Our friends over at GQ published an interesting article on the “bitter battle” between Nike and adidas in September 2015. Matthew Shaer writes, “For decades it’s looked like no company could ever topple Nike, the $86 billion global sneaker juggernaut. But just across town from ultra-secretive Nike HQ in Oregon, adidas has suddenly mounted a full-scale arms race, poaching designers, signing superstar endorsements, and unveiling space-age technology in an attempt to dethrone the king.”
With such a bitter rivalry in mind, it is interesting to consider the legal battles between the two brands.
Denis Dekovic, Marc Dolce and Mark Miner
Let us start off with the $10 million lawsuit that almost everyone knows about: the one which Nike in late 2014 against its three top-level designers who jumped ship to adidas, allegedly taking with them a “treasure trove” of confidential information.
According to Nike’s complaint, which was filed in December 2014 in the Circuit Court of the State of Oregon for the County of Multnomah, Denis Dekovic, Marc Dolce and Mark Miner violated their non-compete agreements with Nike, which prohibited them from working for a competitor for a year after leaving Nike's employ.
Moreover, Nike alleges that the three men stole millions of dollars in confidential information (think: confidential design and business documents, including drawings for unreleased shoes made for one of Nike’s sponsored athletes) when they had their work computers copied and took that info with them to adidas, where they were allegedly recruited to set up a copycat of Nike's design studio.
Nike further contended that the designers began plotting their departure in April 2013, pitching their studio plan (one that Nike claims is merely a knockoff of its existing design studio, the Innovation Kitchen) to adidas and subsequently bringing adidas information about Nike's plans for the next several years in connection with its running, sportswear and soccer divisions. Adidas reportedly loved the studio idea so much that its execs offered the designers lucrative employment contracts to jump ship from Nike.
Unsurprisingly, that lawsuit “was resolved through a confidential settlement” outside of court in June 2015 and as of March 2016, Marc Dolce, Denis Dekovic and Mark Miner began their tenures at adidas. While the suit was not directly filed against adidas, the German sportswear giant reportedly promised to pay the three designers’ legal fees if Nike sued and so, it was heavily involved. Nike claimed that adidas knew of the non-compete agreements and promised to pay for any legal fallout.
All the while, Nike and adidas were in court in connection with a number of other cases.
Battle Over the Knitted Shoes
For instance, there is the ongoing legal drama surrounding both brands’ knitted footwear designs. Leading up to the London Olympics in 2012, Nike and adidas released their first knitted running shoes: the Flyknit for Nike and the Primeknit for adidas. Nike announced the debut of its shoe in February 2012. Adidas unveiled its knitted footwear the following July, hailing the product as "a first-of-its-kind running shoe."
The adidas debut was swiftly followed by a patent infringement lawsuit filed by Nike in a District Court in Nuremberg, Germany, in which Nike sought to prohibit adidas from making and selling the Primeknit in Germany for the duration of the litigation and depending on the outcome of the case, permanently thereafter. (Nike spokeswoman Mary Remuzzi said the case was filed in and limited to Germany because it's the only place where adidas was making and distributing the Primeknit at the time).
In August 2012, the court granted Nike's injunction, ordering that adidas halt the sale and production of its knitted sneaker. In return, adidas moved to challenge the validity of Nike's European patent a few months later.
While it appeared, given the court's granting of Nike's injunction, that the case was initially looking quite favorable for Nike, the court ended up ruling in adidas’s favor on the grounds that the technology involved in making both the shoe's knitted upper has been around since the 1940s (thereby failing to meet the novelty element required for patentability). As a result, the injunction was set aside, Nike's patent was deemed invalid, and adidas is free to manufacture shoes bearing the knitted elements. But it does not end there, of course.
Since then, both Nike and adidas have started selling their respective knitted footwear in the U.S. and adidas filed to challenge the validity of Nike's patent in late 2012, in an attempt to prevent Nike from filing suit in order to stop adidas from selling the shoe. Adidas is arguing that Nike's patent is invalid based on another party's patent application from 1991, which discloses a process for creating uppers that are cut from a web of textile material and then shaped and connected to a sole - thereby, making Nike's patent obvious (non-obviousness is an necessary element in order to achieve patentability).
That case is still ongoing. Most recently: adidas filed an array of petitions for inter partes review (a proceeding to invalidate an already-issued patent) with the U.S. Patent Trial and Appeal Board in April 2016.
And there is more. There is the 2005 case that Nike filed against adidas in a federal court in Oregon, seeking a declaration from the Court that its use of two stripes in apparel designs does not infringe or dilute adidas's Three-Stripe Mark. (This type of action is called a declaratory judgment). It turns out, Nike was prompted to file this action on the heels of adidas filing lawsuits against Nike in Germany and the Netherlands in connection with Nike's use of two stripes on apparel. On January 20, 2005, a German court entered judgment in favor of adidas and ruled that apparel sold by Nike in Germany incorporating two stripes infringed adidas's Three-Stripe Mark.
