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The Year Fashion Woke Up

LONDON, United Kingdom This year, the global fashion industry finally began to take environmental and ethical problems seriously, with major luxury conglomerates and mass retailers alike taking significant steps in the right direction.

There is still a huge way to go and much of the positive momentum comes in the form of pledges and promises whose true worth will only be proven when followed by real action. What’s more, some of the progress on ethical issues, in particular, was sparked in reaction to scandals and human tragedies, like the collapse of the Rana Plaza building in Savar, Bangladesh, which killed 1,134 people.

But it’s important to give credit where it’s due. Over the last few years, Kering, the luxury conglomerate that owns Gucci, Saint Laurent, Balenciaga and Stella McCartney, has positioned itself as a true leader in sustainability under the leadership of François-Henri Pinault, as well as Maire-Claire Daveu, who was appointed as Kering’s chief sustainability officer and head of international institutional affairs in September 2012. Having made strong pledges and promises in previous years, 2014 was the year that the conglomerate followed these up with real actions.

“I don’t want to sound like greenwashing,” Pinault said earlier this year. “If we wait for governments to solve the environmental crisis, not much will happen. It is up to us to show initiative, to be extremely proactive and go beyond simple compliance rules.”

This year, the group inked a five-year partnership with the London College of Fashion to support sustainable practices and innovation in fashion education; created a ‘Smart Assessment of Materials’ tool to evaluate the environmental performance of its plastics; rolled out its ‘Smart Supplier Programme’ to reduce emissions, water consumption and waste from suppliers; and implemented the Natural Resources Defense Council’s ‘Clean by Design’ programme for textile mills, the first time the programme has been launched in the luxury sector. The company also inaugurated the Kering Materials Innovation Lab, at which a team of technical experts work to create greener solutions for materials and manufacturing.

Kering also cast a careful eye over its sourcing practices in 2014, making the single largest purchase of Fairmined certified gold to date and launching two initiatives to tackle the volatile trading of exotic skins used in luxury goods (the Python Conservation Partnership) and a new programme to monitor and manage of the trade in Nile crocodiles from Madagascar, both in partnership with the International Trade Centre.

At the other end of the spectrum, positive steps were also taken by high street behemoth HM. It can certainly be argued that the company’s fast-fashion business model is fundamentally unsustainable. But, in recent years, the company has put more emphasis on its sustainability agenda. Helena Helmersson, HM’s head of sustainability since 2010, is a member of the company’s executive management, and the company’s head office in Stockholm has a 20-specialist-strong sustainability department.

In the last few years, HM has laid out its biggest commitments yet — which include pledges to use only sustainable cotton by 2020, reduce its operations’ total greenhouse gas emissions by 2015, and improve pay structures for fair living wages in its key suppliers by 2018.

And this year, it followed through with actions. In October, HM CEO Karl-Johan Persson met with Bangladesh’s Minister of Commerce, Tofail Ahmed, to request proper regulation of prices in the country, and wage development through annual revisions. In December, the retailer opened the first Centre of Excellence for the Bangladesh Apparel Industries in Dhaka, in cooperation with the International Labour Organisation and Swedish Development Agency, to train workers, supervisors and managers on topics including health and safety and workers’ rights. And, following a year of in-store “Garment Collecting”, the brand launched the first garments made using recycled materials donated by customers.

It’s not perfect. The commitments are not comprehensive (for example, the fair living wage plan will only be implemented in “strategic suppliers”) and by sponsoring The Guardian’s sustainable fashion hub, the brand has basically turned a section of a national newspaper into a PR machine. Many of HM’s biggest pledges have not yet been completed, in particular its roadmap to fair wages, and its commitment to source all of its cotton from “more sustainable sources” by 2020. However the progress made thus far displays a significant shift in the mindset of this fashion behemoth.

Other significant victories in 2014 came as key companies took steps to improve the ethics of their supply chains, where working conditions remain the biggest stain on the industry’s global garment.

In September, fashion firms including HM, Inditex and Primark penned a letter to the Cambodian deputy prime minister and the chairman of the local Garment Manufacturers Association, claiming that they were “ready to factor higher wages” into their pricing. In October, the Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh, a legally binding agreement involving 189 brands and retailers, completed initial inspections at more than 1,100 factories. A milestone for transparency in the oft-murky retail supply chain, the findings demonstrated the long way left to go, identifying more than 80,000 safety hazards.

