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Why top American designers aren’t at New York Fashion Week

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When the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) chairman Tom Ford announced earlier this year that the organization would no longer publish an official New York Fashion Week schedule but rather an “American Collections Calendar,” the news confirmed something bigger than an administrative update.
 
New York Fashion Week was once the main stage for American designers, but this notion has been unbuckling for years as a number of designers have chosen to show elsewhere or outside of the official calendar dates.
 
The coronavirus pandemic only accentuated this trend. Travel bans and other logistical and health and safety challenges associated with large events have turned the idea of a fashion week in any city into a fairly loose concept, with many designers opting for short films or other creative presentations in place of live shows.
 
New York Fashion Week, which began on Sunday, will be almost entirely digital again and will not feature a number of high-profile designers whose shows once held prime spots on the schedule: Ralph Lauren, Marc Jacobs, Michael Kors and Calvin Klein are all absent, with future plans mostly under wraps or vague.
 
In a letter published at the end of January, Ford, who is also head of his own eponymous label, wrote: “Wherever or however American designers choose to show their collections, it is our job as the CFDA to honor our original mission statement and to help promote and support American fashion. Therefore, we will publish on the schedule not only the schedule of designers showing in New York during New York Fashion Week but also those of American designers showing off calendar and abroad.”
 

A growing trend

Ford himself is just one of the leading designers who has made the decision to put on fashion shows in different cities and countries away from the New York schedule. In February last year, Ford took his show to Hollywood, staging a celebrity-packed event on the Friday of Oscars weekend.
 
Gabriela Hearst, who launched her brand in New York, made the move to show during Paris Fashion Week last October, citing concerns about her company’s carbon footprint, “one of our biggest carbon producers was the transport of our collections, the majority of which is made in Italy,” and the prestige of showing in Paris: “it is always a dream for any designer to show in Paris. This is the time for us to manifest this dream.”
 
Tommy Hilfiger has also been known to stage shows away from New York in Paris and London during previous seasons.
 
Steven Kolb, the CFDA’s CEO, acknowledged this growing trend in a phone interview last week. “(Pre-pandemic), as the fashion industry became more global, we started to see some American fashion brands wanting to show outside of New York,” he said.
 
According to Kolb, these moves were often linked to strategic decisions aimed at growing in a new market, or linking up with the opening of a new store in a different city. But when the pandemic hit, the prospect of showing on the official calendar last September became daunting to some brands that, due to production and cash flow issues, were struggling to produce collections in time for the official schedule.
 
“It made sense to start thinking about it more broadly,” he explained. “It made sense to embrace those brands that were not part of the New York Fashion Week dates for this particular season.
 
But, according to Kolb, the changes do not signal the end of New York Fashion Week. Instead, he sees it as a possible opportunity for American fashion on a global stage.
 
“We would never dismiss the value of a fashion week in a city (and) what that does for the city’s economy — what that means culturally for that city,” he said. “So it’s important for us as we’re talking about the American Collection’s Calendar — this broad, embracing schedule of American designers — that we always highlight and emphasize fashion week, because the validity around that is still important.”
 

Fashion week and beyond

The new American Collections Calendar features a handful of days of mostly virtual shows this week, but it also includes designers who will present collections as late as mid-April.
 
Zimmerman, a label founded by Australian sisters Nicky and Simone Zimmermann, will be presented from Sydney on Thursday. The label had been showing in New York since 2013 but returned home last season.
 
Christian Siriano, who treated guests to a poolside show in Connecticut in September, will present his latest collection a week after the New York schedule winds down. Rick Owens and Thom Browne will show on the Paris Fashion Week schedule, as they normally do. Oscar de la Renta is planning a digital collection reveal March 2. And Jonathan Cohen, who dressed First Lady Jill Biden on inauguration day, will present his latest designs on April 15.
 
Jason Wu, one of the few designers to put on a physical runway show so far this year, presented his collection in New York on Sunday night. Models wove their way through perfectly arranged stacks of produce and flowers at “Mr. Wu’s General Store,” during a socially distant event that was also live streamed.
 
It’s been a year since the first bottles of hand sanitizer were distributed at fashion shows as the reality of the worsening pandemic became more clear. And the ongoing health crisis will continue to disrupt plans across all major fashion weeks in New York, London, Milan and Paris this season as designers face challenges they have come to know all too well.
 
But some of the pandemic-enforced changes within the fashion week system seen in the last year will be permanent. Kolb believes a lot of the work done to digitize fashion weeks will not be left behind in a post-pandemic world. The CFDA’s virtual home for fashion week, Runway360, will continue to be relevant to the council even when live attendance comes back.
 
“Digital platforms will live in parallel next to the live shows,” Kolb said.
 
