“Fashion doesn’t have to be superficial” Interview with Julia Napoleon Ka

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“I think it did have a reputation of a rough place, but I feel like creativity has always lived in Glasgow.” These are the words Flint, one of the Glasgow School of Art students used to describe his school in the 2017 iD Magazine documentary. Known all over the world for incredibly high standards, attention to detail and eco-friendly approach, Glasgow School of Art is definitely a place filled with ideas, inspiration, and creativity. I think most people would definitely agree with Flint’s statement. In Glasgow, you can walk into a bar on Sauchiehall Street and see the upcoming band playing a gig, hear buskers around every corner, or pop into the CCA to see an independent film with your friends, rather than yet another LEGO movie in a mainstream cinema chain. Despite the big appreciation for music and cinema in Glasgow, its captivating fashion scene remains a bit of a niche. I caught up with Julia Knie, the second-year fashion student at the GSA to ask her more about that. After being introduced to her fellow students and the studio in which she spends long hours working on different projects, I was impressed by the hectic atmosphere and the amount of effort they put into their course. Click below to listen to the interview.

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The Glasgow School of Art fashion show

The Glasgow School of Art is without a doubt one of the most renowned and respected university-level institutions for future creatives in the country. It seems to be impossible to even read an article or watch a video about the city that wouldn’t include some information about the school. The students usually describe the place as a free, creative space, that despite being hard to get into, motivates the students to express their ideas and provides them with all the required skills. In 2017 documentary created by i-D Magazine, one of the Fashion and Textile students said:“I think it did have a reputation of, maybe perhaps, a rough area, but I feel like creativity has always lived in Glasgow”.

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Recently I was provided with a chance to attend their annual fashion show. As a person deeply interested in fashion, not only from the perspective of business and media but also from its often forgotten niche and artistic side, I felt excited to finally see the real outcome of students’ work. I arrived at the venue quite early, had a quick look at the posters and leaflets laying everywhere around me, then had a nice quick chat with two students in the gender-neutral toilets.“My friend worked so hard for this”, one of them told me.

The show, which seemed like it was almost sold-out, started with a quick presentation of the second year students and the theme of White Shirt/Black Silhouette. In total, twelve students presented their work which for me concentrated on deconstruction and playing with shapes. It’s a very popular approach to fashion design in art schools. After a short presentation of second-year students, over thirty designers of third-year Fashion and Textiles presented three outfits each. The work of each of them was categorized as either Embroidery, Fashion, Print, Knit or Weave. It wasn’t hard to notice the source of inspiration in some of the work presented that day. Print students impressed me the most, with some of the designs including a true WOW-factor. Colorful and vibrant outfits, simple in their form, like a set of total-printed shorts and a shirt put together with a pair of plain white trainers reminded me of designers like Jeremy Scott from the brand Moschino or current things we can see at Prada.

After the show, I caught up with one of the students – Kelly Sloan, whose work concentrated on Embroidery at its very best. After Kelly told me she came to Glasgow School of Art straight from college, I finally realised the phenomenon of the famous school. A goal-focused, hard-working environment of people who are being taught how to embrace their creative visions by staying true to themselves.“For me, I definitely think it’s colour and texture that inspires me the most”Kelly told me after the show.“Whether it being on a building or within a random object, I always seem to be drawn to these elements. These elements also help me develop my further as I begin to look closely and focus in of these different qualities”.

As I have mentioned before, different influences and designers of inspiration could be noticed within designers work. It’s important to know your path and direction at the beginning of any creative career. I asked Kelly to tell me a bit about artists and designers that inspired her designs.“I am inspired by different designers for each project I’m presented with. But if we’re talking fashion show, then avant-garde was a huge inspiration as my goal was to showcase large and intense fashion pieces. Viktor & Rolf were also a prominent inspiration for my fashion show garments as I’m a huge fan of the scale and silhouette of their collections.”

In the i-D Magazine documentary about Glasgow which I mentioned above, we can hear about the hard-working environment and amount of work students of the school need to put in to finish all the required tasks. I decided to ask Kelly about this as well.“[The Glasgow School of Art is] Extremely hard working!”she told me without hesitation.“As I went straight into third year at GSA with a direct entry from college, I wasn’t aware of the workload at The School of Art and the thing that’s struck me the most was the work ethic. Most days you’re in from 10 AM until 10 PM and that’s just the complete norm for everyone to be working those hours in order to get stuff done.”

