University of Fashion Blog

Posts Tagged: "Christian Siriano"

FACE MASKS: FASHION STATEMENT VS SURVIVAL STATEMENT

Fashion vs Survival. (Photo credit: The New York Times)

Express yourself. Protect yourself. And look fashionable while you’re at it!

As states across America and countries around the world slowly begin to re-open after being closed for months due to COVID-19, we all still need to be reminded to follow safety guidelines. One of the easiest ways we can protect ourselves, besides washing our hands constantly is to wear a face mask, especially when we are closer than 6 feet from another person. Show respect to others…wear a mask!

Living in an apocalyptic world that more resembles a sci-fi thriller than real life, we need to protect each other. Right now, the best way to do that is to wear a face mask and social distance. And, if you are lucky enough to have Covid & antibody testing in your area, then you should also get tested!

By now, everyone that owns a sewing machine has watched YouTube mask tutorials, including the one the UoF produced on Facebook. However, since March 15th, there have been many changes to non-surgical mask-making and we thought we’d start this blog post by sharing what we’ve learned so far. After all, we are a fashion education website!

It didn’t take long for fashion designers across the globe to get into the face mask act, after all, it’s an accessory, right? But are designer face masks really safe? Will these designer masks really protect from COVID-19?

We all know that the coveted N95 is the gold standard, however, we still need to reserve those for hospitals. 

Here’s a handy graphic that compares the N95 with the common surgical mask used in hospitals. The latest buzz about that little valve button on the N95 illustration below left, is that it is not ideal. The valve will protect YOU, but does not protect the people around you from YOUR breath. Some cities have actually banned them, like California’s Bay Area. One way around the valve issue is to wear a cloth mask over this mask, but then it makes it harder to breathe. Not ideal.

The blue and white surgical masks on the right are currently the most accessible personal protective equipment and available in most pharmacies. Inexpensive, effective and disposable.

Face mask protection efficiency infographic. (Photo credit: Vector illustration)

If you are making your own non-surgical masks, here are some tips to consider:

  • 100% cotton  is preferred
  • 2 or 3 ply, dense weave is best so you can’t blow out a candle while wearing the mask
  • pre-wash your fabric
  • you could add a pocket or opening on the bottom to insert a removable coffee filter, AC filter or paper towel for added protection
  • you could sew a layer of chiffon for added protection
  • it’s best to hand wash your mask in antibacterial soap & let air dry

Mask History

In East Asia, citizens have been wearing surgical masks outdoors for years. In a recent article in Slate magazine, journalist Jeff Yang explained that following the influenza bout in the 1900s, “[T]he predilection toward using face-coverings to prevent exposure to bad air is something that predates the germ theory of disease, and extends into the very foundations of East Asian culture.” Yang predicted the multiple rationalizations for using them could lead to global “face mask fashion.” And, now they are!

The New York Post knighted masks, the “must-have accessory” in February at London Fashion Week, where some ‘early-adopters’ wore creatively decorated surgical masks. It will of course be the biggest fashion trend for 2020/2021.

Fashion to the Rescue

Marc Jacobs and Richard Princes Nurse series for Louis Vuitton’s spring 2008 collection. (Photo credit: Getty Images)

In early April, brands such as Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Prada and Brooks Brothers announced that they would be re-purposing parts of their factories to make masks and hospital gowns. Instantly the memes and comments went wild.

One Twitter user joked and sent out the following tweet:  “Breaking News from the world of haute couture: Since humans on Earth will be wearing face protection masks against Covid-19 pretty much EVERYWHERE over the next year, they’re bound to become the hottest new fashion accessory. Ready for the Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Armani and ….”?

Miley Cyrus in a Gucci face mask. (Photo credit: Page Six)

Katie May disco ball mask. (Photo credit: Katie May)

And, now brands at every price point are offering non-surgical masks to the public; even Vogue posted a story on their website “Masks To Shop Now.” People are choosing masks based on their outfit and whether they are suitable for day or evening, casual or dressy. They have definitely become a personal style item!

One of the best retail deals out there are 3-ply 100% cotton masks sold by Old Navy at 5 for $12.50 available in kids & adult sizing. As part of its efforts, Old Navy will donate 50,000 masks to the Boys & Girls Club of America.

While many brands are now selling their masks, many are  donating a portion of their mask sales to various charities dedicated to helping those effected by COVID-19.

A mask created by designer Collina Strada. (Photo Credit: Collina Strada)

According to Edited, the digital retail tracking service, there has been an almost 40 percent increase in the number of masks offered by companies in the first quarter of 2020, compared to the end of 2019. In a blog post earlier this month, Josh Silverman, chief executive of Etsy, reported that in a single weekend, buyers searched for face masks on the site an average of nine times per second and the number of face mask sellers had grown five times, to almost 20,000.

Experts are increasingly suggesting that masks may need to be worn for at least a year, until a vaccine is developed. And trend forecasters are predicting that, as a result, they may become a fact of daily life, donned by all of us with the same unthinking passivity as a coat and sunglasses when we leave the house, according to an article in  The New York Times, published on April 22, 2020.

Flames face mask by Guy Fieri flames. (Photo credit: Claudio Lavenia for Getty Images)

Off-White face masks. (Photo credit: Hyperbeast)

In a recent WWD article, Christian Siriano, (one of the first designers to start making masks when Governor Cuomo asked for help), told the publication that he made “this fully encrusted pearl mask because I just needed a breakIt’s actually pretty fabulous.”

Christian Siriano’s pearl encrusted mask (Photo credit: Christian Siriano)

Maskies, Selfie Masks & the Reactivated PPE Portrait Project

The Maskie

Selfies are now passé. The new hot Instagram trend is the #maskie. Posting pics of yourself wearing your mask ‘du jour.’

Photo credit: Olsonmask

Check out #Olsonmask to see how many people are getting in on the action. Whether you choose the pleated or the molded version, who says you can’t still be fashionable?

The  Selfie Mask

OR….How about a ‘selfie mask,’ a mask that shows the part of your face that is usually covered by a mask? Since one of the negatives of  wearing a traditional mask is that you can’t tell if someone is smiling or frowning, you can now create your own selfie mask (click to find out how) by taking a selfie of the lower portion of your face, printing it on computer printable fabric and sewing it into a mask. Viola!

Rachel Maddow showing her selfie mask (Photo credit MSNBC)

PPE Portrait Project

Face coverings can be intimidating and downright scary, especially if you are being treated in a hospital. But, Mary Beth Heffernan’s PPE Portrait Project, initiated during the Ebola crisis, whereby the face of that particular doctor or nurse is affixed to their hospital gown, is offering some relief. Accordingly to Heffernan, “At a moment when patients are already experiencing abject physical suffering, the isolation, facelessness, and lack of touch make them feel abandoned by humanity.”

Stanford research scientist Dr. Cati Brown-Johnson was moved to replicate the project for the Covid-19 pandemic and is expanding to non-COVID wards, including inpatient palliative care.

 

University of Fashion Face Mask Contest

Calling all Mask Makers! Are you making masks to donate, or making and selling them with a portion of the proceeds donated to charity? Or, are you just crazy bored and are making outrageous masks just to keep up your creative edge?

At UoF, we’re still making non-surgical face masks for our local nursing homes and are so happy to apply are sewing skills to a good cause.

If you are in mask production, we want to hear from you. Send images of your masks to CS@UniversityofFashion.com. Tell us what they’re made of and where you’re from. We’re offering 5, full access one-year subscriptions to the UoF website. With over 500 fashion educational videos all taught by fashion profs and industry pros, it’s worth $189! Offer ends July 1, 2020

 

Introducing our 1st Face Mask Winner: Jennifer Coffman 

                                                                           
Jennifer Coffman and her daughters (Photo credit Jennifer Coffman)

 

 

 

 

 

 

We are proud to award our 1st face mask prize to Jennifer Coffman.

