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In Pictures: Nike collaborates with Virgil Abloh for “The Ten”

Off-White designer Virgil Abloh has been chosen by Nike to reimagine ten of their iconic trainers, adding his own touch to the models, in a design project called “The Ten”.

In Pictures: Nike collaborates with Virgil Abloh for “The Ten”

Abloh worked with models including the classic Air Jordan 1, Air Max 90, Air Max 97, Blazer, Hyperdunk and Air Force 1. Along with newer designs: AirVaporMax, Zoom VaporFly, Air Presto and also the iconic Converse (owned by Nike) Chuck Taylor All-Stars, creating his own reconstructed designs to highlight the importance of the shoes.

"It's nothing short of state-of-the-art design"

In Pictures: Nike collaborates with Virgil Abloh for “The Ten”

“What we're talking about here is larger than sneakers, it’s larger than design culture,” says Abloh in a press statement. “It’s nothing short of state-of-the-art design. These 10 shoes have broken barriers in performance and style. To me, they are on the same level as a sculpture of David or the Mona Lisa. You can debate it all you want, but they mean something. And that's what's important.”

In Pictures: Nike collaborates with Virgil Abloh for “The Ten”

The ten models were split into two design themes, the first named ‘REVEALING’ features Air Jordan I, Nike Air Max 90, Nike Air Presto, Nike Air VaporMax and Nike Blazer Mid. Reconstructed, the foam from shoe’s tongues is revealed, labels moved, the Swoosh has also been moved, sometimes enlarged and colour added with orange tabs.

The designer said he “wants this process — opening up the figurative guts of a shoe to reveal the innovation within — to feel approachable. Yes, we're making a desired product, but by making a trip to your local store, and using tools you have at home, you could also make this shoe,” says Abloh.

In Pictures: Nike collaborates with Virgil Abloh for “The Ten”

The ten designs make use of Abloh’s stereotypical Helvetica text, printed on the shoe’s lateral side is tongue and cheek text reading ‘“AIR”’, which refers to Nike Air technology, ‘“FOAM”’ as well as ‘“SHOELACES”’ printed on the shoelaces.

The second part of ‘The Ten’, ‘GHOSTING’ features reconstructed designs of the Converse Chuck Taylor, Nike Zoom Fly SP, Nike Air Force 1 Low, Nike React Hyperdunk 2017 and Nike Air Max 97.

In Pictures: Nike collaborates with Virgil Abloh for “The Ten”

Stripped of colour, the trainer designs all feature translucent uppers, to unite their combined 94-year history according to Abloh. As well as offering an insight into the construction of the shoe.

The stand out design are the Air Jordan 1’s, printed in bright red the trainers still feature the deconstructed design, with the swoosh sewn on at either end.

‘The Ten’ has been produced to highlight ‘shoes that have defined sport and sneaker culture.’ “By combining these shoes with design that amplifies their ‘handmade’ quality, we’re intensifying the human element and expanding the emotional connection of these 10 icons,” says Abloh.

In Pictures: Nike collaborates with Virgil Abloh for “The Ten”

The collaboration collection will be pre-released at NikeLab stores during the upcoming Spring/Summer 2018 fashion weeks in New York, London, Milan and Paris throughout September, and will include: Air Jordan I, Nike Blazer, Nike Air Presto, Nike Air Max 90 and Nike Air VaporMax.

While the full collection will launch in November, available at NikeLab and selected stores worldwide.

Photos courtesy of Nike

Men's SS18 Key Footwear Directions

Trendstop's catwalk team bring you the latest bag, footwear concepts that will be impacting the men's market into Spring/Summer 2018 and beyond. Our footwear experts reveal the key styles from the most directional designers and influential collections as seen on the London, Milan, Paris and New York runways, as well as identifying and analysing three themes certain to be essential to your next men's collection. Our comprehensive footwear coverage and seasonal reports evaluate each trend's commercial value and longevity, giving you the best possible basis for your decision making.

