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COS marks 10 year anniversary with a capsule collection launch

London - It may be hard to believe, but this year marks a decade since COS, the big sister brand of H&M, opened its first store on London's Regent Street.

Back in 2007 COS first launched as a modern brand which aimed to offer consumer high quality garments that consisted of both wardrobe staples and classic timeless piece. Since then COS has expanded its global presence and is now presence in 33 markets, counting just under 200 stores across Europe, Asia, North America, the Middle East and Australia. COS launches its first online stores in 2011 and is now available online in 19 countries.

COS marks 10 year anniversary with a capsule collection launch

“We are proud of how the brand has grown over the last ten years," commented COS Managing Director Marie Honda. "We are pleased and humbled that our customers have continued to appreciate our approach and engage with our collections, stores and collaborative projects with the art and design world.”

COS marks 10 year anniversary with a capsule collection launch

In honour of COS 10 year anniversary and its first store opening in London, COS has developed a limited-edition,10 piece capsule collection consisting of key pieces for women, men and children. What makes the collection unique is that each garment pattern was developed similar to a jigsaw puzzle, with the full width of the fabric used to dedicated the shapes, which decide the next thereby limiting any excess.

“The design team took the opportunity to play and experiment in the pattern-cutting process, re-imagining the methods behind the design," explained COS Creative Director Karin Gustafsson in a statement."The pattern-cutters and designers worked in parallel, referencing historical techniques that maximised the use of materials. As we look to the future we will continue to focus on the efficient use of fabrics and forward-thinking techniques.”

COS marks 10 year anniversary with a capsule collection launch

This resulted in a "clean and considered collection" which includes collapsing volumes and rectilinear silhouettes. A long-length shirt dress features soft double layered panels, whereas a men's technical jacket offers functional double pockets. The collection also features Japanese influences, seen in the square-cut proportions of a men’s top and a women’s coat featuring kimono-style sleeves. The collection consists of light fabrications of crisp cotton and technical polyester in a pared-back palette of sand and white.

COS marks 10 year anniversary with a capsule collection launch

The 10 year capsule collection, which includes 2 childrenswear pieces, as well as 5 womenswear and 3 menswear items, is currently available in COS stores globally and online at cosstores.com.

COS marks 10 year anniversary with a capsule collection launchCOS marks 10 year anniversary with a capsule collection launchCOS marks 10 year anniversary with a capsule collection launchCOS marks 10 year anniversary with a capsule collection launchCOS marks 10 year anniversary with a capsule collection launchCOS marks 10 year anniversary with a capsule collection launchCOS marks 10 year anniversary with a capsule collection launchCOS marks 10 year anniversary with a capsule collection launchCOS marks 10 year anniversary with a capsule collection launchCOS marks 10 year anniversary with a capsule collection launch

Photos: Courtesy of COS

Sweaters on demand: Adidas introduces "Knit for You"

Who hasn't experienced it - buying the seemingly perfect sweater in terms of colour, fit and cut, only to realise at home that the sleeves are much too long! Unfortunate, but this could soon be a scenario of the past. After the 3D printer, there is now the high-tech knitting machine that knits tailor-made sweaters while customers wait. Sounds like a future vision? Not for German sportswear giant Adidas whose Berlin pop-up store "Knit for you" offers just that since the end of 2016.

The pop-up store is part of the Storefactory project sponsored by the German Federal Ministry of Economics and Energy and implemented by Adidas' in-house agency Act3. The store houses a mini factory where some of the steps involved are handled by the customers themselves, such as design and bodyscan. "It is very individual. It is like knitting your own sweater," confirmed Christina Sharif, a customer who ordered shorter sleeves on her electric blue sweater than the standard model.

Sweaters on demand: Adidas introduces "Knit for You"

Adidas offers tailor-made sweaters in only four hours

After Adidas' Speedfactory, "Knit for You" is another project that is about store and production models of the future. In both cases, speed is of the essence, be it in the production process or when reacting to customer demands, which are becoming more and more important. With conventional production and design methods, it takes between 12 and 18 months until a garment finally reaches stores. Compared to just four hours, this is quite a long time. Too long in any case to finally catch up to competitor Nike, which is why Adidas has to be innovative.