Further gains towards improving the ethics of fashion’s supply chains came from Gap, which in December partnered with investment fund Tau to raise $1 billion to buy minority stakes in factories and upgrade their environmental standards and labour conditions; Levi Strauss Co., which pledged to offer lower-cost capital to its factories with the strongest environmental, labour and safety standards; and Japanese apparel maker United Arrows Ltd., which became the first Japanese firm to launch a brand under the Ethical Fashion Initiative, a flagship programme of the International Trade Centre that facilitates sourcing relationships between luxury brands and marginalised artisans in Africa Haiti.

Things are far from perfect; some major brands have refused to join the Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh and set up a similar group, the Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety. Retailers in the Accord have committed to providing the funds to make the necessary repairs, and are legally accountable if they do not — though whether they will do so — and with what speed — remains to be seen. The Alliance is not legally binding.

Many of these gains follow considerable and tragic losses. The letter to Cambodia came after thousands of workers took to the streets of Phnom Penh to protest low wages — and, it’s a letter, not a legally binding contract. Similarly, HM blacklisted a spinning mill in southern India for not meeting its ethical standards, but only after a report by the Centre for Research on Multinational Corporations and the India Committee of the Netherlands uncovered “appalling” working conditions and child labour there. 2014 saw the fashion industry once again become the site of tragedies, including earlier this month, when a Bangladesh knitting operator was killed by a faulty lift.

This year, key industry players have taken promising steps to become more sustainable and ethically sound and to stop turning away from critical issues. We’ll be watching in 2015 to see if these brands, retailers and designers will finish what they have started.

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2014′s Biggest Fashion Trends and What to Expect in 2015

The world of fashion is fleeting and ever-changing. With each season, trends are introduced, reconstructed, and promptly disposed.

This past year, we saw a contrast between the incredibly loud to the impeccably subtle. Within four short seasons we visited the ’50s, ’60s, ’70s, ’80s and ’90s.

(L-R) Valentino F/W 2014, Tory Burch S/S 2014, Gucci F/W 2014, Balmain F/W 2014
Photo credit: Getty Images

As we moved through 2014, we tapped into our inner flower-child, borrowed from the boys, went wild for animal prints, visited the heartland, learned new ways to reveal skin, yet also satisfied seasonal classics like pastels for spring and furs for winter.

Let’s look back at some of the favorite runway looks and trends:

2014 Fashion Trends

2014 Fashion Trends

As much as we are enjoying the retrospectives, fashion is very much about the future and 2015 is already shaping up to look like another exciting year for ready-to-wear.

During the recent monthlong parade of shows in New York, Milan, Paris and London, international designers seem to agree on what feels like a definitive message for the Spring Summer 2015 season: 70s chic.

“It was remarkable how much solidarity there was among designers in pushing forward a new look, albeit one that was largely rooted in an aesthetic that was inspired by the easy fashion of the 1960s and a somewhat hippie vibe of the 1970s,” said Eric Wilson, fashion news director at InStyle magazine.

(L-R) Proenza Schouler S/S 2015, Derek Lam S/S 2015, Valentino S/S 2015
Photo credit: Getty Images

Its influence was overarching, evident in the fringes at Proenza Schouler and Alberta Ferretti, flared pants at Derek Lam and Celine, bohemian flowy dresses at Pucci and Etro, fur vests at Tommy Hilfiger and Gucci, and patchwork at Yves Saint Laurent and Valentino.

But, it wasn’t all peace and love on the runways. Ralph Lauren and Marc Jacobs, among others, went for a more utilitarian look with deep cargo pockets, tailored silhouettes, khakis and olive drab — think somewhere between military-chic and safari luxe.

There were also Japanese inspirations, asymmetrical hems, androgynous tailored suits, and denim galore.

(L-R) Alexander McQueen S/S 2015, Alexis Mabille S/S 2015, Chloe S/S 2015
Photo credit: Getty Images

Perhaps the most surprising trend to come next spring and summer is the fall staple, leather.

