Wednesday, 12 February 2020 11:10

Menswear Product Of The Week Genius Parka

menswear product of the week moncler genius craig green down jacketMoncler Genius is, well, genius. Eight small designer collaborations providing different high fashion, cold weather options for even the fussiest of fashion wanker. What's not to like?

Collection number 5 is by British designer Craig Green who has put his quilted spin on Moncler's quilting. This feels modern, clean and fresh in a market tired of the typical arctic type parkas with fur hoods. I know the daffodils are already out and we think we’ve escaped with a mild winter, so if you don’t wear this this year, then you can always park it and bring it out at the first sign of cold weather at the end of the year.

Left & Below - Moncler Genius - 5 Moncler Craig Green Coolidge Colour-Block Quilted Shell Hooded Down Jacket - £1,260 from MRPORTER

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menswear product of the week moncler genius craig green down jacket

Tuesday, 04 February 2020 17:03

ChicGeek Comment Cool Comfort

AW20 GH Bass Loafers comfort in fashionAt the recent European men’s AW20 fashion weeks and trade shows and there was the perennial talk of what’s next. Branded booths full of fur-trimmed arctic parkas and look-at-me colourful chunky trainers didn’t really give an indication of the next big direction in menswear or fashion in general. Talk of tailoring’s recent return and the variations on the duck boot didn’t really satisfy the over aching question of “What’s the next big trend/idea?”.

Left - GH Bass putting a comfort spin on the classic penny loafer for AW20

When you think about the regular, engaged and fashion buying consumer, what’s the overriding trend of the past decade? It’s comfort. While it started with the dreaded term ‘athleisure’ creeping out of the gym and into people’s wardrobes and then exploded into sportswear, in general, people really connected with the laziness of it all and they’ve got used to it. There’s no going back. Items that are easy to put on, easy to wear, easy to take off, morning to evening, are really the driving force of people’s purchasing decisions. Asking people to be uncomfortable again for fashion’s sake is never going to return. Never. 

You don’t realise how used to uncomfortable we were until you give yourself a rare reminder of what we used to wear. And compared to our historical forefathers it was certainly nothing in comparison to those days of being trussed up like a turkey. Even a regular pair of cotton denim jeans feels uncomfortable and such-an-effort to put on without any stretch and an unelasticated waist. The genderless meeting in the middle of sloppy oversized clothes and sports shoes is the perfect example of all this. When was the last time you saw a women hobbling along in uncomfortable high-heels? And good riddance to that too.

AW20 GH Bass Loafers comfort in fashion Joe Wicks trainers wedding

Sportswear is currently fulfilling this need, and brands with product outside this genre can no longer wait for the pendulum to swing back to them. They have to get involved. For example, GH Bass, long the custodians of the classic, leather men’s penny loafer has incorporated an Air Max type air bubble sole to their shoes for AW20. Okay, so I know we’ve had shoe/trainer hybrids since the early days of Prada Sport in the 1990s, but this is less about trend and more about getting people to make the leap from trainers back to something resembling a traditional shoe, rather than previously the other way aroun

Right - Fitness Influencer Joe Wicks wearing trainers on his wedding day

Every major shoe trend of the last few years has been related to a slipper. Every Croc to Ugg to Vans to slider is basically an outdoor slipper. It’s all about comfort. The JOMO/Netflix Generation are having to be enticed with a outdoor sole just to leave the house and even then it has to feel the same as if they were indoors.

There’s also a psychological thing going on here. If something feels or looks like an effort, then it is instantly rejected by the consumer. Certain items, fabrics and styles are associated with discomfort. People want clothes and accessorises then can forget about, aren’t conscious wearing and are instantly comfortable. Long gone are the days of expecting customers to wear or break something in. For example, there were many hiking boots styles on offer for the Autumn/Winter 20 season, but looking all the many laced eyelets and thought of having to wrench your foot in and out, has you reaching for the nearest tent mule no matter how beautifully patinated or light they are.

