This New Brand Is Creating Affordable Fashion For Women In Their Thirties, While Giving Back To Charity

 

A woman has launched her own fashion label aimed at women in their thirties who care about creating a better world, and for every item sold she will make a donation to charity.

The Rana Plaza disaster in India in 2013 – which killed over 1,000 garment factory workers – shocked the fashion industry and its consumers.

Principles such as ensuring people are paid fair wages, communities are treated well and our environment is protected, are now coming to the forefront of consumers’ minds.

Sarah Jerath, from Manchester, was not content to wait for the big brands to get it right.

She was so appalled by the situation it inspired her to leave her previous profession of teaching to launch her own label with sustainable principles, ‘Two for Joy’

The brand’s collections feature basic T-shirts, statement jumpsuits and bold floral printed skirts, all at affordable prices (between £17 -£70).

Jerath, who founded her brand last year, discussed her leap into the unknown, her brand ethics and what the future holds for fashion, with  HuffPost UK.

Founder Sarah Jerath.
Founder Sarah Jerath.
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Where did the name ‘Two for Joy’ come for?

I have two sons. Also, being eternally superstitious, every time I would discuss this project I saw two magpies, making me think it was a good idea.

 

You left your previous profession in teaching to start your company, what pushed you to take such a risk?

I really loved my job, but after having two children, I felt that it wasn’t working for us and our lives anymore.

I felt I was getting ground down by the excessive amounts of paperwork involved and luckily, with the unconditional support of my husband, I was able to make a change.

The high street in Britain is amazing but, when shopping, I felt that the options were either fast fashion, which doesn’t appeal to me, or very expensive items which I couldn’t justify spending the money on.

I came up with the idea of creating a brand of “forever essentials”, whereby each item would be a good quality, hardworking item of your wardrobe, but also well priced without excessive mark-ups.

I also wanted to ensure our clothes are made in reputable factories where staff are treated properly for the work they do and all local laws are adhered to, inspiring our fair pricing policy, which we detail on the website.

In a world where clothing is a huge pollutant and responsible for 350,000 tonnes of UK landfill, I think it’s important that we start to make more informed buying choices.

 

When did you launch your company, and what’s your vision for it over the next two years?

‘Two for Joy’ was launched in 2016. Over the next two years, we aim to consolidate our ideas and collections whilst staying true to our ethos of providing great quality, lasting garments at affordable prices and building a following of people who care about where their clothes come from.

We are also looking to build on and develop new relationships with suppliers who work towards a more ethical and sustainable fashion future.

 

Why is your brand aimed at women over the age of 30?

I am over 30. I wanted to develop something where I could imagine my customer and what might be important to them.

Although I see our target demographic as women over 30, I do think our pieces appeal to a wider variety of people, purely because they are wardrobe basics.

SHOPDEALMAN

Is the Garment Center Out of Fashion?

For generations, the Garment Center has been the heart of the city’s fashion industry. But these days, it’s shrinking as companies struggle with competition overseas and high rents at home.

The de Blasio Administration wants to help — by offering manufacturers newer space, more affordable rents, longer leases, and grants — if they move to city-owned buildings in Sunset Park. They don’t have to relocate, but the city hopes the incentives will encourage manufacturers to do so. It’s part of a plan to transform the old Bush Terminal into a hub for TV, film and clothing production, and to create middle class jobs.

But the administration wants to do something else, too. It wants to change the zoning regulations in the Garment Center. Right now, certain buildings can only convert manufacturing space if they dedicate an equal amount to manufacturing on another floor. The city wants to lift that requirement.

James Patchett, president of the New York City Economic Development Corporation, says the zoning isn’t actually helping garment businesses stay in Manhattan. So the city wants to open up the area to more nonprofits, media and tech companies (and curb the explosion of hotels in Midtown).

“We feel that it’s necessary now to do something to change the course of this industry,” he said. “To us that means making a proactive conscious investment in this industry as opposed to just passively allowing the zoning restrictions that are in place in the Garment Center to continue to fail to protect these businesses.”

Building owners in Midtown support the plan saying there just aren’t enough clothing manufacturers left to fill the space they’re required to preserve. Some manufacturers that already moved to Sunset Park have said they are happy about the lower rents and modern spaces there.

