Photographer – Romain Sellier
Styling – Un-Categorized
Hair & Grooming – Alexander Solterman
Model – Joe Brotherton @ Models1
Designers Ammerman Schlosberg live by one, three-letter rule: L-O-L. “If I have to live in this reality matrix, I would rather be LOL’ing,” says Elizabeth Ammerman, one half of the New York City design duo. With just two seasons under their (probably latex garter) belts, the young designers—25-year-old Parsons graduate Eric Schlosberg, and Ammerman, a 23-year-old alumna of Pratt—are about to hit the big time as the luxury LOL-itas of the fashion world. Here, Ali Lohan models their latest designs. Photography by James Orlando.
When the tragic factory collapse in Bangladesh made international news last spring, a magnifying glass was placed over certain quadrants of the fashion industry and their sketchy production practices. Shop ethically! we pleaded. Someone needed to do something to force the industry’s overlords to change their wicked ways. Brooklyn-based entrepreneur and Parsons grad Rachel Kibbe is trying to do just that with her e-commerce shop Helpsy, which specializes in ethical, positively-sourced clothing and accessories that also look good. Kibbe has created her own special criteria of what constitutes socially conscious fashion, and personally hunts down the items she sells, based on her taste and, more importantly, her convictions.
What were you doing before you founded Helpsy?
A little bit of a lot of things. Mostly freelance fashion writing, going to Parsons for Fashion Design, living in Spain for a few years. HELPSY came about organically—I wanted to write more about good companies doing good things in high fashion, and there wasn’t any platform specifically for that. So I decided to do it.
Give us an example of ethical fashion vs. unethical fashion.
Ethical fashion is fashion produced and designed with the impact of production methods as well as the afterlife of the garment in mind. It is fashion that is transparent about these methods to the consumer. I’ve developed 11 categories of ethical criteria and believe a garment is only ethical if it falls under at least three of these categories.
Unethical fashion is that which does not consider the lifecycle of the garment, the impact of the materials, or the life of the people who put it together. Most“fast” fashion, large chains, fall under this category. Any garment that is disposable and will fall apart quickly was probably made under largely unregulated conditions and buying these items contributes to an ethos of conspicuous consumption and a disposable fashion mentality that’s, literally, toxic.
Why is it important to shop ethically?
Next to oil, the retail manufacturing fashion is the most polluting industry on the planet. The fashion industry employs close to 1/6 of the global population and yet it is hardly regulated, which leads to sweatshop conditions and child labor. You vote with your dollars about how you want our planet and the people living on it to be treated. To be unaware and shop without consideration for where the garments comes from and where it will go once you don’t need it anymore, is to contribute the detriment of your home, the earth, and the people living on it in.
Are there specific brands who are on the forefront of producing ethical fashion? Which ones are they?
My ‘thing’ is that ethical fashion should not be an aesthetic (I wrote a whole piece on it for the Guardian). In a nutshell, ‘ethical fashion’ should be just as beautiful and design conscious as any other type of fashion. In fact, ideally there would be no difference, all fashion should be ethical. Some designers who are doing this especially well are Study, Titania Inglis, Freedom of Animals, and John Patrick Organic.
How do you find your items?
I troll the depths of the internet. I also have friendships and relationships with designers in the New York community who are producing ethically and, through this network, I am continually introduced to designers producing ethically.
How would you describe the clothes that end up on Helpsy?
I strive to be an anti-cruchy and anti-green aesthetic. Fashion forward, quirky, fun, sophisticated, irreverent, and consciously produced.
How would you describe your fashion sense?
Allison Mosshart meets Bob Dylan meets Kate Moss meets Jackie O.
Is this your full time job or something you do on the side?
It’s my main project. I do other things as well to pay the bills but this is hardly a “side” project. More like a constant obsession. I’m a one woman show and don’t have any funding at all. This has been a project of passion and it’s all very do yourself on a shoestring. Punk. I’ve tried to keep it this way because I don’t want to be beholden to anyone. I want to develop this business in a new way that’s not really been done before, and answering to investors etc I’ve decided is best to put off until how I want to run things is pretty set in stone.
What’s the most annoying thing about the fashion industry?
Entitlement and lack of thoughtfulness. To be good at fashion you have to be a bit of a follower, or at least have a wicked antenna for what is happening in terms of the zeitgeist and group consciousness. But we have a responsibility to be conscious citizens who give back or at least take care of what we’re given, not to just be succubi. The fashion industry, for the most part, has missed the boat on this. Fortunately this is changing.
Who are some of your heroes in the fashion industry?
Vivienne Westwood. I think she might really be my only hero in the fashion industry—she stands for things and says them out loud. She’s not afraid to “not be cool.” That is what makes her the coolest. Also the depth of her aesthetic is on par with the sophistication of her social message.
Photo credit: Armando Zubieta.
We here at BULLETT have had some experience choosing celebrity magazine covers. The process is rarely simple. Every once in a while, there’s a no-brainer choice, an image so striking its newsstand potency can’t be denied. But in general, you’re left with several worthy options, and making such a permanent and visible choice can be torturous, filled with second-guessing and back and forths between coworkers that get you nowhere. Usually though, we feel pretty confident with our final choice.
Having said all that, what in blazing hell was going on over at the Lucky magazine office when they were deliberating over which photo of American Sweetheart Kerry Washington to put on their Dec/Jan cover? Seriously. I want to know. Can someone at Lucky magazine please contact me and tell me how Kerry Washington, one of the most photogenic actresses in Hollywood, ended up looking like a mega-villain who just killed the hero and took over the world? Damn.