A year later, in 2006, Nike filed suit against adidas in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas citing patent infringement – in connection with a patent for footwear with a lateral stabilizing sole (read: elements of Nike's SHOX cushioning technology). According to Nike’s complaint, the SHOX technology took 16 years to develop, as well as considerable financial investment to bring to the market, and is protected by at least 19 separate patents.
Upon filing suit, Nike spokesman, Vada Manager told press: "SHOX was the next evolution in our footwear technology since Nike Air, which debuted in 1979, so for us it's a major core technology. Despite Nike's patent protection, adidas has built shoes that use Nike's technology.” Eric Spunk, a vice president of global footwear at Nike, also released a statement, saying: “It is deeply frustrating and inappropriate when companies borrow or refashion such technologies as their own without making similar investments.”
Meanwhile, legal outlets noted the significance of the mounting legal rivalry between the two sportswear giants, writing: Nike’s “move signals that IP will play a big part in the companies' mounting battle for market share in the quickly-consolidating industry.” That case was dismissed in 2007.
In short, as these two fight for market share in the U.S., in particular, their battle is inevitably spilling over into court. And even with Kanye West in its camp, Nike is still firmly holding its primary position. As GQ stated in its article: Nike is “not only the most popular sneaker manufacturer but the single most valuable apparel brand in the world. Nike has 57,000 employees and a market cap north of $86 billion. And in these halcyon days of sneaker culture—the once humble sneaker having become the focal point of personal style—Nike has a heritage that consumers respect and that its competitors can't buy” – even by way of lawsuits.
Document Journal Celebrates 5 Years With an Intimate Dinner of Fashion Legends
An early spring chill couldn’t put a damper on Document Journal’s five-year fete at The Terrace at Gramercy Park Hotel. The event was packed with fashion icons out to celebrate the cultural magazine’s fifth anniversary with Prosecco and intimate conversations along the terrace’s lengthy dinner table. At one end, you could find Raf Simons deep in conversation with Grace Coddington; another hosted Freja Beha Erichsen and Saskia de Brauw as well as Black Lives Matter activist DeRay McKesson and Grace Hartzel.
Document’s editor in chief, Nick Vogelson, held court at the center table, reflecting on the magazine’s new 550-page issue featuring covers by Inez and Vinoodh, Mario Sorrenti, Willy Vanderperre, Terry Richardson, Richard Bush, and Colin Dodgson. “What we wanted to accomplish was something that felt very timeless. Each issue, we set out to do something that feels both new and like something you haven’t seen before, but also acknowledges the past,” he said. This issue in particular bridges the future/past dilemma with the first editorial of Simons’s Calvin Klein collection; conversations with Toni Morrison, Ashton Sanders, and Steve Reich; and an in-depth piece by Fulbright fellow Ruth Ben-Ghiat about creativity in Weimar Germany. “What’s exciting for me is looking through so many different genres, whether it’s future research on artificial intelligence or how we consume media culture, and figuring out how they address fashion,” continued Vogelson. “I do firmly believe that Document is not just a fashion book. Half the magazine is fashion, but first and foremost I think of it as a cultural book.”
After petite desserts and a touch more Prosecco, the group moved downstairs to the Rose Bar, where they toasted, danced, and partied into the twilight hours. Not bad for a Wednesday.
Fast Fashion Brands Go to Great Lengths to Emulate High Fashion Ones
In line with the notion that fashion is far more about the brands than the individual garments and accessories, themselves, these days, it makes a lot of sense that fast fashion retailers have taken to copying more than just runway looks and are bringing in larger brand elements, as well. Consider Spanish fast fashion brand, Zara. In addition to consistent attempts to recreate Céline garments for a tiny fraction of the price, it is hardly a coincidence that an array of its ad campaigns mirror the look and feel of Céline campaigns, right down to the models.
Here are a few examples: For F/W 2011, Céline’s ad campaign consisted of models mixed with foliage, such as palm leaves and oversized aloe plants. Skip forward to S/S 2014, which saw Zara doing something very similar, albeit in black and white. Again, for F/W 2015, Zara’s campaign seemed to mirror another Céline aesthetic – particularly with its minimalist, dual-image set up, with one image focused on the model and her garment and the other more specifically on a bag.
There is also the use of the same or at the very least, similar-looking models. On the heels of Céline casting new face Karly Loyce for its F/W 2015 ad campaign (and then its S/S 2016 campaign), Zara welcomed Loyce to its roster of models. That’s just one example. Fellow Spanish fast fashion brand, Mango, has also made use of this tactic, tapping Céline girl Mathilde Brok Brandi for a recent Céline-inspired campaign, and Chloe campaign model Antonina Petkovic-lookalike, Steffy Argelich, for one of its Chloe-esque lookbooks.
As evidenced when comparing Zara’s ad campaigns with the high fashion ones it is emulating, it is worth noting that the similarities are not line-for-line, and even if they were, they would not be protectable by law, as the law, at least in the U.S., does not provide protection for ideas (such as the idea of staging models among plants in an ad campaign) or general aesthetics. No, these are not outrageously literal similarities, nor are they illegal.
