The Changing Face Of Fashion: Building A Sustainable Supply Chain

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If there’s one retail industry that remains reasonably unaffected by rising prices and inflation, it is apparel. Everyone buys clothes, and the choice is often about which clothes to buy than regarding whether to buy them at all.

“There’s no such thing as too many dresses.”

“One cannot have too many shoes.”

These statements, often made in passing, are reflective of a global economy that rarely sees slumps, if ever. As an answer to ever-changing demands, fast fashion too has come into the picture, change collections six times a year.

However, there is the elephant in the room. And that elephant is squatting squarely in landfills across the globe, weighing trillions of tons, if not more.

As one of the economy’s driving forces, fashion has a responsibility towards adopting sustainable practices, and one way to do that is to build a supply chain that reduces wastage and improves efficiency. What’s more, customers today are starkly aware of the consequences of their buying habits- while they may or may not make fewer purchases, they are certainly looking out for labels that reduce their impact on the planet. Are you one of them?

What is a fashion supply chain? It encompasses everything that happens in the business to bring a product to the shelf for purchase. A supply chain includes design and manufacture, as well as logistics and transportation. In the landmark book titled ‘To Die For’ by Lucy Siegle, she says that this seemingly straightforward step has 101 sub-steps!

The trouble with apparel and sustainability usually begins with the numbers. One pair of jeans never harmed anyone, but one billion? This is why customers are rapidly turning to locally sourced, organic and sustainable clothing. Because today, we could really use a few drops in the ocean.

How to Build A Sustainable Supply Chain while working in the fashion industry

How can you, as a business, contribute to these efforts? By making your back-end more sustainable. Here are a few pointers to follow:

  1. Have absolute control over your inventory. This is important not just for more sales but to be able to produce and market only as much as you can really sell. Overproduction is fast fashion’s biggest problem, but you can help solve that.
  1. Offer customization options so that you can go into production on some products only after they have been purchased by the customer. This helps reduce the need for disposal and deep discounts which in turn cause wastage.
  1. When you design, design a collection. So many private labels today struggle with trying to do too many things at once. The problem is that all of these things rarely ever fit together. Instead, a capsule for each season is easier to shop, moves more products off your shelves and can be mixed and matched to make several different outfits.
  1. Denim are some of the most resource-intensive products to make. Some brands like H&M have started a denim exchange initiative that allows the cloth to come back into production once it has been sufficiently used. Likewise, Levi’s phased out PFCs and found more environment-friendly options to make their denim water repellant. What’s more, some brands are also making denim from shredded plastic recovered from our oceans.
  1. Spearhead initiatives to get people to buy less, or to recycle more! As a business, this sounds counterintuitive, but H&M’s Conscious effort proves that it can work. By offering discount coupons for old clothes and a host of initiatives to use more recycled cotton, it is building both price and material efficiencies into its supply chains. By 2020, H&M aims to use only organic or recycled cotton in its production.

As you might have observed from some of these pointers, a sustainable supply chain cannot work in a silo. You need an action plan that works across all stages of the production and buying process. Take the initiative to get people to wear your clothes at least twenty times before throwing them out, a product of good quality.

Likewise, you can also become an advocate for your own clothes by encouraging reselling of unused products- become the marketplace for customers who bought your clothing but never used them.

Each of these actions demands that you make changes every step of the way.

Confused as to where to begin? Get in touch with us using our contact form, for a perspective on how you can make your fashion business more sustainable and friendly for years to come.


Supriya Ghurye is the founder and owner of Fuel4Fashion. She is a Freelance Fashion Designer and Brand Consultant helping fashion brands to create great products from idea to launch. Fuel4Fashion social links:  TwitterPinterestInstagram


 

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Choosing Sustainability: The Changing Face Of Fashion

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Our December blog series is dedicated to exploring the trends and shifts on the fashion landscape that may be mere blips today, but have the potential to be a full-blown revolution very soon. Our first blog in the series discusses sustainable textile options.

In a TED talk that has since been watch close to a million times, UPS’s Aparna Mehta makes a strong case for buying less and returning even less of clothing. As it turns out, one man’s fashion is another man’s trash. This doesn’t, however, apply on the retail end of things alone. Some studies show that thousands of gallons of water go into making one denim outfit, quantities that we as a planet just cannot afford anymore.

Stella McCartney has come out and taken a stand against fast fashion. Other influencers are following suit. In this scenario, it is worth thinking about sustainable garments from two perspectives. One, sustainable clothing is better for the planet. Two, sustainable clothing really is the future for every fashion business, and the sooner you get started, the better it is for you.

Luckily for us, there are several alternatives to the textiles we now use, and most of them perform at par, if not better than, their traditional counterparts.

