Looking unique is part of what makes styling and designing a fruitful yet challenging task. Part of the challenge is consciously balancing the artistic influences that one appreciates while also having the responsibility to evolve the previous work and create something new. Still, if one cannot enjoy the work they develop, then perhaps it is not worth pursuing. With Visvim founder Hiroki Nakamura, that is precisely the mindset that helped carve out his path in the fashion industry. Dedicated to implementing his vintage clothing and future-retro interests, Nakamura helped pave the way for making the old look new again.

Growing up in Japan during the 80s, the clothing scene was largely dominated by the American industry. Fascinated by this trend, Nakamura decided to move out of Japan and eventually landed in Alaska, where he spent his time traveling the region, snowboarding and staying with local indigenous groups. When Nakamura returned to Japan, his job at Burton Snowboards inspired him to create a footwear company of his own, and thus, Visvim was born in 2001. It was then that Nakamura early on made a name for himself with the iconic Visvim FBT. The shoe was inspired by Native American styles that he encountered during his time in Alaska. The shoe was a success and became the symbol of Nakamura’s approach to clothing, which he describes as “create things that can be vintage in the future. That’s my goal: Future vintage.”

Photo credit: Rocky Li – Grailed.comVisvim operates a rather creative mode by having many of its products sold in what the company calls F.I.L (Free International Laboratory). Necessarily, there are Americana style stores with homely and straightforward constructed spaces. When viewing them, they get a sense of old school folk stores but fit right in what Nakamura has in mind. The clothing itself reflects much of the past that Nakamura favors in a new updated form. One of the most prominent examples of this methodology is Nakamura’s love affair with denim fabric. Wanting to include the same retro-future approach to denim. He wanted to recreate the kind of tone dryness that comes from wearing jeans in prolonged sun exposure. Evidently, it is difficult to recreate an effect in the coloring of the denim that naturally requires extensive time and exposure. Eventually, Nakamura found that adding paint and removing oil from the denim by hand allowed him to get the authentic sun feel he was looking for. While painstakingly tedious, Nakamura insists that each pair of jeans tailored by the special denim is worthwhile: “The textures, colors, and finishing processes are different with each pair of this unique denim, and we hope that you compare each of them at our store as if you’re searching for the right pair of vintage denim.” Indeed, the artistic stubbornness of Nakamura’s is rather valiant in times where quick production of clothing is essential for marketing. 

Still, the stubbornness comes with a price and a hefty one to be precise, with many of Visvim’s products going well over $200. Still, Nakamura insists that “I prefer to have things I can use for a long time that last… [Visvim]is expensive because I’m trying to discover things like old techniques and handmade craftsmanship. So the retail price will be very expensive”. Despite the grueling prices that obtain some Visvim’s clothing, one cannot help but hand out the benefit of the doubt when observing the premier level of detail that goes into each shirt or shoe. Looking at the Spring/Summer 2020 collection, one quickly finds out why. There is an oddly satisfying blend of old Japanese shirts that excuse age but bold coloring, almost like watching black and white photos come to life. The trademark native influence sandals remain a loyal companion to the brand, and the usage of those manually colored jeans showcase the personal love of old school denim. As Visvim continues to be successful and re-envision vintage fashion, Nakamura proves that doing what you love is worth any price.

In today’s society, our everyday lives get to connect and experience glimpses of other countries without us taking much notice. After all, it is safe to assume that the electronics we own are from China or Japan, the Avocados we eat are from Mexico, and the cars we drive are assembled and imported from a multitude of countries, all making way for our local consumption. Moreover, the extraordinary level of communication we possess not only further cements the interdependence of economic exchanges but also adds a new dimension of cultural influence. When merged, these factors result in a contemporary conception of globalization, which increases the interdependence of states regardless of distance. In effect, globalization shifts conceptualizing the world from individualism to interconnecting communities.

Globalization facilitates the introduction of various ideas from one country to another. These ideas range from values on the government, economic policies, and the clothes that we wear. In this light, fashion has been one area unquestionably affected by globalization. Production-wise, clothing has a similar fate to the trading items discussed formally, as globalization has made it easier for companies to manufacture and distribute clothing throughout different markets. But from an artistic point of view, clothing has increasingly become infused with various styles found across the globe. In particular, the mixture of aesthetic influences from different parts of Asia has become a staple in western culture. When looking at India, there was a mixed level of attention that her fashion industry received in previous decades. Despite this delay, India has started to garner more attention in the world of fashion than it previously had, due to globalization.  

