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This year, all eyes on sunshine state sports

Emily walpole

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This year, all eyes on sunshine state sports

 

Even before the world got turned on its ear, Monday’s College Football Playoff national championship was destined for a historical footnote. For only the second time since college football went to a designated championship game, both of football’s biggest prizes are set to be handed out in the same state — in this case, Florida. South Florida’s Hard Rock Stadium provides Monday night’s backdrop, as either Alabama coach Nick Saban adds

to his championship legacy or Ryan Day adds his first to a stocked Ohio State trophy case. Twenty-seven days later and some 260 miles across the state, Tampa’s Raymond James Stadium will be the epicenter for the biggest date on the American sports calendar — Super Bowl Sunday.

“Now that we’re at the precipice, it’s energizing,” said Eric Poms, chief executive of the CFP’s Miami host committee. “It puts a great spotlight on Florida.”

No doubt it will look different. Crowds that typically would fill every seat will be limited by COVID-19 restrictions to only about 20 percent capacity. Some of the pageantry naturally will go missing. Those cheers that greet big plays will be muted.

And yet some basics never really change: Someone is going to win a big event. Millions of fans across the country will be watching.

And Florida often will be the backdrop for many of those large events in 2021. Pick a sport.

“For one (driver), life will be changed because he’ll be known as the Daytona 500 champion,” said Chip Wile, president of Daytona International Speedway. “It’s still the most important stock car race in the world.”

Florida, in fact, will be the site for the first three races of the NASCAR Cup Series season. The PGA Tour’s celebrated “Florida Swing” takes over in March, looping from Orlando to Jacksonville to Palm Beach Gardens.

The Miami Open, just below the Grand Slam events in tennis hierarchy, is set to bring Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Serena Williams back on court after last year’s event was scrubbed. Plans move forward, too, for Major League Baseball spring training that was cut short in 2020.

And those are just the more prominent 2021 events to call Florida home. From water skiing to pickleball to bull riding to distance running, it’s a full plate. And November is slated to bring an event near and dear to many Villages athletes — the National Senior Games, with Fort Lauderdale serving as hub for the Olympic-style festival.

“It is Florida, and that’s an attraction to our athletes from all around the country,” said Del Moon, NSG communications director.

It’s all setting up to be a year unlike any before in the Sunshine State’s thriving sports scene. After so many events were throttled by the virus in 2020, Poms noted, it’s a chance for Florida’s sports industry to take a big step forward.

“The men’s and women’s NCAA basketball tournaments were canceled. Major League Baseball’s All-Star Game was canceled,” Poms said. “You can go to the political world — the Democratic and Republican national conventions were both canceled.

“If we can pull this off, it’ll mean so much for the state of Florida.”

Economics

When South Florida hosted Super Bowl LIV a year ago, it created an economic impact of $572 million for the region. Sport Management Research Institute, which conducted the study, called it among the largest activity the firm has seen for any event in the past 25 years.

A scaled-down version this year, with virus limits in place, can’t approach those numbers. Such prominent NFL sponsors as Anheuser-Busch and Bridgestone have scrapped hospitality plans that typically bring hundreds of executives to the Super Bowl city.

Even so, there’s economic value to hosting a major event.

“We know the media value is not impacted by this,” said Poms, also the Orange Bowl Committee’s CEO for the past 15 years. “Viewership will be relatively the same, given the (event) and America’s interest in college football.”

Poms estimated the College Football Playoff finale still will generate $250 million of impact for South Florida. “Now if you’d asked that question last January,” he added, “we’d estimate $400 million.”

Applying the same percentage, Tampa Bay would be looking at a $357 million impact from next month’s Super Bowl.

“It’s more than just the game,” Rob Higgins, CEO of Tampa Bay’s Super Bowl host committee, said during a November online roundtable. “There’s a ton of pregame shows, postgame shows. The eyes of the world are upon us, so we want to leverage that media value.”

Every slice is important after a rough 2020 that scrubbed several Florida events. According to multiple estimates, Tampa alone took a $400 million hit from losing an NCAA basketball weekend, Valspar Championship golf, WrestleMania and no home playoff games for NHL’s Tampa Bay Lightning and baseball’s Tampa Bay Rays.

Spring training was cut in half, as was golf’s Florida Swing. The Miami Open came off the tennis calendar. When racing came back to Daytona, it was with limited fans.

“We need all sports to be successful,” said Wile.

Even the World Waterski Championships, coming to the Clermont area in October, are worth $1.5 million of commerce for Lake County in the current virus climate.

“All the important people in the sport of waterski will be in attendance,” said Lindsey McBride, Lake County events coordinator for the Greater Orlando Sports Commission. “Let them see all we have to offer.”

Football frenzy

In the 22 years since college football cleared the way for a true championship game, just one other time has that game and the Super Bowl been played in the same state. That was 2009, with Florida also taking center stage.

