July 12, 2020

Product Review: Tissardi

I've always had more of an affinity for shoes than handbags. Regretfully, when I look at my collection of purses, I see this neglect quite clearly. I rotate between a selection of crossbody mini-bags (not practical), a studded faux-leather backpack (starting to fall apart) and a shoulder bag (bad for posture). What I feel like I've been missing is a larger crossbody bag that will enable me to carry my essentials around relatively comfortably and hands-free. 

As a result, I was thrilled when I was given the opportunity by Tissardi to review its designer-inspired Santio Leather Saddle Bag. Tissardi is an online shop offering affordable access to fashion and luxury products inspired by the most emblematic brands.

The Santio comes in seven colours and two sizes. I picked out the medium size bag in red.


I was pleasantly surprised with the quality of the genuine cowhide leather. I was afraid it would come with a stiff sheen, but the leather is smooth, matte and satisfying to the touch—definitely this bag's winning feature. The cherry red colour is also true to what is advertised on the website, and is a fantastic hue to complement the bold shape. My only concern is the hardware appears to be plated in a slightly duller brushed gold, and while it is hefty, it will likely be the first area to show wear and tear, especially if constantly rubbing against the lobster clasps on the shoulder straps. Brighter, more solid gold hardware would have further elevated the well-constructed leather.

Dress: Marie Saint Pierre | Tights: Unknown | Handbag: Tissardi

In terms of functionality, I adore that not one, but two, adjustable and removable crossbody shoulder straps are included: one in leather and one in fabric with metal medallions. This kind of versatility is exactly what a modern woman needs! Additionally, an outer pocket with a magnetic closure along the back of the handbag is convenient for slipping a phone into when in a rush and/or for easy access. A head's up though, the unique saddle shape will pose some limitations in terms of what you can carry. Although I selected the medium size, this purse carries only slightly more than my usual mini-bags. But if you're curious whether the slanted bottom will cause items to slide down to the corner, rest assured the design is narrow enough for something like a wallet or a pair of sunglasses to stay put inside the shorter edge.

Overall, I am happy with the look of this Tissardi bag and will definitely be using it to fill the gap in my purse collection. The impressive quality of leather and stitching build a firm foundation for the shape, colour and cheeky hardware to make an utterly fashionable statement.

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Handbag courtesy of Tissardi in exchange for my honest review. All opinions expressed are my own.

July 5, 2020

I Like That

K-pop is having a growing influence on the international music scene, but despite going crazy for BTS, I haven’t found myself interested in other K-pop groups. I am, however, aware that BLACKPINK has risen to the top among girl groups, and while it took some time to warm up to, I did jam briefly to “Sour Candy”, their song with Lady Gaga in her latest Chromatica album. So when I saw BLACKPINK made a comeback with their pre-release song, “How You Like That”, I decided to check it out.


And my goodness, that song is tight.

I am far from being a Blink, but “How You Like That” has been on repeat lately. And it seems I’m not the only one: the music video for “How You Like That” scored the biggest premiere in YouTube history with a record-breaking 86.3 million views in the first 24 hours. I found the styling overall impressively punctuated the song and dance; nevertheless, there were a few parts where it could have been refined to give more punch. Let’s break it down.

0:07 – Lisa gives grandeur to the opening in a black sequined gown from Celine Fall/Winter 2020 RTW, strutting down the stairway to deliver the signature line, “BLACKPINK in your area.”



0:13 – Jennie in an aquatic dream scene with a jewelled teardrop, AREA crystal headpiece and Bell & Nouveau embellished cape to leave her smooth vocals dripping with glamour. I also love how the crystal strands in her ponytail accentuate her blonde bangs, a trend I learned of through YouTuber Edvasian’s latest hairstyle video and a trend which Jennie is absolutely slaying.

0:20 – Jisoo tugging a floral embellished, chiffon blindfold from her doe eyes. The aesthetic…need I say more?

0:58 – Lisa in an embroidered Celine bolero, Stussy bralette, unforgiving manicure and gold tooth, serving up ‘boss b*tch’ attitude to retort, “Look at you / now look at me / look at you / now look at me.”