Critics, however, argue that revising the zoning rules will only cause rents to spike even higher, forcing more companies to close. They add that the mayor’s incentives are only available for clothing factories to move to Sunset Park — leaving designers and specialty shops in Midtown — and that would disrupt a delicate fashion ecosystem where everyone depends on one other.

Joe Ferrara, owner of Ferrara Manufacturing, a factory on 39th Street, is president of the Garment Center Supplier Association. He says the idea of moving factories across the river is “unimaginable,” and he’d lose most of his workforce as a result.

“It completely misunderstands the complexity and sophistication of what we have here in the Garment Center,” he said. “I call it walking manufacturing. I can walk pieces and parts from one location to another in a matter of minutes and get something done. The people who are on the ground and make the clothes know how dependent on each other they are.”

 SHOPDEALMAN

Gucci’s Star Trek-inspired fashion is sexy, sci-fi heaven

Coco Chanel used to say, “Before you leave the house, look in the mirror and take one thing off.”

But if you’re Gucci? Add some space monsters, throw in a few robots and beam everything away on a teleporter, dammit!

The iconic fashion house has released its Fall/Winter 2017 fashion campaign and it’s a match made in ’60s Star Trek heaven. The design house began teasing the Gucci and Beyond campaign on its Instagram yesterday, slowly revealing images of UFOs, glittered space rocks and sexy, sexy aliens in bedazzled eyeglasses. (This season’s trend? Blue skin set off with a glossy red lip. A look that goes from office to Mars with ease.)

https://www.instagram.com/p/BXBGVT_lsN4/embed/captioned/?cr=1&v=7&wp=658#%7B%22ci%22%3A0%2C%22os%22%3A6901.995%7D

While Chanel held its latest runway show in a fake data centre, photographer and filmmaker Glen Luchford (who shot the campaign) has gone back in time to recreate vintage sci-fi in all its low-tech, sepia-toned glory.

It’s not farshun, darling. It’s Martian.

 

 

DEALMAN

Jimmy Choo auctioned off to US fashion brand Michael Kors for £900m

Jimmy Choo, a British luxury brand whose fans include Beyoncé and the Duchess of Cambridge, has been snapped off the shelf for £896m by US fashion brand Michael Kors.

Famed for its strappy stilettoes, which sell for up to £2,995, the brand was founded in a Hackney workshop in east London in 1996 by the Malaysian shoemaker Jimmy Choo, after his designs caught the eye of then Vogue accessories editor, Tamara Mellon.

It shot to fame a few years later thanks to the fictional character Carrie Bradshaw in television series Sex and the City. Today, the firm runs 150 of its own stores around the world and a further 60 franchise outlets where and sells bags, perfume, trainers and hats as well as its shoes.

The acquisition by Michael Kors, which is expected to be finalised this autumn, marks the fourth time Jimmy Choo, which listed on the London Stock Exchange less than three years ago at a value of £545.6m, has changed hands.

Both Choo, who reportedly made his first pair of shoes at 11, and Mellon left after a string of private equity firms took control of the business. Choo sold his 50% stake in 2001 and Mellon departed in 2011 when JAB Luxury bought the firm for more than £500m.

After a somewhat acrimonious departure, Mellon last year unsuccessfully sued her former employer for millions of pounds in damages claiming it had tried to sabotage her new business, a luxury footwear bearing her own name, by allegedly trying to prevent its suppliers from producing her designs.

Jimmy Choo’s majority shareholder JAB Luxury, the investment arm of Germany’s billionaire Reimann family, put the firm up for sale in April. JAB is selling its 67.6% stake to focus on its food and consumer goods investments, which include doughnut maker Krispy Kreme and coffee brands including Douwe Egberts.

The footwear brand’s chief executive, Pierre Denis, a former LVMH executive who has run the company since 2012, will stay on, alongside the creative director, Sandra Choi, who has been with the firm since the beginning, and the finance director, Jonathan Sinclair. Denis will make £6.2m from his shareholding, while Choi gets £2.2m for her stake. Peter Harf, the chairman, will receive £2.1m for his.

Analysts said the deal would add prestige to Michael Kors, a more affordable upmarket brand, helping it move into the higher echelons of the global market. For years the American brand, which sells shoes, eyewear, watches, jewellery and perfume, was one of the world’s fastest-growing fashion labels but sales have slipped recently.

