University of Fashion Blog

Category "Fashion Events"

Rare Kicks Auctioned to Kick Slave Labor in the Fashion Industry

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Pictured above: Kith X Nike LeBron James XV, Long Live the King Part II, 2018

This summer, the rarest, most coveted sneaker collaborations were on view on Park Avenue at the Tongue + Chic, Sneakers  X Artists exhibition. The exhibition ran for only about a month and a half, and we were lucky to make it in before the closing date of August 31. Sneakerheads came from near and far (and formed lines around the block) just to get a glimpse of famous collaborations between Nike, Converse, Puma, Reebok and various artists and influencers. Read More

Introducing the CFDA’s Young Guns

Mike Amiri, Kristopher Brock, Nadja Swarovski, Aurora James, and Kerby Jean-Raymond - Photo courtesy of WWD.com

Mike Amiri, Kristopher Brock, Nadja Swarovski, Aurora James, and Kerby Jean-Raymond – Photo courtesy of WWD.com

As fashion educators and bloggers, we have a responsibility to cover important events in our industry—for example, the recent 2018 CFDA Fashion Awards—even when the CFDA honors Kim Kardashian (GASP!) with the CFDA Influencer Award. While we are still a little stumped on that decision, we are thrilled to introduce you to the honored newcomers to the fashion industry – also known as the five nominees for the Swarovski Award for Emerging Talent. Read More

DROP Everything and Read This

From a death drop…

To a mic drop…

To dropping it like it’s hot…

Retailers and designers alike are taking advantage of the hype that surrounds the newest, hottest drop – or a limited edition release of a product for a short run of time. Most often, one-off drops take place in brick and mortar locations and attract droves of brand fans and devotees.

And in a time when “on the ground” retailers are struggling to stay alive due to online competition, finding creative ways to bring shoppers in is critical.

Last September, Barneys put a drop event to the test when the retailer invited more than 80 brands to release limited-edition goods that could only be found at Barneys. But Barneys didn’t just stop at offering limited edition products by brands with impressive social media followings. The social media savvy retailer also tapped additional influencers—think well-known tattoo artists and DJs—to sweeten the draw for the audience Barneys was trying to attract into its doors.

Add a branded café and a t-shirt bar, and BAM! Drop history was made.

According to WWD, of the 12,000 people that showed up to The Drop @Barneys on Madison Avenue in NYC, half were current customers and the other half brand new customers. The event was held over one weekend and sales increased 35% from the previous year on Saturday and 9% on Sunday. Most importantly, 40% of attendees returned at a later date to make a purchase at Barneys.

The Drop @ Barneys was so successful, a second drop is planned for June 2 and 3 at the Beverly Hills store on the West Coast.

But what can emerging designers pick up from what more established designers are dropping?

Several ideas:

1. Use what you know to give the people what they want.

If you’re lacking Barney’s vast resources and connections, not to worry. You can take a lesson from Barneys “mega drop,” and use your knowledge of your own brand and product success to create a “mini drop.” Take a hard look at your best sellers or perhaps your garments/accessories/items that get the most attention on social media.

In other words, many designers recreated their biggest sellers for The Drop @ Barneys, and the crowd flocked to the event. No need to make more work for yourself or reinvent an already popular wheel.

Reincarnate your best seller with a slight twist or alteration in a limited edition run. Set up shop at a local market, arrange for a pop up event at a local boutique or permits permitting, sell on a corner in a shopping area that caters to your audience. Blast your social media following a special date/time and look forward to existing fans of your brand bringing their friends for a peek at your drop!

2. Get creative—think of the long game.

This tip takes a shift in thinking. When your resources are limited, it can be hard to think about putting your time and energy into a “hype” event that may not garner too many sales. However, if you are in it for the long haul as a designer and business person, giving some focus to “getting your name out there” can pay off down the road.

