FRENN: A Sophisticated Pair from Finland

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FRENN was founded in 2013 by Helsinki-based fashion and textile designers Antti Laitinen and Jarkko Kallio. They decided to put their experience in fashion, PR, and menswear together and pair up with each other.

They interviewed 20 men who are not related to the fashion industry. They asked them what they would like to have to get into the mindset of their potential customers.

Finally, the two designer gave birth to FRENN that takes its inspiration from Helsinki and its off-the-beaten-path ambiance. It’s a twilight zone of urban life and raw nature.

If there’s one word to describe Helsinki and its people, it’s real. They say what they mean. They do what they say. They still have a sense of humor; they’re a fun bunch. But an innate honesty informs everything they do.

FRENN creates comfortable, casual, tailored menswear that are expertly detailed and ethically produced. The spirit is Scandinavian, with a strong independent streak. Further more, quality fabrics are sourced from suppliers in Italy, Austria, Spain and Portugal, utilizing organic and Öko-Tex Standard 100-certified materials as often as possible.

Their design features sharp contemporary urban apparel, which underlines and emphasizes man’s true beauty. They create laid-back, tailored menswear to keep men looking sharp through all the quirks of real life. Their spirit is Scandinavian, with a strong independent streak.

FRENN have 2010 likes on Facebook, 1126 followers on Instagram, still quite a new brand to the people in the United States

Kit Woo: Androgynously Fancy

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Kit Woo grew up in a small town in Malaysia without much exposure in fashion. He however has tremendous interest in the world of art and design. Deciding to dive headfirst into fashion design, Kit took a 2-year Advanced Diploma course majoring in apparel design and merchandising in First Media Design School, Singapore.

 

During his education in Singapore, Woo interned with two companies at the same time, a menswear design trading company, Green Lite Trading, and as an assistant professor at First Media Design School.

After completing his diploma, Woo catapulted himself to the United States of America, and attended Pratt Institute, majoring in Fashion Design. During the course of his education, he has interned for Melitta Baumeister, Public School, and volunteered as back stage dresser at New York fashion Week.

Woo’s aesthetic speaks to both men and women, and has a strong sense of the androgynous characteristic. He believes that rules are meant to be broken, but to break the tradition of dressmaking, one must first learn it.

 

His aesthetic challenges the whole notion of the “right fit” and rejects the “sexiness” that everyone is striving for. Dressing away from the body projects modesty and coolness with a hint of mystery. When it comes to trends, he considers himself as a late bloomer. To exercise his creativity, he always asks, ‘Why do I not like certain things and how can I make it likable?’ He said he can never consider himself as a designer because he will always be learning and growing.

Les D’Arcs: A Scarf that Makes the Look

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Les D’Arcs is a new fashion label from Berlin. It was founded by Anna Ingensand and Jess Kahlke, who started the label one and a half years ago by initially designing the first scarf for themselves. The feedback to their first scarf gave them the idea for the company. The reactions they recieved were so amazing that they dared to envision building a business around their passion.
Through the label, they create unique scarves & shawls that are more than just an accessory; they impart the feeling of a fashionable everyday armor. Les D’Arcs combines skilfully classic elegance with functional design in their classic look.

Their scarf collection features unconventional closure systems such as a leather strap and brass loop as well as secret push buttons. Most products are made of two fabrics including their customized anti-peeling fleece lining, which creates a cozy feeling while protecting you against the weather. The materials mix on the outside ranges from Italian virgin wool, cashmere to heavy knit, leather and metal elements for an elegant roughness.
The two designers believe in unisex designs, not the antiquated separation between the sexes.
Since then Les D’Arcs has evolved into something they never imagined. During Fashion Week Berlin in January 2015, they were able to secure orders from 38 shops throughout Europe. The next step moving forward will be to design a spring/summer collection and step into new markets outside of Germany including the US, UK, Scandinavia and the rest of the EU.

 

 

Alasdair: Being Wrapped by Silk

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Enduring color palettes, the omission of pattern and posturing detail, bold shapes or angles that demand attention without distraction? It seems to be hard to decide the culminating factors that serve a classic piece of womenswear. Since the valiant birth of Alasdair, designer April Johnson’s work has embraced these traits with grace and manifested them with her favorite fabric, silk.

Emerging from a stylist, working with publications that include Vanity FairNew York Magazine, and Rolling Stone, Johnson’s chic take on wearable pieces has stood out from the material mire. It’s fitting that she lives in one of New York’s coolest neighborhoods, the Gowanus, a part of Brooklyn that has fast become the stomping ground for many of New York’s most design savvy creative types.

“The experience of dressing other people has taught me that it is the details or the fabrics and the cuts of the clothing that make you feel luxurious. I found that most women and men in my life are looking for timeless staples in their closets. That is the inspiration of Alasdair.” Johnson said, as she explained how her original garments were made purely for herself, and then for friends, before striding down a commercial avenue.

