Role of Color during LFW: A Visual Inquiry

by Anton Wall 

Color governs our world. It is the essence of warmth, clarity and ultimately our being. Even the lack of color is considered essential to our sense of aesthetics. We often express our emotions, our art, our math, our rationale through the means of color and confine our pleasures and displeasure within the lexicon of aesthetics.  As any philosopher would tell you that notion of aesthetics is a kind of a judgment on matter, value and experience. What we see, how we see it defines who we are. That is why one of the fundamental questions in philosophy is how something looks to us and why it looks that way. And there lies the equipoise between aesthetic experience and aesthetic value. Here is a curated (philosopher's) view of  the London Fashion Week.

Fabrice Luchini on 'Courted' and Winning the Best Actor at the Venice Film Festival

Fabrice Luchini talks about Courted

Fabrice Luchini talks about Courted

How did you react when you learned that the Venice Film Festival had selected you for the best actor?

I couldn’t believe it. The jury was made up of sophisticated, international filmmakers. I realize what a privilege it was to have been chosen by my peers. And besides, my father was Italian, which gave the award particular resonance. On the other hand, even if I do not want to deny myself the pleasure, for me the true award is that audiences still come to see your films.

What did you like about Michel Racine, the character you play ?

His unpleasantness! They call him the two-figure judge, because he never sentences anyone to less than ten years. I like characters who are not immediately, who don’t automatically arouse compassion. We live in an age of global compassion. Everyone is supposed to be marvelous, and supposed to be nice... But that being said, my character is a good president of the assize court. Nasty, but good at what he does. He is the epitome of authority, but he never tries to influence a jury. And then there’s the love story, an atypical love story! Racine had once fallen in love with an ianesthesiologist, and now he accidentally runs into her again when she is chosen to sit on one of his juries. This woman will light up his life, she will elevate him.

What do you have in common with his judge?

My character is a great romantic. I myself might say just what he says. But in general, I do not see myself in the characters I play, even if I do put in a little bit of myself. I rely on what the director wants without always understanding it. And I try to satisfy him as best I can.

How did you prepare?

I didn’t go to a lot of trials. I only went to see one, presided by Olivier Leurent. He told me: Our job is to listen, understand, and decide.

Watching that great President of the Assize Court, I noticed that he addressed the defendant and the witnesses very simply, very politely, and tried to encourage confidence and trust.

Based on what criteria did you accept this project?

It’s a bit arrogant to say that you have criteria... With COURTED, it was the screenplay that convinced me. I am sensitive to writing, to structure, and to words. It was very well written, and I found the basic premise interesting. Because a courtroom drama can easily become boring! But Christian Vincent made sure that the human angle took precedence over the tragic elements. The film is both a comic and a fascinating look at human nature. The jurors are an embodiment of participatory democracy and could be any one of us. And then there is the defendant, or defendants, and what is interesting about them is that we can recognize ourselves in them too. Obviously, none of us has ever put a child in a closet, but one day, when exasperated, we might have. It’s not a matter of forgiving or excusing, but you shouldn’t feel too far removed from the criminals, because we all belong to a human race capable of the worst. And finally, the choice of my partner, Sidse, counted. I had found her remarkable in Borgen. I like the idea of working with people from another culture.

What kind of actress is Sidse Babett Knudsen?

A fabulous actress! In her Nordic culture, people are much more straightforward than we Latins are. At our first reading, she wondered about things, she looked for points of reference, or a certain logic. Even though she speaks French wonderfully, it is not her native language, and so from time to time I played the interpreter to verbalize her doubts, because I like to be a ‘translator,’ ‘a courier’. I hope that I was helpful.

You haven’t worked with Christian Vincent for 25. What was it like meeting again on a movie set?

I found the same atmosphere as at the Café de la Mairie in La Discrète, Christian’s way of capturing love stories. He has an acute awareness of the possibly erotic nature of a date in a café, in pure Marivaux tradition, something that you also get with Rohmer. And I feel in my element! But since La Discrète, Christian has broadened his palette. He wants to film his contemporaries, much like Ken Loach. And he does .it very well.

Tell us about shooting your first scene with Sidse...

