10 Designers From Pratt Institute’s Class of 2020 Share Their Work—And Their Thoughts on Change

Graduation collections from Pratt Institute Class of 2020
Graduation collections from Pratt Institute, Class of 2020 Photos: Courtesy of the designers

None of the usual appointments to review students’ graduation collections could take place this year. Seeing their work is always a highlight of the spring for me; they’re so full of hope, to say nothing of the fact that they’re often exploring issues that are only discussions in the wider industry. These are the creatives who will be leading fashion into the future.

Though the class of 2020 will have to do without the rites of graduation, the 10 members of Pratt Institute’s graduating class I communicated with seemed positive and resilient—that’s not to say that they are wearing rose-colored glasses. They’re committed to sweeping change, and they share a sense of responsibility to make it happen. The issues that are most important to them are sustainability, diversity, gender, and technology. They believe in the importance of personal narrative, community, and craft. And while they might dream big, most are thinking about small-scale endeavors.

Congratulations to Pratt Institute’s class of 2020. Meet 10 of them, here.

pRy Arne Pratt Institutep
Ry Arne, Pratt InstitutePhoto: Courtesy of the designer

pRy Arne Pratt Institutep
Ry Arne, Pratt InstitutePhoto: Courtesy of the designer

Ry Arne, 22, from Springfield, Missouri
What is your mission?
To explore what clothes can be and how they can liberate gender expression. My graduate collection came from a personal exploration of gender identity and childhood fantasy. I wanted to create my own personal dress-up collection inspired by my childhood dreams of playing a princess and my desire and interest in having a flat chest.

How does the industry need to change to move forward?
Fashion needs to look at the groups of people it currently excludes. It’s an art form we all participate in, and the clothes need to reflect that. Now more than ever is a great time to dissolve binary-based clothing and explore what possibilities that opens up for the medium itself and for those who wish to participate and express themselves with it.

pCornelia Borgerhoff Pratt Institutep
Cornelia Borgerhoff, Pratt InstitutePhoto: Courtesy of the designer

Cornelia Borgerhoff, 22, from Philadelphia
What is your mission in fashion?
I am a young black woman who grew up in a predominately white environment. Through my work, I give myself permission to break down some of the more complicated experiences of my past. [My mission is] connecting people through art. I want my audience to view the stories within my work and from there, hopefully, see others, or themselves, in a new light.

How does the industry need to change to move forward?
It needs to showcase more voices. Designers of color need to be seen, and not just because they are fulfilling some diversity quota. Designing clothes for the sake of it is not enough anymore. By giving a bigger platform to diverse voices, I think the industry could reach far more people.

pXinzi Cui Pratt Institutep
Xinzi Cui, Pratt InstitutePhoto: Courtesy of the designer

pXinzi Cui Pratt Institutep
Xinzi Cui, Pratt InstitutePhoto: Courtesy of the designer

Xinzi Cui, 25, from Beijing

What is your mission in fashion?
To learn the essence from the past and apply it to future development. We should focus more on the sustainability of the future fashion industry by cooperating with technology.

How does the industry need to change to move forward?
I believe that small-scale workshops should be one of the major developments in the future of fashion. From the perspective of design, styling and creativity would still be a priority. Meanwhile, we could also focus on function and durability of the product with the help of technology.

pJuliana Gogol Pratt Institutep
Juliana Gogol, Pratt InstitutePhoto: Courtesy of the designer

Juliana Gogol, 22, from Kansas City, Missouri
What is your mission in fashion?
I aim to provide a sense of comfort for the wearer. Much of my work focuses on feelings of nostalgia, familiarity, and finding a home as well as the exploration of domestic material processes like hand-weaving, knitting, dyeing, and embroidery. I believe that the more time is spent creating a garment, the more good feeling and energy is eventually passed on to the wearer.

How does the industry need to change to move forward?
To encourage “slow fashion” via a renaissance of people engaging with fashion in a more hands-on way. Most people see a $200 jacket and don’t see the research, design development, or hours and hours of skilled craftwork that went into it. Perhaps a meaningful way to “slow down” the fashion system would be to raise consumer awareness of the process and people involved in making the clothes they buy, or even to facilitate consumer participation via D.I.Y. modifications or styling choices. In other times of crisis, we’ve seen everyday people making their own clothes, planting their own gardens, and making do with what they have—why not now?

pOlivia Rose Harris Pratt Institutep
Olivia Rose Harris, Pratt InstitutePhoto: Courtesy of the designer

pOlivia Rose Harris Pratt Institutep
Olivia Rose Harris, Pratt InstitutePhoto: Courtesy of the designer

Olivia Rose Harris, 22, from Sanibel Island, Florida
What is your mission in fashion?
To dress the world in head-to-toe, unconventional knitwear. As a “women’s craft” historically, knitting goes hand in hand with the stories I tell.



Top TC Creatives Capsule S/S 2020 Style/Mode

Photography: Lauren Krysti  –  Styling: Claire Neviaser 

 Model: Dana Johnson  –  Hair/Makeup: Fatima Olive

Minnesota Monthly: 7 Spring Fashion Looks That Embrace Color

Model: Dana Johnson; Hair and Makeup: Fatima Olive


Kinds of Blue

Monse blouse, $296, Akris Punto pants, $595, and Rebecca Minkoff purse, $298, Nordstrom – Mall of America

Alevi Milano heels, $752,

Model: Dana Johnson; Hair and Makeup: Fatima Olive

Model: Dana Johnson; Hair and Makeup: Fatima Olive


Sweet Green

Diff Eyewear sunglasses $85, Nordstrom – Mall of America

Short pearl earring $5, Urban Outfitters

Long pearl earring $58, Anthropologie

Mara Hoffman “Edmonia” dress $650,

Model: Dana Johnson; Hair and Makeup: Fatima Olive

Model: Dana Johnson; Hair and Makeup: Fatima Olive


Witty in Pink

Celina Kane “Amphora No. 3” hat, $650 (and read our profile on the fantastical hats of Celina Kane)

Silver hoop earrings, $10, Urban Outfitters

IORANE bodysuit, $330,

Eliza J pants, $128, Nordstrom – Mall of America

Model: Dana Johnson; Hair and Makeup: Fatima Olive
Model: Dana Johnson; Hair and Makeup: Fatima Olive


Lilac View

MSGM dress, $440, and Jeffrey Campbell “Fluxx” sandals, $130,

Sunglasses, $10, Urban Outfitters

Model: Dana Johnson; Hair and Makeup: Fatima Olive
Model: Dana Johnson; Hair and Makeup: Fatima Olive


Stay Yellow

Celina Kane “Fusilli” hat, $650

Pearl drop earrings, $10, Target

Rhode “Ella” dress, $375,

Manolo Blahnik ”Maysalebi” mules, $745, Nordstrom – Mall of America

Model: Dana Johnson; Hair and Makeup: Fatima Olive
Model: Dana Johnson; Hair and Makeup: Fatima Olive


Big Red

Madewell earrings, $32, Veronica Beard blazer, $645, Rag & Bone mockneck, $195, and Habitual pants, $158, Nordstrom – Mall of America

Model: Dana Johnson; Hair and Makeup: Fatima Olive

Model: Dana Johnson; Hair and Makeup: Fatima Olive


Wear White

Tibi blazer, $595, and Rag & Bone pants, $295, Nordstrom – Mall of America

Rhinestone earrings $20, Free People

Tie dye socks $10, Urban Outfitters

MoMA “Color Wheel” umbrella, $50,


by Minnesota Monthly


Their Instagram feeds might look glossy and curated, but in real life, artists are vulnerable and scrambling for work.