“Certainly ‘summer leather’ is a new category that looks promising, partly the result of technical advancements that have resulted in lighter weight materials, even perforated leather that feels cooler in warmer months, and partly the result of the fact that spring clothes now go into stores so early that they need to address multiple seasons’ weather,” says Wilson.

As we brace the current arctic blasts swathed in cozy sweaters and coats, check out the gallery at the top of the story for a peek at the spring 2015 looks soon to be arriving in stores.

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5 Highs (and Lows) from the Year in Fashion

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How to Be One Step Ahead of the Latest Fashion Trend

Analyzing relevant words and phrases from fashion reviews makes it possible to identify a network of influence among major designers, say researchers. This work also lets them track how those style trends moved through the industry,” says Heng Xu, associate professor of information sciences and technology at Penn State.

“Data analytics, which is the idea that large amounts of data are becoming more available for finding patterns, establishing correlations, and identifying emerging trends, is very hot these days and it is being applied to many industries and fields—from health care to politics—but what we wanted to see is if data analytics could be used in the fashion industry,” says Xu.

Related: How You’re Shaping the Future Through Big Data

“We were drawn to the question of whether or not we could really trace a hidden network of influence in fashion design.”

Layout of the network is created by using ForceAtlas algorithm, where the edge weights influence how the nodes spread out. Sizes of nodes are proportional to the level of influence. The dispersed nodes around the network are designers without any influence links going in nor going out. 

Mapping Fashion Influence
The researchers, who present their findings today at the Workshop of Information Technology and Systems in Auckland, Australia, analyzed 6,629 runway reviews of 816 designers from, formerly the online site for Vogue, one of the most influential fashion magazines. The reviews covered 30 fashion seasons from 2000 to 2014.

Xu says her team extracted keywords and phrases from these reviews that described silhouettes, colors, fabrics, and other details from each designer’s collections and added them to the dataset. The researchers then created an approach to rank the designers and map influences within the group.

Related: Today’s Hot Fashion Trend Will Knock Your Socks Off

To evaluate the accuracy of their model, the researchers compared their network against three industry-recognized lists of influential designers, including Times, Fashion Merchandising Degrees, and A Celebration of the 20 Most Influential Designers, and found that it closely matched these lists.

“There is no one gold standard for the most influential designers, but we believe these are a good place to start a comparison,” says Xu.

The Next Jason Wu
While professionals in many industries are welcoming data analytics, this type of analysis may meet some skepticism from fashion designers, who view their work as a form of art and more difficult to quantify, says Yilu Zhou, associate professor of information systems at Fordham University, who worked with Xu.

“But, what we are finding from the data is that we can find footprints—there are clues—that can be traced back to individual designers,” says Zhou.

Related: Why Tech’s New Role in Shopping Is So ‘Fitting’

The researchers say the technology could one day help industry professionals to better predict fashion trends and identify up-and-coming designers.

“We all know the big designers now, but could we use this type of technology to find out who will be the next big fashion designer, the next Jason Wu, for example, and what the next big design trend is going to be?” says Zhou.

Cheaper style?
Xu says that the technology may also help consumers by helping them create wardrobes that are in their budget and are also in style. “Buying from leading designers is expensive, but if you had information on what design elements were beginning to trend, it might help you buy the latest fashion more inexpensively,” says Xu. “Also, designs do come back in style, so you could identify clothes that you may already have in your wardrobe to match the new styles.”

Xu and Zhou, who also worked with Yusan Lin, a research assistant from the department of computer science and engineering at Penn State, say that they expect the technology to improve as data and data sources become more available.

Eventually, data scientists could analyze real-time data from social media sites, such as Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram to predict fashion styles, Xu says.

Source: Penn State. This article originally appeared in

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The 6 Most Important Plus-Size Fashion Moments Of 2014

Plus-Size fashion had its fair share of ups and downs. In recent years, however, the progress that has been made toward a more equal, inclusive industry has shifted from idea to action. Curvy women make more appearances in magazines, plus-size fashion shows and beyond.

And yet, thinking back on all these achievements, it is clear there’s still a long way to go. A number of retailers have found themselves in hot water this year for up-charging plus-size garments or using insensitive language to describe their larger options. It’s clear, however, there are still many things to celebrate. It’s the perfect opportunity to take a look back at some of the most important things that happened for plus-size fashion this year.

