Monday, 28 February 2011

February: A Look Back at the Daily Blog Posts in February

Global fashions started in January, but February was the first month of daily blog posts. Although there were a few days missed during February (my deepest apologies), almost every day had its own post. So now, I would like to know if there are any changes you would like to see. Did you have any favorite or least favorite blog postings? There will be some basic changes made during the month of March in an ongoing effort to constantly improve the quality of the blog. You can expect to see permanent pages with additional information about the blog, the author (me), and some minor changes to the content. As always, I will endeavor to bring you relevant, interesting, and educational information about the fashion industry.

Yours truly,
 Miss Lori.

Sunday, 27 February 2011

Fashion Companies: M.H.Alshaya Co W.L.L

In 1890, M.H.Alshaya Co. was founded in Kuwait, originally operating as a trading company. It currently does business in 15 countries within the Middle East, Europe, and Africa. M.H.Alshaya Co's retail division started in 1983 and has expanded to include over 55 retail concepts. Within the fashion sector, these include brands such as Topshop, H&M, Express, Claire's, Next, American Eagle, Payless, and Debenhams. It is also responsible for MAC, The Body Shop, Clinique, and Estee Lauder products within the region. For those wanting to work in fashion merchandising &/or retailing, this company offers much job opportunity across the region.

Saturday, 26 February 2011

Fashion Design: It's Not Just Coming Up With an Idea

Nowadays, it seems like so many people are wanting to be a fashion designer. There are even television shows devoted to fashion design. However, it's not simply about being able to sketch fashionable clothes. Coming up with fashionable ideas is the easy part. The harder part is understanding how to choose the right fabrics with the right dyes & print techniques (and patterns) so the garment will lay how you want it to. It's knowing how to cut the fabric so it drapes around the body in a manner that perfectly mimics the original sketch or idea. It's choosing the right edge finishes and at least being aware of how they are sewn. It's knowing what you like, knowing what the public likes, and being aware of any conflict of interests because at the end of the day you have to make something that will sell (unless, of course, you want your time as a fashion designer to be short-lived). Furthermore, you have to do all this within the budget and cohesive style and colors set by the head of the design teams. Just because you are able to come up with really cool fashion sketches does NOT make you a designer. Coming up with the designs is the easy part; it's knowing how to turn them into a reality your target market will adore that's the hard part. 

Friday, 25 February 2011

Interesting Links...

People derive inspiration from many different places. Sometimes, as a designer, ideas for future work can be derived from seemingly unrelated areas. Although fashionable clothes are designed with current and future clothing trends in mind, sometimes it helps to look at other resources for artistic inspiration. This week, I'd like to present the following links that may provide inspiration for designers:
Louvre Museum in Paris
World Architecture Community
Microbiology Pictures
National Geographic's Photo of the Day
Japanese Anime

These are a few links to get you started with design inspiration. Think in terms of texture, round curves vs. straight lines, drape, color, contrast, and size. I hope this helps those of you wanting to design. For everyone else, I hope it provides a welcome distraction from everyday life!

Thursday, 24 February 2011

Fashion Universities: Universitat Politécnica de Catalunya- BarcelonaTech

The Terassa School of Engineering at Universitat Politécnica de Catalunya offers a Diploma in Textiles and a Master's in Textile, Paper, and Graphics Engineering. The Master's programme is two years long and is taught in both Catalan and Spanish. Why study here? For one, it's located near Barcelona, Spain. Barcelona, Spain is a popular tourist destination just off the coast of northern Spain. The university has a good reputation world-wide. The program itself appears to be good, to say the least. Furthermore, being offered fully in Spanish and Catalan offers the advantage of non-native speakers learning these languages on an academic level.

Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Fashion Careers: Information Systems & Technology

Even during the economic downturn, what amazed me was the availability of IT jobs within apparel companies. Although it may seem counter-intuitive to search job postings at a fashion company when searching for an IT position, in actuality there are lots of opportunities. There are jobs related to e-commerce, logistics, programming, business analysts, marketing, and mobile technologies to name a few. Although this is one type of fashion career I am not as familiar with, it is one that always seems to have job availability. Perhaps the best way to determine which companies to apply for is to decide where you want to work. With many department stores and athleticwear companies -such as Nike, Adidas, Kohl's, Wal*Mart, Target- being headquartered outside major fashion capitals (e.g. New York, London, Los Angeles) perhaps the best way to determine which one to apply to is to determine what kind of city is best to reside in.

