University of Fashion Blog

Posts by: Francesca Sterlacci

Francesca Sterlacci

Francesca Sterlacci is the CEO of University of Fashion (UoF) which she founded in 2008 as the first online fashion video library bringing the art and craft of fashion design and business to schools, libraries, organizations and the general public. As owner of her eponymous label for ten years, her collection sold in fine stores such as Bergdorf Goodman, Saks, Barneys and Nordstrom. As a professor at the Fashion Institute of Technology for 11 years, she became Chair of the Fashion Design Department where she initiated the complete revision of their AAS and BFA degree programs, as well as wrote three certificate programs: Leather Fashion Design, Outerwear and Haute Couture. Francesca has also taught graduate level fashion design at the Academy of Art University San Francisco for six years, both on site and online. Her publishing accomplishments include: Leather Apparel Design, the Historical Dictionary of the Fashion Industry (First and Second Editions), the A-Z of the Fashion Industry, Leather Fashion Design and a 3-volume beginner series on Draping, Pattern Making and Sewing designed to complement the UoF lessons, set to launch January 2019. She has also made literary contributions to both the Encyclopedia of Clothing & Fashion and You Can Do It! The Merit Badge Handbook for Women. Francesca holds an AAS, BA and an MSEd (master’s degree in higher education).

Props to Bergdorf

Emerging Designer Showcase Event

No one appreciates, more than I, what it means when a major department store decides to showcase your work, because once upon a time, that designer was me. During the 1980s, I was fortunate enough to have my own business, Francesca Sterlacci Ltd., built on a shoestring. I’m proud to say that for 10 years I had the support of many great stores and was fortunate to have my clothes featured in store windows, at  perrsonal appearances and sold in prestigious NY stores including Saks, Bloomingdales, Barney’s, Bendels, Bergdorf’s and Bonwit’s (known in the day as the 5 ‘Bs’). So you can imagine how special it was for me on Saturday September 8, when I took time out to meet a few emerging designers on Bergdorf’s 6th floor Modernist shop. One of the big questions our University of Fashion subscribers ask us is, “will I be able to market and sell my designs to stores?” Well, after seeing and meeting the designers that you are about to read about, and by talking with Madison Nagy, Assitant Buyer for BG’s Advanced Designer department, the answer is yes, but “You have got to be different.”

Let’s take a look at what that means.

 

BODE

 

Bode luxury unisex brand: Designer Emily Adams Bode

Bode (pronounced Bow-Dee) is a luxury unisex RTW brand created by Atlanta-born designer and Parsons grad, Emily Adams Bode. The brand launched in 2016 and Bode took off! The brand began with one-of-a-kind garments composed entirely of antiques textiles and continues to envigorate American menswear through the art of storytelling. Each piece tells a story and is tailor-made in New York. Her work expresses a sentimentality for the past through the study of personal narratives and historical techniques. Modern workwear silhouettes united with female-centric traditions of quilting, mending, and applique shape the collection. The collection is organized around that single simple rule: slow fashion is better.

Bode was the first female designer to show at NYFW: Men’s and had her first runway show in Paris in June 2019. She was named as a finalist in the LVMH Prize for young fashion designers, was recently the winner of the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund and Emily Bode was even included in Forbes’ 30 under 30 list. Click on the link to see one of Bode’s fashion presentations: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gmZk8R7zGn0

BERNADETTE

Bernadette luxury RTW brand: Mother & daughter Bernadette & Charlotte De Geyter

Bernadette is luxury ready-to-wear label based in Antwerp by mother and daughter Bernadette and Charlotte De Geyter. Their collections are defined by easy-to-wear silk dresses and refreshing prints, designed exclusively in-house by Charlotte who graduated with a master’s degree from Antwerp’s Royal Academy of Fine Arts. A love of nature and the arts are leitmotifs that run through Bernadette’s aesthetic. Ultra feminine, metropolitan glamour is juxtaposed with a poetic vision of a life somewhere remote and paradisal. Clean lines add a graceful note to the label’s silhouettes while colorful prints echo a timeless and free-spirited allure. Check out their website at https://www.bernadetteantwerp.com

Deveaux New York

Deveaux New York. Designer: Tommy Ton

Deveaux New York was originally formed as a menswear collection by Matthew Breen and Andrea Tsao. In February 2018, Deveaux launched its womenswear collection and announced the appointment of industry veteran, photographer Tommy Ton as Creative Director. Tommy Ton is a Canadian photographer first known for his fashion blog Jak & Jil and his street style coverage of fashion weeks on Style.com and GQ.com.

