Sexist surcharges
Women have been petitioning over equal pay, boardroom membership and the tampon tax (a zero tax rate for sanitary products) for years. Now, the struggle is being carried to the High Street because a new British report has found that products marketed specifically at women routinely cost more than similar or identical products marketed at men.
We have remarked on similar complaints in France a year ago. Now an analysis of hundreds of products by the Times newspaper in the UK found that, where equivalent products were priced differently, they cost 37% more for women. Factor in the tampon tax and the pay gap (19.1% across all workers in the UK) and it becomes clear that, whenever they reach a till, women are effectively paying three times, once in their salaries, once in their spending, and once in a surcharge on any women- directed products in their shopping baskets. “We earn less and we’re charged more. How many more times do you want women to be ripped off?” asks Sam Smethers, chief executive of the Fawcett Society.
It seems that razor blades made by the same manufacturer (Bic) cost more in pink than in orange; that children’s bikes of the same type cost more with flowers than skulls; that men’s haircuts cost less than women’s; and that Nike’s range of football boots starts at £125 for women, but £30 for men. In the fashion world, women are known to shop in menswear departments for basics like T-shirts, tracksuits, sweaters etc., because they are not only better quality but cost less.
The problem isn’t limited to Britain. In December, the New York City Department of Consumer Affairs released a study of 800 nearly identical products with male and female versions. The report, entitled From Cradle to Cane: The Cost of Being a Female Consumer, found that, on average, female versions cost 7% more than the male.
Manufacturers, it seems, deliberately overdesign for women adding extra (unwanted) details or embellished packaging. These design differences together with the fact that the products are also available to men to buy is what makes these surcharges legal. “We carry that with us throughout our lifetime,” Smethers says. “We create this norm that a women’s product has got to have extra presentational baubles on it, and then it can be charged more for.”
All this adds gist to the argument for genderless design, already gaining pace, especially in better end cosmetic products such as Dermalogica and REN and forward thinking, fashion labels such as 69 Worldwide, Toogood London, NotEqual, TILLYAandWILLIAM. OneDNA, and Rad Hourani. But, isn’t it time budget retailers, too, seized this massive opportunity to create gender-neutral lines offering plain speaking, no frills-packaged products at supermarket prices.
Womenswear ready-to-wear designers
All change despite the general slow-down of trends the Instagram-Vlogger-Blogger-Tweeter generation are pushing the boundaries and driving fashion to rethink the runways, as we know them. The emerging mood of disruption saw contradictory forces, ie. maximalismm v. minimalism shaping the trends this season.
Womenswear designer fabrics and colours
In perfect disharmony gone are the ‘trends’ and moving into play are collections which break the mould by presenting looks that appear to be disconnected. Largely unedited mash ups of multi-influences are bringing forth an exciting season
Womenswear designer silhouettes and styling details
Body morph extensions, internal scaffolding and sculptural fabrics create innovative shapes which raise shoulders, thrust forward hips and lead the body off in surprising directions, even altering the natural posture of the wearer.
Womenswear fabric best-sellers and new design directions
Unmatched throughout the season we see a meeting of opposites – unmatched performance and technical added value stands with the deliberately imperfect and irregular; the dry handling and textured with the smooth and fluid; the refreshingly sporty with the fantastically embellished and romantic.
Menswear fabric orientations
Being appropriate we look across the generations, sometimes admiringly from the young, or wistfully back from the more mature. We see how the same fabric mix applies, but the silhouettes change. Youth wants free flow, gender-loose volumes and maturity insists on a neater sharper code. It’s all about being appropriate!
Womenswear fabric & colour forecast
Hand writing woven fabrics for A/W 17/18 will reflect the exquisite aspects writing by hand through the creation of subtle irregularities in patterning and intricately textured surfaces achieved through new yarn combinations, contemporary jacquard structures and innovative finishing processes.
Menswear fabric & colour forecast
Artisan flourish A/W 17/18 reflects the growing desire to switch off and step back from a tech-saturated lifestyle, once again drawing on the resurgence of artisan finishes, which echo throughout the season. This shift goes hand in hand with maximalism, replacing detail-starved minimalist looks.
Accessories & trimmings forecast and inspirations
No future without a past the season oscillates between techno reality and resilience to the past and between authenticity and fictional memories. A new kind of Art Deco emanates as a reaction to an emptiness and void in design.
Womenswear knitwear colours, yarns and styling
Winter guise this is not the time for the cautious or reserved, as even the simple and more standard offers have an undercurrent of difference, albeit subtle. Drama is to be had through the exploration and the engagement of technology, taking an unplanned route with an open attitude, allowing our findings to lead us into previously undiscovered territory.
Menswear knitwear styling concepts
Discovery and rediscovery there are two extreme influences affecting design. On the one hand we crave the artisanal touch, design of authentic origins; on the other, we are inspired and driven by science.
Womenswear knitwear forecast
Free crafting it’s a freestyle and impulsive, transformative look that’s at ease with the roles they want to play. Girlfriend swops, raggedy textures and amplified, shimmering colour effects start to create new assortments and proportions through contrast and mis-coordination.
Touch base technology reigned during Salone del Mobile2016 and innovation blossoms when science and design minds implode together, employing the physical and digital to dissolve dogma and create original solutions with playful symmetry.