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How To Dress Like Anna Wintour Using 4 Style Staples

Deconstructing Anna Wintour’s style starts with 4 key items.

Anna Wintour has been the editor of Vogue US for 31 years and is unquestioningly the most important woman in fashion. Throughout her tenure she’s developed a signature style, making her instantly recognizable – from the impeccable bob (maintained with two brushings a day) to the dark glasses, everyone knows when Anna Wintour is in the front row!

As an image consultant at MBC Group, one of the most prominent TV stations in the Arab world, I recently attended the Vogue Forces of Fashion talks in New York. I had the opportunity to listen to the makers and shakers of the fashion industry, including heavyweights from various creative industries. We even witnessed laughs shared by Anna Wintour and Donatella Versace.

Since I’m always encouraging women (and me, myself) to find their own style – as Anna has been showcasing so magnificently for decades – I decided to ask her to address the women in my audience. The answer was clipped and unequivocal: “Contact my office.” I’ve been Wintourised.

To deconstruct Anna’s iconic look, we need to include a few key pieces: leather, the printed midi dress, tweed ensemble (always Chanel somewhere) and slouchy high boots with comfortable heels. May you be inspired, and long live Anna Wintour!

HERO ITEM 1: LEATHER

This fall, you’ll find leather being used for various items, including shirts, dresses, pants, jackets (a leather blazer is a must), skirts and culottes – and not necessarily in black. Don’t hesitate to incorporate leather (or faux leather) into your wardrobe.

Our picks:
Marks & Spencer Autograph leather cropped straight trousers
Mango leather effect straight trouser
2Extremz pleated leather skirt
H&M leather skirt, grey


HERO ITEM 2: PRINTED MIDI DRESS

Midi length is very chic, and prints – especially floral and animal – have been reigning on the fashion scene for the past few seasons. Don’t hesitate to invest in both.

Our picks:
Ella leopard print self tie shirt maxi dress
Zara floral print dress
Splash floral printed maxi dress with long sleeves


HERO ITEM 3: TWEED

You don’t have to go for a full tweed ensemble, as it can easily add years to your look. Why not team a tweed jacket with a denim tucked in high boots, or a midi tweed skirt with sneakers and a leather biker jacket? If you do want to go full tweed, opt for a short tweed skirt with cool shoes – never stilettos.

Our pick:
Trendyol multicolour tassel knit jumper


HERO ITEM 4: SLOUCHY BOOTS

When Anna’s not wearing her Manolo Blahnik sandals, she’s definitely in boots. They are everywhere this season, adding an urban cool look to your silhouette, while the stacking heels make them comfortable and wearable all day (and evening) long. They can go under your midi dress or over your pants. Your call!

Our pick:
Mango leather boots with tall leg

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Women walking on street

50-Something, but Make It Fashion

As Carrie & Co return to our screens, meet the Dubai women who personify #stylegoals.

It’s the TV show that changed the way we thought about fashion. And it’s back – well, almost. And Just Like That, the follow-up to Sex And the City, is set to make a return to the small screen this autumn. And while the actual release date of the first episode – which famously reunites Carrie, Charlotte, and Miranda, but not Samantha – is yet to be confirmed, what is certain is that every SATC fan worldwide will be OBSESSED with the minutiae of everything they wear 23 years after we first met them and fell in fashion love. 

Navigating New York City as 50-somethings (with a variety of partners/kids/baggage in tow according to behind-the-scenes snaps), Manhattan’s most famous friend group may well be older and wiser, but they’re no less fashion-obsessed than before. Setting social media alight with images of her awesome on-set outfits, star and executive producer Sarah Jessica Parker was pictured rocking numerous showstoppers: a shimmery purple Fendi Baguette (an upgrade to the beloved version stolen from Carrie on the street in Season 6), Celine Melody tri-buckle Mary Jane pumps, a bag from this year’s highly coveted Gucci x Balenciaga Aria collaboration, and a huge feathered headpiece (much like the one Carrie wore during her first attempt to marry Big). These are just four of the big-ticket items loudly dinging our fashion radars. 

Still mixing patterns and prints to dazzling effect and accenting her vintage finds with offbeat accessories, 56-year-old SJP is proof that Carrie (and indeed all of her friends, both old and new) have most definitely still got it. And why wouldn’t they? Would we have expected any less from the women who have always encouraged us to break fashion rules and wear whatever the heck we wanted whenever we wanted? Nuh-uh, honey. And despite the fact that SATC’s original costume designer Patricia Field is not a part of the reboot (passing the reigns on to protégée Molly Rogers and co-costume designer on the Sex and the City movies Danny Santiago), the sartorial legacy she created for Carrie & Co in their fledgling years remains firmly intact.

So what of our own city’s fabulous, 50-plus fashionistas? Well, there are plenty. Look around your average mall or restaurant, and it’s clear that Dubai has numerous exceptionally stylish older women, all of whom could give SJP and her NYC gal pals a run (or maybe a fast walk, heels permitting) for their money. Below, we meet three who you should follow immediately – your wardrobes can thank us later.

WHO?

Caroline Labouchere

AGE?

57

FROM?

England

OCCUPATION?

Model and ambassador

FOLLOW HER AT?

@carolinelabouchere

How would you describe your personal style?

Definitely classic – I do love a bit of monochrome. Colour scares me a little.

When did your love affair with fashion begin?

I’ve loved fashion forever. I used to cut and drape fabric around my body when I was young to create outfits. They looked great on the outside, but my finishing left a lot to be desired. 

What’s your signature style?

I almost always wear a belt.

Whose style inspires you?

Susi Rejano rarely gets it wrong, and I love Queen Letizia of Spain’s look.

What makes a woman stylish to you?

Possibly being subtle with trends – showing that you know what’s going on in the world of fashion, but remaining classic. 

How would you describe your style uniform?

Ballet flats, jeans, and a long- or short-sleeved T-shirt.

Can you share your favourite designers or places to shop?

I’m finding brands I had never heard of before that I absolutely love – Dea Kudibal, Michael Kors, Mr Mood, Me and Em, and Wear Commando are just a few.

How has your style evolved over the years?

My style is more capsulated – I know what works and I make fewer mistakes. I also now have some key designer pieces that can be dressed up and down.

What’s your take on sustainable style choices?

I definitely don’t visit high street shops as much as I used to. And my daughter Mimi and I wear each other’s clothes, too, so that adds another layer to my fashion sustainability.

What’s your ultimate style no-no?

Cut-off trousers – it doesn’t matter what shape you are, they look awful. 

What are your five style rules to live by?

  1. Less is more.
  2. Boobs or legs.
  3. Wear comfortable shoes to the mall.
  4. Make sure your shoes are well-heeled.
  5. Always wear a belt with your jeans.

