Draped Indian saris, silken Mao jackets, and kimono coats used to be the preserve of old-style Parisian couturiers searching for a theme of the season.
But I am inspired by the idea that in this interconnected world, fine designers are emerging from across the globe. They yearn to show in Paris for the consecration of their dreams, but their strength is in the workmanship that they find in their home countries.
I have selected four designers whose influences derive from their homeland and whose design talents are open to the world.
I had two opportunities to see Huishan Zhang’s work – and it only grew in importance the second time around.
I caught the end of the show presented in London as an English tea party. I was late, so I saw only the delicately embellished, after-dark dresses of a designer who has been travelling between his native Qingdao, China and the UK, where he studied at Central Saint Martin’s. He also did a stint working with Dior Haute Couture.
It was the penultimate collection on the final day of the four-week marathon. But fashion can always come up with good karma. And Rahul Mishra’s collection touched me.
Here was what the designer called a “Ferryman’s Tale” as he recounted in streamlined but intensely decorated clothes a design journey to Japan and the inspiration of that country’s traditional artworks, then back to his native India through multiple villages wherecraftsmen worked on hand embellishment. Then the final clothes winged their way across the world to land in stores from Paris to New York.
Leonard is a French company known for flower prints, delicate and majestic. The orchid is its signature.
The house is marking 50 years of creativity with a celebration planned for Tokyo – one of several Asian countries where Leonard has a major following.
Daniel Tribouillard, who heads this family brand, has hired a variety of talents, but recently he decided to take on Yiqing Yin – a Chinese-born but Paris-raised designer who lives and built her fashion business in Paris.
I have seen magnificent collections from Manish Arora both in his native India and in Paris.
I can conjure up the wild, theatrical, dizzyingly patterned, printed, and decorated creations from a designer for whom too much was never enough.
I also remember some of his India/Europe collaborations. In fact, I think he was the first designer to go crazy with colours and patterns on sneakers. It must have been soon after the turn of the millennium that I saw on a trip to Mumbai his Fish Fry Sportswear collaboration with Reebok, which was way ahead of the great footwear trend of the moment.
8 Anti-Diva Design Stars Who Are Transforming Fashion Now
The fresh green shoots of fashion are gathering in a baking New Jersey cornfield for their generational portrait. Joseph Altuzarra and Danielle Sherman, creative director at Edun, have driven out from their studios in New York City. From London, Simone Rocha, Peter Pilotto, and his design partner, Christopher De Vos, are blinking in the blinding sun. Their London compatriot Jonathan Anderson of J.W.Anderson is looking dazed after landing from Tokyo, direct from the opening of a new outpost of Loewe (his new gig). Anthony Vaccarello has arrived from Paris, Marco de Vincenzo from Rome.
Though it’s up in the 90s out here on the farm, there’s no sign of anyone wilting or complaining. Hanging in the shade of the location truck, they’re behaving true to peer-group form—being sociable, joking, keeping one another going. They’re happy to be here, this hardy crop. They’re the anti-divas, the grounded ones. The children of the crash.
Their background stories could make an economist’s mind boggle. All eight began slap-bang in the carnage of the global financial crisis, sending out their delicious micro-varieties of clothes—colorful, individualistic, well made, and expertly targeted things—into a fashion world that had turned dull and conservative. “What happened with our generation?” Altuzarra is trying to explain how things went right. “We really had to sell those clothes. Because we’ve built these brands during a recession, there is a pragmatic approach to clothing. You have to be unique—be your own brand.”
It’s been less a style movement than a careful infiltration by fresh, creative, business-sensible minds coming from behind the scenes and out of cupboard-size studios in New York, London, Paris, and Rome. Altuzzara vividly remembers starting up in his Manhattan apartment in 2008. “I was at Givenchy, and I thought that if I wasn’t going to do it then, well, when? We opened selling the day after the market crash. Which”—he laughs—“was awesome.”
