged from heavy hitters like Tory Burch and Michael Kors to emerging designers like ASHLYN, One/Of by Patricia Voto, and Tia Adeola who joined the fashion week calendar for the first time. Additionally, 2022 CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund Finalists: Fe Noel, Sukeina, No Sesso, Elena Velez, Judy Turner, Wiederhoeft, and Black Boy Knits, presented for the first time as well.

Backstage looks at Tommy Hilfiger’s Fall 2022 Show. )Photo Credit: Hunter Abrams)

Tommy Hilfiger returned to NYFW with a homecoming celebration. He teamed up with British designer Richard Quinn for a modern take on classic Americana presented on the Brooklyn waterfront against the New York skyline backdrop. Following in the footsteps of Jeremy Scott, with his Scott x Viramontes Buffalo Boys spring 2023 menswear collection, which paid homage to the late artist Tony Viramontes, Hilfiger paid tribute to former NYC icon Andy Warhol and his famous creative studio known as the Factory.

 

fendi baguette handbag

25th Anniversary of the Fendi Baguette Bag (Image credit: Fendi.com)

A few international labels joined NYFW for the first time, such as the Milan-based label Marni and Swedish brand COS. Meanwhile, Fendi held a special show to celebrate the 25th anniversary of their iconic Baguette Bag, made famous by non other than Carrie Bradshaw of Sex in the City fame. And, in what seems to be another fashion trend- designer collaborations – Fendi’s creative director Kim Jones teamed up with Marc Jacobs for a capsule collection known as ‘Marjendi’, and Tiffany & Co. also got in on the act with diamond-encrusted white gold buckles on  baguettes.

Plenty of A-list celebrities were in attendance at the Fendi show and the show closed with 90s supermodel Linda Evangelista in her first runway appearance in 15 years (post cool sculpting fat freezing trauma).

Fendi celebrates it’s 25-Year Anniversary of the Baguette Bag. (Photo Credit: Fendi)

NYFW also had a special meaning this year as the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) celebrated its 60th anniversary. “As the organizer of the official NYFW schedule, we are incredibly proud to release a lineup that reflects our founding principle: to promote American fashion on a global scale,” the council’s CEO Steven Kolb said in a statement. “We celebrate the collective excellence, diversity, and resilience of our industry and look forward to a strong American collections season alongside our esteemed international guests.”

Kim Kardashian sits with Sarah Jessica Parket at Fendi’s 25th Baguette anniversary. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

It was so exciting to see New York Fashion Week return with so many exciting moments. Celebrities were out in full force as they graced the front row and a few even walked the runway. Kourtney Kardashian, Travis Barker and Alabama Barker attended Tommy Hilfiger; Kim Kardashian sat next to Sarah Jessica Parker at Fendi; Regina Hall attended the Jason Wu fashion show; and Janet Jackson attended Christian Siriano’s show. As for strutting the runway, Lil Nas X took the stage during Coach’s 1941 fashion show; Martha Stewart walked the runway with designer and good friend Dennis Basso; and Serena Williams opened Vogue World Runway in custom Balenciaga.

Lil Nas X made his runway debut during Coach’s Spring 2023 Show. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

Here are a few of the breakout trends of the spring 2023 season:

MIDAS TOUCH

Designers are going for gold this season as the metallic hue can be found on everything from dramatic eveningwear to striking tops and everything in between.

A look from Jason Wu’s Spring 2023 Show. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

 

A look from Proenza Schouler’s Spring 2023 Show. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Gabriela Hearst’s Spring 2023 Show. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Altuzarra’s Spring 2023 Show. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Tom Ford’s Spring 2023 Show. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

JEAN SPIRIT

Denim is a staple in everyone’s wardrobe, but for spring 2023, designers are feeling nostalgic as they bring back the classic long denim skirt trend. The recycled trend did not only appear on the runways, but they made their mark on streetstyle stars as well.

A look from Fendi’s Spring 2023 Show. (Photo Credit: Imaxtree)

A look from Marni’s Spring 2023 Show. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Hellessy’s Spring 2023 Show. (Photo Credit: Hellessy)

A look from Altuzarra’s Spring 2023 Show. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Alice + Olivia’s Spring 2023 Show. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Ulla Johnson’s Spring 2023 Show. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

INSIDE-OUT

Designers are showing off their construction techniques this season with exposed seams, boning details and dramatic draping.

A look from Monse’s Spring 2023 Show. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Ashlyn’s Spring 2023 SHow. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Elena Velez’s Spring 2023 Show. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Marine Serre’s Spring 2023 Show. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Carolina Herrera’s Spring 2023 Show. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Jason Wu’s Spring 2023 Show. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

BUBBLELICIOUS

The Eighties are back as the bubble hem makes a splash on the spring 2023 New York runways. The flirty silhouette can be found on everything from dramatic evening gowns to effortlessly cool skirts.

A look from Proenza Schouler’s Spring 2023 Show. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Bibhu Mohapatra’s Spring 2023 Show. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Ulla Johnson’s Spring 2023 Show. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Christian Siriano’s Spring 2023 Show. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Khaite’s Spring 2023 Show. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

FRINGE WATCH

The fringe trend is still going strong and for spring 2023, designers are offering an array of fringe dresses and skirts that are perfect festive looks.

A look from Michael Kors’ Spring 2023 Show. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Paco Rabanne’s Spring 2023 Show. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Proenza Schouler’s Spring 2023 Show. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Bronx and Banco’s Spring 2023 Show. (Photo Credit: Imaxtree)

A look from 3.1 Phillip Lim’s Spring 2023 Show. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Proenza Schouler’s Spring 2023 Show. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

POCKET CHANGE

Retro utility pockets are all the rave this spring 2023 season as designers are thinking practically and making sure your favorite look comes with plenty of storage for all your essentials.

A look from Fendi’s Spring 2023 Show. (Photo Credit: Imaxtree)

A look from Monse’s Spring 2023 Show. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Dion Lee’s Spring 2023 Show. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from LaQuan Smith’s Spring 2023 Show. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Brandon Maxwell’s Spring 2023 Show. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from No Sesso’s Spring 2023 Show. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

FEELING FRUITY

Stand out this spring season as citrus inspired tones are all the rage.

A look from Marni’s Spring 2023 Show. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Gabriela Hearst’s Spring 2023 Show. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Tia Adeola’s Spring 2023 Show. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Dion Lee’s Spring 2023 Show. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Tory Burch’.s Spring 2023 Show. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Prabal Gurung’s Spring 2023 Show. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

THE HIGH-LOW

Show off your favorite party shoes because the high-low hem is back and these dresses look better than ever.

A look from Carolina Herrera’s Spring 2023 Show. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Batsheva’s Spring 2023 Show. (Photo Credit: Imaxtree)

A look from Aliette’s Spring 2023 Show. (Photo Credit: Imaxtree)

A look from Peter Do’s Spring 2023 Show. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Prabal Gurung’s Spring 2023 Show. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

So tell us, what was your favorite trend that came out of New York Fashion Week?

INDIA COUTURE WEEK CELEBRATES ITS 15-YEAR ANNIVERSARY

- - Fashion Shows

Looks by Falguni Shane Peacock’s Couture 2022 Collection in New Delhi, India. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

Did you know that Mumbai, India is listed among the top 10 Fashion Capitals of the World and one of the fastest-growing fashion capitals globally? You would also be interested to know that India ranks in the top 3 countries of University of Fashion subscribers. list of Fashion Capitals (Image credit: thevou.com)

INDIA ON THE GLOBAL FASHION STAGE

In 1999, the Fashion Design Council of India (FDCI), India’s equivalent of the CFDA (Council of Fashion Designers of America), ignited Indian ready-to-wear fashion with FDCI x Lakmé Fashion Week, followed by India Couture Week in 2008, thus placing Indian designers on the global fashion map.

In fact, the sustainable designs of Indian couturiers Vaishali Shadangule and Rahul Mishra were exhibited at Paris Haute Couture Week (PHCW) Spring/Summer 2021 – a first!

In another proud moment for India, several Indian designers, models and influencers were invited to showcase at prestigious global events like Paris and Milan 2022 Fashion Week. Masoom Minawala became the first Indian influencer to walk the ramp as part of her ‘Face of Indian Fashion’ campaign. Her style consists of  ‘desi’ (refers to people, cultures and products of a specific region) and ‘fusion’.

Indian designer Binal Patel showcased his ‘TheRealB’ collection and Kamal Haasan’s fashion line ‘KH House of Khaddar’ made their debut at Paris Fashion Week in 2022, while Dhruv Kapoor, for the seventh time, showed his collection during Milan Fashion Week. Vaishali S became the first female Indian designer to showcase in Milan and model Avanti Nagrath went down in history as the first Indian to open the show for global fashion powerhouse Versace.

Indian model Avant Nagrath

Indian model Avanti Nagrath opening the Versace show 2022

INDIA’S TOP FASHION DESIGNERS

If you Google, ‘ Top 10 Indian Fashion Designers 2022’, up pops a list that includes: Ritu Kumar, Tarun Tahiliani, Rohit Bal, Masaba Gupta, Neeta Lulla, Anita Dongre, Anamika Khanna and Manish Arora. Google ‘Pernia’s Pop-Up Shop’ and you will find hundreds of Indian designers and their collections. One thing that you’ll notice right away is the use of magnificent embroideries and hand loomed textiles. India is every designer’s paradise. You will also realize that you’ll need educate yourself on Indian fashion styles so that you can tell the difference between different kinds of sarees: Traditional, Fusion, Dhoti, Lehanga, Jacket and Pant sarees, and the various types of ‘sets’: Lehenga Anarkali, Kurta, Gharara and Sharara. And that’s just womenswear fashion terminology, men’s have their own long list. Explore Pernia’s Pop-Up Shop, it’s a lot of fun, educational and VERY inspirational!

So, why is India a designer’s paradise? The richness of their hand loomed textiles, the wonderful master craftsmen who keep the art and craft of embroidery flourishing and the country itself is a wonderful source of inspiration. India even has an entirely ‘Pink City’ – Jaipur!

If you want to know how much fun it is to design in India, just ask our founder, Francesca Sterlacci. She spent seven years working there and traveling extensively throughout the country. Francesca explored various regions famous for a particular textile or craft, such as hand loomed sheer fabrics made on handlooms in Coimbature, cotton plaids from Madras, rayon textiles made in Surat, Bandini cloth of Jodphur and, of course, India’s wonderful tambour embroideries. Francesca’s fav embroidery is called ‘badla work’, which uses thread made from slabs of metal that are melted and pierced through steel sheets.

indian embroidery badla work

Badla work embroidery (www.pinterest.com)

INDIA COUTURE WEEK

After two years of digital shows due to Covid 19, India Couture Week (also known as ICW) was finally back in physical runway form, from July 22nd – July 31st, in New Delhi. The shows were a true celebration of homegrown talent, craftsmanship and handlooms, commemorating the 15th anniversary of India Couture Week.

India is home to the largest film producing industry in the world, Bollywood and stars like Priyanka Chopra Jones and Deepika Pakudone are frequent celeb A-listers at most Indian fashion shows.

THE WORLD’S LARGEST WEDDING MARKET

The UN now predicts that by 2023, China will lose its top spot to India as the world’s largest population. With India’s population now at 1.412 billion that’s a lot of weddings. It’s no wonder that India is fast becoming the world’s largest bridal market, according to CNN.

It should also come as no surprise that leading Indian designers showcased their bridal creations at India Couture Week (ICW). All 13 of the participating couturiers of ICW used the platform to celebrate the rich heritage of Indian crafts and handwoven textiles in both Western and traditional South Asian silhouettes.

“In India, wearing couture is part of bridal traditions, and many brides look to (India Couture Week) for cues as to what to wear,” said Sunil Sethi, president of the Fashion Design Council of India (FCDI).

While Paris’ couture sets the tone for the exclusive world of luxury fashion, in India, couture has a noticeable impact on people’s spending behavior. This is particularly evident in the country’s wedding industry, which, pre-pandemic was worth around $50 billion a year, second only to the United States, according to a 2017 report by consultancy KPMG.

“In Paris, couture drives editorials and red-carpet dressing,” said designer Rahul Mishra, an ICW regular who has presented three collections at the prestigious Paris Haute Couture Week. “In India, couture week drives real consumption.”

Looks by Rahul Mishra’s Couture 2022 Collection in New Delhi, India. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

“Weddings in India have always been about grandeur and showmanship,” said wedding planner Devika Narain in an interview with CNN. “Post-pandemic there has been a shift, (whereby) weddings have become more intimate — and people want to create an experience. It is quality over quantity, and they are looking for something unique.”

This includes clothing. Narain said many Indian brides are happy to spend between 600,000 and 10 million rupees ($7,600 to $126,000) on wedding attire alone. “Don’t forget: Indian weddings involve more than one function,” she said. “So multiple ensembles are needed.”

COUTURE DESIGNER INSPIRATION

Here are some of the looks that made news at ICW:

AMIT AGGARWAL 

A Look by Amit Aggarwal’s Couture 2022 Collection in New Delhi, India. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

 

FALGUNI SHANE PEACOCK

A Look by Falguni Shane Peacock’s Couture 2022 Collection in New Delhi, India. (Photo Credit: Vogue India)

Inspired by French tapestries and the Renaissance, Falguni Shane Peacock’s collection, Love Forever, marries the aesthetics of Art Nouveau and French and Indian architecture. According to the design duo Falguni Peacock and Shane Peacock, the ensembles serve a traditional yet contemporary design for the new-age bride.

ROHIT GANDHI + RAHUL KHANNA

A Look by Rohit Gandhi and Rahul Khanna’s Couture 2022 Collection in New Delhi, India. (Photo Credit: LifestyleAsia)

Titled ‘Fibonacci’, the Rohit Gandhi and Rahul Khanna collection of eveningwear, combines the aesthetics of architecture with Fibonacci wave theory (measures a wave’s ratio/structure). Dramatic fabrics are combined with precise techniques to create looks that are built on mathematical clarity, but remain at the brink of chaos. According to the design duo, this collection is made up of nude tulles, breezy organzas, and opulent velvets.

JJ VALAYA

Looks by JJ Valaya’s Couture 2022 Collection in New Delhi, India. (Photo Credit: LifestyleAsia)

J J Valaya’s fall/winter 2022-23 collection is inspired by the historic aesthetics of Spain. Titled, ‘Alma’ the collection blends luxurious fabrics, elegant details with the rich embroidery known to the label. “The history of this season’s inspiration, Spain, goes back to over a million years back and this is not the first time that I’ve been inspired by this magical country. But how can one fully and creatively explore any things that has such a vibrant past in just one collection! Therefore, I present to you ALMA (Meaning ‘Soul’ in Spanish), my all-new collection for the Couture seasons of 2022-23, ” says the designer on this inspired collection.

ANJU MODI

Looks by Anju Modi’s Couture 2022 Collection in New Delhi, India. (Photo Credit: RetroPopStyle)

Titled ‘The Road Less Traveled’, Anju Modi’s collection is an insight into the designer’s travels around  the world. Modi says this is her most personal collection so far.

INDIA and SUSTAINABLE FASHION

According to the Business of Fashion-McKinsey State of Fashion 2022 report, “the Indian fashion industry accounts for approximately 2.1 billion tonnes of CO2 emissions per year—that’s 4 per cent of annual global emissions. More than 70 per cent of these emissions come from production processes, with the remainder coming from retail, logistics and product use. Some 125 companies—including brands like Levi’s and H&M—have committed to net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 through the UN Fashion Industry Charter for Climate Action launched in 2018“, the report stated. Hopefully these measures will help drive India to more sustainable practices.

In 2019, the central government launched Project SU.RE—short for sustainability resolution—to push the textile industry towards fashion that contributes to a clean environment. Around 16 of India’s top fashion retailers including Lifestyle, Shoppers Stop, Future Group, and Aditya Birla Retail pledged to source and utilize a substantial portion of their total output using sustainable raw materials and processes by 2025 under the SU.RE initiative. Industry players, meanwhile, say a more concerted effort from the government is required for ethical clothing however, bootstrapped start-ups from India are leading the transformation from environmentally degrading fast fashion to a slower fashion cycle.

STAY TUNED

While ICW took place in the Indian capital this summer, the next joint edition of FDCI x Lakmé Fashion Week will take place in Mumbai from October 12 to 16, 2022, so stay tuned.

If you’d like to learn more about intricate embroideries like they create in India, view our embroidery series by Sylvia Perramon- who is Lesage and Indian trained.

 

CALLING ALL TEACHERS  STUDENTS & SCHOOLS

school' out

Welcome Back! We hope you had a fun summer and are excited about your new school term. It’s time to buckle down, crack the books, and meet those project deadlines. If you’re a high school or college aspiring fashion design or fashion business student or teacher, we ARE your NEW best friend.

We have has over 500 lessons in 13 different disciplines from beginner to advanced to help you get through your academic term. As a UoF subscriber, you can access all of our lessons morning, noon and night, and as many times as you want. Now that’s what I call a tutor!

To help get you started, we’re offering $5 off the first month of an individual recurring monthly subscription (was $19.95 – now $14.95). Use promo code: NEW. And for $20 off an individual yearly subscription (was $189 now $169) use promo code: SCHOOL. Move fast, these offers expire on Oct 30, 2022.

HOW WE HELP FACULTY

Just this week we heard from two fashion college faculty members, at a top New York fashion school, whose teaching schedules changed at the last minute. University of Fashion to the rescue. One needed to brush up on her draping skills, the other on her drafting skills, so…they became UoF subscribers and called to thank us. Whew, that was close.

girl costing a garment

 

Another teacher at an LA fashion school needed to brush up on her retail math, merchandising and marketing skills and she too became a subscriber. Our business videos, in fact all of our videos, are taught by fashion college professors and industry professionals, so the information is top notch and current.

A teacher who teaches visual merchandising at a fashion college in Florida told us that he’ll be using our visual merchandising series as a supplement to the current curriculum in his hybrid classroom. Ever since COVID, many more teachers have embraced online learning and are including us in their lesson plans. Wohoo!

HOW WE HELP STUDENTS

student measuring neckline

We especially love helping design students. For many it’s the first time they’ve had to calculate inches and centimeters, which is why our lesson entitled How to Read a Ruler is SO popular. When frustration sets in, because an instructor moves too fast during a demo causing the student to fall behind, we are here for them. In the privacy of their own home, students (and teachers) can watch and rewind a lesson until it sinks in. Whether it’s a sewing, draping, drawing or drafting lesson, we’ve got you covered. Oh, and did you know that we also answer any and all of your questions within 24 hours via our Customer Service link? At UoF, our teachers want you to succeed.

HOW SCHOOLS CAN SUBSCRIBE

If you are a teacher at a high school or college and would like your school to have a free 30-day all access trial, reach out to us via CS@universityoffashion.com. Once your first time 30-day free trial is up, your school will be able to take  advantage of our school/group subscription discount. It’s always cheaper by the dozen, right?

OUR NEW CERTIFICATE PROGRAM

Alas! All University of Fashion paid subscribers can now receive a Certificate of Completion for any and all completed lessons and lectures. You can track your individual progress toward earning a certificate by clicking on the ‘My Learning’ tab on the left side of your ‘Account Page’ and then you can print them out.

Why is earning a certificate important? In addition to learning something new and having proof of your hard work, you can also impress you employer, your teacher and your clients. You can also add your certificates to your portfolio, alongside images of your work. And, by the way, the certificates are FREE!

 

ABOUT UNIVERSITY OF FASHION & IT’S FOUNDER

University of Fashion founder: Francesca Sterlacci

University of Fashion was founded in 2008 by Francesca Sterlacci, a former professor and chairperson at the Fashion Institute of Technology and a graduate level instructor at the Academy of Art University San Francisco. She spent 18 years in academe and 10 years as a designer in her high-end eponymous fashion brand. Francesca has written three certificate programs while at FIT and is the author of several books: Leather Fashion Design, Draping Techniques for Beginners, Pattern making Techniques for Beginners, Sewing Techniques for Beginners and co-author of the Historical Dictionary of the Fashion Industry.

University of Fashion provides professionally produced fashion educational video content to schools, libraries, groups & associations, as well as individual subscription memberships. UoF offers 500 beginner, intermediate and advanced lessons in 13 different disciplines; draping, pattern making, sewing, fashion art, CAD fashion art, digital pattern making, 3D design, menswear, childrenswear, knitwear, accessories, production development and fashion business, in addition to lectures on color theory, textile design, costume history, trend forecasting, sustainable design, influencer marketing, fashion law, and other industry relevant topics. Teachers use UoF to upgrade their skills and as supplemental materials in their hybrid classrooms.

UoF has a robust social media presence. Are you looking to get your name out there? Hoping to land that dream job? Why not post your work on Instagram to #uofprojects. We’ll reward the best projects with a free one year subscription to UoF. So get going!

 

OUT OF AFRICA: AFRICAN DESIGNERS ARE FINALLY ON THE FASHION MAP

Models holding hands, Lagos, Nigeria, 2019 by Stephen Tayo. Courtesy Lagos Fashion Week Africa. (Photo Credit: Forbes)

African fashion, along with the continent’s music and art, is having an huge impact on the world stage — and at UoF, we’re here to support it.

Did you know that Nigeria ranks in the top 5 countries of UoF subscribers! 

International superstars like Naomi Campbell, Zendaya, Tracee Ellis Ross, Angela Bassett, and Beyoncé have helped catapult some of Africa’s talented fashion designers into the limelight. In fact, Queen B wore a number of African designers in the 2020 American musical film and visual album, Black Is King, directed, written, and executive produced by the recording artist. But the African fashion industry has had to jump lots of hurdles to get here.

The Suppression of Africa’s Fashion Industry

According to the Historical Dictionary of the Fashion Industry, Africa, like many other developing countries, has been plagued with the importation of used clothes and shoes from outside the region. This practice created an unfair advantage in local communities and thus stifled industrial growth, especially in Africa’s design and manufacturing sector. Despite imposing high importation customs duty rates in some African countries, used products continued to flood local markets. The textile industry in South Africa all but collapsed as a result of imported second-hand clothing sales and eventually efforts got underway in other African states to prevent the same thing from happening. In 2015, the Zimbabwe government banned the importation of second-hand clothes and shoes and removed the general import license so that future importations were subject to seizure and destruction. In 2016, The East African Council (EAC) Council of Ministers, composed of six countries in the African Great Lakes region, Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, South Sudan, Tanzania, and Uganda, voted to ban second-hand clothes, handbags and shoes, to promote the region’s textile and leather industries. These measures paved the way for Africa’s fashion industry to succeed.

Beyoncé wearing a look from Loza Maléombho in the singer’s Black Is King film. (Photo Credit: Disney Plus)

Historically, the relationship between the global fashion industry and Africa has been indisputably problematic, filled with disrespect, cultural exploitation, and appropriation. From the exploitation of Ankara textiles — West Africa’s most recognizable fabric — to western fashion houses profiting from the creations of local African artisans and designers, the line between inspiration and plagiarism has become blurred.

According to Dr. Shameem Black, from the Department of Gender, Media and Cultural studies at the Australian National University, “borrowing from other cultures becomes problematic when historical context and cultural sensitivities are ignored.” By calling out designers who exploit another culture’s traditions has enabled African designers to use their rich history, culture and textiles to gain world-wide attention.

Ankara Fabrics. (Photo Credit: Waa Fashion)

Africa’s Fashion Capital

In just the past few years Lagos, Nigeria has become Africa’s fashion capital. Recognized by some of the world’s most renowned fashion editors and industry insiders, Lagos Fashion Week, and Arise Fashion Week in particular, has earned supermodel Naomi Campbell’s seal of approval. The supermodel made her debut walking the Arise Fashion Week runway in 2018 and returned in 2019, taking on a curatorial role. Emerging designers across the continent have also made their way onto the global stage. Nigerian designers Adebayo Oke-Lawal and Kenneth Ize, were both finalists for the LVMH Prize in 2014 and 2019 respectively, as well as South African designer Thebe Magugu, who actually won the Prize in 2019. For those unfamiliar with the LVMH Prize, it is a prestigious award given to young fashion designers by reputable designers in the industry.

Naomi Campbell walks Kenneth Ize’s fashion show at Arise Fashion Week in 2019. (Photo Credit: Kenneth Ize)

African fashion no longer needs the ‘approval’ of the global industry, because they are now  a force to be reckoned with on their own. Sparking this evolution are trailblazing young African designers who have taken the initiative to create innovative work that tell stories and break stereotypes, while at the same time preserving age-old techniques, as they simultaneously build viable global fashion businesses.

