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  • Geoffrey B. Small
    Senior Member
    • Nov 2007
    • 618

    Originally posted by Errantman View Post
    God, I want this so badly. I'm LOVING that shirt.

    Also, a question for you Mr. Small. I have one of your Floral F/W '18 silk shirts. I don't do dry cleaning, I'm more into handwashing most of my delicate shirts and pants/trousers that I own. Would that be a smart choice for the shirt I own? If so, what would be the best detergent or washer for such a shirt?

    I use various The Laundress products for my cleaning. I've hand washed my various Archivio JM Ribot clothing and they have come off smooth and clean as hell without it messing the overall look, feel, and structure of them.

    Thank you

    Dear Errantman, Thank you. Regarding your question on cleaning your shirt, would it be possible for you to let us know the precise model number of the shirt? All of our clothes have different washes, hand dyes or other treatments, so before we can give you a responsible answer we need to know exactly what piece you have. thanks, Geoffrey & the team

    Comment

    • Ahimsa
      Vegan Police
      • Sep 2011
      • 1879

      Geoffrey B. Small F/W20 Women’s – “freeze frame”

















      View more on SZ-Mag
      Photography: Matthew Reeves
      Model: Matilde Canuti
      StyleZeitgeist Magazine | Store

      Comment

      • darkpyramid
        Member
        • Dec 2019
        • 52

        Congratulations for winning the covid 19 battle

        Fast fashion suffer unexpected thing and sure they have to rearrange all their papers again, zara scored 0 sales in many countries for days and in middle east countries for weeks, even that is not the end of nightmare it's just the beginning

        Always consider shopping is not human behavior it's culture!
        For those who throw tons of garments in FFF retails then throw again by consumers in trash after just one use of them, they get hurt during covid 19, and they have to pay for that simply because they give a shit about professional fashion industry rules
        Just i compared between Geoffrey B. Small fans when they asked Geoffrey about his health even asked about his team during covid 19 days and the consumers of zara, H&M...... etc which stop their purchases with don't giving a shit to FFF stores and sales men, staff... etc who loses their jobs by covid 19, exactly the same situation to the fast fashion kings who don't give a shit to their consumers and only thinking how to reduce their cost by releasing their employees and shut their stores till the covid 19 end

        A deep look to Geoffrey B. Small, why his sales didn't hurt by covid 19,and why he didn't release some of his team to reduce the cost even his funding power by all logic methods is weaker than zara, H&M. as compared
        The reason why Geoffrey B. Small survive from covid 19 sales down is the culture, the culture which he teaches it to his fans and the respect of his fans to him by the same thing (the culture)

        Shopping in fashion is not mass stupid things throw to consumers for stupid cheap prices
        Fast fashion lords thought that, and they sure of they vision by growing sales and profitability statistics till covid 19 come and destroy the false vision

        Now they have again to turn their sights to Geoffrey B. Small fans and how by god they asked Geoffrey and his team to stay safe!
        They now have to analyze the reason of this strong deep relation between Geoffrey as designer and his fans

        Sure thing covid 19 will change the shopping methods, but it doesn't matter to continue in brick and mortar or converted to digital fashion era

        Covid19 teaches them hard lesson, to survive with your business, you have to build your business by culture

        One day this culture will protect your business exactly as Geoffrey B. Small approved that to the fast fashion lords

        Comment

        • sard.wonder
          Junior Member
          • Mar 2017
          • 10

          well put.

          Comment

          • Geoffrey B. Small
            Senior Member
            • Nov 2007
            • 618

            Originally posted by Ahimsa View Post
            *test placeholder*

            Hello, I am having some tech problems logging in to the forum and Ahimsa has given me a hand with this placeholder. I haven't been able to post since the Covid thing began earlier this year, but I wanted to try to quickly thank darkpyramid and sard.wonder for their kind posts. I also want to thank Faust and Ahimsa for their ongoing support and all of our dealers and customers for their amazing patronage, support and collaboration all year long inspite of the pandemic. Much has happened at GBS, we have taken our hits but we are also continuing to build dramatically. I hope to be able to post and inform more about things soon, hopefully we can get the tech issues here worked out and I can get a chance to come up for some air (it's been an intense year) and get some time to put together some nice posts. In meantime, our best wishes to everyone for very happy holidays, Geoffrey & entire GBS team
            Last edited by Geoffrey B. Small; 12-24-2020, 11:00 AM.

            Comment

            • Mojo1990
              Member
              • Oct 2015
              • 31

              Glad to hear you are doing well! I'm looking forward to your posts. Wish you all a safe end to the year and hopefully a far better beginning.

              Comment

              • Geoffrey B. Small
                Senior Member
                • Nov 2007
                • 618

                thank you mojo1990- finally getting back to you

                Dear Mojo1990,

                Sorry for the long delay again... I hope you and everyone reading here are all very well. I don't have to tell you that we are still living and working in a very special time. Things have changed in a big way for all of us and are continuing to do so. Most of fashion has failed to adapt to these changes and until things get back to "normal" - fashion as a business remains at great risk.

                But the question of when getting back to "normal" will happen and even if it will, is still a big one- and being greatly debated by experts all over the world. In the meantime, any serious master in the field knows that we must deal with the reality we are still in, and it is far from over. Since the pandemic first started to break out here in Europe we have been in a long, tough fight for our lives... and a race to completely transform our company to not only be able to survive during the pandemic but to prepare itself to grow in a post-Covid 19 world where much is at stake- including the very survival of the fine Art of making real handmade clothes.
                So after much thought and discussion with our clients, we started our revolutionary Geoffrey B. Small Evolution Concept Program for 2021. Some of you who follow us as clients or on our Instagram pages may already have heard something about it, but I would like to begin discuss it in more depth here on SZ.

                The concept of GBS Evolution was to adapt to these changes, survive them, and build into a new level of growth not by doing what so many other brands and designers have been doing--going to e-commerce and selling directly to the public and competing directly with their wholesale clients, or desperately trying to force buyers to come to showrooms and fashion weeks at a time when nothing could be more stupid, irresponsible or dangerous- and then loading their stores up with far too much of the wrong merchandise simply to keep their factories going at the expense of the stores. But instead, working more closely than ever with the best multimark designer retailers in the world, in a manner that resembles a working relationship that is more like a single-brand store, design and manufacturing system than an independent Paris designer collection and multi-label retailer relationship. Rather than cannibalize, we aim to grow the market overall allowing our partners to benefit and prosper with us.


