IS THERE EQUITY, EQUALITY & DIVERSITY IN THE FASHION INDUSTRY?

According to The New York Times, Tracy Reese is perhaps one of the best-known African-American Female designer. (Photo Credit: Model D Media)

As Women’s History Month comes to a close, we thought we’d explore the origin of Woman’s History month, showcase some of the talented female designers from diverse ethnicities and shed light on equality and equity (or lack of) as it pertains to the fashion industry. According to a 2022 Council of Fashion Designers of America study entitled The Glass Runway, “while the vast majority of students who obtain a degree in fashion are women, men still dominate the industry.” The study concluded that “of the top 50 fashion houses in the world, only 14% of them are run by female executives.” In the Unites States, the most common ethnicity of fashion designers is White (63.0%), followed by Hispanic or Latino (11.9%), Asian (11.6%) and Black or African American (7.3%), as reported by Zippia, a career database. Looks like there is a lot of room for improvement in our industry when it comes to gender, race and ethnic equity and equality.

Before we dive in to this hot topic, here’s some history behind Woman’s History Month:

Women’s History Month 2023. (Photo Credit: PR Daily)

  • The origin of celebrating women dates back to 1911 with the first International Women’s Day, which advocated for women’s rights and suffrage.
  • Following a lobbying effort by the National Women’s History Project (NWHP- an organization founded in 1980 by a group of women historians), Women’s History Week was first celebrated in 1982, coinciding with the 91st anniversary of the first women’s suffrage march in the United States.
  • After several years of lobbying, Congress passed a resolution in 1987 designating March as Women’s History Month. It is now celebrated in many countries around the world, with a theme chosen each year by the NWHP. The celebration includes events, lectures, and exhibitions to educate people about the accomplishments and contributions of women in various fields, including science, politics, art, and more.
  • The theme for 2023 is Celebrating Women Who Tell Our Stories.” The NWHA encourages the recognition of women, past and present, who have been active in all forms of media and storytelling including print, radio, TV, stage, screen, blogs, podcasts, and more. The timely theme honors women in every community who have devoted their lives and talents to producing art, pursuing truth, and reflecting the human condition decade after decade.

Top: Toni Morrison, Maxine Hong Kingston, Jovita Idar, Maya Angelou, Middle: Gerda Lerner, Gloria Steinem, Winona La Duke, Lillian Hellman
Bottom: Betty Soskin, Willa Cather, Gertrude Stein, Marjory Stoneman Douglas (Photo credit: nationalwomensalliance.org)

DIVERSE WOMAN MAKING A MARK IN THE FASHION INDUSTRY

As the fashion industry heeds the call for increased gender equity and diversity in the C-site, the design room, on the runway and in advertising and as women continue to face barriers and discrimination in the industry (with men occupying the majority of leadership positions), we are seeing some an increase in the number of female designers from diverse backgrounds making a name for themselves on their own.

What makes these diverse female fashion designers stand out is their ability to create designs that empower women. They are not afraid to take risks and push boundaries, creating designs that are not only aesthetically pleasing but also challenge traditional gender norms. Their work has been instrumental in shaping the fashion industry and inspiring other women to pursue careers in fashion design.

It is therefore important that we continue to support and celebrate the work of female fashion designers and promote gender equality in the industry. Here are a few female designers breaking down the barriers:

AURORA JAMES OF BROTHER VELLIES

Brother Vellies founder/designer Aurora James in her boutique. (Photo Credit: Kyle Knodell)

Born in Toronto in 1984, designer Aurora James grew up with a passion for fashion and design. She studied fashion design at Ryerson University in Toronto and worked as a designer in Los Angeles and New York City before launching her brand Brother Vellies in 2013. James is a woman of color who has made a significant impact in the fashion industry with her  luxury footwear and accessories brand that celebrates traditional African craftsmanship. Her designs are inspired by her travels to different parts of the world and incorporate elements of traditional African culture. She has been recognized for her commitment to sustainability, ethical fashion practices and social justice initiatives.

 

Aurora James called her “Tax the Rich” dress for Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez a “powerful message” at the Met Gala. (Photo Credit: The NY Post)

One of James’ most notable initiatives is the 15 Percent Pledge, which calls on retailers to dedicate 15 percent of their shelf space to Black-owned businesses. The initiative gained widespread attention in the wake of the Black Lives Matter protests in 2020, and has been embraced by several major retailers, including Sephora and Macy’s. James was named to Forbes’ 30 Under 30 list in 2015 and was awarded the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund in 2015.

STELLA JEAN

Haitian-Italian fashion designer Stella Jean. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

Stella Jean is a Haitian-Italian fashion designer known for her unique blend of African and Western aesthetics in her designs. Born in Rome in 1979 to a Haitian mother and Italian father, Jean grew up with a deep appreciation for her mixed heritage. Jean studied at the European Institute of Design in Rome and later worked in the communication industry before transitioning to fashion. She launched her eponymous label in 2011 and quickly gained international recognition for her innovative and socially conscious designs.

Jean’s designs are a fusion of African and Western cultures, blending traditional African textiles and prints with contemporary Italian tailoring and utilizes bold and vibrant colors, mixed prints, and intricate embroideries. Jean has been praised for her commitment to ethical fashion and sustainability, using eco-friendly materials and partnering with artisans in Haiti and Africa to create her collection.

Throughout her career, Jean has collaborated with several fashion brands and organizations, including the Ethical Fashion Initiative of the International Trade Center, which supports artisans in developing countries. She has also showcased her designs at several international fashion shows, including Milan Fashion Week and Paris Fashion Week.

A hunger strike makes headlines before Milan Fashion Week 2023 begins. Stella Jean protests lack of diversity in Italian fashion. (Photo Credit: NY Times)

Jean is also an advocate for social justice and women’s rights and uses her platform to promote diversity and inclusivity in the fashion industry, highlighting the importance of representation and empowerment for marginalized communities. Her designs have gained international recognition and are worn by several celebrities, including Beyoncé, Rihanna, and Amal Clooney.

MAKI OH

Nigerian-born designer Maki Oh. (Photo Credit: Maki Oh)

In addition to these established designers, there are also several up-and-coming Black female designers who are making their mark. One such designer is Maki Oh, a Nigerian-born designer whose designs celebrate African heritage and culture. Her designs are known for their intricate details and traditional African textile techniques. Her work has been featured in several high-profile fashion shows, including New York Fashion Week and Paris Fashion Week. She is considered one of the most exciting new voices in African fashion and has gained international recognition for her innovative designs.

Oh studied fashion design at the Arts Institute of Bournemouth in the United Kingdom before launching her eponymous label in Lagos, Nigeria in 2010. Since then, she has become known for her bold prints, vibrant colors, and intricate embroideries, which often reference traditional Nigerian motifs and symbols. She often uses locally sourced materials, such as Adire (a traditional Nigerian indigo-dyed fabric), Aso-oke (a handwoven cloth), and Ankara (a type of African print fabric) to create clothes that are both authentic and contemporary.

Beyonce rocking a Maki Oh creation. (Photo Credit: The designer’s studio)

In addition to her fashion design work, Oh has also been recognized for her contribution to African fashion. She was named a finalist for the prestigious LVMH Prize in 2014 and has been featured in exhibitions at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London and the Museum of Arts and Design in New York. Oh’s designs have been worn by several notable celebrities, including Solange Knowles, Lupita Nyong’o, and Beyoncé.

ANITA DONGRE

Mumbai-based designer Anita Dongre. (Photo Credit: Vogue India)

Anita Dongre is a Mumbai-based designer who launched her eponymous label in 1995, focusing on bridal and special occasion wear. Since then, she has expanded her brand to include menswear and ready-to-wear. Her designs are known for their intricate hand embroidery, luxurious fabrics, and timeless silhouettes. In 2015, Dongre launched her sustainable fashion brand, Grassroot, which focuses on supporting local artisans and promoting environmentally-friendly practices using natural materials and traditional handcrafting techniques. Dongre’s designs have been worn by numerous celebrities and she has won several awards for her contribution to the industry.

Looks from Indian designer Anita Dongre. (Photo Credit: Anita Dongre)

Dongre has received numerous awards and recognition for her contribution to Indian fashion, including being named one of the 50 most powerful women in Indian business by Forbes India in 2018. She is also a member of the Fashion Design Council of India and has been a guest speaker at several prominent fashion events and conferences.

MASABA GUPTA

Mumbai-based designer Masaba Gupta. (Photo Credit: India TV News)

Masaba Gupta is another female Indian fashion designer who has been making a mark in the industry. A Mumbai-based designer, Gupta was educated in fashion design at SNDT Women’s University before launching her label in 2009. Her designs are a blend of traditional and contemporary Indian prints and often feature asymmetrical silhouettes with unconventional draping, making her a stand out from other designers in the industry. Gupta has been recognized for her innovative approach to design, thus winning the 2012 Vogue India Fashion Fund award in 2012.

Looks from Masaba Gupta’s Wedding Collection. (Photo Credit: Shaadiwish)

In addition to her fashion design work, Gupta is also a prominent social media personality and has used her platform to promote body positivity and mental health awareness. She has been vocal about her struggles with depression and anxiety and has used her experiences to inspire others to seek help and speak out about mental health issues.

Gupta has received numerous awards and recognition for her contribution to Indian fashion, including being named one of Forbes’ 30 Under 30, in 2012. She has also been featured in several prominent fashion events, including Lakme Fashion Week and Amazon India Fashion Week.

PAYAL SINGHAL

Indian fashion designer Payal Singhal. (Photo Credit: Vogue India)

Payal Singhal is another Mumbai-based designer who launched her eponymous label in 1999 after completing her education in fashion design from SNDT Women’s University in Mumbai. Singhal uses traditional Indian textiles and embroidery techniques, such as Zardozi and Chikankari, but gives them a modern twist with innovative cuts and silhouettes.

Looks from Payal Singhal’s past collections. (Photo Credit: StyleGods)

In addition to her fashion design work, Singhal has also collaborated with several prominent Indian brands, including Coca-Cola and Lakme, to create limited edition collections. She has also been a guest speaker at several prominent fashion events and conferences, including Lakme Fashion Week and India Fashion Forum and her designs have been worn by numerous celebrities .

Singhal has received numerous awards and recognition for her contribution to Indian fashion, including being named one of the 50 most powerful women in Indian business by Forbes India in 2018. She is also a member of the Fashion Design Council of India and has been a vocal advocate for promoting sustainable fashion practices in the industry.

ANAIS MAK

Hong Kong-born Parisian designer Anaïs Mak. (Photo Credit: Prestige)

Anaïs Mak was born and raised in Hong Kong, but today the fashion designer is based out of Paris.  Mak has gained international recognition for her unique and innovative designs that blend contemporary and traditional elements. She launched her eponymous label in 2016, after working for several high-end fashion brands, including Lanvin and Alexander McQueen.

Mak’s designs are known for their experimental silhouettes, bold colors, and unexpected combinations of materials. She often incorporates unconventional fabrics such as PVC and latex into her designs, while also using traditional materials like silk and cotton. Mak is also known for her use of asymmetrical cuts and unconventional draping techniques, which give her designs a unique and edgy look. Mak’s designs have been worn by several prominent celebrities, including Rihanna and Solange Knowles.

