University of Fashion Blog

Category "Fashion Tips"

Introducing the CFDA’s Young Guns

Mike Amiri, Kristopher Brock, Nadja Swarovski, Aurora James, and Kerby Jean-Raymond - Photo courtesy of WWD.com

Mike Amiri, Kristopher Brock, Nadja Swarovski, Aurora James, and Kerby Jean-Raymond – Photo courtesy of WWD.com

As fashion educators and bloggers, we have a responsibility to cover important events in our industry—for example, the recent 2018 CFDA Fashion Awards—even when the CFDA honors Kim Kardashian (GASP!) with the CFDA Influencer Award. While we are still a little stumped on that decision, we are thrilled to introduce you to the honored newcomers to the fashion industry – also known as the five nominees for the Swarovski Award for Emerging Talent. Read More

DROP Everything and Read This

From a death drop…

To a mic drop…

To dropping it like it’s hot…

Retailers and designers alike are taking advantage of the hype that surrounds the newest, hottest drop – or a limited edition release of a product for a short run of time. Most often, one-off drops take place in brick and mortar locations and attract droves of brand fans and devotees.

And in a time when “on the ground” retailers are struggling to stay alive due to online competition, finding creative ways to bring shoppers in is critical.

Last September, Barneys put a drop event to the test when the retailer invited more than 80 brands to release limited-edition goods that could only be found at Barneys. But Barneys didn’t just stop at offering limited edition products by brands with impressive social media followings. The social media savvy retailer also tapped additional influencers—think well-known tattoo artists and DJs—to sweeten the draw for the audience Barneys was trying to attract into its doors.

Add a branded café and a t-shirt bar, and BAM! Drop history was made.

According to WWD, of the 12,000 people that showed up to The Drop @Barneys on Madison Avenue in NYC, half were current customers and the other half brand new customers. The event was held over one weekend and sales increased 35% from the previous year on Saturday and 9% on Sunday. Most importantly, 40% of attendees returned at a later date to make a purchase at Barneys.

The Drop @ Barneys was so successful, a second drop is planned for June 2 and 3 at the Beverly Hills store on the West Coast.

But what can emerging designers pick up from what more established designers are dropping?

Several ideas:

1. Use what you know to give the people what they want.

If you’re lacking Barney’s vast resources and connections, not to worry. You can take a lesson from Barneys “mega drop,” and use your knowledge of your own brand and product success to create a “mini drop.” Take a hard look at your best sellers or perhaps your garments/accessories/items that get the most attention on social media.

In other words, many designers recreated their biggest sellers for The Drop @ Barneys, and the crowd flocked to the event. No need to make more work for yourself or reinvent an already popular wheel.

Reincarnate your best seller with a slight twist or alteration in a limited edition run. Set up shop at a local market, arrange for a pop up event at a local boutique or permits permitting, sell on a corner in a shopping area that caters to your audience. Blast your social media following a special date/time and look forward to existing fans of your brand bringing their friends for a peek at your drop!

2. Get creative—think of the long game.

This tip takes a shift in thinking. When your resources are limited, it can be hard to think about putting your time and energy into a “hype” event that may not garner too many sales. However, if you are in it for the long haul as a designer and business person, giving some focus to “getting your name out there” can pay off down the road.

Barneys didn’t just focus on garment sales during their first drop event, they thought beyond sales to provide an environment that would appeal to the demographic they hope to turn into buying customers in the future.

As an emerging designer, consider organizing a panel about fashion, design or owning your own business and invite your local community. Try offering to style customers at a local boutique for one afternoon a week. Seek out networking events in your area—offer to speak, help organize or provide a branded item for attendees’ swag bags.

3. Form like-minded partnerships.

Just like Barneys researched DJs, tattoo artists and other influencers that their desired audience might want to take selfies with, so can you.

Who do you follow and admire on Instagram? How might you partner with them, eventually turning their fans on to your brand? Can you swap a post for a post and somehow bring your like-minded followers together?

Think about your customer’s day, week, month and year. Sure, they might wake up and put on one of your accessories, but considering their 24/7 can give you great insight into who your beneficial partners might be. If your customer spends her weekends at the club, you might consider hosting a party in exchange for a pop up shop during the club’s off hours.

If you design golf shirts, networking with county clubs and offering a unique “meet the designer” buying experience for members during busy brunch times might be an option.

