Virtual Fashion May Erase Some Irritants from NYFW

Photo by WWD/Shutterstock (10555175e)

“Change is inevitable. Growth is optional.” —John Maxwell

COVID19 had changed the way the entire globe is operating right now.  A lot of industries have taken massive hits. The fashion industry is experiencing huge losses and a shocking number of fashion brands and retail stores are going bankrupt. Just recently, Century 21 has been dropped by their insurers and, unable to get coverage, has announced its closing. 

New York Fashion Week (NYFW) is so important to the industry that it could not be canceled outright, but safety has demanded radical change. “It’s a very different fashion week in September. Not like we’ve never seen before. And, because of the pandemic, the industry is having to address the way they show the spring ‘21 collections,” said Steven Kolb, CEO at the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA), to “Spectrum 1 News.”

The CFDA has opted for a virtual fashion week using a new online platform called Runway 360.  Ninety-five percent  of the designers who had planned to show at NYFW have committed to this change.

“I’m not quite sure how fashion week is going to roll out. Will I miss all the air-kissing and hugging? September Fashion Week was always like back to school. You see everyone,” said Fern Mallis, former CFDA director.

Will these changes become permanent? It’s impossible to say right now, but Fashion Reverie will acknowledge there are aspects to NYFW, as we knew it, that wasn’t so fabulous, and a virtual fashion could possibly eliminate them. Get ready for some truth bombs.

Image courtesy of Cameron Grey Rose

The late start of shows

Many fashion shows start late and we’re not talking about 10 or 15 minutes, some start over an hour late. The photograph above was taken on February 6th outside of Spring Studios while waiting for the Muzkin x Harbin 2020 show. The show was set to begin at 9 am. This photo was taken at 9:10 am when crowds still hadn’t been let inside, which means the show was going to start 45 minutes late!

There are a host of reasons why the shows are delayed but one big cause is the models. With venues so spread out during NYFW, models are often late to shows because they have shows booked on top of each other at venues, spread out over NYC. Also, if the models are not established, they cannot afford a car service, which means they are stuck taking public transportation which can delay their arrival.

Add to that, sometimes models are paid in clothes—called paid for trade—if they are paid at all.  If a paying job pops us, they will jump at it and not show up for the unpaid work, forcing organizers to scramble to replace them.  Just getting the models ready can take a long time. To save money, a lot of the production assistants are young, inexperienced volunteers from FIT (or other fashion schools), and they sometimes make mistakes that create problems.  The simple logistics of getting hundreds of people in and out of small spaces takes time, so as the day rolls on things get pushed back forcing everyone’s schedules off. 

If the shows are taped in advance the videos can simply be aired on a schedule (or watched when it’s convenient for the viewer).

Image courtesy of dailybeast.com

 Front row tyranny

One basic reality of fashion week, unless you are a buyer, an editor for a major magazine, or a celebrity, you won’t be sitting in the front row. How it works: after you RSVP for a show, you will receive an email confirming your attendance for that show.  Once you arrive, if you are lucky, you are assigned a seat. Sometimes you are placed in the standing section.

Right before the fashion starts, PR interns will ask standing room to move to the empty seats. The last-minute scoot forward can create big problems. Sometimes people will be moved up to the front row only to have the person who was assigned that seat show up. The person who was moved up now has no choice to go to the back row. Anna Wintour’s last-minute appearances plus any A-list guests she brings with her will automatically be seated in the front row regardless of who is forced to move.

If you have any social or industry standing, the first two rows are the only place where people seated will be included in pictures.  Above is a pic of Fashion Reverie’s Cameron Grey Rose in the third row at Taoray Taoray in September 2019.

Before his passing, Oscar de la Renta grew so weary of front row politics he would snake an extra-long runway through a room with exactly two rows and only close personal friends and the critical staff were invited.

Virtual fashion week means that everyone has a front row seat while viewing from their laptop or smartphone.

Image courtesy of fashionspot.com

NYFW burnout factor

Due to the extreme delays in scheduling, you will spend 90% of NYFW standing in line, waiting to get into venues or sprinting between shows. Many people complain that their feet hurt for DAYS after NYFW. Taxis are few and far between and good luck competing with two hundred people for the handful of Ubers available.  Journalists, buyers, models, and other industry professionals were forced to endlessly race all over the city. During the painfully warm month of September, you are dripping in sweat and packed like sardines at the shows.

Watching the shows from your couch suddenly sounds like heaven—it conserves time, energy, and you don’t have to worry about being crowded by other people.

Image courtesy of Vogue Business

The production costs

One of the dirty little secrets of the fashion industry  is that despite the appearance of glamour and wealth, most designers are BARELY earning enough to support themselves. The reality is the clothing alone seldom turns a profit and design houses must rely on accessories like purses, shoes, fragrances and cosmetics for their bread and butter.  According to Vogue Business, hosting a show at NYFW can cost anywhere from $125,000 to upwards of $300,000 with costs skyrocketing if you choose a unique venue.

That number does not include the production of runway samples.  Designers say showing at NYFW is critical for visibility but appraising a show’s return on investment is difficult.  Christian Sirano told Vogue Business, “I think when our investors go through the numbers, it’s really hard for them to see an actual return. There are ways to tell if a collection is more successful than another, but that doesn’t necessarily have to do with the show.”

Virtual shows may reduce or eliminate many of the costs of production, not only making brands more profitable but allowing smaller independent designers the ability to participate in NYFW.

Image courtesy of Air Charter Service Canada

NYFW’s Carbon Footprint

Hopefully, by the time this goes to print the California wildfires will be out and Hurricane Sally’s destruction will have been cleaned up and everyone in Mississippi and Alabama will have electricity again. Our planet is facing a dire crisis. Global warming has been dramatically changing weather patterns and producing deadly storms that are destroying entire ecosystems. This has been ignored for far too long and humanity is running out of time.