1:12 – Lisa alternating between a heavily embellished Dolce & Gabbana bustier crop top accompanied by a cascading Bell & Nouveau waterfall necklace, and a straight-off-the-runway asymmetrical ensemble from Off-White Fall/Winter 2020 RTW, looking like an Egyptian empress with swagger in spades. “What’s up, I’m right back / 방아쇠를 (trigger) cock back,” hits the spot with precision.

1:27 – Jennie’s cherry red bodysuit with a crystal chain slip dress has potential, although it falls short for me because it would have more dramatic elegance in a longer length. I want to like it, but as it stands, it resembles too much an elevated child’s dance costume. The jewelled eyepiece, on the other hand, is perfect. It reminds me of the humorously offbeat accessories in Schiaparelli Fall 2019 Couture, and when she tosses her head back at 2:08, the swing of the strands heightens the act. “ 미소를 띠며 (With a smile on my face) I’ll kiss you goodbye.” Powerful.



1:35 – On its own, this pointelle lace dress on Jisoo from Alexander McQueen Resort 2020 looks like a presentable prêt-à-porter runway piece (Alexander McQueen has been killing it lately), but for a music video, it lacks lustre. This is the kind of dress suited for the red carpet or worn by fashion editors to the front row, not as a theatrical showpiece for a K-pop music video.

1:40 – Nothing particularly exceptional about these looks, besides that Jennie’s chest pops and Lisa’s body rolls are given the chance to shine in the abbreviated tops.



2:12 – Unfortunately, from here on, I think the music video loses its steam. Rosé looks like a mother-of-the-bride in a feathery dress that is simply trying too hard to fit the avian theme when she lifts her arms to declare, “그때쯤에 끝내야 했어 (You should’ve ended me when you had the chance).” I also don’t understand why this series of black evening gowns barely make an appearance in the video. The most consistent screen time they get is for a few seconds at the beginning in dim lighting, and yet, the dresses are also so underwhelming they should have been chopped out entirely. The empire waist on Jennie’s Chanel Spring/Summer 2020 RTW frock makes her look more juvenile than sophisticated, and whilst Lisa had her moment in the opening scene, her full body shot reveals how the Celine could be shapelier. Jisoo’s heavily embellished number is most promising, but again, what’s the point?

2:27 – I appreciate the display of modernized hanbok from the brand Danha, though I wish the music video allowed us to admire these pieces more. In between the pulsating lights, background dancers, frequent cuts in editing and energetic choreography, the details of the outfits are lost—a shame because the embroidery, pattern and material are intriguing.

Regardless of the wins and wanes of the music video, the song itself is a commanding comeback that demonstrates full force how BLACKPINK can inspire girls of today and tomorrow. It’s a song by women, for women—and that’s what I like.

Image Source: Regard News, Vogue, hellokpop

June 28, 2020

Product Review: PaintByNumbers.shop

Last month, I collaborated with PaintByNumbers.shop to host a giveaway for a paint by numbers kit. PaintByNumbers.shop is an online shop that sells art canvasses with small numbers indicating a corresponding colour for a certain area, making painting a masterpiece a piece of cake. In addition to sponsoring the giveaway, they also graciously offered to send me a kit to try for myself. After perusing their varied collection, I landed on Magnolia Blossoms, a beautifully serene and simple floral painting.

Shipping for my kit took 9 business days, exactly as advertised on the website. What I really appreciate about PaintByNumbers.shop is their paintings come with the canvas already stretched on a wooden frame—something many other companies do not offer as a default. Also included in the kit are varnish, canvas hangers and even a level for when you're putting your finished piece up on the wall. The attention to detail in providing a thoroughly complete kit helps make paint by numbers less daunting for those who are new to it (such as myself).

Despite having done art throughout high school and taken private acrylic painting lessons, I don't consider myself either an experienced or talented artist. I can't comment with certainty on the quality of the brushes and paint, but both of them did their job, which is really all I'm looking for. The paint was not dried out, and despite some splitting on the wide brush, I did not encounter any issues with the brushes shedding hairs. There are definitely higher quality brushes out there, but the ones provided were adequate for the task at hand. Although this painting did require at least two coats in areas with lighter colours to fully cover the numbers and lines, there was a sufficient amount of paint provided to complete the piece.

