Eco-Friendly Fashion: To What Extent is it Necessary, and Effective?

Whenever we mention global warming, or pollution, what comes to mind first?

Whenever we mention global warming, or pollution, what comes to mind first? Factories, cars, technology, trash dumps; the most commonly known sources of carbon dioxide and the growing issue of climate change.

However, there’s one aspect of today’s fast-paced, consumerist society that is one of the most toxic yet stealthiest contributor to global warming: fashion.

One may ask- how? How can an innocent, clean white tee that I bought for so cheap in Gangnam Station be so detrimental to the environment? In fact, the fashion industry is the third most polluting industry, not far behind oil and agriculture. To grow, dye, and process the cotton used for your beloved Levi’s jeans, requires up to 500 gallons of water, and deadly chemicals like carcinogens are released into our waterways everyday. The textile industry isn’t exploitive of just the environment, but of workers as well. While it’s a 3 trillion dollar a year business, only 2 percent of apparel companies pay their workers a fair wage. These giant companies don’t even flinch at a wagging finger, simply denying their knowledge of factory conditions and detaching themselves from the responsibility of looking after their workers.  

“Fast fashion” is appealing because it allows consumers to hop on ever-changing trends without making a big dent in their wallets. It is easy to forget, when browsing the racks at stores like Zara and Forever 21, that while the effect on your wallet is low, there is a much steeper price. That’s why five years ago, in 2011, Greenpeace launched a campaign to lobby fashion brands such as Burberry, Nike and others to detox their supply chain in an ethical fashion push. Claiming victory, Greenpeace noted in a blog post that it “was a massive step when Adidas, Puma and Nike promised to go toxic-free by 2020.” And last spring, Levi’s converted 3.5 million water bottles into premium high-quality jeans- more and more sustainable brands are emerging and for once, it seemed like the industry was taking a turn.

But now, 16 out of 19 fashion and sportswear brands that are not advancing fast enough in Greenpeace’s view, including Nike, China’s Li Ning, Esprit and Victoria’s Secret, which all placed in the “Faux Pas” category. A dozen brands have called in the middle of the pack, dubbed the “Evolution Mode”, which are on their way but are being urged to accelerate changes to achieve a 2020 goal of clean fashion—a group that includes Adidas, Burberry, Levi’s, Valentino, UK retailer Primark and Puma. At the bottom of the list are the laggards that Greenpeace is calling “Toxic Addicts” — including Armani, Bestseller, Diesel, D&G, GAP, Hermes, Christian Dior, and Versace.
And it may be just my sardonic, over-critical self- but I can’t help but wonder how much of a difference it’ll really make for H&M to proudly claim themselves as environmentally-conscience, when in reality, their “Conscience” label is nothing more than lies plastered onto name tags. Is it enough to change the industry, one brand at a time- or is it too late?

 

-Seiyeon Park ’17

Featured Image: Eco Home Ideas

Fashion Week 2017 Recap

While the temperatures have just begun to rise, designers are already thinking ahead to the next snowfall. Check out what trends will be hitting the streets this F/W season.

It’s that time of the year again- when bloggers and celebrities fly across the globe to see the latest trends that designers have put out- Fashion Week. This time, Blueprint has hunted down the five most common trends at New York, Paris, and Milan runways- fashionistas, take note.

 

  • Large & In Charge

–  It’s all about the pantsuit this autumn. But instead of squeezing into form-fitting blazers with too tight shoulders, borrow from the boys (literally) and embrace the oversized look. Models at Alexander Wang, R13, Victoria Beckham, and Calvin Klein shows were all seen wearing this mix of laid-back and formal. With a simple tee and jeans, it pulls together the best put-together look.

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Casually in charge, as seen at the Alexander Wang show. (Image: Yannis Vlamos)

 

  • All Caught Up

–  Conspicuous? Scandalous? Perhaps. But this winter, designers have styled the eye-catching fishnets with more delicate silhouettes and brighter colours, even creating fishnet tops. Make the most out of the pattern by pairing them with skirts or shorts, as seen in the Simon Miller and Dennis Basso shows.

