Seit der Dior Men’s Summer 2020 Show letztes Jahr in Paris haben wir auf diesen Moment gewartet: Die Mini-Alu-Bag aus der ersten gemeinsamen Capsule-Kollektion von Dior x Rimowa kann ab sofort online bestellt werden.
Ganz wie das klassische Rimowa-Vorbild, besteht auch das Case der „Personal“-Clutch hauptsächlich aus Aluminium. Durch ein spezielles Eloxalverfahren ist das Material mit einem einzigartigen, leicht reflektierenden Effekt veredelt worden. Die Tasche wird mit zwei verstellbaren Lederriemen geliefert, die vertikal um den Mini-Koffer gelegt werden. Auf der Vorderseite der Alu-Bag ist ein Dior-Branding angebracht, auf der Rückseite der Tasche der Schriftzug von Rimowa. Hinzu kommt das geprägte „Christian Dior“-Logo auf den beiden Lederriemen. (Lesen Sie auch: Travel-Upgrade der Luxusklasse – die Kofferkollektion von Dior x Rimowa)
Öffnen Sie die Riemen und den Scharnierverschluss, blicken Sie in das mit genarbtem Kalbsleder ausgestaltete Innenleben der Tasche. Eine Dreiteilung – inklusive einem Reißverschlussfach und drei Kartenfächern – soll dafür sorgen, dass all Ihre Essentials sicher verstaut sind. (Auch interessant: Die neuesten Männermode-Trends von der Fashion Week in Mailand)
Kompaktes Maß und geringes Gewicht
Die Tasche ist klein und mit knapp 600 Gramm Gewicht leicht genug, um sich zu einem absoluten Lieblingsaccessoire zu entwickeln. Je nach Anlass kann sie entweder als Clutch oder mit passendem Trageriemen auch als Crossbody Bag getragen werden. (Lesen Sie auch: Streetstyle: So können Sie die spannendsten Trends aus Mailand nachstylen)
Bei der Men’s Fashion Week in Mailand war die Mini-Alu-Bag bereits vereinzelt zu sehen.
© julien boudet
A New Generation of Designers Is Poised to Shake Up the Red Carpet
The way we talk about the red carpet has changed. Even in the past few years, the questions we ask, the people who grab our attention and, certainly, the designers we see represented are quite different than what they might have once been.
You can point to a multitude of reasons why: the rise of social media, the increased presence (and power) of stylists, the wider understanding of how brand sponsorships come into play, the broadening of what constitutes a red-carpet opportunity (from premieres and award shows to press junkets and other promotional appearances). And though you can still expect to see a handful of the same big designer names that have been dressing Hollywood for decades — the Armanis, the Diors, the Versaces — on the step-and-repeat, this phenomenon has afforded a new kind of visibility to young, up-and-coming names that are changing what „red-carpet fashion“ looks like. (Think less strapless princess gowns, more celestial-inspired embroidery, big volume and slinky satin dresses.)
We talked to some of these celebrity-beloved labels about the story behind their pieces, their biggest A-list moments and what about their aesthetic lends itself to the red carpet.
Markarian — the ethereal, practically-made-for-Instagram occasion wear label started by Alexandra O’Neill in 2017 — has been a fashion-editor favorite pretty much since launch. Its pieces are meant for dressing up (gowns with embellishments, beaded party dresses, embroidered separates). But when O’Neill conceptualized the line, she wanted luxury evening wear that felt modern and compelling, with a lower entry point than comparable options on the market. So she set out to create the dreamy, youthful, expensive (but not you-have-to-ask expensive) fancy-dress garments she’s known for today. It took virtually no time at all for the celebrities to find them — and that was not by chance.
Emma Roberts was the first person to wear the brand, within weeks of its launch. „I think it’s kind of a natural progression when you have a line that’s focused on evening wear and event dressing to then go into VIP,“ O’Neill says, crediting Markarian’s PR rep, Savannah Engel of Savannah Engel PR, as introducing that route from the get-go. „Savannah came on from the beginning and she really focused on VIP dressing, sending it out to all of the stylists that she knew at the time — and that I know now, thanks to her.“
Engel says she sought out to position Markarian differently than she might have another brand because she felt it „could actually get even more press by being a celebrity brand.“ And, essentially, that’s how its story began.