Barneys didn’t just focus on garment sales during their first drop event, they thought beyond sales to provide an environment that would appeal to the demographic they hope to turn into buying customers in the future.

As an emerging designer, consider organizing a panel about fashion, design or owning your own business and invite your local community. Try offering to style customers at a local boutique for one afternoon a week. Seek out networking events in your area—offer to speak, help organize or provide a branded item for attendees’ swag bags.

3. Form like-minded partnerships.

Just like Barneys researched DJs, tattoo artists and other influencers that their desired audience might want to take selfies with, so can you.

Who do you follow and admire on Instagram? How might you partner with them, eventually turning their fans on to your brand? Can you swap a post for a post and somehow bring your like-minded followers together?

Think about your customer’s day, week, month and year. Sure, they might wake up and put on one of your accessories, but considering their 24/7 can give you great insight into who your beneficial partners might be. If your customer spends her weekends at the club, you might consider hosting a party in exchange for a pop up shop during the club’s off hours.

If you design golf shirts, networking with county clubs and offering a unique “meet the designer” buying experience for members during busy brunch times might be an option.

If sustainability is part of your design philosophy, try partnering with a recycling facility or donation organization, giving your customers (and new customers who will be appreciative of your efforts) a literal Drop Off the Old, Shop the New opportunity.

What are other ways you have attracted new customers?

We’d love to hear—and so would our students and followers. Maybe we can get creative and form a like-minded partnership? Drop your comments below.

Royal Wedding: Meghan Markle Stuns the World in Clare Waight Keller

Meghan Markle and Prince Harry (photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

Meghan Markle and Prince Harry (photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

It was the most anticipated wedding of the year; Prince Harry and Meghan Markle tied the knot today (May 19, 2018) at St. George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle. It was a ceremony that managed to meld centuries of British tradition with a distinctly contemporary American feel and British and America flags waved gloriously all over England.

As the world watched, Meghan Markle made the trip to St. George’s Chapel with her mother Doria Ragland. The stunning American actress has now become the Duchess of Sussex with a simple “I do” to Prince Harry. There was plenty of speculation on what she would wear on this momentous occasion. Many thought that she would wear a custom gown by Ralph & Russo – after all, she chose an embellished Ralph & Rosso for her engagement portrait. Up until yesterday, many were assumed she would wear a Stella McCartney, since McCartney is an ethical fashion designer and avid animal rights activist.

Meghan Markle in Givenchy Couture by Clare Waight Keller (photo courtesy of Shutterstock)

Meghan Markle in Givenchy Couture by Clare Waight Keller (photo courtesy of Shutterstock)

As Prince Charles walked Markle down the aisle, the soon to become Duchess of Sussex succeeded in a making global statement by choosing: a minimalistic gown from a French couture house designed by a British designer (Clare Waight Keller), a diamond tiara on loan from the Queen (once worn by Queen Mary), diamond earrings from French jeweler, Cartier earrings and a veil bearing symbols of the Commonwealth. While Markle respected British heritage and tradition, she has also ushered in a new age of simplicity and global inclusivity.

Meghan Markle's crown (photo courtesy of Shutterstock)

Meghan Markle’s crown (photo courtesy of Shutterstock)

William Hansen, an etiquette coach, said in an interview following the wedding “It’s a more traditional dress, although it does have a very contemporary and up-to-date feel to it. There are the covered shoulders and the veil. There’s a nod to the past with Queen Mary’s diamond bandeau tiara, and a nod to the present, which is seen in her veil and in the embroidered flowers that represent the countries of the Commonwealth and Prince Harry’s role.”

The dress, with its boat neck, clean lines and lack of embroidery, was quiet and demure, a stark contrast to Princess Diana’s wedding dress. The palace said that after meeting Waight Keller in early 2018, Markle chose to work with the designer due to her “timeless and elegant aesthetic, impeccable tailoring,” and relaxed demeanour. The gown was a surprisingly subdued choice compared to her sister-in-law Kate Middleton’s intricate lace wedding dress by Alexander McQueen’s Sarah Burton.

