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Thread: Geoffrey B. Small

  1. #1021

    Default Our position on the use of synthetic fabrics like polyester

    I realized some Japanese fashion designers like Rei Kawakubo or Issey Miyake really love to use synthetic fabrics like polyester. I know Mr. Samll is strongly against using synthetic materials. I'm just curious that why those highly regarded deisngers choose to use a lot of polyester? Is it because of the cost (unlikely for the price they are selling for)? Or there're advantages of polyester that natural fabrics don't have? I've heard that years of research made synthetic materials today much better quality and less pollutive, is that true? I personally would prefer what GBS is doing but just curious about those questions, and would love to learn more about it. Anybody who can share some knowledge would be appreciated!

    Dear WilliamZHL,

    Sorry for the long delay, it is very very busy running the company and I am just returning from a visit to China where the problem you discussed is bigger and more serious than ever due to the race by western-corporate luxury fast-fashion streetwear brands to exploit the huge, poorly-informed Chinese millennial and Z-generation consumer market in what is currently a mad blitz that is affecting the entire global industry, and frankly, not for the better.

    Our position on petrochemical based synthetics such as polyester, which is simply another name for plastic is clear. We believe it needs to be completely eliminated from fashion and textile industry use immediately.

    If you are not aware of the current contamination situation caused by our industry's use of these materials you need to be informed and I will try help you to do so in this post.

    First let's start with reading my essay entitled "The Fabric of our Civilization" in published in Many of Them magazine over 3 years ago, which already began to hammer on my colleagues including the Japanese previously mentioned and others, and the explosive of use of plastics in fashion and textiles in the past decade, both at the high and low end of the industry. I posted the article for SZ readers in July of 2014. You can, and should read it now, here…

    That article however, was written before a major article in the Guardian came out reporting on the 2011 scientific ,research discovery by Dr. Mark Browne then working in Ireland, who tested ocean water samples from around the world and found that they were all contaminated with invisible plastic micro-fibres, which very likely were coming from the massive use of polyester textiles, with cutting-room dust and fibre run-off in washing, going into the world's effluent and eventually the seas. Even more alarming, was the blatant reproach by big members of our industry who claim to be green, environmental and sustainability-concerned to Dr. Browne's research, findings and attempts to get more funding for that research. They literally slammed the door shut on him. This contamination is so diffused everywhere that it means that all ocean life is contaminated with internally ingested tiny plastic particles that are now in the food chain that we too ingest. If you have not seen this article yet, you need to. Here is the link….

    Patagonia's shining example: "The president stole your land. But we poisoned your water."

    One of the worst culprits in this incredible story is Patagonia. Who while they claim to be so environmental and are suing the president and running a massive pr campaign about his anti-environmental policies to make themselves look great to environmentally concerned consumers, are at the same time blocking and covering up their own highly probable role in being a major contributor to the polluting of the entire planet's water with their massive use of polyester fleece that is fundamental to their core products. While they have touted the fact that much of the polyester they use is "recycled" and therefore "green," the tragic facts now clearly show that recycled or not, plastic is plastic, and used in fabric it is running off in both production, wear, and washing operations into the world's water systems. In the end, all water is connected on earth. And they know it- and they have taken the strategies used by the asbestos, tobacco, fossil fuel, and nuclear industries to deny, delay, block and evade responsibility, as indicated clearly in their actions and statements reported several years ago in this piece here, which you should also read…

    BUT the news has gotten worse. Inspite of corporate fashion's attempts to block further research by Dr. Browne, other labs have since followed his courageous lead and have now examined the world's tap and drinking water and found the same ubiquitous and insidious contamination. In the best case, we are now looking at some 70-85 percent of the world's tap water is now full of plastic micro-fibres. Think about it. If you have brushed your teeth, drank or washed your dishes recently using tap water, the plastic from that tap water is now probably inside you and your organs. How much can our bodies biologically deal with increasing levels of plastic molecules ingested and remaining inside us? We have no real idea yet, albeit we do know that many of these plastic have dioxins already proven to be cancerous and very dangerous to human health. So fashion has not only poisoned the oceans , it has now poisoned our drinking water, and it is poisoning us. And don't think buying bottled water will save you, read the full story published this year in September again in the Guardian here….

