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Thandie Newton: mixed-race skin isn't 'specialist' skin

Le 30 November 2014, 08:10 dans Lifestyle 0

The world knows her as a great beauty, but as a mixed-race teenager who searched in vain for make-up for her skin Thandie Newton felt like 'the mistake that can't be provided for'. How far we've come, she says...


I'm mixed race - my mother is from Zimbabwe - and growing up in Penzance, Cornwall, in the 1970s wasn't easy. I had access to a lot of good magazines, books and art in our house, which was great, and I had an idea of how to express myself and how to play with make-up, but there was nothing available for me.


From the age of nine I would save up my pocket money to go to Boots and buy make-up and things for my hair. The own-brand cucumber moisturiser and lip-balm were my favourites, and the smell still reminds me of my pre-teen years. But when, as I grew older, I was looking for decent foundation, cover-up and powder for my darker skin, I couldn't find it. The whole idea of anything exotic just didn't exist - there was no diversity.


Now my nine-year-old daughter goes off to Boots at weekends, pupils dilated with the thrill of what she may find. She's headed for the make-up aisle and, unlike me when I was her age, may come back with a few coveted items. What I started to think at that young age was, "I'm the mistake that can't be provided for." Now I know who I am. I've travelled around the world and I'm more able to say, "The problem is with them, the industry." My skin isn't "specialist" skin. But it has taken a long journey to get to this point.


What starts off a girl's journey in beauty is her imagination, which is linked to the images around her. You try to project the images you see around you on to yourself, and there were some people around me who didn't accept my skin colour or my hair. It was my mum who really struggled, because she had to bear the brunt of it. I remember getting ready for class photos when I was six or seven. My mum braided my hair - for her it was the neatest, prettiest style, the equivalent of having your hair freshly cut and styled.


I went to the best school in town, which was run by nuns, and they wouldn't let me have my photo taken because of my hair. I think they thought it was a bit "ghetto", though we didn't really know what that meant. It was absolutely not "ghetto". The next day my mum went into the school. I don't know what was said, but I had my photo taken.


I was being pushed further towards the boundaries of what is "normal", and I was made to feel different. My goodness, does that have an effect, hearing what's "normal". My mother would have loved to leave my hair in its big, gorgeous mane, but she tried to make it as "normal" as possible because she didn't want her daughter to be picked on. I think now, as a parent, you have a duty to show your children the different ways they can look and make them aware that they have a choice.


There were layers and layers of low self-esteem attached to these early experiences, and I continued to have very low self-esteem for years. So as soon as I could I had my curly hair professionally "relaxed" with chemicals to make it "normal", and it stayed straight until only a few years ago. It was how Hollywood wanted my hair, too.


My turning-point with make-up was when I started going to London. It has such an appeal for me because there are so many nationalities represented. The diversity is extraordinary. Suddenly I could buy foundations and concealers for my skin tone.


London is a young, vibrant city, an amazingly multicultural melting-pot of people, and that's why people flock to it. It's a city I'm so proud of. But I was lucky to have access to such a multicultural place, something not everyone has. The colour of your skin is tied to so many things: in some countries having lighter skin can give women the chance to have a life that is not just about servitude.


Many women across Asia and Africa feel they need to use skin-lightening creams, but it's too easy to say that's a bad thing. I'm not saying it's right, but for some women changing the colour of your skin means you are able to get married to someone, you get things provided for you, you get to go to school. This is a sad fact that I hope will change with education and empowerment, but location is an important factor in women having the chance to make the choices for themselves, so no one can be na?ve and think it's a choice based on simply wanting to have lighter skin. |


I would like the beauty industry to broaden so that it is no longer intolerant of different ideas of beauty. And things are finally changing. It's to do with people and the demand being there. There are plenty of women with darker skin who want to dress up with make-up, and brands know that if they manufacture the products, women will buy them. As for the brands that don't, they need to catch up because they're missing the market. In a way I think we're doing them a favour by saying, "Hello, we're around!" This is my world and my children's world, and I want my children to be able to go into a shop and be represented.