Specifically, manufacturing of the future works like this: customers first get their body scanned via laser and use gestures to project different patterns onto their torso to see which one suits them best. Then, they select the desired colour combination on the computer (for now, the material is limited to merino wool) and wait for a period of four hours, in which the sweater is knitted in store, finished by hand, washed, dried and provided with tags.

Sweaters on demand: Adidas introduces "Knit for You"

Considering the relatively high price of the sweater at 200 euros (around 215 US dolIars) and the relatively low customer frequency (a maximum of ten sweaters per day during peak periods), Adidas is certainly not concerned with sales and mass production - at this stage at least. For now, customer data and feedback is what counts, which is now being evaluated before the company decides whether to pursue the project or not.

Feedback is also important in terms of reacting to customer demands. And this will speed up production times and customer satisfaction, in turn leading to an increased proportion of products sold at full price, which Adidas wants to increase from currently 50 to 70 percent by 2010. "If we can give the consumer what they want, where they want it, when they want it, we can decrease risk ... at the moment we are guessing what might be popular," admitted Adidas brand chief Eric Liedtke when speaking to investors mid March.

Photos: Adidas

Uniqlo launches collab with street artist Mr. A

Los Angeles - Japanese retailer Uniqlo recently launched a new collection with Paris-based street artist André Saraiva. The graffiti artist’s capsule collection has now officially made its way onto Uniqlo’s apparel for its own spin on streetwear.

Recently, Saraiva introduced a capsule collection of his tees with some of its unique designs. Known for by his alias, Mr. A, the artist has grown reputable for his iconic smiling, winking face. Also known for his monochromatic style, his concept of street graffiti is mostly centered around “Love Graffiti,” meaning that he incorporates people’s names “commissioned by their loved ones in pop color near where they live,” stated on his website. In his recent venture, his newest collection is available now at Uniqlo, introducing a line of tees with his designs.

According to the website, the collection ranges from approximately 12 t-shirt designs ranging from his iconic smiley face to various scripted words and sayings. Averaging at 14.90 dollars per shirt, the shirts have a monochromatic theme with mostly matte black, pastel pink, or baby blue color elements. The t-shirts are available in stores as well as through the Uniqlo website currently.

Photo: Uniqlo.com

In Picture: five upcoming designers X NikeLab

Nike has selected a handful of students from some of the world's premier fashion and design schools to translate the thematic concerns of the shoe into their unique designs.

Azar Rajabi, Liam Johnson, Paula Canovas, Wanbing Huang and Shize He - students from Central Saint Martins, Domus Academy and the Parsons School of Design - all took the iconic Nike Air VaporMax as their inspiration. Each of them has created unique garments which simultaneously honor the essence of the new Nike Air VaporMax and push new boundaries in construction and material.

Azar Rajabi (Domus Academy)

"My work drew inspiration directly from the VaporMax as I wanted to best represent the essence of the footwear. The sole, a flexible product made of a single, inflatable airbag, inspired my research and material.” In Picture: five upcoming designers X NikeLabIn Picture: five upcoming designers X NikeLab

"'Pearlized' neoprene mesh and texturized vinyl allowed for both flexibility and for a larger silhouette, allowing air to flow freely in and out of the coat. The idea of air in harmony with the body, and the connection between the human body and space; tying those two together with lace was another design detail I felt was important. A large, adjustable hood with shirring details or pinches, suggests the idea of bendability. The reaction of the laces and their extension from the body exaggerates the human form in motion. As a designer, the idea of reaction is something I always incorporate into my work."

Liam johnson (Central Saint Martins)

"I thought about how buoyancy and lightness could be expressed through air. I liked the idea of the piece feeling like a vortex or a dense, black cloud swirling around the body. This led me to think about an expressive, abstract shape — tall like the clouds and wrapping around, encasing the upper body, creating an arresting visual. This would also allow for a reveal on the lower half of the body that offers movement to the legs and feet, completely encasing the upper half of the torso including the upper shoulders, neck and head.

