In the market for some vintage designer fashion with serious credentials? Supermodel Naomi Campbell is putting her fame to good use by selling clothes she has convinced her friends and various designers to donate for a good cause.

Campbell is opening a pop-up store at Westfield London where the clothes will be sold for one week from 28 November to 4 December. Proceeds from the sale will to go to raise awareness about the threat of Ebola via her Style for Relief Campaign.

This is the second pop-up store for Campbell at Westfield. She launched the first store in 2011 and raised 20,000 pounds at the time. "This year the store will be bigger and better, with hundreds of designer pieces on sale," says Myf Ryan, Westfield's director of marketing for the UK and Europe. "We have no doubt it will be a brilliant success."

LIVE: Alexander Wang x H&M launch

As fans across the world gear up for Alexander Wang x H&M, Yankeemagazines reports live from the collection debut in London.

3:45 pm

Now that most fashion fans have managed to get their hands on the Alexander Wang x H&M collection, Yankeemagazines closes this live blog.

2:45 pm

After the mad dash for the collection online earlier this morning, H&M has closed its web shop for 'maintenance'. The site is expected to be back up and running by 3 pm.

LIVE: Alexander Wang x H&M launch

2:20 pm

More happy customers share their experience shopping the Alexander Wang x H&M collection with fans around the world.

Despite H&M sizing typically running small, Alexander Wang is true to fit. No need to size up!

— Virginia Wong (@VirginiaWong)

1:45 pm

Almost all the womenswear collection for Alexander Wang x H&M is sold out, with only a few selected items left, such as the leather joggers.

Can't believe how fast the collection sold out

— Andrea (@andreainglisx)

1:20 pm

A scuba jacket from Alexander Wang x H&M for sale on eBay has received bids of over 100,000 pounds.

LIVE: Alexander Wang x H&M launch

12:30 pm

The queues outside Oxford Circus have come to an end as the last eager shoppers for the Alexander Wang x H&M collection exit the store.

LIVE: Alexander Wang x H&M launch

11:55 am

Even the packaging for the collection is admired by shoppers online.

LIVE: Alexander Wang x H&M launch

11:45 am

Yankeemagazines spotted some happy customers outside the Oxford Circus London store.
FU: I see you have a lot bags, did you find everything you were looking for?
Customer: "It was crazy busy, but I had several shopping baskets and took a lot of pieces off the rails where I could, then I edited it in the queue to the changing room."
FU: That's quite a strategy, what did you buy?
Customer: "I bought two parkas, as I know I will sell one on. I also bought a grey sweatshirt, the athletic one with the logo. I got the sport socks, glasses and some tops. My favourite are the boxing gloves. Someone left a pair by the changing room so I took them."
FU: You may be cursed for that! Can I ask how much you spent?
Customer: "Just over 500 pounds. But it's worth it."
FU: You got yourself a wardrobe, congrats.

LIVE: Alexander Wang x H&M launch

11:38 am

Back in the UK, disappointed shoppers lament not being able to get their hands on the collection in time.

LIVE: Alexander Wang x H&M launch

11:32 am

Across the Atlantic, Alexander Wang fans continue to line up outside H&M stores.

— Www.ShariStJones.com (@SS_Jones)

11:24 am

Alexander Wang has left the building. At least at Oxford Circus.

LIVE: Alexander Wang x H&M launch

11:15 am

Happy shoppers share their purchases online.

This is what I got up to this morning!! All

— Jeff Mehmet (@JAZZYJAF)

11:10 am

"There is only one drop of merchandise for the store," the floor manager informs Yankeemagazines next to the empty shelves. "This is an exclusive collection and it's really first come first serve."
FU: But surely it is not so exclusive with hundreds of stores selling the same pieces?
"It's exclusive for each major city as this is all we'll be getting for London. Other stores around the world will have their chance to sell the collaboration too, but once the products have sold, that's it."

11:05 am

After just over two hours, the Alexander Wang x H&M collection seems to be sold out across London, with some hopeful customers still looking to nail their chosen piece.

LIVE: Alexander Wang x H&M launch

11:01 am

The queue outside of H&M's Amsterdam flagship has come to an end, as the shopping craze draws to a close in the Dutch capital.

LIVE: Alexander Wang x H&M launch

10:52 am

For those willingly to pay the extra price for their perfect piece, sellers are now flooding eBay with auctions for soldout items from Alexander Wang x H&M collection, such as this leather backpack.

LIVE: Alexander Wang x H&M launch

10:52 am

SOLD OUT!!! One drop, one day, one chance only. The men's has sold out all but a few vest tops at 19.99 pounds and leather jackets at 199.99 pounds. The rest has gone, the shelves are empty.

LIVE: Alexander Wang x H&M launch

10:45 am

Online, some customers start to question the price range for the items leftover, such as this crocodile-textured jumpers, retailing for 180 pounds.

LIVE: Alexander Wang x H&M launch

10:45 am

Just spotted a die-hard with 6 bags. Think these will end up at eBay?

10:43 am

Nobody's shopping H&M's regular ranges.

LIVE: Alexander Wang x H&M launch

10:35 am

Inside the store the queues are continuing. Only those with pink wristbands are allowed on the top floor, where the women's and accessory collections are displayed.