    How bad it really is, a summary by Orb Media:

    For an up to date overall summary from big pieces of plastic creating islands in the seas too big to measure to micro pieces now in your gut, you should take a look at Orb Media's online page of links and stories here…

    So I am sorry SZ people and elsewhere, my position and my company's position has nothing to do with pleating, fake lies of safer polyesters and synthetics, or even the lousy, cheesy, cheap feel of the stuff the minute your skin touches it, no matter how esteemed the designer name on the label may be. My issue is that our use of the stuff has now totally poisoned the water on earth, and our bodies are now facing an entirely new enemy from within that is formed from petrochemical molecular structures that are potentially very cancerous to us and building up inside our organs and tissue. Knowing this, what kind of fools are we now to proceed to use these kinds of materials? What kind of designer or brand would be so negligent, irresponsible and dangerous to the entire human and natural community on this planet to go ahead and continue to use anything with polyester or any other plastic component in its product? While it is true industrial forces have made it almost impossible to source non-plastic materials, components and packaging any more. My company and my design vision are fighting this to the end. We are eliminating all plastic in all of our products as much as we can and our clothes contain almost none at all. And we are fighting with each and every one of our suppliers to follow our lead and stop the plastic tap from running. We are using our growth and increasing purchasing leverage to demand suppliers to develop and sell us non-plastic alternatives at every point.

    But where are my colleagues? How can Yohji, Comme, Issey, Uma, Rick, Ziggy, Moncler, Prada, Demna, Gosha, Balenciaga, Vetements, Givenchy, Alessandro, Gucci, Off-White, LV/Supreme, Kanye, Hussein, Ann, Raf, Shayne, Olivier and zillions of others with all their money and power sit there and do nothing? Every time I just touch their clothes - I feel it, my hand recoils, my skin sweats, the poly is in there--- as much as I admire their talent and respect so many of their life's work and design aspirations-- I must ask myself "why the fuck are you still using this shit?"

    And as the corporate luxury fast fashion streetwear blitz is now in full assault on the 400 million plus Chinese millennial and Z-generation customers with more of the same than ever before in human history--- I walk away disappointed, saddened, and feeling alone on an island in a sea of plastic, and a world of fools, just racing to kill themselves, and me as well.

    Stop using plastic in fashion. And for God's sake, stop buying it.
    I hope this clarifies my position.

    In haste, back to work.
    Best wishes,


    P.S. I will have more on this subject in an upcoming article in Less Magazine coming out soon from Denmark.

    "The Blind Leading the Blind" 1568, Pieter Bruegel the Elder. Tempera on canvas. Museo e Galleria Nazionale di Capodimonte, Naples. Bruegel's visualization of the parable is among the most famous compositions from the entire history of painting and perfectly summarizes the state of the fashion and textile industry today.

  2. #1022


    Very informative, thank you!
    IG: @avimagaram

  3. #1023


    Thank you, Mr. Small, for your insights... I took some time and read all posts in this thread before writing anything. I totally understand your position and I feel your disappointment. I believe the kind of struggles you experience are not in fashion exclusively. All industry are making some sort of damage to the world we live in. I'm not a very optimistic person, I feel even many, such as you, are trying to make things better, but the obstacles are so huge that changes can be hardly made. The wheel started to roll a long time ago...

  4. #1024

    Default A little optimism, combined with action, can make a world of difference

    Quote Originally Posted by WilliamZHL View Post
    Thank you, Mr. Small, for your insights... I took some time and read all posts in this thread before writing anything. I totally understand your position and I feel your disappointment. I believe the kind of struggles you experience are not in fashion exclusively. All industry are making some sort of damage to the world we live in. I'm not a very optimistic person, I feel even many, such as you, are trying to make things better, but the obstacles are so huge that changes can be hardly made. The wheel started to roll a long time ago...
    Dear Avi,
    thanks so much for reading and your kind post.