  • Alternatives to Silk: Perhaps fashion’s guiltiest pleasure, and one that doesn’t get as much of a bad rep as using animal hide is the making of silk. Apart from the process itself, Human rights Watch reports that over 3,50,000 children are employed in the industry.  Luckily, some alternatives have been found, and they are soon gaining prominence. Jute silk and silk derived from other plant fibers are finding acceptance. Ahimsa silk is an Indian innovation of waiting for the silkworm to evacuate its silken residence before using the cocoons for their yarn. IndiaBride and The Ethical Silk Company are just a few brands that are pioneering the use of sustainable silk.
  • Alternatives to Cotton: Cotton is one of the most resource-heavycrops to grow. The pesticides and insect repellants used for cotton production often stay in the environment and the soil for many decades to come. One way to reduce the impact of cotton growing is to use organic cotton. Fornow, it is fairly expensive. However, as with all organic product, a rise indemand can quickly increase the supply capabilities and reduce prices.California based Synergy clothing uses organic cotton, as well as cottonblended with help and bamboo to design their clothing. What’s more, they usenatural dyes and follow a fair-trade policy that keeps everyone in the supplychain happy.      
  • Alternatives to Synthetic Textiles: Nylon, polyester,and acrylic are some of the biggest pollutants ever produced. Some reportssuggest that even washing these clothes can leech microplastics into our oceansand permanently change the quality of water. It is rather inconvenient, then,that synthetic textiles are also cheap and easy to mass-produce.  Making a switch away from synthetic clothing needs to be a conscious choiceacross the supply chain. Isolated efforts have begun to use bamboo, jute, andhemp as alternatives. Fabric made from these materials is often much morebreathable as well. The key, of course, is in generating enough demand.
  • Alternatives To Commercial Wool: As a textile,wool has many benefits. It generates warmth, wicks away moisture and ishypoallergenic as well. However, commercial practice has driven wool-farmingtowards crowded shelters and animals with very little immunity. Ethical wool is obtained from animals that have been raised on a natural farmin humane conditions, which naturally increases the animals’ immunity andlongevity, as well as the quality of wool itself. Organic wool is often alsodyed with natural dyes, making it that much more suitable for people who areallergic to chemical dyes.

Which of these materials would you want to experiment with in your next collection? What would be your biggest hindrance to doing so?


Supriya Ghurye is the founder and owner of Fuel4Fashion. She is a Freelance Fashion Designer and Brand Consultant helping fashion brands to create great products from idea to launch. Fuel4Fashion social links:  TwitterPinterestInstagram 


Guest Blog: How to Use your Passion and Education to Start a Fashion Business

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Thanks to the support and encouragement of our readers, the Fuel4Fashion blog now has a growing tribe of followers on various social media platforms, from across the world. We have tried to keep giving all of you insights into what is trending in the industry and build up Fuel4Fashion as the go-to place for getting an idea of emerging global fashion trends as well as insightful information about the fashion industry.  In order to bring more quality content from the fashion industry to the community, we are now re-starting our guest blog section. This will feature articles on topics similar to the ones we have been bringing you, but from a variety of authors from the field of fashion. Today we bring you this interesting article from NewThread. – Supriya

Starting a fashion business seems all glamorous from the outside but generally, it’s just time-consuming sessions of never-ending work.

Take for example launching your own private label clothing brand.

Your first inclination would be to find a custom clothing manufacturer overseas. You need to find a reliable factory, and send thousands of dollars halfway across the world. You need to find a shipping agent if the factory is too small to help you in that regard. You need to find relevant quality inspection people as well.

The challenge of sourcing clothes is even more exacerbated when your budget doesn’t cover traveling a few thousand miles away. Just take a look at all the processes involved when you’re planning on manufacturing your apparel:

Many entrepreneurs think that the right amount of passion is enough to fuel their business into being successful but that’s hardly the case. So, to guide you through this journey, here are some tips that will help you create a successful fashion business.

  • Discover your passion

The key to any successful business is definitely patience and dedication. But in order to find that will, you’ll have to first be sure of what you really want to do. It is essential to keep in mind that the world of fashion and apparel is extremely competitive, and at times merciless. Know the ins and outs of the industry and only get going if you’re sure about what you want to do.

  • Education and Research

The apparel industry is huge and as days pass by, its branches seemed to have grown out even more. There are several different ways of sourcing, manufacturing, selling and what not.

I’d suggest you to first find out about the types of business within this industry. For example; you could be a wholesale clothing supplier, an online private clothing brand, a t-shirt printer, the possibilities are endless.

Read articles about your favorite fashion brands and apparel companies online and get to know about what’s in trend nowadays by reaching out to Fashion Design Studios like Fuel4Fashion. If you already have proper knowledge though through online courses or maybe even your college degree, then you’re already a step ahead!

It is essential to decide what you want to pursue choose the one that fits perfectly with your plans and skills.

  • Understand the demand in the market

Innovation is greatly appreciated when it comes to fashion. The more unique your products are, the more customers you lure in. Otherwise, why would they bother buying your products when there might be hundreds of other potential sellers out there?

Since fashion is diverse, it’s better if you target a certain niche. Think about what age group you are more comfortable with. It could also be just catered towards one gender or the other. There are a lot of aspects to keep in mind when choosing your target customers. Consider the socio-economic and psychological aspects as well when deciding on a target market.