John Idol, chief executive of Michael Kors, said: “Jimmy Choo is known worldwide for its glamorous and fashion-forward footwear. The company is a leader in setting fashion trends. Its innovative designs and exceptional craftsmanship resonate with trendsetters globally.”

Jimmy Choo said it hoped the new backers could help it grow to become a $1bn brand, partly by expanding its more recently launched accessories and men’s footwear businesses.

The company achieved sales of £364m in 2016 as it continued to shrug off the slowdown in Asia experienced by many luxury brands. But pretax profits slid nearly 20% to £17.7m, as sales in the US were hit by the decline of department stores and the falling value of the pound which pushed up costs.

Jonathan Buxton, head of consumer and retail at Cavendish Corporate Finance, said: “Jimmy Choo is a widely popular footwear brand but like so many upmarket brands, it has been facing declining sales due to discounting in department stores and customer preferences moving away from conspicuous labels.

“For Michael Kors, this deal presents an opportunity to enter the high-end of the luxury market, to increase sales and to diversify away from its own brand.”

Honor Strachan, a retail analyst at GlobalData, said the deal could also bring stability to Jimmy Choo after a string of different private equity owners.

“The company has been passed around quite a lot. For Jimmy Choo this is a chance to finally have an owner that specialises in luxury retail and has the logistics and expertise in that market and can support it to expand internationally,” she said.

Jimmy Choo shares closed up 17% to 228.25p after City investors responded positively to the takeover deal. The business floated on the London stock market at 140p a share in 2014, valuing it at £550m.

Jimmy Choo store in New York.

‘Jimmy Choo 2017 is not Jimmy Choo 2004’

Once upon a time, Jimmy Choo was a byword for posh footwear. The brand came of age during the paparazzi years, a colourful time of Paris Hilton and Sex and the City and showstopper high heels. A few pairs spring to mind: the suede and feather platform worn (and lost) by Carrie Bradshaw in an early episode, the notable zebra print boot – the first worn on the red carpet in the US – and Princess Diana’s purple flats.

Though a powerhouse of the noughties and the go-to reference for red carpet footwear, calling the footwear label highly fashionable now, in 2017, would be a stretch. Other labels have moved with the times, and had fun rebranding. Footwear design has become so experimental that the most-talked about styles tend to come from full service labels rather than footwear brands – see Gucci’s infamous furry loafers, and Balenciaga’s avant garde thigh high stocking boots. Heels no longer dominate the catwalk, either – flats, trainers and ugly pretty shoes are in vogue. Jimmy Choo still make bejewelled sandals which are classic or staid, depending on where you sit, but remain a far cry from the zeitgeist. Jimmy Choo’s impractical shoes necessitate an expensive lifestyle and this sort of showiness isn’t terribly hip.

A Jimmy Choo red carpet moment at the Oscars in 2004.
A Jimmy Choo red carpet moment at the Oscars in 2004. Photograph: Frank Micelotta/Getty Images

In fashion terms, this decline has been happening gradually. The departure of Tamara Mellon who transformed the brand into a luxury king before leaving, acrimoniously, with a payout in 2011. Being floated on the London stock exchange in 2014 … it was a case of Trigger’s Broom. Jimmy Choo 2017 no longer means Jimmy Choo 2004.

Perhaps this sale tells us more about Michael Kors – the American label whose sales were battered after taking on an ambassadorial role as label du jour of “basic”, a pejorative term associated with the mainstream. Though lacking in hipness, Jimmy Choo still carries some weight. They are still worn by Kate Middleton, and still arguably dominate the red carpet so it makes sense that a label like Michael Kors – more affordable, often discounted – would want a stake in them.

Dominating the red carpet doesn’t equate to dominating the catwalk but it does give an awful lot of exposure to a brand. So, if you’re going to invest in a pair of heels (and at around £500) then Jimmy Choo still has gravitas in that market.

SHOPDEALMAN

Not heard Nirvana? Nevermind … How fashion co-opted the band T-shirt

Atour around the high street this summer would uncover a few standout trends. Pretty off-the-shoulder tops. Basket bags. Bleached denim. Even some pool-ready inflatables. And at stores including Topshop, H&M, Primark and Forever 21, T-shirts for bands including AC/DC, Metallica, the Rolling Stones and Bon Jovi. The kind of purchase once seen on merchandise stalls at gigs and market stalls in Camden Lock has gone mass.

