Is the Industry Saturated with Too Many Independent Fashion Labels? Chris Gelinas Weighs In

Chris Gelinas with models at the CG AW14 collection presentation, presented by MADE. Photo: Aria Isadora/

With Band of Outsiders and Kris Van Assche both shuttering this week, another independent fashion designer, Chris Gelinas of CG, weighs in on the struggles of the industry.

Good night and good luck? New York independent label Band of Outsiders and eponymous collection of Dior Homme designer Kris Van Assche both closed their doors this week. Van Assche announced the shuttering of his brand in a hand written letter to WWD, adding, “Times are tough for individual labels.”

Bruce Weber Book Launch hosted by Andre Balazs and Nan Bush at The Standard Spa, Miami Beach
Kris Van Assche with photographer Bruce Weber. Photo: Billy Farrell/

2014 CFDA Fashion Awards - Arrivals
Scott Sternberg of Band of Outsiders with model Hanne Gaby Odiele at the 2014 CFDA Awards. Photo: David X Prutting/

With the punishing fashion schedule now demanded by the industry and consumers, designers are feeling the pressure. For those who can’t hack it (and how many really can?) it often means closing shop.

Business is tough when you’re small. You’d think a CFDA Award or an LVMH Prize nomination would help — but the prize money often hardly covers debt of doing business, not to mention the paying cost of production for work required to enter competitions in the first place. So the struggle is all too real, even for the designers who receive accolades and awards for their work.

Take, for instance, Chris Gelinas, designer of CG, who was once first assistant to Olivier Theyskens at Theory, and has also worked at Balenciaga, Marc Jacobs, and Proenza Schouler before creating CG. (Theyskens has been highly vocal about young designers not starting their own labels, telling Dezeen earlier this year that the industry is oversaturated.) Gelinas’s label has been recognized as the 2013 winner of the MADE for Peroni Awards (for his very first collection), a 2014 LVMH Prize Finalist, and now USA Nominee for the 2015/16 International Woolmark Prize. It’s impressive, and you’d expect business to be booming. But what do the awards really mean when building a viable brand? Gelinas told us exclusively,

“I think it is harder and harder to compete as an emerging, independent designer in New York. This isn’t to say the hurdles are a bad thing; I think it is good to struggle because for a time it helped eliminate the more superfluous noise and allow those collections made with a lot of passion and determination to gain some spotlight.  Money talks, that’s not new, but these days it screams, and passion, emotion, and creativity aren’t enough to survive. Midtown factories are being converted into hotels and tech companies with deep pockets are happy to pay huge rents creating bigger hurdles just to operate, and putting more pressure on sales.

I personally think the whole conventional wholesale model is designed to make it nearly impossible to get established if you are not incredibly well funded. Deep discounts, charge backs, boring assortments that strip away the message and essence of a collection, compounded with the pressure to deliver more and more; it all robs the design process of enough time to properly craft and create.

The industry has fostered a calendar that relegates our prized ideas to the sales rack in a matter of a couple months, sometimes less. We have trained consumers to want store merchandise refreshed as quickly as their Instagram feed and emerging brands are expected to enable this type of consumption by offering more and more. I have been building my collections slowly with focus on fit and quality, and while those aren’t the glossiest elements or the most buzz worthy, I feel like I am hedging my risk by dedicating my energy to my clients directly. Loyalty is more fleeting these days in an industry obsessed with change and newness, but I have noticed that if you can engage your customer and give her pieces that make her not just look amazing, but feel amazing, she will always be back, and usually with friends.”

Gelinas’s “slow fashion” and personal approach to creating both clothes and a customer is refreshing in a world of Zara, with as he says, “merchandise refreshed as quickly as [a consumer’s] Instagram feed.” We’re watching CG closely, hoping his approach catches fire.

CG AW14 Presented by MADEFW
Chris Gelinas with BlackBook Style Editor Alyssa Shapiro. Photo: Aria Isadora/

Band of Outsiders Turns 10! Shop a Capsule Collection to Celebrate

Band of Outsiders is turning double digits, and in celebration is releasing a capsule collection of updated classics and new pieces.

