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.

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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.

Slogan Sass

Slogan tees have certainly been around for a while in the fashion industry. However, more recently, designers have grown more creative and more progressive with their use of slogans on various garments.

According to Alyssa Hardy (2017), “What you wear can say so much about your personality and beliefs. Lately, with so much uncertainty in the world, brands across the country are coming up with ways to incorporate these causes into something that everyone can wear: the classic white tee.” Therefore, the slogan tee has certainly become a political statement, in addition to a fashion statement. Additionally, slogan tee dates back to the 1960s with the birth of individuality in the fashion industry, and survived through many decades of evolving fashion. Why are these statement pieces still relevant in today’s street style and runway shows? Racked author, Elyse Hauser, think that social media may have an influence. “Maybe that’s why the slogan tee has boomed in popularity during the Internet era. It’s how we talk to each other. Text messages. 140 characters or less. A new post every day” (Hauser 2017).

Perhaps social media is responsible for the continuation of this style, but also, the blossoming of brands that dedicate a major portion of their brand to slogan pieces may have made a contribution. For example, Wildfox features lines of graphic tees and slogan sweatshirts each and every season. With their global partnerships with brands such as Coca-Cola and Mattel, they are able to create quite popular designs. Personally, I just purchased a Wildfox slogan sweatshirt from the Marshall’s in Athens, Georgia and I cannot wait to wear it with leggings to class and over a swimsuit once summer rolls back around.

Mary Kate Donahue, 2017.

Additionally, major fast fashion retailers such as, Forever 21, H&M, Zara, Urban Outfitters, Nasty Gal and Asos, among others, all stock various slogan tees. On the other end of the spectrum, couture designers like Gucci, Dior, Paco Rabanne, Moschino and Givenchy have incorporated the trend into their recent collections. In addition to unique slogan tees for the individual, some brands designed these tees for coordination with a friend. For example, Show Me Your Mumu featured “Big Sis” and “Lil Sis” tees this season and last season they saw success with a “Fun Brunette” and “Smart Blonde” slogan tee pairing.

Slogan tees can tell a story. Whether that story is a political one, a personal one or simply a playful one, the message is seen by numerous people via a slogan tee. These garments give the individual the power to show what causes she fights for or if she is an avid coffee drinker. Some like to wear their heart on their sleeve, but others like to put words in its place.


References

Hardy, A. (2017, October 30). T-Shirts With Protest Slogans That Actually Help Causes You Care About. Teen Vogue. Retrieved from https://www.teenvogue.com.

Hauser, E. (2017, March 7). Sassy Slogan Tees Are Here to Stay. Racked. Retrieved from https://www.racked.com.

Jeans: Through the Years

As my fifth semester at the University of Georgia draws to a close, I am currently finishing up final projects and exams. For my Trend Forecasting & Analysis course, I was tasked with completing a analysis of a twenty-first century design trend in the form of a digital booklet. My professor gave an in-class example using swimwear, one of my classmates is charting the change in bras/bralettes and I decided to analyze jeans through the years.

Because we are now in the year 2017, this analysis required research of seventeen years to give a full evolution of jeans from 2000 to present. Through reading online articles, looking to style leaders and celebrities from each year and sifting through fashion magazines at UGA’s Library, I was able to compile a digital booklet that chronicles how women’s jeans have been re-designed and re-thought in the twenty-first century. Humanity is blessed to have a variety of genes, but fashion is blessed to have unique jeans.

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Fur Finishes

Findings, embellishments, trims and finishes, OH MY! For winter 2018, fur is certainly a major trend, but more often than not, it is fur of the faux variety. “Yes, affordable fur coats do exist. No, we’re not talking about the leftover options from last winter that have been marked down because nobody wants to buy them” (Bennett 2017). The key to phrase “affordable fur” is the fact that said fur is faux. In the past, faux fur held a stigma, as it tended to look less elegant or indicated that the wearer could not afford the “real deal.” However, in today’s fashion industry, faux fur has taken on a completely different connotation.

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A label from a garment created by sustainable designer, Stella McCartney.

On the heel’s of Gucci’s new no-fur policy, the popularity of faux fur is accelerating. In fact, Gucci “has signed up to the Fur Free Alliance, an organisation that promises to end exploitation and killing of animals for fur, as part of a wider sustainability plan” (Shannon 2017). As a global economy, sustainability has grown to the forefront of many people’s minds; therefore, the action of ditching fur certainly sends a message. Consumers want the look of fur without the animal cruelty and environmental impact that often comes with the material, which is why the fashion industry is currently in an era of faux fur.

