Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Kate and Laura Mulleavy discuss their creative process and partnership

Sisters Kate and Laura Mulleavy work more like artists than designers. They're oddballs - they live with their parents in Pasadena, far away from the fashion bubble in New York.  They don't seem to concern themselves with trends or wearability, which often makes me wonder how much revenue their business generates, despite having industry support.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Donatella Versace talks about her design philosophy

She's a little difficult to understand, but speaks honestly.  Fashion is full of some crazy stories - one is the murder of her brother, Gianni, who founded the Versace empire, by a crazy dude who committed suicide.  She acknowledges the difficulty of taking over, coming out from the shadow of her "genius" of a brother.  She's a bit of a caricature of herself, but the Versace brand is still going strong so she must be doing something right.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Alexander Wang talks about his business and design process

When Alexander Wang was appointed the new creative director of Balenciaga, the fashion world freaked out.  Wang's aesthetic is more commercial than Ghesquiere's was, but perhaps that was why Wang was chosen as Ghesquiere's successor.

Back when Wang's label first started, I was supposed to interview as an assistant designer, but due to a combination of schedule and my reluctance to work for someone who was younger than I was, I never interviewed.  Perhaps that was a mistake, but it's been interesting to see the evolution of his brand and his status as a designer.  His line started out as several relatively simple sweaters and has mushroomed into a huge lifestyle brand.  He definitely has an eye for what looks cool, and seems to work hard while staying humble.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Alber Elbaz talks about his career and design/life philosophy

Alber Elbaz, designer of Lanvin, is just inherently lovable.  Since 2001, when he became the creative director, Lanvin has become a widely admired label.  I love his whimsical sketches and designs.  In this video, he mentions a distrust of people who are too perfectly dressed, because it indicates that their focus is on themselves.  On the other hand, he mentions his assistant who dress simply, but bring the fantasy to their work.  I'm often asked whether I'm wearing my own designs.  I tend to dress very simply, and I think it is because I want to bring my creativity to my work, rather than to dressing myself.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Riccardo Tisci discusses his experience at Givenchy

Relatively unknown when he took over Givenchy, Riccardo Tisci exceeded expectations and has revitalized the house.  He discusses his creative process and what it was like to come to Givenchy at 29.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Scottish designer Christopher Kane talks about his background, what inspires him, etc

Ever since he came out with those amazing fluorescent body-con dresses as part of his CSM thesis, I've been a huge fan of Christopher Kane.  His work is always exciting and inspiring.  Also, his Scottish accent is amazing.  Here he talks, quiet earnestly, about his life and the development of his career.


Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Who doesn't love Marc Jacobs?

Marc Jacobs describes what he does (tongue in cheek), and talks about what inspires him and keeps him going.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Stella McCartney discussing her design process

It's hard to separate Stella McCartney's success as a designer from her relation to her super famous Beatle father, but her clothes are always cool and female friendly.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Tom Ford’s Definitive Guide on How to Make It in Fashion

via Fashionista.com
Ford spoke at the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund awards dinner earlier this week, shortly before presenting the prize to Public School.

