Judi Werthein is the activist Argentine designer behind the polemics Brinco sneakers, designed to help illegal immigrants cross the U.S.-Mexico border along with the organizers of inSite (a "cross-border" art exhibit that economically supported the project).
The sneakers, in the form of boots, feature the colors of the Mexican flag. On one side, the hologram of "Made in Mexico" with the Aztec eagle and on the heel, the image of Santo Toribio, patron saint of immigrants. They also bring a small bag to carry money or medicine and a compass that guides those who enter the desert. Include a flashlight since most people usually cross at night and on the detachable sole of the shoes, there is a map detailing the Border Strip that runs from Playas de Tijuana to the Arizona desert and the most popular illegal routes to get there.
Made in China, at a cost of $17 a pair and having been personally given away by the designer to those who needed it, the shoes are sold over the border in the US city of San Diego as 'limited edition' art objects for over $200 a pair. Werthein donated part of the money she raised to a Tijuana shelter helping migrants in need.
"The main problem people have at the crossing is their feet. Since people are going to try anyway, at least this will make it safer."
Today, the sneakers are in a display in Tate Modern and due to the controversy created around them when they were presented, the exhibition includes responses to the project, such as media reports, online reactions and threatening messages received by the artist, who was accused of defending and promoting illegal immigration.
Judi Werthein's intention was to draw public attention to the drama of all those who flee from the misery and hypocrisy of a political system that needs cheap labor from immigrants, but hides their rights and considers them politically invisible.
The sneakers reflect an uncomfortable reality about the dangers of illegally crossing the border. A reality that we prefer not to see, and it is just that, what an artist reveals. Presented as a product halfway between a work of art and an article of first necessity, this tool allows all those fleeing from misery in the limits of Mexico and the U.S. to travel between the First and the Third World.
Much is heard about the concept of Circular Fashion. But where does this idea come from and what does it mean? Why is the future of the fashion industry?
Before we delve into the meaning of Circular Fashion and why we need a transition to it, let’s start at the beginning and see what its counterpart is:
It seems almost impossible to imagine that we live in a world without textiles or more specifically, without garments, since we are all in contact with them almost all the time. Clothes provide not only protection, but also an expression of individuality, playing an important role in how we perceive ourselves and how we are perceived by others. On the other hand, the textile industry is a key sector in the global economy, providing employment for hundreds of millions of people around the world. But the way the industry has developed so far represents a challenge for the present and the future in terms of sustainability.
Today, the garment supply chain functions in an almost completely linear way; huge amounts of non-renewable resources are extracted to produce garments that are generally worn for a short time and discarded immediately afterwards.
But once we realize this, what can we do?
A Circular Fashion represents supply chains where materials and resources reach their highest utilization and value, making their life cycles longer. In this way, it takes into account the needs of the business, but also the environmental and social costs of producing goods and services. The best part is that it supports the use of renewable resources, uses energy more efficiently and preserves nature. The products and materials themselves are conceived and designed from the beginning to be improved or re-circulated again as many cycles as possible.
Sounds too good to be true right?. Well, believe it or not, it is already happening.
Many designers as Collina Strada (who hand makes each of her design pieces with eco-conscious materials) and numerous big companies as Nike (that launched the Nike Circular Innovation Challenge calling on manufacturers, designers and engineers to help them create solutions that bring us one step closer to a sustainable future), have long been implementing proposals that support sustainability and taking initiative to implement and establish in our lifestyle this fashion movement, because based on facts, there should be no other choice and only those that make it their “core business” will be leaders.
New business models adopting circularity are the only way the fashion industry can continue to meet the demands of its consumers on the one hand and develop as a profitable business on the other. Here's a list curated by Dr. Brismar (head of Green Strategy) of principles to follow for both business and customers to implement the Circular Fashion Model;
- Design with a purpose
- Design for longevity
- Design for resource efficiency
- Design for biodegradability
- Design for recyclability
- Source and produce more locally
- Source and produce without toxicity
- Source and produce with efficiency
- Source and produce with renewables
- Source and produce with good ethics
- Provide services to support long life
- Reuse, recycle or compost all remains
- Collaborate well and widely
- Use, wash and repair with care
- Consider rent, loan, swap, secondhand or redesign instead of buying new
- Buy quality as opposed to quantity
All of these values and principles stimulate innovation and create long-term sustainable growth that supports the development of a healthy and vibrant fashion industry. The transition to a Circular Fashion Model is one, if not THE main fashion challenge of our time.