A fearlessness came into it. Vaccarello says he didn’t feel a moment’s angst when he left Fendi and gambled his livelihood on a tiny collection of five jackets and five swimsuits in Paris in 2009. “It was the perfect time!” he insists. “I’d saved up—I never wanted to borrow from a bank like designers did before—and I knew my customers were waiting.”
What counted vitally was a laser-like instinct for knowing whom you’re speaking to—whether that means Vaccarello and his talent for sexily sliced tailoring or someone like Sherman, his polar opposite, who started her career with Ashley and Mary-Kate Olsen as the perfectionist designer of T-shirts at The Row. “Everything I do has to be quite functional and have an integrity and honesty,” she says. A fabric geek, Sherman took a route behind the scenes, where she learned to work closely with local factories, and then to Asia with Alexander Wang. (“I was his twelfth employee!” she boasts.) She’s now quickly upgrading Edun to a polished designer level for New York Fashion Week while building the collection’s ethical production to 85 percent–made in Africa status.
Now aged between 28 (Rocha) and 37 (Pilotto), these crash babies have become adult professionals attracting all kinds of fashion attention amid an upsurge of sponsorship, mentorship, and prizes that arrived to support young designers in the mid-2000s. Altuzarra benefited from winning the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund in New York; Peter Pilotto, Anderson, and Rocha from London’s NEWGEN sponsorship; Peter Pilotto, meanwhile, also won the BFC/Vogue Fashion Fund in London. In France, Vaccarello took both the Hyères prize and the Paris ANDAM prize, and in Italy, de Vincenzo emerged through Italian Vogue’s Who Is On Next? competition. It’s made them all much more open to building relationships than the designers who went before. As independents, they’ve been meshed into the culture of publicity-generating collaborations—most recently, Anthony Vaccarello x Versus Versace; J Brand x Simone Rocha; Altuzarra for Target. With Instagram and Web video, they’ve moved even faster.
Rocha, with her sweet-but-tomboyish dresses and Lucite-heeled brogues, and Peter Pilotto, with its mesmerically textural colors, have quietly gathered customers from across the globe—a far cry from the fate of London’s lone-wolf indie designers in the nineties. They get out and travel, learning to calibrate their collections for different climates and cultures—and they’ll never boast about just how successful they have been. Pilotto practically has to have his arm twisted before he admits, “Well, we sell to 200 stores on six continents. There’s only one we don’t sell to—Antarctica!”
This serious, savvy generation has even transformed the attitudes of major luxury-fashion conglomerates, which are suddenly in a flurry of competition to sign them up. Altuzarra is in expansion mode, designing in a renovated office after negotiating a minority investment from France’s Kering group. “Having a partner like Kering, who are able to fold you into their manufacturing capabilities, is something that makes a huge difference,” he says. Anderson, with a new minority investment from LVMH, has moved out of the unheated basement in Shacklewell Lane where he and his stylist Benjamin Bruno froze in the winters; now he’s in a three-story building with an e-commerce studio. In Rome, de Vincenzo is turning out his beautifully elaborate, streamlined clothes with a different kind of LVMH backing: He’d worked as a highly rated Fendi bag designer for ten years before telling the company he was desperate to start his own collection of clothes. “Silvia Fendi was brilliant,” de Vincenzo says. “She said I could stay and have my own studio. I think it is a unique arrangement.” LVMH, Fendi’s parent company, smartly got to keep its star bag designer—and to bet on his future in ready-to-wear on the Milan runway.
Now their talent and knowledge are beginning to be almost as highly valued by the fashion establishment as Premier League footballers are in sport. The analogy works for the 30-year-old Anderson: As he shoulders the dual responsibilities of managing his own brand and being creative director of Loewe, he talks about it in sporting terms. “My dad was an Irish national rugby player. He’s always drilling it into me: ‘It’s all about your team!’ ”
What’s really different about this generation, though, are the family, friends, and loyal stylists around them. “I like growing with the people who know me and support me,” says Vaccarello. Rocha’s mother, Odette, is her business partner. Anderson’s brother, Thomas, is his HR director. Altuzarra’s mother, Karen, is chairman of the board, and Altuzarra’s words stand for the whole group: “I believe in creating this like a family—one that has worked together from the beginning. To me, that’s a beautiful thing.” If there is a common denominator among all these disparate talents, the thing that has taken them all past survival to the point of flourishing, it is their normality, their loyalty. They’re rooted.