The French love McDo and they love it even more in New York. The French love New York. “Eetz like walking zoo a movie zet,” says un acteur de second rôle in the French film of the year, Blue Is the Warmest Color. And, c’est vrai, with such a cinegenic history, moving through Manhattan can make you feel like you’re on film, a spectacular sensation that’s amplified by the movie sets, which, if you spend enough time on the island, you’re bound to be asked to walk around. The movie stars and models also help—common as brownstones and skyscrapers—who casually serve themselves from the Whole Foods salad bar, ride Bixi’s opposite traffic, and walk their purse-sized pooches here like it’s NBD, because it’s not, it’s New York.
In honor of this spectacular city we call home, we’ve organized a tour of our favorite New York fashion imagery. From Vogue Italia‘s 2011 ride on the A Train through Vogue Japan‘s 2013 trip on the same, here is New York style as it’s fit-to-print: cinematic in scale and starring a breadth of urban tropes, incl. active uptowners, derelict chic, questionable subcultural appropriation, and many Frenchies, because no one loves us like they do.
The Wall Street Journal Magazine just unveiled the cover of their “Innovators” issue, a photo of Daft Punk sandwiching Gisele Bündchen against a white backdrop, shot by Terry Richardson. The photo is a basic clone from a photo shoot Vogue did with Daft Punk and another super model, Karlie Kloss, back in July. Magazines mimicking each other isn’t a huge deal–there’s only so many ways you can take a photo, just like there’s only so many ways you can write an addictive pop song–but Vogue‘s shoot was well publicized. And for an issue devoted to innovation, you’d assume the powers that be at WSJ Mag would have tried taking a more original approach.
Faye Toogood is a London-based furniture and interiors designer whose small-batch creations have earned plaudits from the likes of Opening Ceremony and Phillips de Pury & Company. She has also produced installations for Hermes, Comme des Garcons, Kenzo, and Opening Ceremony. For her latest trick, Toogood has joined forces with her sister Erica to create TOOGOOD, her debut collection that is made exclusively of coats and that serves as a reaction to the machine-like reproduction of the fashion industry. Their manifesto, in part, reads, “WE HEREBY reject and reprehend the cruel diktats of the discredited fashionista treadmill: the voracious cycle in which spring/summer is devoured by autumn/winter, and autumn/winter is in turn devoured by spring/summer. Let them be rendered obsolete by the very inconstancy they thrive upon.” These girls aren’t messing around. Here, we get to know them better.
What is the worst crime you’ve ever committed?
FT: Smuggling a giant pair of tailor scissors in my luggage from India.
ET: Stealing a toy from a friend.
When was the last time you felt guilty and why?
FT: Yesterday. I forgot to say thank you to someone.
ET: Today… I stole some of my new housemate’s milk.
What is your favorite section in a book store?
FT: Natural History.
ET: Second hand.
Where can I find the world’s best soup?
FT: My local Japanese – Miso Soup.
ET: Mayfields restaurant in Hackney, London.
What’s the strangest thing you’ve ever thought?
FT: How beautiful it would be to paint all the pigeons in London blue.
ET: Am I real?
What’s the darkest song ever written?
FT: “Both Sides Now,” Joni Mitchell.
ET: “Hurt,” Johnny Cash.
Who are you obsessed with?
FT: Myself of course.
ET: No one. Obsession is not healthy.
What’s one thing you can’t get rid of?
FT: My huge birthmark.
ET: Rufus my ted.
What’s the best poster you’ve ever owned?
FT: Boys Don’t Cry, The Cure.
Where’s the best place to see the sun rise?
FT: The nature reserve, Chhatra Sagar in Rajhastan.
ET: Sri Lanka.
What’s the most destructive thing on the internet?
FT: Google. They know our every move, preference and fantasy.
What’s the most thrilling thing that’s happened to music in the last 5 years?
ET: The Knife.
Describe the most satisfying revenge you’ve ever had.
FT: Revenge is useless to me.
ET: I’ve never acted upon the urge to revenge.
You have one chance to make me laugh with a YouTube clip. Which one is it?
FT: I don’t use YouTube.
ET: The clip of the cat dressed as a shark, on an automatic hoover. It also involves a dog dressed as hammerhead shark and a duck.
What do you eat you’re sad?
FT: Marmite on toast.
ET: Hula Hoops.
What’s the most disturbing sound you’ve ever heard?
FT: My sister’s head cracking on a supermarket floor.
ET: Stepping on a dog’s foot.
Photography: Bon Duke; Model: Liga Liepina @ One Management; Stylist: Evren Catlin; Make-Up Artist: Ashleigh Ciucci; Hair Stylist: Jeanie Syfu.
Kanye West and Kim Kardashian have been making the rounds during Paris Fashion Week. (Beginning a story with a sentence like that is why we got into this business, btw.) And in between hitting all the shows, they’ve been privately visiting all the major design houses to say what’s up and more importantly score some swag for their daughter, North. No more babyGap for that kid. From now on, thanks to the generosity of brands like Givenchy, Lanvin, and Maison Martin Margiela, North will be #madtrill. Genuinely jealous of her!
The following video might only be relevant to those of you in warm-weather climates at the moment, but that does not diminish its dopeness. Lifestyle brand RVCA is debuting its Spring 2014 Swimwear line, a brash collection of beachcore looks (yep, just coined that. According to their official release, the collection “serves to embody a rustic combination of 1970s culture and bohemian freedom,” which, based on the clip, soundtracked by Dojo Cat’s floaty “So High,” sounds about right. Watch it below.