University of Fashion Blog

Posts by: Antonia Sardone

Antonia Sardone

Antonia Sardone is a new contributor to the University of Fashion. She is also a freelance fashion consultant, stylist and writer. Antonia Sardone graduated from the Fashion Institute of Technology with a degree in Advertising Communications, Marketing and Fashion Journalism. She is an industry veteran having worked for WWD for over fifteen years and has strong relationships with designers worldwide. Today, Antonia Sardone continues to write reviews for WWD as well as work with many contemporary designers on a variety of projects from helping to re-launch their websites to writing their brand books. She enjoys raising her children to be creative individuals, as well as styling, writing and traveling.

NEW YORK SPRING 2021 FASHION SHOWS – A SEASON UNLIKE ANY OTHER

- - Fashion Shows

An image from Rodarte’s spring 2021 collection. (Photo Credit: Daria Kobayashi for Rodarte)

The Spring 2021 collections are in full swing as each of the major fashion cities adjust to the new norm. Many have opted for a hybrid model, in-person show and digital format. Earlier this year, the men’s collections, resort and couture, have all shown their collection digitally and the results were mostly considered a flop, at least on social media. According to an article published in BoF on July 27, 2020:  “Of more than a dozen major luxury brands that released content tied to men’s fashion week in Milan and Paris, or to their resort collections, none came close to making the same splash on Instagram as the corresponding shows did last year, according to tracking firm Tribe Dynamics. On average, digital shows, videos and presentations generated less than one-third as much online engagement. The all-digital London Fashion Week, which mainly featured smaller brands, also saw a steep drop in buzz, with 55 percent less social media engagement than in January, according to Launchmetrics, another tracker of online activity.” Even the couture season, which offered fanciful films and digital shows did not gain the traction the industry was hoping for.

But before we delve into our coverage of NYFW, we once again ask ourselves, “who are these shows really for”? Traditionally, shows are for buyers, and editors. These industry insiders, attend to show their support for the brands, and to be inspired for the season to come.  Of course, as an industry, the organizers of the events, as well as the cities that host them, have much to lose if a brand chooses a digital format. Before NY fashion week began, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that the bi-annual event (which generated millions of dollars in revenue for the city pre-pandemic), would be permitted to take place, as long as participants were in “strict compliance” with New York health and safety guidelines. In a statement made in August, Cuomo stated that “New York City is the fashion capital of the world, and New York Fashion Week celebrates the ingenuity of this city, and our unmatched creative talent,” It’s not just talent (and entire business sectors like textile manufacturing and production) that New York Fashion Week supports. It was/is, also a major revenue source. According to past estimates, fashion shows pre-Covid generated nearly $900 million per year, with up to $500 million in tourist spending.

With the new Covid restrictions, designers began asking themselves, whether it was worth investing all this time and money for a show, when an outdoor event is capped at 50 people and an indoor event capped at 50% of the venue’s capacity.” Well for some designers it was. Case in point, Jason Wu’s tropical paradise show on a NYC rooftop.

A look from Grey by Jason Wu. (Photo Credit: Dan Lecca for Jason Wu)

So, here’s the scoop. The official New York Fashion Week Schedule that was released by The Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) and was condensed to only 3 days this season, as a result of the coronavirus pandemic (dates were September 13-16). The CFDA supplemented NYFW with its Runway360 digital platform, this allowed designers to present their latest collections at a time that worked best for them, at any time throughout the year.

The COVID-19 pandemic has upended the global fashion industry and hit New York particularly hard,” said Steven Kolb, CEO of the CFDA. “Fashion week is a critical time when brands are able to connect with press, retailers and consumers, and I’m proud of how quickly the CFDA pivoted to support the needs of the industry by creating Runway360. We are excited to see 10 new American brands on the schedule – many for the first time – who might not have had the opportunity to share their collections to a global audience without access to Runway360. We’re also excited to highlight the incredible talent coming out of Harlem’s Fashion Row and announce the return of New York Men’s Day. In the face of unprecedented challenges and uncertainty within our industry, the American fashion community has once again come together to support each other and prove its resilience.”

The New York shows kicked off with Jason Wu’s IRL (in real life) intimate fashion show and ended with Tom Ford; but their where plenty of designers who opted out of this seasons fashion week including Marc Jacobs, The Row, Tory Burch, Proenza Schouler, and Michael Kors, to name a few.

Here are a few ways designers got creative when presenting their collections this season (Shows can be accessed at NYFW.com and through the CFDA’s Runway360)

JASON WU

Jason Wu officially opened NY Fashion Week with the first runway presentation for his contemporary label Grey by Jason Wu. The designer took his intimate audience away on a mental trip to Tulum. Wu created a tropical paradise on a NYC rooftop and it was spectacular. Wu’s joyful collection was filled with effortlessly chic pieces, perfect for today’s world, where woman want to look great and feel comfortable.

The show opened with a rust-colored maxi-dress with pockets and bold broderie anglaise detailing just above the hem, which set the mood for the entire collection. Wu showed pleated skirts with bra tops, easy dresses in bold prints, a striped tunic and matching trouser, and tailored Bermuda shorts and blazers. His collection was filled with happy and vibrant clothes, perfect to brighten the gloomy days of Covid that we are all facing.

REBECCA MINKOFF

Rebecca Minkoff’s Presentation featured fall looks that stayed true to her signature boho-rock aesthetic. (Photo Credit: Randy Brooke for Wire Image)

Rebecca Minkoff presented her fall 2020 collection during a two-hour presentation on the rooftop of Spring Studios. The event had a limited audience of fashion influencers and buyers. The social-media savvy designer livestreamed the event on Instagram and gave her followers a walk-through of her collection which was an ode to Manhattan and Motherhood, translated to effortless pieces with a cool twist. The collection was filled with pretty boho styled dresses, great knit sweaters, chic outerwear, and plenty of badass leather pieces.

HARLEM’S FASHION ROW STYLE AWARDS

A look from Rich Fresh. (Photo :Courtesy of Rich Fresh)

Harlem’s Fashion Row hosted its 13th annual Style Awards and a fashion show virtually on Sept. 13. The video will be made available to the public on Sept. 19.

The Style Awards honored British Vogue editor-in-chief Edward Enninful with the Maverick of the Year Award; Teen Vogue editor-in-chief Lindsay Peoples Wagner with the Editor of the Year Award; Pyer Moss designer Kerby Jean-Raymond with the Designer of the Year award; and Nate Hinton with the Publicist of the Year award.

The organization selected three talented designers to present their collections— Kimberly Goldson, Rich Fresh and Kristian Loren.

A look from Kimberly Goldson. (Photo: Courtesy of Kimberly Goldson)

A look from Kristian Lorén. (Photo: Courtesy of Kristian Lorén)

KHAITE

A look from Khaite’s Spring 2021 Collection. (Photo: Courtesy of Khaite)

It was just over a year ago that actress Katie Holmes wore a cashmere Khaite bra and cardigan look on the streets of New York City and the brand instantly became a must have label among the fashion set. The brand’s leather jackets for fall could hardly be kept in stock. For spring 2021, Khaite designer, Catherine Holstein, kept true to the brands cool girl appeal. Holstein offered plenty of sexy body-skimming knits and seductive ruched dresses, and romantic puff shoulder tops and airy evening frocks. The designer also featured a few of her signature cozy cashmere sweaters that have made her a fashion darling. These are keep-forever investment pieces that are timeless yet modern and youthful.

IMITATION OF CHRIST

A look from Imitation of Christ. (Photo: Courtesy of Imitation of Christ)

It’s been 20 years since Tara Subkoff first presented her theatrical show for her label Imitation of Christ. And after a long hiatus, Subkoff is officially back. For spring 2021, the designer put on simultaneous presentations, one in NYC the other in Los Angeles, but they were not be identical. Each presentation consisted of acapella singers and skateboarders in IOC looks. FYI- Imitation of Christ is known for its one-of-a-kind pieces. Resurrecting existing pieces is the ideology that Imitation of Christ was founded on. No two looks are ever the same.

For spring, Subkoff’s inspiration was skateboarders and created a collection of glamorous activewear. There were vintage slips attached to sports jerseys, and oversized tees with ruffled trimmings.

Subkoff sourced some of her pieces from the luxury consignment ecommerce site RealReal. The site will offer the spring collection for sale in see-now, buy-now fashion, with a portion of the proceeds being donated to Fridays for Future (environmentalist Greta Thunberg’s nonprofit organization).

WOLK MORAIS

Looks from Wolk Morais Spring 2021 collection. (Photo: Courtesy of Wolk Morais)

While some designers are just releasing lookbook style images, others like Brian Wolk and Claude Morais, the duo behind the label Wolk Morais, are creating attention grabbing short films. For 26 nights the duo drove around Los Angeles pulling up the homes of several friends in the industry, from models and actors to fashion consultants, handed them a bag of clothes, and then filmed them without ever leaving their car.

In an interview with Vogue, where you can also exclusively watch the video, Wolk explained, “we wanted to create a collection that was not only responsible and sustainable, but also content that tells a story about what’s going on right now.

Here is the Vogue link to the video:

https://www.vogue.com/fashion-shows/spring-2021-ready-to-wear/wolk-morais

The duo stayed true to their specialty: fabulous tailoring. And the collection had plenty of it. Herringbone tweed suits, double-breasted waistcoats, cropped jackets and a slew of Liberty print shirts (all of fabrics were upcycled or sourced within a 12 mile radius of their studio). But among all the haberdashery, there were a few glamorous looks as well. Case in point, a 1930s inspired sequin bias-cut gown, a perfect look for any young starlet.

TOMO KOIZUMI

Tomo Koizumi is known for creating jaw-dropping fashion moments that are so breathtakingly beautiful that one cannot help but feel an emotional connection to. For his spring collection, the avant-garde designer produced a creative lookbook photographed in Japan. Koizumi’s work blends his frothy confections with aspects of traditional Japanese culture. The designer collaborated with a bridal company and was inspired by wedding traditions. There was an assortment of eccentric white gowns with explosions of tulle.

Koizumi also showed plenty of rainbow-hued party dresses, cropped tops and miniskirts – all created with a new ruffling technique which created a more flower or starburst affect. It was all so fun and creative, that one cannot help but smile when looking at his creations.

ULLA JOHNSON

Living in such uncertain times, the pandemic has forced us all to search our souls and figure out who we want to be moving forward; many believe that the world should not go back to the way it was. It is during these times that we need uplifting, more and art and beauty to inspire us. This season, Ulla Johnson staged a full-on fashion show that was audience-less at Roosevelt Island’s Four Freedoms Park. The backdrop, Manhattan’s skyscrapers, provided a familiar backdrop, a reminder of the strength and resilience of the city, while we all may have lost a lot this year, we are, as Governor Cuomo says, “New York Strong.”

The level of workmanship and the philosophy involved in Ulla Johnson’s intricate collection was best stated by the designer herself. In an interview with Vogue, Johnson stated, “We’ve all been doing a lot of deep soul searching about the relevancy of what we do—the runway being one component, but also just clothing in general. For us we’re committed more than ever to creating this transportive beauty and continuing our commitment to craft.” Consider the collection’s look one and two, which were entirely hand-crafted outside the U.S., in countries heavily impacted by the pandemic and done so safely over a five-month period.

The collection was filled with Johnson’s signature bohemian inspired frocks, acid wash denim jumpsuits, billowing sleeved tops and ruffled waist trousers. The designer delivered a joyous, wearable collection even during the most difficult of times.

TOM FORD

A look from Tom Ford’s Spring 2021 Collection. (Photo: Courtesy of Tom Ford)

The spring 2021 trend of joyful clothes continued as Tom Ford closed out New York Fashion Week. After months of isolation, Ford wanted his spring collection to bring hope. According to an interview with Vogue, Ford stated “The last thing I want to see are serious clothes. I think we need an escape. I think we want to smile. I know what’s going on in our world right now doesn’t make us want to smile. So that’s what I’ve done: hopeful clothes that make you smile.”

Ford’s collection was full of glamour and gusto as he found inspiration in a documentary about the fashion illustrator Antonio Lopez and the ’70s models Pat Cleveland and Donna Jordan, whom Lopez sketched. The Seventies inspired collection was a throwback to his days at Gucci, and it was oh so fabulous. The collection oozed sexiness with shirts that were unbuttoned to the navel and paired with pull-on logo waistband trousers, slinky dresses in colorful florals, spicy animal print jumpsuits and glamorous swimsuits and caftans. After all, isn’t over-the-top glam what Tom Ford does best?

Have you been watching the shows? Care to share your fav?

NEW WAYS YOUNG DESIGNERS ARE REACHING CONSUMERS

- - Fashion Business

A YouTube video on Neighborhood Goods.

It didn’t take a global pandemic to know that the retail sector of the fashion industry was in trouble. Over the past few years we have all watched traditional retail stores fail, as more and more consumers started to spend more of  their time and money shopping online. No one seemed exempt from bankruptcy, both specialty and department stores alike. Barneys New York, Jeffrey’s, Neiman Marcus, J.C. Penney and Lord & Taylor have all declared bankruptcy. These closures not only affected retailers and their staff, but also hurt the pockets of many designers, especially smaller, independent designers, who were able to get their start from these stores. Even mega-retail chains have been struggling with declining in-store shoppers, astronomical rents, and debt. Unfortunately this trickle down effect results in cancelled orders and invoices that are left unpaid, a burden the brand must take on.

Even before COVID-19 hit and the economy was thriving, the wholesale system was hurting many designers and running their business to the ground. Department stores constantly pressured designers to create something new and exclusive for them, but in the end, it was never really worth it for the designer and they only obliged to keep the department stores happy and hopefully keep their orders coming.

Many designers started to realize that the traditional wholesale model wasn’t working for them and began to ask the question…what’s next? 

Today, young designers are looking for creative outlets to present their pieces to potential consumers. For many, the direct-to-consumer model has been a successful one. But for others, they view the benefits of a wholesale partnership as a vital step towards creating brand awareness and building a customer base, whether their goods are in a brick-and-mortar store or on a retailer’s site.

NEW OPTIONS

There are a few new and exciting options surfacing for brands that value the exposure that multi-branded retailers offer, but where designers can still take control of their inventory. Many retailers are operating on a ‘retail-as-service’ business model, which means that rather than purchasing inventory from brands, they may lease out space and/or provide logistical and marketing support for a fee, in addition to potentially taking a commission on sales.

Here are a few platforms and marketplaces that young designers are excited about:

NEIGHBORHOOD GOODS

Inside Neighborhood Goods. (Photo Credit: D Magazine)

Neighborhood Goods is an innovative alternative to the traditional department store model. The store provides brands with a low risk and less expensive way to test the waters of the physical retail model. Neighborhood Goods charges brands a small fee to display their designs in one or several of its physical locations (Austin and Plano, Texas and New York City), as well as on their e-commerce site where the retailer also takes a percentage of sales.

Neighborhood Goods features an experiential, appealingly-designed format with excellent customer service and even frequent food pop-ups. In April, in response to COVID-19, Neighborhood Goods launched The Commons, a section dedicated to featuring small brands who were negatively impacted by the pandemic, at no cost to their struggling businesses.

Neighborhood Goods’ smart business model, and $11 million in venture capital, put it in a stronger position than most to weather the current retail storm. According to co-founder Matt Alexander in an interview with Fashionista.com, “In an industry struggling to adapt to the future, this whole crisis is going to accelerate the prevailing winds in the retail industry, and we end up being in a relatively good spot on the other side.

THE YES

An image from The Yes shopping app. (Photo Credit: Vogue)

The Yes is the brainchild of fashion and tech veterans Taylor Tomasi-Hill (Street-style star and Fashion Market Editor at Teen Vogue and W Magazine to name a few), Julie Bornstein (StitchFix, Nordstrom, Sephora) and Amit Aggarwal (Google, Bing, Groupon). The mobile shopping platform carries well established brands, as well as young designers ranging from Prada to Khaite.

