Why Women Wear High Heels

These were power heels, and they were worn by women from all over the world. They were leopard print, or green and scaly. They were amaranthine and violaceous and subtly velvet. They were black and shiny as Japanese lacquer, with a shock of red on the sole. Some were plain, but uncomfortable anyway. Perhaps I have embellished them somewhat in my imagination, my memory tempered by glamour. What is not in dispute is that all of these statement shoes invariably came with a steel-spined appendage like an exclamation point: stiletto, the heel named for a dagger. For the women whose feet put up a fight, these shoes were changed out of and put away, smuggled in and out of the building in handbags, like weapons.

What confines, impoverishes, exploits, enslaves, oppresses, sickens, bloodies, rapes and kills women are not generally clothes or shoes, but rather laws and societal norms. Prejudice. Misogyny. White supremacy. Transphobia. Homophobia. Predatory corporations and unfair labor laws. Discriminatory work and hiring policies. Lack of legal protection from violence in the workplace, home and street. Non-enforcement of existing protections. Weaponized bureaucracy. Overpriced women-specific services. Medical sexism. Religious sexism. Barred access to property ownership, financial management, a credit card or a checkbook. Threat of violence in public spaces, both physical and virtual, and on public transportation systems. The mobility of women is and has been restricted physically through fashion, but most of all it has been restricted legally, financially, professionally, medically, intellectually, sexually, politically. That is to say, systemically.

The dominant narratives in society and media still struggle to see women as individuals. We are more often flavors, types. Public feminist intellectuals are routinely castigated for criticizing individual women with whom they disagree, even when that disagreement has not been expressed in a gendered or sexist manner. It comes up a lot when women fight about whether or not they should wear high heels.

When women are not seen fully as people, we are all the same, and criticizing one of us means criticizing all of us.

Source: https://www.theguardian.com/fashion/2019/mar/20/sex-power-oppression-why-women-wear-high-heels


8 cover letter mistakes to avoid and top tips

Do be succinct and clear

Take it from Kate Blythe, the chief content officer at Matchesfashion.com when she says that most hiring employers don’t have a lot of time to read applications. Be sure to keep it short, clear, and free from unnecessary information. “When submitting a cover letter remember that the people you are applying to are usually incredibly busy, have a huge pile of cover letters and CVs to read through and therefore need to be impressed by you quickly. Don’t overwrite a cover letter – keep it short and well written. Make sure it includes only the most relevant highlights of your career and personal information. Employers want to know that you understand what it is you are applying for, why the business is unique and why you are the right person for the job,” says Blythe.

Sameera Hassan, global director of marketing and communications at Farfetch, has a similar view: “Be clear on why you want to work for the brand and why you want to work within that particular position, knowing what you can offer and what you want to gain in return,” says Hassan.

Don’t flatter

When it comes to writing a cover letter, it’s essential to avoid clichés and the overuse of hyperbole. Stephanie Jemmett is the talent acquisition partner at Condé Nast International, and has seen her share of less-than-ideal cover letters. “‘I have a passion for fashion’ is a phrase we receive in applications day after day,” says Jemmett. “Don’t be too obvious around the role or the company and think outside the box – tell us about the first Vogue cover you saw or the first article that resonated with you.”

Do show your personality, but keep it professional

Remember that you want your cover letter to stand out, but to also speak to your knowledge and understanding of the business. Hassan explains that a great candidate has a “sense of the brand culture and levels of formality” so use this as a basis if you’re stuck.

Image credit: Getty Images

Don’t copy and paste

Whatever you do, don’t use the same cover letter for a handful of different job applications, and don’t regurgitate the company’s values or mission statement. These things seem lazy and show that you lack an understanding of the role.

Claire Birch, who is the human resources director at The Communications Store, notes that if you’re stuck, look to the team and their recent work to guide you. “Don’t copy and paste and be generic. We know how tough applying for jobs can be and the rejection that comes with it, but be creative with the content and the way you deliver your message. If going ‘out of the box’ is not for you, then tailor it to the company and show them the person behind the letter. Research the company, look at their work or clients, why are they interesting to you, but please avoid repeating back copy from the website,” she says.

