Anonymous asked: Let's say I see something on the runway that I absolutely love, and then I want to buy it. How would I go about doing that? Where are these things sold?

Unfortunately, most of the things you see on the runway will never make it into stores, unless the buyer makes a specific order for it. That sucks because buyers tend to have very conservative taste. You could always try calling/emailing brand headquarters directly. It helps if they’re based in your home city. Otherwise, get down on your knees and pray to god that the item will appear at the brand’s sample sale or warehouse sale, a public event where they get rid of excess stock (including runway clothes, shoes and accessories) at reduced prices. It’s not as fun as it sounds: most of them are dusty, sweaty hellholes that attract Instagram lunatics.

gregalvang asked: Hung! i was trying to remember if it was you who wrote a piece/answered a question about how trends form, and mentioned an anecdote about a fabric supplier that worked with two fashion houses and accidentally sent one house's samples to the other, so both brands showed a similar colour story the subsequent season...? i trawled through your /answered tag and didn't find anything. sorry to sound crazy but this is actually driving me nuts!

Yep! I have a friend who studies fashion in Canada and her teacher used to work for Sonia Rykiel around the turn of the millennium. She spills all the secrets. The design teams at Sonia Rykiel and Louis Vuitton used to mingle all the time, and they must have shared the same fabric supplier. The Sonia Rykiel team was reconsidering a shade of yellow they were using in the s/s 2000 collection because it was intense/garish/tacky. A week before Paris Fashion Week, the fabric supplier accidentally sent them Louis Vuitton’s fabric. It was the exact same shade of yellow. They all breathed a sigh of relief because if Marc Jacobs (this was his fourth collection for Louis Vuitton) was using yellow then it MUST have been cool.

Louis Vuitton s/s 2000:

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Sonia Rykiel s/s 2000:

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Thanks to style.com for the pictures. These images are ancient so you can’t really see how intense the yellow is, but apparently it was BRIGHT. My new followers can read about how trends emerge on my Wordpress blog.

Anonymous asked: Have you ever asked an editor to tag you in #fashion? Be honest now.

A couple of times (lol), back when I thought notes were important. Some of the editors are my friends so I’ll ask them to tag my post if I’m particularly proud of it, like an article I had spent hours and hours researching and writing. I think that’s a little different to asking for a blue tag on some random picture I found on style.com or thefashionspot. Basically, I think people should only ask to be tagged on original work: a photo they personally photographed, a piece of writing they spent hours putting together, etc. Otherwise it’s just silly. Why would you want notes on work that isn’t even yours? Anybody can find a picture, crop it, then add a caption…

Anonymous asked: Were you the one that said something along the lines of "Jeremy Scott will send his models down the runway dressed as burgers next"? I think it was you, but maybe I'm mistaken. How hilarious because he actually did send his models down the runway in candy and food wrappers and Mcdonald's crap. I actually face palmed myself multiple times seeing that collection. What a spot-on prediction. Idk how you feel, but his a/w 2013 Moschino collection has to be the worst I've seen so far.

Yep, that was me. I just looked at the collection and it was heinous from start to finish. It’s like Chanel and Henry Holland had a baby, and that baby lived on a diet of nothing but fast food and chocolate.

eloquenceisunderrated asked: What do you think of the idea of haute couture and runway shows essentially serving to boost the perceived value of the ready-to-wear clothing and accessories of a fashion house? I agree with everything in your article but I think that another motivation for keeping haute couture is its powerful marketing ability, where people can own a bag or shirt that makes them feel part of something much bigger.

I know that it’s one of the most popular defences for keeping the current couture system intact (and it makes sense in theory) but I’m not convinced that it actually works. If you have a look at the official list for the January 2014 collections, the biggest names already have major ready-to-wear lines, and ancillary products like handbags, perfumes, sunglasses, cosmetics etc. to bring in the mega bucks. The majority of consumers don’t even pay attention to couture (and who seriously has the time?), they just know that a brand is desirable because it gets frequent coverage in the pages of Vogue, not least because it can afford to pay the high ad rates. I have trouble believing that Chanel, Dior, and Versace need haute couture to remind consumers that they are important. We already know that. In fact, I think these three brands could stop making couture entirely and still be able to grow even more robust businesses with the right marketing scheme.

As for the lesser-known couture designers on the list, I fail to see the point. Several of these designers (Yiqing Yin, Rad Hourani, Zuhair Murad, Vauthier) don’t even have a strong presence in the accessories, fragrance or RTW departments to begin with. How can couture be a powerful marketing tool for something that doesn’t exist? That’s why I made a point about Miuccia Prada in that article (and you can read it here if you haven’t already). She doesn’t make couture because it doesn’t make sense to be slaving away over something that won’t even sell. I completely agree with that. All the resources, money, time, and labour that goes into couture could be SO better spent. 

If haute couture is a powerful marketing tool for anything these days, it’s the power of France. It’s France’s biggest “fuck you” to China, India, North and South America. It’s basically a way to say “I’m better than you” and “your factories will never be able to reproduce these designs,” for four whole days, twice a year, with the whole industry paying attention. But as I said, these techniques can thrive outside Paris if we continue to explore their potential in the RTW market.

Anonymous asked: what's your opinion on cathy horyn?

Love her, really sad to hear about her resignation. She’s played a huge part in inspiring me to write seriously (or semi-seriously, lol) about fashion.There is still serious room for improvement when it comes to fashion journalism, especially where I live (Australia) because everything sounds like an extension of PR, and since the industry is so small all the journalists have to walk around on eggshells. And it’s still hugely misogynistic here. When Kirstie Clements, former editor of Vogue Australia, was fired you wouldn’t believe the amount of ridicule she got for running a women’s fashion magazine. Women writers still face enormous barriers in general, but women who write about or work in fashion? Forget it. It’s a death sentence in the mainstream media.

