FASHION BRANDS UNITE FOR MAUI

The hall of the historic Waiola Church is engulfed in flames in Lahaina on Aug. 8 (Photo Credit: Associated Press)

This past summer, Hawaii faced an unprecedented crisis as raging wildfires consumed its lush landscapes and threatened its communities. The picturesque landscapes that had long captured the world’s imagination became the backdrop of a nightmare that began on August 8, 2023. Raging wildfires, fueled by a confluence of unfortunate events, put the very essence of this tropical paradise to the test.

The story of Hawaii’s 2023 wildfires is one of tragedy, borne from a series of unfortunate events. Unusually hot and dry conditions, exacerbated by climate change, set the stage for an inferno. Strong winds fanned the flames, spreading the destruction far and wide. Hawaii’s unique ecosystems, teeming with life, were under siege as fires raged across multiple islands, leaving a trail of destruction in their wake. The Big Island, Maui, Oahu, and Kauai were all affected. In a cruel twist of fate, some of the most iconic and beloved spots, such as the Haleakalā National Park and the lush forests of the Hamakua Coast, bore the brunt of the blaze.

As the islands grappled with the devastating aftermath, a surprising source of support emerged – the fashion industry. In the face of Hawaii’s catastrophe, several prominent brands and designers stepped up to make a difference. They recognized that fashion isn’t just about clothes but also about the communities and environments that inspire their creativity.

PATAGONIA

The interior of a Patagonia Store. (Photo Credit: The New York Times)

Known for their commitment to environmental causes, Patagonia was among the first fashion brands to respond to the Maui wildfires. The company pledged a substantial donation to the relief efforts and encouraged their customers to contribute as well. Patagonia’s dedication to preserving our planet goes hand in hand with their commitment to aiding communities affected by natural disasters.

Kate Williams, CEO of 1% for the Planet, Patagonia’s global movement, issued a statement on August 11, urging the fashion industry to see the wildfires as a wakeup call. “This has been a summer full of signals that climate change is not a future threat, it’s now; it’s heart wrenching as we see the devastation of ecosystems and communities all around us. We are leaning into our community of action as a way to both support each other and keep working toward a healthier future.”

TOMMY BAHAMA

Tommy Bahama’s Hawaii Shirt. (Photo Credit: Tommy Bahama)

Tommy Bahama, a brand synonymous with island living, took a more commercial approach with their special “Aloha for Hawaii” collection and a percentage of the proceeds donated to wildfire relief organizations. This initiative raised funds and spread a message support, however, one can’t help but think that the brand was also capitalizing on the tragedy.

ALO YOGA

Alo Yoga classes in Hawaii. (Photo Credit: Alo Yoga)

Alo Yoga, a brand recognized for its stylish activewear, launched a unique campaign to contribute to the cause. They organized outdoor yoga events in Hawaii, with all proceeds from ticket sales and merchandise going directly to wildfire relief. This initiative blended fitness, mindfulness, and philanthropy.

PRANA

PrAna athlete-ambassador, Anna Ehrgott on the Big Island of Hawaii. (Photo Credit: PrAna)

PrAna, an eco-conscious fashion brand, partnered with local artisans in Hawaii to create a limited edition “Hawaii Strong” collection. The collection featured clothing and accessories inspired by Hawaiian culture, and like Tommy Bahama, a portion of the profits were donated to wildfire relief.

TORI RICHARD

Tori Richard is the leading brand for men’s and women’s resort and aloha apparel and is based in Honolulu Hawaii. (Photo Credit: Lahaia News)

Tori Richard, a brand known for its vibrant Hawaiian prints, designed a special collection titled “Island Vibes for Hawaii.” Proceeds from this collection were used to support local wildlife rescue and rehabilitation efforts in addition to wildfire relief. Tori Richard’s dedication to preserving Hawaii’s unique flora and fauna was evident in this thoughtful initiative.

BILLABONG

Billabong is part of the surf culture in Hawaii. (Photo Credit: Billabong)

Billabong, a brand deeply rooted in surf culture, organized “Surf for Hawaii” events at popular Hawaiian beaches. These events brought together surf enthusiasts and raised funds for wildfire relief through sponsorships and donations. Billabong’s dedication to their oceanic roots resonated with the Hawaiian community.

PLAE

Ryan Ringholz, founder and CEO of Honolulu-based footwear brand Plae, received personal requests for help in providing slippers or shoes to survivors of the Maui fires. Through a neighbor he was told that “busloads of people are coming in with nothing on their feet,” at Maui hospitals and shelters. Not only did Plae provide shoes for survivors who lost everything, but on Aug. 11, the brand announced in Footwear News that it would match any customer donations of Plae Rewards points with all proceeds going directly to the Hawaiian Community Foundation’s Maui Strong Fund.

Plae’s commitment to Hawaii. (Photo Credit: Plae)

OLUKAI

Olukai gives back to Hawaii. (Photo Credit: Olukai)

Footwear brand OluKai also focused on the crisis by donating 100 percent of their August 9th website and store sales to emergency and relief efforts. The brand’s charity, the Ama OluKai Foundation, is now focusing its donations on Maui (OluKai matched the first $200,000 in gifts to the foundation).

SKECHERS

Sketcher’s store located in Ohana helped donate shoes and clothing to survivors. (Photo Credit: Sketchers)

Skechers lost their Maui store due to the wildfires. On August 12th, the brand announced that it donated $250,000 to the Maui Strong Fund to support the recovery of affected communities. They also distributed approximately 20,000 pairs of footwear and 20,000 pieces of apparel, in addition to backpacks and socks.

As part of the global fashion community, UoF is proud to announce their donation to Hawaii Community Foundation’s Maui Strong Fund . If you haven’t done so already, please consider making a donation. Other organizations to consider donating to include:  Americares, Maui United Way, ‘Āina Momona and/or visit redcross.org, call 1-800-RED-CROSS (800-733-2767), or text the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation.

 

 

BREAKING NEWS – BACK-TO-SCHOOL DEAL

Breaking news- UoF offers a back-to-school special to all students

School has begun and our mission is your success. If you are a student in high school, college, or at a fashion school from anywhere around the world, and you are looking for help with your projects, then we’re here for YOU!

We have 500+ on-demand video lessons in 13 different disciplines all taught by fashion professors & industry pros:

  • Draping
  • Pattern making
  • Sewing
  • Fashion Drawing
  • Knits
  • Menswear
  • CAD Art: includes 3D design, textile design, etc.
  • CAD Pattern making
  • Accessories: includes handbags, shoes & small leather goods design
  • Product Development
  • Childrenswear
  • Fashion Business: includes business start-up, retailing, branding, licensing & more
  • Lecture series: includes color theory, trend forecasting, textiles, visual merchandising, etc.

We usually only make this offer once a year (during the Holidays), BUT to give students a head start this year, we are so, so, so, happy to offer ALL students a $30 discount on a yearly subscription to UoF.

SPECIAL UOF DISCOUNT - $30 OFF A YEARLY SUBSCRIPTION WAS $189 NOW $159

Click the link to sign-up: https://www.universityoffashion.com/sign-up/

REMEMBER: THIS OFFER EXPIRES 9.21.2023

 

VIBRANT THREADS OF CULTURE

Looks from the African Fashion exhibit at the Brooklyn Museum. (Photo Credit; The New York Times)

In the heart of one of New York City’s bustling boroughs, a kaleidoscope of colors, patterns, and history is unfurling at the renowned Brooklyn Museum in an exhibition entitled, Africa Fashion. The show is the largest-ever presentation on the subject, with more than 180 works, including standout pieces from the Museum’s collections.