The Orange Bowl staged what was then the Bowl Championship Series title game, crowning Tim Tebow-led Florida after the Gators beat Oklahoma. Tampa had the Super Bowl, where the Pittsburgh Steelers overcame an Arizona Cardinals rally to win an instant classic.

Poms felt momentum building for this year’s 1-2 punch, too, particularly off last year’s Super Bowl in South Florida.

“We were off and running,” said Poms. “Then the pandemic became a reality.”

College football was especially vulnerable. Whether a season could even be played remained up in the air until August, when three of the game’s “Power 5” conferences voted to move forward. The Big Ten and Pac-12 eventually joined in.

Like so many businesses worldwide, the Miami host committee worked to adjust.

“We focused on navigating the uncertainty that exists,” Poms said. “We said if college football is played, we’d be ready to deliver at a high level, no matter what the circumstance.”

The Orange Bowl’s vast experience with staging championships certainly was an asset. Going back to the days when polls decided college champions, this marks the 21st title game under the Orange Bowl’s watch.

“We know the College Football Playoff team well; we know the commissioners of the major conferences,” Poms said. “We understand the vision.”

By contrast, the NFL has had an easier path. The league managed to play all 17 weeks of the regular season without interruption, though a handful of games had to be shifted because of virus outbreaks.

“One of the things we’ve learned is we have to be prepared to adapt and evolve,” commissioner Roger Goodell told reporters after taking in a game at Raymond James Stadium last month.

Oddly enough, Tampa keeps popping up as the venue when a Super Bowl is played in a national crisis. The 1991 game took place not long after the Gulf War began, and that 2009 edition came shortly after the U.S. housing market crashed.

Drivers & putters

Perhaps no sport managed to navigate the 2020 sports disarray as well as NASCAR, which was the first entity to come back after the shutdown, the first to welcome limited numbers of fans back on site and the only one to complete a full schedule after interruption.

It required shifting several races, including relocating some out of virus-shuttered states and adding midweek races. But the Cup regular season had its full complement of 26 races, and the 10-race playoffs ran without a hitch.

“That speaks to the diligence we had from everybody, from our race teams to our fans,” said Wile. “We showed at a very high level that we could pull those plans together.”

Many of those protocols will still be in place at Daytona in February for Speedweeks — including a rejiggering that reduces what’s typically a 10-day schedule to six. Fan capacity, set at 20,000 for last August’s Coke Zero Sugar 400 at Daytona, has not been determined.

“It’s going to look and feel different. It’s not going to have 101,000 people in the grandstands,” said Wile. “But we have to make concessions, and that concession was not as many people in the grandstands. But the race will have the same importance it has had for 62 years.”

The PGA Tour also enters 2021 with cautious optimism, hopeful that Florida can be the place where fans start to regularly walk the fairways again. With six of seven West Coast events in California and Hawaii to start the year, only Phoenix is expected to allow fans on site.

Plans have yet to be announced for the Florida Swing, which begins with the Arnold Palmer Invitational at Orlando’s Bay Hill Club & Lodge. The Players Championship follows at TPC Sawgrass outside Jacksonville, with the Honda Classic in Palm Beach Gardens closing things out.

“We really operate in six- to eight-week windows,” commissioner Jay Monahan explained during a cameo at last month’s PNC Championship in Orlando. “I would be hopeful that when we return to Florida, we’ll be able to continue on the path that we’ve been on.”

During the fall, the tour resumed staging pro-ams and hosting corporate hospitality at several venues. That provided a boost to the tour’s charitable giving, which reached $160 million in 2020.

Other events

The Miami Open got welcome news in the days right after Christmas when the ATP Tour, which oversees men’s tennis, gave the green light to play in late March. The WTA soon followed suit on the women’s side.

With nearly all the game’s top players descending on South Florida, the tournament holds a place just below the Grand Slam quartet.

After relocating from cozy Key Biscayne to a specially constructed complex at Hard Rock Stadium, the event set an attendance record in 2019 with nearly 389,000 fans. That translated to an economic impact estimated at $390 million.

Plans have not been unveiled for baseball’s spring training, though multiple reports indicate Major League Baseball has told its clubs to plan for an on-time start. Fifteen teams make Florida their spring home, including the ever-popular New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox, Atlanta Braves and St. Louis Cardinals.

Spring games produce a total attendance of nearly 1.5 million, according to a 2018 economic impact study for the Florida Sports Foundation. More than half of those tickets were sold to fans from out of state, helping generate $687 million for the economy.

Next weekend marks the Professional Bull Riders’ first visit to Ocala, as the Monster Energy Invitational brings the world’s top 30 riders — and some bad-tempered bovines — to the Southeastern Livestock Pavilion just off U.S. Highway 301.

Following an 18-year wait, water skiing’s world championships return to the United States in 2021 and do so in Central Florida. The Jack Travers Water Ski School in Groveland will welcome more than 200 competitors in October, representing an estimated 35 countries.