However, they are similarities, nonetheless, and they are utilized – by Zara or Mango (see Mango's most recent take on Gucci below) or Forever 21 or [insert fast fashion brand name here] – for a very specific purpose: To bolster the already significant similarities between the garments and accessories it offers to those of Céline
More specifically, though, fast fashion brands insert these arguably small similarities for the purpose of getting consumers to make a connection between Céline and Zara, aside from just its cheap knockoffs. Or between Chloe’s campaigns and Mango’s S/S 2016 lookbook. Or Mango’s recent Céline-like lookbook, which featured models in Céline-like garments (and creative director Phoebe Philo’s shoe of choice, the adidas Stan Smith) posed against an orange wall not unlike Céline’s S/S 2016 runway show, which was staged against its own orange background. Or Zara’s recent Gucci-inspired campaign, complete with go-to Gucci model, Peyton Knight, and metallic block-heeled mules and very Gucci-esque loafers.
But the similarities utilized in order to get consumers to make an association between a high fashion brand and a fast fashion one for the purpose of selling stuff do not stop there. Fast fashion brands are also particularly good at getting consumers to associate their brands with high fashion ones by way of styling, design details, and/or color to achieve the same overall look and feel of the original designer pieces in the mind of the fashion-minded consumer without technically infringing the design house it is channeling by copying a logo or print or design patent-protected staple.
You may recall the salmon/maroon and maroon and black pairings of the floral-printed garments that Zara offered for S/S 2014, which were meant to look quite a bit like the floral garments that made up Prada's S/S 2014 menswear and Resort 2014 womenswear collections (without directly replicating the print, which would amount to copyright infringement, as original prints and patterns are subject to copyright protection). The same is true for the sports jersey-style ribbing, which appears in the aforementioned Prada collections. And don’t forget Zara’s take on Raf Simons’ S/S 2014 Dior collection with the very similar color palette and block lettering badges.
Or most recently, Zara's take on Demna Gvasalia's Balenciaga Fall/Winter 2016 collection - with the standout red parka - complete with Lotta Volkova for Balencciaga-esque styling and paired with a similar-looking houndstooth look for effect. The same can be said for the pairing of the camel-colored trench coat and athletic zip up a la Burberry Fall 2016 (that was a stand out look for Burberry that season, as it was modeled by Chinese boy-bander Chris Wu). And if you're really good, you'll notice the red, white, and blue color palette to the zip ups, which is like to bring Gosha Rubchinskiy's Spring 2017 FILA references to mind, which will, in turn, strengthen the Gvasalia reference (as Rubchinskiy is closely tied to Vestments) or remind you of the Russian Olympics tracksuits, which will still likely bring Gosha Rubchinskiy to mind.
In this way, Zara and its fellow fast fashion retailers are freakishly good at infusing particular details into a garment or accessory to get you to think of the high fashion one.
When taken together, it is difficult not to notice the truly great lengths to which fast fashion brands are going to plant a high fashion seed in our minds in connection with their own brands’ garments and accessories, and an almost completely – if not completely – legal manner. And judging by Zara’s recent revenue reports and the sheer number of fans it has that reside in the fashion industry, itself, these little tricks certainly do not seem to be hurting their cause.
Petra Collins Captures Her Family in This New Exhibition
After picking up a camera at age 15, Petra Collins established her career photographing for Rookie and designing graphic T-shirts for American Apparel. Though the 24-year-old artist is best known for her portraits of teenage girlhood and fashion spreads , her latest exhibition turns the lens away from models and celebrities to her own family.
“This is probably one of the most personal shows I’ve ever done,” Collins told the Cut. Titled “Pacifier,” the show opens April 29 at the Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival in Toronto, Collins’s hometown. “It’s this mix of my family from all over the world and how it’s connected and disconnected, and then using that to sort of tell my life story,” she explained. Collins photographed her sister and father in Toronto and traveled to Hungary, where her mother lived during the country’s communist regime before fleeing to Canada as a refugee, and shot her mother and sister there along with her cousins. The photographs are more intimate than her previous projects, often shot up close.
Collins said she believes using art to tell a personal story is now more important than ever. “When you see stories about women that aren’t being told by women, it can make you feel like you don’t exist,” she said. “I think it’s important for not just me but women of color, trans women, and people who are marginalized to be telling stories of themselves. It’s important for us to be behind the lens.”
JW Anderson is joining forces with Uniqlo.
The Japanese fast fashion retailer announced Wednesday that it has partnered with the buzzy designer Jonathan Anderson on a British heritage-inspired collaboration that will offer styles for men and women, available this fall.
"Collaborations are incredibly important in design. When I think of Uniqlo, I think of things that are perfectly made, that people have spent a lot of time considering; it’s a difficult job, and I think Uniqlo do it very well," Anderson, who also designs for Spanish luxury label Loewe, said in a statement. "Working with Uniqlo is probably the most incredible template of democracy in fashion, and it’s nice that my design can be accessible to anyone, on all different levels."