In Picture: five upcoming designers X NikeLabIn Picture: five upcoming designers X NikeLab

Paula Canovas (Central Saint Martins)

"The project surrounded the idea of garments that change shape through air and that interact with the environment. I have incorporated the idea of knots with a floatier feeling, and I have also documented the way the shapes change when air is introduced. I wanted to capture how the shape changes with movement and how it adapts to both the body and to air.”

In Picture: five upcoming designers X NikeLabIn Picture: five upcoming designers X NikeLab

"I chose a subtle monochromatic palette of red and orange so that the focus remained on the structure of the garment and the VaporMax. The fabrics chosen are of different qualities of nylons, and the knotted drapes are padded with wadding to give an inflated effect."

Wanbing Huang (Central Saint Martins)

"The first idea came to life as an ode to all things airborne, with the lightness and flexibility of the Nike Vapormax providing a direct reference. The transparent air cushioning unit that acts as a standalone outsole inspired me to create a flawless outfit that creates harmony between body and environment.”

In Picture: five upcoming designers X NikeLabIn Picture: five upcoming designers X NikeLab

"A sense of movement is evoked using a structural fishbone piece that floats around the body — an idea reinforced with a headpiece that was carefully woven, allowing a variety of shapes presented through emotions to slowly build a picture of texture and motion.

Shizhe He (MFA Fashion Design & Society, Parsons School of Design)

"Innovation and creativity require bravery. Success hides behind the continuous experience. "For this piece, I used plastic packaging film as the material, which protects furniture from being damaged during moving. I chose this material because it is not a traditional clothing fabric. Design must be brave in this same way — to try a different way or angle, and to re-think and experience the process. Nike has this very spirit of innovation. The Nike Air VaporMax breaks with tradition by using new technology, structure and air to make the soles lighter and softer and provide consistent cushioning.

In Picture: five upcoming designers X NikeLabIn Picture: five upcoming designers X NikeLab

"Visually it may seem hard, but touching the VaporMax gives a completely different feeling. My dress is meant to provide the same effect, which looks like a solid sculpture. But it is, in fact, very light and flexible, allowing the body to easily move with the garment.

Photos: via Nike

​The finalists of the LVMH Prize 2017 are...

London - LVMH has announced the names of the 8 finalists set to compete for its annual LVMH Prize. The final 8 contestants, which include London Fashion Week Designer Molly Goddard, were hand selected by a international panel of experts following a presentation of their collection in Paris on March 2 and 3.

The nominees are as followed: Ambush by Yoon Anh, a Korean-American designer based in Tokyo; Atlein by Antonin Tron, a French designer based in Paris; Cecilie Bahnsen by Cecilie Rosted Bahnsen, a Danish designer based in Copenhagen; Jahnkoy by Maria Kazakova, a Russian designer based in New York; Kozaburo by Kozaburo Akasaka, a Japanese designer based in New York; Marine Serre by Marine Serre, a French designer based in Paris; Molly Goddard by Molly Goddard, a British designer based in London; and Nabil Nayal by Nabil el-Nayal, a British designer based in London.

The last 8 designers have been officially invited to meet members of the jury at the Louis Vuitton Foundation on June 16, 2017 and present their designs. The jury, which includes the likes of J.W Anderson, Nicolas Ghesquiere and Karl Lagerfeld, will then select the winner at the end of the day.

"This year, 5 out of the 8 finalists design womenswear. Men's and unisex collections also reflect the dynamism of gender-defying fashion. A Danish designer has for the first time reached this level in the competition," commented Delphine Arnault, founder of the LVMH Prize.

"I am also pleased to welcome back Nabil el-Nayal who had been shortlisted in 2015. This year's selection clearly illustrates the existence of a truly international fashion, beyond borders. I wish all the finalists good luck: it will be hard for the Jury to decide between them during the final on June 16. I also wish to congratulate the semi-finalists for their involvement and their genuine enthusiasm."

LVMH Graduate Prize remains open to all applications from young fashion school graduated to May 15, 2017. Afterwards three recipients will be selected for the Prize and be given the opportunity to join the design studios of three of the Maisons of the LVMH Group for one year of studying and mentoring.