    Dear WilliamZHL,

    Thank you so much for reading all the posts on our thread. You are absolutely right, it is not limited to fashion. Many many other industries are creating damage in the world we live in, particularly military, petroleum, fossil fuels and big agriculture, to name a few of the biggest. But we must never give up, especially now, to try to make a change and influence others. My experience is that much can be done by a few. And persistence along with smart leveraged strategy and execution can go a long way.

    In fashion, our tiny firm has had a huge impact by using our position at the advanced research Paris collections level to take the industry into a new direction. Remember in 2007 and 2008 there was no one proposing let alone doing sustainable design at the Paris level--except us. We made the first drop in the pond and the ripples have flowed out to wider and wider circles. We can only smile now as Kering and LVMH, and the 80+ brands they own and control suddenly scramble to try to appear "green." After more than 20 years of being copied time and time again, we have begun to master the game not by fighting the copiers, but getting them to copy things we want them to be doing. Believe me, they may never admit it, but top people in the game have watched us closely since the '90's. And they are still doing so. We view that as our primary job in the industry, we have to stay ahead of the best of them.

    Nowhere is this challenge more important now than in the intense, super high-stakes Chinese millennial and Z market -- where the entire industry is focusing all of its efforts in a make or break last ditch effort for some 400 million customers to buy yet another version of fast fashion cleverly spun as "luxury streetwear" - before enormously powerful demographic, economic and political forces completely clamp down in this huge market's spending capability in a way that I believe is going to stun much of the rest of the world.

    Standing alone in this battle-ground market at ground zero in a restructured renovated nuclear bomb shelter in the center of Shanghai is a small but heroic independent retail store called Eth0s, which singlehandedly is going against the grain of the mass luxury groups and building a clientele that is educated and increasingly dedicated to the pursuit and appreciation of the true art, culture and history of fine craft and design upon which not only China herself has been built over 3 millennia, but Europe and the West as well for at least 2 millennia. Without a doubt the best independent design store in all of China, Eth0s is a courageous and brave endeavor with a long-term vision and philosophy more often than not, totally misunderstood and under-appreciated by the majority of mainstream Chinese consumers blinded by WeChat and Western corporate sponsored-Chinese celebrity bullshit media, but in my eyes worthy of tremendous praise and support from educated and concerned design customers both inside China and outside. For the best of the best in the design world, it is now a destination location and we are both proud and honored to be one of the very few selected collections that are regularly presented in their store. The very survival of sustainable design art, craft and historical material culture in the world's biggest and most powerful market in history now lies in their hands, and in our ability to, each of us, support their mission.

    And as we make our propositions to radically change the direction of fashion and design towards a whole new horizon with our clothing pieces that hang in their store, we see now more and more of the world's best design people coming to Eth0s and subsequently viewing our works and perhaps being influenced by their intrinsic message and execution. One by one, each of us can learn from each other, take inspiration and then take action. Momentum can build, a snowball can begin to roll down a hill on its own, and great changes can indeed actually happen, if we all work together towards a common interest.

    A journey of a thousand miles always begins with the first step.

    Therefore, we will carry on on our end, as long as we can.

    A little optimism, combined with action, can make a world of difference.

    With best wishes for a wonderful New Year 2018 to you and everyone reading us on SZ.

    Geoffrey & the team

    * * * * *

    Eth0s's unique position in the battleground Chinese market and its revolutionary countercurrent philosophy is
    making it a destination point for many of the design world's most serious practioners...

    Two generations of mastery in one room: Yohji Yamamoto views works in the GBS space at Eth0s during a recent visit
    to the store in Shanghai (photo courtesy of SURV, Shanghai).

    The legendary Carpe Diem founder and m_moria shoe collection creator Maurizio Altieri at Eth0s with Eth0s sales staff
    team member Tikki (
    both wearing GBS handmade superjackets) during his recent visit and exhibition at the store. The
    enormous tree trunk behind them (developed by Shanghai architect Alexander Moh) actually serves as the store's cashier
    and sales counter.

