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Can Clothing be Cheap AND Ethical? H&M Says Yes

Can Clothing be Cheap AND Ethical? According to H&M, the Answer Is YesFollowing months of scrutiny sparked by the tragic Rana Plaza factory collapse in Bandgladesh last Spring, H&M recently announced a plan to secure fair living wages for all textile workers employed by factories that manufacture items for the Swedish retailer.

The move didn't come as a surprise: with its eco-friendly Conscious collection, recycling program and various sustainability initiatives, H&M has long promoted itself as a socially responsible corporation. Here's what was surprising: The company's claim that increased wages for factory workers wouldn't drive up retail prices, which currently hover close to dirt cheap. Would it really be possible, critics asked, for the fast fashion brand to continue pricing dresses at $4.95 while paying fair wages to factory workers? 

"How can that be true?" said Elizabeth Cline, author of Overdressed: The Shockingly High Cost of Cheap Fashion, speaking with a reporter from Mother Jones. "It makes me think that the company is just riding on unsustainable expansion [and] will just continue to sell more and more low-quality clothes to make up for this increased cost."

But in a new report from Reuters which was published today, Helena Helmersson, H&M’s head of sustainability, told the news agency that adopting more ethical manufacturing practices wouldn't jeopordize the mass retailer's low prices. 

“There is a misconception that lower prices in the stores mean bad working conditions or less pay,” said the executive. Reuters notes that according to Helmersson, sustainable practices such as "cutting water use to grow cotton, improving energy efficiency or using fewer chemicals," would all, in the long-term, improve profitability. 

Another thing that will likely help profitability? H&M's nimble brand positioning and PR spin: “‘Made in Bangladesh’ is something that I’m proud of,” Helmersson told Reuters. “Our presence in Bangladesh is coming with so much positive impact if you think about the alternative jobs for women in Bangladesh.”

[H&M Says Fashion Can Be Cheap and Ethical — Reuters]

Image: Getty

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Watch: Cara Delevingne, Jourdan Dunn, Eliza Cumming and A$AP ROCKY Play Football in Times Square for DKNY

Image: highsnobiety.com

Image: highsnobiety.com

As part of DKNY's Spring 2014 campaign and to celebrate the Super Bowl (which is, I'm told, taking place this weekend), the New York City-based fashion label has released a football-themed draft video spot, titled #DKNYDRAFT. (This message was brought to you by the misguided belief that hashtags are relevant.

In the clip, models Cara Delevingne, Jourdan Dunn and Eliza Cumming throw the ball around with rapper A$AP Rocky (the quartet also appears together in the collection print ads). According to FashionWeekDaily, the commercial will air on Taxi TV. 

Image via HighSnobiety

 

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Rosie Huntington-Whiteley’s ‘Very 90s’ Harper’s Bazaar UK Cover (Forum Buzz)

It's that time of the season again, where readers of Harper's Bazaar are treated to a story styled by Bazaar's Global Fashion director, Carine Roitfeld. The editorial and cover shoot, photographed by Karl Lagerfeld, showcases the new season's collections which include fashions from Chanel, Prada, Gucci and Louis Vuitton

IMAGE CREDIT : HARPERSBAZAAR.CO.UK

IMAGE CREDIT : HARPERSBAZAAR.CO.UK

Bertrando3 laced into the cover within minutes of it surfacing on the forum. "It looks AWFUL!" he enthusiastically commented. 

Honeycombild also shared the same sentiments: "Sweet Jesus, what the hell is that!"

The March cover isn't off to a good start with tFS members but comments began to read more positive after jeffandthewold posted, "I mean it is 'pop-art' inspired so I don't mind it. Very 90s."

I personally have become attached to Justine Picardie's version of Haper's Bazaar. Justine has showcased a clear vision for what magazine she wants readers to experience. The layouts are extremely clean, crisp, minimal and were inspired by Diana Vreeland's layouts at American Bazaar. I myself look forward to seeing how Carine's fifteen-page edit looks inside the latest issue. 

