May 30, 2009

Chris&Tibor, Spiraling with the Best

So what do Romain Kremer from France, Veronique Branquinho of Belgium, and Juun J. from Korea all have in common?

What captivating force can draw these radically diverse designers into the same ring?

The Chris&Tibor collaboration project!

Tibor Matyas graduated from the London College of Fashion, while Chris Liu studied art management and marketing. Both went on to work as design consultants for Burberry Prorusum before starting their own label, which was born out of a natural quest by Chris to find the perfect gym bag.

Unsatisfied by the findings, Chris decided to take a swing at designing his own, which, when spotted by Tibor, was called a sure knockout!

What’s unique about Chris and Tibor is that they fuse history, style, and a love for their city into their designs, naming all the bags after streets in London or local figures of fame.

The 2009 a/w collection is entitled “the Krays Meet Teddy Boys,” which is based on the lives of the twins Reggie and Ronnie Kray—amateur boxers turned mobsters—who held London’s East End in their grip throughout the fifties and sixties.

As nightclub owners, the Kray twins shrewdly passed themselves off as socialites, entertaining figures like Frank Sinatra, Judy Garland, Diana Dors, assorted lords, and MPs.

In just four years since its inception, Chris&Tibor is already selling at 65 stockists around the globe. When it comes to bags, Chris&Tibor has spiraled with some of the best!

Photo top right Reggie and Ronnie Kray from Chris&Tibor.
Photo center left Tibor Matyas and Chris Liu Copyright
Slide show 2009 a/w collection Copyright

May 29, 2009

Romain Kremer & His Phantasmagorical Universe

Born 1982 in the South of France, Romain Kremer grew up as a dancer, who nurtured a deep appreciation for the human body and its depiction in outer space.

At the young age of 15, Romain left his hometown for Paris where he studied applied arts at the Duperré School of Fashion.

Romain is known for his boldly imaginative designs, which are purposefully alien to narrate cosmic tales of the fragile yet beautiful human body as he envisions it in the space age.

2009 s/s collection
Styling: Nicola Formichetti
Grooming: tomo jidai @ jedroot
Bags: Chris & Tibor for Romain Kremer
Shoes: Nike
Photos: Shoji Fujii

2009 a/w collection
Styling: Nicola Formichetti
Grooming: tomo jidai @ jedroot
Hats: Nasir Mazhar for Romain Kremer
Photos: Shoji Fujii

Romain Kremer is represented by Press Agency Totem Fashion.

Young Bold Electrifying Romain Kremer for Dazed & Confused

Check out French designer Romain Kremer at Dazed & Confused, 2009 June Edition!

ROMAIN KREMER from pierre debusschere on

Assisted by anna trevelyan and sam voltage
-Hair by tomo jidai @ jed root
Assisted by zoe argiros
-Make up by ayami nishimura
Assisted by joanne banach

May 28, 2009

Veronique Branquinho & the Antwerp Six...or Seven?

Antwerp is a vivacious city located in the northernmost province of Flanders, the Flemish region of Belgium. Graced with centuries-old buildings, museums, art galleries, cafés, pedestrian malls, and great breweries, Antwerp is commonly known for its busy harbor, which ranks second in Europe.

I lived in Belgium for a little less than a year handling some projects that the European Commission had outsourced to me. What I learned at that time is that Belgium has become a breeding ground for world-renowned designers. We have all heard of Raf Simons and Liz Claiborne!

I also discovered that Belgian designers are unalike, the sole unifying factor being their individuality—they all do their own thing. But most interestingly, I received living proof that Antwerp is a major fashion capital.

The city is home to the Antwerp Royal Academy of Fine Arts, which was founded by a painter in 1663, immediately attractiing numerous other painters from around Europe, including Vincent Van Gogh. Then after three hundred years of its founding, Fashion Design was added to the program.

It was not long until the Academy rose to international fashion fame upon the graduation of the “Antwerp Six” in 1980 and 1981. Among their ranks were Ann Demeulemeester, Dirk Bikkembergs, Dries van Noten, Walter Van Beirendonck, Dirk Van Saene, and Marina Yee.

Since that generation, the Academy has not ceased producing newfound talent, such as Belgian designer Veronique Branquinho.

Born 1973 in Vilvoorde, just outside Bruxelles, Veronique graduated from the Antwerp Royal Academy of Fine Arts in 1995, going on to debut her women’s collection only two years later.

Adding her menswear line in 2003, Veronique has been based in the nation’s fashion capital—Antwerp.

Sadly, however, Men.Style has just announced that Veronique will be closing her "namesake house. Meanwhile, she has been appointed as creative director for Delvaux.

Photo by Deeptrivia, Public Domain at Wikipedia.
Slide show from Totem Fashion
, 2009 s/s collection Copyright Veronique Branquinho.