Photo: Courtesy of LVMH

Gilt-y pleasure: Italian artisan crafts 24-carat gold shoes

Filthy rich and already boast enough glass slippers to win a dozen princes? Italian shoemaker Antonio Vietri has the thing for you: 24-carat gold shoes. Vietri, from Turin in northern Italy, hopes to attract shoppers from wealthy Gulf countries with his blue or black suede moccasins with stitched gold-plated uppers.

"These are the first shoes in the world in 24-carat gold," he told AFP. "The particularity of these shoes is that gold is not simply applied, it is not like an accessory or a button. Gold is an integral part of the shoe". Small strips of gold are woven by hand and sewn with leather to ensure the moccasin uppers are comfortable.

Vietri is just one of a wave of "Made in Italy" producers seeking to tap into the high-end Gulf fashion market, particularly in oil-rich states such as the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Qatar. His men's gold line was launched in 2016 "after eight months of studies and attempts," Vietri said. The women's followed this year.

"The difficulty was in finding the right balance between the strength of the gold and the flexibility of the shoe," he said. "If the shoe is too light, the gold will bend. If the shoe is too heavy, it hurts." Each pair of shoes, made with 230 grams of gold, is one-of-a-kind and is made to measure using 3D foot scanners.

They retail for up to 25,000 euros (27,000 dollars ) for the men's collection, and 30,000 euros for the women's line. The price includes delivery by helicopter, and the shoes are presented in a black lacquered box.

Vietri also does a traditional line with prices starting at 250 euros, and another in which shoes feature designs by international artists. The luxury collection features silk pumps embellished with gold or silver and customers can decorate their chosen model with pearls or diamonds. (AFP)

Photo: Marco Bertorello / AFP

Fashion Scout opens applications

London-based emerging designer platform Fashion Scout has opened its applications for its spring/summer 2018 London showcase.

Fashion Scout is calling on emerging and established designers to apply for multiple showcasing options including catwalk, presentations, and installations, as well as the chance to feature within the London exhibition space.

Founder and creative director, Martyn Roberts, said: “Fashion Scout is dedicated to and passionate about seeking out and showcasing innovative design pioneers who want to reach an international audience. We welcome new talent applications and returning designers every season, and we look forward to seeing what this season has to offer.”

Fashion Scout opens applications

The London Fashion Week initiative has nurtured the likes of Peter Pilotto, Eudon Choi, Phoebe English, Georgia Hardinge, Felder Felder, David Koma and Roberts|Wood and is looking for the next generation of designers to make their mark on the international fashion scene.

Applications for Fashion Scout SS18 will close on the April 28 at 6pm. Successful applicants will then be invited to submit previous season’s samples alongside sketches for the new season to an industry panel in May.

Fashion Scout will take place from September 15-19 and will mark the platforms 23rd season during London Fashion Week.

Images: courtesy of Fashion Scout - Mark Fast and Pam Hogg

How Athleisure herald the Death of the Push-up Bra

London - Even though the first push-up bra, also known as the Wonderbra, didn't hit the international market until 1964, it seems as if the sensual padded bra has met an untimely death this year. British Vogue already declared that cleavage was ‘officially’ out of fashion last winter, as women across the globe seem to favour a softer, more natural breast shape in lieu of highly rounded pressed together bosoms. In order to achieve this more natural look, consumers have been seeking out more comfortable, functional bra styles - like sports bras, bralettes, and triangle bras.

Famous lingerie retailers, such as Victoria's Secret, La Perla and Agent Provocateur - best known from their sexy push-up bras, have in fact been struggling with the shift in consumer preference. Victoria Secret recently downgraded it's earnings estimates, whereas Agent Provocateur was sold off in a pre-pack administration deal after been hit by a decline in luxury spend. On the flip side, other lingerie retailers such as Aerie, For Love and Lemons and Lonely Girls have seen their sales soar over the past year. Why?

