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Blend Re:wind: A new recycling technique for cotton & polyester separation

INTERVIEW London - A new recycling technique developed by Mistra Future Fashion could change the future of the fashion industry. Named Blend Re:wind, the chemical method separates both cotton and polyester from cotton/polyester blends which can be used again in new, high-quality products.

Cotton and polyester fibres in the blended textile are separated during a chemical process and divided into three, clean outputs during the process; cotton and two components of polyester, one which is solid and one which is liquid. The cotton pulp extracted from the recycling technique can be regenerated into high-quality viscose fibres and the polyester can be rebuilt into new, strong fibres. The new recycling technique has been welcomed as a circular solution for both materials, as well as a key development for future global textile recovery systems, to enable to the circularity of fashion and closing the loop for textile production.

Blend Re:wind: A new recycling technique for cotton & polyester separation

Blend Re:wind successfully separates cotton and polyester in cotton/polyester blends

“We came up with this method utilizing chemicals which are already used in the forest and viscose industry because we believe that this just the beginning of chemical recycling,” explained Dr Anna Palme, whose doctoral thesis project set the groundwork for the innovation to FashionUnited. She previously carried out extensive studies of used cotton/polyester sheets thrown away by hospitals. “In order to encourage the large-scale use of textile recycling within the fashion market and to scale the initiative up, we thought it would be very good to have a method which can be integrated into existing industries. The separated cellulosic materials, cotton, in this case, can be integrated into existing processes that use cellulosic materials, such as viscose production.”

The recycling of textiles to textiles while maintaining a high quality of the materials remains a complex task, as modern day clothing usually consists of several different material and fibre blends. Initiated in 2011, Blend Re:wind was developed together with the Swedish Mistra Future Fashion, together with research from the Chalmers University of Technology, RISE Research Institutes of Sweden and international forest group Södra. Unlike other recycling techniques, Blend Re:wind was developed using existing industrial processes to help minimise both the environmental costs and financial costs, to ensure the new technique is as sustainable as possible.

“A number of the other, newer recycling initiatives available today depend on the construction of a whole facility of their own - which can be costly, especially in Northern Europe," added Dr Palme, which is why the researchers developed the separation process to be integrated with other industries. "Our idea is to integrate the Blend Re:wind separation as much as possible, and to make it an add-on in already existing industries,” noted Dr Hanna de la Motte, head supervisor of Blend Re:wind. “With that, we have a hope to make textile recycling both simpler and cheaper. We hope that it will be taken on by other industries quickly and we aim to progress that.” However, ensuring the technique is able to move from the lab to scaled production remains expensive, and one of the biggest challenges. “It is in our progress, but it still early days.”

Blend Re:wind: A new recycling technique for cotton & polyester separation

Blend Re:wind has already received three awards from the textile and waste industry this year for it ground-breaking technology and attracted a wide range of interest. “We have a lot of interest from many different players in the textile recycling industry,” said Dr Palme. But both agree that Blend Re:wind should not be toted as the be all, end all when it comes to cotton/polyester separation and recycling. “We do not maintain that our solution is the best or the final solution to textile recycling, but we think this might be one viable solution which can quickly be launched on the market to help speed up the industry’s shift to adopting more sustainable practices up-stream,” stressed Dr de la Motte.

Although overall awareness regarding textiles recycling and sustainable practices is increasing all over the world with number of new initiatives stemming from Europe and the United States, do not expect to see t-shirts and jeans made using Blend Re:wind technology hanging in your favourite high street store any time soon, as this reality is still “a bit far away.” “We have a lot of fashion companies in the Mistra Future Fashion program and they are very supportive of this technique and giving us feedback. But the technology still needs to be integrated and I think it will be at least ten years before it a wide-scale, commercialized process. However, this depends on how much interest there is in the recycling process and which companies we collaborate with.”

“It is a very critical and sensitive moment for us, but we hope within ten years we can take the next steps, which will take another ten years,” continues Dr Palme. “What we have shown now is that the chemistry works, but to make it into a working process, going to pilot scale and beyond that takes time.”

