Clothing has always been political—what we wear and how we wear it has been a social issue since before the ancient Greeks—but in the current climate of international chaos, garments have taken on new meaning, able to show off in an instant the wearer’s political point of view. Nowhere has that been more obvious than at the menswear shows in London this week, where designers new and old have put political messaging front and center on the runways.
The most startling commentary came early on in the week, when MAN designer Charles Jeffrey presented looks that walked through the history of British fashion. In the mix were three gigantic papier-mâché figures designed by Gary Card, the most poignant of which came painted with with segments of the Stars and Stripes and of the Union Jack. Jeffrey called the trio of grotesque forms “goddesses,” but to the lay observer, they looked more like freaky phalli. In passing, the patriotic-printed one could resemble a nuclear warhead, too—is this Jeffrey’s way of warning what horrors might lie ahead? Maybe not—“Jeffrey was trolling,” wrote Vogue.com critic Luke Leitch in his review. Still, in today’s fearsome climate, we couldn’t help but see his giant creatures as eerily foreboding.
More subtle displays of our political unrest followed. Matthew Miller’s modelswore bloody red face paint and carried black and red flags during his show’s finale. He told Vogue.com Chief Critic Sarah Mower, “It’s about how a generation are a product of fear politics in a post-truth world. It’s created a collection of individuals who are afraid to act.” Japanese designer Mihara Yasuhiro was also thinking about fear in a collection that evoked images of Black Panthers, Che Guevara–styled Marxists, and other revolutionaries. “I look around now and see all the young people who are scared about President Trump and what that will mean,” he told Leitch.
Unsurprisingly, much of London’s creative set had Brexit on the mind. At Agi & Sam, the designers’ statement on the Brexit vote was unassuming: a European Union flag printed onto a wool jacket. Spring’s anti-Brexit advocate Daniel W. Fletcher, for his part, created a collection that sought to move on from the tumult of the EU referendum. “After such a turbulent year in politics—and all the xenophobia—I wanted to send out a positive message,” he said. That meant streamlined, luxurious clothes for a new generation of political disruptors and champions of change. Still, Fletcher couldn’t leave the politicking for the pollsters. Promotional images of his collection featured models of all ethnicities with a call to action beneath asking viewers to vote for his cast of gangly guys.
The message wasn’t muddled or minimized at Christopher Shannon’s brilliantly perverse show. Some models’s faces were covered with shredded flags, a not-so-subtle take on the crumbling state of international relations. Shannon’s clothing, too, went heavy on the messaging. One gent took to the runway wearing a black sweatsuit with a parody of the Boss International logo that read “Loss International.” His flag? That of the European Union. London’s young guard of designers might “just be making clothes,” as their detractors would say, but it’s clear they won’t go gently into that good night. Let’s see if the commentary and calls to action continue in Milan and Paris.Read more at:formal dresses australia | cocktail dresses
At a time when countries in the MENA are struggling to create jobs for increasing numbers of job seekers, the success of entrepreneurs promoting small scale enterprises is worth celebrating! This past month, this happened with great fanfare for Moroccans who have combined business acumen with local resources to generate opportunities for workers with basic skills, mostly women, to make a difference.
The BBC did a special report on women who have built careers designing and promoting contemporary and traditional versions of the kaftan. Ilham Benami has always wanted to produce fashionable clothing, despite being limited in opportunities to study design in Morocco. She watched tailors and learned from them the basics of working with material, and began to make kaftans for friends and family at home. Her popularity grew, and now, at 33, she employs at least 10 women, and her kaftans have a broad range of prices depending on the quality of the material and work involved in each piece.
The article noted that "[t]he kaftan industry is rooted in tradition. It is a dress for women that dates back to at least the 16th Century. But it is evolving - 'just like Moroccan women,' says Ilham." Her kaftans mix Moroccan and Western influences and are becoming part of a global trend towards kaftan-inspired fashions. Ilham is clear that she's just beginning, in a country where 30% of women are unemployed. "For women's independence these days, it's a lot easier compared with when I was growing up," says Ilham. "I wanted to work and fashion has always been a passion of mine, so I was going to still follow my passion no matter what my circumstances were."
In Marrakech, the sister duo, Sana and Wafaa Redwani, have been running a kaftan business under the Vallasco Gallery label. It is an haute couture boutique with a store in the south of Morocco as well. "The kaftans have been modelled in Africa Fashion Week in New York and are exported to Portugal. Wafaa says the designs have a more Western cut with a 'Moroccan touch,' which explains why they are becoming more successful internationally."