A look by Anaïs Mak. (Photo Credit: Luke Casey)

In addition to her fashion design work, Mak is also a trained visual artist and often incorporates elements of sculpture and installation art into her fashion designs. Her background in the arts has given her a unique perspective on fashion, allowing her to create pieces that blur the lines between fashion and art.

Mak has received several awards and recognition for her contribution to the fashion industry, including being named one of the top 10 designers to watch by Vogue in 2018. She has also been featured in several prominent fashion events, including Paris Fashion Week and London Fashion Week.

CELINE KWAN

Singapore-based designer Celine Kwan. (Photo Credit: Prestige)

Celine Kwan is a Singaporean fashion designer who is known for her intricate and innovative designs that combine traditional techniques with modern elements. She launched her eponymous label in 2014, after completing her studies at the Parsons School of Design in New York City.

Kwan’s designs are characterized by their intricate detailing and use of traditional techniques such as embroidery and beading. She often incorporates elements of her Singaporean heritage into her designs, such as the use of Peranakan embroidery techniques and batik prints. Kwan is also known for her use of unexpected materials such as plastic and PVC, which give her designs a unique and edgy look.

Kwan’s designs have been featured in several prominent fashion events, including Singapore Fashion Week and New York Fashion Week.

In addition to her fashion design work, Kwan is also a passionate advocate for sustainable fashion practices. She has collaborated with several eco-conscious brands to create sustainable fashion collections and has been a vocal advocate for reducing waste in the fashion industry.

Looks from Celine Kwan. (Photo Credit: Lifestyle Asia)

Kwan has received several awards and recognition for her contribution to the fashion industry, including being named one of the 30 Under 30 designers in Asia by Forbes in 2017. She has also been featured in several prominent exhibitions, including the Singapore National Museum’s “Century of Light” exhibition in 2019.

EQUITY VS. EQUALITY: WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE?

Maria Grazia Chiuri, creative director at Dior created “We Should All Be Feminists” for her debut collection in 2016. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

Over time, female fashion designers have made significant contributions to the fashion industry (ex. Chanel, Vionnet, Madame Grès, Donna Karan, Diane von Fürstenberg, etc.). And yet, access to a top tier design house job remains unequal for women, even though they may have the same training as their male counterpart. That’s inequality. When the fashion industry continues to support a system where male designers are favored over female designers that’s inequity. 

While the industry has slowly become more racially and ethnically diverse (ex. Tracy Reese, Kimora Lee Simmons, Reem Acra, Aurora James, Virgil Abloh), we have a long way to go toward equality and equity, especially when it comes to hiring and promoting female fashion designers. 

Achieving equality and equity in the fashion industry requires a multi-faceted approach that involves various stakeholders: schools, designers, brands, retailers, consumers and industry associations. Here are some strategies that can help:

  • Diversity and Inclusion: embrace diversity and inclusion by promoting and showcasing a range of body types, skin colors and gender identities in marketing campaigns. Fashion brands should also include a diverse range of people in their hiring practices, from models to designers to executives.
  • Equal Pay and Opportunities: The fashion industry should strive to provide equal pay and opportunities for both genders. Women should be represented in all areas of the industry, from design to management positions. Brands should also ensure that women receive equal pay for equal work and that there are no barriers to their career advancement.
  • Sustainable and Ethical Fashion: The fashion industry should adopt sustainable and ethical practices, which benefit both the environment and workers in the supply chain, many of whom are women. This includes promoting fair labor practices, safe working conditions, and using eco-friendly materials.
  • Collaboration and Advocacy: Industry associations, fashion bloggers, influencers, and media outlets can collaborate to promote gender equality in the fashion industry. They can highlight brands that are inclusive and sustainable and advocate for policies that support gender equality.

Promoting diversity and gender equality/equity in the fashion industry requires a long-term commitment. But, by working together we can create a more inclusive and sustainable industry.

What about choosing a female designer to replace Jeremy Scott at Moschino? Care to share your thoughts on the subject?

 

 

ARE YOU READY FOR DECENTRALAND’S METAVERSE FASHION WEEK 2023?

Decentraland Fashion Week 2023. (Photo Credit: Blockchain Witcher)

Fashion Month 2023 (IRL) may have ended but wait…there’s more! This time in the virtual world, as the concept of living in a virtual world is rapidly expanding. The fact that in 2021 the global virtual reality gaming market was valued at USD 7.5 billion and is projected to reach a value of USD 37 billion by 2028, it’s no shock to learn that the fashion industry wants in!

Virtual fashion has become increasingly popular, with designers exploring new concepts and pushing the boundaries of traditional fashion. After a high-profile debut in 2022, Decentraland’s Metaverse Fashion Week 2023 will soon light up virtual stores and runways again, with a second installment set for March 28 to 31. Metaverse Fashion Week (MVFW) events are becoming some of the most highly anticipated events in the virtual reality world and a place where designers can showcase the latest trends and designs in both virtual and physical fashion.

What You Need To Know About Metaverse Fashion Week

First of all, here’s you ticket (March 28-31) to MVFW23  https://mvfw.org/

In 2022, Decentraland, a ‘decentralized’ virtual world platform, pioneered Metaverse Fashion Week to much acclaim. This year, Decentraland partnered with virtual-world platforms Spatial and Over, the latter a Metaverse specializing in augmented reality, for a greater cross-platform experience or, as they call it in virtual speak,” interoperability”.

For 2023, Decentraland is offering a cross-platform wearable design competition and the winners will be featured in a hybrid AR/IRL catwalk at a four-day event in Milan. Other Metaverses are interested in tying into MVFW with simultaneous agendas or satellite events.

MVFW23 promises that the global community will get to experience the latest advancements in metaversal interoperability and digital fashion and explore a place where users can buy, sell, and build on virtual land. Users can create their own virtual reality experiences, from games to social experiences, all powered by blockchain technology, which allows for secure transactions and ownership of virtual assets. MVFW is quickly becoming one of the most popular virtual reality global events. With a growing community of users, developers, fashion designers, influencers and fashion enthusiasts, it’s a great showcase for catching the latest creations and where the public can check out the latest trends in virtual fashion that push the boundaries of traditional fashion. It is also an opportunity to connect with others in the virtual reality community.

How to get to MVFW23 

Mark your calendar March 28-31 and here’s your “ticket” to MVFW23 https://mvfw.org/

Decentraland’s Metaverse Fashion Week23 will feature over 60+ participating brands, artists, and designers from around the world and promises unique and immersive experiences that not only showcase the latest trends and designs in virtual fashion, but a place where attendees can expect a wide range of activities, including fashion shows, pop-up shops, networking opportunities and much, much more. #MVFW23

Metaverse Fashion Week 2023 (MVFW) to highlight advances in digital fashion & interoperability. (Photo Credit: FashionUnited)

In an interview with WWD, Giovanna Casimiro, the Metaverse producer for Decentraland in charge of its fashion week, “One of the core values from the first edition was trying to unite designers and expand the aesthetics and the possibilities for brands. So after the first edition, we decided to go across metaverses,” she explained. “When we talk about extending the interoperability, it’s really starting to collaborate with other universes and metaverses to create an agenda [that’s] cross-platform.”

Interoperability also extends to NFTs, which is a major change for wearables compared to last year’s event. During Metaverse Fashion Week 2022, brands couldn’t link their external NFTs to their virtual clothes inside Decentraland, but its developers worked on this feature and in September, Dolce & Gabbana — a previous and returning MVFW brand — notably highlighted it by linking its Disco Drip NFTs to Decentraland wearables, allowing owners to wear them to their next virtual party.

Dolce & Gabbana goes all out disco in Decentraland. (Photo Credit: Dolce & Gabbana)

How Virtual Clothes Become IRL Options 

According to WWD, linking virtual fashion NFTs to physical product could simplify how brands offer avatar-ready digital twins of their real-world fashion. Some of those efforts may be destined for Boson Protocol, a marketplace for so-called “phygital” goods, which is another previous and returning MVFW participant this year.

“There is one particular case of Rubin Singer,” said Casamiro in her WWD interview, referring to the couture designer and his “Phygicode Dress” project. “He’s creating a digital piece in collaboration with Asian designers this year. So he’s creating a digital twin of a physical garment for [this event] especially, but I think different brands will be trying to bring that angle this year.”

Another connection can be made during Decentraland’s Metaverse Fashion Week 2023. The Vueltta artists collective plans to honor the late designer Vivienne Westwood with a tribute to the “punk queen of fashion”. Part memorial, part gaming experience, the installation was created with the goal of encouraging people to learn more about the designer’s life and work, according to Bay Backner, Vueltta’s cofounder.

One of Vueltta’s illustrations for Vivienne Westwood that will be featured in its tribute installation. (Photo Credit: imagenone)

“We structured this installation around a concept called ‘Dear Vivienne,’ which is a letter from us as artists to her, thanking her for her iconic style and activism,” Backner told WWD. There are different aspects, but they all work together.

Decentraland will also open a brand-new ‘fashion plaza’ during MVFW23 and it will be dedicated to emerging designers. The goal is to highlight and encourage collaborations between established brands and new talent, tying it directly to the MVFW23 theme, “Future Heritage”.

According to Casamiro, “it’s a way to bring a more critical discussion on the future of fashion” and to connect the dots between innovation, legacy and tradition. The Plaza’s featured brands point to this too, with emerging names like Gaian and Alo at one end, and Coach on the other, marking the luxury handbag company’s first direct showing at MVFW.

Coach’s first outing at MVFW will feature its signature Tabby bag. (Photo Credit: Photonone)

Here’s what else you can expect at Decentraland’s MVFW23:

CUTTING -EDGE VIRTUAL FASHON

One of the most exciting aspects of Decentraland’s Metaverse Fashion Week 2023 is the cutting-edge fashion that will be showcased, since virtual fashion has many advantages over phygital fashion. Virtual fashion designers can create designs that are impossible in the physical world (for example: the need for zippers, closures and fit & wearability issues), allowing them to explore new concepts and to push the boundaries of traditional fashion. And, of course, virtual fashion is sustainable vs. traditional fashion, as it doesn’t require the use of physical materials.

Virtual fashion also offers a new level of customization and personalization. Virtual avatars can be customized to reflect the unique style and preferences of each individual user. Virtual fashion designers can create designs that are tailored to specific avatars, allowing users to express their individuality and to stand out in the virtual world.

INTERACTIVE FASHION SHOWS

Fashion shows are a staple of the fashion industry and Decentraland’s Metaverse Fashion Week is no exception. The fashion shows at the event will be fully immersive and interactive, allowing attendees to experience the designs in a way that is not possible in the physical world.

Virtual fashion shows offer many advantages over traditional fashion shows. Virtual fashion shows can be more immersive and interactive, allowing attendees to explore the designs in a way that is not possible in the physical world. Virtual fashion shows can also be more accessible, as they do not require attendees to travel to a physical location.

The fashion shows at Decentraland’s Metaverse Fashion Week 2023 promise to be a unique and enveloping experience, showcasing the latest trends and designs in virtual fashion. Attendees can expect to see virtual models showcasing the latest designs, and they can interact with the designs in various ways, such as changing the colors or textures of the clothes.

In addition to the traditional runway shows, there may also be virtual reality experiences that attendees can participate in, for example, attendees may be able to virtually explore a fashion exhibit or watch a 360-degree video showcasing the latest designs.

