Eye Shadow – Top 12 Tips on How to Apply It Perfectly
Your makeup is as important to your finished look as the clothing you wear, in fact, it can be more important. We’ve all spotted women who didn’t have a clue how to apply their eye shadow. But we’ve also saw women who know how to apply it properly and they look put together and beautiful. Don’t you want to be one of those women? Of course – and we are going to give you some top tips so you can do just that.
Great news – putting your eye shadow on correctly really isn’t difficult at all. It really is just a matter of finding the right technique and look for you and your personal style. Don’t worry if it takes a few tries to get it right. Check out these tips:
Always apply a base coat on your eyes just as you do to the rest of your face. Loose power works or you can apply your foundation to the eye area. It gives a nice even palette to work with.
Blend, blend, and then blend some more. I can’t stress this enough. Try an experiment. Blend one eye and then just use a brush and apply the other eye. You’ll instantly know what I’m talking about and you’ll never forget to blend again.
If you want dramatic eyes, take your eye shadow brush, dip it into water, and then into the shadow, then apply. It will give you a much deeper, dramatic color.
If you have blue eyes, wear purple, violet, taupe, gray, deep blue, and black. Funky colors include fuchsia, turquoise, and silver.
If you have green eyes, wear purple, plum, forest green, brown, and khaki. Funky colors include light green, gold, and bright purple.
If you have brown eyes, wear champagne, copper, brown, apricot, khaki, and beige. Funky colors include royal blue, tangerine, hand hot pink.
Everyone can wear navy, powder blue, and charcoal. Fun colors include silver.
Apply a lighter shadow in the inner corner of the eye to reflect and make your eyes look younger.
If you want your eyes to appear larger, use a light color on the inner corner, and a darker shade in the middle of the eye area.
Practice until you get the application of your eye shadow down to a science. When you get good, your make up will look more natural and more polished.
Apply your dark shadow only to the eyelids from the lash line to the crease in the eyelid. Apply your medium shadow from just below the eyelid crease to the brow bone.
Highlight along the brow bone. Doing it this way will make your features stand out naturally and beautifully.
So, there you have it. With these top tips you now know how to apply your eye shadow so you will look your best.
Remember that while you’re practicing all these steps, that you should take notice of what works best for you. Practice by yourself, or practice with a friend if you find it easier to ask someone else’s opinion.
And one more thing. If you make your face more youthful looking with wrinkle creams that gives results, then any make up that you have will be so much more effective.
You have to somehow make sure your makeup doesn’t slide onto the floor each time the train jerks, while attempting to put on your lipstick without getting it all over your face. It’s not ideal.
One company is making it easier for us commuters – who would rather sleep in than put on makeup before leaving the house – to look good without spreading our makeup over the person next to us.
The Pout Case is a phone case that comes with a makeup compact attached to it. It’s dainty but it’s absolutely perfect for those who need to apply a little lipstick or foundation while on the go.
The case is the brainchild of Nafissa, a ‘dreamer, tech geek, and entrepreneur’ who was inspired to create it during a board meeting when having just come from the gym.
Nafissa had found herself barefaced with no handbag in sight. She turned to her sister and received a compact under the table, which she went on to attach to her phone with a hairband before sneaking out of the room.
Immediately, she began working on Pout, believing her idea would help anybody turn a bad busy day into a good one.
Alongside having a great initiative, Nafissa has released the case in a range of colours, including black and gold, black and pink, white and gold, and white and pink.
Once you’ve selected your case color, you can go on to choose what you’d like in it – selecting between three seven shades of lipstick, four shades of foundation or some lip balm.
Supermodel Ashley Graham has been breaking stereotypes on what models are supposed to look like for years now. From being the first so-called “curvy model” to appear on the cover of Sports Illustrated’s Swimsuit Edition to not being shy about sharing pictures of her cellulite, she has inspired many women to embrace their bodies what matter what their shape or style.
On Saturday she shared a series of photos on her Instagram showing off how to wear denim-on-denim the right way.
Jumping on the off-the-shoulder shirt trend, Graham wore light washed jeans with a revealing dark denim top. She completed the look with statement oversized hoops and beige heeled boots. She let her long locks flow and kept the makeup very light. She effortlessly achieved the perfect weekend look.
Graham also shared with her 4.4 million Instagram followers Story videos enjoying her weekend with friends, sipping on coffee and riding around in a golf cart.
Most recently, Graham graced the cover of Glamour magazine where she opened up about redefining what “sexy” means and empowering women to feel great with what the media calls “flaws.”
“Embrace what you have,” she said. “Say, ‘Belly, you might be poking out today, but I’m going to choose to love you and nurture you.’”
Graham is not shy about sharing her imperfections. And her fans love her for it. This swimsuit photo she posted last week received almost 280,000 likes and over 4,000 comments.
One commenter wrote, “Being an ambassador is one who promotes being healthy vs what the world would like to see. Good on you for not photoshopping this pic and reminding the world that models aren’t flawless, loved you on #antm. Keep it up bae and don’t change.”
Another commenter added, “All natural no implants what real women in the world look like nothing fake here, great role model, who needs Victoria Secret, bravo! bravo!”
Raquel Pelissier, the Haitian beauty queen that was steps away from being crowned Miss Universe 2017, returns to Miami to host a fashion show to raise funds for Prodev Haiti Schools. This organization provides approximately 10,000 children with access to education and sponsors an annual Christmas toy distribution.
Pelissier was in Miami in February soon after she competed in the Miss Universe pageant, where she was awarded First Runner Up behind France’s Iris Mittenaere. She visited the Little Haiti neighborhood to speak with locals about her journey and was also awarded the key to the City of Miami.
The fashion show will feature designs by Rachel Roy and will be held noon to 4 p.m. Sunday at the Turnberry Isle Hotel in Aventura. Among the celebrity attendees will be Miami Dolphins Mike Pouncey. Pelissier will be joined by ABC News anchor and reporter Calvin Hughes.
General admission tickets start at $200 and include a champagne brunch, fashion show, gift bag and silent auction access featuring art, fashion and exclusive getaways. A runway front row seat is available for $300 and is all-inclusive, with attendance at the Celebrity VIP Reception. For additional information, visit www.catwalkforcharity.org.
If you love Denver Fashion Weekend’s incredible spring and fall fashion shows, then you’re not going to want to miss DFW’s first summer fashion and art show.
The event is hosted by 303 Magazine and will take place Saturday and Sunday, August 5 and 6. What’s unique about this fashion show is that it will incorporate the DaVinci Machines Exhibition at the Wings over the Rockies Air and Space Museum.
With a ticket, people will get to walk through the DaVinci exhibit, followed by a fashion show highlighting Denver’s best designers and boutiques.
The exhibit features several remastered DaVinci works including the “Mona Lisa” and “The Last Supper.”
There will also be more than 65 hand-crafted inventions on display, built from DaVinci’s famous designs. The interactive models include war machines, flying machines, nautical and hydraulic machines, and devices illustrating the Principles of Mechanics.
Visitors are allowed to touch the machine models in order to get an up-close and personal look at how they operate.
And like all of DFW’s fashion shows, fabulous models will be strutting their stuff down the runway after the art exhibit showing.
303 Magazine is also switching it up this year by including a children’s fashion show on Sunday, August 6. The show is open to kids ages 6 to 13, and will show off Denver’s amazing children’s boutiques and designers.
Starting at 4 p.m., kids and their parents will be able to walk through the DaVinci exhibit, followed by a kid-friendly reception and fashion show.
There is a casting call for both runway shows scheduled for Tuesday, June 27 at Wings over the Rockies. For the children’s show, parental guardians must accompany their kids at the casting call.
For more information on the event and the casting call, visit303Magazine.com.
Two men — one in Miami, the other in New York, both passionate about suits — stumble upon each other on Instagram. They feel a connection. Mutual respect on social media turns into real-life camaraderie. They meet, they click, they draw up a plan.
A business is born.
That is the origin story of Musika Frère, a label that specializes in custom suits that often come in unusual colors or patterns, and has drawn a clientele that includes Jay Z, Michael B. Jordan, Stephen Curry, Kevin Hart and even Beyoncé.
Its founders, Aleks Musika, 32, and Davidson Petit-Frère, 27, are somewhat famous in their own right: Mr. Petit-Frère has over 200,000 followers on Instagram, and Mr. Musika more than 178,000.
“Guys in suits and guys taking pictures of themselves really didn’t happen back then,” Mr. Musika said of the period when he and Mr. Petit-Frère first started their pages, about five years ago.
Mr. Petit-Frère said: “We had a following. We just didn’t have a product.”
The brand they eventually came up with, at a Miami public library in 2013, reflects their particularities and interests. “We take inspiration from the ’20s, ’30s, and remix it,” Mr. Petit-Frère said. “We call it neo-classical tailoring.”
Mr. Petit-Frère added, “It’s a small detail, but it’s also a big detail.”
Neither designer comes from a traditional fashion background. Mr. Petit-Frère, a native New Yorker, began working in real estate at 18. “I was wearing polo shirts and pants and square shoes to the office,” he said. “I realized I wasn’t a sharp dresser.” One of his co-workers referred him to his tailor, Badger & Welsh Bespoke, in Midtown. “As I made more money, I started to buy more suits,” he said, “and I realized my business was getting a big boost from that.”
Mr. Petit-Frère sent friends to Badger & Welsh, and he was eventually offered a line of his own, P. Frère, under the company’s umbrella. “In the beginning, I was more of an apprentice,” he said. “I learned about measuring, tailoring, the construction of suits. I learned the lingo and the history.”
For years, Google allowed its engineers to spend 20 percent of their time on personal projects they thought would ultimately benefit the company. The tech giant has since scaled back on the policy, replacing it with a more focused approach to innovation, but Google’s famous “20 percent time” gave rise to some of its most successful products, including Gmail and AdSense.
Back in 2010, a Bombay-born engineer named Amit Sood used his “20 percent time” to kickstart the Google Art Project, an effort to digitise the world’s museums, making cultural artefacts accessible in extraordinary detail to millions of internet users. It was a Google-sized ambition that fit the company’s mission to “organise the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.”
The project has since grown into the Google Cultural Institute, a non-profit arm of the company, now housed in a grand hôtel particulier in the 9th arrondissement of Paris, that has partnered with over 1,300 museums and foundations to digitise everything from the Dead Sea Scrolls to Marc Chagall’s ceiling at the Opéra Garnier, making them accessible on a platform called Google Arts & Culture.
Now, Google is turning its attention to fashion.
Encouraged by the volume of fashion-related online search queries and the rising popularity of fashion exhibitions, Google’s Cultural Institute has partnered with over 180 cultural institutions — including The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute, the Victoria & Albert Museum and the Kyoto Costume Institute — “to bring 3,000 years of fashion to the Google Arts & Culture platform.”
Called “We Wear Culture,” the initiative, which launches today, is based on the premise that fashion is culture, not just clothes. Led by Kate Lauterbach — a Google program manager who began her career at Condé Nast in New York and later worked for J.Crew’s Madewell — it aims to digitise and display thousands of garments from around the world, stage curated online exhibitions, invite non-profit partners like museums and schools to script and share their own fashion stories, and leverage technologies like Google Street View to offer immersive experiences like virtual walkthroughs of museum collections.
For end users, it’s a cultural rabbit hole and research tool. For partners, it’s a way to reach a much wider audience online, furthering both their educational mandates and marketing objectives. But the benefit to Google is more complex.
After a day’s immersion at Google’s Cultural Institute and associated Lab in Paris, BoF caught up with Lauterbach at the company’s London King’s Cross campus to learn more about the thinking behind the initiative and how digitising the world’s fashion archives unlocks value for the tech giant.
BoF: Tell me about the genesis of the Culture Institute’s fashion project.
KL: Well, starting from art we expanded into culture. We did something around performance art, we did something around natural history; so very different, but the same idea: you take Google technologies, you apply them to this facet of culture and you produce something, you push the bounds, you do something different.
I worked in fashion pre-MBA and I just felt like it was a really interesting subject matter. We were starting to see fashion cropping up in different partners’ collections; it’s a personal passion of mine; and it’s also relevant and interesting and searched for online. It’s a conversation I thought we could bring some value to. We started thinking about it almost two years ago now and began having conversations with places like the V&A and the Costume Institute at the Met.
BoF: The project is named “We Wear Culture.” What does that mean?
KL: We wanted to show that fashion is much deeper than just what you wear; that there’s a story behind it, there’s people behind it, there’s influences that come from art, that come from music, that come from culture more broadly; and, in turn, what we wear influences culture. We really wanted to put fashion on a par with art and artists. You look at their influences, you look at their inspiration, you look at their process, you look at their materials. And we thought that if you can have this kind of singular resource online where all of this was starting to be discussed — and hear it from the authority, I think that’s really critical — it would be valuable.
Ashley Graham recently revealed that she was sexually harassed on a modeling set when she was just 17 years old.
The model recently sat down with Glamour for the magazine’s July issue to discuss her rise to fame as a plus-size supermodel and her passion for body-positive activism. During the interview, the 29-year-old opened up about a disturbing experience when she was a young model on set.
“There was an incident on set of a campaign job when I was 17 years old ― I haven’t told this story ― and there was a photo assistant who was into me,” Graham told the magazine. “He was like, ‘Hey, come here,’ and he led me into a closet. And I was like, ‘What?’ I thought he was going to show me something. And he pulled me in, and he pulled his penis out. And he was like, ‘Grab it.’ And I was like, ‘No! That’s disgusting.’ I freaked out. And thank God I was closer to the door, and I just bolted out.”
Graham said she never told anyone about the incident because she had hoped the man had changed. Now, however, she uses the experience as a reminder to herself to always be in control of her work and her workspace.
“I’ve seen him at jobs since. I even knew a girl he dated,” she said. “I didn’t tell her because there was a voice in me that said, ‘Maybe he’s changed.’ It was my young mentality. But I told myself, ever since that incident, that I wasn’t going to allow someone at work to manipulate what I wanted to do on set. So any image that you see out there is one that I wanted to take.”
Michael Kors (KORS, -8.57%) is closing up to 125 stores this year as it continues to partially unwind an aggressive expansion that had served it well when its namesake brand was hot.
The upscale brand reported on Wednesday that sales at stores open at least a year (comparable sales) fell 14.1% in its most recent quarter, and continue to fall sharply this year. What’s more, Michael Kors’ wholesale business, sales largely made to the struggling department store sector, fell 22.8% in the quarter.
Shares fell 6% in premarket trading. The company operates 827 stores, meaning the closings represent up to 15% or so of its fleet.
The poor results continue a difficult stretch for the company launched in the early 1980’s by the former Project Runway judge, a company that for years seemed to be able to do no wrong. Michael Kors Chief Executive John Idol in a statement blamed “a difficult retail environment with elevated promotional levels” while conceding that the product and store experience had gotten a bit stale.
Yet the company has itself to blame for most of its woes. By opening so many stores so quickly to ride the handbag boom earlier this decade and become the largest brand, Michael Kors created a ubiquity that was contradictory to a luxury cachet and hurt its ability to turn out new and exciting products.
The idea at the time was to siphon off shoppers from rival Coach (COH, +0.02%)by opening nearby stores at countless malls. For a while it worked, as Kors eclipsed the more established Coach a few years ago. But Coach, which had earlier opened too many stores and cheapened its brand, started closing stores three years ago, seeing this danger before Kors did.
The result is that the Michael Kors brand has become a fixture at off-price stores and outlets. Case in point: Michael Kors merchandise take up about a quarter of the floor space at a Bloomingdale’s outlet.
Kors has said it plans to reduce its exposure to U.S. department stores, which are struggling up and down the price spectrum. But for now it has to contend with a quickly shrinking business, much as Coach had to.
Coach has now reported four quarters in a row of comparable sales growth in North America, regaining its ability to charge higher prices, and recently agreed to buy Kate Spade, making it an even tougher competitor for Kors. Michael Kors’ stock market value is now less than half of Coach’s.
As for Kors, it forecast revenue of $4.25 billion for fiscal year 2018. Analysts on average had estimated revenue of $4.37 billion, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S. Kors also said it expects high single-digit drop in same-store sales for the fiscal year.
Total sales fell 11.2% to $1.06 billion in the fourth quarter ended April 1, while analysts had expected $1.05 billion. Net loss attributable to Michael Kors was $26.8 million, or 17 cents per share, in the latest quarter, compared with net income of $177 million, or 98 cents per share, a year earlier.
There’s a male romper bandwagon, and Reebok just hitched a ride.
After a Kickstarter for the cleverly-named “RompHim” went viral this week, Reebok quickly put out sketches of their own version of a short-sleeve men’s onesie Thursday.
Of course, it has a ridiculous name. Presenting… the “ReeRomp.”
The white romper is on sale now for $89 and available for a limited time starting next month. As the Reebok site says, the romper is built “for bros” and made “with ACTIVCHILL technology and a reflective zipper.”
So… is the style ripping off a bunch of fratty business students who were crowd-funding for the RompHim? Reebok says no on their website. While the “trending men’s romper is designed for the preppy guy,” the ReeRomp is “the solution for the trendsetter on the go.”
Regina Barrios has a fearless streak that you can sense within five minutes of meeting her. A serial entrepreneur who smiles wide but speaks her mind, Barrios is fed up with ill-informed outsiders who underestimate her part of the world. “Actually, there’s tonnes of money here. Tonnes of it,” she says brusquely before turning on a dose of easy charm.
“Call me Gina,” she entreats. “OK, true, in Latin America we have extreme poverty on the one hand and extreme wealth on the other. Some of the money is coming from weird places too so inequality is a massive problem, especially here in Mexico. It’s all true. But that doesn’t change the fact that there’s serious purchasing power for fashion here now — and I mean, serious purchasing power.”
Barrios should know. After ten years on the international trade show circuit wholesaling her jewellery line Ishi at the likes of Tranoi in Paris, Barrios opened a multi-brand boutique back in Mexico City called Lago DF which attracts wealthy chilangos and cool-hunting tourists alike. Her confidence in the local Latin American market has grown so big, in fact, that she decided to launch her very own trade show in the Mexican capital last year.
“Caravana Americana showcases the best of Latin American design by focusing on the artisanal side of luxury,” Barrios asserts. “I’m obsessed with quality and rescuing techniques and pushing this special fusion design culture we have here. It’s not just clothing, jewellery and textiles but also objects and furniture.”
The latest edition, which was held in March, drew designers from Mexico, Peru, Colombia, Venezuela and Argentina. Retailers came from across the region and as far away as Australia to buy.
When high profile imports meet high quality exports
Trade shows across the Latin American region have been growing or upgrading their offering in recent years. Big events in Brazil and Argentina as well as Colombiamoda in Colombia’s Medellin and Intermoda in Mexico’s Guadalajara have all had to up their game to compete with smaller carefully curated new entrants.
“Well, there have been several similar events in Mexico City recently, but few really make a difference. You can definitely say Caravana Americana has become the top event of its kind,” says Raúl Alvarez, fashion editor of the Mexican edition of Elle magazine.
The growing dynamism of the region’s B2B fashion trade is the product of higher quality exports and higher profile imports. As exciting Latin American designers like Mexico’s Carla Fernandez, Colombia’s Johanna Ortiz and Peru’s Escudo by Chiara Macchiavello pushed forward to breakthrough into Europe and the US, a wave of global fashion brands entered the region.
Stella McCartney is the latest luxury player to put down roots in the region. Having opened a boutique in Saks Fifth Avenue in Mexico City’s Centro Santa Fe shopping centre, McCartney is one of several designers partnering with the US department store chain since it first expanded south of the border ten years ago.
This wave followed a bigger one a few years ago which saw Louis Vuitton, Prada, Dior, Burberry, Hermès, Chanel and many others expand through El Palacio de Hierro, a glittering department store chain with over a dozen locations across Mexico — most notably its Polanco flagship that reopened after a $300 million renovation.
Meanwhile, Mexico’s third major department store player, the upmarket Liverpool chain, just announced it would spend $320 million to add 11 more branches to its already bulging portfolio. If that weren’t enough, the local giant is now in the final stages of acquiring a majority stake in the Chilean department store group Ripley for a reported $1.2 billion, which has over 70 stores across Chile and Peru.
“Ripley has also expanded its sales pipelines by adding e-commerce, which is gaining territory in Chile and Peru to the point that Ripley.com now has more than 8 million visits per month,” says Francisco Irarrázaval, the managing director of Ripley’s online venture.
It is becoming easier for Ripley and competitors like Falabella, a retail group with hundreds of stores and dozens of shopping malls across the region, to attract international fashion brands to their growing e-platforms.
“Initially, some are sceptical about executing online sales in the region. However, after they realise how developed e-commerce already is in several countries in South America and see the special care brands receive… they end up wanting to work with us for their entire collection,” claims Ricardo Alonso, chief executive of e-commerce at Falabella Chile.
Further upmarket, online expansion is hitting fever pitch, suggests Karla Martinez, the editor-in-chief of Vogue Mexico and Latin America. “Delivery logistics have improved significantly in the region so brands are rushing to meet consumer demand,” she says, citing the increasing popularity of global e-tailers like Net-a-Porter, Farfetch, Luisa Via Roma and MatchesFashion.
Affordable brands like H&M, Mango and Forever 21 continue to aggressively expand their footprint across the region too and many new shopping malls are opening in Mexico, Chile, Peru and Colombia. But if international luxury brands are to continue their march into Latin America, even more physical retail expansion and infrastructure upgrades are necessary.
LuLaRoe is refunding customers following complaints about the quality of the company’s clothing, as Business Insider reported earlier.
The policies include the “Make Good” program — which applies to purchases made between January 1, 2016 and today — and the “Happiness Policy,” which applies to all future purchases.
Here’s a breakdown on the specifics of each policy, and how customers can get a refund, credit, or exchange.
The “Make Good” program:
Applies only to purchases of defective merchandise made between January 1, 2016 and April 24, 2017.
Customers can apply for a replacement, gift card, or cash refund by contacting the retailer who sold them the product and arranging to have the product and proof of purchase returned to them. The proof of purchase must include a copy of the original receipt or a copy of a bank statement reflecting the purchase and identifying the retailer. Customers will not be charged for return shipping.
If that retailer refuses to help them, customers can contact LuLaRoe through its “Make Good” website, and the company will connect them with another retailer who can process their claim.
Customers can also apply for a refund in the form of a personal check or a LuLaRoe gift card by making a claim directly to LuLaRoe on its “Make Good” website. The website contains a form for submitting claims.
Claims must be submitted no later than July 31, 2017.
Applies to purchases made on or after April 25, 2017.
Within 30 days of purchase, customers can return products for any reason to the retailer they purchased from to receive a full refund, credit, or exchange.
Within 90 days of purchase, customers can return products for any reason to any retailer to receive a credit or exchange.
Customers can also apply for a refund in the form of a personal check or a LuLaRoe gift card by making a claim directly to LuLaRoe on its “Happiness Policy” website. The website contains a form for submitting claims.
Customers must provide their original purchase receipt to complete a return. Customers will not be charged for return shipping.
If a product has a manufacturing defect in materials or workmanship, customers may be entitled to a return any time under the company’s new limited warranty. The limited warranty applies to items purchased after April 24, 2017.
Is it really possible to design for the future? If you ask L.A.–based designer Shaina Mote, founder of her eponymous line, the answer is a definitive yes — although, in her case, she’s focusing on what people will be wearing decades from now, not merely next season. “For years I’ve been handling really beautiful high-end vintage like Jil Sander or pieces from the ‘40s,” she says. “When you turn something like that inside out and you see the care that’s put into the construction, it’s something that’s so rare these days. It’s my hope for my own designs to have lasting construction, and to still be relevant in 30 years.”