It is important to note that India’s historical relation to the West, most prominently, the British empire control from 1858 to 1947 left a lasting impact on both nations. The popularity of Indian cuisine and decorations has taken a welcoming place in English society in the last decades, with Indian immigration from various parts of the United Kingdom becoming more prevalent since then. 

Unlike other Asian countries like South Korea or Japan, India’s ability to enter a similar conversation on the artistic exchange with the West was less pronounced. Even if one were to look at popular mediums like television or music, it was safe to say that Bollywood did not have the same reach that K-Pop or Anime did in the last decade. Even in terms of Clothing, Harajuku and Stylenanda had a more significant impact on popular fashion than perhaps Indian brands or most fashion brands within Asia. As a result, it was more challenging to be conscious of the artistic and cultural values present in India. This consciousness becomes essential when looking at how clothing has developed in both parts of the world, with how western clothing has dramatically evolved in the last two centuries, often mixing and tailoring styles to fit various functions.

On the other hand, Indian clothing has slowly evolved in style, not to say that clothing has not changed at all in India, but the progression has been slower, reflecting the more conservative lining of the country. Even with increased usage of Western Clothing in India, traditional articles of clothing like the saree have remained a fundamental part of Indian dress culture. Most of the design for the Saree has stayed the same, even with specific colors or patterns adapted for the contemporary woman, which, when put into perspective, something like the Saree would perhaps not appeal to the young American or French woman in years prior. 

Indian Influence on Jean Paul Gaultier

Despite these decade long issues, there has been a change in the accommodation and integration of Indian Clothing into the Western world. In 2008, “Jean Paul Gaultier’s ready to wear collection was a tribute to India. The Indian inspired fashion collection started with androgynous outfits that were inspired by quintessentially male Indian attires like the Jodhpur pants, Nehru jackets, and band galas”. The pieces of clothing in the collection represent much of the standard wardrobe throughout India. Without disregarding the original design’s appropriateness, Gaultier’s collection seemed to enhance and reevaluate what can be considered regular clothing for a casual day. The modifications to the clothing brought an element of witty lavishness to western design that was needed to revamp the look of the typical cosmopolitan consumer. Without disregarding the appropriateness of the original design, Gaultier’s collection seemed to enhance and reevaluate what can be considered regular clothing for a casual day. As opposed to previous years, there appeared to be a genuine emphasis on incorporating Indian fashion into high-end fashion. Time has become serviceable for Indian Clothing in a way that perhaps it has not been previously. 

Gaultier’s collection readily used traditional designs to bring forth a different manner of interpreting the colors and fabrics from a Western sensibility. The result is intriguing and does well to service the brilliance of Indian design and culture. The same trend in high fashion continued with the 2012-2013 Winter Channel collection that “drew inspiration from the Maharaja era and created “Paris’ version of the idea of India.” The clothing showcased the versatility of Indian design by flawlessly integrating brighter colors and shiny fabrics in a typically more neutral and safe piece of clothing like a winter coat. In effect, Indian influence on Western Clothing has placed a genuine curiosity and a certain new elegant vibrance towards making clothing. Indian patterns are a lot more abstract than typical American or English clothing forms. To make things much more interesting, one has to move away from the comfort zone, which is where Indian designs shine. They are elaborated in swirling tints and patterns that move away from the simpler shades that predominate in the West. Consequently, American designers can afford to be a bit more adventurous in their attempts to create something new. The way that high fashion translates to everyday clothing is more complicated, but the flow of these different ideas helps redirect Western Clothing a new direction.

