Orthodox Fashion Student Honored
When Chaya Hoffman came to study at Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City, she says her style was, “so out there with leopard and hot pink, feathers and bows, everyone called me the next Betsey Johnson.” By that point, her fashion experience included embellishing and accessorizing school clothes that had to conform to a dress code. Even while keeping to the strictures of modest dress, the girl from Bergenfield, New Jersey went all out.
Hoffman, who is Modern Orthodox, will soon graduate as an award-winner from one of the country’s premier fashion schools. Her senior thesis garment, a sheer embroidered, sleeveless, open-back gown, was chosen by industry critics at FIT’s Future of Fashion runway show. The event, which showcases the top talent of the graduating class, is covered by the fashion press and attended by industry elites like Zac Posen, Yigal Azrouël and Dennis Basso.
Hoffman’s design went on to be the sole winner of the People’s Choice Award. The award is given to a student chosen by design peers, the style-setters for future trends. Effusive praise came from her professors from the couture industry.
“Chaya’s gown was beautiful, with all the colors in the embroidery and the multi-color organza peplums. The proportion of the slinky sheer skirt, tiny bodice and over-exaggerated peplum was so eye catching” says Paula Varsalona, Hoffman’s professor and internationally known couturier designer of bridal apparel.
The gown is on display in The Museum at FIT through May 24.
Hoffman learned to design using a vast array of fabrics and materials, applying more intricacy in needlework and use of accessories. While her concentration is special occasion, she says it “helped her imagination” and refine her aesthetic to also study lingerie, activewear, knitwear and sportswear.
“When I started, I went way over the top,” says Hoffman. “I love embellishing with fur, feathers, crystals, beads. I think ‘Go big or go home.’ But I’ve had amazing professors who helped me find that line between doing too much and getting it right.”
The idea of “go big or go home,” seemed to serve the young fashion student well, at least in the beginning.
“We tend to have the students over-design with more than one important element in a gown,” says Varsalona. “Chaya tended to employ multiple elements in her designs, but it was easy to compromise with her to achieve a beautifully designed garment.”
It’s important to note that while Hoffman has gotten to explore fashion as “a big canvas,” she doesn’t view modest dress as a set of restrictions to conform to. What seems like a contradiction — designing high couture fashion, but dressing in three-quarter length sleeves with hems below the knee — is merely a design consideration for Hoffman.
Nor does the industry see a contradiction: “Designers should never design for themselves,” says Varsalona. “A commercial designer has to address many tastes. Some may be conservative due to cultural restrictions, or fashion forward with concepts such as a sheer lace gown. A designer must design for all types and sizes.”
FIT’s Fashion Design Chair, Eileen Karp sees opportunity in designing modest fashion. “It’s an important part of the industry for Orthodox Jews and Muslims and many other groups,” says Karp. “It’s smart for young designers to be approaching these markets in new and fresh ways.”
Hoffman doesn’t shy from discussing her own modest dress. Quite the contrary: “It’s usually the first question I’m asked,” sai Hoffman. “If it’s hot out and I’m wearing three-quarter sleeves, they’re always like ‘Why are you doing this to yourself?’ [But] they’re not asking in a derogatory or negative way. They’re asking out of general curiosity. I love to answer questions.”
Karp says that this type of openness, “is like putting meaning behind the clothing, and how we define ourselves through our clothing style.”
“A lot of people aren’t exposed to Orthodox[y] so I stand out. You want to make a good impression so they really understand what Orthodox is,” says Hoffman.
In return, “It’s been really cool to meet people of all kinds of backgrounds and religions. People who are really rich or are really poor or grew up in crazy situations. I’m not exposed to so much of that.”
Fashion and painting were always over-sized passions for Hoffman. “I used to draw on everything: on the walls, on my bed, my on sister’s dresser,” she says. “I loved dressing up. I had fun in high school wearing funky, sparkly tights.”
Most of Hoffman’s friends went to Stern College, the women’s division of Yeshiva University. “It was different for me to choose to come to FIT,” says Hoffman. “It was really not common. [My] teachers were against it. But thank God my family and friends encouraged me. I spoke to Rabbi Neuberger from my synagogue, Congregation Beth Abraham. He’s well-known and teaches at Yeshiva University. He told me that I would flourish because God gave me a gift and I should use it.”
Hoffman wants to one day work as a head designer in a couture company and eventually have her own company. “Right now I want a job in a positive environment,” she says.
“Her taste level in color, proportion and mixtures of fabrics and textures sets her apart from her contemporaries,” says Varsalona. “And her work ethic is exemplary.”
Hoffman’s winning design exemplifies for Karp how a student learns to hone such a large appetite for decorative detail.
“The gown is exquisite in the placement of floral, embroidery, lace and beaded motifs,” says Karp. “The mermaid shape skirt with a trailing train, fully encrusted with embroidery and beads. There’s unbelievable skill that was required to make this,” says Karp.
As for the designers who inspire Hoffman?
“I have different aspects to my aesthetic. Dolce & Gabbana for [the] rogue, romantic, the funkier side of my style. I’ve been interning at Hayley Paige, a bridal design house. Her style is similar to mine, so that’s the more elegant and graceful side. Then I like fur, so I like Fendi.”
