The Metropolitan Museum of Art Gala is on Monday, Here’s What You Need to Know

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There are many facets in the fashion business and regardless of what route or specialisation there needs to be a mark of recognition i.e. a brand of one’s fashion pursuit. The Met Gala is one such exceptional example. This is an annual event that features a costume exhibit and a gala party. The exhibit and gala party carries a specific theme each year and that is what makes it interesting and marks the brand.  Annually at every gala, the red carpet is graced by celebrities in garments in line with the set theme. The director and Vogue’s chief editor, Anna Wintour personally approves the attendees to the guest list that is known to be notoriously strict. As it is reported ““Rumours have gone around for years that Ms. Wintour turns away guests she does not know or who she feels do not fit the image she wants her event to project” This is only to maintain the mark of the brand and be consistent with the image. There are lessons to be learnt here and it’s all about branding.  Anyone who would like to know more about branding and a brand identity analysis of their business please do not hesitate to contact me at – sylvia@zimfn.com.

 

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In case you are out of the loop, Monday night is the industry’s annual Metropolitan Museum of Art Anna Wintour Costume Institute Gala. Under the direction of Vogue’s editor in chief Anna Wintour (who has been honored with a relatively recently renamed Costume Institute), the gala has become the undisputed party of the year on the New York social schedule and has raised more than $145 million for the Costume Institute (the party funds its operating budget in its entirety).

Attendees, which are all pre-approved by Wintour and have included everyone from Gwyneth Paltrow, Miley Cyrus, Beyonce, and Rihanna to Gisele, Madonna, the Olsen twins, Kim and Kanye, and every major designer you can think of, pay $25,000 for an individual ticket or commit to a minimum $175,000 for a table of 10.

As for the guest list, it is notoriously strict. While Kim Kardashian and Kanye West are confirmed to attend this year’s gala, Kardashian was reportedly banned in years prior. Moreover, according to a recent article by Vanessa Friedman, “Rumors have gone around for years that Ms. Wintour turns away guests she does not know or who she feels do not fit the image she wants her event to project. Radar Online reported in 2013 that she had “banned” cast members from the “The Real Housewives of New York City” from buying a table.”

However, TFL can exclusively confirm that the following will be in attendance: Burberry creative director/CEO Christopher Bailey; Taylor Swift (she’s a co-chair, after all); Controversial tennis star Maria Sharapova; actresses Sarah Jessica Parker, Saoirse Ronan, Dakota Johnson, Jessica Chastain, Kate Bosworth, and Elizabeth Olsen; musicians Selena Gomez, Rita Ora, and Katy Perry; former model Maye Musk and her son, entrepreneur Elon Musk; designers Tommy Hilfiger, Donna Karan, Brandon Maxwell, Prabal Gurung, Joseph Altuzarra, Alexander Wang, Jason Wu, and the boys of Proenza Schouler.

Also set to attend: eco-fashion activist and film producer Livia Firth; Johnny Depp and Amber Heard; models Anja Rubik, Jessica Hart (who is expected to wear Alaia, which is interesting as Azzedine Alaia pulled all go his dresses from the Met Gala red carpet in 2009 because his work was not in the exhibition), Karlie Kloss, Taylor Hill, Karolina Kurkova, Kendall Jenner, Joan Smalls, Gigi and Bella Hadid, and Hailey Baldwin; fashion industry figures Derek Blasberg, Lauren Santo Domingo; and Balmain creative director Olivier Rousteing. [NOTE: Check back, as we will update this list as we learn more].

As for who is skipping this year: We know Gisele and Tom Brady are opting out. Chances are, a slew of the industry’s most well known creative directors (think: Raf, Phoebe, Hedi, Azzedine Alaia) will also likely not be in attendance, which has proven a common practice over the past several years.

