Menswear designer to watch out for: Virgil Abloh from Off-White

Menswear designer Virgil Abloh does not mince words. The invitation to the debut show of his streetwear label Off-White arrived in the form of an orange t-shirt featuring a life jacket’s user instructions on the front. The back featured the quotation ‘I will never forgive the ocean’ by the Iranian poet Omid Shams. Abloh’s background in various subcultures often serves as the inspiration for his collections, but he prefers to use fashion to make bold political statements.

’I will never forgive death’ and ‘The bomb speaks louder’; these are some of the poetic texts that featured in the background during Off-White’s SS18 show. The fashion label made its debut during the 92nd edition of Pitti Uomo in Florence, Italy, last week. Founder and creative director Virgil Abloh wanted to raise issues regarding the current political climate and, to this end, collaborated with Jenny Holzer, a conceptual artist from the United States. For the décor, Holzer selected, among others, poetry by Anna Swirszcynska about the uprising in Warsaw in 1944.

Virgil Abloh made his debut with Off-White at Pitti Uomo

35 year old Abloh, who hails from Chicago, developed a menswear collection inspired by the refugee crisis in Syria, immigration, the economic crisis and the journey his father, a migrant from Ghana, was forced to make years ago to reach the United States. His background in his hometown also served as inspiration for Off-White’s spring 2018 collection. “I was born in the eighties and grew up in the nineties. At the time, I was a part of different subcultures, from skate to hip-hop. I am greatly inspired by this period,” the designer recently said in an interview with WWD.

It is what led to a collection consisting of thirty different looks, including jackets in soft materials, oversized trousers and shoes made in collaboration with Vans and Timberland.

As a designer, Abloh feels a certain obligation to speak up for refugees, which is clear in his latest collection. “I have a voice in the current climate, particularly in light of the recent elections. I respond through my work,” he told Vogue, adding: “I am a millennial brand. Young people will look up the messages we place on Instagram. But are we talking about fashion or the world in general?”

Menswear designer to watch out for: Virgil Abloh from Off-White

Virgil Abloh: From architect to fashion designer

Although Abloh now feels completely at home in the fashion world, he hasn’t been working in fashion for that long. Having graduated from the Illinois Institute of Technology with a degree in architecture, he began his career at an architectural firm and founded RSVP Gallery, an art gallery in Chicago. In 2009, he landed a job as artistic director at Donda, the agency that represents Kanye West, where he became responsible for shows and merchandise.

It wasn’t until 2012 that Abloh entered the world of fashion. It was in that same year that he launched fashion label Pyrex Vision, a company that printed logos on t-shirts for brands like Ralph Lauren. At the same time, he worked together with designer Matthew Williams and Heron Preston in the collective called ‘Been Trill’. A year later, Abloh closed down Pyrex Vision and founded his brand Off-White.

Off-White, a high fashion streetwear brand, primarily offers oversized items with graphic elements and special details. Abloh designs collections for men and women; big names like Jay-Z, Rihanna and Beyoncé have worn his pieces. Abloh describes Off-White’s target group as “the girl who wears Céline, and the guy who wears Supreme, but they’re together. They share their wardrobes, and their high-low combination reflects Off-White’s vision of the world,” he recently revealed in an interview with GQ. The label made it to the final round for the LVMH Prize two years ago, although it was Marta Marques & Paulo Almeida who took home the prize.

Abloh hopes that his label will encourage young people to wear more informal streetwear. “ My mission is for today’s youth to wear streetwear that is more refined, but that still includes the meaningful details contained by the original streetwear,” he told Vogue two years ago.

Abloh collaborates with Ikea on new Frakta bag

Besides his work for Off-White, Abloh recently designed a new version of Ikea’s iconic blue Frakta bag. The bag recently made the news when Balenciaga created its own version of it. Because Ikea wanted to tap into the current DIY culture, the Swedish chain turned to Abloh. He developed a canvas-coloured bag which, in contrast to the original Frakta bag, does not crease and features the text ‘Sculpture’ .

