University of Fashion Blog

Posts Tagged: "Ralph Lauren"

MARCH MADNESS: THE FUSION OF SPORTS & FASHION = ATHLUXURY

Mannequins wearing sports-inspired designs by luxury designers – part of the exhibition Fashion and Sports From One Podium to Another opening this summer at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris. (Photo Credit: Christophe Delliere)

March Madness isn’t just about basketball, it’s a celebration of athleticism, passion and the unbreakable bond between sports and fashion. This annual collegiate basketball extravaganza not only attracts fans with its intense matchups and Cinderella stories, but also serves as a catalyst for designers and is a vast source of inspiration. Throughout history, sports have influenced fashion, shaping trends and inspiring designers to push the boundaries of creativity. From the iconic designs of Nike’s iconic Air Jordan sneakers, to the elegance of Chanel nautical stripes, the influence of sports on fashion has been profound, shaping trends and styles. In fact, it is now a new fashion category known as  ATHLUXURY. A licensing deal with a big sneaker brand like Nike or Adidas, or a collaboration with a sports apparel company is every designer’s dream come true, just ask Ralph Lauren, Dolce & Gabanna, Moschino, Dior, Louis Vuitton, Stella McCartney, Gucci and Balenciaga, to name just a few.

A look from Dolce & Gabanna at the Fashion and Sports From one Podium to Another exhibit at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs. (Photo Credit: WWD)

Let’s take a look at how a few iconic brands have perfectly blended fashion and sports:

NIKE: THE POWER OF ATHLETIC INNOVATION

Nike’s designer collaborations. (Photo Credit: Re-Hub)

Nike, the titan of  sport footwear, has continuously revolutionized the fashion landscape with its cutting-edge designs and unwavering commitment to athletic performance. When Michael Jordan burst onto the basketball scene in the 1980s, he not only changed the way the game was played but also revolutionized athletic footwear forever. The release of the first Air Jordan sneakers in 1985 marked the beginning of a cultural phenomenon. With their innovative design and endorsement from the greatest basketball player of all time, Air Jordans became more than just shoes; they became a symbol of urban culture and athletic luxury. Hence the term athluxury. Today, Air Jordans remain a staple in sneaker culture, influencing streetwear and high fashion alike.

Dior’s Nike Air Jordan Sneakers were created in 2020. (Photo Credit: Designboom)

Nike’s emphasis on innovation and style has not only elevated athletic footwear but has also shaped streetwear culture, cementing its status as a global fashion powerhouse. Luxury fashion houses such as Dior, Louis Vuitton, and Off-White, have all collaborated with Nike sneakers to great success.

ADIDAS: WHERE SPORTS MEETS STREET STYLE

Looks from the Adidas x Gucci Collaboration. (Photo Credit: Adidas)

With its iconic three stripes logo, Adidas has become synonymous with sporty sophistication and urban cool. The brand’s collaborations with designers like Stella McCartney, Gucci, Balenciaga, and the defunct Kanye West, have blurred the lines between sports and high fashion, introducing a new era of athleisure chic. From classic sneakers to statement tracksuits, Adidas effortlessly combines performance and style, making it a favorite among athletes and fashion enthusiasts alike.

LACOSTE: BRINGING ELEGANCE TO SPORTSWEAR

Venus Williams modeling her Lacoste x EleVen by Venus Williams collection. (Photo Credit: Lacoste)

Notorious for its iconic crocodile logo, Lacoste has been synonymous with elegance and athleticism since its inception in 1933. Founded by tennis legend René Lacoste, the brand introduced the polo shirt to the world of sports, combining style with functionality. Lacoste’s influence extends beyond the tennis court, with its classic designs inspiring countless iterations in both casual and high-end fashion.

RALPH LAUREN: FROM POLO FIELDS TO RUNWAYS

Ralph Lauren’s Team USA closing ceremony outfits for the 2022 Olympics. (Photo Credit: ABC News)

Ralph Lauren’s equestrian-inspired designs have left an indelible mark on the world of fashion, seamlessly blending the elegance of sports with the sophistication of luxury. From his iconic Polo Ralph Lauren line to the sporty-chic aesthetic of Polo Sport, the designer has redefined American style, capturing the essence of athleticism in every collection. With its timeless silhouettes and flawless craftsmanship, Ralph Lauren’s influence on sports-inspired fashion is as enduring as it is iconic. Ralph Lauren has also designed the Team USA uniforms for the Olympics and has been the official sponsor since 2014, providing the U.S. team with uniforms, outerwear, and tailored clothing that were worn during the Opening Ceremony, Welcome Dinner and during play.

STELLA MCCARTNEY: CHAMPIONING SUSTAINABLE SPORTSWEAR

A look from Adidas by Stella McCartney. (Photo Credit: Stella McCartney)

As the demand for sustainable fashion continues to grow, designers like Stella McCartney are leading the charge by reimagining sports-inspired apparel with an eco-conscious twist. From her partnership with Adidas to her own eponymous label, McCartney’s commitment to ethical fashion has garnered widespread acclaim. With her innovative use of organic materials and cruelty-free practices, McCartney proves that style and sustainability can go hand in hand, inspiring a new generation of designers to prioritize the planet without compromising on performance.

LOUIS VUITTON: ELEVATING ATHLETIC LUXURY

Looks from Louis Vuitton ski collection. (Photo Credit: Louis Vuitton)

French luxury fashion house Louis Vuitton has long been synonymous with opulence and sophistication, but in recent years the brand has embraced the world of sports with open arms. From its collaboration with Supreme to its partnership with the NBA, Louis Vuitton has redefined athletic luxury, infusing its signature style with a sporty edge. Whether it’s the iconic LV monogram on basketballs or the sleek designs of its sportswear collections, Louis Vuitton proves that sports-inspired fashion knows no bounds when it comes to luxury.

A collaboration between Louis Vuitton and Supreme at the The Fashion and SportsFrom one Podium to Another exhibit at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs. (Photo Credit: WWD)

Louis Vuitton has also returned as the official Title Partner for the 37th edition of the America’s Cup. The luxury house will back the prestigious sailing yacht competition, which will begin in Barcelona in August 2024.

LVMH HAS BECOME A PREMIUM PARTNER OF THE OLYMPIC & PARALYMPIC GAMES PARIS 2024

LVMH will sponsor the upcoming Paris Olympics, making the games more fashion-heavy than ever. (Photo Credit: LVMH)

“This unprecedented partnership with the Olympic & Paralympic Games Paris 2024 will contribute to heightening the appeal of France around the world. It was only natural that LVMH and its Maisons be part of this exceptional international event. The values of passion, excellence and inclusion championed by high-level sports are cultivated each day by our teams, motivated by an unwavering desire to surpass limits. Sports is a tremendous source of inspiration for our Maisons, which will unite creative excellence and athletic performance by contributing their savoir-faire and bold innovation to this extraordinary celebration.” – Bernard Arnault, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of LVMH.

“From the very outset of our project we have wanted the Olympic & Paralympic Games Paris 2024 to contribute to promoting the image of our country and France’s many remarkable talents. Today, with the LVMH Group, Paris 2024 has taken a decisive step forward. LVMH already supported us during our bid for the Summer Olympics and we are thrilled to have the Group with us 100% for this exciting adventure. With its exceptional know-how, the LVMH Group will bring its immensely creative talent to this project and enable us to benefit from its extensive experience. This partnership also sends a powerful signal that France’s leading businesses are behind the Paris 2024 Games, which will let our country shine brightly around the entire world. We want to thank the LVMH Group and its artisans for their confidence and their active engagement. Together we are going to make the Paris 2024 Games a truly exceptional experience.” – Tony Estanguet, President of the Paris 2024 Olympic Committee.

THE BIRTH OF SPORTSWEAR: CHANEL AND THE NAUTICAL TREND

Coco Chanel wearing her nautical striped top. (Photo Credit: CNN)

No discussion of sports-inspired fashion would be complete without mentioning Chanel. In the early 20th century, Coco Chanel revolutionized women’s fashion by introducing elements of comfort and functionality borrowed from men’s attire. Inspired by the leisurely activities of the elite, Chanel popularized the nautical trend, incorporating sailor stripes and relaxed silhouettes into her designs. This infusion of sportswear aesthetics laid the groundwork for the modern concept of athleisure, blurring the lines between sports and high fashion.

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

The French luxury house continues to draw inspiration from the world of sports, infusing its collections with elements of athleticism and leisure. Examples include the iconic Chanel tweed suit, reminiscent of traditional equestrian attire, the brand’s signature quilted handbags inspired by the jackets worn by English polo players, and the sporty-chic ensembles inspired by tennis and golf; Chanel’s sporting heritage is woven into the fabric of its DNA. With a nod to the past and an eye toward the future, Chanel continues to redefine the boundaries of luxury fashion, proving that style and athleticism are truly inseparable.

BURBERRY’S HERITAGE OF EXPLORATION: FROM THE TRENCHES TO THE TERRAIN

Luxury brands like Burberry are stepping into the sports arena. (Photo Credit: ModernRetail)

For Burberry, a brand steeped in heritage and tradition, the spirit of adventure has always been at the heart of its designs. Inspired by the rugged terrain of the British countryside and the adrenaline of outdoor sports, Burberry’s iconic trench coats and weatherproof jackets exude a sense of timeless elegance and rugged functionality. Whether braving the elements or navigating the urban jungle, Burberry effortlessly combines style with substance, embodying the essence of modern-day explorers.

PRADA’S SPORTY CHIC: EMBRACING URBAN CULTURE

Prada sneakers dedicated to the America’s Cup, launched in the Nineties. (Photo Credit: Prada)

Prada, synonymous with innovation and avant-garde style, has long embraced the fusion of sports and fashion. From its nylon backpacks inspired by utilitarian gear to its futuristic sneakers adorned with bright accents, Prada effortlessly blends athleticism with urban chic. With a finger on the pulse of street culture, the brand consistently pushes the boundaries of traditional sportswear, infusing its collections with a sense of rebellious energy that resonates with fashion-forward consumers worldwide.

Miu Miu’s Playful Aesthetic: Blending Sport and Surrealism

A look from Miu Miu’s Spring 2024 Collection. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

Miu Miu, the whimsical sister brand of Prada, embraces a playful aesthetic that seamlessly integrates elements of sport and surrealism. From retro-inspired tracksuits to embellished sneakers adorned with whimsical motifs, Miu Miu injects a sense of youthful exuberance into every collection. With its bold colors and unexpected juxtapositions, the brand challenges conventional notions of athleticism, inviting wearers to embrace their inner child and revel in the joy of self-expression.

So, tell us, can you name how many other sports that have influenced fashion?

Celebrating Women’s History Month: A Tribute to Fashion’s Inspiring Muses

Jean Paul Gaultier and his muse Madonna. (Photo Credit: Herb Ritts)

Happy Woman’s History Month! As we celebrate women and their innumerable accomplishments, UOF would like to pay tribute to the many fashionable women, throughout history, have inspired some of the most influential designers through the decades. Like they say…”behind every great man is a great woman”!

Givenchy and Hepburn go for a stroll together in Paris in an undated photo. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

In the world of fashion, the relationship between designers and their muses is a tale as old as time, a symbiotic dance of  inspiration, creativity and innovation. Throughout history, these duos have shaped the very essence of style, leaving an indelible mark on the fashion landscape. From the glamour of the Golden Age of Hollywood to the avant-garde runways of Paris, the bond between male designers and their muses has been a driving force behind some of the most iconic fashion moments. To prove it, we are dedicating this blog to some of these timeless partnerships and would like to hear from YOU as to others you may be in the ‘know’ about and want to share.

