Stars Of Style To Lead Lively Forbes China Lifestyle Discussion

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Stars of style and social media from China and afar will join a lively discussion of lifestyle trends to be hosted in Shanghai on Nov. 27 by Forbes China, the Chinese-language edition of Forbes.

Speakers will include billionaire Gao Dekang, chairman of down apparel leader Bosideng International, Macau entrepreneur Sabrina Ho, and Wendy Yu, CEO of fashion industry investment firm Yu Holdings.  Gao and Yu have appeared on Forbes China covers this year. Samantha Cameron, founder of UK fashion firm Cefinn and wife of former British Prime Minister David Cameron, will also attend.

Other participants include Meme Tian, author of “The Things Money Can’t Solve” and actress, as well as architect Yu Ting. Yi Wang, co-founder of Laix (formerly known as Liulishuo), the U.S.-listed education company headquartered in Shanghai, and investor Harry Hui, partner of ClearVue Partners, will also be on hand to discuss what’s new and what’s not at the Wanda Reign on the Bund.

[“source=forbes]

This #XLBossLady Brings Plus Size Fashion To LA

Jessica Hinkle, Owner of Proud Mary FashionJessica Hinkle

Access to fashion has arguably been one of the greatest struggles for the plus size community. Clothing isn’t just fabric we use to cover our bodies. It’s how we articulate who we are in the world. Few people know this better than Jessica Hinkle, the owner of LA-based Proud Mary Fashion. I interviewed Jessica about her journey into becoming an #XLBossLady:

I’ve been fashion-obsessed since I was a child. My parents would buy me notebooks and I would fill them all up with sketches. I’d sit in front of the tv watching runway show clips and sketching clothing. I also knew from an early age that the fashion industry wasn’t accessible for someone like me (fat and poor.) It always felt worlds away, kind of like trying to become a movie star. My parents moved us to Florida my senior year of high school. When I found out my new school offered apparel design classes, I immediately signed up. On the first day, the teacher talked me out of taking the class (to make way for freshman she said) but I really was made to feel like it wasn’t a place for me. I felt really judged and pushed out. I was heartbroken because I finally felt excited to find a resource to learn the things I wanted to that wouldn’t cost anything. After that, I had approached my parents about attending art school but they said absolutely not.

My parents both grew up poor and neither graduated high school. I think they felt like art school was lofty and impractical. They didn’t think that a fat girl could make money in fashion and the student loans would be outrageous. I wasn’t confident enough to push back or in a position where I felt like I could make it work without their support. So I figured I could at least study Creative Writing at the community college and one day get a job working at a fashion magazine.

[“source=forbes]

Q&A With Paris-Based Singaporean Fashion Designer, Andrew Gn

Andrew Gn, the only Singaporean fashion designer on the official Paris Fashion Week calendar speaks about how the industry has evolved over the past three decades.

Singaporean fashion designer Andrew GnPhoto Anne Combaz

In your opinion, how has the fashion industry evolved over the past three decades since you first started in the business?

When I started, fast fashion had not become the mass phenomenon it is now. With their strategies of continuously offering new styles in order to attract customers more frequently into their stores, these new actors have commanded a change of pace in the industry, more collections, a much higher turnover of designs, and probably some market saturation and customer fatigue. Another significant change has been the ever-increasing role of social media, spreading looks and trends around the globe like wildfire, thus pushing true designers to fight for their own identity. And lastly, the interconnection of fashion and show business, with showbiz stars becoming promotional vehicles for fashion, or even turning themselves into fashion designers, with varying degrees of success.

Although Singapore isn’t known for its fashion scene, how have you created an international fashion brand that’s worn by high-profile celebrities? What were the keys to your success, and what were some of the preconceived notions about Asian fashion designers that you’ve had to overcome?

From the beginning, I’ve not been designing with a specific geographical market in mind, but for any woman around the world who loved beauty and refinement. This is why my house has grown a very international clientele, attracting celebrities and their stylists from the West as well as the East. I don’t feel that I was ever perceived as an “Asian” designer, but more as a Singapore-born designer who chose to establish himself in the West.

