Cotton is the most used fabric in the entire world. One reason is because it’s just super abundant. There is no shortage of cotton like anywhere, ever. Also, cotton is one of the most breathable fabrics making it ideal for everyday wear. You can find cotton hiding in unsuspecting places like in your favorite denim jacket or your child’s school uniform khaki pants.
So no one actually knows how old cotton really is (mainly because no one can even agree on how old the earth itself is) but scientists hanging out in Mexican caves have found some cotton pieces that seem to be at least seven thousand years old. We do know that in Pakistan cotton was being grown and woven into cloth as early as 3000 BC. Shortly after, Egyptians started wearing cotton clothing on a regular basis.
Fast forward to about 800 AD and you find Arab merchants traveling to Europe to sell their cotton clothing items. Then boom, several centuries later Christopher Columbus “finds” cotton in the Bahamas in 1492 and now the rest of the world finds out about it and thinks cotton is all that and a bag of chips. They were right.
Cotton wasn’t machine-spun until about 1730 in England. The industrial revolution of that area and the US invention of the cotton gin got us to where we see cotton today. The cotton gin was able to work ten times faster than what it would take to do things by hand. After the cotton gin, cotton went from about a $150,000 value to an over $8,000,000 value !
Today you’ll find a lot of research and sustainability efforts to keep cotton alive. It’s been a cash cow for so long that certain people are afraid that we’re going to completely milk it dry in the very near future. What do you think ? What’s your favorite fabric ? Let us know in the comments !
Betsey Johnson is an American fashion designer who was born in 1942. She’s best known for her super ‘feminine’ and whimsical designs. A for people refer to them as over the top. Those just aren’t her people (insert smirk). She’s also super well known for doing cartwheels that end in the splits at the end of each of her fashion shows ! It’s pretty much her signature move.
Fun Fact: She initially wanted to be a dancer and took a ton of dance classes but through it she found her love for costumes and decided to get into fashion. Now ya know why her designs are deemed over the top; they’re costumey on purpose.
She studied fashion at the Pratt Institute but ended up graduating from Syracuse University. After graduation she was able to intern at Mademoiselle magazine and get a ton of real-world experience. After about a year she was deemed the in-house designer for a little boutique in Manhattan named Paraphernalia.
Fun Fact: She has been married 3 times but always keeps her name, professionally, as is; last name Johnson.
In 1969 at the age of 27 she opened up her own boutique in New York called Betsey Bunky Nini. Shortly after, she took control of a fashion label called Alley Cat and began making designs for rockstars.
In 2002 Johnson was inducted into the Fashion Walk of Fame and the year after is when she expanded her line into handbags and other accessories. Handbags have been her golden goose ever since !
In 2009 she earned Lifetime Achievement award for her fashion from the National Arts Club which was a pretty big deal and as of 2011, she’s in at least 65 stores worldwide ! Although she filed for bankruptcy in 2012, the brand is still up and going.
Fun Fact: Betsey is a long term breast cancer survivor.
Gucci was established in 1921 in Florence, Italy by a man names Guccio Gucci. It’s actually one of the oldest high fashion Italian brands to date ! Like a ton of other fashion houses during that time they started out by producing luggage and other luxury travel goods for the upper class. They also had some equestrian equipment too. Their main material used was leather and silk. However, during the second world war, they were forced to use cotton as a substitute. It was during that time that they changed the logo to the one we see today.
In 1938 Gucci opened a shop in Rome after having to switch from imported leather to cotton and a specially woven hemp. In 1951 Rodolfo, Guccio’s son opened another shop in Milan and in 1953 a shop in New York City.
It was in the 1950s that Gucci started really getting popular in the United States, mainly Hollywood due to traveling actors and musicians. Guccio Gucci, unfortunately, passed away in 1953 but his brand continued under the leadership of his three sons, Aldo, Vasco, and Rodolfo. Shortly after, they introduced luxury accessories to the brand such as watches and eyeglasses which are now the cornerstone of their label.
In 1983 the most active son, Rodolfo, passed away and left control of the company to his son Maurizio. Now this guy, almost ran the brand into the ground via family disputes and things like tax evasion charges and bad investment deals. Fortunately, in the 90s they partnered with Tom Ford and all was well. Tom Ford worked with Gucci until 2004 and in 2006 Frida Giannini took over. Her last year was 2014 and then Alessandro Michele took over as creative director of the brand. In 2017 with her in charge, Gucci hit record sales and profit was boosted by 11%.
Fun Fact: Aldo Gucci designed the logo for his father.
Today Gucci is owned by the French luxury group Kering who is also responsible for Yves Saint Laurent, Balenciaga, and Alexander McQueen.
Just like with anything else there’s a lot of different ways to be great. That’s why there’s room for many Greats like Versace or Marc Jacobs. So today we’re going to put you on to several different ways one can qualify as a great designer.
Great designers have stellar observation skills. Their intense curiosity for the world around them and how people function causes them to be extra attentive to all ocular sensations. They especially use their observation skills to figure out how they can make already good things, great.
Great designers are excellent listeners. They want to know what matters to consumers when it comes to both functionality and beauty. They take other suggestions into consideration while also understanding that people often don’t know exactly what they want. As Henry Ford kind of probably said, “if I asked the people what they wanted they would’ve said faster horses.”
Great designers are self-motivated. They have everything it takes already within them to turn an idea into an actual tangible piece ready to be gifted or sold.
Great designers understand context. Context is what helps us make sense of things we don’t currently understand. It’s the extra details that help us decide if something is relevant or not.
Great designers find solutions. All of the observing, listening and discerning context would be completely useless if they never used it to find solutions to current fashion problems ! My personal favorite fashion solution is pockets for dresses.
Great designers aren’t boxed in by rules. They aren’t trying to create with the current trends in mind. Their goal is to either create or accurately predict the future of fashion.
Great designers have thick skin. You will never be able to create a piece that caters to the taste of every fashionista on earth. Great designers know how to accept criticism or even downright disdain without giving up their authenticity.
Great designers don’t pretend to know everything. “The man who claims to know everything knows nothing at all.” Somebody great said something like that. It goes for all areas of life including fashion.
Do you have a favorite fashion designer ? Let us know in the comments !
First things first, let’s discuss what it means to even be a fashion designer. According to Fibre2Fashion, “Fashion design is a form of art dedicated to the creation of clothing and other lifestyle accessories. Modern fashion design is divided into two basic categories: haute couture and ready-to-wear.”
So Haute Couture consists of customized and one of a kind pieces. Think runway and celebrity or special event ensembles ! Ready-to-wear fashion is what you go to Saks Fifth, (or Target if you’re like me) to pick up on the go.
Ready-to-wear can be further broken down into a couple other categories; designer and confection. So the first dude to do the things was Charles Frederick Worth. Up until he set up his early 19th-century version of a popup shop, people in Paris anonymously made and sold dresses and the standards were solely set by royalty.
After some time his House of Worth pop up shop became so poppin’ that the village residents were able to attach a face and a name to it. That was the beginning of the current tradition of having a designated designer of a “house”.
House of Worth was founded in1858 and specialized in Haute Couture. The shop stayed in the family up until 1952 and then closed for good in 1956. The brand itself was revived once more in 1999. The new Spring/Summer collection didn’t debut until 2010.
Fun Fact: The empress at the time appointed Worth as the official court designer. This increased the quality of his reputation and in turn, his overall success.
Below you can see three examples of House of Worths’ most famous designs. You can see how regal in nature they are and they have the air of France for sure. Vintage dresses can still be found in obscure corners of the internet for up to $50,000 on the price tag.