University of Fashion Blog

Posts Tagged: "Louis Vuitton"

THAT’S A WRAP: THE SPRING 2021 SHOW SEASON COMES TO AN END

- - Fashion Shows

A golden look from Paco Rabanne’s Spring 2021 Runway. (Photo Credit: Courtesy of Paco Rabanne)

It’s a wrap! The Spring 2021 Fashion Season has officially come to an end. Now known as Phygital Fashion Month, a hybrid mix of digital and physical fashion presentations, Paris officially closed the season with a bang on  Tuesday, Oct. 7th. Some of the heavy hitter brands, Chanel, Balenciaga, Givenchy, Miu Miu, and Louis Vuitton turned video into an art form, while others chose to show their collection in the old-fashioned traditional runway format. Either way, it was a great season.

Sporty chic at Miu Miu’s Spring 2021 Collection. (Photo Credit: Courtesy of Miu Miu)

While many have debated how can the industry go forward with fashion presentations in the middle of a global pandemic, many designers responded with whimsical collections giving us all hope for a brighter and happier future. After all, the purpose of the runway to give us an escape from reality and transform us into the designer’s fictional collection world. Here are a few collections that ended Paris Fashion Week with bravado and excitement.

A Goth inspired wedding at Maison Margiela’s Spring 2021 Collection. (Photo Credit: Courtesy of Maison Margiela)

BALENCIAGA

Hope is the last thing to die” is an old Russian saying that inspired Balenciaga’s creative director Demna Gvasalia to move forward with creating his latest collection. Always one to defy fashion norms, Gvasalia and his husband created a music video to present his spring 2021 Balenciaga collection. In an interview with Vogue Runway, the creative director stated, “You know, I couldn’t wait not to do a show. It didn’t feel right with the way things are. So we’ve made a music video. My husband recorded that ’80s track by Corey Hart, ‘I wear my sunglasses at night’—because you know, is there anything more absurdly fashion than that? It’s also allegorical. You know, where is fashion going? It’s out there, searching in the dark at the moment, not seeing…

In the middle of  pandemic and global unrest, the video might have sounded like an apocalyptic film; but thankfully that was not the case as the video was a tribute to Balenciaga’s nighttime people; each subject was captured walking Paris’ dark streets to a purposeful destination, all dressed in Balenciaga’s latest looks, complete with sunglasses. The video captured the essence of Paris’ nightlife and glamour as each model strutted the streets heading to see friends – an activity we all long for as we’ve spent months in quarantine. The video was upbeat, alive and oh so clever. Streets as the runway. Brilliant!

Gvasalia has always been an activist for the environment and being in isolation only strengthened his passion for sustainable fashion. In a press release, the house released specifics: “93.5% of the plain materials in this collection are either certified sustainable or upcycled. 100% of the print bases have sustainable certifications.” With the resources of the Kering Group at hand, Gvasalia said, “we discovered we could do it quite easily, with the exception of the fibers that are in some of the existing fabrics. There are solutions if you look for them. There’s a need to revise things. To start a new chapter.” He believes in the future consumers will be reusing the clothes they already own. This begs the question: how will your favorite pieces stand the test of time?

For spring Gvasalia hopes to answer that question by creating a timeless collection of great pieces that ranged from terrific outerwear to cozy knits and cool athletic wear. While most of the collection was genderless, such as the oversized outerwear, the distressed hoodies, classic denim, plaid shirting and oversized tailored suiting. The designer also created a few effortless wrap dresses for day, but for evening, he opted for casual glam with a metallic lingerie inspired top paired with drawstring trousers. These are real clothes that are meant to be lived in and loved.

THOM BROWNE

Inspired by a childhood trip to Montreal to attend the 1976 Summer Olympics, Thom Browne can still remember Caitlyn Jenner winning the gold medal in the decathlon, that moment in time has stuck with him as he subtly references sport motifs in many of his collections. So, for his spring 2021 collection, Browne transports us to the future of the 2132 Olympics in a humorous video, which featured comedian Jordan Firstman and model Grace Mahary bantering like sports commentators on the moon, as models and flag bearers descend the stadium steps of the Los Angeles Coliseum; the location hosted the 1932 Olympics and was chosen for its Art Deco architecture.

While the video is set to take place in the future, the collection itself was inspired by the past, as Browne reinterprets the silhouettes of the ’20s and ’30s with plenty of drop waist dresses that were long and chic. The Deco silhouettes stole the show as Browne resumed his quirky experimental fashion that shifted the position of garments on the body, case in point, jackets worn as skirts.

Browne’s designs may at times be unconventional, but one cannot deny that he is a master craftsman. His his couture-like techniques were perfection: seersuckers made of cashmere, embroidery so thick it’s almost quilting, cable knits, intarsia suits, and trompe l’oeil dresses—all accentuating the intricate texture of each design. The collection was created in various shades of white as a Browne calls the hue, ‘a symbol of hope.’ In addition to traditional models, Browne also used actual Olympians in his video, suggesting that his quirky fashion can be worn by those brave enough to wear them.

With everyone spending quarantine time transfixed to their screens, Brown’s video has undoubtedly ushered in a new era in the fashion industry, “fashiontainment.” An interesting combo of fashion and entertainment. Watch this space.

GIVENCHY

A women’s look from Givenchy’s Spring 2021 Collection. (Photo Credit: Courtesy of Givenchy)

In June, Givenchy’s social media blew up when it featured a photo of the house’s new creative director, Matthew M. Williams, shirtless and tattooed in the house’s introduction of their new young designer. So naturally, Givenchy was the most anticipated collection of Paris Fashion Week. The collection was a perfect balance between the houses’ signature DNA and Williams’ elegant goth aesthetic, devil horns and all.

The debut collection was an edgy twist on established dress codes. There was no one theme per se, just simply great wearable pieces that Williams said he would personally wear. Digging into the archives of Givenchy, Williamson was inspired by the horn heels that were created during the Alexander McQueen’s era. There were also nods to Hubert de Givenchy: perfectly tailored suits with architectural-inspired details for both men and women, a basic denim jacket updated with unique reflective embroideries, tank tops with asymmetrical draping that were minimalistic perfection.

A men’s look from Givenchy’s Spring 2021 Collection. (Photo Credit: Courtesy of Givenchy)

For evening, Williamson continued with the bold, yet rich, aesthetic that he is known for. Key looks included: a geometric square shaped cape for both men and women, intricate ring and crystal embellishments found on delicate mesh dresses and hooded sweatshirts, a laser-cut bustier gown and plenty of backless evening dresses. It is clear that Williamson’s vision of the Givenchy woman is a modern and powerful one.

CHANEL

Even in a global pandemic, the House of Chanel managed to serve up glamour, in the most ostentatious way. The full-fledged show was held in Paris’s soaring Grand Palais with the runway backdrop spelling out, in huge letters, “CHANEL,” reminiscent of the iconic Hollywood sign. Chanel’s creative director Virginie Viard seemed to be inspired by the modern life of actresses from their glamorous red-carpet moments to their daily coffee runs and everything in between. Her collection was a perfect combination of Parisian cool mixed with L.A.’s laid-back style.

Viard’s marriage of these two worlds worked like charm. She paired her classic Chanel tweed jackets with petal pushers or stone-washed denim jeans or with tiny miniskirts in pastel colors, all reminiscent of the excess of the 1980s, The hybrid mix of these two cities came in the form of an elongated, robe-like, pink cardigan with black piping, paired with a multi-charm necklace and a logo tiara headband. Other key looks ranged from graphic black and white floral dresses; neon colored billboard-inspired prints on t-shirts and day dresses;  a sequin pantsuit for evening; and plenty of red-carpet feathered looks.

While many red carpet events have been put on hold due to COVID, it’s clear that Viard is looking ahead to brighter days.

LOUIS VUITTON

Louis Vuitton’s show was the official end to Paris Fashion Week and leave it to Nicolas Ghesquière to deliver the virtual reality experience we’ve all been waiting for.  The live show was held at the newly remodeled-by-LVM, La Samaritaine department store. Sprinkled among the audience were state-of-the-art 360-degree cameras that allowed spectators at home to pivot in their chairs, to watch models coming and going. It was almost like you were actually there!