While this all relates nicely to the current sportswear domination, and the two go hand-in-hand, this idea will resonate and underpin any future fashion styles or trends. Whether it’s preppy or more formal clothes, the underlying trend will be comfort. There are generations of young people who don’t know anything different. Fashion has to be realistic and the future is comfortable. The visuals can change, the looks will morph, but this macro trend should be the starting point for any brand or designer hoping to appeal to the mass market. You only had to look at fitness guru Joe Wicks getting married in his trainers this past summer to see how far this has all infiltrated formal scenarios. The shoe makers of Northamptonshire must have been crying into their Cherry Blossom when they saw that. But, he obviously wanted to be comfortable on his big day and it also reflected his brand and personality. 

This idea is an overarching trend in fashion. What started with sports could end anywhere. What’s next in fashion nobody's really sure, but one thing’s for sure, it ain’t discomfort.

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Sunday, 02 February 2020 16:10

Dress for Success at the Poker Table

how to dress for successToday poker is a mammoth industry with over 7,653 poker tables in casinos worldwide. It has grown from a casual game that was played behind closed doors and at dedicated tournaments to becoming a global phenomenon encompassing physical establishments and a booming online industry too.

It would be hard to argue against the accessibility of online poker being in no small part responsible for the explosion in popularity. The PPPoker app alone has racked up several million downloads and it offers the integration between virtual and real poker that helps fire the public's interest in the game. Players can now qualify for games in their own home before heading off to locations across the world where they'll have to fight for the prize pot and dress for success at the same time.

From the unusual shades of “Greg 'the Fossilman' Raymer” to the sleek attire of Phil Ivey, every player will approach their poker fashion in a different way. The question is, why should you mind how you dress at the tables and which style will suit you?

What you wear communicates volumes about you as a person and can affect how your opponent will play against you. At the same time, Inc mentioned that your clothing also affects the way you think. For instance, men who wear suits showed an improved ability to see the bigger picture and make sharp financial decisions, since professional attires created social distance, which makes us think in more distant, abstract terms. This is why how you dress for the poker table can have an impact on how you play and how others perceive you.

how to dress for success So for example if you wear a simple suit with a good pair of dress shoes your opponents will think that you take yourself and the game very seriously and it could affect how they play and whether they call your bluff or not. If a suit is just not your style, you can choose to wear a blazer or a sports jacket over a pressed button-up shirt and a pair of canvas or leather sneakers for the same effect. If you want to hide your features, a hoody and dark shades will make it harder for people to notice any physical tics you may have.

Thrive Global explained the importance of wearing comfortable clothing that doesn't sacrifice presentability. This is incredibly important, because not only can the littlest sign of discomfort give away valuable information to your opponents, but the slightest distraction can mean the difference between being focused and suddenly finding yourself out of the game. In addition to dressing smart, it also pays to have additional accessories that can level up your look such as a watch. If you are the type who doesn’t fancy talking with others, you can also bring headphones with you to tune out unwanted poker table chatter.

In poker, as with everything else, it pays to dress the part. You don’t have to look like James Bond to play but it does pay to put some thought into how you dress for the poker table. We hope this guide helps you the next time you find yourself getting ready for a game at the local casino!

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Tuesday, 28 January 2020 16:50

ChicGeek Comment Level Playing Legislation

Environmental legislation copenhagen fashion weekFashion says it gives a shit, we geddit. The greenwashing chorus has reached epic proportions with the majority of brands saying how much they care about the *insert - environment/climatechange/sustainability/recycling/ethical/everything - here*.

The latest round of men’s fashion weeks and trade shows were full of it, but it all feels like tinkering. Fashion brands and companies have done most of the easy and cosmetic cost-saving measures. The difficult and expensive bits will be ignored or pushed onto the back burner unless they are forced to, and this is why legislation is so important. It creates a minimum and also a level playing field for all. It also means, as a consumer, you can be assured that these things should and would be adhered to and what the law is when it comes to these topics. It is a bit Nanny State, but unfortunately it’s the only way to make everybody change and conform. Just look at the tax on plastic bags and also the minimum alcohol pricing in Scotland, it changes behaviours, for the better. Taxes and laws force change and post-Brexit legislation needs to be green focused.