How Athleisure herald the Death of the Push-up Bra

Athleisure is said to have paved the road to ruin for padded and push-up bras

Data from retail analyst firm EDITED shows that the sell-out rates of push-up bras have dropped by 50 percent over the last three months. In comparison, the sell-out rates of bralettes and triangle bras have skyrocketed by 120 percent according to an analysis of 80 lingerie retailers across the UK, US and Europe. In addition, the sale of padded bras, once seen as the lingerie segment staple and most stocked style, has fallen by 22 percent over the same period of time - a true indication of the change in favoured bra styles.

"Established lingerie brands are facing stiff competition from newcomers like Lively, Negative and Adore Me," noted Katie Smith, Senior Fashion & Retail Market Analyst at EDITED. "With athleisure apparel now an everyday item, retailers need to break bralettes and sports bras out of trend status and add them to their core selection."

How Athleisure herald the Death of the Push-up Bra

In order to cater to consumers shifting preference lingerie retailers have begun embracing the softer side of the bra business. The 80 lingerie retailers studied - which include Victoria's Secret, House of Fraser and Nordstrom - have all reduced the number of new padded bra styles coming in by 38 percent on average over the last three months in comparison to a year ago. Push-up bras and t-shirt bra categories have also been reduced by 38 percent, while maternity bra styles are down 55 percent, strapless bras have been cut back 50 percent and balcony bras by 40 percent.

Overall, the amount of bra styles have decreased by 16.5 percent over the past three months, whereas the bralette and sports bras are up 18 percent and 27 percent respectively as the only bra categories showing growth. As consumers continue to seek out functional and comfortable apparel to take them from the office to the gym, sports bra and unstructured and wireless bras have seen a spike in demand.

How Athleisure herald the Death of the Push-up Bra

However the growing trend for softer bras does come at a price for the lingerie market, as unstructured bras tend to cost up to 26 percent less than their structures and reinforced counterparts according to EDITED. Soft-formed bras tend to cost much less to manufacture as they require less materials and sewing, as padded bras consist of more than 45 different components. But this in turn means that soft, unformed bras retail at a lower price point. This means that lingerie retailers have to sell more of their soft bras to order to reach the same sales figures as before.

In order to keep their sales of softer bras high, a number of lingerie retailers, like Victoria's Secret, have invested in marketing campaigns targeted at younger consumers to encourage them to continue buying this 'hot new trend'. Data shows that lingerie retailers sent out nearly 6 times more newsletter mentioning bralettes in February 2017 versus the same month last year, as new soft-bra styles mentions grew 29 percent.

How Athleisure herald the Death of the Push-up Bra

These new, softer formed product lines are also competitive as more and more lingerie retailers are moving to fill their lower price points - for example a year ago only 4.9 percent of Calvin Klein lingerie priced between 20 and 30 US dollars, versus 26.7 percent this year. A year ago 21 percent of Marks & Spencer's new bra arrivals were priced less than 20 dollars - now up to 73 percent cost less than 20 dollars.

But perhaps it is lingerie giant Victoria's Secret who has had the best response to the rise of the soft bra. The US lingerie retailer recently launched a new product, the sports bralette, which has had a tremendous response. The new bra style, which retails for 20 dollars, arrived in stores on January 1 and is currently sold out across six colours and four sizes. However no one knows how long the soft bra trend will last and how long consumers will continue to seek out soft bras, as many of these unstructured styles fail to offer sufficient support for larger breasted women.

How Athleisure herald the Death of the Push-up Bra

Photos:Victoria's Secret SS17 and Aerie SS17, Courtesy of Victoria's Secret and Aerie

Make in India: Beauty and the Beast creations

Like few others, "Beauty and the Beast" seems to be the timeless fairy tale that has inspired the fashion industry the most, doubtlessly helped by Disney's recently released live-action remake featuring Emma Watson as Belle. Christopher Kane was inspired to launch a Beauty and the Beast' capsule collection'; Disney fashion hit the runway at Amsterdam Fashion Week and Central Saint Martins students got help from the film's costume designer Jacqueline Durran to reimagine "Beauty and the Beast" in their creations.