The specific dress Roberts wore was also emblematic of what Markarian was — and is — trying to achieve, according to O’Neill: „I named Markarian after a group of galaxies. That dress she wore has… little moons and a little Saturn, all hand-embroidered and beaded on a really beautiful, lush satin. That set the tone in general and really spoke to the style of the line.“
Two-plus years later, Markarian has become a frequent favorite among celebrities doing press appearances, performances and, yes, the traditional red carpet. She sees a lot of repeat clients, too: In addition to Roberts, Priyanka Chopra Jonas and Lea Michele have worn — and been photographed in — Markarian on multiple occasions.
Now, celebrity plays a pretty important role in Markarian.
„I keep VIP dressing in mind when I’m designing because it is a big part of our business and also a fun part of our business,“ says O’Neill. „It’s always exciting to see somebody wear something on the red carpet, obviously. But we do a lot of custom work for private clients and that’s a big part of our business, too — and I think a lot of that comes from the recognition of our pieces out there in the world.
As far as who you might see wearing Markarian on a step-and-repeat, O’Neill says of the brand’s customer: „We’re always drawn to women who have a strong fashion point of view and who are willing to take chances and support a new designer, but also that don’t take themselves too seriously — that are looking for something that’s kind of luxurious and different.“
Galvan’s mission hasn’t changed from what it was back in 2014, when the brand made its debut. „We were personally frustrated with the evening wear that was out there. I think there were certain things that we saw as just problematic that we want to solve — namely that evening wear tended to be and still often tends to be very formal, very embellished,“ says co-founder Katherine Holmgren. „People think that if they’re dressing for a black-tie party they have to dress in this quite stiff, formal way, which isn’t necessarily always modern or fresh or actually comfortable to wear.“
Holmgren and her three business partners concluded they could make evening wear that was better, cleaner and at a more comfortable price point than what you could find browsing the „occasionwear“ section at your neighborhood department store. That message resonated with a broad clientele from the get-go, both in terms of retail partners and of who was seen wearing its designs.
The designers introduced their first collection at Paris Fashion Week and caught the eye of a handful of stylists. That’s how one of its jumpsuits ended up on Gwyneth Paltrow, as styled by Elizabeth Saltzman, before the delivery arrived at Galvan’s stockists. Shortly after, Sienna Miller wore another one of its pieces to the London premiere of „Foxcatcher.“
What was much more impactful and „interesting“ to Holmgren, though, is that „at the same moment that celebrities started to wear us on the red carpet, they were also wearing us in a much more casual way.“ Miller was in one of Galvan’s slip dresses on the red carpet while Rihanna was in one of its jumpsuits being photographed out and about town, she notes as an example. „Sometimes, it was the same type of style, being worn for both occasions — but how they were being accessorized completely changed,“ she adds. That felt aligned to Galvan’s core values of versatility, ease and wanting to wear your clothes over and over again.
This early support opened doors for the brand not just in terms of global recognition, but also in making their case to potential buyers, according to Holmgren. „Granted, we launched with a lot of wholesale partners across the world, but still, being able to have a celebrity like Rihanna all over the press wearing our jumpsuit meant that we were able to grow our brand awareness so much more quickly with the customers,“ she says. „With stores, when you’re a young brand, you’re pitching [yourself so they] pick you up — they’re looking at the product, of course, but they’re also looking at the general PR and buzz and whether they think it’s going to be a hot brand. So if you can go to [them] with your collection and also show them a little press talk of all these amazing celebrities wearing your clothes, it makes a huge difference in getting in.“
Sara Larson, Galvan’s PR director, says part of the appeal of the designs for the red carpet has to do with how they fit: „They just transport you the minute you put them on — they’re effortless.“ Plus, the brand’s broad range of celebrities it has dressed, both in terms of what they’re known for and how they’ve worn it, is also a plus. Case in point: how Greta Gerwig and Saoirse Ronan both wore Galvan dresses on the same day of „Little Women“ press, but brought their own distinct style sensibilities to the looks.