Abloh belongs to the same generation of fashion designers that includes Balenciaga’s Demna Gvasalia and Gucci’s Alessandro Michele. Like them, Abloh is “the product of an era in which the lines between designer and consumer and fashion and streetwear are blurring”, GQ writes. This movement makes a comeback in his own designs for Off-White, among others through the use of subtle graphic prints and logos that distinguish the brand from cheaper labels. “The graphic t-shirts of three years ago were hard. Now I make a shoe that subtly incorporates the Off-White label,” Abloh explains.

Off-White has a number of own stores, including in Seoul, Hong Kong, Shanghai and Toronto. The collections are also sold through various multi-brand retailers, including Selfridges in London, and through its own online store.

Menswear designer to watch out for: Virgil Abloh from Off-White During the month of June FashionUnited will focus on the menswear catwalk season. For all reads, click here.

Images: Catwalkpictures.com, Off-White Facebook

Rebel Wilson to launch own plus size fashion line

Australian comedian and actress Rebel Wilson is launching her own signature plus size fashion collection, rooted in the belief that “style has no size”.

The Rebel Wilson x Angels collection will range from everyday essentials to versatile statement pieces in a size run from 14 to 24. At the core of the line is a range of denim essentials, many constructed with Lycra Beauty fabric, an innovative material that shapes and sculpts for a flattering look and feel.

The collection also includes an assortment of everyday staples, from graphic tees and statement tops to suede moto jackets, varsity jackets and bombers. Other items include occasion dresses featuring embellishments, flirty, and feminine detailing and strong prints and colours.

Commenting on her new line, Wilson said: ”When I worked on plus-size capsule collections in the past, it was such a fun and rewarding experience that I really wanted to break out with my own line. I'm so excited that these designs will reach more people and remain available all year round.

“I know how hard it can be to find the cool, quality fashion I want to wear, even with the help of Hollywood stylists. I’m so proud to be creating this collection with The Mamiye Group, and to give gorgeous ladies everywhere amazing clothes that empower them to express their confidence and chic attitude.”

Rebel Wilson partners with Mamiye Group on new plus size collection

Launching for autumn/winter 2017, the collection is a design collaboration between Rebel Wilson and Mamiye Group, and will start delivering to key retailers across the US including Nordstrom, Dillards, Lord and Taylor, and Dia and Co from this July, with prices ranging from 49 to 298 dollars.

"Women of all sizes want the confidence and empowerment that comes from fashion-forward style," added Charles D. Mamiye, president and chief executive of Mamiye Group. “Rebel Wilson x Angels is a contemporary collection that offers fresh, exciting designs for women sizes 14-24, inspired by an icon."

Established in 1947, Mamiye Group has worked with brands including womenswear brand Wallflower and Kensie Jeans, as well as a number of kidswear labels such as Ella Moss, Offspring and Splendid.

Rebel Wilson previously designed a limited edition holiday line with American plus-size fashion brand Torrid in 2015, which was followed up by a spring/summer 2016 collection.

Image: courtesy of Rebel Wilson x Angels by Carter Smith

G-Star Raw's Aitor Throup launches women's raw research

G-Star Raw is out to redefine the meaning of Raw by deconstructing denim to its purest form. The third collection of Raw Research was presented this season at Paris Fashion Week, featuring undyed, unwashed and untreated raw denim.

For the Paris presentation on June 23, G-Star also celebrated the debut of Raw Research women's collection, and Throup's first ever collective work of womenswear. Women's styles reflect the overall design philosophy of Raw Research III, and the resulting pieces seamlessly blend minimalism and functionality, without compromising femininity. For both the men's and women's collections the brand's in-house innovation laboratory follows the same design approach – pushing the boundaries of product design through a process of exploration, curiosity and experimentation.

G-Star Raw's Aitor Throup launches women's raw research

The women's Raw research was launched alongside menswear, with each collection featuing 10 pieces presented in undyed calico denim. In addition, the same collection goes through of a process of hand dyeing where the indigo is added to the raw garments, resulting in an organically irregular visual effect. In an effort to challenge the convention of what defines denim, the G-Star innovation lab separated, analyzed, and utilized the core elements of denim – the raw fabric and indigo dye – in new and experimental ways.