Given that she began her career as an accessories editor at Vogue, it’s hardly surprising that Johnson is a fan of black, navy and neutrals – the perfect shades to set off pops of color and shimmering add-ons. And as far as fabrics go, her attitude is effortless elegance. “I think silk is my favorite,” she said. The importance of ease and wearability permeates through the cuts and curves of her garments – pantsuits and plunging necklines, which look equally at home on runway models and boardroom beauties as any laissez-faire ladies about town.

Her understanding of the needs of women and their wardrobes is both innate and learned from her years of servicing the stylish bluster of glossy pages and catwalks. And it has stood her in good stead, with Alasdair inviting wide eyes from Europe – the label dominated a Selfridges window display in London this April. “That was really lovely,” said Johnson. “It is so fantastic to see Alasdair cross the pond”

 

 

 

Alessandro Trincone: Androgynous Identity Comes to Fashion

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Alessandro Trincone graduated on December 2012 in Rome, Italy, at the “Universita’ La Sapienza di Roma” in Science of Fashion and costume before he went to”POLIMODA International Institute of Fashion Design & Marketing” in Fashion Design. With honors, his graduation design Kings and Queers, was selected to be the best of POLIMODA’s graduation works at that year. Inspired by the figure of Pulcinella, the icon of his home city, Naples, he says “Both of us had problems integrating into society. We have never been fully understood and people made fun of us and the way we dressed.” In these creations, Alessandro wants to give a message to the world, to make his presence felt, to let his whole person emerge.” This all translates as a menswear collection, Kings and Queers, which perfectly reflects the designer’s essence, transforming bad memories from his past into a series of harmonious items that are rich with floral decorations. The flower is in fact inspired by a vintage garment belonging to his mother, and is now seen in the de-constructed silhouettes of his creations, which still preserve their masculine feel thanks to the use of sartorial fabrics.

On February 2016 in Osaka, Japan, Alessandro took a scholarship at “Osaka Bunka Fashion College” in Fashion Design. After that, his design was impacted in a great extent by Japanese culture. This is shown in another of his collections: “Annodami”, which talks about his own experience with oppression and self fulfillment. Being raised in a socially rough environment, Alessandro has always found it a challenging issue to express himself.  He has gradually understood the importance of loving oneself as it is the only real protection from “evilness”. Alessandro believes people are only able to stand against fear with a crystal clear reflection of their inner selves .


From his collection, you can find Japanese elements such as the Ban Gasa, sushi and the Japanese flag. Through the study of the Kosode trousers and traditional kimonos, Alessandro built a bridge between his Napolitan sartorial heritage and the Nippon culture, a culture clash expressed through overly draped garments, very tight waists, knots and bows.

Alessandro has a deep belief of no-gender boundaries between men and women, which is reinforced by the androgynous identity of his inspirational garments. The feminine side of every male is explicitly shown through the whole collection, hoping to introduce a new meaning of masculinity, far from the traditional imagery society has carried through time.

The only public social media of Alessandro Trincone is Instagram which has 1354 followers. The content includes his works as well as his daily life.

The brand is apparently infused many personalities and spirits of the designers. Some of the outfits are not wearable in the graduation collection while most of the outfit are wearable in the second collection. That means our designer is balancing himself between avant garde and ready-to-wear

Omer Asim: the Mixer

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The Mixer, I’m sure you are wondering where that name comes from. The reason I call him the mixer is because a designer with a background as thoroughly mixed as Omer Asim is quite unusual in the fashion industry. Born and raised in Sudan, he moved to London to enroll in the Bartlett School of Architecture. After that, he completed a postgraduate at the London School of Economics and Political Science. He then trained as a psychoanalyst with the United Nations Development Program, and eventually turned his hand to fashion through a string of internships with the likes of notables such as Vivienne Westwood. A mixture of architect, economist, politician, psychoanalyst and fashion designer defines what Omer Asim is, hence the moniker: The Mixer.

The beauty of Omer Asim’s designs comes from his sartorial skills, conceptual cuts, and simplistic colour scheme of black, white, navy, browns and greys that allows the design of each garment shine through. His cuts are sharp and unexpected, but still manage to incorporate volume. He skillfully designs and sews with his own hands, striving to create a characteristic style through layering fabric and texture. And one thing that is worth-mentioning is that he does not use high-tech machines to sew or cut his material. This man with a handcrafting obsession only does it himself or asks his trusted and skilled intern to do it by hand.

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Another unique aspect of his design is that it is non descript of gender, which makes his work hard to pigeonhole. He is unconcerned with gender, preferring to work with a black template when he makes his pieces, pieces he is in complete creative control of. He said his initial interest in fashion was in the avant-garde, but now he thinks ‘avant-garde’ has become yet another fashionable term to signify something very desperate! I counteract that by approaching the avant-garde from the other end, through the basic and pre modern.

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Omer Asim as a brand had 1129 followers on Instagram, 3871 likes on Facebook. His own website is still coming soon.

Omer Asim launched his first collection in 2009 during London Fashion Week, and just had his new collection showcased in LFW this year. The collection was flawlessly composed and we are looking forward to more distributions and social media information from this brand with strong personalities.

