Barely a month ago, demonstrations across the world were triggered in the repetitious protest of  the murder of yet another black man, and fallen hero George Floyd. These events were not only anti-racist and anti-authoritarian but stemmed from the deep rooted resulting issues founded in racial injustices across America. The demos were a call to action, a plea to change, and alter the systemic inequality and oppression that imbues all facets of the society, and a recreation of justice cries we’ve seen from the old-world.

Black creatives matter, but are the people of color getting any closer to proper representation in the creativity domain?

Ideation has, for the longest time, been taken as a standard measure in the creative industry and generally, in society. What does that mean for black people, who, from day immemorial face marginalization, misrepresentation and are stereotyped in the creative canon?

Nonetheless, the tides seem to be changing for the better despite the less-than-stellar records in adversity and inclusion, and over the past years, a number of black persons have risen to relatively regarded “prominence” in the creative world. Virgil Abloh as the first man to undertake a directory role at Louis Vuitton. The first black editor-in-chief of British Vogue, a black man named Edward Enniful. Elaine Welteroth, the first black editor- in-cheif of Teen vogue, and so many other recent “first black(s)”. This dichotomous blessing and saddening emphasis of these many “firsts” continues to play out in the creative industry that has been deeply rooted in benefits and direct and indirect influences of black culture and black-subcultural trends. A renaissance or an Armageddon?

Here, a little snippet of innumerable contributions the Black community has made in music, fashion, and art is importantly highlighted.

Influencing Music

The black cultural influence dates way back to slavery when black slaves molded their musical styles. It’s from these styles that we have the gospel, blues, country music, and bluegrass music. It’s a culture well renowned for its creation of R&B music and rap.  The rhythm created by the use of instruments such as banjo and drums can be felt in today’s musical genres.

Chuck Berry, Little Richard, and Buddy Holly brought about rock and roll in the 1950s by allowing a stage for non-Hispanic White Musicians like Elvis Presley. The 1960s dawned with Motown and Detroit sound, which brought about classical music acts like Stevie Wonder, who is a golden standard for music in all diversities.

It’s no surprise one of the notable inputs the black community has had in music is Hip hop and rap music, which is a reflection of the day to day lives of black people in the US from hardships to triumphs. It has been of significant influence as other cultures have adopted the black culture through the various genres, as mentioned.

Influencing Fashion

The Afro-American culture doesn’t stop in music. As earlier discussed in this article, blacks have made notable and unique contributions to the Fashion Arena. Beginning with the southern church style, where, for Sunday services, slaves would put on their “Sunday’s best.” It’s through this that they would transform from their struggles and hardships to the relief in worshipping.  From there, with embellishments and grandeur, we have seen African American seamstresses like Ann Lowe, making fashion for Jackie O and White people in general.

From time immemorial, black culture inspired fashion such as black leather, and baggy garb has undergone an undertone.  Currently, black culture inspired style continues to make bold statements within movements such as Black Lives Matter.  Businesses owned by black people not only appeal to blacks but also other cultures all over the world. Beats by Dre and Air Jordan are a few of those that have made waves across the mainstream trendy’s.

Influencing Art

African American art was in many forms and with varying definitions between the 16th and early 18th centuries. In the Antebellum South, enslaved black communities had wrought-iron figures, small drums, ceramic “face” instruments, and domestic architecture. Blacks crafted art that, despite having black subjects portrayed in a seldom manner,  was done in a Western European fashion.Some sculptors and landscape artists would use years between the American Civil war and the Post-Reconstruction period, black American social conditions. The African American culture was of unique value and was justified by the difficulties the artists would go through covering the Afro-American culture.

Between 1865and 1900, an intersection of the political and apolitical situation was used in the works and lives of the artists. They would capture moody scenes of white-on-black violence that reflected the lives of black people at the end of the century. John Henry Adams, Jr. made a lot of African American portraits, as recorded in the journal The Voice of Negro Artist. Topics like emancipation would be vital for artists even in years to come. It’s after World War 1 that movements such as the Harlem Renaissance, with a collective focus on African Americans, their art, and broader modernistic visions were created.

Years later, Black writers, performing artists, and visual artists made their culture together with the worldwide struggles people were facing, their raison d’etre. Many visual artworks incorporated slogans like Black is beautiful and Black Power to add influential art manifestos that helped in organizing expositions of Black artists. Artists like Alma Thomas made the advancements and was the first black woman to enjoy a solo exhibition at the Whitney Museum Of American Art in 1972, New York.

Funny cartoon-like paintings by sculptors, photographers, visual artists, painters, and conceptualists have helped place racism at the central position of art matters, creating a different visual standard in contemporary art.  It’s through the works of geeks Artis Lane, Jean- Michel Basquiat, and Kara Walker that we continue to speak for the history, culture, and heritage of black people.

Still, we take a moment to honor black icons who have made waves in their respective industries. Thanks in large part to the black groundbreakers.

Zelda Wynn Valdes

Wynn was born in 1905 in Chambersburg, Pennsylvania. She’s always thought-out as the first African American fashion designer. She saw the onset of her career at her uncle’s tailoring store in White Plains, New York.  Besides working with notable actresses like Joyce Bryant and Mae West, Zelda was endorsed to design the Playboy Bunny Costume mid-1950s. In 1948, Zelda became the first woman to have to her name, a shop in Broadway, New York City, and named it Chez Zelda. She was also named the New York chapter president of the National Association of Fashion and Accessory Designers. She died in 2001, aged 96.