Christian threw a wrench in the works, one minute before he was to say “Action”. He thought we were being too faithful to the text. I said to myself: Shit, I had such a hard time memorizing it! But there’s nothing theoretical or intellectual about the job of an actor. When you hear “Action” that’s concrete. There’s a woman, a man, and you need to act. It’s beyond language. You understand each other like animals.

Most of the witnesses at the trial are non-professional actors. Is there anything specific about their acting?

Their innocence. We actors consciously try to reach what they obtain unawares. Being an actor, you try to underplay, to efface effects, not to let anything look manufactured. Cinema is not there to see your technique, it’s there to see your soul. It’s an MRI scan of your interior self. You can try and cheat, but the camera will always catch you as you really are. As Louis Jouvet said: Tell me what you’re playing, and I’ll tell you who you are. You can be deeply moving in one movie, and lousy in the next, because you got the wrong role. Good casting equals good acting. There are actors who are proud of their character studies’ and others who dare ask themselves Aren’t I always playing the same role?

To what category of actors do you belong?

I do very few things. But I like my limits. I learned that from Eric Rohmer. I could never play a truck driver. A murderer maybe ... But in any case not a gorgeous dude who drives women mad every time he walks into café! My position is simple: don’t ask me to compose a character. On the other hand, you can ask me to move around. In the theater, I can go from Molière to Labiche. If I wanted to show off with a quotable quip I’d say that an actor always plays in the same film.

I need to alternate with the stage, but when I’m making a movie, I become humble, I don’t intervene. I used to have that fault I want to do it again. Not any more. When I was starting out, a director wrote in Les Cahiers du Cinéma that I led to a deficit of narration, because I had too much personality. That may have been true thirty years ago, but not today. I don’t try to stick out anymore.

And in the role of a President of an Assize Court, one might have expected ...

A real act ... Yes, but it’s always much more profitable to suggest than to show. And then, that’s the way I was directed. I am at times finicky, petty, but on set, I do what I’m told. I become obedient. I couldn’t care less about being badly dressed, or looking like an idiot, even though I am rather stylish in real life.

What are your moments of pleasure on a shoot?

The waiting, experiencing those moments, as Isabelle Huppert calls them, moments during which your real problems disappear. And this shoot was the chance for me to spend almost two months discovering a splendid city, a historical site: Saint-Omer and the unsung, but very real warmth of the people of the North.

What kinds of emotion do you think that the film may arouse?

The audience will tell us. But I can tell when a movie has appeal, and this one won’t leave people indifferent. Because even with all the difficulties, the sordid homicide, a couple pathetically falling apart, there is the love story ... A project.

Your reunion with Christian Vincent has garnered two awards in Venice (best screenplay, best actor). La Discrète was your first popular success ...

Christian Vincent and I experienced something miraculous 25 years ago. Teenagers in schoolyards repeated lines from the film See that girl? She’s vile. Rohmer had already helped me. But La Discrète, was like Rohmer for mass consumption. For, 15 years, nothing had worked for me. I was too grandiloquent for some, too hysterical for others. Some thought I was too effeminate. With La Discrète, the flaws people reproached me with were suddenly virtues. That film changed my life. 

The Myth of Sisyphus : Life at 18 as an Olympic Hopeful and a Model

By Annabelle Schmitt

Meet Katerina Slugina, a young ballerina, gymnast turned model, and barely an adult. After sustaining multiple injuries, Katerina’s dreams of performing in the Olympics were cut short. Even so, she’s taken everything head on. Katerina is mature, level-headed and self-aware at a very young age. Her life has been more hectic than most, but it’s obvious that she’s more than ready to take on anything that comes her way.

Katerina Slugina in her natural habitat

1. Tell me a bit about your life as an Olympic hopeful. Why did you want to be an Olympic gymnast?

I gave gymnastics 12 years of my life. At first, when I was a child, no one could imagine that I would become a professional sportsman; it was all for fun.

Suddenly, though, gymnastics became my entire life. Of course, each athlete has a dream about medals or participating in the Olympic Games; I had it too, but it remained a dream. In my case, though, the word "Olympics" or mention of it has a symbolic value: it is a struggle with yourself. "Conquer yourself and you will win thousands of battles."