Each Met Gala has a theme that coincides with an exhibit at the Costume Institute. Years ago it was Savage Beauty and coincided with the posthumous and recording-breaking Alexander McQueen exhibit. Since then, themes have been PUNK: Chaos to Couture and Charles James: Beyond Fashion, and  “China: Through the Looking Glass” – with an exhibit that explores the Chinese impact on Western fashion. This year’s theme? Manus x Machina: Fashion in an Age of Technology. The Gala coincides with a Costume Institute exhibit of the same name, which will explore the blurring line between man- and machine-made fashion. Per Racked, “It’s traditional for guests to wear garments that reflect the theme, which means that we can likely expect to see plenty of futuristic (and hopefully plenty of retro-futuristic, too) looks on the red carpet.”

As for the co-hosts, which change every year, with the exception of Wintour. This year they are: are Idris Elba, Taylor Swift (more about that here) and Apple’s chief design officer Jonathan Ive. Honorary chairs include Louis Vuitton designer Nicolas Ghesquière, Karl Lagerfeld, and Miuccia Prada. Apple is also sponsoring the event.

HOW YOU CAN WATCH

Other than by following along with us in TFL and its social media accounts, this year’s Met Gala red carpet will be televised. E! will cover the event via its special,Live from the Red Carpet, which will be similar to their coverage for awards shows like the Oscars. A red carpet pre-show will air at 7 p.m., followed by red carpet fashion at 7:30 p.m.

In another new development this year, Instagram will also be highlighting the best videos from within the Met Ball via a dedicated video channel. It’ll be accessible on the Explore page until Tuesday at 5 p.m., according to WWD.

 

First published by the Fashion law on 30 April 2016

http://www.thefashionlaw.com/home/the-metropolitan-museum-of-art-gala-is-tonight-what-you-need-to-know

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UK: Zim designer gets Harvard PhD Scholarship

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Pamela Samasuwo- Nyariri the award winning accessories designer is a recepient of a Harvard PhD Scholarship. Inspiring to see African fashion being represented at a world class educational institution.

http://www.newzimbabwe.com/SHOWBIZ-28622-UK+Zim+designer+gets+Harvard+PhD+scholarship/SHOWBIZ.aspx

 

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First published by New Zimbabwe.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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‘The death of fashion lead to appetite for something new’: The Emancipation of Everything

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“Following the death of fashion is the emancipation of everything – not just in fashion, but in all disciplines of life as we free ourselves from the past and finally move into the 21st century, and begin to ask ourselves why we do things the way we do,” said renowned trend forecaster and futurist Lidewij Edelkoort during her opening speech of her much awaited follow up to her ‘Anti-Fashion’ manifesto, which spurred endless debate over the past few months

'The death of fashion lead to appetite for something new': The Emancipation of Everything

Named “The Emancipation of Everything,” Edelkoort proclaims the coming of a second movement, not only within the fashion industry, but also within society itself as drastic changes begin to take place across the globe. “My reading of this presentation has changed since the Paris terrorist attacks,” explained the newly appointed Dean of Hybrid Design Studies at Parsons School of Design. “These events have put my presentation in a new, different light and shows how fashion is influenced by the world’s events.”

'The death of fashion lead to appetite for something new': The Emancipation of Everything

“Designers want another move in the fashion system

Edelkoort admits that is was not easy to come up with a follow up to her manifesto from before, which she still stands firmly behind. “After presenting it, I received so many comments and compliments from people around the world who said they felt the same. Creative directors and designers are being squeezed out like lemons in the fashion system,” she adds, highlighting Raf Simons recent departure from Dior and Alber Elbaz exit from Lanvin as two examples of the broken fashion system, as well as John Galliano’s nervous breakdown whilst working at Dior. “He was so busy when he was at Dior, he didn’t even have time to light his own cigarette – his assistant did it for him.”

“Especially those in the luxury end of the industry suffer, as they are under tremendous pressure to create as there is not enough talent in the industry to carry out such a job – creating 18 collections a year, plus accessories and perfumes. It’s very extreme and only a few like Karl Lagerfeld and Tom Ford enjoy it working under such pressure and can handle it. The rest burn out. Designers want another move in the fashion system, but marketing does not want that – they are stuck in the last century chasing the next ‘it’ item…The time for derailing in the industry is coming.”

