When you’re talking classic contrasts, there’s nothing quite like the crisp juxtaposition of black and white. These opposing shades on the color spectrum couldn’t be more different, yet they live in harmony in one fashionable look after another. For spring this year designers have pulled out all the stops to refresh and renew this stalwart style combination in ways that anyone can access. My illustration this week is from Deisgual, a casual clothing brand based in Barcelona, Spain. I took these photographs at Mercedes Benz Fashion Week in New York City. Deisgual is known for their fun innovative prints, artistic flourishes, and colorful touches. They do a range of items for men, women and children. Let’s see where they take us for spring shall we?
Goodwill Fashion Expert—Bjorn Nasett
Wisconsin farm boy, Bjorn Nasett has a career that spans 30 years. He enjoys being a writer, wardrobe stylist, vintage and resale clothing expert, hair stylist, makeup artist and photographer! In his spare time he adopts senior dogs and strongly believes in pet adoption. Check out his website www.fashionfarmboy.com!
If you have specific questions send him an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Watch Bjorn in action! ... See more videos featuring Bjorn (and more) on our AmazingGoodwill YouTube channel!
Men’s fashion is said to be less interesting than women’s. This is mainly because it doesn’t “change” so much, but rather shifts gears during the seasonal style adjustment that happens twice a year for autumn and winter, as well as spring and summer. As someone who attends Mercedes Benz Fashion Week as a spectator and photographer in New York City, I can assure you that in theory my statement about men’s fashion is somewhat true. However, there are takeaways from the shows I photograph that the average Joe can make sense of and use to shake up his day-to-day style. All he has to do is learn a few new trends, and then possibly adapt them to his own lifestyle and needs. This week I decided to focus on the offerings of Lacoste, the French clothing label founded in 1933. Lacoste has always put “sporty” front and center for its men’s and women’s collections. This iconic sportswear brand has also helped revolutionize the way men dress for casual outings and sporting events. It was also one of the first brands whose logo, the famous crocodile, appeared on the outside of an article of clothing. Lacoste looks are relatable and wearable and also provide some food for thought for everyone when it comes time to “freshening up” for spring.
Prom (short for promenade) that semi-formal dance for high school students will be upon us again soon. This rite of passage celebrates the end of the academic school year by gathering together in gymnasiums or other venues, dressed to impress. In recent years the fashion end of the prom business has exploded, with gowns, cocktail dresses (non-alcoholic please), tuxedos and snazzy suits sharing the spotlight on the dance floor. Today’s teenage prom goers not only want to dress up and show off, but they want to be seen in the latest and greatest fashions as well. (Not to mention the coolest hair and make-up trends.) Just like all movements in the style world there are some looks showing up on the radar for the first time and others that are proven winners year in and year out. Let’s count down what the hippest guys and gals will be wearing for prom this year shall we?
As warmer weather starts to bring us all out of our winter hibernation, we as human beings start thinking about all the outdoor activities we enjoy. If you live in the Milwaukee area like I do, which is also home to the Harley Davidson Motorcycle Company, you may also be longing to get out on the open road on your hog (Harley slang for their motorcycles). Even if you don’t own a motorcycle, you can’t deny the attraction that the fashion industry has had with the myth of the rebellious outlaw rider and all that it entails. Initially these coats were meant to provide protection for the rider, but their intimidating presence was soon adopted by various subcultures such as punks, Goths, and metal heads. The coats have also been associated with military aviation, and the police department. In the 1953 film “The Wild Ones,” which starred a young Marlon Brando as the leader of a motorcycle gang, the leather jacket and motorcycle cap was suddenly on the fashion radar for cool cats everywhere around the world. The look of the leather jacket, paired with a t-shirt and jeans, has endured and become a classic style that can be accessible to everyone in one way or another.
Fitness is all about the pursuit of strength, mobility, and a sense of well-being for a great many people. Whether you’re part of a walking club in your neighborhood, sweat it out at home to your old Jane Fonda VHS tape, or go to your local gym, everyone can realize the need for athletic wear and sportswear in a well-appointed wardrobe. So just when did workout wear morph and merge into the world of fashion? I thought I’d take a look into some history about these casual garments and trace their progression from the gymnasium to the runway. Is there such a thing as “fashion conscious” sweatpants? In general, I would venture to say that the acceptance of gym clothing as casual street wear probably coincided with the changes in what were considered societal norms of day-to-day fashion.