1. “Never sell a controlling interest in your name. Ever. A few million dollars now will seem like a lot to you. But one day, when you’re the success that you know you can be, you’ll regret this. Unfortunately, there are far too many examples of this very sad tale.”
2. “If you’re designing your own label, then know yourself. When you become well-known as a designer, you give the world your taste. You sell your taste — it’s no longer yours. You can only do this once. The DNA of your brand will become all your likes and dislikes. Once you hit the right chord, you’ll then be typecast and often pegged into a certain slot. No matter what I do, I’m always pegged as the sexy designer who loves black. Miuccia [Prada] is the intelligent designer. Yves [Saint Laurent] was the delicate, suffering designer. And so on. So my point is, know what you want to say.”
3. “Know your ideal client — the dream person you design for, your fantasy muse, so to speak. This will give your collection a point of view and a focus. Then know your real client, because he or she may be completely different than what you aspire to. Or your may not want to know them because in some cases when you meet your real clients they may actually scare the hell out of you. But on occasion, you will meet one that even exceeds your highest expectations and you’ll be so proud.”
4. “Decide for you if fashion is an art or an artistic business. This will affect how you set up your company. Some designers are true artists. Alexander McQueen, for me, was an absolute artist. Some are commercial designers who consider what they do artistic but not necessarily art. I would put myself into that category. Filmmaking for me was something that I attempted to do for art’s sake.”
5. “Choose your team carefully. So much of your success is due to the people who you surround yourself with. Your friends, your family, and the people that you work with — they all play an important role in inspiring you and supporting you and giving you stability. These are the people in your life who will be honest with you.”
Photo: Getty
6. “If your brand is to have a strong identity, it must come from you and not from a committee. If you’re ever in talks with a potential investor of financial backer and they bring in their wife’s blouse to show you for inspiration, run. If a potential investor has a wife or daughter who just loves fashion and can’t wait to come in and talk to you about the collection, run. If your president or CEO thinks they know the difference between a dark burgundy and an aubergine, fire them. Don’t ever let yourself be swayed in terms of what you design by the outside. I don’t mean that you shouldn’t listen to the advice and thoughts of others because you should, but in the end it’s you, and you alone, who must decide what path to forge.”
7. “Have a five-year plan, a 10-year plan, even a 20-year plan. And possibly an exit strategy. You can always change that, but start with a vision. Where do you want to be, how big do you want to be, what context are you planning on designing in? I’ve personally always liked the idea of global domination. I never understood anyone who thought, “You know, I’m going to work really, really hard and I’m gonna be second best!”
8. “Think globally. And spend as much time outside the United States as possible. I’m an American and I’m very proud of being an American, but everything in the world today is global, and America can tend to be very inward-looking. I’m not sure I would have been as successful as a designer had I not left America. I had to leave my own culture in order to find my own design aesthetic.”
9. “Remember that our customers do not need our clothes. They don’t need another pair of shoes or a new jacket. We have to create that need by creating desire. I have at times in my life had a real problem with this, with the materialism and consumerism that is fashion. Part of me wants to rebel against this and move to the desert and live in a simple adobe hut and become a monk. The other part of me wants to enjoy the beauty of the way that a piece of silk velvet catches the light and takes color. Finally, I realized we live in a material world. We’re material creatures. We are sensorial, we feel, and we touch. We’re fortunate to live in the Western world where we do have luxury. And fashion is part of experiencing that material time that we have on earth. It really does add beauty and quality to our lives.”
10. “Try to remain positive. I struggle with this one too. When our job is to constantly scrutinize things for what’s wrong with them and to correct them and to remake them into our vision, it’s easy to see the glass as half-empty. Think about it: All day long we say, “No, no, no—it’s wrong!” It kind of a negative process. Our brain becomes critical. We have to always try to see the glass as half-full.”
11. “Believe in what you do. If you don’t believe in it, no one will. If you love something while you’re designing it and you’re excited, you can actually endow that psychical piece — whether it’s a handbag or a shoe or a dress — with that feeling. So when a consumer is flicking through a rack of clothes, they’ll stop. It will actually transmit your excitement to them.”
12. “Find a great business partner and don’t let them go. This is absolutely key. You’ll need someone who believes in you completely and respects your judgment and vision. I’m lucky to have this in Domenico De Sole. These relationships do not come easy, they’re marriages, really. I trust Domenico with my life, and I believe he feels the same. We love each other as if we were family.”
13. “Be thankful to all those who help you on the way up. You won’t get there without them. Cherish them, and don’t forget them.”
14. “Remember that we all have it in our power to simply say, ‘Fuck it, I’m going to bed.’ And somehow, the next morning, everything seems a lot better. This was my father’s secret to staying calm and making it through anything that life threw at him, and it’s given me a lot of strength over the years.”

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Milly Designer Michelle Smith Recalls the Toughest Moment in Her Career

The following article was originally from Fashionista, but the link to the actual article appears to be broken so I'm just going to post it in its entirety (I saved it using Pocket).  Milly is a contemporary label that appears to have achieved strong and steady growth since its inception.
  • October 18th, 2013

Michelle Smith
Behind every successful small business, there’s a compelling story. An entrepreneur with a vision, the lessons he or she learned along the way, tales of marketing and money, and so much more. American Express believes in sharing these stories so we can all learn from them, so we asked ReadWrite to write an article with this in mind. If you want more great advice about small businesses, check out OPEN Forum® to get insights, see what works for others, and share what works for you.
When designer Michelle Smith launched Milly in 2001, there were very few brands that fell into the contemporary category. Today, the contemporary market generates more than $5 billion a year in the US, according to Telsey Advisory Group. More than a decade after debuting her first collection, Smith’s line of hip, made-in-New York City separates is a bigger player than ever. We sat down with Smith last week in her Garment Center offices to discuss where’s she’s been, how she got there and where she still wants to go.
Fashionista: So you went to Europe right after fashion week?
Michelle Smith: Yep, I went to Paris for the fabric show. My mom came along. I was working at the fabric show and she was going to the museums. My dad passed away a year ago so it’s a nice thing to do with her.