                After having an amazing year in 2020 inspite of the terrible challenges being faced, we knew more than ever that we could do this because of our totally unique position and capability in the industry which gives us 100% control of all aspects of design, production and wholesale distribution in-house, combined with over 40 years of hands-on industry experience, and the best workoom tailoring team and organization and material and component suppliers in the world today. Our ability to change, innovate, create and produce short-volume product at unparalled levels of value and quality are unmatched by any other brand or designer or production firm in the industry. And our ability to help and support our best dealers to adapt and cultivate a new growing clientele and business at retail is absolutely unique as well.

                Evolution is exactly what the word means. A step by step development of just-in-time, close to season, quick delivery, design-order-production system that provides our best and most loyal and committed dealers with a regular program of deliveries that both refresh and enhance their offerings to their customers on a super-timely basis. The idea is to have the right pieces, in the right store, at the right time--to minimize waste at all corners, and to work tightly between designer and retailer to constantly evolve the product offering in a way that keeps the GBS customer loyal to the store... always coming back... and bringing new GBS customers into the same store, because it is always exciting, fresh, timely and a sure and trusted long-term value no matter what GBS piece he or she decides to buy. Excellence, value and trust will prevail, and the customers will recognize it during these difficult and challenging times and grow their business with us a result.


                More sales across less dealers

                Make no mistake about it, GBS Evolution marked a new level of brand commitment and investment in service to our dealers that is unprecedented in the history of the fashion industry. Imagine having the most advanced design and tailoring organization working in the world today backing up and supplying a store with exactly what its best clients need at every moment of the year for their wardrobes and their loved ones, no more and no less--and you can begin to get an idea of the power of what is possible. It does not come for free however, in addition to the sheer skill technical, artistic and operational capability to pull it off-- it also requires investment, commitment and focus... and to do that we did 2 things that need to be noted well. First, we reduced the number of GBS dealers in the world based upon their performances, behavior and strategic buying decisions during the pandemic last year. Stores that panicked and degraded their image and quality by either cancelling their orders with us, or loading up on lower level GBS Copy-cat artisan and/or brainless corporate luxury and streetwear brands- clearly failed to adequately pay attention and serve the growing GBS customer interest and demand at a critical time, and by necessity and in the interests of our customers and performing dealers, were and are being dropped. With the explosion of online purchasing being driven by the pandemic - these dealer cuts will directly benefit all remaining dealer partners dramatically--and GBS customers will be assured of better selection, product knowledge, follow-through and service when they need to find, acquire or service their GBS pieces. Simply put, less will be more.


                The new GBS Superworkrooms: a massive new investment
                to support our dealers better than ever before




                The new GBS superworkrooms represent well over a 6-figure euro investment in state-of-the-art new plant & equipment
                to support our customers better than ever before and cultivate the continued growth & development of our people and
                our extreme handmade clothing technologies, design & excellence.



                This principle is being further augmented with the incredible and historic investment our firm has been making during the pandemic crisis. On 6 November 2020 after more than 8 months of research, our firm signed leasehold contracts on a new 400 square meter (4000 square feet) facility, soon to be expanded to 700 square meters (7000 square feet) on the outskirts of Cavarzere Venezia where we are building the most advanced handmade clothing workroom superfactory in the history of tailoring. With signed options to expand in 2021, 2022, and beyond, to a maximum of 1500 square meters (15000 square feet), GBS has invested well into the six figures in euros to build a new state-of-the-art design and production center dedicated to bringing our extreme handmade clothing and sustainable design technologies and capacities to an entirely new level. The new facility is allowing us to support and serve our dealers in way that has never been done before from Evolution, to expanded VIP Special Order services, to improved capacities and turnarounds--all designed to provide more and more service, quality, innovation and satisfaction for the growing number of GBS customers worldwide. Since November, construction and plant and equipment teams worked diligently on the site to get it ready and operational. In the meantime, the Evolution program still moved ahead from our old workrooms at Via Spalato where we began our launches for China and Japan in January, to our new superfactory in February where we began to introduce the revolutionary new concept and service to Europe, North America and Hong Kong, and the results have been nothing less than remarkable.

                Now, as we approach the midpoint of this year 2021, I will try to catch up SZ readers more on this amazing new story with a new series of posts in the days and weeks ahead that I am finally able to begin to prepare. In the meantime, feel free to PM me with anyquestions you might have with many thanks to Faust and Ahimsa for keeping it all going on their side.

                Thank you so much for reading.



                Best wishes,


                Geoffrey
                & the entire GBS team


                Last edited by Geoffrey B. Small; 07-01-2021, 06:20 AM.

                Comment

                • Geoffrey B. Small
                  Senior Member
                  • Nov 2007
                  • 618

                  It's not a fashion show.

                  The real inspiration for Evolution was quite personal and involved a colleague who passed away recently- however, I do not want to get into that at this time- and will be focusing on other aspects instead.

                  Designing for Covid has been nothing less than a battle to survive and keep sustaining the myriad of people depending on our firm and its work for their own financial survival, from our employees to our suppliers and their families. Creativity depends first on being able to practice your work at all. That means any serious designer out there has had to sell during Covid, and that is no easy task. Witness how many are out. As Philip Johnson stated..."the first job of the architect is not to design the building. the first job of the architect is to get the job." With some 35 employees, 100 suppliers, more taxes than you can possibly imagine, and the future of our metier on the line.... the pressure back in March of 2020 was immense. We couldn't save everyone. After about a month in total lockdown and isolation our young international team resigned to go back home to their families, and our insufficiently developed PR/communications department was closed. Among them were some really great talented people, and we miss them. But you need more than talent to get through a crisis like this one. And it got worse, safety and operating laws changed overnight. A workplace that previously could have 30+ persons suddenly was limited to ten, and if you didn't comply--the authorities would shut you down. So as we were trying to find a way to keep working for our customers, every single aspect of our company, workspace, and the way we were allowed to even work at all was being turned upside down. And while idiots began and continued to complain that it was all fake or a hoax, in our town real people were getting sick and starting to die. With less than 12000, Cavarzere has lost well over 60. In a town that small, it gets hard to avoid reality like that. So inspite of the costs, delays and problems I made sure we did everything to follow the safety protocols and the science... we studied and developed masks, medical clothing, ran lab-tests on our designs, performed hygiene and distancing procedures at every corner, and immediately implemented full sterilization processes of all of our production pieces prior to shipping them to our clients. Everything took longer and longer to get done, and 2/3rds of us couldn't even come to work in our facility.