The biennial event was last held in Malaysia (2019), and in France before that.

Jason Siegel, president of the Greater Orlando Sports Commission, noted that when it comes to international sports, word of mouth goes a long way toward future business as federation heads share their experiences.

“One great event, one positive experience naturally leads into the next conversation,” he said.

Senior Games

Top athletes in The Villages stand to make their mark in November, when the National Senior Games comes to Florida for just the second time and first since the 1999 edition at Disney’s Wide World of Sports and other Orlando-area venues.

Fort Lauderdale serves as host this time, joined by other venues around Broward County.

“I think it’s going to be especially beneficial in Florida,” said Moon. “The state has more people over 60 that are actively involved in sports and recreation than just about any other state. You can’t hardly throw a rock around here without hitting a pickleball court or a softball field or something.”

When the National Senior Games were last held two years ago, an all-time high of nearly 14,000 athletes gathered in Albuquerque. Considering the pandemic, that participation number might be tough to beat — though 11 months is a long way off.

“You’d hope November would be not as difficult a time, but it is a fluid situation,” said Moon. “We are constantly monitoring to see where we are.”

Last March, Moon noted, the National Senior Games Association appointed a safety committee to gather information and come up with best practices. That panel continues to watch the ongoing situation.

The Games’ late spot on the calendar also could buy extra time to monitor developments, especially as vaccination begins rollout. Had 2021 brought a midsummer festival, the clock would be ticking louder to make a decision.

“We’re committed to keeping the games in Fort Lauderdale. That’s the last thing we’d want to change,” said Marc Riker, the NSGA’s chief executive. “They’ve invested in us; they want us and we want them. But we are ready for whatever comes.”

Senior writer Jeff Shain can be reached at 352-753-1119, ext. 5283, or jeff.shain@thevillagesmedia.com.​

Fashion

Brown University Fashion Week 2021 Kicks Off with Lineup of Fashion and Lifestyle Royalty Including Sarah Jessica Parker, Gwyneth Paltrow, Stella McCartney, and More

Emily walpole

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Brown University Fashion Week 2021 Kicks Off with Lineup of Fashion and Lifestyle Royalty Including Sarah Jessica Parker, Gwyneth Paltrow, Stella McCartney, and More

PROVIDENCE, R.I., March 3, 2021 /PRNewswire-PRWeb/ — Brown Fashion Week 2021 will take place from March 4 to March 26 and features some of the biggest names in the fashion and lifestyle industries. Re-imagined by student organization Fashion@Brown (F@B) as a virtual celebration this year, the impressive 22-day program of events is free and open to students and fashionistas around the globe and not limited to the Brown University community.

“We were astonished and humbled by the positive response we received to our invitations to speak at Brown Fashion Week this year,” states Sasha Pinto, president of the student organization, Fashion@Brown. “We wanted to make Brown Fashion Week bigger than ever to spread some much-needed inspiration to students given the extreme isolation everyone has been experiencing — and the fashion industry responded in overwhelming numbers. It is a tribute not only to the kindness and generosity of the individual speakers but to the industry in general.”

Joining Fashion@Brown will be such renowned leaders as Gwyneth Paltrow, Sarah Jessica Parker, Stella McCartney, Kenneth Cole, Steve Madden, Emma Chamberlain, and Olivier Rousteing, among others. A complete list of all speakers and events follows.

Events are free and registration details can be found at https://fashionatbrown.com/events

Brown Fashion Week 2021 – Complete Speaker Lineup

Brown Fashion Week Distinguished Speaker Series kicks off on Thursday, March 4 at 7:30 pm ET with …

Sarah Jessica Parker: Actress, Entrepreneur, Civic Activist: SJP Does it All… and in High Heels” on Thursday, March 4 at 7:30 pm ET – Join F@B in conversation with the powerhouse whose latest bona fides include CEO of the SJP Collection, her booming shoe business; member of the Partnership for New York City, an economic council of NYC’s top CEOs; and vice chairman of the New York City Ballet… in addition to being a Golden Globe, Emmy, and Screen Actors Guild award-winning actress of the stage, silver screen, and television. Hear about SJP’s unique approach to retail, her myriad entrepreneurial initiatives, and her passionate dedication to the post-pandemic revival of New York City.

Next in the series is “Kenneth Cole: The Fashion Empire Visionary Shining a Light on Social Issues with Passion and Purpose,” on Monday, March 8 at 8:00 PM ET, featuring Kenneth Cole, who built a billion-dollar retail business while keeping in mind that “it’s great to be known for your shoes, but it’s better to be recognized for your soul.” Instead of being the company’s model, Kenneth Cole decided to be the company’s role model by lending his name to social issues like AIDS, homelessness, gun control, mental health and abortion. Cole will be interviewed by his daughter Amanda cole, Brown class of 2012.