Left: Kate Middleton in Alexander McQueen Righ: Meghan Markle in Givenchy Couture

Left: Kate Middleton in Alexander McQueen Righ: Meghan Markle in Givenchy Couture

The lines of Markel’s dress were achieved using only six seams, and the dress extended towards the back where the train flowed into soft folds cushioned by an underskirt in triple-silk organza. Waight Keller worked with an exclusive double bonded silk cady, which she developed which gave the dress more shape. Both Waight Keller and Markle wanted a “pure white” color to bring a fresh modernity to the dress, the palace said.

Waight Keller described the dress as a close collaboration between her and Markle and said the two had wanted to create a “timeless piece that would emphasize the iconic codes of Givenchy throughout its history (think Audrey Hepburn), as well as convey modernity through sleek lines and sharp cuts.”

Meghan Markle and Prince Harry (photo courtesy of Shutterstock)

Meghan Markle and Prince Harry (photo courtesy of Shutterstock)

While the gown was relatively simple, the veil, in contrast, had plenty of intricate details. The bride wanted to have a distinctive flower from of each Commonwealth country with her on her journey through the ceremony, according to Kensington Palace.  The veil was five meters long and made of silk tulle trimmed with hand-embroidered flowers in silk thread and organza. Each flower was worked flat and in three dimensions, to create a unique and delicate design. The palace said the workers spent hundreds of hours meticulously sewing and washing their hands every 30 minutes to keep the tulle and threads pristine. In addition to the flora of the Commonwealth, Markle selected two personal favorites: Wintersweet (Chimonanthus praecox), which grows on the grounds of Kensington Palace, in front of Nottingham Cottage where the couple lives, and the California Poppy (Eschscholzia californica) the state flower from Markle’s native California. Symmetrically placed at the very front of the veil, crops of wheat are meant to blend into the flora, to symbolize love and charity.

For those unfamiliar with Clare Waight Keller, here goes: She is a British mother of three and a talented, low-key British designer who is all about femininity, soft edges and beautiful fabrics. She also has a reputation for cutting a killer pair of pants. She attended both Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design and the Royal College of Art in London. Waight Keller began her fashion career designing for Calvin Klein, where she worked for four years. She also worked with Polo Ralph Lauren as design director of Purple Label Menswear and was a senior design director with Tom Ford at Gucci. Waight Keller is known for her knitwear and her sleek, tomboyish, yet elegant style. In 2005, she became creative director at Pringle of Scotland and her first menswear collection was presented at Milan Fashion Week 2006. In 2011, she joined Chloé, where she coined the term “sister style,” a look that expresses clothes that are simple, comfortable and romantic. In 2016, Apple Music launched a fashion channel playlist and tapped Waight Keller and designer Alexander Wang to curate the music selections.  On March 16, 2017 she became the first female to become artistic director at the French House of Givenchy.

Clare Waight Keller

Clare Waight Keller

The stunning  couple married at St. George’s Chapel on the Queen’s Windsor estate — not at Westminster Abbey or St. Paul’s Cathedral in London — and invited more than 2,000 members of the public to join them for the ceremony. The wedding wasn’t a state affair, but one filled instead with family — and some famous friends — including Oprah Winfrey, Serena Williams, George and Amal Clooney, James Corden, James Blunt and Victoria and David Beckham. There were also a host of former classmates from Meghan’s alma mater Northwestern University were there, as well as the cast from her former TV series “Suits.”

So tell us, whose dress do you think was more fitting for a princess? Kate Middleton in Alexander McQueen or Meghan Markle in Givenchy Couture?