    GBS in Shanghai at the stunning underground entrance of Eth0s where the designer is leading a new revolutionary design
    alternative in China that directly challenges the massive consumer marketing push of western-corporate luxury brands
    now being aimed at over 400 million Chinese millenial and Z-generation fashion customers. (photos: Nara Tse for Eth0s)

  5. #1025


    Quote Originally Posted by Ahimsa View Post
    For pleating, you typically need to use a fabric that has something around a minimum of 45% poly or else they might come undone and will have to be reset. However, decades old Mariano Fortuny silk pleats still hold today so it also might have do with our modern techniques that affects our current state of pleats.
    Issey also uses machine pleating as far as I know for his Pleats Please so this also might be why poly is necessary as this method probably destroys delicate silks. Perhaps Geoffrey has more insight into this.

    CDG definitely sometimes does their bags in leather (unless they've stopped?) but will alternate from season to season from pleather to leather as far as I've seen.
    I believe to this day Fortuny's pleating technology is still a great fashion mystery. I heard that in school and from a few exhibitions over the years and I think it is still the case, yet a great
    example though for non poly pleating!

  6. #1026

    Default get ready

    Sorry, we briefly interrupt this discussion on plastics, pleating etc... to inform you that there are just 12 days to go for a new generation of designer-tailors to be introduced in Paris at 8.30pm on Friday the 19th of January. It's going to be quite a day...

  7. #1027


    Show is now full but we are holding a few more places for SZ'ers in Paris who wish to see the presentation Friday night.
    RSVP Lionel asap:

  8. #1028


    WITH A riveting live theatre and multimedia performance of Shakespeare used in a presentation for the very first time in the history of Paris runway, "Get Ready" marks the firm's most ambitious technical and artistic collection and presentation to date--and showcased a wide array of new techniques, fabrications and shapes from its world-renowned via Spalato workrooms at Cavarzere Venezia, along with a new generation of designer tailors who have been building their skills and ideas in a remarkable new training and development effort to extend the art, science and culture of handmade clothing into the 21st century. More on the revolutionary presentation and the collection coming soon...

  9. #1029


    Wow Geoffrey! Yet again, one of the only shows that justifies the efforts of Fashion Weeks, Sent to my friends and family.

    P.s. Nice dance moves

  10. #1030


    How Geoffrey B. Small Used Shakespeare to Transform the Runway
    by Eugene Rabkin

    "For his latest menswear collection, called “Get Ready,” shown during this past men’s fashion week in Paris, the designer Geoffrey B. Small turned to Shakespeare. The reenactment of a scene from “King Lear” served as the backbone and the background of another emotional show. Small is never one to shy away from expressing his political and sociocultural views, nor to use his work in their service. What better way to use art and unite it with fashion than a runway presentation? Indeed, fashion is at its best, or at least most engaging, when it speaks to other cultural disciplines, or listens to them.

    We often call a good fashion show theatrical, but according to Small there actually hasn’t been any theater used in a runway show (I cannot recall any either), and in a way this was a visionary outing.

    Why King Lear? Environmental concerns are very much on Small’s mind, and have been for some years. And King Lear is about squandered wealth, a resource of a kind. It is also about squandered love, a resource that is often taken for granted as self-renewing, but is actually far from such. King Lear is also a play where everyone is guilty, perhaps with the exception of Cordelia. Though Lear suffers much, he is an impetuous, capricious patriarch, who is now paying for his sins of pride and shortsightedness. Small recast this in a different light, making Lear a representative of an old generation that has squandered our planet’s resources, turning it into a wasteland. This was represented by a runway covered in plastic. Lear and his Fool, also covered in plastic, appeared in the famous scene on the heath, in which Lear curses his ungrateful daughters and the Fool wishes for a world of human righteousness that never has and doubtfully will ever come."

    Full article, video, and collection on StyleZeitgeist Magazine.