The designer, who's based in London, follows in the footsteps of former Uniqlo collaborators Carine Roitfeld, Christophe Lemaire and Jil Sander.
"The British Isles constitute a treasure house of such apparel, with duffle coats and fisherman's sweaters being just two examples. In partnering with JW Anderson, one of Britain's most innovative and creative brands, we will tap into traditions while pursuing progress in designs and fabrics, to craft styles that are enduringly appealing," said Yuki Katsuta, senior vp fast retailing and head of research and design at UNIQLO.
Anderson established the JW Anderson brand in 2008 and has been honored with a number of awards for his innovative designs, including both Menswear and Womenswear Designer of the Year at the 2015 British Fashion Awards, the first time any brand has won both categories. His famous fans include ASAP Rocky, who collaborated with the designer last year, Selena Gomez, Alexa Chung and Kate Bosworth. The designer is also the creative director of Loewe.
Next up, Anderson will make his Italian debut at Pitti Uomo, an international menswear trade event, and show his men's spring 2018 collection in Florence on June 14.
As United Airlines bars passengers wearing leggings, let's note the dos and don'ts for wearing this controversial clothing item
United Airlines made headlines for all the wrong reasons over the weekend, after they barred two girls from boarding a plane because they were wearing leggings.
Twitter users accused the company of "policing" women's clothing and, as such, a discussion has kicked off about the right and wrong ways to wear this clearly divisive item of clothing.
The sartorial issues to navigate when wearing leggings seem to be the 'spray on' effect (an often unflattering look that can be even trickier to pull off if the fabric is thin and goes see-through) plus the trousers' association with sportswear, which, for United, made them too casual to comply with their dress code.
We have Los Angeles to thank for the fact it is now deemed socially acceptable to wear leggings outside the gym. Our glossy neighbours across the pond think nothing of hitting an early spin class and then heading straight to a morning meeting (via a green juice bar, natch). Later they might meet friends at a bar, still wearing the same leg-hugging lycra.
If you thought the gym wear as daywear trend only applied to this Soulcycle set, and Kendall and Gigi’s glossy model posse, you were wrong. A growing number of UK women are realising the potential of lycra outside the gym.
Women are increasingly time poor so being able to transition activewear into a daytime look is important for our customers lifestyle, whether running to an informal meeting or catching up with friends for coffee," explains Matches Fashion buying director Natalie Kingham.
Women are not just wearing the tired joggers they have had for years, but actively buying into ‘athleisure’, as they would any other fashion trend. Net-a-Porter retail fashion director Lisa Aiken reports that the e-tailer has seen a rise in popularity of leggings over past seasons, and thus the team has increased the buy of activewear brands such as Live The Process, The Upside, Nike and Adidas by Stella McCartney. Matches, meanwhile, continues to up its stock of contemporary brands, such as Laain and LNDR, that embrace athleticism in their collections.
In the late 70s, the Fiorucci store on New York’s Lexington Avenue was regularly referred to as the “daytime Studio 54”, partly for its clientele, which included Keith Haring, Calvin Klein and a young Marc Jacobs, as well as for the presence of Andy Warhol who, at one point, had his office in the shop. A 16-year-old Madonna played her first gig there. Photographer Maripol was the store manager. At the Milan store, meanwhile, Haring was charged with painting the walls. It’s this spirit of good times and DayGlo creative energy that Stephen and Janie Schaffer – the new owners of the brand – want to get back to with their relaunch. “What we are trying to do is create the Fiorucci of the future,” says Stephen.
As the British retail veterans who founded 80s underwear chain Knickerbox, you wouldn’t necessarily guess that the Schaffers would be behind the relaunch of this Italian brand, loved by the cool crowd in the US in the 70s and 80s. But Stephen Schaffer has long been a fan. “Elio Fiorucci was the first person to have created what are today our concept/lifestyle stores, and we know it,” he says. “As a young retailer, Fiorucci inspired everyone. People would perform, people would be seen, people would hang out …”
Indeed. Fiorucci was founded in 1967, so celebrates its 50th anniversary this year. It became known for a kind of cheeky disco-friendly sexiness – with its high-waisted jeans, shiny platforms and cherry prints on knitwear, as well as endless variations of the Fiorucci logo, some created by names including Memphis’s Alessandro Mendini and i-D’s Terry Jones. If it wasn’t cheap, it was certainly desirable: novelist Douglas Coupland has said that visiting the colourful shop – where he bought the only thing he could afford, a postcard – meant he “stopped caring about school”.
Fiorucci has remained important in the pop culture universe for half a century: from the dancefloor – it’s mentioned in a lyric in Sister’s Sledge’s He’s the Greatest Dancer (“Halston, Gucci, Fiorucci / He looks like a still, that man is dressed to kill”); to the art world – Mark Leckey made a short film about British nightlife called Fiorucci Made Me Hardcore; to your wardrobe – designers including Jacobs often reference the label, looking back to its 80s heyday.