Every brand has its own storefront in the app and The Yes uses dropship, meaning it doesn’t hold its own inventory. The site collects a share of revenue from each sale made through the app. The Yes also uses Artificial Intelligence (AI) to personalize every user’s feed in real time. For example, when you click “yes” on a style, you will see a variety of similar looks.

SHOP

Shopify launches Shop, a new mobile app. (Photo Credit: TechCrunch)

Shop is another mobile shopping site and describes itself as your personal “shopping assistant.” The site was launched during the COVID-19 pandemic by Shopify, it’s a go-to tool for independent brands and retailers setting up e-commerce.

This savvy site allows shoppers to shop numerous retailers all in one place. One unique feature is that the app allows shoppers to locate and shop businesses that are local to them, but only if they use Shopify. The site also offers speedy checkout and helps the consumer track and receive updates on all orders.

SHOWFIELDS

Showfields NYC. (Photo Credit: Time Out)

With a brick-and-mortar store in New York City, and a soon to open Miami location, Showfields’ goal is to curate innovative, unconventional, and relevant digitally native brands in one giant, highly Instagramable space. The store frequently hosts new and exciting events and initiatives to engage consumers and create a buzz. And so far they have done it successfully even through quarantine.

The top floor of Showfields is used as a community space with food and events that have ranged from theatrical performances and art installations to fundraisers and digital discussions. American Express has also sponsored a special curation of Black-owned brands; the credit card company is only charging brands membership fees, but the brands keep 100% of their sales.

RE:STORE

A look inside Re:store. (Photo Credit: Re:store)

Selena Cruz, a Silicon Valley venture capitalist, recently opened the doors to Re:store in San Francisco, CA. The store positioned itself somewhat of a WeWork space for unique, saught-after, online-only or difficult-to-find brands. Re:store carries many millennial-targeting labels that are popular on Instagram, all together on one space. Of course the store is very cool and Instagrammable, which of course draws in the millennials.

Brands pay only $350 a month as well as a 20% commission to hold a space on the experimental retail floor. RE:store also offers a community workspace offering young brands to work with and interact with their customers, all in the heart of Downtown San Francisco for a fraction of the price. The opportunity for these brands to connect with their customers is priceless, particularly those for whom this is their brick-and-mortar debut.

DEPOP

Hand-painted boots by Zigzaggoods on Depop. (Photo Credit: Craft Industry Alliance)

Depop is a new digital marketplace for handmade items that Gen Z designers are excited about. The fun and eccentric online mall has a young demographic; of its 21-million users 90% are age 26 or younger—members of Gen Z, the first all-digital generation. The site looks a lot like Instagram, so it’s very familiar and easy to use. It’s a sellers’ lifestyle shown in images. In a recent New York Magazine poll teenagers voted Depop the top marketplace for buying resale goods (over Etsy and eBay). If you’re interested in reaching a young demographic, it’s definitely worth a look.

Depop’s CEO, Maria Raga believes in supporting the growth of young entrepreneurs. “I view my role as more than just running a company. It’s about helping young sellers fulfill their passions, stretch their business skills, and become independent business owners who create fashion trends,” she said in an interview with Fashionista.com. Another plus, Depop only takes a flat 10% fee on each transaction, including shipping.

In the coming months and years, post Covid, retailers will be looking to up-and coming designers for ideas on how to give consumers what they want. Stay tuned…

So tell us, what are you doing to get your brand out there?

INNOVATIVE SUSTAINABILITY IN TEXTILES

Fashion and Substainability. (Photo Credit: Miss Owl)

DO YOU HAVE A CLEAR FASHION CONSCIENCE?

If you’re like us, you probably spent some of your Covid lockdown time cleaning out your closets (and if you didn’t you should). How many of you have a clear fashion conscience? Was every purchase justified? Or, did you discover that some of the clothes and shoes in your closet you never wore, not even once? Or maybe you wore them only twice? Well, it’s time to take stock of your buying habits and your carbon footprint. To get a clear fashion conscience, next time you’re thinking of making purchase, ask yourself, “am I doing all I could to help”?

 

THE POLLUTION INDUSTRY

The fashion industry is one of the biggest culprits in causing pollution and damage ing our earth. By 2030, it is predicted that the industry’s water consumption will increase by 50 percent to 118 billion cubic meters (or 31.17 trillion gallons). Its carbon footprint will increase to 2,791 million tons and the amount of waste it creates will hit 148 million tons, according to The Fashion Law website (TFL).

Today more than ever, designers, brands and retailers are looking for ways to reduce their negative impact on the environment. Brands are embracing sustainable cotton initiatives to: reduce water, energy and chemical use; new dyeing technology to reduce water consumption by up to 50 percent; as well as numerous energy and chemical saving schemes throughout the supply chain. In the UK, the result of this work is percolating through to retailers, with a reduction in the carbon and water footprints per ton of clothing of 8 percent and 7 percent respectively since 2012, according to TFL.

Eco Conscious Meets Fashion Conscious. (Photo Credit: Carrygreen)

The movement towards eco fashion is growing quickly. Followers of the movement believe that the fashion industry has an obligation to place environmental, social, and ethical improvements in their practices at every level of the supply chain. One of the goals of sustainable fashion is to create a thriving ecosystem and enriched communities through its activity. Some examples of this include: prolonging the lifecycle of materials; increasing the value of timeless garments; reducing the amount of waste; and reducing the harm to the environment created as a result of producing clothing.

Why Sustainable in Fashion Matters. (Photo Credit: Sustainable Fashion Academy)

Textile designers around the world are looking for innovative techniques to produce fabrics in a sustainable manner. There are a few pioneering companies that are creating innovative textiles, such as biodegradable glitter and fabrics created from seaweed. Here are a few companies that are making a big difference.

ALGIKNIT

The company Algiknit produces textile fibres extracted from kelp, a variety of seaweed. The extrusion process turns the biopolymer mixture into kelp-based thread that can be knitted or 3D printed to minimize waste. The final knitwear is biodegradable and can be dyed with natural pigments in a closed loop cycle.

BIOGLITZ

BioGlitz produces the world’s first biodegradable glitter. Based on a unique biodegradable formula made from eucalyptus tree extract, the eco-glitter is fully biodegradable, compostable and allows for the sustainable consumption of glitter without the environmental damage associated with micro plastics.

FLOCUS

Flocus produces natural yarns, fillings and fabrics made from kapok fibers. The kapok tree can be naturally grown without the use of pesticides and insecticide in arid soil not suitable for agricultural farming, offering a sustainable alternative to high water consumption natural fiber crops such as cotton.

FRUMAT

Frumat uses apples to create a leather-like material. Apple pectin is an industrial waste product which can be used to create sustainable materials that are completely compostable, while still being durable enough to create luxurious accessories. The leathers can be dyed naturally and tanned without chemically intensive techniques.

DRITAN

DriTan is taking sustainable steps towards water-free leather manufacturing. The technology was developed by ECCO Leather and uses the moisture present in the hides as a key step in their tanning process. This innovative technology will change the leather industry and save 25 million liters of water a year. This technique also minimizes the discharge of waste water and the use of chemicals.

MYLO

Mylo is a sustainable leather grown from mycelium, which has its root structure in mushrooms. In nature, mycelium grows underground in soil, forming networks of threads that help recycle organic matter on the forest floor, while providing nutrients to plants and trees. The threads interweave and self-assemble themselves into a 3D matrix that can spread for miles. Bolt Threads Mylo material looks like hand-crafted leather and shares leather’s warm touch and suppleness. Mylo can be produced in days, without the need for animal hides or the toxic chemicals used in the production of synthetic leathers.

RECYCROM

Recycrom is turning waste into colors by building on its “Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle” mission. Recycrom is a patented, sustainable range of synthetic colored dyestuff powders made from 100% recycled textile cotton waste and textile scraps from used clothing and manufacturing waste. The dyes utilize eco-sustainable inputs without using chemical dyes and harming the environment. When dyed using Recycrom colors, the fabrics have a washed-out and natural look that complements today’s current fashion trends. Brands can collaborate with the inventors at Officina+39 to make Recycrom custom dyes using a manufacturers’ own scraps/textile waste.

THE ECO MOVEMENT IS GROWING

While creating sustainable textiles is only one step to creating an eco-friendly brand, it’s refreshing to see so many fashion companies looking for ways to make a global impact on the environment. Stella McCartney has been ahead of the movement and has always produced her collections in an ethical manner. Today fashion brands have plenty of choices to reduce their carbon footprint.

Stella McCartney’s Spring 2020 Ad Campaign. (Photo Credit: Stella McCartney)

So tell us, what are you doing to reduce your carbon footprint?

FALL 2020 COUTURE: A TRULY DIGITAL FASHION WEEK

- - Fashion Shows

Balmain’s Fall 2020 Couture Collection. (Photo Credit: Balmain)

If you’re a faithful follower of the UoF blog, then you know what we’ve been asking for years… “are fashion shows still relevant”?

This question has long been debated among the fashion set as well. But the fashion industry, an industry whose DNA is ALL about CHANGE & TRENDS, has historically been reluctant to abandon live runway shows and try something new. It has literally taken a pandemic to get them off the dime!

Alas! For this Fall 2020 Haute Couture season, the industry has given the digital runway world a whirl. However, reviews of digital shows for this couture season have been mixed. Many fear that if digital IS the future of fashion, then the economies of Paris, Milan, London and New York’s will greatly suffer. Why? Because fashion week in each of these cities brings many other financial benefits. Buyers, clients and the press, book flights, hotels and restaurants. Lots of lost revenue. Let’s not forget the taxi drivers, Uber drivers, D.J.’s, lighting technicians, show venues, models, and the list goes on and on. More lost revenue.

By going digital, the industry also misses out on the social aspect of attending shows. Fashion week is a great way for fashion editors, buyers, publicists, designers and influencers to network and celebrate fashion. However exhausting attending back to back shows for an entire month may be, watching a digital show at home, or in your office behind a computer screen, or hunched over on your phone, is just not the same. Although there were plenty creative films dedicated this Fall’s couture collections, for many, nothing beats a live show.

Paris Couture Fashion Week was kicked off with a video address by model/celeb Naomi Campbell, who dedicated the season to the “fight for equality and diversity.” Campbell quoted Nelson Mandela and the Black Lives Matter movement. “This is a call for action we are making,” she said, wearing sleeveless T-shirt bearing the words PHENOMENALLY BLACK. “It is up to us, it is up to you to start enforcing inclusion of the multitude of identities that compose our countries,” she said. “The time has come to build a more equitable industry with a good form of checks and balances. It is now more than ever compulsory to include them in a permanent way, and not a transient one,” she added.

The supermodel urged “regular and sustainable conversations with minorities from each country and culture in this mega industry.”

I am Naomi Campbell and I declare Paris couture fashion week ouvert. merci.”

SCHIAPARELLI

A Schiaparelli Couture sketch. (Photo Credit: Shiaparelli)

American designer, Daniel Roseberry, the creative director for Schiaparelli, has been quarantined in New York City since the NY coronavirus lockdown, and therefore did not have a collection to present for the Fall 2020 couture season. However, what he did do, was present a short film featuring himself sketching on a bench in NYC’s Washington Square Park. The film was dubbed an “Imaginary Collection.” Roseberry stated, “Life today is lived according to opposites; the pandemic has inverted everything we knew. Now, instead of a team to execute this collection, I just have my own imagination. Instead of the Place Vendôme in Paris, it’s been designed and sketched on a park bench.”  Who  out there doesn’t love seeing how a designer conceptualizes a collection?

Roseberry’s drawings featured nods to founder Elsa Schiaparelli that included a shocking pink column dress, a jacket with leg-of-mutton sleeves and a “chandelier” top. The house hopes to show a capsule collection of these designs in Los Angeles in December. “Everything has changed, but imagination, and the drive to create, has never been more relevant, or more profound. This collection is a tribute to that impulse to create,” said Roseberry in a WWD article. “Someday very soon, I will venture back to Paris and hand these styles off to the atelier. We will make a portion of these and take them around the world to share with our valued clients and stylists.”
Here’s his video.

BALMAIN

A look from Balmain’s Couture Extravaganza. (Photo Credit: Balmain)

Olivier Rousteing, the social media genius and creative director for Balmain, planned a two-hour extravaganza that was live-streamed on TikTok. This marked the first time TikTok has ever worked with a luxury brand. Rousteing used the hashtag #BalmainSurSeine making Paris’ Seine River his stage.

The Balmain crew traveled on a barge from the Eiffel Tower eastward and featured French pop singer Yseult and 50 dancers. A very social media-worthy idea! However, not without technical difficulties. The sound dropped and minutes after embarking the live feed cut out, never to return but by that time Balmain had already racked up about 15,000 new followers on his social media platforms. That’s a win!

“What happened on Sunday was beyond the digital Fashion Week,” Rousteing said to Vogue, estimating that approximately 20,000 locals caught at least some part of the spectacle.

After 75 years, Balmain is showing a new direction. We gave people access to our house, and we showed that we are really French. It was our gift to Paris, the City of Light,” said Rousteing. The show was re-streamed on the Federation de la Haute Couture’s online platform. According to Rousteing, “It’s really hard to just do digital without any physical experience; we are all missing it. We work for an audience and you lose the emotion if you don’t have one. We need to go back to that.”

IRIS VAN HERPEN

Everyone always looks to Iris van Herpen as the future of fashion, so it was no surprise that she created a fantasmagorial short film entitled “Transmotion.” The film was directed by Ryan McDaniels and starred Games Of Throne’s actress Carice van Houten, wandering through a modern courtyard surrounded by mesmerizing pulsating lights. Throughout the video were shots of black crystals that magically assembled on the floor and then morphed into the same lattice pattern that appeared on her dress. The film featured only one dress, but was a signature Iris Van Herpen creation that perfectly blends high-tech artistry with old-world techniques.

DIOR

A look from Dior’s Couture collection. (Photo Credit: Dior)

Maria Grazia Chiuri, artistic director of women’s haute couture, ready-to-wear and accessory collections at Dior, recruited Italian director Matteo Garrone to produce a short film showcasing the intricate looks of her Fall 2020 haute couture collection. The movie, entitled, “The Dior Myth,” was based on mythology and drew viewers into a magical woodland journey filled with fairytale creatures like sirens, nymphs, a faun and a woman emerging from a giant shell. It was dreamy and fantastical, which is what one expects from couture. However, Dior’s film caught plenty of criticism for its lack of diversity.

RALPH & RUSSO

A sketch from the Ralph & Russo’s 2020 couture collection. (Photo Credit: Ralph & Russo)

Sure travel feels like a distant memory right about now as some of us are still quarantining and can only take domestic flights, but in the digital world, anything’s possible. Tamara Ralph, the artistic director behind the Ralph & Russo label, created a whimsical collection worn by an avatar model. Ralph’s backdrop of choice? The Seven Wonders of the World, which added a playful twist to the intricate collection.

GIAMBATTISTA VALLI

A look from Giambattista Valli’s Couture collection. (Photo Credit: Giambattista Valli)

Many designers have been showing restrain this season as the crippling affects of the economy due to COVID-19 have many in panic mode, but this can’t be said about Giambattista Valli. The designer created his frothy, voluminous gowns that were unapologetically grand. He even featured a few face coverings, a nod to the pandemic, but they were purely decorative and not for protection.

Unlike other designers who collaborated with famous film directors and photographers to create their digital show, Valli  personally filmed extreme closeups of his creations with  his iPhone, yes, his iPhone!  He chose as his muse Puerto Rican supermodel and actress, Joan Smalls. “I’m taking by the hand all the viewers around the world who are still confined and can’t travel, and showing them Paris through my eyes,” he explained to Vogue.

 

CHANEL

A look from Chanel’s 2020 couture collection. (Photo Credit: Mikael Jansson for Chanel)

The eighties are back! At least in the world of Chanel’s creative director Virginie Viard, who presented a line-up that was so unapologetically maximalist. There were party dresses galore and plenty of bling. “It’s an eccentric girl with a touch of the Eighties. I wanted something joyful,” the designer said in an interview with WWD. Viard worked with photographer Mikael Jansson to create a show video: a one-minute, 22-second burst of images spliced with grainy black and white footage of models Rianne Van Rompaey and Adut Akech.

