University of Fashion Blog

Category "Fashion Education"

ANNOUNCING OUR NEW LESSON: Introduction to Textile Print Design

We are so happy to announce the newest lesson to our fashion education video library: Introduction to Textile Print Design taught by textile design veteran, Lindsay Boehl.

This lesson covers the concept of roller printing, the print engraving process, as well as industry standard print roller sizes and dimensions as they relate to a particular print design.

You will learn about different types of repeats, such as a straight repeat, a drop, and a half drop. In addition, this lesson will get you started making your own print repeat in Adobe Illustrator, using our downloadable dot and rose print design files. Watch for more textile stripe, plaid, print and pattern lessons by Lindsay in the future.

MEET YOUR INSTRUCTOR

Lindsay Boehl is a New York-based textile designer who began her career as a CAD artist at a textile converter, designing men’s shirting stripes, plaids, prints and patterns for major brands such as Ralph Lauren, American Eagle and Wrangler.

Today, Lindsay is the Manager of Customer Advocacy at Aquario Design, a leading provider of fashion, textile, CAD design and printed products solutions for Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator. For the past eight years, she has managed a team of trainers and support specialists who work with users of that software platform. Lindsay’s textile design experience made her a great fit at Aquario, as their software product line helps textile and fashion designers produce their work inside of Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop in a more streamlined way. In her role at the Aquario, Lindsay utilizes and shares her knowledge of textile design as it applies to fashion industry requirements. From color matching to knit design, wovens to technical fashion sketching, digital printing on fabric and end-to end-garment manufacturing, Lindsay’s expertise includes every aspect that the textile industry is positioned.

Lindsay considers textile design a wonderful journey, and she hopes to keep learning and exploring innovative and emerging technologies. Aside from her position at Aquario, Lindsay takes on freelance jobs to keep her multiple skill sets active and welcomes every design challenge she’s given, which she feels keeps her sharp and agile in her work.

Having graduated from the Fashion Institute of Technology with a double major in Display & Exhibit Design and Fabric Styling, Lindsay translated those skills into a career in textile design. She is grateful to all the professors who nurtured her talent and is therefore thrilled to be able to pass along her knowledge to students at University of Fashion. Stay tuned for Lindsay’s next lesson: “Researching & Designing a Graphic Printed Textile”.

Find Lindsay on LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/lindsay-b-82305356

To learn more about textiles, be sure to view the following UoF lessons:

INTRO TO FIBERS & FABRICS

HIGH-TECH TEXTILES

ECO-TEXTILES

TEXTILE DYEING, PRINTING & FINISHING

Our SECOND Visual Merchandising lesson has launched!


(UoF lesson Using Color and Texture in Visual Merchandising by Marcie Cooperman)

Visual merchandising is one of those design disciplines that benefit both retailers AND fashion designers alike. How do we know? Well, with more than 13+ years in the fashion education biz under our belt, we’ve learned a thing or two from our experts. From retailers we learned that knowing more about the design process is an asset, especially when it comes to developing product for their stores. Designers have shared with us how they’d like to know more about retailing, especially as it pertains to store planning and merchandising.

This is why we’ve been hard at work creating our new 9-part visual merchandising series. Whether you’ve created your own brand and are lucky enough to afford your own retail store OR you are a brand who plans on selling to retail stores, our new visual merchandising lessons will provide valuable information to help you succeed.

 

DO YOU KNOW WHAT’S THE BIGGEST SELLING COLOR IN FASHION TODAY?

Achromatic hues value scale (UoF lesson Using Color and Texture in Visual Merchandising)

It’s fascinating. There’s definitely a disconnect between the color that people say they like the best… versus what they actually buy. People don’t usually say their favorite color is black, but research shows that although consumers might say they like red and purple, truth is, they mostly buy black, gray, and white. And this is true for both womenswear and menswear. Our lesson contains more in-depth data about which colors command the most market share, and they aren’t necessarily what you might think!

 

DO YOU KNOW ABOUT COLOR THEORY?

Color wheel & color relationships (UoF lesson Using Color and Texture in Visual Merchandising by Marcie Cooperman)

In our newest visual merchandising lesson, Using Color and Texture in Visual Merchandising, instructor Marcie Cooperman starts out by teaching you how to describe color, using the concepts of color theory and the three elements of color:  hue, value, and intensity. Those three elements are the way we describe colors. Click here to learn more about Marcie and her stellar credentials:  https://www.universityoffashion.com/instructor/marcie-cooperman/

And, if you haven’t viewed Marcie’s first lesson, Introduction to Visual Merchandising, check it out here: https://www.universityoffashion.com/lessons/introduction-to-visual-merchandising/

 

ARE YOU FAMILIAR WITH COLOR RELATIONSHIPS?

Example of a complementary color merchandise display (UoF lesson Using Color and Texture in Visual Merchandising by Marcie Cooperman)

The lesson moves on to color relationships on the color wheel. Color relationships can guide you in putting colors together to create excitement and organization in the retail setting, both for the garments in the store, as well as the interior design of the store itself.

 

HOW IMPORTANT IS COLOR INTENSITY IN STORE DISPLAY?

Example of alternating intense color with non-intense color (UoF lesson Using Color and Texture in Visual Merchandising)

Intensity of a color is important in the garments hanging in the store, because it might make the difference between a customer loving or hating a garment. For example, we might love pink, but not be very happy about how strong a pink sweater looks. However, if that pink were a low intensity pink, we might love it.

 

HOW IMPORTANT IS COLOR & TEXTURE IN VISUAL MERCHANDISING?

Example of window using complementary color & texture (UoF lesson Using Color and Texture in Visual Merchandising)

When you put wonderful colors and textures together in a display, it sends customers the feeling that this brand is organized and beautiful, that makes the customer feel positive about the brand and makes her want to shop there. The customer needs to feel that she will find the clothing she desires and will leave the store happy and satisfied. Hopefully, she will be so happy that she will tell her friends about her wonderful experience in the store, and finally, she will be a loyal customer who returns often.

 

WHY IS REPETITION A VISUAL MERCHANDISING STRATEGY?

Example of retail color & repetition strategy (UoF lesson Using Color and Texture in Visual Merchandising)

To learn more about color & texture, how color is used in creating a merchandising strategy and how to use repetition as a strategy in visual merchandising, subscribe to UoF and watch the full lesson. You will learn the dos and don’ts of how visual merchandisers work with retailers and fashion designers to create exciting in-store displays and store windows that attract us all!

