THE MAGIC OF COUTURE: FALL 2022-2023 SHOWS

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A BRIEF HISTORY OF HAUTE COUTURE

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

HAUTE COUTURE FALL 2022-2023 TRENDS

THE JEANPOOL

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

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

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

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

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

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

GREENDAY

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

THE ROMANTICS

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

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

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

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

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

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

SHEER LEADERS

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

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

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

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

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

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

SHIRT STORIES

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

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

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

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

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

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

BROAD WAY

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

FRINGE BENEFITS

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

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

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

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

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

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

BOUDOIR FAIRE

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

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

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

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

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

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

SHINE LANGUAGE

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

GREEK REVIVAL

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

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

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

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

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

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

MENSWEAR 2023 SHOWS: THE MOST COLORFUL EVER

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

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

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

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

LONDON

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

 

FLORENCE 

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

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

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

MILAN

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

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

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

PARIS

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

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

MEANWHILE…

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

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

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

GO FOR BAROQUE

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

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

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

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

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

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

A FORMAL AFFAIR

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

JEAN SPIRIT

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

BRIEF ENCOUNTERS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

IN FULL BLOOM

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

THINK PINK

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

LOGO MANIA

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

ABOUT FACE

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Rainbow Flag. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

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

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

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

CHER X VERSACE

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

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

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

CONVERSE

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

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

COACH

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

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

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

LEVI’S

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

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

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

RALPH LAUREN

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

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

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

VINYARD VINES

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

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

UGG

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

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

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

PUMA

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

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

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

KATE SPADE NEW YORK

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

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

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

SAKS FIFTH AVENUE

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

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

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

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

NORDSTROM

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

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

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

CAROLINA HERRERA

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

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

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

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

CELEBRATING JUNETEENTH – UNIVERSITY OF FASHION STYLE

Happy Juneteenth!

In celebration of Juneteenth, we’ve launched the first in our 5-part series on West African textiles taught by Mina Dia-Stevens. Mina’s first lesson covers the Faso Dan Fani Cloth of Burkina Faso and how this many hundreds-of-years-old textile, considered the woven loincloth of the homeland, was handed down from generation to generation. Not only is Faso Dan Fani Cloth the national symbol of Burkina Faso, it also commemorates the country’s emancipation from colonialism in 1960 and the country’s name change from The Republic of Upper Volta to Burkina Faso in 1984.

In this series, Mina discusses African textile yarns, threads, and the local, seasonal, and traditional materials that are native to specific West African countries. Mina also covers traditional methods of production and how the processes are still maintained and celebrated today. Her journey continues with lessons on the textiles of other West African countries such as Mali, Senegal, Cote D’Ivoire and Ghana, so stay tuned!

The first in a 5-part series covering the textiles of West Africa by Mina Dia-Stevens: West African Textiles- Faso Dan Fani Cloth of Burkina Faso

Our newest Instructor: Mina Dia-Stevens (Photo credit Mina Dia-Stevens)

 Mina Dia-Stevens is a 19-year veteran of the fashion industry, as life-long creative, educator and design entrepreneur. As a faculty member for twelve years in the fashion department at Moore College of Art and Design, Mina provided instruction to second- and third-year design students, in the areas of pattern making, construction, illustration, and concept design, in the categories of menswear, swimwear, womenswear and childrenswear. She has also researched, established, and implemented, extensive curriculum for 9th, 10th, 11th– and 12th-grade creatives in the areas of fashion and textile design.

Mina’s professional experience includes various roles in the fashion industry ranging from designing junior activewear apparel to shoe design and trend consulting. Currently, Mina is involved in expanding her family’s West African textile business into the brand, Royal Fulani Living.