What are the key items that every woman should own?

Belts, white shirts, straight and bootleg jeans.

What are the three pieces in your wardrobe you couldn’t live without?

A sun hat, a good long cardigan, and my black pleather leggings.  

What’s the best piece of style advice that you can give?

Take one thing off before you leave the house.

What’s the worst fashion mistake you’ve ever made?

Can’t think of any!

Which local brands/designers do you love?

Ezra Couture and Master Elliott.

Which Sex and the City character’s style do you most associate with and why?

None of them!

WHO?

Emma Sawko

AGE?

51

FROM?

France

OCCUPATION?

Founder/owner of Comptoir 102 and Wild & The Moon

FOLLOW HER AT?

@emmasawko

How would you describe your personal style? 

Parisian, sunny, feminine, rock, cool.

When do you think your love affair with fashion began? 

I can’t remember exactly. I feel it was always here. I remember my friends telling me I should work in fashion, and I was still in middle school…

What’s your signature style?

I have a seashell necklace that I bought in New York and kept ever since and, because I am working part-time in Dubai, I always wear a tan and a smile in the midst of the Parisian winter. My signature style is called “summer in my heart”. 

Whose style inspires you?

I love Caroline de Maigret’s French style, Alexa Chung’s British style, and Leandra Medine Cohen’s crazy New Yorker style – but I have my own.

What makes a woman stylish to you?

Kindness, good posture, and manners. 

How would you describe your style uniform?

I used to wear heels more often, but having to run between meetings all day, I gave them up and adopted sneakers and jeans. I try to make up for it with nice tops.  

Can you share your favourite designers or places to shop? 

I never go shopping. I am a buyer for my concept store, Comptoir 102 in Dubai, and I do so during the fashion weeks. I only buy what I love and would wear myself, and therefore inevitably end up buying from my own shop. I like Isabel Marant, Forte Forte, Raquel Allegra, and Ulla Johnson the most.

How has your style evolved over the years?

Even if I always loved fashion, I suppose my style evolved a little when I became a buyer as I had to develop a keen eye. When you shop for yourself, you may be more impulsive and sometimes make mistakes. But if you shop for others, you need to think about what will work, what will look good on your clients, and what style you want to convey. 

Getting older, however, didn’t change the way I dress. Society expects women to hide their ageing bodies – what is totally acceptable for a 20-year-old girl (showing legs or shoulders, for example) becomes more and more ‘ridiculous’ or ‘shameless’ as she ages. Youth is prized, wrinkly knees and bat wings not so much. It’s very sad because getting older is wonderful. Being faithful to your style and who you are, dressing the way you feel like? That is important. 

What’s your take on on sustainable style choices?

Sustainability has always been a concern and, as a buyer, I do take responsibility. We curate brands that work ethically – some because they are supporting women with financial independence in small communities, others because they chose to use ecological materials. As the market slowly opens to these values, we started scouting for green brands and recently introduced collabs with 100% ecological and vegan brands.

What’s your ultimate style no-no?

I have three. Classic leather handbags – especially those with ostentatious branding or logos all over – worn in the elbow crease are a bad idea. You can’t pretend you have something important or meaningful to do when you have a pink leather bag hanging from your elbow, nor can you look cool with your arm perpetually bent at a 90-degree angle. ‘French’ manicures are not French and look tacky. Total looks and trying too hard are the worst enemy of style.

What are your five style rules to live by?

  1. Wearing something that fits you rather than the latest trend. 
  2. Mixing low-key pieces with more sophisticated ones.
  3. Your clothes and shoes need to be comfortable because painful feet show on your face.
  4. Your style must reflect your personality – don’t try to look like somebody else.
  5. Recycle, re-use, or donate.

What are the key items that every woman should own

There is no such thing. Every woman should wear exactly what she loves and what she feels comfortable in. I suppose 20 years ago, the answer would have been “a little black dress” or “a pair of Manolos”, but we can live without a LBD or a pair of signature heels. In fact, the people we admire most for their styles are often non-conformists. 

What are the three pieces in your wardrobe you couldn’t live without? 

I only have two: a good pair of jeans and some cool sneakers. 

What’s the best piece of style advice that you can give?

Don’t be scared to develop your own style. Wear clothes that make you feel beautiful. Don’t obey fashion and society’s diktats.

What’s the worst fashion mistake you’ve ever made?

Each time I tried to go out of my own style. But at 51, I don’t do that anymore. No matter the circumstances, I never overdress. 

Which Sex and the City character’s style do you most associate with and why?

These girls are real New Yorkers with hairdos, perfect nails, designer bags, and heels. It’s harder for a Parisian like me to associate with that, but Carrie in her ballet skirt and wild hair looked amazing.

WHO?

Silke Styles 

AGE?

56

FROM?

Germany

OCCUPATION?

Personal stylist

FOLLOW HER AT?

@silke_styles

How would you describe your personal style? 

Casual creative with a Scandi twist.

When do you think your love affair with fashion began?

At a very young age, probably in my teens.

What’s your signature style

Less is more!

Whose style inspires you? 

Jenna Lyons.

What makes a woman stylish to you? 

When she wears outfits that reflect her style personality.

How would you describe your style uniform?

In Dubai, I like to wear wide-leg trousers with a button-down shirt and most probably sneakers.

Can you share your favourite designers or places to shop?

Usually second-hand stores, sustainable fashion. Sometimes COS and & Other Stories.

How has your style evolved over the years?

It has changed a lot over the years as I’m not a trend-follower anymore. I need my wardrobe to function for me and my current lifestyle, so practicality, comfort, and nice fabrics are key.

What’s your take on on sustainable style choices

I’m trying to make more sustainable fashion choices, and wear items that I already own by styling them in different ways. I know it’s a journey, but small steps will get us there. I believe this is the future for the fashion industry. I’m a big supporter of slow and sustainable brands here in the UAE and always on the lookout for new brands to recommend to my clients. I’m very excited that now we are starting to have more second-hand choices as well as renting fashion.

What’s your ultimate style no-no? 

When you’re not yourself.

What are your style rules to live by?  

Discover your style personality, find your colours and body shape, and just experiment and have fun.

What are the key items that every woman should own

There is no rule that applies to everyone since we come in all sizes and shapes and our daily routines are so different. A perfect outfit is something that underlines your inner beauty and makes you feel fabulous. It can be a very elegant dress or the perfect pair of sandals. 

What are the three pieces in your wardrobe you couldn’t live without? 

Sneakers, blazers, linen shirts.

What’s the best piece of style advice that you can give?

Be authentic and true to yourself.