This week, FashionUnited readers get an exclusive look at three footwear directions that will be informing the SS18 season. Sports hybrids continue to be an important influence as The Pumped Up Sole introduces a heavy-duty take on the sneaker inspired sole, into boot categories. In the formals category, details and trims bring new levels of adornment to men's footwear, elevating classic staples with contemporary components. Sandals also get a sporty rework as technical outdoor styles become a spring fashion essential in the Trekker Tape Update.

The Pumped Up Sole

Men's SS18 Key Footwear Directions

Amplified proportions and extreme sole silhouettes are emerging strongly for Spring/Summer 2018 with the trend expected to grow exponentially into Fall/Winter 2018-19. Heavy duty moulding, flared profiles and super chunky sports inspired units elevate casual and athleisure uppers for a conceptual, ultra-modern look.

Special Detail Formal Shoe

Men's SS18 Key Footwear Directions

Formal footwear gets an upgrade with a host of exciting detailing developments. Classic Derby uppers in premium polished leathers are elevated by subtly conceptual components and trims including contrast woven panels, unexpected hardware placements and contrast inset panelling.

Trekker Tape Update

Men's SS18 Key Footwear Directions

High performance footwear moves into the mainstream as technical trekkers become a key sandal style. Sturdy footbed soles that cushion the foot, wide straps made from durable nylon webbing and sporty Velcro fastenings are ready for any terrain with athletic colour-ways and specialist hardware enhancing the outdoor active appeal.

Exclusive Offer

FashionUnited readers can get free access to Trendstop's Spring Summer 2017 Footwear Directions report, an essential guide to the season's emerging footwear looks and design innovations. Simply click here to receive your complimentary report.

Men's SS18 Key Footwear 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.

Images courtesy of Trendstop, left to right: all Dior Homme, Emporio Armani, Rick Owens, Neil Barrett, Marni,Fendi, Ermenegildo Zegna, Louis Vuitton, all Spring Summer 2018.

Spotted on the catwalk: Pantone x Prince Purple

Retailers attempt to shift previous’ season pieces with final reduction sales, as they prepare for the arrival of new Autumn/Winter collections. Set to be filled with with millennial reds and pinks, sometimes a combination of the two, the colour in focus for this season’s collections is distinctly purple though.

Inextricably linked to the late Prince, the Pantone Color Institute has recently named a new colour ‘Prince Purple’, with the colour code ‘Love Symbol No.2’. Seen all over the AW17/18 collections, FashionUnited have collected the stand out purple pieces.

Marni

Spotted on the catwalk: Pantone x Prince Purple

Chloe

Spotted on the catwalk: Pantone x Prince Purple

Alberta Ferretti

Spotted on the catwalk: Pantone x Prince Purple

Andrew GN

Spotted on the catwalk: Pantone x Prince Purple

Acne Studios

Spotted on the catwalk: Pantone x Prince Purple

Christian Wijnants

Spotted on the catwalk: Pantone x Prince Purple

Gucci

Spotted on the catwalk: Pantone x Prince Purple

Prince Purple creates stark colour contrast

Several fashion houses accentuated their looks with Prince Purple, making for interesting colour combinations. Ellery boots, and Calvin Klein’s trousers for example:

Spotted on the catwalk: Pantone x Prince Purple

Prince Purple was also seen in the AW17/18 collections of Elie Saab, Missoni, Sies Marjan, Balenciaga, Akris, Chloé, Dries van Noten and Andrew Gn.

