Tag Archives: Fashion

The internet wants to get a modelling contract for Anok Yai

A South Sudanese student has accidentally gone viral. Anok Yai was enjoying Howard University’s homecoming over the weekend when a photographer noticed her and snapped some pics. Before she knew it, strangers were begging the modeling gods to give her a contract.

Anok Yai is a 19-year-old sophomore studying biochemistry at Plymouth State University. “A friend of mine and I decided to travel to Washington, D.C., to attend Howard University’s Homecoming,” Yai, who grew up in Manchester, New Hampshire, tells Yahoo Lifestyle.

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They attended Yardfest, Howard’s homecoming concert, featuring performers like Rick Ross and Doug E. Fresh. “After Yardfest ended, I began walking toward the dorms, when a photographer that goes by the name Steve ‘theSUNK’ Hall randomly started taking photos of me,” she recalls. “While he was taking down my information, he said, ‘Today was a good day, and a couple of these photos have the potential to go viral.’ I didn’t really think much of it, so I just smiled and went on about my day.” Little did she know that her photo would indeed go viral. TheSunk shared her photo with his 13k Instagram followers yesterday. The rest is history.

“It wasn’t until later that evening that I picked up my phone and found hundreds of Instagram notifications piling in,” Yai says. “Before all this happened, I had around 150 followers and was getting about 20 to 30 likes on each photo, and then suddenly, these numbers skyrocketed in a matter of hours.”

The first three comments on the photo say it all: “She’s a beaut!” “She’s perfect,” “She’s amazing.” Then there were comments from those hoping that Yai is a model, “Please tell me she’s modeling,” one follower wrote. “Oh my lord! Look at God’s work, wow!! She is runway ready. I feel bad for the dude who was nervous to talk to her. She’s a gem.”

“We need @anookyai to model merchandise for Oceanairs Republic. #wordup,” gushed another. “An agency needs to sign her ASAP,” demanded a third. “Give her a contract.” While most wanted her to start modeling, others assumed the beauty had already graced catwalks and magazine covers. “Yeah I def thought this was some famous model!” someone said.

Believe it or not, Yai, who moved to the United States in 2000, has never modeled. “I’ve always thought about modeling,” Yai says. “It’s a dream that I’ve wanted for a long time, but always pushed to the side because of self-doubt and distractions from school. Now I see this dream as something a lot more obtainable.”


The sudden notoriety has been a lot for Yai to process. “All this attention and praise is definitely hard to wrap my head around. These comments took me by surprise.”

Of course, people are already knocking on Yai’s door. “I’ve had a few offers here and there, but I’m keeping my options open for now, before I make a decision on who I want to commit to,” she says. When she does make the big decision, she isn’t going to ditch school. “I definitely want to finish getting my bachelor’s in science, so I would probably finish school online while modeling at the same time; just have something to fall back on.”

She says the best part has been seeing people appreciate her very dark skin, characteristic of Sudanese people. “It makes me feel honored to be a South Sudanese woman. It shows that the standards of beauty are slowly evolving.”




E.L.F. Cosmetics launches runway beauty bundles for fashion week

When you think of New York Fashion Week, it’s easy to assume every beauty look you see on the runway costs a lot of $$$ to recreate — but E.l.f. cosmetics is changing all that. This year, the drugstore brand, known for its trend-setting, affordable products, made its backstage debut at the Christian Siriano show. Better still, you can take home the lipsticks, eye shadows, and everything else used to do the look for less.
Here’s how: The brand launched five different limited-edition bundles inspired by the show, each containing five to six products used to create a different high-fashion look featured on models. “All the different plants and flowers inside come to life in the most romantic and beautiful way,” Siriano said about his clothing collection. “I’ve used a bright and bold color palette, including electric fuchsia evening looks, sunny yellow day dresses, and grass green suiting.”
The bundles are just as packed with pigment — and are all less than $30 to boot. 
Eyes Lips Face, also known as e.l.f. Cosmetics, is an international cosmetics brand based in New York City. Founded by Joseph Shamah and Scott Vincent Borba in 2004, it sells products largely at $1, $3, and $6 price points.