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Pair the pattern with shorter hemlines, as seen in the Simon Miller F/W 2017 Show. (Image: Simon Miller)

 

  • Crushing on Velvet

– At your next formal, switch out from traditional silky thin fabrics and instead give a shot at velvet- preferably in deep jewel tones, to give off a rich, luxe vibe. For a more wearable look, take a velvet blazer and pair it with any t-shirt and jeans combo for a quick glamorous look.

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Take a note from Self-Portrait’s latest collection and try velvet separates for a more street-appropriate look. (Image: Umberto Fratini)

 

  • Red is the Warmest Colour

– The most sensual colour out of the ROYGBIV palette, red has been flooding the runways across the globe. Embrace the bold hue in a carnelian one-piece, or go monochromatic by layering different tones from head to toe.

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The monochromatic look a bit too extreme? Choose one crimson piece instead to be the highlight of your look. (Image: Indigital.tv)

 

  • Making a (Literal) Statement

– This year, the designers haven’t been afraid to state their political beliefs. At New York and even in Milan, designers from Versace to Creatures of Comfort were clear to state their opinions, directed at America’s current political situation. 

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Wear your pride on your sleeve- or in this case, on your entire torso. Brands such as Creatures of Comfort slapped slogans onto tops, accessories, and one-pieces to make their statement. (Image: Creatures of Comfort)

 

Do you plan to take any of these trends to the streets? Let us know what other trends caught your eye in the comments below.

-Seiyeon Park (’17)

 

Featured Image: Molly SJ Lowe

A Walk to Remember: Anjali Lama

Transgender model Anjali Model makes strides in the fashion industry.

Born in Nepal, Nabin Waiba grew up as a young boy who was often bullied for his “feminine” and “girly” tendencies, and was criticized by classmates and family alike for preferring women’s clothing and having mostly female friends. Several years later, Nabin, now known as Anjali Lama, is strutting down the catwalks of Lakmé Fashion Week in Mumbai, amongst India’s most acclaimed models. The first transgender model to grace India’s grandest fashion event, Lama marks a change in history with every step she takes.

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Source: Anjali Lama Official

Lama was the fifth son in a farming family in the rural district of Nuwakot. Back then, she had never even dreamed of becoming a model, and only knew that “even as a child that [she] didn’t like being a boy, wearing those clothes,” (CBS News), describing her attempts to conform to the gender stereotypes as “mental torture”. Even after she moved to Kathmandu, Nepal’s capital, to attend college, Lama continuously struggled with her identity and was even fired from her job working at a hotel. “They said I made the customers uncomfortable,” she told CNN. It wasn’t until she discovered the Blue Diamond Society- a support group for Nepal’s LGBTQ community- that she was able to come to terms with her identity and finally come out to her friends and family as transgender.

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Source: Elle India

To further overcome her identity issues, Lama, with the encouragement of her friends, decided to consider a career in modeling. After numerous small gigs she made her first break by landing the cover of Nepali magazine Voices of Women, but still struggled to develop her career in her home country- thus deciding to try her luck in India’s fashion industry. After two failed auditions, Lama finally made the cut in December 2016 and was able to walk her first major runway in 2017.

While the appearance of a new model may not seem like much, Lama’s success is one of the many of the industry’s beginning steps to opening up to diversity and inclusivity. According to the Spring 2017 diversity report by The Fashion Spot, more than 70% of the models cast for New York, London, Paris and Milan fashion weeks were white- and that’s only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the industry’s lack of diversity. To see the value of such steps made forward in the industry, Blueprint decided to ask Sara S. Kim (’18), the founder of the Social Justice League, a few questions.

BP: Why is it important that we see figures like Lama in industries like fashion and the media?

Sara: Positive representation of minority in mainstream pop culture and media is one of the key steps in achieving social acceptance of differences. One of the struggles that many marginalized communities face is the lack of positive role models. With the favorable spotlight given to someone like Lama, I’m sure there are many others who would gladly identify with her and be able to own their identity with pride.

BP: Have you seen Korea make similar efforts in opening its doors to the LGBTQA community?

Sara: There are many pop and amateur artists in the Korean LGBTQ community that has been trying to start interactive projects. Unfortunately, they haven’t been gaining enough, or the right kind of attention. I think that comes with persistence and moderation to a degree. Korea is definitely making this cultural progress, but what we have right now is not enough. What we could do could be as simple as being open-minded.