 

Stay tuned for Marcie’s next lesson: Using Line and Composition in Visual Merchandising

IN CELEBRATION OF WORLD ART DAY
MEET INSTRUCTOR FIONA LIU
THE ART OF THE RUFFLE

(From UoF lesson –  Draping a Cascade Ruffle Skirt)

In the U.S. April 15th is known as Tax Day, the day when Americans need to file their income taxes. But did you know that April 15th is also World Art Day?

World Art Day is an international celebration of the fine arts, which was declared by the International Association of Art (IAA/AIAP), a partner of UNESCO, to promote awareness of creative activity worldwide.

(Image credit: IAA International Association of Art)

The first World Art Day was held on April 15th, 2012, a date chosen in honor of Leonardo da Vinci’s birthday. DaVinci was chosen as a symbol of world peace, freedom of expression, tolerance, brotherhood and multiculturism and his work is testament to the influence of the Fine Arts on other fields. In the United States, World Art Day was officially held for the first time in the City of Los Angeles on April 15th, 2015. In 2017, IAA USA, the official U.S.-based chapter of the IAA, was formed. Pre-pandemic, art events were held locally, nationwide and on a global scale. Check them out on Instagram #iaasua

In the spirit of World Art Day, we would like to take this opportunity to celebrate all of our extremely talented instructors who continue to share their art and expertise, making the University of Fashion the first and largest online fashion education video resource library. With over 500 videos and by streaming our lessons in 177 countries, we are completely dedicated to the art & craft of fashion.

(From UoF lesson –  Creative Draping—2D Draping)

It is therefore with great pleasure that we are showcasing the talents of sustainable fashion designer/artist/entrepreneur Fiona Liu. View her new lesson, Draping a Cascade Ruffle Skirt and check out her many other lessons for University of Fashion.

Fiona is a lifelong student of fashion and her passion is to create. Ever since she was a young girl at the foot of her grandmother’s sewing machine in rural China, Fiona has had an instinct for fashion. Her interest was amplified by her rich experience in sales, marketing, and management – a fusion of business skills, professional maturity and a sense of entrepreneurship while working with  internationally-focused companies and clients in China. Originally self-taught in the areas of sewing, draping, drawing, illustrating, pattern making and portfolio, Fiona’s mission to professionally pursue fashion led her to Parsons for formal training. Upon graduating with a fashion design degree in 2017, she has been developing her own brand, dedicated to no-waste sustainable design.

(Fiona won The Twelfth Independent Handbag Designers Award in The Most  Green Handbag category, presented by Handbag Designer 101 in 2019)

At University of Fashion, Fiona shares her knowledge in more than 13 lessons in the areas of pattern making, draping and zero-waste design. To learn more about Fiona, check out her Instagram fionafangyuliu

Here’s a sampling of Fiona’s most popular lessons:

(From UoF lesson –  Drafting a Kimono Bodice with Gusset)

 

(From UoF lesson –  Draping a Pleated Raglan Sleeve)

(From UoF lesson – Drafting a Princess Puff Short Sleeve)

 

(From UoF lesson  –  Drafting a Portrait Collar Jacket)

(From UoF  lesson – Drafting a Leg O’Mutton Sleeve)

LEARN HOW TO DRAW CASCADE RUFFLES

View these lessons by our very own fashion illustrator extraordinaire, Roberto Calasanz.

(From UoF lesson – Drawing a Cascade Skirt Ruffle by Roberto Calasanz)

 

(From UoF lesson – Drawing a Cascade Neck Ruffle by Roberto Calasanz)

Let us know how you’ve creatively used cascade ruffles in your designs!

EMBRACING GENDERLESS FASHION

Gucci’s creative director Alessandro Michele help celebrities embrace the gender-neutral trend. (Photo Credit: GQ)

Trends come and go, but we believe that the androgynous trend is here to stay, at least for now. As a fashion movement, genderless dressing is gradually making its way into mainstream culture as the trend is hitting the major fashion capitals of the world. Thanks to many young celebrities and fashion designers, people of all genders are breaking convention with what they choose to wear. 0

UoF was the first to offer a lesson in androgynous fashion illustration in 2017 and it’s been one of our most popular lessons for the past four years.

Acceptance, inclusivity and an openness to change are fashion’s gift to 2021. This year is predicted to be all about reinvention and the gender-fluid movement. Think recording artist, Harry Styles, the poster child for androgyny. His gender-bending looks have been puzzling his fans for the past few years. The movement is now picking up  steam with many non-gender collections being launched by established brands such as Marc Jacobs and Gucci.

 

Harry Styles (Photo Credit: theguardian.com)

Although one could argue that celebrity androgyny can be traced as far back as the ‘30s with Marlene Dietrich and Katharine Hepburn, and in the ‘70s with Dianne Keaton and David Bowie, today’s celebs like Harry Styles, Tilda Swinton and Jared Leto are really pushing the envelope. In fact, some celebrity stylists are moving their clients away from a masculine-feminine divide to more ‘inclusive’ dressing choices. After all, inclusivity is the new buzzword.

Marlene Dietrich, genuinely loved wearing trouser suits, and said she felt more alluring in traditionally masculine clothes. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

 

Katharine Hepburn epitomized the independent American woman, and she was one of the first to popularize pants. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

 

Actor and singer Jared Leto’s style has grown more and more daring. Leto has claimed that there is no singular definition of masculinity. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

While the majority of retailers, brands and designers have reacted slowly to the movement, many are starting to come around. The cashmere knit collection Inhabit launched its first genderless collection in the fall of 2020, Norma Kamali reformed her storied brand to a unisex label in 2019, Umit Benan launched unisex line B+ and Equipment launched a gender-neutral collection in 2020.

There are also a number of brands who are strictly genderless labels such as Telfar, Aries, Les Tien, Gypsy Sport and Charles Jeffrey Loverboy. In 2018, Stefano Pilati introduced a fluid men’s wear label Random Identities. Even global giant retailers like H&M and Zara have incorporated genderless collections in their stores.

According to Rob Smith, the founder of Phluid Project (which launched in March of 2018 in NYC and online for access worldwide as a gender-free fashion brand), “Consumers are ready for genderless fashion, especially Gen Z consumers”  Smith said, at a WWD Culture Conference in November 2020, “that 56 percent of Generation Z consumers shop outside their assigned gendered area.”

For merchants to adapt to gender-neutral fashions, retailers must re-evaluate their merchandising strategies, designers must reexamine what a genderless collection actually is, and the industry must learn the language and terminology.