My question this season was less about one theme; it was about this zone between femininity and masculinity,” Ghesquière explained in an interview with Vogue Runway. “This zone is highlighted by nonbinary people, people that are taking a lot of freedom dressing themselves as they want, and, in turn, giving a lot of freedom to all of us. I found it inspiring to explore what the items are that represent this wardrobe that is not feminine, not masculine. I wanted to zoom in on that section in between.”

The show opened with a “Vote” top (a statement tee that many in the fashion industry are making) paired with pleated chinos cinched at the waist with a black belt. This relaxed street-ready look set the tone for a wearable collection that we all want to own right now, such as duster coats, mini dresses, and khaki suits. Ghesquière also showed skater-inspired tees that were spliced into elaborate techno patchworks. The designer showed off his technical skills by creating expandable jackets that were built with panels, so that the customer can wear it either fitted or oversized. He also used this same technique for trousers giving the wearer the freedom to style them as he or she chooses. It was all a fresh approach to Ghesquière’s beloved ‘80s silhouette with a genderless concept.

Do you have a fav collection, now that the spring 2021 season has come to an end?

 

THE FASHION COMMUNITY REACTS TO SYSTEMIC RACISM

Protesters gather outside the White House. (Photo Credit: Jim Lo Scalzo for Shutterstock)

A once-in-a lifetime pandemic and a tanking global economy with millions of people out of work provided the backdrop for yet another unthinkable act of racism on May 25th as the world witnessed the senseless killing of George Floyd, an unarmed Black man at the hands of Minneapolis police. The public’s reaction was swift and decisive. Black Lives Matter!

Despite the pandemic (as of June 11th has caused over 417,829 deaths globally) people took to the streets in the U.S. and around the world in protest of systemic racism. Social media channels exploded and T-shirts were swiftly marketed with the tags:  #BlackLivesMatter, #BLM, #NoJusticeNoPeace, #anti_racist and #icantbreathe.

It didn’t take long for the fashion industry to react, while at the same time, come under the microscope for its lack of diversity and sincerity. Could this moment in history be the  “sea change” that the world and the fashion industry has been waiting for?

Tuesday, June 2nd  became #BlackoutTuesday, whereby all brand/designer social media (SM) users posted a black box and refrained from posting promotional content or selfies, as a way of mourning and calling attention to systematic racism.

On June 3rd, Pulitzer prize winning writer, Robin Givhan of  The Washington Post, herself a woman of colorsent a tweet that reminded the industry of their lack of diversity.

 

Then, on June 4th, the CFDA (Tom Ford and Steven Kolb) published a letter listing initiatives that they planned to create systemic change: 1) create an in-house employment program charged with placing Black talent in all sections of the fashion business to help achieve a racially balanced industry. 2) place Black students in companies for mentorships and internships. 3) implement and make available to their members a Diversity and Inclusion training program 4) make immediate contributions and take up fundraising activities in support of charitable organizations aimed at equalizing the playing field for the Black community such as, but not limited to the NACCP and Campaign Zero – among others.

CFDA supports Black Lives Matter. (Photo Credit: CFDA)

Anna Wintour came out with an apology, for her ‘hurtful’ and ‘intolerant’ behavior at Vogue, (now that’s a first), while Andre Leon Talley challenged Wintour’s statement, citing the news of newly appointed Samira Nasr, the first Black female editor-in-chief of Harper’s Bazaar, as catalyst. In other publishing news, Refinery 29’s founder Christene Barberich stepped down as Editor-in-chief in response to accusations of racism and a toxic company culture, while Leandra Medine Cohen announced that she was stepping back from Man Repeller, after readers called her out for a lack of diversity in content and employees.

A June 10th Diet Prada Instagram post challenged retailer Anthropologie’s reaction to racism as ‘beige.’ The post prompted numerous comments that exposed the discriminatory practice of giving code names to POC (people of color) shoppers and lawsuits that called out certain brands and retailers guilty of the practice, such as Moschino, Versace, Anthropologie and Zara. Looks like Robin Givhan is right, the industry has a lot of soul-searching to do.

In the days following the murder of George Floyd, celebrities, athletes, and politicians all stood up and showed support for the Black Lives Matter movement. But, are these fashion brands and designers really showing their support or is it just a PR stunt? In an industry that prides itself on being global and multi-cultural, the fashion industry has a duty to its customers and society to use its privilege and power to drive systemic change and fight against racism. Right?

Victoria Beckham shows her support to Black Lives Matter. (Photo Credit: Victoria Beckham)

 

Actions speak loader than words. (Photo Credit: Fashion Nova Cares)

Most messages posted on social media were thoughtful and less PR-centric. However, Louis Vuitton was one of the first to come under fire from consumers. The company was criticized for the “tone deaf” launch of their new handbag line in the middle of the Black Lives Matter movement. Three days later, Louis Vuitton uploaded the following statement to the house’s 38.2 million Instagram followers alongside a video commissioned by men’s artistic director Virgil Abloh: “Make a change. Freedom from racism towards peace together. #BlackLivesMatter.”

Virgil Abloh, here at the 2019 CFDA Fashion Awards, has been ridiculed for a ‘measly’ donation to help Black Lives Matter protesters. (Photo Credit: GETTY IMAGES)

But Abloh was not forgiven so quickly. The designer, who is also known as the CEO and brainchild of streetwear giant Off-White, shared on his personal Instagram Stories that he made a $50 donation to Fempower, an organization that is helping arrested Black Lives Matter protesters with their legal expenses.

His followers were outraged. The designer’s estimate worth is over $4 million, and his measly $50 donation couldn’t even buy you an Off-White face mask.

One Twitter user wrote: “So Virgil really donated LESS THAN the equivalent of an Off-White keychain to the bail fund?? Smh wow. Don’t buy his trash, y’all.”

Virgil Abloh, creative director of Louis Vuitton Mens and Designer of Off-White, takes a stand against looters. (Photo Credit: Instagram)

Fashion’s Colin Kaepernick: Designer Kerby Jean-Raymond

Kerby Jean-Raymond, the designer of Pyer Moss has always used his collections as a platform against injustices. Here are the bloody boots in his police brutality collection from his
spring 2016 runway. (Photo Credit: Joshua Lott for Getty Images)

On September 11, 2015 – Kerby Jean-Raymond staged a political commentary on police brutality and racism for his Pyer Moss spring 2016 runway show. His shows are and have been a call to action for the Black Lives Matter movement. In 2017, he focused on depression, both personal and cultural. Erykah Badu helped style that collection which brought to light things that keep us down, set to the sounds of a choir singing Future’s “Trap Niggas” and the Black National Anthem, (Lift Up Your Voice and Sing, written as a poem by NAACP leader James Weldon Johnson (1871-1938) and then set to music by his brother John Rosamond Johnson (1873-1954) in 1899.)

Protesters, Looting & Retailers

While most of the protesters were peaceful, there were agitators that caused chaos and the destruction of churches, monuments, car fires, and store lootings, unfortunately were part of it. No store was safe. Looters destroyed little mom and pop shops in their communities, as well as major department stores and luxury retail brands. Manhattan’s affluent Soho boutiques were ravaged. The city looked like a war zone with broken glass everywhere and boarded up storefronts.

Looters hit luxury retailers, like Chanel and Rolex, in lower Manhattan.( Photo Credit: New York Magazine)

But even with the rioting and looting, designers and brands still supported the Black Lives Matter movement; brands like Nike, Adidas, and Michael Kors lent swift public support to the protests. Plenty of other designers followed, although some lagged in their response and consumers took note.