Schaffer thinks it works for now because of the optimism. “The complete obsession with playfulness and disco and fun,” he says. “When you look at the news you think: ‘God, we need it’ … There’s a desire for escapism.” Elio collaborated with Disney on jeans, financed Basquiat film Downtown 81, sponsored parties at Studio 54 and worked with Pacha in Ibiza. He famously created stretch denim – and made jeans fashionable – after a trip to the White Isle in the late 70s. “He watched all the girls walk out the club in the morning with their jeans on and they walked into the water,” says Schaffer. “He thought: ‘Look how amazing they look when they’re wet.’ He went to Dupont and said: ‘Let’s put Lycra into denim.’” Perhaps Elio’s genius came from taking that spirit and turning it into product. People might not have gone to the all-night party, but they could wear the jeans.
Elio’s Fiorucci went into administration in 1989. The Schaffers acquired the brand – which had previously been owned by Japanese denim brand Edwin, and had a relaunch in the late 90s – at the end of 2015, weeks before Elio died.
“We inherited this incredible graphic archive and there were the keys to a warehouse in Milan with 10,000 garments,” says Schaffer. For the relaunch of the brand, about of 3,000 pairs of jeans will be for sale, along with new designs, like a reworking of the high-waisted jeans Fiorucci became known for (£165), denim jackets with “Fiorucci Angels” written on the back (£265), and T-shirts with the angels (£55) – a logo that the label became famous for. Each piece will come with a Fiorucci Panini sticker, a cult item well-known to fans of the brand.
This capsule collection went on sale at Barney’s in New York earlier this year. This week it will launch with a pop-up at Selfridges in London, and a 4,000-square-ft Soho store will open in London in September – complete with a basement club.
Drew Barrymore on How Being a Mom Has Changed Her Shoe Game
Actress and entrepreneur Drew Barrymore has a new gig. This spring, she is the acting brand ambassador for Crocs’s new global marketing campaign, “Come As You Are,” which celebrates the uniqueness of individuals and inspires everyone to be comfortable in their own shoes.
According to Terence Reilly, chief marketing officer for Crocs, “Drew’s style is very relatable to the Crocs consumer, so, of course, not only is she featured in our ‘Classic’ clog — the shoe just listed as a 2017 trend to watch by Vogue — but she also introduces new and unexpected styles to consumers across the globe, including our exciting spring/summer collection.”
Here, Barrymore talks about her love affair with Crocs, her footwear faves and why comfort is important to her.
On partnering with the label: “First of all, I love the term. I know what a ‘croc’ is. It is a happy word. The shoes are associated with something optimistic, and the campaign is called ‘Come As You Are.’ It goes back to being optimistic. You might have to fight to retain it, but optimism is wonderful and crucial to life. I felt like I could contribute because I like joy. I also love the shoes. I like the design element, the art of making something.”
On her own style: “I know I can’t wear anything I don’t feel good in. I love a comfortable pant — I am wearing jeans from the Gap right now. As you grow up, your style evolves and changes. [My wardrobe] can never be too serious, and there’s always a pattern or [something] vintage in there as well.”
On brand preferences: “I was drooling over Anna Sui’s runway show. You can see so much fashion on Instagram now. I love Club Monaco. For shoes, I like Fiorentini+Baker. I also like the rubber sandals you buy in Hawaiian supermarkets.”
On the importance of comfort: “I don’t know how Carrie Bradshaw walked around New York in heels all the time [in ‘Sex and the City’]. That was pretty unrealistic. I wouldn’t last three blocks in heels in New York. The majority of my time now is spent in a comfort shoe. It has to be wearable for long periods of time. I am a mom, so I am on my feet all the time. I could not stuff my foot into a Christian Louboutin at this point in my life.”
On shopping habits: “I am not a big online shopper. I mostly go to stores and shop at a lot of vintage flea markets.”
All the trend inspiration you need from the final day of fashion week in Delhi
The fashion week in the Capital took a bow at Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, on Saturday evening. The four-day event had a bit of everything — from ample inspiration for your autumn/winter wardrobe to Bollywood celebs sprinkling a bit of star dust to the bi-annual affair. And, the final day had a lot of trends that’ll help add to your autumn mood. Here are a few of them.
THE NEW-AGE BOLD:
For the Grand Finale, designer Tarun Tahiliani, the ‘Guru’, presented a collaborative collection with ‘Shishya’, Amit Aggarwal. The collections looked to the future for inspiration. From Tahiliani’s creations, one could choose from elaborate yet understated embroidery or go for cocktail-perfect graphic-printed separates. On the other hand, Amit Aggarwal’s structured mastery gave a vote to sustainable fashion as he restored Patola saris, lush brocades and played with three-dimensional details. Dedicated to a bride or to an ethnicwear aficionado — it’s clear the future of fall is made of metallics, bold prints and handcrafted weaves.