The return on investment Galvan gets when a celebrity is seen one of its pieces can really vary — the sell-through they see when Martha Hunt or Karlie Kloss wears its slip dresses in street style, for instance, will be different than when Waller-Bridge wears a custom Galvan design to the Golden Globes. „Those moments are so important for the brand just for people to be thinking about us and talking about us,“ says Larson. „You do see a general lift in traffic to our site and that obviously translates.“ A lot of the times, though, when they see a big spike in sales thanks to a celebrity, it’s because they wore something that’s a little more relatable or that they can see themselves in.
Looking back, „what we’ve loved is actually just the range of women recently — being able to address a lot of diverse range of women in terms of what they do and where they live has been the most exciting,“ says Holmgren. „It’s about a meaningful relationship and personality. Someone that we would want to know, that we admire… I do think it’s wonderful when you can support other women that are really powerful and strong and making a difference.“
Azeeza has always done things a little differently. Designer Azeeza Khan founded the label in 2012 in Chicago, where it’s still based. It did direct-to-consumer first; a retail partner came a few years down the line. It didn’t actively chase celebrity credits — some of the placements it got early on, Kahn says, were organic, from A-listers finding and shopping the pieces at places like Barneys New York.
Over the past year, though, the brand has been going through a bit of a refresh, reintroducing itself through a cleared-out Instagram and some big red-carpet moments, including a model takeover at the CFDAs.
„In the past, we’ve never aggressively ever [pursued] celebrity or anything like that, based on many factors, including distribution,“ Khan explains. „[It] was not really relevant to me — it was just more of a business decision than a cool factor, if that makes sense. I never really wanted to use a celebrity to prove myself in the early days. Between networks, relationships you make from being out in the industry and fashion week, there’s an opportunity and access to these names. It’s just really being rational and not chasing the hype.“
The aesthetic of the brand has evolved over the years, but a few pieces have stood the test of time and still appear in its collections. Azeeza’s distinguishing factor, the designer says, has always been its unexpected, not-fitted silhouettes. And that’s still core to the Azeeza you see today: It’s bold, colorful and sculptural — the result of years of experimentation, play and growth.
„I just really learned and understood what consumers were reacting to and where my personal taste was evolving to,“ she says. „I think, as a young designer, it’s really important to play and experiment and try things. Some may work and [some won’t.] I really chased what worked. And I built upon that, brick by brick.“
Azeeza „is about bold colors, volume and silhouettes. We have this dramatic impact but, at the same time, you have this core minimalist philosophy,“ Khan continues.
As part of her effort to reintroduce Azeeza’s vision, Khan attended the 2019 CFDA Awards with Riley Montana, Jacquelyn Jablonski and Maria Borges, each wearing a distinct gown from the label. „It was something that I hadn’t really done before, and I thought to have these beautiful girls in dresses [would be a] cool, very visible opportunity that we have to make work,“ she says. „It wasn’t just going on the red carpet, but it was also identifying the muses. They were a reflection of who my girls are. They each had their own unique styles that they brought, and I think that was a reflection of the brand, as well.“
The CFDAs were a big moment for the label, but Azeeza’s biggest celebrity moment of 2019 — and overall „brand highlight,“ per Khan — came when Barbra Streisand commissioned the designer to create looks for her summer tour. „I left straight from the CFDAs to Malibu to go to a fitting at Barbra’s house,“ she remembers. „Then that weekend [there was a gala] in Chicago. Monday, I was back in New York for market. That was the longest week of my life. But it was great.“
The Streisand stamp of approval got Azeeza a lot more eyeballs and a feature in Vogue. And though she’s always taken a customer-first approach, Khan recognizes the impact having a celebrity angle can have on your brand. „We’ve been in business since 2012. We’ve never been in Vogue unless somebody was wearing it,“ she says. „This is the first year that I had a Vogue feature — not only that, but I’ve been [mentioned] in Vogue five times.“
There’s more to come from the brand in the near future — there’s a new website, for one, plus more glimpses at how the Azeeza aesthetic will continue to evolve with more resources. And, yes, that might mean you see a familiar face or two wearing its dresses.
Vietnamese designer Nguyen Cong Tri is a veteran of the fashion industry. He’s been designing since 2000, presenting his collections in Paris, London, Tokyo and Ho Chi Minh City, where he’s based, among other cities around the globe. (He recently celebrated almost two decades in fashion with an exhibit.) But it was a few years ago that he gained a new audience — one of the Hollwood A-list variety — with Cong Tri, which he established as a new luxury label in 2016.