If sustainability is part of your design philosophy, try partnering with a recycling facility or donation organization, giving your customers (and new customers who will be appreciative of your efforts) a literal Drop Off the Old, Shop the New opportunity.

What are other ways you have attracted new customers?

We’d love to hear—and so would our students and followers. Maybe we can get creative and form a like-minded partnership? Drop your comments below.

A Designer Dilemma: Staying True to Your Brand as Trends Shift

- - Fashion Tips

 (Photo Courtesy of Refinery29)

In today’s digital age where news and trends are delivered at lightning speed, it is important for fashion designers to remember to stay true to their brand’s vision. With a plethora of influences out there, like Instagram, Pinterest, fashion vlogs and blogs, it’s hard for them not to succumb to current trends and create a plat du jour collection that may ultimately compromise their brand. Successful designers realize the importance of maintaining brand identity and staying connected with their customers’ expectations as trends shift.

But what should a designer do when their brand signature is not the trend of the moment?

Answer: Designers must adapt their signature style to the changing market, while not confusing their customer.

Here are a few designers who, throughout their successful career, have stayed true to themselves and their brand, while adapting to the ever-changing trend churn:

Miuccia Prada

Miuccia Prada surprises her clients season after season and yet one thing remains consistent; Prada always delivers a unique style that skillfully mixes intellectual purity, art, eccentric elegance and futuristic minimalism. Here are two examples of Prada’s love of art through the years.

Prada Spring 2018 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

Prada Spring 2018 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

Prada Spring 2008 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

Prada Spring 2008 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

Ralph Lauren

Although never one to follow trends, Ralph Lauren has built an empire on updating American classics that reflect elegance and sophistication. Here is a preppy nod to nautical chicness.

Ralph Lauren Spring 2018 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

Ralph Lauren Spring 2018 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

Ralph Lauren Spring 2006 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

Ralph Lauren Spring 2006 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

Thom Browne

While his ‘shrunken’ grey suits put him on the map, Thom Browne is known for his avant-garde fashion and conceptual fashion shows. In an interview with BoF, designer Thom Browne told of his brand’s ‘conceptual-meets-commercial’ balancing act. Browne stated, “I just knew I needed to stay in business. I’m stubborn, but I’m not foolish. Fashion is a business. As conceptual as you want to be, you do have to make sure that you approach it as a business. There has to be a commercial element to what you do.” Here are some examples of his quirky take on men’s suits through the years.

Thom Brown Fall 2018 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

Thom Browne Fall 2018 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

Thom Brown Fall 2007 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

Thom Browne Fall 2007 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

Proenza Schouler

Proenza Schouler’s Jack McCollough and Lazaro Hernandez have never abandoned their cool, artsy girl customer. At a Fashion at FIAF festival talk, moderated by Vogue’s Sally Singer, the duo stated, “If you do think you have the vision to set out on your own, confidence is key, especially since your designs or ideas might seem crazy and impractical to some. It’s always good to piss some people off. Our teachers at [Parsons] hated us,” Hernandez laughed. “They were like, you guys have to stop making clothes for art girls. Make some easy separates. We were like, What? No!”  That spirit has stayed with us to this day. You can’t cater to every single person. You have to do what makes you feel happy.” Here are Proenza Schoular’s fashion-forward girls.

Proenza Schoular Fall 2018 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

Proenza Schoular Fall 2018 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

Proenza Schoular Fall 2011 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

Proenza Schoular Fall 2011 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

Alexander Wang

No one has captured the M.O.D. (Model-off-Duty) look better than Alexander Wang. The eponymous label embodies a cool, slightly disheveled, utilitarian chic, downtown style that is favored by hipsters, rappers, ‘It girls’ and critics alike. Here are some Alexander Wang cool, downtown girls.

Alexander Wang Spring 2018 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

Alexander Wang Spring 2018 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

Alexander Wang Fall 2011 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

Alexander Wang Fall 2011 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

Chanel

Tweed, pearls and quilted bags have been among the ‘codes of the house’ at Chanel for decades. And yet, season after season, Karl Lagerfeld adds a youthful and fashion-forward twist to these iconic classics. Here are some signature Chanel looks through the years.

Chanel Spring 2018 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

Chanel Spring 2018 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

Chanel Spring 1994Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

Chanel Spring 1994 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

So tell us, which designers do you think have best adapted their ‘signature’ to current fashion trends while still maintaining their brand’s identity?

