University of Fashion Blog

Posts Tagged: "Beyoncé"

RIDING HIGH: THE RESURGENCE OF COWBOY FASHION

Beyoncé is leading the Western trend with her Country Music Album Cowboy Carter. (Photo Credit: Blair Caldwell)

Western wear has always been a fashion staple at Coachella Music Festival (which began Friday, April 12th and ends Sunday, April 22 st). But saddle up fashionistas because Western cowboy style has officially galloped back into the mainstream! From the dusty plains of Texas to the bustling streets of New York City, the iconic attire of the Wild West is strutting its stuff once again, proving that some trends never truly fade away—they just lasso their way back into the spotlight.

In a world where trends come and go faster than a tumbleweed in a prairie wind, the revival of Western wear comes as a welcome surprise. But why now, you may ask? Well, we can mostly thank celeb designers, Pharrell Williams and Beyoncé. Queen B’s Renaissance world tour marked the launch of her cowboy era, with her crystal embellished cowboy hat and silver horse, a prop used throughout her performances. The midnight release of the pop star’s new country music album, Cowboy Carter on March 29th launched the trend with songs like Texas Hold ‘Em and 16 Carriages.

Pharrell Williams reinvents the cowboy for Louis Vuitton’s Mens Fall 2024 Show. (Photo Credit: The Hollywood Reporter)

Although Beyoncé is bringing the trend with ‘guns-a -blazin’, it was Pharrell Williams for Vuitton’s Fall 2024 Menswear show that started it all  with his epic take on classic Americana and the rich heritage of Western wear. Williams’ runway was filled with embroidered, fringed, and flowered leather and denim. And let’s not forget the accessories! From intricate Western belt buckles and bolo ties to cowhide-patterned bags and classic cowboy hats.

Bella Hadid cheering on cowboy boyfriend Adan Banuelos at the American Performance Horseman event in Arlington, Texas. (Photo Credit: Getty)

So, it seems that once again the timeless allure of rugged individualism, frontier spirit, and classic Americana has captured the hearts—and wardrobes—of the fashion set.  The trend is all over social media from Instagram and TikTok thanks to Beyoncé, Kim Kardashian, Bella Hadid, Rihanna, and Travis Scott, to name a few.

The Wild West aesthetic of cowboy hats, fringe, Bolos, denim jeans, western boots, and statement buckle belt, is reaching modernity with the embrace of colors and endless combinations. As on Feb. 22, 2024, “a simple hashtag search on TikTok reveals nearly 700 inspired posts and on Instagram more than a thousand”, according to ABC News Source.

Beyoncé goes country for a W Magazine cover story. (Photo Credit: Beyoncé)

How can you rock the cowboy look at Coachella and beyond? Let’s break it down:

EMBRACE FRINGE FEVER

A look from Chloé’s Fall 2024 Show. (Photo Credit: Getty)

From suede jackets to leather skirts, fringe is having a major moment in Western cowboy fashion. Channel your inner rodeo queen or cowboy renegade with a fringed vest, a tasseled bag, or even a pair of statement boots that will have you kicking up dust in style.

DUST OFF YOUR DENIM

A look from Louis Vuitton Men’s Fall 2024 Collection. (Photo Credit: Louis Vuitton)

Denim isn’t just for jeans anymore. Western-inspired denim shirts, jackets, and even dresses are all the rage this festival season. Pair your favorite denim piece with a bold belt buckle and some cowboy boots for a look that’s equal parts rugged and chic.

GET YOUR HATS IN THE GAME

Kim Kardashian rocking a cowboy hat. (Photo Credit: @KimKardashian)

No cowboy ensemble is complete without a trusty Stetson hat. Whether you opt for a classic felt design or a more modern twist with embellishments and unique shapes, a cowboy hat adds an instant dose of Western flair to any outfit—and provides much-needed shade from the desert sun, if you happen to be attending Coachella 2024!

PLAY WITH PRINTS

Diplo is embracing the cowboy trend. (Photo Credit: Getty)

From classic plaid to Southwestern-inspired patterns, prints are key to nailing the cowboy aesthetic. Mix and match different prints for a playful yet polished look that’s sure to turn heads in the crowd.