I grew up in a family and country of hopeless realists, so a large part of my career mention of the Olympics was a distant dream and observations on the TV screen. When I moved from Kazakhstan to Bulgaria (because of the sport), I faced a lot of difficulties and trials and believe me, every one of them was my own little Olympics.

2. You sustained a number of injuries that led to your inability to remain an Olympic athlete. What was it like having something out of your control decide your future?

You know, until recently, I could not answer that question myself. I am a person who prefers everything around me to be under control and if something is suddenly knocked out, I fall into a panic. Here, when the problems started with my injuries, I felt as though the injuries were actually controlling me. I was desperate and fearful; it felt like walking a tightrope blindfolded.

I preferred to hide my injuries and the pain from all: from the coach, because I knew that it was necessary to work and that there were many competitions ahead in which I really wanted to show myself off; from my mother and brother, because they worry about me more than I do. That's why I switched to the strong painkiller pills. I lasted 10-11 months until my body got used to having double doses, and the painkillers just stopped helping. Then things got worse. I couldn’t cope with the pain any longer and didn't control it, and I had to talk about my health problems since I really needed help dealing with the consequences of the monotonous faces of doctors, diagnoses and eventually, the end of my sports career.

How did I cope? Honestly, I don't know. When I look back and remember all this, I can't even believe that it was me, that I passed through it all. My coach, Nikolay Boev, helped me a lot. He taught me to believe in myself; this was probably the most difficult lesson for me.
And my mother and brother, even though it is difficult to understand me because I'm really closed off , they were always trying to be there with me, even though my mom lives in Kazakhstan, thousands of kilometers away from me.

First, I had to go alone this way to open up to others …

3. What led you to decide to model?

The unknown, foggy future led me to the modeling business. After the end of my sports career, I had to find myself again in something else. Perhaps it was the hardest thing to do. With modeling, everything happened randomly and spontaneously. One friend told me that I look like a real model and that I should try it. I'm glad I decided to do it, because even as a child, I strangely did not dream to shine on the catwalk.

4. How did your friends and family react to this decision? What role did they play in helping you make it?

At first, my family said "Why not?", but as it continued with more serious work, there were some moments when they were strongly against it, thanks to the myths and stereotypes of the modeling business. Friends treated it much easier - some were really happy for me and supportive, some were just jealous.

5. What’s training as a model like compared to training as an athlete?

You know there is a lot in common actually. As an athlete and a model, I have to constantly train my willpower to keep myself in shape and keep a good appearance. It seemed to be absolutely different spheres, but many times I draw the same lessons from. As a sport, modeling taught me iron discipline and competent communication with people.

6. What’s it been like so far? What goals do you have for your modeling career, and what have you accomplished so far?

I still have not put modeling in my priorities, because here in Bulgaria, it is actually difficult to do because of the weak Market. I'm looking forward to my first trip abroad, but I can still tell nothing about the certain goals. You know, in modeling there are sometimes also "little Olympics." It is also difficult to combine it with education, because education for me is one of the most important aspects of life. But I also wouldn't like to miss my chance.

7. What work have you done that really stands out to you?

The greatest work that I have done I think is work on myself - humble and introverted people, among which I am, have huge difficulties in modeling. I'm not even sure that there are some in this business except me. Previously, I had great difficulty communicating with people, as well as social phobia. Modeling helps me cope with it, because you just can’t work in this industry without communication.

8. Do you ever question if you made the right decision? You’re so young, it’s crazy to imagine that everything is figured out already.

Of course I always wonder if I made the right decision. Honestly, for me it is the most terrible question, because of the heavy feeling of responsibility. From when I moved to Bulgaria at 15 years old, I have often had to make important life decisions for myself and to take responsibility for them.
And while I have no regrets, I think that this is the most important. The only time I question these decisions  is when I come across a video and photos from my gymnastics performances - I regret that I will never be able to repeat it, but I think that's probably a kind of nostalgia. As for modeling, I still have to go forward, I have nothing to regret.

9. What are your hopes and dreams beyond modeling?

Hopes and dreams? None yet. You know, I prefer to live according to the plan, rather than a dream. From an early age, I was used to setting realistic goals and achieving them, not dreaming. After all, dreams are often the causes of illusions, although they sometimes can get you a good kickstart. I always try not to hope on anything and anyone but only on myself, because if there are less hopes then there will be less disappointment.

