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    Fashion History Classics: Who invented the Wrap Dress?

    Mai 4th, 2016

    Fashion designer Diane von Fuerstenberg had a breakthrough for introducing the knitted jersey ‘wrap-dress’ in 1973. Its fundamental form was already deeply embedded in the American designer sportswear collection. Read the rest of this entry


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    Streetstyle New York: Dress of the week #2 – Stacy Dreyfus

    April 7th, 2016

    Throwback Thursday

    She got her sense of style probably from her grandmother. That’s what Stacy Dreyfus is telling us at least at the end of our video. The fact of the matter is that Stacy really knows what to wear this season. We encountered her with a colorful dress of French Fashion Designer Catherine Malandrino. It’s just awesome.

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    Fashion Backstage: Speaking Fashion with ESMOD Textil Expert Monika Menne

    März 28th, 2016

    What makes the perfect white T-shirt? We put his question to Monika Menne, Lecturer in Textiles at the internationally renowned ESMOD fashion school. For the qualified textiles engineer, the perfect white T-shirt has to satisfy two essential criteria: it should make the perfect visual impression and provide outstanding wearing comfort. In this interview, she also tells us what standards the perfect fabric has to meet.

    Interview by Thomas Escher

    Fashion Interview, Fashion Interviews, Fashion Designer Interview, Fashion behind the Scene, Fashion Backstage, ESMOD, ESMOD MUC, ESMOD Munich, Interview with Monika Menne from ESMOD Munich

    Mrs. Menne, tell us a bit about yourself.
    Okay, well this will need a little explaining (laughs). I’m a graduate engineer specializing in textile finishing – or, in other words, I’m a textiles engineer. It’s a profession that has become quite rare nowadays in western industrialized countries. In short, textiles engineers deal with the production and finishing of fabrics. When I returned to work after my maternity leave around five years ago, I signed on as a fabrics expert at the international ESMOD fashion school. I work there with budding fashion designers and teach them the fundamentals of textiles. My work as a lecturer is an excellent way of combining my personal enthusiasm for fashion with my professional know-how.

    You sound really passionate. As a fashion-avid textiles expert, could you tell us what, in your opinion, makes the perfect white T-shirt?
    I have a maxim that I always pass on to my students: “For the perfect design, the fabric and the cut have to complement each other in the best way possible.” This rule of thumb also applies to the perfect white T-shirt. That means that, alongside a top choice of fabric, the cut is the most crucial factor. For the perfect men’s T-shirt, I’d say this cut should be a close-fitting “slim fit” design whose collar isn’t too high on the neck and whose sleeves cover around half of the upper arm. In my opinion, aside from the fabric and cut, the most important things from a textiles point of view are the visual appearance of the material and the impression it makes. But if the cut isn’t right, even the perfect choice of fabric won’t save the design.

    “The perfect T-shirt should be a close-fitting “slim fit” design whose sleeves cover around half of the upper arm.”

    Although an impeccable choice of fabric is surely the basic requirement for a perfect design, right?
    Yes, without a doubt. Speaking from experience, there are really only two alternatives when choosing the right material for the perfect T-shirt. You can either use a very high-quality combed cotton fabric whose structure guarantees a high level of wearing comfort and an elegant look and feel, or you can go for a fabric produced using man-made, plant-based fibers. The fabrics industry has made enormous progress in this area over the last few years. The everyday term for these kinds of fabrics is “viscose.” Like cotton, viscose is made of plant fibers, mostly from beechwood or bamboo. Viscose’s positive characteristics make it a very popular choice for women’s outerwear. Personally, I think that each of these fabrics has their own appeal, and at the end of the day, the one the wearer chooses is a question of taste. The quality of today’s viscose fabrics is no longer inferior to their top-grade cotton counterparts and both are often used in fabric blends.

    If you could dream up the perfect fabric composition based on a blend of high-quality cotton and beechwood fiber: what would it be like?
    Well, if we were talking women’s shirts this would be an easy question and I would almost only rely on cellulose or beechwood fiber fabrics like Micromodal. No offense, but this is because women are generally more educated when it comes to fabric standards in fashion. For men you probably still need a blend of fabrics that consists of around 50% high-quality cotton and about 30% to 40% cellulose. But I’d guess after a while even the most skeptical men will be convinced of the advantage of cellulose based fabrics since they feel smoother and gentler on the skin. And due to the production process, those materials appear shinier than their cotton counterparts. Processed beech wood fibers are a pioneering material in fashion that last but not least is more sustainable than cotton fibers since the cultivation requires less water and pesticide.