Arthur McGee

Arthur, born in 1933 in Detroit, Michigan, made significant and impressive breakthroughs in the fashion realm. He won a local contest in 1951 to attend the Traphagen School of Design in New York. He finished his degree under Charles James at the Fashion Institute of Technology. In 1957, he rose in the ranks to be the first African American designer to run the Seventh Avenue designer room for the Bobbie Brooks label. In 1964, it became one of the ultimate clothing manufacturers in the United States, selling to stores that never had a history of stocking designs from an African American designer, Saks Fifth Avenue, Bergdorf Goodman, and Bloomingdale’s.  It is years later that he opened his store dressing such notables as Stevie Wonder, Cicely Tyson, and Lena Horne.  Dead at 86, in 2018, McGee left a lasting legacy of grooming buoyant Afro-American talent.

Kesha Franklin, CEO and Lead Designer of Halden Interiors

Kesha oversees operations at Halden Interiors, which is a design establishment focusing on residential and hospitality spaces. She has a background in fashion, and it proves in her airy, luxe spaces furnished with awe of color and phenomenal fabric choices. While diversity in the world of design is seen as second-rate, Franklin doesn’t hesitate to unmask the difference between practice and practitioners. She refers to diversity as the state of having a variety in that you are composed of differing elements. According to Kesha, diversity is the essence of interior design, where you create a mix from furnishing, periods, fabrics to culture. She admits to a lack of representation of the many faces that create the beauty of diversity.

Jeanine Hays and Bryan Mason, Interior Designer and Author at AphroChic

AphroChic is an all-round design firm touching on publishing, interior design, fashion, and product design. It’s zealous to acknowledging diversity in various angles from culture to arts and science to technology in the Afro-American communities. It incorporates a connection between ultramodern design and the global culture in all populations.

AphroChic broke the ice as the brainchild of hubby and wife, Jeanine Hays and Bryan Mason, and quickly stretched out from an ordinary online blog to an establishment engaging in a variety of work from the nuts and bolts of designing to film.

Together, through a thoughtful cultural inspiration of the African diaspora, they have so far come up with not less than five collections of home décor. According to the couple, they’ve seen and continue to see the urge to respond to the missing representation in diversity, not only by creating comfortable homes but boldly stating a culture and expressing a world view through their clientele.

Stephen Burks, Founder of Stephen Burks Man-Made

Stephen Burks is a designer who’s included all from retail interiors and events to Furniture. His work is as a result of a close look at the intersection between African handmade crafts and contemporary aesthetics. Stephen Burks Man Made studio has collaborated with top furniture manufacturers to create lifestyle collections involving hand production as one strategy of innovation. In 2015, Stephen’s magical hand in product design won him the National Design Award and a Harvard Loeb Fellowship in 2018. His work has been at various exhibitions, including the Studio Museum of Harlem and the Museum of Art & Design (MAD). He has partnered with Nonprofit Initiatives such as Aid To Artisans, Artesanias de Colombia, and the Clinton Global Initiative. His aim through his projects is to create a nexus between authentic, meaningful production, industrial manufacturing, and contemporary global designing. His overall vision of design is the inclusivity of all cultural perspectives and create a space where Afro-Americans’ voices can be heard both aesthetically and philosophically.

Ultimately, going past racism and all sorts of sidelining doesn’t narrow down to having more blacks in the industry but it involves the air for allowing, supporting and hiring black creatives. With the unmasked ugly reality of discrimination in the creative industry, it’s evident that black people are ideal agents of change and influence in the creative world: rising beyond the horizons of discrimination and oppression, and creating their own lanes. #blackcreativesmatter

Image Sources:@leigh_newyork @megangabrielle @Johnnynelsonjewelry @Kohshinfinley @rinnyriot @Jadepurplebrown @byalissaashley @uzo.art  @jessmyart@yesterdaynite @megangabrielle @Hanifaofficial @brianadanyele @justdon @gallerydepartment

Due to the continuing COVID-19 pandemic, the historically biggest night of the fashion calendar also fell victim to the necessary lockdowns put in place. It is undeniable the influence different shows and events contributes to the business and cultural atmosphere of fashion; fashion shows, galas, and exhibits are an integral part of the industry that not only gives designers and couture houses ways to unveil new collections or pieces, but also allows for a celebration of the groundbreaking creativity that feeds the fashion industry, and in the case of the Met Gala, using celebrities as this communicative window. Arguably fashion’s biggest night of the year, the first Monday in May scheduled yearly as the biggest night of the year, will not take place as planned this year. The event, which celebrates the Costume Institute at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and is orchestrated in collaboration with Vogue, and is an event of such high standing that May’s first Monday is the only day besides Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day, and New Year’s Day the museum closes to visitors.

As a result of the ongoing epidemic that has forced a lockdown on every industry and displaced the day to day lifestyles of most creative professionals, we’ve had to witness the postponement and cancellations of some of our favorite fashion shows and exhibits throughout the spring fashion season. We may continue to do so for subsequent important fashion seasons. Rightly so, for the health and wellbeing of employees, models, guests, and attendees, but still worth mourning is the indefinite pause on one of the most riveting times of the year for fashion. Many renowned fashion houses, like Chanel, Hermes, Versace, and Dior, have had to cancel the upcoming May 2020 cruise showings, and others have had to take the inevitable decision to cancel or postpone.

Met Gala, also known as the Met Ball, is an annual fundraising gala for the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute. As an incredibly significant event marked by its yearly fashion and art theme, it dictates the overall tone of participating designers in the gala, dressing some of the most influential and well-known celebrities, entertainers, and entrepreneurs. Organized by Vogue and founded by fashion publicist Eleanor Lambert, the Met Gala has been a New York spring fashion event staple since 1948. While the event itself is a financial fundraiser in support of the Costume Institute, the Met Gala has no doubt been considered one of the most celebrated celebration of fashion as art. Each year, the impressive guest list takes over the media world by storm as the looks designed for each famous patron take center stage. From Rihanna’s gold Guo Pei gown moment in 2015 to Zendaya’s 2018 Joan of Arc-inspired Jean Paul Gaultier look, the Met Gala’s fashion moments are not only a testament to the incredible designers but also to the art that goes behind how those same designers and celebrities take on the event’s iconic yearly themes. The 2020 Met Gala may have been indefinitely postponed, but its 2020 theme happens to be a coincidentally perfect way to commemorate the creative industry for what it is.