Left: Picture on website | Right: Picture on kit

The only drawback with this particular painting is the colours and composition do not closely match the picture on the website or even the picture on the kit. The paint provided for the blossoms are pinker than expected, and I could tell many areas—particularly the background—require much more finessing to be as subtle as what is depicted in the original picture. However, I have seen reviews of other paintings from PaintByNumbers.shop come out exactly as advertised, so the discrepancy I'm experiencing is just a lesson in how not all artwork is suited to the paint by numbers method. As you can see, I decided to take some artistic liberty and blend the colours together, using the numbers and lines as more of a guide than a strict science.

I will update this picture as I make progress on the painting!

Overall, the hours flew by doing this activity. I normally don't end up painting artwork appealing enough to hang on the walls, so it was refreshing to be able to enjoy both the process of painting and of seeing the finished product come together nicely into something I actually look forward to displaying.

Discount Code

If you'd like to pick up a kit for yourself or someone you know, be sure to use the promo code REDSOLED at checkout for a 15% discount!

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Kit courtesy of PaintByNumbers.shop in exchange for my honest review. All opinions expressed are my own.

June 4, 2020

7 Impractical Fashion Trends

Quarantine got me like…trying on my own clothes at home so I have new outfits to wear once I emerge from the cave and look like a civilized human being again. Things going well for you too?

All jokes aside, I did unearth a yellow Tommy Hilfiger zip-up windbreaker from my closet to see how I could serve up some ’90s vibes this summer (wow, when you’re so old your childhood trends come cycling back…). As I was voguing in front of the mirror, I decided to zip up the jacket halfway and pull down the sleeves so they sat across my upper arms in that off-the-shoulder look all the girls we envy are doing nowadays. I loved the concept as soon as I saw it on the runway at Balenciaga Fall/Winter 2016 RTW, and have since wanted so desperately to pull it off myself. But truth be told, it’s not that practical. And that realization got me thinking about all the fashion trends we fall prey to that are just plain impractical…


1. Off-the-Shoulder Jackets

I remember back in junior high when the “oops—I didn’t notice my jacket had slipped off my shoulder” move was a bit try-hard, yet the result of this very deliberate act nowadays appears ironically blasé. While you can choose to bare your shoulders, there’s added appeal when the slight disrobe is done not to expose skin, but rather to give the impression of being vaguely undone. The visual interest of this maneuver rests in the flattering ‘V’ across the chest and the depth achieved by revealing a layer underneath. However, going through life with your jacket off-kilter is more difficult than it looks because…you can’t really move your arms. To maintain optimal positioning, the most you can do with your arms is bend them at the elbow. You’ll risk your jacket slipping on (?) if you lift your arms any higher. And using a shoulder bag can easily ruin the effect—top-handle purses or fanny packs only. But I guess as long as you don’t try reaching the top shelf, straitjackets are stylish, right?


2. Bell Sleeves


With my fondness for feminine and romantic styles, bell sleeves are in my toolkit when I’m feeling girly. Although depending on how you style them, they can be pretty, hippie or vampy. What does stay consistent, however, is how bell sleeves bring drama to a sway of the arms. I only wish they didn’t have to attract every single particle in their path when all I’m looking to do is reach over to grab something. It’s like my sleeves go fishing in various sauces and dusting off surfaces as a side job. And don’t think it’s any better when I’m reaching up to grab something; reaching up causes the sleeve to flip back and expose an underside of seams and stitching…as well as feeble, totally-not-toned arms I’m obviously not in the mood to flaunt if I’m wearing long sleeves that day!


3. Mule Flats


We can thank Gucci for making mule flats a must-have in every wardrobe. I actually used to own a pair of embellished, brocade mule flats in high school (clearly I was not démodé; I was just ahead of my time…), but their apparent ease is deceiving: they are far from comfortable when you have to pound the pavement. Like flip flops, your toes are constantly grasping to keep the mules from suddenly deserting you. Once, as my friends and I were running across the street to catch a light, one of my mules completely detached from my foot and landed smack dab in the middle of the crosswalk in front of a line of cars. Bathed in the heat of embarrassment, I stumbled and tottered as I wriggled my foot back in. Not cute. I say mule flats are better left for their originally intended use of making the trip from the fridge to the couch.