What’s the worst fashion mistake you’ve ever made? 

Ha ha, too many – that’s why I studied to become a stylist! But I guess neon leggings?

Which local brands/designers do you love? 

So many, and they are all slow and sustainable fashion brands: @emiliaohrtmannofficial, @by.m.a.r.y, @goshopia_official, @mykaftan, @onlyethikal, and @f_l_o_r_e_n_c_eowens just to name a few.

Which Sex and the City character’s style do you most associate with and why? 

Can I pick two? Carrie and Miranda.

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5 Times Meghan Markle Defied Convention

And looked fabulous doing it.

Love her or love to hate her, Meghan Markle is a trailblazer through and through. Long before she made headlines for stepping back from her role in the British royal family in January 2020 and ‘that’ bombshell of an Oprah Winfrey interview earlier this year, she set tongues wagging purely as a result of her sartorial choices – who can forget the “revenge wardrobe” that she put together for all her final royal outings? Today, as she turns the big 4-0, we’re looking back at the five times she defied convention, bypassing the royal dress code and dancing to her own tune. How many of these do you remember?

1. Ripped Jeans

September 2017

According to the royal dress code, jeans are considered too casual for events and appearances, so ripped jeans are simply a big no-no. But that didn’t stop Meghan from wearing a white shirt and ripped jeans during her first ever public appearance with Prince Harry at the 2017 Invictus Games in Toronto. Cue the first of many shockwaves.


2. Bare Legs

November 2017

Committing her first fashion faux pas before even marrying her prince, the royal rule-breaker went sans pantyhose during her engagement photocall in November 2017. Kate Middleton, on the other hand, is all about super-sheer hosiery – she allegedly sports the Barely There Non-Slip Tights variety from John Lewis.

3. Suit Up

February 2018

Royal protocol dictates that female senior family members don’t wear trousers to official engagements, but Meghan frequently broke this tradition, too – and looked super stylish in the process. She chose to wear an Alexander McQueen suit to the Endeavour Awards in 2018, completing her look with a pair of pumps and a pussy-bow blouse. Even the colour of the suit was deemed inappropriate, but more on that later.

4. Something Sleeveless

July 2018

Sleeveless dresses aren’t normally spotted on royals, but the duchess has sported the sleeveless trench dress on more than one occasion – including when she and Prince Harry introduced their son, Archie, to the world back in May 2019. Clearly, Meghan has always been a fan of this silhouette. She wore it to the Nelson Mandela Centenary Exhibition in London in July 2018 and then again in October 2019, this time during a public engagement in Johannesburg.

5. All Black

September 2018

When it comes to the British royal family, the colour black is generally reserved for funerals and mourning periods, but Meghan has defied this norm repeatedly. Interestingly, she made headlines for not one, but two different reasons when she made her first ever solo appearance in September 2018. Not only did she wear a black dress – a stunning, sheer-sleeved number by Givenchy – but she also closed her own car door, causing a stir with this simple act. Gasp!

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Can This Activewear Brand Be Your Next Workout Buddy?

Entrepreneur Kelly-Marie Hodgkin is on a mission.

The art of juggling business and passion projects is something that Kelly-Marie Hodgkin has mastered. Establishing modelling and promotions agency Lush Group in Dubai in 2007 after a successful modelling career of her own, followed by an appointment as Director of global media group PPMG, Dubai-based British entrepreneur has turned her sights to something new: Gym Clothing Co. This soon-to-be mum of three is the Co-Director of the home-grown activewear brand that combines business, fashion, and fitness – three of Kelly’s greatest loves.

Founded in the UAE by former semi-professional footballer and PE teacher Max Bissell, Gym Clothing Co. was created to deliver high-performance activewear combining quality, style, durability, and value. Fiercely proud of its GCC roots – as its name, logo, and acronym suggest – the brand offers an extensive product selection inspired by the dynamic landscape, demanding weather conditions, and picturesque colour palette of the UAE. 

After wearing Gym Clothing Co.’s separates for her workouts, Kelly was initially approached to serve as an ambassador and fitness model, but was quickly convinced to expand her involvement with the brand. Joining Max (along with fellow fitness enthusiast and entrepreneur Jamie Cormack) as a Co-Director and equal partner, Kelly is now able to to inject both her commercial prowess and creative talents into the brand as the team moves into its next stage of expansion, having recently launched in the UK.

Watch The Video: In Conversation with Kelly-Marie Hodgkin

“Gym Clothing Co. has done an incredible job of building a loyal following here in the UAE, and it’s a really exciting time now as we expand into the UK,” says Kelly. “Along with developing new product lines, we’re also focusing on prenatal fitness education, which is very close to my heart, having worked out regularly during my first two pregnancies. I’m currently expecting my third child, so I’m passionate about motivating other mums-to-be to stay active in a safe way.”

With comfort and confidence high on the agenda, the women’s collection is a real reflection of Kelly’s personal style and demands of her workout wardrobe. It features high waists, soft seams, subtle contouring, and lightweight materials, all in a beautiful range of colours. 

“We want to inspire people to be more active, challenge their limits, and strive for their best while feeling their best – and wearing the right fitness clothes is a crucial part of that,” adds Kelly. “Now more than ever, value is just as important as quality and, as an affordable luxury brand, Gym Clothing Co. customers are empowered to stay fit without worrying about their budget.”

Available online at gymclothingco.com for delivery across the UAE, the brand has also launched direct delivery in the UK through a dedicated logistics partner. 

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Madiyah Al Sharqi x Karen Wazen Debut

Madiyah Al Sharqi x Karen Wazen Make Their SS21 Debut

The first collaboration between Emirati designer and multi-million-followed fashion influencer launches this week

If you love the work of Emirati designer Madiyah Al Sharqi, and the style of Lebanese influencer and entrepreneur Karen Wazen, news of their debut fashion collection should be music to your sartorial ears.

Launching this week, the SS21 Madiyah Al Sharqi x Karen Wazen collection is a balanced interpretation of the two friends’ distinct aesthetics and individual identities, combining Sheikha Madiyah’s signature exaggerated silhouettes and luxurious detail with Karen’s modern and adventurous feminine style. 

Reimagined from silhouettes within the Madiyah brand archive, multi-million followed, Dubai-based digital influencer Karen conceptualized new styles from her favourite pieces, culminating in a collection of statement dresses, soft tailoring and casual separates in a natural-toned palette of fresh blues, white, blush, olive and taupe, using lustrous silks and bold ikat-style prints.

“The brand has been creating collections for 8 years and with the times we’re living in, now more than ever felt right to explore a new direction, away from what we normally show season on season’, revealed Sheika Madiyah of the collection. ‘Collaborating with design talents from the region is not unfamiliar to the brand, but a partnership of this scale – an entire ready to wear collection – was a first for us.”