PAUL POIRET AND DENISE BOULET

“My wife is the inspiration for my creations, she is the expression of all my ideals,” Poiret said. Here is the designer with his wife Denise Boulet. (Photo Credit: Getty)

At the dawn of the 20th century, Paul Poiret revolutionized fashion with his bold designs and visionary approach. Central to his creative vision was his wife, Denise Boulet. Poiret’s muse and collaborator, Boulet embodied the spirit of his designs, infusing them with grace and elegance. Together, they pioneered the shift from restrictive corsets to flowing, avant-garde silhouettes, forever changing the course of fashion.

HUBERT DE GIVENCHY AND AUDREY HEPBURN

Hubert de Givenchy and his muse Audrey Hepburn in 1988. (Photo Credit: The New York Times)

In the enchanting world of couture, few partnerships have captured the imagination quite like that of Hubert de Givenchy and Audrey Hepburn. Their collaboration began serendipitously when Hepburn, seeking a wardrobe for the film Sabrina,  crossed paths with Givenchy. The rest, as they say, is history. Hepburn became the epitome of chic sophistication, while Givenchy’s timeless designs adorned her with unparalleled elegance, creating an enduring legacy of style.

CHRISTIAN DIOR AND MIZA BRICARD

Christian Dior’s and his muse Mizza Bricard. (Photo Credit: MilkX TW)

In the aftermath of World War II, Christian Dior emerged as a beacon of hope, ushering in a new era of luxury and opulence with his iconic New Look. Central to his creative vision was Miza Bricard, his muse and confidante. With her impeccable taste and innate sense of style, Bricard inspired Dior to redefine femininity, thus shaping the fashion landscape for generations to come.

COCO CHANEL

Coco Chanel in her Paris apartment. (Photo Credit: Architectural Digest)

Not only male designers had muses. A fiercely independent Coco Chanel was her own muse, embodying the liberated spirit of the modern woman. Chanel’s timeless designs, from the iconic little black dress to the revolutionary Chanel suit, continues to resonate with women worldwide, a testament to her enduring legacy.

YVES SAINT LAURENT, BETTY CATROUX AND LOULOU DE LA FALAISE

Designer Yves Saint Laurent, Betty Catroux and Loulou de la Falaise. (Photo Credit: WWD)

Yves Saint Laurent’s illustrious career was defined by his close relationships with muses Betty Catroux and Loulou de la Falaise. With their androgynous allure and bohemian spirit, Catroux and de la Falaise inspired Saint Laurent to push the boundaries of fashion, creating groundbreaking designs that captured the zeitgeist of the era.

ROY HALSTON AND LIZA MINNELLI

Halston with his muse Liza Minnelli. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

In the dazzling world of Studio 54, Roy Halston reigned supreme, transforming American fashion with his minimalist yet glamorous aesthetic. At the heart of his creative vision was Liza Minnelli, the iconic entertainer whose charisma and allure captivated audiences worldwide. Together, they epitomized the hedonistic glamour of the ’70s, leaving an indelible mark on fashion history.

BOB MACKIE AND CHER

Bob Mackie and his muse Cher. (Photo Credit: Elle)

Few partnerships have ignited the imagination quite like that of Bob Mackie and Cher. With her fearless style and boundary-pushing creativity, Cher became Mackie’s muse, inspiring some of the most unforgettable looks in fashion history. From the infamous sheer gown at the 1974 Met Gala to the elaborate costumes of her concert tours, Mackie’s designs transformed Cher and secured this duo’s place in fashion history books.

AZZEDINE ALAÏA AND GRACE JONES

Azzedine Alaïa and his muse Grace Jones. (Photo Credit: L’Officiel)

Azzedine Alaïa and Grace Jones forged a legendary partnership defined by their shared passion for sexy, avant-garde design. Jones’s striking beauty and fearless attitude inspired Alaïa to create sculptural masterpieces that defied convention, blurring the lines between fashion and art.

RALPH AND RICKY LAUREN

Ralph Lauren with his wife and muse Ricky Lauren. (Photo Credit: Architectural Digest)

Ralph Lauren’s iconic brand epitomizes the American Dream, embodying a vision of timeless elegance and sophistication. Central to his creative vision is his wife, Ricky Lauren, whose impeccable taste and refined sensibility have shaped the brand’s aesthetic for decades, creating a legacy of enduring style and luxury.

MARC JACOBS AND SOFIA COPPOLA

Marc Jacobs and his muse Sofia Coppola. (Photo Credit: L’Officiel)

Another dynamic duo is Marc Jacobs and Sofia Coppola. This creative partnership is defined by their shared love of art, culture, and style. Coppola’s effortless chic and understated elegance inspired Jacobs to create designs that resonate with women of all ages, blurring the lines between fashion and culture.

GIANNI AND DONATELLA VERSACE

Gianni Versace and his muse Donatella Versace. (Photo Credit: Elle)

Gianni Versace’s bold, provocative designs epitomized the excess and glamour of the ’80s and ’90s. Central to his creative vision was his sister, Donatella, whose fierce style and unwavering support propelled the Versace brand to international acclaim, creating a legacy of bold, daring fashion that continues to captivate the world. When Gianni was murdered in 1997, Donatella took control of the Italian Luxury brand and kept her brother’s legacy alive.

HERMÈS AND JANE BIRKIN

Jane Birkin and her namesake bag created by Jean-Louis Dumas of Hermes. (Photo Credit: Wonderland)

The former chairman of Hermès, Jean-Louis Dumas met actress Jane Birkin in 1984 and witnessed the contents of Birkin’s carry-on bag fall out while on a flight.  In a 2015 interview with The Telegraph, Birkin recounted that Dumas, who was sitting next to Birkin, said, “you should have one with pockets.” Birkin replied, “The day Hermès make one with pockets I will have that”, and he said: “But I am Hermès and I will put pockets in for you.”  Shortly after the two collaborated, the Birkin was created, becoming one of the most covetable accessories in fashion history. It has been reinvented many times since it was first introduced to the public in the 1980s. The Hermès bag’s classic elements include two rolled handles, a flap top, a touret, a clochette, and four clou “feet” and is available in sizes, 20, 25, 30, 40, 42 and 50 centimeters, some featuring exotic crocodile skin paired with diamond-encrusted white gold hardware. Today, there’s a year’s long wait list with some vintage Birkin bags selling for up to $2 million. Now that’s one successful female muse collaboration!

Care to share your designer muse story?

 

CELEBRATING NATIONAL NATIVE HERITAGE MONTH

Looks from B. Yellowtail. (Photo Credit: American Craft Council)

As November unfurls its autumnal tapestry, we find ourselves immersed in the rich hues of National Native Heritage Month—a time to celebrate and honor the diverse cultures, histories, and contributions of Native American peoples. This month offers an opportunity not only to delve into the vibrant traditions of indigenous communities, but also to reflect on the complex relationship between fashion and cultural appropriation.

For decades, the fashion industry has drawn inspiration from indigenous designs, textiles, and embroideries. Renowned designers such as Ralph Lauren and Isabel Marant have woven the intricate threads of Native American aesthetics into their collections, creating garments that pay homage to the beauty of indigenous cultures. The allure of tribal patterns, beading techniques, and earthy color palettes has undeniably left an indelible mark on the world of haute couture.

Ralph Lauren built an empire on his vision of ‘Americana’. Not only have his  collections included the American flag, but throughout the years he has incorporated elements inspired by Native American dress. From Navajo prints to fringe details reminiscent of traditional Native attire, his collections have been a testament to the timeless beauty of indigenous craftsmanship. Similarly, Isabel Marant, a French fashion luminary, has skillfully blended bohemian chic with Native American influences, creating pieces that resonate with a global audience.

A Ralph Lauren Native American inspired look from 1981. Photo Credit: Ralph Lauren)

However, as the fashion industry navigates the complex waters of cultural sensitivity, a spotlight is being cast on the issue of cultural appropriation. What was once seen as homage, is now under scrutiny, prompting a shift in perspective. The borrowing of elements from Native American cultures has given rise to an “appropriation” uproar, challenging the industry to reassess its practices.

In recent years, discussions surrounding cultural appropriation have gained momentum, urging designers to reconsider their approach to incorporating indigenous motifs. The line between ‘appreciation’ and ‘appropriation’ has become increasingly blurred, prompting a call for greater respect and understanding. Native communities argue that using sacred symbols, traditional patterns, or religious attire without context or proper acknowledgment perpetuates harmful stereotypes and commodifies their heritage.

As fashion enthusiasts, it’s crucial to engage in conversations about cultural sensitivity and the impact of our clothing choices. Designers are now encouraged to collaborate with indigenous artists and craftspeople, ensuring that the cultural context is preserved and respected. The emphasis is shifting towards appreciation rather than appropriation, promoting a more inclusive and respectful approach to fashion that celebrates diversity without erasing the roots of inspiration.

National Native Heritage Month serves as a poignant reminder to celebrate and learn from indigenous cultures rather than commodify them. While fashion has been a powerful medium for cultural expression, the industry is evolving towards a more conscious and respectful future—one that honors the rich tapestry of traditions without unraveling the fabric of cultural identity. As we admire the beauty of Native American influences in fashion, let us do so with open hearts, listening to the voices of those whose heritage we celebrate and ensuring that our appreciation is a bridge rather than a barrier.

WEAVING TRADITIONS

Looks from EMME Studio. (Photo Credit: EMME Studios)

National Native Heritage Month is not just a time to admire the tapestry of indigenous cultures, but also an opportunity to celebrate the incredible talents of Native American fashion designers who are reshaping the landscape of fashion. Here are eight designers whose work not only captivates the runway but also pays homage to their rich heritage.

JENNIFER YOUNGER

Jewelry by Jennifer Younger. (Photo Credit: Jasper Soloff)

Jennifer Younger effortlessly fuses traditional Native aesthetics with contemporary silhouettes. Her designs, inspired by her Navajo heritage, are a testament to the enduring beauty of indigenous artistry.

JAMIE OKUMA

A look from Jamie Okuma. (Photo Credit: Jamie Okuma)

Jamie Okuma, a Luiseno and Shoshone-Bannock artist, brings beadwork to life in ways that defy expectations. Her intricate bead designs tell stories, capturing the essence of Native American narratives with each carefully chosen hue.

EMME STUDIO

Models display Korina Emmerich’s Drugstore Rodeo 2021 collection. (Photo Credit: Two Hawks Young)

Korina Emmerich, of the Puyallup Tribe, blends her Native roots with a modern edge in EMME Studio. Her pieces are a dynamic fusion of bold patterns and innovative designs that transcend cultural boundaries.

TANIA LARSSON

Jewelry by Tania Larsson. (Photo Credit: Jamie Stevenson Photography)

Hailing from the Gwich’in and Kaska Dena nations, Tania Larsson’s creations are a dance of color and texture. Her work reflects the vast beauty of the Canadian North, echoing the Northern Lights in every stitch.

B. YELLOWTAIL

A look from B. Yellowtail. (Photo Credit: B. Yellowtail)

Bethany Yellowtail, a member of the Crow and Northern Cheyenne tribes, empowers through fashion. Her brand, B. Yellowtail, blends cultural motifs with elegant simplicity, creating clothing that embodies strength and grace.

EVAN DUCHARME

Looks from Evan Ducharme. (Photo Credit: Evan Ducharme)

Evan Ducharme, a designer of Metis heritage, weaves his cultural identity into every garment. His creations tell the story of the Metis people, combining historical reverence with a contemporary flair.

