Whilst much of the news surrounding fashion has, of late, been dominated by the question of sustainability, diversity and cultural appropriation are also serious issues within the fashion industry that have yet to be fully resolved. The month began with Kim Kardashian-West conceding that the name of her new fashion brand, Kimono Intimates, was inappropriate, and explaining that, in due course, she will be renaming it. Whilst it is a play on her name, Kimono refers to traditional Japanese clothing, well-known by most, so it does seem somewhat surprising that no one thought to mention the issue around using such a culturally identifiable word. Even more so, since the brand is focused on shapewear, which has nothing in common with the loose long-sleeved Japanese robe, it hints at a lack of respect for Japanese culture itself.
In other Kim K news, she was awarded $2.7 million damages after accusing Missguided USA of stealing her style. In one instance, Kim K posted an image of herself wearing a dressed designed by her husband, Kanye West, only for Missguided, within a matter of hours, to post a model in a similar dress with the caption: “The devil works hard but Missguided works harder.” This takes fast fashion to a new level, and contrasts starkly with the positive, sustainable news that has entertained us this month.
One of the themes of this year’s Glastonbury Festival was climate change and the environment, with much emphasis on the ban on single-use plastic bottles. Celebrity performers at the event, such as Kylie Minogue and Johnny Marr, lent their support to the cause by donating some of their own clothes to Oxfam, as part of the charity’s launch for their Second-Hand September campaign. Appropriate clothing donated, Kylie donated a sun visor, whilst the Lumineers handed over a pair of wellies, the ongoing message is to encourage more of us to not buy any new clothes for one month.
In another strong message for Sustainability, July was very much about Stella McCartney and her influence as a bastion of ethical and sustainable fashion. McCartney and the French luxury group LVMH announced that they had signed a deal that means whilst she’ll still be majority owner, she’ll also be a part of the groups push to sustainability. Having previously been in business with LVMH’s rival conglomerate, Kering, McCartney expressed her belief that LVMH’s owner, Bernard Arnault, and his son, Antoine, were passionate and committed to becoming the global leader in sustainable luxury fashion.
This month also saw McCartney interviewed by The Observer, where she voiced some controversial opinions around how often we should wash our clothes:
"Basically, in life, rule of thumb: if you don't absolutely have to clean anything, don't clean it."
She isn’t just concerned about the impact our overuse of washing machines has on the environment. The longevity of our garments, whether high-end or fast fashion, can depend on how often they’re washed. And if any of this makes you feel a bit uneasy, then consider that she picked up the tip whilst working for a bespoke tailor on London’s prestigious Savile Row; the rule is to “Let the dirt dry and you brush it off”!
High street giant Inditex, which owns the likes of Zara, Pull & Bear and Bershka, all famed for fast fashion, announced its own sustainable initiative, with the bold promise that all clothes will be sustainable by 2025. All cotton, linen and polyester will be organic, sustainable or recycled, with containers appearing in Zara stores, from next year, to collect your old clothes, so that they can be reused or recycled into new items.
Zara popped up again this month, although this next focus has more in common with fast fashion. One of the many reasons why fast fashion has become such a force of nature is that desire to own something trend led. But with that much fashion on the high street, the chance of bumping into someone with the exact same garment isn’t likely. Just sometimes, however, an item of clothing takes the form of a cult, mesmerising everyone and their mother into buying it. This season it was the black and white, spotty dress from Zara, so popular that it even has its own Instagram account.
Zara might seem to be on a constant trajectory upwards, but usually, in the monthly round-up, there is plenty to mention regarding fashion brands on the downturn. Whilst July hasn’t fully escaped that; Asos posted poor results and Sonia Rykiel has gone into administration; it’s nice to hear some good news. Joules, the countryside-inspired clothing brand, reported revenues of £218m for the year, up £32 on last year. With profits before tax increasing by almost a fifth to £16m, it’s great news for a company celebrating 30 years in the fashion business!
As the month of July, with its record-breaking temperatures and political upheaval, draws to a close, let’s end on something quite unbelievable. Could you ever imagine paying $437,000 (£351,772) for a pair of trainers!? That’s what collector, Miles Nadal, did for a pair of 1972 Nike Waffle Racing Flat Moon trainers. One of only 12 handmade pairs, they were designed by Bill Bowerman, a co-founder of Nike, who used a waffle iron to imprint the tread on the shoes – and they were expected to fetch (just) $160,000. Not content with the Waffle trainers, Nadal just so happened to have a cool $850,000 to buy the other 99 pairs of trainers in the auction. There’s a man who certainly won’t be ‘running’ out of pairs of trainers anytime soon!
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.