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Experts Worried About Rise Of ‘Zoom Dysmorphia’ As Pandemic Continues

Experts are worried that spending too much time staring at ourselves in “funhouse mirror” sizes on video-conferencing calls will begin to distort our self images.

Meet The French Drag Pair Who Are Redefining The Wedding Dress Market 

James and ViviAnn Du Fermoir-de-Monsac are redefining the current vision of an “ideal bride,” which is often portrayed in the mainstream as someone thin, white, and able-bodied. The two meet with their clients in full drag as a means of creating a safe atmosphere where everyone can feel accepted for who they are. 

“That’s why we chose to open a store in drag, because we wanted to say to everyone that you are welcome, no matter who you are.” 

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The dresses are designed after a two-hour consultation with the client about their specific needs, and typically start around €1,500 (£1,290). While the couple is inspired by the classic looks of Christian Dior and Coco Chanel, their main goal is always to create the most accurate version of their clients vision as possible. 

They typically create dresses that other designers wouldn’t attempt. For example the couple recently designed a dress with a cape for an individual in a wheelchair, and are currently working with a client who was told she couldn’t get married in trainers. 

“The marriage industry is still a little bit classical, and there are many people who are forgotten. No matter what your taste is, no matter what shape your body is, we love everybody and we want everybody to love themselves.” 

“We want people to be the best version of themselves on their wedding day,” said James. 

Du Fermoir-de-Monsac’s first ever client was a four-year-old boy who wanted to wear a dress to a wedding, however, his mother was afraid doing so would attract negative attention. So the couple made him a kilt that the mother says he still wears to school. 

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James and ViviAnn originally met at a drag competition in 2019; James was a judge and ViviAnn was a contestant. The two bonded over their love of fashion and the fact that they both designed their sisters wedding dresses. James was originally working as a chocolatier and ViviAnn was a hairdresser, however, when the pandemic initially hit in spring 2020, both of their businesses took a major hit, so they decided to take a risk and open a wedding boutique. 

Du Fermoir-de-Monsac was the pet name ViviAnn’s father gave to her mother. The boutique officially opened in April this year and in June they launched their first ever collection followed by a runway show. The collection was meant to be a “riot of lace, leather, spikes, and tulle tailored to a variety of body times.”

After the show James and ViviAnn’s drag personas got married in a faux ceremony; although the pair are actually best friends in real life and live together. 

“We are close friends in our lives, and we decided, as we were building a bridal dress company, to marry James and ViviAnn. We married in the name of couture.”

The pair are planning to bring their designs to a multitude of bridal shows this year in attempt to reach a wider pool of clients and spread their message of inclusivity and beauty in the bridal sphere. 

Sneakers

Finnish Firm Seeks Funding For ‘Performative Sneakers’ Made Of Coffee Waste

Finnish footwear firm Rens is working on creating performative trainer sneakers that are made from recycled plastic bottles and used coffee beans. 

The company recently launched an online fundraising campaign for their latest sustainable clothing, which they claim to be completely climate neutral in its production, packaging, and transport. 

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“Shoes made from recycled coffee grounds may seem novel to some, but we wholeheartedly believe that this is just the beginning of a revolution in garment technology and manufacturing.”

Sun Chu, the firm’s co-founder, said the shoe, known as Nomad, will be made from coffee waste and recycled bottles. Recycled polyester will be used to create the membrane of the shoe which will also make it waterproof. 

This is the company’s second shoe that they’ve produced using sustainable materials and practices. 

Their initial shoe was extremely successful, but Jesse Tran, co-founder and CEO of Rens, claims the popularity of their initial product created a demand for a more performance-related product. 

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The original shoe was made up of 21 cups of coffee waste and six bottles of recycled plastic each. 

“With the new model, we are continuing our mission to promote sustainable fashion with technology and innovation.” 

“We are particularly pleased that we were able to include the feedback from our previous customers in the development of the Nomad, who explicitly requested a performance sneaker,” Tran explained. 

Athletic wear made from sustainable and recycled materials have become extremely popular in recent years, as the fashion industry is one of the largest contributors to worldwide climate change. 

Mintel, a market analyst tool, revealed that in June more fashion brands were releasing athletic wear specifically made from recycled materials. Mintel predicted that more brands will begin switching to sustainable production processes to encourage customers and other brands to go green.

Golfing

Clubessential Launches Lifestyle Clubs For Post-Covid Era Businesses 

Clubessential is known for providing the next generation of club and business leaders with full suite memberships and club management solutions that enable more than 1,300 private clubs to make “smart decisions, deliver exceptional member experiences, build stronger clubs, and create members for life.” 

