Drest Collaborates With Australian Designers, KidSuper Teams With Tommy
AUSSIE FOCUS: Fashion gaming app Drest has partnered with Sydney’s SCCI: Sherman Centre for Culture and Ideas ahead of the Australian cultural institution launching fashion and architecture hubs at London’s Design Museum on Friday.
To coincide with the program, which will see more than 40 Australian designers and thinkers in the fields of fashion, architecture, culture and art sharing ideas and creativity over the coming two weekends, Drest will launch a series of in-app challenges.
For the fashion hub launch, Drest offers its players the chance to style the collections of two Australian fashion designers, Among Equals and Romance Was Born.
The architecture hub launching on Nov. 4 will encourage its players to create a fashion shoot in the featured architects’ project locations, using a dedicated edit of Australian brands, including Zimmermann, Dion Lee, Christopher Esber and Dinosaur Design.
Gene Sherman, founder and director of SCCI, said she is pleased that “one of Australia’s rising fashion labels, Romance Was Born, and one of the Pacific region’s most ingenious artisan-empowering not-for-profits, Among Equals” are highlighted in this collaboration with Drest.
“The best of Australian fashion is now, with Drest, at your fingertips,” Sherman said.
Lucy Yeomans, founder and chief brand and product officer of Drest, added that, “We look forward to bringing to our users some fantastic emerging Australian brands to discover and style with, as well as introducing them to some of the country’s most interesting architectural talent.” — TIANWEI ZHANG
SUPER COLLAB: KidSuper, the buzzy New York-based brand created by Colm Dillane, has worked on co-branded product with everyone from Spaghettios and Modelo to Jägermeister and Puma. Now he’s prepping for its next collaboration — and it’s a big one: Tommy Hilfiger.
Dillane told WWD that he is working with the storied designer on a partnership project that he hopes will launch in the winter of 2024. He recently visited Hilfiger at the company’s massive archive in Brooklyn, New York, where they went through some of the brand’s most iconic products.
Dillane said in addition to the depth of the collection, he was impressed with the designer himself. “I was surprised he was a human,” he said of Hilfiger. “He was so personable.”
Although the collaboration is still a work in progress and won’t become reality for at least 17 months — “I could have two children in the time it takes when you work with a big company,” Dillane said with a laugh — he expects it will be menswear only.
Dillane, a New York City native, attended Brooklyn Technical High School and New York University before embracing fashion full time, although he started making T-shirts when he was in high school. Over the last few years, he has shown his collection during Paris Fashion Week and sells at Dover Street Market, Ssense, Selfridges, LuisaViaRoma and other high-profile stores. He was awarded the Karl Lagerfeld Special Jury Prize from LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton in September 2021. He is close to finishing the renovation of a 10,000-square-foot building in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn, that will serve as his studio as well as a gallery, recording studio and retail store. It will also house a soccer field, one of Dillane’s passions. — JEAN E. PALMIERI
THIRD TIME: Saudi Arabia’s Fashion Commission said Thursday it will be hosting the third edition of its development focused conference “Fashion Futures” in the capital city of Riyadh from Nov. 17 to 19.
“Fashion Futures” unites the kingdom’s fashion community under the umbrella of the Ministry of Culture, with the objective of developing the fashion ecosystem in Saudi Arabia. Held under the patronage of HRH Princess Reema bint Bandar Al Saud, Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to the U.S., the event has become a key milestone on the fashion calendar in the Middle East. “The ‘Fashion Futures’ conference showcases the incredible talent and thriving fashion scene in the kingdom. It is a testament to our Saudi creativity and collaboration and provides the opportunity for our designers to receive well-deserved international recognition,” Princess Reema said.
The four main themes of “Fashion Futures” this year are sustainability, entrepreneurship, diversity and innovation. An international lineup of speakers will take part in panel discussions and workshops. The Future Fabrics Expo, the world’s largest dedicated sustainable sourcing showcase, will be coming to Riyadh for its first exhibition in the region, showcasing thousands of sustainable, commercially available textiles and cutting-edge materials.
