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30 Asian-American Owned Fashion and Beauty Brands You Need To Know About

Emily walpole

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30 Asian-American Owned Fashion and Beauty Brands You Need To Know About

 

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Have you checked in on your Asian friends lately? They’re likely feeling tense, anxious, and just a little on edge about their community these days. ICYMI, there’s been an unsettling uptick of anti-Asian hate crimes and discrimination since the pandemic started, and, unfortunately, almost one year later, it’s become painfully clear that this ugly behavior is in no way over. 

Popular digital platforms like Peloton and TikTok have publicly posted about this anti-Asian discrimination and ensuing violence recently, and countless notable figures including Chrissy Teigen, Daniel Dae Kim, Lisa Ling, and social activist Amanda Nguyen are using their voices to make noise on social media to spread awareness and speak up for those without a voice.

Want to show your support and uplift the Asian community? There are plenty of ways to stand with the Asian Americans, including donating to one of the various organizations seeking to ratify discrimination and hate crimes, like the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund, Stop AAPI Hate, and the Asian Mental Health Collection, but you can also harness your spending power by choosing to support Asian American-owned brands as well.

We’ve rounded up a comprehensive list of 30 incredible Asian-American-owned fashion and beauty brands that you can shop right now. The inspiring founders behind these brands have beautiful stories to tell, innovative products that turn heads, and an unbreakable spirit to succeed and be seen, no matter the struggle. 

Our mission at STYLECASTER is to bring style to the people, and we only feature products we think you’ll love as much as we do. Please note that if you purchase something by clicking on a link within this story, we may receive a small commission of the sale.

STYLECASTER | Asian American Owned Brands

Courtesy of AMYO.

AMYO Stella Starburst Choker Necklace

If minimalistic, affordable, hand-crafted jewelry is your thing, AMYO has you covered. Founder Gina Nam and her all-female team make it their mission to produce finely-crafted pieces meant for layering and unique self-expression. “In the fine jewelry industry, you don’t see many Asian American women, so I always put my best foot forward in all aspects of my business while staying true to myself,” Nam says. 

STYLECASTER | Asian Owned Brands

Courtesy of Avre.

AVRE Infinity Glide Sneakers

Sisters Julie and Connie Kuo launched their AVRE in 2019 (after 39 years in the footwear industry) and never looked back. Their fashion-focussed line of elevated women’s sneakers are versatile, eco-conscious, eye-catching and altogether cool; but it’s the brand’s spirit of inclusivity and authenticity that makes this small business stand out from the crowd. 

“Being ignored or dismissed because we’re too young, too inexperienced, or too Asian to know the American way is something we’ve encountered time and time again. We have to be laser-focused on our goals. Our parents instilled in us that great things come with hard work and determination,” said the founders in a joint statement.

STYLECASTER | Asian American Owned Brands

Courtesy of Boma Jewelry.

Boma Labrador Retriever Dog Studs

CEO and founder Suzanne Vetillart keeps her ethically-made jewelry line’s production based in Thailand, just as her dad did in the 80s in an effort to create local jobs, stimulate the economy, and ensure transparency within the supply chain. 

“Growing up, I wanted to hide my Asian heritage just to fit in. It’s been a long journey, but I’ve come so far. Today, I embrace my heritage and use it to connect with others.  At Boma, we have a voice and we want to use it to celebrate the artisans who make our jewelry each day,” says the founder.

STYLECASTER | Asian American Owned Brands

Courtesy of Catherine Gee.

Catherine Gee Sophie Blouse + Mask Bundle in Izzy Cat

If you gravitate towards elevated, timeless, and elegant styles with a twist, peep Catherine Gee’s collection of day-to-night separates designed for the modern woman. Based in Santa Barbara, CA, Gee finds inspiration in her natural habitat and adds that her “aesthetic is deeply rooted in her Asian blood. I love what I do because it comes straight from my heart. It’s a desire and a drive to create something timeless yet interesting,” says the designer.

STYLECASTER | Asian American Owned Brands

Courtesy of Clean Circle.

Lena Chao founded Clean Circle to reimagine the beauty industry so that it was more inclusive, more ethical, more sustainable, and altogether empowering. Her reusable makeup remover bamboo pads are made of OEKO-Tex® fabrics, which are certified clean and produced in ethical factories, a personal concern of Chao’s because her parents worked in less-than-desirable conditions while raising her in New York.

STYLECASTER | Asian American Owned Brands

Courtesy of Corvy.

CORVY Keid Rose Eyeglasses

This inclusive unisex eyewear brand creates frames to flatter diverse face shapes, including low nose bridges, high cheekbones, and more. Co-founded by friends Athina Wang and Florence Shin, COVRY strives to give back to the community, hire ethnically diverse models, and partner with minority-owned businesses. 

STYLECASTER | Asian American Owned Brands

Courtesy of Ellis Brooklyn.

Ellis Brooklyn MYTH Eau de Parfum

If you’re a fragrance aficionado, you need to know about the heavenly, multi-layered scents from Ellis Brooklyn. Founder Bee Shapiro, a Williamsburg mom and former beauty columnist for GFN, made her mark with this incredibly chic line of clean and sophisticated fragrance options crafted with care in small batches. The fragrances are all phthalate-free, paraben-free, PETA-certified vegan and cruelty-free, sustainably sourced, eco-friendly, and utterly luxurious. 

STYLECASTER | Asian American Owned Brands

Courtesy of Glamnetic.

Glamnetic Vegan Magnetic Lashes

Glamnetic takes the guesswork out of applying magnetic lashes with their high-quality products and commitment to consumer connection. This LA-based brand exploded during the pandemic thanks to their loyal Gen Z audience and influencer network on social media, and they even opened up 70 additional jobs during a time when most companies were struggling just to merely stay afloat. 

“Growing up as an immigrant from Thailand, I often felt ostracized from my peers, but even on my worst days I found happiness and confidence through makeup. I want all women to feel truly confident in a simple way,” says founder Ann McFerran. 

STYLECASTER | Asian American Owned Brands

Courtesy of HUPPY.

Couple and co-founders David Phan and Cathy Tran joined forces to create Huppy, a sustainable, zero-waste oral care company that’s reinventing the way things have always been done. Their toothpaste tabs are packaged in refillable containers made of aluminum, the refill pouches are made of biodegradable wood cellulose, and all ingredients are responsibly and sustainably sourced.

STYLECASTER | Asian American Owned brands

Courtesy of Mauby.

This LA-based fashion line juxtaposes romantic undertones with utility-inspired tailoring, culminating in a multifaceted range of structured pieces that are approachable, comfortable, and affordable for every woman. Albeit a young brand that launched right before the pandemic, MAUBY has impressively forged relationships with local nonprofits and aims to add sustainability and inclusive sizing to their priority list next.

STYLECASTER | Asian American owned brands

Courtesy of Mohala Eyewear.

Founder Ashley Mariko Johnson studied eyewear designs overseas and came back to the West only to realize that an eyewear line designed specifically for Asian customers didn’t exist, so she got to work. Her carefully-crafted collection of shades boasts various nose bridges, widths and adjustable frames to solve common pain points among women of all ethnicities.

“As an Asian-American in the fashion industry, I have empathy and understanding of what it feels like to not always be included in the mainstream, whether this be marketing images, product design, or advertising. Our strength is to represent women who have not been represented or included in the eyewear market,” she says.

STYLECASTER | asian american owned brands

Courtesy of Jason Wu Beauty.

Jason Wu Beauty Hot Fluff 3-in-1 Lipstick

When fashion designer Jason Wu and NYX Cosmetics founder Toni Ko joined forced to create a beauty line, the idea of what affordable beauty could be was forever changed (and for the better, of course). The range of elevated, multipurpose products are formulated in inclusive shades and undertones to suit every skin tone under the spectrum, and the nude theme extends from his color stories to the gorgeous packaging, too.

“I have always embraced my Asian heritage–it is something I’m incredibly proud of. To be able to launch a beauty collection that embraces diversity while celebrating individuality is really, really thrilling,” Wu says. 

STYLECASTER | Asian American owned brands

Courtesy of JOAH.