"We are coming out of an age when technical and functional design is considered inherently masculine," said executive creative director Aitor Throup. "We believe that our obsession with product design principles such as ergonomics and concinnity is as relevant for women as it is for men. By clashing tradition with innovation, the resulting prototypes serve as blueprints for the main collections in the future."

G-Star Raw's Aitor Throup launches women's raw research

The collection was presented at Garage Lübeck in Paris, shown as an artistic and interactive installation featuring models that reflect the collection's inspiration and unique designs. All new styles were also presented in 44 different hand-dyed color options as a metaphor for how the brand is pushing the conventions and constraints of denim, and challenging the recipients' perceptions of what denim can be. An exclusive musical arrangement by Woodgrain, under the creative direction of Throup, was composed to go along with the visitor's journey through the presentation, having a conceptual connection to the product and installation.

Raw Research III will be available in select high-end concept stores around the world, from early December 2017.

photos: courtesy of KCD Worldwide
Top trends from Paris Fashion Week Men's SS18

As Paris men's fashion week comes to a close Sunday, one trend for spring summer 2018 and could not be clearer -- bare legs. Fashion clearly feels that the time is right for men to get their legs out for the girls -- or for other men who admire a well sculpted calf.

In a week in which a heatwave across Europe saw British schoolchildren and French bus drivers don skirts in protest at not being allowed to wear shorts, the momentum behind taking the trouser above the knee -- or further still -- seems unstoppable.

While many women and some in the fashion police have long looked down their noses at men in shorts, bare legs may soon be the least of their worries. For as well as shorts, socks and sandals, which many thought had been safely confined to the style wilderness, are also back.

Here are the three top trends for the Paris men's catwalks:

Shorts suit you, sir

Legs -- including hairy ones -- dominated the men's catwalks from Thom Browne's business suits with shorts to Dior where Kris Van Assche matched micro shorts with tailored black or white suit jackets to show the maximum of thigh.

Browne, clearly enjoying himself, cheekily slipped a few of his businessmen into skirts for good measure. "Why can't this be for men?" he told AFP on Sunday. "They almost look more masculine (in skirts) than if they were wearing just normal clothes.

Top trends from Paris Fashion Week Men's SS18

"Why not put men in what is traditionally considered women's attire?" he added. "We're all dressed alike as infants. The rest is an elaboration." Rick Owens lead out his collection with a model wearing only short shorts and boots, a leather saddlebag strapped to one thigh for extra he-man effect.

So high was Paris on thigh that it is almost easier to list the labels who didn't include shorts, as such style references as Louis Vuitton (leather scuba shorts and jersey surf pants), Dries Van Noten (formal and boxy) and even Yohji Yamamoto (three-quarter length) all succumbed to the trend.

Top trends from Paris Fashion Week Men's SS18

Lengths varied widely with Loewe going daringly high with micro shorts and Speedo-like pouches while the Taiwanese Angus Chiang and the Japanese label Facetasm swung between kilts, tube shorts and culottes. But for glamour, nothing compared to the glittering red, yellow and purple and golden pink evening shorts offered by Comme des Garcons. Lame maketh the man, as Shakespeare might have said.

Sandals with socks

Style crime no more, socks with sandals are no longer the abomination they once were, if this week's shows are anything to go by. Louis Vuitton -- which with Paul Smith and Vetements also tried to smuggle Hawaiian shirts back from the wardrobe that taste forgot -- sent out nearly 20 models in sandals and socks, while 22/4 went still further matching every one of its 30 looks with socks and slipper sandals.

Top trends from Paris Fashion Week Men's SS18

Uber-cool Vetements had socks and sauna sandals and Haider Ackermann (who also designs for Berluti) dared socks and flip flops, which looked classier than its sounds. In a worrying development for those who have held the line against that most dorky of looks, Ami, Wooyoungmi and Etudes went into total taboo territory with white socks and sandals.