On Monday, March 8 at 12:30 pm ET zoom in to “A Conversation with the World’s Foremost Fashion CEOs.” Isabelle Guichot, CEO of the chic Parisian fashion house Maje and former CEO of the renowned luxury maisons Cartier, Van Cleef & Arpels, and Balenciaga, joins Patrice Louvet, CEO of Ralph Lauren, for a dynamic industry leader fireside chat. As CEO of Ralph Lauren, which recently dressed Joseph R. Biden Jr. for the presidential inauguration, Mr. Louvet leads this hugely successful multi-billion-dollar company.

The series continues with “Steve Madden’s Wild Ride and Crazy Come Back” on Monday, March 9 at 8:00 PM ET. F@B is excited to host “the Maddman” himself who turned a fledgling startup launched in 1990 with $1,100 into a global, multibillion-dollar brand. But Steve Madden’s mistakes — from his battle with addiction to the financial shortcuts that landed him in prison — are as important to his narrative as his iconic shoes. Steve will share his uplifting story, the lessons he’s learned along the way, and how he hopes to use his hard-won platform to create positive change.

On March 10 at 2:00 pm ET: “Francesca Bellettini: The Powerhouse Behind the Billion-Dollar Brand” features the woman who has propelled the Yves Saint Laurent brand into the exclusive billion-Euro club, and in the process made herself one of the most powerful women in fashion where there are only a handful of female chief executives. Launching her career at Goldman Sachs before moving to prestigious fashion houses such as Prada, Gucci, Helmut Lang, and Bottega Veneta, Bellettini has shaped every form of luxury from the bags we carry to the clothes and shoes we wear.

On March 12 at 4:00 pm ET, F@B hosts internet phenomenon Emma Chamberlain: “The Most Interesting Girl on YouTube” according to the New York Times. Chamberlain, at just 19 years old, has created her own wildly successful brand as a Youtuber, social media influencer, Tik Tok star, podcaster, and owner of Chamberlain Coffee with a combined social media following of more than 30 million. Emma has also pivoted into the fashion industry, making her own merchandise and partnering with legendary Louis Vuitton. She has even recently entered the beauty world by becoming the global brand ambassador and creative director for Bad Habit Beauty Skincare. Emma has also had a huge impact on mental health, sharing her own struggles with anxiety and depression across all of her platforms.

The series continues on Sunday March 14 at 2 pm ET with “Olivier Rousteing: Transforming a Classic: Fashion’s Storyteller for a New Age.” Balmain’s wunderkind, Olivier Rousteing, will share what he envisions as fashion in the 21st century: a fresh, inclusive world of glamour and revolution. Bringing an innovative spirit of adventure and understanding of a digital generation, Olivier Rousteing’s creative vision has been integral to Balmain’s rapid growth as a brand and as a cultural staple on social media through his “Balmain Army.”

The next session, “Olivia Palermo: Style Authority, Tastemaker, and Instagram Case Study” on Thursday, March 18 at 7:30 pm ET is not to be missed. Palermo is a major force in the fashion industry; renowned designers invite her to collaborate, Valentino invites her to his yacht, Instagram uses her as a case study, and The New York Times published a feature story about her success. Olivia’s journey from an internship in the offices of Diane von Furstenberg in 2006 to an acclaimed international style authority and industry tastemaker today is a story that everyone with entrepreneurial ambitions will want to hear.

On Friday, March 19 at 12:30 pm ET, F@B presents “Stella McCartney: The Mindful Eco-Warrior of High Fashion.” Stella McCartney is one of the fashion industry’s most vocal champions of environmental issues and her company is a highly successful example of the commercial potential of sustainable, ethically minded businesses. Renowned not only for her successful designs, which included Meghan Markle’s wedding reception dress, Stella was also the first fashion designer ever to appear on the cover of American Vogue magazine in January 2020. A lifelong vegetarian, Stella has never used leather, feathers, skin or fur in any of her designs.

March 22, 7:30 pm ET, F@B presents – “Gwyneth Paltrow: The Oscar-winning Lightning-Rod, Trailblazing Lifestyle& Wellness CEO.” Join F@B for a chat with the actress-turned-powerhouse CEO who has taken the lifestyle and wellness market by storm. Providing a fresh—and at times controversial—perspective, Goop is one of the wellness industry’s most recognizable brands earning Paltrow millions of passionately loyal admirers (and, yes, a few trolls) through the simple premise that wellness is the new wealth. With Goop’s blend of aesthetic lifestyle digital media that touches on everything from beauty and wellness to fashion, food, home, and travel—along with its thriving e-commerce business, retail stores, events, and health summits, Goop is a worldwide phenomenon and Gwyneth Paltrow is just getting started.

