WE JUST GOTTA BRAG

FEELIN’ THE LOVE

As the University of Fashion, the world’s first and largest online fashion education video library, enters its 11th year in business, we thought we’d devote this week’s blog to why our subscribers love us so much. Besides the hundreds of great lessons that we offer, our subscribers have told us how much they love our super-directional Pinterest boards, as well as our Facebook, Instagram and Tweets, which provide up to the minute fashion event coverage, inspiring quotes and feature our new lessons. Oh yeah, and they love our You Tube channel. Our free sleeve sloper lesson on YT has remarkably hit an all-time high of 837K views, yikes!  But, let’s not forget other UoF freebies – our set of mens, women’s, children’s and plus size croquis give-aways which, drum roll please…have had more than 400K downloads and are still going strong!

For those of you who aren’t familiar with us, well then please, come out from under that rock and check us out!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UpETLHSVxsU&feature=youtu.be&t=6

 

TOP 10 REASONS WHY PEOPLE LOVE US

  1. Learn from Industry Pros and Top College Professors
  • We recruit only the best people in the fashion industry to teach our lessons. Each teacher is selected because they’re considered an expert in their field.
  • Our college instructors are selected for their particular area of expertise and based on their college peer and student evaluations. We interview hundreds of teachers before we choose.
  1. Lesson Satisfaction 8.97 out of 10
  • Before deciding on which lessons to film, we do research. We interview and survey hundreds of our customers to find out what they would like to learn.
  • We poll our high school and college students and teachers, our industry customers and our home sewers. Each plays a huge role in the lessons that we choose to film.
  • An outside firm recently surveyed 500 of our customers and asked them to rate the lesson that they most recently completed. On a scale where 10 is the “most satisfying”, the U of F scored an average of 8.97.
  1. Founded by a Designer for Designers
  • UoF was founded by Francesca Sterlacci, a former designer/entrepreneur, author and college professor from FIT and AAU. As chair of the Fashion Dept. at FIT, Francesca learned that high school students interested in fashion college needed help with their portfolios. Current fashion college teachers & students desperately needed tutoring, especially in the disciplines of draping, patternmaking, sewing and fashion drawing. While some colleges offer tutoring to their students, none have on-call, 24/7 service. Enter UoF.
  • Fashion industry professionals looking to upgrade their skills can’t find time to go back to school and so for them, UoF is the perfect solution.
  1. Enjoy College Courses in the Convenience of Your Home or Office
  • Subscribers choose from over 450+ lessons at a level that suits their particular skill level, whether they are a beginner, intermediate or advanced student.
  • Subscribers get to watch, replay and access our lessons from a computer, tablet or smart phone as many times as they wish.
  1. Videos that Keep You Stay Engaged & Visually Stimulated
  • To reinforce and add to the learning experience, our video editors have added state-of-the-art motion graphics to help the viewer get a better understanding of the material.
  • Each lesson is broken up into modules with music transitions so the viewer can take breaks in between each module or conveniently play back a module for further clarification.
  • Our videos are easy to follow, never boring, and move at a pleasant pace. Viewers have the option to rewind and review as many steps as necessary, which, is another benefit of learning by video.
  1. Find Everything You Need to Get Started
  • For beginners, UoF starts out by teaching how to create a portfolio for fashion college application.
  • UoF offers 13 fashion disciplines: draping, pattern making, sewing, fashion drawing, CAD art & pattern making, accessory design, knits, childrenswear, menswear, product development, fashion business and a fashion lecture series with lessons covering textiles, color theory, trend forecasting, fashion history and prominent fashion luminaries.
  • In addition to a resource library of suggested books, museums, schools and fashion terminology, we are also a one stop shop marketplace for the tools, supplies, machines, fabrics, dress forms, trims and art supplies that you will need for our lessons.
  1. We Keep You Connected to the Fashion Industry
  • Whether you are a working professional, a student, a teacher, a home sewer or one of the fashion curious, you will be able to access lectures including how to choose a dress form, how to pad a dress form, lectures by fashion book authors, and other topics such as textiles, the state of the fashion industry, current fashion trends and much, much, more!
  1. Schools & Companies Get Expert Help
  • We help colleges strengthen their existing curriculum with expert tutorials in all of the major fashion subjects and in the creation of hybrid classroom learning. In addition, we offer online licensing options for schools to create their own online degree programs.
  • High schools get the benefit of expert teachers without having to spend money on recruiting teachers with specific skill sets. And, access to our video library  is a great way to start a fashion club!
  • Companies use UoF to assist their employees in keeping current with fashion industry best practices.
  1. We are Affordable
  • Whether you are an individual subscriber who chooses a monthly or yearly option, or you are a high school, college, public library, group or organization, a subscription to UoF enables you to access all of our website and video content as well as our transcripts, 24/7 for the duration of your subscription. And…all of our lessons are now closed-captioned.
  1. We Now Have Books to Complement our Beginner Videos
  • As of January 2019, we offer, for purchase, a Beginner Techniques book series in Draping, Pattern making and Sewing. This reinforces the learning process and is a great way to learn, since the books follow the videos step-by-step, frame-by-frame. Don’t take our word for it, check out our Amazon reviews!
  • And, speaking of reviews…check out our industry, subscriber and academic testimonials and our press reviews to see why people in 177 countries love us. And thank you…WE FEEL THE LOVE!

Let us know which lessons are your favorite and what lessons you would like to see on UoF’s site!

Making Fashion without Making Waste-Amazing Textile Innovations Made From Food By-Products

Food Waste takes over the fashion industry (Photo courtesy of Getty Images)

Saving our planet has been a major talking point not only in politics, but in our everyday lives as well. We should all be trying to reduce our carbon footprint and make our planet a cleaner place for future generations. At University of Fashion, we are committed and continue to focus on promoting sustainability in the fashion industry by highlighting innovative ways to create garments in an environmentally safe way.

For centuries, designers have been using the same fibers: cotton, silk, wool and linen, and other materials such as leather and synthetics. But the overwhelming surge in garment manufacturing has placed an enormous strain on our planet’s natural resources.

Cotton in particular has been linked to soil erosion and water contamination due to pesticides, as well as the 20,000 liters of water it requires to produce just one kilogram of cotton, enough to make a single t-shirt.

Synthetic fabrics also have had a negative impact on the environment. Polyester is known to produce carcinogens, such as terephthalic acid and ethylene glycol in its production, with every wash hundreds of thousands of plastic microfibers enter our water supply.

According to fibre entrepreneur Enrica Arena of Orange Fiber, existing textiles such as cotton, rayon, polyester and wool will not be able to satisfy the increasing demand in quantities and quality going into the future. The solution, she believes, lies in re-purposing the byproducts of food production that would otherwise head to landfill.

Nina Marenzi, founder and director of The Sustainable Angle, who organizes the Future Fabrics Expo, told Forbes magazine, “The over reliance on conventional cotton and virgin polyester, both reliant on finite resources and polluting in its production, needs to change. Sourcing materials from a wider variety of fibers, including innovations appearing now made from food waste, algae, regenerated cellulose, a recycled source, is the way forward.”

Future Fabrics Expo, THE SUSTAINABLE ANGLE (Photo courtesy of Forbes magazine)

The innovative technology used to create textiles from agricultural waste is exciting and groundbreaking in our fight to protect our planet. These unconventional fabrics are solving two problems in one, these fabrics are solving wastage caused by our food consumption and turning it into natural, resourceful fibers for the fashion industry.

At University of Fashion, we hope young and aspiring designers will embrace these sustainable textiles and hopefully we’ll all be walking around in food waste clothes in the future! Remember – make Fashion not Waste !

Qmilch

Clothes made with QMILK fibres are biodegradable, natural and have a silky touch. (Photo Courtesy of QMILK)

German-based company Qmilch has been creating textiles out of casein, a by-product of commercial milk production that is not allowed to be sold as food in Germany due to health regulations.

According to their website, “for the production of 1 kg of fibre we need only 5 minutes and max 2 liters of water. This implies a particular level of cost efficiency and ensures a minimum of CO2 emissions.”

Not only does the production of this textile reduce our carbon footprint, the fabric is also biodegradable, meaning your favorite dress will become worm food when it reaches the end of its natural life cycle.

Piñatex

Fashion designer, Laura Strambi has picked up on the wave and designed a coat made of Piñatex’s metallic range of textiles. (Photo courtesy of designer)

Liselore Frowijn (Photo courtesy of the designer)

Dr. Carmen Hijosa is the founder of Ananas Anam, the company behind Piñatex. This doctor’s background in the leather industry was the inspiration behind the change to a more sustainable alternative.

Piñatex produces one of the most famous fruit-based vegan leathers today. The textile is made from pineapple leaf fibers; by turning the part of the fruit that cannot be eaten, it provides an additional income for farmers and is a cruelty-free option for shoes, bags and clothes.

