Thursday, December 12, 2019

Madewell Is Reselling Its Own Used Jeans

Madewell began its commitment to extending the lifecycle of clothing long ago with its "Blue Jeans Go Green" denim recycling program: When you donate any pair of jeans, you're given $20 off a new pair. (Could that then fuel unnecessary consumption? Sure, but few recycling/sustainability programs are perfect.) It also launched a fair-trade denim capsule earlier this year. Starting Monday, Madewell is taking that commitment to circularity a step further through a partnership with ThredUp, the massive secondhand online retailer.

They've collaborated on "The Madewell Archive," a collection of pre-owned jeans that Madewell sourced from Thredup. Each pair was hand-selected, washed and refurbished and, now, placed into select stores for sale for $50 a pair — quite a bit cheaper than a new pair of Madewell jeans, which are typically around $130. They'll be available in select stores in Austin, Chicago, Nashville and NYC starting on Oct. 14 and California starting on Nov.1.

"At Madewell, we're on a mission to create the longest, most sustainable lifespan for our denim, whether you're purchasing a new pair that are made through sustainable practices or recycling old ones through our longstanding denim recycling program," said Anne Crisafulli, head of merchandising at Madewell, in a statement.

"At ThredUp, our mission is to extend the life of clothes through resale," added Karen Clark, VP of partnerships at Thredup. "When a brand as loved as Madewell embraces secondhand, it says a lot about the evolution of fashion and the promise of a more circular future." The news fittingly follows parent company J.Crew's recent announcement that Madewell is being spun off into its own company, which will be taken public with an IPO. As part of that process, the brand released a prospectus that majorly emphasizes the brand's commitment to sustainability.

Meanwhile, as Thredup has raised money and expanded, it's pursued a number of partnerships, including with Reformation and Cuyana, wherein Thredup essentially powers recycling programs for each brand: Shoppers receive or can print a Thredup shipping label, send in unwanted items and receive credit to use at that brand. More recently, it partnered with Macy's and J.C. Penney, both of which are selling used items from Thredup in their stores. Madewell marks the first brand to resell its own items via Thredup, but it's a model we could see becoming more common so long as the items aren't overly trendy and are, well, made well, so that they hold up — both qualities we should all be looking for in our clothing anyway to ensure it lasts.

Mulberry Just Launched A 100% Sustainable Handbag

After a successful collaboration with Acne Studios last month, British heritage brand Mulbery is back in headlines with news of their first entirely sustainable handbag. Named the Portobello Tote, the bag is manufactured entirely in the UK at Mulberry’s carbon-neutral Somerset factories.

The heavy grain leather used for the bag is a by-product of food production (so no animals were harmed during the process) and comes from a tannery with a gold-star rating from Leather Working Group, a leather-industry focused organization, on the basis of its environmental operations and output. The tote is unlined and has been stitched with Epic EcoVerde thread, a recycled polyester fibre.

“Our starting point for this family was the ultimate everyday item, the plastic bag – functional, but throwaway,” said Johnny Coca, Mulberry’s Creative Director, in a statement. “The Portobello keeps the beautiful utility of this silhouette and elevates it into an elegant tote that is practical and, more importantly, made to last.”

The bag is inspired by the brand’s hallmark colour Mulberry Green, a reflection of their commitment to social and environmental responsibility. For all Mulberry handbags, the brand offers a lifetime restoration service which encourages customers to repair, rather than replace, well-loved bags. One route to sustainability is buying less and buying better, so purchasing a bag that you’re confident will last a lifetime is a great way to keep your environmental impact low.

100% of net proceeds from the sale of the bag will go to the World Land Trust, a conservation charity that funds the creation of reserves and provides permanent protection for habitats and wildlife. The bag is available in store and online in a range of shades: Black, Midnight, Chestnut, Nordic Blue, Crimson, Tangerine Orange and Mulberry Green, for CAD 1450.

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Louis Vuitton’s Latest Foray Into Furniture Proves Knowledge Is The Ultimate Luxury

In many ways, Miami in December bears an alarming parity to fashion week: nestled between the official schedules of Basel and Design Miami this year, there have been shows (Dior Men’s), branded performances (Iggy Pop, dressed in Gucci), and plenty of parties (Bottega Veneta turned an American diner into a gold-papered luxury parody). There seem to be as many clothes designers milling about the fair as there are artists; as many musicians and fashion editors as art critics or collectors. “Miami is the crossworld of music, fashion, art, luxury and hedonism,” explains Louis Vuitton CEO Michael Burke. “And there’s a magical moment in time during the first week of December where people who typically don’t mix, mix.”