 

RAHUL MISHRA

A look from Rahul Mishra’s Fall 2020 haute couture. (Photo Credit: Rahul Mishra)

Every stitch, every knot is strongly related to the present and future of an artisan, especially hit by the pandemic,” said Rahul Mishra in an interview with WWD. The designer is more determined than ever to support the embroiderers of India who created his elaborate designs. “Butterfly People” was the title of the collection, as it is meant to evoke nature flourishing without human intervention.

 

VIKTOR & ROLF

A look from Viktor & Rolf’s 2020 haute couture collection. (Photo Credit: Casper Kofi for Viktor & Rolf)

‘Couture in the time of coronavirus’ was the reality behind Viktor Horsting and Rolf Snoeren’s namesake couture collection. The duo cleverly created three mini wardrobes comprised of a negligee, dressing gown, and coat, meant to represent pandemic-related emotional states.

They started the video with the fear and anxiety, emotions that we are all feeling as a society, but then the show quickly evolved into visuals representing feelings of love and joy. In the video, singer Mika plays a retro newscaster offering deadpan commentary on Viktor & Rolf’s collection. His description of a spiky coat was part of the gloom-and-doom segment. “There’s a lot to feel angry about and this garment will communicate exactly that,” he intones.

The collection consisted of nine intricate creations that ranged from a storm cloud slip dress to the ‘halo of hearts’ confection pictured above. All with Viktor & Rolf’s famous tongue-in-cheek humor.

Our Favorite Couture Video

At UoF, we think the most creative of all fashion video productions is this one by Dior, showcasing their new dress collection on 37 half scale dress forms each handmade by their expert couturiers and petits mains. Once the preferred design method used by famed French designer Madeleine Vionnet, working half scale is a great way to try out your designs sustainably. Dior plans to take orders by sending these clothed mini dress forms to their clients around the world.

Be sure to check out UoF’s social media channels and website to view our upcoming half scale draping and pattern making series. So very inspiring!

 

What are YOUR thoughts about digital shows vs runway shows?

SOME OF THE MOST STYLISH FILMS OF ALL TIME

- - Uncategorized

A scene from Sex and The City. (Photo Credit: Vogue)

2020 will go down in history as the year the world was quarantined. While many countries have been able to slow the spread of the virus, the United States is still showing alarming new cases every day. In fact, as of of July 8th, the U.S. had a whopping total of  3 million cases, attributed to states reopening too quickly, hosting super-spreader events (Trump rallies), and people ignoring social distancing protocols and refusing to wear masks.

For those of us who have been taking the virus’ spread seriously, you have no doubt been spending some of your at-home time binge-watching. If so, we’d like to add some of the most fashion-centric films and series’ to your list. In alphabetical order:

A Single Man (2009)

A scene from A Single Man. (Photo Credit: Rex/Shutterstock)

It’s no surprise that A Single Man would be on our list of most fashionable films. The movie was directed by non other than Tom Ford (the brilliant fashion designer and head of the CFDA). The all-star cast includes Colin Firth as George Falconer, the film’s conflicted university professor lead, Julianne Moore as his best friend, Nicholas Hoult as his student, Matthew Goode as his ex-boyfriend and supermodel Jon Kortajarena as a rent boy. Ford’s debut film merges the worlds of fashion and film in impeccable Sixties style. Everything from Falconer’s perfectly tailored suits to Julianne Moore’s incredible hair, makeup and dresses are perfection.

American Gigolo (1980)

A scene from American Gigolo. (Photo Credit: Rex/Shutterstock)

American Gigolo, starring Richard Gere, singlehandedly changed the way men dressed in the early Eighties. The film put a new,  fresh, talented, Italian designer on the map, Giorgio Armani. Armani’s softly tailored suits captured the essence of the decade. At the same time the film was released, Armani launched his international ready-to-wear line.

Annie Hall (1977)

A scene from Annie Hall. (Photo Credit: United Artists)

Diane Keaton became a fashion icon in her role as Annie in Woody Allen’s film, Annie Hall.  Her 70s vintage-store look continues to inspire everyone, from Kate Moss to Hedi Slimane (most notably his first collection at Saint Laurent).  At a time when women were wearing sexy, Halston-inspired fashion, Annie Hall challenged the fashion norm with her menswear tailored pieces consisting of waistcoats, floppy hats, round glasses and patterned ties. While Ralph Lauren supplied many of the clothes for the movie, he based Annie Hall’s look on Keaton’s own “eclectic” style, which she still continues today.

Atomic Blonde (2017)

A scene from Atomic Bomb. (Photo Credit: Universal Pictures)

Typically, spy-thrillers movies are not very fashion-forward, but in Atomic Blond, Charlize Theron’s looks are every fashionista’s dream. Costume designer Cindy Evans, decked out MI6 spy Lorraine, in vintage Dior, Burberry trenches, Galliano vinyl coats, Stuart Weitzman boots and Margiela suits.

Barbarella (1968)

Jane Fonda as Barbarella. (Photo Credit: Snap/ Shutterstock)

Jane Fonda starred in the sci-fi cult classic Barbarella. Her character was a government agent who traveled from planet to planet to keep the world safe, but her wardrobe was far more interesting than the movie plot. She wore go-go boots and metallic bodysuits inspired by the designs of Paco Rabanne. Her wardrobe was truly out-of-this-world.

Blow Up (1966)

A scene from Blow Up. (Photo Credit: MGM/Kobal/Shutterstock)

Michelangelo Antonioni’s film Blow Up is a must see for anyone who is obsessed with MOD fashion and Swinging London. The film’s main character is a popular fashion photographer whose life takes a dramatic turn when he unknowingly photographs a murder in the park. This contemporary film is filled with plenty of photo shoots and party scenes, as well as appearances from Jane Birkin and Veruschka. Blow Up captures the glitz and seediness of the Sixties.

Bonnie and Clyde (1967)

A scene from Bonnie and Clyde. (Photo Credit: Austin Chronicals)

Crime never looked so good as when Faye Dunaway, in Bonnie and Clyde, was fashion perfection. The murderous criminal and her hunky sidekick, Warren Beatty, were oh so chic. He in his tipped fedora and she in her slinky midi skirts, sexy knitted sweaters, silk printed scarves, chic windowpane checkered suits and stylish berets.

Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1961)

A scene from Breakfast At Tiffany’s. (Photo Credit: Paramount Pictures)

Chanel always said, every woman must have a little black dress hanging in their closet, and other than hers, the other most iconic little black dress of all time is the one created by Hubert de Givenchy and worn by Audrey Hepburn in the opening of the 1961 romantic comedy film Breakfast at Tiffany’s.  Sarah Hodgson, a film specialist at Christie’s has been quoted as saying. “This is one of the most famous black dresses in the world—an iconic piece of cinematic history.” Not only is Audrey Hepburn a style icon for all ages, but is delightfully charming in her role as Holly Golightly.

Clueless (1995)

A scene from Clueless. (Photo Credit: Paramount/ Kobal/Shutterstock)

While the grunge movement was in full swing in the mid-nineties (think oversized flannel shirts, baggy jeans and Doc Martens boots), who would have thought a film about a group of fashion loving girls in a mix of designer/thrift store schoolgirl looks designed by Mona May, would become a cult-classic film of the decade in Clueless, a modern adaptation of Jane Austen’s 1815 novel, Emma. Most notable were character Cher’s  checked two-piece mini suit (played by Alicia Silverstone) and Dionne Davenport’s  white thigh-high length stockings (played by Stacey Dash). The menswear was also on point as well, with Christian’s 50s-inspired looks (played by Justin Walker).

Crazy Rich Asians (2018)

A scene from Crazy Rich Asians. (Photo Credit: The New York Times)

Crazy Rich Asians is a fictional story, based on the book by Kevin Kwan, about the lavish lifestyles of some of Asia’s wealthiest families. This $30 million-budget film made lots of waves in 2018 with costumes by designer Mary E Vogt. It was Hollywood’s first Asian cast film since The Joy Luck Club (1993) and grossed $238.5 million worldwide, becoming the sixth-highest-grossing romantic comedy on record in the U.S.-Canada domestic market. This blockbuster featured some major couture moments—from the Swarovski-encrusted wedding dress worn by Araminta Lee (played by Sonoya Mizuno) to the vintage looks donned by the film’s most stylish woman, Astrid Leong (played by Gemma Chan). This film is pure fashion candy for the eyes.

Funny Face (1957)

A scene from Funny Face. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

Yet another Audrey Hepburn film makes it on our most fashionable film list. In Funny Face, Hepburn is transformed from a mousey sales assistant in a Greenwich Village alternative bookshop to a supermodel in Paris. It’s no surprise that a film about fashion magazines would have a sensational wardrobe.

Fred Astaire, who plays photographer Dick Avery, is a template of post-war American style (think penny loafers and baggy chinos), timeless looks that are still relevant today. Meanwhile, fashion editor Maggie Prescott (played by Kay Thompson) mimics a Diana Vreeland-style editor-in-chief, full of glamour and sophistication. But the true sartorial icon of the film is Hepburn, as each of her costumes were designed by her good friend Hubert Givenchy, all modeled against the backdrop of  Parisian landmarks, from the Louvre to the Jardin des Tuileries.

Mahogany (1975)

Diana Ross plays Tracy Chambers in Mahogany. (Photo Credit: Sunset Boulevard)

Diana Ross stars as Tracy Chambers in the film Mahogany (fun fact…Ross also served as the film’s costume designer). Chambers is a struggling fashion design student who becomes a world famous fashion designer. The movie is a perfect reflection of the decade’s excess and over-the-top glamour. Ross’ character is the picture of extremes: voluminous hair, mile-long lashes, big feathers, and bigger furs. It’s a maximalists dream.

Ocean’s Eight (2018)

A scene from Ocean’s Eight. (Photo Credit: Daily Mail)

Ocean’s Eight is a smart, action film with an all-female cast, starring Cate Blanchett, Sandra Bullock, Rihanna, and Anne Hathaway. Costume designer Sarah Edwards worked with several designers, including Alberta Ferretti, Zac Posen and Jonathan Simkhai, to create custom looks for the all-female ensemble. The story takes place in New York City and the plot is centered on a massive jewelry heist at the annual Met Gala (the fashion event of the year), so naturally the film was packed with cameos from stars like Kim Kardashian West, Serena Williams, Gigi Hadid and Dakota Fanning clad in designer looks. A Who’s Who in fashion.

Sex And The City (2008)

A scene from Sex and The City. (Photo Credit: Brides)

Sarah Jessica Parker became a fashion icon overnight when she played the beloved fashion-obsessed character Carrie Bradshaw on the HBO Series Sex and The City, where fashion stylist, costume designer and fashion designer Patricia Field gave the film its cache. The series brought designer names such as Manolo Blahnik, Dior, and John Galliano to the masses. The series was so popular that HBO made two Sex And The City movies for fans of the show. While the movies didn’t have the same spark as the series did, there were plenty of jaw-dropping fashion moments thanks to Patricia Field, from the infamous Vivienne Westwood wedding dress to the whimsical Louis Vuitton bag.

The Devil Wears Prada (2006)

A scene from The Devil Wears Prada. (Photo Credit: Huffington Post)

The Devil Wears Prada is fictional tale of a bright-eyed journalist who happens to land a job at Runway magazine as Miranda Priestly’s assistant.  Meryl Streep gives an Oscar-nominated performance as Miranda Priestly, a thinly veiled caricature of Anna Wintour and her fashion looks were editor-in-chief worthy. Andie (played by Anne Hathaway) starts off as a frumpy writer with no interest in fashion, only to become a fashion plate wearing head-to-toe, oh-so-2000s Chanel ensembles and a chic black Audrey Hepburn-inspired gown to the Met Gala scene. Patricia Field won an Academy Award nomination for Best Costume Design for this film.

The Great Gatsby (2013)

A scene from The Great Gatsby. (Photo Credit: Shutterstock)

The Great Gatsby is a 1925 novel written by F. Scott Fitzgerelad and is considered by many literary critics to be one of the greatest novels ever written. The fictional story, based in the early 1920s, comes to life in all its decadence and glamour under the brilliant director Baz Luhrmann. The all-star cast included Leonardo DiCaprio as Jay Gatsby, Carey Mulligan as Daisy Buchanan, and Tobey Maguire as Nick Carraway. To bring his sumptuous vision to life, Lurhmann enlisted Miuccia Prada to collaborate with costume designer Catherine Martin on a whopping 40 costumes. While Prada insisted “it was not about glamour for me,” her designs epitomized the opulence of the film. Daisy Buchanan sports flapper gowns, delicate lingerie-like dresses and plenty of jewelry from delicate elongated pearls to jeweled hair clips on her perfectly blond bob-cut.  As for the gentlemen, they wore dashing tuxedos, Spector shoes and plenty of Brooks Brothers-inspired looks. The film was a visual masterpiece in evey way.

The Millionairess (1960)

A scene from The Millionairess. (Photo Credit: Ullstein Bild Dtl.)

The Millionairess stars Italian beauty Sophia Loren who is on the hunt for love. The wealthy beauty’s wardrobe is filled with plenty of figure-enhancing gowns and fantastical hats designed by French couturier Pierre Balmain .

The Royal Tenenbaums (2001)

A scene from The Royal Tenenbaums. (Photo Credit: The Dissolve)

Who can ever forget Gwyneth Paltrow’s performance as Margot Tenenbaum in Wes Anderson’s film, The Royal Tenenbaums. Margot Tenenbaum’s style can only be described as rich girl gone rough, as she carries her signature Hermès ‘Birkin’ in one hand and a cigarette in the other. Margot has long been a style icon of the fashion industry and was clearly the inspiration behind Alessandro Michele’s debut Gucci 2015 collection, with its pastel polo shirts, oversized glasses and furs.

The Talented Mr. Ripley (1999)

A scene from The Talented Mr. Ripley. (Photo Credit: Miramaz)

The Talented Mr. Ripley is a psychological thriller starring Matt Damon, Jude Law and Gwyneth Paltrow in the lead roles. The film takes place on the Italian Riviera and the colors and scenery of the film are breathtaking. While Gwyneth looks beautiful in the film, the real fashion stars are Matt and Jude. Their wardrobe is quintessential Fifties Ivy League prep, sporting slim dark suits, buttoned-up long-sleeve polo jumpers and billowing, colorful shirts on the beach. This movie is considered as one of the finest wardrobes in cinematic history and was put together by Ann Roth, a celebrated costume designer for both stage and screen.

The Thomas Crown Affair (1968)

A scene from The Thomas Crown Affair. (Photo Credit: Rex/ Shutterstock)

The original film starred Steve McQueen as Thomas Crown, living a life of luxury as a millionaire businessman, sportsman and thief and Faye Dunaway as an insurance adjuster who attempts to catch the rich playboy who she thinks is responsible. McQueen is probably the most dapper criminal on film (thanks to costume designer Theadora Van Runkle) as he transitions from rebel to menswear icon, wearing perfectly cut three-piece suits and gold Patek Philippe watch. The dashing thief even drives around in a Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow! Spoiler alert…in the end, Crown wins. After all, when you look this good you can get away with anything.

Do you have a fav fashion film? Let us know.

WILL FASHION SHOWS EVER LOOK THE SAME AGAIN?

- - Fashion Shows

Erdem’s resort collection draws on the juxtaposition of Regency dress and the 1960s. (Photo Credit: Erdem)

COVID-19 has changed the world, no doubt about it. This deadly pandemic took many innocent lives and toppled global economies in just months. It is unfathomable how every industry has been affected and how each is racing to adapt to a new way of doing business. The fashion industry is no exception. As our industry grapples with millions of dollars in losses, stockpiles of unsold merchandise, and store closures and bankruptcies that resulted in thousands of people being furloughed, the industry is also grappling with the future of the fashion show.

You may remember our blogpost back on November 18, 2019, we covered the topic of whether fashion shows are still relevant. Well, who knew back then that a deadly pandemic would help make the decision for us.