May 27, 2009

Paraná, Capoeira & Italian Football

What better model than Italian footballer, Lorenzo De Silvestri—who just turned 21 on Saturday—is there to kickoff the summer campaign for the new Italo-Brazilian sneaker Paraná?!
Discovered by the Italian entrepreneur Marco Gaudenzi while vacationing in Brazil, Paraná sneakers come in vibrant colors and are so lightweight that they fit like a glove.

The shoe was originally created for capoeira, the Afro-Brazilian art form that was brought by the slaves from Africa, most likely Angola, which is characterized by martial arts, acrobatics, and African dance.

One of the most popular songs sung while performing capoeira is Paraná ê, which refers to war of 1865 between Brazil and Paraguay, which lasted for five long years.

At that time, it was decreed in Brazil that any black slave who volunteered for war and survived would be granted freedom

So as the triumphant ex-slaves approached the Paraná River on their way home from battle, they sang a song of freedom, Paraná ê:

I will tell my wife, Paraná
That capoeira won [the war], Paraná
Paraná ê, Paraná ê, Paraná.

Paraná speaks of triumph, liberation, and—with a few modifications—Italian design made in Brazil!

Happy birthday, Lorenzo! Tanti auguri!!!

Photos taken from Fashion Times with permission.

Bugatti—Hot Rods, Sexy Serbs & Underwear!

The original Bugatti was a top-notch race car that was manufactured in Molsheim (Alsace) France but designed by Ettore Bugatti of Milan, Italy. Founded in 1909, the company is now owned by the Volkswagen Group.

Ettore Bugatti designed racing cars with all the artistic mastery of his father, who was a designer of jewelry and art nouveau furniture designer. Little surprise, a Bugatti swept the gold at the first 3 editions of the Monaco Grand Prix!

Named after the Bugatti sports car, the Bugatti Company has been a hot rod for underwear, swim suits, and pajamas in the Serbian market since 2003.

Designed by Mladen Jovanović, the collection comprises more than 20 lines of both underwear and bathing suits, each model possessing its own name!

At the 25th Edition of Belgrade Fashion Week last month, the Bugatti Company revved up the crowd’s motors as some of the sexiest Serbian models made their circuit down the runway in all the sleekness and luster of the original Bugatti.

Slide show sent by Alexandar Lambos of Fashion Studio Click, Copyright Bugatti Company.
Photo top right by Manju Copyleft
Photo center left by Lars-Göran Lindgren Sweden Copyleft Wikipedia.

May 26, 2009

Aprill 77 Uncodes the Navajo Dress Code

The Navajos actually refer to themselves as Diné—‘the People’.

Once semi-nomadic, the Diné lived according to a matrilocal system, in which the women owned the livestock and land.

The Navajos, or Diné, typically dwelt in round mud homes called hogans, which are considered sacred.

Sadly, this native American 'people' were forced out of their sacred homes only to be confined to the reservation. Today they total roughly 250,000.

The Diné inherited a rich tradition of weaving on upright looms—a skill that played a tremendous role in their religion, even defining their social relationships.

The Diné color palette first included brown, white, and indigo and later expanded to red, black, green, yellow, and gray as contact with the Europeans increased in the mid-19th century.

The Navajo language, Diné Bizaad, belongs to the Apache family and is still widely spoken today.

Considered one of the most linguistically complex in the world, the language drew much attention during WWII and, consequently, Navajo speakers were deployed into battle as “code talkers,” who transmitted undecipherable tactical messages.

The fictional movie Windtalkers is a definite “must see”!

Another “must see” this season is the 2009 a/w collection by April 77, which pays fashionable tribute to this great native American tribe!

Slide Show 2009 a/w collection Copyright April 77.
Photo top right Public Domain Wikipedia.
Photo center left by Robfergusonjr Public Domain Wikipedia.

May 25, 2009

Seoul-Searching Menswear with Juun J.

Seoul, Korea, is one of the largest cities in the world with a population of over 10 million inhabitants.

As a major business and financial hub, the city boasts one of the most technically advanced infrastructures in the world. No wonder it is home to so many household-named brands like Samsung, Hyundai, and Kia!

Long known for textile manufacturing and sourcing, Korea developed a ready-to-wear industry in the mid-70’s, which has grown into one of the most vibrant industries, with fashion centers established all throughout the capital.

Fashion-consciousness is on the rise in Seoul, as interest in foreign labels has spiked among young Korean men, who seek creative new ways to differentiate themselves from their peers.

Although the first fashion show was held in 1954, such events were temporarily suspended with the ascension of president Pak Chung-hee in 1961, only to be resumed later with the advent of disposable cash towards the late eighties and early nineties. Now, Seoul Fashion Week takes place twice yearly, featuring both foreign and local talent like menswear designer, Juun J.

