December 15, 2009
December 14, 2009
In support of the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen, there have been over 3,000 events going on worldwide in hopes of establishing effective solutions of the world crisis. Organized by community leaders and individuals desiring to seek change, people all over the world are organizing candlelight vigils, wall signings, and marches in their cities and local towns. Bornholm, a small Danish island of population 43,000, also recently developed a program to cut its emissions to zero by developing clean energy. They are burning straw for district heat, using wind power for electricity, and developing a biofuels plant and infrastructure for electric cars. Rome is also now the first European capital to launch a plan for energy self-sufficiency, using more wind turbines and solar panels.
In addition, Native Land, Stop Eject also opened in Kunsthal Chalottenborg, Copenhagen last Saturday December 5, and continues till February 21, 2010. From the perspective of nomads, islanders, and indigenous people, the exhibition gives them a voice to speak on how the climate crisis is affecting human migration in all parts of the world.
And to give you the latest update on the Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen, the EU leaders have committed to 3.6 billion dollars a year until 2012 to help developing countries. And the two countries, Norway and Mexico, have proposed a joint model for climate funding, using both the incomes from the UN-allowances and from individual countries.
The call to urgency and immediate action is louder than ever. And as there are only a few remaining days left of the Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen, we hope that the agreements are finalized and change is near. As the 3.6 million supporters of Avaaz says to the three key leaders, Obama, Hatoyama, and Merkel, “fund the fight to save the world.”
December 7, 2009
Because of these complications, the launch was delayed up until today. Aplace will still carry the jeans, but only through their online store. And if you can't find any left there, you can also get them on the Noko website.
Although PUB pulled out the jeans to avoid possible controversies, we suspect that this act may have done the opposite and ignited a spark.
via: New York Times
December 1, 2009
A group of Swedish entrepreneurs, however, thought differently; and in 2007, Jacob Åström, Tor Rauden Källstigen and Jakob Ohlsson started Noko Jeans. Because there is so little known about North Korea, the members of Noko Jeans were interested in knowing more about the country; and Noko Jeans was their way of gaining access.
After a year of email correspondences, negotiations, and business trips to North Korea, they managed to seal a deal with the country’s biggest mining company to produce 1,100 pairs of two styles of jeans, expected to go on sale this Friday, December 4th.
Priced at 150 Euros each and stitched with a "Made in North Korea" label, the team has designed limited straight-cut, dark-washed jeans, stark in its design to resemble the North Korean landscapes. With the launch includes a documentary of the company's trip to North Korea, exposing the world of it's rather transparent production method and further insight of an enigmatic nation.
As it is North Korea’s first denim product, it is likely that Noko’s first collection of jeans, Maneuvers in the Dark, will sell out in no time. However, although Noko has the cool, edgy look for a premium denim brand, it is still questionable as to whether their “Made in North Korea” tags will be embraced by their denim loving consumers. But even then, as North Korea may not have the best connotations, it’s isolated and somewhat secretive identity may work to Noko’s advantage, providing an unmarked territory as grounds to help spark a more positive association.
Noko’s website does not yet include the details of where you can purchase these jeans, but check back shortly and we’ll let you know as soon as we find out!
November 23, 2009
After the blanket-thick smog, the second most striking thing about Beijing is the contrast between old and new. Construction sites are everywhere, and most of the city's old courtyard buildings, or hutongs, have been torn down to make way for mammoth, gleaming buildings that hardly even qualify as skyscrapers, since they're often as wide as they are tall. Many, if not most, of these structures house shopping malls, which provide an air-conditioned respite from the grimy air outside.
November 17, 2009
Having already pioneered the simplified 7-piece sneaker for their edgy eco-spin-off, SLVR, Adidas would seem like an excellent candidate to make the $100 computer of footwear: the €1 shoe. Toms Shoes are currently at the forefront of ethical footwear; but fresh off last year's scandal over underpaid workers at its Chinese factories, Adidas is looking to rehabilitate its image, and a charity shoe project could be just the thing.
As promised, here's a preview of MBF's exclusive look at the Spring 2010 runway shows in New York, London, Milan, and Paris. We've broken it down for you by theme and specifics, so if you were wondering which colors, silhouettes, fabrics, prints, or embellishments are going to be big this season... look no further!
The full report is available for $300 as a high-res PDF; email email@example.com to place an order.
November 16, 2009
Hussein Chalayan tried it first, creating seemingly magical LED-lit dresses for his fall 2007 collection, and now, the Galaxy Dress, a new project from London-based smart textile company CuteCircuit, sparkles with more than 24,000 LEDs and 4,000 hand-applied Swarovski crystals. Its circuitry is hand embroidered on a layer of silk, creating a soft, fluid fabric. Although this dress is lightweight, ironically, the heaviest part is not the lights, but rather the 40-layer pleated silk organza crinoline.
The Galaxy Dress is still in its prototype stages, but demonstrates how clothing can create new forms of communication as technology pushes fashion into unmarked territories. Although it may not yet seem realistic to wear LED lit shirts or dresses as an everyday look, current developments like headphone wiring in snowboard jackets and solar-paneled laptop bags might have seemed crazy a few years ago, too!