The 2020 Met Gala would have been a milestone for itself and the Costume Institute as this year marks this annual night’s 150th anniversary. Due to this significant milestone, the institution chose to exhibit a series of collections this spring of a century, and a half of fashion history pulled from the museum’s archive. Vogue announced earlier this spring that the Met Gala’s theme for this year would be “About Time: Fashion and Duration.” Andrew Bolton, the Costume Institute’s curator, told Vogue he hoped the spring theme and exhibit this year would showcase the history of fashion and the fashion industry as heterogeneous and reimagined to be something open-ended rather than straightforward and linear. The 2020 theme was meant to highlight this notion of fashion as something tethered to time, and that perhaps while there are silhouettes, styles, and even fabrics that are closely related to specific eras and centuries, fashion overall is something that is simply existing in the present. The exhibition and the theme itself is meant to be ephemeral and would be showcasing the cyclical, juxtaposing, folded moments of fashion and crossing paths with different fabrics, designers, and historically ‘unique’ looks. Perhaps what we would have seen that night are ways in which various designers featured in the event would take the theme of time and present an aspect of fashion that itself is timeless. 

Employees at the Met wearing protective gloves a few days prior to the museum’s closure, on March 10.
JEENAH MOONGETTY IMAGE

Nevertheless, the indefinite postponement of the 2020 Met Gala counts as yet another downside to global lockdowns as a result of the COVID-19 crisis. The Costume Institute’s fundraiser is widely considered as one of the most critical nights of fashion each year, and the indefinite decision of when it will occur has put designers, guests, and admirers of the event in limbo. While it is incredibly imperative to address the fashion industry during these times and putting attention to the focus on how it will operate during and after the pandemic, it is just as imperative to pay attention to what the fashion industry stands for as a whole. It is challenging to question how the creative industry will survive and thrive afterward, but perhaps the Met Gala’s supposed theme says it quite best. Fashion itself, outside of it being an industry, is something consistently present. At its very core, fashion is a celebration of creativity and art. It has been so throughout time, so while the fashion industry has been unwillingly put on pause, fashion, in general, will never be. However, the creative industry has found itself economically-strained and creatively-fraught during these unfortunate circumstances. Still, perhaps this begs the question of what a modern fashion culture really should be without the redundancy of the shows that have defined it in the past decades. Coming out of the global crisis would undoubtedly mean that we would slowly begin recovering. It would take quite a while before the industry was where it once was prior – but would the abundance of fashion events that once dominated fashion culture be just as prevalent as it once was, or would we be saying goodbye to a handful of them?

How dare you, not?

While the New Year’s season is when many consider implementing improved practices for the remainder of the year, it isn’t the only temple dedicated to reevaluating past lifestyle practices and habits. The idea of spring cleaning has become an age-old trend meant to inspire the concept of a physical cleansing of our environment. In relatively modern times, the term, hijacked has been esoteric to fashion and closet purging. Spring calls for a rebirth, a renewal, and a restoration, that is especially important, as it marks the emergence out of holiday season into a new year. Thus, the idea of spring cleaning is an annual undertaking that many choose to implement into their yearly routines. Historically, spring cleaning was attributed to a religious and cultural start traced back to the Jewish custom of preparing for the liberation that Passover brings in the spring and others saying it holds close ties to the Persian New Year, celebrated on the first day of spring. Regardless of this attributed tradition, many have adopted the seasonal belief of this ample time to dig through and declutter, and as specially related to our fashion and lifestyle essential, to spring clean closets. Nobody is exempted from the benefits of a thorough wardrobe cleanse, as many of us are often clinging to -yearly- old, unworn, unwanted, and/or regretfully acquired pieces.

However, the idea of spring cleaning closets might go so far to reveal an even deeper resolution or purpose as the current state of affairs has wildly impacted the daily lifestyles of just about every person. The fashion industry has been devastated by the sudden turn of events the global pandemic has brought on; people have had no choice but to prioritize financially and economically beneficial lifestyle practices as the COVID epidemic continues to take away ordinary luxuries we had been previously used to. When the fashion and lifestyle industry is concerned, the notion of minimalism as it relates to the production, appreciation, and collectivization of fashion as the freedom of ‘more is better’ is no longer a plausible lifestyle. However, while the turn to minimalism was initially under-appreciated and now relevant to several lifestyle epiphanies, it might prove to be an appreciated contribution to fashion consumerism post the COVID-19—pandemic/lockdown.

Be more with less.

The minimalist fashion movement is where it gets tricky. First, a necessary step to breaking it down is looking into defining it as it relates to different tranches, demographics, and consuming habits. Rather than being regarded as a fashion trend or style, the idea of minimalism in fashion could/should/would now be defined more so by the core foundation and purpose of its practice as a way of being physically minimal yet emotionally conscious. In other words, the minimalism fashion movement should/could/would be centered around the idea of being more thoughtful and, in return, have less tangible ‘materials’ or ‘stuff’ and appreciating the conscious effort to maintaining these bare necessities. The minimalist fashion movement prioritizes the idea of simplicity as opposed to being concerned with the excessive nature of fashion, both in practice or production and visual aesthetic. What that means for you can vary to some degree. Still, it typically focuses on either a wardrobe surrounded by simple silhouettes, patterns, cuts, etc. or simple in number and what it contains – or perhaps a combination of both. For the context of spring cleaning, focusing more on the idea of the latter and how the fashion movement is emphasizing this concept of reductionism is as effective as promoting these co-dependent ideas. More specifically, the “less is more” token trademark of the minimalist fashion trend could/should/would be manifested into specific trends more fittingly into labels like the ‘capsule wardrobe.’ This would/could/should mean that a consumer’s closet choice wardrobe style is limited to a set number of items, and the consumer is unable to purchase or add any other pieces of clothing unless they intend to replace something already existing in the closet to maintain that number. Typically, capsule wardrobes range from anywhere between 20 to 40, or perhaps even 50 pieces of clothing (not including undergarments). Likewise, to the movement, the idea of a capsule wardrobe is so that a consumer is more concerned about the simplicity in numbers of clothing items they should own. Not only is it challenging to keep a set number of pieces at all times and resist the impulse of buying and/or excessive shopping, but a capsule wardrobe takes in-depth creativity to pull off when it comes to creating as many stylish combinations as possible. While a capsule wardrobe is an essential branch of the minimalist fashion movement, the concept of being minimal in fashion is not only much more uncomplicated than it may seem but will/should/could prove to be a financially and thoughtfully more respectable way to approach fashion consumption.