“My name is Jennifer. Ive been making masks since March and donating them my local organizations in Pulaski, TN, and Huntsville AL. I’ve donated to local  nursing homes, hospitals, health care facilities, shopping centers and friends. I’ve donated 225 mask between March and April. I’ve used cotton fabrics from my own collection of fabric and I’ve purchased some cotton from a local quilting shop to help support her business. I would love  to win the contest to work towards perfecting my dressmaking skills and my goals of being a professional dress maker. I’m really excited to study the classes. I can sew from patterns but I’m  excited to learn to drape and draft my own designs and learn to draw my ideas on the croquis! Huge Thank you!! I will be happy to share the skills I’ve learned from the courses and promote University of Fashion!!” – Jennifer Coffman

Face masks made by Emily Coffman and donated to Huntesville Hospital, Huntsville, Alabama and therapists at BenchMark Physical Therapy, Pulaski, Tennessee

 

Be sure to send your face mask images and your story to us at CS@universityoffashion.com !

HOW THE FASHION COMMUNITY IS AIDING IN THE FIGHT AGAINST COVID-19

Billie Eilish in a Gucci mask pre-pandemic at the 62nd Annual GRAMMY on January 26, 2020 in Los Angeles. (Photo credit: Jon Kopaloff for FilmMagic)

The Covid-19 pandemic is turning out to be a wake up. The lack of domestic manufacturing has definitely caught us unprepared and as a result, we will surely be seeing an increase in the number of new factories, not just for building up bigger, better stockpiles of the things we need in a pandemic (masks and other protective gear for hospital workers), but also for manufacturing fashion apparel.

As of May 2, 2020, there are 3.4 million confirmed cases of coronavirus worldwide, with 1.07 million recovered and 242,000 deaths.

New Vocabulary

Phrases like “stay-at-home,” shelter-in-place,” “flatten the curve,” “contact-tracing,” “PPE,” “herd immunity,” “surgical & non-surgical face masks,” “antibody testing,” and “social-distancing” are now part of our vocabulary.

As some states and countries are better than others at taking the proper precautions to slow the spread of this deadly pandemic, at University of Fashion, we are promoting ‘stay-at-home’ to help stop the spread and we’re using this opportunity to make hundreds of non-surgical face masks and donating them nursing homes.

University of Fashion non-surgical face masks donated to nursing homes

 

And, as some employers allow their employees to work from home, almost all schools have all closed for the term. Because teachers were asked to complete their academic term online and many struggled due to the lack of accessible content, at UoF we are proud to say that as of March 10th (and continuing into the fall), we initiated a free, full access give-a-way to any and all schools for 30 days to help teachers & students get through their term.

More than 100 schools (and growing) have taken advantage of our offer, those included in that number are Parsons, Cornell, Duke, University of Texas Austin, Virginia Tech, UNC Greensboro, Baylor, College of Fashion Design Dubai, Columbia College of Art & Design, Otis School of Art & Design and more as well as numerous high schools. It has been our honor to help! We are here for you! Teachers/schools can still request access, just write to us at CS@UniversityofFashion.com.

In addition, Laurence King Publishing is offering a 40% discount on all 3 UoF companion books through May 31, 2020. Use this discount code: FRIENDS40 and the links below per book:

Draping: Techniques for Beginners         Pattern Making: Techniques for Beginners                                             Sewing: Techniques for Beginners

 

Face Mask Contest 

If you are making face masks and donating them to a good cause, let us know at CS@UniversityofFashion.com. Send your info on how many face masks you’ve made & donated for a chance to win a 1-year subscription to UoF.

Fashion Hits the Pause Button

The fashion event of the year, the Met Gala, will be postponed indefinitely. Though @theebillyporter and @voguemagazine just launched the #metgalachallenge, with winners to be announced May 3.

Photo Credit  @aili_in_town version of @janellemonae inspired Siriano piece

Numerous fashion weeks have been canceled, including those in L.A., Shanghai, Melbourne, Beijing, Seoul, Moscow and Tokyo. May and June, when many designers show their resort/cruise lines, have either been cancelled or postponed.

Men’s Fashion Week for the spring 2021 season will be cancelled in Paris and London, while Milan will postpone their Men’s Fashion Week until September and will merge it with their women’s runway presentation. New York Men’s Fashion Week always takes place in July, but this year it is postponed, though a date has not yet been released.

In Paris, the haute couture shows (which would have included the highly anticipated return of Balenciaga) were scheduled for July, but are also being canceled by the Federation de la Haute Couture et de la Mode. In a statement, the Federation announced, “In light of the spread of the COVID-19 epidemic worldwide, strong decisions are required to ensure the safety and health of houses, their employees and everyone working in our industry.”

Fashion Delivers

But with all the sadness and despair that COVID-19 has caused, there have been moments of joy in watching fashion people come together. Instead of creating next season’s looks, many designers are keeping their employees working by creating protective gear such as hospital gowns, masks and scrubs. Others are donating proceeds from their online sales to various charities.

Fashion companies are helping to make masks all over the world. (Photo credit: Quartz)

Here are a few designers who are doing their part to help their cities, states and the world.

GIORGIO ARMANI

Giorgio Armani. (Photo credit: WWD)

Giorgio Armani was one of the first designers to understand the danger of the Coronavirus. During his Milan Fashion Week show held on February 23rd, the designer alerted his guests beforehand that his show would be closed to an audience and would be live-streamed.

In addition, Giorgio Armani is utilizing all four of its production sites to manufacture protective gear for healthcare workers. What’s more, the luxury house has already pledged 1.25 million euros to donate to Italy’s Civil Protection and a slew of Italian hospitals, including Luigi Sacco and the Istituto Lazzaro Spallanzani in Rome. Armani also bumped its donation up to 2 million euros by supporting Italy’s Bergamo and Piacenza hospitals.

AMERICAN GIANT

American Giant is part of a coalition of 11 brands that include Hanes, Fruit of the Loom, and Los Angeles Apparel. They have begun manufacturing personal protective equipment for healthcare workers who are on the front line.  Over the years, the majority of U.S. apparel manufacturing moved off shore but a small number of brands had chosen to produce their products locally. Thanks to these brands and their coalition, they are able to shift their production and deliver much-needed gear to hospitals quickly. The coalition companies are making a million masks a week and all have been certified by the Department of Health and Human Services.

RALPH LAUREN

Ralph Lauren’s generous donation. (Photo credit: Ralph Lauren)

Ralph Lauren released the following a statement:

“In response to the global pandemic, Ralph Lauren’s corporate foundation announced a $10 million commitment to help, outlining that the funds would be spent: to provide financial grants to Ralph Lauren colleagues facing medical, eldercare or childcare needs; contribute to the World Health Organization’s COVID-19 response fund; continue its support to cancer care; and commit an inaugural gift to the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) fund for COVID-19 relief.”

In addition to this most generous donation, Ralph Lauren will also produce 250,000 masks and 25,000 isolation gowns with their U.S. manufacturing partners.

“Our hearts and thoughts are with the global community. Our hope is to be a beacon of optimism and unity as we navigate this unprecedented time. It is in the spirit of togetherness that we will rise. With warmth and gratitude, Your Ralph Lauren Team” was issued on the Ralph Lauren website.

BROOKLYN NAVY YARD

Crye Precision and Lafayette 148 have teamed up to make reusable PPE gowns for NYC hospital workers. (Twitter Photo credit: Freddi Goldstein from NYC Mayor de Blasios office)

At New York’s Brooklyn Navy Yard two fashion companies have come together to help make protective gear for New York City’s healthcare workers as NY became the epicenter of COVID-19 in the United States. Crye Precision, a body armor company and the upscale fashion company Lafayette 148 are making surgical gowns for hospitals.

What we see today is truly inspiring,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said after touring the facility.”Two companies here in the Brooklyn Navy Yard are creating a product they’ve never created before to help health care workers,” he added.

Greg Thompson of Crye Precision and Deirdre Quinn of Lafayette 148 are honored to be working to continue to help front line workers. By the end of April, 320,000 reusable  personal protective equipment (PPE) gowns will be made.

Lafayette 148 will also be donating 20% of their sales, between April 12-30, to the Brooklyn Hospital Center, supporting NYC’s heroes on the front lines.

LOUIS VUITTON

Model Jessica Hart in a Louis Vuitton face mask. (Photo credit: Dailymail.com)

Louis Vuitton announced it will re-purpose its American workshops in Piscataway, NJ, Ontario, CA, Johnson County, TX, San Dimas, CA, and Irwindale, CA to produce non-surgical face masks.

The face masks Louis Vuitton will produce will be made of cotton cloth so they can be re-used, washed and adjusted to better fit users. Masks will be donated and distributed in vulnerable states heavily impacted by Covid-19 and Louis Vuitton will partner with local organizations in each state to give support.