You might be thinking I'm a pretentious snob, right? But I promise I’m actually on decently sound footing here.
Valerie Steele, a fashion historian at the Fashion Institute of Technology and director of the school's museum, is with me. "In Tokyo, you have access to so many really brilliant designers," she says. "I think shopping in Tokyo is the best shopping in the world.”
Apart from the creativity, she says, ”Japanese are very concerned with quality and with attention to detail — much more than Americans who really wouldn’t know a good garment from a bad one for the most part. ... But the Japanese are looking very carefully at every detail, the material, construction, etc. and have very high standards of what qualifies as good, well-made clothing.”
Uniqlo, Japan’s largest apparel retailer, opened a store in New York City in 2006. I was over the moon. Finally, I could get Japanese clothing in the US.
In Japan, Uniqlo isn’t exactly considered "fashion." It sells relatively cheap, well-made basics. But basics cut in a Japanese style, with that attention to detail? Here in the US, that is a kind of fashion. And Uniqlo has become really popular.
”The key example I think of is the little puffer jacket that Uniqlo launched," Steele says. "Now you see everybody wearing it, everyone from kids on the street, housewives, workers, to the trendiest fashion people.”
And with their special "techno-fabrics" and collaborations with well-known designers, Uniqlo has become a mainstay in the retail and fashion worlds. This fall, Uniqlo nearly doubled the number of stores it operates in the US, opening new branches from Los Angeles to Boston.
There’s also been a lot of appreciative gushing over Uniqlo’s Japanese-inspired customer service. Employees are taught to present and take customer credit cards with two hands, in formal Japanese style.
“You greet the customer always smiling, perfect posture, things like that," explains Delese Baker, a store supervisor at Uniqlo’s Soho store. "At meetings, everyone’s supposed to stand feet apart, hands in the front — always have your badges, notepads.”
There are even "Six Standard Phrases" that every Uniqlo employee has to memorize: phrases they chant to each other at store meetings. There are a lot of rules, and expectations are high. "These shirts right here that are button-down, you’re supposed to be able to fold seven in a minute,” Baker explains cheerily.
It all makes for a pleasant shopping experience. But all the nitpicky rules, rigorous standards and emphasis on perfection have also generated some flack.
Japan is known for its rigid work culture, where long hours are the norm. But even by Japanese standards, Uniqlo has a particularly bad reputation.
Fumihito Matsuo, a former Uniqlo store manager in Tokyo, says the working environment at Uniqlo was just bad — strict enough to be the military. “In Japan, Uniqlo is known as a 'black company,'" he says.
"Black" or "evil" companies are ones that exploit their workers, harrassing them and forcing them to work excessive hours and unpaid overtime. Some ex-workers in the US have said it’s worse than the military — it's more like a slave ship.
And it’s not just a few people complaining. In 2011, Japanese journalist Masuo Yokota published a book called the "The Glory and Disgrace of the Uniqlo Empire." The book alleges almost slave-like treatment of Uniqlo’s factory workers in China and store employees in Japan. Uniqlo sued for defamation, but lost both the case and the appeal. They’ve now taken the case to the Japanese Supreme Court.
Matsuo thinks things may have gotten somewhat better since he quit a year ago, but he insists the book tells it like it is.
Larry Meyer, Uniqlo’s US CEO, points out that perfection has trade-offs. “Retail is not for the lazy. We are a team. Our brand is a function of how well our team represents our brand. To that extent, it’s not a free for all," he says. "If you want to be an individual artist, I’m fine with that; you don't have to work for me.”
He says there are mechanisms here and in Japan to ensure that people are treated fairly and are properly compensated.