There is no doubt that for many people, fashion is still seen as wearing crazy outfits on a catwalk and selling underdesigned garments for way too much money. I finished my conversation with Kelly by asking her:What would you like the readers to know about creating a collection and putting on a fashion show? Just so they can understand your position better…”.After a short while, Kelly replied:“Fashion industry is so huge that I think it can be difficult for designers to get their name out there and be known [by a larger audience]. I think my biggest goal is for my work to be noticed and recognized for its style, really just to be successful with selling my creations to a large crowd and be able to make a living from something I love to do so much.”

Follow Kelly Sloan on Instagram – @sloankel and her portfolio account @ksloantextiles

What’s going to happen to Karl Lagerfeld’s cat?

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Source: Getty Images/ P. Kovarik

The passing of Karl Lagerfeld has left everyone interested in high fashion shocked. “What’s gonna happen to Chanel and Fendi?” – people are asking on social media. There is no doubt that Lagerfeld changed the world of fashion, introducing some of the most controversial ideas at the same time staying loyal to Gabrielle Chanel’s legacy. Millions of people are still sharing their tributes on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter, even though there’s plenty of people for whom paying tributes to Lagerfeld is an example of bad taste.

Not many people know that Karl Lagerfeldt, born in Hamburg, Germany in 1933, had dropped the “t” from his last name to make it sound more commercial. He taught himself English and French(which must have been hard in the era with no iPhones and internet), left home as a teenager and shortly after started working for Balmain and Chloe. Two brands that the legendary designer has always been most associated with are fashion giants Fendi and Chanel. In the high fashion world, we can often see big brands dropping their creative directors and replacing them(Alexander Wang only lasted, like, 2 years at Balenciaga and Raf Simons despite good reception about the same in Calvin Klein, just to give an example).*  That’s why I think it’s impressive that Karl had stayed at Fendi for almost 55 years. His career at Chanel lasted almost 37 years.

I woke up in the morning and got a notification from the BBC News app. I went on Instagram and saw the black and white portrait of Karl posted by Vogue. Shortly after my friends started posting as well. It seemed like everyone was heartbroken. That’s the cheap, superficial aura of respect that dominates social media after the passing of any famous person. I have to admit, it made me feel a bit sad too. I care about the fashion industry and I’m aware of the level of sympathy a lot of stars shared for him, despite the controversy and criticism surrounding his persona(accusations of racism, Islamophobia, misogyny, popularising eating disorders and much more).

Usually, after someone’s passing our thoughts are with their loved ones. Karl Lagerfeld who died at the age of 85 wasn’t married or even in a publicly confirmed relationship with another… human person.

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Choupette – Lagerfeld’s biggest love – was a gift from Baptiste Giabiconi, Lagerfeld’s favourite model(Karl made him the male face of all three brands he designed for – Chanel, Fendi and Karl Lagerfeld). Believe it or not, the charismatic kitten quickly became a celebrity – starting with a photo shoot for V Magazine, followed by the one for Brazilian Vogue. She has her OWN TWITTER AND INSTAGRAM ACCOUNTS (over 262 000 followers on Instagram), modelled for car and make-up companies and according to Lagerfeld – earned over 3 million euro. 

Sources describe Choupette as a “spoiled, cheeky but loving madam”. She likes using her iPad, eating at the table with Karl(sadly, not anymore), Collette handbags and her maid Francoise.

Choupette was one of the first to officially post on Instagram after Karl Lagerfeld’s death.

“Thank you everyone for your words of condolence. 😿 With a once cold but now simply broken heart, I am going into mourning. I pray that your kind words and well-wishes will help me to put my best paw forward in my future without Daddy @KarlLagerfeld & as my own woman.” said the famous cat.

After his death, Lagerfeld left Choupette, the cat he wanted to marry, the £150 billion fortune. It’s not yet clear how is it going to work…

Love is love (?)

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*of course not all directors are fired, but let’s make it clear, most of them leave huge fashion houses and end up doing their own mediocre lines that don’t sell well. I don’t believe every single one of them is a fasting artist who just wanted to do their own niche thing!