During the WWD Cultural Conference Smith used a character called the “Gender Unicorn” to demonstrate the proper way to address gender and sexuality. According to WWD, Smith spoke of five things related to identity, including the sex one is assigned at birth, gender identity, gender expression, who one is intimately attracted to and then who one is emotionally attracted to.

According to Smith, the parts that are pertain to fashion are gender identity and gender expression. To begin, a person can be assigned one of three sexes at birth: male, female, or intersex. Then comes gender identity, which is what one identifies themselves as and gender expression, which is how one dresses to express themselves. Smith started his speech identifying himself as a “cis man,” meaning he was assigned male at birth and identifies as male.

Smith explained at the conference that when he was young, sexuality and expression were lumped together, “but now it’s all about separating your sexual orientation with your gender identity.”

In an interview with WWD, Christina Zervanos, head of public relations at Phluid Project, said the non-binary consumer “combats the word unisex, because it has the word sex in it. For a lot of people, it speaks to sexuality when it’s about how you identify yourself.”

“Gen Z is begging for the non-binary language,” Zervanos said. “It takes a lot of learning and unlearning.” According to Pew Research Center, 35 percent of Gen Z is familiar with gender-neutral pronouns, followed by Millennials at 25 percent. Throw in Gen X at 16 percent and the total number of people familiar with gender-neutral pronouns reaches 76 percent.

Smith also said at the conference, “If I was going to represent a young community, especially a gender-expansive young community, I need to learn the language.”

Many brands are implementing the language, refer to their gender-neutral collections as genderless, like Official Rebrand, the genderless label from non-binary designer and creative MI Leggett. They coined the term “gender-free.”

“Gender is not a fixed thing,” said Leggett in an interview with WWD, whose pronouns are they/them. “I’d never heard people use the term gender-free when I started the brand. It’s kind of a play on gluten-free. If you don’t tolerate gluten, you don’t have to consume it, so I thought it was a funny play. A lot of people use gender-neutral. That feels a little stale to me. Free implies more freedom. Agender, genderless, there’s so many ways to describe your ideology as a brand. It all depends on what you actually mean. So to me it’s gender-free.”

Fashion companies are falling into the trap of creating looks and calling them “genderless” even though a piece may lean more toward men’s wear or women’s wear. Typically, genderless clothes are either oversize, formless, and shapeless. For years women have worn men’s wear as well as men’s inspired looks that today, it became mainstream.

Kanye West in a Givenchy by Riccardo Tisci leather kilt for his “Watch the Throne” tour. (Photo Credit: The Telegraph)

Unfortunately, men embracing woman’s garments did not translate as easily. In 2010, Kanye West wore a Givenchy by Riccardo Tisci leather kilt for his “Watch the Throne” tour, unfortunately his fashion choice received mixed reviews. In 2016, Louis Vuitton cast Jaden Smith (Actor Will Smith’s son) for its woman’s spring campaign, this was the first time the luxury house had a male modeling in their woman’s advertisements. There were many mixed reactions as celebrity men started wearing more fluid fashion choices. But Harry Styles changed the conception in 2019 when the singer wore a sheer Gucci blouse to the Met Gala and genderless fashion quickly started to move into the cultural mainstream.

Harry Styles cemented himself as a fashion icon in 2019, in his frilled Gucci shirt and pearl earrings at the Met Gala. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

Toda, the category of genderless fashion is growing. One of the first designers to launch a unisex, gender-neutral brand is Rad Hourani in 2007. The designer created his label after he held an art exhibit for neutral clothes, which he described in an interview with WWD as “a tornado success where I started selling to department stores around the world.” Hourani noticed after moving to Paris at age 23 that all things were categorized according to “race, gender, age,” including fashion.

Rad Hourani surrounded by models in his looks. (Photo Credit: Elle Canada)

“When I speak of neutrality, I speak of any gender or non-gender,” he said. “Unisex is free of any gender categorization or limitation. Clothing is a discipline in which I can express myself and my vision around neutrality in general. Expressing gender neutrality is a big part of what I do. There have been unisex pieces like sneakers, jeans, T-shirts, but to create a full high-end collection for 13 years now, I needed to create my own base and sizes.”

“In the past two years, [genderless fashion] became a bigger subject, but what I notice the most is they use designs that are loose-fitting, but I think it’s a much deeper look at unisex morphology. There’s nothing new about making a woman masculine or a man feminine. That’s not unisex, that’s making one the other,” Hourani said. “For androgynous, you can’t tell, but it’s not unisex. Unisex is free of any gender categorization or limitation.”

He also sees genderless fashion as less restrictive than gendered fashion. “If you only give a man a dress, you’re only limiting him to a dress. But if you give a human a neutral garment, they will wear it any way they want.”

POPULAR GENDER-FLUID DESIGNERS

Gender-neutral looks from Entireworld. (Photo Credit: Entireworld)

Entireworld offers all of the basics you need to build a solid gender-neutral wardrobe.

Bode’s unisex one of a kind reworked quilt pastel jacket. (Photo Credit: Bode)

Emily Bode utilizes vintage textiles to create one of a kind jackets and shirts you’ll want to keep forever.

A look from Telfar. (Photo Credit: @slamjammilano)

The Telfar shopping bag has created so much buzz, but Telfar Clemens doesn’t only create sought after accessories, he also has some great fashion pieces too.

A look from Wales Bonner. (Photo Credit: Wales Bonner)

Grace Wales Bonner is the designer behind the gender neural label Wales Bonner. The brand is known for its impeccably tailored blazers and trousers, all with an unexpected sartorial edge. Wales Bonner also teamed up with Adidas for a limited collab, offering up a range of sporty spice looks.

A look from Wildfang. (Photo Credit: Wildfang)

Two Nike executives created the label Wildfang which offers a range of workwear, suits, tees, and more, all of which offer the pared-down, structured look that’s often found in the men’s department.

 

SO TELL US, WILL YOU EMBRACE THE GENDER-FLUID TREND?

Meet MOTIF: An Online Fashion Industry Education Hub

(Image credit: MOTIF)

Since our founding in 2008, the University of Fashion has always recruited the best instructors from the best fashion colleges, such as FIT and Parsons, to teach our lessons. And, because we film in New York City, the fashion capital of the world, we have been able to tap the brain trust of our industry for our design and business lessons.

Going on 13 years now, we have partnered with the best dress form companies in the business (Alvanon and Wolf) and collaborated with several top tool and fabric suppliers as well as other industry resources (and the list is growing).

When we decided to add affordable computerized pattern making lessons, we forged a partnership with Tukatech so that we could offer a special, affordable rate to our subscribers.