By all appearances Mote’s clothing is deceptively simplistic: a black linen long-sleeve dress, for example, or a billowy high-neck top. But there’s always an element of surprise — a cutout here, a cross-over detail there. She eschews ornamental buttons and trim, and her latest collection consists of only three colors: black, white, and a rusty shade of café au lait. “For three years my collections would come out and it was just black and white and I realized like ‘Okay, it’s time to expand a little bit here.’”
The lack of color and frilly details are what make Mote’s designs so compelling. The wearer actually has to focus on the clothes: How they fit, the intricacies of the threading. “I tend to strip things down to a pure expression to give them a sense of timelessness,” she explains. “To allow for something that can be worn time and time again, year after year.” Despite Mote’s strong emphasis on construction, she had no formal design training aside from a brief pattern-making apprenticeship in her native L.A. Her education comes from her experience working as a vintage buyer and later creative director for retail shop Wasteland in California.
Working in fast fashion shaped Mote’s own design process. “I was working at a fast-fashion company that was producing trends in and out in what seemed like minutes,” Mote says, recalling the three years she spent as a creative director at Wasteland. “I had a direct line of sight into how things were actually produced, and I realized that this trend-based industry can create a lot of excess and a lot of waste.” Now, Mote rejects the cheap-labor model and produces all her clothes in Los Angeles, where she works with a small group of family-owned factories.
She has also made an effort to source fabrics that are more environmentally friendly over nonbiodegradable fabrics that emit fossil fuels during production.“I’m trying not to work with fabrics like polyester, which take a long time to decompose, and instead use biodegradable fibers like tencel or cupro, which are derived [from] wood pulp and require less resources like water to create,” she says.
New York City is used to setting trends. But when NYU Stern School of Management announced a specialist one-year MBA in luxury and fashion this month, it was following rather than leading the crowd. Specialist masters courses and MBA programs focused on fashion are in vogue. Dozens of business schools around the world offer teaching and support for those who want to progress in or switch to a career in fashion. Among them are institutions in the FT rankings of top business schools, including HEC Paris, London Business School, Politecnico di Milano School of Management and EMLyon.
However, some question whether a specialist MBA is the best option. The fashion industry does not visit school campuses in the hunt for talent, and pay compares poorly with traditional MBA employers, such as banks and consultancies. Median pay for those securing jobs in consultancies stands at $140,000, while for those working in the fashion industry it is $95,000, according to Transparent Career, a US employment service that specializes in compiling actual starting salaries.
Even schools that emphasize support for students hoping to work for multinational luxury brands admit that only a small percentage will be able to take the necessary electives, and even fewer will secure jobs in the sector after graduation. LBS provides mentoring to MBA students through its partnership with Walpole, a trade group of 170 British luxury brands, but only for 12 candidates selected from its annual intake of 430 students. The scheme was launched in 2013. Just 24 of its graduates now work in fashion, according to Fiona Allsop, MBA program manager at LBS. Success requires staying power. “Fashion is one of those industries where you have to be really passionate about working in it to succeed,” she says. It has proved hard for those students seeking senior jobs to find work, according to Kevin Marvinac, Transparent Career’s co-founder.
“Obtaining a job as an MBA at companies that don’t have robust on-campus recruiting policies is always more difficult,” he says. Stern is aware of the comparatively low return on investment for MBA graduates who do manage to secure fashion industry jobs. It proposes to charge $96,000 for its specialist fashion MBA, compared with $138,000 for its full-time program.
Of the 352 Stern MBA students seeking employment after graduation last year, just over 3 per cent received offers in the retail, luxury or fashion sectors, according to Jeff Carr, director of Stern’s Fashion Lab — the specialist course teaching center. The luxury and fashion MBA is likely to be a niche choice, Mr Carr concedes. “We are looking to start with 20 students,” he says. “If in a few years I can bring in 60 who are passionate about the fashion industry and get them into this business that would be an absolute qualified success.”
Being a member of the Kardashian-Jenner family means one thing: You must take several ultra-glamorous vacations a year.
In April, elder sisters Kim and Kourtney Kardashian took a luxurious vacation to Punta Mita, Mexico to celebrate Kourtney’s 38th birthday, alongside more than a dozen girlfriends. Now it’s Kendall Jenner’s turn to flaunt her travels on social media and make all of us supremely jealous.
Jenner, with her model pals Bella Hadid, Hailey Baldwin, and Justine Skye, shared a few gorgeous photos of their vacation at some far-off secret paradise. Though no exact location was shared, we can only assume it’s a sunny, warm, and piña colada-filled destination thanks to the clear blue waters and jet skis present in each of the Instagram photos shared by the famous friends.
In one photo, Jenner lounged on a jet ski with a few islands dotting the background landscape, with a caption that simply read: “You won’t find me.”
Meanwhile, Skye was the only traveler to post a photo of the entire traveling group, captioning it: “Love my girls crazy.” The enviable vacation comes just as Jenner revealed she has actually been friends with Bella Hadid far longer than her sister Gigi.
“Gigi and I just started getting close when we started modeling, but Bella and I were actually really good friends since high school, and hung out everyday in high school before either of us started working,” Jenner told famed photographer Mario Testino in an interview for People. “It’s just funny because a lot of people don’t know that Bella and I have been friends for like five or six years.”
A study released by the University of California, Berkeley (UBC) School of Public health has found many conventional lipstick products to contain dangerously high levels of aluminum, cadmium, lead, and other toxins. Researchers tested over 30 popular lipstick products and found this to be the case. The study was published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives. Even women using minimal amounts of product still increase their risk of developing harmful health conditions like nerve damage and cancer by an alarming amount.
Most of the tested lip products contained high concentrations of titanium and aluminum. All examined products had detectable manganese. Lead was detected in 24 products (75%), with an average concentration of 0.36 ± 0.39 ppm, including one sample with 1.32 ppm. When used at the estimated average daily rate, estimated intakes were > 20% of ADIs derived for aluminum, cadmium, chromium, and manganese. In addition, average daily use of 10 products tested would result in chromium intake exceeding our estimated ADI for chromium. For high rates of product use (above the 95th percentile), the percentages of samples with estimated metal intakes exceeding ADIs were 3% for aluminum, 68% for chromium, and 22% for manganese. Estimated intakes of lead were < 20% of ADIs for average and high use.
A daily intake of these cosmetics would result in a large exposure to chromium, a carcinogen that has been linked to stomach tumours. Average use of these products could result in overexposure to aluminum, cadmium, and manganese. Exposure to high concentrations of manganese has been linked to high toxicity levels in the nervous system. Lead was also detected, and no level of lead exposure is safe for anybody.
“Just finding these metals isn’t the issue; it’s the levels that matter. Some of the toxic metals are occurring at levels that could possibly have an effect in the long term.”
– Katharine Hammond, professor of environmental health sciences and principal investigator in the study
The amount of metals found definitely needs to be brought to the attention of health regulators. But we have a problem here, as health regulators are usually connected to the corporations that develop these products in the first place. The real solution is to just stop using them. We are sold on the idea that we need these beauty products and yet they are filled with harmful chemicals. Are we not beautiful anyway? Right now there are no standards in the United States for metal content in cosmetics, which is deeply disturbing. They can pretty much put whatever they please into them, and it doesn’t take long for the bloodstream to absorb whatever we put onto bodies.
The truth is, many of the ingredients in personal care and beauty products aren’t so pretty. U.S. researchers have found that one in eight of the 82,000 ingredients used in cosmetic and personal care products are hazardous industrial chemicals. This means that 10,500 industrial chemicals are used as cosmetic ingredients, many of which are carcinogens, pesticides, reproductive toxins, endocrine disruptors, plasticizers (chemicals that keep concrete soft), degreasers (used to get grime off auto parts), and surfactants (they reduce surface tension in water, like in paint and inks). And these go on our skin and into the environment.
Did you know that everyday chemical exposure is among the leading causes of the most common cases of chronic disease in America?
What Happens To Your Body When You Switch or Stop Using Cosmetic Products
A new study led by researchers at UC Berkeley and Clinica de Salud del Valle Salinas has demonstrated how taking even a short break from various cosmetics, shampoos, and other personal care products can lead to a substantial drop in the levels of hormone-disrupting chemicals present within the body.
The results from the study were published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives. Researchers gave 100 Latina teenagers various personal care products that were labelled to be free of common chemicals including phthalates, parabens, triclosan, and oxybenzone. These chemicals are used regularly in almost all conventional personal care products such as cosmetics, soap, sunscreen, shampoo, conditioner, and other hair products, and animal studies have shown that they directly interfere with the body’s endocrine system.
“Because women are the primary consumers of many personal care products, they may be disproportionately exposed to these chemicals,” said study lead author Kim Harley, Associate Director of the UC Berkeley Center for Environmental Research and Children’s Health. “Teen girls may be at particular risk since it’s a time of rapid reproductive development, and research has suggested that they use more personal care products per day than the average adult woman.”
After just a three-day trial with the girls using only the lower-chemical products, urine samples showed a significant drop in the level of chemicals in the body. Methyl and propyl parabens, commonly used as preservatives in cosmetics, dropped 44% and 45%, respectively, while metabolites of diethyl phthalate, used often in perfumes, dropped by 27%, and both triclosan and benzophenone-3 fell 36%. The authors of the study were surprised to see an increase in two lesser common parabens, but those levels were small and could easily be caused by accidental contamination or a substitute not listed on the labels.
Co-director of the study Kimberly Parra explains why having local youths participate in the study was of particular importance:
The results of the study are particularly interesting on a scientific level, but the fact that high school students led the study set a new path to engaging youth to learn about science and how it can be used to improve the health of their communities. After learning of the results, the youth took it upon themselves to educate friends and community members, and presented their cause to legislatures in Sacramento.
Included in the CHAMACOS Youth Council were 12 local high school students who helped design and implement the study; one of the teen researchers, Maritza Cárdenas, is now a UC Berkely Undergraduate majoring in molecular and cell biology.
“One of the goals of our study was to create awareness among the participants of the chemicals found in everyday products, to help make people more conscious about what they’re using,” said Cárdenas. “Seeing the drop in chemical levels after just three days shows that simple actions can be taken, such as choosing products with fewer chemicals, and make a difference.”
What Can You Do?
Well, you can be sure to check the labels on any products you purchase. Most personal care products contain a list of ingredients, but unfortunately many cosmetics do not. If you use a particular brand that you really love you can try contacting the manufacturer directly and asking them for an ingredient list.
You can also opt for more natural and organic products, but be sure to keep in mind that in the industry of personal care products, the words “natural” and “organic” are often meaningless. A safe bet would be to buy these products from a health food store and be sure to read the ingredients or ask the sales clerk. Generally, when products do not contain specific chemicals, the manufacturers are happy to label them as such.
Because actually natural and organic products can be a bit more pricey, you may want to consider making your own. You can make a wide array of completely natural personal care products quite easily with just a few ingredients. Not only is this cheaper, but it allows you to be sure of every ingredient that will go on your body and to customize your creations to suit your specific needs. Check out “Top 5 DIY Everyday Personal Care Products” for some great homemade make-up ideas, or try a quick Google or Pinterest search!
Nike recently introduced a sports hijab. The reaction to this has been mixed: There are those who are applauding Nike for its inclusiveness of Muslim women who want to cover their hair, and others who accuse it of abetting women’s subjugation. But the sportswear giant is hardly the first corporate brand to champion the hijab.
History of Islamic fashion
The marketing of Islamic fashionable clothing, however, is older than the sports hijab. It started in the 1980s when ethnic grocery dealers in Western Europe and the United States began importing modest fashion clothing along with other items for the Muslim population. That proved to be a successful business.
Prior to that, most Muslim women would put together their own styles. These small endeavors ultimately morphed into a competitive and lucrative Muslim fashion industry. Islamic fashion in general is understood as women wearing modest clothing with long sleeves, descending to the ankle and having a high neckline. The outfits are non-hugging, with some form of head covering that could be draped in a variety of styles. Women who prefer to wear pants combine them with a long sleeved top that covers the buttocks and has a high neckline, along with a head covering.
Over time, national and international designers came to be involved in the sale of chic Islamic fashions. Today, Muslim fashion is a lucrative global industry with countries such as Indonesia, Malaysia and Turkey leading the way outside the Western countries. In 2010 the Turkish newspaper Milliyet estimated the global Islamic clothing market to be worth around US$2.9 billion.
The Global Islamic Economy report for 2014-2015 indicated Muslim consumer spending on clothing and footwear had increased to $266 billion in 2013. This represents a growth of 11.9 percent of the global spending in a period of three years. The report predicted this market to reach $488 billion by 2019.
The Islamic brand
This growth has had its share of controversies: Many designers use the term “Islamic” for their clothing. Religious conservatives and Muslim scholars have raised questions about what types of apparel would fit that category and whether defining clothing as “Islamic” was even permitted or lawful by Islamic principles – a concept known as “halal.”
In particular, critics have objected to the fashion runway presentations, which actually draw the gaze and attention of spectators to the bodies of models, while the purpose of a hijab is to distract and move the gaze away from the body. In Iran, for example, Islamic fashion is viewed by the ulama (religious scholars) as another Western influence and referred to as “Western Hijab.”
Nonetheless, the Islamic fashion industry has managed to initiate marketing campaigns that capitalize on the very core of Islamic precepts: Sharia, or the Islamic religious law. A Malaysian apparel company, Kivitz, for example, uses the phrase “Syar’i and Stylish.” In Malay, Syar’i is the same as Sharia.
In establishing a nominally Islamic brand, marketers make every effort to align their products with the core value of Islam. So, even when following the trendy fashionable seasonal colors and materials, clothing styles would include some sort of head covering.
Who are the consumers?
The question still remains: What led to such a rapid growth over a span of just three years?
Muslims are far more brand aware than the general population assumes. However, in the past they were largely ignored by the fashion industry, perhaps, due to misconceptions that being a Muslim restricted people’s lifestyle.
And now, with a growing Muslim population, there is an increased demand for modest but also fashionable clothing for the youth, who have significant spending power. At the same time, traditional elite and wealthy Middle Eastern consumers who used to shop for fashionable clothing from European nations now prefer to shop from homegrown Muslim fashion designers.
Indeed, the halal logo on food and other products in addition to modesty in clothing has proved to be an effective strategy in creating a global Islamic identity.
Consumerism is changing what is means to be modern and Muslim today. As Vali Nasr, a Middle Eastern scholar, explains, “The great battle for the soul of the Muslim world will be fought not over religion but over market capitalism.”
Amazon is expanding its Alexa offerings in an unexpected way with Echo Look, a camera-based style assistant that offers advice to help you look your best.
The device is a tripod-mounted camera array that comes packaged with Echo built in, allowing it to see what you’re wearing and make recommendations to improve your wardrobe. It does so by monitoring what’s “in” or “out,” as well as the shape and natural color of the person, which caters results to you specifically, rather than using the same formula for everyone.
Amazon’s iOS app has a similar feature that offers advice from real people working for Amazon, but without all the mathematics. Echo Look, on the other hand, operates independently of human intervention. To do so, the device utilize a hands-free camera, which according to Amazon, is complete with built-in lighting and a depth sensing camera that blurs the background and makes your photos “pop.” It’s also complete with a live-view mode and video functionality that lets you see yourself from every angle.
In addition, it appears to work seamlessly with the iOS Photos app making it easy to share these images on social media, the same way you would with any image captured on an iPhone. Finally, once an image is captured, the Style Check feature provides fashion recommendations by combining information from specialists and machine learning. It can do things like compare two outfits or create a personal look book that shows you what you wore and when you wore it while marking your favorites.
At the end of the day, it raises the question of whether you’re ready to trust computer learning to determine your outward appearance. However, based on the introduction video, it’s reasonable to say that Echo Look is intended to be used as more of an accessory to your clothing selection than an end-all bank of fashion knowledge.
Right now, Echo Look is available for $200 but only by invitation, which suggests the device is still being tested. We’ll know more when it gets a full release, but it will be interesting to see what the future holds for somewhat autonomous fashion.
Alexa Chung may have provided plenty of fashion inspiration for us with her own #OOTDs over the years, whether that involves overalls, frilly tops, or Mary Janes. She’s also paired up with plenty of fashion brands over the years, from creating collections with AG and Madewell, to consulting for the likes of Superga and Marks & Spencer. But soon, her very own collection, called Alexachung, also might charm its way into your closet.
We first heard about Chung’s line in July, though details about the official drop date or aesthetic (beyond, you know, the fact that these would obviously be Chung-approved wares) were still sparse at that point. Now, we’ve got a bit more insight on what to expect from her forthcoming “see now, buy now” collection; it’ll be revealed in London on May 30. Don’t worry: If you’re not across the pond, you can get in on the action via a livestream of the launch spectacle on the brand’s site, Alexachung.com, which just launched today, as did the brand’s social media.
So, yes, you’ll still have a wait a few weeks to check out the threads, but for now, there’s a short film teasing the collection. Dubbed Alexachung Dressage and directed by Lorin Askill with creative direction by Daniel Askill, it stars Chung in full riding regalia, riding a white horse. Yes, really. Why, exactly? The video is apparently a #TBT to Chung’s own experience as she revisits “her carefree adolescence in an almost dreamlike equestrian fantasy,” per a release. In Chung’s own words, it’s “a tongue-in-cheek celebration of the dedication, precision, skill and determination needed to develop and create something aesthetically pleasing, coupled with the feeling that you could spend endless amounts of time trying to create something that means a lot to you, hoping that some might appreciate it,” she said in a statement. “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. I guess it’s supposed to be funny.”
And while the horse, and Chung’s prowess riding it, steal the show, if you look really closely, check out her blazer and shirt, which are both from her forthcoming line. (Consider watching in slow-mo or pausing a couple times for your best shot of catching ’em.) After the brand’s inaugural drop later this month, forthcoming release dates of future drops will be announced on its social media and site. In the meantime, check out the below video to get a glimpse of the new logo for Chung’s namesake brand (watch until the end or you’ll miss it) and, of course, to watch the style star’s equestrian skills in action.
Palestinian fashion designer Natalie Tahhan is hard at work in her Jerusalem studio, replacing the painstaking processes of cross-stitching and embroidery with a laptop computer and printed fabric.
Taking inspiration from traditional Palestinian patterns, Tahhan designs patterns digitally and then has them printed on satins and silks before piecing together her garments.
Her modern take on generations-old designs has attracted a keen following both locally and abroad, particularly in the Gulf, where she sells her clothes via the web.
“I wanted to do something new, modern, never seen on the market,” the 27-year-old said, as she measured out fabric at her studio in her family home in Ras Al-Amud, east Jerusalem.
Palestinians have for centuries painstakingly sewn long black dresses and adorned them with red embroidery, in designs still worn today in rural areas and at marriages and other celebrations.
The designs vary from region to region and tend to say something about the wearer.
“We can tell where the woman who wears it is from and if she is married or single,” Tahhan said.
Several young Arab designers have sought to modernize traditional wear and bring the dresses of their ancestors — an increasingly rare sight today — to a new generation.
Tahhan, who studied in Doha and at the London College of Fashion, is among the few to do so in Jerusalem. She believes she is the only one to have abandoned traditional embroidery for her new method.
As the Palestinian territories lack the equipment she needs, she has her fabrics printed in Dubai. They are then delivered to Jerusalem via Qatar and Jordan to circumvent the lack of direct shipments from the Gulf countries to Israel and the Palestinian territories.
Maha Saca, director of the Palestine Heritage Center in the occupied West Bank city of Bethlehem, says she supports efforts to breathe new life into traditional designs.
“Adding Palestinian motifs to modern wear is very important. It means we can wear a modern dress with Palestinian embroidery on it,” she said.
The center, established in 1991, boasts the largest collection of traditional Palestinian dresses. “Embroidery is part of our identity and our proof of our existence in every Palestinian city and village,” Saca said. “It shows the beauty and richness of our Palestinian heritage.”
She is lobbying for traditional embroidery to be incorporated into Palestinian school uniforms. Saca said top-end handmade dresses can cost between $1,500 and $2,000 because of the long hours of labor involved and the cost of materials.
She stresses the need to preserve hand embroidering techniques, but accepts that clothes are being produced in new and more modern ways.
“We support it 100 percent,” she said.
Tahhan’s first collection, consisting of five white and violet satin capes with shimmering geometric patterns, sold out completely in less than three months at a price of $550 a piece. Most of the sales were to Gulf clients who bought the items online.
One of Tahhan’s signature works is a cape inspired by designs from the West Bank city of Hebron, occupied by Israel for 50 years. The garment bears a succession of blue and pink squares over black fabric, and is open at the shoulders.
Tahhan’s light fabrics work well in the Gulf market, where heavy black felt or thick cotton can become unbearable under the burning sun.
Her latest collection is called “Prints of Palestine.”
Tahhan’s location in Jerusalem, a city holy to Muslims, Christians and Jews, is also a plus for sales “despite the obstacles and difficulties” imposed by Israel’s occupation, she said.
Israel seized the West Bank and east Jerusalem in 1967. It later annexed east Jerusalem in a move never recognized by the international community.
Palestinians see the eastern sector as the capital of their future state, while Israelis consider the entire city of Jerusalem their unified capital.
“I wanted to do something as a girl from Jerusalem,” said Tahhan, her long black hair falling over her shoulders. “Why not create fashion here?”
“People love the idea of owning something made in Jerusalem, especially Palestinians abroad,” she said.
“When they buy something they feel they are taking with them a small piece of the city.”
Ariel Winter doesn’t care what you have to say about her recent red carpet outfit.
While promoting the upcoming season of ABC’s “Modern Family” in Hollywood, the 19-year-old actress wore a gold sheer minidress.
The rest of the cast pictured — Nolan Gould, Eric Stonestreet, Julie Bowen, Aubrey Anderson-Emmons, Jesse Tyler Ferguson and Ty Burrell along with the show’s executive producer Steven Levitan — were dressed more casually, some commenters were quick to point out.
How Ariel Winter says people reacted to her breast reduction surgery
‘Modern Family’ star Ariel Winter opens up on breast reduction surgery
Still, Winter — in a lengthy post on social media — defended her right to dress however she wants.
“Why TF does anyone care that I didn’t dress casual like everyone else for the panel?” she wrote. “Why do I have to be like everyone else? Why can’t people just let other people feel good about themselves and do what they want?”
The actress then used the opportunity to encourage people to wear what they feel comfortable in, whenever.
“WEAR WHATEVER YOU WANT PEOPLE! As long as you feel good about yourself that’s what matters. I now I did,” Winter continued. “Don’t every let anyone stifle who you are and how you express yourself. Rant over :)”
Mica May became the queen of notebook design by accident. In 2009, the graphic designer started innocently putting clients’ logos on 5-by-8-inch notebooks. Then living in Houston, she spent one day going to 10 different woman-owned businesses and showing the owners mock-ups of notebooks personalized for them. Would they buy them? She sold 1,000.
The Texas A&M graduate who grew up in Dallas quickly expanded to noncorporate clients. Women who didn’t have a company logo started asking for personalized notebooks of their own. She created a website with different patterns they could choose and different fonts they could use to personalize the notebooks. Suddenly, people with unusual names had something they could hold with their name on it.
And then came “Good Morning America.” On Dec. 1, 2011, May’s notebooks were shown on the air. She got 33,000 orders. That was the day she got to quit working for other clients and work permanently for herself. It was great timing, too. She had given herself until the end of 2011 to make a go of the notebook business or to drop what was started as a fun side gig. She knew with two toddlers she had to make a choice between the notebooks and the graphic design business. She could no longer do both.
Slowly May Designs started growing. She hired an assistant and then more employees. She moved the business out of her home and into the garage apartment, and then, when Code Compliance came knocking, to its own studio.
By 2014, the business was growing and it was time to make the move to Austin, which she and her husband, Jonathan, had always wanted to do. They moved with their three children, now 3, 6 and 8, and the company grew up.
She found Austin’s like-minded creative class and made connection after connection. Soon notebooks turned into calendars and leather notebook covers. The world of on-demand printing meant that she could take one pattern and put it on many different things, and clients could customize those items as well.