Don’t send without triple-checking what you’ve written

Things like grammar, spelling, and accuracy are so, so important. According to Birch, failing to look over your work can really ruin an otherwise great application. “It seems obvious but sadly we still receive cover letters addressed to other companies or employers or applying for the wrong role. It’s such a shame as that all-important first impression is blown! Check and double-check [what you’ve written] – spelling and grammar count, especially for communications roles,” Birch explains.

Don’t repeat your CV

As Jemmet advises, ensure you don’t overlap information on your CV and cover letter, as it essentially just wastes the employer’s time. “Do not repeat yourself. The cover letter is a chance for you to showcase what is not on your CV and should be tailored to the specific role you are applying for. Most importantly, why you are interested in the role specifically, accompanied by any relevant experience, why you would be suitable and how your skills could be transferable to the role,” she notes.

Who does it concern?

When it comes to waiting for a response, Hassan hints that it isn’t wise to chase or follow-up in the first 24 hours. Instead, wait a few days before you reach out – application volumes might be extremely high. Hassan also notes that it’s best practice to only follow up or loop in those “directly involved” rather that the entire business.

Source: https://www.vogue.com.au/vogue-codes/news/8-cover-letter-mistakes-to-avoid-and-top-tips-from-vogue/image-gallery/ad32a46fb254ad975c8984ff8464f8d4


10 Tips on Starting Out as a Creative

Global employment in the creative sectors is booming. In the EU, the cultural and creative industries employ more than 12 million people, according to the European Commission, while the Mayor of London’s office reports that the capital’s creative sector accounts for one in six jobs. The National Endowment for the Arts also estimates the arts employed 4.9 million workers in the US in 2018.

However, gaining entrance to the creative workforce is notoriously challenging, in whichever continent you reside and job function you wish to work. Here, BoF condenses advice and insight from creative professionals across the fashion industry on how to stand out when starting out.

Ask for Opportunities
Drew Elliot, co-owner of Paper Magazine.

“If you want to reach out to someone, it’s never going to happen if you don’t ask. It’s so important to have the confidence to know that someone’s going to pick it up. At the end of the day, everyone’s rooting for you. You just have to figure out the right route for you. Everyone asks me, ‘how should I get started?’ Just get started.”

Continuously Update Your Skill Base
Fabien Baron, art director and founder of Baron & Baron.

“Throughout my career, my point of view has remained very consistent, I’ve stuck with it all my life but what I have changed is what I can do. I learned other skills — photography, copywriting — a lot of other things that allowed me to have that point of view in different mediums. The more you know, the more you learn, the more knowledgeable you are, and the better able you are to resolve problems.”

Look Past the Glamour
Birgitta Toyoda, head of styling at Streeters.

“This is an exceptionally tough industry and, because it is seen as outwardly glamorous, there are a lot of people who want to work within it — it’s not; it’s a lot of hard work. You need to be prepared to work all day, every day. This job is not about being fabulous — I can’t stress that enough. It’s about having the responsibility to do your best for others.”

Pay Attention to the Details
Alan Prada, deputy editor of Vogue Italia and L’Uomo Vogue.

“It’s good to be super creative, it’s important to have great ideas and to be capable of creating controversy when appropriate — but it’s also the method: how you approach your work. For example, someone [who] writes an email that is well done, with good punctuation — that’s valuable. The formal part is still important [because] from this, you can see the method that an individual will bring to all of their work.”

Network Vertically and Horizontally
Musa Tariq, head of marketing at Airbnb.

“The biggest mistake people make is [that] they try to network up. Take your time and play the long game — network across and below, because I bet you, in the long run, you’ll find it a lot more effective… The best time to build your network is when you don’t need something. It’s obvious when you’re the type of person who reaches out only when you need something.”

Find the Tools for Success
Joe La Puma, SVP of content strategy at Complex.

“If you have a medium, the tools are there for you to do it. Once you start your own thing or work at a company that fuels your passions, you can be prepared for it. When I was younger and trying to intern, I didn’t have those opportunities. Now you have the tools. You can really educate yourself on this culture.”