In June 2019, The Environmental Audit Committee published the Government Response to the ‘Fixing Fashion Report: Clothing Consumption and Sustainability’. The report published in February 2019 called on the Government to end the era of throwaway fashion through wide-ranging recommendations covering environmental and labour market practices. All of which were rejected.

Environmental Audit Committee Chair Mary Creagh MP - she has since lost her Labour Wakefield seat to Conservative candidate Imran Khan - said at the time: “Fashion producers should be forced to clear up the mountains of waste they create. The Government has rejected our call, demonstrating that it is content to tolerate practices that trash the environment and exploit workers despite having just committed to net zero emission targets.

“The Government is out of step with the public who are shocked by the fact that we are sending 300,000 tonnes of clothes a year to incineration or landfill. Ministers have failed to recognise that urgent action must be taken to change the fast fashion business model which produces cheap clothes that cost the earth.”

On workers’ rights Mary Creagh said: “We presented the Government with the evidence that it has failed to stop garment workers in this country being criminally underpaid, despite its claim that the number of national minimum wage inspectors has increased.

“The public has a right to know that the clothes they buy are not produced by children or forced labour, however the Government hasn’t accepted our recommendations on the Modern Slavery Act to force fashion retailers to increase transparency in their supply chains.”

The report recommended a new ‘Extended Producer Responsibility’ (EPR) scheme to reduce textile waste with a one penny charge per garment on producers. No detail on when EPR scheme for textiles will be introduced; consultation could run as late as 2025. Ban on incinerating or landfilling unsold stock that can be reused or recycled. Rejected. Government considers positive approaches are required to find outlets for waste textiles rather than simply imposing a landfill ban. Mandatory environmental targets for fashion retailers with a turnover above £36 million. Not accepted. Government points to environmental savings made by a voluntary industry-led programme but fails to address evidence from WRAP (Waste and Resources Action Programme) that the impact of increased volumes of clothing being sold outweighs efficiency savings made on carbon and water.

The fashion industry must come together to set out their blueprint for a net zero emissions world, reducing their carbon consumption back to 1990 levels. Not accepted. Government points to support for the voluntary Sustainable Clothing Action Plan (SCAP), co-ordinated by WRAP with the industry working towards targets to reduce carbon emissions, water and waste. The scheme should reward fashion companies that design products with lower environmental impacts and penalise those that do not. Not accepted. Govt will focus on tax on single-use plastic in packaging, not clothing. The report called on the Government to use the tax system to shift the balance of incentives in favour of reuse, repair and recycling to support responsible fashion companies. Not accepted.

The rejections go on. The report made 18 recommendations covering environmental and labour practices. Many are these are common sense and could be the catalyst for big changes. Relying on voluntary actions is slower and is harder to measure.

Somebody needs to pick up the mantle from Creagh and force this through a post-Brexit parliament. If the government won’t even accept even one penny on each item sold to make the producer more responsible for the end of life of a garment then it feels like they are deaf to all suggestions until we all start to shout. Creagh MP, told The Industry’s inaugural ‘Fashion Futures Forum’ in Nov. 2018. “Fashion is the third biggest industry in the world after cars and electronics. If it carries on the way it’s growing we just won’t have enough planetary resources.”

It’s Copenhagen Fashion Week, this week, and they are trying to make it the go-to destination for sustainable fashion. “Highly ambitious goals are required to leverage the influence and impact of Copenhagen Fashion Week” said CEO, Cecilie Thorsmark. It has launched an action plan requiring participating brands to meet minimum sustainability requirements by 2023. If the brands don’t make the environmental cut then they won’t be eligible to show. There is a list of 17 standards to meet. Some examples are pledging not to destroy unsold clothes, using at least 50% certified, organic, up-cycled or recycled textiles in all collections, using only sustainable packaging and zero-waste set designs for shows.