1. Eloquii relaunched, giving plus-size style an entirely new meaning.

Eloquii, which once existed (and consequently closed) as a branch of The Limited, relaunched this year with an entirely new image. The site, which originally aimed to provide work appropriate options in a range of sizes, now offers on-trend, fast fashion to its customers. When asked why the retailer shifted focus to a more stylish place, creative director Jodi Arnold told HuffPost: “One of the biggest misconceptions people have about plus-size women is that there are only certain things that would look good on her. We want her to know that she can wear every trend, as long as its cut for her specific body and proportions.”

2. IMG signed five plus-size models to its regular roster.

While other, smaller agencies have signed plus-size models in the past, this move was huge for such a prominent agency (which represents big-timers Gisele Bundchen and Kate Moss, to name a few). The likes of Ashley Graham and Marquita Pring were seen in a spread last month. Here’s hoping that this move will open the door to more opportunities for curvy models.

3. Candice Huffine becomes the first plus-size model to be included in the annual Pirelli calendar.


The legendary calendar, which features some of the top models each year, introduced its first ever plus-size model into the mix in 2014. And while Candice Huffine, the gorgeous woman who was chosen to pose in the calendar is no stranger to the modeling world, her inclusion means a more diverse version of the calendar moving forward, which is extremely exciting.

4. London Fashion Week featured an entirely plus-size fashion show.

UK-based plus-size retailer Evans made a huge statement during London Fashion Week with its first ever fashion show. The show showcased its “Design Collective” line, which commissioned designers to restructure some of their classic styles to accommodate more shapes and sizes. As the company revealed in a statement, the show proved to the community that “high fashion is for all.”

5. Lane Bryant hosted its own Fashion Show in New York City with Isabel Toledo, their most fashionable collaborator yet.

isabel toledo

Lane Bryant has long been a well-known source for plus-size offerings, but it only recently vamped up its image to attract a more stylish crowd. The partnership with Isabel Toledo proved that they have made fashion a priority, and the show — which once again featured favorites like Ashley Graham and Robyn Lawley — was a great success.

6. Renee Posey called on Old Navy to stop price discrimination on plus-size garments.

After discovering that Old Navy charges more money for women’s plus-size garments than men’s, Renee Posey started a little petition. Over 95,000 signatures later, she has not only succeeded in shedding light on the issue but is also making strides to actually change things. As she shares on her page, she is “thrilled that Old Navy and its parent company, Gap Inc., have chosen to take the very first steps in the long process of making these changes by agreeing to change their returns policy as it pertains to their plus-sized women’s line and by instituting a panel of full-figured women to advise them of what we would like to see in their plus-sized range.” Although the company continues selling their plus-size women’s clothing at a higher price, this is at least a step in the right direction.

What was your favorite plus-size fashion moment of the year? Sound off below, and here’s to many more in 2015!

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Fashion Week to leave Lincoln Center

The city has given Fashion Week its cat-walking papers from Lincoln Center.

The de Blasio administration folded like a cheap suit — settling a lawsuit filed by parks advocates that demanded the star-studded extravaganza leave the Upper West Side venue because it encroaches on a small park nearby.

“IMG Fashion Week shall vacate the premises and remove all tents and other Fashion Week equipment from the park,” according to the settlement, signed by New York Supreme Court Justice Margaret Chan on Tuesday.

Fashion Week — which generates an estimated $865 million for the city annually — was supposed to stay at Lincoln Center until 2020, when it would have a permanent home at Hudson Yards.

Now, its last show at Lincoln Center will be in February.

Organizers are eyeing event spaces downtown — which fashionistas say could strip away the glitz.

“You can’t top those gorgeous street-style photos of well-heeled women in front of the fountain in Lincoln Center,” said Harper’s Bazaar editor Joyann King.

She added, “It’s such a landmark of the city . . . Lincoln Center had an elegance about it. There will be a little bit of that lost.”

Meghan Manning, a 22-year-old dancer who performs at Lincoln Center added, “I liked having it here. It’s iconic.”

NYC Parks Advocates and other green-space boosters sued the city Parks Department in 2013 for misusing Damrosch Park, which is adjacent to Lincoln Center.

The settlement requires the city to add more trees and to hang a sign proclaiming that the space is a public park.

