University of Fashion Blog

Posts by: Antonia Sardone

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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.

BLACK HISTORY MONTH: CELEBRATING BLACK DESIGNERS THROUGH THE YEARS

A dress by Patrick Kelly, dress, Fall 1986 Collection. (Photo Credit: The Museum at FIT)

This week’s blog is dedicated to the vast contributions of Africa, Africans and people of African descent to world civilization and in celebration of Black History Month. Many of our UoF readers know how much we love history, so before we honor some of the Black fashion designers that helped shape our industry, we’d like to take a look back at how Black History Month became a global celebration.

The first recorded celebration of Black history in the United States dates back to February 1926, when historian Carter G. Woodson founded “Negro History Week,” to coincide with the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass, two important figures in Black American history. The week was later expanded to a month-long celebration and was officially recognized as Black History Month by President Gerald Ford during the celebration of the U.S. Bicentennial in 1976, to bring attention to the contributions of Black Americans and to promote a greater understanding of Black history and culture.

Canada also celebrates Black History Month in February (since 1995) and Belgium celebrates in March (since 2017). In Europe, October is Black History Month and has been celebrated in  the U.K. (1987), Germany (1990), Ireland (2010), Netherlands (2010), France (2018) and in Africa (2020).

Black History Month in the U.S. is observed with a theme chosen by the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH). The theme is meant to highlight a specific aspect of Black history, such as the Civil Rights Movement, the contributions of Black women, or the role of Black Americans in the arts. Throughout the month there are a variety of events and activities held to celebrate Black history, including parades, cultural festivals, and lectures. The theme for 2023 is “Black Resistance,” and explores how African-Americans have resisted historic and ongoing oppression, in all forms, especially the racial terrorism of lynching, racial pogroms and police killings, since the nation’s earliest days. As recently as Jan. 7, 2023, Tyre Nichols, a young black man in Memphis was brutally beaten and killed during  a traffic stop by five Black police officers.

In 2020, the killing of George Floyd led to the growth of the Black Lives Matter movement. This movement led to subsequent protests and forced many fashion brands and designers to re-examine their practices and their commitment to promoting diversity and inclusivity within the industry. The Black Lives Matter movement has had a significant impact on the fashion industry and so has the pandemic. In fact, according to a recent article in Axios:

The last couple of years have ushered in a Black entrepreneurship boom. 

  • In 2021, Black-owned businesses were started at the fastest clip in 26 years, The Washington Post reports.
  • The number of Black business owners was 28% higher in the third quarter of 2021 than it was pre-pandemic, per U.S. News and World Report.
  • Other groups are starting more businesses, too. The number of white business owners was 5% higher in 2021’s third quarter than pre-pandemic, and the number of Latino entrepreneurs was 19% higher. But the biggest change is in Black communities.”

What’s happening: Many Black entrepreneurs across the country used federal stimulus checks to start businesses.

  • The top sector where Black owners are creating businesses is health care, Andre Perry of the Brookings Institution tells NPR. Many of the startups are in home health care, contact tracing, or vaccine distribution.

Reality check: Although many Black entrepreneurs are starting businesses, most of these startups are micro-businesses, where the owner is also the sole employee, Perry tells Axios.

  • Black people represent 14% of the U.S. population, but just 2% of owners of employer firms, which are businesses that employ people, he says.
  • “Wealth is the major driver,” Perry says. Employer firms are bigger and require more capital than many Black small business owners have access to due to racial disparities in who gets loans.

But the effect of the stimulus investment in Black communities can be a lesson, he notes. We shouldn’t just say we need to invest in people during a pandemic.”

We’d like to give a shout-out to the CFDA who, in 2020, for the first time in their 60-year history, recognized three Black designers with top awards: Kerby Jean-Raymond for Pyer Moss, Telfar Clemens and  Christopher John Rogers.

BLACK LIVES MATTER’S IMPACT ON THE FASHION INDUSTRY

A few Black supermodels who changed the fashion game. (Photo Credit: Getty Images, Collage Hello Beautiful)

One of the most visible impacts of the Black Lives Matter movement has been the increased representation of Black models on the runway and in fashion campaigns. The movement has also focused on the lack of diversity with regard to designers, photographers and stylists. In response, many fashion brands and organizations have made commitments to promoting greater diversity and inclusivity in their hiring practices.

André Leon Talley (1949-2022), editor-at-large for Vogue magazine, speaking to a reporter at the opening of the 2016  “Black Fashion Designers” exhibit at the Fashion Institute of Technology.  (Photo Credit: AP Photo)

Edward Enniful editor-in-chief of British Vogue and European editorial director of Condé Nast (Image Credit: The New York Times)

Kerry Washington and CFDA Stylist Award winner Law Roach. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

Thanks to the Black Lives Matter movement, there has been an increased focus on supporting Black-owned businesses, including fashion brands and designers. View our lesson by designer Parron Allen and read all about his success story on our blog.

Black-owned brands and designers to know such as, The Brooklyn Circus, Abasi Rosborough, ALLCAPSTUDIO, Albert 1941, Armando Cabral, Blackstock & Weber, Bricks & Wood, Brownstone, Darryl Brown, Denim Tears, Fear of God, G + Co. Apparel, Glenn’s Denim, Golf Wang, Martine Rose, Mifland, Nicholas Daley, Post-Imperial, Public School NYC, Ship John, Southern Gents, Studio 189, Third Crown, Union, and Wales Bonner. (Photo Credit: Gear Patrol)

The movement has also brought attention to the issue of cultural appropriation in the fashion industry. Many designers have been criticized for using elements of Black culture in their designs without giving proper credit or compensation, such as African textiles and handicrafts. In response, many designers have made a commitment to using cultural elements in a more respectful and culturally appropriate way.

In addition, the Black Lives Matter movement has been significant in promoting social justice. Many fashion brands and designers have used their platforms to raise awareness about social justice issues and to promote activism and advocacy. In addition, many brands have made donations to organizations that support Black communities and designers have created collections inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement. UoF has been a supporter of Custom Collaborative and Black Fashion World, offering free access to our lesson library to assist their budding Black designers.

While there is still much work to be done, the Black Lives Matter movement has inspired many in the industry to make positive change and promote greater representation for the Black community.

Michelle Obama often supports young Black designers. At President Joe Biden’s inauguration she wore Sergio Hudson. (Photo Credit: The Cut)

BLACK DESIGNERS WHO’VE MADE A MARK ON THE FASHION INDUSTRY

Beginning with Zelda Barbour Wynn Valdes, considered the first African American fashion and costume designer, as well as the first Black designer to open her own New York City shop in 1948, Black designers have played a significant role in shaping the fashion industry. From creating new styles and techniques, to challenging existing norms and pushing the boundaries of what is considered fashionable, Black designers have made a lasting impact on the world of fashion. Here are a few of our favorites, but of course there are many more.

PATRICK KELLY

Patrick Kelly surrounded by models in his looks. (Photo Credit: Vogue)

Patrick Kelly (1954-1990) was the first Black designer to be admitted to the Chambre Syndicale du Prêt-à-Porter in Paris. Kelly was known for his bold use of color, print, and texture in his designs and for his innovative use of buttons as a decorative element, a technique that is still widely used today.

STEPHEN BURROWS

Stephen Burrows’ collection for Henri Bendel in Central Park in 1970.Credit. (Photo Credit: Charles Tracy)

Stephen Burrows was the first Black designer to receive international recognition for his work. He is known as the originator of color-blocking, the Lettuce Edge, rainbow jersey dresses and was included in the Battle of Versailles 1973 (when five French designers were pitted against against five Americans). Burrows was the first Black designer to win a Coty Award. He dressed Michele Obama in a matte jersey pantsuit in 2009 and, in 2014, created his third Barbie®doll, Nisha. Burrows received the André Leon Talley Lifetime Achievement Award at an exhibition of his work entitled An American Master of Invention at Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD).  

DAPPER DAN

Gucci and Dapper Dan’s Collaboration in 2018. (Photo Credit: Gucci X Dapper Dan)

Dapper Dan was a legendary streetwear designer from Harlem, known for his bold and irreverent designs that fused high fashion with streetwear. He was a pioneer of the “Hip Hop Fashion” movement and continues to inspire designers today.

WILLI SMITH

Willi Smith surrounded by models in his fall 1972 Collection. (Photo Credit: Willi Smith Archives)

Willi Smith was a fashion designer who rose to prominence in the late 1970s and early 1980s. He was best known for his colorful and whimsical sportswear designs, which blended elements of streetwear and high fashion. Smith was one of the first African-American designers to achieve mainstream success and his eponymous fashion label, WilliWear, became popular among both celebrities and everyday consumers. Unfortunately, Smith passed away in 1987 at the age of 39.

