University of Fashion Blog

Category "Current Topics in Fashion"

ANNOUNCING OUR NEW DIGITAL MARKETING SERIES


MEET YOUR NEW INSTRUCTOR: ROZA SALAHSHOUR

The University of Fashion is honored to add Roza Salahshour to our distinguished list of talented instructors.  Roza is a Digital Marketing Consultant & founder of Branderella, a 360° branding agency based in Paris.  She will be sharing her knowledge and expertise in our new Digital Fashion Marketing series. We are pleased to announce the launch of her first lesson, Introduction to Influencer Marketing.

Whether you are an established fashion brand or an aspiring fashionprenuer, knowing the ins and outs of digital marketing puts the power in your hands when launching your brand.

Roza began her career as a graphic and multimedia designer for tech startups before pursuing her interest in digital academically through a bachelor’s degree in Web Media technology (BSC), a  joint degree program between Staffordshire University UK, and Asia Pacific University, Kuala Lumpur.

During her studies abroad in Kuala Lumpur,  Roza had the opportunity to model part-time and participate in the marketing campaign for various fashion brands, including Tommy Hilfiger, JOGSHarper’s Bazaar & Bimba & Lola. In 2012 Roza took on the role of a fashion events coordinator launching & curating fashion shows for Harley Davidson & product shows for Laura Star through their Asian divisions.  In 2013 Roza co-founded MAVN Models designing and launching its digital presence before moving to Paris to pursue her MBA in fashion, luxury & Cosmetics at IFA PARIS. 

After short assignments for COTY Beauty & Iman cosmetics, Roza was sought out by various business schools to share her diverse international experience at the intersection of fashion, technology & business.

To date, Roza has served a variety of different universities including IPI (Group IGS), IPSSI, a digital marketing school, INGETIS, a BTS web & engineering school, Toulouse Business School, GBSB Business school, Madrid  and CIEE Paris, a study abroad Institution for American students wishing to explore Paris.

During her time at INGETIS, Roza created the Introduction to Technoprenuership Program for undergraduate students in Web Development and Networking curating a range of mini-modules including Startup Universe, Cash Cow & Founder’s Story.

At IPI, Roza designed and founded the Introduction to Digital Marketing Program along with practical coursework and online examination.  For Toulouse business school, she designed the Marketing Exchange Evolution program, a multi-faceted, interdisciplinary module at the cross-section of luxury, digital, and entrepreneurship.

At GBSB Business School she teaches Social Media & Public Relations for master’s students in luxury & business.

As a creative individual passionate about digital technology, Roza enjoys creating innovative modules that help creative enterprises tap into the exciting opportunities in the digital ecosphere!

Email:  Info@rozasalahshour.com

LinkedIn:  http://linkedin.com/in/rozasalahshour

Website:  https://www.branderella.com/

Check out the lesson preview:

CAN SELF-TAUGHT FASHION DESIGNERS MAKE IT TO THE TOP?

Designer Matthew M. Williams & wife Jennifer (Photo credit: Alyx Instagram)

At UoF, we get lots of inquiries from our subscribers asking, “is it possible to make it to the top as a designer in the fashion industry as a self-taught designer or without a formal degree? The answer is yes!

Meet Matthew M. Williams, who on June 15th was named creative director at Givenchy, the 68-year old French heritage brand, founded by Hubert de Givenchy in 1952. Upon Givenchy’s  retirement (1995), the house has had a parade of notable creative directors, John Galliano, Alexander McQueen, Julien McDonald, Ricardo Tisci and Clare Wright Keller.

So how Williams an admitted self-taught designer land such a plum job? Let’s take a look at his backstory.

No Fashion School Training

Born in Chicago in 1986, Williams was brought up in Pismo Beach surrounded by California skate culture. With an appreciation for the arts but nothing more than a high school sculpture class under his belt, he enrolled at University of California, Santa Barbara to study art, but dropped out after only one semester. Finding a sales position at Maxfield’s, a high-end L.A. boutique, he was exposed to some of the best designer brands like, Dries Van Noten, Maison Margiela, Raf Simmons, Rick Owens and Commes des Garçons. These edgy brands helped shape his appreciation for tailoring and craftsmanship. 

Networking is Key

Eventually, Williams moved to New York to attend fashion school, but was rejected by Parsons. A self-confessed club kid, Williams got lucky. He met and dated Lady Gaga and began collaborating on her videos, stage shows and her on and offstage costumes. Once in that circle, Williams was able to meet famed photographer, Nick Knight, who worked with generations of fashion talent, including Yohji Yamamoto and Alexander McQueen.

Hard Work & Passion

Williams met Kanye West and became art director for his touring productions and album designs. It was there that he witnessed Kanye’s work ethic, his drive and his passion. While at Kanye, Williams was introduced to Virgil Abloh, Kanye’s then creative director (before Abloh founded Off-White and became creative director at Louis Vuitton).

By being in Kanye’s inner circle, Williams, Abloh, along with Heron Preston and Justin Saunders, founded a self-styled art and DJ collective called Been Trill, and created a social media hyped streetwear line with tons of celebrity connections. However short-lived that venture was, it lasted long enough to help define Williams’ aesthetic grounded in luxe streetwear.

Getting the Right Backer Helps

With help from 30-year streetwear veteran Luca Benini, founder of Slam Jam, Williams opened his NYC studio in 2015 on St. Mark’s Place and debuted his haute streetwear line, 1017 ALYX 9SM, named for Williams’ birth date 10/17, his daughter Alyx and 9SM, his St. Mark’s address.

His look? Tailored suits & trousers, chunky boots, signature Six Flags-inspired rollercoaster buckle belts and cross body bags, all workwear-inspired with street-smart, hard-edge military-esque undertones.

ALYX womenswear (Photo credit: alyxstudio Instagram)

ALYX womenswear (Photo credit: alyxstudio Instagram)

ALYX Six Flags rollercoaster-inspired belt buckle (Photo credit: alyxstudio Instagram)

ALYX mid-sock boot (Photo credit: alyxstudio Instagram)

In 2017, Williams added menswear and accessories to the mix. He has also done collaborations with Nike, Dior, Moncler, and Mackintosh.