And even Matsuo points out that working for the company had its upsides. For a 23-year-old only a couple years out of college, he had a lot of responsibility and opportunities to advance. He wouldn’t want to work there again, but he still shops there.
“As a brand, I still like Uniqlo," he says. And, of course, so do I.
Offering non-Japanese people free entry to Moshi Moshi Nippon was a risky move on the part of Asobisystem, but it seemed to have paid off.
Nearly 15,000 punters showed up for the Sept. 28 event at Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium, and organizers say that 7,000 of them were non-Japanese.
Speaking to some attendees, the main draw was a chance to see Kyary Pamyu Pamyu, the Asobisystem management company’s star act, for free. She played a lineup of hits: “Fashion Monster,” “Ninja Re Bang Bang” and, of course, “Ponponpon.”
Likely motivated from Kyary’s overseas notability, the Moshi Moshi Nippon has sought to draw in like-minded fans of Harajuku’s kawaii brand of culture. This has included TV shows, websites and events in France, England and the United States.
A long line of non-Japanese, including teenagers and 30-somethings, wound its way outside the site and reception was pretty smooth. Translators, marked with their job description in green font emblazoned on black T-shirts, wandered around the venue in case of questions. Moshi Moshi Nippon looked less like a music festival and more of an Asobisystem showcase.
A viewing area was roped off near the front of the stage and labeled “foreigners only,” which caused some people on social media to wonder if the special treatment would ostracize them from Japanese fans. They needn’t have bothered, though, because the non-Japanese attendees seemed to be more interested in the antics of the Japanese fans than what was on stage.
Hard-core idol fans were out in full force, with acts such as Silent Siren and Dempagumi.inc playing the main stage and other stages catering exclusively to up-and-coming idol acts. They performed otagei, specially rehearsed cheering dances, everywhere — even outside the venue at the DJ-centric Matsuri stage.
The smaller and busier Nippon Stage even offered non-Japanese and Japanese alike the chance to learn more about the idol subculture they likely only know via megastar groups such as AKB48. Nearly 30 new groups, such as drop, Camouflage and Cheeky Parade performed there and the audience was filled with dedicated fans.
Those fans were what really made the Nippon Stage entertaining. They screamed out lyrics during the performances, and dance moves looked as if they were influenced by martial arts at times — many non-Japanese stood in the back and watched with fascination. Not bad for a free ticket.
At Comme des Garcons, Zen-Loving CEO Rewrites the Rules of Retail
On a gray spring morning in Paris, behind the facade of an 18th century building on the Place Vendome, a flying insect has somehow made its way through an arched doorway, past a limestone courtyard and into the headquarters of Comme des Garcons International, where it is now buzzing around the head of Chief Executive Officer Adrian Joffe.
Not for long.
As Joffe sits at a glass table in his office, calmly discussing the relationship between artistic integrity and profit, he suddenly raises his right arm and executes a rapid swatting motion reminiscent of an Andy Roddick first serve. In a split second, the fly is gone and Joffe continues speaking, making no acknowledgment of the interruption aside from a barely perceptible grin.
To those who aren’t familiar with Joffe -- a seemingly mild-mannered executive with a background in Zen Buddhism and linguistics -- this matter-of-fact extermination of another living being might seem surprising. But as Bloomberg Pursuits magazine reports in its Autumn 2014 issue, those who know him well would recognize one of his most-marked qualities: not a killer instinct exactly but, rather, a clean efficiency, a knack for swiftly removing distractions so as to focus on what’s important.
Comme des Garcons, founded in Tokyo 45 years ago by the reclusive designer Rei Kawakubo -- Joffe’s wife since 1992 -- is perhaps the most enduringly innovative fashion brand of modern times. From the start, Kawakubo’s goal has been to rise above market forces to freely create new things, be they jackets with three sleeves or androgynous, abstract garments that upend standard notions of clothing, gender and beauty.
Pharrell Williams -- whose new unisex scent with Comme puts him in an esteemed club of fragrance collaborators that includes the design firm Artek and London’s Serpentine Gallery -- says that creativity remains Joffe’s top priority, with commerce running a very close second.