These creatives not only deserve props for their spectacular work, but they are  changemakers in their own right, helping to uplift Africa’s developing economy, standing up for equality, climate action, and setting a new standard for all African designers, thus ensuring their place in the global fashion world.

How to describe African design? African design is audacious and revolutionary. Nigeria’s Adebayo Oke-Lawal and Fola Francis are designers who are pushing boundaries and challenging gender stereotypes. Meanwhile, Congolese designer Anifa Mvuemba is credited as being the first designer to curate a 3D virtual fashion show for her brand, Hanifa, which went viral in 2021.

According to Statista (a German company specializing in market and consumer data), the fashion industry is the fourth largest industry in the world with global revenue in 2021 worth $1.5 trillion. Therefore, the success of the African fashion industry could have a huge impact on that continent’s economy, especially since they have the highest rate of poverty in the world. A robust African fashion industry could exponentially alter their lives.

As the fashion industry thrives in Africa, there will be more employment opportunities, investments in development and increased global recognition, not only for fashion designers, but also for the local tailors, artisans and entrepreneurs. Many fashion brands in Africa are now creating programs to provide resources, support community growth, and empower citizens who want to work in the fashion industry.

UoF is playing a part in their success 

Here are just a few globally recognized African fashion brands that are making a difference:

AHLUWALIA

Looks from Ahluwalia’s Spring 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

Priye Ahluwalia, founder of the brand Ahluwalia, was born in London to a Nigerian father and an Indian mother. Drawing inspiration from both her Nigerian and Indian heritage, she designs award-winning ready-to-wear menswear.

Ahluwalia was one of the recipients of the prestigious LMVH prize in 2020 and the following year won the Queen Elizabeth II Award for British Design. Ahluwalia’s label also focuses on being environmentally friendly using vintage and dead-stock (discontinued and vintage items that are no longer in stock) clothing for a number of her creations.

THEBE MAGUGU

Looks from Thebe Magugu’s Spring 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

Thebe Magugu founded his luxury namesake collection in 2016. Through fashion, the South African fashion designer tells the stories of his heritage and culture while bringing important issues into the limelight. In his past collections, he has made commentary on sexism in South Africa, South Africa’s apartheid past, and femicide — with South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa describing gender-based violence as “the second pandemic we are confronting” in November 2020.

Magugu primarily designs exquisite ready-to-wear clothing for women.

In 2018, Magugu won the LVMH prize and has since been featured in a variety of magazines including Vogue.

ORANGE CULTURE

A look from Orange Culture’s Spring 2022 Show. (Photo Credit: Orange Culture)

Orange Culture was founded in 2011 by Adebayo Oke-Lawal, a Nigerian fashion designer. His beginnings are those of a true millennial, as Oke-Lawal has been designing clothes since he was only eleven years old and is self taught. Today, Oke-Lawal is one of the most prestigious designers in Africa.

The brand Orange Culture is best known for their innovative menswear, which has been worn by African celebrities like Global Citizen advocate Davido, Rita Dominic, and Ice Prince. It was also the first Nigerian brand to sell their clothing at the iconic UK department store, Selfridges.

Through the brand’s Orange Mentorship program, they provide mentorship and resources to young fashion designers throughout Africa to help them build their fashion empire.

HANIFA

Looks from Hanifa’s Spring 2022 Digital Show. (Photo Credit: Hanifa)

Anifa Mvuemba is a Congolese designer best known for her viral 3D fashion show that combined two passions, fashion and technology, in an epic presentation of her brand, Hanifa, during the height of COVID-19 in 2021.

Mvuemba founded Hanifa 10 years ago and the brand has since become known for its mesmerizing size inclusive ready-to-wear. Her debut show was held at the National Portrait Gallery on Nov. 16, 2021 Washington, D.C. with over 20,000 people streaming the show on YouTube.

This talented designer is also the founder of The Hanifa Dream, a program that empowers women-owned organizations that “elevate fashion through passion, purpose, and social impact.

CHRISTIE BROWN

Looks from Christie Brown’s Spring 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Christie Brown)

Aisha Ayensu is a Ghanaian fashion designer and the creative director for the label Christie Brown, which was founded in March 2008.

The luxury brand, named after Ayensu’s grandmother, creates innovative and exceptional women’s ready-to-wear apparel and accessories. Ayensu reimagines traditional clothing and gives them a modern twist.

TONGORO

Looks from Tongoro’s Spring 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Tongoro)

Tongoro is a ready-to-wear womenswear brand that produces playful and unique apparel. The label was founded in 2016 by Sarah Diof, a woman of Senegalese, Central African, and Congolese heritage. The fashion company’s headquarters are in Dakar, Senegal. Tongoro sources their materials from artisans across Africa, and Diof primarily works with local tailors as a way of fostering the economic development of artisans throughout Africa.

IMANE AYISSI

A look from Imane Ayissi’s Couture Spring 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Show Studio)

Imane Ayissi is not only a fashion designer but is also a model and a dancer. Pryor to starting his fashion label, Ayissi was a sought-after model who walked for luxury fashion houses like Dior, Givenchy, Valentino, YSL and Lanvin.

The Cameroonian designer draws inspiration from cultures all over the African continent. Ayissi not only creates luxurious ready-to-wear pieces, but he is also an advocate for environmentally friendly fashion and often uses natural and organic materials that make the least amount of impact to the environment.

AFRICA FASHION EXHIBITION

Africa Fashion exhibition at the Victoria and Albert Museum, London. (Photo Credit: V&A Museum)

If you happen to be ion London between now and April 16, 2023, then be sure to catch the Africa Exhibit at the V & A Museum which spans iconic mid-20th century to contemporary creatives through photographs, textiles, music and the visual arts.

And…

Speaking of textiles, we recently launched two lessons in our 5-part series on West African textiles by Mina Dia-Stevens. Broaden your knowledge of Africa and learn about the Faso Dan Fani Cloth of Burkina Faso and the Bògòlanfini textiles of Mali. 

So, tell us, do you know of  other African designers you’d like to share with us?

UNIVERSITY OF FASHION’S CERTIFICATE PROGRAM GOES LIVE

UoF Certificate(Image credit: example of University of Fashion Certificate of Completion)
Our subscribers had been asking us about how they could earn a certificate upon completion of our lessons. We get it, who wants to invest hours of time and money and not get a reward? Well, at last, and after hours of computer programming (and money), we are proud to announce the launch our University of Fashion Certificate of Completion program, available to all our paid subscribers.
Sure you can attend fashion school and pay thousands (that is if you are lucky enough to get accepted), but for those in the ‘know’, why not take advantage of 500+ lessons all taught by top fashion college professors and industry pros, learn at your own pace any time of day or night, in the privacy of your own home, rewind and replay a lesson over and over until you get it, at a fraction of the cost of fashion school?
Ask any of our subscribers, UoF’s customer service is top notch! Have a question about one of our lessons? No problem, our teachers are ready, willing and able to answer them within 24 hours. We always love hearing from our students.

Now You Can Earn a UoF Certificate for Your Efforts


(Image credit: University of Fashion subscriber draping and sewing a dress)

How UoF’s Certificate of Completion Program Works

(Image credit: An example of a  student’s My Learning page – listing lessons ‘in-progress’ & 100% completed)

All University of Fashion paid subscribers can now receive a Certificate of Completion for any and all completed lessons and lectures. You can track your individual progress toward earning a certificate by clicking on the My Learning tab on the left side of your Account page. Here you can track all of your lessons and your lesson progress.

(Image credit: University of Fashion student calculating fabric consumption & costing a garment)

 

Is there a Cost for a UoF Certificate of Completion?

No. There is NO extra charge for a University of Fashion Certificate of Completion. If you are a paid monthly or yearly subscriber and completed one of our lessons, you are eligible to obtain a certificate. Our certificate program just launched and we have subscribers who have already earned 20+ certificates!

(Image credit:Example of a student’s My Learning page showing lesson discipline, certificate & date earned)

 

Benefits of a UoF Certificate of Completion

Beyond that feeling of accomplishment at having learned and mastered a new subject or technique, there are many other benefits to earning our Certificates:

  • Present your certificates to prospective employers, along with examples of your completed draped, drafted and sewn projects
  • Include UoF certificates to your portfolio for job application and college admission purposes
  • Frame your certificates as proof of your competence in multidisciplines to your clients
  • Export and email your certificates to your instructors for extra credit
  • Prove to your employer that you have up-skilled in a particular area
  • Demonstrate to a school administrator proof of your competence and proficiency in teaching additional subjects

Spread the word! Start completing lessons and printing out your UoF certificates. Let us know how many you’ve earned!

SUSTAINABLE MATERIALS PART 3: FUR – WOOL – DOWN ALTERNATIVES

 

Stella McCartney champions ethical fashion with fur-free collection. (Photo Credit: Stella McCartney)

Design is not just about product. Design is about responsibility.”

If you haven’t already seen this quote by Dr. Carmen Hijosa of Piñatex, you will, it is ubiquitous on the web. Every eco-friendly brand uses it as its mantra. And, every fashion student in every school on the planet is making sure that they incorporate it into every single one of their classes. After all, if the design process starts at desk of the designer, well then, it’s up to us to be on top of alternative textile and material choices when designing a collection.

In 2021, Google launched a fashion supply chain platform called called Global Fibre Impact Explorer (GFIE) in partnership with Stella McCartney, The Textile Exchange and the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), to help fashion brands understand the environmental risk of their raw material sourcing. The tool, which is built on Google Earth Engine and uses Google Cloud computing, assesses the environmental risk of different fibers across regions in terms of environmental factors such as air pollution, biodiversity, climate and greenhouse gases, forestry and water use. In 2022, Google and WWF transitioned GFIE to Textile Exchange, a global non-profit focused on positively impacting climate through accelerating the use of preferred fibers across the global textile industry. Their Friend Level Membership is reserved for small to medium-sized enterprises that generate under $5million in annual revenue, as well as universities, non-profits and NGOs.

Last week we educated our viewers on earth-friendly leather and silk alternatives, that are being created using a variety of materials made from pineapples to coffee grounds, sea shells, cactus, bamboo, mushrooms and spiders, just to name a few. This week we’d like to focus on fur and wool alternatives.

Cruelty-free Fur Alternatives

Last Chance for Animals – Global Ban on Fur (Image credit: lcanimals.com) 

The wearing of fur, just like leather and silk, has long been associated with luxury and wealth. However, beginning in the 1980s and after decades of massive pressure from PETA & activists, many designers and retailers announced that they would stop selling fur due to the cruel methods used in killing the animals. In 2019, California became the first state to make it illegal to sell, donate or manufacture new fur products and in 2021, Israel became the first country to ban the sale of fur clothing, although their are several carve-outs, including one for educational reasons and another that permits residents to buy skins and pelts for religious purposes.

Enter…Tencel® and Koba® faux fur

Faux fur was first introduced in 1929 but didn’t become popular until the 1950s. Due to fur’s growing unpopularity since the 1980s and the fact that many countries are now banning fur farms, the use of faux fur increased. Two reports issued by eco experts at Ce Delft, an independent research and consultancy company, found that five faux fur coats have significantly less impact on climate change than that of one mink fur coat.

Since most faux fur is manufactured with non-renewable petroleum-based products and synthetic fabrics it can be toxic to the environment unless it is recycled properly. Today, technologies and innovations offer new ways to design amazing and ethical alternatives to fur and fake fur as well. Popular kinds of faux fur include faux rabbit, faux fox, shearling, sheepskin, and sherpa and luxury faux fur fabrics include chinchilla, sable, beaver, ermine, marten, lynx, and leopard.

KOBA®  the first vegan faux fur (Image credit: Ecopel.com)

Ecopel, a leader in the development of high end faux fur, supplies more than 300 top fashion brands that have stopped using real fur. In partnership with Dupont, they launched KOBA® faux fur, integrating DuPont™ Sorona® fibers, creating the first faux fur made with vegetal ingredients.

UGG’s new faux fur shoe brand using Tencel®  fiber (Image credit: Tencel.com)  

Lenzing, a leader in the field of botanic cellulose fibers and famous for its flagship brand Tencel®, is providing solutions to faux fur production. Their fibers are derived from certified renewable wood sources using an eco-responsible production process that generates up to 50% lower emissions and water impact compared to generic viscose. In 2021, the company partnered with UGG and debuted Plant Power, a collection of shoes made with carbon-neutral, plant-based materials.

Wool Alternatives

Spinnova partners with the outdoor brand The North Face. (Photo Credit: The North Face)

As we have previously reported, controversies surrounding leather and fur are well-known, however there is a common misconception that wool is a ‘gentle’ fabric that simply implies a ‘haircut’ for sheep. Wrong. According to Plant Based News, “One little-known fact about wool production is its environmental impact: sheep, just like cows, emit large quantities of methane gas, which has several times the global warming potential of CO2. The 2017 Pulse of Fashion Industry Report put wool in the fourth place on its list of the fashion materials that had the highest cradle-to-gate environmental impact per kg of material.” And that doesn’t even touch on the undercover reports of the systemic cruelty involved and the abuse the animals suffer.

Enter…hemp, organic cotton, Tencel®, Spinnova®,  soybean fiber, linen, bamboo, woocoa and nullarbor

Wool had its peak in the 1990s and then continued to be replaced by synthetics and cotton blends. Today’s eco-conscious consumers are shunning animal-derived or petroleum-based fabrics and are searching for alternatives. Luckily, there are options. From cotton to wood to coconuts and soybeans, technology is helping drive the movement. As we have already discussed, Tencel is a great replacement and we covered the benefits of organic hemp, cotton, linen and bamboo in a previous blog. 

But did you know about Woocoa? This is a material created by a group of university students in Colombia made from a coconut and hemp fiber ‘wool’, treated with enzymes from the oyster mushroom. Keep you eye on this space. Another bio-tech creation is Nullarbor, developed by Australian material innovation company Nanolloose. This fabric is created by using bacteria to ferment liquid coconut waste from the food industry into cellulose. Spinnova

Spinnova® is a fiber made by Spinnova, a Finnish sustainable materials company. They are the only company in the world able to create textile fiber out of cellulose without involving any harmful chemicals, minimal water use and emissions, and zero waste.  The company has worked with a number of recognized brands, such as Bestseller, The North Face and Marimekko, in fact, Adidas is one of their investors.

A Pangaia fitted short puffer. (Photo Credit: Pangaia)

Down Alternatives

A little known fact about the use of down feathers in the production of down jackets, handbags, pillows and comforters is the level of cruelty involved in the extraction of the feathers. According to Gentle World, “while most down and other feathers are removed from ducks and geese during slaughter, birds in breeding flocks and those raised for meat may be plucked repeatedly while they are still alive. This process is repeated every 6-7 weeks before the bird’s eventual slaughter (or death from the trauma of the plucking process itself). For birds that have been killed for their flesh and/or internal organs (foie gras) the process usually involves scalding the birds’ bodies in hot water for one to three minutes so the feathers are easier to pull out. The body feathers can then be plucked (often by hand), after which the down is removed by hand or machine.”

Where using polyester microfiber was once considered a cruelty-free alternative to down comforters and clothing they use a mass-produced petroleum-based polyester, a nonrenewable resource. They are also known to contain chlorinated phenols, formaldehyde and other volatile organic compounds (VOCs), carcinogenic dyes, allergens and irritants. The production of these materials require a lot of energy, are impossible to break down and eventually end up in landfills.

Enter…next-gen down

Rather than using a polyester microfiber, try a next-gen down, which uses plants, recycled PET, or other sustainable materials to create the pillowy feeling many brands and customers crave. While many, like H&M and Jack Wolfskin, have incorporated next-gen down into some of their products, Pangaia, a materials science company and Save the Duck are two companies that have set up a ‘business-to-business’ line selling their eco-friendly down alternatives to other brands.

Pangaia’s FLWRDWN™ is a bio-based down-fill material made using a combination of wildflowers, a biopolymer (made from maize (corn) and is fully compostable) and a patented biodegradable aerogel. This warm, breathable and animal-friendly innovation is the first of its kind and is used in their outerwear jackets, vests and accessories.

Save the Duck’s RECYCLED PLUMTECH® is a padding made by polyester fiber entirely coming from recycled materials, including plastic bottles. All the jackets from the RECYCLED collection are distinguished by the green and white logo.

A large part of unsustainable fashion is the result of poor fabric choice. Many materials that make it into our clothes harm humans, animals, and the environment. Not to mention, they release harmful chemicals and microplastics into our environment for hundreds of years. So, all of you designers out there, get onboard the eco-textile train. It starts with YOU!

Are you as excited as we are about material innovation and the exciting developments that are still to come?

 

A NEW ERA IN SUSTAINABLE FASHION PART 2: NEXT-GEN LEATHER & SILK ALTERNATIVES

- - Sustainability

H&M Conscious collection using Orange Fiber. (Photo Credit: H&M)

At UOF we are committed to the promotion and education of all things related to designing fashion sustainability. Our Zero Waste series, our lessons by Noor Bchara of Upcycle Design School and our upcoming interview series where working sustainable designers talk about how they started their brand, are all part of our commitment to designing with purpose.

As consumers continue to look for more sustainable alternatives to synthetics and animal-based materials, new ‘breeds’ of fabrics continue to make a mark on the industry. This blog post is part of our series on sustainable practices and how textile innovations are providing great alternatives for designers to make a difference in helping save the planet, one thread at a time.

In a report entitled Brand Engagement with Next-Gen Materials: 2022 Landscape released by the Material Innovation Initiative (MII), they covered the most significant and progressive materials that are making a mark on the fashion industry today.

Branded as ‘Next Generation’ or  Next-Gen, the products highlighted in the report offer replacements for animal-based materials such as leather, silk, wool, down (bird), and fur. Technical innovations in next-gen materials are not only present in the fashion industry, but also in automotive and home goods. In this blogpost we will cover leather and silk alternatives. Stay tuned for our coverage of other Next-Gen materials.

Frequently, producing Next-Gen materials utilize various biomimicry techniques to replicate animal-based textiles, which are then implemented into the supply chain of various industries. Next-Gen methods have risen in popularity due to consumer demand and the need for sustainably-sourced materials, with investors reportedly jumping on the trend in order to secure their place in this fast-growing industry.

In the State of the Industry report, published by the MII, interest in next generation materials is steadily growing. Fifty-five new next generation firms were formed since 2014, increasing the number of operating companies in the sector to 95. By 2015, investments in this sector rose to over $2.3 billion and the number of Next-Gen material producers rose to a total of 187 unique investors. All very encouraging news, right?

Genuine Non-Leather 

Genuine leather has long epitomized luxury in the fashion world, however a major shift has taken place with growing awareness about the cruelty of mass livestock-rearing, the number of resources consumed, carbon emitted and the slew of chemicals used in it’s production, such as formaldehyde, cyanide and chromium during the tanning and dyeing processes, which can be hazardous to both people and the environment. According to a poll by market research company Morning Consult, “more than a third of people in the UK and 23 per cent of people in the US think that leather is an inappropriate material to use in clothing.

Enter…genuine non-leather.

There are now over 67 companies working on alternative versions of the material. Some of the pioneers of genuine non-leather are Piñatex by Ananas Anam (made from pineapples), Tômtex by Uyen Tran (made from waste coffee grounds and discarded seafood shells), Palm leather by Tjeerd Veenhoven (from the leaves of the areca palm), Desserto’s Cactus Leather, the latest innovation in sustainable fashion, is a vegan leather made from the leaves of nopal cactus – a plant that grows abundantly in Mexico, without even needing any water (seems like a great option for those of us constantly killing our plants).

Bio-leather by Shahar Livne (from discarded animal fat and bones), Beyond Leather (Leap™ from upcycled apple waste) and Mylo by Bolt Threads, (created from mycelium, the branching filament structure that mushrooms and other fungi use to grow. The material reportedly consumes substantially less water than is needed to produce animal leather while emitting fewer greenhouse gases). In fact, Adidas, Stella McCartney Lululemon and Gucci’s parent company have all teamed up and invested in Mylo.

 

Cruelty-Free Silk Altermatives

For thousands of years silk, like leather, has been associated with luxury. Although silk is biodegradable, the process of creating silk involves boiling the silkworm alive to save the integrity of the silk. Finding this to be cruel, various designers to find alternative ways of making silk.

Enter…Spider Alternatives.

Did you know that those spider webs in your home are five times stronger than steel and more elastic than rubber bands? Bolt Threads makes a fabric molecularly equal to natural spider silk (since spider silk is not yet widely available) made from yeast, water, and sugar. The resulting raw, purely vegan silk is produced through fermentation, much like brewing beer, except instead of the yeast turning the sugar into alcohol, they turn it into the raw stuff of spider silk. Bolt Threads recently reported partnerships with the eco friendly outdoor brands Patagonia and The North Face.

Lotus silk is another silk alternative and made from the stems of lotus flowers. Although it eliminates the torture of silk worms, creating Lotus Silk is a highly laborious process, with some 6,500 lotus stems required to make a single length of hand woven fabric. Art silk is another silk-alternative, made from bamboo fibers that are crushed then combed and spun into yarn with a lecture more like raw silk. Ramie is another silk alternative that comes from a flowering plant in the nettle family. Orange silk, made from discarded husks of oranges squeezed from the juicing industry. Called  Orange Fiber Fabric, the material made its high fashion debut with Salvatore Ferragamo. And also in the Orange Fibre x H&M Conscious Collection, which launched worldwide in 2019.

Meanwhile, Next-Gen silk now has a total of 12 producers, wool and fur have seven, down materials have six, and exotic skins have one. In 2021, MII reported that 980 million dollars was raised in total, double the amount that was invested in 2020. The organization said in its report that we can expect to see larger deals within the industry as companies continue to develop and provide proof of concept.

Today, a growing number of brands are starting to incorporate Next-Gen materials. A very good sign. The MII report reports that 38 out of 40 leading fashion companies are actively seeking textile alternatives, with a wide variety of fashion labels already counted among the organization’s “First Mover” list. Labels such as Ganni, Pangaia, Karl Lagerfeld, and Adidas are among the 150 highlighted by the MII for their already prominent work in the industry. These selected companies are projected to increase revenue “by exemplifying their positive effect on the environment and animals” according to MII.

Consumer demand is one of the most important considerations to implement these innovative materials into collections, with most consumers willing to pay more for products made from materials that align with their values. In addition, each individual Next-Gen material holds a 50 percent potential market share when compared to conventional materials, according to MII.

Regardless of revenue being an obvious factor, the environmental positives cannot go unnoticed when it comes to Next-Gen materials. As documented in the MII report, much of a brand’s environmental impact comes down to raw materials, leading many to turn to plant-based products instead. It also states that independently certified materials from trusted companies can guarantee both environmental and ethical qualities of the product at hand. In fact, animal welfare has seen an increase in importance among consumers, making it MII’s third most prominent reason to utilize Next-Gen materials.

Investigations into supply chains have repeatedly uncovered troubling cases of animal cruelty within brands and many fashion companies have banned animal products altogether. As more guidelines and industry standards are put into place, fashion is starting to move towards a more animal-friendly future, in which consumers are increasingly demanding.

THE MATERIALS

LEATHER

Karl Lagerfeld’s vegan cactus leather bag. (Photo Credit: Karl Lagerfeld)

 

Hugo Boss’ Pineapple trainers for men. (Photo Credit: Hugo Boss)

 

SILK

Salvatore Ferragamo’s capsule collection for Orange Fiber. (Photo Credit: Salvatore Ferragamo)

As the fashion industry becomes more sustainable-minded, there is also the risk of greenwashing (the practice of making misleading statements or claims about the sustainability of a product or a service).  A recent exposé on fast-fashion retailer H&M in Forbes reported that “the company’s environmental promise is undermined by greenwashing. H&M was using a scorecard system to inform customers about the environmental soundness of each product, but a report by Quartz claims that more than half of the scorecards portrayed products as being better for the environment than they actually were. The report also found some instances in which H&M’s scorecards allegedly gave information about the sustainability of a product that was completely opposite from the truth.” Hopefully this will be a lesson to other brands who might try to fool customers with slick advertising and false claims.

Do you know of any other vegan leathers and silks we didn’t mention?