What I think is so key about beauty is that it has the capacity to be about independence and empowerment. There are choices we make, whether we hide ourselves in make-up or use it to push boundaries and express ourselves. I think it's important that we satisfy the demands of all the women in the world. I hope that as time goes by we can reach the girls like me, in the corners of Cornwall and other areas far from the beauty cut-and-thrust of the big cities. The right make-up for everyone is out there, but we need to push stores everywhere to stock beauty products for all women.


As for my hair, now I wear it however I want - I can wear it big and curly or blow-dry it straight, if I like. It's about having a choice and not feeling like I need to wear my hair in a particular way for anyone. I'm working on a project at the moment and they're gasping for me to have it curly, because they love me, and what beauty boils down to is people. Take Beyoncé or Kerry Washington: for them it's stopped being about the colour of their skin; they have a big influence on other women. It's an exciting time for the beauty industry, and for women of all ethnicities who want to look their best and have fun with make-up.


I never thought, as a girl in the 1970s, that the beauty industry would become as diverse as it is now. But it can still go further. There will be a time when different skin tones won't even be a discussion point: it will just be beauty, that's it.

For Fashion Brands, the Rise of the Wrist

Le 22 November 2014, 13:12 dans Lifestyle 0

For fashion brands, watches have emerged as a key vector of growth.


LONDON, United Kingdom — When John Idol, chief executive of Michael Kors, announced in May that the brand aimed to turn its menswear business into a “major force” with sales of over a billion dollars, he identified three key categories that would help the company hit its target: apparel, leather goods and men’s watches, which Idol dubbed “a huge opportunity.”


Michael Kors does not actually make watches itself, however. Instead, the company licenses its brand to Fossil Group, a watchmaking behemoth that designs, manufactures, distributes and markets Michael Kors watches. Fossil — which sells 26 million watches a year, generates roughly $3.3 billion in annual revenues and owns 80 percent of the market for watches in the $100 to $500 price range in the United States — it also handles watches for Adidas, Burberry, Diesel, DKNY, Karl Lagerfeld, Marc By Marc Jacobs, Tory Burch and others.


By entering into such agreements, fashion brands have been able to enter and exploit a new category, worth $62 billion in retail last year, according to Euromonitor, without taking on the burden of operating costs, ensuring licensing revenues go straight to the bottom line.


“There is a macro trend of consumer discretionary dollars that are switching from apparel to accessories,” said Greg McKelvey, the chief strategy and marketing officer at Fossil Group. “There is a lot of price competition and competitiveness in apparel, which is driving prices down in that market and creating consumer discretionary spend going into accessories, of which watches are a significant beneficiary.”


“Watches can take some of the share of these accessories products for sure,” agreed Mario Ortelli, senior vice president of European luxury at Sanford C. Bernstein, an asset management firm. However, the primary driver of the category’s dramatic expansion has been the increasing desire of consumers to wear their brand on their wrist, he continued: “Why fashion watches are getting so much success is because they are targeting the consumers that are looking for something that is an immediately recognisable brand, especially in emerging markets, and many of them use watches.”


“Within [the watch market], there is a macro trend of lifestyle brands displacing traditional watch brands, based on consumer desire and emotional connection with fashion and lifestyle brands,” said McKelvey.


It’s all a far cry from Swiss-made luxury watches.


“Our model thrives off the over-10,000 SKUs that we produce a year, which allow us to respond to seasonal trends and allow us to have a full branded offering for different customers’ needs,” said McKelvey. “The most significant [license agreement] beyond Armani [in the 1990s] was in 2004 when we did Michael Kors. In ten years, it became one of the world’s greatest merchandising and design explosions and really proved our business model.”


The largest department at Fossil is design, with over 300 employees. “We want to partner with brands that have global growth objectives and bring unique style design and lifestyle elements to consumers; something unique that we can design around.” McKelvey also believes speed is critical to success. “The speed at which we can get the first collection right, the faster we can then begin designing and taking the brand into new collections, distribution points, price points, etcetera. Those are the things that allow us to grow the business,” he added.


