Tag Archives: Fashion

Why Fashion Needs it’s Fourth Estate

Why Fashion Needs it’s Fourth Estate

Great commentary by Colin McDowell from The Business of Fashion about the importance of fashion criticism – how it has become lost as of late, and how creative and innovative design is compromised in the process.

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Letter From the Editor — Finding Fashion, East x West

An inquiry from a fellow fashion blogger sparked this next series of posts from I.F. Content Director, Kelly Sullivan (thanks again fashionablepostulations).

A fellow fashion theory junkie was asking about the fashion scene in California, and how fashion theory as a discipline is studied and structured in California academia. In answering this question, I realized how unique my position is (as a frequent traveller between the coasts and writer of fashion in both areas) in being able to identify differences and make comparisons between fashion systems on either side of the country.
 
Over the next few weeks I will be discussing and analyzing fashion enterprises located in various parts of the U.S. coastline including: Northern California, Southern California, The Greater Boston Area, and Manhattan. Starting with the places I’ve lived and moving to the ones I’ve only visited. If you have any specific questions you wish for me to address, please me sure to contact me. I am going to start with Northern California, since this is my current location (for the next 4 days that is).
 
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Northern California is paradise; I dare you to find any current or past resident that would say otherwise. Between the valley, the mountains, and the bay area, all geographic typographies are within driving distance. This might be why there is an air and attitude in Nor Cal of quaint familiarity and unspoken kinship that I have yet to find anywhere else. Getting a genuine smile from a passerby on the street is not out of the ordinary, nor is striking up the occasional conversation with a stranger waiting in line at the organic farm stand. Those happy California cows we are always hearing about can be found roaming free range in the vast rolling hills of Nor Cal, spending their days in the fresh outdoors, eating hearty grass and occasionally getting into the road causing a minor back up along the gorgeous, winding Highway 1 that runs along the Pacific sea coast.
 
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The people are laid back and use silly slang like “hella” and “jenky” and enjoy a 4:20 culture that is vibrant, booming, and unabashed. The superficial feel that is often found in high profile fashion cities is nonexistent in Nor Cal. In fact, instead of focusing on exclusivity and a “trickle-down” approach to fashion (the idea that the “fashion elite”, celebrities, fashion houses, designers, and style icons introduce fashions to society which are then adopted by the masses), the Northern California fashion system is more interested in benefitting the entire network – of which is defined at and compromised of not only those buying and interpreting fashion (i.e. the consumer), but also those designing it, selling it, as well as those producing it.
 
 
 
 
 
I truly admire the way this area thinks about, reflects on, and reacts to the consequences of fashion, from all perspective, and believe it should be looked to as a model for implementing positive and successful fashion systems. Stay tuned for a more magnified look into Northern California as I discuss and analyze this underrepresented, yet forward-thinking fashion area with a thicker lens.
 
Xo,
K
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“The importance of studying the body as a site for the deployment of discourses is well- established. By contrast, the study of dress has traditionally suffered from a lack of critical analysis. Fashion Theory takes as its starting point a definition of fashion as the cultural construction of the embodied identity. It provides an international and interdisciplinary forum for the analysis of cultural phenomena ranging from foot binding to fashion advertising. Fashion Theory provides a vital contribution to cultural studies, art, history, literary criticism, anthropology, fashion history, media studies, gender studies, folklore studies and sociology.” – Fashion Theory, Editor’s Introduction of the Journal, Valerie Steele, 1997

“The importance…

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First Ever Global Kids’ Fashion Week

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Today marked the end of the very first event of its kind, Global Kids’ Fashion Week, a two day affair held in Covent Garden, London.

GKFW showcased both emerging and well-known children’s wear designers, showcasing their designs in runway shows, performances, as well as a mix of kid-friendly activities.

The show was sponsored by AlexandAlexa.com, the “global style destination for kids”, believing that with the rapidly growing children’s wear markets, kid’s fashion is deserving of is own destination platform.

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It is encouraging to see a space dedicated to fashion segments outside of the “norm”, as fashion is still intricately linked to woman’s fashion in the minds of most. This fashion week along with the emergence of more menswear shows, show promise for the acceptance of more underground and out-of-the-ordinary styles. Maybe androgynous or queer fashion will start gaining ground in the fashion world?

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Transparency Tuesday

Business Transparency is extremely important to I.F. On Tuesday’s, I.F. will spotlight fashion businesses and/or organizations both large and small that are making innovative moves toward making the fashion industry a little less opaque.

Honest by.

honest by

Click me to visit honestby.com

THE HONEST BY PHILOSOPHY

“We believe Fashion is about beauty and that the story behind fashion can be equally beautiful.
We want to give our customer the opportunity to shop with complete awareness of what they are buying.
We want to produce all of our products in a life friendly way.
We believe in the health of our clients skin.
We want the impact of our products and activities on the environment and human health to be as small as possible.”

Honest by. is the ultimate transparent fashion business, giving customers absolutely all the information possible about their garments, from detailed material information:

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manufacturing details, carbon foot print, to an extensive break-down of the price calculation:

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Each and every detail concerning the production, manufacturing through to consumption of the products is considered, outlined, and analyzed in a sussinct and understandable manner. There is even advice provided for how to best dispose, post-consumption; “**For optimal decomposition: please remove all polyester garment labels and components before disposal. These are not biodegradable.

The business model of Honest by. is truly admirable, and frankly only really feasible with the current size of the business – which is being run out of Honest by. owner and designer, Bruno Pieters’ studio in Antwerp. What is even more admirable is the fact that when faced with the opportunity to expand, approached by large department stores to carry his line, Pieters declined. The stores refused to allow the display of the price calculation break-down to customers, and for Pieters, compromising this definitive aspect of the company wasn’t up for negotiation. We commend you, Bruno Pieter, choosing transparency over profit is so rare in companies these days.

