London Fashion Week Spring 2018

Fashion month continued with a fury in London. With all the difficulties that London has faced over the last year, it’s great to see some designers continue to easily prove why London is a fashion capital with collections you miss. Take a look at some hits (and a few unfortunate misses) below.

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The rose gold button-down dress caught my eye, and then the yellow mini dress, then the blue floral print maxi dress and so on. The demure shapes are paired so well with current trends, like the off shoulder tops. Those colors are anything but shy and added zest to such unique styles to really become a league of their own.

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The rich colors really stood out at Anya Hindmarch. I liked some of the chunky shapes that still seemed weightless and the quirky, woven knit designs. The oversized cat bag may have been overkill, especially with other bags being adorned with toucans.

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House of Holland was another colorful line with whimsical stripes and referenced some fun vintage shapes.

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This edgy abstract collection from Paula Knorr was so cool. These metallic fabrics, black & white mix and elongated lines were very feminine and strong.

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Rope accents tied things together well at Roksanda. Even the puffy tiered sleeves held some elegance, where they would otherwise by puffy disasters. Many tops had an excessive amount of fabric, though Roksanda is known for statement sleeves, I could have done with less.

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The delicate knits at Pringles of Scotland were odd at first since knits are supposed to be for colder weather and this is a spring collection. Fran Stringer, Pringle’s Design Director says they get a bad rap, they aren’t just for winter. But as the models sauntered down the runway in beautiful matching knit sets in every color of the rainbow with Teva sandals, I was impressed. I think they could be a lot of fun to play around with and you can’t beat the versatility.

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From sequin to sun, you can get any and every kind of dress for spring from Molly Goddard. The layers were great and I liked that some of the models were barefoot on the runway. It was easy to imagine running around in May at the park on a Sunday afternoon.

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Burberry is one of the more recognizable and popular collections shown at London Fashion Week, but I don’t see the fascination. I’m not into the mixed patterns that dominated the runway, but some of the knits and the plaid lined coats were pretty nice. Maybe its just the pairings that are throwing me off.

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MM6 Maison Marginal presented a much more tailored and energized collection.  Sprinkled with graffiti like patterns and logos, the idea was to respect Margiela’s early craft which included deconstruction and repurposing. The simple white color provides a clean backdrop to really pack a punch in accessories, or to simply be left alone.

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Ruffly and voluminous in some attire, sleek and mod in others, Mother of Pearl had me interested yet confused. Some models carried pillows that matched their attire while others were donned with pearls and floor length scarves. That cerulean shade of blue was really beautiful and I wished there had been more of it.

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Jasper Conran had more sheer attire than I prefer, some of the items would had been really nice with a lined layer. I liked the royal blue coat and dress a lot though.

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The collection I had the most disdain for was Xiao Li. Another largely sheer collection with even larger shapes lacked any kind of finesse or refinement. I just couldn’t understand a rhyme or reason to the statement or design.

Photos courtesy of The Upcoming Uk and WWD

 

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69th Emmy Awards Red Carpet

As compared to years past, those who believe fashion should move forward, this year’s red carpet at the Emmy’s may have taken a step backwards. If this is the kick off for awards season, we’re in for major disappointment. If the red carpet was a tv show, the ratings would have been so low it would’ve been cancelled. While some attire did stand out, I expected more from the event. Check out the terrible gowns.

mandy moore in carolina herrera

Mandy Moore’s gown from Carolina Herrera was a tulle tiered disaster. Having the white layer resembled that of an Oreo to me.

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The ostrich feathers completely take away from this otherwise streamlined and incredibly chic Chanel dress worn by Tracee Ellis Ross. Why they are also in a contrast color is beyond me.

priyanka chopra in balmain

Another feathered fiasco from Balmain worn by Priyanka Chopra. Though they are at least color coordinated, the dress in so intricate with the jeweled pattern and all of a sudden it disappears. The line is completely disrupted. Hold your hand up to cover the bottom half of the dress. It’s stunning! The feathers are way too much and saturate the dress.

gabrielle union zuhair murad

This collared cape Zuhair Murad is stunning…but immediately becomes obscene by this unlined skirt. At least Gabrielle Union wore a bodysuit underneath and not just her underwear.

