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British designer Zandra Rhodes, Nicola Formichetti’s Nicopanda and Juicy Couture are headlining this season’s London Style Week Festival, which takes place immediately following London Style Week later this month.

The consumer-facing fashion event from the British Style Council will include designer catwalk shows featuring Zandra Rhodes archive, Nicopandi’s spring/summer 2018 collection and Juicy Couture’s ready-to-wear line.

Digital influencer and founder of Style Me Now, Lucy Williams, will curate part of the shopping galleries this season bringing together a mix of established and emerging designers across womenswear, menswear, accessories and jewellery, while senior fashion director of Love magazine, Steve Morriss will be the stylist for the Designer Trend shows.

The festival will also feature a talk series focusing on fashion, tech and lifestyle, with speakers including fashion icon Daphne Guinness, menswear buyer Darren Skey, The Gal-Dem Collective, Fiorucci chief executive Janie Schaffer, designers Markus Lupfer and Orla Kiely, lifestyle entrepreneur Deliciously Ella, digital influencers Jim Chapman, Lucy Williams and Niomi Smart as well as a careers in fashion talk from top fashion executives.

This season immersive experiences will also be offered for the first time following a partnership with Another_Space who will be hosting yoga sessions on the catwalk, while Embellished Talk will hold one hour workshops giving guests the opportunity to learn the art of embellishment.

Caroline Rush, chief executive of British Style Council said: “We are excited to announce 2018’s new iteration of London Style Week Festival which aims to give consumers not only insight and experience of the fashion industry, but an unrivalled weekend of style, innovation, shopping and wellbeing.

From iconic Zandra Rhodes on the catwalk, to curated spaces by industry insiders Steve Morriss and Lucy Williams and panel discussions from Daphne Guinness and Deliciously Ella, the weekend celebrates the creative breadth and depth of London.”

The London Style Week Festival welcomes 14,000 guests across its four days, as well as hosts 120 international and British brands. This season’s event takes place from February 22-25 at The Store Studios in London, the same venue as London Style Week.

In Pictures: Vetements x Harrods windows

Harrods has unveiled a new Vetements display in its Brompton Road Exhibition windows to celebrate the arrival of the luxury brand’s womenswear to the department store earlier this year, as well as the launch of its menswear boutique launching this week.

In Pictures: Vetements x Harrods windows

The eye-catching window installation mirrors that of the Vetements takeover at New York department store Saks last July, where old clothes have become part of the display to highlight excess clothing and waste.

In Pictures: Vetements x Harrods windows

Guram Gvasalia, chief executive of Vetements explains: “The main purpose of making this installation is to raise awareness and to remind the general public about the issue of overproduction, in order to start a proper and honest conversation regarding this issue and its effect on the planet.

In Pictures: Vetements x Harrods windows

“After the oil-industry, fashion is the 2nd biggest polluting industry in the world and overproduction is one of the biggest environmental problems of today. Over 30 percent of merchandise produced by fashion brands are never sold and end up in landfills.”

In Pictures: Vetements x Harrods windows

Vetements displays highlights consumer waste

Alex Wells Greco, head of visual merchandising at Harrods added: “The installation is the first of its kind within the UK, and it is very exciting to use our Exhibition windows for such an innovative concept. We hope that this eye-catching display will inspire those passing our windows to consider giving their pre-loved clothes a second life, while also benefitting a great cause.”

In Pictures: Vetements x Harrods windows

The display is made up of donations from Harrods employees, and Vetements is calling on the public to donate their excess clothing to the installation, which will run until March 2. Following the end of the windows run, all clothing will be donated to the NSPCC, the UK children’s charity. Vetements is planning to run 50 more of the installations around the globe throughout the year.

In Pictures: Vetements x Harrods windows

“In a very fast world, the fashion tends to be fast too. We like the idea of slowing down. We like the idea of slow fashion to buy less, buy quality and buy long-term,”

Guram Gvasalia, chief executive of Vetements

In Pictures: Vetements x Harrods windows

Helen David, chief Merchant at Harrods said: “Working with an industry disruptor like Vetements means that collaborations and ideas on how to give back don’t come in the usual form – this launch is no exception, and we are very proud to be Vetements partner on this groundbreaking initiative and I can’t wait to see it realised and come to life at Harrods.”

In Pictures: Vetements x Harrods windows

Images: courtesy of Harrods

A model dubbed "Brazil's Cinderella" hopes to build on her own improbable success story by introducing a more Brazilian sense of beauty to the rapidly growing Chinese fashion market.

