A fashion and lifestyle magazine and blog produced by Students in the Design and Merchandising program at Drexel University

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

The Style of an Icon

Betty White has graced the entertainment industry since 1939 and has continued to capture the hearts of audiences ever since.  Most famous for The Mary Tyler Moore Show and Golden Girls, she has been a part of the most iconic films and television shows for over sixty years. In that time, she has worn the many fashion trends of her decades including princess gowns, suits, platform shoes, and tunics.

She is the perfect example of aging in an industry that demands style and evolution. She has always dressed for her age and kept personality in each of her ensembles. Her go-to look of trousers and suit jackets never seems over done: the textures, patterns, and details of each outfit are always different. Her accessories include gorgeous broaches, pearls, bejeweled earrings and dainty purses.  At 93 years old, she always manages to be a favorite of the red carpet and of entertainment audiences alike. Below is some of her most beautiful ensembles.

NYFW Impact Report: Uplifting and Defending Our Industry

At my age, probably the most common people you have just met will ask is, "Are you in school? What are you studying?" And as I prepare to graduate college with a fashion business focused major, I have of course gone through this routine many times, and while usually the response is positive, every now and again I have encountered people who ask "Is this really a worthwhile major? Why not just major in Business or Communications?" It seems many people do not understand what a monster of a business the fashion industry really is, as its own entity that combines art, style, and personal image with business, marketing, promotion, and sales.

Fashion is its own entity because of its sheer size and differentiation across markets, but more so because their is commercial fashion, but it can also be more of an art form. So when I see any opportunity to share the magic and impact I believe the fashion industry brings, I think I have to jump at the chance. Fashion Week is a prime example of how business and art are brought together to serve this unique blend of art and promotion. But its not just this "artistic dream" I think some people see fashion as. Fashion shows have been presented to the public primarily as promotion tools, and many of thee shows are extremely dramatic, beautiful, and artistic productions, but the bottom line is, it is still a business, and it does make money.

On February 6, Women's Wear Daily published a report, headlined "NYFW Economic Impact Close to $900M a Year." The study shows that the Fashion Weeks held in September and February generate $887 million in total economic impact annually, including $547 million in direct visitor spending. These are the results of a study Rep. Carolyn Maloney, newly appointed ranking member of the House Joint Economic Committee, conducted. Comparatively, some our states biggest events of the year clock in significantly behind this New York Fashion Week figure, with the New York City Marathon earning $340M, last year's Super Bowl earning $500M, and last year's US Tennis Open taking in $700M. This may be surprising to many people, those who doubt the impact of our industry and even those who don't, but the numbers speak for themselves. These findings are important to support the integrity of not just the fashion industry in its entirety, but of its importance to the US and New York City, as the only official American fashion capital among a sea of Europeans.

“More broadly, the fashion industry is an important segment of the city’s economy, employing over 180,000 people, including 16,000 manufacturing jobs, paying $11 million in wages and generating almost $2 billion in tax revenue each year,” said Maloney about New York City. With the anticipation and normal anxiety of moving to NYC after graduation in the spring to look for a job, I say to the doubters, the fashion industry is not just a dream. It may start with a highly artistic inspiration, but people connect to it, they buy into, and it makes money. It's just a little bit more fun.

Fabric Paint at NINObrand

   During my time co-oping for NINObrand; a Philadelphia-based, modern women's clothing line by Bela Shehu, I had the opportunity to use my creativity in a much more literal way than I had thought I would when I first started working here. Bela had the idea to take a dress that had not been selling well, (due to the fact that it was the winter season and the dress was bubble gum pink) and spruce it up a bit with black fabric paint. She decided to give this to me as a project and I couldn't be more excited or nervous because this was a couple-hundred dollar dress to begin with and I was about to paint majority of it with black fabric paint...

I set myself up a station and realized that I really liked the environment of being "behind-the-scenes" with the Designer, Production Manager and Pattern Maker. It took about a week to fully complete this project as it consisted of painting in sections and waiting for it to dry, rinsing the dress and again waiting for it to dry. This process was followed by ironing the sections many times to allow the paint to really set into the fabric.  