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One thigh high slit is bad enough, but Ariel Winter went with two. That fabric piece that was left looks useless. Why not opt for a high-low hemline next time if you’re so intent on showing off your legs?

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Debra Messing’s gown by Romona Keveza was confusing. The plastic material for one, is it recycled? Or just a spectacle? The shape also seemed wrong for her and those bracelets look like she’s wearing two watches. Someone please tell me she was not wearing two watches.

This hybrid pantsuit was a complete fail with the singular piece of fabric haphazardly attached at the front hip and why does the top look like a bodysuit worn on the outside? It just looks like Ajiona Alexus didn’t know how to get dressed.

Heidi Klum looked underdressed with those clunky stacks of wooden jewelry, like she was headed to the beach and not an award show.

This Vera Wang worn by Issa Rae has great color and shape, but I really wish the sleeves matched! That frilly accent looks out of place without a pair.

Tessa Thompson’s Rosie Assoulin metallic rainbow dress was also great in shape, but maybe a little overboard on the color. I would have loved this dress with a simple black skirt to balance out its colorful bodice.

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This Ralph & Russo gown Jessica Biel wore was so delicate and I liked the mix of fabrics and how beautifully it was draped, but I would have chosen extra sequins over the higher slit.

 

I did like this blazer dress Reese Witherspoon wore by Prabal Gurung. I thought the length was tasteful and the velvet shoes elevated the look. Viola Davis is always so sophisticated and refined and I love that she chooses bold colors.

Sarah Paulson’s gown from the Spring 2018 Collection by Carolina Herrera was definitely a stunner. I loved the sequins and back details!

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A few other looks that stood out from the evening.

Photos courtesy of Daily Mail 

 

NYFW Spring/Summer 2018

While some believe that bi annual runways shows have gotten boring and repetitive, New York designers showed that there is plenty of innovation to go around. The spring collections I had a chance to look at were some of the best I have seen so far.

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Noon by Noor was light, functional, easy and tasteful.  The juxtaposition of masculine form and feminine silhouettes was refreshing from the androgynous shape that has been   the popular style of late.

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Creatures of Comfort runway was also light, minimal and feminine. These styles had me dreaming of summer days and the autumnal equinox technically hasn’t even started yet!

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Claudia Li presented her debut collection saying, “it’s about exploring new things and new possibilities.” Very sleek designs and construction in a tasteful palette, these were a hit from fashion week.

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Chic bohemia inspired the latest installment at Tory Burch. I love that these styles hold their feminine shape in elongated lines and bright pattern.

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Another line that shouted bohemian was Anna Sui. This collection had a variety of colors and kaleidoscope patterns that were a little difficult to follow through the presentation, but there were plenty of muted tones interspersed to catch your breath.

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Coach paid homage to Keith Haring this season, which I enjoyed in addition to the many metallics that were played with throughout the show.

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The vintage silhouettes and effortless patterns from Derek Lam were so much fun. I particularly appreciated the drawstring details for those athleisure fans. (Aka me.)

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The Jason Wu runway was held at the Fulton Market Building, where square concrete urns filled with flowers created a great backdrop to a mix of light pink stripes and floral patterns as well as utilitarian style dresses and strappy tops.

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Lela Rose Bridal has such a beautiful collection. Flower appliqués, fur collared capes, crystal embroidery and a pantsuit from the collection were so sleek.

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High necklines, exposed shoulders and fun delicate prints were everywhere at Vivienne Tam. These looks don’t want to wait for next spring!

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Vibrant sportswear and separates complete with glittery shoes channeled Victoria Beckham’s powerful, minimal and chic style.