After graduating from Seoul's Esmod in 1992, Juun J. started his career as a designer for Chiffons and then as design director for Club Monaco and NIX. He launched his own line “Lone Costume” in 1999, which he has showcased regularly at Seoul Fashion Week, all the while collaborating with other foreign artists from England and Japan.

Juun’s signature is combining classic tailoring with urban streetwear.

Photo top left by Byeonggwan Copyleft Wikipedia.
Slide show 2009 a/w collection Copyright
Juun J. provided by Totem Fashion.

May 24, 2009

The 25th Edition of Belgrade Fashion Week, Featuring Bata Spasojević

I have always said it, the Balkans abounds in talent, and the 25th Edition of Belgrade Fashion Week proves the fact.

Although deprived of the Renaissance, Serbia has been wasting no time in watering the seeds of inherent artistry, showing the world the abundance of talent that would have sprouted then and is now in full bloom!

After graduating in costume design from the Academy of Applied Arts in 1999, Bata Spasojević began working at Centrotextil, one of the nation's oldest apparel companies in existence, which was founded in 1946 as a state-owned import-export company.

Since that time, Bata has been designing for several other fashion houses, both local and foreign, winning numerous awards for his collections.

Along with Tijana Pavlov and Dejan Despotović, Bata presented his most recent menswear collection at the 25th Edition of Belgrade Fashion Week, which was held less than a month ago.

Photo top right sent by Alexandar Lambos of Fashion Studio Click, Copyright Bata Spasojević.
Slide show sent by Alexandar Lambos of Fashion Studio Click, Copyright Bata Spasojević.

May 23, 2009

The Rowdy Collection by Dallas Austin

Songwriter, record producer, musician, film maker, and Grammy award winner—Dallas Austin has recently added menswear designer to his repertoire!

Just like its multi-talented designer, the Rowdy Collection refuses to be confined to a box and is all "Dallas Austin" style: a little hip hop, some street, a bit of punk, rocker, racer, bling king, and prep school rude boy with a touch of European militancy.

Dallas has always nurtured a love for clothing and fashion but could never find anything that suited him.

Drawing inspiration from the vintage racing of the James Dean era mixed with some hunting themes, rock and roll, and the grunge of Kurt Cobain, Dallas Austin can now rap himself in the Rowdy Collection!

And so can you!

Photo the Rowdy Collection Copyright Dallas Austin.
Slide Show the Rowdy Collection Copyright
Dallas Austin.

May 22, 2009

Carolyn Massey: Snapshots of a “Gentleman”

Son of a carpenter who labored in the mining industry, August Sander was born 1876 in Herdorf, Germany. While working in a local mine himself, August began assisting a photographer, who was working for a mining company, and soon purchased equipment for his own darkroom. After military service and brief wanderings about Germany, August set up shop in Linz and then in Cologne.

By the 1920’s August had joined the Group of Progressive Artists, documenting modern society in his photographs. He travelled extensively, taking 40,000 photos by the time of his death in 1964. August Sander is best known for his portraits as seen in the series People of the 20th Century.

It’s nearly impossible not to feel inspired by the Sander’s series as is 28-year-old British designer, Carolyn Massey.

Graduating with an MA from the Royal College of Art in 2005, Carolyn launched her menswear label in London a year later, establishing a sartorial code of what it means to be a gentleman in times of social and civil unrest.

Drawing deep inspiration from August Sander’s portraits, Carolyn Massey captures the dignity of men in times of war, migration, and poverty, who “make do” with whatever garments are available to them.

Each garment in Carolyn's 2009 a/w collection is a snapshot of what it means to be a gentleman, no matter the time or the place!

Photo 2009 a/w collection Copyright Carolyn Massey.

May 20, 2009

LAB—Magical Art Encapsulated in Japanese Design

So what does painter and writer Henri Fuseli of the 18th century have in common with 20th century designer Yōji Yamamoto? Local Art Base, commonly known as LAB!

Born Johann Heinrich Füssli in 1741, Switzerland—the second of 18 children—Henri was eventually expelled from his homeland, sojourning in nearby countries like Germany, England, and Italy where he changed his name to the Italian-sounding Fuseli.

Somewhat reckless in technique, Fuseli painted more than 200 works before his death, often emphasizing supernatural themes. At times superior to his paintings, Fuseli's sketches total 800, many of which are known for their exaggerations.

On the other side of the globe, and several centuries later, Yamamoto Yōji was born in Tokyo, graduating in law from Keio University in 1966. He furthered his studies at Bunka Fashion College where he earned a degree in 1969.

After his 1981 debut in Paris, Yamamoto rose to fame as an avant-garde designer whose signature is the over-sized silhouette frequently in black with multi-textured drapery.