Now, the company is changing how it runs these suits to better align with the post-covid era of doing things. The new Essential Suites for clubessential’s client’s markets help enable leaders and staff build up engagement, and create easy experiences for their members. 

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These Essential Suites are made for city and university clubs, yacht clubs, racquet clubs, Homeowners association/property owner associations, golf and country clubs, and more!

According to Clubessential President Lynn Mangan, “the product and market extensions were a logical step for the company.”

“We have been serving specialized lifestyle clubs for years and have a deep understanding of the unique spaces where they operate.”

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“That combined with our leading mobile-first technology and understanding of member and staff needs make this a natural evolution for Clubessential and a great solution for clubs that have unique needs,” she explained.

The tech solutions integrated within these Essential Suites offer numerous ways for clubs to better engage with members while still delegating employees and other staff throughout the day. Some of this new technology integration includes a cloud-based mobile app, mobile/online scheduling, fitness/spa services, management tools, digital transactions, and data access. 

The Essential Suites for these specific clubs will enable them to better implement easy solutions to running their business or niche. 

The goal is to continue to grow the Clubessential brand by growing other brands through their services. In a post-covid era, a majority of all work gets done online. So when it comes to things like specialized clubs, finding the right space and means of operation is essential for its success. 

New Pickleball Lifestyle Magazine Launches In US 

The pickleball craze sweeping across America has become so popular that a new lifestyle magazine is being launched specifically regarding the sport. 

Dick Porter and magazine designer J. Armus are launching the magazine “In Pickleball,” which is described as a “new sports-lifestyle magazine aimed at fans of the fast-growing game.” 

“In Pickleball will be the Vogue of Pickleball, printed on heavy stock and appealing to the mostly older and well-off Americans who live for the game.”

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The first issue features Teddi Mellencamp Arroyave of “The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills,” and articles will include fun quizzes and lifestyle tips for living your best active lifestyle on the pickleball court.

“Coming out of this pandemic, people crave a sense of community and escape,” said In Pickleball creative director Armus.

“Pickleball is an inclusive community that welcomes anyone who wants to experience the joy of playing. The minute you step onto a court, you can have a good time. It’s something we need in our culture.”

Sportscaster Taylor McGregor recently did a segment on how the Chicago Cubs baseball team has become “addicted to the game.”

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Porter thinks the magazine’s main demographic will be among those who are 50 years or older, however, he also believes that the game is becoming much more popular among younger people, so he has hope that they can market the magazine and game to take on a more youthful look. 

The first issue of the magazine will be distributed for free to about 30,000 various resorts, hotels, and other venues that offer sports accommodations specifically for pickleball. 

“While we will welcome all advertisers, we think like many magazines today, it has to be reader support. This is just the first step in what will ultimately become a multi-platformed, involving social media, a Web presence and e-commerce.”

Pickleball, for those who don’t know, is a cross between badminton and wiffleball. In 2019 it was reported that the US had around 30,000 pickleball courts throughout it, a 133% increase in the amount of courts present in the country for the past 5 years. 

“My first job in publishing was with the magazine Fly Fisherman with Ziff Davis Publications, which had specialized sports magazines like Backpacker and Sports Diver as well as some small tech magazines covering the nascent computer industry. In a lot of ways, I am going back to my roots,” said Porter.

Clothes Store

Gap Announces Second Collaboration With Kanye West

The Gap has released their second item from its collaboration with Kanye West’s Yeezy label. The new black puffer called a “go round jacket,” looks similar to the blue puffer jacket the two brands recently released together as well. 

Insiders with Gap are hoping that these collaborations will help reverse all that was lost during the past year of the pandemic. Gap specifically lost about $62 million in the third quarter of last year, and they’re still trying to recover. The retail giant also announced plans to close 81 of its physical stores. 

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Once the initial collaboration with Kanye West was announced, however, the share price for Gap surged by 40%, adding $700 million to the brand. Wells Fargo recently released a report that showed Gap could become a billion dollar company if they continue their collaborative efforts with the Yeezy brand. 

The good thing for Gap is that Kanye still has enough fans for hoodies to drive sales. Yeezy, a label known for its elevated hoodies, will reap the benefits of the pandemic-led boom in comfort wear such as velour tracksuits and sweatpants. Before the pandemic,” says author and associate editor of Rap Pages, Ronda Racha Penrice.

Jeff Carvalho is the executive editor of Highsnobiety, a popular streetwear website, who recently claimed that this collaboration could send both brands to the next level. 

“Kanye has always wanted a big mainstream platform to work on. Gap is about as mainstream as it gets in hitting the malls, and accessibility to the product has long been a mantra of his. Being mainstream is the new cool when it comes to lifestyle brands.”