CELEBRITY GUESTS

Just like any major fashion event, Metaverse Fashion Week 2023 is likely to attract a wide range of celebrity guests. From fashion designers to models and influencers, the event promises to be a star-studded affair.

Influencers, celebrities, and designers can use virtual events like Metaverse Fashion Week to showcase their brands and reach a wider audience. The event offers an opportunity for these individuals to connect with their fans and showcase their latest virtual fashion designs.

VIRTUAL POP-UP SHOPS

Metaverse Fashion Week 2023 will also feature virtual pop-up shops where attendees can purchase the latest virtual fashion items and accessories for their avatars. The pop-up shops will allow attendees to experience the latest virtual fashion designs up close and personal.

Virtual pop-up shops are not just a novelty; they are a real industry that is gaining traction in the fashion world. Virtual fashion items like clothing, accessories, and footwear can be bought and sold in the virtual world just like in the physical world.

Virtual pop-up shops offer a unique shopping experience that cannot be replicated in the physical world. Attendees can explore the virtual shops, browse the latest virtual fashion items, and purchase items for their virtual avatars. Some brands will be linking the designs to physical brand options and vice versa.

NETWORKING OPPORTUNITIES

Metaverse Fashion Week 2023 offers an excellent opportunity for designers, influencers, and fashion industry professionals to network and connect with each other. Virtual events like this offer a unique opportunity to connect with people from all over the world in a virtual setting. If you are an existing or aspiring virtual fashion designer, then this is your chance to get connected.

Networking is essential for anyone looking to make a name for themselves in the fashion industry. The event offers an opportunity to connect with other designers, influencers, and industry professionals, which can lead to collaborations, partnerships, and new business opportunities.

A GLOBAL AUDIENCE

MVFW23 will be accessible to anyone with an internet connection, making it a truly global event that can be enjoyed by fashion enthusiasts from all over the world.

A look at the arena at Decentraland, one of several venues lined up for MVFW. (Photo Credit: WWD)

Overall, Decentraland’s Metaverse Fashion Week 2023 promises to be an exciting event with plenty of brands returning in the luxury district, perhaps even scouting out talent in the fashion plaza or setting up shop in one of the countless other zones — from DressX and The Fabricant, to DKNY, Perry Ellis and Tommy Hilfiger, to Dolce & Gabbana and Dundas, and more. MVFW23 continues to attract new participants such as Coach and Adidas. Although MVFW enjoyed lots of hype and buzz last year, Decentraland is hoping that the 2023 event will top last year’s numbers of 108,000 unique attendees.

The experiences between zones, groups, organizations and companies will vary, as some tiptoe into the Metaverse, while others dive in, but one thing is for sure, this interactive experience may be the tip of the iceberg and the future of the fashion industry.

So, tell us, will you be participating in Metaverse Fashion Week 2023?

 

 

 

VIRAL MOMENTS AT PARIS FASHION WEEK FALL 2023

- - Fashion Shows

Nicolas Ghesquière presents the women’s Louis Vuitton Fall 2023 Collection inspired by French style. (Photo Credit: Rain Magazine)

Au Revoir! Paris Fashion Week wrapped up this week but not before the controversy over whether designers saw fashion shows as an opportunity to stage theatrical spectacles, while others chose to focus on craftsmanship and the clothing itself. In a recent UoF social media post, we asked our followers what they thought and it came as no surprise that all but one commented that the art & craft wins over hype. With over 500 UoF lessons on ‘how-to’ create fashion, our social media followers and subscribers have a mature respect for how clothes are created and the skill, technique and talent involved in doing so, which is why ‘we’ (the collective we) loved to see Balenciaga and Saint Laurent strip back the theatrics to focus on craftsmanship. Not that we don’t love a bit of whimsy, techno fashion and sustainability thrown in, but for us purists, we like to know that someone cares about the craft.

Paris Fashion Week Fall 2023 was the longest running Fashion Week out of all the cities. The 8-day extravaganza (shows began on Monday, February 27th to Tuesday, March 7) was yet another fashion viral sensation with everyone’s social media feeds blowing up.

A look from Comme des Garçons’ Fall 2023 Collection. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

Before we dive into Paris’ most viral moments, let’s take a look back at Paris Fashion Week, one of the most important events in the fashion industry. And, of all the global fashion weeks, has the longest and richest history that spans over a century:

  • The first Paris Fashion Week took place in 1910 and was organized by the Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture Parisienne, the governing body for the French fashion industry. At that time the event was known as the “Fashion Show” and held in the salons of the Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré.
  • The event grew in popularity over the years and in the 1950s it became known as the “Paris Collections.” During this time, it was the only fashion event in the world that featured the latest collections of the most prestigious fashion houses.
  • In the 1970s, the event underwent a major transformation when ready-to-wear collections were added to the lineup. This brought a new audience to the event and helped to democratize fashion.
  • Since then, Paris Fashion Week has continued to evolve and adapt to changing times. It now showcases both haute couture and ready-to-wear collections, and has expanded to include menswear and accessories. The event is now held twice a year and it attracts thousands of visitors from around the world.
  • In February 2020, when the pandemic hit, Chinese buyers and journalists were unable to attend due to travel restrictions. However, the event continued as planned, however, later that year fashion brands got creative. Some presented their collections digitally, through films or lookbooks, held shows without audiences or to a limited audience and some shows were held outdoors.
  • Because the French and the fashion show are synonymous, it didn’t take long before live Paris shows were back. In 2022, Louis Vuitton, Chanel, Dior, Saint Laurent, Balenciaga, Off-White, Stella McCartney, Miu Miu, Chloe, Givenchy, Valentino, Balmain, Vivienne Westwood and The Row were among the 45 houses set to host in-person runway shows.

Looks from Loewe’s Fall 2023 Collection. (Photo Credit: L’Officiel)

Today, Paris Fashion Week is back to pre-pandemic levels with a full-on schedule, packed venues, and street style stars peacocking throughout the streets of Paris. Paris Fashion Week is considered one of the most important events in the fashion industry and it continues to set the standard for creativity and innovation in design. Yes, fashion is all about being noticed, we get it, and and stand-out moments in a designer’s shows gets them lots of social media buzz. But, hey designers, remember those of us who value craftsmanship and who actually buy and wear your clothes. It’s what keeps you in business!

VIRAL MOMENTS DURING PARIS FASHION WEEK

A look from Dior’s Fall 2023 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue)

For the past few seasons, Maria Grazia Chiuri looked to various forms of art for inspiration. In her Fall 2023 Dior Collection, Chiuri enlisted Portuguese artist Joana Vasconcelos to create a larger-than-life fabric installation that served as a contrasting backdrop to her sober collection.

A look from Chanel’s Fall 2023 Collection. (Photo Credit: Chanel)

The camellia is the signature flower at Chanel, and this season, creative director Virginie Viard focused on the flower literally, in prints, embroideries and as a massive sculpture at the start of the runway.

Looks from Andreas Kronthaler for Vivienne Westwood’s Fall 2023 Collection. (Photo Credit: Re-Edition)

Andreas Kronthaler for Vivienne Westwood’s Fall 2023 collection was a tribute to the great Dame. Westwood’s widower and collaborator, Kronthaler, paid tribute to the late designer by recreating some of Westwood’s signature looks: Crinoline skirts, corsets, towering platforms, buckles, chokers, vintage fabrics, and plenty of plaids. The result, a beautiful love letter to the woman who shook up the fashion world.

Looks from Anrealage’s Fall 2023 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue)

Imagine having a dress that can change colors. Using a moving UV light, Anrealage’s Fall 2023 collection transformed from basic to breathtaking, revealing vibrant colors and patterns hidden under plain white looks.

Looks from Acne Studio’s Fall 2023 Collection. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

Acne Studios transported its runway into a fantastical forest, as the brands creative director Jonny Johansson showcased form-fitting dresses with crocheted flowers sprouting from the fabric and a patchwork of leaf cutouts. “I’ve always enjoyed the contrast between urban life and nature, the idea that an infinite forest is just around the corner,” explained Johansson on Instagram.

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

Balenciaga’s Fall 2023 show was Demna Gvasalia’s return to the runway after the fallout that followed a series of controversial campaigns involving children. Gvasalia revealed that the new direction of Balenciaga isn’t one that will rely on shock and spectacle, but rather one that goes back to Balenciaga’s roots – craftsmanship above everything else.

A look from Stella McCartney’s Fall 2023 Collection. (Photo Credit: The Impression)

Stella McCartney took fashion insiders to the rodeo. The designer has been at the forefront of vegan alternatives to animal materials, and so it was in a Paris horse stable that Stella made her latest political statement about the place of animals in the fashion industry.

Looks from Miu Miu’s Fall 2023 Collection. (Photo Credit: Harper’s Bazaar)

No pants required at Miu Miu. Miuccia Prada sent out jeweled encrusted briefs that stole the show. Start getting those legs in shape everyone!

Looks from Nina Ricci’s Fall 2023 Collection. (Photo Credit: Nina Ricci)

Twenty-six year old Harris Reed debuted his highly anticipated Nina Ricci collection to rave reviews. The collection was dramatic and included oversized hats, bows and silhouettes in an assortment that was clearly made for the Red Carpet.

A look from Saint Laurent’s Fall 2023 Collection. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

Speaking of oversized, working 9-5 never looked so chic as Saint Laurent’s creative director ,Anthony Vaccarello, looked to the Eighties for inspiration through the viewpoint of the glitzy, dolled-up corporate women of the decade. Think Sigourney Weaver and Melanie Griffith in Working Girl.

But the real pièce de résistance came with Vaccarello’s ability deliver a playful element to this otherwise serious collection.

A look from Coperni’s Fall 2023 Collection. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

Always pushing the boundaries between fashion as art and fashion as performance art (who can forget when Coperni employed technicians to spray a fabric dress onto Bella Hadid for its spring 2023 back in September 2022?). This season designers Sébastien Meyer and Arnaud Vaillant explored the relationship between fashion and technology through a theatrical show involving Spot robots from the American company Boston Dynamics.

So tell us, do you think designers should focus on great clothes and leave all the gimmicks behind?

 

VIRAL MOMENTS AT MILAN FASHION WEEK FALL 2023

- - Fashion Shows

Looks from Fendi’s Fall 2023 Collection. (Photo Credit: Shutterstock)

Ciao Bella! Milan Fashion Week wrapped up after an exciting world-wind of beautifully crafted creations. The 6-day extravaganza (shows began on Tuesday, Feb 21st and ended on Monday, Feb 27th) was another fashion viral sensation that took over everyone’s social media feeds. But before we dive into Milan’s most viral moments, let’s take a look back in time of how it all began:

  • Milan Fashion Week, also known as Settimana della Moda, is one of the most important fashion events in the world. It is held twice a year in Milan, Italy, and showcases the latest collections from some of the most famous fashion designers in the world.
  • The history of Milan Fashion Week dates back to 1958, when the first Italian fashion show was held in the historic Palazzo Pitti in Florence. The show was organized by Giovanni Battista Giorgini, an Italian entrepreneur who wanted to promote Italian fashion on an international scale.
  • In 1979, the Italian Fashion Chamber (Camera Nazionale della Moda Italiana) was founded, to coordinate and promote the country’s fashion industry. Milan was chosen as the location for the new organization’s headquarters and the city quickly became the center of Italian fashion.
  • The first official Milan Fashion Week was held in 1985, and has since become one of the most important events on the global fashion calendar. Milan Fashion Week showcases the latest trends in clothing, footwear, and accessories from top Italian designers, such as Versace, Gucci, Prada, and Armani.
  • Over the years, Milan Fashion Week has grown in size and scope, attracting fashion editors, buyers, and celebrities from all over the world. The event is now a major economic driver for the city of Milan, generating millions of euros in revenue each year.
  • Milan Fashion Week has also played an important role in promoting Italian fashion and design. The event has helped to establish Italy as a global fashion hub and has contributed to the country’s reputation for quality craftsmanship and innovation.
  • In February of 2020 Milan Fashion Week took place before the pandemic hit Europe, but the February 2021 edition was entirely digital due to the ongoing health crisis. The COVID-19 pandemic had a significant impact on Milan Fashion Week, as it did on the fashion industry as a whole.

