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.

A look from Elie Saab’s Bridal Spring 2023 Collection. (Photo Credit: Elie Saab)

A look from Rami Al Ali’s Bridal Spring 2023 Collection. (Photo Credit: Rami Al Ali)

A look from Peter Langner’s Bridal Spring 2023 Collection. (Photo Credit: Peter Langer)

A look from Odylyne The Ceremony Bridal Spring 2023 Collection. (Photo Credit: Odylyne)

A look from Honor NYC Bridal’s Spring 2023 Collection. (Photo Credit: Honor)

CORSET IT IS

The corset trend is stronger than ever as bridal designers offer some of the most romantic lingerie-inspired bodices for spring.

A look from Dana Harel’s Bridal Spring 2023 Collection. (Photo Credit: Dana Harel)

A look from Theia’s Spring 2023 Bridal Collection. (Photo Credit: Theia)

A look from RIVINI by Rita Vinieris’ Bridal Spring 2023 Collection . (Photo Credit: Rita Vinieris)

A look from Lihi Hod’s Bridal Spring 2023 Collection. (Photo Credit: Lihi Hod)

A look from Romona Keveza’s Bridal Collection Spring 2023. (Photo Credit: Romona Keveza)

SO TELL US, WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE BRIDAL TREND?

ONSHORE, RESHORE & OFFSHORE – BRINGING MANUFACTURING BACK HOME

Made in USA Vintage Shield. (Photo Credit: Apparel Business Systems)

How  It Took a Global Pandemic & a War to Make it Happen

For years U.S. politicians have been promising to bring manufacturing back home, in an attempt to help strengthen our economy and bring jobs back to our shore; but they were always empty promises.

In the 1960s, the U.S. was responsible for 50% of the world’s manufacturing output (hard to believe, right?), but today the number is a pitiful 17% . In 1979, there were approximately 20 million manufacturing jobs in the U. S. and today, sadly, there are less than 12 million. So, what went wrong? Why did we lose our manufacturing capabilities across the board?

The manufacturing industry once generated a number of steady, higher paying jobs, creating a healthy middle class, as well as labor unions. It also widened the gap between rich and poor. Many immigrants came to the U.S. because there were so many jobs available. Where once industrialized cities such as New York City, Buffalo, Cincinnati, and Cleveland were among the top ten in population, today, they are only shadows of their former manufacturing selves.

“The inner cities and the rural towns were really basically decimated,” said Sandy Montalbano, a consultant with the Reshoring Initiative, an organization that was formed in 2010 to help bring back manufacturing jobs to the United States. In an interview with 60 Days USA she claimed, “These were really good-paying jobs with benefits and these wage earners were able to provide for their families.” 

The United States dominated the manufacturing market worldwide until the 1970s. So, if the U.S. was such an industrial powerhouse, why did American manufacturing go offshore? What happened?

Sadly, there were a number of factors that contributed to the decline in manufacturing in the United States.

Beginning in the mid-Eighties, and throughout the early 2000s, many manufacturing jobs went “offshore” as companies took advantage of lower wages and fewer regulations.

According to Montalbano, these companies were focusing on short-term gains for shareholders instead of investing in capital equipment, innovation, and workforce training. Another factor was the federal government, it allowed the U.S. dollar to appreciate 300 percent vs. our trading partners over the past 40 years, which caused the U.S. dollar to become overvalued.

These factors were all compounded, Montalbano adds, when the country began to promote a “college for all” education system, putting less emphasis on ‘skills-based’ training, credentialing, and apprenticeship. UoF has been actively trying to help re-educate people with their digital and on-the-table video library of 500+ lessons.

Consumers also had a hand in manufacturing jobs going offshore, by demanding and buying the cheapest products available. This caused a trade deficit, which means the amount by which the cost of a country’s imports exceeds the value of its exports, which continues to impact the manufacturing industry in the U.S.

Obviously, bringing manufacturing back to life in the United States will stimulate the economy and create plenty of job opportunities. In recent years, some promising numbers indicate that certain industries are willing to bring manufacturing back to the U.S., a hopeful and encouraging sign, but it will take more time, money and lots of effort.

According to a 2020 Reshoring Initiative report, approximately 1 million manufacturing jobs returned to the United States from 2010-2020.

Made in the USA image. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

These are all promising signs, but while manufacturing nationwide increased 20 percent from 2009 to 2017, employment in the fashion industry only increased by 5 percent. Montalbano says there are a number of things that need to be done to rev up the nation’s manufacturing sector. “The government needs to level the playing field,” Montalbano said. This can also be achieved by fine tuning the American manufacturing industry with automation and other new technologies, as well as investing in properly training the workforce through processes such as apprenticeships and vocational education. According to Montalbano, “Workers are going to need more than a high school education. There needs to be lifelong learning because technology is moving so quickly.”

The Reshoring Initiative sees an encouraging trend as U.S. companies are gradually turning away from offshoring and returning to U.S. manufacturing. American companies are beginning to weigh the pros and cons of manufacturing offshore: quality control issues, increased transportation costs, fair trade and labor issues in other countries and concern over a company’s carbon footprint and public image when it comes to sustainability.

In an article published in Industry Week, Harry Moser, the founder and president of the Reshoring Initiative, said the push to bring back jobs initially got off to a good start under Trump, due to tax cuts and reductions in regulations, however, his tariff policies and other uncertainties put a damper on that progress.

Ironically, the COVID-19 pandemic actually helped U.S. manufacturing. Moser stated that the pandemic encouraged local production with shorter supply chains and fewer people handling merchandise.

Moser is more optimistic about the administration of President Biden, as Biden has promised 5 million new manufacturing jobs. Moser said the nation will need to reduce manufacturing costs, improve worker skills, and strengthen the U.S. dollar to get there.

One of the easiest manufacturing categories to bring back “onshore” would be fashion. While the fashion industry in the U.S. is still recovering from the losses suffered during the pandemic, brands and retailers could benefit from manufacturing at least some of their clothes in America.

“American-made goods are overwhelmingly popular”, says Christie Grymes Thompson, chair of advertising, marketing, and consumer product safety for Kelley Drye & Warren, an international law firm, in an interview with Sourcing Journal.

“Consumer surveys consistently show over 90 percent of consumers [expressed] a favorable or somewhat favorable view of ‘Made in USA’ products,” Grymes Thompson says in a webinar regarding “Made in USA” claims. “A lot of people think it’s to help the economy, or to otherwise support their local community. Some people also think they would get better quality while recognizing they might pay a premium for that better quality or, at least, perceived better quality.”

Post-Covid, McKinsey & Company says it benefits retailers and manufacturers to move at least some production closer to home.

“Part of being resilient is building an agile network of suppliers and partners,” McKinsey states. “Certain major nondiscretionary retailers are diversifying their supply chains to mitigate dependencies on geographically concentrated suppliers. Retailers dependent on offshore production might explore alternative sources and locations, perhaps developing manufacturing capacity closer to core markets. Rethinking production footprints could help drive down risk while providing new value propositions for product that are sourced or made locally.”

Fashion brands that already manufacture their clothes in the United States, as well as those who are considering doing so, should consider that consumers value American-made apparel, and 90 percent say they would feel good about wearing clothes made with cotton that’s grown in the U.S., according to Monitor™ research. Nearly 86 percent say U.S. cotton is something to be proud of, and 74 percent agree cotton grown in the U.S. is more sustainable than cotton grown in other countries. Furthermore, 62 percent of shoppers say they would pay extra for clothes made of cotton grown in the U.S.

When the pandemic spread in 2020, roughly half of the world’s disposable masks were made in China, but as COVID-19 became a global crisis, face masks became essential and countries started imposing restrictions on exports –unfortunately, this led to shortages of masks and raw materials. The pandemic educated the U.S. that we cannot just rely on China and once again, ‘Made in America’ and reshoring gained in popularity, especially for protective gear which grew about 60 percent.

Reshoring Means Reskilling

For U.S. manufacturing to become competitive, automation and robotics, are the key to offsetting higher U.S. labor costs. Manufacture workers need to learn how to use advanced technology, 3D design software, artificial intelligence, cloud computing, 3D printing and supply chain management – these are all instrumental in the continual efforts to reshore manufacturing.

Only automated manufacturing technologies will help US apparel sector successfully work out ‘local to local’ production more efficiently. (Photo Credit: Apparel Resource)

Substantiating on the same, Harry Moser says manufacturing costs in the U.S. are often 20 per cent higher than those in Europe and 40 per cent higher than in China and other low labor cost countries. “If we don’t invest in automation, we don’t increase our competitiveness,” he added. The fashion industry will have to think and talk technology, as only automated manufacturing technologies will help them successfully work out ‘local to local’ production more efficiently and successfully. “Some people are afraid of automation because they’ll lose their jobs,” Harry adds, but workers need to get over that frame of mind, “The U.S. will lose more jobs to Chinese automation if we don’t automate than we will to U.S. automation if we do. Since we are competing, you have to automate the best you can just to stay even.” Just like when Barthélemy Thimmonier’s sewing machine, created in the early 1800s, was destroyed by journeymen tailors who felt that the machine threatened their livelihood, we can’t allow luddites to keep us from moving our domestic manufacturing industry into the future.

Automated manufacturing technologies will surely and effectively help the U.S. apparel sector successfully work out ‘local to local’ production; while technology is integral to  reshoring jobs back to the U.S.. And will provide higher paying jobs.

Reshoring Pioneers  

As the reshoring movement gains in popularity, with many more to follow, one such fashion company that is leading the pack is American Knits in Swainsboro, GA. Companies like America Knits are testing the waters to see if the U.S. can regain some of the manufacturing output it relinquished in recent decades to China and other countries.

At America Knits in Swainsboro, Ga., workers earn up to twice as much per hour as they would in a service job. (Photo Credit: The New York Times)

American Knits was founded in 2019 by Steven Hawkins, with 65 workers producing premium T-shirts from locally grown cotton. He expects the company’s work force to increase to 100 in the coming months. If the area is to have an industrial renaissance, he is a visionary. “I’m the only one, the only crazy one,” Mr. Hawkins said to the New York Times. But as he sees it, bringing manufacturing back from overseas has found its moment. “America Knits shows it can be done and has been done,” he said.

Some corporate giant brands are eager to test that premise, if not for finished goods, then certainly for essential parts.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, efforts to relocate manufacturing have accelerated, said Claudio Knizek, global leader for advanced manufacturing and mobility at EY-Parthenon, a strategy consulting firm, in an interview with the New York Times. “It may have reached a tipping point,” he added.

Decades of dependence on overseas factories, especially in China, has been upended by delays and increasing freight rates — when shipping capacity can even be found.

Onshoring has never been more essential, not only because of the delays of much needed essentials due to the pandemic, but also for sustainability. Many companies have committed to sustainability, and therefore by manufacturing in the United States, companies will attempt to reduce pollution and fossil fuel consumption in transportation across oceans, which is a major selling point.

Julie Land is the owner of the Canadian company Winnipeg Stitch Factory, and its clothing brand, Pine Falls. The 12-year-old business is opening a plant in Port Gibson, Miss., in 2022. While fabrics will be cut in Winnipeg, Canada, they will then be shipped to Port Gibson to be sewn into garments like jackets and sweaters. The new factory will be heavily automated, which will keep her costs manageable, and the company will be able to compete with overseas workshops.

“Reshoring is not going to happen overnight, but it is happening, and it’s exciting,” Julie Land said to the New York Times. “If you place an order offshore, there is so much uncertainty with a longer lead time. All of that adds up.”

Another fashion company that is building facilities in the U.S. is Resonance, which is a collection of companies focused on transforming the fashion industry. The company opened its first sew production facility in New York City. The 300 square-foot facility is located in Pier 59 in Chelsea Piers, adjacent to the company’s headquarters. This is the first creation-to-customer-closet platform for sustainable fashion.

Resonance uses digital printing on organic and environmentally certified fabrics as part of a fully automated process to design, sell, and make garments in real time, on demand, sustainably anywhere in the world.

A Photo from Resonance’s New York City Factory. (Photo Credit: Shutterstock.)

“The new facility is comprised of 12 sewing stations with the ability to make hundreds of garments per week supported by Resonance’s proprietary technology. The team plans to hire additional team members to run the NYC facility as well as several others that are planned in the coming months,” according to the company’s statement.

Lawrence Lenihan, Resonance chairman and co-founder, said in a press release, “Resonance is deeply committed to bringing components of garment manufacturing back to NYC, a city whose thriving textile manufacturing industry was driven overseas in search of lower production costs,” the statement further said. “Resonance believes that this network can birth a new fashion value chain and new entrepreneurs can build job-creating manufacturing businesses in their communities powered by orders for clothing from brands on the Resonance platform. These next generation manufacturers will compete on cost and by being closer to the end customer, adding value to the last-mile process, and producing garments that create social and environmental value transparently.”

Resonance’s goal is to open hundreds of these sew production facilities around the country and internationally while also connecting existing ones, helping to reimagine the textile manufacturing experience for designers, consumers, and the planet.

Another onshore pioneer is New York Embroidery Studio, which is opening a new space in NYC’s Brooklyn Army Terminal. The new three-year lease is one of the largest in the Sunset Park location. The company has been manufacturing in the garment center for over 30 years and is known for collaborating with fashion luxury houses such as Caroline Herrera, Ralph Lauren, and Oscar de la Renta.

This luxury fashion company, known for their exquisite embellishments, pivoted at the height of the pandemic to create personal protective equipment like masks and hospital gowns. New York Embroidery Studio’s founder, Michelle Feinberg and her team made over 590,000 hospital gowns in just nine weeks and also kept hundreds of New Yorkers employed even as the city’s economy sharply declined.

New York Embroidery Studio Founder Michelle Feinberg at the new Brooklyn Army Terminal space. (Photo Credit: NYES)

New York Embroidery Studio’s new 80,000-square-foot lease will bring more than 500 on-site jobs, generating an estimated $73 million in economic output for New York City. The studio will use automated machines and advanced manufacturing techniques to produce PPE full-time as part of an ongoing effort to restore the country’s national stockpile.

“The local production of PPE is essential to our health care workers and our city, so we are always prepared,” said New York City Economic Development Corporation President and CEO Andrew Kimball. “We must be forward-thinking as we address our city’s future pandemic preparedness.”

Russia’s War & Its Impact on Fashion Manufacturing

Since Putin’s war against Ukraine began in February 2022, the global fashion industry has come down heavy on Russia with brands refusing to ship merchandise and closing their retail stores there. Sanctions imposed on Russia are resulting in major supply chain issues for the global textile and apparel industry as the rising cost of essential materials such as crude oil and the rising cost of food is resulting in higher labor costs. According to Fibre2Fashion.com, “Several of the Asian economies are dependent heavily on coal and oil from Russia, and food supplies from Ukraine. UNCTAD [The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development] update on the Russian-Ukraine crisis shows that Turkey, China, Egypt, and India are the countries that are most dependent on food supplies from Russia and Ukraine.  These are incidentally also major textile and apparel suppliers globally. Inflation in Turkey has skyrocketed to almost 54.44 per cent in February 2022, which is expected to significantly impact sourcing from the country. Consumer prices inflation in Bangladesh has also risen rapidly to 6.17 per cent, predominantly due to increase in food prices.”

The U.S. fashion industry (and Europe’s as well) is now having to take a long, hard look at what the repercussions are of their heavy reliance on foreign textiles and on shoe and garment manufacturing.  Our once booming textile, shoe and garment manufacturing industries were reduced to rubble in the 80s and to bring them back will take time and lots of money. Watch this space as American ingenuity explores how to make it happen. It’ll take a village though: government money, fashion pioneers and entrepreneurs, patriotic consumers willing to pay more for Made in America products and an army of influencers to promote it.

Between the War in Ukraine and the global pandemic, these two events alone have educated Americans that reshoring is sure to become the biggest growth driver for its manufacturing industry – in particular the apparel and textile sector. As more and more companies explore onshore opportunities and align their marketing and selling strategies into the digital space, they just may be surprised at how profitable bringing manufacturing back home can be. Jobs, jobs, jobs.

 

So, tell us, how motivated are you on manufacturing your collection in the United States?

 

 

WELCOME TO THE FIRST METAVERSE FASHION WEEK – DIGITAL FASHION HAS ARRIVED

An Imitation of Christ look for Decentraland’s Metaverse Fashion Week. (Photo Credit: WWD)

Spring 2022 Fashion Month may have ended last month, but runway shows continued. Where you ask? Welcome to Metaverse Fashion Week (MVFW)!

For the past three years UoF has been reporting on the importance of the 3D design software and the concept of the Metaverse and its potential within the fashion industry. And so, at last, we finally got to watch the first major fashion industry-backed Metaverse fashion week, Thursday, March 24th to Sunday, March 27th. And just like that, fashion history was made.

Where was Metaverse Fashion Week Held?

Decentraland, a 3D virtual world browser-based platform, hosted the first Metaverse Fashion Week, with more than 60 luxury and digital brands presenting. (I wonder if the CFDA be adding  MVFW to the fashion calendar?).

Several innovative, early adopter fashion brands, and even some established brands, virtually presented their Spring 2022 collections in different “neighborhoods” or “districts” on Decentraland’s platform within their newly created ‘Fashion District’. The four-day event was packed with fun events that included digital fashion shows (which took place on three virtual runways), after parties, and even shopping events. Some merch was offered for sale as ‘wearables’, while others were offered as collectibles that were later uploaded to NFT marketplaces like OpenSea.

Before the event launched, Giovanna Graziosi Casimiro, head of Metaverse Fashion Week, told WWD, “I think people will be amazed, because our team has been working so much to really achieve unique spaces in 3D and unique shops for the stores.” The team created a broad range of activities, with multiple simultaneous events. Casimiro added, “But they will be planned in a way that people have a chance to see all of them.” There will be plenty of after parties. The idea is that we bring people to see the events, but they can stay inside the platform and see a great performer and DJs. It’s going to be really fun.”

Inside the Metaverse Fashion Week runway arena. (Photo Credit: WWD)

The MVFW team anticipated a large number of new visitors joining the metaverse for the first time, so Decentraland offered instructions on their website to help first time visitors enter as guests. They also helped newcomers set up their digital wallets to shop, but visiting and touring the venues was free and open to all.

The opening installment began with Selfridges’ Decentraland venue on Wednesday, March 23rd, which was followed by four days of runway shows, brand activations, interactive experiences and countless shopping experiences across multiple digital storefronts which showcased wearable looks on avatars, NFTs, artworks and more.

Brands participating included Tommy Hilfiger, Dolce & Gabbana, Elie Saab, Nicholas Kirkwood, Perry Ellis, Imitation of Christ, Estée Lauder, Etro and many more, with several setting up shop in digital stores where guests could teleport, browse, and of course, shop.

In the Luxury Fashion District, Decentraland’s newest district, visitors were able to attend fashion shows and shop for luxury items in the metaverse. The Luxury Fashion District, which was sponsored by UNXD, a curated marketplace for the best of digital culture, and Vogue Arabia, was where many brands made their Web3 debut, such as Dolce & Gabbana, Etro, Elie Saab, Imitation of Christ, Dundas, Nicholas Kirkwood x White Rabbit, Faith Tribe, and Guo Pei.

Tommy Hilfiger remarked, “When I founded my namesake brand in 1985, I never imagined I’d see a time when fashion weeks would be held in a 3D, fully virtual world. As we further explore the Metaverse and all it has to offer, I’m inspired by the power of digital technology and the opportunities it presents to engage with communities in fascinating, relevant ways.”

The Rarible District hosted a temporary space with pop-up shops that included Placebo Digital Fashion House, The Fabricant, Fred Segal, Perry Ellis, Artisant in collaboration with Puma, Miss J Collection by Crypto Couture, NFT artist Marcomatic and more.

According to sourcingjournal.com, “Mango’s development in the metaverse environment is yet another example of the company’s innovative character and its strategy based on constant innovation,” said Jordi Álex, Mango’s director of technology, data, privacy and security. “We have created a specific team dedicated to the development of digital content, where new professionals will be joining in the coming months, in order to develop new projects in the future that will allow us to add the virtual environment to the digital and physical environments in our channel ecosystem.”

Oh, and if you are interested in owning property in the metaverse, (yes, you CAN buy property there and will need a realtor) you could go to the virtual real estate marketplace Parcel x Metaparty Community Precinct.  The Community Precinct offered a multilevel experience with mini-games, chill-out floor, and fashion show experience that highlighted Decentraland’s wearables designer community. Meanwhile, the MetaTokyo community launched a museum, Space by MetaTokyo, plus its own wearable collection through the Decentraland marketplace. DRESSX, was virtual store inside Metajuku, another shopping district.