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“When his footwear line first launched he stated that everyone who wanted to get a pair would eventually be able to do so and that statement became true, which is very interesting in a culture that’s fixated on limited releases,”said Arby Li, editor in chief of men’s fashion website Hypebeast.

Racha Penrice discussed how regardless of West’s controversial past, this collaboration will benefit Gap as much as it will Yeezy.

“There’s already a payoff for Gap from a PR perspective. Despite his pro-Trump allegiances and his controversial slavery comments, both of which alienated fans, I don’t believe Yeezy X Gap sales will be effected,” she explained.

“He’s still a star and now Gap is benefiting from that. We are talking about Gap here and it’s been mentioned quite a bit on social media, not to mention by influential publications, so this looks like a promising partnership.”

“I spoke to Yeezy and he’s very, very focused on this incredible opportunity. [It will] provide balance for us both. With Yeezy becoming slightly more approachable while also giving Gap an edge it has been missing for some time now,”  Sonia Syngal, Gap’s chief executive, told the Business of Fashion.

Designer Fashion Labels Are Increasing Their Prices Post-Pandemic 

Top designer brands are currently increasing their prices as a means of making up for any economic loss that occurred within the past year due to the pandemic. Currently, there’s a high demand for luxury items among upper class individuals in the US. 

After nearly 18 months, designer fashion labels were finally able to revive the art of live fashion shows as well, which has brought back a certain cultural energy that the world was lacking throughout the past year of lockdown. 

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Chanel, for example, as a brand has increased their handbag prices by at least 15% when compared to last year’s pricing. Chanel’s revenues have also declined by nearly 20% throughout 2020. 

A recent Bernstein industry report identified “Rolex, Dior, Prada, Gucci and Louis Vuitton as brands that had raised prices. The pricing of luxury bags had increased at twice the level of the broader consumer prices index over four decades. The most desirable brands had translated growth into increasing prices quickly in an unrealised pricing upside.”

Bernstein analyst Luca Solca said: “Most luxury brands increased prices during the pandemic in the attempt to cushion the impact of lower sales. Chanel has been particularly aggressive in this move. Very desirable brands have the ability to increase prices, if they so wish. This has the advantage of reducing the risk of overwhelming the market and putting perceived exclusivity in jeopardy.”

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Orsola de Castro, founder of Fashion Revolution, a fashion activism movement, said: “The luxury industry needs to go back to some kind of semblance of luxury, because it’s hardly been immune to the low-quality, high-quantity bug. There is so much wrong with luxury these days, but the main issue is lack of transparency.”

“To imagine a luxury industry that really is luxurious, they need to reinvent their parameters, go back to the essence of what luxury is – craft, respect for human toil and skills, and beautiful materials. None of this can hurt people and nature, if we are to consider it a luxury product.”

There’s a major rise in the movement for sustainability in fashion, especially considering a lot of the more affordable brands that average working-class Americans can afford are produced in factories overseas, likely filled with harsh conditions and underpaid workers, however, the issue is clearly systemic. 

We can’t expect every American to shop sustainably when that’s just not possible for so many individuals, but we can reshape the brands that are deemed “luxury” to return back to a sense of craftsmanship and transparency, like de Castro explained, and hope that a larger revolution in the fashion industry can occur. 

Renting Clothes Is Less Sustainable Than Throwing Them Away, Study Finds

A recent study performed by the Finnish scientific journal Environmental Research Letters has shown that renting clothes is actually worse for the planet than just throwing them away. Before, renting clothes was thought to be one of the easier solutions when it comes to the sustainability issues the fashion industry has. 

The study specifically looked at the environmental impact of five different ways of owning and disposing of clothing; including renting, resale, and recycling. 

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The study found that “renting clothes had the highest climate impact of all. The hidden environmental cost was found to be delivery and packaging costs. Renting involves a large amount of transportation, taking the clothes back and forth between the warehouse and the renter. Dry cleaning is also harmful to the environment.”

Renting clothing was thought to be one of the more sustainable ways to lessen your impact on the fashion industry’s major sustainability issue. According to GlobalData, the rental clothing industry is expected to be valued at $2.3 billion by 2029. A report from the World Economic Forum suggested that the industry has already generated 5% of global emissions. 

Dana Thomas, author of ‘Fashionopolis: The Price of Fast Fashion and the Future of Clothes’, wrote that instead of relying on rental clothing to solve fashion’s environmental crisis, the concept should just be completely recategorized. 

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“We should think of renting like second-hand shopping. It’s not something we do all the time, instead of buying our clothes and swapping out outfits nonstop, but on occasion, when the need arises, like proms or weddings.”

