Sustainable can be fashionable for brands

At the far end of the supply chain

‘Yes I’m very afraid,’ admits Moussa Doumbia. ‘Sometimes I can’t sleep.’ Moussa grows cotton as a cash crop in Mali. He lies awake at night wondering whether he will be able to afford medicine to treat the malaria of himself and his two youngest children, just three and five years old. The three tonnes of cotton Moussa produces gives him an annual income of $322 less than $1 a day.

‘The cotton price is not enough for farmers to cover our needs including school fees and health,’ he says.

So Moussa also farms corn, peanuts, beans and rice to feed his 10-member family. He breeds cattle, sheep and oxen which he sells in dire emergencies. He has to rely on occasional handouts from his two brothers who work abroad one in Cte dIvoire and the other in Spain. And still it’s not enough. “I don’t want my children to be cotton farmers,” he explains. “Because they will have no future.”

Sustainability starts with farmers

Cotton farmers are the invisible foundation of the fashion industry. Transparency and traceability are now key buzz words in the industry, yet companies rarely delve deep enough into their supply chains to have any direct involvement with the suppliers of this raw material.

But ignoring cotton farmers ignores the future of fashion. The downward pressure of the clothing supply chain and the obsession with cheap fast fashion comes at a cost not only to farmers but to the industry itself.

Much of global cotton supply is grown by 35-50 million small-scale cotton farmers in developing countries, many in least developed countries. Like Moussa, most live below the poverty line, vulnerable to low and fluctuating prices lower than their costs of production, dependent on ginners and middle men.

Cotton production in developing countries has a smaller environmental footprint and costs less. Most cotton cultivation in West Africa is rain-fed, giving it with a much lower water footprint than industrialized farming. Meanwhile, it costs only US$ 30 cents to produce a pound of cotton in Benin versus US$ 68 cents in the United States. Yet it is the cotton farmers in regions like West Africa and India who suffer the most from low global cotton prices and underinvestment.

This means that many cotton farmers do not have the funds to invest in improving their crops, or, like Moussa, they do not see a future for their children in cotton. We need to make sure that farmers continue to grow cotton, if consumers are to continue to buy and wear the clothes that they love.

The changing landscape of sustainable fashion

Over the past few years there has been a noticeable shift as more and more companies and fashionistas are beginning to recognise the urgent need to take greater responsibility for their social and environmental impact.

A number of global companies such as Marks & Spencer, Sainsbury’s and H&M have set public targets with ambitious goals to reduce their impact by sourcing a percentage of their raw materials and notably sustainable cotton by target dates.

A number of ethical brands go even further by guaranteeing even deeper impact in their supply chains with sustainable business models. People Tree is a pioneer in Fair Trade and environmentally sustainable fashion and prides itself on opening up markets and opportunities for people who live in the developing world.

Safia Minney explains “The price tag on the fashion you buy rarely covers the real social and environmental costs. Developing countries end up competing with each other to be the world’s garment factory, in what has been called a ‘race to the bottom’ for wages, health, safety, job security and environmental protection.

“Every time you opt to support Fair Trade or organic clothing you are helping to empower farmers, artisans and communities – and importantly putting preserve on the fashion industry to clean up its act.”

In Fairtrade, we’ve seen a shift from mainstream companies wanting to sell Fairtrade labelled clothing, to wanting to make sustainable cotton sourcing a core part of their business. We recently launched a new business model to meet the changing ethical landscape, which allows companies to source a portion of their overall cotton on Fairtrade terms.

Ultimately sourcing sustainable cotton can allow the industry to secure supply into the future, by providing the needed farm level investment to maintain cotton crops and farmers’ livelihoods to the next generation. But more companies need to come on board to really tip the balance.

Luckily, it can be in companies’ interest to do so.

Attracting the ethical consumer

How do we make consumers care about sustainability? How does the industry respond to consumer demand for quicker and easier fashion whilst balancing the ethics of a sustainable supply chain where farmers and workers are paid and treated fairly?

In fact, ‘fair pay for farmers and workers’ is one of consumers’ top concerns: 85% of consumers say this issue is important for companies and their suppliers in their dealings with poor countries, according to Fairtrade commissioned research by GlobeScan in 2011.

There is a growing body of consumers who care about ethics and are quick to reward companies for doing good. Recent studies estimate the coveted ‘Aspirationals’ consumer group account 2.5 billion worldwide.

As reported by Sustainable Brands, ‘The 2013 Aspirational Consumer Index’ by BBMG, GlobeScan and SustainAbility found that “more than one-third of consumers globally (36.4%) identify as Aspirationals, defined by their love of shopping (78%), desire for responsible consumption (92%) and their trust in brands to act in the best interest of society (58%).”