Why have you chosen to be based in Paris, and why would fashion designers choose to be based overseas versus in Singapore and vice versa?

I first came to Paris as a young boy. I was so enthralled by the city that I told myself that someday I would live there. I came back to Paris after my fashion studies in London, New York and Milan to take my first job with Emmanuel Ungaro. And I’ve stayed on because I believe Paris does remain the fashion capital of the world. Here I can find the talent, resources and savoir-faire to produce my collections with the degree of refinement I’ve always been yearning for.

Describe to me your sources of inspiration, especially history, art and nature, and how that has influenced your work. Do other fashion designers use similar inspiration?

I can’t really speak for others, but for me, art, history, nature and flowers are (besides food!) major passions. When I turned 15, my father gave me a complete set of Les Histoires Naturelles by 18th-century French naturalist Buffon. I treasure these books, they have inspired me on several occasions. I love visiting museums and art exhibitions, whether classic or contemporary. I am an avid collector of ceramics and textiles. All this, plus a profuse image library within my head, are my sources of inspiration.

Why is it important for you to draw from your Asian roots and heritage in your collections?

I was born and educated in Asia. My Asian heritage comes naturally in my designs. My father was a merchant and was traveling a lot around Southeast Asia when I was a child. He would bring back for my mother wonderful hand-dyed batiks from Indonesia, beautifully woven and embroidered kimonos from Japan and amazing silks from China. My mother would then go to her tailor and have them transformed into dresses, suits and cheongsams. These childhood memories are still very vivid and bring me constant inspiration, as you can see from some of my very recent collections.

[“source=forbes]

A New Accelerator Model Tackles Fashion Industry’s Supply Chains

Factory45 and Market45 founder Shannon Lohr wants to help smaller startups in the sustainable fashion space.Factory45

After launching her own apparel brand {r}evolution apparel,  Shannon Lohr was burnt out. She had raised more than $60,000 on Kickstarter in 2011 to bring the idea to life and then taken it to stores across the country. But she needed a break.

She did just that and came back with a new approach to changing the fashion industry — consulting new up-and-coming brands. Her latest platform, Market45 complements Factory45, an online accelerator program that takes sustainable apparel brands from idea to launch. Market45 offers to house their creations and connect them with online customers.

Lohr says that it was her firsthand experience of starting a company and how difficult it can be that led her to set up Factory45. Specifically, she says knows the uphill battle that it takes to break into the fashion industry where supply chains are complex and often inaccessible to smaller brands. Factory45 was the first part of the solution: a business school for sustainable fashion startups, helping connect entrepreneurs with sustainable suppliers around the world.

But this realization took time, nearly a decade. In 2011, Lohr and a friend decided to launch sustainable fashion brand {r}evolution. Following a Kickstarter campaign that became the highest-funded fashion project in Kickstarter history at the time, the pair tripled their goal and quadrupled their first production run. After a sustainable fashion tour of the Pacific Northwest, the two were exhausted though.

At the end of 2012, Lohr sold her portion of the company to her co-founder and moved into consulting, putting to use all the skills she’d picked up during her own stint as an apparel entrepreneur. Although she had stepped away from running her own brand, Lohr realized that all the time she had spent fighting to get her foot through the door could save other designers the effort.

[“source=forbes]

How Man Repeller’s Leandra Medine Redefined Fashion’s Front Row

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“I’ve learned everything from scratch. I had no idea what I was doing when I started out,” says Leandra Medine, creator of the satirical style site Man Repeller. Today Medine’s name and her signature sense of style are synonymous with the New York fashion scene and her inimitable voice has cemented her status as one of the industry’s most formidable forces.