                  Only the veterans remained. Apart from Nicholas Giannelli, the remaining 25 staff were all local Cavarzerani team members. And they proved to be an amazingly tough and capable lot. And I am forever indebted to each of them for sticking it out and doing what it takes to make it--they are the best tailoring team in the business right now. Then there was Diana and me. We'd been through a lot together over the past decades and with our young design & management team suddenly gone--we were back to running a mom and pop again. So be it. It's not always the end of the world when ownership has to go back in and do everything themselves--in fact, my experience is that it makes a business become stronger. Especially a designer business. And that's what happened. Without going into any more detail at this time, that's what we did. I personally took over and did all the work in 5 different departments that the international guys had been running before they left. Diana did the same with production and buying ops. We had had an incredibly successful AW2020 Paris campaign, and thanks to all the dealers who didn't cancel, we were able to get through almost the entire year on those orders alone. More importantly, many of the deliveries proved to be successful in the stores as well, helping our great dealers to survive truly tough times as well... and for that we need to thank each and every customer who stuck with us and supported us with their purchases. We were delivering when many of other brands were not. But that wasn't the whole story. Value was the other. We never cut back on any aspect of our extreme hyper-quality at every corner or detail of our work, and our customers could rely on it. So when they had to get some clothes, even though they could not come in to a shop anymore-- they knew that if they bought a GBS... they would get their money's worth and then some. Nothing does more to help a firm survive a crisis than giving your customer real value for money.

                  So all last year right up to now, inspite of constant pressure from Fashion Week organizers and industry players to get us to participate in an endless series of attempts to bring-back-fashion-weeks... online, digitally, or whatever desperate concept they would keep coming up with... they just do not seem to grasp the reality that it is still too soon to do "fashion week"- and that there are still far too many people in this world who have the virus and are dying from it, too many health care systems overwhelmed, too many people who are not vaccinated or even close to it, and too many new increasingly virulent variants coming up for any real international fashion market event to be carried out responsibly. I mean come on... India and every nation around it, almost all of central and South America, half of Africa, Japan, Korea, and yes the United Kingdom- and this week suddenly Moscow are all out of control and sprouting scarier variants.

                  I am sorry, but I find putting together full-boat fashion show runway productions in front of only video cameras and calling it a digital fashion show calendar or whatever-- to be bogus. Forget about the money and lack of safety precautions involved in those huge productions involving dozens if not hundreds of people all together breathing on each other for hours. But the harder reality is that if you ask the world's buyers: how many are willing to leave where they are right now and spend 10-20 hours in a plane back and forth through airports, and then a week or two in hotels, taxis, showrooms, catwalk spaces, restaurants, cafes, bars- 95% of them will tell you NO. So if you show, you will be showing to a fraction of the market. And most of them are buying less than pre-Covid. So for me, it's just stupid to be trying to show in the same manner as before as long as this pandemic remains unresolved--and that means the whole world, not just one country. GBS is tiny, but we can easily spend 100k on a Paris sales campaign and show. Do 4 times a year for men and women and it's half a million. Our competitors spend far more. But they are selling far less in that channel now (the real money for them is in e-com). Economically it makes no sense to be pushing and spending money in a back to normal effort that simply isn't ready to be happening yet. In fact, it could be suicidal.

                  So I had to avoid them and focus on the orders we had in hand and the customers who were keeping us alive. And it worked enough to get us to the end of 2020 with a surprisingly large turnover given the situation which allowed us to invest in an entirely new workspace and company infrastructure for Covid times and beyond, that we had been working on since the crisis began. By then, we were also facing a whole new year without Paris where we typically generated up to 90% of all of our business. The idea for Evolution began after talking extensively with our clients,... and by early February, we began to introduce it with a small Instagram and email campaign which I copy here below.


















                  We started quietly in China, then Germany, followed by Japan and then other markets, and soon began
                  to see some very positive if not downright amazing results...

                  (to be continued)
                  Last edited by Geoffrey B. Small; 12-29-2021, 06:59 AM.

                  Comment

                  • Geoffrey B. Small
                    Senior Member
                    • Nov 2007
                    • 618

                    "Tintoretto and Locusts"

                    (continued from above)



                    Evolution I : the first step


                    Back in December, we decided to begin immediately with our newest exclusive superlux Como silk fabric prints for shirts, one of our best and most successful transitional categories. Since their first introduction 8 years ago, the GBS Como silk handmade supershirts have been building a remarkable following, and a reputation for being the very best. Better than any other luxury maison's equivalent by a longshot- point by point: from fabric to print design to buttons, components and construction and build. They are also priced extremely competitively with any other luxury brand's alternative. The room to grow across all of our dealers is huge, and even more so during the Coronavirus pandemic. In fact--we found that a major factor among non-performing dealers during Covid-19 lockdowns was inadequate stocks of GBS silk supershirts in their inventories. Stores that didn't have enough, simply missed a ton of sales. And the reasons were obvious. GBS silk supershirts are selling to a growing number of entry-level e-commerce consumers now discovering our brand for the first time and are ideal luxury wear products for people to wear at home in during lockdown in sublime comfort and elegance. They also go perfectly with streetwear, and are being sold more and more as gifts to be given to others, plus we are seeing more and more collectors- customers who are buying our silk pieces more than once and forming actual wardrobes of silk shirts.

                    Working closely with our top dealers, we decided that the first move towards making 2021 a record year was to immediately enhance and energize our silk shirt offerings in store to provide a new base for many more sales to come either by single pieces, or in outfit purchases combined with pieces that would come later in Evolution II and III.

                    Priority One was to get exciting and beautiful new silk shirts into our dealers stores asap. With the legendary Brenna family in Como, inspite of the Italian holidays and Covid-19 lockdowns, we were able to develop a stunning new group of impeccable 16-momme raso satin prints from which we could make a wide variety of handmade silk supershirt designs for February and March deliveries.

