Fashion, Fashion News

How do you control the use of your image?

Following Kendall & Kylie Jenner’s latest controversial misstep – screen printing their faces on “vintage” t-shirts from bands and rappers then selling them for $125 – I spent some time thinking about how artists can protect their legacy once they are gone, or even when they are still here.

The Jenner sisters’ collection of t-shirts featured artists like Tupac Shakur & Biggie Smalls, both deceased, and bands like Pink Floyd. Biggie Smalls’ mother, Voletta Wallace spoke out against the t-shirt in an Instagram post, calling it “exploitation” and “disrespectful”, and mentioned the key point that the sisters nor their teams reached out to her or anybody connected to Biggie’s estate to check if it was actually ok for them to use his image. Sharon Osbourne, wife of Ozzy (who was featured on one of the t-shirts), said that the girls hadn’t “earned the right” to put their faces with icons. The t-shirts were pulled from their website the day of the launch and Kendall & Kylie both issued an apology online.

I think it was pretty clear for everyone to see that the Jenners were in the wrong in this situation. It was a blatant money-making scheme which they hadn’t any business being involved in. However, someone approved it and for some reason it was released to the public. I think after receiving such harsh criticism from so many prominent figures will resonate with them. However, they are not the only people to ever use someone’s image without their permission. In fact, tour merchandise especially is often replicated.

Forever 21 and Kanye West had issues in 2016 when they copied the Pablo merch almost exactly. Justin Bieber teamed up with H&M to make a capsule collection of “Purpose” merch. It was a strange but apt collaboration given that H&M continually sell unofficial band merchandise, from Guns N’ Roses and Metallica. Then I also wonder how Metallica felt when Kanye West reused their famous logo and changed it into the Yeezus logo, splattering it on t-shirts, hats, and hoodies and selling it in droves. Yeezus merch was some of the most popular merch that I can remember in recent history so I can only assume that the profits were crazy high. Did Metallica get a cut?

Voletta Wallace made the point that nobody connected to the estate, meaning the estate of her deceased son Christopher Wallace, were contacted before Kendall & Kylie’s t-shirts were made and I then thought about how many t-shirts and memorabilia type items are made with people like Marilyn Monroe & Audrey Hepburn’s faces on it. Does their estate get a cut of all of these product’s profits? Or is it a lost cause?

The Rubens styles from the LV x Jeff Koons collaboration

Finally, I was reminded of the Louis Vuitton x Jeff Koons collaboration. Koons used famous masterpieces like the Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa and printed them on bags. Louis Vuitton are now selling the capsule collection. A bag from there will set you back $3200 for a Neverfull tote. How does that situation work out? If they are profiting from the work from a long deceased artist, in this case literally hundreds of years deceased, how does it work out in terms of copyright/ownership? I would be curious to find out more. Off-White also makes Caravaggio printed t-shirts for $293.

I guess my main question that I am posing with this post is how do people ensure that the profits from products are going to the right people? If someone’s likeness is used without their knowledge/consent, what is their legal rights/claims on the product’s profits? This is a subject that I’m going to explore in more depth personally over the next few weeks, doing some research. If I find out anything exciting, I will add it to this post as an update!

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Fashion, Fashion News

Coachella Fashion

According to the below article from the New York Times, festival fashion has become such a big deal that retailers are almost thinking of “festival” as its own season. Landing in stores after the spring collections drop but before pre-fall arrives, the mini-season’s collections are increasingly important.¬†The evolution of this trend has undoubtedly been marked by the Instagram-fodder that is Coachella. So much so that H&M has created a collection specifically for Coachella, the popular California desert music festival that spans two weekends.¬†

There has been a lot of criticism of Coachella in the past, not so much for the lineups but more so for the festival-goers. People have been described as posers for putting more effort into their outfits than actually having fun and enjoying the music. Everything about the festival has boiled down to the perfect Instagram shot. Coachella fashion has been the topic on every fashion outlet that I’ve read over the past few weeks, ranging from in-depth business articles like the aforementioned piece by New York Times to style & shopping guides to satire pieces about how not to be “that girl” at Coachella (i.e. the one in the culturally appropriative headdress). I’ve seen stylists doing their edit for their celebrity clients who are attending the festival, filled with designer pieces and impractical outfits that really have no place at a music festival but still are super cute (think Kylie Jenner’s all over bodystocking last year). I’ve also seen people on YouTube discussing their Coachella purchases, with one buying a Chloe & Valentino bags to take with them. It just shows that both high end designers and fast-fashion retailers are benefitting from the hype of the festival. Type in “Coachella lookbook 2017” on YouTube and there’s already¬†100k hits.