Where did you stay?
Hotel Raphael near the Arc de Triomphe. I’ve been staying there for about 15 years. They take good care of me (laughs).
You kind of got your start in Paris, right?
I did, but first in New York. I was always the kinda girl who knew what I wanted to do. Never questioned it. I always knew I wanted to be a fashion designer. It started off as fine arts and at the age of 11, I got into fashion illustration and did an arts school scholarship at Moore College of Art in Philadelphia—I did weekend programs while in high school. That was my first taste of going to a big city. Taking the commuter train home by myself.

Where are you from?
I’m from Connecticut but my father transferred back and forth from Connecticut and New Jersey. I was very set on going to FIT in New York. It was a design school I knew about in New York City and my art teacher told me about it and my parents wanted me to go to a traditional university first. I was really adamant about going to design school and I’m glad they let me do it. But I might do that with my daughter (laughs)—make her go to university first. But, it was great, it worked out well.

I came to NY in 1990, went to FIT, I lived on campus and did a two-year program in design. My parents paid for tuition and I had to pay for my expenses. I got a part time job at Hermès. I’m just a kid from the ‘burbs—anything I knew from fashion, I knew from magazines and I remember at the time they listed the price of all the products on the bottom of the advertisement at Hermès. I couldn’t even fathom that something could be thousands and thousands of dollars. But that’s where I wanted to work, so I pestered the manager and was very persistent and got a job there part-time.
In retail?
Yep, in retail. That really opened my eyes to the world of New York, to a whole other level of society, boomers, and shakers. I had captains of the industry as my clients. Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, I helped her buy a tie once. And I met a different cross section of people I would have never met before or never been exposed to. It was cool. And working there helped me develop an eye for quality.

Was that when Margiela was there?
No, it was before they brought on famous designers to design the line. It was an in-house person, I don’t remember her name. But it was a really cool moment. I wrote a letter to the president of Hermès when I finished my two-year program at FIT, requesting an internship in Paris. And I got the internship, I was the first American employee that they sent to work in Paris. 
I did a little bit of everything—I worked in retail, I worked in the buying office. It was a general training program, and it really helped me with my French as well. The Hermès internship was three months, and then I realized I really wanted to stay in Paris. I applied to design schools and got accepted into several. I chose a school called Esmod, but between Hermès and Esmod I interned at Louis Vuitton.
You have a very strong leather goods background. Did that help when you decided to launch a line of bags?
Yeah, definitely. Once you’ve been exposed to that… I can spot a fake in seconds. It’s just a part of me, you just know it and see it. It helps me a lot having my own bag collection and I love working with leather still today.
But back to Paris.
While I was at Esmod, I applied for an internship at Christian Dior haute couture. I got it! It was for painting watercolors of the haute couture models—Gianfranco Ferré was the designer at the time. I started in January after the show, so all of their orders were coming in, but all of the women would make modifications, Betsy Bloomingdale, etc.

So we would create modifications in watercolors, the house would get one and she would get a copy. There were Arabian princesses and all sorts of amazing clients and I would go try on these couture dresses. The girls were so nice, probably the only chance I’ll ever have to try on a Dior couture gown. It was like a fairytale. I remember my first watercolor I did for them, my supervisor said “no no no, this is way too heavy.” I had a heavy hand with the brush and she said to lighten it up. I remember her correcting me and I really got the technique down, so I know all sorts of illustration tricks. I would have to run into Mr. Ferre’s office and I was scared of him because he was really big and intimidating.

