Former designer says death of fashion is ‘imminent,’ reveals the industry’s dirty laundry

When the team reached the shores of Madasgascar where he now modestly lives, they found him sitting on a hammock located at the veranda of his humble home in the solitary island off the coast of mainland Africa. He was combing the hair of his four-year-old granddaughter who was wearing a red Hippeastrum over her right ear, it was one of Madagascar’s indigenous flowers. One of the team members waved her hand to say hello, and this father knew the interview scheduled via email weeks ago was about to start. He led the team to a nearby table in the veranda.

It was mid-afternoon in the lone island, the sun shining so bright forming shadows. But the story he shared was sun-kissed – by darkness.

“The death of fashion is imminent,” the 72-year-old former designer who now lives with his two daughters and five grandchildren said. “I don’t see fashion shows, and brands like Alexander McQueen, Prada, Gucci and even Versace being looked up to in the future.”

Choosing to remain anonymous, he himself had a share of fashion experiences before, starting as a sewer in a fashion house in Milan and eventually being able to feature his collections.

“Brands of McQueen, which I admired before, among with many others are not going to last long,” he said. “There is a new generation of buyers who find more value in technology, food, investing and other matters, but not fashion. The patrons of these high fashion brands are nearing their old age. One of my grandchildren, 12 years old, once asked me, ‘Who is Versace, grandpa?’ I just laughed it off, because she was born Italian but cannot even pronounce the brand, and I said, I just made the right decision of leaving the industry as early as I can.”

He further said that fashion shows are now losing their value, and that no matter how designers try to pick up on getting the sales up, “the road is sloping downwards.” When he left Milan almost five years ago, after paying recent visits to places like New York, Hong Kong and San Francisco, he said everything is different, seeing malls choosing to highlight brands for the younger generation more than the high fashion ones.

“I have been to this mall and true enough, there are hallways intended for high fashion brands and usually are almost empty because of being too expensive,” he said. “But now, I felt another kind of the emptiness around the shops. That people don’t recognize them anymore.”

When asked if magazines advertisements do not work to publicize the high fashion brands, he said, “Since I became familiar with Instagram, it’s now difficult.”

‘No value in fashion’

He painted a grim picture of recent fashion shows and described how some of the shows are now being run in derelict houses, old buildings and used warehouses.

“The glamour is losing its grip,” he said. “Because more and more people are now aware of dressing up themselves beautifully without getting inspiration from fashion shows, these shows are now of no value, like an old wooden pony ride now placed in the attic. They now prefer playing the game called Candy Crush.”

He cited the recent Gucci fashion show held in New York, which he found out via Twitter, and said the trademark of the Gucci brand built over the years can still be seen, but said that this is “not what people are looking for.”

“Today, wearing clothes has to be realistic. Gone are the days when we admire fashion because they are filled with fantasy. But have you asked yourself, ‘are we ever gonna see these clothes on the street?’ Never.”

He also answered questions on his thoughts of high fashion reaching the leading economies such as Dubai and China, as Vogue’s Anna Wintour is reported to have her eyes on the Chinese market.

“Value is the important thing here,” he bravely pointed out. “The people in these places are known to have so much disposable income. How much of a burden is to buy a Gucci dress and a pair of high heels? That’s when high fashion becomes a thing that deserves a space at the flea market.”

Fashion’s dirty laundry

This former designer started his clothing line because of his father, who was given a scholarship to study in a prestigious fashion school in New York back in the 1930s. He wanted to continue the family’s tradition in the industry.

“I became a designer mainly because it is a family tradition, my father wanted me to go on and I was also interested in it,” he said. “But the times before are different from now, and so I chose to live a better life.”

There was a long pause and some moments of silence after he said this. By that time, his wife, 70, served some local fish and peanuts on the table. He chewed on a couple of grains before continuing.

“Fashion thrives on sophistication and more often than not, inauthentic class which is far from reality,” he explained. “Prostitution exists in the fashion world. I have witnessed it myself and I hope the world will look into this. My son was 17 when he started modelling and I gave him much independence that I trusted him to know his way. He lived far from where I lived, as he lived much of his life in London. But one day he told me, ‘Papa, I’ve had enough. I also want to begin a family and I don’t think I can make this dream come true if I remain just a model.”

The team saw the former designer shed a tear. His son modeled and became part of photoshoots under famous underwear brands in Europe.

“This was the turning point when I decided I needed to give up this passion,” he said, his voice cracking.

Now, his son lives happily with his wife and their only daughter in a US state.

“One of the reasons why I can see the death of fashion coming is because the dreams made by high fashion are now coming alive, and when they do, that’s when the essence of fashion stops,” he said. “Many of my dreams have now come to reality, which gives me no reason to create more designs from fabric mostly sewn by those we treat as slaves. I hope the world wakes up with me. And I am happy to finally retire to a place where beauty is not skin-deep. And I love seeing my granddaughter wear something from H&M.”

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In The Kitchen with California’s one stop burger shop, CaliBurger

CaliBurgerA paradise. Land of dreams. The Golden State. California has been called many things in countless ways—most of them true. Now, CaliBurger brings that all-out California spirit and lifestyle to you in a setting that says, “This is me. This is who I am.” Sit down. Take out. However you enjoy it is alright by us.