Designer Liselore Frowijn, works closely with Ananas Anam fabrics. According to Frowijn, “I am proud to work with Ananas Anam who are helping to build a more sustainable textile industry with their unique Piñatex product. Substainability in fashion is no longer a choice, but a pledge of responsibility undertaken by a new generation of designers.”

Orange Fiber

A look from the Orange Fiber capsule collection by Salvatore Ferragamo (Photo courtesy of Salvatore Ferragamo)

Orange Fiber produces soft and silky fabrics that are created by discarded orange peels. The Italian textile is perfect for creating dresses and tops since it is similar to viscose in that it is made from cellulose, and it can also can be blended with silk and cotton, but doesn’t involve the cutting down of trees.

In 2016,  Salvatore Ferragamo created a capsule collection using the material which has a premium finish to it, making it an ideal fit for the Italian luxury brand. Ferragamo asked architect and designer Mario Trimarchi, to create exclusive prints with a Mediterranean feel that would be in sync with the origins of the fiber. This resulted in designs inspired by Sicily, the island’s nature and fruits and drawings of floating clouds and flowers, at times in an abstract version.

Parblex

Parblex is steadily gaining traction in the fashion world and is being prototyped as buttons and glasses frames. (Photo courtesy of Parblex)

 

 

Chip[s] Board®  manufactures a wide range of materials that were created from potato waste that are perfectly suitable for the interiors and fashion markets.

The company’s second material, a bioplastic called Parblex, is steadily gaining momentum in the fashion industry and is being prototyped as buttons and eyeglass frames. Parblex has a beautiful textured finish and is available in three colors: smoke, tortoiseshell and snow.

Agroloop BioFibre

An H&M look using Agraloop Biofibre technology. (Photo courtesy of Circular Systems)

In 2018,  the cutting-edge corporation Circular Systems won the H&M Foundation’s Global Change Award for their Agraloop Biofibre technology. This innovative technology turns otherwise forgotten food waste into fiber for high-quality garments, which Circular Systems boasts are able to be created in a “cost competitive and scalable way.” The technology uses hemp seed, flax seed, pineapple leaves, banana tree, and cane bagasse (bagasse is the dry pulpy fibrous residue that remains after sugarcane or sorghum stalks are crushed to extract their juice) to create these new fibers. Along with clothing, Agraloop can turn waste into packaging, organic fertilizer, and bio-energy. The possibilities seem to be only growing for this new product.

Vegea Textile

Vegea Grape dress (Photo courtesy of The Industry)

Vegea is another vegan alternative to leather; creating a leather like textile from grape marc (the skins, stalks and seeds discarded in the winemaking process). The result, a rich and beautiful wine hued leather-like textile; without the need for killing animals or toxic tanning. Vegea will continue to research and grow its business thanks to funding from the EU.

The fabric is so avant garde that a couture dress made from Vegea by designer Tiziano Guardini was recently exhibited at the V&A Museum’s Fashioned From Nature exhibition in London.

According to the Vegea website, “Sustainability is one of the pillars of our social responsibility policies and is based on production processes that use vegetable raw materials, recycled materials and bio-based polymers.”

So tell us, how will you reduce your carbon footprint when you are ready to produce your collection?

To sell or to rent? A sustainable business model for independent designers?

Via Bag, Borrow or Steal Instagram Account @bagborroworsteal

The buzz phrase “ethical fashion” has been tossed around for some time evoking concerns regarding fair labor practices and wages, processes that take the preservation of our environment and animals into consideration and supply chain transparency.

Often ethical fashion is confused with sustainable fashion, and yet there is no doubt the two are interrelated. Ethical practices lead to more sustainable processes which in turn mean healthier workers, an environment that can support generations of fashionistas to come and of course, clothing consumers can feel good about wearing.

But what if emerging and independent designers could take all that we’ve learned about both ethical (and sustainable) fashion and roll it into a business model that is growing in popularity and in my humble opinion, might be a way for young fashion businesses to stay afloat?

Hear me out…

The other night I was at a dinner party where several of the guests were talking about how much they loved their clothing subscription/rental services. The conversation went like this:

“I love your skirt.”

“Thanks! It’s from Le Tote.”

“Le Tote? I’ve never heard of that store. Where is it?”

“Oh, no! It’s not a store, it’s a subscription service, you know, like Rent the Runway. If I stay on top of wearing items they send and sending them back, I can get up to 4 new pieces a week. And if I really like something, I can keep it, pay for it and it’s mine. Otherwise, I wear it once or twice and send it back for the next person to try!”

Via Le Tote’s Instagram Account @letote

As the two talked, I started thinking of all of the sustainable advantages of renting a wardrobe. On behalf of the consumer, subscription services mean fewer unworn clothes packing closets and eventually ending up in landfills. And by giving clothes a “test run” and only keeping those items that the consumer is partial to (or as one guest mentioned, “get a lot of compliments from others”), more thoughtful purchasing choices can be made. Then, of course, there is the option to rent special occasion garments you may only need to wear once…

As a subscription service retailer, there are fewer risks of unsold inventory (and therefore waste in terms of dollars and garments), not to mention real time data revealing what consumers want which can guide future purchasing, order by order. Like the consumer, the retailer enjoys a more thoughtful way of approaching buying and selling in the fashion industry.

When it comes to ethical standards, it is still up to both rental services as well as the consumer to find out how the clothes they rent out (or in) are produced. After my subscription service curiosities were peaked, I did a bit of research only to find companies that curate plus sizes (Gwynnie Bee), bags (Bag, Borrow or Steal), just about any fashion item your fashion-loving heart desires from a wide variety of designers.

Via Gwynnie Bee’s Instagram Account @gwynniebee

But what I did not find is an independent designer who follows this model.

What if (on a smaller scale) independent designers could create a scenario where they could design and produce adhering to their own ethical standards and then rent their pieces in a way that is not only environmentally sustainable, but spares their business from the pitfalls that often cause independent designers to close their doors?

Feeling like I had to be missing something, I tried to create a real life scenario using the wide variety of samples I’ve created and are now tucked neatly away in my storage unit. I could photograph them, write product descriptions and create a website, but instead of selling these samples, I could rent them, earning income, while I designed additional styles. True, I would have to figure out shipping and how to protect myself against damaged garments. I’m sure I might get some pushback for not having a full size range in most styles, but wouldn’t it be amazing for these styles that I still love to see some light of day?

I wouldn’t have to worry about retailers placing an order for my most current (hypothetical) collection and subsequent production, and with the power of a social media following, I could advertise availability of garment rental to those who I already know are fans of my work.

I’m a firm believer that good design is timeless. Just the other day, I was admiring how Thom Browne posts pieces from collections past periodically on Instagram and I can rarely decipher which suit is from 2014 and which suit is from his most recent collection. Does this make me a bad fashionista? Probably. But I believe that we as a culture are trending away from the incredible amount of stress put on designers to produce season after season. Instead, wouldn’t it be incredible to generate revenue, which for a new designer could mean designing and producing the next collection, from styles past that we still love through a rental option?

Emerging designers, I’d really love to hear your thoughts in the comments. Are there additional benefits of this model you can think of? Perhaps pitfalls that I haven’t considered? I’d love to know…

STAYING SILENT IS OUT – FASHION ACTIVISM IS IN

Prabal Gurung created political statement T-shirts that were worn by social media influencers and street style stars during NY Fashion Week 2017.  From Left to right: Shea Marie, Caroline Vreeland , Bryanboy, Tina Craig, Irene Kim,  Aimee Song  and Chriselle Lim . (Photo Courtesy of Forbes.com)

The Men’s Spring 2020 shows have just wrapped up, and while the runways were filled with plenty of notable trends, such as soft suiting at Givenchy, gender bending at Comme des Garçons, nautical looks at Prada, and romantic prints at Louis Vuitton  – the one trend that has been gaining momentum is the “designer as activist.” Fashion activism is nothing new. In the 1930s the Keffiyeh became a symbol of political uprising and rebellion. In the 1960s, designers gave us peace symbol T-shirts in protest of the Vietnam war,  and mini-skirts, which became the symbol for women’s rights and sexual liberation. In 2017, Cosmopolitan listed 22 designers who used their runway shows to promote a particular cause or in protest of global injustice. From pussy hats to white bandanas with the hashtag #TiedTogether (a symbol of inclusivity and acceptance), according to designer Talbot Runhof, “If you have a platform to say something and you don’t, then shame on you.” In the age of social media and the internet, where opinions and messages are delivered in lightning speed, designers, actors and other influencers feel duty-bound and a certain responsibility to bring attention to the relationship between fashion, politics and social change.

Here are a few noteworthy designers who have shown more than just clothes on their runways, past & present.

OFF-WHITE

Virgil Abloh has developed a cult following with his collections for Off-White and the brand is worn by street style stars around the globe. For his men’s Spring 2020 show, Abloh focused on the negative effects of plastic and saving the environment. According to Abloh, “Plastic: once hailed as a miracle material, now condemned as a major pollutant — and possibly about to be considered a work of art.” The show’s invite was a clear plastic invitation with the words “plastic” printed on it.  Abloh believes plastic can be recycled and used to create something beautiful, such as art. Plastic even made its way in the collection with plastic rain gear and a hazmat suit.

