Fresh Channel

Excited to see the new business structure for Warehouse, and what it will do for the business! Having been a part for Aurora Fashions for 4 years and continuing to be a part of the company in Head Office, I am always interested to see how its adapts and moves forward!

http://www.retail-week.com/companies/aurora/aurora-fashions-restructure-what-do-retailers-need-to-know/5047039.article

Rana Plaza

This isn’t recent news in the retail industry but having watched a BBC documentary a couple of months back, its message is still apparent and important to get out there. Watching the documentary was heart breaking and it showed how greed values profit more than human life. No-one should die for fashion and the worst thing is that it was completely avoidable. I highly recommend watching it.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-27107860

Cotton Industry : Aurora Fashions Ltd

Previous stigma of ethical fashion being presumed as dingy, second hand fabrics are becoming a thing of the past and fashion and textile industries have come a long way since the early noughties. A particular company that I have had a keen interest in seeing their involvement in social, economic issues is Aurora Fashions – the name for Coast, Oasis, Warehouse and previously Karen Millen. Having worked for two of the brands, and soon Warehouse too, I feel it has been important to me to think about the development of their products.

In a university module looking at Sustainability, I learnt about the second biggest country for cotton trade – Uzbekistan, mainly in relation to their failed fish industry due to their cotton industry, which has resulted in irrigation for land and soil and child labour. Western countries can help by refusing to purchase from Uzbekistan, so I was therefore pleased to see that Aurora Fashions have banned buying cotton from Uzbekistan. The cheap labour and therefore the cheap retail price, appeals to the end consumer and history has shown that we are generally unwilling to spend more. Education about sustainability needs to expand, especially on the cotton industry. Organic cotton is obviously the better option, but the rate of growth through organic means will never be enough to cater for the demand for cotton.

Despite the video below being 7 years old, it is still just as relevant today.
White Gold: The True Cost of Cotton:

V&A: The Glamour of Italian Fashion exhibition

I loved this exhibition at the V&A museum, and although no photos, notes or sketches were allowed to be taken during the exhbition, I thought carefully about what caught my attention afterwards:

I absolutely loved the jewellery on display worn by Elizabeth Taylor – diamond and emerald, necklace, ring and a brooch she wore as a hair accessory, they were given by two of her husband’s at different time in which one of her husband’s, Richard Burton once said: “The only word Elizabeth knows in Italian is ‘Bulgari,’”.

I paid particular attention to what was written on the behaviour of buyers during the 1950s – 60s era, looking at what caught the attention of buyers and where they travelled to and from internationally. I found this really interesting, especially the scale they were going to and from during this era and the power of italian fashion has on buyers at this time.

Roberto Cavalli, a renowned italian designer had some of his work displayed. He is acknowledged for his work with leather and I especially like the printed leather, in which a dark brown had white and green print work on its surface.

As the exhibition progressed, it brought the viewer’s to modern times – I loved the work of Fausto Puglisi, which had a blue palm tree print top combined with gold embellishment over the top. It stayed very true to the italian style but with the moden trends in mind.

A short video clip was shown at the very end in which different perspectives of the future of the italian industry were given by different employees in fashion. It mainly aimed to answer: what will ‘Made in Italy’ mean in the future? It spoke about economical, social issues in Italy today, as well as mentioning how the government don’t really support the work of the fashion industry, yet the amount of money it brings to the country doesn’t suffice this. It’s all take and no give.

About the exhbibition: http://www.vam.ac.uk/content/exhibitions/exhibition-the-glamour-of-italian-fashion-1945-2014/inside-the-exhibition/

interesting video from the Director of Bulgari: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DgeY1-d67U4

CSR: Marks & Spencer and Christopher Raeburn

I’m always interested to know about fashion company’s responsibilities in ethical, environmental, social issues and am always on the look out to see how they do it. Obviously a large corporate company which is renowned for their work into this area is M&S with their ‘Plan A’ scheme. Their previous Head of Sustainability at M&S, Mark Sumner now works in the School of Design at my university, so I am keen to ask him more about his time at M&S and how they worked.

I also was recently looking at menswear and womenswear designer Christopher Raeburn on their website, where I came across a video about sustainability. One of the ladies in the video mentioned that she believes the bigger the retailer, the bigger the responsibility they have towards sustainable fashion, so I think its great that Christopher Raeburn, who is on a smaller, more exclusive scale is incorporating this in his collections. Having worked with Christopher Raeburn it was so interesting to see the choice of fabrics and remade fabrics (especially for example, their decommissioned parachutes being used as the basis of a bomber jacket), and loved seeing how they thought about their fabric choices for the development of their products.

Here’s a link to an interview with Mark Sumner and a link to the video on Christopher Raeburn’s website: http://urbantimes.co/2012/06/mark-sumner-of-ms-there-is-no-plan-b-when-it-comes-to-sustainability/

http://www.christopherraeburn.co.uk/about