Of course I have some dreams, but they are not related to modeling. I really want to publish a collection of my poems and write a book on motivational psychology. Concerning modeling, I do not have specific dreams like a kind of open Chanel fashion show or something like that, I just want to work and develop myself.

It's still difficult to perceive myself as a model, because I grew up in a very traditional family, and was raised on sustainable, common moral values. I think to some extent it has affected my stiffness and restraint. Now I think I'm more an artist than a model.

Chaos : Back Stage

Chaos : Back Stage


10. I noticed you’re into writing, specifically poetry. Tell me a bit about what you like to do when you’re not in front of the camera.

 I have been writing for 2-3 years. It has never been my hobby, rather a way to escape from harsh reality and endless frustration. I loved firstly to invent an utopia, and then to compare it with essentially dystopia of the modern world we live in.
Also, the things I write are usually something that I could never say out of loud. At first I was writing in my native Russian language, I have a collection of about 100 poems. Now I'm trying English. My poems are quiet protests and exclamations. Nowadays, I can feel like I'm against the whole world.

11. You go by “unsocial radioactive kid” on social media. Can you explain that a bit?

It became kind of my stage name or pseudonym. I am very glad of it, because it completely describes me and also leaves some kind of mystery. It was coined in comic form. When I met my close friend, he immediately came up with this name for me because he was surprised by my secrecy and reticence. So this name became a part of me.
Unsocial because you literally can describe me only by this word; in principle, this is me.
Radioactive because I come from a small industrial town in the east of Kazakhstan, the underdog of a variety of plants and, consequently, problems with ecology.
Kid because I'm still a small figure floating down the river of a huge crowd. "Kid" rather in the sense of social realism, not literal meaning.

12. Are there any projects and passions of yours you’d like to pursue?

Of course! I love to combine outfits and create ideas for photoshoots (You can check them out in my Instagram profile). Also, soon I will start steadily blogging in Media. Of course, I continue writing and publishing my works. I also like drawing and doodling, I write poems and then create sketches and drawings for them. I may soon create a video of choreography composed by me.

13. What rules do you live by?

The first and one of the most important – Do not to try to control things that do not depend on us (a lesson from the book "Who will cry when you die" by R. Sharma), as it scatters and diverts us from the things we really need to focus on.
The second one - Always continue to believe in yourself and your abilities. But at the same time, it is very important to be able to clearly and adequately assess yourself.
Third - Never stop self-development (It isn't a secret that this is very important.)
But probably the main rules for me are "Win yourself and you will win thousands of battles," and "What does not kill us makes us stronger."


The Walkabout

The Walkabout

14. What do you hope people will take away from your story?

I sincerely hope that this article will help readers cope with similar difficulties to overcome themselves and achieve what they desire. Also, I really hope that this will motivate people with similar life situations to step up and find themselves.

I have a terrible social phobia, I'm an introvert, so I find it hard to understand and accept other people as they find it difficult to understand me as well, but I deal with phobias and fears. I overcame my fear. And I am the same person as you; I did it, and therefore you also can do it.

I really want to motivate people to never give up and remember that it is very important to differentiate these things that depend on us only from the things over which we have no control or power.



Annabelle Schmitt is a fashion journalist based in the United States. Along with Deux, she writes for Tab and also photographs fashion when time permits. 



Storm Pedersen's Quiet Revolution

Storm Pedersen in his We+Storm Gear

Storm Pedersen in his We+Storm Gear

by Linda Bezos

Collaborations are all the rage right now. From Target to H&M, the retail spheres are saturated with collaborations with legacy brands to Instagram influencers. Despite a very crowded market, the cream always rises to the top. And in this case, the cream of the crop is Storm Pedersen’s collaboration with We Norwegians. The collaboration is aptly named We+Storm, as it has the potential of storming your wardrobe.