LVMH

LVMH joins the fight against Cornavirus. (Photo credit: LVMH)

Louis Vuitton falls under the LVMH umbrella, and even though Louis Vuitton is making a generous contribution to the fight against COVID-19, LVMH is also making donations on behalf of all the brands they own (Marc Jacobs, Givenchy, Fendi, Kenzo, Loro Piana, and others). LVMH is using its Chinese suppliers to provide 10 million surgical masks to France. The brand announced that it will reorder masks for the next few weeks in similar quantities.

In order to secure this order during an extremely tense period and to ensure that production begins today, Bernard Arnault arranged for LVMH to finance the whole of the first week of deliveries, amounting to five million euros,” LVMH said in a statement.

BVLGARI

Bvlgari is making hand sanitizer. (Photo credit: Bulgari)

Bvlgari (Bulgari) is another brand owned by LVMH. Bvlgari announced that it will manufacture thousands of hand sanitizers to be distributed to medical facilities throughout Italy. The hand gels will be created in 75ml recyclable bottles with plans to produce more in the upcoming months.

I believe as a major economic actor and symbol of Italy, Bvlgari has a responsibility to contribute to the national effort to help prevent, fight and eradicate Covid-19. Thanks to our fragrances expertise we have been able to develop together with ICR a ‘hand cleansing gel with sanitizer’ which will be manufactured in our Lodi Factory already making our high-end perfumes and hotel amenities,” Jean-Christophe Babin, Bvlgari CEO, said in a statement. “Aware of the difficult situation we are experiencing, we believe it is our duty to contribute with our know-how and production facilities.”

LOEWE

Workers make masks at the Loewe factory. (Photo credit: WWD)

Loewe, also owned by LVMH, will be donating 100,000 surgical masks to the Spanish Red Cross and non-surgical masks to volunteer workers, Loewe employees and their families. In addition, high-end Spanish fashion brand will be donating proceeds from every product in its Paula’s Ibiza collection. For every product sold, Loewe will donate 40 euros to support educational projects for kids, starting with an initial donation of 500,000 euros. “To achieve this, Loewe is collaborating with Plataforma de Infancia — a Spanish alliance of social organizations that works to protect children and adolescents’ rights — to launch a series of educational programs this summer in Spain which aims to reduce inequality and school dropouts,” the brand said in a statement.

YOOX NET-A-PORTER GROUP

Net-A-Porter closes their e-commerce site and using their delivery vehicles to deliver food. (Photo credit: Fashionweekdaily)

Yoox Net-a-Porter Group is known for delivering their high-end fashion goods to their customers by personal vans. In March, the company stopped this exclusive service and began using their vans to deliver food to those in need. They are now teaming up and volunteering their vehicles to non-profit God’s Love We Deliver to support its Emergency Shelf-Stable Meal Drive. The charity has already delivered over 140,000 meals, containing 14 days’ worth of non-perishable food, to vulnerable communities and people living with severe illnesses across all five boroughs of New York, in Hudson County, and Westchester, Nassau, and Suffolk Counties.

In London, the Yoox Net-a-Porter Group have been utilizing their company vehicles to deliver food and supplies to seven charities in London. The vans will read, “Fashion that delivers” and will also deliver to the elderly people throughout London.

Now, more than ever, the primary focus of our colleagues and customers is the well-being of relatives, friends and communities. Reflecting our core sustainability priorities, the group hopes that the redistribution of these resources will help to make a difference in London,” the company said, per WWD.

AMERICAN EAGLE/AERIE

American Eagle and its sister brand, Aerie, have committed $1 million to COVID-19 relief efforts. The brands will also donate more than one million masks to public health workers in vulnerable communities and have joined forces with America’s Food Fund (AFF) to ensure that people have reliable access to food.

UGG

Ugg pleged $1 Million to Covid-19 relief. (Photo credit: Fashionista)

Deckers Brands, the parent company of UGG, launched a new initiative Better Together, where the brands will donate more than $1 million to the COVID-19 relief efforts through monetary and product donations.

Our hearts are with our friends, colleagues, customers and those on the frontlines during this pandemic. The newly launched Better Together initiative aims to deliver relief, support and comfort to those most in need. We are in this together,” Dave Powers, president & CEO of Deckers Brands, said in a statement.

Ugg will also be partnering with select hotels that have opened their rooms to frontline workers and first responders. UGG will supply cozy robes and slippers so first responders can get comfortable after working a long hospital shift.

DAVID YURMAN

The Yurman Family Foundation announced they will donate $1 million to COVID-19 related causes. Also, David Yurman promised that their furloughed employees will continue to receive their health benefits until they can come back to work.

For us, jewelry has always been a way of connecting with other people and expressing our feelings. Sybil, Evan and I, along with the design team, continue to collaborate on new collections with a heartfelt message that we hope will express comfort and beauty,” David Yurman said in a statement.

KATE SPADE

Tapestry’s generous donation. (Photo credit: Tapestry)

On March 28, Kate Spade announced on its Instagram that the brands at Tapestry, through the Coach Foundation, would be donating $2 million to New York City’s small business continuity fund. The post added that the money was “for all the small businesses in NYC that make our hometown so incredibly special, and right now need some extra love and support. We appreciate each one of you, we’re here for you and we can’t wait to see you again soon.

The Kate Spade New York Foundation will also be donating $100,000 to their partner Crisis Text Line, a program that provides mental health counseling and emotional support to doctors and nurses as they grapple with the ongoing effects of the pandemic.

THIRD LOVE

Doctors, nurses and healthcare workers have been working tirelessly on the frontline battling COVID-19. To keep them comfortable, ThirdLove donated 1,000 sets of bras and underwear to workers at the University of California San Francisco and several hospitals on the east coast. In addition, the brand has already donated 2,000 surgical masks to UCSF in response to the virus.

TOMS

As of April 1st, Toms began donating one-third of its net profits to the COVID-19 Global Giving Fund. The fund was created to support Giving Partners currently on the frontlines of the health crisis. The Global Giving Fund currently supports Americares, Crisis Text Line, International Medical Corps, Partners in Health, and WaterAid.

Toms has always been in business to improve lives. That mission is important to us and our community everyday. Now, more than ever, we are honored to apply what we have learned over the past 14 years of giving to address this global health crisis,” Amy Smith, Toms chief giving officer, said in a statement. “We know the best way to help is to use our resources and the power of our customer’s purchase to invest in our giving partners who are on the frontlines directly addressing this pandemic. We are grateful for these deep partnerships and are eager, together with our customers, to continue to support their efforts to combat COVID-19.”

LA LIGNE

La Ligne is a contemporary label known for their terrific stipes. The label recently launched its Giving Back initiative, which will offer customers 15% off site wide and will donate 15% of total sales to a different charity each week until the quarantine ends. The initiative kicked off its first week with Baby2Baby and its second week with World Central Kitchen, which launched their initiative #chefsforamerica to provide fresh meals to communities that need support, feeds frontline healthcare workers, and more.

TIFFANY & CO.

Tiffany & Co. Foundation’s generous donation. (Photo credit: Tiffany & Co.)

Tiffany & Co. Foundation announced it will be committing $1 million to COVID-19 relief efforts.  $750,000 will be donated to the COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund for the World Health Organization; while the other $250,000 will be given to The New York Community Trust’s NYC COVID-19 Response & Impact Fund. In addition to its own donation, the New York-based company will be matching employee donations, dollar for dollar.

During this global health crisis, we must all be responsive to the urgent needs of our global communities,” the brand said in a statement. “We are proud to support organizations providing immediate relief for communities impacted by COVID-19, including our hometown of New York,” Anisa Kamadoli Costa, chairman and president of The Tiffany & Co. Foundation, said.

LEVI STRAUSS AND CO.

Levi’s has been doing its part to help fight against COVID-19 by hosting its virtual concert series on Instagram Live; some artists who have participated are Snoop Dogg, Sigrid, Kali Uchis, Burna Boy and more.  Levi’s is donating $10,000 per performance to a charity picked by the artist. The company is also donating $3 million to communities that are vulnerable and at-risk. “There’s been a real rush for emergency support on the front end of this,” Jennifer Sey, chief marketing officer of Levi Strauss & Co., told WWD. “We want to make sure we’re addressing some of the midterm and long-term impacts that could go unaddressed by supporting our existing community partners.”

