Saturday, July 4, 2015

Jackie O'Fee: Five fashion fails

Having worked with literally hundreds of men and women over the past fourteen years, there's a few sartorial errors that I see again and again. Although seemingly small things, these mistakes can mean that even with the best of intentions, you will sadly fall short on the style front. I've narrowed it down to five key fashion fails and how to avoid them here:

Wearing a look that's over.

Fashion is a fickle beast, and to be honest much of what we're about at Signature Style transcends it. But it is a very real fact that trends only last a period of time before moving on. Sometimes we see men and women who are a bit stuck with a trend that's now finished. A current example? Tunics and leggings for women and striped shirts or double breasted jackets for men. How do you know if your look is done? Check out a few trendier stores and see what the staff are wearing. Flick through a fashion mag or do a quick google. Even better, get in touch with a stylist and have them help.

Islamic fashion, made in India

Indian industry may have been slow to respond to Prime Minister Narendra Modi's slogan, Make in India, Make for the World, but there's one company registered in Silicon Valley, California that has been following the maxim to the T. EastEssence has been making Islamic clothing in India and selling to the world for the last seven years.

Ironically, EastEssence, which is a manufacturer and online retailer of Islamic clothing - abayas, jilbabs, burqas, thobes, dishdashas, hijabs etc - was founded by a Hindu from Kashmir. With customers in 68 countries across the globe and sales of $40 million (nearly Rs.255 crore) last year, EastEssence claims to be the 'Largest Islamic Clothing Company Online'. All its merchandise is made in India, in a factory in Noida bordering New Delhi, and another Meerut, where all the hand-embroidery is done.

For Sunil Kilam, the company's 38-year-old founder, the decision to "make in India" made hard commercial sense - the low wages of labour in India, compared to the US, allows him to offer his buyers great value for money. Prices on EastEssence are all in the range of $20-50, and do not exceed $110 even for the fancy designs. In India, where EastEssence launched this Ramzaan season its own store on Snapdeal, prices are capped at Rs.5,000.

How to look good in green: the best ethical fashion

One emotion that I don’t get to experience as much as I’d like to is smugness. This is especially true when it comes to clothes. Feeling smug about your outfit can only be achieved by very particular means. You have to wear something devastatingly perfect at the right time and the right place, find a bargain of staggering proportion or buy something ethical that makes more people feel good about life than just you.

This third option is easier now that green fashion brands have realised that people will buy ethical clothes as long as they don’t look like ethical clothes. Lots of labels have sprung up that consider ethics and aesthetics together. For some, the ethical element is in itself organic. British designer Christopher Raeburn, for example, uses recycled military fabrics and decommissioned parachutes to make clothes because he wants to rather than because he feels morally obliged to. This change and lightening in attitude is really apparent in the new eco clothes.

And it’s easier to go ethical shopping, too. Some great boutiques have appeared which do all the sorting of nice from naff and the worrying about bona fides for you. All you have to do is loll on the sofa browsing their websites and buy.