The tents of Fashion Week will have to be pitched somewhere other than Lincoln Center.Photo: Reuters

“Damrosch Park belongs to the city of New York not Lincoln Center,” Geoffrey Croft of NYC Park Advocates posted on his blog, A Walk in The Park.

Some neighbors also cheered the terms of the settlement.

“We are thrilled at the current settlement and that the park will be rebuilt,” said Cleo Dana, the chair of Friends of Damrosch Park, a plaintiff in the lawsuit.

A Fashion Week spokesman said the venue was good while it lasted.

“Lincoln Center has been a great home . . . However, as the fashion industry continues to evolve, IMG has been actively looking for a new home hat gives our designers and partners the best possible environment to share their creative visions,” a Fashion Week spokesman said.

Additional reporting by Amber Sutherland

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The Coolest Fashion Innovations of 2014

The biggest trend in fashion this year? Transparency. No, we’re not talking about see-through garments—though judging from the red carpet, those were in vogue too. We’re talking about fashion designers and manufacturers using technology in innovative ways to create more informed consumers, from embedding chips in a sweater to tell you the living conditions of the sheep who provided the wool to creating apps that aggregate the environmental impact of every material imaginable. And that’s just the start. Indeed, 2014’s technological breakthroughs weren’t the Apple watch or some other wearable, but stuff designed to actually make our planet greener, our bodies healthier, and our wallets lighter. From truly cruelty-free leather to bio-textiles you can wear in outer space, here are the craziest, most exciting, and life-changing fashion innovations of the year.

Wearables Get, Well, Wearable


The problem with most wearables? They’re rarely things you’d actually want to wear. (Have you seen Google Glass?) Fortunately, designers have taken matters into their own hands, creating cool studded bracelets that double as phone chargers and delicate necklaces that let you know when you get an email or text. The most promising in this new category of tech-infused accessories is Ringly, a chic 18k-gold cocktail ring that subtly vibrates when you get a phone call or calendar alert (so you’ll never be late to a meeting again). “Designers are realizing that they don’t have to create the Swiss army knife of fashion when it comes to wearables,” “fashion technologist” Amanda Parkes says. “It offers the right amount of info on the right part of the body.”

Cruelty-free Leather

MIT Labs

In 2013, it was all about the lab-grown burger. Now, it’s lab-grown leather that’s in vogue. Brooklyn-based company Modern Meadow raised more than $10 million in Series A funding this year to create cruelty-free skins from a tissue-engineering technique called “biofabrication.” The process would produce a material that mimics the properties of leather more convincingly than the vegan, synthetic options currently on the market. And, it could allow designers to keep up with the demand on goods such as motorcycle jackets, over-the-knee boots, and handbags without the environmental—and moral—hazards of leather production. (Can they work on creating you’ll-never-believe-it’s-faux fur next?)

The New and Improved 3D-printed Dress

Steve Marsel Studio/Nervous System, Inc.

Designers have been experimenting with 3D-printed materials for several years now, but couture laboratory Nervous System has actually created a process through which you can print a dress and wear it straight out of the machine. It also, unlike other 3D-printed garments, moves like fabric, thanks to the 3,316 hinges that link its 2,279 interlocking triangular panels. The dress was so impressive that it—and the technology used to create it—is now part of MoMA’s permanent design collection.

Stilettos You Can Actually Walk In

The high heel has gone through endless aesthetic changes throughout the years. But, its structural engineering hasn’t been addressed in 100 years, despite the fact that stilettos damage your feet, are bad for your health, and hurt like hell. Enter Thesis Couture, a women-helmed company that aims to rethink the stiletto from the inside out lead by a design team that includes three scientists, an astronaut, fabricators, artisans and a surgeon. Though not in production yet, the high-end heels will be sold through a Tesla-like model. “Initially they’ll be very expensive to cover the whole process,” says Parkes, who is one of the co-founders, “till the technology starts to trickle down into a more reasonable price point.”

