Sat. Oct 31st, 2020

Fashion Review: The Accent’s on You | 1980-4

fashion jeans3

A label by any other name would more than likely be a tag. But not in the world of designer clothes, and especially designer jeans. One doesn’t buy just plain old jeans anymore, one must have Jordache, Zena, Calvin Klein, Gloria Vanderbilt for Murjani, Geoffrey Beene, Steven Burrows, and of course, for the more budget conscious there are still the originators — Levi Strauss and Lee’s. Oddly enough, they are simply jeans, even odder still, Americans, who started the trend of wearing this sturdy, long lasting product, are now paying premium prices ($50 to $150) for French and European spin-offs of the American institution: the jean.

Question? Does anybody remember that jeans, or bluejeans as they were originally called, were an American creation first made famous by the Levi Strauss company that at one time could be purchased for a mere $5.95?

These jeans, purchased two sizes larger if not more, were shrunken by washing in hot water, and ended up lasting from 2-8 years. What’s happened since 1955?

One could go to Europe, South America or practically any part of the world and use jeans as currency. What has happened since 1955? What then, is the mystique about: a European mimic of a homegrown, developed and perfected item?

I suppose we must cease to be impressed by labels with names that are indeed, not valid. Within the jean jumble, the only news in fashion has been Gloria Vanderbilt for Murjani. Ms. Vanderbilt, it seems, has managed to understand that the hips and buttocks of women are indeed different from men.

In today’s fashion-conscious world, a label can help project status, price bracket, quality control and publicity.

A tag, however, is invariably regulated by government standards and tells you about fiber content and fiber age (virgin/new and or reprocessed).

Virgin fiber has never been used before. Reprocessed fiber, on the other hand, has come from used sources and is recycled in new fabric or material. Most often, the tag, and not the designer label, can tell you the value of the fabric and how long you can expect to enjoy wearing it.

A reprocessed fiber should cost no more than 50 percent of the price of virgin fiber. It is important for the consumer to be aware of what is being paid for and how much. Tags should be read over carefully to know more about the fabric; to know if the material is a blend, and if so, what kind?

Unless the proportions of the blend exceed 20 percent, the fiber added has no effect on the fabric. For example: denim jeans, 80 percent cotton 10 percent polyester and 10 percent nylon. Your jeans are cotton.

However, if your jeans are 80 percent cotton and 20 percent polyester, then the polyester will influence wearability, washability, pressability. The drip-dry washing instructions are likely to work for you.

Or another example: a sweater 60 percent polyester, 10 percent worsted wool, 18 percent cashmere, 10 percent cotton, 10 percent linen. You have a polyester sweater.

Therefore, when studying the kinds of fiber used to make the fabric, it is imperative to study proportions.

These are the labels and tags that will tell you what you are indeed buying, how long it will last and how it will conform to your standards of excellence.

Before you check out the designer label, study the minor tags which are really major.

There is a possibility that your designer-labelled jeans may have a fabric junk tag. Allow the fiber tag to influence your selection of designer or manufacturer-labelled items. What’s in a tag — a tag by any other name might influence your label and your purchase, and ultimately, your pocket book?

Looking Your Best

Richard Trott, owner of Hair Designs by Richard calls himself a hair restorer. “My greatest challenge and triumph is to take a head of hair that has been badly damaged by over processing or that is in the state of undernourishment, and restoring it to a strong healthy condition.

“Most hair damage results from the loss of oils and moisture — better known as dryness. So we recommend and encourage our customers to become more knowledgeable about conditioners, and what is and is not proper hair care. Conditioning is the most important part of hair maintenance — it replaces as well as retains the oils and moisture in the hair,” Richard comments.

Richard was born and raised in Bermuda. His interest in hairstyling began there twelve years ago as a result of experimenting with and creating styles for his friends.

With encouragement to develop his new found talent, he left his native country for New York City to take up full time hairstyling basics at Wilfred’s Academy. Making it in the New York fashion world was not as easy as styling for friends. At first he was met with discouragements and stiff competition but managed to push on from picking up the polishing touches at Hair Fashions East to opening his own salon two months ago. Hair Design by Richard is stylish, spacious and decorated comfortably in mauve and wheat colors, exposed brick walls, and natural floors. “Our clientele include the famous and not so famous,” Richard boasts. Joann Byrd from the soap opera The Doctors,  Jean Wells of radio station WWRL, Diana Ross’s daughters Tracy and Rhonda, and Gil Scott Heron’s mother Bobbie.’’

‘Each customer is an individual,” he continues, “and we treat each one in that fashion. We consult with each customer before creating a look. That consultation includes a detailed record of her/his hair texture, type and elasticity, and if a chemical is used, the record reflects the results. Our policy is to get to know the customer. This information is used to come up with the most stylish yet health promoting hair fashion.

Along with bringing out the beauty of his clientele through the beauty of their hair, Richard is “looking forward to establishing our own signature in this city of style and sophistication.’’

Keep reading this issue – next article

See a list of all archived Routes editions