 

5 Surefire Ways to Get Inspired Today

I’ve always wanted to teach a class on how to find inspiration as a fashion designer. I’ve often thought, “How dreamy to spend my days finding and exploring what inspires me, never mind the satisfaction that would come from fostering inspiration in others.” For me, finding inspiration is the most thrilling part of what we get to do as designers. Read More

Buying Luxury Without Breaking The Bank

Buying Luxury Without Breaking The Bank

 

Bags from: Hermes, Louis Vuitton, and Chanel (Courtesy of  What Goes Around Comes Around)

Bags from: Hermes, Louis Vuitton, and Chanel (Courtesy of What Goes Around Comes Around)

Millennials are the future of luxury – from fashion and accessories to homes and cars – they are the target of every relevant brand. Millennials are free-thinking, they are an individualistic generation that are over 80 million strong.

According to WWD’s Think Tank segment published on April 25, 2016,  “By 2035, Millennials will have the potential to become the largest spending generation in history, according to the white paper, “Five Luxe Trends for 2015” by marketing expert Pam Danziger. Millennials’ influence will be felt by 2020 as the oldest Millennials (let’s call them “Millennial+”) are beginning to enter their peak earning years and will have disposable income for luxury experiences. We can expect this shift to continue as more Millennials become Millennial+.”

 

Kendall Jenner and Gigi Hadid  (Courtesy of Getty)

Kendall Jenner and Gigi Hadid (Courtesy of Getty)

Today, Kendall Jenner, Cara Delevingne, and Gigi Hadid are on top of the pop culture world; they are influential fashion icons and are featured in all the hottest runway shows and campaigns. These young women have influence over Millennials, and they are drawing them into luxury brands. So which brands are winning them over? How can they afford to splurge on such high end items?

Although luxury brands may not be so transparent when it comes to what is actually selling, thanks to the online resale market, shoppers can easily track what’s hot and what’s not (ref.: Drop Shipping Made Easy – Drop Ship Profitably With Drop Ship Lifestyle). No longer looked at with disdain, the pre-owned market is growing in both dollars and prevalence. According to the mid-year “State of Luxury Resale” report for The Real Real, one of the most popular resale sites, consumers have an insider glimpse into what people have been buying during the first half of the year.

Walk in Closet filled with designer shoes and bags (Courtesy of Pintrest)

Walk in Closet filled with designer shoes and bags (Courtesy of Pintrest)

Surprise, surprise! Gucci is the fourth best-selling brand on The Real Real (just behind Chanel, Hermès, and Louis Vuitton), riding its wave of success thanks to Alessandro Michele’s eclectic charm and the return of the logo mania trend. Gucci now has a 10 percent better sell-through rate than Céline; used loafers from the brand manage to sell for 80 percent of the original retail price. Footwear favorite Christian Louboutin ranks as the sixth best-selling brand on The Real Real, which makes sense because the site now says high-end shoes at the $500 range are selling faster than bags at the same price.

 

Gucci Spring 2016 (Courtesy of Purseblog.com)

Gucci Spring 2016 (Courtesy of Purseblog.com)

According to the resale site, the accessory of the year has been the backpack; selling 40 percent better than other handbag categories and have seen the largest growth resale value.

(Read post: Find biodegradable printed burlap bags at wholesale prices on the website of Custom Earth Promos)

Chanel spring 2014  (Courtesy of Spottedfashion.com)

Chanel spring 2014 (Courtesy of Spottedfashion.com)

 

Thanks to street-style darlings and Instagram stars, shoppers are splurging on Vetements, Saint Laurent, Self-Portrait, Rosie Assoulin, J.W. Anderson and Zimmerman, all of which saw triple-digit growth, because these young designers have such a strong and individual point of view. The Real Real’s buzziest new brands are Supreme and Off-White — their search rates surged a whopping 1,500 percent and 730 percent, respectively, over the last six months.

Chiara Ferragni in Vetements  (Courtesy of TheBlondSalad.com)

Chiara Ferragni in Vetements (Courtesy of TheBlondSalad.com)

Today’s millennials really understand value in a unique way from previous generations. According to Alexis Clarbour, director of pioneer luxury accessory consignment website Portero.com, her customers are now seeing beyond the original purchase and considering how the value of the item will hold up if they decide to resell it. They’re true luxury seekers — the average sale price on Portero, for example is $2,200, and its most popular brand is Hermès.