Designed as a seamless summer capsule, each piece offers the flexibility of mixing and matching separates, with a focus on effortless, laid-back dressing. Silk high-waisted shorts and wide-legged trousers pair with a luxurious button down, which can also be thrown over a luxurious cowl-neck slip dress, monochromatic tailoring takes shape in a boxy blazer, lapelled crop top or peplum blouse with matching shorts and trousers in a lightweight, wrinkle-effect fabric, while tiered skirts abound throughout, from floor-grazing gowns with a ruffle collar, to off-the-shoulder midi dresses affixed with elaborate sleeves. Meanwhile, multi-purpose bandanas worn wrapped around the head, tied as a top, or to cinch a waist are the key accessory of the collection. 

“I’ve always admired Sheika Madiyah’s work and have been wearing her designs since 2016. Her collections naturally speak to me, so coming together to create a collection with a long-time friend and collaborator was very special’, explained Karen. It’s the first brand partnership I’ve done on this level, and it was a very enjoyable learning process. The collection was created during a strange moment in time and was truly a result of a partnership, so came from a very personal place – a blending of perspectives, founded on pursuing reinvention.” 

The Madiyah Al Sharqi x Karen Wazen collection launches this week, both in-store and online at Bloomingdale’s Dubai and Kuwait, Rubaiyat Jeddah, Ounass, and Farfetch. For more information, visit madiyahalsharqi.com and check also check out Instagram.

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A woman walking over fashion ramp

Middle East Fashion Week To Launch Spring 2021

Fashion Alert! The Middle East’s biggest fashion event makes its debut in Dubai.

If you’re anything like Team Gaggler and missing their twice-yearly fashion week fix, we have good news – Spring 2021 will see Dubai play host to the very first Middle East Fashion Week.

Dubbed the Middle East’s Biggest Fashion Event, and endorsed by the Middle East Fashion Council, MEFW will span five days and showcase the work of more than 20 fashion designers, with catwalk shows, fashion forums, trunk shows, VIP lunches, galas and awards ceremonies all celebrating the region’s unique and diverse fashion talent. 

Signing 10 fashion weeks over five years across the Middle East with founding partner, BurJuman Centre, and lead by Middle East Fashion Week’s founder and president, Antonio Rubel, the brand new event promises to be a significant springboard for launching Arab fashion talent to a global audience.

“The Middle East is the new fashion capital of the world and we want to shout about it,” said Antonio, whose vast experience in the industry has seen him mastermind nine fashion weeks in Dubai, two in Beirut, one in Riyadh and two Al Arabia Fashion Days in Moscow. “Middle East Fashion Week will be a magnificent concoction of creativity, flair, talent, and energy, showcasing fashion designers from around the world in one stunning location. We have been bringing fashion events to the region for more than seven years now, but this will be like nothing the Middle East has ever seen before.”

With more details due to be revealed in the coming weeks, we can’t wait to see what else is planned for what is sure to be a brilliant boost for the region’s fashion industry. Watch this space!

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Melania Trump clapping

Why What The First Lady Wears Counts As Much As A Winning Manifesto

Whoever succeeds as #FLOTUS – if there’s style shoes worth stepping into, it’s Michelle Obama’s.

From Dolley Madison to Nancy Regan, Jackie Kennedy to Hillary Clinton, the public has long looked to the First Lady as a fashion and style inspiration (granted, some more than others). The role of First Lady brings with it all the modern trappings of celebrity status including the extreme public scrutiny that goes with the territory – a scrutiny most apparent when it comes to what she wears.

As current First Lady Melania Trump has discovered, making a bad decision about what to wear and, most importantly, when to wear it, can have a disastrous impact upon public opinion regarding the administration. From culturally-inappropriate garment choices to items that suggest a blissful ignorance regarding the situations in hand, Melania’s First Lady style has highlighted flaws frequently displayed by President Donald Trump himself.

With Melania poised to continue her role as First Lady should the Republicans win the election, and Joe Biden’s wife, Dr. Jill Biden, waiting in the wings if the Democrats snatch the vote, as the world becomes more complicated and desperate for reform, if ever there was a First Lady to take style tips from, it’s Michelle Obama.

Behind Closed Doors

In Netflix documentary, Becoming, which is based on Michelle’s best-selling memoir of the same name, we’re offered a rare insight into the life of one of the most admired First Ladies of all time. Thrust into the limelight as her husband became President, Michelle Obama embraced the position and made it her own. Well aware of the role that public perception and therefore image plays in politics, Michelle acknowledged the exceptional importance of fashion, addressing the inherent tensions in contemporary society between appearances (particularly for women) and ability, explaining, ”Fashion for a woman predominates how people view you. That’s not right, but it’s true”.

Fashion as a Tool of Empowerment

In recognition of the power of fashion, Michelle took what some may view as a symbol of female subservience, and transformed it into a tool of empowerment. Her White House wardrobe was far more than a fashion statement – each carefully curated outfit served to communicate the values she held most dear. From youth empowerment and education reform to minority rights, amongst more subtle political messages, there was always meaning in what Michelle wore as the First Lady. Her elegant, classic and confident wardrobe choices were, and continue to be, a means to express her most authentic self and reflect her beliefs.

Nurturing New Talent

Michelle’s decision to endorse up-and-coming designers was a means to this end. Among the most notable of her choices included wearing a white, one-shoulder gown by the then unknown designer, Jason Wu, to her husband’s 2009 presidential inauguration. Chosen to symbolize hope and new beginnings of the Obama administration, the young Taiwanese-Canadian was catapulted to the global fashion stage with Michelle’s endorsement. She later wore some more formal Wu designs to her first meeting with Queen Elizabeth II, showing deference to the British Royal family; and another Wu piece for the second Presidential inauguration in 2013 – this time a red chiffon and velvet gown that exuded the kind of confidence perfectly matching the calibre of the woman wearing it. Aside from Jason Wu, Michelle’s style prowess also helped to launch the careers of other lesser-known designers, including Tracy Reese, Thakoon and Sophie Theallet, all of whom have gone on to carve out successful careers in the fashion industry.

Style That Makes Statements

Michelle’s choices were often subtlety and cleverly politically suggestive. By wearing Derek Lam for an official trip to Bejing, and Naeem Khan to a state dinner held in honour of India, the First Lady’s wardrobe emphasized the cross-culture connections between the US, China and India respectively. On other occasions, she celebrated home-grown designers in support of her fellow citizens. According to research, these were incredibly valuable decisions, creating $2.7 billion in profits for 29 brands, just by wearing their clothes.