    What key criteria are used to assess the quality of cotton?
    The quality of cotton is all about how long the cotton fibers have grown. The reason for this is quite simple: the longer the fibers, the finer they can be spun later on in the manufacturing process. This makes the thread a lot smoother, which ultimately has an impact on how the fabric looks and feels. Cheap cotton fabrics manufactured with too many short fibers often make a piece of clothing look awkward and coarse. Long cotton fibers on the other hand lend the finished product a smooth, shiny surface. So in that respect, high-quality cotton is another essential ingredient for the perfect white T-shirt. The matte sheen, the most visible characteristic of top-grade cotton, is particularly popular among men.

    “A matte sheen of the fabric is particularly popular among men.”

    And the perfect look and feel also has a lot to do with how the material is made, doesn’t it?
    Absolutely. This is what we in the trade call the knit – in other words the method used to produce a fabric. In my opinion, the best material for a high-quality men’s T-shirt is a classic “Single Jersey” knit fabric. The reason for this is simple: clothes worn regularly come under a lot of strain, so it makes sense to choose a stretchy fabric. Knitted fabrics automatically have a certain stretch factor because of how they are made. A small amount of spandex – usually between 2 and 5 percent – also benefits the fit. Furthermore, Single Jersey fabrics boast a certain firmness – yet another important component for the quality of a men’s T-shirt.

    And surely one that benefits the durability of the T-shirt.
    Yes. Although it has to be said that a cotton T-shirt can never be as durable as a pair of jeans, for example. I’d particularly like to emphasize this point, because it’s relevant to the way we take care of the product. The perfect white T-shirt will only stay perfect if you look after it properly. I often hear my students saying things like: “Cotton? Well, I just throw it in the washing machine.” Often at 60°C and with a spin cycle of 1,400 rpm. Any T-shirt will have had it after going through that kind of torture.
    There are many areas where the consumer can play a part in how long a product lasts.

    “The perfect white T-shirt will only stay perfect if you look after it properly.”

    So what’s your expert advice for washing high-quality cotton textiles?
    Ideally, you should choose the delicates program on your washing machine – a maximum of 30°C and a spin cycle of 600 rpm. There’s still a common misconception that shirts washed at a higher spin cycle will end up with fewer creases. The opposite is in fact the case: the lower the rotation speed during the spin cycle, the fewer creases your shirt will have. After washing, pull the T-shirt into shape and leave it to dry. If you want to be a perfectionist, you can dry the T-shirt flat – that way it will retain its shape for longer and will end up with hardly any creases at all, even if you don’t iron it. By the way, your choice of detergent makes a huge difference, too. I’d recommend a liquid detergent for washing delicate items. Liquid detergents don’t contain bleach, so they are gentler on your clothes and on the environment, too. Liquids are also easier to measure out – a benefit that really shouldn’t be underestimated, especially for men. (laughs)

    You might have a point there. Finally, can you tell us the maximum amount of money you would spend on the perfect T-shirt?
    That’s difficult to say. Price sensitivity varies in this respect from person to person. For me personally, a decisive factor when it comes to price is to consider how I’ll be able to use the item in question. If I were a man, I’d expect to be able to wear a T-shirt in all kinds of situations, whether as an undershirt or as an alternative to a button-up shirt. I’d put a T-shirt meeting those criteria somewhere in the 50-euro price category. Of course, you’ll also find T-shirts costing more than 100 euros, but I’d say the market volume for that kind of product is pretty low.


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    Fashion Backstage: Speaking Fashion with Cindy Steffens

    März 18th, 2016

    Interview blast from September 2010, Vienna, Austria

    speakfashion:Cindy, before we talk about your hat-designs, just tell us quickly about yourself and how you came up with the idea of an own fashion label?

    cindy steffens:
    Well, since of my childhood ‘art’ and ‘design’ was surrounding me. I’ve known very early that I’m going to do something creative. After I finished my university entrance diploma in 1998, I started a fashion design education and afterwards I completed my fashion design degree 2005 in Hannover.