Portero Site Page

Portero Site Page

“For the same reason a consumer chooses to buy a certified pre-owned car, they also desire to purchase a certified pre-owned watch since it’s a smarter, more financially beneficial way of buying luxury,” said Hamilton Powell, founder of luxury vintage and pre-owned watch consignment site Crown & Caliber.

 

Vintage Rolex Watche (Courtesy of The Vintage Watch Company)

Vintage Rolex Watche (Courtesy of The Vintage Watch Company)

Consumers today are educated and thanks to the internet, research is at everyone’s fingertips; which may be one of the major factors for the growing resale business model. Customers can easily inform themselves about luxury products such as handbags, watches, shoes and clothes. Millennials search for a greater value for their dollar in the luxury marketplace.

While every brand from high end luxury to street brands are courting millennials, The Real Real states that in 2017, Gen Z — that is, ages 22 and younger — is the site’s fastest growing demographic, once again proving that when it comes to shopping, cool teens really know how to do it. Why buy luxury retail when you can buy it used for less?

 

Hermes Bags  (Courtesy of PurseBlog.com)

Hermes Bags (Courtesy of PurseBlog.com)

 

 

 

 

 

Resort Round-Up

RESORT 2018

Clockwise from upper left hand corner: Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Chanel, and Christian Dior (All photos courtesy of Vogue.com)

Clockwise from upper left hand corner: Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Chanel, and Christian Dior (All photos courtesy of Vogue.com)

 

Resort has always been a favorite season for retailers; after all, it’s the longest selling season – hitting the floor around November and selling at full price until May. Up until several years ago, designers thought of the season as just store-fillers, a chance to sell the basic pieces all women need in their wardrobe. Fast-forward to today, resort has exploded into an equally important season as spring/summer and fall/winter.

Resort 2018 season kicked off in early May and has wrapped up in early July. While many designers presented their collections intimately in their showrooms to press and buyers, some designers went all out and showed a full runway show in various locations around the world.

Christian Dior Show held in Santa Monica Mountains (Courtesy of Vogue.com)

Christian Dior Show held in Santa Monica Mountains (Courtesy of Vogue.com)

Maria Grazia Chiuri’s collection for Christian Dior was inspired by Californian nature –she held a grand show against the backdrop of the Santa Monica Mountains. This collection is far from the Hollywood glamour one expects when you think of California, but rather Chiuri looked to Georgia O’Keeffe and the Southwest for inspiration. Other designers who also looked to O’Keeffe as a reference for their collections were Chiui’s former co-designer Pierpaolo Piccioli for Valentino, Tory Burch, Acne Studios, and Jonathan Simkhai.

Christian Dior (Courtesy of Vogue.com)

Christian Dior (Courtesy of Vogue.com)

 

 

Valentino (Courtesy of Vogue.com)

Valentino (Courtesy of Vogue.com)

Tory Burch (Courtesy of Tory Burch)

Tory Burch (Courtesy of Tory Burch)

 

Nicolas Ghesquière collection for Louis Vuitton was a love letter to Japan and its culture; the show was set within the stunning Miho Museum in Kyoto. Ghesquière used with Japanese references as he featured illustrated sequined dresses and guaranteed-hit Kabuki-eyed bags imagined by Kansai Yamamoto. The collection was filled with prints, layers, and textures, as well as a rebellious, badass attitude. Other tough girl collections include Dundas and Miu Miu.

Louis Vuitton (Courtesy of Vogue.com)

Louis Vuitton (Courtesy of Vogue.com)

 

Dundas (Courtesy of Vogue.com)

Dundas (Courtesy of Vogue.com)

Miu Miu (Courtesy of Vogue.com)

Miu Miu (Courtesy of Vogue.com)

Gucci’s Alessandro Michele has a love of history and the renaissance.  As the creative director for Gucci, Michele brought the brand back to its home in Florence for resort, showing at the Palatine Gallery of Palazzo Pitti. Michele injected his collection with heritage, irreverence, and plenty of kitschy charm. Plenty of designer followed suit with vintage inspired florals such as Rossie Assoulin, Etro, No.21 and Brock Collection

Gucci (Courtesy of Vogue.com)

Gucci (Courtesy of Vogue.com)

Rosie Assoulin (Courtesy of Rosie Assoulin)

Rosie Assoulin (Courtesy of Rosie Assoulin)

No. 21 (Courtesy of Vogue.com)

No. 21 (Courtesy of Vogue.com)

Karl Lagerfeld usually shows his Chanel Resort collections in exotic locals, but this season, he transformed Paris into Ancient Greece for his grand show. Lagerfeld showed an abundance of Grecian goddess dresses that were breathtaking. Lagerfeld wasn’t the only designer inspired by  Ancient Greece, Roberto Cavalli, Fausto Puglisi and J.Mendel all had beautiful Grecian invigorated frocks.