Bio Chic

Is biology the new black? 2014 saw designers going into the lab to concoct all sorts of weird bio-textile experiments, from regenerating, self-repairing running shoes made of protocells—imagined by London-based Alexander McQueen alum Shamees Aden—to 3D-printed “wearable skins” embedded with micro-habitats or systems that would allow its wearer to survive on different planets, a project of MIT’s Media Lab. Yeah, they look like they’re right out of a sci-fi movie, but in a haute couture, instead of Star Trek, sort of way. And, hey, they would make life on Mars even cooler.

Clothes That Tell You Where They Came From

OK, forget biology, says the Fashion Institute of Technology’s Ingrid Johnson: “Transparency is the new black…Young people particularly want to know everything about a product, from how much it can affect the environment to why it costs what it does.” A few brands have embedded chips or barcodes into their clothing tags, which the customer can scan in order to find out everything about a garment, from the wages of the workers who sewed it to how much it’s been marked up. Our favorite of these: Icebreaker’s Baacode, which will tell you—among other things—the living conditions of the sheep sheared for your sweater.

An App That Helps Designers Choose Green Materials

Nike has been at the forefront of cutting-edge materials technology, but its latest project establishes it as a leader in sustainable, ecological design, too. Studying the environmental impact of different materials—from their greenhouse effect to water usage and residual waste—Nike has compiled eight years worth of its findings into one handy app for apparel and footwear designers, called Making, which empowers brands to make more informed design decisions. The latest version, which came out this year, includes information on a range of materials, including commonplace cotton to EVA foam, as well as other features like comparison tools and tips for lowering your carbon footprint.

The Endlessly Customizable Dress

At New York Fashion Week this spring, designers CuteCircuit debuted a dress that can change color and pattern through an app that the wearer controls herself. The technology is not just cool, it actually makes the idea of transitioning from day to night easier, eliminates the need for so many items of clothing, and (with that elimination of waste) is actually good for the environment, too.

Washable, Stink-free Sneakers

Running shoes that you can wear without socks and that won’t smell? Yes, they exist, and they weren’t created in a lab, either. Turns out that wool regulates temperature, repels water, wicks away moisture, and resists stains and dirt. So, when looking to create a new running shoe they could wear without socks, the brothers behind New Zealand start-up Three Over Seven reached out to textile experts at AgResearch to create a super-durable wool that you could wear on your feet. The resulting Wool Runners were comfortable, eco-friendly, machine-washable, and super cute—and sold out almost immediately. Not to worry, more are on the way.

A Jacket That Repels Germs

Beta Brand

Listen up, commuters—your public transit rides are about to get a lot less gross! Innovation firm gravitytank has teamed up with fashion company Betabrand to create a jacket that helps fend off germs from sneezing subway users (and worse). The Germinator looks like a regular waterproof jacket but includes silver-infused, anti-microbrial fabric on the sleeves and collar, filtering out unpleasant smells and keeping you so fresh and so clean on your journey home. An obsessive-compulsive’s dream garment.

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The 10 Biggest Fashion Moments of 2014

It was the year of looking utterly normal. (Except for celebrities.)

If 2014 fashions will be recalled for anything, years hence, it will be for the Nike Free Trainers, plaid shirts and Uniqlo khakis that came to be known as normcore.

They reflected as much a utilitarian state of mind as a fashion trend. People cocooned into cozy clothes…

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From Ferragamo to Missoni, sneakers tread a business and fashion trend

Walk around the men’s shoe department of any upscale department store and leather footwear still dominates, but sneakers are getting a perch too. Don’t mistake this for “normcore,” a unisex fashion trend of everyday clothes that enjoyed a moment among fashionistas last spring. Style-watchers say it’s about freedom of expression, where the formal and the informal mix.

And fashionistas are willing to pay dress-shoe prices for the materials and workmanship that go into luxury sneakers.

“For many men, they treat sneaker purchases in exactly the same way they would treat shoe purchases,” said Sam Lobban, senior buyer with MRPORTER.COM, an on-line magazine and e-commerce site aimed at men.

Ferragamo, which is celebrating the 100th anniversary of company founder Salvatore Ferragamo’s emigration from Italy to the U.S. where he entered the luxury business through fine leather footwear, launched a new collection of sneakers this month. They include color block high-tops and sneakers in exotic skins, with prices ranging from $540 to for $3,400 for crocodile.

The list of designers sending sneakers down the fashion runways is growing, including Raf Simons, Rick Owens, Balenciaga, Givenchy and Missoni.