After Dior and Louis Vuitton, you moved back to the US?
Yes, I wanted to stay in Paris but it was impossible to find someone who would sponsor an American. The economy in Europe wasn’t great. But in the US, it was the boom-boom Clinton era. I interviewed around and I had a job offer as a design assistant at Calvin Klein. And I went to Hermès and asked a friend if she knew anyone that was hiring and she was like, “do you want to go on this date with this guy?” I said, “no I have a boyfriend in Paris, but do you know of anyone hiring a designer?” She called me a few days later said she wanted me to visit this guy at a coat company on Seventh Avenue. I walked in with my portfolio, we were interviewing and I was falling in love. That man is now my husband! I ended up taking a job at the company. I worked there for two years and it was complete opposite of my land of couture and French luxury goods. But I learned so much there about the business side of fashion. How to sell clothes, how to make clothes that will sustain a business, how to source—I had no idea about production schedules or fittings or how to cost things.
When did you decide to launch your own line?
I was working for a designer called Helen Wang. I saw that my specific designs were getting orders, and I started to develop my own voice. The look of her collection was changing as I was getting more involved. Suddenly I had the confidence to launch my own collection.

How did you come up with the funds?
I started in a very modest way, I didn’t start with a big fashion show. I started by making a sample collection, and my husband—who was my boyfriend at the time—agreed to back me. The initial investment was $50,000—that’s not that bad to start a business. I sublet a little office with a pattern table, a sewing machine. I bought sample fabric, and I applied to be in fashion Coterie—the trade show. It was a juried show, and I was selected to get in and was so excited! Barneys bought my debut collection. So did Fred Segal. From that show, I launched my business.
Presented by OPEN Forum®.

Inside the sample room at Milly.

Was it very quick moving in terms of orders? I feel like a lot of designers, if they get a ton of orders early on, they don’t know how to manage it.
I felt really prepared because my husband was my business partner. He has a lot of knowledge about production, coming from his family business, but he was still just helping me out at night. We went out and we found factories. I know every part of my business and how to do it—it’s good to know it from the inside out. It was great—I couldn’t have done it without him. And the most successful designers—not that I’m putting myself in the lot—but people like Marc Jacobs, and Yves Saint Laurent and Valentino, they always have a very savvy business partner. Creative people don’t want to be worried about accounts payable. Get bogged down with all of these accounting issues and production issues when we want to have creative time. It’s impossible to do everything and do it well.
How did the business grow from there?
Mid-2000s was an exciting time. The contemporary floor was born, and the business just self-financed itself. I showed in September, my first collection shipped in January, it just propelled and grew at an amazing pace. It was doubling, I think, every year until 2009. And then there was the collapse and it went down. Now it’s climbing back up. That was the first time that it was not fun. It’s pretty lucky to sail for eight years. It was just fun and song and games.
What was the toughest moment during that time?
It was very tough because stores were going out of business. I always had tried to balance my accounts between independently owned stores and department stores and to have a nice balance. But a lot of the independents were going out of business and the department stores were becoming very insecure about—how should we buy it? What does our customer want right now? Does she want dependable, basic clothing that she can wear for several seasons, or does she want the “oh my god I have to have it” piece. But then, is that too frivolous? There were too many questions in the air. I look back now and I laugh—everyone had it so easy before 2009. Everyone just had money, or people thought they had money and they were living on credit. We lost a whole customer segment that was maybe living outside of their means, and that will never come back.
As things got back to the new normal, do you think your design process changed?
Yeah, I do. I think about it harder. I used to always go into the collection just having fun and designing exactly what I want to wear. Now, I think a lot harder about the different regions, where is this collection shipping, I have to incorporate a lot of heavy weights for the north, lighter weights for the south, Europe wants something else…. There are a lot of different markets to think about, not just me and my happy bubble in New York City. I think more practically about what the wants and needs are of different markets. But I still love what I do. I’m skipping to work every day. Development for me is the most fun.
In two sentences, what does that entail?
It’s the fabric research. I was just in Paris at the fabric show collecting swatches. For the next few weeks I’ll lay them all out on my floor and make boards. Some fabrics I like as they are but often I want to customize them and change them, redesign them, add lamination. A lot of customization happens during this time. So now we’re getting into heavy workload. Moodboards used to be ripping tear sheets out, now I’ll have mood boards on my phone. I create my fabrics, order my fabrics, and then design into the fabrics. Some people design and then say, what should I cut out of this design, but I do the reverse.

You’re in a ton of different product categories, and I’m assuming that built up as you went along.