KENNETH COLE

Kenneth Cole is working with the Covid-19 Solidarity Response Fund. (Photo credit: Kenneth Cole)

Kenneth Cole is donating 1% of the net sales on KennethCole.com to the COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund in support of those severely affected by the coronavirus. The COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund was launched by the World Health Organization and is being managed by the United Nations Foundation and the Swiss Philanthropy Foundation.

According to Kenneth Cole, donations will be used for the following:

Ensure that patients can access the care they need and that frontline workers can get supplies and information.

Support efforts in tracking and understanding the spread of COVID-19.

Accelerate the development of vaccines, tests and treatments.

ALEXANDER WANG

Alexander Wang’s charity for COVID-19. (Photo credit: NY Post)

On April 6, Alexander Wang launched its Alexander Wang vault shop, a curated collection of Wang’s archived pieces selling for up to 80 percent off in celebration of the brand’s 15th anniversary. Opened in response to COVID-19, Wang donated 20 percent of sales to The United Nation’s COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund.

CAPRI HOLDING

Michael Kors gives back. (Photo credit: Fashion United)

Capri Holding, the luxury fashion company that owns Michael Kors, Versace and Jimmy Choo, joined the fight against coronavirus by donating $3 million across all three brands. The $3 million donation will benefit organizations from each brand’s home cities, New York (Michael Kors), London (Jimmy Choo), and Milan (Versace).

Our hearts and souls go out to those who are working on the front lines to help the world combat the COVID-19 pandemic,” John D. Idol, chairman and chief executive officer of Capri Holdings Limited, said in a statement. “We thank them for their remarkable dedication and courage and want to support them and the hospitals where they work. We also aim to strengthen organizations dedicated to helping the community.”

In addition to Capri’s donation, Michael Kors announced on his Instagram that he and Capri Holdings CEO John Idol will also be making personal donations of $1 million each.

Among the many things that I love about New York and New Yorkers is their strength and unwavering resilience in times of crisis. For a city as big as it is, there’s always been a strong sense of community,” Kors wrote in an Instagram post. “It’s heartbreaking to see what is happening here in my hometown, which is currently an epicenter of the virus, and the impact this outbreak is having on people in our city and around the world. I commend everyone working on the frontlines in our health care centers and thank you for your dedication to helping others.

PVH CORP

PVH Corp, which owns Calvin Klein and Tommy Hilfiger, is donating $1 million toward COVID-19 relief, plus another $100,000 donation to the Solidarity Response Fund’s COVID relief efforts.

As I work with our global leadership team to address a responsible plan forward for our business, how we execute it as good corporate citizens is an important part of our discussions,” Manny Chirico, Chairman and CEO of PVH, said in a statement posted online. “There is no roadmap for this crisis, but I know that at PVH we have strong values and connections to our communities.

The company announced over Instagram that it will be sending out over two million Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) – which include masks, gowns, and face shields – to healthcare workers in New York City. The first shipment has already been delivered to the Montefiore Health System.

CHANEL

Chanel face mask.( Photo credit: Forbes)

As the spread of the virus intensifies throughout France, Chanel has pledged to produce over 50,000 face masks and gowns for healthcare workers, police, and other essential workers in France. What’s more, the fashion house is also contributing €1.2 million to French emergency services.

SAKS FIFTH AVENUE

The Saks Fifth Avenue windows. (Photo credit: WWD)

The Saks Fifth Avenue Foundation has committed to donating $600,000 to coronavirus relief efforts split across three organizations: NewYork-Presbyterian COVID-19 Patient Care Fund, Bring Change to Mind, and Girls Inc. “Now is the time to stand together to support our community, our customers and all those affected both physically and mentally by the COVID-19 pandemic,” Marc Metrick, president at Saks Fifth Avenue, said in a statement. “Whether it’s medical workers on the frontlines, hospitals that require more essential supplies and resources, or those experiencing stress or anxiety about the virus, we know donations through the Saks Fifth Avenue Foundation will provide vital relief to those in need during this challenging and uncertain time.”

CALDEZONIA

The Italian luxury legwear and beachwear brand Caldezonia is converting it plants to produce medical masks and gowns using special machinery the brand purchased. The brand predicts it will be able to produce up to 10,000 masks per day, with that number increasing in the coming weeks.

REVOLVE

Revolve donates masks to two Los Angeles Hospitals. (Photo credit: Revolve.com)

Revolve announced on its Instagram that it will donate 10,000 N95 FDA-approved face masks to two Los Angeles hospitals. The brand also procured 20,000 additional masks to put aside for other healthcare workers, and called upon its influencers and followers to spread the word to frontline workers in need of protective gear.

Our doctors and nurses are on the front lines risking their lives to save ours, and are often doing so without adequate protective equipment,” the brand said in a statement. “Revolve’s mission for this initiative is to do anything we can to support our sisters and brothers, and hope to be able to make donations in the future.”

NORDSTROM

Nordstrom is sewing over 100,000 masks for medical personal. (Photo credit: Footwear News)

Nordstrom is teaming up with Kaas Tailored, to have members of its Nordstrom Alterations teams in Washington, Oregon, Texas, and California produce 100,000 masks to be donated to Providence Health & Services in Washington. Nordstrom will also offer additional support to Seattle Foundation, YouthCare, and Hetrick Martin Institute (HMI).

Also, by purchasing a gift card, Nordstrom will donate one percent of the sale to “annual community cash grants and support organizations that provide basic necessities for kids and families which includes things like access to health care, housing, food and education,” the company said in a press release.

SANDRO

Sandro will 10,000 cloth masks using excess fabric from past collections to help support hospital workers in France and around Europe. On March 30th, Sandro delivered 1,000 masks to the Aulnay-sous-Bois French hospital with an additional 2,000 masks to be delivered in early April. Sandro will deliver the remaining masks to other hospitals throughout Europe and 3,000 masks to the New York City hospital NYU.

VERA BRADLEY

Vera Bradley is producing protective gear such as masks and scrubs for essential workers. (Photo credit: News Sentinel)

Vera Bradley is known for their playful prints in handbags and accessories, but the brand is halting production of their accessories and will now use their own fabrics to produce masks for essential workers, and work alongside its supplier to procure protective gear such as masks and scrubs.

Our Company and Associates are honored to be able to contribute to the cause during this difficult and challenging time,” Rob Wallstrom, CEO of Vera Bradley, said in statement. “Our hearts go out to all affected by COVID-19 and to the courageous people serving on the front lines in our communities. We’re proud to be able to pivot our operations, lend a helping hand, and create a product with so much purpose.”

 

ATSUMI FASHION

Atsumi Fashion pivoting production from bras to masks (Photo credit: Fast Company)

 

Intimate apparel company Atsumi Fashion has been making masks out of bra lining material. A throwback to the 89s, wearing inner wear as outerwear (think Madonna wearing Gaultier’s bra).

BURBERRY

Burberry is making hospital gowns and face masks. (Photo credit: Metro News)

On the company website, Burberry announced that it would be dedicating significant time, money, and resources to helping with the COVID-19 global pandemic. The company said in a statement that it is going to “retool” its Yorkshire-based trench coat factory to make non-surgical gowns and masks and is facilitating the delivery of more than 100,000 surgical masks to U.K. National Health Service (NHS) staff. The company also said it is donating to charities across the country and funding University of Oxford research for a single-dose vaccine.

In challenging times, we must pull together,” Burberry’s CEO, Marco Gobbetti, said. “The whole team at Burberry is very proud to be able to support those who are working tirelessly to combat COVID-19, whether by treating patients, working to find a vaccine solution or helping provide food supplies to those in need at this time. COVID-19 has fundamentally changed our everyday lives, but we hope that the support we provide will go some way towards saving more lives, bringing the virus under control and helping our world recover from this devastating pandemic. Together, we will get through this.”

KERING

Kering Group steps to the plate to help with Covid-19. (Photo credit: Forbes)

Kering, the luxury goods giant behind Alexander McQueen, Bottega Veneta, Gucci and more, will supply three million surgical masks to French health services. Taking it a step futher, Kering brands Yves Saint Laurent and Balenciaga are also manufacturing “masks while complying with the strictest health protection measures for their staff members, with production getting underway as soon as the manufacturing process and materials have been approved by the relevant authorities,” Kering said in a statement.