Backstage at Jil Sander’s Fall 2023 Show. (Photo Credit: Acielle/StyleDuMonde)

Despite the challenges posed by the pandemic, Milan Fashion Week continued to be a platform for showcasing the latest trends in fashion and design. The resilience and creativity of the fashion industry was on display as designers adapted to the new reality and found innovative ways to connect with their audience.

Backstage at Moschino’s Fall 2023 Show. (Photo Credit: Acielle/ StyleDuMonde)

Today, Milan Fashion Week is back in full force and to quote the 1991 Queen song…The Show Must Go On!

MILAN FASHION WEEK 2023 MAKES A SPLASH

A look from Gucci’s Fall 2023 Collection. (Photo Credit: Complex)

Gucci’s Fall 2023 collection was entrusted to their in-house studio team and they did not disappoint. The team sent out looks inspired by several chapters of the brand’s history, with plenty of sexy Tom Ford-isms and a few of charming Alessandro Michele’s codes mixed in. The team also dug through the archives and re-created Tom Ford’s 2003 horsebit handbags, however this season the bag got an oversized update in bold colors.

Looks from Prada’s Fall 2023 Collection. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

A look from Prada’s Fall 2023 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue)

Inspired by acts of kindness, Miuccia Prada and Raf Simons showed their softer side for their Fall 2023 Prada collection. Paying homage to nurses’ uniforms, the duo featured white skirts in duchesse, organza, satin, and velour, with wedding-inspired floral embellishments as part of every-day outfits. A passementerie bonanza!

Looks from Bottega Venetta’s Fall 2023 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue)

This is Matthieu Blazy’s third outing for Bottega Veneta, proving he makes deeply desirable clothes that are sophisticated, chic, and yet oh so playful. For Fall 2023, Blazy looked to the streets for inspiration and the results were stellar.

A look from Avavav’s Fall 2023 Collection. (Photo Credit: Avavav)

Beate Karlsson, the designer behind the label Avavav, used her fashion show as a commentary on fashion and its relationship with wealth, fakeness and failure. For her sophomore Milan runway presentation, the designer had the clothes literally tearing and coming apart from the model’s body. A study of fashion’s seriousness and ideas around bad quality and shame.

A look from Sunnei’s Fall 2023 Collection. (Photo Credit: Sunnei)

Who doesn’t love a good fashion stunt. This season Loris Messina and Simone Rizzo, the design duo behind the label Sunnei, had their models walk on elevated platform runway, turn their back and drop into the audience as they crowd-surfed, concert style. Talk about audience participation!

A look from GCDS’ Fall 2023 Collection. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

Accessories were all the rage at CGDS’s show, as Guiliano Calza showed metallic chrome boots, bags with telephone-shaped handles, and cat-shaped crystal balls.“The collection relies on the face-off of the sweet and the darkly seductive, with accessories blowing the claws of domestic felines to human proportions, turning them into sensual weapons,” the show notes said of the shows. Meow!

Diesel’s Fall 2023 Runway. (Photo Credit: Diesel)

Sex sells. And no one knows that better than Diesel’s Glenn Martens as the designer’s runway set featured a giant pile of boxed condoms in the middle of the space — 200,000 Durex condoms to be exact. Even some of the Diesel’s looks also featured the Durex logos. Talks about product placement!

Backstage at Tomo Koizumi’s Fall 2023 Show. (Photo Credit: WWD)

Japanese wunderkind Tomo Koizumi made his Milan Fashion Week debut this season. Known for his exaggerated tulle confections, the designer showed off his knack for manipulating tulle into colorful, couture gowns. Koizumi is the latest emerging designer to show at Milan thanks to Dolce & Gabbana’s program.

Kim Kardashian at Dolce & Gabanna’s Fall 2023 Show. (Photo Credit: Red Carpet Fashion Awards)

Speaking of Dolce & Gabbana, Kim Kardashian rocked the label’s sexy looks throughout Milan. This season, Kim became the latest spokesperson and model for the Italian luxury house.

Ferragamo’s golden shoe on the Fall 2023 Runway. (Photo Credit: Vogue)

For his second collection for Ferragamo, Maximilian Davis looked to the 1950s for inspiration. “It’s how Ferragamo started, making shoes for films in the 1930s, and that grew into building relationships with movie stars like Sophia Loren and Marilyn Monroe in the 1950s,” he explained to Vogue. But the archival style he brought back had a more obscure provenance; it was originally created for a private Australian customer in 1956 and was actually gilded in 18 carat gold. On the runway Davis recreated the shoe with his signature angled heel—and wearable materials.

Looks from Roberto Cavalli’s Fall 2023 Collection. (Photo Credit: WWD)

Fausto Puglisi, the designer behind Roberto Cavalli’s Fall 2023 collection, created a patchwork hippie denim collection that was a denim lover’s dream.

Do you have a fav Milan Fashion Week moment?

VIRAL MOMENTS AT LONDON FASHION WEEK FALL 2023

- - Fashion Shows

Looks from Nensi Dojaka’s Fall 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Acielle StyleDuMonde)

It’s a wrap. London Fashion Week had one of its strongest seasons in years. In pure British style, the 5-day world-wind (Feb 17 – 21) combined a funeral, an awards show, the ‘coming out’ of Kate and William, designer debuts and some really great fashion shows. Held twice a year, London Fashion Week (LFW) is one of the most prestigious events in the fashion industry, showcasing the latest creations of some of the world’s most talented designers. LFW has been a major part of the global fashion calendar for over three decades and this year it became a British lollapalooza!

But first some history: London Fashion Week was first established in 1984, organized by the British Fashion Council (BFC) as a response to the dominance of Paris and Milan in the fashion world. The event was initially held in a West London car park, and featured just a handful of British designers, such as Jasper Conran and Betty Jackson. Over the years, London Fashion Week grew in popularity and stature, attracting a wider range of designers and international attention. In the late 1990s and early 2000s, it became a platform for emerging talent, with designers like Alexander McQueen and Stella McCartney making their debuts. In 2009, London Fashion Week was merged with the London Fashion Weekender, a consumer-focused event that allowed members of the public to see fashion shows and buy clothes directly from designers. This move aimed to make fashion more accessible and inclusive to a wider audience.

In recent years, London Fashion Week has continued to evolve and innovate. It has embraced new technologies, such as live-streaming and social media, to reach a global audience (which was extremely useful during COVID-19 lockdowns). It has also become a major platform for sustainable and ethical fashion, with many designers using environmentally-friendly materials and production processes.

Looks from Erdem’s Fall 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Acielle StyleDuMonde)

LFW now attracts thousands of visitors from around the world, including industry professionals, journalists, celebrities, and fashion enthusiasts. It remains an important event in the global fashion calendar, showcasing the creativity and diversity of British fashion.

A FUNERAL

Left To Right: Kate Moss, Helen Bonham Carter, Victoria Beckham, and Will Young all attended the late Vivienne Westwood’s memorial service. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)London Fashion Week kicked off in a somber mood as prominent guests in the fashion world gathered to pay their final respects at the funeral of the late Dame Vivienne Westwood which took place on Thursday 16 February at Southwark Cathedral in London. The funeral was a star-studded event where actress Helena Bonham Carter delivered the eulogy and Chrissie Hynde performed. The Cathedral was packed with Westwood’s family and friends as well as plenty of fashion industry guests included Marc Jacobs, Kate Moss, Tracey Emin, Victoria Beckham, Paul Smith, Zandra Rhodes, Bella Freud, Stephen Jones, Matty Bovan, and Ellen von Unwerth. Many guests paid tribute to the late Westwood as they followed one of Westwood’s many mottos, “When in doubt, dress up!” And dressed up they were, as they streamed into the Gothic cathedral in their finery to pay their final respects to the pioneering designer and activist, who died Dec. 29 at age 81.

AN AWARDS SHOW & A ROYAL PDA MOMENT 

Kate Middleton’s cheeky gesture to Prince William as they walk the BAFTAs red carpet. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

The Prince and Princess of Wales had a rare PDA Moment (public display of affection) at the BAFTAs (British Academy of Film & Television Award), which took place on Sunday, February 19th. The royals made sure to hold hands while walking down the red carpet and at one point the Princess playfully tapped William’s lower back as the paparazzi went wild. Princess Kate, who is a master at high-low dressing, looked stunning in a reworked Grecian Alexander McQueen gown (which she first debuted at the 2019 BAFTAs), paired with black gloves, and a pair of Zara earrings.

DESIGNER DEBUTS & HIGH BROW FASHION SHOWS 

A look from Burberry’s Fall 2023 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue)

Daniel Lee debuted his Burberry collection by sailing into uncharted territory with more terrific color (case in point, cobalt blue) and faux fur than the heritage brand has seen in its 167-year history. Lee’s new vision for the iconic British house came laced with an appropriately cheeky duck motif. “The ducks I just found very British,” he explained backstage after the show to Vogue Magazine. “It made me think of the outdoors, and Burberry is an outdoors brand. It reminded me of rain, and protection.” After all, raincoats are in the brand’s DNA.

Looks from S.S.Daley’s Fall 2022 Collection, Right, Sir Ian McKellen. (Photo Credit: Vogue)

S.S. Daley’s collection for Steven Stokey-Daley was pure theatre. For Daley’s menswear show, he enlisted British actor Sir Ian McKellen (Shakespeare, popular fantasy and science fiction), who opened the show reading a poem by Alfred, Lord Tennyson (of Ulysses and The Charge of the Light Brigade fame), a wildly unexpected surprise. AND OH SO HIGH-BROW!

A look from Simone Rocha’s Fall 2023 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue)

Inspired by Lughnasadh, an Irish harvest festival with pagan origins, designer Simone Rocha turned her presentation into a ritual. The designer created beautiful lace gowns and crinolines that were stuffed with raffia.

A look from Dilara Findikoglu’s Fall 2023 Collection. (Photo Credit: GoRunway)

Turkish designer Dilara Findikoglu staged a fashion show entitled “Not a Man’s Territory,” which she stated came together after the arrest and death of Mahsa Amini in Iran late last year. The finale creation was Joan of Arc reincarnated, she told Vogue in an interview, “She’s coming back for revenge, dresses as she wants. And she has her knives.”

Looks from JW Anderson’s Fall 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Acielle StyleDuMonde)

This season Jonathan Anderson was inspired by the Scottish dancer/choreographer Michael Clark. Looking through Clark’s archive, Anderson decided he needed to look through his own archives as well. The result, a collection that brings together costume details from Clark’s performances mixed with details from early JW Anderson collections. Overall, it was a cosmic dancer delight.