Boson Protocol’s metaverse marketplace hosted more than a dozen brands that were selling NFTs tied to exclusive, real-world luxury products. Modeled after Paris’ Avenue Montaigne, this boulevard of metaverse stores featured brands such as Tommy Hilfiger and Hogan tomWeb3-first brands like Cider, IKKS, Deadfellaz, 8sian, The Rebels by House of Kalinkin, Christine Massarany, Anrealage, Wildfangz by Fang Gang, Wonder and more.

At Threedium Plaza, brands ranging from DKNY to Phygicode by Wyldflwr showcased their 3D creations in the plaza. Here, shops featured 3D wearable pieces, but also went beyond fashion with fun experiences including General Motors’ latest electric vehicles.

Interior view of Cash Labs’s mixed media art gallery. (Photo Credit: WWD)

The Meta Funaverse

Metaverse Fashion Week also hosted plenty of fun parties, such as #FashionFridays a pre-party show that got fashion week off to a festive start on TwitterSpaces. Luxury fashion house Dolce & Gabbana held the first after-show party, while Hogan + Exclusible held a soiree on Saturday. And the parties and festivities kept going on and on.

A few other captivating projects took place, such as The Vogu x Hype and Sophia the Robot’s look at the future of A.I. fashion, Imitation of Christ’s installation and performance, and a luxury eyewear store by Garrett Leight, with exclusive frames and wearables for your avatar.

The Philipp Plein show at Decentraland’s Metaverse Fashion Week. (Photo Credit: Martino Carrera)

Metaverse’s Early Adopters

German fashion designer Philipp Plein took the metaverse by storm. Viewers attending his event were provided the full fashion show experience with a runway show held in his own $1.4 million Decentraland estate, an afterparty with real-life DJs, and a see-now- buy-now collection, which was available as limited-run NFTs on Decentraland’s marketplace. His show took place on Thursday night at the Plein Plaza central square surrounded by Plein-branded skyscrapers. The runway was a metallic skull-shaped animatronic that opened its mouth revealing avatar models in the designer’s latest creations. The collection was named Pleinverse $eason 1 and was developed by Crypto King$, the nickname behind Plein and digital artist Antoni Tudisco, who spearheaded the label’s metaverse activities. The label also hosted an afterparty, with the Australian DJ duo Miriam and Olivia Nervo who were pumping up the music.

Italian luxury house Dolce & Gabbana held one of the most realistic metaverse fashion shows. Guests had to “teleport” to the location, and that’s only if they managed to understand how to do it. The experience was not unlike finding the right show address down the winding streets of Milan, Paris, London, or New York, with the exception of being stuck in traffic. As for the show, the label featured cat-faced avatar models emerge from two giant lotus-like structures dominating the two sides of the runway. Just like a IRL show, there was strobe lighting, upbeat music and charming digital clothing. Case in point, a LED-lit broad-shouldered mini frock. As for showgoers, attendance was disappointing, and they were not your typical fashion insiders. Some avatars jumped onto the runway while the show was going on, while other attendees typed in the chat box so they really did not pay attention to the models. While it was a fun experience, Dolce & Gabbana’s regular clients were missing from the scene.

Imitation of Christ. (Photo Credit: WWD)

The Imitation of Christ store was an ode to punk-rock fashion, as well as an antiwar statement. There were signs aimed at Putin to stop his war, as well as support for Ukraine and the Ukrainian flag. On the first floor, mannequins were dressed in streetwear looks, such as hoodies, catsuits, kilts, and fashionable combat boots. Meanwhile, on the second floor, you could find the label’s signature couture-like designs.

Scenes from Decentraland’s Metaverse Fashion Week. (Photo Credit: WWD)

Guo Pei, the Asian designer best known for her luxurious, couture-like pieces, had a boutique on Luxury Street. There you could find a digital version of the designers exquisite creations, but unfortunately, the digital version did not compare to the magnificent embroidery of the real-life version.

Meanwhile, for Selfridges, the goal was to offer a “fusion of fashion and art,” Jeannie Lee, head of buying for Selfridges, told WWD.“We currently have launched a project called ‘Universe,’ based on a collaboration with Paco Rabanne and [Victor] Vasarely,” she said. “He used the prints of it from the artwork, and we were so inspired that we decided to build a physical installation featuring artwork from the Fondation, then also wearable pieces from Paco Rabanne’s archives, from the 1966 collection called the ’12 Unwearable Dresses,’ and everything is on display like a museum-grade, temperature-controlled [exhibit] in Selfridges.”

Selfridges’ Decentraland venue, which opened Wednesday, evokes its real-world Birmingham, England, location. (Photo Credit: WWD)

In the future, Selfridges does plan to release NFTs, but at this point the store was used to create a visual experience and to celebrate fashion and art.

The Etro “Liquid Paisley” fashion show at Metaverse Fashion Week. (Photo Credit: Martino Carrera)

Etro also held a virtual runway show and pop-up shop in the Luxury Fashion District. The brand’s digital collection launched the Liquid Paisley pattern, “a contemporary take on one of the house’s most iconic codes, in a vibrant palette of fresh and joyful shades, with a gender-fluid approach driven by Etro’s open and inclusive vision. A collection without gender boundaries in a fashion show that will be accessible to everyone,” Veronica Etro, creative director of the women’s collection, said in a statement to WWD. Customers will be able to buy Etro’s ready-to-wear and accessories, as well as customize their avatars with collection items.

In a recent interview with Luis Fernandez of @LUISFERN5 Creative Design Agency, published on the CFDA website, Fernandez was quite bullish on the future of the metaverse for fashion, especially the experiential ‘Store of the Future”.

As we enter this new digital universe, the opportunities are endless. It will take the creative and entrepreneurial minds of those of us in the fashion industry to push the boundaries and to be on the cutting edge of how to marry the ‘real’ world with the ‘tech’ world. Let’s face it, no one ever thought that online fashion education would ever be a ‘thing’ when University of Fashion burst onto to scene in 2008, right? Meanwhile…. We are now madly working on lessons for our subscribers on how to design in 3D. So stay tuned!

Tell us, are you as exited about the metaverse as we are? Will you use the Metaverse to build your brand?

CELEBRATING WOMEN’S HISTORY MONTH: FEMALE DESIGNERS WHO ARE INFLUENCING FASHION

British Fashion Royalty Stella McCartney and Vivienne Westwood. (Photo Credit: WWD.)

Long before Women’s History Month was put into motion in 1981, female fashion designers were paving their own path, empowering women by providing women fashion options that instilled confidence, helped build careers so that they could support themselves and their families. While many associate fashion with style, these creative geniuses have used their talents to foster an individualistic path to self-expression and to alter old-fashion notions of what a woman ‘should be’. Can you name even one female friend of yours who aspires to be like June Cleaver from the TV series Leave it to Beaver?

Female Italian powerhouses Miuccia Prada and Donatella Versace. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

This year, due to so many female caregivers and frontline workers who have worked tirelessly through the global pandemic, the 2022 Women’s History theme is, “Providing Healing, Promoting Hope,” and is a tribute to the thousands of ways that women of all cultures have provided both healing and hope throughout history.

As we celebrate Woman’s History Month, UoF is exploring some of the most influential female designers today who continue to make an impact not only in fashion but in the world.

MIUCCIA PRADA

CREATIVE DIRECTOR AT PRADA & MIU MIU

A photo of Miuccia Prada. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

As a young woman, Miuccia Prada did not dream of a career in fashion. The iconic designer, originally named Maria Bianchi, studied political science and graduated with a PhD from the University of Milan. As part of the Italian Communist Party in the Sixties, Prada is quoted in a Document Journal, “Fashion was the worst place for a feminist in the ’60s.” Thankfully she couldn’t ignore her calling and talent to pursue a career in fashion, and by 1979, she joined the family business.

In 1989, Prada launched her first woman’s ready-to-wear collection, and by the early ‘90s every fashionistas saved their pennies to purchase anything that Prada created. She forever changed fashion. With a swift pivot of her chunky heeled loafer, women everywhere threw their teetering stilettos in the back of their closets, and the “ugly shoe” trend began. For her Spring 1996 collection, Prada transformed ‘ugly’ into the most fashionable and sought after looks, from upholstery prints to putrid, acid colors to square-toed, T-strap shoes. By Ms. Prada’s own admission in an interview with Vogue magazine, “Ugly is attractive, ugly is exciting. Maybe because it is newer. The investigation of ugliness is, to me, more interesting than the bourgeois idea of beauty.”

Throughout the years, Prada has stuck to the DNA of the brand she created. Prada’s “ugly prints” range from geometric prints, lip motifs, and even an ode to Frankenstein, but somehow, she makes it all so desirable. Prada continues to find countless ways to render what is traditionally considered unconventional, attractive. For example, designer has paired midi skirts with lug-soled brogues. She has clashed babydoll tops with board shorts. She has advocated socks with sandals, nubby wool tights, and body-concealing nylon puffas, while simultaneously creating sexy little scarf dresses, miniskirts with trains, and naughty frocks with pointed busts.

Her history as a feminist fighter still shines through in her collections, something that’s obvious in the lack of traditionally sexy pieces. Prada designs intellectual pieces for both her Prada and Miu Miu labels, and her focus is always on what women want and need.  “I want to be more clever, or more difficult, or more complicated, or more interesting, or more new,” she says to Document Journal.

DONATELLA VERSACE

CREATIVE DIRECTOR AT VERSACE

Leave it to Donatella Versace to create a golden supermodel moment. (Photo Credit: Shutterstock)

On the opposite side of the Prada spectrum is Donatella Versace, another strong, Italian female designer, who has changed the way women and men around the world dress.

Donatella Versace is known for her platinum blond hair, sun-kissed skin, teetering platform heels, and sexy, second-skin clothing. The designer is having a major moment as Gen Z is obsessed with the ‘90s, and Versace’s golden-tinted fantasyland. Sadly, Donatella’s iconhood  was, in fact, created out of tragedy, following the murder of her brother Gianni (the founder of the house) in 1997.

Gianni Versace’s shocking murder was a huge lose to the world. His bold approach to fashion with loud colors, ostentatious prints, and plenty of sex appeal was epic and up until his death, Gianni and his sister Donatella were always in the fashion limelight. Their zest for life was translated into each collection and every supermodel in the ‘90s wanted to walk Versace’s show.

Donatella had always worked closely with Gianni and was instrumental in forging the house’s heritage status. Donatella was more than Gianni’s muse, she worked tirelessly promoting the brand and was responsible for creating the relationships between the house of Versace and all the rockstars and rappers who loved the label. Donatella amped up the celebrity quotient at the Versace front row and was friends with all the supermodels at the time: Linda Evangelista, Christy Turlington, Naomi Campbell, and Cindy Crawford – to name a few.

Once Gianni passed away, Donatella took the reins of the house and became creative director for the brand. But the Italian rockstar and non-stop party girl lifestyle took a toll on her. According to Vogue Magazine, “she was one of the first in fashion to find redemption in rehab and yet not suffer public vilification for it. This, too, has contributed to giving her iconography a human and vulnerable aspect. Donatella, the survivor.”

MARIA GRAZIA CHIURI

CREATIVE DIRECTOR OF WOMENSWEAR FOR DIOR

A photo of Maria Grazia Chiuri, Creative Director for Dior’s Women’s Collection. (Photo Credit: Jean-Paul Goude)

Maria Grazia Chiuri rose to fame in 2007 when she became co-creative director of Valentino alongside Pierpaolo Piccioli, her design partner for 26 years. Then, in July of 2016, she went out on her own and was also hired as the creative director of womenswear for the legendary house of Dior. Chiuri became the first-ever female to take on such a prestigious role at the storied house.

Thanks to Chiuri, the brand reinstated its iconic Saddle bag, which has been spotted on countless celebrities and fashion enthusiasts since its return in 2018. Under Chiuri’s leadership, the French house saw a 44% increase in sales in 2021.

Chiuri is an active feminist, and her designs reflect the sociological environment that we live in today. For her debut collection at Dior Spring 2017, she featured message tees that boldly stated, pre-#MeToo, “we should all be feminists,” a literal reference to the writing of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and a sartorial nod to another female design pioneer Katharine Hamnett. Chiuri mixed these tees with a nod to fencers and ballerinas and a new Dior woman materialized: strong yet delicate, with a fighting spirit and a desire for romance.

For her spring ‘18 collection, Chiuri was inspired by Linda Nochlin’s 1971 essay “Why Have There Been No Great Women Artists?” handing out copies of the essay and printing its title on T-shirts. For her spring ’20 collection, Chiuri gave a nod to goddesses throughout history, in front of a backdrop that read, “What If Women Ruled The World?”

The designer’s efforts surrounding gender equality have been noticed and taken seriously. In fact, she received the Legion of Honor, France’s highest civilian distinction, from the country’s gender equality minister Marlène Shiappa in 2019.

REI KAWAKUBO

CREATIVE DIRECTOR AT COMME DES GARÇONS

A photo of Rei Kawakubo and looks from her MET Exhibit. (Photo Credit: MTV News)

“I work in three shades of black,” Comme des Garçons founder Rei Kawakubo once said, but the throngs of women who have been captivated and inspired by her clothes might beg to differ—she utilizes far more variations of black than a measly three. The revolutionary Kawakubo has been creating avant-garde fashion for over a half century. The elusive designer has been, and still is, hell-bent on toppling conventional ideas of attractiveness, arguing, “for something to be beautiful it doesn’t have to be pretty.… Comme des Garçons is a gift to oneself, not something to appeal or to attract the opposite sex.” (A rare statement Kawakubo has made on record to Vogue Magazine).

The press nicknamed her customers “the crows”, as they are draped in their voluminous deconstructed Comme des Garçons fashions.  But her artsy clients understand the true freedom in wearing Kawakubo’s unique designs. Kawakubo is known for her dramatic designs from her “added lump” collection to her flattened “paper doll” looks. Often Kawakubo uses polyester, leaves seams frayed, and blurs the line between masculine and feminine clichés.

In 2017, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City celebrated Kawakubo with an exhibition entitled, “Rei Kawakubo/Comme des Garçons, Art of the In-Between.” The show was designed as an austere, all-white maze and presented approximately 150 Comme des Garçons creations. Andrew Bolton, the curator for the Met show, stated: “I really think her influence is so huge, but sometimes it’s subtle.… It’s the purity of her vision.”

SARAH BURTON

CREATIVE DIRECTOR AT ALEXANDER MCQUEEN

A photo of Sarah Burton, in her studio at Alexander McQueen. (Photo Credit: David Burton)

Another rise to fame came from another tragedy. On February 11, 2010, Lee McQueen, the creative director, and founder of the brand Alexander McQueen, committed suicide, leaving the fashion industry shook to its core. Two months later Sarah Burton was named Lee McQueen’s successor. Burton, who had been working with McQueen since 1996, first as an intern, then as his personal assistant, rose to head of womenswear in 2000, so it was a natural progression for her to replace McQueen.

Through the years since McQueen’s death, Burton stayed true to the brands aesthetic and has been a diligent guardian of the McQueen flame, but… she has also enhanced it. Under Burton’s leadership, many of McQueen’s signature elements —the beautifully dramatic but also the painfully dark juxtaposition that were part of McQueen’s inner demons (that he could not let go of), have been transformed into less radical and significantly more femicentric.

On April 29, 2011, Burton and her label became a household name as she was commissioned to dress Catherine Middleton, The Duchess of Cambridge, for her wedding to Prince William. The world watched the extravagant wedding and Middleton looked like the perfect princess in every way. Burton created a silk satin gown, tapestried by the Royal School of Needlework, which was a key moment in her new chapter at the house.

Burton’s runway shows are always theatrical, in keeping true to the house’s DNA. Burton told Vogue Runway in an interview: “Lee always said to me, “You have to make things your own, you have to believe in it, and it has to be an emotional thing, what we do.” She has achieved the perfect balance between her creativity and Lee McQueen’s vision, he would be proud.

STELLA McCARTNEY

CREATIVE DIRECTOR AND FOUNDER OF STELLA McCARTNEY

Stella McCartney in her London Studio. (Photo Credit: Jules Esick)

Stella McCartney has been the fashion industry’s conscience for decades. As a leading advocate for sustainability in fashion, she has been a pioneer to reduce the carbon footprint of her namesake collection. For McCartney, sustainability is not a gimmick or a one season effort, she’s been championing the movement before it was the “thing to do,” and she practices what she preaches every season. No green-washing here.

Always ahead of a movement, McCartney debuted her fur and leather free collection in 2001 and faced plenty of criticism: How could a designer possibly build a business without luxury leather goods? Her now-signature Falabella bag proved precisely how. For McCartney’s fall ‘20 collection, the designer sent models dressed as animals down the runway, followed by an Instagram campaign featuring cartoons of animals expressing things like, “My coat looks better on me” and “What the fox?? I’m not fashion.” The collection was cruelty free.

Fast forward to today. McCartney is not only known for her signature non-leather goods and her playful, sporty ready-to-wear, but she’s inspiring a generation of women to think about the environmental impact of what they buy. McCartney believes that fashion shouldn’t just be about how we look; it should be about how our choices relate to the environment and people around us.

In addition to her sustainability efforts, McCartney is also known for her very British and feminine design aesthetic, so much so that she was selected to design the dress Meghan Markle wore to the Royal Wedding reception (which was made of viscose, a fluid material made from wood pulp). Apart from the obvious reasons for accepting the design gig, McCartney said she designed the dress for Markle because she’s “a women’s woman,” according to Harper’s Bazaar UK.

McCartney is not only a successful designer, but she is also a true environmental activist. In a past campaign, she enlisted women from the climate activist group Extinction Rebellion, and she’s still the only designer who has encouraged people to consign their used designer items through the commerce site, The RealReal. In a Vogue.com story, she spoke candidly about the lack of progress from her designer peers: “I just think it’s time to man up and have an element of honesty. I do need a few more colleagues linking my arm and standing shoulder to shoulder with me, because that’s how we can make significant change.”

VIVIENNE WESTWOOD

FOUNDER AND DESIGNER AT VIVIENNE WESTWOOD

Vivienne Westwood modelling in her own show. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

Since arriving in London in the late 1960s, Vivienne Westwood has captured the many ways women express themselves through fashion—and her collections have often been as cheeky, controversial, and surprising as their creator.

Westwood exploded onto the fashion world when she teamed up with Sex Pistols manager Malcolm McLaren, and together they launched the garments that the world would come to know as punk: “… punk fashion itself was iconographic: rips and dirt, safety pins, zips, slogans, and hairstyles,” she once declared. But Westwood is far from a one-trick-pony, while the creative designer still has many elements of punk within her collection, she also offers clothes that rely on brilliant tailoring made their rebellious points—collections with names like Savages (1981), Buffalo/Nostalgia Of Mud (1982), Punkature (1982), and Worlds End (1984). Successive shows went on to channel young romantics, which offered a twisted homage to the mini-crinis of Christian Lacroix.

For almost a half of a century Westwood dressed generations of women with chic yet rebellious clothes, and even today, Westwood hasn’t lost her ‘punish’ charm.

In 1992, Vivienne Westwood was awarded an OBE (the British Empire award, it is the second highest ranking Order of the British Empire award). Westwood arrived at Buckingham Palace knicker-less, a decision documented by a photographer in the palace courtyard. Westwood later said, “I wished to show off my outfit by twirling the skirt. It did not occur to me that, as the photographers were practically on their knees, the result would be more glamorous than I expected.… I have heard that the picture amused the Queen.”

A true rebel through and through.

DIANE VON FURSTENBERG

FOUNDER AND DESIGNER OF DIANE VON FURSTENBERG

Diane Von Furstengerg in her iconic dress on the cover of Newsweek in 1976. (Photo Credit: Newsweek)

Not many designers are as closely associated with a single garment as Diane von Furstenberg is with the wrap dress. A staple in every woman’s wardrobe, von Furstenberg introduced her iconic dress in 1974. The socialite and former princess came up with the idea when she separated from her then-husband Prince Egon von Furstenberg and wanted something that felt modern and independent, something that was the complete opposite from her former socialite wardrobe. “Usually, the fairytale ends with the girl marrying the prince,” she said in a 2012 issue of British Vogue. “But mine started as soon as the marriage was over.”

The DVF wrap jersey number was more than a dress: It was a quiet feminist symbol. Although women were not familiar with von Furstenberg’s story when she first introduced the wrap dress, they quickly became fans of the dress’s slinky ease and vibrant prints. By 1976, von Furstenberg was selling 25,000 of them a week. DVF’s signature dress was copied by many, and suddenly wrap dresses were everywhere, von Furstenberg’s business experienced a significant lull—but unlike many of her fellow designers, she weathered the storm and made a successful comeback in the early 2000s.