Along with your customers, you’ll also have to pay attention to your products. Be thorough when it comes to the product. Ensure that your product is both comfortable and trendy while being reasonable in price. If your product doesn’t stand out or is of poor quality, your business is less likely to not gain any profit. It is very crucial to understand the competition of the industry and also the importance of marketing throughout your business.

  • Determine your skills and contacts in the fashion industry

It is almost impossible to run a business alone. If you want to a successful entrepreneur, you’re expected to have strong relationships with influential people in the fashion industry. Aside from that, some traits and skills are also needed to turn you into the perfect businessman. 

Note down your strengths and weaknesses when it comes to business. This will help you figure out where you need additional help and where you don’t. A degree in fashion might provide you the knowledge but it isn’t enough to run a company. Time management, financial management, leadership qualities etc. these all are very important skills that complete a business owner. Thus, before starting a business, it’s essential to assess your skills.

As mentioned above, you can’t run a company alone. There are many sectors in a company and if you feel overwhelmed, take advice from someone who is already in the clothing business. If possible, make someone more experienced, your partner who can guide you through the common mistakes.

Slowly but steadily branch out your departments: PR, stylists, photographers, accountants, etc. Don’t worry if you don’t have these contacts, you can visit fashion events to collect more information.

  • Make a business plan

A business plan is mainly a statement that records your business goals. This is the most important part of your business. Estimate your total expenses and sales per year through costing and create a minimum budget that would be required in order to get the business running.

A good business plan not only helps the entrepreneur to set a target and take the necessary steps in order to make it possible, but it also aids in achieving both the long term and short term objectives of a business that makes it successful.

There are many ways you can fund your company. Few of them are mentioned below-

  1. Money from investors (also known as venture capitalists). They will also become owners of your business and get some percentage of your profit.
  2. Long term loan from a bank which is considered as non-current liabilities. These types of loans can be paid after a year or more (with interest). Taking long term loans will not decrease your current ratio (current assets/current liabilities)
  3. Short term loans. You’ll have to repay these loans with interest within a year or less.
  4. Money from family and friends.

However, keep in mind that it is important to keep a balance between your debts and incomes. Taking too much loans can drive your business to bankruptcy.

  • Making your product

If you’re going for private label business or want to manufacture your own products, you’ll have to look for a manufacturer first. If you’re just starting out, find a manufacturer who has a low MOQ (Minimum Order Quantity) since it’s not a very good idea to start off with a huge manufacturing order when starting your business. Here’s an infographic to make it easy for you to understand how the process will work.

Once you’re ready to start sourcing, here are five ways you can source your clothing.

  • Selling your products

This is another aspect that depends truly upon what sort of business you have. If you want to e-commerce seller, you’ll have to make sure your products stand out among all the others. You can also look for distributors that are interested in selling your products and are perfect for your clothes and fashion. Look into what is popular in the country you will be selling. Blank t-shirts for example, are universally popular for the most part.

You have a whole lot of opportunities when it comes to a fashion business, make sure to use these wisely and make the most of it. Attending events or trade shows might help you to promote and sell your products. Other than that, take orders from distributors or clothing stores and print catalogs for them.

It is also essential to establish a good rapport with bloggers and influencers that can bring attention to your brand.

The fashion and apparel industry has more to it than it lets on so beware of the challenges that it throws your way. This is where marketing comes in. A good marketing technique can allow your sales to go sky high.

Research your target market and conduct surveys to understand how you would attract a fair amount of customers. Listen to what your customers say. Reviews are very important and do not hesitate to ask for your customers’ feedbacks before making any major changes to your products.

A successful fashion business consists of the perfect balance between passion, skills and knowledge. It is very crucial to plan out your every step and know that there’ll be a lot of challenges to overcome. Let your passion and determination lead your way into a successful fashion business!


Writer Bio: Yusuf Ahmed is the chief supply strategist at NewThread. NewThread helps businesses establish an apparel supply chain here in Bangladesh, by sourcing the right factory for the product from our network of certified factories, following up with inspection and shipment.


Range Planning: From Ideas To Inspiration For A Men’s Casual Line

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In the previous blog, we discussed range planning and how inspiration boards, color palettes, and sketches can be used in sequence to design a women’s clothing line. This week, we see how the same process can be used to come up with the men’s line.

Fashion designers have superpowers. One of those powers is creativity, while the other is the ability to break creativity down into a process. The most crucial superpower is the ability to find this inspiration and make something of it even before the trend actually hits the shelves.

Without further ado, it is time to exercise some of those powers!

Part 1: The mood board

This is perhaps the single most abstract element in the entire design process. While color and print boards represent those attributes respectively, mood boards reflect what the collection feels like. While designing the mood board, it is worth asking yourself some of these questions:

Street Wear trends seen during Fashion Week SS19 which can be adopted to Men's casual wear creative Fashion Design Process

  • What is the objective my mood board wants to achieve?
  • What are some key inspiration points for my range?
  • What unique ideas am I implementing with this mood board?