GUCCI

Gucci’s “We’re all in this together”. (Photo credit: Gucci)

While Gucci is part of the Kering umbrella, Gucci also pledged 2 million euros to COVID-19 efforts that will be divided in two different donations. Gucci will donate 1 million euros to the Italian Civil Protection Department and another million euros to the World Health Organization’s COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund.

This pandemic calls us to an unexpected task, but it is a call to which we respond decisively, advocating the selfless work carried out by health workers, doctors and nurses on the front lines every day in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, in Italy and in the rest of the world,” Gucci creative director Alessandro Michele and Marco Bizzarri, president and chief executive officer, said in a statement, per WWD. “Their generosity and courage light our way forward in these difficult days. By supporting each other and helping those who are most vulnerable among us, we will be able to overcome this crisis: united, even more than before.”

SKIMS

Kim Kardashian West donates $1 Million under her label Skims. (Photo credit: Buzzfeednews.com)

Kim Kardashian West is using her upcoming Skims Solutionwear restock to support corona relief. Skims pledged to donated $1 million to those affected by the virus.

To support mothers and children in need during this time, SKIMS is committed to donating $1M to families affected by COVID-19,” KKW said in a press release. “On Monday, we’re restocking the collection we first launched with, and in doing so, are able to help bring relief to those affected by this pandemic. I am so grateful to all of you who have supported SKIMS since we first started 6 months ago. It’s been a dream of mine for so long, and has only been possible because of your love for what we do. Our six-month anniversary has fallen in the middle of a Global crisis so more than ever, it’s our responsibility to give back and do what we can to help others.”

UNIQLO

Uniqlo has partnered with its manufacturing companies in China to procure 10 million masks to donate to high-priority hospitals around the world. One million masks will be donated to Italy and another million will be donated to Japan. In addition to the masks, Uniqlo is also providing healthcare workers with their signature Heattech and Airism clothing. “The company will continue to give assistance where needed, and as the situation evolves,” the brand said in a statement.

H&M GROUP

H&M will use its facilities to produce personal protective equipment (PPE) to be donated to hospitals and health care workers working on the frontline.

The Coronavirus is dramatically affecting each and every one of us, and H&M Group is, like many other organizations, trying our best to help in this extraordinary situation,” Anna Gedda, head of sustainability at H&M Group, said in a press release. “We see this is as a first step in our efforts to support in any way we can. We are all in this together, and have to approach this as collectively as possible.”

GAP INC.

Gap, Old Navy, Athleta, Banana Republic, Intermix, Hill City, and Janie and Jack all fall under the Gap Inc. umbrella, which announced that they will be using its factories to produce protective wear for healthcare workers.

An update on our #COVID19 response: Our teams are connecting some of the largest hospital networks in Calif. w/ our vendors to deliver PPE supplies while we pivot resources so factory partners can make masks, gowns & scrubs for healthcare workers on the front lines,” the Gap Inc. brand wrote on Twitter.

MICHAEL COSTELLO

Michael Costello with a face mask that he designed. (Photo credit: Michael Costello)

Michael Costello announced he’ll be collaborating with his Calabasas-based manufacturer to create 20,000 surgical masks to distribute to hospitals and first-team responders throughout the Los Angeles area.

For the first couple of days of this emergency I, like many others, felt frustrated and helpless just sitting at home. I realized that even if I couldn’t do what I wanted as a Designer, I should do what I can to help others that keeps our community safe,” Costello said in a press release. “While I’m not a nurse, doctor or first responder, I knew I can give the one thing I know best, which is fashion, and help design masks that will be crucial for preventing exposure.”

CHRISTIAN SIRIANO

Christian Siriano is helping to make masks. (Photo credit: The New Yorker)

In late March, After Andrew Cuomo revealed that New York is facing a surgical mask shortage, designer Christian Siriano came to the rescue.

If @NYGovCuomo says we need masks my team will help make some,” he tweeted, tagging New York governor Andrew Cuomo. “I have a full sewing team still on staff working from home that can help.”

Shortly after, Siriano posted a short clip of what his masks will look like, writing, “We will be making a few versions of this in order to help as many people as we can. Here is the process so we can get a perfect fit. More to come thank you everyone we hope to get these to the right people ASAP.”

REFORMATION

Fashion brand Reformation is teaming up with Los Angeles mayor Eric Garcetti to produce protective face masks for not only health care professionals, but grocery store associates and food delivery workers as well. Garcetti hopes the initiative will create more jobs for people. Manufacturers or businesses that are interested in participating can learn more about the initiative at laprotects.org.

Fashion companies are helping to make masks in the USA. (Photo credit: Jurgute/iStock)

While the fashion industry is doing its part to help Coronavirus relief efforts, not every brand can afford a $10 million donation, like Ralph Lauren, or to turn over its design studios and factories to produce supplies, like Christian Siriano. But we can all do our part. Whether its staying at home to stop the spread or making face masks in your studio, tell us, How are you helping to stop the spread of COVID-19?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ARE FASHION SHOWS STILL RELEVANT?

Louis Vuitton’s spring 2020 show. (Photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

As our industry grapples with the impact of fast fashion on our planet and explores circular fashion concepts, such as ‘fundamental redesign’ (the shift from a ‘take-make-waste’ model towards a ‘reuse-based’ model), while other more responsible brands move to put the health of our planet over profits, we must ask ourselves… are fashion shows still relevant?

Add to these concerns the reality that designers are expected to execute four collections a year (spring/summer, fall/winter, resort, and pre-fall) as well as produce an expensive fashion show twice a year. As the industry once again ponders whether the expense and the number of shows are necessary, especially in a digital, on-demand, eco-conscious environment, the fact remains that consumers are not spending as much money on clothing as they are on technology and vacations. So, is this pace and expense sustainable?  Let’s take a look. But first, let’s explore the origins of the fashion show.

History of the Fashion Show

According to Historical Dictionary of the Fashion Industry, written by our founder, Francesca Sterlacci and Joanne Arbuckle, the former Dean of the Fashion Institute Technology:

“The first fashion shows can be traced to Paris, beginning in the mid-1800s, with designers Charles Frederick Worth, Jeanne Paquin and Jean Patou. Worth was the first to design and display his own creations for women to choose from, via a “fashion show” on live models, four times a year.”House-of-Redfern---Galerie-de-vente---Paris-fashion-1910

 

Fashion models and society ladies at a designer salon circa 1910 (Photo credit: Glamourdaze.com)

The Paris salon show schedule would inevitably become the foundation for ‘fashion weeks’ in Milan, London, and New York. These cities became known as the “Big Four,” the largest and most important centers for fashion. In its early days, shows were solely for core customers, buyers and editors. The general public didn’t see the latest designer wares until they were available in stores some four to six months later. Even fashion magazines understood that the latest creations could not be unveiled in their editorial pages until they could actually be purchased by the consumer. A concept that has changed over time but may need to be revisited.

In 1943, New York fashion designers held ‘press weeks’ in fall and spring whereby editors and buyers would swarm to ritzy hotels to view the latest designer runway presentations.  For decades, this is how the system worked. Runway shows offered buyers and editors a chance to see designers’ collection, six months before they became available to the public. This helped buyers plan their “open-to-buy” and advertising budgets, and for editors to plan the trends that they would promote and feature in their editorial pages. Fun fact: American fashion publicist Eleanor Lambert was the first to create fashion shows as charitable events with her March of Dimes shows (1948-1960), that not only raised money but helped promote American fashion design.

Christian Dior Show in 1948 (Photo Courtesy of AP Photo)

 

The Fashion Calendar

With so many fashion shows to coordinate among the “Big Four,”  a schedule was needed to keep shows from overlapping. Enter Ruth Finley and her fashion calendar, known in the industry as the “Pink Bible.”  In existence since the 1950s, the Fashion Calendar still is the” fashion planner for all fashion runway shows and other related fashion events.  In 2014, the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) acquired the Fashion Calendar. Today it has six hundred and fifty subscribers and available in digital format only. No serious designer would dare schedule their show without first consulting with Fashion Calendar.

Fashion Weeks: NYFW – LFW – MFW  & PFW

New York Fashion Week (NYFW), as we know it today, began in 1993. Fern Mallis, then executive director of the CFDA, took hold of fashion’s schedule and tried to centralize the shows so that buyers and editors were not shuffling all over the city.  “Organized shows put American designers on the map and changed the fashion landscape forever,” Mallis told Racked in 2015. “Before that, there were 50 shows in 50 locations. Everyone did their own thing without understanding what a nightmare it was to get from one show to the other.”