GINEW

Looks from Ginew. (Photo Credit: Ginew)

Dyani White Hawk, a member of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe, breathes life into denim through her brand Ginew. Her designs honor her Native roots with intricate details, showcasing the spirit of heritage in every stitch.

4KINSHIP

A look from 4Kninship. (Photo Credit: 4Kinship)

Amy Denet Deal, a Chickasaw designer, explores the intersection of elegance and tradition in 4Kinship. Her creations embody the spirit of Native American aesthetics, offering a harmonious blend of the past and present.

NAVIGATING THE THREADS OF CULTURAL SENSITIVITY

As we celebrate National Native Heritage Month, let us not only appreciate the breathtaking designs but also recognize the profound stories woven into each thread. These eight designers stand as living testaments to the resilience, creativity, and cultural pride of indigenous communities. In a world where fashion often transcends borders, their work serves as a powerful reminder that diversity is not just a trend but a celebration of the rich tapestry of human experience.

So, tell us, when designers are influenced by a culture that is not their own, do you believe it is cultural appropriation, or do you believe its an homage to?

Veteran’s Day: Saluting Style & Strength

- - Fashion History

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

As we celebrated Veterans Day on November 11th, we honor the brave men and women who have served in the armed forces. It’s a day to express gratitude, admiration, and respect for the sacrifices made by our veterans. But beyond parades and solemn ceremonies, it’s also a moment to celebrate the influence of military history on the world of fashion. We will explore how military-inspired fashion has made its mark on runways and especially acknowledge the remarkable women who played a crucial role during World War II – the era that ignited a fashion revolution.

COMMANDING STYLE

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

Military-inspired fashion has a long history of making a bold statement on runways worldwide. Drawing from the uniform designs of various armed forces, designers have incorporated elements such as epaulettes, camouflage patterns, trench coats, and combat boots into their collections. These garments, often imbued with a sense of authority and structure, have been embraced by fashion enthusiasts seeking to make a powerful fashion statement.

During and after World War II, the military look permeated the fashion world. The iconic trench coat, originally designed for British soldiers, found its place in civilian wardrobes. The “bomber jacket” was adapted from aviation uniforms, becoming a symbol of cool rebellion and youthful style. Even the classic sailor stripe and sailor collar, inspired by naval uniforms, continue to be timeless fashion staples. Join us on a sartorial journey as we explore the chic, commanding and timeless world of military-inspired fashion.

THE TIMELESS TRENCH COAT

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

The trench coat, born on the battlefields of World War I, has become a symbol of sophistication and versatility. Its distinctive double-breasted design, epaulettes, and weather-resistant fabric exude an air of authority and practicality. Whether cinched at the waist with a belt or left open for a relaxed look, the trench coat is a must-have for every fashion-forward fashionista.

MARCHING ORDERS

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

Camouflage patterns, designed to help soldiers blend into their surroundings, have become a high-impact fashion statement. From cargo pants to jackets, the camo trend makes a bold and unapologetic impression. Celebrities, models, and street-style aficionados have all embraced this print, effortlessly fusing military precision with urban street style.

THE BOMBER

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

Originally designed for aviators, the bomber jacket has transcended its utilitarian roots to become a symbol of rebellion and youth culture. Its ribbed cuffs, waist, and collar, give it an iconic silhouette that exudes a sense of edginess. Today, bomber jackets come in various materials and colors, making them a versatile addition to any wardrobe.

REGAL IN OFFICER’S ATTIRE

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

Military-style blazers with gold buttons, brass details, and sharp tailoring, lend an air of formality and elegance. Inspired by officer’s uniforms, these garments exude authority and sophistication. Paired with jeans for a casual look or a sleek pencil skirt for a professional ensemble, military blazers are a timeless choice for those who ‘command’ attention.

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

TIME FOR COMBAT

Prada’s iconic combat boots. (Photo Credit: Prada)

Combat boots, initially crafted for soldiers to withstand the rigors of the battlefield, have become a staple in fashion. With their rugged, no-nonsense appearance, they effortlessly juxtapose with dresses, skirts, and denim, adding a dash of punk rock attitude to any outfit.

EARNING YOUR STRIPES

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

The classic sailor stripe, inspired by naval uniforms, continues to be a timeless fashion staple. Breton stripes bring a nautical charm to any outfit and can be effortlessly incorporated into both casual and formal looks. Whether it’s a striped tee or a striped dress, this pattern always ‘anchors’ your style.

WOMAN OF VALOR

Women in the Army during WW2. (Photo Credit: U.S. Army)

On Veterans Day, we should also celebrate the unsung heroines who played pivotal roles during World War II, reshaping history and leaving an indelible mark. We’s like to honor those women of valor – the Rosie the Riveters, the Pin-up girls on the sides of warplanes, the nurses, the secretaries, and all the women who raised their children solo, while their men were off at war. We appreciate their wartime contributions through the ages and the heightened role they play in military service today.

ROSIE THE RIVETER

Rosie the Riveter Poster. (Photo Credit: U.S. Department Of Defense)

Rosie the Riveter, a symbol of female empowerment during World War II, became an icon of resilience and determination. With her rolled-up sleeves, red bandana, and a strong, confident demeanor, Rosie represented the countless women who stepped into factory roles to support the war effort. She inspired not only women in the workforce but also fashion trends with her practical yet stylish jumpsuit, the modern boiler suit, and the fashionable reimagining of the iconic polka-dotted bandana.

PIN-UP GIRLS

World War II,  U.S. Army Vintage Print Pin-up. (Photo Credit: Etsy)

In the midst of wartime uncertainty, pin-up girls adorned the sides of warplanes, bringing both beauty and morale to the frontlines. These alluring images, often featuring glamorous women in patriotic poses, became symbols of hope and inspiration for the troops. Today, the pin-up girl aesthetic continues to influence fashion, from high-waisted bikinis to retro-inspired dresses, capturing the playful and vintage appeal of that era.

ANGELS OF MERCY: NURSES

Navy nurses dressed in new uniforms, in the nurses quarters at Aiea Naval Hospital, Honolulu, Hawaii, early March 1945 after liberation. (Photo Credit: Navel History and Heritage Command)

The nurses of World War II, often referred to as “angels of mercy,” played a vital role in caring to the wounded soldiers. Their courage, compassion, and dedication continue to be an inspiration. While their uniforms were functional and practical, their commitment to duty remains unmatched. Today, their spirit lives on in the clean lines and crisp whites of medical-inspired fashion, reflecting an air of professionalism and compassion.

SECRETARIAL DUTY

Women’s Army Corps during WWII. (Photo Credit: Britannica)

The secretaries, typists, and administrative assistants of the wartime era were the backbone of military logistics. They were tasked with managing the ever-growing volumes of paperwork and correspondence. Their contributions paved the way for modern office attire, with pencil skirts, tailored blouses, and sleek accessories. These outfits exemplify the blend of professionalism and elegance that marked the wartime working woman.

THANK YOU FOR YOUR SERVICE

The Women’s Army Corps (WAC)  in WWII. (Photo Credit: National Woman’s History Museum)

So, this Veterans Day, as we remember and honor those who served, let’s also celebrate the intersection of style and strength – a legacy that endures through military-inspired fashion. These designs connect us to the past and continue to inspire us in the present, reminding us of the remarkable women and men who shaped history during wartime.

So, tell us, are you a fan of military-inspired fashion?

QUIET LUXURY STOLE THE SHOW AT NY FASHION WEEK SPRING 2024

- - Fashion Shows

Looks from Michael Kors’ Spring 2024 Collection. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

In the dazzling whirlwind that is the fashion world, where fantastical runway creations often seem more suited for the pages of a sci-fi novel than our daily lives, New York Fashion Week Spring 2024, which ran from September 7th to September 13, 2023, came as a breath of fresh air. This Spring 2024 season, designers decided to take a step back from the avant-garde and embrace a much-needed return to the realm of “real clothes for the real world.” The result? Runway shows that felt more relatable, relevant, and refreshing than ever before. Are we all ready for some reality?

Fashion enthusiasts worldwide seemed to have been yearning for authenticity in recent years. Haven’t we all  grown tired of feeling like mere spectators of fashion, unable to find any common ground between the eccentric runway fantasies and our everyday wardrobes? Well, finally, New York’s designers are offering a solution to this dilemma by delivering collections that spoke to the modern woman, the urban man, and the fashion-conscious non-binary individual. The collections presented us with pieces that felt not only wearable but desirable.

Backstage at Altuzarra’s Spring 2024 Show. (Photo Credit: Hunter Abrams)

This season wasn’t about who could make the biggest statement; it was about the designers who showcased the art of quiet luxury, proving that sometimes, less truly is more.

THE HISTORY OF MINIMALISM

If you Google “minimalist fashion designers”, up pops Coco Chanel, Halston, Helmut Lang, Calvin Klein and Martin Margiela. Clothes known in the 90s as sleek, elegant and understated, would go on to become one of design’s most enduring ‘less is more’ trends and not just in the fashion world, but also in art, architecture and furniture design,  One could argue that American designer Michael Kors has always been a minimalist.

Fast forward to 2018 and the 5 season hit TV series Succession, which gave us Shiv Roy. Her wardrobe perfected the “Art of Quiet Luxury”, with its elite high-end aesthetic comprised of toned-down, tailored designer pieces in color codes of gray, black, brown and beige, over noisy opulence full of obvious branding and loud logos.

By 2022, the trend-setting powers of social media and growing pressure on the fashion industry to create collections that could stand the test of time, saw the list of brands embracing a more stripped-back approach continue to grow. Brands like The Row, Cos, Totême, Peter Do, Jim Sander and Khaite are some examples that brought minimalist dressing back.

And now, for Spring 2024, designers Proenza Schouler and Tory Burch brought minimalism back, with clean lines, simple silhouettes and muted color palettes. Their respective collections spoke volumes, without the need for excessive embellishments or flashy prints. The focus was on impeccable tailoring, high-quality materials, and timeless pieces that transcended seasons. What was once called “Investment Dressing”, now goes by the name “Minimalistic Quiet Luxury”.

A look from Proenza Schouler’s Spring 2024 Collection. (Photo Credit: Proenza Schouler)

A look from Tory Burch’s Spring 2024 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue)

MONOCHROMATIC MASTERY

Another piece of the Minimalistic Quiet Luxury trend is monochromatic looks. The collections of Gabriela Hearst and Willy Chavarria showcased the power of a single color. These designers demonstrated that dressing in one color from head to toe can be incredibly chic and sophisticated. It’s a testament to the idea that true luxury doesn’t need to scream; it can whisper.

Looks from Willy Chavarria’s Spring 2024 Collection. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

A look from Gabriela Hearst’s Spring 2024 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue)

RETURN OF TAILORING

Tailoring made a triumphant comeback at NYFW Spring 2024. Designers like Helmut Lang and Ralph Lauren displayed a mastery of the art of tailoring, by creating perfectly fitted suits, blazers, and trousers that exuded sophistication and confidence. The attention to detail was unparalleled, with impeccable stitching and precise cuts.

A look from Helmut Lang’s Spring 2024 Collection. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

A look from Ralph Lauren’s Spring 2024 Collection. (Photo Credit: Ralph Lauren)

SUBTLE DETAILS THAT SPEAK VOLUMES

Quiet luxury is all about the little things that make a big impact. Designers like Jason Wu and Catherine Holstein of Khaite incorporated subtle details like delicate embroidery, discreet logos, and elegant draping to elevate their pieces. These subtle touches added an air of exclusivity without resorting to ostentation.