 

A NEW ERA IN SUSTAINABLE FASHION: THE RISE OF NATURAL & VEGAN MATERIALS

Stella McCartney Summer 2022 Substainability Campaign. (Photo Credit: Fashionography)

As temperatures soar, breaking records in one of the hottest summers to date, it’s only natural to think about climate change and what more can be done to reduce our collective carbon footprint. This week saw the U.S. Senate poised to approve the most significant climate bill, at a whopping $369 billion (yes ‘B’ as in billion), that will sharply reduce carbon pollution. If it passes, this landmark legislation promises to slash greenhouse gas emissions by 40 percent – below 2005 levels – by 2030. It’s at least a start. Our fingers are crossed.

The fashion industry is also committed to doing their part, with prominent leaders such as Stella McCartney being one of the strongest voices in sustainable fashion. But what really is sustainable fashion?  The answer is broad. Within the fashion industry it’s a combination different facets that include: ethical business practices, fair trade, supply chain transparency, minimal impact policies, give-back programs, upcycling, recycling, downcycling, circularity, and, arguably most important of all, sustainable materials that make up an ethical collection. The subject of this blogpost will focus on what’s new in sustainable materials which has become the newest and most high-tech approach to the future of fashion.

Sustainability in Fashion. (Photo Credit: Bibalex)

Designers know that one of the most effective ways to create an eco-friendly collection is by choosing sustainable fabrics. Thankfully today, sustainable fabrics have come a long way and technology is at the forefront of this change. Just think of the innovation that went into creating fabric made from a mushroom, an apple and a pineapple.

The type of fabric used to create a collection determines how much environmental degradation it ends up causing — or the practices that reverse it. Just keep in mind that the fabric choice directly affects the raw material sourcing (farming and petroleum drilling impact), water consumption and waste, material processing (chemicals needed to turn it into fiber), and end-of-life prospects (ways a garment can be disposed of) like can it be recycled or composted?

Luckily, environmentally friendly fabrics are pretty easy to find — if you know where to look. And the brands that use them are staking their claim for a better fashion future. And that, in turn, is good for people and the planet.

We are planning to cover advances in fashion sustainability for the next few months and will be featuring designers who are making a splash with their sustainable collections and what’s new in the world of natural, organic and vegan textiles.

ORGANIC COTTON

Organic Cotton Field. (Photo Credit: The New Fashion Norm)

Organic cotton is one of THE most natural fabrics you can find. It is grown without the use of pesticides and synthetic fertilizers and is processed without chemicals. Organic cotton farming uses 62% less energy and 88% less water than conventional cotton (which is surprisingly one of the single dirtiest crops around).

There are several certifications used with sustainable and ethical cotton to authenticate that a particular cotton was grown without pesticides or machine harvesting and processed without chemicals, leaving the final garment chemical-free. Other certifications ensure fair pay and safe conditions for farmers. Certifications include: USDA-Certified Organic, Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS), Organic Content Standard (OCS), Better Cotton Standard, Fair Trade, Bluesign, and Oeko-Tex 100.

RECYCLED COTTON

Recycled Cotton Denim. (Photo Credit: Cottonworks)

Recycled cotton is manufactured using either post-industrial or post-consumer waste. Plenty of slow fashion brands use recycled cotton and for good reason. This means that the fabric used is made from industry fabric scraps or other recycled cotton garments. Recycled cotton helps to prevent fashion waste from ending up in landfills. Be sure to watch our 3-part series on sustainable design by Noor Bchara, designer, CEO, founder of Upcycle Design School.

UoF’s 3-part series on sustainable design by Noor Bchara, designer, CEO and founder of Upcycle Design School

Recycled cotton certifications and regulation are difficult to determine, due to the inability of knowing the source of the materials used in the recycling process. However there are certain certifications and standards that exist and they include Global Recycle Standard (GRS), Recycled Content Standard (RCS) and Oeko-Tex 100.

It is also difficult to know whether recycled cotton is pure cotton (and therefore able to be composted) because a fabric can be recycled into recycled cotton even if it holds some synthetic blend (as long as the blend is less than 4%).

ORGANIC HEMP

The Complete Cycle of Hemp Clothing Manufacturing. (Photo Credit: Hemp Foundation)

Hemp is one of the most eco-friendly natural fabrics around. It’s high yielding and growing hemp is healthy for the soil, due to the process of phytoremediation. Another feature of hemp is that it requires much less water than growing cotton.

Organic hemp is considered a carbon negative raw material. What this means is that the material actually absorbs CO2 from the atmosphere. Its certifications and standards include USDA-Certified Organic, Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS), Organic Content Standard (OCS), Oeko-Tex 100, and Bluesign.

While organic hemp has many benefits as mentioned above and is naturally sun protective and antimicrobial, the downside is that it more difficult to grow and therefore tends to be somewhat more expensive than other sustainable organic fabrics,. Despite this, we can expect to see more of it in the future.

ORGANIC LINEN

Organic linen dresses. (Photo Credit: The Filtery)

Linen is almost identical to hemp in terms of sustainability and it is extremely light and breathable. Derived from the flax plant, linen’s growth requires very little fertilizer, pesticide, and irrigation, but unlike hemp, linen isn’t as high yielding. Linen is a popular and reliable fiber and can be used to create everything from clothing to bedsheets.

Certifications and standards for Organic Linen include USDA-Certified Organic, Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS), Organic Content Standard (OCS), Oeko-Tex 100, and Bluesign.

ORGANIC BAMBOO (AKA BAMBOO LINEN)

Sustainable, Organic, And Antibacterial – The Benefits Of Using Bamboo in Fashion. (Photo Credit: Bamboodu)

Like hemp, bamboo consumes more CO2 than some trees. When bamboo is harvested, it can be done without destroying the plant itself. Translation, bamboo can renew itself at incredible speed (it’s one of the fastest growing plants on the planet) and can survive on rainfall alone. Bamboo’s certifications and standards include the Forest Stewardship Council, USDA-Certified Organic, Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS), Organic Content Standard (OCS), Fair Trade,  Oeko-Tex 100, and Bluesign.

Organic bamboo is one of the most sustainable fabrics, but depending on how it is processed, it could involve chemically intensive processes — and all the harmful impacts that come with it.

Mechanically processed bamboo is a better-for-Earth way to utilize bamboo, but sadly it makes up just a tiny amount of what is found in the market. Make sure to look for organic bamboo fabrics in its raw form, as opposed to that which is plasticized into bamboo rayon/viscose blends.

CORK

Cork handbag by Eve Cork. (Photo Credit: Eve Cork)

Cork has left the bottle and is now used to create fashion! Made from Quercus suber, commonly called the cork oak, a medium-sized, evergreen oak tree, cork is made by shaving the bark from the tree. In fact, the bark  can be harvested—and should be harvested—to extend then tree’s life. While the tree regrows its bark, it consumes more carbon dioxide than most types of trees (and therefore another carbon negative material). As a result, cork plantations can actually act as a carbon sink.

Once cork has been harvested (which can sustainably happen to a tree every 9 to 12 years), the cork can be laid out in the sun to dry, and only requires a bit of water to transform the cork into a fabric suitable for fashion. The material has become a fashionable choice for vegan bags and shoes… and for good reason.

A LIST OF SUSTAINABLE FABRICS

Fashion created by nature. (Photo Credit: Grailed)

Here is a list of highly recommended eco-fabrics for all you sustainable-minded designers out there:

Sustainable Semi-Synthetic Fabrics (mostly vegan)

Lyocell

Modal

Bamboo Lyocell

EcoVero

Pinatex

Scoby Leather

S.Cafe

Qmonos

Brewed Protein

Apple leather

Woocoa

Cupro

QMilk

Vegan, Synthetic Fabrics

ECONYL

Recycled polyester

Animal Derived Natural Fabrics (sustainable depending on source)

Sheep Wool

Merino Wool

Alpaca Wool

Cashmere

Camel

Yak Wool

Vegetable Tanned Leather

Down

Silk

Stay tuned to our blog to learn more about sustainable fabric choices that you should be considering for your projects! Also follow us on Instagram uoffashion, and on Facebook University of Fashion.

BARBIECORE & WHY BARBIE IS NOT JUST SOME DUMB BLONDE

Celebrities embracing the Barbiecore trend. NY Post Photo Illustration. (Photo Credit: NY Post)

As we all know, fashion is cyclical. Trends come and go, hemlines rise and fall and each season we await the ‘color’ of the season (last season it was periwinkle). Well, this summer the color is pink and has its roots in the style icon, the Barbie doll. Yes, Barbie is Back!  The last time Barbie made it into pop culture was in the ’90s when the Danish/Norwegian band Aqua released their hit song, Barbie Girl, with the ear worm refrain,  “I’m a Barbie girl, in a Barbie world. Life in plastic, it’s fantastic. You can brush my hair, undress me everywhere. Imagination, life is your creation!”

The massive publicity push is on, a full year in advance, for the July 2023 release of the Barbie film directed by Greta Gerwig (Little Women and Lady Bird) starring Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling. The trends surrounding the film are known as “Barbicore” (the word ‘core’ referring to the aesthetic associated with a film, for example ‘Regencycore’ for the series Bridgerton).  The new vibrant pink trend is getting a massive push in the fashion industry and actually began during the fall-winter 2022 shows when Valentino featured it for both their women’s and men’s styles and at Michael Kors, Versace, Act No. 1 and Dolce & Gabbana.

In a world where gender fluidity has been center stage (ex. Harry Styles), Barbicore is definitely bringing gender extremes back to the forefront of fashion. And if Barbicore is not the look for you, well then, grab your baggiest basketball shorts and oversized tees and try “Sandlercore“, a lazy man’s dressing trend made popular by actor Adam Sandler. Fashion has something for everyone, right?

Fashion marketers and influencers have jumped on the Barbicore trend as have celebs, from Megan Fox to Kim Kardashian. In an interview with the New York Post, Kim Culmone, Senior VP at Mattel, Inc. said “BarbieCore is the summer’s latest fashion trend influencing everything from clothing to home decor, and we are here for it. It’s been delightful seeing celebrities decked out in their best pink looks – Barbie would approve.”

Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling filming the new Barbie film. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

The iconic Mattel doll has always been an inspiration to young women, even if she has sometimes been given a ‘ dumb blond’ moniker. The original ‘Barbie look’, consists of sexy curves and hot pink, bright neons, feminine makeup, and sparkly accessories, and has taken over TikTok. In fact, the hashtag #Barbiecore has more than 7 million views on TikTok and, according to Google Trends data, interest in Barbie has spiked to new heights as fans await the live-action movie.

In today’s #MeToo environment, director Greta Gerwig has a bold new vision of the iconic doll’s story. She is both writing and directing the movie, with input from her partner Noah Baumbach (Marriage Story). The plot of the story will revolve around a doll leaving Barbieland due to her so-called ‘imperfections’, only to discover along the way, that perfection can truly be found within.

Robbie’s costumes are being designed by Gerwig’s Little Women collaborator Jacqueline Durran (for which she won an Oscar) and are already inspiring street style. The Barbie aesthetic has entered the fashion zeitgeist, inspiring A-listers and fashion lovers worldwide.

Megan Fox and Machine Gun Kelly have embraced the Barbiecore trend head on. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

One of the most famous quotes from fashion legend Diana Vreeland was “Pink is the navy blue of India.” And for Fall 2022, Valentino designer Pierpaolo Piccioli showcased a pretty in pink collection in partnership with Pantone. The runway, backdrop, floors, and even the seats were the same shade of pink, which created a dazzling impact.

“Pinks are no doubt ‘having a moment.’ In fact, pink is having more than a moment,” Laurie Pressman, vice president of the Pantone Color Institute, told The Post in an interview. “It is a color family we have seen growing in popularity across the spectrum since 2013, one which sparked the intro of Millennial Pink and with the rise of the ‘gender blur’ became even more prominent. A time where we began doing away with all color rules and breaking down the boundaries.”

Left to Right: Hailey Beiber, Khloe Kardashian, and Kim Kardashian rocking the Barbiecore trend. (Photo Credit: Michigannewstimes)

“The bright pinks and fuchsias we are seeing today are exultant and empowering. They are stand-out statements being worn with confidence,” Pressman continued. “Vibrant and high-energy. they help us to feel uninhibited and free.”

Barbiecore, as a fashion movement, has been building for years. Remember in the early aughts when Tyra Banks took on the doll’s tailored aesthetic as Eve in the 2000 Disney film Life-Size? And, when Reese Witherspoon, as Elle Woods in Legally Blonde, (circa 2001) was essentially a Barbie in a lawyer’s world?

Reese Witherspoon in Legally Blonde. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

In the 2010s, we often saw Nicki Minaj sporting some serious Barbie-inspired looks after her own Barbie doll hit the market in 2011 (to this day the rapper still wears her signature diamond Barbie nameplate necklace). In 2015, Paris Hilton wore a hot pink Barbie one-piece by a pool in Ibiza, and footwear designer Sophia Webster collaborated with Barbie on a collection of limited-edition shoes the same year.

Kacey Musgraves at the Met Gala in 2019. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

In 2019, Kacey Musgraves wore a Barbie-inspired outfit for her Met Gala appearance: A floor-length, hot pink motorcycle dress designed by Moschino (a very Barbiecore brand!), complete with a matching hairdryer clutch, sunglasses, chandelier teardrop diamond earrings, and shiny silver pumps. The look was almost an exact replica of the Barbie x Moschino doll, which was being sold in the museum’s gift shop at the time.

Moschino’s Spring 2015 Barbie inspired Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

Kim Culmone told InStyle that, like the beloved doll, what constitutes Barbiecore is ever evolving. “Barbie is inspired by pop culture and fashion. And like many of us, her style evolves to be reflective of today’s trends and culture. For 2022, as we move past the pandemic and regain our social lives, it’s Barbie’s genuine playfulness and bright, bold color palette that people are trying to incorporate into their daily routines.

Anne Hathaway at the Valentino Haute Couture Fall 2022 fashion show. Right Lizzo. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

HISTORY OF BARBIE

Artist Reinhard Beuthien created Lilli in 1952 for the German tabloid Bild as a comic strip character (Image credit Hobbylark.com). 

The Stolen Legacy of Bild Lilli

Barbie was modeled after a comic strip character called Lilli, created by Reinhard Beutheien in 1952 for the German tabloid, Bild. She soon became known as Bild Lilli and was marketed as a racy gag gift doll that men could buy in tobacco shops. The Bild Lilli doll became extremely popular with women and children too and eventually there would plenty of knockoff dolls worldwide.
Ruth Handler (co-founder of Mattel) discovered the Lilli doll while on vacation in Hamburg, Germany, had her copied and named her Barbie (after her daughter Barbara). Handler’s version, which launched in 1959, was made of vinyl with rooted hair and curly bangs rather than a wig-cap, and included separate shoes and earrings, which were not molded on, as were Lilli’s.  Handler acquired the rights to Bild Lilli in 1964, and production of the German doll ceased. 

The original Barbie launched in March 1959. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

The first Barbie doll came with a black and white striped swimsuit with cat-eye glasses, gold hoops, and her signature ponytail, mimicking the glamour of 1950s divas Elizabeth Taylor and Marilyn Monroe. At the time, many toy buyers were uncertain of the doll’s sexy/curvy appearance as compared with traditional baby dolls, but Barbie took the world by storm with sales of 300,000 dolls in its first year of production. Today, over 90 percent of American girls between the ages of 3 to 12 have owned a Barbie doll.

It didn’t take long for Mattel to see Barbie as a voice for women’s rights. In 1962, before American women were even permitted to open their own bank accounts, Barbie bought her first Dreamhouse, becoming a symbol of independence and empowerment. In 1965, Astronaut Barbie made her debut, two years after Russian cosmonaut Valentina Tereshkova became the first woman in space and four years before Neil Armstrong and his team landed on the moon. Barbie opened the eyes and imagination of young girls to imagine a future in any field they desired. So much for that dumb blonde moniker!

The Oscar de la Renta Barbie Series, 1985. (Photo Credit: Mattel)

Professional & Activist Barbie

In its 63-year history, the American mass-produced Barbie doll has been a colossal success, and over the decades she has assumed many professions, from doctor and archeologist, to rock star and computer engineer. The first Twiggy Barbie was distributed in 1967. Others celeb Barbies include, Grace Kelly, Marilyn Monroe, Cher, and current young icons like Zendaya and Gigi Hadid.

This year, the Barbie Inspiring Women series added a Maya Angelou doll alongside figures like civil rights activist Rosa Parks, feminist leader Susan B. Anthony and tennis star Billie Jean King. Barbie has also enjoyed stints as a model for major fashion designers such as Oscar de la Renta, Jean-Paul Gaultier, Maison Margiela, Ralph Lauren, Anna Sui, and Burberry, as well as a CEO, a presidential candidate, and a vlogger.

In 2022 Barbie teamed up with heritage house Balmain (Barbie x Balmain) featuring a clothing collection and an NFT! (Image credit: highsnobiety.com)

The Jane Goodall Barbie doll as part of Mattel’s Inspiring Women series (Image credit: Mattel.com) 

For decades Barbie has had Black friends – Christie and Francie, but in 1980 Mattel introduced the first Black Barbie. Today, Barbie is an advocate for body inclusivity and diversity on every level, as promoted in Mattel’s WE ARE Barbie video in 2020. The Barbie Fashionista series includes a Barbie in a wheelchair and in 2022 Barbie became a sustainability advocate through a partnership with the Jane Goodall Institute. The dolls are now made from recycled ocean-bound plastic.

Sales for Mattel’s Barbie brand in 2021 amounted to about 1.68 billion U.S. dollars, up from about 1.35 billion U.S. dollars the year before.

Today Barbie is truly a woke toy, in fact, she is more than just a toy.

 

Meet Ann Driskill – Barbie Designer

Ann Driskill (Barbie designer at Mattel ) 

 

Ann Driskill, a Parsons graduate, had a 20-year career designing for Barbie at Mattel in Pasadena, California. Recently, our founder Francesca Sterlacci had an opportunity to talk with Ann about her experience and what is was like to design for such a style icon.

Francesca: Can you talk about your experience as a Barbie designer for 20 years?

Ann: Mattel designers design the entire doll: the prints, all the accessories, her hair, her makeup – specifically for each doll, plus sometimes new and unique body parts and poses. Mattel has artists specializing in all of these departments.

Francesca: Where is Barbie manufactured?

Ann: The production of the doll and the clothes are done in China, using super narrow seam allowance sewing machine attachments to handle the tiny seam allowances on the clothes.

Francesca: What was the best part of working on Barbie at Mattel?

Ann: The most fun about working at Mattel was collaborating with so many creative people.

Francesca: What were some of the challenges you encountered in the 20 years that you designed for Barbie?

Ann: The hardest part about designing for Barbie was learning how to adjust to her small size. You have to choose thin fabrics that don’t add bulk to Barbie’s slim  figure. You also need to design very small prints and patterns that don’t overwhelm her. Otherwise, it’s a lot like designing for real people,  except she never complains!

Ann was kind enough to share some of her designs for Barbie over the years

Ann Driskill’s original Barbie sketches (Images courtesy Ann Driskill) 

 

So tell us, in what way has Barbie been an inspiration to you?

MUSEUMS ARE CRAZY FOR FASHION: FIND OUT WHY

The Met’s Costume Institute “In America An Anthology of Fashion” tells the untold stories of American Fashion. (Photo Credit: Fashionista)

Beat the heat this summer and head over to your local museum, you might just find a fascinating fashion exhibit to check out. After all, museums have discovered that fashion brings in “visitors/customers/patrons” and money. With museum closures during the pandemic, what better way to lure visitors back in than to host a fashion exhibition?  One only needs to look at the number of fashion exhibits that brought in the BIG bucks and that made the MET’s Top 10 Most Visited Exhibitions: Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination (2018) attracted 1,659,647 visitors;  China: Through the Looking Glass (2015) with 815,992; Manus x Machina: Fashion in an Age of Technology (2016) with 752,995 and the Alexander McQueen Retrospective: Savage Beauty (2011) which brought in 661,509 visitors. Add up all of those ticket sales and there you have it, not to mention the number of new patrons that are drawn to shows like these.

Where once only big city museums staged fashion exhibitions, now pretty much any museum can mount one. For example, the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) just announced a partnership with Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in America’s heartland, Bentonville, Arkansas. Joining the celebration of its inaugural fashion exhibit, Fashioning America: Grit to Glamour, the exhibit will feature over 90 designers and iconic American labels from September 10, 2022 to January 30, 2023.

And, if you find yourself in San Diego, be sure to check out the Mengei International Museum, a museum founded in 1974 dedicated to preserving folk art, craft and design. Their current exhibition entitled Fold-Twist-Tie: Paper Bag Hats by moses, features the most incredible hats made from the ubiquitous brown paper bag.

Brown Paper Bag Hat called the Shangri-la,  by designer/artist moses, at the Mengei International Museum San Diego.

If you find yourself in Austin, Texas on August 14th, visit the Blanton Museum of Art to view their new show entitled, Painted Cloth: Fashion and Ritual in Colonial Latin America. According to the museum, the exhibit “addresses the social roles of textiles and their visual representations in different media produced in Bolivia, Mexico, Peru, and Venezuela during the 1600s and 1700s. Beyond emphasizing how aesthetic traditions of European and Indigenous origin were woven together during this period, the exhibition showcases the production, use, and meaning of garments as well as the ways they were experienced both in civil and religious settings.” The show ends on January 8, 2023.

 Painted Cloth: Fashion and Ritual in Colonial Latin America at the Blanton Museum of Art, Austin, Texas (Image credit: BlantonMuseum.org) 

And if you can’t physically visit a museum, you can now take a 360° tour at the Peabody Essex Museum (PEM) to see the  Carl and Iris Barrel Apfel Gallery of Fashion and Design. Or go in person to see their Patrick Kelly: Runway of Love exhibit on view from June 25, 2022 to November 6, 2022. Sebastian Errazuriz, 12 Shoes for 12 Lovers (The Gold Digger, The Heartbreaker, The Boss), 2013. 3d-printed abs plastic, resin, acrylic. Museum purchase. © Peabody Essex Museum. Photography by Kathy Tarantola.

We all know the importance of fashion in the broad context of our civilization. According to Lynda Roscoe Hartigan (PEM Executive Director /CEO):

Museums offer us an environment in which people, ideas, life experiences, and feelings can come together across time, place, and cultures. We seek out art and creative expression to feel grounded, to feel awe, and, yes, to question and understand who we are and who we can become through our shared humanity.”

In our rapidly changing world, museums use fashion exhibitions as a means of cultural expression and to stimulate conversation. From The Costume Institute’s “In America: A Lexicon of Fashion” at the MET (May 5, 2022 – September 5, 2022), to the upcoming Gianni Versace Retrospective at the Groninger Museum (Netherlands December 3, 2022 – May 7, 2023), UoF has rounded up some of the major exhibitions you should check out now and into 2023. As every fashion designer knows, fashion exhibitions are a treasure trove of inspiration, so be sure to check out the UoF website for our free Fashion Museum Resource List.

VIRGIL ABLOH: “FIGURES OF SPEECH”

Abloh’s extensive fashion collaborations are also on exhibit at the Brooklyn Museum. (Photo Credit: Brooklyn Museum)

The Brooklyn Museum has curated some of the strongest fashion exhibitions over the past few years from Christian Dior: Designer of Dreams, to Pierre Cardin: Future Fashion, and now, the museum just opened its Virgil Abloh: “Figures of Speech” exhibition on July 1, 2022 which runs until January 29, 2023.

Since the beginning of his career, the multidisciplinary work of late creative artist/designer Virgil Abloh (Rockford, Illinois, 1980–2021) has reshaped how we understand the role of fashion, art, design, and music in contemporary culture. Virgil Abloh: “Figures of Speech,” developed by the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, is the first museum exhibition dedicated to Abloh’s work and spans two decades of his practice. The show includes his collaborations with artist Takashi Murakami; musician Kanye West and architect Rem Koolhaas. Designs from his fashion label, Off-White, and items from Louis Vuitton, where he served as the first Black menswear artistic director are also on  display.

Virgil Abloh: “Figures of Speechvideo. Video Courtesy of The Brooklyn Museum for You Tube

Figures of Speech” traces the late designer’s exploration of the communicative power of design. His use of language and quotation marks turned his creations, and the people who engage with them, into literal figures of speech.

For the Brooklyn Museum exhibit, they just added never-before-seen objects from the artist’s archives, as well as a “social sculpture,” which draws upon Abloh’s background in architecture. The installation offers a space for gathering and performances, designed to counter the historical lack of space given to Black artists and Black people in cultural institutions.

