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Category Archives: Fashion

Fashions For Men

Men’s fashion in the 2000s is now as indefinable as women’s fashion has been for the past few years. Gone are the days when men couldn’t look fashionable with those uninteresting shirts and mundane trousers. Looking good is not only a woman’s privilege. Each year, trends for men’s fashion are predicted, but hardly have they followed any fashion trends. Hence, they escape stylish clothing.

Even if they go for shopping their last option would be on safe shirt and predictable trousers. For younger males, hip hop culture has highlighted many trends for men’s fashion, while older males are increasingly aware of tailoring, and making a garment fit right for their body shape, rather than going with the fashion trend.

Trends for men have always been a tricky issue. You need to make a statement, and yet not overdo it. For the men who want to get started with this voguish experiment, this year is not a year to go too bold with colors, whereas shades of blue and black are set to rule. Denims continue to rule 2014 and printed shirts and jackets will also be a hit. You can set your mood to make yourself look different from the crowd with slim, narrow trend with slush of colors.

An exclusive printed jacket with layering and a good amount of texturing on the fabric with fine yet visible detailing will look great. Printed jackets can be highlighted with Kalamkari work. The trend of printed jackets and slim pants is the future of fashion and the new age man replaces cargos with slimmer pants and includes more linen jackets in their wardrobe. You can even pair up your jackets with slim fitting blue denims which are completely classic, timeless and are one of the most resourceful pieces you’ll ever own.

It is easy to dress oneself with the slimmer cut ensuring sharper lines and a better shape. Indigo jeans works with almost any look you can think of and will never be out of fashion, so it’s worth investing good money in self finished fabrics, which is of a higher quality and is almost guaranteed to last longer. Basic knitwear will be an essential component of your layering this season, and you’ll be wearing it a lot.

These staple colors allow you to play around with bolder shades within the rest of your ensemble and the mid-weight ensures that they sit on the casual side of the spectrum, which is much more suitable when you’re just starting out. When it comes to suits, double breasted blazers are in fashion, so for people who like slim fits, new styles have come up to give a try. Wider legged pants are replacing the slim cut trousers which were a trend last year.

Halloween costume 2014

It is the tricking or treating time of the year and the festival of Halloween has become an annual affair to invest in some really spooky yet stylish costumes. The market for Halloween costumes is growing in a big way with all kinds of new dress-up themes and ideas available in store for adults, kids, and even pets. The festival is said to boost the sales of costumes and candies the most and is celebrated with a lot of pomp.

The word Halloween meaning the “holy evening” falls on the 31st of October every year and is a time specially devoted for the remembrance of the martyrs, saints, and all loyal Christians. The enthusiasm of people knows no bound to celebrate the eeriest and darkest festivals of all. The traditional Halloween activities consist of bonfires, visiting haunted places, watching horror movies, decorating houses with pumpkins, trick or treating, and the most important of all is dressing up to look like a famous character or deck up to look creepy or frightful.

Halloween is celebrated with a lot of joy and galore in Ireland, where the festival originated, America, Canada, England, Mexico, Sweden, Netherlands, Germany, Belgium and Austria. However the festival has caught the attention, and moreover the concept of costume parties is what has taken it forward to countries like Japan, China, Hong Kong, and France.

But the Halloween this year is extra special because it is falling on a Friday since 2008, and hence retailers and analysts are expecting it to turn into a weekend affair with families and individuals spending more on their holiday and costumes. In the United States the Halloween sales are expected to reach a dramatic $ 7.4 billion for the year 2014, a great progress from the $ 7 billion sales accounted for in 2013. On an average every individual is expected to spend at least $ 77.52 on the holiday. Therefore, this makes Halloween costumes sales a second big holiday season for apparel retailers after Christmas in America and Canada. United States is also home to many Halloween parades carried out on the occasion of Halloween.

The festival of demons and devils is definitely driving Halloween sales in the US. According to the National Retail Federation, people will be spending $ 1.1 billion on costumes of children, $ 1.4 billion on adult costumes and a whopping $ 350 million on pet costumes. The study also reports that this year one third Americans will either be attending or throwing a Halloween party and expects two third Americans to be buying Halloween costumes, which constitutes 67 percent, the largest percentage ever. For kids cartoon characters, fairy tale characters, and animal costumes remain the most popular items for Halloween. While for pets hot dog, pumpkin, and devil costumes remain the top three most popular outfits. Adult costumes of Zombies, Pirates, Clowns, Witches, Vampires, and Star Wars characters remain all-time favorites.

Fashion personal with blogs

There was a time when the internet was used to exchange documents and to read up.