Joffe certainly doesn’t fit the standard profile of a 61-year-old CEO -- and not just because he dresses in head-to-toe black, often with a pair of graffitied Doc Martens on his feet. The shoes are a limited-edition Comme collaboration adorned with slogans by his wife, including, significantly, “My energy comes from my freedom.”
One of Joffe’s many tasks at the company is to act as interpreter and gatekeeper for the resolutely private Kawakubo, who speaks little English and shows no interest in making herself understood to the outside world.
“That’s the worst part of my job,” Joffe says. “It’s hard to explain her, and I don’t really want to. But I am somewhat of a realist, and for business, you have to try.” Continue reading...
SMALL IN JAPAN: While all eyes are still on Europe, Japan’s capital is gearing up for its own fashion week, scheduled to take place during the third week of October.
At a press conference on Thursday, organizers released the official show schedule, as well as details on some related events. This season, there will be few newcomers participating in the shows, and even fewer international brands.
The week is to open with Hanae Mori, a Japanese brand steeped in history that will be re-launching with a new designer. As reported, Henry Holland will also be in town to show his spring House of Holland collection.
A handful of brands that are normally on the top of editors’ lists to see are downsizing from a runway show to an installation this season. These include Somarta, Yasutoshi Ezumi and Motonari Ono.
Versus Tokyo, a related event that is open to the public and consists of both fashion shows and music events lasting through the night, will also be returning this season. Brands that will show during Versus include Mr. Gentleman, Facetasm and Toga Virilis, the men’s line of Toga.
Buyers whose trips to Japan Fashion Week will be sponsored by the Japan External Trade Organization, or JETRO, include representatives from Galeries Lafayette, Surrender and Front Row in Singapore, Heavy Selection in Thailand, and Brooklyn-based Bird. For the second season in a row, Nick Wooster will also be in town for the week’s festivities.
Ae'lkemi showed 25 exquisite outfits as part of a new couture collection created especially for the opening night, International Runway - Beyond Imagination.
"The collection is partly inspired by Venetian Gothic architecture," Fernandez explained after the show, the first to be held at the festival's new Fashion Paramount venue at the Perth Concert Hall.
"I liked the idea of the contrast between structure and fluidity and also having a lot of different textures in an all-white dress, for example."
Many dresses featured intricate hand-finished French beading and experiments with laser-cut leather, a first for the Ae'lkemi brand.
"We still wanted to stay pretty true to our signature, which is elegant, nipped in at the waist, skimming the hips," Fernandez said.
"There's a lot of detail in there, but we also wanted some palate-cleansers, some simpler pieces before you go into the more in-your-face red carpet pieces of the finale."
Fernandez said the presence of delegates from the Asian Couture Federation and Singapore's FIDe Fashion Weeks was a valuable opportunity to showcase his work to a wider international audience.
"This is a valuable market that we really want to tap into," he said.
"For us to show the rest of the world what we can do is always a plus, and being given opening honours was huge for us."
Watching all the glamour from the front row were celebrities Dannii Minogue - flying the flag for WA design in an Aurelio Costarella outfit - Kate Waterhouse, Matthew and Lauren Pavlich, Coterie group member Emma Milner and international fashion blogger Diane Pernet.
Premier Colin Barnett, Lord Mayor Lisa Scaffidi and Asian Couture Federation chairman Frank Cintamani were among the dignitaries welcoming guests to the week-long festival.
Michael Cinco, who is based in Dubai but was born in the Philippines, has dressed the likes of Sofia Vergara, Beyonce and Rihanna, while Indonesian designer Sebastian Gunawan has built up a loyal fashion following throughout south-east Asia.
Both designers featured detailed beading, embroidery, sequins and lace-work.
Tonight Flannel designer Kristy Lawrence will premiere her summer collection in Perth for the first time, while Morrison and One Fell Swoop will share the runway with cult New Zealand labels Zambesi and Nom*D at the 3300 Miles Apart show.