Predicting the colour trends for next season, Pantone has highlighted the top 10 colours we are likely to witness in next season’s designs:

Pantone’s top 10 colour trends for autumn 17

Photos: Autumn/Winter 17 Fashion House Collections via Catwalkpictures.com

Fashion’s Metamorphosis; 7 Changes That Disrupt Everything

The age of exploring new paradigms in fashion presentation is upon us. And all arrows point away from the anachronistic machinery and elitism of old, and towards a more democratic open-plan environment. Here are seven significant changes in the pipeline, if not already in process:

Concrete footprint

Rental of any kind, whether showrooms or brick and mortar stores, has soared beyond many price ranges in fashion capitals like New York and London, but luckily now more than ever there are other options to get product seen. Who would buy eyeglasses online? asked doubters when offered the opportunity to invest in 2010 e-commerce start-up, Warby Parker, now estimated to be worth 1.2 billion dollars by The Wall Street Journal. The rise of the pop-up store allows brands to create a spontaneous and temporary, personalized interactive retail environment––choose a cocktail bar to enhance the social experience or a well-appointed townhouse to create intimacy. Richard Lim, head of business information at the British Retail Consortium is quoted in Retail Week as saying, “We’re only at the beginning of the pop-up revolution.” One can’t help imagining that pop-up events featuring a group of like-minded brands launching together might not be too far off. Pop-up fashion weeks?

Fashion’s Metamorphosis; 7 Changes That Disrupt Everything

Trends

“Today, the idea of a bunch people sitting in a room and deciding what the colors are going to be in two years’ time or what materials are going to be used in three years’ time is a complete nonsense,” says Marc Worth, co-founder of trend forecasting site, WGSN. The latest viral sensation can be all-conquering and then die off before traditional trend forecasting firms like Perclers or Trend Union in Paris, which traditionally work six months in advance and produce beautifully bound tomes of poetic inspiration imagery to sell to companies, even have it on their radar. Ideas now happen overnight which, combined with the industry’s lingering uncertainty of the bi-annual model of showing collections, makes any kind of long-term predictions redundant. Boho, military, 80s and 90s all appear on runways in the same season and the voices of celebrities, bloggers, consumers, and designers jostle for authority. With the rise of “influencers,” brands are now attaching themselves to lifestyles as opposed to trends, resulting in partnerships such as Alexa Chung for Marks & Spencer, Madewell and AG Jeans, or Man Repeller and NARS.

Fashion’s Metamorphosis; 7 Changes That Disrupt Everything

Models

“I don’t care about models. I care about faces,” says Gucci’s Alessandro Michele, “It’s a way to show humanity. It’s funny I think the era of ‘model’ is ended.” In today’s climate of inclusivity, the latest face is most likely to be the designer’s friend or someone spotted on the street, perhaps with physical characteristics previously ignored by fashion (Adwoah Aboa’s freckles or Winnie Harlow’s vitiligo) and with Instagram offering up a steady stream of model cards in the form of selfies, and “plandids,” candid and planned unironic head-to-toe posed photos, the need for casting directors and the traditional model go-see is diminished, while the opportunity of securing unique faces to represent your brand is heightened.

Haute exclusivité

Paris’s couture fortress was challenged more than ever for Fall 2017 with American sportswear label, Proenza Schouler, and fashion-as-art label, Rodarte, descending on the city to show their Spring 2018 ready-to-wear during the haute couture schedule. “We’ve been embroidering for, like, a month now,” said Proenza’s Jack McCullough. “That feather jacket took a month to make. There’s such a cottage industry of that here; three-people ateliers. A loom in an apartment…But it's, like, a 400-year-old loom!" Also included in the four-day event were Resort collections from Miu Miu and Hermès. In this era of disruption, the carousel of fashion weeks, which traditionally had editors complaining and overextended designers short-circuiting, could slow down as a result of further mergers.

Fashion’s Metamorphosis; 7 Changes That Disrupt Everything

Stylists

When Rag & Bone engaged Glen Luchford for Fall to create a series of Polaroid portraits of famous faces like Mikhail Baryshnikov, Amber Valleta and Radiohead’s Thom Yorke, the celebrities were invited to style themselves in the collection. It was an opportunity for them to connect with the brand in a more authentic way than the industry practice of paying celebrities to wear their clothes as a straightforward business transaction. This process thus eliminates the need for those well-paid stylists, and indeed make-up and hair professionals, who swoop into famous houses each season to take over at the last minute the creative vision from the designer and put a fresh spin on the collection.