„Nguyen Cong Tri and Cong Tri are two different brands — while Nguyen Cong Tri focuses on conceptual designs and pursues haute couture, Cong Tri is more commercial,“ the designer says. „These two brands so far exist in tandem.“
Cong Tri’s focus on eveningwear, the designer explains, stems from his desire „to help women shine in their significant and special moments,“ from celebrities on the red carpet to everyday customers.
VIP dressing isn’t a new facet of his business — the designer has been doing it for as long as he’s been working, he says: „The opportunities of working with them come naturally, as the way I often tell my friends, ‚I’m a bit lucky.“
Still, Cong Tri has boosted the designer’s profile on a global scale: Within a few years, he’s outfitted Katy Perry, Rihanna, Rita Ora, Gabrielle Union, Kate Bosworth and Beyoncé (for the London premiere of „Lion King,“ in a custom Nala-inspired gown, no less.)
„Rihanna was the first international star to represent my design, thus that moment was the unforgettable starting point of my new chapter,“ he says. „In the case of Beyoncé, she has led the global entertainment industry and has a huge fan base in Vietnam for many years. That’s why the fact that they chose my designs has created a considerable media wave in Vietnam.“
Cong Tri has also worked with celebrity stylist Kate Young (clients include Selena Gomez, Nina Dobrev and Margot Robbie) on his New York Fashion Week shows, which he did for the Fall 2019 and Spring 2020 seasons. „I have designed costumes for celebrities in Vietnam for many years, so I understand what the job is like, but working with Kate in an international environment has given me many new experiences. Everything must be professional, the workload is expanded and the requirement and standards are more diversified.“
Cong Tri is sitting out fashion week for the Fall 2020 shows. That’s not to say you won’t be seeing some new gowns from the designer over the next few weeks — it is awards season, after all.
„I think women are works of art. The way they move, laugh, talk, and express themselves makes me fascinated,“ the designer says. „That’s why dressing for celebrities is not merely doing my work — it’s a combination of the two forms of art.“
Jason Rembert is best known for his celebrity styling work; over the years, he’s dressed Issa Rae, Michael B. Jordan, Lizzo, Solange Knowles and Ben Platt. But last year, he added „designer“ to his résumé with Aliétte, his contemporary womenswear label. It made sense that he announced the news on the red carpet, on Rae, one of his longtime clients.
„Red carpet is one of the big things in my life,“ Rembert says. „I really enjoyed when I would see women in these gowns — the fitting with my client, it being altered, seeing them actually come alive with the clients, the client actually hitting the red carpet. So I knew, with making a clothing line, I wanted something that could live in that space.“
Rae walked the red carpet at the 2019 Critics’ Choice Award wearing the first Aliétte design: a black gown with an embellished bustier. He debuted the first full collection, for Fall 2019, at New York Fashion Week almost a month later. Since then, Aliétte has been worn by Cardi B, Kelly Rowland, Ciara and a host of other A-listers.
„Hollywood has played a major role [in Aliétte],“ Rembert explains, noting that it goes beyond simply being photographed in the brand — many of these celebrities have then posted about and tagged it for their combined millions of followers. „It really helped the brand get to the mainstream. People can know about the brand.“
Of all these placements, one stands out to Rembert: „When we dressed Kelly Rowland, it was a moment where people took a second look and wanted to really know more about this brand. Her stylist Kollin [Carter, who also dresses Cardi B] took the collection and made it her own, which I think is important.“
His background as a stylist has been helpful not only in building a collection that’s meant to be mixed and matched, but also in designing pieces thoughtfully and with intention. „How my dress looks inside and how my dress is built is extremely important to me, because I know how important underpinnings are for certain dresses,“ he explains. „I always want to [know] if they’re secure. I always want a client to feel that the look is flattering. I pay a lot of attention to make sure that the inside of the dress is as good as the outside.“
Aliétte spans occasions, with daytime pieces, like jackets and skirts, shown alongside red-carpet-ready evening wear. But they’re all connected through a handful of aesthetic codes.