Sports hosiery

The shotgun marriage with sandals was only half the story of the irresistible rise of the sock this week. Tennis, baseball and all kinds of sporty socks worn mostly halfway up the shin was the other big takeaway.

Top trends from Paris Fashion Week Men's SS18

The rise in sportswear has been the biggest creeping trend on the men's catwalks for some time, and it really gripped Paris by the ankles this time. Sporty socks were often combined with more traditional tailored jackets, per Facetasm's Hiromichi Ochiai, who cleverly contrasted them with smoking jackets, tailcoats and aristo silk dressing gowns.

But when it came to statement socks, Danish maverick Henrik Vibskov left the others standing. It was hard to take your eyes of his colourful pairs that combined comforting Scandinavian hygge and high concept design with playful Japanese-style silk worm and flower motifs.(AFP)

Top trends from Paris Fashion Week Men's SS18 During the month of June FashionUnited will focus on the menswear catwalk season. For all reads, click here.

Homepage photo credits: Dior Homme groupshot by Stef Mitchell for Dior Homme,

Photos Louis Vuitton: : Louis Vuitton Mens Spring Summer 2018, courtesy of Louis Vuitton

Etudes SS18, Dries Van Noten SS18, via Catwalkpictures.com

The Gucci, The Bad, and The Ugly

OPINION Gucci has become a touchy subject in some fashion circles. Despite winning the CFDA international designer of the year award in 2016, and revitalizing the 96-year-old house’s image and profits in just two years, providing red carpet gowns for the current crop of starlets, making him Kering’s power player in a volatile luxury market, Alessandro Michele elicits joy and derision in equal measure among designers I know working in the industry. As plenty has been written reflecting the joy (Suzy Menkes called him “manna from heaven”), I thought I’d look into the reasons behind the latter: why some fashion professionals are viewing his high-priced higgledy-piggledy cut-and-paste collections with less respect than they do a H&M sale rack.

Easy Riser

The implication seems to be that it’s all just too easy. Naysayers consider Michele’s design process an unedited vintage grabfest entirely dependent on wacky styling rather than the more intellectually demanding discipline of design. Is this one of those situations, I wonder, where you find yourself viewing a lauded piece in an exhibition, say, a Basquiat, and someone turns to you to remark “I could do that with my eyes closed if I thought someone would pay me”? I imagine these aforementioned fashion professionals now neck rolling, and spitting out their tea, squealing, “Alessandro Michele is NO Michel Basquiat.” And indeed they may be right.

It’s Gay Pride Sunday here in the city and as I watch the exuberantly tinseled and beribboned parade floats pass, many of the colorful outfits painstakingly assembled in cramped apartments across the five boroughs, I can’t help thinking many of them look “Guccified.” To say that Gucci’s appeal falls somewhere on the spectrum between a Basquiat and a Gay Pride float is about as accurate as I can get. Here’s why it’s so complicated.

The Gucci, The Bad, and The Ugly

Amid Accusations

Just this week, Gucci was hit with accusations of plagiarism by two different companies, Stuart Smythe and Stay Bold, for what they claim are Gucci’s blatant rip-offs of their graphic artwork for the Italian luxury label’s Cruise 2018 collection. You may remember the explosion of outrage in early June, especially among the African American community, attached to this same show over Michele’s apparent purloining of ideas from the archives of Harlem cult figure, Dapper Dan. It seems that Gucci did not initially credit the highly respected American until after receiving criticism, then released a statement, saying, “Gucci is interested in a collaboration with Daniel Day that would celebrate the influences his creations had on fashion and the hip-hop culture in the 80s.” It was a day late and a dollar short for many, and the accusations of copying continue to reverberate.

