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The Fashion Review: January

Welcome to Create and Develop’s first monthly round up of all the fashion news for the year so far! Here’s a quick insight into what’s been happening in and around fashion since we rang in the New Year.

January is a notoriously gloomy month and a lot of the New Year retail news echoed this. Trade on the high street was poor, with Christmas 2018 being sighted as the worst for the high street since the credit crunch. However, there were some noticeable winners. JD Sports, who also own Size, Blacks and Go Outdoors, reported that like-for-like sales were up more than 5% over a 48 week period, with total sales growth at 15%. Online, Boohoo saw revenue in the last four months of 2018 jump 44% to £328.2m, showing that the continued shift from high street to online doesn’t appear to be waning any time soon. Besides trading results, January also saw M&Co announce that 59 jobs will be cut, and M&S continue with the closure of many beloved stores.

Boohoo’s revenue may be up, but this month also saw them criticised for having advertised real fur as fake. This is especially damning publicity when this New Year’s trend has all been about Veganuary, with 1.7m people across 14 countries allegedly committing to veganism. Not only has this impacted upon people’s diet, but fashion and beauty have taken note, too. M&S chose to launch their own branded vegan shoes in January.

For the luxury fashion sector, January has been all about Haute Couture and Men’s Fashion Weeks. Due to illness, Karl Lagerfeld missed Chanel’s show, which featured for its finale a sparkling, embellished swimsuit and veil-clad bride. Valentino’s show caught the headlines for its progressive casting of 43 black models out of a total of 65, with Naomi Campbell closing the event. Described as emotional by many who attended, blogger Susie Lau took to Instagram to state, “Not tokenistic. Not a sweeping all black gesture. This was subversion of the norm, so that perhaps we can ALL see it as the new normal.”

Unfortunately, as with most months, or rather days, mention of a woman’s weight was high on the news agenda. Singer Bebe Rexha, up for best new artist at The Grammy’s, took to Instagram to discuss the difficulties she’s faced in getting a custom-made dress for next month’s awards because designers consider her size 8 (UK size 12) figure to be “too big”!

The long awaited news that the Spice Girls were reforming for several concerts this year brought much needed ‘Girl Power’ back to the forefront. January, however, wasn’t their best start to the year when it was revealed that the Comic Relief t-shirts that the women have been promoting were made in a factory where workers, mainly women, are being paid just 35p an hour.

We must also mention the sad passing of innovative fashion designer Joe Casely-Hayford. Having gained prominence in the mid Eighties, with collections that married tailoring and clashing prints, his first collection featured clothes made from reconstructed Second World War tents. Today, he is most recognisable as one half of father and son menswear duo Casely-Hayford. Founded in 2009, it has become well-known for its fine tailoring with a sportswear aesthetic, demonstrating our understanding of Casely-Hayford as a true innovator who very early on recognised our current love for athleisure.

Continuing this theme of innovative design, Asics announced that they are to recycle used clothing to make the official uniforms for Japan’s Olympic and Paralympic teams at next year’s games in Tokyo. Hoping to gather 30,000 items, not only will the materials extracted be used for clothing but also turned into fuel, among other uses, the firm has said.

As well as facing increasing pressure to make clothing more sustainable, fashion media is continually looking for ways to innovate its business model. Conde Nast International, owner of the Vogue titles, has announced the launch of a business focused fashion title, Vogue Business. As a digital-only publication, it will be aimed at fashion industry professionals. It will be interesting to see how well this does, as both a new title and as a solely online publication.

Gloomy though the month of January may be, this piece cannot be completed without a mention of Viktor and Rolf’s Haute Couture show, which aimed to show the “expressive power of clothing”. And it certainly did just that! Using five miles of tulle, 18 dresses featured sassy slogans such as “No photos please” and “Sorry I’m late, I didn’t want to come”, taking the limelight away from other big names and becoming the main talking point on social media.

With January drawing to a close, and with the awards season set to continue (everyone can’t stop talking about The Favourite and its fashion), we can be sure to look forward with baited breath to more fashion, as the fashion weeks in New York, London, Milan and Paris take hold and transfix us.

All imagery courtesy of Vogue and Fashion Network

About Our Author: Katie Calvert's background is in fashion and textiles with a first class honours degree in Fashion Communication and Promotion and experience in trend, PR and events. She decided to take the plunge back into education in 2015 to complete a Master of Arts in Multimedia Journalism. Using these newfound skills and her love of fashion and culture, Katie has been freelance writing for over a year.

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