4. Shoulder Robing


Shoulder robing is the act of draping a jacket over your shoulders without putting your arms through the sleeves. The term itself already sounds pretentious, doesn’t it? Yet I confess every time I see a woman shoulder robing, I want to be her. Those who have the power to keep a jacket balanced precariously on their shoulders must surely be blessed by the sartorial saints. Because on mere mortals, a slight twitch of a microbladed eyebrow can send the whole contraption crashing down. Do these enviable beings tape the jackets to their shoulders? Hold them impeccably in place by sheer strength of their CrossFit shoulders? Are there secretly straps they have looped around their underarms? Whatever witchcraft it is, I must know.


5. Tiny Sunglasses


Micro shades had their moment…and I’m glad it was only a moment. I was initially charmed by the potential for these vintage, gothy frames to transform me into someone who looks artsy, cool and bearing a hard edge in the form of a constant grievance against the injustices of life. Alas, teeny tiny sunglasses only look good perched literally halfway down my nose. Anywhere higher and I look like someone out of the Matrix or John Lennon—neither of which make me feel remotely like Bella Hadid. I also love the shield of anonymity sunglasses provide (truth be told, I’ve enjoyed walking out with mirrored sunglasses and a face mask), so sliding them down halfway to leave my eyes fully naked strikes me as counterintuitive. Not to mention I can barely see where I’m going when I have to squint against the deadly rays of nature. What’s the point of sunglasses when they don’t even protect you from the sun?


6. Kimono Cardigans


I know kimono cardigans seem fairly innocent and they’re probably not what come to mind when you think of impractical fashion trends: they’re lightweight and airy, easy to put on and take off, and don’t require much styling to make a statement. Yet living in a city that has merciless wind even on summer days when the sun is shining brightly, I wish my silky kimono weren’t such a pushover. Forget draping and floating gracefully around me; half the time my kimono is either flailing frantically like a fish out of water, blowing between my legs when I walk like the tail of a frightened puppy, or flapping perpendicular to my body as I clutch onto it with dear life so it doesn’t fly away completely. Verdict: kimonos only look good indoors.


7. White Sneakers


As someone who once swore off sneakers, I have now admittedly acquired nine pairs of rubber soles—two of which are white. I still fantasize about adding white and green Adidas Stan Smiths to my collection (thanks to Alexander Wang Spring/Summer 2015 RTW), despite the absolute nightmare I know they would be to keep clean. I take five steps in any pair of white sneakers and they already look like I’ve dragged them through the Sahara Desert. Bless the poor unsuspecting soul who once stepped on my newly cleaned white sneakers during a street festival and had to endure the wrath of my internal monologue. If you see someone wearing white sneakers that haven’t yet turned brown, you know they love their shoes because it takes honest commitment to keep those babies clean.


Bonus Items

And then there are the usual offenders we already know of so well they require no further explanation, including…

  • High heelsEminem's 'Love The Way You Lie' ft. Rihanna (#throwback) is an apropos theme song: Just gonna stand there and watch me burn / Well that’s alright because I like the way it hurts.
  • Clutches – Already talked about this here.
  • Jumpsuits – Because we all love stripping down and shivering in the lavatory.
  • Short skirts – I do have to, you know, sit sometimes.
  • Large earrings – Does anyone know if Dumbo has room in his circus? Because I’m a clown for literally dragging my ears through that.
  • Nylons – I swear, those things would have the audacity to snag on a cotton ball.