As for the clothes, Abloh looks to street art for inspiration and tapped Futura, a contemporary of Keith Haring and Jean-Michel Basquiat, for the prints in this collection, case in point, a hand-painted white coat, top and pant look.To address his environmental concerns, Abloh featured an aquatic theme throughout the collection with shades of blue tie dye prints and amoeba-shaped appliqué motifs on knits.

The show ended with the models stomping through a beautiful field of white carnations that was created for the show. Abloh’s message was load and clear, we must protect our environment.

Virgil Abloh at his men’s Fall 2020 Off-White Collection. (Photo courtesy of theguardian.com)

Stella McCartney

Stella McCartney has been one of the biggest advocates of the environment, a pioneer of sustainable fashion and an animal rights activist, since the creation of her namesake label in 2001.  McCartney Men’s 2020 collection was presented in a lush garden in Milan’s city center. According to Vogue.com, McCartney stated, “Let’s just forget fashion for a moment and savor all the natural beauty around us and talk about flowers!”

McCartney focused on playful tailoring, hand-printed silk shirts, ties and shorts with horse motifs, lightweight dusters and loose-fitting jumpsuits with satellite Earth prints and of course a collection that was fur free. McCartney kept the collection light and humorous, but her fight to save the earth is a serious one.

Stella McCartney’s Fall 2020 Men’s Collection. (Photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

Pyer Moss

Herby Jean-Raymond launched his menswear label Pyer Moss in 2013 and followed up with a women’s collection shortly thereafter. In the few seasons Jean-Raymond has been presenting, the designer has quickly become known for his social activist stands. Most notably, he is inspired by the heritage of African-Americans, as well as social issues that this community faces today.

Pyer Moss Spring 2019. (Photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

Dior

In July 2016 Dior announced that Maria Grazia Chiuri would be the first female creative director at Dior. Chiuri has been making political statements ever since.  T-shirts screen printed with “We Should All Be Feminists” and “Dio(R)evolution” were sold with proceeds going to Rihanna’s Clara Lionel Foundation, which fights against injustice, inequality & poverty and promotes access to education.

Christian Dior Spring 2017 Collection. (Photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

Women’s Rights

Fall 2017 was a big season for designers to speak out about social injustice. Attendees at Missoni’s Fall show each received pink pussy hats (madefamous by the Women’s March on Washington in January 2017). Guests proudly wore the hats, as did the models during the finale.

According to Angela Missoni, creative director for the label, their message for Fall 2017 was all about “femininity in our times, prepared to confront the conflicts and dilemmas of our contemporary society: the conditions, needs, and rights of all women and minorities.”

Missoni’s Fall 2017 Show. (Photo courtesy of DailyNation.com)

Rio Uribe, the designer behind Gypsy Sport, gave a passionate speech before his show which focused on homelessness and refugee tent cities. “I wanted to talk to you guys a little bit about my show,” he said from a mic backstage. “The Fall/Winter ’17 collection was inspired honestly by people who live on the street and just don’t have much fashion in their life or any of the luxuries that we take for granted. … I don’t want anyone who is gay, or Muslim, or disabled, or mentally ill, or a veteran, or a drug addict, or a runaway to have to live on the street just because someone’s not willing to give them a chance.”

Gypsy Sport Fall 2017 Show. (Photo courtesy of cosmopolitan.com)

Prabal Gurung created “The Future is Female” T-shirt for his Fall 2017 show. According to Gurung, “So to me feminism is not just a trending topic. It’s the only way I’ve known, even before I knew what [feminism] was.”

Bella Hadid sporting Prabal Gurung’s feminist T-shirt at his Spring 2017 show. (Photo courtesy of Forbes.com)

“All-inclusive” hit an all-time high in Fall 2017 as Christian Siriano enlisted models of all sizes to walk his runway show, from plus-size & petite to curvy, as well as plenty of racially diverse women. The 2008 Project Runway winner consistently speaks out against fashion magazines’ unrealistic body standards that are set by the modeling industry. He believes designers have the power to change this by adjusting their hiring process and sizing.

A plus sized model walks Christian Siriano’s show during his 2017 fashion show. (Photo courtesy of cosmopolitan.com)

During Tommy Hilfiger’s 2017 extravaganza in Venice Beach, models strutted down the runway wearing white bandanas as part of Business of Fashion’s #TiedTogether initiative. According to Business of Fashion founder and CEO Imran Amed, this campaign encouraged people to wear the colorless handkerchief “to make a clear statement in support of human unity and inclusiveness amidst growing uncertainty and a dangerous narrative peddling division.”

#TiedTogether Bandanas Hit Runway for First Time at Tommy Hilfiger. (Photo courtesy of Hollywoodreporter.com)

Also in 2017,  The Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) partnered with Planned Parenthood to launch the “Fashion Stands With Planned Parenthood” campaign to raise awareness about women’s health care during New York Fashion Week.

Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour sporting a Planned Parenthood badge. (Photo courtesy of 14urban.com)

At the New York Spring 2018 shows, a “Get out and Vote” message dominated in advance of the U.S. mid term elections.

Prabal Gurung walks the runway in a Vote T-shirt show during New York Fashion Week Spring 2018. (Photo courtesy of Glamour.com)

Going Fur Free

While Stella McCartney has been creating fur-free and leather-free clothes for years, many designers have now jumped on the bandwagon.

As of September 2018, Burberry announced that it would also be going fur-free, a big move ever since Riccardo Tisci became the creative director for the label. The brand will no longer be using rabbit, fox, mink, and Asiatic raccoon fur, though they will still feature angora, shearling, and leather.

Burberry goes fur free as of Sept. 2018. (Photo courtesy of teenvogue.com)

Shockingly, in March 2018, Donatella Versace announced that she would no longer be using fur in her collections. “Fur? I am out of that. I don’t want to kill animals to make fashion. It doesn’t feel right,” she told 1843 magazine.

Versace goes fur free. (Photo courtesy of teenvogue.com)

In June 2017, protesters interrupted a live interview with Michael Kors at New York City’s Metropolitan Museum of Art, with signs that read “Michael Kors has blood on his hands.” This prompted Michael Kors to announce that his company would be going fur free as of December 2018.

Michael Kors goes fur free. (Photo courtesy of teenvogue.com)

In October 2017, Gucci announced it would be going fur-free as well. Alessandro Michele is opting for sustainable alternatives to create his “grandma-chic” vibe. Prada also added their name to the fur-free list as of 2020.

Gucci goes fur free. (Photo courtesy of teenvogue.com)

Following in the footsteps of San Francisco and Los Angeles, New York is now considering a ban on fur as well, however, there is a lot of push back. One of the oldest industries in New York City dating back to when Henry Hudson explored the region in 1609 and found French traders bartering for furs with Native Americans. New York became a thriving trading post of beaver and other skins that traveled through New York Harbor and to Europe. In fact, the official New York crest includes beavers, whose valuable pelts helped fuel the early fur trade. Stay tuned!

Designers with a History of Rocking the Boat

English fashion designer Katherine Hamnett is best known for her political T-shirts and ethical business philosophy. In 1983 she stated, “If you want to get the message out there, you should print it in giant letters on a T-shirt.” Celebrities such as George Michael (who was part of Wham at the time) wore one of her “Choose Life” tees in a music video for “Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go.” Roger Taylor of Queen, wore her “WORLDWIDE NUCLEAR BAN NOW” T-shirt during Queen’s historic appearance at the first edition of the Rock in Rio festival in Rio de Janeiro.

Political T-shirts by Katharine Hamnett. (Photo courtesy of lovewildlivefree.com)

Vivienne Westwood is another British fashion designer and businesswoman, who was largely responsible for bringing modern punk and new wave fashion into the mainstream. Westwood has retail shops worldwide and sells a variety of merchandise; some of it linked to her many political causes, such as the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, climate change and civil rights groups.

Vivienne Westwood Red Label SS14 fashion show. (Photo courtesy of Alan Davidson/The Picture Library LTD.)

In 2000, John Galliano created one of the most controversial fashion shows ever. For his Christian Dior Haute Couture collection, Galliano was inspired by the Paris homeless. As a master of shock value, his message rang loud and clear in a city of beauty and glamour. The show created such controversy that homeless activists picketed outside the Dior headquarters and riot police had to be called in to deal with the protesters. As a result, Dior’s flagship was closed for two hours and Galliano had to issue an apology statement,  “I never wanted to make a spectacle of misery.”