ALYX men’s suit and matching crossover bag (Photo credit: alyxstudio Instagram)

ALYX jewelry (Photo credit: alyxstudio Instagram)

Williams x Nike collaboration in 2019 (Photo credit: alyxstudio Instagram)

Being at the Right Place at the Right Time

In 2016, Williams got on the radar of Sidney Toledano, the chief executive of the LVMH Fashion Group, the largest luxury conglomerate in the world, when he was chosen as one of 8 finalists for the LVMH Prize. In another strategic move, Williams debuted his collection at Paris Fashion Week in 2018 to enormous hype. In 2019, he created a buckle for his friend Kim Jones artistic director of another LVMH holding, Christian Dior Men.

Apparently LVMH was mining for another master of the high-low street-luxe hybrid for their Givenchy label, like that of Abloh and Jones. Alas, Williams fit the bill. According to a recent article in The New York Times, “the future of luxury will have less to do with a designer’s ability to cut a pattern than their ability to amalgamate the broader cultural moment.” Here at UoF we say a designer should be able to do both!

As formally-trained designer myself and the owner of my eponymous clothing line in the 80s, and now founder of UoF, I believe that there is no single sure fire way of making it in the fashion industry. However, I think there are a combination of things and attributes that are key to making it in our industry: A Good Taste Level, A Unique Design Philosophy, Hard Work, Ability to Network, Business Savvy, Appreciation for the Craft and last but not least…Luck!

Other Self-taught Famous Designers Who’ve Succeeded  

In the researching and writing of my book, Historical Dictionary of the Fashion Industry, Second Edition, I was surprised to learn of so many famous designers in history, who had either never attended fashion school, or did but dropped out. One thing is for sure though, an appreciation for the craft is critical, whether you learn it at fashion school or via the University of Fashion.

The list is long (91) so here goes:

André Courrèges

Anne Marie Beretta

Azzedine Alaïa

Bob Mackie

Bonnie Cashin

Calvin Klein

Carlos Miele

Carol Lim & Humberto Leon (Opening Ceremony)

Carolina Herrera

Charles Frederick Worth

Charles James

Charlotte Ronson

Christian Dior

Christian Lacroix

Christopher Bailey

Coco Chanel

Cristóbal Balenciaga

Diane Von Furstenberg

Donatello Versace

Eileen Fisher

Elie Tahari

Elsa Schiaparelli

Emanuel Ungaro

Emilio Pucci

Franco Moschino

Geoffrey Beene

Gianfranco Ferre

Gianni Versace

Giorgio Armani

Giorgio di Sant’ Angelo

Gloria Vanderbilt

Guy Laroche

Guy Paulin

Halston

Hedi Slimane

Hubert de Givenchy

Issey Miyake

Jean Muir

Jean Patou

Jean Paul Gaultier

Jeanne Lanvin

Jeanne Paquin

Jessica Simpson

Jil Sander

John Varvatos

Joseph Altazurra

Karl Lagerfeld

Kate and Laura Mulleavy (Rodarte)

Kenneth Cole

L’Wren Scott

Laura Ashley

Liliana Orcas Casabal (Morgane Le Fay)

Lily Daché

Lily Pulitzer

Liz Claiborne

Madame Grés

Madeleine Vionnet

Marcus Wainwright & David Neville (Rag & Bone)

Mary Kate & Ashley Olson (The Row)

Michael Kors

Miuccia Prada

Molyneux

Nina Ricci

Nino Cerutti

Oleg Cassini

Olivier Theyskens

Oscar de la Renta

Paco Rabanne

Paul Poiret

Pauline Trigére

Perry Ellis

Phillip Lim

Pierre Cardin

Rachel Roy

Raf Simons

Ralph Lauren

Rei Kawakubo (Comme des Garçons)

Richard Tyler

Ron Chereskin

Rudi Gernreich

Sir Hardy Amies

Sonia Rykiel

Thierry Mugler

Thom Browne

Tom Ford

Tommy Hilfiger

Tory Burch

Vera Wang

Victoria Beckham

Virgil Abloh

Vivienne Westwood

 

 

THE FASHION COMMUNITY REACTS TO SYSTEMIC RACISM

Protesters gather outside the White House. (Photo Credit: Jim Lo Scalzo for Shutterstock)

A once-in-a lifetime pandemic and a tanking global economy with millions of people out of work provided the backdrop for yet another unthinkable act of racism on May 25th as the world witnessed the senseless killing of George Floyd, an unarmed Black man at the hands of Minneapolis police. The public’s reaction was swift and decisive. Black Lives Matter!

Despite the pandemic (as of June 11th has caused over 417,829 deaths globally) people took to the streets in the U.S. and around the world in protest of systemic racism. Social media channels exploded and T-shirts were swiftly marketed with the tags:  #BlackLivesMatter, #BLM, #NoJusticeNoPeace, #anti_racist and #icantbreathe.

It didn’t take long for the fashion industry to react, while at the same time, come under the microscope for its lack of diversity and sincerity. Could this moment in history be the  “sea change” that the world and the fashion industry has been waiting for?

Tuesday, June 2nd  became #BlackoutTuesday, whereby all brand/designer social media (SM) users posted a black box and refrained from posting promotional content or selfies, as a way of mourning and calling attention to systematic racism.

On June 3rd, Pulitzer prize winning writer, Robin Givhan of  The Washington Post, herself a woman of colorsent a tweet that reminded the industry of their lack of diversity.

 

Then, on June 4th, the CFDA (Tom Ford and Steven Kolb) published a letter listing initiatives that they planned to create systemic change: 1) create an in-house employment program charged with placing Black talent in all sections of the fashion business to help achieve a racially balanced industry. 2) place Black students in companies for mentorships and internships. 3) implement and make available to their members a Diversity and Inclusion training program 4) make immediate contributions and take up fundraising activities in support of charitable organizations aimed at equalizing the playing field for the Black community such as, but not limited to the NACCP and Campaign Zero – among others.

CFDA supports Black Lives Matter. (Photo Credit: CFDA)

Anna Wintour came out with an apology, for her ‘hurtful’ and ‘intolerant’ behavior at Vogue, (now that’s a first), while Andre Leon Talley challenged Wintour’s statement, citing the news of newly appointed Samira Nasr, the first Black female editor-in-chief of Harper’s Bazaar, as catalyst. In other publishing news, Refinery 29’s founder Christene Barberich stepped down as Editor-in-chief in response to accusations of racism and a toxic company culture, while Leandra Medine Cohen announced that she was stepping back from Man Repeller, after readers called her out for a lack of diversity in content and employees.