Michael Kors supporting Black Lives Matter. (Photo credit: @MichaelKors Twitter Account)

 

Stylist Law Roach and Zendaya. Roach took action by starting a fund with his own money to rebuild Black businesses that were destroyed in the protests. (Photo Credit: Teen Vogue)

Jon Batiste (band leader for Stay Human & the  Late Show with Stephen Colbert) at the ‘We Are’ March, New York. City (Photo Credit: Stephen Lovekin for Shutterstock)

The protests succeeded in sending the fashion industry a message loud and clear. Consumers, especially Millennials and Gen Zers are the ones to watch. They are faithful to brands that they believe are making a difference. This cohort are focused on movements that work toward the realization of a world where all members of a society, regardless of race, ethnicity, sexual preference or religious background, have basic human rights and equal access to the benefits of society. Just as movements of the 20th century spurred change (Woman’s Suffrage, Women’s Liberation, Civil Rights, Anti War, We Are and Gay Rights, to name a few), so too will the 21st century bring change. Movements like Black Lives Matter, Me Too, Times Up, Equal Pay For Equal Work, Gender Equality,  Gun Safety, Marriage Equality, Occupy, Climate Change, Criminal Justice Reform, Indigenous Peoples, Immigration Reform, Pro Life/Pro Choice and the Anti-Racist movement will spur brands into action.

In the world of social media transparency, the fashion industry will have to do more than just speak up for the Black Lives Matter movement. They’ll need to advocate and implement change within their companies and provide support to Black-owned businesses.

Funding opportunities are a great way for the fashion industry to support the movement. Shockingly, to this day, Virgil Abloh (Louis Vuitton) and Balmain’s Olivier Rousteing are still the only Black creative directors at major brands (an abundance, compared to high fashion’s zero BAME CEOs) and Edward Enninful, the only Black editor-in-chief (British Vogue) of a major fashion magazine, until the recent appointment of Samira Nasr announced on June 9th (Harper’s Bazaar).  

Edward Enninful Vogue editor-in-chief (Photo credit: Hypebae)  Samira Nasr editor-in-chief Harper’s Bazaar (Photo credit: The Cut)

On June 10th, Harper’s Bazaar published a list of 10 Black-owned fashion brands to support and invest in.  Other ‘call-to-action’ lists have emerged encouraging consumers on how to support local Black-owned businesses, such as grocery stores, hair salons, clothing stores, etc. Another way to support Back-owned businesses is to write positive reviews of those businesses, follow them on social media, engage in their posts, sign up for their newsletters and tell your friends and family to do the same.

The Industry Puts Their Money Where Their Mouth Is

The trendy direct-to-consumer beauty brand Glossier announced that it would donating $500,000 to organizations fighting racial injustice and another $500,000 to BAME-owned beauty companies. (BAME stands for Black, Asian and minority ethnic).

On the brand’s social media channels, Gucci posted a poem by Cleo Wade, a Black artist who also co-chairs the brand’s Changemakers Council, a group of community leaders backed by $5 million in charitable funding established in the wake of Gucci’s blackface sweater scandal: “We need to end racism. Start by healing it in your own family.”

Gucci has also established a fellowship program which is intended to recruit underrepresented talent from fashion schools for full-time positions. But fashion must make measurable commitments to hire Black people to their senior ranks and not just in their lower-level positions.

Aurora James, a designer and creative director of the shoe label Brother Vellies, created the “15 Percent Pledge,” which calls on major retailers to give that amount of shelf space to Black-owned businesses. (Fifteen percent of the United States population is Black.)

A lookbook image from Brother Vellies. (Photo Credit: Brother Vellies)

James is calling on Whole Foods, Target, Walmart, Sephora, Saks, Net-a-Porter, Barnes & Noble and Home Depot to take part.She hopes that her 15 Percent Pledge will “deliver more money to Black communities.”

Amazon stands with the Black Community. (Photo Credit: Amazon)

Sportswear giant Nike committed $40 million over the next four years to support the Black community in the United States on behalf of its Nike, Jordan Brand and Converse labels. The funds will support organizations focused on social justice, education and addressing racial inequality in America, Nike chief executive officer John Donahoe said in a message to the company’s staff.

Internally, Donahoe said, the priority is to “get our own house in order. Simply put, we must continue to foster and grow a culture where diversity, inclusion and belonging is valued and is real. Nike needs to be better than society as a whole. Our aspiration is to be a leader.”

He added: “Systemic racism and the events that have unfolded across America over the past few weeks serve as an urgent reminder of the continued change needed in our society. We know Black Lives Matter. We must educate ourselves more deeply on the issues faced by Black communities and understand the enormous suffering and senseless tragedy racial bigotry creates.”

Nike and Michael Jordan speak out against racism. (Photo Credit: US Magazine)

In a WWD article, Jack McCollough and Lazaro Hernandez, founders and creative directors of Proenza Schouler said in a statement, “We unequivocally believe any form of racism or discrimination has no place in our word and we proudly stand with the entire Black Lives Matter movement. We affirm our commitment to supporting the entire Black community, both in terms of what we share with the world externally and how our organization is operated internally.” The designers said they are supporting blacklivesmatter.com, naacpldf.org, blackvisionsmn.org, joincampaignzero.org, libertyfund.nyc, and brooklynbailfund.org/donate.

WWD also reported that PVH took part in the National Day of Mourning, which coincided with the memorial services for George Floyd. PVH North America associates from its retail stores, offices and warehouses were invited to observe eight minutes and 46 seconds of silence Thursday, June 4th at 2 p.m. ET during Floyd’s memorial service. In partnership with BRAAVE (Building Resources for African American Voices and Empowerment), PVH has created a task force inclusive of leadership, HR, Inclusion & Diversity, The PVH Foundation, legal and corporate responsibility teams to ensure they are taking the right steps to make the most impact. The PVH Foundation is donating $100,000 to the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund, which supports racial justice through advocacy, impact litigation and education and seeks to achieve structural changes to advance democracy, eliminate disparities and achieve racial justice. It is also donating $100,000 to The National Urban League.

The PVH Foundation will also match 100 percent of North America corporate associate charitable donations throughout the month of June. The company has also compiled resources to help educate itself about racism and bias and will be sharing it with its employees. This includes an Anti-Racism Resource Guide, Associate Check-in Guide, PVH U course offerings, videos, podcasts and articles.

First memorial service for George Floyd held in Minneapolis. (Photo Credit: Fox17)

On June 4th, Columbia Sportswear temporarily closed 95 of its reopened retail stores from 1:00-3:00 PM CDT during George Floyd’s memorial service. “We stand against racism in all its forms, but in this moment, we want to be clear that we are proud to say black lives matter. George Floyd’s life mattered,” the company said in an internal memo from the company’s executive team provided to WWD.

In addition, Columbia said it will make donations to the NAACP Legal Defense Fund and the Marshall Project “to advance our country’s understanding of racism and its root causes and to promote equal justice and opportunity.” It did not disclose the amount. It also said it will double match employee donations to any non-profits focusing on addressing racism, up to $1,000 through the end of July. It then provided a list of organizations such as,  Black Lives Matter, Color of Change, Equal Justice Initiative and the National Urban League.

Tory Burch is making changes within her company. The designer is offering counseling for Black employees and workshops on discussing race and bias for all employees. The company provided a list of resources to help employees educate themselves and their families about race in our society. The company will also work with outside moderators and continue its public work through the Tory Burch Foundation on unconscious bias. The company’s Embrace Ambition Summit focuses on shattering stereotypes and combatting bias in all of its forms, including racial discrimination, by looking at the impact of unconscious bias.

The Kering umbrella, which owns Gucci, Saint Laurent, Bottega Veneta, Balenciaga, Alexander McQueen, Brioni, Boucheron, Pomellato, Dodo, Queelin, Ulysse Nardin, Girard-Perregaux and Kering Eyewear, have contributed to organizations focused on combating systemic racism and ending police violence toward the Black community across the United States. Kering has also made donations to the NAACP and Campaign Zero, an organization that aims to reduce police violence in the U.S.

And the list continues to grow every day as designers are looking to change the culture of the industry as a whole. By engaging in conversations that address bias and stereotypes in the workplace, by educating employees on how they can support communities and organizations in the fight against racial injustice, by hiring talented Black designers, buyers and CEO’s, as well as supporting businesses owned by Black entrepreneurs. We can all do our part in the fight towards making the fashion industry and the world an inclusive place for all.

It’s time for fashion brands to do more than just make statements. They must commit to doing the hard work it’s going to take to combat racism. Remember, racism is not just an American issue, it’s a global issue.