Trust Your Gut
Susanne Tide-Frater, brand and strategy director at Farfetch.

“A buyer will inevitably get it wrong at times because we’re not in the rocket science department here. It is about predicting, it’s about envisioning, it’s about knowledge that people have accumulated, but in the end it’s the gut that will steer them.”

Listen to Seniors and Juniors
Jodie Chan, director of marketing and communications at Altuzarra.

“You have to listen to other people’s perspective and respect their opinions, whether or not you agree with it. It’s about being open to collaboration and ideas, whether it’s from an intern or your boss. It’s very precious when someone shares an idea with you, so it’s important that you listen.

Demonstrate Creativity First
Christine Nagel, in-house perfumer for Hermès.

“Technical ability arrives with time, but the creativity is either within you or it’s not. Do not be afraid to dare… It’s OK to be wrong, and I would prefer to be wrong having been audacious than not be audacious and be right. ”

Prepare to Problem-Solve
Olu Michael Odukoya, art director and publisher.

“Creativity is largely about problem-solving. Your work becomes part of a long chain of responses — you take in the stimuli around you and you look for a way to solve the problems that they present to you, and then you create your own new propositions. The key is learning to express other people’s experiences in such a way that they feel they’re reliving them. It’s all about being a good communicator. And respect — both earning it and paying it.”

Source: Businessoffashion.com


The Hub’s Participation In The UK Study Tour

The journey started at Fashion Foundry which is situated in a building where artists and creative enterprises call home. Alan gave us a quick tour of the space with works of designers and a workroom. We met Rory and May, some designers that work from the space, and I conversed with Rory who collaborates with the British Museum, Royal Opera House and Art Fund to make custom prints for accessories. And this was one of the overall lessons I took home; collaboration, an agent of growth.

The next stop was the Cultural Enterprise Office. The Cultural Enterprise Office was set up for the purpose of supporting Scottish entrepreneurs. It’s the first and, possibly, only one of its kind in Scotland. They take entrepreneurs who are given a specific solution to whatever their needs might be. These solutions could include mentorship, financial assistance, and masterclasses.

After that, we went to Many Studios, an art exhibition gallery with open-air offices that serves some of Scotland’s most talented artists. Miranda Palombo, the Managing Director, gave us a tour of the space, an artistically demarcated white painted haven. Two of the artists we met were Siobhan and Michael John, an upcycle designer and a rubber shoe designer. Siobhan sources for old denim trousers and transforms them into jackets and hats, while Michael’s shoes are made with recycled rubber.

We spoke to Ms. Newman, the manager who is also in charge of handing the designers by getting them mentorship among other things, and she emphasized the importance of heavily curating one’s craft and finding a niche.

Nigerian designer, Sam Soboye, was a breath of fresh air. We walked into his store, and for the 15 minutes that we were there, it felt like we were back in Nigeria; he changed the music playing from the laptop from pop to afro hip hop; the Ankara decorations and the colorful clothes. We talked about his 17-year in business. “You must never give up,” he said. “If I count the number of times I’d been rejected by a major retail store or told I shouldn’t do this; I’d have shut down by now.”

The Design Museum where we met Curator-at-Large, Ameena M. McConnell, who spoke to us about the history of the museum and her role as the curator. “An artist has to be original,” she said when asked what makes her choose a particular artist.

Ms. McConnell went on to show us the exhibition of David Adjaye titled Making Memory. An exhibition inspired by architecture, people and black history.

We went on to our second stop, a tour of the Second Home Holland Park, a co-working space.
The last stop for the day was with Tabitha Goldstaub and Anushka Sharma, serial entrepreneurs who talked to us about the importance of thinking outside the box and creating a disruption that moves the society forward.


Ono Bello’s Fashion Blogging Masterclass

Fashion Maven, Ono Bello, had a masterclass in collaboration with 360 Creative Innovative Hub and this is what she had to say:

When you start your website, you might not make money for a while. Look at your competitors and see where you can stand out.