In 2006, the glamourous von Furstenberg was named president of the Council of Fashion Designers of America, a position she held until 2019 when she passed the baton to Tom Ford. Von Furstenberg’s wrap dresses are still selling successfully. Through the years, she experimented with a variety of silhouettes and avant-garde prints, but on the verge of fifty years in business, von Furstenberg’s going back to her roots: clothes with simplicity, ease, and a joyful spirit. “If I have made any contribution, I want it to be that we were the friend in the closet,” she said in a past interview with Vogue Magazine. “We serve women’s needs.”

There are so many other influential female designers in the world today, can you tell us, who are your favorites?

HOW THE FASHION INDUSTRY IS SUPPORTING UKRAINE AS WAR RAGES ON

ALL WE ARE SAYING IS GIVE PEACE A CHANCE…….

It was 1969, in room #1742 of Montreal’s Queen Elizabeth Hotel, that John Lennon wrote “Give Peace a Chance“.  The anti-war song, originally meant to be a “revolutionary” song for workers, has once again become the battlecry for our times. When on March 9th, a Ukrainian maternity and children’s hospital in Mariupol, southern Ukraine, was bombed we were all shocked to our core. Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky said the bombing was “proof of a genocide.” No one could disagree. As the world watches, in horror, the atrocities being inflicted by Putin on innocent civilians in Ukraine, the fashion industry is stepping up, not only by banding together in solidarity, but doing much more. Read on.

An injured pregnant woman leaves the damaged hospital with her belongings. (Photo Credit: AP)

President Zelenskyy and his people are fighting back, a true David & Goliath story come to life. Most of the world is rooting for Ukraine to win, but in war, no one ever truly wins as the death toll is growing daily. As of this writing, over two million people have fled Ukraine and families are being ripped apart as women, children, and the elderly are leaving their loved ones, homes, and all their possessions behind to find refugee throughout Europe and the U.S. Men and many women are staying behind to fight for their land, many untrained, as civilians are given guns and quickly trained to aim and shoot to protect themselves.

For now, the West is aiding Ukraine with weapons, money, and medical necessities. As of March 9th, the U.S. House of Representatives voted with a wide bipartisan majority to pass a ban on importing Russian oil, natural gas and coal into the United States. A move that can further cripple the Russian economy. The bill will also take steps to revisit Russia’s role in the World Trade Organization and reauthorize the Magnitsky Act to strengthen sanctions on Russia for human rights violations.

Protests against Russia’s invasion of Ukraine are being held throughout Europe and the United States. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

Fashion Industry Responds

When Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24, 2022 in the middle of Milan Fashion Week, many designers and brands immediately began donating to various charities, as well as temporarily closing their stores throughout Russia.

Protest pictures during Milan Fall 2022 Fashion Week. (Photo Credit: Acielle Tanbetova)

Designers from Giorgio Armani to Balenciaga’s Demna Gvasalia (who was a child refugee himself as he fled his homeland of Georgia in 1993 at the age of twelve) have been speaking up against the conflict; and numerous international brands and luxury fashion groups, from LVMH and Kering to Prada, Hermès and H&M, announced they were temporarily stopping their commercial activities and shuttering their stores in Russia as a sign of protest against the war on Ukraine.

A man walks past a closed H&M store in a St. Petersburg, Russia, shopping center. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

“We are currently living through a war in the heart of Europe. We strongly condemn it and we are close to the population involved in this tremendous situation,” said Italy’s Camera della Moda in a statement to WWD on the fashion retail situation in Russia. They went on to say that “the temporary closure of the retail stores in Russia is not contemplated by the regulations on sanctions currently in force in Europe, it is a voluntary decision that has been made by many national and international brands that have a direct retail distribution organization. However, we recall that many brands sell their collections in Russia through distributors or dealers and therefore cannot, including from a contractual point of view, close the sales areas in the season, as they already delivered the spring/summer collection in the past few months.”

The statement underscored that the Camera’s “commitment today is aimed at being close to all those who are suffering and this is why we have joined the UNHCR at its side in fund-raising to support the refugees with concrete aid for the people and families forced to flee within the national boundaries or to neighboring countries.”

Protests in Milan against the Russian attack on Ukraine. (Photo Credit: WWD)

Global and wide-ranging sanctions on Russia are bound to drastically impact those brands and businesses with a retail footprint in in the country, but in the humanitarian aspect of the crisis it is vital to take a stand. To that end, the fashion industry has united and is stepping up its efforts during this time of crisis.

Here’s a roundup of the initiatives taken by the fashion industry thus far:

LVMH

LVMH, the world’s largest luxury conglomerate (owning brands such as Louis Vuitton, Christian Dior, Fendi, Givenchy, Marc Jacobs, and Stella McCartney to name a few) donated €5 million ($5.4 million USD) to support the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) “to help the direct and indirect victims of this conflict.”

In addition, the company stands in solidarity with Ukraine and closed 124 of its stores in Russia. LVMH will still continue to pay its 3,500 employees in Russia.

LOUIS VUITTON

The French luxury powerhouse Louis Vuitton, made an immediate donation of €1 million ($1.09 million USD) to UNICEF, to provide aid for Ukrainian children and families.

“As millions of children and their families are facing immediate danger, the Maison, through the Louis Vuitton for UNICEF partnership, pledges to support UNICEF’s emergency response on the ground, responding swiftly to any emergencies by providing children and families in Ukraine with humanitarian aid including access to clean water, healthcare and education supplies, child protection services and psychosocial care,” the brand shared in a statement.

KERING

Kering, owner of Gucci and Saint Laurent among other brands, said on Instagram that it was making a “significant donation to the UNHCR, the United Nations Refugees Agency,” though it did not specify the amount.

GUCCI

Gucci enacted its global charity campaign Chime for Change and donated $500,000 to the UNHCR.

BALENCIAGA

The French label Balenciaga donated an undisclosed amount to the World Food Program (WFP), which launched an emergency operation to provide food assistance for people fleeing Ukraine and in neighboring countries.

CHANEL

The iconic French fashion house closed its stores in Russia and halted all e-commerce in the country. The brand also donated €2 million (about $2.18 million) to two relief organizations, CARE and UNHCR-UN Refugee Agency, which is “recognized for refugee support at the borders and for the specific care of families and children.”

In an Instagram post, the fashion house also announced that “Foundation Chanel will be working closely with its local partners to provide future critical support over the medium and long term to women and children impacted by this evolving situation.”

GIORGIO ARMANI

After showing its latest collection in Milan in silence, out of respect for the war in Ukraine, the Armani Group announced a donation of €500,000 (about $543,000) to UNHCR “for the assistance and protection of those who have been forced to flee the war in Ukraine.”

The company is also donating clothing essentials to refugees through the Italian nonprofit organization Comunità di Sant’Egidio, which already has a presence on the borders of Ukraine.

FASHION MODELS

Argentine model Mica Argañaraz, a regular presence on almost every major runway, posted on her Instagram story, “I have to say it feels very weird walking fashion shows knowing there’s a war happening in the same continent.” She noted that she would “be donating part of my earnings of this fashion week to help Ukrainian organizations” and called on fellow models to do the same. Supermodel sisters Gigi and Bella Hadid, Kaia Gerber, Vittoria Ceretti, Kiki Willems, Francesca Summers, and Aylah Peterson have also joined the movement and will donate part of their earnings to Ukraine.

L’OREAL PARIS

The cosmetic giant L’Oréal Paris, has teamed up with a number of local and international nonprofits (including UNHCR, Red Cross and UNICEF) to support the growing number of refugees, and people on the ground in Ukraine with a donation of €1 million ($1.09 million) through its L’Oréal Fund for Women.

“We have already made a donation of one million euros and have started to deliver hygiene products to NGOs in Poland, the Czech Republic, Romania and in Ukraine itself,” a statement reads on the company’s corporate website. “We will donate 300,000 products over the coming weeks.”

The beauty brand continues: “We strongly condemn the invasion and war in Ukraine, which is causing so much suffering to the Ukrainian people. Our thoughts go out to our 326 Ukrainian employees, their families and the people of Ukraine whose lives have been changed so dramatically in the last eight days. Although some have managed to cross the border, the majority of our employees remain in the country in increasingly harsh circumstances. We are concerned about them and fear for their safety.”

HERMES

Hèrmes announced that it would “temporarily close our stores in Russia and pause all our commercial activities,” where they have three stores and 60 employees.

BURBERRY

Burberry has shut down its three stores in Russia. The British luxury house brand also donated an undisclosed amount to the British Red Cross Ukraine Crisis Appeal. It also said it would match any employee donations to charities supporting humanitarian efforts in Ukraine.

VALENTINO

Italian luxury house Valentino donated €500,000 (about $543,000) to the UNHCR to provide immediate help to the Ukrainian refugees.

RALPH LAUREN

Given the urgency of the situation, the Ralph Lauren Corporate Foundation has made an immediate donation to @CARE.org, an organization working with partners to provide critical support and aid to Ukrainian families and is double-matching employee donations to CARE. In addition, it is partnering with its network of international charities to donate essential clothing that will be distributed throughout Ukraine as well as in bordering countries to reach refugees. The company has paused operations in Russia.

TORY BURCH

Tory Burch is supporting World Central Kitchen, which is on the ground in Poland feeding hundreds of thousands of Ukrainian refugees. The company has made a donation and pledged to match any employee donations throughout the month of March.

COACH

Coach’s parent company’s Tapestry Foundation has donated to the United Nations Refugee Agency to provide safety and shelter to those who have been displaced.

MINIMALIST

Tamara Davydova is the fashion designer behind the brand MINIMALIST and was born, raised, and married in Kyiv, Ukraine. She founded the circular fashion brand MINIMALIST last year and is devastated by what’s currently happening in her homeland and affecting friends and family. She’s pledging 30% of the proceeds from sales of her collection to the Red Cross and UNICEF in Ukraine plus offering 10% off to customers using the code TOGETHER at checkout. The collection is available at minimalist.nyc.

ADIDAS

Athletic brand Adidas has suspended its long-term partnership with the Russian Football Union (RFU), the German sportswear company also announced it would be is donating €100,000 (about $108,700) as well as footwear and apparel to organizations helping children and refugees.

H&M

The fast-fashion retailer H&M has currently paused all sales in Russia and closed its 170 stores located throughout the country.

ASOS

Fast-fashion company ASOS said on Twitter that it would no longer be doing any retail out of Russia.

“We’ve been watching the shocking events in Ukraine in horror and disbelief. We’ve concluded it’s neither practical nor right to continue to trade in Russia & today have suspended sales there,” the brand wrote. “We’re supporting the humanitarian effort and our thoughts are with the people of Ukraine.”

MANGO

Mango has halted sales in Russia and donated €100,000 (about $108,700) to the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement.

GANNI

Ganni, the Danish contemporary ready-to-wear fashion brand, donated 100.000 DKK (approx. $14,700) to the Danish Refugee Council, a nonprofit currently on the ground helping the crisis in Ukraine.

 

As governments around the world grapple with how to stop Putin’s war and the needless suffering, we will continue to keep an eye on how the fashion industry, and hopefully soon the music industry, is doing its part. At UoF we are donating to Ukrainian children through UNICEF USA.

Here’s a list of the organizations that the fashion industry is donating to:

International Committee of the Red Cross

United Nations Refugees Agency

Direct Relief

Mercy Corps

International Medical Corps

Save the Children

Unicef USA

So tell us, how are you helping to support Ukraine in these troubling times?

IT’S SHOWTIME PART 2: PARIS FASHION WEEK FALL 2022

- - Fashion Shows

 Maria Grazia Chiuri’s ‘beauty & protection’ collection for Dior fall 2022  (Photo credit: The Economic Times)

As war rages in Ukraine (since February 24th) and the fashion industry unites by donating to relief orgs and closing retail stores in Russia, sometimes fantasy is what we all need to escape the harsh realities of the world around us. The month-long fall 2022 runway extravaganza is in its final stretch. Paris Fashion Week, which began on Monday, February 28th ends on Tuesday March 8th. At the risk of seeming insensitive to the tragedies that continue to unfold in real-time in Ukraine, we are looking forward to the end of the conflict with hope and in solidarity with the Ukrainian people.

At the start of Paris Fashion Week, Ukrainian fashion journalists, now refugees, and Ukrainian designers, used their social platforms to support and strengthen the Ukrainian people. French designer Olivier Rousteing wrote to his 7.6 million Instagram followers, “It’s hard to feel right about focusing on runways and clothes, as we listen with a heavy heart to the latest news.” He added, “Our thoughts and prayers are with the Ukrainians. We are inspired by their dignity, resilience and devotion to freedom.” Rousteing’s collection consisted of looks that strongly resembled futuristic body armour, as did Maria Grazia Chiuri’s collection for Dior, which consisted of strong shoulder pads and airbag corsets. These designers conceived their collections long before the war in Ukraine began, so are they fashion’s soothsayers? Is protective clothing for a wartime atmosphere going to be fashion’s latest trend?

As volunteer Ukrainian hackers help their country by going after targets such as Russian state-owned bank Sberbank, Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has become an international icon and yes, an unlikely sex symbol, for his fierce resistance to Putin’s unprovoked war on his country.

 

                                                         President Volodymyr Zelenskyy of Ukraine – a fierce resistance leader (Photo credit: Vox.com)

Although fashion has always provided us with fantasy and an escape from reality, it also offers a socio-political reflection of the world around us. Giorgio Armani was one of the first designers to react to the war when on February 27th he chose to present his collection at Milan Fashion Week in total silence as a tribute to the suffering in Ukraine. In Paris, Ralph Toledano, president of the Fédération de la Haute Couture et de la Mode released a statement advising people to “experience the shows of the coming days with solemnity, and in reflection of these dark hours.

Designers around the world are showing their support for Ukraine as they post images of the Ukrainian Flag on their social media pages and the CFDA has just created a list of charities and relief organizations to donate to https://cfda.com/news/how-cfda-members-help-ukraine.

At UoF we have chosen to help the children of Ukraine by donating to Unicef USA https://www.unicefusa.org  and are consistently spreading the word on our social media channels.

     

UoF’s Children of Ukraine initiative on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn

 

As the old saying goes “the show must go on”, and yet Paris Fashion Week opened on a somber note with a tribute show to Off-White founder Virgil Abloh, who passed away of cancer on November 2021. Celebs walked the runway in his honor, Cindy Crawford, Kaia Gerber, Serena Williams and Bella Hadid and touchingly, a male model held a white flag reading ‘Question Everything’.

Looks from Off-White’s Fall 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Shutterstock)

So, while Paris Fashion Week is still going strong at the writing of this post, here are a few of the breakout trends thus far:

SPACE ODYSSEY

Designers set their sights on the future, delivering on some pretty and provocative cosmically (and sometimes comically) chic looks, with nods to Sixties icons Paco Rabanne and Andre Courrèges.

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Backstage at Rick Owens’ Fall 2022 Show. (Photo Credit: Vogue)

A look from Malitta Baumeister’s Fall 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Acne Studios’ Fall 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Courrèges’ Fall 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

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

A look from Nina Ricci’s Fall 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

DARKNESS FALLS

Glamour took a turn toward the dark side in intricate lace dresses and delicate tulle frocks.

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

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

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

A look from Andrew Gn’s Fall 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Nina Ricci’s Fall 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

LADY IN RED

Make a grand entrance at your next soiree in eye-catching red gowns that will surely bring on the drama.

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

A look from VAlexandre Vauthier’s Fall 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

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

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

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

BEASTIE GIRLS

Designers turned a savage eye on fur (both real and faux) offering a playful and modern take on the lavish material.

A look from Rick Owens’s Fall 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

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

A look from Sandy Liang’s Fall 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Tom Ford’s Fall 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

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

A look from Malitta Baumeister’s Fall 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

FORMAL AFFAIR

Le Smoking is back as designers in Paris paid tribute to the tuxedo look that Yves Saint Laurent popularized for women in 1966. Here are some fresh takes on the classic tuxedo.

A look from Saint Laurent’s Fall 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Tom Ford’s Fall 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

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

A look from Off-White’s Fall 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

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

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

WHITE NOISE

Designers wiped the slate clean this fall season with an all-white palette that offered plenty of alluring details.

A look from Cecilie Bahnsen’s Fall 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

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

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

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

A look from Dries Van Noten’s Fall 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

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

LET’S GET PHYSICAL

Thanks to Kim Kardashian’s love of the unitard, the sexy, one-piece, body-con look was all over the runways in the fashion capital of the world.

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

A look from Acne Studios’ Fall 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Isabel Marant’s Fall 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Victoria Beckham’s Fall 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

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

Y2K

The 2000’s trend is going strong, and for fall, designers brought back the confusing dress or skirt over pant look. Although today’s version is a study on layering to perfection.

A look from Marine Serre’s Fall 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Yohji Yamamoto’s Fall 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Nina Ricci’s Fall 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

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

A look from Cecilie Bahnsen’s Fall 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Lutz Huelle’s Fall 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

And that’s a wrap! As the fall 2022 runway season comes to an end, please join us in hoping that by next fashion season the Russian dictator will come to his senses and Give Peace a Chance!

Backstage at Balmain’s Fall 2022 Show. (Photo Credit: Vogue)

Now that UOF covered the shows in New York, London, Milan, and Paris, which city do you think had the best fashion?

IT’S SHOWTIME: LONDON AND MILAN FALL 2022 TRENDS

- - Fashion Shows, Trends

Looks from Richard Quinn’s Fall 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue)

Just as Covid cases in some parts of the world are declining and restrictions are loosening, Russian President Vladimir Putin invaded Ukraine. The world watched in horror, as his deadly attack began in the early morning hours of February 24th. NATO has issued sanctions on Russia, but will they be enough to stop this escalating war? The world hopes so. Because if the last few years have taught humanity anything, it’s that in the grand scheme of things, we are nothing without health and peace.

As we try and navigate these troubling times, we can look to fashion as an escape from reality and to transform us into a world of fantasy. Last week UoF covered New York Fashion Week and this time we’ve crossed the pond to the London and Milan shows. Though our eyes may be focused on fashion…our hearts are definitely with the Ukrainian people.

SWINGING LONDON

Looks from Erdem’s Fall 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue)

London Fashion week was a jam packed 5-day event that took place from Friday, February 18th to Tuesday, February 22nd. As we have come to accept, the fall 2022 season was a hybrid of physical shows as well as digital presentations, but thanks to England’s ease on Covid restrictions, the buzz around fashion week was the return of the IRL fashion show and events throughout the city. There were 86 physical womenswear and menswear shows and 61 digital presentations, which ranged from the well-established labels such as Vivienne Westwood, to emerging brands such as the breakout star of the week Nensi Dojaka.

Looks from Nensi Dojaka’s Fall 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue)

Here are a few of the hottest trends that emerged from London Fashion Week:

SHEER FACTOR

London based designers had nothing to hide this fall 2022 season as they played up the transparency theme – from the utterly see-through to the subtly sheer.

A look from Supriya Lele’s Fall 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Simone Rocha’s Fall 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

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

A look from Temperley London’s Fall 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Nensi Dojaka’s Fall 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Christopher Kane’s Fall 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

VELVET UNDERGROUND

Opulence filled the fall 2022 runways this season with luscious velvets in simple cocktail dresses, dramatic coats, and dramatic gowns.

A look from Simone Rocha’s Fall 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Christopher Kane’s Fall 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Edward Crutchley’s Fall 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Paul & Joe’s Fall 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Imaxtree)

A look from 16Arlington’s Fall 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Temperley London’s Fall 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

THE EIGHTIES SHOW

This season, designers dug deep into the archives and pulled out bright colors and body-conscious silhouettes. Even the ‘pouf’, circa 80s Christian Lacroix, made a comeback!

A look from Emilia Wickstead’s Fall 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from David Koma’s Fall 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Richard Quinn’s Fall 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Molly Goddard’s Fall 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Simone Rocha’s Fall 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Huishan Zhang’s Fall 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

MANY SPLENDORED STRINGS

The collections were awash in a myriad of fabulous fringe motifs, perfect for the latter-day flapper ready to dance the night away.

A look from Halpern’s Fall 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue)

A look from Christopher Kane’s Fall 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Conner Ives’ Fall 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

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

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

Looks from Ozwald Boateng’s Fall 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue)

IN FULL PLUME

Birds of a feather flock together, but if you want to break out as the next street style star, then bring on the feathers. The fall 2022 runways in London were filled with feathery looks that can be worn from day to night.