As a design entrepreneur, Mina fully understands the delicate balance between nurturing an independent artistic spirit with a business mind. Her philosophy as a creative and educator is based upon words that she vividly remembers hearing as a child:

“You’ve always had the power, my dear, you just had to learn it for yourself.” –  Glinda from The Wizard of Oz

For Mina, this quote encompasses the mind, heart, and spirit of who she is as an educator of young visionaries. She not only leads her students through the educational process but nurtures their creativity for a lifetime. We are thrilled that Mina is now part of the distinguished instructors at UoF.

Image courtesy: Custom Collaborative 

Celebrating Our 2-year Anniversary with Custom Collaborative

We are also celebrating our 2-year partnership with Custom Collaborative, a New York City-based entrepreneurship and workforce development program, founded in 2015, that trains and empowers low-income and immigrant women of color to start careers in the fashion industry.

Since 2020, Custom Collaborative’s fashion-preneurs have expressed their appreciation to us in both words and deeds, for donating full access to our fashion education library.

Thank you for giving me the chance of membership and scholarship to increase my skill and to take a step forward in my life to support myself.”  ~ Kulwant Kaur

I would personally like to thank you for this amazing opportunity to participate in the University of Fashion.  I’m so excited and grateful for your generous gift.  I’ll give a 💯 and the best of abilities. Thank you for the beautiful blessings” ~ Regina Madison

It is an honor to be chosen for the University of Fashion scholarship. 

 I am truly grateful for this opportunity. This scholarship allows me to focus on my studies and additional work opportunities. Thank you for your support.” ~ María Isabel Espinoza

I never knew about this amazing opportunity until Custom Collaborative a few Wednesdays ago. I have been so hungry to learn more about garment construction and I am thankful to you for founding University of Fashion so I can learn and be exposed to much more. Thank You.” ~ Analisa Charles

Image courtesy: Custom Collaborative

Ngozi Okaro Executive Director Custom Collaborative (Photo: Heather Sten)

We’d like to give a special shout-out to CC’s executive Director Ngozi Okaro for her dedication in helping so many women reach their potential.

And how about Vanessa Friedman, Fashion Director and Chief Fashion Critic for The New York Times (and Constance C.R. White) who just recognized Custom Collaborative on June 17th in Vanessa’ s Open Thread column along with other hot Black-owned brands.

Fun Fact: Constance White gave me, Francesca Sterlacci, my first WWD cover!

So, as we celebrate Juneteenth, it’s a time for all of us to keep on supporting small businesses run by Black founders. Our new fav is Brooklyn-based Parron Allen, a soon to be UoF instructor, who specializes in super fab sustainable design clothing. Check him out and stay tuned…

So, tell us, how are you supporting Black brands?

CRUISE CONTROL: RESORT 2023 TRENDS

- - Fashion Shows

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

IN-VEST

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

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

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

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

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

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

WELL SUITED

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

SHIRT-CIRCUIT

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

TAKE A BOW

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

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

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

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

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

PRIMA GALLERINA

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

TIME TO SHINE

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

MATCH-SET

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

MELLOW YELLOW

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

THE HOTTEST FASHION COLLABORATIONS OF 2022

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

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

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

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

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

GIVENCHY X DISNEY

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

ADIDAS X GUCCI

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

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

ADIDAS X PRADA

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

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

FENDACE

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

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

KENZO X NIGO

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

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

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

BIRKENSTOCK X MANOLO BLAHNIK

Manolo Blahnik for Birkenstock. (Photo Credit: WWD)

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

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

BURBERRY X SUPREME

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

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

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

BARBIE X BALMAIN

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

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

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

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

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

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

FASHION’S LONG ROAD TO INCLUSIVITY

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ink Drawing Plus Size Female Figure

 

Drawing Androgynous Men’s and Women’s Figures

 

Plus Size: Statistics & Body Types 

 

Plus Size: Models, Illustrators, Designers and More

 

Plus Size: Social Media Influencers

 

Plus Size: Social Media Influencers 

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

 

UoF Instructor Spotlight: Meet Robyn Smith

UoF Instructor Robyn Smith (Photo credit: Robyn Smith)

Join us in welcoming our newest instructor, Robyn Smith. Robyn is a talented fashion designer, illustrator, and visual artist that hails from Baltimore Maryland. Her love for designing was inspired by her older sister who would design prom gowns for her classmates. From the early age of nine, Robyn developed an eye for fashion and knew that she wanted to pursue a career in design.

