The Buzz

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Link Buzz: Shop the CFDA Nominees; Colored Mascara

Marc Jacobs


  • In anticipation of Monday's CFDA Awards (we're all waiting with baited breath), here's a roundup of stuff you can buy from nominated designers. Womenswear finalists are: Marc Jacobs (baby!), Alexander Wang (womp-womp) and the Proenza Schouler boys (mmm). [Fashionologie]  
  • GOOP lady Gwyneth is like, buy British designers! And I'm like, I guess if you say so but can I use your credit card? [FabSugar]
  • Speaking of GwynGwyn, a tabloid says that the reason she had such a lousy time at the Met Ball is because she has no friends and is really unhappy about it. Obviously, the kind and humane thing for all of us to do is to mock her for being such an unlikeable wench. [AmyGrindhouse]
  • Miley Cyrus stars in Snoop Lion's (rawr!) great new "Ashtrays and Heartbreaks" video which is sort of convenient for anyone who wants to see Miley being Miley. [MTV Style]
  • KStew style, then and now. I'm sorry but are you trying to give me a happiness heart attack? (Just kidding, only kittens do that.) [StyleBistro]
  • Body shaping swimwear: Because you'll have to wear something at the beach this summer. It's the law (FASHION LAW). [SheFinds]
  • Zooey Deschanel has her own nail decals now because the fit-and-flare frock design and production process was just too much. [StyleBakeryTeen]
  • Colored mascara: It's like all the eye makeup in the world rolled together into one magical rainbow. [BellaSugar]

The Buzz Latest News

Watch American Apparel CEO Dov Charney Go After H&M for its Labor Practices on a VICE Podcast

Dov Charney for VICE

Image: via screenshot

This is not the time to criticize American Apparel CEO Alpha Dov [Charney]'s sometimes idiosyncratic behavior (i.e. he sometimes gives in-person interviews from the toilet at his company's LA factory) and the brand's disturbing advertising practices, but in light of the major factory collapse which happened last month in Bangladesh, his retail company's manufacturing practices are a positive example for the garment industry. In a VICE video podcast interview with conservative columnist Reihan Salam, Charney attacked fast fashion companies like H&M, calling offshore sourcing "a form of apartheid."

"Can H&M afford $50 a week? They shouldn't be making clothing. If they can't pay $50 a week, don't make clothes."

Charney is, of course, mostly right. Despite H&M CEO Karl-Johan Persson's claim that he appealed to the Bangladesh Prime Minister ("We’ve already asked for it twice and they’ve raised it both times, and now it looks like they’ll raise it again") to raise the country's minimum wage (which is $38 a month), the Swedish corporation is welcome to pay workers more (labor advocates estimate that a living wage would amount to at least $60). Persson might argue that paying higher wages might undercut its competitive advantage among other Western companies operating overseas, but Charney is right when he points out that H&M is huuuuge. 

"H&M is a $22 billion corporation — they've amassed an enormous amount of wealth. They don't have to have their hands dirty to the extent that they do."

Charney also points out that "a $4.99 bikini doesn't exist unless you're screwing someone."

The CEO makes some strong points and yes, American Apparel deserves a lot of credit for manufacturing in the US, but the situation is likely more ambiguous on the ground. Charney is quick to take advantage of these kinds of controversies to bolster his company's image in the public eye (remember last year's Olympics uniforms scandal?) — that's fine and natural, it's just worth remembering that he's hardly an impartial observer. (Also, note the venue for this interview: American Apparel has been one of VICE's longest-term advertisers, although a disclaimer at the head of the clip makes it clear that the podcast is not an endorsement for the garment retailer.) I'll be bringing you more information about the company's production practices in the coming days.