Tom Ford Exhumes the 1990s and It’s Almost Fabulous

The 1990s have been resurgent of late, largely thanks to their somewhat ignoble contributions to contemporary life: reality television and “Baywatch”; White House scandal and congressional shutdown; and, of course, the introduction of Donald J. Trump as a pop culture tabloid star. Well, we all need something to blame. Why not a time period?

Tom Ford, spring 2018. CreditGuillaume Roujas/Nowfashion

That it also happened to be an era when fashion had a knowing, energetic immediacy worth celebrating has been mostly overlooked. But on Wednesday, with the opening show of the New York spring 2018 season, Tom Ford came along to remind us.

Returning to New York with his first full-on traditional runway show after seasons of flirting with alternate venues (London! L.A.!) and forms (video! dinner theater!) and some timeouts for films, Mr. Ford took a trip down his own glam-cobblestoned memory lane. The 1990s, after all, were the heyday of his Gucci years — he became its creative director in 1994, and left 10 years later — when he burst onto the fashion scene, injecting the concept of postmodern irony into unabashed luxury, adding a dose of sex and making it cool.

Tom Ford: Spring 2018

CreditGuillaume Roujas/Nowfashion

Just consider that his new collection was in part the opening act for his new fragrance: Alliteratively titled, using first a crude word for sexual congress, followed by “Fabulous.” You fill in the blank. (That is honestly the name on the label.)

So was it?

Kind of, yes. In a millennial pink corridor — the color perhaps a reference to the generation Mr. Ford needs to attract and which missed the clothes the first time around — stretching through the Park Avenue Armory with lacquered walls and padded risers, in front of Chaka Khan, Helena Christensen, Cindy Crawford and Kim Kardashian West (among others), Mr. Ford sent out a series of sharp-shouldered one-button power jackets in pastel satins atop rolled-hem shorts paired with sequined T-shirts.

Narciso Rodriguez, spring 2018.CreditCasey Kelbaugh for The New York Times

There were blouson leather boy-band jackets with matching leather sweatpants; glittering two-tone T-shirt-dresses so short they looked more like shirts (maybe they were shirts, but if so they were sans bottoms) and aerobic-instructor leotards cut waist-high on the sides. Evening gowns were ruched net columns stretched peekaboo-sheer over the rear with long, sequined sleeves for contrast. Fuchsia, lavender and beige mixed it up with orange and electric blue, plus the usual black and white. None of it was very complicated or challenging. It was fun.

Mr. Ford shot to fame on his ability to walk the fine line between self-serious, unabashed ambition and a willingness to mock himself for it; his clothes gave his consumers permission to strive and preen and roll their eyes at the same time, so they were not just in on the joke, but controlling it. Since starting his own brand, however, he has erred on the side of the pompous. Not this time. Guests exited the show through a line of male waiters clad only in athletic shorts and knee-socks, bearing trays of Champagne. In the past, they would have been wearing Botox-perfect tuxedos.


How to Join the Fashion Pack at New York Fashion Week

On Thursday, the makeup artist Kirsten Kjaer Weis and the fashion illustrator Clym Evernden will take up residence at Barneys New York on Madison Avenue from noon to 6 p.m. Shoppers will receive a custom mini-makeover and have a live portrait drawn when they buy the new Kjaer Weis Artist Kit, which includes six lip and eye pencils ($145).

Dover Street Market will have an open house from 5 to 7 p.m. The makeup artist Isamaya Ffrench and the Hunter creative director Alasdhair Willis will be on hand to celebrate their collaboration on rubberized leather backpacks with Ms. Ffrench’s hand-drawn artwork ($395); Fendi will offer a limited edition “Love” T-shirt ($550) as part of its Fendi Vocabulary fall men’s wear collection inspired by the lexicon of Ernest Hemingway; and there will be yummy eats from Rose Bakery. At 160 Lexington Avenue.

This week at Dover Street Market, you’ll find backpacks from a collaboration between Isamaya Ffrench and Hunter.

Hanky Panky will open a thong bar at Lord & Taylor from 6 to 9 p.m. in celebration of the label’s 40th anniversary. You’ll be able to customize signature lacy bits ($20) with pretty rosebuds, appliqués, ribbons, buttons and trims.