LIVE: Alexander Wang x H&M launch

10:30 am

Men hoping to score something from the Alexander Wang x H&M collection in H&M's London stores are out luck it seems.

LIVE: Alexander Wang x H&M launch

10:27 am

Customers advise other Alexander Wang x H&M shoppers to try using H&M's app instead of their online store to complete their purchases.

LIVE: Alexander Wang x H&M launch

10:25 am

The sought-after scuba sweater for men is already sold out online.

LIVE: Alexander Wang x H&M launch

10:23 am

Journalists from all over the world are here in London to cover the launch.

LIVE: Alexander Wang x H&M launch

10:12 am

Queues across the country continue to vary, from Manchester to Stratford.

LIVE: Alexander Wang x H&M launch
LIVE: Alexander Wang x H&M launch

10:08 am

The menswear part of the collection appears to be in high demand in London, with the entire line selling out in 5 minutes.

LIVE: Alexander Wang x H&M launch

10:03 am

For some Alexander Wang lovers, just having a bag from the collection launch is more than enough.

LIVE: Alexander Wang x H&M launch

10:00 am

Apparently the last pair of boxing gloves has been sold at Oxford Circus. The store has only been open one hour and the queues are not moving.

LIVE: Alexander Wang x H&M launch

9:58 am

While chaos descends on H&M's stores throughout London, the H&M stand by Selfridges seems to be less packed, giving shoppers time to share their appreciation for the collection.

LIVE: Alexander Wang x H&M launch

9:55 am

Whilst some shoppers have been waiting in line for hours for the chance to get their hands on the coveted Alexander Wang x H&M collection, other shoppers snub the idea of waiting in the cold for the collection.

LIVE: Alexander Wang x H&M launch

9:50 am

One shopper manages to complete her online order before the collection is sold out.

LIVE: Alexander Wang x H&M launch

9:45 am

One shopper enquired if she could have the black & white stripe sweater off the mannequin #itsgoingfast.

LIVE: Alexander Wang x H&M launch

9:40 am

The men's rails stand empty in H&M's flagship store in Amsterdam, nearly all the menswear items for the Alexander Wang x H&M are sold out.

LIVE: Alexander Wang x H&M launch

9:35 am

UK customers continue to struggle to get onto H&M's website, with some desperate fans using multiple windows and devices in the hopes of making their purchase.

LIVE: Alexander Wang x H&M launch

9:30 am

We are speaking with the first customer who came out with a purchase, Jay from the US.

FU: Did you manage to find all the pieces you wanted?
Jay: "I had a strategy, I came with a friend and I went to the women's section for the accessories and he went to the men's."
FU: There appears to be a queue inside too?
Jay: "That's only for the men's. In the women's section I was given a wristband. I bought boxing gloves, a keychain, sunglasses and logo sweater. Hopefully my friend will get me a parka!"
FU: Was it worth queuing for?
Jay: "For me yes, I'm a huge fan of Alexander Wang and the styles are very cool and within my budget."

9:22 am

Shoppers happily share pictures of items they managed to get their hands on, such as Joey from London, who teases friends on Twitter with a photograph of his new shoes.

LIVE: Alexander Wang x H&M launch

9:20 am

The first customer has made it out of the Oxford Circus store in one piece with his purchase intact.

LIVE: Alexander Wang x H&M launch

9:18 am

Some lucky UK shoppers have managed to get onto H&M's website for the collection debut, only to be placed in a queue.

LIVE: Alexander Wang x H&M launch

9:15 am

H&M UK tweets out an apology for their site being down.

LIVE: Alexander Wang x H&M launch

9:14 am

The first customer tried to leave the store but his bags were beeping and security was on him asap.

LIVE: Alexander Wang x H&M launch

9:10 am

The first wave of shoppers is still inside and the queue continues to snake around Oxford Circus. Nobody is getting in.

9:05 am

The Oxford Circus store is already full. Security outside has stopped people from entering, to ensure foot traffic flows.

9:02 am

Some excitable fashion lovers are unable to contain their joy as the door open for the collection debut.

LIVE: Alexander Wang x H&M launch

9:01 am

The doors have opened! Alexander Wang x H&M is officially available.

9:00 am

H&M's website has already been overrun with visitors trying to get online to place their orders. Let's hope its up and running again soon.

LIVE: Alexander Wang x H&M launch

8:56 am

The music is pumping. The staff is getting ready for CRAZY shoppers!

LIVE: Alexander Wang x H&M launch

8:50 am

10 minutes to opening. Security is rife. Men in black everywhere. Better safe than sorry after last night's Guy Fawkes' demonstrations.

8:48 am

The doors of H&M's flagship store on the Dam, in Amsterdam have already opened for the waiting lines and staff are racing across the shop floor to make sure the collection is refilled as fast as possible. The next group is waiting outside for their turn to spend ten minutes shopping, whilst security reportedly were fighting to keep the crowds under control.

8:45 am

Surprisingly, the queue is 50 - 50 male/female. Shows Alexander Wang has a broad appeal.

8:35 am

Across the seas in New York City, the first eager fashion lovers have already set up camp in front of H&M.

LIVE: Alexander Wang x H&M launch

8:30 am

Everyone is hoping to snap up some affordable designer threads, but will they still be available by the time they get inside? The queue is quite insane, with logo'd coffee cups strewn everywhere, presumably handed out to those who came in the early hours.