DON’T FORGET THE ACCESSORIES

Post Malone in a bolo tie. (Photo Credit: Getty)

Bandanas, bolo ties, and statement belt buckles are all essential accessories for mastering the cowboy look. Tie a bandana around your neck, swap out your usual necklace for a bolo tie, and cinch your outfit together with a bold buckle that demands attention.

Bad Bunny rocking the cowboy trend. (Photo Credit: Telemundo)

Whether you’re dancing the night away in the desert heat or running around the city, make sure to saddle up in style. After all, with Western cowboy fashion leading the charge as one of the biggest trends of the season, there’s never been a better time to embrace your inner cowboy or cowgirl and let your spirit run wild. Giddy up!

Emily Ratajkowski is embracing the cowboy boot. (Photo Credit: Gotham)

So, tell us, will you embrace the Western trend?

 

OUT OF AFRICA: AFRICAN DESIGNERS ARE FINALLY ON THE FASHION MAP

Models holding hands, Lagos, Nigeria, 2019 by Stephen Tayo. Courtesy Lagos Fashion Week Africa. (Photo Credit: Forbes)

African fashion, along with the continent’s music and art, is having an huge impact on the world stage — and at UoF, we’re here to support it.

Did you know that Nigeria ranks in the top 5 countries of UoF subscribers! 

International superstars like Naomi Campbell, Zendaya, Tracee Ellis Ross, Angela Bassett, and Beyoncé have helped catapult some of Africa’s talented fashion designers into the limelight. In fact, Queen B wore a number of African designers in the 2020 American musical film and visual album, Black Is King, directed, written, and executive produced by the recording artist. But the African fashion industry has had to jump lots of hurdles to get here.

The Suppression of Africa’s Fashion Industry

According to the Historical Dictionary of the Fashion Industry, Africa, like many other developing countries, has been plagued with the importation of used clothes and shoes from outside the region. This practice created an unfair advantage in local communities and thus stifled industrial growth, especially in Africa’s design and manufacturing sector. Despite imposing high importation customs duty rates in some African countries, used products continued to flood local markets. The textile industry in South Africa all but collapsed as a result of imported second-hand clothing sales and eventually efforts got underway in other African states to prevent the same thing from happening. In 2015, the Zimbabwe government banned the importation of second-hand clothes and shoes and removed the general import license so that future importations were subject to seizure and destruction. In 2016, The East African Council (EAC) Council of Ministers, composed of six countries in the African Great Lakes region, Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, South Sudan, Tanzania, and Uganda, voted to ban second-hand clothes, handbags and shoes, to promote the region’s textile and leather industries. These measures paved the way for Africa’s fashion industry to succeed.

Beyoncé wearing a look from Loza Maléombho in the singer’s Black Is King film. (Photo Credit: Disney Plus)

Historically, the relationship between the global fashion industry and Africa has been indisputably problematic, filled with disrespect, cultural exploitation, and appropriation. From the exploitation of Ankara textiles — West Africa’s most recognizable fabric — to western fashion houses profiting from the creations of local African artisans and designers, the line between inspiration and plagiarism has become blurred.

According to Dr. Shameem Black, from the Department of Gender, Media and Cultural studies at the Australian National University, “borrowing from other cultures becomes problematic when historical context and cultural sensitivities are ignored.” By calling out designers who exploit another culture’s traditions has enabled African designers to use their rich history, culture and textiles to gain world-wide attention.

Ankara Fabrics. (Photo Credit: Waa Fashion)

Africa’s Fashion Capital

In just the past few years Lagos, Nigeria has become Africa’s fashion capital. Recognized by some of the world’s most renowned fashion editors and industry insiders, Lagos Fashion Week, and Arise Fashion Week in particular, has earned supermodel Naomi Campbell’s seal of approval. The supermodel made her debut walking the Arise Fashion Week runway in 2018 and returned in 2019, taking on a curatorial role. Emerging designers across the continent have also made their way onto the global stage. Nigerian designers Adebayo Oke-Lawal and Kenneth Ize, were both finalists for the LVMH Prize in 2014 and 2019 respectively, as well as South African designer Thebe Magugu, who actually won the Prize in 2019. For those unfamiliar with the LVMH Prize, it is a prestigious award given to young fashion designers by reputable designers in the industry.