Celebrating High-Street Fashion

Yet her wardrobe didn’t just consist of designer clothing alone. A fan of affordable retail brands like Target and J. Crew, Michelle also endorsed accessible fashion. Often appearing in the latter brand’s ballet flats, slim skirts, accessories and cardigans, she exhibited a more down-to-earth style that resonated with the everyday woman. Ahead of the 2008 Presidential election, and following a news story that revealed Vice President hopeful Sarah Palin’s campaign wardrobe had cost an eye-watering $150,000, Michelle appeared on Jay Leno’s The Tonight Show, wearing head-to-toe J. Crew, with each piece retailing at less than $200.

A Style Signature

From endorsing little-known designers to championing high-street brands when it suited her, Michelle’s style is rooted in doing what feels right to her. Voted best dressed by numerous glossy magazines and praised for her elegance and quietly confident looks, Michelle is a prime example of how powerful a woman’s sense of style can be in articulating exactly who she is. Note the use of the word ‘style’ over ‘fashion’ here. Fashion is about what the industry tells us to wear because it’s on-trend. But style is so, so much more than that. It embodies the expression of your unique self, your belief system and your values – and how Michelle chose to dress herself exemplifies this beautifully.

One of her signature wardrobe pieces was the bold sleeveless shift, which highlighted her famously well-toned arms, athleticism and self-confidence. Amongst the most popular of these was a rose and silver-grey dress created by African-American designer, Tracy Reese, worn on the first day of the Democratic National Convention in North Carolina in 2012. Now on display in the National Museum of African American History and Culture, the dress symbolises Michelle’s finely-attuned cultural sensitivities and her unending support of women of colour.

With a Little Help from Her Stylist

Behind the scenes, stylist Meredith Koop was tasked with dressing Michelle in her role as the First Lady. Becoming emphasizes the challenges Koop faced, ensuring that Michelle’s appearance was always appropriate to the occasion. Each outfit choice was a calculated decision and emblematic of the values held dear to Michelle – never over-the-top and always pragmatic. Whilst this meant Koop worked with a consistent stream of restrictions. Michelle was widely recognised as a modern style icon – which clearly demonstrates her stylist’s success in this enormously sensitive job.

The Tour Wardrobe

Continuing their working relationship after the Obamas left the White House, the values built by Michelle and Meredith’s style choices have defined the former First Lady. Challenging conventional fashion norms, the pair have pushed boundaries they were previously unable to during the years Michelle’s husband Barack was in office. Promoting her book on tour In Paris, Michelle appeared in a striped silk pyjama suit by Serbian-born designer Roksanda. A fun and playful look that previously could not have been worn on a public engagement, it spoke to the authenticity and friendliness that Michelle exudes. Further highlighting her cultural awareness, the pair celebrated local designers depending on the countries they visited on the tour, from Stella McCartney as the designer of choice in London to Danish label Stine Goya in Copenhagen.

Fashion Fades…Style Is Eternal

What Michelle Obama demonstrates in Becoming is the thought and consideration that goes into each of her outfits – and the far-reaching messages every one of them conveys. Rather than viewing fashion as an additional burden placed upon women, Michelle uses it to communicate who she is, and most importantly of all, her ideals. For us mere mortals, for better or worse, our choice in clothing will never be subject to the same intense scrutiny that someone of Michelle’s standing will. Nonetheless, our choices are still valuable, and we can use them not only to communicate our beliefs but to support and champion our causes – whether that’s sustainability, equal rights or supporting the local entrepreneurs in our community.

What we wear and how we choose to spend our dollars has an impact. But perhaps most importantly of all, Michelle Obama reminds us of the importance of authenticity. “Whether you come from a council estate or a country estate, your success will be determined by your confidence and fortitude”. And while yes, we may have to work with restrictions, fashion is a powerful, political tool that can ultimately be used to build our confidence, express who we are and aid our empowerment. Something Melania Trump seemingly has yet to learn, and Jill Biden would be wise to remember should she suddenly find herself with a very important new job tomorrow.

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Women walking in fashion show

It’s Fashion Week…But Not As We Know It

It’s going to be a September to remember…

When AW20 fashion month came to a close at the start of March, the fears surrounding the future of the fashion industry and the unfolding coronavirus pandemic were significant. The possibility of it being the last ‘normal’ fashion week we’d ever see were very, very real.

Fast forward six months, and happily, fashion week is still going ahead. But this September’s showcase is an entirely different fashion month to the ones we’d recognize. Embracing the hybrid format seen at Copenhagen Fashion Week in August, mixing socially-distanced physical showcases alongside digital presentations, films and talks, as the new season is unveiled, here’s the lowdown on the SS21 shows in New York, London, Milan and Paris.

New York Fashion Week

September 13-16, 2020

new york fashion week
Courtesy of Michael Discenza Unsplash.com

Explaining that the Covid-19 pandemic has had “an unprecedented impact on American fashion, slowing down the supply chain and temporarily shutting down many business operations and brick-and-mortar retail”, the Council of Fashion Designers of America announced it was allowing brands the “flexibility to show their collections in a variety of formats and at a time that works for them,” with the launch of its Runway360 digital platform, a tool that will be used not just for fashion week but to complimenting physical events and shows in the future.

Running for four days instead of the usual six, New York Fashion Week starts today, September 13, and will see a reduced number of designers taking part. Dipping out of the schedule completely are powerhouses Marc Jacobs, Ralph Lauren,  Oscar de la Renta, Proenza Schouler, Telfar, Brandon Maxwell, The Row, Pyer Moss, Michael Kors, Vaquera, Christopher John Rogers, Batsheva, and Prabal Gurung. 

With restrictions in place to ensure that NYFW is in “strict compliance” with New York State health and safety guidelines, all outdoor events will be capped at 50 guests, while indoor events will be at 50 percent capacity with no spectators.

Returning designers include Alabama Chanin, Alice + Olivia, Anna Sui, Badgley Mischka, Bibhu Mohapatra, Carolina Herrera, Chromat, Claudia Li, Dennis Basso, Eckhaus Latta, Jonathan Simkhai, Marchesa and Marchesa Notte, Marina Moscone, Naeem Khan, Nicole Miller, Rebecca Minkoff, Veronica Beard and Zero + Maria Cornejo.

Jason Wu will kick off the SS21 schedule with a live-streamed experience for an ultra-exclusive group of VIP’s in socially-distanced attendance on the rooftop of Spring Studios. The inaugural event will be followed by a digital-only Harlem’s Fashion Row gala.

Taking its cues from the British Fashion Council’s approach to its digital men’s shows in June, which encouraged designers to contribute with any kind of format, in place of a collection, Caroline Herrera will screen a conversation between its creative director, Wes Gordon, and its namesake founder on Monday 14.