As influential as it is, the fashion industry holds a quiescent but potent footprint on the global landscape; this historical and global influence marks it as one of the most critical sectors in any functional, economic ecosystem. However, what would it mean for the industry to run through the wringer of a historical moment? A question the industry must now face as a global health crisis wreaks havoc on all aspects of the world. Many are pushing forth the need for necessary changes and actionable processes the fashion industry must make if it were to survive this current crisis: from reconsidering the accessibility to fashion to the introduction of new fashion, as well as addressing the issues of materialism that make up a majority of consumer power. With such a physical and tangible blueprint, it would be near impossible to strip such aspects away without transforming the very foundation fashion relies upon. However, this idea – and perhaps potential solution – of minimalism and questioning how much we consume is very well a significant problem the industry must tackle sooner than later. 


A majority of the minimalist movement’s appeal is the way it functions as a counteract to the fast fashion and excessive trend cycles, events, collections, and other aspects of the fashion industry. This is seen through the movement’s practicality in the way it coincides with sustainable fashion and the slowly rising adoption of slow fashion. The minimalist approach in fashion is grounded in the idea that fashion choices, consumptions, and purchases to be carefully thought of as the point is to avoid excessiveness. Fashion (consumption) could/should/would be specific, intentional, and could/should/would be an overall investment. Less can most definitely be more when the pieces in your wardrobe are not only consciously purchased, but that they are genuinely embracing of an aesthetic rather than ‘in style.’ As a prospective question: could/should/would the minimalist fashion be a temporarily mending practice suited for the state of affairs post a pandemic? Or does it have a real potential in acting as a basis for how the fashion industry should/could/would function going forward?

The COVID-19 pandemic began with a few dozen instances halfway across the globe. Still, it slowly permeated into a global crisis fueled by the fear of how easily contagious and deadly the foreign virus has proven itself to be. With local and national authorities enforcing a city to statewide lockdowns with no foreseeable end due to increased positive cases and the inability of most health facilities to manage the ongoing situation, leading to accelerated global tragedies, and as it sadly relates, in fashion capitals of the world. Based on recent researches and findings, the unemployment rate in the United States alone as of early April is up to 13%, with 17 million Americans filing for unemployment benefits. As several industries lay off workers and pause operations in these unforeseen times, it question of how affected the fashion industry and how big of an impact this has and will prove to be in the future has never been more declared than now. From runway show cancellations to global designer stores and production lines shut down, the pandemic has caused a seismic disruption for those within the industry. Every person once essential to the functions of the industry – designers, art directors, and buyers alike – have been thrown into a sudden limbo; the unpredictability of the COVID-19 pandemic has put the industry on an unplanned pause. However, while professional 9-5 workers are facing the sudden whiplash of a complete disruption of daily routine due to some city-imposed lockdowns, creatives, freelancers, and those considered to be “digital nomads” are finding that even the social isolation reality is as complicated when it isn’t self-imposed.

Image source: Alexander McQueen. © photo: Andrea Adriani / Gorunway.com

The spring season as one of the most fundamental season for the fashion industry has deemed all operational and creative labor of the SS20 and the collections after useless and inessential, as the growth of the pandemic has caused brands, designers, and couture houses to close off their doors to customers, issuing various policies in the meantime. Many companies and fashion houses have announced within the last month a temporary halt in their production in facilities worldwide; others like Gap Inc., Levi’s, and HanesBrands have had to make the difficult choice of furloughing employees across the board. The worst-case scenario that major retail chains, like H&M, Group, Inditex Group, and Nike, Inc, etc., have had to consider is the thousands of layoffs and shut down their stores across the globe. And while the United States has still not issued an executive national stay-at-home order, with the number of infected cases reaching over 200,000 according to the CDC, many corporations and businesses have taken the corporate responsibility to enforce work from home policies on their employees. Those who work in fashion and other creative industries have, for decades, had the potential to work effectively under remote conditions, and not lost are the professionals with operational functions reliant on person-to-person contact to execute jobs and other responsibilities. With heavy reliance on technology, the newly implemented work from home policies and structures by most brands has become all the more essential to facilitate remote contact and attempt to continue business operations. Vogue branches in areas with governments enforced lockdowns, such as Vogue Italia and Vogue China, have released statements on their operational switch to video conferences and online meetings with staff, members, partners, creatives, and collaborators to maintain functionality.