Juneteenth (Photo credit: mosaictemplarscenter.com) Juneteenth Flag (Photo credit: crreaearch.com)

As we approach Juneteenth (Emancipation Day/Black Independence Day) we will again be reminded of racial injustice. It commemorates the day that Union Army Maj. Gen. Gordon Granger rode into Galveston, Texas on June 19, 1865, and read federal orders that all previously enslaved purple were free (2 year after the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation). Maybe the campaign to make this day a federal holiday in the U.S.,  instead of a state holiday in only 46 states will come to fruition? Juneteenth celebrations are also held in other countries around the world, including Ghana, Honduras, Japan, Taiwan and Trinidad and Tobago.

University of Fashion has proudly donated to Black Lives Matter, NAACPLDF, Campaign Zero and the Liberty Fund. We will continue to promote Black fashion, fashion designers and instructors on our site and on our social media platforms. Together we can make a difference.

Black Lives Matter protests in Paris, France. (Photo Credit: Alfonso Jimenez for Shutterstock)

 So tell us, what are you doing to make a difference?

 

 

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?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fashion Computer Game

Apparel Design and Gaming

Gaming is big business.  Fashion is big business. Is there any overlap?

Gaming has a global market value of $152 billion, as reported in the Global Games Market Report by the intelligence firm, Newzoo, of which 45 percent is spent on mobile games. In 2019, a staggering $2.4 billion people were estimated to have played a mobile game (close to one third of the global population).

 

How is Fashion Used in Games?

(Permission granted from Kitfox Games)

Players are no longer just teenage boys. Victoria Tran, the Communications Director at Kitfox Games located in Montreal, Canada, presented a talk at the Full Indie Summit, November 20, 2019 entitled, Underdressed and Stressed, Why Fashion in Games Matters.  Kitfox produces games like Boyfriend Dungeon, Six Ages, Dwarf Fortress, Lucifer within Us and Mondo Museum.

Victoria pointed out to the assembled game designers at the conference how fashion can add synergy and fun to games. Game designers should think about this while designing games, i.e., style that add to the total gaming experience.

(Permission granted from Kitfox Games)

Victoria explained how fashion expands the story through character development. “Fashion, like character design, is an answer to a question.  How do we express a fictional character in a real-world context?”

Her advice to game designers is the following: “Clothes are a story, know where your character will appear, and every piece has meaning. Don’t just add accessories unless they have a use or meaning to the story.  Fashion tells your players about the character without words. “

We were able to get a virtual interview with Victoria to ask the question of how a fashion designer could break into the world of game fashion. Victoria recommends having a knowledge of game engines (whether that’s Unity, Unreal, GameMaker, etc.), along with familiarizing yourself with games of different genres to see how fashion could intersect with them.

If you are interested in learning how to create games using the above game engines, like Unity, check out Udemy. A great way to fill your time while you are self-quarantined (for about $13.99, you can’t beat the price).

 

FASHION IS THE GAME ITSELF 

DREST

Dr. Evridiki Papahristou from whichPLM (a Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) magazine dedicated to retail industry news & fashion industry news) writes about fashion-oriented games. Some of the games she has covered are Drest, the first interactive luxury styling game and Burberry’s first fashion game, B Bounce.

Drest was created by Lucy Yeomans, founding editor-in-chief of Net-a-Porter’s magazine Porter. The game invites users to dress photorealistic avatars each week with different styling challenges. Players adopt the role of fashion stylists utilizing new season collections. Full launch is scheduled for early 2020. Drest will be available for both Android and Apple with partnerships that already include Gucci, Prada, Stella McCarthy, Puma and many others.  Players will be able to purchase the clothes featured in the game on Farfetch.

(Permission granted from Drest)

(Permission granted from Drest)

 

BURBERRY

Burberry’s first game, B Bounce (launched October 2019) involves players competing for virtual and physical jackets. The goal is to entertain and connect with younger consumers around the world, as interactive digital content becomes another opportunity for consumers to connect with the Burberry community online. 

Building on the success of B Bounce, Burberry launched a second game in January 2020, The World of Ratberry, as part of its 2020 Lunar New Year campaign inspired by the Thomas Burberry Monogram motif and in honor of the Year of the Rat.

World of Ratberry

B Bounce (Photo credit: Burberry)

 

LOUIS VUITTON

Fashion brands are starting to put their stamp on characters within games. In 2019, Riot Games partnered with Louis Vuitton for that year’s League of Legends Championship Finals in Paris by creating a bespoke travel case for the Summer’s Cup trophy designed Nicolas Ghesquière.

Vuitton added other digital assets for the game Louis Vuitton x League of Legends, such as ‘skins’, which in gaming language means graphic/audio files used to change the appearance of the user interface to a program or for a game character. League of Legends has grown to become a global phenomenon as the most-played PC game in the world.

(Louis Vuitton Trophy Case for Legends Championship Finals)

(Louis Vuitton ‘skins’ – Photo credit: League of Legends)

 

UNIVERSITY OF FASHION SUGGESTS A FASHION GAME  

Many existing online multi-player role-playing games (MMPORG) seem to focus on the appearance of the avatar in terms of face, hair, and body type. And some games allow the player to add clothing or “skins.”

As Victoria Tran noted “A lot of games have found success by adding mod support, where players can actually create and import their own designs into games – and that extends beyond fashion too! But this depends on the player base being continually active.”

The game Drest allows users to practice their styling skills and then purchase the clothes, but styling isn’t designing, and this type of game doesn’t really excite aspiring fashion designers. In fact, if you were to ask a fashion designer to comment on existing game avatars, they would probably tell you that there is much room for improvement. That got us to thinking. What if we could create a game dedicated to the hands-on, creative aspect of fashion designing? What would that look like?

So, we asked Victoria Tran her opinion of a MMPORG based on a fashion theme like the fashion reality TV shows Project Runway, Next in Fashion or Making the Cut? Her response:

That’d be cool! So much of this boils down to having a team that’s willing to put in the work towards making it, marketing, the consumer base, and figuring out a fun mechanic to go alongside it.”

When we asked her about the cost of making a game from scratch, here’s what she said:

“Hmmm that’s a difficult question to answer since it depends on the scope of the project, e.g. a simple 2D platformer will cost more than a 3D MMO game, depending on team size and how deep you want the game to be. I’d put it in the upper range of 500k+”

 

If any game programmers are reading this and want to get a slice of the fashion design gaming pie, give us a call. Here are some ideas that we came up with:

A Fashion Design Challenge

Choose your market: Men’s, Women’s or Children’s

Choose your target price point: (High-end, Mid-range, Budget)

Choose a fashion figure that best suits your chosen market: Avant-garde, Contemporary, etc.

Create a theme/fabric/color story board

Choose the best looks for your market/price point from a library of styles or design your own

Share your design images on your social media or in-message with friends

Expansion: Players create their own assignments and challenge each other

Childrenswear (Photo credit: Seul Lee for University of Fashion)

 

Theme/Fabric/Color Storyboard (Photo credit: University of Fashion)

 

A Fashion Illustration Challenge

Choose your market: Men’s, Women’s or Children’s

Choose your target price point: (High-end, Mid-range, Budget)

Choose a fashion figure that best suits your chosen market: Avant-garde, Contemporary, etc.

Choose the best looks for your market/price point from a library of styles or design your own

Share your fashion illustrations on your social media or in-message with friends

Expansion: Players create their own assignments and challenge each other

Figure Drawing Challenge (Photo credit: Steven Broadway for University of Fashion)

 

Fashion Illustration Challenge (Photo credit: Roberto Calasanz for University of Fashion)

 

A Draping Challenge

Choose your design classification: Evening, Bridal, Intimate Apparel, Activewear, Sportswear

Choose your fabric

Sketch your design

Drape your design

Modify your design or let others mod your design

Share your design images on your social media or in-message with friends

Expansion: Players create their own assignments and challenge each other

Eveningwear Draping Challenge – Eveningwear (Photo credit: Kenneth McQueen for University of Fashion)

 

Activewear Draping Challenge (Photo credit: Shanna Cupples for University of Fashion)

Other Useful Links

https://www.theguardian.com/games/2019/oct/09/gamers-spend-hours-customising-characters-but-dont-you-dare-mention-fashion

https://www.whichplm.com/if-you-cant-work-with-3d-technology-then-play-with-it/

https://eu.louisvuitton.com/eng-e1/magazine/articles/louis-vuitton-x-league-of-legends#

https://ew.com/tv/tv-reviews/making-the-cut-on-amazon-review/

 

Share your thoughts on what type of fashion design computer game would most interest you!

