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Must Read: Kenzo Releases the First Collection Under Nigo, the Big Business of Ugly Shoes

Plus, what we can learn from the viral balaclava trend.
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These are the stories making headlines in fashion on Friday.

Kenzo releases the first collection under Artistic Director Nigo
Kenzo has unveiled its first collection under new Artistic Director Nigo. The limited-edition Spring 2022 capsule drops on Feb. 5 in select stores and on Kenzo's website. Nigo's first designs for the label feature comfortable wardrobe classics, like crewneck sweatshirts and jersey cardigans, adorned with a graphic flower print and Kenzo's new label. "In homage to Kenzo Takada, each drop revolves around the idea of elements key to the legacy of the founder," the press release states. "Expanding on the form and function of these motifs, Nigo draws on the Japanese sensibility of flora and fauna as signifiers of symbols and feelings." {Fashionista inbox}

The big business of ugly shoes
In a new piece for Bloomberg, Kim Bhasin dives into what's fueling the growing popularity of once-mocked shoes like Ugg boots, Velcro sandals and chunky dad sneakers. "While uglycore — fashion that scorns beauty in favor of self-affirmation — isn't new, the collective hangover of two years of barely squeezing a foot into a heel, pump, loafer, wingtip, oxford or even a pair of ballet flats has intensified an unapologetic love affair with pragmatic footwear," Bhasin writes. Brands that have always favored function over fashion are reaping the benefits of this cultural moment, with Bhasin noting that shares of Crocs have reached record highs and the world's largest luxury company acquired Birkenstock in a $4.9 billion deal. {Bloomberg

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What we can learn from the viral balaclava trend
The balaclava trend has spurred comparison to hijabs, which have long been criticized. In Teen Vogue, Alia Khan, a member of the Islamic Fashion and Design Council, sheds light on the positive role that the balaclava plays in the Islamic fashion narrative. "The recent trend has opened people's eyes to see the popular, practical and comfortable aspects of head coverings," Khan writes, adding that the "balaclava trend is another opportunity to highlight the values and beauty of Islamic fashion." Khan's most powerful takeaway from the viral trend is that it can bring people together: "Along with the external look, the faith-based group also brings in the aspect of nourishing their soul through their fashion choices. They intend to tap into a higher connection, that Muslims believe is activated by the way the body is covered. The latter group's focus is primarily on style or function. However, by shifting their intention to include the dimension of a soul connection through their fashion choices, the two worlds can align." {Teen Vogue

How Malaysia became a hotspot for secondhand clothing
According to an Ezra Marcus piece for The New York Times, familiarity with e-commerce and a fairly globalized population has helped Malaysia become a large player in the secondhand clothing market. The country has thrift stores — including giant warehouses run by corporate chains — that contain piles of discarded items, often from the West, and clothes that local merchants buy from wholesalers. Secondhand sellers in Malaysia will then sort through giant bales of clothes and resell them on Etsy, Ebay and Grailed. {The New York Times

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