That same day, Intermix with unveil a shoppable partnership with the CFDA at its Creative Retail Lab that includes Brother Vellies suede lace-up boots ($650) and a K/LLER Collection brass V-bib necklace ($450) from seven current members of the CFDA Fashion Incubator class. At 810 Washington Street.

And the designer Vivienne Westwood and the photographer Juergen Teller will have a photo exhibition to celebrate their longstanding visual collaboration. At 14 East 55th Street.


From Thursday to Sunday, shop for floaty chiffon dresses ($150) and other effortless pieces at the French label Sézane’s first store in the United States. Enjoy treats from the TriBeCa patisserie Maman and free totes that say, “Bonjour, New York.” At 254 Elizabeth Street.

Also from Thursday to Sunday, Everlane will open the Denim Counter, a pop-up for its new line of well-priced jeans, including high-rise skinnies ($68), all made from premium Japanese material. At 39 Spring Street.

On Friday, MaxMara will reopen its New York shop, where you’ll find a new crystal-embellished velvet mini-version of its signature Whitney bag ($1,420). At 813 Madison Avenue.

On Saturday, Giovanna Battaglia will be signing copies of her book “Gio_Graphy: Fun in the Wild World of Fashion” ($39.95) at Bergdorf Goodman from 2:30 to 4 p.m.; and on Monday the artist Donald Robertson will be signing copies of his book, aptly titled “Donald: The Book” ($85), from 6:30 to 8 p.m.


On Saturday from 2 to 5 p.m., Glamour beauty editors will be on hand at the new Bloomingdale’s Glowhaus boutique to talk you through the merits of, say, Glamglow mud-firming treatments ($69) and other sparkly, dewy makeup and skin care products.


Fall Makeup That Is Sure to Fly off the Shelves

  1. Armani Ecstasy Shine Lipstick: Happy lips, happy life. This lipstick comes in 18 bright-berry shades, but it’s the ultra-hydrating benefits that really have us sold. Think of it as a three-in-one deal—one part lipstick, one part gloss, and one part balm. Jackpot! ($38)


  1. YSL Tatouage Couture: “Here to stay” is the slogan for this liquid matte lip stain from Yves Saint Laurent beauty, and they’re not using it lightly. Apply one of the 18 light-as-air, high-impact shades for all-day wear that speaks volumes, without the risk of dryness. It’s not called “tattoo” couture for nothing. ($36)


  1. It Cosmetics Brow Power Pomade and Bye Bye Breakout: It’s a love story. The billion-dollar brand just launched a whole-new range of products that address skin concerns, from dry or dull skin to blemishes and acne. Our personal favorites include the Brow Power Pomade, a gel that will tame even the unruliest of brows, and Bye Bye Breakout, a concealer that also works to fight blemishes. Talk about a dynamic duo. ($24 and $28)


  1. Estée Lauder x Victoria Beckham: V.B. is back for round two with her second capsule-makeup collection with Estée Lauder. It features 18 new products as well as two limited-edition sets, complete with an illuminating and travel-friendly mirror, that are available this September for a pretty penny. The products, for face, lips, and eyes, are inspired by some of Beckham’s favorite cities around the world—Miami, London, New York, Los Angeles, and Paris. Call us biased, but we’re particularly smitten with New York’s cool autumn hues! ($34–$1,500)
  1. MAC Personality Palettes and Rollerwheel Liquid Liner: It’s all about the eyes at MAC Cosmetics this season. The super-fun Personality Palettes, from Power Hungry to Prissy Princess, contain easy-to-wear eye-shadow shades and a highlighter or bronzer pot for the finishing touch. They’ve also re-invented the wheel, it seems, with the new Rollerwheel Liquid Liner, which simplifies a skinny cat eye. Just when you thought all hope was lost—roll with it! ($40 and $21)


  1. Clarins Instant Light Lip Comfort Oil: So, this lip oil isn’t exactly new, but Clarins has added new shades and flavors, from berries to mint. We love it so much, we just had to include! New obsession, indeed. But there’s also something new—a pretty amazing concealer that not only contains S.P.F. but also fights permanent blue and brown under-eye circles. We’ll call that a win, win! ($26)