'The death of fashion lead to appetite for something new': The Emancipation of Everything

The Feminisation of Men, the Rise of the Matriarchal Society and Ageless Generation

“The death of fashion lead to appetite for something new, rather than just survival – at a certain point you have seen it all.” So what will this emancipation, this second movement mean for the fashion industry? One of the biggest changes Edelkoort foresees is the feminisation of man. “For the first time in history, men are fathering and looking after their own children.” This more sensitive notion of fathering is reflected within the industry, with the menswear market expected to grow 65 percent over the next few years and the womenswear market share set to shrink. “This shift has lead to men of today moving away from their fixed ‘man’ codes, no war and ready for the new world” added the trend forecaster, which means that men are becoming more soft and sensitive. “I am very excited for the merging of gender.” The loss of former ideal of ‘monster’ is translated into a new era for menswear, with more colours, lace, bijou’s, and floral, but still masculine at the same time.

'The death of fashion lead to appetite for something new': The Emancipation of Everything

 

So what happens to the women then, if men are becoming more feminine? “She is man and woman, she needs to compensate for the newfound femininity in man.” The rise of the matriarchal society “is on the horizon” according to Edelkoort, and “needs to happen soon, otherwise we’ll end up with Donald trump as President in the US,” she quipped. This movement will lead to the arrival of new patterns and prints, which can be seen as both feminine and masculine. Women will no longer dress for men, but dress from themselves, favouring “soft, rounded but strong” forms. This shift is also linked to the return of the ‘granny panties’ – “Don’t ask me why, but it’s coming.”

Speaking of grannies, another monumental shift Edelkoort predicts is the ‘Ageless Generation,’ the inevitable decline of boundaries between generations leading to a reversal of dress codes. Bridging the gap between old and young, this movement will see young and old consumers sharing the same clothes and designs without a qualm. Think ‘granny-chic’, similar to Alessandro Michele’s new direction for Gucci, but then with more pattern, jacquards and interchangeable looks. “The pussy-bow blouse will finally make its return and mesh with the high waisted pants as low waisted pants will be forgotten for good.” Although Edelkoort is unsure how long this trend will last, the industry inclusion of older women can only be indication of the new to come.

'The death of fashion lead to appetite for something new': The Emancipation of Everything

 

Return to the Basics and Couture, the Urbanisation of Rural and Rise of the Workwear

A common link within the emancipation of everything is simplicity and modesty. Edelkoort believes that consumers will yearn for a strong collection of basics, a capsule collection of simple clothes, which are high-quality, sustainable and beautiful. “People will stop buying for the sake of buying and live through more ethical principles.” The focus will be on small, capsule wardrobes with limited options such as trouser, shirts and dresses, in a neutral palette of colours. “It will be seen as very luxe to be able to function/live with so little.” In order to elevate the appeal of the basics, they will contain fancy detailing and accents such a piping, tie silk fabrics and embroidery.

'The death of fashion lead to appetite for something new': The Emancipation of Everything

 

“Every article of clothing is to be seen as a work of art,” added the futurist, who sees a return in importance as to how clothes are made. “Which leads us to making our own clothes or having them custom made.” She predicts a future of open source platforms existing online where people can download dress pattern makers and make their own Dior gown. With more consumers moving to cities yet yearning for the rural lifestyle, Edelkoort also foresee the urbanisation of rural. This movement, seen in the rise of slow-cooking will translate into fashion and designs, as people invest in better quality clothes, made in a sustainable and fair way. “Think farmer or pioneer styled garment, such as a long pleated skirt with a blue blouse and oxfords. It is so beautiful on one hand, but also so common it’s almost banal.”

One unexpected trend to emerge is the rise of workwear. “It’s still quite early to be looking into the rise of worker, but it will become an important trend.” So important in fact, that Edelkoort has dedicated her next book to workwear. “But where does this interest in workwear come from?” she asked. Linking it to the rise of young entrepreneurs looking into production and buying factories, and coming into direct contact with workers has lead to a revival for manual labourers, believes the trend forecaster. This will be reflected in their workwear, which will pay much more attention to detail, include colour blocking as well as new technologically enhanced materials.