BYRON LARS

For famed designer Byron Lars, the Spring 2012 collection was about giving up control! (Photo Credit: Essence)

Byron Lars is an American fashion designer and the creative force behind the Byron Lars Beauty Mark label. He is known for his timeless and sophisticated designs that celebrate the feminine form and his collections often feature structured silhouettes, bold prints, and rich fabrics. Throughout his career, Lars received numerous accolades for his work, including the CFDA Perry Ellis Award for New Talent in 1992 and the DHL Award for Fashion Excellence in 1998. He continues to be an influential figure in the fashion industry and his collections are sold in high-end department stores and boutiques around the world.

VIRGIL ABLOH

In 2017, Virgil Abloh won the British Fashion Award for Urban Luxe Brand for his label Off-White. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

Virgil Abloh was a Ghanaian-American designer, artist, and DJ. He was best known for his work as the artistic director of Louis Vuitton’s menswear collection, as well as for his collaborations with brands such as Nike, IKEA, and Rimowa. Abloh was also the founder and CEO of his own streetwear label, Off-White, which became one of the most influential brands in the industry. He is recognized for his unique creative vision and ability to bridge the gap between streetwear and high fashion. Sadly, the designer passed away on Nov. 28, 2021, of cancer. He was only 41 years old.

OZWALD BOATENG

Ozwald Boateng celebrates Black excellence during London Fall 2022 Fashion Week. (Photo Credit: Vogue)

Ozwald Boateng is a British fashion designer who has been at the forefront of promoting Black designers in the fashion industry. He was the first Black designer to open a flagship store on London’s prestigious Savile Row.

TRACY REESE

Tracy Reese returned to her hometown of Detroit to reimagine her approach to making clothes. (Photo Credit: The New York Times)

In business since 1998, Tracy Reese is a prominent American fashion designer who has been praised for her use of color and for her partnerships with Barney’s, Bergdorf Goodman, Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom and Anthropologie. Throughout her 25 years in the industry, Reese has consistently promoted diversity and inclusivity and is a vocal advocate for greater representation of Black designers.

AURORA JAMES

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, wearing a white custom Brother Vellies gown with the words “tax the rich” at the Met Gala with designer Aurora James. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

Aurora James is a Canadian-born designer and founder of the slow-fashion brand Brother Vellies. She is known for her commitment to ethical and sustainable fashion and for her use of traditional African techniques in her designs. In 2020, in response to George Floyd’s murder, James initiated a public challenge to retailers to make good on their solidarity promise by dedicating 15 percent of their shelf space — roughly the percentage of the population that is Black in the U.S. — to Black-owned businesses. The 15 Percent Pledge resulted in 400 Black-owned brands added to the inventory of retailers in the U.S.

LAQUAN SMITH

LaQuan Smith and a model in one of his recent designs. (Photo Credit: Grazia Magazine)

LaQuan Smith is a rising star in the fashion industry and known for his daring and provocative designs. He has been praised for his innovative use of materials and his commitment to promoting inclusivity in the fashion world.

FE NOEL

Designer Fe Noel with a few of her designs. (Photo Credit: WhoWhatWear)

Fe Noel is a Brooklyn-based, Grenada-bred designer who has been praised for her use of vibrant colors and has been a vocal advocate for certain causes. For her Spring 2023, in a partnership with financial services organization TIAA, she focused on retirement inequality by creating a corset-bodice gown tiered with $1.6 million in (faux, but entirely real-looking) dollar bills – the amount of potential savings lost for women, per a 30 percent retirement income gap.

OLIVER ROUSTEING

Balmain’s Olivier Rousteing is a celebrity favorite. Here he is flanked by Kim Kardashian and Kendall Jenner. (Photo Credit: AP Images)

Oliver Rousteing is a French fashion designer and creative director of heritage brand Balmain. In 2011, he was appointed creative director, making him one of the youngest creative directors in the fashion industry, as well as one of the first Black designers to run a French luxury house. Rousteing is known for his bold, sexy and daring designs that feature a mix of luxurious fabrics, embellishments, and prints. Rousteing has been praised for his ability to merge contemporary and classical elements, creating collections that are both modern and timeless. He has also been recognized for his commitment to promoting diversity and inclusivity in the fashion industry, and for casting a diverse range of models in his fashion shows and campaigns.

TELFAR CLEMENS

Telfar Clemens at home surrounded by his signature handbags, wearing a Telfar track jacket and pants and his own Ugg slippers. (Photo Credit: Harpers Bazaar)

Telfar Clemens is the creative director and the founder of the Telfar Global fashion brand. Born in Liberia and raised in the United States, Clemens began his career in fashion in 2005 and has since become one of the most influential and innovative designers of his generation. Clemens is best known for his unisex and gender-neutral designs that challenge traditional fashion norms and celebrate individuality and diversity. He is also known for his “Bushwick Birkin” bag, which has become a cult favorite among fashion insiders and has been seen on many high-profile celebrities and influencers.

KERBY JEAN-RAYMOND

Kerby Jean-Raymond made history with Pyer Moss Couture Debut during the Fall 2021 Couture shows. (Photo Credit: WWD)

Pyer Moss is a New York-based fashion brand founded in 2013 by designer Kerby Jean-Raymond. The brand is known for its socially-conscious collections that address issues of race, politics, and culture. Jean-Raymond has received recognition for his innovative designs and thought-provoking presentations.

CHRISTOPHER JOHN ROGERS

Chistopher John Rogers (center) was the 2019 winner of the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund. (Photo Credit: CFDA)

Christopher John Rogers is a fashion designer based in New York City and is known for his use of bright colors and bold silhouettes.  The young designer gained recognition for his contributions to the industry through awards such as the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund Award and the Pratt Fashion Visionary Award. His work has been featured in prominent publications such as Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, and The New York Times.

As the world continues to debate critical race theory (CRT) and the events of the last decade, which have increased public awareness about things like housing segregation, criminal justice policies and the legacy of enslavement on Black Americans, Canadians and Europeans, the fashion industry continues to do its part by becoming a more diverse institution.

Do you think the fashion industry is doing enough to support Black fashion labels? Let us know on our social media channels Instagram and Facebook

WHAT’S ALL THE BUZZ BEHIND THIS YEAR’S SPRING 2023 COUTURE SEASON?

- - Fashion Shows

Looks from Viktor & Rolf’s Spring 2023 Couture Collection. (Photo Credit: Victor & Rolf)

I don’t know about you, but my phone hasn’t stop blowing up ever since Paris couture season started Monday, January 23rd. Haute Couture week kicked off with an unrecognizable, red-crystal-covered Doja Cat attending the Schiaparelli in a head-to-toe 30,000 red Swarovski crystals outfit. The rapper later showed up at the Viktor and Rolf show with eyebrows, a mustache, and a soul patch made from lashes. Looks like the place to be and be seen is Paris Couture Week. So, if anyone thinks couture is dead…think again!

Doja Cat wearing a red Swarovski crystal outfit

Rapper Dojo Cat wearing a Swarovski crystal-encrusted outfit (Image Credit: Marc Piasecki for Getty Images)

Haute Couture, translated as “high sewing” or “high dressmaking,” is a term that is reserved for the most exclusive and expensive garments in the fashion industry. These garments are custom-made for individual clients and are crafted by the most skilled ‘petits mains’ in the business by some of the most renown fashion houses in the world. The question of whether Haute Couture is still relevant today is a complex one, as it touches on issues of craftsmanship, artistry, exclusivity, and luxury. On one hand, Haute Couture represents the highest level of craftsmanship and artistry in the fashion industry, using the finest materials and employing techniques that are nearly extinct. The level of attention to detail and the quality of the finished product is unmatched in the fashion world and yet, in today’s fashion world, where climate change, sustainability, and attempts at reducing landfills is front and center, what purpose does the couture really serve?  If you ask fashion pundits and the fashion flock, you’ll hear that “haute couture is seen as a celebration of the art of fashion and the skills of the people who create it”. And so, it’s no wonder that a brand like Victor & Rolf, whose couture show this season caused such a controversy with their topsy-turvy, upside down and sideways dresses was a huge hit that nearly broke the internet.

In celebration of the art & craft of haute couture, University of Fashion’s social media channels (Facebook  –  Instagram) is featuring some of its couture sewing techniques this week so that you can see just how special the ‘petits mains’ are (little hands) that create these fabulous clothes. Watch as we demo how to make handmade flowers as seen on the runway at Elie Saab, the hand-rolled sheer hems at Victor & Rolf, how to sew lace side seams from Chanel and the art of tambour beading from Valentino.

Looks from Chanel’s Spring 2023 Couture Collection. (Photo Credit: Style Du Monde)

In addition to craft appreciation, Haute Couture is about fantasy. And in today’s topsy-turvy world, who doesn’t need an escape hatch? To those who can afford the price tag, Haute Couture is seen as a symbol of wealth and status, for the rest of us, it’s about fantasy and honoring the art, craft and amazing techniques that are used in their creation. Haute Couture collections inspire ready-to-wear fashion designers and although the materials and craftsmanship are well beyond reach for ready-to-wear brands, ideas often trickle down to the mass market, influencing trends within the broader fashion industry.