This past February, like so many others in her 25 years as a freelance makeup artist, Rachel Goodwin boarded a plane from LAX to Paris with a 50-pound bag of makeup and a calendar full of Fashion Week gigs. “By the time I got there, it was like the whole world had changed,” she tells Refinery29. “The Louvre was being shut down, my clients were not going to the shows, and I was getting on a plane to come home because of COVID,” she says. “My world has not been the same since.”

Like many in service-based industries — which make up 25% of the U.S. work force and employ more women than men — Hollywood’s leading makeup artists, hairstylists, and nail professionals have become unemployed virtually overnight as a result of the pandemic. Freelance celebrity hair colorist Cassondra Kaeding, who had just started working with Kylie Jenner, says her entire calendar was wiped clean in an instant. “If our clients aren’t working, we’re not working,” Kaeding says. Hairstylist Jenny Cho had just wrapped an in-salon training in London, worked with Lucy Boynton for the Chloé show during Paris Fashion Week, and finished an ad campaign with Ana de Armas before making it out of Spain right as travel advisories were being put into place. “I literally got home in the nick of time,” she says.
Makeup artist Jo Baker, hairstylist Jenny Cho, and stylist Leith Clark were in Paris with their celebrity client Lucy Boynton days before the city starting shutting down to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Whether Kylie has fresh highlights or a glittery Fashion Week party gets cancelled might seem trivial in a time of international crisis — especially when it’s easy to confuse the lifestyles of glam squads with those of the celebrities they serve. But outside of the flawless last looks and BTS images they post on Instagram, there’s a lot to the job we don’t see. “What’s shown on social media is definitely curated,” Cho says. What’s not pictured: a schedule that can change on a whim, 4 a.m. call times, jet lag, and long days away from family — all for less compensation than one might imagine. “I love my job,” Cho says. “But it’s not as easy and as glamorous as people may think.”


The Real Cost Of Celebrity Beauty

The truth is, despite its glossy veneer, the job of a Hollywood beauty pro is closer to that of a gig worker: If there’s no one to serve, there’s no work — and no job security, either. “No matter how fabulous the venue, the client, or the event, freelance is freelance and that means you’re unemployed until you’re employed,” says makeup artist Tasha Reiko Brown, whose clients include Logan Browning and Tracee Ellis Ross.
Freelance beauty pros are typically paid between 30 to 90 days after completing a job and in one lump sum from which they draw their own salary after paying out-of-pocket for health, liability, and disability insurance, retirement, 401K contributions, agency fees, assistant fees, taxes, and supplies like foundation, brushes, and hairspray. “When people hear our rates, what they don’t understand is that freelance artists are on our own. So what we make at the end of the day is not what it sounds like,” Goodwin says. “There’s a misnomer that it’s a big glamorous career, and it is, but it’s also feast or famine. We’re very vulnerable because we don’t get a normal paycheck. There are people who won’t be able to pay their rent in this unpredictable climate.”
Rachel Goodwin, longtime makeup artist to Emma Stone, says freelance celebrity makeup artists are more vulnerable because they’re not part of an organized union like on-set artists who work in film and teleivision.
As both Goodwin and makeup artist Fiona Stiles point out, the COVID-19 outbreak has exposed other cracks in their sector of the industry. “Makeup artists and hairstylists in the film industry are more protected because they have a union,” says Goodwin, who works with actors like Emma Stone and January Jones. “Our part of the business has never had it and I’ve always wanted there to be one, but there’s just never enough momentum, seemingly, forpeople to get behind it.”
Even before COVID-19 put an abrupt end to the movie premieres, photoshoots, press junkets, and galas that kept Hollywood’s glam teams earning a steady income, many artists in the industry had already taken financial hits with a changing landscape. In the 2008 financial crisis, rates were slashed to a quarter of what they once were and have never fully recovered, according to Goodwin. Meanwhile, a surge of young talent who are looking to break into the industry and willing to work for less has congested the field and stymied rates. “There are artists who will fly themselves to LA or to Paris during Fashion Week or to France for Cannes to make themselves available wherever the clients are going,” notes freelance hairstylist Lacy Redway, whose clients include Tessa Thompson and Zazie Beetz.
It’s a precedent that can trickle up to seasoned pros, who are expected to occasionally pay out of pocket to keep a client on their books. “Since the 2008 economic disaster, studios have cut budgets so low that they sometimes ask us to pay for travel ourselves or to crash at a friend’s house like we’re 19 years old, but I try not to do that,” Cho says. Collecting frequent flyer miles can help lift the burden, but that doesn’t always cover it. Sometimes, celebrity clients split the difference.
Goodwin, seen here with Brie Larson, says she’s banked enough savings to get by for a few months, but worries about emerging freelance artists who don’t have a safety net.