A look from Huishan Zhang’s Fall 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from 16Arlington’s Fall 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Paul & Joe’s Fall 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Imaxtree)

A look from Poster Girl’s Fall 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Imaxtree)

A look from Aadnevik’s Fall 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Imaxtree)

A look from Richard Quinn’s Fall 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

CIAO MILANO

A backstage look from Moschino’s Fall 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue)

Although London lifted many of its Covid restrictions, Italy still has many restrictions in place, and will remain so until at least March 31. Only those who are fully vaccinated will be able to attend Milan Fashion Week, which began on Tuesday, February 22nd and ends Monday, February 28th.

The good news, Milan had a jam-packed schedule with plenty of physical runway shows and events. There were also plenty of fun events throughout the week such as Gucci’s all-day celebration of its new Gucci Vault, The World of Vogue Talents and the CNMI Sustainable Fashion Awards, both celebrated emerging designers and those who have taken extra steps to curb their impact on the planet.

So while Milan Fashion Week is still going strong, here are some of the emerging trends from the first half of the week:

BOUDOIR FLAIRE

Innerwear as outerwear continues to intrigue designers in Milan who showed a variety of lingerie inspired looks on the runway.

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

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

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

A look from No. 21’s Fall 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

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

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

VISUAL EFFECTS

Fall’s graphic content turned towards eye-popping geometrics with a hint of op art.

A look from Max Mara’s Fall 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Emporio Armani’s Fall 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

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

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

CAPE CRUSADERS

Remarkable outerwear stole the show during Milan Fashion Week, but the true breakout style were all the terrific capes that ran the gamut from dainty evening versions to cozy yet chic toppers.

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

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

A look from Raf Simons’ Fall 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

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

A look from Roberto Cavalli’s Fall 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Alberta Ferretti’s Fall 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

YARN IT ALL

Miles beyond your basic sweater, a wonderful tactile world of dresses, cardigans and coats await. Perfect for braving the cold.

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

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

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

A look from Max Mara’s Fall 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Alberta Ferretti’s Fall 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

SHORT STORIES

No one does seductive as well as the Italians and for fall, designers showed barely there mini dresses and skirts all over the runway.

A look from Dundas’ Fall 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Alberta Ferretti’s Fall 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

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

A look from Emporio Armani’s Fall 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

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

A look from No. 21’s Fall 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

POINT OF HUE

Designers tempered their dark, wintery palette with a celebration of pastel colors, making the fall 2022 season a joyful rhapsody of hue.

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

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

A look from MM6 Maison Margiela’s Fall 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

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

A look from Del Core’s Fall 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Blumarine’s Fall 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway

So tell us, what are your favorite runway trends so far for the fall 2022 season?

 

 

 

 

FASHION SHOWS ARE COMING BACK STRONGER THAN EVER: NY FASHION WEEK FALL 2022

- - Fashion Shows

A Backstage look at Collina Strada’s Fall 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Hunter Abrams for Vogue Runway)

The fashion industry was hit hard by the global Covid-19 pandemic, but designers have pulled through and found creative ways to present their latest collections. In New York City, thanks to high vaccination rates, the city lifted its indoor mask mandate on February 9th just in time for New York Fashion Week, which kicked off on February 11th and ended on the 16th. Although the season was far from pre-covid days, social distancing and smaller audiences were still being implemented to keep everyone safe, but there were definitely plenty of IRL shows to get fashion insiders excited– six jam packed days of back-to-back appointments, screenings, and of course, live fashion shows that took take place all over Manhattan, as well as a few that opted to cross the river into Brooklyn, such as Gabriela Hearst and Dion Lee.

While a few of the established designers opted out of showing during New York Fashion Week, such as Tom Ford, Marc Jacobs, and Ralph Lauren, there were plenty of emerging designer labels that made a splash this season, such as Shayne Oliver. He is the designer of the gender-fluid label Hood by Air (which was put on pause in 2017), but this season the designer launched ShayneOliver. Oliver’s new namesake collection is a high-concept luxury womenswear and menswear fashion brand offering seasonal collections and he staged a three-night residency at The Shed’s Griffin Theater in the fashionista hot spot, Hudson Yards.

A look from Shayne Oliver’s Fall 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: The New York Times)

Last week at UoF, we spoke about fashion in the Metaverse and this season, the young and clever designer Maisie Wilen, took a digital approach to presenting her collection. Wilen partnered with Yahoo on a virtual installation that debuted on February 15th. The designer’s fall 2022 collection was presented on 7-foot-tall holograms, bringing the digital into a physical space in a new way.

Maisie Wilen presented her Fall 2022 Collection on 7 foot tall holographic models. (Photo Credit: Maisie Wilen)

Also on Feb. 15th, The Costume Institute at the Metropolitan Museum of Art held a press event for Part Two of their fashion exhibit, “In America: An Anthology of Fashion.” The show itself will open to the public from May 7 – September 5, 2022, and be housed in the museum’s period rooms, merging fashion’s past and present in vignettes that reflect the shifts in American taste.

Ball gown by Marguery Bolhagen circa 1961. (Photo Credit: The Metropolitan Museum of Art)

A literal social media frenzy was created when actress Julia Fox, making her runway debut, opened the show for LaQuan Smith. The designer dressed Fox in the ultimate revenge dress after her very publicized month-long relationship with Kanye West ended earlier this month.

Julia Fox opens the show for LaQuan Smith’s Fall 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

Tory Burch delivered a heartwarming New York moment as the designer’s fall collection was a Valentine’s love letter to New York City. Burch used the city as her canvas and literally lit up the night when she held her nighttime show on the 25th floor of the trendy Hudson Commons building at Hudson Yards with floor to ceiling windows and the historic New Yorker Hotel sign lighting the runway background.  Burch helped fund the restoration of the iconic sign on the Art Deco landmark, which opened its doors in 1930 as the city’s largest hotel. “It’s such an iconic building,” said the designer in an interview with WWD, who upped her profile around the city in other ways, too, teasing the runway show with light installations at the Frick Museum, Union Square and seven other landmarks and live-streaming the show in four other locations.

A look from Tory Burch’s Fall 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: WWD)

And let’s not forget about the fabulous street style looks that were back in full force and the celebrities that flocked the front rows again!

Blake Lively Plays the Bombshell at Michael Kors. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

While Tory Burch celebrated her beloved city, here are some of the hottest trends coming out of New York Fashion Week for Fall 2022:

BRINGING SEXY BACK

Now that we’ve turned a corner on the pandemic (hopefully) and the world is beginning to open up again, designers showcased plenty of sexy looks for fall 2022 with a focus on strategic cut-outs reminiscent of 1980s Jean Paul Gautier (for all you fashion history buffs out there).

A look from Bronx and Banco’s Fall 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Christian Cowan’s Fall 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Eckhaus Latta’s Fall 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from LaQuan Smith’s Fall 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Prabal Guring’s fall 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Michael Kors’ Fall 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

DAYTIME GLAM

As we head back into the world of IRL, designers are offering plenty of glamorous daytime looks that can carry you from the office to cocktails with friends. From sequin knits to feather cardigan coats, these looks will brighten any fall day.

A look from Brandon Maxwell’s Fall 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

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

A look from Alice & Olivia’s Fall 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Christian Cowan’s Fall 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

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

A look from The Proenza Schouler’s Fall 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

LEATHER CHANNEL

Leather is a staple in every fall wardrobe, but for fall, designers are softening up the textile in a variety of dresses, from sleek, form fitting styles to feminine, corset variations.

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

A look from Prabal Gurung’s fall 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Michael Kors’ Fall 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

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

A look from Gabriela Hearst’s Fall 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Brandon Maxwell’s Fall 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

GOTHIC GLAM

Goth kids take a walk on the glam side with ruffled neck blouses paired with plenty of pearls, and corset evening gowns – all in moody hues of inky blues and black.

A look from Christian Siriano’s Fall 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

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

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

A look from R13’s Fall 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

BLACK AND WHITE

There is nothing simple about fall’s graphic black and white looks. From Carolina Herrera’s bow motif evening gown to The Row’s colorblock coat, these looks offer plenty of impact.

A look from Carolina Herrera’s Fall 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Christian Cowan’s Fall 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Jason Wu’s Fall 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Peter Do’s Fall 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from The Proenza Schouler’s Fall 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from The Row’s Fall 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Oscar De La Renta’s Fall 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

METALLICA

Shine on! Designers are offering plenty of sparkle this season with sequin dresses in metallic tones. From Altuzarra’s gold oversized paillette dress to Bronx and Banco’s silver sequin minidress, one things for sure, party season is back.

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

A look from Bronx and Banco’s Fall 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Bronx and Banco’s Fall 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Christian Cowan’s Fall 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Jonathan Simkhai’s Fall 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway_

Looks from Naeem Khan’s Fall 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

ORANGE ALERT

Designer’s are offering plenty of bold colors for fall 2022, but one color really stood out this season – orange. The hue stood out in a variety of shades from bright to muted. The color was found in everything from evening dresses to a belted leather coat.

A look from Victor Glemaud’s Fall 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Carolina Herrera’s Fall 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Michael Kors’ Fall 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Anna Sui’s Fall 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

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

A look from Maryam Nassir Zadeh’s Fall 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

KNIT WHIT

Knits were all over the fall runways from crafty crochet dresses to fisherman cable knit tops. Now you can look cozy and chic.

A look from Gabriela Hearst’s Fall 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

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

A look from Frederick Anderson’s Fall 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Dion Lee’s Fall 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

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

So tell us, what is your favorite trend from New York Fashion Week?

WELCOME TO THE FASHIONVERSE – METAVERSE

- - Technology

Gucci in the virtual game Roblox. Photo (Credit: Vogue Business)

Faithful followers of our blog know that at University of Fashion we love, love. love the history of things. In fact, our founder, Francesca Sterlacci, co-wrote the book, Historical Dictionary of the Fashion Industry. So we thought before we talk about how the Metaverse is poised to revolutionize the fashion industry, we’d take a look back at the thing we love to hate and yet can’t do without…the Internet.

Did you know that January 1, 1983 is considered the official birthday of the Internet, and that it wasn’t until August 6, 1991 that the World Wide Web went live to the world?

Now, more than ever, we rely on technology. With the click of a button, we order our groceries, hold business meetings, learn fashion design online (thanks UoF) and purchase everything from underwear to luxury clothes…even cars! We are so completely hooked on our electronic devices that to be without them even for a day, it’s like the world has come to an end! And now, thanks to the pandemic, we have become even more reliant. Is that even possible?

Through the internet, we maintain social relationships, communicate with family and friends and interact via Facebook®, Instagram® and all of the other social media platforms, incessantly. The Internet has also expanded our vocabulary. We all ‘surf’ the web, use google as a verb, and learned a slew of new acronyms like HTTP, HTTPS HTML, FTP, WWW, and more.

Well buckle your seat belts folks….here comes the metaverse, (with it the fashionverse) and a new set of vocab terms like avatar, blockchain, cryptocurrency, NFTs, burning NFTs, AR, VR, and Web 3.0.

What is the Metaverse, you ask?

When Mark Zuckerberg announced Facebook’s name change to ‘Meta’ in October 2021, tech giants like Google and Microsoft started investing heavily in it, portending the next big tech revolution. The metaverse, now in its beginning stages, is a digital experience that will evolve into something that blurs the lines between the digital and physical world.

According to Michelle Cortese, a virtual and augmented reality designer, artist and author, the metaverse is essentially, “a spectral layer on top of our existence. It is represented by avatar interactions, and constructed experiences, ultimately altering how we interact online, how crypto is adopted, how brands advertise, all while offering a hyper-real alternative world for people to coexist in. The concept that was beloved by tech enthusiasts, a desire for a decentralized virtual world and a place that is aligned with the physical world, has now penetrated the mainstream landscape. Virtual experiences have spiked dramatically with millions of people indulging hours upon hours as digital avatars into virtual social spaces such as Fortnite and Roblox or digital NFTs and cryptocurrencies.”

Michelle Cortese depicts the stages of the Web and the advancements we have endured to reach Web 3.0 more clearly. “When we say ‘Web 3.0’ we refer to the three stages of the Internet: [1] the desktop computer dial-up of the 1990s; [2] the socially-driven mobile Internet of the 2000s and 2010s; and [3] the “Embodied Internet” or Metaverse – this next generation of the Internet anticipates that people will interface with the web in a more embodied, virtual way.”

All sounds like a sci-fi movie right? But advanced technology is making this possible. Using a combination of technologies and incorporating virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR), users can actually “live” inside a digital universe. In the metaverse, users are part of the action.

What does this mean for the fashion industry?

Think of the possibilities for brands to reach potential customers in the metaverse. The fashion industry is already evolving in this advanced digital world and the pandemic offered many in lockdown mode the opportunity to explore the gaming world, a perfect intro into the ‘virtual world’. In the metaverse, the user can shop in digital stores and there is even a “try before you buy” feature where the user can take a 360-degree look at an item. They can zoom in and examine all the details of that piece of clothing before they make a purchase.

Consumers now have the ability to virtually try on products by dragging one or more items onto photos of themselves. So the metaverse is literally bringing the fitting room into your home and can offer the consumer the same experience as walking into a brick-and-mortar store.

The metaverse is therefore quickly transforming the fashion industry. Luxury house Balenciaga is at the forefront of the shift into the digital world. The house (known to embrace virtual apparel) announced plans to introduce a business unit specifically committed to exploring opportunities in the metaverse.

Fortnite x Balenciaga, 2021. (Photo Credit: Epic Games)

Balenciaga presented its Fall 2021 collection through a gaming app and famously partnered with the video game Fortnite to create a number of “skins” for the game’s characters. At this point, most of the fashion world’s investments in the metaverse have been through video game skins (cosmetics that customize characters), reports Business of Fashion. These developments provide a peek of what fashion in the metaverse could look like.

According to Business of Fashion, digital environments are increasingly transforming from transaction-focused consumer spaces, to multi-dimensional worlds that foster collaboration and creativity. Naturally, fashion is expected to be key player in this coming era.

The metaverse is a virtual reality that redefines how we use technology, integrating both digital and physical worlds. And it’s not some faraway reality, we’re already there. Nowhere is the crossroads of fashion and metaverse more evident than in the current explosion of fashion related NFTs.

Adidas Originals is jumping into the metaverse. The brand’s entry arrives as part of a partnership with Bored Ape Yacht Club. (Photo Credit: Adidas)

So, what exactly are NFTs?

The simplest way to explain NFTs or “non-fungible tokens” are that they are cryptographic tokens which are stored in a blockchain. These cryptographic tokens allow someone to buy, sell, or trade, ‘real’ items such as artwork or real estate. NFTs are especially suitable when they tokenize items that are collectible and unique. In the fashion industry, NFTs now bring a new level of exclusiveness and an opportunity to turn digital designs and collections into an extremely limited, valuable, luxurious, and unique collector pieces. And labels from luxury to activewear are getting into NFTs.

Burberry releases NFT collection in Mythical Games’ Blanks Block Party. (Photo Credit: Burberry)

Burberry, for example, partnered with Mythical Games to launch an NFT collection in their flagship title, Blankos Block Party. Working with Mythical Games’ Blankos Block Party, Blanko the shark, can be purchased, upgraded, and sold in-game, the brand moved into the digital space after the success of its own game, B Bounce, which launched in 2019.

Dolce & Gabbana, the Italian fashion luxury house, launched its own collection of NFTs on the Polygon (CRYPTO: MATIC) blockchain last August of 2021. Named Collezione Genesi. Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana personally designed a 9-piece, one-of-a-kind collection exclusively for UNXD. Collezione Genesi³ that featured hand-made, museum-grade items across Alta Moda (women), Alta Sartoria (men), and Alta Gioielleria (high jewelry). It is digital couture!

UK department store Selfridges has begun selling NFTs and digital fashion in its Oxford Street store in London, bringing digital goods to real-life shopping and broadening their accessibility in fashion. Combining the virtual and physical worlds, Selfridges has a pop-up that will showcase artwork by Victor Vasarely and new physical pieces from the designer label Paco Rabanne inspired by Vasarely’s work. The NFTs, can be purchased via an in-store digital screen using a traditional credit card, and will include digital versions of the first dresses designed by Paco Rabanne.

The Sefridge’s NFT project ca;;ed Universe. (Photo Credit: Vogue Business)

Approximately 1,800 NFTs are dropping between 28 January and 12 March, with prices ranging between £2,000 ($2,709.27) to over £100,000 ($135,456.30); select Paco Rabanne NFTs will be sold with their physical counterparts, and the digital versions can be worn in several virtual platforms. Some items will be adaptations of 1960s archival designs that were never produced. Funds raised will go to the Fondation Vasarely Museum in Aix-en-Provence, the artist’s archive that houses and restores works.

Even Barbie is getting in on the act! Barbie is making a splash into the digital art world as everyone’s favorite doll, dressed in head-to-toe Balmain. The two brands are collaborating with a ready-to-wear collection, an accessories line and a series of NFTs. Executives from both companies say the NFT launch is a historic moment for fashion, tech and toys.

From a nostalgic 1990s Barbie logo to a Barbie pink Pantone, Barbie’s signature color dominates the clothing collection and NFT trio. (Photo Credit: Balmain)

Txampi Diz, Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) of Balmain, is betting on the future of NFTs as a powerful customer engagement tool for high-fashion brands. “I believe it is going to completely change the fashion industry, and it will have the same impact as when social media first started or when the internet first launched,” he says in an interview with Forbes.

“It’s a milestone, it’s the first NFT presentation that the Barbie brand has ever made,” says Richard Dickson, Mattel president and Chief Operating Officer (COO) in an interview with Forbes.

Three one-of-a-kind Balmain x Barbie NFTs are currently up for auction via mintNFT, a new marketplace for NFTs that focus on creative collaborations. James Sun, founder and CEO of mintNFT, says such NFT partnerships redefine the meaning of brand ownership for customers, as it symbolizes a purchase into the company’s ethos. “What’s so beautiful is they’re not just purchasing an NFT, they’re saying, I want to be part of this brand on the blockchain . . . It’s very philosophical.”

Looks from Nigo’s first limited-edition capsule collection for Kenzo.(Photo Credit: Kenzo)

Kenzo just dropped its first limited-edition capsule collection under the house’s new artistic director Nigo, and will feature floral graphic sweatshirts, long-sleeve T-shirts, a jersey cardigan, and nylon jacket. Along with the limited-edition collection, Kenzo released a limited edition of 100 NFTs, each drop will be complemented by a collection of NFTs that unlock exclusive access into the world of Kenzo.

Gucci and Superplastic introduce a three part NFT drop Supergucci. (Photo Credit: Gucci)

Each day, more and more labels are joining the metaverse and offering NFTs. Supergucci is a collaboration between the Italian fashion house Gucci and Superplastic. The “ultra-limited” series, Supergucci consists of a multi-pronged approach to be released in three parts. The first drop was on February 1st, and included ten different limited NFTs that paid homage to Gucci’s storied archives with signature prints, icons, and motifs, all revamped to to incorporate the imagination of Superplastic’s synthetic celebrities and artists. In this instance, they are Janky & Guggimon; virtual “humans” created by Superplastic that have already gained a strong social media following. The launch is also accompanied by ceramic sculptures handmade in Italy and co-designed by Gucci and Superplastic.

“Our collaboration with Superplastic dates back to 2020 when we launched the Gucci Sneaker Garage project in occasion of which we dressed Superplastic’s virtual characters with the Gucci Virtual 25 sneakers,” the brand states. “This project therefore represents the natural development of our relationship with this partner that allows us to experiment with Gucci’s codes through new forms of creativity.”

Supergucci allows the metaverse to come into play, too, where users will accompany Janky & Guggimon to the Gucci Vault, an online concept store created from the vision of Gucci’s creative director, Alessandro Michele. The Vault will also be releasing restored, reconditioned vintage Gucci pieces in tribute of their latest juncture; works hand-picked by Michele and archivists of the House. There will be two more surprise drops coming soon.

Artist Mason Rothschild created the MetaBirkin. (Photo Credit: MetaBirkin)

A “Baby Birkin” NFT, which was an animation of a baby growing in a Hermès Birkin bag, just sold in a Basic.Space auction for the equivalent amount of $23,500. Although this is where it can get tricky, Hermés, who owns the trademark for the Birkin bag, was not involved in the issue of the NFT and has send out a cease-and-desist letter to the creator of the NFT. Recently, Hermès filed the lawsuit in New York’s Southern District Court claiming trademark infringement and dilution. Hermès claims the artist, Mason Rothchild, was ripping off Hermès’ famous Birkin trademark by adding the generic prefix “meta” and calling the NFT “Metabirkin.”