It makes sense, then, that Louis Vuitton has now amplified its presence here – although not with a glitzy fashion gala, or a giant Ghesquière exhibition, but through the quiet expansion of their Objets Nomades project. “Miami doesn’t need another fashion moment,” reflects Burke, who notes that the very foundation of this brand is rooted in Gaston-Louis Vuitton’s design innovation for the flat-topped travelling trunk. So, “when we come to Miami, we are respectful of the design industry. And we want to be a player in the design industry.”

Accordingly, this year marked the first satellite showcase of Louis Vuitton’s Objets Nomades furniture – although it has maintained an impressive presence at the Design Miami tent, it has also evolved into an exclusive off-site affair for customers whose relationship with Vuitton extends beyond the transactional. “Transactional modes are really only appropriate for generic products – bars of soap, toothpaste,” Burke smiles of the 400 guests invited from around the world to explore rooms installed with Marcel Wanders sofas and André Fu’s conversation chairs (alongside more exotic handbags and custom-order trunks than you’d ever find elsewhere). “But there are other ways of spending: with time, with curiosity.”

Those who invest in Objets Nomades are testament to the fact: the furniture Louis Vuitton creates is not flashy; is not decorated with monograms or formed from exotic skins, but has a quiet, understated elegance. Rather than simply seeking status symbols, its customers are looking for pieces whose creation can not only be traced from ideation to atelier, but offer entry into a world where they can meet the designers, and learn the stories of their inspirations firsthand. “They don’t want to be marketed to; they don’t want to be sold to; they’re not looking for a monolithic, top-down, one-vision brand story,” says Burke. “What they are seeking is authenticity and provenance.”

Take, for example, its new shelving system designed by Andrew Kudless: they don’t simply want to know that it’s limited edition, or particularly valuable, nor that those coming to their houses might immediately understand those facts. “They want to know Andrew, the man who drew that [shelf]. And why did he draw it; what inspired him? In what way is it global? In what way is it Vuitton? How did we meet? How did this all come about?”

This exclusive subset of customers offer an interesting reflection of the luxury market as a whole: a space which, over the past decade and under the weight of the digital age, has radically shifted. A new generation of consumers are more in tune to marketing gimmicks than those who preceded them; are increasingly bombarded with information; are hyper-aware of fashion’s role in a global context. They want custom clothing, exclusive colourways, rare trainers (Vuitton has now introduced a custom trunk to keep those in). But even more than that, says Burke, “They want to know: why did Virgil end up at Vuitton? They don’t want to hear that he is the best of his generation, and that’s why we hired him. That may be true, but that’s not enough. They want to know: where did we meet? How did we connect? 

What are the bridges?” In the information age, where everything appears available and no edition is ever limited enough, firmly establishing that relationship between a customer and a luxury brand appears of paramount importance – whether you’re buying a shelf or a handbag. In that sense, while Objets Nomades’s Miami expansion might not provide a conventional insight into the fashion sphere, its success – and judging by the enthusiasm of its crowd, it’s certainly a success – is definitely offering one.

“It Needs to be Incredibly Personal”: Jonathan Anderson Opens Loewe’s First New York Store

It might seem impossibly bold to arrive stateside, among the ruins of department stores and boutiques past, and open a new luxury-shopping mecca. But in the world of Loewe’s Jonathan Anderson, retail is neither dead nor dying, but evolving at a whipstitch pace. “I think retail is about reflecting what’s actually happening. I think if you don’t move with the times, it’s very difficult to keep up,” Anderson tells Vogue over the phone from Miami, where he has just celebrated Loewe’s fifth installment of its Chance Encounters series at Art Basel. He’s definitely keeping up with Loewe’s new store at 79 Greene Street in SoHo.

The Anderson method of evolution is to keep Loewe’s retail concepts close to his heart. Positioned as curator in chief of the Spanish brand, Anderson has spent six years shaping the Loewe world as a manifestation of his own inner passions. “It doesn’t happen overnight. I’m glad that we’ve taken six years to open in New York because I think it takes time to build a story, and I think it takes time to be able to build brands. I think we’re in this abstract moment of hype where brands have to work in six months. It’s impossible!” he declares. “It takes time to build a DNA that is right for a store and the right environment—and it shouldn’t be perfect. We end up trying to build, in a weird way, mausoleums, whereas I think stores need to be emotional places. When I buy something, I find it’s a very emotional process. You’ve got to work really hard to make money, and then, you know, you treat yourself.”