LIVE: Alexander Wang x H&M launch

8:20 am

Not only has Alexander Wang fever taken over the citizens of London, but the fever has spread to Dublin as well as the lines continue to grow.

LIVE: Alexander Wang x H&M launch


This is the queue, growing by the nanosecond.

8:05 am

People waiting in the queues in London were given Alexander Wang x H&M foam hands while they wait.

LIVE: Alexander Wang x H&M launch

8:01 am

Girl in queue no 79: "I arrived at 6 this morning, but the people in front camped over night."

8:00 am

An estimated 300 people in the queue.

LIVE: Alexander Wang x H&M launch

7:55 am

Style lovers are out en force. Will this prove to be one of H&M's most successful collaborations?

7:45 am

Twitter fills up with tweets about the collection drop in London. Apart from massive queues forming infront of H&M's stores on Regent and Oxford Street, police vans were also present to control the hysteria.

LIVE: Alexander Wang x H&M launch

7:30 am

It's a crisp morning in London - cold, damp and with the promise of winter coming - but that hasn't stopped the fashionistas from setting their alarm clocks to queue for the launch of it's collaboration with Alexander Wang, which launches today. We are reporting live from the front lines.

6:00 am

eBay is already flooded with offers for several items from the Alexander Wang x H&M collection, including the logo jacquard tights for women and long sleeved t-shirt. A number of the items come for designer preview events around the world, as well as official H&M sales in Australia, however bidders beware! Some of the garments up for bid are being offered on pre-sale, with several sellers dashing to H&M stores today to ensure their auction is successful.

LIVE: Alexander Wang x H&M launch

5:30 am

Predictions: Despite warnings of a wet morning, H&M stores across London, Manchester, Birmingham and Edinburgh will open their doors to queues of eager fashion fans waiting for the chance to spend ten minutes shopping the Alexander Wang x H&M collection. Although the collection will unlikely attract the same volume of crowds as the designer collaboration line with Isabel Marant, its sportswear appeal combined with the celebrity boost given when Rihanna was spotted wearing the collection around town, will undoubtedly make it the most anticipated high street collection launch of the year.

5:00 am

One die hard fan has been queueing outside an H&M's store since 10:30 pm Tuesday night for the Alexander Wang x H&M collection launch in Singapore. Wayne Phua, claimed the 30 hour wait was worth the limited-edition Alexander Wang x H&M back pack and stool, selected items which will be given to the first 10 customers in line.

LIVE: Alexander Wang x H&M launch

4:00 am

H&M surprised Londoners earlier this week by setting up an enormous, interactive cube in St. Christopher's Place piazza in London. 'The Box of Wang,' features a giant clock counting down the time until the collection launch as well as a live tweet wall and a hidden wall covering ten items from the H&M x Alexander Wang collection. In order to see which garments were hiding in the box, visitors had to send a tweet including their location, with the hashtag #AWxHMreveal. Then once the tweet had been received, a panel would move to unveil one item from the collection.

LIVE: Alexander Wang x H&M launch

3:00 am

Not only will H&M be unveiling its tenth designer collaboration today, but the Swedish fashion chain will also launch its designer collaborations commemorative book tomorrow, entitled “The First Ten Years.” The book will feature never before seen images from the past collaborations, as well as ad campaigns, quotes and interviews with the celebrated designers. In honour of the book's launch, Stylight has complied a list of facts from all the designer collaborations which have hit H&M stores around the world.

STYLIGHT H&M InfographicImage by

2:00 am

Alexander Wang and Margareta van den Bosch H&M's creative adviser, join forces with a number of celebrities to kick off H&M x Alexander Wang Collection launch in Shanghai, China. Chris Lee and K-Pop group 2NE1 perform in LAN Wave, a industrial space located along the Huangpu River. “I am so excited to launch the Alexander Wang x H&M collection in Shanghai. I’ve been wanting to do something here, and this is the perfect occasion,” said the designer himself.

LIVE: Alexander Wang x H&M launch

1:00 am

Selected guests, like Ellie Goulding, enjoy an exclusive shopping event at H&M's flagship store on Regent Street in London the night before the launch to celebrate the debut Alexander Wang & H&M collection.

However for those shoppers not invited to the event, fret not! The chosen invitees were limited to purchasing one piece per style.

LIVE: Alexander Wang x H&M launch

00:00 am

H&M kicks off its tenth designer collaboration with New-York based designer Alexander Wang with this advertisement campaign, starring English footballer Andy Carroll and model Joan Smalls:

The designer stresses that his looks are to be worn “on the street, in the gym and at the club.”

Harvey Nichols seeks Injunction to Halt Anti-Fur Protests

British department store group Harvey Nichols is searching for an injunction from the High Court of England and Wales to restrict anti-fur campaigns occurring at its stores across the UK.

The high street department store group is said to be making a formal application to the High Court of England and Wales in London to stop the recent anti-fur campaigns that have been held at its stores by the Heartless Harvey Nichols (HHN).

The anti-fur organization, which has launched a national petition online against Harvey Nichols to convince them to stop selling fur, has supported walk in protests at three different stores over the past month. HHN argues that their protests have been peaceful and constitutional and that the injunction is “an attack on democratic freedoms.”