Christian Dior by John Galliano, spring/summer 2000 haute couture show. (Photo courtesy of newyorktimes.com)

Alexander McQueen’s inspiring showmanship is greatly missed, ever since his suicide on February 11, 2010. For the late designer’s Fall 2009 collection, McQueen took an environmental stance on the runway as his models dressed in fiercely tailored coats, boxy jackets and airy gazar dresses walked around a heap of trash. McQueen even referenced trash in some of his looks such as aluminum can accessories.  It was all so hauntingly beautiful.

Alexander McQueen’s  Fall 2009 ready-to-wear women’s collection during Paris Fashion Week. (Photo courtesy of REUTERS/Pascal Rossignol)

Karl Lagerfeld is another designer who is greatly missed for his theatrics. The late designer passed away on February 19, 2019 in Paris. For his Spring 2015 collection, Lagerfeld took a feminist stance and created a playful protest for woman’s equality. According to Vogue.com, “ Cara Delevingne and Caroline de Maigret had megaphones in hand as a parade of models including Kendall Jenner, Georgia May Jagger, Edie Campbell, Joan Smalls, and even Gisele Bündchen, brandished signs that read “History is Her Story,” “Feminism Not Masochism,” “We Can Match the Machos” and “Ladies First.” Even male model Baptiste Giabiconi waved a “He For She” banner, which just might be our favorite nod to Emma Watson’s global UN campaign yet. Perhaps the “Free Freedom” sign was a winking nod to Free the Nipple, the cause du jour for models like Delevingne, who opened the show and Kendall Jenner, who Instagrammed about it post show. “I’m Every Woman” blared from the speakers, and everyone danced in their seats.”

Chanel spring 2015 collection. (Photo courtesy of elle.com)

While some fashion critics predicted a worldwide boycott of Nike products after their controversial “Just Do It” campaign featuring Colin Kaepernick, they were proven wrong when the company reported a 10 percent jump in income. It turns out that millennials expect companies to take a position on social and political issues.

TELL US, HOW IMPORTANT IS IT TO YOU THAT BRANDS TAKE A STAND ON SOCIAL, POLITICAL AND ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUES ?

Global Sizing Challenges for Gen Alpha & Gen Z

- - Childrenswear
Two happy kids

Photo by Heyday Photism@Pexels.com

 

Who is Gen Alpha?

Generation Alpha is the cohort born beginning in 2010 and continuing through 2025This group was born after the launch of the iPad, so technology is a constant in their lives. They are aware and are swayed by YouTube influencers for toys and games.  Gen Alpha is expected to have an attraction to multiculturalism and a tendency to veer away from gender norms.

 

Photo by Mihai Stefan@Pexels.com

Photo by Quang Anh Ha Nguyen@Pexels.com

 

Who is Gen Z?

Gen Z are those born between 1995 and 2010/2012. They value comfort and function and enjoy making their outfits their own, intentionally mismatched and less “put together.” They prefer to wear what feels right and tend to go for “unique” body-positive images.

 

Photo by Amponsah Nii Davidson@Pexels.com

 

Gen Alpha & Gender Equality

Who is fighting to get rid of the “pink” aisle for toys and wanting the “it” basketball shoe for girls, as well as, boys?  Say hello to Gen Alpha (and their parents). This cohort, influenced by the #MeToo, #TimesUp and #HimToo movements, will be focused on “empowerment through empathy”which in turn, will catapult the green movement into every aspect of their lives.

For more info on fashion & marketing to Generations Z & Alpha – click on these links:  

https://girlstweenfashion.com/top-gen-z-clothing-brands-2018/

https://digiday.com/marketing/forget-millennials-gen-alpha/

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-46613032

https://www.businessinsider.com/stephen-curry-letter-girls-shoes-riley-2018-11

 

Gen Z and Alpha – Presenting Some Very Real Global Sizing Challenges

 

Children’s Apparel Standards

Permission granted from Alvanon

Gen Z and Gen Alpha are not the same as past generations in terms of size, shape and stature. And, sizing standards have not kept up with these changes.  A report released by Alvanon (Alvanon Standard North American Children, January 30th, 2018), revealed a “seismic shift” in the children’s sizing standards.  To develop the standard, Alvanon surveyed key clients to gain feedback on challenges in fitting children and collected body scanned data.  The resultant new standard covers infants, toddlers and both male and female children/ teens up to age 18 (size 18).  Further standards have been issued from ISO (International), EN (Europe), GB/T (China), JIS (Japan), KS K (South Korea), AFNOR (France), Australian, UK and ASTM (US).  Many countries have their own general children’s sizing guidelines, but the actual garment sizing will vary by brand.  For Asian countries, each country has their own method of children’s clothing sizing.  Some countries base the sizing off height, some countries base sizing off age, and some counties have different sizing dependent on domestic use or for export.

While standards exist, they are considered voluntary, so the brands can size as they wish.

In both the US and UK, children’s sizing has historically been based on the age, e.g. a six-year-old requiring a size 6. Consequently, children over the 50th percentile in height or weight, would need a size above their age, so a six-year-old may require a size 7 or 8 if they were larger and size 5 if they were smaller than average.  Current, European standards are based height and weight and not age dependent.  With Alvanon’s new sizing standard not including Slim” or Plus” or “Junior” sizes for North American children and teens, some sizing discrepancies will remain. Perhaps new sizing standards for North American children and teens beyond “Regular” or “Average” should be included.

 

Permission granted by Kinderzeit.org via Creative Commons License

 

For more info click on these links:

https://alvanon.com/alvanon-releases-new-childrens-clothing-standard/

https://www.kinderzeit.org/en/asian-children-size-chart/

https://www.kinderzeit.org/en/asian-children-size-chart/#what-to-know-about-different-asian-kids-sizes

 

The Impact of New Sizing Standards

Photo by Nappy@Pexels.com

Photo by Pixabay@Pexels.com

 

Some companies have the same measurements for boys and girls through size 14 and others start separating the measurements for boys and girls at size 14. Most dress forms for children stop at size 14.  Why? Historically, that is the size which teen measurements become aligned with adult sizes. This offers more choices to accommodate body shape variations. For example: children’s garments have one inseam length per waist size, yet adults have choices (more choices for men, then women). The inseam for Boys size 16 and 18 is 31 ½ inches or 80 cm but for the same waist size in men’s jeans, there are multiple waist and inseam combinations.  Consequently, it is easier to shop for boys once they attain a waist size of 26 in (66 cm). but finding a suitable style might not be so easy as tween and teen styles preferences frequently vary from adult choices.

For girls, the question of the age of maturity and the shape and size of curves determine the sizes that fit: “Girls”, “Junior”, Girls Plus” or “Girls Slim” “Missy”, “Missy Petite”, “Missy Tall”, “Plus” or “Plus Petite”  or “Plus Tall”.  Measuring for these body shape categories, however, can be difficult as brands offer varied instructions.  Measurements for bust can be either all the way around the body or is measured under the arms from outside edge to outside edge of front.   Waist measurements for pants can be from outside edge to outside or all the way around the body, either at natural waist or as noted.  The rise is measured from the crotch seam to the top of the pants, or it is measured as a total rise.

Sizing is even more complex when considering “fashionista” brands for tweens and teens.  Girls may want to purchase garments to make them look like adults or older teens.  In addition, girls who are larger size for their age, may end up purchasing clothing that their parents/ guardians do not approve. The solution is not simple.  This means ordering online and returns are not going away any time soon.

 

Additional Links:

https://girlstweenfashion.com/top-gen-z-clothing-brands-2018/

https://girlstweenfashion.com/heres-what-stylish-tweens-will-be-wearing-in-2019/

https://www.avacarmichael.com/

 

Children’s Dress Forms

Dress form companies may want to understand the new size, shape and stature of today’s children.  A previous blog post, What’s Happening in the Dress Form Industry 2019 Large Scale Manufacturing, discussed children’s dress forms. The companies that have dress forms for children include: Dress Forms USA, Superior Model Form Company, Dress Rite Forms Company, PGM Dress Forms, Ronis Brothers, Roxy Display, and The Shop Company.  After comparing the children dress form measurements for the chest / bust, waist, hips and inseam, additional padding or shape may be required to align with today’s children.

How are Gen Z and Gen Alpha Shaped Differently?

The size, shape and stature change of the today’s children and teens are related to factors that include changes in lifestyle and increases in obesity that have shifted the distribution of body dimensions.

The National Center for Health Statistics at Center of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) conducted a study on the height and weight of Americans in 2004.  They studied the height and weight from 1960s to 2004.  The study was repeated during the 2011 to 2014 period.

The average height of a 10-year-old boy increased 0.5 inch (1.7 cm) to 55.7 inches (141.5 cm) in 2002. The height has stayed the same through 2018. The average weight of a 10-year-old boy increased 10 lbs (4.5 kg) to nearly 85 lbs (38.6 kg) in 2002. The weight leveled off to same value in 2018.