Panel Discussions

In addition to the speaker series, Brown Fashion Week’s fascinating and thought-provoking panel discussions are not to be missed:

Changemaker Fashion Designers as Translators of Culture & Ethics

March 6 at 2:00 pm ET

Join this F@B conversation with Rome-based designer Stella Jean, Brooklyn-based Fe Noel, and Detroit-based Tracy Reese who are transforming the fashion landscape each in their own way, from using fashion as a bridge and translator of culture to using it as a way to uplift exploited communities. Hear about their journeys, efforts to promote diversity and inclusion in the industry, as well as efforts to expand sustainable design initiatives and ethical production.

Award-Winning Costume Designers Shaping Fashion in Film

March 13, 2:00 pm ET

We’ll hear from Oscar-winner Ruth Carter, six-time Emmy-winner Michele Clapton, and Emmy-nominated Heidi Bivens on their experiences within the fashion and film industries, as well as their processes, inspirations, and ambitions. Their work spans across all different genres, be it Clapton’s Game of Thrones and The Crown, Carter’s Black Panther and Malcolm X, or Heidi Bivens Mid 90s and Euphoria.

The Future of Fashion Journalism from America’s Foremost Editors

March 16, 7:30 pm ET

Join F@B for a live-streamed conversation with three of fashion journalism’s most celebrated editors and influential voices in fashion: Vanessa Friedman, fashion director and chief fashion critic at The New York Times; Chioma Nnadi, editor of Vogue.com; and Samantha Barry, editor-in-chief of Glamour. Editorial is how we discover the latest trends, unearth new icons, and define style as we know it. The future of fashion journalism today is in flux, however, between the dilemma of reporting on fashion during a pandemic, the rise of influencer-generated content, the shift to digital platforms, and disappearance of print magazines. Friedman, Nnadi, and Barry will join us to discuss and dissect the future of fashion journalism.

Disrupting Beauty: Supermodels on Representation & Empowerment

March 17, 3:00 pm ET

This fascinating conversation will explore how modeling can influence greater societal change, how media representation can center marginalized identities in the public consciousness and how their careers have inspired them to help empower others; while their faces dominate our magazines and feeds, few are aware of their social and philanthropic work. We will hear from Jasmine Tookes, Cindy Bruna, Jasmine Sanders and Tami Williams about their inspirational journeys.

Screening & Discussion of “The Remix: Hip Hop x Fashion”

March 21, 6:00 pm ET

Join F@B and the Brown Arts Initiative for a discussion with Lisa Cortés, the Academy Award-Nominated director, writer, and producer of the film, in conversation with award-winning filmmaker Yoruba Richen, Brown Professor of the Practice. The Remix is a story of hip hop’s influence on the fashion industry, which has led to the stratospheric and global rise of street wear. It is a story of African American creativity and limitless possibilities of this shift in culture, focusing on the journeys of fashion architect Misa Hylton, streetwear designer April Walker, as well as Dapper Dan and Kerby Jean-Raymond.

And finally, Brown Fashion Week 2021 culminates with their 11th Annual Runway Show…

The 11th Annual Runway Show on Friday, March 26 at 7:00 pm ET, presented virtually for the first time, will showcase the collections of the F@B team of twenty-six student designers from both Brown University and Rhode Island School of Design. The collections will be released in a high-fashion campaign film, accompanied by a virtual and print Lookbook.

To register for any and all of the aforementioned complimentary events, please click http://www.fashionatbrown.com/events for more information and registration.

Media Contact

Sasha Pinto, Fashion@Brown, +1 (609) 865-7399, SashaPinto@fashionatbrown.com

SOURCE Fashion@Brown

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Fashion

Meet the Institut Français de la Mode’s first-ever MA Fashion graduates

Emily walpole

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Meet the Institut Français de la Mode’s first-ever MA Fashion graduates

Johanna Imbach MA Collection. Image courtesy of Institut Français de la Mode.

We won’t lie; flipping the calendar page to March was a sobering moment, an unwelcome reminder that we’ve spent a whole year of our lives living through these unprecedented times. Our minds, naturally, drifted back 12 months to those pre-pandemic ‘last days of Rome’ — well, Paris, actually, where the city’s AW20 fashion week was in full swing. Meanwhile, in a neon green lightning bolt of a building on the Left Bank of the Seine, the inaugural cohort of the Institut Français de la Mode (IFM)’s spanking new MA programme had reached the halfway mark in the two-year course, cutting, draping and dreaming of their debut on the fashion world’s most prestigious stage just twelve months down the line.

You know how the story goes — a goddamn lot has happened since, and any plans that were in place then were swiftly put paid to. Still, despite the trials and turmoils that the past year has posed, the dreams of the 48 members of the IFM’ first graduating were yesterday realised, with their collections opening the AW21 Paris Fashion Week schedule. “This presentation […] is the first concrete expression of our project and our ambition,” says Xavier Romatet, the school’s dean. “It’s an opportunity to appreciate the creative level of this first graduating class of our new Master’s programme, to identify emerging talent for tomorrow and to contribute to rethinking fashion in light of the current disruptions.”

