What do you guys know about Sean John? Before there was Kanye West’s Yeezy brand there was Sean John by Sean “P Diddy” Combs. Out of all the urban wear brands I’ve written about in this series and will write about, this is probably one that had the biggest impact on the industry! This was the brand that helped define urban fashion – Diddy literally invented the idea of athleisurewear, his brand Sean John was the beginning of this trend. When I say revolutionary, I mean revolutionary, this brand CHANGED THE GAME, look around you right now, athleisure wear dominates fashion and has been forever now! What was a tracksuit before Sean John? Nothing! He revolutionized what a tracksuit means in our community and to this day Sean John is well and alive because greatness never dies.
Sean John was launched at the height of Diddy’s career in 1998, the mogul was able to use his celebrity status to (like I said before and will keep saying) revolutionise the industry, he described his brand as fashion-tainment. Obviously, it was not the first clothing company to reflect hip-hop — or street or urban or black — aesthetic, however, it did have a unique selling point which was its luxurious point of view, mass-market goal and activist undertones. Sean John was way ahead of its time, imagine if Sean John launched in this era of social media, I really think it’d be up there with off-white, Gucci and Dior as the most popular brands of right now because Diddy was a master marketer on top of his game, this man disrupted the industry in more ways than one and does not get enough credit for it!! In 2001 (the year I was born if anyone wanted to know hehe), Sean John held the first nationally televised runway show. That’s BIG!!!! 22 years after its launch Combs was the first African American to win the CFDA’s Menswear Designer of the Year award in 2004, he still racks up over $400 million in annual sales, the brand is sold at Macy’s across the country, and Sean Combs is the blueprint for the celebrity-driven labels that followed like Fenty and Yeezy.
When Sean John officially launched in 1998, it’s competitors included the likes of Fubu, Phat Farm, Rocawear, Cross Colours, Karl Kani, and Akademiks. However, 20 years later in 2018, hardly any of the brands are still standing or hold a brand image as strong as Sean John and I think we can nail this all down due to the fact that those brands represented the “now” of the 90s, the difference with Sean John is that Diddy created a lifestyle brand with A VISION, his brand was the difference between mediocre fashion and style trendsetting – he set trends, he didn’t follow them. Throughout history, in menswear, there are few people that we can call style icons, especially in terms of urban wear but I have to say Combs is one of them and you simply cannot disagree with me. I will not argue with anyone over this. Not only is he a man with great personal style but also birthed one of the greatest brands of his generation. A man that will go down in fashion history.
In an interview with GQ Sean “Diddy” Combs said,“When I started Sean John, my goal was to leave my mark, to set the trends instead of chasing them, be a frontrunner and create collections that everyone would want to wear. With the Sean John brand we have built an incredible foundation that I believe will continue to inspire and draw new customers. To be a force in the fashion industry 20 years later makes me incredibly proud, and I look forward to taking it even further.” Transcending pop-culture, Sean Combs has taken on his personal mantra and translated it into the business world: “Can’t stop, won’t stop.”For Combs, this phrase is so much more than just a saying but a way of life. The feeling transcends all that he does and inspires the Sean John brand as it enters it third decade of providing fashion for men’s boys and girls.
Sean John’s first ever collection in 1998 consisted of only 11 pieces. Then in March 1999, Sean John made its debut in retail with a launch event at Bloomingdale’s in NYC. And before you know it, he had his first fashion show in February 2000, only 2 years after launching. Sean John has been praised for its innovative approach and received numerous awards and accolades – from the very beginning, Sean “Diddy” Combs and his Sean John brand set precedence with a seamless mix of fashion, music and entertainment— hence the term fashion-tainment. Sean John celebrated high-maintenance masculinity when fashion was emerging from a decade of grunge. Combs’s street-meets-boardroom sensibility reflected his personal style and that’s why the brand did so well, it was authentically very Diddy. He crafted an aura of wealth and power around the brand, but he also infused it with a lot of sex appeal. The brand’s aesthetic is truly prescient, its impact is still visible to this day from Paris to Joburg to New York. It is there in hoodies and velour tracksuits, and oversize parkas. It’s in Vetements, Off- White, Balenciaga, Fenty and Yeezy. Like I said it revolutionised the industry.
I would say that my legacy is for all black designers. Diversity is essential, but black designers have a hard time, and we’re the most fashionable people on planet earth. So [Sean John] gave birth to this moment; it empowered these young creatives to know that their talent and their ideas and their designs had value and that they had power. I see the trickle-down effect, and that was the intention, going with the goal of breaking down the doors for other people.”