“Many rental brands misuse the term circular economy – the system where clothes are passed from person to person before being recycled – as a form of greenwashing. No executive wants to overhaul their business, and that’s what ‘going green’ will require, not tweaks but an entire overhaul. They are too focused on short-term gains to invest in long-term benefits,” Thomas explained. 

“Only regulation will solve that problem. No company, in any industry, will volunteer to take a loss for the sake of the planet. They’ll do so when it’s the law. The biggest obstacle is greed.”

The study concluded that if rental companies change their logistics to make the process in which they rent out clothes more environmentally friendly, then renting would be at the same level as reselling. 

Box Hair Dye

Tessica Brown, Known Online As ‘Gorilla Glue Girl,’ Launches Haircare Line 

Tessica Brown went viral in February after she accidentally glued her hair to her head using spray-on Gorilla Glue. Brown took her followers on the journey of getting the glue out of her hair surgically and is now using her platform to create a line of haircare products. 

Forever Hair will initially launch with a hairspray named “Forever Hold,” a play on her initial rise to fame. Additionally, Brown will be including a growth-stimulating oil and range of clothing items as well, including a T-shirt that says “Bonded For Life.”

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Brown used to work as a daycare worker before she went viral in February. Her rise into the spotlight occurred after posting a video where she confessed that she sprayed her hair with Gorilla Glue spray adhesive instead of Got2B hairspray; her usual product. 

Brown continued to post her journey, claiming that she washed her hair 15 times; little did she know water actually works to strengthen the bonds in Gorilla Glue. Her hair remained in place for about a month before she sought out medical treatment. 

Brown endured a four-hour surgery to get the glue removed, and as a result she experienced some hair loss and scalp damage as well. 

The original video was posted to TikTok and now has about 7 million views. Her video gained support from celebrities like Missy Elliott, Change The Rapper, and Roxane Gay. 

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In a new clip, Brown says she “developed the hair-stimulating products with professionals, after the damage the Gorilla Glue wrought on my head. I need this oil to heal my scalp, to help grow my hair back.”

“Look at the results, look at my hair. My scalp feels amazing, my hair is already growing back. I’m telling you, this oil has been a lifesaver.”

After the incident in February, Gorilla Glue issued an apology to Brown: “This is a unique situation because this product is not indicated for use in or on hair as it is considered permanent. Our Spray Adhesive states in the warning label, ‘Do not swallow. Do not get in eyes, on skin, or on clothing’.”

Brown said that she “never intended for the original video to go viral. I was never going to take this to social media. The reason I took it to social media was because I didn’t know what else to do. I didn’t think for one second when I got up the next morning it was gonna be everywhere.”

Why Experts Believe Gardening Is Good For Both Your Physical And Mental Health 

There’s been a growing amount of research surrounding what we can do for ourselves at home to continue to practice good physical and mental health habits. After the last year, we’ve all had to adapt our lives to make sure that we’re constantly stimulating our brain, and moving our body to ensure that we remain as healthy as possible. 

Gardening has become one of the most popular pandemic activities and for good reason. A growing amount of research has proven that gardening is not only great for your physical health because it gets you up and moving, but your mental health as well, due to the fact that it gives you tasks to focus on, while also adding beauty to your space. 

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James Wong is a botanist and journalist who recently looked into this concept more deeply, and found that gardening has actually helped a lot of people cope with the isolation of the past year. 

Wong explained how in general, “research has shown that mindfulness exercises that focus one’s attention on the here and now and stop our minds wandering to the past or worrying about the future are an important therapeutic tool.” So gardening has always acted as a form of therapy for many people. 

“Gardening is a classic example of such a mindfulness exercise, where you clear out extraneous thoughts and focus on what is in front of you, especially given the seasonal nature of gardening.”

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“In fact, many Eastern cultures that have a long tradition of mindfulness are fixated on the beauty of seasonal plants, such as cherry blossom, precisely because of their transience, not in spite of it. So, in my opinion, fake plants and a green fence are unlikely to provide the full benefit,” Wong explained. 

There’s also a major social aspect that comes with gardening that Wong explained has motivated many individuals to go out of their way to talk to others. 

“Studies conducted at community gardens found that gardening in such places has a significant positive impact on one of the key factors behind poor mental health – loneliness and isolation.”

Wong recommends putting energy into your front lawn garden, or whichever part of your house is closest to your neighbors if you want to attempt to branch out and get to know the individuals you share a block with. 

“Each of these benefits appears to play only a small part in a much more complex puzzle, and the relative importance of each piece is likely to vary enormously for each person, to the point where they are often contradictory. When it comes to horticultural therapy, the best advice is it doesn’t matter how you do it, just do it the way that works best for you,” Wong explained.