Naomi Campbell walks Kenneth Ize’s fashion show at Arise Fashion Week in 2019. (Photo Credit: Kenneth Ize)

African fashion no longer needs the ‘approval’ of the global industry, because they are now  a force to be reckoned with on their own. Sparking this evolution are trailblazing young African designers who have taken the initiative to create innovative work that tell stories and break stereotypes, while at the same time preserving age-old techniques, as they simultaneously build viable global fashion businesses.

These creatives not only deserve props for their spectacular work, but they are  changemakers in their own right, helping to uplift Africa’s developing economy, standing up for equality, climate action, and setting a new standard for all African designers, thus ensuring their place in the global fashion world.

How to describe African design? African design is audacious and revolutionary. Nigeria’s Adebayo Oke-Lawal and Fola Francis are designers who are pushing boundaries and challenging gender stereotypes. Meanwhile, Congolese designer Anifa Mvuemba is credited as being the first designer to curate a 3D virtual fashion show for her brand, Hanifa, which went viral in 2021.

According to Statista (a German company specializing in market and consumer data), the fashion industry is the fourth largest industry in the world with global revenue in 2021 worth $1.5 trillion. Therefore, the success of the African fashion industry could have a huge impact on that continent’s economy, especially since they have the highest rate of poverty in the world. A robust African fashion industry could exponentially alter their lives.

As the fashion industry thrives in Africa, there will be more employment opportunities, investments in development and increased global recognition, not only for fashion designers, but also for the local tailors, artisans and entrepreneurs. Many fashion brands in Africa are now creating programs to provide resources, support community growth, and empower citizens who want to work in the fashion industry.

UoF is playing a part in their success 

Here are just a few globally recognized African fashion brands that are making a difference:

AHLUWALIA

Looks from Ahluwalia’s Spring 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

Priye Ahluwalia, founder of the brand Ahluwalia, was born in London to a Nigerian father and an Indian mother. Drawing inspiration from both her Nigerian and Indian heritage, she designs award-winning ready-to-wear menswear.

Ahluwalia was one of the recipients of the prestigious LMVH prize in 2020 and the following year won the Queen Elizabeth II Award for British Design. Ahluwalia’s label also focuses on being environmentally friendly using vintage and dead-stock (discontinued and vintage items that are no longer in stock) clothing for a number of her creations.

THEBE MAGUGU

Looks from Thebe Magugu’s Spring 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

Thebe Magugu founded his luxury namesake collection in 2016. Through fashion, the South African fashion designer tells the stories of his heritage and culture while bringing important issues into the limelight. In his past collections, he has made commentary on sexism in South Africa, South Africa’s apartheid past, and femicide — with South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa describing gender-based violence as “the second pandemic we are confronting” in November 2020.

Magugu primarily designs exquisite ready-to-wear clothing for women.

In 2018, Magugu won the LVMH prize and has since been featured in a variety of magazines including Vogue.

ORANGE CULTURE

A look from Orange Culture’s Spring 2022 Show. (Photo Credit: Orange Culture)

Orange Culture was founded in 2011 by Adebayo Oke-Lawal, a Nigerian fashion designer. His beginnings are those of a true millennial, as Oke-Lawal has been designing clothes since he was only eleven years old and is self taught. Today, Oke-Lawal is one of the most prestigious designers in Africa.

The brand Orange Culture is best known for their innovative menswear, which has been worn by African celebrities like Global Citizen advocate Davido, Rita Dominic, and Ice Prince. It was also the first Nigerian brand to sell their clothing at the iconic UK department store, Selfridges.

Through the brand’s Orange Mentorship program, they provide mentorship and resources to young fashion designers throughout Africa to help them build their fashion empire.

HANIFA

Looks from Hanifa’s Spring 2022 Digital Show. (Photo Credit: Hanifa)

Anifa Mvuemba is a Congolese designer best known for her viral 3D fashion show that combined two passions, fashion and technology, in an epic presentation of her brand, Hanifa, during the height of COVID-19 in 2021.

Mvuemba founded Hanifa 10 years ago and the brand has since become known for its mesmerizing size inclusive ready-to-wear. Her debut show was held at the National Portrait Gallery on Nov. 16, 2021 Washington, D.C. with over 20,000 people streaming the show on YouTube.