Apparently, this whole mesh has been around for the last 7 years – since 2013. Either I haven’t been paying attention or I’m not the fashion connoisseur I thought I was. Personally, for me, I saw mesh become mainstream in 2015 after I discovered Coachella and it was always based around the idea of festival fashion but you never really saw people wear it as a ‘normal’ fashion piece until maybe late 2017 when underwear became the new outerwear. And now I think mesh has hit its peak within mainstream fashion and I am LIVING for it. I don’t what it is but mesh and I are spiritually bonded to one another, everything mesh that I see I instantly need it in my life!
Last year on the runway we saw A LOT of mesh, this material is a great transitional piece for summer to autumn to winter because you can layer it! There are so many ways to wear this trend – those bold enough can even go completely braless and rock mesh in all of its glory but odds are most women who aren’t Rihanna wouldn’t dream of leaving the house in a full mesh or sheer top with her breasts totally exposed, especially in the U.K because the people here are super bad vibes sometimes lol. But I promise you, one day I’m gonna rock mesh the way its meant to be worn, like a true 90s supermodel, it’ll be a true moment!
Like I say all the time Fashion trends are cyclical, they’re always coming in and out of fashion and I’m sure that you can all guess that this trend is in fact from the 90s – slightly transparent, lightweight and majorly sexy, it’s a look that is largely associated with the iconic fashion designer Jean Paul Gaultier, whose slinky, tattooed meshes first sauntered down the runway back in the early ’90s.
There are also many ways of wearing it and you can shop some of my fave mesh pieces here;
Cropped jackets have been around since winter of 2017 and I don’t think they’re going anytime soon, they’re the perfect layering item and my favourite type of jacket to wear. For one, they keep you somewhat warm but at the same time you can still show off your outfit! A cropped jacket is the perfect outerwear piece to have during the summer, in all honesty, it should be one of your wardrobe staples.
The evolution of the cropped jackets over the last 3 years is one of my favourites – we’ve seen it go from being just cropped denim jackets to now cropped blazers (which I am LIVING FOR), cropped tweed jackets and cropped leather too! The item has been given a much-needed touch of elegance and we really love to see it.
Shortened to hit right at the waistline, this cut is seriously flattering too and here are my faves atm;
I honestly feel like every blog post I start I always somehow manage to refer back to my childhood but that’s only because my mother made sure that I was a fashionista from birth! PERIOD. Like I remember I used to have a collection of sunglasses and I kid you not I had every single colour of the freaking rainbow because I loved matching my sunglasses to my outfits. I don’t know why I thought that was even appropriate at the time but back then, I really thought I was onto something but now, of course, I know better. A lot better for that matter.
Like clothing and shoes, sunglasses have trends too and this year 70s inspired frames are dominating the scene – I’m talking the return of oversize frames of all shapes, from round to square, yellow tints and of the map – tiny sunglasses. That’s the vibe for our 2020 summer, however, who really follows trends when it comes to sunglasses, no one! The key to finding the perfect sunglasses for you, of course, depends on your style but most importantly your face shape. NOT EVERY PAIR OF SUNGLASSES is for you so please try them on before buying.
I think out of all the brands, this was my oldest brothers favourite! I kid you not, there would be days that I’d see him in head to toe ROCAWEAR. I have the photos to prove it but I don’t want him to hate me hahaha. From its beginnings, ROCAWEAR planned on being the biggest player in this game we call fashion – but more specifically streetwear. They were on the way to becoming an international company that would compete with the biggest brands of our generation. I am talking Supreme, Dsquared, Comme des Garcon, bathing ape etc. So my question is, where did it all go wrong? Right now ROCAWEAR should be dominating the streetwear scene, we should be looking to them for our urban style outfits, not the likes of Givenchy and off white.
This brand had so much potential because ROCAWEAR was more than just your average fashion brand but a lifestyle. A lifestyle that everyone aspired to – one including; private jets, yachts, and penthouse suites but on top of that, it was also a community that was all about goodwill, and never forgetting your roots. That is what ROCAWEAR stood for. Style, music, the high life, sex appeal. They instinctively knew the definition of the latest trends and fashion because they lived them. From the streets to the design studio, they knew trust started with the people, so that’s where they took their inspiration from. They watched the trends on the New York City streets, then translated these into fresh looks that rocked that fashion world. Showing up on the runways in Milan, New York, London and Paris, ROCAWEAR introduced a new, casual glamour with a streetwise sensibility. They didn’t just sell clothes, they sold an image—and the brand took off, becoming one of the hottest in 90s fashion and an international sensation!