This luxe Korean-American-owned brand offers everything a beauty lover could ever want–at a super affordable price point. JOAH aims to deliver high-quality, high-performing products with the added benefit of innovative, cutting-edge formulas that overdeliver (i.e. their Line Up Felt Tip Liquid Eyeliner not only allows you to achieve a precise feline flick, but also has biotin to promote lash health.) Win-win. 

STYLECASTER | Asian American Owned Brands

Courtesy of Luci Skin.

Luci Skin METALIT Bronze Face Gel

With the goal to make skincare feel like an escape, this new line aims to deliver an immediate stress relief that elevates your mood, your senses, and your complexion. METALIT is a multi-benefit face gel that works as a sleeping mask, 20-minute treatment, highlighter or moisturizer; and is available in three formulations: gold for revitalizing, silver for detoxifying, and bronze for nourishing.

“I am an immigrant, a Korean adoptee, and I have memories of growing up in the 90s where the ideal beauty standards were quite different from what they are today. I remember seeing advertisements and thinking that I needed to look like the women in them in order to be considered beautiful. My hope is that Asian-American girls and boys, immigrants, and all other people will see our brand, and feel like they are the ideal beauty standard of today,” says Luci Skin founder Heather Jones.

STYLECASTER | Asian American owned brands

Courtesy of Manna Kadar.

Manna Kadar Champagne Charcoal Scrub

Founder Manna Kadar is the embodiment of sheer grit and glamour in the beauty business. A self-made, self-funded Asian-American multitasking mompreneur, Kadar stops at nothing to deliver anything (and everything) to her massive fan base, continuously adding to her family of six brands with more than 600 SKU’s in 40,000 stores nationwide.

STYLECASTER | Asian American Owned Brands

Courtesy of Me-UVC.

Consider this ~the~ must-have accessory of the year (and maybe even the decade?). Founder Thomas Guan of ME UVC recently unveiled the EasyKlean, a sleek, lightweight sterilizing wand that easily fits into your purse and disinfects and kills harmful bacteria and germs in seconds flat. 

STYLECASTER | Asian American Owned Brands

Courtesy of Revolve.

MIKOH Lele One-Piece Swimsuit

Sisters and MIKOH co-founders Oleema and Kalani Miller drew inspiration from their Southern California upbringing when they boldly launched their luxury swimwear line when they were just 19 and 20 years old. Over a decade later, their line is still synonymous with femininity, beauty, and strength; and fuses statement prints and colors with luxurious fabrics and unique silhouettes to flatter the female form. “We understand women’s bodies and were one of the first brands to sell bikinis as separates rather than sets,” explains Oleema. 

“Being Asian-American means I have a rich background with a story of determination, passion, and faith in my lineage. I come from a line of strong-willed ancestors who I have learned are kind, graceful, and dedicated to their dreams, their love, and their will to succeed,” she says. 

STYLECASTER | Asian American Owned Brand

Courtesy of Mo Mi.

Mo Mi Conditioning Shampoo

This vegan, plant-based hair care brand will make a stunning addition to your shower. MO MI is a sustainable hair care line that celebrates diversity and time-honored beauty rituals.

“From as early as I can remember, my mother and my grandmother taught me the importance of living gracefully on the earth. Their beauty rituals stemmed from our garden. I was raised with holistic, naturopathic, aromatherapy and encouraged to seek beauty rituals aligned with wellbeing,” explains founder Diane Reade. “My Asian heritage is what inspires my creative process when sourcing plant-based ingredients that have been used for centuries,” she says.

STYLECASTER | Asian American Owned brands

Courtesy of Nylora.

Nylora DTLA Jacket

Nylora was imagined to be a well-made clothing line designed to fit into the fabric of urban life. Each piece translates effortlessly in the athleisure/athletic wear space, but with the tailoring and detail of polished separates. Neither active nor ready-to-wear, these functional pieces feature sweat-wicking properties and feel as good at the gym as they look on the street. 

STYLECASTER | Asian American owned brands

Courtesy of Ocre Cosmetics.

Orcé Cosmetics is a luxury makeup brand inspired by and made for the unique skin tones and skin concerns of global Asian women. Each shade in the collection was custom developed to match real skin tones, and the brand also invests time and resources in studying Asian skin concerns and developing solutions that are truly effective. 

“I created Orcé out of frustration. Even as a lifelong beauty lover and trained makeup artist, I have never encountered a brand that really spoke to me,” explains founder Yu-Chen Shih. “My vision for the brand is to not only fulfill the unmet beauty needs of consumers who have been systematically overlooked by the industry, but also to give voice to the Asian community. In Asian culture, we tend to shy away from voicing our needs, wants, complaints, and frustrations…through Orcé, I hope to be a catalyst for these conversations, so we can create the change needed for a better future.

STYLECASTER | Asian American owned brands

Courtesy of Orimei.

Orimei Packable Coat

Jetsetters rejoice. Orimei was created with you in mind, offering foldable, functional clothes that pack easily for on-the-go women. Founder Angela Wang used her industrial design background to create a solution aptly known as Foldwear, which simplifies the art of packing, eliminates wrinkles, and empowers women in the process. 

tg 1 30 Asian American Owned Fashion and Beauty Brands You Need To Know About

Courtesy of SELFMADE.

SELFMADE True Grit Resilience Scrub

Founder Stephanie Lee launched this new personal care line with a mission to create a world where “we all know we are worthy as we already are.” After being bullied, teased, and told that she did not belong all of her life, Lee made strides working for Michelle Obama in the White House, and then to MAC Cosmetics, before eventually having a mental health crisis of her own which led to the birth of SELFMADE. The new Secure Attachment Comfort Serum+ is packed with good-for-you ingredients that nurture you from the inside out. 

“I am proud to be building a brand where black and indigenous women, women of color, and non-binary people can not only see themselves represented but also hear stories that sound like theirs–and know that they belong,” Lee says.

STYLECASTER | Asian American owned brands

Courtesy of Sonia Hou.

Sonia Hou Chopstick Gold Vermeil Earrings

Chinese-American designer Sonia Hou prefers to keep it real. “I started my business so more people can afford to wear real, quality, long-lasting jewelry at an affordable price point,” she explains after struggling all her life to find on-trend pieces that didn’t tarnish, flake, or irritate her skin. She also cleverly designed a “Crazy Rich Asians”- inspired collection (think: chopstick earrings, noodle rings, and more!) that promote good health, wealth, and prosperity. 

STYLECASTER | Asian American owned brands

Courtesy of Supernal.

A former creative director in NYC, Melissa Medvedich stepped away from it all in order to pursue her ultimate dream of developing a high-quality botanical skincare line. Obsessed with “plant magic” and the benefits of skin maintenance, Melissa went back to school to learn the trade while developing her Cosmic Glow Oil, rich with vitamin C and omegas 3, 6, and 9 designed to nourish and promote velvety, glowing skin.

As a Chinese-American in the beauty industry, I recognize the importance of representation and seeing ourselves, experiences, and values reflected in the businesses we support,” she says. 

STYLECASTER | Asian American Owned brands

Courtesy of Tower 28.

Tower 28 BeachPlease Luminous Balm

Tower 28 takes pride in being a cult-favorite beauty brand that’s 100 percent clean, vegan, and free of every essentially known skin irritant — without compromising performance and pigment. Everything they launch is rigorously dermatologist and allergy tested (formulas adhere strictly to the National Eczema Association’s ingredient guidelines)—plus, it’s all made in the USA.

As a second-generation Chinese American, founder Amy Liu is a mother of three and makes it a point to share her Chinese traditions with her little ones, and is active with the Asian American Girl Club

STYLECASTER | Asian American Owned Brands

Courtesy of U Beauty.

U Beauty Arm Compound

Less is more when it comes to U Beauty’s tech-driven, science-backed, high-performance skincare. Founder Tina Craig was committed to simplifying routines to save time and waste, while simultaneously providing effective, non-irritating, sustainable, inclusive products driven by science. Check out the brand’s newly-launched gravity-defying Arm Compound, which Craig deems “invisible shapewear for arms in a bottle.”

“I never felt represented in the beauty world, or anywhere culturally, for that matter. So I decided to represent myself. I’ve felt seen because I have demanded to be seen. I’ve simply never accepted anything less. Dismantling racist stereotypes and calling out injustices when I see them while honoring my culture is as vital to me as creating great skincare,” she says. 