The president of the Democratic League for Women's Rights, Fouzia Assouli, is optimistic about women's opportunities in business, but says there is still a lot to be done. She points to Miriem Bensalah Chaqroun, the president of CGEM, the premier business group in the country, as a stalwart force in opening doors for Moroccan women.
The BBC noted that "Fouzia believes that since Chaqroun was appointed it has opened doors for Moroccan women in the business sector. But she says there is more of an awareness of women's rights among the elite than among the poor, who are still lagging behind. Many of these vulnerable women are now collaborating with businesswomen like Ilham, Wafaa and Sana to help make kaftans -- work which can sometimes take months to complete."
As the BBC reported, for Wafaa, the kaftan industry is a symbol of the Moroccan woman of today. "Our kaftans are like us. We are caught between the East and the West just like the designs, but we still have our Moroccan identity and we will still fight to move forward."
Young Moroccan Entrepreneur Snares UK Prize
Another story highlighted 19-year-old Walid Ijassi from Morocco, who has won a global competition among young entrepreneurs. The annual competition was founded by 24-year-old UK-based, Queen's Young Leader and social entrepreneur Adam Bradford, who started it in 2013. The competition supports young entrepreneurs by providing a start-up grant, mentoring, and networking opportunities. This is the first time the competition has gone international, with talent from 30 countries competing. Ijassi's project focuses on creating consumer products from apple waste.
Adam Bradford got started by winning the BiG Challenge enterprise competition when he was just 14 years old. He is autistic and has used his experience to champion causes such as opening opportunities to autistic people and raising awareness of extreme poverty.
Upon being told the news of his win, Walid said: "It's such an amazing opportunity that the AdamStart Challenge has given me as a young Moroccan entrepreneur at an international level. Having received the call from the team telling me that out of more than 300 candidates I have been chosen as the winner of the challenge was just surreal and made me more confident and galvanized to take my start-up, with the help of the Challenge Team, to a global and more structured level."
In addition to winning the competition, Walid is now the latest in the growing ranks of Moroccan role models for young people to embark upon entrepreneurship with determination and commitment. As Adam said in the article, "In light of the global youth unemployment crisis, we need more innovative entrepreneurs to tackle social problems and create an income for themselves. Walid is an exceptional young person and I am delighted to give him my backing. I can't wait to see what he achieves next year."Read more at:unique formal dresses | marieaustralia
Recent Kate Spade sale rumors are being coupled with reports of insider trading. Minutes before Dow Jones reported that Kate Spade is exploring a sale of its business, one options trader purchased nearly 2,000 calls – paid-for options to purchase the New York-based fashion brand’s stock at an already agreed-upon price – resulting in a quick $320,000 profit.
Options trading tends to operate heavily around specific events, such as a company’s release of its earnings reports or the impending release of a legal judgment but is also frequently used on a less event-specific basis, for the purpose of hedging other investments. With this in mind, the unnamed (and likely unknown) trader’s purchase – which took place at 12:23 p.m. on December 28 – seem somewhat run of the mill. That is until 10 minutes later when Kate Spade made headlines for reportedly preparing to sell off its company. The timing for the trade has led to suspicions of insider trading as first reported by CNBC analysts.
The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission has declined to comment on whether it will investigate the trading activity at issue, and Kate Spade did not immediately respond to a request for comment regarding the trade allegations.
So, what companies are expected to make a play for Kate Spade, which plans to kick off a formal auction process this month, with interest from six possible bidders, according to a person familiar with the situation? Wells Fargo analyst Ike Boruchow said several brand houses — namely, VF Corp, PVH, Hanesbrands, Michael Kors and Coach — have said they are looking to make an acquisition. Boruchow said Kate's valuation was "compelling" since the shares have been punished for the company's recent choppy earnings reports.
VF Corp and Michael Kors, which are typically quiet on the options front, both saw heightened activity on Wednesday. "We know that both Coach and Kors each have cash and want to make a purchase of another brand," Telsey Advisory Group's Dana Telsey told CNBC on Wednesday. "You certainly have in Kate a long runway of potential growth ahead."
More athletic-focused brands may be less of a good fit, said Kay Koplovitz, a former Kate Spade board member, told Bloomberg. The bidder would need to cultivate Kate Spade’s role as a “whimsical” brand aimed at millennial career women, Koplovitz said. If it is purchased by an apparel conglomerate with lots of labels, there’s a danger of “homogenizing” the business, she said.