What does it mean when something so aligned with an alternative point of view – one that prioritises your love of your favourite band as primary statement to the world – is co-opted by fashion? This year the humble band T-shirt has become something of a battleground between generations, where ideas of authenticity, image and symbolism are at loggerheads. This was writ large earlier this month when Kendall and Kylie Jenner released a series of T-shirts on their Kendall + Kylie website. On the front were designs that resembled T-shirts for Tupac Shakur, Biggie Smalls and Ozzy Osbourne, with selfies of the sisters superimposed on top. Voletta Wallace, Biggie’s mother, was quick to denounce it on Instagram, posting an image of the T-shirt with a cross through it.

Kendall Jenner on Instagram wearing one of her controversial T-shirts.
Kendall Jenner on Instagram wearing one of her controversial T-shirts. Photograph: Kylie + Kendall/Instagram

The T-shirts have since been withdrawn, with the Jenners posting identical messages of apology on each of their Twitter accounts. But they have arguably caught the flak of a change that has been happening for a while – the band T-shirt moving from merch stall to fashion item. Nicolas Ghesquière started it off in 2012, when he produced a T-shirt for Balenciaga using red font similar to that of Iron Maiden’s logo. Band shirts – or at least logos that have the look of a band shirt – were then a key part of the first Vetements collections, with T-shirts and hoodies in the spring/summer 2016 collection straight off a heavy-metal merch stall. Worn by Kanye West, Rihanna and Kylie Jenner, the look changed from fans at a gig to superstars with serious social media followings.

Vetements, Paris fashion week, 2016.
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Vetements, Paris fashion week, 2016. Photograph: Rex/Shutterstock
Kanye West at LAX airport, LA, 2015.
Kanye West at LAX airport, 2015.
Photograph: Broadimage/Rex/Shutterstock

Topshop’s head of design Mo Riach says the AC/DC is their bestseller and that band T-shirts “epitomise that cool, laid-back, effortless look. They have become something of a wardrobe staple for the Topshop girl.” This is backed up by shoppers around the Oxford Circus store on a weekday afternoon. Nicole Green, who is 17 and from Lincolnshire, is wearing a Guns N’ Roses T-shirt. She says she has “heard of the band but couldn’t tell you any of their songs”. She has four band T-shirts including an AC/DC one. She says she likes them because “they’re part of a new era indie look” and that she would buy another one “if it was on trend”. Iman Kelly, 19, is in a Kiss sweatshirt from Primark. She has “listened to some of the music but I also like the style and look of the logo.” Kelly isn’t a purist though. “I don’t think it matters if someone is wearing a band T-shirt but doesn’t know the band,” she says. “If they like it, I don’t have a problem with it.”

These T-shirts seem, at first glance, to contrast with the “woke” movement’s impact on fashion. Making statements of causes you care about on your T-shirt is very 2017. It started last year with Dior’s “We Should All Be Feminist” T-shirt, then the Corbyn Nike T-shirt by Bristol Street Wear, which sold out during the election campaign. There is now a “Grenfell tube sign” T-shirt worn by Rita Ora, while Topshop has T-shirts proclaiming, simply, “Vote”. The next wave, though, moves on from the specific to something more generalised: “Save the Future”, “Make a Stand”, “Female Forever”, “Don’t Dress for Boys” or – who can argue with this one? – “Choose Love”. With digital culture, things that start in full voice – a political statement, fervent fandom for a band – quickly turn mass and, in the process, they fade to background chatter, becoming a trend rather than any niche statement of allegiance.

If someone in their teens sees these T-shirts as fashion statements, those in their 30s and beyond are more likely to view one as statement of identity, like wearing football colours. I am 39 and have six band T-shirts, all for bands or musicians that I love: Prince, the B-52s, Larry Levan, Hot Chip and – yes – New Kids on the Block. I tried – and failed – to buy a Frank Ocean T-shirt at his recent Lovebox gig. I am also the proud owner of a Beyoncé “I Got Hot Sauce in My Bag” tote bag. The idea of wearing something with the image of, say, Phil Collins or Green Day or Lorde – none of whom have ever featured on my Spotify account – for purely aesthetic reasons is an alien concept. No judgment, but I would feel like I was faking it. And I work in fashion.