    Why did you decide to design hats?cindy steffens:I’ve done two different internships during my study where I discovered my love and passion to hats. I was so obsessed creating my own hat-designs and nothing changed until now. speakfashion:What’s the basic idea behind your style? Or in other words: What distinguish ‘cindy steffens’ from other hat designers?cindy steffens: On one hand I emphasize a certain technique in designing my hats. I knot feathers, twirl silk or I’m tearing fabrics to follow them up with the famous ‘bobbin lace-making’ method. On the other hand I’m using different and unusual materials like glass, metal, silk, hair-felt or real hedgehog-needles, root ages, lacquer, leather and rubber. Every so often I also reprocess real branches and original veil from the 30s.

    speakfashion:What’s the biggest challenge in designing hats?

    cindy steffens: The biggest challenge in designing hats is definitely to keep the hat in its usual and basic form. It is very exhausting and hard to deal with that. In this case I’m always working with hot water-steam, at least when I’m using hair-felt. On one hand I really like working with this material but on the other hand it is also very difficult to handle it correctly. It could happen that you get some wholes and bumps by accident for instance.

    speakfashion: How does your main target group look like?

    cindy steffens: My clients are on average between 25 and 45 years old. But I also have a client who is already 85. They all have one thing in common: They love to emphazise their personality by wearing an appropriate hat. Handsome women, trend-setter who set themselves apart from the general public.

    speakfashion: What’s the price range of your hats?

    cindy steffens: My prices start at a minimum of EUR 55,- and they can go up to EUR 150,- which is the more usual price of a hat since they are all hand-made in my shop in Vienna. And every hat has its unique design. That means, there is no best seller which I’d fabricate over and over again. If you buy a particular design you can be sure that this is the only one. Because of this uniqueness there is certainly no price limit to the top.

    speakfashion: Wearing classical hats were an indicator of social status in the olden days. When do people wear your hats basically these days? Is there a certain occasion for ’cindy steffens’?

    cindy steffens: Lots of my clients want to have an appropriate hat to a certain dress. The ‘Vienna balls’ are often a particular occasion for my designs. My clients are wearing my hats to weddings as well, whether the bride by herself or simply the wedding guests. And some of my clients only try to escape from their daily grind in wearing my sophisticated hat-designs as a nice accessory.

    speakfashion: Do you have already shown your hat-designs during a fashion week?

    cindy steffens: Yes, last year twice in Berlin and Vienna. This year I’m going to present my designs in Vienna as well. But I’m also attending different exhibitions in Europe during the year.

    speakfashion: What are your plans for the future? Any secrets you want to share with us today?

    cindy steffens: I’d like to extend my store in Vienna with a second person who can help me out in designing and merchandising my hats. I also would like to offer my designs in more cities and countries like Dublin for instance because I really love this city!

    speakfashion: Sounds great Cindy. Thank you for the chat and keep us posted on your story.

    Speaking Fashion with Hat Designer Cindy SteffensSpeaking Fashion with Hat Designer Cindy SteffensSpeaking Fashion with Hat Designer Cindy SteffensSpeaking Fashion with Hat Designer Cindy SteffensSpeaking Fashion with Hat Designer Cindy SteffensSpeaking Fashion with Hat Designer Cindy SteffensSpeaking Fashion with Hat Designer Cindy SteffensSpeaking Fashion with Hat Designer Cindy SteffensSpeaking Fashion with Hat Designer Cindy Steffens
    Wanna touch base with ‘Cindy Steffens’?
    Cindy Steffens- Headquater in Hamburg
    Kleiner Schippsee 15 // 21073 Hamburg
    P: +49 (176) 995.010.11 // Email to Cindy Steffens
    W: // Catch up with Cindy on Facebook

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    Streetstyle New York: Dress of the week #1 – Kamali Chandler

    März 4th, 2016

    Do you remember our very first “Dress of the week”? We saw Kamali on New Yorks Madison Avenue. Enjoy watching it!

    Dress of the week is our weekly sequel where we want to show you cute, adorable, fancy and luxurious outfits. In the first shot we’ll give Kamali a try. We bumped into her at 60th and Madison just a few days ago.

    Look at her ring and you’ll immediately know why she is our dress of this week. Her brown topaz from Italian Jewelry Designer Daniela de Marchi is simply breathtaking.

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    Fashion History Classics: Who invented the T-Shirt?

    Februar 28th, 2016

    As trivial as it happened to sound, as legendary is the story of the T-Shirts. Originally the T-Shirt was supposed to be an undershirt for sea-men and marines. Read the rest of this entry


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