  1. Lipstick Queen All About the Nudes: To most people, nude lipstick is a safe zone. To the Lipstick Queen, it was anything but—until now, that is. The brand launched three universally flattering shades made from a nourishing blend of oils, wax, and vitamin E, and we’re not sure we’ll ever recover (or wear color) again. Trust us, you’ll be all about the nudes, too! ($24)


  1. Urban Decay Troublemaker Mascara: We know, we know, it’s what’s on the inside that counts, but have you seen this tube of mascara? It’s all of our unicorn dreams come to life. Luckily for us, looks aren’t everything, because as pretty as it is on the outside Troublemaker’s brush-and-formula duo is seriously major. Side effects include length, volume, brighter eyes, and risk of theft by friends. ($24)



Japan’s budding fashion rental services proving popular with working women, moms

Satoshi Amanuma recalls his wife standing in front of her closet full of clothes before they went out, muttering she had nothing to wear.

“She had many more clothes than I had,” Amanuma said. “Then I realized most of them looked quite similar.”


Amanuma realized that, like his wife, many working women and mothers with young children don’t have much spare time to shop for themselves or keep up with new looks, so they end up choosing the same styles.

That is when Amanuma came up with the idea of a business renting out women’s wear. And Aircloset Inc. was born.

As sharing services like Airbnb and Uber set up shop in Japan, the fashion industry followed suit, offering people the option of renting clothes instead of buying them.

Aircloset is one such company, renting out everyday clothes for women for ¥9,800 a month.

“I want to offer people, especially busy women who don’t have spare time, to buy clothes, more opportunities to encounter new clothes and apparel brands, and to enjoy fashion more,” said Amanuma, CEO and founder of Aircloset.

The company rents out three articles of clothing that its fashion stylists selected based on customers’ registered preferences. Subscribers can hold onto the pieces as long as they wish or send back the styles they don’t want for an exchange. Users don’t have to wash the returned clothes because dry cleaning and delivery charges are included in the fee.

Fashion rentals used to be mainly for special events, such as wedding parties and graduation ceremonies. But in recent years, new services like Aircloset have popped up, changing people’s perception of daily wear — rent rather than own.

And they are steadily attracting customers.

Aircloset’s registered members now number about 120,000, up from 25,000 in January 2015, a month before service’s official launch, according to Amanuma. Members are in their mid-30s on average.


As the customer base grew, Aircloset expanded its apparel brands to 300 from 80 in 2015, he said.

Hundreds of returned clothes are inspected at its distribution center in Kanagawa Prefecture before they are dry-cleaned at seven factories located nearby. The cleaned clothes are then rechecked before being stored, and made available to be rented out again.

Each item is tagged with a barcode to track how long and how many times it had been rented. The information is used for pricing if customers wish to buy their favorite rental pieces.

Toshihiro Nagahama, a chief economist at Dai-ichi Life Research Institute Inc., said the domestic fashion-sharing market has huge potential to expand along with other sharing services.

During Japan’s bubble economy in the 1980s, luxury brand apparel was seen as a status symbol for the rich, Nagahama said. But that mindset has changed in past decades as people grow less inclined to spend money to own not only luxury brands but also other products, including cars, he said.

“Fashion rental makes sense for such people. If you don’t have a desire to own things, it’s cheaper and more efficient to rent a wardrobe to update your fashion,” Nagahama said. “The fashion rental market will grow.”

Tokyo-based market research firm Yano Research Institute predicts the entire market size of the domestic sharing industry, including fashion, will expand to ¥60 billion in fiscal 2020, up from ¥28.5 billion in fiscal 2015.

Such expansion of new rental services, however, could deal a heavy blow to already ailing traditional retailers, Nagahama said. Apparel retailers need to think of ways to adjust their business to the changing landscape of the industry, he said.

Rental services for daily outfits are not the only robust business in the industry. A luxury bags rental service is also flourishing, as more people find that they enjoy borrowing and switching up designer bags rather than spending thousands of yen to own.

Laxus Technologies Inc. launched an app for renting out top-brand luxury bags — such as Chanel, Fendi and Hermes — for ¥6,800 a month. Like Aircloset, customers can change bags as often as they want.

Since its launch in 2015, the number of members has grown steadily to 13,000, according to Kei Babazoe, vice president at Laxus.