Tuesday, 22 February 2011

London Fashion Week

It's simply that time of year again when major fashion captials around the world are hosting their respective fashion weeks. With London's fashion week almost through, highlights of the first four days are now available online. Fashion weeks are nothing more than a publicity stunt to gain attention and brand prestige. They are meant to be talked about, meant to spark controversy and interest, passion and debate. London's fashion week may not be quite as controversial as some, but it still has its moments, too. Twiggy, the well-known English model best known for her elongated boyish figure, has been interviewed on her opinion of London Fashion Week. Stay tuned for more information on more upcoming fashion weeks and of course, the weekly regular blog topics. Cheers!

Monday, 21 February 2011

CoCo Chanel: A Look at History

Coco Chanel, born Gabrielle Bonheur Chanel in 1883, is well known for her fashion designs and perfume. In 1910, she opened a boutique selling hats in Paris. Three years later in Deauville, she opened her first clothing store. By 1919, she became a couturiere in Paris. Roughly 5 years later, Chanel no.5 perfume was being sold. Her simple designs were in direct contrast to the petticoat dresses most women had been wearing. During World War II, she closed her shops and did not reopen them until 1954. To this day her designs still remain popular. There are many documentaries about her life that one may find. Additionally, there are some interviews of her taken in 1969 and 1970. However, these documentaries are in French. To see the current Chanel brand's designs, click here.

Sunday, 20 February 2011

Fashion Businesses Spotlight: Shock Absorber

Shock Absorber UK, Ltd. produces a line of athletic bras and bra-lined swimsuits for female athletes. Much research has gone into the production of their bra lines, to include the best ways to prevent breast movement in various sports, what materials offer the necessary support while also offering good wicking ability, and good weight distribution of the breast mass across the bra. This brand comes highly recommended.

Saturday, 19 February 2011

So You Want To Start Your Own Fashion Business?

There are thousands, possibly millions, of books on how to start your own business. There are even quite a few related specifically to the fashion industry. Depending on what country you'd like to own a business in, there are various laws related to starting a business (with additional regulations for foreigners). Even within one country, the laws may vary from one region to another. Rather than address this whole process, I'd like to talk about a whole other issue altogether. It is a question you should be ready to ask yourself. The question is, are you ready to start your own business?

Perhaps some of the best advice I was ever given as an undergraduate was that even if you want to start your own business, it is better to work for someone else for at least a couple years first. That way, "you can make your mistakes on someone else's dollar". Furthermore, I'd like to point out that while you are doing so, you are also (hopefully) making some dollars. One of the major reasons businesses fail is due to lack of cash flow. Of course, this can be remedied by applying for loans and grants. The eligibility of such loans and grants is going to vary from place to place and person to person. However, you will require some form of capital in order to start a business. The scale and nature of the business must also be considered. It would make the most sense to find work in a company similar in nature to whatever it is you'd like to do.

Also, be sure to ask yourself, "Do I want to be in charge of my own business?" There are many headaches (usually including working long hours) that come with owning a business. It may not always pay as well as working in a larger company and/or for someone else. If money is the main motivator, it may be possible to make just as much with less effort working for someone else.

Friday, 18 February 2011

Fashion Universities: Cal Poly Pomona University

California State Polytechnic University, Pomona's Apparel Merchandising and Management department (within the College of Agriculture) offers a great program for those wanting to work in the apparel industry. This is perhaps one of the most under-rated fashion-related programs within the United States. The program requires students to learn about the whole apparel production & retail processes and then choose a particular area of specialization to study in greater detail. The classes follow the university's motto of "learn by doing". Students may specialize in either Apparel Production or Fashion Retailing. Within Apparel Production, students may either follow the International Apparel Management track or the Fashion Design Management track.