The exhibition is a breathtaking celebration of style and heritage and has captured the attention of art enthusiasts, fashionistas, and cultural explorers alike. As you step into this immersive journey through time and tradition, you are transported to the vibrant tapestry of Africa’s diverse fashion narrative. The exhibit will run until October 22, 2023, so if you’re planning to attend New York Fashion Week, the Brooklyn Museum is only a quick train ride away.

Why the Brooklyn Museum’s African Fashion Exhibit is Important

We all know that fashion inspiration comes from many different sources. Designers are inspired by things like music, architecture, books, history and/or from the design and textiles of other countries and cultures. However, when cultural appreciation turns into cultural appropriation, that’s a no-no; like when Ralph Lauren got into hot water for selling  copies of designs from Indigenous communities in Contla and Saltillo, Mexico. And, when Anthropologie and Flaherty were also called out for their culturally appropriative fashion from Mexico. And, that is why this exhibit on African fashion is so important. By learning about African textiles and fashion, from the source, it helps to educate designers and hopefully will keep them from directly stealing from that culture.

The Evolution of African Fashion

The Africa Fashion exhibition was curated with meticulous attention to detail, and offers a sartorial time machine that whisks you through centuries of Africa’s fashion evolution. From the rich textiles of ancient civilizations to the contemporary haute couture donned by African designers today, each piece unveils a chapter in the narrative of African identity and self-expression.

Looks from the African Fashion exhibition at the Brooklyn Museum. (Photo Credit: The New York Times)

One of the exhibit’s most captivating sections is “Threads of Identity,” where garments and accessories are displayed as living testaments to the power of fashion, in shaping individual and communal identity. It invites visitors to explore the symbolism behind each thread, bead, and stitch, discovering how clothing has long served as a canvas for expressing one’s tribe, status, and beliefs.

The Brooklyn Museum’s exhibition goes beyond mere aesthetics, embracing the rich cultural diversity that has woven the fabric of Africa. Traditional garments from different regions highlight the nuances of style that have evolved over time, while modern interpretations showcase how today’s designers are reimagining and reinvigorating these age-old traditions.

Strolling through the exhibit, it becomes evident that African fashion is more than just a visual spectacle – it’s a cultural ambassador that transcends borders and preconceptions. The exhibit’s organizers have ingeniously juxtaposed historical pieces with contemporary ones, illustrating how cultural heritage remains a wellspring of inspiration for modern designers seeking to blend tradition with innovation, without making cultural appropation mistakes.

Looks from the African Fashion exhibit at the Brooklyn Museum. (Photo Credit: The Cut)

A focal point of the exhibit is the spotlight on the rise of African designers onto the global fashion stage. Names that were once whispered are now being heralded as trailblazers, with their creations gracing international runways and red carpets. The exhibit showcases a curated selection of garments and accessories that reflect the ingenious fusion of traditional craftsmanship with modern aesthetics.

Beyond the visual feast, the Brooklyn Museum has curated a series of interactive workshops and events that invite visitors to experience African fashion in a hands-on way. From beadwork and fabric dyeing workshops to talks by contemporary designers, the exhibit fosters a dynamic dialogue about the past, present, and future of African fashion.

Lagos’s Acclaimed Concept Store Alára Pops Up at the Brooklyn Museum. (Photo Credit; Vogue)

As the final room of the exhibit comes into view, you are met with a stunning visual tableau that encapsulates the essence of the journey they’ve embarked upon. The room presents a dynamic collage of photographs, sketches, and quotes, revealing the profound impact of African fashion on global culture and consciousness.

The African Fashion exhibit stands as a triumph, weaving together threads of history, identity, and innovation into a rich tapestry that captures the essence of Africa’s diverse fashion landscape. This celebration of style and culture not only dazzles the eyes but also touches the heart, reminding us that fashion is an art form that transcends time, borders, and expectations.

Be sure to catch our video lecture series to learn more about the history of West African textiles:

poster frame of lesson West African Textiles_ Manjak Cloth of Senegal

UoF lesson- West African Textiles: Senegal-Manjak Cloth

AFRICAN TEXTILES LESSON POSTER FRAME

So, tell us, which fashion exhibits have you visited this summer?

A CULTURAL EXTRAVAGANZA: INDIA COUTURE FASHION 2023

India Couture Fashion Week 2023 Looks from Left to Right: Gaurav Gupta, Rimzin Dady, Isha J’s, and Rahul Mishra. (Photo Credit: Euronews)

The spotlight has once again turned toward the enchanting world of fashion, as the India Couture Fashion Week (ICFW) 2023, unfolded in a resplendent celebration of creativity, luxury, and cultural heritage. A fusion of tradition and innovation, the event left fashion aficionados and industry insiders awestruck with its breathtaking displays of opulence and craftsmanship.

Held at predominantly at the prestigious Taj Palace Hotel in in New Delhi, from July 25th to August 2, 2023, India Couture Fashion Week transported attendees into a realm where imagination met reality. As the curtains rose, the runway was set ablaze with designs that spoke volumes about India’s rich history and contemporary flair. A harmonious amalgamation of hand-woven textiles, intricate embroideries, and innovative silhouettes took center stage, demonstrating the seamless fusion of traditional Indian craftsmanship and modern design sensibilities.

One of the standout features of ICFW 2023 was its emphasis on celebrating India’s cultural diversity. Designers drew inspiration from various regions and states, giving rise to a myriad of collections that showcased the vibrant tapestry of Indian heritage.

A look from Isha J’s India Couture Week 2023 Collection. (Photo Credit: Xinhua)

The runway itself became a canvas where designers painted their dreams. Extravagant sets, innovative lighting, and carefully curated music elevated each showcase into a mesmerizing spectacle. Models glided down the runway like ethereal beings, breathing life into the designs they adorned. The fusion of music, movement, and couture left the audience spellbound, creating an immersive experience that transcended the mere presentation of clothing.

India Couture Fashion Week 2023 proved that innovation and tradition need not be at odds. Designers seamlessly integrated cutting-edge techniques, sustainable practices, and futuristic fabrics into their creations, while still paying homage to age-old crafts. From 3D-printed embellishments to upcycled textiles, the event showcased a commitment to pushing the boundaries of creativity without compromising on authenticity.

A look from Rahul Mishra’s India Couture Week 2023 Collection. (Photo Credit: Euronews)

The fashion extravaganza was graced by the presence of renowned celebrities, fashion icons, and industry moguls. The front rows were adorned with A-listers, showcasing their support for the Indian fashion scene. Many stars also walked the runways, such as, actress Kiara Advani For Falguni Shane Peacock, actress Aditi Rao Hydari For Ritu Kumar, and actors Sara Ali Khan and Aditya Roy Kapur For Shantnu & Nikhil, to name a few. Their presence not only added to the glitz and glamour of the event but also demonstrated the cultural significance of fashion in India.