„My family is from Martinique and the Caribbean, so it’s really, really important for me to always showcase color, and for it to be vibrant,“ Rembert says. „When my clothes walk down a runway or you see them on the carpet, I want people to feel happy seeing them. And I’m really into shapes, especially with embroidery. I always like wrap skirts. I like high waistbands. I’ve always been trying to showcase new shapes and different shapes on my runway.“
At the end of the day, it comes down to this for Rembert: „I like to be chic. I want my woman to be chic. Even in a sweatsuit, a woman can be chic.“
Stiftung Warentest: Gutes Olivenöl kann auch günstig sein
Feinschmecker lassen sich gutes Olivenöl gerne etwas kosten. Edle Tropfen aus Familienbetrieben können schnell mehr als 30 oder 40 Euro pro Liter kosten. Die Stiftung Warentest hat jetzt aber festgestellt, dass es auch sehr viel günstiger geht. Wer nicht auf exzellente Geschmacksnoten Wert legt, findet sogar bei Aldi und Lidl gutes Olivenöl. Die Tester hatten insgesamt wenig zu beanstanden. Panschereien, die immer wieder für Schlagzeilen sorgen, wurden dieses Mal nicht gefunden. Für Fernsehkoch Tim Mälzer gab es allerdings schlechte Nachrichten. (Lesen Sie auch: Diese Lebensmittel haben im Kühlschrank nichts zu suchen)
Test: Diese Olivenöle sind gut
Die Stiftung Warentest hat 28 Olivenöle der Güteklasse „nativ extra“ untersucht. Neun erhielten die Note „gut“. Vier Produkte waren befriedigend, drei ausreichend, zwei mangelhaft, berichtete die Zeitschrift „Test“ in ihrer Februar-Ausgabe. Der erste Platz ging an fünf Olivenöle mit dem Gesamturteil 2,3. Geschmacklich herausragend fanden die Tester das Bio-Öl von Castillo de Canena, das mit rund 45 Euro pro Liter zweitteuerste Produkt. Mängel bei der (deutschsprachigen) Deklaration führten aber bei der Endnote zur Abwertung. So landete das Luxusöl aus Spanien letztlich auf derselben Stufe wie diese Produkte:
- Aldi Süd Bio, Natives Olivenöl extra (6,15 Euro pro Liter)
- Lidl Primadonna Bio, Natives Olivenöl extra (6,20 Euro)
- Bertolli, Gentile Natives Olivenöl extra (8,60 Euro)
- Bertolli, Originale Natives Olivenöl extra (8,60 Euro)
Ebenfalls mit „gut“ wurden diese Olivenöle bewertet:
- Aldi Nord Casa Morando, Olivenöl nativ extra (4,80 Euro)
- Aldi Nord GutBio, Olivenöl nativ extra (6,15 Euro)
- Farchioni, DOP Chianti Classico Olio Extra Vergine di Oliva (26 Euro)
- Soler Romero, Natives Bio-Olivenöl extra (31 Euro)
Das mit 52 Euro pro Liter teuerste Olivenöl von Ranise Liguritio bekam im Test ein Befriedigend (2,8). Das ist dieselbe Note, die auch das Olivenöl von Edeka (Griechisches natives Olivenöl extra g.g.A. Chania, acht Euro) erhielt. (Auch interessant: Einkaufsliste: Diese Genuss-Artikel sind unsere Empfehlungen)
Teures Olivenöl mit Mängeln
Der hohe Preis für Olivenöl ruft immer wieder Kriminelle auf den Plan. Die Tester fanden dieses Mal aber keine mit minderwertigen Ölen gepanschten Produkte. Kritische Werte an Pestiziden und krebserregenden polyzyklischen aromatischen Kohlenwasserstoffen (PAK) gab es ebenfalls nicht. Trotzdem wurden zwei Produkte als mangelhaft eingestuft. Das Öl von Filippo Berio war dem Bericht zufolge ranzig. „Wegen der Geschmacksfehler hätte es laut Europäischer Olivenölverordnung nicht als natives Olivenöl extra verkauft werden dürfen“, hieß es.
