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'Project Runway' contestant Wendy Pepper dead at 53

Anne Eustis Pepper Stewart, known as Wendy Pepper, has died at the age of 53, Page Six reports.

The “Project Runway” first season contestant “died peacefully" Nov. 12 while "surrounded by her loving family," according to her obituary. The news comes just one month after the death of fellow contestant Mychael Knight, who appeared on Season 3 of the fashion competition series, at age 39. In addition to Pepper coming in third place on the series, she “designed and hand-sewed exceptionally beautiful clothes for children and adults," her obituary said.

>> Designer Mychael Knight, ‘Project Runway’ alum, dead at 39

“We are saddened to hear of the passing of another member of the 'Project Runway' family, designer Wendy Pepper, this year,” a spokesperson for Lifetime, which began airing “Project Runway” after the show left Bravo, said on Friday. “Wendy was one of the original designers that sent creations down the catwalk, paving the way for other designers to come. We wish her family and friends peace during this difficult time.”

>> PHOTOS: Notable deaths 2017

“She was an artist who proudly forged her own path in life,” her family wrote of her in her obituary. “She was a chef, a writer and a lifelong entrepreneur. Her wit and humor were unmatched, as was her generosity of spirit.”

Pepper, of Washington, D.C., is survived by her daughter, Finley M. Stewart, as well as her parents, three brothers, one sister and many nieces and nephews. Her cause of death is currently unclear. A funeral service will be held for her on Dec. 1 in Georgetown.

>> Read more trending news

Following her passing, many fans took to social media to share their condolences, with one appearing to quote “Project Runway,” writing, “If you really want to succeed, you’ve gotta be willing to throw yourself into the arena. #wendypepper you will be remembered for being a talented designer and a witty and humorous lady and mother.”

J. Crew apologizes after photo of black model with messy hair sparks controversy

J. Crew is facing criticism after a photo of one of its models and her seemingly unkempt hair surfaced online.

>> On MyAJC.com: Bad makeover of black woman's hair on Today Show points to bigger issues in haircare industry

The black woman, dressed in a Madewell dress, was photographed with her natural hair messily pulled back in a ponytail. But everyone wasn’t impressed with the look.

>> Read more trending news 

One Twitter user took to the platform to express her disapproval. She uploaded the picture of the model with the caption, “J. Crew..... girl.... y’all wrong.”

Many seemed to agree with her sentiment, because the post soon went viral, racking up more than 11,000 retweets and 20,000 likes. 

>> See the tweet here

Several chimed in, accusing the fashion brand of prepping the model for the shoot without using the proper practices needed to style African-American hair. 

>> Shea Moisture commercial: Ad receives backlash from black women

Others, including the model, Marihenny Pasible, thought the look was in line with J. Crew’s relaxed and natural campaign.

Some challenged the critics, asking them to embrace the care-free look for all cultures.

>> On AJC.com: #BlackHairChallenge: A celebration of black hair on Twitter

After the barrage of comments, J. Crew released a statement on Twitter.

“J.Crew strives to represent every race, gender, and background. We sincerely apologize for the styling of this model and the offense that was caused,” the company wrote. 

>> Read the full response here

Stove Top selling comical, super stretchy ‘Thanksgiving Dinner Pants’

Thanksgiving lovers, you’re in for a treat.

Stove Top, a popular stuffing brand by Kraft, is selling “Thanksgiving Dinner Pants” to make Thanksgiving dinner a more comfortable experience. 

>> Read more trending news

The super-stretchy pants let you eat as much as you like without the constraint of jeans, khakis or dress pants. They come in a maroon color with stuffing patterns on the pockets and waistband, and range from size small to extra large. 

Stove Top’s comical commercial suggests the pants are made from a fabric “astronauts use” and “can expand two times the original size.”

>> Related: Stuffing vs dressing: Is there really a difference?

Stove Top will be selling the festive pants until Nov. 30 for only $19.98. You can buy them on the website thanksgivingdinnerpants.com

Ten thousand dollars from the proceeds will be donated to Feeding America

Are leggings distracting? Atlanta fifth-graders want dress code changes

Two leggings-clad fifth-grade girls asked the Atlanta school board Monday to change its student dress code, which bans clothing that is “extremely tight” and “distracting.”

>> Read more trending news 

The board is reviewing revisions that would emphasize the dress code must be fairly enforced. Some Atlanta Public Schools students have complained the current rules target girls and want the new policy to drop the word “distracting.” 