And while she admires Betsey Johnson, it doesn’t extend beyond aesthetics. Unlike the famed designer, Hoffman won’t be doing cartwheels on the runway.Read more at:http://www.kissydress.co.uk/black-prom-dress-uk | http://www.kissydress.co.uk/blue-prom-dress-uk
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Fun and fashion embellish Memorial Polo Cup at Knox Farm
At Knox Field, under a grand white tent, was East Aurora’s version of the Kentucky Derby.
Conversation and champagne flowed as a polo match was in play. The mood was set, however, by the sea of extravagant hats.
Philanthropists and polo enthusiasts gathered Saturday for the third annual Memorial Polo Cup, hosted by The Stables at Knox Inc.
Proceeds from the $125 VIP tickets will benefit the rehabilitation and preservation of the historic Equestrian Stables in Knox Farm State Park, as well as the East Aurora Boys and Girls Club, said John Hatcher, president of The Stables at Knox.
The United States Polo Association competed during the event, which also was a celebration of the Knox family’s rich legacy of polo and philanthropy, Hatcher added.
About 400 people showed up to support the causes, beginning with a champagne brunch at 11 a.m. Across the field, the general public was welcome to bring chairs and picnic during the polo match, which began at 1 p.m. Admission was free, with a $10 parking fee.
The guests gathered under the tent arrived in style, embracing the spectator sport’s signature posh setting. Dramatic hats are a staple, and Laurie Judith Krantz was on hand to make sure any woman could take part in the look.
Krantz, owner of Judith Krantz Salon and Boutique in Orchard Park, regularly makes statement hats and accessories inspired by fashion from 1890 to the 1920s. She said she loves the looks from around 1901, “back when women dressed like women.”
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Modeling a black sinamay top hat with a ribbon and feathers gathered in the front, the Hamburg resident pointed out the collection she brought. From the wide-brimmed sun hats to the embellished Titanic-era cloches, some women couldn’t resist incorporating one into their looks.
Sharleen Hannon of Lockport chose a sand-colored fascinator (a 1920s-style headband) with an artful grouping of tulle on the top left side of her head. She added a few thin black feathers herself.
“I’m all about the sparkle, anything glam-y,” she said.
“This is our favorite part of the event,” said her friend, Amanda Janicki of Amherst picking up her straw fedora.
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They came to support the organization and their friend Teresa Reile, one of its board members.
Inspired by Jackie Kennedy Onassis, Reile wore a form-fitting white dress and matching Judith Krantz hat, which had a prominent brim with a white flower sitting on top.
Reile said she was enjoying the afternoon.
“I look forward to a great game, great weather and all the wonderful people who come out to support the Knox farm,” she said.
The Future of the Fashion Show: Susie Lau
Maybe early, early Vetements shows. I love early moments of any designer, though. They’re special, and when you see their growth it feels quite rewarding. And you see a lot of that in London, you can track their careers from when they graduated.
Do you have young designers coming to you for advice?
With regards to fashion shows? Yeah, for sure. Especially young ones. It’s a huge commitment money-wise. They weigh up, is it right to do a show or a presentation? For a while, presentations were holding some kind of sway for designers, it felt they could get more out of it. People could take a photo, have the time to absorb it. But then in designers’ minds it always still goes back to that there’s this prestige attached to doing a show. That it makes you more noteworthy, or someone to pay attention to. They feel like they can maybe try and do something different within a show format. But when you’re on a limited budget, a show is a show. It seems quite difficult to disrupt that format in a way that feels new.
Although designers are trying to do that, with see-now-buy-now . . .
I meant disruption to the actual format of the show itself, rather than the way they sell their collections. The commerce side of things has added a whole different element, which maybe is detrimental to the show element in itself. If you’re concerned with selling this product that’s ready to go, is it the most exciting product that you can get out there, or is just the product you can get to market quickly, and use the show to sell? If they’re being honest with themselves, is that the most exciting thing they’re doing on an aesthetic and innovation level? When you see a lot of the see-now-buy-now, it’s about selling stuff. There’s already a lot of stuff.
So, you’re not for consumer-facing shows, then?
I don’t have an objection to that, the problem is, when you’re trying to get two different things out of a show. To give the more experienced, jaded fashion professional an experience, an emotive thing, and then trying to sell a T-shirt or a simple jacket to a consumer that’s ready to go on the e-commerce site. I’m a fan of, for instance, down in Melbourne, when they do a fashion festival, and it’s completely consumer-facing, and people buy tickets, and designers show their current collection. I like that as a format, but it doesn’t really exist within our system. There is a way of feeding product to consumers in an exciting way and a fashion show is a great way of doing that; it excites people because it’s not their day-to-day experience. It’s why things like that Givenchy show were exciting, because 1,000 people got to attend a really incredible open-air show, but trying to fit those two experiences into one thing to cater to all of us doesn’t really work. Which is why some designers just retreat from showing altogether, or go in the opposite direction and shun any kind of social media presence. The crux of it is, there is no one-size-fits-all solution, every designer is different.
For a long time though, it has been a one-size-fits-all system.