To celebrate the big 1-0 in a fun way, many pieces pay homage to the double digit benchmark in the details. The new “Ten Tally Marks” graphic appears on a striped crewneck and oxford cloth shirt, while the “Ten Tie Gift Box” contains ten special edition ties as a nod to the first product Band of Outsiders ever produced.

The anniversary collection can be found at Band of Outsiders retail locations in NYC and Tokyo, Opening Ceremony NYC as well as Barneys New York. Shop the collection online at or

Falling Pocket Shirt 1

SS Tally Tee 1

Tally Oxford 1

Ties 2

The Row, Karen Walker, Phillip Lim, & Band of Outsiders: Tara’s NYFW Round Up Part II

Running from show to show and seeing approximately 500 per day, the runways begin to blur together. But some shows have that magic quality about them that jolt you out of your coffee-downing-traffic-dodging-air-kissing trance and remind you why you look forward to this week months in advance. These four shows do just that.

Scott Sternberg crossed his classic prep-school aesthetic with that of an eccentric old cat lady and the outcome was gorgeous.  Heavy knits, furs and wools were counterbalanced by wispy silk, mesh and mohair. Looks began with dark round glasses and ended with Band of Outsider’s debut shoe, the perfect mannish oxford. In-between, patterns ran ramped with dizzying florals and painted polka dots.Band of


Simultaneously feminine and tough Karen Walker’s collection paid homage to the suffrage movements of past. The most obvious nod to the theme, a placard-cum-bag embossed with “Liberal, Miserable & Cynical.” Highlights from the collection included cropped balloon pants and a red patterned velvet maxi dress, both fit for a modern day man-repelling feminist.Karen

Paradigmatic of The Row the silhouettes were kept simple, though enlarged, and done in the world’s most luxurious fabrics. We’re talking 900 gram double-face cashmere that could double as fur. Models were swallowed by cowl-neck sweaters and draped in fringed blanket wraps. Each look was funneled into a pair of slouchy ankle socks and lace-up derby oxfords. The season’s signature bag? A sure to be five figure crocodile bucket bag.The


Right when we were about to give up on winter for good 3.1 Phillip Lim gave us something to love about it —Soleil— his imaginarily muse. His winter is a cheery happy place made up of bright colors, peppy pastels and funky florals. Customary of Lim’s collection, there were more than a handful of must-have items in it: a shearling coat cut similar to that of a denim jacket and a pair of the lace up booties that look more than capable of taking on snow-ridden sidewalks, to name a few.Philip

Trends Out of Pre Fall: The Big Eight from Chanel, Alexander Wang, Belstaff, and More

Only a month and a half out – cue panic – from the new and improved New York fashion week, we can’t help but wonder what designers will bestow upon us this coming season. If the pre fall collections are any indication of what’s to come, we’ll be seeing an inundation of fringe, plenty of pleats and lots of lace. Plaids and floral will be prominent pattern stories, as will the black and white pairings that we saw this past spring. Big volume will remain a big player. And Bermuda shorts will make an impressive comeback.

(Above) Lace Resort

Seen at: Burberry, Jason Wu, Rag & Bone

Dark, dramatic lace could be found all throughout the pre fall collections.  This season’s lace felt romantic, sensual and not in the least bit girly.

BermudaTriangleBermuda Triangle 

Seen at: ALC, Rag & Bone, Thakoon, Band of Outsiders

Reminiscent of a schoolboy uniform from private schools past, Bermuda shorts came back in a more tailored way. Rather than being oversized and slouchy they were grown up – a crisp, formal approach to the menswear trend.

BlackWhiteCompare and Contrast

Seen at: DKNY, Donna Karan, Alice & Olivia, Narciso Rodriguez

The back and white pairings that dominated spring runways came back bolder and even more graphic. The contrasting colors felt distinctly harder, tougher, and seemed to harken back to the 1960s.