Sandra Passos, 28, is already a sensation. After a childhood that included picking through garbage dumps near Rio de Janeiro to survive, she not only built a career as a model in China a decade ago but went on to open her own agency. Now back in her native town of Sao Goncalo, outside Rio, she is teaching other young Brazilian women the basics of modeling and English. In February, she hopes to take some of them to Guangzhou in southern China, where her business is based.

The idea is to bring something new to China, where black and -size models are still a rarity, Passos explained. In all, there are 24 models enrolled at Passos' Rio School, more than half of them non-whites and four of them -size. A mixed-race male model, 26-year-old Luiz Filho, is also of a heavier build than typically seen in clothing catalogues. "My selection process has nothing to do with the market norms, which wants girls to look like Barbies -- tall, thin, blonde, blue-eyed," Passos told AFP.

From dump to glamour

Passos herself comes close to the more standard look. She is white and has green eyes and used her looks and remarkable determination to launch a seemingly impossible career. Her childhood was spent accompanying her father "who raised pigs and searched through garbage dumps for recyclable refuse," she said. Encouraged by her mother, she took part in beauty contests for girls. By the time she was 16, she had been recruited by several modeling agencies and suddenly sent to work in China.

Today she makes a living as a lingerie model for brands sold on Chinese online giant Taobao. But the success which earned her that "Cinderella" nickname in the Brazilian media didn't come quickly. "I went around the world without knowing English, much less Mandarin, not having a penny and hardly even knowing what I was doing there," she recalls. "It took me time to adapt. It was six years before I broke through." Eventually Passos expanded beyond fashion shoots to running her own agency in Guangzhou, Rio Model Management.

Changing fashion

Already Passos has had some success in China with a -size model called Caroline Patrao, who is from near Rio de Janeiro. "I know that Chinese concepts of beauty are rigid but we want to try and change all that. Before Caroline came, they weren't even accepting -size models," she explains. Ivan Li, a booker and make-up artist who works with Passos, said "people are becoming more accepting of new things." Li said he'd worked with Passos and her models in Guangzhou, Shanghai, Beijing and Hangzhou, focusing on the e-commerce market. "You can see the more popular ones among the two shooting Taobao ads for robes, -size bridal wear and gowns," he said.

Although Li doubts that -size and black models will ever be as popular as white and Asian models, they're finding their niche in China. "Plus-size models won't become the mainstream, but they will have a market," Li said. At the Rio School, Passos gives modelling lessons in person and online. It's a way to find new talent. During a recent practice session at a sports club, mixed-race and -size model Jessica Soares paraded in heels and a white and black bikini. "Going to China sounds frightening. It's another country, with another culture, another language. Until now, I've never traveled out of Sao Goncalo," Soares, 22, said. "But today I know I can become a -size model in China." (AFP)

Adidas has recently decided to move more into lifestyle products. The iconic shoe brand has teamed up with Zound Industries International AB in order to now sell more products.

Known more for their three-striped sneakers, Adidas is venturing into headphones with this partnership. The fashion brand will sell two lines of headphones from Zound including one specifically designed for sports, as reported by Business of Style. Zound will help Adidas with designing and manufacturing for the product.

Although Adidas is most strongly known for its shoes, the company is planning to move into other retail categories. As Zound generated sales of approximately 1.04 billion Swedish kronor (130 million dollars) in 2016, according to Bloomberg, it's safe to assume that the company can help move product for the Adidas brand. With this new venture, it'll be interesting to see if Adidas will be as popular in selling headphones more so than its shoes and apparel.

China steps into New York Style Week breach

Chen Peng is only 26 years old and yet his wildly original puffer coats have already adorned the likes of Rihanna and Lady Gaga. He's showing his latest collection in New York in a bid to conquer the world.

"Everywhere," he tells AFP backstage at his fashion show when asked where he would like people to buy his clothes in the future. "You can buy it everywhere -- that is my dream." Trained in London and inspired by Alexander McQueen, Chen set up his eponymous label in 2015 and is one of four Chinese labels brought to New York Style Week by Tmall, a platform of e-commerce giant Alibaba believed to command more than half of business-to-consumer transactions in China. If New York's bi-annual style fest is plagued by US talent fleeing to Europe, a calendar on the rocks and the catwalk under threat, then Chinese designers are only too happy to step into the breach and max out their share of the North American market.