It has. But the industry has grown, it’s bursting at the seams. I wouldn’t prescribe an editing process because that goes against the motion of things, we’ve come up with an industry that has become so evocative that everybody wants to get into it, everyone wants to be a part of it. It’s been globalized, as well. I’d never want to impede that; I’m all for that. But I think we need to individually find more innovative and imaginative ways of showcasing the work. Whether it’s just focusing on e-commerce, whether it’s through presentations, whether it’s through Instagram lookbooks, a Periscope show.
Do you feel the live element is important?
No, not really. The thing I’ve always been baffled by with this obsession with social moments is, a collection lives on longer than the 15 minutes that we’re there. But these social moments seem to be the most important thing to brands. I feel like brands and designers could do better in making that story last longer, you know, holding people’s attention longer. That’s why they’ve gone to that see-now/buy-now concept, they’re trying to alleviate, solve the problem of how do you capture that moment. But, why is it that they haven’t been able to make that moment last long enough?
EMAIL1Susie Lau attends 140 shows a season. From day one in New York to day 30 in Paris, that averages out to 4.66 shows a day, not including presentations and appointments. For Lau, there’s no asking a colleague to attend a show on her behalf so she can file a story for her 10-year-old site, Style Bubble. Since its launch Style Bubble has evolved from a personal style blog into a legit fashion news resource, but Lau remains the main event. “I don’t think it can be larger than me,” she’s said of the site, “it’s as large as I am.” In some parts she’s still known as Susie Bubble.
The name fit Lau, with her oft-photographed, eclectic wardrobe and her effervescent, always smiling personality, but it belies her influence. In addition to championing young, up-and-coming designers, and, when longtime Style Bubble followers demand it, documenting her quirky outfits with selfies, she does special projects for a long list of top-tier brands, among them Gucci, Louis Vuitton,Topshop, and Samsung. The London-based writer also crisscrosses the globe as a consultant, often working for apparel companies in China and Korea.
Unsurprisingly, Lau is thoughtful on the subject of fashion shows. Over tea at Hotel Regina during the recent Paris couture collections she revealed herself to be somewhat skeptical about see-now-buy-now initiatives, and rather weary of Instagram bait runways, but she’s supportive of public-facing shows. Hell, the entire system can splinter, if it means creativity trumps commerce. Creativity is the holy grail for Lau.
What follows are excerpts from our conversation.
This interview series was prompted by the CFDA report and all the shifts in the show system, be they see-now-buy-now collections or the combining of men’s and women’s lines. There’s been so much change this year.
It’s not all change in one solid direction, though. I guess that’s why that [CFDA] study was so inconclusive: because everybody seems to be doing their own thing, and deciding what’s best for them—either going completely off-piste without regard for the structure around them, or just trying to consolidate things because it makes more business sense. Like the men’s and women’s thing, I think that makes the most sense, especially when you already have this thing with men’s shows having women’s silhouettes seep into them anyway.
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Play that out: What do you think will happen to men’s seasons?
I didn’t go [to the men’s shows] this season, but people were saying how in flux it felt. Not empty, but it didn’t feel solid or secure as it stands. You kind of wonder how long a full-blown men’s schedule will exist as it does today, in four cities as well. It’s so ambitious.
Ambitious, but worthwhile, no? Just by the social media hits alone.
I feel like we’ve been heading in this direction, where shows seem to only serve that [social media] purpose. The presence of VIPs, it’s their showboating moment. But that model doesn’t really work for smaller designers, where it’s important for them to get the feedback of journalists, editors, and buyers. They’re trying to figure out, how do they compete? How do they retain people’s attentions, in a schedule that’s bursting at the seams, and shows don’t necessarily feel very special, but they still feel like they have to go through the motions of the show?
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Personally, do you still feel excited about fashion shows?
To be honest, there are a lot of brands today that don’t necessarily need a fashion show to showcase their collections. When you add it all up, even the special moments can get lost. I mean, I try to see everything. I like to try and see the young designers, and they jam a lot of those in, especially in New York and London. You always go with the hope that you’re going to see something special. It’s that unknown element, isn’t it? I have very, very bad show FOMO.
The Invisible Men and Women of Black Fashion
Consider Ann Lowe, the mid-20th century designer of dresses for America’s social elite and “society’s best kept secret,” according to the Saturday Evening Post. In 1953, when admirers asked Jacqueline Kennedy, Lowe’s most famous client, who had designed her beautiful wedding dress, Kennedy replied, “a colored woman dressmaker.” Likewise, The New York Times went on at length and in detail about the opulent dress, its tucked bodice and circular designs, and its 50 yards of ivory silk taffeta. The one detail the Timesneglected to include was Lowe’s name.
With Grace Wales Bonner winning the coveted 300,000 euro LVMH prize in June, while Olivier Rousteing, creative director of Balmain, oversaw the recent $500-million sale of the company, you might conclude that after decades of exclusion, the fashion world is finally ready to welcome black talent into prominent—and visible—positions as designers and executives.
With heavyweights like Edward Enningful at W Magazine, and the recent ascension of Elaine Welteroth to the top of the masthead at Teen Vogue, there are also certainly more prominent black faces in positions of power in fashion than there were even a decade ago. But to stop there only oversimplifies and distorts a complicated situation that begs for more nuanced understanding.