Burak Çakmak, chief executive officer of the Fashion Commission, said, “We have placed innovation at the heart of the conference this year, with textiles as a key theme. Unlocking the potential of cleaner, greener solutions requires consumer, industry and government buy-in that initiatives such as ‘Fashion Futures’ will help to achieve.”
The Fashion Commission will also host an open to the public “swap shop” in partnership with Yoox Net-a-porter to encourage sustainable consumption.
The extensive development-focused program will also include masterclasses in partnership with Italian design schools Istituto Marangoni and Accademia Costume & Moda covering topics ranging from branding to merchandising and supply chain. The Middle East’s largest luxury retailer, Chalhoub Group, will offer workshops as well.
With 70 percent of the population of the Saudi Arabia under the age of 30, the commission is focused on growing and mentoring the creative potential of Saudi’s youth as the country goes through a period of pivotal transformation. The event is a unique opportunity for international visitors to also experience the fast paced changed, Çakmak said. He described the event as “building bridges” locally and globally, across the industry.
Past speakers of “Fashion Future” have included actress and activist Rosario Dawson; designers Rebecca Minkoff, Iris van Herpen, Bibhu Mohapatra, and Giles Deacon; model Halima Aden; fashion industry insiders like Nadja Swarovski, Fern Mallis, model and environmentalist Arizona Muse, Frederic Fekkai, and Carlyne Cerf de Dudzeele, as well as executives like Ravi Thakran, group chairman of LVMH Southeast Asia and Middle East. — RITU UPADHYAY
YSL Beauté’s New Face, the ACE Awards Winners, Gucci Westman Pops Up in L.A.
FACE FORWARD: Yasmin Finney has been named YSL Beauté’s first U.K. local ambassador.
Finney is among the most influential actresses in the transgender community, and is known for her support of the LGBTQIA+ communities.
Finney’s breakout role was in Netflix’s rom-com hit series “Heartstopper,” and she was honored along with the rest of the show’s cast with the On-Screen Trailblazer Award at the Gay Times Honours 2022 event.
Finney will continue playing Elle Argent in the series’ second season and is to star in “Doctor Who,” for the show’s 60th anniversary this year.
In the U.K.’s House of Commons, Member of Parliament Luke Pollard said Finney’s visibility as a trans actor “has not only inspired me, it’s inspired young trans people across the world, and it has saved lives,” YSL Beauté recounted in a statement.
“To me, this partnership means hope,” said Finney in the statement. “It means all the younger Yasmins out there who’ve been told they don’t belong can finally see themselves represented by a monumental brand like YSL Beauté.
“It’s a real pinch-me moment,” she continued. “Not long ago, I was in Manchester, dreaming of better days. I’m so excited to be part of the YSL family because, to me, beauty comes from confidence. It all starts from within. You have to take that leap and tell yourself that you are beautiful, no matter what others think. Don’t try and fit in – stand out! That, to me, is true beauty.”
Finney will appear first as a YSL Beauté ambassador in the new Drop the Look campaign that is due out in April. — JENNIFER WEIL
ALL ACES: The Accessories Council will mark its 27th annual ACE Awards later this spring in New York City. The annual event, which marks excellence in accessories design, retail and influence, will take place on May 3 at Cipriani 42nd Street.
“The ACE Awards are a foundation event for the Accessories Council. The gala celebrates our industry stars, recognizes milestones and is an exceptional networking event. The AC is delighted to finally have the awards in the spring, a longtime goal that was a bit delayed due to the pandemic,” said Karen Giberson, president and chief executive officer of the Accessories Council.