“With Michael Kors it took us a couple of years to make sure it was special and just as the brand got a lot of heat we were able to create whole collections, male and female, and respond to the global style trends of all the collections to the point that we are bringing 3 to 5 collections a year.”


Brandon Little, Fossil’s chief creative officer, who joined the company from Richemont, insists that the manufacturing steps required to make a Fossil watch versus a luxury watch are “largely the same, it is the materials that alter pricing.” Fossil primarily manufactures its products with 316 stainless steel, chosen for its scratch resistance and non-allergenic properties; precious metal surfaces are added via electro-plating. “A $500 watch is not going to be made of solid gold,” said Little.


The products Fossil creates for fashion brands are sold at a wide range of price points, from $100-$240 (Armani Exchange) to $395-$3,995 (Burberry). “Servicing the level of variety and fragmentation of consumer desire and bringing that breadth of scale, brand and product into global distribution is just something nobody else has got in their business. Not even close,” said McKelvey. Fossil’s licensed and self-branded products are sold in 30,000 doors, across department stores, branded boutiques and specialty retail stores in 90 countries.


Ortelli said Fossil’s distribution network was fundamental to its attractiveness to fashion brands. “I think that in the low end it is very important to have an external partner, because distribution is mainly wholesale. Luxottica is successful with sunglasses because there is a technological, industrial part, which they scale — and they are very good in distribution. Luxottica’s distribution platform serves thousands of multibrand opticians all around the world. It is the same with fashion watches; you will sell some of these watches in the [licensor’s] stores, but also a lot in the accessible multibrand shops for watches.”


Despite its impressive market share in the United States, Fossil product still accounts for only one in every five watches sold on a volume basis. “There is significant opportunity within the watch category in the United States,” said McKelvey. “And when I look outside of the US, I see the same global growth trends and fundamentals from a consumer perspective which will play out globally. We are seeing that in our growth in Europe and in Asia-Pacific,” he continued.


But according to Euromonitor, the growth of watch sales in the US — 6.3 percent in 2013 — is expected to decelerate over the next three years to 1.7 percent in 2014, 1.3 percent in 2015 and 0.5 percent in 2016, crossing into shrinking sales in 2017.


Fossil is also eyeing share in the market for wearable tech and plans a major push into the space next year with multiple brands and form factors. “This isn’t just about smartwatches, this is about how to integrate technology into all of the products and brands that we have, in ways that are desired by our fashion customers. So this can take the form of watches and jewellery,” said McKelvey.


“There is a tremendous amount of hype in the space at the moment and I don’t see anybody yet bringing a product to market that really meets the criteria of the fashion customer — by a lot. That is what we are solving,” he added. “Our fashion customers care about three things in particular. They will not compromise on style; they want real valuable function and utility; and they want a branded experience, both in design and in the application layer of the functionality that it brings. We are in development of how to make it a branded experience.”More | cheap mermaid prom dresses

14 Things No Woman Should Ever Have To Fear

Le 17 November 2014, 08:52 dans Lifestyle 0

1. Her sexuality.

You should never have to feel guilty for how you choose to express your sexuality. If you are doing something because it is what you want, then embrace it. If you don't want to do something, don't do it. It's your body, its your choice.



2. Whether or not she is "Wife Material."

There is no such thing as "Wife Material." You will be the perfect woman for the perfect man who chooses to respect you, appreciate you and love you for all that you are. Women shouldn't have to worry if their personalities, careers and hobbies will prevent them from finding a spouse. If you want to be married, you will be just the material the right man desires.



3. Being unsure about having children.

Not every woman wants children. Seriously, check the Internet, you are not alone. Your mind may change, or it may not. Either way, it's your decision. You don't have to be afraid to be open and honest about the future that you want. It doesn't make you less of a woman. It doesn't make you a heartless wench. It's your life and you only get one, so live it the way that you want to.



4. The changing of her body.

As you get older, your body will change, and that's OK. As you become more of woman, your body usually does too. Be healthy and feel good. Trying to fight some inevitable physical changes that you will undergo is tiresome and useless. Feel love for yourself and spread it to other women as you grow in wisdom and spirit.