'The death of fashion lead to appetite for something new': The Emancipation of Everything

The revival of White, the reversal of Brown and retreat of Black

The emancipation of colour is also a key part of the second movement and Edelkoort believes that colour white will take on a new form and come to reflect a more peaceful and serenity time. “White will become representative of unification and unity in society, although not necessarily religious as god will not be present and people will have self reason to come together and pray.” She predicts the dress shirt, in thick fabrics such as poplin and oxford, will become a very important garment in white, noting that she felt compelled to include fabrics in her predictions to fully explain the shift in colour understanding within the second movement.

“After being banned from the industry for 25 odd years, brown is back wanting attention,” stated Edelkoort, who is pleased with the colour return, complaining that for a long time she was unable to even find a pair of brown shoes or bag. “It will become the new winter colour for the next 10-15 years, together with midnight hues and tones.” She added that brown will gradually return within the fashion industry’s colour scope after being shunned in a “racist manner.” It will be made beautiful again through small geometric patterns, business prints such as pinstripes as well as african and tribal patterns. “The combination of white shirt and brown pants will be suddenly seen as very new, even if it’s not.”

'The death of fashion lead to appetite for something new': The Emancipation of Everything

Finally, she predicts the retreat of her favourite colour: Black. “How dare I say it, I always wear black and I am sorry to say it but it’s going to happen.” The trend forecaster was dressed in her usual uniform of a black dress when giving her presentation, which highlighted her fondness of the colour. But the retreat could be good for business she noted. “Think of all the black clothing they have to replace.” Where does this retreat stem from? “I believe that IS will become one of the main reasons why we can’t wear black and the natural system is to adapt colour in defence to negativity. IS took over our own subculture urban dance with their uniform and I fear the retreat of black will be a repercussion.” She does not expect to see the retreat of black to happen over night, but predicts the colour will be limited to evening and formal wear once more, leading to the emancipation of the previous fixed notions of the colour black.

“Emancipation is thinking how we can reverse these fixed notions and roles in society – it is a moment to look at how society is functioning and changing in silent revolutions,” she concluded. “It is time, after 15 years of trying to adapt in this century, to renew after seeing the light. It is time that the century reflects our age and not the old age we came from. So enjoy and emancipate.”

First published on Fashion United.

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How To Think More Like A Merchant

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By Valerie Singer


Valerie Singer has over 13 years of experience in driving sales and profit for high street fashion retailers through customer focussed ranges, on-brand strategic planning and robust trading and stock management. Here, she shares with you some top tips on merchant-thinking to help you grow your business.


bwsAs a fashion merchandiser, endlessly analysing commercial data, forecasting sales and managing stock, I might be expected to treat successful retailing as a science. From my seasons in the high street I am here to tell you that it is far more of an art.

You can draw different conclusions based on the same results and can influence figures to show the picture you want. Personal style, changing trade conditions and expectations mean that in retailing, what worked last week might not work this week, what you wanted yesterday, you might not want tomorrow. As clichéd as it sounds, the only constant in fashion is change.

In light of this shifting reality, how do you manage to drive consistent success? In retail we are always judging trade based on yesterday’s sales, last week is old news by Tuesday. The instant gratification of seeing your range sell or the heartbreak when it doesn’t is fleeting. True sustainable results are achieved over time. Retail is a long game.

They say the simplest answer is always the right one, I believe that. This is backed up by having worked through nearly 14 years at seven different retailers on two continents. I have read countless interviews with the leaders of successful retailers and there is incredible consistency in their focus. This focus can be summarised in one word: customer.

Put your customer first

Putting your customer at the heart of your decisions is the best place to start. It is tempting and often practiced to prioritise other areas, but this is dangerous. Of course, as someone who has spent her career focused on profit productivity I know that far more needs to be considered and managed. When distracted by other pressures on the business, particularly short term, however, those can lead you astray. It might sound like I’m over simplifying but putting your customer first is much harder than it sounds.