Homepage photo: Mistra Future Fashion

Other photos: Pixabay

Claridge's unveils 2017 Christmas tree

Iconic London hotel Claridge’s has unveiled this year’s Christmas tree installation designed by Chanel creative director Karl Lagerfeld, featuring a series of inverted spruce Christmas trees placed around the hotel lobby.

Claridge's unveils 2017 Christmas tree

The festive installation is inspired by Lagerfeld’s childhood memories of Christmas, with the centrepiece to the display being a sixteen foot high inverted tree with silver gilded roots topped with a multi-faceted mirrored star which reflects rays of magical light across the art deco lobby.

Claridge's unveils 2017 Christmas tree

Reminiscent of a silver stalactite, the tree is hung with traditional silver lametta decorations, silver butter leather feathers and snowflakes handmade by craftsmen in Germany with tree candles giving a warm, inviting glow. Under the tree sit hand sewn white Icelandic sheepskin rugs to reflect a recent snowfall.

Claridge's unveils 2017 Christmas tree

In addition, an inverted candlelit tree takes the place of Claridge’s central chandelier to add a touch of Christmas chic, while the pure white linen cloths that cover the tables under the various trees are symbolic of a Christmas ritual that Lagerfeld’s mother would perform every year.

Claridge's unveils 2017 Christmas tree

Commenting on the collaboration Lagerfeld said: “Christmas trees are the strongest ‘souvenir’ of my happy childhood.”

Claridge's unveils 2017 Christmas tree

Karl Lagerfeld designs Claridge’s Christmas display

Claridge’s General Manager Paul Jackson added: “We are honoured and delighted that Karl Lagerfeld agreed to design our annual Claridge’s Christmas Tree. We believe this magical take on his childhood memories captures the spirit of the season perfectly and adds a sense of fun and glamour to our lobby.”

Claridge's unveils 2017 Christmas tree

Lagerfeld’s tree is the ninth designer Christmas collaboration for the hotel. The tradition started in 2009 when John Galliano then at Dior designed the tree for two consecutive years. Galliano's creations were followed by Alber Elbaz for Lanvin in 2011, Kally Ellis of McQueens in 2012, Dolce and Gabbana decorated the tree in 2013 and 2014, followed by Christopher Bailey and Burberry in 2015.

Claridge's unveils 2017 Christmas tree

Last year’s tree was led by Apple's chief design officer, Sir Jony Ive, and industrial designer, Marc Newson, who worked with British set designer Michael Howells to explore the relationship between nature and technology to produce a display that featured four-metre high light boxes with black and white photographic images of snow-covered silver birch trees, with a canopy of natural green pines creating a truly magical forest.

Claridge's unveils 2017 Christmas tree

Images: courtesy of Claridge’s

H&M hit with fresh accusations over incinerating new clothes

UPDATE London - Swedish fast-fashion giant H&M has been hit with fresh accusations concerning the incineration of new clothing. H&M reportedly burned 19 tonnes of new clothes in Västerås in 2016, which is nearly twice as much newly produced apparel the retailer is accused of burning in Denmark, according to a recent report from local media outlet SVT.

H&M is said to have sent large amounts of clothing to a waste plant at Västerås to be destroyed, burning the same amount of textiles as 50,000 pairs of jeans last year. However, the fashion retailer maintains it only destroys products which do not fulfill its safety regulations and rarely send products for incineration.

H&M hit with fresh accusations over incinerating new clothes

H&M accused of burning 19 tonnes of new apparel in Sweden in 2016

The fresh allegations concerning H&M disposal of potentially harmful clothing in Sweden come a little more than a month after the international retailer was accused of burning new and usable apparel in Denmark. Danish tv-programme Operation X from TV2 accused H&M of burning 12 tonnes of unsold, yet usable garments in Denmark per year, claims which the retailers has fiercely denied. "We are very concerned as to why some media would suggest that we would destroy usable clothing. There is absolutely no reason for us to do such a thing," wrote the company in a statement.

"It is our responsibility to ensure that everything we sell in our stores is safe. For us this is a basic requirement, and what is most important to us," added H&M. "Therefore, any garments that are deemed as potentially harmful to the health of our customers must be destroyed – they should not be sold to customers, donated to charity or recycled. This is our legal obligation." External tests released by the fashion retailer indicated that traces of mold and other harmful chemicals, such as lead, were present in the apparel destroyed in the report released by TV2.