Image source: Phllip Picardi and his colleagues meditating before a staff meeting. Gioncarlo Valentine for The New York Times.                                                                              Although both necessary, the question of which approach is more productive has become a question for most organizations and management heads. Professional 9-5’ers mandated to work in the office and in-person settings and freelance creatives or more generally, those who work on a self-responsible schedule are opposite sides of a working spectrum that have their appeals and disadvantages that change depending on who you ask. For freelance(creatives)and at-home workers, the flexibility in hours, comfort of their own space, and the lack of commute might be ideal when these factors or the lack thereof relies on productivity. On the other hand, others might be more inclined to work in a collaborative in-person environment and would much rather distinguish a separate space to work outside of their home. Regardless of which category the majority of fashion industry professionals and creatives fall into, the sudden shift to a day-to-day lockdown and enforced at-home workdays affects us all. When it comes to the fashion industry, working from home isn’t impossible. However, much of the industry heavily relies on in-person tangible work, from model fittings, photoshoot preparations, styling, to collection shows, and presentations. Companies and brands that have been fortunate enough to facilitate remote work are faced with the sudden externally imposed isolation. And for freelancers and creatives used to working from home, their opportunities for in-person collaboration are now temporarily foregone. And now we ask: what is the new(modern) trajectory of the fashion industry? And how will all aspects of the industry manage the new reality now and in the aftermath of it?

Image source: Getty Images / Barcroft Media.

With the global fashion industry facing one of the biggest hits since world war II, and with many fashion professionals confined to their homes facing a new reality: balancing the ability to self isolate and be professionally productive, all while still maintaining a healthy mental albeit physical state of mind, and body, has become a new objective. For some that have mastered the art of self-discipline and self-motivation un-reliant on the presence of a physical office environment, the advantage of past experience in developing habits to remain productive at home, and the downside effects of this lockdown prevent itself as a less impactful challenge than it is to dedicated professionals. Issues that traditional office workers may now have to face is the lack of stimulated development without the ability to make in-person connections and work collaboratively. The isolation work order of 2020 challenges several – century-long ideas: ideas on productivity, discipline, teamwork, collaboration, and application of resources. More importantly, it challenges the notion of creativity, teamwork, and productivity for professional 9-5’ers in a state of absence of a physical work environment. Testing how those who worked in professional spaces with others can or cannot maintain that same level of creative teamwork and productivity. At-home creatives, who either collaborate with others occasionally or work on their own pace, have had the time to develop their methods – but it may be much harder now for those working remotely for the first time. While creative work, as demonstrated by at-home freelancers, is certainly possible to accomplish at home, the loss of productivity can be concerning as many are getting used to the sudden change. Thankfully, online platforms that allow for secure remote collaboration, such as Slack, Discord, Zoom, etc., have been able to facilitate these new virtual structures and operations effectively but is still an adjustment to the lack of in-person connectivity.

Image source : Alvaro Reyes for unsplash.

Regardless of which of these (new) categories you fall into – the at-home worker or the 9-5 worker, or perhaps a blend of both – the temporary loss of the work-life balance that existed before the crisis and this new reality has become the new theory of assessment and comparative analysis for so many, especially in determining the correlation, true effects and causes of productivity in the workplace and the resources applied. The isolation order has been a problematic new reality to cope with. It’s a removal of the work-life balance you were once comfortable with – even if you already typically worked from home – and because the end of the pandemic is unforeseen, it has left many wondering if they’ll have to permanently adjust to remote work for perhaps the nearest future, or if the work they once loved doing in person will be one to temporarily or permanently forego. It’s a new truth, and while it may have put the norm on pause, it’s a necessary precaution to take to ensure that what was placed on hold may once start once again. From all levels of workers and from all branches of the fashion and creative industries, the isolation orders that have been put in place have flipped the functionality of the industry on its side and will be the initiation of an emerging and needed change from this point forward. 

When the ball dropped at midnight three months ago, it ushered a monumental and – the most- anticipated decade without any foresight on the possibility of a global pandemic. For many of us, a solace in the resolutions for the year 2020 had finally been realized two decades after the beginning of a new millennium. However, in the wake of what fashion analysts lackadaisically labeled as a media outcry, a global health crisis emerged and has become the most significant health crisis yet. The quick yet profoundly disruptive impact of the COVID-19 virus led to a worldwide panic, a global lockdown for households, and shutdown of businesses factories and businesses operate in most global fashion capitals: the greatest industrial hit since the world war II.

The overlying and underlying implications of COVID-19 have within a short time proven accurate in the past two months of its gradual impact, with the causation of a frightening new reality for the global fashion industry. An impact analysts estimate will detrimentally linger for the next few years (of deliberate marketing), with adverse effects on crucial sectors and channels in the fashion and lifestyle industry, production, and consumption. In the face of this new reality for most brands and businesses, is the uncontrolled pause in the activities of many large, medium and small fashion and lifestyle brands kindled by the digital age of social media and fast consumption. As many luxury and fast fashion businesses continue to face unexpected pertinent hits on sales, distribution, and production, concerns, and questions on the essentiality of current processes in an archaic adoption to old habits in the new age definition of the fashion industry have become urgent.

Here’s the idea: A global pandemic becomes a breeding ground for the aggressive application of sustainable fashion. In the latest special edition of a BoF Podcast, the Dean of Hybrid Studies at Parsons School of Design and trend forecaster Li’ Edelkoort, expresses her thoughts on the effects of the coronavirus pandemic brings to light what is wrong with society, and teaching us to slow down and to change our ways. This pandemic, as we know, has led to an unplanned industrial pause, a pause we would hope results in the careful consideration of strategies, schemes, and habits orchestrated and marketed into the consumer blueprints in the past decades.

With the global fashion industry facing its greatest crisis since its inception, the COVID-19 pandemic has surfaced urgent questions that needed to be asked in the fashion industry for years and counting. Overall, however, as examining the positives within becomes the beaconing hope for a crucial reset, many believe that the broken down systems as a result of this pandemic could be a blank canvas for deconstruction and reinvention of the fashion industry.

#flattenthecurve

Jeans. An undeniable fashion staple and arguably one of the fashion essentials found in the closets of different spectrums of people in the world – women, kids, men, stylish, non-stylish, creatives, artists, models, athletes, professionals, career moms, college students, etc. Point is the possibility of meeting someone who doesn’t or has never owned a pair of jeans in their lifetime is rare and unheard. So much so, that a trip to any retail mall without the sight of someone somewhere wearing a pair of blue jeans would have you question if non-wearing denim-aliens have invaded us.