RESORT 2020 TAKES OVER SOCIAL MEDIA

Valentino’s Resort 2020 Collection (Photo Courtesy of Valentino)

It’s the time of year when glamorous resort shows are flooding social media channels. And, while some designer’s whisk their clients and the press off to exotic locations around the world to witness their show, but what does this season actually mean for retailers and us as consumers? In the age of transparency, social justice and a world in flux, how are these issues reflected in the resort collections at some of the world’s major famous houses?

By definition, “resort,” (also known as cruisewear), was a season originally targeted to affluent customers who spent their post-Holiday/New Year’s weeks in mostly warm weather climates. However, due to a better economy and easy access to flights, more consumers have the income and the ability to  travel. As a result, cruisewear has become a major category for the fashion industry. It has also become a season for designers to try out new ideas ahead of their Spring collection.

Resort has also become a favorite for retailers, after all, it’s the longest selling season, hitting the floor around November and selling, at full price, until May when spring collections hit the stores. Today, brands at all price points create resort collections to satisfy their customers who crave a new purchase.

Burberry’s Resort 2020 Collection (Photo Courtesy of Burberry)

With concerns about global corruption, transparency, climate change, inequality and the need to escape or get way from the world’s craziness, it’s easy to see why consumers, with a simple click of a button, are enticed to make resort season purchases.

Resort season went from APRIL 29 – MAY 30, 2019. Here are a few designers that have created social media spectacles with their elaborate shows.

Christian Dior

Christian Dior’s Resort 2020 Show (Photo Courtesy of Vogue.com)

Maria Grazia Chiuri, the designer behind the luxury powerhouse Christian Dior, presented an elegantly chic collection in Marrakesh for her resort 2020 collection. The collection was an homage to 1960s Yves Saint Laurent and featured rich textiles and intricate prints on everything from boyish outerwear to feminine frocks.

Prada

Prada’s Resort 2020 Show (Photo Courtesy of Vogue.com)

All glitz and glam aside, Miuccia Prada showed her low-key, understated resort collection in her company’s West 52nd Street Piano Factory headquarters, but nonetheless, the event was filled with a star-studded front row. Prada went back to the paired down 90s aesthetic that made the designer a household name, but this time with a pretty, feminine twist. Prada worked primarily with cotton this season with sweet calico-prints, charming hand embroideries and smart striped shirtings in intricate shapes.

Chanel

Chanel’s Resort 2020 Show (Photo Courtesy of Vogue.com)

In her debut collection at the helm of Chanel, Virginie Viard kept true to Karl Lagerfeld’s grand showmanship. Viard recreated a pre-war train’s dining carriage  a la a Belle Epoque café  resembling Le Train Bleu at the Gare de Lyon.  The show came complete with potted palms and paintings suggesting the many glamorous destinations that the train might take you (all of them settings for past Chanel collections).

As for the clothes, Viard brought a new effortless ease to the Chanel silhouette with mini-skirted classic Chanel suit, tiered chiffon dresses and wide legged cropped pants paired with frothy blouses. It was exciting to see Viard stay within the DNA and house codes of Chanel and yet give the label a youthful twist.

Louis Vuitton

Louis Vuitton’s Resort 2020 Show (Photo Courtesy of Vogue.com)

Anyone who has followed Nicolas Ghesquière’s career knows that no one designs wearable, futuristic-inspired looks better than him. For his Louis Vuitton resort collection, the creative director held his show at the historic TWA Flight Center, designed in 1962 by Eero Saarinen. The space is reminiscent of a landed UFO in the middle of New York’s JFK airport.  Although the space has been closed for almost twenty years, it has now reopened as a luxury hotel and Ghesquière’s show was its unofficial opening party. Quite the ‘get’!

Seemed only fitting that Ghesquière was inspired by 1960s airline stewardess’ with short dresses and a nod to TWA’s iconic flight bags. New York City was also a point of reference for Ghesquière with his Wall Street-inspired pinstriped suits, while crystal embellished bustier tops and geometric metallic embroideries referenced Art Deco inspired skyscrapers, most notably the Chrysler Building. Overall, the Vuitton resort collection was dramatic and fun, one that will be worn by plenty of Hollywood starlets on the red carpet and beyond. Thanks Nicolas for your nod to the Big Apple!

Giorgio Armani

Giorgio Armani’s Resort 2020 Show (Photo Courtesy of Vogue.com)

Giorgio Armani’s Resort 2020 Show (Photo Courtesy of Vogue.com)

For years, designers have staged over-the-top shows and traveled to exotic locations around the globe to present their pre-collections. But Giorgio Armani has always shunned that notion. And so it came as a complete surprise to press and buyers alike, that this season the designer decided to show his resort 2020 collection in Tokyo, as part of his grand store reopening. In a press conference before the show, Giorgio Armani stated, “I do not agree with this. Resort collections are mainly commercial; they have to be salable and appeal to buyers.” Armani speaks his mind and does things his own way.

Armani showed his collection at Tokyo’s National Museum, which is home to the most precious and rare Asian art collections. The glamorous affair was filled with Japanese and international celebrities, including Uma Thurman.

As for the clothes, they were Armani at his finest, with so many variations of the pantsuit – for both men and women – that there was literally an option for every customer. Now that’s business savvy!

Gucci

Gucci’s Resort 2020 Show (Photo Courtesy of Vogue.com)

Gucci’s Resort 2020 Show (Photo Courtesy of Vogue.com)

Gucci’s creative director, Alessandro Michele, has truly revitalized the label since taking over the house in 2015 and his momentum is only growing stronger. The designer staged his resort collection in Rome at the Capitolini Museum as a “hymn to freedom” that allowed him to express his belief in the idea of self-determination and gender equality.

According to an interview with Alessandro Michele, published in WWD, the resort collection” is empowering freedom of expression and, in particular, freedom of choice, supporting sexual and reproductive health and rights.” Illustrating this message, Michele posted feminist slogans like ‘My body, my choice.’ as well as ‘Chime for Change’ on  T-shirts. In addition, he embroidered an image of the female reproductive system on a gown that was embellished with flowers. Some looks also displayed ‘May 22, 1978,’ the date that the Italian law for the social protection of motherhood and legal abortion took effect. In terms of style, the designer’s wink to the Seventies was apparent, since it was a crucial time in history for the women’s lib movement.

While Michel’s collection featured both men’s and woman’s looks, many looks were gender neutral. There were plenty of his signature magpie layered looks that have really struck a chord with millennial influencers and celebrities, as well as kitsch Mickey Mouse printed looks.

Feel free to chime in on whether you think more designers should be using their brand status to promote social justice, just as  Alessandro Michele and other designers have done in past seasons. And if so, who are your favorites?

TIS THE SEASON: THE MAGIC OF HOLIDAY WINDOWS

 Louis Vuitton NYC Window display (Courtesy Photo)

Louis Vuitton NYC Window display (Courtesy Photo)

It’s the most wonderful time of the year…..the holiday season is a magical time when joyful cheer is celebrated and generosity for others is spread throughout the world. No matter what your religious beliefs, there is no denying that this season is filled with hope for a better tomorrow.  The holidays are also an opportunity for retailers and brands to end the year with high profit margins, as consumers shop for the perfect gifts family and friends.

The holiday season seems to be getting earlier and earlier. This year many retailers even officially kicked off the season by staying open on Thanksgiving! “Black Friday,” which is a public holiday in more than 20 states, presumably got it’s name from one of two theories: that the wheels of vehicles in heavy shopping traffic on the day after Thanksgiving Day left many black markings on the road surface. The other theory is that the term Black Friday comes from an old way of recording business accounts. Losses were recorded in red ink and profits in black ink. Many businesses, particularly small businesses, started making profits before Christmas especially on the Friday after Thanksgiving. “Cyber Monday” on the other hand, was first used in 2005 by the National Retail Federation (NRF), which needed a name for the flurry of online sales the Monday after Thanksgiving, since online merchants wanted the money that  brick-and-mortar stores were making on Black Friday.