Knowing your customer in fashion is not that straightforward a proposition. Target age group and income bracket is not enough. Considering lead times, you need to know where they are going to be in 6-8 months’ time.

Customer-focused trend forecasting is key and drives forward strategies, helped by forecasting agencies, which are growing and getting more sophisticated. Historical patterns are also very useful, but they need to be carefully considered given how things change. (I’ve been wrong more than once when basing a decision solely on historical data).

The increasingly global reach of retailers of course adds incredible complexity to this, although I would argue a clear vision should translate across borders. There is also something to be said for knowing who your customer is, and who they want to be. But that is likely the domain of an aspirational marketing professional, so I’ll leave that to the experts.

Online retailing has completely changed the ability to understand your customer, and I do believe has made it easier. Google and internal business intelligence can now tell you not only who your customers are, but where they’ve come from, how often, what else they buy and what they are looking for. It adds an amazing dimension to all levels of planning and trade, but it is unclear if it will guarantee better results in the future. I wouldn’t think so. If anything becoming too reliant on the “now” might distract from the future, which is where you need to focus.

Commercial awareness

‘Commercial awareness’ is a term thrown around a lot in the fashion retail industry so much that it probably has become difficult to define. It is a concept that can be interpreted many ways but ultimately boils down to knowing what factors out in the market will impact your customer and business.

The most obvious one is keeping a close eye on your competitors. Staying aware of their offer, pricing, trading activity and branding will ensure you don’t lag behind, or better yet keep out in front. It shouldn’t, however, stop there.

Economic and political trends influencing consumer confidence and spending power are key. You can’t get away with ignoring financial headlines even if new tax breaks and VAT aren’t the most stimulating of news stories. Beyond that, social trends can change buying patterns and perceptions. These are trickier to track but could be something like the rise of Instragram and selfie culture. How will this affect how much clothing someone buys?

Consider what films are coming out and how much that can influence a wanted look or item. One of the things I’ve always loved about retailing is that is an incredible barometer for what is going on with popular culture, economic indicators and even public sentiment. Being able to be truly commercially aware is both challenging and stimulating and should ultimately come naturally to those whose passions cross over all of the above mentioned areas.

A good product offer

I have yet to mention what is the heart and soul of any retailer, fashion or not –Product. Your product offer ultimately dictates the level of success each season and thinking otherwise is foolish. I am a firm believer in this, of course, and it is the more tangible way to get to the bottom of your results, as easily analysed.

Whether it be trend, colour, pricing, category or fabrication, pinpointing the best and worst each season can be easily translated into strategic lessons. I do believe that a great range is fundamentally down to knowing your customer. A great range is the output of a clear customer vision at the start; they are critically linked.

As a merchandiser I could go on forever about the right category balance, price architecture, margin structure, sourcing plan and stock model, all ingredients to driving the best results. That would be, however, far too prescriptive and ultimately trying to break down what I believe to be an art into a science. If there was a simple numerical formula for fashion success, surely the high street would be a different place.

First published on Ethical Fashion Forum.

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From normcore to chaos magic: the people behind fashion’s biggest buzzwords

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This month, the curious concept of normcore is celebrating its second birthday. That’s two years of North Face and Chaps, of wanging on about Larry David and your dad’s fleece, and of the many shades of navy, beige and blah now writ large in your wardrobe. We say celebrating, but in truth, the portmanteau of “normal” and “hardcore” that describes a certain unspecial, brandless, 1990s-referencing look has become a bit of a hate word. Partly because it’s seen an anti-trend, but partly because people have been dressing like this for years and it’s only since it was “adopted” by a new generation that it became a talking point.

The mixed reaction isn’t the fault of the US “trend forecasting” agency/art collective K-Hole, who started discussing the normcore concept (note: it was a concept, they say, not a fashion trend) at the Serpentine gallery two Octobers ago. After delivering their “report”, the word was gobbled up by the world’s media who duly turned it from a concept into a trend, particularly once New York magazine’s fashion blog, The Cut, applied it to fashion, defining normcore as “embracing sameness deliberately as a new way of being cool”. It inspired shoots, collections and multiple trend pieces by Vogue and us. No one really knew what it was, but they liked it. Even Gap attempted to reclaim the term months later, arguing they had been peddling plain stuff since the 1960s; it has since entered the dictionary and a Google search now throws up more than 700,000 results for the word.