Meanwhile H&M reported recently that 47 percent of its customers are interested in more environmentally friendly products in 2013, up from 27 percent in 2012.

Values at the core of the brand

Once relegated to the fringe, growing numbers of global fashion and clothing companies are putting ethics at the core of their brands. They are setting ambitious CSR targets to reduce their environmental footprint, to benefit the people in their supply chain, and to express their values.

In Fairtrade we’ve seen that investing in cotton farmers allows companies to build their brand and manage risk, by demonstrating commitment to good environmental practices and fair social and labour conditions for the farmers in their supply chain.

This shift is absolutely vital, as it is often the most vulnerable like the cotton farmer at the very bottom of a complex supply chain who is at the sharp end of an increasingly demanding and cost conscious industry, and it is these vulnerable people upon which the entire fashion industry depends.

We welcome more brands to join.

5 Steps to Mastering Your Own Style

So I understand that most of you want to become a master of your own fashion and style.

What does it mean to have your own style?

I love the HBO show Entourage. If you watch this show, you’ll see that all the characters wear certain clothing that pair excellently with their own unique personalities.

They convey a lot of personality through their apparel. In this picture, you can tell a lot about these guys just by looking at their appearance.

You want to gain competence for what style works best for you specifically, and to feel the confidence of knowing that you look good all the time.

It gives you one less thing to worry about and one more thing to feel good about.

You want to know exactly what fits your body type, what colors look good on you, how to look “money” and make women swoon when you pass.

You want to have others wonder why girls can’t stop talking about your magnetic charm.

That’s awesome, who wouldn’t want that? But the real question is how do you get to this level?

The quick-fix solution!

Most people forget that you will never learn anything overnight. It takes a LOT of time to really “get” something. This is a generation of fast, instant, and easy. Nobody wants to hear that something is going to take a long time, and be hard to get.

It’s all about how bad you want something. You have to know what you want, and why. Then plan, take the steps you need to in order to get it.

Forget the title of this article, who says you have to master it in the first place? All you need to do it take it to the level that you want for yourself.

But the most important is knowing what you want and why, because those who don’t know the answers to these questions will never get anything they really want from life.

I’ve found that you have to have a real purpose for you to stay motivated.

The marketing tactics that have saturated our society make people this way. How did you feel when I listed all the things you should want in the paragraphs above? Did you feel excited? Did it make you want those things for yourself?

It made me exciting just writing it.

Most people don’t get past this excitement, they get a high off of it — giving them a delusion of accomplishment just for having the thought — but never take action.

Everything has a learning curve, but if all you do is chase some sort of outcome because you think it’ll complete you, you’ll be sadly disappointed.

So everything you want something, stop and ask yourself WHY?

Do you genuinely want it? Need it? Will it benefit you in many ways?

Everything that has to do with your first impression are all skills that can be learned. It doesn’t matter what you look like, where you came from, how you were raised. You can learn all the skills to be able to present yourself to any level you want.

When it comes to gaining a skill, the key is to enjoy the process of learning.

But to enjoy the process you have to ask yourself WHY you want to learn whatever it is you are after in the first place.

Not to just chase the end-goal because it sounds nice and because you think you’ll be happier. You have to know why you would be.

  • Why do you read this blog?
  • Are you genuinely interested in cultivating your own unique sense of style?
  • Do you enjoy learning, and growing — the journey towards your best self?
  • Or are you just a dabbler in search of the next quick-fix-it solution to a makeover? Everyone else is doing it right?

When it comes to handling their image, most guys just want articles on Dos and Don’ts.

They want somebody to just give them a list of things they should wear and be guaranteed that it looks good and that it will make them attractive to women. They want to know exactly what item they should get, and how to get their hands on it.

They want the quick-fix.

I’m here to tell you there is no such thing and it just doesn’t work that way. Even if you get an image consultant you’re still going to have to take the steps towards implementing everything you’ve learned. You can’t just get consulted and then go back to your normal ways as if everything will just magically take care of itself!

Rarely do most guys take the time to search who they are, what kind of image they want to present, what style they find themselves identifying with the most, and what seems to work the best with their own unique personality and physical qualities.

There is no easy button. Man up. Face the challenges in life. That’s how we grow. It’s what makes getting there sweeter, and worth the effort.

5 Steps To Get Started Right

Here are 5 steps to start you on your journey to most effectively and attractively presenting that SEXY ALPHA MALE inside of you that is dying to get out.

1. Define a clear purpose

The only true motivation is desire.

Nothing can stand against your desire to do something if you have have a clear and very direct purpose for doing it. Most people have no idea why they do some of the things they do daily. They are just going through the motions because they believe they should or have to. This is because they never stopped to think why.

Make every part of your life deliberate.

Ask yourself the ultimate end-all question of “why” for everything you do. I find that answering this question opens up so many doors to new realizations and puts sniper-like precision in everything you do instead of a scatter-brain shotgun blast of hit or miss.