I haven’t attended Coachella myself so I can’t personally comment on it. However, I found it interesting just how big the whole festival phenomenon has become and how it benefits the fashion industry so much. I’m curious to see how long this lasts as well as I was under the impression that the whole Coachella bubble was about to burst. I am keen on attending Panorama Festival here in New York in the summer. On the Friday both Solange and Frank Ocean are performing so I’d love to see that. Are there any festivals on your to-go list?

Further reading

“Brands are capitalizing on Coachella before the festival even begins” – Fashionista.com

“You can now shop H&M’s Coachella line, starring the Atomics” – Refinery29

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Fashion, Fashion News

Edward Enninful Confirmed at British Vogue

Omg. I’m so excited. I know that is possibly the least sophisticated way possible to start a post but I am genuinely thrilled to hear the news that Edward Enninful will be taking the position of Editor in Chief of British Vogue, replacing Alexandra Shulman effective August 1st. Edward freaking Enninful going to British Vogue. Wow.

This is exciting on so many levels. Firstly, a new editor in chief means a new direction for the magazine. I’m particularly excited about this because I am actually an avid reader of British Vogue. I’ve had a subscription since I was twelve years old and I look forward to reading it every single month. In fact, just today I read the May 2017 issue whilst enjoying the sunshine in Central Park. I like British Vogue under Shulman but I do agree with lots of the criticism of her magazine (e.g. lack of diversity, very specific target market – rich women who live in the countryside). I’m interested to see what Enninful’s take on the magazine will be. Will he completely change the direction in terms of features or will he keep things largely the same? I enjoy reading British Vogue because of the features in it, more so than the editorials often. Sometimes I can tell that an article has not been written for me at all but other times I really enjoy it. For example, in this month’s issue there was a great article about Gosha Rubchinskiy that I found interesting and actually informative. I think they do a good job of having at least two standout articles per issue so I’d like to hope that things continue this way, perhaps improving even further.

Secondly, what is going to happen to the British Vogue team? It must be rather frightening when your editor is leaving because often when a new one comes in the staff changes entirely. I hope that the core team stays the same because I honestly think that British Vogue has a great team. I love Sarah Harris, Julia Hobbs, Ellie Pithers, and Naomi Smart. There’s obviously so many more team members but they are people who I know of that I admire. I expect that Enninful will bring in some new fashion editors and start to work with different photographers and models too. I’m guessing it will mean less Mario Testino, more Mert & Marcus.

Enninful has had such an amazing career up until this point and this feels like such a moment to celebrate in fashion. Everywhere I’ve looked the reaction to his appointment has been extremely positive with everyone saying how he’s so deserving and the best candidate for the job. I’m really happy for him too and I’m excited to see what happens next. Congratulations to Edward Enninful!

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Fashion, Fashion News, Opinion

Tom Ford is moving to Los Angeles

A look from Tom Ford’s Spring 2017 collection, the last “see now, buy now” offering

Newsflash: Tom Ford is relocating his offices to Los Angeles. Why does this matter to you? Honestly, it represents the shift in the fashion industry from a highly structured, regimented machine to a more free-flowing, space-for-everyone kind of place that it is today. Think about it, nobody is sticking to a strict timetable now. Some brands are doing “see now, buy now”, some brands are doing “see now, preorder now” and some brands are just sticking to the regular old timetable. Then it comes down to fashion week scheduling. The official calendar, in New York at least, doesn’t mean much given that brands are choosing to show outside of the city (often in LA). Some are taking it even further than that and showing on a calendar entirely of their own (Vetements and Public School are the two most prominent examples). We are at a period of change in the fashion industry and who knows what things will look like in five years time.

Tom Ford moving to LA is exciting to me, because hopefully others will follow suit. LA began to have its moment when Hedi Slimane relocated the YSL offices there a few years back. Now that he has left his role there and creative control has been handed back to Paris, there was a slight void in the newfound high fashion spot. Tom Ford has filled it, quite literally, by taking over the old office space that the Saint Laurent team previously occupied. Off Highland, on Santa Monica Boulevard, the space is below Hollywood yet close enough to remember you’re in La La Land.