On Wednesday, Tmall sponsored the first "China Day" at New York Style Week in a bid to introduce Chinese designers to US buyers, editors and influencers. It is the fruit of a five-year strategic partnership between the Council of Style Designers of America and the Suntchi management company, giving CFDA members access to the Chinese market and Chinese brands to the United States. Chen won rave applause on Wednesday in Chelsea for his catwalk collection of giant puffer coats, puffer-style flower hats and ornamental handbags in the shape of a dog, colored bubblegum pink, blue and yellow.

China steps into New York Style Week breach

The Chinese New Year, next week, will usher in the Year of the Dog. The one-size-fits-all coats are so enormous they're almost free standing, engulfing elfin models. If they looked like fat suits they were so instantly fun, glamorous and chic to be met by immediate oohs and aahs from the crowd. Chen called his collection "It's You" and said it was inspired by a petite client in New York who told him how warm, confident, unique and practical she felt while out walking her dog dressed in the largest possible size of one of his coats. Among the other labels were Peacebird, a youth label with annual sales of $1.6 billion and 4,500 retail stores in China, whose show was a throwback to the 1980s, all tracksuit bottoms, school uniforms, dungarees, and a collaboration with Coca-Cola.

'Expect more'

Another was sportswear label Li-Ning, set up by China's gold medal-winning Olympic gymnast by the same name in 1990, which showcased a collection inspired by the Olympics, featuring street and sportswear for any client in any country given a distinctive Chinese twist. Tmall, part of the Alibaba Group that has 580 million active users -- 80 percent of them under 30 years old -- is heavily invested in see-now, buy-now fashion and streamed the shows live to their customer base, with many of the clothes instantly buyable.

It was not remotely put off by the likes of Tommy Hilfiger decamping to Milan for the fall/winter 2018 season, Proenza Schouler staying away in Paris, or Rihanna and Kanye West sitting this catwalk season out.

"New York is the fashion capital of the world and it is the perfect place for us to forecast local brands and to get international exposure," Jessica Liu, president of Tmall Style and Luxury, told AFP, calling the US financial capital "very open minded." Tmall offers what she calls a new retail experience, allowing consumers to purchase products, communicate with brands directly and see the show live online. While Chinese designers have long shown in New York, there has been a growing uptick in recent years and this China Day is unlikely to be the last. "Expect a lot more," said CFDA President and CEO Steven Kolb when asked if New York Style Week can expect more. "We have a lot of ideas and we a lot of work to do."

But Chinese labels are at pains to stress that the strategic partnership isn't just about US brands tapping into the huge money-making potential of China. They expressed a desire to shake the West out of any complacency with regard to putting Chinese fashion in a box and a determination to show off their own creativity. "We want to use our Chinese lens to interpret our culture," said Feng Ye, general manager of Li-Ning's e-commerce department. "We have a deeper understanding of our own culture and we can showcase how we are bridging the gap between East and West." (AFP)

Photos: Timothy A. Clary / AFP

The Honduran 'dreamer' triumphing on NY catwalk

Carlos Campos arrived in the United States alone at age 13 and without papers, after nine months of walking and hitchhiking across three countries.

Three decades later, Campos -- a fashion designer known for his elegant, perfectly tailored menswear -- is living the American dream, proudly showing off his latest collection at New York Style Week. The 45-year-old Honduran-born American is far removed from the image President Donald Trump paints of immigrants from Central America, whom he has regularly linked to crime and the violent MS-13 gang. Although he arrived with nothing, Campos founded his first company at 19 years old. At 22, having graduated from the Style Institute of Technology, one of the most prestigious fashion schools in the world, he opened his atelier, which employs seven people.

Justin Timberlake, Ethan Hawke and Ricky Martin are just some of the celebrities he has dressed. "I am the perfect example of the American dream," he tells AFP. "I am a dreamer and I will continue to be," he adds before his runway show at men's fashion week, where his collection was inspired by the late Mexican singer Juan Gabriel. Campos is not a "dreamer" in the current political sense -- he was not part of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which the Trump administration scrapped last year, leaving 690,000 so-called "Dreamer" immigrants under its protection at risk deportation as early as March if Congress fails to act.

He has legalized his status in the United States. "I sympathize with them because I lived this situation for many years," he tells AFP of the Dreamers. "It's very sad to see them in that situation -- we all deserve an opportunity." As a child, he dreamed of heading to Rio de Janeiro, because he loved Brazilian football. But in the end, he chose the United States, where he arrived after a difficult journey through Guatemala and Mexico -- a time when his parents thought he was dead.