What is Jae’s purpose?

My purpose for pursuing this knowledge and helping other guys is because I know perception is reality.

Do you see a young lady or an old lady?

Let me explain the concept of this so that you are with me here.

Nobody knows who you are inside but yourself. It’s what you do, that defines you. It’s how you look, walk, talk, and act that present who you are to the world.

When you meet a person, nothing you see is absolute. You will never KNOW that person completely. All you can do is take the little information you have and make a whole lot of assumptions and judgments from the way they look, walk, talk, and act.

The difference between your LOOK and the other areas of talking, walking, and acting is that your LOOK is something that people INSTANTANEOUSLY process without even having to meet you face to face. All they have to do is look at you for ONE second.

Depending on the IMAGE one presents people choose to either take them seriously or not seriously at all — with no regard for whatever comes out of their mouth. There are million others ways people treat each other based on their look. I’m not just talking about the physical but your overall image that you present through the way you carry yourself and dress.

The reason being is because of social conditioning, stereotypes, and everything else that life experience has taught us about people who look a certain way.

It’s just the way things are, and you might think it’s sad but the good news is that you can use this to your advantage!

You could act super nice, or super cold, and no stranger who meets you will ever know which type of person you really are.

So this means if dress and carry yourself a certain way, it becomes the basis you give others to start forming opinions from. After people form a first impression of you, anything you do after this is filtered through their perception. Everything you do is measured against this to see if you are congruent to it or not.

Setting a good impression at the moment of sight is critical because sometimes it’s all you get, when a girl passes you by, or you don’t get to speak to her for more than a few seconds.

Sometimes girls ask people who I am and nd will try to get to know me just because of my appearance.

This is what you want in order to further increase your chances with women.

Check out this picture of Clay Aiken, and think about what impressions his image in this picture give you. What does his image convey about his personality?

I have nothing against Clay Aiken, he’s a great guy, but it’s obviously not one of his good days. When he actually pays attention to his appearance, he looks 10x better.

(Uhh, which version of him are women going respond better to?)

With every interaction you have with others you are shaping the idea that they have of you.

Now that you understand my reasons and understand the concept of perception is reality…

Take 5 minutes to ask yourself “why” YOU want to master your look.

Is it to be more attractive to women? Is it so that people will take you more seriously? Is it to help you get a better job? Maybe it’ll make you feel more confident…

Whatever it is, give yourself some solid reasons so that you really know why you want get this area of your life down.


2. Always Remember That Presentation Is Everything

Theory told me a great analogy once — imagine a jeweler who encases a gorgeous flawless diamond within dull metals to create a piece of jewelry. What happens to the diamond? Would you still think that diamond was gorgeous?

I bet you wouldn’t be able to tell the difference from that diamond and a cheap cubic zirconia. Nobody can tell the real value of it.

But if the jeweler places that diamond in an artfully and beautifully decorated piece of precious metals — in an amazing presentation– it becomes PRICELESS.

Think of yourself as this diamond. How are you going to present yourself?

You want the women to look at you and think “wow, he’s priceless“. We all know that diamonds are a girls best friend. What they don’t tell you is that it’s all about the presentation of the diamonds. You want to have all the advantages you can get in this game, so pay attention to your presentation.

Theory recalled watching a video of himself from years ago when he was on a trip in Asia, where in it he was wearing clothes that were way to big on him, and looked very bland. He now realizes that it conveyed all the wrong messages about him — that he wasn’t fashionable, probably not cool, didn’t have any girls in his life, he was messy and disorganized, bad in bed, and a whole lot of other negative things.

JUST by what he WORE alone people subconsciously made these sort of judgments about him.

3. Set Obtainable Goals

Set yourself goals that are challenging enough so that they won’t be taken lightly, but not too far out of your comfort zone to make you feel overwhelmed.

Take a few minutes right NOW, to figure out what kind of guy you want to present yourself as.

Write down a list of characteristics that come to mind when you think of the guy you want to be. How would you like others to view you?

Then write down some ideas of what this kind of guy would look like. How would he dress? What would his hair look like? How would he carry himself?

After you’ve figured out what kind of style you want for yourself, set benchmarks for yourself.

For example, once a week you could go out and try out the types of clothes that would convey this type of personality. Even if they are outside your comfort zone, see how it looks and feels. Try out other styles that don’t match your personality while you’re add it. Have some fun.

Make sure to bring a camera and take some pictures of you in the outfits so you can look at it again and show other people for feedback.

That’s simple enough right? To go out and try different clothes outside your comfort zone without buying anything.

Another benchmark can be setting aside a day to try all the different kinds of jeans to find what brand, model, size, and different style fits look best on you.