Looks from Jason Wu’s Spring 2024 Collection. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

A look from Khaite’s Spring 2024 Collection. (Photo Credit: Khaite)

SUSTAINABLE ELEGANCE

A significant component of quiet luxury in 2024 was its commitment to sustainability. Designers such as Stella McCartney and Eileen Fisher were in the forefront of the environmental movement and for Spring 2024, designers Gabriela Hearst and Collina Strada demonstrated that luxury and eco-consciousness can coexist. They used eco-friendly materials and production processes, showcasing that a responsible approach to fashion can be a luxury in itself.

A look from Gabriela Hearst’s Spring 2024 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue)

A look from Collina Strada’s Spring 2024 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue)

TIMELESSNESS

Perhaps the most captivating aspect of quiet luxury is its timelessness. Designers like Carolina Herrera and Ralph Lauren created pieces that will remain relevant and stylish for years to come. These collections weren’t about chasing fleeting trends but rather celebrating enduring elegance.

A look from Carolina Herrera’s Spring 2024 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue)

Supermodel Christy Turlington walks in Ralph Lauren’s Spring-Summer 2024 show at an artfully-transformed warehouse in the Brooklyn Naval Yard. (Photo Credit: AP Press)

In a world that often values excess and extravagance, NYFW Spring 2024 reminded us of the beauty of restraint. Quiet luxury is a celebration of craftsmanship, quality, minimalism, and the subtle art of making a statement without shouting. It’s about embracing the idea that true luxury is in the details, in the craftsmanship, and in the enduring appeal of a well-made garment.

As we step into this new era of understated elegance, we applaud the designers who have embraced quiet luxury and redefined the standards of opulence. NYFW Spring 2024 has given us a fresh perspective on what it means to be truly luxurious in an increasingly noisy world. In the end, it’s not about how loudly you proclaim your status; it’s about the quiet confidence that comes from knowing you’re wearing the best.

So tell us, do you believe quiet luxury is just a trend or is the understated movement here to stay?

 

 

 

 

WILL THE METAVERSE & PHYGITAL BECOME THE CENTER OF YOUR FASHION UNIVERSE?

- - Technology

British Fashion Council launched a Metaverse Fashion Award red carpet on Roblox. (Photo Credit: Hypebae)

Fashion week in any major city if often described as a sensory explosion, with vibrations of bass-heavy music as models sashay down the runway in an elaborate display of a designer’s latest collection. While established labels often dominate the various Fashion Weeks, this year was a bit different. The new kids in town not only showcased their work as physical designs, but also digitally, or better known as “phygitally” (physical and digital)

So much buzz is generated around New York Fashion Week for traditional designers, but are you familiar with the Nolcha Shows? These shows, also held during NYFW, are where independent fashion designers showcase their collections to a global audience of press, retailers, stylists and industry influencers. Over the past eleven years the Nolcha Shows have become an established platform of discovery; promoting cutting edge innovative fashion designers through runway shows and exhibitions. The real Future of Fashion?

This past September, during NYFW Nolcha Shows, blockchain gaming ecosystem Chain Guardians took up space next to traditional designers, presenting their phygital take on classic designs. Their collection included a colorful, anime-style bodysuit, which included an NFC chip that, when scanned, was linked to a non-fungible token (NFT) that is wearable in the Chain Guardians metaverse. With a virtual reality (VR) headset, a user can physically try on garments, as well as interact with the brand’s virtual storefront.

Megan Kaspar is the managing director of Web3 venture capital firm Firstlight, and founding member of digital fashion house Red DAO. By the way, in tech lingo, a DAO is a decentralized autonomous organization (DAO) – a system developed to distribute decision-making, management, and entity ownership dictated by code on a blockchain. Kaspar has been a pioneer in blockchain-based digital wearables Web3 styling. In October 2021, she “wore” three pieces from DRESSX – a multi-brand retailer of digital-only clothing, NFT fashion items and augmented reality (AR) looks – on a Yahoo! Finance news segment using AR filters. In January, she had nine digital Fendi pieces tailored and transposed onto a photo of herself for the cover of Haute Living.

Megan Kaspar’s Haute Living Magazine cover. (Photo Credit: Haute Living)

“As we move to a reality where device disruption keeps occurring in the near term…that will come with the use of more digital fashion,” Kaspar told CoinDesk.

Kaspar describes digital fashion as having four major use cases at present in her interview with CoinDesk.

One of Dolce & Gabbana’s debut NFTs. (Photo Credit: Wired)

For starters, there are digital-only garments sold as NFTs, which are intended to be worn in the metaverse. This form of digital fashion was embraced by Tommy Hilfiger, Dolce & Gabbana, Forever 21 and dozens more designers who released full collections on the metaverse platform Decentraland during the launch of Metaverse Fashion Week in March 2022.

The second is AR photo filters, which Kaspar used in her appearance on Yahoo! Finance. These filters are often used to create overlays on social media platforms like Snapchat, Instagram and TikTok, and can easily be integrated into live videos or photos.

The next example is digital tailoring, meaning that after a real-life photo is taken, digital garments can be placed onto a user’s photo, which is how Kaspar rocked Fendi on her Haute Living magazine cover.

NFT Nike Sneaker. (Photo Credit: Nike)

Last but not least, Kaspar mentions that people can also view digital fashion as investable assets – such as buying NFT garments as speculative assets, such as a pair of NFT sneakers to resell for a profit. Alternatively, consumers who purchase a rare digital designer handbag can prove their ownership over the asset on the blockchain.

Mason Rothschild’s 100 MetaBirkins NFTs honoring Hermes. (Photo Credit: Medium)

Kaspar states that while many people view digital fashion as speculative investments for now, she believes that a “pretty viable solution” for mass adoption of these technologies will be created within the next five years.

Many emerging brands are looking to digital fashion and technology to help solve many of the problems plaguing the fashion industry, such as sustainability.

One of the biggest issues the fashion industry faces is the production of fast fashion, which has practically doubled within the last twenty years. Present fashion consumption trends result in enormous amounts of textile waste, most of which is sent to landfills, burned, or sent to developing countries. Additionally, it was estimated in 2019, that textile production creates over 1.2 billion tons of greenhouse gasses per year, larger than all international flights and maritime shipping combined.

Of course, there are still concerns about evolving technologies like NFTs and their environmental impact due to energy consumption, but some emerging designers have found ways to use NFTs to tackle issues of overproduction and overconsumption of apparel. Notably, the Merge, Ethereum’s transition from proof-of-work to proof-of-stake consensus mechanisms has reduced the network’s energy use by over 99% to help make most NFT transactions more efficient.

KRWN Studio NFT. (Photo Credit: KRWN Studio)

KRWN Studio, a small fashion brand that sells virtual streetwear as NFTs, aims to make fashion greener by manufacturing garments on the blockchain.

Digitally native brands that adopt a phygital model take on some of the environmental responsibility related to manufacturing, including the physical production of garments alongside minting digital replicas as NFTs. Although, many recognize that they can scale operations and mindfully release products in small batches to avoid mass production.

Digital wearables present users with tools for self-expression and are often used to adorn an avatar or another form of a digital identity. Metaverse Fashion Week, for example, was fueled by a desire for self-expression and individuality online.

Digital fashion also makes the fashion industry more accessible for both producers and consumers. NFTs make it easier for a designer to get their pieces out to the public and provide a wider range of prices for consumers.

Web3 wearables marketplace The Dematerialised (DMAT) prides itself on using blockchain technology to fix the mistakes of other retail giants. Co-founder Karinna Nobbs told CoinDesk that DMAT prioritizes accessibility and hopes to set a standard for future digital fashion houses.

“Whether crypto native or non-crypto native, people should be able to access digital fashion and NFTs. For us to have a luxury and an aspirational aesthetic, but to be able to have accessibility at different economic points, is really important,” Nobbs told CoinDesk.

For designers and creators in digital spaces, the limitations of what fashion is and who is invited into the exclusive world continue to grow. The digital fashion landscape is now infinite and spans various platforms and mediums. Digital images are finally moving  away from blocky 8-bit creations (an 8-bit image is a method of storing image information in a computer’s memory or in an image file, so that each pixel is represented by 8 bits (1 byte) to more life-like images.

Fortnite X Polo Ralph Lauren. (Photo Credit: Ralph Lauren)

Even video games have collaborated with fashion designers. Fortnite has had ‘digital skins’ from Balenciaga, and Ralph Lauren. Nintendo Switch also got into the fashion world with their game Animal Crossings with designers like Marc Jacobs and Valentino creating looks for avatars.

Tommy Hilfiger’s virtual collection with Roblox. (Photo Credit: The Fashion Starter)

If you still think that digital fashion is a thing of the future, well, we’re here to tell you the future is NOW.  According to Business of Fashion, Roblox says it has over 11.5 million users designing over 63 million virtual clothing and accessories for its virtual worlds, and millions more are willing to pay for these items to dress their avatars, according to a new study released by Roblox and Parsons School of Design. Most of these items were created by users rather than established brands, so we are pretty sure we can soon expect to see designer Roblox-specific items. Business of Fashion also reported that Alice Delahunt left her role as Ralph Lauren’s chief digital and content officer to strike out on her own and to start a new web3 company in the belief that digital fashion is reaching a turning point.

All this is our way of telling you to subscribe to UoF and start learning all about 3D design software. Check out our 3 new lessons in Browzwear:

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So, tell us, are you as excited as we are about 3D designing in the metaverse?

EQUALITY: HOW THE FASHION INDUSTRY IS SUPPORTING THE LGBTQ+ COMMUNITY & WOMEN’S RIGHTS

Looks from Pink by Victoria’s Secret Pride Collection. (Photo Credit: Pink by Victoria’s Secret)

As we process the overturning of Roe v Wade and what it means for women’s rights, we know one thing, the fashion industry will not take this lying down. There are many organizations mobilizing in defense of women’s equality, one of the newest is Don’t Ban Equality. The list of companies that support women’s reproductive rights is growing and you can bet that the impact of this decision will have have far-reaching consequences, both on and off the runway.

And, as we near the end of Pride Month, we’d like to dedicate this blog to women’s and gender equality. This year, the fashion community has stepped up and given back to the LGBTQ+ community. Pride Month, which commemorates the 1969 Stonewall Riots in New York City where spontaneous demonstrations by the gay community in response to a police raid at the Stonewall Inn in Greenwich Village, was a tipping point in the Gay Liberation Movement. The community originally observed the Stonewall Riots for a day at the end of June, but it has since evolved into a month-long tribute.

Over the last two years, due to Covid-19, the parades and parties celebrating Pride Month were cancelled, but this year, the month-long festivities were in full swing. Fashion brands also did their part in supporting the LGBTQ+ community with their “Pride-themed” collaborations and merchandise.

H&M’s video titled My Chosen Family Pride Month 2022 at H&M. Video Courtesy of H&M

Fashion brands working with the LGBTQ+ community isn’t new: H&M has been a longtime collaborator with LGBTQIA+ actors and activists, and their “My chosen family” initiative donated $100,000 this year to the UN Free & Equal campaign, a global fight for equality led by United Nations Human Rights.

Still, LGBTQ+ leaders have accused brands of pushing “pinkwashed” merchandise—basically using Pride Month as a marketing tool and profiting off the LGBTQ+ community without offering anything back. This is particularly distasteful after two years that’ve hit the community especially hard, financially-speaking.