From the ready to wear perspective, I always wanted to have a complete collection—dresses, tops, bottoms, coats—because there are always cycles in fashion where, “oh the hot item is a top, oh the hot item is a dress,” so I never wanted to be the one trick pony. I never wanted to be pigeonholed.
Milly Minis was very natural. I had a daughter—when she was three or four I started making clothes for her. The collection started with one little shift dress. I took it to Bergdorf Goodman and asked them if they were interested in having the exclusive. They’re my number one single standing store in the world, my best account other than my own store, I let them take a look and it built from there. But again, it was natural, I don’t like to take on too much work. I guess you get to the point in your career when you have to decide, are a few extra zeros going to make a big difference in my life? Or am going to be happy and have a nice balance? I go through my exercises with myself.
It seems, too, that you like to do a lot of the work yourself. You’re not a delegator.
I do like to do it myself. That’s why I got into it, that’s what I love. If I had to delegate it to a team, it wouldn’t be personal.

You’ve got a store here in New York, a summer pop up in the Hamptons, shops in Japan—any other plans to expand retail-wise?

I’m opening several stores in the Middle East—one just opened in Doha last week and I have two opening in Dubai. I’d like to open more here in the US. After opening Madison Avenue, we still have a lot to learn from the business, and we wanted to focus on the website this year because I just felt like there was huge potential there. So we redesigned the website and it just relaunched, actually.
Well, my brand has evolved over time, and my old logo no longer represented my brand. So I modernized it. The website had to reflect that as well. So I cleaned it up a lot. I also launched a blog, the Milly Mag, fun stuff. It’s updated every day.

What was your goal with relaunching the website, other than drawing more people in?
Well, my brand has evolved over time, and my old logo no longer represented my brand. So I modernized it. The website had to reflect that as well. So I cleaned it up a lot. I also launched a blog, the Milly Mag, fun stuff. It’s updated every day.

What’s your strategy for the next couple of years?
I’d like to open more stores. I love being able to control my image and perception of Milly. I love my accounts, but they’re always going to show it in the way they want to, or put it next to a brand maybe I don’t want it sitting next to. I just want to have my own world. And I’d love to have a shoe collection when the time is right. I feel like shoes have gotten so expensive over the past 10 years, I don’t know why! I used to be able to find great shoes for $400, now you’re lucky if you’re able to find something for under $1,000. That could be the next opportunity.

If you have one piece of advice to succeed in the fashion business what would it be?
It sounds like a cliché, but you have to have such determination—I never thought for a second that it was not going to happen for me. Now I realize, looking back, “who the hell was that girl?” because you get burned by life and things happen, eventually things don’t go your way. I never thought for a second that I wouldn’t get that internship. Each door opens up a new door. I think just having the will, determination, and working. I sound like an old lady! But the young generation needs to work hard! You have to believe it yourself.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Bouchra Jarrar, Nicolas Ghesquiere

I've decided, in addition to writing my own posts (which I know, I haven't done, in some time), to post links to articles about designers where either the designers or the writer of the article discusses the development of the designer's career/business.  Here are a few I liked from this past week:

The Slow and Steady Ascent of Bouchra Jarrar - after working with Nicolas Ghesquiere as studio director of Balenciaga for a decade, Jarrar started her own line to much critical acclaim.  This article discusses how she has been growing her business.

Ghesquière Named Vuitton Women’s Design Director - Nicolas Ghesquiere is probably my favorite designer, and after he suddenly left Balenciaga (and was replaced by Alexander Wang), everyone was wondering what such an influential designer would do next.  Once upon a time, when I was a middle school student dreaming about a career in fashion (this was in the 90s), I idolized Marc Jacobs, and I think that's why I've always felt a personal attachment to the LV brand.  Looks like that attachment won't fade any time soon.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

A great breakdown of what makes being a fashion designer difficult

I know, I know, I've been MIA.  Full time job, band -- those things have been occupying my time.

I've been a fan of the podcast This American Life for a while now, and have been listening to its spinoff, http://www.npr.org/blogs/money/  for a bit too.  Basically, it's a bunch of nerds trying to explain the way the economy works to the lay person.  They started the podcast when the economy tanked in 2008, to try to explain how everything went down.  They have a series of podcasts that discuss the process of designing and producing a Planet Money graphic t-shirt (culminating in this very successful Kickstarter project), and skim the surface of what it takes to make it in the fashion industry.