Or try making it a goal to find yourself one cool new accessory by the end of the month.

Do some research online and create clear goals and objectives towards what you want to gain the knowledge about.

Go with a friend for feedback, and have fun with it.

4. Take It Step By Step

The only way to really learn something is to compliment learning with experience. This is very important.

Don’t just read everything on this blog and expect yourself to be a fashion expert. You have to take the action steps, just like everything else. A lot of people want to learn certain skills but they all have excuses and few take action. Maybe you are part of the few that take charge of their lives.

Get out of the house and start implementing what you learn in small chunks. It’s easier to set small benchmarks than to just generally stare ahead at a goal.

Don’t overwhelm yourself by trying to do EVERYTHING all at ONCE. Don’t go shopping with the objective of just “getting yourself a whole new wardrobe”.

You will get nowhere without clear objectives because you will spend too much money on things of which half of you’ll end up returning. The other half you will just not wear as much as you thought. You want to be confident about your purchases and know they look good. This is one of the biggest ways people waste money on clothes. They don’t really know if it looks good but just buy it anyway.

So take it piece by piece.

Devote a month to finding the accessories that best present your personality. Do research online, look at prices, try things on at different stores, make mental notes of what you see on other people that look nice, etc.

Devote the next month to mastering another field for yourself. For example master the knowledge of what colors look best on you. Go to the mall and try on as many different colors as you can and take pictures of yourself.

Post these up on the internet and ask for feedback in the forums, or scroll through them with your friends and ask them for feedback. Ask your family, girls, everyone. Make sure you write down what colors get the most opinions, or at least what kind of colors – bright, dark, warm tones, cool tones.

Then devote the next month to another area, and keep on doing this till you reach your level of satisfaction.

If you want an easy way to do this, just check out The Kinowear Bible.

5. Give Yourself No Way Out

Make it very difficult for yourself to get lazy or quit.

There was a point in my life where I had to quit my job and prevent myself from hiding under the feeling of “security” in order for me to get out of the rat race and off my ass — to be forced to pursue my dreams and succeed.

Sometimes emotions get the best of you, and emotions aren’t always in line with what you want. I knew that the only way I would truly be happy with where I am in life, was if I pursued running my own business.

You might want to go to the gym and get fit, but sometimes you don’t feel like going, this is a clear example of when your emotions aren’t in tune with what you really want. Along with emotional discipline, you must help it along by putting yourself in situations where it is hard to fail.

When Julius Caeser sailed over the channel from Gaul and landed with his legions on what is now England, he halted his soldiers on the chalk cliffs of Dover, and, looking down over the waves two hundred feet below, they saw red tongues of fire consume every ship in which they had crossed.

In the enemy’s country, with the last link with the Continent gone, the last means of retreating burned, there was but one thing left for them to do: to advance, to conquer. That is precisely what they did.

If you are really serious about changing your look, then throw away or donate some of the really old clothes that you have that you never want to wear again.

Get rid of all the stuff you already never wear anymore first. This clears up a lot of space in your closet for new clothes. Most people find it hard to part from things, but it’s just something you need to do.

Wipe out the old and bring in the new. Upgrade.

5 Tips To Dramatically Improve Your Style

Want to improve your style but you don’t know where to start?

Today’s article is for the guys who want to improve their style dramatically with little effort.

More and more men are starting to realize how a sense of fashion is an asset in every aspect of their lives. In today’s world, looking your best keeps you one step ahead.


Before & After using The Kinowear Bible

For those of who don’t really know where to begin in today’s society of information overload, fear not, making sure to cover the 5 areas below will be the fastest way to improve your first impression:

1) Make Sure The Fit Is Flattering

Your clothing should attractively fit your body shape – whatever shape that may be – and look like they’ve been hand-made for you.

Drilling this one bit of information into your head can instantly improve the way you look.

Yeah…yeah, it sound simple, but not having the proper fit is one of most common mistakes that men make when dressing.

So, how do you know when clothes fit right?

When you’re trying something on and you begin to question whether it’s too big or too small, it’s most likely not a great fit.

A good rule of thumb for finding a great fit is to pay attention to where the shoulder seams of the shirt or jacket lie; it should sit close above where your humerus (upper arm) fits into your scapula (shoulder blade). Not all sizes are created equal, so use good judgment. Fits will differ depending on the design and manufacturer. Your body shape will also determine if certain cuts will flatter you or not.

You may have passed with oversized clothing when you were a young boy – wearing hand me downs and attempting to add some bulk to your tiny frame – but if you’re a grown man, you can no longer get away with this.

Always wear clothes that fit like a glove, but don’t wear anything too tight. It just doesn’t look good on a man. Even if you’re muscular, women would rather it be a mystery of what’s underneath. It just looks like you’re about to burst out of your shirt any moment, you’re just making people nervous. If you’re built, it’ll show up in your frame, you really don’t have to show off your muscles to that extent – it seems like a cry for attention.