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Say goodbye to old ways, introducing Pennsylvania USA’s favorite brand American Eagle Outfitters

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American Eagle’s beginning was with the Silverman family, which owned and operated Silvermans Menswear. By the mid-1970s two of the Silverman brothers—from the third generation of Silvermans in the family business—were running the family business. Jerry Silverman, was the president and CEO, while his brother Mark Silverman, served as executive vice-president and COO. The Silverman brothers were convinced they needed to diversify their product offerings in order to continue growing their company. They also recognized that the addition of new family owned chains would then enable them to operate more than one store in the same mall. Their first attempt was to open American Eagle Outfitters in 1977, positioning it as a proprietor of brand-name leisure apparel, footwear, as well as accessories for men and women, emphasizing merchandise suited for outdoor sports, such as hiking, mountain climbing, and camping. Stores were set up in shopping malls and a catalog was established. The chain grew for much of the 1980s. In 1989, the owners decided to refocus their business on American Eagle Outfitters, selling their other retail chains. At that time, there were 137 American Eagle Outfitters stores including 37 in the United States.

Now available in your favorite local shopping malls.

Minnesota’s favorite brand Penguin breaks the winter ice and snow

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If a 100-year-old underwear factory in Minnesota seems an unconventional starting point for a fashion icon that has represented Americana since 1955 and is still worn all over the world today, blame Pete the Penguin. And perhaps a whiskey or two.

Abbot Pederson was an ambitious salesman who worked for the Munsingwear undergarment factory in Minneapolis. On a sales trip to NYC in 1955, finding himself with some time to kill before a flight home, he decided to wait out his time in a local bar. Stumbling out to find a taxi stand, he took a wrong turn down a Manhattan street and found himself in front of a display of stuffed penguins in a taxidermist’s window. Before he knew it, he had bought one of the penguins, named him Pete, and was soon enjoying cocktails with him on the flight back to Minneapolis.

At some point during the flight, Pederson’s enthusiasm got the better of him — and Pete the Penguin’s head was knocked off. A seductive stewardess whose attention Pederson had been enjoying throughout the flight gently helped him remove his tie, then wrapped it around the penguin’s neck. As she did so, she joked that such a lucky, dapper bird surely deserved to be immortalized — maybe even embroidered on a shirt similar to the one Pederson was wearing. Little did she know…

On his return to Minneapolis, Pederson, a keen golfer, wasted no time tallying his interests. And so the Munsingwear golf shirt was born. Even in 1955 it was ahead of its time. Casual, comfortable, equally at home on the 18th hole or the 19th hole. From the moment it hit the shelves it was a must-have, popular with suburbanites and sports legends alike. Known today as “the 55,” it represented not only a relaxed and sophisticated lifestyle but was to become the cornerstone of an entire fashion movement.

From this point on, the penguin’s flight was onward and upward. (And you thought penguins didn’t fly…) Pete’s profile became instantly synonymous with the era’s most iconic — and talked about — celebrities: Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Arnold Palmer, Clint Eastwood and Richard Nixon, to name a few. Original Penguin had become a true American classic.

As a testament to the timeless appeal of the Original Penguin clothing company’s classic designs, the shirts catapulted back into fashion starting in 2000, when young trendsetters started scouring yard sales and demanding their favorite vintage stores restock the cult classics. In 2003, this overwhelming new audience led to the rebirth of an Original Penguin by Munsingwear, and an alliance with an international fashion house. Penguin’s archive of mid-century classics was reworked to reflect today’s lifestyle without compromising the heritage or craftsmanship that had made Penguin’s name.

Today, with Original Penguin stores dotting the globe and sold at exclusive luxury retailers, Pete is back — bigger and better than ever, presiding over a full lifestyle brand that now includes suits, watches, bags, belts, hats, shoes, and women’s and kids’ collections.

See for yourself. Original Penguin men’s clothing continues to exude a blend of confidence and relaxation. Penguin golf shirtsand men’s polo shirts are just as iconic as they were when Pederson designed the first one. They easily pair with Original Penguin pants and jeans to create a look worthy of the great ones.

Original Penguin continues to develop landmark clothing for women and kids, too. Our collection of Original Penguin women’s clothing is chic, cozy, sassy and nonchalant all at once. Peruse the tops, skirts, jackets and dresses that define an Original Penguin gal. And don’t forget the kids. Keep your boys looking hip and clean in designer children’s clothing.

But Original Penguin is more than just clothes today. We have a complete accessories shop to help you round out your look. Pete is now the proud purveyor of bags, hats, wallets, shoes, belts, ties and watches. All in all, not bad for a stuffed penguin.

Schwinn Bicycles from Uniqlo USA

Cycling2 Established in 1895, Schwinn has brought commitment and passion to cycling. Their process of building bikes created a higher standard of excellence that inspired their renowned quality seal. They’ve built bikes for all ages and abilities, for all types of riding, for riders around the world with a simple credo:

Make it fun. Make it easy.