At his debut at Rosemount Australian Fashion Week, Sydney designer Chris Cheng of Local Art Base unexpectedly brought together European art and Japanese design.

In his LAB Homme “Debut” collection, Chris reinterpreted the supernaturalism of Fuseli’s paintings, the exaggerations of his sketches, and the romantic narrative of his literary works, encapsulating them in the inventiveness of Yamamoto's modern Japanese styling.

Photo top left by the Yorck Project Copyright Wikipedia Public Domain.
Slide show photos by David Taylor, LAB Homme "Debut" collection, Copyright Lab Art Base.

May 19, 2009

Designer Chi Zhang's Northern Capital of Fashion

Formally known to many as Peking, Beijing literally means ‘northern capital’ (北京 běi jīng) and is China's second city in size only to Shanghai.

As for its prehistoric origins, Beijing has produced remnants of human habitation, which dates back to Peking Man of a half million years ago!

Last year, “Beijing” became almost synonymous with the 2008 Olympic Games. Ah, but how soon we forget—One World, One Dream?!

Forget we may, but I will never my first visit to Beijing, when I arrived to China to teach linguistics in one of the remote regions of the country.

It was the mid-Eighties. Construction was raging everywhere. Instead of TV antennas striping the skyline, cranes sat perched on the roofs of countless unfinished high-rises and skyscrapers.

Overshadowed by the massive heaps of glass and concrete, however, the traditional bijou of China's yester years was all but hidden: unrefurbished homes graced with delicate wooden birdcages hanging outside walled-in courtyards.

Pouring down the streets were thick, oncoming, bumper-to-bumper torrents of bicycles and tricycles, horse carts and pull carts, three- and four-wheeled tractors, buses, cars, vans—even 1940 trucks—and, yes, farmers who carefully balanced produce that hung from opposite ends of bamboo poles straddled across their shoulders!

But times have changed in just twenty years—a modern industrial miracle—at a cost, of course! Nevertheless, Beijing has become an ultra-modern, post-industrial financial and business center.

Beijing is also becoming home to a number of talented fashion designers, such as Chi Zhang (pronounced like chir jang).

Born in Beijing, Chi Zhang went to the UK to study at the young age of 16, pursuing a master’s degree in Milan, Italy, at Istituto Marangoni.

When he returned to Beijing in August of last year, he launched his menswear label CHI ZHANG, which he recently debuted at Shanghai Fashion Week.

Photo top right CHI ZHANG 2009 a/w collection from Larapixie.
Slide show
CHI ZHANG 2009 a/w collection from Larapixie.

May 18, 2009

Matthew Izzo Presents Wrath Arcane at 1st Friday

On the 1st Friday of every month in Olde City, Philadelphia—literally where the nation was born—boutiques and art galleries alike open their doors to the public all evening, serving with wine and cheese, while local musicians jazz it up on the streets.

Relatively new to area but not to the city is Matthew Izzo, apparel boutique and interior design studio that has been pioneering fashion events in Philadelphia for a number of years.

Matthew and boutique manager, Michael Anderer, know exactly how to spice up a first Friday as they showcase contemporary artists upstairs and jewelry designers downstairs, such as Vincenzo Taormina from Sicily.

For the First Friday of May, Matthew Izzo featured the 2009 s/s menswear collection of Wrath Arcane—the clothing label with a message.

I was privileged to attend the event, not only to touch and feel the collection but also to meet with designer, Sean Bilovecky, who agreed to an interview with Men's Fashion by Francesco.

Congratulations on your line... So what is your impression of 1st Friday?
It was really nice to see the amount of people out on the street, even though the weather wasn't the greatest. It's nice to see any city that has foot traffic in and out of shops during the current economic situation. There seemed to be a genuine interest in supporting local businesses and seeing what everyone had to offer.

Can you compare 1st Friday to any other event that you know?
We're from Cleveland. There isn't anything like that here, maybe because we don't have a downtown? There are a few art walks, but nothing like we saw in Philly.

Could you get a feel for men’s fashion in Philadelphia?
There is definitely no shortage of boutiques there. But I would say that Philly had the look and feel of any major metropolitan that is "plugged into" what is going on.

How does the Philadelphia scene compare to Cleveland?
Take about 85% of the people out of Philly and out of First Friday, and you're in Cleveland. It's not the greatest here.

You're working in Europe now... How does men’s fashion there compare to the US?
The UK is a lot like the States. The sensibilities in dress are similar. I would say this is true for Germany and the Netherlands as well. Not so much for France and Italy, though. Things are a little crazy there.

You are a relatively new line... So to what do you attribute your fast success?
We generally tend to ignore trends. We focus inwards on the brand. I think this creates something that is unique and has a voice of its own. People respond to this.