In a world where fashion is constantly evolving, India Couture Fashion Week 2023 16th annual edition, served as a reminder that tradition can be a wellspring of innovation, and that the spirit of creativity knows no bounds. As the lights dimmed and the applause echoed, one thing was certain: the India Couture Fashion Week had once again etched its mark on the global fashion landscape, leaving us eagerly anticipating the next chapter in this mesmerizing saga of style and substance.

Here are a few highlights from ICFW 2023 that proudly showcased India’s craftsmanship:

RAHUL MISHRA

Shraddha Kapoor Steals the Show in Rahul Mishra’s Show at India Couture Week 2023. (Photo Credit: Tribune India)

Rahul Mishra is a popular designer in India. This season he created plenty of buzz as he had the stunning actress Shraddha Kapoor walk the runway. His Couture 2023 collection included an array of contemporary silhouettes with traditional craftsmanship, perfectly blending the countries customary embroideries with a modern twist.

FALGUNI SHANE PEACOCK

Actress Kiara Advani walks for Falguni Shane Peacock’s Couture 2023 Show. (Photo Credit: Republic World)

It’s a Barbie world and Barbiecore continues to permeate the fashion industry. So, it’s no surprise that renowned fashion brand Falguni Shane Peacock was inspired by the famous doll and blockbuster movie (as of writing, the movie has earned over $1.18 billion). The design duo featured plenty of showstopping pink creations, most notably the closing look that was worn by actress Kiara Advani, a pink embellished bra top and skirt, that was Barbie to the core.

RITU KUMAR

Aditi Rao Hydari walks the runway at Ritu Kumar’s India Couture Week 2023. (Photo Credit: ANI News)

Ritu Kumar is known for her regal weddingwear creations, most notably her articulate hand embroideries, as well as the remarkable attention to detail that is incorporated in every piece she creates. Kumar also had a notable celebrity in her show, actress Aditi Rao Hydari who wore a show-stopping look that was absolutely royal in a white and gold two piece that was created out of zardosi (a type of heavy and elaborate metal embroidery) and hints of Kashmiri embroidery.

VARUN BAHL

Bhumi Pednekar walks Varun Bahl’s Couture 2023 show. (Photo Credit: Tribune India)

Actress Bhumi Pednekar looked stunning in an intricate, floral look made of hand embroidered flowers. Varun Bahl’s collection titled Inner Bloom 2023, was a whimsical dream.

RIMZIM DADU

Ananya Panday walks Rimzin Dadu’s India Couture 2023 Show. (Photo Credit: India TV News)

Rimzim Dadu’s 2023 masterpiece captures the meaning of life through the concept of ebb and flow, showcased through abstract designs. Actress Ananya Panday shines bright in a gold bra and skirt look.

SHANTNU & NIKHIL

Actors Sara Ali Khan and Aditya Roy Kapur walk for Shantnu & Nikhil’s Couture 2023 Show. (Photo Credit: India Today)

Shantnu & Nikhil create the perfect blend of Italian heritage and Indian craft. Shantanu and Nikhil’s Etheria drew inspiration from the West, yet they embraced their cultural roots. The designers stated in their show notes, “A timeless journey through the opulence where Italian allure meets Indian splendor, indulging in the magic of the Gatsby Era and the grandeur of Roman palaces.”

So tell us, which designers from India Couture Fashion Week have inspired you?

 

The Vital Role of Back-to-School Fashion in the Ever-Evolving Fashion Industry

Gen Z is embracing the Y2K trend. (Photo Credit: Getty Images for the NY Post)

As the sun-kissed days of summer begin to fade, a palpable excitement fills the air. It’s that time of year again – the season of fresh starts, eager minds and boundless possibilities. Back-to-school, a tradition as old as academia itself, has transformed into a runway for the fashion industry, a crucial showcase of innovation, style, and adaptability. In this era of constant change, where trends emerge and dissipate at the speed of a mouse click, back-to-school fashion stands as a testament to the fashion industry’s vitality and enduring relevance.

Back-to-school fashion acts as a playground where designers, retailers, and consumers alike come to play. It’s a symphony of colors, fabrics, and silhouettes, a canvas where creativity knows no bounds. The industry seizes this opportunity to flex its design muscles, concocting garments that mirror the hopes and aspirations of a new academic year. And has traditionally been a major marketing season for the industry. This year is no exception.

Olivia Rodrigo is a punk rock cutie. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

For the 2023/24 back-to-school season, designers have reimagined classic staples – from plaid skirts and varsity jackets to crisp button-down shirts – infusing them with a modern twist that reflects the evolving tastes of  Generation Z (1995 to 2009) and Generation Alpha (2010 to 2024). These reimagined classics become more than just clothing; they become statements of individuality and belonging. This fusion of timelessness and innovation is a reminder that fashion is, at its core, a celebration of the present, while embracing echoes of the past.

Bella Hadid’s preppy with a twist vibe will surely be a back-to-school hit. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

The back-to-school rush serves as a microcosm of the industry’s intricate dance with trends. It’s not merely about forecasting the next big thing; it’s about deciphering the intricate tapestry of consumer preferences. As students head back to their classrooms, they’re not just armed with textbooks – they’re equipped with an arsenal of trends, ready to express themselves in the ever-evolving language of style.

Industry leaders meticulously study the back-to-school market to identify patterns that offer insights into the future. The colors that capture attention, the fabrics that evoke emotion, and the styles that foster confidence all act as signposts, guiding the fashion world towards the next chapter of its narrative.

NUTURING BRAND LOYALTY AND IDENTITY

Nike back-to-school promotional looks. (Photo Credit: Nike)

Back-to-school fashion transcends the realm of aesthetics; it’s an exercise in identity formation. As students walk through the school gates clad in their carefully curated ensembles, they’re broadcasting more than just fashion choices – they’re showcasing their identities, their aspirations, and their stories. This emotional connection fosters brand loyalty that can last a lifetime.

For the industry, this loyalty isn’t just a fleeting affair; it’s an investment in a lifelong relationship. The brands that succeed in capturing the hearts of back-to-school shoppers often become woven into their stories, becoming trusted companions on their journey through life.

SUSTAINABILTY AND ETHICAL CONSIDERATIONS

Levi’s sustainable denim looks. (Photo Credit: Levi’s)

In recent years, the fashion industry has faced increasing scrutiny over its environmental and ethical practices. Back-to-school fashion serves as an opportunity for the industry to demonstrate its commitment to sustainability and responsible production. Brands that prioritize eco-friendly materials, ethical labor practices, and conscious consumption are not only shaping their own narratives but also contributing to a broader movement of positive change.

THE ECONOMIC BOOST OF BACK-TO-SCHOOL SHOPPING

Back-to-school fashion is an important sales and marketing tool for industry. (Photo Credit: SmartAsset)

The impact of back-to-school shopping on the economy is profound. In 2022, the back-to-school shopping season injected a surge of vitality into various sectors. From retail giants to local boutiques, the cash registers chimed in unison, contributing billions to the GDP. The ripple effect extends beyond traditional school supplies; it’s a time when electronics, clothing, accessories, and even home furnishing experience a surge in demand. The financial heartbeat of countless businesses races as they gear up to cater to the influx of eager shoppers.

According to the National Retail Federation and Prosper Insights & Analytics, “back-to-school spending is expected to reach an unparalleled $41.5 billion, up from $36.9 billion last year and the previous high of $37.1 billion in 2021. Back-to-college spending is expected to hit $94 billion, about $20 billion more than last year’s record.”