Das Produkt von Solivellas Oli – laut Anhänger „powered by Tim Mälzer“ – war mit Schadstoffen belastet, wie die Stiftung Warentest mitteilte. „Die Stoffe können etwa aus Schmieröl ins Olivenöl übergegangen sein“, mutmaßten die Tester. Beim online gekauften Öl der Firma Vom Fass (Literpreis: 26 Euro, Note 4,1) monierten sie, dass sich beim ersten Öffnen nicht der untere Ring vom Schraubverschluss gelöst hatte. „Die Flasche lässt sich unbemerkt öffnen, die Originalitätssicherung fehlt“, kritisierten die Experten.
Is the Fleece Trend-Bubble About to Burst?
As an often-cold Midwestern child of the Nineties, I grew up with — or rather, in — a precious orbit of fleece jackets. There was the cosmically-patterned Patagonia pullover without which I was not photographed from the years 1992 to 1998 and the pistachio green The North Face zip-up I even slept in through middle school until it grew holey. For two decades, I wore one fleece until it physically disintegrated, only to replace it, eventually, and repeat the cycle all over again.
In 2016, when an unpretentious fashion trend called „normcore“ gave way to another outdoorsy and granola-adjacent one called „gorpcore,“ I dug up those fleeces from the closet of my childhood bedroom. They were suddenly en vogue, and I was thrilled. They were in tatters, still smelling like a bonfire they’d witnessed in 2004, and weren’t exactly the exaggerated fluff that cool-kid New York City brands — Sandy Liang et al. — were selling for $500. But they were an instant buy-in to a craze about which I was not only enthusiastic, but also nostalgic.
By now, fleeces have a new kind of multifaceted appeal, from strait-laced finance bros to Generation Z’s VSCO girls. They’re sold in retailers of all makes and models, by brands of every price-point and customer base. (At press time, one search for „fleece“ on Net-a-Porter presented 94 results, with listed items as exorbitant as a $5,500 Chloé shearling.) They’ve trickled down into the product lines of fast-fashion and mass-market labels alike — which, traditionally, may signal its end of days. They’re even a tenet of a sweeping new marketing movement toward „coziness,“ which is busy enveloping entire industries, from beverage to footwear.
The bubble only keeps expanding, swaddling more and more of us in snuggly polyester. So how long do we have until the laws of physics take the reins and it…pops? Perhaps the better question to consider is, well, what if it doesn’t? That’s entirely possible, given the actual functionality of the garment, at the very least.
„It lasts forever and will keep you warm forever. It doesn’t degrade and it doesn’t really wear out,“ says writer and trend-forecaster Andrew Luecke, who co-authored the book Cool: Style, Sound and Subversion, which chronicles the history of youth subcultures. „The idea, or illusion, is that one garment will keep you cozy, warm and safe forever. It’s so simple.“
Let’s talk about those cozy, warm and safe qualities for a moment. The fleece jackets you see sheathing SoHo are made almost entirely of recycled polyester, and because they were originally engineered for practical outdoor use, they’re designed to survive the elements — or even a 20-year fashion trend cycle.
Penfield is the ultimate case study on fleece’s longevity. A true stalwart of the market, the outdoor clothing brand dates back to 1975, when a man named Harvey Gross acquired an old textile mill in central Massachusetts and began to produce first-of-its-kind down-insulated apparel. Penfield’s signature fleece style, the Mattawa, came shortly after.
Four decades later, the jacket and its fleece version — both of which look like an insentient form of a New England liberal arts college’s club rowing team — maintain a standing place in winter collections, only to be updated with fresh colors and patterns. It’s also a technical marvel: machine-washable, lightweight and crafted with a full-body mesh lining to support breathability. But even more than that, it’s consistent, just as in aesthetics as in technicality. And if the catalog of one Hedi Slimane is any indication, we will always be drawn to consistent.
„Classics never die,“ says Alastair Rae, Penfield’s brand director. „With so many emerging brands in the market, customers have been seeking respite through heritage brands with hero styles. It’s so versatile and easy-to-wear, so it tends to be a wise investment, too.“
In the mainstream sustainability era, „investment“ is a worthy buzzword. It can, say, indicate an individual’s commitment to fighting the growing climate crisis by buying less stuff, therefore creating less waste. In fact, keeping clothing in use just nine extra months can reduce related carbon, water and waste footprints by up to 30%, according to research by the U.K.’s Waste & Resources Action Programme. And that’s a statistic to which we should all be paying attention.
