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Vietnam-Based Designer goes Worldwide with crowdfunding

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How many Vietnamese brands can you name except the informal international NGUYEN diaspora? Not many, but things are going to change. Rice Creative team, a branding and creative agency based in Ho Chi Minh City (currently hosting Boulevardier co-founder VQ) has been monitoring the pulse of creative and exportable businesses in Vietnam for a few years and coined a term defining a new wave of creators destined to make a hit worldwide: “Neue Vietnam”.

Among this handful of relevant brands making their way on the international scene is found Linda Mai Phung. The french-born designer has been developing a womenswear designer brand for 5 years and is now looking to expand. Their first round of fundsraising is crowd-oriented, while preparing to welcome private equity investors. These latter are still discovering the market that hosts Linda Mai Phung and things will pick up in the coming months, but the brand is already set to start an ambitious growth.

Defended successfully for 5 years on limited funds, the brand has been recognized with awards and press coverage in Europe.

In this unique configuration, Linda Mai Phung is turning to fashion-savvy consumers and activists to support her brand development.

Our editorial team is taking a specific interest in this campaign, as it has followed the brand’s activity for a while and has found its potential unlimited, should relevant funds be raised. Talent and ethical vision cohabitate in this singular brand profile. Authenticity and metropolitan style adequacy are still rare on the market, as is the opportunity to invest in such promising brand.

Discover Linda Mai Phung brand in the video below, and click on this photo to learn more about the Ulule crowdfunding campaign currently running for the brand.

Bet with us and make a difference on the fashion scene! The course of future fashion is ours to set.

 

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What’s the value of Paris in fashion?

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We had a pretty interesting debate this week. As Lilzeon was chasing some opinions about a British denim brand, we had a feedback from one of our friends (who happens to work in luxury) saying that this brand is like Province vs Paris.

It was obviously intended to tackle the obsolete image of this British brand with a sarcastic shortcut. To explain that basically, this brand is no longer “desirable”.

The thing is that opposing Paris and “countryside” is a bit random. Lyon, Marseille now have a pretty strong “touch”, overpassing Paris on some fields. Think about Simon Jacquemus for instance.

But still, what is at stake is this notion of desire. Of fantasy that Paris is supposedly owning worldwide. This “desiring” is more and more challenged; recently, this approach was challenged by a Parisian who’s highly followed at the moment, Caroline de Maigret, mentioning that being Parisian is to look always “fuckable. You already know what we think about it: we hate it.

Fashion is an ever-going competition. So let’s consider Paris as if we were football journalists.

For the defenders: Paris is highly photo-likeable. You just have to check Instagram hashtag to get it. You see people proud of living there, of being part of it. En être as we say in French. Paris, it’s only 2 million inhabitants vs 8 million in London. A concentration of hype, trendsetters, trend discoverers. And Paris launched many new brands: Pigalle, Kitsuné, Brooklyn “Parle Français”. REPRESENT. Thanks to the suburbs maybe? Lacoste had to digest for 10 years its new roots before organizing parties in a streetculture hub, Citadium, close to Les Grands Boulevards.

For the midfield players, Paris identity is shaking. Were we born Parisian? Or do we become Parisian. Then, are we so welcome in Paris? Not really. The city of lights is not famous for service nor bartenders. Not to mention underground passengers, sometimes perceived as crazy dogs full of whims. And when you see Châtelet Les Halles! Parisian hate the multicoloured youth, coming straight from suburbs. While all TV producers are arranging their casting and scouting there. Châtelet les Halles is the real centre of Paris. On its right, Le Marais, known for its gay-friendly places which also starts the Bobo-land. On its left, an emptiness from Concorde or Place Vendôme to Champs Elysées, hated by the “real” Parisian. And we won’t talk about North or South: for Parisian, the world is not up and down.

For the strikers – so to conquer the world – it’s a mess. To score would require that we know who we are. In an astonishing study led by Jean-Gilles Cahn, an economist for CCI Paris, the conclusions are very clear: Paris does not know how to handle its multiple facets:

“Today, Paris as a name does not constitute a brand (…) because it lacks a strategic management dimension”

 

Even worse: we’ve discovered that more than “10 000 brands or websites have “Paris” in their names or directly evoke Paris (monuments, neighbourhoods,famous streets…)”. A real dissolution of Paris essence in a bunch of vague brands.