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Brandon Maxwell’s vibrant hues and irresistible fluidity captured my attention and held it through day wear and evening gowns. Maxwell didn’t miss a beat on this runway.

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Including Oscar’s signature, graphics, splatter paint and other art elements, Laura Kim and Fernando Garcia created a charming and fun collection that was sublime.

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Summer white dominated at Zimmermann. Subtle and romantic, these style can be lived in for the whole summer season.

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Carolina Herrera held her runway at MOMA, the first designer to do so. She said fashion is art in motion when asked about the venue choice. She shared a collection full of warm colors, rainbow dots, delicate pom pom details and even sequins, but kept them glamorous as only Carolina can do.

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Michael Kors had an attractive line up for spring in a dreamy color palette, elevated tie dye pattern and breezy layers. Models even walked on a boardwalk and wore leis, whisking viewers away to summertime at the beach. The line also included his signature neutrals that balanced out the pastels, but even those more sophisticated looks were dressed down with a half tuck and/or chunky sandals or flip flops.

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Badgley Mischka said this season was inspired by Capri. Amazing shades of Coral, precise embroidery and light appliqués were charming.

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Christian Soriano’s runway started off with a pattern I did not like at all, but quickly regained force with that bright turquoise color and full skirts I would love to twirl around in.

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The aesthetic at Ralph Lauren was oozing luxury complete with rows of luxury label cars. It surprisingly didn’t feel over the top though as the runway was just as refined. Many pieces looked almost like liquid as they moved. There was a specific gray/black color palette for most of the line, but bright pops of the primary colors were in the collection. My favorite look was the blue patent-tulle dress; such an unexpected combination that was mesmerizing.

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Phillip Plein had a very edgy presentation, maybe too edgy. I really hated those cage leather miniskirts. They looked cheaply designed and raunchy.

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Alexander Wang is usually a collection I look forward to, but this season between odd slashes mixed material pieces, tears and odd shapes it felt messy. The show was also a pop up in Brooklyn which just felt chaotic and more about what he called ‘Wangfest’ than a fashion runway.

Cynthia Rowley RTW Spring 2018
Cynthia Rowley RTW Spring 2018

All in all, New York Fashion Week says summer lives forever; and that is a sentiment I can support.

Photos courtesy of AOL, Daily Mail, Elle & WWD

MTV VMAs 2017

The MTV Video Music Awards is where Lady Gaga wore *that* meat dress. That is to say, the bar is not set particularly high for this award show. While there was a handful of standout attire, the event’s fashion fell flat. Did Katy Perry sing Swish Swish at the end of the event? Because this event is another one in the casket. Take a look.

Yara Shahid and Echosmith brought a little glamour to the event, both in satin attire that was delicately accessorized.

Lorde has such an edgy style, but is was refreshing to see a different side in her fathered lavender gown from Monique Lhuillier. However, it could have been heightened with matching bracelets or a jeweled necklace. While I find asymmetrical sleeves a bit of a nuisance, the spacing and clean cut of Katy Perry’s Stephane Rolland gown was of best dressed quality.

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Casual cute ensembles that weren’t offensive from Sammi Sanchez, Chanel West Coast, Billy Ray Cyrus with daughter, Noah and Pink.

Dresses that were cute, but could have used extra length on the hem were Olivia Munn in Nicholas Jebran, Hailee Steinfeld in Atelier Versace and Sibley Scoles.

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2017 MTV Video Music Awards - Red Carpet

Vanessa Hudgens wore Yanina Couture. At first glance I thought this dress was strapless, but then I noticed the sheer top that still was lined through the bodice that was an exception to my contempt for sheer gowns. I might have switched the bottom 2 tiers so the sheer was under the knee to be a bit more streamlined.

2017 MTV Video Music Awards - Red Carpet

Though Fifth Harmony is better dressed than previous events, they still lack in their own style.