Another thing that cannot be ignored when you attend NYFW, the sheer volume of people who fly from Europe or Asia to attend the shows. According to the New York Times, buyers and retailers will fly nearly 12,000 miles every year to attend showrooms at fashion weeks. Travel to and from during NYFW produced the biggest carbon numbers of the four fashion capitals.  There are private airlines that cater exclusively to providing high-end travel to and from fashion weeks.

In July 2019, Stockholm simply canceled their fashion week due to ecological concerns. The bottom line is NYFW in its previous forms is simply not sustainable. There can be no debate; NYFW needs to change the amount of resources it consumes.

A virtual fashion week could go a long way to eliminating a tremendous amount of carbon emissions generated by air travel.

Fashion never stops evolving, and neither does the fashion industry. Hopefully, with guidance from skilled leadership and a little bit of luck, NYFW with grow into a new incarnation that perhaps could be a bit kinder to everyone involved. But for now, as we the deadly rollercoaster that is 2020 continues, we will have to wait and see. 

—Cameron Grey Rose

 

 

 

 

New York Fashion Week Spring 2021 Sketches

Images courtesy of elle.com

To say that 2020 has been a difficult is an understatement. 2020 has probably been the most challenging and uncertain year in recent history. Every industry has experienced dramatic shifts with the fashion industry, perhaps, experiencing the most amount of change.

The retail industry is tanking with major retail stores—Century 21, Lord & Taylor, J. Crew, Neiman Marcus—in bankruptcy restructuring mode or totally shuttering business. And with the COVID-19 pandemic not totally under control in the US, New York Fashion Week (NYFW) is going digital.

With all the changes in the retail and fashion industry many fashion designers are abandoning the way they typical do business. Major US fashion designers are opting out of the NYFW spring 2021 season, and others are presenting digital collections or having private appointments. Despite all these changes, Fashion Reverie, true to form, curated a few collection sketches that gives a sneak peak into the upcoming collections. This new normal doesn’t mean throwing out the baby with bath water.

Image courtesy of Bibhu Mohapatra

Bibhu Mohapatra spring 2021

Bibhu Mohapatra’s spring 2021 collection is inspired but the works and life of Amrita Shergil and her fundamentally Indian spirit. “As the 20th century rolled in, India witnessed many changes in its artistic activities. The Bengal school of art produced many artists of repute, some artists in the quest for a change, distanced themselves from the Bengal School.  Amrita Shergil is one such change-maker who revolutionized and challenged the Indian art scene, albeit way ahead of her times.  With her bold and daring approach towards her life and her artistic milieu, [Shergil] charted the path for the future generations of artists who pledged to continue her legacy of change and challenged the norm.”  

Image courtesy of Agentry PR

C+plus Seris spring 2021

Inspiration: Inspired by the sci-fi film, Annihilation, the biologist embarks on a dangerous and secret journey to explore time, life, nature and humanity.

Image courtesy of Agentry PR

Private Policy

Inspiration: The quest for the modern-day Aphrodite

Image courtesy of Agentry PR

AKNVAS

Inspiration: Modern city woman, working, aware, relevant

—Staff

New York Fashion Week Spring 2021 Pre-coverage

Image courtesy of Getty Images

It is often said that the only constant thing in life is change. And no matter how true that adage is, it’s still difficult to adapt to change.

For the spring 2020 fashion season, we will have no choice. New York Fashion Week (NYFW) as we once knew it, for the time being, no longer exist. And though many of us hold fond memories of NYFW at Bryant Park, Lincoln Center, and even Skylight Clarkson, past season memories are all we might have this season.

Because of the continuing COVID-19 pandemic, the CFDA and IMG have wisely chosen to have a digital NYFW. Safety for models, designers, backstage staff, NYFW staff, and attendees is paramount. There will be few live shows and presentations. And for those runway shows and presentations, invited guests are limited to just 50 attendees.

For those publications that regularly cover NYFW, there will little opportunity to see live collections and with that little chance to see how the collections will look and move on live models. Something that is so crucial to accurately document and review collections.

That said; several American fashion designers/brands are opting out of showing this season at NYFW. Michael Kors, Oscar de la Renta, Ralph Lauren, Tommy Hilfiger, Rodarte, Marc Jacobs, Gabriela Hearst, Proenza Schouler, Prabal Gurung, Pyer Moss, Tory Burch, Brandon Maxwell, and others. Still, there is a significant amount of fashion designers/brands that will show at NYFW this season. That lists includes Bibhu Mohapatra, Christian Siriano, Claudia Li, Alice + Olivia, Tom Ford, Jason Wu, Jonathan Simkhai, Laquan Smith, Dennis Basso, Collina Strada, Eckhaus Latta, Carolina Herrera, and others.

Image courtesy of forbes.com

NYFW has also been reduced to four days, another reduction from what used to be as much as ten days of fashion collections. And though this will be a truncated fashion season, the CFDA still projects positivity and encouragement to the US fashion market.

“We are excited to see 15 new American brands on the schedule—many for the first time —who might not have had the opportunity to share their collections to a global audience without access to RUNWAY360,” CFDA CEO Steven Kolb said in a statement. “In the face of unprecedented challenges and uncertainty within our industry, the American fashion community has once again come together to support each other and prove its resilience.”

—William S. Gooch

 

A Significant Operational Shift Comes to New York Fashion Week

Image of Dior Haute Couture Fall 2020 courtesy of eveningstandard.com

New York Fashion Week (NYFW)  is one of the crown jewels of fashion events, and the kickoff to the grand tour for runway shows in New York, London, Milan, and Paris. However, for the past few years, NYFW has lost its luster. The days of the glamour and star-studded moments of Bryant Park and Lincoln Center is a thing of the past. Still, the passing of the old guard and the traditional way of having fashion shows facilitates room for  a new generation of editors, designers, stylists, and fashion industry professionals.

