Italian Dress: Geography’s Role on Major Designers and Traditional Fashion

Below is an extensive research paper and its corresponding presentation I completed as assignment in my course, “Dress, Society and Culture” at the University of Georgia.


Introduction

From Fendi to Ferragamo, Italy is often recognized as a fashion-conscious country, which has been established by the iconic designers that are rooted in Italian history. Considering the notion that various Italian cities have regional cultures, most Italian designers have developed as a product of the specific place in which they originated, rather than the country, as a whole. Thus, Italian dress can be classified as highly regionalized, reflecting the traditions, values and culture of a specific Italian society.

Italy can be divided into three main regions, including the north, the center and the south. Traditionally, the north encompasses cities such as Milan, Lake Como or Venice; the center includes Florence and Rome; the south contains Naples, the Amalfi Coast and the island of Sicily. Not only is the country separated by physical regions based on geography and climate, Italy’s administrative roots are more decentralized. Specifically, da Cruz (2000) comments on the state of Italy post-World War II, saying that a “consistently insecure governmental structure resulted in the absence of a unified Italian fashion center, thereby estranging the country’s fashion artists from competition in the mid-century global market.” Thus, not only was the country somewhat excluded from the worldwide trade, but it was also unable to establish a single, booming “fashion capital,” such as Paris, New York or London.

Furthermore, White (2000) defines the post-war period as “an era of rapid economic, social and cultural change in Italy” (p. 5). Although many luxury Italian brands were established in the early twentieth century prior to World War II, it was not until the mid-to-late twentieth century that they picked up esteem, as a whole. In fact, 1965 marks “the emergence of Italy as a major international stylistic and economic force in international fashion” (White, 2000, p 6). Because most brands developed within a more segmented country prior to World War II, the several designers who are a product of Italy are a representation of the region in which they originally served, rather than the whole country. While the list of Italian fashion designers is expansive, this research focuses on one from each region—Prada, Gucci and Emilio Pucci.

Prada, which surfaced in Milan in 1913, was founded by Mario Prada as a luxury leather goods business; in 1978, Muiccia Prada assumed ownership from her mother, making her the third generation of the Prada family to oversee the business (Bolton & Koda, 2012). The central Italian designer to be researched is Gucci, founded in Florence in 1921 by Guccio Gucci. The “small family luggage and leather goods firm survived World War II to become part of the great post-war upsurge of Italian craftsmanship” (Mower, 2006, p. 15). Also, in 1950, Emilio Pucci “opened a boutique on Capri dedicated to simple, yet beautiful resort clothing that embodied the island’s natural beauty and refreshingly bright colours” (Mansour, 2018). Thus, these iconic Italian brands have a rich history, shaped by the region in which they began.

Because these three brands all came to fruition throughout the twentieth century,this research will focus mainly on modern Italian dress in each region. While understanding the history of each brand is important, their influences are still relevant in today’s cultures. While regional cuisine, weather, economic climate and overall cultural norms certainly played a role in the development of traditional Italian dress, how did Italian designers—specifically Prada, Gucci and Emilio Pucci—evolve as a product of their respective regions?

Prada and Milan

Prada is often associated with elegance, as the brand has its roots selling to Italian elites in the early twentieth century. In fact, in 1919, “Mario received a warrant for his goods from the Italian royal family” (Bolton & Koda, 2012, p. 29), which allowed him to use the House of Savoy’s distinct coat of arms in its logo. Thus, Prada’s designs are exclusive, sophisticated and chic. After Muiccia Prada took over in 1978, she upheld the original aesthetic, but also began to experiment with ‘ugly.’ According to Williams (2018), Muiccia “has been using her ugly-chic designs to market insider cool for decades.” The current aesthetic of Prada combines sophistication with ‘ugly’—a style that certainly appeals to the worldwide fashion industry, but more specifically to the Milanese.

On a personal level, Muiccia Prada’s garments are influenced by Milan. She explains how she seeks inspiration from individual interests in life, in society, in culture when designing (Bolton & Koda, 2012). Thus, the city she grew up in, the city where her father began the famed fashion house and the city in which she currently resides—Milan— influence her each and every day, in new and innovative manners. Also, Steele (2003) aligns the brand with Milan saying, “Prada’s style is modern, drawing on the northern Italian tradition of having discreetly elegant clothes beautifully made by local tailors and dressmakers” (p. 107).