H&M hit with fresh accusations over incinerating new clothes

H&M denies claims it destroys usable apparel

However, some wonder as to why a company like H&M, which previously pledged to remove all hazardous chemicals from its products by 2020, is still producing and shipping apparel which is potentially harmful to consumers. "The first question that strikes me is why are there so high levels of chemicals in the product that they can not be sold," said the Swedish Minister for the Environment, Karolina Skog (MP) to SVT. "I think it is a sign of something that is problematic. This reflects the great use of chemicals in production."

Unfortunately, potentially dangerous chemicals present in apparel is not the only reason why retailers, such as H&M, incinerate apparel. The incineration of harmful, dangerous or unwanted clothing remains a common practice throughout the fashion industry. For example, Danish fashion group Bestseller (parent company of Vero Moda, Only and Jack & Jones) stands accused of burning even more unwanted apparel, footwear and accessories last year, 49.2 tonnes to be exact. However, because H&M aims to become one of the leading sustainable fashion companies in the world, the fact that it takes part in such unsustainable practices has captured consumers and the media's attention.

H&M hit with fresh accusations over incinerating new clothes

"Shouldn’t any company that has committed to recycling find a way to remove contaminated labels from their jeans and recycle the rest?," argued Kirsten Brodde, Project Lead of Detox my Fashion campaign at Greenpeace. "If they take the problem of dangerous chemicals seriously, they shouldn’t be releasing potentially harmful substances into the atmosphere." However, apparel recycling, especially the recycling of potentially harmful garments remains a problematic area in the fashion industry. "We definitely see that this is a problem we want to address," said Cecilia Strömblad Brännsten, Environmental Coordinator at H&M to SVT.

The fashion giant stresses that it never destorys apparel that is safe to use. se. "We see clothes and textiles as a resource far too valuable to be destroyed," said H&M in a statement sent to FashionUnited. "Instead, all products that are safe to use are sold in our stores or are reused and recycled. In addition, we want our customers to know that the clothes we have collected in our stores through our garment collecting initiative are directly sent for reuse and recycling. Since 2013, we have collected 55,000 tonnes of textiles and we want to continue make it easy for our customers to give used clothes a new life."

H&M hit with fresh accusations over incinerating new clothes

The Swedish company notes product longevity remains important to them from an environmental perspective, whether their clothing goes to a charity organization or to a reuse and recycle company.H&M also aims to decrease the amount of apparel it incinerates each year in order to reach its sustainability goals, but the majority of other fashion retailers have yet to step forward and vow to do the same. "Needless to say, we want to sell all our products to our customers. We are therefore working preventive together with suppliers to improve processes – and the amount of clothes sent for destruction are decreasing every year. We have strict chemical regulations and our goal is to eliminate those chemicals that we have identified as hazardous from our production by 2020."

Photos credits: H&M Holiday Edition and Erdem x H&M

Burning t-shirt image: by William Farr, an installation artist and image maker

Louis Vuitton x Jeff Koons

The worlds of art and high fashion have once more collided with American artist Jeff Koons collaborating with luxury house Louis Vuitton.

The pairing sees a playful campaign featuring the artist for the brand’s holiday campaign, titled the “World of Wondrous Gifts.”

An ecommerce edit of styles include Koon’s interpretations of French master painters such as Manet and Gauguin, as well as Turner and Klimt, of which images are reinterpreted on bags alongside the Louis Vuitton monogram for its new gift collection.

Louis Vuitton x Jeff Koons

About artist Klimt Koon stated: “Today’s influencer-driven culture has been around longer than you may think. Austrian Gustav Klimt, made it-girls out of the Viennese women he painted. His goal: make them seem delightfully vicious, charmingly sinful, and fascinatingly perverse. It seems as though there’s lasting intrigue behind a cool bad girl.”

Louis Vuitton has previously worked with Koons on two retail collections inspired by the artist’s “Gazing Ball” series that reinterprets master works from painters such as Da Vinci and Monet.