This talented designer is also the founder of The Hanifa Dream, a program that empowers women-owned organizations that “elevate fashion through passion, purpose, and social impact.

CHRISTIE BROWN

Looks from Christie Brown’s Spring 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Christie Brown)

Aisha Ayensu is a Ghanaian fashion designer and the creative director for the label Christie Brown, which was founded in March 2008.

The luxury brand, named after Ayensu’s grandmother, creates innovative and exceptional women’s ready-to-wear apparel and accessories. Ayensu reimagines traditional clothing and gives them a modern twist.

TONGORO

Looks from Tongoro’s Spring 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Tongoro)

Tongoro is a ready-to-wear womenswear brand that produces playful and unique apparel. The label was founded in 2016 by Sarah Diof, a woman of Senegalese, Central African, and Congolese heritage. The fashion company’s headquarters are in Dakar, Senegal. Tongoro sources their materials from artisans across Africa, and Diof primarily works with local tailors as a way of fostering the economic development of artisans throughout Africa.

IMANE AYISSI

A look from Imane Ayissi’s Couture Spring 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Show Studio)

Imane Ayissi is not only a fashion designer but is also a model and a dancer. Pryor to starting his fashion label, Ayissi was a sought-after model who walked for luxury fashion houses like Dior, Givenchy, Valentino, YSL and Lanvin.

The Cameroonian designer draws inspiration from cultures all over the African continent. Ayissi not only creates luxurious ready-to-wear pieces, but he is also an advocate for environmentally friendly fashion and often uses natural and organic materials that make the least amount of impact to the environment.

AFRICA FASHION EXHIBITION

Africa Fashion exhibition at the Victoria and Albert Museum, London. (Photo Credit: V&A Museum)

If you happen to be ion London between now and April 16, 2023, then be sure to catch the Africa Exhibit at the V & A Museum which spans iconic mid-20th century to contemporary creatives through photographs, textiles, music and the visual arts.

And…

Speaking of textiles, we recently launched two lessons in our 5-part series on West African textiles by Mina Dia-Stevens. Broaden your knowledge of Africa and learn about the Faso Dan Fani Cloth of Burkina Faso and the Bògòlanfini textiles of Mali. 

So, tell us, do you know of  other African designers you’d like to share with us?

CELEBRITY FASHION BRANDS – THEN & NOW

Nicole Richie’s House of Harlow 1960, Revolve Team on New Collection. (Photo Credit: House of Harlow 1960 x Revolve)

For decades, citizens of the world have looked up to their favorite celebrities and tried to emulate their sartorial choices. With the rise of the internet and social media it has only amplified the public’s celebrity obsession. Celebs are not only praised for their talent as musicians and/or actors, but also as tastemakers, which, more often than not, involves finding the right stylist. These stylist/celeb collaborations even have the power to make or break a trend, as we learned in last week’s blog post about Clark Gable’s ditching of his undershirt in the movie It happened One Night that sent the men’s underwear industry into chaos. And so, it’s no surprise that many celebrities decided to add ‘designer’ to their resume by creating brands that reflect their (and their stylist’s) personal style.

But alas! Celebrity fashion branding is nothing new, in fact, it actually dates back to the 1800s when renowned opera singers and dancers helped set the trends. One of the first celebrity fashion lines was created by Jenny Lind, a Swedish opera singer, who in 1850, became a cultural phenomenon in the United States. As a result of positive reviews and off the chart ticket sales generated from her first American tour with P.T. Barnum, Lind began to produce a range of Jenny Lind-branded merchandise that consisted of gloves, shawls, bonnets, and other fashionable pieces. While no one could confirm if Lind had any actual design input on the products baring her name, it became apparent that celebrity idolization and branding were here to stay.

Pamphlet advertising Irene Castle Corticelli Fashions, 1925. (Photo Credit: Courtesy of Hagley Museum and Library)

With the introduction of cinema in the early 1920s, celebrity infatuation really began to soar. Ballroom dancer and silent film star Irene Castle, started the first true celebrity fashion brand circa 1917. Thie starlet was named the “Best-dressed Woman in America” at the time and was credited with designing her own collection in partnership with textile manufacturer, Corticelli Silks under the label, Irene Castle Corticelli Fashions. The high-end ready-to-wear collection was filled with glamorous gowns that Castle not only helped design, but also promote. Her role as designer/model/promoter helped create the rubric for celebrity driven brands of the future. Fun fact: Castle is also credited with popularizing the ‘bob’ haircut.