Promoting another school’s content on our site may have seemed like a bad business decision, but our recent partnership with Upcycle Design School now provides our subscribers the opportunity to learn how to start their own sustainable fashion brand.

So, it therefore comes as no surprise that we are introducing our subscribers to MOTIF, a new learning platform aimed at the working fashion professional. I recently had the opportunity to interview Catherine Cole, MOTIF’s CEO, about their mission, the results of their survey on the skill level needs of the industry, and other relevant topics that affect today’s fashion and textile industry.

Our founder, Francesca Sterlacci, recently interviewed Catherine to learn more about MOTIF and their unique and much needed learning platform.

Catherine Cole – MOTIF CEO (Image credit: MOTIF)

Francesca: MOTIF is a relatively new fashion industry learning platform, can you give some background as to when and why it was founded and what role Alvanon played in its inception?

Catherine: The fashion industry is going through major disruption caused by changes in consumption patterns, increasing cost pressures, speed-to-market pressures, unwieldy and fragmented supply chains and then having to play catch up in things like sustainability and digitisation. These disruptions are making a growing skills gap more and more evident. The last generation that has production floor expertise is retiring in the next 5-10 years and add to that an urgent need for the next generation of skills that include data, 3D product design and development and digital marketing. MOTIF was started to meet the urgent need by fashion brands and other players in the supply chain, for an ability to onboard new employees effectively and upskill current employees. Originally an intrapreneurial venture within global innovations company Alvanon, MOTIF officially launched in October 2018 with a suite of online courses on motif.org, before becoming a separate legal entity in April 2019. Since then, we have received $2m in funding from The Mills Fabrica.

Francesca: What has been the impact of Motif’s recent increase in funding?

Catherine: The increased funding allowed us to launch new social and community features alongside our courses and also develop authoring tools for partners (experts across the industry) to launch their own courses in our marketplace. We continually strive to enhance our features and are building a state-of-the- art learning environment for our users.

Francesca: Is Motif’s learning platform offered to individuals as well as to school libraries?

Catherine: MOTIF’s courses are aimed at both individual professionals in the industry as well as corporate HR or business teams that need to make sure their workforce is equipped with sound fundamentals and cross-functional understanding. These courses cover technical skills as well as commercial and soft skills for the apparel / fashion industry. We publish our own courses and also distribute courses of partner publishers. These partners can range from academic institutions like LIM College, to organisations fostering the adoption of business best practices and technical standards in the industry such as WRAP, and even independent seasoned industry experts such as Roz McNulty who is teaching a series of superuser courses from beginner to advanced level on CLO 3D on MOTIF.  Currently our courses are also used by professors who are looking to supplement their teaching with course material taught by practitioners.

Catherine Cole – MOTIF CEO at 2018 Summit (Image credit: MOTIF)

Francesca: Alvanon conducted an industry survey back in 2018 entitled, The State of Skills in the Apparel Industry, and shared the results at a conference held in NYC. Can you discuss the findings of that survey, as it related to body sizing and the need for upskilling in the global fashion industry?

Catherine: MOTIF, with the support of Alvanon and 19 global industry associations, launched its second global State of Skills survey in early 2020 to see if anything had changed with regards to the urgency around skills and professional development since our first survey in 2018.  The results were just released in October 2020 and can be found in a whitepaper on our site.  The key findings were that the industry still views skills as a key business issue, but that budgets are not matching.  So, one of our big problems is that there is a major mismatch between priorities and investments, especially when it comes to topics like sustainability and digitisation.  Another key finding is the discrepancy between top management’s perception of how they are supporting their employees with continuous learning opportunities and how employees feel like they are not receiving the professional development they want.

Francesca: Does Motif’s curriculum reflect the needs of current fashion industry professionals? Does Motif recruit its instructors from the fashion industry?

Catherine: MOTIF exists to fill the skills gap in the industry on fundamental technical skills, as well as hot new skills that will enable professionals to be the best at what they do as well as future-proof their career in the industry. The first courses offered on the platform revolved around product development, fit and sizing, sustainability and then 3D. We’re progressively expanding our catalogue with courses covering training needs in the wider spectrum of the apparel and fashion supply chain. For example, we’ve recently published a course by AQM on how to safely resume operations and protect your factory workforce from Covid-19, and we will soon have a new course by WRAP on risk assessment in factories. All instructors teaching courses on the platform are highly experienced industry practitioners and experts, passionate and eager to share their knowledge for the betterment of business practices in the industry and committed to collaborate with our team to deliver enjoyable, efficient and highly applicable learning experiences.

Francesca: What importance does MOTIF put on having solid, hands-on, foundational knowledge in disciplines such as pattern making, draping, sewing and drawing before moving on to learn digital tools such as CAD, PDS and 3D?

Catherine: There are core skills that will always be critical in the industry. These are the fundamental skills that don’t change over time. They are also the “art and the science” or the craft in the industry.  Any newcomer to the industry needs to have these fundamentals.  Actually, it is not just the newcomers but even many seasoned professionals need refreshers in these skills as their careers evolve.  What has changed over time is how we apply some of these skills or the new digital tools that we are using with them.  You have many young start-ups looking for pattern makers with coding skills and it is this example of a new blend of skills that will be relevant in the future so that young brands and companies remain agile and innovative.

(Image credit: MOTIF)

Francesca: Alvanon recently hosted the first 3D virtual conference, can you tell us what the industry’s reaction was to the inevitability of a 3D digital transformation? What are the pros and cons of implementing 3D in the workplace and what companies are leading this transformation?

Catherine: Alvanon, with MOTIF as its “Learning Partner”, organised the first 3D Tech Festival for Apparel and Fashion in September 2020, as an open and agnostic platform for 3D tech leaders to discuss and re-imagine how we live, work and learn in an apparel world gone digital. With over 60 speakers and thousands of participants from 94 different countries, the four-day virtual event was a resounding success with an innovative format combining a full-blown conference, 3D Tech vendor virtual showcases and the launch of the MOTIF 3D Fashion Tech Community. Aiming at quenching the thirst for practical knowledge and exchange around 3D adoption and implementation in the industry, the live event was offered entirely free and is now available on-demand on motif.org, while the MOTIF 3D Fashion Tech Community is also continuously growing with new members and ongoing conversation threads.