5. Having people dislike her.

Not everyone is going to like you. Some people will actually have their heart set on finding reasons not to like you. This will happen in the workplace and also in your personal life. It's the nature of human relationships. Stick to your opinions and values. Be who you are. If you spend your life fearing the perceptions of others, you will never truly perfect the perception that you have of yourself.



6. Starting over.

Sometimes you just have to pack up your clothes and dreams, and try again. There is no shame in moving away and flat out starting over. Nothing is set in stone. You don't have to live in any one place, study any one subject, work any one job, or be with any one man. If you need to start over, take that leap of faith and find the life you desire and deserve.



7. Cutting ties with negative people.

It's never easy to let go of people, especially if they at one point brought you a lot of happiness. However, the people you choose to associate with in this world will make or break you. They will either help you rise up or they will bring you down. If people are bringing you down, you can't feel afraid to leave them. You can't feel that you owe them your presence, because you do not. You have to do what is best for yourself in this life and rid yourself of people who continually hurt you or bring negativity into your life.



8. Having strong opinions.

There may have been a time when women made it by biting their tongues and crossing their legs, but those days are over. What are some of us still afraid of? Angering others? Being undesirable to peers and lovers? The kind of people that will show you disdain for being passionate about your opinions are not the kind of people you want to choose for friends and lovers, anyway. There is a respectful way to stand up for what you believe in. You are entitled to that. The world is entitled to it as well, because it needs people with passion to fuel its movement in the right direction.



9. Taking chances.

Thrive in the uncertain. The only thing in life that is for certain is that you will die one day. When that day arrives, do you think the current reservations that are holding you back will seem the least bit substantial? They won't. So go for it, and don't let anyone in this world tell you not to.



10. Being alone. 

You don't need anyone. It's so easy to feel that empty spot in your heart and feel you need to fill it with a man or with your close circle of friends and family. The truth is that the spot in your heart is reserved for your own love. It is there to remind you that dreams are never finished. You can always strive for more and grow in love for yourself and for what you can accomplish in this world. You don't need anything or anyone, but your courage and your beating heart.



11. Whether she will have to choose between a career and a family.

I will start out by saying this; women are superheroes. Many women that I know with strong careers have a ton of family and motherly responsibilities, and still handle it all like a master. If you choose to have your career, then that's fantastic. If you choose to stay at home, as my mother did, that's also a noble and honorable decision. You don't have to worry about whether or not a career will inhibit your ability to have a family. You can have anything that you want. Strive for every one of those dreams.



12. How her appearance will affect how other people treat her.

Your style is your own unique outlet for self expression. There has always been a particular focus on the appearance of women and on how they decide to dress. The more we recognize and support it, the more we fuel it. If it's work, dress appropriately, but how you want to. Don't feel you have to dress more or less feminine to be respected. Don't feel you have to dress any way to fit some kind of mold as a young woman, you don't. Wear makeup if you want to, and don't if you don't. Try out the red lipstick or even the red hair. Be you.



13. Being in a male-dominated career field.

This is 2014, and the reality of the career force is that the innovators are the founders of the future. The amount of women in STEM and other male-dominated career fields is growing, and there is a place in that growth for your own unique contribution. Who cares if you are the minority? Demand and expect respect. You are just as intelligent and competent as the majority. You're bringing new and fresh ideas. You're working towards a remarkable goal. Don't ever be fearful of that chance.



14. Not being able to reach her full potential.

You are strong. You are brilliant. You are ambitious. You are exceptional. As a young woman, you are at the threshold of greatness, and that opportunity cannot be lost due to the fears this world places upon you. Life is always going to create adversity and obstacles that make you feel helpless. Life will tell you that you can't have the career you desire, it's just too hard. It will tell you that you can't find love. It will tell you that you aren't good enough. It will tell you that you can't make a difference. It will push you down and show you what you're made of. Thank life for that. Thank the people and the situations that make you realize how strong and capable you truly are. As a young woman, life may seem chaotic and unruly at times, but fear will be your number one enemy in this world. Crush it and kick some ass, ladies.


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