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Monthly Archives: November 2017

New Media for fashion industry

Social media has opened doors to new and emerging designers with small budgets to push their creativity and contribute to the fashion world by actively staying plugged-in. Designers and brands now market themselves directly to clients through the social media and gradually build brand loyalty because of the user-friendly and accessible nature of social media, write Mahesh Shaw and Mehak Mittal.

New Media is a catch term of the 21st Century. Very broadly, new media is something related to the internet and the interplay among technology, images, and sound. It is about making things digital, and has characteristics of being manipulated, networkable, dense, compressible and interactive. The various forms of new media are internet, websites, computer multimedia, computer games, CD-ROMS and DVDs. The population of internet users is increasing at a very fast rate. According to a nationally representative survey by the Pew Research Centre’s Internet and American Life Project, some 70 per cent of American adults aged 18 and older have speed-broadband connection at home as of May 2013. India has the 3rd largest internet user population after China and the US as per the report NASDOC: SCOR, 2013.

The internet is one of the forms of new media which we use extensively. We say humans are social animals. We now say humans are digital animals. We tweet, re-tweet, share, post, upload, comment, like, follow and update 24/7. For us, being social means going digital in the world of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube, Tumblr and LinkedIn which are the most commonly used social media networks. Not only is our social life getting digitalised, our entire lifestyle is also getting progressively influenced by the internet. People chat, have online discussions and forums on micro-blogging sites, read books, magazines, and newspapers on the web, shop online, email, and surf various search engines for anything and everything they want to know either on their phones or tablets. Social media is the most popular form of new media used for virtual communication, which allows us to stay connected to all of friends, colleagues, and acquaintances with the click of a button.

Social media and fashion

The fashion industry uses social media as a promising platform to connect with consumers directly. Social media is used by brands of all categories. It has also played a major role in helping the fashion industry reach out to a much wider customer base with lesser costs and more presence in the digital world. All fashion brands and designers have a Facebook page, and a Twitter and an Instagram accounts. Brands have also started previewing their collections exclusively on Pinterest.

To drive growth, to be more exclusive, and to augment the user’s online brand experience, luxury brands Louis Vuitton, Dolce & Gabbana, and Burberry have launched their own social networks. Chanel along with its social networking site has also launched an application with Apple where it allows users to catch up on the latest news, watch exclusive ready-to-wear shows, browse through looks, and also locate stores nearby. DKNY used Instagram to interact one-to-one with fans.

Burberry used Snapchat to reveal its spring/summer 2016 collections a full day before it hits the catwalk. Tommy Hilfiger posts 360 degree videos to Twitter.

Future of Fashion 2020

The fashion industry with its ever changing trends has had a big role to play in polluting the environment. But with growing awareness among the consumers, many apparel manufacturers have switched to employing eco-friendly methods of production. Saumya Chaturvedi discusses about the sustainable technologies and processes being used in the industry to make fashion green.

“Fashion is not something that exists in dresses only. Fashion is in the sky, in the street, in the way we live and what is happening around us.”- Coco Chanel

Fashion is a means to express one’s ideas, culture and values, interests and personality. Fashion has been evolving since the 19th century when Charles Fredrick Worth had labels sewn into garments that he created.

Even though fashion has evolved through decades of constantly creating demands by being stylish and fascinating, its impact on the environment is becoming increasingly hazardous. Being one of the biggest players in the global economy, the fashion industry holds the responsibility to protect and save the environment and its precious resources. Insatiable and increasing demands are putting undue pressure on the environment. The culture of affordable shopping has led to increase in the number of shopaholics, thus increasing shopping.

Since Fashion cannot die by Norelle Rheingold it is the need of the hour to identify potential sources to lessen the pressure it exerts on the environment. The textile industry is one of the biggest culprits. The World Bank reveals that the textile industry single-handedly contributes to 18-20 per cent of global industrial water pollution from dyeing and pre-treatment of fabrics and textiles. A large amount of solid and liquid wastes are discharged into water bodies during the manufacture of textiles. Processes in textile mills lead to air emissions containing several harmful chemicals including chlorine and hydrogen sulphide. Consumers and clothing manufacturers are becoming aware of the harmful consequences and are trying for alternative technologies to protect the environment.

One such initiative is the launch of Liva, the new age fluid fabric by Birla Cellulose. It is a cellulosic high quality fabric which falls and drapes according to the body and moves with the body. Birla Cellulose has been creating superior and sustainable viscose staple fibre balancing the power of science and nature. With over 50 years’ experience, Birla Cellulose has been making metal-free fibres with increased absorbency and softness accompanied by lustre, smoothness, and drapability. Their fibres are not only eco-friendly but also versatile and beautiful. Birla Cellulose is increasingly engaging with big brands.