Let’s start with the numbers, which tell a very different story. Out of almost 1,300 brands listed on Vogue.com—not an exhaustive list of all designers, but an indicator of those held worthy of acknowledgment by the industry—only 16 are black, or just over 1 percent. One percent.
Moreover, to speak of black designers as a group itself is problematic: Blackness is not monolithic; designers of color come from a variety of experiences and backgrounds. Grace Wales Bonner has almost nothing in common with Olivier Rousteing beyond skin color. She is a British intellectual weaving quiet, romantic, and intricate narratives around black male identity. He is a French social media star with a penchant for flash, celebrity, tassels, and gold braiding. To specify their blackness is diminishing, just as much as ignoring it. However, there is often an ironic strength in numbers—or perhaps it is more accurate to say, a shared awareness. As the academic bell hooks states in “where we stand: class matters”:
“More often than not racial solidarity forged a bond between black-skinned folks even if they did not share the same caste or class standing. They were bonded by the knowledge that at any moment, whether free or enslaved, they could share the same fate.
“That fate? Invisibility.”
We’ve come a long way from the outright erasure visited upon Ann Lowe; designers like Stephen Burrows, Patrick Kelly and Tracy Reese have risen like so many fireworks in an empty night sky.
But visibility does remain an issue.
“It’s not just in design where we’re not really seen,” says Edward Buchanan, former design director of Bottega Veneta and current creative director and founder of Sansovino 6, a luxury knitwear brand based in Milan. “We’re not seen as head buyers, we’re not seen as head merchandisers, we’re not seen as directors of anything, and at the end of the day, if you don’t have these people as an integral part of your team, then you can’t see diversity on the outside; it’s impossible.”
Buchanan, 46, launched Sansovino 6 2009, only after applying for multiple creative director positions but never quite making the cut. “I was always getting in the door. A lot of people would see me, and the collections that I was working on [were] doing very well, but people were not giving me that opportunity. I realized that no one… was going to give me anything, and so I had to create it on my own. I had to create my own space.”
What we’re really talking about is value. Buchanan and Lowe, like many, were rendered invisible not for lack of talent or lack of production, but in many ways because Blackness is valued so little in this Eurocentric, post-colonial world; it doesn’t add, rarely does it maintain, and more often than not, it deceases value. Industry powerbrokers–out of fear or feigned ignorance–still cling to the long-held and utterly unsubstantiated myths that that black faces don’t move product or aren’t “expensive enough” to justify everything from all-white runways, mostly white faces on magazine covers, and a lack of diversity in Hollywood’s top roles.
“Less than,” says Brandice Daniel, when asked to characterize the initial reception to Harlem’s Fashion Row, an organization she founded 10 years ago, with the double-barreled mission of bringing visibility to multicultural designers and support their businesses as well. “Because people associated it with African Americans, they automatically had a perception that it’s not worth as much as things that are happening during New York Fashion Week.”
This devaluation even creeps into the fashion world’s vocabulary, despite appearance and progeny; as if one’s skin color diffuses the vision of the viewer. The terms “streetwear” and “urban,” although inherently benign, have evolved into low-brow labels associated with the wardrobe of inner-city (read: “black”) youth, namely t-shirts and sweat pants (not unlike how “thug” has become a socially acceptable, coded replacement for the “n-word”). Brett Johnson, a relative newcomer to the world of fashion, presented the fourth collection of his eponymous line of Italian-made menswear at New York Fashion Week: Men’s this past February. Sartorial classics like tailored suiting, overcoats, and motorcycle jackets are his brand’s mainstay. “People were like, ‘Oh, this is good… for streetwear,’” says Johnson, scion of billionaire Robert L. Johnson, “but that’s just not who we are or where our aesthetic is.”
As Kerby Jean-Raymond, creator of Pyer Moss, an athletic-infused line of tailored sportswear, famously asked, “I just want to know what’s being called ‘street,’ the clothes or me?”
However, there are some designers for whom terms like “streetwear” are perfectly fine. “I’m not interested in dressing women in gowns,” says women’s wear designer Jerome Lamar of his “street-glam” line, 531Jerome. “I’m actually from the boogie-down Bronx. This whole street world that I actually have experience in, is authentically me.” After an eight-year stint at hip-hop brand Baby Phat, Lamar began working for American couturier Ralph Rucci and later consulted for Armani. “I’m the only person I know that has succeeded in the hip-hop [world] and then went to work for a true couturier. My world is a bridge between the two.”
Lamar is not altogether unique. His experience, like Wales Bonner’s LVMH prize, is a bellwether that signals small but substantive shifts in perception and acceptance. Where once designers like Maxwell Osborne, one half of Public School, were lauded for breaking through the impenetrable wall of the establishment, an entirely new crop of designers has entered the field, with a quiver full of cross-cultural references and pluralistic black experience in tow. Before there was Wales Bonner, for example, there was Orange Culture, a Nigerian-based menswear line, designed by Adebayo Oke-Lawal, one the 30 finalists in the inaugural LVMH contest in 2014. Like Wales Bonner, Orange Culture engages black male identity as a narrative device, frequently referencing the brightly-colored Dutch Wax Cloth so often associated with West Africa.