The Rainbow Flag. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

In prior Pride months, companies released everything from sneakers to that notorious mouthwash with Pride-themed packaging and not much else, not a single donation to support the community. Is an identifiable, color palette enough to persuade the LGBTQ community and supporters, to spend their hard-earned money after two long years of pandemic fatigue, inflation, and record-breaking gas prices?

According to YouGov, a quarter of Americans say that they are more likely to shop from LGBTQ+ friendly brands, and over 80% are likely to try new products from brands who actively support LGBTQ+ communities as opposed to ones that don’t. Authenticity is the key, although retailers have taken a financial hit the past few years due to the global pandemic, we’re seeing more companies putting their money where their mouth is and donating to worthy causes.

So here are a few of the Pride Month collaborations, from brands that are using their platform to support the LGBTQ+ community.

CHER X VERSACE

Cher and fashion house Versace are teaming up to celebrate Pride Month. (Photo Credit: Versace)

The music legend Cher and luxury Italian fashion house Versace have teamed up to create “Chersace,” a limited-edition capsule collection with all proceeds benefiting Gender Spectrum, a charity that works with LGBTQ children and youth.

The “Chersace” collection includes T-shirts, socks and a baseball cap designed with Versace’s iconic Medusa motif and the Versace logo reimagined to read “Chersace.” A portion of all the proceeds will benefit Gender Spectrum, a nonprofit organization chosen by both Donatella Versace and Cher for their advocate work supporting LGBTQ community, especially youths and families.

CONVERSE

Sneakers from Converse’s 2-22 Pride Collection. (Photo Credit: Converse)

Converse’s Pride 2022 Collection puts a twist on the iconic Chuck Taylors, as each shoe from the collection is united by a vibrant patchwork representing diversity, belonging and unity. Alongside the Pride collection, Converse released a digital campaign, “Found Family,” which presents stories from the brand’s LGBTQ+ community. Converse also gives annual grants to seven organization partners that work to create safe spaces for the LGBTQ+ community.

COACH

Coach’s Pride Collection. (Photo Credit: Coach)

Coach didn’t just slap a rainbow on some purses, the fashion house has been a longtime supporter of LGBTQ+ causes. The brand releases annual Pride collections, partners with nonprofits and donates to community funds around the world through the Coach Foundation.

This year, the Coach Foundation’s “Go All Out For Pride” campaign will make donations to the brand’s longstanding LGBTQ+ partners, including the Hetrick-Martin Institute, Point Foundation and CenterLink to support their work connecting young LGBTQ+ folks with supportive communities. Coach’s Pride collection includes the labels iconic canvas bags, sneakers, and slides – all with the brands classic logo remixed with pride flag-inspired colors.

LEVI’S

A look from Levi’s Pride Collection. (Photo Credit: Levi’s)

Sure, there are a number of brands brandishing gender-neutral fashion lines this summer, but the Levi’s Pride collection celebrates the spectrum of identities in the LGBTQ+ community. Levi’s latest line of tees, denim and accessories are designed to be worn by anyone, but feature pronouns across the pieces as a call to respect everyone’s lived experiences.

The denim company says that they will donate $100,000 to OutRight Action International, a nonprofit working year-round to defend and advance human rights for LGBTQ+ people around the globe. For this year’s collection, the brand also photographed the fashion line on five social justice advocates from within the LGBTQ+ community.

RALPH LAUREN

Ralph Lauren’s pride collection. (Photo Credit: Ralph Lauren)

For over 30+ years, Ralph Lauren has committed to the LGBTQ+ community. The fashion houses recent Pride campaign explores the complex and intersectional history of Pride. In the video, the former editor in chief of Out magazine, Phillip Picardi interviewed luminaries like Ariel Nicholson, Keith Boykin and Staceyann Chin as they provided insight on the community, the history of Pride and the New American Dream.

In addition, Ralph Lauren will merchandise a rainbow assortment of merchandise throughout the month, including rainbow cashmere sweaters, Polo shirts and canvas sneakers. The company has also partnered with the Stonewall Community Foundation once more, providing a donation to support the LGBTQ community.

VINYARD VINES

Looks from Vinyard Vines’ Pride Collection. (Photo Credit: Vineyard Vines)

Perfect for this month’s beach life, and more, Vineyard Vines’s 2022 Pride Collection is here for the LGBTQ+ community to celebrate and toast to the good life. A portion of all proceeds from their Pride collection will be donated to GLSEN, a non-profit whose mission is to ensure that every school-aged youth is valued and respected regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression.

UGG

Ugg’s Rainbow Sandals. (Photo Credit: Ugg)

This year Ugg has collaborated with The Trevor Project for its “Feel Heard” campaign, starring advocate and writer Alok, model Chloe Vero, yoga teacher and artist Isa’ah, science teacher and model Sarina Moralez and vintage collectors Robert and Orren. Ugg has also donated $125,000 to the nonprofit organization.

For their Pride 2022 Collection, Ugg featured rainbow Pride-inspired detailing on its signature slides as well as apparel, including a T-shirt, hoodie, socks and more.

PUMA

Cara Delevingne launches pride collection with Puma. (Photo Credit: Puma)

Puma has teamed up with model and actress Cara Delevingne and illustrator Carra Sykes, to create a collection called “Together Forever,” which encourages wearers to raise their voices and celebrate their strength. The collaboration includes T-shirts, hoodies, shorts, a patterned bralette, and matching leggings, all of which feature vibrant logos and graphics.

Puma has also pledged to donate 20 percent of the proceeds from the collection, with a minimum of $250,000, to GLAAD.

KATE SPADE NEW YORK

Items from Kate Spade’s Pride Collection. (Photo Credit: Kate Spade)

Kate Spade New York is celebrating Pride Month with their latest campaign, “Celebrate with Pride”. The fashion and accessories brand also announced a year-long partnership with The Trevor Project for the third year. As part of their partnership together, Kate Spade has pledged to donate $150,000 to the organization.

Additionally, the company will also release a series of videos on its website and social media channels, inviting members of the LGBTQ+ community to share their stories.

SAKS FIFTH AVENUE

Christian Cowan for Saks’ “Show Your Pride” campaign. (Photo Credit: Saks)

Luxury retailer Saks Fifth Avenue launched their Pride campaign called “Show Your Pride,” which celebrated notables from the LGBTQ+ community and their stories. Additionally, the retailer is continuing its support for the community by partnering with the Stonewall Inn Gives Back Initiative (the official charitable giving organization of the historic landmark site of the 1969 riots) for the fourth consecutive year, with a cumulative donation of $245,000.

Throughout June, Saks Fifth Avenue will be featuring names like singer and drag performer Adore Delano, designer Christian Cowan, actress Dominique Jackson and comedians Jes Tom and Sam Jay on social media, the Saks website, and its editorial hub, The Edit. On its TikTok channel, influencer Emira D’Spain will host a “get ready with me” style video, while Jackson will be featured in a Reels video on Instagram.

Additionally, the Saks Fifth Avenue flagship windows in New York City will be transformed to create a deconstructed Pride flag.

NORDSTROM

Nordstrom’s Pride 2022 Campaign. (Photo Credit: Nordstrom)

Throughout Pride Month, the luxury department store will highlight labels that are launching initiatives in support of the LGBTQ+ community. The brands include BP., who released a Be Proud collection, Bombas, Converse, Dr. Martens, Happy Socks, Vans, The Phluid Project and Toms.

The retailer’s Pride Month initiatives will also include celebrating and supporting their LGBTQ+ employees and corporate donations to and partnerships with nonprofit organizations who work to support the LGBTQ+ community. Nordstrom will donate $200,000 to The Hetrick-Martin Institute, $100,000 to Trans Lifeline and $135,000 to Human Rights Campaign, among other charity programs.

CAROLINA HERRERA

A closer look at Carolina Herrera’s jewelry capsule celebrating Pride. (Photo Credit: Carolina Herrera)

The luxury house Carolina Herrera launched an exclusive jewelry capsule inspired by the rainbow colors of the official Pride flag, featuring a crystal necklace and earrings. Carolina Herrera will be donating 100 percent of the proceeds from the sales of the collection to Callen-Lorde, a community health center providing healthcare and other related services for New York’s LGBTQ+ communities.

According to Don’t Ban Equality, “77% of consumers consider reproductive health care (i.e., access to contraception and abortion) an important issue; 91% of Gen Z and 86% of Millennials say it is important“. Who knew that we would still be fighting for women’s rights in today’s day and age?

So, tell us, how important it is for fashion brands to include equality in their brand identity?

EARTH DAY & HOW SUSTAINABLE, BIODEGRADABLE & COMPOSTABLE TEXTILES ARE CHANGING THE FACE OF FASHION

- - Sustainability

Chloé’s eco-chic spring 2022 show on the bank of the Seine in Paris. (Photo Credit: Shutterstock)

Earth Day is right around the corner (Friday, April 22nd) and while many think that the fashion industry is not doing enough to reduce its carbon footprint, we’re here to say, we’re making progress. Remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day! If you are a faithful reader of UoF’s weekly blog then you know how dedicated we are, not only in keeping our readers up to date on the latest in sustainable fashion and textiles, but in teaching our students how to become ‘sustainable’ designers.

In fact, UoF has a whole series of lessons covering the topic: Introduction to Sustainable Design, Sustainable Materials for Fashion Design, Designing, Producing & Marketing a Sustainable Collection, Eco-Textiles, Creative Draping-Zero Waste Dress, Creative Draping-2D Draping, Creative Draping-Zero Puzzle Dress, Creative Draping-Silk Taffeta Dress, Creative Draping-Organza Blouse, Creative Draping-Cocoon Jacket, Eco Fashion Global Initiative, Sustainable Fashion Designer-Monisha Raja and Sustainable Fashion Designer-Kristen Luong. And we continue to add more!

It’s hard to believe that it’s been 60 years since Rachel Carson’s book, Silent Spring (published September 27, 1962), warned us of the adverse environmental effects caused by the indiscriminate use of pesticides. James Hansen (considered the ‘father of global warming’), forty-three years ago created one of the world’s first climate models, nicknamed Model Zero that predicted what was to come. Earth Day, which began fifty-two years ago (April 22, 1970), is now an annual event in support of  environmental protection that today includes a wide range of events coordinated globally by EarthDay.org and reaches one billion people in more than 193 countries. The official Earth Day theme for 2022 is Invest In Our Planet.  As a scientist once told Rachel Carson, “We are walking in nature like an elephant in a china cabinet“.

 

Some Fashion Industry Facts & Solutions 

Here are some frightening numbers: Since the 2000s, fashion production has doubled and it will likely triple by 2050, according to the American Chemical Society. The production of polyester, which is a popular fabric used in fast fashion, as well as athleisurewear, has increased nine times the amount in the last 50 years. Fast fashion has made clothing so inexpensive that items are easily discarded after being worn only a few times. According to State Of The Planet, a journal published by Columbia Climate School, a survey found that 20 percent of clothing in the U.S. is never worn; in the UK, it is 50 percent. Online shopping, available day and night, has also made impulse buying and returning items easier.

According to McKinsey, the average consumer buys 60 percent more than they did in 2000 and keep it half as long. And in 2017, it was estimated that 41 percent of young women felt the need to wear something different whenever they left the house. In response, there are companies that send consumers a box of new clothes every month.

So, as we look to the future generation of fashion designers, keep in mind that being a sustainable brand may be the key to your success.

One of the most effective ways a designer can go green is to work with sustainable textiles. Did you know that the world produces over 50 million tons of textile waste per year? So, we’d like to share some of the most innovative textiles that will help you create beautiful clothes while reducing your carbon footprint, water, and chemical use.