As we wait for scientists and doctors to advise us on when it will become safe enough to gather in large groups, the idea of presenting and attending live fashion shows seems far off. Though LVMH just announced that their brands will produce a live show this fall, most designers are getting creative with new ways to showcase their collections. Here is a rundown of what the new fashion calendar will look like.

RESORT/CRUISE 2021

On March 27th, the CFDA announced the cancellation of the official New York Fashion Week Resort 2021 schedule of presentations, which had been planned for the week of June 6. According to a statement by the CFDA, “The decision was based on the current global situation, the ongoing uncertainty regarding its impact on retailers and their open-to-buys, and designers’ challenges in producing collections at this moment,” the statement read. “We strongly recommend and urge designers not to show their resort spring 2021 collections. The news followed similar announcements by the Camera Nazionale della Moda Italiana in Milan and the Fédération de la Haute Couture et de la Mode in Paris to postpone or cancel their respective spring 2021 men’s collections, as well as the fall 2020 haute couture shows.”

The resort 2021 season would have been in full swing by now with many of the bigger brands holding mega-shows in exotic locations, while the majority would hold intimate shows or appointments in New York City. As a result of Covid, many designers chose to skip the season altogether citing worldwide factory lockdowns, huge sales losses on spring merchandise and the inability to receive the fabrics and trimmings needed to create a collection. However, a few designers did opt to present their collections, through videos and lookbook images. Here are a few ways designers became creative with presenting their latest collections.

CHANEL

A look from Chanel’s Resort 2021 Collection. (Photo Credit: Chanel).

Click link to Chanel’s video presentation:

The Chanel cruise 2021 collection was originally intended to be shown onto Isle of Capri, the mythically beautiful Italian island a ferry ride from Naples, a place that Chanel’s creative director Virginie Viard still has yet to visit. But while on lockdown, Viard traveled there ‘in her mind’ and created a collection labeled Balade en Méditerranée (A Mediterranean Jaunt). Viard, along with photographer Karim Sadli, created the illusion of a Caprese sunset in Chanel’s Paris photo studio.

As for the clothes, Viard created a destination wardrobe of effortless pieces, which were sophisticated yet oh so cool. The designer focused on swimsuits that were worn – every which way – as under-pieces to cardigan jackets to tops paired with wide-legged trousers. Viard also updated the classic Chanel suit, opting for vibrant little jackets and miniskirts – all in cotton tweed. The collection was injected with a youthful appeal with a maxi cardigan paired with micro shorts, a collarless jacket paired with denim pants with tweed insets, and a bandeau top paired with a handkerchief skirt. Overall the collection was the ultimate vacation wardrobe.

BALMAIN

A look from Balmain’s Resort 2021 Collection. (Photo Credit: Balmain)

The Eighties made a major comeback at Balmain, as creative director Olivier Rousteing created a fun and cheeky collection for both his woman’s resort collection and his menswear spring 2021 line up. The designer invited a handful of his “Balmain army” friends to style themselves in his latest looks. Clearly Rousteing has spent his quarantine time watching 80s films and television shows; the collections were filled with Miami Vice inspired jackets, polka dot dresses inspired by Pretty Woman, graphic t-shirt mash-ups with a nod to The Fresh Prince of Bel Air, while heavily encrusted bustiers and exaggerated shoulder pads were straight out of Dynasty’s wardrobe. With all the turmoil in the world today, Rousteing’s collections were a throwback to happier times.

TANYA TAYLOR

A look from Tanya Taylor’s Resort 2021 Collection. (Photo Credit: Tanya Taylor)

Being on lockdown brought out many innovative ideas and designer Tanya Taylor came up with a very creative way to showcase her resort line-up. Taylor sent her latest collection to a handful of artists, stylists, and friends, with instructions that each one was to style themselves in one of here looks and then photograph themselves. The results were a lookbook come to life. In an interview with Vogue, Taylor stated, “I’ve never loved styling our customer. I prefer seeing what they do with our clothes and how they add their own personal twist. That’s where the lookbook came to life. It felt like these women were telling us how they want to feel in their clothes.

As for the clothes, they were infused with Taylor’s signature feminine charm. There was a vibrant fuchsia jumpsuit, ruffled trim wrap skirts, playful print dresses, flirty dot motifs and for evening, a pleated lame one-shoulder dress..

GANNI

A look from Ganni’s Resort 2021 Collection. (Photo Credit: Ganni)

The husband and wife team behind Danish brand Ganni, Ditte and Nicolaj Reffstrup, literally designed their resort collection in their home kitchen, so it felt only natural for the duo to shoot their lookbook in the kitchen. The collection focused on the foundation pieces that have made Ganni such a coveted brand among the “It-Girl” set. There were pilgrim collars, bubble sleeve mini dresses, striped tops and party dresses to dance the night away once a coronavirus vaccine is found.

RAG & BONE

A look from Rag & Bone’s men’s resort collection. (Photo Credit: Rag & Bone)

A look from Rag & Bone’s woman’s resort collection. (Photo Credit: Rag & Bone)

Marcus Wainwright of Rag & Bone, focused on pieces that make their customers feel good. The collection was filled with classics with a modern twist. These are pieces that you can live in and wear all winter long.

DAVID KOMA

A look from David Koma’s Resort 2021 Collection. (Photo Credit: David Koma)

David Koma is known for his glamourous collections and for resort he did not shy away from his campy aesthetic. The collection was filled with sexy crystal embellished dresses, body-con neon dresses, patent leather biker shorts and plenty of corsets. Koma’s girls are ready to step out into the world of cocktails and celebration.

LONDON MEN’S SHOWS

Natasha Zinko x Duo Spring 2021 Menswear Collection in London. (Photo Credit: Natasha Zinko x Duo)

Right around  now, Europe would have held their menswear fashion shows in London, Milan, and Paris. In lieu of traditional shows, Industry leaders came up with creative solutions. The British Fashion Council hosted a three-day coed digital week, which took place from June 12-14. This event brought together British brands that shared creative content that varied from podcasts to photo diaries. “By creating a cultural fashion week platform, we are adapting digital innovation to best fit our needs today and something to build on as a global showcase for the future,” Caroline Rush, the chief executive of the British Fashion Council, said in a press release.

E. Tautz’s spring 2021 menswear collection in London. (Photo Credit: E. Tautz)

However, many British coed brands like Burberry are holding off on showcasing their spring collections until September. It will be a runway show, outdoors with no audience, following social distancing guidelines. The only people in attendance will be the models and members of the Burberry team.

PARIS’ NEW SCHEDULE

Hermès will be livestreaming a digital experience tied to its spring 2021 collection, slated to go live on July 5th at 8 a.m. ET.

The Fédération de la Haute Couture et de la Mode (FHCM) will host the first-ever virtual couture fashion week. The three day event will take place from July 6-8th and accredited couture maisons will present videos and complementary content that will go live on a preset show schedule, replicating the format of a physical couture fashion week. Although Giorgio Armani will skip out of showing his couture collection this season, the Italian designer will host a seasonless Privé show at the Palazzo Orsini in January. Joining Armani, Chitose Abe of Sacai will debut her couture collection for Jean Paul Gaultier as his first guest designer in the New Year. Meanwhile, Balenciaga has not yet officially confirmed a new date, but the French house has likely postponed Demna Gvasalia’s couture debut until 2021.

The FHCM has also announced that the men’s spring 2021 collections would evolve into a video-only format this season and will be held from July 9-13th. The digital week schedule will run like a live fashion week with organized time slots, allowing for back-to-back streams on one central platform. “Digital is clearly part of the shape of fashion to come and we will take it as an opportunity for innovation to complement tradition,” Ralph Toledano, the president of the FHCM, told Vogue. “This being said, [in the] last weeks behind our screens, we all felt that a dimension was missing: the sensorial one. This has tremendously reinforced our position that nothing will ever replace the unity of time and place. Shows are a major component of the fashion industry, and this will remain…. Physical events will always have our preference, but as long as there is uncertainty, there should be flexibility.”

A portrait of Anthony Vaccarello, the creative director of Saint Laurent. )Photo Credit: W Magazine)

Anthony Vaccarello, the creative director for Saint Laurent, announced the brand’s departure from this year’s preset schedules and beyond. “Conscious of the current circumstance and its waves of radical change, Saint Laurent has decided to take control of its pace and reshape its schedule,” Vaccarello, wrote in an Instagram post published in April. “Now more than ever, the brand will lead its own rhythm.”

Meanwhile, German-based streetwear blog, media brand and production agency Highsnobiety hosted a digital fashion event known as “Not in Paris,” which brought together luxury, streetwear, art, music, architecture and even fine wine, under one digital roof. The online exhibition project —which debuted on June 24 and will run through July 2nd — is a direct response to the Highsnobiety audience’s continued zest for fashion storytelling.

“Not In Paris” presented by Highsnobiety. (Photo Credit: Highsnobiety)

So many of the events we write about have been canceled, so we’ve had to think of ourselves as cultural producers in our own right,” said Thom Bettridge, the publication’s editor in chief, in an interview with WWD. “We basically thought, let’s set our own calendar and become this project-based media brand. If there isn’t anything going on in the world, let’s just make it happen.’”

According to an article published in WWD, Highsnobiety is bringing together everyone from Berlin-based company GmbH, which is shooting a film in Berlin exclusively for the online event, to up-and-coming stars like Wales Bonner and Marine Serre, as well as luxury megabrands including Bottega Veneta, Dior, Fendi and Hermès. The latter let the Highsnobiety team loose into its archives to narrate the history of its famous silk scarf.

MILAN’S NEW SCHEDULE

Italy’s Camera della Moda team also announced a cyber-focused men’s and women’s fashion show format which will take place from July 14–17th. The four day event will be known as Milano Fashion Week Digital and consist of panel discussions on social media to virtual showroom appointments, giving designers a chance to showcase their latest collections in a new and innovative way. “Everybody can decide their own message. The advantage is that in a digital world, you are completely free. You find your way of expression. We said to everybody, you have from one minute to 15 minutes, and you decide what you want to show,’” Carlo Capasa, the president of the Camera della Moda, told Vogue.

Ermenegildo Zegna will stage an innovative-slash-intimate hybrid event that will feature the brand’s spring 2021 collection and will also celebrate the label’s 110th anniversary.

A portrait of Alessandro Michele, the creative director for Gucci. (Photo Credit: Vogue)

Gucci is confirmed to premiere its men’s and women’s resort 2021 collection in the form of a digital fashion show on the final day of Milano Digital fashion Week.  This will be Gucci’s last pre-collection; on May 25th, Creative Director Alessandro Michele announced that the house will only hold two coed shows a year (one in the spring and one in the fall) instead of the five seasonal runway spectacles a year.  “I’m passionate about fashion shows, but maybe we can be open to seeing them in a different way,” Michele said.

SEPTEMBER SHOWS

September’s Spring 2021 NY Fashion Week also has plenty of shakeups. Kerby Jean-Raymond of Pyer Moss is staging a full-fledged drive-in fashion experience tour to showcase his new film American, Also. Jean-Raymond is slowing down the speed of how much he produces and is focusing on improving the quality of what he produces. This may be a popular mindset for many designers moving forward – quality over quantity.

A portrait of Kerby Jean-Raymond of Pyer Moss. (Photo Credit: Hyperbeast)

Jean-Raymond is not the only New York–based designer planning something big in September. While many designers had to cancel their resort seasons due to factory closures and shelter-in-place orders, some labels, such as Proenza Schouler and Collina Strada, have refocused their efforts on New York Fashion Week, a strategy that is gaining momentum in Milan and Paris too.

A portrait of Virgil Abloh, the creative director for Off-White. (Photo Credit: High Museum of Art)

While the majority of designers are set on staging something in September, there are a few who are altering the fashion calendar to fit their needs. Virgil Abloh is holding out until 2021 to present his own women’s and men’s spring collections for his label Off-White. Abloh’s decision to wait until January means Off-White is officially experimenting with the see-now-buy-now calendar.

A portrait of Alexander Wang. (Photo Credit: W Magazine)

For the past few years Alexander Wang has been presenting two seasonless collections a year, one in June and one in December, that were in sync with the fashion calendar’s pre-collections.  However, Wang opted out of showing last December and instead planned a bigger event for 2020 to celebrate his labels 15 year anniversary.

Michael Kors on the runway. (Photo Credit: Vogue)

Michael Kors announced he would be stepping back from New York Fashion Week for the Spring 2021 season due to unsold inventory and Fall 2020 production delays due to Covid-19. Instead, the designer will present his Michael Kors Collection line sometime between mid-October and mid-November. “I have for a long time thought that the fashion calendar needs to change. It’s exciting for me to see the open dialogue within the fashion community about the calendar — from Giorgio Armani to Dries Van Noten to Gucci to YSL to major retailers around the globe — about ways in which we can slow down the process and improve the way we work,” he said in a statement. “We’ve all had time to reflect and analyze things, and I think many agree that it’s time for a new approach for a new era.”

PARIS WILL GO LIVE IN SEPTEMBER

The Fédération de la Haute Couture et de la Mode announced on June 24th that the spring 2021 ready-to-wear shows will resume in Paris from September 28 through October 6. Although few details were shared, the FHCM announced that they “will comply [with] the recommendations of public authorities.” Designers will have to limit their guest lists and venue choices, perhaps shows will occur in outdoor spaces, only time will tell how the future of runway shows will takes shape.

So the question remains, will the glamour of fashion shows ever return to its glorious heyday?

RETHINKING FASHION AND REDUCING THE INDUSTRY’S CARBON FOOTPRINT

The most memorable eco-friendly Red Carpet looks. (Photo Credit Vogue)

In only a few short months Coronavirus turned the world upside down. Hard to believe this could ever happen, right? Not only were we forced to stay-at-home and students were expected to complete their studies online, but schools and businesses are now having to re-evaluate the way they conducted business in the past and are re-imagining new ways to move forward into the future.

One of the hardest hit industries affected by the pandemic is fashion. To help get through the crisis and to offer some advice, numerous publications including Vogue, are hosting Zoom seminars where editors and designers discuss the future of our industry.

For years the fashion industry has been debating the future of the business; is the old business model still relevant today? Are fashion shows necessary? Well, thanks to COVID-19, the industry to being forced to get off the dime. Among the issues? What is the industry really doing when it comes to the environment in terms of reducing fashion’s carbon footprint, sustainable fabrics and the overstock of garments.

In the mid 2000s, when I was an editor covering fashion designers for Woman’s Wear Daily, I remember Donna Karan complaining about the fashion cycle. Donna was against the concept of ‘pre-collections’ which added additional seasons to an already crowded fashion calendar. And, she would argue that store deliveries made no sense, as in, why are Spring clothes shipped in February, just to be marked down in May when consumers are actually buying spring clothes?

Well, today, finally, this is issue has reemerged as a major point of discussion. Gucci’s Alessandro Michele just announced that he is reducing Gucci’s shows from 5 to 2 a year. Hey Donna Karan, you were years ahead of your time!

Alessando Michele of Gucci is giving fashion a new model. (Photo Credit: Gucci)

COVID-19 is not only causing fashion designers and industry leaders to re-evaluate the fashion calendar cycle and how many collections are needed a year, but the pandemic is also forcing brands to look at their practices and think about how they can do more to protect the environment. In an interview with Forbes magazine, Francois Souchet, who leads the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s Make Fashion Circular initiative, is bringing together leaders from across the industry to create a circular economy for fashion through business innovation and better design. When asked if sustainability initiatives and investment at fashion brands were under threat, he believes that for brands who have adopted waste management and sustainability initiatives at the core of their business, their sustainable transformation plans are secure, post COVID. In contrast, he believes that the brands who have used sustainability as a marketing tool, rather than integral to their processes, that they are likely to suffer. Souchet says, “The closer (sustainability and investment) are to the core and the more integrated, the harder they are to cut off. For some businesses, it will be a question of survival, so it is quite difficult to predict what will happen.”