Lessons Learned

After all this, I came to the gloomy recognition so much effort is spent making ourselves up for our still-frames. Let’s face it—from the wrong angle, we all have three chins. But instead, we adorn and display ourselves in what are essentially costumes for that one snapshot we can share on Instagram. What people don’t see is us tripping over our mule flats as our micro shades slide off the tip of our nose and our shoulder robes disassemble onto the sidewalk. Showing off our edited personas has the unintended consequence of making our followers aspire to the unrealistic…

…But before I fall too far down the hole of contemplating our sociological realities now that I have more time on my hands than I know what to do with, I think I’ve learned two simple lessons: (1) I’m a sucker for fashion, and (2) I need to get out of the house.

A word on recent events: we have made great strides but let us never remain complacent in our fight for a better world. We stand together in defending our right to breathe the gift of life. #BlackLivesMatter

Image Source: Savoir Flair, The Heart's Delight, Who What WearTelegraph, ElleKIM + ONO, Marie Claire

May 6, 2020

PaintByNumbers.shop Giveaway! [Closed]

Edit: Congratulations to our winner, Anita!

With the current pandemic, many individuals and families are finding themselves staying at home more. Some may even be facing stressful uncertainty. Although I write primarily about fashion, I am hoping to use my blog today to share a bit of joy in other waysbecause ultimately, this pandemic affects everyone.

Last year, I discovered paint by numbers. Paint by numbers are art canvasses that have numbered areas which correspond with their respective numbered paint colours, making painting a masterpiece a piece of cake. I find the concept absolutely brilliant for bringing art to those who may otherwise find painting to be daunting. In these times especially, paint by numbers is a wonderful way to relax and be creative at home.

For that reason, I am so happy to announce I am collaborating with PaintByNumbers.shop to give one lucky winner a paint by numbers kit of their choice!


Giveaway


About PaintByNumbers.shop:


PaintByNumbers.shop aims to help bring out the artist in you by selling art canvasses that have small numbers indicating a corresponding colour for a certain area. The numbers serve as a clear guide for you to follow, but still give you room to improvise or add your own touches.

The artworks are sourced from designers dedicated to creating designs that play with varying levels of difficulty. PaintByNumbers.shop offers a number of collections to choose from:


Each paint by numbers kit comes with everything you need:
  • Numbered cotton canvas stretched on a wooden frame (Size: 20" x 16" / 50cm x 40cm)
  • Numbered acrylic-based paint set.
  • Paint brush set - 2 thin, 1 medium, 1 wide.
  • Varnish to add brightness and preserve the finished painting.
  • Hanging kit, including traceless frame hangers, screws and a spirit level.
  • Instruction guide.
  • Reference sheet.

Prize:
  • One (1) winner will receive a PaintByNumbers.shop kit of their choice. Shipping will be included.

Eligibility:

This giveaway is open internationally.

Entering: 

To enter, please fill out the Rafflecopter below. The only mandatory entry is to comment below with your favourite painting from PaintByNumbers.shop. For additional entries, simply follow the instructions!

This giveaway will end May 20, 2020 at 11:59pm EST.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Winners will be selected by Random.org and notified by email. Winners will have 48 hours to respond before a new winner is selected. Please note Red-Soled Fashionista is not responsible for sponsors that do not fulfill their prizes. 


Discount Code

If you aren't a winner this time but still want a great pick-me-up for yourself or someone you know, or you're looking for a last minute Mother's Day gift, be sure to use the promo code REDSOLED at checkout for a 15% discount!


Product Review

PaintByNumbers.shop also graciously offered to send me a kit to try for myself. I perused their varied collection to land on Magnolia Blossoms, a beautifully serene and simple floral painting.


Click here to read my review!

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Thank you to PaintByNumbers.shop for sponsoring this giveaway.

April 8, 2020

What it Means to be a Man

So, how’s self-isolation and physical distancing going for everyone? As someone who grew up thinking she was an introvert, only to realize with the clarity of adulthood that I’m actually a shy extrovert, COVID-19 had me coming down with cabin fever after Day 1. However, as tedious as all of this can be, sooner or later, you get into the rhythm of it. It’s like running a marathon (not that I’ve ever run one) or singing 99 Bottles of Beer (not that I’ve ever done that in earnest either because…why. But you get what I mean.)

After all, I’m grateful I can do my duty by simply staying at home. To all those essential workers who don’t have the option to stay at home, thank you for doing what you do. And to all those whose only option is to stay at home because they no longer have a job to go to, we will get through this together. 