Like for all other major disruptive technology trends, there is a mix of excitement and apprehension or mistrust around the adoption of 3D and its benefits. The question of the pros and cons of implementing or adopting 3D, isn’t really the right one though. There is little doubt now that 3D already does and will increasingly bring efficiency and sustainability benefits to the industry. The first and foremost question is the fundamental WHY each organisation would adopt 3D and embark on a transformative journey. How does it support and enable execution of the vision and development strategy of an organisation? It’s about core business goals, streamlined processes and fostering a culture where people are embracing change, adhering to values and objectives underlying it. It’s about equipping your teams with the right skills and confidence that they can execute on the vision and that all stakeholders have a place in the transformational journey. It’s about mapping out the steps, from pilot to enterprise-wide deployment, and being able to demonstrate the return on investment at each stage. To help those that want and need to take the leap, MOTIF has developed a course that helps teams and individuals alike raise and answer the key questions, engage the right people and establish the milestones that will ease the way to the successful adoption and implementation of 3D.

There are many companies, large and small, and even start-ups, in the footwear and apparel industries that have started experimenting, adopting or embedding digital tech as the nexus of their business model or operations. We get excited when we talk to some of the most progressive ones now looking at building internal 3D or digital skills competency centers with an explicit mandate to ramp up the training of the workforce on transformational change project management and new tools or technologies. At MOTIF, our vision is to support these endeavours with a tool kit of courses and resources that can then be customized for brands or manufacturers.

(Image credit: MOTIF)

Francesca: Do you think the industry is adequately addressing climate change? What more can be done?

Catherine: We would have to answer no to this question.  Many companies are struggling with the HOW of integrating the ethos of the circle economy into their supply chains and to expedite the transformation around efficiency and transparency – both critical to tackle the problems of overproduction and waste.  This is why MOTIF is launching a sustainability intervention in February 2021! We will be hosting a three-day event around this particular topic with speakers from across the supply chain in an effort to reconcile practices between design, production and consumer.  Alongside this we will be launching our Sustainability Communities so that we can support the ongoing conversation.  MOTIF is also launching a new virtual learning series in December of this year that will run monthly and bring in case studies around these key topics.  Stay tuned for more information!

Francesca: What more can we do as an industry to stop the promotion, production and over-consumption of clothing?

Catherine: Overconsumption and overproduction are the two sides of the same coin, and we need to change currency. The urgency is undeniable yet there is no magic or easy way out or solution. On the consumer side, a change of societal values and education to buy less and better quality products produced or sourced responsibly, to prolong the life of our garments by upcycling, swapping, donating, reusing or recycling instead of just dumping them in a landfill, is paramount. Studies seem to show that Millennials and GenZ consumers are increasingly ready to pay more for quality products and have a genuine appetite for sustainable fashion, so we are heading in the right direction. Many brands, large and small are embedding sustainability practices throughout the entire product lifecycle and facilitating responsible customer initiatives by developing new services tied to the end of life of their products.

For many brands or retailers, it is also about ethos, values and legacy. It does take courage and integrity to, like Patagonia, refuse to participate in the Black Friday or CyberMonday orgies and encourage your customers not to buy a jacket in your new collection if the life of your current one can be extended. And it is not something you can preach or pull off unless you walk the talk. While we see real progress in the industry, the staggering, record sales numbers just reported by Alibaba and JD Express for the 2020 November Singles day (all consumer product categories included) show that old habits die hard and there are many contextual and cultural elements that come into play so there isn’t a one size fits all solution.

The progressive digitization of the industry and adoption of new technology are also enablers of systemic change, with the emergence of more circular business models. There is a pressing need to upskill the current people the industry employs on sustainability so that change can happen at scale. Waiting for a fresh generation of designers, product developers and supply chain professionals can’t be afforded. The responsibility of picking up these essential new skills, not only lies with the industry or corporations but also with professionals themselves, if they wish to become agents of change and future-proof their careers in the industry.

Sustainability is a strategic area of course and content development for us. As mentioned, when we launched our platform, we already had a beginner course on Sustainability and we have just released a brand new intermediate course taught by LIM College faculty.

Francesca: There has recently been a focus on social justice and our industry‘s lack of inclusivity. Do you think the fashion industry has more to do in this area and what is MOTIF doing to help?

Catherine: MOTIF is actively seeking out and working with partners that are developing content around these topics. From driving diversity and inclusion in our workplace all the way to how we bring in diversity and inclusion when designing for consumers and building socially responsible supply chains. Our vision is to have a catalogue of courses and resources valuable for the industry, but also that all material is taught through these lenses.

Francesca: Since the pandemic, people have been working remotely and making use of online tools. Have you seen an impact in online learning at MOTIF?

Catherine: Pre-Covid, companies still preferred onsite training even though online learning had established itself years ago as a viable and efficient training solution for individuals and corporations alike. The current crisis has only increased awareness and receptivity to the value of virtual learning environments and accelerated the adoption with many corporations now fully appreciating the efficiency, flexibility and scalability that elearning offers with real shared benefits for employees and employers. Once the pandemic gets under control, we expect that organisations will resume offline training, but we’re convinced that they will converge on more of a hybrid training model, a blended approach leveraging the best of both offline and online learning experiences, which MOTIF has already started to offer.

We’ve undoubtedly seen an increased traffic on the motif.org platform and stronger engagement from learners taking our courses. As more corporations, non-profit organisations or academic institutions are looking at accelerating the digitalisation of their training or educational content, this has also opened a lot of collaboration opportunities for us and enquiries on our instructional design and courses development services offering.

The University of Fashion is happy to welcome MOTIF to the online learning community. Together we shall both help to promote online fashion education for years to come!

 

Sincerely,

Francesca Sterlacci

CEO/University of Fashion

Meet Our Instructors

 

We have lots of teachers! With 13 different disciplines and 500 videos to learn from, including draping, pattern making, sewing, fashion art, product development, knits, childrenswear, menswear, CAD fashion art, CAD pattern making, accessories design, fashion business and fashion lectures, we thought we’d introduce to more of them as we continue our blog series, Meet Our Instructors.

Pardon us for bragging but did you know that all of our instructors are either fashion college professors (from top fashion schools) or are fashion industry professionals?

Ever since we started offering 30-day free access offer to schools on March 4th due to Covid-19, and we launched a special promo to individual subscribers (was $189/now $169 using promo code NEWS21Y), we have tripled our subscribership!

So, for all of our new schools and subscribers here are a few more instructors that you should get to know. Click on their name to find out what they do in the industry and what they teach at UoF.

 

Kathlin Argiro – shares her extensive knowledge on how to start a fashion brand in her 3-part series for University of Fashion.

With a successful track record as a fashion designer and entrepreneur, Kathlin has sold her collection to top retailers, including Saks Fifth Avenue, Neiman Marcus and Bloomingdales.