Well, for more of Wrath Arcane sit back and enjoy the show or—better yet—drop in on Matthew Izzo. For those who live a bit farther, why not plan a trip for a 1st Friday and visit Philadelphia's Olde City for yourself?!

Slide show 2009 s/s collection Copyright Wrath Arcane.
Photo top left Copyright
Matthew Izzo.

May 17, 2009

Rochambeau—the Frame Every Natural Man Needs

Deriving its name from the Egyptian rock-paper scissors game, Rochambeau was born in New York, in 2007 when creative director Michael Venker met Joshua Cooper and Laurence Chandler at his senior thesis show where he won the Golden Thimble award.

Their 2009 a/w collection draws inspiration from Japanese architect Kuma Kengo.

Kuma Kengo 隈 研吾 was born 1954 in Kanagawa, Japan, graduating from the University of Tokyo in 1979 as an architect major. He continued his studies at Columbia University in New York from 1985 to 1986, and now he is a professor of system design engineering at Keio University in Tokyo.

Kuma’s lifetime goal is to “recover the tradition of Japanese buildings and reinterpret it for the 21st century.”

According to Kuma, every location is a product of nature and time, so architecture is merely a way to set nature within a frame so that we may experience it in a deeper, more intimate way. Drawing heavily on the Japanese tradition of transparency, Kuma utilizes natural light and natural materials to produce a new kind of transparency.

No wonder, in the 2009 a/w collection, Rochambeau employs Kuma’s approach to frame the natural beauty of the male silhouette with a minimalist but modern take on menswear!

Photo upper right by Wiiii Copyright GFDL on Wikipedia.
Slide show 2009 a/w collection Copyright

May 16, 2009

Cold Method’s Mission Impossible

Cold Method employs a very discrete method to make men dress well by creating 9 esthetics, which are geared to accentuate a man’s personality.

The underlying philosophy is that men need a “capsule wardrobe,” which contains a limited number of essential items that create a sophisticate look for each day.

1—A t-shirt should feel like an extra layer of skin, accentuating a man’s torso and making him feel confident, comfortable, and relaxed.

2—Denim reflects the daily wear and tear of life. The requirements of a perfect pair include the right fit, quality, and wash.

3—A great shirt arises only from its construction: perfect tailoring with a smattering of subtle detail.

4—Pants are often neglected, but a must to complete your look!
5—Knitwear adds luxury to your wardrobe, the individuality that no other item can provide.

6—A man’s suit is his armor, making you look sharp and successful.

7—The coat is your protective outer shell, which must be an eye-catcher to make the best 1st impression.

8—Accessories are meant to accentuate a man’s mood, speaking volumes about him without saying a word.

9—cm2 is a complex domain of furniture, cosmetics, and design that not only reflects a man’s character, choices, and charisma—at any time and any place—but also creates a realm in which he can lead a modern, stylish lifestyle.

Launched in 2005, Cold Method is based in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, and already operates in 16 countries. British Designer Mark Ainsworth heads the CM design team.

Photos Copyright Fashion Times.

May 14, 2009

Brent Zaicek: Kiwi Surfer Gone Aussie Craftsman

Brent Zaicek has got to be one of the most laid back designers ever, and people love him everywhere!

Born in New Zealand about 33 years ago, Brent and his family set sail for the northern beaches of Australia in 2001, where he resides with his wife and son today.

No surprise, his favorite sports include skating and surfing. As for his favorite travel destinations: wherever there’s surf and sun! His favorite book: Storm Riders Surf Guides. And his favorite color: you got it—aqua!

When I wrote to Brent several weeks ago, he was debuting at Rosemount Australian Fashion Week (27 April – 1 May), which was held on the spectacular backdrop of Circular Quay in Sydney.

But Brent first became known in 2008 when he starred on the first ever series of Project Runway Australia.

A self-taught designer, Brent considers himself a craftsman, who interprets the southern Pacific culture into his menswear, which is suited for the masculine, confident kind of guy.

Slide show Copyright Brent Zaicek.

May 13, 2009

ANNTIAN & the Directives of Man

What happens when you put a graphic designer like Anne Hilken and a fashion designer like Christian Kurt in the same studio?

You get ANNTIAN—a Berlin-based line of menswear that incorporates hand-painting and paper-printing techniques into eco-friendly fashion design, all locally made!

Since 2006, Anne and Christian have been creating their own direction in both life and creative work, transferring the aesthetics of conceptual sculptures and artistic forms to menswear. But to what extent can you transfer abstract thoughts to practical garments before they clash?

Directives—we are all subject to directives in life. Marriam-Webster defines ‘directives’ as “something that serves to direct, guide, and usually impel toward an action or goal.”

So what directives are you subject to in life and your creative work, and where do you start to feel boundaries in what is possible or not possible to perform?