Start by registering your domain name. Research on the kind of content you want to create and be consistent.

To get people to know what you’re doing use newsletters, Whatsapp broadcast messages, social media e.t.c.

The future of fashion blogging is video content.


How Can New Technologies Help Make Fashion More Sustainable?

Fashion’s environmental footprint is one of the largest of any industry in the world, although it’s nearly impossible to measure the true scope of its impact. (The oft-quoted stat that it’s the second most-polluting industry in the world has been disproven several times over.)

However, according to a 2018 report released by the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe, the apparel industry produces 20 percent of global water waste and 10 percent of global carbon emissions, while 85 percent of textiles — 21 billion tons — are sent to landfills each year. Consumers are purchasing more clothes, and keeping them for half as long, driven by fast fashion, fast marketing and a digitally driven thirst for newness.

And yet, while revenues increase when consumers buy more clothes, there is also evidence that implementing sustainable practises can actually increase profits. Allocating resources more efficiently, building better working conditions and using sustainable materials could boost margins by 1-2 percent by 2030, according to a 2017 report released by Global Fashion Agenda and Boston Consulting Group. When companies hold themselves accountable publicly, it can also create goodwill with consumers.

But how can the industry do better overall? That was the big question in a salon discussion at VOICES, BoF’s annual gathering for big thinkers in partnership with QIC Global Real Estate, held in November 2018. The group, populated with industry insiders leading the sustainability conversation, determined that fashion can make immediate changes by investing in biotech, sustainable packaging, air and climate and the circular economy.

When it comes to bioengineering fabrics — which some argue carry a lighter environmental impact than natural fabrics — the challenges come in scalability. How can substitutes for leather, for instance, be made easily available? As one participant noted, the industry “really survives on 10 fabrics,” many of which were developed hundreds of years ago. “Ten years is a blink of an eye in biotech,” one expert said.

In order to scale as quickly as the industry wants them to scale, the companies developing bioengineered materials — from biodegradable materials to lab-grown leather and synthetic diamonds — have raised hundreds of millions of dollars in hopes of meeting industry demand, even if consumer demand is currently minimal.

Source: https://www.businessoffashion.com/articles/voices/how-can-new-technologies-help-make-fashion-more-sustainable



Banana Republic is plugging its vegan suede jackets. J. Crew’s Madewell brand is urging consumers to turn their “old jeans” into “new homes” through its denim recycling program. Even fast-fashion giants, such as H&M and Uniqlo, which by definition are the opposite of ethically sourced apparel, are touting organic collections or recycling initiatives. Nearly every apparel marketer is following consumer demand by leaping onto the green wagon.

“Sustainability used to be seen as a nice-to-have and a fringe trend, but now it’s a core differentiator and a way consumers are really deciding between brands,” says Lucie Greene, worldwide director of the Innovation Group and JWTIntelligence.com at Wunderman Thompson. New generations of buyers, specifically millennials and Gen Z, care more about the earth they’re poised to inherit and have adjusted their spending accordingly. Indeed, in a recent Nielsen survey, 81 percent of consumers said they felt strongly that companies should help improve the environment.

Of course, incorporating some type of environmentally friendly practices into a label could mean a variety of things. Some brands use recycled materials to produce their wares; others claim to recycle goods after they’ve been purchased. Uniqlo, for example, has a recycling drop-off bin at its stores for consumers to leave unwanted clothing. Other companies, like direct-to-consumer player Everlane, market radical transparency so shoppers know how goods are produced every step of the way. Sustainability can also mean ethical production, in which workers are treated fairly and paid well, and sourcing materials in an environmentally friendly way.

This lack of a clear definition of terms is proving both beneficial and burdensome for brands grappling with how to best market their environmental consciousness to consumers. Some have gotten in trouble for inauthenticity, or when common practices, like Burberry’s burning of excess goods last year, come to light on social media. Meanwhile, new apps for consumers provide brand ratings based on environmental impact, making it even more imperative for brands to get it right with their marketing messaging.