But with today’s retail market being so saturated, and online shopping being so competitive, how do traditional brick-and-mortar retailers compete? The answer is simple, major department stores and retailers around the world lure customers in with their brilliant, spare-no-expense race for an exuberant gasp… holiday display windows, that have become a destination tourist attraction and in many cases a family tradition around the world!

Each store has their own unique style when it comes to their holiday windows. Macy’s and Lord & Taylor are known for their classic displays that delight Christmas shoppers and their children. Barneys New York is known for innovative and provocative displays, while Bergdorf Goodman and Saks Fifth Avenue are known for over-the top glitz. No matter what, these windows attract costumers, something that an eCommerce site can’t do.

The tradition of holiday window displays dates back to the Industrial Revolution, when in the late 1800s plate glass became readily available and allowed shop owners to build large, full length storefront windows to display merchandise. This was the birth of window shopping as we know it today.

It shouldn’t come as a surprise, but one of the first major holiday window displays was created by the Macy’s New York store in 1874, featuring a collection of porcelain dolls and scenes from Harriet Beecher Stowe’s book, Uncle Tom’s Cabin.

Children at the Macy’s toy window, ca. 1910 via The Library of Congress

Children at the Macy’s toy window, ca. 1910 via The Library of Congress

In the early 1900s major retailers across the U.S. began competing with each other. Store owners and managers used window displays to lure window shoppers into their stores, and holiday displays became more colorful and creative. By 1937, department store owner, specifically Lord & Taylor, decorated their windows with gilded bells that swung in sync with the sounds of recorded bells. This was a  turning point for retailers, as each began to transition their holiday windows into magical fantasy experiences, as opposed to just showcasing merchandise.

“Bell Windows” at Lord & Taylor, 1937 via MCNY

“Bell Windows” at Lord & Taylor, 1937 via MCNY

From that point on, year after year, competition among major brick-and-mortar retailers intensifies, as online shopping increases. But it’s this magical time of year that consumers are lured into stores to view these masterful works of art.  The grander and more innovative the display, the more attention it receives and let’s face it…the more likes on social media is always a good thing!

Here is a fantastical journey of holiday window displays from across the globe. Each retailer had a clear and strategic message to attract their customers.
Printemps Windows 2018 in Paris (Courtesy Photo)

Printemps Windows 2018 in Paris (Courtesy Photo)

At Printemps, in Paris,  Jules and Violette, the retailer’s recurring holiday mascots, are sent on a hunt for Santa Claus visiting the desert, Antarctica, the bottom of the sea, and mushroom-and flower-covered terrain with flapping butterflies.

Macy's Holiday Windows 2018 in NYC (Courtesy Photo)

Macy’s Holiday Windows 2018 in NYC (Courtesy Photo)

At Macy’s Herald Square in Manhattan, a tale of friendship, family, adventure and teamwork unfolds as Sunny the Snowpal works to save Christmas, befriending a fox along the way.

Bloomingdale's Holiday Windows 2018 in New York (Coutesy Photo)

Bloomingdale’s Holiday Windows 2018 in New York (Coutesy Photo)

Bloomingdale’s 59th Street flagship store in New York City was inspired by “The Grinch.”

Bergdorf Goodman's Holiday Windows 2018 in NYC (Courtesy Photo)

Bergdorf Goodman’s Holiday Windows 2018 in NYC (Courtesy Photo)

Bergdorf Goodman’s windows in NYC are a sugar-filled delight with everything from a gingerbread cuckoo clock, whose timekeeper is prone to wander from her enormous chalet, to a peppermint-hued dream featuring a candy cane wizard.

Saks Fifth Avenue Holiday Windows 2018 in NYC (Courtesy Photo)

Saks Fifth Avenue Holiday Windows 2018 in NYC (Courtesy Photo)

Saks Fifth Avenue’s NYC window portrays a fashionable shopper’s visit to the theater, where instead of watching the show, she dreams of the retailer in a whimsical fantasy.

Barneys Holiday Windows 2018 in NYC (courtesy Photo)

Barneys Holiday Windows 2018 in NYC (courtesy Photo)

Barneys New York takes the penny to greater heights with its Making Change theme, presented by the Barneys New York Foundation. The campaign, in partnership with Save the Children, invites guests to create some currency during the holidays, including using the hashtag #centiments, which results in a $5 donation by the foundation to Save the Children for every post. Now that’s spreading holiday cheer!

Galeries Lafayette Windows 2018 in Paris (Courtesy Photo)

Galeries Lafayette Windows 2018 in Paris (Courtesy Photo)

Galeries Lafayette in Paris envisions a “reverie with La fabrique des Rêves,” or manufacturer of dreams, featuring delightful characters imagined by children: furry dinosaurs and silly monsters in a playful and whimsical window is packed with toys and presents, plus seasonal pieces from the shop’s shoe and clothing collection.

Harvey Nichols in London Holiday Window (Courtesy Photo)

Harvey Nichols in London Holiday Window (Courtesy Photo)

Harvey Nichols, London is celebrating the new Disney film Mary Poppins Returns by showcasing four costumes worn by the cast. In reference to the iconic character’s favorite mode of transport, gold and silver umbrellas also decorate the windows.

Harrods in London Holiday Window Display (Courtesy Photo)

Harrods in London Holiday Window Display (Courtesy Photo)

Harrods in London serves up sweet treats in a festive celebration with oversized, mouthwatering  desserts.

Liberty in London Holiday Window Display (Courtesy Photo)

Liberty in London Holiday Window Display (Courtesy Photo)

Liberty London’s animal etchings on pillars and panels are a well-known part of the decor. The creatures appear in windows as two-dimensional black-and-white cutouts.

Selfridges in London Holiday Window Display (Courtesy Photo)

Selfridges in London Holiday Window Display (Courtesy Photo)

Selfridges’ “Santa on Tour” in London has St. Nick hitting the road and rocking designer created looks.

Mitsukoshi Holiday Windows 2018 in Tokyo (Courtesy Photo)

Mitsukoshi Holiday Windows 2018 in Tokyo (Courtesy Photo)

Mitsukoshi, located in Tokyo, mark the last Christmas of Japan’s Heisei period; the current emperor plans to abdicate in April, which will mark the beginning of a new period. Isetan creates a retro vision of the future featuring a rocking horse and snow globes cavorting with reindeer aided in flight by jet packs and Santa in a motorized sleigh.

Takashimaya Holiday Windows 2018 in Tokyo (Courtesy Photo)

Takashimaya Holiday Windows 2018 in Tokyo (Courtesy Photo)

Takashimaya’s in Japan’s Nihonbashi district store appeals to kids with mini carousels, model train and Ferris Wheel surrounded by plush animals.

Harbour City Holiday Windows 2018 in Hong Kong (Courtesy Photo)

Harbour City Holiday Windows 2018 in Hong Kong (Courtesy Photo)

At Harbour City, Hong Kong, shoppers who donate to the Hong Kong Blood Cancer Foundation can take a selfie with a giant video kaleidoscope where LED screen walls are filled with snowflakes, stars and rainbows.

Joyce Holiday Windows 2018 in Hong Kong (Courtesy Photo)

Joyce Holiday Windows 2018 in Hong Kong (Courtesy Photo)

Joyce’s dramatic holiday décor in Asia is a cross between, “The Wizard of Oz” and “Stranger Things.” The outcome is an upside-down Emerald City topped by a right-side-up Indiana cabin. The cutting edge retailer also has a 50 foot Christmas tree suspended from its ceiling.

So tell us, which is your favorite Holiday window display?

