University of Fashion Blog

Posts by: 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.

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

- - Sustainability

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Genuine Non-Leather 

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

Enter…genuine non-leather.

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

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

 

Cruelty-Free Silk Altermatives

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

Enter…Spider Alternatives.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

THE MATERIALS

LEATHER

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

 

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

 

SILK

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

Sustainability in Fashion. (Photo Credit: Bibalex)

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

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

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

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

ORGANIC COTTON

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

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

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

RECYCLED COTTON

Recycled Cotton Denim. (Photo Credit: Cottonworks)

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

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

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

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

ORGANIC HEMP

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

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

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

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

ORGANIC LINEN

Organic linen dresses. (Photo Credit: The Filtery)

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

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

ORGANIC BAMBOO (AKA BAMBOO LINEN)

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

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

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

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

CORK

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

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

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

A LIST OF SUSTAINABLE FABRICS

Fashion created by nature. (Photo Credit: Grailed)

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

Sustainable Semi-Synthetic Fabrics (mostly vegan)

Lyocell

Modal

Bamboo Lyocell

EcoVero

Pinatex

Scoby Leather

S.Cafe

Qmonos

Brewed Protein

Apple leather

Woocoa

Cupro

QMilk

Vegan, Synthetic Fabrics

ECONYL

Recycled polyester

Animal Derived Natural Fabrics (sustainable depending on source)

Sheep Wool

Merino Wool

Alpaca Wool

Cashmere

Camel

Yak Wool

Vegetable Tanned Leather

Down

Silk

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

BARBIECORE & WHY BARBIE IS NOT JUST SOME DUMB BLONDE

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

HISTORY OF BARBIE

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

The Stolen Legacy of Bild Lilli

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

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

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

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

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

Professional & Activist Barbie

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Meet Ann Driskill – Barbie Designer

Ann Driskill (Barbie designer at Mattel ) 

 

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

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

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

Francesca: Where is Barbie manufactured?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

MUSEUMS ARE CRAZY FOR FASHION: FIND OUT WHY

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

VIRGIL ABLOH: “FIGURES OF SPEECH”

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

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

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

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

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

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

FASHIONING MASCULINITIES: THE ART OF MENSWEAR

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

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

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

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

THE ROYAL COLLECTION TO CELEBRATE THE QUEEN’S PLATINUM JUBILEE

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

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

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

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

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

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

AFRICAN FASHION

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

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

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

PART TWO –  IN AMERICA: AN ANTHOLOGY OF FASHION

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

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

GIANNI VERSACE RETROSPECTIVE

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

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

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

BARBIE: A CULTURAL ICON EXHIBITION

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

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

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

LEE ALEXANDER MCQUEEN: MIND, MYTHOS, MUSE

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

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

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

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

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

SHOCKING! THE SURREAL WORLD OF ELSA SCHIAPARELLI

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

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

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

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

GUO PEI: COUTURE FANTASY

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

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

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

THE MAGIC OF COUTURE: FALL 2022-2023 SHOWS

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A BRIEF HISTORY OF HAUTE COUTURE

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

HAUTE COUTURE FALL 2022-2023 TRENDS

THE JEANPOOL

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

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

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

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

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

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

GREENDAY

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

THE ROMANTICS

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

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

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

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

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

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

SHEER LEADERS

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

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

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

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

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

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

SHIRT STORIES

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

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

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

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

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

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

BROAD WAY

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

FRINGE BENEFITS

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

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

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

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

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

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

BOUDOIR FAIRE

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

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

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

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

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

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

SHINE LANGUAGE

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

GREEK REVIVAL

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

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

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

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

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

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

MENSWEAR 2023 SHOWS: THE MOST COLORFUL EVER

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

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

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

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

LONDON

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

 

FLORENCE 

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

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

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

MILAN

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

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

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

PARIS

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

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

MEANWHILE…

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

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

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

GO FOR BAROQUE

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

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

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

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

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

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

A FORMAL AFFAIR

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

JEAN SPIRIT

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

BRIEF ENCOUNTERS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

IN FULL BLOOM

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

THINK PINK

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

LOGO MANIA

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

ABOUT FACE

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Rainbow Flag. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

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

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

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

CHER X VERSACE

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

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

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

CONVERSE

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

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

COACH

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

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

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

LEVI’S

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

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

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

RALPH LAUREN

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

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

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

VINYARD VINES

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

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

UGG

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

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

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

PUMA

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

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

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

KATE SPADE NEW YORK

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

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

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

SAKS FIFTH AVENUE

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

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

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

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

NORDSTROM

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

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

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

CAROLINA HERRERA

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

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

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

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

CRUISE CONTROL: RESORT 2023 TRENDS

- - Fashion Shows

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

IN-VEST

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

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

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

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

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

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

WELL SUITED

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

SHIRT-CIRCUIT

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

TAKE A BOW

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

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

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

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

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

PRIMA GALLERINA

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

TIME TO SHINE

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

MATCH-SET

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

MELLOW YELLOW

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

THE HOTTEST FASHION COLLABORATIONS OF 2022

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

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

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

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

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

GIVENCHY X DISNEY

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

ADIDAS X GUCCI

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

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

ADIDAS X PRADA

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

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

FENDACE

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

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

KENZO X NIGO

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

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

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

BIRKENSTOCK X MANOLO BLAHNIK

Manolo Blahnik for Birkenstock. (Photo Credit: WWD)

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

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

BURBERRY X SUPREME

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

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

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

BARBIE X BALMAIN

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

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

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

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

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

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

FASHION’S LONG ROAD TO INCLUSIVITY

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ink Drawing Plus Size Female Figure

 

Drawing Androgynous Men’s and Women’s Figures

 

Plus Size: Statistics & Body Types 

 

Plus Size: Models, Illustrators, Designers and More

 

Plus Size: Social Media Influencers

 

Plus Size: Social Media Influencers 

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