This is the essence of Directives, ANNTIAN's 2009 a/w collection.

Photo 2009 a/w collection Copyright ANNTIAN.
Slide show 2009 a/w collection Copyright

May 12, 2009

What the Designers Keep on Saying...

Each morning I awake with an intense desire to pay tribute to another talented emerging designer, model, showroom or boutique owner that has dedicated his or her life to bring us new and innovative designs to our wardrobe.

My only reward for my intense research is their feedback and yours! So here are a few more quotes of what some menswear designers and related industry workers are saying about my articles:

Izzy Lane
It's just great. Thank you so very much. We rescued another 4 sheep the other day…

Alexandra for Mackage
It’s perfect! :) Thank you so much for doing this.

Thanks a lot, it looks great.

J Smith Esquire
Thank you, just seen it and it looks great.

0044 paris
Thank you for this news. The article is wonderful with a lot of images. We really like it and hope also to collaborate once again for any other occasion.

Complex Geometries
The blog looks great, thanks!

Emperial Nation
Thanks for your support! Your article is excellent. Please keep up the good work. I really enjoy your blog.

Christian Westphal
Thank you for your kind email and your interest in our brand. Also, thank you for running a very cool blog!

This is awesome.

Jonathan Mezibov
Thank you so much!! The article is fantastic and I can't thank you enough for your review and kind words! It was a joy to read the article and I can't thank you enough for your interest and support!
It's always truly engaging to read your posts. The series work your did for Michael Londrigan and John Patrick is particularly impressive. I bet they really appreciated your talent, too. The series you wrote on Londrigan, however, does stand out in my mind only because I have always enjoyed reading interviews like those. So personal; an entertaining pleasure to read.

I loved this! So thanks! Come to the Rio one day... :)

By the looks of the picture, it's clear I'm getting ready for Rio! What can I say, I've been a competitive swimmer since a young teen!!! Something about water...

No Mistake on the Lake at Cleveland Fashion Week

Six years ago, Donald Shingler made “no mistake on the lake” when he founded Cleveland Fashion Week, which reportedly ranks as the 3rd largest fashion week in the US, next to New York and Los Angeles!

Cleveland, Ohio—home to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame—was a major American manufacturing center until the 1960’s when the city slowly began to transform into an intellectual center for medical, fuel cell, and bio-technical research.

In step with the trends of this “new American city,” Cleveland Fashion Week reflects all the essence of Cleveland’s transformation, having gained the reputation as the "educational fashion week." The 10-day fashion fest recently featured 3 runway events: Unclothed, Celebrity Style Cleveland, and the Cleveland Fashion Show.

I would like to showcase three of the menswear designers that presented their collections: Nathanael Porembka, student at University of Cincinnati; Paul Sadler; and Vincent Quevedo, desiger and professor at Kent State University.

Photo top right Rock and Roll Hall of Fame by Burtcbl Copyleft at Wikipedia.
Slide show 2009 a/w collections Copyright Cheri Homaee.

May 11, 2009

Hot Male Models & Eco-Chic Designers—All at the University of Delaware Fashion Week

Tonight the Fashion Merchandising Club led by Rita Chang will kick off the first-ever-on-campus Fashion Week at...
...the University of Delaware!
What, what?!

You got it!

These young style-conscious students at the Department of Fashion and Apparel Studies are gearing up for a 6-day series of exciting events, ranging from an eco-chic student designer competition to a sizzling-hot male model lionwalk! Woo hoo, go YoUDee!

This evening, 11 students will present their own collections at the student designer competition, which they have rightfully named “Reconstructed.” The faculty at UDel is known for its emphasis on sustainability and eco-wear, so each garment of the 15 outfits presented tonight will qualify only if they are—in some way—remade, redesigned, or reconstructed from preexisting garments.

Tomorrow a BBC documentary entitled "The Secret World of Haute Couture" will be shown on campus, while the entire University will experience its first "clothing swap" on Wednesday. Any clothes that are not claimed by the end of the day will be donated to Project H.O.M.E., a nonprofit organization that helps homeless men, women, and children in Philadelphia.

Thursday will see local merchants spread out allover the North Green on campus, selling their merchandise to students and visitors alike. Men’s Fashion by Francesco has been invited to present DARK CODE, a trendy young men’s line of streetwear imported directly from Italy! On Friday, students will be selling their own apparel, accessories, jewelry on campus.

The Fashion Week will conclude with steamy Swagger Like a UD Man—and believe me, more than just the models will be swaggering! Twelve of the sexiest young men on campus will be modeling casual, formal—and yes!—swim wear, all on loan from Macy’s. But! YoUDee chicks are not just interested in good looks. The final prize will be given to the guy who can swagger around their questions!

Photo public domain at Wikipedia.