2017 MTV Video Music Awards - Arrivals2017 MTV Video Music Awards - Red Carpet

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jasmine Sanders in chainmail Moschino that lacked finesse and Jeremy Scott of Moschino showing sometimes there needs to be secondary color to break up a monochromatic ensemble.

2017 MTV Video Music Awards - Red Carpet

Yikes! Nicki Miniaj in a Djula jumpsuit that gave off a sporty glam vibe, but was weird because of the PVC material.

Caitlynn Balterria’s mermaid pants were outrageous as well as Cardi B’s Christian Siriano modern day Madonna fail.

Other funky attire from Farrah Abraham, Lizzo and Kesha in tulle Monsoori.

2017 MTV Video Music Awards - Red Carpet

Alessandra Ambrosio’s Balmain embroidered and intricately patterned dress was pair with thigh high lace up boots that also were heavily patterned, which made for an underwhelming look.

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Most unfortunately the nearly naked dress is still a trend celebrities want to wear and it looks as awful as ever. Its not that the patterns and details of the gowns or jumpsuits are bad, they could just be so much more elevated with lining. I don’t get why there has to be so much skin.

Photos courtesy of Us Weekly and Entertainment Weekly

Lakme Fashion Week Winter 2017

Contemporary and tradition fashion ideology was presented in Mumbai at Lakme Fashion Week. From 12th century samurai ensembles to a sustainable fashion collection called “Craft is Cool’ it was one unique show after the next. The bold colors, beautiful textiles, and intricate thread work and embellishments made for every kind of attire from festive to everyday wearable. I’ve said before that I really do love seeing all the ways people dress around the world, and India’s luxury fashion definitely left its impression. Show stopping and explorative style was presented over just a short five days, but statements were made and heard in Mumbai. Take a look at some of the labels below.

Traditional: Masaba & Nachiket Barve

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The rich color palettes of traditional Indian wear always takes my breath away instantly and I love that the style are still feminine and the details are as complex as anything. This season was also the debut of Nachiket Barve bridal collection.

Contemporary: Antar Agni, Integument & Untitled Co.

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The easy silhouettes from labels Antar Agni, Integument and Untitled Co. in lightly somber colors felt so great for fall on moodier days.

Contemporary: Doodlage, Manish Arora, Huemn Project, Wendell Roricks, Anuj Bhutani

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At, Doodlage, upcycling industry waste is the motto to avoid massive quantities of material that ends up in landfills. Used scraps and defect fabric from the garment industry are made into their limited edition collections. They repurpose polybags, seat belt and even tyre tubes. Over at the Huemn Project, ten looks were made from waste of seven designers and deconstructed them into separate pieces. Anuj Bhutani also worked on a sustainably made collection focusing on wool and unisex shape.

Manish Arora had a comeback after 6 years and called the collection ‘Cosmic Love’. I loved the geometric patterns and clean shapes of the pieces. Wendell Rodricks had fresh styles and color palettes on his runway as he was on a mission to break down stereotypes of plus size clothing.

Traditional with a Contemporary Twist: Sanjay Garg, Sonar Paras Modi & Saaksha Kinni

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While I liked the clothes from Sumer Kabir Sharma, but thought the hair and makeup was extreme. I didn’t know what it meant and made the the runway harsh.

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Shradda

 

Berlin Fashion Week: Going Out Of Style?

dupaul university college of law.jpgBeing among the most popular cities in the world, Berlin would seem like the perfect venue to hold a fashion week and a major event on the fashion calendar. But Mercedes Benz, the largest sponsor of the event has announced they will not renew their contract with IMG Agency, the organizer of fashion week Berlin. Since 2007, the event has held 20 shows, this year with well over 100,000 visitors. And though that is a great turn out, compared to various fashion weeks in cities such as New York City, Milan, London and Paris, that number is very small.