This year, May Designs is really growing up: It’s making its first foray into a nonstationery product. May has turned on-demand printing into clothing. Mica May, 36, will be showing a capsule collection at Fashion X Austin on May 18.
“We’re excited to expand, to bring fashion on-demand as a model,” she says.
Her first clothing designs are created on neoprene fabric, which means they can be rolled up into a ball and not wrinkle. She’s offering a short skirt, a longer A-line skirt, a shift dress and a longer summer dress with adjustable spaghetti straps. Each piece will be $65 to $95 and available at maydesigns.com.
The skirts and dresses come in XXS to XXXL. “We hope it fits any size of body,” she says.
And thinking of moms like herself, “everything we have has pockets, which I absolutely love,” she says. “Pockets are crucial.”
May Designs now has more than 500 patterns but will probably start with about 200 when the line launches after the Fashion X Austin show.
You can go casual for summer with a T-shirt on top of a skirt and flip-flops or dress up a dress with the right heels and jewelry. You also can layer the dresses and skirts with leggings and boots, jackets and sweaters for winter.
Her favorite is the Peonies Sky print in the A-line skirt. It’s like the grown-up version of the twirly skirts her daughters love.
“This is the beauty of on-demand printing,” May says. “We literally launched (Peonies Sky) on a notebook pattern. Then we loved it so much, people were responding well, we actually ordered some wallpaper, put it up as kind of our statement wall in our office. And this is one of our capsule collection pieces,” she says holding up the matching A-line skirt. “We’re able to take all of our patterns that start out on a notebook and transfer them to all the future things.”
Her office on Kerbey Lane in Central Austin is filled with samples of purses and pillows and more stationery products, but first things first: Fashion X Austin and the launch of the clothing line.
If we had to guess, we would say that Hailey Baldwin was probably pretty excited when iconic designer Carolina Herrera wanted to dress her for the 2017 Met Gala. Not because it’s the first time she’s been dressed for this event by a designer of that caliber—just last year she was dressed by Tommy Hilfiger—but because Carolina Herrera is known for making some of the most stunning gowns in the event’s past. Who could forget Lily Aldridge’s stunning powder blue gown in 2015? We certainly couldn’t.
Hailey’s gorgeous pale peach outfit—a crop top and a three-tiered tulle skirt—fit right into the theme of this year’s event with its imposing silhouette. The skirt made creative use of ombré, with a medium peach tone on top, a lighter pastel in the middle, and a deeper hue on the bottom, while the strapless bandeau-style top made interesting use of structural elements, with visible boning on the sides. A metallic beaded veil and a silver chain choker gave an edge to the sweet look. Though Hailey, like many of the gala guests, did not stick strictly to the theme, her outfit paid homage to Rei Kawakubo’s legacy in a very her way.
Recently, Hailey experienced some red carpet drama regarding a pregnancy rumor and her maybe-boyfriend Cameron Dallas. Monday night’s look is sure to get the same amount of buzz, but this time without the sheer absurdity (not to mention the problematic speculation). Regardless, we’re sure Hailey will handle any attention how she always does: with adorable and witty grace.
When Sophie Turner arrived at the Met Gala, we immediately had flashbacks to the first season of Game of Thrones. Back then, her character, Sansa Stark, was more innocent compared to the brooding badass she’s transformed into throughout the series, and Sophie’s dainty Louis Vuitton gown was the perfect ode to the Sansa we used to know.
With intricate silver and nude embroidered notes, the embellished white dress had a delicate frilly detail that flowed in the wind as she made her way up the famed museum steps. She paired her ethereal dress with ear piercings galore for an unexpected edge. Keep scrolling to get up close and personal with Sophie’s drop-dead-gorgeous gown.
“It doesn’t bother me to talk about my body as much as I do because it’s what’s implementing the change,” Huffine tells Yahoo Style. “If I can get you to look at me in a different way, instead of just seeing size and making the wrong assumption about what my body is, I’ll talk about it all the time.”
Huffine was featured in the 2015 Pirelli calendar. She’s fronted a campaign for Lane Bryant. She’s walked in Sophie Theallet and Prabal Gurung’s shows during New York Fashion Week; the Fall 2017 shows were particularly diverse, featuring Huffine, Ashley Graham, and Georgia Pratt, among others.
But all that’s bows and whistles compared with what Huffine views as her life’s work: to make women of every size, shape, and color love themselves and think anything is possible. To that end, she started Project Start, pushing women to pound the pavement.
That’s because Huffine is a runner. Fresh off the Boston Marathon, which she ran on April 17, she jokes that she wonders when it’s finally inappropriate to carry the medal around with her. Possibly never?
“I wanted to bring something active into my life. I was a short fuse. I was on edge. I was always tired and dragging. So you have a glass of wine instead. My husband does triathlons, and I watched him doing that for years. I never thought it was something for me. I just wrote it off. Can’t do it. Look at me, I can’t be a runner. I don’t look like them,” she says.
So her husband dared her to give it a shot. Huffine, never one to turn down a challenge, said yes. And here she is, bringing running shoes with her when she shoots in different cities so that she can exercise.
“Here we are now. Something about it took right away. It’s very hard. There was something that kept me going back for more. Looking back, it was the way I felt. It chilled me out. It gave me alone time. It just worked for me,” she says.
Amazon.com Inc. wants to help you choose what to wear.
The technology and retailing behemoth on Wednesday unveiled a voice-controlled camera, the Echo Look, and an app that recommends which of two outfits is best, using fashion specialists’ advice and algorithms that check for the latest trends.
The new product underscores Amazon’s ambitions to be a top player in fashion and voice-powered computing.
Amazon is working to make its voice assistant Alexa, which competes with Apple Inc.’s Siri, an indispensable feature of people’s lives: from playing music to helping someone cook, and now to helping someone dress. The more commands it receives and data it processes improve Alexa’s understanding, making the service more useful.
The same holds true for Amazon’s new “Style Check” service.
Users submit two full-length photos of their outfits, taken by the Echo Look, and they receive recommendations that become “smarter through your feedback and input from our team of experienced fashion specialists,” Amazon said on its website.
If successful, the service would not only give Amazon data on what outfits customers prefer, but it also would help shoppers equate Amazon with fashion – a lucrative market for online retailers.
Surging apparel sales are helping Amazon challenge Macy’s Inc as the dominant retailer in the category. Customers like to try on clothing in stores, however, an obstacle to future growth online.
The Echo Look “opens up a new realm of shopping experiences,” said Werner Goertz, a Gartner Inc analyst. It may one day herald the use of augmented reality in e-commerce so shoppers can “try things on visually before you make your buying decision.”
The Echo Look’s camera — the first in an Alexa device — has the potential to be used for home surveillance, video conferencing and various enterprise applications, he added.
The $199.99 Echo Look is not yet available to the general public. Amazon has sold an estimated 10 million or more Alexa devices, and has had trouble keeping the original Echo device in stock, it has said.
With bulging eyes and mouths agape, they were the very picture of new arrivals in a city they had underestimated. Buyers from a well-known Japanese department store stood waiting for a show to start at the latest edition of Shanghai Fashion Week. Still stunned from their encounter with a mob of ticket touts selling black market invitations outside, they appeared flummoxed but reflective.
“Power,” whispered one surprised retailer to her colleague. “That’s what it is. I couldn’t put my finger on it before, but now I get it. You can literally feel the power in the atmosphere here.”
Surveying the scene at the lively venue in the heart of China’s commercial capital, the Japanese buyer declined to share her name but she was clearly captivated by what she saw as Shanghai’s ambitious march on her hometown of Tokyo. And faintly protective too.
After listing off Japan’s many strengths — its long legacy of producing master fashion designers, unrivalled street style, sophisticated consumers and cutting edge apparel industry — she stopped abruptly mid-sentence.
“Wait, do you mean Tokyo as an international hub? Like, Asia’s fashion business capital? Hmmm, that’s tricky,” she paused, turning in vain to her colleague for some reassurance. “We won’t lose that chance to Shanghai — will we?”
While Tokyo’s fashion scene is incredibly vibrant, diverse and influential, it is also insular and conservative when it comes to the way the industry operates. Shanghai, on the other hand, is in its honeymoon period with the global fashion industry. Bounding full-throttle ahead, the city’s fashion leaders seem happy to experiment at every juncture — and supremely unfazed when things go a bit wrong.
“People here have a can-do attitude which means things can be surprisingly efficient even though they’re sometimes guilty of being inconsistent or even chaotic,” says Shaway Yeh, group style editorial director at Modern Media. “Anyway, Shanghai has the weight of China behind it. It’s that simple. That’s precisely why Hong Kong and Singapore are not in the running as Asian fashion capital.”
Confident in its position as the gateway to Asia’s powerhouse economy and the region’s largest consumer market, Shanghai Fashion Week is now able to attract niche and contemporary brands to China from around the world. And those most eager to join the event’s 25,000 square metres of selling space often hail from other Asian nations.
Beacon for Asia and broker for China
As vice secretary-general, Lv Xiaolei is the power broker behind Shanghai Fashion Week. “Madame Lu,” as she is deferentially called by almost everyone in the city, chooses her words very carefully — especially when talking about competitors in Asia.
“Well, South Korea’s institutions are willing to promote their local brands in China,” she offers, keen to focus on the relatively new and still fragile spirit of cooperation with her Asian counterparts. “And Masahiko Miyake, chairman of the Japan Fashion Week Organisation, he came to us during this Shanghai Fashion Week to sign a strategic partnership with us too. We’ve been talking for a while, you know. From rivals to friends.”
When asked directly what her ambition is for Shanghai Fashion Week in the Asian context, Madame Lu spends a long time ruminating, responding obliquely and changing the subject before she finally concedes: “OK, we’re trying to build the most influential fashion trade platform in Asia,” she sighs. “Is that ambition enough?”
Without doubt, Shanghai Fashion Week is a work in progress and has much to prove. It may lack the rigour of Tokyo and the pizzazz of Seoul but, make no mistake, it overshadows them both in terms of chutzpah. If for no other reason than the strength and scale of its market, China is in a league of its own. Not even India, with its own vast fashion industry in Delhi and Mumbai, comes close. No wonder Shanghai’s fledgling designers can seem so dangerously overconfident.
“I think sooner or later Shanghai will become the top fashion week in the Asian-Pacific region and I think eventually even Europe will need to buckle up,” says Moto Guo, the Malaysian designer shortlisted for last year’s LVMH Prize.
“Everybody’s working hard to break the Shanghai market. But even so, I was surprised to learn we had almost nine or 10 young brands from Malaysia participating at Shanghai Fashion Week this time.”
The Autumn/Winter 2017-18 collection was Guo’s second selling season at The Tube, a tightly curated Shanghai showroom founded by Zemira Xu who has developed a knack for spotting some of China’s more progressive designer talent such as Xiao Li and Xu Zhi.
“The whole industry here is moving so fast,” Guo continues. “It’s so competitive and so aggressive. But at the same time, people here are getting more and more open-minded. They’re willing to listen to young voices and even spend money to buy our work, which is definitely a great advantage for us as a young label.”
China’s mainstream brands like Reineren and young designer “repats” like Shushu/Tong, Deepmoss and Andrea Jiapei Li may dominate the runways here, but stroll through any of the official trade shows hosted by Shanghai Fashion Week and you can hear dozens of foreign languages spoken by designers, sales agents, showroom reps, and distributors manning the exhibitor booths.
Shanghai Fashion Week’s sales floors have become so international, in fact, that brands from abroad now outnumber those from China at the four official trade shows. A tally of the brands at Mode, Ontimeshow, Showroom Shanghai and Dadashow revealed that international brands make up 58 percent of the 1,000-plus brands exhibiting this season. Just under half of those are from other Asian countries.
Its sales have jumped by 51% to almost £300m, thanks to new overseas markets.
The Manchester-based firm puts its success down to “combining cutting-edge, inspirational design with an affordable price tag”.
Its booming sales growth has also been reflected in its share price, which has more than trebled in the past year.
On its stock market flotation in 2014, it was valued at £560m. It is now worth about £2bn.
The firm has gone from strength to strength in recent years, while its High Street rivals have had to deal with increasing competition from Boohoo and other online retailers.
“It has been a momentous year for us. The Boohoo brand has achieved outstanding revenue growth and increased profitability margins during the year,” said joint chief executives Mahmud Kamani and Carol Kane.
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Its only temporary misstep was a profit warning in 2015 that unnerved investors and sent its share price down by some 40% – something the online retailer has now put behind it.
“Boohoo has seen strong sales across multiple markets, and significant volume growth in sales,” says John Stevenson, retail analyst at Peel Hunt.
According to its latest results, Boohoo’s revenue grew 33% in the UK, more than 50% in Europe, 140% in the US and 40% in the rest of the world.
The company now has 5.2 active million customers worldwide, and crucially is able to rely on social media “influencers” and video bloggers – “vloggers” – to spread the word to its 18 to 24-year-old target market.
“Boohoo has been able to halve the amount it spends on marketing over the past five years, because of this shift to social media,” says Mr Stevenson.
“Relatively speaking, it has a far more engaged social media base than many other retailers – and it can use digital as a call to arms.”
It is an online marketing strategy that High Street chains are now scrambling to emulate.
The key to its success is that Boohoo is able to batch-produce items “in the low hundreds” to trial for sale on its website; something that is not a viable option for fashion chains with bricks-and-mortar stores.
This ability to “test and repeat” allows the online retailer to have a constant flow of new items on its website, with only about a third of them ever being reordered for bigger production runs if the initial sales prove successful.
Crucially, this means that online fashion retailers like Boohoo can potentially respond much more quickly to changing fashion tastes than can their High Street rivals.
With its constant product changes and low prices – dresses can start for as little as £8 – Boohoo can set its own prices. “They don’t have to follow the lead of, say Marks and Spencer,” says Peel Hunt’s John Stevenson.
Over the past 12 months, Boohoo has bolstered its international expansion plans through its £20m acquisition of struggling US fashion site Nasty Gal, which it completed in February.
The US purchase has given Boohoo access to Nasty Gal’s intellectual property and customer database that will help its US expansion plans.
Earlier this year, it also bought the smaller online fashion retailer PrettyLittleThing, which was founded by the sons of Boohoo joint chief executive, Mahmud Kamani.
Boohoo plans to expand PrettyLittleThing, which has more than a million active customers, in new markets and said it had shown strong profitable growth in the first two months since the takeover.
Keeping with her anthem’s lyrics, Demi Lovato modeled an orange suit — and her seriously fit frame — on Snapchat on Saturday, opting for a full-body shot as well as a close-up.
She also shared a photo of the citrus suit to Instagram, captioning, “Don’t know if it’s physically possible for me to get any more tan….”
On Friday, the singer shared a photo in a black and white bikini, captioning, “No filter no edit, love your body the way it is.”
Lovato has long been outspoken about embracing her natural curves, recently saying in another Instagram post that she is fine with not having a thigh gap in a photo showcasing her legs.
With body positivity to boot, Lovato has been working out religiously at L.A.’s Unbreakable Performance Center (where Nick and Joe Jonas also work out) for the past nine months, and she has called the gym her “oasis” on Instagram.
Much of the conversation about the latest Swimsuit Issue of Sports Illustrated has focused on Kate Upton, who has now thrice graced the magazine’s cover. Yet, the inside of the issue is also revealing some fresh faces and some boundary-pushing firsts for the publication. Hunter McGrady is one of the notable rookies in the Swimsuit edition who came to be in the magazine as a result of the Model Search contest. And aside from looking quite sultry while wearing nothing but body paint for the photo shoot, McGrady also just so happens to be the curviest model ever featured in the magazine.
Per her Wilhelmina Models stats, McGrady is five-foot-eleven, with a 45-inch bust and a 38-inch waist, making her the curviest model featured in the swimsuit edition, according to Yahoo! Style. Last year, Ashley Graham made news when she became the first size-16 model to grace the cover of the magazine’s swimsuit edition. Graham’s inclusion in the issue was greatly lauded as a step forward in the body-positive movement and it’s in that vein that McGrady is viewing her inclusion in the issue. For her, participating in the shoot was an opportunity to empower other women, she told Yahoo! “I want women to pick up what is the considered the sexiest magazine issue and feel inspired,” McGrady said. “There’s someone in it who looks like them, who isn’t the traditional model they see.” She also said she felt confident and sexy in her skin, “Not despite of my body but because of my body.”
On her Instagram account, McGrady elaborated more on her message to women, writing: “Women, for anyone who has ever felt uncomfortable or insecure because of rolls, or stretch marks, or cellulite, or acne, or felt like you didn’t measure up because you weren’t represented in the magazines – THIS IS FOR YOU! You are beautiful. You are STRONG.”
Posing in swimwear and showing off skin can be an uncomfortable — and even scary — task for some. But Alex LaRosa, a plus-size model in New York City, doesn’t fall into that category.
The curvy model and community organizer shared an image from a test shoot with photographer Lucas Jones in which she wore a GabiFresh for SwimSuitsForAll bikini top with jeans. Alongside the April 18 photo on her Instagram channel, she included an important message about body image.
“‘She can have a tummy and still look yummy’ is literally the only appropriate caption for this photo!” she captioned the shot. “I am so in love with all my pics from my recent shoot, but I just had to share this completely unedited photo of all this fat black girl magic!”
LaRosa is an advocate for body positivity and aims to spread acceptance and awareness of women of all shapes and sizes via her social media platform.
“It is always my intention to make the Internet a slightly safer space for plus-size women,” she tells Yahoo Style. “I hope my post inspires those who struggle loving their bodies, and I hope it helps to normalize bodies like mine. People of every shape, size, and color deserve to be represented in the media. I’m hoping that we see more #VisuallyPlusSize models in campaigns, on runways, and in magazines.”
Despite loving her figure and fully embracing it, LaRosa wasn’t always confident in her body. “It took me years to get to this place,” she shared with Yahoo Style. “My 15-year-old self wouldn’t even feel comfortable in tank tops, let alone crop tops.”
LaRosa wants to teach young women to be comfortable in their own skin. “Beauty comes in all different shapes and sizes!” she says. “It is not reserved for thin, white, able-bodied people or for anyone else that fits conventional — and unrealistic — beauty standards! I took this picture and immediately thought how important it is for young girls — especially young, fat, and black girls — to see someone who looks like them loving themselves on their Instagram feed.”
To those who don’t agree with her message and leave hateful comments on her content? LaRosa doesn’t have any time for it. “I seriously give them as little attention as possible,” she says. “I delete the comment, block them, smile, and move on.”
At her first test shoot in Los Angeles, Tsubasa Watanabe was surprised by the outfit the photographer was asking her to wear: Hanging from the fingers of his outstretched hand was a pair of thong underwear.
“This is the outfit?” she asked.
“Yup,” he answered.
“Ok,” she said. “Let me change.” She walked into the bathroom and gathered her thoughts.
At this point, Watanabe had been modeling for several years in Japan after walking into an agency in Nagoya in high school, so she definitely had runway experience. But belying her striking looks, she’d grown up in rural Japan in a very traditional family and was accustomed to wearing a little more clothing, even on the runways.
She debated calling her agency and wasn’t sure she should do the job. Maybe the photographer was trying to take advantage of her, maybe he thought she wouldn’t say no because she was Japanese. “This is a test,” she told herself.
When she danced her way out of the bathroom in the thong with a smile on her face, the photographer laughed and started taking pictures, which set the atmosphere at ease. “You’re good!” he said.
This was in 2005. Watanabe is now a veteran model with years of experience in New York City: She has in all likelihood walked more seasons outside of Japan than any other Japanese model in history. Her success has been the result of steadfast focus, flexibility within a foreign culture and a refusal to accept setbacks.
Watanabe was born and raised in Shirakawa, a small town of 9,000 nestled between rivers in the Japanese alps of Gifu Prefecture. She played classical piano from the age of 4 until the end of junior high school when she was not accepted into a music high school.
Even then music was a significant part of her life: She discovered J-rock and the Beatles, played in a rock band that covered power pop songs and decorated the walls of her bedroom with punk rock posters. She was somewhat of a tomboy and dressed in goth fashion. All the while, she shot up to nearly 180 centimeters in height, was naturally thin and had large eyes beneath beautifully angled eyebrows.
“My friends in high school were like, ‘Why aren’t you modeling?’” she says, but it just hadn’t occurred to her before.
Little by little, however, the fashion world began to seep into her everyday life, even as isolated as she was. She found the magazine “Mode et Mode” at a small bookstore in town and discovered the striking fashion of Alexander McQueen. When she later saw Betsey Johnson incorporate punk girls into her high fashion runway shows, she remembers thinking, “This is it!”
All she could focus on from that point onward was how to access that world.
After walking into an agency in 2002, Watanabe was soon commuting three hours one way to go to lessons and casting calls in Nagoya. Her teacher, a former model, drilled Watanabe and her classmates for hours on how to walk.
The work paid off, and she was booking jobs in Tokyo, Fukuoka, Osaka and Nagoya. When she finished high school she faced a decision that most rural Japanese graduates would never even consider: Should she move to Tokyo or to Los Angeles?
Despite a contract offer from an agency in Tokyo, Watanabe chose LA because of inspiration from Riff Randell, the Ramones-obsessed female lead of the movie “Rock ‘n’ Roll High School.”
In Los Angeles, Watanabe heard many Japanese complain about the inconvenience of living in the U.S., but it felt easy to her. “Even going to the supermarket (in Shirakawa) was so far,” she says. “LA to me was convenient.” She managed to get by without a car, relying on public transportation and walking.
A year later she moved to New York and had castings right away, quickly getting set up in her new hometown.
Watanabe purposely set herself apart from others in the Japanese community, not just other models. “I wanted to learn American culture,” she says. “I didn’t want to be an outsider who just follows their career, I wanted to be a local who lives here and has a job. From a certain point, modeling wasn’t my dream. It was just my job.”
Not everything has been easy. Shortly after arriving in New York, she booked a big designer’s show in Bryant Park for fashion week. The fitting the night before took nearly five hours and lasted until midnight, and she was running around the city early the next day for other castings. When she showed up to Bryant Park she posed for street photographers and was congratulated by a Japanese photographer for her newfound success.
However, when she tried to sign in at the venue, her name wasn’t listed. After some confusion, she discovered that they’d overbooked and she wasn’t needed. Dejected, Watanabe walked out past the street photographers and went home, crying the whole way.
Watanabe also misses Japan, mostly her family, the nature she was surrounded by and Shinto traditions. Her parents, both very traditional, haven’t visited her in the U.S., but they did sign up for the cable channel WOWOW when she was featured as one of the models in the second season of “Project Runway All Stars”; she’ll reprise this role for the sixth season later this year. Watanabe makes the trip home once a year or so, and she’s married an American and since made her home in New York.
The Bryant Park incident was the first and last time Watanabe let herself cry because of modeling. The setback eventually helped her learn to stay level and not take things too seriously.
Sixty percent of her work is runway-related, and the rest is e-commerce and fashion editorials. However, the runway is what really motivates her. “Of course, we walk the runway to show the clothes, but to me it’s a performance,” she says. “When I hear the beats backstage right before the show starts, that’s when I come alive.”
Her work has given her the freedom to pursue her passion for music in her free time, but she has settled down a little from her punk days and is working on soundtrack projects.
Watanabe used to dream at night of being back at her home in Gifu with her family. Her New York dreams were nightmares in which she was lost, wandering the unfamiliar city. “Recently I had a dream that I was in my apartment in New York,” she says. “This means a lot to me.”
We know Sara Underwood’s thing is traveling the world and posing for photos in some of the most beautiful spots imaginable. So it only makes sense that she gifted her followers with a sexy Instagram post on Saturday April 22, a.k.a. Earth Day.
She captioned the pic with an earnest message stating that she was participating in one of the worldwide marches for science and wrote that “Our planet is at a critical juncture, and the science regarding it is under attack. Our voices matter, so I hope you get out and speak up for Planet Earth as well.”