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Mary Kate Donahue, 2017.

Personally, I have quite a bit of faux fur in my closet, as I love the cozy, elegant twist that fur can provide to an outfit. From faux fur pom-poms on a pair of slip-on sneakers to faux fur trim on a clutch, I am am finding that I prefer items with a fur finish, rather than the entire item comprised of faux fur. Don’t get me wrong, I love my faux fur vest, but small, random doses of faux fur on garments is both fun and thought-provoking.

As the temperatures are dropping (even in Georgia), my love for faux fur is continuing to heat up. Take a look at some of the season’s coolest pieces that will be sure to keep you warm!

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Mary Kate Donahue, 2017.


References

Bennett, A. (2017, November 3). There Are $40 Faux Fur Coats at Target, and They Actually Look Expensive. InStyle. Retrieved from www.instyle.com.

Shannon, S. (2017, October 11). Gucci Bans Fur: ‘It’s Not Modern.’ Business of Fashion. Retrieved from www.businessoffashion.com.

Shop With Sheila

Anyone who knows me, knows that I am rarely seen without Sheila Fajl’s Everybody’s Favorite Hoops in Brushed Gold dangling from my ears. Thick yet lightweight and , these hoops are so versatile, look fabulous with every ensemble and can easily translate from day to night.

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Mary Kate Donahue, 2017. 

Sheila Fajl, a Brazilian-born and Californian-raised woman, stands for beauty in all of her jewelry products. “Beauty, to her, is in the soul. It is in how you wear your body, and has nothing to do with standards or size,” according to the designer’s website. With a focus on Sheila’s roots, all of the products are handmade by artisans in Brazil, and are, in fact, some of the most “eco-friendly” products in the jewelry market.

As an avid Sheila Fajl wearer, I have been given the unique opportunity to serve as a Sheila Fajl Brand Ambassador. Along with that privilege, I can now offer friends, family and Talk Trendy To Me followers, 10% off of any Sheila Fajl purchase. To shop with my discount, please visit Sheila Fajl’s website via my page. Happy shopping!

The Shoe That Saved Us

For years, women have been sacrificing either function or fashion when dressing. It seemed impossible for designers to create pieces that married both of these aspects. However, in recent years, fashion and function now happily co-exist in multiple garment types. With the rise of athleisure, the marriage of fashion and function is even more prevalent. According to J. Holland (2017), athleisure is “sporty clothes and shoes that people don’t necessarily wear to play sport – grew by a staggering 42% between 2008 and 2015, according to Morgan Stanley research.” Additionally, this clothing type is not just reserved for the gym, to the contrary, “it’s a conscious style choice. It’s not just what you throw on to play with your dog in the garden” (Holland, 2017). Specifically in athleisure footwear, one shoe type certainly saved us all—the slip-on sneaker.

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Mary Kate Donahue, 2017.

From busy Millennial moms and comfort-focused Baby Boomers to trendy college students and fashion-forward children, the slip-on sneaker knows no age limits and has infiltrated the fashion industry. “Whether you want a leather-bound slip on or an embroidered floral lace-up pair, your everyday shoe game just got stepped up,” says T. Stephan (2017). In addition to the variety of choices, the slip-on sneaker can often just complete an outfit. When throwing on jeans and a loose v-neck, I always reach for one of my three pairs of slip-ons. However, a few years ago, my choices would have consisted of booties (the more dressy option), sandals (the more summery option) or boots (the cold-weather option). Therefore, slip-on sneakers certainly make life easier and also transcend seasons, upholding the advent of “seasonless dressing.” According to E. Stalder, seasonless dressing functions by this philosophy: “instead of limiting yourself to pastels in spring, brights in summer, and vampy shades in winter, wear any palette you want, no matter the season. Ditto for fabrics.”

A pair of Steve Madden gray suede slip-ons in July? Why not! Pairing Circus by Sam Edelman’s motif slip-ons with black jeans in December? Heck yeah! No matter the weather, the season, the occasion or your mood, it is always safe to reach for a pair of slip-on sneakers. Have yet to treat yourself to a pair? Check out some of my favorite styles!