The last question is fundamental because we often generalize collections based on the season. For example, summer and men may always mean nautical stripes and pastels. However, adding in a unique element, such as the fact that many people also travel in summers can bring in a new feature to the range. For our casual athletics range, the mood is athleisure. This range is for those people who love being sporty and being outdoors but also don’t take themselves too seriously. A bomber jacket over tracks takes them from the gym to the streets in next to no time. The mood is casual, carefree, outdoorsy and charming.

Part 2: The color board

The color board, as the name suggests, is a collection of at least five colors you’d like to see represented in your range. Picking out colors is heavily dependent on the theme. For our casual athletics theme, we chose urban, outdoor colors like shades of brown, grey and green.

Street Wear trends seen during Fashion Week SS19 which can be adopted to Men's casual wear creative Fashion Design Process

How do we come up with these colors? You can save images of clothes you like and use a digital color picker to identify the different shades. You can also use the Pantone color guide to spot the exact tone you’re looking for. Moreover, you can also use color mapping tools to help you pick colors that complement all others.

In any case, be sure to pick at least five base colors and two shades for each color that you’d like to work with.

Part 3: The print board

If there is one street trend that is taking over the world, it is the idea of prominent prints in menswear. Small, inconspicuous origami doves are giving way to large, placement prints and even outfits that are printed all over. Neon highlights are an excellent option for the colors we have chosen, as are geometric prints and stripes in a variety of sizes.

Street Wear trends seen during Fashion Week SS19 which can be adopted to Men's casual wear creative Fashion Design Process

Part 4: The concept board

This is the stage at which all of your work comes together. A concept board is centered primarily around the main sketch it represents. The sketches themselves are inspired from all of the other boards and incorporate aspects from each of them.

Creative Fashion Design Process for Casual wear SS19 inspired from Street Wear trends seen during Fashion Week SS19 Around the sketch are images of what the style would look like in real life as well as the primary colors that make up that particular outfit. Long jackets are the staple in our range, keeping with the global trend and K-pop sensation. Our pants are loose, drawstring and aimed at people who want to move freely. It is both casual and athletic, perfect for today’s city dweller.

Street Wear trends seen during Fashion Week SS19 which can be adopted to Men's casual wear creative Fashion Design ProcessFrom here, the sketches are followed by choosing the fabric and picking the colors that closely match your original palette. This is followed by designing a few prototypes which then go into manufacture.

Street Wear trends seen during Fashion Week SS19 which can be adopted to Men's casual wear creative Fashion Design ProcessWhat is your menswear design inspiration this time around? How are you using the range planning process to come up with the collection?

Tell us in the comments. Need a hand? Book a 30 mins free session for an in-depth consultation and help with range planning.


Supriya Ghurye is the founder and owner of Fuel4Fashion. She is a Freelance Fashion Designer and Brand Consultant helping fashion brands to create great products from idea to launch. Fuel4Fashion social links: TwitterPinterestInstagram


 

Range Planning: From Inspiration To Product For A Women’s Clothing Line

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Planning well is a job half done, the saying goes. For most professions needing creativity, it is hard to pin down a process. We don’t often know whether the inspiration comes first or the process. However, having a linear process in place is useful for those occasions when the time is short and it is imperative that you get results in a short period.

Under such circumstances, a process keeps you from losing track and helps you come up with styles that can actually work in stores.

In today’s article, we talk about range planning from start to finish- from the mood board to the final sketches. We will take you through each step and give you tips on making that step work for you, for a women’s clothing line.

1. The Inspiration:

With a whole host of fashion weeks and their accompanying streetwear trends behind us, there is no shortage of inspiration to choose from. For this collection, our theme is Modern Fairytales. In the literal sense, this theme is all about making a strong, bold statement. Empowerment is the word, as stories like Moana and Brave have shown us in recent times. Moreover, tulle as a fabric is in vogue because it is so easy to pair with absolutely anything to create a look of your own.

Pinterest is a powerful tool for gathering all of your inspiration in one place. Create a separate board for each inspiration path that you want to follow, and start gathering material around it.

2. The Moodboard:

We’re feeling whimsical, but we’re also looking at functionality. Textured earrings are just a reference point for things that are both practical and statement-making. For flowing fabrics with a hint of sheer, it is only right that we use as many pastels as possible. Flowy silhouettes and interesting detailing add to the magical feeling. The overall mood of this collection is telling a story that is aspirational and good to have. We all want to be a Disney Princess, even if it is just a little bit!

19NOV

Use adjectives to describe the mood of your collection. Print them out in big, bold letters. Find reference images for the ideas you’re trying to express. You can read more about designing a moodboard here. 

3. The Colorboard:

Pastels rule the collection, and we love all shades of nature, muted just a bit. Think clouds, the sky on a damp morning, powder pinks, blues, and yellows, off-white. These colors are just about there- not too jarring, not to mute. They have a subtle, graceful voice of their own, and boy do they get heard!

20NOV

Make the most of the colors you want to incorporate-choose five- and adapt them into all of your ensembles.