Runway shows

Two years ago when Givenchy, with the help of The City of New York, offered up 1,200 tickets to the general public for their NYC show, effectively opening up a previously cordoned-off world to the average person, the seeds of change were shown. Growing from that, Rag & Bone’’s creative director, Marcus Wainwright, says, “We’d done something like 25 shows in a row since we started, and I think the times are changing. I woke depressed after the election, as everyone else, and felt that there were no rules anymore.” The success of his February Polaroid project clearly got him thinking: “Part of me questions why you have to do it in September. Creating something powerful that represents the brand and engaging with the fashion press is obviously very important, but is Fashion Week the best time to do that?” Vetements designer, Demna Gvasalia, announced in June to widespread gasps, “We are not going to show in the classical system anymore. I got bored. I think it needs to enter a new chapter. Fashion shows are not the best tool.”

Fashion’s Metamorphosis; 7 Changes That Disrupt Everything

City-specific fashion weeks

For years, London has been viewed as the creative breeding ground of young designers, Milan the showcase for traditional family-based craftsmanship, Paris, the city of light and couture, and New York, the capital of commerce-driven apparel. But McQueen, Burberry, and Westwood began some years ago to jump ship for Milan and Paris; Moschino, then Armani, showed in London; Givenchy in NYC; then Rodarte and Hood By Air turned their backs on NYC for Paris, followed by Proenza Schouler… Who can keep track and do we really need to anymore? What about a bi-annual world championship of fashion where global brands gather in a different city each time?

No swipe left response

You can’t get more analog than a Polaroid camera which provides a single image with no delete or filter option. But the Rag & Bone experiment highlights an important aspect of fashion that we had lost sight of in our race to compete with a sped-up system, Instagram’s immediate gratification, and that apparently insatiable Veruca Salt-like consumer. Clothes are analog. They are IRL sensory items in which we wrap our bodies. They are like hugs, the epitome of touchy-feely. No device or online interaction can replicate that. And the more forward-thinking in our industry are beginning to recognize it.

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: catwalkpictures, Empty Bleeker Street storefronts author’s own; Rag & Bone Facebook; officialwinnieharlow.com; New York Fashion Week Facebook

Nike Cortez by A.L.C

Los Angeles based label A.L.C has collaborated with Nike to produce their own Nike Cortez trainer.

Featured in the brand’s previous lookbooks, the classic Nike Cortez has been redesigned in three colours - black, terracotta and cream accompanied with brass lace tips, snakeskin on the heel, inspirational quotes on the foot beds and longer laces - fitting with the style of the brand’s Autumn 2017 collection.

Nike Cortez by A.L.C

Do it, Own it

Founder and designer at A.L.C, Andrea Lieberman said "The Cortez has always been my go-to shoe.” “I design A.L.C. clothes with a sneaker in mind, and I think people have started to style their daily outfits with sneakers in mind, too. The Cortez shares that 'never not hustling' spirit that define both the Nike Cortez and A.L.C."

Nike Cortez by A.L.C

The collaborative Cortez collection will first be released on August 25, exclusively available at Nike x Nordstrom boutiques and Nordstrom The Grove.

Later on August 28, the collection will become available at nike.com, Nike+ SNKRS, as well as Net-A-Porter, select Nordstrom stores and A.L.C.

Nike Cortez by A.L.C

Photos courtesy of Nike

Dress to impress - how to take the fashion industry by storm

OPINION What should I wear? This question arises often but with particular urgency when working in the fashion industry where one has to dress to impress. Be it for a job interview or a particularly busy day at the office: FashionUnited knows the no-go criteria and how to make a good impression.

The usual business attire in 'normal' jobs consists of a pantsuit or pencil skirt with blazer in neutral colours, combined with a white blouse.