India’s ability to have its say in the greater world of clothing is one to anticipate. But why did such a change occur? As earlier stated, the increasing globalization has made it easier for individuals to connect with the rest of the world. Japan and South Korea were able to integrate sooner than India because of their higher level of industrialization and liberalization in the previous century. When integrated into the world economy, it is easier to export ideas and innovation, which is why some of the most economically stable countries are also socially liberally and diverse. India has developed economically and has been able to have more outreach and communication with other parts of the world, though not without difficulty. In virtue of this development, the rise in Indian movies, music, clothing, and general culture has seeped more into Westerners’ minds. The Indian Clothing that once seemed neglected now becomes a new culture that sparks the interest and keeps the attention of many fashion connoisseurs.

As we mark world photography day this month, 19th of August, We celebrate far and wide the subtle tap on the camera, a flash of light, and the boundless passion that influences the infinite capture of moments in our lives and our many other subjects. 

While photography is actively perceived as male-dominated, we pay attention to ladies who deserve to get their fair share of recognition. Indelible icons; Nan Goldin, Diane Arbus, 2 Women of Style, Louise, and Stephanie, are some mentions whose art history continues to be studied over the centuries of photography. 

Granted, countless women photographers continue to take photography to new heights. Women are turning an acclaimed male-dominated field on its head, from adventure to conceptual photography. Below is a primer on 7 of the modern-day Rosies who are helping shape the medium. In this spirit, be sure to add them in your art world saints’ list, pronto.

Allyson Riggs: Behind-the-Screen 

Talk about diversity. Allyson’s on-the-map projects with Gillette, Netflix, TNT, and NBC have won her a point. She’s a still photographer, whose work has featured in magazines and billboards. “Wait, what photographer? Aren’t all photographers still?” Well, a ‘still photographer’ is one who creates images for marketing, publicity films, and television production purposes. 

Currently, Riggs is working on two personal collections. Young Adults, which features style and living conditions of young adults, and Eureka, whose primary focus is about the quiet nature of Eureka, California. She’s bagging bonus points for her top-drawer behind-the-scenes sneak peeks in popular television ads and shows.  

Ramona Bach: Not Only Humans

Do you know what’s lovely? Walking barefoot in the sand and dreaming about the future. What about ending an evening with a sunset feeling its harmony and gratitude? All in its simplicity. Ramona, predominantly a portrait photographer, has her hands on weddings, interiors, and my-all-time favorite, Landscapes. 

Her portraiture, independent of age, style, gender, or color, has won her a comprehensive portfolio. Ranging from underwater models to cats in the snow, fashion, and newborn babies. She’s able to use her eye for color and shape to edit photos she loves. She says her favorite element is water and has somehow become her signature. You’d rather have children and animals on your lap. For Ramona, it feels fun if in front of the camera. 

Anais Bizet: Love is All You Need

Anais Bizet’s passion is majorly about those moments you share with your loved ones. She’s all about the love that is celebrated at weddings, in young or old couples, and family portraits. She retaliates that everyone is there for a day. 

So, why can’t Anais capture tears, laughs, and disorder you share? And oh, she has a tender touch through her camera on landscape and weather. According to her, each story is remarkable and deserves to be told beautifully and timelessly. From her website, you can tell she’s a photography ace as she captures projects in architecture, food, and travel as well.

Juliette Jourdain: The Girl with a Thousand Faces

Juliette, 29, is a French photographer, whose work has proved beyond imagination, her mastery of the art. The self-portrait is her favorite genre that she explores with eminence. She scores hugely by fully transforming herself in each shot by incorporating scenic techniques, makeup, and costumes. In a nutshell, she is her fantasies’ raw material, pulling all kinds of social signals. She has featured in magazines, such as the prestigious photo magazine in France and exhibitions. She has also received a variety of awards for her stunning work.

Victoria Kuzilova: Young, Innocent, and Free

Victoria, alias, the child whisperer, is uniquely talented in capturing the innocence of children. Her images go beyond the screen to the rare but beautiful view of the fading world. Her diversity is felt from capturing children to animals of all kinds at the beach or in the snow. While children portraits make most of her diary, she shoots terrific pictures of adults and sometimes landscapes. You can’t help but smile through Victoria’s portfolio. 

Reiko Wakai: Fashion with a Twist

Reiko‘s magical use of color and light, while surprisingly working with transgender models and acrobats, creates a curve out of the norm. Its outcome guarantees emotions. She has a shoot in fashion and landscapes that supersedes any human figure to create a statement of how small we are in comparison to nature.You may remember her as the Wix Photography Contest Winner, dubbed, Capture your Dream Photo. It’s in this contest that she managed a zero-gravity, out-of-this-world photoshoot with international model, Stav Strachko. 