Although Milan is often considered the present-day fashion capital of Italy, Milan came to fruition as a prominent financial center and a prosperous manufacturing city (Lecco & Foot, 2017). Thus, it is interesting to note that Muiccia Prada’s sophisticated and minimal designs were often influenced by the city, itself, and its overall atmosphere. In fact, she admits how her garments are inspired by industrial materials and techniques, as she utilizes synthetic fabrics, technical materials and military-influenced garments (Bolton & Koda, 2012). These types of designs are a leading example of how Prada has seen success in designs that are ‘ugly.’

After taking over the label, Muiccia updated the conservative merchandise. “In 1985, she introduced a line of lightweight backpacks in a fine-gauge nylon satin, trimmed with leather, that pretty much transformed urban life” (Bolton & Koda, 2012, pp. 29-30). Named the pradabag(pronounced as one word), the simple design soon became highly desired by Milanese working women and men, alike. Thus, it is evident that Muiccia’s first success within the family business was influenced by the active Milanese people and the need for a utilitarian, sleek handbag.

Although Muiccia Prada has clear influences from the people of Milan, she also seeks inspiration from their lavish lifestyles. According to Bolton and Koda (2012), “her style is both deeply rooted in the sartorial conventions of bourgeois Milan—the drab palette and sober luxury of tailored clothes that are meant to convey substance and respectability—and incorrigibly ironic about them” (p. 30). Whether designing to support the simple, austere clothing of the city’s inhabitants or poking fun at them, she analyzes the Milanese people—the jobs, their family structure, how they commute, what they do for fun—and creates garments with them in mind.

In an analysis of Prada’s Spring 2019 Ready-To-Wear collection, Mower (2018) exclaims, “placing fashion on an equal footing with an art performance is a prerogative Muiccia Prada has always asserted. It puts people on the edge of their seats, straining to correctly perceive what this oracle of fashion will have to say about the state of the world.” Throughout several decades, Muiccia Prada has remained true to her Milanese roots as a designer, yet has continued to challenge the world around her.

Gucci and Florence

Ornate, eccentric and glamorous, Gucci embodies symbols of wealth, ranging from well-to-do Florentines or hip-hop artists of the modern day. Although Guccio Gucci certainly established the label as elaborate and luxurious, Alessandro Michele—the current Creative Director—has continued these types of designs, while also creating a “new romantic and flamboyant, multi-hued aesthetic” (Finnigan, 2016).

According to Foot, Silver and Erhlich (2017), “the present glory of Florence is mainly its past.” In fact, the city still honors its history in terms of religion, art, power and wealth (Foot, Silver & Erhlich, 2017). Thus, Gucci strives for opulence. Much like Florence is known for particular art (Michelangelo’s Davidor Botticelli’s Birth of Venus) and architecture (Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fioreor commonly ‘the Duomo’), Gucci is also known for particular symbolism, such as the “bamboo, the green-red-green webbing, horsebits and the famous GG initials that were originated by Guccio Gucci” (Mower, 2006, p. 14). According to Mower (2006), Gucci’s products “were handmade at Gucci work-benches in Florence, constructed with the finest materials” (p. 14).

Florence, itself, is an opulent city and Gucci’s overall aesthetic is certainly mirrored in this. Goldsmiths and jewelers are concentrated on the Ponte Vecchio, a symbol of Florence (Foot, Silver & Erhlich, 2017), making precious metals and jewels both a part of the city’s commerce and Gucci’s collections through the years. Therefore, “Gucci also perceived the status attached to the sporting pursuits of his leisured customers” (Mower, 2006, p. 25).  Also, the brand utilizes the finest leather from the cattle of the local Tuscan region. Thus, the brand established an ostentatious target customer early on and has rarely strayed from that.