Steve Birnbaum, 35, sees both sides. The documentary film-maker set up Band of Shirts, an Instagram account documenting people wearing band T-shirts in New York, two years ago, with captions telling the stories behind their T-shirts. He says he encounters more and more young people “wearing T-shirts but they’re not a fan of the band. I don’t censor [what they say] and feel bad sometimes; they get abuse online for wearing the shirt.” He says he understands why people feel so strongly. “Music is so personal so if someone doesn’t know the reference it feels disrespectful to you,” he says. “If someone is wearing a punk T-shirt but knows nothing about Misfits, it comes down to being a poser. Some people have punk as their lifestyle – no wonder they’re angry.”

An image from Band of Shirts.
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An image from the Instagram document Band of Shirts. Photograph: Steve Birnbaum/BandofShirts

Purists will no doubt disapprove of the growing market for luxe takes on the band T-shirt, such as St Luis, the T-shirt brand set up by Patrick Matamoros. He has sold customised band T-shirts – including one worn by Justin Bieber – for $1,500 (£1,158). And Off-White, the label founded by Kanye West’s creative director Virgil Abloh, has a take on a T-shirt for Oasis’s 1993 tour, on sale for £188. Selfridges has Music Matters, a summer-long initiative with instore gigs, merchandise for Bieber’s tour and affordable band T-shirts for Marilyn Manson, Naughty By Nature and the Beatles available, along with four-figure designs by Vetements. “For each of our creative campaigns we take inspiration from what we feel is shaping and moving forward the retail industry,” says Bosse Myhr, the director of menswear, “as well as from the cultural conversations that are important to us, and to our customers.” Myhr says that “rock iconography has been making an impact for a number of seasons … brands have been keen to adopt the visual artistry of music communication.”

Sex Pistols babygrow from www.kidvicious.co.uk.
Sex Pistols babygrow from http://www.kidvicious.co.uk.

Of course, this adoption isn’t entirely new. Rock T-shirts have been worn by non-rock people for years, as a sort of broad brush stroke idea of cool. See Friends’ Rachel Green – hardly a punk fan, surely – in an MC5 T-shirt in 2003. Or the Sex Pistols’ artwork: a Never Mind the Bollocks babygrow can be yours for £16.99 from a website called kidvicious.co.uk, suggesting the lock-up-your-daughter band are now just a punky look worthy of your newborn’s drool. Scarlett Eden, a vintage buyer at Beyond Retro, laughs when I ask her if people buying T-shirts at the store like the bands. “Not at all. One of my friends gets really annoyed about people wearing Ramones T-shirts. It was a way to represent the music that you liked and now it’s just a fashion thing.”

One of Andy Warhol’s most overplayed quotes is “I am a deeply superficial person” – a quip that implies the ability to see the significance in the surface of things. I am reminded of Warhol’s work when thinking about these T-shirts. I don’t imagine those shopping at Topshop are consciously identifying as students of the proto-postmodernism that took Campbell’s Soup out of the supermarket and into the gallery. But the change of context and the free-for-all approach to images and statements perhaps suggests his ripples are still making their way across the pond of pop culture. Deeply superficial people are everywhere in 2017 – the Jenners included.

Band T-shirts for most, then, are about playing the rock chick and the concept of a wild night out in the 70s – that’s why the more distressed the design the better. “This is one of the only items where we’ll still sell it if it’s ripped with loads of holes,” says Eden. “We often find the best ones in the warehouse bins because the really distressed ones would have been thrown away.” In a sense, in a post-truth world, faking it is an outmoded concept. Actually going to the gig or listening to the music isn’t the point. Whether vaguely aligning yourself with feminism by proclaiming “The Future Is Female” or with rock chick vibes in distressed Guns N’ Roses, now you just get the T-shirt.

Jefferson Airplane T-shirt.
Jefferson Airplane T-shirt.
Nirvana T-shirt.
Nirvana T-shirt.
Biggie Smalls T-shirt.
Biggie Smalls T-shirt.