Hilary O’Leary: A Safari at Your Fingertips

Hilary O’Leary is a wildlife photographer who has taken it through the camera to help raise awareness of endangered animals. For her to achieve this, she captures the sweetness and playfulness of animals seen as tough and scary.

According to Hilary, photography can be taken in a two-way dimension, literally and not-so-literally. ‘Literally, photography’ is a statement saying,’ I exist, I’m here.” “Be part of my life.” “Know who I am.” ‘Not so literally photography’ is a magical box that captures light; you can do whatever you please. She hopes to make and support the changes we’re so desperate to see. When not shooting the beauty of wildlife, Hilary shoots sports, music, weddings, and not-so-wild animals. Besides the list above, there are honorable mentions you should know, particularly the work of Sarya FarkSuzanne Moxhay, who uses an old-age matte painting technique, and of course, Sharon Radisch

Wrap Up

The surprising-factor about women in the photography industry is that they’ve done it all. Be it weddings, portraits, food, sports, and wildlife. There isn’t a photography style that has been left untouched. Additionally, their photography websites, through which they use to immortalize our world, are taking the internet by storm. 

While we celebrate men who have all through helped change the history of photos, there’s no harm in recognizing ladies’ shaping and diversifying artwork any other day. The number of women in the photography canon has been increasing tremendously. You can only expect a balanced ratio between male and female professionals in the industry soon.

Fast fashion, an old generational trend with its consumer implications and unfortunate repercussions both environmentally and socially, has gained momentum since the 2000s. As a business model that promotes quick turnover in garment production, quick sales in stores, or online for targeted periods, and in a continuos cycle of brands un-strategically following the same trends, the model has been a go-to strategy for veteran and emerging fashion labels. The production timeline and quality of these garments are intended to be worn for one season and then discarded afterward, allowing for no actual retail value of the purchased item. Forever 21 is quite possibly the most recognizable chain for this practice. Still, other brands such as H&M and Zara, and more recently Fashion nova, and Pretty Little Thing, engage in similar, if not the same, business models.

H&M made waves in the fast-fashion world in April 2019 when it announced it’s new “transparency” approach to tell customers about where it’s labor is sourced from and how successful their efforts towards sustainability are. While that is commendable, and certainly a step more brands should be taking, it is far from everything they are making it out to be. H&M is an integral member of the fast fashion movement that emphasizes stylish, inexpensive clothing. This trend has contributed significantly to unethical labor practices, waste production for the average American, and other definite disadvantages seen in consumer culture.

This trend, only leading us further and further down a winding path towards the hypocrisy of a late-stage capitalist society that claims to be working towards a greener future. For example, while promoting chic style and a fashion-forward attitude, Forever 21 has continually used sweatshops and underground workers from Los Angeles to Bangladesh. According to the LA Times, these underground workers (at least the ones found in LA) are paid about $6/hr and expected to put out absurd amounts of product to brick and mortar strip malls and online shoppers. The conditions are far worse in foreign production areas, with extended hours, and shockingly low pay.

Fast fashion brands produce millions of tons of waste that fills our oceans, impacts our glaciers, and contributes to a growing global waste issue. They will never make this knowledge accessible unless asked directly. The rise in popularity of “vegan” clothing brought to you by misguided, well-intentioned, animal rights activists, has led to a considerable increase in plastic and fossil fuel products found in clothing. Typical vegan leather or “pleather” is a PVC product that creates far more harm than good. While it may save a cow’s hide, which is a worthy cause, it overloads our landfills with non-degradable products. A smarter way to both saving an animal’s life and avoid contributing to our already bursting landfills is to wear used/preowned or thrift leather.

All hope is not lost, many of these brands are taking strides to address these issues (as described on most websites), representing a good start. There are also always used clothing stores that are gaining more and more popularity. The end all be all is this: the onus is on us, as the consumer base, to stop allowing these big brands to pull the wool (or rayon or spandex) over our eyes.