Apart from showcasing breathtaking dresses, the main character's wardrobe in the Disney adaptation has also put those on the map who usually remain hidden behind the scenes: the artisans crafting the beautiful pieces. FashionUnited has taken a look at one piece in particular, the white bodice with an intricate flower design created in India, to show that there is more to the country's textile and garment industry than cheap labour and fast fashion.

Make in India: Beauty and the Beast creations

Designs made in India are far beyond fast fashion

In fact, nothing could be further from the truth - India has a long history of fine embroidery that has been influenced by a myriad of cultures, customs and religions over the ages. So much so that embroidery from every region has a flavour of its own and is so distinct that it is easily identifyable at a glance, be it Aari and Kashidakari from Kashmir, Chikankari from Uttar Pradesh, Kantha from Bengal and Orissa, Phulkari from Punjab, Persion Zardozi or Rajasthani patchwork and mirror work so popular with European tourists.

The feature film stood out for its breathtaking costumes and dresses and required a costume team of almost 100 people, which made an effort to source ethical, fair-trade and sustainable fabrics wherever possible - a fact that Emma Watson shared on her Instagram account.

The particular embroidery technique used for Belle's bodice is Aari, the traditional embroidery style of Kashmir in the north and the Kutch region of the western Indian state of Gujarat. Durran had the bodice designed and hand-stitched by Kusam and Juma, artisan brothers who live in Bhuj, Gujarat. They have learnt the craft from their late father Adam Sangar, a master craftsman, and have been practicing aari embroidery since they were teenagers.

Indian artisans are sought after

For the chain-stitch technique, which is also called crewel work after the long hooked needle that is used, the material is spread out on a frame. It involves a hook, which is plied from the top and fed by a silk thread from below, creating tiny concentric rings, which lead to a line of intricate chain stitches.

The advantage of the Aari technique is that it looks machine-made and is faster than other chain-stitching techniques. In addition, sequins and beads can be added for an even more festive look, which made the elaborate and intricate floral motifs favourites among Indian royalty. As Sinéad O’Sullivan, the film’s assistant costume designer, explained in an Instagram post: "This style lent itself very nicely to this eighteenth century French floral design."

Make in India: Beauty and the Beast creations

Needless to say, mastering this technique requires highly specialised skills and years of practice that do not come cheap. According to Quartz India, India is slowly establishing itself in the west as a source of highly skilled artisanal work: "With Hollywood movies and English-language TV shows indulging in the beauty of Indian textiles, the skills of the country’s craftsmen are in the spotlight. Big name production houses aren’t expecting Indian manufacturers to churn out a ton of cheap costumes. They’re ordering one-of-a-kind outfits and paying people well to create them. Slowly but surely, the perception of the Indian handicrafts industry is undergoing a makeover."

Photos: YouTube / Disney movie trailer & Pinterest

When are you too old to shop at Zara?

You can't put an age on fashion. Or at least you shouldn't. The high street and fast fashion businesses all target their directional (and disposable) collections at a wide demographic, even if they favour a younger customer. For years the epitome of a cool wardrobe has remained much the same - mixing designer fashion with high street and vintage - and there is no discrimination if you shop the high street chains as a 20 or 80 year-old.

But, new data shows there is an age limit for the high street aficionado. Tastes change, as do disposable incomes, and the older the shopper the less likely she is to pop into a high street store to purchase the latest on-trend items.

When are you too old to shop at Zara?

According to celebrity style guide Who What Wear, Ed Dilworth, founder and CEO of consumer analysis agency Insight Rooms, conducted a social engagement survey about Zara shoppers, noting the age of maximum engagement. The survey was formulated in a way that it appealed to 23 to 27 year olds who were the peak engagers, but the findings noted the older the consumer the least likely she was to engage with the brand. Over 27 year-olds engaged less than their younger peers, with engagement falling below 1 percent by shoppers over the age of 33.

While the median drop-off age is 25, Dilworth noted that Zara doesn't have as drastic an age cliff as other fast-fashion brands do, noted Who What Wear. Like other high street chains, Zara "skews young, but the looks include more conservative and classic styles that stretch up into that older range more than the youth brands."

Photo credit: Zara SS17, source: Zara.com