Joseph Altuzarra knows a thing or two about a woman’s power.
Every woman knows that above all else, wearing strength and confidence is the ultimate essence of style. Perhaps what makes Altuzarra’s designs so appealing is his connectedness to these ideals, and his desire to nurture the modern woman’s fierce femininity.
The result is a synergy of sophistication and sexy exemplified by tailored cuts and draped dresses, inspiring a comparison to Tom Ford, the designer’s idol.
Personally, I have a vested appreciation for designers like Altuzarra who support a woman’s ability to power dress. Encouraging a woman to show her authority, edge, and sexiness reflects her empowered choice to display her strength through her clothes. Sure enough, these themes are apparent in the trajectory of Altuzarra’s collections, in which his commitment to making women feel modern, seductive, and sexy is manifested.
While Altuzarra sites his multicultural upbringing as his primary influence (he was born to a Chinese mother and a French father), what I’d love to know more about Altuzzara is how his Asian roots play a part in his decisions as a designer. He has mentioned in a previous interview that his mother is his greatest supporter; I am curious to know if his vision for the modern, strong woman is in large part, inspired by her. And if so, how? How do his two cultures mold his ideas of womanhood and power?
As an Asian-American woman craving more vocal and diverse representations of Asian culture in creative spaces such as fashion, I hope Altuzarra opens the doorways to this side of his heritage. With any luck, maybe the story will unfold on the runway for all to see.Comments
Muse of the Moment: Carolina Issa
Carolina Issa is a Chinese-Lebanese fashion icon. Formerly a management consultant in the finance industry, she is now the fashion director and publisher at TANK Magazine. She is a fixture in street style blogs, known for mixing and matching wardrobe staples with trendy pieces and statement shoes. She is based in London, UK.
I’m the daughter of immigrant parents. I was born in Manila, Philippines, and was raised in a modest little town in South Sacramento, California. At one point, I worked three jobs to support my college education. Challenging as it was, I wanted to fight for my education, and was blessed with the opportunity to learn the value of a strong work ethic, and the blessing of living life with passion. With humble beginnings, it was beyond my wildest dreams to one day end up at Paris Fashion Week. But here I am.
This is for every person with big dreams, a heart full of courage, and a belief that you will be somebody who will leave a legacy in the world through your gift and your purpose. Believe that there is something great meant for you. Dare to take the risk, follow your intuition, be kind to others, and work hard. Be a giver of your gifts. I promise you the rewards are greater than what is imaginable.
My second writeup for Paris Fashion Week is up! Have a peek :)
I’m in Paris Fashion Week for the first time! Honored to write about Asian designers showing in Paris for Asian-American Magazine Audrey. As a fashion student, I am delving into all aspects of the industry, including journalism. While social responsibility in fashion is my concentration, stretching my fashion journalism muscles is an amazing way to observe the industry at work. Check out my first attempt at a writeup here.
Diane von Furstenberg is much, much more than that infamous wrap dress. She’s got something far bigger that she wants us all to wrap our heads around: the fact that women’s voices are vital, no matter where in the world they may be.
While Diane von Furstenberg is most easily associated with the iconic wrap dress that she created, what makes her remarkable in my books is her relentless commitment to empowering women. She is a vocal champion for an organization called Vital Voices, a non-governmental organization (NGO) that combats human trafficking of women and girls, and invests in women to help them become local leaders and entrepreneurs.
In addition to the other philanthropic contributions Diane makes to numerous organizations (many of them women-focused), she has also established the DVF Awards, an award that celebrates women leaders. DVF Award recipients receive $50,000 from Diane’s family foundation in order to sustain projects that improve the social, economic, and political standing of women.
In a world that often fails to value women beyond the physical, Diane’s commitment to honor women around the world is inspiring and encouraging. I find it incredibly refreshing to have a powerful female designer who seeks to outfit women far beyond the clothes, but rather, offer them confidence, opportunity, and positive change.