We will cross our fingers for the fashion industry to finally open up (fully engaged) to fundamental change, moving from being simply conscious to feeling true compassion for the way people, animals and ecosystems are affected along the supply chain. Hopefully, fashion will begin to be driven 'from the heart' rather than simply 'from the mind'.
“Collaborating with Under Armour, I wanted to bring Palm Angels unique designs to Under Armour innovation [...] Like athletes, artists put pressure on their bodies when they travel the world. I wanted to tell the story of athletes and artists who are constantly on the road".
“Wearable” technology has not yet ignited the passions of the masses. Bands of brands like Nike may be eye-catching for exercise fans, but given the limited commercial success of some proposals, we should ask ourselves whether this trend is just a fad or has come to stay.
Somehow, in an era where almost everything is disposable, the commercialization of usable technology could be a big benefit to the circular movement, as dispensing a basic t-shirt doesn’t have the same impact on consumer pockets as getting rid of one that monitors heart rate. So although many people argue about whether technology has benefited us or not, implementing high tech in fashion, could be a an ally of great evolution. Digital is part of the language every day now, the way we think, and the way we connect but after these developments, there are several unknowns about privacy problems, the user’s ability to handle so much information and the effect on personal relationships that the abundance of devices can have. So, is it tech fashion marketable at all? how far would quality and price go in this union? Would these inventions reach the market demand? And the most important; is it reliable?
Adidas, the Germany-based sports brand (#1 in Europe and #2 worldwide) is heavily investing in China (again), where standing ahead of Nike and crowned as the best-selling sports brand, its growth is three times higher than in the rest of the world.
Supported by strong innovation capability throughout multiple sponsorship agreements, Adidas plans to add 1.000 stores more to their asian empire and to distribute its products across 2.400 Chinese cities. An important channel to achieve such presence will be the internet, where Adidas has been registering a super fast growth (its online sales in China increased by 50% in 2018).
This success also comes from its willingness to tap into fashion amidst a global fashion streetwear craze that is especially strong in the Chinese market. The potential of the Asian market is clear for the brand.
“China and North America are responsible for half of the world’s sportswear market, and winning the largest share of the pie in both markets is a top priority for the company, which plans to create specific millennial products by launching collaborations with local celebrities”, says Kasper Rørsted, the company’s CEO
But why China?
In China the economy is mainly concentrated in the metropolitan area of the East Coast, that is, Shanghai and its environs; and within this, the phenomenon of growth of the fashion market, is headed by a very particular niche, the new generations of the digital age.
After many decades of being apart from the Western world, the access (at any price) to international brands has generated a real market euphoria, growing from 2017 to a staggering 20% annual rate, meaning a fashion market with a value of over 22 trillion dollars. These stratospheric gains are not seen anywhere else in the world, that’s why many firms are setting foot in China, which in case you've forgotten, is the most populous country in the world....makes sense right?
Today many companies are looking for a way to occupy a greedy space in China's streets and shopping malls, which is not easy, as the Chinese realize that they have control of the situation, realize the tremendous development that their country is having and are aware of the competitiveness that exists between brands to earn the trust of their highest bidder, who is gaining more and more power.
With an advantage thanks to its sales, Adidas has managed to establish itself as one of the first brands representing this immense Asian influence that sooner or later, will mark a before and after in the history of fashion.
Their flourishing economy, the taste for luxury of its wealthy inhabitants and the numerous emerging Asian designers, have made up a perfect ecosystem for fashion to live a moment of impressive development.
Although it may be exciting to see how current fashion is affected by Asian aesthetics and to imagine how such a powerful union could influence our current knowledge of fashion, is it inevitable to ask whether it will be possible to maintain a balance beneficial to both horizons or whether, on the contrary, fashion will end up being invaded by the Asian giant.
Supreme is by far the first thing that comes to mind when you think of hype. Wearing a t-shirt with a red and rectangular logo means that you have the same level of cultural awareness as the creators of the brand and that you are just as authentic as the brand (even if you are not).
Little is known about the history of Supreme's founder, but the history of the brand has a long way to go. Supreme, which started as a skate shop in Manhattan 30 years ago, has always been a transgressive brand, which despite being a streetwear firm, has remained exclusive.