STYLECASTER | Asian American Owned Brands

Courtesy of Velour.

Velour Lightweight False Lashes

Founder Mabel Lee recalls her small eyes being her biggest insecurity when she was younger, and loved the eye-opening effect false lashes had on her overall look. She knew she was on to something when Pat McGrath purchased 10 pairs of her mink lashes at a trade show years ago, and Velour was born.  Now the beauty brand has expanded its range to include 100% vegan luxe lashes, Lash & Go eyeliner, and more. 

“My Asian upbringing has taught me that if you want to succeed in life, you have to put in the work and the results are all dependent on you and nobody else,” Lee says.

STYLECASTER | Asian american owned brands

Courtesy of Vision Quest.

Vision Quest Butternut Babouche Shoes

Slip on a pair of Vision Quest babouche shoes and believe me — you’ll never look back. The head-turning style comes in a range of wearable shades and fabrications, and resembles a traditional Moroccan slipper with the bouncy supportive rubber outsole of a comfy sneaker. Each pair features the “Yes or No” eye logo on the footbed, a design element that founder Ce Ce Chin felt strongly about to remind the wearer to stay on the path of her vision, whatever that may be. 

SWELL

Courtesy of WAVY.

Wavy Sleepaway SWELL Pillow

Founder Justin Min wanted to reimagine sleep health, which is why he developed WAVY, a fully machine washable pillow with essential oil-blended washes. WAVY uses water instead of chemicals to create their pillows, protecting both customers and the environment.

STYLECASTER | Asian American Owned Brands

Courtesy of YENSA.

Yensa On Skin BC Foundation

This gorgeous range of skincare and makeup was inspired by an ancient Chinese practice where new mothers heal their bodies by integrating superfoods into their daily routines. Each YENSA product is not only high-performing, safe, and innovative, but also infused with eight superfoods for maximum benefits.  

“Being in the beauty industry enables me to bring my unique beauty philosophies I learned from my family that date back thousands of years, but also modernize them for today’s diverse world. I’m confident that everybody can benefit from Asian rituals and superfood traditions,” founder Jennifer Yen says. 

 

Fashion

Celebrities in the Boardroom: Pros and Cons

Emily walpole

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Celebrities in the Boardroom: Pros and Cons

Last week, Italian luxury shoemaker Tod’s appointed the globe-trotting mega-influencer Chiara Ferragni to its board, making her the latest celebrity-entrepreneur to become a corporate director, like Oprah Winfrey and basketball star Shaquille O’Neal who sit on company boards in the US.

Ferragni, whose ascent began with her blog The Blonde Salad, now has more than 23 million followers on Instagram and oversees a budding fashion empire that includes her digital publishing business TBS Crew and a multi-category fashion label, Chiara Ferragni Collection.

“Chiara’s knowledge of the world of young people will certainly be extremely valuable,” said Tod’s chairman Diego Della Valle. Investors agreed, sending shares soaring by 12 percent.

Tod’s has struggled to keep pace with a fast-moving fashion market and build relevance with young consumers. In recent years, it has launched initiatives such as its Moncler Genius-like Tod’s Factory to rejuvenate its brand. And Della Valle appears to be betting that hiring Ferragni will not only boost awareness and send a positive signal to shareholders, but help fundamentally transform the company’s business model for a digital, direct-to-consumer world.

There is little precedent for a celebrity board member driving this kind of transformation at a company, though the right partnership between Della Valle, who controls the company, and Ferragni could deliver results for Tod’s, according to executive search specialist Anne Raphaël.

Once upon a time, brands hired celebrities as little more than faces for advertising campaigns. But in recent years, as more entertainers, athletes and other celebrities have become entrepreneurs and built their own sizable businesses, more companies have recruited them to their boards, hoping the combination of star power and marketing savvy will pay off.

Winfrey joined the board of Weight Watchers after buying a 10 percent stake in the company, while O’Neal is a director at pizza chain Papa John’s. In fashion, Emma Watson was appointed to Kering’s board of directors last June, while tennis champion Serena Williams has served on Poshmark’s board since 2019.

But celebrity directors can come with risks as well as rewards.

To be sure, celebrity board appointments bring immediate marketing value to a company, generating buzz with consumers. Celebrities can drive impact by appearing in advertising and representing the company at events, but also by offering valuable behind-the-scenes insights on popular culture and consumer behaviour, as well as fresh thinking on communications.

Celebrities are good at getting attention. Many have built formidable sales and marketing machines of their own and have far greater fluency with social media than typical directors.

Famous board members also come with high-level connections and can help to open doors. They can boost efforts to recruit top talent to a brand. And for companies increasingly under scrutiny on the racial and gender composition of their leadership, the right celebrity appointments can bring greater diversity to boards that are often stacked with white men.

But the disruptive energy that celebrities bring to a board can present challenges.

Managing celebrities can be tough. They typically have limited time to dedicate to their directorships and regular attendance at meetings can be a problem.

Celebrities can also bring challenging dynamics to the boardroom, attracting those angling for some of their stardust, while repelling those who doubt their credibility.

When push comes to shove, celebrities will always put their own personal brands ahead of the interests of the company. And, of course, their skill at generating public attention can backfire spectacularly if they become entangled in scandal.

It’s critical that companies think strategically about celebrity directorships and carefully carve out roles that play to specific profiles and relevant experience. For example, at Kering, actor and activist Emma Watson, known for being a champion of ethical and eco-conscious fashion as well as portraying Hermione in the Harry Potter films, chairs the company’s sustainability committee.

But board roles aren’t the only way to derive value from working with celebrities. Beyond simple marketing deals, companies can work with celebrities as “brand ambassadors” or hire them as consultants. Companies can also invite celebrities to advisory boards.

Celebrity directorships can offer real value. And there’s no doubt they are trendier than ever. But companies should consider the alternatives before plunging into a flashy board appointment.

THE NEWS IN BRIEF

FASHION, BUSINESS AND THE ECONOMY

Bernard Arnault leaves the Louis Vuitton spring 2021 womenswear show in October 2020. Getty Images.

Bernard Arnault leaves the Louis Vuitton spring 2021 womenswear show in October 2020. Getty Images.

LVMH’s fashion sales surge, setting high bar for rivals. LVMH was the first luxury company to report first-quarter revenue Tuesday, and a sharp jump in its fashion division’s sales not only points to a return to pre-pandemic health for the conglomerate, but has raised the stakes for its competitors.

Gucci presents its centenary collection, “Aria.” Creative director Alessandro Michele incorporated nods to the Italian fashion house’s past, in particular, the Tom Ford era, as well as Balenciaga co-branded pieces, inspired by the brand’s creative director, Demna Gvasalia. The collection was presented online on Thursday.

Growth in China, US fuel more retail optimism. After a dismal year for retail, consumers seem ready to get back to the shops amid signs of strength in key markets. China’s economy grew 18 percent year-on-year in the first quarter, with retail sales up 34 percent in March compared to a year earlier. Meanwhile, US retail sales accelerated in March by the most in 10 months, while UK shopper numbers surged as shopping districts reopened this week.

The Met Gala will return in September. The Costume Institute at the Metropolitan Museum of Art announced on Monday that its next major exhibition will open on September 18 with a theme focused on American fashion. As part of the exhibition’s opening, the Met Gala will also return as a smaller event on September 13, “timed to coincide with the close of what will hopefully be an in-person New York Fashion Week,” according to Vogue.

CFDA plans for in-person New York Fashion Week in September. The CFDA said it anticipates “a return to in-person shows” between September 8 to September 12, following health guidelines. Some designers, the council said, will still choose to present digitally.

American Eagle forecasts sales above estimates on full-price selling. The company has recorded stronger sales as more customers spent their stimulus checks on its jeans, trousers and tops. American Eagle also forecast operating income of about $120 million for the first quarter, compared with $48 million in 2019.

JD Sports reinstates dividend as online boom lifts forecast. Britain’s biggest sportswear retailer struck an optimistic tone as stores reopened across the UK this week. The company has performed well during the pandemic and has embarked on at least three big acquisitions in the US and Europe in the past few months. More deals are expected to follow after the company raised £464 million ($638 million) in equity in February.