“All industry players – including fashion weeks – have to be accountable for their actions and be willing to change the way business is done. The timeframe for averting the devastating effects of climate change on the planet and people is less than a decade, and we’re already witnessing its catastrophic impacts today. Put simply, there can be no status quo,” said Thorsmark.

The ‘Sustainability Action Plan 2020-2022’ presents how the event will transition to becoming more sustainable, for example by reducing its climate impact by 50% and rethinking waste systems in all aspects of event production, with zero waste as the goal by 2022.  Copenhagen is looking at every little detail, they say they will always 'prioritise' selecting sustainable options for supplies, including organic, vegetarian and preferably locally sourced food and snacks, sustainable beverages, no single-use plastic cutlery, straws or tableware, the most environmentally friendly buses available and electric cars. They have stopped using goodie bags and stopped producing new seasonal staff uniforms.

Copenhagen Fashion Week’s own operations have been climate compensated and they support two Verified Carbon Standard and Climate Community and Biodiversity Alliance Gold Level projects through Rensti, respectively tree planting (Tist) and forest conservation (Kariba). They have offset the flights and hotel accommodation of Copenhagen Fashion Week’s invited international guests, their official opening dinner, the press busses (including the organic food and beverages served on the buses), logo stickers for cars and they run a climate-neutral website.

The Scandinavians are leaders here, but other fashion weeks will quickly follow suit. As for fashion businesses, no business wants to be wasteful, it’s a cost saving to be more efficient, but the easy stuff has been done. It’s time to get hardcore and only governments will have the power. The law is the law. When standards are defined in law then there is a understandable definite. Consumers won’t trust anything else.

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mint green menswear trends SS20 Robyn LynchThe past few years have given us so many trends, which, for the most part, have died as quickly as you can say supreme dabbing fidget spinner. Although there are some that seem to be everlasting, such as normcore and climate campaigns, there are so many others that are doomed to die in 2020 and beyond.

Left - Looking mint! Robyn Lynch SS20 from #LFWM

Looking forward to this new roaring decade, we look to uncover which are the top trends set to last well into the 2020s

1. Pastel Shades 

Say goodbye to millennial pink. The colour was first seen in 2011, in the famous Celine collection and since exploded. It can now be seen everywhere from handbags and shoes to interiors and technology.

However, the trend forecaster WGSN has predicted a new colour will take over in 2020, the pastel green shade ‘neo mint’. The reason that this colour is predicted to be so popular is due to its veracity; ‘it seemed to open the doors for any colour to be popular among both genders, and neo mint has the softness that millennial pink had’ WGSN describes ‘it can be translated into any type of design.’ 

2. Online Gaming 

A study on gaming behaviour by the digital association Bitkom shows how big of a trend the activity was in 2019. ‘Of the 1,224 people surveyed aged 16 and over, almost half are involved in video games - regardless of gender. Thus 45% of men and 41% of women play video games’. 

The huge popularity of video games makes it a trend that is set to last well into the next few decades. While the traditional controller games are likely to be replaced to those accessible on mobile devices like online slots games.

3. Gender Fluid Fashion  

In the past few years, the fashion environment has been seen to be embracing gender fluidity. Not only have there been some stunning gender-fluid red carpet looks, but fashion brands themselves are offering a growing range of nongendered items. 

This is a trend set to grow hugely in the coming decade; the climate around it perfect for designers to play with, colours, silhouette and materials. 

4. A Greater Awareness to the Ethics of Fashion 

The past few decades have seen the boom and subsequent rebellion against the fast fashion industry. With 2020 set to be the decade of climate awareness, it really is no surprise that fast fashion brands are set to take a hit. 

Trends have been forecast to reflect this growing awareness by moving into the prioritisation of longevity over instant access. Meaning that both vintage, ethical, and top quality outlets are predicted to thrive over the coming decade. 

5. Wellness 

The past decade saw the explosion of the concept of wellness, the industry itself became a big market player and the increased conversation about mental health is set to keep growing in the 2020s

Wellness is set to grow in many different areas, from the adoption of mindful practices by businesses to the increase of apps and physical activities.

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