 

Customer profiles of major luxury brands

I have no intention to offend anyone, make fun of certain people or judge other people’s taste in fashion. The post has been written in a humorous way and should be treated as a joke. 

Chanel

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I decided to kick off with a big one. The iconic french womenswear brand is known for its expensive handbags, iconic perfumes, and the legendary double C logo. Chanel is associated with elegance and style, the highest spheres of French chic. Chanel Classic Flap is one of the most wanted bags on Earth and currently costs around five thousand pounds.

We can often see middle-aged women with lip fillers running around shops like Zara, looking for tweedy jackets and tight black dresses to go with their favourite accessory – Chanel brooch (the only one they can truly afford). After a long day in the office, the subject prefers to stay home, put on a silky pajama and search for used Chanel bags on eBay, hoping to find something in good condition and for not more than three grand.  The kids of the subject stay in the living room with their father while the bag hunt is taking place upstairs, on the marketing agency’s MacBook Air.

Subject’s favourite daily outfit: heels, jeans or tight trousers, casual top, blazer, brooch (accessory).

Louis Vuitton

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LV is the easiest one. The LV girl knows exactly what she wants. She’s a high-maintenance work of art, like a woman from a Caravaggio painting, but in flip-flops. The LV queen loves a good tan, good nails, shopping with her boyfriend, posting pictures from days spent on shopping with her boyfriend etc. If the day out in the shopping centre happens in the winter, the subject loves to wear furry flip-flops and Canada Goose jacket to go with her Neverfull bag. She would never pay 600 quid for a scarf or 3000 for a jacket, but Neverfull, Speedy Bag, and a zip-around LV wallet are must-haves.

Subject’s favourite daily outfit: flip-flops(preferably furry, but Nike is ok), leggings, Canada Goose jacket, a boyfriend(accessory)

Saint Laurent

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The favourite brand of all the skinny, dehydrated, anxious and substance abusing gay boys. The typical Saint Laurent customer is in his twenties, over 6’0 ft tall, severely underweight, has black spots under his eyes from not sleeping and smokes a lot of cigarettes. His favourite colour is black, he hates big logos and tacky outfits. The subject’s favourite drink is iced coffee and food is cigarette smoke. Often wears Chelsea boots but distressed trainers are also ok.

Subject’s favourite daily outfit: Chelsea boots or distressed trainers, black washed out skinny jeans, t-shirt or old flannel shirt, baseball or leather jacket, a pack of cigarettes(accessory), sunglasses(accessory), iced coffee(accessory).

Valentino

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Valentino has tried everything to sell their products. From putting golden studs on heels and bags to tacky VLTN logo on t-shirts/sweatshirts/bumbags/backpacks/fucking everything. It’s a brand for people with no specific taste, who just want to have a big logo written all over their face. Gym boys in ripped skinny jeans wear Valentino Rockrunners, together with a puffer jacket, preferably Moncler. Valentino customers tend to show off their money in bars, buy everyone drinks hoping to get sex/attention. At the same time, girls wearing Valentino act like some Spanish princesses, in red gowns, red lipstick, with studded bags.

Subject’s favourite daily outfit: Valentino rockrunners, tight ripped jeans, muscle fit jumper, puffer jacket.

Balenciaga

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Let’s be edgy. Let’s wear trainers with three soles that weight five stone, parachute cargo trousers, and old vinyl tops. Let’s shave our heads, start carrying an IKEA bag everywhere and pretend socks are shoes.

Balenciaga is a specific brand. Its intention was to recreate what Maison Martin Margiela had done in the past – an avant-garde but mainstream approach to fashion. Then something went wrong(or right? aren’t sales what really matters?) and all the Louis Vuitton girls got attracted to it. Balenciaga kind of inspires us to experience the underground culture, so here we go: raving, Berghein, Berlin, leather, pills, shaved heads, IKEA…

Subject’s favourite daily outfit: Balenciaga Triple S trainers, Cargo trousers, loose-fit top, vintage jacket, earrings, a lot of Instagram followers(accessory).

 

 

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WTF? Nike over Louis Vuitton? Top10 most searched brands…

…of the second quarter of 2018, of course. Lyst is a global fashion data platform that releases an index of most searched brands every three months. The research itself includes data from over 12 000 websites: department stores or popular online-shopping giants, such as ssense.com or farfetch. So yeah, Susan, the Gucci flip-flops you bought for your Instagram-famous trip to Ibiza count too!