A June 10th Diet Prada Instagram post challenged retailer Anthropologie’s reaction to racism as ‘beige.’ The post prompted numerous comments that exposed the discriminatory practice of giving code names to POC (people of color) shoppers and lawsuits that called out certain brands and retailers guilty of the practice, such as Moschino, Versace, Anthropologie and Zara. Looks like Robin Givhan is right, the industry has a lot of soul-searching to do.

In the days following the murder of George Floyd, celebrities, athletes, and politicians all stood up and showed support for the Black Lives Matter movement. But, are these fashion brands and designers really showing their support or is it just a PR stunt? In an industry that prides itself on being global and multi-cultural, the fashion industry has a duty to its customers and society to use its privilege and power to drive systemic change and fight against racism. Right?

Victoria Beckham shows her support to Black Lives Matter. (Photo Credit: Victoria Beckham)

 

Actions speak loader than words. (Photo Credit: Fashion Nova Cares)

Most messages posted on social media were thoughtful and less PR-centric. However, Louis Vuitton was one of the first to come under fire from consumers. The company was criticized for the “tone deaf” launch of their new handbag line in the middle of the Black Lives Matter movement. Three days later, Louis Vuitton uploaded the following statement to the house’s 38.2 million Instagram followers alongside a video commissioned by men’s artistic director Virgil Abloh: “Make a change. Freedom from racism towards peace together. #BlackLivesMatter.”

Virgil Abloh, here at the 2019 CFDA Fashion Awards, has been ridiculed for a ‘measly’ donation to help Black Lives Matter protesters. (Photo Credit: GETTY IMAGES)

But Abloh was not forgiven so quickly. The designer, who is also known as the CEO and brainchild of streetwear giant Off-White, shared on his personal Instagram Stories that he made a $50 donation to Fempower, an organization that is helping arrested Black Lives Matter protesters with their legal expenses.

His followers were outraged. The designer’s estimate worth is over $4 million, and his measly $50 donation couldn’t even buy you an Off-White face mask.

One Twitter user wrote: “So Virgil really donated LESS THAN the equivalent of an Off-White keychain to the bail fund?? Smh wow. Don’t buy his trash, y’all.”

Virgil Abloh, creative director of Louis Vuitton Mens and Designer of Off-White, takes a stand against looters. (Photo Credit: Instagram)

Fashion’s Colin Kaepernick: Designer Kerby Jean-Raymond

Kerby Jean-Raymond, the designer of Pyer Moss has always used his collections as a platform against injustices. Here are the bloody boots in his police brutality collection from his
spring 2016 runway. (Photo Credit: Joshua Lott for Getty Images)

On September 11, 2015 – Kerby Jean-Raymond staged a political commentary on police brutality and racism for his Pyer Moss spring 2016 runway show. His shows are and have been a call to action for the Black Lives Matter movement. In 2017, he focused on depression, both personal and cultural. Erykah Badu helped style that collection which brought to light things that keep us down, set to the sounds of a choir singing Future’s “Trap Niggas” and the Black National Anthem, (Lift Up Your Voice and Sing, written as a poem by NAACP leader James Weldon Johnson (1871-1938) and then set to music by his brother John Rosamond Johnson (1873-1954) in 1899.)

Protesters, Looting & Retailers

While most of the protesters were peaceful, there were agitators that caused chaos and the destruction of churches, monuments, car fires, and store lootings, unfortunately were part of it. No store was safe. Looters destroyed little mom and pop shops in their communities, as well as major department stores and luxury retail brands. Manhattan’s affluent Soho boutiques were ravaged. The city looked like a war zone with broken glass everywhere and boarded up storefronts.

Looters hit luxury retailers, like Chanel and Rolex, in lower Manhattan.( Photo Credit: New York Magazine)

But even with the rioting and looting, designers and brands still supported the Black Lives Matter movement; brands like Nike, Adidas, and Michael Kors lent swift public support to the protests. Plenty of other designers followed, although some lagged in their response and consumers took note.

Michael Kors supporting Black Lives Matter. (Photo credit: @MichaelKors Twitter Account)

 

Stylist Law Roach and Zendaya. Roach took action by starting a fund with his own money to rebuild Black businesses that were destroyed in the protests. (Photo Credit: Teen Vogue)

Jon Batiste (band leader for Stay Human & the  Late Show with Stephen Colbert) at the ‘We Are’ March, New York. City (Photo Credit: Stephen Lovekin for Shutterstock)

The protests succeeded in sending the fashion industry a message loud and clear. Consumers, especially Millennials and Gen Zers are the ones to watch. They are faithful to brands that they believe are making a difference. This cohort are focused on movements that work toward the realization of a world where all members of a society, regardless of race, ethnicity, sexual preference or religious background, have basic human rights and equal access to the benefits of society. Just as movements of the 20th century spurred change (Woman’s Suffrage, Women’s Liberation, Civil Rights, Anti War, We Are and Gay Rights, to name a few), so too will the 21st century bring change. Movements like Black Lives Matter, Me Too, Times Up, Equal Pay For Equal Work, Gender Equality,  Gun Safety, Marriage Equality, Occupy, Climate Change, Criminal Justice Reform, Indigenous Peoples, Immigration Reform, Pro Life/Pro Choice and the Anti-Racist movement will spur brands into action.

In the world of social media transparency, the fashion industry will have to do more than just speak up for the Black Lives Matter movement. They’ll need to advocate and implement change within their companies and provide support to Black-owned businesses.

Funding opportunities are a great way for the fashion industry to support the movement. Shockingly, to this day, Virgil Abloh (Louis Vuitton) and Balmain’s Olivier Rousteing are still the only Black creative directors at major brands (an abundance, compared to high fashion’s zero BAME CEOs) and Edward Enninful, the only Black editor-in-chief (British Vogue) of a major fashion magazine, until the recent appointment of Samira Nasr announced on June 9th (Harper’s Bazaar).  

Edward Enninful Vogue editor-in-chief (Photo credit: Hypebae)  Samira Nasr editor-in-chief Harper’s Bazaar (Photo credit: The Cut)

On June 10th, Harper’s Bazaar published a list of 10 Black-owned fashion brands to support and invest in.  Other ‘call-to-action’ lists have emerged encouraging consumers on how to support local Black-owned businesses, such as grocery stores, hair salons, clothing stores, etc. Another way to support Back-owned businesses is to write positive reviews of those businesses, follow them on social media, engage in their posts, sign up for their newsletters and tell your friends and family to do the same.

