AW17 must-haves: Vol.1

AW17 product is being delivered to shops near you as we speak. It doesn’t matter if you are not ready, or that you are currently only interested in discounted SS17 clothes. This is how the industry works. To get you in the mood for the new season, I have gone through all AW17 catwalks and selected styles that look fresh, but also have some life in them. What do I mean by that? Simple; this is a list of directions that will be hot this winter and remain relevant for seasons to come.

In this first part of my AW17 must-haves report I include my favourite dresses, denim product, suits, prints and accessories. My methodology was simple; I went through 3K photos and looked for investment pieces with a point of difference, and of course pieces I liked. No one said this was a democratic process!

Casual Dresses

AW17 must-haves: Casual DressesAW17 must-haves: Casual Dresses

Day-to-night is no longer an incomprehensible concept. Designers nailed the perfect shape and fabrications that can take women from office to that hot, newly-opened restaurant. Buy one in checks, with long sleeves and in longer length. Extra brownie points if you go for mix-media fabrications, or invest in a dress in thicker ponte, backloop sweatshirt or bonded fabrications. Want more to excite you, oh, I got more: be daring and wear an all over sequinned midi. Sequins are not only for weddings. Dress them down with a denim jacket or a cropped biker and you are onto a winner.

Investment for the Future: Anything with vertical slashes and that 1940s shape championed by Bottega Veneta. We are only just beginning dipping our toe into the 40s pool…

My favourite look: Pay attention to those oversized pockets – and ask yourself who needs a handbag when you have these pockets?

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Gen Z: the rise of a new consumer group

I am not part of Gen Z, hell I am not even a millennial, but I will do my best to describe them. Just when we wrapped our heads around who millenials are and what their behaviours and spending habits are, a new wave of future consumers is rising. This is to show you how quickly things are changing; how we got from Obama to Trump comes to mind…

First things first, they have nothing to do with zombies…Gen Z is people born after 1996, so their early memories are not 9/11 and definitely not the death of Lady Di. If you remember the latter, you are, according to them, officially geriatric!

Vetements capturing the Gen Z spirit (image courtesy of Vetements)

They have been connected all their lives with fast internet and 4G (dial-up tone is a cute ringtone to them), and they have learned to see the world as borderless; global is “glocal” to them. Try explaining Brexit to them…They have been consuming social media, following and sharing as early as they developed motor skills. Being part of the vast cyberspace made them aware, early-on, of the incredible number of individuals that are out there. It is obvious to them that standing out in the crowd is difficult, but also imperative. Their never ending need to find their unique voice is admirable.

For them ambassadors of success are the millenials who disrupted everything (Uber, Spotify, AirBnB etc), and those bloggers who managed to make millions by travelling, photographing, and sharing their street food photos. Yes, they are entrepreneurial but they don’t necessarily care who Steve Jobs is. Don’t judge, do you know who discovered and commercialized the Compact Disc, or even how digital cameras work?

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5 Menswear brands to look out for

One of the question I am frequently asked by my male friends is which brands I would recommend. And because my blog has a reactionary approach to current attitudes, and because I believe that end-consumers do shape or direct trends I put this post together.

We all know and love the likes of Philip Lim, Public School, COS, and Acne Studios but there are a few less known brands that are making enough of the right noise to deserve our attention. New blood is attempting to redefine our perception of menswear, moving away from the tired “regular jeans and crew neck mid-bicep t-shirt” model, towards a new mindset that prefers to experiment with shape, volume, and masculinity.

Andersson Bell SS 2017

But what is also interesting – watch this space- is their alternative route to market. Most of these brands choose to sell their collections only directly (via their reference retail and online shops) instead of selling via big department store chains and online conglomerates. They also understand that by collaborating with other cool brands, whose expertise is different to theirs, beefs up their offering. Collaborating and exclusively selling your product might sound a bit too dangerous for the fashion establishment, but it seems to be working for these new brands. Questions are born: are male consumers ready now to embrace the ‘lifestyle-model’ retail experience? Are they willing to search around for exclusive brands instead of finding a one-stop shopping experience like they used to?

But for now, let’s get back to the point and answer my friends’ question: I would recommend the below 5 menswear brands. They are definitely the ones to watch!

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South Korea and Japan: Childrenswear Print Inspiration

Recently I had the luck to visit South Korea and Japan. Lucky because both countries are amazing, and because with the way things are going, the area can become a no-go zone pretty quickly.

The culture, the food, the design, the fashion, all brilliant, I couldn’t possibly choose. It seems like everything they do is with love, extreme attention to detail, and with an aim to visually please consumers. In these two countries, I did not mind waiting a bit longer for my purchases to be wrapped in the most exquisite way. Definitely beats queuing for hours for your t-shirt to be rolled in a ball and shoved in a bag! I did not mind waiting a bit longer to be served beautiful food, always with a smile. Beats the “you are lucky to be served by me” attitude you get in many London restaurants.

Smiling and happiness is widespread, especially in South Korea. For a cynic westerner such as I, it initially comes across as something very odd. Surely, they cannot be this happy. Surely, it is the product of social oppression, right? Well, if you let go and give in, just like I did on day 3, it can be contagious. On day 4 different questions were forming in my mind: what is wrong with us in the West, or what is it that makes us so grumpy?

You know what else is everywhere in these two countries? Cute things! I must admit the latter took more than 3 days to get used to or accept. But, funnily enough, even cute things managed to find their way into my heart. For people who know me, this will sound bizarre. They will vouch that there is no way in hell that I would find cats with big eyes, and dogs with neckties acceptable. I still don’t. However, being surrounded by all this cuteness, I would frequently roll my eyes and give numerous judgmental sighs, which made me question my motives for such reaction. Are we too obsessed with being cool in the West? Are we too scared of being branded naff?

Cuteness has its own temple in both countries. Stationary shops are many and massive. They are filled with papers, stickers, envelopes, cards, erasers, pencil bags etc. All covered in cute design; sometimes brilliant, sometimes so wrong it feels right! Tell me that you don’t need a mouse pad with a print of a cat wrapped in sushi right now…

Below there are a few print ideas that caught my eye in stationary maze. Mainly they are prints that can inspire childrenswear and maybe teen-wear. Having said that, I wouldn’t mind seeing a couple of them printed on hot midi dresses or oversized men’s t-shirts. Embrace the “naff”… Read more