Fun fact: Apart from one white blouse with frills, I do not own anything of that sort. The last time I wore such a 'uniform' was in college when I worked as a hostess for a well-known bank at a trade fair. The money I earned, I quickly invested in clothes that one needs as a fashion professional: a woolen coat by Max Mara, Acne boots and something by Margiela.

Three rules for a lasting impression

Especially in the fashion business, it is impossible to recommend a particular outfit. Every job is different and everyone's boss is different too. But there are a few rules of thumb.

The first and non-negotiable rule: a well-groomed appearance. Regardless of what you wear, make sure to acquaint it - even fleetingly - with an iron. A lint brush may also be a good idea.

The second golden rule: Always wear one unusual piece and have a good story about it ready. The fashion industry appreciates if you show that you are taking it seriously but at the same time, be fluent in sarcasm. At the moment, everything that Paris Hilton would wear is also good for you.

The third golden rule: Do bring your Supreme brick to work. Other fashion insiders will understand.

Dress to impress - how to take the fashion industry by storm

International Dresscode

If in doubt: Black is the uniform of fashion professionals - especially in New York and Berlin. In London, it is important to show one's true colour(s), whereas you can be a bit sexy and more extroverted in Italy. And in Paris - well, if you managed to score a job in Paris, then you will most certainly already know how to dress. If you have been called for a job interview in Paris, then follow one of the numerous ‚How to dress like a Parisian/French Woman‘-Guides. By now, there should be a separate section for them on Amazon. In any case, you should either wear brand new sneakers (worn out ones are a big no-no) or heels. In Berlin, the opposite is true.

Stay cool in summer

The sun is beating down mercilessly. But 35 degrees Celsius plus are not an excuse for dressing sloppily - not in fashion. For women: The new keyword is body positivity. That means, you may wear what you feel like, when you feel like it. Our tip: Always cover your breasts, as least the nipples. For men: Resign yourself to the fact that you will have to sweat. Short pants and half-sleeved shirts are a no-no. After all, you have to be at a disadvantage somewhere, right? Just see it as one week in the year that you have to pay for your usual priviledges. And thankfully, European summers are short.

Last but not least: Even if you do not have one, pick a favourite designer. You will face that question sooner or later and if you cannot produce an answer, your cover will be blown. The best is if you pick someone from the '90s because then you will prove that you know your history and that you also know what is hip. I would suggest Comme des Garçons, Walter Van Beirendonck or Helmut Lang.

Dress to impress - how to take the fashion industry by storm During the month of August FashionUnited will focus on Work in Fashion. For all reads on the theme, click here.

This article was previously published on FashionUnited.de Translated and edited by: Simone Preuss

Illustrations: Studio Iva (IGM: studio_iva)

Resort 2018 Key Accessories Directions

Trendstop's catwalk team brings you the latest accessories themes emerging at the international Resort collections across bags, belts and headwear categories. These key looks will be impacting on the accessories market for the upcoming spring/summer season and beyond. Our inspirational seasonal reports are curated by our experts, evaluating each individual trend's commercial value and longevity giving you the optimum level of in-depth analysis to inform your decision making.

This week, FashionUnited readers get an exclusive insight into three influential accessory styles that will be key to the SS18 season. The Fashion Pack Valise updates traditional luggage looks with a modern take on retro themes. A strong vintage narrative is also in evidence among the 50s inspired printed headwraps and sweetheart headbands of The Turban Knot. The athleisure trend shows no sign of slowing own as activewear apparel informs the sporting stripes and functional hardware of D-Ring Athletics.

Fashion Pack Valise

Resort 2018 Key Accessories Directions

The traditional valise bag is reworked for SS18 with an on-trend retro-modern approach. Structured leather or canvas fabrications maintain the boxy profile of classic accessory silhouettes while vintage florals and softened brights add a feminine touch. Luxe leather detailing elevates luggage looks to premium status.

D-Ring Athletics

Resort 2018 Key Accessories Directions

The athleisure trend's strong influence on apparel translates into accessories with utilitarian sports infused belts. Grosgrain ribbon and canvas webbing fabrications are given an active appeal with bold, athletic strippings and functional pull-through ring fastenings.