Lanvin was one of the first to include sneakers in their collection.

“Interestingly, the original style with patent toe-cap remains in the collection and is updated every season,” Lobban said.

GQ has approved eight sneakers to wear with suits — ranging from a pair of Alexander Wang pebbled leather uppers, at $495, to Adidas’ Stan Smith, price tag $75, which Lobban said was the trainer to wear for summer 2014 “for its understated style.”

The appeal of sneakers is rooted in comfort, and Franklin Eugene, a Dubai-based stylist, said “it just makes sense” that men’s fashion houses would get in the game, noting that the range is growing ever more “stunning” in recent months.

“While there will always be those who opine that the only proper place for sneakers is the gym, as long there are men looking for comfort and style in the same product, sneakers will have a place in men’s fashion,” he said.

That sneaker-sporting Italian senator needed no memo or seal of approval for his style choice. Mario d’Urso, 74 and a banker by profession, topped Vanity Fair’s international best-dressed list in 2011. Something of a style iconoclast, has been wearing sneakers anywhere they aren’t frowned upon — which excludes Buckingham Palace, where he has been a guest, and Harry’s Bar in London — for some time now.

“Now that you have put a bug in my ear, I think I’ll wear them to a dinner I am hosting tomorrow night in Rome,” d’Urso said by phone.



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Exclusive: Google Ranks Top-Searched Models and Fashion Trends

Earlier today, Google released the results of its annual A Year in Search, spotlighting the people, places, and trends the Internet has been stalking online throughout 2014. Featuring everyone from Jennifer Lawrence (the most searched person) to Rihanna (the most searched red-carpet dress), these results represent an aggregation of trillions of searches users asked Google throughout the year. But we wanted to know how the specific models and terms we have obsessed over all year long ranked, so Google made a curated search for, featuring the best of the best.

The most Googled fashion trends are determined via data from the searches with the highest spikes of the year. Normcore might not be the word of the year, but being shut out of the Oxford English Dictionary didn’t stop the fashion movement from trending—hard—online. In fact, this decidedly average fad has officially scored the number-one spot on the list as the most Googled fashion trend of 2014.  Meaning, despite the fact that normcore was everywhere (in stores, on the runways, and in real life), people still wanted more details. Other top-searched trends included buzzy Internet terms health goth, althleisure, and wearables, as well as plain old products like crop tops and over-the-knee boots.

While the top trends are no big surprise, the most Googled models might be. In a year that arguably belongs to Kendall Jenner, it’s actually Kate Upton who heads the list of the top 20 fashion models. She’s followed by Kendall Jenner, at number two, then Miranda Kerr, Heidi Klum, Gisele Bündchen, and Kate Moss. Although it’s assumed that fellow Insta-girl models would clock in high on the list like Jenner, they came in unexpectedly low. Gigi Hadid was the eighth most-searched, followed by Karlie Kloss at nine and Hailey Baldwin at 15. But perhaps most shockingly, they all beat out Cara Delevingne, who came in at number 16. She might be big on Tumblr (and immortalized as a wax figure), but when it comes to search, people still just want to keep up with the Kardashians…and Upton.    

See the entire list of the top 20 models and fashion trends for, below, then click here for more of Google’s A Year in Search results.

Top 20 Fashion Models

1. Kate Upton
2. Kendall Jenner
3. Miranda Kerr
4. Heidi Klum
5. Gisele Bündchen
6. Kate Moss
7. Behati Prinsloo
8. Gigi Hadid
9. Karlie Kloss
10. Naomi Campbell
11. Alessandra Ambrosio
12. Lily Aldridge
13. Chanel Iman
14. Doutzen Kroes
15. Hailey Baldwin
16. Cara Delevingne
17. Jourdan Dunn
18. Coco Rocha
19. Bar Refaeli
20. Joan Smalls

Top 20 Fashion Trends 

1. Normcore
2. Health goth
3. Althleisure
4. Wearables
5. Crop tops
6. Designer collaboration
7. Over-the-knee boots
8. Full skirts
9. Culottes
10. Mules
11. Street style
12. Capes
13. Mesh
14. Tartan
15. Fashion sneakers
16. Mod style
17. Suede
18. Iridescence
19. Embroidered denim

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