Whatever your views on climate change, it’s easy to appreciate the fact Sara is totally committed to nature and is so willing to reveal herself as she enjoys everything from the mountains to the Hawaiian islands. A few more shots from her Instagram below give us plenty of reasons to get into the natural world, especially when she’s there.
An estimated 50 percent of the U.S. population is expected to hit 50 years of age or older this year, according to a Nielsen study that examined Baby Boomers, a portion of the population born in the post-World War II era between 1946 and 1964. What’s more, this group is expected to control 70 percent of disposable income in the U.S. by the end of 2017.
This has inspired a shift within fashion, an industry in large part built upon appearances and ingrained standards of beauty, which in America has long been synonymous with youth. This is particularly true if you’re a woman — just take one look at Hollywood, where according to a University of Southern California study examining the 25 best picture nominations from 2014 to 2016, 78 percent of the actors over 60 were men, compared to just 12 percent of women.
It’s also led to a challenging dichotomy for luxury brands that sell products with exorbitant price tags, but have for decades featured women as young as 15 on runways, when women over age 50 hold more spending power.
“The interesting thing about fashion is it’s a paradox because of its extreme focus on beauty,” said Ashton Applewhite, author of “This Chair Rocks: A Manifesto Against Ageism.” “Of course, we do idolize youth and equate youth with beauty, but aging and beauty can and do co-exist. Hiring older models is a validation of that.”
This February, 21 models over age 50 walked runways during global fashion weeks in New York, Paris, London and Milan, an uptick from the 13 models featured the previous fall, according to a study by the Fashion Spot. In New York, brands like Ralph Lauren, Michael Kors, Tom Ford, J. Crew, Rachel Comey and Tome, for which O’Shaughnessy walked, led the charge on age inclusivity.
“We have been fed this notion that youth equals beauty, and once the powers that be decided to sexualize young women for commerce, it became the normal way to cast an ad or a show,” said Tome designer Ramon Martin. “What that method of casting is ignoring is the rest of womankind, and a large group of older women who have the budget and lifestyle to afford designer clothes. I think for those women, seeing someone their age resonates with them more.”
Designer Tracy Reese has also played a significant role in age inclusivity, an effort that communications manager Alyssa Jones said is a reflection of understanding her brand’s consumer base. “We know that our customer ranges over a lot of different age groups, and we felt like we needed to represent that. It makes a difference when your customer sees someone who represents them in the clothes.”
Though women over 50 make up a relatively small percentage of models in runway shows and marketing campaigns, their presence is making waves. Just this week Calvin Klein announced that 73-year-old actress Lauren Hutton will star in the brand’s latest underwear campaign, while former model Tyra Banks announced in March she is removing the age restriction for contestants in her popular reality show, “America’s Next Top Model.” There are also global reverberations that point to promising signs of change, like the new Moscow-based modeling agency Oldushka that is exclusively open to clients over age 45.
Changing perception Brady told O’Shaughnessy during her American Apparel shoot she was inspired to cast an older woman after stumbling upon Advanced Style, a blog started by 35-year-old Ari Seth Cohen in 2008. At the time, Cohen had moved to New York and was spending quality time with his late grandmother, a woman he said had a particularly positive view of aging contrary to most older people he knew. Inspired by her, and the stylish older women he encountered on the streets, he began taking photos of them and sharing them online, during a period in which street style blogging was just emerging.
“I wasn’t seeing these women represented in lifestyle and fashion media, and they inspired me,” he said. “The fashion industry is ageist because the world is ageist, and the industry reflects many world views. I had the opportunity to put something different out there and represent aging in a different way.”
Applewhite said the sluggishness of fashion and beauty to embrace aging is perpetuated by consumers themselves who shy away from the concept of getting older. This is exacerbated by the bevy of products marketed to women to remove wrinkles and increase youthfulness, in addition to the clothing that advances a false notion of “age appropriate” behavior, she said.
“Every so often, someone will ask me a question on my blog like, ‘Should an older woman wear a mini skirt?’” she said. “I think you should wear whatever you want. If the world isn’t comfortable looking at you, that’s their problem.”
She said, in order to mitigate this cycle, marketing to older women should focus more on showing off their features, rather than minimizing or obscuring problem areas.
“It’s amazing that ageism trumps even the bottom line,” she said. “The market has become deficit-oriented. It focuses on baggy clothes you can wear if you no longer have a waistline or ‘hip’ hearing aids for when you’ve lost your hearing.”
Cohen fears older women may start being commoditized as a fleeting trend, and if not marketed appropriately, it may ultimately lead to further alienation or fetishization of older consumers.
“I’m disappointed to see older women being used as an accessory, sandwiched between two younger people. The main focus isn’t about age. It’s about capitalizing on what people think is a trend. That, for me, isn’t really making progress.”
He anticipated that change will happen as American society continues to reconsider the notion of aging. “We have to realize that we all have to get old, so it’s important to talk about it and create a conversation around aging. Women are increasingly feeling empowered to be themselves and show their age. They’re creating a discourse between younger people and older people. So many of them are allowing their hair to go gray.”
LONDON — What will the store of the future look like? Will we be served by fleets of gleaming robots, using built-in facial recognition technology to adjust each sales pitch to a person’s current mood or past spending preferences? Will there be voice-activated personal assistants, downloading the availability, color and fit of any and every garment to your smartphone? Three-D printing stations? No checkout counters when you leave? Could there even be floating, holographic product displays on the shop floor that change when a customer walks by?
Perhaps shoppers will make all their purchases from their own home, using virtual fitting rooms via virtual reality headsets. Drones will then drop deliveries in the backyard or on the front steps.
As fanciful as these innovations may sound, none are hypothetical. All exist, are being tested and could be rolled out in as little as a decade. But is this the sort of shopping experience that customers really want?
Scores of leading retailers and fashion brands increasingly say no. And in an ever-more-volatile and unpredictable shopping environment, where long-term survival is dictated by anticipating and catering to consumers’ desires (often before they themselves even know what they want), the race to find out how and where people will do their spending has started to heat up.
On Wednesday, for example, Farfetch — the global online marketplace for independent luxury boutiques — held a daylong event at the Design Museum in London. There, in front of 200 fashion industry insiders and partners, José Neves, the founder of Farfetch, unveiled “The Store of the Future,” a suite of new technologies developed by his company to help brands and boutiques bridge the worlds of online and offline.
Nevertheless, in a telephone call last week, Mr. Neves said: “I am a huge believer in physical stores. They are not going to vanish and will stay at the center of the seismic retail revolution that is only just getting started.”
A corresponding report released by Bain & Company this week suggests that he might be right; although 70 percent of high-end purchases are influenced by online interactions, the consultancy maintains that stores will continue to play a critical role, with 75 percent of sales still occurring in a physical location by 2025.
What may change, however, is a store’s primary purpose. Forget e-commerce, or bricks and mortar, or even omnichannel sales; according to Mr. Neves, the new retail era is one anchored in “augmented retail,” a blend of the digital and physical allowing a shopper to shift seamlessly between the two realms.
“Customers don’t wake up and think, I will be online this morning or offline later; we are rarely purely one or the other anymore and tend to jump constantly between two worlds without noticing,” Mr. Neves said. “Harnessing this behavior is a major challenge for retailers and brands and why we are doing this event. It is in our interests to give our partners firsthand access to information about changing behaviors and new technology, so everyone is ‘future-proofed’ as to what might come next.”
Holition is an augmented-reality consultancy and software provider based in London that has worked with some well-known retail brands. Last fall it worked with the British cosmetics company Charlotte Tilbury on a “magic mirror” concept, a virtual makeup selling tool that allows users to try on different looks that are digitally superimposed onto their faces in 40 seconds. They can then send the selection of photos to their email address, ready to be referred to later or shared socially. And they then can buy products, available from glamorous makeup artists milling around nearby.
“Technology is still often a barrier in the retail place, with smartphones, iPads and screens getting in the way of what the consumer wants to see, touch and feel 80 percent of the time,” said Jonathan Chippindale, Holition’s chief executive.
“The holy grail now for retailers is creating digital empathy. No one can really guess what the future will look like. But those who are using technology and data to create bespoke shopping experiences that recognize every person is different, and with different needs, are more likely to come out on top.”
Tom Chapman, a founder of MatchesFashion.com, agreed. It was originally a bricks and mortar boutique; now 95 percent of the British fashion retailer’s sales — which hit 204 million pounds (about $253 million) in 2016 — are online. But Mr. Chapman said boutiques and physical events remained vital “marketing opportunities,” with a more specialized inventory selection and the opportunity for customers to do more than buy merchandise; for example, the MatchesFashion.com “In Residence” series offers talks, film screenings and designer meet-and-greets, along with social media lessons, exercise classes and floristry sessions.
“You need to be accessible to your customer wherever she wants to find you,” Mr. Chapman said, “and we have seen that a sizable proportion want human interaction and access that goes far beyond a credit card transaction.”
Canada has long had a branding problem. We’re the land of ice, snow and poutine but few would consider us “cool.”
That label has traditionally been reserved for countries like France, Italy and even our southern neighbours, the United States. However, quietly and slowly, something is changing. Canada is getting the world’s attention and becoming covetable.
Friday night saw the fourth annual Canadian Arts and Fashion Awards (CAFA) hosted at Toronto’s Fairmont Royal York. The night honoured some of our country’s top design talent, including Jenny Bird, Erdem, Beaufille, The Feral and David Dixon. The night has evolved into the de facto Oscars of Canadian fashion. Canadians aren’t exactly known for their giant, flowing ball gowns and avant-garde design, but that’s exactly what was showcased on the red carpet.
Even The New York Times took notice, saying our homegrown industry is “reaching for its spot in the sun.”
Canadian fashion isn’t just parkas and Toronto-themed baseball caps. It’s being worn by the likes of Kate Middleton and Lady Gaga and reaching top editors at Paris Fashion Week and Milan Fashion Week. The made-in-Canada black tie looks crafted by labels like Greta Constantine, Stephan Caras, Mikael D, Narces and Mikhael Kale at CAFA were worthy of the pages of Vogue. Canadian fashion has arrived. It’s elegant, it’s original and it’s finally stepping into the international spotlight.
It’s not just our fashion scene that’s had a branding problem. Canadian food hasn’t done much better over the years. I was surprised to find on a recent trip to Dubai that Canada was the new cool kid in town. Toronto restaurants Weslodge and Byblos both have outposts there and are some of the hottest seats in town. Craig Wong, who owns Patois and Jackpot Chicken Rice locally, runs Ting Irie – Dubai’s first modern Jamaican restaurant. Reggae legend Beenie Man launched his new album there this month. There’s even an uber swanky Tim Hortons.
Dubai also has a burgeoning, vibrant food truck scene.
One of the leaders of the pack is TruckersDXB, a roaming food truck jam featuring everything from shrimp tacos to pasta cooked in a giant parmesan wheel. The man behind it all is a Canadian from Montreal.
In a city as forward-facing and competitive as Dubai, having Canadian influence on the scene is no small feat. Our cool status there is a true testament to how far our image has come over the last couple years.
I’m writing this column from Washington, D.C., where just about every Uber driver, bartender and political aide I run into has unsolicited high praise for Canada. They envy our diversity. They have crushes on Justin Trudeau. They’re planning vacations to Toronto and Montreal, citing them as bucket-list destinations.
As Canadians, we have a tendency to underestimate ourselves. We’re selfdeprecating to a fault. Sometimes this makes us look modest and sweet, but it also leads to a risk-averse culture that fails to shoot for the stars.
Based on our recent success, we need to keep aiming high and wear the Canadian label proudly.
How fast is fast enough when it comes to clothes and gratification? How much do you really need that dress or bag or platform sandal?
I’ve been wondering this since last week, when Farfetch.com announced that it would now be delivering Gucci in 90 minutes in 10 major cities around the world. A customer can “place an order and almost before they have hung up the phone, somebody is knocking on their door with a beautiful bag!” the founder José Neves said with great fanfare when I called to ask about it.
I don’t often hear Simon & Garfunkel tunes playing in the back of my mind (unless I am in a Parisian subway and yet another busker is singing “The Boxer”), but now I can’t get the opening line of “The 59th Street Bridge Song” out of my head. “Slow down, you move too fast.” Yadda yadda yadda.
Farfetch, Net-a-Porter, Matchesfashion.com and other higher-end retail sites have been offering same-day service in world capitals and vacation destinations for a while now (and Matchesfashion offers 90-minute delivery in London), but the Gucci deal takes it to a whole new level. And while it is, for now, more of a niche offering than a rule, it’s easy to imagine it snowballing to other brands and platforms, as the Great Race for Retail Domination (and Survival) heats up, online and off.
“Faster fulfillment” is the mantra of the moment, a response by companies to what has been called the culture of impatience. But I can’t help wondering if at least when it comes to designer fashion — the clothes that define a particular moment in time and often filter down to shape the styles of every day — it’s solving a problem that doesn’t exist. And maybe creating a new one.
I understand that we live in a world where, as Mr. Neves pointed out, no one waits for cabs or groceries or tables in restaurants, where information is immediate and pictures go viral. I understand that the millennials and Gen Y-ers are (theoretically) the IWWIWWIWI generations — the “I want what I want when I want it” folks. Conventional wisdom goes that if retailers miss that moment of wanting, they miss the sale. I recognize that defying this seems like the classic behavior of a Luddite. But along the way we have lost some perspective.
“Why should we lose face with Amazon?” Mr. Neves said when we were talking. But another question might be: Why should we assume Amazon controls this particular playing field? It may be time to call, well, time on this game of one-upmanship.
A handbag is not a bottle of milk for a baby. It’s not a staple. And it’s not necessarily a good idea to create a situation in which it is equated to one. It may not be sustainable, in any sense of the word.
Saturday is Earth Day, and in the run-up to the annual reminder of what climate change has wrought, fashion has been as active as always: Kering teamed up with Plug and Play and Fashion for Good, and the Council of Fashion Designers of America has joined forces with Lexus, both to support new businesses focused on responsible supply-chain innovation. But while the industry often equates greenness with materials and manufacturing and also tends to attribute landfill problems to fast fashion of the cheap and disposable kind, it should think about high-end consumption, too.
Because in treating investment fashion — which is to say fashion that takes time to create and consumers to understand (and often, desire) — as a commodity, you risk changing how people think about it, and value it, in an essential way. It is true that no one is forcing consumers to opt for the fastest delivery (you can have your jacket in two days if you want, or even a full week), but the sheer fact that the option exists makes the decision seem, somehow, less of a commitment.
Besides, just because consumers say they want something — and according to Mr. Neves, timely delivery is the No. 1 criterion for online shopping in every consumer survey Farfetch has done — doesn’t mean it’s a crucial determinant of their behavior.
Just consider the recent, somewhat abortive, move to change the fashion show schedule to the “see now, buy now” model. The rationale behind the change was almost exactly the same as the one behind super-speedy delivery: Everyone has a truncated attention span because of Instagram, and if you don’t get a product to customers as soon as they feel desire for it, you miss your window.
Yet after only a season, two out of the four main brands experimenting with the idea — Tom Ford and Thakoon — gave it up (Ralph Lauren and Burberry remain exponents). The reason given was that the market wasn’t ready, but had there been a huge and extended spike in demand, the market would presumably have accommodated itself.
Indeed, when it comes to investment fashion, as opposed to what we formerly called fast fashion (which perhaps now will have to be rechristened “quick turnover fashion” or some such), there is value in having to wait, which should not be dismissed.
By conflating investment fashion with, effectively, groceries, you undermine its claims of specialness, effort and creative muscle — all the criteria on which it is built and which justify, in many ways, its price. You link it to the idea of disposability (which, let’s face it, is the definition of what was normally called fast fashion, a sector in which it is often cheaper to buy a new shirt, say, than to clean the one you already own). If investment suggests value over time, reducing the time reduces the value. Put another way: There is a downside to rushing to fulfill the wants of today; it suggests they may not be the wants of tomorrow.
It is happening already: The high-end resale market is booming, with online designer consignment stores like Vestiaire, the RealReal and ThredUP experiencing enormous growth. According to ThredUP’s 2017 fashion resale report (done in conjunction with GlobalData), the fashion resale market is currently worth $18 billion and is expected to grow to $33 billion by 2021, and the average American woman does not wear 60 percent of the pieces in her closet.
Standard operating procedure in the apparel industry goes like this: Make clothes, and then sell them. It can take weeks, if not months, to manufacture clothes, so that step has to come first. It can be a costly upfront investment, and items that don’t sell get discounted, eating into margins.
But Amazon, the ecommerce giant steadily growing into the largest apparel seller in the US, has another idea. Recode reports that the company, which has been building out its own apparel lines, has been granted a patent for an on-demand apparel-manufacturing system that would let it make clothes only once orders have been placed.
The system, which the company submitted its patent application for in December 2015, is founded on data and automation. A “computing device” would collect orders and organize them according to how they could be most efficiently produced. They could be grouped by geographic location, for instance, or by the type of fabric required, or by the assembly processes involved.
As Amazon explains it in the patent, “By aggregating orders from various geographic locations and coordinating apparel assembly processes on a large scale, the networked environment provides new ways to increase efficiency in apparel manufacturing.”
Based on the orders, an automated system at an Amazon facility would produce the clothes. A textile printer would create the various fabrics needed. The fabrics would then be automatically fed over to a textile cutter, which would cut out pattern pieces from the sheets of fabric to be assembled into the finished garments.
Cameras would monitor the process, and an “image analyzer” could spot if anything went wrong, such as the textiles bunching, stretching, or being cut incorrectly. The system would adjust itself to correct the issue, signal an attendant for assistance, or flag the panel as a misprint to be discarded. Eventually the finished products would be checked for quality, packed, and shipped.
It’s unclear whether Amazon is actively working on building the system, or if it’s intended to fulfill wholesale orders placed by businesses or individual customer orders. Amazon did not immediately reply to a request for comment, but it normally doesn’t discuss future plans.
If Amazon is able to get on-demand manufacturing up and running, it could be a powerful weapon in its bid to become an apparel powerhouse. Quick, agile supply chains have allowed fast-fashion labels such as Zara, and even speedier upstarts, to outperform their competition. They allow brands to respond quickly to changes in the market, and limit the amount of inventory that may not sell at full price.
On-demand manufacturing takes those advantages to a new level. And now Amazon, which is already winning at retail with its hyper-efficient Prime service, may be trying to make it a reality.
Just weeks after giving birth, Irina Shayk is back in a bikini. The Victoria’s Secret model, who actually walked the runway at the annual show with a baby bump, shared a picture of herself in a black bathing suit on Instagram, relaxing in the pool on a pink lips-shape floatie. “Pre-sunset #currentsituation,” she wrote in the caption.
Many commenters were incredibly impressed — and largely in disbelief — with the ab snapback of the Russian model, who welcomed daughter Lea de Seine Shayk Cooper with partner Bradley Cooper on March 24.
“You did not… just have a baby…Look amazing Irina!” one wrote. Others wrote “body goals,” “amazing,” and the “most beautiful woman in the world.”
Some, however, were skeptical that the photo was taken on the day it was posted. “4 weeks after giving birth, who even has the time or effort to take a image like this right after giving birth,” one shared. Another wrote, “I mean it’s impossible even for her to look like this after 3 weeks. I love her, but this has to be an old pic.”
Others jumped to Shayk’s defense. M.A. Garcia said that the body “needs time to recover, yes. But absolutely normal to hit your pre-pregnancy weight in a few weeks after giving birth. Especially someone her size whom probably didn’t gain much to begin with.”
As Sherry Ross, MD, a women’s health expert at Providence Saint John’s Health Center in Santa Monica, Calif., explained to Cosmopolitan, what a woman’s body looked like before giving birth has a lot to do with how fast someone returns to their prebaby figure. So the fact that Shayk’s a model and was extremely fit prior to getting pregnant, plays a lot into how she’s able to look so fit in a bikini already.
But, it’s important to keep in mind that Shayk isn’t necessarily “normal.” As Ross tells her patients, “It takes nine months to go through the pregnancy process, so allow yourself nine months during the postpartum period to have your body return to normal.”
Adidas has unveiled what it presented as a giant leap forward in the way sneakers are made.
The company revealed a new sneaker, the Futurecraft 4D, created with a 3D-printing process developed by the Silicon Valley startup Carbon. It says the process allows it to rapidly produce new sneaker designs and scale them up to mass-production. To start, it expects to release 5,000 pairs this year, and more than 100,000 by the end of 2018. That’s not a huge amount for a company that sells hundreds of millions of sneakers every year, but it’s a significant start—and it positions the company as a pioneer in mass-produced 3D-printing manufacturing.
Adidas plans to continue scaling up production through 2021. It didn’t say how much the Futurecraft 4D will cost, except to explain that it will come at a premium to start. But it says it is working to lower costs and increase manufacturing capacity.
The real benefits of the technology, however, go beyond just one shoe. In typical sneaker manufacturing, where the sneaker’s midsole is made with foam, the process goes: design, prototype, tooling, and finally production. Tooling involves building the metal moulds used to make the soles, and it’s expensive and time-consuming.
But now, says Gerd Manz, Adidas’ VP of technology innovation, “once the design is finished, you press a button and you print your midsole. This is a matter of two hours. Traditionally it takes you more than a month to build a mould to build a product.”
What that means is Adidas can speedily produce new designs, test them on athletes, and then put them into production if it chooses, without any major investment in new tooling. For example, since Adidas partnered with Carbon about a year ago, it went through 50 iterations of the Futurecraft 4D before arriving at the final product.
Manz says the company foresees being able to quickly create soles tailored to specific sports, or even specific markets, and ultimately the goal is to allow a customer to be able to walk into an Adidas store and have a customized sole printed for them while they wait. (The company is already experimenting with allowing shoppers to get a sweater 3D-knitted to their specifications at a pop-up in Berlin.)
The German brand and its big rivals, Nike and Under Armour, have all been experimenting with 3D printing, but so far it’s been mostly restricted to creating fast, inexpensive prototypes. Adidas looks like it will become the first to put a 3D-printed sneaker into mass production.
What makes all this possible is the 3D-printing process created by Adidas’ partner in the venture, Carbon, whose investors include BMW, GE, and Nikon. Where most 3D printers fuse together layers of plastic, Carbon’s method, inspired by the T-1000 robot from Terminator 2, uses light and oxygen to create an object as it’s extracted from a pool of gooey, photosensitive resin. Here’s how Quartz technology reporter Mike Murphy has previously explained it:
A light shines through the pool of resin, which causes the resin to harden. Oxygen, on the other hand, causes the resin to liquify. Using them both in combination, a light source can be intricately controlled like a three-dimensional film projector, so only certain parts of the resin are pinpointed and hardened as the object is pulled out of the goo.
Adidas and Carbon say the process lets them create more complex geometric structures than other 3D-printing methods, allowing for better performance, since the midsoles can be designed to cushion and respond differently to specific areas of the foot. It’s faster, too—between 25 and 100 times faster than traditional 3D printers, according to Carbon CEO and cofounder Joseph DeSimone.
The final product has a smooth surface and looks like one piece, rather than the rough, layered look produced by other printers. It’s an important detail when you’re selling consumer products that double as fashion.
The 11-year-old albino twins from São Paulo, Brazil have now graced the pages of the most famous international fashion photographers. Lara and Mara Bawar have albinism, a lack of skin and hair pigment which causes uniquely pale features.
Their striking look captured the attention of Swiss photographer Vinicius Terranova. The photographer featured the twins, as well as their 13-year-old sister Sheila, in his latest project “Flores Raras” (“Rare Flowers”). Sheila doesn’t have albinism, but shares the same striking features as her sisters despite the difference in the color of their skin.
Since their big break, the sisters have received modeling deals with Nike, Insanis, and Bazaar kids. In addition, their Instagram has exploded to 6,000 followers practically overnight.