(FACEBOOK og PINTEREST) – det er sjelden at Giuseppe Santamaria stopperenvelkledd mann på gaten for å ta hans bilde. I stedet fotograf og art director, enSydney, Australia-baserte kanadiske expat-tendens til å fange fag som de spasertur påav, ofte når de er ferske kledd og vei til jobb. Mr. Santamaria, 28, som sitererfotografer som ‘ 60s-tiden Magnum lensman Ernst Haas som inspirasjon, sa, “Det erom fryser det øyeblikket, gripe hvordan den fyren livet er.” Som et resultat, fyllerautentisk energi bildene han skyter for sin fire år gamle street-stil blogg, menn i dennebyen, som han er blitt en bok med samme navn, tilgjengelig 2.9.
Mr. Santamaria spor hans Herretøy fascinasjon barndommen Toronto og en dapperfar delvis til polos, korte shorts og flettet sko. “Jeg trodde han var en eldre måte ådressing,” sa han. “Men nå jeg ha samme sko og skjorter. Det er denne påvirkningenjeg aldri skjønte jeg hadde.”
I dag, er Mr. Santamaria takknemlighet for Herretøy global. Hans nye bok dokumenterfem byer han anses Herretøy hovedsteder, New York, Sydney, Tokyo, Milano ogLondon. Hjembyen dugde ikke. Han forklarte, diplomatisk: “Toronto er en av dissebyene prøver å finne seg selv.” Her, fem bilder fra “Menn i denne byen” og Mr.Santamarias ta på den unike sartorial sjarmen av hver locale.
ARTFUL SKREDDERSØM I MILANO
“Milanesiske menn er født med smak, og ikke mye endringer,” sa Mr. Santamaria.Likevel, han ser en forskjell mellom generasjonene. Yngre menn slitasje sportslig klær,forklarte han, mens mer-skreddersydd ser synes å være reservert for eldre menn. “Det er nesten en overgangsrite,” la han til. “Du har å tjene retten til å trekke av dennefargen.” Har klokket litt tid på planeten jorden kan gjøre en mann mer fotogen, lagtMr. Santamaria: “[jeg] som du kan se den erfaring og tradisjon i deres ansikter.”Mange av Mr. Santamaria milanesiske bilder fokus på disse eldre herrer liker moteshowroom eier Alessandro Squarzi. Mr. Squarzi ELAN kommer via spezzato-kunstnerisk Feilkoblede jakker og bukser. Prøve den med en rutete blazer, vest og kakibukser.
TOKYOS FØLELSE AV PRESISJON
Japanske byen er hendene ned Mr. Santamarias favoritt til å skyte. “[Tokyoinnbyggere] betale så mye oppmerksomhet til hva de bærer,” sa han. “De kjøre en setil minste detalj.” Og det er sant om en fyr er arbeider en gamle-skolen dandyblomstre eller analyse av finere høy kvalitet rå denim. Når det gjelder sistnevnte, gjørenoen mennesker kule Americana bedre enn den japanske, som tilber selvage denimchambray skjorter og begrenset opplag joggesko. “Det er det mest fantastiske stedetjeg har vært,” sa han. “Du føler at du er oppslukt i dette andre universet.”
GIFTE FORTID OG FREMTID I LONDON
Mr. Santamaria uttales menn i London som high-fashion-besatt: “Når du ser noe pårullebanen, ser du det på gata noen uker senere.” Men det er ikke alt om mote-fram.London stil blander den nye med gamle. Det er et perfekt tatt av Dan Rookwood, denamerikanske editor for e-handel Mr Porter, som Mr. Santamaria intervjuet for boken.”Han har denne arven se om ham, men er alltid på toppen av hva er nytt,” safotografen. “Det er ikke om iført vintage, det handler om iført moderne klær men slagsfølge tradisjonene av sin fars garderoben.” Merk slimmed ned, moderne kuttet av Mr.Rookwoods kamel frakken og kofferten sin soft-rammen. En lignende effekt, kan duprøve Amis kamel frakken, klassisk Dunhill pinstripe dress og dandy-lignendeoppblomstring av floral silke slips.