“I’m really interested in the story of black people on the planet,” says Recho Omondi, of her namesake line, Omondi. “I feel like it’s a really fascinating and integral part of world history, and it’s the least often told.” With only two seasons under her belt, Omondi already has substantial social media following (“It’s everything for us”) and has been hailed by Harper’s Bazaar as a “Designer to Watch.” Inspired by her own internal duality—navigating the cultural shift between life in the U.S. and her native Kenya—Omondi uses soft knits, oversized silhouettes, and muted colors to weave a story of heritage in a modern world.
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“I think something modern has to be relevant for more than one season,” says Dexter Peart, one half of Want Les Essentials, an accessories brand he owns with his twin brother, Byron. Using materials from around the world, the duo draws inspiration from their upbringing as children of Jamaican parents who moved to Canada during the civil rights era. Growing up as one of the few people of color in their neighborhood informs their driving concept: inclusivity vs exclusivity; “democratic” essentials like handcrafted bags, shoes, and apparel. “This idea that great quality or craftsmanship only comes from one place also doesn’t feel very modern,” say Dexter in response to why he sources materials the world over, not just Europe. “There are categories or boxes that have been put up to sort of create value in places, but don’t necessarily say where [that] value is from.”
Operating outside of the establishment, the new class of minority designers are reinterpreting fashion’s codes to tell a more layered narrative, eschewing the shock of the new, to bring tradition, craftsmanship, and longevity to the forefront of their work. The clean lines sculpted of nubuck leather to create the minimalistic sneakers of Number 288 by Benyam Assafa. The post-modern sartorial mashup that is Harbison by Charles Harbison. The meticulously tailored, made-to-measure atelier of Devon Scott. The unabashedly refined humor found in the footwear of current CFDA Incubator designer Aurora James’s brand, Brother Veilles.
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The list goes on, and the origins, methodology, and execution are divergent; the descriptor “Black” cannot and does not define these designers, nor can it contain them. Charting their own course, these clothiers have unraveled the invisibility cloak, showing that modern luxury is the ability to inhabit multiple worlds at once, draping intersectionality on your back with ease.
Eight changes that will rock the way you shop fashion
The retail industry is in crisis. Macy's reported a 7.4% year-over-year drop in sales in the first quarter of 2016, while Sears has shut down hundreds of stores since 2013, including 78 this summer. In order to buck this trend and stay afloat in an increasingly competitive industry, many of our favorite stores and labels are innovating.
But it's not all doom and gloom: This innovation is set to revolutionize how you shop the hottest trends. From creating in-house labels to using virtual reality and smart mirrors, retail companies are doing everything they can to be successful in this 21st century scrap for survival. Here are 8 of our favorite upcoming changes.
Virtual Reality Will Future-Proof Fashion Sales
Forever changing to keep up with technological advances, the retail industry is set to embrace virtual reality to allow its customers to shop from home. Sixense showcased a VR technology for consumers as early as last summer. This video shows a shopper browsing a selection of shoes and picking them up off virtual shelves, before buying their desired pair.
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Henry Stuart from VR production company Visualise spoke to Wired about the advantages of VR in retail: "It will only show stuff that's relevant to you, and you will be able to pick things up in the virtual world and feel them, as well as playing with them, before you start to buy them."
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PHOTOS OF THE DAY Photos of the weekendFashion Gets Social With Shoppable Ads
Love or loathe the social media-verse, there's no escaping its influence. So there's no wonder that the retail industry is taking advantage of platforms like Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest to sell their threads. Popular designer stores like Cole Haan and Burberry were among the first to take the plunge, with the former reporting faster rates of growth via its Instagram and Facebook sales than any other online channel in 2015.
Smart Mirrors Cut Into Fitting Room Lines
Bustling crowds can make shopping a tedious affair, especially when you need to queue to try on 15 different dresses. Luckily, some conscientious genius created mirrors smart enough to help you avoid the hassle.
In tandem with Neiman Marcus, MemoryMirror created a model that allows shoppers to "try on" outfits in different colors and compare 360-degree images side-by-side. It even allows users to share their images with friends via Facebook for that all-important second opinion.
Taking a slightly different approach, Ralph Lauren opted to use its technology to enhance the fitting room experience. Its shoppers can use the store's smart mirror to alter the lighting in the fitting room or request alternate sizes and colors from staff.
Victoria's Secret Has No Clothes
Iconic lingerie store Victoria's Secret recently ceased its sale of apparel, shoes, and accessories, opting to focus on the brand's more profitable "core merchandise." This decision, like the company's exit from the swimwear market this year, comes after the store's latest quarterly report showed a 7% decrease in sales.
Going forward, the brand aims to focus on its three most successful collections: lingerie, beauty, and the PINK activewear range.
Amazon Enters the High Fashion Game
As of last month, Amazon has closed the figurative doors of its flash sale site, MyHabit. The store struggled in recent years, following early success at the height of flash sale site popularity. The former CEO of the store has since taken post as general manager of the megaretailer's recently launched private-label fashion movement. Amazon has seen success of late with its release of a number of in-house fashion labels, including Franklin & Freeman and James & Erin.
