Tracy Reese

Tracy Reese on Her New Naturalizer Collab and Embracing Sustainability in Fashion

Tracy Reese on Her New Naturalizer Collab and Embracing Sustainability in Fashion

For decades, Tracy Reese was a fixture on the New York fashion scene, turning out ready-to-wear collections under her namesake label that embraced color, prints and femininity.Today, the city and the brand may be different — she returned home to Detroit in 2018 and subsequently launched the slow-fashion Hope for Flowers label — but Reese’s vivid aesthetic remains unchanged.
This spring, she’s bringing that bold design vision to the Hope for Flowers x Naturalizer shoe collaboration that launches April 15. The collection includes nine styles including flats, espadrilles and kitten heels, featuring scarlet red, sapphire blue and fuchsia shades.
“They’re light-hearted, they’re very feminine, they’re super comfortable,” Reese told FN. “I think they’re going to be tremendously successful.”

Related Galleries

The line also embraces sustainability, featuring insole boards made from recycled molded plastic, recycled linings and select fabric uppers crafted with sustainable yarns.
Angelique Joseph, vice president of design for Naturalizer, said, “Partnering with someone like Tracy who is a champion for change in the fashion industry was incredibly important for us and the sustainable journey we at Naturalizer are on.” (The brand is a division of Caleres, which, among other things, set a goal to use environmentally preferred materials in 100 percent of its products and shoeboxes by 2025.)
For her part, Reese is championing sustainable and ethical production not only through her own brand, but as vice chairwoman of the Council of Fashion Designers of America. Here, she discusses her efforts to build a purpose-driven business and grades the industry on its work thus far.

Hope for Flowers x Naturalizer

How is the fashion industry doing when it comes to sustainability?
“Not very well. There are a lot of small brands where responsible design and production is front and center in everything they do. But they’re doing it in a micro way. We need more big brands to make this a priority to talk to consumers about the importance of it. It’s the only way we’re going to beat down this whole fast-fashion cycle that has devastated the supply chain. It’s very abusive to workers, and from an ecological aspect, it’s just as incredibly harmful. I am really encouraged and impressed with the work that Ralph Lauren is doing. That’s a big brand that is investing in innovation that can affect the whole industry.”
Do retailers have a responsibility as well?
“The retailers have to get on board. It has to be important to them. They have to seek out these resources. They have to lift up the people and the brands that are making inroads into sustainability and responsible design and production. It’s all of our responsibility to make it attractive to consumers.”
What role should CFDA play in advancing eco fashion?
“There’s so much the organization is already doing. They’ve created volumes of information for members and nonmembers to learn about what they can do to make their products and processes more sustainable and responsible. Right now, they’re working with the state of New York to be the industry’s voice in the New York Fashion Act. They’re meeting with the legislature and lobbyists to make sure the industry is heard, but also make sure we can make good on all of the promises that are made.”

Do you have personal goals in your leadership role there?
“It’s about how can we make [sustainability] as easy as possible — because it’s already a bit of an extra lift for most people. For instance, how do we make accessing biodegradable poly bags easier? How do we negotiate with retailers to not require everyone to ship on plastic hangers that they throw out immediately? There are all kinds of micro things that we can do to make a huge difference.”
How has Hope for Flowers been received in the market so far?
“It wasn’t the worst thing in the world to launch at a time when the world was slowing down. It gave us a moment to find our footing. Right now, the collection is available at Saks Fifth Avenue, Hudson’s Bay, Anthropologie, Tootsies. We’ve got about 30 specialty stores throughout the country. We’re growing in a nice, slow and steady way that’s manageable, but will allow us the financial security to continue with the brand and with the programming we have here in Detroit, including our Art Enrichment Programs.”
What led you to work with Naturalizer on this collaboration?
“Part of our business strategy is collaborating with other like-minded artists and brands. I didn’t know much about how to even design responsibly produced shoes, so it was a real education for me. They did a lot of sourcing on my behalf to try to bring the vision to life. We wanted to work with color and pattern — those are very important to my brand ethos. But I worked with Naturalizer constructions to start because it’s much more sustainable than starting a whole new last or creating a new construction.”
Any favorite styles from the line?
“There was a fuchsia shoe that got away from me once that I didn’t purchase. So I was, like, ‘I have to have a fun fuchsia sandal.’ I designed this sport sandal look and they called it Firecracker. I cannot wait to wear that.”