The Turban Knot

Resort 2018 Key Accessories Directions

Retro inspired looks make a comeback with turban knotted headbands and scarves inspired by the 1950s. Leopard print velvet, floral appliqués and lush satin finishes tap into the season's vintage vibe while bringing a touch of glamour to a bad hair day saviour.

Exclusive Offer

FashionUnited readers can get free access to Trendstop's Spring Summer 2017 Bags & Belts Directions, an essential report featuring the season's key silhouettes, styling and detailing from the catwalks. Simply click the banner to receive your complimentary report.

Resort 2018 Key Accessories 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.

Images courtesy of Trendstop: DSquared2, Orla Kiely, Tibi, Maggie Marilyn, Emilio Pucci, Red Valentino, Gucci, Emanuel Ungaro, Cynthia Rowley, all Resort 2018.

Exploring Japan's influence on global fashion

Japan’s bountiful visual culture has long been a place to take inspiration from. The futuristic yet traditional culture has become a fascination among western communities, translating into our creative industries, particularly fashion.

Described as “another planet” by trend watcher, Ronny de Vylder, the Japanese believe in everything they do, influencing the rest of the world with their ‘Wabi-Sabi’ view of ‘finding art in imperfections’.

Translated into the work of Japanese designers, Rei Kawakubo, Issey Miyake and Yohji Yamamoto, they pioneered the use of androgyny and unevenness in their designs, leading the growth of Wabi-Sabi in the West.

Arriving in Paris in 1980s/90s, the avant-garde designers challenged western ideals of feminine silhouettes such as Dior’s ‘new look’ and opposed the popular ‘glam’ look of 80s/90s Paris. Yamamoto said he wanted ‘to make men’s clothes for women’, Miyake famously made a collection from a single piece of cloth, and Kawakubo introduced black, uneven female body shapes to western runways.

Kawakubo’s unconventional designs inspired legendary European designers John Galliano, Martin Margiela and Alexander Mcqueen and remain relevant in today’s fashion industry.

Exploring Japan's influence on global fashion

Galliano in particular took influence from Kawakubo’s use of black, and in Autumn 1994 his Ready to Wear collection stood out with all black looks partnered with oriental influences; later resulting in his role as creative director at Givenchy.

McQueen also took inspiration from Kawakubo, exploring the female body with a range of materials, some transparent, partnered with silk japanese inspired trousers, jackets and dresses in his legendary La Poupée, Spring 1997 show.

FashionUnited at the Met exhibit @metmuseum #fashion #fashionunited #met #exhibit

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Now the focal point of The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s ‘The Art of the In-Between’ retrospective, Kawakubo’s immense career undoubtedly changed the face of fashion, contributing to western fashion’s obsession with Japan.

However, it was not just the Japanese fashion design that has influenced the west, but the visuals of Japan itself.

Named Japonisme by French artists, the application of Japanese motifs such as flowers, birds, dragons, waves usually seen on kimonos extended to the west. Kimono’s, still worn regularly by the Japanese, were central to the expansion of Japonisme into fashion.

A stand out collection that proved this was Dior Couture Spring 2007, designed again by Galliano the collection was simply Japonisme. Brightly coloured kimonos and dresses covered with waves, frogs, fish, flowers and other nature, were accompanied by geisha makeup and tied together with origami folding techniques.

Exploring Japan's influence on global fashion

Translating further into today's fashion, a resurgence of kimono dresses, silk patterned tops and dragon motifs mean Japonisme continues to influence today’s youth.

#STREETmag #ストリート STREET = Sutorīto from #NewYorkFashionWeek #NYFW17 Spring-Summer Photo by @shinichitsutsui

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Street style has also been central to the diffusion of Japanese fashion to the west.