The video:

[via HuffPo]

Previously: H&M CEO Speaks Frankly About Factory Conditions, 'Too Thin' Models

The Buzz Latest News

Carola Remer Stars in Ellen Von Unwerth’s B-Movie Fashion Short for Vs. Magazine

Carola Remer

Image: Vs. Magazine

Fashion photographer Ellen Von Unwerth filmed model Carola Remer for the short film "Red Handcuffs" for the biannual fashion publication, Vs. magazine. The film tells the blood and guts and pasties story of a pin-up girl who gets mixed up with the wrong crowd – or is she the one that's the wrong crowd?

Von Unwerth made one of the first major fashion films: "Wendybird" starred Kristen Dunst for New York designer Erin Fetherston's Fall 2006 collection (with music by Cocorosie, making it the ultimate fashion film, I can't believe the whole form didn't just die at inception).  

The Buzz Latest News

H&M CEO Speaks Frankly About Overseas Factories and ‘Too Thin’ Models

Karl-Johan Persson, CEO

Karl-Johan Persson, CEO / by Mattias Bard for H&M

Following the tragic Bangladesh factory collapse last month, where the final death toll exceeds 1000, H&M's manufacturing practices have been under a lot of scrutiny. Although no H&M clothing was manufactured at Rana Plaza, the site of the accident, the Sweden-based retailer is currently "the largest purchaser of garments from Bangladesh." Together with the Gap (which also didn't supply garments from Rana Plaza), H&M was the target of a petition which racked up 900,000 signatures, demanding that the two companies commit to enforcing better labor conditions at overseas factories. (H&M has agreed to sign a legally-binding safety agreement; Gap and Wal-mart are currently drafting an alternate plan.)

H&M CEO Karl-Johan Persson has just given an extensive and pretty interesting interview to the Metro World News in Stockholm, on a wide range of subjects including H&M's manufacturing policies and body diversity in modeling. 

On how ethical production fits into their bottom line:

We’d been able to get a bigger profit if we charged somewhat higher prices and lowered the quality, and if we hadn’t invested many million dollars in sustainability, but this is a way for us of giving back to the customer, and that increases demand.

As a little bit of a fact-check and to give H&M all the credit it's due: the company has taken major steps to invest in eco-friendly initiatives, including launching the Conscious Collection, which is constructed out of sustainable fabrics. And this year, the company joined Nike in publishing a comprehensive list of its suppliers (95%), making it one of the most transparent companies in the industry. 

On model body diversity:

We have a huge responsibility here. We’re a large company, many people see us, and we advertise a lot. I don’t think we’ve always been good. Some of the models we’ve had have been too skinny. That’s something we think a lot about and are working on. We want to show diversity in our advertising and not give people the impression that girls have to look a particular way. By and large, I think we’ve succeeded: we’ve many different kinds of models from different ethnic backgrounds. In our last campaign we had a somewhat more buxom model, and now we’re having Beyoncé, who’s a bit curvier as well. I believe that the models in our advertising should look sound and healthy. There are models who’re too thin or obviously underweight, but there are also those who’re just thin, and they’re the ones we should keep working with, as long as they look sound and healthy. We can get more disciplined, because sometimes there have been mistakes.

Have to eye-roll at Persson for patting himself on the back for taking such a huge risk by photographing megastar Beyonce for an H&M campaign, but the rest of his remarks are pretty impressive. Companies like H&M do have a huge responsibility and can do a lot of good if they're willing to think of their gigantico companies as institutions that sell stuff but also have an impact on the world around them, not just money-sucking vacuum cleaners. 

H&M was recently praised for running a beachwear campaign on the homepage of its website, which featured a plus-size model without fanfare. The company released no press release, included no lame side copy about being sexy at any size, just showed a *really gorgeous* girl with a body type that isn't common in fashion advertising. 

On who uses overseas factories that pay workers minimum wage (like, everyone):

"It’s a common misperception that cheap brands use certain manufacturers and expensive brands use others. We’re one of 30-40 companies buying from many of our suppliers. There are apparel companies that charge their customers low prices, medium prices, and high prices. The workers’ pay is the same regardless of which company is buying. If you look at an H&M top for SEK 99 and then look at one in a different chain that costs SEK 999, many people think, “These workers are much, much better paid.” But their pay is the same. What’s interesting is not the price of the clothing item but what the company does. Don’t trust everything you see and hear in the media, don’t look at the prices. Maybe I sound cocky, but I dare promise that no apparel company in the whole world does as much as H&M. I don’t think customers have that image."