While their skin condition may make them stand out, the twins embrace their difference rather than hide it.
“Growing up like this was amazing, we love being different and are happy with our unique beauty,” said Mara Bawar in an interview with Brazilian media.
And her twin Lara feels very much the same. “We feel albinism is pretty, we love our hair, eye colour, and skin tone,” she added.
Identities, Harvard’s annual student-run fashion show, looks to use fashion as a medium for championing diversity on campus. This year’s show, which took place on April 15 at Northwest Science Building, was titled Fashion + Tech. The program’s website promised “a glimpse into the future of fashion.” The garments were still recognizable to the present-day viewer, but the show did incorporate a healthy amount of innovation in the wide range of materials presented. Identities successfully executed its mission with the diversity of both its clothing and models’ backgrounds and poses.
At the beginning of the show, Google Project Jacquard’s Ivan Poupyrev, winner of the Annual Identities Fashion Innovator of the Year award, spoke about the project. Speaking about his idea to mix fashion and technology—the project worked with LEVI’s to create a jacket with wired sleeves that can play music, make a call, and look up directions—Poupyrev fit in with the show’s theme well. The speech, though impressive, could have been shorter, as the audience eventually seemed to grow a bit restless. To keep the show stimulating, the music varied from loud, upbeat, full-of-bass songs to tense, syncopated music. The reaction from the audience was often synced to the potency of the playlist, and the music did a good job of keeping engagement high.
The clothing shown on student models included a variety of fashions: from activewear to business attire, from floor-length gowns to dresses made up of plastic bags. A garment made to look like a fan (which opened as a fan would) was extremely creative. Additionally, there were garments made of all kinds of materials: lace, velvet, linen, cotton, plastic bags, wood, and computer chips. No material was off the table in the designing process.
Other features of the show added to its innovation. Fragments of text made frequent appearance on the clothes in the first segment. Phrases on the dresses included “My Planet or Yours” and “Finally Slipped Out of Reality”. Gender-bending was also at play, with a few male models wearing dresses and skirts. Identities mission to “champion diversity” was well-executed in its commitment to exhibiting a range of ethnicities in its models. The models themselves had differing identities in this way.
It was also fun to watch the models showcase their personalities through their poses. Some blew kisses or winked. Others showed off full-toothed smiles. Some models had fierce faces, but “smized”in true Tyra Banks fashion. These subtle changes in motion did a nice job of maintaining the audience’s attention.
Overall, the show achieved its goal of showcasing fashion in a cutting-edge manner, offering variation through music and model poses. Identities promised diversity and expressed it well through its clothing and model selection. Identities 2017 offered a well-engineered look at futuristic fashion.
German online fashion platform, Zalando, achieved revenue of €3.6bn last year, while in Ireland, start-ups, including TV fashion stylist, Sonya Lennon’s FrockAdvisor, have been joined by newcomers, Outfitable and Hello Bezlo, in the fashion tech arena.
But what is fashion tech? The term seems to fit any online fashion business, from e-commerce to v-commerce, to smart wearables and clothes and accessories with built-in functionality.
On the e-commerce side, there are platforms to connect boutiques with customers like Farfetch and Frock Advisor, while v-commerce company, Trillenium, creates virtual stores for brands.
Smart wearables range from FitBit to Knomo and high-end jewellery brand, Vinaya, which has Bluetooth functionality.
Fashion and tech are being combined on the catwalk using innovative fabrics, LED lights, and conductive thread.
On the perimeters are inventions that combine medical and environmental functionality with clothing.
For example, there is the Foxleaf drug-dispensing bra and Dahea Sun’s Rain Palette line, which can detect air quality. Lennon co-founded FrockAdvisor with fellow fashion designer, Brendan Courtney. It’s a platform that connects independent fashion retailers with fashion-conscious customers.
She is sceptical about the term being used to describe every online fashion business.
“For me, it’s just a little bit gimmicky,” she says, adding that “there’s hard tech and soft tech. Any fashion business is going to have to harness technology to survive and thrive”.
FrockAdvisor is not a virtual customer service. It’s real customer service through a digital medium, she says. “Every business has to be led by a digital strategy. In a way, technology is a medium by which we do business, rather than a solution in itself.” Dima Kfouri recently pitched her start-up, Outfitable, at NDRC, as a response to her frustration at online clothing retailers’ lack of uniformity of sizes.
She plans to harness technology to develop her brand. “What we hope to do is apply machine-learning technology to create a personalised feed, the equivalent of a Netflix experience.”
Clodagh Connell, of Irish children’s wear brand, Hello Bezlo, views fashion tech as “fashion being enhanced by technology”, how fabrics are produced to match the function and experience of wearing clothes and accessories. While researching her idea for a fashion brand that encourages young girls to get involved in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, Ms Connell became fascinated with fashion tech. Hello Bezlo recently co-hosted Code Couture — a workshop that combined fashion and technology — with coding club network, CoderDojo and Zalando.
Ms Kfouri attended the Dublin Tech Summit earlier this year and was happy to see a full stage devoted to fashion. She says fashion tech is much more than smartwatches.
“You’ve got things like AI and Chatbox and user-messaging, for a more customized and tailored service. You’ve got virtually augmented reality, virtual changing rooms with interactive mirrors.” She says that the two industries have a lot in common. “The fashion space is creative, but every fashion line’s bottom line is going to be based on profit, which is ultimately based on transactions.”
Ms Connell says she’s been “blown away” by how the industry has evolved in the last year. “Designers like Iris van Herpen have really paved the way forward. And because this space is so new, there is so much room for innovation and new start-ups.” So what’s next for the industry?
Fashion tech and advancements in technology are going to make the industry more sustainable, Ms Kfouri believes. “Stella McCartney is one of the leaders in this area. She’s using tech in amazing ways and she’s a big believer in sustainable fashion.”
Ms Kfouri foresees the 3D printer being front and center. She says that using the printer, “along with open-source platforms, you’ll be able to create fashion right then and there. It’s already been done with jewelry and accessories.”
With a little help, dreams can come true. For designer Breanna Moore, a successful Kickstarter campaign provided the necessary and invaluable resources to help launch her fashion business idea into reality. The LaBré fashion line has grown into LaBré Bazaar, an e-commerce platform which provides African and diasporic artisans with increased access and exposure to the international market, alongside her Fashion Made in Africa Initiative. One of the Initiative’s pillars is to generate global visibility of African-inspired fashion designers and harness the fashion industry to create economic opportunities for young and talented African designers.
The young designer has used the LaBré fashion collection to educate the public on the history of “African prints” with “The Threads of Africa” on display currently at the Art Sanctuary. The exhibit explores “threads” or fabrics that are traditional to the continent and the origin of those that have been imported and adapted into West and Central African culture. Before the 1960s every fabric sold in West and Central Africa was manufactured in Europe. According to Moore, the African print market is overwhelmingly void of African ownership. LaBré aims to complicate the narrative surrounding what is known as African prints.
“The descriptions on the walls discuss literally the ‘Thread of Africa’ and goes over the history of a lot of the fabric [being manufactured] by the Chinese, British and Dutch,” said Moore. “It is imported and hardly owned by Africans themselves in Africa. I thought that was a point to bring up so people could know how to best contribute to the economy when they do buy the fabrics.”
Through the LaBré Threads of Africa Gown Spring 2017 Collection, Moore wants to ensure that young women who can’t afford a prom dress have the opportunity to enjoy their high school proms without having to pay hundreds of dollars on a beautiful gown. For every seven gowns sold, LaBré will donate a free dress to an in-need Philadelphia high school student who cannot afford a prom dress.
The giveaway has roots in the tough times of the designer’s own high school years.
“I just look back to my experience. My senior year of high school was during the end of the recession,” recalled Moore. “Both of my parents were unemployed at the time and we really couldn’t afford a dress. I was able to do so by working a side job at the time, after school and weekends. That definitely helped me to provide this for the high school seniors because I know how hard it is when you can’t really afford a dress. And also, it would be a great cultural [merger] to help have confidence in your culture and where you come from when you have a dress made of African fabric, especially young ladies from the Continent who might be from a country that may particularly trying to be banned by Trump’s immigration policy.
“This will help them feel comfortable and beautiful in their country or native land’s choice of fabric, textiles, et cetera. I can see that African and African-inspired gowns are really becoming popular. There have been a few cases highlighted where girls have gowns made out of African fabric. I wanted to shine more light on that and let people see that African fashion is versatile, luxurious and elegant — just as European-style fashion,” Moore said.
Moore says she is also offering sponsorship opportunities for people who want to provide these unique gowns to needy high schoolers.
The LaBré “Threads of Africa” Gown Spring 2017 Collection exhibit is at the Art Sanctuary gallery, 628 S. 16th St., until Saturday. The deadline to apply for the LaBré Prom Dress Giveaway is April 30. for more information, visit shoplabre.com.
For retailers, keeping pace with consumer demand on eCommerce and social media is no small task and often requires the aid of the latest technology and automation. This need extends beyond the marketing, logistics and customer support ends—creative departments and services also find they need to leverage the latest tech to enable retail clients and compete in the market.
This is something that Splashlight, a leading visual content (photography and video) creation company for eCommerce and social media, knows well. Founded in 2002, Splashlight began as a traditional fashion photo studio, but that quickly changed, said SVP Sales and Marketing Gilles Rousseau, when the company began to serve eCommerce clients, beginning with Macy’s in 2003.
“The trend is to be as fast as possible on eCommerce and social media,” Rousseau said. “The sooner the photo is taken, the sooner it’s uploaded on the website and the more time they have to sell the product. In some ways, it’s almost contradictory to creative services, but that’s we’re dealing with.”
To meet the fashion photography demands of its largest eCommerce clients—which today include Target, Victoria’s Secret and Aldo Group, among others—Splashlight had to build a system of methodologies and technologies to maintain and track productivity.
“Even though the output is photo and video production,” Rousseau said, “at the heart of the system is an end-to-end, cloud-based technology which allows us to manage all of the workflows throughout the production process.”
Rousseau noted that prior to joining with Splashlight, it would take some retail clients weeks to get photographs taken for a given product. By leveraging Splashlight, the same client can see fashion photographs in 3 days.
For their larger eCommerce clients, Splashlight can shoot between 2,000 and 3,000 products on-model per month per client. With each item requiring 3 to 4 different images, this means Splashlight needs to produce between 6,000 and 12,000 usable images.
These fashion photography volumes are relatively standard for major retailers across the industry, Rousseau noted, saying, “You really need to have bulletproof systems in place. Without technology, you will not be able to be competitive in the marketplace.”
Add in the near real-time production requirements that social media levies, the need for technology has become more pertinent than ever.
Recently, Splashlight announced a strategic distribution partnership agreement with photo capture and personalization solutions software company Looklet, a leading software company providing advanced photo capture and personalization solutions for e-commerce fashion photography.
Together, Splashlight and Looklet will utilize turnkey technologies and methodologies that work to serve the needs of the online fashion world via automation. Rousseau said Splashlight will integrate Looklet into its photography solutions portfolio and sales channels.
“The fit with Looklet is a very natural one,” Rousseau said, “in the sense that our business specialty is to scale high quality, high volume, high-velocity video and photo production. And Looklet is serving two needs in the ecosystem: automation and personalization.”
On the automation end, the software technology allows products to be photographed without the need for a model or to rent studio space. Photographers simply need to put the clothing item on a green mannequin and follow a standardized image capture process.
Using this image, one can apply the product to and style it on the model images stored in the software database. As of now, the software features 37 different female models and 15 male models to choose from. From there, users can personalize the styling of the outfit.
Rousseau noted a few different ways the software creates a more cost effective and time efficient creative process. For one, a single photo can be placed on multiple models to target different regional markets more effectively.
“It’ll almost be like the Uberization of the model industry,” noted Rousseau.
The styling can be altered to the same effect.
“Let’s say that in Alaska they prefer the dark-green version of the product and in Los Angeles they prefer the yellow version,” Rousseau said. “Depending on the market you can style the product on the model with different colors without reshooting.”
Likewise, online retailers can use the software to update or switch out the product images on their eCommerce sites if the stock of a color or print available for a garment is starting to run low.
These automation and personalization capabilities will fit right in with the production demands levied on the fashion photography industry by online retailers. As these ecosystems continue to evolve, expect to see even more automation capabilities rolled out to enable the speediest, most efficient processes technology can offer.
Edward Enninful’s career in fashion began when, as a 16-year-old taking the tube to school, he was stopped by the influential stylist Simon Foxton and asked if he’d thought about modelling.
Almost three decades later, the journey that began on the Hammersmith and City line has brought Enninful to the very pinnacle of the fashion world, after British Vogue announced he had been appointed its new editor-in-chief.
As “one of the most talented and accomplished fashion editors in the world”, Enninful was “supremely prepared” to take over from the outgoing editor, Alexandra Shulman, the magazine’s publisher, Condé Nast, said in a statement on Monday. The 45-year-old, a former contributing editor at US and Italian Vogue, has been creative and style director at W magazine, based in New York, since 2011.
Highly influential and well-liked in the industry, Enninful has proved a popular choice for the Vogue top job, with news of his appointment warmly welcomed by fashion insiders. It was not, however, widely expected.
Gossip has been feverish since Shulman announced she was stepping down in January after 25 years, with most observers expecting the magazine to hire one of its experienced, female, fashion or features staff or alumni.
Instead, Vogue has opted to appoint its first male editor in its 101-year history, and the first ever black editor of a mainstream British style magazine. Enninful is an outspoken advocate for diversity in fashion. His background, too, is in visual styling rather than the fashion features apprenticeship more commonly served by editors. Vanessa Friedman, the New York Times fashion director and chief fashion critic, tweeted: “Congratulations to @Edward_Enninful new editor of British Vogue! This is going to shake things up.”
Enninful was born in Ghana, the son of an army officer and a seamstress who moved to west London with their six children when Edward was a toddler. His religious parents, he has said, were initially resistant to his modelling career, but the shy teenager found he had a prodigious talent; by 18, he had been made style director for i-D magazine, befriending Naomi Campbell and Kate Moss when they were all still teenagers (“TODAY HISTORY WAS MADE,” Campbell, still a close friend, wrote on Instagram on Monday.
He became a contributing editor at Italian Vogue, working closely on its black models only edition in 2008, and later American Vogue, while working as a freelance stylist.
Imran Amed, founder and editor of the style blog Business of Fashion, said he was “pleasantly surprised” by the news. “When a job like this comes up there is an opportunity for the people making the decision to make a safe choice or a brave and bold choice, and I think this is a brave and bold choice.”
That wasn’t just because he is black and male, said Amed – though the new editor would certainly bring a fresh perspective – but because “he is more of an images guy than a words guy”.
“One thing that hasn’t changed in this digital revolution is the power of the fashion image – in fact, one could argue that image has become even more important, and he is a very, very talented image-maker.” In Enninful’s Vogue, “what we can expect to see is some very powerful fashion imagery”.
That kind of savvy with images and social media – not insignificantly, the editor has almost half a million Instagram followers – makes a lot of business sense in the current publishing climate. It was notable that in hailing his appointment, Condé Nast’s chair, Jonathan Newhouse, mentioned Enninful’s social media following and called him “an influential figure in the communities of fashion, Hollywood and music which shape the cultural zeitgeist”.
Caroline Rush, chief executive of the British Fashion Council, similarly praised the new editor as “forward-thinking, innovative, commercially astute and a true revolutionary when it comes to his ideas on what fashion should be”.
Firdaws translates to “Garden of Paradise”. A Muslim name representing beauty, grace and serenity is also the moniker of an Islamic fashion house that 18-year-old Aishat Kadyrova designs for. Started in 2009 by her mother, Medni Kadyrova, Firdaws is now under the new direction of the young Aishat who recently made her debut during Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Russia. As Islamic friendly fashion is growing at the moment, Aishat is paving the way in bridal and evening wear fitted for the modern Muslim woman.
For her debut collection, a glamorous venue was picked to showcase the Firdaws FW 2017 line. Taking place within the Petroff Palace, a historic lacale previously belonging to an old czar, the runway show had a unique start. Traditional Circassian dancers performed for the attendees in several connected rooms representing the designers heritage.
Coming from Russia’s primarily Muslim area of Chechnya, Aishat has firsthand experience with the type of designs her demographic would like. Her collection represents the beauty of Islamic clothing and the possibilities that come with it. From detailed appliqués, intricate beading and floral accents Aishat’s debut line not only attracted the attention of Russian fashionistas but made waves throughout the Middle East. Orders have come in from as far as Dubai, UAE and there has been talk of bringing her designs to Abu Dhabi.
Attendees of the show included Russian fashion insiders (famed designer Slava Zaitsev was in attendance), Chechnyan elites and Middle Eastern representatives.
Firdaws originally started in 2009 with Aishats mother, Medni Kadyrov. Since then the Fashion house has become popular online and sought after internationally. She was able to bring attention to the demand for more Muslim friendly apparel, a market that $230bn is spent on annually. For observing Muslim women there are still limited options despite the Muslim population growing worldwide.
It is estimated that by 2019 the Islamic fashion market will make up over 14 percent of the global fashion market. By that time the amount spent on Muslim friendly clothing will grow to $327bn which is larger than the clothing market of the UK, Germany and India combined. The demand for clothing that is both beautiful and accommodating to religious standards is high and Aishat is making a name for herself in the business.
The way the average American dresses has changed drastically in recent years.
Evolving dress codes, comfortable and technologically improved fabrics, and stylish but sporty designs have all combined to carve out a large section of the retail market.
Sales for activewear in the US reached $45.9 billion in 2016, according to NPD Group data. That’s an 11% uptick from the previous year, and far greater than the growth of the apparel sector as a whole.
The rise of athleisure as the dominant way that people dress has broad implications for the rest of the apparel industry. As people are opting to move away from traditional styles and dress in this utilitarian style, fashion brands that have been slow to jump on the activewear bandwagon are suffering.
That means that traditional fashion brands now have less of a say in how Americans are dressing. Fashion is dying. Athleisure is now king.
Athleisure is here to stay.
“Athleisure is the new casual,” Deirdre Clemente, a professor of history at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, recently told Business Insider.
“Athleisure” is commonly defined as a “weird hybrid” of business casual and athletic wear, which has created an entirely new category of clothing. It’s combining two trends that have dominated American casual clothing — durability and comfort — in a versatile way.
“I don’t think athleisure is going anywhere, honestly,” Clemente said. “It’ll only get bigger and more accessible to more people, and more acceptable in more environments.”
An overall easing of dress codes allows athleisure to be worn more often.
Theory is all well and good, and sales data tell a compelling story. But we wanted to see how these trends spell out for everyday people, so we took to the streets of New York City to ask average people why they’re wearing activewear in the middle of the weekday.
Their answers are illuminating, and they support the data with portraits of how athleisure is worn in the real world.
As general mall traffic declines, e-commerce becomes a bigger threat, and fashion brands continue to put out designs and clothing that don’t resonate with consumers, these store closings will continue.
This mindset has customers reconsidering rental.
As purchasing habits change, less of consumer spending is going toward formal apparel. Major events still sometimes require such clothing, however.
Enter rental apparel. A new wave of rental-done-differently companies have shifted both the landscape and the stigma surrounding rental garments. With a focus on service and luxury, companies like Rent the Runway and The Black Tux are making a compelling case for consumers to eschew buying luxury formal garments like tuxedos and cocktail dresses altogether.
One of the futuristic promises of 3D printing in fashion was that one day the technology would allow you to walk into a store, give the staff your measurements, and walk out with a garment made on the spot, just for you.
We’re not there yet, but the scenario is becoming a reality for 3D knitting, a cousin of 3D printing that uses yarn to produce a complete, three-dimensional item. Rather than the stiff plastic product created by a 3D printer—good for sneakers, less so for clothes—it produces sweaters, jackets, and anything else you could knit.
Some brands are already using it in their factories to produce garments. The fall collection of Uniqlo’s U line will include 3D knit items, and the brand is working on a new production system based on the technology. But a couple adventurous labels, including Adidas, are experimenting with 3D knitting on-demand in stores, hinting at a greater role it might play in fashion production and retail in the years ahead.
Maybe the most significant effort thus far comes from the Boston-based label Ministry of Supply, which has permanently installed a 3D-knitting machine at its Newbury Street flagship in the city. Aman Advani, a cofounder of the quickly growing label, which makes performance clothes for the office, says it took a 60-foot crane to install the 3,000-pound machine. “This isn’t a niche product,” he explains. “This is step one of a longer route to a sustainable and strong production method that’s here to stay.”
The company is betting that in-store production will be the future of retail. In theory at least, the benefits are clear: 3D printing allows shoppers to personalize items to their specifications, meeting the growing demand for customized products. It lets stores carry less inventory, since a garment is only created when there’s a customer ready to purchase it, meaning less risk of stock that doesn’t sell and has to be discounted. And it turns retail into an experience, providing a reason for customers to visit a brand’s brick-and-mortar stores and build a personal connection with it, rather than simply shopping online.
Ministry of Supply is starting off with just one 3D-knit item, an office-ready jacket (though the knit and weight make it look more like a cardigan) with plans to expand the offering later. “The fit is spectacular,” Advani says. “It’s built to move around in, so it will tend to look a lot sharper than a traditional cut-and-sew garment.”
Top artist management agency Jed Root Inc. is closing its doors, leaving scores of artists and agents around the world struggling to secure unpaid fees and salaries. Jed Root Inc. was an internationally acclaimed fashion agency which represented a broad spectrum of creative professionals including photographers, makeup artists, hair stylists, illustrators, and set designers on top-level international fashion campaigns and editorials.
Internal reports claim the company has been unable to pay invoices to artists and vendors, racking up millions in unpaid bills. The esteemed agency began in New York City in 1989 by Jed Root had been acquired by Swiss company RPRT AG in 2015 but their management and capital were not enough to continue operations past March 31 of this year.
Home to an award-winning roster of artists like photographers Michael Thompson, Anthony Maule, Adam Katz Sinding, Emma Tempest, and Takay along with makeup artists and fashion stylists in four cities, Jed Root artists have contributed to luxury label campaigns from Givenchy, Marc Jacobs, and Uniqlo and editorials for international editions of Vogue, Numero, Elle, and GQ, among others. Jed Root Inc. had offices in New York, Paris, and Los Angeles. The agency had just moved into smaller offices in New York’s Union Square when employees were let go.
Chic startups like Rent the Runway and The Black Tux have completely changed the rental game, offering high-end tuxedos and dresses to rent for a set period of time.
Customers have flocked to the startups’ offerings. Rent the Runway reached its annual goal of $100 million in sales last November, according to Forbes. As of January, The Black Tux was doing $2 million in sales a month with a two-fold increase year over year.
It seems that shoppers are increasingly seeing renting as a good opportunity to step outside of their normal style, or to obtain a fancy garment for an upcoming event.
Now department stores, looking for a way to draw in a younger crowd who is more likely to be interested in renting, are partnering with these brands to offer more options to shoppers. In November, Neiman Marcus made a deal with Rent the Runway for a store-within-a-store concept in San Francisco. The Black Tux recently began a trial partnership that calls for the creation of rental locations within six Nordstrom stores around the country.
It’s the first rental partnership for both stores, which are hoping that before and after appointments, shoppers will browse the aisles and walk out with more products than just a rental. The rental companies, on the other hand, are just happy to be associated with well-known, established, and trusted brands that have more locations to service potential customers.
“We’re a purchase people are making for a very important day. We need as much trust as we can possibly get,” Andrew Blackmon, cofounder of The Black Tux, told Business Insider.
Though it may seem that these rental outposts in Nordstrom and Neiman Marcus could potentially steal sales from the department stores’ existing offerings, the startups don’t think that will be the case.
“It’s a totally different market,” Blackmon said. “The price points for [Nordstrom’s] tuxedos are fairly high, so there isn’t really any cannibalization.”