FASHIONING MASCULINITIES: THE ART OF MENSWEAR

London’s V&A Fashioning Masculinities The Art of Menswear Exhibit. (Photo Credit: Gucci)

The V&A Museum in London has opened its first major menswear exhibition, “Fashioning Masculinities: The Art of Menswear”, featuring looks by a multitude of designers such as Harris Reed, Gucci, Grace Wales Bonner, Rick Owens, JW Anderson, Comme des Garçons, Raf Simons, and Craig Green. The exhibit, which opened on March 19th and runs until November 6, 2022, celebrates the power, artistry and diversity of masculine attire and appearance. It features approximately 100 looks from fashion’s legendary designers and rising stars, alongside 100 historical treasures and acclaimed artworks. The presentation is displayed thematically across three galleries, outlining how menswear has been fashioned and re-fashioned over the centuries by designers, tailors and artists, and their clients.

With androgynous fashion ‘au courant’, the exhibit showcases masculinities across the centuries, from Renaissance to global contemporary, with looks worn by familiar faces such as Harry Styles, Billy Porter and Sam Smith to David Bowie and Marlene Dietrich, highlighting and celebrating the diversities of masculine sartorial self-expression.

Co-curators of ‘Fashioning Masculinities: The Art of Menswear,’ Claire Wilcox and Rosalind McKever, said in a statement, “Masculine fashion is enjoying a period of unprecedented creativity. It has long been a powerful mechanism for encouraging conformity or expressing individuality. Rather than a linear or definitive history, this is a journey across time and gender. The exhibition will bring together historical and contemporary looks with art that reveals how masculinity has been performed. This will be a celebration of the masculine wardrobe, and everyone is invited to join in.”

THE ROYAL COLLECTION TO CELEBRATE THE QUEEN’S PLATINUM JUBILEE

Royal Collection Trust; Her Majesty The Queen’s Coronation Dress and Queen Elizabeth II on her Coronation Day by Cecil Beaton. (Photo Credit: The Royal Palace)

If you’re into all things “Royal” then here’s an exhibit for you! This year, the Queen celebrates her historic Platinum Jubilee with three special displays marking significant occasions in Her Majesty’s reign: the Accession, the Coronation and the Jubilees, held at the official royal residences at Buckingham Palace, Windsor Castle and the Palace of Holyroodhouse.

Platinum Jubilee: The Queen’s Accession exhibition will be at the Summer Opening of the State Rooms at Buckingham Palace, opening on July 22 and running until October 2, 2022. Here, portraits of The Queen taken by Dorothy Wilding, alongside items of Her Majesty’s personal jewelry worn for the portrait sittings will be on display. The exhibit will also include The Girls of Great Britain and Ireland Tiara, which was a wedding gift to Princess Victoria Mary of Teck, later Queen Mary, on the occasion of her marriage to the future King George V in 1893.

The Queen’s Coronation exhibition is held at Windsor Castle. The exhibit opened on July 7 and will run until September 26, 2022, featuring the Coronation Dress and Robe of Estate designed by British couturier Sir Norman Hartnell and worn by The Queen for her Coronation at Westminster Abbey on June 2, 1953.

The final exhibition will be at the Palace of Holyroodhouse and will run from July to September, featuring looks worn by Her Majesty on occasions to celebrate the Silver, Golden and Diamond Jubilees. This will include the pink silk crepe and chiffon dress, coat and stole by royal couturier Sir Hardy Amies for the Queen’s Silver Jubilee in 1977, which will be displayed with the matching hat designed by Simone Mirman with flowerheads hanging from silk stems.

TIP: And if you haven’t read The Palace Papers: Inside the House of Windsor- The Truth and the Turmoil by Tina Brown…get going. It’s the perfect summer read.

AFRICAN FASHION

Left A look by Chris Seydou. Right A look from Imane Ayissi’s Spring 2020. (Photo Credits: Fashion United)

Africa Fashion, an exhibition curated by Dr Christine Checinska, London’s V&M Museum’s new curator of African and African Diaspora fashion, celebrates the vitality and innovation of Africa’s vibrant fashion scene, as well as explores how music and the visual arts form a key part of Africa’s cultural renaissance. The exhibit, which runs from June 11, 2022 to April 16, 2023, brings together more than 250 objects, drawn from the personal archives of a selection of mid-twentieth century and influential contemporary African fashion creatives such as, Shade Thomas-Fahm, Chris Seydou, Kofi Ansah, and Alphadi, alongside textiles and photographs from the V&A’s collection.

Commenting on the exhibition, Dr Christine Checinska said in a statement, “The exhibit will present African fashions as a self-defining art form that reveals the richness and diversity of African histories and cultures. To showcase all fashions across such a vast region would be to attempt the impossible. Instead, Africa Fashion will celebrate the vitality and innovation of a selection of fashion creatives, exploring the work of the vanguard in the twentieth century and the creatives at the heart of this eclectic and cosmopolitan scene today. We hope this exhibition will spark a renegotiation of the geography of fashion and become a game-changer for the field.”

PART TWO –  IN AMERICA: AN ANTHOLOGY OF FASHION

A look by Marguery Bolhagen on display at the Met Museum Costume Institute exhibit, A Lexicon of Fashion. (Photo Credit: AP)

Yes, we had previously covered Part One of The Costume Institute at the MET when it opened on May 7th, but how can we cover some of the best fashion exhibits and not include Part Two? In America: An Anthology of Fashion explores the development of American fashion by presenting narratives that relate to the complex and layered histories of those spaces featuring women’s and men’s historical and contemporary dress dating from the 18th century to the present in vignettes. If you happen to be in New York and would like to see this exhibit, you better hurry because it runs until September 5, 2022.

GIANNI VERSACE RETROSPECTIVE

Groninger Museum  Gianni Versace Retrospective. (Photo Credit: Groninger Museum)

The Groninger Museum (Netherlands)  will showcase a retrospective on the late designer Gianni Versace and describes Gianni Versace as one of the “most influential couturiers” in fashion. The Gianni Versace Retrospective exhibit, which is scheduled December 2, 2022 to May 7, 2023, promises to be a colorful, daring, and emotional exhibit that will honor Gianni Versace and his trailblazing designs. It will feature his men’s and women’s collections, accessories, fabrics, drawings and interior design, plus footage of the legendary runway shows from the Italian designer’s glory days between 1989 and 1997.

Curated by Versace experts Karl von der Ahé and Saskia Lubnow, all items on display are original pieces sourced from international private collections. The exhibition will highlight how Versace linked fashion with music, photography and graphic design, and led the way in the transformation of fashion shows and advertising campaigns into works of art.

BARBIE: A CULTURAL ICON EXHIBITION

Barbie A Cultural Icon The Exhibition. (Photo Credit: The Shops at Crystals)

Barbie: A Cultural Icon Exhibition celebrates over sixty years of fashion and inspiration, proving that Barbie is more than just a doll, she is a cultural phenomenon. On display will be the very first Barbie doll produced in 1959 and will lead visitors through the decades, paying homage to Barbie and the world around her. The installation also features 150+ vintage dolls, artifacts, and life-sized fashion pieces that come to life through custom-themed displays. Video media and interviews with Barbie designers will expand the narrative. Plus, the Barbie Exhibition Gift Shop offers a select collection of the latest Barbie collector dolls, sets and accessories, exclusive merchandise, and a curated collection of high-end vintage Barbie dolls and accessories.

The exhibit is at The Shops at Crystals, in Las Vegas and runs through December 31, 2022.

LEE ALEXANDER MCQUEEN: MIND, MYTHOS, MUSE

Lee Alexander McQueen Mind, Mythos, Muse at LACMA. (Photo Credit: LACMA)

If you are a fan of Alexander McQueen and weren’t able to catch the Alexander McQueen Retrospective: Savage Beauty at the MET in 2011, well, he’s back! The first McQueen exhibition on the West Coast, Lee Alexander McQueen: Mind, Mythos, Muse contextualizes the designer’s imaginative work within a canon of artmakers who drew upon analogous themes and visual references. The exhibit can be seen at LACMA (Los Angeles County Museum of Art) until October 9, 2022.

One of the most significant contributors to fashion between 1990 and 2010, Lee Alexander McQueen (London, 1969–2010) was both a conceptual and technical genius. His critically acclaimed collections combined the designer’s proficiency in tailoring and dressmaking with both encyclopedic and autobiographical references that spanned time, geography, media, and technology. The exhibit explores his imagination, artistic process, and innovation in fashion and art, while examining the interdisciplinary impulse that defined McQueen’s career.

LACMA looks to the myriad of cultural inspirations behind more than 70 of Alexander McQueen’s conceptually and aesthetically imaginative dresses.

In conjunction with the exhibition Lee Alexander McQueen: Mind, Mythos, Muse, renowned scholars and artists explore imagination, artistic process, and innovation in fashion and art to further examine the interdisciplinary impulse that defined McQueen’s career, legacy, and sources of inspiration. Video Courtesy of YouTube.

SHOCKING! THE SURREAL WORLD OF ELSA SCHIAPARELLI

Elsa Schiaparelli’s exhibit at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris. (Photo Credit: Luxferity)

Earlier this month, on July 6th, the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris opened its much-anticipated exhibit Shocking! The surreal world of Elsa Schiaparelli. The installation runs until January 22, 2023 and celebrates the creations of Italian couturière Elsa Schiaparelli, bringing together 520 works including 272 silhouettes and accessories by Schiaparelli herself, alongside paintings, sculptures, jewelry, perfumes, ceramics, posters, and photographs by the likes of Schiaparelli’s dear friends and contemporaries, Man Ray, Salvador Dalí, Jean Cocteau, Meret Oppenheim, and Elsa Triolet. The retrospective will also feature creations designed in honor of Schiaparelli by fashion icons Yves Saint Laurent, Azzedine Alaïa, John Galliano and Christian Lacroix. Daniel Roseberry, artistic director of the House of Schiaparelli since 2019, also interprets the heritage of Elsa Schiaparelli with a design of his own.

“Shocking! The surreal world of Elsa Schiaparelli” (Video courtesy of Schiaparelli on Youtube)

The exhibit, displayed on two levels, guides visitors into thematically and chronologically significant points in Elsa Schiaparelli’s career that included various combinations of her collections through the years with the works of friends and contemporaries who inspired her. The installation addresses the artist’s awakening in fashion and modernity along with the critical role that designer Paul Poiret played as a mentor in Schiaparelli’s life beginning in 1922. Although it has been nearly 20 years since the last Schiaparelli retrospective at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs, this time the focus is on how she drew inspiration from her close ties to the Parisian avant-garde of the 1920s and 1930s. “Schiap”, as she was known as, was a brilliant designer who exposed her sense of feminine style to the modern public. Her designs were powered by a tongue-in-cheek aesthetic while at the same time a sophistication that was new to the world of fashion.

GUO PEI: COUTURE FANTASY

Guo Pei: Couture Fantasy exhibition. (Photo Credit: Legion of Honor Museum)

Guo Pei, the couturier behind Rihanna‘s viral yellow gown at the 2015 Met Gala, received her very own exhibition at San Francisco’s Legion of Honor that opened on April 16th and will run through September 5th. The installation entitled, Guo Pei: Couture Fantasy, features over 80 of the designer’s creations, including those showcased on runways in Beijing and Paris. Pei spoke of the show, “As a creator and artist, there is no greater honor or privilege than to share my creativity with a wider audience. I am therefore honored and humbled that the prestigious Legion of Honor Museum will be presenting a retrospective of my work. In doing so, I hope that it will bring greater awareness and understanding of my life’s passion, and convey Chinese culture, traditions and show the new face of contemporary China.”

So tell us, did we miss any shows that you want to recommend?

THE MAGIC OF COUTURE: FALL 2022-2023 SHOWS

 

Looks from Valentino’s Fall 2022 Couture Show. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

Tired of a world gone mad? Can’t watch the news or scroll down your phone for fear you’ll see one more upsetting thing? Well, get ready to enter the land of dreams, Haute Couture to the rescue! In one of the best couture seasons in recent memory, designers answered the call by delivering the very best in fantasy, feathers and the phantasmagorical.

For years, fashion followers have asked the question, “is Haute Couture still relevant in today’s day and age”? And, while many articles have been written about the ‘imminent death’ of couture, today, nothing could be further from the truth. Haute Couture is alive, well and thriving as it now appeals to a new generation of clients. The one-of-a-kind creations are no longer exclusively for the aristocratic old-moneyed doyennes, even if the cost of buying these clothes lies within reach of the extremely wealthy ‘one- percenters’.

Kim Kardashian, Nicole Kidman and Dua Lipa Walked The Runway At Balenciaga’s Couture Show. (Photo Credit: Balenciaga)

The Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture (the regulating commission that determines which fashion houses are eligible to be true haute couture houses) sets strict criteria for its classifications of couture, counting just 14 members alongside a host of guest designers each season. As of 2022, there are only 14 fashion houses that are considered couture, such as Dior, Chanel, and Givenchy. Although a lot has changed in the fashion world since the establishment of the House of Worth and La Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture, the qualifications of a couture fashion house have not changed. Despite the old rules, designers like Daniel Roseberry of Maison Schiaparelli and Pyer Moss’ Kerby Jean-Raymond, who showed for the first-time last season, are bringing a fresh point of view to couture.

Looks from Chanel’s Fall 2022-2023 Couture Show. (Photo Credit: Chanel)

Truth is, there are only a handful of individuals around the world that could afford the couture level hyper-luxury price tag. And, it’s also a fact that most houses shy away from publishing their prices. For example, a gown from Valentino’s Haute Couture runway show can cost approximately $95,000, and that is one without intricate embroidery or beading. As the old saying goes…”“If you have to ask the price, you can’t afford it” ~ U.S. financier J.P. Morgan (1837 – 1913).

While the cost may be out of reach for most of us, one can at least appreciate Haute Couture, which at its best, is fashion where true artistry and craft are allowed to shine without the restrictions of commercialism. Haute Couture is a celebration those rare skills that we at the University of Fashion LOVE so much. We hope that the couture will be preserved for generations to come, as the ateliers employ thousands of specialists, tailors and seamstresses, all of whom are master craftsmen and without the couture would be considered a dying art form.

A look from Iris van Herpen’s Fall 2022-2023 Couture Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

For Jean-Noël Kapferer, a professor at the leading French business school HEC (Hautes Etudes Commerciales) and the author of several books about management in the luxury market, Haute Couture is definitely still relevant today. “It’s the sign of absolute luxury,” he explains. In a sector where differentiation is essential, it “offers luxury brands an additional means of influence. A Couture show is art. By extending the limits of what is and isn’t feasible, Couture gives Houses a way of creating emotion, and of reawakening desire and the ability to dream – which is essential, as the latter inevitably starts to fade in the face of commercial success.” The challenge is to transform desire into action, and want into purchases, particularly for the benefit of other product categories. “The aura of Haute Couture brings a glow to other activities and transforms the perception of a brand. If there is one area where the ‘trickle down’ effect actually works, it’s in Haute Couture! Its daring and creativity will benefit the ready-to-wear segment, as it allows Houses to set high prices and thereby increase their symbolic authority.”

Didier Grumbach, honorary president of France’s Haute Couture Federation (FHC) and a leading figure in the sector for over 50 years, recognizes this effect, having witnessed its impact from a close proximity. “Even if they never actually get worn, Haute Couture pieces increase the status of the House presenting them. In particular, Couture is a real help when it comes to launching a perfume offering.”

Couture’s ability to be in touch with its era is, of course, at the heart of its ability to create value. Claudia D’Arpizio, a luxury sector expert at consultants Bain & Co. points out, it is “in synch with today’s lifestyles. There is a desire for exquisite pieces that are no longer reserved for special occasions but can be worn for any occasion when that person wants to feel special, which might be in the daytime and not just the evening.” Moreover, Haute Couture embodies the very highest level of “the human touch, which can sometimes be lacking in the luxury sector.” Her point is shared by Jean-Noël Kapferer, who emphasizes how Haute Couture’s characteristics are modern, and a reflection of the aspirations of the younger generation: ultra-creative, ultra-personalized, sustainable, timeless, and experimental, with new forms, new materials, and new volumes.

Looks from Dior’s Fall 2022-2023 Couture Collection. (Photo Credit: Laure Sciacovelli)

A BRIEF HISTORY OF HAUTE COUTURE

Haute Couture dates back to 1858, when designer Charles Frederick Worth, an English couturier based in Paris, created his “special House of new confections” at number 7, rue de la Paix. Worth was the first to create collections under his own signature, to see himself as a creator, and to present his collections by having the clothes worn by models who sauntered the floors of his luxurious salons. Worth was the first to offer new collections each season, he invented today’s fashion cycle: spring-summer and fall-winter. Within a few years, the foundations for Couture were laid, with the help of other pioneers such as Paul Poiret, the first to launch his own perfume House in 1911, Jeanne Lanvin, Jean Patou, Madeleine Vionnet and Gabrielle Chanel, who notably introduced the concepts of boutiques, accessories, and marketing. It was the start of a golden age of unprecedented creativity with exceptional know-how. However, the arrival of ‘ready-to-wear’ in the 1960s and 1970s challenged both the business model of Couture and its place in the world of fashion.

HAUTE COUTURE FALL 2022-2023 TRENDS

THE JEANPOOL

Haute Couture designers played with denim this season, as the “all American” favorite was found on everything from a feathered strapless dress to corseted suit.

A look from Jean Paul Gaultier’s Fall 2022-2023 Couture Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Maison Margiela’s Fall 2022-2023 Couture Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Ronald van der Kemp’s Fall 2022-2023 Couture Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Balenciaga’s Fall 2022-2023 Couture Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Schiaparelli’s Fall 2022-2023 Couture Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

GREENDAY

Couture designers are seeing green this season as the hue made its mark all over the Paris runways. From emerald suits, to pistachio gowns, one thing is for sure, you’ll be going green this season.

A look from Balenciaga’s Fall 2022-2023 Couture Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Alexis Mabille’s Fall 2022-2023 Couture Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Chanel’s Fall 2022-2023 Couture Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Giambattista Valli’s Fall 2022-2023 Couture Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Schiaparelli’s Fall 2022-2023 Couture Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Zuhair Murad’s Fall 2022-2023 Couture Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

THE ROMANTICS

Frothy confections made their way into the Haute Couture collections as these dreamy numbers will make us all feel like royalty.

A look from Armani Privé’s Fall 2022-2023 Couture Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Alexis Mabille’s Fall 2022-2023 Couture Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Zuhair Murad’s Fall 2022-2023 Couture Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Chanel’s Fall 2022-2023 Couture Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Giambattista Valli’s Fall 2022-2023 Couture Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

SHEER LEADERS

Designers had nothing to hide as they played up the transparency trend from utterly see-through to subtly sheer.

A look from Iris van Herpen’s Fall 2022-2023 Couture Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Rahul Mishra’s Fall 2022-2023 Couture Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Fendi’s Fall 2022-2023 Couture Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Threeasfour’s Fall 2022-2023 Couture Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Maison Margiela’s Fall 2022 Couture Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

SHIRT STORIES

The classic white button shirt gets a glamorous yet phantasmagorical make-over this season.

A look from Viktor & Rolf’s Fall 2022-2023 Couture Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Jean Paul Gaultier’s Fall 2022-2023 Couture Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Giambattista Valli’s Fall 2022-2023 Couture Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Christian Dior’s Fall 2022-2023 Couture Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Alexis Mabille’s Fall 2022-2023 Couture Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

BROAD WAY

Power babes stalked the runways as they flaunted strong shoulder silhouettes on everything from mini dresses to jackets.

A look from Jean Paul Gaultier’s Fall 2022-2023 Couture Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Armani Privé’s Fall 2022-2023 Couture Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Elie Saab’s Fall 2022-2023 Couture Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Giambattista Valli’s Fall 2022-2023 Couture Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Rahul Mishra’s Fall 2022-2023 Couture Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Ronald van der Kemp’s Fall 2022-2023 Couture Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

FRINGE BENEFITS

Fringe was all over the couture runways, from Seventies inspired to futuristic motifs, these stringy looks are playful yet chic.

A look from Jean Paul Gaultier’s Fall 2022-2023 Couture Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Zuhair Murad’s Fall 2022-2023 Couture Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Giambattista Valli’s Fall 2022-2023 Couture Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Elie Saab’s Fall 2022-2023 Couture Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Armani Privé’s Fall 2022-2023 Couture Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

BOUDOIR FAIRE

Innerwear-as-outerwear continues to intrigue designers as corset-inspired looks were found all over the couture runways.

A look from Schiaparelli’s Fall 2022-2023 Couture Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Alexis Mabille’s Fall 2022-2023 Couture Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Alexandre Vauthier’s Fall 2022-2023 Couture Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Armani Privé’s Fall 2022-2023 Couture Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Jean Paul Gaultier’s Fall 2022-2023 Couture Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

SHINE LANGUAGE

Silver and gold ruled the Fall 2022-2023 Couture runways. The metallic hues could be found on everything from dramatic evening dresses to bold jackets, and even sexy minidresses.

A look from Giambattista Valli’s Fall 2022-2023 Couture Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Jean Paul Gaultier’s Fall 2022-2023 Couture Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Schiaparelli’s Fall 2022-2023 Couture Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Julie de Libran’s Fall 2022-2023 Couture Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Christian Dior’s Fall 2022-2023 Couture Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Chanel’s Fall 2022-2023 Couture Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Alexandre Vauthier’s Fall 2022-2023 Couture Collection. Photo (Credit Vogue: Runway)

GREEK REVIVAL

Calling all post-modern goddesses! The return of the elegant, draped gown is back and they are even more glamorous than ever.

A look from Alexandre Vauthier’s Fall 2022-2023 Couture Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Jean Paul Gaultier’s Fall 2022-2023 Couture Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Schiaparelli’s Fall 2022-2023 Couture Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Iris van Herpen’s Fall 2022-2023 Couture Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

So tell us, in today’s political, social, and economical climate, has couture lifted your spirits?

MENSWEAR 2023 SHOWS: THE MOST COLORFUL EVER

Looks from Louis Vuitton’s Spring 2023 Runway Show. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

One thing was for sure during Men’s Fashion Week 2023 – Color is KING. The shows were back on and better then ever! In response to a lighting up of Covid restrictions, designers reacted in a splash of color in their collections.

The spring 2023 season was full of groundbreaking moments, from a celebration of Ann Demeulemeester at Pitti Uomo in Florence,  to JW Anderson’s much-anticipated debut at Milan Fashion Week.

A look from JW Anderson’s Spring 2023 Menswear Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

LONDON

The Menswear Spring 2023 season began in London and ran from June 11-13th. The three-day event was a combination of both physical and digital events happening throughout the city. London is famous for showcasing new designers and this season they didn’t disappoint. Most of the designers are part of the BFC’s Newgen funding program and included Labrum London, Robyn Lynch, Marie Lueder, Ahluwalia and Martine Rose.

 

FLORENCE 

A look from Brunello Cucinelli’s Spring 2023 Menswear Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

The fashion crowd then jetted off to Florence for Pitti Uomo, which ran from June 14-17th. The historic fashion fair returned to all its glory after having to scale down the past few seasons due to the global pandemic. The venue was filled to capacity with brands ranging from Brunello Cucinelli to Herno.

A video of Prada’s Spring 2023 Menswear Show. (Video Courtesy of YouTube)

MILAN

Milan Fashion Week for Menswear ran from June 17 – 21st with a pre-pandemic worthy schedule showcasing the best Italian brands. This season, both Versace and Moschino showed their menswear collections for the first time in several years. Many of the luxury houses presented as well, such as Prada, Fendi, Giorgio Armani, and Dolce & Gabbana, to name a few.

But the real highlight of Milan’s Fashion Week was Jonathan Anderson bringing his eponymous London-based brand JW Anderson to the city for one season only – delayed from January due to Covid, and he provided ‘a real party’ for attendees, the first in a series of shows planned to take the brand global.

A look from Comme des Garçons Homme Plus’ Spring 2023 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

PARIS

There was no holding back Paris Fashion Week and their menswear shows ran from June 21-26th with a jam packed schedule. The city’s historical landmarks  provided the backdrop for brands from Dior to Louis Vuitton, as well as fashion favorites such as Rick Owens, Givenchy, Loewe, Comme des Garçons, and Junya Watanabe. After much anticipation, Marine Serre made her menswear debut, with Lourdes Leon (Madonna’s daughter), closing the show.

A look from Marine Serre’s Spring 2023 Menswear Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

MEANWHILE…

While June was a whirlwind of shows and events for the menswear industry in Europe, but back on the other side of the pond, Marc Jacobs was wreaking havoc as he presented his Fall 2022 women’s show on June 27th at The New York Public Library. Amidst all the chaos in the world today – war, COVID, political unrest, the rolling back of women’s rights in the U.S. –  Marc Jacob’s collection said it all – we are simply – OVER THE TOP!