Chanel (Courtesy of Vogue.com)

Chanel (Courtesy of Vogue.com)

Fausto Puglisi (Courtesy of Fausto Puglisi)

Fausto Puglisi (Courtesy of Fausto Puglisi)

J. Mendel (Courtesy of J. Mendel)

J. Mendel (Courtesy of J. Mendel)

 

Sure the shows were spectacular, but their were also plenty of trends for resort, here are some of the key looks to focus on:

Game Changer

Designers gave sporty clothes a glamorous spin. The look was especially noteworthy at Valentino, as Pierpaolo Piccioli showed track suits, dresses, and strappy sandals with athletic ankle socks. Other designers who got their game on: Prada, Mui Mui and Stella McCartney.

Valentino (Courtesy of Vogue.com)

Valentino (Courtesy of Vogue.com)

Prada (Courtesy of Vogue.com)

Prada (Courtesy of Vogue.com)

Stella McCartney (Courtesy of Vogue.com)

Stella McCartney (Courtesy of Vogue.com)

Get Fruity

Citrus colors take center stage this season from zingy lime to tangy orange. Designers from both side of the Atlantic embraced the trend from Edun to MSGM.

MSGM (Courtesy of MSGM)

MSGM (Courtesy of MSGM)

Edun (Courtesy of Edun)

Edun (Courtesy of Edun)

Versus Versace (Courtesy of Vogue.com)

Versus Versace (Courtesy of Vogue.com)

 Jean Therapy

Denim has long been a favorite among designers. But this season, toss away your skinnies; the new trend is wide leg denim.

Oscar de la Renta (Courtesy of Vogue.com)

Oscar de la Renta (Courtesy of Vogue.com)

Karen Walker (Courtesy of Karen Walker)

Karen Walker (Courtesy of Karen Walker)

See by Chloe (Courtesy of See By Chloe)

See by Chloe (Courtesy of See By Chloe)

Seeing Stripes

Thom Browne, Joseph Altuzarra and plenty of other designers gave the classic stripe a modern update using dynamic colors and unusual placements worthy of a double take.

Thom Browne (Courtesy of Vogue.com)

Thom Browne (Courtesy of Vogue.com)

Altuzarra (Courtesy of Vogue.com)

Altuzarra (Courtesy of Vogue.com)

Christopher Kane (Courtesy of Christopher Kane)

Christopher Kane (Courtesy of Christopher Kane)

 

 

 

 

 

New year – new studio set-up?

- - Fashion Tips

We know, we know – you’ve probably been bombarded with blog posts about setting your resolutions for 2016. However, we are about to present you with some tips that will make your semester more successful, your home studio more efficient and your life as a designer much easier. It’s time to match your design environment with your design process. Read More

Put a Twist on Designer’s Block

Ever experience designer’s block? The struggle is real. Perhaps you have been staring at your dress form for a little bit too long trying to decide how to reinvent the jersey slip dress you love so much. Maybe your creative mind is wandering as the holidays approach. No matter what the reason, we have all been there and the U of F is happy to help you out of your design slump. Read More

Defining Your Path in the Fashion Industry

Last week, I had the pleasure of interviewing two very different women with two very different (and yet equally successful) paths in the fashion industry. My first stop was the legendary museum at FIT where I chatted with the museum’s director and curator, Valerie Steele.  I then spent some time with Vicki Tiel, a fashion designer celebrating her 50+ years in the fashion business. Read More

Download Free Croquis – Start Sketching Today

- - Fashion Tips

We understand (and advocate) the importance of developing your own sketching style, however, we also do not want anything to come between your design ideas and communicating them on paper.  Therefore, we have enlisted designer and illustrator Jaehoon Lee to create a set of fashion croquis that you can download for free through the University of Fashion.  Simply “Like” our post with Facebook or become a free member to our site by visiting our homepage for details.   Read More