Financial Worry Despite Fiscal Responsibility

In some ways, the fluid and unstable nature of freelance artistry in beauty has better prepared veteran artists and stylists for the type of sudden fallout that many gig economy workers are facing due to the coronavirus. All the pros we talked to for this story have stacked savings to draw from while they’re out of work — in this case, because of a pandemic. “When I first got into this business, I was told to save my money and be able to position myself to where I had a six-month fund because you want to ride out times when your loyal clients aren’t working. Even without COVID, you can have a dry spell, so you have to be the kind of person who thinks ahead and doesn’t live beyond your means,” Goodwin says.
A healthy war chest built to cover a few months of expenses can help ease the pressure of sudden job loss, but the unpredictable nature of the pandemic is worrying even the most prepared of professionals. “It’s an emotional rollercoaster,” says Redway about her concerns brought on by the shutdown. “It leaves artists and creatives in such an uncertain place because we don’t know when we’re going to be able to go back to work. We work in such an intimate way with talent — we’re touching their faces, hair, and nails constantly. After the ban is lifted, when will people be comfortable with having other people touching them in that way?”
Right before COVID-19 became a threat, hairstylist Jenny Cho had a calendar of Fashion Week events with actress Lucy Boynton.
In the meantime, there is something of a life raft being thrown to freelance artists and other gig workers, who are now able to apply for unemployment benefits through the CARES Act. Some brands, including SuperGreat, are paying makeup artists their day rate to create online tutorials. Other organizations, like the Professional Beauty Association, are trying to rally grassroots financial relief efforts to support artists.
But it’s not enough, and many are still left waiting and wondering what the future will hold. “I’m definitely worried about what’s going to happen,” notes Cho, who had just closed escrow on a new home when the shutdown hit and has a family to support. “I applied for unemployment and am waiting for it to show up. It’s not a lot, but it’s something.” For her part, makeup artist Emily Cheng is looking into enrolling as well.
It’s not just those with dependents who face additional challenges to making ends meet at a time when work has flatlined. As Goodwin acknowledges, freelance artists still establishing themselves in their careers might not have had the privilege of stacking an emergency fund. “The artists I feel bad for right now are the ones who are just starting because they haven’t been able to build up and establish themselves,” she says. “If I was two or three years in, this could be a roadblock I may not be able to get by.”
The Instagram Economy
Queenie Nguyen is an LA-based nail stylist who works with both private and celebrity clients. Last year, after more than 10 years in the salon sector, she made the switch to working with talent. Since then, she has impressively grown her portfolio, not only by gaining agency representation and working with stars like Halsey and Soirse Ronan, but also by building a modest following on Instagram. Though she says she has some savings to draw from, she couldn’t have prepared for the sudden and massive fallout from the coronavirus. The nail stylist is working to drum up brand partnerships on Instagram. But she also recently signed up to be a Postmates delivery driver a few times a week in order to cover the cost of her grocery bills.
Hair colorist Cassondra Kaeding mixes up custom color kits for her longtime clients, as well as new customers she’s gained through Instagram.
Because the app allows her to pick her shifts, she’s able to prioritize nail-focused opportunities as they come up. “If I have a collaboration with a brand or a set Instagram Live, then I can make sure to be there for that,” she says. She’s already partnered with a beauty brand on a DIY video since the shutdown and is working to do more. “I don’t really make a lot of money from this. It’s just for the exposure, so that when this is over, I’ll have more work,” she says.
Kaeding, who splits her time between working with celebrity clients and in a salon, has found her own unexpected revenue stream in quarantine. Right when her salon was closing, the colorist made moves to stock up on supplies. “I thought, Maybe I can do something for my clients,” she says. She landed on making at-home hair color kits to help clients keep up their color while self isolating.
The endeavor has earned her a little extra cash, and connected her more closely with her regulars as well as new clients from all over the country. “It broadens my horizons and it’s cool to see people so happy and excited when they’re able to do color themselves,” she says. “Before, I worked so many hours that I was never able to brainstorm and come up with ideas. But this has got my wheels turning. Maybe this is something that I can continue to do later down the road for people who can’t come to me.” In addition to mixing $110 custom-color kits for customers on Instagram, Kaeding is working on creating a website to make ordering more seamless.
Nail artist Hang Nguyen, who is nine months pregnant, creates custom nail decals at home — a small source of income for her now that red-carpet work has stopped.
Nguyen and Kaeding aren’t the only artists taking to Instagram to share their skills. Despite increasingly dire circumstances, there’s never been a better time to get beauty advice straight from Hollywood pros who are typically too slammed with their day jobs to engage online. Makeup artist Reiko Brown has partnered with brands like BeautyBlender and Kevyn Aucoin for tutorials and Q+As. “It’s keeping me creative,” she says. “There’s times that I can’t do something like this because we have back-to-back press junkets and I don’t have time to do a how-to or beauty breakdown. Now I have time. I’m going more in depth and sharing a lot of knowledge. That feels good, and the response has been amazing.”
For artists who have no other subject to work on, this unique time is pushing their skills in new directions. “Personally, I’ve never wanted to be in front of the camera, but it’s not like I have anyone else to do makeup on, and I miss it so much that this has encouraged me to think about getting a little more personal and showing my personality off a little bit,” says makeup artist Emily Cheng, who works with Yara Shahidi, Laura Harrier and Julia Garner.
Cho is trying to build an office in her new home for freelance work, while serving as a caretaker for her four-year-old son.
Other artists are using this time to focus on content to deepen connections in the beauty community and inspire their followers. As co-founder of the forthcoming Makeup Museum, Goodwin is working to create online content around its #generationsofbeauty campaign. On her own platform, she’s creating an IGTV series called “State of the Art” for burgeoning industry pros. Redway is also offering her services wherever they’re needed. “At the beginning of this, I started to question whether or not I should post on social media because I was starting to feel like what I did wasn’t as valuable and important as a nurse, a doctor, or other people on the front lines,” Redway says. “People are suffering or losing family members and don’t know how they’re going to pay their next bill. If me showing them how to do an updo or twist-out at home is beneficial to them, then I’m happy to get on that Zoom call and do it for free.”
Instagram and brand sponsorships can help provide some income for artists, but they’re typically reserved for those with an established social media presence, which can take years to build. Let’s not forget that artists are also just doing their best to survive during a traumatic time. Hang Nguyen, a nail stylist who works with Jennifer Garner and Emma Roberts, is expecting her third child any day. Though she does have some income thanks to collaborations with nail companies, she’s most concerned with staying healthy. Cho is thinking about creating her dream product line in between unpacking boxes in her new home and homeschooling her four-year-old kid. Like countless other working women, moms like Goodwin, Redway, and Stiles are suddenly taking on the role of primary educator.
Makeup artist Fiona Stiles says juggling homeschooling and her small business is nearly impossible.
“For parents, you’re suddenly a chef and full-time teacher and parent. I have zero time. I’m trying to figure out how to do second grade math and still run Reed Clarke,” Stiles says of her ecommerce beauty site. “When am I going to have time to do a YouTube video? This is not a creative moment for a lot of us. It’s just a lot of extra doing.”

From Hands-On To Hands-Off

No matter how slammed Stiles is with her quadrupled workload, she can’t help but think about how the process of executing a red-carpet look is going to change moving forward. The veteran artist has been hyper vigilant about sanitation and preventing contamination since day one. She washes her hands, uses sanitizer constantly, and deep cleans her tools after every use.
But like other celebrated makeup artists in the business, Stiles, who works with Zoey Deutch and Gabrielle Union, typically uses her fingers to tap and blend cream blushes, lipsticks, and other makeup products onto her clients’ skin. “My fingers are a big part of my toolkit. I mix colors on the back of my hand to get a custom lipstick shade or to see what the chemical reaction of a product on the skin will be before I put it on someone.What used to be an asset — my hands, my fingers — are slightly weaponized,” she says.
Makeup artist Tasha Reiko Brown, who works with Letitia Wright, says doing makeup in Hollywood will change forever after COVID-19.
Adjustments will have to be made, she says. “Moving forward I’ll have to figure out how to mix colors and products in a way that doesn’t include contact with my skin. It’s going to be interesting to pick an intuitive part of doing makeup and adjust it to a more systematic way of touching a product.”
Celebrity nail stylists may already wear protective gloves and masks, but Nguyen thinks pros will have to rethink how certain products, like dip powders, are used. Redway pictures a scenario in which every member of a glam team wears masks while working. She’s also considering whether gloves will need to be worn when touching the scalp while braiding hair. How will they not rip or cause static cling? “Someone may have to create a glove that feels like human touch,” she says.
It’s hard to imagine when Hollywood glam teams will get back to work, much less how. “Some people have clients who only do performances, and we know we’re not going to be in packed amphitheaters anytime soon. With movies, I don’t know what press junkets will look like moving forward,” Reiko Brown says. “I do know the dust will settle and nothing will go back to normal. We’ll have a new normal, but the industry will hold. We’ll adapt to survive.”
 Highsnobiety / Eva Al Desnudo

Highsnobiety Q1 is the first in a series of quarterly insights weeks dedicated to the business behind youth culture and what makes our market tick. For full Q1 coverage, head over to our Q1 hub.