Photo credit: Louis Vuitton website

Chanel and Pharrell debut exclusive sneaker

The world's most exclusive sneaker is here courtesy of Karl Lagerfeld, Pharrell Williams and Adidas Originals. The 1000 euros sneaker made its debut last night at Colette at a party celebrating Chanel's takeover of Colette. The sneakers are part of Pharrell's ongoing collaboraiton with Adidas.

The sneaker has arguably taken exclusivity to an entirely new level. There are only 500 pairs available, and 120,000 pre-registered to buy them. The resale value shot up to 32,000 dollars after the pre-registration period.

Pharrell's Chanel sneakers limited to only 500 pairs

“Officially, it’s the first time to my knowledge that the Chanel name has appeared on a product made by another brand, so it’s true that this makes it something very special,” said Sarah Andelman, creative director and purchasing manager at Colette to WWD.

500 people will be selected by a bailiff, and they will receive confirmation e-mails on how to purchase on Thursday. Williams has said he expects the resale value of the sneakers to go up to 40,000 dollars. Any merchandise affiliated with him is known to resell for multiple times its value. For example, his recent Adidas collaboration with N.E.R.D. is now going for up to 10,000 dollars.

This collaboration also has a philanthropic twist to it. Williams and Chanel plan on donating the profits to the Chanel Foundation, which aims to support women's empowerment throughout the world.

The collaboration is historic in that it is one of the last Colette will ever see. The famed department store is scheduled to close on December 20.

Photo: via Stockx.com

Make Smthng week rejects consumerism promoted by Black Friday

London - With Black Friday only two days away, retailers promotional discounts and sales are at the front and centre of all attention across high street and shopping centres. However, some organizations and brands are taking a stand against Black Friday by promoting other values and offering alternatives to the sale shopping day. Fashion Revolution, the non-profit behind the global movement ‘Who Made Your Clothes’ has teamed up with Greenpeace to launch Make Something week (Make Smthng), an initiative created to encourage consumers to buy less and make more.

Running global from December 2 to December 10, Make Something week follows on from Singles, Black Friday and Cyber Monday. The movement aims to encourage consumers to take a stand against over-consumption while enjoying the products they already own by mending, sharing, swapping, transforming repairing or even creating new ones. "Singles Day, Black Friday, Cyber Monday and other shopping days have become major peaks of consumerism. This shopping binge also generates greater volumes of waste than ever. This dangerous trend is harming our planet. We buy without thinking for a minute, but the waste we create will sometimes last for centuries,” said Chiara Campione, Greenpeace Italy global project leader of Make Smthng Week.

Make Smthng week rejects consumerism promoted by Black Friday

"We have been tricked into thinking happiness comes from what we buy, when we know that true happiness comes from what we can create. Making fantastic creations out of things that we already own is much more fun, creative and social than buying stuff.” Numerous events are set to take place around the world to promote this concept in cities including Brighton, Milan, Berlin, and Helsinki. Fashion Revolution will also be hosting a Disco Make at the Mercato Metropolitano on December 5 in London, which will include a series of events focusing on styling and upcycling second-hand clothes.

Alternatively, consumers are encouraged to create their own workshop or event for Make Smthng week, join the movement online and share their experience at makesmthng.org. “Reintroducing creativity, crafts, and emotions in our relationship with clothes is a brilliant way to take action,” added Orsola De Castro, Founder of Fashion Revolution. “After all, our wardrobes are a part of the fashion supply chain, and our choices can have a huge effect in making things better, for people and planet. We are producing over 100 billion garments x year, and wearing just a fraction of that. How much more stuff do we need? Time to care for the things we already own. Long Live My Clothes!"

Photos: © Greenpeace / Wendi Wu

Why Switzerland has growing appeal as a home for international apparel brands

Kate Berry & Sally Blaxall QHQ (q-hq.com)

Switzerland may be a small country located in Western Europe yet it has always held plenty of fashion appeal and a certain sense of glamour. Famous for its quaint Alpine ski resorts and historically attractive to an international fashionable crowd, Switzerland has always held pace with it’s neighbouring European countries. Idillic alpine villages such as Gstaad have long been frequented by the British Royal family, European aristocracy, Hollywood movie stars and the international jet set. Where else on the planet can you play snow polo on as part of your aprés ski?