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It’s strange, this so Parisian trend to be both very proud of being part of Paris and to be frustrated about it.

It would be time to reimagine Paris as a cultural hub for a worldwide youth.

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What’s so great about Instagram? An interview with Kristen Joy Watts, Community Team, Art and Fashion Lead at Instagram

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Fashion Weeks used to be a closed network, with buyers and happy journalists. It Girls were fighting for the FROW. But with Social Media and more specifically Instagram, there’s a brand new playground in which new public and new communities gather. It’s not the Front Row that matters anymore, but the backstage, the making-of, the secret stories propagated and shaped by makers. An ongoing and perpetual reinvention of fashion, which goes beyond conventions and traditional rules. Instagram is our favourite social network (you can follow Vu Quan & lilzeon and his new project). It’s a goldmine to wander around others’ dreams and through people ideas.

Instagram, it’s the reality and the perception of this reality.

We had a chance to chitchat with Kristen Joy Watts, Community Team, Art and Fashion Lead at Instagram to share few ideas, crushes, vision about the network.

Let’s go, in, sta, gram.

Instagram has become one of the ‘places to be’ for fashion brands as well as for fashion enthusiasts. Is there a risk of creating a ‘snacking culture’ for brands that are more luxury oriented?

There is a lot of fashion storytelling on Instagram that is light and fun and fast. We also see really sophisticated, unforgettable storytelling from the fashion community, whether Landon Nordeman’s (@landonnordeman) Instagram-first fashion week coverage for The Cut:

#theCutPFW @rickowensonline Rehearsal #pfw for @thecut #eiffeltower #jaimeparis

A photo posted by Landon Nordeman (@landonnordeman) on

…or Richie Talboy (@okrichie) and Lucas Lefler’s (@lucas_lefler) #emptyrunway series for Vanity Fair. In France too there is a growing community of inspiring creatives on Instagram, from Carin Olsson (@parisinfourmonths) to Tiffany Cooper (@tiffanycooper_) to Simon Portes Jacquemus (@jacquemus). Fashion houses, publications and individuals all over the world look to them for inspiration.

"GRIS" #JACQUEMUS FIRST PRE/COLLECTION / @harleyweir @jamesvaleri @aninevanvelzen

A photo posted by SIMON PORTE JACQUEMUS (@jacquemus) on


We are noticing some emerging trends in the network à la Tumblr (such as pro-ANA movements that are creating support groups) and that you have started to recruit people in order to identify and share the community with the world. How do you identify creative community members ? Do you have dedicated tools and contacts with them?

The Community Team at Instagram was created to discover and elevate the most amazing people and storytelling on Instagram. Our small but mighty team has members in Tokyo, London, Moscow, São Paulo, San Francisco and, of course, New York, where I am based. We celebrate the community on Instagram from North Korea to Nebraska. My discovery process involves everything from research on Instagram to asking everyone I meet if there’s anyone they’ve discovered who I need to know about. I always find amazing people when I’m in Paris.

Success is hard to achieve and gaining numerous followers is a lot of work on Instagram. However, some companies such as Instabrand are created with a view to manage Instagram’s talents. What advice would you give to a talent that is starting on Instagram and wants to join the tribe of very followed accounts?

For us, Instagram is all about the fun of sharing your story and discovering amazing people to follow. Here are a few best practices for someone who’s just starting out. First, tell a consistent story. Second, follow some people you know, some people you don’t know and some people you just discovered (for example, I follow many people in fashion and art but I also follow a florist in Moscow and a lifestyle photographer who captures wonderful images of his two Newfoundland dogs. Finally, connect with other people. This can be through likes and comments or even through meeting in person for coffee or an InstaMeet. The InstaMeet phenomenon, whereby Instagrammers meet in a location to take pictures of scenes which inspire them, allows the community to come together and share their passions and creative processes in new, real relationships with others.

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John Galliano, maybe back on track but not freed from fashion zoo

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Remember when Suzy Menkes was lecturing us on the fact that fashion bloggers were strange animals in a strange fashion circus? And that we were bringing it down?

LAUGHING OUT LOUD.

