Exploring What Luxury Means in 2019

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The luxury market is changing because consumers are changing. The rise of environmentalism, sustainability, and digital activism mean that luxury brands can no longer take a step back and cater to what feels and looks good. They now are expected to be the world leaders when it comes to their industry. The fashion industry, in particular, has faced massive backlash over its wasteful processes. After all, when thousands have died in the process, rivers run with chemical dyes, and massive lakes dry up from cotton production, it’s no wonder that the consumer is up in arms.

They want fashion; they also want to feel like they’re leaving the world in a better place. Though the middle market is still having difficulties (budget consumers would rather prices didn’t go up) that doesn’t hold true for the luxury market. Today luxury means great quality and design, but it also means being socially and environmentally conscious.

The Rise of Environmentalism

Perhaps it started with Blue Planet, or with the concept of minimalism, or perhaps it has been building for years and only in the last few has taken worldwide attention. Plastic is demonized, luxury fashion brands have faced massive backlash over their burning policies, and the true cost of fashion has been driven home.

Fast fashion brands are putting out more sustainable collections. Clothes recycling has become more common, and the second-hand market is set to out-value the luxury market in a few short years. Luxury brands cannot afford to ignore this, not when top trending styles are often just rehashes of the past.

A jacket on the catwalk could easily be replicated by buying a retro coat online at JACK1T. A key look can be replicated by buying vintage items and tailoring them. Fashion has come full circle, so luxury brands need to offer something new.

The Rise of Diverse Beauty Representation

For luxury brands to succeed in the future, they must cater to greater representation. This means using a diverse cast of models in their campaigns, but it also means crediting and caring about the communities whose designs they have adapted or whose hands created their clothes. Dior came under fire recently for appropriating a traditional style of dress. By giving back to communities and tracing heritage where it belongs, luxury brands can give their customers more value and meaning, while also lifting up these traditional communities.

The Rise of Mobile Activism

Digital activism cannot be ignored, especially when it is how big stories spread. That is why luxury brands must be socially conscious and care about the people along their supply chain, from inspiration to production, to marketing.

What this Means for the Luxury Industry

This means that the luxury market is now expected to:

  • Do more for the planet

  • Ideally commit to a circular business model

  • Aim to clean emissions and output from production

  • Use less water

  • Support local communities

  • Use innovative materials that do not harm the planet or animals

  • Represent real people, not one beauty standard

  • Use innovation to offer personalized products

The luxury world cannot afford to slip up here, because emerging luxury fashion brands will take their place and second-hand fashion is already set to overtake them in sales.

FASHIONADO

Moncler 1 Pierpaolo Piccioli Fall 2018 Ready-to-Wear

Moncler 1 Pierpaolo Piccioli Fall 2018 Ready-to-Wear collection from Milan Fashion Week.

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Alice + Olivia Fall 2018 Ready-to-Wear NYFW

Alice + Olivia Fall 2018 Ready-to-Wear NYFW collection.

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Designer Kenya Freeman of Sylvia Mollie "Makes it Work" on Project Runway

Kenya Freeman, photo: Project Runway

Kenya Freeman, photo: Project Runway

She keeps two notebooks by her bed. As thoughts and ideas make their way into her dreams, she awakes, rolls over to jot them down and goes back to sleep – and possibly dream some more. By morning, as the alarm clock goes off and sleepy eyes open, she glances in her notebook and inspiration is born. Designer Kenya Freeman, of the label Sylvia Mollie, is literally living her dream. Kenya seeks inspiration from everything and everyone. If it’s not coming in her dreams then she finds it in nature, in her surroundings and on the street. Her mind is always wandering and conceptualizing.

Kenya didn’t know she was a designer right away. In the twelfth grade, she signed up for a fashion co-op class where she learned to create mood boards and studied merchandising. This came to Kenya with such ease that her mother enrolled her in fashion school. In her first year in college, she started sewing, watching her designs transform from sketches to garments. Everything felt so effortless. For the first time, Kenya felt like she had been given a gift. She felt like a designer. There is a lot to be said about a mother’s intuition.

Photos by Prince Williams/ATLpics.net courtesy of Ragtrade Atlanta.

Strong lines and architectural patterns are things Kenya embraces in her designs and textile choices. Other elements such as shape and texture – the feel and touch of fabric is very important to her – also play a part in the DNA makeup of the brand. Her aesthetic comes from the allure of the classic woman. So who is the Sylvia Mollie “woman?” Well, firstly, she has a name, Kenya calls her “Tony.” “This is a powerhouse of a woman whose classic looks must transition to evening. Everything she wears has to be bold, beautiful and make a statement,” adds Kenya. Flowing fabric and a feminine sensibility, with a conscious attention to silhouette, perfectly balance the brand’s timeless yet modern approach. Strength and femininity are harmoniously woven together within the Sylvia Mollie collections.