                    For more than a century, Como has been the world’s leading region for the creation and production of the finest silks on the planet. And for almost a decade, we have been working ever more closely with the legendary Brenna family in that region to create the most exclusive and the most beautiful new printed silk shirts in the entire world...



                    Above: The late Giannino Brenna, legendary patriarch of one of Como's leading silk printing
                    families &
                    founder of the area's top all in-house production operation,
                    a technical powerhouse
                    and
                    key supplier of the incredible silk prints that go into our GBS supershirts...








                    I quickly shot some of the new Como silk prints specially developed with the Brenna
                    family for Evolution I for our dealers to start to work with...






                    "Black Locusts"...

                    .



                    "Tintoretto autoritratti" (famous self-portraits done when the artist was young and old)...








                    "Tintoretto drawings of heads"...










                    "White Locusts"...







                    I have always believed that just like fresh, natural ingredients from fruits, vegetables, grains, fish, poultry, and meats etc.- for making great food to put into your mouth... beautifully made, all natural fiber fabrics like silk, linen, cotton, wool and cashmeres etc.- are fundamental to making great clothes to put on your skin and body. Fabric always comes first. And with these first new prints we were on our way to being able to create some awesome new work. Both Jacopo Tintoretto's amazing human emotional pathos and Nicholas Giannelli's compelling locust designs perfectly reflected the times we were in- between lockdown isolation and inner reflection, and the plague-like nature of the pandemic surrounding and affecting all of us- and yes, the very idea of evolution itself. We would be able to make just about any shirt, skirt or dress style our clients were familiar with, as well as develop our own new proposals, and we were getting excited. But there was still more on the way from our legendary masters in Como...



                    (to be continued)



                    Last edited by Geoffrey B. Small; 07-01-2021, 06:36 AM.

                    Comment

                    • Geoffrey B. Small
                      Senior Member
                      • Nov 2007
                      • 618

                      "Sharks, Geometrics & Trees"

                      (continued from above)


                      A lot happened to this industry since I came here over twenty years ago. Italy was the world powerhouse of designer clothing production in the 80's and 90's. By production, I mean they actually made it here. Except for Comme and Yohji, every single major designer, no matter where they originated from, all ended up producing their clothes here, even the Belgians, British and French. Italy's textile industry paid for all of its oil and energy imports and much of the country's rise to being the 4th biggest economy in Europe and the 9th biggest in the world--were built on the back of its incredibly talented and innovative textile and fashion industry. But when I arrived, a corrupted philosophy fueled by a new generation of industrial leaders who had trained at US-style MBA schools, was aggressively copying and implementing my country's globalization approach to industry that put short-term profit over long-term durability and human value. So, just as Levi's jeans were no longer being made in a U.S. factory let alone San Francisco, or an Apple or IBM computer were no longer being made in the US either... Dolce & Gabbana, Giorgio Armani, Diesel, Benetton and many other iconic "Made in Italy" megabrands were being produced in dramaticallly growing percentages at "offshore" production subcontractors following the American-business model. Those of you who know a little about me, know that I can say this because I have been in the middle of this story for decades at a personal level. You can read some of my earlier posts on this thread over the years to get more of an idea of the monumental degradation and toll this short-term industrial approach has taken on the Italian textile and fashion industry. No doubt, many of those brands are still big today, and other more recently famous brands have followed in their footsteps including Moncler, and the people behind labels like Owenscorp, Maison Martin Margiela, Off-White, Uma Wang, Alix, Palm Angels, Heron Preston and others. The brands' oversight operations and distribution companies are based in Italy, but a growing-if not already total amount of their production is not. And with the exploding dependence of the majority of luxury brands owned by LVMH, Kering and Hermes on Italian system "production companies" to make their products as well- using the same manner and methods, the situation is being amplified more than ever. While it has wiped out easily more than 85 percent of clothing manufacturing factories and employment in Italy since I got here, it has also wrecked the fabric-making sector. Today, you can almost count on your fingers the number of competent fabric mills in the country who are still able to make a decent roll of cloth that is not full of plastic, and that still exemplifies the knowledge, heritage and culture of one of the greatest fabric making civilizations in the history of mankind. It has been my personal mission to support that handful of Italian mills and work with them to build and create the best clothing in the world today and show this current generation of humanity what is still possible.


                      And without Gianni Gobbetto, our phenomenal Como silk story would never have happened. Gianni does not own or run a fabric mill, but his role was a crucial and a historic one. Gianni is from another age, he is one of the last of old-time "rappresentante." That's Italian for a regional sales rep who works on the road, going out to visit his clients and write his orders for the firm he works for. At a critical time in our development, Gobbetto introduced us to the legendary Brenna family in Como with whom he had worked for almost 40 years. The Brenna family own and operate one of the biggest and most complete in-house silk fabric printing operations in the world--and in my mind, the very best for making top level silk print cloth. With Gianni and the Brenna's operations we have been able to build an amazing story and capability that enable us to beat any rival luxury designer brand on multiple levels--but most importantly allows our firm to be able to focus on the art of the print itself--because once you get into the print game in a serious way, the single most important part of it all is the artwork of the print. And while our esteemed colleagues and competitors are busy scurrying in every new collection to copy our print stories from the season before them (just take a look at Instagram for 15 minutes to get an idea), they are always poorly executed copies on far lesser quality fabrics. And that is something that we feel are a lie to the customer who buys them. Prints are not just a "look." We feel that they must be much, much more. Nothing looks worse than someone wearing a cheap or wannabe looking print. There is no quick and easy way to create a great print nor the appropriate garment design that uses it. It requires nothing less than total control of every aspect of the materials and processes of creation and only the best of fabric, artistic and technological competence to make it right. And until one of our rivals puts in the time, money and total investment to achieve that, they are only fooling themselves... and their customers.

                      So when the exquisite Tintoretto and Locust tests arrived to us late last year, we knew we are on to something that would make our competition work even harder to copy and follow us. First, we weren't going to do pretty little florals or birds, or ad-infinitum-now-becoming-brainless-looking fake 18th-19th century renderings. Nor were we going to do numbers and handwriting like we introduced with "Radical Numbers" over 5 seasons ago that suddenly are everywhere in the "artisanal brand" sector. No, this time we were mirroring our times living in a pandemic, these print designs though beautiful, are not pretty--once you start to really look at them. And then the 2nd group from the Brenna family arrived filling in and completing this new reality story applied to luxury silk prints. And we got even more excited...