While Storm’s primary attachment to fashion is through the means of being one of Norway’s top stylist, his vision of a sustainable, fully organic, completely transparent supply chain stems from his 15 years in an industry that is the second largest polluter on the planet. His epiphany is a product of his experience and his ability to comprehend the nuances of his own culture (Norwegians have traditionally been one of the most adept at base-layering). So it is no surprise that Storm found the right time and the right people to collaborate on a set of clothing that is the sum of his environmental responsibility and fashion credentials. Speaking of the right people, the collaboration title We+Storm is also a story of running into the right person at the right this case Tove Grane, the creative director and designer from We Norwegians, who Storm met in a small Greek island and the rest is history now.

Designer and Creative Director Tove Grane

Designer and Creative Director Tove Grane

Tove puts the sole focus on the collaboration on Storm despite lending her formidable expertise. She states “For We Norwegians, the foundation for this collaboration was based on our core values. We work almost exclusively with merino, and with Storm being from the Northern Parts of Norway he has a close relationship to wool in general due to the extremely rough climate in that part of the country. We have designed an exclusive line that is tailored to fit under both dress pants and jeans. A lot of the merino garments we see in the market today are what we call “fast garments” with a very sporty feel. We wanted to make the complete opposite - classic and timeless underwear that doesn’t necessarily look like you’re hitting the slopes. The nicer merino pieces that were suitable to wear under a suit or when you are dressed up for a party, were missing. There are countless options in cotton, but they will not keep you warm”

Ultimately it is a celebration of responsible and sustainable fashion. On top of that, it is also an homage to Norwegian cultural heritage along with technological innovation. And within that fusion of ideas, cultures, and expertise the product itself is undeniably worth every penny.


Jennifer Liu's Walkabout in London

by Olivia Moreau

The fashion world has been going through a transformative change both in aesthetics and in philosophy. While that is due to market forces from the rise of the Asian markets to the evolving nature of inclusivity. On the cusp of that transformation an Amerasian model, Jennifer Liu from California, trained in New York finds herself on the corridors of European fashion.

Deftly poised with trench coat chic’ followed by a sense of splendor in a gold dress Jenifer’s movement is of clarity and of the consequences of living in fashion both as a person and as a model of distinction.

Deftly poised with trench coat chic’ followed by a sense of splendor in a gold dress Jenifer’s movement is of clarity and of the consequences of living in fashion both as a person and as a model of distinction.

Shot through the lens of Luca Corona, Jennifer's finds herself in London, the fashion capital that is never in short supply of inspiration. Form, function and above all poise are expressed through the motions Jennifer's walkabout through London. It is as much as a vision quest for her as it is for us.

Model: Jennifer Liu | MUA: Jessie Wallace | Photographer: Luca Corona


A Day in the Life of ... Dr. Jill Biden

by Olivia Moreau 

Dr. Jill Biden is not your most traditional (by that we mean passive) second lady. She is as accomplished (if not more) than her spouse (former) Vice-President and potential candidate for the office of the President Joe Biden. As a University of Delaware Ph.D. and an accomplished educator, she has used all the might of her office to push for education for young girls all over the world. After her husband left the office of the Vice President she got selected as the Board Chair of Save the Children and continues to push her advocacy through the means of the Biden Foundation. Her exceptional contribution in spreading equality through education and her ability to connect with her audience has made her the darling of not only Democrats but also made her a well-respected figure among the traditional Republicans in the US. So to capture the essence of her constant advocacy while juggling a thousand different duties from being the Second Lady to being a Grandmother to being a Teacher (she still teaches at Community colleges in Washington D.C.) we wanted the provide clarity and a cohesive narrative of who she is in a series of photos. 

From meeting with children in a small school in Istanbul to meeting with refugees in a refugee camp to visiting the presidential palace she gave us a glimpse of her ability to transition seamlessly through many roles Women go through each day.  

We sent Omi, a Harvard trained academic turned Vogue photographer, editor, and Smithsonian artist to peer into the intricacies of an uplifting and substantive life served with the clarity of purpose. This is just a day in the life of  Dr. Jill Biden, a woman who we admire for having a substantial impact on our future in the most understated and positive way.  