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So while Kenya Freeman may be living her designer dreams, it is also fair to say that her future is now – and it’s unfolding on national television for the whole world to see. Her personal life and professional career was uprooted, tested and turned upside down – in the name of fashion– when she was selected as a cast member to the Emmy Award winning Project Runway on Lifetime TV. Kenya is featured on the sixteenth season of Project Runway and said this was the best experience ever. She believes that being on the show will elevate the Sylvia Mollie brand to the next level from the tremendous exposure she receives week after week and though it wasn’t always easy being on the show and working under so much pressure, she absolutely “made it work!” Speaking of “making it work” Tim Gunn is wonderful according to Kenya, going on to say that the warm and nurturing gentleman you see on tv is consistent off air as well. Of course, she was tight-lipped about Project Runway specifics, not able to discuss how far she got in the show or who were the celebrity judges. She wouldn’t even drop hints. This is how Kenya described her Project Runway experience: “It was so many things – it was great, it was emotionally draining, it was fantastic, it was exciting and stressful, I’ve never absorbed so much caffeine, I’ve never gotten up so early - it was a lot of things. A very unique experience like no other and just to say that I am now a part of the Project Runway family at this point is something few can say.”

Kenya Freeman and her label Sylvia Mollie may very well be on their way to designer stardom and making its way to a closet near you. Kenya aspires to see her brand carried in the high end markets such as Neiman Marcus and Bergdorf’s but for now, the most accessible place to shop Sylvia Mollie is online at http://www.sylviamollie.com/

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Billy Reid Spring 2018 Ready-To-Wear

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billy-reid-spring-2018-ready-to-wear.jpg

Among the minimal, warm-toned rooms typical of any Wright structure, Reid placed mannequins cobbled out of archival trims and hardware, from copper buttons and brass rivets to scrap leather and his signature heirloom ribbon. The mannequins had on a selection of relaxed Reid signatures like washed linen jackets, jacquard sweaters, distressed denim shirts, raglan sleeves, knit pants, pleated shorts, as well as Reid’s debut eyewear line, and leather lace-up sneakers with K-Swiss, some with an antiquated cracked effect.

VOGUE

Billy Reid presented his Spring 2018 mens and womenswear collection on mannequins, posed and styled, inside a Frank Lloyd Wright house in Alabama.

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Alice + Olivia Spring 2018 Ready-To-Wear

Alice + Olivia nyfw ss2018

Last season it was "Be the change you want to see in the world," and for Spring/Summer 2018 the message is, "The World needs more Sparkle." Stacey Bendet is conquering the world with positive vibes and good energy via fashion and her label Alice + Olivia. (And we LOVE it!) 

This season, accompanying all the 'sparkle,' A+O gave us ruffles, florals and fringe. Dresses, shorts, slacks and separates embraced a Bohemian chic factor in a way that only Stacey can deliver. 

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BIBHU MOHAPATRA SPRING/SUMMER 2018 NYFW

Bibhu Mohaptra (on the right) with his team: (l) David Valencia - Designer,  Cher Du -Production Manager, and Jameela Lake - Public Relations Director.

Bibhu Mohaptra (on the right) with his team: (l) David Valencia - Designer,  Cher Du -Production Manager, and Jameela Lake - Public Relations Director.

The BIBHU MOHAPATRA Spring Summer 2018 collection draws inspiration from art and life in traditional Eastern Asia. Reflecting on the mysterious female samurai, the collection strikes a balance between seduction and strength – a power dynamic interpreted in geometric silhouettes and artful, embellished fabrics. Mohapatra showcased his Spring Summer 2018 collection at New York Fashion Week at Skylight Clarkson Square to a packed house.

“The role of the female samurai has, historically, been a battle of its own. She is always the exception and never the rule. Each piece has been designed to echo her extraordinary uniqueness through masterpieces of Japanese lace, sunburst pleated tulle, and silk mikado. There is war in art and there is art in war – this collection captures the vibrancy of it all,” explains Mohapatra.

Rooted in conflict, the SS18 collection’s resolution is a synergistic mix of couture ready-to-wear and evening gowns. Highlights include necklines and drapework reminiscent of formal kimonos, geometrically inclined beadwork, and knotting inspired by Japanese Shibari – the artistic practice of bondage.

Mohapatra also collaborated with Christian Louboutin to customize two styles of shoes from the French luxury brand’s SS18 collection. Nosy, a pointy-toe pump, and Nosy Flat, a pointy-toe flat style combine two contrasting colors of leather with transparent PVC and floral lace accents. These sleek, ultra-feminine styles both reveal and conceal the foot, echoing the duality inherent to Mohapatra’s collection.

For embellishments, Mohapatra collaborated with PreciosaGroup on fine crystals. “Preciosa is the perfect collaborator for us as we built this collection. Their product stands for incredible quality, refinement and modernity which enables me to take my collection from concept to realization,” said Mohapatra.

Explicitly designed from head to toe, the BIBHU MOHAPATRA SS18 collection introduced the image of a self-actualized warrior.

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