It is thanks to models such as Ashley Graham and Anjali Lama that society has begun to challenge the traditional perceptions of beauty regarding race, body shape, sexuality and age, and help people around the world embrace their identities. In a growingly dark world with figures like Trump who oppose racial, gender, and LGBTQA equality, we need such mark-makers to prove that there is beauty in diversity, all of which should be celebrated and respected.

-Seiyeon Park (’17)

Featured Image by Hannah Kim (’19)

 

The 21st Century Definition of “Supermodel”

Do we need to rethink our definition of modern “models”?

Gigi Hadid, Kendall Jenner, Hailey Baldwin- all three are names impossible to not recognize, faces not to recall. On all forms of social media possible – from Facebook to Twitter to Instagram – one can’t scroll past for more than a minute without having these recently raging models pop up on their screen. They’ve starred on the covers of well-respected magazines such as Vogue, opened and closed the runways of brands worth millions of dollars, like Chanel and Calvin Klein, rising to success after what seems like a mere week.

However, a “prank” (more like a borderline assault) on Gigi Hadid called into question the legitimacy of their sensation. On September 22, 2016, former Ukrainian television reporter and infamous celebrity prankster Vitalii Sediuk grabbed Gigi Hadid from behind and lifted her into the air, before being elbowed in the face and running off. Not long after the incident, Sediuk replied in a response to The Hollywood Reporter, saying that while he considered Gigi Hadid beautiful, “she and her friend Kendall Jenner have nothing to do with high fashion”. He instead wanted the fashion industry to use “true talents” rather than “well-connected cute girls from Instagram.” He additionally titled his actions as “a wake-up call for Anna Wintour, who turned Vogue into a tabloid by putting Kardashians and other similar celebrities on a cover of a well respected magazine”.

This isn’t the first time the validity of today’s models careers have been called into question. Earlier, in April 2016, former model Rebecca Romijn called the new generation of models “not true supermodels,” saying that she was “disappointed that fashion magazines” such as Vogue were “supporting this trend of social media stars to set our style standards”. Also, in June 2016, Stephanie Seymour, one of the six most iconic models of the 90s, claimed that Kendall Jenner and Gigi Hadid did not deserve the title of supermodels and instead were “b*tches of the moment”. Many have criticized modern-day models for having it easier, with the ability and comfort of rising to fame by snapping a few stunning selfies in their luxurious homes, while those like Cindy Crawford and Naomi Campbell had to rush between shows, putting in hours of networking and working before landing a gig with a brand.

However, while these models may have not had to go through the same struggles of the models of the past, one can’t deny that their long, lithe figures and steady gazes contain the same allure that Gisele Bündchen held in the early 2000s. As social media platforms are clearly beginning to hold larger and larger roles in the determination of popularity of models, is it really the models to blame? Or society’s growing focus on simply what the media puts out for us?

-Seiyeon Park (’17)

Featured Image: TODAY News

Why Art?

No more skeptical glances, no more scoffs of disapproval. Art is not a topic that one can disregard.

“Oh, she’s just going to major in art because she doesn’t have the brains to actually study.”

         “You want to go to art school? But you’re so smart! That’s such a shame.”

               “In a world full of starving children and hectic politics, how the hell does art matter?”

If you’re an art student, these sort of questions may be more than familiar to you. In a world where new developments in technology and medicine are in constant demand, it’s easy for people to cast aside the arts as irrelevant, even pointless. And to a degree, I don’t blame them. When you’re in the midst of researching for a cure for cancer, or discussing how to solve the ever imminent issue of Syrian refugees, the works of Pablo Picasso or learning how to wield a paintbrush is most likely going to be the last thing on your mind. However, that doesn’t mean that art is a subject we can completely disregard.

It’s no secret that art is an outlet for creativity. But contrary to what many may believe, this creativity isn’t just useful for choosing hues or arranging a composition. It serves a purpose later on in careers of all fields, where everywhere they look people are forced to come up with new and innovative solutions, a skill that employers look for the most. In a study conducted by Paul Silvia at the University of North Carolina-Greensboro, researchers found that involving oneself in a creative activity forced people to “cultivate competence, and reflect critically on the world”. And this served true for those who weren’t necessarily masters of the arts – even seemingly amateur and foolish results spurred this sort of mental development. Especially for primary school students, an education in the arts helps rewire the brain to promote intuition, reasoning, and dexterity.