One great thing to do while chez toi is to read. I’ve been particularly into non-fiction lately (some personal favourites: Homo Deus: A History of Tomorrow by Yuval Noah Harari, Scarlet A: The Ethics, Law, and Politics of Ordinary Abortion by Katie Watson, and What Happened by Hilary Clinton) and recently finished reading the book Boys: What It Means to Become a Man by Rachel Giese. While I wish the book would have delved deeper into its analysis for a more powerful and cohesive thesis, Giese makes an enlightening point about masculinity amid the waves of growing feminist discourse. I’ve pieced together some excerpts from what I consider the most fascinating chapter in the book:

As a culture, we have poked enough holes in assumptions about femininity and femaleness that most of us now celebrate the idea of girl power…But when it comes to challenging gender stereotypes and their effects on boys, we haven’t been nearly as thorough or thoughtful…we haven’t cast enough of a critical eye on the demands of masculinity—for instance, the expectations that men be physically aggressive, sexually dominant, emotionally stoic, tough and in control—and the impact those expectations have on boys who do and don’t live up to them…The sexual revolution, feminism, civil rights movements, technological innovation, globalization: taken together, these movements have altered, to an unprecedented degree, what it means to be male…And as old notions about masculinity and femininity fall away, there is a palpable angst about what should replace them. This time of instability and change has given rise to a pervasive belief that gains in rights and power for women must mean men are losing out…in order for change to be real and lasting, feminism can’t stop at transforming the lives of girls and women; it has to transform the lives of boys and men too…what can we learn from feminism and the fight for equality for girls and women, to create more liberating and expansive forms of masculinity for boys and men?

If you’ve been wondering why right-wing populism has gained traction over the past couple of years, or why some feel they now have permission to unleash words and acts of intolerance, or why it seems we’ve taken a step back in progress, maybe it is because we have groups of people who feel that what they have known to be true, stable and indisputable—their rights, beliefs and identity—is now under threat. But that’s not their fault. I realize I may be saying this while perched atop my Ivory Tower, but I believe it’s our responsibility as a society to not leave anyone behind nor leave anyone out. Everyone deserves a chance to catch up, to redeem themselves, to find love over hate.

And so I think we need to recognize and address the expectations we put on men. Not just for their sake—but for feminism’s sake as well.


On a lighter note, let’s look at how expanding the notion of masculinity has played out in fashion. Back in 2013, I wrote briefly about how women effortlessly step into androgyny, but that step is more of a leap for men. We were (and still are) far from the finish line in terms of allowing men to express themselves through dress in as many varied ways as women could, yet we did see the slow-but-steady acceptance of men who cared about fashion. At the time, the term ‘metrosexual’ still existed, but its use was starting to wane. It no longer seemed necessary (nor in proper decorum) to single out men who paid special attention to their grooming and style. In 2015, a friend shared with me a subreddit called r/malefashionadvice, an internet community where men provided constructive feedback on each other’s outfits with surprising fervour. I was astonished to see men speaking so candidly about fit, colour, texture, and proportion.


Fast forward to 2020, and not only are we seeing the runways awash with blurred lines between menswear and womenswear, we’re finally seeing men express shameless enthusiasm for fashion.

PewDiePie, who got his start as a gamer on YouTube, has shown considerable appreciation for apparel. In addition to uploading two videos exploring the intersection of fashion and meme culture, he also filmed two ‘Closet Review’ videos where he took viewers on a piece-by-piece tour of his wardrobe, supplemented by sincere commentary that reveals a genuine respect for design. At one point, he brings out a pair of white Balenciaga Lace-Up Speed Knit Runners, which he lambastes himself for buying because he realizes he can’t even bear to wear them outside (like my Tod’s). My favourite part came when he jokes about people accidentally bumping against his Balenciagas in restaurants, and how he has to brush it off with an indifferent “it’s fine” when in reality he’s outraged his white runners are subjected to such careless treatment. OK, RELATABLE. I, too, must put on an untroubled smile to hide the insufferable pain I experience when anyone or anything so much as grazes against my most prized footwear. Just. Don’t. Touch. My. Shoes. And everything will be okay.

