Intern Aware will protest by handing out tote bags bearing the message “Pay Your Interns” at Somerset House, headquarters of London Fashion Week. The bags will contain information about minimum wage legislation, advice for interns and information about Intern Aware’s Claim Back Your Pay scheme, as well as a letter written by Libby Page, who has worked as an unpaid fashion intern seven times.
“I started doing internships when I was 16,” said the 20-year-old from Dorset. “I would often be expected to work for six months for free, but I have never done more than a month because I couldn’t afford it. I feel now that if an intern is doing any actual work they should be paid.”
Page’s letter reads: “Mistreatment of fashion interns is something the industry should be ashamed of, and something we should be talking about. I have heard far too many stories from friends, peers and young people around the country working long hours in poor conditions and being subjected to demeaning treatment in the name of fashion. ‘The intern will do that’ is not a phrase I want to hear again.”
The campaign has collated information from students and fashion websites to gain evidence of free work schemes at leading design houses. One design student told Intern Aware of an unpaid placement with a famous label, partly based in London, where the interns slept under the workshop table.
The British Fashion Council said: “We have been working with HMRC to clarify and communicate the legal situation regarding interns and work experience. There is much misunderstanding and it is really important to ensure that we are helping those within the fashion sector, particularly the designer businesses, to be aware of their NMW obligations.
“Our main priority is to help designer businesses manage the financial implications of complying with the NMW regulations, ensuring their business can continue to develop despite potentially increased salary costs.
“It is in everyone’s interest that the broader industry is still able to create jobs, giving experience and opportunity to future employees, training them and encouraging young people to join the sector. We are confident that there is now much greater awareness about this issue across the industry.”
Richard Chai chose those colors, brightened with dark purple, and drudged out a uniform look, with olive-drab pencil skirts, trousers and boyish tweed coats. This isn’t a new idea in any tone. Two-piece dresses with sleeveless tailored tops offered some relief, but again, the fresh shape winds up looking muddy.
Rachel Comey’s colors can also put you in a funk, but at least she puts some solid design in her clothes. Everyone always says her clothes are “quirky,” and I suppose a leather popover top and soupy men’s trousers qualify. But are they really so quirky, or is Ms. Comey just using her feminine instincts to propose something surprising? Women love odd pieces to mix into their wardrobe, like those pants or a denim work shirt with an orange and black leather bomber.
Like Lyn Devon, whose collection of tweeds, chunky knits and paper-bagged trousers in wool or cotton velvet was a woman’s version of her favorite guy pieces, Ms. Comey remains one of the girls. She knows what masculine bits she needs, and leaves the rest. Also, she can make a sexy dress in a silk print that doesn’t look tacky or retro. This was one of her stronger collections for those hard-to-find pieces. Call me quirky.
New York Fashion: Prabal Gurung takes cue from military.
Next-big-thing designer Prabal Gurung is in the army — and the navy — now. The Nepalese designer found inspiration in a surprising source this season: servicewomen.
“I just read the Time magazine article that one of the best inventions of 2012 was this invention of body armor for women in the military,” he explained backstage before trotting out his 36 military-inspired creations. “That kind of set me thinking, then I started reading more about it and I found out that all these women have been wearing men’s uniforms for the longest period of time, so now they’re redesigning them for women, and even the small-statured men are wearing that.”
The structured, but feminine looks featured bold peplums, sexy harnesses, asymmetrical evening gowns ans stick thin stilettos that came in black and shiny metallic gold. Some of the heels were even to-the-thigh sexy boot styles with rows of gold buckles.
Gurung said the word that summed up the collection is “empowerment,” which he defined in his own way.”The whole idea means not just being forceful, but embracing your femininity and being a woman in a man’s world and ruling it. You no longer need to look like a man to compete like a man. That’s the power and tool that women have that men don’t have: femininity.”
Saturday’s show is just the beginning of a busy 72 hours for Gurung that will see him launch his capsule collection at Target stores nationwide tomorrow and put on another show Monday for his lower-priced line ICB.
“I’m grateful that I’m busy,” he said humbly pre-show. “I feel good that I have a platform like Target that I can reach out to all these people. Even if they’re not able to buy (the more expensive designer line), they understand the passion and my story, and hopefully they’ll explore that and be inspired themselves.”
CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund Holds First Fashion Week Presentation.
The CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund, an annual competition that aims to bring funding, mentorship, and exposure to emerging fashion design talent, hosted its very first New York Fashion Week presentation on Friday evening at Milk Studios. Over the last ten years the fund, spearheaded by Vogue’s Anna Wintour and the CFDA, has nurtured designers as acclaimed as Proenza Schouler, Derek Lam, and Alexander Wang. And last evening was the 2012’s finalists’ turn to ramp up the heat.
Winner Gregory Chait of knitwear brand The Elder Statesman, and runners-up Jennifer Meyer of Jennifer Meyer jewelry and shoe designer Tabitha Simmons all showed their fall 2013 collections to swarms of eager buyers, editors, and executives from Milk’s 8th floor. “It’s ten years this year that the fashion fund has been going on and in the beginning the designer would win the money and a mentor and that was it,” the CFDA’s CEO Steven Kolb explained, “but what we’ve realized is that the value of fashion fund isn’t just the year that you are in it… it’s kind of like winning an award for a movie when all of the sudden all of this stuff starts coming your way. It’s raised the bar for New York fashion and added a whole new group of innovative designers. It’s a game changer for American fashion.”
Has fashion lost a big champion in Harold Tillman just as the world wants Brand GB?
With his razor-sharp suits and immaculate style, Aquascutum owner Harold Tillman has come to symbolise the aspirations of the British fashion industry.
Then last week he was forced to sell his Jaeger retail business and his 160-year-old Aquascutum brand collapsed into administration, closing its factory in Corby, Northamptonshire.
However, this weekend Financial Mail can reveal that about 50 different approaches have been made for the brand, including home-grown entrepreneurs and Far Eastern businessmen.
Administrators believe the interest will almost certainly result in the sale of the label and hope to agree preliminary terms with a preferred bidder by Friday.
Though Tillman had uncharacteristically gone to ground last week, friends say he will have been heartened that the brand into which he put so much effort and millions of his own money in a doomed bid to rival Burberry, might actually live to fight another day.
Eric Musgrave, former editor of British fashion bible Drapers and author of Sharp Suits, said: ‘It is a tragedy we will regret if the Aquascutum factory is allowed to disappear. Should a buyer emerge, do not be surprised if it is a manufacturer from the Far East that recognises the opportunity.’
Musgrave said he had already seen a growing awareness of the ‘style of the English gentleman’ among Asian consumers.
Burberry, Britain’s biggest luxury label, said last week that it sold more in the Far East than it did in Europe. Leather goods label Mulberry is showing signs of following its success.
Tillman recognised where the demand was coming from but he struggled with the legacies of the business – a brand that still fails to register with young people and a need to modernise and reduce the costs of manufacturing in Britain.
The Corby factory was closed quickly last week because it is understood stock was piling up and the stricken business had no hope of selling it.
The failure of Aquascutum is all the more disappointing because Tillman knew where he should be going, unlike many manufacturers and retailers that are failing to capitalise on demand for British labels in potentially lucrative markets such as Japan, China and South Korea.
The fatal flaw of Tillman’s plan to revive Aquascutum lay in the fact that he did not have the rights to market the product in most of these lucrative Asian markets.