Written byFiona Sinclair Scott, CNN
 
 
 

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Nigeria crashed aircraft was on rescue mission for kidnapped schoolchildren

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By Nimi Princewill, CNN
Updated 10:13 AM ET, Mon February 22, 2021

Lagos, Nigeria (CNN) — Nigeria’s airforce has said its plane, which crashed shortly after take-off from Abuja airport on Sunday morning — killing everyone on board — was on a mission to rescue the schoolchildren kidnapped last week.

A spokesman told CNN the aircraft was on surveillance operations in Niger State as part of efforts to rescue at least 42 schoolchildren and staff members taken by gunmen from the Government Science School Kagara last Wednesday. One student died during the attack.
Air Vice-Marshal Ibikunle Daramola told CNN on Monday afternoon that the air force had donated the military plane to a joint task force coordinating the rescue operation in Kagara.
“The rescue effort is being coordinated by a multi-agency team… the crashed aircraft was part of the air force’s contribution to the rescue mission,” he added.
    Daramola told CNN that the airforce would continue to support the rescue operation.
      He added that all families of the personnel have been informed, and an investigation launched.
      The ongoing rescue efforts followed a directive by President Muhammadu Buhari to the armed forces and police to ensure all captives are rescued.

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      Protests in Haiti as political standoff continues

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      By Caitlin Hu and Etant Dupain, CNN
      Updated 7:44 PM ET, Sun February 21, 2021

      (CNN) — Large crowds of Haitians took to the streets again on Sunday, as a standoff between President Jovenel Moise and the country’s opposition movement stretched into its third week.

      “Those of us fighting, who want another Haiti, a Haiti pearl of the Antilles, say no to the dictatorship,” one protester told Reuters in capital city Port-au-Prince, where Haitian opposition and civil society groups had called the demonstration. Another criticized the United States and international organizations for supporting the President.
      At the heart of protests is a dispute over the President’s term limit: Moise has served only four years of the usual five, and says his term ends in 2022 — a stance backed by the United States, United Nations and Organization of American States.
      Protesters, however, say he should have stepped down February 7, citing a constitutional provision that starts the clock once a president is elected, rather than when he takes office.
        “We want the international community (to) understand that the Haiti people won’t back down on their demands. Jovenel Moise must leave the national palace for a peaceful transition that can lead us to the elections,” opposition leader André Michel told CNN on Sunday.
        This month’s protests also reflect years of increasing bitterness in Haiti over the country’s economic pain and violent crime. Killings and a wave of hundreds of kidnappings in particular have driven public outrage, according to a recent United Nations report, which recorded a monthly average of 84 demonstrations in the second half of 2020.
        Moise has blamed his administration’s poor record in dealing with such fundamental issues on the country’s system of governance, and on complications and lack of clarity in the constitution itself. “Since the beginning of my term, the country has never known stability,” he acknowledged in a February 12 tweet.
        With an eye toward empowering the office of the president for the future, he has vowed to hold a referendum on changes to the constitution in April. This will be his legacy project, Haiti’s ambassador to the United States, Bocchit Edmond, told CNN.
        However, critics are skeptical of the legitimacy of any constitutional changes made in the current political climate and without institutional checks and balances in place. General elections are expected to follow in the fall.
          In a speech last Sunday, amid celebrations for Carnival, which he celebrated with large crowds of supporters and revelers, Moise expressed his determination to see the country through another year.
          “Haiti is for me, for my kids, for the people here dancing. The people who don’t want me to do the people’s work will stop, or I will make them stop. I was elected to do a job, and I will do it,” he said.

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          Oil spill leads Israel to close beaches as it faces ‘severe ecological disaster’

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          By Sharif Paget
          Updated 1:41 PM ET, Mon February 22, 2021

          (CNN) — Israeli authorities are trying to locate the source of a suspected oil spill that has been described as one of the most severe ecological disasters to hit the country, threatening wildlife, forcing beaches to close and prompting a mass cleanup.

          Blobs of sticky tar started washing up on the country’s Mediterranean shores last week. Images posted on official government accounts showed sea birds and turtles covered in tar and sticky oil.
          “The enormous amounts of tar emitted in recent days to the shores of Israel from south to north caused one of the most severe ecological disasters to hit Israel,” the country’s Nature and Parks Authority said Sunday.
          The extent of the pollution is so bad, Israel’s Ministry of Interior issued an advisory Sunday urging people to stay away from the country’s beaches.
            A massive cleanup is underway but the Nature and Parks Authority said it would take a long time to make the marine area safe again. It has established a registration and information center for volunteers who wish to help.
            “I was very impressed by the exemplary voluntarism of the citizens who came to clean up the beaches. We must maintain our beaches, our country and the environment,” Netanyahu said in a statement issued by the Prime Minister’s office.
            “I have just spoken with the Egyptian Petroleum and Mineral Resources Minister who has come to us, and we proposed that every ship that you see here be powered by natural gas instead of polluting fuel, as happened here,” he continued.
            Gamliel said it was their “moral obligation to the public is to locate those responsible for the event,” according to the statement.
              “We have the possibility of suing the insurance company of the ship that is responsible for the pollution and we will do everything to locate it,” she said.
              In a separate statement posted to her Twitter account, Gamliel said, “We are making every effort to find those responsible for the disaster, and we will bring to the government’s approval tomorrow a proposal for resolutions to rehabilitate the environment.”

