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Veteran fashion designers create trendy face masks to launch platform to help fashion industry, Fashion News & Top Stories

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SINGAPORE – Fancy a face mask hand-stitched with applique lace, lined with silk and finished with premium tie strings?

The extravagant mask is designed by none other than local fashion veteran Ann Teoh, and can be purchased from a newly launched website, The Label.

Of course, it will not come cheap. One of 12 limited-edition designs, it retails for $68 under her line, At.titude by Ann Teoh.

But the masks are targeted at “fashion people” and her long-time fans, says the couturier, who is in her 50s. Her custom and bridal couture were the talk of the town in the 2000s.

You can also cop masks from fellow fashion bigwigs Esther Tay and Sylvia Lim. Tay, who is in her early 60s, is regarded as Singapore’s doyenne of uniform design, while Lim, 48, is behind fashion label Triologie and The Emporium Group.

Lim’s masks ($48) feature quirky designs with a local flavour – like kueh and a print of the Katong neighbourhood. Tay focuses on minimal, clean-cut prints at more affordable prices ($23 to $28).

Consider them options for a mask-wearing new normal, says Teoh who believes masks are like a fashion statement and the most essential item the industry can provide now.

Masks are just the beginning. The power trio came together with big plans to move the fashion industry forward via The Label – a platform conceptualised to help local fashion businesses in the wake of Covid-19.

It began as an idea between Teoh and her friend Staphnie Tang, president of the Breast Cancer Foundation (BCF), to mix fashion and charity.


Ann Teoh’s Aliya by At.titude face mask. PHOTO: COURTESY OF ANN TEOH

Teoh roped in Tay and Lim, as well as Ms Doreen Tan, chief executive of the Textile and Fashion Industry Training Centre (TaF.tc).

Tay had been busy with a non-profit project to produce masks for migrant workers and realised she could lend her expertise to create quality masks for all.

“It was also our goal to uplift the fashion industry and save the jobs of many sewers, manufacturers and factory workers – not just in our company, but also other small tailoring production houses that were facing disruption from the pandemic,” she says.

The initiative is now powered by TaF.tc, with 10 per cent of proceeds from sales of the masks supporting the BCF.

The local fashion industry stands to benefit from the platform – especially in digitising processes, says Ms Tan, who offered to host the e-commerce platform and absorb handling fees.

While The Label currently sells only the three veterans’ mask designs, there are plans to bring young designers and local businesses on board.

In the meantime, things are off to a good start, with hundreds of the limited-edition masks sold.

Calling it a “solidarity initiative”, Lim says: “This is a precious partnership. One impetus for this project was to spread love during this time, when our industry is facing its worst moment in history.


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Fashion & Style

Virus Turns U.S. Tariffs Into a Sideshow for Luxury Brands

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Investors in designer fashion brands are already ignoring an avalanche of bad news. What harm is a little more?

That said, a subdued reaction to Washington’s latest tariff threats also reflects the dimming prospects of the U.S. luxury market relative to China’s.

Late on Friday, the Office of the United States Trade Representative said it will…

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Can diversity in fashion be systemic?

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Balmain creative director Oliver Rousteing, the designer of Somalian-Ethiopian descent who was appointed to his position at age 25 in 2011, forged a speedy path to the top in an industry that has been primarily white.

“Being young and Black were two strong new elements in France, above all for a French luxury brand born in 1945,” he said in a panel hosted by Vogue Business in partnership with the Fédération de la Haute Couture et de la Mode. “I remember magazines and press questioning my age and my background and never mentioning the colour,” he said. “But I could see from the questions that I had in the beginning that for them it was: ‘Let’s see if he is capable’. The question was not only about age and talent but as well about my colour.”

As Paris Fashion Week takes place digitally amid worldwide Black Lives Matter protests, the fashion industry is reflecting on its lack of diversity. A main takeaway of the discussion, which also included Rawdah Mohamed, a Somalia-born model who stars in the new Sephora campaign, LVMH head of diversity and inclusion Hayden Majajas and Benoit Guinot, co-founder of The Claw Models agency, was that the commitment to diversity in fashion must become embedded throughout the whole fashion system.

“In order to authentically respond to diversity, it has to become part of how we operate, as an industry and a company. It has to become systemic,” said LVMH’s Majajas.

Recruitment is key. As a big corporation, LVMH has the resources to seek diverse talents wherever they are. However, said Majajas, “it’s not just LVMH that has the resources, everyone does. It takes the desire to do so and take some actions”. Hiring is only half of the conversation though, according to Majajas, and it’s equally important to create a sense of belonging, inclusion and psychological safety for people of colour working in fashion.

“I would never advocate that diversity ever becomes the diversity police. We should never be standing at the atelier door saying yes and no to products. The intricate balance here is the difference between having a voice and actually being heard,” Majajas added. “I don’t think that missteps and problems in this industry are going to disappear anytime soon. We need to talk about this more.”

Breaking into fashion wasn’t easy for Rawdah Mohamed. She recalled growing up in a refugee camp in Somalia, where she would get new clothes once a year. “I would go around the tents and show off my dress. Fashion has always made me feel out of the bad situation I am in and if I focus on the positive I can manage.” She flew to Norway with her family to escape the Somali Civil War and stood out as a Black girl wearing the hijab. “Magazines never had Black models or anybody who ever looked like me so I felt pushed out and wanted it even more. I thought if I went through the war and survived it, I can definitely survive in fashion.’”

Rousteing recalled having to fight to have a diverse casting on his catwalk and campaigns in the beginning at Balmain. “Today we see more diversity, which is great, but we have to make sure that it is a reality that people want to see and not a trend,” he said. “What I am doing is normal and nothing special,” Rousteing also said, referring to the diversity in his casting. “What is not normal is a lack of diversity. We know the brands that do that. The casting and the vision is actually much more important than the fabrics of the clothes.”

Guinot, of The Claw Models agency that represents Mohamed, saw an increase in the demand for Black models since the Black Lives Matters movement. “I am afraid of the trend and the fact that everyone wants to jump on it now. Of course it’s still visibility for people of colour and diversity but the real matter is what are we going to do after that? How do we make sure that this is going to last?” One way, according to him, is to educate brands about the commercial value of diversity, that goes beyond the one-off creative statement.

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Where to Shop Meghan Markle’s $76 White Linen Dress

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Where to Shop Meghan Markle’s $76 White Linen Dress | PEOPLE.com

























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