Fashion


1
11 January 2021

A Requiem for the Fashion Industry - Part One

Of all the things you wake up worrying about, I am sure that the imminent death of the fashion industry is not even among the first ten. And yet, we as avid consumers of fashion are at least partially responsible for its death. We do have some blood—er, buttons—on our hands. We owe it to this fallen comrade (now plunging like its beloved necklines) to at least take the time to understand what happened.

There are some who blame the pandemic for fashion’s demise, but in all honesty, the industry has been acting like an insecure teenager for years. It has been pushed over the edge by nefarious, self-serving bullies long before we got hit by the pandemic. Who are the culprits?

1. Fashion Education

The Business of Fashion asks the pertinent question, “Is fashion education selling a false dream?” It seems that a combination of Project Runway success and the democratization brought by social media has resulted in an enormous growth of demand for fashion education. As Sara Kozlowsky, Director of Education and Professional Development at the CFDA, says “In some cases institutions have experienced enrollment increases tripling student populations.” The result? There are thousands and thousands of designers that leave the schools every year and never find a job or are “unhappy with only making what sells” as one graduate says. Schools teach designers to be head designers and disruptors, but in reality most end up creating only safe, pragmatic stuff that sells. And that’s the best case scenario.

2. Designers who are recycling old ideas

That’s not quite an original idea of my own. I am referencing Li Edelkoort here, a Dutch trend forecaster and absolutely fascinating lady, who doesn’t seem afraid to serve uncomfortable truths to the industry she loves. According to her, “newness is a thing of the past,” and most designers are “simply making more and more ‘garments’ to finally conclude ‘With this lack of conceptual innovation, the world is losing the idea of fashion.’” There is a long explanation as to why designers—pushed by unreasonable deadlines—have given up on being creative and went on to just “create garments” but I am leaving that for another article.

3. The industry that let marketing take control of the creative process

According to Ms Edelkoort, “It is, without doubt, the perversion of marketing that ultimately has helped kill the fashion industries. Initially invented to be a science, blending forecasting talent with market results to anchor strategies for the future, it has gradually become a network of fearful guardians of brands, slaves to financial institutions and hostages of shareholder interests, a group that long ago lost the autonomy to direct change.” She continues, “Marketing has taken over power within the major companies and is manipulating creation, production,
presentation and sales.” Why did the industry put the cart before the horse? I would venture to say that an industry that should be driven by creativity has become strictly a money making machine… with little to no interest in creativity whatsoever.

4. And… Anna Wintour

Yes, you read that right. I blame the soulless fashion queen for the demise of fashion. Some love her and describe “her genius,” which according to designer Marc Jacobs, is “picking people very astutely, whether in politics, movies, sports, or fashion.” Some stopped liking her, like André Leon Talley who says she inflicted “huge emotional scarring” on many. I am with Talley here, because I do believe him when he says that she “was never really passionate about clothes”, and that she cared only about power (her own!). In her 30 year reign of Vogue, she single-handedly decided what we should wear and how. She handpicked and promoted designers that defined a decade of fashion: Alexander Wang, Derek Lam, Zac Posen, and Proenza Schouler. An ultimate dealmaker, she used her influence to exercise her power. When Michael Kors went bankrupt in the 90s, she waved her magic wand and found investors. She is credited for creating the Fashion Night Out and the Met Gala.

Do you know what all these accomplishments have in common? Proenza Schouler has gone from one investor to another and ended up with a firm that specializes in distressed investments. Last year, Derek Lam shut down his high-end line and Zac Posen went out of business. Fashion Night Out was cancelled and so was the Met Gala. It seems Ms. Wintour can do no wrong though as of this past December she got yet another promotion, shortly after acknowledging “hurtful mistakes” and for the treatment of Black talent at Vogue. I guess we wouldn’t be having this “conversation” if the industry was half as resilient as Ms Wintour.

Image credit: Debby Wong via Shutterstock, 80’s Child via Shutterstock



Posted by Mirela Gluck at 06:12 AM
A FASHION , Fashion News |


0
17 June 2019
Staying In or Going Out? Either way, Estee Lauder Wants to Spend the Night with You.

Estee Lauder has unveiled Thursday on their website a new holistic platform named for now "The Night Is Yours".  In an interview offered to WWD, the brand shared information about the new platform, and their newest product called  “New Advanced Night Repair Intense Reset Concentrate”.

The platform was designed to bring education and fire up lively conversations on the subject of “restorative power of night” and its organized in two sections, "Staying In" and "Going Out".

As a brand with a long history and expertise in night regimens, Estee Lauder will certainly have much to offer.



Posted by Mirela Gluck at 01:00 AM
A FASHION , A SHOPPING , Fashion News , News: Fashion, Beauty and Retail , Shopping News |


1
9 April 2019

 

I love the idea of spring cleaning. Back in Romania we frantically scrubbed every corner of the house, hauled heavy rugs outside to be aired, and spread generous amounts of lavender in closets and dresser drawers.

But I don’t remember throwing clothes away.

It’s true we had a more permanent relationship with our clothes, probably born out of necessity–communism has its share of problems, but consumerism isn’t one of them. Perhaps this is why the KonMari method never quite resonated for me. But for all you KonMari fans out there, take a moment to consider these seven facts before embarking on your next purging ceremony.