With the COVID-19 pandemic ravaging the world, it is imperative that  the fashion industry completely rethinks its way of doing business. The efficiency and constant motion of the fashion calendar has been one of the things called into question. And with the recent financial toll enacted on the fashion and retail industry due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this upcoming NYFW is expected to be shadow of what it once was.

NYFW has been shortened to just three days from September 14 to September 16, with most participating designers showing their collections digitally. A number of major fashion brands have already pulled out–Michael Kors, Marc Jacobs, Tory Burch, and Ralph Lauren, just to name a few. While this reduction is reason for concern, independent designers might finally have their chance to shine.

Image courtesy of meikmagazine.com

Fern Mallis, the founder of 7th on Six Productions, which put New York Fashion Week on the map for consumers, explains, “People are getting a little oversaturated with digital shows and presentations, but there’s certainly an interest level, and people are still anxious to see what will be coming next season. Digital fashion shows are an easy way to equalize the playing field between new and independent designers and big-name brands. Independent designers now have more opportunities to stand out.”

Mallis also believes that this is the time for independent designers to “grab the brass ring.” Independent designers also need to analyze their sales strategy.  “Independent designers can’t wait for Barneys to come in and buy the clothes anymore,” Mallis said. “Neiman Marcus is bankrupt, and the other department stores including Nordstrom, Macy’s, and Saks all have low foot traffic. Right now stores can’t be counted on for buys like they used to.”

Mallis also believes that independent designers aren’t losing anything by not having a physical show. The recent Louis Vuitton spring 2021 Men’s show in Shanghai proved that shows with a strong digital presence can sell clothes. After showing the collection to a small in-person audience in China, Louis Vuitton also gained major traction by promoting and broadcasting the runway show on China’s various social media channels, which led to an uptick in sales across East Asian countries . “Designers have a chance to do something digital or go home,” Mallis said. “Digital now allows the opportunity for people to be very creative, and designers can really show you who they are and talk about their collections.”

(Image courtesy of Tolga Akmen / AFP

Many of Mallis’ colleagues share the sentiment that it’s time for fashion shows to evolve. Aliza Licht, a fashion industry veteran and host of the “Leave Your Mark” podcast, said, “I really don’t believe in the traditional runway format anymore. What really impressed me last year was the lookbook Rodarte produced for their collection featuring the actresses from “Mad Men,” like January Jones. It was so beautifully produced, and the casting was so smart and press worthy. You needed nothing but to run those images on Instagram for a successful campaign. I found the Rodarte approach much more effective than the digital runway format. Featuring noteworthy campaign stars, beautiful sets, and making it shareable on social media is better for trying to go viral.”

In the past, independent fashion designers have often struggled with fashion show attendance as the major members of the press and buyers, especially from Europe, would come to NYFW for just a three-day cluster of the top-tier American designers. Digital fashion weeks can help even out the playing field now that smaller designers/brands don’t have to compete for Fashion Week attendees.

Licht believes that even in a post-pandemic world, shows will by mostly digital and physical shows will return to the old school days where the industry took a more salon-style approach to collections. “We’ve been in lockdown a long time, and retail has suffered,” Licht said. “Shows in a post-pandemic world could potentially be a lot more intimate and showroom-style where things will have a more couture mentality. [Physical] shows need to be made for actual industry people who need to see them, and they can be for a widespread and more general audience thanks to digital options. [It is] likely people will make fashion shows more like what they used to be back in the day.”

Fashion industry professionals who work on the production of runway shows have also been reevaluating the current fashion cycle. Gloria Johnson, a fashion stylist who has styled runway shows during NYFW, says that while she thinks that digital fashion weeks won’t be the same, it’s important to keep people safe. “Shows are going to be a lot smaller, and [designers] are going to be a lot more selective and over the top,” Johnson said. She also says that stylists will become more necessary for independent designers because, “They will need to hire stylists to add a different perspective of their collection. [Shows] will look and feel more like digital lookbooks.”

Image courtesy of Reuters UK

Despite the need to adapt, Johnson also says that by not having physical shows designers are losing out on seeing the genuine reactions of audiences. The models, and seeing the clothes in person will be lost with much of the creative energy dissipating.

While the world continues to adjust to this new normal, the fashion industry must continue to find ways to be forward thinking, its survival is on the table.  For the independent designers who have been able to weather the economic COVID-19 storm, a digital version of New York Fashion Week could be their chance to shine. Fashion’s new world order is coming, and everyone will have to get on board, or get left behind.

Kristopher Fraser

“Fashion Reverie Talks”: A New Era Has Arrived

“Start by doing what’s necessary; then do what’s possible; and suddenly you are doing the impossible.” —Francis of Assisi

This is a quote that Fashion Reverie lives by.  Eight years ago, with very little money, fashionreverie.com came into existence. We really didn’t know that much about running a daily content digital fashion magazine, but we did see a niche in the digital fashion market that needed to be filled. We understood that online consumers were hungry for a digital daily content fashion site that gave a nuanced, well-researched perspective on everything that was going on in the fashion industry.

Though other online fashion magazines claimed to do what Fashion Reverie wanted to do, most of them were recycling overused fashion stories that had very little depth and a singular point of view. Fashion Reverie does the exact opposite.

In the eight years since our launch, fashionreverie.com has become well-known and recognized for our story-based fashion editorials, our sophisticated reviews of global fashion collections and our expansive approach to fashion trends and the evolution of the fashion industry.

Fashion Reverie understands that we are in a new era in this industry. And the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted aspects of the fashion industry that have to evolve and change. And with those necessary adjustments that the fashion industry needs to adopt, fashionreverie.com also needs to evolve. And that evolution is here!!