I don’t really wait for these rankings with a glass of wine in my hand, refreshing the website at three o’clock in the morning. To be brutally honest I stopped giving a fcuk about what people buy a good few seasons ago, but it’s still hard not to see these indexes while daily-browsing through websites like Hypebeast or Business of Fashion.

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This time the list really surprised me. The fact that people stopped searching for huge and iconic brands like Saint LaurentValentino or, like I mentioned in the title, Louis Vuitton is clearly a sign. Sometimes designers just come out with weak ideas, release the product that doesn’t sell, simply because it’s nothing special. This time though, we’ve got Nike, which on this list seems like Courtney Love in Buckingham Palace. Something’s not right. Consumer’s choice tells us that either the chunky-ugly trend Balenciaga introduced a few seasons ago finally started boring people (yes, please…) or… the idea of sportswear in high fashion got the point so extreme, people who liked it moved into… real sportswear. Selfridges, which has always been a luxury shopping destination, sells more Nike AirMax 97 than Valentino open sneakers, Gucci ace sneaker in floral or Givenchy basic model trainers. Selecting “best selling” when sorting your list on Selfridges’ website will show you more Nike and Adidas than you could expect. Vicky Pollard look is the new Chanel.

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Prada opens the list at number ten, which is satisfactory. Miuccia’s brand makes clothes for true fashionistas who don’t tend to seek attention and hype on high streets of East London. Versace at number 7 is clearly the result of the popular(and very good!) TV series The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story that apart from portraying the madness of self-obsessed serial killer Andrew Cunanan, also showed the passion and craft behind the Versace brand. And apparently, that worked in brand’s favour. It’s nice to see the iconic Italian brands still rocking the list, despite some other little monsters present there.

The Italian duo of Dolce & Gabbana is back. Unfortunately, they are back, I have to say. My queen of shade, Mariah Carey, once asked in the interview about Madonna said: “Really haven’t paid attention to Madonna since I was in the seventh or eighth grade when she used to be popular.”. Dolce&Gabbana, despite their undeniable skills, are like this awkward ghost of 2005 that keeps coming back with even more cringy, unsuitable for fashion industry ideas. I understand the need for rich, golden, baroque fashion, but honey, you gotta do it right(like previously mentioned Versace?). Selling white tees that say: “I’m the new D&G model” or “D&G millennial” is just pure cringe and some wicked version of fashion diarrhea. When other designers make their shows less or more artistic, often political or just appealing and interesting, those two Italian folks send drones or 5’8 popstars who can’t even walk down the runway properly, with, oh god, some David Guetta “that’s what I call music CD” kind of song playing in the background… Bring me that Nike, man…

A closer look at the style of Amy Winehouse

“I don’t think I’m going to be at all famous. I don’t think I could handle it. I’d probably go mad, d’you know I mean? I would go mad.”  Said Amy Winehouse in one of her early interviews. Yesterday would have been her 35th birthday.

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Music stars of numerous genres often appear in fashion magazines. Their outfits are analyzed from head to toe, with almost every single public appearance being a collaboration with a particular designer. The case of Amy Winehouse was different for several reasons. It’s obvious that the number of scandals, tabloid headlines, and digital trash that was thrown all over her was too big for anyone to care about anything else. The tragic day-by-day drama of a girl that loved too much overshadowed not only music but other aspects of that unique career as well.

Brought up in a simple household in North London, Amy remained humble til the end, despite the fortune that happened to credit her bank accounts later on. It didn’t really change her behaviour or style. Charmingly outspoken Jewish jazz princess always loved her dreamy vintage dresses, pencil skirts, big belts, polo shirts and… “fuck me pumps”, obviously.

“I just love beautiful girls” she once said, asked about her choices when it comes to personal style. Known for hair bigger than my future, often accompanied by a colorful hairband, and amount of black eyeliner and mascara that would last you a year without a problem. Her clothing style – most times described as “pin-up” or just “vintage”, without any deeper interpretation. It’s obvious Amy loved this whole Americana, pin-up girl game, but we need to remember – she was a British girl, oh yeah, she was! Winehouse loved her tacky animal prints from time to time, extra large golden earrings, cropped jackets. I can picture her outside some pub in Stoke Newington in a leopard jacket and red denim skirt. Smoking a Marlboro Red of course.