Florence “is far more dependent on tourism” (Foot, Silver & Erhlich, 2017) and of the three designers explored, Gucci is certainly the most saturated in the modern fashion industry. From GG belts and Gucci t-shirts seen in streetwear to the sheer number of times the brand is name-dropped in hip-hop lyrics, Gucci is certainly well-known. Hence, both the city and the brand are favored by the general public. Mower (2006) adds “The name of Gucci became yet another attraction luring American tourists to Italy, a force that transformed the country into the sexiest possible holiday destination” (p. 15). Also, “When the hip-hop outsiders become multi-millionaires, they put Gucci at the top of their shopping list.” (Mower, 2006, p. 30).  Truly, Gucci has been, and still is, a sought-after brand.

As a tribute to its Florentine roots, Gucci recently opened Gucci Garden, a concept-store, museum and restaurant, all rolled into one. According to Goldberg (2018), “The aim is to hearken back to Florence’s roots as a hub of activity–where markets, restaurants and various shops lined the Palazzo where the ‘Garden’ is now based, selling handmade crafts and delicacies.” Not only does Gucci strive to represent a Florentine influence with their products, but with their overall brand image and mission.

According to Mower (2006), “Gucci is quintessentially Florentine” (p. 16). Even today, Gucci’s Creative Director—Alessandro Michele—seeks to revive Gucci’s past. In an analysis of the Spring 2019 Ready-To-Wear collection, Mower (2018) describes Michele as “a designer who rummages around in the past and ends up finding himself there. The past living in the present: There is a global powerhouse of a brand built on Michele’s ability to keep magicking up that fantasia.” Even though the Gucci family is no longer involved with the brand, Michel understands their founding vision and respects their Florentine roots.

Emilio Pucci and Capri

Emilio Pucci’s “brightly colored, synthetic clothes emphasized physical exuberance as well as a feminine intellectual charisma” (Casadio, 1998, p. 7). Thus, the brand’s overall aesthetic can certainly be characterized as bold, whimsical and distinct. With once glance at a Pucci print, the viewer can easily imagine the garment’s use in a seaside town, such as Capri.

Although Emilio Pucci was born to a wealthy Florentine family, he spent much time in the south of Italy, on the island of Capri. Soon after launching his fashion career, Pucci crafted a collection in 1949 in Capri, the island which had a strong influence on his use of color and thematic prints (Casadio, 1998). Not only was Capri a source of inspiration to Pucci, but he also utilized the island and its craftsman for his garments. According to Casadio (1998), “Pucci also had his clothing produced in Capri, by small-scale tailors along the coast, not long because of the low production costs, but also because he adored spending his free time on the beautiful island. There, free from distractions, he was able to dedicate himself to completing his design” (p. 12).

As a popular resort town in southern Italy, Capri is famous for its beautiful scenery, a mild climate and flourishing vegetation (“Island of Capri,” 2015). Pucci, himself, was a frequent visitor of the island for vacation or solace but, in 1950, he opened a boutique, La Canzone del Mare (The Song of the Sea), at Marina Piccola, “a decision that provoked much curiosity and created a scandal among his aristocratic friends and relatives who considered work rather beneath their status” (Casadio, 1998, p. 12). While visiting Capri on holiday was status-quo for Pucci’s contemporaries, deciding to live and work there full-time certainly was not.

A major influence that Capri made on Pucci was through the vivid colors seen throughout the landscape. In fact, Casadio (1998) adds“color played a primary role. It was a signifier, an indicator of emotions, a metaphorical language that recalled the depths of the sea, iridescence, and the infinite tonalities of shadow” (p. 17).

In an analysis of Emilio Pucci’s Spring 2019 Ready-To-Wear, Phelps (2018) exclaims how “the visionary founder set the codes for color, swirling print, and sportif decades ago. Now, according to the design team lead, the internal thinking is focused on ‘locating the future of Pucci.’ Like its past, the house’s future appears to be ‘on holiday.’” By establishing the brand in a city of lavish escape, Pucci set the tone for the brand’s image of bold, lightweight resort-wear.

Conclusion

Although some countries can identify a single fashion capital, Italy lacks this ability. After World War II, Florence claimed the title of fashion capital by hosting the annual Pitti Palace shows and exhibitions, but Milan saw growth in the apparel industry and seized the title by the 1970s  (Foot, Silver & Erhlich, 2017). However, having multiple hubs of fashion has only allowed the country to flourish in the textile, leather, manufacturing and overall fashion industries.