– Due to the popularity of Tidying Up With Marie Kondo, thrift shops and donation centers are having trouble keeping up. Treehugger reports that Goodwills in the D.C. area saw a sixty-
six percent increase over last year. Do you really want to add to their problem?

– Your well-intentioned donations may hurt the environment more than help it. Only 0.1 percent of the clothes we donate are recycled into new textile fibre. A large percentage of the rest end up in methane producing landfills or toxic gas emitting incinerators.

– Fashion trends have a way of coming back. Don’t throw your clothes away just because they are not trendy anymore. Remember, even fanny packs and mommy jeans have found their way back on the runway.

I get the appeal of Marie Kondo’s spark joy method. It’s simple to follow and validates our need for joy. But I’m inclined to take a less aggressive approach.

– I get the appeal of Marie Kondo’s spark joy method. It’s simple to follow and validates our need for joy. But I’m inclined to take a less aggressive approach. I assess my wardrobe at the beginning of each season. I hold on to pieces that fit my lifestyle and current trends, and I part with pieces that are damaged, that I’m not comfortable wearing, or no longer fit my body. The difference? I make sure I have the things I need, even if they don’t spark joy, so I avoid wasting more money. Also, I avoid feeling guilty about past spending.

– You’ve probably read stories about bloggers who make $29,000 selling their closet. I don’t know what they had in their closet, but recently a second-hand shop offered me less than fifteen percent of the market suggested retail price of some nearly new items.

– I don’t know about you, but an empty closet is just another excuse to go shopping. After that first dopamine rush caused by the newly organized closet I’d look to replace the things I got rid of.

If you want to save money, declutter your closet, and save the planet, shop with restraint. It might not be as easy as buying with impunity and purging, but it’s more cost-effective, less wasteful and better for the environment.



Posted by Mirela Gluck at 12:00 PM
A SHOPPING , Insights , Our Views and Opinions , Shopping News , Shopping Trends , Tips Guides , Trends |


0
21 January 2019

YES! RECYCLE YOUR CLOTHES, BUT WHERE?

If you spent your weekend bingeing on Netflix’s Tidying Up with Marie Kondo, you’re in good company. The KonMari method of organizing and purging has struck a chord world over, garnering a huge following. But what’s to be done with all the clothes that don’t spark joy?

Hopefully you’ll choose to discard the unwanted clothing in a responsible way.  That means not putting your clothes in garbage and choosing their next home carefully—or, as  Gwyneth might say, consciously uncoupling with them.

If you’re doubting how important this is, here are some sobering statistics to convince you.

  • Americans now buy five times the number of garments they bought in the nineteen-eighties, and that number is growing
  • The United States produces fifteen billion pounds of textile waste a year
  • The Council of Textile Recycling reports that only fifteen percent of those billions get recycled
  • clothing, which does not disintegrate easily, makes up six percent of landfill waste  
  • until an item fully disintegrates, it produces toxins and disburses them into the atmosphere,  to wit:
    • Rubber-Boot Soles take fifty-eighty years to disintegrate
    • Leather shoes take twenty-five to forty years
    • Wool Clothing takes one to five years

 

Assuming I’ve done my job convincing you of recycling’s importance (I’ve done my job convincing you, right?) the next step is figuring out what to do with these items of clothing. Giving them as hand-me-downs to a friend or relative is always a good option. Upcycling them into new pieces of clothing, quilts, bunting, table clothes or artwork is a wonderful approach.

Donating them is also a great strategy, provided you educate yourself.

Logistics play a big part here. Not everyone has a car or frankly a parking lot or garage here, so convenience is important. While there are no curbside textile recycling programs in New York City, refashionNYC, a program launched by the Bloomberg administration in 2011, offers free donation bins to residential buildings. RefashionNYC works in collaboration with the NYC department of sanitation and the non-profit organization, Housing Works. I haven’t seen too many of those out in the wild, so if you know of any, please let me know.

Another non-profit organization, GrowNYC hosts daily Stop’N’Swap events throughout the city, and, in collaboration with the for-profit Wearable Collections, organizes drop-off opportunities at different Greenmarket locations.

Americans now buy five times the number of garments they bought in the nineteen-eighties

You’ll also want to research whatever organization you choose to donate to. We tend to assume that organizations that take these donations will sell them and donate the proceeds to charities, but it’s not that simple

Non-profit entities like Goodwill and the Salvation Army only sell in their stores twenty percent of the items received from donations. Another portion is sold through Goodwill outlets and auctions and what is left, about fifty percent, is sent to for-profit textile recycling organizations.

According to S.M.A.R.T., the organization that represents the interests of secondary materials and recycled textiles, only half of the items received are recycled. About thirty percent of them get cut into rags for industrial use, and twenty percent are processed into a soft fiber for filling furniture, home insulation and car sound-proofing. The destination of the other fifty percent isn’t well publicized. The uncomfortable truth is that at high costs to the environment they make their way across the ocean to East African or Eastern European countries to be sold for a profit, and in effect undermining those developing economies.

There’s a lot to consider when it comes to getting rid of unwanted clothes, and no quick answers. Thinking twice before making another purchase could be the best route to take.  Shopping at sample sales is a great way to give clothes a second chance. Sharing this type of information with others will also help.

Further complicating the issue of recycling is that the government, non-profit and for-profit companies are all vying for a sliver of your unwanted clothes, so it’s important to research what the different companies do with your donated clothes.



Posted by Staff Writer at 10:20 AM
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