As you read about these new textiles, you should know the difference between biodegradable and compostable. All compostable items are biodegradable, but not all biodegradable products are compostable. A notable difference between the two is that biodegradable products break down into a few natural elements, while compostable products leave behind a single organic material called humus.

So, is biodegradable more eco-friendly than compostable, you ask? No, a biodegradable product is not necessarily better for the environment than a compostable product. That’s because biodegradable products can still be made of chemical plastics whereas compostable products are typically made from plants.

Here’s a list of some of the latest materials that are prioritizing sustainability.

AIRCARBON

Nike is trying to incorporate more sustainable materials like Aircarbon into its collection. (Photo Credit: Nike)

AirCarbon is made by Huntington Beach-based, Newlight Technologies. They collaborated with Nike on a material that sucks carbon from the air. The secret to AirCarbon, a material that took 10 years into develop, is found in nature: methane-loving micro-organisms. AirCarbon is certified carbon-negative by SCS Global Services, resulting in a net reduction in carbon dioxide emissions in the atmosphere through production.

AIRMYCELIUM

AirMycelium is a mushroom root (mycelium) material from a New York-based innovation firm, Ecovative. The material has a production capacity of 100,000 pounds a year and over time is biodegradable — with its raw mycelium materials being at-home compostable in soil.

BIOFIBER

BioFiber is created solely from food crop residues and was developed by Agraloop Bio-Refinery. It is meant to replace high-quality knits and woven fabrics. Agraloop processes waste from various food and medicine crops including oilseed hemp/flax, CBD hemp, banana, and pineapple, while incentivizing the waste among communities in need. BioFiber is mixed with other natural staple fibers to produce a variety of ring-spun and open-end yarns.

BIOSTEEL

BioSteel is a biotechnologically produced high-performance version of spider silk, which made its debut in 2015. It is produced by German biotech company AMSilk and has been used especially in shoe upper material for Adidas’ Futurecraft Biofabric sneakers. Properties include being 15 percent lighter than conventional synthetics, as well as being completely biodegradable. BioSteel has been certified by the Hohenstein Institute and the SGS Institut Fresenius.

CIRCULOSE

H&M became the first brand to use Circulose – made from textile waste.  (Photo Credit: H&M)

Circulose is a patented fiber created by chemically processing 100 percent cotton fabric waste or other cellulosic textiles (like viscose). It is produced by Renewcell, a technology company founded in January 2012 by a group of cellulose researchers from KTH Royal Institute of Technology. Circulose significantly reduces the use of water and carbon footprint and is closed loop. H&M was the first to debut the Circulose material to consumers. As one of the biggest ‘fast fashion’ retailers, they are trying to do their part in reducing their carbon footprint.

In 2013, H&M launched a global garment collecting program and has a goal of having all products in stores made from recycled or sustainably sourced materials by 2030. H&M has tripled the amount of recycled materials used in its products from 5.8 percent to 17.9 percent with a goal of 30 percent by 2025.

H&M is launching a new line of sustainable tops, bottoms with adjustable waistbands and cuff, jackets, hats and blankets that can be composted once they are old and worn out. The 12-piece collection for newborns is made from organic cotton and launches in May 2022.

 

H&M launches a compostable 12-piece collection for newborns made from organic cotton in May 2022. (Photo credit: H&M)

DESSERTO

Karl Lagerfeld Collabs with Amber Valletta on a sustainable accessory collection using the material Desserto. (Photo Credit: Karl Lagerfeld)

Desserto is made of 40 percent organic cactus fiber, protein, pigments and 60 percent polyurethane. Backings are made with different fiber blends. Desserto, created by Adriano di Marti , is a leather replacement in handbags, footwear and apparel. Brands like Karl Lagerfeld, Fossil and H&M have used the material.

EVRNU

NuCycl™ a  regenerated fiber composed of  100% post-consumer waste using technology by Evernu® (Photo credit: Evernu.com)

Seattle-based Evrnu® is the firm behind NuCycl™, a regenerated fiber made from post-consumer clothing waste via its proprietary NuCycl technology. Garment waste is collected, sorted, and separated. The waste is then purified, shredded, and turned into a pulp. Extruded cellulose is made into a fiber that is finer than silk and stronger than cotton. The fiber is then spun into yarn, dyed and woven into fabric to be used to create recyclable textiles. Their mission is to create a circular economy for fashion. The fiber has been used by brands like Levi’s, Adidas and Stella McCartney.

FLOCUS

Flocus kapok fibers used for Frank and Oak’s outerwear. (Photo Credit: Frank and Oak)

Flocus is 100 percent biodegradable and 100 percent recyclable. The material is made from a yarn blend of fibers from the kapok tree. It is used for a wide range of fabrics and insulation materials being that it is lightweight, hypoallergenic and soft to the touch. Moisture management, temperature regulation and insect repellence are other qualities. The brand Frank and Oak uses Flocus for their outerwear.

PLNT  & FRUT

PLNT and FRUT – bio-based fibers made from agricultural waste using Pangaia technology (Photo credit: Pangaia.com)

Another alternative to cotton is a bio-based technology developed from agricultural waste by Pangaia Material Science Ltd. Their Plnt fiber, is a blend of 60% bamboo lyocell, 20% Himalaya nettle and 20% SeaCell lyocell. Their Frut fiber is a cocktail of 60% bamboo lyocell, 20% pineapple leaf fiber, and 20% banana leaf fiber. Pangaia also has their own direct-to-consumer line of clothing.

HEIQ

HeiQ innovative textile technologies include fabric offerings such as Eco Dry, Real Silk and Clean Tech, aiding the performance and sustainability of fabric manufacturing by substituting less eco-friendly chemicals. The Eco Dry process, for example, eliminates the need for fluorine and makes a water-repellant layer for footwear and clothing applications. It complies with EU REACH and ZDHC chemical protocols, as well as Oeko-Tex.

INNER METTLE MILK

Inner Mettle Milk is a 100-percent natural fabric produced by apparel company Inner Mettle. The IM Milk fabric is a biodegradable fabric made from a blend of surplus milk from the Italian agricultural-sector and 60 percent Lenzing-produced Tencel Micromodal. The fabric is manufactured in Italy and employed in Inner Mettle’s innerwear collection.

KOBA

Koba is a partially bio-based faux fur developed by DuPont and Ecopel of which Stella McCartney and Maison Atia are devoted fans. Because it is also recycled polyester, it is not biodegradable, but the companies tout recycling options at the material’s end of life.

MALAI

Malai is a bio-based material grown atop coconut water through fermentation, a leftover from the coconut industry in South India. The jelly is harvested and enhanced with natural fibers, gums and resins to create a more durable and flexible material. Although Malai is in its early stages, the leather alternative is biodegradable and compostable.

MIRUM

Patches made with Natural Fiber Welding’s Mirum leather substitute are included on Ralph Lauren’s Team USA parade apparel at the Tokyo Olympics. (Photo Credit: Ralph Lauren)

Mirum is a welded 100 percent natural, biodegradable plant-based leather alternative made by Natural Fiber Welding. The material comes from raw materials like cork, coconut, vegetable oil and natural rubber. With certification from the U.S. Department of Agriculture BioPreferred program, the company also counts investments from brands like Allbirds and Ralph Lauren Corp. The material is never coated in polyurethane or PVC, and is fully biodegradable with 40 percent lower carbon impact, per the company’s assessments. In addition to having a low carbon footprint, Mirum requires no water during manufacturing and dyeing.

NATIVA

Nativa wool is a 100 percent traceable wool fiber launched by Chargeurs Luxury Materials, a leader in luxury combed wool. The firm’s blockchain technology records transactions in a digital tamper-proof and decentralized database. Finnish outdoor brand UphillSport switched to all Nativa wool in 2020.

ORANGE FIBER

A look from the Orange Fiber capsule collection by Salvatore Ferragamo. (Photo Credit: Salvatore Ferragamo)

Orange Fiber is a luxurious fabric made out of waste citrus juice byproducts. It makes use of the otherwise more than 700,000 tons of citrus juice byproducts that would normally end up as waste. The Italian company (which collaborated with Lenzing) was the winner of the H&M Global Change Award in 2015. Also, Salvatore Ferragamo launched a capsule collection with the Orange Fiber in 2017.

REISHI

Sylvania is a mycelium material developed by MycoWorks and Hermès. (Photo Credit: Hermès)

Reishi is a non-plastic, non-animal leather alternative from biotech startup MycoWorks. The material is grown rapidly from mycelium and agricultural byproducts in a carbon-negative process. Luxury house Hermès has partnered with the Reishi to work on its own material dubbed “Sylvania.”

REPREVE

Repreve is a yarn made from recycled plastic bottles by maker Unifi. Repreve, was confirmed to reduce global warming potential related to greenhouse gases by 21 percent compared to generic, mechanically recycled polyester and 42 percent compared to virgin polyester, according to technology firm Higg (a partner to the Sustainable Apparel Coalition).

SORONA

Sorona, created by DuPont, was created to be a corn-based alternative to spandex (with about 37 percent of the polymeric fibers being made of renewable plant-based ingredients). The material is known for comfort, stretch and recovery properties, but is entirely free of spandex. The North Face, Club Monaco, and Stella McCartney have released products with Sorona.

SPINNOVA

Apparel made form Spinnova’s new wood-based fiber. (Photo Credit: Spinnova)

Spinnova is a 100 percent natural, biodegradable and recyclable alternative to cotton made of wood and waste without the use of harmful chemicals. It is free of microplastics and harmful chemicals and uses 99 percent less water than cotton. The North Face and H&M are already partners, as is the world’s largest wood pulp producer Suzano.

TEXLOOP

Texloop RCOT is made with up of 50 percent Global Recycle Standard-certified recycled cotton, blended with other natural fibers, including Global Organic Textile Standard-certified organic cotton and Tencel Lyocell. Brands ranging from H&M to Lee have used the material to create more sustainable denim.

ZOA

Modern Meadow uses biotechnology in its Zoa Biofabricated Material. (Photo Credit: Modern Meadow)

Zoa is a bioengineered leather-like innovation from biotech firm Modern Meadow. Zoa is made from protein collagen produced through fermentation from yeast in a lab and can be easily combined with other materials to accommodate any shape or texture. Zoa is already partnering with luxury and consumer goods brands.

As every student and teacher of fashion design knows, it’s up to us to chose the materials that we will use for our designs and therefore, unless we all make a concerted effort to source these eco-friendly materials we are only contributing to the earth’s pollution. Sustainable and ethical fashion starts with the fabric!

Here’s a few links where you can find sustainable fabrics and yarns – Happy Eco-Designing

30 Sustainable Fabrics For The Most Eco Friendly Fashion

Birds of a Thread

My Green Closet

So tell us, what will you do to reduce your carbon footprint?

 

 

 

HOW THE FASHION INDUSTRY IS SUPPORTING UKRAINE AS WAR RAGES ON

ALL WE ARE SAYING IS GIVE PEACE A CHANCE…….

It was 1969, in room #1742 of Montreal’s Queen Elizabeth Hotel, that John Lennon wrote “Give Peace a Chance“.  The anti-war song, originally meant to be a “revolutionary” song for workers, has once again become the battlecry for our times. When on March 9th, a Ukrainian maternity and children’s hospital in Mariupol, southern Ukraine, was bombed we were all shocked to our core. Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky said the bombing was “proof of a genocide.” No one could disagree. As the world watches, in horror, the atrocities being inflicted by Putin on innocent civilians in Ukraine, the fashion industry is stepping up, not only by banding together in solidarity, but doing much more. Read on.