At Rohit Kamra, the collection was mostly made of black and white for fall with a touch of metallic. If you are not afraid of ushering in leather weather, invest in a pair of leather leggings to add mettle. Actor Richa Chadda turned showstopper for the Jaipur-based designer. .
Designer Dhruv Vaish showed a collection with statement formalwear. While layering was on-point for autumn, the checkered suit made an appearance often in the showcase. For the coming season, give gingham a chance, guys.Wrestler Sangram Singh walked for Vaish.
While eco-conscious fashion has been a buzzword for long, you don’t have to compromise on style to cash in on the trend. At H&M, actor Dia Mirza wore a romantic tulle dress made with re-cycled polyester. So for fall, experiment with consciously created or restored fabrics.
An umbrella that keeps you dry in winds of 100k, and looks good too
One helluvan umbrella
A common sight when wind and rain assail us are those awful umbrellas that turn inside out and are usually discarded on the street or end up entangled in trees. Help is in hand with Senz aerodynamic umbrellas, which have been made specially to withstand such turbulent Irish weather, their asymmetrical, lightweight shape allowing them to adapt to changing wind positions. Apart from promising to hold steady in winds of up to 100kmh, they look good too and come in a combination of colours or plain shades, all at €54.95.
Put your sister suede slippers (€301 Brother Vellies) on and your feet up this weekend.
Men’s shoes à la Maud
Maud O’Keeffe may not be a familiar name, but the founder of O’Keeffe shoes, born in the UK to Irish parents, has become associated with handsome men’s shoes whose fans include Michael Fassbender, Jimmy Fallon, Ewan McGregor and a host of other stars. The styles are inspired by the footwear of the 1920s and 1950s, “from working men’s shoes to the landed gentry”, particularly brogues, tasselled loafers and Chelsea boots as well as Bristol double monks with their twin straps which have female counterparts called Alice Monks in silver leather or cerise suede. Made in top-quality leather using Italian know-how, the shoes are made in small batches and prices start from €495-€695.
“Bright colours can only be worn so many times before they wear you, so invest in classic colours when it comes to clothes and let your shoes and bags make the statement.”
Cali chic from Irish label
Irish label Fee G, founded in 2003, has become a go-to brand for Irish event wear, and its latest spring summer collection will no doubt see this tradition continue. Inspired by the architecture and colours of the Californian coast, the collection is awash with colour and pattern. The label’s signature structured dresses, in neutral colours with nipped-in waists, are joined by new silhouettes featuring fluid lines, vibrant pinks and floral prints. Key items include a full-skirted obi belt dress, Capri pants, printed zip coats, as well as lots of organza. The separates collection includes Bardot stretch tops, draped silky blouses and full organza skirts. Pictured is the Gathered Belt Dress Pink, available in Arnotts for €255.
Steal vs splurge
Stop to smell the roses in these Giulia floral print silk trousers, €820 from Erdem, or be pretty as a petal in these Black Floral Tie Waist Trousers, €37.33 from Asos.
Theresa May and Nicola Sturgeon might be at odds politically, but there is one thing they can both agree on: supporting local designers. Their perfectly matched policies of wearing items sourced from shops and designers in their respective hometowns was thrown into sharp focus yesterday.
In London, Theresa May attended the Commonwealth Day observance service at Westminster Abbey wearing a favourite jacket by London-based designer Amanda Wakeley with a hat by Liz Felix, a milliner whose shop is situated in Henley-on-Thames, just down the road from Fluidity, the boutique where the PM buys much of her wardrobe and a short drive from her home in Maidenhead.
"It's a lovely thing that she chooses to shop in the local area, I think it says a lot about her personality and everyone around her is very appreciative,"says Felix whose designs May has worn for key occassions including Remembrance Sunday and a reception for the Chinese President in 2015 when she was Home Secretary. "She comes in with her husband unannounced. She's very decisive," Felix adds of May's shopping modus operandi.
Meanwhile, at her official residence- Bute House- in Edinburgh, Nicola Sturgeon was laying out her plans for a second referendum on Scottish independence wearing a pink (although it looks red in photos) skirt suit by Edinburgh-based label Totty Rocks.
"Her P.A contacted us when she was going to be sworn in as First Minister," says Holly Mitchell, one of the design duo behind Totty Rocks which makes each item bespoke in Scotland, but at affordable prices. "She wanted to wear something by a local dress designer. Now we make a few suits or dresses for her each season."
Mitchell, who founded Totty Rocks with fellow designer Lynsey Blackburn 11 years ago, pinpoints the reason why it's so important for politicians to buy and wear patriotically. "It proves that she's the genuine article. She could be saying all these things politically but then if you knew all her clothes were made in China, it would all come unravelled."