A Day in the Life of... Eirini Papadopoulou

Eirini Papadopoulou is one of Greece’s rising stars. Her voice captivates, her presence elevates hundreds and thousands of people each day. Her image is carefully constructed and pushed through the many facets of a PR machine that is part and parcel of being an international superstar. But that is only half the story. We followed Eirini for a day to find out who she truly is and what it is like to be a global star in the making. 


This photo essay is a collection of images shot in black and white that reveals the true woman behind the pop star that is Eirini. From the quintessential pop star glamor to the unconventional visit to an  NGO run child welfare organization, this photo-essay conveys the many facets of, not only a star but a deeply caring person. And if her music is not evidence enough to convey that sentiment, this photo essay surely is.

            Photographs by Omi | Copy editing Linda Bezos | Logistics Monica Papadatos

A Special Thanks to Panos Smirniotis  |  Greek NGO for children "The Smile of the Child"


The Cat(walk) that Roared : Is Paris Fashion Week Feminist?

by Lærke Anbert & Omi 

Feminism and Fashion have always had a complicated symbiotic relationship. Both are driven by expressions of social norms (either in rejection of it, or in acceptance of it). So it is no surprise the foremost events that involves fashion and its progression routinely steps into the world of feminist philosophy and structure. During Paris fashion week one of the major talking points was the reintroduction of unabashed feminism within the likes of Dior, Givenchy and Balmain. “We all should be Feminists” seem to be the height of such proclamation and Dior being the Queen of the Hill flew that flag with enough repetition that the message was not lost in the avalanche of trends and trinkets.

The embrace of Womanhood in Paris fashion week is a curious one as it embraced  a very specific kind of womanhood...a  very specific kind of feminism. A specific feminist variation on feminism that is culturally neutral with a hint of western sense of feminism or what is commonly known as the ‘white feminism’. Before we address the intricacy of that relationship we first must acknowledge that the feminism that we adhere to is predominantly western and white. And that has always been an issue from the 1st wave to the 3rd wave of feminism and only now it is being addressed as a multiethnic experience that needs to be understood both within the context of history and culture, along with race.  White feminism had a lot of strong voices but unfortunately a lot of those voices were racist and irredeemable in many ways. Elizabeth Stanton was a notorious racist; Frances Willard routinely refused to denounce lynching of black men. And those were not isolated incidents, they were the norm. Sojourner Truth gave a speech in 1851 in which she laid bare how feminism was contextually racist and propagated different rights based on race and gender. Crenshaw wrote about intersectionality in the 90s. Chandra Talpade Mohanty addressed this head on as well.  The debate has been there for a long time, but mainstream feminism/the ‘taylor swift’ feminism, or even those who call it post-feminism (feminist theorists disagree on this point vehemently) might have not acknowledged it until now, and many still don’t. So it is no surprise that fashion and feminism has created a notion of otherness for women of color, because the most vocal and prominent form of feminism whitewashes a lot of non-white experiences (from racial and cultural hierarchy to the political structure of a nation-state).

Feminism just like modern society have moved towards a harmonious relationship between the races in the last few decades but those distinctions still remain strongly rooted and some of those distinctions are still prevalent within feminist theory. And that aspect of feminism that does not encompass the experiences of majority non-white feminists is troubling yet dictates how feminism is viewed, sold and incorporated into the collective narrative of fashion. So when you read about how wonderfully feminist Paris fashion week was or how wonderfully the industry is embracing the role of feminism within fashion, you have to take it with a pinch of salt. Because the feminism that was on display masquerading, as the primary voice of feminists was not universal, not race neutral, not class neutral. The feminism on display was what white feminism looks like. While that may be a step in the right direction it is nearly not a movement worthy of much attention beyond commerce.  The feminism on display went far enough to be noticed but not far enough to be accepted as a proper foray into the actual problem of equality, equity and fraternity. From Dior to Stella McCartney every designer with a social clue tried to pay homage to tradition of feminism, unfortunately that homage was directed at a group of privileged feminists not at women of all color and/or class. Only Balenciaga was conscious enough to understand that the feminism on display as a tiny derivative of what feminism actually is and provided a warped and exceptionally smart take on the role of gender, race and class plays within society. What was strikingly absent from the whole process  was what France is doing in the name of secularism by banning headscarves and specific swimwear. No prominent designer addressed that burning bra feminist issue either out of respect for its commercial partners and/or agreeing with the government structure that such hostile reaction to personal liberty is a non-issue that is not worth addressing. This absence of narrative concerning the most prominent civil rights/feminist issue suggests that that feminism these large fashion houses are most comfortable with are the ones that propagate their comfort within casual liberalism, but anything beyond that is not worth addressing because it does not affect the white feminists. So to label Paris fashion week as feminist is correct to the point of calling a housecat a tiger. Sure it has the same characteristic of a tiger but it is not a tiger. Paris fashion week has some characteristics of feminism but it is not actually feminist. 


