Category: Fashion (industry)

What Classifies as an Award Show Fashion Statement?

Unsurprisingly, award shows have always been riddled with celebrity fashion statements. Nights such as The Grammys where all the stars (and cameras) gather are without a doubt a great time to speak up. However, it is also true that TV & Film award shows tend to have more subtle protests, while music award shows are more theatrical.

The point is that they all seem to get political in one way or another.  Some of the most notable recent award show fashion statements include Pharell dressing his backup dancers in hoodies to honor Trayvon Martin at the 2015 Grammys, various stars wearing blue ribbons to the 2017 Oscars to signify support of the ACLU and, of course, Joy Villa in her controversial “Make America Great Again” gown at last year’s Grammys.

This year, many celebrities elected to wear black to the Golden Globes to stand in solidarity with victims of sexual assault. The lack of color on the red carpet was definitely noticeable, but the problem is that it wasn’t really that groundbreaking. Many critiqued the protest by noting that black gowns at an award show are hardly a statement.

On the other hand, many artists at this year’s Grammys adorned white roses to support the cause. This protest, while still simple, seemed to say a little more. The white roses were obviously meant to symbolize something and weren’t easily confused with a regular Grammy accessory.

This difference is huge because a protest is hardly a protest if it doesn’t require much diverting from the status quo. Fashion statements, just like any other protest can’t afford to be subtle if they truly aim to make a difference. While TV & film award shows such as the Golden Globes don’t offer as many opportunities for performance art protests as music award shows do, they do offer just as much public attention, and therefore should be just as bold when it comes to their political fashion statements.

Be the zeitgeist.

 

 

H&M Has Appointed a Diversity Leader, But I’m Not Impressed

Last week H&M became yet another brand to find itself in a PR disaster caused by racial insensitivity. While having a Black boy model a hoodie that reads “Coolest money in the jungle,” was probably not meant to be malicious, it was definitely tone deaf. It showed a complete lack of knowledge and/or understanding of the Black point of view.

Because of this, the Swedish brand announced on Tuesday via Facebook that they would be appointing a diversity leader. This is interesting to me because I’ve seen many people say on social media that incidents such as the monkey hoodie highlight why people of color should have a voice in the conversation when companies make decisions. I’m sure that H&M saw these sentiments as well and this is their attempt at giving the people what they want.

However, I’m not sure that’s enough. While I’ll always be an advocate for people of color having a seat at the table, at this point that shouldn’t be necessary to make better decisions. Being tone deaf stems from ignorance, but there is really no excuse for this kind of ignorance.

We live in an extremely social world in which brands have the ability to truly get to know their consumers and how we think. Moreover, we’re currently in a period in which race/racism is an extremely sensitive topic. Simply paying attention would have alerted H&M that putting a little Black boy in anything that said “monkey” probably wouldn’t be a good idea.

Similarly, simply paying attention (and actually caring) would’ve prevented the makeup brand Tarte from only creating three shades that could possibly work for women of color when they formulated their new Shape Tape Foundation. While reviewing the product, Alissa Ashley stated that we shouldn’t have to beg for inclusion anymore which led to me adopting the same attitude towards all offensive acts from brands.

We should no longer have to ask a brand to consider our point of view after they do something wrong because not initially considering our point of view is a choice. It’s a choice to be ignorant and/or lazy. H&M appointing a diversity leader to prove that its “commitment to addressing diversity and inclusion is genuine” would have felt much more “genuine” if it was done proactively rather than reactively.

 

Be the zeitgeist.

State of the Zeitgeist

2017 was interesting, to say the least. All things considered, I’d say that the one word that sums up this year would have to be “hectic.” From culture to historical events, there was simply a lot going on. As we reexamine the past twelve months and promise ourselves to improve over the next twelve, we’ll have a lot to consider.

The fashion industry, particularly, had a year that merits some reflection. The push for diversity and cultural respect has never been stronger; however, the industry has proven to be completely unprepared for this. PR disasters surrounding appropriation and tokenism plagued 2017 as brands attempted to give consumers what they thought they wanted.

The editorial side of fashion also had a pretty unfortunate year. Most notably, the Terry Richardson scandal disrupted many collaborations. In addition, multiple bloggers were vocal about the discrete advertising and bias found in many magazines. What’s worst is that the disconnect between consumers and brands and the unethical journalism were simply icing on a cake of runway shows that many viewed as “boring.”