Images courtesy of fashionreverie.com

On August 21, fashionreverie.com produced and published the first episode of its biweekly digital talk show, “Fashion Reverie Talks.” Understanding that we are in a new normal, “Fashion Reverie Talks” hits hard and hits honestly all the triumphs and challenges in the industry. With co-hosts Tijana Ibrahimovic, Cicily Daniels, and Carl Ayers, “Fashion Reverie Talks” takes what we do on fashionreverie.com and adds a bit more vibrancy and panache.

The COVID-19 pandemic hold Fashion Reverie back, no way!! We are energized and motivated even more to keep our viewers informed, motivated, and entertained.

You can find, “Fashion Reverie Talks” on our youtube channel and on the homepage of fashionreverie.com.

—William S. Gooch

Pre-Fall, What Is That? Fashion Reverie’s Pre-Fall 2020 Trend Report Helps Explain

Images courtesy of fashionista.com

There are so many fashion seasons each year that it’s hard to keep track. There’s spring/summer, fall/winter, resort/cruise, and couture, in addition to the menswear fashion cycle. But there’s one more season that most people are aware of, pre-fall.

Pre-fall collections are the quiet, older sister to the louder and bolder fall/winter collection. The pre-fall collections, intended to be pieces that bridge your wardrobe from summer to autumn, often hint toward what designers will present in their fall collections. Serious fashion insiders know to look at pre-fall collections to get a jump on the next seasons trends.

So where does pre-fall fit in the fashion landscape? In the traditional fashion schedule, collections are shown 5 to 6 months in advance of their intended season. Collections are shown early so that retailers can select and order what items they want to sell (retailers do not sell a designers/brands complete collection and so that textile companies can produce enough of the desired fabric for the orders). Secondly, the clothes need to be manufactured and shipped to the stores. The last factor in this traditional cycle is fashion magazines that prepare their issues three months in advance, so they need enough lead time to get wardrobe samples, photograph the garments, and get the printed issues to newsstands in time.

In short, here is the current traditional fashion schedule. In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, many brands are looking to begin altering this timeframe by designing, showing, manufacturing, and selling their collections at their own pace or during their own pre-determined schedule.

Spring/Summer – shown in September – for sale in February

Pre-Fall – shown in December – for sale in May

Fall/Winter – shown in February – for sale in mid-July

Resort – shown in June – for sale in late October

So now that we understand what pre-fall is, what does it look like? As the name denotes, these collections are in stores a few months before the traditional fall collections, and as such, the collections are usually not as large as the fall collections. They also often have medium-weight garments, rather than heavier fall garments. Being that the pre-fall collections are in stores in May, they also include lightweight items that are perfect for summer. However, pre-fall collections are known for their closet staples—classic coats, shirts, knits, and other pieces you can assemble your outfits around.

To help consumers best understand the distinction of pre-fall collections, Fashion Reverie has assembled some of the best pre-fall trends for 2020.

Images of Valentino, Bottega Veneta, and Versace courtesy of the respective brands

Yellow

There’s the pantone color of the year, and then there’s the designer color of the season. For the pre-fall collections, yellow was the standout winner. Whether in neon at Balenciaga or pastel at Jil Sander, as a standalone solid at Rag & Bone or incorporated into a print at Coach 1941, yellow is having a moment all its own.

Images of Carolina Herrera, Prabal Gurung, and Oscar de la Renta courtesy of the respective brands

Light and Airy

Women across the globe daydream about wearing ball gowns to red-carpet events. Only a few get to enjoy that luxury. However, for pre-fall 2020, brands like Valentino, Oscar de la Renta, and Prabul Gurung have created light and airy dresses reminiscent of the red carpet but made for your local social calendar. You may not be appearing at a Hollywood film premier, but you will certainly be the belle of the ball.

Images of Fenfi, Balmain, and Gucci courtesy of the respective brands

Micro skirts

Miniskirts are always a go-to, but now micro skirts are taking things to a new level. As women continue to take agency over the bodies and their careers, hemlines, too, are on the rise. Via dresses, skirts, and suits, Marc Jacobs, Dior, and Valentino all lifted the bottom line to give the thighs more time to shine.

Images of Max Mara, Ulla Johnson, and Ganni courtesy of the respective brands

Cat print

Animal prints have always been the cat’s meow, but sometimes it can feel redundant. Not this season! R13 led the pack with their retro feline prints, but Dundas and Adam Lippes pushed it forward with reimagined prints and colorways.

Images of Elie Saab, Philosophy di Lorenzo Serafini, and Helllessy courtesy of the respective brands

Fringe

Fun and free, fringe is whatever you need it to be. It can be sophisticated and cultured when incorporated into collections like Elie Saab, or downtown and chic like Baja East. Either way, it adds extra pizzazz when you enter a room, and again when you leave it.

Images of Thom Browne, Givenchy and Stella McCartney courtesy of the respective brands

Suits

No matter the season, suits are going to sell. And since suit styles change only every decade or so, why wait for the next phase. You might as well wear your suit whatever way makes you feel comfortable. Take a cue from Chalayan, Lorod, and Tory Burch who all created decidedly different suits for the season—billowy, unstructured, and printed, respectively. Go ahead and throw the rules out of the window—they’re going to change in a few years anyway.

—Carl Ayers

The Return of Hood By Air

Hood By Air Spring 2017 images courtesy of dailyfrontrow.com

In 2006, when designers Shayne Oliver and Raul Lopez launched Hood By Air (HBA), the streetwear label signaled a turning point luxury streetwear. The idea of streetwear as part of the world of high fashion was a seedling that was newly sprouting in the minds of the fashion elite.  

Though Lopez in 2011 left Hood By Air, Oliver still continued on with HBA, amassing a cult following and garnering the attention of major celebrities including Naomi Campbell, Jussie Smollett, Kanye West, and Teyana Taylor. Even Vogue’s longtime editor-in-chief Anna Wintour could be found front row at HBA’s fashion show during New York Fashion Week.

