Tag: Fashion (industry)

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.

Hip-Hop Needs New Style Icons

A couple of weeks ago Beyonce was Lil Kim for Halloween, and it was everything. Bey recreated just a few of Kim’s iconic looks, but she had plenty to pick from. Lil Kim’s reign as Queen B has been marked by unforgettable looks; from the colorful “Crush on You” video looks, to the purple jumpsuit and pasty at the 1999 VMAs. It’s also no secret that Kim brought styles such as logomania and bright colored hair to the hip-hop community.

However, she isn’t the only hip-hop style icon. We can’t forget Andre 3000 who’s been pushing gender norms and giving uniquely stylish looks since the early 1990s. There’s also trendsetter, Missy Elliot; self-proclaimed pretty boy, A$AP Rocky and even the OGs, Salt-N-Pepa. All of these people brought their dynamic personal style onto the scene with them when they entered the spotlight.

These artists found their place in a long tradition of Black celebrities setting fashion trends for their peers in their respective industries as well as their fans. Another industry where this is common is sports, specifically the NBA. Interestingly enough, many style icons in sports find their fashion inspiration in hip-hop stars and vice-versa. This is a longstanding relationship between fashion, hip-hop, sports and the Black community.

This brings me to a question: “Who is taking on that legacy now?” One could argue that A$AP Rocky, Kanye and Rihanna are today’s hip-hop style icons, but that answer isn’t sufficient for me.  A$AP Rocky is great, but he’s one person who represents one niche of hip-hop at a time when the genre is arguably more diverse than ever. Kanye simply isn’t a style icon anymore, you can look at any Yeezy runway and see what I mean. His “designs” have essentially become the material for Twitter jokes. Finally, there’s Rihanna. Rih is undoubtedly a style icon, but despite her feature on N.E.R.D.’s “Lemon,” she’s not a rapper, and I can’t count anyone who is hip-hop adjacent as a true hip-hop style icon.

This gross lack of someone to take the torch is dissatisfying, to say the least. The worst part is that a style icon is nothing more than someone who consistently dresses strangely and does it well, and I’m convinced plenty of today’s rappers could do that. Today’s rappers are weirdos, but for some reason, they’d rather wear jeans and a t-shirt or poorly curated head to toe designer than display that weirdness in their wardrobe. In an industry where everyone works so hard to prove that they’re different, no one really wants to be different anymore.

Fashion is a huge part of building a brand. There are plenty of past names in the hip-hop industry that are still identifiable by the fashion that was unique to them, but we don’t see that anymore. This lack of style makes artists forgettable and leaves fans like me bored. We all know that fashion needs hip-hop, but it seems that we’ve forgotten that hip-hop needs fashion.

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.

Supermodels Vs Instagram Models

Naomi Campbell, Tyra Banks, Kate Moss, Cindy Crawford. Those names mean something. It’s almost impossible to hear those names and not think of the Supermodel Era, the 90’s. This time was arguably the Golden Age of modeling, and with good reason.

These women blurred the line between model and superstar like few others have been able to do since. Naomi Campell wasn’t just another living mannequin walking down the runway, she was freaking Naomi Campbel, commanding attention using nothing more than her hips and eyes. Tyra Banks wasn’t just a beautiful face on a magazine cover, she was freaking Tyra Banks, whom every girl wanted to be for both her looks and personality. Kate Moss wasn’t just the “girl next door” in every ad campaign, she was freaking Kate Moss, an inevitable household name. Cindy Crawford wasn’t just another girl in a commercial, she was freaking Cindy Crawford, the sultry icon you couldn’t get enough of.

Today it’s just not the same. The only models most people can name are Gigi and Bella Hadid, but they aren’t bona fide superstars. There isn’t one current model who has reached the level of stardom of the 90’s crew (Kendall excluded for obvious reasons).

Instead, what we have today are Instagram models. India Love, Alexis Skyy, Lira Mercer, Brittany Renner and countless other girls with “Public Figure” or “Influencer” listed in their bio who advertise items like Flat Tummy Tea, these are the ones people are paying attention to.

Many of them end up dating rappers or athletes, and some even get spots on reality shows which all simply add to their star-power. Now obviously these girls aren’t A List stars like Cindy Crawford or Naomi Campbell, but they do have similar influence.

Instead of appearing in magazines selling high-fashion clothing, they’re appearing on your timeline selling diet supplements, lingerie and teeth whitening products. I have no idea who originally came up with the idea of turning random beautiful girls into social media influencers, but the idea was genius and now these women have earned the title “model,” and numerous brands are willing to pay for their services.

They arguably have more of an effect on what people buy than the girls walking down the runway, and when it comes down to it, that’s a model’s purpose. I would be lying if I said I wasn’t yearning for another Supermodel Era; however, I would also be lying if I said the Instagram Model phenomenon wasn’t extremely intriguing to witness.

 

Be the zeitgeist.