4. The Printboard:

What’s life without a few prints? Everyday ensembles are brought to life with a dash of prints. We’ve seen everything from doodles to emojis and retro themes find their place in the sun. For our Modern Fairytales collection, we’ve chosen stripes and checks. These linear elements help us add every day, friendly vibe to clothing and give us a chance to bring in some versatility into the collection. In fact, plain outfits are very often paired with printed ones, so you need to think carefully about what your prints represent.

21NOV
Choose a print based on how it blends with your colors and ideas. For example, a floral theme for this collection would have made it too feminine, which is not what we’re looking for in everyday wear and functional designs. Likewise, you need to decide what these prints represent to you and your audience.

5. The Ensembles:

Now, if we’ve done our job well, we should have clothes! We’ve created three ensemble sketches basis our inspiration, and we feel like these designs would be run(a)way hits.

Ensemble 1 :

22NOV

In the first ensemble, the focus is on creating volume at the bottom and balancing it out at the top. The pastels stand out better because of darker shades, and the ruffles make this outfit perfect for Friday workwear, lunches, evening meet-ups and even for traveling long distances.

Ensemble 2 :

23NOV

The second one is a personal favorite because an asymmetric hemline is not for the faint of heart. Add peplum to the mix, and we’re taking it one notch higher. We’re thinking of a warrior-princess who conquers the world with her attitude, and of course with her clothing.

Ensemble 3 : 

24NOV

The third and last image is power dressing in all its essence- stylish, comfortable and full of utility. Culottes are in- in fact, we don’t know why they took so long to take off in the first place! A culotte jumpsuit with frills is the perfect urban dream. A hoodie adds to its streetwear appeal and is very, very suggestive of Red Riding Hood. For us, this is Once Upon A Time with a generous helping of happily ever after.

Which design inspiration are you going with for your women’s wear collection?

Need a hand? Book a 30 mins free session for an in-depth consultation and help with range planning.


Supriya Ghurye is the founder and owner of Fuel4Fashion. She is a Freelance Fashion Designer and Brand Consultant helping fashion brands to create great products from idea to launch. Fuel4Fashion social links: TwitterPinterestInstagram


 

Adapting Streetwear Into Mainstream Fashion: The Men’s Casual Wear Edit

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This time around on the streets, it is the men that did it better. Stepping away from conventions in a variety of self-expression, we spotted everything from kimono adaptations to safari jackets, stripes, and some amazing shoes at the fashion week streets this time around.

This feature is aimed at giving you ideas across apparel categories to adapt some of these styles into your upcoming men’s casual wear collection. What we’re really excited about is that some of these outfits can translate just as they are into collections with little to no changes. For the rest of them, these suggestions across categories can help.

So, what are we waiting for, really?

1.Shirts and Vests

Key takeaways: Dark,floral, understated

The first layer of clothing this time around was suitably dark and understated to let the rest of the elements stand out. Most of the styles that caught our eye either had a black or a white t-shirt as the basis of the look. Brands looking to go down this path can also experiment with colors such as grey, deepred, tan, etc. T-shirts in a variety of colors rarely go out of style.

Another standout trend is the growing interest in men’s florals. Such patterns have often been limited to tropical shirts, but not anymore! One outfit we particularly like has a long floral shirt in black and grey. The colors themselves are very masculine, and the flowers are toned down a bit with the use of black pants and an overcoat.

2. Bottom Wear

Key takeaways: Bold, cropped, prints

We need to give it up to the men this time for starting what is definitely going to be a significant trend in trousers for years to come, and that is the cropped pant. Be it the bold, metallic fisherman’s pants in blue, or regular pants folder up well above the ankles, the men are asking for it. When it comes to trousers, it is best to keep with the trends. No one ever imagined that slim cuts and ankle pants would take off for men, but they did anyway.

For the bolder male, the idea of printed pants in graphic colors is not alien. Brands that are so inclined can experiment with comic book prints and the color of aged paper. We also saw the men’s palazzo make a comeback with an athleisure twist, so go bold with the bottom wear! 

3. Outerwear

Key takeaways:
Blends, Statement, Denim

It isn’t just the women digging denim this time around. Sporty jackets for men are a big trend, and how! For a change, these jackets are being paired with lighter colors and a look that accentuates the jacket itself. So go for those embellishments with confidence.

Speakingof accentuating the outerwear, we love how men around the world used their jackets to express their style truly. Be it toning down the flamboyance with a blazer, using a bomber jacket to brighten up the outfit, or even a statement jacket so reminiscent of 8-bit gaming, the coats are here to take the world by storm. Design them in all lengths, cuts, and material, because they’re going to be selling like hotcakes very soon.

4. Accessories

Key Takeaways:
Sneakers, outdoor, black

Well, the converse isn’t going out of business anytime soon. If you’re designing shoes to go with your collection, it is worth exploring at least one option that resembles a sneaker. We also saw quite a few black boots going around, in a throwback to the blue-collar workers of the industrial era.

One common theme is hard to miss- everyone is looking for comfort. With cities in expansion mode, the distances people cover by foot on any given day is a few miles, at least. It makes sense, then, to wear closed toe boots that are made for hitting the footpath. Function over form is the new norm in footwear design. We’d go so far as to offer unisex options that are much more functionaland can attract a broader audience base.