In 2010, she joined the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) as an Adjunct Faculty member and has led high profile projects for First Lady Michelle Obama and for the Metropolitan Museum of Art Costume Institute.

Most recently, Kathlin began teaching in FIT’s MFA program. She also serves as a mentor for FIT’s Design Entrepreneurs NYC (DENYC) mini MBA Program.

In addition to her role at FIT, Kathlin has also taught at Parsons School of Design, Pratt, and Zhejiang Sci-Tech University (ZSTU), China.

Considered a fashion industry expert, Kathlin has been quoted in numerous publications and has been a guest panelist at industry conferences and universities, including Mount Holyoke College and Fordham University.

Passionate about sharing her experience and mentoring emerging designers, Kathlin launched a consulting business, Kathlin Argiro New York, in 2014.

kat@kathlinargiro.com

https://www.kathlinargironewyork.com/

Instagram: @kathlinargiro

Facebook: Kathlin Argiro

Richard Rosenfeld is a veteran in the fashion education industry and we are honored to have him teaching a series of model-drawing lessons for University of Fashion.

Richard has taught fashion model-drawing classes at Parsons since 1978 and at the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) since 1989. During that period, he taught numerous famous designers, including Chris Benz, Isaac Mizrahi and Jason Wu, as well as New York illustrator (and UoF instructor), Steven Broadway.

Having attended the Rhode Island School of Design and as a graduate of Parsons with a degree in illustration, Richard has worked as a fashion illustrator for high profile publications such as Vogue, WWD, Glamour, The New York Times, and for various department stores and other fashion design clientele.

Richard’s philosophy for teaching fashion drawing focuses on developing good observational skills, the accurate depiction of textiles and various types of garments in silhouette, all with a personal point of view. His preferred medium of choice is a combination of pencil & watercolors.

Currently, Richard enjoys mentoring young design professionals and continues his passion for drawing from live models during the Covid-19 pandemic via ZOOM. He is curious to see how the health crisis will impact the future of this creative industry.

@richard_rosenfeld_art

 

Andrew Curwen’s lessons for University of Fashion demonstrate a designer’s respect for Savile Row workmanship. His hand sewn buttonhole lessons are pure works of art.

Andrew is a graduate of Parson’s BFA program and currently resides and works in Manhattan. With a background in bespoke construction and textile arts, his introduction to tailoring was taught and nurtured by a master Savile Row tailor.

The disparity between love and death are recurring themes throughout Andrew’s design work, something that could be described as a feminine brutality. Andrew works to design fashion for posterity that touches on the human condition.

Barbara Seggio has over 30 years of experience working in the fashion industry as a designer, technical designer and freelance design consultant. Her specialty is women’s sportswear and childrenswear design.

At the University of Fashion, Barbara shares her expertise in the areas of draping, pattern making, sewing and childrenswear. Barbara is also the editor of Sewing Techniques for Beginners and co-editor of Pattern Making Techniques for Beginners, UoF’s companion book series.

As an Adjunct Associate Professor at the Fashion Institute of Technology, Barbara teaches all disciplines of fashion design including: draping, patternmaking and sewing. Barbara’s accomplishments at FIT include: development of the childrenswear specialization, chairperson of the Childrenswear Advisory Board, member of the Sewing and Childrenswear Curriculum Committees and instructor in their high school weekend/summer program.

 

 

A Reminder to High Schools & Colleges

We are offering all high schools and colleges a free one-month access to our University of Fashion content library of over 500 educational videos. Teachers, should coordinate their school’s request and send that request to cs@UniversityofFashion.com, and we will provide your school with an access code. So…students, tell your teachers!

The goal of our free 30-day access to schools only, is to help schools salvage the balance of their semester. In preparation for the fall, in the event the pandemic continues into the next semester, we have waived our one-year school subscription minimum and are now offering special shortened subscription terms and rates.

Since 2008, University of Fashion has been providing individuals, groups, schools and public libraries with hands-on and lecture lessons in fashion design and fashion business. Many of our subscriber schools have been using our content in hybrid classrooms for years. Just read our testimonials.

As you use our library, we’d love your feedback. Tell us which are your favorite lessons and what new lessons you’d like to see? Send comments to us at cs@UniversityofFashion.com.

To Individual Subscribers

For those who are not currently enrolled in school but would like to take advantage of our library, we are now offering an individual membership deal. Get $20 off a yearly membership (was $189 now $169) using promo code NEWS21Y. Offers expire 12/31/20

SIGN UP HERE

 

Did you know that we have a very informative weekly blog covering relevant fashion topics? And, stay connected with us via our lively social media presence: Instagram- @uoffashion and Facebook – University of Fashion.

This is a new deal just offered by our UK-based publisher.
Our Video & Book Combination – Get 40% each book using discount code FRIENDS40 (offer expires 5/31/20)

Draping: Techniques for Beginners – https://www.laurenceking.com/us/product/draping-2/
Sewing: Techniques for Beginners – https://www.laurenceking.com/us/product/sewing/
Pattern Making: Techniques for Beginners – https://www.laurenceking.com/us/product/pattern-making/

Once you click one of the book links, above, you’ll see the book you selected in the middle of the screen. Click the shopping cart icon in the upper right of the same page then, on the order form provided, enter the discount code: FRIENDS40, and then click “Apply discount.” Then click “Proceed to checkout.”

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

WE’RE LOOKING FOR YOUR 2 CENTS

 

UNIVERSITY OF FASHION IS LOOKING FOR YOUR FEEDBACK

As the year end approaches, you’ve probably been bombarded with hundreds of fashion recaps, ad nauseum. Here at University of Fashion we thought we’d take a slightly different approach, by looking to the future and reaching out to all of our loyal fans and subscribers to ask this important question…

 WHAT LESSONS WOULD YOU LIKE US TO ADD IN 2020?

Those of you who’ve been following UoF ever since we launched in 2013, know that we’re a company that was founded by a designer for designers. Our video library has grown over the years from 100 videos in 6 disciplines when we launched, to close to 500 lessons today in 13 disciplines: Draping, Sewing, Pattern making, Sewing, Fashion Art, Accessories, Menswear, Childrenswear, Product Development, Cad Art & Pattern making, lessons in Fashion Business and Fashion Lectures that include textiles, color theory, trend forecasting, fashion law, sustainable design and fashion history, as well of lots of other great fashion insider lectures & interviews.