Climate Change Tanks Outerwear Sales
The retail industry just can't seem to catch a break. If it's not battling to keep up with rapid changes in technology and increased e-commerce competition, it's being challenged by Mother Nature itself. According to Retailing Today, Macy's and Kohl's are just two stores that reported a substantial drop in outerwear sales during the 2015 holiday shopping period. This fall is being attributed in part to record high fall and winter temperatures across the United States.
Genderless Apparel Hits Major Retailers
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Gone are the days when girls stayed pretty in pink. The process of de-gendering both toys and apparel is at the forefront of the retail industry. Although this isn't a new idea (American Apparel has been selling unisex threads for years), an increasing number of designers are foregoing tradition and creating clothes without labels or prejudice, including Zara and iconic British department store Selfridges.
Chief menswear buyer at Luisa Via Roma, Monica Pascarella, spoke to Trend Watching about how these changes, saying, "The lines will continue to blur and there will continue to be less difference between collections."
Subscription Boxes Head to Your Door
We're not all blessed with an eye for fashion, so enlisting the help of sartorially inclined professionals is a very appealing concept. Luckily you can now be dressed by your own inexpensive personal stylist if you sign up for one of the many apparel subscription boxes on offer across the web.
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From the designer-savvy Stitch Fix and Fashion Stork, to the environmentally friendly RX Vintage, there are a host of subscriptions available to suit every taste and budget, all of which have stylists on hand. These services even allow you to send back any items you don't want without charge.
Are the above trends set to change the landscape of the retail industry or just marketing gimmicks? Either way, we're certainly excited to see stores embrace advancements in technology and social change in order to keep the customer happy.
FAMILY-OWNED BOUTIQUE OFFERS HANDMADE FASHION FOR WOMEN OF ALL AGES
WEST CHESTER (WPVI) --A newly opened boutique in West Chester is run by three generations of one family. And they're offering something special for all of the women in your own family.
The inspiration behind the store is really 3 generations of family and fashion.
The 3 generations starting with mom, Mariann Godwin, her daughter and fashion designer, Rachel Becker, and her daughter and inspiration, Harper Rose.
"When I was starting to look for outfits for her I was like - I can do this and I can do this in more of a fun fashion," said Rachel.
Rachel started her career in bridal and women's, but shifted her focus to kids when she had one of her own
"We were trying to decide a balance between motherhood and my career and we decided to join them together," she said.
H. Rose Kiddos is named for their little 2 year old muse and built for her busy, toddler life.
"I put it on Harper and we play for the day," said Rachel.
You can find Rachel's homegrown, handcrafted line in their new shop on West Gay Street in West Chester - in the kids section.
"These are things that we would want to wear. These are things we would want to wear - in mini version," she said.
But mom makes sure the designs are also comfy, machine washable and kid-proof.
"I need to know if my daughter goes to the playground - is she going to tear it apart. So yes! Very much mom tested and mom approved!" said Rachel.
Mom-mom, Mariann, helps stock the rest of the store with all kind of clothes, accessories and fun finds for women of every OTHER age.
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Because for them - it's all about family.
"Rachel has got a lot of talent so maybe one day Harper will be behind the register too," she said.
That means most of the store is actually made by owner!
"They are excited that I made it and now I am standing here in the store to sell it to you as well," said Rachel.
And they are offering a very special discount just Action News viewers, both in the store in West Chester and online.
If you pop in, mention you saw this on 6abc and get 20% off - online, get the same discount using the coupon code 6abc
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To check out some of the fashions from H. Rose Kiddos, CLICK HERE.
How Jews Made London the Fashion
irtually every Jewish tailor was a showman,” reminisces Brian Bilgorri. His father, Harry (Sonny) Bilgorri, was owner of one of the most successful tailoring businesses in London’s East End, a contributor to the fashion revolution scene of the 1960s and one such showman.
In Sonny’s obituary, in 2001, The Independent newspaper described Bigorri’s as, “a meeting place for the famous, the infamous and the man about town.” Mark Feld (later Marc Bolan), as well as Mods and other iconic Sixties figures were customers. At that time, Brian tells me, a tailor’s shop was the place to go and hang out with your friends. Bilgorri’s was also popular among East End gangsters.
Bilgorri’s place in British men’s fashion history is just one of the stories highlighted in “Moses, Mods and Mr Fish: The Menswear Revolution,” the latest exhibition at Jewish Museum London. For over 100 years, British menswear set fashion trends that led the world and many of the most influential and innovative figures during this period were Jews. The exhibition charts the emergence of the modern male wardrobe — from the tailoring workshops of the mid 19th century and the start of the ready-to-wear industry to the boutique revolution and the British high street we know today. Among the eclectic selection of clothes on display is a 1966 mod suit, tailor-made by Sonny Bilgorri.
Jews have always been closely associated with the clothing trade. There are various theories as to why this is, says curator Elizabeth Selby, but the laws of kashrut and exclusion are significant factors. The religious prohibition against the mixing of wool and linen in garments, known as shatnez, meant that observant Jews had to make clothing for themselves. In the Pale of Settlement, one in four Jewish artisans was a tailor as a result of being subjected to exclusion from many other trades. The subsequent wave of immigration from Eastern Europe to Britain in the late 1880s brought thousands of tailors to the East End, as well as to Leeds in the north of England. By 1901, around 60% of London Jews were working in tailoring. Most eked a meager living yet, says Selby, for many immigrants there was a will and motivation to succeed.