'Special'

When he arrived, he was arrested but escaped to Miami and then New York, where he was dazzled. The son of a tailor and low-income dressmaker, he found work in a Brooklyn tailor shop at age 15, finished high school at night -- and then set out to succeed. Along the way, there were ups and downs, such as the September 11, 2001 attacks -- the very day of his planned fashion week debut. "It was horrible -- we had to cancel everything. It was my first collection and all my savings were wrapped up in it," he said.

Style week was scrapped as the emergency response took center stage. As a child, Campos's parents could not afford to give him money to buy food at school. But his mother always sent him off in a well-ironed shirt, telling him, "Look how handsome you are." "That gave me a certain self-esteem," he says. "I felt special and now I'm not obese," he joked about the missed snacks at school.

Inspired by his mother, Campos set up the "1 White Shirt For Honduras" program, which this year donated 3,300 white shirts to school children in his birth country. Just over a year ago, he inaugurated the country's first fashion university, named after him. It already has 97 students and the designer is convinced that Honduras -- despite poverty, violence and corruption -- "can have a fashion industry." (AFP)

Photo: Theo Wargo / Getty Images North America / AFP

Joseph Abboud capitalizes on men dressing up again

There's a resurgence in menswear that isn't new, but, rather, a comeback. Men have begun dressing up again. Suit and ties are in, and that era of athleisure has lost its ground to that man who wants a blazer. Joseph Abboud, who has long been a suit and tie guy, loves the fact that men are getting dapper again, and it meant great things for him and his brand at New York Style Week: Men's this season.

Joseph Abboud capitalizes on men dressing up again

"I spent 30 years deconstructing menswear, now I want to reconstruct it all over again," Abboud said to Yankeemagazines. "Guys are getting dressed up again, and there's a certain energy and sexiness to that. It's all about beautiful tailoring and bespoke."

Abboud is in a unique position from many other designers in that he owns his own factory, where over 800 employees are diligently at work ensuring that the Joseph Abboud brand retains peak excellence. The designer's goal this year was to bring in a new audience.

Joseph Abboud capitalizes on men dressing up again

Joseph Abboud gives us classic Hollywood for NYFW: Men's

"Over the years, we've had our existing customers, but the trick is to get the newer younger customer, and I think that's happening through custom," Abboud said. Made-to-measure and customer order suits are on the rise, and men are loving individuality. "The young guy is discovering custom is available to them. It used to be a very elitist thing, and now it's much more democratic," he added.

Known for his use of high-end Italian fabrics, which were usually notable in this season's collection, his customers are loving the increased democratization of high-fashion, which to Abboud is a beautiful thing. "I don't think fashion should be an elitist thing," he said. "It should be for everyone, and it shouldn't matter how much money you have. I never liked the elite game, and I always wanted to have an inclusionary brand. It's important to reach out to every customer, especially in our country which is so diverse."

Joseph Abboud capitalizes on men dressing up again

To that end, this season Joseph Abboud's collection featured classic Hollywood inspired looks for the contemporary dapper dandy. Black and grey were the dominant color palette, with hints of red for pop of color. The mostly minimalist approach to color didn't mean this was an ordinary suiting collection, however. Jacket, suits and coats were cut with a controlled volume for a fuller silhouette. There was no shortage of patterns either. Glen plaid, houndstooth, and pinstripe were exaggerated to make a statement. Ample pleats could be seen on trousers and coats alike. This isn't your dad's first corporate office suit, this is a collection for today's stylish gentleman.

Today's menswear customer is smarter, and Abboud recognizes that. "Social media has changed the way men think about fashion," Abboud said. "Young guys love heritage, brands and finding new things. They are really getting it now."

There's a new era of contemporary luxury that is here. Joseph Abboud is here to cater to that.

photos: courtesy of Purple PR
Perry Ellis reinvents itself once more

Perry Ellis is a name that has long been synonymous with American style. Over the past few years, the brand has seen a resurgence as they have worked to draw in a younger, cooler customer. At New York Style Week: Men's this season, the brand continued to elevate themselves and take their once traditional aesthetic into contemporary times.

Perry Ellis reinvents itself once more

The opening look of a bonded wool colored-block topper in navy, with a classic striped shirt in while and a sapphire thermal crewneck with matching donegal trousers helped ease the audience into what was more streetwear style, modern man looks to come. Ski jackets were big for the brand this season, with the Perry Ellis logo emblazoned on them. As logomania has made its comeback, the brand was right on trend.

Chunky turtlenecks were a big staple for the brand this season, and outerwear ranged from ski jackets to parkas. Creative director Michael Maccari wanted to loosen up the styling this season as a reflection of the go-forward daily needs of today's Perry Ellis man.