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

So, when you hear the buzz about whether the couture is relevant today, in a world where fast fashion and the pressure to consume less is front and center, think of Haute Couture as a living art museum where the most talented people in the world dedicate their lives to preserving a craft, creating art-to-wear pieces that are not mass-produced and sold to stores by the dozens. In sharp contrast to the fast-paced, consumerist culture of today, couture clothes are meant to last a lifetime, will never end up in a landfill – more likely in a museum – and are meant to be passed down to future generations. Viva la Haute Couture!

Here are a few of the most dramatic moments of the Spring 2023 Couture Season:

A look from Iris van Herpen’s Spring 2023 Couture Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue)

SCHIAPARELLI

Looks from Schiaparelli’s Spring 2023 Couture Collection. (Photo Credit: Hypebeast)

Daniel Roseberry blew up the internet with his fake Schiaparelli taxidermy pieces for his Spring 2023 Couture show.

CHRISTIAN DIOR

Looks from Christian Dior’s Spring 2023 Couture Collection. (Photo Credit: Grazia)

Maria Grazia Chiuri was inspired by archival pictures of Josephine Baker performing at Dior couture in 1951 New York. Baker was a leading light of the Jazz Age cabaret in Paris.

GIAMBATTISTA VALLI

Looks from Giambattisa Valli ‘s Spring 2023 Couture Collection. (Photo Credit: Perfect Wedding Magazine)

Giambattisa Valli is living la vita dolce with a couture collection filled with beautiful colors and plenty of optimism for brighter days ahead.

CHANEL

Looks from Chanel’s Spring 2023 Couture Collection. (Photo Credit: Elle)

Virginie Viard played circus ringmaster for her charming Chanel Couture show with a menagerie of mobile animal sculptures and all.

ARMANI PRIVÉ

Looks from Armani Prive’s Spring 2023 Couture Collection. (Photo Credit: Style Du Monde)

Giorgio Armani can surely use a lesson in editing as the designer sent out 77 looks for his Armani Privé Couture collection that was inspired by harlequins.

RONALD VAN DER KEMP

A look from Ronald van der Kemp’s Spring 2023 Couture Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue)

Ronald van der Kemp has taken sustainability to a new level as he turned repurposed deadstock into a glamourous and fun couture collection.

VICTOR & ROLF

A look from Viktor & Rolf’s Spring 2023 Couture Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue)

Rolf Snoeren and Viktor Horsting, the duo behind the label Viktor & Rolf sent out a delightfully topsy – turvy collection.

JEAN PAUL GAULTIER

A look from Jean Paul Gaultier’s Spring 2023 Couture Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue)

Haider Ackerman is the fourth designer to create a one-season collaboration for the house of Jean Paul Gaultier since Gaultier’s retirement. For his couture collaboration, Ackerman created a chic line-up filled with the body-sharp tailoring and scissored draping for which he has become known.

VALENTINO

A look from Valentino’s Spring 2023 Couture Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue)

Inspired by the 1980’s club scene, from Studio 54 to London’s New Romantic Blitz Club, Pierpaolo Piccioli, the designer behind Valentino, offered a youthful take by literally taking couture to the club.

FENDI

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

Kim Jones created a ravishingly delicate collection for his Fendi Couture runway show with plenty of lingerie-inspired pieces.

So tell us, when you look at couture do you appreciate the craft and consider it art?

FALL 2023/24 MENSWEAR SHOWS: FLORENCE – MILAN – PARIS

- - Fashion Shows

A look from Saint Laurent’s Fall 2023 Show. (Photo Credit: Reuters)

It’s showtime! Men’s Fall 2023/24 fashion shows were back to pre-pandemic levels as the menswear pack reunited, first in Florence to kick off  Pitti Uomo (Jan. 10-13), then Milan (Jan. 13-17) and then Paris Jan. 17 – 21).  For over 50 years, Pitti Uomo has become the beating pulse of  men’s fashion and dubbed the “menswear mecca”. In 1972, the first edition of Pitti Uomo took place, showcasing Italian tailoring and style to foreign markets. The biannual event has since become a global stage for the international menswear industry and the largest menswear trade show of its kind. Pitti Uomo is considered pivotal for launching new projects in men’s fashion and in determining future menswear trends.

According to Highsnobiety, “Another strategy that is key to the success of the fair, albeit a serendipitous one, is the prolific street style photography that occurs each season. As the ground zero for menswear style, Pitti is the gathering spot for the most stylish men in the world. It’s basically the Olympics of street style, so it’s no wonder that the elite of menswear, along with the who’s who of street style photographers and wannabe posers flock to the Fortezza da Basso each season to take part in the action.

FLORENCE

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

 

A look from Martine Rose’s Fall 2023 Show. (Photo Credit: Vogue)

Each season a guest designer is chosen to show at Pitti Uomo. Highsnobiety reports, “Organizers travel the world to scout out the best upcoming talent and thought leaders in menswear. A look back across Pitti Uomo’s guest designer list from the past 30 years is like reading who’s who of the most influential names in menswear. Yohji Yamamoto, whose first monographic show also incidentally took place at the festival; Raf Simons has shown twice as has Undercover’s Jun Takahashi“. This season they chose British designer Martine Rose, in her first runway show outside of England. Rose examined the potential crossover of British youth and cultural refinement, as she aimed for the sweet spot, where sharp tailoring cohabitates with beach-to-club seductiveness. “It’s a collection rooted to the soundwave of Italo house music,” Rose stated in her collection notes for the show.

MILAN

Looks from Dolce & Gabbana’s Fall 2023 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue)

After the Pitti show in Florence, the fashion set hopped to Milan for more men’s fashion. This season there was no holding back as several young designers from across the Channel, and major brands returned to the Milanese calendar such as Gucci, Zegna and K-Way. Here are a few major show moments:

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

Gucci opened Milan Fashion Week with much anticipation as it was the first season without the brand’s Creative Director Alessandro Michele who served as the creative director for the luxury house since 2002 and who was responsible for the revitalization of the brand. The fall 2023/24 collection was created by the brand’s in-house design team, and was an ode to the luxury house’s greatest hits, from Tom Ford’s Y2K era to ‘80s sportswear, as well as a nod to the ‘70s, with an interpretation of the brand’s coated monogram canvas. It was an uplifting stroll down memory lane.

A look from Prada’s Fall 2023 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue)

Meanwhile at Prada,  creative directors Miuccia Prada and Raf Simons presented a collection entitled “Let’s Talk About Clothes”.  The show was an ode to the ’60s with a heavy focus on boxy tailoring, as well as pieces such as suede jackets and bomber jackets. The collection opened to much fanfare as tailored suits strolled down the runway with contrasting disco collars over blazer lapels and eventually over various outerwear pieces and open-chested cardigans. The design duo also touched on the streetwear trend with their billowing bomber jackets – in cropped and oversized versions –all with a sophisticated hand.

Looks from Fendi’s Fall 2023 Collection. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

Some of the best outerwear of the season was courtesy of Fendi. Designed by Silvia Venturini Fendi, the collection explored asymmetrical silhouettes with sharp layering that will surely be a hit with the street style influencers. Fendi continued to celebrate the 25 year anniversary of their baguette bag by featuring mens’ versions throughout the show.

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

JW Anderson had one of the most playful shows during the Men’s Milan Fashion Week as models paraded down the runway carrying pillows, wearing frog sandals, graphic-printed knit underwear, and fluffy long dress tops.

A look from Giorgio Armani’s Fall 2023 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue)

Giorgio Armani, who is almost 90, showed on the last day of Milan Fashion Week. The elegant designer’s collection revisited a style of dress that is rich, quiet, and evocative of a metropolis as somber as it is elegant.

PARIS

Looks from Dior Men’s Fall 2023 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue)

Paris Men’s Fashion Week was in top form with a dynamic season of shows from Dior to Loewe. Here are a few major show moments:

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

A tale of two Givenchys as designer Matthew M. Williams played with the juxtaposition between exquisite minimalistic tailoring and intriguing mis-matched garments that were a tad too garish.

The suits sported sharp lines, neatly pointed shoulders, and nipped waists that turned the silhouette into an elongated hourglass. They were – the house said – “defiantly unhemmed at the seams.” Black gloves gave these looks a playful yet sinister quality.

“The world has a lot of options for everybody,” Williams said in his collection notes. “That’s what’s so beautiful about Givenchy: a brand that makes T-shirts for young people and then there’s people that want to buy couture tailoring jackets. It hits the whole gamut.”

While Givenchy’s show had mixed reviews, Saint Laurent had an incredible moment during Paris Fashion Week. Designer Anthony Vaccarello presented 46 looks that where both cohesive and struck a chord with the fashion crowd. Vaccarello brought the dark, elongated silhouettes of Saint Laurent’s women’s wardrobe to a gender-fluid and aesthetically precise fall men’s display.

Key looks included floor-sweeping Matrix-style leather coats, chic tuxedo coats, and dramatic bow neckties evoking a New Romantics era.