After high school graduation Robyn moved to New York City and attended Parsons School of Design. While at Parsons she achieved several accomplishments: winning the Zack Carr fashion designer award, winning the Jasco Fabrics design competition, an internship competition with the Gap and interning with fashion designer Peter Som.

From college, Robyn went on to design for the House of Deréon in 2005 and traveled to Hong Kong and Mainland China where she participated in sample fittings, sourced fabrics, and developed new designs to incorporate into the line.  After designing for House of Deréon, Robyn transitioned to a fourteen-year career as a menswear ‘cut and sew’ knit designer for American Rag, Macy’s private label young men’s brand and later became CAD Director for Macy’s, Inc.

Menswear illustration (Image courtesy Robyn Smith)

Robyn’s positions as a designer and design director not only provided her with an opportunity to travel the world for production purposes, but also to conduct trend analysis and market research in Hong Kong, Taiwan, Japan, Korea, London, Amsterdam, Berlin, and L.A.

Fashion illustration (Image courtesy Robyn Smith)

In addition to Robyn’s design career, she is also a famous fashion illustrator and visual artist.  Her fashion Illustrations were featured in the book entitled ‘Fashion Illustration’ by Chai Xiuming and Lu Haoyan, and in 2021, Robyn designed a beautiful plus size collection called ‘Robyn Nichole’ in collaboration with the fast fashion brand Shein.

Plus size fashion illustration (Image courtesy Robyn Smith)

In addition to designing fashion, Robyn participated in the Ace Hotel’s 2021 group art show entitled ‘Ours’, where her work was featured in their hotel gallery space with proceeds used to benefit the Teen Art Salon (TAS), a 501c3 non-profit organization in Long Island City that supports, develops, and promotes adolescent artists, and demystifies the process of starting a career as an artist.

Illustrations courtesy Robyn Smith

As every seasoned designer knows, pulling inspiration from the Visual Arts helps you to develop a new thinking process when approaching your fashion illustrations, thus creating a more distinctive portfolio. In Robyn’s first lesson for UoF, Creating a Menswear Fashion Illustration inspired by Visual Arts, she will teach you how to find inspiration from an art museum resource and, by focusing on the details, shapes, and colors found in the image, create a unique fashion design and illustration.

This advanced lesson will teach you how to create an illustration using a pencil, gouache, brushes, and markers.  And, you’ll learn how to draw and paint eyewear, create hair textures­­­, and how to use your inspirational images to make a design within your illustration.

(Preview of Robyn Smith’s first UoF lesson: Creating a Menswear Illustration Inspired by Visual Arts)

Stay tuned for more lessons by Robyn for UoF. In the meantime, follow Robyn and her work at:

Website: www.robynnichole.com

IG: Robyn_the_Creator  https://www.instagram.com/robyn_the_creator/

TikTok: @Robyn_the_Creator  https://www.tiktok.com/@robyn_the_creator

Youtube: Robyn_the_Creator https://www.youtube.com/c/RobynTheCreator

The Influential Textile Designs of Jacqueline Groag

Jacqueline Groag

        Jacqueline Groag 1959 (Photo credit: John Garner/ University of Brighton Design Archives)

Czech-born Jacqueline Groag (1903-1985) was an influential textile designer in Great Britain following World War II. She studied textile design during the 1920s with Franz Cisek and Josef Hoffmann at Wiener Werkstätte, a workshop of applied arts in Vienna. Groag produced and designed fabrics for leading Parisian fashion houses including Chanel, Lanvin, House of Worth, Schiaparelli and Paul Poiret, as well as London textile houses David Whitehead, Grafton, John Lewis and Liberty.