Berlin Fashion Week has tried to entice international luxury labels like Gucci and Armani unsuccessfully, while German brands like Escada, Strenesse, Laurel and Rene Lezard are in decline. There are also fewer upcoming young designers creating collections due to the struggle to find textile manufacturers to produce clothing at an a competitive price in Germany where they are pushed aside as fast fashion has stepped in with its ability to quickly give shoppers access to trends they want at competitive prices.

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Lack of representatives and exclusion of the public are also concerns. But when it comes to the public, the fashion motto of Berlin is “come as you are” not “who are you wearing?” It should also be noted that Berlin neighborhoods all have their own signature ideas of fashion. In Neukolln, middle eastern style is considered chic, while in Kreuzberg birkenstocks are the closet necessity. A Berlin fashion blog even surveyed relevancy of style in Berlin and found that there was a rejection of fashion that most women in Berlin were proud to admit. While that carries a kind of style in its own way, that is not what the event sponsors or designers want to hear; there is a level of business and consumerism that is necessary for a successful fashion week.

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berlinJust because a city is relevant and cool, doesn’t mean that includes fashion. Where there is little to no interest in fashion, how can anyone expect a successful fashion event to be held? If Berliners don’t care about fashion, there are plenty of people elsewhere around the world who do and with major fashion shows being so close to Germany throughout the year, it would make sense for a German designer looking to get exposure and interest in their concepts, to show in Paris, Milan or London. It would make it difficult for upcoming designers who lack the finances to travel and have a staff available as well as smaller brands who could be lost in the mayhem of the giant shows. Shows like New York, Milan, Paris and London cannot continue to grow and absorb other cities, its too much at one time, too  many labels, too many people, but until other cities, like Berlin, can prove that they can hold their own, not just have great labels, the industry will ignore them. And all I can say is that it’s unfortunate it came to this point.

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Photos courtesy of Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Berlin

Sources: Deutsche Welle and Handelsblatt Global Edition

 

Things You Might Not Know About The Fashion Industry But Should

As members of a consumerism society, fashion is a part of our daily lives and we can’t get enough of it. We have access to everything, production is quicker and we can have more. We can all wear the latest trends and enjoy them until the next new style dominates our universe. But that is no coincidence. There are some problems the fashion industry faces that comes at a human, social and environmental cost. Below are some things you may not have known about the industry and why it is importance to understand their significance.

heeyfashion1). Introduction of Micro seasons.

In 2014, the industry introduced 52 micro seasons, before it was only 2 seasons. If you want more, you’ll spend more, and with a business model of low quality/high volume the industry thrives on consumers spending money. In Elizabeth Cline’s book Overdressed: The Shockingly High Cost of Cheap Fashion, she points out that H&M and Forever21 get daily shipments, while Topshop introduces 400 styles a week online. With numbers like that, we can never keep up.

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2). Clothing is designed to fall apart

Ever have a shirt unravel after one wear? Faulty design falls apart or shrinks after one wash. Does it even matter? Oh, Yes. With most of clothing today being made with synthetic, petroleum based fibers, it takes decades to decompose. Even luxury designers like Vivienne Westwood are speaking out. “Buying less and choosing quality means that designers can make better fashion, not just lead by marketing and commercial interests,” she says. “Fashion is a part of culture, but not at the moment.”

UnknownAnd despite the common belief, outlet clothing is not a deal. Those products never even see a regular store. Outlet broker deals are generally just an increase of companies bottom line, who put their labels on cheaply made clothing made in low quality factories not affiliated with the brand.

3). Chemicals in clothing

Cotton accounts for 40% of all world fiber production. The US, China and India produce over half of the world’s cotton. Did you know a 500 pound bale can make 800 men’s shirts? A pair of jeans takes 24 ounces. Its a natural, animal free material, however, there are arguments about some environmental consequences. World Wildlife Fund and National Geographic made a video about how it requires 2,700 liters of water to make just one shirt. Cotton Today has challenged that cotton is naturally drought crop and requires less water than most crops. Cotton growers also use less pesticides than 30 years ago, about .38 ounces on cotton for that single shirt. Due to technological advances, it’s possible to grow more cotton on less land.