To increase its current stock of 18,000 bags from 52 brands to keep up with the growing demand, the firm recently started calling on luxury bag owners to send bags that are just gathering dust in their closets. Laxus will clean and mend those collected bags and store them in a temperature- and humidity-controlled room for free. If those bags are rented out, the lenders will get ¥2,000 a month.

Seeing growing potential in rental services, apparel maker Stripe International Inc. launched an app named Mechakari in September 2015, to rent out its own private brands for ¥5,800 a month.

Similar to Aircloset, Mechakari users can rent three articles of clothes of their choice and return them when they want to receive a new batch. But unlike many other fashion rental services, Mechakari rents unused brand new clothes.

Returned clothes are dry-cleaned and those that pass its screening will be sold on its online shop as used clothes.

Masaki Sawada, head of Mechakari department at Stripe International, said they launched the service partly to expand the apparel business.

“Apparel, in general, is about making and selling clothes. And that’s it. But if you look at automakers, like Toyota, they not only make and sell new cars but also maintain, rent out and sell cars,” Sawada said. “We want to make the fashion business like that.”

Noting young people are becoming less interested in purchasing clothes these days, Sawada said, so Mechakari wants them to get into the new rental service.

“In order to attract young people, we need to increase the number of users,” and make renting clothes a part of daily life, Sawada said. “We want fashion rentals to take firm root in society, and to become part of our culture.”



Asos adds search-by-photo to its fashion ecommerce app

Computer vision continues to find its way into all sorts of apps as the underlying tech powering convenience-oriented image searches. Latest — and it must be said late — to the party is fashion ecommerce player Asos, which has just added a visual search feature to its iOS app.

The update lets iOS users snap a photo of a garment or fashion accessory with their device camera or pull in an existing outfit shot or Instagram screengrab (say) from their camera roll and have the app show clothes items that are at least in the general fashion ballpark of whatever it is they’re trying to find.

Asos says the visual search will be rolled out to their Android app “soon”.

The company says 80 per cent of UK traffic for ASOS comes from a mobile device, as do almost 70 per cent of UK orders — with consumers spending 80 minutes per month on average in the app.

We tested the feature on a few items of clothing and it worked reasonably well. It’s not necessarily going to find a perfect match — not least because there are only 85,000 searchable products in Asos’ index — but when not matching quite right for form, it was at least pulling in similar sorts of patterns. So you end up with the same sort of fashion feel at least.

Given the specific ecommerce use-case here, where Asos’ aim is to drive sales of its stock by greasing the clothes discovery pipeline (being as text searches are pretty tedious, especially so on smaller screen devices), you’d expect a bit of wiggle room in the search results — exactly to encourage a bit of serendipity in the shopping experience.


The UK-based company is a long-time player in the ecommerce space, having launched on the web in 2000 — so it’s by no means pioneering visual search tech here (nor is it building the underlying tech itself, but says it’s partnered with an unnamed startup to deliver the visual search).

Over the last five (or so) years there have been a large number of startups attempting to build fast and convenient visual search engines, often specifically for fashion, including the likes of ASAP54, Craves, Donde Fashion, Slyce and Snap Fashion, to name a few.

Tech platforms have also recently started paying more attention to visual search too, spying potential to combine the vast quantity of visual data they hold with recent developments in deep learning/AI technology that is helping realize the potential of computer vision.

For example, Pinterest has launched a camera-based search feature that turns a real-world object (e.g. an avocado) into a series of Pinterest results (e.g. recipes for avocado). eBay also has its own ecommerce-focused image search in the works, due for launch this fall.

While at its developer conference earlier this year, Google announced Google Lens — demonstrating how it intends to bake awareness into mobile cameras, by applying computer vision smarts so the software will be able to understand what the lens is being pointed at.


Asos adds search-by-photo to its fashion ecommerce app

Madison fashion startup pitches its artificial intelligence software to retailers

One year ago, the Madison startup Markable rolled out its signature product: an app that could take photos of dresses, shirts, handbags or heels and tell you where to buy the clothes in the picture.

Today, that initial game plan has been scrapped. Instead of using its sophisticated artificial intelligence for a consumer fashion app, Markable is now selling its technology to online fashion retailers.

“People don’t like to download apps anymore,” said Joy Tang, Markable’s CEO. “Their phone is so full of apps already.”