With an encyclopedia knowledge of what is being worn in the streets, Tommy Ton brings a keen knowledge of the relationship between the runway and the consumer. Together with Andrea Tsao as Head Designer, as well as Matthew Breen, who heads business development, the team is comprised of a unique set of backgrounds that aspires to re-contextualize classic items in the modern world through fit, fabrication and silhouette. It explores the idea of a ‘uniform’ in an effort to make a truly authentic wardrobe. Bergdorf has the NY exclusive distribution of Deveaux for 3 seasons. Check out Deveaux New York’s website: https://deveauxnewyork.com

LouLou Studio

LouLou Studio: Designer Chloe LouLou De Saison

LouLou Studio is a knitwear brand created by fashion influencer/fashion consultant Chloe LouLou De Saison. Her Instagram is a glimpse into a universe which revolves around her vision of the modern Parisian woman. Chloe says of her brand, “I just wanted what I couldn’t find anywhere else: the perfect basic knit with a twist, but also good quality clothes at affordable prices. Everything revolves around well-being. Our pieces are designed to make life easier for women. Putting on a nice sweater in the morning is comforting and reassuring. We want to arouse this feeling with our knitwear collections.” Bergdorf has the NY exclusive distribution of LouLou for 3 seasons. See more of LouLou Studio at https://louloustudio.fr/en/

Also on BG’s Radar

Although the following designers were not on the selling floor while I was there on Saturday, the following brands were also listed among BG’s emerging designers.

Coperni

Coperni luxury RTW designers: Sébastien Meyer & Arnaud Vaillant (Courtesy Coperni Instagram)

Coperni– a luxury women’s wear collection launched by former Courrèges designers Sébastien Meyer and Arnaud Vaillant on Instagram this Fall – check out the interactive display to watch the Choose-Your-Own-Adventure inspired video series! Coperni takes its name from Nicolaus Copernicus. “He revolutionized astronomy and we were inspired by that,” says Sébastien, who met co-designer Arnaud when both were students at Mod’ Art International in Paris. Their fledgling label, which won the 2014 ANDAM Award, is at once innovative and timeless. “The most important thing for us is to make clothes that are perfectly cut and draped and that women enjoy wearing,” explains Vaillant. “We want our clients to have an emotional connection to our pieces, a real feeling, and we won’t achieve that by making collections that fall out of fashion after a season.” Coperni is currently exclusive to BG in NY.

KHAITE

KHAITE. Designer: Catherine Holstein

KHAITE (pronounced Kate) is a women’s RTW collection that reimagines classic American sportswear for the 21st century. Designed to be cherished, each piece proposes a fresh balance of opposing elements – past and future, masculine and feminine strength and softness, structure and fluidity – while embodying a signature sensuality and ease.

 

Founded in 2016 by Catherine Holstein, New York-based KHAITE evolves with each new season, building upon a foundation of robust and polished items distinguished by exceptional materials and subtle yet striking details. The collection takes its name from the Greek word (xaitn) meaning “long, flowing hair.”

Sies Marjan

Sies Marjan. Designer Sander Lak

Sies Marjan (pronounced seez mar-john), is a luxury designer label established in 2016 and based in New York City. Designed by Dutch Creative Director Sander Lak, the brand evokes a narrative of color, proportion and subversive fabrication. The name Seis Marjan, signifies the first names of his father Sies, and his mother Marjan. In 3 short years, Sies Marjan has developed a strong multi-category business to include Women’s RTW, Men’s RTW, footwear and handbags soon to come. The brand has 150+ global luxury stockists including Bergdorf Goodman, MatchesFashion, Sssense and Net-a-Porter.

Sander was nominated for the CFDA Swarovski Award for emerging talent in 2017 and won the prize in 2018. He was also a nominee for the CFDA 2019 Womenswear Designer of the Year. Check out his Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/explore/tags/seismarjan/ 

ROTATE by Birger Christensen

ROTATE by Birger Christensen

ROTATE is a Copenhagen-based brand designed by Danish stylists and influencers Jeanette Madsen and Thors Valdimars. Birger Christensen, the parent company, boasts a 150-year-old history, having opened its doors in the heart of Copenhagen in 1869. Finn Birger Christensen, a third-generation furrier, built the company by offering a well-curated collection of luxury names alongside its own brand of fur and accessories. When Denise Christensen joined the family business as chief executive officer in 2017, she initiated a new chapter in the brand’s history by opening Rotate, featuring bold prints and textiles in 80s inspired silhouettes with an emphasis on party dresses.

Check out Rotate at https://rotatebirgerchristensen.com

As NYFW marches on this week, it is nice to see attention being paid to emerging designers. Stay tuned….

WE JUST GOTTA BRAG

FEELIN’ THE LOVE

As the University of Fashion, the world’s first and largest online fashion education video library, enters its 11th year in business, we thought we’d devote this week’s blog to why our subscribers love us so much. Besides the hundreds of great lessons that we offer, our subscribers have told us how much they love our super-directional Pinterest boards, as well as our Facebook, Instagram and Tweets, which provide up to the minute fashion event coverage, inspiring quotes and feature our new lessons. Oh yeah, and they love our You Tube channel. Our free sleeve sloper lesson on YT has remarkably hit an all-time high of 837K views, yikes!  But, let’s not forget other UoF freebies – our set of mens, women’s, children’s and plus size croquis give-aways which, drum roll please…have had more than 400K downloads and are still going strong!

For those of you who aren’t familiar with us, well then please, come out from under that rock and check us out!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UpETLHSVxsU&feature=youtu.be&t=6

 

TOP 10 REASONS WHY PEOPLE LOVE US

  1. Learn from Industry Pros and Top College Professors
  • We recruit only the best people in the fashion industry to teach our lessons. Each teacher is selected because they’re considered an expert in their field.
  • Our college instructors are selected for their particular area of expertise and based on their college peer and student evaluations. We interview hundreds of teachers before we choose.
  1. Lesson Satisfaction 8.97 out of 10
  • Before deciding on which lessons to film, we do research. We interview and survey hundreds of our customers to find out what they would like to learn.
  • We poll our high school and college students and teachers, our industry customers and our home sewers. Each plays a huge role in the lessons that we choose to film.
  • An outside firm recently surveyed 500 of our customers and asked them to rate the lesson that they most recently completed. On a scale where 10 is the “most satisfying”, the U of F scored an average of 8.97.
  1. Founded by a Designer for Designers
  • UoF was founded by Francesca Sterlacci, a former designer/entrepreneur, author and college professor from FIT and AAU. As chair of the Fashion Dept. at FIT, Francesca learned that high school students interested in fashion college needed help with their portfolios. Current fashion college teachers & students desperately needed tutoring, especially in the disciplines of draping, patternmaking, sewing and fashion drawing. While some colleges offer tutoring to their students, none have on-call, 24/7 service. Enter UoF.
  • Fashion industry professionals looking to upgrade their skills can’t find time to go back to school and so for them, UoF is the perfect solution.
  1. Enjoy College Courses in the Convenience of Your Home or Office
  • Subscribers choose from over 450+ lessons at a level that suits their particular skill level, whether they are a beginner, intermediate or advanced student.
  • Subscribers get to watch, replay and access our lessons from a computer, tablet or smart phone as many times as they wish.
  1. Videos that Keep You Stay Engaged & Visually Stimulated
  • To reinforce and add to the learning experience, our video editors have added state-of-the-art motion graphics to help the viewer get a better understanding of the material.
  • Each lesson is broken up into modules with music transitions so the viewer can take breaks in between each module or conveniently play back a module for further clarification.
  • Our videos are easy to follow, never boring, and move at a pleasant pace. Viewers have the option to rewind and review as many steps as necessary, which, is another benefit of learning by video.
  1. Find Everything You Need to Get Started
  • For beginners, UoF starts out by teaching how to create a portfolio for fashion college application.
  • UoF offers 13 fashion disciplines: draping, pattern making, sewing, fashion drawing, CAD art & pattern making, accessory design, knits, childrenswear, menswear, product development, fashion business and a fashion lecture series with lessons covering textiles, color theory, trend forecasting, fashion history and prominent fashion luminaries.
  • In addition to a resource library of suggested books, museums, schools and fashion terminology, we are also a one stop shop marketplace for the tools, supplies, machines, fabrics, dress forms, trims and art supplies that you will need for our lessons.
  1. We Keep You Connected to the Fashion Industry
  • Whether you are a working professional, a student, a teacher, a home sewer or one of the fashion curious, you will be able to access lectures including how to choose a dress form, how to pad a dress form, lectures by fashion book authors, and other topics such as textiles, the state of the fashion industry, current fashion trends and much, much, more!
  1. Schools & Companies Get Expert Help
  • We help colleges strengthen their existing curriculum with expert tutorials in all of the major fashion subjects and in the creation of hybrid classroom learning. In addition, we offer online licensing options for schools to create their own online degree programs.
  • High schools get the benefit of expert teachers without having to spend money on recruiting teachers with specific skill sets. And, access to our video library  is a great way to start a fashion club!
  • Companies use UoF to assist their employees in keeping current with fashion industry best practices.
  1. We are Affordable
  • Whether you are an individual subscriber who chooses a monthly or yearly option, or you are a high school, college, public library, group or organization, a subscription to UoF enables you to access all of our website and video content as well as our transcripts, 24/7 for the duration of your subscription. And…all of our lessons are now closed-captioned.
  1. We Now Have Books to Complement our Beginner Videos
  • As of January 2019, we offer, for purchase, a Beginner Techniques book series in Draping, Pattern making and Sewing. This reinforces the learning process and is a great way to learn, since the books follow the videos step-by-step, frame-by-frame. Don’t take our word for it, check out our Amazon reviews!
  • And, speaking of reviews…check out our industry, subscriber and academic testimonials and our press reviews to see why people in 177 countries love us. And thank you…WE FEEL THE LOVE!

Let us know which lessons are your favorite and what lessons you would like to see on UoF’s site!

Best wishes for the new year! ✨

2019UoFAnime

Anyone can gift a sweater for the Holidays
But the gift of fashion education is forever!

May the new year bring you all the best in fashion, fun and fellowship

Happy New Year 2019!

From all of us here at University of FashionHave a great one!
Best Wishes
www.universityoffashion.com

The Americans have landed, or have they?

Picture1

For those of us New Yorkers who each day walk past the Lord & Taylor flagship on Fifth Avenue, we are already mourning the shuttering of this retail monument, scheduled for early 2019. While L & T may not have always been every fashionista’s ‘go-to’ destination for the most current fashion trends, this retailer has had a rich history of promoting American designers. Beginning in 1932, Dorothy Shaver (then L & T president), established a program known as the “American Look,” during a period in time when French fashion reigned supreme. This fashion visionary jumped at the chance to promote the work of American designers like Claire McCardell, Tina Lesser, Clare Potter, Vera Maxwell and Bonnie Cashin. It was a defining moment for American fashion designers and put American fashion on the world map. Oh, and by the way…Shaver was also one of the founders of the Costume Institute at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York!

Lord & Taylor                                                                                                                                                          (Courtesy University of Fashion)
Lord & Taylor (Courtesy University of Fashion)

Well, thankfully, another retailer has finally stepped up to the plate. As of this week and leading up to New York Fashion Week (Sept 6-14), Saks Fifth Avenue is showcasing the work of various American brands. Each of the American-based brands below were invited to create a window (and pay for their installation) that best represents that brand’s identity.

Although not all of the designers at these brands are American-born (Carolina Herrera, Philip Lim, Oscar de la Renta, Alexander Wang, Derek Lam, Jason Wu, Diane von Furstenberg, Naeem Khan and Tanya Taylor), the spotlight is on American-based fashion labels.

Other designers included are: Rosie Assoulin, Alice & Olivia, Coach, Eileen Fisher, Lafayette 148, Leila Rose, Milly, Rag & Bone, Marc Jacobs, Michael Kors, Ralph Lauren, Brandon Maxwell, Gabriela Hearst, Jonathan Simkhai, Monse and Proenza Schouler). While the windows are intended to celebrate American style, some brands chose to focus on things such as their heritage, or social justice and sustainability. Here’s a sampling:

Carolina Herrera window for Saks Fifth Avenue                                       (Courtesy WWD August 17, 2018)
Carolina Herrera window for Saks Fifth Avenue (Courtesy WWD August 17, 2018)

Carolina Herrera’s window is a take on her iconic eveningwear (white shirt and ball skirt). Whether intentional or not, Herrera’s choice of rainbow-colored mannequins against a rainbow background could easily be interpreted as a nod to the LGBTQ community.

Coach window for Saks Fifth Avenue                                                                                         (Courtesy WWD August 17, 2018)
Coach window for Saks Fifth Avenue (Courtesy WWD August 17, 2018)

Coach’s window paid homage to their company roots. Inspired by the suppleness of an old baseball glove, Miles Cahn founded Coach in 1941, in a New York City loft. Artisans hired by the Cahn family handcrafted soft leather into handbags and in 1962, hired American designer Bonnie Cashin, who pioneered the use of brass toggles on handbags and clothing. Coach’s window included ubiquitous New York phone booths and a shout-out to Dreamers, with a decal of an 8-Ball (as in disadvantage) with the words, “Calling All Dreamers.”

Eileen Fisher window at Saks Fifth Ave   (Courtesy University of Fashion)
Eileen Fisher window at Saks Fifth Ave (Courtesy University of Fashion)

Eileen Fisher is known as a pioneer of cotton grown without pesticides and a promoter of California’s Central Valley organic cotton growers since the late 1990s. This brand’s window was less about ‘selling product’ and more about an education in recycling. In 2009, Fisher initiated GREEN EILEEN, a “buy-back policy” whereby customers turn in their gently used Eileen Fisher products, in return for a store gift card. The brand either resells that item or, through their “third lifecycle initiative,” artists get the chance to upcycle these clothes into new designs. Her Saks window featured a recycled garment, a video showing the upcycling process and cages filled with clothes ready for recycling. Thanks Eileen, for thinking responsibility about a circular fashion cycle and less about sell, sell, sell.

Tanya Taylor window for Saks Fifth Avenue                                                                                         (Courtesy WWD August 17, 2018)
Tanya Taylor window for Saks Fifth Avenue (Courtesy WWD August 17, 2018)

The newest (and youngest designer) brand to get a Saks window is Canadian-born designer Tanya Taylor. After having studied finance at McGill University, taken a course at Central Saint Martins and then attended Parsons School of Design, Taylor launched her brand in 2012. In 2014, she became a finalist in the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund competition. Her quirky fashion is a bit H & M-ish (without the low price tag).

The inclusion of Tanya Taylor, just begs the question…why are aren’t stores like Saks and other major retailers getting behind and supporting more American start-up designers?

Hundreds of American fashion designer entrepreneurs who graduate from fashion schools, or those who learn online at University of Fashion, could greatly benefit from the support that these high-profile windows provide. So…Saks (and other retailers)… if you are listening… and you really want to take on the role of promoting American design talent that Lord & Taylor started in 1932, then do your homework and start showcasing home grown talent who need it the most!

Let us know what you think. Should American retailers start a movement to promote more American fashion design start-ups?

Trend Watch: The Bias Drape

- - Trends
Hand drawing by Madame Grès, Spring/Summer 1948

Hand drawing by Madame Grès, Spring/Summer 1948

Paris Fashion Week continues to impress.  It is so interesting to see what inspires designers.  We love watching the shows unfold, as each collection has a unique story.

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Trend Watch: Crocodile

- - Trends

Three fashion weeks down, one more to go.  Today marks the start of Paris fashion week, and we couldn’t be more excited.  Before Paris fashion week unfolds, we will recap a key trend seen in New York, London and Milan: CROCODILE

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