As well as tourism, Switzerland is a leader in several global markets and the birthplace of many luxury brands and products. ‘Swiss’ has become a synonym for quality with its rich history of producing beautiful watches - incorporating classic designs and the latest tech-nology. Watch brands such as Brightling, Rolex, Omega and Tissot have created a global reputation for Switzerland as the leader in manufacturing timepieces. An impressive 90% of Swiss-made watches are exported for sale. Fashion watchmaker, Swatch has been a force to be reckoned with since the 1980s and has attracted many designer collaborations with key figures in the industry such as Vivienne Westwood.

Switzerland is also well know for it’s delicious chocolate - it has a rich heritage of chocolate making since the 17th century. Swiss milk chocolate is heralded as one of the best in the world - naming Lindt and Toblerone as two of it’s most high profile international brands, again creating a product that is exported for sale internationally.

There is also its reputation for banking - Swiss banks protect their client’s financial confi-dentiality from third party information requests and therefore attract the wealth of many high-income individuals worldwide. For eight years in a row, the World Economic Forum has placed Switzerland as the most competitive economy in the world.

Switzerland is now attracting the fashion industry as several high profile brands have moved their headquarters to Zurich in the last few years. Taking the fashion industry somewhat by surprise, leading fashion brand, Vetements relocated their headquarters from Paris to Zurich in March this year.

Why Switzerland has growing appeal as a home for international apparel brands

Zurich is a city with fashionable aspirations. It now hosts its own version of fashion week showcasing homegrown brands and talent. Vetements CEO, Guram Gvasalia stated at the time of the move that he and his designer brother, Demna, simply wanted a ‘clean slate’. ‘Paris kills creativity,’ he said in an interview with Swiss newspaper, Tages-Anzeiger, adding that Zurich also has lower taxes and less bureaucracy.

In Bern, Switzerland’s capital city, fashion shopping is a major draw for tourists - it boasts one of the longest shopping streets in Europe and pedestrian crossings sprinkled with Swarovski crystals. Richemont, one of the largest global fashion players bases itself in Switzerland, housing top fashion brands: Cartier, Montblanc and Chloé.

The booming retail industry in Switzerland includes established brands such as Strellson, Bally and Navyboot. Whilst high street brand, Chicorée is growing continuously in popularity. Swiss fashion retailer, Tally Weijl is going from strength to strength internationally, and now has stores in over 37 countries.

Switzerland has been attractive to multinationals (including fashion businesses) for many years due to its favourable tax regime where corporations with foreign operations can receive preferential treatment. In 2010, the Gucci Group transferred its headquarters from London to Cadempino, Switzerland. Zegna, Hugo Boss and Guess have administrative and supply chain hubs in the southern Swiss canton of Ticino. Whilst Stabio is already home to Timberland, North Face, Vans and Napapijri.

Kate Berry, director of QHQ “ We have certainly noticed an increase in companies recruit-ing for technical roles in Switzerland over the last year and we are looking forward to see-ing how the industry develops there in time.”

Check all jobs at QHQ here >>

Matchesfashion wins top prize at Walpole luxury awards

Walpole, the luxury trade body that represents some of Britain’s best-known luxury brands, has crowned Matchesfashion.com as British Luxury Brand of the Year at the 2017 Walpole British Luxury Awards held this week in London.

Matchesfashion were up against tough competition in luxury department store Harrods and Farfetch, which went onto pick up the best in Digital honour, beating Yoox Net-a-Porter and Charlotte Tilbury, in the 16th annual Walpole British Luxury Awards that celebrates the success of exceptional brands, experiences and individuals that make British luxury the world leader it is today.

Walpole’s chief executive, Helen Brocklebank said: “It’s never been more important to recognise the towering contribution British luxury makes to the UK. The brands and individuals we celebrate tonight add to the cultural and economic richness of the British Isles through regional job creation; the simultaneous preservation of, and innovation in, making and manufacturing skills; a strong focus on export and, of course, their overriding creativity, artistry and passion.”

Matchesfashion wins top prize at Walpole luxury awards

Gucci, Farfetch and Matchesfashion win Walpole awards

There was also honours for Gucci, which scooped the International Luxury Brand of the Year award, in a category that had Louis Vuitton, Ralph Lauren, Cartier, and Estée Lauder shortlisted.