CO-TE: Women’s Image of Self-representation

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Given birth by Tomaso Anfossi and Francesco Ferrari, CO-TE was launched in 2012 in Milan, Italy and was formed to produce women’s RTW and accessories. CO-TE has the unique concept of using self-representation to create a simplified and romantic appearance for women who are never too serious and like to have fun.

 

 

Graduating from the prestigious Istituto Marangoni in Milan, Tomaso Anfossi and Francesco Ferrari believe in research and choosing only the finest of fabrics to maintain the desired quality of work. The two designers’ inspiration does not come from nowhere, they define volumes and materials through their study of details, aiming to best express the femininity of the female body without making it vulgar. The overlaying colors in clearly defined nuances allow each creation to express a new concept of linearity, an austerity infused with a requisite touch of irony, for women who never take themselves too seriously. This concept can also be revealed through their impressive and noteworthy fashion films.

The contemporary and artistic themes of each film represents the identity of this brand. Along with unique design of structure, edgy music, and detailed production, the fashion films, as another form of art, reinforce CO-TE’s idea about the image of a curious woman, who loves to experiment without being ordinary. Thanks to the inspiration of Tomaso Anfossi and Francesco Ferrari, we have another brand called CO-TE to offer us something new and high end.

Four years after the first launch of the brand, the major markets of CO-TE are Italy and Japan. They have 11.8k followers on Instagram. The price range of CO-TE is right around the medium range. A spring or fall dress runs from $200 to $500. Shorts and skirts and usually fall around $200 to $300, and accessories such as belts are $100 to $200.

 

Today the brand is distributed by Riccardo Grassi Showroom and Gruppo Tanaka for Japanese market and is sold in the best boutiques and in the trendiest concept stores.

Phuong My: Born in Vietnam, Beyond Vietnam

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Tran Phuong My was born in 1988 at Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Having studied and graduated with honors from the Academy of Art University in San Francisco, Phuong-My has pursued perfection in all aspects of her fashion career.

From the design and production process through to client service, the smallest details are obsessively pursued. Rather than accepting the limitations of local fabrics available to other local designers in Vietnam, Phuong My established a very clear strategy for her own brand. PHUONG MY’s fabric production is entirely outsourced to select partners in Paris, Milan and Hong Kong, thus providing the optimum blend of both materials and exclusivity that has proven to be so successful for the brand.

PHUONG MY’s greatest inspiration comes from the exquisite virtue of Asian women, who are at the same time fervent and feminine, bold and delicate. Behind their dainty grace, there lies brilliant compassion and admirable strength. With beautiful, striking silhouettes and made from the most exclusive luxury fabrics, designs of Phuong My always embrace the feminine figure of the Orient and make women feel confident about themselves.

PHUONG MY is also collaborating and featuring with various stylists and magazines in the Americas and Europe, such as Club Magazine-Venezuela, Vogue-UK and Vogue-Italia to expand the visibility of the brand.

The 26-year-old is also an accomplished tailor who is able to create pieces that move like poetry and don’t restrict a woman does she goes about her day. Phuong My says, “Most of the cutting, I try to fit for the woman I have in mind. When I design, I don’t only think that she’s going to a party. But I will think, how is she going to the party, how would she sit and step out of her car, how would she take her first drink. Those [thoughts] would inspire the cutting of the collection. If she sits with one leg crossed, I want the fabric to fall down one leg elegantly. You wouldn’t want it so tight that she has trouble when she sits.”

This mature approach to design has resulted in gorgeous collections that has caught the eye of many fashion insiders. In less than two years of building her brand, Phuong My has been featured in international magazines like Vogue Italia and British Vogue and has established herself in Vietnam, Singapore, Shanghai, and Paris.

Phuong My’s designs are full of femininity and elegance with signature emphasis on the waistline and hip accentuating silhouettes.

PREXSENCE: Beauty from Heaven

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She is ethereal, celestial, at the same time sensual and aggressive; She is equal parts bold and edgy cult with contrastingly-designed facial make-up; She has her bright and dark sides, but always exudes the aurora of elegance. That is probably how I feel about PREXSENCE, a beautiful and foxy brand of ready-to-wear, accessories and haute couture made in Italy.

It Is created by a pair of Italian designer, Michele Spagnolo and Elisabetta Atria, who graduated in Fashion and Design. They met each other in the university classrooms, where they began to work together to on internal university projects. After graduation, Michele continues his career as a designer, working for various fashion houses, among the most important Alberta Ferretti and Alessandro Dell’Acqua Man. He also won awards for his creation and talents, among which there was VOGUE TALENT. Elizabeth, meanwhile, has always been fascinated by the art world, creates and sells paintings of contemporary inspiration. Four years since graduation, they finally decided to do a gamble and here is the birth of PREXSENCE

The mission of the two Art Director is to celebrate the harmony in the forms and beauty.

So they are constantly experimenting and have great care in finding cutting-edge fabrics, without excluding the precious classic fibers. They think that every woman has the right and duty to be feminine, confident, and contemporary. Their inspiration comes from the world that surrounds and as such are in flux, even if they maintain a unique style.

From the social media platforms, we can see they are still pretty a young but unconventional brand. 91 followers on Instagram and 22 followers on Twitter. This brand definitely need some marketing in U.S.