Unfortunately, all good things come to an end. In 2017, Oliver put HBA on hiatus with no definitive restart date. Fans of the brand were heartbroken. HBA was more than just another urban/streetwear brand, HBA brought about a cultural shift of luxury streetwear being taken seriously. What urban youth had advocating for decades was finally being taken seriously by the fashion industry that had once scoffed at the idea of a high-end streetwear.

Image courtesy of facebook.com

 

There is much speculation in the fashion industry of why Shayne Oliver put Hood By Air on hiatus. The brand, which had become immensely popular with many department stores stocking their racks with HBA product, always lacked large financial backing. Everything was self-funded, and it was Oliver’s first business, and as with many emerging brands, it often difficult to get investment dollars.  Oliver would later admit to internal dysfunction with a “too many cooks spoil the pot” mentality. The brand would find financial backing in 2016 from New Guards Group, the Italian investment arm that backed Virgil Abloh’s Off-White. This financial partnership lasted just a year. Oliver also pointed out how the fashion financial investment system doesn’t favor designers of color launching independent brands that are considered high fashion.

Notably, HBA also said something substantive to say to Black and Latino youth. Their message of success rang loud and clear, because like many of their consumer they too grew came from urban, low income neighborhoods.  Though there are more Black and Latinx fashion designers finally getting their due—hello Telfar, Pyer Moss, Johanna Ortiz, and Alejandra Alonso Rojas—HBA is one of their recent brands that helped forge the path for urban streetwear designers.

Though the brand has been on hiatus since 2017, resale sites TheRealReal, eBay, and HBX, because of the demand, HBA is still there. Occasionally, a lucky customer will find an HBA garment on luxury e-commerce site Farfetch.

While HBA was on hiatus, Oliver would go on to guest design for Helmut Lang and Diesel. But fans have waited for the day that HBA would make a true come back. Oliver’s cult following has stood by salivating for a new HBA collection.

Image courtesy of ssense.com

Then, came one faithful day in July 2020 when Oliver announced Hood By Air would be returning. Dubbing it “Hood By Air, The New Institution,” Oliver had to do something refreshing as he was already ahead of the curve in doing what so many designers are trying to do now—make streetwear part of the luxury conversation, casting diverse models of color, etc. This time around, the designer set out to operate outside of the normal fashion structure, and HBA doesn’t plan on being a part of the fashion week cycle, nor does Oliver intend to follow any of the establishment rules.

The new iteration of Hood By Air will exist in four parts: the Hood By Air luxury label; direct-to-consumer platform HBA; an archival collection called Museum, and the hot, new incubator for BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) designers called Anonymous Club. The return of HBA is poised to contribute to a new awakening for BIPOC designers, at a time when diversity and inclusion have become buzz words in the fashion industry.

Image courtesy of thecut.com

In a press release, HBA explained Anonymous Club, “By leveraging past icons and silhouettes borne from young BIPOC creatives, a new future will be informed and developed.” The end goal of Anonymous Club is to eventually allow emerging talent to collaborate with Hood By Air and HBA spinoffs. The independent platform will support the work of not only fashion designers, but also other independent artists and musicians to create a more diverse world.

Despite strides made by many BIPOC designers in the fashion industry, fashion still has a race problem. Young designers of color have discussed how they have faced racism in academia at top design schools. In a July article from Hypebeast, designer Taofeek Abijako, founder of label Midwest Kids, said that fashion “uplifts all the things racism stands for. Aside from just the differences in skin color, we also think about systemic issues such as elitism and classism which are all the negative cousins of racism that are in fashion.”

What Anonymous Club can provide for BIPOC designers is the opportunity to have their designs presented to an established audience of editors, buyers, and customers. While Oliver hasn’t announced specific price points for Anonymous Club, it is expected to be at a more affordable price range than the luxury Hood By Air label.

Image courtesy of inputmag.com

Accessibility to consumers and real opportunities for designers shape the identity of a brand and its consumer base. Trans rights are still a hot cultural topic , so the brand has committed to donating to Black Trans Femmes in the Arts through proceeds of a limited-edition tee shirt done in collaboration with charity initiative, Uprising. As a Black queer man, Oliver thought it only practical to give back to the Black LGBT community and let Black trans people know that at his brand they are welcome.

What Hood By Air will represent for the next generation of BIPOC designers is the opportunity to have the financial backing, network, and support of a major brand. The barriers that have been in place for a long time for designers of color to thrive; however, barriers are slowly beginning to break down.  And Hood By Air is a driving force of creativity, adding that needed pressure to tumble down fashion’s bigoted walls.

—Kristopher Fraser

Summer of Love Date Night Heels

Images courtesy of spaweeklydaily.com

It’s only the middle of the season, so there’s still plenty of time for fun in the hot temperatures, including date night. Fashion Reverie has already given you great summer accessories, now we are giving you the shoes your wardrobe needs to punctuate your warm weather rendezvous.

Image courtesy of bloomingdales.com

Charlotte Olympia Dolly Scalloped Platform Pumps $770

The higher the heel, the closer to love, and maybe even God. Charlotte Olympia has presented this sultry and well detailed platform that won’t fall short of making a statement for the night. The scalloped detail, metallic embossed leather, and gold platform will make you feel like an Olympian goddess. People do love confidence after all, so walk into a room like the goddess you are.

Image courtesy of jimmychoo.com

Jimmy Choo Silver Metallic Nappa Leather Pumps with Crystal Drape $1095

Cover your ankles in ice with Jimmy Choo’s crystal draped pumps. If you aren’t the kind of woman who likes bling her around her neck, you should try a little bling around your ankles. These are sure to get attention as you glide down the sidewalk.