In preparation, the council has revealed this year’s honorees. The Visionary Award will go to Mickey Drexler; Style Ambassador award to Julianne Hough; Emerging Designer to Dee Ocleppo; Hall of Fame to Judith Leiber Couture; Brand Innovation to Alexis Bittar; Brand of the Year to Wolverine (marking its 140th anniversary); Retailer of the Year to Von Maur; Retail Innovation to Fashionphile; Sustainability to House of LR&C, and the Legacy Award to Echo New York. “This year’s honorees are a powerful group of brands and individuals all with foundation roots in the United States,” Giberson said.
The ACE Awards were created in 1997 to celebrate those who have made great strides in raising awareness of the accessories industry. Over the past 27 years, the Accessories Council has honored and recognized global brands and pioneers, positioning them as trailblazers of the industry. Awards are presented to designers, brands, retailers, celebrities and media who have helped to enhance sales and promote all accessories.
Sponsors of the ACE Awards include Marchon Eyewear, FashionGo, Brosway Italia, Hammitt, Caleres, Informa — MAGIC, Project, Coterie, EssilorLuxottica, Judith Leiber Couture, Safilo Group, Signal Brands, Steve Madden and The Jewelry Group.
Tickets and table buyouts are now on sale and sponsorship opportunities are still available. — THOMAS WALLER
NEW IN L.A.: Westman Atelier is hosting its first West Coast pop-up in Los Angeles.
The beauty brand held an event inside Nordstrom’s flagship in New York in September as part of the retailer’s “New New York” initiative, but the L.A. presence marks its first stand-alone space.
Located at the Grove shopping center, it’s open Thursday through April 20.
Firstly, when it comes to buying behavior, it’s Westman Atelier’s second-grossing city after New York, according to the brand. But it’s also personal.
“I have a special relationship with Los Angeles since I lived outside the city as a child and started my makeup career there,” Gucci Westman told WWD in an exclusive statement. Westman, a professional makeup artist, launched the brand with husband David Neville in 2018.
“I grew up in an ashram outside of Los Angeles until I was 10, and I always appreciated the health and wellness movement that is so unique to L.A.,” she added. “It has inspired the way I live and the fundamentals of Westman Atelier….I’ve been dreaming of doing in-person events for so long, and now that we have this space, it allows us to host these exclusive activations that will bring our customers together as a community.”
Shoppers can expect weekly events with activities and product giveaways, including a meet and greet with Westman, a happy hour with complimentary mocktails, 15-minute makeup appointments, shade matching assistance and custom engraving sessions with purchase. The entire collection will be available, including bestsellers, which are currently the Skin Activator (the brand’s first skin care launch); Lit Up Highlight Stick; Face Trace Contour Stick; Vital Skincare Complexion Drops; Vital Skin Foundation Stick, and Baby Cheeks.
The brand also looks to attract new customers, said Neville, adding, “Since we launched, we have been a digitally native brand, and we have been thinking of the best way to bring the world of Westman Atelier to life.”
The L.A. customer has aligned with the brand values, he went on: “They are beyond savvy when it comes to clean beauty, and they are always finding ways to incorporate wellness and clean skin care into their lifestyle. They are on top of trends, even before it becomes a trend. Their overall skin care and makeup approach is very much our aesthetic — effortless, glowing, natural beauty. They appreciate when there is still an element of discovery.”
The Grove — with its “visibility and traffic” — was a no-brainer as chosen location, said Neville, as one of the “top shopping destinations in the U.S.” — RYMA CHIKHOUNE
GETTING A MOVE ON: Will digital artist Sam Shea — prized for his disquieting, liquid-like figures sometimes comprised only of limbs — disrupt the, ahem, staid mannequin market?
“I’m basically going to start manufacturing all my 3D work in real life,” he said at an event Tuesday during Paris Blockchain Week, where he displayed a video clip of one of his human-like creatures, its flesh stretching out in the wind, riding a horse across a beach. “The cool thing is my dad worked his entire life at a natural history museum, and his best friend made the mannequins.”