Air Jordan’s and straight leg denim is a back-to-school favorite. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

“Back-to-class shopping is one of the most important consumer shopping occasions of the year. Our research for 2023 shows American consumers are eager to jumpstart their back-to-school and college purchases early,” NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay said. “Retailers have been preparing for months to ensure they are well stocked with essential items that families and students need for the school year.”

Since 2003, the National Retail Federation has conducted a thorough survey on back-to-class shopping trends. This year’s research included 7,843 consumers and was fielded June 30-July 6 with a margin of error of plus or minus 1.1 percentage points.

Back-to-school shopping is well underway. According to the National Retail Federation, “as of early July, more than half (55%) of consumers who are buying for back-to-class said they have already started shopping. This is on par with last year, but is up from 44% in 2019, and is in line with the trend of consumers shopping earlier for major spending events. While consumers have started shopping early, as of early July, 85% said they still have at least half of their shopping left to do.”

Planned back to school Source NRF’s Annual 2023 Back to School Survey, conducted by Prosper Insights & Analytics

Families with children in elementary through high school plan to spend an average of $890.07 on back-to-school items this year, approximately $25 more than last year’s record of $864.35, and a new high. College students and their families are expected to spend an average of $1,366.95 per person, up from $1,199.43 last year, and a new record from the previous record of $1,200.32 in 2021. Since 2019, back-to-college spending has nearly doubled.

Kendeall Jenner’s chill Ninties Vibe. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

For many back-to-school consumers, the leading destinations are online, department stores and discount stores with the more creative and sustainably-minded, hitting up resale clothing shops or are making or upcycling their own clothes.  “Even though consumers plan to spend more on school and college-related items this year, they are still looking to find the best value and deals,” Prosper Executive Vice President of Strategy Phil Rist said. “Consumers are stretching their dollars by comparing prices, considering off-brand or store-brand items, and are more likely to shop at discount stores than last year.”

So tell us, what are your back-to-school wardrobe plans? Will you be making or upcycling your own clothes? Thrift shop hunting? Or going traditional: online, department store or mass merchant store?

MENSWEAR FASHION MONTH: HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE SPRING 2024 SHOWS

- - Fashion Shows

Looks from Dior Men’s Spring 2024 Show. (Photo Credit: Dior)

The Menswear Spring 2024 season has set the stage for a groundbreaking revolution in men’s fashion. Embracing fluidity, inclusivity, sustainability, and innovation, designers have created a mesmerizing symphony of sartorial liberation. The runway serves as a canvas where traditional notions of masculinity are reimagined and reshaped. As the seasons change and fashion evolves, these groundbreaking trends remind us that menswear is not just clothing; it’s an ever-evolving expression of identity, freedom, and creativity.

Throughout Europe, the runways were a playground of limitless possibilities. The season kicked off in London with shows running from June 10 -12th. Then the dapper set were off to Italy, first stop, Pitti Uomo in Florence from June 13-16th and then the excitement of Milan revved up from June 16-20th. Paris of course closed out the season with a bang from June 20-25th. What about New York? The city that never sleeps will show menswear along with Woman’s Fashion Week in early September.

Jacquemus’ Spring 2024 showcase at the Lake Versailles was a sight to behold. (Photo Credit: Lifestyle Asia)

Many designers at Men’s Fashion Week Spring 2024 pulled out all the stops for their show creating over-the-top viral moments that left industry insiders in awe, which is no easy fete. From closed down bridges (Louis Vuitton, Kenzo) to moving floors (Dior Men), and palace-side boat rides (Jacquemus), this season was a spectacle and display of power, wealth, and access reached new heights. So it’s no surprise that according to a tally of the most-viewed men’s shows of SS24 on Vogue Runway, Louis Vuitton came in first place. The show was a star-studded event as everyone anxiously awaited to see Pharrell Williams’s debut for Louis Vuitton. The show was an instant hit and Williams featured “Damoflage” which in Pharrell’s show notes was a fusion between Louis Vuitton’s iconic checkered Damier pattern and traditional camouflage fabric. “Damoflage” appeared across the collection, and truly capsulates Pharrell’s personal avant garde style.

A video of Pharell William’s debut Louis Vuitton Spring 2024 Show. (Video Courtesy of YouTube FF Chanel)

Before we delve into the trends for the Spring 2024 season, here is a brief history on Menswear Fashion Week.

HISTORY

In the realm of fashion, one event stands as a bastion of style and innovation – Men’s Fashion Week. Spanning across four fashion capitals – Milan, Paris, London, and New York – this bi-annual celebration of masculinity has a rich history that weaves together creativity, culture, and couture. Join UoF on a journey through time, as we explore the origins and evolution of Men’s Fashion Week in these iconic cities.

Milan – The Birth of Dapper Debonair

The year was 1971 when Milan hosted its first-ever Men’s Fashion Week, a pioneering moment that brought Italian elegance to the forefront. Spearheaded by visionaries like Giorgio Armani and Nino Cerruti, the Milanese runway showcased sharp tailoring, luxurious fabrics, and a newfound emphasis on minimalistic sophistication. Men’s fashion was no longer relegated to the shadows; it was a statement of confidence and poise.

Paris – The Haute Heritage

Stepping into the elegant city of Paris, we travel back to the origins of Haute Couture. In 1973, Paris welcomed its inaugural Men’s Fashion Week, further solidifying the city’s reputation as a timeless fashion capital. Designers like Yves Saint Laurent, Pierre Cardin, and Jean-Paul Gaultier infused traditional French savoir-faire with a contemporary flair. Paris became synonymous with avant-garde and artistic expressions that transcended the ordinary.

London – Punks to Peacocks

Across the Channel, London’s Men’s Fashion Week story took a different turn. Emerging in 1984, it began as an edgy, rebellious movement with punk influences, thanks to designers like Vivienne Westwood. Over time, it evolved into a melting pot of diverse styles, from tailored Savile Row classics to eccentric, bold streetwear. London became a playground for experimentation, paving the way for a new generation of men’s fashion designers.

New York – American Dreams and Diversity

Crossing the Atlantic, we find ourselves in the bustling streets of New York. In 1995, the Big Apple hosted its inaugural Men’s Fashion Week, showcasing American dreams and diversity. Designers like Ralph Lauren, Tom Ford, and Calvin Klein celebrated masculinity in all its forms – from rugged to refined. New York’s fashion week spotlighted the fusion of traditional American sportswear with cutting-edge contemporary designs.

As the years passed, Men’s Fashion Week in Milan, Paris, London, and New York transformed into a global phenomenon. The event expanded its reach beyond the fashion elite, with social media turning every spectator into a front-row participant. This democratization of fashion allowed designers to connect directly with their audience and opened doors for emerging talents from diverse backgrounds.

In recent years, a profound shift occurred in men’s fashion. Sustainability and ethical practices took center stage. Designers increasingly embraced eco-friendly materials, responsible manufacturing, and gender-neutral designs. Men’s Fashion Week became a platform to promote conscious consumption, making a positive impact on both the planet and society.

TRENDS

SCHOOL DAZE

Designers are feeling nostalgic this season as the schoolboy uniform trend makes its mark on the runway where you will find plenty of oversized blazers paired with tiny shorts.