For pants, make sure they’re the right length – the bottom should just cover the top of your shoes when you’re standing. There shouldn’t be too much fabric bunched up around your ankle and they shouldn’t be so high that people can see your socks when you’re standing. If you can’t find the right length, get them hemmed to the appropriate length.

Pants should rest on your waistline, slightly above the hip bone without touching your belly button. They shouldn’t be too tight or too baggy. You should be able to fit two fingers into the waistline. For a more comfortable fit, get a relaxed fit or a boot cut. Do not purposely get a bigger size to try and create a baggier effect. Do you really want to look like a walking weight loss advertisement?

When you’re shopping at the store, always try things on. I don’t know why most guys don’t even bother, then they go home and realize that it looks all wrong. Save yourself another trip and just try it on. Once you start to pay more attention to how things fit on your body instead of just glancing at the size tag, you’ll start to recognize the patterns of what to look for next time.

2) Shoes Are Critical

Many have heard that shoes are the first thing that women look at. While that may not literally be true, shoes display an immeasurable amount of personality and taste; it’s pretty much all a woman has to look at to quickly judge what “league” you belong to.

Your shoes can make or break your entire outfit. If every part of your ensemble is perfect, but your shoes aren’t at par, you’ll look like a guy TRYING (and failing) to look stylish, not one who seamlessly IS.

I can’t stress enough how your shoes allow a person to determine how stylish you really are. Women pay attention to details, and after looking you over, your shoes will tell her the truth.

If you don’t believe that women pay attention to shoes, let me explain why. There are billions of shoes out there for women to choose from, in all shapes and sizes, most women have been trained since they were young to understand the power shoes have in helping them look fabulous. This kind of exposure and experience with shoes help them to not only judge other women by the shoes they wear, but men as well. They can quickly tell the quality of the shoes, along with the quality of the person, because they’ve been practicing it for years. When you do something enough, you undoubtedly begin to recognize patterns.

If you’re a car enthusiast, think of this:

A woman drives up in a hot exotic car, tuned up in subtle, but perfect ways. You’re experience with cars tells you what kind of person would drive a quality car like that – the kind of resources they would need to have to acquire it.

The way the car is tuned up would tell you how smart that person is, and how passionate they are about car performance and quality. You believe that this isn’t just some ordinary person but they pay attention to the details that matter, and that alone deserves your respect because it’s rare.

Finally, someone who understands, and even better, it’s someone of the opposite sex! All this probably makes you associate her with certain qualities, increasing her level of attractiveness to you.

Whenever you really understand the worth of something and how things work, you start to respect others who understand it because you know it’s not easy to get to that level of understanding without experience and some passion. And that by itself says a lot about someone. So showing a woman you understand shoes, really shows her that you’re a stylish guy.

With shoes, it’s about quality. It’s better to have two or three pairs of good shoes that will last a long time than to have twenty-five pairs of generic-looking bargain brands. That’s especially true of your dress shoes, but you can slide a little on casual shoes and sneakers.

Spend some money and get the best shoes you can afford, but make sure they are comfortable. If you’re buying leather shoes, get quality leather. It’s a lot less expensive to get them refurbished a number of times and have them last forever than to replace poorly made shoes every month.

The soles of well-made shoes will be stitched, not glued, to the bottom of the shoe. Also, the lining in better shoes is made of high-quality calfskin or natural leather, not synthetic materials. You can really tell a quality shoe by looking at the stitching – it should be neat and barely noticeable.

No matter how well you dress above your shoes, your shoes really sum it all up. Make sure you have a complete look from head toe. Nice, clean, well-made shoes is really all you need.

3) Be Mindful of Stereotypes

Image isn’t everything …

But it matters a freakin’ whole lot.

There is a “special police” guy who I see at Starbucks all the time. The Special Police unit is not a big deal in the U.S., they only have jurisdiction over small designated areas – but this guy walks in with his nicely pressed uniform like he owns the place.

The guy looks as young as a teenager – he’s got combed brown hair to one side, a spare tire gut, and wire rimmed glasses. Without his uniform, he would look like a real loser. Everyone treats him like he’s the man, almost like he’s the town sheriff – with respect, and accolade.

This is PROOF of how stereotypical dress invokes ASSOCIATIONS that Displays Higher Value even before you interact with the person.

So leverage those loaded avatars.

4) When in Doubt, Keep it Simple

If you don’t know where to start, start with the basics. We all want to stand out, but let’s do it the right way, not the wrong way. The right way will get people to compliment your style, even if it’s an outrageous rocker style. The wrong way makes you look you just threw a bunch of things together, without any specific attention to a complete look.