Supreme is pure meritocracy, through launching many items in limited numbers and at very low prices featuring a public figure, they create the perfect conditions for the hype storm.
But what kind of neurochemical reaction drives you to buy eight identical versions of the same expensive t-shirt?
Musa Ali, a London Supreme collector, explains: "In a way, what makes people want to buy at Supreme is the social and competitive aspect, that is, being able to go out on the street knowing that it is very unlikely that you will wear the same clothes that others wear."
Psychologically, we need to stand out from the rest. In ancient times, tribal members decorated their bodies with feathers or precious stones that differentiated them from other tribal members and helped them attract partners. Similarly, collecting Supreme articles allows people to build their authentic and unique (?) identity.
Perhaps the obsession - for some, at least - begins when they must maintain this projection.
So why are people queuing up in Soho this time?
The enfant terrible of French fashion, Jean Paul Gaultier and Supreme, under the influence of streetwear and in aim to break down the walls between luxury clothes and streetwear, have teamed up to create a collaborative collection of bomber-style jackets featuring an integrated backpack, floral prints and synthetic fur coats.
Gaultier, the most avant-garde male fashion designer to date, will always be remembered for the bold and different designs of the 1980s. He won over singers such as Madonna, who wore Gaultier costumes during the Blond Ambition tour in 1990, crowning THE corset, as the star garment. Almost thirty years later, Madonna’s daughter, Lourdes León, is now in charge of the release of Supreme x Jean Paul Gaultier. In the images of the collection, we can see her dressed in printed trousers, with the message “FUCK RACISM”. A tribute to Gaultier’s “Fight Racism” collection from the 1990s.
In the collaboration of Supreme x Jean Paul Gaultier, two collaborative silhouettes have been incorporated with Vans -Chukka Pro and Era Pro-. In addition to a special version of Gaultier’s perfume Le Male Fragance.
“I am thrilled by this revival of my sportswear and that the designs from my collections from the late ’80s and early ’90s will now be worn by millennials” says Gaultier.
Precisely the millenials, are a generation that has been exposed to global criticism as never before through social media, where they put on the game board the confidence in themselves and become an influenceable generation that have by default, a blurry authenticity on their person. Today, Supreme is that song that only you knew and that at some point you showed your friends, those who told you they didn't like that kind of music, but now that it plays on all the stations, everyone loves.
Going to the heart of the matter, although there is a small niche of people who still support Supreme's philosophy and feeling identify with what it was in the beginning, to what extent does it make sense to think that such a commercialized brand can represent authenticity?
A CLOSE UP TO MILAN DESIGN WEEK
There has always been a strong and unbreakable link between interior design and fashion. Not only do they share the same aesthetic concepts as space, form and function, but they also are an artistic expression accessible to the masses. Interior design and fashion represent something personal, supporting individuals to show their personality - indoors and outdoors - helping them understand others, themselves and their environment.
The Salone Di Mobile, which started being a private fair created in 1960 to promote Italian companies inside the sector - and the Fuorisalone, built in 1980 by those who were not able to access the limited start-up, spread all around the fancy districts of Milan. The remarkable event opens his doors to more than 370,000 visitors and around 2,300 creative companies per year . Based on the notable attendance, the event is also a platform to promote innovation and sustainability; architects, designers and brands, are committed to pay attention to the importance of re-greening the environment, the eco-friendly design solutions and in particular, to the circular economy, where waste is economized.
The Milan Design Week apart of capturing the attention of the aesthetically trained eyes around the world, concentrates an incredible variety of brands and artists, from the best known to authentic outsiders. Here’s a selection of some of the most striking proposals for the 2019 edition;
RIMOWA X GUILLERMO SANTOMA
The contemporary art magazine and creative studio KALEIDOSCOPE works next to the iconic luggage company RIMOWA, featuring Spanish designer Guillermo Santomá, who was invited to share his vision of this timeless icon of functional luxury. The installation at Spazio Maiocchi, inspired by the idea of a conceptual gas station, is focused on a fully functioning car customized with RIMOWA aluminum with an interior upholstered with paint. A short film by French director Thibaut Grevet at the Monegros desert completes the project with content-rich visuals.
