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The Week That Was: From Nike To Smart Jackets, Here's The Fashion News You Should Know Now

by: Well Made Clothes Staff | 4 years ago | News

Image: from Dior's fall-winter 2016-17 presentation at Paris Fashion Week earlier this year. Dior is the biggest apparel company in the world, according to FORBES Global 2000, the outlet's 'annual and comprehensive list of the world's largest and most powerful public companies, as measured by a composite score of revenues, profits, assets and market value'. Image source.

Welcome to our new feature, The Week That Was. Every Monday, we’ll detail what we feel to be the most important stories from the fashion world from the previous week, in order to give you an overview of where the fashion industry is at, and where it could go.

Why is this important? Well, we attended Clean Cut’s Future Talks panel discussion at MBFWA 2016 recently, in which representatives from Harper’s Bazaar, Country Road, Ethical Clothing Australia, and TOME discussed the major problems in the fashion industry, and how they’re each addressing them. Ramon Martin, co-founder of TOME, said something particularly insightful, which has really stuck with the Well Made Clothes team ever since. He argued, just like important eras for fashion in the past, like punk or grunge for example, today will be remember for revolutionary change in the fashion industry. “So how do you find the next chapter in fashion; of something that expresses the time and the culture of any given period in our history? Martin said. “And this is it; this is what is going to speak to generations to come; to [distinguish] what fashion was in the early 2000s. It wasn’t about high hemlines or a miniskirt or whatever it was back in the day; it was about changing the way we make clothes.” We think it’s important then, to detail the bits and pieces of industry news which make up this big picture, to, hopefully, help make it better.

Christian Dior, Zara’s parent company Inditex, and Nike, are the three biggest apparel companies in the world. The three companies have made the cut for FORBES Global 2000, the outlet’s ‘annual and comprehensive list of the world’s largest and most powerful public companies as measured by a composite score of revenues, profits, assets and market value’. Christian Dior leads the pack, coming in at #216 with a mind-boggling $41.6 billion in sales; Nike is second, in place #261, with $32 billion in sales; while Zara’s parent company, Inditex, comes in third, in spot #310, with $23 billion in revenue in the twelve months preceeding April 22nd. 29 apparel companies made FORBES Global 2000. Read the full story here.

If fashion has been in the news for anything recently, it’s for the disruption of dress codes. Last year, there was an uproar when two women were reportedly banned from the red carpet at the Cannes Film Festival for wearing flat shoes, against the festival’s policy requiring women to wear high heels on the red carpet. Julia Roberts cemented this disruption earlier this month, too, by wearing bare feet on the Cannes Film Festival red carpet. Then, Nicola Thorp, a temp worker in the UK, was sent home from her receptionist job at PricewaterhouseCoopers for refusing to wear heels, a dress code enforced by her agency. She started an online petition to “make it illegal for a company to require women to wear high heels at work” which gained more than 140,712 signatures. It seems timely, then, that a new exhibition has opened at the Museum at the Fashion institute of Technology in New York, called ‘Uniformity’, about the history of uniforms and dress codes. This article, in the New York Times, breaks down the changing nature of dress codes in recent years.

This opinion piece, by Darby-Perrin Larner for the Guardian, argues, with specific regards to the Mercedes-Benz Australian Fashion Week 2016 resort presentations, that Australian media doesn’t cover fashion in the intellectual way it deserves, and that this is affecting the health of the Australian industry, too.

Arguably one of the biggest problems facing young and independent fashion designers with regards to becoming more responsible is how difficult it is to find producers which fit this bill. Enter Maker’s Row, founded by Matthew Burnett, which helps small businesses get their products made in the USA; he connects 10,000 American manufacturers with 100,000 brands. In this article, by CNBC’s Make It, Burnett argues there are many positive externalities associated with manufacturing onshore, including reduced turn-around times, which allows brands to be agile and respond to consumer demands and trends, and the increased ability to control the quality of the product.

Finally, in ‘the future is now’ news, Google and Levi’s are collaborating on a ‘smart jacket’ for commuting urban cyclists, which will allow them to access technology like Google Maps and Spotify by swiping the jacket’s cuff. According to TechCrunch, Google’s Advanced Technology and Projects (ATAP) research unit provided updates about the collaboration at Google’s I/O conference last week. There is a Google Jacquard tag in the jacket’s sleeve, and sensors woven into the garment, which enables this access, and, better still, when the Google Jacquard tag is removed, the jacket can be washed like any normal jacket. Moreover, the jacket will be available to buy by the general public in spring 2017, which is incredibly soon for things like this to exist IRL.

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