An injured pregnant woman leaves the damaged hospital with her belongings. (Photo Credit: AP)

President Zelenskyy and his people are fighting back, a true David & Goliath story come to life. Most of the world is rooting for Ukraine to win, but in war, no one ever truly wins as the death toll is growing daily. As of this writing, over two million people have fled Ukraine and families are being ripped apart as women, children, and the elderly are leaving their loved ones, homes, and all their possessions behind to find refugee throughout Europe and the U.S. Men and many women are staying behind to fight for their land, many untrained, as civilians are given guns and quickly trained to aim and shoot to protect themselves.

For now, the West is aiding Ukraine with weapons, money, and medical necessities. As of March 9th, the U.S. House of Representatives voted with a wide bipartisan majority to pass a ban on importing Russian oil, natural gas and coal into the United States. A move that can further cripple the Russian economy. The bill will also take steps to revisit Russia’s role in the World Trade Organization and reauthorize the Magnitsky Act to strengthen sanctions on Russia for human rights violations.

Protests against Russia’s invasion of Ukraine are being held throughout Europe and the United States. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

Fashion Industry Responds

When Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24, 2022 in the middle of Milan Fashion Week, many designers and brands immediately began donating to various charities, as well as temporarily closing their stores throughout Russia.

Protest pictures during Milan Fall 2022 Fashion Week. (Photo Credit: Acielle Tanbetova)

Designers from Giorgio Armani to Balenciaga’s Demna Gvasalia (who was a child refugee himself as he fled his homeland of Georgia in 1993 at the age of twelve) have been speaking up against the conflict; and numerous international brands and luxury fashion groups, from LVMH and Kering to Prada, Hermès and H&M, announced they were temporarily stopping their commercial activities and shuttering their stores in Russia as a sign of protest against the war on Ukraine.

A man walks past a closed H&M store in a St. Petersburg, Russia, shopping center. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

“We are currently living through a war in the heart of Europe. We strongly condemn it and we are close to the population involved in this tremendous situation,” said Italy’s Camera della Moda in a statement to WWD on the fashion retail situation in Russia. They went on to say that “the temporary closure of the retail stores in Russia is not contemplated by the regulations on sanctions currently in force in Europe, it is a voluntary decision that has been made by many national and international brands that have a direct retail distribution organization. However, we recall that many brands sell their collections in Russia through distributors or dealers and therefore cannot, including from a contractual point of view, close the sales areas in the season, as they already delivered the spring/summer collection in the past few months.”

The statement underscored that the Camera’s “commitment today is aimed at being close to all those who are suffering and this is why we have joined the UNHCR at its side in fund-raising to support the refugees with concrete aid for the people and families forced to flee within the national boundaries or to neighboring countries.”

Protests in Milan against the Russian attack on Ukraine. (Photo Credit: WWD)

Global and wide-ranging sanctions on Russia are bound to drastically impact those brands and businesses with a retail footprint in in the country, but in the humanitarian aspect of the crisis it is vital to take a stand. To that end, the fashion industry has united and is stepping up its efforts during this time of crisis.

Here’s a roundup of the initiatives taken by the fashion industry thus far:

LVMH

LVMH, the world’s largest luxury conglomerate (owning brands such as Louis Vuitton, Christian Dior, Fendi, Givenchy, Marc Jacobs, and Stella McCartney to name a few) donated €5 million ($5.4 million USD) to support the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) “to help the direct and indirect victims of this conflict.”

In addition, the company stands in solidarity with Ukraine and closed 124 of its stores in Russia. LVMH will still continue to pay its 3,500 employees in Russia.

LOUIS VUITTON

The French luxury powerhouse Louis Vuitton, made an immediate donation of €1 million ($1.09 million USD) to UNICEF, to provide aid for Ukrainian children and families.

“As millions of children and their families are facing immediate danger, the Maison, through the Louis Vuitton for UNICEF partnership, pledges to support UNICEF’s emergency response on the ground, responding swiftly to any emergencies by providing children and families in Ukraine with humanitarian aid including access to clean water, healthcare and education supplies, child protection services and psychosocial care,” the brand shared in a statement.

KERING

Kering, owner of Gucci and Saint Laurent among other brands, said on Instagram that it was making a “significant donation to the UNHCR, the United Nations Refugees Agency,” though it did not specify the amount.

GUCCI

Gucci enacted its global charity campaign Chime for Change and donated $500,000 to the UNHCR.

BALENCIAGA

The French label Balenciaga donated an undisclosed amount to the World Food Program (WFP), which launched an emergency operation to provide food assistance for people fleeing Ukraine and in neighboring countries.

CHANEL

The iconic French fashion house closed its stores in Russia and halted all e-commerce in the country. The brand also donated €2 million (about $2.18 million) to two relief organizations, CARE and UNHCR-UN Refugee Agency, which is “recognized for refugee support at the borders and for the specific care of families and children.”

In an Instagram post, the fashion house also announced that “Foundation Chanel will be working closely with its local partners to provide future critical support over the medium and long term to women and children impacted by this evolving situation.”

GIORGIO ARMANI

After showing its latest collection in Milan in silence, out of respect for the war in Ukraine, the Armani Group announced a donation of €500,000 (about $543,000) to UNHCR “for the assistance and protection of those who have been forced to flee the war in Ukraine.”

The company is also donating clothing essentials to refugees through the Italian nonprofit organization Comunità di Sant’Egidio, which already has a presence on the borders of Ukraine.

FASHION MODELS

Argentine model Mica Argañaraz, a regular presence on almost every major runway, posted on her Instagram story, “I have to say it feels very weird walking fashion shows knowing there’s a war happening in the same continent.” She noted that she would “be donating part of my earnings of this fashion week to help Ukrainian organizations” and called on fellow models to do the same. Supermodel sisters Gigi and Bella Hadid, Kaia Gerber, Vittoria Ceretti, Kiki Willems, Francesca Summers, and Aylah Peterson have also joined the movement and will donate part of their earnings to Ukraine.

L’OREAL PARIS

The cosmetic giant L’Oréal Paris, has teamed up with a number of local and international nonprofits (including UNHCR, Red Cross and UNICEF) to support the growing number of refugees, and people on the ground in Ukraine with a donation of €1 million ($1.09 million) through its L’Oréal Fund for Women.

“We have already made a donation of one million euros and have started to deliver hygiene products to NGOs in Poland, the Czech Republic, Romania and in Ukraine itself,” a statement reads on the company’s corporate website. “We will donate 300,000 products over the coming weeks.”

The beauty brand continues: “We strongly condemn the invasion and war in Ukraine, which is causing so much suffering to the Ukrainian people. Our thoughts go out to our 326 Ukrainian employees, their families and the people of Ukraine whose lives have been changed so dramatically in the last eight days. Although some have managed to cross the border, the majority of our employees remain in the country in increasingly harsh circumstances. We are concerned about them and fear for their safety.”

HERMES

Hèrmes announced that it would “temporarily close our stores in Russia and pause all our commercial activities,” where they have three stores and 60 employees.

BURBERRY

Burberry has shut down its three stores in Russia. The British luxury house brand also donated an undisclosed amount to the British Red Cross Ukraine Crisis Appeal. It also said it would match any employee donations to charities supporting humanitarian efforts in Ukraine.

VALENTINO

Italian luxury house Valentino donated €500,000 (about $543,000) to the UNHCR to provide immediate help to the Ukrainian refugees.

RALPH LAUREN

Given the urgency of the situation, the Ralph Lauren Corporate Foundation has made an immediate donation to @CARE.org, an organization working with partners to provide critical support and aid to Ukrainian families and is double-matching employee donations to CARE. In addition, it is partnering with its network of international charities to donate essential clothing that will be distributed throughout Ukraine as well as in bordering countries to reach refugees. The company has paused operations in Russia.

TORY BURCH

Tory Burch is supporting World Central Kitchen, which is on the ground in Poland feeding hundreds of thousands of Ukrainian refugees. The company has made a donation and pledged to match any employee donations throughout the month of March.

COACH

Coach’s parent company’s Tapestry Foundation has donated to the United Nations Refugee Agency to provide safety and shelter to those who have been displaced.

MINIMALIST

Tamara Davydova is the fashion designer behind the brand MINIMALIST and was born, raised, and married in Kyiv, Ukraine. She founded the circular fashion brand MINIMALIST last year and is devastated by what’s currently happening in her homeland and affecting friends and family. She’s pledging 30% of the proceeds from sales of her collection to the Red Cross and UNICEF in Ukraine plus offering 10% off to customers using the code TOGETHER at checkout. The collection is available at minimalist.nyc.

ADIDAS

Athletic brand Adidas has suspended its long-term partnership with the Russian Football Union (RFU), the German sportswear company also announced it would be is donating €100,000 (about $108,700) as well as footwear and apparel to organizations helping children and refugees.

H&M

The fast-fashion retailer H&M has currently paused all sales in Russia and closed its 170 stores located throughout the country.

ASOS

Fast-fashion company ASOS said on Twitter that it would no longer be doing any retail out of Russia.

“We’ve been watching the shocking events in Ukraine in horror and disbelief. We’ve concluded it’s neither practical nor right to continue to trade in Russia & today have suspended sales there,” the brand wrote. “We’re supporting the humanitarian effort and our thoughts are with the people of Ukraine.”

MANGO

Mango has halted sales in Russia and donated €100,000 (about $108,700) to the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement.

GANNI

Ganni, the Danish contemporary ready-to-wear fashion brand, donated 100.000 DKK (approx. $14,700) to the Danish Refugee Council, a nonprofit currently on the ground helping the crisis in Ukraine.

 

As governments around the world grapple with how to stop Putin’s war and the needless suffering, we will continue to keep an eye on how the fashion industry, and hopefully soon the music industry, is doing its part. At UoF we are donating to Ukrainian children through UNICEF USA.

Here’s a list of the organizations that the fashion industry is donating to:

International Committee of the Red Cross

United Nations Refugees Agency

Direct Relief

Mercy Corps

International Medical Corps

Save the Children

Unicef USA

So tell us, how are you helping to support Ukraine in these troubling times?

THE MET GALA: A LEXICON OF FASHION

- - Fashion Events

Andrew Bolton discusses the underlying themes and importance of the upcoming exhibition. (Photo Credit: The Metropolitan Museum Of Art)

It’s not the first Monday of May, but the Met Gala is back on. And, for the first time in its history, it coincides with New York Fashion Week. and will be presented in two parts, In America: A Lexicon of Fashion and In America: An Anthology of Fashion. The first glamorous event will take place on Monday, September 13th, however, this time it will be a smaller and more intimate soirée. (The fashion extravaganza was cancelled last year and postponed due to COVID-19.) While the highly anticipated affair will look a little different this year, there will still be a red carpet filled with magnificent fashion and celebrity sightings. The second part, In America: An Anthology of Fashion will have its red carpet moment on May 2, 2022.

Here is everything you need to know about fashion’s biggest night.

(Watch a video about the exhibition, In America: A Lexicon of Fashion. Film by Sterling Ruby for The Met).

WHAT IS THE MET GALA?

The Met gala is the fashion world’s equivalent of the Oscars. Designers, models, brand ambassadors and Hollywood stars assemble for one night out of the year to wear the most fantastical looks in celebration of the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute latest show. Most guests dress to fit the theme of the exhibit and the Met Red Carpet is something like the Greenwich Village Halloween Parade.