Harvey Nichols seeks court order to ban anti-fur protests

If approved, the injunction would ban any anti-fur protesters from coming within 50 meters of rs of any Harvey Nichols store in England and Wales, handing out leaflets and using megaphones or speakers to spread their message. The order could also prohibit any one who opposes the sale of fur from entering the department group stores.

“The order being sought by Harvey Nichols is a direct attack on those who oppose the sale of fur, which includes 95 percent of the public,” commented Luke Steele, a spokesperson for Heartless Harvey Nichols. “If granted, this injunction could result in those people being banned from entering high streets across the country and being prosecuted for entering their stores.”

“Harvey Nichols is currently facing increased pressure from the public to halt its sale of fur. Animals are gassed and electrocuted to produce the pelts on sale... HHN is a coalition of campaigners across the United Kingdom seeking an end to the sale of fur by Harvey Nichols,” he added.

HHN has reached out to Harvey Nichols in the past to try to discuss their reinstatement of fur sale in 2013, after the department group previously held a decade long no fur policy. In an email sent to HHN earlier this week, the department store group stresses that its fur is sourced “humanely and ethically and in line with the International Fur Trade Association’s Origin Assured programme and with adherence to international regulations.”

However HHN points out that there is no such thing as “humanely and ethically” sourced fur. “The standard practice for killing mink is to kill them by carbon monoxide poisoning in gas chambers. Foxes are killed through electrocution which causes heart attacks. Chinchillas are suffocated with chloroform and then strung up. Rabbits are knocked out before having their throats cut,” said the organization.

Harvey Nichols seeks Injunction to Halt Anti-Fur Protests

HHN added that they plan on fighting the order with their own lawyers. “We will not stop being a voice for animals on fur farms.” The organization is not the only voice speaking for animals on fur farms. Animal right's group Peta have also targeted Harvey Nichols for its sale of fur in the past, sending its Chief Executive Officer Stacey Cartwright requesting that she reinstates the department store's “long-standing and much-respected no-fur policy.”

“If Harvey Nichols is upset because the public is disgusted by the store's sale of the pelts of animals who have been trapped, drowned, gassed or electrocuted, it doesn't need to get an injunction – it needs to reinstate its fur-free policy,” said Mimi Bekhechi, Director at Peta UK.

Stella McCartney on Wednesday launched an exclusive range for Brazilian consumers at Sao Paulo Style Week, saying she was targeting a "cool and sexy" market. "For me, Brazilian women are cool and sexy I have to say, and they are definitely aware when it comes to fashion," the 43-year-old designer said.

"I think they're very much at the forefront of fashion," said McCartney, daughter of Beatles legend Paul, as she launched the apparel for C&A. She added she was driven by a desire to take a sustainable and responsible approach to her work -- values she said came from her parents. "I grew up in the countryside, on an organic farm, so I was very aware of the seasons of nature.

"So for me, when I went into fashion, I wanted to be responsible, and have a different take on luxury fashion, where I would not work with fur or leather," said McCartney, adding she wanted her collection to be affordable options for the buying public at large. "I try to approach what I do in fashion in a sustainable and a responsible way, so not only in the materials that I use, but the way that I source and manufacture my product," she said of a range priced between 35 and 150 US dollars and made from fabrics including cotton, viscose, lame and lace.

Working on collaborations such as her current one with the C&A chain meant "pausing fast-fashion, just slowing it down for a moment, so that the consumer who maybe can't afford our clothes can come and have a different experience with C&A." McCartney said she saw her range as "quite timeless, so it's fast-fashion -- but it's meeting luxury in a way that you will have these garments, I hope, in the way they're designed, in the way which we've sourced the highest (quality) materials we could with C&A.

"I think what we have done here is a good example of what we can do with fast fashion. I think they will last you longer than normal fast-fashion," said McCartney, adding she was "emotionally attached to everything I create." She told reporters fashion was "not just about luxury," hence her collaboration with a high street store. "I also worked with a lot of sustainable and environmentally friendly fabrics in this collaboration, so for me, it's about doing fast-fashion in a way that just slows it down a little bit," McCartney explained.

"C&A is an incredible brand. It's been really exciting as we've worked together once before. Much, but not all, of the collection is Brazil-made, with some items produced in Asia -- primarily China and India -- C&A vice president Paulo Correa said. Correa noted McCartney had launched an exclusive Brazil range in 2011 "and it was very successful." (AFP)

Forget smartphones and smart TVs, how about smart underwear?

What would we do without our smartphones? Over one billion will be purchased globally this year, according to the latest data from Euromonitor International. Small wonder, then, that many in the fashion industry are keen to grab a bigger piece of the “smart” action by developing their own lines of wearable technology, from smart socks to smart bras. The big question is whether smart fashion, like smartphones, has the potential to become part of the retail mainstream.

Clothes with attitude

The latest biometric technology means it is possible to turn our shirts, socks and bras into “wearable” smart devices that monitor heart rate, fitness, muscle performance and calorie intake. If that’s not enough, they can also warn us if we’re getting too stressed, eating the wrong food or not sleeping properly. And, yes, we can throw these smart garments into the washing machine along with the rest of our dirty laundry (just remember to unfasten the transmitter component).