The Gucci, The Bad, and The Ugly


There is a hacker element to Michele’s approach that breeds suspicion. He breaks into the established systems and disrupts codes, melding centuries and decades together, logos and street art, art movements and aristocratic longhaired eyebrowless boys into one pan-seasonal mesmerizing collage. Each look is successful as an Instagram post, whereas each collection does not necessarily work as an album. The ‘instainspo’ no-filter boastfulness of his approach (“I collect everything!” he told Vogue. “My life is a storage!”) translates into collections which resemble the cover of Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band complete with heavy mustaches. His sheer quantity of references contribute to baroque runway spectacles that run to 120 exits. Who has time for for paring back when you want all the feels?

The Gucci, The Bad, and The Ugly

But familiarity breeds contempt. The shock of the new has become the aftershock tremors of the old, as, not only have we seen many of the clothes before on the runways of Moschino, Sonia Rykiel, and Dolce Gabbana, among others, as well as the flea markets of Clignancourt and Portobello, but if it turns out that the luxury house is shamelessly exploiting small independent designers who struggle for anything like the prominence Michele has, the tide of public opinion will turn further.

Carpe Diem

Gucci’s Fall 2017 show invite was printed with the question “What are we going to do with all this future?” It’s almost as if even Michele knows that what he’s doing is more smoke and mirrors than the mysterious sorcery the critics have been leading us to believe, and that it will have a shelf life. His legacy might just be that he assembled a series of pretty images which interrupted our scrolling for a time and made us press Like, but which fell prey to the mysterious algorithms of the fashion industry, eventually disappearing from our feed.

But until then, pile it all on like it’s going out of fashion.

By contributing guest editor Jackie Mallon, who is on the teaching faculty of several NYC fashion programmes and is the author of Silk for the Feed Dogs, a novel set in the international fashion industry.

Images: Gucci Facebook, DapperDanOfHarlem.com; runway images: CatwalkPictures.com; Gay Pride photo: by Jackie Mallon.

Essential Festival Styling Directions

Trendstop's street style team are out and about this summer, hitting up the biggest music events to spot the latest looks and identify the season's style setters. From Barcelona based Sonar and Primavera to the urban cool of UK hangouts Field Day and The Great Escape as well as the spectacle of California's iconic Coachella, this season's festivals are hosting an array of music-loving fashionistas inspiring festival collections for season's to come. Our curated street reports analyse and evaluate the commercial value and longevity of the latest trends, giving you the optimum level of in-depth analysis to inform decision making.

This week, FashionUnited readers get an exclusive insight into three of the hottest trends from festival season so far. Bubble Gum Pink adds a sugar sweet dose of femininity to masculine sporty separates and utility casuals. The Culotte Dungaree sees 90s inspired all-in-ones reworked for summer as ankles are given a breath of fresh air. Sheer Tendencies translate gothic glamour for festival season with a focus on lightweight layers and overtly feminine reveals.

Bubble Gum Pink

Essential Festival Styling Directions

This sweet as candy shade works across multiple applications, from athletic sweats to casual denims. Sugar pink tones make a youthful statement while the girlish aesthetic and single colour usage softens utilitarian and sportswear silhouettes. The playful take on masc/femme contrasts compliments the fun festival vibe.

The Culotte Dungaree

Essential Festival Styling Directions

All-in-ones look back to the 90s, as dungaree silhouettes feature loose fitting, culotte inspired cuts. 'Awkward' looking cropped lengths tap into the ongoing geek-chic and normcore trends with exposed socks and chunky shoes. Layering is key as lightweight jumpsuits worn over roll-necks and tees or under jean jackets and bombers express their functional festival qualities.

Sheer Tendancies

Essential Festival Styling Directions

Gothic looks transcend the summer season as attention grabbing sheers are layered over black intimates to create opaque/translucent contrasts. Heavy duty boots and solid colour sporty underlayers are feminised by ballet-esque tulles and hosiery fishnet as bralets, hotpants and bikinis are topped with floaty dresses and tops.

Exclusive Offer

FashionUnited readers can get free access to Trendstop's 2016 Themes in Street Style Report, an essential guide to the key trends and styling directions from style setters in the leading fashion capitals. Simply click the banner to receive your complimentary report.