As the time passed, it has became a tool to communicate with, shop, influence people and even write online journals. When blogging started as part of an internet activity, it was more of one way communication. Then, interactive features were added making blogs more potent than ever. Readers’ comments on blogs helped spread the word from the horse’s mouth. Blogging is an important activity now, with popular bloggers influencing politics, fashion and every other sphere of society.

Fashion blogs have especially become a way to increase sales, understand customer sentiment and demand, improve product quality and understand future trends for both the buyers and brands. The addition of facilities like uploading photographs, viewers’ comments and queries, as well as expert opinions on a series of topics have opened up a new interactive platform for bloggers.

Strong hold on audience

In the past, fashion magazine editors, super models, designers and movie stars represented and influenced the fashion world. The modern world of fashion has evolved and it takes inspiration from everywhere – from casual street styles to elegant elite designs. Thus, the role of fashion bloggers who have a huge impact on what customers buy has become essential for new and old brands alike. Some fashion bloggers who started blogs as a hobby have made a full-fledged career out of it. It is not the formal degree that makes bloggers prominent, but it is the number of followers who read the blogs and then decide to buy their clothes.

Popular magazines have even carried editorials by bloggers as acceptance to change the scenario. Margaret Zhang of Shine by Three has done an editorial for Elle fashion magazine, while continuing with her blog and attending University lectures in Australia. According to professor of digital media and marketing at Carnegie Mellon University, Ari Lightman, “Some of the most successful bloggers use social channels for outreach and awareness. They understand the notion between popularity and influence – who is influential versus who’s popular. They will gauge that accordingly.”

Apart from the transition that the fashion industry has gone through, customers have also changed in terms of expectations. Two-way communication is the key to building customer loyalty and bloggers have an advantage of easily building a rapport with their followers. Bloggers, these days, freely post snapshots of events and parties, which help them earn more hits and followers. And though many magazines do not like the presence of bloggers at fashion events, some magazines like Lucky have started embracing the power of the bloggers. During New York Fashion Week September 2014, magazines organised special events for bloggers. Also, several fashion and lifestyle brands favour bloggers over magazines because of higher rates of engagement and buying.

Fashion says: highlight the world

For over a hundred years, Forster Rohner AG has stood for high-quality embroidery. They produce embroideries for elite fashion houses, and range from ready-to-wear to haute couture. With their new innovation of wearable technology by implementing light into textiles, they are going to conquer new markets, reports Regina Henkel.

When Conrad Forster-Willi founded his embroidery company in 1904 under the name of Forster Willi & Co, embroidery was Switzerland’s most important exports market. Although this segment of the Swiss textiles industry has since undergone major transformations, the fascination for this unusually versatile product still remains, besides the invaluable know-how that has been handed down from one generation of employees to the next. The idea to implement light in fabrics is a result of both.

With the integration of active bright light in textiles, Forster Rohner expanded fashion design to a new dimension, and managed to create the world’s first true hybrid of textile and technology. The special feature: the Forster Rohner fabrics retain their textile properties even after integration of a technical application. In other words: “It was important that the fabric remains a fabric, and also behaves the same way as before, including washability,” explains Jan Zimmermann of Forster Rohner. “Even though it’s a technical product”, he adds, “everyone expects full washability.”

For further development, in 2009 Forster Rohner established a separate department for innovation in the field of technical textiles. It is led by Jan Zimmermann, who is an expert in interdisciplinary sciences, not in textiles. For three years, the company from St Gallen has sought a solution – how to integrate LEDs in textile surfaces, without having to give up the textile characteristics of them.

The idea of embroidering electrical circuits with electrically conductive yarns was feasible. In these circuits, LEDs were incorporated in the form of sequins, which are decorative even when switched off. Also, the machinery had to be converted and new machines developed, for example for the application of the LEDs. From lace to robust wovens or leather, nearly every fabric can be embroidered and illuminated. And everything can be washed several times too. Only the battery has to be taken off; all the other applications like the LEDs remain on the fabric.

The first illuminated product was a corsage for the underwear brand Valisere. By choosing underwear, they demonstrated how cuddly and comfortable the materials were. Even the placement of the battery was no longer a problem, thanks to ever-smaller battery and battery solutions.

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.

Essential strategy for the fashion

Sustainability is a concept that will engage almost everyone for decades, says Angelo Camillo.

The topic of sustainability has assumed global dimensions and now carries political implications. From institutions of higher education to the United Nations, the consensus is that the earth is at risk. Perhaps, grave risk. The scientific consensus on climate change, previously dubbed global warming, has had significant impact on many industries. The textile manufacturing and fashion industries do not operate in a vacuum. They are just as vulnerable as other sectors like food and beverage and play an important role in daily existence and social and economic interactions.