Japanese fashion designer: Konnichiwa

Wearable art is a new art form introduced with the invention of the sewing machine and its practitioners interpreting fashion the way they think it should be. Vince Quevedo discusses about Japanese influences in fashion and the techniques of creating wearable art.

Results of these experiments were quite successful, giving women one way to express themselves. The famous designer Elsa Schiaparelli introduced use of unconventional objects and silhouettes as acceptable in high fashion. That’s how you may have faces emblazoned on the front of shirts and jackets. Yarn on sleeves has hair for those faces, and plastic bugs for buttons. While couture fashion was out of reach for most women, the outlandish styles they portrayed were art forms worn on the body.

It was this freedom that allowed women to be more creative in their clothing choices. Instead of going to a couturier, some people took on the task of creating original fashion using the best technique they could in producing these clothes. Those who can sew well and could interpret their concepts into something wearable, were able to mimic couture quality clothing. Those who did not have the skills still created original art that turned out beautiful or failed at making a successful garment.

It is this differentiation that caused the variation of defining wearable art just as it is easy to determine good painting from bad ones. There is another contention among artists whether wearable art is truly an art form. While I believe the wearable art movement is still in its infancy, some of the driving forces that affect its legitimacy are technology, access, concept and skill. While making clothes does take a level of skill, it does not make one an artist. With technology giving people the ability to transfer their ideas into something a machine can interpret, it is almost always a pre-determined selection such as machine embroidery, machine applique, machine long arm quilting, sewing patterns and kits.

Access to technology and lack of skills do not prevent anyone from calling themselves an artist. There are many sewing and quilt guilds as well as hundreds of workshops and conferences across America that are open to all. Women wearing vests they’ve made with flowers and butterflies with machine appliques or sewn by hand are the result of attending such a workshop.

Cultural Influence in Fashion

The nude, they say, is the naked body clothed in culture, yet fashion is difficult to define. One thing that comes up frequently in defining fashion is its ability to move fast within the confines of culture. Along with fashion, beauty is almost always intertwined in defining it yet culture has more to do with defining beauty. Fashion is a complete reflection of society. It seems, internationally, the western ideal of beauty was adopted and stood as a standard for all to follow beginning from 1760 to 1840. The industrial revolution introduced technology that exposed new scientific inventions and communication around the world. In the late 19th century, the rotary printer was invented and the fashion magazine was created.

A good example began with copying naval military uniforms of the British by the Japanese soon after the Franco-Prussian War. In 1872, the Meiji emperor mandated men of the Imperial Court to wear western clothing consisting of a frock coat or hat or military regalia. In 1886, the women had to adopt the same rule by wearing corsets and bustles. It was during this period the Japanese elite realised a near-perfect imitation of western wear.

Year retrospect Germany

The bankruptcy of Karstadt, the end of Bread & Butter, and the entry of Chinese companies were some major headlines that dominated in Germany, writes Regina Henkel.

Both a plethora of problems and a number of new developments made the fashion headlines in 2015. The exhibition landscape changed significantly, and retail continues to be challenged by the ever-growing relevance of e-commerce. And while classical retail is trying to stabilise its business, online giants are battling against each other.

The bankruptcies

Almost a permanent fixture in the headlines was department store group Karstadt. The bankruptcy of the Arcandor mother company, which itself went insolvent six years ago, will still take “many years” to find its footing again, the liquidator said in November, according to the German Press Agency. The reasons were mainly litigations, including those against numerous former managers of the group, like former top executive Thomas Middelhoff. In all, 37,500 creditors are asking for €1.2 billion, according to the report of the liquidator. At the same time, reports of real estate sales of Karstadt stores have been coming in.

Another bankruptcy that affected the fashion industry was the end of Bread & Butter. In December 2014, the bankruptcy sounded like a drumbeat through the denim and sportswear industry. Although the show reported repeatedly about lower exhibitor and visitor numbers, the daring plans of CEO Karl-Heinz Muller polarised the denim community, and the end of the show came for many quite abruptly. But even more surprising was the news of the takeover of the fair by the Berlin e-commerce giant Zalando. His idea: Bread & Butter should continue to take place on the grounds of Tempelhof Airport in Berlin-but no more as a fair, but as a fashion event for consumers. The premiere of the new concept-that Muller had wanted to realise earlier, but had failed due to the resistance from brands-has been scheduled for January 2016. But in December, the Berlin Senate decided that the Tempelhof Field and the halls of the former airport would be used as refugee shelters until the end of 2019. Therefore, Zalando now has to search for a new location for Bread & Butter. The proposed January event was, therefore, postponed.

Also, Escada struggled through the year. In July, the fashion label announced that it would have to cancel about 200 jobs in the next two years. At the company’s headquarters in Munich, some 150 employees had to go. The job cuts are part of a restructuring programme, which is aimed to reposition the company since the departure of former CEO Bruno Salzer.