University of Fashion Blog

Category "Trends"

Personalization or Narcissism? The New Age of Customization

- - Trends

Everyone loves a little personal touch. Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that as dominant animals, we humans like marking our territory. Or, perhaps it’s our need to differentiate ourselves from the pack, as evidenced by a male skeleton discovered in 26,000 B.C.E Northern Russia wearing a highly decorated beaded garment. Is it a subconscious demonstration of power and status or simply a touch of narcissism? Either way, it’s in our DNA.

In Medieval Europe, aristocrats were granted the right to use a coat of arms. Today the family crest is a modern day use of a coat of arms with lots of snob appeal when embroidered and worn on a blazer pocket. Tattoos, from their tribal beginnings, to their use as modern day body art, are also forms of personalization, as were tribal ankle bracelets, bangles and necklaces that have since morphed into namesake jewelry.

Customization in fashion is in the air!

Today we are taking personalization to the max. Keychains with personalized letters, letter namesake bracelets and pendant necklaces bearing the wearer’s name are all the rage. We can even customize our own sneakers!

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Sarah Jessica Parker’s character, Carrie Bradshaw in Sex and the City wearing her namesake necklace: the “Carrie necklace.”

Printed T-shirts, once prime real estate for company logos, are now shamelessly emboldened with the name of the wearer, like the one below worn by Cindy Crawford. Everyone can enjoy a bit of narcissism, as online print shops print customers’ names and graphics on tees and hoodies.

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Cindy Crawford wearing her namesake sweatshirt by Reformation on the cover of Muse magazine.

Name-mania was in full swing when Burberry debuted a monogrammed poncho for Fall 2014 with model/actress Cara Delevingne wearing her initials. Celebrities Sarah Jessica Parker and Olivia Palermo followed suit.

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Burberry’s personalized poncho worn by-Cara Delevingne, Sarah Jessica Parker & Olivia Palermo; Source: Popsugar

In 2015, model Gigi Hadid made the rounds on social media & in fashion magazines when she wore a cropped jacket to the American Music Awards with her #HADID, sprawled across her back.

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Gigi Hadid at American Music Awards wearing #HADID jacket; Source: Popsugar

Earlier last month Victoria’s Secret model, Angel Alessandra Ambrosio, got into the act by posting a photo on Instagram wearing a personalized training tank top.

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Model & VS Angel Alessandra Ambrosio’s personalized tank

And customization also got political

Some celebs like Rihanna, in a patriotic nod even though she couldn’t vote, opted to share her T-shirt real estate with Hillary Clinton during the November 2016 election with the message “I’m with her. And her.”

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Rihanna’s “Hillary T-shirt”

Hey, do I smell a marketing opportunity?

By Fall/Winter 2016/2017, fashion forward houses like Christian Dior, Fendi and Marc Jacobs recognized the enormous marketing opportunity of customization, by offering products whereby the end-user could add their own personal touch to a slew of designer products.

Dior introduced charms for the straps of their iconic Lady Dior bag.

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Lady Dior bag with customizable pins

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Dior charms for the straps of their iconic Lady Dior bag

Fendi introduced mini-bags with detachable straps, sold separately, which range from fur-trimmed to colourful leather ruffles. The house has also introduced letter charms that can be used to spell out messages or names.

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Fendi’s mini-bags with detachable customizable straps

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Some of Fendi’s bag straps

Marc Jacobs offered pins and badges for his Fall/Winter 2016 collection that can be bought separately along with fashion staples like tees and denim jackets. The user can then stitch or affix the pins & badges to clothes from Cow Boy Hardware or to write messages and names.

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Marc Jacobs’ customization campaign

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Marc Jacobs’ pins and badges used to personalize clothes

Getting creative or just another marketing ploy?

As these new designer toys surface, are we lead to believe that this is an outlet for our own creativity? Or are these pins and badges another set of status symbols and marketing ploy?

Just as social media has empowered us to become our own stylist, could designers be joining hands to mark a new movement in fashion whereby the wearer is empowered to become his or her own designer? Let us know what you think!

Is Fashion Art? You Bet it is!