 

As you’ll see below, this fresh crop of young talent below has done a pretty good job of doing just that, presenting accomplished, thought-provoking collections even in (and in some cases as a reaction to) today’s hostile climate for fashion’s new faces. Here, seven of the graduates discuss their final collections, how they navigated the challenges of creating during the pandemic, and how the past year has shaped their perspectives on fashion.

Adam Kost

How would you introduce your graduate collection? My collection is a meditation on purity and smoothness; meadow and sky; moonlight during the night, sunshine during the day: things that make me feel I am part of everything and everything is part of me. What are its central themes? It’s about the eternal qualities of fashion, and how it interacts with the human body. I was trying to find a universal language, one that everybody can relate to, discussing basic topics and archetypes that are more or less the same for all of us. How did you find developing and creating your graduate collection during the pandemic? Creating during the pandemic meant creating a collection with limited resources. But this fact didn’t affect my creativity; it even forced me to dream more, be more generous, and more grateful that I still had the privilege to create garments. How has the past year shaped your understanding of fashion’s purpose? It’s taught me to question my designs much more; to ask myself if they should be made and if they are aesthetically sustainable.

Clément Picot

How would you introduce your graduate collection? My collection, titled “Dream Until the End”, is inspired by two of my favourite movies: American Psycho and The Shining by Stanley Kubrick. I always found that there was a kind of similarity between the two main characters. I wanted to pay tribute to these two films through a series of winks in the looks of the collection, but above all, I wanted to create my own narrative. What are its central themes? The idea was to show the evolution of a person, a transformation and descent to a hell that lies somewhere between the imaginary and the real. I tried to translate this idea through the different looks in my collection, starting with ‘the dream’, with powerful but disturbing silhouettes inspired by Patrick Bateman’s wardrobe, and the last looks ending at the border of the nightmare thanks to hybrid silhouettes inspired by Matthew Barney’s movies. How has the past year shaped your understanding of fashion’s purpose? I remember dreaming in front of Alexander McQueen’s shows more than 10 years ago — I was amazed by the beauty and the almost infinite creativity of his work, and I think this is part of a kind of magic that fashion has and must continue to have in the future. Especially in these difficult times, it is always important to keep dreaming. Fashion is an art like any other, an art that was disappearing more and more under the increasing numbers of collections, and in a world where fast fashion takes up an increasing amount of space. Nowadays, fashion exists more and more as a form of entertainment and inspiration for people who can’t leave their homes anymore, to visit an exhibition in a museum, for example. In the space of a year, fashion has really managed to carve out an important space in people’s daily lives, giving us hope for the future.

Jimin Kim

 

How would you introduce your graduate collection? My collection maps my symbolic journey towards finding a balance between reality and daydreaming in the process of achieving my personal goals, mixing the traditional craft of crochet with 3D technology to create silhouettes which question the real and the imagined. My real-world experience is represented by the knitted fabrics made from mohair and monofilament, while my tendency to daydream is represented through transparent 3D structures sculpted in PLA, biodegradable plastic made of corn starch. How did you find developing and creating your graduate collection during the pandemic? I’ve had a hard time during the pandemic, but, on the other hand, it has enabled me to develop new approaches that aren’t typical knit. I found the first lockdown period very hard mentally, and couldn’t do any work. Afterwards, though, I completed a 4-month innovation project called ‘Sound of Shape’. In Korea, we were able to go out relatively freely, but, as in Paris, there was limited access to knitting machines, so I had to find a new method. The project’s theme was to discover my own innovation, so I decided to make clothes through a creative new method. I researched how knitting and crochet were practised in the past, when people couldn’t use machines. Furthermore, when I searched for a new material, I came up with the idea of working with a 3D pen, and weaving the PLA plastic like a knit structure. You’re graduating at a time when conversations around race, gender, sexuality and wider issues of identity have never been more prominent in fashion. How do you position your work with respect to these conversations? I wanted to reflect on the current situation in my collection. Previously, in my Parsons MFA collection, I tried to symbolically express my experiences as a woman in Korean society and my attitude against prejudice and discrimination. Although this collection is more concentrated on my inner side, it still expresses a desire to counteract negative stereotypes about me. As a Korean, I grew up in a society that was not part of the fashion mainstream, and I’ve worked very hard to overcome the skeptical gazes of people around me — it’s an effort that continues even to this day. I hope that diversity will become more common in the fashion world, and that young designers who make new attempts to cross barriers of race and nationality will receive greater support in the mainstream.