A look from LGN’s Fall 2023 Show. (Photo Credit: Vogue)

From dark romance to American Psycho horror (novel by Bret Easton Ellis), this was the inspiration behind Louis Gabriel Nouchi’s collection for his label LGN. A number of looks were styled with shiny black plastic gloves and blood (fake) splattered faces.

A look from Louis Vuitton’s Fall 2023 Collection. (Photo Credit: AFP)

Singer Rosalía stunned guests at Louis Vuitton’s dramatic, digital age-themed menswear show with a surprise set atop a vintage 1980s yellow sedan, in shades and a hooded jacket.

Following the devastating death of former artistic director Virgil Abloh in 2021, the Louis Vuitton Men’s Studio has taken over the brand’s creative control. For the luxury house’s fall 2023 show, the set replicated a vintage childhood home recreated inside the Louvre’s oldest courtyard – which showed a continuity with the coming-of-age style that defined Abloh’s aesthetic for the brand.

This season, the youthful studio team and guest designer Colm Dillane, the founder of KidSuper, channeled growing up as members of the first generation raised in the digital age. Patterns conjured encrypted computer coding, while handwritten notes – relics in today’s world – were upcycled to produce a surreal white suit and top hat look constructed entirely of note paper.

At times the collection depended on gimmicks, such as pixelated apples on an otherwise beautiful round-shouldered wool coat, but the best looks were minimalist, such as a light grey suit jacket that sported one large childlike button showcasing masterful construction with interlocking layers of fabric.

A look from Rick Owens’ Fall 2023 Collection. (Photo Credit: AP)

Rick Owens stayed true to his gothic, artistic approach to fashion for his fall menswear collection in Paris which was inspired by ancient Egypt – specifically the former pharaonic stronghold of Luxor. Think high pharaonic priest meets high-octane 70s rock star. Throw in some dramatic alien-like spiked shoulders that are now an Owens staple, and you have a devilishly good show.

So tell us, do you have a fav look from the menswear fall 2023/24 collections?

PRE-FALL TRENDS & CELEBRATING MLK DAY

- - Trends

Looks from Dior’s Pre-Fall 2023 Collection. (Photo Credit: Dior)

Happy 2023! As we all look with cautious optimism toward to a post pandemic world, fashion designers seemed to be conflicted when creating their Pre-Fall 2023 collection: practicality vs drama. For non-followers of fashion, most clothes seen on the runway seem frivolous, unwearable and created solely to shock ‘n awe. For the most part, that’s absolutely the truth. Do you ever  watch a runaway show and say, “who’d ever wear that?” Well, you’re not alone. Most runway fashion are created for social media click bait. However, there are moments of wearable/salable fashion and those are featured in a fashion season called ‘Pre-Fall’.

Before we talk about some of the 2023 pre-fall trends, let’s discuss what this ‘season’ actually means.  For starters, it’s the longest-running of all the fashion seasons (Spring, Summer, Resort Fall, Pre-Fall and Couture). It’s open to buyers and press in November and wraps up on the heels of spring couture in January. Usually, pre-fall collections offer more commercial looks, thus giving retailers the opportunity to introduce new merchandise to their customers between the fall and spring collections. Pre-fall, like resort, is an extremely important selling season with merchandise available on the sales floor and on e-commerce sites for up to six months.

A look from Balmain’s Pre-Fall 2023 Collection. (Photo Credit: Balmain)

Today it has become increasingly difficult to define a particular season as designers show various interpretations of what exactly “pre-fall” means. The name (pre-fall) refers to autumn, but the deliveries hit stores and shopping sites in the beginning of summer. Confused yet? Designers present everything from fur coats to crochet dresses and everything in between. So, the terminology is perhaps a misnomer to many designers, retailers, and consumers. So shouldn’t the season be looked at as a transitional one? As designers address the needs of clients worldwide, where temperatures vary dramatically, especially as we experience climate change, and depending on what continent you live.

Chanel Pre-Fall 2023 is the first European fashion house to show in Sub-Saharan Africa. (Photo Credit: ID Magazine)Pre-fall can also be looked at as a prelude to the next runway collection; an opportunity to test what works and doesn’t work with clients. For many designers, pre-fall can help lay-out the groundwork for many of the silhouettes , colors, and ideas that appear in the following season.

So, as we continue to contemplate the churning out of merch that leads to more clothes in stores with less than stellar sales and their affect on our planet, here are the key Pre-Fall ‘practicality vs drama’ trends:

Looks from Carolina Herrera’s Pre-Fall 2023 Collection. (Photo Credit: Carolina Herrera)

 

DARK ROMANCE

Netflix’s series Wednesday is breaking records for the streaming service, so it’s no surprise that Wednesday Adams has become a fashion muse. For pre-fall designers are showcasing a number of black lace looks.

A look from Etro’s Pre-Fall 2023 Collection. (Photo Credit: Etro)

A look from Philosophy di Lorenzo Serafini’s Pre-Fall 2023 Collection. (Photo Credit: Philosophy di Lorenzo Serafini)

A look from Chanel Métiers d’art’s Pre-Fall 2023 Collection. (Photo Credit: Imaxtree)

A look from Stella McCartney’s Pre-Fall 2023 Collection. (Photo Credit: Stella McCartney)

A look from Batsheva’s Pre-Fall 2023 Collection. (Photo Credit: Batsheva)

IN TRENCHES

This Pre-Fall season the iconic trench coat is back in a major way, but these variations are anything but basic.

Looks from Carolina Herrera’s Pre-Fall 2023 Collection. (Photo Credit: Carolina Herrera)

A look from Erdem’s Pre-Fall 2023 Collection. (Photo Credit: Erdem)

A look from Lafayette 148’s Pre-Fall 2023 Collection. (Photo Credit: Lafayette 148)

A look from Victoria Beckham’s Pre-Fall 2023 Collection. (Photo Credit: Victoria Beckham)

A look from Stella McCartney’s Pre-Fall 2023 Collection. (Photo Credit: Stella McCartney)

POCKET CHANGE

One of the biggest Y2K micro trends has been the return of oversized cargo pockets. From safari-inspired jackets to elegant sequin eveningwear. It looks like the cargo trend is here to stay thanks to its practically and ease.

Looks from Brandon Maxwell’s Pre-Fall 2023 Collection. (Photo Credit: Brandon Maxwell)

A look from Ser.o.ya’s Pre-Fall 2023 Collection. (Photo Credit: Ser.o.ya)

A look from Et Ochs’ Pre-Fall 2023 Collection. (Photo Credit: Et Ochs)

A look from 3.1 Phillip Lim’s Pre-Fall 2023 Collection. (Photo Credit: Imaxtree)

A look from Diesel’s Pre-Fall 2023 Collection. (Photo Credit: Diesel)

KNIT WIT

Sultry knits take center stage this season from effortless dresses to cropped cardigans.

A look from Givenchy’s Pre-Fall 2023 Collection. (Photo Credit: Givenchy)

A look from Ferragamo’s Pre-Fall 2023 Collection. (Photo Credit: Ferragamo)

A look from Hervé Leger’s Pre-Fall 2023 Collection. (Photo Credit: Hervé Leger)

A look from Proenza Schouler’s Pre-Fall 2023 Collection. (Photo Credit: Proenza Shouler)

A look from Thom Browne’s Pre-Fall 2023 Collection. (Photo Credit: Thom Browne)

IN FRINGE

Designers are getting frisky this season with a variety of fringe looks from dramatic capes to sexy skirts.

A look from Roberto Cavalli’s Pre-Fall 2023 Collection. (Photo Credit: Roberto Cavalli)

A look from LaPointe’s Pre-Fall 2023 Collection. (Photo Credit: LaPoint)

A look from Oscar de la Renta’s Pre-Fall 2023 Collection. (Photo Credit: Oscar de la Renta)

A look from Hervé Leger’s Pre-Fall 2023 Collection. (Photo Credit: Hervé Leger)

A look from Proenza Schouler’s Pre-Fall 2023 Collection. (Photo Credit: Proenza Schouler)

COLLAR UP

Dramatic collars are back this season with a fresh take on the prim and proper motif.

A look from Erdem’s Pre-Fall 2023 Collection. (Photo Credit: Erdem)

A look from Etro’s Pre-Fall 2023 Collection. (Photo Credit: Etro)

A look from Alberta Ferretti’s Pre-Fall 2023 Collection. (Photo Credit: Alberta Ferretti)

A look from Roberto Cavalli’s Pre-Fall 2023 Collection. (Photo Credit: Roberto Cavalli)Balmain

GETTING READY TO CELEBRATE BLACK HISTORY MONTH

As the Pre-Fall season wraps on January 16th, the Martin Luther King holiday, and as we prepare to celebrate Black History Month in February, UOF wants to highlight a few of our favorite pre-fall looks created by people of color:

A look from Olivier Rousteing’s Balmain Pre-Fall 2023 Collection. (Photo Credit: Balmain)

A look from Christopher John Rogers’ Pre-Fall 2023 Collection. (Photo Credit: Christopher John Rogers)

 

A video about Rihanna’s X Fenty upcoming collection. Video Credit Fashion Today on YouTube

 

WHY NOT HAVE YOUR NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTION BE ABOUT SUSTAINABILITY?