If you can’t cover the fundamental basics, you shouldn’t be going for the flair. Throwing on a rocker shirt and some ripped jeans won’t magically turn you into a sex god. It has to be put together the right way. So even for those attention grabbing flair addicts – when in doubt, keep it simple.

The guys who know how to do flair know how to do simple. When I say simple, I’m not talking about wearing an undershirt and some shorts. The real stylish men are the ones who can take generic looking clothing and make sure all the details are right (i.e., cut, fit, fabric, stitching, quality) along with their own knowledge of putting it all together in the most stylish way. They can take a normal dress shirt, match it with the right v-neck sweater, the right jeans, and shoes, and still stand out in great way. Throw in a hot pair of shades into the mix, and they’re golden.

You must understand what makes a man stylish before you go grabbing flashy items off the racks.

Being able to do this is a necessary base, which you can then take and add your own elements. For example, we can take the simple look I just mentioned and turn it into a rocker look in a matter of minutes:

Unbutton the collar buttons, add a skinny tie, roll up the sleeves and add a simple leather bracelet, put on some cowboy boots, and mess up the hair a little.

5) Stay In Shape

Fashion is not just about what you wear, it’s also about how it looks on your body. Take the same threads and put them on two different people: one who’s in good shape and athletic, and another who has a beer gut, round shoulders and a sunken chest. No matter what the clothes are, they’ll look better on the first guy.

Taking better care of your body can be as simple as making a few minor changes to your diet and spending a couple of hours at the gym every week. The related benefits of being healthier are that you’ll feel better about your body, be more confident and, therefore, look better. Attitude stems from confidence, and a large part of style is attitude.

What Asia Taught Me About Casual Style

Asian Inspiration

Whenever I get the opportunity, I try to travel to places that have a culture so different from America that my mind gets blown away. Two of my all-time favorite trips were to Seoul, Korea and Tokyo, Japan.

As I’m walking around the streets of Tokyo, I feel like I’m part of an Anime. I’m speechless from culture shock, and I can’t get over the fact that everything is so small, i.e. the food portions, streets, cars, and apartments.

Despite the food portions being so small, I was completely bewildered at how filling they were, at which point I looked around and realized that overweight people just don’t exist in Tokyo. Seriously though, throughout my whole trip, I did not see ONE overweight person. I mean when you look at the way Americans eat versus the way the Japanese eat, it’s no wonder we’re a nation where obesity is a huge problem.

Anyways, what REALLY caught my attention was the number of guys in these cities who had an aptitude for fashion.

So many of them had their own unique style of dressing, some of which I have never seen the like, yet very well put together.

I was in a world full of what Americans would call “metrosexuals” and people who seemed to really understand the power of proper style. I was shocked at first when I saw certain things that you would never see in America, like men who wore makeup or men who spent more time on their hair than their female counterparts.

I thought, “Has the world gone mad!? Where am I!?”

I soon learned, that the same things that I found “crazy,” were things that people in Tokyo considered the norm around that area.

I Was A TOTAL Tourist

Japanese culture is truly fascinating because there are so many different subcultures within it. Some Japanese people enter a certain lifestyle almost like it’s a cult or religion.

I found out that a big part of the younger Japanese generation rebel by following one of these many subcultures of fashion and music. There were people dressed like freaks, barbie dolls, and other “weird” things I can’t even begin to describe.

When I saw people dressed in what is called Japanese Ganguro and Yamanba fashion, I first thought it was some kind of joke. They looked like some sort of African tribe that had lost their way into the streets of Tokyo. There are other subcultures like “Visual kei” which are the guys that dress like anime characters with perfectly long hair and skinny clothes, and “B-kei” (B for breakdance) who dress in hip-hop style clothes or clubwear.

I saw a lot of guys who were dressed up in goth, rock, or punk clothing, and it looked as if they MATERIALIZED out of a comic book. I’m talking about an ALL-OUT mind-blowing level of appearance, that will make you feel like these guys have almost taken it too far. At times I felt like it was Halloween.

It was all wild and so surreal – and ridiculously interesting to me.

Just so you can see how extreme the Japanese can be, here is an example of one Japanese Rock band:

Talk about hardcore.

Imagine walking into a club like this? You’d win “most interesting guy,” hands down. You’d probably scare all the girls away here in America though.

Don’t get me wrong, most people in Japan don’t dress like the pictures above, but the majority of the people you’ll see on the streets are very fashionable.

Now in Korea, I didn’t see anything crazy like I did in Japan, but a lot of guys were super stylish. Up till then, I never thought so many well-dressed guys could inhabit a single area. No matter where I was, there were always a group of guys who looked like they were heading to a photo shoot.

These guys were really the epitome of “stylish casual.”