The Apparel Merchandising & Management (AMM) department works with local apparel business personnel in order to maintain an overall good quality program that is relevant to the industry. For instance, students wanting to take the International Apparel Management track would need to take an Industrial Engineering class in order to learn about streamlining processes, work efficiency ratios, etc. Fashion retailing students, on the other hand, are required to take a basic class in economics. Fashion design students, on the other hand, are required to take certain art classes that is not required of others. All of the students majoring in Apparel Merchandising and Management, however, are required to take particular management & general business courses such as accounting and leadership. In their last year, apparel production option students work with American Apparel to design and oversee production of a clothing line that is later sold on campus. The final year retail students are then required to display the clothing at various places on campus and buy more items to supplement the selection produced by the previous year's final year production students. Every year, the final-year retail students attend MAGIC in order to select merchandise for the on-campus stores.

What makes this university's program so unique is that it isn't a "consumer sciences" major. It isn't simply "fashion design" or "fashion buying/merchandising". It's "Apparel Merchandising & Management". The program is designed to cover the whole process of apparel production and is meant to prepare its graduates for working in management positions within the industry. Furthermore, it is accredited not only because the program is at a public (state) university, but is also one of 13 universities nationwide to be accredited by American Apparel and Footwear Association. It also happens to be my alma mater.

Thursday, 17 February 2011

Interesting Links...

Ever heard of the International Apparel Federation? It is an international apparel association that helps all related industries & corresponding businesses, educational facilities, etc. network with and among each other. If you've never heard of it, it's definitely worth checking out!

Wednesday, 16 February 2011

Fashion Jobs: What Does a Patternmaker Do?

Patternmakers, also called patterncutters, are responsible for making the "blueprints" of the apparel items. For each style, there will be a size (usually in the middle of the range of sizes) that all the other patterns for that style will be based off of. In order to change it from one size to another, there must be pattern grading. Pattern grading is when, at certain points, the pattern is taken in or let out. These changes will affect how much the waist, for instance, will become larger when it goes from a size 12 to a size 14. Since there are no laws regulating differences from one size to another, these changes will vary from one organization to the next. What is a size 10 may be a size 6 in another company. To further complicate matters, different countries use different numbers to represent the same size.

For each size within a company, a basic pattern block will be used. This basic pattern block represents the minimum ease necessary in order to produce a basic garment. Ease is the difference between what the fabric measures at a given point and what the actual fit model's measurement is. Minimum ease is the amount of ease that must be present in order for the garment to fit properly. Without this ease, there will be problems such as discomfort, seam rupture, and many others. All other patterns will be based off of the basic pattern block. From this, adjustments will be made according to the creative and technical design teams' descriptions in order to produce a given style.

Although most patterns were once done by hand, most patterns today are done on the computer. The patterns are then printed, a sample garment is made, fit is checked, and any necessary adjustments are made accordingly.

Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Mercedez-Benz Fashion Show: New York

The Mercedes-Benz fashion show for the Fall 2011 season is currently taking place in New York. Events related to the fashion show began last week on the evening of the 9th and will continue through the 17th. This fashion show is a time for designer brands to show off their clothing for the upcoming season. This includes designer labels such as Betsy Johnson, Vera Wang, BCBG, Ralph Lauren, DKNY, and many others. You can find streamed videos of interviews and runway shows with various designers on youtube here.

What is your opinion of this fashion show? Do you think events such as these are necessary for promotion of brands, or do you believe that there are better ways to promote a designer label?

Monday, 14 February 2011


MAGIC is a semi-annual apparel trade show in Las Vegas. What started out as a "Men's Apparel Guild In California" has now grown to encompass women's and children's clothing, accessories, and sourcing. It is one of the largest fashion trade shows in the United States. This year, it takes place the 13th -16th of February. MAGIC exhibitors are divided up by category. For examples, sourcing vendors are located in one area while juniors, for instance, are located in another area. At MAGIC, clothing for Fall/Winter 2011 will be displayed for buyers to choose from. Although most exhibitors are available throughout the trade show to walk-up buyers (and students), some exhibitors' merchandise are available by appointment only.

At MAGIC, there are many relevant industry seminars available. These cover a variety of topics to include e-commerce, branding, globalization, and trend forecasts. There will be events all over Las Vegas hosted by various companies, associations, and organizations for their friends, vendors, clients, and others to attend. One may find out about such events through the MAGIC website, social networking sites such as facebook and twitter, and just word-of-mouth by talking to vendors. For twitter updates, please use:

Sunday, 13 February 2011

Valentine's Day

Tomorrow, Monday, is Valentine's Day, also known as "Single's Awareness Day". This means the exchanging of Valentine's Day cards, chocolates, presents, and Valentine's Day greetings. It is a day of honoring love and romance. Although not all countries and couples will celebrate this holiday, many will. Take this time out of your day to say "I Love You" to all those you care about whether close friends, family, or that certain someone in your life.