Shea, better known as Nude Robot, said his “surreal mannequins, like lucid dreamers” would offer a new way for fashion brands to animate their designs — and offer gallery-goers something to gawk at besides a screen. “That’s what I’m working towards.”
He was among about a dozen digital artists assembled for the launch of Itak, a new consultancy that helps brands navigate the new digital landscape and create immersive experiences with the help of cutting-edge technology.
Mado Scott, chief creative officer at Itak and one of three cofounders, said the firm helps fashion and luxury companies step into the Web 3.0 world “while staying on brand, and while having the level of craft they deserve as luxury brands.”
According to her, the “touch of the artist” is key, noting most employ video game and special-effects technology, along with AI, to create intricate, sometimes otherworldly visuals.
Indeed, artists like Shea, who studied fashion at Maryland Institute College of Art, is able to produce such compellingly lifelike digital effects thanks to his knowledge of cloth and costume design. “The way you drape in 3D is exactly the way a tailor would,” he explained.
Unexplored Fields, a creative collective that has already done work for Lacoste and Dr. Martens, displayed a mesmerizing video still of a ruddy-faced young man in a mullet hugging the nose of a giant yak, the camera panning slowly over his clothes: a leather jacket inspired by a 1982 design by Massimo Osti for C.P. Company, needle-felted trousers based on the motorcycle pants Swedish police officers wore in the 1950s, and sneakers inspired by a Balenciaga X Vibram collab.
No surprise that one of the three cofounders of Unexplored Fields, Virgile Brosa, studied fashion also. He tweaked the original designs and experimented with various textures. “3D is a good opportunity to do that, because you can relatively quickly change the design and have the result instantly,” he said.
The other cofounders of Itak are Massimo Moretti, whose background is in crypto, and Mariem Farhat, a Web 3.0 expert and marketing guru. Mado Scott was a finalist for the 2021 Andam Innovation Prize with her firm Acid Rays, which creates virtual and digital identities for fashion labels. – MILES SOCHA
Liz Goldwyn Auctioning Susan Ciancolo Run Collection Pieces
Beginning March 30, vintage collector/filmmaker/author and Hollywood royalty Liz Goldwyn is auctioning off a time capsule of 1990s-early 2000s anti-fashion history: pieces from New York designer Susan Ciancolo.
Made using deconstructed and reconstructed upcycled garments and textiles, Ciancolo’s 11 Run collections produced from 1995 to 2001 were one-of-a-kind, handcrafted alternatives to the prevailing Gap khaki and slick minimalist fashions of the time.
Part of New York’s downtown art scene, Ciancolo produced her collections with a collective of family and friends, and presented them in shows akin to happenings with films shown, aerialist models hanging from the ceiling, or in a temporary restaurant in a gallery, as examples. Goldwyn produced some of those shows and walked one, alongside model Frankie Rayder, artist Anh Duong and actress Julianne Nicholson.
Goldwyn met Ciancolo in 1996, when she was working in costume and conservation at Sotheby’s New York, and the two became muses for each other. Together they created garments such as a tiered denim skirt now in the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute permanent collection, as well as a 1998 custom dress that was on view as part of the “In America: A Lexicon of Fashion” exhibition.
Goldwyn and Ciancolo, who works as a fine artist now, partnered for the auction with the Bridget Donahue gallery and Special Offer Inc., an up-and-coming media company that produced a video with archival footage of the shows and commentary about those bygone days.
“You feel like you are seeing a love letter to New York in the 1990s,” said Goldwyn, whose most recent book, “Sex, Health and Consciousness: How to Reclaim Your Pleasure Potential” (Sounds True) came out in October.
Over the years Goldwyn has amassed a fashion archive with thousands of garments and accessories, with a special focus on Yves Saint Laurent, Sonia Rykiel and Ciancolo.
“I liked the artistry of it and she had a whole world which was kind of cult-like. I definitely fell under the spell. She had all these women artists, models and musicians working and collaborating alongside her, it felt supportive and we had an artistic shorthand,” said Goldwyn. “It was fun also to be in the world of Sotheby’s and having access to archival treasures, and taking something to her to see what she’d do with it.”