Other winners included Johnstons of Elgin, who were awarded with the Commitment to British Manufacturing, while new Innovation and Creative award went to the Kingsman and Mr Porter collaboration, and Chatsworth House won the Walpole Award for Cultural Experience for its ‘House Style’ exhibition examining the history of fashion in English aristocracy in collaboration with Gucci.

Recognising Walpole’s 10-year long commitment to nurturing the next generation of British luxury brands, the Brands of Tomorrow Award for Emerging Talent was presented to House of Hackney, Aurelia Probiotic Skincare,Seedlip and Tom Raffield, which were all identified by the judging panel as new British brands with the “potential for success on a global scale”.

Author, fashion writer and editor-in-chief of Harper’s Bazaar and Town and Country, Justine Picardie was presented with the Lifetime Achievement Award as Harper’s celebrates its 150th birthday and Imran Amed, was awarded the Leader in Luxury for his advocacy of British fashion and luxury though the industry-leading Business of Fashion, which he is the founder and editor-in-chief, while the visionary designer, craftsman and furniture maker, Mark Wilkinson, was posthumously awarded the Walpole Honour.

There were also awards for Land Rover, who won the Export Excellence award, while Bentley were named Luxury Maker of the Year, and Glenmorangie were awarded with Luxury with a Heart accolade.

Matchesfashion wins top prize at Walpole luxury awards

Winners were selected by an expert panel of judges from the luxury industry led by Michael Ward, managing director of Harrods and Walpole’s Chairman; Gillian de Bono, editor of FT How to Spend It; Hannah Rothschild, chair of The National Gallery’s Board of Trustees; Stefan Sielaff, design director at Bentley; Marcus Wareing, chef patron of two-Michelin starred Marcus; Henrietta Jowitt, deputy director general, CBI; and Tim Delaney, chairman of Leagas Delaney.

Images: via Walpole website

Parsons MFA Rejects Business of Fashion’s School Rankings

OPINION The value of education has never been more under the microscope with fashion education booming, tuition sky-high, and more fashion programs and fashion graduates entering the marketplace than ever before yet no corresponding marked increase in jobs. The spike in interest among young people towards a fashion career, known as the “Project Runway Effect,” has led to an oversupply of designers and in turn to the emergence, three years ago, of the Business of Fashion's Global Ranking of Fashion Schools. Almost overnight it became a standard bearer that no one publicly questioned. But as a fashion instructor, I could foresee how the desire to rate highly on this list, and advance from year to year, might become enmeshed with school morale, perceived legitimacy, donor satisfaction, and industry reputation all of which could potentially trickle down to affect the students’ learning experience.

Parsons MFA Rejects Business of Fashion’s School Rankings

Thanks, but no thanks

Which is why the decision communicated this weekend by Parsons MFA Fashion Design & Society program, to withdraw its participation in the rankings is so laudable. The MFA program is only five years old but entered the rankings last year at #8. Parsons undergraduate program occupied the #2 spot for 2017 and as yet there has been no announcement from the school on whether it will withdraw also. But immediate support came from Jennifer Menniti, Department Chair of Fashion at Pratt, who responded on Facebook, ‘Thank you, Parsons! Pratt Fashion stands in solidarity with you. We also decided to no longer participate in the rankings created by BoF for the reasons you state.’ The ensuing conversation on whether other programs, nationwide and globally, will follow suit essentially pits the individual integrity of the philosophical mission of each school or program against BoF’s one-template- fits-all popularity contest so indicative of our reality-TV modern culture. It could provide an opportunity for some much-needed soul-searching to occur inside the nation’s hallowed halls of learning, the effect of which could transform the industry at large. Parsons MFA director, Shelley Fox, in the school’s official statement lists four reasons behind their decision, the first being their disagreement with a main criteria of BoF’s assessment: rate of graduate employment. Describing our industry as the ‘2nd biggest polluter’ and in ‘a place of undeniable confusion acknowledging its slow structural collapse,’ Parsons objects to the idea that schools should set out to slot students unquestioningly into the current broken system and consider it a measure of success.