Soichi Aoki, a Tokyo born photographer published ‘Street’ in 1985, a magazine which featured young London’s street style. He went on to develop another magazine called ‘FRUiTS’ in 1997, which focussed on Tokyo’s Harajuku district and the avant-garde fashion that was being worn and made by Tokyo’s youth.

FRUiTS No.7 譲ってください! 5000円で購入します!

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Recognising a change in fashion, Aoki started a worldwide phenomenon of unique styles and recognised subcultures, inspiring Western youth to learn about and recreate the styles that they were witnessing in FRUiTS.

Subcultures such as Decora emerged, still popular now, participants dress as their favourite anime, manga or other Japanese character - covering themselves with an abundance of merchandise and random objects.

#FRUiTS #フルーツ #harajuku

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London’s street fashion subcultures were inspired by Harajuku, taking on Japonisme, with street brands such as Maharishi continuing to use motifs such as dragons in their designs.

Japanese kanji and kana symbols have become a huge part of western fashion, with both high end and high street brands using them in their designs.

Global brand Adidas has been at the forefront of using these symbols, adding them to apparel underneath their logo. Hype have also used the symbols in their designs, along with other imagery like cherry blossoms. Asos have joined this trend too, offering hoodies and tshirts with japanese symbols.

Exploring Japan's influence on global fashion

As global fashion continues to evolve, all that’s left to do is witness the never ending inspiration from the futuristic country of opposites: Japan.

Photos courtesy of Pexels, Paul van Riel, Francois Guillot / AFP, Asos website

Why Do Fashion Creatives Change Their Minds So Much?

An outsider might assume that the creative visionaries heading up our favorite fashion houses make decisions with singular focus. At the start of the season, decrees on themes, color palettes, silhouettes are swiftly issued and it’s off to the races. That’s what separates them from us mere mortals who can’t even decide what sandwich filling to have for lunch. Faced with the daily tsunami of influences and imagery, we dawdle and second-guess ourselves, while the exceptional cut through the din, honing in on exactly what the future should hold. Then, nameless minions scatter in every direction their sole concerns executing that crystalized vision so that it appears fully formed on runways and in stores shortly thereafter.

Not so fast. The creative process looks quite different from the inside. It’s fragmented, often shambolic, and in some companies it’s a miracle anything ever gets completed at all. Because fashion’s creatives are notorious for changing their minds. Delays, missed deadlines, postponed meetings, and requests to “re-do the calendar” are a daily occurrence. Design assistants and their production counterparts could go on to work for the U.N. such is their expertise in tactical cajoling and negotiating with incredulous factory managers, who produce collections for multiple companies, and need to schedule each job in an orderly line. One change of heart can throw their schedule into chaos, never mind what a succession of them can do.

Why Do Fashion Creatives Change Their Minds So Much?

In the forward to the book, “Alexander McQueen Working Process” by Nick Waplington, Susannah Frankel writes, “McQueen lived and worked in the moment and it was the job of all around him to transform his difficult and at times disturbing mind set at any given time into a reality. He moved quickly, changed his mind often, was wildly ambitious, and intolerant of anyone who failed to keep up with him. Those who remained with him for any length of time are remarkable for their intelligence, inventiveness and patience.”

Poor time management on your part does not constitute an emergency on mine

You may have come across this sign in an office space you’ve visited or worked in. You’ll not find it in a fashion studio. Poor time management by those in command is precisely what constitutes emergencies for everyone on the chain below. Underlings carry the stress, work long hours, feel the pressure to “come through”, and are aware that while their demands are unfair and illogical they must make them. Mountains must be moved. The irrational becomes the expected.

Fashion’s great thinkers cross continents in their mind while the rest of us are asleep. Throughout the day something they’ve read, a movie trailer they’ve seen, rumors about another design house, a glimpsed magazine cover, sit-downs with sales representatives, overheard snippets of conversation, a view of a store window, cloud formation or bird in a tree, even the attire of an intern, can throw all yesterday's work up in the air.