November 12, 2009
November 9, 2009
November 5, 2009
"it telegraphed Stella McCartney’s optimistic spring message as obviously as Trey Speegle’s huge paint-by-numbers mural of the Arc de Triomphe emblazoned with a giant YES."
November 3, 2009
The phenomenon started with an ingeniously simple concept: For each pair of shoes purchased, another pair would be given to a child in need. The design was equally simple: a unisex canvas slip-on crafted with a folded toe, so the fabric didn't even need to be molded into shape. Based in easygoing Venice, CA, Toms Shoes spread like wildfire through the bleeding-heart San Francisco Bay Area, across the country, and abroad to places like Japan, Finland, and New Zealand.
October 29, 2009
Well, it looks like we were wrong, wrong, wrong about Fashion's Night Out's success, or lack of. WWD reports today that the Sept. 10 event was SO smashingly successful that it's going to be repeated next year — and it'll be bigger and smashing-er than ever!!! Everyone's still mum about actual sales figures for the night, with Bergdorf ceo Jim Gold pronouncing that "More importantly… Fashion’s Night Out set a fun, optimistic and energetic tone for the fall season.” Yes, we'd forgotten, retailers always measure their success by the tone. Bloomberg, Wintour, and co. are looking to outdo themselves by getting New York's sales tax repealed for the day, meaning deeper discounts for those buying items over $110. Can it work? Of course it can!!
October 26, 2009
October 22, 2009
October 20, 2009
October 15, 2009
Once upon a time, not so long ago, hourglass figures like Marilyn Monroe's were considered most desirable; and even as recently as the 1980s, breasts were an accepted part of a model's body. These days, with the stick-thin heroin-chic figure continuing to dominate the fashion world as Americans grow ever plumper, the fight continues to escalate between defenders of runway models and advocates of "real women" as models.
September 29, 2009
September 28, 2009
September 25, 2009
September 16, 2009
September 14, 2009
The problem isn't that people don't like shopping, it's that they have no [unprintable term] money!
September 11, 2009
Hard to know which event this week was more shocking: Anna Wintour making an appearance in a Queens shopping mall for her pet project, Fashion's Night Out; or Emanuel Ungaro hiring Lindsay Lohan as an "artistic advisor". It's quite clear, however, which move was commendable and which was a bizarre attempt to pander to celebrity-obsessed fans.
September 10, 2009
September 3, 2009
There's bad news, and then there's... more bad news. According to an article in WWD, retailers already hard-hit by reduced sales are seeing a wave of theft, both from organized and disorganized criminals. To wit:
A survey released in May by the Retail Industry Leaders Association, which measured the first four months of 2009, found 61 percent of retailers had seen an increase in amateur and opportunistic shoplifting, while 72 percent had seen an increase in organized retail crime.
In a move straight out of a cops-and-robbers movie, one gang has been stealing jewelry from J.C. Penney's locations in Texas and Louisiana by hoisting themselves down from the roof.
But it's not all customers who are doing the thieving. In Chicago, high-end clothing boutique Jake has stiffed 28 designers for sums ranging from $860 to $48,000 by closing down their parent company and opening a new one, while continuing to run the shop itself under the same name.
The designers have collectively filed suit to recover their unpaid money; for smaller designers such as Costello Tagliapietra, the more than $20,000 they are owed represents a significant chunk of their business, while 3.1 Phillip Lim's brand director, Maria Vu, says the suit is also a matter of principle.
Regardless of the outcome, the designers, whose numbers also include Chris Benz, Lutz & Patmos, and Band of Outsiders, are pleased to have banded together created a community where they can discuss the issues facing them collectively as young designers..
August 26, 2009
August 18, 2009
August 10, 2009
Last week, MBF visited Direction by Indigo and PrintSource, where we spoke to a lively mix of established and up-and-coming print designers about their hottest trends for fall 2010.
August 5, 2009
August 3, 2009
For designers and retailers, the inherent problem with the do-it-yourself trend is, what do you sell? Well, Paris-based Wool and the Gang has come up with an ingenious solution: these ultramodern knit-it-yourself kits, which come with needles, instructions, and luscious Peruvian wool yarns to be made into scarves, hats, or legwarmers in the season's hottest colors: for this fall, that's gray, teal, and purple, if you were wondering. For summer, there are vests, tanks, and boho shoulder bags in Pima cotton. Each kit also comes with a pair of pun-tastic patches so customers can customize their hand-knit pieces — and advertise for Wool and the Gang, of course — in '80s high style.
July 29, 2009
July 22, 2009
Photos, from left to right: Hedda William S/S09; a bag from Royal Blush; Blue Notch S/S09.
For Magdalena Schaffrin and Jana Keller, co-founders of Green Showroom, it was their objective to give like-minded designers and buyers a press platform for high-end collections by creating a trade show that would be both eco and luxurious. At other eco fairs, they felt, there was no fit for high-end fashion lines, because they were mixed in among yoga collections and lower-priced collections.