Lærke Anbert is a London School of Economics/ University of California, Berkeley educated social anthropologist and gender theorist.  

Omi is an artist and an editor at Deux. In his other life he is a Harvard educated war theorist. 


London's Sustainable Darlings

by Kristiana Kuneva | Linda Bezos

In the midst of a global industry built on brand recognition and commercial demand, the rise of fast fashion made the fashion industry one of the biggest polluters in the world. As a form of rejection of that idea and as a functional alternative came the sustainable movement rooted in Scandinavian upcycling and recycling.  Within a few years that idea proliferated and permeated all tiers of the industry and it is no surprise that smaller fashion houses became the go-to shop for the fashion insiders willing to shed the giant footprint of a tone-deaf industry.

Photograph Courtesy of Charlie Feist

Charlie Feist – a sustainable minimalist backpack brand based in London is the flower child of that movement. The clean lines with its appealing aesthetics to professionals, adventurers and everyday fashionistas CF became sort of like a sustainable in-crowd accessory like a Toyota Prius. Charlie Feist's ability to combine utility and style in a captivating way makes it stand out from the rest of the sustainable accessories crowd and the market is getting crowded. 

Photograph Courtesy of Gold is a Neutral

Photograph Courtesy of Gold is a Neutral

If Charlie Feist is the darling for minimalism and utility wrapped in sustainable, organic, open and transparent supply chain package then, Gold is a Neutral is the darling of boho-chic' fashionistas. Deeply entrenched in the philosophy of fair trade and organic materials, GiaN is made by Indian Craftsmen and Artisans in Kuch, India, and brought to the shores of London by its founder Ruth. which has this ideology of sharing craftsmen’s and craftswomen’s stories, and mediating the intertwining of those stories into exquisite, vivid eco-friendly designs. The personalization of designs has this added value of traveling through space and time by leaving your mark for someone else to finish the story-telling you have initiated. This mixture of cultures, traditions, and generations in craft-making gives a more enriching perspective of this type of fashion industry – fashion is for the people by the people. Preserving this special connection is what guarantees sustainability, innovation, and appreciation of the art in making it. 

Gold is a Neutral is all about the ethical way of preserving traditions. 

The founder of Gold is a Neutral, Ruth, would point out that by placing equal emphasis on the environmental consciousness of production to the design of the product, the fashion industry has woken up to the urgency of sustainability of our planet. In other words, by slowly creating the fashion production today, we are trying to secure its better consumption for tomorrow.  In many ways, Gold is a Neutral and Charlie Feist are fighting the good fight while making us look good. And ultimately fashion is all about that equipoise. 



L.A. Confidential : A Brief Look at L.A.'s Street Style Darlings

by Andrea Stenslie

Los Angeles used to be known for a laidback environment and the bohemian clothing combined with the home of denim brands such as 7 for all mankind, Guess and Paige; while New York held the higher ground for substantive fashion. While that hasn't changed that much, New York still is the darling for the fashion-forward, L.A. is making its mark due to a plethora of factors. Today, Los Angeles is the generator of top models like Gigi and Bella Hadid, Kendall Jenner and Lily Aldridge. Furthermore, it has an amazing talent pool of creatives and the largest e-commerce market in the world. 

There are several native Los Angeles brands that are redefining street style. Ready to wear brand, Reformation created by Yael Aflalo is sought after worldwide. The brand is spotted frequently on top models and celebrities for the effortless off-duty look. The brand creates new collections constantly and rarely restocks items. This results in more exclusivity when you purchase a piece of clothing from them.