 

For those of you still on the hunt for the perfect gift for that fav fashionista:

.Historical Dictionary of the Fashion Industry

Historical Dictionary of the Fashion Industry (Courtesy Photo)

Historical Dictionary of the Fashion Industry (Courtesy Photo)

https://www.amazon.com/Historical-Dictionary-Dictionaries-Professions-Industries/dp/1442239085/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1543860001&sr=1-1&keywords=historical+dictionary+of+the+fashion+industry

You can also pre-order our various technique books to perfect your skills:

To pre-order the Sewing: Techniques for Beginners – https://www.amazon.com/Sewing-Techniques-Beginners-University-Fashion/dp/1786271982/ref=sr_1_7?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1543860128&sr=1-7&keywords=Sewing+Techniques+for+Beginners

Sewing (Courtesy Photo)

Sewing (Courtesy Photo)

To pre-order the Draping: Techniques for Beginners – https://www.amazon.com/Draping-Techniques-Beginners-University-Fashion/dp/1786271761/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1543860392&sr=8-1&keywords=Draping%3A+Techniques+for+Beginners

Draping (Courtesy Photo)

Draping (Courtesy Photo)

To pre-order the Pattern Making: Techniques for Beginners – https://www.amazon.com/Pattern-Making-Techniques-Beginners-University/dp/1786271966/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1543860796&sr=8-3&keywords=Pattern+Making%3A+Beginner+Techniques

Pattern Making (Courtesy Photo)

Pattern Making (Courtesy Photo)

 

 

And how about a gift certificate to the UoF?

cde7bd42-9d47-4ca6-991a-980317ec58dd

b8758834-1e59-4e71-9e3b-d0817b8d9b4c
Two Holiday Subscription Deals
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THE CHANGING FACE OF GLOBAL MENSWEAR

- - Fashion History, Menswear
Courtesy of i-d.vice.com

Courtesy of i-d.vice.com

Menswear is in constant evolution. The end-consumer is dictating what they want, which tribe they choose to belong to, and the personality they want to project. This has made the menswear industry very competitive, and in response, men’s fashion houses have been obligated to change their game, to listen to their consumer and are appointing new designers who understand the new generation and, more particularly, who understand their subcultures and tribes. The main focus in today’s menswear industry is to appeal to the final consumer’s lifestyle. This challenge goes beyond offering a good product, it also needs to be a product that ‘speaks’ to men’s tribes and their individual personalities. So, let’s examine who these new players are, what they are offering and who they are speaking to, and how they are seismically changing the present and future of the global menswear industry.

Kim Jones creative director Dior Homme (Courtesy BoF)

Kim Jones creative director Dior Homme (Courtesy BoF)

Recent new appointments in the menswear fashion industry, such as Kim Jones at Dior Homme and Virgil Abloh at Louis Vuitton Men’s (both brands under the LVMH umbrella), indicate that the market has changed. Fashion houses are now taking risks because they have identified that they must go forward to remain relevant for the next generation and those to follow. What do these players have in common? Both represent a movement that had been growing the past year. Kim Jones formerly at Louis Vuitton men’s and who created a blockbuster collaboration with the hip brand Supreme is now creative director at heritage brand Dior Homme.

Virgil Abloh creative director Louis Vuitton Men’s (Courtesyhighsnobiety.com)

Virgil Abloh creative director Louis Vuitton Men’s (Courtesyhighsnobiety.com)

Virgil Abloh, from DJ, music producer, Fendi intern, Kanye West’s creative director, to artistic director of Louis Vuitton’s men’s wear collection since March 2018, Abloh is also chief executive officer of the Milan-based label Off-White, a fashion house that he founded in 2013.

Both of these visionaries believe in ‘bottom-up’ fashion that is, bringing the street to high fashion, as well as the flexibility offered by social-media influenced athleisure, with its emphasis on T-shirts, and its reflection of a D-jin and music culture. The concept of ‘bottom-up’ is not new, Yves Saint Laurent made it his montra in the 70s and Marc Jacobs turned to the streets for his Grunge Collection in the 80s. But those were womenswear collections. Both Kim and Abloh have a history in designing streetwear for men and have each collaborated with Nike.

Although Jones studied design at Central Saint Martin’s and Abloh cut his teeth designing for Kanye West, both admit that they have gotten to know ‘fashion’ along the way. Their current collections speak to a new lifestyle, to a subculture of a younger generation and they are implementing street casual styles into their high fashion collections. To be clear, they are not abolishing suits or formalwear, they are just giving it a streetwear twist.

For example, presenting in their show a monochromatic suit with a t-shirt, technical sneakers and unique details around zippers, or presenting high quality functional bags with chain details. They are unifying two worlds we would not have imagined could speak to each other in the past. Formal and casual, function and decoration, these are no longer distinct categories, but ones that merge with each other. At the same time, these designers manage to speak to a tribe who is looking to be more individual while seeking to be included.

 

Dior Homme SS19 by Kim Jones (Courtesy of Vogue Runway)

Dior Homme SS19 by Kim Jones (Courtesy of Vogue Runway)

Louis Vuitton SS19 by Virgil Abloh (Courtesy of Vogue Runway)

Louis Vuitton SS19 by Virgil Abloh (Courtesy of Vogue Runway)

This connects us to other players such as Alessandro Michele at Gucci and Hedi Slimane now at Celine. They address younger generations with a unique vision, one that is more eccentric with a retro vintage feel (Gucci), and another one, more focused on rock culture (the new Celine). Both address a very important trend of the moment: the androgynous phenomenon. The ungendered design is key for these designers. They created transversal collections and androgynous looks that dominate the conversation of their collections, influencing the menswear arena. This trend is not about men wearing skirts, it is about changing mindsets, showing that men have changed, both in, and the way they view fashion, and in how they exercise their masculinity. This is reflected in how they shop, and as a result designer brands are implementing these changes in their product strategy.

Gucci by Alessandro Michele (Courtesy Vogue Runway)

Gucci by Alessandro Michele (Courtesy Vogue Runway)

 

Celine by Hedi Slimane (Courtesy of Vogue Runway)

Celine by Hedi Slimane (Courtesy of Vogue Runway)

 

There has also been a change in formal menswear. New players such as Thom Browne, Musika Frère, or recognized designers such as Ozwald Boateng have brought new product strategies to this category. Ozwald Boateng has mixed traditional classic British tailoring with color and new cuts targeting elite consumers who have unique personalities and are not part of the status quo.

Thom Browne, with his wild creativity, his fantastic tailoring and commercial core product pieces, with a clear brand identity such as the tricolor web, has won a fan base among millennials who were looking for an alternative from traditional formalwear.

And then we get to Musika Frère, a brand that was born in social media, created by Aleks Musika and Davidson Petit- Frère. This brand has a “neoclassic tailoring” style, as the creators themselves call it, specializing in custom suits that often come in unusual colors, patterns and details. This brand’s style has drawn famous celebrities in the African American community.

Ozwald Boateng (Courtesy of OzwaldBoateng.com)

Ozwald Boateng (Courtesy of OzwaldBoateng.com)

Thom Browne (Courtesy The New York Times)

Thom Browne (Courtesy The New York Times)

 

Musika Frere (Courtesy of Instagram)

Musika Frere (Courtesy of Instagram)

So, what do all these brands have in common? Their product strategies have successfully attracted a specific tribe that still wants the elegance of a suit but in a unique and special way, something that truly represents them and their personalities and that makes them stand out.

As menswear evolves, brands in the industry have realized that the fundamental formula to attract new and younger consumers is to truly represent them. The key for fashion houses now is to adopt this bottom-up approach, understand their consumers, their tribe and subcultures, in order to cater to them in a genuine way. All of the above-mentioned brands have used different menswear strategies to be relevant to the market and its future generations. They have taken risks because they know that nowadays, men are freer and use fashion to show who they truly are.

To learn more about menswear design, be sure to check out the new menswear discipline on our  University of Fashion website.

Menswear: A Trip Down Memory Lane

- - Fashion History, Menswear

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In fashion, we tend to overlook the menswear industry. It doesn’t change as much with the seasons and is all about the details, the fit and the fabrics. For some, it is not as interesting as the womenswear… until now. Menswear has been growing faster than womenswear and is expected to reach $33 billion by 2020. That’s why it is extremely important, as a designer or retailer, to learn about this segment of the industry.

The University of Fashion has recently launched its menswear discipline, so before checking out our lessons, how about taking a trip down memory lane to understand how the menswear industry has evolved?

Men’s fashion was initially functional in purpose. Paleolithic nomads used animal skins as protection from environmental conditions. The Ancient Egyptians provided the first signs that men’s clothing could made the leap from function to fashion. In this period, clothing and accessories began to serve as key symbols of rank and fortune.