Looks from Christopher Kane’s Fall 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Glamsquad)

Christopher Kane sent out a series of slinky jersey dresses, printed with hyperrealistic images of piglets, rats, and chicks – talk about animal magnetism.

Florence Pugh modeling a look from Harris Reed’s Fall 2023 Collection. (Photo Credit: Launchmetrics)

Florence Pugh knows how to make an entrance. So, who better than the bona fide red carpet star herself to open Harris Reed’s theatrical Fall 2023 show? The actress wore a harlequin sequin skirt with a thigh-high slit, a black corset top and a massive halo headpiece. Pugh set the tone for the event with a speech written by Reed about the transformative power of clothes. “In a sometimes judgmental world, our costumes can change who we want to be seen as, and who we are destined to be,” she said. “I invite you to embrace the lamé and sequins of life, because all the world’s a stage.” Reed offered ten beautifully detailed looks dripping in sartorial theatrics.

So tell us, what was your favorite moment from London Fashion Week?

VIRAL MOMENTS AT NEW YORK FASHION WEEK FALL 2023

- - Fashion Shows

Looks from Rodarte’s Fall 2023 Collection. (Photo Credit: Imaxtree)

New York Fashion Week just wrapped and because it’s one of the most important events in the fashion industry (attracting designers, buyers, and fashion lovers worldwide) AND because it has become a viral sensation (blowing up everyone’s cell phone), we thought it would be fun to take a look back in time of how it all began:

  • In 1943, fashion publicist Eleanor Lambert organized “Press Week” to showcase American designers who could not travel to Paris during World War II.
  • The first official “New York Fashion Week” was held in 1945, with shows held in various locations throughout the city.
  • In 1993, the event was centralized in a single location: Bryant Park, located behind the New York Public Library and called “7th on Sixth”.
  • The event grew in popularity throughout the 1990s & 2000s, with designers such as Ralph Lauren, Calvin Klein, and Marc Jacobs becoming household names.
  • In 2010, the event moved to Lincoln Center, where it was held until 2015.
  • In 2011, NY designers began live-streaming shows.
  • In 2013, The Shed at Hudson Yards became a new NYFW venue.
  • In 2016, New York Fashion Week spread throughout various locations around the city, including Skylight at Moynihan Station and Skylight Clarkson Square.
  • In 2020, due to the Covid pandemic, almost all shows were pared down and went virtual, but came back ‘in real life’ September 2021.
  • In 2023, Spring Studios at 50 Varick Street  became the main headquarters with some designers hosting runway shows throughout the city. Some shows were  livestreamed on NYFW.com and the Council of Fashion Designers of America (the agency behind New York Fashion Week), stream events on its Runway 360 hub.

Backstage looks at Coach’s Fall 2023 Show. (Photo Credit: Vogue)

Here are some of the viral moments that took New York Fashion Week 2023 by storm.

Looks from Marc Jacobs’ Fall 2023 Collection. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

New York Fashion Week Fall 2023 officially kicked off on Friday, February 10th and wrapped on Wednesday, February 15, 2023. The show calendar was jam packed to pre-pandemic levels. Always one to beat to his own drum, Marc Jacobs opted to show his grand fall collection on February 3rd before the official start of New York Fashion Week and paid tribute to the great Dame of Punk, Vivienne Westwood, who sadly passed away on December 29, 2022.

NYFW was filled with so many great moments, beautiful clothes – from whimsical to wearable – and, as always, a slew of celebrity sightings.

Rodarte founders Sarah and Laura Mulleavy asked their artist mother to create the fairy drawings that appeared as prints throughout the collection. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

Rodarte returned to the runway and helped kick off the season as sisters, Kate and Laura Mulleavy, presented a collection inspired by gothic fairies. It was an editorial favorite.

Ella Emhoff Really, Really Likes to Knit. (Photo Credit: Vogue)

Ella Emhoff (the stepdaughter of Kamala Harris, Vice President of the United States) held a pop-up presentation to showcase her colorful knitwear, with pieces available for both preorder and purchase.

A look from Thom Browne’s Fall 2023 Collection. (Photo Credit: AP Photo)

Thom Browne made a return to the runway with his Little Prince-inspired collection that was delightfully playful. The CFDA chairman showed on Valentine’s Day and presented his partner Andrew Bolton, who is curator at the Costume Institute of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in Manhattan, a box of chocolate hearts to celebrate the occasion.

A look from Anna Sui’s Fall 2023 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue)

Anna Sui is also back after being on fashion week hiatus since the start of the pandemic. Sui told Vogue in an email, “My choice to do an intimate show in a nightclub was inspired by the Peppermint Lounge, a little restaurant on 45th Street that was converted to the hottest club in the 1960s for dancing. There is an incredible picture of Jane Holzer dancing the twist at the club, and with further research I discovered the Beatles and the Rolling Stones all went there to dance. This inspired a collection of clothes to wear to twist the night away.” The show was a delight.

Chloe Sevigny walks Proenza Shouler’s Fall 2023 Show. (Photo Credit: Fashionista)

Leave it to Jack McCollough and Lazaro Hernandez, the design duo behind the cult favorite brand Proenza Schouler, to have Chloe Sevigny open their show. The duo showcased an intimate collection for the modern woman. Celebrating their 20-year anniversary of the label, the designers returned to what started it all: the women in their lives who inspire them most, and whose wardrobes they want to create. (After all, Proenza Schouler is the combination of their mothers’ maiden names.)

Bulan’s Fall 2023 Collection shown during Men’s Day. (Photo Credit: Bulan)

While most cities have their own Menswear Fashion Week, once upon a time New York did too. This season we had Men’s Day, which took place on Friday, February 10th at Hudson Yards. The event hosted 12 emerging menswear and genderless designers.

Looks from Tory Burch’s Fall 2023 Collection. (Photo Credit: Imaxtree)

Tory Burch presented a stellar collection. The designer told WWD she wanted to play with traditional female tropes and actually deconstructed old girdles to subvert shape-wear conventions.

A look from Christian Siriano’s Fall 2023 Collection. (Photo Credit: Launchmetrics)

Christian Siriano jumped on the ‘no pants required’ trend that fashion ‘It’ girls have been currently rocking.

A banana-inspired look from Area’s Spring 2023 Buy Now Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue)

Hungry? Some designers created food-inspired looks. Puppets and Puppets showed egg nipple coverings, while Area and Melke presented fruit-inspired novelty pieces.

Comedian Nikki Glaser in Cynthia Rowley. (Photo Credit: Cynthia Rowley)

Cynthia Rowley sure likes to have fun with fashion. For her fall collection she hosted an all-female stand-up show. Comedians Nikki Glaser, Rachel Feinstein, Ego Nwodim and more took to the makeshift stage in vibrant hues, fun flares and feathers. “I see fashion and comedy serving women in the same way,” said Rowley in a press release. “If you can be funny, you can feel confident. If you love what you’re wearing you feel confident. And if you can have both, even better.”

A look from Michael Kors’ Fall 2023 Show. (Photo Credit: Vogue)

Pile on the accessories was the motif at Michael Kors, as the designer sent out big belts, statement geode necklaces, wraparound sunglasses, fringe and fur shawls and more, in monochromatic looks.

Looks from Collina Strada’s Fall 2023 Collection. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

Hillary Taymour called her latest Collina Strada collection “Please Don’t Eat My Friends” as her models strutted down the runway in prosthetic animal faces.

There were many viral moments during New York Fashion week, so tell us, what was your favorite moment?

8 EXCITING FASHION EXHIBITS TO CHECK OUT IN 2023

Thierry Mugler: Couturissime (Photo Credit: Hypebeast)

Beat the winter blues by immersing yourself in real-life fashion experiences this season as museums around the world are offering plenty of brilliant fashion exhibitions. After all, nothing beats seeing the magic of intricate embroidery, statement-making designs, or avant-garde  silhouettes up-close-and-personal. Louise Wallenberg, the author of Art, Life and the Fashion Museum, perfectly stated, “Costume can tell us more than any other type of museum collection about how people looked, felt, and lived at any particular time. A garment can be regarded as the remaining outer shell of a living person and will reflect that person’s taste, position or way of life.”

Fashion exhibits give us a glimpse of history through garments, as well as a desire to escape into a whimsical fantasy that beautiful clothing can conjure up. Over the last decade, museums and fashion houses have created more fashion exhibits then ever before. In 2019, Christian Dior: Designer of Dreams opened at London’s V&A and broke the museum’s attendance records, attracting over 700,000 people across its seven-month tenure (great news: the exhibit is currently showing in Tokyo). Today, at V&A in London, the Africa Fashion exhibition (until April 16, 2023) has proven to be so popular that the museum is looking to hold on to over 70 pieces for its permanent collection. Meanwhile, in 2018, the Heavenly Bodies exhibit at the New York Met, blew past attendance rates out of the water.

Sure, it takes years of work by curators, historians, and creatives, but viewing a curated fashion exhibit can be an eye-opening experience for fashion lovers with people coming from all over the world to see a well curated exhibit. From original sketches to the final result, coming face to face with a designers perfectly lit and positioned creative process is mesmerizing –it’s so rare to have access to these treasures in an industry forever thriving off its exclusivity.

If you’re looking for a list of museums that offer fashion exhibitions, check out UoF’s FREE list located under the Resources tab on our Home Page.

If you’re looking to get educated on the all things fashion industry related, check out the Historical Dictionary of the Fashion Industry Second Edition, co-written by our founder, Francesca Sterlacci.

So, as you make your plans for the year, here’s a list of the shows you should be adding to your calendar:

Alexander McQueen: Mind, Mythos, Muse

Alexander McQueen: Mind, Mythos, Muse at the National Gallery of Victoria (NGV) International in Melbourne, Australia until April 16, 2023 (Photo Credit: LVH)

Alexander McQueen is one of the most original fashion designers in recent history. Celebrated for his conceptual and technical virtuosity, McQueen’s critically acclaimed collections synthesized his proficiency in tailoring and dressmaking with visual references that spanned time, geography, and media.

Showcasing more than 120 garments and accessories, Alexander McQueen: Mind, Mythos, Muse offers insight into McQueen’s far-reaching sources of inspiration, his creative processes and capacity for storytelling. Displayed alongside McQueen’s innovative designs are more than eighty artworks – spanning painting, sculpture, textiles, prints, photography and decorative arts – that help to illuminate the interdisciplinary impulse that defined his career. Drawn from the collections of the National Gallery of Victoria and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art – the exhibition reveals common themes and visual reference points that connect his practice with that of artists and designers throughout history. McQueen’s designs were always personal and complex responses to the world around him: he once stated, “fashion is just the medium’”. McQueen’s interests were broad and his inspirations both encyclopedic and autobiographical: he was an avid reader of books on subjects that included, art, design, literature and history. His love of fashion was evident from a young age, and was equally influenced by popular culture as by visits to museums. Throughout his career, McQueen distilled a multitude of ideas and experiences, bringing together seemingly disparate references to create collections that pushed far beyond the bounds of conventional fashion design.