      “To dispel the myth that U.S. fashion designers were influenced by their European counterparts, in 1998, American designers decided to move their fashion show schedule ahead of Paris, London and Milan and instead of being the last show, they became the first. This has remained the schedule into the twenty-first century.” ~ Historical Dictionary of the Fashion Industry

Bryant Park, located in mid-town Manhattan, was home to NYFW for 16 years. It was the first time designers were offered the option to present their fashion show without the responsibility of having to produce a fashion show from scratch –  the space, lighting, sound, and security were all handled by a production firm (IMG). That’s not to say it was cheap. According to Forbes.com,  “In 2007, a show at Bryant Park cost at least $50,000 for designers, according to one estimate.” Bryant Park  heightened awareness of NYFW and the fashion game began to change. It also provided an opportunity for designers to invite celebrities to sit front row, next to editors and later led to the rise of fashion bloggers and influencers.

By 2010, and with nearly 300 scheduled shows, the fashion crowd outgrew Bryant Park. NYFW was then moved to Lincoln Center for several seasons, however, as we all know, fashion is fickle. Today NYFW shows are primarily held in spaces along the West Side Highway and at Manhattan’s Hudson Yards, where the spaces are larger and New York City traffic is less of an issue.

Bloggers & Influencers- From left: bloggers Bryanboy, Rumi Neely, Leandra Medine, Natalie Joos, Elin Kling &

Hanneli Mustaparta attend the Phillip Lim Spring 2014 fashion show in New York City. (Wendell Teodoro/WireImage, via Getty)

The Birth of the European Fashion Show Extravaganza

While U.S. designers mostly stayed faithful to the traditional runway show with models parading down a long narrow catwalk or in a passerelle or semi-circular format, their European counterparts favored the extravaganza. For example, Nino Cerutti’s used publicity stunts to self-promote, such as when he painted Lancia convertibles blue, then paraded them down the streets of Rome and onto the runway, where a starlet then broke a bottle of champagne on the hood. Designers Claude Montana and Thierry Mugler staged fashion show “extravaganzas” during the 1970s and 1980s that became media hypes, with fashion models often upstaging the clothes. In the late 1990s and early 2000s, designers John Galliano and Alexander McQueen continued to create some of the most spectacular shows, often with celebrity guests in attendance and sometimes even taking to the catwalk. Viktor & Rolf, Chanel, Rick Owens, Fendi and Ricardo Tisci at Givenchy transformed the fashion show experience for the new millennium by: creating avant-garde conceptual performances, adding plus size models and introducing technology, such as the Fendi show in 2015 that used drones to film and live stream the show.

Broken Fashion Show System

According to the Historical Dictionary of the Fashion Industry, “By 2015, designers, buyers, fashion journalists and fashion organizations, such as the Council of Fashion Designers of America and the British Fashion Council, began to examine the “broken” fashion system as it related to the overcrowded fashion show schedule, the excessive number of shows and the relevance of showing fashion that cannot be immediately purchased; since the traditional fashion show system features merchandise six months in advance of the selling season and live-streamed fashion shows are available to consumers where immediacy is key for consumers in a digital age. Burberry was the first to make the decision to change the model by; showing only two collections a year, combining their menswear and womenswear in the same show, featuring clothes in season and not six months ahead of the season, and making the merchandise for sale immediately afterwards. In 2016, recording artist Kanye West and Adidas made fashion history when, timed to the launch of West’s new album The Life of Pablo, they held the first ever consumer ticket-holder fashion show at Madison Square Garden with tickets for their Yeezy-Adidas show priced at $275 each.”

Today, shows are not only photographed for social media, but they are also live-streamed so anyone sitting at home in front of their computer can tune in. Fashion shows have now evolved into marketing spectacles directed towards a mass audience. Hundreds of thousands attend fashion week, but thanks to today’s digital world, millions of people live-stream fashion shows online. So the purpose of fashion week seems clear; capture the attention of as many people as possible; visibility leads to sales, right? Only to a degree.  Unfortunately, the equation is not so straightforward and for years the question of “is fashion week dying” has been an ongoing conversation among fashion insiders.

“In a world that has become increasingly immediate, the current way of showing a collection four months before it is available to consumers is an antiquated idea and one that no longer makes sense,” designer Tom Ford told WWD in 2016. “We have been living with a fashion calendar and system that is from another era.”

While some may believe the fashion week runway format is archaic, this system still exists, but has arguably lost step in a world where everything is instantly visible across various social media platforms. Today, designers and brands can bypass store partners and sell straight to their customers through their own websites. It has become routine for consumers to stream new products that fast fashion popularized and these forces have transformed the fashion industry.

Enter Instagram

One of the biggest game-changers for the industry has been Instagram. The popular social media platform creates a constant connection between brands and customers and has helped reshape the way brands communicate to potential customers. Designers even create Instagammable ‘moments’ during their runway shows.

Chanel transformed the Grand Palais into a beach scene during Paris Fashion Week in October 2018 (Photo courtesy of Reuters)

And yet, fashion shows and their organizers aren’t disappearing time soon, in actuality, the reverse is happening, as more cities around the world are staging their own fashion weeks including Shanghai, Seoul, and even Canada. Many prestigious designer houses have even opted to show full runway extravaganzas for their resort and pre-fall collections as well. Many brands, both large and small, are joining the fashion week cycle because of the prestige and exposure that comes with it.

But one must ask, is the exposure worth the price tag that goes along with producing a fashion show?

Of course, the answer varies by brand. In 2019, Christian Siriano provided a breakdown of his show cost for Vogue Business that reached up to $300,000. It included models, set design, lighting, sound, and all the elements needed to create a runway show. According to an interview in Vogue, Siriano stated, “I think when our investors go through the numbers, it’s really hard for them to see actual returns, obviously, there are ways to tell if a collection is more successful than another, but that doesn’t necessarily have to do with the show. It has more to do with the timing, or the fabrications we’re using or what’s happening with the seasons.”

Christian Siriano’s spring 2020 show. (Photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

While a six-figure tab will give you a basic fashion show format, there are those designers who go to the extreme during NYFW. In 2011, The New York Times reported that Marc Jacobs (following in the European show extravaganza tradition) spent $1 million to produce his show. While these grand spectacles are a tool to sell clothes, the buyers attending these shows do not buy their collections during the show, but rather sales take place during private showroom appointments. So is it all worth it?

Rachel Feinstein’s set for Marc Jacobs’ Fall 2012 show. (Photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

The reach and cost-effectiveness of having such a show is difficult to determine. Most brands look to Instagram as a tool to determine how many potential customers have viewed their runway videos and images.

To hype their show and encourage sales, some brands have tried to offer customers specific looks immediately after the show, both in their stores and on their website, in an attempt to translate the excitement of the runway moment. Others have opted to live stream their runway show so customers can view the show and then immediately shop the collection. A few designers – such as Gucci and Balenciaga- have taken to regularly dropping new items between shows.

So with a six-figure price tag, many young designers are conflicted and ask the question, “is a fashion show worth the cost?” Well for many, the answer is yes. A fashion show is a great marketing tool. It is a way to get customers to notice your exciting and creative work. For many luxury brands, a show is a marketing tool to sell cosmetics, perfume and accessories. These brands may actually lose money producing clothes, as Exane BNP Paribas and the fashion consultancy firm VR Fashion Luxury Expertise have noted. But runway shows and their creative clothing are valuable to the branding. “Today shows have nothing to do with clothes anymore,” Guram Gvasalia, the CEO of Vetements, told WWD after the brand reorganized the scheduling of its runway shows in 2017. “Most of the looks are not even produced and therefore never get to the shop floor. Shows are there merely to sell a dream and that, at the end of the day, will sell a perfume or a wallet in a duty-free store.”

For smaller labels, branding is also an important opportunity that can benefit their brand. Christian Siriano told Vogue Runway that his shows, which have been praised for his diversity in models, have attracted other business, such as a shoe partnership with Payless. Presenting during a major fashion week also adds credibility and legitimacy to a young label. It can help put their brand on radar of industry leaders. Stylists for example keep an eye on fashion week and pull clothes for photoshoots and celebrity events. A young designer can easily land in an editorial layout or on the red carpet on a major celebrity. Or, catch the eye of a savy store buyer who just might be willing to give them a break.