Earhart, putting finishing touches on a sleeve. (Photo Credit: Bettmann/ Getty Images)

Amelia Earhart became a household name in 1934 as the first woman pilot to successfully complete a trans-Atlantic flight. Married to George Putnam, whose family ran the successful publishing firm, G.P. Putnam & Sons Inc., her husband helped pay for her flying by coordinating Earhart’s press tours and endorsements, including lending her name to a luggage collection under the Baltimore Luggage Company. The Amelia Earhart luggage collection was produced from 1933 up until the 1970s. In addition, Earhart lent her name to a clothing collection in 1934 that was launched in 30 major cities, consisting of affordable clothes for active women. While it is recorded that Earhart’s designs themselves did not stand out from others at the time, it is believed that hers was the first collection sold as separates, meaning, women were able to buy a differently sized top to accompany their skirts.

For decades, the concept of celebrity fashion lines only increased and prospered with brands by socialite Gloria Vanderbilt, tennis star René Lacoste, super-model Twiggy, and Charlie’s Angels actress Jaclyn Smith  who found success with her women’s fashion collection for Kmart. Countless others would follow list is dizzying.

By the 2000s, celebrity fashion exploded, mostly due to the effect of influencer marketing and the internet. An insatiable public just couldn’t get enough of what their fav celebs were wearing or promoting on the red carpet, on their social media channels, or on TV. In the early 2000s, you weren’t a big star unless you launched a fashion line.

Jennifer Lopez Center with her models all dressed in her brand Sweetface which launced in 2001 but shuttered in 2009. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

Early adopters of the celebrity fashion brand craze were celebs with mega star power such as Jennifer Lopez, Eve, Beyoncé’s House of Deréon, Gwen Stefani, and Lindsay Lohan’s short-lived stint for Emanuel Ungaro, which was a total disaster. While many celebrity fashion lines have come and gone, there are a number of them that have stood the test of time.

Here are a few of the most successful celebrity lines:

The Row

Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen at the 2018 CFDA Fashion Awards. (Photo Credit: Angela Weiss/ Getty Images)

Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen have been in the spotlight since they were babies. The twins made their acting debut as infants (they were only 9 months old when they began filming) on the television series Full House. By the time they were six, Mary-Kate and Ashley were starring together in TV, film, and video projects, which they continued throughout their teenage years. Thanks to their company Dualstar, Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen are ranked as two of the wealthiest women in the entertainment industry at a young age.

A Spring 2022 look from The Row. (Photo Credit: The Row)

As the Olsen twins became young adults, their effortless, cool-girl style began evolving and they became fashion icons. The Olsen’s quietly launched The Row in 2006, and insisted on not giving any interviews about the label for three years, as they wanted to be taken seriously as luxury designers and not be seen as a ‘celebrity brand’. The collection is filled with luxurious, chic, minimalistic pieces, all at a high-end designer price-point. The Row can be found at Bergdorf Goodman, Net-A-Porter, Saks Fifth Avenue, as well as in their own boutiques. By 2012, they won their first CFDA Womenswear Designer of the Year award, strengthening their status in the American fashion scene.

Victoria Beckham

Victoria Beckham channels a chic, minimalistic style. (Photo Credit: Karim Jaafar/AFP)

Who would have ever believed that pop star Victoria Beckham (of the British band Spice Girls) would turn out to be one of the most well-known fashion designers worldwide? Married to soccer star David Beckham, the singer-turned-designer was determined to shed her pop star image and be taken seriously as a luxury designer.

A Resort 2022 look from Victoria Beckham. (Photo Credit: Victoria Beckham)

Victoria Beckham launched her namesake label in 2008 with a low-key presentation but soon became a fixture at New York Fashion Week. Beckham’s collection is always filled with elegant and sophisticated ready-to-wear looks focusing on clothes that real women want to wear, all in luxurious fabrics. Beckham also offers lavish leather bags that are handmade in Italy as well as shoes and sunglasses. Her collection can be purchased on Net-A-Porter, Neiman Marcus, Saks Fifth Avenue and a number of other high-end boutiques.