Thierry Mugler: Couturissime

Thierry Mugler: Couturissime at the Brooklyn Museum, Brooklyn, New York until May 7, 2023 (Photo Credit: The New York Times)

Thierry Mugler: Couturissime is a travelling retrospective that explores the edgy universe of the visionary French designer who created bold silhouettes using unorthodox techniques and materials.

In the 1970s, Mugler defined trends with his acclaimed “glamazon,” a chic, modern woman whose style evolved from the hippie fashions of the 1960s. In the ’80s and ’90s, he galvanized the renaissance of haute couture through his provocative collections and theatrical fashion shows, which involved grandiose locations and the era’s most iconic models.

The exhibition includes an expanded section dedicated to fragrance, centered on Mugler’s scent Angel.

Gianni Versace Retrospective

Gianni Versace Retrospective at the Groninger Museum, in Groningen, Netherlands until May 7, 2023 (Video Credit: YouTube Groninger Museum)

In the Gianni Versace Retrospective, the Groninger Museum brings to life the career of the eccentric Italian fashion designer, one of the most influential couturiers in history. The colorful, daring exhibition takes visitors inside a world of extravagant garments and lavish catwalk shows where clothes, pop music and design come together in spectacular fashion.

Along with couture pieces, the Gianni Versace Retrospective includes books, advertising images, and other objects that show the Italian designer’s versatility and his impact on the fashion world.

Christian Dior: Designer of Dreams

Christian Dior Designer of Dreams at the Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo until May 28, 2023 (Photo Credit: Luxferity)

The Christian Dior: Designer of Dreams exhibit takes on a new narrative as a tribute to Japanese culture. The major retrospective spotlights more than seventy-five years of the House of Dior, from the artistic influences of the founding couturier to the various artistic directors who have succeeded him: Yves Saint Laurent, Marc Bohan, Gianfranco Ferré, John Galliano, Raf Simons and Maria Grazia Chiuri.

The exhibition retraces Christian Dior’s fascination with the creative richness of Japan, which inspired his collections from the outset.

Karl Lagerfeld: A Line of Beauty

Karl Lagerfeld: A Line of Beauty at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City, from May 5–July 16, 2023 (Photo Credit: The New York Times)

A major retrospective of the iconic designer, who passed away in 2019, will examine Lagerfeld’s stylistic vocabulary as expressed through his lines and aesthetic themes that appear time and again.

The exhibition will explore Lagerfeld’s complex working methodology, tracing the evolution of his fashions from the two dimensional to the three dimensional, said Curator Andrew Bolton, “The fluid lines of his sketches found expression in recurring aesthetic themes in his fashions, uniting his designs for Balmain, Patou, Chloé, Fendi, Chanel, and his eponymous label, Karl Lagerfeld, creating a diverse and prolific body of work unparalleled in the history of fashion.”

Andy Warhol: The Textiles

Andy Warhol: The Textiles at The Fashion & Textile Museum, London, until September 10, 2023 (Photo Credit: Texintel)

This exhibit explores the beautiful and fascinating textile designs by the influential pop artist and icon Andy Warhol and his unknown and virtually unrecorded world of textile designs. Dating from his early career as a commercial designer and illustrator in the 1950s and early 1960s, Warhol’s textiles are now considered an important part of his body of work.

The exhibition includes over 45 of Warhol’s textile patterns from the 1950s and early 1960s, depicting an array of colorful objects – ice cream sundaes, delicious toffee apples, colorful buttons, cut lemons, pretzels and jumping clowns exhibited both as fabric lengths, some in multiple colorways, and as garments. Some of the most important manufacturers in American textile history are also represented, such as Stehli Silks, Fuller Fabrics Inc., and M Lowenstein and Sons.

Gabrielle Chanel. Fashion Manifesto

Gabrielle Chanel. Fashion Manifesto at V&A Museum, London, September 16, 2023  to February 25, 2024 (Photo Credit: Another Magazine)

 

Gabrielle Chanel. Fashion Manifesto exhibition will chart the evolution of Coco Chanel’s iconic design style and the establishment of the House of CHANEL, from the opening of her first millinery boutique in Paris in 1910, to the showing of her final collection in 1971.

At a time when Paul Poiret dominated the world of women’s fashion, in 1912 Chanel went to Deauville then to Biarritz and Paris, and subsequently revolutionized the world of Haute Couture, adorning the bodies of her contemporaries with what amounted to a fashion manifesto. The first part of the exhibition is chronological; it recounts her early beginnings with a few emblematic pieces, including the famous 1916 marinière, the sailor blouse, in jersey. The second part of the exhibition is themed around her dress codes: the braided tweed suit, two-tone pumps, the 2.55 quilted bag, black and beige naturally, but also red, white and gold… and, of course, the costume and the fine jewelry that were intrinsic to the Chanel look.

IRIS VAN HERPEN

Iris van Herpen at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs, Paris, from November 29, 2023 – April 28, 2024 (Photo Credit: Musée des Arts Décoratifs)

Organized as an immersive and sensory exploration into the designer’s universe, this retrospective will merge fashion, contemporary art, design and science, and revolve around eight themes that identify the very essence of one of the most avant-garde creators of her generation.

Founded in 2007, and now a member of the Fédération de la Haute Couture, the Maison of Iris van Herpen is known for fusing technology and traditional couture craftsmanship. Her work contemplates fashion as an interdisciplinary language and dynamic entity, which often results in various collaborations with other creatives and thinkers, such as sculptor Anthony Howe, architect Philip Beesley or even more recently with the artist Casey Curran.

 

So, if you are a designer, or among the ‘fashion curious’ crowd, these fashion exhibitions are activities that you should be adding to your calendar. Who doesn’t need a little design inspiration once in a while.

So tell us, what fashion exhibits are you excited to see this year?

BLACK HISTORY MONTH: CELEBRATING BLACK DESIGNERS THROUGH THE YEARS

A dress by Patrick Kelly Fall 1986 Collection. (Photo Credit: The Museum at FIT)

This week’s blog is dedicated to the vast contributions of Africa, Africans and people of African descent to world civilization and in celebration of Black History Month. Many of our UoF readers know how much we love history, so before we honor some of the Black fashion designers that helped shape our industry, we’d like to take a look back at how Black History Month became a global celebration.

The first recorded celebration of Black history in the United States dates back to February 1926, when historian Carter G. Woodson founded “Negro History Week,” to coincide with the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass, two important figures in Black American history. The week was later expanded to a month-long celebration and was officially recognized as Black History Month by President Gerald Ford during the celebration of the U.S. Bicentennial in 1976, to bring attention to the contributions of Black Americans and to promote a greater understanding of Black history and culture.

Canada also celebrates Black History Month in February (since 1995) and Belgium celebrates in March (since 2017). In Europe, October is Black History Month and has been celebrated in  the U.K. (1987), Germany (1990), Ireland (2010), Netherlands (2010), France (2018) and in Africa (2020).

Black History Month in the U.S. is observed with a theme chosen by the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH). The theme is meant to highlight a specific aspect of Black history, such as the Civil Rights Movement, the contributions of Black women, or the role of Black Americans in the arts. Throughout the month there are a variety of events and activities held to celebrate Black history, including parades, cultural festivals, and lectures. The theme for 2023 is “Black Resistance,” and explores how African-Americans have resisted historic and ongoing oppression, in all forms, especially the racial terrorism of lynching, racial pogroms and police killings, since the nation’s earliest days. As recently as Jan. 7, 2023, Tyre Nichols, a young black man in Memphis was brutally beaten and killed during  a traffic stop by five Black police officers.

In 2020, the killing of George Floyd led to the growth of the Black Lives Matter movement. This movement led to subsequent protests and forced many fashion brands and designers to re-examine their practices and their commitment to promoting diversity and inclusivity within the industry. The Black Lives Matter movement has had a significant impact on the fashion industry and so has the pandemic. In fact, according to a recent article in Axios:

The last couple of years have ushered in a Black entrepreneurship boom. 

  • In 2021, Black-owned businesses were started at the fastest clip in 26 years, The Washington Post reports.
  • The number of Black business owners was 28% higher in the third quarter of 2021 than it was pre-pandemic, per U.S. News and World Report.
  • Other groups are starting more businesses, too. The number of white business owners was 5% higher in 2021’s third quarter than pre-pandemic, and the number of Latino entrepreneurs was 19% higher. But the biggest change is in Black communities.”

What’s happening: Many Black entrepreneurs across the country used federal stimulus checks to start businesses.

  • The top sector where Black owners are creating businesses is health care, Andre Perry of the Brookings Institution tells NPR. Many of the startups are in home health care, contact tracing, or vaccine distribution.

Reality check: Although many Black entrepreneurs are starting businesses, most of these startups are micro-businesses, where the owner is also the sole employee, Perry tells Axios.

  • Black people represent 14% of the U.S. population, but just 2% of owners of employer firms, which are businesses that employ people, he says.
  • “Wealth is the major driver,” Perry says. Employer firms are bigger and require more capital than many Black small business owners have access to due to racial disparities in who gets loans.

But the effect of the stimulus investment in Black communities can be a lesson, he notes. We shouldn’t just say we need to invest in people during a pandemic.”

We’d like to give a shout-out to the CFDA who, in 2020, for the first time in their 60-year history, recognized three Black designers with top awards: Kerby Jean-Raymond for Pyer Moss, Telfar Clemens and  Christopher John Rogers.

BLACK LIVES MATTER’S IMPACT ON THE FASHION INDUSTRY

A few Black supermodels who changed the fashion game. (Photo Credit: Getty Images, Collage Hello Beautiful)

One of the most visible impacts of the Black Lives Matter movement has been the increased representation of Black models on the runway and in fashion campaigns. The movement has also focused on the lack of diversity with regard to designers, photographers and stylists. In response, many fashion brands and organizations have made commitments to promoting greater diversity and inclusivity in their hiring practices.

André Leon Talley (1949-2022), editor-at-large for Vogue magazine, speaking to a reporter at the opening of the 2016  “Black Fashion Designers” exhibit at the Fashion Institute of Technology.  (Photo Credit: AP Photo)

Edward Enniful editor-in-chief of British Vogue and European editorial director of Condé Nast (Image Credit: The New York Times)

Kerry Washington and CFDA Stylist Award winner Law Roach. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

Thanks to the Black Lives Matter movement, there has been an increased focus on supporting Black-owned businesses, including fashion brands and designers. View our lesson by designer Parron Allen and read all about his success story on our blog.

Black-owned brands and designers to know such as, The Brooklyn Circus, Abasi Rosborough, ALLCAPSTUDIO, Albert 1941, Armando Cabral, Blackstock & Weber, Bricks & Wood, Brownstone, Darryl Brown, Denim Tears, Fear of God, G + Co. Apparel, Glenn’s Denim, Golf Wang, Martine Rose, Mifland, Nicholas Daley, Post-Imperial, Public School NYC, Ship John, Southern Gents, Studio 189, Third Crown, Union, and Wales Bonner. (Photo Credit: Gear Patrol)

The movement has also brought attention to the issue of cultural appropriation in the fashion industry. Many designers have been criticized for using elements of Black culture in their designs without giving proper credit or compensation, such as African textiles and handicrafts. In response, many designers have made a commitment to using cultural elements in a more respectful and culturally appropriate way.

In addition, the Black Lives Matter movement has been significant in promoting social justice. Many fashion brands and designers have used their platforms to raise awareness about social justice issues and to promote activism and advocacy. In addition, many brands have made donations to organizations that support Black communities and designers have created collections inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement. UoF has been a supporter of Custom Collaborative and Black Fashion World, offering free access to our lesson library to assist their budding Black designers.