The fashion industry as we knew it no longer exists.

As global financial markets tumble, non-essential services close their doors around the world, and citizens are under government directives to self-isolate, the COVID-19 pandemic has brought humankind to a standstill. In fashion, brands have experienced immediate shocks to their supply chains and sales, luxury goods conglomerates stocks are down, and retailers struggle to keep workers on a payroll. At large, the luxury market is likely to lose between $65 to $75 billion in sales this year, according to a report launched last week by Bain & Company.

Around the world, fashion weeks are canceled, postponed, or going virtual. From London to Milan and Paris to New York, designers and fashion governing bodies are already exploring alternatives to navigate the unprecedented and precarious moment.

In retail, online sales growth is sharply down, while brick-and-mortar stores — still the biggest revenue drivers of most brands — have closed their doors for the foreseeable future. Furthermore, brands are scrambling to circumnavigate shocks to their supply chains, resulting in delivery delays. Then there are the extended quarantines, travel bans, and lower consumer spending that reduce demand, likely creating recessions throughout the remainder of the year and possibly trickling into 2021.

While the industry has managed to mobilize under the guise of working from home, there appears to be no end in sight for the public health emergency, despite early signs of a rebound in Asian markets. So what becomes of fashion in the wake of the coronavirus? We asked industry pioneers across design, buying and merchandising, public relations and communications, and consultancy to forecast the future of fashion – here’s what they had to say.

Fashion Month

 Highsnobiety / Eva Al Desnudo

With men’s fashion week, couture, and cruise shows — intended to take place during the summer months — cancelled, will the ongoing pandemic force the industry to rethink fashion week? Does traveling the globe year-round to watch fashion shows in confined spaces make sense anymore? Tokyo, Shanghai, and Moscow have already explored alternatives with virtual format live-streaming shows. In February, Milan Fashion Week’s organizers offered a similar proposition with an access-all-areas style virtual fashion week that garnered 16 million viewers on Tencent and 9 million on Weibo in China. In September, they plan on taking the vision worldwide. While a virtual fashion week is likely, Copenhagen Fashion Week’s organizers are intent on showcasing in the first August, stating it “can and must take place.” Therein lies the much-debated tension between physical and virtual experiences.

Steven Kolb, President and CEO of the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA)

“I am not sure that we know what the future holds but this is a reset moment. It’s too soon to know what the structure of Spring/Summer 2021 will look like. The impact of COVID-19 is changing daily. I imagine there will be shows, but not like we’ve known them to be. They will probably be more local and have smaller scale productions. Will international attendees want to travel? And will production teams have time to build ideas? Our industry was already evaluating the show concept. Before the pandemic hit, we had begun a study with Boston Consulting Group on how to make fashion weeks more sustainable. There’s a connection here that makes the study even more relevant.”

Carlo Capasa, President of Camera Nazionale della Moda

“We took the decision to postpone the men’s shows in June because cancelling them was too tough on that side of the industry — men’s is incredibly important in Italy. In February, when we thought a lot about the Chinese fashion industry not making it to Milan Fashion Week, we offered a virtual fashion week on Tencent (streaming live shows) and Weibo (all other content). We’re going to do the same next season but around the world. However, it only works well if you have a physical fashion week behind it. I don’t think a virtual fashion week will ever replace a real fashion week, but they’re both complementary.”

Lucien Pagès, founder of Lucien Pagès Communication

“It’s too early to be sure how it will change — we’re still under shock. But people will want to survive this first before changing their philosophy. We can take the crisis as a signal there’s too much. There’s too much stuff, we travel too much, we make too many clothes, and we need to slow down. Brands who were struggling might disappear, especially independent and young designers. It could change the map of fashion. Big brands might want to get back to business but it’s a question of how long this goes on for.”

Alexander Werz, Co-CEO of Karla Otto

“This crisis is unprecedented and therefore it’s difficult to foresee how the industry will change exactly and the impact on marketing strategies and approach towards shows and events. The benefits of offline experiences are undoubtedly unchanged. They’ll remain a powerful vehicle for a more personalized interaction with clients, a great way to connect with the media, and an important piece of content that influencer marketing relies upon. Going forward, [fashion weeks] will need to be approached more strategically and also in a more nimble manner.”

Christopher Peters, designer of CDLM

“In all honesty, I’m not sure if there will be a fashion week following coronavirus. I feel like a lot of designers (as well as stores and magazines) are probably going to go under. It will take a bit of time for things to stabilize and I imagine there are going to be far less players coming out of it on the other side; maybe all the respective fashion weeks will be centralized in a single city, such as Paris.”

Bethany Williams, designer

“I don’t think we can go back to business as usual. I had planned a takeover of the courtyard at Somerset House, a participatory project involving the public which would demystify fashion. The public could get involved on some level of the creation of something. For me, I work more on special projects like this that are about bringing people together.”

Nicholas Daley, designer

“For me, it’s about the cross-pollination of ideas from poetry readings to live musicians at shows, friends working on mixes of live recordings. I’m going to continue to explore things with the network and community around me, it’s more diverse than working on your own. These things could be amplified now that the focus might be on digital and there could be no big gatherings, or brands can’t afford to show. It allows us to push creativity through different channels.”

Spencer Phipps, designer of Phipps

“I think it’s time to do a really cool lookbook, a video, maybe even virtual reality, that way everyone can be part of it. It’s opening up the democracy aspect of the industry. I’m weirdly excited: it’s forcing us to have a lot of conversations around needing to travel and the structure of our business. It might be time to test these theories.”

Holli Rogers, CEO of Browns and Chief Brand Officer of Farfetch

“Undeniably [fashion month] will be virtual — this will come in many guises. The buying side of the process had already started moving into this space after what happened in Paris and Milan recently; it has been very ad hoc, though, with a multitude of quick learnings. But as many brands have already cancelled their June shows and showrooms, this virtual experience will most definitely play a significant role in both the presentation side as well as how we operate as buyers. I expect we will witness some quick turnarounds in technology and innovation as the industry bands together with this opportunity to reinvent. The whole process is so sensorial — so this is going to be a major shift that will be felt industry-wide.”

Priya Ahluwalia, designer of Ahluwalia

“I love doing shows, there’s no other feeling for me so it’s gutting fashion week isn’t going ahead. But I miss it in a personal way, and for the greater good, it’s redundant what I feel personally. I’m going to use this time to be creative, to develop in-depth research, because my time before was usually consumed by production. I think this could allow me to produce my best work.”

Giacomo Piazza, co-founder 274 showroom

“The entire timeline of fashion is at stake and needs to be reorganized. People’s lifestyle has radically changed in the past 100 days and we need to adapt to a new way to conduct our social relationships for the months to come. This will have a huge impact on collections designed 6 months ago when the world looked very very different.”