  11. #1031


    Wherein we learn the B. In Geoffrey B. Smalls stands for Boogie.

  12. #1032

    Default thank you and request for your support in NY


    Thanks to everyone, particularly Eugene Rabkin and SZ-mag for a great piece. Additional coverage is coming out internationally and we will try to post a few selections in the days/weeks ahead when time permits. I would like point out that that's Graham Newmarch (owner of Calculus in Victoria) and Brad Sisk in the photo who starred as the Fool and King Lear, respectively. Much credit needs to go to them for their incredible performances, and also in particular to Brad... who directed the acting performance and arranged the intense accompanying Penderecki Threnody remix soundtrack, our long-time art and staging collaborators from the UK, Paul Bradley and Sam Bradley who did the amazing stage and set design, and Paris's mega-lighting master Maurice Giraud who did the spectacular lighting of the show. And of course the entire GBS team at Cavarzere, our suppliers and our clients worldwide.

    I will that add that Brad Sisk who also directed "Come & Go" for us last October, has played a major role in our historical push into live-theater and classical music with fashion presentation in Paris. An extensively trained opera-singer (Venice) and theatrical actor (New York), Sisk has worked full-time in our Italian operation for the past few years at Cavarzere building up our storybook and communications department. He performed the lead-singing roles of William Blake and John Cage works in the AW17-18 "Secrets" and "Grow Deep" presentations last January and March in Paris, and his unique talent, passion and background has enabled our firm to continue push the limits of Paris fashion presentation and completely redefine it with a new point of view towards re-introducing classic human art, skill, and culture to a new generation of fashion audiences and aficionados. A new generation that we hope will begin to turn the tide away from corporate brand and media stupidity, consumerism and ignorance of all that is worthy and representative of the vast treasure trove of human excellence and know-how, culture, and achievement that those same corporations are now racing to exterminate.

    In this endeavor, Brad was heavily occupied for months preparing for the GBS Shakespeare performance for Paris. And then right after Paris, at sudden notice, he had to go to NYC to help a very close friend who has been hospitalized for almost a year and very possibly dying with a deadly drug-resistant new strain of Tuberculosis. And although he was able to get medical insurance for the hospital stay--thanks to the wonderful USA social net situation, he had no coverage for not being able to work and is in the process of losing his apartment in New York (if he lives) as he has been unable to work for almost a year and is running in arrears of his rent. Brad asked me if he could go to NYC straight from Paris and spent 3 days to try to see the situation and get the apartment to sublet and then came back not only tired and worn-out but frankly, quite depressed and angry as there was no way that was enough time to get anything done and will need to go back. We are giving him the time to return to New York and he is preparing a special fundraiser performance of Eugene O'Neill's "Long Day's Journey into Night"- widely considered to be the playright's magnum opus, to help his friend try to avoid being evicted from his apartment. Sara Lazzaro who starred in the "Come & Go" Beckett October GBS Paris show is planned to co-star with Sisk in the performance which is tentatively being set for May in New York City, and is in talks with Graham Newmarch about being in the cast as well. Sorry if it's a bit personal, but that is the reality of what is happening, and for more and more Americans at broader and broader levels of the middle class (this guy was a successful fundraiser for the Met in NY--but working free-lance on straight commissions with no employment contract or benefits--I am surprised and disappointed at the Met in this regard quite frankly--I guess this is a growing normal trend for employers and "non-profit" organizations across America now) no one can afford to get sick, if you do and are lucky enough to survive, financially you and your family can lose everything you have and then some. A major reason I got out of there almost 20 years ago.

    We will continue to update this thread on the fundraiser effort and support Brad through this difficult and terrible period, and we strongly feel that for those of you in the New York area who enjoyed or were interested in the "Get Ready" and "Come and Go" GBS Paris presentations, the fundraiser performance would be a great way to experience and help support the Art of live theatre and a person seriously in need. A person like so many Americans today who- simply because of a serious medical illness and the extreme lack of any social support systems in the country (from employers to state) for people who get sick- is falling through the cracks in a savage and innately inhuman American societal situation that remains unique in the entire industrialized world. We hope you can consider supporting this effort and spreading the word about this issue which is affecting far more people in New York, and indeed the U.S., than most of us realize before it's too late. Thank you again.