For decades, fashion scholars have debated whether fashion should be considered an art form or whether it is solely a craft. Some believe that due to the utilitarian aspect of fashion, it should not be considered art. However, much like famous Impressionist artists of the 19th century, such as Claude Monet, Georges Seurat and Vincent van Gogh, fashion designers also use their creativity as a form of self expression. This becomes even more apparent when fashion designers collaborate with artists. A glance back into fashion history reveals many collaborations between artists and fashion designers, beginning in the early 1900s. Paul Poiret, the first couturier to fuse art and fashion, worked with with prominent artists and illustrators including Georges Lepage, Erté, Georges Barbier and Raoul Duffy. In the 1930s, Elsa Schiaparelli collaborated with surrealist artists Salvador Dalí, Jean Cocteau and Christian Bérard.

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Evening jacket designed by Elsa Schiaparelli in collaboration with Jean Cocteau (Image Credit: metmuseum.org)

During the 1960s, pop artist Andy Warhol joined with Yves Saint Laurent who used Warhol’s Campbell soup can imagery from his paintings to create a series of A-line paper dresses, one called “The Souper Dress.”

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The Souper Dress featuring Andy Warhol’s soup can graphics (Image Credit: metmuseum.org)

Fast forward to the 21st century. Marc Jacobs, while creative director at Louis Vuitton, collaborated with artists to reinvent the iconic LV logo handbag: Stephen Sprouse’s scrawled silver graffiti (2000), Takashi Murakami’s animated motifs (2004), Richard Prince’s “nurse” prints (2008) and Yayoi Kusama’s polka dots (2012).

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Louis Vuitton animated motifs bag in collaboration with Takashi Murakami

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Louis Vuitton animated motifs bag in collaboration with Stephen Sprouse

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Yayoi Kusama’s polka dotted Louis Vuitton bag
(Image source: NY Times)

In 2016, designer Nicolas Ghesquière channeled California and continued the trend of artistic bags with the LV Petite Malle (small truck) for Cruise ’16.

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Louis Vuitton Petite Malle clutch

For the past couple of seasons, the trend of marrying art and fashion has become even stronger. Christopher Kane’s gown with nude figure patterns was amongst the most talked about at Met Gala 2015 when worn by FKA Twigs.

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FKA twigs wearing a Christopher Kane gown at Met gala 2015 (Image source: Daily Mail)

Moschino introduced pop culture and graffiti-inspired art in its Fall Winter 2015 collection. The graffiti gown and matching gloves from this collection was later worn by Katy Perry, also at the MET gala.

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Katy Perry in Moschino gown at Met gala 2015 (Image Source: US Weekly)

For their Spring Summer 2016 collection, Dolce & Gabbana paid tribute to Italy with dresses featuring imagery depicting different cities and their names – Roma, Venezia, Portofino amongst others.

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Featured above: Dolce & Gabbana dress with artwork depicting Roma and Venezia

Pierpaolo Piccioli collaborated with Zandra Rhodes for Valentino’s Spring Summer 2017 collection, creating gowns with prints of the Hieronymus Bosch painting, the Garden of Earthly Delights.

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Valentino Spring Summer 2017

A maxi dress from Alice+Olivia’s Spring/Summer 2017 ready-to-wear collection depicts a caricature of CEO/designer Stacey Bendet, sporting red lips and round sunglasses.

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Alice+Olivia Spring Summer 2017 (Image Credits: Vogue)

Marques’ Almeida added intricate floral art on their dresses, shorts, blouses and trousers.

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Marques’ Almeida Spring Summer 2017

At Dior, designer Maria Grazia Chiuri introduced feminine gowns and embroidered tulle dresses with tarot cards, cosmic and floral-inspired art with names like “Le Monde”, “La Lune” and “Le Soleil.”

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Dior Spring Summer 2017

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Dior Spring Summer 2017

Scholars will continue to debate whether fashion is really art, but we at the University of Fashion believe it is, especially when created in collaboration with artists!

Learn more about fashion history, past and present, with our costume history lessons: 100 Years of Fashion Rebels & Revolutionaries, Parts 1 & 2, Keeping Up With the Jones and Wheels Reels & Automobiles.

From Boudoir to Runway – Luxury Loungewear is Here to Stay

- - Trends

It’s not that runway fashion is getting slouchier, but comfort has lately become as much a part of designer wear as aesthetics and sophistication.