In the past, collectively people have associated LA fashion with surfers and beaches and maybe even denim. However, it is becoming so much more than that. Whilst it is true that celebrity reigns supreme in Los Angeles, the art scene is growing and the fashion scene is becoming a lot more legitimate. Other brands that have design offices here, or are entirely based in the city, include & Other Stories, the Swedish “atelier-based” chain under the H&M umbrella, Elizabeth & James (Mary-Kate and Ashley’s second line) and Rodarte. FarFetch, the e-commerce giant, has an office with 120 employees Downtown. I’d like to see a shift in the industry to more brands relocating to LA, or at least opening smaller satellite offices.

Personally, I’d like to move to LA one day. Sometime after I graduate I hope to live in California and enjoy the weather. However, a career is also insanely important to me and I wouldn’t like to think that I’d be forfeiting it by leaving New York. With more brands starting to make the switch to the West Coast, that looks less and less likely.¬†Currently the Los Angeles fashion industry is very much celebrity driven. Most fashion stylists working out there are in celebrity styling/event dressing. Think of the Hollywood Reporter’s annual list of the Most Powerful Stylists. Everyone on there does red carpet dressing. PR companies based there are in the same field. It makes sense given that Hollywood is the center of the entertainment industry. I’d like the option of doing e-commerce or editorial styling, alongside celebrity styling too. It’s interesting to see what the future holds.

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Fashion, Fashion News

Alexandra Shulman exiting British Vogue

I’m sure you’ve all seen the news by now but I thought it was time to weigh in myself, or merely comment. Alexandra Shulman is leaving her position as Editor-in-Chief of British Vogue after 25 years, the longest tenure of any editor thus far. She cites the desire for a different kind of life after all of the time at the top. It makes sense & also rules out any other possible career moves people may speculate about.

Honestly, I love British Vogue. Maybe it’s because it’s the magazine that I grew up reading or maybe it’s because I’m from there, but it is my favourite edition of Vogue to actually sit down and look through in detail. I don’t think I can do that with any other editions (often for language barriers or, in terms of American Vogue, readership age/target market). I am also confident that the magazine will not crumble without Shulman there to lead. The team is fantastic. That’s what makes the magazine so good. Julia Hobbs, Sarah Harris, Naomi Smart, Lucinda Chambers, Ellie Pithers – I could really just list the entire masthead – are all so talented.

The timing of Shulman’s departure makes sense, logically. Firstly, 25 years, a quarter of a century, is a hell of a long time to be in one job, especially such a high profile, high responsibility role. Secondly, she has achieved so much in the last year that it would seem like nothing could ever top it. The British Vogue centenary celebrations went well (slight understatement), culminating in a party, festival, and portraiture exhibition featuring the most coveted cover star, the Duchess of Cambridge, Kate Middleton. There was also a documentary covering the time period released on BBC2 at the tail end of 2016. In terms of going out on a high, Shulman is soaring.

I wish her all the best in whatever she chooses to pursue going forward and I excitedly wait the announcement of her successor. I don’t even know who it could be, but I really do hope it is an internal promotion. The Vogue staffers deserve it.

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Fashion News

Hedi VS YSL

Let me start this off by saying I loved this season’s YSL show. I’m excited to see what more Anthony Vaccarello is going to do. But let me also say, I didn’t notice too big a shift between this season and Hedi’s work. In fact, if I didn’t know the creative director had changed I probably would never have guessed it. The stand out piece from the show were the YSL shaped heels. They were so killer. I actually posted a photo of them on my Instagram. To me they were logomania in the best way possible. Slightly vulgar but also cool as hell.

The YSL logo has been an issue of contention for Hedi Slimane, the departed designer who seems to be having real issues with his former employer. Hedi was accused of trying to do away with the YSL logo (which makes sense as he changed the house’s name to Saint Laurent Paris from Yves Saint Laurent) but he claims that this is not the case. In fact, he went on a Twitter rant detailing the many times in which he used the logo and promoted it. I’m not sure why he felt compelled to address this but whatever.