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All of which K-Hole found rather amusing, says Greg Fong, one of its five founders, “because the fashion bit was a joke about our own style in 2012/13. There are different aspects to it but the style part, as in hashtag normcore, was based on what we wore – Nike Frees and Uniqlo. Someone asked us, if we had to meet Commes Des Garcons, what would we wear? And we said: Nikes and Uniqlo.” They maintain the trend “came out of nowhere – it wasn’t linked to any data research”, but that it probably did contribute to the rise of fashion journalists “copying and pasting” trends they see on the internet.

K-Hole are five under-30 creative types with backgrounds in art and literature, originally based in New York. Having first met at college, they formed K-Hole in 2009/10, and now meet regularly in their old studio in Chinatown in New York, or at one of their houses on Tuesday nights to discuss ideas. The name K-Hole means what you think. When they came up with the name, they hadn’t tried ketamine but liked referencing the idea of “framing a dissociative state”.

Although they call themselves trend forecasters on their site, in person they refer to themselves an ‘art collective’. Their aim is not to predict trends, though. Rather, it’s to investigate the relationship between art and commerce, based on things happening in their lives right now, and turn their thoughts into reports. Of course this is all catnip to corporations who are trying to figure out what the cool kids are doing and, yes, they do some consultancy on the side.

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Mary Katrantzou’s ‘chaos magic’ spring/summer 2016 catwalk show. Photograph: Guillaume Roujas / NOWFASHION/Guillaume Roujas / NOWFASHION

Like all their ideas, normcore came from what they were thinking and doing at the time: “Our point of view comes from the five of us. We’re all different, we’re all under 30, at the time we all lived in New York – we weren’t, and aren’t, celebrating ourselves but you can never escape your own subjectivity.” They talk about “acting basic … which is about preserving your anonymity, wearing something expensive that didn’t look expensive” and the idea of fitting in: “There was a time when you were born into a community and you were trying to find individuality. Then it became the reverse.”

 

And now, two years later, the group are discussing another concept, chaos magic, via one of their reports, A Report on Doubt. Chaos magic is not a reaction against normcore per se. But, on some level, it is a reaction to the way the media spins arbitrary observations into trends: “Since the normcore phenomenon, K-Hole’s relationship with ‘branding’ has changed,” says Fong, suggesting they’ve stepped away from trends in general. In their report, they talk about normcore’s genericide, a portmanteau of generic and suicide – when something successful goes viral and self-destructs – which is arguably what happened with normcore.

So what is chaos magic? Fong explains: “It is the idea that magic could exist if you could hack your own brain and believe in an alternative,” he says. Think “positive thinking”, free will and “experimentation”. The report mentions Harry Potter and the idea of ‘mixing your own Kool-Aid, deciding how strong to make it, knowing when to drink it and when to stop’. Fong adds: “It’s actually a cultural laden philosophy that has been around for 30/40 years”, adds Fong, “not a new trend.” Either way, it couldn’t be more different to normcore.

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Models on the Maison Margiela catwalk. Photograph: Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images

It’s tricky to get your head round it, and naturally the internet is already mocking both the trend and K-Hole. But perhaps there’s something to it? In style parlance, there seems to be, and Eva Wiseman’s article in the Observer is a good starting point – she mentions slogans with meaning, stars-on-stuff and “magical” BB creams. It’s also on the spring summer 2016 catwalks, on Mary Katrantzou, Jacquemus and JW Anderson, suggesting some forecasting was at play. “But we are still very cynical about what a trend is,” adds Fong. “We try to look at what interests us so it feels real.”