What is sustainability? It depends upon whom you ask. Among the myriad definitions within the framework of textiles and fashion, I define it as a system that includes the natural and human environment that recreates itself, stays balanced hence, sustainable – in order to survive. It includes other systems such as economic, environmental, societal, and personal, on a global scale. Consequently, we must answer this simple question: How can we live in a world in which the earth’s resources that support life can be available to humans, as well as to the flora and fauna that are vital components of the ecosystem? The answer is simple: it has to be a collective and inclusive effort, on a global basis, which creates synergy among all players to benefit the continuation of the earth’s ecosystem.

Understandably, the textile manufacturing and fashion industries cannot be sustainable alone. They can have a significant impact on the entire ecosystem. It is true that change will not happen unless a trigger causes it. Pressure from consumers, competitors, legislative mandates and the personal initiative of activists will compel stakeholders to change.

Textile manufacturing and fashion industries are becoming sustainably proactive

A 2014 survey published by the Camera Nazionale della Moda Italiana (National Chamber of Italian Fashion) revealed that only 13 per cent of luxury goods consumers said that sustainability was a fundamental value in purchasing decisions. According to Sourcing Journal, while 38 per cent of consumers go out of their way to find environmentally friendly apparel, 69 per cent would be concerned if they purchased items that were not eco-friendly. In addition, about 39 per cent would hold the manufacturer responsible for eco-unfriendly products. The stakeholders in the fashion industry take this data seriously and have been engaged in implementing sustainability as a critical value of the global fashion system, given the various correlated environmental and social factors including protection of the environment, people’s needs and wants and corporate profits.

The critical challenge is to remain attentive to both the future of the planet and to fashion’s role in that future, given the amount of premium materials used by the world’s top luxury brands. Manufacturers of textiles that use chemicals in less expensive fabric lines – for shoppers at the bottom of the pyramid – need to be concerned as well. In response, many fashion designers, especially the Italians, are now engaged in the standardisation of reference on hazardous chemical substances in textile, leather and footwear products. Increasingly, many textile manufacturers are now ISO certified in various standards categories.

Welcome Sustainable fashion

Sustainable fashion or eco-fashion is a revolution to enhance the consumer’s awareness of social and environmental concerns on the clothing manufacturing sector. Similar movements have already taken place in the food industry, points out A. Siva Sakthi.

Sustainable fashion can best be brought in by creating sustainably designed products which increase the longevity of a garment. There are many reasons behind the formation of the sustainable fashion movement and one major reason is the fast fashion phenomenon. Low-cost clothing flies off the shelves faster, so brands have started focusing on cheap garments with short lead time. Recent studies on carbon footprints in the United Kingdom were triggered by excess clothing bought by customers, increasing the rate of carbon dioxide equivalent emission into the environment, setting off alarms in those rooting for sustainable fashion. People want to buy more garments every season at low cost even though their life span is so short that they need to be discarded at the end of the season. This psychological behaviour of customers has to be changed to implement the sustainable fashion movement.

Sustainability, by definition, should meet current generation needs without compromising future generations. The major challenge in sustainability is the cooperation of all suppliers of individual components. They have to be ethically secured and accounted for, from labour to transportation from factory to retail outlet, aftercare and disposal of garments. The fashion industry has a complex and fragmented supply chain that has global reach.

For the fashion industry, green is the new black to focus on sustainable practices. Several incidents in the twentieth century helped the rise of conscious consumerism. One is the fire in a Nike factory in Indonesia due to poor working conditions, resulting in protests and boycotts by employees and the media. Twenty-four years later, Nike is one of the leading companies in implementing sustainable practices.

Brands have continually supported in raising campaigns like Pantagonia’s responsible economy, which shows how sustainability is inbuilt into their corporate structure. Brands like Levi’s have cleverly showed such implementation into the lifecycle of their garments to raise consumer awareness. A case in point is Levi’s Care Tag For Our Planet initiative and waterless and Wellthread Collections made from 100 per cent recyclable material. Several big brands like Gucci, Calvin Klein, Stella McCartney and Puma are also stressing on sustainability.

Concerns of fashion industry

After the oil industry, the fashion and textile sector is the most polluting, because each stage of a garment’s life cycle threatens our planet and resources. To produce a kilogram of cotton — equivalent to one T-shirt or a pair of jeans — requires more than 20,000 litres of water, one of the major resources. About 8,000 types of chemicals are used in the conversion of raw material into garments. If some clothes do not sell or when they go out of style, they land in giant landfills, adding to the pollution.