Now you may ask, to a person who struggles day by day to support themselves, to put food into their children’s mouths, why does art matter to them? In April 2016, freelance reporter Alison Stine released an article “Why Art Matters Even in Poverty”, which covered the role of art in her and her son’s life as a family who lived in poverty. Despite the hardships, Stine noted how creativity made the “the unlivable not just livable, but survivable”, and how art was a source of happiness and entertainment in their everyday lives.

To look deeper into the misconceptions of the arts, Blueprint decided to ask the 2D Arts teacher, Ms. Cone, a few questions about society’s misunderstandings of the arts and what we can do to get rid of those stereotypes.

BP: What are some of people’s’ misconceptions about art and artists themselves?

Ms. Cone: I think that one of the major misconceptions about art and artists is that people have this quintessential fear of what an artist is- the image of a starving artist, a painter living by themselves in a disheveled, one-bedroom flat, the tortured soul. And I think that what people don’t realize is how many aspects of art there are and just how much art has impacted the world around us. The term “artist” itself can be broadened to include all manners of creators, a fact that doesn’t typically come to people’s minds when they hear the word.

BP: What do you think causes some of these misconceptions about art?

Ms. Cone: Part of it I believe is due to the romanticized view, based off of movies and/or the media. When this trope became popular- I can’t say for sure. But it certainly caused people’s worries about their children wanting to become artists, as people immediately think of the picture of the artist living in squalor. So inevitably, we see less support for that career path and art becomes denigrated.   

BP: What can society do to get rid of these stereotypes of the starving artist and the ideal of students taking art as the easy way out of studying?

Ms. Cone: Oh man, that last part makes me so mad. I think part of it is coming to understand and appreciate the wide variety of artists there are in the world, and realizing how much of our daily lives are impacted by art. I’m using art in a very broad term, but literally everything you use, sit on, drive, come into contact with, had an artist- particularly industrial designers- involved in the process of creating that product. Coming to realize how much art enriches our lives everyday, not just through design but even as specific as painting. Think of hospitals that have no paintings in them, and hospitals that do have paintings in them- I’ll bet you that there are studies that show that hospitals with paintings in them make people happier. Just bringing creation and carefully considered visual spaces to people really does hold a positive impact. I think just generally being more educated will make people more appreciative of the arts. As of right now it’s really a zero-sum game- either you’re an arts person or a science person. People need to be more open to being multiple types of people. Everyone has the potential to be an artist, a creator, but they have to be willing to entertain that possibility.

Art isn’t the route of an escapist. It forces one to take a break from the bubble that surrounds us – to pause and take a look at the larger world in full force. So the next time you learn of someone choosing to take art as a career path, don’t mock them or disregard their work as insignificant. As John F. Kennedy once said, “we must never forget that art is not a form of propaganda; it is a form of truth”.

-Seiyeon Park (’17)

Featured Image: Seiyeon Park (’17) (Art by Sookja Lee)

 

A Face on a Billboard, A Step Forward for Millions

Many of us pass by billboards, barely taking notice of the faces depicted on them. But it’s time we started taking notice not only of the visages, but the changes that they represent.

November, 2015. Vogue Italia releases a sneak peek of its November issue, with Gigi Hadid staring steadily with stunning blue eyes. The problem? The obviously fake and electric blue afro, the strategically overdrawn lips, the tanned skin.

Valentino, Spring/Summer 2016. Flowy, ankle-grazing silk. Studded leather paired with black lace. Intricately hand-painted and beaded bags. The only thing keeping the public from appreciating the rows and rows of beautiful gowns- the utter lack of black models strutting on the runway, the cornrow buns, and the title of “wild, tribal Africa”.

Cultural misrepresentation has always been present in the fashion industry. From the domination of white models on runways and cover stories, to the outrageous treatment of ethnic styles as “trends”, the industry never seems to learn.

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Graphic by Crescentia Jung

Just last week, Khloé Kardashian made the mistake of trying out the “hottest beauty trends” from the Spring runway shows, which included the much controversial, pastel-coloured dreadlocks worn by white models at the Marc Jacobs show.