Essential Festival Styling Directions

Trendstop.com is one of the world's leading trend forecasting agencies for fashion and creative professionals, renowned for its insightful trend analysis and forecasts. Clients include H&M, Primark, Forever 21, Zalando, Geox, Evisu, Hugo Boss, L'Oreal and MTV.

Stella McCartney to produce icon bags with sustainable yarn

Stella McCartney's sustainability commitments will now see the brand produce one of its icon bags using a regenerated yarn.

The company confirmed its Falabella Go bag will be made using a fabric yarn called Econyl which is synthesized from ocean waste.

McCartney confirmed earlier this year she would use sustainable viscose, regenerated cashmere and other recycled materials in her collections whenever feasible. The yarn is produced by Aquafil, a company that aims to prove luxury brands can use high end alternatives without forsaking quality or style.

Aquafil chief executive officer Giulio Bonazzi said the Econyl partnership with McCartney "represents the future of fashion. It proves that when sustainable ingredients are of the highest quality, they will be adopted by brands from sportswear to luxury. When sustainability is treated with the same reverence as performance and quality, we see beautiful and impactful collections take the stage.”

Bonazzi said every 10,000 tons of Econyl produced saves 70 thousand barrels of crude oil by avoiding extraction. Aquafil’s Econyl regeneration system diverts waste from landfills and oceans through the recovery of abandoned fishing nets and other discarded nylon waste. The waste is reborn through Aquafil’s regeneration system, which is an example of the circular economy. He said it offers the same quality and performance as traditional nylon, but with the ability to be regenerated an infinite number of times.

“Fashion is an industry that makes a significant impact on the planet. It’s not just cool clothes and trends,” McCartney stated last year.

Photo credit: Stella McCartney Falabella Go bag, source StellaMcCartney.com

Valentino going sporty

In the era of athleisure even iconic luxury brands are getting on board. Valentino's Pierpaolo Piccioli is going after the sporty guy this season, as he's set to debut his next menswear collection for the brand today at Paris Fashion Week Men's.

The brand will also be debuting the new Valentino logo, VLTN, which Piccioli mulled over for quite some time. Eventually, he created a logo that appealed to both himself and his team of designers. Essentially, it is a shortening of the brand name with the original font.

The goal was to make the overall aesthetic more contemporary. Like all luxury brands, Valentino is attempting to court the millennial customer. This season, they've gone more street.

Valentino goes street for menswear collection

"I wanted to be very precise about this idea of street. I think there's a dignity in the streets and in sports," Picciolo said to WWD. "These pieces are really strong and of the moment. They express the culture of the moment and even the culture of the moment of the brand: couture meets street."

Valentino has become very popular among street style culture thanks to their rockstud shoes, bags and accessories.

Now they are capitalizing on that momentum to take the brand into the next era.

Since the departure of Maria Grazia Chiuri, now creative director of Dior, Piccioli has been tasked with continuing to elevate Valentino's offerings and grow their customer base.

In the millennial market, Valentino faces tough competition from brands like Saint Laurent, who count millennials as 70 percent of their customer base.

As Piccioli prepares to debut his revamped menswear today, the question will be how well can he compete?

photo: via Valentino Facebook page
Why Fashion can no longer ignore the Ecosystem

OPINION London - H&M, Nike and Asos were amongst the 13 fashion and textile brands who signed the sustainable cotton pledge earlier this month. Last month, the industry came together at leading denim trade show Kingpins, part of Amsterdam Denim Days, and stirred up the sustainable denim debate.

Op-ed by: Dio Kurazawa, Director of Denim at WGSN, who has close to 20 years of experience in the world of denim.

While these are small and honorable steps towards, to truly become sustainable, the fashion and textile industry needs to change the way they operate. Given the lack of formal regulation for sustainable textile production, the industry needs to rethink business models rather than acting sporadically and in isolation. Creating one-off sustainable collections, talking about pledges for environmentally sound cotton and denim production will only be effective if they are part of a bigger movement. A movement towards sustainable businesses in a sustainable society that focuses every decision they make on the environment.