I am curious to know what actually went down between him and the company. There still seems to be drama that has not yet been played out and as we know his departure was rather sudden and (sort of) unexpected. For one, profits were at a high. So why did he really go? I read a good comment on a Fashionista article where someone theorised that he promised the owners a billion in sales and then he could do couture and they didn’t give him couture when he made that money so he left. That sounds plausible to me.¬†I guess if we stay tuned on Twitter we may find out sometime soon…

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Fashion News, Film & TV

The Over-promotion of Zoolander 2

I love Zoolander, I really do. In fact, it is one of my favourite comedies. However, I am sick to death of all the promo for Zoolander 2. It’s too much. Everywhere I look there are posters, on Instagram I struggle to scroll down my feed without seeing Ben Stiller as Derek Zoolander on a magazine cover or doing a Vogue Youtube video or Ben Stiller as himself on the red carpet. They’ve set a Guinness World Record on the promotional tour for the length of a selfie stick. They’ve got almost everyone who is remotely connected to the fashion industry (and some of the big hitters, too) involved either in the movie or at least in the promo. For this, I should be excited. And believe me, when the sequel was announced I was wildly excited. Now that the movie comes out next week I am starting to want to see it less and less.

I truly hope it lives up to the hype. If not, this will all have been a big waste of time. Seriously, after I see it I’ll probably eat my words. However, in the meantime I want to see nothing else about it. Overexposure at its finest.

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Fashion, Fashion News, Opinion, Personal

Grace Coddington, Designer Departures, Excessive Clear Outs

Departure seems to be a common theme in life at the moment: we have left one year behind and are now into the next (the best year yet, I have prophesied); I am turning 18 and therefore finally leaving behind the label of being a child (still a young person but no longer a child); and best of all, I am leaving one country behind and moving onto the next – America, New York specifically. (Yes, I know America is not the official name of the USA but it is much easier to type and pretty much everybody refers to it as that.) This year may be rather tumultuous but I am prepared because it is everything that I have wanted for a very long time finally coming to a head. I don’t want to get overly excited and start imagining scenarios that will never come to fruition but it is nice to dream. I am moving to New York to go to college in approximately 7 months. I cannot think of anything more exciting. That is one departure that I will not be sad about.

Someone else who has left their position in life (work, life, it all rolls into one) and is moving onto the next is Raf Simons. This news is very 2015 but since the Pre-Fall images for Dior have been released, it has been back on my mind. (I really like the new in-house designed collection by the way.) I started to really appreciate Raf’s work for Dior only after I watched Dior and I, the documentary profiling the lead-up to his first couture collection, made in only 6 weeks. His departure has been reduced to the overkill of the fashion schedule in the press – 4 ready to wear and 2 couture collections a year is insane. The fact that fashion is going at a rate that was before unimaginable is indisputable. Technology is marvellous yet dangerous. In the time after Raf announced his departure, Alber Elbaz was fired from Lanvin (to much shock and dismay) and rumours have flown around regarding Hedi Slimane leaving Saint Laurent. I cannot imagine the latter to be true, given that sales are soaring and the brand is perhaps in the best place it has been in a decade (at least, but I don’t know official numbers). For the most part, public perception is positive. Yes, many members of the fashion press are not fans of Hedi for Saint Laurent – Alexander Fury has been vocal about his disdain many a times before – but I think he has done well to create such a strong brand in a short time period. Hedi leaving seems like a bizarre move and I think it would be a decision made by Hedi himself rather than the folks at Saint Laurent – he is a cash cow. I do hope the rumours are proven to be false although I have heard speculation that the next show, which will be held in Los Angeles, is his swan song. Quite frankly, it is a departure that I would be sad about.

Another exit which I think has been overstated by people is Grace Coddington leaving her position as Creative Director of Vogue to become Creative Director at Large. People are reading the headlines saying she is leaving and thinking it means the worst – retirement, no more Grace, no more fantasy – but if you actually read into the articles it is clear to see that Grace will still be very much a part of Vogue, and so she should be. She will retain an office and contribute 4 editorials per year (that means her work is in a third of the issues a year, still a fairly high proportion). On top of this, she is free to explore other projects. That means we could see even more of her work. She could style fashion advertising, she could work with designers, she can do whatever she damn pleases. To summarise, Grace is going but she won’t be gone, so don’t be too upset about it.