The psychology of NFTs 

Fashion houses are creating a new world of engagement with a digital experience for its users in the metaverse. Unforgettable items can boost customer loyalty. Consumers may capture, exchange, and appreciate one-off experiences and exclusive moments in time, which is something that all these corporations could use to establish a permanent connection with their clients.

We are living through and witnessing another digital revolution. NFTs and the metaverse are opening up new worlds of economic opportunity and risk. The fashion industry is at the forefront of many of these new developments. As we embark on these exciting new possibilities, some companies are a bit hesitant to rush into the metaverse.

Louis Vuitton gets into gaming with Louis The Game Video Game. (Photo Credit: LVMH)

For example, Bernard Arnault, the chairman and CEO of luxury conglomerate LVMH, has stated that is in no rush to charge into the metaverse. The brands under the LVMH label are performing well in the real world as the company reported record full-year revenues and profits for 2021. Arnault stated to WWD, that while he was curious to explore the opportunities of the hotly hyped digital environment, he was also wary of a repeat of the dot-com bubble (LVMH was, after all, a major investor in the ill-fated Boo.com in the late ’90s).

“Let me start by saying that it’s a purely virtual world and until now, we are in the real world and we sell real products. To be sure, it’s compelling, it’s interesting, it can even be quite fun. We have to see what are the applications of this metaverse and these NFTs,” Aunault said in a videoconference with analysts and reporters. “If it’s well done, it can probably have a positive impact on brands’ activities. But we’re not interested in selling virtual sneakers for 10 euros,” the LVMH chairman and chief executive officer added. “In conclusion, I would just say, beware of bubbles. I remember this from the early days of the internet, at the beginning of the 2000s,” Arnault continued, noting there are a multitude of companies building the metaverse. “There were a bunch of would-be Facebooks back then, and in the end, only one of them worked out. So let’s be cautious.”

Buyer beware – what it means that some brands are ‘burning’ NFTs

To give you an idea of just how complex the NFT world is and why you must really study the particular NFT before you buy it (says our founder’s son who has been investing in NFTs), here’s what you need to know about “burning” NFTs and “creating scarcity”.  According to Maghan McDowell of Vogue Business, “A key feature of blockchains and NFTs is that they can’t be changed, replicated or deleted, allowing for authenticity, ownership and scarcity. So, what happens if a luxury brand — many of whom are now experimenting with NFTs — wants to change or eliminate an NFT they’ve put on the market? They can burn it. Burning NFTs, which are tokens stored on a blockchain, is the process of permanently removing a token from circulation. This can be done to eliminate unsold or problematic inventory from an NFT drop, or it can be used to engage collectors and fans through “upgrades” that replace an original NFT with something else.”

According to Vogue Business, “For fashion and beauty brands, burning NFTs could offer a way to manipulate scarcity, and therefore price. It could also lead to more intriguing NFT projects, in which consumers must weigh risk and reward by burning an NFT in exchange for something else. These scenarios, among others, are already playing out among artists and gaming startups, paving the way for fashion. Already, Adidas is using a burn mechanism to change the state of its NFTs when NFT owners make a purchase. Apparel brand Champion recently partnered with Daz 3D’s NFT collection, Non-Fungible People, and will use burning to enable peoples’ profile picture NFTs to digitally dress in Champion gear, while Unisocks invites NFT owners to burn them in exchange for physical products.

As we all watch and explore the metaverse/fashionverse, the possibilities are endless and so are the pitfalls, so ‘buyer beware’.  

Did you know that UoF has been covering the digital revolution for years? Check out our past blog posts on the topic:

The Future of Textiles – Digital Realm

Gaming & Fashion: Two Aspirational Worlds of Experiences Combine

If you’re interested in exploring a career in this new age technology, check out University of the Creative Arts digital fashion MA program

 

So tell us, is your head spinning right about now? Will you promote your brand in the metaverse?

Custom Collaborative’s Designer-preuners Strut Their Stuff

- - Fashion School

Founded in 2015, Custom Collaborative is a New York City-based entrepreneurship and workforce development program that trains and empowers low-income and immigrant women of color to start careers in sustainable fashion.

In February 2020, University of Fashion partnered with Custom Collaborative by gifting full access to the UoF fashion education content library. Since then, Custom Collaborative’s fashion-preneurs have expressed their appreciation to us in both words and deeds.

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

University of Fashion’s mission, since its inception in 2008, has been ‘to preserve the art & craft of fashion design’. We have since added to that mission: ‘to support a return to domestic production, the fair and ethical treatment of workers and the promotion of sustainable design practices’. Therefore, in 2020, a perfect match was made between UoF and Custom Collaborative. According to Executive Director Ngozi Okaro, much of the fashion industry’s production in the U.S. is done by immigrants for low wages. According to the California Bureau of Labor Statistics, 71% of Los Angeles’ ‘cut & cut’ labor force are immigrants – many undocumented, with limited options for work. Knowing the benefits of our video library and how it could impact the economic status of immigrants, we felt compelled to get involved with Custom Collaborative and assist them in their co-op training program.

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

I started Custom Collaborative because I wanted to connect women who could create great clothes, to people who wanted quality sustainable fashions that were affirming and attractive. As my idea developed, I discovered that there were many good people who wanted to volunteer with and invest in enterprising women who were creating fashion careers and businesses. Many participants have told the CC staff how they never were paid for fashion work before they got an internship through us, but had worked at unpaid internships; they’ve shared how they no longer feel isolated because they have a new community in CC; and others have talked about how they discovered and unlocked skills and talents that they never knew they had before joining our community. We hope for more funding so we can accept all of the worthy applicants who come to our doors.”

If you are interested in helping support Custom Collaborative, here’s their donation link: https://secure.givelively.org/donate/custom-collaborative

We at UoF are very proud of this collaboration and we always get a rush when we hear from CC’s students.

Meet Some of Custom Collaborative’s Aspiring Entrepreneurs 

Shemoy Simpson designer at Custom Collaborative

Attending the University of Fashion was a great experience for me, I was able to obtain more sewing technical skills and the support I received was well appreciated. The lesson I learned and used this summer was, working with knits and inserting waist bands in different ways, I also learned about the different types of needles and thread that goes with different types of fabric.

During the time of creating my garment I’ve learned to used ballpoint needled, because it’s best for sewing with knit fabric, I used polyester/cotton thread as well. The garment was created with my personal design and measured to fit my body type. I decided to be a little more creative with the waistband by surging it to the neckline, the top waist, the back to create a crisscross look and the pant waist and ankles. The beautiful lavender design is sporty and best for occasions like going to the gym or jogging or just wanting to be comfortable on a sunny day.

My aspirations? Becoming the best version of myself as a designer, being happy and creative is where I thrive. The University of fashion has taught me to be more knowledgeable about the way I construct a garment and with the confidence and consistency to deliver in the real world. Thank you to Francesca for giving me this wonderful opportunity.” ~ Shemoy Simpson

As we begin this new year, let us all try and design more sustainably, advocate for fair wages and help others reach their dreams by giving of ourselves and our talents.

If you are interested in helping support Custom Collaborative, here’s their donation link: https://secure.givelively.org/donate/custom-collaborative. If you are interested in providing paid internships for their students write to us at CS@UniversityofFashion.com

SPRING 2022 COUTURE: JANUARY SHOWS ARE FILLED WITH BEAUTY AND HEARTBREAK

- - Fashion Shows

Monaco’s Princess Charlotte rides in on horseback wearing Chanel for their Spring-Summer 2022 Couture  collection. (Photo Credit: AP Photo)

We are only a month in and already 2021 has started off as a challenge. Omicron and its new iteration BA.2  is still on the move, infecting even those who are triple-vaccinated. Vladimir Putin is on the brink of invading Ukraine and a number of celebrities unexpectedly passed away, from comedian Bob Saget to legendary singer Meat Loaf. Last week UoF announced the passing of André Leon Talley, the larger-than-life former Vogue editor who died on January 18th at the age of 73. And then 5 days later on January 23, also at the age of 73, the fashion world lost another industry legend, Manfred Thierry Mugler, the visionary French designer who was responsible for having created some of the most avant-garde and iconic looks of the ‘80s and ‘90s.

A photo of the late Manfred Thierry Mugler. (Photo Credit: Stephane Reugere for Mugler)

Mugler’s theatrical designs put him on the map as one of the most creative designers of his generation. He was also one of the first designers to showcase diversity in his runway shows, often challenging racism and ageism, and including non-traditional models such as drag queens, pornstars, and transgender women.

Mugler’s signature looks were worn by some of the greatest music artists, such as Madonna, Michael Jackson, Diana Ross, and David Bowie, to name a few. There has also been a resurgence of celebrities wearing vintage Mugler, such as Lady Gaga in her music video for “Telephone” and Cardi B, who had a friendship with Mugler, often wearing his vintage designs on red carpets and in her music videos, as well as mentioning the brand in her song “Wild Side”. In 2019, Mugler created a one-of-a-kind dress for Kim Kardashian to wear to the Met Gala.

Looks throughout the years from Thierry Mugler. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

Those who followed Mugler throughout his career couldn’t help but notice his ever changing ‘personal look’. The late designer had been involved in several accidents, one of which was a jeep crash which destroyed his nose. He also had his chin reconstructed using his hipbone. The designer-turned-bodybuiler, was once quoted as saying, “I wanted my face to represent progress, because after years of being a thin, charming dancer, I wanted to be a warrior. I’ve done so much in my life. I’ve fought so much. I’m a superhero, so it’s normal to have the face of one.”

Mugler may have left his namesake brand far too early, but he will continue to have an empowering impact on fashion will into the future.

COUTURE SHOWS BRING FANTASY AND HOPE TO US ALL

A look from Giambattista Valli’s Spring 2022 Couture Collection. (Photo Credit: Giambattista Valli)

Paris Couture is back and it was spectacular. The couture season began on Monday January 24th and ran through Thursday the 27th. While many couture houses held IRT runway shows, there were a few that opted to present their collections digitally, such as Azzaro and Giambattista Valli. Meanwhile, Giorgio Armani canceled his Privé show altogether.

One of the highlights of any fashion week is the constant parade of street style looks and influencers. Paris couture week did not disappoint. Kanye West (Ye) introduced his new girlfriend Julia Fox to the fashion scene wearing a black leather Schiaparelli outfit  (reminiscent of vintage Thierry Mugler), and he in  trademark moon boots and padded gloves, plus a Schiaparelli black balaclava, a nod to his ex (Kim Kardasian), who worn head-to-toe Schiaparelli to the Met Gala. Oh, and to complete their outfits they adopted a new couple name…’Juliye’.

Julia Fox and Kanye West at the Schiaparelli Haute Couture Spring 2022 show in Paris. (Photo Credit: Jacopo Raule for Getty Images)

Here’s a few of our favorites from Paris Couture 2022

ALEXANDRE VAUTHIER

A look from Alexandre Vauthier’s Spring 2022 Couture Collection. (Photo Credit: Imaxtree)

A look from Alexandre Vauthier’s Spring 2022 Couture Collection. (Photo Credit: Imaxtree)

High-octane glamour was all over Alexandre Vauthier’s Spring 2022 couture collection, as he presented velvet power suits, sequin gowns and plenty of slinky frocks.

CHANEL

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

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

“The idea for the show’s décor came from a longstanding desire to work with Xavier Veilhan,” Virginie Viard, Chanel’s creative director, explained the setting of the SS22 couture show to Harper’s Bazaar, “His references to constructivism remind me of those of Karl Lagerfeld. I like this similarity of spirit between us, now and across time. In addition to creating the show décor with its references to the avant-gardes of the 1920s and 1930s, Xavier wanted to work with Charlotte Casiraghi. His artistic universe is full of horses and Charlotte is a skilled rider.”

The Chanel show opened with Monaco’s Princess Charlotte dressed in a Chanel jacket, riding a beautiful eight-year old Spanish bay horse Kuskus (that would explain the sand runway), first in an elegant “collected walk,” then a trot. A perfect opening that paid homage to the creative director’s ’20s and ’30s Gatsby-inspired modern take on the classic Chanel tweed suit. There were also filmy chiffon and organza dresses with uneven hems, slithering satin evening dresses, and tiny beaded gilets to add an extra dose of glamour.

CHRISTIAN DIOR

Backstage, looks from Christian Dior’s Spring 2022 Couture Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

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

This season’s Christian Dior couture collection was a celebration of embroidery: “A symbol of the atelier’s original excellence, embroidery is not just a decorative detail. It gives fabric its structure, its architecture.” According to the house’s show notes. “An inspiring creative dialogue, collective, exalting virtuoso skills, where embroidery is transformed into a collaborative mode of expression, at the crossroads of art and craft“. Dior’s creative director, Maria Grazia Chiuri, collaborated with Indian artists Madhvi and Manu Parekh, the Chanakya Atelier and the Chanakya School of Craft, in creating exquisite embroideries and embellishments for her couture collection.

SCHIAPARELLI

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

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

A recent red-carpet favorite, Daniel Roseberry presented his latest couture collection for Schiaparelli in a show entitled “An Age of Discipline”. Roseberry took the season as a chance to explore what design really means to him, especially after these chaotic few years. “Designing this collection also made me realize something else,” he explained in his show notes. “There are designers who design because they love clothes. There are designers who make clothes because they love the craft, because they love people. There are designers whose work is indebted to fashion as a concept, or to glamour as a business.”

“But I design in order to make people feel something. When clothes and craft and hair and music and the wearer are in harmony together, when they are all trying to communicate something, we can be reminded why we love fashion— why I love fashion. It isn’t for the celebrities. It isn’t for the likes. It isn’t for the reviews. It’s because, when it’s done right, when it has something to tell us, it can help us feel the inarticulable. It’s because it still has the power to move us.”

And moved us he did, as his collection pushed the boundaries of fashion as art.

VALENTINO

A look from Valentino’s Spring 2022 Couture Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Valentino’s Spring 2022 Couture Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

‘The Anatomy of Couture’ was the title of Valentino’s Spring 2022 Couture Collection. As creative director Pierpaolo Piccioli explained in his show notes, he imagined his collection not on one single and idealized house model, but on a variety of women with different body types and ages. He states in his collection notes, “Soft and welcoming in the democratic spirit, and at the same time radical in the approach that rewrites known processes, Piccioli builds the collection as a composite harmony of physical types and the clothes that dress them, studied through a long process, both scientific and poetic. The message does not change in its purpose, which is to convey beauty, but in the welcoming expression.”

Did you have a favorite couture collection?

MENSWEAR FALL 2022 COLLECTIONS: FLORENCE – MILAN – PARIS

- - Fashion Shows, Trends

Looks from Dries Van Noten’s Fall 2022 Menswear Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

Two years later and our lives are still topsy-turvy as we all try to navigate through the Covid-19 pandemic. New Year’s Eve festivities were put on hold as the Omicron variant spread so quickly throughout the world. The new variant also had a major impact on menswear fashion week for the fall 2022 season, from Pitti Uomo in Florence to Paris.

Pitti Uomo/Florence 

Pitti Uomo kicked off the fall 2022 menswear season January 11th through the 13th. The menswear extravaganza took place in Florence, Italy, which this season’s theme was centered around ‘Reflections’. Unfortunately, due to the rise in Omicron-positive cases, many brands cancelled their presentations, including Brunello Cucinelli and guest brand Ann Demeulemeester. However, Italian luxury brand Kiton, known for hand-made Neapolitan tailored suits,  presented their casual line KTN for the first time at Pitti Uomo. Also, high-end sportswear line Paul & Shark presented and re-enforced their commitment to sustainability.

Milan

The fashion set comprised of buyers, editors, and influencers then hopped from Florence to the Milan for that city’s fashion week, which ran from January 15th to the 17th. Once again, due to Omnicron, a number of designers and brands cancelled their physical presentations and events, including Giorgio Armani, Emporio Armani, Gucci and MSGM. JW Anderson, who was scheduled to present its first menswear show in Italy, also cancelled. But the city still had plenty of excitement with labels such as Fendi, Prada, Ermenegildo Zegna and Dolce & Gabbana, throwing caution to the wind, opted for live runway shows.

Jeff Goldblum in a look from Prada’s Fall 2022 Menswear Collection. (Photo Credit; Vogue Runway)

Although Milan Fashion Week was short, it was still inspiring and impactful. Some of the highlights included Prada’s runway which was packed with some of Hollywood’s legendary stars, including Twin Peaks’ Kyle MacLachlan, Jurassic Park’s Jeff Goldblum, Moonlight’s Ashton Sanders and Sex Education’s Otis Butterfield. While Prada focused on the dapper gentleman, Dolce & Gabbana appealed to Gen-Z fans, with a lively performance from Machine Gun Kelly, dressed fittingly in a sequin suit from the label.

At Fendi, Silvia Fenturini Fendi was fascinated by notions of classicism. The Roman house presented a ‘treasure trove of future heirlooms’ that riffed on the elegance and sophistication of old-world silhouettes. The label is also dabbling on gender-bending looks as the luxury house featured boundary-defying feminine silhouettes to its fall 2022 show. Love the idea of sharing your wardrobe with your boyfriend/husband? This is the brand for you!

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

Paris

France eased their Covid restrictions just days before Paris Fashion Week’s Menswear shows, which ran from January 18th to the 23rd. Only a handful of designers (approximately 17) staged live runway presentation – including Rick Owens, Dior Homme, and Loewe. The remaining brands were a mix of digital streams and physical presentations.

A look from Louis Vuitton’s Fall 2022 Menswear Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

The highlight of the week?  Thursday Jan. 20th, when Louis Vuitton presented the late Virgil Abloh’s final collection for the house; Virgil Abloh passed away on November 28, 2021, at the age of 41, after a private two-year battle with cardiac angiosarcoma, a rare cancer. There wasn’t a dry eye in the house. It was the best tribute EVER.

Louis Vuitton’s Fall 2022 Menswear Show. Courtesy of FF Channel on YouTube.

A portrait of Nigo, the newly appointed artistic director of Maison Kenzo. (Photo Credit: Kenzo)

Menswear buyers, press, and influencers were over-the-moon about streetwear visionary Nigo’s first collection as artistic director for the Japanese label Kenzo. It was a star-studded event that had more Instagram followers than you could imagine.

Meanwhile, at Dior Men, Creative Director Kim Jones paid tribute to the founder of the house in celebration of Christian Dior’s 75th anniversary.

Dior’s Fall 2022 Menswear Show. Courtesy of Dior Channel on YouTube.

Here’s a round-up of some of the biggest trends in Menswear for Fall 2022:

FLOWER POWER

It’s a garden party delight as designers opted for pretty floral motifs for fall 2022. From Louis Vuitton’s tapestry-inspired coat and pants to Erdem’s slim-cut pantsuit. These delicate prints add joie de vivre to the cold winter ahead.

A look from Louis Vuitton’s Fall 2022 Menswear Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Erdems’ Fall 2022 Menswear Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Prada’s Fall 2022 Menswear Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Etro’s Fall 2022 Menswear Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Acne Studios’ Fall 2022 Menswear Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Dior Men’s Fall 2022 Menswear Show. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

GENDER NEUTRAL

Designers continue to break thru the confines of gender norms this season as they offer plenty of skirts and dresses that can be worn no matter your gender.

A look from Dolce & Gabbana’s Fall 2022 Menswear Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Comme des Garçons Homme Plus’ Fall 2022 Menswear Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from JW Anderson’s Fall 2022 Menswear Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Rick Owns’ Fall 2022 Menswear Show. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Louis Vuitton’s Fall 2022 Menswear Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Moschino’s Fall 2022 Menswear Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

LEATHER REPORT & THE BOLD SHOULDER

Chic leather coats were all over the fall 2022 runways as they ran the gamut from a Matrix-esque version at Dolce & Gabbana to a belted, Seventies-inspired style at Prada. And the focus was on the big and bold shoulder.

A look from Prada’s Fall 2022 Menswear Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Dior Men’s Fall 2022 Menswear Show. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Dolce & Gabbana’s Fall 2022 Menswear Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Rhude’s Fall 2022 Menswear Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Y Project’s Fall 2022 Menswear Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

IN LIVING COLOR

Bright neon hues ruled the runways as the oversaturated tones made there way on everything from cozy knits to terrific outerwear.

A look from Vetements’ Fall 2022 Menswear Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Prada’s Fall 2022 Menswear Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Moschino’s Fall 2022 Menswear Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from JW Anderson’s Fall 2022 Menswear Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Hermès’ Fall 2022 Menswear Show. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

SUPER SIZE ME

Baggy looks are still going strong in the menswear market, and for fall 2022, designers are opting for oversized looks that still maintain remarkable tailoring guaranteeing that proportions are still sharp and clean.