Looks from Marc Jacobs’ Fall 2022 Runway Show. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

Here are some of the hottest menswear trends for Spring 2023:

GO FOR BAROQUE

Rich patterns, luxurious fabrics and intricate needlework are worthy of any member of the French royal court in its heyday, but for spring 2021, the 17th century lavish style gets a 21-century update.

A look from Versace’s Spring 2023 Menswear Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Dolce & Gabbana’s Spring 2023 Menswear Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Celine’s Spring 2023 Menswear Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Antonio Marras’ Spring 2023 Menswear Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Marine Serre’s Spring 2023 Menswear Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A FORMAL AFFAIR

Forget the office. The classic black suit gets a modern makeover with a cool rock-star edge.

A look from Givenchy’s Spring 2023 Menswear Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Celine’s Spring 2023 Menswear Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Dolce & Gabbana’s Spring 2023 Menswear Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Rick Owens’ Spring 2023 Menswear Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Prada’s Spring 2023 Menswear Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Louis Vuitton’s Spring 2023 Menswear Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

JEAN SPIRIT

Head to toe denim was all over the spring 2023 runways as designers offered a modern take on the classic Canadian tuxedo look.

A look from Prada’s Spring 2023 Menswear Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Louis Vuitton’s Spring 2023 Menswear Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Givenchy’s Spring 2023 Menswear Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Fendi’s Spring 2023 Menswear Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Craig Green’s Spring 2023 Menswear Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Dsquared2’s Spring 2023 Menswear Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

BRIEF ENCOUNTERS

Bottoms up! All matter of shorts rocked the runways this spring 2023 season. From Prada’s leather version to Thom Browne’s short suits, one things for sure, its time to hit the stair master.

A look from Thom Browne’s Spring 2023 Menswear Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Rick Owens’ Spring 2023 Menswear Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Prada’s Spring 2023 Menswear Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Hermès’ Spring 2023 Menswear Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Fendi’s Spring 2023 Menswear Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Etro’s Spring 2023 Menswear Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Dior Men’s Spring 2023 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Celine’s Spring 2023 Menswear Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

IN FULL BLOOM

Florals for spring, groundbreaking….. Delicate print florals were found all over the men’s spring collections. From Louis Vuitton’s elegant dress and blazer version to Etro’s sporty jacket and shorts, these blossoming motifs will make you smile.

A look from Louis Vuitton’s Spring 2023 Menswear Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Etro’s Spring 2023 Menswear Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Loewe’s Spring 2023 Menswear Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Dsquared2’s Spring 2023 Menswear Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Antonio Marras’ Spring 2023 Menswear Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Dries Van Noten’s Spring 2023 Menswear Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

THINK PINK

With all the excitement over the Barbie movie which will feature Ryan Gosling playing Ken, it’s no wonder the color pink was all over the spring 2023 menswear collections. From Dior’s dusty pink suit to Rick Owens’ vibrant blazer, these soft shades are all the rage.

A look from Marine Serre’s Spring 2023 Menswear Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Rick Owens’ Spring 2023 Menswear Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Dior Men’s Spring 2023 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Versace’s Spring 2023 Menswear Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Zegna’s Spring 2023 Menswear Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Craig Green’s Spring 2023 Menswear Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

LOGO MANIA

The nineties aesthetic is going strong, as designers are reinterpreting their favorite trends from the decade. One of the biggest trends, logo mania. Designers branded their logos on everything from jackets and pants to hats and bags.

A look from Fendi’s Spring 2023 Menswear Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Dolce & Gabbana’s Spring 2023 Menswear Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Givenchy’s Spring 2023 Menswear Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Kenzo’s Spring 2023 Menswear Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Louis Vuitton’s Spring 2023 Menswear Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Versace’s Spring 2023 Menswear Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

ABOUT FACE

Covid-19 had us all in a number of lockdowns, but now, we are beginning to emerge back into the world and putting our best face forward, literally, designers were inspired by statues, paintings, and portraits of interesting faces. These looks are conversation pieces and will have you standing out in any crowd.

A look from Dior Men’s Spring 2023 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from JW Anderson’s Spring 2023 Menswear Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from KidSuper’s Spring 2023 Menswear Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Moschino’s Spring 2023 Menswear Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Yohji Yamamoto’s Spring 2023 Menswear Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Versace’s Spring 2023 Menswear Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

So tell us, what is your favorite trend from the Men’s Spring 2023 shows?

 

EQUALITY: HOW THE FASHION INDUSTRY IS SUPPORTING THE LGBTQ+ COMMUNITY & WOMEN’S RIGHTS

Looks from Pink by Victoria’s Secret Pride Collection. (Photo Credit: Pink by Victoria’s Secret)

As we process the overturning of Roe v Wade and what it means for women’s rights, we know one thing, the fashion industry will not take this lying down. There are many organizations mobilizing in defense of women’s equality, one of the newest is Don’t Ban Equality. The list of companies that support women’s reproductive rights is growing and you can bet that the impact of this decision will have have far-reaching consequences, both on and off the runway.

And, as we near the end of Pride Month, we’d like to dedicate this blog to women’s and gender equality. This year, the fashion community has stepped up and given back to the LGBTQ+ community. Pride Month, which commemorates the 1969 Stonewall Riots in New York City where spontaneous demonstrations by the gay community in response to a police raid at the Stonewall Inn in Greenwich Village, was a tipping point in the Gay Liberation Movement. The community originally observed the Stonewall Riots for a day at the end of June, but it has since evolved into a month-long tribute.

Over the last two years, due to Covid-19, the parades and parties celebrating Pride Month were cancelled, but this year, the month-long festivities were in full swing. Fashion brands also did their part in supporting the LGBTQ+ community with their “Pride-themed” collaborations and merchandise.

H&M’s video titled My Chosen Family Pride Month 2022 at H&M. Video Courtesy of H&M

Fashion brands working with the LGBTQ+ community isn’t new: H&M has been a longtime collaborator with LGBTQIA+ actors and activists, and their “My chosen family” initiative donated $100,000 this year to the UN Free & Equal campaign, a global fight for equality led by United Nations Human Rights.

Still, LGBTQ+ leaders have accused brands of pushing “pinkwashed” merchandise—basically using Pride Month as a marketing tool and profiting off the LGBTQ+ community without offering anything back. This is particularly distasteful after two years that’ve hit the community especially hard, financially-speaking.

The Rainbow Flag. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

In prior Pride months, companies released everything from sneakers to that notorious mouthwash with Pride-themed packaging and not much else, not a single donation to support the community. Is an identifiable, color palette enough to persuade the LGBTQ community and supporters, to spend their hard-earned money after two long years of pandemic fatigue, inflation, and record-breaking gas prices?

According to YouGov, a quarter of Americans say that they are more likely to shop from LGBTQ+ friendly brands, and over 80% are likely to try new products from brands who actively support LGBTQ+ communities as opposed to ones that don’t. Authenticity is the key, although retailers have taken a financial hit the past few years due to the global pandemic, we’re seeing more companies putting their money where their mouth is and donating to worthy causes.

So here are a few of the Pride Month collaborations, from brands that are using their platform to support the LGBTQ+ community.

CHER X VERSACE

Cher and fashion house Versace are teaming up to celebrate Pride Month. (Photo Credit: Versace)

The music legend Cher and luxury Italian fashion house Versace have teamed up to create “Chersace,” a limited-edition capsule collection with all proceeds benefiting Gender Spectrum, a charity that works with LGBTQ children and youth.

The “Chersace” collection includes T-shirts, socks and a baseball cap designed with Versace’s iconic Medusa motif and the Versace logo reimagined to read “Chersace.” A portion of all the proceeds will benefit Gender Spectrum, a nonprofit organization chosen by both Donatella Versace and Cher for their advocate work supporting LGBTQ community, especially youths and families.

CONVERSE

Sneakers from Converse’s 2-22 Pride Collection. (Photo Credit: Converse)

Converse’s Pride 2022 Collection puts a twist on the iconic Chuck Taylors, as each shoe from the collection is united by a vibrant patchwork representing diversity, belonging and unity. Alongside the Pride collection, Converse released a digital campaign, “Found Family,” which presents stories from the brand’s LGBTQ+ community. Converse also gives annual grants to seven organization partners that work to create safe spaces for the LGBTQ+ community.

COACH

Coach’s Pride Collection. (Photo Credit: Coach)

Coach didn’t just slap a rainbow on some purses, the fashion house has been a longtime supporter of LGBTQ+ causes. The brand releases annual Pride collections, partners with nonprofits and donates to community funds around the world through the Coach Foundation.

This year, the Coach Foundation’s “Go All Out For Pride” campaign will make donations to the brand’s longstanding LGBTQ+ partners, including the Hetrick-Martin Institute, Point Foundation and CenterLink to support their work connecting young LGBTQ+ folks with supportive communities. Coach’s Pride collection includes the labels iconic canvas bags, sneakers, and slides – all with the brands classic logo remixed with pride flag-inspired colors.

LEVI’S

A look from Levi’s Pride Collection. (Photo Credit: Levi’s)

Sure, there are a number of brands brandishing gender-neutral fashion lines this summer, but the Levi’s Pride collection celebrates the spectrum of identities in the LGBTQ+ community. Levi’s latest line of tees, denim and accessories are designed to be worn by anyone, but feature pronouns across the pieces as a call to respect everyone’s lived experiences.

The denim company says that they will donate $100,000 to OutRight Action International, a nonprofit working year-round to defend and advance human rights for LGBTQ+ people around the globe. For this year’s collection, the brand also photographed the fashion line on five social justice advocates from within the LGBTQ+ community.

RALPH LAUREN

Ralph Lauren’s pride collection. (Photo Credit: Ralph Lauren)

For over 30+ years, Ralph Lauren has committed to the LGBTQ+ community. The fashion houses recent Pride campaign explores the complex and intersectional history of Pride. In the video, the former editor in chief of Out magazine, Phillip Picardi interviewed luminaries like Ariel Nicholson, Keith Boykin and Staceyann Chin as they provided insight on the community, the history of Pride and the New American Dream.

In addition, Ralph Lauren will merchandise a rainbow assortment of merchandise throughout the month, including rainbow cashmere sweaters, Polo shirts and canvas sneakers. The company has also partnered with the Stonewall Community Foundation once more, providing a donation to support the LGBTQ community.

VINYARD VINES

Looks from Vinyard Vines’ Pride Collection. (Photo Credit: Vineyard Vines)

Perfect for this month’s beach life, and more, Vineyard Vines’s 2022 Pride Collection is here for the LGBTQ+ community to celebrate and toast to the good life. A portion of all proceeds from their Pride collection will be donated to GLSEN, a non-profit whose mission is to ensure that every school-aged youth is valued and respected regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression.

UGG

Ugg’s Rainbow Sandals. (Photo Credit: Ugg)

This year Ugg has collaborated with The Trevor Project for its “Feel Heard” campaign, starring advocate and writer Alok, model Chloe Vero, yoga teacher and artist Isa’ah, science teacher and model Sarina Moralez and vintage collectors Robert and Orren. Ugg has also donated $125,000 to the nonprofit organization.

For their Pride 2022 Collection, Ugg featured rainbow Pride-inspired detailing on its signature slides as well as apparel, including a T-shirt, hoodie, socks and more.

PUMA

Cara Delevingne launches pride collection with Puma. (Photo Credit: Puma)

Puma has teamed up with model and actress Cara Delevingne and illustrator Carra Sykes, to create a collection called “Together Forever,” which encourages wearers to raise their voices and celebrate their strength. The collaboration includes T-shirts, hoodies, shorts, a patterned bralette, and matching leggings, all of which feature vibrant logos and graphics.

Puma has also pledged to donate 20 percent of the proceeds from the collection, with a minimum of $250,000, to GLAAD.

KATE SPADE NEW YORK

Items from Kate Spade’s Pride Collection. (Photo Credit: Kate Spade)

Kate Spade New York is celebrating Pride Month with their latest campaign, “Celebrate with Pride”. The fashion and accessories brand also announced a year-long partnership with The Trevor Project for the third year. As part of their partnership together, Kate Spade has pledged to donate $150,000 to the organization.

Additionally, the company will also release a series of videos on its website and social media channels, inviting members of the LGBTQ+ community to share their stories.

SAKS FIFTH AVENUE

Christian Cowan for Saks’ “Show Your Pride” campaign. (Photo Credit: Saks)

Luxury retailer Saks Fifth Avenue launched their Pride campaign called “Show Your Pride,” which celebrated notables from the LGBTQ+ community and their stories. Additionally, the retailer is continuing its support for the community by partnering with the Stonewall Inn Gives Back Initiative (the official charitable giving organization of the historic landmark site of the 1969 riots) for the fourth consecutive year, with a cumulative donation of $245,000.

Throughout June, Saks Fifth Avenue will be featuring names like singer and drag performer Adore Delano, designer Christian Cowan, actress Dominique Jackson and comedians Jes Tom and Sam Jay on social media, the Saks website, and its editorial hub, The Edit. On its TikTok channel, influencer Emira D’Spain will host a “get ready with me” style video, while Jackson will be featured in a Reels video on Instagram.

Additionally, the Saks Fifth Avenue flagship windows in New York City will be transformed to create a deconstructed Pride flag.

NORDSTROM

Nordstrom’s Pride 2022 Campaign. (Photo Credit: Nordstrom)

Throughout Pride Month, the luxury department store will highlight labels that are launching initiatives in support of the LGBTQ+ community. The brands include BP., who released a Be Proud collection, Bombas, Converse, Dr. Martens, Happy Socks, Vans, The Phluid Project and Toms.

The retailer’s Pride Month initiatives will also include celebrating and supporting their LGBTQ+ employees and corporate donations to and partnerships with nonprofit organizations who work to support the LGBTQ+ community. Nordstrom will donate $200,000 to The Hetrick-Martin Institute, $100,000 to Trans Lifeline and $135,000 to Human Rights Campaign, among other charity programs.

CAROLINA HERRERA

A closer look at Carolina Herrera’s jewelry capsule celebrating Pride. (Photo Credit: Carolina Herrera)

The luxury house Carolina Herrera launched an exclusive jewelry capsule inspired by the rainbow colors of the official Pride flag, featuring a crystal necklace and earrings. Carolina Herrera will be donating 100 percent of the proceeds from the sales of the collection to Callen-Lorde, a community health center providing healthcare and other related services for New York’s LGBTQ+ communities.

According to Don’t Ban Equality, “77% of consumers consider reproductive health care (i.e., access to contraception and abortion) an important issue; 91% of Gen Z and 86% of Millennials say it is important“. Who knew that we would still be fighting for women’s rights in today’s day and age?

So, tell us, how important it is for fashion brands to include equality in their brand identity?

CELEBRATING JUNETEENTH – UNIVERSITY OF FASHION STYLE

Happy Juneteenth!

In celebration of Juneteenth, we’ve launched the first in our 5-part series on West African textiles taught by Mina Dia-Stevens. Mina’s first lesson covers the Faso Dan Fani Cloth of Burkina Faso and how this many hundreds-of-years-old textile, considered the woven loincloth of the homeland, was handed down from generation to generation. Not only is Faso Dan Fani Cloth the national symbol of Burkina Faso, it also commemorates the country’s emancipation from colonialism in 1960 and the country’s name change from The Republic of Upper Volta to Burkina Faso in 1984.

In this series, Mina discusses African textile yarns, threads, and the local, seasonal, and traditional materials that are native to specific West African countries. Mina also covers traditional methods of production and how the processes are still maintained and celebrated today. Her journey continues with lessons on the textiles of other West African countries such as Mali, Senegal, Cote D’Ivoire and Ghana, so stay tuned!

The first in a 5-part series covering the textiles of West Africa by Mina Dia-Stevens: West African Textiles- Faso Dan Fani Cloth of Burkina Faso

Our newest Instructor: Mina Dia-Stevens (Photo credit Mina Dia-Stevens)

 Mina Dia-Stevens is a 19-year veteran of the fashion industry, as life-long creative, educator and design entrepreneur. As a faculty member for twelve years in the fashion department at Moore College of Art and Design, Mina provided instruction to second- and third-year design students, in the areas of pattern making, construction, illustration, and concept design, in the categories of menswear, swimwear, womenswear and childrenswear. She has also researched, established, and implemented, extensive curriculum for 9th, 10th, 11th– and 12th-grade creatives in the areas of fashion and textile design.

Mina’s professional experience includes various roles in the fashion industry ranging from designing junior activewear apparel to shoe design and trend consulting. Currently, Mina is involved in expanding her family’s West African textile business into the brand, Royal Fulani Living.

As a design entrepreneur, Mina fully understands the delicate balance between nurturing an independent artistic spirit with a business mind. Her philosophy as a creative and educator is based upon words that she vividly remembers hearing as a child:

“You’ve always had the power, my dear, you just had to learn it for yourself.” –  Glinda from The Wizard of Oz

For Mina, this quote encompasses the mind, heart, and spirit of who she is as an educator of young visionaries. She not only leads her students through the educational process but nurtures their creativity for a lifetime. We are thrilled that Mina is now part of the distinguished instructors at UoF.

Image courtesy: Custom Collaborative 

Celebrating Our 2-year Anniversary with Custom Collaborative

We are also celebrating our 2-year partnership with Custom Collaborative, a New York City-based entrepreneurship and workforce development program, founded in 2015, that trains and empowers low-income and immigrant women of color to start careers in the fashion industry.

Since 2020, Custom Collaborative’s fashion-preneurs have expressed their appreciation to us in both words and deeds, for donating full access to our fashion education library.

Thank you for giving me the chance of membership and scholarship to increase my skill and to take a step forward in my life to support myself.”  ~ Kulwant Kaur

I would personally like to thank you for this amazing opportunity to participate in the University of Fashion.  I’m so excited and grateful for your generous gift.  I’ll give a 💯 and the best of abilities. Thank you for the beautiful blessings” ~ Regina Madison

It is an honor to be chosen for the University of Fashion scholarship. 

 I am truly grateful for this opportunity. This scholarship allows me to focus on my studies and additional work opportunities. Thank you for your support.” ~ María Isabel Espinoza

I never knew about this amazing opportunity until Custom Collaborative a few Wednesdays ago. I have been so hungry to learn more about garment construction and I am thankful to you for founding University of Fashion so I can learn and be exposed to much more. Thank You.” ~ Analisa Charles

Image courtesy: Custom Collaborative

Ngozi Okaro Executive Director Custom Collaborative (Photo: Heather Sten)

We’d like to give a special shout-out to CC’s executive Director Ngozi Okaro for her dedication in helping so many women reach their potential.

And how about Vanessa Friedman, Fashion Director and Chief Fashion Critic for The New York Times (and Constance C.R. White) who just recognized Custom Collaborative on June 17th in Vanessa’ s Open Thread column along with other hot Black-owned brands.

Fun Fact: Constance White gave me, Francesca Sterlacci, my first WWD cover!

So, as we celebrate Juneteenth, it’s a time for all of us to keep on supporting small businesses run by Black founders. Our new fav is Brooklyn-based Parron Allen, a soon to be UoF instructor, who specializes in super fab sustainable design clothing. Check him out and stay tuned…

So, tell us, how are you supporting Black brands?

CRUISE CONTROL: RESORT 2023 TRENDS

- - Fashion Shows

Looks from Christopher John Rogers Resort 2023 Show. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

Resort shows are back and stronger than ever as designers are presenting their collections again to pre-pandemic levels. The lucrative season, also known as cruise collections, is a pre-season line-up of ready-to-wear clothing created by a fashion house or fashion brand in addition to their spring and fall collections.

Resort collections were originally created for wealthy customers, aka the jetsetters, as they traveled to warm-weather destinations during the winter months. Traditionally, resort collections offered light spring or summer clothing during the winter months. Today, resort is targeted towards customers who have completed their fall wardrobes and are now looking forward to replenishing their vacation looks. In the United States, resort collections arrive in stores in November and are available for purchase until August, so typically resort collections will sit side by side with the brand’s spring collection, making resort the longest selling season and the most profitable.

Looks from Chanel’s Resort 2023 Show in Monte Carlo. (Photo Credit: V Magazine)

In the past, resort collections only offered beach-inspired vacation looks – such as swimsuits, caftans, walking shorts, and little sundresses in breezy fabrics. But today the season offers so much more. For many brands, restricting the resort season to summer staples only does not make financial sense. Today, the season is packed with transitional and seasonless looks to cater to customers around the world. The season gives brands the opportunity to satisfy global customers who travel all the time, as well as the demands of climate change, where in many parts of the winter, there is little to no winter.

Also, designers cannot ignore their global clients, and their biggest spends are in the ever-important Asian and Arab markets. Those consumers need clothes for different temperatures and at different times from the western markets.

A look from Derek Lam 10 Crosby’s Resort 2023 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

Designers at all levels of the market create resort collections, from high fashion houses like Chanel, Dior, and Gucci to contemporary designers like Tory Burch, Derek Lam 10 Crosby, and Gianni. Originally resort collections were created for womenswear, but today, many brands are offering resort for menswear, such as Gucci and Burberry.

Looks from Gucci’s Resort 2023 Show. (Photo Credit: Elle)

The majority of brands presented their resort collections on a smaller scale, with intimate appointments and lookbooks, but there are a few that presented a massive show in exotic locations. For the resort 2023 season, Chanel held its show on the shores of the Monte Carlo Beach Hotel, while Louis Vuitton flew the fashion set all the way to San Diego for a sun-soaked extravaganza against the backdrop of the brutalist architectural masterpiece that is the Salk Institute. Balenciaga’s show was held at The New York Stock Exchange. Meanwhile, Gucci’s Alessandro Michele timed his ‘Cosmogonie’ show to perfectly line up with a lunar eclipse., thus creating one of the most magical moments of the season. The astronomy-themed show was held in a 13th century, octagonal Castel del Monte in Italy’s Puglia region with a slew of celebrities were in attendance such as Gucci muse Dakota Johnson, Elle Fanning, and Lana del Rey, to name a few.

So, while the resort season is still going strong, here are some of the biggest trends so far:

IN-VEST

This isn’t your grandpa’s sweater-vest. Designers are toughening up their resort collections with cool leather vests this season. From Chanel’s motor cross-inspired version to Louis Vuitton’s futuristic style, these sleeveless toppers will instantly give you street-style cred.

A look from Chanel’s Resort 2023 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Chloé’s Resort 2023 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Gucci’s Resort 2023 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Louis Vuitton’s Resort 2023 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from MM6 Maison Margiela’s Resort 2023 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

WELL SUITED

Now that we are all heading back to the office, it’s time to re-fresh our suit options as designers are offering summer short suits that are bold and playful. From Chanel’s classic tweed version to Erdem’s embroidered look, these short-suits will keep you cool and looking chic.

A look from Erdem’s Resort 2023 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Chanel’s Resort 2023 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Etro’s Resort 2023 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Frederick Anderson’s Resort 2023 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Lafayette 148’s Resort 2023 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Zimmermann’s Resort 2023 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

SHIRT-CIRCUIT

It’s business as usual as the classic white shirt gets a makeover. From the exaggerated pointy collars at Gucci and The Row, to the ruffles at Prabal Gurung, these shirts are anything but basic.

A look from Prabal Gurung’s Resort 2023 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Gucci’s Resort 2023 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Adeam’s Resort 2023 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Tory Burch’s Resort 2023 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from The Row’s Resort 2023 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Proenza Schouler’s Resort 2023 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

TAKE A BOW

After all the casual work from home looks we’ve worn for the past few year due to the pandemic, it’s exciting to see a return to workwear, and for resort, the pussycat blouse was all over the runway.

Looks from Balenciaga’s Resort 2023 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Chanel’s Resort 2023 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from The Row’s Resort 2023 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Naeem Khan’s Resort 2023 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

PRIMA GALLERINA

Designers are often inspired by art, but for resort, designers looked to the gallerina for inspiration. These anything but basic black looks will stand out in any gallery space making you the chicest person in the room.

A look Carolina Herrera’s Resort 2023 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Chloé’s Resort 2023 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

Looks from Erdem’s Resort 2023 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Givenchy’s Resort 2023 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Prabal Gurung’s Resort 2023 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Proenza Schouler’s Resort 2023 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

TIME TO SHINE

Silver and gold, can anyone measure their worth, well for resort, designers are playing with the metallic hues for day and the results are intergalactic!

A look from Paco Rabanne’s Resort 2023 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Louis Vuitton’s Resort 2023 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Stella McCartney’s Resort 2023 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Diesel’s Resort 2023 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Chanel’s Resort 2023 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Dsquared2’s Resort 2023 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

MATCH-SET

Belly-baring tops are still going strong, but for resort, designers have turned the crop top into a matching two-piece looks that is playfully charming.