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Marc Jacobs SS17 (Credit: IMAXTREE)

Completely ignoring Rasta culture, the Kardashian instead noted how she “[despised]” the look on herself, and praised her younger sister, Kendall Jenner, for wearing the look. And this isn’t the only time that the reality TV personality has been accused of cultural appropriation. On one episode of Keeping Up with the Kardashians, Khloé was spotted wearing Bantu knots in her hair. It’s not that other ladies aren’t ever permitted to wear these styles- that’s perfectly fine. But the fact that figures like the Kardashians take hairstyles like Bantu knots, completely ignore how they’ve been worn by Black ladies for years, and call them their own original style is unacceptable. 

What stars and public influencers like Khloe Kardashian and Marc Jacobs are completely forgetting is that culture is not a fashion trend. It never was and never will be acceptable for people to wear dreadlocks without acknowledging the Rastafari movement, or the style’s historical significance in counterculture movements in the 70s, and then to mark themselves as “trendy” or stylish” because they’re white. It never will be okay for designers to claim that they were inspired by Africa, only to label an entire continent as “wild” or “tribal”, and hire 8 black models out of a total 87 who would go on the catwalk.

And so when on November 1st, US-based makeup brand Covergirl announced its #LashEquality campaign in part of the promotion of the “So Lashy” mascara, thousands cheered. This isn’t any campaign- it’s a movement featuring seven brand ambassadors, all of different races, striving for diversity in beauty- even for genders, with the brand’s first ever #CoverBoy James Charles. One of the ambassadors is beauty blogger Nura Afia- a Muslim, hijab-wearing woman- a huge step in representation for Muslim girls. In an interview with CNN, Afia was clearly excited about the campaign, saying that it was an opportunity for “little girls that grew up like [her]” to “have something to look up to”. To some, Afia’s feature on a Covergirl ad may be nothing more than another pretty face; but to millions, people like Afia represent a step towards proper representation of all cultures, all ethnicities in entertainment and in society.

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Credit: Covergirl

While so many disregard fashion as a shallow topic, the industry holds a far greater effect on our mindsets than we think. Without showing more body types or skin colours in magazines, on TV, or on posters, children can’t help but grow up feeling insecure or insignificant about themselves when society tells them that they aren’t the norm.  

– Seiyeon Park (’17)

Featured Image: Nura Afia’s Instagram- @nuralailalove

Spring Summer 2017 Fashion Month Recap

Recapping the brands that stood out the most to Blueprint in this year’s SS 17 Fashion Weeks around the world.

While many of us have started switching out our shorts for our denim, our tank tops for our sweaters, others have laid out their warm weather wardrobes already. What time is it? It’s Fashion Month.

Fashion Month is a term coined for the long stretch of time (typically a month, hence the term) over which the “Big Four” fashion capitals of the world hold their seasonal fashion weeks. The “Big Four”, receiving a majority of the press and commercial light, are New York, London, Milan, and Paris.

Though New York was the first city to begin holding seasonal fashion weeks in 1943, the concept of the fashion show itself arose, not surprisingly, in Paris. Starting from the 1850s, French “haute couture” (high fashion) houses began holding private shows for their most prized clients. These often involved “parades” in which models formed in lines to exhibit the salon’s newest garments. In fact, fashion week are still called “défilés de mode” today- meaning parades of fashion.

After Eleanor Lambert put together the first New York Fashion Week (then called Press Week) in the middle of World War II, other cities started to catch on, from London to Milan to Seoul.

Now that we have a bit of context of the runway and its origins, let’s go through the most stand-out show of the “Big Four”’s Spring/Summer 2017 Fashion Weeks.

  1. Kenzo
  • Kenzo’s SS 17 show this fall was particularly hard to forget- as it began with an installation of performance artists who posed like marble statues, painted in chalky hues. This season’s line featured embellished slip and tank dresses, balanced with utilitarian outerwear such as military raincoats, parkas, and oversized denim jackets.
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Photo: Indigital

2. Off-White

  • A rising name in streetwear, the brand Off-White featured a variety of styles this season, starting with classic blue-striped shirts and girl-boss red suits, followed by a mix of sporty and feminine, with dresses flooded in ruffles and racer back tanks paired with fluffy tutu skirts.
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Photo: Marcus Tondo