A look from Zegna’s Fall 2022 Menswear Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Vetements’ Fall 2022 Menswear Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Bianca Saunders’ Fall 2022 Menswear Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Yohji Yamamoto’s Fall 2022 Menswear Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

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

A look from Jil Sander’s Fall 2022 Menswear Show. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

GET SHORTY

Often a summertime staple, shorts made a splash on the runways this fall 2022 season. From MSMG’s sporty quilted version to Fendi’s dapper suit look, one things for sure, next winter men will be showcasing their legs more than ever.

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

A look from Comme des Garçons Homme Plus’ Fall 2022 Menswear Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Louis Vuitton’s Fall 2022 Menswear Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from MSGM’s Fall 2022 Menswear Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Isabel Marant’s Fall 2022 Menswear Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Etro’s Fall 2022 Menswear Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Loewe’s Fall 2022 Menswear Show. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

WELL SUITED

We may all be heading back to the office soon, but rather than your typical menswear suit, designers are opting for tailored looks in a range of bold and happy colors.

A look from Etro’s Fall 2022 Menswear Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Louis Vuitton’s Fall 2022 Menswear Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Bianca Saunders’ Fall 2022 Menswear Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Dolce & Gabbana’s Fall 2022 Menswear Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

LOSS OF A FASHION TRAILBLAZER

But the biggest fashion news that came out between the Milan and Paris shows was the passing of André Leon Talley on January 18, 2022. The larger-than-life former Vogue editor, who was only 73, passed away of a heart attack. Talley was a legend in the fashion world and broke down barriers for homosexual black men in the industry. Talley was a gentleman of grand pronouncements, over-the-top capes, and friends in design studios from New York to Paris—Marc Jacobs, Tom Ford, Diane von Furstenberg, Karl Lagerfeld, and many more. When the news of his death broke, many of his friends in fashion and beyond took to social media to express their grief, and a theme emerged. The “pharaoh of fabulosity,” as a Vogue staffer once dubbed Talley, was also the industry’s biggest champion and booster, the first editor backstage, quick with encouraging advice or a course correction. His enthusiasm was prodigious.

André Leon Talley at home in White Plains, N.Y., in 2017. (Photo Credit: Ike Edeani for The New York Times)

It was no secret within the fashion industry that Anna Wintour and André Leon Talley had a falling out. In his book, The Chiffon Trenches: A Memoir, Tally wrote of Wintour, “She is not capable of simple human kindness. I would love for her to say something human and sincere.” When she replaced Talley with YouTube personality Lisa Zoshy as host at the 2018 Met Gala, he remarked “it felt like I was thrown under the bus. It hurt”. And yet in an industry where you can be ‘cast-out’ as quickly as you are ‘cast-in’, Wintour recently wrote:

The loss of André is felt by so many of us today: the designers he enthusiastically cheered on every season, and who loved him for it; the generations he inspired to work in the industry, seeing a figure who broke boundaries while never forgetting where he started from; those who knew fashion, and Vogue, simply because of him; and, not forgetting, the multitude of colleagues over the years who were consistently buoyed by every new discovery of André’s, which he would discuss loudly, and volubly—no one could make people more excited about the most seemingly insignificant fashion details than him. Even his stream of colorful faxes and emails were a highly anticipated event, something we all looked forward to.

“Yet it’s the loss of André as my colleague and friend that I think of now; it’s immeasurable. He was magnificent and erudite and wickedly funny—mercurial, too. Like many decades-long relationships, there were complicated moments, but all I want to remember today, all I care about, is the brilliant and compassionate man who was a generous and loving friend to me and to my family for many, many years, and who we will all miss so much.”

With news of the passing of yet another fashion icon, Thierry Mugler, tell us, who influences you the most as an aspiring fashion designer?

WE LOVE HEARING FROM OUR SUBSCRIBERS

- - Fashion School

As a pandemic was wreaking havoc around the world, at University of Fashion, we made the decision to offer schools free access to our content library so that they could finish out their term remotely. We were thrilled to be able to help. As a result, we not only met new schools and students, but were introduced to many new instructors who expressed an interest in teaching for us. A silver lining in an otherwise horrible pandemic.

Since 2020, we have added more than 30 new lessons and added 4 new design disciplines: SwimwearIntimate Apparel, Textile Design and Visual Merchandising. And, we’ll be adding more lessons in these disciplines going forward.

As we go back into the studio this year, we will be acting on suggestions made by you, our subscribers. We’ll be filming a knit pattern making series that’ll include a 20-part knit neckline series, lessons on how to draft a boxy and fitted T-shirt from measurements, how to draft a catsuit and many other advanced drafting lessons on trousers and coats.

Drafting an Off Shoulder Gathered Cuff Knit Neckline

Drafting a Surplice Under Bust Knit Neckline

We will also be adding additional advanced draping lessons, like how to drape a dress with a handkerchief hem and how to drape & draft a multi-tiered dress.

Draping a Princess Panel Sundress with a Handkerchief Hem

Draping & Drafting a Multi-tiered Dress

In addition, we will be adding more menswear drafting and drawing lessons, as well as lessons on how to design using 3D software.

 

BUT WE STILL WANT TO HEAR FROM YOU!

Let us know what additional lessons you’d like for us to consider. As you can imagine, the process of recruiting teachers, working with them on their lesson outlines, not to mention the filming and editing process, takes time. But…we’d love to know what you’d like to learn that you haven’t already learned by viewing our over 500 existing videos. We are hopeful that the pandemic will soon be a thing of the past and are eager to get back into the studio to start cranking out more lessons. Thanks to all of our subscribers, we are always interested in hearing from you!

 

Best wishes,
Francesca Sterlacci
Founder/CEO
University of Fashion

PRE-FALL 2022: FASHION IS BACK

- - Trends

A look from Moschino’s Pre-Fall Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

Let’s face it, the last two years of living in a worldwide pandemic has been tough on everyone. As we rang in 2022, many countries put a stop to festivities as the Omicron variant infected so many and spread so easily, even among the triple vaccinated (myself included). Thankfully this variant seems to be mild and not as deadly as Delta. But as the world watches and waits for life to return to some sort of normal, like the saying goes…the show must go on!

Throughout these past 2 pandemic years, designers and fashion companies have re-evaluated their business strategies and have put a greater focus on sustainability and improving their carbon footprint. In November of 2021, many in the fashion industry ramped up their climate efforts at the COP26 summit. According to the United Nations Climate Change website, “Fashion Charter signatories collectively represent a significant proportion of the fashion industry. There are currently 130 companies and 41 supporting organizations that have signed the Fashion Charter including some of the well-known brands such as Burberry, H&M Group, VF Corporation, Adidas, Kering, Chanel, Nike, and PUMA as well as suppliers such as Crystal Group, TAL Apparel and others.”

However, as the fashion industry tries to come up with solutions to help protect the environment, one thing is for sure, they continue to produce an endless supply of clothes to generate sales (hello, pre-fall and resort collections). For the past 20 years, fashion’s nonstop production cycles have been driven by social media, retailers, the press, and of course celebrity influencers. Celebs sell-out designer looks in minutes. Case in point, Kim Kardashian, who recently elevated Balenciaga’s sales while serving Kanye West with divorce papers dressed in Balenciaga. And, according to Love the Sales (a fashion e-commerce aggregator), the search for Balenciaga dresses increased by 200 percent in less then 24 hours when Kardashian, dressed foot-to-finger in Balenciaga, announced that she had passed the ‘baby bar’ exam. For your info, Kardashian will still have to continue her studies and take a second bar exam. Another influencer opportunity? Stay tuned.

Can’t help but wonder what Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg wore when she passed her bar exam, LOL.

Kim Kardashian celebrates passing the baby bar exam in Balenciaga. (Photo Credit: MSN)

So, as the industry explores ways to make fashion more sustainable and ‘circular’, enter Pre-Fall. But what is Pre-Fall exactly? For starters, it is the longest-running season open to buyers and press in November and wrapping up on the heels of spring couture week in January. Usually, Pre-Fall collections offer more commercial looks than the major runway seasons, offering retailers the opportunity to showcase new merchandise to their clients in between the Fall and Spring collections. Pre-Fall has become one of the most essential selling seasons, with product sitting on the sales floor for up to six months (usually from June to December).

While the name (pre-fall) refers to autumn, the merchandise actually hits the sales floor in early summer, translating to a hodgepodge assortment of everything from breezy dresses to outerwear.

Looks from Versace by Fendi’s Pre-Fall Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

If this all sounds confusing, join the club. The lingo is perplexing to everyone – designers, retailers, and consumers – so shouldn’t the season be looked at as a transitional one? Shouldn’t it be a season that offers seasonless dressing, pieces that can be layered and worn all year long?

Also, how should designers present their collections? Do they throw a full scale fashion extravaganza like Gucci, Dior, and Chanel, or do they hold private appointments for press and retailers and show their collection via Lookbook images like Prabal Gurung and  Christopher John Rogers?

As our industry continues to contemplate fashion’s impact on climate change, the use of influencers to promote product that will eventually will end up in landfills, and what the Pre-Fall season really means to them, the show must go on, right? Here are some of the trends we’re watching thus far:

VELVET CRUSH

The plush life – for both day and night.

A look from Balmain’s Pre-Fall Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Proenza Schoular’s Pre-Fall Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Roberto Cavalli’s Pre-Fall Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Jil Sander’s Pre-Fall Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

Look from Dsquared2’s Pre-Fall Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

UoF subscribers can learn more about designing and working with velvet here: Introduction to Fibers & Fabrics,  Pattern Layout on Napped Fabrics, Rendering Velvet, Blind Stitch – Double Overcast Stitch, Pressing Tools & Techniques,

PLAID TIMES

Check mate! Designers are going mad for plaid from Oscar de la Renta’s mixed patchwork plaid numbers to Christian Dior’s logo-driven tartans. These ultra cool looks are anything but ‘elementary my dear’.

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

A look from R13’s Pre-Fall Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Roberto Cavalli’s Pre-Fall Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Tory Burch’s Pre-Fall Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

Looks from Oscar de la Renta’s Pre-Fall Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

 

To learn more about working with plaid, view our lessons: Rendering Plaid, Pattern Layout of Plaid & Check Fabric, and Matching Plaid.

ROMANCING THE SWEATER

Comfy doesn’t always have to mean casual. For pre-fall, designers looked back to every Y2K girls favorite knit piece and brought back the beloved cardigan sweater. From Gucci’s strawberry motif to Erdem’s crystal button version, these sweaters are the perfect update to transition into cooler weather.

A look from Gucci’s Pre-Fall Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Erdem’s Pre-Fall Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

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

A look from Prabal Gurung’s Pre-Fall Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Ganni’s Pre-Fall Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

Whether you’re a beginner, intermediate or advanced knitter, have we got lessons for you! In fact, we have a whole Knit Series.

Start with Introduction to Knit Fabrics and move into our hand-knitting, crocheting and our lessons on cut and sew knits.

 FAIR LEATHER

Real or faux, leather outerwear is all the rage this pre-fall season. From Chloé’s crafty version to Balenciaga’s futuristic coat, this outerwear trend will surely set you apart from the crowd.

A look from Chloé’s Pre-Fall Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Max Mara’s Pre-Fall Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

Looks from Brandon Maxwell’s Pre-Fall Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

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

If you know anything about sewing, you know that working with leather and faux leather requires a different set of skills. Let’s face it, the material is unforgiving! Not only did our UoF founder write the leading book on leather, Leather Fashion Design, but has produced a slew of video lessons covering the topic in detail, both faux and real. Start by learning about the different types of leather skins and how they are measured in our lesson, Leather: From Tanning to Types. Then check out: Leather Sewing Techniques, Leather: Sorting & Cutting, Leather: Interfacing & Stabilizing Seams, and then watch and learn how a leather jacket is actually produced (filmed at GIII, the world’s largest manufacturer of leather garments) in our 4-part series beginning with Leather Sewing Techniques-Part 1. Also, check out our lesson on Faux Leather, Suede & Patent Leather Sewing Tips.

To learn how to draw and illustrate leather or any shiny material, view our lesson Rendering Leather.

THE RETURN OF THE MINI

The leg-baring mini trend has made its triumphant return! The mini was first introduced in the ‘60s as a playful and even defiant garment representing a shift in societal dynamics (according to Vogue Magazine). For pre-fall, designers have created mini looks in a variety of ways, from Givenchy’s simple black mini skirt suit look to Balmain’s baroque inspired minidress, one things for sure, it’s time to hit the gym and work on those legs.

A look from Balmain’s Pre-Fall Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

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

A look from Givenchy’s Pre-Fall Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Carolina Herrera’s Pre-Fall Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

Looks from Oscar de la Renta’s Pre-Fall Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

 

For more on the evolution of the mini watch our fashion lectures: 100 Years of Fashion Rebels & Revolutionaries Part 1, and Part 2.

SCARF-OUT

Vibrant scarf prints took over the pre-fall season, from Versace’s baroque inspired prints to Etro’s ‘70s inspired paisley motifs. These scarf inspired patterns will take you from vacation and beyond.

Looks from Versace’s Pre-Fall Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

Looks from Oscar de la Renta’s Pre-Fall Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Christopher John Rogers’ Pre-Fall Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Gucci’s Pre-Fall Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Etro’s Pre-Fall Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

If the scarf trend has inspired you to re-purpose your old scarves into clothing, then you may need a refresher on how to sew sheer seams and hems. From learning how to sew a French Seam Finish to sewing a Hand-rolled Hem, we have a whole series on working with sheers.

If you are new to cutting sheer fabrics and handling bias, this is the lesson for you: The Art of Fluting. And if you would like to illustrate your sheers and prints, check out Rendering Sheer, Rendering Floral Print and Rendering Zebra.

So tell us, what Pre-Fall trend has most inspired you?

RINGING IN 2022 WITH A NEW FOCUS ON SUSTAINABILITY

- - Sustainability

Stella McCartney Winter 19 CampaignCourtesy of Stella McCartney. (Photo Credit: Stella McCartney)

At the University of Fashion we want to start by wishing everyone a Happy New Year!

As we leave behind the uncertainty of 2021 (with the rise of Covid-19’s latest strand: Omicron), we want to focus on the positive. Moving forward, the fashion industry is taking new strides in sustainability and focusing on greener methods to produce fashion. While our industry may get a bad rap from environmentalists, there were plenty of sustainable wins this year that fashion companies should focus on, including bolstering garment worker rights, as well as strides in the circular fashion space — steered by bio-based material innovators, luxury companies, pre-owned vendors and systems thinkers alike.

Labor Rights Became Something to Shout About

Garment Center workers. (Photo Credit: Garmentworkeract)

2021 marked a hard-earned triumph for garment workers and ethical business allies in California with the signing of the Garment Worker Protection Act (known as SB 62) into law this past September.

The bill takes a jab at the industry’s high rates of wage theft and sub-minimum pay, by first eliminating the piece-rate system of compensation, while closing a prior loophole in the original legislation that let fashion labels avoid responsibility for their supply chains. Under this groundbreaking new law, joint liability will exist, so fashion companies, subcontractors, and workers are all included in the negotiating process.

According to WWD, the law’s passage is far-reaching, and by some experts, it ushers in a new sustainable era for fashion and a chance to shift the power balance.

“Over the past 20 years, fashion has changed.…Labor laws become obsolete because the economic structure of that industry has changed,” according to Victor Narro, project director and professor of Labor Studies at the University of California Los Angeles Labor Center. Narro was on the team that drafted California’s landmark worker protection law in 1999.

Fashion is constantly changing and so far more than 140 fashion brands (among them Reformation, Boyish, Mara Hoffman, Eileen Fisher) have been threads of change (no pun intended).

California is home to the biggest garment manufacturing hub in the U.S. and counts for over 45,000 garment industry workers. According to WWD, the majority of the garment industry workforce are highly skilled women of color (averaging 20 years of experience), fueling brands like Fashion Nova, Forever 21, Windsor, Charlotte Russe, Urban Outfitters and Lulus. All of which were named as “top violators” in wage theft cases according to SB 62 bill co-sponsor the Garment Worker Center.

“I would say that I think that the bill is bordering on revolutionary, not just for garment workers, but also other low-wage workers in farming and agriculture,” said Ngozi Okaro, executive director of Custom Collaborative, a New York City-based workforce development nonprofit and social enterprise. “What’s important is it drills down to holding everyone along the value chain responsible.”

Safety for Garment Workers

ACCORD on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh. (Photo Credit: Apparel Insider)

In another extensive and time-sensitive move for garment worker protection, The Bangladesh Accord on Fire Building Safety saw a last-ditch revision in The International Accord for Health and Safety in the Textile and Garment Industry.

As of December 2021, the International Accord totals 155 brand signatories (just shy of the 200 signatories for the original document) with H&M, Inditex, Bestseller and C&A among the first to sign. The purpose of the International Accord is to expand health and safety coverage for factory garment workers in Bangladesh, as well as other high-risk sourcing countries in the South Asian territories.

In 2021, many brands rushed to pen their support for sustainable causes. Many fashion labels including Everlane, ThredUp, Rebecca Minkoff, Allbirds, Reformation and more signed a letter to U.S. President Joe Biden to appoint a “fashion czar”; while in the U.K., similar calls echoed out for a “garment trade adjudicator”.

So, it is clear that 2021 was the year the fashion industry moved forward in their intent for advancing social and environmental progress.

Resale Momentum

The 2018 campaign for Vestiaire Collective. (Photo Credit: Vestiaire Collective)

“Buying a pre-loved handbag from the same brand’s online store that you bought a new pair of boots from is going to be a billion-dollar game changer for the fashion community,” said The RealReal’s former director of business development, Karin Dillie, who went from Sotheby’s, The RealReal, to now, brand-owned resale space at Recurate, in an interview with WWD.

Last year, direct-to-consumer fashion brands like Boyish Jeans, Coclico Shoes and Époque Évolution, partnered with branded business-to-consumer marketplace Treet, ​while Cuyana, Vera Bradley and Fabletics partnered with ThredUp.

Kering announced a $216 million investment in Vestiaire Collective in March of 2021. Richemont rolled out resale partnerships (via Watchfinder) at Net-a-porter and Mr Porter in July. By August, new collaborations were forged in-store and online, one highlight being luxury pre-owned vendor Fashionphile teaming up with Neighborhood Goods.

The athletic brand New Balance launched its “New Balance Renewed” program with The Renewal Workshop. H&M newly launched its own “Rewear” resale marketplace in Canada, and URBN announced its “Nuuly Thrift” platform in fall 2021.

Throughout the pandemic, the luxury resale market gained momentum while used goods piled up as people had time to purge their closets.

Innovation in Sustainability

Stella McCartney’s new bag made with Mylo. (Photo Credit: Vegnews)

Sustainability innovation has definitely ramped up and has become a BIG movement within the fashion industry. Throughout 2021, giant fashion and athletic brands including Adidas, Nike, H&M, Stella McCartney, Ralph Lauren, Patagonia, and Gap, to name a few, have looked to nature and have invested in buzzy next-gen materials.

“There are exciting innovations for clothing production that are designed to have less of an environmental impact after its intended use; for example, fibers and fabrics designed to: be collected and mechanically or chemically recycled back into new textiles; biodegrade (under specific conditions); or compost into non-toxic constituents,” Barbara Martinez, open innovation director at Conservation X Labs, a technology and innovation hub based in Washington, D.C., told WWD.

A September report from nonprofit Material Innovation Initiative and consumer research firm North Mountain Consulting tallied $1.29 billion invested in standout material innovation firms from 2015 to May 2021. MII found that vegan leather alone could command 54 percent of the market, according to Nicole Rawling, cofounder and chief executive officer of the Material Innovation Initiative. “The findings reveal that cost-competitive next-gen materials could command the majority of many markets,” she said in an interview with WWD.

Even luxury designers are looking to vegan leather options. Case-in-point, Hermès, a house immersed in tradition, shocked the luxury world when it announced a partnership with the California-based start-up MycoWorks to develop a leather-type material out of mycelium – this would be the first time the luxury label stepped away from the houses’ signature calfskin leather of its renowned Birkin and Kelly bags.

Stella McCartney, one of the first luxury designers to focus on sustainability, has been experimenting with fungi as well. This past year, the fashion house has partnered with Bolt Threads in developing Mylo, a new trademarked material made from the root system of fungi.

McCartney introduced a mushroom leather bag during her spring 2022 show, which began with a voice stating that “In fashion, mushrooms are the future,” across its Paris venue. The designer’s goal is to offer the innovative material to other brands and help bring the use of sustainable materials into mainstream fashion.

Luxury, Resale Boast B Corp Chops

At Chloé, Gabriela Hearst trimmed dresses with metal “talismans” sourced from deadstock jewelry supplies. (Photo Credit Vogue: Runway)

Fashion brands (both luxury and mass) are often criticized for the fast pace of their production calendars, hosting shows in exotic locations, and having little visibility in their massive supply chains.