Katy Perry in Atelier Versace in 2018 for the Catholic Imagination theme at the Met Gala. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

 

MET THEME 2021

“Veil Flag” by S.R. STUDIO. LA. CA., 2020, courtesy of Sterling Ruby Studio. (Photo Credit: Melanie Schiff)

This year’s Met gala theme celebrates American fashion. Andrew Bolton, the Wendy Yu Curator-in-Charge of the Costume Institute, felt it was time to reexamine American identity and fashion, especially as it has changed over the last several years due to both political and social justice movements. “I’ve been really impressed by American designers’ responses to the social and political climate, particularly around issues of body inclusivity and gender fluidity, and I’m just finding their work very, very self-reflective,” Andrew Bolton told Vogue. “I really do believe that American fashion is undergoing a renaissance. I think young designers in particular are at the vanguard of discussions about diversity and inclusion, as well as sustainability and transparency, much more so than their European counterparts, maybe with the exception of the English designers.”

THIS YEAR’S CO-CHAIRS

Left to Right: Met Gala co-chairs Billie Eilish, Naomi Osaka, Timothée Chalamet, and Amanda Gorman. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

The Met gala traditionally has a number of co-chairs that help host the event every year. For this year’s 2021 Met gala it’s a list of the current Who’s Who: Timothée Chalamet, Billie Eilish, Amanda Gorman, and Naomi Osaka, while Tom Ford, Instagram’s Adam Mosseri, and Anna Wintour (who has chaired the event since 1995) will serve as honorary chairs.

WILL THERE BE A RED CARPET?

Yes! There will be a red carpet, although the affair will be intimate and will follow New York City’s COVID-19 safety protocols. On the iconic Met steps will be a cast of celebrities and guests in their outré ensembles.

DRESS CODE

Yes, the Met gala will have a formal dress code. On the 2021 invitation, the dress code is listed as American Independence. We are sure there will be many over-the-top variations on the theme, from bedazzled American flag inspired looks, to classic gowns created by American designers. We can guarantee that looks will be anything but boring.

ATTENDING GUESTS

Kim Kardashian in Mugler with Kanye West in 2019 regularly attend the Met Gala . (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

Part of the excitement of the Met gala is not knowing who will show up! Designers typically invite, as their guests, the hottest celebrities of the moment.

The exclusive invite list is always kept closely guarded until right before the event, but rumored guests include TikTok dancer Addison Rae, YouTube vlogger Emma Chamberlain, singer Camila Cabello, sprinter Allyson Felix, and British Formula 1 driver Lewis Hamilton.

Met Gala regulars Beyoncé, Jennifer Lopez and Kim Kardashian will reportedly be in attendance, but a New York Post Page Six article suggested that some big stars won’t be showing up this year. For example, Tom Brady and Gisele Bündchen due to Brady’s Buccaneers training schedule. Other Met gala regulars that will have to miss this year’s festivities are Sarah Jessica Parker, who has a scheduling conflict with her filming of the Sex And The City reboot. And Kate Moss and Saoirse Ronan who live overseas and might be unable to attend due to COVID travel restrictions. Some European designers may miss it since they will be prepping for their own fashion shows.

One celebrity agent told the Post: “I think the big actors and the big fashionistas will come next year, when it returns in May. I also don’t think a lot of people feel like dressing up in ridiculously expensive outfits and putting on a mask for this.”

We will wait and see which celebrities make their dramatic red carpet reveal on September 13th.

THE EXHIBITS: Parts 1 & 2

A look from Prabal Gurung’s spring 2020 collection. Courtesy of The Metropolitan Museum of Art. (Photo Credit: Paolo Lanzi for IMAXTREE)

PART 1

The Met gala event on September 13th, A Lexicon of Fashion, will open to the public on September 18th at the Anna Wintour Costume Center at the Met, marking the Costume Institute’s 75th anniversary. The exhibition will be staged to resemble a home, with intersecting walls and rooms that will establish what Bolton calls “a new vocabulary that’s more relevant and more reflective of the times in which we’re living.” Part one of the exhibit will feature looks from Christopher John Rogers, Sterling Ruby, Conner Ives, Prabal Gurung, and Andre Walker, to name a few.

PART 2

The second exhibit, An Anthology of Fashion, will open to the public on May 5, 2022, and will be located in the period rooms of the museum’s American Wing. According to an interview with Vogue, Bolton and the museum’s curatorial team will work with American film directors to create cinematic scenes within each room that depict a different history of American fashion. (On May 2, 2022, a second Met gala will take place to celebrate the opening of An Anthology of Fashion.)

This two-part exhibition is one of the most ambitious that the Costume Institute has ever attempted to date. The exhibitions will explore the  question: Who gets to be an American? A red, white, and blue silk sash from the grand finale of Prabal Gurung’s 2020 10th-anniversary collection featured the phrase, and it will greet visitors from the entrance of the Anna Wintour Costume Center. It’s a question every immigrant considers—but wrapped in golden light at the onset of a fashion retrospective, it takes on a new spirit. “It was important to open with that,” says Andrew Bolton, in an interview with Vogue. “It tackles this notion of acceptance and belonging, which recent events have brought to the fore. Of course, these are questions that have always been present—but there are moments in history when they’re more resonant and resounding.”

Ensemble by Christopher John Rogers from his fall 2020 collection. Courtesy Christopher John Rogers. Image courtesy of The Metropolitan Museum of Art. (Photo Credit: Christina Fragkou)

In America, the museum’s two-part exploration of all things Made in the U.S.A., is a yearlong celebration spanning three centuries of fashion. The first part, which includes pieces from such American iconic designers such as Ralph Lauren, Donna Karan, and Calvin Klein alongside the current vanguard of millennial talent, such as Christopher John Rogers, opens to the public on September 18, with part two opening on May 5, 2022.

According to Vogue, In America, echoes the work Bolton has done expanding the Met’s archives to include more contributions from designers of color and marginalized groups—and though it serves as a retrospective, the show’s observations about national identity are rooted in current concerns. “It was almost impossible to do this show without looking at it through the lens of politics,” says Bolton. “There’s no art form that addresses the politics of identity more than fashion.”

Bolton credits 2020’s social ­justice movements as the prompt for him to reexamine the topic of terminology—​particularly when tackling such important issues—since, in the 20 years since the museum’s last overview of American fashion, discussions around style have changed. “American designers are at the forefront of conversations around diversity, inclusivity, sustainability, gender fluidity, and body positivity,” Bolton says in an interview with Vogue, “and the framework of the show enables us to focus on the younger designers who are engaging thoughtfully and deeply with those ideas.”

Cape by Andre Walker using Pendleton Woolen Mills, spring 2018 colection. Courtesy Andre Walker Studio. Image courtesy of The Metropolitan Museum of Art. (Photo Credit: Shoji Fujii)

During the height of the pandemic, when New York City was in complete lockdown, Bolton played with the idea of organizing the exhibition as a kind of high-tech house inspired by Witold Rybczynski’s Home: A Short History of an Idea—but wedging designers into categories in different rooms of the house. Bolton’s final inspiration, Reverend Jesse Jackson’s speech at the 1984 Democratic National Convention. “America is not like a blanket, one piece of unbroken cloth, the same color, the same texture, the same size,” he told the audience at San Francisco’s Moscone Center. “America is more like a quilt: many patches, many pieces, many colors, many sizes, all woven and held together by a common thread.”

“The act of making a quilt celebrates the notion of community that is so strong in America,” says Bolton, who adds that quilts also connect ideas about family and about repurposing and recycling. “Each square is a different designer, who represents a specific quality of American fashion.”

“Traditionally American fashion has been described in terms of the American tenets of simplicity, practicality, and functionality. Fashion’s more emotional qualities have tended to be reserved for more European fashion,” Bolton says. “In part one we’ll be reconsidering this perception by reestablishing a modern lexicon of fashion based on the emotional qualities of dress.” The many rooms in this part of the exhibit will be titled to reflect the personal and emotional relationship we have to fashion: “Well-Being for the kitchen galleries, Aspiration for the office, and Trust, the living room, for example.”

Bolton is writing a new history of American fashion that focuses less on sportswear and Seventh Avenue dressmakers, and instead presenting American designers as creators, innovators, and artists. “Taken together these qualities will compromise a modern vocabulary of American fashion that prioritizes values, emotions, and sentiments over the sportswear principles of realism, rationalism, and pragmatism,” he says.

The exhibit will feature approximately 100 pieces from about 80 labels, and designers and will range from delightful 1994 Anna Sui dresses to Christian Francis Roth’s 1990 “Rothola” dress. Obviously, the show will feature a number of quilted and handcraft looks, case in point, Hollywood costumer turned designer Adrian’s 1947 dress which references the floral designs found on traditional hand-sewn American quilts. Other noteworthy patchwork pieces include a custom piece from Emily Adams Bode made from a vintage quilt. Sweet floral looks are also part of the exhibit with looks ranging from Adolfo’s silk evening­wear from the early ’70s, to Marc Jacobs’s spring 2020 botanical theme collection.

Florals might be subversively romantic. Two good examples on the Nice Corridor Balcony at left, Adolfo 1973, proper, Marc Jacobs, spring 2020. (Photo Credit: The Metropolitan Museum of Art)

Part two of the exhibition, An Anthology of Fashion, will be shown in the museum’s period rooms. Themes such as 2004’s Dangerous Liaisons: Fashion and Furniture in the 18th Century will be shown in the French period rooms. And, 2006’s AngloMania: Tradition and Transgression in British Fashion will be set in the English period rooms. “In its conceptualization, part two actually preceded part one and actually inspired and informed it. For many years now we’ve been examining our collection to uncover hidden or untold stories with a view to complicating or problematizing monolithic interpretations of fashion. Our intention for part two is to bring these stories together in an anthology that challenges perceived histories and offers alternative readings of American fashion,” Bolton explains.

By engaging American film directors to create cinematic scenes within each room, Bolton and the museum’s curatorial team will illustrate a different history of American fashion, such as pieces from the midcentury couturier Ann Lowe and the work of African American designer Stephen Burrows. “Key themes will include the emergence of an identifiable American style and the rise of the named designer with an individual aesthetic vision,” says Bolton.  The exhibit will run through September 5, 2022 and is made possible by Instagram and with support from Condé Nast.

Anna Wintour and Andrew Bolton in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

“For me, this past year confirmed what I’ve been thinking already—that American fashion is undergoing another renaissance,” Bolton says. As a fashion industry veteran, I thrilled to have the opportunity to witness fashion’s rebirth at the Met later this month.

SOME OF OUR FAVORITE MET GALA CELEBRITY LOOKS

Cher in Bob Mackie in 1974. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

Bianca Jagger and Mick Jagger in 1974. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

Iman in Calvin Klein, with the designer in 1981. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

Naomi Campbell in Versace 1990. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

Princess Diana in Dior in 1995. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

Donatella Versace in her own design, with Gianni Versace in 1996. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

Demi Moore in Donna Karan with the designer in 2000. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

Sarah Jessica Parker in Alexander McQueen with the late designer in 2006. (Photo Credit: Shutterstock)

Kate Moss in Marc Jacobs in 2009. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

Rihanna in Guo Pei Couture in 2015. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

Beyoncé in Givenchy in 2015. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

Kylie Jenner Balmain in 2016. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

Zendaya in Dolce & Gabbana Alta Moda in 2017. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

Lady Gaga in Brandon Maxwell in 2019. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

So tell us, which celebrities would you like to see on the red carpet?