Born as Hilde Pick to Jewish parents on April 6, 1903, she later changed her name to Jacqueline Groag when she married modernist architect and interior designer Jacques Groag in 1937. In 1938, Jacqueline and Jacques fled to Prague due to the annexation of Austria to Nazi Germany and then to London following the Nazi invasion of Czechoslovakia. Once in London, the design duo were invited into the famed British Design Factory, where design greats of the Arts & Crafts and Modernist movements were members, such as Sir Gordon RussellSir Charles Reilly and Jack Pritchard.

For over 20 years Groag worked as a freelance designer creating designs for carpets, greetings cards, laminates, plastics, textiles, wallpapers and wrapping paper. In 1984 she became a Fellow of the Faculty of Royal Designers for Industry and is considered a central figure in textile design during the 1950s, along with textile designers Lucienne Day and Marian Mahler.

Palm Springs Art Museum: Pattern Play-The Contemporary Designs of Jacqueline Groag

In 2008, the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center launched an exhibition entitled, Designing Women: Art and the Modern Interior from Postwar Britain, featuring the work of Jacqueline Groag, Lucienne Day and Marian Mahler.

And on Wednesday May 11, 2022, in my newly adopted hometown of Palm Springs, California, I was invited to the opening of the Jacqueline Groag exhibition at the Palm Springs Art Museum. Living in Palm Springs is beyond inspirational. Not only is it a great place to live (even if the summers do go up to 120 degrees), it’s the home of some of the greatest Mid-Century Modern architecture created by the likes of Richard Neutra, John Lautner, Albert Frey, A.Quincy Jones, Donald Wexler, Richard Harrison, E. Stewart Williams, William Krisel and William Cody. So in keeping with this love of Modernism, I’d like to share some highlights from the Jacqueline Groag show:

Jacqueline Groag show

 Jacqueline Groag 1946 Printed nylon dress manufactured by Fabricado for F.W. Grafton & Co. Manchester, England

Jacqueline Grog designed a wide range of dress fabrics for F.W. Grafton during the 1940s. One of Groag’s Grafton patterns, a classic tulip motif, was chosen by the British fashion couturier Edward Molyneux for a dress he designed for HRH Princess Elizabeth. The photo below shows the future queen wearing the tulip print dress in September 1946.

Princess Elizabeth

                              Jacqueline Groag’s ‘Tulip Print’ dress worn by HRH Princess Elizabeth 1946

Toy Parade print

             Jacqueline Groag ‘Toy Parade’ dress print on cotton 1955 -Manufactured by Fabricado for Associated American Artists

 

Jacqueline Groag- Furnishing fabric roller-printed spun rayon Haworth Fabrics England

    Jacqueline Groag- Furnishing fabric roller-printed spun rayon Haworth Fabrics England

Puppet PrintJacqueline Groag’s ‘Puppet Ballet’ dress fabric 1953 – printed cotton manufactured by Fabricado for Associated American Artists

Groag dressesJacqueline Groag textile printed dresses 1953

First night print     Jacqueline Groag’s ‘First Night’ dress print 1947 – manufactured by Fabricado for Associated American Artists, New York

Jacqueline Groag originally conceived her “First Night’ dress print in 1938 for Elsa Schiaparelli, who, together with Coco Chanel, dominated fashion between the two World Wars. First Night was based on Groag’s drawing of the audience during opening night at the Paris Opera. The fabric was sold in the United States under the name Gala Night.