                      Squali - "A Pixelated World of Sharks"










                      Geometrics - "visions of mRNA and the connectivity of virulent transmission"








                      Trees - "on reverse background, as if almost a forgotten memory..."





                      .






                      With these powerful new exclusive prints to work with, it was now time to begin preparing prototypes ....



                      (to be continued)

                      Last edited by Geoffrey B. Small; 07-01-2021, 06:48 AM.

                      Comment

                      • Geoffrey B. Small
                        Senior Member
                        • Nov 2007
                        • 618

                        Evolution I : the concept of concentration

                        (continued from above)

                        I have always tried to be a serious student of the game, and I have had a lot of great teachers throughout my career. One of them is Armand Hadida, the founder of Leclaireur in Paris. When I first moved to Italy, I had to go through a major crisis in both my life and career, and learn about a whole new level of things as a designer- if I was going to have any chance of staying alive. One of these was the concept of [FONT=times new roman]concentration./FONT] Being in the heart of the production powerhouse of the fashion world--you got this message real straight and quick from any producer in the game. And honestly no creative designer really wants to hear it because it means dumping almost all of your ideas into the trash. During that time many years ago, I remember Armand Hadida telling me the story about the launch of Commes des Garcons SHIRT in the late 1980's. Needless to say, Rei Kawakubo is the mother of most of us all in the avant-garde metier, but back then CDC was rocking on all fronts and SHIRT had become a commercial legend among the best avant-garde retailers at that time... and a full blown collection on its own that along with CDC TRICOT had served as the incubator for Junya Watanabe to develop and then be given his own label by CDC in 1992. Kawakubo had started in the 70's in Japan and then with Yohji broke the Japan independent avant-gardist barrier in Paris in 1981. Her approach inspired 3 generations of independent Paris collection practitioners including her own followed in 1986 by Helmut Lang and the Belgians (Margiela, Demeulemeester, Van Noten, Bikkembergs and Walter), and then throughout the 90's an expanded wave that included ever more Belgians(Simons, Branqinho, Vandervoorst etc), and serious designers from other countries too including Ennio Capasa at Costume National, Carol Christian Poell, Maurizio Altieri, Marc Le Bihan, Rick Owens, and this writer among others. So when Mr. Hadida started telling me about the first CDC SHIRT presentation I was blown away, because he was actually there and saw it, and he was one of Kawakubo's most important clients in the world for a very long time. You see, CDC Shirt started with only 3 models. That's right 3 prototypes in the showroom for buyers to choose from. Period. No collection. No season really. Just 3 bang-ass popping shirt designs. It wrote a truckload, and the rest is history. What's really important though about that story is that avant-garde could be concentrated. And we all learned from it. Leclaireur. Carpe Diem. CCP. When you start something new, think about concentration. So as we set out to do our first introductory step for Evolution, we knew we were taking a shot at defying all current industry design, creation, and delivery practice. It was a revolutionary concept with a ton of risks... so the first thing that came to my mind to launch it was a concentration strategy, right out of the classic playbook. We talked carefully about fit, details and fabric, with our best people running stores and distribution and we started Evolution I with three GBS Como silk supershirt designs and no Paris show or showroom presentation whatsoever for the first time in over 2 decades...

                        And make no mistake about it, we were designing for Covid. Excellence, Value, and Function all the way. We didn't give a shit about all the fashion system media people's premature boredom and itch to go wild and crazy on the runway thinking- and complete lack and willingness to deal with the reality of what the pandemic meant for real people with money who still needed and wanted to buy clothes (if you would just give them something that was worth the money they were being asked to fork over). The CVS03, CVS06 and CVS07 were each designed to be superb pieces for transitional wear and relaxed at home working and living in superb comfort and elegance (because that is where people were living their lives), created from our long sleeve relaxed-cut longer length shirt pattern from our extensive tailoring research, and cut using the special new pure Como silk exclusive print 16-momme raso satin fabrics made exclusively for us by the legendary Brenna family in Como then specially dyed, treated or washed by hand in our workrooms. The designs all featured beautiful clean-finished all french-seamed interior construction, incredible buttons made for us in Parma, Brescia and Padova Italy by the greatest living buttonmakers in the world today, and our signature real hand-stitched buttonholes (that require 8-10 minutes to cut and sew each one,in pure silk Bozzolo Reale Seta Milan thread. The pieces also featured our world leading pure silk label created exclusively for us by Mion SpA in Torreglia which is the first label in the luxury industry to completely eliminate plastic polyester yarns in it featuring an all-new white and handstitch red silk color combination for 2021, along with a matching deluxe pure silk GBS handmade triple filtration tailor's respiratory community mask as standard equipment for ongoing Covid-19 pandemic protection wear. Solid, money in the bank investment value pieces, no bullshit. After four decades surviving a myriad of crises from 9/11 to 2008 to today's Coronavirus, that's how I aimed to play it. Drop the fantasies and take care of your customer by making the best and most beautiful clothes you possibly can...





                        Evolution I prototype proposals:

                        the CVS03 geometric supershirt...









                        the CVS06 Tintoretto "autoritratti" self-portrait supershirt...













                        the CVS07 "Trees" supershirt...














                        We began to propose each design one by one as we could complete their development. And then suddenly, a new idea came up from research and work that we had been doing throughout 2020 on our sustainable respiratory masks and medical protective clothing. And I felt that while it was great to follow the playbooks of great masters--we were not in 1988 anymore. We were in 2021, in the middle of a wild moment in world history, and it was a time to break rules in fashion if it made sense to do so. So I pushed to get one more new idea done, as fast as possible, that was going to be included as part of Evolution I, even though it wasn't going to be a shirt at all...



                        (to be continued)

                        Comment

                        • Geoffrey B. Small
                          Senior Member
                          • Nov 2007
                          • 618

                          Becoming a mask designer to save the company

                          (continued from above)


                          In March 2020, Italy went into a full national lockdown which- except for China was to be the toughest and strictest of its kind in the world. It was the 2nd country on the planet and the first in Europe to get really hit by the pandemic. And while I had voluntarily closed our operations a week before to help ensure the safety of my team, suddenly every company in the country was ordered to close down to try to slow the rampant spread of the Covid-19 virus which was on its way to killing over 125,000 in Italy alone.