Lululemon’s yoga gear in the late 1990s, gave way to new fashion category called athleisure-wear; casual, comfortable clothes with the added benefit that even if you didn’t go to the gym, you could still look like you did.

In 2008, atheisurewear subtly gave way to a new trend called luxury loungewear, pioneered by Dolce & Gabbana, featuring nightwear as daywear. Luxury loungewear is all about comfort. And, while athleisure takes active-wear out of the gym and onto the streets, luxury loungewear takes nightwear and loungewear out of the bedroom and onto long-haul flights, the street, the breakfast table and even to new-age workplaces.

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Alexander Wang

Luxury loungewear may or may not have athletic undertones, but it does have the air of relaxation and lounging (thus, the name). Brands like Alexander Wang and Chloé have taken the tracksuit and lounge-pants and given them a luxury cashmere and silk twist. Other pieces include crop hoodies, pull-overs, slip-dresses and pajamas.

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Chloé

This new trend is most definitely fashion’s answer to the rapidly changing lifestyle of women (and men). Compared to the last decade, women work more, travel more and have busier lives. Thus, this quick-fashion option is gaining in popularity, especially in the age of social media, where everyone from a Hollywood celebrity to the girl-next-door, documents and publishes her daily life and personal style for the world to see. It is also appeals to the ‘fashion disruptor’ anti-fashion statement driven by Millenials.

Towards the end of 2016, more and more models and celebrities have been spotted wearing loungewear, both at the airport and casually on the street. And judging by the number of designers who had luxury loungewear pieces in their Spring/Summer 2017 ready-to-wear collections during Fashion Week, we can say that this trend is here to stay.

Even fashion houses like Dolce & Gabbana and Dior, which are famous for their formal evening-wear, introduced pieces in collections that look too comfortable for parties! Here is a white suit by Dior paired with slip-ons.

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Christian Dior

From Dolce & Gabbana – a loungewear shorts and tee set in an ice-cream print.

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Dolce & Gabbana

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Dolce & Gabbana

Pajama stripes also emerged as a big trend. Here are two of Fendi’s pajama stripes : a shirt paired with track-capris and a satin shirtdress:

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Fendi

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Fendi

Versace, Moschino and Max Mara added loungewear to their collection with track-pants and track-suits.

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Versace

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Moschino

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Max Mara

Designers take the plunge into the See Now, Buy Now era

- - Fashion Business, Trends

It’s a controversial time in fashion, folks. We are not just talking the dreadlock debaucle at Marc Jacobs or the spectacle that made attendees hot under the collar (literally) this season. We are living in a time that fashion historians will one day refer to as a major shift in the way designers design, buyers buy and consumers consume. The traditional fashion cycle is being rocked to its core. Read More

Fall/Winter 2015 NYFW Trend Report

- - Fashion Shows, Trends

From pleats to plaids to oversized puffers, New York Fashion Week is in full swing. It may be the freezing temperatures and biting wind chill here in New York, but bundled up, big and cozy seem to be on par for not only fashion week spectators, but on the runway for Fall/Winter 2015 as well. In terms of color palette, much like those in line at the theaters, the runways seem to be filled with 50 shades of grey (and well, camel). Though NYFW fashion week has a few shows left to go, here are the trends we are spotting so far for Fall/Winter 2015. Read More

Drawing Design Details: Ruffles, Pleats and Panniers

Popping up on recent runways and sure to be a staple for Fall 2014, ruffles and pleats are having quite a fashion moment.  Just in trend-driven time, the University of Fashion brings you a new series of Fashion Art videos dedicated to drawing design details.  In the first of our new Fashion Art videos, we show you how to illustrate a Cascade Neck Ruffle, a Cascade Skirt Ruffle,  Accordion Pleats and a Draped Pannier-Cowl.
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Trend Watch: The Bias Drape

- - Trends
Hand drawing by Madame Grès, Spring/Summer 1948

Hand drawing by Madame Grès, Spring/Summer 1948

Paris Fashion Week continues to impress.  It is so interesting to see what inspires designers.  We love watching the shows unfold, as each collection has a unique story.

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Trend Watch: Crocodile

- - Trends

Three fashion weeks down, one more to go.  Today marks the start of Paris fashion week, and we couldn’t be more excited.  Before Paris fashion week unfolds, we will recap a key trend seen in New York, London and Milan: CROCODILE

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