But in the past few years, many brands are taking sustainability seriously by reaching for a new title-grab. 2021 was the pathfinding year when luxury fashion houses (including luxury resellers) bought into B Corp status.

The Benefit Corporation (abbreviated as B Corp) is regarded as the “gold standard” in sustainable companies; the certification is provided by nonprofit B Lab, when companies showcase that they can fulfill its strict ESG criteria. B Corps are legally bound to act in the interest of both people and out planet.

This past September, Kering-backed Vestiaire Collective led the way as the first in resale to earn B Corp status. Richemont-owned Chloé was the first luxury fashion house to receive the much-acclaimed certification, setting a new standard of how brands should operate moving forward in the fashion industry.

“Beyond the fact that we are proud of it as a company, we also aim to inspire many others to join,” said Riccardo Bellini, chief executive officer of the Compagnie Financière Richemont-owned brand, to WWD. “We upgraded our operations, governance and policies in a way that allows us to operate in a more environmentally and socially responsible manner.”

Chloé began moving to a purpose-driven business model before the pandemic and with the appointment of Gabriela Hearst (named creative director in December 2020), whose entire design philosophy revolves around environmentally friendly practices. Some of the policies Chloé implemented along the way included its “Women Forward for a Fairer Future” mission statement; the appointment of an advisory board of experts; as well as the inclusion of more social entrepreneurs in its supply chain.

Richemont’s Bellini summed up the B Corp differential best: “It’s all about the mindset of continuously challenging ourselves to improve, and to bring the full equation of financial, social and environmental value to the table in every decision we make.”

Sustainable fashion is more than just a trend. (Photo Credit: Girotti Shoes)

 

Be sure to check out UoF’s lessons on sustainability:  Introduction to Sustainable Fashion Design, Sustainable Materials For Fashion Design

Designing, Producing & Marketing a Sustainable Collection, Sustainable Fashion Designer – Monisha Raja

Eco-Textiles, and Sustainable Fashion Designer – Kristen Luong,

So tell us, how will you create a more sustainable brand moving forward?

LOOKING BACK & AHEAD AT UNIVERSITY OF FASHION

As 2021 draws to a close and with only 5 days left to take advantage of our once-yearly subscription promo offer, I thought I’d take a moment to thank all of our wonderfully talented UoF instructors and staff, as well as our schools, groups and individual subscribers. We love sharing our collective passion for fashion!

I’d also like to reflect on UoF’s 2021 accomplishments and give a sneak peek at what we have planned for 2022.

When the global pandemic extended into 2021, UoF experienced a record number of new schools subscribing and accessing our content library. We were honored to be able to help so many students and teachers as they navigated the world of remote teaching and learning. As it’s likely that Omicron will be with us into 2022, schools that aren’t currently subscribed may want to check out our Group Subscription rates and how to apply for a free trial. With UoF entering its 14th year in the fashion education business, I think we know a thing or two about online learning, don’t you? Just read our testimonials.

NEW LESSONS ADDED IN 2021

The Delta variant didn’t slow us down in 2021. In fact, we added more than 30 new lessons, like Draping a Cascade Ruffle Dress, Draping a Cascade Ruffle Sleeve, Leather Sewing Techniques, Creating Custom Brushes in Adobe Illustrator and our Procreate series starting with Introduction to Procreate for Fashion Design, just to name a few.

We also added lessons in three new learning categories: Swimwear, Textile Design and Visual Merchandising. As always, these new lessons are all taught by industry pros and college profs.

Our swimwear maven, Jessica Krupa, is a New York City-based design entrepreneur and professor of design focusing on swimwear and intimate apparel. She has over 15 years of experience creating swimwear and intimate apparel collections for Fortune 500 Enterprises, such as Victoria’s Secret and Li & Fung, and has been awarded a bra design patent for innovation during her tenure at VS. Jessica currently runs her own luxury swimwear company called Krupa Couture Swim and most recently founded an intimate apparel company called Panty Promise, focused on women’s feminine hygiene in panties, in which she received the “Favorite Brand Award” through Eurovet’s Curve Tradeshow Competition in November 2020. Jessica’s lessons encompass design and product development with many more to be launched in 2022.

Our textile design lessons are taught by Lindsay Boehl, a New York-based textile designer who began her career as a CAD artist at a textile converter, designing men’s shirting stripes, plaids, prints and patterns for major brands such as Ralph Lauren, American Eagle and Wrangler. She is currently Manager of Customer Advocacy at Aquario Design, a leading provider of fashion, textile, CAD design and printed products solutions for Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator. Stay tuned…more lessons from Lindsay will follow in early 2022.

Our 9-part visual merchandising series is taught by Marcie Cooperman. a highly regarded professor at Parsons in the Department of Fashion, where she has taught classes such as Visual Merchandising, Fashion, Fashion Marketing Management, Color Theory, Branding, Social Commerce, and Entrepreneurship. Her textbook Color: How to Use It for Pearson: Higher Education is an essential color resource for all design professionals.  It has been successfully classroom-tested through years of Marcie’s Color Theory classes at Pratt Institute and Parsons School of Design. Watch for more of Marcie’s lessons to launch in 2022.

LOOKING AHEAD TO 2022

We’ve got big plans for 2022. We will be adding additional visual merchandising lessons, swimwear design and technical design lessons and textile design lessons. We will also be adding an Intimate Apparel series, additional advanced draping lessons, product development lessons, an entire series on drafting cut and sew knits and lessons in 3D design.

As we move back into the studio to film these new lessons, please know that we are always open to your suggestions. And, remember that if you need help or have questions about any of our existing lessons, we are here for you.

Wishing you all a very happy and fashionable 2022

Francesca Sterlacci
Founder/CEO
University of Fashion

THE CLOCK IS TICKING,
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Having trouble finding the right gift for that fashionista in your life? Well, search no more, we’ve got you covered. More than 500 lessons to learn from in 13 different disciplines like drawing, sewing, draping, patternmaking, menswear, childrenswear, knits, product development, accessories, CAD art & CAD patternmaking, fashion business and fashion lectures in color theory, trend forecasting, fashion history, influencer marketing, visual merchandising, sustainable design and much more!

And now, with a new coronavirus variant forcing teachers and students back into remote-learning, it’s the perfect time to subscribe to our fashion education video library. All of our teachers are either fashion industry pros or fashion college professors. Learn from the BEST!

We offer our video subscription discount ONLY ONCE A YEAR so get going!

Offers expire 1/1/22

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NYC’S WHIMSICAL HOLIDAY WINDOWS: A VISUAL MERCHANDISING BONANZA

Saks Fifth Avenue unveiled its holiday windows. (Photo Credit: Gothamist)

It’s the most wonderful time of the year…..especially for stores as the holiday season is one of the most profitable times of year for retailers. In New York City, both department stores and boutiques alike get festive with creative windows that tourists and city residents line up to view. Last winter, due to the pandemic, most retailers opted for more minimalistic displays; but for the 2021 season, stores such as Macy’s, Saks Fifth Avenue, Bloomingdale’s, and Bergdorf Goodman have pull out all the stops with their window displays. Their exceptionally positive holiday windows are sending good vibes out to the city streets.

Children gazing at the Macy’s Christmas window displays early 1900s. (Photo Credit: Bain Collection/ Library of Congress)

Macy’s is acknowledged as bringing holiday windows to New York City in 1874, with an extravagant display on 34th Street in Herald Square. Over the years, now-shuttered retailers along Fifth Avenue, namely Lord & Taylor, B. Altman and I Magnin,  competed to outshine each other with dazzlingly creative holiday window installations that drew crowds, inspired family traditions, and gave tourists another reason to visit New York City in December.

“Most of them did not feature merchandise,” said Sheryll Bellman, the author of Through the Shopping Glass: A Century of New York Christmas Windows“It was to delight the public. It was their gift to the city.”

This year, with retailers optimistic about the holiday shopping season, these creative and magical windows are drawing shoppers and fans of visual merchandising in droves to the city. They ogle and ogle and of course take selfies in front of the windows. Sometimes for good causes.

Michelle Obama unveiled the Saks windows and promoted her charity, Girls Opportunity Alliance. (Photo Credit: The New York Times)

Saks Fifth Avenue’s flagship store in New York City, who has some of the most impressive holiday windows, drew former First Lady Michelle Obama. Mrs. Obama was there to promote a partnership between Saks and the Obama Foundation’s Girls Opportunity Alliance. December is the month for giving, and the department store donated $1 million to the foundation. Some of Saks’ windows featured looks from a few of  Ms. Obama’s favorite designers, Jason Wu, Philip Lim and Oscar de la Renta, with 100 percent of the net proceeds this year going to the foundation. The collections not only included clothing, but also housewares, beauty, and accessories.

Saks Fifth Avenue unveiled its holiday windows. (Photo Credit: Gothamist)

According to Andrew Winton, senior vice president of creative at Saks, who oversees the holiday displays, the company asked NYC children to draw and describe their holiday dreams — of homes, beaches, and games —and then the Saks window artists brought those images to life. “The style is sort of candy-coated imagination,” said Winton in an interview with The New York Times.

Shoppers walking by a Macy’s window. (Photo Credit: The New York Times)

Visual Story-telling

This season, Macy’s holiday windows tell the story of Tiptoe, a spunky reindeer who goes on a magical journey as she dreams of flying, attending flight school, and ultimately joining Santa’s crew. “Macy’s Herald Square is the home for holiday magic and our iconic Broadway windows have for more than 100 years showcased animated wonders that inspire and delight,” said Manuel Urquizo, National Director of Visual Campaigns and Windows for Macy’s to The New York Times. “With Tiptoe, we have created a whimsical story highlighting the important power of belief and the joy and wonder of the season.”

Macy’s 2021 holiday window displays. (Photo Credit: Gothamist)

Holiday cheer also filled the streets in front of Bloomingdale’s as the store’s visual team stuffed the Lexington Avenue windows with items that delighted them as children. One window displayed a T. Rex covered in ornaments riding a skateboard. Another window a hot pink mannequin in glitter roller skates twirling around in a sequined clamshell.

The windows at Bloomingdale’s are stuffed with oversize toys. (Photo Credit: The New York Times)

“Every year, we look forward to our holiday unveiling event as a gift to our customers and the city of New York. And, this year, we are even more excited to come back together and celebrate,” said Frank Berman, Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer, Bloomingdale’s in an interview with Gothamist.

Bloomingdale’s 2021 holiday window displays. (Photo Credit: Gothamist)

The luxury department store Bergdorf Goodman ran with the theme “The Present Moment,” illustrating joyful moments in which characters are in the moment.  “Life is turning around again,” said Linda Fargo, the Bergdorf Goodman fashion director, as the department store unveiled its holiday windows.

Bergdorf Goodman 2021 holiday window displays. (Photo Credit: Gothamist)

In one holiday display, there was a mermaid wearing a sequined magenta dress by C.D. Greene resting on a bedazzled motorcycle surrounded by pointy-nosed fish. In another window, a mannequin wearing an embroidered gold Schiaparelli dress and jacket is dancing on the moon.

Each installation celebrates a different mood: adventurous, harmonious and frisky. David Hoey, Bergdorf’s senior director of visual presentation, told The New York Times that the windows were inspired by a psychedelic sculpture of a green bird. “Last year was kind of minimalism,” Mr. Hoey said. “This year is maximalism which is our trademark.”

The windows at Bergdorf Goodman evoke a psychedelic jungle. (Photo Credit: The New York Times)

“These windows are extremely complicated to install, considering the layers of scenery and props,” Hoey told Yahoo. “Windows are usually tight spaces. It’s like sensory overload. We purposely overstuff these windows in a designed kind of a way, attempting to induce an aesthetic delirium. To us, they are extremely holiday and festive. A state of mind. While we don’t necessarily have Santa Claus, we do have a spirit of holiday.”

 NEW UOF VISUAL MERCHANDISING LESSON SERIES LAUNCHES

If you’re a fan of store windows and in-store displays like we are, check out our new 9-part series on the art of visual merchandising, taught by Parsons & UoF professor Marcie Cooperman. You’ll find them in our Fashion Business Discipline

 

JUST A REMINDER

Take advantage of our once-yearly subscription deals. Gift that fashionista in your life or heck…why not treat yourself?

Get $40 off a yearly subscription (was $189 now $149) https://www.universityoffashion.com/holiday-offer/ Promo Code: Deal21

Or get $5 off the first month of our Monthly subscription (was $19.95 now $14.95) https://www.universityoffashion.com/holiday-offer/ Promo Code: Promo21

Offers expire 1/1/22

 

SO TELL US, WHICH RETAILER DO YOU THINK HAS THE MOST CREATIVE HOLIDAY WINDOWS?

 

 

 

 

FASHION INDUSTRY CHARTER FOR CLIMATE CHANGE: HERE’S WHAT’S NEW

- - Sustainability

Vivienne Westwood has been addresing her concerns over climate change for years. (Photo Credit: Common Objective)

The 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference, more commonly referred to as COP26 or ‘Conference of the Parties’, was the 26th United Nations Climate Change conference, and was held at the SEC Centre in Glasgow, Scotland from October 31 to November 13. The president of the conference was UK  cabinet minister, Alok Sharma. The United Nations has been bringing together a majority of countries for almost thirty years now to help battle the effects of climate change and many believe that this year’s event has come up with some strategic solutions. Climate change has gone from

Leading up to COP26, the UK worked with every nation to reach an agreement on how to tackle climate change, taking it from being a fringe issue to a global priority. World leaders arrived in Scotland, alongside tens of thousands of negotiators, government representatives, businesses and citizens, for twelve days of talks. To do its part, the fashion industry is ramping up its climate efforts. This post covers what’s new in the Fashion Industry Charter For Climate Change initiative.

Over the past few years, the conversation on fashion sustainability has become a hot topic as brands race to reveal various eco-minded strategies ranging from committing to reach net zero or the initiative to become carbon positive (meaning that businesses are drawing more carbon from the atmosphere than is emitted). While these strategies are promising, the fashion industry still has a lot of work ahead of them to help in the fight against climate change.

(A video of the Fashion Industry Charter for Climate Action at COP24. Video courtesy of the The Fashion Industry Charter on YouTube)

In 2020, a report by the Global Fashion Agenda found the fashion industry’s emissions are in fact set to rise to around 2.7 billion tons a year by 2030 if existing measures stay the same. Based on the current trajectory, fashion’s emissions would in fact double the maximum level required to be in line with the Paris Agreement’s goal to keep global warming to 1.5°C.

Mission of the Fashion Industry Charter for Climate Change. (Source: United Nations Climate Change)

“This is an important milestone for the Fashion Charter, as it increases the ambition level in an effort to align the industry with 1.5 degrees,” said Stefan Seidel of Puma, a co-chair of the Fashion Industry Charter steering committee. “It is a signal that we need to work closely together with our peers, our supply chain, policymakers and consumers to get on the track to net-zero.”

This is why the United Nations Fashion Industry Charter For Climate Action – which launched in 2018 and was signed by 130 brands, including Burberry, Chanel and Gucci-owner Kering—is ramping up its efforts to diminish fashion’s environmental impacts, with brands committing to cutting greenhouse gas emissions by 50% by 2030 (compared to the prior target of 30%) or setting Science Based Targets, an initiative that sets out a roadmap to cut emissions in line with the Paris Agreement.

“We realised [the 2018 Fashion Charter] isn’t enough any longer,” Niclas Svenningsen, manager of Global Climate Action at UN Climate Change, said at the Fashion Charter event in Glasgow. “We need to make it stronger, more concrete, more ambitious.”

LVMH, owner of Louis Vuitton, Dior and Givenchy, has signed up to the Fashion Charter for the first time—an important move considering the power that the firm holds in the fashion industry.

The Fashion Industry Charter For Climate Change initiative is going beyond the commitments to cut emissions more swiftly, the Charter has also set a new goal for 100% of “priority” materials – such as cotton, viscose, polyester, wool and leather – to be low climate impact by 2030. The agreement particularly points to materials that can be recycled in a closed loop, and are deforestation-free, conversion-free (meaning natural ecosystems are not destroyed during the process) and produced using regenerative methods.

Textile Exchange and Fashion Industry Charter for Climate Action 2025. Recycled Polyester Challenge. (Photo Credit: Textile Exchange)

 

“It really sets the picture for where the industry needs to be heading when it comes to sourcing materials,” stated Claire Bergkamp, chief operating officer at Textile Exchange, one of the signatories of the Fashion Charter, told Vogue, adding that financial incentives for brands is crucial in order to reach the target set (more than 50 companies, including the likes of Kering, Stella McCartney and Chloé, have now called on governments to implement policy change on this).

As additional change under the new agreement which will have a substantial impact is the emphasis on labels needing to work with their suppliers to decrease emissions – especially considering that the greater part of emissions come from the supply chain. The new version of the Charter pledges to phasing out coal from tier one and tier two suppliers by 2030, as well as no new coal power by 2023, in addition to assisting suppliers to implement science-based targets by the end of 2025.

“The suppliers depend on the brands,” Rubana Huq, former president of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association, highlighted during a panel discussion. “Unless we’re all in it together, unless we have a collaborative strategy, nothing’s really going to work.”

The commitments are undeniably a huge step forward for the fashion industry, some campaigners still believe that the plans did not go far enough. “[The] Charter misses the mark by not committing the industry to transition to 100% renewable energy in its supply chain by 2030, which would be critical to achieving its goal,” Muhannad Malas, senior climate campaigner at Stand.earth, said in a statement to Vogue M, while noting there are signs of “encouraging progress”.

Scientific experts and politicians also argue that enforcement is required to guarantee that the Fashion Industry Charter goals aren’t simply aspirational. “What’s good is that it sets science-based targets – this is the gold standard for emissions reductions, so that is very meaningful,” Maxine Bedat, founder of the New Standards Institute, commented. “[But] what is the penalty if these targets are not achieved?”

Given the magnitude of the climate crisis the earth is facing, we understand that fashion urgently needs to do its part. Will these new commitments from fashion companies mark a real turning point for the industry? “[The] science is clear: we have to do this,” Svenningsen said. “We don’t have a choice.”

H&M’s Eco-Friendly Holiday 2021 Collection. (Photo Credit: H&M)

In an industry where individuality is prized and conformity is shunned, this list of fashion companies who have gotten onboard for one goal, saving the planet, is quite impressive. Here are the current signatories to the Fashion Industry Charter For Climate Action commitment:

Signatories

ALDO Group, Adidas AG, AGI Denim, Aigle, AKKUS, American & Efird (HK) Ltd., American Eagle Outfitters, A.P. Møller-Maersk A/S, Anko, Anya Hindmarch, Aquitex, Arc’teryx, Artistic Milliners, Asia Pacific Rayon, ASICS, Berbrand Srl, Bottletop, Burberry, Capranea Sports AG, CCC Capital Group, CHANEL, Chenfeng Group Co., Ltd, Circular Systems S.P.C., Clover Global Limited, CODOGIRL, Craghoppers, Crystal International Group, Dai, DBL Group, Decathlon, Denim Expert Limitedqq, Dare2b, Elevate Textiles, El Corte Ingles, Esprit,  Etam Group, Evea Eco Fashion, Farfetch, Fast Retailing, Fenix Outdoor International AG, Fossil Group, GANNI, GANT AB, Gap Inc., G-Star RAW, Good Fabric, Groupe Rossignol, Grupo SOMA, Guess? Inc., HAGLÖFS AB,  Hakro GmbH, Hanbo Enterprises Ltd., Hansoll Textile Ltd., Hermes International, House of Baukjen, H&M Group, Hong Kong Non-Woven Fabric Ind. Co. Ltd., Hop Lun Ltd, Hugo Boss AG, HWASEUNG Enterprise, Inditex, Interloop Limited, John Smedley Ltd, K-Boxing, Kering Group, KiK Textilien und Non-Food GmbH, Kmart Australia Limited, Kmart Group, Lacoste, Lenzing AG, Lever Style Inc., Levi Strauss & Co, LIMY Inc dba Reformation, Liverpool LA, Lojas Renner,  Loomstate, L SAHA, lululemon athletica, LVMH, Mammut Sports Group AG, Mango, Mantis World,             Mulberry Group plc, Nanushka, New Balance Athletics Inc, Nike, Inc., NOABRANDS, Otto Group, Paris Good Fashion, Pattern SpA, Peak Performance Production AB, Pinneco Research Ltd., PVH Corp, PIDIGI S.P.A, Primark, Princess Polly, PUMA S.E., Ralph Lauren, Regatta Group, Reserva, Re:newcell AB, RT Knits Ltd, Salomon, Sateri, Schoeller Texti AG, Shokay, Simple Chic Women, SKFK-Skunkfunk, SLN Tekstil ve Moda San. Tic. A.S, Stella McCartney, SunRise Group, Sympatex Technologies GmbH, Superdry plc, Taiga Apparel (Pvt) Ltd., TAL Apparel Ltd.,Target Corporation,  Target Australia, Tendam Global Fashion Retail, Textil Santanderina, S.A., The Forest Trust, The R Collective, The RealReal, The Schneider Group, Tchibo, Tintex Textiles, S.A.,  TOM TAILOR, Tropic Knits Ltd, VASI Group Companies, VF Corporation, Vivida Lifestyle Ltd., YKK Corporation and Worn Again.