    Best wishes,

    Geoffrey & the team

    A dramatic image of Brad Sisk captured by legendary Japanese fashion editor and photographer Toru Kitahara in Paris last June from the limited- edition book “100” now being printed in Italy and coming out in March 2018 to commemorate the firm’s 100th collection presented in Paris. The multi-talented artist is planning a very personal fundraiser performance of Eugene O'Neill's "Long Day's Journey into Night" in New York in May which we hope SZ readers in New York will be able to support.


  13. #1033
    kitsch killer Faust's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Long hard road out of hell


    Hi Geoffrey - please have Brad reach out to me and we will do our best to promote the play on our end.
    Fashion is a form of ugliness so intolerable that we have to alter it every six months - Oscar Wilde

    StyleZeitgeist Magazine

  14. #1034


    Quote Originally Posted by Faust View Post
    Hi Geoffrey - please have Brad reach out to me and we will do our best to promote the play on our end.

    if there is anything I can do to help you all can let me know

    “You know,” he says, with a resilient smile, “it is a hard world for poets.”
    .................................................. .......................

    Zam Barrett Spring 2017 Now in stock

  15. #1035

    Default thank you Zam and Faust & now it's time to "get set"...

    Originally Posted by Faust
    Hi Geoffrey - please have Brad reach out to me and we will do our best to promote the play on our end.

    Originally Posted by Zamb

    if there is anything I can do to help you all can let me know


    Zam and Faust, thank you so much for your offers to support Brad's NYC effort, you guys are awesome. Meanwhile over here, it's time for Paris women's. Like last time we are now full, but we can make up to 5 places available for SZ people who would like a chance to attend our AW2018-19 women's show on Saturday night. Please contact and rsvp your place to Lionel asap: cheers, Geoffrey & the team

  16. #1036

    Default "get set" photographed by Matthew Reeves now up on SZ

    A quick and big thank you to Faust, Ahimsa and everyone for the Matthew Reeves photo coverage of "get set" for StyleZeitgeist which you can start to see on the seasonal collections thread here...

    More news coming soon... Geoffrey & the team

  17. #1037

    Default "Why Slow Clothing Needs to Hurry Up" Geoffrey B. Small in Less Magazine no. 10


    WHILE fashion in Paris now whirls around the latest runway presentations and conceptions of the world's most elevated and revered creative designers and brands, the industry's immense sustainability, ethical, and environmental issues and their effects on all of us remain present with little signs of going away. Recently, an independent online magazine dedicated specifically to slow clothing design asked us to give our most current unabridged view on the situation for their first print issue which was launched a few weeks ago during the Copenhagen design week. With their permission, a digital copy of the article out now in Less Magazine's Issue number 10 entitled "Why Slow fashion needs to hurry up," is being made exclusively available for online viewing here on SZ -with many thanks to the editors and publishers of Less and StyleZeitgeist.
    Best wishes, Geoffrey & the team

  18. #1038


    Great read
    I smiled at the limited edition many UNlimited editions out there

    I really want to live in an age where we all knew the face of the tailor and could talk to him/her before purchasing an item, where every piece of clothing was an original 1/1 garment, where we would patchwork and remake when damaged and an age where we could just burry the garment in the dirt when it would fall.

    Hopefully that age exists not only in the past but also in the future.

    Thanks to SZ we can talk to the tailors before buying so we have that at least.

  19. #1039

  20. #1040


    Quote Originally Posted by HugAndWug View Post

    Sorry, is what real? What exactly are you referring to? We have never liked poly and for the past decade and a half, we have totally gone against the industry direction and have been trying to eliminate it completely for 100% of our designs and products. Why do you think we are using poly? Please clarify your post. Thank you.

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