Echoing Souchet, Dr. Hakan Karaosman, a fashion supply chain and sustainability expert at the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe declared, “Sustainability as a marketing tool will go—inherent sustainability will stay.” Also, he claimed the biggest problem in the fashion industry is the “fragmented supply chain,” calling for a “restructuring” across all tiers. Lean, simple and transparent supply chains are proving the most resilient during this crisis, he said, and this is what brands are likely to favor as they emerge from the crisis.

In an interview with Forbes magazine, Karl-Hendrik Magnus, Senior Partner at McKinsey and Company in Frankfurt and leader of the Apparel, Fashion & Luxury Group said that: “consumers have seen how vulnerable the entire world is, and the whole crisis has raised awareness for social and environmental sustainability, even among those that were not previously onto the topic.” Due to the global shutdown, major cities are seeing a reduction in air pollution, and the industries carbon footprint has been reduced, so moving forward, consumers will demand sustainable clothing.

According to McKinsey research, a return to pre-crisis consumer behavior is unlikely. McKinsey collected data from 6,000 consumers across the UK, Germany, France, and Spain. The results showed that an additional 16% would now seek products with sustainable credentials once shops reopen, 20% intend to reduce their overall spending for the rest of the year and 45% would look favorably upon companies that communicate with concern and purpose rather than prices and products.

So, what should the fashion industry change post COVID to protect the environment? Well, according to Céline Semaan, founder of Slow Factory, a sustainability literacy non-profit that hosts global sustainability education summits and works in partnership with global brands, including Adidas, says “Everything. From the fast-paced fashion calendar to the overproduction of goods that encourage (and depend on) overconsumption to sustain its broken economic model; to the exploitation of land, labor, and exotic animals, to the way it capitalizes on movements such as Earth Day and all efforts around that day/month focusing on profit-driven initiatives. Everything.

The fact remains that global brands such as H&M and Zara, to name a few, still create so many garments a year that end up in landfills.  Do consumers really need all these clothes? The answer is NO. Brands need to focus on quality vs quantity, as well as selling garments in the actual season. For example, fall/winter should arrive in stores in September and not get marked down until February.  This will help designers make a profit off their garments at full price and therefore they can create fewer seasons to stay afloat.

According to H&M Group’s CEO Helena Helmersson, “the company recently signed with the European alliance for a Green Recovery alongside Ikea, Unilever and others, who are committed to contributing to the post-crisis investment decisions needed to ‘reboot’ and ‘reboost’ our economy, taking into account climate change and circular economy as key pillars.”

H&M Conscious Collection. (Photo Credit: H&M)

For years, H&M store had a policy that offered anyone who brought in their old clothes for recycling to receive a discount for future purchases. Today, H&M is moving away from its fast fashion roots with their “Conscious” collection, which is completely made of materials like organic cotton and recycled polyester. and by 2030, H&M has set a goal to only use sustainably sourced materials.

And there are plenty of other brands who are trying to do their part to protect the environment and create ethical fashion brands. Let’s take a look:

People Tree was one of the fist sustainable fashion brands. Founded in 1991, this brand was the first to be awarded with the World Fair Trade Organization product label. People Tree invests heavily in sustainable and environmentally friendly practices, such as organic farming. The company also advocates and promotes fair wages, good working conditions, and only works with sustainable materials like organic cotton, natural fibers and chemical free dyes.

Actress Emma Watson and People Tree launched a clothing line together in 2010. (Photo Credit People Tree)

Another pioneer of sustainable fashion and circularity is Eileen Fisher. Every facet of Eileen Fisher’s design and manufacturing process is built to be as sustainable and eco-friendly as possible, from the eco-friendly materials used, to the ethical treatment of all her workers. Eileen Fisher uses creative processes and innovative techniques in order to limit textile waste. The company also initiated a program to buy back used items and to recycle them into new garments or their Waste No More team transforms used garments into one-of-a-kind art, pillows and wall hangings. To further reduce the brand’s carbon footprint, Eileen Fisher avoids air shipping.

Eileen Fisher’s Waste No More team transforms used garments into one-of-a-kind artworks, pillows and wall hangings. (Photo Credit: Eileen Fisher)

Tentree’s clothing is made entirely from ethically sourced and sustainable materials including cork, coconut and recycled polyester, all  produced in ethical factories.  The company is also committed to planting ten trees for each item purchased. To engage their clients, after each purchase, the customer receives a code so they can monitor the growth of their trees. Tentree is on track to plant one billion trees by 2030.

Tentree’s marketing initiative. (Photo Credit: Tentree)

Sustainability is key at Everlane as the brand recently launched a clothing line made from recycled plastic bottles and other reused materials. The brand also focuses on transparency to their customers, as they offer an exact breakdown of the cost of each item, as well as showing the factories where those garments are made. Everlane has built strong relationships with factory owners to guarantee that the employees and production meet Everlane’s high ethical standards.

Saitex jean production for Everlane. (Photo Credit: Saitex)

Denim is one of the harshest fashion items on the environment, but many denim brands are looking for ways to make sustainable denim. Huge amounts of water are needed to create only one pair of jeans, but now Levi’s has introduced a new collection called Water<Less; which uses up to 96% less water to create a garment. Across the board, Levi’s is committed to sustainability through the entire design and manufacturing process, including working towards 100% sustainably sourced cotton. Levi’s has also initiated recycling old jeans into creating home insulation.

Levi’s Waterless Campaign. (Photo Credit: Levi’s)

Reformation has become a cult favorite among the fashion “It-Girl” set. Not only are the clothes trendy and fun, but the brand is also environmentally conscious. Each look is created using upcycled and sustainable materials in fair wage markets; also, every item comes with a description and score of its environmental footprint to help customers understand the impact of their clothing. Since 2015, Reformation has been carbon neutral and the brand helps to protect deforested regions to offset its manufacturing. The company has also implemented a recycling program that their customers can sell their old clothing to Reformation to earn credit for future purchases.

Reformation’s recycling program campaign. (Photo Credit: Reformation)

Patagonia is known for its durable outerwear, but did you know that it also helps customers repair their clothing instead of buying new items? Their products are so indestructible that customers are encouraged to recycle their old Patagonia pieces and purchase only items second hand. In addition to using sustainable materials in each new garment, the company also follows fair-trade practices and strictly monitors its supply chain to make sure they are safe for the environment, workers and consumers. One of Patagonia’s main goals is to find solutions to environmental issues without causing unnecessary harm to the world.

Patagonia’s Campaign. (Photo Credit: Patagonia)

Contemporary fashion label GANNI has quickly become the go-to brand for street-style stars world-wide. Nicolaj Reffstrup, co-owner of GANNI, is implementing strategies to become an environmentally-friendly brand. One strategy is that the brand’s Denmark stores are combining fashion rental, an outlet to test resale of older styles, samples, and prototypes called Postmodern (which they intend to take online), and a re-structured merchandising strategy, which will downsize their collections by offering less styles, so the store will hold less volume, but there will be more drops.  In addition, Reffstrup said that every fourth drop of products will be “made of recycled or deadstock fabric,” and this is being built into their range planning and material ordering processes.

GANNI Repeat, A new sustainable rental service. (Photo Credit: GANNI)

Footwear & Carbon Footprint

According to Adidas, the footwear industry emits 700 million metric tons of carbon dioxide, every year. That’s equivalent to 80,775,444 homes’ energy use for one year. For a single pair of running shoes made of synthetic materials that translates to having a carbon footprint of somewhere between 11.3 and 16.7 kilograms of CO2. To change this, Adidas and shoe brand Allbirds have teamed up to make the first net zero carbon shoe. Adidas with their End Plastic Waste initiative and Allbirds’ Tread Lighter Together initiative marks the first time in history that Adidas has collaborated with another footwear brand not under its own umbrella. To quote Tim Brown, co-founder and co-CEO of Allbirds, “Our hope is that the future is more about collaboration than it is about competition.”

As consumers are focusing on more environmentally friendly fashion product, every brand should look at ways to reduce their carbon footprint. Even small improvements can help protect the Earth. Every little bit helps!

Resources to Help Designers Become More Sustainable-Minded

As part of the CFDA Sustainability Initiatives’ ongoing commitment to sustainability through education and professional development, they have created a  sustainability-centered resource hub designed to provide open access resources and information specific to fashion design and business sustainable strategies. These resources are intended for everyone- for CFDA Members, educators, students, professionals, designers, and anyone in our community interested in learning more about sustainability and sourcing relevant contacts. An annex to that initiative is a Guide to Sustainable Strategies Toolkit which helps map and frame sustainable priorities. Also part of the initiative is the CFDA A-Z Materials Index  and, in partnership with NYU Stern Center for Sustainable Business, their KPI Design Kit, a Sustainable Strategies Playbook for Measurable Change.  A Key Performance Indicator (KPI) is a measurable value that demonstrates how effectively a company is achieving key business objectives.

 

Re/make, is a community of millennial and Gen Z women whose mission is to put an end to fast fashion by training women leaders around the globe to: host workshops, panels, and webinars to educate, inspire, engage, and uplift the voices of their community. In turn, the community hosts film screenings, clothing swap parties, and educational panels to mobilize others in the fight against fast fashion. The organization offers documentary films, fact-filled stories, campaign assets, and workshop materials to empower the community and recruit more women to the movement. Re/make drives transparency and accountability with their Seal of Approval process. They call out greenwashers and they push brands to disclose better information publicly. How are they making a difference? “Our mission is to make fashion a force for good.”

Ethical Fabric Suppliers

If you are a designer who is interested in moving into more sustainable, ethical fabrics and notions, then check out the directory on the website Change the World by How You Shop. 

Queen of Raw is a marketplace to buy and sell sustainable and deadstock fabrics and textiles, for students, clothing manufacturers, and designers. Using a technology engine to build a supply-chain management service, owner Stephanie Benedetto, started MateriaMX (short for Material Exchange) so monthly subscribers can map, identify, measure and trace waste throughout their supply chains in real-time, ultimately allowing them to minimize their excess fabric, water and other waste streams. The online platform uses blockchain and machine learning to find and track excess fabric— post-consumer waste, fabric on rolls, you name it—and then match it to factories, retailers, designers and other buyers looking for that material.

Fabscrap is another deadstock fabric resource.  According to info on their website, “each pound of waste from apparel production is associated with 2.06 pounds of CO2-E. In New York City, if 10% or more of your commercial waste is textile material, you are required to recycle itExtended Producer Responsibility polices for textiles are on the horizon. Fabscrap provides reports enumerating tonnage diverted from landfill and CO2 emissions saved. When disposed in landfill, the dyes and chemicals in fabrics can leach into the soil, contaminating local water systems.” Fabscrap claims that, “In the U.S., 48% of customers check tags for sustainability information. Brands that market their eco-conscious efforts and corporate social responsibility practices show increased sales.

Swatchon.com is an eco-friendly, recycled, organic wholesale fabric marketplace based in Korea with 3 yard minimums and free shipping.

Nature’s Fabrics is another great resource located in Pennsylvania with a very nice selection of organic fabrics to choose from.

Retail Consignment Resources

As a result of store closures due to the coronavirus pandemic, shoppers have rediscovered the online consignment clothing market that had its start in 2012. Companies like the The RealReal, Tradesy, Poshmark and ThredUp (who recently partnered with Walmart) and the resale handbag company, Rebag are making secondhand clothing not only affordable but ‘cool.’ As climate change concerns grow, especially among millennial and Gen Zers, according to the 2019 ThredUp Resale Report, “secondhand items are expected to occupy one-third of people’s closets by 2033.”

Macy’s, Madewell and Nordstrom, have all added secondhand clothing to their merchandise line-up. According to a January 31, 2020 article in The Washington Post,  “As resale goes mainstream – the resale market is expected to triple in three years – department stores have become an unexpected next step to woo young shoppers.”

So tell us, what steps are you taking to reduce your carbon footprint?

FACE MASKS: FASHION STATEMENT VS SURVIVAL STATEMENT

Fashion vs Survival. (Photo credit: The New York Times)

Express yourself. Protect yourself. And look fashionable while you’re at it!

As states across America and countries around the world slowly begin to re-open after being closed for months due to COVID-19, we all still need to be reminded to follow safety guidelines. One of the easiest ways we can protect ourselves, besides washing our hands constantly is to wear a face mask, especially when we are closer than 6 feet from another person. Show respect to others…wear a mask!

Living in an apocalyptic world that more resembles a sci-fi thriller than real life, we need to protect each other. Right now, the best way to do that is to wear a face mask and social distance. And, if you are lucky enough to have Covid & antibody testing in your area, then you should also get tested!

By now, everyone that owns a sewing machine has watched YouTube mask tutorials, including the one the UoF produced on Facebook. However, since March 15th, there have been many changes to non-surgical mask-making and we thought we’d start this blog post by sharing what we’ve learned so far. After all, we are a fashion education website!

It didn’t take long for fashion designers across the globe to get into the face mask act, after all, it’s an accessory, right? But are designer face masks really safe? Will these designer masks really protect from COVID-19?

We all know that the coveted N95 is the gold standard, however, we still need to reserve those for hospitals. 

Here’s a handy graphic that compares the N95 with the common surgical mask used in hospitals. The latest buzz about that little valve button on the N95 illustration below left, is that it is not ideal. The valve will protect YOU, but does not protect the people around you from YOUR breath. Some cities have actually banned them, like California’s Bay Area. One way around the valve issue is to wear a cloth mask over this mask, but then it makes it harder to breathe. Not ideal.

The blue and white surgical masks on the right are currently the most accessible personal protective equipment and available in most pharmacies. Inexpensive, effective and disposable.

Face mask protection efficiency infographic. (Photo credit: Vector illustration)

If you are making your own non-surgical masks, here are some tips to consider:

  • 100% cotton  is preferred
  • 2 or 3 ply, dense weave is best so you can’t blow out a candle while wearing the mask
  • pre-wash your fabric
  • you could add a pocket or opening on the bottom to insert a removable coffee filter, AC filter or paper towel for added protection
  • you could sew a layer of chiffon for added protection
  • it’s best to hand wash your mask in antibacterial soap & let air dry

Mask History

In East Asia, citizens have been wearing surgical masks outdoors for years. In a recent article in Slate magazine, journalist Jeff Yang explained that following the influenza bout in the 1900s, “[T]he predilection toward using face-coverings to prevent exposure to bad air is something that predates the germ theory of disease, and extends into the very foundations of East Asian culture.” Yang predicted the multiple rationalizations for using them could lead to global “face mask fashion.” And, now they are!

The New York Post knighted masks, the “must-have accessory” in February at London Fashion Week, where some ‘early-adopters’ wore creatively decorated surgical masks. It will of course be the biggest fashion trend for 2020/2021.

Fashion to the Rescue

Marc Jacobs and Richard Princes Nurse series for Louis Vuitton’s spring 2008 collection. (Photo credit: Getty Images)

In early April, brands such as Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Prada and Brooks Brothers announced that they would be re-purposing parts of their factories to make masks and hospital gowns. Instantly the memes and comments went wild.

One Twitter user joked and sent out the following tweet:  “Breaking News from the world of haute couture: Since humans on Earth will be wearing face protection masks against Covid-19 pretty much EVERYWHERE over the next year, they’re bound to become the hottest new fashion accessory. Ready for the Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Armani and ….”?

Miley Cyrus in a Gucci face mask. (Photo credit: Page Six)

Katie May disco ball mask. (Photo credit: Katie May)

And, now brands at every price point are offering non-surgical masks to the public; even Vogue posted a story on their website “Masks To Shop Now.” People are choosing masks based on their outfit and whether they are suitable for day or evening, casual or dressy. They have definitely become a personal style item!

One of the best retail deals out there are 3-ply 100% cotton masks sold by Old Navy at 5 for $12.50 available in kids & adult sizing. As part of its efforts, Old Navy will donate 50,000 masks to the Boys & Girls Club of America.

While many brands are now selling their masks, many are  donating a portion of their mask sales to various charities dedicated to helping those effected by COVID-19.

A mask created by designer Collina Strada. (Photo Credit: Collina Strada)

According to Edited, the digital retail tracking service, there has been an almost 40 percent increase in the number of masks offered by companies in the first quarter of 2020, compared to the end of 2019. In a blog post earlier this month, Josh Silverman, chief executive of Etsy, reported that in a single weekend, buyers searched for face masks on the site an average of nine times per second and the number of face mask sellers had grown five times, to almost 20,000.