As such, his new store, nestled on a bustling block of SoHo, bucks the bigger, brighter, bolder trend for neon lights and shock-jock art installs of late in favor of the warmth and intimacy of a home. “I think it just needs to be incredibly personal,” Anderson continues. “If we go too generic, then I feel that we lose the message. I think that what’s important about Loewe, that I went out with this kind of fantasy to build a cultural brand, and I feel like the stores should be—for me, for anyone—about more than just purchasing.”

That’s a bold mandate, but Anderson’s brand of taking big swings is working. Building Loewe into something more than just buttery leather bags, cerebral ready-to-wear, and annual art-world collaborations has made the brand more than just a thing to buy into; it’s a life goal. “That’s why we have fan zines, that’s why we have posters, that’s why we have talks programs, that’s why I try to go out around the world and find a Rennie Mackintosh chair for the store,” he says. “I think what our customer wants is an honest opinion of something. They want an edit. They want personality. I think if you don’t do storytelling then it’s very complicated to be able to compete. There are so many brands. You have to tell the story through the store and make the retail experience exciting and fulfilling.”

In New York, the Loewe story you will find is a decidedly domestic one. “How I would want to live is how I would want to shop,” Anderson says, noting the tapestries from the spring 2018 show that are collaged around the store as a wallpaper and the artworks by a range of working female artists that dot the space. Lisa Brice’s five-panel piece is the flagship artwork. “I wanted something which was kind of showing a sensuality of woman,” he says of Brice’s piece. “I like this idea of women being able to express sexuality.”

You might catch some more of that heat at the opening party for the store tonight, where, after cocktails, Anderson will transport his crew from SoHo to an Upper East Side mansion. “The party is like, I don’t know,” he cuts off with a laugh. “I always fantasize that I lived in New York. Maybe I’m just a British person looking in, wondering what it would be like to live in New York, but the idea of the party is a house party in every sense, where people can have conversations in the bathroom, but at the same time there’s an abstraction. Do you feel like you could fall into the floor? Are you doing magic mushrooms or not?” Anderson says. “The best parties you go to are house parties you never plan.” Anderson might be a man with a big plan for the future, but even the cleverest among us like to let loose now and then. At Loewe, you can do it all—plus buy a great dress.

The Museum At FIT Unveils ‘Power Mode: The Force of Fashion’

Clothing can pack a punch, as evidenced in the Museum at FIT’s new exhibition “Power Mode: The Force of Fashion.”

While big-shouldered Eighties-friendly power suits might immediately come to mind, that is only one of the emboldening styles that is on view in the Fashion & Textile History gallery through May 9. Visitors are meant to mull over the roles fashion plays in establishing, reinforcing, and challenging power dynamics within society. Many of the 50 objects from the museum’s permanent collection are being shown to the public for the first time, including an oversized Marc Jacobs-designed suit that Lady Gaga wore last year and a Thom Browne shrunken suit that’s similar to the style worn by LeBron James during last year’s NBA playoffs.

Set up as a curatorial exploration more than a comprehensive overview, “Power Mode” is broken down into five categories – military uniforms, suits, status, sex and resistance. Emma McClendon, associate curator of costume at The Museum at FIT, who organized the show, said, “Power gets used so much in relation to fashion and there are so many ways people think about power and fashion. There is no way that we can show every possible example of a garment that might be considered powerful. Instead this show — through the themes — is trying to explore and examine the various multifaceted ways that power is expressed in clothing.”

While military uniforms like the 1945 World War II “Ike” jacket or the military-inspired, like a fall 2010 Burberry ensemble, may be obvious choices, the suit section features the expected power suit, and the more unexpected prison suit. Vetements’ DHL $250 shirt is another new acquisition that is on view. That design by former creative director Demna Gvasalia was an immediate sellout and is one of McClendon’s favorite looks in the show. A “biting twist on the branded status dressing of contemporary high fashion,” she said the shirt’s high price tag and limited distribution made the garment a status item in its own right, “raising issues about class, aspiration, and power.” A Pyer Moss ensemble designed by Kerby Jean-Raymond and inspired by 19th-century black cowboys is another personal favorite.