That's a philosophy which Theresa May has long integrated into her wardrobe. Many of her accessories are picked up during shopping trips in her constituency. A £65 faux-fur collar by Louison d'Or which the PM wore during the Davos Economic Forum in January seems to have come from her browsing in Maidenhead's Craft Coop, "a social enterprise business, pleased to be giving over 150 local craftspeople the opportunity to trade in a High Street shop, and to bring vitality to the Town Centre by transforming otherwise empty units into fabulous craft shops full of unique, locally created products."
There are few names that come to mind when one speaks of elegant fashion and designer Farida Hasan easily tops the list. Having been around since 2010, Hasan has marveled her buyers with the finesse and feminine flair she brings to the table and has established herself as one of the leading designer labels of the country. What started off as a pop up exhibition has brilliantly flourished.
The label has very recently launched a new Spring/Summer 2017 Luxury Pret collection, a beautiful depiction of summer, which is why Instep got in touch with the mother-daughter duo, Farida Hasan, Creative Director, and Khuban Omer Khan, Managing Director, to talk about their work.
“The woman who wears Farida Hasan is free spirited and someone who isn’t afraid to embrace her feminine side,” answered Khan when asked to describe the quintessential ‘Farida Hasan’ woman. “She’s a woman who appreciates trends but also values timeless and classic ensembles which she can wear season after season.”
Further describing the label’s unique selling point, the the designer elaborated: “Our summers get really hot and women enjoy wearing a subdued colour palette. Perhaps this is why designers cater to this desire. Having said that, we’ve been doing luxury pret using pastel colours and signature floral hand embroideries much before the floral trend started. It’s something that comes naturally to us. Our attention to detail and our embroideries definitely set us apart.” The brand heavily invests in each embroidery, almost as much as a bridal designer would. But Farida Hasan treats each pret design like a work of art.
What would she recommend to women as summer trends for this year?
“We feel that layering with ruffles and frills with lace organza and pearl detailing are trending this year. However, we can never part with our standard chikan and cotton silk kurtas, which have a distinctive boho chic vibe and are super comfortable to wear in the heat.”
Pastel colours may be a favourite for the brand but the designer has an important thing to say to Pakistani women. There is a lot of dialogue around who should wear light pastel shades, where darker women are made to feel as though their skin colour does not allow light colours.
“We wouldn’t ever discourage anyone who has dark skin not to wear pastels. We absolutely don’t believe that pastels only suit a particular skin tone,” confirmed Khan, and we wholeheartedly agree with her.
The Farida Hasan brand is available at several leading stores nationwide and internationally but have yet to venture into the fashion week circuit. The designer cleared out as to why that is so.
“We do realize that participating in fashion week immediately ups your brand value and gives you recognition beyond what any advertisement campaign can do but we believe in moving things at a rate that is comfortable for us. We want to grow organically. We don’t want to participate one year and disappear for three years after that. It has to be sustainable for the long haul and it can’t be at the expense of enjoying our work.”
But does the designer think that designers who show at fashion week have an edge over those who don’t? “In terms of brand recognition yes. But not necessarily in terms of sales or customer satisfaction,” she reiterated.
Being a huge designer label means that success doesn’t come easy. It’s a lot of hard work, one that requires a lot of time and commitment. Hasan sheds light on the realities of working in the fashion industry, and shares some of the obstacles and hurdles faced in the business.
“Interacting with labour is what we find most exhausting,” she said when asked what part of designing and running an operation of this magnitude entailed. “This involves dealing with their internal politics, negotiating with them when they clearly want to black mail you into submission and dealing with the crises that ensues once they get poached by other designers. Of course we value and respect their work and this industry cannot exist without them. But we feel that the industry could do with a bit of ethics and stability in the labour department.”
As the world moves towards the digital era at an alarming rate, everything is now happening online, including marketing and social media plays a huge role in marketing a product effectively. Farida Hasan is one of those successful labels that has enough clout that it doesn’t really need social media marketing to help with sales. However, Hasan recognizes social media as an emerging tool for marketing and thinks that it’s something the brand will be delving into soon.
“We have never spent on social media marketing but we feel it is very important and we should do it because visibility is important with so many brands out there.”
On a concluding note, the designer shared with us that it’s the brand’s dream to open a standalone store. “We wish to open a store that reflects our design philosophy. Boutique and multi brand stores is where we stand at the moment. Also, our E-store is coming up soon!”
Contrary to reports that shoppers are avoiding the first daughter’s fashion line to protest her father's policies, the president of the company says recent sales are among the best in the brand's history.
Abigail Klem, a former lawyer who has worked at Ivanka Trump HQ since 2013 and took over the role of company president in January, insisted that the brand has experienced a major boost.
“Since the beginning of February, they were some of the best performing weeks in the history of the brand,” explained Klem to Refinery29. “For several different retailers Ivanka Trump was a top performer online, and in some of the categories it was the [brand’s] best performance ever.”
Lyst, which monitors purchasing data from thousands of retailers, revealed that from January to February, Ivanka Trump sales increased a whopping 346 percent.