 Reformation is one of the few sustainable native L.A. brands on the market today; the company uses eco-friendly technologies, old fabrics as materials and tracks their environmental footprint online for consumers to see.

Along the same line, another brand that has caught the attention of the public eye is Sami Miro Vintage. Sami Miro has a background in global entrepreneurship and started her brand based off of her abilities as a vintage curator. Her one of a kind pieces is taking the streetwear look to a new level and is one of the reasons why you can spot her clothing on all of the biggest names in the industry. 

While the market in L.A. is still evolving, the L.A. based streetwear companies are becoming more and more global and with the rise of connectivity in each passing second, New York may just have a fight on its hands. 


Le Roi est Mort, Vive le Roi : Is New York Fashion Week Dead?

by Omi 

One of the current and prevailing realizations among fashion insiders is the realization of the continuous decline of NYFW. Ever since the decentralization that took place a few years back the NYFW scene has been hemorrhaging home grown designers to Paris. Rodarte, Proenza Schouler, Altuzarra, Thom Browne are just a few of the hometown talents that have decided that Paris is a far better destination to show their work. So it is no surprise that the gloomy predictions about NYFW is slowly but surely taking hold. The fragmented scheduling, the decentralized venues along with a ton of bureaucratic mess have rendered the most commercially viable fashion week into a most bankable nightmare. The exodus of young designers has added considerable skepticism to the idea that New York is still the crown jewel of the fashion weeks. So what went wrong? Is this the end of NYFW as a force? 

Before we mourn the demise of an institution or celebrate decentralization of exclusivity, we must first realize what brought on this exodus of designers from NYFW. The primary reason most if not all designers who left the NY circuit is because of commercial reasons. The amount of money you have to spend to have a show in New York renders any long term profit nearly impossible and the return of investment is never a sure thing. The exuberant price of admission does not equate to comparable commercial success. And since all designers would prefer artistic expressions complementary to commercial success and vice versa, the leap into such a colossal financial commitment does not make sense commercially. So instead of showing in New York, the home grown talents decided that it is financially more viable to show in Paris, Milan or even London, as the exposure is comparable and the cost of such exposure is far less intolerable. 

Brand's own commercial strategy aside, one of the major points of contention is the decentralization of NYFW. The fact there is no main venue for the fashion week is a cause for a lot of headaches for editors, photographers and almost anyone who covers fashion weeks in any capacity. It is not a viable model if you have 30 mins or less between shows but the shows are miles apart. Even with New York's fairly easy public transportation, such an ask is asking too much. The decentralization factor has made NYFW somewhat unbearable but not completely without irredeemable, as both Paris and Milan along with London suffers from the same sort of dilemma but NYFW's decentralization issue is far more problematic as it is a far bigger city than any of the other big three cities, and ultimately not having shows within a designated zones create a lot of unhappy buyers and press. Fashion weeks are all about perception and if the perception sets in of inefficiency and chaos for a fashion week, it affects the commercial value of such an event. 

Logistical issues aside NYFW poses an interesting philosophical question about the future existence of Fashion Weeks in general. NYFW along with all other big fashion weeks are ripe for disruption. The system of 'show and tell' is built on a very traditional organizational foundation which to many young designers, editors and photographers would seem outdated and worth rebelling against. In an Instagram-Facebook heavy world, the once exclusive peeks into the fashion world is not exclusive anymore and that in itself devalues a lot of the old traditions and customs which hammered out ideas of fashion weeks as necessary for commercial success and creative appreciation. So ultimately the NYFW may be the lower half of the Titanic that is about to run into the iceberg. And if that is the case, without reorganization, without reinvention, all fashion weeks are in trouble and NYFW is just ahead of the curve as it descends into unknown territory. And may be that is really where the crux of the matter is... Fashion weeks (with the high cost of entry and low return of investments) are ripe for a rebellion from within. The disruption, the decentralization, globalization are just a few forces that are making fashion insiders rethink and retool fashion weeks. And the sooner NYFW realizes that its current model is obsolete and a new model (that focuses on the experience as opposed to exclusivity) is needed, the better off it will be. And if NYFW is able to address this 'come to Jesus' moment, they will be well-equipped to address the challenges that will be knocking on all fashion weeks' door before we could say, "disruption".