“This is a label applied to girls’ clothing. I do not believe that clothing is a distraction. It is just the reaction that matters,” said Falyn Handley, a 10-year-old student at Springdale Park Elementary School, who spoke along with fellow leggings wearer and classmate Ruby Segerman. “I should not be punished for other people’s behavior. I am not a distraction.” 

The dress code rewrite is scheduled to go before the board’s policy review committee later this month and then return to the full board Dec. 4. The board likely will consider final approval in January, said board member Eshé Collins, who leads the policy committee. 

Read more about the proposed dress code changes here.

Kate Upton weds Astros' Justin Verlander days after celebrating his World Series win

Model Kate Upton is officially off the market.

Just a few days after celebrating fiancé Justin Verlander’s World Series win, the couple exchanged “I do’s” in front of family and friends in Italy, according to People.

>> See the photo here

The bride wore a long-sleeved lace gown while her groom donned a classic black tux. E! News reports that the nuptials took place at the Rosewood Castiglion Del Bosco resort, and the ceremony was in a medieval church on top of a hill overlooking the Montalcino Valley and vineyards.

>> Read more trending news

Following the 30-minute ceremony, the couple and their guests retreated to the restaurant on the property for dinner and dancing.

The couple began dating in 2014 and were engaged two years later. They kept their engagement private for a few weeks before going public at last year’s Met Gala.

>> On Rare.us: 18 months after the devastating loss of his wife, Patton Oswalt marries again

“I’m really excited. He asked me right before season started so we’ve been keeping it on the down low for quite a while,” she told E! at the time. “So, I’m excited to finally be able to share it with the world!”

Upton has always been supportive of her baseball beau and took to Instagram on Saturday to celebrate his World Series win with the Houston Astros.

>> See the post here

Ahead of the wedding, Upton celebrated with a few gal pals at a lavish bachelorette party at The Plaza Hotel in New York City.

>> See the photo here

At the end of 2016, Upton and Verlander reportedly purchased a Beverly Hills home for $5.25 million. The home is complete with five bedrooms, six bathrooms, a tennis court and a pool.

Delta to debut new uniforms across airline in May

After making a variety of changes to designs for new employee uniforms, Delta Air Lines plans to roll out its new Zac Posen-designed collection next May.

Last year, Atlanta-based Delta held a fashion show to display its new uniform designs, and since then 1,000 Delta employees have tested the clothing. The new uniforms will be worn by 60,000 Delta front-line workers starting May 29.

>> Read more trending news 

In response to feedback from the employees who did the testing, more than 165 changes have been made to the uniform designs, according to Michael Hall, a Delta Sky Club lead agent who sat on the airline’s uniform committee.

>> Related: Delta will now pay passengers up to $9,950 to give up seats

Lapels will be added to some men’s uniforms, a trench coat will get a hood and more lining for cold weather, and a women’s bag will be lighter, with an added strap to attach to a roll-aboard suitcase, Hall said.

Flight attendants, customer service agents, baggage handlers, cargo and maintenance workers will all get new uniforms. Pilots’ uniforms will not change, however.

>> Related: Delta hiring 1,000 flight attendants

The new line of uniforms for employees at the airport also includes a base layer for ramp workers, amid the growing popularity of Under Armour and similar base layers.

Texas vending machine will determine your next tattoo for $100

Inside a former candy machine at Dallas’ Elm Street Tattoo Parlor is a deal and a gamble: For $100, you can get any tattoo you want. As long as it’s inside the machine -- and chosen at random.

>> Read more trending news 

The parlor’s “Get What You Get” machine comes with a promise that it’s all good stuff: “All Classic. All Cool.”

That’s backed up by the artists at Elm Street, one of whom told the Dallas Observer that they were “all good ones” like “old-school snakes, devil heads.” They’re a bargain, too. The same tattooer said he’d charge “between $160 and $180 ... maybe $250” if they were plain ol’ walk-ins.

Maybe the riskiest part is the refund policy, according to The Berry. The refund policy is that there are no refunds -- no one will force a tattoo on you, but they also won’t refund your money.

However, for $20 more, you may spin again. It’s another $40 to spin a third time. After that? Well, maybe you’re not ready yet.

>> Related: Woman who got tattoo on eyeball could lose eyesight, warns others

Company pulls Anne Frank children’s costume after criticism

A few weeks ahead of Halloween, a costume company has pulled an online listing for an Anne Frank outfit.