Supply Chain

 Highsnobiety / Stefano Carloni

One of the primary challenges for fashion designers — and in turn their stores — to overcome is the immediate shock to their supply chain. As factories have shut their doors temporarily and the procurement of raw materials and components to produce collections becomes more difficult, a brand’s ability to meet its deadlines and deliver Pre-Fall and Fall/Winter 2020 orders to stores by June and July. Consequently, they’re left scrambling to mitigate the impact not only to production but cashflow and their future. Some smaller brands have nimbly adapted to the situation, revealing the effect isn’t too grave, while others admit production has been ground to a halt.

Holli Rogers, CEO of Browns and Chief Brand Officer of Farfetch

“Browns was founded on up-and-coming brands and new talent, and it’s all the more important that we support them however we can. With that, we have taken the decision not to cancel our Fall/Winter 2020 orders and will work with the brands on managing the flow of goods and messaging around this; which will be critical storytelling for the season ahead. Quite honestly we’re taking a lot of this day by day as the terrain keeps shifting, and are here to talk, listen, and find solutions alongside our partners.”

Stefano Martinetto, CEO and co-founder of Tomorrow London Ltd

“My guess is as good as everyone else’s. It might expire in a few days, like yogurt. I like to think long-term, and by nature I’m optimistic, so I’m trying to see the light at the end of the tunnel. The main impact on Pre-Fall and Fall/Winter production is the shutdown in Italy, which has stopped the manufacturing process. If production stops for two weeks, there’ll be a month delay. If it stops for more than two weeks, it will be a two-month delay.”

Luca Solca, Senior Research Analyst at Global Luxury Goods, Bernstein

“Depending on the duration of the lockdown, this is likely to cause financial strain to suppliers and subcontractors. We expect this will accelerate the upstream consolidation trend we have seen in recent years. Bigger brands will have deeper pockets to secure their sourcing, and go the way that Hermès, Chanel, and LVMH have gone: higher direct involvement in manufacturing.”

Bethany Williams, designer

“We work with social manufacturing projects on the production of the collection. After Monday, everything closed. We can’t do anything. The recycling plants are only doing bulk deliveries and they can’t sort the waste, which means we can’t get our materials. Our print studio in Peckham closed. Our manufacturer in north London closed. Downview Prison shut their social projects. Our production facility in Italy is still working but it’s under lockdown. Nobody from the outside world can enter.”

Sofia Prantera, founder of Aries

“We have a very tight supply chain with a loyal manufacturing base. I’m moved by the resourcefulness, support, and resilience of our Italian factories. I think the real impact for us will show in the coming months and we’re now looking at strategies to make sure we’re ready to implement changes and alleviate any negative impact on suppliers who rely on our business. However, I don’t believe it will impact our pricing structure at this point, as our volumes are comparatively small.”

Giacomo Piazza, co-founder 274 showroom

“The supply chain right now is in survival mode. We’ll see 30 to 40 percent of the fashion industry go out of business, unless brands, suppliers, retailers and institutions will come together as one. Its a domino effect and there will be a lot of natural selection. But I also hope there will be lots of acts of solidarity. I still have hope for our world.”

Steven Kolb, President and CEO of the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA)

“The big shock will be felt with the pre-collections, which are only months away. It is going to be a challenge. Factories are closed. We’re social distancing. Fabrics can’t be shipped. Will buyers be ready? These are questions that we need to answer.”

Nicholas Daley, designer

“Everyone is in the same position, trying to minimize the cost and impact of the current situation and the effect it has on supply chains. But I think working under pressure brings out the best in people. Problem-solving is one of our greatest skills; we’ve been doing it since the dawn of time, and that ingenuity will hopefully get us through.”

Pierre Mahéo, creative director of Officine Générale

“Everything is on hold right now, because we manufacture the collection entirely in Europe, and all our facilities are closed. The mills in Italy have stopped working, 80 percent of our factories in Portugal have stopped working. We just have to make sure everything is ready for when they start again. It’s difficult to know if stores are going to stay in business, and there’s going to be a huge disruption to the calendar, but we can focus on our flagship stores.”

Spencer Phipps, designer of Phipps

“There’s going to be some delays with order deliveries, but it’s understood by everybody. We produce in Italy, which isn’t happening anymore, but we just got our prototypes the day before lockdown. But we’re kind of okay — we’re small and flexible, there’s been minimal cancellations, and no huge dramas on the supply chains, so we’re not scrambling.”


 Highsnobiety / Eva Al Desnudo

Consumer behavior is under threat as retailers and e-commerce sites, under government directives, have been forced to close in light of the global pandemic. Shopfronts across the globe are boarded up, while online retailers merely allow customers to add items to their wish lists as distribution outlets cease operations. In the UK, IMRG Capgemini Online Retail Index, which tracks the online sales performance of over 200 retailers, stated that online retail sales growth was down by 2.2 percent year-on-year, while clothing saw its sales plummet by 26.7 percent year-on-year (by 22 percent week-on-week).

While the Western world grapples with new realities, stores in China have started to slowly reopen their doors. Whether or not consumer behavior will continue to follow the trends of the past or if they’ll shift their thinking with onset recessionary periods in mind remains to reveal itself. Experts forecast with mixed reactions.

Luca Solca, Senior Research Analyst, Global Luxury Goods at Bernstein

“We expect a drop of at least 25 percent in the first half of 2020 — likely more than that if the lockdown in Europe and the USA continues into the second quarter of 2020. The second half of 2020 may see a fast rebound, if a solution to Covid-19 is found, and the support from central banks and governments is effective. Or it could see a further significant decline, if it’s not.”

Christopher Peters, designer of CDLM

“People are going to be really broke. I don’t know a single person that isn’t worried about the possibility of going bankrupt. Fashion isn’t on the top of your mind when you can’t pay rent.”

Bethany Williams, designer

“With small businesses, the customer has massive power: they’re oxygen to that business. Hopefully, when this is all over, people won’t want to support brands that take advantage of people all over the world and think about who they want to give oxygen too.”

Stefano Martinetto, CEO and Co-founder of Tomorrow London Ltd

“The next part is critical as we have a sense of responsibility to protect independent and younger designers. If retailers give them more time, they will be rewarded with a product that is more honest and has more integrity.”

Pierre Mahéo, creative director of Officine Générale

“I hope we will not go back to where we were. I’ve been fighting for buying less but buying better. I think it will allow for better quality products, which are better for the wallet and the world. I hope there’s going to be a shift in how customers are going to buy when we’re back on track, but we are human; maybe we will go back to normal.”

Remington Guest and Heather Haber, founders of Advisory Board Crystals

“Consumer behavior can change, but the question is, will it? One thing is for sure, we have all been taking everything for granted. It will come down to humanity’s ability to follow through. At Abc., we always push and move in the direction of change — a lot of that comes from questioning the systems that are already in place and working to not only change them, but replace them entirely.”

Priya Ahluwalia, designer of Ahluwalia

“It’s not helpful to consider consumers as a big group of one kind of person, because people have different lives and spending power. Some people will go back to normal and others won’t. This pandemic panic buying shows that people are not being thoughtful about their buying, not for the greater good. I hope this changes a few minds, that would be better than nothing.”

Wilson Oryema, writer and multidisciplinary artist

“I think there could be an increase in and support of local production, with global transport systems hugely affected by the situation. For a lot of places, this was already on the cards. There could be more purchasing from smaller retailers and brands, or else people will probably go to large brands. The system is so strongly held in place.”