Responsible for a Revolution

The statement reads “It is irresponsible to participate in any ranking system that considers enrollment into an industry that promotes unhealthy consumerism; a behavior that has been nurtured and manipulated by the industry for the sake of revenue and growing businesses, and in return contribute to the destruction of our planet and the future of our existence." As an educator in this competitive yet highly negligent industry, I am forced to endlessly examine if I am providing students with what I believe to be the right knowledge (often moral rather than skills-based) and find myself conflicted between the damage our industry inflicts and my continuance to operate within it. My mandate of preparing students for that industry while remaining highly critical of it has only been strengthened by Parsons decision. It takes pioneers to inspire pioneers. Stepping off to reflect instead of blazing forward regardless is what’s needed if we are to move forward. Reminding us that a revolution does not happen overnight, Parsons places emphasis on being able to ‘imagine the impossible’ over being ‘programmed for a role.’

While it has been somewhat disheartening during these three years of the list’s existence to see respected century-old institutions regarded as commodities, being selected like players up for the NFL draft, that had swiftly become the new reality. But Parsons MFA takes issue with the idea that schools should be in competition with each other explaining that many of their student body and faculty members were previously educated at rival schools, and express gratitude for the diversity of knowledge and experience they bring to their program. This collaborative spirit feels in tune with the Millennial and Gen Z mindsets and casts the Business of Fashion's approach in an outdated light with, at its core, a clique mentality and peer pressure as its fuel.

Parsons MFA Rejects Business of Fashion’s School Rankings

NYC or Bust?

A concern that most students from schools across the country will have had at one time or another (and most likely their parents too) is whether their degree is as worthy as one from an NYC school, where the fashion industry exists right on the doorstep. Comparing a school in the midwest with one in Manhattan certainly isn’t comparing apples to apples which Parsons also acknowledges stating that each school has ‘its own challenges from a geographical and budgetary perspective’ that are not figured into the Business of Fashion’s calculations. Schools located in large metropolises versus those located outside should not be viewed as superior or inferior; location ‘merely presents a difference,’ says Parsons. ‘A difference that should not be challenged by a rank.’

Conflict of Interest

The statement ends with concern regarding a conflict of interest surrounding the ranking system itself. A year after its creation and after ‘institutions voluntarily handed over all their data in the hopes to become part of a seemingly much sought after ranking’ BoF launched their own educational courses, potentially benefitting unfairly from the information they learned and thereby setting themselves up in competition with the schools while appearing to remain outside the educational system.

Leader In Scholarly Pursuit

Oscar Wilde said, ‘Education is an admirable thing, but it is well to remember from time to time that nothing that is worth knowing can be taught.’ Parsons advocates for the pursuit of autonomous learning and uncharted paths, asserting, ‘From our perspective education should be a time where students can explore, research, fail, discover, build confidence, be challenged, articulate awareness and create a real sense of responsibility in the roles they seek to fulfill – whether these are roles that currently exist or ones that still need to be carved out.’ More than ever we are in need of mold breakers and revolutionaries, not self-serving showboaters seeking a hollow moment of glory. Our esteemed institutions might successfully maintain their leadership positions by not vying for the number one spot. All the same, someone always needs to be first. Bravo to Parsons MFA.

By contributing guest editor Jackie Mallon, who is on the teaching faculty of several NYC fashion programmes and is the author of Silk for the Feed Dogs, a novel set in the international fashion industry.

All photos from Parsons Facebook and Instagram pages

Fashion is a year round endeavor, so fall/winter and spring/summer aren't enough for brands anymore. Pre-collections, including resort and pre-fall, have become key components of many brands business models. Designer Alexandre Mattiusi of AMI wasn't going to let himself miss out on his piece of the marketshare.

After seven years of designing his eponymous namesake label, the designer has announced he will be introducing pre-collection which launch mid-May of next year and will include staples like outerwear and jersey fabric pieces.

AMI has been seeing impressive growth and a growing customer base. The brand currently counts a total of six stores, including locations in Paris, Tokyo, Hong Kong, London and a new section in Galeries Lafayette set to open this spring.

While the brand hasn't opened a U.S. store yet, the country currently represents their second largest market in terms of sales for their e-commerce site. Mattiusi has declined to disclose specific sales figures.