“With Milan and Tuscany as saturated production centers, and Venice, Rome, Sicily and Florence as inspirational landmark in the evolution of the Italian aesthetic, the growth and influence of Italian fashion is ever present and ‘Made in Italy’ is one of the most recognizable stamps of quality and innovation in contemporary fashion” (da Cruz, 2000). As seen through the examples of Prada, Gucci and Emilio Pucci, Italian fashion is highly regionalized. Although the ‘Made in Italy’ label carries the same degree of superiority, despite the specific city that it came from. According to Paulicelli (2015), “one of the most appealing factors Italy possesses in the eyes of foreigners is the idea of ‘authenticity’, a cultural capital that is linked to heritage and the past.” This regard for ‘Made in Italy’ products comes chiefly from the authenticity of the craftmanship. Italian dress, which is regionalized and therefore unique, varies visually from city to city, but carries an overall sense of quality, despite its city of origin.

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References

Bolton, A. and Koda, H. (2012). Schiaparelli & Prada: Impossible conversations. New York,   NY: The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Casadio, M. (1998). Emilio Pucci. New York, NY: Universe of Fashion.

da Cruz, E. (2000). “Made in Italy: Italian fashion from 1950 to now.” In Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History. New York, NY: The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Finnigan, K. (2016, May 8). Farewell minimalism: How Gucci brought the fun back into     fashion. Retrieved October 29, 2018 from https://www.telegraph.co.uk.

Foot, J., L.A. Silver & B. Ehrlich. (2017, September 20). Florence, Italy. Retrieved October 22, 2018 from https://www.britannica.com.

Goldberg, C. (2018, January 9). Eat Chic: Gucci is serving up exclusive products–and pasta–in   Florence. Retrieved October 22, 2018 from https://www.harpersbazaar.com.

Island of Capri. (2015, January 23). Retrieved on October 22, 2018 from https://www.britannica.com.

Lecco, A. and J. Foot. (2017, November 29). Milan, Italy. Retrieved October 22, 2018 from https://www.britannica.com.

Mansour, L. (2018, February 22). Prince Of Prints: The history of Emilio Pucci. Retrieved September 16, 2018 from http://aeworld.com.

Mower, S. (2006). Gucci by Gucci: 85 years of Gucci. New York, NY: The Vendome Press.

Mower, S. (2018, September 24). Spring 2019 ready-to-wear, Gucci. Retrieved October 22, 2018 from https://www.vogue.com.

Paulicelli, E. (2015). Italian fashion: yesterday, today and tomorrow. Journal of Modern Italian Studies, 20(1), 1-9.

Phelps, N. (2018, September 20). Spring 2019 Ready-To-Wear, Emilio Pucci. Retrieved October 22, 2018 from https://www.vogue.com.

Steele, V. (2003). Fashion, Italian Style. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.

Williams, R. (2018, August 5). How Prada is rising nostalgia and ‘ugly fashion’ to turnaround. Retrieved October 29, 2018 from https://www.businessoffashion.com.

White, N. (2000). Reconstructing Italian Fashion. New York, NY: Berg.

 

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How To Be A Successful “Maxxinista”

What’s better than a bargain? As a fashion-minded yet budget-conscious college student, I often find myself at stores such as Nordstrom Rack, Saks Off 5th, Marshalls, and, of course, my favorite place to shop- TJ Maxx.

Often, my friends are surprised to discover that a certain item I am wearing is actually from TJ Maxx. They usually say, “Wow! I need to go there with you next time!” It’s like my friends think that I have some secret way of sifting through their crowded racks. Although I really do enjoy “the hunt” for something unique and affordable at TJ Maxx, here are my tips to being a successful Maxxinista!

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Mary Kate Donahue, 2017.