A typical Nordstrom tuxedo carries a price tag of at least $800, while the store’s private label sells one for $430. Compare that to The Black Tux, where an average tuxedo rental will cost you $125.
Blackmon said he sees his competitors as other suiting companies that sell their suits in the $150 to $300 range — firmly fast-fashion territory. “A lot of people are using us after having an experience there,” Blackmon said.
Rent the Runway founder Jennifer Hyman told Forbes that she has also seen her customers move away from fast fashion and turn to renting from her company, often supplementing those rentals with buying investment pieces.
“Rent-buy is the new high-low,” Hyman told Forbes, noting that a customer may buy a black dress but rent a hot pink one for a special event.
Fast fashion, which is clothing made and sold cheaply with a condensed supply chain so that it can capture current trends, used to be considered the “low” end of that equation. Since it’s only in style for a season or two at best, fast fashion is often seen as quickly disposable and only worn a few times before being discarded.
It’s being pushed out by rental in these formal categories, however, as the prices are similar, but the quality and perceived quality is miles apart. And if customers are only going to wear the garment once anyway, it makes a lot of sense to rent something that looks and feels better. Plus, the company will take care of dry cleaning.
In 2012, on the first Monday in May, Jeff Bezos stepped onto the red carpet at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City for the annual Costume Institute gala — the fashion world’s biggest, best, most exclusive event — wearing a black Tom Ford tuxedo with a white pocket square and patent leather shoes.
The Amazon founder was dressed to impress. His company had sponsored the blockbuster evening, along with that year’s accompanying exhibit, “Schiaparelli and Prada: Impossible Conversations.” As honorary chairman of the gala, Bezos was stationed at the top of the museum’s stairs, greeting industry celebrities and actual celebrities alike alongside Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour, designer Miuccia Prada, and actress Carey Mulligan.
Bezos was dogged about allying his e-commerce juggernaut with the fashion community, and his efforts didn’t just pertain to philanthropy. Leading up to the Met Gala, the tight-lipped CEO told the New York Times that Amazon was making a “significant” investment in fashion. Though Amazon had previously acquired a few fashion e-commerce companies, Bezos was now keen on building a dedicated fashion hub on its own flagship site. The hub, to be known as Amazon Fashion, would have a special landing page to direct shoppers to clothing and accessories and promote Amazon partnerships with fashion brands; it would also have its own merchandising and editorial teams.
In anticipation, Bezos hired Cathy Beaudoin, a Gap executive who started the now-defunct shoe site Piperlime, to head up the project known as Amazon Fashion; Julie Gilhart, a former fashion director at Barneys, was brought on as a consultant. Amazon convinced designers like Michael Kors, Vivienne Westwood, and Tracy Reese to sell their products on Amazon Fashion, and the company was in the process of building a40,000-square-foot photo studio in Brooklyn where it could shoot original photography for the site.
But even with all these efforts — and the Tom Ford tux — Bezos was decidedly out of his element at the Met. While he told model Elettra Wiedemann, who hosted the event’s very first (and last) livestream, that Amazon “really wanted to participate in this gala as a way of showing our commitment to this industry,” he had also admitted to Bloomberg earlier that morning that “before we got involved, this event wasn’t on my radar at all.”
A photo of Bezos looking bored, with his bowtie slightly askew, surfaced onVogue and eventually hit tech blogs, where he wasteased for not being able to fake his interest in fashion for very long, even if he was dining next to Scarlett Johansson and Mick Jagger.
Five years later, Bezos and Amazon have not backed off their aggressive pursuit of fashion. Since 2015, the company has sponsored New York Fashion Week: Men’s. Last year, it premiered a 30-minute HSN-style shopping show called Style Code Live that airs live every weeknight on Amazon.com and picked upThe Fashion Fund, the documentary-style show about the process behind the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund competition that previously ran on Ovation TV, and Hulu before that. These days it’s also sponsoring international fashion weeks, notably in India and Japan.
Plenty of brands have entered into official partnerships with Amazon since the Met Gala, too. There are now dozens of premium fashion labels selling their wares directly on the site, includingStuart Weitzman, Kate Spade, Rebecca Taylor, Milly, Frye, Marc Jacobs, Gucci, and Ferragamo.(Hundreds more brands are sold by third-party sellers via Amazon’s massive free-for-all marketplace.) Even Gap CEO Art Peck told investors he was open to wholesaling to Amazon — an unusual move for the once-dominant company.
With its newly robust list of brands, Amazon seems to be making good on what Beaudoin told the Seattle Times back in 2013: “We want to be a great department store, like Bloomingdale’s, Nordstrom, and Saks.” It’s worth noting that while Amazon is on the upswing, those great department stores are in serious trouble.
According to the U.S. Department of Commerce, department store sales shrunk from $67.56 billion in 2011 to $60.65 billion in 2015; meanwhile, Amazon’s clothing and accessories sales nearly quadrupled from $4.3 billion to $16.4 billion during that same period. Macy’s is currently the largest fashion retailer in the country, but according to finance firm Cowen & Co., Amazon will soon replace it, with a projected $28 billion in apparel sales this year.
So yes, when it comes to Amazon’s fashion ambitions, this is just the beginning.
Design is a challenging profession, and most designers learn early on in their careers that there are two ways to do it. Some choose to take the entrepreneurial route and launch their own brand, electing to deal with the challenges of production, marketing, and eCommerce. Others decide to leverage the resources of big box brands and design strictly for another company, which often limits their creative control and scope. But, there are new trends in the industry that are beginning to blur the line between the role of designer and entrepreneur.
eCommerce is on the rise worldwide, and because the middle class is growing globally, online retailers can expect significant growth in the coming years. A recent study found that online sales increased by 7.5 percent between June 2015 and June 2016. That kind of growth indicates a shift in consumer thinking, something ideal for smaller brands. If a retail business can operate without opening a brick-and-mortar location, designers who have a product but lack the capital to purchase coveted shelf space have the chance to compete.
Here are four industry trends that will help designers who want to go the entrepreneurial route:
1. Designer empowerment
While online growth gives designers options for eCommerce, it does not necessarily solve all of the other problems that come with starting a brand. For example, designers work tirelessly to create designs their fans and customers will like, but the product itself will never get developed without a manufacturing partner to actually produce them. Brands like Etsy opened up the eCommerce world for designers but did little to help them with production and operations.
There are a growing number of companies trying to take that next step and provide platforms that solve logistical hurdles for entrepreneurial designers.
Ryan Kang, CEO of ROOY, a footwear creation and eCommerce platform, shares, “Many designers cannot afford high start up costs and do not know how to create the operational side of their business. Manufacturing platforms help to eliminate those costs by leveraging networks of manufacturers and by being able to make low minimum quantities.”
Marketing can also be a challenge. Designers often understand the importance of branding and social media, but are not experts on sales and consumer behavior. Kang explains, “Even for designers that can produce their own shoes; they often run into the problem of where to market their brand. Designers are supposed to be focused on the product, so it makes sense that the rest of the business has loose ends.”
eCommerce and manufacturing platforms are paving the way forward for designers.
2. Asian market
A growing middle class in numerous Asian countries is driving significant growth in the region. Data from Transparency Market Research shows that the regional market is expected to increase by $17 billion over the next seven years. Designers looking to reach new markets can benefit from familiarizing themselves with style trends in these markets to tap into that growth.
The potential for sales amidst such growth is significant. For designers in these regions it’s important to gear up production now to match the projected increase in demand. With thriving fashion centers in Seoul and Tokyo, the potential for visibility is increased for those that can tie themselves to trends.
3. Social commerce
Everyone is aware of the importance of social media for a brand. An online poll from Civic Science found that 20 percent of consumers said social media impacts what kind of clothing and accessories they purchase. Social commerce, however, is deeper than a promoted Instagram post or an influencer giving an online review.
Consumers are not just looking for new brands — they want to learn about the brand’s development and participate in its story. This development in consumer preference has driven companies to invest in content marketing, and some of them are changing the way we perceive advertising altogether. Brands that connect the consumer to the story behind the product help establish a stronger connection to the brand. That is a unique advantage for entrepreneurial designers who, by nature, have a human story to tell that is more relatable than big box retailers. Designers need to be aware of this and capitalize on that advantage.
4. Millennials are shopping specialty
Millennials are quickly becoming the most influential consumer group. This means millennial preferences will begin to dictate the way brands behave in the market.
Marshal Cohen of NPD Group shares, “With so many retailers and brands trying to court this segment, it becomes very competitive and challenging to win share of younger Millennials’ discretionary, hard-to-come-by spending.”
Marshal’s study found that millennials prefer shopping with specialty brands for unique product offerings, dedicating 3.2 percent of their entire spending to specialty retail, compared to a more conservative 1.9 percent from older consumers. Designers seeking access to this powerful consumer group will likely find more success with smaller platforms than big box retail.
Designers that want to tap into these trends should consider what assets and experience they bring to the table to determine what partners they need to help launch their brand. For those with design expertise, but needing support with manufacturing, marketing, or eCommerce, a creation platform may be an ideal option to help get their designs into the hands of their customers. The result will be a market with fewer middlemen, bringing designers and consumers closer than they have even been before.
The 21-year-old reportedly committed suicide by hanging herself via a scarf she owned. Athif was on the cover of Vogue India last October and was widely known as the “Maldivian Girl With Aqua Blue Eyes.” At the time, she told the magazine that modeling was only a hobby and that she wanted to become a doctor.
Police recovered Athif’s body around midday after her classmates found her lifeless. She was in her Bank Medical College dorm room in Rajshahi City, according to the Daily Star.
Mahmuda Begum, the dorm’s superintendent, described the young model as always looking happy and noted “it is hard to believe she would commit suicide.” She later described her experience of what happened.
“I was in my chamber. Suddenly, I heard screams of my students,” said Begum. “Rushing to the second floor of this six-story building, I saw some of the students trying to break the door of Athif’s room.”
An autopsy should be able to confirm how Athif died. Currently it’s thought of as a suicide by local police. “We primarily suspect it is a suicide case. However, we can’t come to any conclusion until we get the autopsy report,” said Zillur Rahman, the officer-in-charge of the discovered death.
Our thoughts are with Raudha Athif’s family during this very trying time.
The beauty retailer, Sephora updated its Virtual Artist IOS app that allows users to see how different eyeshades would look on them.
The app, which also offers virtual lipstick and eyelash tests, offers a tutorial of step-by-step instructions for eyebrows, contouring and highlighting.
The app uses face scanning technology to scan your face and identify the features, and then you can start trying different lip colors and eye makeup.
Moreover, the update also gives users to try out a new look at home just by using phone instead of paying visit to Sephora store.
If you’re as lipstick-obsessed as I am, you know how tempting it is to try on literally every single lipstick in Sephora. But who has time for that? Well, Sephora just saved the day. Its genius new app allows you to try on every shade the company stocks, all with one easy click.
A supplementary income may be necessary for your financial health. Perhaps it is even simply desired as a way to reach goals of financial freedom faster in the household. At some point, you may be approached by someone you know or are acquainted with to join them for a”financial opportunity.” One of those opportunities we imagine you have been asked to join is LuLaRoe (LLR). But, is LuLaRoe a pyramid scheme?
What Is a Pyramid Scheme?
A pyramid scheme focuses primarily on recruiting other individuals with the promise of quick, substantial profits and little effort supposedly needed to do so, the Better Business Bureau explains. Those that do not involve selling any products but only recruiting more investors would be similar to a Ponzi scheme.
Pyramid schemes that involve products encourage distributors to recruit sellers under them who pay a certain amount for a start-up kit or initial package. The recruiter will then retain a percentage of those sales along with a percentage of products sold. However, they are encouraged, usually by those who recruited them, to grow their network, often referred to as “downlines,” in order to earn even more money. Thus, your profit is primarily dependent upon how many people you can add on to the scheme rather than the sales of products.
This may sound comparable to a multi-level marketing (MLM) company, which requires you to buy in for a start-up kit or initial items but provides no guarantees. But, the real difference is pyramid schemes are illegal. So, is LuLaRoe a pyramid scheme or an MLM?
Is LuLaRoe a Pyramid Scheme?
LuLaRoe sells women’s clothing, such as t-shirts, dresses, skirts, cover-ups, and more. But, their true bread and butter that made them popular are their leggings, which typically come in unique patterns and colors. Their slogan is “where fashion meets comfort,” as their items are also known for being comfortable yet fashionable.
Women are brought on as sellers to sell these items from the comfort of their own home. In fact, the company was started with the stay-at-home mom in mind. Another factor about the company is that all items are sold strictly through direct sales and not through any brick-and-mortars. When individuals sign up to sell LLR clothing, they must pay in roughly $5,000 for a starter kit, which gives them their first set of inventory as well as a coach or “upline” to help them through the process. Those who have downlines do get extra cash on top of commission from selling clothes.
Many women see much success from selling LuLaRoe clothing, but many still question its validity. LuLaRoe describes itself as an MLM, but several pyramid schemes disguise themselves as MLM’s or direct sales companies too. So, let’s take a look at what characteristics to look out for in pyramid schemes based on information provided by the Federal Trade Commission and see how LuLaRoe compares:
Pyramid schemes issue commissions based on the number of people you recruit, not on product sales to consumers. LuLaRoe distributors do earn money from clothes sold to customers, but they also receive bonus checks and commission for the number of people on their team or downline. You continue to move on to the next level with the more people that you recruit under you.
The FTC mentions that pyramid schemes require you to purchase a lot of inventory. In LLR, you do need to purchase inventory regularly in order to continue to make and increase sales. Your initial investment does also include a starting inventory. Although you do not necessarily have to pay more than $5,000 to get started, it may be advised to do so in order to be more successful. You also only have control on the styles of clothes you want to carry but not on the colors or patterns.
In order to stay on good terms with a company that is a pyramid scheme, you may feel or be obligated to buy items that you do not necessarily need. As a LuLaRoe fashion consultant, you may need to buy extra items like hangers and a nice camera to help with your marketing images, but this is not required to stay in good standing with the company. They do actually also provide you with many marketing tools you will need to get started like images and tips on using social media to grow.
You are likely to lose money with a pyramid scheme, but this can also be true of MLMs. Making money with LLR is not impossible, but you do make more when you recruit people. Because of this, LuLaRoe is likely on the line of being a pyramid scheme, but because much of your profit can also come from directly selling products to consumers, the clothing company may be a valid opportunity. Just know that with any direct sales position, you are directly responsible for your own success.
Before signing up for any MLM “opportunity,” make sure to ask a lot of questions to ensure you are not actually ending up in a pyramid scheme. Determine the claimed primary source of making a profit, see if the products they offer sell well and what the profit margin is, and map out whether or not recruiting is the only way to make money (regardless of what they say).
CLARK, N.J. — Guive Balooch has seen the future of beauty — and it’s a smartphone.
As global vice president for L’Oréal’s Technology Incubator, a 26-person team that operates like a start-up within one of the world’s largest cosmetics companies, Mr. Balooch partners with academics and entrepreneurs to make products on the forefront of the $438 billion global beauty industry.
“Everything starts with this pillar in my mind of where beauty and technology meet,” Mr. Balooch said while touring the New Jersey facility that houses the incubator’s first lab, founded in 2012. (San Francisco, Paris and Tokyo are home to additional labs.)
Since the incubator opened, Mr. Balooch has overseen the development of five products — a mix of wearables, objects and apps — that further his vision of a future in which cosmetics are connected, customized and designed to meet each consumer’s needs.
Take his team’s latest invention: the Kérastase Hair Coach Powered by Withings. Introduced in early January at the International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, the sleek silver hairbrush — the product of a three-way partnership of the incubator, the smart technology maker Withings and Kérastase, L’Oréal’s luxury hair-care brand — is described as the world’s first smart brush.
“More than 50 percent of Google searches today in beauty are about hair,” Mr. Balooch explained.
The device aims to banish bad hair days by offering technical insights into the state of the user’s locks, plus personalized advice on how best to care for them.
Scheduled to go on sale this year, the $179 brush contains a conductivity sensor that knows whether hair is wet or dry; an accelerometer and gyroscope to measure the speed and force of brush strokes; a microphone that captures auditory data; and Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connectivity to upload all that information to an app, which uses an algorithm to analyze the statistics and detect breakage. And, oh yeah — the bristles feel pretty good, too.
“It was very important for us to make a high-end device that, taking all the technology and sophisticated aspects away, is the best brush you’ll ever see,” said Cédric Hutchings, chief executive of Withings and vice president for digital health at Nokia, which developed the hardware.
Mr. Balooch said the brush uses a combination of synthetic fibers “that mimic $200 to $300 brushes on the market.”
It’s a category he knows well. In 2007, after earning a doctorate in biomaterials from the University of California, San Francisco, and following postdoctoral studies in cell biomechanics at Stanford, he took a job with L’Oréal in Chicago, where he was challenged to “understand the physics of hair,” he said.
“I would take hairs of ethnic descent and I would test relaxers on them, shampoos, conditioners, then I would break the hairs on a machine,” he said.
Mr. Balooch’s work impressed the L’Oréal brass, who in 2008 asked him to join the company’s research and innovation team, and build relationships with start-ups and universities. When the incubator was formed five years ago, he was “the right man for the job,” said Mr. Balooch’s manager, Stephan Habif, senior vice president for L’Oréal’s research and innovation arm in the Americas. “This is L’Oréal — we believe in entrepreneurship.”
That may explain why the incubator is staffed by men and women who share Mr. Balooch’s academia-meets-Silicon Valley background.
“I hand-chose everybody more for their souls than their résumés,” Mr. Balooch explained. “If you put a UX designer, a physicist, a biologist and a micro-engineer all together in a room, the tension between their ideas creates really cool things.”
Makeup Genius, the incubator’s first project, proved him right. Introduced in May 2014, the virtual makeup app relies on augmented reality technology, in which graphics are superimposed onto real-world imagery, to let users try on various shades of L’Oréal cosmetics before buying.
Mr. Balooch said he tried to make the app, which boasts more than 17 million downloads, in-house until perfecting the feature that distinguished Makeup Genius from other such apps (its ability to track facial movements in real time) proved a formidable challenge.
Spring is finally here, which means it’s time to clean your makeup brushes, switch up your skincare routine and of course, update your beauty stash. But if cleaning out your makeup bag gives you as much anxiety as Marie Kondo-ing your closet, don’t panic: we tapped the pros to share the secrets that keep their kits organized on a daily basis.
Below, the brilliant tricks that will save your hands and products from ever being smeared with black eyeliner again.
1. Store creams in a pill box
One of the most Instagrammable components of any makeup artist’s kit? Perfectly-curated palettes of lipsticks and concealers, which cut down on bulky bottles and keep everything in one place. Makeup artist Katie Jane Hughes says, “If you’re at the end of a lipstick, scoop that out with the end of a spoon or something and smush it into a pill box to create a little on-the-go makeup palette.”
2. When in doubt, throw it out “Mascara should be replaced every two to three months, even if you’ve only used it a few times,” says makeup artist Laura Geller. “Now is a great time to throw out the old one and swap in a new one.”
Don’t remember when you purchased any product? Give it a whiff — if it doesn’t smell right to you, chances are it’s had its day. And “if it’s something you haven’t used in six months, you’re probably not going to use it at all, so get rid of it,” says Hughes. (A good rule of thumb for everything in your wardrobe, though it’s easier said than done.)
And going forward, keep a Sharpie in your makeup bag to date jars or pots from the time you opened them. That tiny icon of a jar with a number inside it on the bottom of all your moisturizers and concealers? That’s how many months the product is good for, which will help keep you honest and your makeup bag tidy.
3. Always keep anti-bacterial wipes on hand “Straight up Wet Ones are the best — not a makeup wipe,” Hughes says of what she relies on to clean up a makeup mess. “Anything that doesn’t have too much oil, because then you’ll have to clean it again to get rid of the oil.” Throw a few in a sealed plastic bag, or buy a travel-size pack to stash in your bag.
4. Don’t abuse your BeautyBlender Your beloved BeautyBlender might make your skin look flawless, but the sponge itself is prone to getting icky. So after you wash it right away (right?), make sure to store it in a smart way. “Ialways see my friends with a nasty BeautyBlender in their bag,” says Hughes. “I tell them to keep it in a mesh jewelry bag — something that lets air in, but keeps it concealed from everything else in the makeup bag.”
5. Re-purpose small containers If you’re struggling with a messy pigment or a crumbled eye shadow, makeup artist Kristofer Buckle recommends buying empty paint dispensers (yes, the ones you used during arts and crafts as a kid) from the craft store and pouring one shade into each compartment. It’ll be easy to take on the go, while also keeping things neat.
For other random items like spoolies or cotton buds, Hughes works with things around her house. “I keep my Q-Tips in metal bandage boxes, or I buy the travel size cotton bud boxes and keep re-using them. Any nice packaging that comes with products — the packaging that Warby Parker glasses come in? I use them to store things,” she says.
6. Beware of broken lids
“The things that actually make your makeup bag muddy are broken lids from eye liner and lip liner pencils, and pencil sharpeners,” Hughes warns. “I keep my pencil sharpener in a tiny Ziploc bag, or a cloth jewelry bag.”
And Buckle’s trick might seem obvious, but it works: “I just buy a pencil cases at a craft store,” he says.
As Oak Park, Mich.-based The Suit Depot approaches the $3 million mark in projected sales, owner Marty Babayov knows he has eBay to thank for much of his success. The once online-only men’s suit retailer leveraged his success on eBay to open a 13,000-square-foot brick-and-mortar store front outside of Detroit that continues to grow.
But he hasn’t given up his eBay roots. The Suit Depot continues to sell new men’s suits online and off, with eBay still generating more than 30% of the company’s annual sales, while serving local clientele through his physical storefront and customers worldwide through his eBay store, Amazon and website.
An Early Start
Many successful entrepreneurs tell tales of selling things at a young age. Babayov is no exception. The owner of The Suit Depot recalls reselling store-bought junk food to classmates back in second grade. At age 13, when his family moved into a home with vintage cast-offs lying around, his older brother started selling it on eBay and Babayov followed his lead. When relatives offered clothing they were done with, he took them and began dabbling in fashion online.
In the hunt for more inventory, Babayov turned to thrift stores, which he would visit on the weekend, stocking up on clothes of all types and sizes to turn around and sell on eBay. “I was a generalist at first,” he says.
From used clothing at thrift stores he moved to new clothes sold at discount retailers like TJ Maxx and Marshall’s. His thinking was that, “If TJ Maxx and Marshall’s can sell it and make a profit, then so can I.” And he did.
Then Babayov expanded his new merchandise acquisition even farther, into department store liquidations. He would buy up last season’s merchandise at a deep discount and sell it on eBay for a profit. During college, he would arrange to buy up store returns and his mother would ship them to him so he could list and sell them from wherever he was.
To be successful as a clothing generalist, Babayov worked hard at improving how fast his merchandise sold. He understood that, “I don’t need to be the cheapest, but I do need to list it best.”
He also saw how being a generalist was putting his business at a disadvantage. “I realized that people wanted to buy from an expert,” he says. While selling everything from women’s clothes to men’s clothes, to shoes, to children’s clothes, to accessories, it would be nearly impossible to position his business as a specialist.
So he opted to become a niche seller specializing in men’s suits. That decision made, he researched four or five major players in men’s clothing who were selling on eBay to see how they approached their business. He wanted to find a way to be a better version of their stores.
So he looked for weaknesses in their listings, to identify how he could improve his odds of getting the sale. What he found, almost across the board, was that other men’s clothing sellers were not using quality images, had bad product descriptions, and rarely included measurements. He knew that by providing this information to eBay shoppers, he could set his business, which he named The Suit Depot, apart.
Does Babayov aspire to own a chain of Suit Depots? No, he says. “I’d rather expand one store than open additional stores,” he explains. “We have a long way to go when it comes to growing our retail store. That alone has the potential to bring in more than 300% of what it is currently doing now.”