Tom Ford Calls Fashion a ‘Relentless Business’ in Sharing the Industry’s Realities and Rewards

Tom Ford Calls Fashion a ‘Relentless Business’ in Sharing the Industry’s Realities and Rewards

Tom Ford gets little to no sleep, drinks 10 cups of coffee a day, plays tennis every morning and is teaching his 8-year-old about empathy.
That’s what the Council of Fashion Designers of America chairman told an audience at Harlem’s Fashion Row summit Thursday in a frank conversation about the industry’s realities.
“If you’re aspiring to be a fashion designer or work in fashion, if there’s anything else you can do that would make you happy, do it, and don’t do fashion,” he said. “What I mean by that is, fashion is a relentless business, it is a tough business, it is hard business. As a designer you will struggle every season to think of something that’s meaningful for your customers. Each time you finish a collection, you will think, ‘Oh my God, now what am I going to do?’ But, if you love it, and you’re passionate about it, and you can’t imagine doing anything else, then do it, because it can also be an incredibly rewarding industry. It can be a lot of fun if you approach it the right way, mixed in with those struggles, and it will give you great, great satisfaction.”

In a lively 20-minute conversation with Brandice Daniel, chief executive officer and founder of Harlem Fashion’s Row, Ford shared some of his tips to for success in fashion.
“I think the thing that has helped me become successful is drive,” he said. “You can be the most talented person in the world, you can be the smartest person in the world…if you don’t have that drive, it’s very hard to be successful. I also think you have to have a vision. If you can imagine something you can make it happen. I’ve always had a plan, and I try to keep a five-year plan, even if it’s a three-year plan — certainly you can’t exist in the world without a one-year plan. Close your eyes, imagine what you want to be, where you want to be and how you want your life to be, and then you go for it.”

Related Gallery

Turning to the CFDA’s business, Ford discussed the name change of the NYFW show schedule to the “American Collections Calendar.”
“It’s not to take away from NYFW, it’s to support those brands who are unable to show during NYFW in a conventional way. It’s for us to support American brands who have the luxury and ability to show in Paris, for example,” he said. “That is the reality of the world today, we’re increasingly global. Often brands will need to show in China, or in a place other than New York. It just seemed to me we should call it American Collections Calendar. It doesn’t mean we’re giving up on New York. We just want to support the entire industry and how any particular brand needs to show in the best way for them.”
With the CFDA’s Runway360, all of these designers are covered on the platform and people can see all the designers whenever or wherever they showed.
On the topic of the industry’s lag in supporting designers and creatives of color and CFDA’s role in that, Ford said the new fashion week calendar can help with that, too.
“It can definitely benefit emerging designers of color and emerging designers and really the entire American fashion designers,” he said, noting that emerging designers often don’t have the funds larger companies have and perhaps they need to show off schedule or in a way that doesn’t fit into fashion week.

Beyond that, the CFDA says it’s making strides to improve on diversity.
Last year, the CFDA launched several initiatives to benefit Black creatives in fashion, including a mentorship program, a donation to Harlem’s Fashion Row’s Icon360, and an in-house employment program. Ford was asked what he learned from all these initiatives that would be helpful to the brands in the audience.
“The Black Lives Matter movement caused me to think in a deeper way and to try to put myself in the shoes of what it would feel like to be a Black person in our culture,” he said. “Whatever your economic or social status, just how that must feel. I hope the Black Lives Matter movement will stay with us, and it’s very important that it doesn’t just fade away and have been a movement that happened at a particular moment in time.”
Further, he said, “It’s very important at the CFDA, and for anyone who has a voice, to follow through with all those things.” The first thing he did when he became chairman of the CFDA, he said, which was before the Black Lives Matter movement, was rebalance the board, to be both racially and gender diverse. And the efforts will have to be ongoing.
“We have to keep reminding people how important this is. We have to keep it going,” Ford said. “At CFDA, we are keeping it going. We’ve created a Black Advisory Board, we’re following through with all our initiatives. It’s very much at the forefront of our thought. We all have a responsibility to make sure we don’t forget this.”
As for Ford, he wants to leave a legacy that reflects that fashion is far from a frivolous industry in terms of what it can accomplish.
“I think people need to understand the beauty in fashion and life isn’t just some trivial thing. It can actually enhance the quality of your life. This will sound really trite. We all age. Maybe we’re having a bad day. For me, looking at something beautiful can actually be uplifting. It adds an enormous amount to our lives,” he said. “But I also like to think that I am an example of having that vision, persevering, working hard and not giving up, being determined. I really think the most important thing is to believe in yourself and believe that you can accomplish something. Luckily — and luck plays a big part of this — I have been able to do that.”

Tom Ford, CFDA Chairman, Renames Show Schedule ‘American Collections Calendar’
Bridget Foley’s Diary: Tom Ford Talks Crisis Mode
Tommy Hilfiger, Black in Fashion Council Talk Next Steps in Diversity

PHP Code Snippets Powered By :