No wonder it’s such a thrill to wrap oneself around a DVF dress- it’s made with pure love and recognition for girl power. It’s the perfect dress to conquer the world in.Comments
In 1964, a young designer named Kenzo Takada left his provincial city of Himeji, Japan, to see the world. He bought a one-way ticket to Europe aboard a ship, where the six-week journey took him to ports in Hong Kong, Vietnam, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Djibouti, and Egypt before arriving and settling in Paris. It was this colorful journey that influenced the foundation for his designs, a myriad of pieces that inspired one to believe that the world and all of its cultures, is indeed a beautiful place.
It was the beginning of the fashion house known as Kenzo.
Born to traditional Japanese parents, Takada was encouraged to attend University as a literature student. Much to his parents’ dismay, he left school to be the only male student at the Tokyo Bunka Fashion College, and in 1960, won the Soen award, a prestigious award for Japan’s most hopeful designers.
His pursuit as a fashion designer led him to settle in Paris, where his first boutique was called “Jungle Jap”. While the term “Jap” was known as a derogatory word for Japanese people, Kenzo reclaimed the word for his work, with intent to redefine it by associating it with something beautiful.
As Vogue magazine describes, his first boutique captured the “joyful spirit of a multicultural world’. At a time in the 60’s when streamlined structures dominated the fashion world, Kenzo entered the scene introducing the Eastern custom of wrapping loose layers with his kimono-inspired designs. Eclectic, spirited, and vibrant, his work clashed prints, textures, and color, a practice influenced by his travels. He was among the first designers to celebrate cultural unity and diversity, long before the famed multicultural ad campaigns of the United Colors of Benetton.
Kenzo once said, “When I’m in Tokyo, I feel French. When I’m in Paris, Japanese.” This in-between cultural space, along with his extensive travels, was the crux of his free-spirited stamp in his designs.
Kenzo was bought out by LVMH in 1993, and is now succeeded by New York based Asian-American designers Humberto Leon and Carol Lim of the equally eclectic boutique, Opening Ceremony.
Learning about Kenzo’s history, aesthetic, and philosophy has now made him one of my favorite designers. May his beautiful world live on.Comments
A blog post from my Fashion Journalism class, as I explore the realms of social responsibility and the fashion industry*
Something special has been happening in fashion, and I hope it’s here to stay: as brands like H&M, Kenneth Cole, and Marks & Spencer have proven, cause-related marketing is in full fashion. As I continue my journey in seeking to build the bridge between fashion and social responsibility, I can’t help but feel excited about my research in cause-related marketing .
With thanks to my socially-minded Millennial generation, “buying good” is in style. Millennial consumers have grown up as the most active generation of volunteers since the 1930’s and 1940’s, making social contributions a priority in their lifestyle and spending habits. As a result, many companies in and out of the fashion industry have attached social causes to their marketing initiatives, demonstrating that they too, are invested in making an impact in society.
H&M has once taken on the “Fashion Against Aids” campaign, which has raised over $11 million over the course of 5 years.
Kenneth Cole has established the “Awearness” fund, a not-for profit initiative that encourages volunteerism and social change.
British retailer Marks & Spencer created the “Shwop” program, a recycling/upcycling initiative that encourages customers to donate old clothing items for a chance to win a gift card. The clothes are then donated to Oxfam, who reuses them to help communities overcome poverty.
So why cause marketing? Well, these initiatives not only raise funds for causes, but also significantly increase brand loyalty among Millennials, thus increasing company profits- a win-win situation, even from the business standpoint. Of course, businesses have their own selfish reasons for giving back to the world, but as long as they’re actually doing it (with integrity), I’ll continue to be excited about it (with my critical eye intact) .
At a time when the fashion industry is still under hot water and public scrutiny from thedevastating collapse of clothing factories in Bangladesh last year, I argue that cause-related marketing is no longer an option, but a necessity. The industry MUST work harder in giving back to the global community, and make it a core priority.
While there is still much, much more work to be done in ensuring that companies are truly operating ethically and responsibly, cause-related marketing (however small of a step it may be) is a good start.
Let’s just hope they finish strong.Comments