There are 56 pieces being auctioned at liz.run, including a corset-like “I Love New York” T-shirt, deconstructed dresses, a multipiece burlesque costume, and a set of Barbie dolls with miniature Run collection clothing. The videos and commentary will live on online after the auction ends mid-April, like a museum show that lives digitally.
“I don’t think anyone would see her clothes and think corporate suit, but there are some things in the sale that were my corporate, uptown looks. I would go from Canal Street where we both lived to Sotheby’s auction house looking like my dress was caught in the escalator,” said Goldwyn.
“It’s so funny to me how Gen Z and Millennials have this obsession with that time period, I think they are wanting to recapture a time before social media,” she said. “In terms of fashion it was so different…you didn’t have the shows online…and there was a scrappiness…it was pre-designers being traded like chess pieces by big corporations.”
All bids will start at $111. “I want it to be accessible because when I started collecting, it was a dollar a pound,” said Goldwyn. “I think there is something cool to having an entry point accessible to more people.”
TikTok Star ‘Tami Elizabeth’ Takes Shein to Task — Again
Earlier this year the TikTok star “Tami Elizabeth” was more than surprised to see what appeared to be her likeness on a Shein dress.
In response to that, she claimed to have emailed the company inquiring about the artist and sending two cease-and-desist letters after receiving guidance about that from an attorney. The stylist and designer, whose given name is Tamara Strzelecki, said she was startled again after receiving an invitation to collaborate with “Shein Curvee” as an influencer.
The TikTok standout first spoke with WWD in January about the situation. On Thursday, she shared with WWD an email exchange from a Shein Curvee address that was dated March 16. The email read in part, “We @SHEIN are launching our newest clothing brand and we noticed you have been a fan of our work and we have observed your profile and you’re qualified for a collaboration with us.” In exchange for tags, the email offered Strzelecki free monthly packages of eight items of her choice, and discount codes to share among other incentives.
Aside from being a popular TikTok personality with 7.9 million likes, Strzelecki has a profitable online business, Sugs’ Shoppe. Although it has been up-and-running for 15 years, it became successful last year after one of her getting-ready videos — for a visit to her therapist — went viral with more than 1 million views.
Regarding the offer of a Shein Curvee collaboration, she told WWD, “I am a size 2, not curve material. I replied with a photo of me in the dress and stated I had reached out multiple times to request more information about the design and I get sent a collaboration offer?” and shared her email response to that address.
Asked about the offer, Emily Workman, director of corporate communications for the Shein Group, said Thursday, “While we can confirm there was no outreach to this individual regarding a partnership with Shein, we have been made aware of recent email scams falsely claiming to come from our company. We encourage others to stay vigilant regarding emails claiming to be from Shein offering or soliciting services.”
As for whether Shein would comment regarding Tami’s claims that her likeness was used for a dress and cease-and-desist requests sent to the company earlier this year, Workman said, “We don’t have anything to share at this time.”
Asked about Shein’s explanation, Strzelecki said, “I can’t verify if the company was really Shein or not. I just received the email with Shein Curvee, the one forwarded to you. It’s the only correspondence I have received from anyone at Shein.”
Meanwhile, Shein is gearing up to host the first Shein x Design Summit in Los Angeles on April 1. The fast fashion retailer plans to host hundreds of designers and artists for showcases, panels and networking opportunities with such fashion insiders as LaQuan Smith, Maeve Reilly, Oscar de la Renta’s and Monse’s Laura Kim and Hilldun Corporation’s chief executive officer Gary Wassner. The event is also meant to introduce scores of independent designers to the company’s incubator program Shein X. George Chiao, U.S. president of Shein, noted that the aim is to onboard 1,000 designers this year to the program. “Thousands” of others have already cycled through, since the incubator’s 2021 debut, he said.
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