In 2011, Victoria Beckham launched a diffusion line, Victoria By Victoria Beckham. By 2014, she opened her first brick and mortar store on Dover Street and in 2017, designed an affordable Victoria Beckham range for the American retailer Target.

Beckham was awarded an OBE for her services to fashion and was honored by Prince William at an awards ceremony in Buckingham Palace. When she received her award from the Duke of Cambridge, she naturally wore her own creation.

Jessica Simpson

Jessica Simpson in her namesake label’s spring 2021 campaign. (Photo Credit: Jessica Simpson)

In terms of dollars and cents, one of the most successful fashion brands is The Jessica Simpson Collection. The singer and reality television star may not be as fashion forward and stylish as her counterparts, but her name and personality resonate with many consumers. Love her or hate her, Simpson is laughing her way to the bank.

Launched in 2006 as a shoe collection with business partner Vince Camuto,  Simpson rapidly expanded her brand to include clothing, sunglasses, handbags, accessories, and jewelry. Every year since 2010, the Jessica Simpson label has reportedly pulled in about $1 billion in annual sales and is the first clothing company owned by a celebrity ever to break this figure. The label now sells pieces in 30 different product categories in major department stores across America.

“I want to make every woman feel confident in what they’re wearing,” Simpson said in 2014, in an interview with Forbes. “I do feel like we’re very fashion-forward, but we also listen to the consumer.”

Fenty

Rihanna in center surrounded by her models for her 2020 Savage X Fenty show. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

Everything Rihanna touches turns to gold. Not only has the pop queen received 9 Grammy Awards, 8 Billboard Awards, and 13 American Music Awards throughout her career, but she also has a number of successful designer collaborations under her belt. In 2014, she collaborated with Puma. Her Fenty X Puma collection not only had cool sneakers with ribbon laces, but Rihanna also had several fashion shows with cool athletic-inspired pieces under the Puma label.

In 2017, Rihanna launched Fenty Beauty, which helped to revolutionize the beauty industry. A year later she expanded her Fenty label to include a lingerie line Savage X Fenty and made waves as she presented her first size-inclusive lingerie collection. Her star-studded Savage X Fenty fashion show has become a must-watch pop culture event —even earning an Emmy nod.

“Before she was BadGalRiRi: music, fashion and beauty icon, Robyn Rihanna Fenty was a little girl in Barbados transfixed by her mother’s lipstick,” Fenty Beauty’s About page reads.

In 2019, Rihanna became the first black female designer at LVMH, the parent company of luxury design houses Dior, Givenchy, and Louis Vuitton. However, in February of 2021, LVMH announced that their partnership with Rihanna was put on hold.

 

Ivy Park

Beyoncé in her ADIDAS X IVY PARK collection. (Photo Credit: Ivy Park)

Pop diva Beyoncé is no stranger to the world of business ventures. Her first shot out of the box was the House of Deréon that she ran with her mom. In 2016 the singer launched an activewear line with Topshop. The popular activewear line labeled Ivy Park was a huge success. On November 14, 2018, Beyoncé and Parkwood Entertainment acquired total ownership of the Ivy Park brand away from co-founder Sir Phillip Green following allegations of sexual harassment and racial abuse.

The recording artist has been expanding her Ivy Park line and subsequently entered into a partnership with Adidas in 2019. In a statement released on the official Ivy Park website, Beyoncé stated, “This is the partnership of a lifetime for me… Adidas has had tremendous success in pushing creative boundaries. We share a philosophy that puts creativity, growth and social responsibility at the forefront of business. I look forward to re-launching and expanding Ivy Park on a truly global scale with a proven, dynamic leader.”

On January 17, 2020 the collaboration between Ivy Park and Adidas launched. In only six minutes the collection sold out on Adidas’s website. The line is available in select Adidas stores worldwide, as well as at Bloomingdale’s, Nordstrom, Foot Locker, and Finish Line locations in the United States. The collaboration also plans to debut a children’s line soon.

So…it looks like celebrity brands are still the rage, even in a pandemic.

So tell us, who is your favorite celebrity fashion brand?