3. Preen by Thornton Bregazzi

  • Already nicknamed the highlight of London Fashion Week, Preen is bringing back the 70s, constructing gowns and mixing in a casual preppiness with polo tees made from glitter, chiffon, flower prints, velvet and embroidery. Along with their makeup, the models looked ethereal and witchy in their get-ups.
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Photo: Yannis Vlamos

4. Marc Jacobs

  • Full of ruffly, sheer dresses, embroidered coats, camo patterns and massively padded shoulders all in shining metallics, this season’s clothing line was reminiscent of a vintage store, continuing Jacob’s signature style of whimsical and playful.
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Photo: Umberto Fratini

 

5. DKNY

  • As the brand was recently handed over to Maxwell Osborne and Dao-Yi Chow as it was sold to the G-III Apparel Group, many were wondering how the new creative directors would take on the brand. This season’s futuristic theme was coincidentally fitting, and held a blend of edge and comfort. 
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Photo: Luca Tombolini

 

What brands stood out to you the most this season? Let us know in the comments below.

-Seiyeon Park (’17)

Featured Image: Getty Images

Seoul Fashion Week Recap

A recap on the stylish week of the year

With the cooling fall weather and falling leaves, while others are bringing out their autumn sweaters and heavy jackets, some are strutting out in their brightest clothing designed for summer and spring. What for?

It’s Seoul Fashion Week; the time for designers to display their latest collections for the coming seasons ahead. This time, the models are walking down the runways in the new Summer/Spring 2016 collections.

As South Korea continues to grow as a cultural hub for tourists and creative artists all around the globe, it’s inevitable that Korean fashion has been widely noted for its innovative and quirky style, unseen in other well known Western brands. Here are the top five Korean brands that stood out in this year’s SS 16 Seoul Fashion Week.

 

Photos by InDigital
Photos by InDigital

Kim Seo Ryong

Titled “Hey, Good Looking”, Kim’s SS16 menswear collection displays a range of aesthetics, from colorful abstract prints to more classic silhouettes. Kim established his brand in 1996, and is most well known for his finely tailored suits with his occasional touch of “rock star excess”. By using tougher materials such as leather and unconventional colours, Kim made even the most classic pinstriped shirt or plaid blazer look bold and outstanding. Contrastingly, Kim stuck to more neutral colours such as beige or black for louder prints. The stars of the show, however, were his colourful geometric pants and blazer, maintaining Kim’s signature eclectic rocker look.

 

Photos by InDigital
Photos by InDigital

Flea Madonna

Inspired by the term Prima-Donna, meaning the first woman in Italian, the womenswear brand is renown for its girly and quirky prints, combining dollish and edgy elements in the clothing. This season’s collection had a combination of extra girly pieces, with its sheer lace tops and flowing silk robes, and bolder, more manly articles, such as the slit leather culottes and varsity sweatshirts. Jei Kim, the designer of Flea Madonna, even paired the two together, with hooded jumpers and fluffy tulle skirts, creating an interesting juxtaposition between the casual tops and the more feminine bottoms. With slicked back hair and classic red lips, the models paraded down the catwalk, truly like prima-donnas.

 

Photos by InDigital
Photos by InDigital

Cres. E Dim.

Short for “crescendo e diminuendo,” the gradual increase and the gradual softening of sound, the brand Cres. E Dim. was launched in 2009 by Hong Bum Kim. Kim created unconventional silhouettes by having the fabric “overlapping the body…cut into fragments to add rhythm” (Cres. E Dim. official site). Pinstripes were all over Kim’s pieces, from trousers to collars, thick and thin. Playful icons, reflective of a circus, were spotted on many of the tops, and the models also sported trendy thin scarves around their necks. The colour palette was youthful, borderline tacky, with louder, elementary colours paired with muted denim and pastel tones. Silhouettes were either loose and boxy, with irregular necklines and extra wide lapels, or short and flirty, with high slits and body-hugging skirts.

 

Screen Shot 2015-11-19 at 9.24.41 PMKYE

Kathleen Kye’s high-end street style brand KYE is adored and worn regularly not only by Korean celebrities, but also by others around the globe. She has held shows at the New York Fashion Week event, and has showrooms in other global fashion hubs, such as Paris and Milan. This season, a common print was the continuous serpentine loops. The models bore midriffs, shoulders, and leg, in sheer mesh, short skirts, and cropped shirts, that all bore Kye’s signature black and gold or sweeter candy-coloured hues.