>> Read more trending news

The costume was removed from HalloweenCostumes.com Sunday after customers and other internet users found the listing distasteful. 

The costume featured a blue long-sleeved dress with an elastic beret and an over the shoulder brown bag. The item’s description read as follows: 

“We can always learn from the struggles of history! Unfortunately, World War II shook the world in a way that no one could have foreseen. It ... created some unexpected heroes, where even a young girl like Anne Frank with nothing but a diary and hope could become an inspiration to us all. We can all learn from someone like that!”

Social media users criticized the costume and wondered why workers at the company thought it was appropriate. 

Ross Walker Smith, who works as a public relations specialist with HalloweenCostumes.com responded to the criticism with a statement. 

“We sell costumes not only for Halloween, but for many uses outside of the Halloween season, such as school projects and plays,” he wrote. “We offer several types of historically accurate costumes, from prominent figures to political figures to television characters ... We have passed along the feedback regarding this costume, and it has been removed from the website at this time.”

Smith apologized on behalf of the company for any offense the costume may have caused.

Gucci bans fur: Company CEO says it’s outdated, not modern

Luxury retailer Gucci will no longer create clothes, shoes and accessories with real 

animal fur, starting next year.

The ban includes the use of fur of minks, coyotes, raccoon dogs, foxes, rabbits and other animals, according to PETA.

>> Read more trending news 

Gucci president and chief executive Marco Bizzarri told Business of Fashion the use of fur is not “modern.”

“Do you think using furs today is still modern? I don’t think it’s still modern, and that’s the reason why we decided not to do that. It’s a little bit out-dated,” Bizzarri said Wednesday. “Creativity can jump in many different directions,

Images of the Northern California Wildfires

instead of using furs.”

According to The Telegraph, critics and organizations have been urging Gucci to ditch fur for years. 

“Gucci kept up the dialogue with us for eight years and, today, patience paid off,” said a  spokesman for the Humane Society of the United States. “With this announcement, Gucci has signaled to the entire luxury fashion industry that it’s time to move away from using fur.”

>> Related: Luxury retailer Coach introduces new name: Tapestry

Other popular brands have banned the use of real animal fur, including Giorgio Armani, Hugo Boss, Ralph Lauren, Stella McCartney, Calvin Klein and Tommy Hilfiger, according to PETA.

“Being socially responsible is one of Gucci's core values, and we will continue to strive to do better for the environment and animals,” Bizzarri said Wednesday at an event in London. 

>> Related: No more 'Easy, Breezy, Beautiful': CoverGirl debuts new slogan

The move comes at a time when millennials care more about ethical standards regarding product creation.

“Today, the world is changing so fast, it’s not even an option not to change. We are not perfect, but we are doing our best to improve what we are doing,” Bizzarri said. “(And) I need to do it because (otherwise) the best talent will not come to work for Gucci.”

Bizzarri said Gucci products known for featuring fur, like its popular fur-lined loafers, will feature faux-fur, wool and “new fabric innovations,” Business of Fashion reported.

Gucci’s fur products bring in about $11.8 million a year, according to Business of Fashion.

The use of fur-free clothes will begin with Gucci’s Spring 2018 collection.

The fur industry is worth an estimated $40 billion a year, The Telegraph reported.

Luxury retailer Coach introduces new name: Tapestry

Luxury purse, accessories and clothing retailer Coach (Coach Inc.) no longer wishes to go by its long-familiar name. 

Coach, which purchased luxury shoe retailer Stuart Weitzman in 2015 and Kate Spade earlier this year, will re-image itself under the name Tapestry (Tapestry Inc.) in an effort to unify the three brands under one umbrella. 

>> Read more trending news 

According to The Associated Press, Coach purchased the Weitzman brand in a deal that cost as much as $574 million. It purchased Kate Spade in May for approximately $2.4 billion. 

“We are now at a defining moment in our corporate reinvention, having evolved from a mono-brand specialty retailer to a true house of emotional, desirable brands,” Coach CEO Victor Luis said Wednesday in a company release.

Many, including former Nordstrom executive Andrea Wasserman, reacted negatively to the name change on social media. 

Luis responded to the criticism, telling Reuters, “At the end of the day, some of the social media reaction is misplaced because people think we are changing the name of the Coach brand, which we are not doing. It’s really about creating a new corporate identity for Coach as a house of brands.”

The name change will go in effect Oct. 31, Reuters reported. The stock market ticker symbol for the company will change from “COH” to “TPR.”

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