At the showroom’s debut event, one could see amazing collections from designers such as Julia Starp, who uses peace silk and organic cotton for her line of dresses and coats; Liv Lundelius from Blushless, an avant-garde bridal collection with eco fabrics; and Reet aus, an Estonian designer who is represented by Mica Lamb, the founder of Agent for Change, a London sustainable fashion showroom. This particular collection is very feminine with an antique feel, incorporating delicate lace, organic dyes, and re-used fabrics from a textile recycling centre in Estonia. Other standout collections were Van Markoviec, a Dutch designer working with Japanese cotton certified by JOCA, the highest standard for certified fabrics and production; Jana Keller, designing Royal Blush, a handbag and jewellery collection made of vegetable-tanned leather sourced in Italy; Magdalena Schaffrin, whose men’s and women’s wear collection has a long-lasting, understated design; and Hessnatur, which has used eco fabrics since its founding in 1970, and added fair trade in 2005, growing their own cotton in Africa. After hiring the designer Miguel Adrover, they feel they have all the elements – eco fabrics, fair trade, and design – to make it a successful company.
At the Premium Exhibition’s Green Forum, two collections in particular stood out. Odd, an organic design house based in New York, fuses everyday objects and innovative Japanese textile engineering for their soy cashmere and milk fibre-wool blend fabrics. This collection will soon be sold in a major department store in New York, Paris and Tokyo; 1% of their revenues go to charity via 1% For The Planet. Raffauf, a rainwear collection, uses organic cotton and banana fibre fabrics that are treated with beeswax or natural rubber coating to make the coats and jackets water-resistant.
Surprisingly, Bread and Butter did not have a green platform; still, we did see some labels moving towards sustainability in their own ways. Just to mention a few, Braez, from Holland, sells a collection of tops and tunics that changes only in colours and fabrics from one season to the next. Sack’s, from Israel, also makes very plain, almost seasonless clothes; Skunkfunk, a Basque-based company, is introducing 50% of their collection with sustainable fabrics such as organic cotton. Mikel Elozo, the general director, tells us that a lot of their clients ask for organic pieces. Although they use eco fabrics, they are not marketing the eco aspect of their collection, as they fear being accused of greenwashing since they have not yet achieved complete transparency in their production process. Meanwhile, cosmetics line Uslu Airlines presented a charitable initiative: a collection of 11 up-to-the-minute colors of nail polish, from which 90 cents of each bottle’s sale would go to help underprivileged children in Berlin.
The Premium Exhibition had a very nice, relaxing atmosphere, with a more upscale overall feeling to the participating brands. Again, we saw a shift happening in the different ways to apply sustainability: Philo-Sofie, a cashmere collection of 50 sweaters, hats, scarves, and capes, is produced sustainably in close partnership with their Chinese factories. Blue Notch Jeans, a South Korean label that launched in the US two years ago, is making skinny jeans out of organic cotton denim from Japan. Hedda William from Hamburg designs simple styles meant to last: 20 tops and blouses each season, each offered in 12 colours. Instead of using a factory, her knit pieces are made by a family in Thailand.
The managing director for Germany at Filippa K, Norbert Reipert, proclaimed that they incorporate their values into the product, making it true, sustainable and reliable. They are using eco fabrics for some garments, and fair trade is a must, but their low-impact strategy still wasn’t comprehensive enough to qualify them for the green platform. Nonetheless, Reipert had strong feelings on the subject:
“We know there is a consumer out there called the LOHAS in Germany, who are really knowledgeable. But the masses just know enough to make a choice, and these masses will count in the end. [People will question,] why would you eat something based on chemicals? Why would you wear something that harms you?”
On the whole, we could see a definite shift in consciousness taking place, with many young and not-so-young labels expanding the boundaries of ethical production methods and sustainable materials, both traditional and high-tech. Needless to say, a lot of work is still to be done: What will it take to move sustainability from a trend to a lifestyle?
July 21, 2009
July 14, 2009
Via Nick Kristof in the NYT
July 8, 2009
July 7, 2009
June 30, 2009
June 24, 2009
And the copycat saga continues... In an especially egregious copycat case, CFDA president and prominent anti-copying advocate Diane von Furstenberg voluntarily settled out of court with under-the-radar Canadian label Mercy after a newspaper columnist accused her of copying a floral-print jacket, above right. Mercy co-designer Jennifer Halchuk explained to the National Post that the jacket pattern was entirely unique, having been custom-made to fit their idea of a vintage bed jacket, and pointed out that DVF's version (at left above, and worn by Jessica Alba on the cover of Elle) copied nearly every detail – the asymmetrical bias neck bow, an interior drawstring, elasticated sleeve cuffs – except the copyrighted fabric.
June 16, 2009
June 10, 2009
June 9, 2009
Wal-mart shareholders just got out from their star-studded annual meeting, in which Ben Stiller, Miley Cyrus, and various company execs celebrated the mega-retailer's status as one of few chains with, um, not-so-terrible sales amid the recession.