Stars Shine and Show Some Skin in Cannes

Screen Shot 2018-05-13 at 8.25.55 PM

Photo courtesy of www.standard.co.uk

Last Tuesday marked the start of the 71st Cannes Film Festival which runs through May 18, 2018. The beauty of reviewing fashion at this annual gathering of who’s who in film is that celebrities and attendees are not only wearing red carpet looks for film screenings and events, but also a chic variety of daytime head-to-toe looks for panels, photoshoots, promotional events and interviews.

No matter the time of day, three top trends are emerging as the stars promote their latest works. Read More

Met Gala 2018: Divine Creations on the Red Carpet

Left to right: Kim Kardashian in Versace, Madonna in Jean Paul Gaultier, Gigi Hadid in Versace, Sarah Jessica Parker in Dolce & Gabbana, and Zendaya in Versace (Photo courtesy of Cosmopolitan.com)

Left to right: Kim Kardashian in Versace, Madonna in Jean Paul Gaultier, Gigi Hadid in Versace, Sarah Jessica Parker in Dolce & Gabbana, and Zendaya in Versace (Photo courtesy of Cosmopolitan.com

“Just like a Prayer,” Madonna’s 80s hit came to life at this year’s Met Gala. No matter what your religion, the Met Gala Red Carpet was filled with regal references, courtesy of the Catholic Church. It came as no surprise to fashion industry insiders that the Costume Institute choose such a controversial theme, “Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination,”  especially considering that their 1983 exhibition, “The Vatican Collections: The Papacy and Art,” was the third most visited exhibit in the museum’s history (#1- Treasures of Tutankhamen-1978-79-1,360,000 visitors, #2-Mona Lisa 1963- 1,077,521 visitors). The Met is hoping that this exhibit will be a big money-maker. It certainly is one of the largest since it includes two locations, the Met Fifth Ave and the Met Cloisters.

(Photo courtesy of the Met)

(Photo courtesy of the Met)

However, this time around, Christianity, as interpreted by the Costume Institute, meant mixing the sacred and the profane. Included in the exhibit are ecclesiastical garments on loan from the Vatican, jostling for attention right next to high fashion from the usual suspects, Dolce & Gabbana, Versace, Chanel, Balenciaga and Valentino.

The Met Gala is fashion’s biggest night. This year the event was hosted by Rihanna, Amal Clooney, Donatella Versace, Anna Wintour and Stephen and Christine Schwarzman. As for the Red Carpet, there were plenty of religious imagery, complete with headpieces and lots of crosses. With no shortage of religious references, the bold and the beautiful competed for attention by feigning controversy, while remaining well within the boundaries of the game. Let’s thank Madonna for getting out Jean Paul Gaultier!

Aman Clooney in Richard Quinn abd George Clooney (Photo Courtesy of Shutterstock Images)

Aman Clooney in Richard Quinn abd George Clooney (Photo Courtesy of Shutterstock Images)

Bee Shaffer in Valentino and Anna Wintour (Photo Courtesy of Shutterstock Images)

Bee Shaffer in Valentino and Anna Wintour (Photo Courtesy of Shutterstock Images)

Some of the most memorable images of the night included Rihanna’s papal crown and cape designed by Margiela; Katy Perry wore 6-foot angel wings; and Cardi B’s jeweled headpiece and plunging beaded gown, this was her first Met Gala red carpet and she did not disappoint.

Katy Perry in Versace (Photo Courtesy of Shutterstock Images)

Katy Perry in Versace (Photo Courtesy of Shutterstock Images)

Rapper 2 Chainz popped the question to Kesha Ward, with whom he already has three children. She said yes, though it was unclear if this was Epps’ original proposal. Meanwhile, Kim Kardashian walked the carpet solo without her husband Kanye West, which was a surprise considering West’s love of fashion and who has attended the event for the past few years.

2 Chainz Propsed to Kesha Ward at the Met Gala

2 Chainz Propsed to Kesha Ward at the Met Gala

It was no surprise that the accessory that topped all others of the night were over-the-top headpieces. Crowns, veils and even a Pope Mitre hat!