Cathy Horyn brought a lot of integrity to her field and it’s a shame to see her leave. I would love to see Robin Givhan take over for her. I don’t agree with everything Givhan writes, but she’s done so well given the obstacles she’s had to overcome: black, a woman, writing about fashion. That Pulitzer Prize (the first ever given to a fashion critic) speaks for itself.

Or they should hire me…

Anonymous asked: What would you like to see more of in the fashion industry?

"Editor-in-Chief: HUNG TRAN"

"Editor-in-Chief: HUNG TRAN"

"Editor-in-Chief: HUNG TRAN"

"Editor-in-Chief: HUNG TRAN"

"Editor-in-Chief: HUNG TRAN"

Preferably written in pink glitter that smells like strawberries when you scratch it.

Anonymous asked: Why doesn't Prada do Couture? Will they ever?

I hope not. The idea of Miuccia Prada producing a couture line seems almost antithetical to the brand’s image. She developed the anti-luxury nylon backpack in the late 1980s, stating that “no one wanted the backpack (at first) because it didn’t scream luxury.” Also, in May 2013, she told T Magazine that “to sell is to prove that what you are doing makes sense. I’m completely against the idea that we do fashion for an elite.” With its low profit margin and stuffy, elite clientele, it doesn’t seem that haute couture is high on Prada’s agenda.

To be honest, this past couture season bored the hell out of me and I’m just starting to realise why. You know how journalists keep gushing about Raf Simons bringing an “element of reality” to couture, and how Karl Lagerfeld’s Massaro-created sneakers were a refreshing and modern idea? It made me realise that couture could be transformed in the 21st century if we focused less on formal rules and empty titles and more on preserving technique. The best way to preserve technique is to test its application in the far more interesting, far more viable, ready-to-wear market. Mary Katrantzou already collaborates with Lesage, and Giambattista Valli already seems to sell his couture online. Why don’t more designers do this? A reactionary might argue that the prices would be too high, but I think it has real potential. These techniques can thrive outside Paris, given the right support.

This might sound blasphemous or whatever, but it seems like every season another obscure designer joins the couture club as a guest member. Who cares? The pond is already full of big fish—do you think people care about you when there are already Diors and Chanels in such a small, elite club? We don’t need a designer like Miuccia Prada doing couture; what we need is more designers taking a page—or a chapter—from Prada’s book of nervous, nerdy fashion ideas. Make great clothes, use incredible technique, and, for the love of God, do yourself a favour by making sure at least some of it sells. There’s nothing more depressing than seeing designers go broke making art (hey, Lacroix).

Anonymous asked: Hi Hung, what are your opinions on sustainable fashion?

It’s like a balloon. Designers attach it to their mood boards so that they can throw around words like “organic” and “green” when Tim Blanks comes to interview them for style.com, but this balloon—filled with promises and good intentions—goes nowhere. I think one of the reasons why the sustainability movement in fashion has experienced such discouragingly slow growth is because nobody can decide WHAT they’re trying to sustain.

Gucci’s Frida Giannini believes in “heirloom sustainability” in which there are “quality items that stand the test of time…Symbolised by a timeless handbag that you wear again and again, and can pass on.” Oscar de la Renta believes in preserving techniques so that “the next generation of seamstresses and tailors have the skills necessary to develop clothes that are not only beautiful but extremely well-made.” Anya Hindmarch, who initiated that widely-copied “I am not a plastic bag” campaign, believes in a more traditional environment-focused definition: “I would define the ideal as locally sourced materials that don’t pollute in their creation or demise (preferably recycled) and with limited transportation to achieve the completed product.”

So are we trying to preserve skills? Resource? Product? Profit? All of the above? Nobody effing knows so they just run around in circles claiming to be sustainable.

Whatever “sustainable” means, we can agree that it’s more expensive to purchase ethically-sourced clothing because of the higher labour costs involved. A 2013 Ipsos poll conducted on 18,500 people across 16 countries indicated that 40% of people were indifferent  to how their clothes were produced, while 70% claimed that they would be willing to pay more for ethically-sourced clothing.

The problem here is that while there are a lot of smaller or local brands dealing in ethical/green/fair-trade apparel, the luxury sector has been very slow in responding because nobody wants to take a risk. The waters have not been properly tested, and the potentially low profit margin deters a lot of emerging designers from making a commitment to sustainable fashion. Indeed, when we think of green brands there are only a couple that come to mind: Stella McCartney (50% owned by Kering) and EDUN (49% owned by LVMH). But these designers entered the fashion game already rich—McCartney is the daughter of a Beatle and EDUN was founded by Bono of U2 and his wife Ali Hewson. They could afford to fail because they had financial cushioning. Most people don’t, so most people are more concerned with making profit from dubiously-sourced leather goods than saving the earth.

I wrote a more detailed article on this in the new issue of BITE Magazine, which will be released shortly. These are just bits and pieces from that article.

Anonymous asked: what do you think of ulyana sergeenko?

I think she’s supremely overrated. Her past few collections have been beautiful, refined, glowing with references to the fairytales of her native Russia. But the fever has passed, and I don’t think that making 100 variations of the same dress really cuts it anymore, especially if you want to be taken seriously as a couture designer (but it seems to work for Elie Saab so what do I know?). I’m tired of street style bloggers, photographers, critics, designers, etc. circle jerking over her existence. Nobody would even care about her if she and her husband—Russian billionaire Danil Khachaturov—weren’t MADE of money. I’m reviewing her collection on my Wordpress blog now and it’s just tedious.