  1. Be selfish. If I am being honest, I have my most success at TJ Maxx, when I go by myself or with one other person (read: my mom) who doesn’t want to actually shop side by side. Looking throughout the store by yourself frees you from any distraction and let’s you focus on what you like!
  2. Have a game plan. Often times I go into TJ Maxx without one specific thing that I am looking for, but I still develop a game plan to keep me from getting overwhelmed and spending too much money. I start by asking myself what I might actually be in need of at the moment. Do I have enough workout gear to wear to class each day? Answer: I could always use more of that, so I definitely check out the activewear section. Dresses? Answer: Not something I see myself wearing in the next few months, but I’ll at least pass through to see if anything catches my eye.
  3. Not totally sure? Take it home to try on. The lighting in TJ Maxx dressing rooms can be harsh, so if there is ever a garment that I am not completely sold on, I buy it, to take home and try on with my undergarments, shoes and accessories in my room, where there is better lighting. If you decide you actually don’t like the piece, returns are TJ Maxx are super simple.
  4. Peruse Rent the Runway section. This piece of advice can vary depending on the TJ Maxx location. For example, two of the TJ Maxx stores by my home in the D.C. area has an expansive Rent the Runway selection; whereas, the choices are a bit slimmer at the TJ Maxx in Athens, GA. However, be sure to sit through these garments carefully, as you can find notable brand-name designers at such a steal! Pro tip: the Rent the Runway garments has a purple tag, rather than a white tag like the other merchandise.
  5. Don’t skip the shoe section! Seriously, some of my favorite pairs of shoes are from TJ Maxx. I have scored $60 Jack Rogers and $15 Catherine Malandrinos, as well as some unique shoes that I maybe would not have found elsewhere.
  6. Don’t get sucked in while you are waiting in line. TJ Maxx has a special talent for reading your mind when it comes to the products placed at the point-of-sale aisle leading to the cash register. Pumpkin scented candle? Gotta have it. A new shade of nail polish? Well, it’s only $3.99! Unless it is a product you truly will use often, don’t let yourself fall into this trap!
  7. Shop often. One of the biggest reasons I have success at TJ Maxx is the fact that I stop by the store, bi-weekly if not weekly. TJ Maxx gets weekly shipments so if you choose a day of the week that works for you and always go that same day, you are bound to find something new each time!

Happy shopping, fellow Maxxinistas!

White After Labor Day: Social Faux Pas or Social Construct?

Early September marks Labor Day and the end of September signifies the official start of autumn, but does that mean you have to send you white pants or ivory blouses to the back of your closet?

According to Fitzpatrick (2009), the “no white after Labor Day” rule was socially constructed by members of society’s upper crust in early twentieth century, as a way to separate themselves. She says, “Along with a slew of commands about salad plates and fish forks, the no-whites dictum provided old-money élites with a bulwark against the upwardly mobile. But such mores were propagated by aspirants too: those savvy enough to learn all the rules increased their odds of earning a ticket into polite society. “It [was] insiders trying to keep other people out,” says Steele, “and outsiders trying to climb in by proving they know the rules.”

Thus, if you ask me, white after Labor Day is certainly acceptable, especially in hotter climates such as Athens, Georgia. Also, the queen of etiquette herself— Emily Post— debunks this myth. In an advice column on the Emily Post website, it states: “It’s more about fabric choice today than color. Even in the dead of winter in northern New England the fashionable wear white wools, cashmeres, jeans, and down-filled parkas. The true interpretation is “wear what’s appropriate—for the weather, the season, or the occasion.” Also, with the rise of reasonless dressing, this notion has even more credibility and relevance.

So, now that you know you are allowed to wear white after Labor Day, how should you do it? Keep reading to find out!

How To Wear White After Labor Day
  1. Stick with the basic, tried-and-true staple in every woman’s closet— the white v-neck tee. Layered under a chunky sweater or worn with dark denim jeans and a lightweight scarf, this tee can be worn 365 days of the year.
  2. For the dead of winter, a white or cream wool peacoat can be a striking statement. Just as Emily Post emphasized, it’s more about fabric than color.
  3. Believe it or not, white jeans can certainly still be worn into autumn and in early spring. Pair them with a blouse, leather jacket and your favorite booties!
  4. Whether it be a fabulous studded clutch, a jacket or a mini skirt, white leather is a great material to utilize the color in the cooler months.
  5. Who doesn’t love a chunky sweater? And what could be better than a warm, cream or white sweater to pair with your favorite skirt and a pair of tights? Nothing.

While these are just a few ideas on how to style your “winter whites,” there are tons of ways to do so and still look fabulous. Forget the antiquated social construct, and keep those whites toward the front of your closet!


Fitzpatrick, L. (2009, September 8). Why We Can’t Wear White After Labor Day. TIME. Retrieved from content.time.com.