This wardrobe staple is seen across the globe and is now considered one of the most classic pieces of clothing everyone should own. However, where did blue jeans come from? How has denim risen to its current popularity in American fashion? This versatile fabric has found its way into every closet. Still, like the many staples of fashion, most wearers are unaware of the refreshingly intriguing history of denim, from its creation, first practical uses, and to how it became a (functional) fashion staple in everyone’s closet.

Photo by lan deng on Unsplash

The origin of denim is a complex one. Its credited creation depends entirely on where we decided to begin in its fashion history. In the 18th century, there were those in Nimes, Frances, who accidentally created variation denim as a response to replicating an Italian fabric called serge. However, the history of the true American blue jean began when Levi Strauss brought them to the U.S. in the late 19th century. Jacob Davis, a tailor in Nevada, was running into an issue with the pants he was stitching for miners to wear; the fabric was not strong enough to withstand their working environments. After creating riveted trousers, pants that were made with snap fixtures, and a duck cloth material, Davis enlisted the help of Strauss to take out a patent on them. Their manufactured trousers corporation skyrocketed, but it wasn’t until the release of Levi’s 501 styles in 1890 that denim jeans truly began.

A late 1800’s Levi advertisement.

Initially, blue jeans were worn by a particular type of people. From miners and workers to cowboys, blue jeans’ climb to the top of the fashion world was slow and steady. Over the decades, jeans were being more and more manufactured, created in a variety of cuts and silhouettes popular to its time. In 1936, Levi Strauss added his signature red flag to the back of his jeans, making it one of the first pieces of clothing to have a designer label. While jeans were traditionally worn for work, this marks the beginning of their integration into fashion. Also, in the 1930s, Vogue magazine featured denim jeans as a fashion look for the first time, thus further transitioning them away from only being a practical uniform.

Farmers wearing denim jeans in the 1930’s.

By the 1950s, jeans became an in-vogue fashion trend, popularized by younger generations as Hollywood utilized them to be symbols of rebellion and teen youth. Denim jeans began to embody the American spirit in fashion. The rise of jeans also coincided with the movement of women wearing pants, more specifically denim, by the mid-20th century. The 1960s were infamous for its spirited, free love movement, and jeans were essential to the fashion culture. American fashion culture embraced the blue jean as something of freedom that came with a trend of embellishing and personalizing jeans. Designers pushed the limits of how jeans were styled and what styles of jeans could be worn; we owe the variety of jeans to its history as cuffed ankles and bellbottoms soon came into play. By the 1970s, denim as a fabric was taking over the fashion world, with the popularization of denim skirts and tops. Denim jeans continued its claim to fame in the fashion world as brands in the 80s started labeling designer denim, such as Calvin Klein. The 1990s was where we saw the emergence of grunge popular culture, and the structured denim pant underwent a significant change with the introduction of baggy jeans. With the turn of the century, however, jeans once again went through a completely different phase: the ultra-low rise and the infamous skinny jean.

It is no doubt that the denim jean in American history is a complex one. American fashion in itself is a constant change, and the 20th century is an attest to that claim. Within that century alone, jeans became an incredibly versatile article of clothing. It was a perfect medium to use as a reflection on the culture at the time, and today, there is no single type of denim jean. With an abundance of styles to choose from, everyone can find a denim jean that matches well with their fashion style.

 

Long live denim!

In April of 2013, Bangladesh experienced a catastrophic loss. The Rana Plaza building, also known as the Dhaka garment factory, collapsed due to a structural failure. With over 1,000 total deaths and at least 2,500 injured, it became known as one of the largest industrial disasters in history. It did not take long until protests began. From Bangladesh to the Philippines, exploited workforces rushed to the streets to stand up against harsh working conditions. Oversees countries, especially in Asia and Africa, are known for having extensive populations subjected to working for the mass production of fashion. Precipitating the Dhaka garment factory collapse, two innovative women began a movement: Fashion Revolution. 

 

The Fashion Revolution, a response to the tragedy, is a campaign that focuses entirely on promoting sustainable fashion. It is notable for its trendy hashtag ‘#whomademyclothes’. It gives a spotlight to workers, like those in the Rana Plaza, that make the bulk of the resources large-scale brands utilize to mass produce the clothes we see in stores. It calls to action for consumers to pay more attention to where their clothes come from and to understand the cautions such factory employees are subjected to while earning little for their work. Often the compensation for what they do is overlooked and campaigns like the Fashion Revolution are frontiers for common consumers to take a step back and care about those workers. Those workers are generally responsible for a majority of how mass production in fashion continues today, but it is not something new. There exists a history of campaigns against the human labor workforce since the rise of industrialization across the world. However, even in the 21st century, the world still revolves around the exploitation of a lesser group. Fashion is no stranger to such campaigns. Brands have gotten away with oversees production of their products, paying very little to make expensive clothes. This pattern of behavior is what we consider today to be fast fashion. Campaigns such as the Fashion Revolution are here to combat that. 

British actor Emma Thompson takes part in the Extinction Rebellion. Photograph: Tolga Akmen/AFP/Getty Images

 

 

Sustainable fashion is a diverse umbrella term. It deals with a plethora of concerns in regards to today’s fashion industry, whether it is about the way clothes are created to the way clothes are used or discarded. In this case, movements like the Fashion Revolution are concerned with how mass production in the industry exists. The average consumer often overlooks that to mass produce clothes, it takes a great deal of both industrial and natural resources. From excessive water usage and pollution from cargo travel to the little wages and long hours of people in offshore factories, the mass production of clothes hides a dark secret. In everyday fashion and consumption, the go-go-go attitude to stay with consistently changing trends is a major incentive for big retail brands to continue the way they produce clothes. However, in the recent years, sustainability has grown a substantial following. 