Friday, 11 February 2011

Interesting Links...

Once a week, I will try to post interesting fashion links. For this week and today's blog entry, please check out: This website is not about anything indecent (sorry people), but if you are interested in what people are wearing in cities like Tokyo, London, Amsterdam, and New York, then it may be worth it to you to check out!

Thursday, 10 February 2011

World News: Tunisia, Lebanon, & Egypt Undergoing Political Change

Whether or not you have been following the news closely, chances are that you have heard of the recent political conflicts and crises in Tunisia, Lebanon, and Egypt. (If you are having a hard time viewing the countries on the map above, please click here for a link to the google map equivalent.) In Tunisia, there was a revolution of the people against then prime-minster, Zine el Abidine Ben Ali. Now, there are many governmental changes being made. In Lebanon, there is a complete restructuring of the government taking place after the recent collapse of its previous government. Meanwhile, Egypt is making headlines for the major protests in the streets as people want to see Mubarak and all associated political figures removed from power.

On the surface, this may seem to have no link to fashion. However, the political and economic climate in a region will greatly influence the way one dresses. Furthermore, politics and economy have major influences on business and trade. The fashion industry is just that- an industry, and as such will be affected by these changes. Whether or not this is a positive or negative affect will be determined by the natures of the changes, how they affect the people, work environment, and business incentives in their respective countries.

Wednesday, 9 February 2011

Fashion Jobs: Working in a Distribution Center

One kind of position that may not come to mind when one hears the word, "fashion" is working in a supervisory role within a distribution center or warehouse. While it may not seem as prestigious or dramatic as becoming a fashion designer, it is still nonetheless an integral part of the fashion industry. Without distribution centers, many of the larger companies would have logistical problems in getting everything to the right place at the right time. That translates into merchandise not being sold at the proper time, which can be a major problem particularly within the fashion industry.

Being in a supervisory role at a D.C. (distribution center) requires managing both associates and goods. Not only must deadlines be met, but they must be met the most effective way possible. Safety, cleanliness, and other important standards must be maintained. This may include being responsible for payroll, too. Managerial experience, knowledge of industrial engineering, and basic computer skills (MS Word & Excel) are important. Good communication skills are extremely important.

Basically, the person is responsible for making sure that all the warehouse goods get into and out of the D.C. by the corresponding deadlines. Staff must be well-managed, and the workload must be divided appropriately. JC Penney has a good educational video about working in a logistics supervisory position while Kohl's has a good job description of a similar position as an operations supervisor within a distribution center.

Tuesday, 8 February 2011

Amsterdam Fashion Week

While MAGIC in Las Vegas isn't until next week, Amsterdam had its major fashion week (including trade shows) last month. It started in 2004 in order to highlight local fashions. It is continuing to be held semi-annually at the RAI, one of the largest exhibition centers in the Netherlands. Recently, there is a "Green" fashion design competition that begins this July and ends with two finalist teams chosen to have their design released during next Spring's fashion week. Applications for the competition are accepted internationally. Sorry, but the fashion show can only be attended by invitation only. For more information as well as pictures, please see:

Monday, 7 February 2011

Superbowl Commercials, Opening, & Half-Time Show as Fashion Inspiration

Fashion inspiration may come from any and all of our experiences. In the United States, possibly the most televised sporting event is the (American) National Football League's Superbowl championship match. This year, it was between the Pittsburgh Steelers and Green Bay Packers. Although the look of american football gear has not changed drastically (though technology of the clothes, gear, etc. is another story), it can still be used for some inspiration. Perhaps more importantly, though, the surrounding elements of the Superbowl, such as the commercials,opening, and half-time show may be used for fashion inspiration.

There are some pronounced themes present throughout the commercials. Many of the commercials are based around fantasy & science-fiction genres with particular emphasis on cowboys and aliens. Many of the movie previews aired during this time have at least a few war-themed elements, but few, if any, are in the realm of realistic fiction. Many new technological gadgets are advertised, with particular emphasis on portable hand-held electronics with touch screens. This may point to the future in technology.