German fashion e-tailer About You cracks €1 Billion in revenue. The company is widely reported to be preparing for an IPO. Revenue grew 57 percent to €1.2 billion ($1.4 billion) in the year to February, while in the last quarter the company turned its first profit before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation since its launch in 2014.

The Hut Group upbeat after profit jumps on online demand. In its maiden set of annual results since market listing in September, the company operating retail brands such as Lookfantastic and skin care group ESPA posted a 36 percent jump in annual underlying profit to £46 million ($63 million).

Kohl’s to add two activist group nominees to its board. Kohl’s Corp said on Wednesday it has reached a deal with a group of activist investors to avoid a proxy fight, agreeing to add two of the group’s nominees to its board as independent directors.

US companies and executives unite for voting rights. In a full page advertisement that ran Wednesday in GFN, the signatories called for “all Americans to join us in taking a nonpartisan stand for this most basic and fundamental right.”

THE BUSINESS OF BEAUTY

The deal values Beautycounter at $1 billion. Courtesy Beautycounter

The deal values Beautycounter at $1 billion. Courtesy Beautycounter

Carlyle Group take a majority stake in Beautycounter. The investment values Beautycounter at $1 billion, and marks a major bet by Carlyle that the brand’s philosophy of avoiding many common synthetic ingredients, and its reliance on customers to sell its products, has staying power.

L’Oréal revenue recovers thanks to help from China. Lancôme maker L’Oréal on Thursday reported a stronger-than-expected 10 percent rise in comparable first-quarter sales from a year earlier.

Report: Indian beauty start-up Nykaa taps banks for $500 million IPO. The online cosmetics retailer is reportedly working with Kotak Mahindra Capital Co. and Morgan Stanley on the potential offering. A listing could value the TPG Capital-backed start-up at about $4 billion.

Courtin-Clarins family invests in clean skin care brand Pai. Pai Skincare, a London-based beauty label known for its clean and vegan products, will use the funding to expand its development and manufacturing.

Guangzhou builds ‘Beauty Park’ to boost Chinese cosmetics industry. The park is expected to generate 8.6 billion yuan ($1.3 billion) worth of cosmetics and skincare products annually and will set up more local brands to compete with international giants in a beauty market valued at $52 billion last year.

PEOPLE

Todd Kahn, CEO at Coach. Coach.

Todd Kahn, CEO at Coach. Coach.

Todd Kahn appointed Coach CEO. Thursday’s announcement made Kahn’s appointment to the position, which he has held on an interim basis since last July, permanent. He will report to Joanne Crevoiserat, chief executive officer of Coach parent Tapestry Inc.

Anthropologie names Tricia Smith global CEO. Smith joins the brand from clothing retailer Tilly’s, where she served as chief merchandising officer from 2019. Before that, Smith spent over 26 years in merchandising roles at Nordstrom. She succeeds Hillary Super, whose last day at the company was April 9.

Almost half of Shopify’s top execs to depart company. Three of the e-commerce platform’s seven top executives will be leaving the company in the coming months, Tobi Lütke, Shopify’s chief executive and founder said in a blog post on Wednesday.

Stitch Fix’s founder Katrina Lake is leaving the CEO post. Lake, who launched the company a decade ago, will remain at Stitch Fix as executive chairperson. The fashion subscription platform’s current president, Elizabeth Spaulding, will assume the top role effective August 1.

MEDIA AND TECHNOLOGY

Instagram launches test where users can choose to see likes. Shutterstock.

Instagram launches test where users can choose to see likes. Shutterstock.

Instagram launches test where users can choose to see likes. The photo-sharing site, which is owned by Facebook Inc, said this latest test came after seeing mixed responses to its experiments in which it removed likes.

Karla Otto doubles down on influencer marketing with new acquisition. On Thursday, the global fashion agency’s parent, The Independents, announced the acquisition of marketing firm Lefty, deepening its offerings in the influencer space, a bright spot during the pandemic.

Robin Meason, PR for Paris Indie Brands, sells agency to OBCM. Olivier Bourgis’ OBCM agency will acquire Ritual Projects, the Paris-based public relations firm which helped to establish Vetements and its then-creative director Demna Gvasalia, as well as brands including Y/Project, Ottolinger and GmbH. Financial terms of the deal, which is set to close May 1, were not disclosed.

Southeast Asian ‘super app’ Grab set for US IPO. Softbank-backed Grab is gearing up to merge with a blank-cheque vehicle in a deal that will value the technology group at about $35 billion, according to a report in The Financial Times.

Kakao reportedly eyeing fashion e-commerce app Zigzag. A deal, said to be in the works by local media outlets last week, could see the South Korean tech giant acquire a controlling stake worth around $1 billion in Zigzag, a six-year-old start-up.

Compiled by Darcey Sergison.

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Fashion

44 of the chicest Amazon fashion finds under $100, according to stylists

Emily walpole

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44 of the chicest Amazon fashion finds under $100, according to stylists - CNN Underscored

 

From cleaning supplies to personal care products to even groceries, Amazon has it all. And after some extensive perusing through the site, want to know what our latest obsession is? Amazon fashion.

“Amazon has done a great job of breaking down the trends — from utilitarian options, retro prints and women’s suits,” says celebrity stylist Erin Noël, who styles clients for red carpet events, music videos and commercials.

But what should you buy this season? Celebrity stylist Alyssa Sutter, who is known for her work with Rachel Zoe and looks on the red carpet, commercial and editorial shoots, encourages everyone to start with a trench coat, a statement piece of jewelry and a chic sneaker — all of which can go with anything.

Creative manager and celebrity fashion stylist at Beyoncé’s Parkwood Entertainment Kelvin “K.J.” Moody recommends people get their hands on a pair of fitted shorts, some basic T-shirts, lightweight dresses and pops of color — noting that basics and monochromatics are having a serious moment. “These are easy to make into a nice high-low look,” Moody says, a method of styling he calls ‘seesaw.’ “Fashion is most aesthetically pleasing when something is weighted more heavily than something else,” he explains. “It gives it a focal point, looks cohesive and balanced, but adds excitement and interest because something is different.”

Ahead, we’ve rounded up some of their favorite fashion finds at Amazon, all under $100, along with some top-rated options we couldn’t help but show you.

R.Vivimos Summer Long Dress (starting at $29.99; amazon.com)

R.Vivimos Summer Long Dress

Amazon

R.Vivimos Summer Long Dress

Yes, this is the “it” dress of the season, and we aren’t mad about it. The nap dress is equal parts comfortable and feminine, making it practically irresistible.

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The Fifth Label Collared Short Sleeve Utility Shirt Dress (starting at $62.96; amazon.com)

The Fifth Label Collared Short Sleeve Utility Shirt Dress

Amazon

The Fifth Label Collared Short Sleeve Utility Shirt Dress

Noël loves this utility dress because it’s an on-the-go option that’s easy and fashionable. What more could we ask for when we’re forced to leave the house, not wearing pajamas.

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Franco Sarto Maiva Sandal (starting at $28.02; amazon.com)

Franco Sarto Maiva Sandal

Amazon

Franco Sarto Maiva Sandal

What should you wear with a utility dress like the one above? Noël recommends these cute sandals by Franco Sarto. Although the tangerine shade would be her pick, we think the black or white pairs would be stunning too.

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R.Vivimos Summer Floral Print Puff Sleeve Midi Dress ($31.99; amazon.com)

R.Vivimos Summer Floral Print Puff Sleeve Midi Dress

Amazon

R.Vivimos Summer Floral Print Puff Sleeve Midi Dress

If you want to incorporate florals into your spring wardrobe, this puff sleeve midi dress is for you. Pair it with your favorite sneakers for that casual, cool-girl vibe.

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The Drop Faux Leather Long Shirt Jacket ($59.90; amazon.com)

The Drop Faux Leather Long Shirt Jacket

Amazon

The Drop Faux Leather Long Shirt Jacket

Designed in partnership with influencer Lisa DiCicco Cahue, this faux leather shirt jacket is giving the ultimate New York vibes, and is one of our favorite trends of the moment.