Adopt the Stylish Casual Mindset

While in Korea, I was reminded that no matter where you are or what time of day it is, you can be fashionable. I was constantly reminded that casual doesn’t have to be the way most people think of it – with no flavor.

In America, I know most guys don’t really pay attention to their image unless they have a date or they’re going somewhere really important. Slowly but surely, times are changing here, and it’s getting harder and harder to tell a straight guy from a gay guy here in New York City (in good way). Men are learning how to dress better again after years of being lost.

Being in Asia inspired me to write this article on how we can learn to bring their sense of style into our everyday casual wear:

1. Layering

What I saw in Korea and Japan was that these guys are LAYERING MASTERS.

My Tokyo friend tells me that it’s rare to see anybody wearing only ONE layer over there. If they are wearing a dress shirt, they will most definitely add something like a cardigan sweater, with perhaps another vest on top; and they’ll really put together a complete outfit by adding something like a fedora and a light-weight jacket.

One layer usually doesn’t cut it. Unless it’s over a hundred degrees out, get creative with your outfit. A dress shirt will look ten times better with a sweater, a vest, or a blazer over it than it would alone. Layering also has the ability to give a skinny guy extra bulk, and a heavy guy the ability to mask his not-so-flattering parts. This is something we discuss in detail in the Kinowear Bible.

2. Accentuate

If you want to easily upgrade your “casual” to “stylish casual” like these guys, follow this rule:

Have at least ONE element of your wardrobe that stands out and changes the mood of your entire outfit, e.g., a fedora, a scarf, a dress shirt, a tie, a blazer, a really cool accessory, etc.

For example, in Tokyo, they almost always wear an ACCENT color or item with every outfit. They might wear a mostly black outfit but then wear a bright red undershirt or a white belt.

My source in Tokyo tells me that currently guys are accenting with “Scarfs, fedoras, and ties. Suspenders are also really in now. Pointy shoes, loafers, boots or converse are almost standard to give any casual outfit a kick.”

Even if you’re not specifically out meeting someone, try setting standards for yourself – never leave the house without some sort of accent to your wardrobe, so that when you happen to run into a friend or an attractive woman, you’ll be prepared with the confidence of knowing that you look way better than the average guy out there.

Think “stylish casual.”

3. Mix it up

It seems the Japanese really don’t follow any fashion “rules.” They do a great job of mixing different elements that they’ve acquired, and there is a lot of personality that is shown through the way it’s put together.

After figuring what styles you like, try mixing different elements to create a look that you’re totally satisfied with.

Add your own twist to your outfit, but make sure it looks good to you.

A good way to go about it is to find out what is popular, why it’s popular, and explore what certain fashion aspects represent. Then figure out how you can hit on the right points, in your own unique way.

So for example, if you are going for the hip-hop look, find out what defines hip-hop fashion, the reasons and history behind it, and think of how you can best create your own version without going completely out of those lines.

4. Never Settle for Less

Another thing I learned from observing fashion in Asia is to never settle to look your best every single day of your life. You want to put your best foot forward.

You want to go out there and present the best of you to the world.

Sometimes I wake up and am tempted to throw on a sweatshirt and some lame jeans…comfort wear…but I realize I am settling.

A lot of Asian guys would never do this. If they’re going out, they are looking their best.

I’d rather die of thirst, than drink from the cup of mediocrity.

 

When it comes to ANY area of my life, I really don’t like to settle for less than I can get, because I never want to wonder what it would have been like if I had tried my best.

I always say that life is a gift, so I’m going to live it the best way I can to honor that. Anything less than that is below the standards that I have set for myself, and that is just unacceptable to me. But most of all, I enjoy taking risks and learning from what comes.

This is a lot more rewarding than chasing an end result. So enjoy the process of cultivating your own unique style, and enjoy learning, because to just chase some end result won’t satisfy you in the long run.

Take risks with style, be bold — If this means trying out a completely kickass outfit you see in a magazine that you could NEVER see yourself in … do it. Most people wear the same lame clothes that don’t even fit right because they’re scared of stepping out of their comfort zone. They are afraid of trying something new and looking like a fool. In Asia, I saw some ridiculous failures, but most of the time, I was awestruck at the boldness, and subsequently, the GRAVITY of their unique styles.

It’s Always Better to Be Overdressed than Underdressed

While in Asia, a lot of the guys looked way overdressed. Nonetheless, their style caught my eye. It was undeniable, and it reminded me of the fact that overdressing is one of the most organic and surefire ways of standing out. Of course, use your judgment (don’t go to company dinners in your pink suit).

But if you know everyone’s going to be wearing collar shirts at a club, wear a blazer. Every time I overdressed when going out, people were strangely more open and friendly.

Did you ever have one of those days when a girl friend of yours dressed up more than usual and you find yourself strangely attracted to her (when you’ve never been in the past?)