Don’t you just love the men’s streetwear styles? We know we do! Which other trends did you notice on the streets? Tell us in the comments.


Supriya Ghurye is the founder and owner of Fuel4Fashion. She is a Freelance Fashion Designer and Brand Consultant helping fashion brands to create great products from idea to launch. Fuel4Fashion social links: TwitterPinterestInstagram


Adapting Streetwear Into Mainstream Fashion: The Women’s Casual Wear Edit

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Streetwear is taking the world by storm, and there may just come a time when it is impossible to find casual clothing without at least one street motif. In keeping with this newfound preference for all things street, designers are finding new and exciting ways to incorporate elements from streetwear into casual wear all around the world.

As a designer, is this what you’re trying to do as well? If so, this article is for you. We show you how different streetwear trends can be adapted into clothing items to design a collection.

The basic form and flow will give priority to casual wear, in keeping with the theme of this article and the fact that casual wear is one of the most highly sold collections anywhere in the world. The adapted elements will focus on streetwear trends as seen at the recently concluded fashion weeks.

1.    Top wear:

Key takeaways: Bold prints, ruffles, utility

Casual wear is supposed to be comfortable first. In keeping with this need, loose silhouettes are still here to stay especially when it comes to tops. On the streets this year, we saw some improvements made to the top as we know it. Interesting necklines and ruffles dominated the scene, but heavy prints were not far behind either.

For the first layer, both bralettes and mesh tops are an option. For those wanting sheer but not in the form of a mesh, translucent tops with organza and silk, done up with ruffles, add a feminine touch to the outfit.

For those layering up for the streets, chequered shirts, boyfriend jackets and bomber jackets in bright colors are all options. A chequered short can be used for covering up without feeling too warm, while a bright bomber jacket can brighten up a casual evening outfit to the mall.

2.    Dresses and Jumpsuits

Key takeaways: Gingham, form over length, loose and boxy

Dresses in gingham prints and sport style cuts are in this season. The length of the dress itself has taken a back seat, and more priority is given to the flow of the outfit. If a longer dress looks better, then so be it!

Drawing inspiration from the street scene are ruffles and boxy dresses. We saw a lot of boxy clothing on the runways this year, and what happened off of them is also reflective of people’s need for not being smothered by their clothes. Moreover, a boxy silhouette is much more forgiving, thus setting the stage for changing ideas about the ‘ideal body type.’

Those adding dresses to the collection can also think of exploring coordinates as an option. Coord clothing is stylish, offers scope for mixing and matching and can be bought together or as separates, making your collection that much richer. When in doubt, always include a jumpsuit.

3.    Bottom Wear

Key Takeaways: Flowy, denim, key detailing

The Levi’s X Justin Timberlake collection is proof that denim is the one thing that can forever keep coming back onto the fashion scene. The versatile fabric holds form exceptionally well, which is perhaps why one with a boxy top may choose a skinny pair of jeans to accentuate the outfit a bit more. The flower-power era trend of denim-on-denim is back as well, so it is time to bring out some jackets and shirts in denim as well.

Speaking of versatility, a flowing skirt is in demand too. Catching the subway train in a pencil skirt has finally frustrated people to the point where they want nothing more than to let it go. A skirt like this works as well with a cropped top as it does with a full shirt.

Those opting for outfits with form are choosing key detailing to go on the bottom wear that adds an extra element of both oomph and comfort to the outfit. Thigh high slits are not about sass anymore, and instead, have everything to do about striding through the footpaths of busy cities. Interestingly, we saw very few shorts on the streets this time around, perhaps in a bit to explore bottom wear options beyond the most ubiquitous.

If you’re designing your collections right now, which of these elements have you already managed to include? Which ones do you see scope for implementing even mid-design?

If you haven’t started yet, which trends would you like to pick up? Tell us in the comments below.


Supriya Ghurye is the founder and owner of Fuel4Fashion. She is a Freelance Fashion Designer and Brand Consultant helping fashion brands to create great products from idea to launch. Fuel4Fashion social links: TwitterPinterestInstagram


 

The Growing Market For Streetwear Trends in 2019

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Now that we’ve put major fashion events behind us, it is time to get back to business as usual!

One common theme that stood out at Fashion Weeks this year is the adaptation of streetwear trends and motifs into what is typically high-end or luxury fashion. For example, Miu Miu experimented with colors that are usually considered outdoor. Around the globe, streetwear is translating into more than just athleisure, and in keeping with that, our November blogs explore how streetwear can be adapted into clothing lines.

Why? Because, from Louis Vuitton to H&M, everyone is going to the streets. Streetwear is highly adaptable, which is what makes its appeal so universal. And, streetwear is a way to make a powerful statement.

Remember, when it comes to influence as strong as streetwear, it is best to choose one or two elements and incorporate them into clothes than to go all out and design something that can only be worn to a Zumba class.