Jisoo Baik

How would you introduce your graduate collection? My collection, titled ‘Personal Space’, mostly involves incorporating everyday objects that anybody can relate to in order to convey the idea of a safe space where you can be yourself. It was inspired by how individuals carry their possessions with them, each in their own way, when they walk on the street. How did you find developing and creating your graduate collection during the pandemic? The first time Paris went into lockdown, I was so panicked, I couldn’t imagine how I would develop my final collection without any fabrics and materials. The city was like a ghost town. But then I realised that I couldn’t just stop everything and worry. I just kept saying to myself, ‘I’m doing my best that I can.’ The new trials this brought were actually really freeing. Ironically, they’ve given the fashion world even greater freedom, allowing it to escape from the reliance on fashion shows, for example, something that seemed like it would never changed. How has the past year shaped your understanding of fashion’s purpose? Before I started my MA course, I was focused on finding my own voice and identity in my designs. I tried to challenge myself by using unfamiliar materials to making garments, digging deep inside myself to answer questions ‘Who am I?” and, “What do I like?”  Now, though, I’m more focused on responding to a customer’s needs, and thinking about how  I communicate with them. I’ve become much more careful about not getting stuck in my own world.

Johanna Imbach

 

How would you introduce your graduate collection? My graduate collection is a technical and creative exploration of knitwear. It is above all a collection that questions the perception of the spectator, proposing new experiences between garments and bodies. What are its central themes? I wanted to create an almost virtual vision, one of garments without any mass. My three-dimensional approach is above all a sculptural process. This allows me to create graphic and kinetic looks where the body and the garment become one, proposing a new anatomy. I wanted to present a womenswear collection that questions anatomy, perception and proportion; to question the female body and its relationship to clothing through allure and curves. Ultimately, I seek to redefine knitwear, to push it beyond the ideas that we have of knitting and its construction. How did you find developing and creating your graduate collection during the pandemic? The most difficult part of the past year has been living in uncertainty. Being a knitter, and being away from our materials and workspace, was a huge disadvantage, even though we all have domestic machines. We had to leave the workshops for 5 months, putting our minds, and our creativity, to a tough test. We also had to be understanding and responsive to government restrictions. It was a year that seemed insurmountable, but, now our collections have launched, it now feels like it passed quickly.”

Mathieu Goosse

How would you introduce your graduate collection? My collection, titled “I’d like to see you”, is like an image plane, a series of objects in suspension above reality. Short of breath, out of strength, stripped back to the bare essential. It revolves around the ideas of reducing, exhaustion, love, and fragility. I don’t work with mood boards of images, but with emotions, sensations, and objects that I craft and which act as starting points. What are its central themes? It’s about obsession: what fuels it, what brings it alive, and how it triggers our impulses to build and to destroy. I often work with materials I have right next to me, and I like to make them feel new and different. They are sanded, washed-out, and worn-down. There is a frailness in the razor-sharp precision of the handwork, and a roughness in the sensation of sanded silk, peeling python skin, the worn feeling of recycled denim. You’re graduating at a time when conversations around race, gender, sexuality and wider issues of identity have never been more prominent in fashion. How do you position your work with respect to these conversations? Through my choice to not work with ‘images’ and focus on the essence of elements from my personal point of view, I’m trying to build my garments as objects. Pure, detached and independent, they can speak to or touch everyone; they’re essential forms that can belong to anyone. As a menswear student, my collection was presented on boys in the show, but the garments are completely non-gendered. For me, the best way to discuss issues of diversity in my work is to reduce things to the point where they lose any socialised associations, while maintaining a strong presence. How has the past year shaped your understanding of fashion’s purpose? This year of isolation has shown me how fashion is necessary and how much it connects people. It always seems so far from everything — extreme, intense, arrogant, or from another world — but it’s so close to us all, and at all times. Garments are the first things we receive when we’re born, and we keep them with us until the end. They’re what hold us.”

Soyul Kim

How would you introduce your graduate collection? It’s about fierceness layered with softness; being playful in a cut-throat world. I was very much influenced by the inspiring women mentors I had when I started my career in NYC. When we think of ‘strong women’, we only think of their boldness. But you soon realise that they are who they are today because they were willing to fall, accept and learn from their experiences — just like a kid who’s willing to fall because they’ve learned how to pick themselves up again. And everybody has that inner kid, they’re just usually too busy ‘adulting’ through the world. What are its central themes? A central theme throughout my collection is the undeterred presence of a child living in an adult body. Using hard silhouettes like armour-shaped shoulders and hard materials like leather against soft fabrics and lace, or by crocheting structured metal thread into seemingly-fragile fabric, I wanted to express the coexistence of strength and vulnerability. There are also elements that blur the line of being a kid and being an adult, like Furby bags hanging from power suits, or a print with abstract shapes taken from Disney films. I see my collection as a balance of something rough and delicate, masculine and feminine, serious and playful – something adult-y, and youthful at the same time. You’re graduating at a time when conversations around race, gender, sexuality and wider issues of identity have never been more prominent in fashion. How do you position your work with respect to these conversations? I tend not to say it out loud, but I create to put feminine power on equal grounds with masculine power. It’s not about a competition between the genders, but rather about acknowledging underlying historical discrepancies, appreciating each other, and working towards the same goal of closing the gap. I hope to inspire other women and girls through my work – just as I have been inspired by the female mentors in life – that we should never settle for less, and that we should also not be intimidated by competition; rather, we should be inspired by it. It’s about embracing the authentic power of your inner female identity, and being true to what makes you feel comfortable.