“It’s the Wild West out there right now,” says Paul Magel, president of the business applications and technology outsourcing division at CGS, a software company that works with retail clients. “Brands can tout what they want to tout. It’s not like there’s a government-mandated label that says ‘To use sustainable, it has to have these tenets.'”

From crunchy to conventional
Historically, brands that dabbled in environmentally friendly practices were considered crunchy and unconventional; in the ’60s and ’70s, the trend started to gain traction. Some brands, such as sportswear marketer Patagonia and womenswear label Eileen Fisher, have always incorporated green initiatives into their operations, but it was not until the early 2000s that green messaging filtered out into the mainstream, as mass market brands began to notice the potential benefits. In recent years, social campaigns like #fashionrevolution and #slowfashion, which encourage consumers to take a deeper look into how their clothes are made, have helped spread demand for more transparency.

Source: https://adage.com/article/cmo-strategy/sustainability-fashion-mainstream/316828/


Tips To Get Ahead In Fashion

Derek Charles Blasberg is an American journalist, author, and television personality who works extensively in the fashion industry. Since 2016, he has been the host of CNN International’s CNN Style. He sat with the Business of Fashion and here’s the interview.

At the beginning of your career, how did you start networking?

I’ve never liked that word “network.” It makes it sounds like all the relationships I have in the fashion world are professionally strategic, which is kind of offensive. I’ve carved out a family for myself in this business and I’m proud of it. Maybe that should be my first tip for working in fashion: If you don’t have a passion for it, don’t bother.

To be honest, I didn’t know this industry existed until I moved to New York to go to college. I grew up in St. Louis, Missouri, where “high fashion” was the Gap store at the mall and before YouTube hosted millions of hours of style programming for any secret fashion lover to see wherever they were in the world. So, when I got to New York and I discovered this glamorous, creative world I was like, “This is it. Sold!”

If you don’t have a passion for it, don’t bother.

The way it all started for me was with the girl who lived below me in my freshman dorm, my very first friend in the big city, who was a part-time student and part-time model with Elite. She introduced me to her agents, who became friends too, and they commissioned me to write the biographies of all the girls at the agency. That’s where I first met Gisele, Karen Elson, Amber Valleta.

In my sophomore year, I wrote press releases for a fashion PR company. I then interned at W magazine in my junior year and American Vogue in my senior year. After I graduated from New York University in 2004 with two degrees in Journalism and Dramatic Literature, I got a job as an assistant at Vogue. I turned out to be a terrible assistant and was fired from that job a year later, but that’s a whole other story.

Did you follow a golden rule as to how you conducted yourself?

When I was an intern, I overheard a Vogue editor explain the reason she always booked a certain model was because she was, and this is a direct quote, “happy to be here, easy to work with.” That clicked for me. Did I love waking up at 7am on a Saturday to unpack a bunch of trunks that had just come back from a shoot? Well, no. But I did it and I did it with a smile on my face, and the people I was working with were into that. Also, truth be told, coming from Missouri and suddenly being knee-high in couture dresses and diamond earrings wasn’t that hard to smile at.

If I had to add one thing to that golden rule, it would be, “never say no.” Can you make copies? (This was when people still made copies — am I dating myself?) Can you get coffee? Can you come in early tomorrow before you go to class? Do you want to come with us to this market appointment? We’re going for drinks later, if you want to join? Yes, to all of it.

When I was starting out, no assignment was too small: I said yes to writing press releases, blog entries, stories for the magazines they give away for free in the lobbies of buildings on the Upper East Side.

In 2004, the year Anna Wintour launched the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund, she asked Jonathan Becker to photograph the awards dinner. The photo editor couldn’t find someone to hold Jonathan’s lights for the portraits and at the last minute he was asked if I could quickly throw on a suit and go do it. Could I? Happy to be here, easy to work with. Jack McCollough and Lazaro Hernandez from Proenza Schouler won that night — they brought Parker Posey as their date — and after I finished holding those lights, we all went to a bar called Sway and celebrated. Those two dudes are still two of my best friends.

How much effort do you put into building relationships in the fashion world?