How the band T-shirt evolved

A T-shirt from Kendall and Kylie Jenner’s clothing line.
A T-shirt from Kendall and Kylie Jenner’s clothing line. Photograph: Kendall+Kylie

1968: the first rock T-shirts are produced, made by Bill Graham, the concert promoter who worked with bands such as Jefferson Airplane and The Grateful Dead.

1978: Arturo Vega designs the Ramones logo, with the names of the band’s four members around an image of the eagle similar to the one on the American flag. It is now one of the most recognisable band logos – and T-shirts – in the world.

1979: Iron Maiden’s logo appears on their debut EP, The Soundhouse Tapes. It goes on to feature on T-shirts, and becomes a classic of the band T-shirt genre.

c.1985: Run-DMC begin producing T-shirts with the now-classic logo with red bands. It is so recognisable that there are parodies with everything from “OMG WTF” to “Corbyn” between the red bands.

1991: the Nirvana logo with a smiley face is used on a concert poster. It lives on 26 years later – worn on T-shirts everywhere, by everyone from Romeo Beckham to Fearne Cotton.

1997: Biggie Smalls is fatally shot in Los Angeles. Unofficial tribute T-shirts to the rapper become popular.

2005: Streetwear brand Supreme collaborates with graphic designer Peter Saville on a T-shirt using the design he made in 1979 for Joy Division’s Unknown Pleasures. This design is now almost a meme of the rock look. It is possible to buy leggings with Unknown Pleasures zigzags on them.

2017: Kendall and Kylie Jenner produce T-shirts with images of Biggie Smalls, Tupac Shakur and Ozzy Osbourne with their selfies over the top. Controversy ensues.

Gigi Hadid, Zayn speak to the gender fluidity of fashion: ‘It’s fun to experiment’

Covering Vogue’s August issue, Gigi Hadid and Zayn Malik don what was once thought of as menswear — button-up, collared shirts underneath blazers.

But members of the power couple, who previously posed for the magazine in Naples, believe clothes don’t have a gender.

“I shop in your closet all the time, don’t I?” Hadid asks her singer boyfriend, according to the fashion magazine. “Yeah, but same,” Malik acknowledges before bringing up an Anna Sui shirt he borrowed. “I like that shirt,” he says. “And if it’s tight on me, so what? It doesn’t matter if it was made for a girl.”

His supermodel girlfriend concurs. “Totally. It’s not about gender. It’s about, like, shapes. And what feels good on you that day. And anyway, it’s fun to experiment. . .”

View image on Twitter

.@GigiHadid and @zaynmalik star on the cover of our August issue! Read the full story here: http://vogue.cm/RrRxR3M 

She adds, “It’s just about, ‘Do the clothes feel right on you?’”

“With social media, the world’s gotten very small,” says Malik, “and it can seem like everyone’s doing the same thing. Gender, whatever — you want to make your own statement.”

Gigi Hadid has proven many times over that she’s a pro at unexpected hair makeovers. USA TODAY

Hadid also opened up about her relationship with Malik while fielding Vogue’s “73 Questions,” describing his most romantic gesture. “A couple years ago on Valentine’s Day we went on a boat trip,” she said, “and it was really nice.”

She also confirmed her beau also spends time in the kitchen, defying archaic gender norms. She says his chicken and sweet corn recipe is “like a hug.”

Melania Trump continues fashion tour de force at Eiffel Tower dinner

After earning praise for her elegance and knowledge of French style, Melania Trump continued her fashion tour de force in a custom Hervé Pierre dress for dinner at the Eiffel Tower.

The first lady joined her French counterpart, Brigitte Macron, President Trump and French President Emmanuel Macron for a cozy meal at the Jules Verne Restaurant in the Parisian landmark Thursday, showing her earlier outfit was not a one-off.

The slim-fit, knee-length dress tastefully highlighted the national colors for the two countries  — a fitting salute to France on the eve of Bastille Day, a national holiday akin to the 4th of July. And its made it all the more diplomatic when taking into account Pierre’s French heritage and recently-earned American citizenship.

The designer and stylist behind her inaugural gown also picked out her red Dior suit from earlier in the day, a lovely nod to the 70th anniversary of the famous fashion house.

Brigitte Macron, for her part, wore another French designer, in the form of a Louis Vuitton mini-dress.

 

SHOPDEALMAN