The average 15-year-old boy in 2002 was 5’ 8, up from an inch from 1963. The weight increased from 135.5 lbs (61.6 kg) to 150.3 lbs (68.3 kg) by 2002. By 2018, the average 14-year-old was 5’7” tall.  Heights for 14-year-old boys ranged from 5’ 0” (152.4 cm), (5th percentile) to 5’9” (175.3 cm), (90th percentile).  By age 16, boys at the 95th percentile are at a height 6’ 1” (185.4 cm).  This explains the need for inseams of different lengths.

In the same reports, the average height of a 10-year-old girl increased from 55.5 inches (141 cm) to 56.4 inches (143.3 cm).  The average weight of a 10-year-old girl increased from 77.4 lbs (35.2 kg) to 88 lbs (193.6 kg).  The 15-year-old girl height increased to 63.6 inches (161.5 cm).  The weight increased to 134.4 lbs (61 kg).

Additional Links:

https://www.livescience.com/49-decade-study-americans-taller-fatter.html

https://www.creditdonkey.com/average-male-height.html

https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/series/sr_03/sr03_039.pdf

SUMMARY

Parents have solved the problem of fitting their children by simply purchasing larger and larger sizes.  The advent of online purchasing has further complicated the situation. Parents must buy two or three sizes to see which clothes fit, to account for the myriad of variations within size charts. This does not even account for the children whose body dimensions fall outside of the norm (as determined by the brands).

This environment has created an unsustainable practice of multiple returns forcing Industry to start addressing the underlying causes, i.e. shifting size, shape and stature, of today’s children.

This has greatly exacerbated the on-going “what-is-acceptable-to-wear” battle going on between parents/ guardians and children/ teens.  Furthermore, this environment has created an unsustainable practice of multiple returns. The Industry is being forced to address the underlying causes of the shifting size, shape and stature of today’s children. Improved shopping models are required to address the problem of age-relevant styling.

Limiting choices to certain size ranges has created an opportunity for apparel companies to improve the interactive shopping models currently available.

Disclaimer:  Any image from Pexels.com does not imply any endorsement or agreement with the comments in this blog post.

 

So, what have been your experiences with navigating clothing sizes for kids, tweens and teens? Feel free to share your thoughts with us.

RESORT 2020 TAKES OVER SOCIAL MEDIA

Valentino’s Resort 2020 Collection (Photo Courtesy of Valentino)

It’s the time of year when glamorous resort shows are flooding social media channels. And, while some designer’s whisk their clients and the press off to exotic locations around the world to witness their show, but what does this season actually mean for retailers and us as consumers? In the age of transparency, social justice and a world in flux, how are these issues reflected in the resort collections at some of the world’s major famous houses?

By definition, “resort,” (also known as cruisewear), was a season originally targeted to affluent customers who spent their post-Holiday/New Year’s weeks in mostly warm weather climates. However, due to a better economy and easy access to flights, more consumers have the income and the ability to  travel. As a result, cruisewear has become a major category for the fashion industry. It has also become a season for designers to try out new ideas ahead of their Spring collection.

Resort has also become a favorite for retailers, after all, it’s the longest selling season, hitting the floor around November and selling, at full price, until May when spring collections hit the stores. Today, brands at all price points create resort collections to satisfy their customers who crave a new purchase.

Burberry’s Resort 2020 Collection (Photo Courtesy of Burberry)

With concerns about global corruption, transparency, climate change, inequality and the need to escape or get way from the world’s craziness, it’s easy to see why consumers, with a simple click of a button, are enticed to make resort season purchases.

Resort season went from APRIL 29 – MAY 30, 2019. Here are a few designers that have created social media spectacles with their elaborate shows.

Christian Dior

Christian Dior’s Resort 2020 Show (Photo Courtesy of Vogue.com)

Maria Grazia Chiuri, the designer behind the luxury powerhouse Christian Dior, presented an elegantly chic collection in Marrakesh for her resort 2020 collection. The collection was an homage to 1960s Yves Saint Laurent and featured rich textiles and intricate prints on everything from boyish outerwear to feminine frocks.

Prada

Prada’s Resort 2020 Show (Photo Courtesy of Vogue.com)

All glitz and glam aside, Miuccia Prada showed her low-key, understated resort collection in her company’s West 52nd Street Piano Factory headquarters, but nonetheless, the event was filled with a star-studded front row. Prada went back to the paired down 90s aesthetic that made the designer a household name, but this time with a pretty, feminine twist. Prada worked primarily with cotton this season with sweet calico-prints, charming hand embroideries and smart striped shirtings in intricate shapes.

Chanel

Chanel’s Resort 2020 Show (Photo Courtesy of Vogue.com)

In her debut collection at the helm of Chanel, Virginie Viard kept true to Karl Lagerfeld’s grand showmanship. Viard recreated a pre-war train’s dining carriage  a la a Belle Epoque café  resembling Le Train Bleu at the Gare de Lyon.  The show came complete with potted palms and paintings suggesting the many glamorous destinations that the train might take you (all of them settings for past Chanel collections).

As for the clothes, Viard brought a new effortless ease to the Chanel silhouette with mini-skirted classic Chanel suit, tiered chiffon dresses and wide legged cropped pants paired with frothy blouses. It was exciting to see Viard stay within the DNA and house codes of Chanel and yet give the label a youthful twist.

Louis Vuitton

Louis Vuitton’s Resort 2020 Show (Photo Courtesy of Vogue.com)

Anyone who has followed Nicolas Ghesquière’s career knows that no one designs wearable, futuristic-inspired looks better than him. For his Louis Vuitton resort collection, the creative director held his show at the historic TWA Flight Center, designed in 1962 by Eero Saarinen. The space is reminiscent of a landed UFO in the middle of New York’s JFK airport.  Although the space has been closed for almost twenty years, it has now reopened as a luxury hotel and Ghesquière’s show was its unofficial opening party. Quite the ‘get’!

Seemed only fitting that Ghesquière was inspired by 1960s airline stewardess’ with short dresses and a nod to TWA’s iconic flight bags. New York City was also a point of reference for Ghesquière with his Wall Street-inspired pinstriped suits, while crystal embellished bustier tops and geometric metallic embroideries referenced Art Deco inspired skyscrapers, most notably the Chrysler Building. Overall, the Vuitton resort collection was dramatic and fun, one that will be worn by plenty of Hollywood starlets on the red carpet and beyond. Thanks Nicolas for your nod to the Big Apple!

Giorgio Armani

Giorgio Armani’s Resort 2020 Show (Photo Courtesy of Vogue.com)

Giorgio Armani’s Resort 2020 Show (Photo Courtesy of Vogue.com)

For years, designers have staged over-the-top shows and traveled to exotic locations around the globe to present their pre-collections. But Giorgio Armani has always shunned that notion. And so it came as a complete surprise to press and buyers alike, that this season the designer decided to show his resort 2020 collection in Tokyo, as part of his grand store reopening. In a press conference before the show, Giorgio Armani stated, “I do not agree with this. Resort collections are mainly commercial; they have to be salable and appeal to buyers.” Armani speaks his mind and does things his own way.

Armani showed his collection at Tokyo’s National Museum, which is home to the most precious and rare Asian art collections. The glamorous affair was filled with Japanese and international celebrities, including Uma Thurman.

As for the clothes, they were Armani at his finest, with so many variations of the pantsuit – for both men and women – that there was literally an option for every customer. Now that’s business savvy!

Gucci

Gucci’s Resort 2020 Show (Photo Courtesy of Vogue.com)

Gucci’s Resort 2020 Show (Photo Courtesy of Vogue.com)

Gucci’s creative director, Alessandro Michele, has truly revitalized the label since taking over the house in 2015 and his momentum is only growing stronger. The designer staged his resort collection in Rome at the Capitolini Museum as a “hymn to freedom” that allowed him to express his belief in the idea of self-determination and gender equality.

According to an interview with Alessandro Michele, published in WWD, the resort collection” is empowering freedom of expression and, in particular, freedom of choice, supporting sexual and reproductive health and rights.” Illustrating this message, Michele posted feminist slogans like ‘My body, my choice.’ as well as ‘Chime for Change’ on  T-shirts. In addition, he embroidered an image of the female reproductive system on a gown that was embellished with flowers. Some looks also displayed ‘May 22, 1978,’ the date that the Italian law for the social protection of motherhood and legal abortion took effect. In terms of style, the designer’s wink to the Seventies was apparent, since it was a crucial time in history for the women’s lib movement.

While Michel’s collection featured both men’s and woman’s looks, many looks were gender neutral. There were plenty of his signature magpie layered looks that have really struck a chord with millennial influencers and celebrities, as well as kitsch Mickey Mouse printed looks.

Feel free to chime in on whether you think more designers should be using their brand status to promote social justice, just as  Alessandro Michele and other designers have done in past seasons. And if so, who are your favorites?

Keeping Fashion Real in a Virtual World?

Balmain Campaign featuring Virtual Models Courtesy of The Diigitals

Keeping it IRL, I’m a little bit torn on this topic.

There’s no denying that technological advancements in fashion have advanced our experiences as consumers.