People from more than 177 countries visit our website every year. From high school & college students and fashion college professors, to designer entrepreneurs & individuals who are looking to upgrade their skills. We still maintain our high-quality standards by hiring only fashion college professors from the top schools & fashion industry pros to teach our lessons. All of our videos are professionally shot and edited. Just read our testimonials to see how well we’re doing!

So far, comments that we’ve received from our subscribers and fans include: how to draft & sew a lined skirt with a back vent; waistband sewing techniques; bridal wear draping & sewing techniques; how to draft a coat, wrap dress and jumpsuit; plus-size pattern making; more menswear drafting lessons and advanced draping & drawing techniques lessons. Now’s the time for you get to add your 2 cents as we plan our 2020 film shoot. We’d love to hear from YOU!

PLEASE SEND YOUR LESSON SUGGESTIONS TO US AT

SUGGESTIONS@XEMAPS.COM

BY FEB 1, 2020

 

Posen Shutters His House As the UoF Opens Doors for Future Designers

Fashion times, they are a changin’.

In just the past few weeks alone, once fashion darling Zac Posen has closed his doors and the iconic retailer Barneys has closed its remaining doors, two more signs that fashion design and retail operations as we’ve known them for so many years are in fact yesterday’s news.

To Posen’s credit, he can claim the story many emerging designers have aspired to. With semesters spent at Parsons and Central Saint Martins, a long line of celebs who have worn his gowns on the red carpet and fame as an expert judge on Project Runway, some would claim that Posen’s run in the fashion world is the stuff an emerging designer’s dreams are made of. And truthfully, Posen lasted much longer in a crumbling model than most. He even starred in his own documentary, House of Z, detailing the behind the scenes successes and struggles over the years.

In 2008, when my fellow fashion school graduates and I landed in NYC after graduating from the Academy of Art in San Francisco, several of us were overcome with jealousy when one of us scored an internship with Zac Posen. It was a tough economic time in which fashion companies were laying off employees, and so many of us had given up on the thought of getting a “real job” in fashion and instead were fighting for unpaid internships with the hope that they would lead to paid positions.

Even then, I can remember the bright fashion stars I had in my eyes beginning to dim as I watched my talented classmate drape his heart out for Posen, often leaving our apartment at 6:30 am to make it to the studio by 7:00 am, not to return until well after 7:00 pm (and without pay). When one of my classmate’s creations ended up on Posen’s runway, we thought for sure, this would be his big break. But as was (and may still be) commonplace with companies headed by a singular famous face, my classmate’s “internship” was over once the season was over and Posen’s runway show was complete. Posen was on to the next group of eager “interns.” And my classmate? He was left with crippling student loans to pay and still, no job.

I share this story because it illuminates the reasons why we are finally seeing a real shift in the fashion industry. And why we’ve got to let go of what has been been considered success in the fashion industry in the past (fame, celebrity, elaborate shows season after season) and instead look toward a more sustainable future in fashion for emerging designers. Posen himself (guided by his mother) saw how unsustainable the fame-party-celebrity red carpet style of designing and running a business was back in 2010. Posen’s decision to branch out into collaborations and more affordable mass market options in order to keep the sought after design dream alive was detailed in WSJ. And yet even with this forethought, Posen’s high end business ultimately couldn’t survive.

Fast forward to today and even educators from top fashion schools (in fact, my former director, Simon Ungless at the Academy of Art in San Francisco), have started to question their own fashion programs, wondering if they are in fact preparing their students for what the fashion world holds. Ungless recently suggested that fashion schools are preparing students for an industry that doesn’t exist (read Ungless’ full interview here) and that if students aspire to celebrity as a fashion designer, they should “make a sex tape.”

Aside from the fact that today’s students in traditional fashion design programs are still striving for that final fashion show in hopes of being noticed by industry professionals (which ultimately may happen to a select handful of graduates), the college debt load students are accumulating is real. A single semester at Parsons, including tuition, books, room and board is approximately $60,000 and at FIT, around $45,000. Multiply that by the number of semesters it takes to graduate and we are talking upwards of $200,000 spent on an education that may or may not pay for itself.

And while we will never say “we told ya so,” the University of Fashion was conceived and developed years ago as a direct response to the issues we are seeing today, including:

• the prohibitive high cost of a traditional fashion education
• the lack of jobs/opportunity in the fashion industry to make a high-cost education pay off
• the changing skills/mindset needed to “make it” as a fashion designer in today’s fashion landscape

Maybe Elon Musk, Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, et al. have a point—forego college and invest that money in your own start-up. Learn fashion design at UoF, get your technical skills and then use your money to launch and advertise your own brand. Imagine the possibilities when you let go of the idea that you must have a degree from Parsons, an internship with Marc Jacobs and celebrity status as a 20-something designer with a Hadid wearing your brand on Instagram.

There are so many ways for emerging designers to “make it” in the fashion industry of tomorrow, because the industry is yours to create. Instead of aiming for super stardom and spending a fortune on a traditional fashion education, get creative with different ways to break into the fashion industry. Use online resources to create a niche design item and learn how to market yourself via social media. Follow a path that feels authentic and genuine to you and think outside the box. We truly believe designers CAN make a living at what they love through research, social media savvy and creative thought. How about a new young designer pop-up store collective? Already paving a new path forward in the fashion industry? We want to know about it! Inspire others by sharing in the comments below.

GOING GREEN, HOW DENIM LABELS ARE EMBRACING SUSTAINABILITY

M.i.h. Jeans practices denim sustainability. (Photo Courtesy of WWD)

Climate change, global warming, plastic in our oceans, these are all real threats that have not just Millennials and Generation Zers worried, but should be a concern for people of all ages. As Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s “Green New Deal” is receiving plenty of publicity, we as a design community must realize that we are among the top polluters of our planet, actually, according to Ethical Unicorn, we rank #5. Not a number that we should be proud. So, what can we do as an industry to lower our ranking? Who are the brands who are leading the way?

Well, while there are literally thousands of fashion brands and companies around the world, there are not as many as there should be in our industry moving towards sustainability and who are consciously making an effort to reduce waste and pollution that our industry causes.

We’d like to give a shout-out to two ‘green’ advocates, Stella McCartney and Christopher Raeburn. These designers were among the ten fashion companies that have recently received the inaugural CO10 Leadership Award, an award that recognizes companies that have set down a pathway towards sustainability.

Christopher Raeburn fitting a model in one of his looks. (Photo Courtesy of WWD)

The award is presented by Common Objective, a network that connects more than 10,000 professionals in the fashion, retail and textile industries that share knowledge and best sustainability practices. Other companies that were honored were, Osklen, Bottletop, Indigenous, Outland Denim, Mayamiko, Sonica Sarna Design, Ethical Apparel Africa and The Rajlakshmi Cotton Mills.