Experts are increasingly suggesting that masks may need to be worn for at least a year, until a vaccine is developed. And trend forecasters are predicting that, as a result, they may become a fact of daily life, donned by all of us with the same unthinking passivity as a coat and sunglasses when we leave the house, according to an article in  The New York Times, published on April 22, 2020.

Flames face mask by Guy Fieri flames. (Photo credit: Claudio Lavenia for Getty Images)

Off-White face masks. (Photo credit: Hyperbeast)

In a recent WWD article, Christian Siriano, (one of the first designers to start making masks when Governor Cuomo asked for help), told the publication that he made “this fully encrusted pearl mask because I just needed a breakIt’s actually pretty fabulous.”

Christian Siriano’s pearl encrusted mask (Photo credit: Christian Siriano)

Maskies, Selfie Masks & the Reactivated PPE Portrait Project

The Maskie

Selfies are now passé. The new hot Instagram trend is the #maskie. Posting pics of yourself wearing your mask ‘du jour.’

Photo credit: Olsonmask

Check out #Olsonmask to see how many people are getting in on the action. Whether you choose the pleated or the molded version, who says you can’t still be fashionable?

The  Selfie Mask

OR….How about a ‘selfie mask,’ a mask that shows the part of your face that is usually covered by a mask? Since one of the negatives of  wearing a traditional mask is that you can’t tell if someone is smiling or frowning, you can now create your own selfie mask (click to find out how) by taking a selfie of the lower portion of your face, printing it on computer printable fabric and sewing it into a mask. Viola!

Rachel Maddow showing her selfie mask (Photo credit MSNBC)

PPE Portrait Project

Face coverings can be intimidating and downright scary, especially if you are being treated in a hospital. But, Mary Beth Heffernan’s PPE Portrait Project, initiated during the Ebola crisis, whereby the face of that particular doctor or nurse is affixed to their hospital gown, is offering some relief. Accordingly to Heffernan, “At a moment when patients are already experiencing abject physical suffering, the isolation, facelessness, and lack of touch make them feel abandoned by humanity.”

Stanford research scientist Dr. Cati Brown-Johnson was moved to replicate the project for the Covid-19 pandemic and is expanding to non-COVID wards, including inpatient palliative care.

 

University of Fashion Face Mask Contest

Calling all Mask Makers! Are you making masks to donate, or making and selling them with a portion of the proceeds donated to charity? Or, are you just crazy bored and are making outrageous masks just to keep up your creative edge?

At UoF, we’re still making non-surgical face masks for our local nursing homes and are so happy to apply are sewing skills to a good cause.

If you are in mask production, we want to hear from you. Send images of your masks to CS@UniversityofFashion.com. Tell us what they’re made of and where you’re from. We’re offering 5, full access one-year subscriptions to the UoF website. With over 500 fashion educational videos all taught by fashion profs and industry pros, it’s worth $189! Offer ends July 1, 2020

 

Introducing our 1st Face Mask Winner: Jennifer Coffman 

                                                                           
Jennifer Coffman and her daughters (Photo credit Jennifer Coffman)

 

 

 

 

 

 

We are proud to award our 1st face mask prize to Jennifer Coffman.

“My name is Jennifer. Ive been making masks since March and donating them my local organizations in Pulaski, TN, and Huntsville AL. I’ve donated to local  nursing homes, hospitals, health care facilities, shopping centers and friends. I’ve donated 225 mask between March and April. I’ve used cotton fabrics from my own collection of fabric and I’ve purchased some cotton from a local quilting shop to help support her business. I would love  to win the contest to work towards perfecting my dressmaking skills and my goals of being a professional dress maker. I’m really excited to study the classes. I can sew from patterns but I’m  excited to learn to drape and draft my own designs and learn to draw my ideas on the croquis! Huge Thank you!! I will be happy to share the skills I’ve learned from the courses and promote University of Fashion!!” – Jennifer Coffman

Face masks made by Emily Coffman and donated to Huntesville Hospital, Huntsville, Alabama and therapists at BenchMark Physical Therapy, Pulaski, Tennessee

 

Be sure to send your face mask images and your story to us at CS@universityoffashion.com !

HOW THE FASHION COMMUNITY IS AIDING IN THE FIGHT AGAINST COVID-19

Billie Eilish in a Gucci mask pre-pandemic at the 62nd Annual GRAMMY on January 26, 2020 in Los Angeles. (Photo credit: Jon Kopaloff for FilmMagic)

The Covid-19 pandemic is turning out to be a wake up. The lack of domestic manufacturing has definitely caught us unprepared and as a result, we will surely be seeing an increase in the number of new factories, not just for building up bigger, better stockpiles of the things we need in a pandemic (masks and other protective gear for hospital workers), but also for manufacturing fashion apparel.

As of May 2, 2020, there are 3.4 million confirmed cases of coronavirus worldwide, with 1.07 million recovered and 242,000 deaths.

New Vocabulary

Phrases like “stay-at-home,” shelter-in-place,” “flatten the curve,” “contact-tracing,” “PPE,” “herd immunity,” “surgical & non-surgical face masks,” “antibody testing,” and “social-distancing” are now part of our vocabulary.

As some states and countries are better than others at taking the proper precautions to slow the spread of this deadly pandemic, at University of Fashion, we are promoting ‘stay-at-home’ to help stop the spread and we’re using this opportunity to make hundreds of non-surgical face masks and donating them nursing homes.

University of Fashion non-surgical face masks donated to nursing homes

 

And, as some employers allow their employees to work from home, almost all schools have all closed for the term. Because teachers were asked to complete their academic term online and many struggled due to the lack of accessible content, at UoF we are proud to say that as of March 10th (and continuing into the fall), we initiated a free, full access give-a-way to any and all schools for 30 days to help teachers & students get through their term.

More than 100 schools (and growing) have taken advantage of our offer, those included in that number are Parsons, Cornell, Duke, University of Texas Austin, Virginia Tech, UNC Greensboro, Baylor, College of Fashion Design Dubai, Columbia College of Art & Design, Otis School of Art & Design and more as well as numerous high schools. It has been our honor to help! We are here for you! Teachers/schools can still request access, just write to us at CS@UniversityofFashion.com.

In addition, Laurence King Publishing is offering a 40% discount on all 3 UoF companion books through May 31, 2020. Use this discount code: FRIENDS40 and the links below per book:

Draping: Techniques for Beginners         Pattern Making: Techniques for Beginners                                             Sewing: Techniques for Beginners

 

Face Mask Contest 

If you are making face masks and donating them to a good cause, let us know at CS@UniversityofFashion.com. Send your info on how many face masks you’ve made & donated for a chance to win a 1-year subscription to UoF.

Fashion Hits the Pause Button

The fashion event of the year, the Met Gala, will be postponed indefinitely. Though @theebillyporter and @voguemagazine just launched the #metgalachallenge, with winners to be announced May 3.

Photo Credit  @aili_in_town version of @janellemonae inspired Siriano piece

Numerous fashion weeks have been canceled, including those in L.A., Shanghai, Melbourne, Beijing, Seoul, Moscow and Tokyo. May and June, when many designers show their resort/cruise lines, have either been cancelled or postponed.

Men’s Fashion Week for the spring 2021 season will be cancelled in Paris and London, while Milan will postpone their Men’s Fashion Week until September and will merge it with their women’s runway presentation. New York Men’s Fashion Week always takes place in July, but this year it is postponed, though a date has not yet been released.

In Paris, the haute couture shows (which would have included the highly anticipated return of Balenciaga) were scheduled for July, but are also being canceled by the Federation de la Haute Couture et de la Mode. In a statement, the Federation announced, “In light of the spread of the COVID-19 epidemic worldwide, strong decisions are required to ensure the safety and health of houses, their employees and everyone working in our industry.”

Fashion Delivers

But with all the sadness and despair that COVID-19 has caused, there have been moments of joy in watching fashion people come together. Instead of creating next season’s looks, many designers are keeping their employees working by creating protective gear such as hospital gowns, masks and scrubs. Others are donating proceeds from their online sales to various charities.

Fashion companies are helping to make masks all over the world. (Photo credit: Quartz)

Here are a few designers who are doing their part to help their cities, states and the world.

GIORGIO ARMANI

Giorgio Armani. (Photo credit: WWD)

Giorgio Armani was one of the first designers to understand the danger of the Coronavirus. During his Milan Fashion Week show held on February 23rd, the designer alerted his guests beforehand that his show would be closed to an audience and would be live-streamed.

In addition, Giorgio Armani is utilizing all four of its production sites to manufacture protective gear for healthcare workers. What’s more, the luxury house has already pledged 1.25 million euros to donate to Italy’s Civil Protection and a slew of Italian hospitals, including Luigi Sacco and the Istituto Lazzaro Spallanzani in Rome. Armani also bumped its donation up to 2 million euros by supporting Italy’s Bergamo and Piacenza hospitals.

AMERICAN GIANT

American Giant is part of a coalition of 11 brands that include Hanes, Fruit of the Loom, and Los Angeles Apparel. They have begun manufacturing personal protective equipment for healthcare workers who are on the front line.  Over the years, the majority of U.S. apparel manufacturing moved off shore but a small number of brands had chosen to produce their products locally. Thanks to these brands and their coalition, they are able to shift their production and deliver much-needed gear to hospitals quickly. The coalition companies are making a million masks a week and all have been certified by the Department of Health and Human Services.

RALPH LAUREN

Ralph Lauren’s generous donation. (Photo credit: Ralph Lauren)

Ralph Lauren released the following a statement:

“In response to the global pandemic, Ralph Lauren’s corporate foundation announced a $10 million commitment to help, outlining that the funds would be spent: to provide financial grants to Ralph Lauren colleagues facing medical, eldercare or childcare needs; contribute to the World Health Organization’s COVID-19 response fund; continue its support to cancer care; and commit an inaugural gift to the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) fund for COVID-19 relief.”

In addition to this most generous donation, Ralph Lauren will also produce 250,000 masks and 25,000 isolation gowns with their U.S. manufacturing partners.

“Our hearts and thoughts are with the global community. Our hope is to be a beacon of optimism and unity as we navigate this unprecedented time. It is in the spirit of togetherness that we will rise. With warmth and gratitude, Your Ralph Lauren Team” was issued on the Ralph Lauren website.

BROOKLYN NAVY YARD

Crye Precision and Lafayette 148 have teamed up to make reusable PPE gowns for NYC hospital workers. (Twitter Photo credit: Freddi Goldstein from NYC Mayor de Blasios office)

At New York’s Brooklyn Navy Yard two fashion companies have come together to help make protective gear for New York City’s healthcare workers as NY became the epicenter of COVID-19 in the United States. Crye Precision, a body armor company and the upscale fashion company Lafayette 148 are making surgical gowns for hospitals.

What we see today is truly inspiring,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said after touring the facility.”Two companies here in the Brooklyn Navy Yard are creating a product they’ve never created before to help health care workers,” he added.

Greg Thompson of Crye Precision and Deirdre Quinn of Lafayette 148 are honored to be working to continue to help front line workers. By the end of April, 320,000 reusable  personal protective equipment (PPE) gowns will be made.

Lafayette 148 will also be donating 20% of their sales, between April 12-30, to the Brooklyn Hospital Center, supporting NYC’s heroes on the front lines.

LOUIS VUITTON

Model Jessica Hart in a Louis Vuitton face mask. (Photo credit: Dailymail.com)

Louis Vuitton announced it will re-purpose its American workshops in Piscataway, NJ, Ontario, CA, Johnson County, TX, San Dimas, CA, and Irwindale, CA to produce non-surgical face masks.

The face masks Louis Vuitton will produce will be made of cotton cloth so they can be re-used, washed and adjusted to better fit users. Masks will be donated and distributed in vulnerable states heavily impacted by Covid-19 and Louis Vuitton will partner with local organizations in each state to give support.

LVMH

LVMH joins the fight against Cornavirus. (Photo credit: LVMH)

Louis Vuitton falls under the LVMH umbrella, and even though Louis Vuitton is making a generous contribution to the fight against COVID-19, LVMH is also making donations on behalf of all the brands they own (Marc Jacobs, Givenchy, Fendi, Kenzo, Loro Piana, and others). LVMH is using its Chinese suppliers to provide 10 million surgical masks to France. The brand announced that it will reorder masks for the next few weeks in similar quantities.

In order to secure this order during an extremely tense period and to ensure that production begins today, Bernard Arnault arranged for LVMH to finance the whole of the first week of deliveries, amounting to five million euros,” LVMH said in a statement.

BVLGARI

Bvlgari is making hand sanitizer. (Photo credit: Bulgari)

Bvlgari (Bulgari) is another brand owned by LVMH. Bvlgari announced that it will manufacture thousands of hand sanitizers to be distributed to medical facilities throughout Italy. The hand gels will be created in 75ml recyclable bottles with plans to produce more in the upcoming months.

I believe as a major economic actor and symbol of Italy, Bvlgari has a responsibility to contribute to the national effort to help prevent, fight and eradicate Covid-19. Thanks to our fragrances expertise we have been able to develop together with ICR a ‘hand cleansing gel with sanitizer’ which will be manufactured in our Lodi Factory already making our high-end perfumes and hotel amenities,” Jean-Christophe Babin, Bvlgari CEO, said in a statement. “Aware of the difficult situation we are experiencing, we believe it is our duty to contribute with our know-how and production facilities.”

LOEWE

Workers make masks at the Loewe factory. (Photo credit: WWD)

Loewe, also owned by LVMH, will be donating 100,000 surgical masks to the Spanish Red Cross and non-surgical masks to volunteer workers, Loewe employees and their families. In addition, high-end Spanish fashion brand will be donating proceeds from every product in its Paula’s Ibiza collection. For every product sold, Loewe will donate 40 euros to support educational projects for kids, starting with an initial donation of 500,000 euros. “To achieve this, Loewe is collaborating with Plataforma de Infancia — a Spanish alliance of social organizations that works to protect children and adolescents’ rights — to launch a series of educational programs this summer in Spain which aims to reduce inequality and school dropouts,” the brand said in a statement.

YOOX NET-A-PORTER GROUP

Net-A-Porter closes their e-commerce site and using their delivery vehicles to deliver food. (Photo credit: Fashionweekdaily)

Yoox Net-a-Porter Group is known for delivering their high-end fashion goods to their customers by personal vans. In March, the company stopped this exclusive service and began using their vans to deliver food to those in need. They are now teaming up and volunteering their vehicles to non-profit God’s Love We Deliver to support its Emergency Shelf-Stable Meal Drive. The charity has already delivered over 140,000 meals, containing 14 days’ worth of non-perishable food, to vulnerable communities and people living with severe illnesses across all five boroughs of New York, in Hudson County, and Westchester, Nassau, and Suffolk Counties.

In London, the Yoox Net-a-Porter Group have been utilizing their company vehicles to deliver food and supplies to seven charities in London. The vans will read, “Fashion that delivers” and will also deliver to the elderly people throughout London.

Now, more than ever, the primary focus of our colleagues and customers is the well-being of relatives, friends and communities. Reflecting our core sustainability priorities, the group hopes that the redistribution of these resources will help to make a difference in London,” the company said, per WWD.

AMERICAN EAGLE/AERIE

American Eagle and its sister brand, Aerie, have committed $1 million to COVID-19 relief efforts. The brands will also donate more than one million masks to public health workers in vulnerable communities and have joined forces with America’s Food Fund (AFF) to ensure that people have reliable access to food.

UGG

Ugg pleged $1 Million to Covid-19 relief. (Photo credit: Fashionista)

Deckers Brands, the parent company of UGG, launched a new initiative Better Together, where the brands will donate more than $1 million to the COVID-19 relief efforts through monetary and product donations.

Our hearts are with our friends, colleagues, customers and those on the frontlines during this pandemic. The newly launched Better Together initiative aims to deliver relief, support and comfort to those most in need. We are in this together,” Dave Powers, president & CEO of Deckers Brands, said in a statement.

Ugg will also be partnering with select hotels that have opened their rooms to frontline workers and first responders. UGG will supply cozy robes and slippers so first responders can get comfortable after working a long hospital shift.

DAVID YURMAN

The Yurman Family Foundation announced they will donate $1 million to COVID-19 related causes. Also, David Yurman promised that their furloughed employees will continue to receive their health benefits until they can come back to work.

For us, jewelry has always been a way of connecting with other people and expressing our feelings. Sybil, Evan and I, along with the design team, continue to collaborate on new collections with a heartfelt message that we hope will express comfort and beauty,” David Yurman said in a statement.

KATE SPADE

Tapestry’s generous donation. (Photo credit: Tapestry)

On March 28, Kate Spade announced on its Instagram that the brands at Tapestry, through the Coach Foundation, would be donating $2 million to New York City’s small business continuity fund. The post added that the money was “for all the small businesses in NYC that make our hometown so incredibly special, and right now need some extra love and support. We appreciate each one of you, we’re here for you and we can’t wait to see you again soon.

The Kate Spade New York Foundation will also be donating $100,000 to their partner Crisis Text Line, a program that provides mental health counseling and emotional support to doctors and nurses as they grapple with the ongoing effects of the pandemic.

THIRD LOVE

Doctors, nurses and healthcare workers have been working tirelessly on the frontline battling COVID-19. To keep them comfortable, ThirdLove donated 1,000 sets of bras and underwear to workers at the University of California San Francisco and several hospitals on the east coast. In addition, the brand has already donated 2,000 surgical masks to UCSF in response to the virus.

TOMS

As of April 1st, Toms began donating one-third of its net profits to the COVID-19 Global Giving Fund. The fund was created to support Giving Partners currently on the frontlines of the health crisis. The Global Giving Fund currently supports Americares, Crisis Text Line, International Medical Corps, Partners in Health, and WaterAid.

Toms has always been in business to improve lives. That mission is important to us and our community everyday. Now, more than ever, we are honored to apply what we have learned over the past 14 years of giving to address this global health crisis,” Amy Smith, Toms chief giving officer, said in a statement. “We know the best way to help is to use our resources and the power of our customer’s purchase to invest in our giving partners who are on the frontlines directly addressing this pandemic. We are grateful for these deep partnerships and are eager, together with our customers, to continue to support their efforts to combat COVID-19.”

LA LIGNE

La Ligne is a contemporary label known for their terrific stipes. The label recently launched its Giving Back initiative, which will offer customers 15% off site wide and will donate 15% of total sales to a different charity each week until the quarantine ends. The initiative kicked off its first week with Baby2Baby and its second week with World Central Kitchen, which launched their initiative #chefsforamerica to provide fresh meals to communities that need support, feeds frontline healthcare workers, and more.

TIFFANY & CO.

Tiffany & Co. Foundation’s generous donation. (Photo credit: Tiffany & Co.)

Tiffany & Co. Foundation announced it will be committing $1 million to COVID-19 relief efforts.  $750,000 will be donated to the COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund for the World Health Organization; while the other $250,000 will be given to The New York Community Trust’s NYC COVID-19 Response & Impact Fund. In addition to its own donation, the New York-based company will be matching employee donations, dollar for dollar.

During this global health crisis, we must all be responsive to the urgent needs of our global communities,” the brand said in a statement. “We are proud to support organizations providing immediate relief for communities impacted by COVID-19, including our hometown of New York,” Anisa Kamadoli Costa, chairman and president of The Tiffany & Co. Foundation, said.

LEVI STRAUSS AND CO.

Levi’s has been doing its part to help fight against COVID-19 by hosting its virtual concert series on Instagram Live; some artists who have participated are Snoop Dogg, Sigrid, Kali Uchis, Burna Boy and more.  Levi’s is donating $10,000 per performance to a charity picked by the artist. The company is also donating $3 million to communities that are vulnerable and at-risk. “There’s been a real rush for emergency support on the front end of this,” Jennifer Sey, chief marketing officer of Levi Strauss & Co., told WWD. “We want to make sure we’re addressing some of the midterm and long-term impacts that could go unaddressed by supporting our existing community partners.”

KENNETH COLE

Kenneth Cole is working with the Covid-19 Solidarity Response Fund. (Photo credit: Kenneth Cole)

Kenneth Cole is donating 1% of the net sales on KennethCole.com to the COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund in support of those severely affected by the coronavirus. The COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund was launched by the World Health Organization and is being managed by the United Nations Foundation and the Swiss Philanthropy Foundation.

According to Kenneth Cole, donations will be used for the following:

Ensure that patients can access the care they need and that frontline workers can get supplies and information.

Support efforts in tracking and understanding the spread of COVID-19.

Accelerate the development of vaccines, tests and treatments.

ALEXANDER WANG

Alexander Wang’s charity for COVID-19. (Photo credit: NY Post)

On April 6, Alexander Wang launched its Alexander Wang vault shop, a curated collection of Wang’s archived pieces selling for up to 80 percent off in celebration of the brand’s 15th anniversary. Opened in response to COVID-19, Wang donated 20 percent of sales to The United Nation’s COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund.

CAPRI HOLDING

Michael Kors gives back. (Photo credit: Fashion United)

Capri Holding, the luxury fashion company that owns Michael Kors, Versace and Jimmy Choo, joined the fight against coronavirus by donating $3 million across all three brands. The $3 million donation will benefit organizations from each brand’s home cities, New York (Michael Kors), London (Jimmy Choo), and Milan (Versace).

Our hearts and souls go out to those who are working on the front lines to help the world combat the COVID-19 pandemic,” John D. Idol, chairman and chief executive officer of Capri Holdings Limited, said in a statement. “We thank them for their remarkable dedication and courage and want to support them and the hospitals where they work. We also aim to strengthen organizations dedicated to helping the community.”

In addition to Capri’s donation, Michael Kors announced on his Instagram that he and Capri Holdings CEO John Idol will also be making personal donations of $1 million each.

Among the many things that I love about New York and New Yorkers is their strength and unwavering resilience in times of crisis. For a city as big as it is, there’s always been a strong sense of community,” Kors wrote in an Instagram post. “It’s heartbreaking to see what is happening here in my hometown, which is currently an epicenter of the virus, and the impact this outbreak is having on people in our city and around the world. I commend everyone working on the frontlines in our health care centers and thank you for your dedication to helping others.

PVH CORP

PVH Corp, which owns Calvin Klein and Tommy Hilfiger, is donating $1 million toward COVID-19 relief, plus another $100,000 donation to the Solidarity Response Fund’s COVID relief efforts.

As I work with our global leadership team to address a responsible plan forward for our business, how we execute it as good corporate citizens is an important part of our discussions,” Manny Chirico, Chairman and CEO of PVH, said in a statement posted online. “There is no roadmap for this crisis, but I know that at PVH we have strong values and connections to our communities.

The company announced over Instagram that it will be sending out over two million Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) – which include masks, gowns, and face shields – to healthcare workers in New York City. The first shipment has already been delivered to the Montefiore Health System.

CHANEL

Chanel face mask.( Photo credit: Forbes)

As the spread of the virus intensifies throughout France, Chanel has pledged to produce over 50,000 face masks and gowns for healthcare workers, police, and other essential workers in France. What’s more, the fashion house is also contributing €1.2 million to French emergency services.

SAKS FIFTH AVENUE

The Saks Fifth Avenue windows. (Photo credit: WWD)

The Saks Fifth Avenue Foundation has committed to donating $600,000 to coronavirus relief efforts split across three organizations: NewYork-Presbyterian COVID-19 Patient Care Fund, Bring Change to Mind, and Girls Inc. “Now is the time to stand together to support our community, our customers and all those affected both physically and mentally by the COVID-19 pandemic,” Marc Metrick, president at Saks Fifth Avenue, said in a statement. “Whether it’s medical workers on the frontlines, hospitals that require more essential supplies and resources, or those experiencing stress or anxiety about the virus, we know donations through the Saks Fifth Avenue Foundation will provide vital relief to those in need during this challenging and uncertain time.”

CALDEZONIA

The Italian luxury legwear and beachwear brand Caldezonia is converting it plants to produce medical masks and gowns using special machinery the brand purchased. The brand predicts it will be able to produce up to 10,000 masks per day, with that number increasing in the coming weeks.

REVOLVE

Revolve donates masks to two Los Angeles Hospitals. (Photo credit: Revolve.com)

Revolve announced on its Instagram that it will donate 10,000 N95 FDA-approved face masks to two Los Angeles hospitals. The brand also procured 20,000 additional masks to put aside for other healthcare workers, and called upon its influencers and followers to spread the word to frontline workers in need of protective gear.

Our doctors and nurses are on the front lines risking their lives to save ours, and are often doing so without adequate protective equipment,” the brand said in a statement. “Revolve’s mission for this initiative is to do anything we can to support our sisters and brothers, and hope to be able to make donations in the future.”

NORDSTROM

Nordstrom is sewing over 100,000 masks for medical personal. (Photo credit: Footwear News)

Nordstrom is teaming up with Kaas Tailored, to have members of its Nordstrom Alterations teams in Washington, Oregon, Texas, and California produce 100,000 masks to be donated to Providence Health & Services in Washington. Nordstrom will also offer additional support to Seattle Foundation, YouthCare, and Hetrick Martin Institute (HMI).

Also, by purchasing a gift card, Nordstrom will donate one percent of the sale to “annual community cash grants and support organizations that provide basic necessities for kids and families which includes things like access to health care, housing, food and education,” the company said in a press release.

SANDRO

Sandro will 10,000 cloth masks using excess fabric from past collections to help support hospital workers in France and around Europe. On March 30th, Sandro delivered 1,000 masks to the Aulnay-sous-Bois French hospital with an additional 2,000 masks to be delivered in early April. Sandro will deliver the remaining masks to other hospitals throughout Europe and 3,000 masks to the New York City hospital NYU.

VERA BRADLEY

Vera Bradley is producing protective gear such as masks and scrubs for essential workers. (Photo credit: News Sentinel)

Vera Bradley is known for their playful prints in handbags and accessories, but the brand is halting production of their accessories and will now use their own fabrics to produce masks for essential workers, and work alongside its supplier to procure protective gear such as masks and scrubs.

Our Company and Associates are honored to be able to contribute to the cause during this difficult and challenging time,” Rob Wallstrom, CEO of Vera Bradley, said in statement. “Our hearts go out to all affected by COVID-19 and to the courageous people serving on the front lines in our communities. We’re proud to be able to pivot our operations, lend a helping hand, and create a product with so much purpose.”

 

ATSUMI FASHION

Atsumi Fashion pivoting production from bras to masks (Photo credit: Fast Company)

 

Intimate apparel company Atsumi Fashion has been making masks out of bra lining material. A throwback to the 89s, wearing inner wear as outerwear (think Madonna wearing Gaultier’s bra).

BURBERRY

Burberry is making hospital gowns and face masks. (Photo credit: Metro News)

On the company website, Burberry announced that it would be dedicating significant time, money, and resources to helping with the COVID-19 global pandemic. The company said in a statement that it is going to “retool” its Yorkshire-based trench coat factory to make non-surgical gowns and masks and is facilitating the delivery of more than 100,000 surgical masks to U.K. National Health Service (NHS) staff. The company also said it is donating to charities across the country and funding University of Oxford research for a single-dose vaccine.

In challenging times, we must pull together,” Burberry’s CEO, Marco Gobbetti, said. “The whole team at Burberry is very proud to be able to support those who are working tirelessly to combat COVID-19, whether by treating patients, working to find a vaccine solution or helping provide food supplies to those in need at this time. COVID-19 has fundamentally changed our everyday lives, but we hope that the support we provide will go some way towards saving more lives, bringing the virus under control and helping our world recover from this devastating pandemic. Together, we will get through this.”

KERING

Kering Group steps to the plate to help with Covid-19. (Photo credit: Forbes)

Kering, the luxury goods giant behind Alexander McQueen, Bottega Veneta, Gucci and more, will supply three million surgical masks to French health services. Taking it a step futher, Kering brands Yves Saint Laurent and Balenciaga are also manufacturing “masks while complying with the strictest health protection measures for their staff members, with production getting underway as soon as the manufacturing process and materials have been approved by the relevant authorities,” Kering said in a statement.

GUCCI

Gucci’s “We’re all in this together”. (Photo credit: Gucci)

While Gucci is part of the Kering umbrella, Gucci also pledged 2 million euros to COVID-19 efforts that will be divided in two different donations. Gucci will donate 1 million euros to the Italian Civil Protection Department and another million euros to the World Health Organization’s COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund.

This pandemic calls us to an unexpected task, but it is a call to which we respond decisively, advocating the selfless work carried out by health workers, doctors and nurses on the front lines every day in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, in Italy and in the rest of the world,” Gucci creative director Alessandro Michele and Marco Bizzarri, president and chief executive officer, said in a statement, per WWD. “Their generosity and courage light our way forward in these difficult days. By supporting each other and helping those who are most vulnerable among us, we will be able to overcome this crisis: united, even more than before.”

SKIMS

Kim Kardashian West donates $1 Million under her label Skims. (Photo credit: Buzzfeednews.com)

Kim Kardashian West is using her upcoming Skims Solutionwear restock to support corona relief. Skims pledged to donated $1 million to those affected by the virus.

To support mothers and children in need during this time, SKIMS is committed to donating $1M to families affected by COVID-19,” KKW said in a press release. “On Monday, we’re restocking the collection we first launched with, and in doing so, are able to help bring relief to those affected by this pandemic. I am so grateful to all of you who have supported SKIMS since we first started 6 months ago. It’s been a dream of mine for so long, and has only been possible because of your love for what we do. Our six-month anniversary has fallen in the middle of a Global crisis so more than ever, it’s our responsibility to give back and do what we can to help others.”

UNIQLO

Uniqlo has partnered with its manufacturing companies in China to procure 10 million masks to donate to high-priority hospitals around the world. One million masks will be donated to Italy and another million will be donated to Japan. In addition to the masks, Uniqlo is also providing healthcare workers with their signature Heattech and Airism clothing. “The company will continue to give assistance where needed, and as the situation evolves,” the brand said in a statement.

H&M GROUP

H&M will use its facilities to produce personal protective equipment (PPE) to be donated to hospitals and health care workers working on the frontline.

The Coronavirus is dramatically affecting each and every one of us, and H&M Group is, like many other organizations, trying our best to help in this extraordinary situation,” Anna Gedda, head of sustainability at H&M Group, said in a press release. “We see this is as a first step in our efforts to support in any way we can. We are all in this together, and have to approach this as collectively as possible.”

GAP INC.

Gap, Old Navy, Athleta, Banana Republic, Intermix, Hill City, and Janie and Jack all fall under the Gap Inc. umbrella, which announced that they will be using its factories to produce protective wear for healthcare workers.

An update on our #COVID19 response: Our teams are connecting some of the largest hospital networks in Calif. w/ our vendors to deliver PPE supplies while we pivot resources so factory partners can make masks, gowns & scrubs for healthcare workers on the front lines,” the Gap Inc. brand wrote on Twitter.

MICHAEL COSTELLO

Michael Costello with a face mask that he designed. (Photo credit: Michael Costello)

Michael Costello announced he’ll be collaborating with his Calabasas-based manufacturer to create 20,000 surgical masks to distribute to hospitals and first-team responders throughout the Los Angeles area.

For the first couple of days of this emergency I, like many others, felt frustrated and helpless just sitting at home. I realized that even if I couldn’t do what I wanted as a Designer, I should do what I can to help others that keeps our community safe,” Costello said in a press release. “While I’m not a nurse, doctor or first responder, I knew I can give the one thing I know best, which is fashion, and help design masks that will be crucial for preventing exposure.”

CHRISTIAN SIRIANO

Christian Siriano is helping to make masks. (Photo credit: The New Yorker)

In late March, After Andrew Cuomo revealed that New York is facing a surgical mask shortage, designer Christian Siriano came to the rescue.