The hip-hop industry, on the other hand, had a year that was far from boring. Most of the many projects that came out this year found themselves on one end of the spectrum, complete trash or certified hit. The abundance of collaborations and mumble rap generated so much noise that it was easy to miss the lackluster work.

I must admit, though, I am disappointed with just how much lackluster work there was to miss. I, like many others, was hoping that the introduction of the Trump administration would inspire some brilliant music as well as fashion. Instead, all we got was a few powerful protests, but many more empty ones.

My hope is that going into 2018 we’ll find inspiration in both our 2017 failures and successes, creatively and socially. While New Year’s resolutions are a bit cliche, they do help us to be honest with ourselves and seek improvement. So my hope is that every creative and/or activist who comes across this dedicates themselves to contributing to the spirit of the times in a way that is no less than phenomenal in 2018.

 

Be the zeitgeist.

What’s The Verdict on Logomania?

Okay, I get it. Everyone hates people who feel the need to overtly flaunt designer labels. It’s obnoxious and as the cliche saying goes, “fashion is about style, not about designers.” Also, it’s been proven that showing off designer labels is a tactic the lower class uses to attempt to give the appearance of being upper class.

All of that is true, but it does not change how fly you feel when you look in the mirror in a head-to-toe designer look, or even wearing just one attention-grabbing designer piece. This is a one of a kind feeling. It’s definitely not the same feeling you get when you pull together random pieces and make a look; it’s arguably better, depending on your mood.

And in the end, that’s the goal of fashion: to make you feel good. It does not matter what’s in season, it does not matter what’s on the runway in Milan, it does not matter what the magazines are pushing this month. What matters is how you feel when you look in the mirror, and ultimately, logomania undoubtedly gives you an elevated feeling when you look in the mirror.

Moreover, let’s not forget that we loved logomania at some point. It’s been a while, but when Lil Kim brought the trend to the hip-hop world, we couldn’t get enough of it. Seeing your favorite rapper in an entirely Gucci or Louis outfit was basically a reminder of exactly why you thought they were the coolest thing on the planet. Of course, countless trends (many of which we can all agree to never speak of again) have come and gone since that time, but our love for labels has only toned down, not died.

I know it’s corny, I know it’s obnoxious, I know it’s more stylish to put together devastating looks without the help of designers and I know that it’s not what Bill Gates does (even though we really shouldn’t be modeling ourselves after rich white men), but the allure of showing off labels is undeniable. I’m not saying you should only wear pieces that have graced a runway, because you should definitely still create your own style. However, I am saying that if you should ever feel the occasional need to step out completely covered in your favorite designer and make sure everyone is aware of it, do not let anyone make you feel bad about it.

 

Be the zeitgeist.

Terry Richardson Is Just One Piece of a Bigger Problem

On Monday, October 23, Condé Nast International’s Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, James Woolhouse, sent an email to the company’s many leaders informing them that Condé Nast would no longer be working with the photographer, Terry Richardson. Woolhouse ordered that there be no new content created with Richardson and that already existing content created with Richardson that had not yet been published remain unused.

This was the company’s response to the fashion industry’s very own Harvey Weinstein situation. Richardson, who has been accused of sexual assault against various models in the industry claims that because his work is known to be “sexually explicit,” his professional encounters with women are sexually explicit by nature, but always “consensual.”

Whether Richardson is delusional enough to actually believe that or he’s just trying to spin the story (I’d bet on the latter), it’s easy to see how innate misogyny may have blurred the lines and led to an explicit photoshoot becoming a scene for sexual assault. Living in a white male dominated society gives a white male, such as Richardson, a sense of entitlement and either a bad gauge or little regard for other’s reactions to his actions.

And while the story of Terry Richardson and his victims is a sad one, it opens the door to another interesting and sad topic: misogyny in the fashion industry. Fashion is one of the few female-dominated industries, after all. The majority of the power players are women, women are the main focus and “men’s” or “male” anything tends to be a subcategory or a smaller piece of the picture.

So how is it that misogyny is so ingrained into our society that it found its place in an industry dominated by women? How is it that so much of fashion isn’t about feeling beautiful, but looking beautiful in the eyes of men. How is it that someone like Terry Richardson, who I’m sure is just one of many, was able to become a mainstay in fashion while brutalizing women?

What’s even sadder is that even the conversation caused by this scandal is insufficient. People aren’t talking about Richardson being a sexual predator, people are talking about Condé Nast blackballing him. Furthermore, this exile is a bit late. Stories of Richardson’s misconduct have swirled for years. So much so that he even wrote about it (yes, they let him write the story himself) for “The Huffington Post” in 2014.