The fashion industry represents over $2.5 trillion dollars (according to a recent McKinsey report in 2018) and, on average, a 10 to 15 minute fashion show can cost anywhere from $200,000 to over $1 million. With these hefty price tags brands must think, “what is the return on investment?” Is the answer social influence? Is it celebrities and street-style stars wearing the collection? Well, according to data analytics provider Launchmetrics, the answer is more complex.

Launchmetrics’ new “Data on the Runway” report suggests the key is MIV or media impact value – an algorithm which measures the impact of media placements to derive a number for performance outcomes.

Take Ralph Lauren’s 50th year anniversary for example (spring 2019), Launchmetrics’ data analysts found that Ralph Lauren’s widely publicized anniversary show ranked first amongst the brands, with the highest MIV generated over the Fashion Weeks at $38 million.

The star-studded event included Hillary Clinton, Oprah Winfrey, Robert De Niro, Donna Karan, Calvin Klein, and Anna Wintour. Lauren also hosted an extravagant collection presentation and finished with a paparazzi-heavy post-show dinner party.

Left to right: Hillary Clinton, Ralph Lauren, and Anna Wintour. (Photo courtesy of Instagram@Ralph Lauren)

According to Launchmetrics, it is clear that influencers garnered enormous buzz for the brand (taking 46.2% of the pie), followed by Ralph Lauren’s owned media channels (at 29.7%).

Following Ralph Lauren, Launchmetrics estimated Coach ($27 million), Dior ($22.6 million) and Gucci ($19.4 million), followed closely behind and once again, Chiara Ferragni topped the charts as the top influencer voice.

Chiara Ferragani (known as The Blond Salad) led with $18.3 million in MIV; to put that into perspective, she nearly reached the same MIV as Versace ($18.7 million) did for their SS19 show — proving the continual power of influencer investments.

Influencer Chiara Ferragni (right) attends many shows over Fashion Month and is expected to boast $18.3 million in Media Impact Value – Zimbio.com

According to Forbes magazine, “social media actually proved imperative for fashion brands altogether; posts shared by celebrities and influencers represent an impressive 89% of buzz compared to online media’s 11%. Spring/Summer 19’s top-performing celebrity was Nicki Minaj, who generated a total of $11.3 million MIV over the season.”

Alison Bringé, CMO at Launchmetrics, said: “Today, fashion weeks are no longer industry events but are a platform to reach the digital savvy consumer, so brands need to think outside the box in order to transform their 15-minute event into something that lives on, beyond what happens on the runway. The case studies within the report shed light on how brands can generate buzz through activities such as using influencers to create 360° campaigns, changing their location to talk to new consumers and markets, or even by focusing on their own media to increase the share of wallet.”

While the ROI for having a runway show differs for every brand, one point is clear; a fashion show is the best way for a designer to communicate their creative vision. “For me, the show is the only moment when I can tell my story,” designer Dries Van Noten once told The Independent. “It’s the way I communicate my ideas to the world.”

Dries Van Noten’s men’s spring 2019 collection, inspired by the work of interiors designer Verner Panton (Photo courtesy of AP Photos)

“If I couldn’t do my shows, I wouldn’t want to be in fashion,” designer Thom Browne told author Booth Moore in her book, American Runway. “I look at my shows as my responsibility in the world of design to move design forward. I think they are such an amazing way of giving a more interesting context to fashion.”

Thom Brown’s spring 2020 show. (Photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

So in the end, we ask these questions: 1) Are fashion shows still relevant? 2) How do emerging designers afford the fashion show price tag? 3) Will the next generation of designers find an affordable alternative to the fashion show? 4) Will millennial & Gen Z designers find a way to disrupt the status quo and make the fashion show as obsolete as the floppy disk? 5) Will we soon be watching virtual 3D fashion shows with life-like avatars walking the runway?

Share your thoughts, we’d love to hear from you!

 

 

STAYING SILENT IS OUT – FASHION ACTIVISM IS IN

Prabal Gurung created political statement T-shirts that were worn by social media influencers and street style stars during NY Fashion Week 2017.  From Left to right: Shea Marie, Caroline Vreeland , Bryanboy, Tina Craig, Irene Kim,  Aimee Song  and Chriselle Lim . (Photo Courtesy of Forbes.com)

The Men’s Spring 2020 shows have just wrapped up, and while the runways were filled with plenty of notable trends, such as soft suiting at Givenchy, gender bending at Comme des Garçons, nautical looks at Prada, and romantic prints at Louis Vuitton  – the one trend that has been gaining momentum is the “designer as activist.” Fashion activism is nothing new. In the 1930s the Keffiyeh became a symbol of political uprising and rebellion. In the 1960s, designers gave us peace symbol T-shirts in protest of the Vietnam war,  and mini-skirts, which became the symbol for women’s rights and sexual liberation. In 2017, Cosmopolitan listed 22 designers who used their runway shows to promote a particular cause or in protest of global injustice. From pussy hats to white bandanas with the hashtag #TiedTogether (a symbol of inclusivity and acceptance), according to designer Talbot Runhof, “If you have a platform to say something and you don’t, then shame on you.” In the age of social media and the internet, where opinions and messages are delivered in lightning speed, designers, actors and other influencers feel duty-bound and a certain responsibility to bring attention to the relationship between fashion, politics and social change.

Here are a few noteworthy designers who have shown more than just clothes on their runways, past & present.

OFF-WHITE

Virgil Abloh has developed a cult following with his collections for Off-White and the brand is worn by street style stars around the globe. For his men’s Spring 2020 show, Abloh focused on the negative effects of plastic and saving the environment. According to Abloh, “Plastic: once hailed as a miracle material, now condemned as a major pollutant — and possibly about to be considered a work of art.” The show’s invite was a clear plastic invitation with the words “plastic” printed on it.  Abloh believes plastic can be recycled and used to create something beautiful, such as art. Plastic even made its way in the collection with plastic rain gear and a hazmat suit.

As for the clothes, Abloh looks to street art for inspiration and tapped Futura, a contemporary of Keith Haring and Jean-Michel Basquiat, for the prints in this collection, case in point, a hand-painted white coat, top and pant look.To address his environmental concerns, Abloh featured an aquatic theme throughout the collection with shades of blue tie dye prints and amoeba-shaped appliqué motifs on knits.

The show ended with the models stomping through a beautiful field of white carnations that was created for the show. Abloh’s message was load and clear, we must protect our environment.

Virgil Abloh at his men’s Fall 2020 Off-White Collection. (Photo courtesy of theguardian.com)

Stella McCartney

Stella McCartney has been one of the biggest advocates of the environment, a pioneer of sustainable fashion and an animal rights activist, since the creation of her namesake label in 2001.  McCartney Men’s 2020 collection was presented in a lush garden in Milan’s city center. According to Vogue.com, McCartney stated, “Let’s just forget fashion for a moment and savor all the natural beauty around us and talk about flowers!”

McCartney focused on playful tailoring, hand-printed silk shirts, ties and shorts with horse motifs, lightweight dusters and loose-fitting jumpsuits with satellite Earth prints and of course a collection that was fur free. McCartney kept the collection light and humorous, but her fight to save the earth is a serious one.

Stella McCartney’s Fall 2020 Men’s Collection. (Photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

Pyer Moss

Herby Jean-Raymond launched his menswear label Pyer Moss in 2013 and followed up with a women’s collection shortly thereafter. In the few seasons Jean-Raymond has been presenting, the designer has quickly become known for his social activist stands. Most notably, he is inspired by the heritage of African-Americans, as well as social issues that this community faces today.

Pyer Moss Spring 2019. (Photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

Dior

In July 2016 Dior announced that Maria Grazia Chiuri would be the first female creative director at Dior. Chiuri has been making political statements ever since.  T-shirts screen printed with “We Should All Be Feminists” and “Dio(R)evolution” were sold with proceeds going to Rihanna’s Clara Lionel Foundation, which fights against injustice, inequality & poverty and promotes access to education.

Christian Dior Spring 2017 Collection. (Photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

Women’s Rights

Fall 2017 was a big season for designers to speak out about social injustice. Attendees at Missoni’s Fall show each received pink pussy hats (madefamous by the Women’s March on Washington in January 2017). Guests proudly wore the hats, as did the models during the finale.