If @NYGovCuomo says we need masks my team will help make some,” he tweeted, tagging New York governor Andrew Cuomo. “I have a full sewing team still on staff working from home that can help.”

Shortly after, Siriano posted a short clip of what his masks will look like, writing, “We will be making a few versions of this in order to help as many people as we can. Here is the process so we can get a perfect fit. More to come thank you everyone we hope to get these to the right people ASAP.”

REFORMATION

Fashion brand Reformation is teaming up with Los Angeles mayor Eric Garcetti to produce protective face masks for not only health care professionals, but grocery store associates and food delivery workers as well. Garcetti hopes the initiative will create more jobs for people. Manufacturers or businesses that are interested in participating can learn more about the initiative at laprotects.org.

Fashion companies are helping to make masks in the USA. (Photo credit: Jurgute/iStock)

While the fashion industry is doing its part to help Coronavirus relief efforts, not every brand can afford a $10 million donation, like Ralph Lauren, or to turn over its design studios and factories to produce supplies, like Christian Siriano. But we can all do our part. Whether its staying at home to stop the spread or making face masks in your studio, tell us, How are you helping to stop the spread of COVID-19?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Let’s Play:” Name That Dress”

- - Trends

Judy Garland’s iconic blue and white gingham dress in  The Wizard of Oz. (Photo credit: Good Housekeeping)

Films, whether on the big screen or small, have always been a vehicle for escapism. And let’s face it, today, more than ever, we all need an escape. Whether we are binge-watching the next highly rated Rotten Tomatoes series while quarantining, or dipping back into movie history to watch Casablanca, Pretty Woman, or Sunset Boulevard, we thought it would be a hoot to focus on some of the most iconic film frocks (and their designers), some actually more popular than the films themselves!

Here now are our top 13 iconic dresses of all time, either in film, television, worn by our favorite royal, or, that hold a special place in history.

Let’s begin with Judy Garland’s dress in the Wizard of Oz. Designer: Adrian

 

MARILYN MONROE

Marilyn Monroe poses over the updraft of a New York subway grating while in character for the filming of The Seven Year Itch in New York. (Photo credit: AP Photo/Matty Zimmerman)

To this day, Marilyn Monroe is still considered one of the sexiest starlets of all time. Who can ever forget the iconic image of her standing over a NYC subway grate in a white pleated halter-dress blowing in the wind created by William Travilla for the 1955 film The Seven Year Itch?

However, according to according to the 1976 book entitled, Hollywood Costume: Glamour! Glitter! Romance! by Dale McConathy and Diana Vreeland, it was reported that Travilla did not actually design the dress but bought it off the rack (though Travilla denied this).

After the tragic death of Marilyn Monroe in 1962, Travilla kept the iconic dress locked away along with many other costumes he created for the late actress. Upon Travilla’s death in 1990, all of his creations were put on display by Bill Sarris, a colleague of Travilla. Shortly thereafter, the dress joined the private collection owned by Debbie Reynolds at the Hollywood Motion Picture Museum. In 2011, Reynolds put the dress up for auction where it sold for more than $5.6 million.

AUDREY HEPBURN

Audrey Hepburn’s iconic black dress in Breakfast At Tiffany’s. (Photo credit: Yahoo)

Thanks to Coco Chanel, just about every woman has a little black dress hanging in their closet. However, the most iconic ‘little black dress’ of all time was worn by Audrey Hepburn in the opening screen of the 1961 romantic comedy film,  Breakfast at Tiffany’s, and designed by Hubert de Givenchy.

Rumor has it that Givenchy first designed a shorter version of the dress, but Paramount Pictures thought that it revealed too much of the actresses’s legs and therefore called upon costume designer Edith Head to redesign the lower half of the dress; hence the floor length version that appears in the movie. In 2006, the dress was given by Givenchy to French author Dominic Lapierre, who had it auctioned at Christie’s where it sold for a whopping $920, 909. Dominic Lapierre, who was selling the dress on behalf of his charity City of Joy Aid, said: “There are tears in my eyes. I am absolutely dumbfounded to believe that a piece of cloth which belonged to such a magical actress will now enable me to buy bricks and cement to put the most destitute children in the world into schools.” Sarah Hodgson, a film specialist at Christie’s said, “This is one of the most famous black dresses in the world—an iconic piece of cinematic history—and we are glad it fetched a historic price.

ELIZABETH TAYLOR

Elizabeth Taylor as Cleopatra in 1963. (Photo credit: The Film Experience)

Joseph L. Mankiewicz’s film Cleopatra made its debut in 1963 and The New York Times called it, “one of the great epic films of our day.”  It is the tragic triangular love story between the ancient Egyptian Queen (Elizabeth Taylor) and Roman generals Julius Caesar (Rex Harrison) and Mark Antony (Richard Burton).

Elizabeth Taylor’s costumes were spectacular and held a record-breaking costume budget of $194,800 (about $1.4 million today). American costume designer Renié Conley won the 1963 Academy Award for Best Costume Design (along with Irene Sharaff and Vittorio Nino Novarese), for her creation of Taylor’s stunning gowns, which placed emphasis on the actress’ beauty and sexuality over historical accuracy.

Taylor wore four costumes that were ceremonial, but the most iconic was the golden “Phoenix” ensemble worn for Cleopatra’s triumphal procession into Rome atop a huge black sphinx. It consisted of a cape made of gold-painted strips of leather embroidered with gold bugle and seed beads over a gold fitted embroidered dress and a crown, making Cleopatra look like a golden bird-goddess. It is the only costume that appeared twice in the film, the second time at the very end.

JACKIE KENNEDY

Jackie Kennedy in India. (Photo credit: JFK Library)

As we all know, First Lady Jackie Kennedy was a true style icon. Her impeccable taste never disappointed. When the Kennedys moved into the White House in 1961, Jackie appointed Oleg Cassini as her exclusive couturier. Cassini immediately went to work, creating her inaugural dress and many of the iconic looks that would make her the most fashionable First Lady in the history of the White House.

The clean lines, beautiful fabrics, and timeless silhouettes of Oleg Cassini’ created the “Jackie Look,” that still transcends fashion trends today. One of the most iconic dresses that Jacqueline Kennedy wore was an apricot silk zibeline dress with a simple bow at the waist; she wore this dress to tour the Palace of the Maharajah in Udaipur, during a state visit to India in 1962.

MADONNA

Madonnas scandalous dress at the 1984 MTV Music Video Awards. (Photo credit: Harpers Bazaar)

Celebrities today are always trying to “be different” and “shock” their fans. However, we really owe “shock & awe” to women like Cher and Madonna both of who paved the way!

In 1984, Madonna had her first award show performance at the MTV VMA’s, and left a lasting impression with her white sheer “Like a Virgin” look. Complete with the now iconic “Boy Toy” belt, lace gloves, and cross necklaces, it kicked off her knack for creating buzzy looks.

For children of the ’80s, Madonna’s racy, underwear-flashing, floor-rolling “Like a Virgin” performance was their defining televised music moment, and so a rebellious fashion icon was born. So, who was responsible for this groundbreaking look? Madonna’s stylist Maripol, who is credited for creating the early Madonna  look.

Maripol told Yahoo Entertainment, “Madonna had to break through; I knew she was going to make it big, because I could see how ambitious she was, in a very genuine and sweet way. The wedding outfit did help. I knew that [VMAs] day that she had made it,” adds Maripol. “Every journalist was rushing, running, going, ‘Oh my God, who is this girl with the white outfit rolling and crawling on the floor, with crosses in her ears and her name is Madonna?

JULIA ROBERTS

Pretty Woman (1990) catapulted Julia Roberts to stardom. Here she is in the iconic red dress. (Photo credit: Harpers Bazaar)

Can you believe it’s already been 30 years since Julia Roberts became America’s sweetheart when she starred as Vivian in Pretty Woman ? In the era of #MeToo, the plot of Pretty Woman might be problematic—but you just can’t deny the clothes. Watching a West Hollywood sex worker find love with the dapper businessman who hired her off a street corner, I mean really? But we all forgave the plot because the fashion was spectacular. Even the Armani suits worn by Richard Gere were great eye candy!

Through the film Vivian is transformed from a prostitute to an elegant woman (Cinderella redux?) with an array of sophisticated and fashionable clothes. Costume designer Marilyn Vance-Straker and her team created an array of stylish and contemporary outfits, but the most famous costume of all? Her floor-sweeping red ball gown worn for the opera sequence. The gown was inspired by Valentino’s romantic gowns in his signature red.

But did you know that this iconic red dress was almost not red? There ended up being a dispute between the studio, the producers and the costume designer as they wanted Julia Roberts’ character to wear a black dress. Luckily costume designer Marilyn Vance-Straker won the argument after plenty of screen testing and the red dress became an iconic moment not only in the film but also in fashion.

SHARON STONE

Sharon Stone’s iconic white turtleneck dress in Basic Instinct. (Photo credit: Costume Rocket)

Fast forward to 1992. Forget the little black or red dress. Sharon Stone wore a simple white turtleneck dress as she stared in the erotic thriller Basic Instinct. The ‘interrogation scene’ is one of the sexiest moments in film history.  A turtleneck may not be traditionally thought of as sexy, but this one lends polish. It’s a look of absolute control. Plus there is far more going on here than the absence of underwear.

So who was responsible for this contemporary yet timeless look? Costume designer Ellen Mirojnick. “I thought the costumes and the look of the film were extremely classic” insists Mirojnick talking exclusively to Clothes on Film. “The contemporary feel of the film is even more contemporary today. It is a timeless piece.

PRINCESS DIANA

Princess Diana in the ‘revenge’ dress. (Photo credit: Hello Magazine)

Princess Diana, like Jackie, is another true fashion icon. Diana’s style became so emulated and loved around the world that we’re still celebrating her outfits two decades after her death.

On June 29, 1994, Princess Dianna shocked the world when she attended Vanity Fair’s annual fundraising event for the Serpentine Gallery in London’s Hyde Park, wearing a look that was anything but ‘princess-y.’ A rather short, off-the-shoulder, tight-fitting black silk dress designed by Christina Stambolian.

It also happened to be the night that an ITV ‘tell-all’ documentary featuring Prince Charles aired. In the interview, Prince Charles said he had tried to be “faithful and honorable” when marrying Diana. The interviewer asked if he had been, and Prince Charles answered, “Yes… Until it became irretrievably broken down, us both having tried.” This clearly became Prince Charles’ confession of his infidelity with Camilla Parker Bowles, and suddenly, Princess Diana’s dress took on a whole new meaning. It was known thereafter as the “Revenge Dress.”

ALICIA SILVERSTONE

Alicia Silverstone in the cult classic film Clueless. (Photo credit: Glamour)

It’s 25 years ago that the film Clueless hit the big screen. The film’s starlet, Cher Horowitz (played by Alicia Silverstone) is still a fashion icon and defined a generation. Who can ever forget the iconic scene of Cher’s first date with the new guy from school. Cher selected a second-skin white mini dress, which elicited the question from her dad: “What the hell is that?” Cher: “A dress.” Dad: “Says who?” Cher: “Calvin Klein.”

In 2010, Ilaria Urbinati, the co-owner of  L.A. boutique Confederacy, met with Calvin Klein creative director Francisco Costa about stocking the Calvin Klein Collection. The stylist-turned-shopkeeper had one very specific request: Remake the little white dress from Clueless! Costa obliged and dug out the famous slim-fitting slipdress from the archives and recreated it for the Confederacy boutique for $915.00

JENNIFER LOPEZ

Jennifer Lopez backstage at the 42nd Annual Grammy Awards 2000.(Photo credit: Womens-Health)

Who can ever forget the 2000 Grammy Awards when Jennifer Lopez, accompanied by P. Diddy, showed up in a plunging, jungle green Versace dress, causing so many searches on Google that the company was inspired to create Google Image search. The dress went viral before viral was a thing.

Almost 20 years later, for her spring 2020 show, Donatella Versace re-created the iconic dress and had no other than Jennifer Lopez close out her show. The entertainer looked just as stunning today as she did when she originally wore the dress in 2000.

The new version is similar in style with its dramatic neckline, but has a few updates. Its sleeveless, has cutouts at the waist and also embellishments.

The original dress will always be remembered as one of Donatella Versace’s most iconic dresses. In an interview with Vogue, to mark the 20th anniversary of “The Dress,” Lopez recalled walking onto the stage at the Grammys and hearing murmurs in the crowd, followed by enthusiastic clapping. Lopez told Vogue, “It was one of those perfect moments. I walked out on stage and it kind of blew open and the dress was just provocative enough I guess to make people really interested.

SARAH JESSICA PARKER

Sarah Jessica Parker’s character Carrie Bradshaw was a true fashionista. (Photo from Daily Mail)

Carrie Bradshaw, played by Sarah Jessica Parker, became a fashion icon on the hit series and movie Sex and the City. Carrie’s costume designer/stylist, Patricia Field, pushed the boundaries when it came to fashion on television. She effortlessly mixed high end designers with vintage finds.

One of Bradshaw’s signatures was the flower. In an interview with New York Post’s Page Six, Field points to the oversize flower from the first film as her private wink to the franchise’s biggest fans: ”In the series, the flower became a trend. Then, when I did the first movie, we first see Carrie outside of Tiffany and she’s wearing that dress with that huge flower. That was like saying to my audience, Hi! We’re back! It’s good to see you! This is my greeting to you: a flower, bigger than anything. I can make little jokes. I know how to speak to them in the language of the wardrobe.”

The iconic ‘white flower-adorned dress’ Parker wears in the 2008 movie’s opening scene was originally designed by Eugene Alexander for Whitney Houston. The late music sensation wore it in a 1987 promotional photoshoot that later wound up on the cover of Life Magazine.

Patricia Field tweaked the dress for the Sex and the City film, by chopping the gown into a mini and subtracting one of the super-size hibiscus blossoms, while Houston’s original had two.

LADY GAGA

Lady Gaga wearing a dress made out of meat. (Photo credit: Glamour)

Lady Gaga is known not only for her musical genius, but also for her avant-garde fashion choices. At the 2010 MTV Video Music Awards, she wore the infamous raw beef dress, which was designed by Franc Fernandez and styled by Nicola Formichetti. Naturally the dress was condemned by animal rights groups, but it was also named by Time magazine as the top fashion statement of 2010.

On September 13, 2010, Lady Gaga appeared on the Ellen DeGeneres show and explained why she chose to wear a dress made out of raw meat. The singer used the platform to respond to the controversy surrounding the dress saying, “… it has many interpretations. For me this evening, if we don’t stand up for what we believe in and if we don’t fight for our rights pretty soon, we’re going to have as much rights as the meat on our own bones. And, I am not a piece of meat.”  She explained further that she was also using the dress to highlight her distaste for the U.S. military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy.

In 2011, the meat dress was put on display at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame after being preserved by taxidermists as a type of jerky for the price of $6,000.

A HISTORY LESSON

If you guessed Ruby Bridges, then you are correct! Ruby Bridges was the first African-American child to attend an all-white school and wore this dress as she walked to her first day of school.

This history-changing walk, which integrated the William Frantz Public School in New Orleans on November 14, 1960, later inspired Norman Rockwell to create a bold illustration for the January 14, 1964 issue of Look magazine. Rockwell was a longtime supporter of the goals of equality and tolerance.

Rockwell’s 1964 painting entitled, The Problem We All Live With

Ruby Bridges’ historic walk took place six years after the 1954 United States Supreme Court Brown v. Board of Education ruling declared that state laws establishing separate public schools for black and white students were unconstitutional, and represented a definite victory for the American Civil Rights Movement.

Ruby’s white dress and Rockwell’s painting entitled “The Problem We All Live With” was on display in 2019 at the New York Historical Society along with this quote:

“The  ‘problem’ Rockwell alludes to has been a part of our history since the first enslaved people were brought to the Americas over 400 years ago, and it is one that each of us must still confront today. For me, the painting…serves as an ever-present reminder of my purpose.” – Ruby Bridges 2010

Do you have a favorite dress to share with us?