If that sounds a bit loopy, it’s worth looking at their defence of normcore. Fong says they came up with the idea when society was “in a cultural state where power and status came from being ‘different’ but because of the internet, your ability to hold on to individuality, well, that gap was always closing. Being extreme didn’t mean as much, and you could easily be usurped by something newer, something more individual.” In hindsight, looking at the way fashion routinely attempts to promote individuality, it does ring true. To actively blend in was the next frontier of fashion; looking like Seinfeld was merely a byproduct.

As to whether chaos magic will take on the normcore baton, who knows. Quoting another K-Hole colleague, Fong says: “We don’t care what brands do with it and luckily so far, no one has asked us to do anything. Thank God.”

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Zimbabwean designer to showcase at Liverpool Fashion Week

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UNITED KINGDOM-based designer Petronella Tayamika Mahachi, will next month participate at the prestigious Liverpool Fashion Week (LFW) scheduled for October 13.

The designer, who prefers to be called Taya, which doubles as her brand name, said she felt introducing herself on the Liverpool scene, while still embracing her background by showcasing an African-inspired collection, would help her assert herself in the cut-throat industry.

She said although the platform is normally for big and well-known English designs, she also believed her designs are made for women that embrace individuality.
taya

“I felt the need to introduce myself locally, while still embracing my background by showcasing an African-inspired collection. I also believe that my designs are made for women that embrace individuality regardless of ethnicity, colour or race,” she said recently from her Liverpool base.

“I am really excited about being a part of Liverpool Fashion Week this year. LFW typically showcases big local brands and well-known local designers but also gives unknown designers a platform.”

Taya said she was inspired by the way Zimbabwean designers were using social media to create their own success by marketing themselves and getting results without the need of an expensive website or marketing campaign.

“I know about a few designers in Zimbabwe. I have a fashion blog www.afroccentric.com and have interviewed some of them. There is so much talent in Zimbabwe, but not enough opportunities, resources and respect locally,’ she said.

Born in Harare to a Malawian father and Zimbabwean mother, Taya attended Martindale Primary School before enrolling at Regina Mundi and subsequently left the country 16 years ago.

Having always loved fashion from a tender age, her story is typical in that growing up in Zimbabwe she was encouraged to take up academic studies as fashion design was not seen as a career choice.

As a result, she relegated it to a hobby and pursued a career in accountancy instead. But as is always the case with a love lost re-tracing its steps, she found herself back in fashion design.

“I then started a business as a make-up artiste and beauty consultant, needless to say one thing led to another and I found myself pursuing a career in fashion five years ago,” she said.

“I have a love of prints and experimented with different prints and patterns, before falling in love with African prints. I love how versatile the fabric is, I use it not only to make clothes, but to make accessories as well. I love to embrace my cultural heritage, African prints are my starting point and there is so much more I still need to explore in terms of African craftsmanship and techniques.”

She said she sees her designs as a form of self-expression and a blend of cultures and is passionate about making African inspired fascinators.

“I see them as my form of self-expression. African headwear can be traced back to the 15th century, while fascinators can be traced back to the 19th century. I blend African with Western styles to create an African-inspired fascinator,” said Taya.

“I chose African prints for my debut collection as a way of embracing who I am and my background. I will be showcasing my debut collection at Liverpool Fashion Week on October 13. I have some charity fashion shows lined up for 2016 and I am looking forward to showcasing a collection at Mercedes Benz Fashion Week in South Africa.”
Taya described the Zimbabwe fashion industry as a “blank canvass” and said she would take up an opportunity to showcase at a local fashion show.

She said it was pivotal for locals to appreciate the works of local designers.

“There is so much talent in our country but I feel at the moment there are a few issues that need to be addressed.It is important that designers are exposed to a local and international platform. It is also important there are international buyers at fashion events, which also means that there has to be quality control in every process of the garment manufacturing process to meet international standards,” she said.

She challenged authorities to revive the textile and garment manufacturing industry so that designers do not have to flock to other countries for cheaper fabric.

“I would love to see ‘The Made in ZW’ brand on all our mass produced textiles and clothes,” she said.