WANG & SÖDERSTRÖM - TIDES
Aesthetics affects our brain and our wellbeing, so does the moon. As an otherworldly landscape in dreamlike colours, Tides - hosted and presented by Korean paint and innovation company Noroo Group - showcases 100 modular stool designed by Kwangho Lee who takes inspiration from the layers of time, pulse and temporalities in an universe that we cannot easily feel sometimes. The installation decoration is a clear tribute to the moon's beauty and power where visitors can travel in a heavenly changing light and colour exceptional space.
NIKE BY YOU x HERON PRESTON
After the successful Nike Air Max 720/95 by Heron Preston preview , a coveted space has been reserved at Milan Design Week in which is possible to personalize your own Nike Air Max 720/95 Heron Preston By You, together with one of their creators: Red (graffiti artist), Elia (shoe designer), Elena Mottola (stylist and fashion designer) and Heron Preston himself, who will lead the customization workshop. The new Nike Air Max 720/95 will be accessed in advance by a limited amount of design lovers before the global release on the 15th of April.
“I’m excited to see what kids create, to see their process, them sharing that process just as much as them sharing the final product, really bringing that magic to life.” Heron Preston.
EILEEN FISHER - WASTE NO MORE
The Waste No More installation face visitors with the reality of society’s dismissed clothing, while demonstrating the innate aesthetics of recuperated materials in contemporary design. Taking their old clothes back—over 1 million pieces since 2009- and the responsibility of what is made and where it ends up , Eileen Fisher is building a better industry turning the conventional cycle of consumerism and design into a future without waste. In addition to designing simple, timeless and never trendy shapes that are made to last in the most sustainable materials they can find, the brand also repairs the damaged clothes they get back and transforms them into one-of-a-kind artworks.
HERMÈS- ALL ABOUT COLOURS
This year in Milan, the Hermès collection pays tribute to colour. Embedded in a tasteful and minimal proposals, the series for the home decor are presented within an installation of seven oversized rooms filled with a modernized tribal atmosphere created by Charlotte Macaux, Co-artistic Director of Hermès together with Alexis Fabry. Materials and craftsmanship are expressed in the architectural structure, entirely covered with moroccan zellige, a small square tile made of glazed earthenware.
PEZO VON ELLRICHSHAUSEN
Described as a ‘direct echo of its historical surroundings’ and set within Milan’s baroque Palazzo Litta, the Chilean architecture studio Pezo Von Ellrichshausen has created a mirrored inverted pyramid pavilion that it not only reflects the historic palazzo, but also the stone pavement, the colonnades, and the corridor beyond
"In its radical simplicity, the pavilion will turn into an immaterial presence that, almost as in a fleeting mirage, will capture the discreet beauty of the three hundred and seventy-year-old palazzo on its flat surfaces’ - say the architects. - ‘Ground level visitors will encounter an unprecedented version of the monument and by looking up they will see themselves reflected on an impressive tilted ceiling".
DORNBRACHT - IS MEMORY DATA?
Opening an infinite field of possibilities and sensations to how we interact with water, Dornbracht, interior designer specializing in bathrooms, has used virtual reality as a tool to create a link between imagination and water, both infinite and unlimited. The installation will comprise a simple bucket and hose through which real water circulates, but looking at them wearing the goggles it will appear as a marble basin with a "hyper fountain" that spouts luminous water droplets and geometric shapes. Surrounding it will be "high-gloss scenery" rendered with graphic stripes and multicolor surfaces, to wash our hands has never been cooler.
The Milan Design Week it is expanding into many related sectors including automotive, technology, telecommunications, art, fashion and food, exposing the state of the threads that connect humans to their environments in some of the most original ways ever seen. The renowned event has over the years become the world stage for the latest trends and launches in the design industry. To speak of the Milan Design Week today is to speak of the place that manufactures dreams, where the quality of the proposals and exhibitions presented over time have made Milan recognized as the design capital of the world.
Sankuanz boasts an individual and teasing approach to fashion that has got a cult-like following in China and overseas. The mind behind the brand is 29-year-old fashion designer Shangguan Zhe, who graduated from Xiamen University in 2007—majoring in Visual Communication and Advertising. Zhe, unlike his job-hunting peers, instantaneously started his own menswear label and let his brand develop. Sankuanz's captivating and eccentric style made Zhe a sort of peculiar infant appalling in the Chinese mainstream and vanilla fashion scene - he has been honoured by many critics as one of the most original young talents in the industry.