Just last weekend, I stopped into a Fleet Feet with my fiancé to take a look at new running shoe options. The sales associate immediately had Jen step into a 3D fit id foot scanner to guide his decisions about shoes that would best fit her foot. Within minutes, a 3D scan of Jen’s feet popped up on the sales associate’s iPad. He disappeared into the stockroom to retrieve shoes with a fit that would complement Jen’s high arch and supinating feet (in case supinating is a word new to you, too). The result? Jen is killing her workouts in her new kicks! Really, she has commented, “The fit of these new shoes is making all the difference!”

This real life scenario is just one more example of how 3D scans can enhance the fit of our clothes and help designers get the kind of fit that will best serve their customers. But take yourself out of your IRL body for a moment and imagine this process in reverse. Now that we’ve figured out how to use technology to fit the actual human body, photographers, influencers, brands and designers are creating a virtual fashion world from scratch in which we all may be living in one day.

Meet Shudu.

 

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🍊🍊🍊 . . 📸@cjw.photo . #fenty #fentybeauty #mattemoiselle #sawc #3dart

A post shared by Shudu (@shudu.gram) on

She’s approaching 175,000 followers on Instagram. She walked the red carpet at the Baftas. She’s the face of the likes of Fenty and Olivier Rousteing’s Balmain army. And get this, Shudu is the 100% virtual creation of photographer Cameron-James Wilson.

Shudu is the world’s first virtual supermodel and she’s part of a growing trend. In fact, she is one of 6 virtual supermodels now “signed” to an all digital modeling agency, The Diigitals. According to Wilson, creator of Shudu and her agency,

“Here at the Diigitals, we are utilising the rising accessibility of new technologies and taking the first steps into a new frontier of digital exploration. Within this collaborative hub, we will demonstrate the potential of 3D fashion modelling and showcase its applications for innovative brands. Acting as both a showroom to illustrate possibilities and a gallery where a portfolio of diverse digital identities can be appreciated, The Diigitals erases the boundaries between reality and the digital.”

                           Virtual models signed to The Diigitals agency

And here is where I become torn on the topic of “erasing the boundaries between reality and the digital.”

On first thought, I love the idea of visually creating anyone or anything (clothing included) our minds can dream up. But as I start to think about Shudu’s rise in popularity, I can’t help but think of how her existence might affect the fashion industry at large one day. While a human is responsible for Shudu’s existence, Shudu had started to take on a life of her own, which could cost IRL models, marketers and designers their jobs.

Virtual models don’t have bills to pay or need travel arrangements and accommodations to take part in a photoshoot. In other words, booking a virtual model may be a cost effective option when it comes to marketing campaigns. But at what cost? Real models lose out on opportunities for work, not to mention the risks we run in reversing all the progress we’ve made in terms of celebrating real bodies.

When it comes to selling clothing, the fact that many live their lives virtually as social media influencers is beginning to change the way clothing is designed, sold and worn as well. Designers have started to create virtual collections, perfect for those influencers who have built their brands based on “outfits of the day.” Rarely repeating a look becomes much easier when you can send a designer a photo and have an outfit designed digitally to be worn the next day (and at a fraction of the cost of IRL clothing).

Take Swedish brand Carlings, for example. For the low cost of $10 – $30, you can send a photo, select a Carlings design and it’s yours to wear on Instagram. Here’s how it works:

On the upside, think of how this type of clothing reduces IRL waste from the fashion industry, a cause Carlings stands firmly behind. And just imagine…those who covet brands usually far out of their price range, may be able to afford a virtual piece of Balmain, Chanel or Prada, etc.

But as educators who see such value in the art and craft of clothing made to fit on actual human bodies, we will always advocate for valuing both the technological advancements in our industry as well as the irreplaceable contributions of the makers in fashion. We value all designers’ work whether conceived on a dress form, pattern table or in Photoshop. We also advocate for discussion and thought around the ethical decisions we will make as the world around us changes, so please feel free to share your comments on this topic below. We look forward to hearing from you.

WHAT’S HAPPENING IN THE DRESS FORM INDUSTRY 2019 – LARGE SCALE MANUFACTURING

Permission granted from Alvanon

Dress forms and body shape – can the standard dress form hourglass figure be improved upon?

Continuing the conversation of consumers demanding size inclusivity and better fitting garments, this blog post focuses on large-scale manufacturing.  The industry is being forced to take a more serious approach to matching design aesthetic to body shape. This blog reviews the dress forms that are available, for large-scale manufacturing, to make body shape inclusive garment design possible. A previous blog post, What’s Happening in The Dress Form Industry 2019 – Part One, focused on small-scale manufacturing.

Note: The companies below are examined from a U.S. perspective.  Any companies wishing to be added to this list should contact the University of Fashion. Information contained in this post reflects the known status as of March 2019.  Cost ranges are noted in U.S. dollars and do not include shipping or taxes. Please double check links for the latest information.

LARGE SCALE MANUFACTURING 

Traditionally, dress forms used for production were available only within a narrow size range and of only one body shape.

Women: Most dress forms for women are modeled on an hourglass figure in which the hips are slightly larger in diameter than the bust. The waist is about 8-13 inches (20 cm – 33 cm) smaller than bust and 9-13 inches (23 cm – 33 cm) smaller than hips, depending on the size and manufacturer. Dress form companies don’t always separate missy and full sizes for women – sizes range from U.S. 0 to 24, as listed on one size chart.

Men:  The male dress forms usually end at US size 46 with the waist being smaller than the hips.  Since many American men no longer have this body shape, additional padding may be required for a better fit around the stomach.  If men’s clothing is based upon standard dress forms, is the fit of men’s shirts truly correct?

Children:  The child and toddler dress forms tend to be full body forms with certain measurements for each size. Since the obesity rate of the children is rising globally, the question becomes, do the currently available children forms still match the same shape and size that are needed for today children’s wear?

A little review: If you need a background on dress forms, The University of Fashion has a video that categorizes various types of Dress Forms.

Link:  https://www.universityoffashion.com/lessons/introduction-to-dress-forms

 

TRADITIONAL MANUFACTURING DRESS FORMS

Permission granted from The Shop Company

Permission granted from Classy Dress Forms

There are many companies that make direct pinnable and partially pinnable dress forms in the US.  The shape differences are intended to define features (buttocks or busts) or maternity shapes for women. Most companies who make the directly pinnable also sell partially pinnable forms and display forms.  The companies who manufacture traditional dress forms include Dress Forms USA, Superior Model Form Company, Dress Rite Forms Company, PGM Dress Forms, Ronis Brothers, Roxy Display, Only Mannequins, The Shop Company, Subastral Inc., and Classy Dress Forms.  See Table 1, Pinnable Dress Forms at the end of the blog for more details on pinnable dress forms.

Direct Pinnable: The foam thickness is deep enough to handle pins going straight into the form.

Partially Pinnable: The padding thickness is deep enough to handle pins going in at an angle into the form.

 

Should standard forms represent many different body shapes or only hourglass?

Dress Forms from Demographics

With consumer demands, companies are now expanding beyond the traditional sized dress forms.  Even brands not focused on size specific body shape (e.g., plus size) will utilize a range of mannequins and dress forms that have variations in waist-to-hip or waist-to-bust ratios.

 

Alvanon

Permission granted from Alvanon

Alvanon performed extensive anthropometric research to better address garment fit for the branded target customer market.   Custom forms (AlvaForm) are focused on sales regions and demographics of interest.  Alvanon forms are industrial grade and equipped with full functionality for fit evaluation.  The shape of the forms is accurately shaped and proportioned from physical characteristics derived from relevant consumer data.  There is an extensive selection of size categories, for different regions and industries based on population characteristics. The cost range for the Alvanon forms is $1625 to $3450.

Alvanon not only has the data and physical forms available, but also provides Virtual AlvaForm avatars that can be shared between garment designers, technologists and across the supply chain for initial prototyping or sampling.

 

If brands sell garments solely by region, will it be harder to buy clothing on vacation unless you are in the same size range as the locals?  Note to self: Do not forget any clothing before you travel.

 

LARGE MANUFACTURING CUSTOM DRESS FORMS

Some of the companies that make traditional manufacturing dress forms also make custom dress forms that are modified by the customer measurements.  Requirements for the customer information are obtained by measurements or casting.

 

Superior Model Form Company

Professional Missy Fullbody Form, With Arms and Chrome Base. Permission granted from Superior Model Form Company

The Superior Model Form Company has custom and standard dress forms. Customer measurements can be used to create a unique dress form or to fit certain demographics.   The custom forms cost about twice as much as standard forms.

The custom forms are available in the following:  Women, full body or half body forms; Men’s full body and jacket forms; and Children and Toddler full body forms.