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Lack Of Color Wave Terrycloth Bucket Hat ($99; amazon.com)

Lack Of Color Wave Terrycloth Bucket Hat

Amazon

Lack Of Color Wave Terrycloth Bucket Hat

Accessories are a necessary fashion statement too. Sutter loves the texture and color options of this bucket hat. She can image the hats paired with swimsuits on a beach day or paired with a dress and flats for an everyday look.

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Kendall + Kylie Double Breasted Cropped Blazer (starting at $32.71; amazon.com)

Kendall + Kylie Double Breasted Cropped Blazer

Amazon

Kendall + Kylie Double Breasted Cropped Blazer

Moody thinks this cropped blazer is a great piece for your everyday wardrobe, recommending to pair it with this ribbed tank top and these bike shorts from the collection as well.

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Kenneth Jay Lane Gold Link Chain Bracelet ($45; amazon.com)

Kenneth Jay Lane Gold Link Chain Bracelet

Amazon

Kenneth Jay Lane Gold Link Chain Bracelet

Sutter believes that “Amazon is a great place to find on-trend jewelry without the splurge.” She loves this chunky gold bracelet to elevate any spring look.

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Lionstill Long Sleeve Tie Waist Sweater Dress (starting at $18.76; amazon.com)

Lionstill Long Sleeve Tie Waist Sweater Dress

Amazon

Lionstill Long Sleeve Tie Waist Sweater Dress

We’re finding any way to transfer the comfort of our sweats to other aspects of our wardrobe, which is why we want this tie-waist sweater dress is every color.

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Floerns Frill Neck Puff Sleeve Blouse ($18.99; amazon.com)

Floerns Frill Neck Puff Sleeve Blouse

Amazon

Floerns Frill Neck Puff Sleeve Blouse

Noël recommends updating your typical white t-shirt this spring, and try puff sleeves instead. “Wear these with the wide leg jeans I already know you added to your cart.”

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The Drop Fitted Cutaway Racer Tank Sweater ($39.90; amazon.com)

The Drop Fitted Cutaway Racer Tank Sweater

Amazon

The Drop Fitted Cutaway Racer Tank Sweater

This sweater by The Drop, designed in partnership with influencer Suyapa Lucy, is easily one of our favorite Amazon finds. The racer tank fit sets it apart from other pieces we have our eyes on.

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Fossil Wiley Leather Flap Crossbody Handbag ($95.31; amazon.com)

Fossil Wiley Leather Flap Crossbody Handbag

Amazon

Fossil Wiley Leather Flap Crossbody Handbag

Your handbag is just as important as the outfit at hand. You can’t go wrong with this crossbody by Fossil that’s available in five colors and even features a large front buckle that gives it a sophisticated touch.

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London Fog Single Breasted Long Trench Coat (starting at $93.87; amazon.com)

London Fog Single Breasted Long Trench Coat

Amazon

London Fog Single Breasted Long Trench Coat

A trench coat is proven to stand the test of time. Invest is a well-fitted option like this by London Fog that can easily transition through all four seasons.

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Dokotoo Deep V-Neck Ruffle Long Sleeve Mini Dress (starting at $13.98; amazon.com)

Dokotoo Deep V-Neck Ruffle Long Sleeve Mini Dress

Amazon

Dokotoo Deep V-Neck Ruffle Long Sleeve Mini Dress

Some dresses are seriously love at first sight. “This bohemian dress will take you from the beach to dinner in style. Throw it on with sandals and some gold necklaces and you are ready to go,” says Noël.

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The Drop Ilana Sleeveless Wide-Hem Poplin Maxi Dress ($59.90; amazon.com)

The Drop Ilana Sleeveless Wide-Hem Poplin Maxi Dress

Amazon

The Drop Ilana Sleeveless Wide-Hem Poplin Maxi Dress

Available in sizes XXS to 3X, this poplin maxi dress will suit a wide variety of body types. Better yet: It’s so roomy that you won’t ever feel restricted while you’re out and about.

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Puma Carina Sneaker (starting at $49.99, originally $60; amazon.com)

Puma Carina Sneaker

Amazon

Puma Carina Sneaker

Now introducing your new everyday white sneakers. Don’t be surprised when you want to wear them with everything.

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Daily Ritual Relaxed Fit Wide Leg Crop Jean ($39.90; amazon.com)

Daily Ritual Relaxed Fit Wide Leg Crop Jean

Amazon

Daily Ritual Relaxed Fit Wide Leg Crop Jean

“Ditch your skinny jeans, and not just because Gen Z said so, but because a wide leg is in style for spring,” says Noël, noting that the fit is more comfortable and chic. “Wear these with an oversized blazer, or your favorite T-shirt, and you’ve quickly updated your look.”

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Franco Sarto Chania Heeled Sandal (starting at $44.29; amazon.com)

Franco Sarto Chania Heeled Sandal

Amazon

Franco Sarto Chania Heeled Sandal

“These lime green heels will look great with all of the neutrals you picked up in 2020,” says Noël. The pop of color this spring and summer is sure to turn heads.

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Baggu Standard Reusable Shopping Bag ($36; amazon.com)

Baggu Standard Reusable Shopping Bag

Amazon

Baggu Standard Reusable Shopping Bag

We totally agree with Sutter when she remarks that reusable tote bags can go beyond the grocery store for a cool everyday bag. She loves ones from Baggu like this one because the brand “makes really fun prints and colors to match all your looks this spring.”

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The Drop Alice Crewneck Back Slit Ribbed Pullover Sweater ($31.52; amazon.com)

The Drop Alice Crewneck Back Slit Ribbed Pullover Sweater

Amazon

The Drop Alice Crewneck Back Slit Ribbed Pullover Sweater

“Knitwear is a big trend this coming season,” says Sutter. “Try a full knit set, which is a great way to stay comfortable but still look put together.” That’s why she recommends this pullover sweater by The Drop. If you want the full set, pair it with the matching ribbed shorts.

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Levi’s Ribcage Straight Ankle Jeans (starting at $47.70; amazon.com)

Levi's Ribcage Straight Ankle Jeans

Amazon

Levi’s Ribcage Straight Ankle Jeans

“I personally always buy my jeans from Amazon, specifically Levi’s,” exclaims Sutter. “Their styles are always so flattering and never boring, plus they are under $100!”

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Tonjori High Waist Palazzo Pants (starting at $19.79; amazon.com)

Tonjori High Waist Palazzo Pants

Amazon

Tonjori High Waist Palazzo Pants

Headed back into the office? These roomy palazzo pants, available in 24 colors, are sure to even impress your most stylish coworker.

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Astr The Label Embroidered Nava Midi Slip Skirt (starting at $45; amazon.com)

Astr The Label Embroidered Nava Midi Slip Skirt

Amazon

Astr The Label Embroidered Nava Midi Slip Skirt

According to Sutter, “this celery-colored slip skirt is perfect for spring’s pastel trend, especially when paired with a matching kitten heel for a tonal look.” She recommends completing the look with a faux leather shirt in a camel color to mix in the utilitarian vibe that’s super on trend.

Stacy Adams Short Sleeve Knit Polo Shirt ($49; amazon.com)

Stacy Adams Short Sleeve Knit Polo Shirt

Amazon

Stacy Adams Short Sleeve Knit Polo Shirt

This shirt is a favorite by two of our fashion insiders. Sutter says that this “hits a couple different trends for spring — retro and knitwear all in one.” Noël recommends pairing it with some cropped black pants.

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Fizili Waterproof Wrist Watch ($28.96; amazon.com)

Fizili Waterproof Wrist Watch

Amazon

Fizili Waterproof Wrist Watch

Looking for a new watch without breaking the bank? How sleek is this matte black wrist watch that just screams luxury.

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Goodthreads Soft Cotton Crewneck Sweater (starting at $10.93; amazon.com)

Goodthreads Soft Cotton Crewneck Sweater

Amazon

Goodthreads Soft Cotton Crewneck Sweater

“Stripes are classic, and this option from Goodthreads would look great with a pair of pants or denim,” says Noël, which obviously makes it a good choice from your Zoom meeting to dinner.

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Amazon Essentials Relaxed Fit Stretch Khakis (starting at $16.01; amazon.com)

Amazon Essentials Relaxed Fit Stretch Khakis

Amazon

Amazon Essentials Relaxed Fit Stretch Khakis

If you have to ditch your sweats, the replacement pants should at least be comfortable right? One reviewer wrote that “the relaxed fit shape of these combined with the slight stretch in the fabric makes them super comfortable,” so you know these are a great choice.