On September 15, an array of digital slots will be devoted to New York’s menswear designers, who normally get their own short fashion week, before runway veteran Anna Sui unveils her collection in an online presentation.

The final day, September 16, will see Eckhaus Latta stage a live-streamed presentation followed by Tom Ford – chairman of the CFDA – releasing a look book online.

With ten new names added to the schedule by the CFDA, Aknvas, Anne Klein, Colleen Allen, Dur Doux, Duncan, Frederick Anderson, Frère, Imitation of Christ, Oak and Acorn, Venice, Wiederhoeft, and Wolk Morais will complete the New York line-up.

London Fashion Week

September 17-22, 2020

london fashion week
London Fashion Week courtesy of Clem Onojeghuo at Unsplash

Featuring both menswear and womenswear brands, London Fashion Week’s schedule has been split into three sections: ‘Digital’, ‘Physical’ and ‘Digital and Physical’

Kicking off with Burberry’s live-streamed show, the brand promises the opening event to be an immersive experience that pays homage to the “purity and simplicity” of the British outdoors with the aim of exploring a new space for its community to “reconnect with nature and each other”.

Of the 80 designers included, 40 womenswear, 15 menswear, 20 menswear and womenswear and 5 accessories brands will be featured as part of the official London Fashion Week schedule. 

With the majority of designers doing digital activations only, designers including Vivienne Westwood, Matty Bovan and Edward Crutchley will show digital film presentations, while Raeburn and Nabil El-Nayal are taking part in the British Fashion Council’s conversation series. Some 30 designers and brands, including Victoria Beckham, Eudon Choi, Molly Goddard, Bora Aksu, Mark Fast, Osman, and Pronounce, will host a catwalk, salon show or presentation. 

Meanwhile, Christopher Kane, Erdem, Roksanda, Simone Rocha, Temperley London, Halpern, Emilia Wickstead, and Edeline Lee are to hold appointments, with Bethany Williams hosting an exhibition.

Upholding London’s reputation as the emerging talent fashion capital, the Graduate Fashion Foundation has confirmed a six-day activation to showcase the best work from each of the foundation’s member universities. Running throughout the week, there will be a four-day public view, followed by an industry private view on the final two days, allowing new graduates to begin conversations and establish connections with potential recruiters, buyers, stylists and media.

Closing London Fashion Week are physical appointments at Erdem and a fashion film by Richard Quinn on the digital schedule.

Milan Fashion Week

September 22-28, 2020

Milan Fashion Week Street Style
Milan Fashion Week Street Style courtesy of Shutterstock

Featuring both menswear and womenswear, Milan Fashion Week is being dubbed a “phygital fashion week” with a blend of 28 physical shows and 24 digital ones. 

With Raf Simon’s debut Prada show on September 24 the most hotly-anticipated physical show of the week, Italian powerhouses Fendi, Versace, Giorgio Armani, Dolce and Gabbana, Salvatore Ferragamo, Max Mara and Marni will join the list of those presenting in real life, while brands including No. 21, Sunnei, Drome and MSGM, Missoni, and DSquared2 have decided on digital showcases only. 

Missing from the schedule entirely are Gucci, which announced in May that it would be planning just two yearly “off calendar” presentations, alongside Jil Sander, Bottega Veneta and Moschino.

In another first, Giorgio Armani’s shows will host no guests, instead showing the house’s mainline SS21 collection as a catwalk event broadcast on primetime Italian TV, while Emporio Armani will present a special video featuring models, actors, singers, dancers and figures from industries connected to the brand’s community wearing the collection.

New talent will be in the spotlight on the final two days of the event, with the Milano Moda Graduate show staging collections from students from Italy’s top fashion schools on September 27 and 28.

Paris Fashion Week

September 28 – October 6

La Louvre, Paris fashion week
La Louvre, Paris, courtesy of Chris Karidis at Unsplash

The first to announce its return to the physical format, the Fédération de la Haute Couture et de la Mode confirmed that 88 brands will showcase on the official Paris Fashion Week schedule, with 25 set to stage presentations and the remainder to be split between physical and digital events,

Launching the week is Japanese brand Mame Kurogouchi, with Chanel, Dior, Balmain, Chloe, Balenciaga, Givenchy, Stella McCartney, Lanvin, Loewe, Thom Browne, Giambattista Valli, Elie Saab, Acne Studios, Kenzo, Mugler and Nina Ricci all showing their SS21 collections before the week comes to a close with Louis Vuitton.

With numerous absences from the schedule, including Valentino, who are instead showing at Milan Fashion Week, Kering brands Alexander McQueen and Saint Laurent have bowed out of spring/summer 2021, as has Céline, Off-White, Lemaire, Rochas, and Comme des Garçons, who has announced it will unveil its collections during mini-shows or presentations in Tokyo between October 19 and 23.

However, 10 new labels are joining the line-up for the first time, including British designer and 2016 LVMH Prize winner Wales Bonner, French labels Ami, Ester Manas, Mossi, and Vejas, US brands Enfants Riches Deprimés, Gabriela Hearst, and S.R Studio LA.CA, as well as Danish brand Cecilie Bahnsen and Georgian label Situationist.

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Post-Covid Fashion Week: What To Expect?

COVID-19 may have ushered in long-needed changes to the fashion industry’s annual showcases.

September is a vital month in the fashion industry’s annual calendar. Marking the unveiling of the latest collections from esteemed designers for the Spring/Summer season ahead, it usually consists of an intensive four weeks of star-studded events, showcases and runways for an exclusive audience. Taking place across the global fashion capitals of the world, namely New York, London, Paris and Milan, the event is repeated the following February when the industry showcases its Autumn/Winter collection.

Fashion Industry Under Fire

“I feel very strongly that when we come out at the other end,

people’s values are really going to have shifted.” 

Dame Anna Wintour

Over recent years, the fashion industry cycle has come under increasing criticism from leading industry figures. Dianne von Furstenberg, one of the industry’s more outspoken figures, has long claimed that “the system is broken”. The problem is that increased internet usage, online shopping, and social media have all disrupted consumer consumption patterns, meaning the traditional industry calendar is now increasingly out of sync with their demands.

RALPH AND RUSSO AW20, LONDON FASHION WEEK.jpg
RALPH AND RUSSO AW20, LONDON FASHION WEEK

Out of Sync With Consumer Demand

The product cycle now has a much faster turnaround, with consumers wanting to click and purchase the products they see online immediately. With the collections showcased on runways not immediately available in-store (the shows are primarily intended for industry buyers to generate retail orders), consumers can only purchase the collections when they become widely available several months later. By this time, the buzz generated by the fashion show has died down, which also makes it problematic for brand marketing. 