 

PGM Dress Forms

Special Size Custom Made Dress Forms. Permission granted from PGM Dress Forms

PGM custom forms can be made from measurements provided by the customer either at a PGM show room or at an on-site service center.  Alternatively, the customer can provide their own measurements.  PGM provides another service that duplicates the brands’ current dress forms.  The forms can be constructed as half-body, full-body, as a sculpture model or a gypsum model, obtained from mold fittings or from measurement fittings of Women, Men or Children.  The cost range for custom forms range from $1400 to $4000.

 

Classy Dress Forms

Permission granted from Classy Dress Forms

At Classy Dress Forms, a custom-made series of soft mannequins can be made based from customer’s desired measurements and photos or from an existing mannequin.  A 3D model is created first for customer approval. The cost is $1390 per dress form.  The mannequin has a soft jersey cover without draping lines.

 

ROBOTIC MANNEQUINS

Another level of mannequins and body shape involves robotic mannequins from two different companies:  one in France and another in Hong Kong. The cost for the robotic mannequins is very expensive and these solutions are only practical for larger companies.  Robotic mannequins can be used to test clothing for medical, sport and fashion.

 

Euveka

Permission granted from Euveka

Permission granted from Euveka

Euvka has developed Emineo, a female robotic mannequin and its companion design software, Mineo. Emineo is a scalable robot for sizes 36 to 46 with rapid deformation in less than a minute.  Mineo can be used integrally or by zone to change height or width in less than 30 seconds in accordance with the body and garment size. Busts are modeled with a breast box that varies in size from A to E.  Spare covers are specially designed to aide visualization of the plumb lines.  Robotic mannequins for adult males and children are in development.  Cost range of the robotic mannequin is available by quote. To learn more: https://www.euveka.com/en/blog-2/

 

Winswin

Permission granted from Winswin

A Hong Kong based company Winswin has robotic mannequins (called iDummy) in female and male products lines, in shapes of full body, top body and bottom body forms. The body panels are based on human body research.  The range of proportions are closer to Asian sizes.  For example, for women, busts range from 78 to 100 cm (30.7” – 39.4”), hips range from 89 to 108 cm (35” – 42.5”) and heights range from 154 to 172 cm (5’ to 5’8”). For men, chests range from 88 to 108 cm (34.6” – 42.5”, hips range from 91 to 111 cm (35.8” – 43.7”), and heights range from 172 to 190 cm (5’7 ¾” – 6’2 ¾”).  The cost of the robotic mannequins is available by quote.

Covers would need to be fabricated to make it partially pinnable.

Should adjustable forms be made for commercial level durability without the robotics?

Summary

As described in Part One and Part Two blog posts, the physical forms that allow brands to test designs for size inclusivity are improving. The cost of true custom forms is still very expensive relative to the cost of the “off-the-shelf” forms.  Virtual forms are becoming more popular (and a topic of a future blog). However, the capability to change physical form is important to designers and students to understand body shapes and garment interactions.

Clearly the field is open to innovations – either by using robotics or easily fabricated body shaped dress forms.  

How should dress forms to be more inclusive?

 

Table 1: Partially or Fully Pinnable Dress Forms

Dress Forms USA
https://dressformsusa.com/collections/display-dress-forms
Pinnable half body forms, Realistic buttocks: Women’s 2-24; Male 36-46;
Pinnable Children Full Body Forms, 3 M to 14 T (G &B);
Display forms (that allows for use of pins) as well: Women’s 2-20, Men’s size 40
Form Types: Pinnable, Display
Shape Differences: Sell Fabulous Fit System
Cost Range: Display, $120 – $200; Dress Forms, $257- $679

 

Superior Model Form Company
http://superiormodel.com/community/
http://www.superiormodel.com/52-custome-dress-maker-forms
Standard forms for Women’s 4 -16, 22; Men’s 38 to 46, Bridal form with Derriere Women’s 4-14;
Certain Dress forms, ¾ forms, Leg forms not custom
Custom: Women, full body or half body forms; Men’s full body form, jacket form and Children, Toddler full body forms
Form Types: Pinnable, Display, Vintage
Shape Differences: Make custom forms from measurements
Cost Range: $470 to $1200+

 

Dress Rite Forms Company
https://www.dressriteforms.collections/dress-forms
Pinnable Dress Forms – both half body and full body forms;
Half body Women’s 2-24, full body 2-20; Men’s half and full body 36-42, Pinnable Children Full Body Forms, 3 M to 14 T (G &B); half scale Women’s 2-16
Form Types: Pinnable, Display
Shape Differences: Make custom forms by casting of person
Cost Range: $300 – $800

 

PGM Dress Forms
https://www.pgmdressform.com/Plus-Size-Women-Dressmaker-Form
Women Dress Form and Full Body, 0-20; Women Lingerie, 4-10; Juniors Dress and Full Body, 5-15; Women Half and Full Body size 16L- 30L; Men’s Half and Full Body, 36-52; Men’s Half and Full Body 36Y – 48Y; Children Full Body, 6M – 24M; Girl Full Body 7G- 14G; Boy Full Body, S, M, L; Full body with legs, double function, allowing to insert pole through center or through leg.
Form Types: Pinnable at angle
Shape Differences: Makes Custom forms from measurements and sell Fabulous Fit System
Cost Range: $300 – $500

 

Ronis Brothers
http://www.ronis.com/category_s/3.htm
Women’s Dress and Full Body, 4-16, or 12- 24; Junior’s dress and full body 7-15; Men’s dress and full body 34-46; Children’s dress and full body 2 to 6X; Boy’s and Girl’s dress and full body 7-16; Infant dress and full body 3M to 24 M; Young men’s 34-46;
Form Types: Partially Pinnable, Display
Shape Differences: None on website
Cost Range: $845 – $1350

 

Roxy Display
https://www.roxydisplayinc.com/webpage/dressforms/femalehalf.html
Women’s Half dress forms, size 2-24; Full dress forms, 2-20; Men’s Half and Full dress forms 36-42; Children’s 3M- 12T
Form Types: Partially Pinnable
Shape Differences: Sell own pad kit
Cost Range: $200 – $500

 

Only Mannequins
http://onlymannequins.com/Pages/Male-Female-Dress-Froms.php
See Row 2: Women Magnetic, Pro Size 2- 20; Men Size 36-42
Form Types: Fully Pinnable, Mannequins, Displays
Shape Differences: None on website
Cost Range: $135 – $215

 

The Shop Company
https://theshopcompany.com/
https://theshopcompany.com/dress-forms/professionals.html
Women Dress 0-24 and Full Body, 0-20; Men Dress and Full Body 36-46; Children Full Body 3M – 14, Children Half body 54-70
Form Types: Pinnable, Display, Mannequins
Shape Differences: Sell Fabulous Fit System
Cost Range: $200 – $550

 

Subastral Inc
https://www.subastralinc.com/dress-forms.html
Women Dress Form 2- 12, Dress From 2-18; Women Plus size 14- 24, 18L-24L; Women Plus size Full body 14L -20L, 16L-26L; Men and Children display and mannequins
Form Types: Partially Pinnable, Displays, Mannequins
Shape Differences: None on website
Cost Range: $80 – $640

 

Classy Dress Forms
https://classydressforms.com/catalog/
Women Half Body Form 2-16 US, 34-48 EU; Arms and Heads available
Form Types: Fully Pinnable, Polymer construction, cotton cover
Shape Differences: Make Custom forms from measurements or from existing Mannequin
Cost Range: Dress Forms $450

WHAT’S HAPPENING IN THE DRESS FORM INDUSTRY 2019 – SMALL SCALE MANUFACTURING

Permission granted from Alvanon

Dress forms and body shape – can the standard dress form hourglass figure be improved upon?

With consumers demanding size inclusivity and better fitting garments, garment manufacturers are forced to take a more serious approach to matching design aesthetic to body shape. Design and pattern-making must adapt to consumer driven needs and wants. No longer will a single-size dress form suffice for an entire product line.  Dress forms used in the fashion industry are also referred to as dress makers dummies, Judies, mannequins; however, they must not be confused with store display mannequins. This blog reviews the dress forms that are available, for small-scale manufacturing, to make body shape inclusive garment design possible. Large-scale manufacturing will be covered in a subsequent blogpost entitled, “What’s Happening in The Dress Form Industry 2019 – Part Two.”

Note: The companies below are examined from a U.S. perspective.  Any companies wishing to be added to this list should contact the University of Fashion. Information contained in this post reflects the known status as of March 2019.  Cost ranges are noted in U.S. dollars and do not include shipping or taxes. Please double check links for the latest information.

SMALL SCALE MANUFACTURING – ADJUSTABLE FORMS

Adjustable Forms

Adjustable forms, which have been around for many years, are targeted to the home sewing and low volume sewing markets.  Note that any active movement (this includes breathing) by the customer affects measurements of the upper body including but not limited to the waist, bust and under bust.  Only one brand (Ronis Brothers) has an adjustable breast location. The measurement range for adjustment varies by form brand, so understanding the dimensional variations is required.