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Fashion

Adult Minnesotans rediscovered the comfort of snow pants, fashion be damned

Emily walpole

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Adult Minnesotans rediscovered the comfort of snow pants, fashion be damned

Brandt Williams of Minneapolis has spent 53 years in the Upper Midwest, but hadn’t worn snow pants since being zipped into a one-piece suit he described as “the iron maiden of clothing for children.”

Then one day last December, while shopping at Costco, Williams spotted a snow pants display. He bought a pair on a whim, thinking they’d be less hassle than adding and removing long underwear.

During the February cold snap, Williams wore his snow pants for daily walks, outdoor reporting assignments for his job with Minnesota Public Radio, or just sitting around a fire pit.

“Having this layer of protection makes you feel like you’ve somehow mastered the elements,” he said. “You have this feeling of invulnerability.”

While snowsuits and coveralls are a staple of ice fishing, snowmobiling and other outdoorsy pursuits, the pandemic has spurred more Minnesotans to join the cozy club of adults who wear the padded pants. They’re remembering childhoods spent sitting in snowbanks, undeterred by dampness or cold, and wondering why their adult selves hadn’t reembraced snow pants sooner.

For some, donning snow pants has been an act of self-care in a time when so many of the usual ways we treat ourselves — from happy hours to hitting the mall — have been curtailed.

And once they’ve crossed over to the warmer side of winter life, snow pants converts can’t stop talking about how great they are — fashion stigma be damned.

“Being warm is cool,” Williams said. “It doesn’t matter how you look. And plus, they’re not bad-looking pants.”

The snow pants gospel

For Luke LeBlanc, adopting snow pants improved his outdoor experience dramatically. The 25-year-old Minneapolis singer/songwriter admits that prior apathy about winter gear meant he was constantly underdressed; his heaviest coat was a windbreaker.

This year, anticipating he’d be spending more time outdoors, Le-Blanc invested in a big, puffy jacket and a pair of waterproof snow pants.

“I don’t mean to blow it out of proportion and say it’s life-changing, but you can go and do stuff outside and not be in pain the whole entire time,” he said.

He’s hesitated to wear his snow pants when he’d like to project some semblance of style, such as at a brewery patio. And while he showed up at the outdoor photo shoot for his new album wearing snow pants, he removed them before the camera started clicking. “But the grocery store — I don’t care who sees me in snow pants,” he said.

LeBlanc has also worn his new gear on walks, to an outdoor concert, deer hunting with his dad, and tinkering on his car.

“As naive as it sounds, I didn’t realize I could be outside when it’s 10 degrees and feel like I’m walking around inside,” he said.

Now, LeBlanc regularly extols the virtues of a warm lower half.

“I’ve been preaching the snow pants gospel, and we’ll see how many converts I get,” he said.

Fueling a ‘pantsdemic’

Among Minneapolis’ biggest snow pants evangelists is Charlie McCarron, organizer of an outdoor activity club he calls “Snowpantsdemic.”

This winter, McCarron busted out a pair of snow pants he hadn’t worn since high school (“a lot of my clothes are from high school, even though I’m in my 30s,” he admitted) and invited his friends to bimonthly outings, including snow kickball, sledding, and a game he invented that’s a sort of cross between boot hockey and golf. (McCarron dabbles in board-game design alongside his work as a composer.)

While McCarron has been using snow pants to inspire his friends to embrace their inner child, Hannah Aderinkomi bought her new snow pants simply to stay as warm as her kids.

In the past, when Aderinkomi took her young children sledding, she’d add a base layer beneath her pants. The last time she wore snow pants was grade school. “It’s almost like it didn’t occur to me to buy them for myself, even though I was buying them every year for my kids,” she said.

This season was different: If she was going to fully appreciate Minnesota winter, Aderinkomi wanted to be comfortable. So she ordered a pair of snow pants online and wore them on the family’s next trip to the sledding hill. Her husband, Thompson Aderinkomi, then decided to upgrade from double-layering pants to his own pair of snow pants. Since then, the couple have been as cozy as their kids every time the family has played outside or gone snowshoeing.

“I’m always cold, so the fact it took me so long is sort of fascinating — I’ve lived here my entire adult life,” Hannah Aderinkomi admitted.

In some ways, she said, buying snow pants was an unlikely form of pandemic self-care, not so different from the services that clients of her Minneapolis laser hair removal/skin-care business use to treat themselves. “Maybe adult snow pants were just something that I did for myself,” she said.

In any case, Aderinkomi is happy to have embraced a new era of outdoor warmth. “We built a snowman the other day and I think old Hannah would have done that, too, but this Hannah was a bit more comfortable,” she said.

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