A look Moschino’s Resort 2023 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Zimmermann’s Resort 2023 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Preen by Thornton Bregazzi’s Resort 2023 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Paco Rabanne’s Resort 2023 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from MSGM’s Resort 2023 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Etro’s Resort 2023 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

MELLOW YELLOW

Yellow is the color of happiness, and optimism, of enlightenment and creativity, sunshine and spring, so its only fitting that the hue was found all over the resort runways as we all look forward to post-pandemic life.

A look from Stella McCartney’s Resort 2023 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Roberto Cavalli’s Resort 2023 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Proenza Schouler’s Resort 2023 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Christopher John Rogers’ Resort 2023 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Lafayette 148’s Resort 2023 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

So tell us, what is your favorite resort trend so far?

THE HOTTEST FASHION COLLABORATIONS OF 2022

A look from Loewe x Studio Ghibli. (Photo Credit: Loewe)

Let’s face it, the past few years have been tough on everyone, from a global pandemic to a raging war between Russia and Ukraine, the world is emotionally and mentally drained. So, for spring/summer, designers are offering fun and playful collections to give customers a bit of joy and to hopefully break out of the rut many have been feeling.

A look from Dior Vibe and Technogym. (Photo Credit: Dior)

This year has been full of exciting collaborations. While some may view fashion collaborations as a cliché, let’s not forget that they are a profitable form of marketing that benefits both collaborating brands. Collaborations can bring luxury designs at a lower price point, reinvent a brand’s image, and offer “unattainable” fashion to the masses.

While the phenomenon began back in the ‘00s, most noteworthy was the Karl Lagerfeld x H&M collab in 2004, almost 20 years later we are noticing a peak in brand collaborations at all levels in the market. Here are a few collaborations that will be all the rage this summer:

GIVENCHY X DISNEY

The House of Givenchy is pleased to announce its collaboration with Disney on a limited-edition capsule collection celebrating the iconic legacy of the Walt Disney Animation Studios. (Video Courtesy of Givenchy’s YouTube Channel.)

In mid-May the house of Givenchy announced a collaboration with Disney,  introducing a limited-edition capsule collection of luxury ready-to-wear designed by creative director Matthew M. Williams.

Fittingly named, The Wonder Gallery, the collaboration will focus on t-shirts and hoodies, featuring graphics of Disney characters, iconography, and silhouettes, inspired by the most iconic and beloved Disney characters, such as Bambi; Pongo and Perdita, from the animated feature film, 101 Dalmatians, Oswald from Lucky Rabbit; and Elsa and Olaf from Frozen.

This is not the first time the French luxury house collaborated with Disney’s beloved Bambi. In fall 2013, Bambi made an appearance on a sweatshirt at Givenchy.

The celeb must-have Bambi sweatshirt from Givenchy’s fall 2013 collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

Williams also admits to being a big fan of Disney. The creative director stated on his website, “Disney has always held a special place in my heart, as it has for so many across generations, countries and cultures. As a boy from California and a father in Paris, Disney has always been a source of meaningful moments throughout my life. It’s a true honor to bring out two iconic brands together for this project.”

In the past Disney has collaborated with a number of luxury fashion houses such as: Coach, Gucci, and most recently, Stella McCartney, on a capsule collection inspired by the 1940s animated feature musical film, Fantasia.

ADIDAS X GUCCI

A look from Gucci x Adidas. (Photo Credit: Gucci)

Adidas x Gucci is one of the most hyped and praised collaborations of the season. The collection launches on Tuesday, June 7th, and is anticipated to fly off the shelves as soon as it launches. The partnership offers a unique take on super-luxe sportswear, offering glamorous retro inspired looks straight out of Wes Anderson’s cult hit The Royal Tenenbaums. The collection comes complete with sweatbands, micro-mini running shorts and a sweatshirt emblazoned with a hybrid Gucci logo mixed with the instantly recognizable Adidas Trefoil. The collection offers a variety of ready-to-wear pieces and accessories that perfectly merge the two brands’ aesthetic, from chic canvas bucket hats and Gazelle sneakers to chic knit dresses and an updated version of Gucci’s iconic Horsebit 1955 crossbody bag.

ADIDAS X PRADA

The Adidas x Prada Re-Nylon Collection is a mixture of minimalism and functionality. (Photo Credit: Prada)

Adidas has had multiple designer collaborations throughout the years, one of the most popular has been the Adidas x Prada collab. Following the sell-out successes of their first two collaborations, the powerhouses of sportswear and Italian high fashion are back with a third instalment of their unique partnership. The past capsule collections relied solely on sneakers, but with the 3rd installment, the duo introduced their first capsule collection of co-branded apparel and obviously accessories. But what makes this collaboration truly unique is that it is centered firmly around sustainability. Adidas x Prada has reimagined luxury sportswear through a more eco-friendly lens, all nylon will be switched out for Prada’s signature Re-Nylon fabric, which is made from recycled plastic waste collected from oceans. The 21-piece capsule featured sportswear staples including tracksuits and anoraks, as well as bucket hats, backpacks, bags and a reinvented, and Prada-branded version of Adidas’s Forum trainers.

FENDACE

Looks from Fendace. A collaboration between Fendi and Versace. (Photo Credit: Fendi)

What is Fendace you may ask? Well, it is the brilliant collaboration between two Italian luxury powerhouses – Versace and Fendi. The collection was shown in September during Milan Fashion Week to great fanfare. Fendace Is the creation of Donatella Versace, Silvia Venturini Fendi and Kim Jones, Fendi’s artistic director of women’s collections. The capsule collection sees the designers creatively swap, fusing the brands’ signature aesthetic and DNA into two collections – Versace by Fendi and Fendi by Versace – encompassing everything such as ready-to-wear, handbags, footwear and other accessories. The campaign was shot by photographer Steven Meisel and features a string of supermodels including Naomi Campbell and Kristen McMenamy, it’s a match made in fashion heaven.

KENZO X NIGO

The Kenzo x Nigo Collection Jacket embroidered with a signature flower. (Photo Credit: Esquire)

Kenzo x Nigo is a collaboration between the creative Japanese fashion designer Nigo and French luxury fashion house, Kenzo. This collab makes Nigo one of only two Asian creative directors at European luxury houses, as well as the first Japanese director to take the lead of the brand since Kenzo Takada launched it in 1970.

Nigo infused his signature style into the brand and gave the collection a breath of fresh air. The men’s fall 2022 collection featured denim jackets, pageboy caps and work attire; button-up shirts, pants and jeans. Functionality was ubiquitous in this capsule collection, with a whimsical touch of flowers embroidered onto the clothes.

BIRKENSTOCK X MANOLO BLAHNIK

Manolo Blahnik for Birkenstock. (Photo Credit: WWD)

Manolo Blahnik is known for his beautiful and elegant shoes. He became a household name when Carrie Bradshaw, the fictional character of Sex and the City, wore his creations frequently and the shoes were written into a number of episodes. But did you know that Manolo Blahnik is known to be a Birkenstock fan?

So for Spring, the distinguished Spanish designer reinvented the classic birk as you’ve never seen them before, morphing it into a shoe with unparalleled glamour, charm, and chicness. The reputation of the beloved “ugly” sandal is challenged in this collab, with Birkenstocks adorning a vibrant color palette and sparkling buckle.

BURBERRY X SUPREME

A look from Supreme x Burberry. (Photo Credit: Burberry)

When you think of the label Burberry, streetwear is the farthest description that comes to mind, however, the latest collaboration between Burberry x Supreme is a successful ode to each of the brand’s established identities.

The Supreme led collaboration includes a variety of pieces including a collar puffer jacket, hoodie, jeans, t-shirt, silk pajamas, and of course, a skateboard.

BARBIE X BALMAIN

A look from Barbe x Balmain. (Photo Credit: Balmain)

Barbie x Balmain is a fusion of two of iconic labels in fashion. Reimagining childhoods around the world, Balmain’s creative director Oliver Rousteing stated that the unisex collaboration of Barbie and Balmain was designed to challenge gender limitations and celebrate diversity. Barbie’s iconic pink meets the bold spirit of Balmain in a limited-edition collection of t-shirts, hoodies and badges.

“Barbie and Balmain are embarking upon a distinctly multicultural, inclusive and always joy-filled adventure”, Rousteing said in a press release.

The Barbie x Balmain collaboration created a new chapter in the legacy of the toy and fashion industries.

Speaking of all things fashion, did anyone catch the launch of the series Follow the Thread, that premiered June 4th on TCM? If not you can catch it June 17th on HBO MAX? It’s inspired by The Met Exhibition, In America, An Anthology of Fashion. Let us know what you think.

So tell us, as an aspiring designer, what would be your dream collaboration?

FASHION’S LONG ROAD TO INCLUSIVITY

China Machado – first Asian supermodel photographed by Richard Avedon in 1961 (Photo credit: arogundade.com)

Since this is Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, we thought we’d discuss the fashion industry’s long battle with inclusivity. Historically, fair-skinned, ultra-thin white models dominated the runways, ad campaigns, and magazine editorials. It would take decades for models representing racial diversity, body inclusivity, sexual inclusivity and the disabled community to be accepted.

Contrary to popular belief, the first non-white model to make it in mainstream fashion was not Black but East Asian. Her name, China Machado, a mix of Indian and Portuguese ancestry who, in 1956, became the first non-white beauty to break through fashion’s apartheid system when she secured a job as a fitting model at Givenchy. Ten years later, Machado would grace the cover of Harper’s Bazaar in 1971 and the cover of New York magazine in 2011.

China Machado – Harper’s Bazaar cover 1971  (Photo credit: arogundade.com)

According to L’Officiel’s 21 top Asian Models – Kimora Lee Simmons at age 13 signed a contract with Chanel. Canadian supermodel Yasmeen Ghauri of Pakistani-German descent was the first South Asian woman to get a major luxury beauty contract and become a Victoria’s Secret Angel. Chinese beauty Liu Wen, who is the number five model in the world according to models.com, became the face of Estée Lauder in 2011, while Taiwanese male model Godfrey Gau secured a campaign for Louis Vuitton. At the same time, China’s Sui He has fronted campaigns for H&M and Karl Lagerfeld.

                                       Asian model – Kimora Lee Simmons (Photo credit: L’Official)
                                         Asian model – Yasmeen Ghauri (Photo credit: L’Official)
The first successful black model was Dorothea Towles Church (1922-2006) who broke the color barrier in the 1950s by modeling on the runways of Elsa Schiaparelli and Christian Dior in Paris. At the time however, U.S. modeling agencies, designers, and editors traditionally favored one body type and skin color; thin and white. Church enjoyed modeling in Paris so much she decided not to return to the United States, but her success and acceptance there was widely publicized in black magazines and periodicals in the U.S., including earning her a place on the cover of the African-American weekly Jet in April 1953. When she did return to the U.S. she was mostly ignored by the fashion industry.
 

Dorothea T. Church (1922-2006) – considered the first Black fashion model (Image credit: Brown Girl Collective Facebook)

 

Naomi Sims started modeling in the 1960s and was the first African American model to sign to Willhelmina Models. (Photo credit: L’OFFICIAL)

While Church received notoriety in Europe, it was not until the ‘60s that the U.S. fashion industry embraced its first Black model, Naomi Sims. In 1968, Sims was the first African American model to grace the cover of Ladies’ Home Journal. And in 1969 Sims landed the cover of LIFE Magazine–making her the first Black model to do so. Sims was also the first Black model to be signed by a renowned modeling agency, Wilhelmina Models, thus paving the way for other Black models such as Pat Cleveland, Toukie Smith, Naomi Campbell, Iman, Beverly Johnson, Tyra Banks, plus the new generation of Black models, Joan Smalls and Winnie Harlow.

Supermodels Naomi Campbell and Tyra Banks. (Photo credit: The Sun)

Considered the fashion industry’s first fashion publicist, Eleanor Lambert was the first to use 12 Black models on the runway at the 1973 Franco-American fashion show held at the Palace of Versailles. This show became a defining moment in the acceptance of American fashion on the global stage.

In 2008, famed photographer Steven Meisel made news when he took on racism in the fashion industry by choosing only black models for a Vogue Italia spread.

Today, inclusivity is becoming the defining word in the fashion industry. Within the past few years, industry beauty standards have changed rapidly, with Generation Z voices and sociopolitical movements taking center stage across all forms of social media. The fashion industry has faced a broad array of criticisms involving diversity, inclusivity, ethicality, and sustainability and while fashion brands have made some progress, there is still a long way to go. Today, fashion houses are pushing for more diversity and inclusiveness in their shows and ad campaigns. It makes good business sense too.

Inclusivity and diversity have become vital components of retail for fashion consumers. Brands that have recognized the need for racial diversity, body inclusivity, sexual representation and representation of the disabled community are realizing that it is not only necessary but is the future of fashion.

Emily Barker in Collina Strada’s spring 2021 Lookbook. (Photo credit: Collina Strada)

Size inclusion was one of the first culprits of fashion inclusivity. For decades, only one body type was seen on runways, advertising campaigns, and fashion editorials – the ultra-thin, long-legged model with fair skin and sharp features; thankfully, the fashion industry has begun to embrace the body positivity movement, where women and men of all body types and sizes are represented.

The impractical beauty standards of U.S. sizes 0-4 are no longer tolerated by the public and the body positivity movement is the “largest push-back against a lack of diversity and positive self-images in the fashion industry,” according to Luxiders magazine. According to the magazine, body positivity was one of the first aspects of fashion inclusivity to be highlighted in the public eye, largely because traditional modeling agencies wanted “white, skinny, young and female.”

For decades young women suffered from low self-esteem due to constant fashion images of super thin, extremely tall, and primarily fair skin models, a mostly unattainable standard of beauty. According to Park Nicollet Melrose Center, a well-known eating disorder treatment facility, nearly 70% of perfectly healthy women desire to be thinner and 80% simply “don’t like how they look.”

Ashley Graham – the first body-inclusive model to star on the cover of  Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue 2016. (Photo credit: Sports Illustrated)

Ashley Graham has been a pioneer in the plus size modeling industry. In 2001, Ashley Graham began modeling as a young teenager, but in 2016 she became a breakout supermodel and graced the cover of the infamous Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue. The model was initially criticized for her size, but today she has become a well-known name in the industry and tells her story through her Instagram and Twitter posts. She’s even written a book, A New Model: What Confidence, Beauty, and Power Really Looks Like. Graham constantly works to inspire confidence in people of all sizes.

Of course, size inclusivity is only one part of the problem. Consumers are demanding diversity in the fashion industry, particularly racial and ethnic diversity. According to the Business of Fashion, the practice of “occasionally putting a non-white face on a magazine cover” is no longer enough (nor has it ever been). Fashion should reflect the consumer it serves, which means representing all types of people.

Racial and ethnic diversity is not just confined to models; true diversity requires hiring non-white stylists, designers, art-directors, and producers. It requires building fashion agencies with both diverse staff and diverse models, because doing so brings diversity into perspective.

Edward Enninful after receiving his Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) and Naomi Campbell in London on Oct. 27, 2016. (Photo credit: Shutterstock)

Edward Enninful, the editor-in-chief of British Vogue since 2017, is the most powerful Black man in his fashion industry. He sits at the intersection of fashion and media, two fields that are undergoing long-overdue change and clambering to make up for years of negligence and malpractice. Since becoming the only Black editor in history to head any of the 26 Vogue magazines—the most influential publications in the multibillion-dollar global fashion trade—Enninful has morphed British Vogue from a white-run glossy of the bourgeois oblivious, into a diverse and inclusive on-point fashion platform and shaking up the imagery, according to a Time Magazine profile piece on Enninful.

However, inclusivity doesn’t end there. Representation of the   LGBTQ+community is also vital to the future of fashion and given that this community’s cumulative spending power would represent the fourth-largest economy in the world, the fashion industry better start representing this disregarded demographic. Consumers are forced to decide between two genders (male or female) regardless of whether they identify with either one and, for young individuals who are still figuring out both their sexual and personal identity, this is extremely limiting.

April Ashley –  one of the first transgender fashion models in the 1960s. (Photo credit: Out magazine)

Modeling has also failed the LGBTQ+ community, with many transgender and non-binary models feeling “forced to conceal their identities” in order to achieve success in the fashion industry, according to Women’s Wear Daily. Members of the LGBTQ+ community should not have to hide their sexuality or gender to succeed.

When unrepresented individuals begin to see their community represented and succeed in a world as cut-throat as high fashion, it opens the door to a whole new market of consumers who wish to support the brands they see themselves represented in.

One of the most unrepresented groups are people with disabilities. According to Glamour magazine, individuals with disabilities are “often ignored in the world of fashion” despite having an estimated population of 1 billion. Vogue Business claims that, “in the U.S. alone, the collective spending power of people with disabilities is $490 billion.

Seeing models in wheelchairs, with canes or wearing colostomy bags, among other types of physical disabilities, are images that disabled individuals are only now just barely seeing in the fashion industry. In 2017, London-based performing arts school founder Zoe Proctor  and her sister-in-law, Laura Johnson, created Zebedee, the first-ever modeling and acting agency to focus exclusively on talent with disabilities.

Sofía Jirau Makes History As the First-Ever Victoria’s Secret Model With Down Syndrome. (Photo credit: Left: Victoria’s Secret, Right: Sofia Jirau Instagram)

Recently, American lingerie giant Victoria’s Secret introduced its first model with Down’s Syndrome, and the world took note. For one, it was hailed as a big step towards inclusivity and diversity. The Puerto Rican model told Victoria’s Secret “It is a dream come true. I am happy to be able to show everyone that Sofia Jirau is going to shine around the world. I feel confident because fear is not in my vocabulary.”  Jirau modeled for the brand’s latest collection, The Love Cloud.

Ellie Goldstein, a British model with Down syndrome. (Photo credit: Gucci x Vogue Italia)

In 2020, 20-year-old Ellie Goldstein became the first model with a disability to land a Gucci Beauty campaign, and earlier, in 2017, personal care brand Dove featured a blind YouTube star Molly Burke for its campaign.

Winnie Harlow modeling for Vogue Magazine. (Photo credit: Vogue)

Jamaican-Canadian supermodel Winnie Harlow rose to fame in 2014 and has embraced her skin condition, vitiligo, with confidence while walking the runway with grace. To set an example and to inspire children with vitiligo, Harlow-inspired dolls with vitiligo are now available.

As the first black, transgender and physically disabled model to be signed to a major modeling agency, Aaron Rose Philip is making fashion history. (Photo credit: Moschino)

Aaron Rose Philip is the first black, transgender and physically disabled model to be signed to a major modeling agency, Elite Model Management.  The Antiguan-American model was diagnosed with cerebral palsy as a baby and began modeling at age 16 for brands Collina Strada and Marc Jacobs. At Moschino’s spring/summer 2022 runway show during New York Fashion Week, Aaron became the first model to use a wheelchair on a runway show for a major luxury fashion brand.

Nina Marker, the model changing the way we think about Aspergers walking the Versace show, left, and the Fendi show, right. (Photo credit: Vogue)

Also, Danish model Nina Marker, who was diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome, didn’t let it affect her career path as she walked the ramp for brands such as Dolce & Gabbana, Versace, Chanel, Fendi and Stella McCartney.

Inclusivity and diversity are allegiances that must be committed to in every aspect of the fashion industry, from employees to models to vendors and producers. It can no longer be a “side project.” The good news is that committing to increased inclusivity and diversity will enable long-lasting social change and benefit both the brand and the consumer. At last…the fashion industry is committing to inclusivity and doing right by its consumers.

Be sure to check out UoF’s Plus Size and Gender Inclusive lessons:

Ink Drawing Plus Size Female Figure

 

Drawing Androgynous Men’s and Women’s Figures

 

Plus Size: Statistics & Body Types 

 

Plus Size: Models, Illustrators, Designers and More

 

Plus Size: Social Media Influencers

 

Plus Size: Social Media Influencers 

So tell us, what fashion brands do you want to give a shout to for being inclusive?

 

UoF Instructor Spotlight: Meet Robyn Smith

UoF Instructor Robyn Smith (Photo credit: Robyn Smith)

Join us in welcoming our newest instructor, Robyn Smith. Robyn is a talented fashion designer, illustrator, and visual artist that hails from Baltimore Maryland. Her love for designing was inspired by her older sister who would design prom gowns for her classmates. From the early age of nine, Robyn developed an eye for fashion and knew that she wanted to pursue a career in design.

After high school graduation Robyn moved to New York City and attended Parsons School of Design. While at Parsons she achieved several accomplishments: winning the Zack Carr fashion designer award, winning the Jasco Fabrics design competition, an internship competition with the Gap and interning with fashion designer Peter Som.

From college, Robyn went on to design for the House of Deréon in 2005 and traveled to Hong Kong and Mainland China where she participated in sample fittings, sourced fabrics, and developed new designs to incorporate into the line.  After designing for House of Deréon, Robyn transitioned to a fourteen-year career as a menswear ‘cut and sew’ knit designer for American Rag, Macy’s private label young men’s brand and later became CAD Director for Macy’s, Inc.

Menswear illustration (Image courtesy Robyn Smith)

Robyn’s positions as a designer and design director not only provided her with an opportunity to travel the world for production purposes, but also to conduct trend analysis and market research in Hong Kong, Taiwan, Japan, Korea, London, Amsterdam, Berlin, and L.A.

Fashion illustration (Image courtesy Robyn Smith)

In addition to Robyn’s design career, she is also a famous fashion illustrator and visual artist.  Her fashion Illustrations were featured in the book entitled ‘Fashion Illustration’ by Chai Xiuming and Lu Haoyan, and in 2021, Robyn designed a beautiful plus size collection called ‘Robyn Nichole’ in collaboration with the fast fashion brand Shein.

Plus size fashion illustration (Image courtesy Robyn Smith)

In addition to designing fashion, Robyn participated in the Ace Hotel’s 2021 group art show entitled ‘Ours’, where her work was featured in their hotel gallery space with proceeds used to benefit the Teen Art Salon (TAS), a 501c3 non-profit organization in Long Island City that supports, develops, and promotes adolescent artists, and demystifies the process of starting a career as an artist.

Illustrations courtesy Robyn Smith

As every seasoned designer knows, pulling inspiration from the Visual Arts helps you to develop a new thinking process when approaching your fashion illustrations, thus creating a more distinctive portfolio. In Robyn’s first lesson for UoF, Creating a Menswear Fashion Illustration inspired by Visual Arts, she will teach you how to find inspiration from an art museum resource and, by focusing on the details, shapes, and colors found in the image, create a unique fashion design and illustration.

This advanced lesson will teach you how to create an illustration using a pencil, gouache, brushes, and markers.  And, you’ll learn how to draw and paint eyewear, create hair textures­­­, and how to use your inspirational images to make a design within your illustration.

(Preview of Robyn Smith’s first UoF lesson: Creating a Menswear Illustration Inspired by Visual Arts)

Stay tuned for more lessons by Robyn for UoF. In the meantime, follow Robyn and her work at:

Website: www.robynnichole.com

IG: Robyn_the_Creator  https://www.instagram.com/robyn_the_creator/

TikTok: @Robyn_the_Creator  https://www.tiktok.com/@robyn_the_creator

Youtube: Robyn_the_Creator https://www.youtube.com/c/RobynTheCreator

The Influential Textile Designs of Jacqueline Groag

Jacqueline Groag

        Jacqueline Groag 1959 (Photo credit: John Garner/ University of Brighton Design Archives)

Czech-born Jacqueline Groag (1903-1985) was an influential textile designer in Great Britain following World War II. She studied textile design during the 1920s with Franz Cisek and Josef Hoffmann at Wiener Werkstätte, a workshop of applied arts in Vienna. Groag produced and designed fabrics for leading Parisian fashion houses including Chanel, Lanvin, House of Worth, Schiaparelli and Paul Poiret, as well as London textile houses David Whitehead, Grafton, John Lewis and Liberty.

Born as Hilde Pick to Jewish parents on April 6, 1903, she later changed her name to Jacqueline Groag when she married modernist architect and interior designer Jacques Groag in 1937. In 1938, Jacqueline and Jacques fled to Prague due to the annexation of Austria to Nazi Germany and then to London following the Nazi invasion of Czechoslovakia. Once in London, the design duo were invited into the famed British Design Factory, where design greats of the Arts & Crafts and Modernist movements were members, such as Sir Gordon RussellSir Charles Reilly and Jack Pritchard.

