All posts filed under: Fashion

Fashion and Fake News

It started with politics – a term coined by Donald Trump when he aggressively responded to questioning by CNN Journalist, Jim Acosta. It was his premier press conference as President-elect. “You are fake news!” Similarly, this catchphrase was used to retrospectively describe the claim by the UK Independence Party that a vote to leave the EU would result in £350 million worth of net savings a week. Allegedly, this instead could have been directed towards funding domestic institutions, namely the NHS. Bending the truth, embellishing the truth, a white lie, and lying by omission are all tactics that have long been endorsed in political warfare. They’re employed to influence the vote of the public in favour of a particular party, while damaging others. When I first learnt about such broadcasts on TV, radio and print media, in history lessons at school, we called it propaganda. But since then, the concept is no longer confined to the realms of electioneering. Fake News has become some sort of phenomenon, applicable to other areas including fashion. The purpose …

So, what’s the deal with fashion and cultural appropriation?

Over the last few months, the term ‘cultural appropriation’ has appeared increasingly more often on my Instagram, Twitter and Facebook feeds. They accompany other words and images that convey an incredibly strong sentiment of rage. The people behind these posts are angry. But some of their followers or ‘friends’ just don’t get what they’re going on about exactly. “I hear it has something to do with race”. “What’s wrong with wearing a bindi or liking a pic of a girl with her hair in braids?” Now, on the surface these types of comments and questions are not necessarily ill-willed. However, they do show that this issue of cultural appropriation needs clarifying. Here, I attempt to demystify and explain. The fashion industry could not survive without diversity. For centuries, it has been common practice for designers to borrow elements of style, whether it be the use of colour, patterns and motifs, embellishments, the way a piece of apparel is cut or accessorised, from a variety of different countries and cultures across the world. A mix and …

Made in Transylvania 

Earlier this week it was unveiled that Louis Vuitton “Made in Italy” branded shoes are in fact, the products of a little town in the region of Transylvania in Romania – Famed for vampire mythology, it’s not quite the setting for luxury craftsmanship we had in our minds. For a wealthy, fashion enthusiast, the picture of a highly skilled, Venetian shoe-maker expending hours of work on fine detailing in an Italian atelier would merit a premium price tag for a pair of designer shoes. It’s not rare to see LV footwear selling anywhere between £500 and £1,200, depending on the style and type. Yet instead, literally more than one thousand miles away from where their labels would suggest, Louis Vuitton heels, boots, sandals and sneakers are being mass produced in a low wage, third world country before only the soles are fitted in Italy. Perhaps selfishly, the news feels disappointing. As an aspiring owner, my initial thoughts sprung to that of deception. Italians are known for leather, and China and the Middle East, beautifully embroidered silks. …

Why are the fashion and beauty industries so obsessed with age?

It’s the morning of my 24th birthday. I should have woken up feeling excited by the prospects of celebration, gifts and attention. But instead, I’m overtaken by a sense of dread and I’d even go so far as to say disgust and shame. One year left to go before hitting the big two five and losing my young person status. No more young person’s railcard, graduate bank account or ability to tick the 18-24 year old box on random surveys where I could indicate that my views belonged to someone who was barely an adult. I was soon to be an OAP and declared that next year on my birthday and every subsequent anniversary thereafter, I was going to have to lie about my age. Ridiculous, I know. But it wasn’t just about the concessions if at all. It was more the embarrassment that I hadn’t achieved what I would have expected to by now in my professional or personal life. No promotion, no house, no man, and with that no babies in the near …

Resort wear: Battle of the brands

For many years, February and September have held the most anticipated bi-annual events on the fashion calendar – Fashion Week. The occasions give hundreds of esteemed designers a platform to showcase two collections a year, spring/summer and autumn/winter, in fashion capitals, New York, London, Paris or Milan. But recent trends show a growing focus on a month in between, May, when a subset of megabrands push the boat out even more to present their inter-seasonal resort wear line, also known as a cruise collection. Resort wear is designed with elite holidaymakers in mind, luxuriating on a cruise somewhere sunny. And the shows are becoming increasingly extravagant. Fashion powerhouses like Chanel, Dior and Vuitton contend for the most engaging and unique audience experience. The location from which their productions are staged carry huge importance and are considered as crucial as celebrity presence and the garments themselves to command the attention of the press and generate social media buzz. DIOR Dior’s cruise show was held in Santa Monica in the desert mountains on the outskirts of LA. …

Since when did fashion get so political?

