April 24, 2014

The Cool Crowd

There's a new crowd in town and they are redefining everything with their quirky personalities, creative spirits, and fearless style. From music to movies, TV, art, modeling, and fashion design, here are the who's who of ultimate coolness.

photo via People

Mindy Kaling
You may remember Mindy from all the controversy with her black and white February Elle cover or maybe you read her book, caught a few episodes of The Mindy Project, or you're just a diehard fan like us. She's got style, sass, and most recently acquired a lovely set of summer bangs. And if you're not following her Instagram already, you may want to start because she's seriously the epitome of funny girl cool.

photo via Latte Lisa

Sasha Pivovarova
Sasha is not only a model, painter, stylist, wife, and mom, but modern day Super Woman with a killer wardrobe to prove it. As of late she's been the face of Free People's January catalog which was shot in the whimsical model's home and even showcases some of her artwork. Together with artist/photographer husband, Igor Vishnyakov, the two have created a super inventive life, adorable family, and chic Williamsburg loft, causing envy among us all.

photo via Vogue UK

Pharrell Williams
Whether he's wearing that infamous vintage Vivianne Westwood hat or dropping a new album entitled "G I R L", there's a reason why Pharell's been so "Happy" lately. The multi-talented singer is making some moves onto the fashion scene with two upcoming collaborations. His much awaited men's and women's t-shirt collection for Uniqlo, "i am OTHER," is set to hit stores and online on April 24th. The musician now turned designer is also debuting a collection with Adidas Originals using eco-friendly Bionic yarn which is expected to launch this summer.

photo via Vogue UK

Brooklyn and Romeo Beckham
It wouldn't be a list of who's who without mentioning a Beckham and this one's featuring two, as both eldest sons make their modeling debuts. Ten-year-old Romeo is Burberry's latest billboard star while 15-year-old Brooklyn graces the cover of Man About Town magazine. With charming looks, power couple parents and four adorable children, the Beckham's just may be aiming for world domination.

photo via Fashion Times

Lupita Nyong'o
Well she's already won an Oscar for her role in 12 Years A Slave and now this girl's landed her first beauty campaign as the new face of Lancôme. Her flawless beauty and dynamite red carpet looks have her on everyone's radar as a "Global Fashion Icon." It's also been rumored that she's dating Jared Leto and they've been seen side by side all the way from LA to Paris.

photo via OUT

Olivier Rousteing
He's sat at the helm of Balmain as Creative Director since 2011 and helped give the fashion house its edgy, Baroque inspired flair. Now at 27, Olivier who quit a former international law career to follow his passion, continues to blur the lines between haute couture and ready-to-wear. With fans like Kayne, Prince, and even Rihanna who starred in Balmain's Spring 2014 campaign and is now up for her own CFDA Fashion Icon Award, the label evokes more than just fashion but art and architectural inspired designs.

photo via fashionista.com

Shailene Woodley
And the best dressed award goes to... Shailene Woodley who has quickly become the "It" girl of the red carpet. She first caught people's attention after her roles in The Secret Life of the American Teenager, The OC, and most recently The Descendants. We've seen her at the top of best dressed lists since 2011 wearing the likes of Dior, Valentino, Calvin Klein, Prabal Gurung, Christopher Kane, Jason Wu, and Dolce & Gabbana. 

April 17, 2014

Responsible Investments

With Earth Day next week and the not-to-be-missed Copenhagen Fashion Summit starting on April 23rd, we thought we'd update you on what is happening regarding conscious shopping and its influences on the apparel industry.

photo via Media Post News

In an effort for the two leading fast fashion retailers H&M and Zara to continue to go "green," this time they have joined forces with the nonprofit Canopy to support their "Fashion Loved By Forest" campaign which seeks to eliminate traces of endangered forest fibers like rayon, viscose, and modal in clothing which all use pulp. So far the anti-deforestation initiative is already backed by the likes of Eileen Fisher, Quicksilver, and Loomstate, so with the help of these mega-retailers it will hopefully send a powerful message that the market is shifting.

photo via Refinery29

Now that they've launched their 3rd conscious collection as well as a new labeling system called Clever Care that provides environmentally friendly cleaning instructions, how sustainable really is H&M? While these new policies are definitely showing progress and of course a complete turn-around for such a major company takes time, we can't help but wonder how they still manage to sell clothing at such a steal. How these prices include everything from fabric costs to wages, shipping, etc is unbeknownst to us but at least they are ethically aware of what they are doing and among the first of many to implement such innovative initiatives.