The people behind Ralph Lauren’s Polo Tech shirt, which launched around the US Open tennis championships this year, believe that smart clothing will indeed become part of the retail mainstream. “Eventually it will just be part of your outfit. You won’t even think about it,” said David Lauren, the company’s executive vice president for advertising, marketing and corporate communications.

Ralph Lauren has become the highest-profile brand yet to make a foray into smart fashion. Its new smart polo shirt measures respiration, heart rate and stress levels – everything a budding Andy Murray needs to know about his fitness. However, like most smart clothing on the market, it has a narrow consumer base, comprising mainly gadget-hungry sports and fitness fanatics.

Other smart sportswear products on the market, visible mainly in online channels and specialist retailers, include socks with built-in sensors to tell you if you are running properly (Sensoria), bras that track your energy output (NuMetrex) and compression shorts that monitor how your muscles are performing (Athos). There are even dog collars that allow you to track the health and activity of the family pet.

Forget smartphones and smart TVs, how about smart underwear?

Smart competition

Sportswear is a huge market, of course. Last year, it generated global retail sales of 255 billion dollars, according to Euromonitor International. But, smart sportswear is ultra-niche, and pricey too (the technology does not come cheap, yet). The wider competitive problem for technology wielding sportswear is that there are vast numbers of mobile devices on the market – phones, watches and wristbands, especially – that effectively do the same job, and often with more functionality.

The new AIRO wristband, for example, can monitor your exercise routine, the quality of your sleep, your stress levels, heart rate and calorie intake. Its list of health and fitness indicators goes on. What’s more, you don’t have to throw it in the washing machine after each use. It begs the question: why would anyone buy a wardrobe of smart clothing when they can have the convenience of a single mobile device to do all their smart tasks?

Advocates of smart clothing will argue that fabric – by dint of the fact it is close to the chest (or feet, in the specific case of running) – will give a more accurate and complete reading of the body’s performance than anything you choose to wear on the wrist or carry in the hand.

Niggling doubts

There are other barriers to the development of smart clothing too. For one thing, it normally has a transmitter (in the case of the Ralph Laurent polo shirt, the so-called “black box” is the size of a credit card). And that needs to be removed and replaced before and after washing. In a world where convenience culture rules, this will be a deterrent to plenty of potential consumers. And, for many people, there will also be that niggling doubt: will the high-tech fabric really stand up to frequent washing?

The wider issue is whether or not fashion needs smart technology at the consumer end of the market. At the retail end, Burberry has shown that it works extremely well in creating a buzz around products. At Burberry’s flagship stores, for example, shoppers can try on clothing that then triggers video content on mirrors and screens via embedded chips. People flock to the stores even if they have little intention of buying anything. Where Burberry has been successful is in using digital technology to get consumers engaging with its brands, both in real and virtual settings. But, once a garment is taken out of the shop, the gadgetry stops.

Smart clothing might not be the smart choice

In the end, the functionality of sportswear, in particular, is about how well a product shapes up to the job in hand, whether it is running, skiing, hiking or playing soccer. The weight of a garment is often a big issue, for example, and it is hard to see how weight will not be compromised by technology woven into the fabric, not to mention add-ons such as “black boxes”, no matter how small.

Away from sportswear, people mainly buy clothes because they want to look good. Yes, there is a huge consumer appetite for smart technology – if in doubt, look at the latest sales of the iPhone 6. However, this type of frenzied demand is mainly restricted to mobile phones and tablets. Specific wearable fitness devices have not sold particularly well in the last five years (and are not part of the mainstream) for the simple reason that people use their smartphones to download all-singing, all-dancing fitness apps instead.

Smart clothing is, perhaps, a shrewd way to develop a bit of a buzz around a brand. Certainly it seems to have got people talking about Ralph Lauren in the last month. But smart clothing will have a big uphill battle if it is going to develop into anything beyond a niche product. There are too many cool devices on the market that most people will turn to over and above apparel if they are keen on that type of technology. There is a role for smart fashion, but in the big “smart” picture it will be a low-impact one.

By Rob Walker, Contributing Analyst at Euromonitor International

McCartney and Versace tap into Brazil's hunger for 'fast fashion'

Style stars Stella McCartney and Donatella Versace this week will launch collections with two department stores in Brazil -- a country with consumers hungry for top brands despite an economic downturn.

The daughter of the Beatles legend is launching her second collection, this time just for Brazil, for international chain C&A. Versace meanwhile has designed an exclusive collection for Brazilian store Riachuelo, which has more than 220 stores -- and more than 20 million clients. Brazilian supermodel Adriana Lima is fronting the ad campaign.

The launches -- the latest in a series of similar high-low collaborations in the fashion world -- come during Sao Paulo Style Week, the largest such event in Latin America, which runs through Friday. "These collaborations with C&A and Riachuelo show the maturity and the marketing power of Brazilian fashion -- its importance, scope and strength," Paulo Borges, the founder and artistic director of Sao Paulo Style Week, told AFP.

"'Fast fashion' is a process which allows a greater number of consumers to satisfy their fashion desires," he said, referring to the trend to get designs quickly from catwalk to store shelves. "Brazil is 10 years behind in terms of consumption, as compared with international markets. It will continue to buy a lot more," Borges predicted.