A look from Louis Vuitton’s Spring 2024 Show. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Valentino’s Spring 2024 Show. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Neil Barrett’s Spring 2024 Show. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Prada’s Spring 2024 Show. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Paul Smith’s Spring 2024 Show. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

VARSITY BLUES

Athletic inspired looks have come back this spring with a collegiate twist.

A look from Kenzo’s Spring 2024 Show. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Wales Bonner’s Spring 2024 Show. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Vetements’s Spring 2024 Show. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Dsquared2’s Spring 2024 Show. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Saul Mash’s Spring 2024 Show. (Photo Credit: Vogue Fashionista)

A look from Louis Vuitton’s Spring 2024 Show. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

FLORAL DELIGHT

“Florals for spring? Groundbreaking” is one of the most famous quotes from Miranda Priestly, the notoriously difficult boss in The Devil Wears Prada, but this season the motif is truly fashion forward as 3-D floral appliques made there way onto the menswear runways from a quirky hat to a tailored shirt.

A look from Prada’s Spring 2024 Show. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Valentino’s Spring 2024 Show. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Dolce & Gabbana’s Spring 2024 Show. )(Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Alexander McQueen’s Spring 2024 Show. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Dior Men’s Spring 2024 Show. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

DEEP POCKETS

It’s time to get to work. Cargo pockets and utilitarian looks are making a splash both on the runway and off.

A look from Études’ Spring 2024 Show. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Li-Ning’s Spring 2024 Show. (Photo Credit: Fashionista)

A look from Fendi’s Spring 2024 Show. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from MSGM’s Spring 2024 Show. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Junya Watanabe’s Spring 2024 Show. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Prada’s Spring 2024 Show. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

THE GOING OUT TOP

The halter top gets a refresh as the androgynous look gives a 70s meets Y2K vibe.

A look from Saint Laurent’s Spring 2024 Show. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Acne Studio’s Spring 2024 Show. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Ludovic de Saint Sernin’s Spring 2024 Show. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Dolce & Gabbana’s Spring 2024 Show. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Egonlab’s Spring 2024 Show. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

So tell us, what is your favorite menswear trend for the spring 2024 season?

 

 

 

 

 

 

Announcing UoF’s Newest Lessons: Drafting Cut & Sew Knits – Part 1

Since launching the University of Fashion in 2008 the mission of the company has always been to preserve the art and craft of fashion design. Now, as we enter our 16th year in business, I am proud to say that we are not only holding to that mission, but have expanded into other areas of fashion education, including fashion retailing and merchandising, visual merchandising, fashion law, influencer marketing and the newest fashion industry area;  3D digital design.

We now have over 500 lessons in 13 different disciplines and we continue to add additional content to our library monthly. In fact, we recently filmed an entire cut & sew knit lesson series in response to student suggestions. From learning about knit fabrics and stretch ratios to drafting knit slopers – you asked & we delivered.

Your Knit Journey Starts Here

Poster frames from 2 lessons : Intro to Knits & Knit Fabric Principles and Introduction to Knit Fabrics preview                                      Knit Fabric Principles preview

The first step when designing a cut and sew knit garment is to learn about knit fabric. In our lesson entitled, Introduction to Knit Fabrics, we demonstrate the difference between woven and knit fabrics and how knit fabric is structured. You will learn the meaning of terms like knit and purl, wale and course and how a weft knit differs from a warp knit. We will teach you about different types of yarns and how knits are made so that you will make the best knit fabric choice for each of your designs.

In our lesson, Knit Fabric Principles, you will learn more about designing with knits. We’ll teach you all about the four characteristics of knit fabrics, what it means when a knit fabric has 1-way, 2-way or 4-way stretch, as well as the six categories of stretch ratio percentages, so that you will be able to draft your knit design for your knit fabric choice.

How to Draft Your Knit Slopers

poster frames of lessons Drafting a Women's Fitted Stable Knit T-shirt from Measurements & Drafting a Women's Relaxed Fit Knit T-shirt from Measurements

Drafting a Women’s Relaxed Fit Knit T-shirt from Measurements

Drafting a pattern from body measurements can be challenging, but not at University of Fashion. When you draft your T-shirt slopers from our lessons, Fitted Stable Knit T-shirt and the Relaxed Fit  T-shirt from Measurements, we provide downloadable charts and diagrams to help you locate all of the key measurement-taking points. We also provide downloadable worksheets so that you can easily record your measurements. The women’s fitted stable knit T-shirt sloper will become the basis for all of your knit designs for 1-way and 2 way stretch fabric.

Body measuring points diagram

Drafting a 4-Way Knit Stretch Sloper

Converting a Stable Knit T-shirt & Sleeve Sloper to 4-way Stretch Knit Sloper preview

Once you’ve drafted your Fitted Stable Knit T-shirt sloper, you’re ready to learn how to convert that sloper to a 4-way knit stretch sloper. Our lesson, Converting a Stable Knit T-shirt & Sleeve Sloper to a 4-way Stretch Knit Sloper, results in a sloper that can be used for all of your activewear, shapewear and swimwear garment designs.

Designing & Drafting a Cut & Sew Knit Legging & Unitard

poster frames for Drafting a Legging lesson and Drafting a Unitard lesson

Drafting a Women’s Knit Unitard preview                                   Drafting a Legging preview

By combining the 4-way Stretch Knit Sloper, drafted in our lesson Converting a Stable Knit T-shirt & Sleeve Sloper to 4-way Stretch Knit, with the legging drafted in our lesson Drafting a Legging, you’ll learn how to combine the two slopers to draft a unitard from our lesson, Drafting a Women’s Knit Unitard.

Designing a Cut & Sew Knit Hoodie

poster frame from lesson Drafting a Hooded Top

Drafting a Hooded Knit Top preview 

Using the sleeveless stable knit T-shirt sloper drafted in our lesson, Drafting a Women’s Fitted Stable Knit T-shirt from Measurements you will learn how to draft a hooded knit top made of a cotton/Lycra single knit jersey. We’ll teach you how to interpret a sketch to so that you can ascertain key measurements, such as the neck drop, the neck opening and the height and width of the hood.

Stay tuned for more cut & sew knit lessons: Drafting a Camisole with a Shelf Bra, a Racerback Halter Tank; and a knit neckline series that includes: how to draft an Asymmetric, Built-up, Boatneck, Collared, Cowl, Crewneck, Off  Shoulder, Scoop, Square, Surplice, Turtleneck and a V-Neckline.

 

 

Fashion Industry’s Top Recruiter: Sue Lamoreaux

 

Sue Lamoreaux Managing Director at Solomon Page

Sue Lamoreaux – Managing Director at Solomon Page (Image credit: Solomon Page)

If you have been working in the fashion industry for a while, then you probably already know that the best executive recruiting firm is Solomon Page. And, if you’re lucky, you may have already met Sue Lamoreaux, one of the founding members of Solomon Page.

This week’s blog is dedicated to Sue, who is celebrating her 32nd year with SP. She has been placing candidates in roles ranging from Presidents, VP’s, Directors, Chief Commercial officers, Supply Chain, Marketing leads, Global Sourcing, ECommerce, Chief Digital, General Managers (GM’s), Product Development, Creative Directors, in addition to strategic mid-level positions across all disciplines in the fashion industry.

In 2022, and for the sixth year in a row, Forbes named Solomon Page as one of America’s Best Professional Recruiting firms.