- - Sustainability

Climate activists. (Photo Credit:Prakati India.in)

Happy New Year! As we kick off 2023 in style, let your New Year’s Resolution count. Why not look to become more sustainable this new year, both personally, as well as in your work as a fashion professional or as an aspiring one?

The start of a new year is often a time of reflection. A time to learn from past mistakes. Were you as eco-minded as you would have liked last year? Did you compost? Did you make fashion purchases with landfills in mind? Was sustainability top of mind when you chose fabrics for your designs? Well then, maybe it’s time you do.

Climate change has been one of the biggest topics of conversation this decade, with activists like Greta Thunberg emphasizing the damning scientific facts about the future of Mother Earth. It’s the voices of our younger generation that are crying for help, and they are within their rights. If we all don’t get onboard and make changes, they will inherit a very unlivable earth.

Unfortunately, the fashion industry is known as one of the biggest and most damaging pollutants to our planet and although some strides have been made over the years, we have a long way to go in becoming carbon-neutral. It’s almost ironic that the fashion industry, who is extremely vital in implementing trends and can influence the buying habits of a majority of consumers, is not doing more.

Regulation, circularity, greenwashing and climate resilience will be hot topics in the year ahead. (Photo Credit: Getty Images, Renewcell, and Shutterstock. Collage by BoF)

Consumers buy what they are offered. And if fashion brands don’t offer sustainable products, then consumers don’t get to buy them. Simple. In a survey conducted by McKinsey during the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, “67 percent [of respondents] consider the use of sustainable materials to be an important purchasing factor, and 63 percent consider a brand’s promotion of sustainability in the same way.”

Therefore, consumers could BE the solution if only they were being offered sustainably-made products. The pressure for sustainability high. Data provided by Launchmetrics’ proprietary algorithm that measures Media Impact Value (MIV is a monetary representation my company uses for brand performance), reveals that the MIV for sustainability grew by 54% during the first semester of 2022 compared to the first semester of 2021, accounting for $2 billion and $1.3 billion in value, respectively.  The data revealed just how much discussion ‘sustainability’ generated in the media, as well as how many placements the word generated across sectors. When comparing the growing MIV to the placements that the industry generates, it is clear that consumers are beginning to make changes towards going green. This shift indicates that brands need to reevaluate their operations to project the right brand image. In order to achieve this, fashion companies need to take more concrete steps to incorporate sustainability, a process which goes further than just brand images and campaigns.

True sustainability should guarantee that the creation of each garment is environmentally and socially sound, from textiles to manufacturing all the way to fair pay and workers’ conditions. This is a massive change for an industry that has struggled with wasteful operations and negative environmental consequences for years. The fashion industry is responsible for the production of up to 10% of the global carbon dioxide output and accounts for one-fifth of the 300 million tons of plastic produced globally each year, according to the United Nations Environment Program (via Bloomberg). So obviously, incorporating sustainable practices is a challenge for the fashion industry. Nevertheless, many designers, brands, and manufacturers are open to embracing climate change.

The need for fashion to go green. (Photo Credit Getty Images)

There is some hope. In fact, fashion accounted for $618 million in MIV when it came to sustainability during the first semester of 2022, according to Launchmetrics’ sustainability report, “Making Sense of Sustainability,” which was produced in partnership with the Camera Nazionale della Moda Italiana. The report analyzed data from multiple platforms between January 2021 and October 2022. The fashion industry accounted for one-third of the overall sustainability conversations, indicating how open it is to committing to a greener future. Very encouraging.

Vivienne Westwood in February, 2018 in London. (Photo By Getty Images)

Dame Vivienne Westwood, known as the Queen of Punk was a true climate activist. Sadly, the groundbreaking designer passed away on December 29, 2022 at the age of 81. As one of the last independent brands in the UK, Westwood used her voice to educate the industry on climate change and sustainability. She was as notorious for her Kings Road Sex shop, as she was for her activism and ecological crusading. For the past 20 years Westwood supported hundreds of causes, NGOs, grass root charities and campaigns including Amnesty International, War Child and Liberty, as well as launching her own campaigning movement – Climate Revolution. She is was an ambassador for Greenpeace and in 2013 designed their official ‘Save the Arctic’ logo. In 2015, Westwood launched a global campaign to stop drilling and industrial fishing in the Arctic region.

Stella McCartney, pictured here with Vivienne Westwood in Paris in 2019, said: ‘fur is immoral, cruel and barbaric’. (Photo Credit: Getty Images_

Following in Westwood’s activism footsteps is Stella McCartney. She has been a true pioneer in the climate change movement for decades and always works with innovative sustainable textiles. The fashion industry grapples with the pressure of continuous growth, while still publicly pledging to slash greenhouse gas emissions. According to an interview with Vogue magazine, McCartney believes a balance can be struck between the two. “I do believe if we can continue to progress, and if we truly want it, then we can replace bad business with clean business,” she says.

This is just one of the reasons McCartney continues to team up with innovators that are developing more sustainable materials such as Econyl, a regenerated nylon created from discarded fishing nets and other plastic waste. In early 2023, the brand will launch its first commercially available, fully circular garment: a parka made from Econyl that is 100 percent recycled and recyclable. McCartney previously launched an Infinite Hoodie in collaboration with Adidas in 2019, made using NuCyl, a fiber designed to be broken down and reused into endless future garments. Only 50 were available at the time.

Stella McCartney is launching a new fully circular parka made from Econyl that is 100 percent recycled and recyclable. (Photo Credit: Stella McCartney)

“The parka fully closes the loop—it’s taking 100 percent waste and then [when you’re finished with it] you can either bring it back to a Stella McCartney store or you can use the QR code on there and post it, and we can then recycle it back into fiber and make it into another garment,” McCartney explains. “It’s really cool—for me it’s cooler than just going, ‘Oh, I really love neon green fuzzy boots this season.’ It’s the most fashionable thing you can do if you’re working in the world of fashion right now.”

Along with Econyl, McCartney has partnered with Bolt Threads on its Mylo “un-leather,” made from mushroom roots (the designer was part of an early “consortium” of brands backing the company) and a “wine leather” made by the Italian company Vegea made from grape waste. Meanwhile, McCartney has also helped set up a new $200 million fund called Collab SOS, which invests in companies including Bolt Threads. Other projects the fund has supported are: Natural Fiber Welding, which has created a plastic-free leather alternative called Mirum, and Protein Evolution, a start-up that has developed a process designed to allow plastic waste (including nylon and polyester) to be infinitely recycled.

“It’s important for me personally to put investment into those new start-ups and into the future of fashion because I’m in fashion,” McCartney says of her involvement in the fund in an interview with Vogue. “I’m working every day alongside so many incredible tech brands. We’re working on developing materials together and solutions, and then I’m bringing them into a business model. For me to use my partners [and] my contacts to upscale everything [via the fund]—then you can truly see a meaningful change.”

McCartney has been advocating for these textile changes within the designer community for several years now, however, she states that legislation is what is really needed for significant progress to be made. This is why she attended the G7 Summit in Cornwall in 2020 and is among a number of designers to have backed The Fashion Act in New York—a proposed bill that would require any fashion brand that does business in New York and has an annual global revenue of over $100 million to disclose their greenhouse gas emissions, as well as their energy, water, material and plastic usage, and chemical management.

McCartney makes it clear that government policies need to change around the issues of climate change. “I just thought I’d go to [Central] Saint Martins and be a fashion designer,” McCartney jokes in a Vogue interview. “But there’s a lot of work to be done. I have my political hat on or my fashion hat on; I’m a bit confused as to which one to wear half the time.”

Stella McCartney is not the only fashion designer to tirelessly work as a climate advocate. There are countless others ranging from young designers to more established brands such as, Gabriela Hearst, Mara Hoffman, Eileen Fisher, Katie Jones, Alejandra Alonso Rojas, Morgane Sézalory of Sézane, Alexandra Sipa, Emma Hill of Damson Madder, Teodora And Pavel Lozanov of Bogdar, Kevin Germanier of Germanier, Roopa Pemmaraju, Conner Ives, Misha Nonoo, Christy Dawn, Jonathan Cohen, Zero + Maria Cornejo, Katharine Hamnett, Christopher Raeburn, and Sandra Sandor to name a few.

MATERIAL EXCHANGE

If you are looking for ways to become more sustainable in your designs, you can join the Material Exchange organization. They are offering a workshop on Thursday, January 12th from 9 AM to 3 PM EST. It will be a remote impact-reduction workshop and will offer insights into sustainable sourcing solutions, as well as the know-how to adopt these solutions into your brand’s sourcing workflows. Topics covered will include: implementing sustainable design strategies; calculating transportation, material, and product impacts; assessing hotspots; shifting to responsible sourcing methods; adopting a circular business model; and creating engaging take-back plans. Participants will receive a Certificate of Completion at the end of the course!