Nicholas Daley, designer

“There could be a shift in consumer behavior. People might be in a different financial situation and will want to look closer at what they’re buying and think ‘do I need to buy this? Is it necessary?’ and people will find it hard to justify blowing their savings on another $2,000 designer jacket.”

Creative Solutions

 Highsnobiety / Eva Al Desnudo

As we collectively steer towards another week in self-isolation, the world has pressed a veritable pause on most people’s lives, both personally and professionally. Within this, there’s an opportunity. Fashion, an industry so consumed with its pace and what comes next, is at a standstill. Its creatives, for once, have a chance to breathe and think clearly. The prognosis for the future of fashion is as of yet unclear, though signs point to an opportunity to radically rethink an industry whose modes of operation seem increasingly outdated with each passing day. Could the Coronavirus bring forth an entirely new fashion industry?

Christopher Peters, designer of CDLM

“It’s probably a good time for independent designers who can continue to make work through this period and get their work online. There’s greater potential visibility with fewer designers to contend with, as well as an audience that’s living virtually.”

Lucien Pagès, founder of Lucien Pagès Communication

“People are more connected. They have time to call a friend, to discuss things, and a real exchange could emerge, not like before when you could just call people back but not have a real exchange. When the exchange is deeper, people can be more productive. However, this is a worldwide crisis, the solution has to be collective. We cannot be alone, we can only do things together.”

Wilson Oryema, writer and multidisciplinary artist

“We react differently in times of crisis, depending on our environment. In terms of fashion, there could be a slowdown, but for others, it could be like putting rocket fuel into them. This moment is like a spring cleaning of sorts, and hopefully we’re left with being the most productive and efficient we can be. While it’s not going to be good for everyone, it could be of great benefit for the creative industries.”

Sofia Prantera, founder of Aries

“Struggle is often a catalyst for creativity, although creative industries could suffer greatly as a result of it. As an individual, I believe it’s a good time to re-evaluate strategies and apply creative minds to find different solutions to ongoing global issues. This crisis is exposing the dangers our capitalist way of living will face if health services and not-for-profit scientific research are neglected further. We should see this as an opportunity to re-think the way our society values monetary gains over everything else.”

Spencer Phipps, designer of Phipps

“There’s going to be a huge shift in mentality from consumer practices to how brands communicate with them.”

Remington Guest and Heather Haber, founders of Advisory Board Crystals

“We wouldn’t call it an opportunity for the industry, but more of a forced change. This touches on what we said above. Everyone will have to change. This pandemic is really unlike anything the world has faced before, in the sense that it’s one of the few issues that truly unites humanity. Abc. has always operated in such a way that spoke to all of the questions being raised now.”

Alexander Werz, Co-CEO of Karla Otto

“Crisis always provokes creativity. The entire industry is impacted and challenged to adapt to a new situation and needs to rethink its status quo. As a communication agency, we rethink and rewrite strategies, run deeper and precise analytics on market and customer needs, and adapt approaches accordingly, develop engaging social media campaigns, embrace classic non-seasonal products, maximize existing assets — just to name but a few examples. Creativity and collaboration are key in this situation and we hope this isn’t just a short-term crisis trend.”

Holli Rogers, CEO of Browns and Chief Brand Officer of Farfetch

“I always try to be an optimist and see the good in difficult situations. Reshaping the cycle is absolutely a knock-on effect that I feel will be inevitable and much needed. I feel it will be important to get together as an industry and discuss what in the luxury arena would make sense or perhaps not make sense, but we need to do this together. In my wildest dreams, I would never have expected this devastation to hit us all globally and almost simultaneously; we’re having to think in ways no one ever has. Ultimately, this is what will lead us to new opportunities.”

By in 

Louis Vuitton has won all 1,758 carats of the Sewelo diamond.
Louis Vuitton has bought the Sewelo, the biggest diamond discovered since 1905. Credit…Grégoire Vieille/Louis Vuitton

The largest rough diamond discovered since 1905, the 1,758-carat Sewelo, was revealed with great fanfare last April, named in July and then largely disappeared from view. Now it has resurfaced with a new owner — and it’s not a name you might expect.

It is not, for example, Jeff Bezos, the richest man in the world, on the hunt for a trophy asset. It is not a royal family, searching for a centerpiece for a new tiara. It is not the De Beers Group, who could be seen as the creator of the diamond market and owner of the Millennium Star diamond, which, uncut, was a 770-carat stone.

It is not even the diamond specialist Graff, the owner of the Graff Lesedi La Rona, a 302.37-carat diamond that is the world’s largest emerald-cut sparkler.

It is Louis Vuitton — the luxury brand better known for its logo-bedecked handbags than its mega-gems, which has been present on Place Vendôme, the heart of the high jewelry market, for less than a decade.

And it is the latest sign, following the $16.2 billion purchase of Tiffany by the French behemoth LVMH (the parent company of Louis Vuitton) in November, that LVMH is out not just to compete, but to utterly dominate the high jewelry market. Taken together, the double punch of purchasing (brand and stone) in less than two months is the luxury equivalent of shock and awe.

“There are less than 10 people in the world who would know what to do with a stone like that or how to cut it and be able to put the money on the table to buy it,” said Marcel Pruwer, the former president of the Antwerp Diamond Exchange and the managing director of the International Economic Strategy advisory firm. “To buy and then sell what could be a $50 million stone, you need the technical qualifications, as well as the power to write the check and take the risk.”

Michael Burke, the chief executive of Louis Vuitton, declined to say how much the company had spent on the stone, though he acknowledged it was in the “millions” and that “some of my competitors, I believe, will be surprised” that Vuitton was the purchaser.

“Nobody expects us to put such an emphasis on high jewelry,” Mr. Burke said. “I think it will spice things up a bit. Wake up the industry.

Credit…Mine Karowe / Lucara Diamond Corp.

Discovered in April 2019 at the Karowe mine in Botswana (owned by Lucara Diamond Corp, a Canadian miner), the baseball-size Sewelo is the second largest rough diamond ever mined.

The largest was the 3,106-carat Cullinan diamond, which was discovered in South Africa in 1905 and eventually yielded two enormous high-quality stones — one of 530.4 carats and one 317.4, both now part of the British crown jewels, as well as many smaller stones.

The Sewelo is also the largest rough diamond ever found in Botswana (a country that has become the poster child for responsible mining) and the third very large diamond discovered in Karowe.

The mine also produced the 813-carat Constellation, uncovered in 2015 and sold for $63 million to Nemesis International in Dubai, a diamond trading company (in partnership with the Swiss jeweler de Grisogono) and the Lesedi La Rona, discovered in 2016 and sold to Graff for $53 million.

When Lucara held a competition to name the Sewelo, 22,000 Botswana citizens submitted entries. “Sewelo” means “rare find” in Setswana.

Unlike both the Constellation and the Lesedi, however, it is covered in carbon (at the moment it looks like a big lump of coal), which makes exactly what kind of diamond material is inside a “mystery,” according to Ulrika D’Haenens-Johansson, a senior research scientist at the Gemological Institute of America.