This was ROCAWEARS 20th anniversary collection;
The crazy thing is that I don’t hate the collection, everything about it actually has potential. But it’s the same thing with Akademiks. The entire team need to be FIRED. The design team, the branding team, marketing team, social media team. EVERYONE. They all need to get in the bing because how can they disgrace a brand that was once the king of the game like this!! Personally, I think if Jay Z gives me the opportunity to handle his brand, with my team of creatives, I could take ROCAWEAR to different levels. And the crazy thing is that I’m literally not even being cocky. I’m just speaking straight facts.
Times like this where people are coming to support black-owned brands, where streetwear and urban wear is dominating the scene, where 90s fashion is prominent in everyone’s wardrobes. Right now ROCAWEAR should be taking advantage but they’re here just making clothes for the purpose of making clothes. There is ZERO passion and that’s the thing that pisses me off. You can tell that no detailed market research has been done whatsoever because these are clothes that my dad and uncles would wear, not people of this generation. It’s sad really. The core values of ROCAWEAR that I previously describe in this post no longer live in the brand we see today.
Now let’s compare it to past campaigns
ARE YOU GUYS SEEING THE DIFFERENCE!!!!! Look at the passion that was placed in their old campaigns! Look at the lifestyle, the brand image, everything. I mean they had Naomi model for them yet in 2019 they think it’s appropriate to make DJ Khaled the brand ambassador??? You really can’t write this shit. I just pray that ROCAWEAR finally wake up one day and become the brand that it was set to be back when it first launched because really and truly this is not it!
Hey! It’s me, Ivis and I am just here to remind you that athleisurewear is still very much a thing and that’s on PERIODT!
I feel like as the years go by athleisurewear just keeps getting cuter and cuter and it’s getting to the point where I’m like, “the gym doesn’t deserve this outfit, EVERYONE needs to see it.” I don’t know what it is, but when I wear cute ‘gym wear’, I really feel like I’m that BITCH. Do you know what I mean? And the thing I love most about athleisure wear is it’s versatility; I can wear it to the gym, I can wear it to my lectures, whilst running errands or even use it as loungewear at home and no matter where I choose to wear it I’ll still look cute AF.
I thought this trend had hit its peak back in 2017 with Vetements and champion fueling the entire thing but boy was I wrong! In a sense for celebrity fashion it hit its peak around that time, however, now mainstream fashion has jumped on the hype and I am seeing a lot more people sporting the look (pun intended). Never has it ever been more acceptable than it is now to wear your workout clothes outside of the gym.
I can’t believe I’m not going on vacation at all this year, it still hasn’t quite hit me yet and I think the moment it actually does I’ll go insane. I mean who doesn’t like a holiday? Time to refresh, be at peace. This staying in the country for an entire year thing isn’t really my vibe. SOMEONE NEEDA TO PUT AN END TO THIS AND GET ME OUT OF THIS COUNTRY!!!
For some of you, online shopping has become an addiction and I’m only here to make it worse!
If you don’t go to the airport with a carry on or as we call it in the U.K. then I’d assume that you are a certified serial killer. How can you just go on holiday and not have any hand luggage?? You gotta be prepared, what if your actual luggage gets lost or something? where do we go from there? Ever since I started travelling myself, I always but the most valuable items in my carryon/ my favourite pieces to wear because lord knows if I lost an entire suitcase and ended up with nothing to wear on a holiday, I would genuinely murder somebody.
For when we are ready to travel, here are some of my favourites;
It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that the coronavirus pandemic has taken a huge hit on the fashion industry – especially in terms of luxury fashion. Donatella Versace herself said, “THE WORLD IS OVER AS WE KNOW IT.” And I cannot say that I disagree with her, COVID19 has put a stop on so many things; fashion weeks have been cancelled and moved to virtual runways, designers like YSL have pulled out, stores have been forced to close, orders have been cancelled, factories have shut or repurposed to make PPE. Fashion, for the first time in history, was and has been put on hold for the foreseeable future. But was this a blessing in disguise? Did the industry need this to rethink their purpose? What is the future of fashion? What will emerge? Could a more responsible sector — one less damaging to the environment be the future?
For the last few years, seasonal trends have slowly been disappearing with designers choosing more classical items for their runways and collections, items which can be worn all year round, items that we would all call staple pieces, items that stay on store shelves longer and can be sold for years rather than just a season. Think about all the trends that have made a come back in the last few years and have stayed dominating the fashion scene for not only a season but for the last 5 years – think blazers, cycling shorts, leather jackets, flared jeans – staple items that everyone needs! With the pandemic, I ‘m sure that more designers will realise the importance of this as I can imagine that they have so much excess stock that won’t even be sellable after this is all over because, they’ll essentially be out of fashion, by the time this is over, we’ll be going into a new season and what’s fashionable will be different – Burberry famously burnt £28.6m in bags, clothes and perfume in 2017 to prevent them from being stolen or sold for too little (a practice it has since halted). So what’s going to happen to unsold items that can only be found and sourced in luxury boutiques because last time I checked the likes of Chanel, Dior and Hermes don’t do online delivery?