Workshop details

What: Fashion Assessment and Impact-Reduction Workshop co-hosted by the USFIA and Material Exchange

Where: online

When: Thursday, January 12th from 9 AM to 3 PM EST

Who: any and all fashion professionals trying to reduce the environmental impacts of their products and work toward circularity at their companies

Fee: $165

Here is the link to register:

https://www.usfashionindustry.com/index.php?option=com_civicrm&task=civicrm/event/register&id=413&reset=1

UOF LESSONS ON SUSTAINABILITY

Be sure to catch UoF’s lessons on sustainable design and sourcing:

Introduction to Sustainable Fashion Design

 

Meet Sustainable Designer Parron Allen

 

 

Sustainable Materials For Fashion Design

 

Designing, Producing & Marketing a Sustainable Collection

So tell us, what will you do to create or purchase more sustainable fashion?

JACKETS REQUIRED: BIGGER THE BETTER

- - Fashion Education

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

Go big or go home. The jacket is back even as many offices are still operating within the ‘work-from-home’ format. And, as Covid restrictions ease worldwide, thanks in part to vaccines, people are starting to dress up again. One of the biggest trends of 2022 was the return (circa 1980) of the oversized blazer, which was seen on plenty of designer runways, celebrities, influencers, and street style stars. Case in point Hailey Bieber.

There’s just something about the structured silhouette that gives off a powerful and chic vibe and continues to be a breakout trend of 2022.

Hailey Bieber rocks the oversized blazer trend. (Photo Credit: Paige Six)

The sized-up tailored jackets are anything but sloppy. Whether ‘borrowed-from-the-boys’,  or new off-the-rack, these blazers come with power shoulders that mean business, even if you don’t work in a corporate office.  Oversized blazers can be worn with bike shorts, leggings, short skirts or…to cement the ‘I raided my boyfriend’s closet’ look, wear it with his trousers for that super oversized look. And to fem it up, team it up with a satin slip dress to add a cool-girl edge to your night out.

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

Fashion stylist Laura Pritchard spoke on the morning television program Good Morning America and stated, “Tailoring has earned its place on every runway during every season. Last fall, we saw the popular pantsuit, but it’s since been replaced with plaid, houndstooth and tweed miniskirt suits — ruling the runways and streets.” Pritchard also added, “Designers have brought back the oversized tailored blazer but revamped the trend with extreme bold shoulders.”

While many may think the oversized blazer trend is tricky to wear, Pritchard stated that it’s actually more versatile than one might think. The stylist offered some tips such as pair this look with slim underpinnings to balance out the extreme proportions. Another basic rule to follow, if an oversized garment is taking up half of your body, keep it slim on the other half.

Another idea is to head over to the men’s section for a huge assortment of oversized blazers rather than spending an exuberant amount of money on some of this season’s latest women’s designer picks. Another recommendation would be to add additional shoulder pads to give the shoulder some extra height.

If you are into designing, drafting and sewing your own oversized blazer, then check out University of Fashion’s blazer videos. If you’re a UoF subscriber, then you already know how to upcycle a men’s consignment shop blazer by shortening the sleeves or adding embellishment touches!

Here are some oversized fall blazers to inspire you:

TOTALLY EIGHTIES

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

BIRDS OF A FEATHER

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

GRAPHIC DESIGN

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

MINIMALISM

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

CHECK-MATE

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

HIP-PARADE

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

Check out our instructional video previews below to inspire you to create your own one-of-a-kind perfectly tailored jacket and stand out from the crowd.

 

Not yet a UoF subscriber? Well, take advantage of our once-a-year discount subscription offers: https://www.universityoffashion.com/holiday-offer/

Yearly subscription was $189/now $149

First month off our Monthly subscription of $19.95/now $14.95

Offers expire 1/2/23

DRAFTING A WOMEN’S JACKET

JACKET: INTERFACING AND LINING

WOMEN’S JACKET PAD-STITCHING & INNER CONSTRUCTION

MOUNTING & FITTING A SUIT JACKET SLEEVE

So tell us, will you be creating your own one-of-a-kind oversized jacket this holiday season?

 

KNIT MANIA: KNITTING HISTORY, TRENDS, INSPIRATION AND HOW-TO KNIT

Looks from Brandon Maxwell’s Resort 2023 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue)

It’s the holiday season and what better way to stay warm and toasty than to knit your own sweater? Or better yet, give the unique gift of a ‘handmade’ knitted sweater or poncho scarf?

In the spirit of giving, UoF is offering their once-yearly subscription discount so that you can learn how to knit (plus 500+ other videos to learn from). A UoF yearly subscription was $189 is now $149, or take advantage of our $5 off the first month of our monthly subscription (was $19.95). But the offer expires on Jan 1, 2023, so get a move on!

Here’s how to sign up: https://www.universityoffashion.com/holiday-offer/

If you are looking for inspiration, we’ve compiled some knit looks to whet your appetite, followed by links to our lessons that will teach you knitting techniques. Have a ball!

 

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

Knit History & Fun Facts

The craft of hand knitting has been practiced for thousands of years. Where and how this art was originated is still a mystery but many believe that Arabian nomads carried the craft into Europe. Still others think knitting originated in Persia, but regardless of where the craft began knitting is one of the original ‘textiles’.

Knitting is the practice of using two or more needles to pull and loop yarn into a series of interconnected loops. The word is derived from the Dutch verb ‘knutten’ or ‘knot’,  which is similar to the Old English ‘cnyttan’, “to knot”. Originally, knitting, like woven textiles, fulfilled the basic human need for protection against the elements, but as we all know, hand knitting has become less a necessary skill and more of a hobby.

The oldest knitted artifact are socks that date back to the 11th century Egypt. They are a very fine gauge, done with intricate color work and some have a short row heel, which requires the purl stitch.

1,700-Year-Old Sock –  Ancient Egyptian Fashion. (Photo Credit: British Museum)

The predecessor to knitting and crocheting was a process known as Nålebinding, a technique of making textiles by creating multiple loops with a single needle and thread, much like sewing. Some artifacts, for example 3rd-5th century CE Romano-Egyptian toe-socks, used the “Coptic stitch” of nalbinding.

During Medieval times, knitting was controlled by guilds. Knitted garments were worn only by the wealthy class. But by the 16th century knitting had advanced into a craft. During the Elizabethan era, knitting schools were established in Britain. Knitted stockings provided a revenue for the poor. These stockings were exported to Germany, Holland and Spain. During this time period men wore short trousers, so fitted stockings were a fashion necessity. A knitting technique, known as Dales knitting, began at the end of the 16th century. Items from this cottage knitting industry are preserved in the Museum of Hawes in Wensleydale.

Knitting is also significant in Scottish history. During the 17th and 18th centuries entire families were involved in knitting garments, especially sweaters, which were important to the fisherman of the Scottish Isles. Fair isle and cable patterns were used to knit sweaters. In addition, during the French-Napoleonic wars, woman gathered together to knit socks and mittens for the soldiers. This practice continued through both World War I and World War II.

Fair Isle knitting, named after one of the Shetland Islands north of Britain, is an intricate pattern believed to be knitted around 1850, yet some historians believe that fair isle knitting was inspired in 1588 when a Spanish ship was destroyed off Fair Isle and the crew encouraged native knitters to create new knitting patterns. The Prince of Wales wore a fair isle sweater in 1921.

The famous image of the Prince of Wales, later Edward VIII, wearing a Fair Isle sweater in 1921. (Photo Credit: Fraserknitwear)

Machine Knitting

The invention of the knitting machine, during the Industrial Revolution, over took the craft of hand knitting, as hand knitting was unable to compete with the speed of these knitting machines. As a result, knitting as an art and craft fell to the wayside and was mainly kept alive as a hobby.

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

Today, however, there is a renaissance of hand knitting. Various techniques from around the world are being combined and specialty yarns have been created from various fibers. The results have been quite impressive. Knitting has become fashionable, even celebrities including Julia Roberts, Winona Ryder, Dakota Fanning, and Cameron Diaz have been seen knitting, which has helped popularize the revival of the art of knitting.

So, why not cozy up with a cup of tea and watch our instructional videos on how to hand knit and crochet. Each lesson lists the yarn amounts and the tools you’ll need. Oh, by the way, Marcie, our instructor is a knit/crochet pro. Let these resort 2023 looks inspire your next creation.

BOLD STRIPES

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

CRAFTY CROCHET

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

COLORBLOCK

A look from Gabriela Hearst’s Resort 2023 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue)

NAUTICAL STRIPES

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

MARBLED KNITS

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

EMBELLISHED SWEATERS

A look from Max Mara’s Resort 2023 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue)

Check out these UoF lesson previews to inspire you!

KNITTING A PONCHO SCARF

 

KNITTING A RAISED RIB STITCH

KNITTING A SWEATER

KNITTING A TRELLIS LACE STITCH

So tell us, what would you like to hand-knit this holiday season?