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Amy Winehouse performing at the Brit Awards, picture from Vogue.co.uk

She didn’t seem to care about the label, but the overall presentation and final effect. She was a perfect curator of her personal style. In 2010 Winehouse collaborated with Fred Perry and created her very own fashion line. Sometimes seen on stage in a gorgeous black Dolce and Gabbana retro dress, sometimes in just a cigarette fit jeans and a Fred Perry polo shirt – Amy created a style that later became an inspiration for other artists like Duffy or Lana Del Rey.

Few years after her death, The Jewish Museum of London organized an exhibition of Amy’s belongings – from books to clothes. The polka-dot chiffon dress from Back to Black album cover wasn’t there, as it got sold for over 40 grand on an auction… But other Amy-looking polka dot dresses were. Together with some gorgeous Fendi heels(pumps, as she would often say) and leopard print denim shorts.

Happy birthday Amy!

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Amy Winehouse wearing Dolce And Gabbana during her Grammy Awards 2008 performance in London. Picture from Vogue.co.uk

Burberry is facing the biggest transformation in its history

When one of the most respected, successful and just simply coolest designers in the world announced his departure from the house of Givenchy, the whole industry was in shock. Brilliant Italian couturier Riccardo Tisci left the iconic fashion house after twelve years.

During that time, he managed to redefine the way we look at modern couture, at the same time creating some of the most iconic fashion pieces of our generation. He is the one behind Bambi or Rottweiler sweatshirts – luxury streetwear pieces we can see people fighting for on eBay every day.

Florals, basketball print, leather kilts (yes), catholic iconography, shark print, Rottweiler, Antigona handbag, collaboration with Nike AirForce 1… I could go on for hours. Even though brilliant Clare Waight Keller has been doing very well as Tisci’s successor(she finally made Givenchy products available to buy via official website), undeniable talent of Riccardo hasn’t been forgotten even for a while. Straight after his departure from Givenchy, there were rumours of him joining the house of Versace as co-director, together with Donatella. If I’m being honest, it seemed like such a bunch of fake news from the beginning.

When Riccardo announced his appointment as Creative Chief Officer of Burberry, iconic English brand known for checked scarves and trench coats, I didn’t know how to feel about it. Unlike all other fashion giants, Burberry remained the same for a very long time. Despite having Christopher Bailey as a creative director for several years, historic house kept its branding untouched ever since the very beginning.

“I promised myself I will leave this house when it’s on top of the top” said Riccardo Tisci in his interview for Vogue few years ago. It’s fair to say that he achieved his goal completely.

In the United States and continental Europe Burberry is still associated with posh and successful Brits attending private media events(The Beckhams or Harry Styles) or Henley housewives wearing pearls and drinking lots of Cognac. That’s why it’s particularly interesting to see how the iconic English brand will develop under creative direction of the guy who stands behind some most wanted(by bloggers, fashionistas, but also posers and fuckboys) streetwear pieces.

Reports state that one cloudy day, Riccardo Tisci saw a ned wearing fake Burberry cap and was like, emmm, I totally have to reinvent this whole English stuff. Well, maybe not exactly with these particular words, but something must have been said, as the new, modern and minimalistic af logo has been introduced to the public, together with new monogram.

New brand logo together with the old one above it, for comparison.
img_1680New “Thomas Burberry” monogram.

I am honestly surprised how well this trend for minimal branding(at least when it comes to logos) is doing. There’s no chivalry around anymore. Soon even Ralph Lauren will change his style to Arial or Times New Roman. All the fancy iron letters reminding us of previously mentioned ladies in cashmere cardigans are now available to buy at reduced to clear.

The new monogram, however, seems like a great commercial outreach. People love being covered in monograms. Most of them would die for supreme x Louis Vuitton bomber jacket, just to act like they’re 22 years old and from Hampstead Heath…

Going minimal worked out perfect for Yves Saint Laurent, now known as Saint Laurent Paris. I don’t think it’s gonna work out as well here though. We’re talking about a fashion house most often associated with words British Heritage. Is Riccardo Tisci going to manage to combine fancy streetwear with tradition? We have to wait and see.