VOGUE GLOBAL CONVERSATIONS
I recently watched an episode of vogue’s global conversations and they brought up some very important points that we need to assess when it comes to this industry;
We Still Need Catwalk Shows—But We Also Need to Invest In Digital Experiences
Fashion Needs to Slow Down, and Designers Can Lead the Way
Sustainability Is A Growing Conversation, But Action Is Needed, Too
Now’s The Time To Share Your Creativity With The World, Especially If You’re A Young Designer
The Industry Has To Change, And Much Of It Comes Down To Doing Less
To summarise for you guys; ideally, fashion weeks will be smaller mainly because many designers won’t actually be able to host them and magazines won’t be able to afford to send editors to attend them, instead most of the seats will be filled with influencers. It’s sad really, that something like this has caused such a detrimental effect on an industry I love.
In addition, unable to host showroom appointments, brands will invest in better showroom software, leaving buyers with less reason to travel in the long-term which will be good in helping to reduce the industry’s carbon footprint. And to no surprise, shopping habits will change – with less disposable income, consumers will be more conscious of what they buy, treating luxury items as investment pieces that will serve them for years — or at least hold their resale value. The shift in spending from high-end handbags to health — skincare, supplements, boutique fitness classes — already on the rise pre-pandemic, will continue. Online shopping will become more of a habit. Similar to the 2008 recession, there will be more support for buying second-hand and directly from small businesses who manufacture responsibly whilst others will turn to fast fashion for cheap thrills.
Fun Fact; Akademiks is well and truly still alive and unlike the other brands that I have included in this series, I couldn’t find any sufficient information on the brand – it’s like it never existed, even the pictures I saw, they did not look good enough to put on my blog! The only information I could find on it was on Wikipedia and we all know how unreliable that is as a web source. I have spent the last week trying to ensure that this will be as informative as the rest, but I had no luck, so I thought why not give you guys the reasons why today I would not buy from Akademiks. Let’s just say that they have a lot of rebranding to do!
The label was founded by two brothers, Donwan and Emmett Harrell in 1999, along with a group of partners. They gained popularity just like any other brand, through celebrities wearing their clothes – the brand is described as the intersection of art, music and fashion. Worn by style icons including Jay-Z, Kanye West and tastemakers worldwide. The collection is always evolving and is always first to set the trend with distinctive graphics, and fabric innovation.
Akademiks, an intentional spelling of the word “academics” makes a lot of sense for a brand that rose to fame in the time that it did. This was the era that men believed it was acceptable to mix preppy styles and urban fashion together, I still can’t believe that people were pairing Ralph Lauren polo’s with dropped baggy jeans, has everyone stopped dropping their jeans or is that still a thing? I originally thought that this was the main idea behind the name because that is what makes sense to me, however, it actually turns out that the name Akademiks was based on the idea that education was essential. This was as we know it, is, of course, an American brand among the urban legends that I mentioned in the first blog post of this series, with devotees of hip hop music, art and fashion but why did the reign of Akademiks not see past 2005?
On the front page of their site, you’ll see that “Akademiks continues to add to the celebrity roster of brand enthusiasts.” However, I highly disagree, when was the last time you heard someone say I’m wearing Akademiks, me, myself being the fashion enthusiast I am, I couldn’t find anything to wearable on their and everyone knows that I am the queen of making a bad item fashionable, but that just wasn’t possible with this brand. They have not evolved correctly for the times, in all honesty, I am surprised that they are still active because really and truly who is buying from them?? As you can all see from the screenshots below they are still in the early 2000s era of fashion, they are not in 2020 like rest of us. Personally, I would love to speak to the in house designer and really ask them what is going on because this is not it, right now it’s so easy to brand as fashion label – with menswear, simplicity goes a long way and they just have not understood this.
Then we have their Instagram which has not been active in 156 weeks, which is basically 3 years. As we speak influencer and social media marketing is now part of the marketing mix so the fact that they are not utilising this is a shame really, because people of my age demographic who grew up with social media, most of the clothing brands I wear is because I have seen my favourite influencers wearing them! During the 2000s Akademiks utilised celebrities as they were the influencers back then so why are they not doing the same now. They also have to ask themselves why the same celebrities that wore their clothes back then, are not wearing them now and the answer is simply because they have lacked, they don’t wanna change – look at fubu, they have adapted to the times and are still making sales! If it’s money, why still sell if you cannot brand/ market yourself. They simply need to shut down and that’s that.