“The industry has seen an incredible amount of traction over the past year, from increased consumer demand and government engagement, to the abundance of new entrants that focus on sustainability,” said Harold Tillman, former chairman of the British Fashion Council. The overall CO Leadership Awards are given to fashion brands that champion innovation in sustainability.

On December 10, 2018, Stella McCartney launched a program during the Katowice Climate Change Conference in Poland, which addressed various issues in the fashion industry, such as pollution, deforestation, low carbon production methods, and toxicity in products. Another goal for McCartney is to create awareness among students and designers that there are more environmentally-friendly ways to create collections. Today, more than ever, customers are aware and looking to purchase from brands that are focused on sustainability.

Stella McCartney at the Katowicw Climate Change Conference in Poland (Photo Courtesy of WWD)

Denim Sustainability News

While the majority of the population would love to purchase clothing that is environmentally-friendly, let’s face it, many cannot afford Stella McCartney’s hefty price point. But environmentalists will be happy to hear that everyone’s favorite closet staple, denim, is helping to lead the way towards sustainability.

Denim is one of the most popular fashion items around the world, but the mass production of this wardrobe staple has turned into an environmental nightmare. Remember the footage from China when a river turned blue from a nearby denim factory? Clearly denim dyes and water consumption are both harmful to the environment. However, today, the industry is searching for ways to help clean up the process and build a more sustainable supply chain. The denim industry is slowly joining together to create an ecosystem focused on sustainability practices.

Denim dyes damage the environment (Photo Courtesy of Forbes)

This past February at the Première Vision Textile Trade Show in Paris, a group of experts from the denim world gathered together for a panel hosted by Isko, a leading Turkish denim mill. The topic… the “Unlimited Possibilities of Responsible Denim.” Panelists included: Ebru Ozkucuk Guler (CSR executive at Isko), Miles Johnson (designer at Stan Ray denim and and previously at Patagonia and Levi Strauss & Co.), Rachel Pearce (director of denim consultancy firm Denimhand) and François Girbaud (owner Marithé + François Girbaud).

Isko’s sustainable denim panel Première Vision Textile Trade Showin Paris. (Courtesy Photo WWD)

Consumers today are intelligent. They want more transparency about the clothing and products they are purchasing. According to Miles Johnson, “it is high time, with all the confusion over certification, for governments to start implementing standards.”

The panel was in agreement that the idea of phasing out cotton was not realistic, but embracing new approaches to the cotton supply chain and implementing dye and waste management practices are vital for the industry’s survival.

Here’s what the panelists said: 

“We’re not going to stop doing cotton jeans, so let’s just do it better. But you have to have a big idea for 25 years down the road that everyone signs up for, and then we can all start trekking toward the same spot. Unfortunately we’re not there yet, and it’s all still a bit scattered,” Johnson said. Adding that “Cotton now has a bad name, like plastic. If people hear plastic now they go, ‘Ooh, bad.’ It’s not bad, the world just isn’t set up so that we can handle recycling, because we haven’t invested in waste disposal, so we’re not catching plastic at the end and turning it back into fiber.”

Pearce added, “We can grow cotton better, we can be more responsible with cotton, but our biggest enemy is the amount that’s going to landfill, to waste. But the cotton that’s going to landfill, it’s going to biodegrade; it’s the polyester we should be worried about, it currently stays in our environment for up to 120 years before breaking down.”

“We are in an incredibly wasteful industry, [but] I do commend everyone in the denim industry because at least we’re a step ahead of the sportswear industry,” concluded Johnson. “People are having these conversations a lot more in denim than they are in anything else.”

Blue + Denim practices denim sustainability. (Photo Courtesy of WWD)

 

Here are some possible solutions: 

Case in point, this past October in Amsterdam at the Kingpins Fair Trade Show, sustainability in denim was a key issue being tackled by experts. Posters detailing water-saving processes, potassium permanganate-free finishes and recycled fabrics were in front of most stands, and they were easy to spot from afar thanks to their symbolic green and blue hues.

M&J Group, a Bangladesh-based manufacturer, added green tags to each garment, that labeled the level of water, gas or chemicals used for the conception of each denim piece. Meanwhile, at Global Denim, the manufacturer promoted EcoloJean technology. Their posters illustrated a regular pair of jeans next to a pile of water bottles, explaining that it takes 20 liters of water to dye a single pair of jeans. The EcoloJean technology, said the poster, boasts zero water discharging.

Another big initiative in going green is fabric made from recycled plastic bottles.  “We’ve just sourced a fabric called Repreve, made from recycled plastic bottles,” said Tara Jessop, who was attending with Rebekah Hough, a fellow designer at Fundamental, a British denim manufacturer that counts the Arcadia group among its clients. “We’ve just sourced a fabric called Repreve, made from recycled plastic bottles,” said Tara Jessop, who was attending with Rebekah Hough, a fellow designer at Fundamental, a British denim manufacturer that counts the Arcadia group among its clients. “We keep seeing the green plastic bottle tags on every stand. They are an amazing marketing tool; they help the customer understand the process,” she added.

(Photo courtesy Reprove.com)

(Photo courtesy Reprove.com)

Thankfully, more affordable denim mills are now taking steps towards sustainability.  “We’ve been going round to each stand to ask them what they’ve been doing from a sustainable angle,” said Lee women’s designer Natasha Goforth, who added that the brand was looking to make its carryover fabrics more sustainable. “But we’re looking at every single element: fabrics, trims, finishes. It’s not just about the sustainability of the fabric itself, but rather how we can bring in more elements of sustainability to our brand,” she added.

DL 1961 Denim practices sustainability when producing denim. (Courtesy Photo)

Australian’s Outland Denim is facing challenges managing sudden rapid growth due to the brands ethical focus, The brands founder James Bartle stated “Integrity is everything to us as a business. The goal is to be a big part of changing the fashion industry for good. Our strategy is to be product-focused, to not be a charity and to create a genuinely sustainable business model that changes people’s lives and the environment at the same time.”

Outland Denim (Commercial Photography Cambodia)

ABLE Denim has adapted to sustainability practices. (Photo Courtesy of WWD)

TO ALL OF OUR UOF DESIGNERS AND MANUFACTURERS – HOW ARE YOU MAKING A DIFFERENCE TO BECOME MORE SUSTAINABLE? WE’D LOVE TO FEATURE YOU IN OUR BLOG. LET US KNOW