Perry Ellis reinvents itself once more

Color blocks and hand painted landscapes mix with complicated jacquards provided depth to non-solid weaves. The use of color helped juxtapose the concepts of work and play. Maccari taught us that we shouldn't be afraid to pair what's old with what is new. Classics are classic for a reason, but there is magic in a modern twist.

This year, the brand's spring campaign if "Life Ready Since 1976." That couldn't be more apparent than with this collection which had something for everybody. Maccari hit all the marks, for a diverse, yet cohesive collection.

photos: courtesy of M Booth
Feng Chen Wang brings it home for NYFW: Men's

The concept of home means something different to us all. It can be particularly different for those who have traveled the world many times over, or aren't used to being static in one place. Designer Fen Cheng Wang found ways to bring it home for her fall/winter 2018 collection presented at Pier 59 Studios. This season, her collection was inspired by her childhood home of Fuijan, southern China, number 239, which was embroidered on garments throughout the collection.

Feng Chen Wang brings it home for NYFW: Men's

Wang gave a new take on the boyfriend shirt, interpreting it as the keepsake of a former lover. Shirt pieces were paneled together, taking the constructed, breaking it down, then reconstructing it. Shirts were put on other shirts, and one shirt was even a fusion of numerous shirts, for a dramatic and avant garde effect. This symbolized the different connections we as humans have to each other based on family and travel. Denim was rendered as worn, given the suggestion that it was worn by an older sibling.

Feng Chen Wang brings it home for NYFW: Men's

The feeling of the collection was also quite futuristic with shiny fabrics. Wang also used cotton-wool blends to mix them together with her own style to create a sporty, yet original look. Colors liked gold were used to symbolize the sun travelers see on their journey home, and warm oranges were used to symbolize the sun when one finally gets home. Winding strips of cotton, which twisted and turned, were very much like traveling home.

"This season is really important for me, because I want to keep doing better," Wang said. "It's always hard as a designer to go between the commercial side and the creative side, but this season we have many wearable clothes, as well as creative, conceptual clothes as well. There's a balance and it's quite exciting."

Feng Chen Wang brings it home for NYFW: Men's

Wang has long been ahead of the curve, being part of the streetwear style movement long before it dominated the industry. When she first started, her clothes were a combination of sportswear mixed with traditional tailoring techniques. However, she hasn't let the growth in the streetwear market change her approach to design any. "For me, I just continued to go further into myself as a designer," she said. "I stay true to the brand as it originally started."

This collection showed how Wang carries her childhood memories and all of her travels in her creative essence. The end result took us to a new future of fashion, one stilled married to nostalgia.

photo: courtesy of Purple PR

London - It is said that 'imitation is the sincerest form of flattery' but in the fashion industry there is a fine line between imitation and flat out copying someone else's design. Accusations of design plagiarism and theft are certainly nothing new in fashion, but Indian designer and graphic artist Orijit Sen, co-founder of sustainable fashion label People Tree, has made the global headlines after accusing luxury fashion house Dior of copying his design.

Sen, who says he first created his Yogi block print design of a man in several poses in 2000, was shocked when he saw Bollywood actress Sonam Kapoor gracing the cover of Elle India January Issue in a Dior Resort '18 dress. The dress design, which features lotus flowers and a man in different yoga poses bears a striking resemblance to Sen's original design. The Indian designer has shared images of his design and textiles for People tree next to Dior's design on social media and is calling on the luxury fashion house to acknowledge it stole his work.

"It's so disheartening when a huge brand doesn't have respect for small businesses and artists that struggle their whole lives to sustain themselves through creativity," wrote Sen in a post. "It's such a shame that they are disrespectful enough to blatantly copy us." The designer also argues that despite Dior's "massive resources," they still chose to rip off the design from independent Indian designers, artists and craftspeople.

Dior has yet to respond to the accusations made by Sen as it remains unclear if Dior knowingly plagiarised the designer's work or not. Designers at Dior working under Maria Grazia Chiuri could have either been aware of the existing textile design and used it as a literal source of inspiration to create their own textile, or the textile could have been sourced pre-made from another supplier.

Since Sen has made his accusations publicly know a number of independent designers, brands and communities have shown their support. People Tree, which works with a collective of designers in India, is a small sustainable brand that blockprints its own textiles by hand, supporting local artisans. At the moment intellectual property laws remain minimal in India in comparison to other Western European countries. However, over the past year more and more discussions concerning intellectual property in the Indian fashion industry have emerged.

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