Street wear fashion seen during Fashion Week Spring Summer 2019

Photos: Phil Oh – Vogue

Without further ado, here are five streetwear trends that we are absolutely digging, both for their aesthetic value and for the business value they bring to the table.

  1. Neutrals: Let’s start with some color or the lack of it in this case. Traditionally, streetwear has usually been dark, with bright accents in the form of a pocket patch or a bright shoe. However, in a nod to the high-flying millennials who are always on the go, streetwear is manifesting in colors such as whites, off-white, beige and tan. These colors are not just inconspicuous, they’re also easy to carry straight from a walk to a meeting.

In keeping with this trend, explore bomber jackets and loose pants in muted colors. We also recommend giving sweaters in these colors a try for those cities that need protection from all year long.

  1. Bold Branding: This is the year of prints, and not just any prints. Brands that have a reasonable standing are making the most of fully printed outfits. The essence of streetwear is bold, loud expression which stems from a need for acceptance and a sense of community.

How can new brands leverage this trend? For one, out your logo front and center. Another aspect to explore in design is using your brand’s standard colors in your clothing as well. Be very careful while adapting this trend, as no one likes to be a walking billboard for someone else. However, if the end product looks stylish, people will lap them up this season.

  1. Going Military: Some prints and styles just keep making a comeback every few years. In a way, these trends and pieces are timeless and add value to everyone’s collection. In streetwear, military prints and colors take the cake. Camouflage is not everyone’s cup of it, but it definitely makes a very bold statement.

A general rule of thumb when adapting trends like these is to remember that such prints usually attract a very niche audience who like, or have experimented with, these trends before. If you want to sell to a larger group, think in terms of fragmenting the trend a bit. Explore tank tops with camo detailing on the side, or a semi-formal shirt with camouflage prints at the collar and cuffs. Likewise, diversify the colors in the collection a bit with olives, muted blues, and even flat whites.

  1. Gingham Gone Wild: Gingham, in its broadest interpretation, is checks. No one would look at the classic red and white prints and think of them as streetwear, but think of a checked shirt, and you know you’re on the right track.

Checks from the street are getting a fresh new upgrade with full outfits being designed in these patters. Think a formal peplum skirt, but with green and white checks. A dinner jacket with bigger checks ticks all the right boxes for a semi-formal event. In fact, we’re just waiting for the big entertainment events of the year to see some of these trends in action on celebs. After that, becoming mainstream is just a matter of time.

  1. The Hoodies Are Back: Love them or hate them, there’s just something so comfortable about a hoodie! Summers scream for sleeveless ones thrown over, while winters could definitely use some detailing and bulk. A hoodie is the quintessential hip-hop costume, along with ankle boots. This year, the hoodies are in fashion again. Go bright with the colors, or do even bolder ones in varying lengths and cuts.

Everyone is buying a hoodie, so do you have enough options and colors to please all of them?

  1. Cropped Out: When ankle pants made a splash a year ago, we knew that cropped ones were just a matter of time. Cropped pants were a huge hit on men at all fashion week street edits, and nude and earthy tones are here to stay. You can design cropped pants that don’t make people look like a hobbit- think clean seams and a slightly relaxed fit.

These are some of the streetwear trends we see being adapted into casual and formalwear for all genders this coming season. How many of these did you anticipate? Which of these surprised you? Tell us in the comments below.


Supriya Ghurye is the founder and owner of Fuel4Fashion. She is a Freelance Fashion Designer and Brand Consultant helping fashion brands to create great products from idea to launch. Fuel4Fashion social links: TwitterPinterestInstagram


 

 

Milan vs. Paris Fashion Week Spring Summer 2019 : The Clash Of The Titans

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While London and New York are known more for the versatility and styles from several designers, the hallowed halls of Milan and Paris are almost exclusively reserved for high fashion. Several designers come to showcase their collections here, too, but it is often the big names that get the spotlight and the attention that comes with it.

Comparing fashion trends from two events as diverse as the Milan Fashion Week and Paris Fashion Week is no small feat. For one, both events attract a very different audience, and the collections, therefore, vary greatly.

Milan Fashion Week Trend comparison with Paris Fashion Week Spring Summer 2019

There’s a reason why Issey Miyake brought his collection to Paris but not to Milan- his styles are more suited to the cosmopolitan outlook and no-nonsense attitude that dominates Paris. Likewise, we cannot possibly imagine Milan without Dior- the temple of fashion has been the brand’s second, more accepting home for a long time.

Without further ado, let us plunge right into the fashion trends from both events, and which one did what better.