Later on, the wealthiest men adopted tunics, and this trend continued with the toga in Ancient Greece and Rome, as well in the Middle Ages. During these periods, the essential item was the fabric, made of the finest materials.

Courtesy of Flickr and Chatirygirl

Courtesy of Flickr and Chatirygirl

Menswear Revolution

A big shift in menswear followed the American (1775-1783) and French (1789-1799) Revolutions, when fashion became understated and “undress” was the popular opposition to the abundant adornments that defined aristocracy. While men continued to wear the waistcoat, coat and breeches of the previous period for both full dress and undress, they were now made of the same fabric, signaling the birth of the three-piece suit. The early 1800s saw the final abandonment of lace, embroidery and other embellishment from serious men’s clothing and it became gauche to dress like an aristocrat.

In Britain, Beau Brummell, a trendsetter of the time, was credited with introducing and making the modern man’s suit and necktie fashionable. Savile Row, or “The Row” as it is commonly-termed, became the center of traditional bespoke tailoring. This trend led to trousers that are popular in menswear today and have been for the past 200 years. What Paris was to women’s fashion, London was to men’s. After the American Civil War (1861-1865), standardized sizing in men’s clothing introduced the concept of mass-production, with less individual tailoring, and the necktie was introduced by 1880.

Frock Coat (Courtesy of He spoke style)

Frock Coat (Courtesy of He spoke style)

Bea Brummel (Courtesy of He Spoke Style)

Bea Brummel (Courtesy of He Spoke Style)

 

The 1900s

During the 1900s, the United States took an even less formal approach to fashion when they introduced the ‘sportswear’ trend. With the invention of the automobile, American fashion landed in England and the dinner jacket, a more leisurely attire, became popular among the younger generations.

Another big American fashion influence at the time was jazz music. A new generation of men were rebelling against the traditions of their fathers and clothing inspired by the Jazz Age was born, consisting of tight-fitting suits. America became the center of the men’s fashion world and modern fashion was here to stay. Blazers became popular for summer wear, the tuxedo was the jacket of the night, and the Zoot suit was popular in the nightclubs of Harlem. The “gangster influence” in suits was also an important trend. Fashion for men became a display of their personality and environment.

 

Zoot Suits (Courtesy of Vintage dancer)

Zoot Suits (Courtesy of Vintage dancer)

Casual Menswear Emerges

By the late 1940s and early 1950s, beginning with the introduction of the Hawaiian shirt, California surfer culture emerged and is ever present in men’s fashion even today. Another 50s trend was the “preppy look,” consisting of clothes worn by men at prep and Ivy League schools, such as button-down shirts, golf shirts, chino pants, and loafers. Other trendsetters in the 1950s included Elvis Presley and the British Teddy Boys. The key to these new fashion trends was comfort with personality, each trend helping to define the ‘tribe’ or subcultures to which a man chose to belong.

The 60s & 70s

The 1960s brought Italian fashion to the forefront. Brands emerged that were able to compete with the bespoke tailors of Saville Row. Still relevant among that group initial group are Brioni, Nino Cerutti and Ermenegildo Zegna.

With the ‘British Invasion’ of the 60s came another important influence, Collarless, cylindrical suits created for the Beatles by Pierre Cardin and Douglas Millings were all the rage and helped usher in the ‘mod look’ and later the ‘psychedelic look.’

By the 1970s, ‘disco style,’ popularized by the movie “Saturday Night Fever” and ‘punk style’ from London, brought a new generation of menswear consumers into the marketplace. The concept of individuality and personality was fundamental to this period and continues today.

 

Princeton 1950’s (Courtesy of Google Life archives)

Princeton 1950’s (Courtesy of Google Life archives)

10 years of Beatles style (Courtesy of Mauro Amaral)

10 years of Beatles style (Courtesy of Mauro Amaral)

The 80s Impact

The 1980s became known as the ‘decade of excess,’ as Baby Boomers and Yuppies placed importance on ‘status’ and ‘luxury.’ In the movie American Gigolo, Giorgio Armani designed relaxed, yet elegant, deconstructed suits that epitomized the sexy, wealthy young man (played by Richard Gere), as the “playboy” of the time. This trend was in contrast to the emergence of streetwear looks associated with the ‘breakdance’ movement, which consisted of sneakers, shoes with thick, elaborately patterned laces and colorful nylon tracksuits.

 

The 90s Clean & Classic

As a backlash to 80s ‘bad taste,’ the 1990s represented the clean, pared down era, a time when menswear returned to beautifully tailored suits in classic colors, especially those from Helmut Lang, Ermenegildo Zegna, Hugo Boss, Nino Cerutti, Giorgio Armani and Ralph Lauren. The term “metrosexual” was coined by British journalist Mark Simpson as the trait of an urban male of any sexual orientation (usually heterosexual) who has a strong aesthetic sense and spends a great amount of time and money on his appearance and lifestyle. Italian suits were the basis for luxury and high-quality dressing. The Armani suit dressed the businessman throughout the decade until “business casual” took over in the mid-to-late 1990s. Other trends went in and out of fashion during this decade including the grunge look and a return to punk style, although this time known as ‘cyber punk’ and ‘hip-hop style,’ inspired by street culture. In an ironic move, the preppy look made a comeback in the late 90s, closely associated with the Tommy Hilfiger clothing line, which emulated the more expensive preppy look pioneered a decade earlier by Ralph Lauren.

Richard Gere in Armani from the movie American Gigolo (Courtesy of Classiq me)

Richard Gere in Armani from the movie American Gigolo (Courtesy of Classiq me)

 

Break Dancing (Courtesy Getty images)

Break Dancing (Courtesy Getty images)

New Millennium – A Look Back & Forward

The new millennium began with a retro influence, a mixture of the best elements of all previous fashion eras. Once the first major American corporation Alcoa sanctioned casual office attire in 1991, it wasn’t long before “casual Friday” was replaced with “casual everyday” as most companies loosened their dress code restrictions, with the exception of the legal and financial professions and those requiring uniforms.

In 2000, designer Hedi Slimane introduced the ‘ultra-skinny silhouette’ at Dior and mainstreamed them later at Saint Laurent – ushering in a seismic shift in the menswear industry.

In 2006, American designer Thom Browne burst onto the menswear stage with his ‘short length suits.’ Sports, performance apparel and the new athleisurewear category, continue to play a major role in men’s clothing.

As designers attempt to blur the lines between men and women’s fashion, such as J.W. Anderson and his ‘shared closet’ concept, the androgynous fashion movement continues to be explored.

With a booming economy bespoke tailoring is enjoying a comeback. New bespoke tailors are gaining popularity, with brands such as Ozwald Boateng (British-Ghanian descent) and Musika Frère (American), whose suits are offered in unusual colors and patterns, and whose client list includes, Jay Z, Michael B. Jordan, Stephen Curry, Kevin Hart and even Beyoncé.

In 2018, John Galiano introduced the world to ‘men’s couture’ with his Artisanal bias cut suits for Maison Margiela.

 

Hedi Slimane – Skinny jeans (Courtesy Dior Homme)

Hedi Slimane – Skinny jeans (Courtesy Dior Homme)

Today, the top designer menswear brands are truly an international set. Among the top 10 are:  Tom Ford (American), Gucci (Italian-Alessandro Michele), Neil Barrett (British), Thom Browne (American), DSquared2 (Canadians -Dean and Dan Caten), Dolce & Gabbana (Italian), Moncler (French), Louis Vuitton (French house-American designer Virgil Abloh), Prada (Italian) and Balmain (French-Olivier Rousteing).

Menswear has certainly evolved, from a rigid, controlled look, to one that is more casual, more personal and more connected to today’s lifestyle. Yes, menswear doesn’t change radically, but its evolution definitely shows that men are using fashion to express who they are now. Men who are freer to be themselves, men who are more comfortable in their own skin, and who are using fashion for self-expression, makes the future of menswear an exciting proposition.

Louis Vuitton by Virgil Abloh (Courtesy of Louis Vuitton)

Louis Vuitton by Virgil Abloh (Courtesy of Louis Vuitton)

Care to share who are your favorite menswear designer/designers of all time?