First posted on The Standard BY SILENCE CHARUMBIRA

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Trade Expo Webinar

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Here is an opportunity to attend a trade show from where ever you are. This a sourcing expo that you can register to attend online. A great way to connect and have an insight on supply chains, production etc.Continue reading

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H&M Is Offering $1 Million Prize For New Recycled Clothing Ideas

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STOCKHOLM (Reuters) – Hennes & Mauritz, the world’s second-biggest fashion retailer, is launching a new effort to promote recycling as it seeks to cut its environmental impact, boost its ethical credentials and address looming shortages of raw materials.

The move comes as critics point out the damage being caused by a throwaway culture fueled by cheap clothing that has seen a sharp rise in the number of garments sold annually around the world.

Sweden’s H&M, which is launching a line of jeans containing recycled cotton next week, will offer an annual 1-million-euro ($1.16 million) prize for new techniques to recycle clothes, Chief Executive Karl-Johan Persson told Reuters.

“No company, fast-fashion or not, can continue exactly like today,” Persson said. “The (prize’s) largest potential lies with finding new technology that means we can recycle the fibers with unchanged quality.”

As population pressure mounts, retailers like H&M are concerned about potential future shortages of cotton, which is heavily water and pesticide dependent.

Existing cotton recycling methods make poor-quality fibers, and there is no efficient way to recycle garments of mixed materials, so the vast majority of clothes end up in land fill.

Johan Rockstrom, environmental science professor at Stockholm University and a jury member for the H&M prize, said the fashion industry needs to find new business models to respond to global resource shortages.

“This is a great challenge for H&M whose trademark is cheap clothes at good quality … The fact it’s cheap means there’s a risk people buy and throw away, or buy too much,” he said.

H&M revenues have more than doubled since 2006, reaching 151 billion Swedish crowns ($18.3 billion) in the year to last November, making it the second biggest fashion retailer after Spain’s Inditex.

The award is being launched by a foundation established by H&M that is funded by the retailer and the Persson family, its main owners.

INNOVATION

Bernstein analyst Anne-Charlotte Windal said the industry’s sustainability drive reflected the dilemma facing “fast-fashion” companies that constantly churn out new styles.

“The model only works if they encourage very frequent purchases, but the consumers are aware of the increasing effect it has on the environment,” she said.

Other companies are coming up with their own solutions.

Mud Jeans is a Dutch company which leases its garments to consumers and then offers them a replacement each year, repairing and reselling the used ones or recycling the fabric.

“This is the future: producers that are responsible for their own waste,” said Chief Executive Bert van Son.

“Our company can do this because we are quite small: that it is why we can do these kinds of crazy things because we can keep cotton pure. If you are a big store chain it is very complicated if you mix cotton and polyester.”

H&M joined forces earlier this year with Puma-owner Kering to support start-up Worn Again which is developing a technology for separating and extracting fibers in mixed-material garments.

Meanwhile, a company called Re:newcell is developing a method to improve the quality of recycled cotton fibers and hopes to build a first factory in coming years.

Currently, only about a maximum of 20 percent of recycled cotton can be used in a new pair of jeans because the fiber length is shortened in the shredding process, impacting quality, H&M says.

H&M and Kering are not alone in beating the recycling drum. Like H&M, Britain’s Marks & Spencer and Italy’s Calzedonia collects used items in their stores for recycling.

On a much smaller scale, Finnish entrepreneurs Pure Waste Textiles have managed to produce sweat shirts from 100 percent recycled cotton after improving existing recycling techniques and by recycling offcuts from clothes factories.

However, others believe that recycling is just a distraction from the real challenge of the fashion industry: persuading customers to keep wearing their clothes for longer.

To that end, British designer Tom Cridland is offering a 30-year guarantee on a range of T-shirts.

“I don’t believe it is fair on customers to churn out plain white T-shirts that will only last a year or two,” he said. “I can’t compete on price so I have to do something different.”

 

(Additional reporting by Emma Thomasson in Berlin; Editing by Pravin Char and Keith Weir)

First published on the Huffington Post Website

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