The Industry Puts Their Money Where Their Mouth Is

The trendy direct-to-consumer beauty brand Glossier announced that it would donating $500,000 to organizations fighting racial injustice and another $500,000 to BAME-owned beauty companies. (BAME stands for Black, Asian and minority ethnic).

On the brand’s social media channels, Gucci posted a poem by Cleo Wade, a Black artist who also co-chairs the brand’s Changemakers Council, a group of community leaders backed by $5 million in charitable funding established in the wake of Gucci’s blackface sweater scandal: “We need to end racism. Start by healing it in your own family.”

Gucci has also established a fellowship program which is intended to recruit underrepresented talent from fashion schools for full-time positions. But fashion must make measurable commitments to hire Black people to their senior ranks and not just in their lower-level positions.

Aurora James, a designer and creative director of the shoe label Brother Vellies, created the “15 Percent Pledge,” which calls on major retailers to give that amount of shelf space to Black-owned businesses. (Fifteen percent of the United States population is Black.)

A lookbook image from Brother Vellies. (Photo Credit: Brother Vellies)

James is calling on Whole Foods, Target, Walmart, Sephora, Saks, Net-a-Porter, Barnes & Noble and Home Depot to take part.She hopes that her 15 Percent Pledge will “deliver more money to Black communities.”

Amazon stands with the Black Community. (Photo Credit: Amazon)

Sportswear giant Nike committed $40 million over the next four years to support the Black community in the United States on behalf of its Nike, Jordan Brand and Converse labels. The funds will support organizations focused on social justice, education and addressing racial inequality in America, Nike chief executive officer John Donahoe said in a message to the company’s staff.

Internally, Donahoe said, the priority is to “get our own house in order. Simply put, we must continue to foster and grow a culture where diversity, inclusion and belonging is valued and is real. Nike needs to be better than society as a whole. Our aspiration is to be a leader.”

He added: “Systemic racism and the events that have unfolded across America over the past few weeks serve as an urgent reminder of the continued change needed in our society. We know Black Lives Matter. We must educate ourselves more deeply on the issues faced by Black communities and understand the enormous suffering and senseless tragedy racial bigotry creates.”

Nike and Michael Jordan speak out against racism. (Photo Credit: US Magazine)

In a WWD article, Jack McCollough and Lazaro Hernandez, founders and creative directors of Proenza Schouler said in a statement, “We unequivocally believe any form of racism or discrimination has no place in our word and we proudly stand with the entire Black Lives Matter movement. We affirm our commitment to supporting the entire Black community, both in terms of what we share with the world externally and how our organization is operated internally.” The designers said they are supporting blacklivesmatter.com, naacpldf.org, blackvisionsmn.org, joincampaignzero.org, libertyfund.nyc, and brooklynbailfund.org/donate.

WWD also reported that PVH took part in the National Day of Mourning, which coincided with the memorial services for George Floyd. PVH North America associates from its retail stores, offices and warehouses were invited to observe eight minutes and 46 seconds of silence Thursday, June 4th at 2 p.m. ET during Floyd’s memorial service. In partnership with BRAAVE (Building Resources for African American Voices and Empowerment), PVH has created a task force inclusive of leadership, HR, Inclusion & Diversity, The PVH Foundation, legal and corporate responsibility teams to ensure they are taking the right steps to make the most impact. The PVH Foundation is donating $100,000 to the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund, which supports racial justice through advocacy, impact litigation and education and seeks to achieve structural changes to advance democracy, eliminate disparities and achieve racial justice. It is also donating $100,000 to The National Urban League.

The PVH Foundation will also match 100 percent of North America corporate associate charitable donations throughout the month of June. The company has also compiled resources to help educate itself about racism and bias and will be sharing it with its employees. This includes an Anti-Racism Resource Guide, Associate Check-in Guide, PVH U course offerings, videos, podcasts and articles.

First memorial service for George Floyd held in Minneapolis. (Photo Credit: Fox17)

On June 4th, Columbia Sportswear temporarily closed 95 of its reopened retail stores from 1:00-3:00 PM CDT during George Floyd’s memorial service. “We stand against racism in all its forms, but in this moment, we want to be clear that we are proud to say black lives matter. George Floyd’s life mattered,” the company said in an internal memo from the company’s executive team provided to WWD.

In addition, Columbia said it will make donations to the NAACP Legal Defense Fund and the Marshall Project “to advance our country’s understanding of racism and its root causes and to promote equal justice and opportunity.” It did not disclose the amount. It also said it will double match employee donations to any non-profits focusing on addressing racism, up to $1,000 through the end of July. It then provided a list of organizations such as,  Black Lives Matter, Color of Change, Equal Justice Initiative and the National Urban League.

Tory Burch is making changes within her company. The designer is offering counseling for Black employees and workshops on discussing race and bias for all employees. The company provided a list of resources to help employees educate themselves and their families about race in our society. The company will also work with outside moderators and continue its public work through the Tory Burch Foundation on unconscious bias. The company’s Embrace Ambition Summit focuses on shattering stereotypes and combatting bias in all of its forms, including racial discrimination, by looking at the impact of unconscious bias.

The Kering umbrella, which owns Gucci, Saint Laurent, Bottega Veneta, Balenciaga, Alexander McQueen, Brioni, Boucheron, Pomellato, Dodo, Queelin, Ulysse Nardin, Girard-Perregaux and Kering Eyewear, have contributed to organizations focused on combating systemic racism and ending police violence toward the Black community across the United States. Kering has also made donations to the NAACP and Campaign Zero, an organization that aims to reduce police violence in the U.S.

And the list continues to grow every day as designers are looking to change the culture of the industry as a whole. By engaging in conversations that address bias and stereotypes in the workplace, by educating employees on how they can support communities and organizations in the fight against racial injustice, by hiring talented Black designers, buyers and CEO’s, as well as supporting businesses owned by Black entrepreneurs. We can all do our part in the fight towards making the fashion industry and the world an inclusive place for all.