Medine launched Man Repeller as a junior college in 2010 at a time when blogging was still in its infancy and the term “influencer” had yet to be coined. She quickly generated a cult following by dispensing her daily fashion wisdom on “trends that women love and men hate” coupled with her irreverent social commentary. With an ethos that “an interest in fashion doesn’t minimize one’s intellect,” Medine emerged as a preeminent voice in an industry notoriously difficult to penetrate and long-dominated by legacy status.

“I really do believe that my opinion is worth being heard all the time,” laughs Medine, a lifelong New Yorker. “But I didn’t think Man Repeller was going to become my career until I realized that I had saved enough money and certainly had a smart and strategic enough business mind to start hiring other people. I thought to myself, ‘I have nothing to lose, so why not give it a try?’” she recalls. Medine’s instincts and unapologetic approach has continued to pay off. Coming of age during the “dawn of new media,” she admits it was easy to compare her website to its larger, flashier peers, but credits an unwavering trust in her vision and a resolve to remain entirely bootstrapped with keeping the business on course. “The reason we’ve been able to grow in this slow, steady, measured pace has been because we’ve never taken on any financing,” says Medine. “As a result, all of the goals and pressures that we’ve endured have been completely self-brought-on as motivators.”

[“source=forbes]

The Curious Emptiness Of Renting Everyday Fashion

The 20th annual Initiatives in Arts and Culture (IAC) Conference was held Thursday and Friday at the Museum of The City of New York. Founded by Lisa Koenigsberg, IAC’s primary activities are conferences, publications, and exhibitions that take an interdisciplinary approach, considering issues related to fabrication, connoisseurship, cultural patrimony, cultural preservation, and the future of culture.

This year the conference featured a “think tank” gathering of leaders, associations, and trendsetter, exploring the fluidity and changes affecting the fashion industry, including how disruptors bring innovation and revolution to the design story.

2018 IAC ConferenceCourtesy IAC Conference

Speakers included fashion designers Jason Wu, Cynthia Rowley and Rebecca Minkoff, bestselling author and Columbia professor Caroline Weber, jewelry designer Prince Dimitri of Yugoslavia, and fashion marketing guru Ivan Bart.

Koenigsberg spoke about the conference, its goals, and the changing environment in fashion and retail.

How has the conference changed or evolved over the past 20 years?

The conference has retained its focus on the history of fashion and related expressions, exploring major houses and designers.  At the same time, IAC and the conference have increasingly been concerned with what is happening now: adornment jewels and accessories, and issues pertaining to the relationship of fashion to larger social issues, ranging from sustainability, to inclusion, to social media and marketing, as well as the power of the image.

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How can the conference be helpful in dealing with a rapidly changing fashion environment?

Every year we consider pressing issues of the moment, and our consideration is enhanced because of IAC’s relationships with industry leaders, academics, professional associations, designers, and today’s thought leaders. We commit to bringing pressing issues ranging from design trends to body types; various price points, each of which has its demands; and new approaches to balancing societal imperatives with fashion, and all that is involved in creating great design.

How can new designers establish themselves without using the traditional route of brick & mortar stores?  Will it even be possible?

Yes, we can see this in front of us every day. La Ligne, established by three women, is a direct to consumer brand.  Through e-commerce, trunk shows and other appearances, La Ligne makes use of relationship-based endorsements from high profile loyal followers called La Bande.  Much current discussion addresses the power of Instagram, and whether it has eclipsed print publications.  Additionally, pop-up shops allow for episodic but traditional encounters with the consumer, ranging from trendy to high-end.

This upcoming Monday, November 12th,  IAC will be hosting its inaugural diamond and gemstone conference at the William and Anita Newman Conference Center of Baruch College, at 151 East 25th Street. Day of Light seeks to explore a range of topics, from branding initiatives in the industry, to color trends affecting design, to the importance of storytelling in customer engagement and experience. By exploring the bread and butter bridal market alongside bespoke, as well as issues impacting the colored gemstone industry, Monday’s program is set to immerse participants in thoughtful and engaging discussions around hot topics, better practices, and new approaches for customer connection.

[“source=forbes]