Why Fashion can no longer ignore the Ecosystem

Sustainability as a concept has been buzzing for a while now, but its precise definition remains unclear. And because of this low level of clarity, there is no parameter that it can be measured against. For example, how do we know that reducing water usage by 1 percent during garment production equals sustainability? The process of creating such necessary parameters is underway, but it comes as no surprise that when politics and society deny climate change, the conversation can only go so far.

Many brands struggle to establish social responsibility as a core corporate value. It’s hard work, involves lots of persuasion, and patience while running the risk of coming across as pretentious and dishonest.

Why Fashion can no longer ignore the Ecosystem

As trend forecasters, we work hand in hand with the industry: helping them see what’s going to happen and what to do about it. But I can’t tell you to fasten your seatbelt and not fasten mine. So, we decided to experience first-hand what brands go through when making such a shift and the challenges of producing sustainable fashion. In April, we launched our first ever sustainable denim sample collection in partnership with Avery Dennison, M&J Group, Absolute Denim and Amsterdam Denim Days.

When making the collection, we came to realize that most suppliers, despite having innovative products focused on sustainability, had low stock of our chosen materials, due to lack of demand. The lack of demand is because right now, the industry has no legal responsibility to be sustainable. There are no regulating departments for the textile industry like there are in the food industry, for example. Without the parameters and proper governance, manufacturers aren’t asked enough to create sustainable fabrics and materials. We found that it doesn’t start with a brand saying they want to make a sustainable collection. It starts with the industry demanding sustainability.

Why Fashion can no longer ignore the Ecosystem

So why do brands make the effort to create sustainable collections and sign pledges when, in reality, they don’t necessarily have to? Because not-for-profit organizations such as Greenpeace are urging a movement towards environmentally sound behavior by increasingly creating awareness for social responsibility with the consumer. And the consumer listens. Previously driven by price point and choice, today’s fashion consumers progressively expect sustainable products, processes, and behavior. This forces the industry to rethink their business models in order to continue growth. The question remains whether it also ensures that fashion and textile brands truly adopt sustainability across the board, given the lack of formal monitoring.

"To me, sustainability is a departure from tradition"

Dio Kurazawa, Director of Denim at WGSN

Sustainability can only happen when society starts changing its habits, addressing climate change head on and demanding sustainability in the fashion industry. Corporate conventions are at stake here too. Change towards truly sustainable behavior must come from within, driven by a redefinition of core corporate values of fashion and textile brands. Take Patagonia as a role model. They consider every stitch, every fabric and each manufacturer before they create, design and produce anything. That is what I believe every fashion and textile company should be doing.

Why Fashion can no longer ignore the Ecosystem

The fashion industry is at a crossroads now. It cannot exist without claiming to be sustainable anymore because NGOs such as Greenpeace are demanding environmental consciousness and consumer’s expectations mirror that. However, signing pledges and showing collections won’t be effective when actioned in isolation. We need standalone statements and collections to become a thing of the past, and a socially conscious mindset be applied across the board to create a ‘sustainable industry’.

This is an op-ed piece written by Dio Kurazawa, Director of Denim at WGSN. With close to 20 years of experience in the world of denim from design, development, washing and finishing, and fabric sourcing, Dio brings a vast amount of industry experience. He has previously worked for many of WGSN's top clients and has consulted for the likes of Levi’s, Forever 21, C&A, Bestseller China, and Tommy Hilfiger to name a few. A passionate conservationist, Dio is very eager to promote cutting edge denim innovations that are not only trend driven, but environmentally sound.

Photos: Courtesy of WGSN

Read more: here.

Menswear designer to watch out for: Gosha Rubchinskiy

Russian menswear designer Gosha Rubchinskiy is known for redefining global cultural ideas. He hails from the outskirts, and over the years has used his background to create a new subculture, carving out a well-deserved place for himself among streetwear-greats like Supreme and Palace. He now works together with big names like Stephen Jones, Adidas and Burberry.