Honest by. truly thinks about every single aspect that its business practices affect, as well as the consequences of those effects. Customers can truly feel their buying is honest and ethical when the purchase from Honest by., and for that we give Honest by. an A++.

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“For me fashion is an expression of art that is very close related to me and to my body. I see it as my expression of identity combined with desire, moods and cultural setting. In all my work I try to make clear that fashion is an artistic expression, showing and wearing art, and not just a functional and devoid of content or commercial tool. With my work I intend to show that fashion can certainly have an added value to the world, that it can be timeless and that its consumption can be less important then its beginning. Wearing clothing creates an exciting and imperative form of self-expression. ‘Form follows function’ is not a slogan with which I concur. On the contrary, I find that forms complement and change the body and thus the emotion. Movement, so essential to and in the body, is just as important in my work. By bringing form, structure and materials together in a new manner, I try to suggest and realize optimal tension and movement.” – Iris Van Herpen

“For me fashion…

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Wrapping up Fashion Week – Mistakes, Mishaps, and Marvels of 2013

Not your average fashion week gossip. 

  • Milan’s Misgivings
Backstage at Emilio Pucci RTW Fall 2013

Backstage at Emilio Pucci RTW Fall 2013

Milan’s Fashion Week was most notably the least patronized of the international fashion weeks in both designer showcasing and media attention:

Sometimes “less is more”, just isn’t the case

Compared to NY and London who showcase 10 (London) to 14 (NY) shows per day, Milan couldn’t possibly keep up. The MFW schedule only allows for a measly 2-3 shows per day. Ken Downing, fashion director of Neiman Marcus told WWD shortly after the conclusion of Milan Fashion Week, “They need to condense the calendar to put more shows within the course of the day, or they need to entice other designers to start showing here so that we’re filling this time in with collections that we should be looking at.” (BoF)

Competing with Oscar – If You Can’t Beat ’em, Join ’em

Milan Fashion Week happens to overlap with the fashion-centric red carpet galla that is the Oscars. Even though Hollywood stole most of the media attention away from Milan Fashion Week, the Italian designers managed to  bring the attention back to them without competing with the event;

A NYT article released shortly after this years Oscars revealed that 3 major Italian brands: Versace, Armani, and Valentino represented 75 of the 418 women archived in the NYT. Then there is the addition of all the men clad in Armani Suits. Itailian brands are aware that using the Oscars is a necessary marketing platform, especially since the limelight gets refocused on the event at a time when Italian designers should be headlining news.

  • Click is the new Clap

“Everyone is so busy updating their social media accounts during show finales, they no longer take the time to acknowledge the designers’ hard work.” –(BoF)

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Marc Jacobs New York Fashion Week Audience Sketch

With the addition of the app, Vine mere days before the launch of Fashion week, social media platforms that are so important to fashion brands reached an all-time high. Audience members were so enthralled with keeping up web appearances, that they fail to commend designers in real time, in real life.

No longer are the days when a designer can deduce success by the applaud at end of the show; the real success is in the virtual “shares” and “likes” among the online community.

  • Pretentious Paris

With the rise of young designer initiatives around the globe, experts have been discussing the reasoning behind the lack of support for young, up-and-coming French designers.

Educational Edifices

“In France, fashion is taught like an art,” Ms. Dufour,  longtime supporter of young designers in Paris, told BoF, “It’s been like that for a long time. In England and New York, every one knows it’s an industry. For twenty years or more we have had this problem of [poor] training. French fashion education has to change, they are still focused on the bourgeoisie.”

Haute Handicaps

The tradition of Haute-Couture in France seems to be undermining the ability of French designers to display their personality. French designers who have only shown haute couture are finding it difficult to relate to the wider scope of the fashion scene (most notably discussed was Maxime Simoens’ RTW collection at Paris Fashion Week).

Ms. Dufour says, “Haute Couture is a handicap. It’s a savoir faire, but no more than that. Point of view and personality is what we need [more of] in Paris.” (BoF)

  • Most talked-about shows

– Riccardo Tisci for Givenchy: “the strength of gypsies meets the romanticism of a Victorian feeling.”

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Riccardo Tisci for Givenchy

– Rick Owens for Chanel and Chanel’s “Globalisation” show

– Mary Katrantzou use of digital trickery

– Marc Jacobs scaled back, simple and elegant show for Louis Vuitton

– Hermès intimate show in the library of Lycée Henri IV

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What is Fashion Theory?

When I tell people what I do, it often takes quite a bit of explanation. I wanted to comment on what Fashion Theory is, and what it means to me.

The funny thing about fashion theory is that everyone has their own take on what it is, what it means to study and research it, and what words to use to describe it. As a matter of fact, even the words used so often in the field; fashion, style, dress, costume, are still debated in terms of what they are referencing.

Maybe the easiest way to talk about fashion theory is by looking at what it is not; it is not a history of clothing, it is not trend forecasting, it is not celebrity fashion, it is not haute-couture catwalks or rodeo drive, it is not fabric analysis, it is not fashion advertising, it is not any one of these things in particular, yet it is the common thread of study of, well, all these things and more in a way where we can deduce meaning about a society, culture, nation, or any group of people.

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Fashion theory scholars, apply concepts from a variety of disciplines; cultural studies, women and gender studies, anthropology, queer theory, feminist theory, sociology, social psychology, in order to take the seemingly monotonous act of dressing oneself everyday and apply it to study everything from the micro levels of identity and self concept to the macro level of power relations, and the hierarchy of social systems.

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