One such immigrant was Lithuanian-born, Montague Burton who arrived in the UK in 1900, aged 15. By 1903, he had opened his first shop, initially selling ready-to-wear clothing — items created using a standardized set of measurements. A few years later, Burton was running three shops and a clothing factory in Leeds. He moved into producing made-to-measure suits, manufactured on a wholesale basis — the new system offering better value for his customers. Burton expanded rapidly and by 1939, there were 595 branches of his eponymous store across the UK, each with its eye-catching façade — the name Montague tucked across the swish of the large, ornate capital letter ‘B’ of Burton.
His success was not only due to astute business acumen. Burtons also had an effective marketing ploy. Broadcaster, writer and former customer, Michael Freedland recalls that almost every store had a billiard room at the back or in the basement. “They felt that young men, who were their chief market, would come in and play billiards and on the way out would order or buy a suit.”
War brought opportunity. During the Second World War, Burtons made a quarter of all service uniforms and post-war, a third of all demob suits. The term for these three-piece suits, ‘the full Monty,’ is a reference to his name. Another company, Moss Bros, took similar advantage of the wartime period. Moss Bros had initially made its name in the late 19th century by selling expensive clothes second hand, later opening a hire department. “Moss Bros became one of those brands just synonymous with a British way of life,” says David Moss, fifth generation of the Moss family to have been involved with the business, although it was sold some years ago. But crucially for many 13-year-old Jewish males, Moss Bros was where boys went with their fathers to buy their bar mitzvah suit.
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By the late 1940s and 50s men’s fashion changed radically. Young men ceased to want to dress like their fathers and one of the first retailers to respond to this nascent youth market was another Lithuanian born tailor, Cecil Gee.
In 1946 he introduced his Hollywood inspired “American Look.” It was a contrast to the drabness of austerity that had gone before with its double-breasted broad shouldered suit jackets and painted ties. For the first time, a ready-to-wear suit was the height of menswear fashion and buyers queued around the block, as they sought to dress like screen idols, Clark Gable and Cary Grant.
Gee was the first entrepreneur to export clothing from Europe in the 1950s. In 1956, he pioneered the sharp, ‘Italian Look,’ which was later adopted by the Mods. Their archetypal style was a lightweight suit, with short single-breasted jackets and narrow trousers without turn-ups. Sixty years later, the slim fitting silhouette prototyped Top Man’s (formally Burtons) best-selling skinny suit - a 2015 version of which is on display.
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Gee created an Italian scene in his shop, serving espressos to his clients and he even brought an Italian tailor over to London. His flagship central London store was located in the heart of the West End and close to Soho’s music clubs. In the centre of the shop was a huge cage filled with exotic birds whose song could be heard outside on the street. Gee kept a visitor’s book in the store - also on show - that he ensured was signed by anyone famous or well known. Danny Kaye, Frank Sinatra and Max Bygraves all have entries.
I might have found the best hot dog in America — and it's not where you'd expect
Thousands of Americans will be putting chairs in the backyard and firing up the grill for Memorial Day weekend.
Plumes of savory smoke will surely dot the nation — and many will be heading to a warehouse store like Costco to buy barbecue and party supplies in bulk beforehand.
Racks of ribs and five-pound packs of hot dogs will be flying off the shelves in a celebratory bulk-buying frenzy.
Yet so many shopping for dogs to grill themselves will breeze right past perhaps the best hot dogs in the country: Costco's.
I'm no hot-dog connoisseur, but of all I've tried in my life thus far, Costco's is the best yet.
How is the nation's best hot dog from such a bare-bones place as the Costco cafeteria?
First of all, it's a great value. You can order a hot dog and a drink for $1.50 — that's it. And considering how large the hot dog is, it's definitely an outrageous deal.
But a deal alone isn't enough to sway most. The expectations are understandably low for a Costco meal. But on that first bite, it's abundantly clear that this is no run-of-the-mill hot dog.
The dog is unexpectedly flavorful. Gone is the bland, hollow taste of the average hot dog; instead, a delightful smoky taste pervades, similar to a kielbasa sausage but not as fatty or rich. There's a slight charred taste to it that isn't overpowering. It's juicy, and there's a satisfying snap with every bite.
This is not the lifeless frankfurter that one microwaves for 30 seconds before chopping up and throwing in some ill-conceived mac-and-cheese dinner. Nay — this dog has vitality. The condiments aren't needed to mask the soul-crushing saltiness that they normally would, but simply to compliment the already delicious hot dog.
Speaking of condiments: Ketchup, mustard, relish, onions, and sauerkraut — if you're into that — are all at your disposal at Costco's commissary. Such freedom is truly a national treasure worthy of our patronage.
The bun is deceptively simple — what's in a bun, after all? It's seen as the vehicle, not the cargo. Yet the bun is the unsung hero of this hot dog.