Amazing Headpieces

Rihanna in Maison Margiela  (Photo Courtesy of Shutterstock Images)

Rihanna in Maison Margiela
(Photo Courtesy of Shutterstock Images)

Jeremy Scott and Cardi B in Moschino (Photo Courtesy of Shutterstock Images)

Jeremy Scott and Cardi B in Moschino (Photo Courtesy of Shutterstock Images)

Solonge Knowles (Photo Courtesy of Getty Images)

Solonge Knowles (Photo Courtesy of Getty Images)

Joan Smalls (Photo Courtesy of Getty Images)

Joan Smalls (Photo Courtesy of Getty Images)

Priyanka Chopra (Photo Courtesy of Getty Images)

Priyanka Chopra (Photo Courtesy of Getty Images)

Here are some of the best looks of the night:

 

Madonna and Jean Paul Gaultier (Photo Courtesy of Shutterstock Images)

Madonna and Jean Paul Gaultier (Photo Courtesy of Shutterstock Images)

Jennifer Lopez in Balmain (Photo Courtesy of Shutterstock Images)

Jennifer Lopez in Balmain (Photo Courtesy of Shutterstock Images)

Lana del Ray and Jared Leto, both in Gucci (Photo Courtesy of Shutterstock Images)

Lana del Ray and Jared Leto, both in Gucci (Photo Courtesy of Shutterstock Images)

Ariana Grande in Vera Wang (Photo Courtesy of Shutterstock Images)

Ariana Grande in Vera Wang (Photo Courtesy of Shutterstock Images)

Migos in Versace (Photo Courtesy of Shutterstock Images)

Migos in Versace (Photo Courtesy of Shutterstock Images)

Nicki Minaj in Oscar de la Renta (Photo Courtesy of Shutterstock Images)

Nicki Minaj in Oscar de la Renta (Photo Courtesy of Shutterstock Images)

Chadwick Boseman in Versace (Photo Courtesy of Shutterstock Images)

Chadwick Boseman in Versace (Photo Courtesy of Shutterstock Images)

Donatella (Photo Courtesy of Shutterstock Images) Versace

Donatella (Photo Courtesy of Shutterstock Images) Versace

Do you think religion has a place in fashion? Let us hear what you think.

 

HOW THE #METOO MOVEMENT HIT THE FASHION INDUSTRY

- - Fashion Events
Photo Courtesy of The Nation

Photo Courtesy of The Nation

How does an industry that produces some of the sexiest clothes and creates the most provocative ads (think Calvin Klein) deal with the #MeTooMovement without seeming hypocritical? Good question!

Our industry revolves around desirability and seduction. Models are asked to pose provocatively (often times naked), young girls are continually used in ad campaigns and laws had to be passed to keep models with BMI’s under 8.5 from walking the runway. As a result, the industry is struggling with their stand on the MeToo Movement.

Anna Wintour and Harvey Weinstein (Photo courtesy of  The New York Times)

Anna Wintour and Harvey Weinstein (Photo courtesy of The New York Times)

Last October, a few courageous actresses shared their stories of sexual abuse at the hands of movie mogul Harvey Weinstein, forcing him out of his company and into rehabilitation. The news hit home for the fashion industry, since Weinstein was a former owner of Halston (2007-2011) and married to Georgina Chapman, designer and co-owner of the brand Marchesa. Amidst the scandal and to save her company, she divorced Weinstein. The flood gates opened!

Terry Richardson on the cover of his 2002 book "Terryworld"

Terry Richardson on the cover of his 2002 book “Terryworld”

Fashion models, who previously felt victimized, were empowered to speak out – both male and female – about sexual assault and harassment that they suffered at the hands of some of the most famous fashion photographers in the business: Terry Richardson, Mario Testino, Patrick Demarchelier and Bruce Webber. These photographers worked with just about every top model, every fashion publication and countless designer ad campaigns. Of course, all are denying any wrong doing and are vowing to clear their names.