J-Hope, a particularly sartorial-conscious member of K-pop band BTS, has also admitted to abiding by the maxim of “Don’t step on my clothes. Step on my body instead.” OK, AGAIN, RELATABLE. If an errant blob of ketchup were to ever come hurtling towards me, I would gladly sacrifice my flesh to shield the precious fibres of my attire. I never thought I could feel such kinship with men over something like shared views on fashion.

And as a final shout out, to the men I know in real life who proudly express their personality through coloured or novelty socks (you know who you are), or who show remarkable dedication to keeping their shoes clean, kudos to you for giving us hope men can care about style and for normalizing what it can mean to be a modern man.



When we give men the freedom to define masculinity for themselves, we give them the freedom to redefine their place in the world. We give them the opportunity to find equality. One day, the question will no longer be what it means to be a man, or what it means to be a woman—but what does it mean to be you?

March 22, 2020

Cheers!

We are living in unprecedented times. As the world grapples with the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, we are witnessing massive shocks to international economies, local businesses, tourism, the arts community—you name it—and, of course, the health, financial and social well-being of our people.

In terms of the fashion industry, it has been scrambling to survive the disruption. In my eyes, the moment the severity of the situation dawned on the industry was in Italy when we saw Giorgio Armani, the show that was meant to close Milan Fashion Week, being cancelled and live streamed behind closed doors. Paris Fashion Week cautiously continued on following Milan, but at that point, face masks were trendier than any designer handbag. Shortly after, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared COVID-19 a pandemic and widespread temporary closures of retail stores and offices began. Even fashion’s biggest annual bashes, the Met Gala and CFDA Fashion Awards, have been postponed until further notice.

The growing prevalence of online shopping has helped curb the full devastation of fashion retail, but we’re still reeling financially. Burberry, who already suffered a hit at the outset from the loss of its Chinese market, has warned it expects a 70% to 80% decline in sales over the coming weeks. Fast fashion is also hardly immune. Inditex, the owner of brands like Zara and Massimo Dutti, reported a 24.1% sales drop between March 1 and March 16. Hennes & Mauritz (H&M) has echoed the bleak outlook. Its sales have seen a similar plummet since the outbreak, and due to the uncertain situation, the company announced it would be suspending earnings guidance for the rest of the year.

Yet despite concern for what lies ahead, I see the light amidst the darkness.

Luxury conglomerate LVMH announced it would start manufacturing disinfectant gel used to make hand sanitizer at facilities that currently produce perfume and cosmetics for donation to French health authorities, and has managed to source an expected 40 million surgical masks to help France cope with its shortage. Countless other major brands, including Prada, Versace, Moncler, Kering, Armani and Sergio Rossi, have offered financial support for hospital relief efforts.

When it comes down to it, I hope the industry knows what is most important. Hint: it’s not the sales figures. It’s about doing what we can for others who need it. It’s about compassion. It’s about valuing people over things.

Fashion and clothing can still have a role in our lives right now—just in a different way. When the days in self-isolation seem to stretch into nothingness, we can find little pleasures in dressing up and having fun with fashion, even if we don’t have to (or can’t) leave the house. They say to dress for the job you want. Why not dress for the future you want?

Looking beyond the fashion industry, we are at a point in history where we have the tools and infrastructure in place to accommodate and reduce the impact of social distancing. Say what you will about the role of technology in creating collective disconnect (I wouldn’t disagree with you), but in this time when self-isolation and social distancing are upon us, social media has given us the opportunity to stay together and come together.

I also see a globally unifying force that has brought people from around the world together in our shared experience of fighting against this disease. COVID-19 doesn’t discriminate across race, gender, age, socioeconomic status—and so neither should we. Our differences shouldn’t matter regardless, but they certainly don’t matter now in the face of something we can all relate to each other on. Our borders are closing, but our hearts are open.

Stay healthy. Safeguard others. Spread love. Just imagine the celebrating we’ll do when this is all over.

Image Source: New York Post, Business of Fashion, Footwear News