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References

Holland, J. (2017, October 6). Are tracksuits and trainers the future of office attire? BBC. Retrieved from bbc.com.

Stalder, E. (2016, December 15). What Is ‘Seasonless’ Dressing, and How Could it Improve Your Style? StyleCaster. Retrieved from stylecaster.com.

Stephan, T. (2017, July 25). 19 Next-Level Platform Sneakers That Don’t Feel Basic. E! News. Retrieved from eonline.com.

Performing a Fashion Count

According to E. Brannon and L. Divita (2015, 91), a fashion count is “a method for researching fashion change that consists of finding a suitable source for fashion images, sampling the images in a systematic way, applying a standardized set of measurements or observations to each image, and analyzing the data to reveal patterns of fashion change.”

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Mary Kate Donahue, 2017.

As a part of the curriculum for my “Trend Forecasting and Analysis” course, I was tasked with completing a fashion count. In performing the assignment using the October 2017 issue of Vogue, I chose to analyze fur color. In setting standards for the fur color, I agreed that the fur could comprise any part of the garment—an entire jacket, the hemline trim, a hat—but I would only consider fur worn by women. Additionally, I set the color standards, including the primary colors (red, blue, yellow), the secondary colors (orange, violent, green), the tertiary colors (red violent or pink, blue violent or purple, yellow orange or tan), as well as black, white, grey and brown—considering animal fur is often this natural shade. In terms of types of photographs, I determined that I would only count colored photographs; considering black and white photographs would have skewed my data.

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Data from the fashion count on fur color.

Because I utilized a the most current issue of Vogue, I figured that several of the photographs would feature the Fall 2017 and/or Winter 2018 designer collections, meaning fur would potentially be a common textile. Overall, fur appeared twenty-seven times throughout the issue. Although more neutral fur shades, such as black and tan, seemed to be the most prevalent, various colored fur was often accounted for. Most notably, I discovered multicolored fur in three different photographs; one garment featuring a blue and white fur shawl, another garment featuring a purple, black, red, yellow and blue fur purse handle, and also a black and yellow fur hat. In addition to designs with multicolored fur, other garments featured various colors—from pink trim around the neck of a coat to a yellow fur vest. Therefore, in terms of fur trends, designers may be moving away from the more traditional look of genuine fur or faux fur, manufactured to imitate living creatures.  Instead, these designers are embracing bold and vibrant-hued faux fur to add a fun element to various garments.

A potential explanation behind this shift in fur trend could be the rise of awareness surrounding animal rights. According to G. Cook (2017), “Yvonne Taylor, director of corporate projects for PETA, acknowledges that ‘most designers don’t work with fur, and certainly the majority of consumers don’t wear it,’ but insists that the protests are still necessary.” Therefore, a movement toward brightly-colored, faux fur would align with both designers’ intentions and consumers’ requests. However, because Vogue features editorial advertisements from the few couture designers (Burberry, Fendi, Gucci, among others) that still do work with authentic fur, more natural fur colors—such as, tan, brown and white—are still prevalent in the fashion count.


References

Brannon and L. Divita (Eds.). (2015). Fashion Forecasting. New York, NY: Bloomsburg.

G. Cook. (2017, September 19). Making Sense of the Anti-Fur Protests at London Fashion Week. Business of Fashion. Retrieved from https://www.businessoffashion.com.

Must-Have: Mules

Everything old is new again! Whether you are excited for this must-have shoe trend or still experiencing deja vu from 2007, mules have officially made a comeback. Interestingly enough, the resurgence of trends about every ten years is often a topic of discussion in my “Trend Forecasting and Analysis” course; therefore, it is no surprise to me that designers have drawn inspiration from the mid-to-late 2000s to re-create the mule.

However, prevalence of the mule extends far beyond the 2000s. According to S. Marshall (2016), “The origins of the word mule lie in Ancient Rome, where it was mulleus calceus (a red or purple shoe worn by the three highest magistrates), but the contemporary appropriation refers to a shoe that is backless and usually closed-toed.” Additionally, Marshall (2016) adds that “when Comtesse d’Olonne, the risqué society beauty, wore a soft red pair of mules to church in 1694—daringly peeping from beneath her richly-embellished skirt—it paved the way for the style.” Continuing into the eighteenth century, mules “went on to become popular within the French Court, both Madame de Pompadour and Marie Antoinette donning variations” (Marshall, 2016).