"We often noticed sales and search data are related to current events," explained Lyst's U.S. public relations director Sarah Tanner to Fox News. "During the presidential campaign last year, we saw a 460 percent increase in searches for pantsuits, which we likely tied to Hillary Clinton's affinity for the style. In the same vein, the Trump brand has largely been in the news many times during February, and it wouldn't be surprising to say that resulted in increased sales, in many calls for supporting the brand that we've seen online and throughout the last couple of months."
In February, it was reported that Trump’s namesake eau de parfum held two top-selling spots on Amazon: one for the full-sized bottle, the other a roll-on, which is still out of stock. Current reviews showed that customers were specifically purchasing the fragrance in support of the 35-year-old mother of three.
"Whether this is a long-term trend, we can't say," said Tanner on the growing demand for Ivanka Trump merchandise. "We've tracked the sales from March thus far and, if sales continue, we'll see an 8 percent increase, in relation to January sales, but nothing as large as what we saw in February. [But] it's still stronger than it had been in January."
Tanner also added that shoppers typically gravitated towards Trump's heels and dresses, which was the number two seller. However, every categroy of the brand sold much higher in February than what they've normally seen.
“We actually feel super optimistic because, I think, one, a lot of people support Ivanka, even across both political parties,” said Klem to Refinery29. “And then I think a lot of other people feel like, ‘Oh, I didn’t know Ivanka had a shoe line.’ ‘Oh, I didn’t know she had a handbag line.’ And they’re buying it.”
The beauty news site reported that while Klem declined to share internal sales data, available products online support the statement. Out of 134 pairs of Ivanka Trump shoes on sale at Zappos, 43 are marked “new,” indicating the site is still adding stock. Macy's had new products from Trump, and both Bloomingdales and Dillard's still carry the brand on their sites.
Trump stated on January 11 that she was stepping down from her posts at the Trump Organization and her fashion brand.
“When my father takes office as the 45th President of the United States of America, I will take a formal leave of absence from The Trump Organization and my eponymous apparel and accessories brand,” Trump wrote on Facebook. “I will no longer be involved with the management of operations of either company.”
In February, Nordstrom announced it would no longer sell Ivanka Trump's clothing and accessories. The move came amid a weeklong campaign known as "Grab Your Wallet," which called for a boycott of retailers that carry Ivanka Trump or Donald Trump merchandise.
The Seattle-based department store chain said the desicion was based on the sales performance of the first daughter's brand.
Tanner said that the boycotts didn't seem to dramatically affect Trump sales.
"And with that, there was also another movement to support the brand as well that we're seeing," she said. "That's definitely what we're seeing here."
Unlikely fashion icon Robert De Niro stars in new Ermenegildo Zegna campaign - with video
Luxury menswear brand Ermenegildo Zegna has unveiled its spring/summer 2017 advertising campaign, which features seasoned actor Robert De Niro alongside newcomer McCaul Lombardi.
The two actors came together to star in Defining Moments, a short film by filmmaker Francesco Carrozzini, and the dialogue is all free form. Although set in clearly staged environments – inside a car, by a pool and just walking along – the atmosphere feels remarkably unrehearsed, as if the audience was privy to private conversations. De Niro discusses the mentors who have guided him, why he is drawn to some roles but not others, and even his approach to risk taking. Opposite him, Lombardi, who debuted last year as Corey in American Honey, seems visibly star struck. Far from feeling awkward, this awe is precisely what gives this film its charm.
Naturally, as this unfolds, both men are dressed in Zegna’s spring/summer 2017 collection, but this seems almost beside the point. Zegna will have known full well that De Niro’s presence would overshadow everything else, but has been content to let that happen, which gives the whole exercise an authentic edge.
Director Francesco Carrozzini was a natural choice for this fashion-meets-acting project. His mother is the late Italian Vogue editor-in-chief, Franca Sozzani (about whom he made Franca: Chaos and Creation, in 2016) and he was nominated for an Emmy for his 2006 work, New York Times Screen Tests, starring Charlize Theron, Natalie Portman and Marion Cotillard.
The actress and her husband, choreographer Benjamin Millepied, have welcomed a baby girl, named Amalia Millepied, on Feb. 22. "Mother and baby are happy and healthy," a rep for the actress tells The Hollywood Reporter.
Portman, 35, and Millepied, 39, are already parents to their 5-year-old son, Aleph. The couple, who first met on the set of Black Swan, tied the knot in August 2012.
Due to her pregnancy, Portman canceled her appearances at the Independent Spirit Awards and the Oscars. Portman was nominated at both award shows for her starring role in Jackie. She had been showing her baby bump on red carpets, including the Golden Globes and SAG Awards.
While appearing on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon last November, Portman chatted with the late-night host about her second pregnancy.
"It's weird because I'm a small person in general, so you show a lot faster and a lot more when you're small. Everyone thinks I'm about to pop and about to give birth any minute, and I have months to go," said the petite actress, who's 5-foot-3. "I went to the store the other day to buy water and the guy at the checkout counter was like, 'Almost, huh?' I was like, 'No! Not at all!'"