CowgirlsIndiansCowgirls and Indians

Seen at: Chanel, Derek Lam, Alexander Wang, Nicole Miller

Cowboy hats, boots, and fringe, oh my. Epitomized by Chanel’s show in Dallas, the cowboy trend was more apparent than ever. Fringe found itself on everything from bags to the backs of dresses and broad rimmed hats and over the knee boots.

InFullBloom In Full Bloom

Seen at: Badgley Mischka, Erdem, Alice & Olivia, Temperley London

A perennial trend, flowers bloomed bold and beautiful this fall. In pastel pink and brooding black, blooms were rendered in a dozen different ways. We loved the graphic interpretations as well as the retro inspired prints.

Plaiditude A Plaiditude

Seen at: Altuzarra, Belstaff, Rachel Comey, Thakoon

Cleaning up the grungy plaids of last fall, this season’s tartans are crisp and classic with a modern twist. Interpreted in new color combinations and shapes the plaid feels reinvigorated and new.

PleatsPleasePleats and Thanks

Seen at: ALC, Gucci, Tory Burch, Missoni

Pleated skirts in delicate swingy fabrics look simultaneously classic and fresh, especially when reinterpreted in silver metallic fabric or paired with sleek, minimal accessories.

sizemattersSize Matters

Seen at: Adam Lippes, Just Cavalli, Derek Lam, Proenza Schouler

Proving more is more. Jackets and pants in particular were given an extra dose of volume. Big, boxy structural shapes reigned supreme.

Exclusive: Taylor Tomasi Hill’s Top Picks for Band of Outsiders Resort 2013

From Elsa Schiaparelli’s iridescent opulence to Delfina Delettrez’s out-of-the-box baubles, Moda Operandi has showcased it all. That’s why it’s hard to believe that this is Band of Outsiders’ first-ever trunkshow on the luxury e-tailer’s site. In honor of the cult-favorite label’s exciting debut, we checked in with our friend, the ever-stylish Moda Operandi artistic director Taylor Tomasi Hill, to see what she’s eyeing from the Boy. by Band of Outsiders resort 2013 collection. Read on for the crème de la crème.

1. Boy. by Band of Outsiders – Boxy Pea Jacket: "I’m always a sucker for stripes. I love the boxy construction of this blazer. It makes it so easy to wear!"
2. Boy. by Band of Outsiders – Punctuation Skirt: "I don’t usually consider myself an overtly feminine dresser, so I love the hint of masculinity in Boy. By Band of Outsiders clothing. This skirt is a classic A-line shape, without feeling too cutesy."
3. Boy. by Band of Outsiders – Cropped Jacket: "A white coat is a risk but the stiff and textured fabric on this one makes it all the more appealing." 
Photo of Tomasi Hill via Brigadeiro

Resort 2013 Roundup: Printspiration, Metallics, More

Resort season has always been my favorite season for fashion because it’s that in-between stage when designers can unapologetically churn out a look that channels the love child of spring and fall. Think long-sleeved mini dresses, shorts with loose knits, slacks with tanks, lightweight suits, etc. And prints! Designers really get down with prints here. Case in point: these gratifying graphics by PreenMarc Jacobs and Suno. Read on for a few more trend takeaways.

Front Slits


Obviously traumatized by Angelina Jolie’s right leg fiasco at the Oscars, NAHMA.L.C. and Reed Krakoff all took a subtler approach to skin-baring slits.



From slithery silk onesies to sleeveless florals to what can only be described as "lab chic,"  Theyskens’ TheoryThakoon and Band of Outsiders all jumped on the jumpsuit train this season.



Perhaps in homage to the late and great Donna Summer, Oscar de la Renta, Michael Kors and Belstaff debuted disco-friendly looks that were heavy on the metals.