While its been over 10 months, there is finally word of improvement coming from Bangladesh. The first factories have been inspected and reports show they are in much better shape concerning fire and electrical safety and potential structural issues. You can now access the inspections by factory via the website, bangladeshaccord.org which breaks down all the issues, recommended and proposed action plans, timelines, reference photos, and even contact information. This model is so far proving successful and could eventually serve as a blueprint for other countries that produce apparel and fashion products.

photo via The Guardian

Despite better conditions in Bangladesh, there is so much talk of 'Made in the USA' especially here in NY but is bringing manufacturing back stateside really a more sustainable practice? According to experts like Greg Berteisen of the National Association of Manufacturers, by re-shoring production and supporting American made products, we are not only reducing our environmental footprint but creating healthier and safer workplaces. He also explained how "US manufacturers are the world's most energy efficient." By producing right here on our own soil we can better monitor what we are making and how much which drastically reduces overproduction, a major form of waste.

Walmart has recently repositioned themselves as one of the largest supporters of domestic manufacturing with initiatives to buy an additional $250 billion in American made products as well as back growing businesses by offering grants of $100,000 or more to nonprofit organizations. With their continued commitment to bringing 'Made in the USA' back to our cities we will see an estimated growth of 1 million jobs, a stronger and more self-sufficient run industry, and hopefully a chain reaction among other major retailers in the near future.

We are excited to see what the rest of 2014 has to bring for sustainability developments. Just this month there heaps of eco-conscious events to look forward to from the US to Europe to Canada, Israel, Japan, and Mexico. Now that such mega retailers and fast fashion powerhouses are now investing in more responsible measures, we are hoping it takes off across the board from big to small, high-end to mid-market. Sustainability is finally being regarded as an obligation and as it continues to evolve into a world-wide phenomenon, this global fashion awareness revolution isn't going to slow down anytime soon. 

April 10, 2014

It's A Colorado Thing

We know everybody is in Spring/Summer mode, but we had to give you a preview of the very cool brand Cat Footwear and the relaunch of the beloved Colorado boot that was ever so popular during the original 90's cool era.

photo via Cat Footwear

With grunge revival styles flooding the fashion scene over the past few years, the label has finally decided to bring back its iconic Colorado boot among a plethora of other styles to the US this fall. What was once associated with "construction" and deemed "rugged," has now been produced in over 100 different materials and colour combinations over the past two decades for both men and women. Their Fall 2014 collection will be the first to introduce the Colorado boot in a new shade of red as well as exciting new designs in textures like pony hair, metallics and studs.

photo via Cat Footwear

However, one thing that has remained consistent is the sole stamped "Walking Machine" trademark attesting to their durability, toughness and maneuverability because these shoes are made to last through any challenge.

photo via Cat Footwear

While the footwear brand has remained popular throughout the UK, Europe and South America over the years, we're expecting it to be revitalized everywhere from the runway to editorials to everyday streetwear across the US once it hits stores this fall. So far, the Colorado boot has been spotted on such fashion "It" girls as Rita Ora, Jesse J, and the girl group Neon Jungle as well as on the catwalk at VFiles during fashion week last September. 

April 3, 2014

A Colourful Neighborhood

What used to have a bad reputation for being a dangerous and desolated area throughout the 90's, Bushwick has become a new mecca for graffiti artists and you guessed it, hipsters. While the neighborhood is mostly occupied by families, it has drawn a plethora of young creatives into its low rent, warehouse-turned-loft-space apartments.

With a promise to become the 'The Next Williamsburg' (which is easily deemed the most hipster neighborhood in New York), Bushwick is filled with tons of cafes, bars, restaurants and most importantly, a lot of art. One of the biggest changes for the neighborhood was the creation of The Bushwick Collective, an initiative that has brought street artists from all around the world to use the walls of the area as their canvas. The project, idealized by Joe Ficalora, has given a colorful and artsy atmosphere to the region, attracting even more young artists, photographers, actors, and musicians, among many other freelancers.

Besides the small bodegas and Chinese and Latin restaurants, you will find plenty of cool spots in the area. Bushwick has some great cafes, for example the AP Café, at Troutman Street, with its Zen atmosphere and minimalist design. The cafe has a lovely variety of coffees (both iced and hot), fresh baked goods and is quickly becoming quite a hot spot for locals.

photo via the L magazine

Still on Troutman Street you will find another awesome place, The Rookery. This pub allocated in an industrial space full of the young and trendy, mixes "comfort food with British and West Indian cuisines." With a killer brunch menu, this foodie haven is a perfect stop for a late morning treat.

Then there's the classy and luxurious lounge, Lot 45. This venue has a beautiful front garden with old large armchairs while the interior contrasts vintage furniture with couches and armchairs in different patterns and a touch of ambiance lighting via hanging chandeliers. The lounge hosts a DJ every night from Thursday to Saturday, and offers a variety of beers and liquors, but unfortunately has yet to include food on its menu (crosses fingers). Despite that, Lot 45 is a great spot for your weekend nights, especially during the warmer spring and summer months.

As the industrial realm of Bushwick continues to transform into the next emerging cultural hub of Brooklyn, we recommend you check out some of the hidden gems that the neighborhood has to offer. And if you have any other recommendations please do share below! 
Creative Commons License
MBF Trend Talk by MBF Trend Consulting is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.
Based on a work at mbf-trendtalk.blogspot.com.