Huge market

Over the past decade, Brazil has undergone a deep social transformation with welfare programs lifting some 40 million people out of extreme poverty and into the burgeoning consumer ranks. As a result, it has become an attractive destination for top international fashion and beauty brands. Shopping centers are springing up at a rapid rate.

McCartney and Versace tap into Brazil's hunger for 'fast fashion'

Luxury labels such as Chanel, Gucci, Dolce & Gabbana, Prada, Tiffany and Valentino can all be found in this country of 202 million people -- in both big wealthier cities such as Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, and in smaller cities in the northeast like Fortaleza and Recife.

Spain's Zara, the reference in the fast-fashion world, has already set up shop in Brazil with great success. Others like Sweden's H&M -- one of the pioneers of special collections with top-name designers -- are scheduled to make the move in 2015."Brazil is a huge market, but one that is essentially geared towards the mass market. We are betting on the future by setting up here," a spokesman for one Italian luxury brand told AFP on condition of anonymity.

London-based consultancy Euromonitor calculates that sales of clothing and shoes ballooned by 62 percent in Brazil between 2008 and 2013, and predicts a further rise of 20 percent for 2013-2018."Even if the economy is stagnant, Brazil has economic pulling-power very favorable growth in the fashion business," said Luciane Robic, an expert at the Brazilian Institute of Style.

'Brazil cost'

Brazil is home to some 300,000 fashion businesses. But even if the market is booming, many are struggling. The reason for that is what is termed "the Brazil cost" -- high taxes and lots of red tape, along with expensive raw materials and labor, make local production costly. In addition, quality lags behind international standards, leaving Brazilian labels at a disadvantage compared with foreign luxury brands.

"In Europe, a luxury brand is much more accessible than it is in Brazil," says Robic. Brazil also suffers from competition from large-scale producers in China, where associated costs are generally lower. "Without cutting costs, Brazilian production will not prove successful," warns Borges. The entire Versace for Riachuelo collection has been produced in Brazil, compared to only part of the McCartney line for C&A.

Both designers are in Sao Paulo for the launch events this week. The McCartney line includes suits in pastel shades with hints of navy blue, gold and black. The Versace for Riachuelo collection is the Brazilian store's first international fashion collaboration. It includes "animal print" designs in mauve, yellow, black and off-white. Prices range from 20 US dollars to 200 US dollars. (Natalia Ramos, AFP)

British designer John Galliano -- sacked three years ago by fashion house Dior over a drunken anti-Semitic rant in a Paris bar -- has lost his case for unfair dismissal, lawyers for both parties said on Tuesday.

A Paris labour court rejected his claim and ordered him to pay a symbolic one euro each to Dior and the John Galliano label which was also named in the action. Both are part of the same group. Galliano's lawyer Chantal Giraud-van Gaver told AFP she was very disappointed by Tuesday's ruling, adding that she would be recommending that her client appeal the decision.

She had earlier said the claim was for between 2.4 million euros and 13 million euros, depending on how the court chose to classify the dismissal. Until his spectacular downfall, Galliano, 54, had spent nearly 15 years at Dior and is still regarded as one of the most brilliant designers of his generation.

But his glittering career imploded in March 2011 after he was captured in a mobile phone video hurling abuse at customers in a bar in Paris's historic Jewish quarter.The Paris criminal court in September 2011 found him guilty of proffering anti-Semitic insults in public -- an offence under French law -- on two occasions in February 2011 and October 2010.

He was spared jail and instead given suspended fines after the court accepted that he was sorry for his actions which he blamed on drink and drugs. The flamboyant designer was announced last month as the new creative director of Maison Martin Margiela, in a move expected to reignite his shattered career.

Described by his new employer as one of the "greatest undisputed talents of all time", his first collection for the avant-garde Margiela label is due on the Paris catwalks in January. (AFP)

Denim giant Levi Strauss said this week it would provide financing to its supplier in order to facilitate upgrading their working conditions.

With over 500 suppliers, a pair of 501 jeans could easily be made by workers in some of the world's poorest nations.

The announcement will be a boost to the company's promise to disclose all its manufacturer and supplier details, including addresses. The financing, which is being arranged in partnership with a private sector arm of the World Bank, could allow factories which supply the denim giant to improve environmental performance, ethical conditions, and overall worker safety.

The 2013 Rana Plaza factory tragedy was the start of low-interest loans to improve the outdated safety conditions of many factories.

Whilst Made in Bangladesh may not perhaps hold a very high standing when it comes to both high fashion or ethical standards, it is in fact the world's largest producer of garments after China.

According to the Financial Times, Levi Strauss' suppliers will have access to cheaper capital than they would otherwise in their home countries.

CSA: Let's hear it from the teachers! (IX)

As the hectic month of global fashion weeks has come to an end, universities across the country have begun opening up their doors for the start of a new year, prepared to mold the budding textile and fashion designers who will led the future of the industry. It is up to the fashion lecturers, professors and designers at these institutes to help guide these students of tomorrow on their way and ensure they are ready to enter the industry when they graduate. But what are their thoughts on the current state of affairs within fashion educational institutes, designers and the industry itself? Yankeemagazines took a moment to speak to Wendy Moody, Course Group Leader and Senior Lecturer Style Design at the Cambridge School of Art, part of Anglia Ruskin University to hear what the teachers had to say.