 

 

HOW TO SHOP YOUR CLOSET & BRUSH UP ON YOUR EMBELLISHMENT SKILLS IN TIME FOR THE HOLIDAYS

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

The holiday season is around the corner, and while designers are offering plenty of fabulous festive looks in their holiday/resort collections, here at UOF, we want to teach you how to embroider, embellish and bead your own pieces. It’s no surprise that the art of embroidery is taking the fashion industry by storm. With COVID-19 lockdowns worldwide, many fashion creatives looked to crafty techniques to help pass the time and to revitalize and customize their wardrobes.

Of course, in the world of fashion insiders, customized clothing is widely embraced by celebrities, street-style stars, and influencers. And nothing shouts personalization more than peacocking embroidered and embellished items.

A look from Giambattista Valli’s Resort 2023 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue)

While embroidery dates back to 30,000 B.C., the intricate technique has become popular again and proves to be a mainstay in fashion settings. Embroidery is the craft of decorating textiles using a needle to apply thread or yarn. The word embroidery is derived from the French word broderie, meaning embellishment. In a variety of forms, embroidery has existed since the creation of fabric. The technique is practiced around the globe, but its origin stems from China and the Near East. The earliest embroidery can actually be traced back to Cro-Magnon days or 30,000 B.C. Archeological finds from this time period uncoveref fossilized remains of heavily hand-stitched and decorated apparel.

According to the encyclopedia source britannica.com, further examples of embroidery are found in China dating to the Warring States period between 5th and 3rd century B.C. In Sweden, the earliest finds of embroidery are from a period known as the Viking Age, around the 9th and 10th centuries. Around the year 1000, the technique of embroidery began to rise in Europe with the expansion of the Christian church and royalty gaining power. Richly decorated garments and ornaments in the form of wall hangings and tablecloths were commissioned to display power and wealth.

Embroidery was also important in the Medieval Islamic world because it was a symbol of high social status in Muslim societies. In cities such as Damascus, Istanbul, and Cairo, embroidery could be found on items such as handkerchiefs, flags, uniforms, robes, horse trappings, pouches, and covers.

However, by the 18th century England and its colonies, embroidery became a skill marking a girl’s passage into womanhood, as well as expressing rank and social standing. Soon after, however, the advancement of the embroidery machine and mass production came about in stages during the Industrial Revolution. The earliest machine embroidery, discovered in France in the mid-1800s, utilized a combination of machine looms and hand embroidery.

By the early 1900s, mail order catalogs and pattern papers helped embroidery become more widespread. The intricate craft was no longer just a hobby of the upper class, as it could now be done on less expensive fabrics.

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

Present-day embroidery looks quite different from the delicate needlework of the past. Most contemporary embroidery is stitched with a computerized embroidery machine using patterns that are “digitized” with computer software. While the style and technique of modern embroidery may be different from its earliest roots, the main purpose of embroidery remains the same. Embroidery was, and will always be, a fashionable way for people to adorn their homes and themselves. We’re here to tell you that you can learn it at UoF. So…get into your closet, find an item that you think would benefit from an embellishment then crank up your computer and let us teach you how to bead and embroider. Upcycle, recycle and turn that garment into WOW!

Here are a few pieces to inspire you:

GLITZ UP YOUR FAVORITE DENIM JACKET

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

ADD FRINGE TO THAT LITTLE BLACK DRESS

A look from Jason Wu’s Resort 2023 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue)

EMBROIDER A SIMPLE PANT

A look from Christian Dior’s Resort 2023 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue)

EMBELLISH A KNIT SWEATER

A look from Max Mara’s Resort 2023 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue)

ADD APPLIQUÉ TO A SIMPLE SHEATH

A look from Oscar de la Renta’s Resort 2023 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue)

EMBROIDER A SHAWL

A look from Christian Dior’s Resort 2023 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue)

BEAD & APPLIQUÉ YOUR FAVORITE SKIRT

A look from Alexander McQueen’s Resort 2023 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue)

Check out our lesson previews to learn how to add embellishments of all types:

SILK RIBBON EMBROIDERY

TAMBOUR EMBROIDERY

TAMBOUR BEADING

BEADING NEEDLE EMBROIDERY

INTRO TO HAND EMBROIDERY

 

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THE COUNCIL OF FASHION DESIGNERS TURNS 60

- - Fashion Events

Ezra J. William, Tina Leung, Prabal Gurung, Laura Kim, Eva Chen and Phillip Lim won the the Positive Social Influence Award. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

American fashion’s second ‘biggest’ night took place on Monday, Nov. 7, 2022 (the first being the MET Gala), when the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA), in partnership with Amazon Fashion, held its 2022 Fashion Awards extravaganza at Cipriani South Street in New York City.  An orange-haired and comical Natasha Lyonne, the evening’s host, was joined by designers Gabriela Hearst, Joseph Altuzarra, Aurora James and Proenza Schouler’s Lazaro Hernandez and Jack McCollough. What was so special about the 2022 CFDA awards was it marked the CFDA’s 60th anniversary.

Natasha Lyonne in Proenza Schouler hosted the CFDA Awards. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

If you are a true blue follower of all things fashion, like us, then you were most likely streaming the show real time. But you just have to wonder whether there is a course on how to pose on the Red Carpet. Don’t know about you, but we had endless fun watching as each of the designers and celebs lined up in cue against the CFDA backdrop, and to quote Madonna, “struck a pose”.

As usual, this year CFDA Fashion Award honorees were chosen in advance of the show but the award winners were announced at the awards ceremony. Winners were voted on ahead of time by the CFDA Awards Guild, which is comprised of CFDA members, leading fashion journalists, stylists, and top retail executives.

The most coveted awards are always American Womenswear Designer of the Year and American Menswear Designer of the Year. Actress Christina Ricci presented the American Womenswear Designer of the Year award to Catherine Holstein of KHAITE (takes its name from the Greek word (χαίτη) meaning “long, flowing hair.”). Holstein’s label beat out nominees Christopher John Rogers, Gabriela Hearst, LaQuan Smith, and Peter Do.

Christina Ricci and Womenswear Designer of the Year Catherine Holstein of KHAITE. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

The Daily Show’s late night television host Trevor Noah was on hand to give the American Menswear Designer of the Year to Emily Adams Bode Aujla of Bode. Actor Joel Kim Booster presented Raul Lopez of LUAR with the American Accessory Designer of the Year. And actress Keke Palmer presented the American Emerging Designer award to Elena Velez.

Trevor Noah and Menswear Designer of the Year Emily Bode Aujla. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

Cher in Chrome Hearts and Patti Wilson in Schiaparelli at the CFDA Awards. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

And of course, the event was filled with the most fashionable celebrities. Cher (can you believe she is 76?) opened the ceremony by presenting stylist Patti Wilson the Media Award in honor of Eugenia Sheppard. Later that night Cher presented another award alongside her goddaughter Jesse Jo Stark to give The Geoffrey Beene Lifetime Achievement Award to Laurie Lynn Stark and Richard Stark of Chrome Hearts; and of course, Cher rocked a Chrome Hearts look.

Kerry Washington and Stylist Award winner Law Roach. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

A major addition to the CFDA awards is the “Stylist Award”. Those in the know, know that without stylists, a runway show or a photoshoot would be meh. Stylists work with designers, celebs  and photographers to put the “wow factor” into a designer’s designs or create a celebrity’s ‘look’. We can’t believe it took this long for the CFDA to recognize these change makers.

Stylist Law Roach received the inaugural Stylist Award from Kerry Washington. Roach gave one of the most memorable speeches of the night. The stylist extraordinaire shared that in 2016 Zendaya was invited by Michael Kors to attend the CFDA Awards at Hammerstein Ballroom. He watched the show from the kitchen. “I sat and watched from the kitchen with the waiters who served your food and drinks,” Roach said. “I said to myself that one day I’m going to be on that stage! I’m an example that anything and everything is possible.”

Natasha Lyonne and Fashion Icon Lenny Kravitz. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

The night was filled with plenty of additional highlights as well. Actor Bradley Cooper presented rock star Lenny Kravitz with the very fittingly Fashion Icon award. Meanwhile, American Businesswoman and television personality Martha Stewart presented the inaugural Innovation Award presented by Amazon Fashion to SKIMS, which was accepted by Kim Kardashian, Emma Grede, and Jens Grede. The entire Kardashian/Jenner crew (with the exception of Kourtney) attended the CFDA Awards and cheered Kim on for her big achievement.

Khloé Kardashian, Kendall Jenner, Kris Jenner, Kim Kardashian, Kylie Jenner

There were plenty of additional wins for the evening including Andrew Bolton receiving the The Founder’s Award in honor of Eleanor Lambert from non-other than Anna Wintour, Jeffrey Banks receiving the Special Anniversary Award from Stan Herman,  The United Nations receiving the Environmental Sustainability Award from Amber Valletta, and The House of Slay—aka Prabal Gurung, Laura Kim, Phillip Lim, Tina Leung, and Ezra William—receiving the Positive Social Influence Award from Eva Chen. During one of the a tearful moments of the night, Shannon Abloh accepted the posthumous Board of Trustee’s Award on behalf of her late husband, Virgil Abloh.