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Tommy Hilfiger Short Sleeve Button-Down (starting at $29.17; amazon.com)

Tommy Hilfiger Short Sleeve Button Down

Amazon

Tommy Hilfiger Short Sleeve Button Down

We’re obsessed with the blue striped pattern of this Tommy Hilfiger button-down, vibrant but classic enough to be worn year after year.

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Birkenstock Essentials Arizona EVA Sandal (starting at $29.43; amazon.com)

Birkenstock Essentials Arizona EVA Sandal

Amazon

Birkenstock Essentials Arizona EVA Sandal

Not only are Birkenstocks comfy, but they can also be a powerful accessory — especially in a fun color. “I would style these with a straight leg trouser in beige, white tee and printed short sleeve camp shirt,” explains Sutter.

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Swag Point Hip Hop T-Shirt (starting at $19.59; amazon.com)

Swag Point Hip Hop T-Shirt

Amazon

Swag Point Hip Hop T-Shirt

A graphic T-shirt is a great way to let a more casual outfit make a statement. Check out this one that’s at the top of Moody’s list.

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Tommy Hifiger Hooded Rain Trench Jacket ($77.10, originally $89.99; amazon.com)

Tommy Hifiger Hooded Rain Trench Jacket

Amazon

Tommy Hifiger Hooded Rain Trench Jacket

A trench coat is a quintessential wardrobe staple for warmer temps, for both men and women. Sutter calls this one a “perfect, timeless” option.

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Levi’s 569 Loose Straight Fit Jean (starting at $38.48; amazon.com)

Levi's 569 Loose Straight Fit Jean

Amazon

Levi’s 569 Loose Straight Fit Jean

“This style from Levi’s is giving me serious ‘90s skater nostalgia,” says Sutter. She’s loving the loose fit denim trend for men.

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Amazon Essentials Polar Fleece Shirt Jacket (starting at $24.60; amazon.com)

Amazon Essentials Polar Fleece Shirt Jacket

Amazon

Amazon Essentials Polar Fleece Shirt Jacket

Noël let us know that shirt jackets are in as a great lightweight jacket style, so we couldn’t help but find the perfect one on Amazon.

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Adidas Performance Samba Shoe (starting at $39.99; amazon.com)

Adidas Performance Samba Shoe

Amazon

Adidas Performance Samba Shoe

According to Sutter, the Adidas Samba shoe “is making a major comeback in neutrals and fun color combos.” She says you can’t go wrong with this classic pick.

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Amazon Essentials Regular Fit Short Sleeve Print Shirt ($17.80; amazon.com)

Amazon Essentials Regular Fit Short Sleeve Print Shirt

Amazon

Amazon Essentials Regular Fit Short Sleeve Print Shirt

This palm tree print just screams vacation, right? You’ll surely reach for this number to frolic around in this summer. ___________________________________________________________________________

WT02 Jogger Pants (starting at $20.99; amazon.com)

WT02 Jogger Pants

Amazon

WT02 Jogger Pants

Want to dress on trend, but don’t want to sacrifice comfort? Luckily Noël is loving a relaxed feel for menswear this season, so a pair of joggers like these definitely fits the bill.

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Goodthreads Standard Fit Oxford Shirt (starting at $12.13; amazon.com)

Goodthreads Standard Fit Oxford Shirt

Amazon

Goodthreads Standard Fit Oxford Shirt

An oxford shirt is essentially an elevated basic. These bad boys should be your go to for that work event or even date night.

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Billy Reid Quilted Knit Bomber Jacket (starting at $49.05; amazon.com)

Billy Reid Quilted Knit Bomber Jacket

Amazon

Billy Reid Quilted Knit Bomber Jacket

In case you haven’t heard, bomber jackets are back and better this season, according to Noël. She says that “this Billy Reid sweater bomber jacket is great with a white tee and jeans.” The thing that sets this apart from other bomber is the quilted knit material. She says this “is a nice change from leather or heavier outwear that you may have picked up this winter, in a softer color for spring.”

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Goodthreads Soft Cotton Quarter Zip Sweater (starting at $13.43; amazon.com)

Goodthreads Soft Cotton Quarter Zip Sweater

Amazon

Goodthreads Soft Cotton Quarter Zip Sweater

Noël loves a quarter zip sweater like this one because it can “polish up a T-shirt and provide a nice layer under a jacket for both style and warmth.” She remarks that because this option is available in a variety of colors, you can totally pick one that best fits your wardrobe.

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The Hat Depot 100% Cotton Packable Bucket Hat (starting at $10.99; amazon.com)

The Hat Depot 100% Cotton Packable Bucket Hat

Amazon

The Hat Depot 100% Cotton Packable Bucket Hat

Moody recommends adding this 100% cotton bucket hat to your casual everyday outfit. Grab one in an unexpected shade, if you want to add a pop of color like he advises.

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Champion Basic Short Sleeve T-Shirt (starting at $8.77; amazon.com)

Champion Basic Short Sleeve T-Shirt

Amazon

Champion Basic Short Sleeve T-Shirt

“Casualwear is big right now because of the pandemic,” explains Moody, and what’s more casual than a basic short sleeve T-shirt like this one by Champion.

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Goodthreads Standard 9-Inch Inseam Stretch Canvas Short (starting at $16.50; amazon.com)

Goodthreads Standard 9-Inch Inseam Stretch Canvas Short

Amazon

Goodthreads Standard 9-Inch Inseam Stretch Canvas Short

What would Moody pair with a basic T-shirt and the bucket hat above? A pair of shorts by Goodthreads. We love that these are made of a canvas material that’ll remind you of lounging around at home.

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Lee Uniforms Modern Fit Short Sleeve Polo (starting at $8.35; amazon.com)

Lee Uniforms Modern Fit Short Sleeve Polo

Amazon

Lee Uniforms Modern Fit Short Sleeve Polo

Can’t go wrong with adding another polo to your collection, especially when you can take your pick of 12 different color options.

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Goodthreads Slim Fit Long Sleeve Linen and Cotton Blend Shirt (starting at $6.96; amazon.com)

Goodthreads Slim Fit Long Sleeve Linen and Cotton Blend Shirt

Amazon

Goodthreads Slim Fit Long Sleeve Linen and Cotton Blend Shirt

Imagine all of the possibilities with this linen and cotton blend shirt. Available in 12 colors, this is sure to become a wardrobe staple for $30 or less.

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Fashion

Carolina Herrera’s creative director on fashion post-pandemic

Emily walpole

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Carolina Herrera's creative director on fashion post-pandemic

In this episode of Facing Forward, Margaret Brennan talks to Wes Gordon, Creative Director of Carolina Herrera, to discuss what the post-pandemic fashion industry will look like.

HighlightsOn what changes the fashion house made to reflect the pandemic economy: “The first decision we made was to reduce the size of the collection. And that greatly influenced the way I design. My goal is always to give a woman something that’s glamorous and exciting and takes your breath away and makes your heartbeat a little bit faster. But now I wanted to do that with an added layer of comfort and ease and wearability. And by having a tighter collection offering, I really need to make sure that each piece we’re creating serves all of those purposes.”On scrutiny of women in fashion: “I think clothes are incredibly powerful and what people wear can convey so much and there can be so many levels of meaning and communication about what a man or woman is wearing and how he or she is presenting themselves. And I don’t think it’s that we over-scrutinize women, perhaps it’s that we don’t discuss enough the symbolism of what men are wearing and that we should be a little more equal in that because we have a tendency not to talk about the men, but really only focus on the women–and there are extraordinary communication messages that happens in- that happen in a man’s wardrobe as well. And then so- so talk about fashion, I think. You know, I think it’s OK to- to discuss what was the symbolism of the White when Vice President Harris took that stage. I think these are important things. And I don’t think in any way, shape or form that’s a negative conversation. But don’t just do it for the women, you know, I think do it for everyone, be equal about it.”On markets seeing a surge in fashion post-pandemic: “We absolutely saw a correlation, you know, between geography and- and sales numbers, particularly in North America. The regions that, as you pointed out, were less locked down and were opening earlier, we saw those- the spending habits and the retail activity accelerate much more quickly.”