It’s time for fashion brands to do more than just make statements. They must commit to doing the hard work it’s going to take to combat racism. Remember, racism is not just an American issue, it’s a global issue.

Juneteenth (Photo credit: mosaictemplarscenter.com) Juneteenth Flag (Photo credit: crreaearch.com)

As we approach Juneteenth (Emancipation Day/Black Independence Day) we will again be reminded of racial injustice. It commemorates the day that Union Army Maj. Gen. Gordon Granger rode into Galveston, Texas on June 19, 1865, and read federal orders that all previously enslaved purple were free (2 year after the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation). Maybe the campaign to make this day a federal holiday in the U.S.,  instead of a state holiday in only 46 states will come to fruition? Juneteenth celebrations are also held in other countries around the world, including Ghana, Honduras, Japan, Taiwan and Trinidad and Tobago.

University of Fashion has proudly donated to Black Lives Matter, NAACPLDF, Campaign Zero and the Liberty Fund. We will continue to promote Black fashion, fashion designers and instructors on our site and on our social media platforms. Together we can make a difference.

Black Lives Matter protests in Paris, France. (Photo Credit: Alfonso Jimenez for Shutterstock)

 So tell us, what are you doing to make a difference?

 

 

FACE MASKS: FASHION STATEMENT VS SURVIVAL STATEMENT

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Mask History

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

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

Fashion to the Rescue

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Maskies, Selfie Masks & the Reactivated PPE Portrait Project

The Maskie

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

Photo credit: Olsonmask

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

The  Selfie Mask

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

Rachel Maddow showing her selfie mask (Photo credit MSNBC)

PPE Portrait Project

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

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

 

University of Fashion Face Mask Contest

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

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

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

 

Introducing our 1st Face Mask Winner: Jennifer Coffman 

                                                                           
Jennifer Coffman and her daughters (Photo credit Jennifer Coffman)

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

New Vocabulary

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

 

Face Mask Contest 

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

Fashion Hits the Pause Button

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

Photo Credit  @aili_in_town version of @janellemonae inspired Siriano piece

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

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

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

Fashion Delivers

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

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

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

GIORGIO ARMANI

Giorgio Armani. (Photo credit: WWD)

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

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

AMERICAN GIANT

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

RALPH LAUREN

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

Ralph Lauren released the following a statement:

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

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

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

BROOKLYN NAVY YARD

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

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

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

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

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

LOUIS VUITTON

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

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

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

LVMH

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

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

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

BVLGARI

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

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

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

LOEWE

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

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

YOOX NET-A-PORTER GROUP

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

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

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

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

AMERICAN EAGLE/AERIE

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

UGG

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

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

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

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

DAVID YURMAN

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

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

KATE SPADE

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

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

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

THIRD LOVE

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

TOMS

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

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

LA LIGNE

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

TIFFANY & CO.

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

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

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

LEVI STRAUSS AND CO.

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

KENNETH COLE

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

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

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

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

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

Accelerate the development of vaccines, tests and treatments.

ALEXANDER WANG

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

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

CAPRI HOLDING

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

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

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

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

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

PVH CORP

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

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

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

CHANEL

Chanel face mask.( Photo credit: Forbes)

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

SAKS FIFTH AVENUE

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

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

CALDEZONIA

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

REVOLVE

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

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

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

NORDSTROM

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

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

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

SANDRO

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

VERA BRADLEY

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

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

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

 

ATSUMI FASHION

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

 

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

BURBERRY

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

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

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

KERING

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

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

GUCCI

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

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

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

SKIMS

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

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

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

UNIQLO

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

H&M GROUP

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

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

GAP INC.

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

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

MICHAEL COSTELLO

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

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

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

CHRISTIAN SIRIANO

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

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

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

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

REFORMATION

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

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

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fashion Computer Game

Apparel Design and Gaming

Gaming is big business.  Fashion is big business. Is there any overlap?

Gaming has a global market value of $152 billion, as reported in the Global Games Market Report by the intelligence firm, Newzoo, of which 45 percent is spent on mobile games. In 2019, a staggering $2.4 billion people were estimated to have played a mobile game (close to one third of the global population).

 

How is Fashion Used in Games?

(Permission granted from Kitfox Games)

Players are no longer just teenage boys. Victoria Tran, the Communications Director at Kitfox Games located in Montreal, Canada, presented a talk at the Full Indie Summit, November 20, 2019 entitled, Underdressed and Stressed, Why Fashion in Games Matters.  Kitfox produces games like Boyfriend Dungeon, Six Ages, Dwarf Fortress, Lucifer within Us and Mondo Museum.

Victoria pointed out to the assembled game designers at the conference how fashion can add synergy and fun to games. Game designers should think about this while designing games, i.e., style that add to the total gaming experience.

(Permission granted from Kitfox Games)

Victoria explained how fashion expands the story through character development. “Fashion, like character design, is an answer to a question.  How do we express a fictional character in a real-world context?”

Her advice to game designers is the following: “Clothes are a story, know where your character will appear, and every piece has meaning. Don’t just add accessories unless they have a use or meaning to the story.  Fashion tells your players about the character without words. “

We were able to get a virtual interview with Victoria to ask the question of how a fashion designer could break into the world of game fashion. Victoria recommends having a knowledge of game engines (whether that’s Unity, Unreal, GameMaker, etc.), along with familiarizing yourself with games of different genres to see how fashion could intersect with them.

If you are interested in learning how to create games using the above game engines, like Unity, check out Udemy. A great way to fill your time while you are self-quarantined (for about $13.99, you can’t beat the price).

 

FASHION IS THE GAME ITSELF 

DREST

Dr. Evridiki Papahristou from whichPLM (a Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) magazine dedicated to retail industry news & fashion industry news) writes about fashion-oriented games. Some of the games she has covered are Drest, the first interactive luxury styling game and Burberry’s first fashion game, B Bounce.

Drest was created by Lucy Yeomans, founding editor-in-chief of Net-a-Porter’s magazine Porter. The game invites users to dress photorealistic avatars each week with different styling challenges. Players adopt the role of fashion stylists utilizing new season collections. Full launch is scheduled for early 2020. Drest will be available for both Android and Apple with partnerships that already include Gucci, Prada, Stella McCarthy, Puma and many others.  Players will be able to purchase the clothes featured in the game on Farfetch.