It also makes “the risk that much greater,” Mr. Pruwer said. When the stone was unearthed, there was a fair amount of speculation that it may be worth significantly less than its not-quite-as-giant siblings.

The profitability of any large stone depends on its yield: how many gem-quality carats can be gotten out of it once cut to maximize the price, which is in turn a function of the impurities in the stone — though, as Ms. D’Haenens-Johansson points out, even the impurities have value in a stone this size. They can reveal when the diamond was created and at what depth in the earth.

The mine, which has examined the diamond through a tiny “window” in the dark covering and scanned it with lasers, describes the stone as “near gem quality,” with “domains of high-quality white gem.” There are thousands of gradations of diamonds, ranging from D-flawless (the most rare) to industrial stones used in cutting and manufacturing.

“Is it D or D-flawless, and how big is the flawless part? I don’t know,” Mr. Burke said, acknowledging that the purchase “took a little bit of guts and trust in our expertise.” (To be fair, LVMH can afford it; its revenues in 2018 were 46.8 billion euros, or $52 billion.)

Still, Mr. Post said, “You don’t buy a stone like that unless you have some plan for what you are going to do with it and some belief that there is enough clear material that you can cut it and make a profit.”

Mr. Burke said when he showed the stone to Bernard Arnault, the majority owner and chief executive of LVMH, and “he had it in his hand, he smiled.” A smile from Mr. Arnault, a famously taciturn executive, is the equivalent of a scream of triumph from another chief executive.

The Lesedi La Rona diamond at Sotheby’s in 2016.
Credit…Donald Bowers/Getty Images for Sotheby’s
The 302.37 carat Graff Lesedi La Rona.
Credit…Donald Woodrow

After all, along with the potential profits, LVMH also bought the less quantifiable, but nevertheless palpable, bragging rights to the diamond in an industry where mythology and romance are part of the price.

Mr. Burke said that when his team suggested that Vuitton consider buying the Sewelo, his initial reaction was: “What took you so long?”

“It’s a big, unusual stone, which makes it right up our alley,” he said. It is also the first time Vuitton has bought a rough stone without having presold it to a client. (According to Mr. Pruwer, most branded fine jewelers buy stones that are already cut and polished.)

Vuitton’s partners in Antwerp are building a scanner able to see through the stone’s coating, though with the imaging already in place, including a CT scan, they have estimated it may yield a 904-carat cushion-cut diamond, an 891-carat Oval or several stones of between 100 and 300 carats.

As for the fact that the acquisition happened around the same time as the Tiffany acquisition, Mr. Burke said it was a coincidence. Yet he acknowledged, with some understatement, that LVMH “typically likes to become leaders in whatever field we go into.”

And if the Sewelo doesn’t prove to be quite as lucrative as LVMH is betting? “I’ll go jump in a river,” Mr. Burke said.




Image may contain Clothing Apparel Fashion Evening Dress Gown Robe Human Female Person and Woman
Irving Penn 

It isn’t just in your head—“hair hurting” is an actual thing. Of course, leave it to an old Sex and the City episode to provide the best visual. The girls are sitting at the diner having brunch, and Charlotte’s suffering from a brutal hangover. (The night before, she was on Staten Island dancing to ’80s songs while Carrie held court judging a firemen calendar contest.) Frustrated with the New York dating scene, she looks up at Carrie, Miranda, and Samantha and says: “My hair hurts.” Scalp pain has several different causes, but it usually flares up when you’re tired and stressed—and the number one culprit is not washing your hair.


Celebrity hairstylist Harry Josh chalks up hair pain to a simple analogy. “It’s like not working out for a week! If you don’t wash your hair and keep it in the same style, it feels sore because it’s lacking hair and scalp stimulation. If you’re that girl who has to go five days without washing, then brush your scalp. The brush is back!” Although Josh warns against penny-pinching in this department. “I’ll go to these gorgeous apartments, with marble bathroom floors, and clients are using some cheap-ass brush that’s a dollar from the drugstore,” says Josh, laughing. He recommends using brushes like his Premium Oval Brush to really get in there and distribute oil from the scalp down to the end of hair strands and his Paddle Brush to rub the head and revive blood flow.


So how often should we be shampooing? “It all depends on what you’re starting off with,” says Josh, referring to varying hair types. “Finer hair can’t go multiple days, because it produces more oil,” says Josh. “But curly or gray hair can, as it produces less.” As a rule of thumb, he says people with oily hair should shampoo every day or every other day. Dry or coarser hair should do every three to four days. And of course, dry shampoo is a great bridge.


Whether your follicles feeling like they’re hurting is the result of infrequent cleansing, tight styling techniques, or a symptom of a migraine headache, your hair isn’t all that different from your body—it needs to be washed and worked out on a regular basis in order to be the best it can be. So at the end of a long, hard, stressful day, forget about trying to preserve a particular style for as long as possible, and instead, slow down and treat your hair to some much-needed self-care.


How fashion’s post-pandemic future could be digital

Per Götesson SS20 Prototype via Instagram (@kaffymcgee)

With the world on lockdown, a time when clothes are created, displayed and even ‘worn’ virtually may not be as far away as you think.

In the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, we’ve all been forced to turn to the virtual world. Fed up of Instagram Live feeds, home workout videos and Houseparty? Tough! Temporary as our quarantine may be, its impact on our lives will last far beyond these next few weeks. For better or worse, self-isolation seems to have been the final push the nation needed to fully embrace life dependent on digital infrastructures. But what does that mean for fashion?

In a week where high street mainstay M&S revealed they cancelled £100m in clothing orders due to coronavirus, and Burberry are said to expect sales in the final weeks of the financial year to fall by 80%, prospects for IRL fashion retail look pretty bleak. It doesn’t take a genius to realise that few people are going to spend their quarantine copping new season Louis Vuitton. (If that’s your flex, though, go off I guess!) But the more distanced we become from our old social and consumer habits, the more likely it seems that our newfound digital dependency could switch up, perhaps even reset how we consume clothing.

Granted, there’s already a notable level of digital integration in our sartorial lives. Instagram statistics show that 95 million images are uploaded everyday, and that fashion dominates the proportion of accounts on the platform used to promote brands. And, as the current pandemic has shown, consumer habits are quickly and easily adaptable during periods of flux, with brands sold on Amazon reporting a 47% increase in sales in the latter half of March.

Per Götteson AW20. Photography Mitchell Sams


The shifts triggered by the crisis could also reinforce the viability for digital fashion — clothing rendered in computer-assisted design programmes either for prototyping purposes or to be ‘worn’ virtually (by avatars, or via augmented reality, for example) — in place of tangible garments. “I have seen a need for people to express a deeper sense of identity online since we’ve entered this new phase,” London-based designer Per Götesson says. “I think that after this, they will be more open to the idea of a digital wardrobe because of that.”