Anyway, here's the link to the podcast -- I found it a good explanation of why the job of a fashion designer is a tough one. http://www.npr.org/blogs/money/2011/01/26/130838159/the-tuesday-podcast-stealing-our-way-to-a-t-shirt

Monday, June 3, 2013

Life's a beach

This weekend in New York was hot! 

Here's a beachwear sketch I did last night.  I had fun doing it.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

What kind of designer are you? What kind of business do you want to run?

If you're interested in running your own fashion business, the Fashion Incubator blog is a great resource.  Two posts I would recommend if you're trying to figure out how your business will look like are "What kind of designer are you?" and "Where and how do you start a design business?"

In the first, Fasanella describes five archetypes of designers:
  • The artist
  • The artisan/engineer/technician
  • The mogul
  • The accountant
  • The project manager
 In the second, she describes categories of fashion entrepreneurs:

  1. The dilettante: one who aspires to a bit of pin money,
  2. the income replacer: one who needs income equivalent to a job -or maybe even a bit extra,
  3. the merchant: those who need to support their family and their employees families with the business,
  4. corporate: one who aspires to scale; growing their business to whatever limits there are.

In fashion, as this article about Tory Burch and her newly minted billionaire status describes, one doesn't become hugely successful (at least financially) by creativity alone:
In food-chain terms, she's probably Carluccio's rather than River Café. Power to her. Maybe she'll use some of that power to invest in the inventive designers who struggle to achieve anything like her level of commercial success, because here is the bottom line: in fashion, you'll always make more money packaging taste than lobbing little grenades of genuinely new design at the world. But without innovation, taste eventually becomes arid.
You need to be able to figure out how to marry creativity and commerce.  Predict the kind of products your target customer wants to buy but keep it fresh and new, so that they get excited and have a reason to buy.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

How to get a job as a clothing (fashion?) designer - part 1

I originally started this blog mainly as a chronicle of my journey in the fashion industry, but it's been almost a year since I've written anything about my personal career path, which categorizes most of the posts under the "becoming a designer" tag.  I'll admit that some of it was laziness, but most of it was a hesitation to write about it as it was happening, since I never know who could be reading this blog.

Anyway, in my last post about my line, I mentioned it was sort of killing me.  In hindsight, I realize I just didn't have a plan.  I was flying by the seat of my pants, and while I don't believe you need a 50 page business plan to run a successful clothing business, you do need to sort of have long and short term goals, at least for the next 6-12 months, and I didn't have that.  I was trying to design clothes, sell them, produce them (not myself), market them, AND support myself through freelance work.  The anxiety of not knowing where my next paycheck would be coming from, and the frustration with feeling like I was running in place with my line forced me to reevaluate my approach.

I decided I needed to take a break and recharge.  I needed to work for someone else, receive a steady paycheck, get health insurance, and not feel like I was in a constant state of panic about money and the state of my line.  It was a difficult decision to make but definitely the right one.

I put together a resume and started applying for jobs.  I spoke to recruiting agencies like 24Seven, I went through company websites (a lot of the larger companies have some sort of online job search/application engine), and cold emailed companies I wanted to work for.  Through connections and sheer persistence, I was able to get interviews, but I was having a hard time actually getting hired.  There were a few factors involved:

1) When I started looking for a job, we were in one of the worst parts of the recession, where there was high unemployment.

2) Having worked at small and/or high-end designer labels before launching my own line (where I produced domestically), I lacked some of the skills that most companies who were hiring look for -- namely, creating tech packs*.  Sure I could make my own patterns, sew a garment from scratch, sketch flats**, and be considered for Project Runway, but because I didn't have experience with creating tech packs, I was at a major disadvantage.

I could produce a fashion presentation, talk to stylists, editors, buyers, style and produce photo shoots, etc, but I didn't have the experience of working in a big company in mass production, where garments were produced overseas and there was a formalized manner of working.  It wasn't rocket science, and I knew I could pick it up if someone were to show me a couple of things, but it was hard to get someone to take a chance on me.  In some ways, my Harvard degree worked against me, as it made me stand out as a bit of a maverick among the sea of fashion school graduates.

3) My experience was in a different set of skills from most people who had been working as long as I had in fashion design.  Most people who were hired for the positions I was applying to had a) graduated from design school b) had started working for a company straight out of design school and had picked up skills like creating a tech pack along the way.  I had a) NOT gone to design school b) had worked in production first, not design c) started my own line early in the game, thereby picking up a different set of skills, namely fashion entrepreneurial skills.  I was too experienced for an entry-level position, but didn't quite have the right experience to get a position at the next level.