AND THE WINNERS ARE……

American Womenswear Designer of the Year: Catherine Holstein for Khaite

American Menswear Designer of the Year: Emily Bode Aujla for Bode

American Accessory Designer of the Year: Raul Lopez for Luar

American Emerging Designer of the Year: Elena Velez

Fashion Icon: Lenny Kravitz

Positive Social Influence Award: Slaysians from The House of Slay featuring Prabal Gurung, Laura Kim, Phillip Lim, Tina Leung and Ezra William

Founder’s Award in Honor of Eleanor Lambert: Andrew Bolton

Amazon Innovation Award: Kim Kardashian, Emma Grede and Jens Grede of Skims

Geoffrey Beene Lifetime Achievement Award: Laurie Lynn Stark and Richard Stark of Chrome Hearts

Media Award in Honore of Eugenia Sheppard: Patti Wilson

Environmental Sustainability Award: The United Nations (to be accepted by Ms. Amina J. Mohammed, United Nations Deputy Secretary-General)

Stylist Award: Law Roach

Special Anniversary Award: Jeffrey Banks

Gigi Hadid, Thom Browne and Anna Wintour at the CFDA Awards Dinner. (Photo Credit: FashionWeekDaily)

So tell us, do you have a fav designer?

WILL THE METAVERSE & PHYGITAL BECOME THE CENTER OF YOUR FASHION UNIVERSE?

- - Technology

British Fashion Council launched a Metaverse Fashion Award red carpet on Roblox. (Photo Credit: Hypebae)

Fashion week in any major city if often described as a sensory explosion, with vibrations of bass-heavy music as models sashay down the runway in an elaborate display of a designer’s latest collection. While established labels often dominate the various Fashion Weeks, this year was a bit different. The new kids in town not only showcased their work as physical designs, but also digitally, or better known as “phygitally” (physical and digital)

So much buzz is generated around New York Fashion Week for traditional designers, but are you familiar with the Nolcha Shows? These shows, also held during NYFW, are where independent fashion designers showcase their collections to a global audience of press, retailers, stylists and industry influencers. Over the past eleven years the Nolcha Shows have become an established platform of discovery; promoting cutting edge innovative fashion designers through runway shows and exhibitions. The real Future of Fashion?

This past September, during NYFW Nolcha Shows, blockchain gaming ecosystem Chain Guardians took up space next to traditional designers, presenting their phygital take on classic designs. Their collection included a colorful, anime-style bodysuit, which included an NFC chip that, when scanned, was linked to a non-fungible token (NFT) that is wearable in the Chain Guardians metaverse. With a virtual reality (VR) headset, a user can physically try on garments, as well as interact with the brand’s virtual storefront.

Megan Kaspar is the managing director of Web3 venture capital firm Firstlight, and founding member of digital fashion house Red DAO. By the way, in tech lingo, a DAO is a decentralized autonomous organization (DAO) – a system developed to distribute decision-making, management, and entity ownership dictated by code on a blockchain. Kaspar has been a pioneer in blockchain-based digital wearables Web3 styling. In October 2021, she “wore” three pieces from DRESSX – a multi-brand retailer of digital-only clothing, NFT fashion items and augmented reality (AR) looks – on a Yahoo! Finance news segment using AR filters. In January, she had nine digital Fendi pieces tailored and transposed onto a photo of herself for the cover of Haute Living.

Megan Kaspar’s Haute Living Magazine cover. (Photo Credit: Haute Living)

“As we move to a reality where device disruption keeps occurring in the near term…that will come with the use of more digital fashion,” Kaspar told CoinDesk.

Kaspar describes digital fashion as having four major use cases at present in her interview with CoinDesk.

One of Dolce & Gabbana’s debut NFTs. (Photo Credit: Wired)

For starters, there are digital-only garments sold as NFTs, which are intended to be worn in the metaverse. This form of digital fashion was embraced by Tommy Hilfiger, Dolce & Gabbana, Forever 21 and dozens more designers who released full collections on the metaverse platform Decentraland during the launch of Metaverse Fashion Week in March 2022.

The second is AR photo filters, which Kaspar used in her appearance on Yahoo! Finance. These filters are often used to create overlays on social media platforms like Snapchat, Instagram and TikTok, and can easily be integrated into live videos or photos.

The next example is digital tailoring, meaning that after a real-life photo is taken, digital garments can be placed onto a user’s photo, which is how Kaspar rocked Fendi on her Haute Living magazine cover.

NFT Nike Sneaker. (Photo Credit: Nike)

Last but not least, Kaspar mentions that people can also view digital fashion as investable assets – such as buying NFT garments as speculative assets, such as a pair of NFT sneakers to resell for a profit. Alternatively, consumers who purchase a rare digital designer handbag can prove their ownership over the asset on the blockchain.

Mason Rothschild’s 100 MetaBirkins NFTs honoring Hermes. (Photo Credit: Medium)

Kaspar states that while many people view digital fashion as speculative investments for now, she believes that a “pretty viable solution” for mass adoption of these technologies will be created within the next five years.

Many emerging brands are looking to digital fashion and technology to help solve many of the problems plaguing the fashion industry, such as sustainability.

One of the biggest issues the fashion industry faces is the production of fast fashion, which has practically doubled within the last twenty years. Present fashion consumption trends result in enormous amounts of textile waste, most of which is sent to landfills, burned, or sent to developing countries. Additionally, it was estimated in 2019, that textile production creates over 1.2 billion tons of greenhouse gasses per year, larger than all international flights and maritime shipping combined.

Of course, there are still concerns about evolving technologies like NFTs and their environmental impact due to energy consumption, but some emerging designers have found ways to use NFTs to tackle issues of overproduction and overconsumption of apparel. Notably, the Merge, Ethereum’s transition from proof-of-work to proof-of-stake consensus mechanisms has reduced the network’s energy use by over 99% to help make most NFT transactions more efficient.

KRWN Studio NFT. (Photo Credit: KRWN Studio)

KRWN Studio, a small fashion brand that sells virtual streetwear as NFTs, aims to make fashion greener by manufacturing garments on the blockchain.

Digitally native brands that adopt a phygital model take on some of the environmental responsibility related to manufacturing, including the physical production of garments alongside minting digital replicas as NFTs. Although, many recognize that they can scale operations and mindfully release products in small batches to avoid mass production.

Digital wearables present users with tools for self-expression and are often used to adorn an avatar or another form of a digital identity. Metaverse Fashion Week, for example, was fueled by a desire for self-expression and individuality online.

Digital fashion also makes the fashion industry more accessible for both producers and consumers. NFTs make it easier for a designer to get their pieces out to the public and provide a wider range of prices for consumers.

Web3 wearables marketplace The Dematerialised (DMAT) prides itself on using blockchain technology to fix the mistakes of other retail giants. Co-founder Karinna Nobbs told CoinDesk that DMAT prioritizes accessibility and hopes to set a standard for future digital fashion houses.

“Whether crypto native or non-crypto native, people should be able to access digital fashion and NFTs. For us to have a luxury and an aspirational aesthetic, but to be able to have accessibility at different economic points, is really important,” Nobbs told CoinDesk.

For designers and creators in digital spaces, the limitations of what fashion is and who is invited into the exclusive world continue to grow. The digital fashion landscape is now infinite and spans various platforms and mediums. Digital images are finally moving  away from blocky 8-bit creations (an 8-bit image is a method of storing image information in a computer’s memory or in an image file, so that each pixel is represented by 8 bits (1 byte) to more life-like images.

Fortnite X Polo Ralph Lauren. (Photo Credit: Ralph Lauren)

Even video games have collaborated with fashion designers. Fortnite has had ‘digital skins’ from Balenciaga, and Ralph Lauren. Nintendo Switch also got into the fashion world with their game Animal Crossings with designers like Marc Jacobs and Valentino creating looks for avatars.

Tommy Hilfiger’s virtual collection with Roblox. (Photo Credit: The Fashion Starter)

If you still think that digital fashion is a thing of the future, well, we’re here to tell you the future is NOW.  According to Business of Fashion, Roblox says it has over 11.5 million users designing over 63 million virtual clothing and accessories for its virtual worlds, and millions more are willing to pay for these items to dress their avatars, according to a new study released by Roblox and Parsons School of Design. Most of these items were created by users rather than established brands, so we are pretty sure we can soon expect to see designer Roblox-specific items. Business of Fashion also reported that Alice Delahunt left her role as Ralph Lauren’s chief digital and content officer to strike out on her own and to start a new web3 company in the belief that digital fashion is reaching a turning point.

All this is our way of telling you to subscribe to UoF and start learning all about 3D design software. Check out our 3 new lessons in Browzwear:

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UoF lesson: Intro to 3D Design

 

Iris Hopkins - first lesson in 3D for

UoF lesson in 3D stitching

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UoF 3D lesson in creating a pant

So, tell us, are you as excited as we are about 3D designing in the metaverse?