Image courtesy of stuartweitzman.com

Stuart Weitzman The Nudist Disco Sandal $225

Time to put on your boogie shoes. Stuart Weitzman has given this stiletto sandal a glamorous twist in a combination gold and snakeskin pattern. The shoes are Hollywood red-carpet worthy, and you should feel just as glamorous wearing them. Disco didn’t die, it just came back reincarnated as this shoe.

Image courtesy of neimanmarcus.com

Manolo Blahnik Chaos Polka-Dot Ankle-Strap Sandals $297.60

Pretty girls should have their polka dots. Black and white polka dots are one of the many great ways you can play with patterns on date night. These heels from Manolo Blahnik are classically chic with a mod British feel. Supermodel Twiggy had her mod moment, now it’s your turn.

Image courtesy of nicholaskirkwood.com

Nicholas Kirkwood S Sling Back Pumps $745

Pump it up in pumps. Nicholas Kirkwood has updated his signature S pump to follow the natural curve of the foot. No more cramming your pedicured feet into heels that leave you in pain at the end of the night. Although, a foot massage for date night isn’t anything to scoff at.

Image courtesy of samedelman.com

Sam Edelman Pankin Braided Strappy Sandal $51.95

Sandals aren’t just for the beach, and ones with a good heel can be excellent for a warm afternoon. The braided accent gives these sandals a little something extra, because the best fashion moments are often about the little details. These heels will contrast well with a simple white summer blouse and your favorite skirt in denim or pale pink.

Image courtesy of saksfifthavenue.com

Schutz Keefa Croc-Embossed Leather Platform Sandals $195

There is no reason heels have to hurt. If you aren’t a stiletto girl, a good block heel can provide more support and comfort for your feet and can be equally as stylish. Schutz has created this croc-embossed platform that’s perfect for a date night party. Just remember, all party gatherings have limits—limit the number of drinks and limit the number of people while socially distancing.

Image courtesy of renecaovilla.com

Rene Caovilla Cora Sling Back 75 $455

Love is in the air, everywhere you look around. These shoes are a great option for an anniversary date. If you aren’t wearing your heart on your sleeve, you can wear your heart on your feet. Time to set some hearts ablaze with a good heel.

Image courtesy of aldoshoes.com

Aldo Carregal $49.98

Tie up those ankles and strut your stuff in this strappy high heel sandal from Aldo. This open-toe sandal is great for showing off that fresh pedicure. The season is hot, so time to turn up the heat with your footwear.

Image courtesy of stevemadden.com

Steve Madden Vivacious Orange $110

Steve Madden doesn’t call this the vivacious pump for no reason. This sparkling rhinestone-covered shoe will literally help you shine on date night. If you’re lucky, maybe this will be the night you get that diamond ring. Let everything about you shine bright like fine gemstones.

Image courtesy of firstbtq.com

Amina Muaddi Sami Sandals $773

Amina Muaddi has quickly found a major following on the fashion scene, and even did what some thought impossible, sell luxury party shoes during a pandemic. The silhouette of this heel is particularly unique, almost emulating a Roman column. When in Rome, do as the fashionably stylish do, and rock a gorgeous green heel.

—Kristopher Fraser

Self-care in Times of Protests and Uncertainty

Image courtesy of Morgan Day Cecil

2020 is officially more than half over, thank goodness. 2019 feels like a decade ago and 2021 feels so far away. With social justice protests, a looming presidential election, rampant unemployment, and COVID-19 claiming more than 130,000 American lives, many people are finding themselves suffering from anxiety and depression.

Under these circumstances, taking moments for self-care can seem monstrously self-indulgent. Fashion Reverie is here to tell you that is simply not true—it’s really the opposite. Setting aside time for yourself will make you a more relaxed and peaceful person to be around. Stress can literally make you sick.

Fashion Reverie has curated a list of fun items that promote self-care during this taxing moment in history. Of course, a big issue right now is economics. Unemployment hasn’t been this high since the Great Depression, and the fashion industry has been hit particularly hard. With that in mind, we’ve included a number of items that are less than $20!

Image courtesy of Baseline-Wellness

Baseline-Wellness CBD Products

Regular readers of this site know Fashion Reverie LOVES CBD products. During these times of social unrest, stress can make it difficult to sleep. Not sleeping can negatively affect many aspects of your life. Baseline-Wellness makes a number of different CBD products that we truly love. We recommend REM Ritual which combines CBD oil, melatonin, and magnesium to ensure a good night’s sleep.

Image courtesy of Verishop

Supermud GlamGlo Clearing Treatment

One of the few benefits of being on lockdown is taking a break from makeup and having time to really take care of your skin. One way to demand your family leave you in peace for a good 15-20 minutes is to do a mud mask! One of our favorites is Supermud Glamglo clearing treatment. The mud formula includes a blend of six acids and activated charcoal to help life away dirt, dead skin and excess oil. Perfect for oily skin or if you have combo skin your T zone. 

Image courtesy of Botaskin

Bota Skin

Your skincare routine for summer 2020 is going through changes as the summer heat continues to increase. Whether you’re treating sunburn or simply want moisturized skin, BOTA is on a mission to provide gentle, yet effective, skincare that’s free of the harsh chemicals used by other brands. Certified by the U.S. Hemp Authority, BOTA identified the best elements nature has to offer for plant-based skincare. Fashion Reverie recommends their Ultra Rich Body Crème and Warming Muscle Melt Crème. Your skin will glow and your muscles will feel so relaxed.

Image courtesy of Coconu

Coconu Personal Lube

Has being in lockdown created some tension in your romantic relationship? Well, nothing eases tension more than passionate lovemaking. Check out Coconu personal lube, coming in both a CBD oil version and, if you’re using condoms, a water-based version.  Soothe your body before, during, and after play with Coconu massage body oil. This silky, lightweight oil is the perfect multi-tasker. Use it with massage to help nourish your skin, soothe pain and discomfort, increase sensation, and ease tension. Whether you use it for sports massage, intimate massage or to unwind after a long day, Coconu Massage Body Oil has you covered! 