For over 20 years Groag worked as a freelance designer creating designs for carpets, greetings cards, laminates, plastics, textiles, wallpapers and wrapping paper. In 1984 she became a Fellow of the Faculty of Royal Designers for Industry and is considered a central figure in textile design during the 1950s, along with textile designers Lucienne Day and Marian Mahler.

Palm Springs Art Museum: Pattern Play-The Contemporary Designs of Jacqueline Groag

In 2008, the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center launched an exhibition entitled, Designing Women: Art and the Modern Interior from Postwar Britain, featuring the work of Jacqueline Groag, Lucienne Day and Marian Mahler.

And on Wednesday May 11, 2022, in my newly adopted hometown of Palm Springs, California, I was invited to the opening of the Jacqueline Groag exhibition at the Palm Springs Art Museum. Living in Palm Springs is beyond inspirational. Not only is it a great place to live (even if the summers do go up to 120 degrees), it’s the home of some of the greatest Mid-Century Modern architecture created by the likes of Richard Neutra, John Lautner, Albert Frey, A.Quincy Jones, Donald Wexler, Richard Harrison, E. Stewart Williams, William Krisel and William Cody. So in keeping with this love of Modernism, I’d like to share some highlights from the Jacqueline Groag show:

Jacqueline Groag show

 Jacqueline Groag 1946 Printed nylon dress manufactured by Fabricado for F.W. Grafton & Co. Manchester, England

Jacqueline Grog designed a wide range of dress fabrics for F.W. Grafton during the 1940s. One of Groag’s Grafton patterns, a classic tulip motif, was chosen by the British fashion couturier Edward Molyneux for a dress he designed for HRH Princess Elizabeth. The photo below shows the future queen wearing the tulip print dress in September 1946.

Princess Elizabeth

                              Jacqueline Groag’s ‘Tulip Print’ dress worn by HRH Princess Elizabeth 1946

Toy Parade print

             Jacqueline Groag ‘Toy Parade’ dress print on cotton 1955 -Manufactured by Fabricado for Associated American Artists

 

Jacqueline Groag- Furnishing fabric roller-printed spun rayon Haworth Fabrics England

    Jacqueline Groag- Furnishing fabric roller-printed spun rayon Haworth Fabrics England

Puppet PrintJacqueline Groag’s ‘Puppet Ballet’ dress fabric 1953 – printed cotton manufactured by Fabricado for Associated American Artists

Groag dressesJacqueline Groag textile printed dresses 1953

First night print     Jacqueline Groag’s ‘First Night’ dress print 1947 – manufactured by Fabricado for Associated American Artists, New York

Jacqueline Groag originally conceived her “First Night’ dress print in 1938 for Elsa Schiaparelli, who, together with Coco Chanel, dominated fashion between the two World Wars. First Night was based on Groag’s drawing of the audience during opening night at the Paris Opera. The fabric was sold in the United States under the name Gala Night.

For More Info on the Groags & the Viennese Modern Movement

Groag book

Read more about Jacques and Jacqueline Groag and the Viennese Modernist movement: Groag: Architect and Designer

Groag textile book

For more on Groag’s textile designs read: Jacqueline Groag: Textile & Pattern Design: Wiener Werkstatte to American Modern

 

Lucienne Day book

To learn more about Lucienne Day read Lucienne Day: In the Spirit of the Age

Be sure to check out UoF’s textile design lessons:

Introduction To Textile Print Design

Introduction To Textile Print Design

Researching & Designing A Graphic Printed Textile

Researching & Designing A Graphic Printed Textile

Recoloring Textile Artwork

 

 

 

JEANOLOGY: SUSTAINABLE DENIM WE CAN ALL FEEL GOOD ABOUT

Prada’s sustainable denim. (Photo Credit: Prada)

Can denim ever truly be sustainable? It is a question that we all ponder, whether you are a fashion lover or an environmentalist. Denim truly is the fabric of our lives, but through the years, denim has earned an ugly reputation when it comes to the environment. Jeans are known as one of the most environmentally damaging items we buy, and the reason is simple: Denim is primarily made from cotton, and most cotton is grown using harmful fertilizers and pesticides. Denim also requires huge amounts of water to produce. One pair of jeans can use approximately 1,800 gallons of water to create. The global demand for cotton (which is used in nearly half of all textiles, according to the World Wildlife Fund) has also led to over-farmed, barren land and soil erosion, which impacts the health of the entire planet. But today, there are many jean companies that are trying to evolve into sustainable denim brands.

DENIM MADE THE OLD FASHIONED WAY

Traditionally, when a pair of blue jeans is created, the cotton denim fabric will be dipped up to eight times in a giant vat of indigo. For the most part, the indigo is in a powder form, subjecting factory workers to dangerous amounts of aniline as they breath-it in. In older factories with dated technology, jeans are placed in belly washers, which can waste up to 1,800 liters of water per pair of jeans. Not only are tons of water wasted, but if the wastewater is not treated properly before getting dumped in local waterway, it can lead to hazardous levels of lead, copper, cadmium, and water with such a high pH, it’s equivalent to ammonia. This has happened in Xintang, China where they manufacture denim.

Also note, that if denim is bleached or distressed, the process can be dangerous and toxic for factory workers. The practice of sandblasting may lead to silicosis and lung cancer. Bleaching and fading jeans using hypochlorite and potassium permanganate generates toxic fumes.  Even hand-distressing jeans using power tools will produce dust containing all the dyes and chemicals applied to the garment.

DENIM MADE THE NEW WAY

For those of us who live in denim, there is good news. The denim industry is one of the most innovative sectors of the fashion industry, and they are working hard to create sustainable denim that will not harm its workers or the environment.

For starters, many brands are now using ‘real denim’. Real denim is close-to 100% cotton fabric that is blue on the front (where the indigo-dyed warp yarns show) and white on the back (where the undyed weft yarns show). Real denim is dyed by means of non-toxic synthetic indigo (which is chemically identical to natural indigo) or sulfur black, which is considered a dye of minimum concern to human health. Faux-denim pants that are meant to look like jeans but are made of synthetic fabrics are usually dyed with toxic or reactive dyes. Faux denim does not last as long as real denim, the items usually fall apart rather than breaking in.

Sustainable denim brands generally source their garments from technologically advanced denim mills. A few popular mills that create sustainable jeans are:  Candiani in Italy, Saitex in Vietnam, or Denim Expert in Bangladesh. These factories use front-loading washers from Tonello or Jeanologia, which reduces water use by 70 to 80%. When other efficient technologies are added such as water recycling, a pair of jeans can be made with just 11 liters of water (as opposed to 1,800 liters). A highly regarded mill will carefully treat this water to make it completely clean before releasing it.

These technological advanced mills also use lasers, robots, and enzymatic processes that can safely and quickly distress and fade jeans. These highly advanced factories use foam dyeing technology, and dying technology, which both utilize electricity to saturate the yarns—both of these technologies avoid using powder indigo and they only use a fraction of the water that traditional dye boxes need. Many eco-friendly labels today are using natural ingredients instead of toxic chemicals to dye their garments, such as natural indigo dyes derived from plants, shrimp shells, orange peels, and nutshells.

Denim companies can also use sustainable cotton to become greener. Fashion companies should know where their cotton is coming from (what’s called ‘traceable’ cotton) whether it’s from the U.S., from smallholder farmers in India, or from big farms in Australia. Brands should use non-GMO cotton that is sprayed with little to no pesticides, and farms that use natural rather than synthetic fertilizers.

Here are a few sustainable and ethical jeans that have quickly become favorites among the fashion set. Keep in mind that jeans were literally invented as workwear back in 1873; they’re meant to last a few years, if not a few decades. So, invest in the pairs you really love, wear them frequently, and think of every rip and frayed edge as a badge of honor. The more years you own your favorite pair of jeans, the more eco-friendly you’ve become.

LEVI’S

Levi’s Waterless Campaign. (Photo Credit: Levi’s)

Levi’s created the first pair of denim pants. In 1873, two visionary immigrants — Levi Strauss and Jacob Davis — turned denim, thread and a little metal into what has become the most popular apparel in the world.

Today, Levi’s is still a pioneer in the denim industry. Thanks to its trademarked Water<Less innovations, Levi’s has saved more than 1.8 billion liters and recycled more than 129 million liters of water. So far, approximately 40% of Levi’s products use this innovation. Water<Less implements a Screened Chemistry standard which eliminates toxic chemicals from its supply chain. To help avoid ending up in a landfill, Levi’s has partnered with Give Back Box, where you pack up your old jeans and print a free shipping label, then drop it in the mail where it is sent to charity.

AG

AG Conscious Hemp Denim Jacket. (Photo Credit: AG)

AG has a denim capsule collection called “The Jean of Tomorrow.” This denim capsule collection has a blend of organic cotton, lyocell, and hemp, the jeans and unisex jacket have no metal rivets—instead, Tencel threads hold the fabric together —and rather than metal buttons, they used corozo nuts. The size and care tags were also replaced by screen-printed, soy-based ink. These jeans are 100% natural and biodegradable, so they can eventually be composted and return to the earth.

AG hopes the project can be a model for the entire denim industry in the future: “There is a responsibility for big companies with large manufacturing programs to step up and adopt more eco-friendly processes,” Samuel Ku, AG’s president and creative director, said in a release. “It takes wide-scale investment and adoption to really move the needle in terms of impact, as well as drive down the costs of sustainability so that we can see it become the new norm for all brands.”

DL1961

DL1961 and Candice Swanepoel, sustainable denim. (Photo Credit: DL 1961)

DL1961 jeans are created with lower-impact cellulose (i.e., wood pulp) fibers as well as certified-organic cotton and clean indigo dyes that reduce water use and create no harmful byproducts. There factories are a vertical integration, which means there’s less shipping and packaging involved in manufacturing each denim item, reducing both DL1961’s carbon emissions.

RE/DONE

Re/Done sustainable jeans. (Photo Credit: Instagram @ haileybieber)

One of the hottest denim labels Re/Done launched in 2014 with a brilliant concept: vintage men’s denim reworked for women’s bodies. Since then, Re/Done has grown to include new jeans, vintage-inspired T-shirts, dresses, suiting, and a full men’s line. The company also introduced a peer-to-peer secondhand marketplace where customers can buy and sell their Re/Done jeans, T-shirts, blazers, and more.

SEZANE

Sustainable denim from Sézane. (Photo Credit: Sézane)

French label Sézane is loved for its affordable, vintage-inspired jeans, but founder Morgane Sezalory is now focused on sustainability as well. She has reorganized her denim production to include 100% GOTS-certified organic cotton, eco-friendly washing, recycled water, and laser detailing instead of chemical treatments. The founder has taken sustainability for her brand one step further, now all of Sézane’s shipping boxes are made from recycled cardboard or are derived from sustainably managed forests.

FRAME

Frame favorite Le Palazzo jean is made with eco-conscious materials. (Photo Credit: Frame)

L.A. denim brand Frame has introduced a ten-piece denim collection called Pure Denim. These garments are created with 100% biodegradable organic cotton that uses 98% less water in its production process compared to traditional denim processes. Frame’s sustainable jeans come in all shapes, from skinny to wide-leg denim.

SLVRLAKE

SLVRLAKE’s sustainable denim pants. (Photo Credit: Net-A-Porter)

Louise Edgley, the founder of Slvrlake, is addressing the challenges of cotton by trying something else: hemp. As one of the fastest-growing plants on earth, it can be easily grown without pesticides or fertilizer, requires a fraction of the water needed to grow cotton, and is 100% biodegradable. Edgley’s signature London and Beatnik jeans now come in a soft and durable cotton and hemp blend with a distinctive baby-blue wash.

Citizens of Humanity

Citizens of Humanity’s sustainable denim. (Photo Credit: Citizens of Humanity)

Citizens of Humanity is known for their fashion-forward silhouettes and soft, high-quality denim. Some of the labels most popular fits, like the Annina trouser, now comes in 100% organic cotton and use water-saving, energy-reducing technology. Citizens of Humanity also owns two other denim labels, Goldsign and AGOLDE, which are making similar strides in organic fabrications, laser treatments, and ozone washes, which reduce energy and water use.

EDWIN

Edwin’s sustainable denim. (Photo Credit: Edwin)

Edwin is a Los Angeles label known for creating some of the best vintage-inspired jeans. Each denim garment is created at Saitex, one of the world’s largest and cleanest denim manufacturers. Saitex now has a factory in Los Angeles, where Edwin is now exclusively producing its collections. Described as “a factory of the future,” the facility comes with everything a fashion label needs to create a lower-impact jean: laser technology, semi-automatic sewing, a water recycling system, and more. The company will also take back your old Edwin jeans and recycle them.

TRIARCHY

Triarchy’s sustainable denim. (Photo Credit: Neiman Marcus)

Most customers like a little stretch in their denim for comfort, but stretch jeans are make with plastic, which is not eco conscious at all. But Triarchy’s Adam Taubenfligel developed a natural alternative for stretch denim with the Italian mill Candiani, the result, rubber fibers. Triarchy’s innovative “plastic-free skinny jean” feels as stretchy and supportive as any you’ve tried, but the denim is woven with ultra-fine strands of rubber, instead of plastic. The label also offers 100% cotton styles which are also made to the highest sustainable standards with organic materials, natural dyes, less water, and less energy.

ON A SIDE NOTE…..

Fashionary’s Denim Manual. (Photo Credit: The Denim Manual)

Want to learn more about denim, well fashion sketchbook producer Fashionary recently released a book titled “The Denim Manual, a Complete Visual Guide for the Denim Industry.” The tome offers a comprehensive look inside the business of denim featuring a cover made of raw denim, and includes over 700 illustrations and photos, as well as a complete collection of denim fabrics, washes and terms that give readers’ an insider’s take on the world of denim.

The book expands from the origin of denim to today’s innovative technology in jeans. There is an illustrated timeline of key events in denim’s history as well as different types of denim fabric. From there, it provides a Denim Design and Details Library of 200 design elements that serves as an encyclopedia of each part of a denim garment.

The book’s Wash Library defines each step for creating various effects such as acid wash and whiskering. It also includes a dyeing guide that covers techniques for achieving a variety of shades and patterns. The final section of the book focuses on maintenance and provides tips for preventing shrinking, fading, and extending the lifecycle of your favorite pair of jeans for as long as possible.

The book is available now for $39.90 on the Fashionary website.

An image from the book The Denim Manual. (Photo Credit: Courtesy of The Denim Manual)

So tell us, will you be more eco conscious when creating your own collections?

THE MET EXHIBIT – IN AMERICA: AN ANTHOLOGY OF FASHION

Prabal Gurung’s spring 2020 show poses the question, Who Gets to be American? (Photo Credit: Nylon)

After a global pandemic hiatus, the MET Gala celebration is back! On May 2nd, fashion insiders, celebrities, and street style stars will gather for an exclusive fundraiser that benefits the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute. Better known as fashion’s Red Carpet.

This year’s MET event once again celebrates American fashion in an exhibit entitled, In America: An Anthology of Fashion“. It is the second and final installation of their two-part series, In America: A Lexicon of Fashion, which debuted September 2021. Who will ever forget the image of Kim Kardashian climbing the MET steps in her black fully-covered masked Balenciaga?

HBO’s The Gilded Age. (Photo Credit: Landmark Media)

Those of you who follow MET gala events know that for attendees there is always a ‘dress code’. This year’s code takes inspiration from New York’s Gilded Age (1870 to 1890). The show’s theme and exhibition asks the question “Who gets to be American?” A question posed at Prabal Gurung’s spring/summer 2020 show, and according to Andrew Bolton, Costume Institute’s head curator, the dichotomy of fashion exclusivity vs inclusivity.

(Left to Right) Regina King, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Blake Lively and Ryan Reynolds. (Photo Credit: Shutterstock)

This year’s MET Gala will be hosted by Blake Lively, Ryan Reynolds, Regina King, and Lin-Manuel Miranda. Meanwhile, continuing their roles as MET Gala honorary co-chairs are, Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour (who has run the MET Gala since 1995), Council of Fashion Designers of America chairman Tom Ford, and Instagram head, Adam Mosseri.

Head of Instagram Adam Mosseri, Billie Eilish, Amanda Gorman, Anna Wintour, Timothée Chalamet, Naomi Osaka and Tom Ford attending the 2021 Met Gala. (Photo Credit: Net-A-Porter)

Aside from the celebrity co-chairs, so far, no other stars have confirmed their attendance for the MET Gala. The event’s guest list has always been closely guarded, with attendees generally kept secret until the event itself. Many fashion fans are speculating that the event’s usual attendees, Kendall Jenner, Kim Kardashian, Rihanna, and Gigi Hadid will attend fashion’s biggest night. Unfortunately, fashion’s hottest star of the moment, Zendaya, will not be attending the MET Gala for the third year running, due to her busy work schedule.

Zendaya dressed as Cinderella in a light-up Tommy Hilfiger dress at the 2019 Met Gala. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

While celebrities are expected to wear Gilded Age theme looks created by American designers, last year’s September event saw a majority of stars wearing European labels, Balenciaga, Prada, Louis Vuitton, Valentino, Givenchy and Chanel. What was that about? Where were the Charles James gowns?

The exhibit opens to the public on May 7th and runs until Sept. 5, 2022. Through its curation, it addresses issues of social justice, identity and diversity and is meant to “illustrate the shifting tides of American fashion,” according to the Met’s director Max Hollein.

ABOUT THE EXHIBIT

The Costume Institute’s In America: An Anthology of Fashion is presented in collaboration with The MET’s American Wing. This section of the exhibition will highlight sartorial narratives that relate to the complex and layered histories of 13 of the American Wing period rooms and “provides a historical context for Lexicon, in a way,” Bolton told Vogue. “The stories really reflect the evolution of American style, but they also explore the work of individual tailors, dress-makers, and designers,” he says. “What’s exciting for me is that some of the names will be very familiar to students of fashion, like Charles James, Halston, and Oscar de la Renta, but a lot of the other names really have been forgotten, overlooked or relegated into the footnotes of fashion history. So one of the main intentions of the exhibition is to spotlight the talents and contributions of these individuals, and many of them are women.”

According to a press release from the MET, both men’s and women’s fashion dating from the eighteenth century to the present, will be featured in vignettes installed in select period rooms spanning from 1805 to 1915: a Shaker Retiring Room from the 1830s; a nineteenth-century parlor from Richmond, Virginia; a panoramic 1819 mural of Versailles; and a twentieth-century living room designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, among others. Viewing fashion in the context of their actual surroundings, rather than in a display line-up, is so much more interesting. Don’t you agree?

Ball gown, Marguery Bolhagen (American, 1920–2021), ca. 1961. (Photo Credit: The Metropolitan Museum of Art)

These interiors display a survey of more than two hundred years of American domestic life and tell a variety of stories—from the personal to the political, the stylistic to the cultural, and the aesthetic to the ideological. The exhibition will reflect on these narratives through a series of three-dimensional cinematic “freeze frames” produced in collaboration with notable American film directors. These mise-en-scènes will explore the role of dress in shaping American identity and address the complex and layered histories of the rooms.

A wedding dress by Ann Lowe is on display and will be part of The Costume Institute’s 2022 spring exhibition. (Photo Credit: Sarah Yenesel)

HOW CAN YOU WATCH THE MET GALA COVERAGE?

Yes, we can all watch the MET gala coverage on May 2nd. Vogue is exclusively streaming coverage from the event and red carpet on its website and social media platforms. Red carpet coverage will be hosted by Vanessa Hudgens and La La Anthony.

SO TELL US, WILL YOU BE WATCHING THE MET GALA COVERAGE ON MAY 2nd ?

WHO REALLY INVENTED THE MINI? AND THE Y2K BREAKOUT TREND: THE MICRO MINI

A look from Miu Miu’s Spring 2022. (Photo Credit: iMaxTree)

In August of 2021, the UoF blogged about Y2K fashion making a major comeback, and almost nine months later the trend is still going strong. The breakout Y2K trend is no doubt the micro mini skirt, according to online search engine retailer Lyst. Demand for mini skirts is at a three-year high, with over 900 searches a day for the now-infamous, Miu Miu-sanctioned bottom (reported on March 7, 2022, in Vogue Business).

Left to Right Zendaya, Yoona, and Hunter Schafer, a;; in the Miu Miu mini. (Photo Credit: Elle Singapore)

Miu Miu’s ultra-short, low-rise, pleated skirt has taken the fashion world by storm — with celebrities ranging from Nicole Kidman to Zendaya, all sporting it on their social media pages and magazine covers. The hottest item of the season has barely enough fabric peaking out from under its belted waistband; for those of us who were teens or young adults in the early aughts, the itty-bitty skirt reminds us of Britney Spears’ iconic, sexy schoolgirl outfit in her 1998 Baby One More Time music video.

Britney Spears music video Baby One More Time. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

While the micro mini is not a trend for everyone, some have even called the look trashy, nevertheless, demand for the mini is skyrocketing. The Miu Miu skirt is so popular it even has its own Instagram account, @miumiuset. Miu Miu has been sold out of the coveted item for weeks and has a long list of fashionistas eager to get their hands on the coveted skirt, despite its hefty price tag. Are you ready? Are you sitting down? The skimpiest version of the khaki miniskirt costs $950, with a slightly longer version available for $1,150. Those of us who can calculate garment fabric consumption, that’s about a quarter of a yard or 9 inches worth of fabric!!

Miuccia Prada presented the infamous micro-mini skirt during Miu Miu’s spring 2022 fashion show last October. It was an immediate hit as the skirt was seen on nearly every red carpet. After so much buzz and success of the barely-there skirt, the designer revamped the bold style for her fall 2022 Prada collection.  And of course, plenty of designers followed in her footsteps, creating their own versions, like Balmain and Valentino.

A look from Prada’s Spring 2022. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

Now that we know the leggy silhouette will continue to reign supreme for fall, let’s dig into the history of the controversial piece.

HISTORY OF THE MINI

The Mini has always been on of society’s most controversial fashion items. (Photo Credit: Pinterest)

It is common knowledge that the mini skirt craze began in the sixties as an empowering fashion choice during the birth of the woman’s liberation movement. But hold on, let’s discuss.

British-designer Mary Quant has often been credited for ‘inventing’ the miniskirt, that started the mod fashion movement. In a 2014 interview with the New York Daily News, Quant stated: “A miniskirt was a way of rebelling.” The Quant definition of a mini required the bottom edge of the skirt to hit roughly halfway up the thigh and fall no more than four inches below the butt. In today’s terms, a ‘modest mini’.

Designer Mary Quant, pictured with models in 1967. (Photo Credit: PA Prints)

But perhaps the real truth about the birth of the ‘mini’ should be traced back to the 1950s when ‘above the knee’ skirts appeared in couture alongside rock & roll and the youth dance craze. In reality, the most era-defining look of the 1960s, the mini, was a gradual process. According to England’s Victor & Albert Museum, (which held an exhibit on Mary Quant’s fashion movement from April 6, 2019 – Feb. 16, 2020) very early signs of the mini were detected in late-1950s couture. Case in point, Balenciaga’s ‘sack’ dress, which introduced a simple, semi-fitted shape that took the emphasis away from the wearer’s waist and Yves Saint Laurent’s 1959 ‘trapeze’ line for Dior, that promised to show more leg, or even some knee. Paris couturier André Courrèges achieved international publicity for a couture collection featuring short skirts and space-age dresses in April 1964.

Contemporary photographs and surviving dresses show that it wasn’t until 1966 that skirts became really short. Quant herself has acknowledged how the trend for rising hemlines was influenced by an emerging London street-style, and a wider cultural shift towards informality and the break-down of social codes. Away from the rarified world of Parisian couture houses however, it took a young women like Quant and schoolgirls on the streets, who were improvising short skirts.

André Courrèges, 1969. (Photo Credit: AP Photo)

For decades fashion historians have debated who actually invented the miniskirt, André Courrèges or Mary Quant. Although Quant has famously said, “It wasn’t me or Courrèges who invented the miniskirt anyway—it was the girls in the street who did it.”

Quant was an early ambassador of the ‘above the knee’ look, rocking a knee-skimming skirt during a visit to New York as early as 1960. As a designer she enjoyed adapting minimal styles that disrupted traditional social and gender roles – short hemlines suited her simple shift dresses. With a growing presence in the media, Quant played a significant role in the adoption of the miniskirt by contemporary women in England, Europe, and the USA.