Because you really had to see the 100 ultra-VIPs, who were invited to see John Galliano’s come back in London for (or through shall we say!?) Maison Martin Margiela. Most of them were obviously already present when John Galliano was found guilty of anti-Semitic Paris rants few years ago. Once fired by Dior, they did not hesitate to shoot again on this “anti-Semetic drunk”.

That was the spirit of the fashion entre soi, up until  Anna Wintour decided that she had so much power that she could revert any fashion journalist mind in a minute. We’re not talking champagne thus, but really influence. And fear. Thanks to her, John Galliano was then re-accepted among a selected bunch of fashionistas. And in a certain way, imposed in the media timeline. House of Cards is not very far…Aye aye! The fact is that the circus might have accepted this come-back…but that the lion is still pacing up like a lion in a cage.

Forgiving does not mean breaking creative knees

We were personally expecting a lot from John Galliano: because he made us dream a lot with his theatrical shows; in 2000s, Galliano had already understood that fashion is not about catwalk but about entertainment. And that fashion has a very important role to play at the society level. Something highly important as he was playing his game during super models’ era.

Galliano the iconoclast did not hesitate to compare a dress made of newsprint with beggars, in an ultra cheeky way ”Some of these people are like impresarios, their coats worn over their shoulders and their hats worn at a certain angle. It’s fantastic” and to mock Parisian bourgeois of the 20s and 30s who were trying to dress like them. Hipster-bashing was born with the kid of Gibraltar.

 

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So what remains from this irreverence which made him flirt with the worst? Let’s face it: we’re not convinced. The proof is that every single article or report about this collection talk about…the business context in which Maison Martin Margiela (renamed Maison Margiela between! RIP Martin!) instead of analyzing the pieces. The collection is neither Galliano, neither Margiela. It’s a conservative balance. Do we need that in fashion at the moment? After a super-flat LC:M, we wonder.

We need to mention – again – this good old Kanye West. Maison Margiela did an amazing collaboration with the “5th Element” of the new fashion loop of influence for his Tour:

Whereas it’s no longer just a trend to repeat that since 2011, fashion appears in the street, then street feeds fashion design, it’s like if the Fashion Circus Establishment still prefers to focus on fallen faces of another century than highlighting current outsiders. Or maybe they just don’t get them.

Print press is at the very core of this fashion embargo: pop culture is no longer just a gimmick but the essence of fashion and design.

 

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I Can’t Breathe. With Comic or Sans?

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While the #icantbreathe protest campaign gets traction following NBA superstars involvement and a hint of Jay Z support, some observers have started issuing judgements on the quality of the action. This Hypebeast post will attest to the extent of the “outrage”. (Haters gotta hate)

Everyone will have to admit – well, apparently not these guys – that Comic Sans was not the best font to convey the message protesting the aftermath of the sad and upsetting Eric Garner affair. While notorious stars such as Jay Z and LeBron James have invested heavily money or their name into designed collaborations with clothing/sportswear brands (Rocawear, Nike…) resulting in quite decent and even outstanding design and impact on the communities, one can admittedly raise a (uni)brow at this quite amateur roll-out. Proof here:

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But designers with an engaged will to make the world better have decided to help, and have come up with alternate visuals to vehiculate the cause. I Can’t Breathe is a serious social affair, and obviously deserves an appropriate effort. Here it is. Guys and girls out there, please share. Surpassing the style, the context and the political statement at hand matters. Black lives matter. All lives matter. We hope to contribute to change, somehow, here, now. #fashioncanchangetheworld

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AllSaints, Dripping by Blonde Redhead: a blend of beats, outfits and underground vibes

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Every morning, I walk through Commercial Street, where AllSaints Spitalfields faces a legendary pub, and a very sought-after fish-n-shop boutique. In the middle of this East London corner, you can smell leather, rock’n roll, and this thirst for more.

Actually, people wearing AllSaints clothing can’t be that bad; despite the mystic fuss around the brand these days; his godfathers keep the edgy traits, as this collaboration with Blonde Redhead illustrates. The 21-year long career of the trio demonstrates that AllSaints don’t invest in shouting stars but in talents who deeply mean something more. The latest album of the trio, Barragán (same name as Luis Barragán, known for his clean lines and raw materials) is a tribute to a dreamy art-punk, hypnotic music. Guitarist/vocalist Amedeo Pace, drummer Simone Pace, and guitarist/vocalist Kazu Makino bring us off tempo for a nice journey.