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Escada Celebrates Pina Coladas and Paradise with Its New Scent

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In what resulted in a slew of (half joking) "I hate you" messages, I left icy New York City for Puerto Rico last week for the launch of Escada's Born in Paradise fragrance. I was joined on the trip by a handful of other online editors including ones from Byrdie, Rouge 18, Total Beauty, Beauty Blitz and Glam and we spent three days touring San Juan, drinking cocktails (well, I stick to tea, no matter how uncool it is), and, of course, talking beauty.

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Has Mulberry’s Luxury Price Tag Become Too Much for the Brand?

Has the price of luxury finally become too much for some of us?

Seemingly it has, as Mulberry issued a profit warning today, stating that the luxury brand had suffered a great deal over the Christmas period due to rival brands starting their sales much earlier. Despite many others doing so, Mulberry did not alter its sales date from December 26 and has taken the fall for it. 

Cara-Delevingne-Mulberry-SS14-620

Cara Delevingne as the face of Mulberry’s SS14 campaign, images: Tim Walker

A Reuters poll had previously forecasted pre-tax profits for the year ending March 31 at £26.9 million, however Mulberry’s chief executive Bruno Guillon has now said that this will only be around £19 million.

In the last few years, the Somerset based accessories house has seen a great deal of change, not least the rise and rise of the It bags and its profits under the direction of Emma Hill, who was with the brand for six years. However, since the departure of Hill in 2013, Mulberry has been resting on its name and with new collection pieces costing up to £2,000, the brand may be feeling the strain from turning British heritage design into a global luxury brand.

Mulberry has held its luxury image by aligning its name with key players of the fashion industry. Alexa Chung and Lana del Ray carry their namesake bags, Cara Delevingne graces the images of their Tim Walker shot S/S14 campaign and their front row is famous for being strewn with hand picked stars each season. However, after pulling out of this year's London Fashion Week, due to the continuing search for a new creative director, the brand may need to work a little harder to retain the image that it has built.

mulberry profits fall 620

A veritable who’s who of the it-girl world on the FROW at Mulberry’s S/S14 show at Claridges, (L to R) Tallulah Harlech, Elisabeth von Thurn und Taxis, Juno Temple, Brit Marling, Lea Seydoux, Rebecca Hall, Alexa Chung, Douglas Booth and Tanya Burr. Image: GETTY

Bruno Guillon has said that they have a shortlist of potential candidates and hopes to name Emma Hill’s replacement in the next couple of months. Until then we can only continue to guess who it will be and hope that the prices may go down.

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Preview: What’s New for Spring 2014, According to Carine Roitfeld for Harper’s Bazaar

Images: Karl Lagerfeld for Harper's Bazaar

Images: Karl Lagerfeld for Harper’s Bazaar

Harper's Bazaar GL0BAL FASHUN DIREKTOR Carine Roitfeld has created her latest fashion portfolio for the international glossy, which will appear in all 29 editions of the publication's March Issue.

Photographed by Renaissance man Karl Lagerfeld (a German, he designs for Chanel & Fendi and owns kitties) and creative directed by V Magazine publisher, Stephan Gan (both men are Roitfeld's loyal, longtime friends) and starring superlative models Naomi Campbell (tense GODDESS), Rosie Huntington-Whiteley (BLONDshell) and Karolina Kurkova (LEGStravaganza) as well as up-and-comers Alewya Demmisse, Kate Goodling and Sabrina Ioffreda.

[Sidenote: Apparently Kurkova and Campbell's rumored post-Face falling out is not a thing, since they apparently made it through this Bazaar shoot with no resulting battle wounds or Page Six blind items.]

The spread showcases Roitfeld's take on the Spring 2014 trends and notably includes many pieces in the pretty pale pink color which appeared as an outerwear trend this winter. See a preview below and check more of the editorial on the Harper's Bazaar website

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