Remembering Margiela

Bonjour Paris! During my four days spent galavanting the streets of Paris, I visited numerous museums, monuments and other notable spots. However, my favorite spot was Palais Galliera, which is a fashion and fashion history museum. Currently, the exhibit consists of a tribute to the ever-creative Martin Margiela and his various clothing lines.

Margiela, a man of Belgian descent, attended the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Antwerp and then worked as Jean Paul Gaultier’s assistant from 1984 to 1987. According to Palais Galliera’s information website, “Margiela’s conceptual approach challenged the fashion aesthetics of his time. His way of constructing a garment involved deconstructing it, exposing the inside, the lining, and the unfinished parts, and revealing the different stages of manufacture: pleats, shoulder pads, patterns, bastings and all. He pushed the scale of a garment to extremes, enlarging the proportions to 200% in his “Oversize Collection”, for example, or by adapting dolls’ clothes to the life-size human form in the “Barbie Collection”. He printed trompe-l’oeil photos of dresses, sweaters and coats and established a new form of “cloven” shoe inspired by traditional Japanese tabis, i.e. with the big toe separated from the others.”

Although I was familiar with Margiela’s clothing and aesthetic prior to my visit, I was amazed to see the clothing in-person and be able to analysis the minute details. Personally, I find it incredible that Margiela was able to design in such a unique, peculiar way and receive notability for that type of eccentricity. It seems as though attending a Margiela fashion show in Paris in the 1990’s and early 2000’s was not merely an event to display garments. Rather, it was an experience that married art, fashion, political occurrences, current events, human rights and forward-hiking ideas under one roof.

 

 

If you ever find yourself in Paris, be sure to make a stop at the Palais Galliera!

Where In The World Am I?

Trendsetter turned globe-trotter! Are you wondering why I have been MIA these past few months? I promise I have a good reason!

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At the top of the Duomo in Florence, Italy. 

This summer, I was fortunate enough to spend some time in Europe. I had the opportunity to live, study and intern in Florence, Italy for six weeks in May and June. I was enrolled in a course— Fashion Retail Management— and was the Assistant Manager Intern at FLY, which is a creative learning lab a
nd student-run boutique affiliated with Florence University of the Arts. With a wide variety of merchandise, ranging from student-made pieces, garments hand-crafted by emerging designers, consigned items and a selection of high-end vintage, FLY draws in a wide customer base and is a quite a unique retail space in Florence.

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In the Tyrrhenian Sea off the coast of Positano, Italy.

Whether it was styling garments with our target market in mind, re-merchandising the boutique, assisting in the buying process of the vintage selection, creating content for social media or trend forecasting for future merchandise, my role as Assistant Manager Intern was fast-paced and incredibly insightful. I gained valuable knowledge and honed relevant skills relating to managing a retail enterprise. In addition, I played an active role in planning an executing an in-store promotional event, Reinvention, which was held on June 19.

My time abroad not only provided me with the immersion and appreciation for a new culture, but also with a global perspective into the world of retailing.

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By the Eiffel Tower is Paris, France. 

In addition to the “work” I was doing in Florence, I certainly had time to “play,” too! My friends and I took numerous day trips and weekend trips to other cities in Italy, such as Cinque Terre, Chianti, Venice, San Gimignano, Pisa, Verona, Rome and the Amalfi Coast. Also, on my way back to the states, I made a stop in Paris for four days. After that visit, I have convinced myself that I need to learn French and move to Paris after I graduate this May…but who knows how realistic this plan is!

Now that I’m, back in the states, look forward to more consistent posts and updates. I missed y’all!

Seeing Stars

In this day and age, we all want to be among the stars. However, because this fantasy can only become a reality for some, the rest of us have decided to done stars on our clothing and accessories. From metallic stars added to a leather bootie, star studs emblazoned on a belt or even a star-print pajama set, this motif has taken over the mainstream fashion industry.

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Personally, I own a pair of jeans with black beaded stars embroidered on them and a pair of maroon leggings with stars covering the legs. Clearly, the star trend permeates both street style and athleisure. Additionally, I plan on purchasing Sheila Fajl’s Equulei Hoops, once they are back in stock. Although this infatuation with stars will probably only last another few seasons, I think it is such a fun and whimsical trend.