“For the coming year, I’ve put an emphasis on manufacturing. I’m very disappointed with the declining quality standards of many of the major brands and lack of innovation when it comes to design. I’ve put out my own suit line and am working on shirts, ties, gloves and other accessories,” which Babayov hopes to start selling wholesales to other boutiques.
With The Suit Depot’s eBay business growing in parallel with his offline venture, expansion is as easy as adding more inventory to his online store.
Marcia Layton Turner writes frequently for and about small business. She is the author of The Unofficial Guide to Starting a Small Business and many others.
Pink has been #rebranded. Once a symbol of dated gender binaries, pink is now the color of powerful optimistic statements — Trump-shading pussy hats, shapely, multi ethnic Barbie dolls, a cosmetics company that values realism over illusion. Those of us who cast aside our bubble gum pink paraphernalia the moment we grew old enough to shop for ourselves — and those of who still loved the hue but grew sick of the vaguely offensive “girly girl” associations — now have reason to reach for our rose-colored glasses.
Pink was omnipresent on the Spring 2017 runways. From toned-down pastels to electrified berry tones, pink showed up at Valentino, Sies Marjan, Alexander McQueen, Molly Goddard, Gucci, Emilio Pucci, Celine, Prada, Givenchy, Marc Jacobs, Miu Miu and literally dozens more. Oftentimes it took the form of frilly, draped, sequined, satin or tulle-heavy frocks — but not always. At Sies Marjan, a velvety carnation button-down came accompanied by coordinating silky culottes. Haider Ackermann, Bottega Veneta, Erin Fetherston, Paul Smith and Creatures of Comfort made the case for pink power suiting. Dolce & Gabbana, Fenty x Puma and Lacoste offered up slouchy, athleisure-themed blush looks. Overall, the message was thus: Wear loads of pink and wear it however the hell you want (with an emphasis on tonal looks).
For Fall 2017, the pink trend forged on. Much like the streets, the runways were all about colorblocking. At Valentino, Pierpaolo Piccioli continued to think pink, mixing flamingo with the brand’s signature red. Laura Kim and Fernando Garcia’s premiere Oscar de la Renta presentation saw fuchsia trousers paired with a geometric crimson knit. 3.1 Phillip Lim catered to the pantsuit nation with a paper bag-waist taffy suit that looked equal parts comfy and commanding. Proenza Schouler went with a more subtle crepe shade.
Needless to say, industry movers (of all gender identities, but for our purposes, we’re showing you the women) are down for the pink cause. Our favorite show-side sightings featured matchy-matchy mixed materials or paired hot pink with denim.
Trust us, even the most glittery pink pieces are now considered neutrals. In other words, it’s time to have some fun. Below, 25 pink pieces to get you started.
TOKYO (AFP) – He’s been hailed a “fresh new voice” by Vogue, won admiration from Giorgio Armani and bagged an award: Mitsuru Nishizaki is hot fashion talent in Japan. But that doesn’t guarantee international stardom.
Loud applause and uncharacteristic cheers erupted from the usually restrained Japanese fashion crowd at the 38-year-old’s packed autumn/winter 2017 collection for brand Ujoh at Tokyo Fashion Week.
The models strode out to upbeat techno tempo, tearing up a multi-lane catwalk in a high-energy show starring preppy-grunge, sporty-tailored chic that would not look out of place in New York.
It was eminently wearable with bright high-necked ribbed sweaters slashed at the side, a deconstructed pale pink trench coat and crisp shirts that button front and back to be styled how the wearer desires.
Shoes were trainer-meets-loafer – black with white soles and a yellow serrated grip, which he calls shark soles, worn with gypsy-style skirts, pin-stripped suits or slouchy velvet track bottoms.
Nishizaki set up Ujoh in 2009 after seven years as a Yohji Yamamoto pattern cutter. Six years later he won a design award sponsored by DHL and then in 2016 staged a show in Milan.
Armani provided his theatre for the venue, though Nishizaki didn’t meet the veteran Italian designer in person. Vogue wrote afterwards: “this is how cool girls dress now” and predicted a bright future for him.
But what does it take to make it outside Japan? To follow in the footsteps of Issey Miyake, Yamamoto – Nishizaki’s former boss – and Rei Kawakubo, 20th century masters who have flown the nest to take their place among the greats in the fashion pantheon of Paris?
What are the hurdles that need to be overcome in a country where the fashion industry is embedded in exacting standards of tailoring, where creativity at times can take a back seat to doing it the right way?
Ujoh is already stocked in more than a dozen foreign cities such as Barcelona, New York and Seoul. Still, Nishizaki’s chief ambition is to expand further abroad.
But it’s a tough road to take domestic success to the next level.
In an interview at his showroom in Omotesando, a chic neighbourhood heaving with high-fashion boutiques, he was polite and earnest, but also shy and nervous behind the wide brim of a black floppy hat.
Nishizaki appears reluctant to present a compelling personal narrative in the rags-to-riches or fashion-ruled-my-childhood style that has helped many celebrated US designers market pret-a-porter to a mass audience.
When it comes to his collections, he says he works in the style to which he became accustomed at Yamamoto: having an open mind and designing freely without pre-selecting a particular inspiration.
“It is a difficult question to answer and I wish you could give me some ideas,” Nishizaki ventured when asked if he thought it was harder to break through as a designer from Japan than from Europe or America.
But he does admit that the Japanese calendar is stacked against quick success on the international circuit.
Tokyo’s bi-annual style fest in March and October comes several weeks after the main fashion merry-go-round in New York, London, Milan and Paris comes to an end.
By then most international editors and buyers are too exhausted and saturated to board a long-haul flight to Tokyo.
“What I really should do now is rearrange my brand schedule for press and sales not only in Japan but overseas,” Nishizaki said.
Misha Janette, a Tokyo-based stylist, creative director and blogger who has lived in Japan since 2004, said a major challenge for many Japanese designers trying to cut it in the West are different tastes.
She summed up the Japanese market as conservative and casual, rather than expensive and high fashion, warning that simple clothes were “not going to sell” in Paris.
“I think the most important thing is to have a balance of show pieces, interesting things that show their viewpoint with simple off the rack to satisfy both. That’s hard,” she told AFP.
“Most Japanese brands don’t have the investment, it’s just girls and boys doing it alone out of their garage,” she said. “Instead of having this balance of show pieces and wearable pieces it becomes either or.”
Just when we thought there weren’t any more everyday decisions we could simply delegate to Amazon, the online retailer is coming after our outfit-planning strategies.
The company quietly introduced a feature on its app which allows Amazon Prime customers to have a stylist weigh in between two #OOTDs and choose one for you, TechCruch reports. Sorry, designated outfit-consultant friend: Our “Do you like Option #1 or #2?” text exchanges might be over.
“Outfit Compare” lives under the “Programs and Features” tab on the Amazon app. Once the user uploads two images of themselves wearing different outfits, the company pings a stylist who will pick which one looks better, based on a series of considerations, from fit to color to trends, according to TechCrunch.
Unlike your friend who reads your texts but doesn’t respond immediately (or, worse: lets their response linger on their keyboard), Amazon’s stylist will respond in about a minute, delivering their decision on a “style scale” which has three options: “Definitely Pick This One!,” “We like this better,” and “It was a close call.” According to a spokesperson, users can get a different opinion by by swapping out one item from the original outfits and re-submitting their photos. “Outfit Compare” doesn’t host a chat or offer styling element to the service beyond the “style scale.”
There’s no shopping component integrated into “Outfit Compare” (yet), but TechCrunch positions this launch as the next step in Amazon’s quest to grow beyond a marketplace. While the feature is only available to Prime users as of now, it’s not meant for input on clothing or accessories bought exclusively off of the site — rather, it’s meant to offer a new type of service to its existing clientele. Simply put, it’s “a free service that gives Amazon Prime members a second opinion on what to wear,” a company spokesperson explained. Plus, it’s a different way to broach the fashion space, a category Amazon has been keen on for some time now, building a whole new way to get answers to a question we already ask ourselves on the daily. (It’s not a totally new concept in the tech world, though: Tinder Stacks offers a similar capability.)
Amazon is already the go-to place for millennials to shop. Now, it’s vying to be that friend we turn to when you’re torn between a crop top and a hard place (and by that, we mean a bell sleeve).
We’ve reached out to Amazon for more information and will update our story when we hear back.
Fashion is to Coachella goers as oxygen is to humans – okay, maybe it isn’t THAT important, but it is still pretty darn vital to the festival going experience.
The Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival returns to the Empire Polo Club in Indio April 14-16 and April 21-23 with Radiohead, Lady Gaga, Kendrick Lamar, Father John Misty, The XX and more than 100 others.
We already offered some Coachella fashion ideas on T-shirts to wear to the festival (and the Coachella essentials packing list), so now we are going to give you some tips on the fashion don’ts of Coachella. Please listen, because this could save your fashion reputation.
1. Flower crown
We understand the temptation and we want you to unleash your inner hippie, but cool it with the flower crowns. If you really need to get your flower crown on, just use the SnapChat filter – it’s fun and fashion-friendly. And remember that a flower crown won’t save you from a scalp sunburn.
In the desert heat do you really want anything hindering your breathing or constricting your neck while you’re dancing around with tens of thousands of people? We thought not. Save the chokers for a breezy summer day and just go with a necklace, you will thank us later.
3. Native American headdress
This is just downright offensive and an example of cultural appropriation. Please, just stick to a hat.
4. High heels
Again, YOU ARE IN THE DESERT! Wear comfortable shoes so you can dance and walk around with ease. You will be spending the majority of your time on your feet at Coachella, so take care of them.
5. A onesie
This is another fashion no-no that should be self-explanatory. Onesies are great for a night in with Netflix and pizza, but the comfortable and warm garments have no business being at a desert festival in the high heats. Also would you really ever want to be photographed in a onesie at Coachella? Embarrassing. And also, um, porta-potties. The same thing goes for those full-body spandex suits.
6. Denim boots
Yes, this is a thing and it is offensive to both denim and boots. For footwear, we suggest breathable and comfortable shoes – like sneakers or sandals. These boots will just make your legs even sweatier as well as showing off your lack of fashion sense.
7. Glitter butt
Apparently, this is actually a real thing and a recent trend. If you see someone at Coachella that has a glitter-covered behind, it might not be because they fell in a glob of glitter – it is probably intentional. Don’t be that person.
8. Crochet boots
Yes, crocheting is fun, but just save these boots for those cooler days next year. Your feet and legs (and fashion pride) will thank you later. Also, anything in a light neutral color is going to get wrecked by the dirt.
LuLaRoe is facing a class-action lawsuit over claims that its popular leggings tear and develop holes after as little as a few hours of wear.
The lawsuit, brought by two LuLaRoe customers, accuses the women’s clothing brand of ignoring thousands of customer complaints about the quality of its leggings and knowingly selling defective merchandise that rips like “wet toilet paper” to enrich the company’s top executives.
The suit also claims that LuLaRoe refuses to issue refunds directly to customers for defective leggings, and instead instructs them to address the problems with its sellers, or “fashion consultants.”
But when sellers turn to the company for refunds of defective merchandise, they also face a roadblock, according to the suit.
“Thousands of customers across the United States are now stuck with defective products because Defendants will neither issue refunds or make exchanges for customers and instead steer customers to the fashion consultants to deal with defective or damaged products,” the lawsuit states. “Unfortunately for customers, Defendants will not make refunds to fashion consultants for defective products, and impose various barriers for exchanges. As a result, most fashion consultants will not take back defective products from customers.”
LuLaRoe did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The clothing company has grown rapidly over the last two years, with sales soaring an estimated 600% to $1 billion last year, according to another recent lawsuit that accuses the company of charging customers the wrong sales tax.
LuLaRoe doesn’t sell any products in stores. The company relies on “consultants” to sell the clothing it makes at parties held in their homes. The number of consultants selling LuLaRoe products grown from 38,277 in September to nearly 80,000 today, according to data obtained by Business Insider.
Plaintiffs Julie Dean and Suzanne Jones are seeking compensation for themselves and all customers who purchased foreign-manufactured LuLaRoe leggings after March 31, 2016. They are seeking an award for damages, plus reimbursement of court costs and attorneys’ fees.
Dean, of Boston, Massachusetts, says she wore a pair of LuLaRoe leggings for only a couple hours before they developed tiny holes throughout.
” Another patterned pair developed a hole so big she could put her finger through them,” the lawsuit states.
Jones, of Lafayette, California, said she received a pair of leggings that were incorrectly sized.
“One pair of the leggings she could not even get past her knees because they were so small as if they were manufactured for a child,” the lawsuit states. “Two other pairs of leggings developed holes when she pulled the leggings on with her fingers.”
The lawsuit accuses LuLaRoe of eight counts related to unfair, illegal, and fraudulent business practices, as well as violating laws meant to protect customers and vendors from such practices.
By now, most of you are probably familiar with selling your gently used goods on your phone through apps. These apps help you earn extra cash by selling and promoting your used (and new) goods to customers all over the country.
There are tons of apps like these out there, but the most popular ones are by far Poshmark, and now the new Mercari app. Since my wardrobe changes so frequently, I LOVE buying and selling on these apps and they are my go-to when I’m looking to buy certain things, or get rid of something fast. After using these apps to buy and sell, I’m going to weigh the pros and cons of both apps for you ladies!
The pros: The app is catered more toward women, but I’m seeing more men pop up on there primarily to buy and sell women’s fashion. You can negotiate prices by making an offer/counter offer, and items are protected by Poshmark’s guarantee: Get the item you ordered in its described condition, or get your money back.
It’s very simple and easy to use, and tried and tested as one of the first apps of its kind. You can recieve invites to attend Poshmark parties and events in your area. When you search for an item on the app to purchase, it automatically filters the search to only show items in your size.
I’ve earned tons of extra cash selling my gently used clothing on this app. Poshmark sends you a shipping label when you sell an item. Poshmark hosts in-app parties to help you sell items, and they offer incentives to help you sell such as discounted shipping, notifications for likes, comments, and more. Earn $5 when you first sign up using code: JBJTE
The cons: When selling, Poshmark takes a HEFTY commission, up to 20 percent. This is huge. And when buying, shipping costs of $6.99 are added to your purchase
The pros: Mercari just began taking commission from sales, yet it’s only 10 percent. You can buy and sell anything from electronics to clothing. I also find their prices more reasonable on certain items. You can choose to pay for shipping or charge the customer for it. Purchases are protected by Mercari’s guarantee: Receive the item in its described condition or get your money back.
Mercari also sends you a shipping label when you sell an item.
Overall, it’s very easy to use. I personally have sold a lot more with Mercari than Poshmark, but I have more of an array of items then just apparel and accessories. Referral promotion: Give $2 get $2 when you sign up using code: RUQFCA. So not only do you save, but so does anyone you refer.
The cons: You can’t negotiate prices unless you do it through the comments section and ask the seller to lower the price. I only list this as a detraction because people sometimes get offended by your offer. In contrast, Poshmark allow you to either not accept an offer or counter it.
However, Mercari just launched a private chat for each seller so others can’t see your offer or comments. That in essence turns the detraction into a BIG PLUS!
Mercari can be a little confusing and a bit cluttered to use at first. It caters to a very broad market, meaning there are people selling all kinds of things on the app and makes it hard to find what you are looking for. But by using the search function, you can narrow down what your looking for.
To wrap it up, I feel Mercari has a lot of potential and is a perfect fit for both men and women to sell things other than clothing. If you are selling high-end clothes, shoes, handbags, or accessories, Poshmark is definitely the way to go, despite their excessive commission. Both apps make it very easy to sell an item. I currently have both apps installed in my phone.
When Tristan Walker decided to raise venture capital money for his new startup, a health and beauty company that makes products for people of color, the fact that he was running a tech company — not a retail company — was key.
“When I started, I said we’re a tech company. That’s bullshit,” Walker said Monday night at Recode’s Code Commerce conference in Las Vegas. “If you go to any kind of venture capital firm on Sand Hill Road and you say you want to build a retail business, you’re not going to raise any money. So to say that you’re a direct-to-consumer e-commerce business focused on subscriptions … it allows us to really talk about how we kind of focused on tech.”
That strategy worked. Walker’s startup, Walker & Company, has raised $33 million from well-known VC firms like Andreessen Horowitz and Google Ventures; its flagship brand Bevel, a line of razor blades and lotions for people with “coarse and curly hair,” is sold in major retail stores like Target.
But Walker says that, despite his company’s success and home runs like Dollar Shave Club’s recent $1 billion sale to Unilever, raising money as a commerce company hasn’t gotten any easier.
“It still is difficult,” Walker said. “No one wants to fund e-commerce companies anymore. There’s been no shortage of e-commerce companies that have just failed recently. No one wants to fund a retail business.”
Walker & Co. is not failing, though, or at least he’s optimistic that things are just beginning. The company plans to come out with its second brand later this summer — a line that will include 10 new products — and has found success by selling its products a la carte. Bevel used to sell via subscription only, but Walker expects retail sales to make up 50 percent of his business in 2017.
And even though Walker relies on Amazon for lots of those sales, that doesn’t mean he isn’t hyper aware that he’s working side by side with the potential competition.
“Amazon is on a tear,” Walker said. “One thing that people don’t understand about Amazon and don’t give them enough credit for is that they make good products themselves that are private label … Really, the last vertical that a lot of these retailers haven’t tackled yet is health and beauty, and that’s where all the margin is.”
“Amazon is a wonderful partner of ours [but] I’m always nervous,” he added. “This isn’t a friendly game.”
Virtual and augmented reality is about much more than just gaming. It’s a trend that’s expected to grow rapidly and consume almost every part of our physical lives, including fashion.
From notebooks to calendars, alarm clocks and cameras, objects that were once integral have all but disappeared into the digital landscape. Could our wardrobes be about to follow suit?
It has even been suggested that technology could become so advanced and bizarre that we end up renting virtual clothes and jewelry for our augmented reality worlds.
“All those things we thought essential materially, disappeared into the virtual environment,” Jody Medich, director of design at Singularity University told WIRED Retail.
“They have all gone into the screen – but in the future, we are going to be looking through that screen.”
Medich believes that augmented reality will be ubiquitous in just five years through our phones, headsets, or AR contact lenses and while that might sound a little hasty to some of you, it’s more realistic than you might think.
As early as 2014, VR was making huge waves in the fashion world when London Fashion Week offered users a front-row view of the catwalk with a 360 degree stream. More recently, Balenciaga’s Autumn Winter 2016 show was broadcast in virtual reality, while Hussein Chalayan released a panoramic video of his show; heck even Dior has its own VR headset.
“This technology will be ubiquitous – it won’t affect little bits of our lives, it’s going to affect every aspect of our lives. All those activities we do on our second screens are going to change in a radical way,” says Medich.
“Instead of looking into a screen, we will be looking through the screen. When we do that, magical things will happen.”
People love the convenience of online shopping but it’s difficult to know exactly what you’re getting or how well it’s going to fit. Could AR be the solution?
Medich certainly seems to think so, referencing furniture retailer Wayfair, which used Google’s Tango technology to build an app that can measure your environment.
“Tango knows the dimensions and can see the decor of my space, then suggest what types of end tables I will want. Then I can just put it there and see what it looks like.”
Imagine this but in a virtual retail world where you can be matched with products specific to your shape and personal style or where your bedroom becomes a fitting room and builds outfits based on exactly what’s in your wardrobe.
Why stop there? What about personal AI stylists or the ability to rent high-end clothing and jewellery that can only be viewed through AR lenses? If Merdich is right, the accessibility of luxury fashion could soon be available to every consumer.
Of course, how and to what extent the medium will impact the fashion industry is yet to be determined but nonetheless it comes with endless possibilities.
Beauty retailer Sephora has launched new augmented reality-based features for its Virtual Artist application on Apple’s iOS, including an eyeshadow virtual try-on feature, an Expert Looks preview feature and three new virtual tutorials for brows, contouring and highlighting.
The Sephora Virtual Artist Eyeshadow Try On feature gives users to access to thousands of shades by color, brand and finish, including each individual shade or an entire palette. Users can click on up to three shades to try them on the eyelid, crease and outer corner, and instantly determine their favorite combinations.
The Expert Looks allows users to pick from seven different on-trend looks created by Sephora’s experts, including Bright Lip & Cheek, Smoky Eye and Cut Crease, and have any of these instantly overlaid onto their own faces with a 3-D live view. The Virtual Artist Tutorials provide step-by-step DIY virtual training for creating trendy looks. The three new tutorials include Brows 3-Ways, Contouring, and Highlighting. Each step is customized to and animated on the user’s own face using 3D Live view.
Sephora continues to be one of the most aggressive companies among beauty brands (and retailers in general) in its readiness to add new features to its mobile app. The retailer has added to its list of Virtual Artist offerings multiple times within the last year, and has been busily extending these capabilities to its chatbot on Facebook Messenger as well. It seems like the company is intent on enabling in its mobile app just about everything you might do at the beauty counter in a Sephora store.
Augmented reality technology is what make much of that possible. It allows Sephora customers to “try on” make up and cosmetics they same way they might try them on on a store by matching it with their facial type or features, or even overlaying it on images of their own faces. It’s a mobile app tool that is not just useful for beauty brands either — Gap said at CES 2017 in January that it’s testing a DressingRoom app that would use the same sort of augmented reality technology to allow customers to virtually try on clothes.
Retailers that thrive on try-on traffic — people visiting their brick-and-mortar stores because they want to try something on in person before buying — have some interesting decisions to make about how far they want to go with enabling these realistic try-on capabilities via mobile and social media. Could the richly-featured apps keep people away from stores and addition selling opportunities for the retailers, or could the apps drive them to buy more from retailers who they feel are serving them well?
Sephora seems to be pretty invested in the latter outcome, and doing everything it can to make it happen. It’s in a very competitive space, as fellow beauty retailer Ulta Beauty is succeeding on the e-commerce front while also continuing to open new stores. Macy’s also appears to be working harder to leverage Bluemercury, the beauty chain it acquired in 2015. With beauty being such a battleground, Sephora will need to keep its Virtual Artist well-armed.
What does all of this mean for you? If you shop at all online (and these days, who doesn’t), potentially a lot. Here, five things to know about Alibaba, because by the close of 2014, the company will be inescapable.
1. The company is a combination of eBay, Amazon, Google, Paypal, and so much more.
Try and think of one American company to compare Alibaba to, and you’ll draw a blank. The company is a mix of Amazon, eBay, PayPal, and to some degree, Google. As a customer you can use Alibaba to shop online, sell goods, and make online payments. Under the Alibaba umbrella there are a variety of retail sites including its two most prominent: Taobao, which offers a huge number of non-brand name products sold by smaller merchants; and Tmall, which offers brand-name products.
Together, the two sites account for half of all of the package deliveries in China, and their combined transaction volume in 2012, $163 billion, was more than Amazon and eBay’s revenue combined. Alibaba even has it sights set on conquering the cloud computing market.
2. It’s the world’s largest Internet marketplace. Yes, you’ve read that correctly.
With a base of 560 million users, who spend an average of 20 hours a week online, Alibaba has created one huge online marketplace, and one of the world’s 20 most-clicked sites. The site has 36.7 million registered users as of 2012, meanwhile its mobile payments service, Alipay, is responsible for 70 percent of all of China’s mobile payments in 2013.
3. Fast fashion retailers should be very afraid.
Fast fashion chains like Forever 21 and H&M have transformed our expectations for what clothing can and should cost, but Alibaba is taking that a step further. On AliExpress, which sells goods to over 220 countries, there are tons of fashion options for less than $20 being sold by Chinese businesses to a global audience, essentially cutting out middle men.
As China’s largest e-commerce company, Alibaba has easy access to its sellers’ supply chain of cheap Chinese goods. The ability to offer cheaper Chinese-made goods than pretty much anyone to a global audience means a huge edge.