Such a shift would, of course, encourage a radical rethink in how designers approach their practice. There would be heavy emphasis on rendering images, as opposed to traditional pattern cutting, which could advance design beyond the capabilities of physical manufacturing. “I find the consumption of images very intriguing, as at this moment, designers can’t be tactile with prototypes. I’m thinking of all possibilities, including and outside of, virtual clothing design,” Per continues, suggesting that not only will this period shift our ways of consuming fashion, but that it will alter how we view clothing on the whole. It will bring about “opportunities to think outside of garment design,” which makes you wonder if, as we move into a society dependent on communicating through a screen, clothing might be made with digital occasions in mind. Could there be a space for both functional real-life clothing, and looks that are specifically designed for consumption through social media and webcam meetups?


In a revised digital space, our focus may shift past conventional dress. Per’s collaborator Kathy McGee, founder of 3D and digital-led design project Digitoile, talks of the digital space as an adjunct to physical craft, emphasising how it can facilitate complex design ideas and collaboration in different ways. “During this time of ‘social distancing’, present and post, we have an opportunity to review and reflect on design tools and their possibilities of use,” she proposes. “The impact should be challenging and lead us to ask why we’re making things and who they’re for?” It is key that designers like McGee are asking such questions, actively creating with a purpose in mind, rather than producing sellable products for the sake of it. Digital design makes for more considered choices, forming resolutions before physical manufacture. As Kathy explains, “perhaps in some cases, the product or idea needs only to be virtual, and should it exist physically, that perhaps it is bespoke in a way that’s distinctly different to the digital version.”

Perhaps the most convincing argument in favour of digital fashion is its sustainability credentials: in an age of rampant overconsumption, it allows us to consume fashion without contributing to the absurd number of garments, some 100 billion, produced annually. It’s reasoning like this that drove young designer Aaron Esh to incorporate digital design into his work. By first rendering his pieces digitally, he’s able to “reduce the fabric waste typical of multiple toiles, and finalise pieces in half the time.” It’s a sentiment Kathy echoes, noting that digital “offers another way of communicating ideas and vision,” even if its inability to replicate the tactility of IRL means that it’s unlikely to replace real garments.


Between the three designers, there’s a consensus that digital fashion serves as a welcome extension to the real, rather than its replacement. But what of other creatives likely to be affected by a fundamental crossover to pixel-based looks? A model might be worried that they could be replaced by virtual counterparts, like self-styled “digital supermodel” Shudu Gram, a black woman who is both not real and — to complicate things further — the creation of a white, male graphic designer named Cameron-James Wilson. Established designers, too, might be wary of a full digital shift, as it would require a retraining of their methods of design.


For digital fashion to take the lion’s share of the market, it could require a wave of young designers working exclusively with digital clothing to drive a shift in consumer habits. Karinna Nobbs, retail and marketing strategist, says that “although adoption of a digital attire is mainly viable in concept as opposed to practice, due to it being a niche and challenging sector, you are likely to see more brands experiment with new forms of dissemination, with many seeing digital fashion as a legitimate revenue stream.” She believes that “there will absolutely be individuals who choose to live entirely immersed in VR, and for them, digital fashion would be at least 80% of their fashion purchasing”. To some, this may seem quite a reach, but it actually isn’t as far fetched as you might think. Some 69% of the 250 million Fortnite players spend an average of $85 each on virtual matter. In 2019, a digitally-rendered bespoke dress by design house The Fabricant sold for $9500. There is an appetite for such products.

The current restrictions on everyday life are unprecedented, but much is likely to revert back to normal post-pandemic. That being said, with no solid end date to look forward to, there’s every chance that our lives might make a semi-permanent pivot to digital in the meantime. Give it a few weeks: the garments we once perused on The Sims and Fortnite might be making a shift into our own wardrobes in the “real world” too.





salonwithoutwalls artist on-location mpls:





L’OFFICIEL ITALIA – The Now Icon: Paris Jackson

Musician, activist, model. Always in the spotlight for the name she bears and a father who remains a myth and a mystery, the young Californian, in the front row in the fight against AIDS with the Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation, launches an appeal for Australia

SAINT LAURENT BY ANTHONY VACCARELLO Sequined jumpsuit with belt. Chopard earrings. “Serpenti” necklace, bracelet and rings, “B.zero1” ring, Bulgari. Pictured with her Bengal cat Kille.

Musician. Lightworker. Treehugger. Activist. Give peace a chance. So Paris Jackson shares his profile on Instagram. At L’Officiel Italia he describes himself as «a person with a kind, honest, loyal, motivated, passionate heart, with positive energy and frequency. I’m also a little geek, with a passion for “Star Wars”, “The Lord of the Rings”, “Harry Potter” and all the Marvel movies. I would like to be remembered for my commitment – until death – towards the environment, animals and human and civil rights. In addition to someone who has always struggled to change the system. Power to the people! “Born in Beverly Hills, California, Paris is a free spirit. Independence gained after years of struggle against obsessive intrusion into one’s life, given the legacy of one of the most influential families in music history and in particular of his father Michael Jackson . Her career began as a model, represented by IMG Models, the same as Gisele Bündchen, Hailey Baldwin, Gigi and Bella Hadid , and then expanded to music, television and cinema.«Music is like the air I breathe, it is awareness, it is being able to create something bigger than me, it is a way to express myself, and externalize what I feel inside. It is difficult to describe these sensations in words, but the first that comes to my mind is gratitude, gratitude for being able to be part of this world. I don’t know how my songs are born, I only know that I feel the need to get them out, and every time it happens it is an act of purification. I like writing rock songs, because that’s what I love. But I’m also good at writing sad music, acoustic and folk pieces ». With his partner, Gabriel Glenn, he formed the band The Soundflowers.«Before Gabriel, I have never had such a profound collaboration with anyone, our creations are born naturally, develop organically. We are working on our first album, we have a lot of material, I think it could be ready next autumn. Meeting Gabriel was a revelation, thanks to him I discovered that I was born a musician, music makes me happy, makes me feel good and therefore I have no choice but to continue playing and singing » .

Among his fashion icons Stevie Nicks and Janis Joplin . «I love these alpha women, who have broken various barriers, not only in music, but also in fashion. To me they are legendary, I don’t know if there will ever be anyone like them again. I like their style, when I dress, my priority is comfort, that’s why I like the fashion of the 70s, it’s comfortable but also stylish » . The choice to be part of the fashion universe is an opportunity for Paris to increase collective awareness against the insecurities that fashion creates.«It’s time to fight the unreachable stereotypes created by fashion houses, unfortunately in the world we live in it is practically impossible to feel comfortable, especially with the media and social bombardment. I am not the only one of my generation to have insecurities, although I have learned to accept myself as I am. I wish all girls like me felt beautiful in their own skin. Beauty is subjective, there is no single canon. Beauty is not measured in numbers, shapes, sizes, dimensions or colors. True beauty should be measured by a person’s character, integrity, intentions, mentality or what he says. From how they behave and from their heart. I am human, not a doll, I have my defects, acne, cellulite, scars. The idea of ​​perfection is for more:


Photo Alan Gelati
Text Roberto Croci
Styling Deborah Ferguson
Hair stylist Peter Savic @ No-Name Management
Make up artist Francesca Tolot @Cloutier Remix
Manicure Barbara Warner using Chanel Le Vernis in Pirate
Creative direction Priscilla De Giorgi

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