As formor i-D editor, Caryn Franklin, told Britan’s “Sunday Times” on the matter, “[This] age-old culture of predatory behaviour is based upon the premise that it is a young woman’s duty to protect herself from it and not an older man’s responsibility to behave with respect.”

Even in a woman’s world like that fashion industry, women aren’t granted basic respect. That’s why we have Terry Richardsons and Harvey Weinsteins. That’s why these scandals aren’t even surprising anymore. That’s why women don’t feel safe speaking up until others do, and sometimes not even then. It all comes down to respecting us as human beings and respecting our right to say no.

 

Be the zeitgeist.

Undressing The Dress Shirt, The Modern Working Girl’s Favorite Piece

A relatively unspoken rule of fashion is that when a woman wishes to look more powerful or to be taken more seriously, she attempts to look more masculine. From the shoulder pads that businesswomen wore in the 1980’s, to Hillary Clinton’s serious bob and pants suits. This has led to menswear on women, like many other trends, going in and out of style various times throughout the decades.

Currently, plain white dress shirts with a twist, whether that be wearing a corset over the top or intricately tying the sleeves and wearing it off the shoulder, are in style. Before I examine this trend, I would like to note that I’m counting the white dress shirt as a men’s item because although women wear them, that’s usually only in a business capacity which reverts back to my original point of women dressing like men in order to be taken seriously.

However, this trend is different. The way women wear white dress shirts now is sexy. Taking your dad’s 2XL shirt which would usually hide your figure and styling it in a way that accentuates your femininity sends a powerful message: “I’m serious, I’m a woman and the two are not mutually exclusive.”

Before now, women venturing into menswear were doing so to hide their feminine side because “woman” (for some reason I can’t comprehend) wasn’t associated with “powerful.” This shift is one that’s particularly exciting for me as a woman who takes pride in being feminine, but also has aspirations of being the boss.

This one small trend tells me that women are realizing that wearing a skirt in a board meeting isn’t a death sentence and that red lipstick can be just as fierce and bossy in the office as in any other setting. Millennial women are fighting the idea that womanhood is an obstacle on their way to professional success.

Now, depending on your field, the white dress shirt with a twist may or may not be appropriate to wear to work; but it’s not about the piece, it’s about the mentality. It’s about being a confident woman who takes herself seriously without toning herself down.

 

Be the zeitgeist.

More Than Just Clothes

For as long as I can remember I’ve wanted to work in the fashion industry. Some of my earliest childhood memories include cluttering every piece of paper I could get my hands on with sketches of curvy girls in beautiful gowns. I had my mother buy me numerous sketch pads and books to teach me how to draw so that I could dedicate as much time as possible to my future as a fashion designer.

When I got older I learned that there was more to the fashion industry than designing and that I could use my talent for writing within the world of fashion. This realization came around the sixth grade, at which time my English teacher suggested I start a fashion blog, and so I did. Looking back now, I’m both embarrassed and proud of what I created that year. I sat down at my computer and gave my honest opinion on every trend I saw in the halls of my middle school, from shuttered sunglasses to brightly colored skinny jeans. No one was reading my thoughts back then, but it didn’t matter.

Now that I’m older, and I’ve progressed to my third blog (I believe this one is here to stay for a while), I know that fashion blogging is about so much more than I could comprehend when I was in the sixth grade. Trend analysis and “Outfit of the Day” posts are cool, but they don’t really say anything. When I sit down at my computer now, I have a goal: showing my reader that fashion is more than just clothes. To quote Coco Chanel, “Fashion is in the sky, in the street, fashion has to do with ideas, the way we live, what is happening.”

I dedicate my time to this blog and to my career as a whole to show people that fashion isn’t all about vanity and aesthetics. Fashion is political, fashion is social, fashion is impactful. Moreover, I dedicate my time to this blog and to my career to call the fashion industry out on its BS. When I was drawing sketches of curvy girls all over the place as a child, I was honestly just foreshadowing my career; I was making fashion something that couldn’t be ignored in my house and I was pushing for fashion that was inclusive.

Now the goal is to do those things on a global scale, with words instead of garments. When I post on this blog, it’s not just for fun and it’s not just about clothes like it was when I was in the sixth grade, which is why it disappoints me when I see other bloggers diminish their platforms to “just whatever.” Whether it be fashion, hip-hop, makeup, video games, sports or whatever else one chooses to blog about, it’s imperative to go beyond the surface level. After all, speaking without having something to say just creates clutter.

 

Be the zeitgeist.