One of the enduring symbols of spring around the world is the celebration of Irish American Culture that is known as St. Patrick’s Day. Traditionally it’s a cultural and religious holiday that is celebrated on the day that Saint Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland, died. While it’s a public holiday in the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland, in the United States, and elsewhere around the world, it's celebrated for fun and frolic. The celebrations here in the U.S. include a huge parade in New York City, as well as lively parties in cities and towns across the country. But, just where did the tradition of wearing green stem from? Sorry for the pun, but I was curious to know just what that grassy color symbolizes. Who hasn’t seen folks dressed in their finest green attire on the street or at work? While doing some research I found out that the original color that was linked to Saint Patrick and his commemorative day was blue! But, based on Irish folklore, Ireland’s patron saint used a green three-leaved shamrock to illustrate the Holy Trinity to non-believers, and thus, the color green won out. Nowadays this shade is representative of not only Ireland, but of growth and renewal in many ways. Green simply can’t miss as a major color for spring attire; and it provides a wee dash of lush life to any outfit all year long.
Do you get the impression that we are ruled by the weather sometimes? Everything we do and how we feel about it has a direct connection to the amount of sunshine we get and the temperature we see on our thermometers! For the last few weeks I have been pulling out all of my colorful garments and wearing them with impunity non-stop. Not only for the fashionable effect, but also for the way they make me feel. As we edge towards spring for what seems like an eternity, it’s time to see if your closet and wardrobe are ready for the bright days that will surely come our way soon. Your first order of business is to take stock of what you have on hand. Pull out spring and summer items and be realistic about how you feel about them! Weed out what doesn’t fit or flatter and set aside for donation or recycling. Now you’re ready to hunt for the 5 indispensable pieces that will help you get a step up on spring style!
1. Lightweight Jacket or Trench Coat
While the dull gray and cold winter rolls on for most of us in North America, our thoughts begin to long for the warmth and brightness of spring and summer. In the fashion field we begin to encourage the use of color to enliven the monotony of the last few months before the world seems green, or to use a fancy term, verdant once more. Ever since Sir Isaac Newton invented what the world now knows as the color wheel, we have placed a value on that full spectrum of tones. Do you recall the term “Roy G. Biv” when you were in grade school? If you don’t, it was that learning technique that helped us to recall the colors of that legendary wheel. Red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet are the shades that all other colors come from in one measure or another. Understanding how we perceive can be as simple, or as complicated as you want it to be. How we see color is based solely on how our eyes process it! While some folks pine for bright neon tones, others prefer softer less retina burning shades. But no matter what, color, and how we use it in our daily attire, is what great fashion is made from.
As America and Canada celebrate Black History Month in February, I thought it would be a good idea to take a look at the cultural influences that African fashion has had on style and design over the years. We all know that the great big world of global fashion has always borrowed bits and pieces from other nations, cultures, and countries. But, it seems to me that the role that African artisans played in swaying fashion ideas might have started with the Civil Rights Movement, when embracing and celebrating the identity as well as the colorful style of the people of that continent became a cause to rally around. These textiles were brought to America along with the unwilling participants in the despicable slave trade. Many of the slaves were very experienced in weaving and so were able to bring to the table some of the skills they already knew and then pass them on to others. Like many other cultures, each tribe had special colors and designs that were unique only to them. They helped signify one’s station in life, as well as who did not belong in a particular village. Hundreds of years later now, these weaving and dyeing techniques are still in use for a variety of purposes including high fashion.
Oh, how we all love winter in the Midwest! Snow showers, cold weather, and bundling up are the norm for us this time of year. While we love our layering and cozy sweaters a lot, now is when we start to think of the nicer weather to come; and with it the new fashion ideas for spring. While not all the ideas presented at Mercedes Benz Fashion Week are necessarily new, they are an accumulation of food for fashion thought nonetheless. I have chosen a few photographs that I took during the runway shows that illustrate some of the looks that we could all love for spring and summer in 2014.
There is nothing more fashionable than a scarf. There I’ve said it! Scarves are absolutely, hands down, one of the easiest ways to: A.) Stay warm and ward off the winter chill; and B.) Update an outfit in two seconds flat!
For winter you should have a collection of scarves in a range of colors and textures of your liking for obvious practical purposes. But do they have to be so utilitarian? Let’s do a little research on this popular accessory and get to the root of its popularity. Did you know that these pieces of cloth were originally used to absorb sweat from the neck and face in Ancient Rome? Of course women started to see their potential as an accoutrement to their daily attire before long. Next thing you know, they were being made from all kinds of luxurious fabrics like wool or silk which probably felt more comfortable to the wearer than the norm of rough cotton or linen. In many countries around the world, the silk scarf was also used to delineate the rank of officers from the cotton ones worn by the rank and file. The 20th century is when the simple scarf really came into its own. With mass production and the movie business showing people the way, soon anyone and everyone could be as chic and suave as a movie star or an elegant Park Avenue swell.