As for those gallery visitors who may have preconceived notions of power dressing, McClendon aims to refresh their views. “My hope is that they will see objects that they recognize but then they might find others that challenge their perception of the particular theme. One of the more startling is the prisoner uniform being shown in the suits section. It reframes and calls into question how we even define the suit,” she said.

The resistance section highlights current political and societal influences like the hot pink knit hats worn by many supporters in the national women’s marches. T-shirts imprinted with “Black Lives Matter” and white suits — a favorite look with some U.S. female politicians as a nod to the Suffragette movement — are also featured in the exhibition. There is also a red “Make America Great Again” hat.

The idea for “Power Mode” was sparked by McClendon’s research for previous exhibitions “The Body,” “Denim” and “Uniformity” at the Museum at FIT — all of which explored the power dynamics inherent in clothing. “That led me to take a step back to consider what makes a garment powerful and as a conduit of societal power,” she said. All in all, McClendon wants visitors to think about the social meanings in their clothes. More than two years in the making, the exhibition was first envisioned during the aftermath of the 2016 U.S. presidential election. The fact that the 2020 election is approaching seemed fitting from her perspective.

Supreme Trunk Matches Hermès Birkin Price To Top Christie’s ‘Hype’ Auction

Christie’s brought in more than $2.1 million in its Handbags x Hype online auction, thanks in part to an Hermès matte white Himalaya Niloticus Crocodile Birkin 30 and a Louis Vuitton x Supreme Monogram Malle Courrier 90 Trunk, which both doubled their low estimates and sold at $125,000 each.

While an overall total of 89 percent of the pieces were sold during the auction, Supreme merchandise exceeded that number, selling 95 percent of its pieces including an Everlast Boxing Group that sold for $17,500, Stern Pinball Machine for $32,500 and a set of two signed Kaws Chum Skateboards also for $32,500, which was also four times its low estimate. Also, a set of five Damien Hirst Dots Skateboards sold for $15,000 and a Louis Vuitton x Supreme red Classic Monogram Skateboard sold for $30,000.

Additional notable sales include a Hermès multicolor One Two Three & Away We Go Birkin by Nigel Peake that sold for three times its estimate at $47,500, a limited-edition black calfbox leather So Black Birkin 35 for $37,500, and a custom matte Mimosa and Gris Perle Alligator Birkin 30 for $50,000.

“The strong sale results demonstrate Christie’s ability to meet our clients’ ever-changing needs and rise to new market demands,” said Caitlin Donovan, head of sale for handbags and accessories at Christie’s. “This auction successfully captured luxury as it is defined today and we were delighted to see the wide range of global participation with bidders from the U.S., Asia, Europe, and the Middle East.”

The sale further cements skateboards, handbags and consumer products as collectible assets comparable to art pieces. In May 2018, French auction house Artcurial held an auction dedicated to Supreme products, including Supreme-branded punching bags and boxing gloves with Everlast, a Spalding basketball, various box logo T-shirts, an electric guitar, Kaws, Futura and Barbara Kruger works and select Louis Vuitton x Supreme pieces.

Many Supreme skate decks are available and on view at Otis, the new investment app that sells shares of art pieces, sneakers, handbags and other collectibles. The app also offers an Hermès Birkin bag.

This summer, Sotheby’s held a similar auction with Stadium Goods to sell 100 rare sneakers, which were acquired privately by entrepreneur and collector Miles Nadal. The Nike Moon Shoes from the 1972 Olympic Trials sold for $437,000, which set a Guinness Book World Record for the most expensive shoes sold in the world.

Chanel Unveils Holiday Destination With AR Installation At The Standard Hotel

Chanel is popping up at The Standard’s High Line location in New York. For just four days, the luxury brand is creating a small world within the West Side hotel called “Chanel No.5 in the Snow.”

This “holiday destination,” as Chanel describes it, will be open from December 12th to 15th and is free to the public. The setting is inspired by Chanel’s latest campaign for the No.5 fragrance, starring Lily-Rose Depp; in it, the face of the label is seated atop a bottle of Chanel No.5 perfume, covered in soft piles of falling snow, looking into a snow globe holding — you guessed it — a bottle of Chanel No. 5 perfume

Chanel No.5 in the Snow will feature an ice skating area, seasonal bites and drinks including hot chocolate and photo ops. Plus, an augmented reality experience allows guests to interact with a personalized snow globe via AR, which they can then access through Snapchat and online at This AR element will be revealed during a private event in the space on Dec. 10, then available to the public on December 11th.