I have personally known Sue for years, ever since I was chair of the Fashion Dept. at FIT. Sue regularly gave of her time critiquing, advising and guiding graduating students on their portfolios, resumes and interview preparation (she has been doing the same for Parsons for the past 10 years).

Recently, I had a chance to sit down with Sue to talk about the job market, current and future hiring trends in the fashion industry, and how the industry is utilizing University of Fashion for upskilling its personnel. Sue is a treasure trove of information, and I am thrilled and honored that she has agreed to share her knowledge with us. Here goes:

Francesca: What are the main jobs you recruit for in the fashion industry?

 Sue: I recruit Design Directors, VP of Design, Creative Directors, Merchandising, Planning, Digital Marketing, Brand Marketing, Ecommerce, Technical Design, Sales, Global Sourcing /Production, Supply Chain/Operation. These would be the most frequent, but there are plenty of other titles and categories in Fashion that I place.

fashion industry job titles

Francesca: Can you give salary ranges for each job?

Sue: This is a tricky question since the salaries vary from city/state, companies, associated benefits packages, a job’s specific responsibilities, if it’s hybrid or on site (salary adjustments post Covid). The hot topic right now is salary equity for those who are back in office versus those who are permitted to remain remote or hybrid (as commuting and tax situations can result in cost differences). I have found that many candidates are assuming that they will still have the option to be hybrid or remote when seeking a new job, but the majority of New York area companies have a return to office directive and new employees will especially have even less flexibility than most. It’s always best to ask upfront about specific related policies, since this is not a negotiating point for most companies.

Francesca: How important is going to a fashion school for someone looking for a job as a designer, a product developer, etc.?

 Sue: Very important… Some companies even have a baseline requirement for a bachelor’s degree, or at least an associate’s degree, and there are many competing candidates who have master’s degrees that you will be competing with for candidate selection. But the relevant skills are still critical in your application.

I know many graduates of design schools who needed supplementary technical construction training, since many of the schools don’t spend enough time in the semester honing the craft. I always recommend taking that needed course with University of Fashion so you can be confident in your skills. Prospective employers expect you to know garment construction and specs before you start working and not to be learning/teaching on the job.

Francesca: Are there certain fashion schools that employers value most? And why?

Sue: There’s a wide variety… FIT, Parsons, CSM, SCAD, Otis, RISD, Kent, Marist College, University of Cincinnati, among others.  Sometimes it’s the knowledge and endorsement of the faculty, or the hiring manager is an alumnus, or sometimes it has to do with the way the programs are structured, and they know the students have worked substantive internships all 4 years. Companies like when they can hire a graduate who has had work experience at a brand they know. Or even stay on part time during the school year, post working in the summer of junior year work experience.  Brand experience matters much more than a study abroad program your junior year of college, if you are weighing out whether or not it’s worth it or will make a difference in your application.

list of fashion schools

Francesca: For product development positions, do companies require hands on knowledge of on-the-table skills such as pattern making, sewing, and draping?

Sue: Yes, it’s very important for product development people to have foundational knowledge of garment construction. Many times, they are involved in the fit sessions and it’s important when they are looking at cost, fabric capabilities, what will work, and offering options/alternatives for better pricing etc.  Sometimes companies forgo the designer and just have a product developer who could be creating private label for their accounts and are adapting and modifying garments for the client. They don’t always need to sketch, and many times have a great overseas partner to work with.

Francesca: How important is a portfolio in a job search?

Sue:  A designer must have a portfolio; a pdf of work that is ready to go (and can be edited easily) and/or a website that is easy to access. Remember, many may be looking at your website from their phone, so be sure it’s easy to view from a mobile device.

 

portfolio

Francesca: Can you provide insight into what should be included in a portfolio for a design position?

Sue: It should be comprised of several components: Trend/aspirational boards showing images, color, fabric and details. Illustrations are important, flats and something technical to show you can execute a tech pack. Additionally, computer work, Photoshop, illustrator is a baseline requirement for everyone! As soon as your work is being viewed, it takes an experienced hiring manager seconds to determine if he/she connects with your style, your brand messaging, and your technical accuracy. If they don’t connect, you probably won’t be asked to interview.

View UoF’s 9-part series on how to plan a stellar portfolio:

Creating An Inspiration Board and Creating A Customer Board

Creating a Mood Board and Inspiration Board

Creating a Fabric Board and Creating a Color Story

Creating a Design Development Board and Flats & Figure Board

Creating a Fashion Figure Line Sheet

Francesca: How in demand is 3D design education in the industry?

Sue: Some companies have invested heavily in it and will only interview candidates who have been trained on it, since it’s expensive for them to train you and you will have a transition of time before you are proficient. So, if you have the opportunity to learn it, it’s in your best interest to learn it!

Browzwear: Introduction to 3D and V Stitcher

Francesca: Is agism a ’thing’ in the fashion industry?

Sue: Age and experience are not something to hide! Experienced people are the managers and leaders of companies. VP level, SVP, Chief, President, CEO’s all need experience in order to have earned that position. With that said, it is critical to stay up to date on key technology skills and things like industry trends and purchasing habits. Continuing to educate yourself ensures and protects your longevity in the industry.

Francesca: How hard is it for someone right out of school to get a job?

Sue: Right now, the hiring market is soft, but people who have work experience during college and have standout work in their portfolios, the right skills companies are in need of, and are seeking work in the growing disciplines, they are still getting jobs. If you don’t get hired full-time, see if you can get an entry level freelance job so you can earn some work experience and brand to document.

Francesca: What advice would you give someone who is thinking about a design job in the fashion industry?

Sue: Get your education at the best place you can, be sure you work during school and set your expectations realistically. You may not ultimately be a runway designer, but you could just as valuable as a technical design/patternmaker, who is the right hand to the Design Director. (i.e.: if the garment doesn’t fit, the customer isn’t buying it!).

tech pack for swimwear

University of Fashion’s lesson: Creating a Swim Bottom Tech Pack in Illustrator

Francesca: How can working with a recruiter help me in my job search and where can I go about making those contacts?

 Sue: Working with an experienced recruiter is a huge plus, but not every company will pay for the service. Many companies post jobs on their own website and LinkedIn. Entry level jobs are infrequently listed with recruiters and are addressed internally, generally. Sometimes I will get an entry level assignment because the internal recruiting has been unsuccessful, so always ask.

If you are able to work with a recruiter for a particular search the benefit will be that you will have guidance for interview preparation, portfolio recommendations, resume tips, salary negotiation assistance, etc. Honesty, it is very important in this partnership. Please know that if you have already submitted your resume to a company on your own, your recruiter will be blocked from representing you for that role.

Solomon Page logo

Francesca: What are some things I should be sure to highlight in my resume, cover letter, and portfolio that employers look out for? And how can I make myself stand out to an employer when I am one of so many candidates applying for a role?

Sue: They look for relevant experience to their brand identity and the specific position they are recruiting for. Research the company and say something about them. Look at their job post. For example, if they want 3D experience and you don’t have it, you probably won’t get flagged to interview. Or if your portfolio work is so different than their aesthetic, you may not be selected.

 Francesca: What advice would you give to someone going on an initial interview?

 Sue: Remember, first interviews are still predominantly video. Be prepared for that.  Make sure that you can upload everything smoothly and quickly while you are speaking.  Be sure to load whatever video format the company is using to your computer well before the interview, so it’s ready to go (I have 5 different brands loaded on my computer, so don’t assume that everyone uses, Zoom) And of course the obvious, research the company!