SOPOPULAR Is Getting So Popular

American rock band, Nirvana, was formed 1987 in Aberdeen, Washington, by singer and guitarist Kurt Cobain.

The group became popular in 1991 with the lead single, Smells Like Teen Spirit, which “popularized” grunge music amongst Generation X, whose spokesman was media-appointed Kurt Cobain.

Although uneasy with attention, Kurt Cobain has bequeathed us many quotes, which not always made him popular with everyone. Here are some of my favorites:

“Wanting to be someone else is a waste of the person you are.”
“I'd rather be hated for who I am, than loved for who I am not.”
"I am not gay, although I wish I were, just to piss off homophobes.”

Kurt Cobain uttered one statement in an interview with MTV, which has since become a legacy in the German fashion industry: “it is tough to be so popular.”

Inspired by these words, James Ardinast, his brother David, and Daniel Blechman launched SOPOPULAR in 2008, in an successful attempt to translate young streetwear styles to a more mature male audience.

When it comes down to tailoring, these designers strive for perfection with high-quality German production of top-grade materials. That's why it is getting so popular!

Photo 2009 a/w collection by SOPOPULAR.
Slide show 2009 a/w collection by

May 10, 2009

Cohesive—Prep'd to the Edge

Spanning 90 blocks of wholesale-retail business, which totals billions of dollars in yearly revenue, the Los Angeles Fashion District is undoubtedly the West Coast hub of the US garment industry.

Referred to as the "Garment District" since the 1930’s, the area was equally known for its clothing knockoffs, widespread homelessness, and dirty streets. But that all began to change with the renovating efforts of organizations like BID—the Fashion District Business Improvement District—who renamed it the "Fashion District."

Rising from the depths of this concrete jungle of literally thousands of businesses is no easy task! But fusing function with fashion, designer Dave Appel of Cohesive has surfaced as the functionally innovative standard of men’s clothing.

Designing from the age of 15, Dave has learned to pay close attention to minute details as seen in the line's intricate seam stitching and the brand’s signature item—the embossed skull button.

If you are a "9-5 professional" in need to taking off that jacket and tie after work for a funkier weekend, then Cohesive’s edgy prep-look is the right one for you!

Photo 2009 a/w collection Copyright Cohesive.
Slide show 2009 a/w collection Copyright Cohesive.

May 8, 2009

Jonathan Mezibov: Sensibly American with a European Flair

Jonathan Mezibov—sophisticated, modern, sexy, clean, and all about detail!

Born in Livingston, New Jersey, and raised in Cincinnati, Ohio, Jonathan received his basic training in a liberal arts program at Tufts University of Medford, Massachusetts.

After graduating from New York Law School, he decided to take a swing at the fashion industry, first, as a design assistant at G-III Apparel Company and, then, as assistant menswear designer at Barry Bricken.

Passionate about the industry, Jonathan Mezibov recently stepped up to bat with his own menswear line, uniquely blending the sensibility of US fashion with the fine tailoring of Europe's best. And he definitely hit a grand slam with his 2009 a/w collection!

Set to the backdrop of the late-Victorian period, Jonathan's collection draws inspiration from Edith Wharton's novel, the Age of Innocence, as he envisions the upper-class man of late 19th-century New York on the streets of Manhattan today!

When asked about throwing such a fashioable curve in contemporary menswear, Jonathan was kind enough to reply:

“As for the Late-Victorian influence, it really fell in line with how I was feeling when I designed the collection: the fabrics, colors and richness of the era, and the idea that men could display their inner peacock a bit more and a growing sense of fashion and consumerism and still feel - and be perceived - as masculine and individuals of substance.

However, I chose to imagine how Newland Archer would dress today precisely because he wasn't the dandy of the book (that was another character, Larry Lefferts). I liked the fact that Newland was an individual of style and class, but not overly preoccupied with trends.

And that's exactly how I'd like my line to be perceived. As good-looking, wearable clothing with a high taste level, that's not overly trend driven but rather will remain fashionable for seasons to come.”

Forward-looking yet retrospective of the past, Jonathan Mezibov clearly approaches contemporary menswear with a refreshed vision of tastefully refined elegance.

Photo top right Jonathan Mezibov.
Slide show 2009 a/w collection Copyright Jonathan Mezibov.

May 7, 2009

Francesco Scognamiglio Speaks Frankly with Fashion Times

As you may well know, I prefer to write all my articles from scratch, while each interview is conducted directly by me.

Nevertheless, since I share close origins with designer Francesco Scognamiglio (and also the same first name), I could not help but translate the following interview, which was conducted in Italian by Fulvio Aniello for Fashion Times.

For a more in-depth background on Francesco Scognamiglio, please read my first article From the Ashes of Pompeii.