A change in the fast fashion industry is a must. Whether it’s the Fashion Revolution or in the sustainability movement – both go hand in hand with each other – fashion plays an imperative role in our footprint on this earth. Brands and consumers are beginning to strive for change in the attitudes towards fashion, that, despite the accessibility of fast fashion, conscious consumption is a practice that is necessary. It is vital to stand against the age-old practices of fast fashion and mass production. Eco-friendly and ethical choices are much easier to make than one would think. Information on where your clothes came from and who/what made them should not be something that major retail brands and chains keep a secret. Sustainability does not just begin end with the way clothes are produced. Sustainability is a concern for all aspects of fashion: the source, the production, and the consumption. The collaborative efforts between producers and consumers is the only way we can see significant change in the fashion industry, because fashion is never going to go away. Fashion is meant to be an expression, a celebration of life. It should not be something that continues to disregard those that play an important role in keeping it moving. 

Perhaps next time you buy an article of clothing, whether it’s a brand new pair of jeans or a sweater, ask yourself: “Who made my clothes?”

Jewelry and accessories are one of the most popular ways to instantly glam up your outfit, however the type of gem stone used for your jewelry is an integral part of the jewelry design or the statement you are trying to convey. Since  the most precious gemstones available in the market today are made up by the popular demand on what to be admired in gemstones and jewelry, it is important that we shed light on some of the other gemstones that need to be explored. Gemstones like rubies, emeralds, diamonds, amethysts, sapphires, quartz and opals can be regarded as some of the most famous ones. However, there is a wide variety of gemstones that are much cheaper alternatives to the popular kids. These gemstones are comes in different styles, cuts and messaging, and we’re letting you in on these lesser known yet exquisite gemstones you should be exploring with your jeweler. See some of the seven that made our list: 

Andalusite Gemstone

Andalusite has a distinct feature which makes it very unique. It displays the phenomena of pleochroism which means that it displays different colors from different angles. It has been gaining popularity quite rapidly because of this attraction. It is mainly found in Canada, Russia, and Australia.

Andalusite Gemstone

Bloodstone Gemstone 

Bloodstone has a deep green color with specks of red throughout. Some bloodstones have no red spots at all. It is also known as “Heliotrope”. It has a certain significance in Christianity as they believe that when Jesus was crucified, the blood dripped onto the green jasper that was at his feet and that is how the bloodstone formed. Bloodstone is mainly found in China, Brazil and Madagascar.

 

Bloodstone Gemstone

Cavansite Gemstone

Cavansite is an attractive and vibrant stone and it has a sea blue color. It is believed that cavansite has the ability to stimulate the third eye and improve your channeling abilities. Canvasite is also believed to help cure headaches and migraines. It is found in some specific regions of India, USA and New Zealand. 

 

Cavansite Gemstone

 

Iolite Gemstone

Iolite is usually in shades of blue. It also displays pleochroism. If seen from one direction, it will have a sapphire blue color while another direction displays it as crystal clear. Iolite is found in multiple locations all over the world such as India, Australia, Namibia, and Sri Lanka.

Iolite Gemstone

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kunzite Gemstone
Kunzite is found in varying shades of pink and lilac. It has a beautiful crystal look and displays an eye-catching luster. It was first discovered in the USA but the majority supply comes from Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Myanmar.

Kunzite Gemstone

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Moonstone Gemstone

Moonstone exhibits a bluish white shine which gives it a somewhat magical look. The light it reflects seems to resemble that given off by the moon, hence the name moonstone. It found in Sri Lanka, India, Mexico, and Norway.  

 

Moonstone Gemstone

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Seraphinite Gemstone

Seraphinite has a deep green color with a silvery shimmer. It is believed to have healing properties which can help with the brain and nerves. 

These are all some of the many lesser known gemstones. All of these gemstones are distinct colors, shapes and properties. If you are looking to buy one but aren’t sure which one to get, make sure you do a thorough research about every kind of gemstone and you are sure to find one which you’ll love.  

Seraphinite Gemstone

 

 

Humans have always collectively adapted and evolved in different eras of technological and industrial changes. Lifestyle, design, fashion, and product changes being a derivative of these evolvements is what continues to pave a trajectory for continuous development and evolution. Focusing on how we wonderfully developed from merely nothing to what we now call the vintage era is generative of the human conscience and birth of inspirations.

There’s no single reason why this change happened the way it did.
When differently-abled and inspired minds collectively operate in a society, it gives birth to new ideas, styles, idealistic, and artistic approaches. In other words, our ability to interact with each other creative senses led to modern designs, inventions, and innovations.

The glamour and advertisements shift in the 1950s with the association to pop art led to innovations, which further led us to retro art. Engineers, architects, artists, painters, and every creative entity grew inspired, learned, and evolved. This evolvement birthed the classification of retro, primarily inspired by vintage in many aspects and the elixir of pop.
However, consistent evolution didn’t put a full stop at retro. It kept getting better, somewhat complicated, and led to the Contemporary styles that exist today.

The varying paradigm shift in terms of infrastructure, fashion, product, services, media, and tech has led to innovations that completely changed the overall outlook of development, design processes, and more importantly consumption.

This freedom of expression instilled broadness and openness to the people’s minds and consequently resulted in the simultaneous existence of vintage, retro, retro-vintage, and modern trends. Similarly, as designs dated back to the 70s and 80s were vintage and historically inspired; overcoats, popping retro art on billboards, loose pants, hats, old homes started to have a touch of modernity.

Elements of modern design from these eras show vagueness and limitations but interpret modernity. This infrastructure of contemporary design is well-inspired and is attributable to multiple ages without a pin-point focus on a particular period, but focuses on the references should not be lost.