„We have always had a strong presence in the outerwear world, but it’s unfortunate to say that recent changes in climate have increased the drive for fleece, oftentimes over the heavier outerwear,“ says Rae. „These days, a fleece jacket can be used as outerwear most months of the year.“
To do their part, many outdoor (and thus environmentally minded) retailers now offer their own refurbishment services to rehabilitate or resell old outerwear, even in cases of extreme, seemingly irreversible wear-and-tear. Take Patagonia’s Worn Wear, which launched in 2017 and has repeatedly repaired educator, author and civil rights activist DeRay Mckesson’s signature blue vest in the years since. Premium gear brand Arc’teryx’s launched its first-ever gear-recycling hub, Rock Solid, early last summer.
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„Fleece is eternal, and it won’t just be discarded,“ adds Luecke. „It can be reused forever, relieving the buyer and wearer over guilt about contributing to waste or stuffing landfills.“
Buyers and wearers actively like feeling relieved these days, and it isn’t exactly difficult to understand why. (Where to begin? Here seems like a good start.) Fleece itself is so soft and warm that it offers an all-encompassing sense of comfort, both physically and emotionally. It’s why Luecke hypothesizes that it’s still ubiquitous among the coolest of the cool. Fleece, he says, is like a suit of armor made of coziness.
Fleeces have at least one more element contributing to its endurance, and it’s just that: They’ve been around — pause for overwrought emphasis — forever, which, in contemporary North American fashion speak, equals the Twenties.
Deirdre Clemente, historian of the U.S. fashion industry and author of Dress Casual: How College Kids Redefined American Style, explains that the polyester jackets of today have roots in the quintessential shearling lumberjack coats, once particularly popular in the Pacific Northwest. Mind you, these garments were strictly worn among professional axe-wielders; until the Forties, outerwear was a wardrobe unto itself, with coats for every occasion from driving to dancing. By the late Fifties, the casualization of the American closet was in full swing, so as shoppers began prioritizing versatility over optionality, formal outerwear was the first specialized category to go. When the Eighties and Nineties gave way to the mass market, outerwear retailers started angling to tap into an increasingly practical market.
„The driving ethos behind this mass push toward casualization that we saw escalate in the late Nineties is this idea that you can wear it here, you can wear it there,“ explains Clemente. „You can wash that fleece and you can shove it in the back of your car and go, ‚Oh, I don’t need it right now, but I’ll wear it this afternoon when the sun goes down.'“
Fleece jackets may operate squarely in the midway of two great American wardrobe ideals, functionality and comfort. But they also continue to tick all the boxes that the fashion industry consistently throws at them. Right now, fleeces are (sometimes literally) camped out in that aesthetic sweet spot between outdoor, sport and heritage, and with a third arm of eco-consciousness thrown in, as well. Not only do consumers already recognize fleeces’s form and function, but they’re still able to satisfy those sugary trend cravings as its designs update just so.
„With its heritage within authentic outdoor culture and opportunity for stylized reimagination, fleece becomes a canvas for taking something that is trusted and known and provides opportunity to create something completely new,“ says Tim Bantle, The North Face’s general manager of lifestyle. „Brands have opportunity to take this blank canvas and put a forward-thinking spin on it.“
That’s when we see those very-2020 updates, like, again, Sandy Liang’s marbled and blended effects or Outdoor Voices’s curlier MegaFleece (which, by the way, comes in a jumbo-sized Outdoor Voices tote rivaling the scale of Ikea’s Frakta). These embellishments only add to the fleece’s aesthetic, all while maintaining the principles that made it so iconic in the first place. It’s a win-win, wrapped in plushness.
Still, Clemente is realistic about lifespans. („The teddy bear fuzz will go away,“ she predicts. „People won’t want to wear that in a year or two!“) But fleece’s more timeless and functional attributes — like the technical and fabric innovations — cement it as a mainstay.
At The North Face, Bantle believes that the Denali fleece, launched in 1988, has endless potential to be adapted to keep up with market trends. That it also harkens back to its authentic outdoor roots has truly never been so vital.
„All of that comes together to create a sense of safety, comfort and long-term security, which isn’t just trendy — it’s invaluable in surviving a world that seems so unstable, where anything can happen at any time,“ says Luecke. „In that world, fleece is forever.“
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