”His show was gorgeous; in an amazing building, at midnight, with a very small audience, amazing people and tons of energy – skate boarders, musicians. But an odd kind of tension,” Burberry CEO Christopher Baily said about Gosha Rubchinskiy’s show last week. Rubchinskiy presented his latest collaborative collection with the British fashion house through a runway presentation in St. Petersburg, with Bailey in the front row.

Gosha Rubchinskiy creates collection for Burberry

Thirty-three year old Rubchinskiy created a collection of eight menswear pieces aimed at street style, not in line with the luxurious character that Burberry is known for. The line includes a new interpretation of the famous Burberry trench coat, which is oversized and is supplemented with shirts, a pair of shorts and football-inspired hats. The collection will be available in stores from January 2018.

”Gosha got in touch and asked if I wanted to work with him. And because I love what he does, I said yes. It was incredibly non-strategic and unplanned,” Bailey reveals about the collaboration. “But it was quite effortless.”

Gosha Rubchinskiy: creator of subcultures

Rubchinskiy began his career nine years ago with the very first catwalk show in a sports stadium in Moscow. The show, entitled ‘Evil Empire’, featured sportswear presented against a backdrop of rave music from the nineties. The models – young boys – wore facemasks with spikes and sweatshirts featuring slogans inspired by hardcore and death metal. Certain details in the show referenced the Cold War, and according to High Snobiety, the political statements made provided a defining moment for Russian youth culture. It is this culture that Rubchinskiy has managed to expand through the years, with youngsters in cities ranging from New York, Tokyo and Paris now wanting to appear Russian.

Even then, Rubchinskiy had a knack for creating complex and artistis political statements, Pavel Milyakov – who at the time created the visuals for Evil Empire – told High Snobiety. All aspects of the collection mattered: from the location to the soundtrack and the images. “For me the entire event was special because it was new, fresh and serious. And after all these years it still is. Not just in the context of Moscow, but globally, and that is his great strength,” Milvakov concluded.

Menswear designer to watch out for: Gosha Rubchinskiy

It was obvious to everyone who worked with Rubchinskiy at the time that the collection formed part of an ongoing cultural shift among the emerging generation in Russia, High Snobiety writes. “I met Gosha in 2007 or 2008 during a street party,” says Kirill Savchenkov, who helped the designer organize his show. “We talked about the crisis of culture and identity. That this was being expressed through clothing was unique, and we worked with young people who themselves were part of this shift.”

Adidas collaborates with Gosha Rubchinskiy

Many brands seem to like the fact that Rubchinskiy, who grew up in Soviet society, gets his inspiration from the fall of the Iron Curtain and Russian street culture. This has led to a number of collaborations, from Comme des Garcons, Palace and Supreme, to Burberry at present. Last year he was also a guest designer at the 90th edition of Pitti Uomo, where he presented a collection in an abandoned tobacco factory. Brands like Fila, Superga and Kappa contributed to the collection.

Menswear designer to watch out for: Gosha Rubchinskiy

Furthermore, this week it was revealed that Rubchinskiy will once again collaborate with Adidas. The news follows on from the first Adidas collaboration, which was launched earlier this year during Rubchinskiy’s runway show in Kaliningrad, Russia. The new collaborative collection, entitled ‘Adidas Football x Gosha Rubchinskiy’, is inspired by Russian youth culture in the eighties and nineties, met particular focus on the rave scene.

”Working with Adidas allows me to celebrate Russian youth. By combining fashion design that expresses my vision with the best sportswear brand in the world,” Rubchinskiy says about the new collaboration.

The collection includes, among others, an oversized tracksuit jacket, woven tracksuit pants and sleeveless tops. A few items feature the text ‘football’ in Cyrillic. The line also includes shoes and accessories like sports bags and water bottles.

Besides his collaborations, Rubchinskiy also has a eponymous menswear brand. It is sold globally through various retailers. The collections are also available online.

Menswear designer to watch out for: Gosha Rubchinskiy During the month of June FashionUnited will focus on the menswear catwalk season. For all reads, click here.

Photo: Burberry, Gosha Rubchinskiy Facebook