The original Markable app was a one-stop shop for fashionistas. A consumer could upload a photo of a clutch handbag, or a model with a snazzy ensemble, and the app would identify the products in the image and highlight similar clothes available for purchase on retail websites.


That app is now gone. Starting this month, Markable’s tech will be found on the website AKIRA, a Midwestern fashion line based in Chicago. When visitors search AKIRA’s inventory, they’ll have a “camera search” option, where they can upload an image of a piece of clothing they like and find similar items to shop through in return.

Then, there’s what Tang calls the “reverse-engineered” version of the Markable technology. When a visitor clicks on a piece of clothing on AKIRA’s shop, they’ll be able to see if it has ever been modeled by a celebrity or fashion blogger. Click on a shirt, and you may see a photo of when that same shirt was previously worn by Taylor Swift. Shoppers then have the option of “completing the look” by buying the rest of T-Swift’s ensemble.

Markable also offers “visual search engine optimization” to retailers. In other words, the software automatically creates descriptions for clothing that will make the items more likely to pop up during a Google search.

AKIRA is just the beginning, said Tang. Markable is currently in talks with five other retailers. The goal, she said, is to become the industry standard for online fashion shopping.


The software Markable has developed is no small feat: When it comes to image recognition technology, clothes are among the toughest things for computers to parse. Fabric can be twisted or contorted into all kinds of shapes or patterns, making it difficult for AI to figure out the patterns.

Tang said that makes fashion one of the next frontiers for image recognition technology.


“If you can do fashion, you can do anything else,” she said.

Tang said that the company’s algorithms have come a long way in the past year, especially since they added more computer scientists to their team to enhance the software’s capabilities.

“When we launched the app last time, we didn’t have our four PhD scientists,” said Tang. “The results were not that amazing.”



Inside Adidas’ Latest Sneaker ‘Collab’

When Ryo Kashiwazaki created his first handmade leather sneaker, little did he know it would become a hit amongst streetwear cognoscenti and hip-hop stars alike. The idea was deceptively simple: take iconic sneaker styles — like Adidas’ Superstars and Nike’s Air Jordan IVs — and reconstruct them entirely by hand in premium leather, using the kind of artisanal manufacturing processes typically reserved for high-end formal footwear. The legality of the approach was uncertain and the sneakers were expensive, retailing for over $1000 a pair. But the concept caught on like wildfire, first in Japan and then internationally. Every hype-beast who bought a pair acquired bragging rights over those who picked up a regular pair of Nikes.

Kashiwazaki called his brand Hender Scheme, a name that plays on Sandra Bem’s “gender schema” theory. By its third season, twenty stockists had turned up to buy the collection, including influential Canadian boutique Haven. Stockists like SsenseBarneys New York and Bergdorf Goodmanfollowed. Then came collaborations with Sacai and the Ace Hotel.

Now, seven years later, the under-the-radar designer is about to expand his audience with a highly unusual partnership with Adidas Originals that turns the traditional sneaker collaboration model on its head. The first iteration of the tie-up (there will be others) is limited to three styles from the Adidas catalogue — a MicroPacer stripped of its pedometer; an NMD reimagined with its “Boost” midsole removed; and a Superstar — all rendered in Hender Scheme’s signature pastel tones. But critically, Hender Scheme is producing the sneakers and not Adidas. Indeed, each of the collaboration’s 900 pairs are being made by hand in the same ateliers as Hender Scheme’s core offering, using the same leather. The sneakers will bear Adidas branding, but otherwise will look unmistakably Hender Scheme. Models from the collaboration will hit carefully selected stores worldwide on September 2 and retail for between $900 and $1000.

“We are making these shoes our way, so we can only make so many,” says Kashiwazaki. “But we also love sneakers, and what Adidas does in a different way, like manual versus industrial products. So maybe we can find a way in the future where these methods can work together.”


Despite its success, everything about Hender Scheme is unassuming, from the presentation of its products that sit on unfinished plywood displays to its bare-bones store on the outskirts of Ebisu to its modest design studio in Asakusa, Tokyo’s unglamorous garment district. When you meet Kashiwazaki, you understand why. Soft-spoken and contemplative, the 31-year-old former psychology student is refreshingly self-effacing in a fashion industry laced with ego. For him, everything Hender Scheme does is about the product, the artisans who make it and the consumer who buys it.