Computer interview

 

Be sure to subscribe to the Solomon Page Blog, where you’ll find lots of free tips:

Francesca: What is your outlook for the future of employment within the fashion industry? Which sectors do you predict will grow and which do you think may decline?

Sue: Marketing is still the biggest department for fashion companies. Looking for work in this area and all of the subsets (i.e., brand marketing, digital marketing, performance marketing, social, ecommerce, communication, etc.) gives you a better chance of finding work. Some departments, such as sales, have shrunk (but not gone away) as more companies are direct-to-consumer (DTC), although there still is a need for good salespeople to be represented in a brick & mortar setting.

Many thanks to Sue for sharing her expertise with our UoF subscribers and followers. Here is Sue’s contact info should you want to thank her yourself:

Susan Lamoreaux

Solomon Page

P (212) 824-1580 x2582

C  (908) 451-5537
in Connect with me

WEBSITE LINKEDIN FACEBOOK TWITTER INSTAGRAM

 

BARBIE’S WORLD: A COSTUME DESIGNER’S DREAM COME TRUE

Barbie movie’s main trailer.( Video Courtesy of YouTube·Warner Bros. Pictures)

If you asked some of today’s fashion designers what inspired them to pursue a career in fashion, odds are that they would tell you it was their Barbie doll. UoF’s founder, Francesca Sterlacci, is definitely one of them. Many young girls (and boys) often started out playing with baby dolls (or, if you grew up in the 1950s a Patty Play Pal), but once they got a look at Barbie, with her 11.5 inch human figure, 39″ bust, nipped-in waist, waterfall blonde ponytail, zebra-print swimsuit and kitten heels (known to collectors as “Ponytail Number One”)…they never went back! Launched by Mattel in 1959, Barbie took the world by storm with sales of 300,000 dolls in its first year of production. According to Mattel, there are in excess of 100,000 collectors of Barbie dolls worldwide today, with Düsseldorf collector, Bettina Dorfman (age 61) the Guinness Book of Records record-holder for her 18,500-strong Barbie collection that is currently worth $307,500.

Bay dolls and Patty Play Pal Doll

Kissy Dolls and a Patty Play Pal doll by Ideal (Image credit: Etsy.com)

 

Barbie dolls circa 1960s

Barbie dolls circa 1960s (Image credit: Etsy.com)

As the highly anticipated Barbie movie hits the big screen on July 21, 2023, it’s impossible not to reflect back at the doll that captured the imagination of so many. To learn more about Barbie’s evolution, representing 150 careers and more than 40 nationalities in the 64 years of her existence, read our blog post from July 2022 entitled, Barbiecore & Why Barbie is Not Just Some Dumb Blonde.

Today, over 90 percent of American girls between the ages of 3 to 12 have owned a Barbie doll. And even though, throughout the years, Barbie has assumed many professions, from doctor and archeologist, to rock star and computer engineer, for many she remains a stereotype. It therefore took incredible guts and vision for Margot Robbie to accept the iconic role of Barbie and for Greta Gerwig to direct it, especially in the #MeToo era. Thier decision carried a profound significance, as Robbie’s portrayal breaks stereotypes and challenges traditional gender norms.

The plot hinges on Margot Robbie Barbie (apparently there are other characters also named Barbie and Ken), being expelled from Barbie Land for being a less-than-perfect-looking doll. She somehow snaps out of her dollhouse mentality, suddenly gets flat feet and starts thinking about dying. She then embarks on a journey to the human world “to find true happiness” where she meets a range of differently abled and raced Barbies along the way, thereby conveying an empowering message.

Barbie’s fashion choices play a pivotal role in showcasing diversity and inclusivity through the work of a very talented costume designer (Jacqueline Durran) and her selective network of fashion industry designers that include, Stella McCartney, Christian Siriano and Iris van Herpen. Let’s dive into the fashion-forward world of Barbie and explore how these incredible designers brought Barbie’s glamorous big screen looks to life.

JACQUELINE DURRAN CREATES FASHION MAGIC

Margot Robbie as Barbie in the new Barbie film. (Photo Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures)

Margot Robbie as Barbie in the new Barbie film. (Photo Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures)

Barbie has always been renowned for her impeccable fashion sense, setting trends and inspiring millions of fans worldwide. In the movie, Barbie’s wardrobe undergoes a remarkable evolution, reflecting the diverse and ever-changing world we live in. The fashion choices presented on-screen celebrate body positivity, inclusivity and the importance of self-expression. Summer 2022, when the movie was being filmed, became the summer of Barbiecore, as every celebrity, It-Girl, and social-media darling dressed in head-to-toe pink in anticipation of the Barbie movie. The trend continued into 2023.

Fun Fact: Barbie’s home was inspired by the midcentury modernism designs found in Palm Springs, California and the iconic Barbie Dreamhouses. And, that the making of Barbie Land caused an international shortage of pink paint?

Barbie’s disco look. (Photo Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures)

Barbie and Ken’s western looks. (Photo Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures)

Before delving into the collaborative efforts, it is important to acknowledge Jacqueline Durran’s incredible talent as a costume designer. With a portfolio that includes award-winning work in films like “Anna Karenina” and “Little Women,” Durran has established herself as a visionary in the industry. Her keen eye for detail, historical accuracy, and her ability to craft characters through costume, make her a sought-after collaborator for directors and fashion houses alike.

Speaking of costume designers, we’d like to take this opportunity to give a shout-out to costume designer Ruth E. Carter and the launch of her new book “The Art of Ruth E. Carter: Costuming Black History and the Afrofuture, from Do the Right Thing to Black Panther.” Carter is the first Black woman to win an Oscar for costume design, the first Black woman to win two Oscars in any category and the second costume designer to get a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. It’s time for Hollywood and the fashion industry to pay attention to pay inequity, specifically between costume designers and their peers; production designers and fashion designers.

COLLABORATING WITH FASHION DESIGNERS

Barbie’s classic swimsuit look. (Photo Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures)

For the 2023 Barbie movie, Jacqueline Durran decided to collaborate with fashion industry designers, recognizing the significance of Barbie as a style icon.  Together, they created a seamless fusion of high fashion and cinematic storytelling. Here are a few designers who brought Barbie’s looks to life.

Renowned for her commitment to sustainable fashion, Stella McCartney joined forces with Jacqueline Durran to bring eco-conscious design to the Barbie movie. McCartney’s signature elegance and ethical sensibilities perfectly complement Barbie’s message of empowerment and environmental responsibility. Expect to see stunning ensembles crafted from innovative sustainable fabrics and adorned with McCartney’s distinctive touch.

Known for his bold and inclusive designs, Christian Siriano’s collaboration with Jacqueline Durran injects a vibrant and diverse energy into the Barbie movie. Siriano’s mastery of draping, impeccable craftsmanship, and his celebration of different body types make him an ideal partner for dressing Barbie and her friends. Anticipate a range of show-stopping couture gowns and fierce yet playful ensembles that showcase Siriano’s unique flair.

Pushing the boundaries of fashion and technology, Iris van Herpen brings her avant-garde sensibilities to the Barbie movie in collaboration with Jacqueline Durran. Van Herpen’s mesmerizing designs, often inspired by nature and science, add a touch of otherworldly magic to the film. Expect breathtakingly intricate and ethereal costumes, blending traditional craftsmanship with cutting-edge techniques, such as 3D printing and laser cutting.