Yankeemagazines:What initially drew you to the fashion industry?

Wendy Moody “Many years ago, I remember helping a friend out with make-up during a graduate fashion show at Central Saint Martins. She ended up being ill and asked me to step in. One of the graduates at CSM had also committed suicide earlier that year so all the collections being shown were really quite dark that year, in tribute to this student. To me at the time it felt like it was a very expressive field, one which made me think about the relationship between art and design, as well as the psychological aspect behind it all. So that was my initial introduced to the fashion industry. There was a part of me which thought, 'Oh I could do that.' And I just understood it and it rang home within me.”

“Of course, you also have to be interested in clothes, textures, color and how they all work together to stimulate people and individuals. I strongly believe in the power of fashion and clothes therapy and how they can be used as tools.”

How did you ended up in a teaching position at the Cambridge School of Art?

“I was always interested in science and after obtaining my PhD in 2007, which focused on the psychological and neurological factors that are associated with fashion, I wanted to combine my love of research with teaching. Multi-disciplinary teaching was something that spoke to me and I felt that there were less boundaries within the teaching side of the fashion industry than within the industry itself and that appealed to me. Teaching allows you to vocalize what you are thinking, whilst you are dealing with the designers of the future. It combines the best of creativity and design, which to me is the enjoyment you receive in return.”

“Before I was teaching at the Cambridge School of Art (CSA), I was at the University of Manchester and I did some teaching at Manchester Met as I was based in the North-West there. At the time I was based in a department where there was a lot of research going on in terms of consumer behavior, retail and textiles. But it wasn't an art school and I came from a very creative place and I felt that it was time for me to go back to my practice, in terms of research and teaching more, I really wanted to go back to a creative environment. And I have been here ever since, nearly six years now.”

What are your thoughts on today's fashion educational institutes and their current course offering?

“Well we offer smaller and friendly courses, very student centered. We do not cater to large number student groups, so we can support the students as individuals more. Most classes we have contain between 20 and 25 students max, as this works best for us. But really there are so many schools out there and there are so many good courses, it's hard to say. I think there has been a debate going on about how they maintain the level of practice in terms of pattern cutting and construction skills, that has been lost, I believe, in some courses. But I see that other schools are picking it up again, because it is held in high esteem within the industry, and without understanding a garment's construction, pattern cutting and draping, you do not fully understand the product, so you can't really design effectively."

"In terms of industry values, such as creativity, innovation, design and sustainability, these are core issues that all students should be aware of and things we consider as we move forward into the future. Another thing I have noticed is there is more of a focus on employability, which is great. Where as back in my day, when I was a student, it was more about creativity and there was less focus on employment issues.”

Do you think it is important for fashion educational institutes to remain up to date with the current changes/trends in the fashion industry and apply this to their course offering accordingly?

“I still think we need traditional fashion design courses, because that's so significant to the industry. I think in terms what is happening with the emergence of new technologies and how that has an impact on fashion, there are quite a few schools which do offer relative courses, but that tends to be more within a Masters course than a Bachelors course. But some do offer students the opportunity to deal with a number of future issues within the industry. It just depends on how far ahead the institute is looking, how far they need to look and what is appropriate for each particular course. Some courses are indeed more industry specific or offer a fashion textile course rather than just fashion, so it really depends on the course.”

“That being said, some technological advancements, like 3D printing, will have definitely have an impact in terms of production and product development and I think that is starting to come through on more courses. But there is still more that can be done, especially when it comes to the manufacturing aspect, there are some innovative approaches which could have an impact on the industry, which courses need to keep in mind. Sustainability is also a growing phenomena, which most people believe is just about the environment, but it crosses into so many different areas that people are unaware of it becoming a relevant sector to all employers within the industry now. It is just another thing our future designers need to keep in mind. A lot of these things are covered in master degrees, but not bachelors, so perhaps more schools should be trying to introduce them earlier on to see how it affects students and the courses they choose to follow later on.”

How do you feel about CSA's current fashion course offering?

“Well we just started offering our Style Design Masters course, which looks at key issues, future trends sustainability and focuses on collaborations between other art disciplinarians such as photography and illustration, as well as psychology. So they are interacting with other students through projects or work shifts and engaging with new learning processes whilst acknowledging traditional teaching methods as well. We also work with certain brand and companies, who offer support for the students. It is a year long course, which cover womenswear and menswear design, so we may have students who take on abroad more of the technical aspects we offer but its really created around creativity and innovation. We are preparing them for a career in the industry, one which they can carve out for themselves since its so broad. We have students going in as designers, production assistants, marketing, style directors and buyers.”

“We do a lot of teaching based on conceptual thinking and creative thinking because it doesn't matter if you are a student or a industry worker you need to have developed a certain pattern of thinking to keep ideas fresh and new and marketable. We always refer to emotion as well within our courses, especially from the second year onwards in regards to how students approach ideas when it comes to styling and design. When we base things in emotion it connects the students identity as a designer to their work, we feel. And emotion is always significant within the industry itself, its always picked up one way or another. Which feeds back into the design process and thinking."

Do you think it is important to create links and s within the fashion industry whilst attending school?