Mario Testino (Photo courtesy of the Telegraph)

Mario Testino (Photo courtesy of the Telegraph)

But you really do have to stop and think…why has it taken our industry so long to pull the plug on this type of behavior? Should modeling agencies take blame for not protecting these young women and men who they represent and knowingly throw them to the wolves? How could this behavior been kept a secret for so long? Is their a ‘bad-boy’ code that makes this acceptable?

Patrick Demarchelier -(Photo courtesy of The NY Daily News)

Patrick Demarchelier -(Photo courtesy of The NY Daily News)

So far, there have been no embarrassing resignations, no contrite statements. Some in the industry seem to be defending these photographers. An article in the February 5, 2018 issue of New York Magazine stated that Condé Nast agreed to institute a “Code of Conduct” that sounded suspiciously like workplace norms (“Recreational drugs are not permitted”). Vogue editor and Condé Nast artistic director Anna Wintour put the company’s relationship with these  photographers “on hold.” Not exactly a firm stand on the issue. And unlike their counterparts in the entertainment industry, who came out in defense of their victims, some of fashion’s celebrities actually leaped to the defense of the accused. Kelly Klein (former wife of Calvin) posted on Weber’s Instagram “#istandbyhim,” and where his denial received 4,692 likes to his main accuser’s of only 846. Donna Karan added “Thank you for being the man friend partner artist photographer u are.” “Bruce is an incredible artist and inspiration,” said model Elaine Irwin. “In my experience he has always been absolutely professional, kind and respectful to everyone on his set.” “For me, working with Bruce has always been a joy,” Isabella Rossellini chimed in. “Bruce Weber is an artist thru and thru,” said Christie Brinkley. When Weber posted a picture of his dog the day after the Times article went up online, former CFDA executive director Fern Mallis responded with “paws,” “heart,” and “thank-you hands” emoji. Vogue editor Lisa Love sent him an “xx.” “It’s getting out of control this going after people saying they have been sexually harassed,” one model scout wrote on Instagram. “What a load of crap. I would be more than happy to send models for Bruce to shoot! Makes me nervous that I’ll get sued next! Ha ha.” Makes you wonder whether industry power-players are helping to cover-up these allegations due to their long-standing friendships or they disbelieve the victims?

Bruce Webber (Photo courtesy of WWD)

Bruce Webber (Photo courtesy of WWD)

In any other industry, heads would roll, but in fashion, people just look the other way. These young models (male and female) are thrown into a world of partying, drugs and sex. Many of them are in their early teen years.  So who is there to watch over and protect models from such predators?

“It’s been well known for decades that sexual abuse of models is a pervasive problem,” says Sarah Ziff, a model,  filmmaker, activist, and executive director of the Model Alliance. “It was always accompanied by this sneering sense of : “‘oh, models, beautiful people, they have it so hard,” she says. “The issue is not just the individuals who’ve abused their power, but also the industry’s enabling culture and lack of accountability, and the sense that this kind of predatory behavior just comes with the territory.” This one, they expected, would just as easily blow over. “No one’s nervous,” one agent at a top firm told me. “Everyone thinks they’re untouchable. Because it has been going on so long.” –   According to the New York Magazine  February 5, 2018 issue.

Sara Ziff, Founder The Model Alliance(Photo courtesy of Into the Gloss)

Sara Ziff, Founder The Model Alliance(Photo courtesy of Into the Gloss)

Models, just like actors, take on a new role for each photo shot. Just because they are getting paid to take sexualized photos doesn’t mean that they should be treated as sex objects. In the face of the #MeToo movement, why are all the allegations of sexual misconduct in the modeling industry not being taken as serious as those in Hollywood? Let’s hope that our industry can step up to the plate and start protecting models from sexual predators and abuse. Nobody’s job should include abuse.

Have you accounted abuse of any kind in the fashion industry? Share your story and help protect others.