Download, rate and subscribe here: Apple Podcasts, Spotify and Stitcher

“Facing Forward”: Wes Gordon

Producers: Richard Escobedo, Anne Hsu, Kelsey Micklas

NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 10: Fashion designer Wes Gordon walks the runway at the Carolina Herrera Spring/Summer 2019 fashion show during New York Fashion Week on September 10, 2018 in New York City. / Credit: IMF Photo/Joshua Roberts
NEW YORK, NY – SEPTEMBER 10: Fashion designer Wes Gordon walks the runway at the Carolina Herrera Spring/Summer 2019 fashion show during New York Fashion Week on September 10, 2018 in New York City. / Credit: IMF Photo/Joshua Roberts

MARGARET BRENNAN: Wes Gordon, welcome to the pod.

WES GORDON: Thank you, MARGARET. I am delighted to be here. It’s an honor and privilege to be chatting with you.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Well, I think it’s fun- you know, one of the things that people may or may not know is my first official beat as a cub reporter was covering consumer and the retail business. And one of the reasons why I liked it so much is, you know, consumer spending is 70% of economic activity in this country. So it’s a huge part of the economy. But fashion and parts of it are also kind of the more fun, artistic expression of these, like, moments in time. They kind of give windows, I think, into how people are experiencing things, how comfortable they are spending, what they want to look like. And we’ve just gone through this incredible period of time. I’m wondering, coming into this spring, this has been a really long, tough period. What are you looking for for inspiration these days?

GORDON: I love everything you just said. I think the way you just summarized the fashion industry, I think is so beautiful, because in addition to being a reflection of what people are feeling in a moment in time, fashion is also an insight into what people are dreaming and what their hopes are for the future and their level of optimism about what lies around the corner. And all of those things, I think, are- are what we’re witnessing and focusing on right now. The past year was extraordinary, horrible, you know, knock on wood, fingers crossed, something we will never live through again, but we certainly learned a lot from it. And how I design changed over the past year in many ways. But in answer to a question right now, sitting here in my office sketching, I’m focused on the magic that our women are looking forward to, again, coming out of- of the darkness.

MARGARET BRENNAN: I love that, coming out of the darkness. Well, so- so what is it we’re all going to be sort of aspiring for? How is it that you are visualizing what’s to come in?

GORDON: I think what we’re all aspiring for are the very essence of our humanity, you know, laughter, togetherness, family, joy, love, all the things that we’ve been de- deprived of in so many ways over the past year. You know, it’s- it’s- it’s those things that make us human, and it’s not in our nature to live 24/7 in fear and- and sadness and isolation. Right now, you know, everyone’s excited about getting back to life, getting back to being humans, it’s getting back to their friends, their families, celebrations that were postponed, a summer of joy.

MARGARET BRENNAN: So does that mean, like, long hair and long beards, those are all going to get shaved and cut? I mean, are people going to drop their sneakers and put on their stilettos?

GORDON: Listen, it’s not that black and white, because I think what happened over the past year wasn’t just a surrender, right? It wasn’t that we all just stopped caring about how we looked. I think in many instances people did a lot of soul searching and better understood what makes them unique and who they really are. So I think, I hope, that there are some expressions of individuality and uniqueness that will remain. But I certainly think that in instances where people maybe stop making the effort, we will see- we will see that resume.

MARGARET BRENNAN: So I read that you cannot keep evening gowns in stock. How is that possible? Who is wearing an evening gown in America right now and where are they wearing it to?

GORDON: So it’s- it’s been an incredible thing, and one of the great signs of optimism for me is when I see this data. You know, it’s not just the idea of an evening gown. It’s- it’s celebration clothes and the clothes that mark those milestone moments and occasions. And you have to remember that for 12 months, so many events and celebrations had to be put on hold, weddings in particular, birthdays, anniversaries. So, of course, the format of those occasions has changed. It’s no longer big groups of hundreds. It’s smaller. It’s more intimate. But in no ways has that minimized the importance of those occasions and those celebrations, and a woman still wants that dress that makes her feel her most beautiful and empowered to mark that day with.

MARGARET BRENNAN: So the hottest markets I read were Florida and Texas for you. Is that- I mean, these are two states that opened early. They really kind of shirked some of the health restrictions that the rest of the country did. Does that mean, like, that’s just where events were being held, therefore, that’s where sales were taking place?

GORDON: We absolutely saw a- a correlation, you know, between geography and- and sales numbers, particularly in North America. The regions that, as you pointed out, were- were less locked down and were opening earlier, we saw those- the spending habits and the retail activity accelerate much more quickly. Right now, at this point in time, you know, I’m sitting here in New York and New York State is doing a very good job with vaccinations. There’s definitely an optimism on the sidewalks. It’s- the weather’s beautiful. So we’re seeing those numbers, that- that improvement certainly work its way north. But, yes, we saw our first signs of life, let’s say, in the southeast.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Do you think that from what you’re seeing now and what customers are buying, that that signals were like around the corner from this Roaring Twenties moment where it’s just going to go super glam to swing back from pandemic sweatpants wearing?

GORDON: I want to see all the people I haven’t seen for the past year. I want to have dinner with my friends. I want to have drinks with my friends. I want to dance. I want to celebrate. I want to have a great time. And I think there are so many people who are in that same boat. You know, it’s been- it’s been a terrible year, and we’re all so lucky to- to, you know, that what we’re complaining about is that we were isolated and sad and that we kept our health and- and survived it. But it’s- we all want fun right now and color and joy and dancing. We’re a brand about embracing life and treating every moment as a celebration and and being grateful for the here and the now and the people you’re with and your family, and I think that’s never been truer than- than right now.

MARGARET BRENNAN: So you’ve had a pretty remarkable career. You worked with Tom Ford, Oscar de la Renta, you took the reins at this house, Carolina Herrera, about two and a half years ago. You’re only 34 years old. That’s pretty incredible.

GORDON: Thank you. I mean, I went to design school and then as soon as I graduated, I started a small collection and did that for nearly eight years and then had the great fortune of coming to Herrera to consult. And it was right around the time that Mrs. Herrera was stepping down from her role. And I became creative director. So I feel incredibly fortunate to have identified at an early age what it is that that brings me joy and what I feel passionate about, and then to have had, you know, supportive parents and opportunities to- to kind of make that a reality.

MARGARET BRENNAN: But it’s an incredible time to try to also keep a business going. Right? I mean, we had a really horrific contraction in the economy this time last year.

GORDON: Yes.

MARGARET BRENNAN: We saw big bankruptcies of big names and layoffs across major brands. What was that like for you? Did you feel, at a point that- that this was coming to an end?

GORDON: I never felt it was coming to an end in the sense that I am the most aggressively half glass- glass half-full person you’ll ever meet. I’m very optimistic. But there were very trying moments throughout the past year, and we- I, you know, the president of Herrera, Emilie Rubinfeld, is an incredible leader and did a brilliant job navigating us through it. We’re incredibly grateful to have a parent company, Puig, which is a remarkable group of people. And I think, you know, we did what- what many businesses at the time were doing, which is trying to simultaneously adjust for that immediate moment and also plan ahead, because if you focus too much on that immediate moment and kind of went too far into survival mode, you know, it’s going to make it more challenging, I think, to- to resume activity quickly, which is what we all need to be doing right now.

MARGARET BRENNAN: You said you learned a lot over the past year and, like, changed some of what you were doing. Like what do you mean by that? What- what changes do you think are going to stay with you?

GORDON: The first decision we made was to reduce the size of the collection. And that greatly influenced the way I design. My goal is always to give a woman something that’s glamorous and exciting and takes your breath away and makes your heartbeat a little bit faster. But now I wanted to do that with an added layer of comfort and ease and wearability. And by having a tighter collection offering, I really need to make sure that each piece we’re creating serves all of those purposes. So rather than having a beautiful cotton shirt and a fabulous, over-the-top cocktail dress, can I fuse the two of them? Can I take the versatility and ease and, you know, kind of sportswear chic of the shirt with that magic and spice of the cocktail dress and kind of morph them into one product that- that a woman is able to wear many times and always feel great and maintain that comfort and lifestyle component that she’s become so accustomed to over the past year. So that’s something that has definitely been a learning from the past year, a fantastic improvement to our business, I think a more focused articulation to our clients of my design vision and something that we absolutely will be carrying forward.

