The start of June saw the return of the highly anticipated second series of Killing Eve, with Villanelle’s canny costumes catching everyone’s attention. Somehow, the assassin has succeeding in making pop-art printed pyjamas look like something we’d all like to wear in the day. If you’re brave enough (or would prefer to keep them strictly indoors), the fabric can be bought locally to Manchester, at Altrincham wholesale fabric retailer, Funkifabrics.
Which bring us to another local Manc business, but this time not for such positive news. Boohoo, based in Manchester city centre and Burnley, has, this month, been “found wanting”, according to the Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers (Usdaw), when it comes to giving their workers an independent voice. Having been advised by the Environmental Audit Committee (EAC) to engage with Usdaw, Boohoo, rather than meeting with the union, has stated that their workers have no interest in union representation.
This isn’t the only time that the EAC has featured in the news this month concerning fashion. The parliamentarian group is behind a report urging the government to end the era of throwaway fashion and poor working conditions. Their 18 recommendations include a ban on incinerating or landfilling unsold stock that can be reused or recycled, with tax changes to reward reuse, repair and recycling, in order to support responsible fashion companies. With worrying facts and figures concerning the impact that fashion is having on the environment out in the public domain for some time, it can feel like reports such as these are late in coming.
There were further retail woes for high street staple, Monsoon and Accessorize. It was announced that it is to launch plans for a rescue package after its owner, Peter Simon, agreed to offer landlords a share of future profits worth up to £10m in return for rent cuts. If this was agreed, it would allow Simon to reduce the size of his stores and pay reduced rent fees.As one of the more eco-friendly stores out there, let’s hope the 270-store chain can continue successfully.
In less political news, June was the month of, perhaps, Karl Lagerfeld’s most impressive show, his Memorial at the Grand Palais. A public celebration of Lagerfeld, it was jointly staged by the three houses he worked for, Chanel, Fendi and his eponymous label. This wasn’t to be a sombre affair; Lagerfeld had always made clear his distaste for funerals; instead the great showman was at play. Although there was a short parade of models in archive Lagerfeld designs, this was all about the man himself, not just the designer. A fitting and moving tribute to one of the greatest designers of the last century.
June was also the month of men’s fashion, with catwalk shows taking place in New York, London, Milan and Paris. With the passing of Lagerfeld there has been something of gap in French fashion for a designer to turn a show into a spectacle. However, Louis Vuitton’s artistic director, Virgil Abloh, did just that for SS19. Whilst Lagerfeld reimagined Parisian streets inside the Grand Palais, Abloh took the show outside, across an entire square close to the Louis Vuitton headquarters. Souvenir stands and crêpe stalls were there for guests to explore, whilst flowers were central to the theme of the outfits.
To celebrate the brand's 10th anniversary, Jacquemus took the show to the small town of Valensole in the South of France. As instagrammable as the Vuitton show, or maybe even more so, models, both male and female, sashayed through a field of lavender. This, along with a bright pink runway, accompanied lashings of lime green, orange, yellow and aqua blue garments.
Elsewhere in Paris, Carol Lim and Humberto Leon, designers at Kenzo for the past eight years, staged their final show. Solange provided the music, whilst the clothes were inspired by Japanese ama (female free divers). Across the water, in London, Bethany Williams, recipient of the Queen Elizabeth II Award for British Design, showed a sustainable collection made exclusively from recycled and organic textiles. Versace’s designs, staged in Milan, were inspired by Keith Flint, deceased frontman of The Prodigy. Described by Donatella Versace as “my friend, and a disruptor of this world”, Firestarter pumped through the sound system, with each model sporting a double Mohawk and wearing tinted bug-eye sunglasses.
Let’s end this month’s round-up with some heart-warming, and sustainable, news. For many schoolers, leaving high school means a chance to dress up and attend a party, their end of year Prom. The cost of this event can run into hundreds of pounds, so, when one pupil at Maesteg Comprehensive School wasn’t able to attend because of the high costs, school teachers stepped in. A social media appeal by PE teachers, Emily Scudamore and Annemarie Scarr, for prom dress donations, led to 200 donations of dresses, shoes and accessories from people across the area, including 30 brand new gowns from a wedding shop. Whilst borrowing dresses can have a certain stigma attached to it, the school handled this by holding a pop-up shop and promoted a vintage vibe. Even better, it will have discouraged pupils from the throwaway society that we all live in. And best of all, stories like these instil a sense of community, something that I’m sure we all feel in need of in today’s uncertain climate!
Imagery courtesy of The Guardian and The Independent
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.