 

Photos by Benu Studio
Photos by Benu Studio

BAEMIN X KYE

A collaboration between one of Korea’s top delivery service systems, Baedal Minjok, and a world renown fashion label produced some of the most whimsical and edgy clothing seen at this year’s spring/summer SFW. The collection featured fun and comical phrases, such as “Please don’t lean on the door” and “Entrance forbidden: Officials only”.  The combination of Korean typography and fashion was unexpected, yet ultimately refreshing and original, as seen on the oversized sweatshirts, sporty bomber jackets, and flowing silk shirts. Many of the pieces were almost a collage-work of multiple Korean texts, from newspapers to street shop signs, creating novel graphic designs that have captivated fashion moguls from all around the world, including British fashion blogger Susanna Lau.

 

While New York, Milan, and Paris are all well-respected global fashion capitals that carry some of the world’s most recognized brands, it’s nice to come back to our roots and appreciate the great style that surrounds us today: in Seoul.

Which designs or brands allured to you the most this Fashion Week? Let us know in the comments below!

 

– Seiyeon Park (’17)

 

The Anatomy of the Sports Luxe Trend

For decades, couture fashion has seen the most ornate and intricate styles. On runways and streets (especially during Fashion Week) alike, high-fashion icons and moguls strut around in high-heels and flowing skirts. Now, designers have taken classic sports-wear to the spotlight, with upgraded footwear and clothing.

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The iconic Adidas Stan Smiths are worn by off-duty models and every day people alike, and its rising popularity has made this shoe almost a fashion-staple. (Laia Magazine)

We all recognize the classic Adidas Stan Smiths, a shoe originally launched in 1963 by the brand Adidas, which has most recently hit its peak in popularity. It’s been worn by bloggers, models, and celebrities all over the world, even in the world’s famed fashion hub Paris. However, items like these weren’t always so sought after. The Stan Smiths had been taken down from Adidas’s market in 2012 due to its unsuccessful performance in the markets. So what did start this sudden desire for comfortable yet stylish wear?

 

With the current rage over living new and healthy lifestyles, many have taken on different aspects of their lives to adopt habits help people balance between a work and social life. What better way to do that than exercise? Everyday there are advertisements for new workout regiments like cross-fit and yoga, new diets consisting completely of greens, and of course, sportswear for people to wear during their work-outs.

 

Just a few years ago it would be considered condemnable in the fashion industry to be seen wearing a hoodie and sneakers in public. While of course designers have taken such staples up a notch, it is now considered highly stylish and sensible to be walking around in a pair of Nike Roshes. The idea of sports luxe clothing is that we are all so busy, so occupied that there is little time to change from work to athletic clothing- so why not purchase attire that can function as both?

 

Granted, no average man or woman would wear $400 leggings on a run– just imagine the sweat that would ruin the clothing! But such apparel does help convey the idea that we all live in such productive, engaged, and robust lives- an image that is undeniably alluring.

 

The trend has also meant an increased number of designs inspired by varsity sportswear- on skirts, button downs, and especially on school jackets, are the classic double-lines and contrasting colours that signify of athleticism. Even in KIS, many sport their navy and white varsity jackets with pride, not only for their symbols of accomplishment but also for their simultaneous versatility and comfort.

 

There are multiple ways to easily incorporate this trend into your wardrobe. Here are some of Blueprint’s favorite tips:

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  • Sport Fanciful Sneakers

One of the easiest ways to take on the sports luxe trend is to wear a pair of sneakers. They don’t have to be your classic wear-and-tear canvas shoes- brands like Chanel and Ash have turned this casual piece into some of the most intricate parts of an outfit, by using rich materials like tweed and leather, and adding special details like studs and glitter. Pair these sneakers with a simple tee and jeans, and you’ll be done with your look.

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  • Refurbish Your Casual Sweatshirts

Sweatshirts are arguably the comfiest tops one could wear on a casual day in- but that doesn’t mean you have to wear your old, torn, and faded grey shirt from a few years ago. High and low end brands from Kenzo to Forever 21 have released the classic terry-cloth sweatshirts with a few major modifications, like bright neon colours and quirky emblems. Some brands like Alexander Wang have even taken them a step further, by using materials like mesh and sequins to further glamorize their sweatshirts. Now, sweatshirts aren’t just for days in, but can also be worn on formal occasions out.