I had a method to how I used the paint brush to create the pattern you can see on the dress. There was definitely some trial, error and accidental splatters, but I think that is what makes the finished garment so special! You can see the personality to it; nothing is perfect and it shows that maybe I got a little too excited while working on it :). 

This dress ended up being given to a high school student for her prom and I was able to talk to her and tell her how I really enjoyed working on it. I think it is important for designers or anyone who has their own brand to be personable and truly create a relationship with their customers to ensure long-lasting cliental. 

The Final Product! 

2015 Grammys: All Black Everything

The 2015 Grammy's didn't fall short of anything but spectacular. This year's red carpet, stars dazzled in a variety of beautiful black garments. Some may argue that they took the recently installed black-tie dress code a bit too seriously. However, these stars proved that black was far from boring and safe. These celebrities were bold in their choices, showing off a variety of trends including sheer panels, intricate lace, daring cutouts, and sparkles that stole the show.

(From Top Left: Gwen Stafani (Altelier Versace), Miley Cyrus (Alexandre Vauthier), Giuliana Rancic (Steven Khalil) (, Sia and Maddie Ziegler(Armani Prive), Anna Kendrick(Band of Outsiders), Beyonce (Proenza Schouler), Nicki Minaj (Tom Ford), Jessie J (Ralph and Russo), Meghan Trainor (Gailia Lahav), Nicole Kidman(Prabal Gurung)

Five Tips From A Fashion Fanatic

Being a Design and Merchandising major its no surprise that I enjoy fashion. I love clothes of all kinds, I need every type of shoe from the basics to the extravagant, and I like "things". I like "things" that I believe are well designed, that could potentially be useful and I especially like things that are free since I am a college student. I'm making myself sound like a hoarder, I'm not. I have no problem getting rid of that which I no longer use. That being said, I can tell you that I am very disorganized.

My mind works like the fashion industry does. There are 1,000 things going through my head at one time, my thoughts change as quickly as the styles do, and I'm always trying to think ahead. Add in being a student that also works 35 hours a week, its a lot! I often let my bedroom fall to pieces during the busy workweek. I recently wrote out a list of five tips that I have been given and come up with on my own that have helped me in the past few weeks. I'd like to share those tips with you. If you're anything like me, constantly worried about other things that you can be a little messy, gosh I hate that word, lets use disorganized. If you're anything like me, constantly worried about other things that you can be a little disorganized, just follow even two of these tips and you'll make things a little easier on yourself.

1. If it takes less than a minute, do it.
This is a tip my dad gave me. Is one more minute going to make you late? If it takes you a minute to fold up your throw blanket and put it back in the closet, do it. If it takes you less than a minute to (girls I know we all do this sometimes) take your hair out of the shower, do it. If it takes you less than a minute to

2. Pre-separate your dirty laundry into whites, darks, and colors.
I've found a great way to avoid buying new laundry bins is to use oversized plastic shopping bags. Or how about the cloth shopping bags many stores give out now- I'm sure if you looked you'd have quite a few. Separating your laundry as you're taking off your dirty clothes is going to save you time when you go to wash them. This way, you can just throw your whites in when your whites pile fills up without worrying if you missed your red sock when quickly trying to separate before rushing off to do the next thing.

3. Buy yourself a rolling rack.
My boss gave me this idea. I had never thought about buying a rolling rack before but I was so glad that I did. I got one very inexpensive from Bed, Bath and Beyond- nothing fancy- but it does the job. I immediately went home and put some of my favorite pieces and some of my go-to pieces on there. This way, when I wake up in the morning and I have no idea what to wear, I have a starting point. I can pick a pair of jeans off of there and grab a shirt from my closet. I can choose a sweater that has been hanging on there for a few days and pair it with my favorite leather leggings. It sounds silly, but it has ben a very helpful and time-saving tool.

4. Buy yourself a shoe rack.
This has simply helped me save up some floor space and kept me from losing one shoe out of the pair. I put my shoe rack in my closet, but if you're living in a dorm or a small apartment it doesn't take up too much space to keep in your living room or bedroom. Mine has three "shelves" and the width is adjustable. My closet can often get piled with clothes and things that I'm ashamed to say I just toss in there when I don't feel like cleaning up after myself. Having the shoe rack has allowed me to keep my shoes organized and out of the way.

5. If you're not wearing it or using it- GET RID OF IT.
It took a long time for me to be comfortable with getting rid of my clothes. I have an older sister and a younger sister and we often share and trade clothes. When we don't want something anymore, we just give it to one another but it isn't like giving it away because it is still right there if we really need it. I've stopped doing this- sorry sisters! I would give my younger sister things and then when I know she wouldn't be home, I'd go in her closet and take them back a few weeks later. I've stopped doing that. Now, at the end of every season, I go through what I have hanging in my closet and folded in my drawers, and yes- I go through the pile of clothes I've let sit too long on my closet floor. If I haven't worn any item that season or only wore it once, I get rid of it, no matter how difficult that may be for me. During this process- I have two big bags: donations, resell, trash. I separate what I am no longer going to keep into those three categories and as soon as I am finished I seal the bags and put the donations and resell in the trunk of my car. Within the week I take each bag where it needs to go this way I don't have time to second guess myself and bring half of what I want to get rid of back into the house.

This tip list is a working list for me. As I come across new things that help me stay organized I write them down in my notes. I do this for many aspects of my life because being as busy as I am it becomes difficult to keep everything in order. I never ever thought I would be the kind of person who has lists. But everyone was right! They help. So follow my list or make up your own, whatever you do, just remember- if it takes you less than a minute to write it down- do it!

Monday, February 9, 2015

Lauren Khoo Launches Chinese Zodiac Inspired Jewelry Collection

This year the Lunar New Year falls on February 19th, transitioning into the Year of the Goat. In honor of the Chinese New Year, Lauren Khoo is launching her new fine jewelry collection inspired by the twelve animals of the Chinese zodiac.

Lauren Khoo is a Hong Kong-New York-and-Singapore-based designer and creative director of her fine jewelry label: Lauren X Khoo.  Her label debuted in February 2014. Khoo’s creativity immerges from her travels and her appreciation of diverse cultures from East to West. Lauren Khoo’s designs start “with an artistic vision or inspiration to create what she considers wearable art. Her designs aim to be timeless and to blend the freshness and energy of the contemporary with the elegance of classics.”

Exactly one year after the debut of her label, Khoo announces the launch of her limited-edition 18-karat gold with colored carbon plated jewelry collection.  These zodiac sign inspired charms and rings will retail from $4,700 to $5,500, and will be sold exclusively at Fivestory New York in April 2015.

Chinese astrology is based off the lunar calendar and consists of a twelve-year cycle; each year in the cycle is represented by an animal sign. Like western astrology, your zodiac sign can determine personality, strengths, weaknesses, compatibility and fate. To find out what zodiac sign you are follow the link below.

The End of Piperlime

Sadly, Gap has decided to shut down Piperlime, one of its online retail lines that was founded in 2006. This formerly popular website was known for carrying brands such as Kate Spade, Tibi, Joe's and many other high end brands. This online shop will be closing before the end of March 2015.

Piperlime started as a trendy online shoe boutique and further expanded into clothing and accessories. This small company is one of Gap's smallest lines. Unfortunately, this past year Piperlime was only accountable for 1% of the yearly sales hence the reasoning for shutting down. Gap wants to continue to focus on their more of the bigger brands such as Banana Republic and Old Navy in hopes to increase their sales. 

Unfortunately, Piperlime never really caught on with its consumer. This online line is more upscale than Banana Republic, yet it never reached its potential. If you asked anyone on the streets, most would not know what Piperlime is. Their main struggle was the large difference in price point. I'm sorry but if I'm stocking up on clothing from Old Navy and Banana Republic, Piperlime's $300 rompers and $400 jeans are a little out of my price range. 

Piperlime carries so many good items; its really unfortunate to see it go. But its not the only store struggling with it's sales over the past year. Stores such as Wet Seal and Target's Canadian operations have also decided to shut down. So if you're looking for some nice deals on your designer brands, Piperlime is your go to right now.