This is very much worth remembering. Companies at every price point manufacture overseas, most often at factories that pay workers minimum wage. Armani is one of the few luxury brands that openly manufactures in China, but plenty of its peers (Prada, Louis Vuitton) work with Asian suppliers and factories on the sly. Same with smaller, mid-market contemporary lines that might seem like they're operating differently: for example, hip Paris-based brands Zadig & Voltaire or Maje "manufacture mainly in countries with low labor costs like Romania, Turkey, Thailand and China." H&M seems like a bad guy because it's so big and visible, because its production cycle and business model is based on customers treating clothing as if it were disposable (Elizabeth Cline's book, Overdressed: The Shockingly High Cost of Cheap Fashion, has been in the news a lot lately), but its manufacturing practices are roughly equivalent to those of most other Western brands. 

Anyway, it's worth reading the full interview

The Buzz Forum Buzz

You Won’t Believe How Amazing Helena Bonham Carter Looks on the Cover of Vogue UK July 2013

Within twelve hours of stumbling across a grainy Instagrammed snapshot of British Vogue's July 2013 cover featuring Helena Bonham Carter photographed by Mert Alas and Marcus Piggott, tFS Forum member vogue28 received a copy of the publication in the mail. In response to the Forums' immediate enthusiasm for the unconventional subject and seemingly impeccable styling and layout, vogue28 scanned it to the boards. It's stunningChanelcouture09 points out that the actress is wearing a dress from Ralph Lauren's Spring 2013 collection. Her feather hair thingy has not yet been identified. Check it out.

The Buzz Forum Buzz The Buzz

Cara Delevingne Stars in Hedi Slimane’s Fall 2013 Campaign for Saint Laurent Paris (Forum Buzz)

Some days, it feels like we’ve morphed into the Cara Delevingne Spot, but in our defense, she is everywhere lately. As much as people love to love, hate, disparage and critique Hedi Slimane’s work for Saint Laurent, his campaigns for the brand have been undeniably captivating. It only makes sense that cool girl Cara would model his latest grunge-inspired collection. She’s the It girl of the moment and she’s got the broody glam vibe down pat.


Of course, forum members had a thing or two to say about the campaign – which also features Cole Smith, and was lensed by Slimane himself (as we’ve come to expect).

“Cara in a campaign is becoming like florals for spring. Hell, that girl is everywhere!” AnaO quipped.

“I’m loving it to be quite honest. There’s something appealing about these images,” Flashbang admitted. 

Cara-5 Cara-9

Kokobombon shared, “I like the melancholy vibe of it. And all the textures, from the model’s hair to the drapes… However, it looks way too ‘angsty teen’ for a high fashion label like Saint Laurent.”

Slimane strayed from his preferred black and white shooting style (just a little bit) for this campaign, incorporating some color images. I think that really works in this campaign’s favor. We’ve gotten so used to seeing things in monotone that even when muted, his color shots feel somewhat vibrant.

Cara-10 Cara-11

“Photos from Hedi with color!!!!! Praise the Lord!” miguelalmeida burst out, before getting philosophical. “Like the concept, seems like she's looking at the future, with the big window open for her to take over the sky, and with the window open comes a new breath of fresh hair (Hedi's creations for the house). That's how I feel about it! LOVE IT!”

Others felt that Cara was miscast and that another model would be a better fit for the campaign. But, Cara is as of-the-moment as it gets. She may have socialite roots, but she’s a model through and through. She wouldn’t have risen so quickly in the business if she didn’t have the chops. For me, this campaign is another win for the brand. Even if I continue to not really care for the clothes. 

Peep some more of the campaign images in the video below.


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