Permission granted from Singer

Permission granted from Ronis Brothers

The adaptability of these forms is limited to girth and height, and the resulting shapes will approximate traditional sizing charts. Even after accounting for nominal size, these forms still need pads to adjust for proper shape.  The adjustable dress maker forms cannot be used for draping, as direct pinning is not possible.  The companies who manufacture adjustable forms include:  Singer, Dritz, PGM Dress Forms, Ronis Brothers, and Rozy Display.  See Table 2, Adjustable Dress Forms at the end of this blog for more details.

 

SMALL SCALE MANUFACTURING – BODY SHAPE PADDING KITS

Available Foam Pads Kits

Foam Pads Kits are being used to further adapt and customize dress forms, full body forms, and adjustable dress forms/mannequins. These pads can be used with any sewing mannequin or dress form or full body form by any brand for both women and men.

If you have an inverted triangle shape, you will need to size the dress form based off your hips and pad the bust. If a diamond body shape is appropriate, you will need to determine which is the smallest between the bust or hips, and then pad the waist.  Most derrieres on dress forms are pretty flat, so if your shape is different, padding will be required, and you may need to start with a smaller size and add padding to attain the appropriate shape.  Depending on the garment (corset versus sports bra), the configuration of the breast can take on different shapes and the padding may vary.

Fabulous Fit Dress Form Fitting System

Permission granted from Fabulous Fit Dress Form Fitting System

The Fabulous Fit Dress Form Fitting System is an off-the-shelf pad system which has 17 pads and two body covers and is sized to fit various dress form sizes (small to extra-large).  The padding allows for adding 1 to 3 inches (2.5 cm to 7.6 cm) in various areas on the dress form. Due to the number of pads, various body types can be accommodated.  These can include straight/broad/round shoulders, wide/small back, high/low rib cage, high/low/large bust line, large stomach, high/low upper hip area, full upper hip, thighs and large hips, and others.  Extra pads for bust, stomach, side back, side hips and thighs are available.  Dress form covers are available in either side-seam cover, princess seam, or with a neck-to-ankle princess cover with a back zipper.  There are instruction videos on the company’s website for adding appropriate padding in proper locations.

Roxy Display Standard Pads

Permission granted from Roxy Display

Roxy Display offers yet another dress form padding system.  It consists of a 12-piece system that can be applied to all standard dress forms.  Pads are listed for shoulder, bust, stomach, hip, and waist. The stretch cover is shown fitting over a size 6 form.  Instructions are shown on the Roxy Display website. The cost is around $30.

 

SMALL SCALE CUSTOM DRESS FORMS

How to Create Your Own Custom Dress Form or Have One Made

To save money, there are many DIY posts on creating your own dress form.  Methods can be summarized as body casting, good-old duct tape, or patterns. The links in the following table are not all inclusive but give examples of different methods.

Table 1: Home Methods

Body Casting

Jezebel

https://jezebel.com/how-to-make-a-custom-dress-form-part-one-5803791
https://jezebel.com/how-to-make-a-custom-dress-form-part-two-5806327?tag=diy

Verrier

http://verrier-processes.blogspot.com/2010/02/body-casting-with-plaster-of-paris.html

 

Duct Tape
Howcast

Threads Magazine

https://www.threadsmagazine.com/2008/10/24/quick-and-easy-duct-tape-dress-form

 

Patterns
Boot Strap Fashion
https://patterns.bootstrapfashion.com/diy-dress-form-sewing-pattern.html
Instructables
https://www.instructables.com/id/Custom-Dress-Form/
Mermaid’s Den
https://mermaidsden.com/blog/2017/05/25/make-a-custom-dress-form

Would you want to try any of these methods?

Dress Forms from Scanning

Custom forms tend to be for an individual and therefore, creating a body form for everyone is not scalable in the retail market. One form per customer would not be practical.  However, if a brand wants to have dress forms of various shapes for design purposes, custom forms developed from fit models or models that match closely with the brands market may be a good place to start.   Requirements for customer information are obtained by measurements only, phone app or body scanning.

Beatrice Forms

Permission granted from Beatrice Forms

Process Flow, Permission granted from Beatrice Forms

Beatrice Forms focuses on creating custom dress forms.  They do not create standard forms at all.   It is a multi-step process.  The customer uses an iPhone app (only iPhone – no android) along with a body scanning kit to record the customer’s shape and measurements. The scanning process is shown on a You Tube video linked from the Beatrice Forms website. From app-produced videos, a 3D model of the body is created to cut the dress form from the foam.   A cover for the dress form is provided. The privacy policy for Beatrice Forms is listed on the company’s website and is listed in the links below. The EU privacy guidelines are listed for any EU citizens living in US or Canada.

If the customer changes their mind and does not want a form, there is a charge for the scanning kit. The cost for the first custom form is around $1200+ range. If a customer needs a bodice update, the cost is about half of the first form.

 

 

Personal Fashion / Ditto Form

Permission granted from Ditto Form

Ditto Form, Michigan LLC working thru Personal Fashion is another company that makes a copy of the customer’s body into a dress form with crotch.  The company has set up a scanning schedule for U.S. customers for calendar year 2019.  Further information is available on the PersonalFashion.us website.  The process involves a 3D scan using a Styku scanner. The resulting digital image is overlaid onto a durable yet flexible foam form.  The finished product comes with a custom cover that is matte grey knit with black markings.

Customer data is not shared with StykuStyku does use the aggerated data, as stated in the customer agreement, but there is no way to identify individuals.  However, Ditto Form does keep the original and working files from orders up to one year.  Scans not immediately placed into dress forms are kept for up to six months.

There is a charge for the scan that is incorporated into the dress form cost.  The total cost for the custom dress form is around $1400+.  An independent full body 3D scan is available as well for $500.

Links:

https://dittoform.com/high-resolution/

https://dittoform.com/products/

https://personalfashion.us/

https://dittoform.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/Getting-Ready-for-Your-3D-Body-Scan.pdf

 

Classy Dress Forms

Permission granted from Classy Dress Forms

Classy Dress Forms is another company that uses 3D scanning to obtain customer data and after processing the data, manufactures a 3D model by a 5-axis milling center accurate to 0.5 mm.  A jersey cover is individually sewn for each dress form. The cost is $1690.  However, this does not include the travel expenses of the measuring specialist. They are paid separately.

If scanning and phone apps become more common, would more shapes of dress forms become available for smaller brands or start-ups?

Summary

The physical forms that allow brands to test designs for size inclusivity are improving. However, the cost of true custom forms can be very expensive compared to the cost of the “off-the-shelf” forms.  However, the capability to change physical forms is important for students to understand body shapes such that garment interactions may change with various body shapes, especially when designing fully bespoke garments.  Students can learn to appreciate different body shapes by using pads in conjunction with standard dress forms as an affordable option.

Students should ask themselves, how they would change dress forms to be more inclusive?

Table 2: Adjustable Dress Forms

Singer
https://www.singer.com/notions/dress-forms
3 sizes: Small/ Medium – sizes 4-10; Medium/ Large – sizes 10-18;
Medium/ Large – sizes 16-22; 360 degree Hem Guide
Flannel exterior with foam backing,
12-13 adjustments (neck, bust, waist, hips, height)
Form Type: Partially Pinnable – can pin to a top layer of fabric
Shape Differences: Circumference changes only
Cost Range: $160 – $180

 

Dritz
https://www.dritz.com/quilting-sewing-supplies/dressforms/
https://www.dritz.com/quilting-sewing-supplies/dressforms/my-double-deluxe/20406/
5 women’s sizes: petite, small, medium, large and full size
Child adjustable – 6-12 years of age
Form Type: Partially Pinnable
Shape Differences: Circumference changes only, padding tutorials on website
Cost Range: $147 – $320

 

PGM Dress Forms
https://www.pgmdressform.com/Adjustable-Fitting-Dress-Forms-PGM-Sewing-Dress-Form-Chicago
Two sizes, 4 and 8, adjustable 3 sizes up,
Form Type: Pinnable at an angle
Shape Differences: Circumference changes only
Cost Range: $199

 

Ronis Brothers
http://www.ronis.com/Ronis_Bros_Adjustable_Dress_Form_NY_p/ad-001.htm
jz@ronis.com
Size varies from size 4 to size 20, allows for both increasing and decreasing the bust and will raise and lower the bust as well with dual levels at the bottom of the form. Size will be indicated when turning the upper knob
Form Type: Partially Pinnable
Shape Differences: Circumference changes, Bust can be raised and lowered
Cost Range: Around $600

 

Roxy Display
https://www.roxydisplayinc.com/webpage/bodyforms/female/other/jf-fh-2.html
One size, Adjustment Dial (Bust, Waist, Hips)
Foam-Backed Fabric Exterior allows you to easily pin dresses, skirts, tops and patterns.
Height Adjustment lets you customize the dress form to your height.  2 sizes,
Form Type: Partially Pinnable
Shape Differences: Circumference changes along with separate Roxy foam padding kit
Cost Range: $125 – $135