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  • Refuse to Sacrifice Comfort with Joggers

Who ever said baggy pants were meant to be pajamas? One truly can go creative with this style. From all out sequins to bohemian prints to tough leather, several designers have reproduced this baggy pant using different materials, allowing for people to strut in comfort while keeping their edge.

London Fashion Week SS16, Day 1

  • Look for Graphic Cuts and Stretchy Materials

Halter necks and high-neck-but-short-sleeve tops instantly give an outfit a sports-chic touch. But to further enhance the look, search for color-blocking or materials like neoprene, mesh, or jersey- anything normally related to activewear and athletics. When done right, such details will not only give off a cool laid-back vibe, but will also instantly give the impression of sleek class.

  • Sports Luxe Doesn’t Mean to Abandon, But to Upgrade!

Embracing the sports luxe trend doesn’t mean to ditch all of your fanciest clothing and wear ragged sweatpants 24/7. Sports luxe means to compromise comfort with style, adorning your more lax pieces with little details that make them high-fashion. Pair your joggers with heels, or Nikes with a dress, because mixing the different styles really is what gives an outfit dimension and interest, and after all, we all like to be a bit fancy and comfy at the same time.  

– Seiyeon Park (’17)

Featured Image: Opsh

Kohei Nawa Takes Over Europe

Recognize Kohei Nawa’s art from Big Bang’s music videos?

http://kohei-nawa.net/works/pixcell

Crystalline structures that depict breath-taking stags, fluffy foam-like structures that rise and fall like waves. Japanese artist Kohei Nawa’s works never fail to amaze their audiences and now, they’ve taken on Europe.

One might recognize the deer in the image above from several social media boards, from Instagram to Tumblr or even Bigbang’s music video for their song “Bae Bae”.  

A globally acknowledged contemporary artist, Kohei Nawa has collaborated with several other artists of his time such as Takashi Murakami and Anish Kapoor, and has even created headpieces for fashion brand Commes des Garçons’s Spring/Summer 2012 runway show.

Pace London // Commes Des Garçons
Pace London // Commes Des Garçons

Born in 1975, Osaka, Japan, Kohei Nawa attended the Kyoto City University of Arts, earning both a master’s and a doctoral degree in sculpture. Ever since a young age Nawa had been interested in the arts, and later on in his high school years, architecture and physics, which combined his creative abilities to devise structures that had elements of both pleasingly aesthetic and striking form that took three dimensional art to a whole new level. A key factor in the distinctiveness of each of Nawa’s pieces is the risk he takes with materials. Nawa was never afraid to use unconventional materials, from prism sheets to epoxy resin to mixtures of detergent, glycerin, and water.

Nobutaoa Omote for Sandwich Images
Omote Nobutada for Sandwich Images

In his newest exhibition at the Pace Gallery in London, there’s a variety of works from paintings, sculptures, and installations, all from his previous collections Direction, Ether, Catalyst, and Moment. The theme of the show is “the visualization of gravity that is present in the cosmos,” a topic that Nawa loved to explore since he was a child. Although all the works come from different series and utilize different materials, they are all cohesive in that movement, direction, and gravity are all key factors in the construction and operation of the pieces.

Omote Nobutada
The amazing Kohei Nawa (Omote Nobutada)

Kohei Nawa’s first installation in the United Kingdom, Force, is a part of the She Inspires Art. The event is a night when artists from all around the world come to perform at the fundraising event for the charity Women for Women International, who’re currently working to aid the women in Nigeria and Syrian refugees in Iraq, a movement that Nawa joined because he wanted to “create an installation that uses artworks as metaphors for the distortions of our society and the limitations of economies driven by consumption.”

While Nawa is not the first Asian artist to entrance the Western eye for his work, his own take on contemporary art has marked a milestone in Japan’s art market, which has only recently joined the world in the modern gallery and art system. Nawa is able to fuse the traditional principles of Japanese art with modern materials, reaching new creative heights which neither the eastern nor western hemispheres have seen before.

 

– Seiyeon Park (’17)