The collaborative efforts between Jacqueline Durran and her chosen team of renowned fashion designers, promises a fashion spectacle like no other. Through their unique creative vision, Stella McCartney, Christian Siriano, and Iris van Herpen contribute their artistry and distinct design perspectives to Barbie’s world.  As audiences await the release of the Barbie movie, they can look forward to a dazzling display of fashion magic borne from the synergy between Jacqueline Durran and these esteemed designers.

Barbie (Margot Robbie) and Ken (Ryan Gosling) rollerblade looks. (Photo Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures)

So, tell us, how excited are you to see the Barbie Movie?

 

 

 

 

THE ENDURING MAGIC OF HAUTE COUTURE: FALL 2023

Backstage at the Iris Van Herpen Fall 2023 Couture Collection Runway Show. (Photo Credit: WWD)

Despite the backdrop of Paris protests, as a result of the fatal police shooting of 17-year-old Nahel Merzouk, fashion’s elite indulged in the finer things of life and high tailoring during Haute Couture’s Fall 2023 season. Couture took center stage last week as fashion insiders and celebrities sashayed throughout the most fashionable city in the world. The Paris Couture season, which ran from July 3rd to the 6th, was jam packed with whimsical and fanciful creations and blew up every fashionista’s social media channel.

Cardi B rocks Couture Fashion Week. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

Haute couture is the epitome of high fashion, it carries with it a rich history spanning over a century. From its origins in the late 19th century to its evolution into the modern era, haute couture has remained a symbol of creativity, craftsmanship, and timeless elegance. In today’s society, where trends come and go in the blink of an eye, it is worth exploring the roots of haute couture and examining its enduring relevance in shaping the fashion landscape.

THE HISTORY OF HAUTE COUTURE

A gown from House of Worth dated 1882. (Photo Credit: Met Museum)

The story of haute couture begins in Paris during the mid-19th century. It was Charles Frederick Worth, an Englishman residing in Paris, who is credited as the ‘father of haute couture’. Worth’s innovative approach involved creating custom-made garments for individual clients, departing from the prevailing practice of mass-produced attire. By infusing creativity, impeccable craftsmanship, and luxurious materials, Worth elevated fashion to an art form and set the stage for the birth of haute couture.

The early 20th century witnessed the rise of prestigious fashion houses that defined the golden era of haute couture. Designers such as Coco Chanel, Christian Dior, and Yves Saint Laurent became synonymous with unparalleled elegance and sophistication. These designers crafted exquisite garments that reflected the spirit of their time, capturing the essence of societal shifts and women’s evolving roles. The allure of haute couture grew as these visionaries introduced iconic silhouettes, such as the “New Look,” and groundbreaking techniques that transformed the fashion landscape.

In today’s fast-paced world driven by fast fashion, mass production and rapid fashion trends, the artistry and enchantment of haute couture continues to shine as a beacon of beauty and craftsmanship. Those of us who value the talent of the petit mains who create these masterpieces in every designer’s atelier, know and respect the meticulous attention to detail that goes into creating these exquisite garments that transcend time. In today’s society, where individuality is cherished, the magic of haute couture remains an essential and awe-inspiring force.

THE RELEVANCE OF HAUTE COUTURE IN TODAY’S SOCIETY

Looks from Giambattista Valli’s Fall 2023 Couture Show. (Photo Credit: Acielle)

As another season of haute couture has come to an end and the debate over whether or not couture is still revenant, no one can deny that the artistic expression and innovation was well worth it (not to mention the big marketing opportunities brands gain from  showing a couture collection). Haute couture serves as a canvas for designers to unleash their creative expertise and push the boundaries of fashion. It is a playground of innovation, where new techniques, materials, and silhouettes are explored. The avant-garde creations showcased in haute couture collections often serve as a source of inspiration for ready-to-wear lines, influencing trends and shaping the future of fashion.

A look from Schiaparelli’s Fall 2023 Couture Show. (Photo Credit: Acielle)

A hallmark of haute couture lies in its impeccable craftsmanship and meticulous attention to detail. Each garment is meticulously constructed by skilled artisans, employing traditional techniques that have been passed down through generations. The use of luxurious fabrics, intricate hand-sewn embellishments, and delicate embroideries creates garments of unparalleled quality and splendor. Haute couture reminds us of the enduring value of artisanal work and the irreplaceable beauty of true craftsmanship.

In a world of mass production, where conformity often reigns, haute couture celebrates individuality and offers exclusivity. Just like a Savile Row suit, each haute couture garment is custom-made for a specific client, ensuring a perfect fit and reflecting their unique personality and style. It provides a luxurious experience that fosters a sense of identity and self-expression, allowing individuals to embrace their distinctiveness in a world of uniformity.

Haute couture plays a pivotal role in preserving cultural heritage and traditional craftsmanship. Collaborations between designers and skilled artisans ensure the continuity of time-honored techniques, from intricate embroidery to hand weaving. By intertwining contemporary design with cultural traditions, haute couture showcases the richness of global heritage, paying homage to diverse craft traditions and sustaining their legacy.

HAUTE COUTURE FALL 2023 SHOWS

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

The Fall 2023 Haute Couture season transported us to a realm of unparalleled creativity, innovation, and artistry. From the breathtaking designs that grace the runway to the meticulous craftsmanship that brings them to life, haute couture continues to enchant and inspire. As we witness the magic unfold in Paris, we are reminded of the enduring power of fashion as an art form and its ability to captivate and transport us into a world of imagination. The Fall 2023 haute couture shows leave us in awe, eagerly awaiting the next chapter of fashion’s captivating tale. Here are some showstopping looks from each show that captured the essence of the season.

SCHIAPARELLI

A look from Schiaparelli’s Fall 2023 Couture Show. (Photo Credit: Vogue)

CHRISTIAN DIOR

Looks From Christian Dior’s Fall 2023 Couture Show. (Photo Credit: Christian Dior)

THOM BROWNE

A look from Thom Browne’s Fall 2023 Couture Show. (Photo Credit: Vogue)

CHANEL

A look from Chanel’s Fall 2023 Couture Show. (Photo Credit: Vogue)

ARMANI PRIVE

Looks from Armani Privé’s Fall 2023 Couture Show. (Photo Credit: Acielle)

BALENCIAGA

A look from Balenciaga’s Fall 2023 Couture Show. (Photo Credit: Vogue)

VALENTINO

Looks From Valentino’s Fall 2023 Couture Show. (Photo Credit: Harper’s Bazaar)

FENDI

A look from Fendi’s Fall 2023 Couture Show. (Photo Credit: Vogue)

JEAN-PAUL GAULTIER

A look from Jean Paul Gaultier’s Fall 2023 Couture Show. (Photo Credit: Vogue)

IRIS VAN HERPEN

A look from Iris van Herpen’s Fall 2023 Couture Show. (Photo Credit: Vogue)

VIKTOR & ROLF

A look from Viktor & Rolf’s Fall 2023 Couture Show. (Photo Credit: Vogue)

GIAMBATTISTA VALLI

A look from Giambattista Valli’s Fall 2023 Couture Show. (Photo Credit: Vogue)

So tell us, which couture show inspired you the most?