The answer is: a lot. I cannot go to sleep at night if I haven’t gone through my inbox and replied, filed or deleted every single email I received that day. I look at Instagram twice a day — when I wake up and when I go to bed — and I keep scrolling back until I get to where I stopped when I looked at it the time before.

If I say I’ll be somewhere, I show up. I never flake. (I also had perfect attendance from kindergarten through high school, so I’m used to never missing anything.) Does all of this require effort? Of course. But, as my mom told me when I was young, “nothing good is easy and nothing easy is good.”

What are the specific challenges and opportunities in fashion?

Specific challenges would be finding time to do everything you’re supposed to do; making sure you’re presenting your best self both in person and online; being outgoing but not annoying. A few months ago, a friend of mine sent me a resume of a friend’s kid because I was hiring at YouTube. The first thing I did was look at that person’s social networks and I was actually kind of shocked. Their Twitter was full of cuss words; an Instagram full of gratuitous selfies and questionable pictures. I thought to myself, “On what planet would I want to spend time with someone like this?”

If you figure out where and how to create your niche, you’ll never be bored.

Opportunities would be that fashion is a dynamic world of creative geniuses. If you figure out where and how to create your niche, you’ll never be bored! I love my job and the people I’m fortunate enough to work with and call my friends and family.

What’s the worst thing anyone can do in an attempt to grow or utilise their network?

For me, every time you say “network” I think of “friendship” because for the most part, the same rules apply. I don’t like people who are late, don’t tell the truth, don’t do good work, all of that kind of stuff. I’m repelled by people who act overly familiar, don’t know the difference between humour and cruelty. No one wants to work with people they don’t want to be around.

How important have interpersonal skills been to your success, and are there specific moments you could speak to?

The truth is that fashion is a full-time job. Earlier this month, on the first night of New York Fashion Week, I went to a half dozen events. Gucci had an event at their book store in Soho to celebrate a documentary on gender fluidity that they are distributing exclusively on their YouTube channel. Down the street, Michael Kors was launching his new campaign with Bella Hadid, so I popped in there to say hi to both of them. A few blocks way, Alexander Wang, who I met when I was an intern at Vogue, was doing a Chinese New Year party at his shop on Grand Street and I popped into see him.

After that, I hopped in a car to the Lower East Side to see Billie Eilish, one of my favourite YouTube creators, perform at the Garage magazine party. She did four songs and I posted up by the door so when she finished, I could be the first person out of there. From there, I dashed over to Balthazar to meet someone who is about to launch their YouTube channel. When that dinner wrapped up, I headed to my last stop: ZZ’s Clam Bar to see Billie and Takashi Murakami, who art directed Billie’s photographs in Garage magazine, where I also have a column.

My night started at 6:30pm and I was home before 11pm and it was bang bang bang the entire time: I didn’t even stop to have a single drink. But, by the end of the night, I had put in quality time with the host of every single one of those parties. Why? Because I wanted them to know that I was happy to be here and easy to work with.


In Pictures: Grammys 2019 Winners

Album of the Year: Kacey Musgraves, “Golden Hour”

Record of the Year (best overall song performance): Childish Gambino, “This Is America”

Song of the Year (recognizing songwriting): Donald Glover (Childish Gambino) and Ludwig Goransson, “This Is America”

Best new Artist: Dua Lipa Best Music Video: Childish Gambino, “This Is America”

Best Rap Album: Cardi B, “Invasion Of Privacy” Best Rock Album: Greta Van Fleet, “From the Fires”

Best Pop Vocal Album: Ariana Grande, “Sweetener”

Best Pop Duo/Group Performance: Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper, “Shallow”

Best Urban Contemporary Album: The Carters, “Everything Is Love” Best R&B Album: H.E.R., “H.E.R.”

Best Alternative Music Album: Beck, “Colors” Best World Music Album: Soweto Gospel Choir, “Freedom”


Style Inspiration From The SAG Awards

Awards season is well and truly under way in Hollywood and on Sunday night it was the turn of the 25th annual Screen Actors Guild Awards show, which saw Black Panther take home the top award.

Here are some of the best pictures from the evening, including the red carpet, ceremony and after parties.