According to Angela Missoni, creative director for the label, their message for Fall 2017 was all about “femininity in our times, prepared to confront the conflicts and dilemmas of our contemporary society: the conditions, needs, and rights of all women and minorities.”

Missoni’s Fall 2017 Show. (Photo courtesy of DailyNation.com)

Rio Uribe, the designer behind Gypsy Sport, gave a passionate speech before his show which focused on homelessness and refugee tent cities. “I wanted to talk to you guys a little bit about my show,” he said from a mic backstage. “The Fall/Winter ’17 collection was inspired honestly by people who live on the street and just don’t have much fashion in their life or any of the luxuries that we take for granted. … I don’t want anyone who is gay, or Muslim, or disabled, or mentally ill, or a veteran, or a drug addict, or a runaway to have to live on the street just because someone’s not willing to give them a chance.”

Gypsy Sport Fall 2017 Show. (Photo courtesy of cosmopolitan.com)

Prabal Gurung created “The Future is Female” T-shirt for his Fall 2017 show. According to Gurung, “So to me feminism is not just a trending topic. It’s the only way I’ve known, even before I knew what [feminism] was.”

Bella Hadid sporting Prabal Gurung’s feminist T-shirt at his Spring 2017 show. (Photo courtesy of Forbes.com)

“All-inclusive” hit an all-time high in Fall 2017 as Christian Siriano enlisted models of all sizes to walk his runway show, from plus-size & petite to curvy, as well as plenty of racially diverse women. The 2008 Project Runway winner consistently speaks out against fashion magazines’ unrealistic body standards that are set by the modeling industry. He believes designers have the power to change this by adjusting their hiring process and sizing.

A plus sized model walks Christian Siriano’s show during his 2017 fashion show. (Photo courtesy of cosmopolitan.com)

During Tommy Hilfiger’s 2017 extravaganza in Venice Beach, models strutted down the runway wearing white bandanas as part of Business of Fashion’s #TiedTogether initiative. According to Business of Fashion founder and CEO Imran Amed, this campaign encouraged people to wear the colorless handkerchief “to make a clear statement in support of human unity and inclusiveness amidst growing uncertainty and a dangerous narrative peddling division.”

#TiedTogether Bandanas Hit Runway for First Time at Tommy Hilfiger. (Photo courtesy of Hollywoodreporter.com)

Also in 2017,  The Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) partnered with Planned Parenthood to launch the “Fashion Stands With Planned Parenthood” campaign to raise awareness about women’s health care during New York Fashion Week.

Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour sporting a Planned Parenthood badge. (Photo courtesy of 14urban.com)

At the New York Spring 2018 shows, a “Get out and Vote” message dominated in advance of the U.S. mid term elections.

Prabal Gurung walks the runway in a Vote T-shirt show during New York Fashion Week Spring 2018. (Photo courtesy of Glamour.com)

Going Fur Free

While Stella McCartney has been creating fur-free and leather-free clothes for years, many designers have now jumped on the bandwagon.

As of September 2018, Burberry announced that it would also be going fur-free, a big move ever since Riccardo Tisci became the creative director for the label. The brand will no longer be using rabbit, fox, mink, and Asiatic raccoon fur, though they will still feature angora, shearling, and leather.

Burberry goes fur free as of Sept. 2018. (Photo courtesy of teenvogue.com)

Shockingly, in March 2018, Donatella Versace announced that she would no longer be using fur in her collections. “Fur? I am out of that. I don’t want to kill animals to make fashion. It doesn’t feel right,” she told 1843 magazine.

Versace goes fur free. (Photo courtesy of teenvogue.com)

In June 2017, protesters interrupted a live interview with Michael Kors at New York City’s Metropolitan Museum of Art, with signs that read “Michael Kors has blood on his hands.” This prompted Michael Kors to announce that his company would be going fur free as of December 2018.

Michael Kors goes fur free. (Photo courtesy of teenvogue.com)

In October 2017, Gucci announced it would be going fur-free as well. Alessandro Michele is opting for sustainable alternatives to create his “grandma-chic” vibe. Prada also added their name to the fur-free list as of 2020.

Gucci goes fur free. (Photo courtesy of teenvogue.com)

Following in the footsteps of San Francisco and Los Angeles, New York is now considering a ban on fur as well, however, there is a lot of push back. One of the oldest industries in New York City dating back to when Henry Hudson explored the region in 1609 and found French traders bartering for furs with Native Americans. New York became a thriving trading post of beaver and other skins that traveled through New York Harbor and to Europe. In fact, the official New York crest includes beavers, whose valuable pelts helped fuel the early fur trade. Stay tuned!

Designers with a History of Rocking the Boat

English fashion designer Katherine Hamnett is best known for her political T-shirts and ethical business philosophy. In 1983 she stated, “If you want to get the message out there, you should print it in giant letters on a T-shirt.” Celebrities such as George Michael (who was part of Wham at the time) wore one of her “Choose Life” tees in a music video for “Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go.” Roger Taylor of Queen, wore her “WORLDWIDE NUCLEAR BAN NOW” T-shirt during Queen’s historic appearance at the first edition of the Rock in Rio festival in Rio de Janeiro.

Political T-shirts by Katharine Hamnett. (Photo courtesy of lovewildlivefree.com)

Vivienne Westwood is another British fashion designer and businesswoman, who was largely responsible for bringing modern punk and new wave fashion into the mainstream. Westwood has retail shops worldwide and sells a variety of merchandise; some of it linked to her many political causes, such as the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, climate change and civil rights groups.

Vivienne Westwood Red Label SS14 fashion show. (Photo courtesy of Alan Davidson/The Picture Library LTD.)

In 2000, John Galliano created one of the most controversial fashion shows ever. For his Christian Dior Haute Couture collection, Galliano was inspired by the Paris homeless. As a master of shock value, his message rang loud and clear in a city of beauty and glamour. The show created such controversy that homeless activists picketed outside the Dior headquarters and riot police had to be called in to deal with the protesters. As a result, Dior’s flagship was closed for two hours and Galliano had to issue an apology statement,  “I never wanted to make a spectacle of misery.”

Christian Dior by John Galliano, spring/summer 2000 haute couture show. (Photo courtesy of newyorktimes.com)

Alexander McQueen’s inspiring showmanship is greatly missed, ever since his suicide on February 11, 2010. For the late designer’s Fall 2009 collection, McQueen took an environmental stance on the runway as his models dressed in fiercely tailored coats, boxy jackets and airy gazar dresses walked around a heap of trash. McQueen even referenced trash in some of his looks such as aluminum can accessories.  It was all so hauntingly beautiful.

Alexander McQueen’s  Fall 2009 ready-to-wear women’s collection during Paris Fashion Week. (Photo courtesy of REUTERS/Pascal Rossignol)

Karl Lagerfeld is another designer who is greatly missed for his theatrics. The late designer passed away on February 19, 2019 in Paris. For his Spring 2015 collection, Lagerfeld took a feminist stance and created a playful protest for woman’s equality. According to Vogue.com, “ Cara Delevingne and Caroline de Maigret had megaphones in hand as a parade of models including Kendall Jenner, Georgia May Jagger, Edie Campbell, Joan Smalls, and even Gisele Bündchen, brandished signs that read “History is Her Story,” “Feminism Not Masochism,” “We Can Match the Machos” and “Ladies First.” Even male model Baptiste Giabiconi waved a “He For She” banner, which just might be our favorite nod to Emma Watson’s global UN campaign yet. Perhaps the “Free Freedom” sign was a winking nod to Free the Nipple, the cause du jour for models like Delevingne, who opened the show and Kendall Jenner, who Instagrammed about it post show. “I’m Every Woman” blared from the speakers, and everyone danced in their seats.”

Chanel spring 2015 collection. (Photo courtesy of elle.com)

While some fashion critics predicted a worldwide boycott of Nike products after their controversial “Just Do It” campaign featuring Colin Kaepernick, they were proven wrong when the company reported a 10 percent jump in income. It turns out that millennials expect companies to take a position on social and political issues.

TELL US, HOW IMPORTANT IS IT TO YOU THAT BRANDS TAKE A STAND ON SOCIAL, POLITICAL AND ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUES ?