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International Shopping Series: Berlin – Olivia Allan (FGI Toronto)

I love to travel, and I love to trend spot. I say trend spot, because while I may not be a true shopaholic myself, I certainly am passionate about the art of shopping.

When travelling, I love to discover secret retail gems. One of the most memorable stores I have seen was an independent jeweller in Berlin. My friend had heard of them and finding the store was on our must-do list while we were there.

What made it such a must-do? They make blown glass pendants with dried dandelions inside. Super. Cool.

It was a bit difficult to find, which I’m sure was only due to our lack of familiarity with Berlin, and zero knowledge of German, but we found the store and thus began the hour long process of deciding which piece of jewellery to purchase.

I opted for a wrap watch with a compass charm, and a globe charm; very fitting of my vagabonda lifestyle. My friend opted for a necklace with a dandelion charm, which was the main reason we were in search of this store in the first place.

Sadly, in our haste to pack up our lives without waking our bunkmates in the wee hours of a dark Berlin morning, my friend left her necklace somewhere in our hostel room. Not to fear, Villa Sorgenfrei also sells online so she could (and did!) replace her necklace. My watch was a big part of my life until one day, after constantly carrying my bag around on my elbow and likely catching my watch on it every time, I realized that the compass charm had fallen off. The watch lost its charm (no pun intended!) for me so I’ve stopped wearing it. I want to replace it by visiting the store in person, but that’s likely another couple of years away.

I strongly recommend that you go, and also have a peek in their studio next door to watch the magic happen! You can stand on the sidewalk beside the store and peer through the window to see their production team hard at work creating these memorable pieces of jewellery.

If you don’t have a trip planned at the moment, then go check out their Instagram in the meantime for some eye candy. Sadly, this is a non-photo post, because I simply didn’t take a picture of my beloved watch.

Author: Olivia Allan (Associate Member – FGI Toronto)

Olivia Allan is a Fashion Buying professional based in Toronto, Ontario. Originally from Vancouver, BC, she spent two years learning the ropes of the fashion industry in Milan, completing a Masters in Fashion Buying, and working in the Milan Buying Office for a major North American luxury department store, before returning to Canada in 2014. Olivia is passionate about travel, fashion, and food, and shares her stories on her blog FLIGHTS|FASHION|FOOD, and her photos on Instagram @flightsfashionfood.

Fashion Is Serious Business – Germaine Caprio (FGI Chicago)

When I tell people I’m a clothing designer, they think my world is filled with trips to New York, runway shows, and champagne but in reality, it’s nothing like that. Most of my days are filled with the stuff no one really wants to do; stuff like ordering fabric, following up with cutters, clients and suppliers, paying bills and making sure everyone is doing their job so our clothes get made and our orders can ship.

Designing and owning a clothing line is far from glamorous work.

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I’ve had faculty members from reputable design schools in Chicago visit our showroom. They want to know how to help their fashion students find work after graduating. “Perhaps lead them into a different major,” I say, sarcastically but when I really think about it, these students need to learn so much more than how to design a clothing collection. They need to learn about business.

I’m a firm believer clothing designers are born, not made and those who want to “learn” design will never get it but that doesn’t mean a person without an eye for design can’t work in the fashion business. There is so much more to it than matching prints with solids and whipping up unique silhouettes for a spring collection.

A successful independent clothing designer needs to know how to run a company and a successful clothing company needs to know not only how to make beautiful garments but how to sell them. They need a top notch website, a huge social media campaign to match and an eye for details. They need an army of reliable cutters, sewing contractors, fabric suppliers and logistic companies that can ship supplies across the country. They need knowledge of the customer experience so when a customer receives an order, she loves what she’s paid for and if she doesn’t she knows how to return it. The owner of a successful clothing company knows spending money on a swanky office isn’t as important as investing in the right employees who are smart, efficient and care.

There are thousands of extremely talented designers out there just waiting for that one big break and I’m thrilled the design schools are truly concerned about helping these talented young artists learn how to make a living from their craft. Schools need to help these students hone in on their markets and keep them from thinking the business of fashion is all about glam and bling. They need to encourage students to produce their clothing lines responsibly and show them being a part of the textile business doesn’t mean they have to produce their collections in China or outside of the United States.

Being successful in fashion takes a lot of hard work, dedication and common sense. Just like any business, there are bills to pay, boxes to haul, deadlines to meet and contracts to read.

So what advice do I have for young students majoring in fashion? “Pursue your passion and be open to exploring all the facets of the fashion business. You may not end up as the Head Creative Director at Christian Dior but there are many other jobs that play important roles in the clothing industry and companies out there needing smart, dedicated professionals to help them succeed in this tough industry.”  Plus, the champagne they serve at the runway shows isn’t that good anyway.

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Author: Germaine Caprio (Executive Member – FGI Chicago)

 

 

This One’s For Les Garçons: An Interview with Pierre Henri Mattout – Carmelita Bouie (FGI Los Angeles)

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Founded in 2014 by Pierre Henri Mattout, PHM Saint Peres is a multi-brand online and retail store that focuses on men’s high fashion, and exclusive sneaker collections. Their flagship store is located 50, Rue des Saints Peres in the heart of Saint Germain des Pres in Paris, France. The store concept is a blend of Japanese avant garde designers, high performance and street wear.

Bloomingdales hosted the PHM Saint Peres Parisian pop-up shop in their New York and Los Angeles (Beverly Center) locations. I had the pleasure of meeting the savvy Frenchman at the Beverly Center location and discussed his young brand, fusing international labels with men’s street wear and his collaboration with Bloomingdales.

W+D:  Your background is with Calvin Klein and Victorinox, one’s very classic American style representing the “basics with clean structure,” and the other, much more outerwear… what made you want to fashion your pop-up to target street wear?

Pierre Henri Mattout: It’s actually my various experiences as a menswear designer that helped me shape my concept store. At PHM, tailoring, craftsmanship, the outdoor, and street are all very connected.

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W+D:  Who are some of your fashion influences?

Pierre Henri Mattout: I’ve always been very inspired by Comme des Garcons for the way they put things together. Influencers like Nick Wooster and designer Pierre Hardy are also a huge inspiration.

W+D: Do the designers in your pop-up collection represent many of the places you’ve traveled to?

Pierre Henri Mattout: I haven’t been to all those places. Fashion is global today, though. It’s probably no coincidence that all the brands are coming from all over the world now.

W+D: Do you think European street style is different to U.S. street style?

Pierre Henri Mattout: I think street style in the U.S. is stronger and influences other places like Europe.

W+D: Has “street style” influenced your own personal style?

Pierre Henri Mattout: It did in some ways… I was much more polished / preppy but over the years my style has evolved to more casual / street…

The PHM Saint Peres collection of men’s street wear.

W+D: What’s your vision of the “PHM man” who shops and wears items from your pop-up?

Pierre Henri Mattout: This man is a free spirit. He combines a cool pair of sneakers with basic Chinos and light weight functional jacket from Arc’eteryx Veilance for example. I’m not trying to make it too fashiony, it’s more about creating tomorrow’s basics.

W+D: What’s your favorite international city and why?

Pierre Henri Mattout: New York City without hesitation. Because of the energy …. basically, anything can happen.

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W+D: Why partner with Bloomingdales exclusively for your two pop-ups?

Pierre Henri Mattout: Bloomingdales allows me a presence nationwide, which is an incredible opportunity for a young brand like mine.

W+D: I love the combination of “exclusivity and accessibility” of the brands featured and that you’re helping to introduce and raise foreign brand identity to a U.S. audience … what’s next for you and the PHM brand?

Pierre Henri Mattout: I want to keep growing the PHM brand and reach a wider audience.

Author: Carmelita Bouie (Associate Member – FGI Los Angeles)
Carmelita Bouie is an entertainment & lifestyle marketing and communications consultant, having worked on entertainment marketing and public relations campaigns spanning theatrical, home entertainment and new media distribution. She is also the founder of FMA Worldwide (www.fmaworldwide.com), a fashion marketing agency that connects fashion stylists and costume designers to emerging fashion designers from around the globe. She’s currently the entertainment and fashion editor for the lifestyle magazine, The Awesome Muse (www.theawesomemuse.com) and is editor-in-chief of her own blog, Wanted+Desired Fashion Blog (www.wantedanddesired.com), which covers emerging brands and designers from the U.S. and abroad. Carmelita holds an MBA degree from Cornell University.

 

Day in the Life – Katie McKenna (FGI New York)

In talking to aspiring designers and entrepreneurs interested in entering the fashion industry, the question I’m continuously asked is “what is a typical day for you?” but the truth is that such a day does not exist.

The business office and the distribution center for my company’s e-commerce sites (www.pinksheepheiress.com and www.sheepshades.com) are located in my hometown of St. Louis, MO, while my main showroom, pattern maker, the work rooms that manufactures all of the samples and product inventory, my sales team and PR/media, and web development teams are all based in the heart of New York’s Garment District. Earlier this year, we made a home on the West Coast at a showroom in the Los Angeles Garment District. I split my time between St. Louis and New York and recently have been frequenting Los Angeles more to stay connected to the shared showroom we are now a part of as well as the incredible stylists and costume designers who enjoy working with the brand.

Being an entrepreneur means having to simultaneously stay on top of regular tasks, fight the unexpected fires that will arise, and plan for the future all while staying true to your brand’s core values and overseeing the ‘big picture’ of the company.

Today, I met with my sales team to discuss strategies for Spring / Summer 2017, started researching Autumn / Winter 2017, worked on queuing imagery from our in-house editorial campaigns and those from media placements to the blogs, touched base with my creative team to discuss looks for our editorial shoot this weekend, followed up with buyers about orders for Autumn / Winter 2016, and talked to my web team about how to best optimize the site to sell the remaining inventory for Spring / Summer 2016. Before leaving my office for the day, I still have two additional meetings and need to do a bit more research for two projects currently in progress. One constant does remain: no matter what I’m working on or what city I may be in; I’ll be making at least one trip to Starbucks today . . .

Author: Katie McKenna (Associate Member – FGI New York)

Katie McKenna is the co-founder, creative director and designer of Pink Sheep Heiress, an American-made, rock & roll inspired luxury lifestyle brand. She formed Pink Sheep Heiress as a celebration of the musician’s life and for others who embrace the rocker style. Known for its colorful, leather designs and graphic prints, Pink Sheep Heiress creates affordable luxury items and artisan-crafted ready-to-wear for the woman who is her own iconoclastic tastemaker. www.pinksheepheiress.com

How To Wear A Poncho – Tori Johnson (FGI San Antonio)

In Anna Wintour’s Vogue “Letter From the Editor” in the November issue she talks about how fashion has reached a place of authenticity and realness. She mentions that there is still a place for “escapist fantasy” but it is a bit “out of step with the times.” I think the reemergence of the poncho as a trend is a perfect example of the point that Anna is making. While the poncho certainly makes a statement it still serves a practical purpose.

The poncho is by far my favorite cover-up for the season and is an excellent choice for layering. There is a variety of ways that it can be worn making it even more lovable. I’m showcasing one way below with this stunning plaid Theory poncho style over a sheath dress but let’s explore how to wear the poncho trend further.

Rememory Photography

Rememory Photography

Styling Tips

◦Watch your proportions: Play off the drama of an oversized poncho by keeping the other items you are pairing with it more fitted. For example, a sheath dress or skinny jeans. You don’t want to overdo it on the volume.

◦Keep it casual: I love how a poncho gives you a little extra umph but is so incredibly EASY! Pair with some skinny jeans and knee-high boots or even some flares and wedges. It’s even a great option for rainy days! Just add some rain boots!

◦Dress it up: There are also tons of dressier ponchos with embellishments, fringe and more that can be worn with dresses and are a stylish way to keep you warm at nice events.

◦Go short: Having a warmer fall day? Pair your poncho with shorts or a skirt (just make sure your poncho isn’t longer than your bottoms).

◦Belt it: I utilize belts all the time and love the look of a belted poncho! It brings the focus in to the waist but still gives you that boho chic look.

Author: Tori Johnson (Executive Member – FGI San Antonio)

Tori Johnson is the owner of sTORIbook Public Relations, fashion and lifestyle blogger of The sTORIbook, as well as commercial and editorial stylist. She provides strategic public relations, marketing and event counsel to clients in a variety of industries. In 2015, Tori was voted San Antonio Fashion Blogger of the Year as well as was named one Neiman Marcus’ Women Who Rock and served on their panel for their 2015 Project Beauty event. She has worked with a bevy of top names including Nordstrom, Neiman Marcus, Lancôme, Armani Exchange, David Yurman, Target, and many more. In addition to her roles as public relations professional and blogger, Tori has served as Fashion + Beauty Editor for multiple local magazines.

Tweet, Tweet: Twitter Basics – Kelsey Bigelow (FGI Denver)

I was an early adopter of Twitter. I loved the quick text updates because you had to get an idea
across in 140 characters or less. As other social media channels popped up, I abandoned my regular tweeting. About six months ago, I picked it up again to see what it was like ten years after it’s inception. I fell back in love with Twitter and I think you’ll love it too.

My favorite things about Twitter are the easy ability to toggle between multiple accounts, the
ability to create lists of categories of people you follow, the easy search tool and the addition
of GIF Keyboard. Much like Instagram, I have separate personal and brand Twitter accounts.
Twitter’s easy toggling makes managing these multiple accounts so easy. Twitter also lets you sort the accounts you follow into lists, either public or private. For example, I have created lists for business accounts I follow as well as restaurants. I can quickly sort through my Twitter feed this way. Twitter also lets you search any text, making it easy to find other people talking about your industry or brands similar to yours. Finally, Twitter lets you include gifs in your tweets with the ease of GIF Keyboard. Gifs are sorted into categories or you can search for something specific, meaning you can totally add that funny Beyonce gif to your tweet to really help you get your point across.

To schedule and manage Twitter, I use Hootsuite’s pro version. It’s so easy to add links and photos and you can schedule posts in advance. Hootsuite creates streams for your channels (you can also manage Facebook and Instagram with Hootsuite as well as additional app plugins) which let you view your posts and any mentions other Twitter users have made to chat with you. You can respond right in Hootsuite and you can find and follow new accounts.

Hootsuite also lets you create streams that specifically follow keywords of your choice. This
allows you to respond to people talking about whatever your brand does. For example, we follow the term “Denver fashion” and can easily interact with anyone tweeting about fashion in Denver. As soon as someone writes a public tweet featuring those two words, we see it in our Hootsuite stream.

Twitter is a channel different from others because it’s not visual. It’s a text based. If you
struggle with creating graphics or taking photos, Twitter might be the medium for you.

Author: Kelsey Bigelow (Associate Member – FGI Denver)

 Kelsey Bigelow is the COO & co-owner of Denver Style Magazine.  She manages the magazine’s operations, including social media, local partnerships, and advertisers. Denver Style Magazine is committed to growing the retail industry in Colorado through a bi-monthly print publication as well as events, workshops and one-on-one business consulting. Prior to Denver Style Magazine, Kelsey worked as a fashion blogger and portrait photographer. She is passionate about helping solo entrepreneurs manage their businesses and find success. Follow along online at kelseybigelow.com or on Instagram @kelseybigelow

From The Red Carpet To The Big Screen – Barbara Schwartz (FGI Toronto)

While the name Harry Winston is practically synonymous with Hollywood red carpet events today, did you know that the company was the first jeweler to lend diamonds to an actress to wear to the Academy Awards? That was back in 1944, and the borrower was Jennifer Jones, who won the Best Actress award for The Song of Bernadette. My interest in Harry Winston was peaked when I learned that they designed a key piece of jewelry worn in my all-time favorite movie, Alfred Hitchcock’s Notorious.

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RKO/The Kobal Collection at Art Resource, NY.

The Movie

This 1946 thriller stars Ingrid Bergman as Alicia Huberman, the daughter of a convicted Nazi collaborator, who is, herself, a patriotic American. Following her father’s trial, she is recruited by federal agent T. R. Devlin (played by Cary Grant) to help him infiltrate a Nazi organization in Brazil. As instructed, Alicia becomes romantically involved with Alex Sebastian (Claude Rains), to spy on him and his associates. On the evening she is to dine at the Sebastian home with Alex, his mother, and his comrades, Alicia (wearing an Edith Head-designed evening dress) meets with Devlin and his colleague Paul Prescott (Louis Calhern). He opens a jewel case holding a luxurious diamond necklace rented for the occasion and fastens it around her neck. (Does this remind you of the ruby necklace rented for Julia Roberts in 1990’s Pretty Woman?)

The Necklace

According to Hollywood Jewels (by Penny Proddow, Debra Healy and Marion Fasel): “Though there is no screen credit, the diamond necklace came from Harry Winston, whose trademark – leaf-shaped clusters of medium-size marquise, pear-shaped, and round diamonds – identified it. Here, the diamonds are set in flexible platinum mounts inspired by a holly wreath.” This necklace is an example of the company’s innovative technique of clustering, in which the design of a piece was dictated by the individual gemstones, rather than the metal setting, to maximize each gem’s brilliance.

The Man

Gemologist and astute businessman Harry Winston (1896 – 1978) founded the company in New York City in 1932. Still in operation, it continues to be the Jeweler to the Stars.

Author: Barbara Schwartz (Executive Member – FGI Toronto)

Barbara Schwartz is a costume jewelry historian, jewelry coach, and vintage costume jewelry collector. She sells her collection of unusual and beautiful American and European vintage jewels from the 1920s-1950s via her online boutique, TruFaux Jewels, in-person by appointment, and at special events. Barbara shares her passion for jewelry and fashion history through presentations and publications. Her articles have been published on the CJCI website and in ADORNMENT: The Magazine of Jewelry & Related Arts. Her own interesting story has also been featured in The Story Exchange.  Barbara is a member of the Toronto Fashion Group.
www.trufauxjewels.com

How Emerging Designers Can Partner with Bloggers to Grow their Brands – Lindsay Viker (FGI Arizona)

It can be so tricky get your fashion brand off the ground. You’ve probably spent countless hours bringing your vision for the product to life, you decided on your logo, you designed the hangtags, and you put together the line sheet, and may be thinking, now what?

It’s time for marketing!

It seems such an easy task, right? Set up some social media profiles, put together a website, send out some press releases. But, what do you do if still, after those countless hours of work, no one is biting?

One great way to reach your audience is to partner with people who already have a following of people who match your target demographic. I’m talking about bloggers! You’ve probably heard about the super-star fashion bloggers who partner with all the top designers and may be thinking to yourself, “How am I ever going to reach that girl with millions of Instagram followers?” Well, to be honest, you wont right away, but the good news is there a TON of different fashion bloggers out there in the digital world, and many of them would absolutely love to partner with your brand.

Below are a few quick ways to get your products in the hands (and on the Instagram profiles) of some style influencers.

  1. Find and follow them on social media.

Search hashtags, location filters, and suggested accounts for bloggers who seem to fit within your target demographic. Look at their style and see if it’s a good match for your brand. This person will essentially act as a brand representative, so you want to be sure it’s a natural fit.

Once you’ve found them, follow their social media accounts and give their posts some love! Hopefully, they reciprocate and follow you back. If not, try sending them a direct message, or emailing them through the address listed in their profile.

  1. Create an agreement that works for both of you.

All bloggers are different, so it’s only natural that they each have different ways for working with brands. Some will be happy to do a post in exchange for product, others will require compensation to feature your brand, and others may ask for a percentage of the sales they help you generate. Go in with what you are prepared to offer, but hear them out and work with them to find what works best for your budget.

  1. Share the content they are creating with your audience.

Having an influencer wear your product is a big deal. Be sure to share the posts they create on your social media channels, and list it on the press page of your. The blogger will appreciate the love back, and your audience will enjoy seeing an influencer wear your product.

 

Author: Lindsay Viker (Executive Member – FGI Arizona)

Lindsay Viker has had a passion for all things beautiful since she was a young girl. This passion led her to the fashion industry, and founding CoutureintheSuburbs.com in 2012. What started as a way to gain experience during her college years has turned into a mission to help people around the United States connect to their local community of artists. Active in her own community, Lindsay regularly networks with designers, artists, and entrepreneurs. She hosts events to help others improve their businesses, while belonging to professional organizations to help her improve her own.

Being a Rule Breaker – Christine Goetz (FGI Chicago)

I grew up with fashion do’s and don’t’s. There were unbreakable rules about when you can wear white, patent leather and matching. Offices had strict dress codes. My first business suit was a very expensive maroon wool, paired with a silk peter pan-collared blouse, topped off with a wonderful bow. I wore it with dark hose and a sensible heeled pump. There was a lot of black, some pinstripes and many shoulder pads. Experimenting with fashion in the corporate world just wasn’t done—there were rules.

Fast forward to this century, I worked in a modern office with an open floor plan and work pods, and there were still rules: no open toed-shoes allowed, no visible shoulders and no dresses or skirts without hose.

Thankfully, those days are long gone for me. For one, I work at a fair trade fashion company; a workplace more conducive to color, experimentation and individuality.

Maybe more importantly, I dislike being told what to wear. I like to wear what I want and feel best in. I never rocked that peter pan collar. I feel fabulous in a cotton fit and flare dress with an open-toed wedge heel. I wear what I like and feel good wearing.

Though as a mother with two daughters, I have stubbornly held on to some simple common sense fashion rules. Let’s call them Rules for the Rule-breakers:

  1. Bras are important—wear one if you need to—and it needs to be a good one that is properly fitted to your size and shape.
  2. Breathing is also important—if you can’t belly laugh, your clothes are too tight.
  3. Heels are fun, but walking is essential—choose your heel height based on your pain tolerance, activity and duration, pack a pair for comfort if need be.
  4. Eventually you will sit—double check your skirt length while seated.
  5. Cleanliness matters—don’t over launder your clothes, but they should be clean and well cared for.

Have fun with fashion, buy new judiciously, seek out fair trade, re-style your favorite clothes. There are no rules about colors or shoulders or toes!

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Author: Christine Goetz (Executive Member – FGI Chicago)

As a mom of 3 with a successful 30-year corporate career under her belt, Chris decided to embrace big change by channeling her driven and positive spirit into growing Mata Traders, a fair trade fashion brand. Her ‘carpe diem’ motto is what inspires her to enjoy life’s many challenges. Her favorite fashion is anything colorful and comfortable, now that her corporate wardrobe is been replaced by fun Mata dresses. Chris’ professional background is finance and operations, with a strong track record of delivering financial results, while strengthening organizations, engaging teams and developing leaders.  She is a high-energy leader and entrepreneur, equally comfortable developing broad international growth strategies and leading day-to-day operations and supply chain.

FASHION FLASH – Objects of Desire

fgieventPhoto: Ken Dowling and Anne Fulenwider (Credit: Alan Lunden)

FASHION FLASH  – Objects of Desire

Any woman who thinks about fashion from a professional perspective, who follows fashion with a casual interest or is  simply a consumer who combs the racks for something new however many times a year (pretty much all of us would be in there somewhere)  is aware of  all this conversation about see it, buy it, wear it now.  (Actually, not all that sudden given that  Donna Karen’s been harping on it for years)

But now, with collections seen all over social media at the moment they’re being shown, consumers, much in an instant gratification mode,  are lulled into thinking that what they see on the runway can be in their closets immediately. Which, in some cases, is true.

Burberry, readers may remember, was the first luxury brand to espouse the see-now-buy-now movement and went that route again;  pricey  beauties  could be snatched up right off the runway  during the 2016 S/S London Fashion Week. New York designers Ralph Lauren, Tommy Hilfiger, Thakoon and Tom Ford, among others have also offered up goodies for immediate consumption before they’ve taken their post-runway bows.

Ken Downing,  senior vice president and fashion director of Neiman Marcus – shopping destination for legions of cash-laden, best-dressed A-listers –  was, at the start, in the cheering section, but  has now backed down a bit. In a one-on-one conversation with Marie Claire’s  Anne Fulenwider at a recent FGI Tastemaker luncheon at New York’s Le Cirque restaurant remarked that social media has created an insatiable  appetite for new.  Customers expect the clothes they now see on the runway to be available immediately and  fail to understand  why they have to wait six months  and, even more to the point, can get really pouty when a piece they’ve seen on the runway won’t actually be produced. Might they escalate to an episode of foot stamping when a one-off red-carpet dress is not to be had?

The question is, if consumers pass on clothes currently on the racks and, having seen everything as it’s being shown, are  tired of the clothes before they even get to the store, what is the prognosis for the retailer?

But here’s the thing: does anybody remember, as a child,  hoping, hoping, hoping that something you wanted so much, for so long,  would show up on your birthday – and that boundless pleasure and  joy when it finally did? Or, perhaps, the satisfaction and sense of independence derived from buying something you very badly wanted, with your very own money, saved up from a paper route or baby-sitting?   New York Times’  Vanessa Friedman, who writes so often and so brilliantly about fashion, made the point in a recent article published during New York Fashion Week. To wit:  “if you really want something, you should be willing to wait for it. Desire is the engine of fashion. If a dress is unforgettable, it should worm its way into your imagination until it becomes the solution to how you present yourself to the world. Waiting six months shouldn’t make  difference.”

Some would agree that the anticipation affords as much pleasure as does the moment when the lust for the newest coat  or the must-have shoe is satisfied; that the wait makes the acquisition all the sweeter.

 

Listen To The Voices in Your Head – Katie McKenna (FGI New York)

I still remember designing my first collection while at university. Mood board after mood board ended up in the trash; nothing felt “legitimate” enough to be worthy of inspiring a collection. Everything that I put onto those boards represented what I thought should inspire me, but was inauthentic to who I am as a person and who I wanted to be as a designer. Running out of time and out of options, I finally decided to throw together something that would actually interest me: the rock & roll legends I most admired, lyrics from my favorite songs, screen shots of seminal music videos and street style looks sported by my personal style icons. In that moment, everything clicked.

It’s not that rock & roll inspired clothing isn’t available; I am definitely not reinventing the wheel with Pink Sheep Heiress. What I noticed, though, is that I could never find pieces that met all the criteria I was looking for. I wanted clothes that were edgy and fun, but also high quality and wearable in more than one everyday scenario. I wanted pieces that I would invest in because they were worth the investment, not because they were trendy or popular, but because they fit my body and made me feel good and look good. I keep all of my clothing American made because it’s more manageable for my small team and me to ensure that our high quality standards are met, while helping to bring more business to other small, independent fashion industry contractors based in the US. It wasn’t until I stopped trying to be a designer and started designing that I was able to create.

Whether you’re a designer, illustrator, forecaster, or even a buyer or account manager, you have to remain true to your own aesthetic and work under the influence of your personality as well as your mind. Chances are, if there is something you see missing in the current marketplace, other people are aware of that hole too and are waiting for someone to fill it with a new, enhanced product that isn’t currently available.

Author: Katie McKenna (Associate Member – FGI New York)

Katie McKenna is the co-founder, creative director and designer of Pink Sheep Heiress, an American-made, rock & roll inspired luxury lifestyle brand. She formed Pink Sheep Heiress as a celebration of the musician’s life and for others who embrace the rocker style. Known for its colorful, leather designs and graphic prints, Pink Sheep Heiress creates affordable luxury items and artisan-crafted ready-to-wear for the woman who is her own iconoclastic tastemaker. www.pinksheepheiress.com

How To Wear A Long Vest – Tori Johnson (FGI San Antonio)

Being in the fashion industry I’m always looking for extra stylish pieces either with unique flare or something that will stand out. One of the trends I’ve been loving is long vests. You might have seen them a lot this past fall but I’ve been watching gals keep them moving in to spring by pairing them with shorts or off-the-shoulders blouses. They are great at elongating your body and can be dressed up or down (a truly versatile piece). Let’s take a closer look and I’ll show you how to wear a long vest no matter the season!

70’s Inspired:

I went for a 70’s inspired look by pairing this rust colored sleeveless vest (I wore a size 4) with my favorite flare jeans and a lace up blouse. To accessorize I added platforms, sunnies and a super cool necklace from Noonday. Noonday is a really neat company that my friend sales and a portion of the sells and a portion of the proceeds go to a variety of causes.

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With an Off-The-Shoulder Top:

My friend Adriana over at Toasty A did an EXCELLENT job pairing her long vest with an off-the-shoulder blouse (the perfect way to take your vest in to spring and summer).

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With Skinnies and Flats:

Hello Fashion went casual and comfy by wearing a beige vest with cropped skinny jeans and flats.

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To Work:

They can also transition for a great look for work by pairing with slacks or even culottes like The Art of Style.

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Author: Tori Johnson (Executive Member – FGI San Antonio)

Tori Johnson is the owner of sTORIbook Public Relations, fashion and lifestyle blogger of The sTORIbook, as well as commercial and editorial stylist. She provides strategic public relations, marketing and event counsel to clients in a variety of industries. In 2015, Tori was voted San Antonio Fashion Blogger of the Year as well as was named one Neiman Marcus’ Women Who Rock and served on their panel for their 2015 Project Beauty event. She has worked with a bevy of top names including Nordstrom, Neiman Marcus, Lancôme, Armani Exchange, David Yurman, Target, and many more. In addition to her roles as public relations professional and blogger, Tori has served as Fashion + Beauty Editor for multiple local magazines.

Instagram Basics – Kelsey Bigelow (FGI Denver)

Instagram is one of my very favorite social media channels. It’s visual, it’s easy to find and
connect with like minded people and it’s free (for the most part.) Instagram lets you toggle
between multiple accounts meaning you can create a personal account and a brand account and manage both with ease.

Prescheduling media is a serious sanity saver. While we leave plenty of time for live posting
throughout the day, the majority of our media is prescheduled. As with anything, there’s a few
different apps that can help you preschedule your content. And just like many aspects of social
media, the program you decide to use long term really comes down to a little testing on your part. I currently use Schedugram which is (as of this writing) the only program that lets you schedule posts through Instagram and then posts them without any additional work from you. You can post multiple images at a time, add captions, and be the first comment on your image. We include all our hashtags in the first comment to make sharing on other sites cleaner. Schedugram also lets you post video clips in advance, which expands the content you can share.

Once you’re scheduling and posting, it’s time to start tracking so you know if all your hard work
is actually, well, working. Iconosquare is the best Instagram analytics tool out there. It’s
thorough. I mean really thorough. You can get lost for hours looking into specific hashtags,
filters, times of postings and more. I keep a weekly spreadsheet of stats for our account. If we
suddenly dip off our normal follower growth or suddenly gain an explosive amount of followers, I’m able to look into what might have changed. Maybe we did a giveaway with a big brand. Or maybe we didn’t post as often. Whatever it is, I know how we can adjust moving forward meaning the time and energy we’re putting into promotion is well spent.

A brief note on Instagram’s new algorithm for how posts are seen, released in June of this year.
Instead of posts from people you follow appearing in chronological order, posts now appear based more on popularity. When this change went live, we did see a small drop in the interactions we had on our account, including likes and comments. However, as time has gone on, we seem to have balanced out a bit more. Instagram was our primary marketing tool for almost a year. After word of the change came out, we decided to step up the type of content we posted on Instagram and we chose to focus more on other social media channels to balance out our strategy.

Author: Kelsey Bigelow (Associate Member – FGI Denver)

 Kelsey Bigelow is the COO & co-owner of Denver Style Magazine.  She manages the magazine’s operations, including social media, local partnerships, and advertisers. Denver Style Magazine is committed to growing the retail industry in Colorado through a bi-monthly print publication as well as events, workshops and one-on-one business consulting. Prior to Denver Style Magazine, Kelsey worked as a fashion blogger and portrait photographer. She is passionate about helping solo entrepreneurs manage their businesses and find success. Follow along online at kelseybigelow.com or on Instagram @kelseybigelow

Slow Style Manifesto – Christine Goetz (FGI Chicago)

Fashion is very personal. As an individual, I am purposeful, fun, optimistic and confident. My wardrobe is a reflection of who I am and how I choose to influence the world. I love wearing Mata Traders and advancing the conversation about fair trade and slow style. Here is our slow style manifesto:

We are makers. We are part of a surge in businesses that make things, every day. (We are not an app, cloud-based or iPhone compatible.)

Our design process is long, starting first with the design of textiles based on centuries old traditional fabric printing from India. Then clothing patterns and jewelry are developed, with each piece assembled or sewn by hand.  In this long process, we maintain relationships with our artisans, trades, cooperatives and seamstresses.

Through our business we support families and communities. We understand that our clothing comes from a person just like us: a person who deserves to be part of an industry that values her skills, treats her with respect and care, and pays her fairly.

Through her hands, fashion is an opportunity. Our artisans spend hours creating beautiful garments to become wardrobe essentials that boost spirits and infuse daily lives with joyful colors, patterns and stitching.

Intent and shared values always win over transactions and commoditization. Continuity and commitment trump quick wins. Skill development and business capabilities can be measured in years, not days.

Style is slow. It develops over time, thoughtfully, evolving with every year and with each garment carefully purchased. We have the opportunity to ask and know where our clothes come from. We don’t succumb to the chaos of fast fashion, and we know what a fine, handmade garment is worth. We know the influence of the consumer, and we choose to direct our purchasing power towards what is right. We don’t sacrifice style for ethics and we need not abandon our morals for fashion.

We are slow style. We are fair trade.

Author: Christine Goetz (Executive Member – FGI Chicago)

As a mom of 3 with a successful 30-year corporate career under her belt, Chris decided to embrace big change by channeling her driven and positive spirit into growing Mata Traders, a fair trade fashion brand. Her ‘carpe diem’ motto is what inspires her to enjoy life’s many challenges. Her favorite fashion is anything colorful and comfortable, now that her corporate wardrobe is been replaced by fun Mata dresses. Chris’ professional background is finance and operations, with a strong track record of delivering financial results, while strengthening organizations, engaging teams and developing leaders.  She is a high-energy leader and entrepreneur, equally comfortable developing broad international growth strategies and leading day-to-day operations and supply chain.

Jewelry on Screen: A Taste of the 1950s – Barbara Schwartz (FGI Toronto)

Are you a fan of the TV series Father Brown or A Place to Call Home? Did you enjoy the movie Brooklyn, Carol, or The Dressmaker? The 1950s have been a popular setting for these and other period dramas recently, perhaps because the post-war years were rife with social issues to explore from a modern perspective.

When I watch these shows, I look for the jewelry and expect to see pieces by makers such as Schreiner of New York. Unlike those who created the fabulous fakes – bold rhinestone necklaces, earrings, bracelets, and brooches that were worn in the evening – he and some of his contemporaries designed high-quality costume jewelry that never tried to imitate precious jewels. Instead they used imaginative combinations of colors and stone shapes, cuts and sizes to create pieces that are still amazing today. These ear clips with a cluster of colored glass stones (the dominant ‘50s style) are just one example.

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If I were styling Marta Dusseldorp for her role in the Australian TV series A Place to Call Home, she’d be in these Schreiner earrings. They would complement the outfits created by the show’s costume designers, who do such a wonderful job of dressing the female characters in the hour-glass silhouette of that era: trim, closely-fitted, tailored clothes that emphasize sloping shoulders, the curve of the bust and hips, and the nipped-in waist. Their typical daytime attire includes two-piece suits, A-line and pencil skirts, sheaths, and cardigans and sweater sets. For evening, gowns with tight waists, full skirts, and low necklines (including strapless, off-the-shoulder, and halter bodices). For accessories: carefully coordinated hat, shoes, handbag, and gloves.

Thanks to very prolific and talented costume jewelry makers from the first half of the 20th century, many high-quality, colorful necklaces, bracelets, brooches, and earrings have survived. Pieces such as this pair of ear clips are as flattering to today’s fashions as they were to the distinctive style of the 1950s. So if I were styling Marta Dusseldorp for her everyday wear, I’d put her in these same earrings.

Author: Barbara Schwartz (Executive Member – FGI Toronto)
Barbara Schwartz is a costume jewelry historian, jewelry coach, and vintage costume jewelry collector. She sells her collection of unusual and beautiful American and European vintage jewels from the 1920s-1950s via her online boutique, TruFaux Jewels, in-person by appointment, and at special events. Barbara shares her passion for jewelry and fashion history through presentations and publications. Her articles have been published on the CJCI website and in ADORNMENT: The Magazine of Jewelry & Related Arts. Her own interesting story has also been featured in The Story Exchange.  Barbara is a member of the Toronto Fashion Group.
www.trufauxjewels.com

Emerging Fashion Designers Thrive in Smaller Markets – Lindsay Viker (FGI Arizona)

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When we think of fashion in the United States, it’s easy to let our minds quickly jump to New York and Los Angeles with little thought for much else in between. However, there is a whole slew of emerging fashion designers nestled in unexpected cities like Seattle, Phoenix, Nashville and more. In fact, some of these cities are even helping to give a voice to the emerging designers in their city by supplying them with funding, hosting runway shows, and giving them coverage through their local media outlets.

In my hometown of Phoenix, AZ, we have several fashion organizations to help support local designers. There, of course, is the Arizona branch of Fashion Group International, which hosts events around topics such as building your brand and embracing sustainability. We also have Phoenix Fashion Week, an organization that puts emerging designers through a rigorous boot camp to help them understand the ins and outs of the industry. The program ends with a world-class fashion show where buyers, media, and local influencers can view the hard work of the designers, and purchase the garments. Phoenix Art Museum is another great resource for emerging designers, with several exhibits throughout the year to highlight the best fashion throughout history. The museum encourages students and emerging designers to come, sit in the exhibit, and sketch their own designs while looking at the work of other influential designers.

No matter what city you find yourself in, there are always opportunities to embrace fashion at a local level. Many times, these opportunities are more accessible than what you might find in a city like New York, and can provide you a chance to learn, experiment, and better your craft. If your dream is to work in the fashion industry, don’t wait one more. Go out in your city, find other fashion lovers and find a way to work together to make your dreams come true. I promise, if a city as casual and laidback as Phoenix can make its mark on the fashion industry, it can happen anywhere.

Author: Lindsay Viker (Executive Member – FGI Arizona)

Lindsay Viker has had a passion for all things beautiful since she was a young girl. This passion led her to the fashion industry, and founding CoutureintheSuburbs.com in 2012. What started as a way to gain experience during her college years has turned into a mission to help people around the United States connect to their local community of artists. Active in her own community, Lindsay regularly networks with designers, artists, and entrepreneurs. She hosts events to help others improve their businesses, while belonging to professional organizations to help her improve her own.

 

Brands and Braids

Fashion brands continue to draw from the African continent. The latest: Louis Vuitton’s Spring/Summer 2017 menswear collection.

Scenes of animals (elephants, giraffes) on garments, safari-inspired jackets/vests and LV punk-inspired studded accessories stream across videos posted on the luxury brand’s social media recent Twitter site. The tout: “Africa, as home of modern civilisation, inspiration for #LouisVuitton #LVMenSS17 collection by @mrkimjones.”

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Several comments, though, couldn’t be ignored, posted by followers claiming the collection represented cultural appropriation run afoul. The look in question: An ensemble of a printed shirt with leaves and a giraffe, coupled with plaid trousers and a Louis Vuitton belt.

Notable historical events such as the excavation of King Tutankhamun’s tomb by Brit Howard Carter in the 1920s, and Yves Saint Laurent’s African-inspired raffia, shells and wooden beads dresses in the 1960s — and many others inspirations since — have kept such uses in debate.

Recently, Kim Kardasian and her cornrows called celebrities such as Zendaya to point out black women have been wearing the style for much longer, during an interview with Lauren Levinson of Popsugar.

“We’ve been using that as a protective style, as a hairstyle,” Zendaya tells Levinson. “ … is it became new and fresh and fun, because it was on someone else other than a black woman. … That’s where the culture appropriation element comes into play.”

LV might consider being more strategic with its posts. Providing a historical narrative, using visuals and tweets to craft its uses of the continent’s cultural influences, shows a celebration of its milieu throughout the line’s history, broader civilization and even the designer.

According to Imogen Fox of the Guardian, LV Men’s Artistic Director Kim
Jones’ current men’s collection, called “Blueprint,” mirrored his first for the brand, which drew from his childhood in Kenya and Botswana.

Why not post photos of Jones’ childhood remembrances in his home countries to build ethos with followers?

Jones stretched further with Spring/Summer 2017 by pairing the African looks with punk, drawn from South African Frank Marshall’s “Renegades” photography collection of leather-clad bikers in Botswana, said Fox of the Guardian. (BTW Fox’s reader’s comments feature a repartee on the luxury brand’s cultural appropriation of punk, too.)

Cultural appropriation in dress remains an inspiring story, playing out on social media. Brands and celebrities need to take note to see how to engage thoughtfully with the conversation, which will not wane.

Lisa D. Lenoir — who has covered the international fashion industry as a writer and editor for numerous U.S. publications — is a freelance writer/editor and assistant professor of Fashion Communication at Stephens College in Columbia, MO. She received her B.A. in Journalism, with a minor in Graphic Design from Indiana University and her M.S. in International Public Service from DePaul University. She writes about globalization, pop culture and media and communication-related topics.  Lisa is a Kansas City Fashion Group member.

 

 

A Curated Life – Christine Goetz (FGI Chicago)

My mom used to call it ‘being selective’, today we say that something has been ‘curated’. A curated life is the guilt-lite way for me to express that there just isn’t enough of my time and resources to go around. Many years ago I became a single mom of three kids. The list of my many essential roles wasn’t curate-able: mom, nurse, boss, co-worker, friend, sister, daughter, runner, bread-winner, cook, housekeeper, grounds crew and fix-it gal (…some roles may have been out-sourced).

I am a skilled curator. I am selective in where, how, why and when I put my heart into something. After a long corporate career, I decided to seek a professional role that was more aligned with my personal values and gave me an opportunity to make a direct, positive impact in the world. Being the Managing Director of Mata Traders, a fair trade fashion company, allows me to combine my fashionista and social warrior roles into one.

Unique prints, modern silhouettes, traditional printing techniques are the heart and soul of Mata Traders. Our mission is to fashion a better world by creating clothing and jewelry designs that celebrate a woman’s originality and empower her to use her dollar for change. We celebrate the thoughtful consumers who are selective and make the choice to gather a wardrobe that includes ethical fashion (that also happens to be fun, flirty, and fabulous!).

By supporting fair trade fashion, each Mata Traders consumer can make a positive impact on the women artisans who sew our garments in Indian and Nepali cooperatives, providing a way out of poverty and better futures for their children. These artisans don’t have the luxury to curate their essential life roles, but through fair trade business practices, they earn a sustainable wage, preserve traditional skills and create opportunities for themselves. They’re able to have the resources to care for their children and support their communities.

Curating means selecting fewer and choosing better, and Mata Traders believes that we can change the world, one piece of fashion at a time.

 

Author: Christine Goetz (Associate Member – FGI Chicago)

As a mom of 3 with a successful 30-year corporate career under her belt, Chris decided to embrace big change by channeling her driven and positive spirit into growing Mata Traders, a fair trade fashion brand. Her ‘carpe diem’ motto is what inspires her to enjoy life’s many challenges. Her favorite fashion is anything colorful and comfortable, now that her corporate wardrobe is been replaced by fun Mata dresses. Chris’ professional background is finance and operations, with a strong track record of delivering financial results, while strengthening organizations, engaging teams and developing leaders. She is a high-energy leader and entrepreneur, equally comfortable developing broad international growth strategies and leading day-to-day operations and supply chain.

 

 

So How Do You Wear A White Suit? – Martu Freeman-Parker (FGI South Florida)

So how do you wear a White suit?

It’s been about 8 years since I wore a white dress or blazer. This disenchantment started 8 years ago when I had my son!  (I love him) But I was always conscious of this dirty little hands and how I was always wiping them. White around him Never! But he’s eight and he knows to keep those dirty hands of the furniture, walls and me.

I really like the whole white all year round movement. Remember I live in South Florida now so many of the fashion rules don’t apply to me anymore. It’s hot here all year round

So I’m looking at more white clothing then I have in years and I like it. Recently, I’ve been really excited about wearing an all-white pant suit. This would be a first for me. I know! I know that’s not very fashion lion of me! But I’m HUMAN!!! Before my son I was just not that girl, a white button down shirt or a white blazer yes, but all white suit absolutely not. I’ve been power suit searching and nothing says powerful and bold like a well-tailored white pant suit. I’m definitely enrolled in this idea. It’s been a couple of months of window shopping and pinning on Pinterest, and I believe I have some definite looks I can mirror. The suit can’t just look good it has to fit, fit is everything. So I know I will have to mix and match with some of my favorite brands to get the look I want. That’s ok, I’m a fashion lion I know how to HUNT!

So now I’m on a hunt to find the right look! My goal is not to look like I’m going to church on Easter Sunday. I need to look bold, powerful and stylish off course. So now I’m that girl, the one in the all-white pant suit! I feel empowered and also a little worried white gets dirty very easily. That’s the anti-white pant suit in my head, I’m not letting her win. So far here are my favorite looks.

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Author: Martu Freeman-Parker (Associate Member – FGI Palm Springs)

Labor Day Rules – Diane Marlin-Dirkx (FGI Palm Springs)

A woman emailed: “I know the Labor Day rules, but are white shoes ever appropriate?”

We answered, “Only if your name tag reads Nurse Ratched–we’re not talking teen-queen Candy Stripers in tennies here.”

Call us biased, but women in white shoes who squeegee the floor on rubber soles while patrolling large institutions with industrial-strength locks should be given healthy doses of the same respect due to a hair dresser who holds your head in one hand and a scissors in the other. Like the gorilla, those woman can sit where ever they want to and we’ll say we’ve never seen a more darling pair of white shoes.

However, those cosseted in little rooms temporarily for a tug and a tweak, and the fashionably fit should think twice–or more if you have time between pedicures–about slipping into white dress shoes for the office or a night on the town. They’re about as attractive as that hair on your chinney-chin-chin that needs a snatch every now and again–as your friend is happy to point out when you’re at an event without a tweezer thingie.

Naturally, once someone gets a look at that curly strand, they can’t look at anything else. And if your feet are today’s average size–8 1/2 or 9–you might as well be walking about in toaster ovens. Clementine deserved better and so do you.

But we di-grouse. White shoes are appropriate at a wedding on a bride who wears white–even if she is only play-acting, pardon our sniff. A wedding gown is a costume of purity just as the nurse’s outfit is a uniform of cleanliness. We love white tennis shoes on the court. Role-playing means never having to say you’re sorry for wearing white shoes, you’re simply playing by the rules.

The bottom line: Do not wear white shoes after Labor Day, nor before, unless you plan to be in a parade snorting into a tuba–which at least would hide your face. Any other venue would be cruel and unusual punishment for inmates of the noble institution of fashion. Nurse Ratched would be displeased.

Author: Diane Marlin-Dirkx (Executive Member – FGI Palm Springs)

As a writer and columnist, Marlin-Dirkx has put her pen to a variety of subjects including fashion, food, home and lifestyle features. For over ten years, she covered the “Society” social scene and her weekly byline “Style Quest” answered fashion, beauty and style etiquette questions from readers of The Desert Sun newspaper, a Gannett Publication. She has also been a contributor to Palm Springs Life Magazine, Desert Magazine and Fashion Editor for Season in the Sun Magazine, an upscale publication in the Palm Springs area which, alas, passed away recently.   Prior to moving to the desert, Marlin-Dirkx lived in New York writing for major advertising agencies and retail accounts as a freelance writer. Marlin-Dirkx has been Copy Chief at I. Magnin in San Francisco, having honed her craft at Macy’s New York. She has written fashion feature articles for magazines and newspapers in major markets of San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago and Minneapolis. Marlin-Dirkx has been Regional Director of the Fashion Group of Palm Springs and Desert Communities, a chapter of the global organization. She also served as director on the board of Palm Springs Women in Film and Television.

Creating A Social Media Calendar – Kelsey Bigelow (FGI Denver)

Social media can be overwhelming to a small fashion company. Countless channels can mean hours spent tending each. It’s a requirement for brands to connect and compete. In fact, social media has been the best marketing tool we’ve used since starting our magazine. We currently post and maintain seven different channels, including daily posts to our blog. This is a monstrous undertaking but with a little intention and time planning ahead, we can manage. The biggest game changer has been creating a calendar to plan all our social media.

The actual calendar doesn’t matter. Paper, digital, it’s really up to you. I’ve found the digital calendar to be the most beneficial for our particular needs. Our whole team has access to it, we can shift the timing of different posts as we need to and we can manage multiple streams at the same time. We’ve also used a paper calendar. It was difficult to keep track of multiple members of our team who have access to our social media and it’s not as easy to change dates and times of content. If you’re a one person army, you might find writing everything out on paper is easier.

Once you have your calendar, start by listing out all the channels you currently use for social media. The calendar helps you balance and manage your channels but only if you know what they are. Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram ­ all of those are a channel. Next decision, how frequently do you want to post to social media in general? Deciding how often you want to post and to which channel will help you maintain consistency. For example, if you want to post once a day and you find you have three things to talk about on one particular day, you can decide if you can stretch those topics out and fill up three days of your calendar.

Now comes the part where you can start filling in the calendar. First up, fill in those dates that you have sales, events, holidays, anything already scheduled. Start working backwards for how you’ll promote them. Say you have a trunk show on September 24th. We promote each event between 4 and 10 times on each channel. So I already know that I want to post the morning of, the night before, the Sunday before, the week before, etc. I can fill in those dates on my calendar as well. If you blog for your brand, fill in those dates as well. Finally, you’ll want to leave room for live posting. If we’re attending an event, we build that time into our social media calendar.

Once you have the calendar created, set aside time to work on scheduling the posts. We spend one morning a week scheduling social media for all our platforms, which means we spend the rest of the week working while our social media is also working for us.

Author: Kelsey Bigelow (Associate Member – FGI Denver)

 Kelsey Bigelow is the COO & co-owner of Denver Style Magazine.  She manages the magazine’s operations, including social media, local partnerships, and advertisers. Denver Style Magazine is committed to growing the retail industry in Colorado through a bi-monthly print publication as well as events, workshops and one-on-one business consulting. Prior to Denver Style Magazine, Kelsey worked as a fashion blogger and portrait photographer. She is passionate about helping solo entrepreneurs manage their businesses and find success. Follow along online at kelseybigelow.com or on Instagram @kelseybigelow

Lavender Bliss – Jo Jo Harder (FGI South Florida)

Lavender Bliss

Lavender is the best known of all fragrant herbs and it has been loved and treasured for many centuries. It is a member of the mint family, known for their strong and pleasant aroma. The Romans and North Africans used lavender to scent public baths and as a disinfectant. It was brought to England by the Romans during the 19th century.

This intoxicatingly scented botanical is prized for its calming effect, but its benefits extend beyond relaxation. It is used in everything from perfume, to medicines, beauty products, and gourmet cooking. Its name derives from the Latin word “lavare,” to wash, indicating its use in baths and for laundry. Lavender has been used for aromatherapy for many years, and has virtually no side effects.

When it comes to stress, insomnia and nervous exhaustion lavender is nature’s remedy. Just smelling this fresh herb is said to relieve troubles of the heart and mind. Applying lavender oil to your pulse points relieves stress. A small bag of lavender flowers placed under your pillow can help induce a night of blissful sleep.

Studies have confirmed the health effectiveness of lavender essential oil against various strains of bacteria and types of fungus. It’s antibacterial and antiseptic properties make it effective for treating wounds and stimulating cells of a wound to regenerate more quickly and prevent scarring. Many parts of lavender are used in essential oils for medicinal purposes to treat acne, sunburn, insect bites, and tension headache. Lavender essential oil is also widely used by herbalist and aroma therapist to treat depression.

Culinary lavender is great for cooking and is often used in appetizers, salads, entrees, desserts, and beverages. Dried lavender can be substituted for rosemary, while fresh lavender adds color to salads and flavor to salad dressings. Lemonade, tea, vanilla ice cream, cake, and cookies are just a few culinary delights that can be enhanced with lavender.

Lavender is so blissful its one herb that you will not want to “leaf” behind. And with all the new lavender products on the market, there are many opportunities to experience this wonderful fragrance.

Author: Jo Jo Harder (Executive Member – FGI South Florida)

Jo Jo Harder has enjoyed wearing many different hats in her lifetime, as a model, flight attendant, fashion designer, stylist, free-lance writer, author and producer. Her fashion designs which sold in fine stores such as Nordstrom, Lord & Taylor, and Marshall Fields are part of a permanent collection at the Goldstein Museum of Fashion, in St. Paul, Minnesota. Her first book Diva Dogs: A Style Guide to Living the Fabulous Life, inspired America’s Top Dog Model ® Contest, resulting in one of the “hottest” dog competitions in America. Her second book is How to Become a Top Dog Model. America’s Top Dog Model ® Golden Paw Awards, which Jo Jo wrote, produced, and co-directed, aired on WPTV- NBC and The Esquire Network in February 2014.

Fashion in the Age of Technology – Aquila Mendez-Valdez (FGI San Antonio)

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Metropolitan Museum of Art ♦ New York City

Manus x Machina through September 5, 2016

Being a Texas transplant, I still try to make it up North as often as possible, specifically to grand cities and hubs of commerce like Chicago or NYC. My most recent trip to New York just so happened to be my husband’s first time in the city, so for that solitary reason I left virtually the entire itinerary up to him. We visited the spots he most wanted to see during our short stay, like the Statue of Liberty and Wall Street.

I just made one little request: to see the Costume Institute Manus x Machina Exhibit at the Met. I had been to the Metropolitan Museum of Art when I was younger, but this would be my first chance to see Anna Wintour‘s legacy, her pet project that has propelled high fashion from an occasional red carpet scene to a fervent conversation and philanthropic cause. As both a fashion blogger and PR consultant, I was yearning to walk through the halls and admire the craftsmanship and the campaign for high fashion.

If you haven’t yet heard, this year’s topic was fashion in the age of technology, meaning the contrast between handmade (manus) items, and the new age machines (machina) are creating with their laser-cutting and 3D-printing. How do the two worlds combine? How do they spur each other on? And the exhibit, as expected, was breathtaking.

The Chanel dress that has become the symbol of the show itself kicks everything off in a grand rotunda with a kaleidoscope of the train’s embellishments rotating overhead. It instantly sets the tone for the show as a whole: elevated, enthralling, and engaging. We floated from Dior gowns to Proenza Schouler dresses to stunning examples of Alexander McQueen embroidery. Each piece was a contemporary expression of what it means to create haute couture in today’s world, and each one was mind-blowing in its technique and sheer beauty.

I left the exhibit buzzing from drinking in all the fashion fermentations. Texas, LA, and all the markets that FGI calls home may have their own distinctive style, but the Met exhibit brought together all aspects of the fashion world in a stunning display of sheer talent. It’s a moment I won’t soon forget, and I cannot emphasize enough that it is a must-see for style enthusiasts and technology mavens alike. It’s the future for all of us, and it’s a bright one at that.

Author: Aquila Mendez-Valdez (Executive Member – FGI San Antonio)

Aquila Mendez-Valdez is an award-winning blogger and public relations professional in San Antonio, Texas. She launched Haute in Texas as a personal blog in 2011, and it has since grown into a community of like-minded women, in addition to a platform for her clients across a wide variety of industries. To join Aquila in the pursuit of the haute life, you can follow her blog at hauteintexas.com. She can also be found on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Snapchat at @HauteInTexas.