This season sees the Chinese brand portraying inspiration from the co-mingling social “uniforms” perceived on the streets of Mexico, merging day-to-day functionality with a contemporary feel and continues the protective theme “Kill the Wall” that plaited through the touring urban collection, enthused by cold weapons. The collection uses a lot of metal details, together with uniform-inspired styles as the designer wanted to create a cool and stoic killer image as well as a sophisticated, industrial touch. Shangguan Zhe strengthened the tailoring motion this season, with an emphasis on strong boxy volumes. Even having a bid focus on the tailoring this season, Zhe chooses to use relaxed silhouettes where sportswear continues to dominate.
As figures walked into the industrial space, one couldn’t think of anything else but compare them to an army of models. Protective military vests were complemented with chain mail armour and a repetitive hood that created a sense of standardisation amongst the men. Once again there was an essence of camouflage, this time coated in amongst entirely opposing elements such as purple track pants. A well-known collaboration with puma offered an underlying sports touch to this collection with bright colours and PVC fabrics that propelled any overworked military elements into a renewed original plot. As models drilled to the beats of the deafening track it seemed a new explanation of masculinity was being shaped out.
The ultimate result is a well-balanced collection in its unconventionality where every piece and element, peculiar or classical, finds its proper place and highpoints the other.
Ludovic de Saint Sernin, a 29-year-old French designer, living and working between Paris and London, graduated in Fashion Design from l’ ESAA Duperré and was a member of the design team at Balmain before launching his label in 2017.
His third ever collection named “Summertime Sadness” was exposed in the forms of a presentation during Paris Fashion Week Men’s and meant to elicit a juvenile's melancholy when leaving a beautiful holiday with an unanswered crush.
Fashion is entering a new era, one which echoes seismic socio-political changes to concepts of gender and sexuality. The erotic, firm lineup of well-crafted genderless silhouettes was crafted of textiles found in Japan. Each look voices to its vision; living textiles composing each willowy shape grasp the model's physiques like they are serenading one another before the camera. Lace-up crotched flares, statuette like leather pieces and an ultra-kinky knitted jock strap form a web that defines Ludovic Saint Sernin’s brand uniqueness - sensual nostalgia.
Lay his S/S'19 presentation to bare, and you will be provided with a wealth of messages: “It’s okay to cry” by Sophie is playing, transgender producer, artist, and champion of diversity. Pieces of his design are etched with words such as ‘lust’, and every piece touches the form with the intention of feeling wet.
Strip back the perspective, and Ludovic speaks to the scopes of sex through his designs alone. Every piece makes you feel a sense of voluptuous longing, further than just for the costumes. In this latest elope to Ludovic’s humid heaven, we are addressed with a complete wrap top, so accurately sculptured around the man physique that it edges on art - it is, in itself, teasing. And on that note, we wonder: how Ludovic may seduce both the wearer and those who observe him by breathing life into his collections?
As its literal meaning, INDICE STUDIO serves as a social commentary, guiding viewers to look beyond mere surface of things.
After his debut during Paris Fashion Week 2017, Hao Lee's unique approach to deconstructed streetwear mash-up with satirical visuals and vibrant color palette won him Lane Crawford Creative Call Out. The unique cultural structure of Taipei, where INDICE STUDIO is based, shapes Lee’s design at large. Growing up in a Chinese society that was colonized by Japan and now fueled by American capitalism, Lee’s design shows a balance of the three contrasting cultures.
Taiwanese label Indice Studio follows up on its playfully torn-apart Fall/Winter 2018 collection with another range of heavily-reworked gear. This drop, dubbed “Emotional Blackmail,” takes the deconstructionist mentality a step further, with half-and-half parkas, clashing stripe patterns and metallic Tyvek accents. Object-dyed tees and washed denim are juxtaposed with Italian suit fabric, resulting in jarring harrington jackets and raw-hemmed shirts, accompanied by comparatively low-key track pants and drawstring athletic shorts. The sportswear influence carries over into striped denim layers, bucket hats and anoraks, the latter of which offer layered sleeves made more distinct by adjustable straps and interrupted sides stripes. A selection of sling bags and rope-like belts suitably accent the collection’s adventurous styling.