                          Following the Italian Government's measures to close all companies, GBS on 22 March continued its own voluntary closure of operations at the Via Spalato workrooms that would last all the way until mid May.


                          The new law allowed only "essential companies" to keep operating and only under extremely rigid safety protocols and procedures. Like everyone in the world who has gone through lock-down, it was a time for serious reflection about where everything was going. With 35 employees, 100 suppliers, 20 dealer and distribution firms, local community and government with some of the highest tax rates of anywhere in the world-- all depending on the successful operation of our business--suddenly I was faced with the spectre of not being able to operate for days, weeks or even months into the future.

                          Very quickly, anybody who was serious with a company in Italy had to find a way to meet the criteria to become listed as an essential business. Fashion and clothing firms were not included, but companies that could make certified medical protection equipment (masks) and clothing were. Giorgio Armani, turned several of his GA Operations Spa factories on a dime into producing work uniforms for medical workers. A life member of the Italian Senate, he had the connections, contacts and political power to get the materials and certifications to make it happen in only a few weeks. I was blown away by this brilliant move that literally saved thousands of jobs - and determined to try to do something similar with GBS. It wasn't easy trying to explain the need to do this to some of our team who were "in" to do design and work in a more traditional fashion sense. But this was no time for fashion. It was a time for immediate solutions to huge problems-not just the exploding epidemic - but also the complete unpreparedness of the world's health care system to deal with it, starting with supplies of basic protection gear and having a public evenly remotely aware about basic hygiene. I believed as tailors could help to resolve this problem, at least locally. Everywhere around us there were no masks to be had--and the hospitals were already filling up. You couldn't see your doctor, ambulance sirens were blaring 24/7---and we were all breathing on each other. The few surgical masks that could be scavenged were being used and reused as much as possible.

                          In New York, Zam Barrett was going through similar issues and began to produce and promote cloth masks of his design. I was inspired by his initiative and began to show his posts to my team telling them that we needed to follow his example. We were all tailors and we needed to serve the community around us, by developing the best possible mask and producing it immediately. I also decided that we would not sell this product but donate it to anyone who needed it, and use it to begin to try to earn an Italian "essential business" certification that might allow us, like Armani, to keep our workrooms open and our employees working.

                          We soon learned that the PPE industry was dominated by the same petrochemical interests that had taken over the world's fashion and textile industries. All of the certified medical industry was plastic-based. By mid-March, Wuhan was already witnessing a second disaster rapidly building from the virus contagion. An unprecedented volume of virus-contaminated plastic based PPE materials were being dumped by container loads into a waste management system completely under capacity to handle it. And what was happening in Wuhan was going to be repeated everywhere in the world.

                          Even worse, everybody wanted to know about the contamination risks of the virus on material surfaces from bathroom door knobs to textiles. As an Italian company in the Veneto at the epicenter, we had to make absolutely sure that we would not be contaminating or infecting others with our shipments of textile products being made in Italy. Lab studies began to come out in the Lancet and New England Journal of Medicine. Amazingly, cloth with the virus in it not only reduced transmission risk especially if fibres were more porous, but if washed in hot water with detergents and exposed to 100+ centigrade high pressurized steam and heat could be sterilized and made safe from transmission. Metal and plastic were different, their lack of porosity and chemical makeup forced the virus to sit on top waiting to be swiped up by a finger or hand and transmitted into the person. Most importantly, was the length of time the virus remained on or in the material and presented risk of transmission. Of all the materials tested, certified medical surgical masks showed the longest lasting risk of viral transmission--you could never wash them, or reuse them, and if you touched one even a week after it had been used only once, you could be infected by it. No wonder so many front-line health workers who were forced to reuse surgical masks due to the shortages were so angry about it. Who knows how many of them died from reusing PPE certified masks. I won't even get into the front-liners in Wuhan and Italy who had to deal with the shortage of PPE tyvec suits and died as a result. Bottom line was that we had discovered a massive new problem of unsustainable product that was required to confront the pandemic, with no end in sight.

                          As long-time leaders in sustainable design and manufacture--we had a whole new horizon of work and I immediately tried to focus almost all of our resources and people on developing new sustainable PPE concepts. Perhaps this work could earn us an essential business certification from the government (particularly once they saw the massive economic impact it could have), and if not, for sure we would be able to gain from new technologies that would further allow us to provide GBS customers with ever more protection, safety and value in their wardrobes. Key development work on our early masks was performed by Diana Pernice, Lois Dionisio, and David Wild, while Nicholas Giannelli focused on medical protective gear and clothing. At the same time, I worked on material research and development which started with examination of existing medically certified textiles, and led us into a special project with Luigi Parisotto in Sarcedo who created a special high-count weave pure cotton textile with a certified anti-liquid, anti-microbial and bacterial treatment applied to its surface that would provide external protection and first layer filtration. The same fabric without treatment would be used as a lining fabric to rest against skin, and following earlier french military issue designs, an inside layer of special wool-blend 3-mm thick felted fabric would serve to achieve a triple-flitration design that could still be washable, sterilizable and reusable for maximum sustainablity. The first GBS Community Tailor's Respiratory Masks were lab-tested for safety, then introduced and steadily increased in our production for donation to the local community, eventually being used by hundreds of residents, local police, city workers, and companies including our own. Unlike disposable single-use masks, they featured high quality advanced sustainable and environmental design for improved comfort and long-term use, and used over 95 percent natural fibre materials to minimize the rapidly growing problem of Covid19 contaminated medical waste from plastic-based products. We also began to donate them to our dealers or make matching versions in our luxury fabrics to use as gifts with purchases of our clothing shipments last year to help each of them survive the devasting hit the pandemic was having on retailers in general. And for 2021, we have been providing them as standard equipment with all new GBS Evolution pieces for ongoing Covid-19 pandemic protection wear.




                          GBS handmade masks have been built and donated to local community persons and organizations and as standard equipment with GBS clothing. By using them, a single person can reduce the use of hundreds of disposable masks per year per person, avoid the high safety risks of reusing disposable masks and reduce damaging environmental contamination impacts and astronomical economic costs.