While there is still much work to be done, the Black Lives Matter movement has inspired many in the industry to make positive change and promote greater representation for the Black community.

Michelle Obama often supports young Black designers. At President Joe Biden’s inauguration she wore Sergio Hudson. (Photo Credit: The Cut)

BLACK DESIGNERS WHO’VE MADE A MARK ON THE FASHION INDUSTRY

Beginning with Zelda Barbour Wynn Valdes, considered the first African American fashion and costume designer, as well as the first Black designer to open her own New York City shop in 1948, Black designers have played a significant role in shaping the fashion industry. From creating new styles and techniques, to challenging existing norms and pushing the boundaries of what is considered fashionable, Black designers have made a lasting impact on the world of fashion. Here are a few of our favorites, but of course there are many more.

PATRICK KELLY

Patrick Kelly surrounded by models in his looks. (Photo Credit: Vogue)

Patrick Kelly (1954-1990) was the first Black designer to be admitted to the Chambre Syndicale du Prêt-à-Porter in Paris. Kelly was known for his bold use of color, print, and texture in his designs and for his innovative use of buttons as a decorative element, a technique that is still widely used today.

STEPHEN BURROWS

Stephen Burrows’ collection for Henri Bendel in Central Park in 1970.Credit. (Photo Credit: Charles Tracy)

Stephen Burrows was the first Black designer to receive international recognition for his work. He is known as the originator of color-blocking, the Lettuce Edge, rainbow jersey dresses and was included in the Battle of Versailles 1973 (when five French designers were pitted against against five Americans). Burrows was the first Black designer to win a Coty Award. He dressed Michele Obama in a matte jersey pantsuit in 2009 and, in 2014, created his third Barbie®doll, Nisha. Burrows received the André Leon Talley Lifetime Achievement Award at an exhibition of his work entitled An American Master of Invention at Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD).  

DAPPER DAN

Gucci and Dapper Dan’s Collaboration in 2018. (Photo Credit: Gucci X Dapper Dan)

Dapper Dan was a legendary streetwear designer from Harlem, known for his bold and irreverent designs that fused high fashion with streetwear. He was a pioneer of the “Hip Hop Fashion” movement and continues to inspire designers today.

WILLI SMITH

Willi Smith surrounded by models in his fall 1972 Collection. (Photo Credit: Willi Smith Archives)

Willi Smith was a fashion designer who rose to prominence in the late 1970s and early 1980s. He was best known for his colorful and whimsical sportswear designs, which blended elements of streetwear and high fashion. Smith was one of the first African-American designers to achieve mainstream success and his eponymous fashion label, WilliWear, became popular among both celebrities and everyday consumers. Unfortunately, Smith passed away in 1987 at the age of 39.

BYRON LARS

For famed designer Byron Lars, the Spring 2012 collection was about giving up control! (Photo Credit: Essence)

Byron Lars is an American fashion designer and the creative force behind the Byron Lars Beauty Mark label. He is known for his timeless and sophisticated designs that celebrate the feminine form and his collections often feature structured silhouettes, bold prints, and rich fabrics. Throughout his career, Lars received numerous accolades for his work, including the CFDA Perry Ellis Award for New Talent in 1992 and the DHL Award for Fashion Excellence in 1998. He continues to be an influential figure in the fashion industry and his collections are sold in high-end department stores and boutiques around the world.

VIRGIL ABLOH

In 2017, Virgil Abloh won the British Fashion Award for Urban Luxe Brand for his label Off-White. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

Virgil Abloh was a Ghanaian-American designer, artist, and DJ. He was best known for his work as the artistic director of Louis Vuitton’s menswear collection, as well as for his collaborations with brands such as Nike, IKEA, and Rimowa. Abloh was also the founder and CEO of his own streetwear label, Off-White, which became one of the most influential brands in the industry. He is recognized for his unique creative vision and ability to bridge the gap between streetwear and high fashion. Sadly, the designer passed away on Nov. 28, 2021, of cancer. He was only 41 years old.

OZWALD BOATENG

Ozwald Boateng celebrates Black excellence during London Fall 2022 Fashion Week. (Photo Credit: Vogue)

Ozwald Boateng is a British fashion designer who has been at the forefront of promoting Black designers in the fashion industry. He was the first Black designer to open a flagship store on London’s prestigious Savile Row.

TRACY REESE

Tracy Reese returned to her hometown of Detroit to reimagine her approach to making clothes. (Photo Credit: The New York Times)

In business since 1998, Tracy Reese is a prominent American fashion designer who has been praised for her use of color and for her partnerships with Barney’s, Bergdorf Goodman, Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom and Anthropologie. Throughout her 25 years in the industry, Reese has consistently promoted diversity and inclusivity and is a vocal advocate for greater representation of Black designers.

AURORA JAMES

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, wearing a white custom Brother Vellies gown with the words “tax the rich” at the Met Gala with designer Aurora James. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

Aurora James is a Canadian-born designer and founder of the slow-fashion brand Brother Vellies. She is known for her commitment to ethical and sustainable fashion and for her use of traditional African techniques in her designs. In 2020, in response to George Floyd’s murder, James initiated a public challenge to retailers to make good on their solidarity promise by dedicating 15 percent of their shelf space — roughly the percentage of the population that is Black in the U.S. — to Black-owned businesses. The 15 Percent Pledge resulted in 400 Black-owned brands added to the inventory of retailers in the U.S.

LAQUAN SMITH

LaQuan Smith and a model in one of his recent designs. (Photo Credit: Grazia Magazine)

LaQuan Smith is a rising star in the fashion industry and known for his daring and provocative designs. He has been praised for his innovative use of materials and his commitment to promoting inclusivity in the fashion world.

FE NOEL

Designer Fe Noel with a few of her designs. (Photo Credit: WhoWhatWear)

Fe Noel is a Brooklyn-based, Grenada-bred designer who has been praised for her use of vibrant colors and has been a vocal advocate for certain causes. For her Spring 2023, in a partnership with financial services organization TIAA, she focused on retirement inequality by creating a corset-bodice gown tiered with $1.6 million in (faux, but entirely real-looking) dollar bills – the amount of potential savings lost for women, per a 30 percent retirement income gap.

OLIVER ROUSTEING

Balmain’s Olivier Rousteing is a celebrity favorite. Here he is flanked by Kim Kardashian and Kendall Jenner. (Photo Credit: AP Images)

Oliver Rousteing is a French fashion designer and creative director of heritage brand Balmain. In 2011, he was appointed creative director, making him one of the youngest creative directors in the fashion industry, as well as one of the first Black designers to run a French luxury house. Rousteing is known for his bold, sexy and daring designs that feature a mix of luxurious fabrics, embellishments, and prints. Rousteing has been praised for his ability to merge contemporary and classical elements, creating collections that are both modern and timeless. He has also been recognized for his commitment to promoting diversity and inclusivity in the fashion industry, and for casting a diverse range of models in his fashion shows and campaigns.

TELFAR CLEMENS

Telfar Clemens at home surrounded by his signature handbags, wearing a Telfar track jacket and pants and his own Ugg slippers. (Photo Credit: Harpers Bazaar)

Telfar Clemens is the creative director and the founder of the Telfar Global fashion brand. Born in Liberia and raised in the United States, Clemens began his career in fashion in 2005 and has since become one of the most influential and innovative designers of his generation. Clemens is best known for his unisex and gender-neutral designs that challenge traditional fashion norms and celebrate individuality and diversity. He is also known for his “Bushwick Birkin” bag, which has become a cult favorite among fashion insiders and has been seen on many high-profile celebrities and influencers.

KERBY JEAN-RAYMOND

Kerby Jean-Raymond made history with Pyer Moss Couture Debut during the Fall 2021 Couture shows. (Photo Credit: WWD)

Pyer Moss is a New York-based fashion brand founded in 2013 by designer Kerby Jean-Raymond. The brand is known for its socially-conscious collections that address issues of race, politics, and culture. Jean-Raymond has received recognition for his innovative designs and thought-provoking presentations.

CHRISTOPHER JOHN ROGERS

Chistopher John Rogers (center) was the 2019 winner of the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund. (Photo Credit: CFDA)

Christopher John Rogers is a fashion designer based in New York City and is known for his use of bright colors and bold silhouettes.  The young designer gained recognition for his contributions to the industry through awards such as the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund Award and the Pratt Fashion Visionary Award. His work has been featured in prominent publications such as Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, and The New York Times.

As the world continues to debate critical race theory (CRT) and the events of the last decade, which have increased public awareness about things like housing segregation, criminal justice policies and the legacy of enslavement on Black Americans, Canadians and Europeans, the fashion industry continues to do its part by becoming a more diverse institution.

Do you think the fashion industry is doing enough to support Black fashion labels? Let us know on our social media channels Instagram and Facebook

WHAT’S ALL THE BUZZ BEHIND THIS YEAR’S SPRING 2023 COUTURE SEASON?

- - Fashion Shows

Looks from Viktor & Rolf’s Spring 2023 Couture Collection. (Photo Credit: Victor & Rolf)

I don’t know about you, but my phone hasn’t stop blowing up ever since Paris couture season started Monday, January 23rd. Haute Couture week kicked off with an unrecognizable, red-crystal-covered Doja Cat attending the Schiaparelli in a head-to-toe 30,000 red Swarovski crystals outfit. The rapper later showed up at the Viktor and Rolf show with eyebrows, a mustache, and a soul patch made from lashes. Looks like the place to be and be seen is Paris Couture Week. So, if anyone thinks couture is dead…think again!

Doja Cat wearing a red Swarovski crystal outfit

Rapper Dojo Cat wearing a Swarovski crystal-encrusted outfit (Image Credit: Marc Piasecki for Getty Images)

Haute Couture, translated as “high sewing” or “high dressmaking,” is a term that is reserved for the most exclusive and expensive garments in the fashion industry. These garments are custom-made for individual clients and are crafted by the most skilled ‘petits mains’ in the business by some of the most renown fashion houses in the world. The question of whether Haute Couture is still relevant today is a complex one, as it touches on issues of craftsmanship, artistry, exclusivity, and luxury. On one hand, Haute Couture represents the highest level of craftsmanship and artistry in the fashion industry, using the finest materials and employing techniques that are nearly extinct. The level of attention to detail and the quality of the finished product is unmatched in the fashion world and yet, in today’s fashion world, where climate change, sustainability, and attempts at reducing landfills is front and center, what purpose does the couture really serve?  If you ask fashion pundits and the fashion flock, you’ll hear that “haute couture is seen as a celebration of the art of fashion and the skills of the people who create it”. And so, it’s no wonder that a brand like Victor & Rolf, whose couture show this season caused such a controversy with their topsy-turvy, upside down and sideways dresses was a huge hit that nearly broke the internet.

In celebration of the art & craft of haute couture, University of Fashion’s social media channels (Facebook  –  Instagram) is featuring some of its couture sewing techniques this week so that you can see just how special the ‘petits mains’ are (little hands) that create these fabulous clothes. Watch as we demo how to make handmade flowers as seen on the runway at Elie Saab, the hand-rolled sheer hems at Victor & Rolf, how to sew lace side seams from Chanel and the art of tambour beading from Valentino.