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A pair of jeans with black beaded stars embroidered from Lord & Taylor’s DesignLab line.          

Truly, it is incredible that such a familiar shape has been transformed into a fashion symbol in the present day. In elementary school, a star is something you strived to receive with kindness to classmates and turning in your homework. Nowadays, it seems as though we all can be stars…or at least wear them!

Boring Baubles? No Way!

Whether you need new jewels for your hot date on Valentine’s Day or want to treat your girl squad to something shiny, look no further! Jewelry designer, Sheila Fajl, has a variety of pieces, meaning that you are sure to find something perfect for you.

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Although the brand offers everything from necklaces and rings to handbags and chokers, my favorite items are the Sheila Fajl earrings. Most specifically, I absolutely adore the Everybody’s Favorite Hoops in Brushed Gold. I recently purchased the Shawn Earrings in Gunmetal and I think they are so unique yet still understated. Take a look at my gift guide to catch a glimpse of the brand’s variety of earrings— I hope you’re all ears!

If you like what you see (how could you not?!), head over to Sheila Fajl’s website to pursue the brand. However, be sure to shop via my link to receive 10% your entire order. Happy shopping!

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These Boots Were Made For Walking…

…and that’s just what they’ll do! Although it seems that snakeskin print has been in style for quite a few seasons and may be hitting its full maturity soon, designers continue to find new and exciting ways to implement this animal print into their garments. Most recently, numerous brands have implemented a snakeskin bootie into their collection.

Vince Camuto offers a Destilly 2 Bootie, Charlotte Russe carries Bamboo Faux Snakeskin Chain Heel Booties, Steve Madden created their US-CASH booties in a black and white snakeskin, Free People offers a Vegan Going West Boot and even Billabong created their Luna Ankle Bootie, which is the pair that I own! 

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Mary Kate Donahue, 2018.

Although this trend more recently infiltrated the mainstream with more affordable designers, it is not new on the runway. According to Perrie Samotan of StyleCaster, “Gucci showcased knee-high python styles on its Fall 2014 runway, cool-girl label Vetements had models wearing a handful of different colors and styles for Spring ’15, and Rag & Bone, Isabel Marant, and Chloé have each produced their own unique reptilian take.”

Because it seems as though snakeskin has been popular for a few years and continues to be seen on the runway and worn on the streets, perhaps it is here to stay, as more of a classic rather than a trend. Cordelia Tai of The Fashion Spot claims that snakeskin print is the new cheetah print and “you want to wear your faux snakeskin with neutral (or pastel) pieces and contrasting textures.”

Whether pairing with a white frock, distressed black denim or even a pencil skirt, snakeskin booties are truly a great item to have in your closet. In a sense, they act as a neutral, but truly do add so much fun to any ensemble. Who knows what snakeskin print item will be created next!


References

Samotan, P. (2015, December 17). Make Snakeskin Boots the Next Thing You Buy. StyleCaster. Retrieved from http://stylecaster.com.

Tai, C. (2018, February 5). We’re Calling It: Snakeskin Print Is the New Cheetah Print. The Fashion Spot. Retrieved from http://www.thefashionspot.com.

A Fast Fashion Frenzy

Consumers often look for tags in garments to indicate the size, care instructions and fiber content; however, in November 2017, Turkish shoppers recently found more than the standard information in their clothing.

According to Associated Press (2017), “Shoppers at the fashion retailer Zara in Istanbul have found unusual tags on their garments — complaints by Turkish workers who say they have not been paid for the merchandise in the store.” Apparently, the notes read “I made this item you are going to buy, but I didn’t get paid for it”  (Associated Press, 2017). While unfair compensation is a major issue surrounding the fast fashion industry, it is not the only problem. In fact, Selin Girit (2017) reports that “Zara has previously come under fire when it was accused of slave and child labour, as well as exploiting Syrian refugees.”

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Mary Kate Donahue, 2017.

Despite this fiasco, Zara is still seeing growth. According to Walter Loeb (2017) of Forbes, “At the corporate level, the company has been busy, entering new countries and expanding its on-line markets.” Also, at the end of the fourth quarter in December 2017, “the business can minimize its markdowns and accelerate online service for its various divisions” (Loeb, 2017).