Mary Quant At Work Around 1967. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

In 1965 the term ‘miniskirt’ was used to reference above-the-knee hemlines by newspapers and magazines (Quant named her iconic skirt the mini after her favorite car). In 1966, Quant’s contribution to fashion was recognized by the Queen, with an OBE (Order of the British Empire) medal. Quant was photographed at Buckingham Palace wearing one of her own trademark jersey minidresses, which promoted her distinctive look around the world.

Twiggy and Justine De Villeneuve. (Photo Credit: AP Photo)

In the mid-sixties, supermodel Twiggy became the unofficial poster child for the miniskirt look. In 1965, model Jean Shrimpton caused a stir when she wore a miniskirt with no stockings, hat, or gloves to the Melbourne Cup Carnival in Australia. That year the mini also got a boost when Yves Saint Laurent debuted his famous and very short ‘Mondrian’ dresses.

Paco Rabanne introduced his iconic, plastic, chainmail miniskirt in 1966, followed by the throw-away minidress. The mini was officially a high fashion statement.

Goldie Hawn on Laugh In in the Sixties. (Photo Credit: Pinterest)

By the mid to late sixties the television show “Laugh In” debuted American actress Goldie Hawn in her mini, inspiring American girls to copy the actress’s signature mod style. By 1968, former First-Lady Jackie Kennedy cemented the trend with her Valentino short white pleated Valentino dress when she married Aristotle Onassis.

The historic Valentino wedding dress worn by Jackie Onassis in 1968. (Photo Credit: The Corbis)

When the Vietnam War began and political tensions began to rise, mini skirts fell out of fashion and the maxi skirt was the sartorial choice among young women.

Mini-skirts became fashionable again in the mid-seventies when singers like Blondie regularly wore mini skirts on stage. The mini also became a staple for the Punk crowd as it was reinvented in black leather and PVC.

By the early eighties, the mini-skirt was once again reinvented and became known as the rah-rah (or ra-ra) skirt, originating from cheerleading uniforms. The Oxford Dictionary noted this as the first successful miniskirt revival. And in 1982, the rah-rah skirt even appeared on the cover of Time magazine. In 1984, Madonna performed at the MTV Video Music Awards, wowing the crowd in a white tulle minidress resembling a wedding dress as she sang “Like A Virgin”.

Kate Moss and Naomi Campbell in the ’90s. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

In the early nineties miniskirts were all the rage with icons like Naomi Campbell, Kate Moss and the Spice Girls keeping the powerful item, hip, trendy and in the public sphere. Once again, the controversial sartorial choice suggested both empowerment & vulnerability, liberation & exploitation, and shifted the dynamics, allowing women to take charge of their own sexualities.

Paris Hilton in the early 2000s wore mini skirts from day to night. (Photo Credit: Pinterest)

In the early aughts, miniskirts made a major comeback thanks to fashion icon Paris Hilton, who raised her hemline even further to “macro mini” length. And let’s not forget Tom Ford, who proclaimed the ‘mini-est’ of micro skirts to be the ‘it’ item of his spring/summer 2003 collection.

A look from Gucci’s spring 2003 collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

Fast-forward to 2022. After living through a global pandemic and social and political unrest around the world, designers are raising hemlines once again to micro-mini status. And just as the miniskirt was provocative back in the ’50s & ’60s when the trend made its way into the wardrobes of fashionable girls everywhere, the micro-mini today offers the same kind of sartorial edge. Although today’s micro version may be harder to pull off, there’s no denying that it is becoming one of the most popular trends of the moment. As the saying goes, “what comes around goes around”.

A street style star in Prada during Milan Fashion Week, Feb. 2022. (Photo Credit: Phil Oh)

So tell us, who do you think invented the mini?

 

EARTH DAY & HOW SUSTAINABLE, BIODEGRADABLE & COMPOSTABLE TEXTILES ARE CHANGING THE FACE OF FASHION

- - Sustainability

Chloé’s eco-chic spring 2022 show on the bank of the Seine in Paris. (Photo Credit: Shutterstock)

Earth Day is right around the corner (Friday, April 22nd) and while many think that the fashion industry is not doing enough to reduce its carbon footprint, we’re here to say, we’re making progress. Remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day! If you are a faithful reader of UoF’s weekly blog then you know how dedicated we are, not only in keeping our readers up to date on the latest in sustainable fashion and textiles, but in teaching our students how to become ‘sustainable’ designers.

In fact, UoF has a whole series of lessons covering the topic: Introduction to Sustainable Design, Sustainable Materials for Fashion Design, Designing, Producing & Marketing a Sustainable Collection, Eco-Textiles, Creative Draping-Zero Waste Dress, Creative Draping-2D Draping, Creative Draping-Zero Puzzle Dress, Creative Draping-Silk Taffeta Dress, Creative Draping-Organza Blouse, Creative Draping-Cocoon Jacket, Eco Fashion Global Initiative, Sustainable Fashion Designer-Monisha Raja and Sustainable Fashion Designer-Kristen Luong. And we continue to add more!

It’s hard to believe that it’s been 60 years since Rachel Carson’s book, Silent Spring (published September 27, 1962), warned us of the adverse environmental effects caused by the indiscriminate use of pesticides. James Hansen (considered the ‘father of global warming’), forty-three years ago created one of the world’s first climate models, nicknamed Model Zero that predicted what was to come. Earth Day, which began fifty-two years ago (April 22, 1970), is now an annual event in support of  environmental protection that today includes a wide range of events coordinated globally by EarthDay.org and reaches one billion people in more than 193 countries. The official Earth Day theme for 2022 is Invest In Our Planet.  As a scientist once told Rachel Carson, “We are walking in nature like an elephant in a china cabinet“.

 

Some Fashion Industry Facts & Solutions 

Here are some frightening numbers: Since the 2000s, fashion production has doubled and it will likely triple by 2050, according to the American Chemical Society. The production of polyester, which is a popular fabric used in fast fashion, as well as athleisurewear, has increased nine times the amount in the last 50 years. Fast fashion has made clothing so inexpensive that items are easily discarded after being worn only a few times. According to State Of The Planet, a journal published by Columbia Climate School, a survey found that 20 percent of clothing in the U.S. is never worn; in the UK, it is 50 percent. Online shopping, available day and night, has also made impulse buying and returning items easier.

According to McKinsey, the average consumer buys 60 percent more than they did in 2000 and keep it half as long. And in 2017, it was estimated that 41 percent of young women felt the need to wear something different whenever they left the house. In response, there are companies that send consumers a box of new clothes every month.

So, as we look to the future generation of fashion designers, keep in mind that being a sustainable brand may be the key to your success.

One of the most effective ways a designer can go green is to work with sustainable textiles. Did you know that the world produces over 50 million tons of textile waste per year? So, we’d like to share some of the most innovative textiles that will help you create beautiful clothes while reducing your carbon footprint, water, and chemical use.

As you read about these new textiles, you should know the difference between biodegradable and compostable. All compostable items are biodegradable, but not all biodegradable products are compostable. A notable difference between the two is that biodegradable products break down into a few natural elements, while compostable products leave behind a single organic material called humus.

So, is biodegradable more eco-friendly than compostable, you ask? No, a biodegradable product is not necessarily better for the environment than a compostable product. That’s because biodegradable products can still be made of chemical plastics whereas compostable products are typically made from plants.

Here’s a list of some of the latest materials that are prioritizing sustainability.

AIRCARBON

Nike is trying to incorporate more sustainable materials like Aircarbon into its collection. (Photo Credit: Nike)

AirCarbon is made by Huntington Beach-based, Newlight Technologies. They collaborated with Nike on a material that sucks carbon from the air. The secret to AirCarbon, a material that took 10 years into develop, is found in nature: methane-loving micro-organisms. AirCarbon is certified carbon-negative by SCS Global Services, resulting in a net reduction in carbon dioxide emissions in the atmosphere through production.

AIRMYCELIUM

AirMycelium is a mushroom root (mycelium) material from a New York-based innovation firm, Ecovative. The material has a production capacity of 100,000 pounds a year and over time is biodegradable — with its raw mycelium materials being at-home compostable in soil.

BIOFIBER

BioFiber is created solely from food crop residues and was developed by Agraloop Bio-Refinery. It is meant to replace high-quality knits and woven fabrics. Agraloop processes waste from various food and medicine crops including oilseed hemp/flax, CBD hemp, banana, and pineapple, while incentivizing the waste among communities in need. BioFiber is mixed with other natural staple fibers to produce a variety of ring-spun and open-end yarns.

BIOSTEEL

BioSteel is a biotechnologically produced high-performance version of spider silk, which made its debut in 2015. It is produced by German biotech company AMSilk and has been used especially in shoe upper material for Adidas’ Futurecraft Biofabric sneakers. Properties include being 15 percent lighter than conventional synthetics, as well as being completely biodegradable. BioSteel has been certified by the Hohenstein Institute and the SGS Institut Fresenius.

CIRCULOSE

H&M became the first brand to use Circulose – made from textile waste.  (Photo Credit: H&M)

Circulose is a patented fiber created by chemically processing 100 percent cotton fabric waste or other cellulosic textiles (like viscose). It is produced by Renewcell, a technology company founded in January 2012 by a group of cellulose researchers from KTH Royal Institute of Technology. Circulose significantly reduces the use of water and carbon footprint and is closed loop. H&M was the first to debut the Circulose material to consumers. As one of the biggest ‘fast fashion’ retailers, they are trying to do their part in reducing their carbon footprint.

In 2013, H&M launched a global garment collecting program and has a goal of having all products in stores made from recycled or sustainably sourced materials by 2030. H&M has tripled the amount of recycled materials used in its products from 5.8 percent to 17.9 percent with a goal of 30 percent by 2025.

H&M is launching a new line of sustainable tops, bottoms with adjustable waistbands and cuff, jackets, hats and blankets that can be composted once they are old and worn out. The 12-piece collection for newborns is made from organic cotton and launches in May 2022.

 

H&M launches a compostable 12-piece collection for newborns made from organic cotton in May 2022. (Photo credit: H&M)

DESSERTO

Karl Lagerfeld Collabs with Amber Valletta on a sustainable accessory collection using the material Desserto. (Photo Credit: Karl Lagerfeld)

Desserto is made of 40 percent organic cactus fiber, protein, pigments and 60 percent polyurethane. Backings are made with different fiber blends. Desserto, created by Adriano di Marti , is a leather replacement in handbags, footwear and apparel. Brands like Karl Lagerfeld, Fossil and H&M have used the material.

EVRNU

NuCycl™ a  regenerated fiber composed of  100% post-consumer waste using technology by Evernu® (Photo credit: Evernu.com)

Seattle-based Evrnu® is the firm behind NuCycl™, a regenerated fiber made from post-consumer clothing waste via its proprietary NuCycl technology. Garment waste is collected, sorted, and separated. The waste is then purified, shredded, and turned into a pulp. Extruded cellulose is made into a fiber that is finer than silk and stronger than cotton. The fiber is then spun into yarn, dyed and woven into fabric to be used to create recyclable textiles. Their mission is to create a circular economy for fashion. The fiber has been used by brands like Levi’s, Adidas and Stella McCartney.

FLOCUS

Flocus kapok fibers used for Frank and Oak’s outerwear. (Photo Credit: Frank and Oak)

Flocus is 100 percent biodegradable and 100 percent recyclable. The material is made from a yarn blend of fibers from the kapok tree. It is used for a wide range of fabrics and insulation materials being that it is lightweight, hypoallergenic and soft to the touch. Moisture management, temperature regulation and insect repellence are other qualities. The brand Frank and Oak uses Flocus for their outerwear.

PLNT  & FRUT

PLNT and FRUT – bio-based fibers made from agricultural waste using Pangaia technology (Photo credit: Pangaia.com)

Another alternative to cotton is a bio-based technology developed from agricultural waste by Pangaia Material Science Ltd. Their Plnt fiber, is a blend of 60% bamboo lyocell, 20% Himalaya nettle and 20% SeaCell lyocell. Their Frut fiber is a cocktail of 60% bamboo lyocell, 20% pineapple leaf fiber, and 20% banana leaf fiber. Pangaia also has their own direct-to-consumer line of clothing.

HEIQ

HeiQ innovative textile technologies include fabric offerings such as Eco Dry, Real Silk and Clean Tech, aiding the performance and sustainability of fabric manufacturing by substituting less eco-friendly chemicals. The Eco Dry process, for example, eliminates the need for fluorine and makes a water-repellant layer for footwear and clothing applications. It complies with EU REACH and ZDHC chemical protocols, as well as Oeko-Tex.

INNER METTLE MILK

Inner Mettle Milk is a 100-percent natural fabric produced by apparel company Inner Mettle. The IM Milk fabric is a biodegradable fabric made from a blend of surplus milk from the Italian agricultural-sector and 60 percent Lenzing-produced Tencel Micromodal. The fabric is manufactured in Italy and employed in Inner Mettle’s innerwear collection.

KOBA

Koba is a partially bio-based faux fur developed by DuPont and Ecopel of which Stella McCartney and Maison Atia are devoted fans. Because it is also recycled polyester, it is not biodegradable, but the companies tout recycling options at the material’s end of life.

MALAI

Malai is a bio-based material grown atop coconut water through fermentation, a leftover from the coconut industry in South India. The jelly is harvested and enhanced with natural fibers, gums and resins to create a more durable and flexible material. Although Malai is in its early stages, the leather alternative is biodegradable and compostable.

MIRUM

Patches made with Natural Fiber Welding’s Mirum leather substitute are included on Ralph Lauren’s Team USA parade apparel at the Tokyo Olympics. (Photo Credit: Ralph Lauren)

Mirum is a welded 100 percent natural, biodegradable plant-based leather alternative made by Natural Fiber Welding. The material comes from raw materials like cork, coconut, vegetable oil and natural rubber. With certification from the U.S. Department of Agriculture BioPreferred program, the company also counts investments from brands like Allbirds and Ralph Lauren Corp. The material is never coated in polyurethane or PVC, and is fully biodegradable with 40 percent lower carbon impact, per the company’s assessments. In addition to having a low carbon footprint, Mirum requires no water during manufacturing and dyeing.

NATIVA

Nativa wool is a 100 percent traceable wool fiber launched by Chargeurs Luxury Materials, a leader in luxury combed wool. The firm’s blockchain technology records transactions in a digital tamper-proof and decentralized database. Finnish outdoor brand UphillSport switched to all Nativa wool in 2020.

ORANGE FIBER

A look from the Orange Fiber capsule collection by Salvatore Ferragamo. (Photo Credit: Salvatore Ferragamo)

Orange Fiber is a luxurious fabric made out of waste citrus juice byproducts. It makes use of the otherwise more than 700,000 tons of citrus juice byproducts that would normally end up as waste. The Italian company (which collaborated with Lenzing) was the winner of the H&M Global Change Award in 2015. Also, Salvatore Ferragamo launched a capsule collection with the Orange Fiber in 2017.

REISHI

Sylvania is a mycelium material developed by MycoWorks and Hermès. (Photo Credit: Hermès)

Reishi is a non-plastic, non-animal leather alternative from biotech startup MycoWorks. The material is grown rapidly from mycelium and agricultural byproducts in a carbon-negative process. Luxury house Hermès has partnered with the Reishi to work on its own material dubbed “Sylvania.”

REPREVE

Repreve is a yarn made from recycled plastic bottles by maker Unifi. Repreve, was confirmed to reduce global warming potential related to greenhouse gases by 21 percent compared to generic, mechanically recycled polyester and 42 percent compared to virgin polyester, according to technology firm Higg (a partner to the Sustainable Apparel Coalition).

SORONA

Sorona, created by DuPont, was created to be a corn-based alternative to spandex (with about 37 percent of the polymeric fibers being made of renewable plant-based ingredients). The material is known for comfort, stretch and recovery properties, but is entirely free of spandex. The North Face, Club Monaco, and Stella McCartney have released products with Sorona.

SPINNOVA

Apparel made form Spinnova’s new wood-based fiber. (Photo Credit: Spinnova)

Spinnova is a 100 percent natural, biodegradable and recyclable alternative to cotton made of wood and waste without the use of harmful chemicals. It is free of microplastics and harmful chemicals and uses 99 percent less water than cotton. The North Face and H&M are already partners, as is the world’s largest wood pulp producer Suzano.

TEXLOOP

Texloop RCOT is made with up of 50 percent Global Recycle Standard-certified recycled cotton, blended with other natural fibers, including Global Organic Textile Standard-certified organic cotton and Tencel Lyocell. Brands ranging from H&M to Lee have used the material to create more sustainable denim.

ZOA

Modern Meadow uses biotechnology in its Zoa Biofabricated Material. (Photo Credit: Modern Meadow)

Zoa is a bioengineered leather-like innovation from biotech firm Modern Meadow. Zoa is made from protein collagen produced through fermentation from yeast in a lab and can be easily combined with other materials to accommodate any shape or texture. Zoa is already partnering with luxury and consumer goods brands.

As every student and teacher of fashion design knows, it’s up to us to chose the materials that we will use for our designs and therefore, unless we all make a concerted effort to source these eco-friendly materials we are only contributing to the earth’s pollution. Sustainable and ethical fashion starts with the fabric!

Here’s a few links where you can find sustainable fabrics and yarns – Happy Eco-Designing

30 Sustainable Fabrics For The Most Eco Friendly Fashion

Birds of a Thread

My Green Closet

So tell us, what will you do to reduce your carbon footprint?

 

 

 

WEDDING BELLS ARE RINGING: SPRING 2023 BRIDAL TRENDS

- - Fashion Shows

A look from Elie Saab’s Bridal Spring 2023 Collection. (Photo Credit; Elie Saab)

After 2 years of postponed weddings, thanks to Covid, here come the brides! An estimated 2.5 million weddings—the most since 1984—are expected to take place in the U.S. in 2022, according to market-research firm, The Wedding Report. The wedding boom follows a record number of cancellations, postponements, elopements–and lots of Zoom nuptials (yes, it’s true) during the past two years.

“Weddings are, without a doubt, back to pre-pandemic levels,” says Hannah Nowack, Real Weddings editor at The Knot, in an interview with Forbes.

A look from Mira Zwillinger’s Bridal Spring 2023 Collection . (Photo Credit: Mira Zwillinger)

Certainly, some couples will continue to hold intimate micro-weddings, but wedding vendors, venues and planners note a return to traditional ceremonies with larger guest lists. In the second half of 2021, The Knot reported the average guest count to be 110, compared with the pre-pandemic average of 131. And in 2022 the average number of guests is projected to be 129, which is in line with pre-pandemic figures.  “After so many months of planning, and time spent away from loved ones, these couples are eager to reunite and celebrate with a blowout bash,” says Nowack.

Even the White House will host a wedding celebration this year as President Joe Biden’s granddaughter Naomi Biden will marry her longtime love, Peter Neal.

Joe Biden’s Granddaughter Naomi Biden Will Have a White House Wedding Celebration. Here she is with her fiance Peter Neal. (Photo Credit: Yahoo Finance)

“The President and First Lady will host the wedding reception for their granddaughter Naomi Biden and her fiancée Peter Neal at the White House on November 19, 2022,” Elizabeth Alexander, the communications director for Dr. Jill Biden, tells PEOPLE in a statement. “The First Family, the couple, and their parents are still in the planning stages of all of the wedding festivities and look forward to announcing further details in the coming months.” 

Although Naomi Biden’s upcoming wedding may still be in the planning stages, one thing is for sure, she will have plenty of bridal dresses to chose from as New York Luxury Bridal Fashion Week (NYLBFW) just wrapped up its spring 2023 season (debuting from April 6-8, 2022). The show has finally returned to in-person runway shows and market appointments. A good sign.

NYLBFW, an industry event where bridal designers and brands unveil their latest collections, happens twice a year, October and April, and draws retail buyers, press, and of course, future brides to be. Pre-covid, many bridal labels would host theatrical runway shows, presentations, and intimate events, to fashion insiders; but today, thanks to CFDA’s RUNWAY360, everyone has access to the latest bridal spring 2023 collections.

In an interview with WWD,  The Bridal Council’s executive director Michelle Iacovelli stated, “The wonderful thing is over 13 countries will be represented by designers traveling to New York City, the capital of bridal.What’s interesting is that even though collections will be presented digitally, the brands will still be in New York doing market appointments, it’s a real hybrid.” She further explained, “The demand is there from the brides. This year is set to be the biggest number of weddings since 1984.

For all of you brides and bridal designers out there, who are either planning your wedding or interested in bridal’s latest trends, this is for you:

For the fourth season, The Bridal Council is continuing its partnership with Pullquest to feature the 2023 collections on The Bridal Council x Pullquest’s digital showroom platform. The site will display the online presentation schedule and continue to act as a digital marketing tool and sales platform with collection imagery and videos, downloadable press kits and more for six months following Luxury Bridal Fashion Week,” according to WWD.

Established bridal designers like Monique Lhullier, Marchesa, Amsale, and Anne Barge (to name a few) have all presented, alongside smaller and up-and-coming brands, during a jam-packed three-day virtual and in-person affair. During these shows, brides become inspired by the fashion, accessories, and trends before making their wedding dress plans. Although it is important to keep in mind that a bride should chose a look that they feel comfortable, confident, and beautiful in, they should also be looking for a dress that speaks to their personal style.

A look from Anne Barge’s Bridal Spring 2023 Collection. (Photo Credit: Anne Barge)

This season there were plenty of gorgeous gowns to chose from that ran the gamut – from princess and minimalist to frilly and daring.

Here are a few breakout trends for the spring 2023 bridal season.

SINGULAR SENSATION

One shoulder gowns are making a splash this season!  Designers are opting for asymmetrical dresses, offering their brides a modern and fresh twist for their fairy-tale event.

A look from Elie Saab’s Bridal Spring 2023 Collection. (Photo Credit: Elie Saab)

A look from LEGENDS Romona Keveza’s Spring 2023. (Photo Credit: Romona Keveza)

A look from Kim Kassas Couture Bridal Spring 2023 Collection. (Photo Credit: Kim Kassas Couture)

A look from Mira Zwillinger’s Bridal Spring 2023 Collection. (Photo Credit: Mira Zwillinger)

A look from Nadia Manjarrez Studio Bridal’s Spring 2023 Collection. (Photo Credit: Nadia Manjarrez Studio)

A look from Amsale’s Bridal Spring 2023 Collection. (Photo Credit: Amsale)

BARE CONDITIONING

Following in the footsteps of the last ready-to-wear fashion week, the Cut-It-Out trend lives on. Sexy and strategic cut outs have replaced the transparent trend as the new, must have, racy bridal dress of the season.

A look from Costarellos’ Bridal Spring 2023 Collection. (Photo Credit: Costarellos)

A look from Lihi Hod’s Bridal Spring 2023 Collection. (Photo Credit: Lihi Hod)

A look from Sachin & Babi’s Bridal Spring 2023 Collection. (Photo Credit: Sachin & Babi)

A look from Theia’s Spring 2023 Bridal Collection. (Photo Credit: Theia)

TAKE A BOW

Bows are back! From exaggerated oversized bows to demure little ties, these romantic ties are a refreshing take on traditional dresses.

A look from Honor NYC Bridal’s Spring 2023 Collection. (Photo Credit: Honor)

A look from LEGENDS Romona Keveza’s Spring 2023 . (Photo Credit: Romona Keveza)

A look from ALYNE by Rita Vinieris’ Bridal Spring 2023 Collection. (Photo Credit: Rita Vinieris)

A look from Mira Zwillinger’s Bridal Spring 2023 Collection. (Photo Credit: Mira Zwillinger)

A look from Peter Langner’s Bridal Spring 2023 Collection. (Photo Credit: Peter Langer)

A look from Nadia Manjarrez’s Bridal Spring 2023 Collection. (Photo Credit: Nadia Manjarrez)

AND THE BRIDE WORE…..PANTS

Not every bride dreams of wearing a dramatic gown, so for spring 2023 designers are offering plenty of trouser options.

A look from Amsale’s Bridal Spring 2023 Collection. (Photo Credit: Amsale)

A look from Rami Al Ali’s Bridal Spring 2023 Collection. (Photo Credit: Rami Al Ali)

A look from Sachin & Babi’s Bridal Spring 2023 Collection. (Photo Credit: Sachin & Babi)

A look from Costarellos’ Bridal Spring 2023 Collection. (Photo Credit: Costarellos)

THE RETURN OF THE MINI

The mini was one of the biggest runway trends this season and the bridal market has jumped on the bandwagon. They offer plenty of mini-dress bridal numbers that are sweet and sassy.