The emphasis on technology was even seen in the Superbowl's half-time show. As one person told me, it appeared to be TRON inspired. The body line most emphasized in the outfits for the dancers and performers is an inverted triangle, starting with large shoulder pads at the top and narrowing towards the waist. The line of the lower half of the body was more or less straight, although the line had slight variations from one group of people (or performer) to the next.

What affects do you think the trend towards electronic apparel and the current interest in science fiction will have in future fashions? Do you think shoulder pads will make a comeback any time soon?

Sunday, 6 February 2011

Fashion Universities: The Hong Kong Polytechnic University

Within the Hong Kong Polytechnic University's Faculty of Applied Science and Textiles lies its Institute of Textiles & Clothing. There are diploma, undergraduate, and postgraduate level programmes on offer. Diploma programmes include awards in colouration & finishing, fashion & clothing, fashion & textile merchandising, fashion retailing, and textile processing. As an undergraduate, a B.A. in Textile Arts and Fashion Studies is offered with concentrations similar to the diploma programmes. Both MSc taught and MPhil (by research) programmes are offered for those wanting to continue their studies after receiving an undergraduate-level degree. PhDs are offered by research only. For professionals, consultancy courses and customised training programmes are offered.

Students within the Institute of Textiles and Clothing regularly win awards in various design competitions. Additionally, the quality of research papers among postgraduate students are rivaling those found in other reputable textile and apparel universities, such as North Carolina State University. The university stays on top of ongoing industry news and events, which can be accessed via their website. The content of their university programme is relevant, up-to-date, and thorough in meeting the needs of the industry. Overall, I find that the programme appears to be nothing short of excellent.

Saturday, 5 February 2011

Fashion Businesses- Spotlight: Kohl's Illinios, Inc.

Kohl's Illinois, Inc., more commonly referred to as Kohl's, operates over 1,000 stores, 9 distribution centers, and 2 e-commerce centers in 49 states. It started out in 1962 as a moderately-priced department store selling a variety of products, including sewing notions, candy, appliances, food, and clothing. Since it's beginnings, the ownership has changed hands a couple times- once being owned by BATUS, Inc.- before finally settling in the hands of investors who incorporated the company.  The product range was also later narrowed down to more profitable areas such as clothing, accessories, and home products. The online e-commerce division was added in 2001. Their product selection includes a wide variety of misses, women's, men's, young men's, juniors, shoes, accessories (to include fine jewelry), and home products carrying both name brand apparel and private labels.

Kohl's Illinois, Inc. has proven to be very successful at maintaining a good profit margin even during low points in the economic cycle. Kohl's marketing and advertising campaigns use a variety of methods to including corporate social responsibility, advertised sales, Kohl's coupons and card member discounts, and television, newspaper, and magazine advertising to name a few. Perhaps most remarkable of all is when Kohl's first entered a new area of the United States, rather than open one or two stores at a time, they would open multiple stores in the same area at around the same time and offer similarly amazing "Grand Opening" sales at all locations simultaneously. These would be advertising through various media beforehand in order to create awareness and interest in the stores.

Do you believe that at Kohl's you can truly "expect great things"? What is your opinion of Kohl's? Would you want to shop there? work there? Why or why not? Do you have an opinion about the use of famous people, such as Britney Spears, in advertising campaigns?

Friday, 4 February 2011

February Expectations: Note from the Author

Dear blog readers,
I hope that you are all doing well and are in the best of health! I apologize for the late release of this month's posts. I have taken this extra time in order to better plan for the future of this blog. This month, you can expect massive changes. Some of the major changes include daily posts with ongoing, "regular" topics each week, and exciting featured articles. Weekly regular topics include Fashion & World News, Fashion Jobs, University Programs, and Fashion Businesses. Other topics may include health & well-being, travel, important business concepts, and much, much, more! Each month will have its own on-going theme. For the month of February, this theme will be fashion-related trade shows in honor of the semi-annual MAGIC show held in Las Vegas each year. I am very excited to share even more ongoing information about fashion with you! I do hope you enjoy the posts! And please, do not hesitate to share your ideas for future topics with me!
Warm wishes,
   Miss Lori.