4. The company is also making inroads with high fashion brands.
Alibaba is also offering more than fast fashion, it is also making huge inroads with designer brands, eager to sell goods to the luxury hungry Chinese market. Burberry has just opened a virtual storefront on Alibaba’s Tmall shopping site, for instance. The reason brands are to sell on Alibaba is to capitalize on the massive growth of online shopping among the Chinese—Chinese shoppers bought $295 billion worth of merchandise online in 2013. The long term impact, though, is that it’s not far fetched to imagine Alibaba turning into the ultimate one-stop online shopping destination.
5. It’s buying up a storm.
Alibaba made $3.5 billion worth of acquisitions over the past year. So far those acquisitions have been predominantly limited to Asia, but recently it bought a minority stake in California-based messaging and free-calling app Tango for $215 million. Who knows what could be next? Smaller, U.S-based e-commerce sites? Social shopping apps? The sky is really the limit, especially considering the prospect of tons of incoming IPO cash, all of which could have a huge impact on the way that we all online shop.
BOGOTA, Colombia — “We’re interested in showcasing a different side of Colombia, one that’s detached from its folklore and tropical spirit,” says Vanessa Gómez, a long, lean and pale figure with shaved head and piercing eyes, who — together with partner Nicolás Rivero — designs a fashion brand here called A New Cross.
Dabbling in the avant-garde and anchored in Bogota’s underground scene, A New Cross is probably not what the outside world expects from Colombian fashion. A minimalistic aesthetic influenced by punk and rock subcultures, theirs is a brand that has grown in popularity in Asia and in Europe, where the duo holds a showroom during Paris Fashion Week.
Brands with Latin American provenance often evoke kaleidoscopic images of sensuous style, framed either by tropical glamour or an exuberant kind of coquetry. While this typecast may seem accurate enough for designers like Johanna Ortiz — whose frothy Caribbean-infused confections are popular with retailers like Bergdorf Goodman in New York — designers like Gomez are a reminder that fashion creativity in Colombia is incredibly diverse and that there is more than one route to success.
“Colombia is incredibly rich in talent and craftsmanship. Sadly, until recent years, Colombia-based talents have been obscured due to violence and corruption,” says Nina García, the Colombian-born fashion critic who has held the role of fashion director at the American editions of Elle and Marie Claire.
“Fashion is a mirror of our society and, in recent years, Colombia has experienced a huge political, economic and cultural change,” she explains. “Cities like Medellin have been going through an enormous healing process. Steps like the rescuing of Ingrid Betancourt [and] cracking down on money laundering have, in effect, curtailed drug wars. And finding peace with the FARC [rebels] have all helped move the country forward in a very significant way. All these changes have been reflected in fashion too.”
In a new era of peace and prosperity, Colombians are now on the international fashion radar.
Colombian-born designers like Nancy Gonzalez, Haider Ackermann and Esteban Cortázar made an impact on the fashion capitals years ago, but in this new era of peace and prosperity, others are now finding their way on the international fashion radar. Besides Johanna Ortiz, Garcia cites names like Edgardo Osorio of Aquazzura, Paula Mendoza and Melissa Losada Bofill and Marcela Velez, the duo behind M2Malletier.
That Ortiz was chosen to be featured in the windows of an iconic luxury department store like Bergdorf Goodman is testament to the greater confidence felt in Colombian design. Ortiz, whose Tulum top was a best seller after being worn by New York socialites, will showcase a collection as part of Colombiamoda, Latin America’s largest fashion trade show which starts tomorrow.
The annual event will hold its 27th edition in Medellin, a centre for the country’s vast, integrated garment and textile industry that exports apparel, footwear and leather goods worth $790 million annually. According to Carlos Botero, president of Colombiamoda and Inexmoda, international interest in the fair has been growing. Last year, it welcomed more than 1,700 international buyers from over 50 countries and he estimates that combined domestic and international revenues from sales made at Colombiamoda will grow 7 percent this year to around $340 million.
“Like many countries in Latin America, Colombia has a rich culture in terms of art and its artisans. Because of its history, the country developed a strong economy with established designers that have their own local boutiques and loyal clients,” says Kelly Talamas, the former editor-in-chief and recently appointed creative director of Vogue Mexico and Vogue Latin America.
Colombia gained an unprecedented spotlight in the pages of the magazine under Talamas’s direction, thanks to her appointment of a local editor position. She also expanded Vogue events in the country and initiated a collaboration with Colombiamoda and Vogue Talents Corner to promote emerging Colombian designers.
“Many Colombians are well traveled and have a keen eye for design and style. They’re a proud culture, which celebrates its unique style so you’ll find that designers here innovate and create very original collections that translate well in global markets,” she adds, explaining that she recently moved from Mexico City to Bogota in order to increase the magazine’s presence in key Latin American markets.
Of course, they’re not the first to make granny glasses look chic. Model (and the face of Dior skincare) Frederikke Sofie has rocked goggle-shaped plastic frames and wire-rimmed aviator glasses for years, while actress Tavi Gevinson made them her trademark in the early aughts. But it doesn’t just work if you’re like, really pretty. Throwing on a pair of granny glasses can make anyone look cooler and quirkier — in a good way. “I love when glasses are a bit too big for a face,” says Leith Clark, a celebrity stylist who counts Kiera Knightley and Alexa Chung as clients, and recently collaborated with Warby Parker on her own line of-the-moment frames.
“With granny glasses it can also be cool if they’re a bit too small for a face,” says Clark. “The rim is so skinny that either way it brings attention to the eyes. There’s an awkward vulnerability that’s so charming.” While thicker lenses may work on the more daring (we’re looking at you, Hailey Baldwin), anyone can pull off an ultra-thin frame. “The thinner the wire, the more fragile they appear,” Clark explains. Looking like an off-duty model has never been this easy.
Try it for yourself with these lenses hand-picked by Allure accessories director Nicole Chapoteau:
MIT’s ‘duoskin’ is a fabrication process that enables anyone to create customized functional tattoos that can be attached directly on their skin, like electical temporary tattoos. they use gold metal leaf—a material that’s cheap, skin-friendly, and robust for everyday wear—and provide three different types of on-skin interfaces: sensing touch input, displaying output, and wireless communication. this process draws from the aesthetics found in metallic jewelry-like temporary tattoos to create on-skin devices which resemble jewelry.
MIT’s ‘duoskin’ devices allow people to control their mobile devices, display information, and store date on their skin while serving as a statement of personal style. they can be designed in any color and shape, and they can go anywhere on the body. its metallic tattoo process can store and share data wirelessly with your smartphone or other such device via near-field communication (NFC) technology. at the same time, its ‘touch input’ technology enables you to use your skin like a trackpad for activities such as adjusting the volume on your smartphone, turning on lights, or writing text. additionally, the tattoo can show information, including your mood and the weather.
Fashion designer Chris Bevans, a former MIT media lab director’s fellow, heard about the project and he saw an interesting connection between his dyne brand on wireless tech in clothing and ‘duoskin’s’ NFC tags. in January this year he decided to reach out to the ‘duoskin’ team to talk about a collaboration for his New York fashion week show. cindy hsin-liu kao, the PhD student behind the project, decided it would be an interesting design experiment to customize ‘duoskin’ for a menswear fashion show—focusing on the ability to personalize it for any wearer, be it high-end or street style. the team custom-designed and fabricated ten NFC tags and shipped them to chris before his new york show so he could incorporate them into his new clothing line.
It’s a great week in the Twin Cities art scene. Ponder climate change, ruminate on migrating global interconnection, and socialize with these excellent art events.
First Look: The Weather Diaries
What it’s about: Tonight, the American Swedish Institute hosts an exhibition preview party for “The Weather Diaries,” a show featuring photography and artwork that reflects the roots of fashion in Iceland, Greenland, and the Faroe Islands. Sweden-based curators Sarah Cooper and Nina Gorfer will be on hand, along with Icelandic fashion designer STEiNUNN and other fashion folks. RONiia will provide the tunes, and there’ll be food, drinks, and activities led by the Textile Center and 612 Sauna Society.
Why you should go: Minnesotans will surely get the appeal of weather-informed fashion, as looking good in the cold months can be quite an undertaking. Here’s your chance to glean some inspiration from Scandinavian folks that have this stuff all figured out.
When: 6:30 to 11 p.m. Friday. Tickets are $15 for ASI members, $20 for the general public.
Where it’s at: MCAD, 2501 Stevens Ave., Minneapolis.
What it’s about: MCAD highlights the wealth of talent bubbling up in its study abroad and international student populations with a show featuring the work of artists from all over the world. The exhibition includes pieces from 17 students. More than 40 international students are currently at MCAD, and 12 MCAD students have done study abroad programs outside the U.S. or a special residency program in New York.
Why you should go: If you listen to the president and certain other members of the cabinet team, America’s problems stem from outsiders who immigrate into this country, or the U.S. doing business in other countries. This show subtly counteracts that message, showing that intercultural and global exchange are not only necessary, but a key component to human survival and understanding.
When: The opening reception runs from 6 to 8 p.m. Friday. The exhibition is through April 16.
Western Canada Fashion Week begins this week in Edmonton. You may already know it is the longest-running event of its kind in Alberta and the second-largest in Canada. You may also know it’s one of the nation’s longest-standing fashion weeks, having outlived its counterparts in Toronto and Montreal.
Going into its 25th season, WCFW showcases the creative talents of over 40 designers per season, with entries from across the country, as well as international designers from as far away as the Philippines and Vietnam. You may have thought that WCFW was just for serious fashionistas, but the style, excitement and entertainment value are geared to delight a much wider audience.
It challenges norms for models: “Style is ageless,” says Sandra Sing Fernandes, the creative force behind WCFW. That is why this year there will be an evening dedicated to diversity of age, with stylish models who challenge the fashion industry’s norms for age and body types. “Our philosophy has always been self-expression, creativity and style for all,” says Fernandes. “Some designers are realizing that women are changing. They want more fashion options, and we feel now is the time to push fashion boundaries.” Fashions for men and women by local designer Stanley Carroll and Le Chateau Canada will be featured in this show that opens the festival Mar.23. “Nothing before has created as much excitement as Ageless Style,” adds Fernandes.
Rolling out style: This year, for the first time, on April 1, WCFW will feature models with disabilities, including models in wheelchairs and models with prosthetics. On the runway will be members of Canada’s Paralympic Volley Ball Team. Made possible by a partnership with Alberta Medical Supplies, the evening will include demonstrations of pain-free compression wear as well as a fashion show. The models and fashions are organized by Benveet (Bean) Gill, whose history with WCFW goes back five years, before she became paralyzed due to a viral infection. Back then, she was a talented makeup artist lending her skills to WCFW. Today, Gill, is co-founder of ReYu, a local non-profit activity-based paralysis-recovery centre. Gill herself will take part as a model in the fashion show. Fashions to be modelled are from Van Mil- Amsterdam, LUXX Ready Wear, Nu2 You and The Running Room.
A local event with global vision: WCFW is a real boost to the city’s local fashion and beauty scene, says Lynn Mandel, wife of former mayor Stephen Mandel and a longtime supporter of WCFW. “I’m thrilled that WCFW takes place in Edmonton. I’m honoured to be a part of this important event that celebrates and unites the enterprising, innovative and change-making talent of our city,” she says. Mandel points to the links between fashion, culture and the arts. “Edmonton has always prided itself on our cultural diversity and how those differences have influenced our arts scene. Fashion design in Edmonton, which reflects our culture, is both an art form and an industry and is supported in many ways, solely by WCFW.”
A showcase for emerging talent: With its competitions for emerging designers, costume design and fantasy hair and makeup design, WCFW serves as an incubator for new talent, providing opportunities for novices to break into the world of retail fashion. It has been instrumental in launching the careers of designers such as Sid Neigum, Caitlin Power, Derek Jagodzinsky, Malorie Urbanovitch and Jessica Halabi, as well as models such as Linsay Willier. Past first-place winners of the competition have used the free showcase to help launch their clothing lines or open their own boutiques. The nine-day event is also a platform for hair academies to showcase new graduates. In addition, there are opportunities for more than 30 hair salons to work with models to build portfolios and their client base.
It celebrates arts and culture: “Each season, we work with young dancers and singers to help build their confidence by performing on our stage,” says Fernandes. “As well, we support the artistic talents of inner-city kids by showing their work in our foyer.” There will be a different lineup of performing artists each night, with the greatest variety on Fantasy Night, March 27, says Fernandes. Among the host of performers will be pop singer, songwriter and dancer Mackenzie Dayle, who performs March 23, 27 and 28; and Michael Ortiz on March 27, as well as Viva Dance troupe on March 31. Also look for Peter Raiwe, a singer-songwriter from Winnipeg, and poetry from Lady Vanessa Cardona.
At a glance:
Western Canada Fashion Week takes place at the ATB Arts Barns, 10330 84 Ave., with shows nightly from March 23 to April 1, excluding Sunday, March 26. For more information on the schedule of events, go to westerncanadafashionweek.com. WCFW also supports local charitable organizations such as YESS and TERRA, by accepting donations of gently used clothing, personal essentials and monetary gifts.
Lou Kenny is one of Australia’s most in-demand models. At 179cm tall, she has piercing blue eyes and wears a size 10 dress.
And she also happens to have grey hair and be 58 years old.
On Wednesday night, Kenny stole the spotlight in the Premium Runway 1 at the Melbourne Fashion Festival.
Appearing in an Albus Lumen top and skirt, Kenny received rapturous applause as she took to the runway.
She backed up her first exit with a Christopher Esber slip dress, which was styled with a T-shirt underneath, proving women of any age can wear Australia’s hottest designers.
The majority female crowd lapped up the runway show, which was presented by Vogue Australia.
The festival’s executive producer, Geraldine Frater-Wyeth, said festival goers can expect more diversity on the runway than ever.
“With the casting manager we put quite a few options forward. We put Lou Kenny [forward] to represent an older demographic on the runway. It was really well received by the stylist and the magazine,” she said.
No stranger to the festival runway, Kenny also starred in the festival’s opening weekend runways, albeit to a smaller crowd, in early March.
Her appearance follows New Zealand lingerie brand Lonely Lingerie casting a 56-year-old model in its latest campaign, as well as a plethora of models in their 30s and 40s at the international fashion shows that just wrapped.
At the couture shows in January, 85-year-old Carmen Dell’Orefice stunned in a red design by Guo Pei to close the show for the Chinese designer.
Wednesday night’s Melbourne show was as ethical as it was diverse, with designers Scanlan Theodore, Bianca Spender and and KitX also taking part.
Several of the brands are accredited with Ethical Fashion Australia, while observers noted others in the show also have good practices.
Earlier in the day, the festival hosted two parades by designers from Indonesia and China.
The Melbourne Fashion Festival continues until Sunday.vamff.com.au.
India, home to a fast growing e-commerce market, is set to see $30bn of the fashion market digitally influenced by 2020, according to a Boston Consulting Group and Facebook report, Fashion Forward 2020.
Today $7bn to $9bn of the $70bn Indian fashion market is currently digitally influenced, with the numbers to quadruple by 2020. $30bn represents about 70% of the total branded apparel market.
Mobile is also set to rise, as 85% of online fashion buyers prefer mobile over any other device, mirroring other reports about mobile usage in the country.
Fashion is the gateway for online shoppers, with 30% of new shoppers likely to start their online buying with apparel and footwear. Fashion e-commerce already accounts for about 4% of the total fashion market, comparable to sales from brick and mortar outlets (3.15%). Online purchases are set to multiply by about four times to hit $12bn to $14bn by 2020, contributing 11-12% of the Indian fashion market. New shoppers will drive 40% of the growth.
The spurt of new fashion shoppers will bring with it a fundamental shift in the profile of online fashion shoppers. The 2020 shopper will no longer be the typical young, metro-residing male of today – by 2020, nearly half the shopper base will be women, more than 50% will come from lower tiers (Tier 2 or even lower) and ~37% will be older than 35 years of age, according to Rohit Ramesh, partner and managing director, The Boston Consulting Group, India.
Tier 2 refers to cities in India that have a population between 50,000 to 99,999.
Discounts may drive the online shoppers of today, but the new online shoppers will look beyond that according to the report. Women and lower tier shoppers are driven by variety while older shoppers skew towards convenience.
“This report clearly lays out the pivotal role of digital in the fashion industry, this trend is not limited to urban metros alone but is spreading across geographic and demographic segments. By 2020, 33% of all urban fashion consumers will buy online which means for a mobile first country like India we will witness a high number of purchases taking place on the mobile,” said Umang Bedi, managing director, Facebook India & South Asia.
“Mobile has become central not just to the way brands market and sell, but also how they design products, plan merchandising and engage with customers end-to-end,” he added.
Digital is now emerging as a significant channel for discovery, research and purchase according to the report. Consumers are now increasingly going online, with 24% set to carry out transactions purely online, 25% set to research online and purchase offline, 7% to do vice versa and 44% to stick to purely offline transactions.
The report calls for a shift in media spending to digital in India, as TV has reignedsupreme in the sub-continent. Currently only 10% to 15% of ad spends are on digital media in India, despite the digital influence. Fashion players should take note of ‘here & now’ strategies such as leveraging digital to connect with customers across various touch points to optimizing assortment for digital personalisation to win in this digital world.
Indian designers are helping to revive the centuries-old tradition of handmade textiles by taking them global. The Fashion Design Council of India (FDCI) is encouraging designers to revive the country’s handloom industry by incorporating handmade fabrics into high-end fashion and couture.
Working with fabrics ranging from Eastern Indian silks to cotton fabrics spun into thread on hand-powered spinning wheels, famous Indian designers like Rohit Bal, Shruti Sancheti, and Rina Dhaka, put their handloom collections on display in Amazon India Fashion Week.
Indian fashion designer Gautam Gupta says while there is an increasing awareness and demand for handmade fabrics, designers have an important role to play in popularising the industry.
India currently produces the majority of world’s handwoven textiles, and the Indian handloom industry is the second largest employer in rural India after agriculture, according to Indian Brand Equity Foundation (IBEF).
According to IBEF, in 2015-16, India exported around $360 million USD of handloom products, that’s almost a three percent increase on the previous year.
Top buyers of Indian handloom products were the US, the UK, and the UAE.
These high-tech pendants do more than track physical activity and sleep like regular fitness devices. They can keep tabs on users’ mental health by monitoring physical symptoms of stress and track their menstrual cycles, too. Having a wearable that charts menstruation is a big deal for women who are trying to understand their fertility, from ovulation to pregnancy — and the inability of past devices to do so has been a notable weakness of the quantified-self movement.
For mental health concerns, the device goes the extra mile, connecting to a corresponding app with guided meditation exercises and data timelines that help users plan to proactively manage stress.
According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, women are twice as likely to suffer from an anxiety disorder than their male peers. Translating health data into actionable insight is a huge part of what makes Leaf Urban so popular. “It teaches users how to take control of their body and their health,” Srsen says. “We arm the users with better understanding. It’s about getting back in touch with your body. It’s not about being skinny or whatever.”
These high-tech pendants run from $119 to $189 apiece. They feature a minimalist leaf design and can be worn as part of a chic wrap bracelet, a necklace, or as a brooch. Srsen says Bellabeat was one of the first companies to focus on women and wellness in an industry dominated by athletic smart watches with a “one size fits all” mentality. She believes stylish design is crucial to making wearables effective, because frequent wear provides more comprehensive data. “You can only achieve that if the user enjoys wearing it,” Srsen points out. “I think the direction wearables are going is they are becoming more a part of our style.”
In a broader sense, the future of wearable devices for health will probably be defined by textiles — clothing, instead of just accessories. “If you integrate these devices into textiles, you suddenly have the entire surface of the body to work with,” says Amanda Parkes, chief of technology at Manufacture NY, a fashion incubator that specializes in high-tech research and development. TheNew York Times described Parkes and her co-founders as “the sharp point of the wearables spear… like Charlie’s Angels, if the angels had thrown off the patriarchy and gone out on their own.” Like the startup industry at large, wearables are still largely made by men, for men.
“It’s changing slowly because a lot of the industry models use outdated information when looking at market shares,” says Joanna Berzowska, head of electronic textiles at the smartwear brand Omsignal. “The other problem is inherent sexism in the venture capital world… often when there were good ideas for women’s products, it was harder for them to raise money.”
Despite the general sausage fest, a growing number of women, like Parkes and Berzowska, are getting involved with wearable startups. They are bringing a new sense of possibility to the industry as a whole. “Yes, more women might be joining. But what you’re seeing is that wearable devices need differentiation,” Parkes says. “Tech does need fashion to make better products… they are trying to reach across the aisle more on both sides. It was kind of a wakeup when Fossil bought [fitness tracker brand] Misfit.”
Tech-savvy fitness brands like Omsignal are looking to prove their products are more than just gadgets; they can be healthy fashion innovations. Omsignal was one of the first wearable brands to prioritize women and collaborate with a major fashion label. In 2014, the same year the company launched, Omsignal teamed up with Ralph Lauren to develop athletic polo shirts with biometric sensors for the men’s U.S. Open tennis championships. Nevertheless, the brand’s primary focus is the Ombra, which incorporates the same sensors into a sports bra. The company reportedly raised $20 million to develop this product for women.
By placing the biometric sensor directly on the breast, rather than the wrist, the Ombra can measure factors from respiratory function to heart wave variability. This allows the corresponding app to personalize workout recommendations in real-time, for example, if the user is hungover or sleep-deprived. Even so, developing a high-tech bra is more complicated than a polo shirt, because boobs bounce around when the user works out. The bra needs to hold the user’s breasts in place, close to the sensor, without squishing them or restricting movement.
Artists, and most certainly fashion designers, are known for their willingness to take risks. With the advent of the 3D printer, not only could they suddenly branch out into a wealth of infinite new directions, but they were afforded previously unheard of self-sustainability in manufacturing, making everything from museum-quality couture to the avant-garde and even tribal feather accessories. 3D printing has made an indelible mark on the fashion industry, and it just keeps expanding as a powerful new tool in fashion.
Now, an Australian designer hailing from Canberra is going to make her mark at the 2017 Vancouver Fashion Week, ongoing from March 20 to 26. And while we’ve seen plenty of dresses and fashion accoutrements at this point, this will be the first gown featuring 3D printed butterflies. Designed by Charne Esterhuizen, the dress is adorned with 150 butterflies, to be exact—and each one took 5.5 hours to print.
“It is the first be made to this scale nationally, because you have big brands that have done 3D printing, but this is a completely different and experimental way of printing,” said Esterhuizen who had two different 3D printing companies as sponsors (Aussie 3D and 3DGence), paying for six 3D printers. “I used a modular system, so I multiplied the object of the butterfly, created into a fibre and connected them one by one until the dress was 175 centimeters long.
We had the machines printing for a week and a half non-stop. All together we calculated with all the time it took, all of the material and processes, the dress would cost about $90,000.”
Not surprisingly, this butterfly-laden garment does have some weight to it, but the designer states that it is wearable. Also not surprisingly, she says that she hopes to see her dress morph into a 4D design with moving butterflies later, as she continues to work on the motif. The model wearing the dress (and also a nude-colored suit underneath) will also be showing off a matching purse created from the excess rubber material.
“The idea of this dress and my collection is to express yourself freely, to just be yourself and be confident despite what other people think,” she said.
With a love of fashion that began at age 16, Esterhuizen enrolled as a student at Australia’s TAFE. No stranger to being quite the superstar in her field from the beginning, she has already won an array of awards, and is now the creator of the MAAK clothing line. As a newly minted manager at Aussie 3D, she also has great resources for experimenting further with 3D printing, and is fond of using the technology in environmentally friendly ways.
“Fashion is one of the biggest waste industries in the world and with the future technology of 3D printing we can make filament with all natural fibres so it can be biodegradable,” she said. “Mass consumption and designers competing for cheaper garments is what increases slave labor. So we are working on how locally-manufactured and environmentally ways of 3D printing can combat this. I’m educating schools and the wider community about the benefits of 3D printing to the fashion industry.”