                          During our research of filtration materials I was introduced to a firm in Bergamo which proposed a pure silk batting which was very light and soft and unlike the wool blend felt which contained 3% synthetic percentage in it- was 100% natural fibres. I was able during the lockdown to get the firm to send us some for testing. Unfortunately for virus protection filtration, we found it to be insufficient. However, I felt strongly that we could use the material in the future to make some wonderful soft, light and comfortable quilted garments. So nine months later, as we were working on the revolutionary new Evolution concept , and our first proposals using the incredible new array of Como silk prints, I asked Nicholas Giannelli and Liana Cisotto to try to develop our first pure silk padded quilting idea in its simplest form. The result was the beginning of a whole new GBS product category...


                          (to be continued)

                          Comment

                          • Geoffrey B. Small
                            Senior Member
                            • Nov 2007
                            • 618

                            CVJ10: birth of a whole new GBS product category and way of working in avant garde...

                            (continued from above)

                            As soon as the first CVJ10 prototype was completed, we had that great feeling of knowing we were on the verge of something new and exciting. Using single-piece, individual, single-stitch diagonal diamond quilting detail work carefully and arduously performed by Liana Cisotto, the special new pure Como silk original black locust print 16-momme raso satin cloth developed in-house by Nicholas Giannelli and made for us exclusively by the legendary Brenna family in Como Italy was combined with the new superlux feather light all natural (no poly or synthetic fiber fillers) Italian pure silk batting interior developed in Bergamo, and finished inside with a dramatic lining story in floral jacquard loomed luxury viscosa lining fabric made for us by Ezio Ghiringhelli in Varese, then all specially treated and washed by hand in our workrooms for extra aging, textural draping and softness. This resulted in a wonderful new composite material that was light, soft and comfortable with endless aesthetic and design possibilities. A modified 5-button vintage workwear waistcoat pattern with diagonal pockets and varsity collar from our extensive tailoring research was combined with the new quilted material technique to create a beautiful, genderless, layering piece for timeless all-season relaxed at-home working and living. The extreme handmade waistcoat design could also be worn outside with spectacular effect for dress and casual occasions...








                            The new CVJ10 was created from a modified 5-button vintage workwear waistcoat pattern with diagonal pockets and varsity collar from our extensive tailoring research, and proposed a beautiful, genderless layering piece for timeless all-season relaxed at-home working and living. The extreme handmade waistcoat design could also be worn outside with spectacular effect for dress and casual occasions...








                            It was cut using the special new pure Como silk original black locust print 16-momme raso satin cloth developed in-house and made for us exclusively by the legendary Brenna family in Como Italy, combined with the new superlux feather light all natural (no poly or synthetic fiber fillers) Italian pure silk batting interior developed in Bergamo during the early months of the pandemic crisis. Originally, the special silk material was originally hoped to be used as a filtration element in our Covid-19 community mask development, but was found to be insufficient in its particle breathing and filtration tests. However, it proved to be an amazing new batting material to make padded and quilted superlux design pieces with. The new CVJ10 marked the first use of this amazing new all-natural certified interior filling material to date...








                            The extreme handmade piece included elegant impeccably hand-cut diagonal besom well pockets and a stunning new advanced leather and lacquered horn button masterpiece produced specially for us by the world’s greatest living button-makers- Cinzia and Claudio Fontana in Parma, Italy... even during the Covid pandemic they continued to prove their undisputable creativity, excellence and total dominance of their metier...








                            The interior was of course, beautifully finished with a dramatic lining story in a floral jacquard loomed luxury viscosa lining fabric made for us by Ezio Ghiringhelli in Varese, the leading master in the world at making jacquard weave lining fabrics in viscosa for luxury clothing pieces. The piece was then specially washed and treated by hand in our workrooms for extra aging and unbelievable softness...









                            Below: 2 masks as standard equipment. Each CVJ10 piece would come with both a matching deluxe pure silk GBS handmade triple filtration tailor's respiratory community mask and advanced side-vented mask designs in the matching silk fabric as standard equipment for ongoing Covid-19 pandemic protection wear...








                            But there was even more. The CVJ10 was designed to go perfectly together with the special pure silk supershirts being created also for evolution I. Here the CVJ10 is pictured over the CMS07 with each of the incredible fabrics combining in perfect harmony- providing its potential owner with amazing comfort, value and quality of life during ongoing pandemic times. By offering the best solutions of design and quality, we aimed to earn our customer's loyalty and support more than ever before...



















                            A work in process:


                            these historic photos were taken only moments after the completion of the CVJ10 prototype in our old via Spalato workrooms. As we were pioneering Evolution as the precise solution to our current pandemic situation worldwide, we suddenly realized that we were on the verge of an entirely new potential in creative power, innovation and excellence that we could share with our clients everywhere. The absence of the need to create large, wasteful prototype collections and harried fashion week presentations that involved trekking everyone and every thing thousands of kilometers back and forth from Italy to Paris at that moment, suddenly allowed us to work in an amazingly new focused and concentrated manner of creation, presentation and delivery. And on top of all that, what we didn't even know yet, was that some of our best dealers would also soon be bringing in another additional powerful creative element from their stores at the field level to the program that would push the energy, innovation and exclusivity even further through the roof...


                            (to be continued)
                            Last edited by Geoffrey B. Small; 07-10-2021, 05:03 PM.

                            Comment

                            • Geoffrey B. Small
                              Senior Member
                              • Nov 2007
                              • 618

                              Wow. "It’s like Supreme… except it’s real.”

                              (continued from above)

                              Within only a few months, since its introduction of Evolution was already showing itself to have been remarkably successful. Far exceeding our expectations, it created an all-time company record of orders ever generated without having a Paris fashion week collection presentation. Evidence that our fundamental concepts of hyper-quality, artistic excellence and putting real human values back into every single piece of our clothes, was continuing to work even during the toughest of times, and even without being able to show during major fashion weeks.

                              The orders were being produced and delivered to GBS Evolution dealers around the world with amazing complexity, exclusivity, and a newfound increased efficiency in our new GBS superworkrooms at Cavarzere Venezia in Italy... which were beginning to prove the worth of their huge investment as a major advancement in our extreme handmade technologies and artisanal production capability. A capability that is becoming more and more unlike any other designer, artisanal, or luxury clothing brand in the world.