Image courtesy of Mychelle

 Mychelle Dermaceutials

With restrictions easing, it’s finally possible to go to a park or the beach and catch some rays! But you still need to protect your skin. Mychelle Dermaceutials repairs and protects your skin from UV rays and sun damage by using reef-friendly, mineral-based SPF sun care enriched with antioxidant fortified ingredients. This line is also the only sun care brand named with the prestigious Clean Label Project(R) Certification this year!

Image courtesy of Amazon

Calm the F**k Down Adult Coloring book

In the past few years, many adults have rediscovered the calming nature of coloring books. Calm the F**k Down, an irreverent book by Sasha O’Hara, combines humor with the meditative nature of coloring. Grab your colored pencils and don’t forget your pencil sharpener. Coloring is a fun relaxing hobby, and you don’t have to be an adult all the time.

Image courtesy of Amazon

URPOWER 2nd Version Essential Oil Diffuser 

People sometimes fail to realize how scent can impact mood. This inexpensive diffuser can really improve your attitude when combined with your favorite essential oil. It can also be used as a humidifier.

Image courtesy of Amazon

The Stress-Proof Brain by Dr. Melanie Greenberg

In these intensely worrying times, we all need tools to cope. In this book, Dr. Melanie Greenberg teaches you mind-calming techniques while providing you with a scientific understanding of how the brain works. It gives you practical advice for overcoming trauma, silencing your inner critic, and getting a good night’s sleep with easy to learn techniques.

Image courtesy of Amazon

Divine Botanicals Bath Bombs

Taking a bath is a wonderful way to take some time for yourself and just relax. Bath bombs will make the experience much more luxurious.  Divine Botanical Bath Bombs are made from vegan, organic, natural, and  gluten-free ingredients, and are paraben and sulfate-free. They do not contain artificial colors to avoid staining your tub. Detox, relax, moisturize your body, and soothe your senses with the perfect blend of essential oils.

Image courtesy of Techcrunch

The Calm App

There is a new term called “Coronacoaster.” Stuck at home, unemployed, some days are good. We workout, bake banana bread, clean out that closet we’ve been saying we’re going to clean out since 2007. Other days, we’re drinking gin at breakfast and desperately missing people we can’t stand. On those days you need to find a way to calm yourself. The Calm App is an easily affordable app that presents you with 1000’s of guided meditations, and a wonderful sleep mode feature, which are bedtime stories for adults. These relaxing stories (there are hundreds to choose from) will lull you into a deep sleep. New stories are added every week because, right now, adulting is really hard. In years past, it has been voted one the best apps available by Apple users.

Be kind to yourself, readers. The world is in a state of change and flux. So what if you haven’t learned to speak Japanese or finished your novel or anything else you said you’d do while in lockdown. Just surviving right now is an accomplishment. Wash your hands, socially distance, wear a mask, and register to vote! We’ll get through this!!

— Cameron Grey Rose

 

Is the Fashion Industry Serious about Diversity and Social Justice?

Image courtesy of thefederalist.com

“A change is gonna come,” the immortal words of American recording artist Sam Cooke for his iconic hit song by the same name, rings true almost sixty later. In the past few weeks, the country and the world have been turned upside down over calls for social equality for African Americans and other people of color in the wake of the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and other unarmed African Americans at the hands of police brutality. Everyone, from small children to major corporations, has taken notice and many have taken action. Whether by marching in protests, signing petitions, or making posts of solidarity on social media, more and more people are refusing to stay mum on this issue.

The fashion industry, with its history of championing progressive causes from women’s rights to LGBT rights, is not sitting on the sidelines. Many fashion companies have backed this movement in various ways. Some took to social media to post black squares for “Blackout Tuesday,” some reaffirmed their support for the Black Lives Matter Movement, and others committed to donating a portion of their proceeds toward social justice organizations.

For those offering financial support, slogan tee shirts have been their quickest route. In Amsterdam, the local chapter of Black Lives Matter has brought together seven black-owned fashion brands for a special tee shirt benefitting organizations including Kick Out Zwarte Piet, The Black Archives, and Black Queer & Trans Resistance NL—all organizations responsible for creating awareness and organizing multiple protests against white supremacy, transphobia, and racism in the Netherlands. Beauty brand Anastasia Beverly Hills has pledged $1 million dollars toward the fight against systemic racism beginning with a $100,000 donation across organizations including Black Lives Matter, The Innocence Project, The NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund, Black Visions Collective, and The Marshall Project.

Image courtesy of thenewyorktimes.com

While brands are trying to put their money where their mouth is, because philanthropy is trending, it is easy to jump on the bandwagon. It is easy for brands to donate to causes and make social media posts, but the fight for equality must dig deeper than cutting a check.

Keeping non-profits well-funded is necessary, but real structural change and equality for under-represented groups must also happen behind the scenes. Many of these brands who have made financial contributions or published socially conscious social media posts have been accused of racist actions in the past. Anthropologie, a company best known for their bohemian style clothing, was more than happy to post a black square in support of Black Lives Matter. However, they were later called out by several former employees claiming that Anthropologie profiles black shoppers. Others followed, pointing out how the brand doesn’t feature Black or diverse models in their campaigns.

In a capitalistic system, the greatest power people have is their purchasing power. That concept has led to the birth of organizations that ensure Black creatives are get the representation they deserve. Aurora James, the fashion designer behind contemporary brand Brother Vellies, launched the 15 Percent Pledge in June 2020. The mission of the organization is to get major multi-brand retailers to stock at least 15 percent of their brands from Black-owned businesses.