For More Info on the Groags & the Viennese Modern Movement

Groag book

Read more about Jacques and Jacqueline Groag and the Viennese Modernist movement: Groag: Architect and Designer

Groag textile book

For more on Groag’s textile designs read: Jacqueline Groag: Textile & Pattern Design: Wiener Werkstatte to American Modern

 

Lucienne Day book

To learn more about Lucienne Day read Lucienne Day: In the Spirit of the Age

Be sure to check out UoF’s textile design lessons:

Introduction To Textile Print Design

Introduction To Textile Print Design

Researching & Designing A Graphic Printed Textile

Researching & Designing A Graphic Printed Textile

Recoloring Textile Artwork

 

 

 

JEANOLOGY: SUSTAINABLE DENIM WE CAN ALL FEEL GOOD ABOUT

Prada’s sustainable denim. (Photo Credit: Prada)

Can denim ever truly be sustainable? It is a question that we all ponder, whether you are a fashion lover or an environmentalist. Denim truly is the fabric of our lives, but through the years, denim has earned an ugly reputation when it comes to the environment. Jeans are known as one of the most environmentally damaging items we buy, and the reason is simple: Denim is primarily made from cotton, and most cotton is grown using harmful fertilizers and pesticides. Denim also requires huge amounts of water to produce. One pair of jeans can use approximately 1,800 gallons of water to create. The global demand for cotton (which is used in nearly half of all textiles, according to the World Wildlife Fund) has also led to over-farmed, barren land and soil erosion, which impacts the health of the entire planet. But today, there are many jean companies that are trying to evolve into sustainable denim brands.

DENIM MADE THE OLD FASHIONED WAY

Traditionally, when a pair of blue jeans is created, the cotton denim fabric will be dipped up to eight times in a giant vat of indigo. For the most part, the indigo is in a powder form, subjecting factory workers to dangerous amounts of aniline as they breath-it in. In older factories with dated technology, jeans are placed in belly washers, which can waste up to 1,800 liters of water per pair of jeans. Not only are tons of water wasted, but if the wastewater is not treated properly before getting dumped in local waterway, it can lead to hazardous levels of lead, copper, cadmium, and water with such a high pH, it’s equivalent to ammonia. This has happened in Xintang, China where they manufacture denim.

Also note, that if denim is bleached or distressed, the process can be dangerous and toxic for factory workers. The practice of sandblasting may lead to silicosis and lung cancer. Bleaching and fading jeans using hypochlorite and potassium permanganate generates toxic fumes.  Even hand-distressing jeans using power tools will produce dust containing all the dyes and chemicals applied to the garment.

DENIM MADE THE NEW WAY

For those of us who live in denim, there is good news. The denim industry is one of the most innovative sectors of the fashion industry, and they are working hard to create sustainable denim that will not harm its workers or the environment.

For starters, many brands are now using ‘real denim’. Real denim is close-to 100% cotton fabric that is blue on the front (where the indigo-dyed warp yarns show) and white on the back (where the undyed weft yarns show). Real denim is dyed by means of non-toxic synthetic indigo (which is chemically identical to natural indigo) or sulfur black, which is considered a dye of minimum concern to human health. Faux-denim pants that are meant to look like jeans but are made of synthetic fabrics are usually dyed with toxic or reactive dyes. Faux denim does not last as long as real denim, the items usually fall apart rather than breaking in.

Sustainable denim brands generally source their garments from technologically advanced denim mills. A few popular mills that create sustainable jeans are:  Candiani in Italy, Saitex in Vietnam, or Denim Expert in Bangladesh. These factories use front-loading washers from Tonello or Jeanologia, which reduces water use by 70 to 80%. When other efficient technologies are added such as water recycling, a pair of jeans can be made with just 11 liters of water (as opposed to 1,800 liters). A highly regarded mill will carefully treat this water to make it completely clean before releasing it.

These technological advanced mills also use lasers, robots, and enzymatic processes that can safely and quickly distress and fade jeans. These highly advanced factories use foam dyeing technology, and dying technology, which both utilize electricity to saturate the yarns—both of these technologies avoid using powder indigo and they only use a fraction of the water that traditional dye boxes need. Many eco-friendly labels today are using natural ingredients instead of toxic chemicals to dye their garments, such as natural indigo dyes derived from plants, shrimp shells, orange peels, and nutshells.