(Permission granted from Drest)

(Permission granted from Drest)

 

BURBERRY

Burberry’s first game, B Bounce (launched October 2019) involves players competing for virtual and physical jackets. The goal is to entertain and connect with younger consumers around the world, as interactive digital content becomes another opportunity for consumers to connect with the Burberry community online. 

Building on the success of B Bounce, Burberry launched a second game in January 2020, The World of Ratberry, as part of its 2020 Lunar New Year campaign inspired by the Thomas Burberry Monogram motif and in honor of the Year of the Rat.

World of Ratberry

B Bounce (Photo credit: Burberry)

 

LOUIS VUITTON

Fashion brands are starting to put their stamp on characters within games. In 2019, Riot Games partnered with Louis Vuitton for that year’s League of Legends Championship Finals in Paris by creating a bespoke travel case for the Summer’s Cup trophy designed Nicolas Ghesquière.

Vuitton added other digital assets for the game Louis Vuitton x League of Legends, such as ‘skins’, which in gaming language means graphic/audio files used to change the appearance of the user interface to a program or for a game character. League of Legends has grown to become a global phenomenon as the most-played PC game in the world.

(Louis Vuitton Trophy Case for Legends Championship Finals)

(Louis Vuitton ‘skins’ – Photo credit: League of Legends)

 

UNIVERSITY OF FASHION SUGGESTS A FASHION GAME  

Many existing online multi-player role-playing games (MMPORG) seem to focus on the appearance of the avatar in terms of face, hair, and body type. And some games allow the player to add clothing or “skins.”

As Victoria Tran noted “A lot of games have found success by adding mod support, where players can actually create and import their own designs into games – and that extends beyond fashion too! But this depends on the player base being continually active.”

The game Drest allows users to practice their styling skills and then purchase the clothes, but styling isn’t designing, and this type of game doesn’t really excite aspiring fashion designers. In fact, if you were to ask a fashion designer to comment on existing game avatars, they would probably tell you that there is much room for improvement. That got us to thinking. What if we could create a game dedicated to the hands-on, creative aspect of fashion designing? What would that look like?

So, we asked Victoria Tran her opinion of a MMPORG based on a fashion theme like the fashion reality TV shows Project Runway, Next in Fashion or Making the Cut? Her response:

That’d be cool! So much of this boils down to having a team that’s willing to put in the work towards making it, marketing, the consumer base, and figuring out a fun mechanic to go alongside it.”

When we asked her about the cost of making a game from scratch, here’s what she said:

“Hmmm that’s a difficult question to answer since it depends on the scope of the project, e.g. a simple 2D platformer will cost more than a 3D MMO game, depending on team size and how deep you want the game to be. I’d put it in the upper range of 500k+”

 

If any game programmers are reading this and want to get a slice of the fashion design gaming pie, give us a call. Here are some ideas that we came up with:

A Fashion Design Challenge

Choose your market: Men’s, Women’s or Children’s

Choose your target price point: (High-end, Mid-range, Budget)

Choose a fashion figure that best suits your chosen market: Avant-garde, Contemporary, etc.

Create a theme/fabric/color story board

Choose the best looks for your market/price point from a library of styles or design your own

Share your design images on your social media or in-message with friends

Expansion: Players create their own assignments and challenge each other

Childrenswear (Photo credit: Seul Lee for University of Fashion)

 

Theme/Fabric/Color Storyboard (Photo credit: University of Fashion)

 

A Fashion Illustration Challenge

Choose your market: Men’s, Women’s or Children’s

Choose your target price point: (High-end, Mid-range, Budget)

Choose a fashion figure that best suits your chosen market: Avant-garde, Contemporary, etc.

Choose the best looks for your market/price point from a library of styles or design your own

Share your fashion illustrations on your social media or in-message with friends

Expansion: Players create their own assignments and challenge each other

Figure Drawing Challenge (Photo credit: Steven Broadway for University of Fashion)

 

Fashion Illustration Challenge (Photo credit: Roberto Calasanz for University of Fashion)

 

A Draping Challenge

Choose your design classification: Evening, Bridal, Intimate Apparel, Activewear, Sportswear

Choose your fabric

Sketch your design

Drape your design

Modify your design or let others mod your design

Share your design images on your social media or in-message with friends

Expansion: Players create their own assignments and challenge each other

Eveningwear Draping Challenge – Eveningwear (Photo credit: Kenneth McQueen for University of Fashion)

 

Activewear Draping Challenge (Photo credit: Shanna Cupples for University of Fashion)

Other Useful Links

https://www.theguardian.com/games/2019/oct/09/gamers-spend-hours-customising-characters-but-dont-you-dare-mention-fashion

https://www.whichplm.com/if-you-cant-work-with-3d-technology-then-play-with-it/

https://eu.louisvuitton.com/eng-e1/magazine/articles/louis-vuitton-x-league-of-legends#

https://ew.com/tv/tv-reviews/making-the-cut-on-amazon-review/

 

Share your thoughts on what type of fashion design computer game would most interest you!

Is TikToK Fashion’s Newest, Latest, Greatest Big Thing?

(Photo credit: TikTok)

So, what’s all the buzz about TikTok?  Wasn’t it supposed to be a national security risk according to U.S. Senators Tom Cotton (R- Arkansas), and Chuck Schumer (D-New York)? In 2019, these senators asked the U.S. Director of National Intelligence to conduct a security assessment of the Beijing-based video-sharing platform, especially as it related to their data-collection policy.

And what about the most recent headlines, whereby the U.S. government is charging Chinese military officers in the 2017 Equifax hacking of social security numbers and other sensitive data stolen from nearly 145 million Americans?

Are we really ok with sharing our data with TikTok? Well it looks like some fashion industry brands think so. In 2019, Ralph Lauren, launched its U.S. Open campaign on TikTok and was joined by other brands like Sephora, Calvin Klein and Fenty Beauty. In January 2020, Women’s Wear Daily launched their @WWD TikTok account featuring behind-the-scenes coverage from Fall/Winter international fashion weeks, industry events and celebrity coverage. According to Business of Fashion, TikTok is sending three TikTokers to fashion week 2020 in an attempt to create some buzz among the platform’s target audience, Gen Zers.