“I think networking is a significant skill to have, especially as you will never work alone within the fashion industry. Students need to be able to work with other people and we foster that, in particular, throughout our BA courses. Whether the student is working with photography or design it is important that they take that on board either through work placements, blogging, or showing their work, it is all ripe for the taking. It is a tough industry to break into as well but having good connections is important for job satisfaction. We support students with our employment division as well and prepare them for their work placement, whether is be helping streamline their CV, practicing for interviews or offering advice where they can look for work placements. We do our best to support them whilst giving them the tools to make their own links in the industry.”

“On the teaching side, I think we do a lot of projects with different retailers and brands, as most universities do and try to get as many industry experts coming in to give lecturers and give advice and so on. And yes, this also helps us open more doors for our students to find a work placement. Students who come back from a work placement really realize the value of the experience and understand the industry on a different level. We have students who will test the waters as well to see what different placements they can find on different market levels to explore what sector, whether it be the high street or couture speaks to them. It's a process of elimination sometimes because the industry can be quite broad and this helps them narrow down their interests. And we encourage that because it is a good opportunity for them to try out different fits, so when they get to their final year they have more of an idea of where they want to go.”

What is your opinion of the fashion industry today as a whole?

“It's very electric to me at the moment. It seems as if designers are responding to what is happening in the world today, more than they have in the past, whether it is to do with environmental, gender or political issues, something which hasn't really happened in my opinion since the 1980s. Of course, some of the responses are a little tentative, because it is still an industry, but it is nice to see the designers expression coming through again, especially via different mediums such as social media platforms as well as magazines.”

And finally, what is the one main piece of advice you would give to graduating students about to start their careers in the industry?

“It may not be easy to find a job in the beginning, initially you just have to keep trying because it is a competitive industry, but don't give up because once you are in, you are in. And that's it.”

Whistles pulls feminists campaign t-shirts amidst 'sweatshop' claims

High street retailer Whistles has pulled a series of T-shirts which features pro-feminist slogans from its shelves, after an investigation from the Mail on Sunday claimed the 45 pound shirts were produced by women working in sweatshops in Mauritius and earning 62 pence per an hour.

The T-shirts, bearing the phrase “This is what a feminist looks like” were part of a campaign with Elle magazine and women's right charity, The Fawcett Society, to raise awareness for feminism and promote women's rights. Politicians, such as Ed Miliband, Nick Clegg and Harriet Harman have been photographed wearing the T-shirt as part of Elle's campaign, which is featured in its December issue.

However according to the Mail on Sunday, the T-shirts, which are part of a larger collection that includes phone cases and hangbags, were made in factories in Mauritius by migrant female workers who are paid 62 pence per hour, a quarter of the country's average monthly wage. The workers sign a four year contract and work a 45 hours a week whilst sleeping in “spartan dormitories, 16 to a room.”

Ethical production of feminist t-shirt questioned by investigation

“How can this T-shirt be a symbol of feminism when we do not see ourselves as feminists? We see ourselves as trapped,” said one worker to the reporters. The newspaper toured one of the seven factories on Mauritius and found that workers at Compagnie Mauricienne de Textile, which has a 125 million pound annual turnover, earn just 6,000 rupees or 120 pounds per month.

Since news of the investigation broke, the T-shirts have been pulled from Whistles online store, whilst a store assistant revealed to Reuters that the T-shirts in question are being withheld from sale pending the result of an internal investigation.

Dr. Eva Neitzert, Deputy CEO of the Fawcett Society, claimed that the charity had been assured by Elle magazine and Whistles that the range would comply to their “rigorous ethical standards,” after the magazine approached the organization with the idea last year. “We met with Whistles and, upon querying, were assured that the garments would be produced ethically here in the UK,” said Neitzert in a statement.

Whistles pulls feminists campaign t-shirts amidst 'sweatshop' claims

“Upon receiving samples of the range at our offices in early October we noted that the T-shirts had in fact been produced in Mauritius, upon which we queried (over email) the ethical credentials of the Mauritian factory, and the fabric used. We were assured by Whistles (over email) that the Mauritian factory: ‘is a fully audited, socially and ethical compliant factory.'”

The Fawcett Society "very disappointed to hear of the allegations"

“We have been very disappointed to hear the allegations that conditions in the Mauritius factory may not adhere to the ethical standards that we, as the Fawcett Society, would require of any product that bears our name. At this stage, we require evidence to back up the claims being made by a journalist at the Mail on Sunday. However, as a charity that campaigns on issues of women's economic equality, we take these allegations extremely seriously and will do our utmost to investigate them.”

“If any concrete and verifiable evidence of mistreatment of the garment producers emerges, we will require Whistles to withdraw the range with immediate effect and donate part of the profits to an ethical trading campaigning body,” concluded Neitzert. Whistles has launched an external investigation into the matter after the news broke.

“We place a high priority on environmental, social and ethical issues. The allegations regarding the production of T-shirts in the CMT factory in Mauritius are extremely serious and we are investigating them as a matter of urgency,” said a spokesperson for the retailer to Mail on Sunday. “CMT has Oekotex accreditation [an independent certificate for the supply chain], which fully conforms to the highest standards in quality and environmental policy, while having world-class policies for sustainable development, social, ethical and environmental compliance."

Elle magazine had also issued a statement claiming they had been assured that the factory which manufactured the T-shirts was specifically selected for its ethical policies.