Clotheslines by Marylou Luther


          Q: Dear Marylou:  You What’s the latest in sustainable fashion?  Make that:  What’s the latest in affordable sustainable fashion?__G.C., Hapeville, GA.

        JSong upcycled TShirt - Way Zen illustration


    Dear G.C.:  The latest eco-worthy designs are the brainchildren of Way Zen, JSong’s multi-talented designer/thinker/innovator.  Here’s her explanation of why she developed what she calls the upcycled T-shirt:
   “The fashion industry is facing a seemingly impossible task.  As one of the biggest contributors to pollution, fashion designers are looking for different solutions and new ways to make fashion with the least environmental impact.  At JSong Way, we’ve developed a sustainable upcycled T-shirt program.”
   The basic idea is to take a simple cotton T-shirt and customize it with neckline, sleeve and length alterations/transmogrifications made from scraps, patchwork pockets and embroidery stitching from the leftover bin in JSong’s atelier.   The T-shirts, made in New York’s garment district, are available in sizes 4 through 22, with descriptions on how to measure.  Now here comes the best part:  Each T can be customized to the wearer’s wishes—make that within-reason wishes—from a choice of color (black, white or blue), length, sleeve or sleeveless and fabric patchwork availability. Way Zen’s illustration here is her version of the sustainable T inspired by the Brooklyn Bridge and its suspension wires.  It’s a crewneck T with illusional collars and functional pockets created by patchwork, and embroidery imitating the suspension wires.
   And now:  The almost best part:  The T is priced at $149, with customization available within five business days.   You could say that Designer Way is way, way ahead of the pack in upcycling.  To learn more or to order, email



       illustration by Way Zen 


       Q: Dear Marylou:  In the July 24 edition of The New York Post, there’s a big article reporting that “New research says ties interrupt blood flow and increase the risk of stroke.  Is it time for businessmen to cut loose?”  One part of the story states that the British Journal of Opthalmology found that a tight necktie increases intraocular pressure and “could affect the diagnosis and management of glaucoma”.  And here’s the fashion message:  “Forcing men into a specifically ‘male’ article of clothing, especially one that is linked to negative health effects, is a form of gender discrimination.”    Could this be the end of neckties for men?__ J.I., New York, NY. 

             Dear J.I.:  But first this message.  The Post story you refer to appeared  almost the same day, July 26, that WWD, the country’s leading trade publication covering both menswear and womenswear (plus accessories, beauty and business) showed the 39 menswear looks it considers the top men’s trends for spring 2019.  The only tie in this lineup was one tied loosely and tucked into an open-neck sport shirt with “Dad jeans”.  
   As American journalist Linda Ellerbee put it:  “If men can run the world why can’t they stop wearing neckties?”
   It’s a knotty problem.


   Q:  Dear Marylou:  I will be coming to New York in January, and would like to wear my fox jacket, but I don’t want to become a target for anti-fur militants.  Advice?__ W.M.D., Omaha, NE.

            Dear W.M.D.:  If last winter was any indication, you’ll see furs on the streets of Manhattan come January.  Even celebrities like Naomi Campbell, who once posed naked for PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals), was widely photographed in fur outfits.  And Vogue’s Anna Wintour, who once had a dead fur-bearing animal thrown on her plate while lunching at the Four Seasons restaurant, was not afraid to further the cause of fur.


   Q: Dear Marylou:  My fiancée is a Virgo.  What should I buy her for her birthday?  What should I not buy her?__ N.N., Cleveland, OH.

           Dear N.N.  Because Virgo is an earth sign, your fiancée would probably love something in an earthy color such as warm, muted beige, clay, brown and gray.  Do not buy her red, yellow or orange (alas, three of the hottest colors of the season).  Detail-minded Virgos appreciate clothes and accessories with details. As in:   Clothes with  jewels and flowers, pants with patterns or prints (trending high) and, of course, a T-shirt with a Virgo logo.


  (Marylou welcomes questions for use in this column, but regrets she cannot answer mail personally.  Send your questions to


©2018 International Fashion Syndicate 


Marylou Luther, editor of the International Fashion Syndicate, writes the award-winning Clotheslines column, a question-and-answer fashion advice feature read weekly by more than 5 million.

In addition to her syndicated newspaper column, Luther is the creative director of The Fashion Group International, a non-profit organization for the dissemination of information on fashion, beauty and related fields. Her twice-yearly audio-visual overviews of the New York, London, Milan and Paris ready-to-wear shows are must-seeing/reading for industry leaders. Her coverage of the European collections appears in newspapers throughout the U.S.

The former fashion editor of The Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune and Des Moines Register is biographied in “Who’s Who in America.” She won the Council of Fashion Designers of America’s coveted Eugenia Sheppard award for fashion journalism, the Women in Communications award and, in 2004, the Accessories Council’s Marylou Luther Award for Fashion Journalism, which will be given every year in her name.

Her essays have appeared in “The Rudi Gernreich Book”, “Thierry Mugler: Fashion, Fetish, Fantasy”, “The Color of Fashion”, “Todd Oldham Without Boundaries” and “Yeohlee: Work.” A book with Geoffrey Beene was published in September, 2005. A graduate of the University of Nebraska, where she received the prestigious Alumni Achievement award, Luther is a member of Phi Beta Kappa, Kappa Tau Alpha, Theta Sigma Phi and Gamma Phi Beta.