Something that I am upset about is my hastiness with clear-outs, also known as great pieces of clothing departing from my wardrobe. As I am moving in the summer, as I said before a gazillion times, I am trying to downsize everything I own. I go through every single item in my wardrobe at least once a month so that by the summer I will hopefully be able to fit all of my possessions worth taking with me in 2 rather large suitcases. It sounds unachievable but it has to be done. If I want to cheat, I could probably leave some stuff behind and take it back with me when I go home after Christmas. Anyway, not the point. In my ruthlessness I have disposed of items which I now regret. Lying in bed last night, mentally planning my outfit for work the next day, I decided on black skinny pants, my black boots (devilishly soft leather ankle boots with a chunky heel that I can walk for miles in from Hobbs, in the sale!), a black top of sorts (that can be figured out in the morning easily as almost every top I own is black), and this fantastic Prince of Wales check blazer from Ralph Lauren. It was an eBay steal. Perfectly fitting with slight padding at the shoulders and a fantastic double breasted shape – so eighties, I know. I got up and began looking through my wardrobe to lay out my outfit for the following morning to then discover that the blazer was gone. As ridiculous as it sounds,¬†I was devastated. I then remembered that I had given it to the local charity shop only a few months earlier, deeming it too¬†Working Girl and deciding that I would never,¬†ever wear it again. Yet now I want it. I intend to go to said charity shop this weekend and buy it back if I can, however I fully expect to be told it is long gone. Even if it didn’t sell in my shop it will be in a random distribution centre somewhere and then sent to a store in a random little town where some lucky sod will buy it and love it and probably not be stupid enough to chuck it out in a mad-clearing frenzy. As if one thing wasn’t enough, I then thought about another one of my clear-out casulaties. A wonderful blouse that I got in the Zara sale a couple of years ago. The print was very Chloe, yet at the time I was at school and almost exclusively wore crop-tops and high waisted jeans (it’s much easier just to fit in, ok) and didn’t have enough forward-thinking skills to realise that it would be a damn good top to have for work. Oh well. It is also gone, a loooooong time ago. Some surburban mother is probably wearing it right now thinking it was such a bargain¬†– “Only ¬£2.89 for this¬†Zara top in Barnardo’s, what a steal!” she will say, “It looks so much more expensive than that” her friend will reply. Goddammit. In the future, I plan to NOT throw things out that I could possibly ever wear again. I also made the mistake of throwing out my sheepskin¬†aviator jacket only for them to make a killing on fashion blogs this winter. FORWARD PLANNING, my new motto.

So far, 2016 has been a year of changes, especially in fashion. But departures always mean leaving one thing behind and going onto the next, hopefully bigger and better. Many designers who have left their roles are proceeding to focus on different projects – Alex Wang left Balenciaga to focus on growing his own brand (god, I really can’t call him Alex like we are friends) and Raf is reportedly focusing on his line – so often leaving things behind is a positive. I can’t help but think of the negatives in situations but often things work out just as they are supposed to. That’s what I hope happens this year, everything turns out just as it was meant to. So far, so good.

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Fashion News

Fashionista Article: Should Fashion Week Become A Consumer-Facing Event?

The CFDA are considering a radical new show schedule for New York Fashion Week with lots of ideas being thrown around. The general idea is, given how interested consumers now are in this digital age, that the wait time between garments being shown on the runway to them actually hitting the stores is too long. The most hyped items are often forgotten about by the time the next fashion week comes around because the famous bloggers and celebrities somehow managed to get their hands on them already and by the time they hit the stores it is too late. A wholly revised schedule has been proposed, one that should benefit the consumers mainly but also the retailers. It would mean that fast fashion stores would have less time to turn out a copy, meaning people would either have to wait until it trickled down or just buy full-price. I think it would have huge repercussions on the fashion industry as we know it.

A Spring 2016 Alexander Wang look, one of New York's most prominent designers

A Spring 2016 Alexander Wang look, one of New York’s most prominent designers

I actually think the reforms being discussed sound very good. The idea of showing clothes for the upcoming season when the season is about to start makes a lot of sense. This Fashionista article does a good job of weighing up the pros and the cons of the proposal. I firmly believe it is a positive idea for the actual fashion industry in general; what do you think?

 

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