To get some history and a better perspective on TikTok, we asked our resident Gen Zers, Noelle Conklin and Toph Dorry, what they think:

TikTok used to be called Musical.ly, but since being sold to ByteDance Ltd. on November 9, 2017 things have been changing within the app. Users can become famous from videos with no context. Users can also go live to reach out to their fans and make money from donations. New trends on TikTok have spread to clothing lines and dancing. I see people on the street and in schools wearing the trends and dancing to TikTok songs.    

TikTok allows us to lip-sync to songs and dance to them, which in this era there really hasn’t been an app with this much sing, dance, and sparkle. You can also get promoted through the app, as well as collab (collaborate) with other businesses on the platform. TikTok lets you record for fifteen to sixty seconds so the user can get more content in that time frame rather than just a six-second clip like on Vine.

Most people that use or have seen TikTok have heard of Charli D’amelio, Nathan Berno, and Lilhuddy. They all have a specific style. Charli and Lilhuddy have a 90s aesthetic style and Nathan has an E-boy (Emo Boy) style. Some of the negative aspects of trying to become famous are how you look. Most of the time people who are famous on TikTok are all skinny and well-groomed. Not saying that you shouldn’t be well-groomed, we all need hygiene!  

Other reasons as to why TikTok draws us into the app is because of its aesthetic. The app has multiple effects to add to your videos. You can easily edit your video with just a click of a button. Now you don’t even need to use editing software, you can just make a video, and cut out whatever edits you like.

Another reason why TikTok drew most of us in was because of Vine. Vine was an internet platform that came out in the mid-2000s where you could make short six-second videos and post them on the internet. Vine closed and was forgotten until TikTok came along. However, a Vine reboot launched on January 24, 2020 called Byte where creators can earn steady ad-share revenue” – Noelle Conklin

(Photo credit: Byte)

TikTok has grown its base relatively quickly into 400 million daily users and is becoming a very popular and very well-known app. With TikTok, you can record a video and put sound on top of it or record a video with your own sound, or a mix of both.

There are so many things you can do on TikTok, from hundreds of thousands of user-created sounds to their many filters. A huge majority on TikTok are funny videos, or things happening with a funny audio track playing along with the video. By September 2019, TikTok was rated the #1 non-gaming app available on the app store and peaked with 6 million installs in December.

TikTok will most definitely influence fashion due to the fact that anybody can post whatever they want on their account. There are tons of videos of people showing off their outfits. Under just the hashtag “fashion” alone, there are 6.2 billion views, so there is definitely room for a lot of videos on fashion, along with many other hashtags that are included under fashion.” Toph Dorry

 

TikTok’s demographic

All you need to do is to check out TikTok’s Pinterest page to get a sense of the demographic:

And check out TikTok’s Instagram:

In an age where privacy is becoming all but impossible to control, call me old-fashioned, but I’m not so sure I want to compromise anymore of my personal data by posting to TikTok. What do you think?

AUGMENTED REALITY (AR) FOR FASHION RETAILING

AUGMENTED REALITY (AR) FOR FASHION RETAILING

“Mirror, mirror on the wall, what color looks best for the ball?”

MemoryMirror (Photo credit MemoMi Labs)

What exactly is AR? Per Wikipedia, Augmented Reality is an interactive experience of a real-world environment where the objects that reside in the real world are enhanced by computer-generated perceptual information. Augmented Reality for retail here!

For example, MemoMi Labs offers the MemoryMirror, which enables customers to try products virtually. How does this work?  The mirror is a reflective TV screen linked to a camera and controlled by AR software to create a virtual fitting room.

Per Morgan Drake of X-cart.com, “63% of retail brands plan to use AR in the next two years, however, 52% of retail executives do not feel prepared to support advanced technologies.”  That is, there is a demand for employees trained in AR.

Further info links:

Links

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Augmented_reality

https://www.x-cart.com/blog/augmented-reality-retail.html

https://memorymirror.com/

AR TRAINING

(Photo credit: Fashion Institute of Technology)

How does one train for this soon-to-be required skill? 

The Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) will be offering an AR/VR course in their Content Design Certificate Program as of Summer 2020. The course will focus on using 360 photo/video, Unity (cross-platform game engine), WebVR, and A-frame (a web framework for building virtual reality experiences) to build experiences for the web. The content includes AR/VR tools, creating 360 content, creating 3D animated models, and other content.  Enrollment require a basic understanding of coding, such as HTML and CSS.  Experience with basic JavaScript is preferred. HTML and CSS are coding languages used in constructing web sites. Check the links below for more details.

(Photo credit: Kode with Klossy)

Most fashion schools concentrate on technical skills such as draping, sewing, pattern making and fashion illustration. However, in article from the October 2016 edition of Vogue Australia they explain why designers should learn to code. In today’s technological world, this skill set will be required if one wants to remain relevant. In fact, recognition of the need for coding skills has led supermodel Karlie Kloss to set up “Kode with Klossy” coding camps with scholarships for girls age 13-18.

If you are over the age of 18, there are other options to learn to code, such as the Code Academy or other online training programs.

Further info links:

Links

http://www.fitnyc.edu/ccps/designing-tomorrow/arvr-content-design.php

https://www.vogue.com.au/vogue-codes/news/this-is-why-you-need-to-learn-how-to-code/news-story/53362905dad4927674d1a433aae5c699

https://www.kodewithklossy.com/program

https://www.codecademy.com/

DESIGN VISIBILITY USING AR

Many designers struggle with how to get their collection visible to more people without a runway show. 

As Brooke Roberts-Islam noted in Forbes, AR is expanding from pre-recorded content to a live runway show in a customer’s physical location. The London College of Fashion’s Innovation Agency (FIA) partnered with HoloMe to present selected collections from London College of Fashion MA graduates. Viewers were able to watch the show via smartphone in real-time.

The HoloMe website explains the four categories of AR: marker-based, markless, projection-based and superimposition-based.  Superimposition allows the customers to have human holograms model clothing products within their own homes or via another chosen environment.

This technology can be used to generate “buzz” through which customers gain first looks into what is possible. HoloMe states that they are able to provide a real-time streaming experience with their existing hardware kit and mobile platform, which can accommodate up to 1 million users simultaneously.

Further info links:

Links

https://www.forbes.com/sites/brookerobertsislam/2019/03/05/groundbreaking-augmented-reality-fashion-show-streamed-to-global-audience/#25cd5a5b45b6

https://holo.me/

https://holo.me/the-a-r-industry-and-experiential-marketing/

Can you just imagine how great that would be for an upstart designer, a fashion college student’s senior project or an ITAA design competition? Let us know what you think?