Get Excited for the Criterion Collection’s ‘Band of Outsiders’ Release With Three Reasons

When you think of iconic 1960s cinema, its the work of Jean-Luc Godard that pops to mind first. And after his era-defining free-form homage to the American films that inspired him, Breathless—a film that would go on to spark the start of the French New Wave—he took the genre even further with his 1964 classic Band of Outsiders (Bande à part). Starring the enchanting Anna Karina, Sami Fey, and Claude Brasseur, the film tells the story of two restless young men who enlist the woman they both desire to help them commit a robbery. In his essay Band of Outsiders: Get Your Madis On, Joshua Clover states that:

For all of this, Bande à part (its French title) is a movie with a main motion—not of a noir or a policier, but a love story. Like so many Godard films, it’s a love story with a bullet in it. And like the most fiercely involved romances, it’s a map of difficult frontiers: between big city and still-rustic suburbs, prewar singularity and the masses of mass culture, between natural light and the color of money. Characters meet, notes the director, “at the crossroads of the unusual and the ordinary.” An encyclopedic litterateur, Godard recalls the sublime phrase of proto-Surrealist Raymond Roussel, envisioning the art of the new century as “the marriage of the beautiful and the trivial.” 
That might describe all of Godard; certainly all the film’s characters. Still, beyond the vexed romance of Arthur, Odile, and Franz, there is a more encompassing love story. Shot by Raoul Coutard in a filtered black and white that renders the Bastille neighborhood flat and workaday, the suburban landscape charged and ghostly, Band of Outsiders is more than anything a melancholy love letter to Paris and to time. These are complicated relationships, to be sure. For the French New Wave, cultural nostalgia was conservative unto anathema. Godard was never in the business of stopping time, from his celebrated jump-cuts to the irrevocable destinies which sweep his characters before them. The movie doesn’t come to judge the future, but to marry it. 
And with the film’s Criterion Collection Blu-Ray release coming next week (May 7th), they’ve release  their signature Three Reasons video for the film, which happen to be Band of Outsiders‘ alluring Anna, it’s effortless cool, and the feature’s poetry in motion.
Check out the video below and get your hands on a copy now.

Photo via

Frank Ocean Is the Face of Band of Outsiders’ Latest Ad Campaign

Joining a rather eclectic group of talents from Amy Adams to Ed Ruscha to Rupert Grint, to last year’s campaign featuring Josh Brolin gnawing on Big League Chew and playing with toy soldiers, singer and songwriter Frank Ocean is the newest face of fashion house Band of Outsiders, appearing in a new series of Polaroid-shot ads for the brand.

Ocean’s a fan of Band of Outsiders from the looks of things, having appeared in a bold Band of Outsiders shirt in a shoot for Terry Richardson’s Diary last spring and stealing the show at this past Grammy Awards a custom yellow Band tuxedo. In the new set of photos released yesterday, taken by brand manager and photographer Scott Sternberg, he dons a more classic tux and poses outside the Los Angeles Times Building in downtown L.A. He grins, he flips the bird, he lies on a bench, it’s all very sun-drenched and lovely. But boy, does it look hot in that tux. More photos will be released through the Band blog, Tumblr and Instagram accounts throughout the week.

[via L.A. Times]

FashionFeed: Planet Blue Parties in the USA, Kate Moss Weds in the UK

● Planet Blue’s “Party in the USA” look book arrives just in time for the patriotic weekend. [Planet Blue] ● Kate Moss looks ever the blissful bride in her custom John Galliano dress. Jamie Hince wears a suit by YSL’s Stefano Pilati. [Grazia] ● Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen’s monthly fashion club, StyleMint, launched today. Watch the intro video and create your style profile ASAP – it’s actually kind of fun. [Olsens Anonymous]

● Cathy Horyn questions the lack of fun at fashion shows lately. She must have missed the Band of Outsiders musical. [NYT] ● Peep the debut of Rachel Zoe’s line at Neiman Marcus and be sure to take the “Oh So Zoe” Facebook challenge for a chance to win a $2,500 shopping spree at the legendary luxury department store. [NeimanMarcus]