While Kashiwazaki had plenty of opportunities to exercise his mind at university, he also longed to do something with his hands and so, at 19, he joined a shoe factory, sculpting footwear lasts and making soles. He then spent four years apprenticing at a cobbler. It was there that Kashiwazaki not only learned the craft of shoe-making inside out, but also the value of artisanal labour. He nursed that knowledge and wondered how it could be presented to a wider audience. After all, artisans usually work behind the scenes, often overshadowed by designers. And that’s when it occurred to him that starting with a familiar archetype would remove the focus on design and place the emphasis on craft. What could be more familiar than an iconic sneaker style? In order to reflect the spirit of the collection, Kashiwazaki named it “Hommage.”

In addition to sneakers, Hender Scheme makes footwear, bags and household goods, all out of leather and all in the same artisanal spirit. “My hope is that the customers and stores also notice our main collection,” says Kashiwazaki. “The ‘Hommage’ project is an important one, but it’s only a part of what we do.”

Kashiwazaki calls his work “Manual Industrial Products.” Many of his products are made from tanned leather in its natural colour. The variations in colour tones that bring detail to the original sneaker models come from using different animal hides. The designer says Hender Scheme creates a product that is unfinished until it acquires a unique patina from continuous wear. For Kashiwazaki, this means that the end customer becomes a part of the product cycle. It also helps to establish a personal connection between maker and wearer.



Amazon, Stitch Fix already rank among the top online apparel sellers

Subscription services are ripe for growth in the fashion industry, but they’re also already drawing impressive sales, The NPD Group has found.

While only 15 percent of consumers surveyed by the firm said they have ordered apparel subscription boxes, 14 percent of shoppers who have not ordered them said they plan to. With services such as Trunk Club, Le Tote and Stitch Fix, shoppers receive a personalized assortment of clothing, and then they keep and buy what they like, and send the rest back.

Notably, 35 percent of those surveyed didn’t even know what these services are, NPD Group found, leaving much room for expansion and increased reach.


“We have entered a new world of retail where the traditional leaders are faced with unconventional channel competition, and subscription services are the newest player,” Marshal Cohen, an analyst with NPD Group, said in a statement.

But at least one of these players is already making headway in the apparel category. Last year, both Amazon.com and digital subscription service Stitch Fix were among the top 10 retailers selling apparel online, according to NPD Group, which used a receipt mining service to track companies’ sales.


“Consumers are more critical about the purchases they make today and no longer purchase just for the sake of purchasing. The personalized approach of subscription services complements the shift toward more prioritized spending,” Cohen said.

Stitch Fix has recently expanded its services to men’s apparel and has confidentially filed to go public, seeking a valuation of $3 billion to $4 billion in the offering, according to reports.

Meantime, Amazon is planning to roll out an apparel subscription service of its own, called Prime Wardrobe. If the new service takes off, traditional retailers could be left scrambling, Evercore ISI analyst Omar Saad wrote in an email to clients when it was announced.

“Already, stores of all stripes are struggling mightily to figure out the right combination of online and store to serve the needs of shoppers,” Saad said. “Amazon is not afraid to experiment and has been working hard to find the right fit in fashion.”

In the first 23 weeks of the year, Amazon.com apparel sales amounted to $1.45 billion, a 15 percent increase from 2016, One Click Retail found.

“Amazon still struggles in the luxury brands category since many refuse to sell on Amazon due to the platform’s lax knock-off policies,” One Click Retail’s Nathan Rigby said. “Despite this, our data shows that the company is having great success with necessities and everyday items such as jeans, socks, underwear and men’s work clothes. … Amazon has serious designs on capturing the fashion and apparel market.”

Just last week, Amazon launched a fresh private-label fashion brandfor shoes, purses and accessories, called “The Fix.”

NPD has forecast the fashion industry will increasingly be disrupted by way of digital innovators.

“There is a great deal of room to grow within the subscription model, and the competitive field will continue to expand as online retailers develop subscription services and options for auto-replenishment of fashion basics,” Cohen said.

“This kind of innovation, delivering personalization and convenience, will continue to change the face of retail for fashion.”