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Garment makers use chemicals in many different ways. While it is understandable that treatments are needed for shelf life and fiber protection, many are using restricted substances. For example, before American Apparel went bankrupt, they were found to be using 250 controlled substances in production.

557119-400pxAnother example is the process for stone wash denim. It is known to expose workers to cotton and silica dust which are linked to lung disease. The harm that can be inflicted just isn’t worth the risk of making the cheap clothes in the first place.

Some brands who have been attuned to sustainability using repurposed, organic, vegan, low impact and other green innovations include but are not limited to Givenchy, Versace, Yves Saint Laurent, Calvin Klein, Armani, Viktor and Rolf, Stella McCartney, Rogan Gregory and Katharine Hamnett.

4). Health Risk

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Pointy toe shoes are a fashion staple, but can be bad for foot health. Doctors have warned us before about high heels causing Metatarsalgia, a painful condition that causes ball of foot to become inflamed.

Another concern is Neuroma, or Morton’s Neuroma. It arises from irritation of a nerve, leading to scar tissue forming. Commonly occurs painfully between 3rd and 4th toes. Surgery might be needed if it becomes serious, but is alleviated by wearing arch supports, foot pads, wider toe shoes or flats.

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5). Beading and glitter.

This one in particular breaks my heart. Industry estimates suggest between 20-60 percent of beaded and sequin production is sewn at home by informal workers. Many often require their children to help because of their small hands.Street Seamstress

Small children as young as 8 have 16 hour work days.
Machines that apply sequin and beading that looks like handiwork is expensive and unlikely that a garment factory would invest in the machinery, especially with “fast fashion” companies usually not regulating the sources of their clothing. The lack of accountability or interest in ethically sustainable machinery is disgusting.

The excuse has been overseas factories helping nations in poverty. The fashion indusrtry currently accounts for 80% of Bangladesh foreign trade, and it seems like that would be beneficial, but for a $20 item only $1 goes to the person who made it. The monthly salary in Bangladesh generally is $630 while living expenses average $1400. While products with a ‘Made in America’ tag may have a high retail value, production facilities in US are regulated and have workers with higher wage and higher production cost that will actually be profitable.

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6). Spec work for designers.

It takes hard work and dedication to become a successful designer.flickr2
Just because you have the degree doesn’t mean you can get the job. Aside from the internships that are available at some companies, there are many instances where potential hires work for free to hopefully make a favorable impression so they may be offered the job. In most cases labels expect a whole line to be created before a designer may be hired. One woman was expected to make 6 dresses, 5 blouses, skirts and jackets in the course of one week. This discourages many from pursuing fashion and that career path altogether when portfolios and resumes should speak for themselves.

Clothes On A RackThere are other issues in fashion, one of them is vanity sizing. In 1958, a size 12 was the same as someone who wears a 6 today. Fluctuations from brand to brand are partially consumers fault because they are more likely to buy an item with lower size number. Another issue is that the age fashion models are so young, largely because they are cheap labor. The problem is that designer labels are not that accessible to young shoppers. Middle and older age women have the most disposable income and they are hardly catered to like they should.

You would expect a powerful industry that is an integral part of so many people’s lives could and would be transparent. But consumers are also responsible for not being more informed about the products they purchase. With the high demand of fast fashion, there is little expectation for clothes to be made well or sustainably. But sustainably produced textiles last longer, have positive impact. Clothing made from organic material and renewable fibers are far less toxic and more durable. Workers can be compensated for meaningful, skilled work. By choosing to reduce waste, cut back on consumerism and be aware of where and how are clothing is made, we can change fashion for the better.

Photos and information courtesy of Huffington Post, Refinery29, LiveStrong, Flickr