                              Evolution was also not about our proposals being dictated to store buyers, but being a point of inspiration to collaborate at a level never before attempted by an independent design firm working with independent multi-brand retailers. And while some had difficulty getting their heads around this revolutionary new idea of having the world’s most advanced design and tailoring house able to customize pieces for a store’s precise clientele and situation, many of our most experienced dealers jumped on it—and brought in an additional level of creativity that enabled Evolution to achieve levels of exclusivity and design innovation to a new dimension in the luxury market. And so while Evolution I was launched with only 4 prototypes- its eventual arrival into stores offered an exponentially larger offering that differed completely from one GBS Evolution dealer to the next. Stores and their customers could be assured that each ultra-limited edition piece was totally limited and unique. As one of our top dealers in the world stated to me over the phone one night from Asia ”I am beginning to really like these quick and special drops. It’s similar to Supreme… except it’s real.” Another defined it as "bespoke for retail stores".

                              But this enormous complexity, attention to detail and artistic mastery was only rendered possible by an approach to design and craft that has been unique to our firm in building and developing over the past 4 decades. This approach is alone in the industry. And while generally ignored by what can be labeled today as "fashion" - it is well on its way to profoundly changing it. After tenacioulsy surviving the first year of the Covid-19 pandemic, Evolution I marked a historical combination of what can happen when the best living tailoring organization in the world today combines with a revolutionary new state-of-the-art production factory facility solely designed to making the best clothes by hand in the world today--and then, in collaboration with the best living fabric and component creators in the world today- is allowed to break a long-running monopoly of organized fashion market weeks around the world which have utterly failed to be able to safely operate during the ongoing crisis for 15 months and running, by using the internet which has become the biggest and most used commodity of the pandemic. Like zoom, amazon and so many others, our new growth was found in the ability to perform key parts of our practice online while the virus raged outside. Below we provide a glimpse of a few of the special versions of designs that have been created and delivered as part of Evolution I…






                              To adapt more to European market bodies and tastes, a different more fitted tailored european shape and pattern than the larger more relaxed cut CVS03, 6 & 7 prototypes that we proposed (see posts above) was performed for the new GBS Como Silk supershirts for Darklands in Berlin, The more relaxed body cut in the prototypes had been developed particularly for Japan in collaboration with our distribution partners Nobuhiko Akiyoshi and Yusuke Shiike at Le Berger in Tokyo.









                              Above & below: Yasutaka Hamada, owner at Souterrain in Roppongi Tokyo went all-out with a Tintoretto self portrait print head to toe concept fo full relaxed living design request including handmade t-shirts. It was a prescient order, Japan and particularly Tokyo remain in Covid lockdown today even as the Olympics are about to begin. We delivered the concept in March and they sold out...







                              Some customization was very subtle, for example our CVS03 prototype was changed to accommodate a more classic point-collar instead of the pyjama-style original and less pocketing and sleeve tab details for the venerable Hirshleifers designer emporium in Manhassett, New York. The 100-year old family-owned retailer is a powerhouse in the luxury market and is the only new client we have added to our remarkable GBS dealer network since the beginning of the pandemic...














                              ”It’s like Supreme… except it’s real.”















                              Osamu Kiyotake, founder of Hues in Fukuoka revised the CVJ10 by using one of our archive silk prints from the Brenna family, aTintoretto garden interpretration from our AW2020 collection development resulting in a stunningly beautiful example of pure classicism and excellence. In this age of instant ugly being passed off as creativity based on unprecedented general incompetence, I would dare to say right now "why not?"...







                              Trudi Goetz and Theo Grigoriadis at Trois Pommes then pulled everything way out there with a determined focus on bright colors for women for their flagship store in Zurich based upon our "locusts, sharks and vegetables." Most SZ readers will have no idea about this legendary swiss retail firm and its founder, but anyone who knows the real game does. One of the greatest living luxury market practioners today- they know their customers and they have worked with all the greats over the years at a very personal level. So it was only natural that they singularly could see the huge potential of GBS Evolution for their store and their clients, and they brought a new level of collaboration and input to it that is only beginning...









                              At the same time James Brown, Christie Fels, Alex Wysman and Richard Myles at Blue Mountain School in London had converted a full floor in their stunning new reconstructed design building to launch the GBS Maison last year- a private dedicated area for our new works, archive pieces and a steadily growing special made to order service that I have been building within our company. GBS Special Order has exploded during Covid-19 and is becoming a formidable new part of our business and creative operations. Based upon my fundamental formation 30 years ago as a bespoke tailor in Boston, we are steadily opening up these unique and rare services to a few of our most competent and loyal dealers, allowing them to serve the widening needs of GBS customers in search of design, sizing, fabrics and special features for their wardrobes not available in existing dealer inventories. BMS in London (formerly Hostem) is one of our longest standing retail partners going back over 12 years. Their broad knowledge of our work and methods along with their flawless independent presentation which has led the entire London market for over a decade has steadily built a phenomenal clientele of discerning customers who in our view are completely and decisively changing the definition of the real luxury market today. So it was logical that Evolution I for them would first and foremost enhance their special order business, with a focus on key big-time heavy hitter tailoring pieces, our forte for more than a decade and a half. That was fine with us, and a special story of handbuilt jackets and waistcoats using the great Fratelli Piacenza 1733 mill's latest "Alashan Breath" the lightest pure cashmere suiting cloth in the world for the Dolomiti jet-set version and "Sublime" super 140's birdseye weave luxury transitional wool suiting for a special internet introductory level version was created only for them...






                              By March of 2021, we were overwhelmed and all of our 25 team members had to prioritize and focus on working on deliveries, including myself. I could tell the diversity and range of work we were doing was unprecedented but I didn't have time to reflect or measure it. I only knew that something big might be happening. By the end of April we were amazed to hear from our accounting people that Evolution I order totals had matched the historical Paris sales campaign numbers for an entire spring/summer season. Wow. We had to stop and think. An entire Paris collection's business generated only from our new superworkrooms at Cavarzere without doing Paris at all. It seemed impossible. But there it was. There was no time to tell anyone, especially the industry media. And with Evolution now up and clearly running, it was suddenly time for the next step. It was time for GBS Evolution II...


                              (to be continued)

                              Comment

                              • zamb
                                Senior Member
                                • Nov 2006
                                • 5834

                                Great read, enjoyed every bit of it.
                                hope you and the team are welll
                                “You know,” he says, with a resilient smile, “it is a hard world for poets.”
                                .................................................. .......................


                                Zam Barrett Spring 2017 Now in stock

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