Simultaneously, one needs to consider the practicality of showcasing spring and summer collections when consumers are shopping for winter clothes. Furthermore, showcasing the collections so far in advance of their availability allows other brands to capitalise on the trends, having the ability to bring products to market faster, including counterfeit brands.

Fashion Industry Recommendations

In light of the challenges of the cycle, together with the Boston Consulting Group, Chairman of the CFDA, Diane Von Furstenberg, conducted research back in 2016 into transforming the traditional fashion industry calendar of events. Key findings included the obvious decision to bring the fashion shows in line with the shopping season, hosting spring/summer collections at the start of the year, and the autumn/winter collections toward the end of summer. This gave the additional option of launching capsule ranges in line with the runway shows, enabling brands to leverage the buzz around their collections, while giving consumers immediate access to buy. 

BACKSTAGE AT RALPH AND RUSSO AW20
GUESTS AT LONDON FASHION WEEK FEB 2020

Current State Of Play 

Fast forward to 2020, and many of these recommendations have yet to fully materialise, with the annual fashion calendar remaining largely unchanged. Some larger fashion houses, however, are starting to move away from upholding the rigid schedule. The coronavirus pandemic has, in many respects, facilitated this trend. As the cancellation of events become the norm with the spread of the virus, fashion houses have been required to rethink their approach to unveiling their spring/summer collections. In many respects, this may provide industry players with the critical opportunity they need to make the long-overdue changes, for which many have been calling.

A Different Approach 

While some fashion houses have chosen to go ahead with their new launches, claiming their support for industry-workers who have struggled to find employment in light of the pandemic, many others are choosing to break from the traditional model. Embracing the shift away from having to host a physical show, an increasing number of brands are going digital. In doing so, the fashion show becomes a brand-marketing exercise and as such, more of a consumer, rather than an industry-facing event. In a sense, it serves to democratise fashion, providing greater accessibility, in real-time, to all. 

RALPH AND RUSSO AW2020. IMAGE COURTESY OF PETER XU

What To Expect From Future Fashion Shows?

With all that being said, how will changing industry attitudes toward seasonal runways impact consumers? Greater accessibility aside, the following are the most likely trends we will see in the very near, if not immediate future. 

Multi-Channel Digital Portals 

Enabling brands, designers and industry professionals to connect with buyers, media, influencers and consumers, Microsoft and Accenture together with fashion brand Camera Nazionale Della Moda Italiana’s (CNMI) launched a digital platform as part of Milan Digital Fashion Week. Offering a multi-channel experience, the platform enables chats, video conferences, bots, holograms and completely virtual spaces. The platform consists of three layers: Primarily, it is a content hub to live stream fashion shows, runways, roundtables and other industry events. Secondly, it offers a virtual showroom and digital catalogue, alongside dedicated support for making orders. Finally, it offers the ability to access data-drive insights from across the platform that brands can utilise.

Helsinki Fashion Week, meanwhile, hosted its ‘Digital Village’, featuring digital-only collections. In a similar move, the online space allowed viewers to pre-order garments, and claim a limited-edition digital garment, which can be used by individuals to ‘dress’ their pictures. These initiatives bring the reality of all-virtual fashion weeks one step closer, and moreover, allow the consumer to enter part of the brand journey previously inaccessible to them, creating more touchpoints between the two. 

Immersive Fashion Shows 

Imagine 3D avatars wearing holographs on a virtual runway, accessible by live-stream and offering viewers a wholly interactive fashion experience. While it might sound overly futuristic, the technology is already here and has already been trialed by designers. Congolese designer Anifa Mvuemba, whose fanbase includes Cardi B, did just this, showcasing her latest collection digitally in 3D, using virtual models. Virtual headsets are adding a further element to the immersive experience. Recently released headset models allow users to now use their hands in place of controllers, further blurring the line between reality and virtual reality. Many of these technologies are being extended to the user shopping experience, but in the meantime are enabling a new kind of fashion show – one that can allow consumers to engage, in real-time, with fashion brands and their products. 

A Shift Away From Short-Lived, Seasonal Trends

Technology aside, the impracticality of new season launch timings, combined with a growing interest from sustainability-focused consumers who are moving away from short-lived fashion cycles, are impacting upon how brands design their collections. With an increasing number of seasonless collections, labels are shifting away from trends and instead embracing their brand essence, moving toward considerations of longevity. As the market becomes increasingly saturated and consumers contemplate their purchases to a greater degree, brands are creating pieces that appeal season after season. 

With fashion shows kicking off while the coronavirus pandemic continues, this month will see a mixed landscape of virtual and digital fashion shows taking place globally. What will be interesting to see is how brands respond to the change, and if we will see the entire industry move in one direction, or individual brands forging their path, creating a mix-match of industry trends come next February. In the meantime, get ready to enjoy the upcoming digital showcases from brands in the four big fashion capitals.

Happy watching! Fashion Week Spring/Summer2020 is just around the corner.

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Diane Von Furstenberg: Taking A Page Out Of Her Remarkable Book Of Life

Five lessons on success from Diane Von Furstenberg

Diane von Furstenberg is truly a name to be reckoned with. Daughter of a Holocaust survivor, a cancer survivor, inventor of the iconic wrap-dress and founder of global fashion brand DVF, author, mother, grandmother, and philanthropist, at age 73 she has not only lived a full and fabulous life, but a life several people combined could achieve. A symbol of fashion and female empowerment, she’s an inspirational figure dedicated to giving back to her community. With that in mind, DVF could teach us all a thing or two on how to navigate our lives for success. 

As we gear up for New York Fashion Week, which will undoubtedly become the most talked-about on record as the industry navigates our new, COVID-19-induced normal, here are five fundamental values and lessons the legendary New Yorker embodies that make her one of The Gaggler’s favourite female fashion icons…

1. Be fiercely independent

Watch any YouTube video with DVF, and the first thing you’ll pick up on is her fiercely independent streak. Adamant on being a self-reliant woman, she started out going from door to door in New York trying to sell her clothing It’s no wonder that the wrap-dress she created in 1974 would become ‘the defining power symbol for an influential generation of women’. Today, the dress has made its way into both the Smithsonian Museum and the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

5 DVF WRAP DRESSES WE LOVE

Tilly Satin Midi Wrap Dress, PRP AED 2086.22, available at dvf.com

Paloma Ruffled Mesh Wrap Dress, PRP AED 1461.83, available at dvf.com

Abigail Silk-Jersey Maxi Wrap Dress, PRP AED 2563.71, available at dvf.com

Maisie Silk-Twill Mini Wrap Dress, PRP AED 1572.01, available at dvf.com

Tilly Satin Midi Wrap Dress, PRP AED 2563.71, available at dvf.com

2. Believe in yourself

Besides being magnificently independent, Diane has stayed true to herself and her values, which shine through her work. Appearing in a TedX talk last year, the fashion designer made several powerful statements on self-confidence.“If you doubt your power, you give power to your doubts.” Equally poignantly, she stated, “The most important relationship you have in life is the one you have with yourself.” With her brand embodying authenticity and confidence, it’s no wonder the woman who created it oozes the same.