How to cope

It’s important to learn how to deal with this frustrating phenomenon if you wish to work in fashion. The first rule to follow: never call this out as “flip-flopping.” Fashion creatives exist in a capricious, cushioned world where anything they say goes. Scratch your head in your own time and out of range. When in the presence of the great mind-changer, scramble to obey the latest pronouncement, even though it may be obsolete by mid-afternoon. Improvise and try to intuit what they might need (pins, scissors, lobotomy) a few seconds before they ask for it. Wear an earnest, semi-squinting look, nod, and even grab Post-its and scribble notes. Never refer to those notes again, least of all in their presence. Take them only to demonstrate that you are hanging on their every inspired word, and don’t want to miss anything.

Why Do Fashion Creatives Change Their Minds So Much?

Know that they are not suffering from amnesia or testing you. In fact, it’s got nothing to do with you. Their brains are just constructed differently than most people’s. In the 60s influential pioneer in the psychology of creativity, Frank Barron, invited writers, architects, entrepreneurs, and other highly creative types to spend time together during which he carried out intensive studies on their behavior. His research, which made him famous and is still widely referenced, led him to deduce that creatives are more comfortable with contradictory thinking than average people; they can endure high levels of disorder, even distilling order from mayhem, juggling extremes, taking risks, all in the name of arriving at the most original idea.

A juggling act

Psychologists now commonly believe that the creative process draws from both sides of the brain, not just the right one which houses the imagination, as previously thought, but also the left which houses attention and memory. The creative individual flexibly combines both these networks, juggling cognitive and emotional thoughts simultaneously. Furthermore creative impulses are said to be at their strongest during periods of daydreaming and ruminating. So when you wonder how your boss could have changed his mind in the time it took for him to visit the little boys’ room, now you understand.

In Barron’s own words, creative people are “both more primitive and more cultured, more destructive and more constructive, occasionally crazier and yet adamantly saner, than the average person.”

As a result of time spent with these creatives you too will become crazier and saner, but you will be less able to tell the two conditions apart. And that is the key to successfully working in the fashion industry.

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.

Why Do Fashion Creatives Change Their Minds So Much? During the month of August FashionUnited will focus on Work in Fashion. For all reads on the theme, click here.

Images: commons.Wikimedia.org: Alexander McQueen at his Fall 09 show, Francois Guillot AFP; Right brain image: commons.Wikimedia.org, Allan Ajifo, Source www.flickr.com 7 July 2014.

Coach unveils Selena Gomez collaboration

Last December, New York-based accessories brand Coach announced that it would be partnering with singer and actress Selena Gomez on a “special design project” and they have unveiled the Selena Grace, a double-handled bag named after the star.

The Coach x Selena Gomez collection will launch globally on September 1 in Coach stores and online, and has been designed by the singer in collaboration with the brand’s creative director Stuart Vevers.

The Selena Grace has been designed to reflect Gomez’s “all-American style” as a “go-everywhere bag built for real life” and features personal touches from the singer such as a hangtag bearing her signature and a storypatch sewn inside with her empowering message: "To be you is to be strong." The bag is further customised with "Love yourself first" in Selena's handwriting—a phrase inspired by one of her tattoos, embossed onto the base of the bag.

First look: The Coach x Selena Gomez collection

The double-handled signature bag will be available in several exclusive colours: Selena Black Cherry, Selena White and Selena Red. The collection also includes bag charms, wallets, and a wristlet.

"It was really fun to create this collection with Selena and design pieces that are cool and feminine like her," said Vevers. "When we designed the Selena Grace, it was about exploring the qualities Selena wanted in a bag and creating something that felt personal to her."

Gomez added: "I'm very excited for everyone to finally see the design Stuart and I worked on together. I can't wait to carry it—it's totally versatile, perfect to wear day-to-night and it goes with everything.”

The Coach x Selena Gomez collection will be available for pre-order online at Coach.com from August 14 and available in Coach stores globally from September 1.

Image: courtesy of Coach by Steven Meisel