NEW YORKS LAND OF OPPORTUNITY
“New York er det mest moro når det gjelder mote,” sa Mr. Santamaria. “Du har alt frabig-box til luksuriøse butikker. “Dette er der mote er mest tilgjengelig, og det er såmye muligheter gjøre ting med klærne.” Og ikke bare klær. Om bildet her hankommenterte i sin bok, “ingensteds men New York er et transportmiddel blitt moteuttalelse.» Understreke byens følelse av mote frihet, “Menn i denne byen” har etintervju med womenswear designere Jeffrey Costello og Robert Tagliapietra, kjent forsine tvillingmonterte uniformer orddeling, bukseseler og tømmerhogger skjegg. “De har gjort det siden ‘ 90s,” sa Mr. Santamaria. “De forventet hipster bevegelsen. De erpionerer.” Nøkkelelementer i Gotham stil: en subtilt raffinert versjon av at sportsklærclassic, en strikk og grunnleggende ryggsekk støpt i stripete ull og skinn. Den sistetouch er sko som tjente sin street cred tiår siden, Converse er Chuck Taylors.
SYDNEY LETTERE TA PÅ TRADISJON
Kanskje fordi han bor der, er Mr. Santamaria en vokal tilhenger av Sydneys spirendeHerretøy scene. “Spesielt i de siste fem årene eller så, har det begynte å boom,” sahan. Mennene kler hensiktsmessig for det meste varme klimaet, men det betyr ikke atflip-flops og shorts. “Du begynner å se ser gjort på napolitansk måte, men det erlettere og mer gratis” sa Mr. Santamaria. “Det er en blanding mellom sartorial ogbeachy.” Absolutt slår en skarp skulder jakke slitt med en t-skjorte og dashingly løkkerbohemske skjerf balansen. Som en uforet Boglioli jakke og smart casual, moccasin-lignende støvler.
While most creative people travel for inspiration, few truly repay the debt to their foreign muses. The following innovative designers, whether by supporting disenfranchised artisans or employing sustainable grazing practices, are teaching the rest of the industry how to walk the walk. Proof that good style and doing good are no longer mutually exclusive.
It’s little wonder that McCartney, a lifelong vegetarian who was raised on an organic farm in the English countryside, has had a heightened eco-consciousness from an early age. “Nature is part of my roots,” she says. “The environment has always been important to me.” Since the launch of her line in 2001, the British designer has been a maverick for fashion that’s at once ethical and luxurious, and stubborn in her refusal to use fur or leather in her collections. That same sense of conviction brought her to Argentina, where she partnered with the Nature Conservancy and Ovis 21, a network of more than 140 farmers across Argentina, Chile, and Uruguay who have banded together to reverse the devastating effects of 100 years of continuous grazing in the Patagonia grasslands by adhering to a multi-pasture protocol that replicates natural grazing patterns. Argentina is the world’s fifth-largest producer of wool, and McCartney sourced much of the material for her fall 2014 collection (including oversized fringed woolen blanket coats) from Patagonian farmers who participate in Ovis 21’s program.
McCartney’s wool is from Patagonia, Argentina.
This isn’t the first time travel has played a vital role in McCartney’s designs: Her clothes are rich with visual references from different destinations. Last year, she also collaborated with the International Trade Centre, a Geneva-based agency that has helped match luxury labels with artisans across Africa, to create printed totes made in Nairobi. “It’s important to encourage industry in small communities,” she says. “The luxury goods market has a long way to go, but we should all be taking steps toward sustainability.”
Maiyet’s new weaving center will be in Varanasi, India.
Because they know that behind every great dress is a great artisan.