3. Face your fears

Diane is adamant that despite being frightening, you need to face your fears, a lesson she was taught by her mother, which perhaps comes as little surprise considering she was a survivor of the Second World War’s Nazi death camps. Afraid of the dark as a child, her mother would put her in a dark place so that she could overcome her fear. Today, Diane comes across as a staunch female warrior having fought back from countless challenges, from cancer to divorce, all the while building the DVF empire. Indeed, there seems little that can faze her, as she has faced each of life’s hurdles head-on. 

4. Age gracefully

Speaking about ageing in one interview, Diane explained that she was not a fan of plastic surgery as it served to erase the life that she had chosen to live. Specifically, she was afraid of not recognising herself in the mirror and wanted to be ‘as real as possible’. At age 73, it seems her tactics are working as she appears ever-youthful. And as she continues on her mission of empowering females across her industry, she stresses that older women have an essential role to play in society. Their wisdom is just as valuable as that of their male counterparts, even though they are often far less visible. Diane offers us a role model that challenges these traditional boundaries.

5. Give back

As an active philanthropist, Diane continues to support women in achieving their independence as part of several organisations, including Vital Voices and the DVF Awards, which seek to empower emerging female leaders and entrepreneurs. From launching a YouTube channel to attending talks and seminars, creating her masterclass series, and much more, DVF is keen to leave behind a legacy that calls on women to realise their potential. In an interview with The Financial Times, she explained “Once I used to be an icon. Now I want to be an oracle.” Keen to pass on what she has learned in the course of her life, she has been recognised most recently for her philanthropic efforts with the prestigious French Legion d’Honneur, the highest honour for civilians who contribute to the country.

Diane always says it’s not her who made the dress, it’s the dress that made her. An icon of modern fashion, the wrap-dress undeniably put DVF on the map. But today, Diane Von Furstenberg is an icon herself. Embodying the same values as her wrap-dress – a celebration of individual freedom and empowerment – Diane continues to stay true to those values. Perhaps this is the most important page of all that we might take away from her remarkable book of life. 

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Sustainable, SPF50+ Swimwear With A Story To Tell – Meet The Woman Behind Brilliant New Beachwear Brand, Hākinakina.

Sustainable swimwear label Hakinakina is available for the first time in the UAE

All the best business ideas are created from a need for change. And Sara Cohen’s swimwear brand Hākinakina was borne after she survived a life-changing battle with cancer. Completing her treatment in 2015 and given the all-clear the following year, after moving to New Zealand in 2018, Sara was looking for swimwear that suited her active lifestyle and offered the high level of sun protection she needed to cover up her radiation burns. “The problem was that when it came to it, I found I only had two options,” explains Sara, whose outdoorsy lifestyle included spending hours on the beach every day. “Go for sun protective fabric in a skimpy bikini that offered next to no protection, or cover-up in something that wouldn’t have looked out of place in a Victorian gothic novel!” 

spf 50 swimwear
Hākinakina founder, Sara Cohen

Spending months looking for a specific type of activewear that she simply couldn’t find, Sara realized that the only solution was to make what she was searching for herself. “I knew that there had to be a better way,’ says Sara. ‘And that way was Hākinakina.”

Armed with a background in marketing, five years building a women’s fashion label and a desire to get back to living the outdoorsy lifestyle she loved, Sara created a range of swimwear designed to give women the freedom to play in the sunshine without compromise – and look great while they do it. “I’m not one to back down from a challenge,’ laughs Sara, whose career in marketing and fashion has seen her live and work across three continents. “And this was one challenge that I knew I had to succeed in overcoming.”

sustainable swimwear brand

With the belief that serious play and skimpy swimwear were two things that simply did not go together, Sara’s mission was to create a collection that allowed the wearer to relax, have fun, and do whatever she wanted without the fear her swimwear would leave her exposed – both to the sun’s harmful rays and in the most literal sense of the term. “Our swimwear is designed by experts for a superior, flattering fit. Effortlessly combining cool, contemporary luxe with the principles of activewear to create swimwear you’ll want to wear all day, we worked really hard to ensure that pieces fit brilliantly and won’t ride up while you’re wearing them – we’ve literally got you covered,” she smiles. 

Working with the best textile manufacturers around the world, Sara sourced fabrics that not only offered unparalleled UPF 50+ sun protection but enabled her to create the bold and vibrant prints she loved to wear in her daily wardrobe for an activewear range. Better still, she was overjoyed to discover this fabric was also made from 100 per cent recycled plastic bottles – helping her take steps towards achieving her dream of creating a truly sustainable business.

“Hākinakina is all about embodying the spirit of look good, feel good and do good. That’s our mantra,’ says Sara. ‘Activewear that works as hard as you play, in exclusive prints with complete SPF50+ protection made from 100% recycled plastic bottles and manufactured here in New Zealand. We make everything specifically to order so we never over-produce. And for every single piece we sell, we donate money to Cancer Research.”

sun protection swimwear womens

Knowing that fashion is the second most polluting industry after mining, and striving to have zero impact upon the planet, Hākinakina pieces are designed as timeless, versatile staples made to outlast fashion trends. Swimwear is made to order, uses waterless printing with a manufacturing process that emits fewer greenhouse gases than traditional fabrics, and is powered purely by green solar energy. Keeping wastage to the absolute minimum, and utilizing recyclable packaging, once your piece does eventually wear out, simply send it back to the brand for recycling and they will give you an exclusive discount to use on your next Hākinakina purchase.

sun protective swimwear

“We’re unique in that we make all of our pieces to order, so we can be sure that every piece we make goes to a happy home rather than landfill,’ explains Sara. ‘We will reduce waste by releasing small collections just a couple of times a year – we’re starting with a swimwear capsule of just 5 pieces – and aim to produce to demand, holding as little stock as is commercially viable. We’re starting with swimwear, but the plan is to create a whole activewear range that is founded on our three core principles – look good, feel good and do good.”

Offering pre-orders until August 25 for delivery in mid-November, Hākinakina offers delivers directly to the UAE.

For more information, visit www.hakinakina.com, or find them on Instagram @hakinakina.active

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