It's soft and pliant, and tastes lightly sweet, which compliments the dog itself perfectly. But the real magic happens when the condiments are dumped on the dog with wild abandon — precisely because nothing happens. The bun is immune to shabby sogginess or untimely breakage. It's truly miraculous.
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By all means, grill your own hot dogs in the backyard — char them if you must. But if you find yourself heading to Costco to stock up on huge amounts of paper napkins, meat for the grill, etc., do yourself a favor and grab a hot dog on the way out. You'll be surprised.
NOW WATCH: Here are the 8 food items you should only get from Costco
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Getting It Right: The Statham
This post is part of Getting It Right, a field guide to the five tribes of modern men's fashion.
Shaved head? CrossFit body? Wall-to-wall tattoos? Dirty, slouchy denims? If this describes the fantasy you—or the super-butch alter-ego that lives inside your head—then you might well be a candidate for the Statham tribe.
SIMON DOONANSimon Doonan is an author, fashion commentator, and creative ambassador for Barneys New York.
Adopting the Statham look—the tribe is named, by moi, after Jason Statham, the charismatically grunty British star of numerous violent movies—is easy and inexpensive. In Statham world, nothing is fancy or elitist. Statham-ing is, however, not without its complications. Others will draw conclusions based on your appearance. Stathams are frequently mistaken for ruthless sex traffickers or Moldovan hit men.
Before we probe deeper into the Statham profile, let’s zero in on the style components. The Statham look is tough, edgy, and screams “rough trade.” There is a whiff of sadism in those rugged Rag and Bone jeans and those artfully scuffed Viberg work boots. John Varvatos and Denim and Supply (the Ralph Lauren offshoot) are go-to designers for the Statham. The Statham owns stacks of James Perse T-shirts. If it’s chilly, then V-necked sweaters will be worn—à la Simon Cowell, but minus the moobs—over rock-hard chests. U.S. Navy aviators are the Statham’s one adornment. Navy and black are the Statham colors. Jacket? The Statham would never wear a biker jacket. Too costume-y. For the Statham, it’s more about a stormproof, waxed-cotton, Belstaff motocross-inspired Citimaster or Roadmaster.
Jason Statham in March 2015 in Los Angeles.
Vera Anderson/Getty Images Portrait
Now back to the demographic. The Statham look is, as I will demonstrate, misleading to the point of madness. Stathams work within a broad range of professions, none of which involve raping, pillaging, or garotting. He is, in many cases, a Sheila in wolf’s clothing. Here are a few of the most prominent Statham vocations:
The Statham de coiffure: With nary a thought for the obvious irony of dressing like a killer while attaching hair extensions, both straight and gay hairdressers are devotees of the Statham look. How to tell them apart? Gay hairdresser Stathams tend to have bigger muscles than straight hairdresser Stathams.
The yeehaw Statham: In the world of country music, electric horsemen and rhinestone cowboys have been replaced by dressed-down, gritty Stathams such as Dierks Bentley and Brad Paisley. Charles Esten’s character on sadly departed Nashville—Deacon Claybourne is the heart and soul of the show—is Statham-central.
The pampered Hollywood thespian Statham: Dorothy Parker said, “Scratch an actor and you’ll find an actress.” I say, “Scratch a Statham and you’ll find an actor who uses eye cream.” From Brad Pitt—he helped author the look—to Ryan Reynolds and Ryan Gosling, the hypermasculine Statham look is hugely popular with butch A-listers, especially when popping out to pick up a latte or girly pressed-juice concoction.
Why do A-listers, blokes who could presumably afford to buy the most outré designer fashion, prefer the Statham look? The answer is simple enough: High-profile dudes in a range of professions—we are talking everyone from David Beckham to Mr. Statham himself—opt for the Statham look because it is unimpeachable and hater-immune. The tough-guy simplicity of the Statham look provides an iron dome of social media protection to those who might otherwise be subject to endless critical bombardment.
Other devotees: The 1 percenters. Damian Lewis’ character on the Showtime seriesBillions is costumed to Statham perfection. Wall Streeters may dress like Prepsters or even Perverse Prepsters on their way up, but once they reach the top, it’s on with the work boots and the cotton-jersey hoodies.
I'd like to say I have the Statham aesthetic but I have a feeling after reading about the shlub tomorrow I'll realize that is me. More...
73 CommentsJoin InRegarding Jason Statham himself: If you have not sampled his oeuvre, you are in for a treat. I recently watched Crank 2: High Voltage. It is a delightmare that involves Statham applying jumper cables to his nipples and tongue. This coming August, Statham fans will be tucking into Mechanic: Resurrection, in which Statham resumes the role of Arthur Bishop, wears lots of dark clothes, and kills loads more people in horrible ways that look like accidents. Statham’s next role? He should play James Bond. It’s high time a working-class lad—a baldy Bond—was given a chance to deconstruct the martini-drinking toff.
Statham takeaways: The most important Statham accessory is a car, preferably a banged-up, scratched-up ’80s Porsche, a growling vintage Jaguar XJS, or an obscure Lancia. And the interior must be ravaged, soiled, and patina’d to within an inch of its life. The Statham look is dirty. It’s clean dirt, but it’s dirt nonetheless.
Tune in Friday for the last and most important installment in this sartorial tribal overview: The Schlub.
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