Denim companies can also use sustainable cotton to become greener. Fashion companies should know where their cotton is coming from (what’s called ‘traceable’ cotton) whether it’s from the U.S., from smallholder farmers in India, or from big farms in Australia. Brands should use non-GMO cotton that is sprayed with little to no pesticides, and farms that use natural rather than synthetic fertilizers.

Here are a few sustainable and ethical jeans that have quickly become favorites among the fashion set. Keep in mind that jeans were literally invented as workwear back in 1873; they’re meant to last a few years, if not a few decades. So, invest in the pairs you really love, wear them frequently, and think of every rip and frayed edge as a badge of honor. The more years you own your favorite pair of jeans, the more eco-friendly you’ve become.

LEVI’S

Levi’s Waterless Campaign. (Photo Credit: Levi’s)

Levi’s created the first pair of denim pants. In 1873, two visionary immigrants — Levi Strauss and Jacob Davis — turned denim, thread and a little metal into what has become the most popular apparel in the world.

Today, Levi’s is still a pioneer in the denim industry. Thanks to its trademarked Water<Less innovations, Levi’s has saved more than 1.8 billion liters and recycled more than 129 million liters of water. So far, approximately 40% of Levi’s products use this innovation. Water<Less implements a Screened Chemistry standard which eliminates toxic chemicals from its supply chain. To help avoid ending up in a landfill, Levi’s has partnered with Give Back Box, where you pack up your old jeans and print a free shipping label, then drop it in the mail where it is sent to charity.

AG

AG Conscious Hemp Denim Jacket. (Photo Credit: AG)

AG has a denim capsule collection called “The Jean of Tomorrow.” This denim capsule collection has a blend of organic cotton, lyocell, and hemp, the jeans and unisex jacket have no metal rivets—instead, Tencel threads hold the fabric together —and rather than metal buttons, they used corozo nuts. The size and care tags were also replaced by screen-printed, soy-based ink. These jeans are 100% natural and biodegradable, so they can eventually be composted and return to the earth.

AG hopes the project can be a model for the entire denim industry in the future: “There is a responsibility for big companies with large manufacturing programs to step up and adopt more eco-friendly processes,” Samuel Ku, AG’s president and creative director, said in a release. “It takes wide-scale investment and adoption to really move the needle in terms of impact, as well as drive down the costs of sustainability so that we can see it become the new norm for all brands.”

DL1961

DL1961 and Candice Swanepoel, sustainable denim. (Photo Credit: DL 1961)

DL1961 jeans are created with lower-impact cellulose (i.e., wood pulp) fibers as well as certified-organic cotton and clean indigo dyes that reduce water use and create no harmful byproducts. There factories are a vertical integration, which means there’s less shipping and packaging involved in manufacturing each denim item, reducing both DL1961’s carbon emissions.

RE/DONE

Re/Done sustainable jeans. (Photo Credit: Instagram @ haileybieber)

One of the hottest denim labels Re/Done launched in 2014 with a brilliant concept: vintage men’s denim reworked for women’s bodies. Since then, Re/Done has grown to include new jeans, vintage-inspired T-shirts, dresses, suiting, and a full men’s line. The company also introduced a peer-to-peer secondhand marketplace where customers can buy and sell their Re/Done jeans, T-shirts, blazers, and more.

SEZANE

Sustainable denim from Sézane. (Photo Credit: Sézane)

French label Sézane is loved for its affordable, vintage-inspired jeans, but founder Morgane Sezalory is now focused on sustainability as well. She has reorganized her denim production to include 100% GOTS-certified organic cotton, eco-friendly washing, recycled water, and laser detailing instead of chemical treatments. The founder has taken sustainability for her brand one step further, now all of Sézane’s shipping boxes are made from recycled cardboard or are derived from sustainably managed forests.