Looks from Chanel’s Spring 2023 Couture Collection. (Photo Credit: Style Du Monde)

In addition to craft appreciation, Haute Couture is about fantasy. And in today’s topsy-turvy world, who doesn’t need an escape hatch? To those who can afford the price tag, Haute Couture is seen as a symbol of wealth and status, for the rest of us, it’s about fantasy and honoring the art, craft and amazing techniques that are used in their creation. Haute Couture collections inspire ready-to-wear fashion designers and although the materials and craftsmanship are well beyond reach for ready-to-wear brands, ideas often trickle down to the mass market, influencing trends within the broader fashion industry.

A look from Elie Saab’s Spring 2023 Couture Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue)

So, when you hear the buzz about whether the couture is relevant today, in a world where fast fashion and the pressure to consume less is front and center, think of Haute Couture as a living art museum where the most talented people in the world dedicate their lives to preserving a craft, creating art-to-wear pieces that are not mass-produced and sold to stores by the dozens. In sharp contrast to the fast-paced, consumerist culture of today, couture clothes are meant to last a lifetime, will never end up in a landfill – more likely in a museum – and are meant to be passed down to future generations. Viva la Haute Couture!

Here are a few of the most dramatic moments of the Spring 2023 Couture Season:

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

SCHIAPARELLI

Looks from Schiaparelli’s Spring 2023 Couture Collection. (Photo Credit: Hypebeast)

Daniel Roseberry blew up the internet with his fake Schiaparelli taxidermy pieces for his Spring 2023 Couture show.

CHRISTIAN DIOR

Looks from Christian Dior’s Spring 2023 Couture Collection. (Photo Credit: Grazia)

Maria Grazia Chiuri was inspired by archival pictures of Josephine Baker performing at Dior couture in 1951 New York. Baker was a leading light of the Jazz Age cabaret in Paris.

GIAMBATTISTA VALLI

Looks from Giambattisa Valli ‘s Spring 2023 Couture Collection. (Photo Credit: Perfect Wedding Magazine)

Giambattisa Valli is living la vita dolce with a couture collection filled with beautiful colors and plenty of optimism for brighter days ahead.

CHANEL

Looks from Chanel’s Spring 2023 Couture Collection. (Photo Credit: Elle)

Virginie Viard played circus ringmaster for her charming Chanel Couture show with a menagerie of mobile animal sculptures and all.

ARMANI PRIVÉ

Looks from Armani Prive’s Spring 2023 Couture Collection. (Photo Credit: Style Du Monde)

Giorgio Armani can surely use a lesson in editing as the designer sent out 77 looks for his Armani Privé Couture collection that was inspired by harlequins.

RONALD VAN DER KEMP

A look from Ronald van der Kemp’s Spring 2023 Couture Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue)

Ronald van der Kemp has taken sustainability to a new level as he turned repurposed deadstock into a glamourous and fun couture collection.

VICTOR & ROLF

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

Rolf Snoeren and Viktor Horsting, the duo behind the label Viktor & Rolf sent out a delightfully topsy – turvy collection.

JEAN PAUL GAULTIER

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

Haider Ackerman is the fourth designer to create a one-season collaboration for the house of Jean Paul Gaultier since Gaultier’s retirement. For his couture collaboration, Ackerman created a chic line-up filled with the body-sharp tailoring and scissored draping for which he has become known.

VALENTINO

A look from Valentino’s Spring 2023 Couture Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue)

Inspired by the 1980’s club scene, from Studio 54 to London’s New Romantic Blitz Club, Pierpaolo Piccioli, the designer behind Valentino, offered a youthful take by literally taking couture to the club.

FENDI

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

Kim Jones created a ravishingly delicate collection for his Fendi Couture runway show with plenty of lingerie-inspired pieces.

So tell us, when you look at couture do you appreciate the craft and consider it art?

FALL 2023/24 MENSWEAR SHOWS: FLORENCE – MILAN – PARIS

- - Fashion Shows

A look from Saint Laurent’s Fall 2023 Show. (Photo Credit: Reuters)

It’s showtime! Men’s Fall 2023/24 fashion shows were back to pre-pandemic levels as the menswear pack reunited, first in Florence to kick off  Pitti Uomo (Jan. 10-13), then Milan (Jan. 13-17) and then Paris Jan. 17 – 21).  For over 50 years, Pitti Uomo has become the beating pulse of  men’s fashion and dubbed the “menswear mecca”. In 1972, the first edition of Pitti Uomo took place, showcasing Italian tailoring and style to foreign markets. The biannual event has since become a global stage for the international menswear industry and the largest menswear trade show of its kind. Pitti Uomo is considered pivotal for launching new projects in men’s fashion and in determining future menswear trends.

According to Highsnobiety, “Another strategy that is key to the success of the fair, albeit a serendipitous one, is the prolific street style photography that occurs each season. As the ground zero for menswear style, Pitti is the gathering spot for the most stylish men in the world. It’s basically the Olympics of street style, so it’s no wonder that the elite of menswear, along with the who’s who of street style photographers and wannabe posers flock to the Fortezza da Basso each season to take part in the action.

FLORENCE

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

 

A look from Martine Rose’s Fall 2023 Show. (Photo Credit: Vogue)

Each season a guest designer is chosen to show at Pitti Uomo. Highsnobiety reports, “Organizers travel the world to scout out the best upcoming talent and thought leaders in menswear. A look back across Pitti Uomo’s guest designer list from the past 30 years is like reading who’s who of the most influential names in menswear. Yohji Yamamoto, whose first monographic show also incidentally took place at the festival; Raf Simons has shown twice as has Undercover’s Jun Takahashi“. This season they chose British designer Martine Rose, in her first runway show outside of England. Rose examined the potential crossover of British youth and cultural refinement, as she aimed for the sweet spot, where sharp tailoring cohabitates with beach-to-club seductiveness. “It’s a collection rooted to the soundwave of Italo house music,” Rose stated in her collection notes for the show.

MILAN

Looks from Dolce & Gabbana’s Fall 2023 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue)

After the Pitti show in Florence, the fashion set hopped to Milan for more men’s fashion. This season there was no holding back as several young designers from across the Channel, and major brands returned to the Milanese calendar such as Gucci, Zegna and K-Way. Here are a few major show moments:

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

Gucci opened Milan Fashion Week with much anticipation as it was the first season without the brand’s Creative Director Alessandro Michele who served as the creative director for the luxury house since 2002 and who was responsible for the revitalization of the brand. The fall 2023/24 collection was created by the brand’s in-house design team, and was an ode to the luxury house’s greatest hits, from Tom Ford’s Y2K era to ‘80s sportswear, as well as a nod to the ‘70s, with an interpretation of the brand’s coated monogram canvas. It was an uplifting stroll down memory lane.

A look from Prada’s Fall 2023 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue)

Meanwhile at Prada,  creative directors Miuccia Prada and Raf Simons presented a collection entitled “Let’s Talk About Clothes”.  The show was an ode to the ’60s with a heavy focus on boxy tailoring, as well as pieces such as suede jackets and bomber jackets. The collection opened to much fanfare as tailored suits strolled down the runway with contrasting disco collars over blazer lapels and eventually over various outerwear pieces and open-chested cardigans. The design duo also touched on the streetwear trend with their billowing bomber jackets – in cropped and oversized versions –all with a sophisticated hand.

Looks from Fendi’s Fall 2023 Collection. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

Some of the best outerwear of the season was courtesy of Fendi. Designed by Silvia Venturini Fendi, the collection explored asymmetrical silhouettes with sharp layering that will surely be a hit with the street style influencers. Fendi continued to celebrate the 25 year anniversary of their baguette bag by featuring mens’ versions throughout the show.

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

JW Anderson had one of the most playful shows during the Men’s Milan Fashion Week as models paraded down the runway carrying pillows, wearing frog sandals, graphic-printed knit underwear, and fluffy long dress tops.

A look from Giorgio Armani’s Fall 2023 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue)

Giorgio Armani, who is almost 90, showed on the last day of Milan Fashion Week. The elegant designer’s collection revisited a style of dress that is rich, quiet, and evocative of a metropolis as somber as it is elegant.

PARIS

Looks from Dior Men’s Fall 2023 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue)

Paris Men’s Fashion Week was in top form with a dynamic season of shows from Dior to Loewe. Here are a few major show moments:

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

A tale of two Givenchys as designer Matthew M. Williams played with the juxtaposition between exquisite minimalistic tailoring and intriguing mis-matched garments that were a tad too garish.

The suits sported sharp lines, neatly pointed shoulders, and nipped waists that turned the silhouette into an elongated hourglass. They were – the house said – “defiantly unhemmed at the seams.” Black gloves gave these looks a playful yet sinister quality.

“The world has a lot of options for everybody,” Williams said in his collection notes. “That’s what’s so beautiful about Givenchy: a brand that makes T-shirts for young people and then there’s people that want to buy couture tailoring jackets. It hits the whole gamut.”

While Givenchy’s show had mixed reviews, Saint Laurent had an incredible moment during Paris Fashion Week. Designer Anthony Vaccarello presented 46 looks that where both cohesive and struck a chord with the fashion crowd. Vaccarello brought the dark, elongated silhouettes of Saint Laurent’s women’s wardrobe to a gender-fluid and aesthetically precise fall men’s display.

Key looks included floor-sweeping Matrix-style leather coats, chic tuxedo coats, and dramatic bow neckties evoking a New Romantics era.

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

From dark romance to American Psycho horror (novel by Bret Easton Ellis), this was the inspiration behind Louis Gabriel Nouchi’s collection for his label LGN. A number of looks were styled with shiny black plastic gloves and blood (fake) splattered faces.

A look from Louis Vuitton’s Fall 2023 Collection. (Photo Credit: AFP)

Singer Rosalía stunned guests at Louis Vuitton’s dramatic, digital age-themed menswear show with a surprise set atop a vintage 1980s yellow sedan, in shades and a hooded jacket.

Following the devastating death of former artistic director Virgil Abloh in 2021, the Louis Vuitton Men’s Studio has taken over the brand’s creative control. For the luxury house’s fall 2023 show, the set replicated a vintage childhood home recreated inside the Louvre’s oldest courtyard – which showed a continuity with the coming-of-age style that defined Abloh’s aesthetic for the brand.

This season, the youthful studio team and guest designer Colm Dillane, the founder of KidSuper, channeled growing up as members of the first generation raised in the digital age. Patterns conjured encrypted computer coding, while handwritten notes – relics in today’s world – were upcycled to produce a surreal white suit and top hat look constructed entirely of note paper.

At times the collection depended on gimmicks, such as pixelated apples on an otherwise beautiful round-shouldered wool coat, but the best looks were minimalist, such as a light grey suit jacket that sported one large childlike button showcasing masterful construction with interlocking layers of fabric.

A look from Rick Owens’ Fall 2023 Collection. (Photo Credit: AP)

Rick Owens stayed true to his gothic, artistic approach to fashion for his fall menswear collection in Paris which was inspired by ancient Egypt – specifically the former pharaonic stronghold of Luxor. Think high pharaonic priest meets high-octane 70s rock star. Throw in some dramatic alien-like spiked shoulders that are now an Owens staple, and you have a devilishly good show.

So tell us, do you have a fav look from the menswear fall 2023/24 collections?