You give her more attention and you’re probably more receptive. Even with strangers, I realize that when you actually look like somebody of higher value they assume such and treat you accordingly.

Casual doesn’t = “dress down”

In the world of stylish men, the term “casual” doesn’t mean an absence of creativity or style, it means tuning your good taste in clothing to the occasion. This means you look damn good, no matter what you’re doing.

Also, make sure you don’t take this article the wrong way. Try and calibrate your outfit for the occasion. You’ll look like a dork if you wear clothes that are way too nice for a normal house party, just like you would look like a fool going to a posh club in a plain t-shirt and shorts. Don’t look too try hard, but in a casual setting, add those extra elements to make your “casual” stylish. The key is to socially calibrate how much your casual wear has room to be upgraded or not. So do the best that you can, given the situation.

When it comes to unique styles, the guys in Tokyo have it down. Tokyo is one of the fashion capitals of the world. And despite the fact that New York City shares that title, the average American seems to fall short in comparison.

It’s as if these guys in Asia take a style class as part of their school curriculum. What are we learning here in America? Hopefully sites like Kinowear can shift the tide.

15 College Fashion Tips And Tricks

Moving into a college dorm means not bringing absolutely every article of clothing you own. Most likely your dorm is going to have less space than your parents’ house, and thus less clothing. However, less clothing equals less options. Trying to choose outfits can be more difficult with fewer choices, so I am here with some fashion and beauty tips and tricks to make navigating your petite closet a bit easier.

Now, I’m not going to tell you not to mix navy and black, white and beige, or cream and starch-white clothing — everyone knows that. Instead, I have a few “life hacks,” which help fix small problems that can ruin any outfit. These suggestions will help maximize your options and minimize the time you spend doing laundry.

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1. If you get deodorant on a shirt, and you don’t have time to wash the shirt, or just don’t feel like doing laundry, then just take a pair of jeans and rub it against the stain. You will have deodorant-free clothing in seconds.

2. When you’re already five minutes late, but your shirt is so wrinkly it looks gross, just take your straightener and clamp it over the parts that are wrinkly, as if you’re straightening your hair. The heat and tight pressure will remove wrinkles instantly.

3. If you get makeup on a dress or shirt, take a little bit of shaving cream and dab it on the area, then take a damp paper towel and lightly rub at the stain. However, make sure your paper towel is just slightly damp, because if it is soaking wet, then it can create an even bigger mess.

4. Tights are hard to keep looking polished, so if they split, just put a little clear nail polish on the run and it won’t get any bigger.

5. When you want to break in some new footwear and are battling with time, put on the shoes with thick socks and blow-dry the areas that are too tight. They will instantly be comfortable, and you will look fabulous in your new shoes.

6. If you get a razor cut, and don’t want to get a blood stain on your cute clothes, then immediately put some Vaseline on the small wound and it will stop bleeding.

7. When your roots begin to grow out, but you can’t go back to the salon to get them fixed, then take some eye shadow that matches the color of your hair, and put it on your roots. Plus, it’ll also make your hair look thicker! Anyway, what college student has the time or money to go to the salon?

8. Sometimes the humidity can be hard to handle. So if your hair is wicked frizzy, but you have a hot date or important event, then rub a dryer sheet over your hair. It will take away all the static and frizz, instantly.

9. If your jeans smell funky, but the struggle to do laundry is all too real, then put them in a plastic bag and stick them in the freezer overnight. The cold temperature will kill all odor-causing bacteria.

10. If your sweatshirt or other article of clothing smells weird but, again, laundry is just not happening, put some vodka in a spray bottle and lightly spray your clothes. If you use a light hand when misting the fabric, then it will not smell like alcohol!

11. When your sweatshirt, jacket, backpack, or purse zipper is stuck,rub a little bit of Vaseline on it. You will immediately be able to slide the zipper around. Also, pro-tip, Vaseline is a lifesaver because it can help remove or insert earrings, highlight cheekbones, tame wild eyebrows, define eyelashes, help heal a sunburn, allay cracks in your heels, moisturize your skin, and much more!

12. If your mascara is getting clumpy and making your eyelashes stick together, take the wand and run it under hot water for a few seconds. Dry it off and put it back in the tube and your mascara should be clump-free! Also, when your mascara is getting old and dry, stick the tube in a cup of warm water to help soften the formula.

14. After practice, or a sweaty day, if your shoes smell nasty, you have two options. Put some baking soda in a tissue, just bunch it up, and leave it in your shoe overnight. If you don’t have baking soda, but you drink tea, then you can put a dry tea bag in your shoe overnight to get rid of the smell!

15. To avoid a green mark on your finger from wearing a ring, just put a little clear nail polish on the inside of the ring and let it dry. You will be able to wear the ring even when it gets wet.