When did you understand that you wanted to enter the world of fashion? What formative journey did you choose?
Fashion entered my life at roughly the age of 13, but ever since childhood I have always loved to design and paint… from the holy to profane, from the church Madonna’s to nudity… right up to dressing her. A logical journey, I would say.

How do you remember your experience at Maison Versace?
It was friendly with the Maison, especially with Donatella. To be exact, I never worked in the design office but rather I interned in the production of campaigns and special events, thanks to a friendship and great respect that I nurtured yesterday, like today.

How much does art play in your collections?
I don’t believe there is a connection between art and my collections, but I do believe that both can coexist in a unique journey guided by creativity.

Is there a common thread between your origins and your creations?
A continual evolution of style on a journey through innovation and research, combining the avantguarde with pure historical retrospect.

In what way has the crisis been able to influence your latest collections?
The crisis is involving the whole global economic system. Fashion is one of the most affected sectors like that of textiles, but the big players suffer the most. I am an author and the car I drive is not yet huge, but just a luxurious used Jaguar.

To what extent does a garment’s quality and price play a role? What are the materials that you like best?
The way things are today, luxury has no price, but the price must make the article a luxury. Much attention must be paid to the choice in order to stay in the range of prices that are desirable and do not scare the client, with a rigorous Made-in-Italy manufacturing: natural silks, technological fabrics, but also the wools of grandma’s overcoat.

In 2008, you hit it big in the US thanks to Madonna, who wears some of your clothing in her music video. What relationship do you have with celebrities?
Celebs for me are also my friends, common women like others, but with much desire to be pampered and made beautiful. I like to choose the coolest women in the world, rather… I’m fortunate because today they choose me.

I heard through the grapevine that Anna Wintour has shown appreciation for your work. Can you tell us how it went?
A sincere normal encounter. A woman of great sensibility and culture, for whom I nurture the greatest esteem. Well, since she’s already called me to duty says everything.

How much do you think the communication of fashion influences the increase of eating disorders like anorexia?
As long as the only influence comes from you reporters who ask such questions. Fashion and its communication do not have any link to eating disorders.

Any next projects?
A boat at the sea…

Photos Copyright Fashion Times.
Article by Fulvio Aniello translated and published with permission by Fashion Times.

Kitsuné Ties the Nautical Knot—Twice!

Kitsuné—the foxy new rave in France and Japan—is not only spinning music with fashion but also hooking up with other like-minded brands, such as United Bamboo and Petit Bateau.

Founded 1998 in New York by Japanese designer Miho Aoki and Vietnamese designer Thuy Pham, United Bamboo has successfully pioneered a lifestyle out of a label, all through the collaboration of downtown Manhattan artists, musicians, and curators.

Now, Kitsuné has joined hands with United Bamboo in a limited edition of nautical-themed apparel entitled Modern Marines, which is available at United Bamboo and Honeyee stores.

Kitsuné has also tied the nautical knot recently with the French children’s label, Petit Bateau, in a limited edition of clean, classic v-neck tees.

Petit Bateau was created in 1893 by Pierre Valton whose son, Etienne, inspired the name in 1918 after the French lyrics, “Ma, do the little boats (p’tits bateaux) that go on the water have legs?”

Masaya Kuroki (Japanese) and Gildas Loaec (French) founded Kitsuné in 2002 out of their intense love for music and fashion.

Photos by Fashion Times.

May 6, 2009

Xander Zhou Brings a Touch of Europe to Shanghai Fashion Week

Shanghai is the largest city in China with 20 million inhabitants, which automatically makes it one of the most populous cities in the world!

Historically Shanghai was a fishing village that evolved into a textile center for the nation during the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644).

As the name suggests, Shanghai is a port city—literally “on” (上 shàng) and “the sea” (海 hǎi)—a position that has facilitated the city’s recent transition to a major cosmopolitan center for design.

Shanghai is undoubtedly one of the most influential players within China’s fashion industry. Already for six years, the city has hosted Shanghai Fashion Week, which not only showcases the best of Chinese talent but also reputable designers from around the world.

Last week 26-year-old Chinese designer, Xander Zhou, sent his 2009 a/w collection to the catwalk of Shanghai Fashion Week, clearly demonstrating to the world that a major shift is occurring within the industry from "Made in China" to "Designed in China."

Xander Zhou first studied graphic design in his homeland but then pursued fashion at Den Haag Fashion Institute in the Netherlands. After a brief stint with Dutch designer Jeroen van Tuyl, Xander returned to Beijing where he discovered less “establishment” in setting up his own label.

Although his belief is that design has no nationality, Xander Zhou takes his cultural heritage seriously, incorporating conflicting elements into his creations.

Photo 2009 a/w collection Xander Zhou Copyright Larapixie.
Slide show 2009 a/w collection
Xander Zhou Copyright Larapixie.