Change in customer behavior driven by technological and industrial developments remains a continuous trend, but due to the lack of means and awareness in previous eras, consumption of latest trends a was attributable to passionate and financially abled households. We can rightly assume that the customer choice in the retro era was more subjective, thoughtful, and intentional. On the contrary, modern-day consumers are now more than ever equipped with different mediums that lead to the pursuant of new lifestyles, trends, and consumption habits, but the observable question is when a new change will come into effect. 

 

The struggle to break the typical stereotypes that define and cage the two genders separately when it comes to Fashion has been on for some time now, but the real wonder is if it had always been present, is here to stay, or just a borrowed generational trend. 

 Renowned fashion brands began to adopt this strategy and started exploring outside the binary box due to the modern-day movements like gender neutrality and gender fluidity that gained an impressive from 2017 till present day, and with the much-necessitated gender equality movement, the clothing pattern and fashion mentality began to adapt to modern times. The world had accepted and continued to allow the broader spectrums and definitions of gender and sexuality, but more than before, and Fashion might be the pivotal defiant to pave the way to a macro acceptance.

The recent transition in attitudes of people away from constricted thinking has been observed and is now being implemented to the plethora of forms and identities on the spectrum of gender; the odd thought pattern defining pink for women and blue for men or trousers for men and skirts for women were all conquered in era-defining ways in the 1900s and could be interpreted as a movement towards genderless Fashion, but the bigger wall may have been shattered.

So, is genderless Fashion a new thing? Has it always been? Affirmative on both arguments. Here’s why:

 Gender nonconformity

Humans have been judgmental in the past when it came to defining gender, but this thinking changed due to gender variance and started being more noticeable when individuals started desegregating themselves from pure male or female gender norms and begun to come out without permission from social cultures and standards. In the era when gender questions became to rise, and when the identity broke free from the binary constrictions, people who considered themselves agender and or transgender used to have a hard time deciding what to wear because of the social clauses inhibiting their fashion choices. The solution came about with gender-neutral clothes allowing individuals to take pride in their representation and their fashion choices. Decisions that we all might consider difficult, especially in an era when the moral and social constructs of the majority revolted against such actions. However, you still had people challenging these views and caring less about the consequences.

 

Fashion Industry Adaptation

With the sublimity in the thought pattern of the recent generation, the big and renowned fashion brands started to remove the tags from clothes like “for men” or “for women” only. And lo and behold, they introduced a new way defined as “for all” clothes. Men can wear pink dresses, or even skirts and women can opt for any clothes that they love to wear.  The fashion shows showcasing their latest designs stopped the limiting one gender ramp walk. Now women appear in men clothing walking confidently and as gracefully as a swan. Men walk in pink and skirts without raising eyebrows. If this had been the case a few years back, the idea of mixing both gender clothes on the runway could have been viewed as insane and bold but not anymore. It is now the norm. Pop culture known to historically perpetuate androgyny has been a reflector of the broader spectrums and definitions of gender and sexuality, and now, Fashion might be the pivotal defiant to pave the way to a macro and micro acceptance.

 

A slew of designers challenged this notion before now, offering a secluded place in the fashion industry for individuals who had finally found themselves and were the real pioneers of the questioning of gender; from those that didn’t see themselves on either end of the gender binary or those who already subverted and ignored traditional gender norms. Designers such as Rick Owens pioneered a genderless view of Fashion from the early start of his notability. In an interview with Refinery29, Rick emphasis on the misconception that gender expansion started with the millennials. “I don’t understand why this generation thinks they invented gender fluidity. They did it harder, stronger, and louder in the ’70s and 16th-century Japan.” Other designers like Yohji Yamamoto also held gender fluidity as an attachment to their creative process, and continue to do so till this day. 

 

Celebrity support

It can be argued that the first pioneers or “exhibitors” off gender fluidity and the genderless fashion movement were celebrities- specifically rock and roll, punk, pop and a few of others subverted genders. In more recent times, due to social media, virality and all its derivatives, celebrities, and public figures started supporting the movement by wearing genderless clothes on important international events. One of such new-generation pioneers like Jaden Smith, who wore a skirt for a 2016 Louis Vuitton campaign. He is considered as the spearhead of the movement, but then you’ve had fashion icons like Jared Leto, Ruby Rose, Lady Gaga and the likes always challenging this norm and Tilda Swinton being known to be the queen of androgyny. From trend set by renowned artists, the general public has quickly followed this and recently started to adopt some sort of androgyny to their style. Even mainstream genders have appreciated the step and adapted to genderless Fashion.  We can argue that genderless Fashion has been a celebrity identity mold in the 1900s, especially by musical icons that partially fused their dress sense to be a little bit on the other side, stars like David Bowie, Grace Jones, Elton John are the known pioneers of this, but not in the manner in which it is being distributed as mainstream and societally acceptable opposed to the reverence that it had back in the day.

 

In-conclusion: 

Yes, we do agree that gender fluidity and expression started in an era earlier than now, but as a statement, a differentiator, and more glaringly then than now. While having fashion choices that differ from gender norms is seen now as a fashion statement, It was considered a revolt against the social cultures that were more stringent then than now. 

The lighter side

On a general level, you don’t have to worry about tricky questions like “what to wear” or “what to match” your blue denim. We oblige you to wear anything you love, take a chance, hire a stylist :), join in on the movement because really no one but you should care! The world is abandoning the rigidity of gender structures, menswear, womenswear, and gender stereotypes, and we see gender being a thing of the past and people identifying as whatever they deem fit. Wearing a skirt, identifying with your own curated gender or your sexuality shouldn’t dictate how you should be addressed or viewed by society. We are finally able to witness an age when the only opinion that matters is yours and more importantly, your choice. So, wear what you love and live the way you want to, judgment-free zone here!