WHAT LESSONS ARE YOU CRAVING?

WOW, we’ve received an outpouring of lesson suggestions.
Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Since we put out our request 2 weeks ago for new lesson suggestions, we have been inundated with responses from students, teachers, industry professionals, home sewers and fashion entrepreneurs from 38 different countries and still counting. It’s been amazing!

THERE’S STILL TIME FOR YOU TO SEND YOUR SUGGESTIONS TO:
suggestions@xemaps.com
by February 1, 2020

Here’s just a sampling of what we’ve received thus far:

Pattern Making  

  • Different pant styles
  • Plus size patterns and pattern grading
  • Various coat styles
  • Half scale pattern making
  • Jumpsuits
  • Box pleats
  • Athleisure: men and women
  • Various skirt styles: layered, tiered, divided
  • Knit garment grading
  • TR & Subtraction Cutting Techniques

Sewing

  • Jacket/Skirt: drafting & sewing
  • Cutting, sewing and invisible zipper-setting on a bias skirt
  • Piping on a notched collar
  • Faced waistband for skirts/pants
  • Collars: drafting & sewing
  • Cuffs drafting & sewing

Draping/Fitting

  • Lingerie
  • Swimwear
  • Corset with cups
  • Wrap dress

Lectures

  • Costing
  • Historical Costuming
  • Fashion vocabulary: types of pockets, lapels, coats pants, sweaters, etc.
  • Sustainable dyeing techniques
  • Design Theory – Clothing that flatters
  • Fitting: bodices, sleeves, dresses, jackets

As many of you already know, our video library has grown over the years from 100 videos in 6 disciplines in 2013 to 500 lessons today in 13 disciplines:

  • Draping, Sewing, Pattern making, Fashion Art, Accessories, Menswear, Knits, Childrenswear, Product Development, CAD Art & Pattern making, Fashion Business, as well as Fashion Lectures that include textiles, trend forecasting, fashion law, fashion history and other fashion related topics.

We are still accepting suggestions so don’t be shy, send us what you’d like us to shoot. We love you guys!

Please send your suggestions to us at suggestions@xemaps.com
by February 1, 2020

ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE (AI) FOR FASHION

ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE (AI) FOR FASHION

What is AI exactly?  AI is the use of algorithms or computer programs to imitate human thought and action by analyzing data and learning to adapt to a variety of tasks. Artificial Intelligence, now part of everyday life, is predicted to increase in the second decade of the 21st century, especially in the design & retail environment within the fashion. Let’s explore how:

(Photo credit: Alexa Echo Dot -3rd Gen)

(Photo credit : Siri)

There are two general types of AI, ‘Strong’ and ‘Weak.’ ‘Weak’ AI is a set of programmed responses or interactions that are merely ‘human-like.’  Alexa and Siri are good examples of these.  When these devices are asked questions or asked to perform tasks, their responses are programmed, and they assess which response is appropriate from their ‘bank of responses.’  However, ‘weak’ AI does not ‘understand’ the true meaning of the commands or who should be giving the commands. So, check your device settings; all devices have Advanced Settings to address this issue. Common examples include parental controls or two-step verification (commonly called two factor authentication).

AI FASHION INDUSTRY COLLABORATIONS – MERGING FASHION & TECHNOLOGY

Fashion Institute of Technology & IBM

(Photo credit: Fashion Institute of Technology)

‘Strong’ AI is used for problem-solving processes.  It’s programmed to use a mixture of logic and trial & error to find answers or to categorize things. This type of AI works by ‘image sorting’ and can help you analyze real-time images and fashion industry trends.

For example, in 2018, the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT), IBM and Tommy Hilfiger teamed up to evaluate 15,000 Tommy Hilfiger images and some 600,000 publicly available runway images, to understand silhouettes, colors and styles. Another tool was used to analyze nearly 100,000 patterns from various fabric websites to produce novel and unique fabric patterns. This helped eliminate “all-nighters” for design research, since more time was allocated to designing and less time for researching.

This project led to further collaboration between IBM and FIT in 2019.  FIT will use IBM AI for their Fashion Workforce of the Future in their DTechLab. They plan to partner with IBM in retail marketing & merchandising to enhance their curriculum and to perform joint research.

London College of Fashion & Microsoft

(Photo credit: London College of Fashion)

The London College of Fashion’s (LCF) Fashion Innovation Agency (FIA) is working with Microsoft to expand their offerings for advanced research in 3D effects and wearable technology. They are using AI to pinpoint consumer demand and augmented Reality (AR) to revive retail. As noted by Matthew Drinkwater, head of FIA, “We cannot ignore the way that digital has impacted everyday life and completely changed how designers, brands and retailers engage with consumers.”

AI RETAIL

Zalando Research

(Photo credit: Zalando Research)

Zalando Research (a division of Zalando), an online retailer in Europe and the UK, is another company that is developing software for designers. They are developing AI solutions for: the personalization of fit; visual searches for fashion images; determining diversity of design; recommendations for future customer purchases; pricing recommendations; generative fashion design; generative fashion image swapping using avatars, and image transfer.

The first image below left, displays how generative fashion design works. For example, you can change the color, texture and shape of the garment on the left into a very different garment, as you see in the garment examples to the right.  This can be useful in design studies. The second image displays how the same garment can be worn on different people. This could help with grading or designing for size. The third image displays different textures being modeled for the same garment style. Thus, AI can be used in the design & merchandising of fashion.

“Hello Siri or Alexa, ready to help design my new outfit?”

(Photo credit: Zalando Research)

The possibilities are endless for implementing AI in both the design and merchandising of fashion. STAY TUNED!

For more information on AI:  

Links

https://www.thestreet.com/technology/what-is-artificial-intelligence-14822076

https://www.businessinsider.com/sc/ibm-fashion-fit-design-ai-2018-2

https://newsroom.ibm.com/2019-04-23-IBM-and-FIT-Announce-Collaboration-to-Help-Build-the-Creative-Fashion-Workforce-of-the-Future

https://dtech.fitnyc.edu/webflow/index.html

https://news.microsoft.com/transform/london-college-of-fashion-designers-artificial-intelligence/

http://www.fialondon.com/

https://research.zalando.com/welcome/mission/research-projects/