It took a while for me to figure all of this out, and I had to take several steps before I landed the kind of position I wanted.

*What is a tech pack? A tech pack is short for technical package.  Different companies use different formats, but it's a document that is sent to overseas factories that instructs a factory in how a garment should be made.  It usually includes a flat sketch of the garment, measurements, fabric and trim details, beading/embroidery details, how to finish the garment, photographs of original samples the garment is based on, etc.  Since most production happens overseas now, knowing how to do a tech pack is considered essential, as it is how designers communicate to factories how their samples should be made.

**Flats are short for flat sketches.  They are basically sketches of a garment as it would look laid flat on a table.  Most companies use flat sketches rather than sketches on a figure, despite all the time spent in fashion schools learning how to draw garments on a figure.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

ponies will bite you! debut EP release! FREE download!

My band, ponies will bite you! has released our debut EP, Argyle. We're letting people download it for free on our Bandcamp page because we want as many people as possible to hear it.

Please listen, download, and share!

We're playing an EP release show on Sunday, 1/27, at 5pm, at our favorite venue, Rockwood Music Hall.  Here's the Facebook invite: https://www.facebook.com/events/191070707700158

We're also doing a concert on a Google+ Hangout On Air on Monday, 1/28 at 10pm for our friends who aren't able to make it to the show in NYC. Here's the Google+ invite: https://plus.google.com/u/0/b/112562852938055757181/events/ce4rbp0bgt39ccg2q2rhheirs1g

 Download the EP here: http://ponieswillbiteyou.bandcamp.com

Monday, January 7, 2013

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Happy New Year! Fall in Scotland

Last fall I updated my portfolio. One of the collections (I did one fall, one spring) was inspired by the Scottish highlands. I ended up sewing one of the looks together and we shot it at the duck pond in Central Park to make it look like we were in the Scottish highlands. I wasn't sure what I was going to do with the designs (i.e. whether they would be a collection in Graey or whatever), which is why I waited over a year to post these photos on my blog. They came out beautifully though. I love the way George photographed it to make it look like Rachel was transported to Scotland.

For now, this is all I'm going to do with the collection. You can see the sketches for the rest of the collection here.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

What are ya doin' New Year's Eve?

My bandmate Shawn recently picked up the ukelele, so we decided to learn "What Are You Doing New Year's Eve." The song, penned by Frank Loesser in 1947, was brought to the fore last year by Zooey Deschanel and Joe Gordon Levitt.

And now we are covering it! Enjoy!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

My first music video! Drive

Last October, my friend Erica shot my bandmate Shawn and me at Coney Island.  We hung out in the boardwalk, drove bumper cars, and ate hot dogs.  I finally edited the video last weekend -- here it is.  Enjoy!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Quote from Grace Coddington

And what of the up-and-comers? “I think they need time, and I think too many of the young designers really think that they can step right out of school and be a best seller, and that’s a mistake,” Ms. Coddington said. “I mean, you know, Nicolas took forever to get where he was. Marc got fired 10 times before he made it.”
Anyway, it wouldn’t hurt young designers, or anyone for that matter, to have “a few things going wrong in their life,” she said. “I mean, I hate to say it, but it teaches you a hell of a lot, you know.”
- New York Times article, "Always in Fashion"

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

cool photo of my hair from a month or so ago

A while ago, I decided to bleach my hair (again).  My stylist, Lynne, was redoing her website and gave me a discount in exchange for modeling for pictures for her new website.  She styled my hair, adding white streaks to tone down the color (which always turns out a little brassy), and teasing it.  She had a makeup artist there to do me up, and her friend Stan took pics.  They came out cool -- here is one!

I am growing out my hair so I can do a mohawk ponytail (the plan is to continue to keep the undercut on the sides).

Thursday, October 4, 2012

ponies will bite you! perform Miss You at Rockwood Music Hall

It's been a while since I've updated my blog.  I started a new job in June and tried to enjoy the summer as much as possible when I wasn't working.  My band has been active lately as well, which is why I'm posting today.  I wrote a new song and performed it at Rockwood Music Hall a couple of weeks ago.  I hope you like it!

Also, this German climbing mag, Klettern, posted the shoot I did in the climbing gym a while ago on their website!