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Mary Kate Donahue, 2017.

Although fashion often incorporates innovations from past styles, why it is that mules are popular again right now? According to K. Abel (2017), Manolo Blahnik may have profound insight in assigning the state of our world as a contributor for the mass-consumption of mules. “It’s extraordinary that the times are so terrible and people buy these stupid shoes. Maybe they want joy for five seconds,” Blahnik claims in his new movie, Manolo: The Boy Who Made Shoes for Lizards. Perhaps the mules’ unique shape, opportunity for creative designs and wide acceptance by the fashion cycle draw various consumers to the product.

“With the changing seasons, it’s time to pack away our sandals and flip-flops in favor of some sturdier choices. And while chunky boots are fall must-haves, sometimes we just need the cozy-cool feel of slip-on shoes on our feet” (Sirera, 2017). Although many believe that mules cannot fully translate into the cooler temperatures of fall, I beg to differ. While a pair of opened-toed chambray mules (see my pair pictured above) may edge more on the summery side, other pairs of mules are designed for the latter-part of the fall season, or potentially even into the winter. Also, with the rise of “seasonless” dressing, mules can certainly be incorporated into various ensembles, regardless of the month. Seasonless dressing provides an opportunity to pull “together pieces from across your wardrobe, regardless of whether they were designed for now or later,” to generate “more creative looks,” E. Stalder (2016) claims.

Looking for the perfect pair of fur-lined mules to carry you into the fall and winter? On the hunt for a a unique pair of heeled mules to pair with tights? Well, you’re in luck! Take a look at a few of my favorite pairs; all under $100!

Steve Madden Hugh Embellished Mule

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Sam Edelman Yumi Bow Mule

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Sole Society Caribou Mule Bootie

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Free People Butterfly Faux Fur Lined Mule

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TOPSHOP Villain Beaded Platform Mule

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H&M Powder Pink Satin Mules

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Seychelles Commute Heels

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NANETTE nanette lepore Madeline Ruffle Slingback Mule

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Betsy Johnson Embroidered Mule With Striped Heel

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Target Soho Cobbler Dhyana Woven Suede Block Heel Mules

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Enzo Angiolini Gillian Mule

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References

Abel, K. (2017, September 8). Why Manolo Blahnik Will Be Closing His Eyes During the Premiere of His New Movie. Footwear News. Retrieved from http://footwearnews.com.

Marshall, S. (2016, May 10). A Brief History of the Mule. AnOther Mag. Retrieved from http://www.anothermag.com.

Sirera. L. (2017, September 27). 13 mules that will take your fall footwear game to the next level. Hello Giggles. Retrieved from https://hellogiggles.com.

Stalder, E. (2016, December 15). What Is ‘Seasonless’ Dressing, and How Could it Improve Your Style? StyleCaster. Retrieved from http://stylecaster.com.

Saturday in Athens

Even when the Dawgs are on the road to Knoxville to (hopefully) beat the Tennessee Vols, Saturdays in Athens are still the best. This morning, my friends—Lauren, Annika and Grace— and I hit the Athens Farmers Market to soak in some of the local culture and buy a few fresh treats. For breakfast, we enjoyed organic baked goods from Sanvi’s Sweets and Savories; I savored every last bit of the Indian-inspired Spinach and Ricotta Pastry Puff. After perusing the artisanal jewelry, home-made pottery, fresh jams and authentic hummus, I decided to purchase some organic arugula and sweet potatoes (to share with my roommate Lauren).

However, when shopping for fresh produce at the farmer’s market, it is essential to carry the perfect bag to store all your goodies. When we were headed out the door this morning, I knew exactly which tote to reach for— my pom-pom basket tote, of course! Truth be told, my favorite part about this fun and whimsical piece is the fact that it was a bargain (only $8 at Marshall’s)! With gray-tinted wicker, striped handles, a drawstring enclosure and various-colored pom-poms, it adds pizazz to any ensemble…or serves as the perfect grocery tote at the Athens Farmer’s Market!

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Lauren Linkowski, 2017.

Because pom-pom basket totes are certainly more of a summer accessory, I only have a week or two left to use this playful piece. With temperatures starting to lower (to the low 80s and high 70s) here, in Georgia, it seems as though fall is coming; and what better way to welcome the season, than with a relaxing trip to the Athens Farmer’s Market. Happy Saturday, y’all!