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              Seven dead in Nigerian military plane crash

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              Lagos, Nigeria (CNN) Seven people were killed when a Nigerian military plane crashed on approach to Abuja airport on Sunday, a spokesman for Nigeria’s Air Force said.

              “All 7 personnel on board died in the crash,” Air Vice Marshal Ibikunle Daramola said on Twitter.
              He added that the Chief of the Air Staff has ordered an immediate investigation into the incident.
              “A military aircraft King Air 350 has just crashed short of our Abuja runway after reporting engine failure enroute [to] Minna. It appears to be fatal,” said the country’s aviation minister, Hadi Sirika, confirming the incident in a statement.
               

              AIRCRAFT ACCIDENT

              This is to confirm that a Nigerian Air Force (NAF) Beechcraft KingAir B350i aircraft crashed while returning to the Abuja Airport after reporting engine failure enroute Minna. First responders are at the scene. Sadly, all 7 personnel on board died in the crash

              — Air Vice Marshal Ibikunle Daramola (@KunleDaramola3) February 21, 2021

               
              In a follow-up communication Sunday afternoon, a spokesman at the Ministry of Aviation, James Odaudu, said the “aircraft reported engine failure at time 10:39 and crashed landed on the final approach path of Abuja Runway 22 at time 10:48UTC.”
              Odaudu said fire fighters have been deployed to the scene to put out a raging blaze that had engulfed the airplane.
              An aviation worker who asked not to be named — citing lack of official clearance to talk to the press — told CNN that he witnessed the crash.
              “The crash occurred not very far from the runway. The pilot had tried returning to the runway after taking off,” he said.
              The worker said the pilot swerved the plane to its crash site which is in a desolate area. He said the aircraft narrowly avoided warehouses and makeshift settlements around the Nnamdi Azikwe International airport.

               

               
               
               
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              Why Britain’s anti-immigration politicians are opening the doors to thousands of Hong Kongers

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              By Tara John, CNN
              Updated 7:29 PM ET, Sat February 20, 2021

              (CNN) — Eighteen months ago, Malcolm was at the vanguard of Hong Kong’s pro-democracy movement.

              Full of bravado and often clad in black, the 21-year-old oversaw a group of 60 combative front-liners who embraced confrontational tactics against the police while demanding greater democracy in the former British colony.
              Today, he is applying for asylum in the United Kingdom, and separated from his family in Hong Kong where he feels he can longer visit. Malcom believes if he returns to the Chinese city he could be arrested under a sweeping national security law imposed by Beijing on Hong Kong last June, which scaled up penalties against dissent to include punishments as severe as life imprisonment.
              Since then, nearly 100 activists have been arrested under the new law. When Hong Kong police apprehended a protester friend of Malcolm’s in October, he booked a red-eye flight to London. Malcolm asked CNN not to use his real name, for fear that his family — who remain in Hong Kong — could face repercussions.
                The British government has called the security law a clear violation of the “one country, two systems” policy meant to ensure Hong Kong’s autonomy from Beijing until 2047. In its wake, the UK has opened a six-year pathway to British citizenship for holders of British National (Overseas) passports (BN(O)), a special visa category created for Hong Kong nationals before the 1997 transfer of power.
                Sze has settled into London life: She already has strong opinions on the snail’s pace of London buses and is counting the days to when lockdown ends and she can go shopping on Oxford Street.
                While it can be hard to find the authentic Cantonese cuisine she grew up eating in Hong Kong, Sze marvels at how much cheaper food is at British supermarkets.
                “The food quality is better, the price is cheaper and the rent is cheaper,” she told CNN.
                Sze cannot get a job until her BN(O) visa is approved, but she is optimistic that the UK’s coronavirus-induced economic slump will not get in the way of her finding work. “I am open to any [job] option — it really depends on how much savings I have,” she said.
                  But her biggest concern is the fate of fellow dissidents going through the asylum process, and whether her compatriots who move to the UK will give up the fight for independence back home.
                  “Hong Kongers should never give up, no matter if they’ve left Hong Kong or not,” she said.

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