Personally, I rarely think twice about the creation of a garment or the implication of my purchase when shopping. I do actually care about the people who are manufacturing the clothing, but often, that process seems so far-removed from my shopping experience at a local boutique or shopping mall. Therefore, I believe that news headlines such as these may actually help change the dialogue surrounding the fast fashion industry. If more people increasingly become aware of the dangers of fast fashion and continue to read such disheartening headlines, perhaps it will be reflected in overall consumer behavior. Of course, this type of change cannot and will not happen overnight, but it is my hope that, as a global society, we are inching toward a more sustainable perspective.

What one source scornfully calls fast fashion, another source deems its customer service. In describing Zara, Loeb (2017) writes,  “The company operates with a very special kind of business model. Every division commits initially to a small quantity for fashion merchandise and then replenishes it in response to customer demands and preferences. This merchandising strategy enables stores to feature new and different products very quickly. Zara, for instance, can deliver a new garment in as quickly as 15 days – from design to store shelves in Spain and nearby countries. Delivery to the U.S. takes just a few days longer. That generates an excitement for customers that keeps them coming back.” While this on-demand model certainly keeps customers interested, it provides little consideration for sustainability, the global environment and, most importantly, those who labor to manufacture the garments.


References

Girit, Selin. (2017, November 15). “Turkey: Zara shoppers find labour complaints inside clothes.” BBC News. Retrieved from www.bbc.com.

Loeb, W. (2017, December 22). “How Inditex And Zara Are Winning, While H&M Is Losing.” Forbes. Retrieved from www.forbes.com.

“Zara clothes in Istanbul tagged to highlight labor dispute.” (2017, November 3). Associated Press. Retrieved from www.apnews.com.

Mad for Metallics

With only two days until Christmas, holiday festivities are in full swing. And what screams “festive” louder than metallics? Nothing, of course! Traditionally, people have always worn metallics—primary gold and silver— around the holidays.

Personally, I will be donning a shimmery ensemble for my family’s Christmas Eve festivities tomorrow evening. I plan on pairing LOFT’s Slim Shimmer Tie Waist Pants with a black Layered Ruffle Sleeve Sweater from SHEIN. To add just a bit more shine, the outfit will be complete with a pair of black and white Sam Edelman Mel Platform SandalsMini Madeline Earrings in white and gold from Mignonne Gavigan and a black fur-trimmed clutch that I picked up from Marshall’s in September. Dressing around the holidays is certainly more fun, especially when mixing and matching different metallic hues.

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Mary Kate Donahue, 2017.

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Valentino, Spring 2018.

However, the 2017 holiday has poised society to continue donning the shimmery hues into the winter, and perhaps even the spring. 2017 saw it’s fair share of metallic hues from Cara Delevigne’s silver scalp at the Met Gala to Kim Kardashian’s metallic Paco Rabanne frock. Nevertheless, metallics are certainly making the transition into 2018. S. Yotka (2017) of Vogue notes “Disco-worthy sequins might be the season’s most dominant trend. At Valentino, Piccioli closed the show with full-length dresses smothered in silver sequins. Look for them on the red carpet this winter.” Along with metallics on the runway, the trend will emerge more prominently in the beauty industry, too. “Award-winning colorist Jack Howard, of London’s posh Paul Edmonds salon, tells us the future is all about all things metallic — namely, silver and gold. “We’re beginning to see a huge increase in guests asking for metallic-inspired color in the salon,” he says. “I think that it’s partly due to the transition of the trend from glossy finishes to metallic on the catwalk. We’ve also seen the metallic element continued into makeup looks” (Murray 2017).

Additionally, the metallic hue knows no boundaries. As depicted below, sequins and shimmers can be found in a variety of garments— from jumpsuits and sweatshirts to clutches and booties. Whether you are mad for metallics or have been reluctant to try this daring trend, now is certainly the time to do so!

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Mary Kate Donahue, 2017.

SHINE ON.


REFERENCES

Murray, G. (2017, December 14). “The 2018 Hair Color Trend We Did Not See Coming.” Refinery29. Retrieved from www.refinery29.com.

Yotka, S. (2017, October 1). “Everything You Need to Know About Valentino’s Rosy, Shimmery Spring 2018 Collection.” Vogue. Retrieved from www.vogue.com.