In 2010, when Maiyet co-founders Paul van Zyl and Kristy Caylor set off on their first exploratory 20-city trip around the world, an early stop was Varanasi, India, to visit the silk weavers for which the city, one of the oldest on earth, is renowned. “I remember Kristy admiring the silks and the complex way they’re made,” says CEO Van Zyl. “The experience encapsulated everything we hoped to do with Maiyet—create rare, beautiful, and covetable product, but also enable artisans to collaborate more productively.” Now the company has joined forces with Nest, a nonprofit organization that offers support to artisans in several countries, to finance a David Adjaye–designed silk-weaving facility opening next year in Varanasi. The new space will allow up to 100 craftsmen to work together in safe conditions—and to grow their own textile businesses. “We wanted to give them a chance to help themselves,” Van Zyl explains. This hands-on approach is at the center of Maiyet’s mission. In Varanasi, Creative Director Caylor found inspiration in both the place and the crafts produced there. In recent years, Indian saris have been made using a distinctive jacquard weaving method, and this fall some of Maiyet’s own polka-dot silk dresses will incorporate the same technique. Van Zyl and Caylor’s collaborations don’t stop in India, however; they’re currently working with Kenyan artists to create brass jewelry, and with Indonesian textile makers on experimental batiks. “One of the things our travels have taught us is that any craft demands a skill set, pride, and dignity from its practitioner,” says Van Zyl. “To be able to connect with these artisans and then bring their work to a Paris Fashion Week runway and to customers in London, Miami, and Tokyo—it’s at the core of what we do.”
John Foster/Radius Images/Media Bakery
Péan sources her mammoth ivory from the Arctic Circle.
Because she knows that (ecologically friendly, ethically sourced) diamonds are really a girl's best friend.
When the New York–based fine jewelry designer launched her line in 2006, sustainability and luxury were rarely uttered in the same breath. In fact, Péan points out, few people realized then that the fine-jewelry-making process is actually extremely harmful to the environment: Gold mining, for instance, releases huge amounts of cyanide, lead, and mercury into local water sources. "It took a while for attitudes to change," says Péan, whose pieces pair ecologically approved materials like fossilized wooly mammoth and walrus ivory sourced from Alaska with 18-karat recycled gold and conflict-free diamonds. "But now collectors are starting to shift their mind-sets." While there are still only a few luxury brands that can claim to be truly environmentally sustainable, Péan continues to fight for responsible change by forging relationships with artisans everywhere from Washington to Peru—people whose skills might otherwise die out.
Then there are her travels, which inform all her designs: An overturned iceberg spotted on a recent trip to Antarctica, for example, inspired an oceanic-hued spectrolite ring with diamonds and recycled gold. "I have now visited 60 countries, and there are still so many I can't wait to explore," says Péan, who goes on one big scouting trip a year in search of new materials and artisans. "My list just keeps growing."
Courtesy Monique Péan
The deep-blue spectrolite in this Monique Péan ring was sourced from Norway (price upon request).
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This project is led by artist Koutaro Ooyama and photographer Joji Shimamoto. Through the project, the two aim to make good use of buildings that are to be demolished and provide opportunities for young artists to present their works to a public audience.
The upcoming event will introduce the works of over fifty artists including DRAGON76, FRANKIE CIHI, RYUICHI OGINO, SHOGO IWAKIRI, SD duet with NUKEME, MICHINORI MARU, KLEPTOMANIAC and Tsuyoshi Nigamushi. The artworks will use all nine floors of the building as forms of expression.
Reservation is required in order to view the exhibit. A link is available on the official website. Further details will be provided upon reservation. A reception is also planned for Aug 31.
Koutaro Ooyama, a graduate of Kyoto City Univ. of Arts, presents live paintings, installations including wall paintings and canvas paintings. Inspired from Native Japanese Ainu and Native American Haida, he creates artworks using ethnic designs and colorful patterns of ancient temples.
Joji Shimamoto is a graduate of Academy of Art Univ. School of Photography. He planned and held a number of photo exhibits while he was in the USA. After coming back to Japan in 2008, he held a photo exhibit at The Artcomplex Center of Tokyo in Shinjuku. In 2009, he was selected as one of “Japanese Photographers 100” that was issued as a separate volume of “STUDIO VOICE.” Recently, he held photo exhibits at Laforet Harajuku and BLUE NOTE TOKYO.