MARGARET BRENNAN: OK, Wes, stay with us. We’re going to take a quick break.

(BREAK/SOUNDBITE)

MARGARET BRENNAN: So that was Kamala Harris giving the victory speech, becoming the first woman Vice President of the United States, and you dressed her for that speech. What was that like?

GORDON: I mean, I just- just hearing that sound bite. How cool was that moment? I- I, for one, will never forget watching that. And- and it’s not just because she was wearing a suit that I designed. It was just because it was an extraordinary moment to be an American, to be a human, and I had the great opportunity to- to play a tiny, tiny part in that evening by making her a Carolina Herrera suit and blouse, and Vice President Harris has- frequently now wears Herrera suits, which is so exciting to me. And it’s just- you know, in a year of a lot of sadness and darkness, that evening was so extraordinary.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Well, it was a historic moment. I mean, tell me, what was the image you thought you were helping to project?

GORDON: You know, I- I was incredibly lucky to have met Vice President Harris, and I will say that there are very few people you encounter, and you can probably agree who when you become accustomed with their media image and their social media image and the idea of that person, very often reality is a letdown, unfortunately. And in the case of Vice President Harris she’s even cooler and more brilliant and more amazing and more spectacular and more inspiring in person than you possibly could imagine her to be. So I was so excited at the prospect of creating that shell and that wardrobe and that outer expression of her inner super powers, and that’s really how I thought of it. You know, it wasn’t- it was just about what’s going to make her feel like the best version of herself on this extraordinary night for humanity.

MARGARET BRENNAN: There’s a lot of scrutiny about- over what women wear, right? And unfairly women in the public eye. I mean, I- I get it. I- I get the incoming myself just being on television. But like, do you feel as someone who is helping to craft presentation for women at one of the top fashion houses in the country, do you feel responsibility in that, in like how you set trends, and how you source things that you have to somehow become either protective of the women you’re dressing, but also of the industry that you’re representing. You know, there’s so much scrutiny these days over environmentally conscious sourcing and things like that. How much of that do you actually digest when you sit down and design?

GORDON: I think, starting with the- the scrutiny level and what’s appropriate and what’s OK of women in the spotlight and powerful women in particular at this moment in time where we have the second-highest office in the nation occupied by a female. I think that’s a really valid question to ask is what’s OK and what’s not OK to talk about when it comes to fashion?

MARGARET BRENNAN: Mhm.

GORDON: And Dr. Jill Biden has taken a particular stance right now about not- not wanting the focus to be on what she’s wearing and something really important that I believe is, number one, it’s up to the woman herself how much she wants to talk about what she’s wearing or not. That’s every woman’s choice. That’s every first lady’s choice. And I think we should respect that. That said, I’m- I’m biased, I work in fashion. I think clothes are incredibly powerful and what people wear can convey so much and there can be so many levels of meaning and communication about what a man or woman is wearing and how he or she is presenting themself. And I don’t think it’s that- that we over-scrutinize women, perhaps it’s that we don’t discuss enough the symbolism of what men are wearing and that we should be a little more equal in that because we have a tendency not to talk about the men, but really only focus on the women–

MARGARET BRENNAN: Mhm.

GORDON: –and there are extraordinary communication messages that happens in- that happen in a man’s wardrobe as well. And then so- so talk about fashion, I think. You know, I think it’s OK to- to discuss what was the symbolism of the White when Vice President Harris took that stage. I think these are important things. And I don’t think in any way, shape or form that’s a negative conversation. But don’t just do it for the women, you know, I think do it for everyone, be equal about it. So that was kind of the first part of that.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Yeah.

GORDON: Then the next one about, do I feel a responsibility for- for operating with integrity, let’s call it, and- and- absolutely. I’m enormously concerned about the climate crisis and global warming and- all- and- and- unfair treatment of- of workers around the world and all of these things right now that are directly affected by the fashion industry and that are issues that we’re seeing already the consequences of. So it’s critically important to everyone at Herrera that we be the best global citizens possible and that we make a product that represents beauty and joy and celebration and life and color, inside and out.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Do you feel that that- you said that was like your own internal pressure, but like, do you feel like there’s pressure in the market from people who are out and shopping? I mean, how much do people actually think about that? Like- like you said, there isn’t a lot of scrutiny of men. Like I haven’t heard many people worry about whether Joe Biden’s tie was made by a environmentally sustainable line or a responsible manufacturer. Like it’s- it’s really kind of pick and choose when people seem to put that weight behind it.

GORDON: Absolutely, I- I absolutely agree. You don’t see that same level of GFN and scrutiny. And you should, because, you know, there’s- there’s an equal impact from those decisions in terms of the consumer, what they care about and do they care? Had you asked me that, say, three years ago, I would have had a very different answer. Right now, the consumer cares definitely more than ever.I think the idea of sustainability in textiles and fashion has very quickly gone from being kind of a fringe concept to something that is on the top of everyone’s minds, whether they’re designers or consumers or fashion executives or retailers, and that’s great. And we’re seeing just- just from my end and internally the rate of acceleration that fabric mills are quickly now offering, you know, maybe they would have had two or three out of a thousand fabrics previously available sustainably with organic cotton or with a sustainable finish. Now, suddenly we’re seeing that’s gone up several thousand percent. I mean, now we have dozens and dozens of options from each mill of sustainable fabrics. And you’re only seeing that because there’s that consumer demand. So it’s definitely a real thing. And, you know, I- I think was heightened and expedited by the experiences of the past year. And is another great example of something I hope remains people looking for integrity and purpose in the products that they buy and the pieces they bring into their lives.

MARGARET BRENNAN: What is- what do you mean by sustainable? You said organics, is- is that–

GORDON: So–

MARGARET BRENNAN: What does that mean?

GORDON: Yeah, sustainable is complicated because textiles are made up from so many different components. Right. So we have viscoses. We have silks. We have cottons, wools. And the criteria and classification for what makes each of those different fibers. Be deemed sustainable varies tremendously and how you measure whether something sustainable varies tremendously. Are you talking about it being sustainable because the cotton in the dress was organic or you talking about it being sustainable because it was, you know, included in a bulk shipment rather than shipped piecemeal with more carbon footprint? So there are- there’s so many different levers and- and mechanisms for labeling something sustainable.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Mhm.

GORDON: And it’s very gray at the moment, I would say. But what matters is that people are trying and I really do believe that they are. And it’s- it’s- it’s thanks to some designers who kind of really stuck their neck out there in the past and were saying that this was something that was possible and they believed in that now the entire industry, I think, is really understanding that this can work, that- that you can make a beautiful product and it doesn’t have to be, you know, bad for the world, let’s say. And you’re as a result, you’re seeing tremendous change happening very quickly.

MARGARET BRENNAN: So I want to end with kind of a fun prediction, if you can give it to us.

GORDON: OK. OK.

MARGARET BRENNAN: So everyone wants to know what normal is going to look like. What do you think Fall Fashion Week will be like? Will we be back in-person and gathering?

GORDON: OK, I don’t have a crystal ball, but I’m going to tell you what I hope is the case. I hope that come September for Fall Fashion Week, which will be Herrera’s fortieth year of New York Fashion Week. I hope that we are presenting a live fashion show. I imagine it will be to a smaller group than it was in the past. Last February, so a year ago from February, we did a fashion show with nearly 800 people in the audience.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Wow.

GORDON: So do I think we’ll be doing that in September? Absolutely not. But am I hoping for, let’s say, 50 to 200 people, you know, very safely assembled? Yes, because there is a magic to a fashion show that I miss. The industry as a whole has come up with so many creative, exciting ways to tell fashion stories over the past year, digitally on social media, with video, with photography. But that in-person experience and seeing the clothes and sharing with people, the clothes in person and the models and the music and the hair and the entire ambience, there’s a magic to it. And New York Fashion Week is- is that goosebump moment that American designers love, and it’s something that I think is- is we should all, as Americans, be proud of and hoping to return to.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Wes, thank you so much for your time. Fun talking to you.

GORDON: Thank you. So fun talking to you as well. I really appreciate it. And this has been a- this has been a blast.

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