FRAME

Frame favorite Le Palazzo jean is made with eco-conscious materials. (Photo Credit: Frame)

L.A. denim brand Frame has introduced a ten-piece denim collection called Pure Denim. These garments are created with 100% biodegradable organic cotton that uses 98% less water in its production process compared to traditional denim processes. Frame’s sustainable jeans come in all shapes, from skinny to wide-leg denim.

SLVRLAKE

SLVRLAKE’s sustainable denim pants. (Photo Credit: Net-A-Porter)

Louise Edgley, the founder of Slvrlake, is addressing the challenges of cotton by trying something else: hemp. As one of the fastest-growing plants on earth, it can be easily grown without pesticides or fertilizer, requires a fraction of the water needed to grow cotton, and is 100% biodegradable. Edgley’s signature London and Beatnik jeans now come in a soft and durable cotton and hemp blend with a distinctive baby-blue wash.

Citizens of Humanity

Citizens of Humanity’s sustainable denim. (Photo Credit: Citizens of Humanity)

Citizens of Humanity is known for their fashion-forward silhouettes and soft, high-quality denim. Some of the labels most popular fits, like the Annina trouser, now comes in 100% organic cotton and use water-saving, energy-reducing technology. Citizens of Humanity also owns two other denim labels, Goldsign and AGOLDE, which are making similar strides in organic fabrications, laser treatments, and ozone washes, which reduce energy and water use.

EDWIN

Edwin’s sustainable denim. (Photo Credit: Edwin)

Edwin is a Los Angeles label known for creating some of the best vintage-inspired jeans. Each denim garment is created at Saitex, one of the world’s largest and cleanest denim manufacturers. Saitex now has a factory in Los Angeles, where Edwin is now exclusively producing its collections. Described as “a factory of the future,” the facility comes with everything a fashion label needs to create a lower-impact jean: laser technology, semi-automatic sewing, a water recycling system, and more. The company will also take back your old Edwin jeans and recycle them.

TRIARCHY

Triarchy’s sustainable denim. (Photo Credit: Neiman Marcus)

Most customers like a little stretch in their denim for comfort, but stretch jeans are make with plastic, which is not eco conscious at all. But Triarchy’s Adam Taubenfligel developed a natural alternative for stretch denim with the Italian mill Candiani, the result, rubber fibers. Triarchy’s innovative “plastic-free skinny jean” feels as stretchy and supportive as any you’ve tried, but the denim is woven with ultra-fine strands of rubber, instead of plastic. The label also offers 100% cotton styles which are also made to the highest sustainable standards with organic materials, natural dyes, less water, and less energy.

ON A SIDE NOTE…..

Fashionary’s Denim Manual. (Photo Credit: The Denim Manual)

Want to learn more about denim, well fashion sketchbook producer Fashionary recently released a book titled “The Denim Manual, a Complete Visual Guide for the Denim Industry.” The tome offers a comprehensive look inside the business of denim featuring a cover made of raw denim, and includes over 700 illustrations and photos, as well as a complete collection of denim fabrics, washes and terms that give readers’ an insider’s take on the world of denim.

The book expands from the origin of denim to today’s innovative technology in jeans. There is an illustrated timeline of key events in denim’s history as well as different types of denim fabric. From there, it provides a Denim Design and Details Library of 200 design elements that serves as an encyclopedia of each part of a denim garment.

The book’s Wash Library defines each step for creating various effects such as acid wash and whiskering. It also includes a dyeing guide that covers techniques for achieving a variety of shades and patterns. The final section of the book focuses on maintenance and provides tips for preventing shrinking, fading, and extending the lifecycle of your favorite pair of jeans for as long as possible.

The book is available now for $39.90 on the Fashionary website.

An image from the book The Denim Manual. (Photo Credit: Courtesy of The Denim Manual)

So tell us, will you be more eco conscious when creating your own collections?