Aurora James image courtesy of brothervellies.com

Sephora was the first brand to commit to the pledge. In addition, Sephora contends that they are working on a long-term plan to diversify their supply chain and will work with venture capitalists through their Accelerate program, which supports independent brands, including black-owned businesses, grow. Beauty company Glossier is also working on putting real money in the hands of black-owned businesses. The company recently committed to putting $1 million to work. $500,0000 of that money will be donations toward organizations fighting racial injustice, and the other $500,000 will be grants to black-owned beauty businesses.

Rent the Runway, the online service for renting designer dresses and accessories, soon followed suit, becoming the latest brand to join the 15 Percent Pledge. Not only has the company committed to stocking fifteen percent of their shelves with product from black-owned businesses, but they have also committed to fifteen percent of their freelance creative talent being black.

At the peak of coronavirus, fashion designer Kerby Jean-Raymond, the founder of streetwear brand Pyer Moss, created a fund to help raise money for black-owned businesses. Reed Hastings, the CEO of Netflix also donated $120 million to HBCU’s in an effort to “reverse generations of inequity.”

Images courtesy of vogue.com and pyermoss.com, respectively

Making sure black entrepreneurs can build and continue their businesses is just the beginning. Companies need to work to create more diverse teams from the business professionals to the creatives. Of the major global luxury fashion brands, the only two notable black creative directors are Olivier Rousteing of Balmain and Virgil Abloh of Louis Vuitton..

When Edward Enninful took the reigns as editor-in-chief of British Vogue in 2017, he became the first black man in the publication’s history to hold the top editor title. Prior to his official start date, a staff photo of British Vogue showed a predominantly white staff with very little diversity. Enninful quickly worked to rectify this and incorporated more black voices. In fact, his first cover featured British-Ghanaian model Adwoa Aboah. Enninful also brought in notable black fashion industry figures as contributing editors, including legendary supermodel Naomi Campbell and famed make-up artist Pat McGrath.

Images of Lindsay Peoples Wagner and Samira Nasr courtesy of thecut.com and people.com, respectively

Other fashion publishing houses have also begun diversifying their top editor ranks. Recently, Harper’s Bazaar named Samira Nasr the first black editor-in-chief in the history of the publication. In 2018, Teen Vogue named Lindsay Peoples Wagner as their top editor, following in the footsteps of Elaine Welteroth, who had previously gained notoriety in the same role and as a champion for black female empowerment and diversity.

On the flipside, Teen Vogue’s parent company Condé Nast has recently come under fire for issues of lacking racial diversity and insensitivity at other publications. Adam Rapoport, the former editor-in-chief of food magazine Bon Appétit, recently resigned over a racist brownface photo. This resignation was followed by reports of a pervasive culture of racism at the company, with many staffers saying Rapoport led a “toxic” culture at the company. Elsewhere at Condé Nast, legendary Vogue editor-in-chief and Condé Nast artistic director Anna Wintour admitted that Vogue hadn’t done enough to support black staff and creatives over the years and offered to hear employee feedback on how to improve company culture. At Vice Media-owned Refinery29, founder and global editor-in-chief Christine Barberich also resigned over claims of a toxic work environment and racism. The company has yet to name a new top editor.

Dolce & Gabbana have had their share of controversies over the years. In its most recent and notable scandal, the brand posted promo videos in the days leading up to their big fashion show in Shanghai that began with a video including voiceovers using inappropriate comments. Although Dolce & Gabbana quickly removed the videos from their social media channels, there was a call to boycott the brand. Just hours before they were set to present their runway show, screenshots of a chat between Stefano Gabbana and an Instagram user, where he called China a “country of [five poop emojis],” were leaked. Gabbana said its Instagram account was hacked, but the damage was already done, and models and brand ambassadors began pulling out of show and their contracts, leading to the cancellation of the event. It also cost the company 1/3 of their business in China.

Image courtesy of graduatefashionweek.com

The Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) found itself in hot water earlier this year over their graduate student fashion showcase where one of the graduates dressed models in oversized plastic ears and lips and bushy glue-on eyebrows. Many people thought this looked like racist caricatures of blacks and this led to a conversation over how much faculty oversight should take place over students work to ensure for cultural and racial sensitivity.

Cultural awareness needs to begin at the top. New councils on diversity appear to be the answer for companies trying to enact structural change from the top down. Prada and Gucci have assembled diversity councils after they were met with controversy over selling racially insensitive, blackface-style products.

Ralph Lauren has been on the forefront of diversity for almost two decades . The company has had diversity initiatives since 2003 with councils in place to monitor product design, target and hire diverse talent, and ensure employee satisfaction.

Designer Ralph Lauren is also known for helping to elevate the careers of supermodels Naomi Campbell and Tyson Beckford by casting them in his ad campaigns in the 1990s. Casting two of the biggest rising stars in modeling at the time might have seemed like a no-brainer; however, using models of color in the 1990s as the face of brands was considered revolutionary.

Image courtesy of cfda.org

In the wake of protests over social injustices experienced by African Americans, the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA), has created a series of initiatives to improve diversity in the fashion industry. An in-house employment program was created to place black talent in all sectors of the fashion industry and make racial balance among companies’ a key component. The CFDA has also created a mentorship and internship program to place students and recent graduates with established fashion companies.

The initiatives weren’t met without backlash., Two-hundred and fifty black fashion professionals created a petition to denounce the CFDA’s anti-racism efforts and said the organization needed to do more to hold the fashion industry accountable. The petition, called “The Kelly Initiative,” named after famed African American designer Patrick Kelly, has been a catalyst prompting black fashion creatives to formulate an annual index of 50 Black fashion professionals who will be given access to colleague networking and will sign a pledge of commitment to creating equitable spaces for Black talent within their future professional endeavors.

Image courtesy of lorriegracerose.com

Fashion still has a long way to go in terms of their diversity efforts; however, strides are being made, though its seems sometimes at a snail’s pace. As fashion companies look to future hires, staffing can be expected to better reflect diverse populations in the US.

—Kristopher Fraser

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