  1. The styles: There are no two European cities that are in as stark a contrast to each other as Paris and Milan. Take the simple skirt, for example. In Milan, the preferences clearly tended towards the pencil variant, while Paris, true to its breezy essence, saw more of the flow variants. Case in point- Miu Miu in Paris and Moschino in Milan.
  1. The collections: Milan has always been known for its dance with glamour. The SS19 collections were ample proof of this yet again. Paris, on the other hand, has always had this peculiar relationship with all things artistic. Designs at Paris, likewise, were elegant, chic and comfortable to pull off outside of a runway setting.
  1. The form: The showcase at Milan this year was distinctly feminine. The outfits, even the flowy ones from Gucci, had at least one element that highlighted form. This isn’t so strange considering Milan is known for fashion of the feminine kind- to the point where almost all designs have to conform to the idea of the gender’s appeal. Paris is very laid-back in terms of highlighting one aspect over another. Also, as the last big fashion event of the season, it naturally tends to attract more diverse designs.
  1. The risk factor: This year, in our opinion, fewer risks were taken in Milan than in Paris. This isn’t to say that it was boring, but there’s no denying the fact that most designs went after the usual styles with a few modifications. Paris was where more styles appeared, and more risks were taken, but not always with the desired outcomes. Some collections fell quite flat, as we’ve pointed out in the Paris Fashion Week Design Trends article.

Which fashion week would we pick over the other? Turns out the choice isn’t as easy for us as it was with New York vs. London. We loved the sheer grandeur of some of the outfits at Milan, while the breezy simplicity of Paris stood out for us as well. If we were really forced to pick, purely from the fashion business perspective, we’d certainly go with Paris. We saw more styles there that have scope for adapting into sets and separates. We also look for trends that have a chance to last longer, and that came through for us at Paris.

Your turn now! What did you love, or hate, about the two extra-big fashion events of the year? Which one did you follow for design inspiration? Tell us in the comments.


Supriya Ghurye is the founder and owner of Fuel4Fashion. She is a Freelance Fashion Designer and Brand Consultant helping fashion brands to create great products from idea to launch. Fuel4Fashion social links: TwitterPinterestInstagram


 

New York vs. London Spring Summer 2019: Which Fashion Week Did It Better?

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Fashion trends are as fleeting as the lovely vase of roses at home that holds so much promise on day one, only to give up entirely on day three. However, isn’t that what we love? The sheer variety that each season brings to the runway is outdone only by the street styles that are so often on display.

New York and London fashion Weeks are no different. They’re well behind us now, but there are a few key fashion trends we can garner from both. At the same time, both events were also reflective of the current mood of the city they were hosted in- New York went bold and inclusive, while London did subtlety and understatement very well. Without further ado, here’s what we liked and disliked about both events.

What We Liked:  

  1. The colors: Both Prabal Gurung at New York Fashion Week and Victoria Beckham at London Fashion Week did not shy away from amping up the color palette just a little bit. We loved Gurung’s interpretation of colors into some very tropical designs. Mrs. Beckham, on the other hand, brought some much-needed pop of color to the Londoner’s wardrobe. Are we seeing a cultural shift here?
  1. Gender benders: We noticed a lot of designs in the New York Fashion Week that could have done just as well on men as they looked on the women. Androgyny is not a new concept, but this is the first time we’re seeing possibilities for the men as well. London, on the other hand, was much more conservative, and the surprises came mostly in the form of a versatile collection from traditionally niche designers like Burberry.
  1. A touch of the new: We still stand by the fact that New York, as a city, is much more expressive than London. Perhaps, as a result, New York’s runways were dominated by elements beyond the visual. Dresses with sound details such as the Paco Rabanne collection took the drama one notch up. That’s one way to get noticed, we think. London, however, lacked such standout elements and more collections were geared towards the practical elements such as wearability.
  1. Utility: Actual utility was high on every designer’s list at London. We attribute it to the economy that is floundering back to stability after Brexit, and really has no use for outrageousness. We spotted many more complete outfits in patterns that are far easier to carry off on the street as much as at an event.
  1. The return of high fashion: Inspired by the royal wedding, several designers at London have gone after high-street dressing. Christopher Kane’s collection of classic, high-neck silhouettes is just one example. Erdem, too, followed suit.
  1. Making everyday look beautiful: In contrast to London’s current demand for royal-wedding-worthy dresses, New York saw a spate of clothes that would be perfect wherever they’re taken. Both Tadashi Shoji and Rebecca Minkoff are proof of that.

All in all, while we loved certain aspects of both Fashion Weeks, there is no denying the fact that New York was higher on the fashion and versatility aspects, while London fared better on the usability of looks. That’s why we love back-to-back fashion events- they give us a chance to take the best from both worlds (or cities, in this case).

What We Disliked:  

We’re just glad that this was one season where the dislikes were far fewer and scattered in between some really stunning hits.

In both fashion weeks, we noticed a clear lack of usable accessorizing. When it did exist, it was sparse and barely noticeable. A great look can be trashed by the wrong accessory. Another aspect where we expected better was the scope for using a variety of different fabrics. Some designers managed to do this and excelled with some very good results (like Naeem Khan at NYFW and David Coma at LFW). But, there was scope to do so much more, as you’ll see from our Spring Summer trend forecast. 

However, that’s all we could find to complain about, and that in itself is saying something, isn’t it?


Supriya Ghurye is the founder and owner of Fuel4Fashion. She is a Freelance Fashion Designer and Brand Consultant helping fashion brands to create great products from idea to launch. Fuel4Fashion social links: TwitterPinterestInstagram