 

 

KAZU WEARS: Elm Leather Legging, £498, Elise Shirt, £138, Reya Blazer, £258 and Camden Boot, £158 // AMEDEO WEARS: Conroy Leather Biker Jacket, £358, Stove Chinos, £78 and Refute Crew T-shirt, £30

// SIMONE WEARS: Monceau Shirt, £118, Crow Cigarette Jeans, £88

 

More about Blonde Redhead:

website: http://blonde-redhead.com/barragan/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/blonderedhea

Instagram: http://instagram.com/harrymakino

Barragán: https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/bar…

Watch more from AllSaints Studios: http://www.allsaints.com/studios/

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Is this the most boring fashion film ever?

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Chanel just released a video called Reincarnation, directed by You-Know-Who, featuring Happy Hat and Hot Brows (no, not Anthony Davis, come on!) as well as little Charlotte. Karl is name-dropping faster than Jay-Z now…

Here are three reasons to save 7:46 minutes of your day and skip this “buzzful” video showing Pharrell Williams and Cara Delevingne perform a contemporary musical number.

1) The intro scene looks like a cheap version of what Wes Anderson would have pulled as the most symmetrical and perfectly set back-travelling movement in the history of cinema.

2) Editing and framing gimmicks feel like borrowed from french and british tv shows. Meaning too many close-up shots of unseasoned comedians (maybe a play to make the most of the money put into them famous faces?), and hazardous cuts.

3) And maybe what will be remembered as the most anecdotical piece of musical work from Pharrell Williams. Let’s admit the CC loop gives it a groove, but the overall commissioned track sounds like Christmas music for a mall somewhere in Vermont.

You don’t believe us? Suit yourself, here is the most boring fashion film ever.

 

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Sweatpants sold 175 euros. Swagger has a price.

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So sitting here in Ho Chi Minh City, I’m finally back online shopping as my stock of pants is running dangerously low and old. A couple of raw denim picks from A.P.C. later, I’m stumbling on AMI sweatpants – most regular: cotton and polyester, black, no special feature whatsoever, tagged at 170 euros. Seriously. These.

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Sure, designer Alexandre Mattiussi won the Grand Prize at ANDAM in 2013, but does it make a black pair of sweatpants worth 170 euros?

I’m still wondering how the menswear market went from blooming with authenticity, craft, proper added value to pure commercial premium based on trends influence – heavily shelled by online behemoths such as Hypebeast of course…

Anyhow, another pair slightly justifies its price better. 140 euros for the coolness of the Etudes Studio oversized inscription. Fair enough. The game is the game.

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The “matching outfit” trend: the new fashion couples?

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Since February 2012 and Valentine’s day in Korea, a massive trend is booming: couples are now wearing the same outfits. Led by K-drama, the “matching couples” are everywhere on Instagram or an popular Asian social networks.

A love game

Making a pullover “match” with our lover’s one is obviously cute. But not only: it’s also a way to diffuse a certain softness, a nice attitude to your close friends. In France, youth magazine Néon explains that it’s a way to create a sort of moving bubble, protective from the surrounding world. As this matching is very appealing and very visual, it’s also a way to exacerbate the individualities of the two lovers.

Tatto culture, an inspiration for “matching couples”

The matching outfits phenomenon is very influenced by tattoo culture. Without promoting clichés, tattoos can be a “mark”, a footprint of someone we love. In this case, outfits are temporary demonstration of attachment to someone; everyday, patterns can change, rejuvenating the couple image…therefore its fuel. Isolated, one of the two lovers might just be an original chap. But together, the couple becomes a motif.

© Jessicahtliang Instagram

Instagram: self-reinvention, couple-reinvention

As we daily tell our lives and highlight a lot of our selves, this “matching outfits” game is very Instagram-friendly; the couple can become a digital mosaic for friends or followers. This little world can like the couple, taking part in the love project to a certain extent. It’s also a form of loyalty: an individual can therefore feed this couple culture. In 2014, Pharell Williams and his wife Helen Lasichanh were probably one the most visible “matching couple”.

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