For decades, fashion journalists have been chronicling the outfits of First Ladies, Prime Minister’s wives and the royals.  They track their sartorial strategies on the global stage of international politics and diplomacy. On their visits to foreign lands, do they respect the host country’s dress customs and norms? Do they choose to wear a designer from that country? Or do they stand patriotic and wear a home-grown brand? And what does it even matter? Fashion is an extremely powerful means of non-verbal communication. World Leaders and associates can use clothing as much as speech and action to shape the public’s perception of their values, their belief system and their policies. Attire that references and celebrates in someway our identities in particular, influences our judgment of that political figure, sending us cues that subconsciously inform our opinion of what they stand for. When Melania Trump recently wore a black, lace, knee-length dress on an overseas trip to the Vatican, she showed recognition and respect for the Pope and Catholic tradition. Before the Trump election, throughout the …

Don’t miss Balenciaga: Shaping Fashion

The highly anticipated exhibition, Balenciaga: Shaping Fashion, is now open at the V&A Museum. It celebrates a hundred years since the opening of the brand’s first ever fashion house as well as its lasting influence on today’s style. The presentation is divided by three themes; front of house, workrooms and legacy. On display are a mixture of apparel, sketches, photography and videos. There are also x-rays which interestingly illustrate the internal compositions of what was once considered radical clothing given their avant-garde construction – The sack dress, tunic, baby doll dress and shift dress all have Cristóbal Balenciaga at their origin. The brand’s founder was experimental. He was known for playing with proportion and volume, often creating new shapes which de-emphasised the waist in contrast to the traditional hourglass silhouette that had historically dominated a woman’s wardrobe. His innovative approach to fashion earned him great respect and admiration from his peers. Coco Chanel described Balenciaga as the “Master of haute couture”. Hubert de Givenchy praisingly said, “I don’t think even the Bible has taught me as …

From selfie to self-expression

In September 2015, Dolce and Gabbana became the first major fashion house to incorporate the selfie into the runway. Their Italian village-inspired collection at Milan’s Fashion week was filled with floral prints, harvest-themed colours, ceramic patterns, and postcard imagery of landmarks and landscapes, featuring the mobile phone. Several, in fact. As each model strutted down the runway, they would take a selfie. Their photographs were then instantaneously projected onto large screens around the venue and uploaded to the brand’s social media channels. The result was an unprecedented amount of audience participation and interaction through likes, comments and shares, attracting huge press coverage and sales. A year prior, a lesser-known Kenneth Cole had used Instagram and Vine for his spring collection, ‘Content creators’. A playful then 21-year old, Cara Delevingne, had also live-streamed herself as she pouted and pulled funny faces marching down the catwalk at the Giles Deacon show. Once shy of engaging the market through digital means, luxury fashion was starting to understand and embrace the penchant of the new era to capture and …

The Met Ball: The first Monday in May

The first Monday in May sets the date for the annual Costume Gala at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, commonly shortened to The Met Ball or Met Gala. It is also the name of an intimate and insightful film that closely follows curator, Andrew Bolton, from initial conception to the development and execution of the 2015 Met Ball themed ‘China: Through the looking glass’. The gala has become an extremely coveted event. Since the arrival of Anna Wintour, American Vogue Editor-in-Chief as it’s Chair, the benefit has grown immensely in scale. Attended by celebrities, designers and other household names from the fashion world, politics and business, the proceeds are often so large they finance the entire operational budget per annum for the Institute alone, raising funds in excess of tens of billions. The starting price for an individual ticket is $30,000 and a table almost 10-fold at 275K. The theme of the Met Ball rotates each year. 2017 paid tribute to Rei Kawakubo of Comme des Garçons and the concept of ‘the art of in-between’ contrasting past …