(SOURCE: United Nations for Climate Change)

 

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HOUSE OF GUCCI: A TRUE STORY OF MURDER, MADNESS, GLAMOUR, AND GREED

House of Gucci Cast hits the Red Carpet for UK Premiere. Left to right: Salma Hayek, Jared Leto, Adam Driver, and Lady Gaga. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

How does a poor Italian bellhop become the genius behind one of the biggest luxury brands in the world? Meet Guccio  Giovanbattista Giacinto Dario Maria Gucci.  The rest is history! Read on….

Guccio Gucci – Fashion Elite

Guccio Gucci (Image credit: Wikipedia)

In the ’70s, the House of Gucci was all about high fashion, intrigue and murder- the fashion industry’s crime of the century (until the unfortunate murder of Gianni Versace). On November 24th (Thanksgiving weekend in the U.S.), the highly anticipated film “House of Gucci” will be released in theaters. The film stars Adam Driver and Lady Gaga, (as they play Mauricio and Patrizia Gucci) and details the rise of Gucci and the real-life murder of Maurizio Gucci at the hand of a hitman – hired by the fashion heir’s ex-wife, Patrizia Reggiani. While fashionistas and Gucci fans eagerly await the Ridley Scott film, members of the Gucci family have expressed disgust over the film. Sorpresa?

Left: A photo of Maurizio Gucci and his ex-wife Patrizia. Right: a photo from the House of Gucci film starring Adam Driver and Lady Gaga. (Photo Credit: The New York Post)

“They are stealing the identity of a family to make a profit, to increase the income of the Hollywood system,” Patrizia Gucci’s, Maurizio’s cousin, complained to Associated Press of director Ridley Scott and his collaborators. She is particularly piqued at Al Pacino playing her grandfather Aldo, son of the fashion house’s founder, Guccio. She claimed that “House of Gucci” based on Sara Forden’s 2000 book “The House of Gucci” — portrays her grandfather as “fat, short, with sideburns, really ugly. Shameful … ”

A poster for the House of Gucci. (Poster art copyright belongs to Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Bron Creative, and Scott Free Productions)

But nothing is as shameful as the actual events that inspired the film. A story so wild that not even Hollywood could have imagined. On March 27, 1995, Maurizio Gucci was excited to marry his girlfriend of four years, Paola Franchi, a beautiful artist with whom he shared a luxurious apartment on Milan’s exclusive Corso Venezia. That day was like any other as the fashion heir walked to his office in a designer suit and camel coat. He nodded to his doorman, and then bam, the first bullet hit Maurizio in the back. Another silenced bullet struck him below the waist and a third bullet glanced his arm. He fell to the ground and took the final hit, a fatal shot to the skull by an unseen shooter.

The doorman sat dazed on a step as he had also been hit by a bullet in the arm. Police rushed to the scene, but the killer got away.

“Never before do I remember a murder like that, right in the center of Milan,” Maurizio Manca, owner of the city’s Bozart Jewelry, told The Post. “It would be like seeing the president of Tiffany killed in front of his store on Fifth Avenue.”

THE HISTORY OF THE GUCCI FAMILY

As a young man Guccio Gucci worked as a bellhop at London’s Savoy Hotel. It was there that he was inspired by the elegant suitcases of affluent travelers and so in 1921 he unveiled his own luggage company in Florence. Gucci expanded to handbags and other accessories in the ’30s, followed by clothing with the 1968 opening of his Beverly Hills boutique. By then, Gucci’s infamous double-G logo counted Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, Elizabeth Taylor, Sophia Loren and Princess Grace of Monaco as devotees. A true rags-to-riches story.

Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis wearing a black dress, sunglasses, and the Gucci “Jackie” handbag in New York on September 18, 1968. (Photo Credit: Fairchild Archives)

Although Guccio Gucci built himself a fashion empire, throughout the ‘70s and ‘80s family drama would fracture the business. Two of Guccio Gucci’s grandsons tried to introduce spinoff brands to capitalize on the Gucci name. A third grandson, Maurizio, the only child of Rodolfo Gucci (one of Guccio’s five sons), inherited his father’s majority stake in the Gucci company. Naturally, this led to family infighting, resulting in Maurizio’s public legal battle against his uncle, Aldo Gucci, contesting for full control of the company. Then, in the early Eighties, Maurizio gained full control of the Gucci brand.

Maurizio Gucci greets guest during a party for the opening of Gucci’s Worth Ave boutique in Palm Beach on December 5, 1975. (Photo Credit: WWD)

“Maurizio was not a businessman; he was a playboy,” Karen Homer, author of Little Book of Gucci, told The Post. He became known for his excessive spending — buying homes around the world and a wooden yacht once owned by shipping tycoon Stavros Niarchos.

In 1972, Mauricio Gucci married Patrizia Reggiani, who came from a “humble background,” according to Luisa Zargani, the Women’s Wear Daily bureau chief in Milan.

Maurizio Gucci and Patrizia Reggiani married in 1972, had two daughters and divorced in 1985. (Photo Credit: MEGA)

Maurizio’s new bride loved spending as much as he did. Patrizia quickly became known as “Lady Gucci,” embracing her new life and embodied the brand. She became most eccentric as she swanned around in mink coats, dripping with diamonds, and traveling with the jet-set. “She loved jewelry and big furs. You could call her a social climber,” said Zargani. “She attended the big parties but was not sophisticated or refined. It was all about appearances.”

The lavish couple had two daughters together, Alessandra and Allegra. But in 1985, Maurizio left on a business trip, and never came home. He had left Reggiani for a younger woman named Paola Franchi. His ex-wife Patrizia reportedly received a half a million dollars a year in alimony as part of their divorce settlement.

But Maurizio Gucci was not a businessman and soon the Gucci brand was in major financial trouble. In 1988, the Gucci heir sold 48.8% of the company to Bahrain-based Investcorp, which also owned Tiffany & Co. But Mauricio kept up his lavish lifestyle and continued to spend freely on Gucci headquarters in Florence and Milan. By 1993, Maurizio sold the remaining shares to Investcorp — netting himself a payout of $170 million and severing family ties with the company his grandfather founded.

After Maurizio’s assassination on March 27, 1995, gossip circulated around Milan’s high society that perhaps his murder was tied to his financial troubles. “There were thoughts that he had borrowed money from the wrong people,” said Zargani. “They thought that maybe it was a vendetta.”

The murder scene of Maurizio Gucci in 1995. (Photo Credit: Shutterstock)

Two years later and the search for Maurizio’s killer had hit a dead end. But in 1997, a man named Gabriele Carpanese reached out to detectives with information— and a tale of jealousy, money and murder began to unwind.

Gabriele Carpanese claimed that Patrizia Reggiani wanted revenge on her ex-husband; the man who had catapulted her into Milan’s high society, lavished her with over-the-top gifts and then broke her down through their divorce. The final insult to Patrizia’s ego was when Maurizio sold the Gucci brand. “She was livid when he sold out to Investcorp,” author Homer told The Post. Even as his ex, “it took her crown away. She was not the Gucci Princess anymore.”

Reggiani did not hide her anger towards Maurizio. According to The House of Gucci, she told her maid: “If it’s the last thing I do, I want to see him dead.” She stated similar emotions to an attorney and even blamed her ex for a brain tumor she’d been diagnosed with, which caused crippling headaches and left her afflicted with seizures. She allegedly asked a butcher about killing Maurizio.

According to Carpanese, Reggiani had confided in psychic Pina Auriemma, who was staying at Hotel Adry, the two-star Milan hotel where Carpanese lived.

He claimed the women planned to kill Maurizio and that Auriemma enlisted the help of the building’s doorkeeper, Ivano Savioni, who, in turn, introduced them to a getaway driver (Orazio Cicala, a restaurant manager) and a hitman Benedetto Ceraulo, a cash-strapped pizzeria owner. According to The House of Gucci,  Carpanese claimed that Reggiani put up $375,000 for the assassination of Maurizio.

In court, Reggiani admitted to paying Auriemma the money, but contended that it was not for murder; she claimed that Auriemma set up the hit independently and threatened to frame Reggiani if she didn’t pay them. But, Reggiani inconsistently added: “It was worth every lira.”

Even after the murder on her ex-husband, Reggiani resumed living the life of Lady Gucci, and her co-conspirators felt short-changed. When they asked for more money she refused and so a frustrated Savioni complained to Carpanese, who immediately went to the cops.

Carpanese was now involved and offered to introduce the gang to a Medellín drug cartel enforcer who could apply pressure to Reggiani about extra money, the team jumped at the chance. But there was just one problem, the enforcer Capanese introduced them to was really an undercover cop and secretly recorded their confessions.

Thanks to Carpanse, all five collaborators in the Gucci murder were arrested. But Lady Gucci — now nicknamed “Black Widow ” by the Italian dailies — made the biggest splash at police headquarters. According to The House of Gucci, she wore a floor-length mink and glittering diamonds as police escorted her from her home.

Patrizia Reggiani was arrested in 1997. (Photo Credit: Associated Press)

All were found guilty. Reggiani and Cicala were sentenced to 29 years in prison each, while hitman Ceraulo was sentenced to life in prison. Auriemma got 24 years and Savioni received 26.

Patrizia Reggiani served 16 years of her term. Her attorney Danilo Buongiorno attributed the early release in 2014 to “good conduct” and health reasons. Remorse, evidently, had nothing to do with it.

When an Italian televison crew asked Reggiani why she hired a hit man instead of killing Maurizio herself, the feisty Black Widow replied: “My eyesight is not so good. I didn’t want to miss.”

To this day Patrizia Reggiani claims that she is innocent and was set up by the psychic. She even told Buongiorno, “I’m not guilty, but I’m not innocent.”

Buongiorno told The Post: “She thought she had made some mistakes in her life. But she always said she did not kill her husband … She always said she did not pay anyone to commit the murder.”

After prison, Patrizia Reggiani became a design consultant for the jewelry company Bozart. “She was like a queen before she entered jail and she was like a queen when she came out,” Bozart Jewelry owner Manca said of Reggiani. “When we met [in 2014], it was like a flashback to the ’80s.”

Reggiani worked for the jewelry brand until 2017 when she had a falling-out with Manca. “She lives in Milan, in her mother’s house and does not work anymore,” Manca said of Patrizia Reggiani who is now 72 years old. “I miss her a little bit.”

Reggiani told the Guardian that she is estranged from children, Alessandra and Allegra, both now married. In 2017 an Italian court ruled that Reggiani is entitled to some $1 million per year, which Maurizio agreed to provide her in 1993, from his estate.

“She lost everything when she had her husband killed,” Women’s Wear Daily’s Zargani said. “She did everything she could to be part of the jet-set world, and through the killing of her husband, she lost that.”

After all that has transpired between Patrizia Reggiani and the Gucci family and brand, Reggiani had the nerve to say she should be hired by the Gucci brand. “They need me,” she told La Republica. “I still feel like a Gucci — in fact, the most Gucci of them all.”

Want more Gucci drama? Check out the Wondery podcast, Even the Rich. Their three-part series, Murder in the House of Gucci, is lots of fun!

 

So tell us, which designer house would you like to see Hollywood bring to life next?

CFDA FASHION AWARDS: FASHION’S OTHER BIG NIGHT

- - Fashion Events

Designer/Stylist Law Roach and Zendaya in Vera Wang, winner of the Fashion Icon Award. (Photo Credit: Vogue)

Fashion’s second biggest fashion event (the MET Gala being the first) happened on Wednesday November 10th, the CFDA Awards. Some of the biggest names in fashion attended an in-person extravaganza for industry insiders at the Pool + the Grill, located in the Seagram Building on Park Avenue in Manhattan. The mezzanine, in the back of The Grill, proved the perfect perch from which to ogle the guests. The energy of the night was filled with excitement and awe. All of fashion’s heavy hitters were in attendance, as well as some very well-dressed celebrities.

CFDA Chairman and designer Tom Ford and Dapper Dan, winner of the Geoffrey Beene Lifetime Achievement Award . (Photo Credit: Vogue)

“I’m so happy to be back at a fashion gathering,” said Tom Ford to Vogue Magazine as he stepped away from cocktails for a moment to reflect on the evening. “I’ve been Chairman of the CFDA for almost three years and this is the first CFDA Awards I’ve been able to host. We wanted it to be much more intimate, but still very chic.”

Hostess Emily Blunt in Christopher John Rogers. (Photo Credit: Shutterstock)

The award ceremony, hosted by British actress Emily Blunt (of Devil Wears Prada fame), was held in front of a live audience and a troupe of celebrity presenters (last year’s ceremony was all digital due to the COVID-19 Pandemic). Some of the honorees were announced ahead of the awards ceremony, such as Zendaya winning the Fashion Icon Award, as well as Anya Taylor-Joy winning the first ever Face of the Year Award.

But, let’s face it, if it weren’t for their fashion stylists, would these gals have won these awards? Case in point, this year’s The Hollywood Reporter Top Stylist of the Year Award went to Law Roach (who also works with Anya Taylor-Joy, Kerry Washington, Tiffany Haddish, Priyanka Chopra Jonas, Aldis Hodge, Tom Holland and Hunter Schafer). Read about the 12 stylists that you should be following on Instagram: https://www.crfashionbook.com/fashion/a36632100/12-stylists-you-should-be-following-on-instagram/

 

Anya Taylor-Joy in Oscar de la Renta and Gigi Burris hat. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

Tom Ford’s mission for the 2021 CFDA Awards was to promote the talent that America has to offer. “I’m excited to show how American fashion has impacted the rest of the world, whether the rest of the world is ready to acknowledge that or not,” he said to Vogue Magazine. “That is my goal, to help the rest of the world understand how much they have taken and how much America has given to fashion globally.”

Demna Gvasalia, the creative director behind Balenciaga, and winner of the International Womenswear Designer of the Year Award couldn’t have agreed more with Ford. “American fashion has had the biggest impact it could have on someone like me. I was a Soviet kid who grew up in a country where people didn’t even know that fashion designer was a profession,” he said, holding his CFDA statuette. “The first time I discovered that you could be a fashion designer was when I discovered Tom Ford, when I was 10 or 11 years old. My dream of fashion actually began with discovering Tom Ford.”

Paloma Elsesser and Demna Gvasalia, winner of the International Womenswear Designer of the Year Award . (Photo Credit: Vogue)

“It’s not something I ever could have dreamt of to be here tonight and to have this kind of award,” Gvasalia continued. “I feel like I’ve been fighting for my place in fashion and to receive this award today, it’s like three years worth of therapy in some way. It’s the most amazing feeling, to feel heard, seen, and understood, and that’s what this award represents to me. It’s amazing. I don’t feel alone anymore.”

Feeling seen and accepted was a common theme throughout the night. Emerging Designer of the Year winner Edvin Thompson of Theophilio stated after his win, “It represents my community, Jamaica, and really carving out a space in the fashion industry to tell our stories.”

Sara Ziff, founder of The Model Alliance, and winner of the Positive Social Influence Award. (Photo Credit: Vogue)

Sara Ziff, the founder of The Model Alliance, received the Positive Social Influence Award. The award gave the former model the opportunity to continue the discussion around models’ rights. “It’ll be a decade [since I started the Model Alliance] in February so it’s been quite a long road. Of course it’s nice to be recognized, but I wanted it to be meaningful and that’s why I used the opportunity to ask the industry to step up and do better,” she said of the decision to ask Carré Otis and Beverly Johnson to share their stories of abuse in the modeling industry before presenting Ziff with her CFDA trophy. “What keeps me going is I know that we’re on the right side of history,” Ziff stated.

Aurora James received the Founder’s Award in honor of Eleanor Lambert .(Photo Credit: Vogue)

Aurora James, the Creative Director and Founder of luxury accessories brand Brother Vellies, as well as the founder of the Fifteen Percent Pledge (James became an advocate for Black businesses). After receiving the Founders Award in Honor of Eleanor Lambert from Vogue’s Anna Wintour, James reflected on her award. “I am over the moon to receive this award; it means so much. The amount of emotional capital that I spent over the past 18 months working on the Fifteen Percent Pledge and that my whole organization spent relentlessly day in and day out fighting for economic equality—it just feels so incredible to be acknowledged in this way for all the hard work that we’ve done,” she said.

Iman and Zendaya, the winner of the Fashion Icon Award. (Photo Credit: Vogue)

The winner on the Fashion Icon Award, Zendaya, was nearly speechless after receiving her award from Iman, listing the model, Cher, Diana Ross, and her grandmothers among her own fashion icons. “I’m speechless,” Zendaya said with a stunned smile. “I just got an award and Iman gave it to me! I’m still not over that.”

Emily Bode Aujla is the winner of the Menswear Designer of the Year Award. (Photo Credit: Vogue)

The final two awards of the night went to Emily Bode Aujla who won for Menswear Designer of the Year and Christopher John Rogers for Womenswear Designer of the Year. “It’s so inspiring to see all of the change that all of the people in this room have created,” said Bode Aujla as she revealed that she will be opening a west coast store. “Something that I’ve bet on is retail. Our New York store is surpassing our online right now by 30%,” she added.

Womenswear Designer of the Year winner Christopher John Rogers. (Photo Credit: Vogue)

Rogers is also focusing on the future of his brand, “The sky’s the limit. We’re really about intentionality at CJR and about moving with purpose. Whatever it is next will hopefully be as impactful and full as what we’re doing now.”

Below is a list of all the winners of the most fashionable awards show:

American Womenswear Designer of the Year: Christopher John Rogers for Christopher John Rogers.

American Menswear Designer of the Year: Emily Adams Bode for Bode.

American Accessories Designer of the Year: Telfar Clemens for Telfar.

American Emerging Designer of the Year: Edvin Thompson for Theophilio.

International Women’s Designer of the Year: Demna Gvasalia for Balenciaga.

International Men’s Designer of the Year: Grace Wales Bonner for Wales Bonner.

Fashion Icon: Zendaya.

Face of the Year: Anya Taylor-Joy.

Positive Social Influence Award: Model Alliance.

Founder’s Award in honor of Eleanor Lambert: Aurora James for the 15 Percent Pledge.

Environmental Sustainability Award: Patagonia.

Geoffrey Beene Lifetime Achievement Award: Dapper Dan.

Media Award in honor of Eugenia Sheppard: Nina Garcia.

Emily Ratajkowski and Nina Garcia, winner of the Media Award in honor of Eugenia Sheppard. (Photo Credit: Vogue)

Board of Directors’ Tribute: Yeohlee Teng.

Yeohlee Teng winner of the Board of Directors’ Tribute. (Photo Credit: Vogue)

So tell us, do you agree with the CFDA’s choice winners? And do you think there should be a Best Stylist Award?

MORE THAN JUST “THE NEW LOOK”- CHRISTIAN DIOR: DESIGNER OF DREAMS EXHIBIT

- - Fashion Art

Looks from the Brooklyn Museum’s Christian Dior Designer of Dreams Exhibit. (Photo Credit: AFP)

The Brooklyn Museum is giving every museum with a fashion wing a run for its money!

Pre-Covid, the Brooklyn Museum hosted Pierre Cardin: Future Fashion, which was on exhibit from July 20, 2019 to Jan 5, 2020. And now, NYC’s third largest museum is showcasing another masterful exhibit, Christian Dior: Designer of Dreams. Like most fashionistas, when we think of the House of Dior, the ‘New Look’ comes to mind, well, get ready…it’s way more than just another heritage house!

In a Time Out magazine interview with Matthew Yokobosky, Senior Curator of Fashion and Culture, “The Brooklyn Museum has a long record of recognizing important contributions in the history of fashion design, from ‘The Story of Silk (1934)’ to the groundbreaking ‘Of Men Only (1976)’ to the recent ‘Pierre Cardin: Future Fashion (2019’) and now ‘Christian Dior: Designer of Dreams.’ Each exemplifies the power of fashion to influence and shift visual culture at large.”