Allison Andrews & Her Couture Approach towards Fashion Week: Making San Diego at the Cutting Edge of Fashion Commerce
In its eighth season, FWSD 2014 is on the rise of establishing the coastal-beachside city of San Diego as a viable platform for fashion designers & industry professionals from all over the world. The city of San Diego is becoming an ideal fashion destination for industry professionals to showcase their latest collections with the support of visionary Allison Andrews, Founder & Director of FWSD. And, despite San Diego’s laid back fashion culture of beachwear attire with staple pieces of tank tops and flip flops, Andrews exemplifies how San Diego embraces an immense appreciation for high fashion couture, capturing the very pulse of San Diego with all its creativity and style. FWSD is vastly becoming a place that encompasses everything in fashion—–because just like how art is subject to personal interpretation, so is fashion and Andrews feels it is important to see the uniqueness of each designer. It is through her commitment and dedication that she is at the forefront of rallying community involvement, and vastly establishing the runways of San Diego to be a canvas for fashion designer to display their artistic creations, while simultaneously providing consumers access to the latest trends and styles.
San Diego is progressively becoming one of the major fashion capitals within the US—housing so much talent from their local designers while welcoming international talent from abroad. It makes sense, since San Diego is already a major travel destination in the US and to merge San Diego’s tourism with fashion is an ideal location for designers to springboard their careers and get noticed and be seen.
“FWSD is not trying to be anything else, but FWSD,” shares Andrews. “We were created to give a reputable and quality place for designers from everywhere in the world to show their collection to the general consumer, and [those in] the industry that can help them launch their career. This is what we do and what we stand for.” This is one of the major differences of FWSD, and its approach, because not only is it a showcasing to preview the latest trend-setting styles down the runway, FWSD is evolving into a platform to help grow the fashion designers artistic creativity into a successful and lucrative business in the marketplace. With FWSD, Andrews incorporates and offers business workshops along with personalized trunk shows to help promote brand recognition and provide designers that maximum exposure needed for their brand, leading up to the actual festivities of FWSD’s catwalk., which is usually held the first week of October.
Even fashion designer, Wilhelmina from Star Fashion House, who has been in the industry for over thirty years had the opportunity to participate in a personalized fashion luncheon and trunk show at La Jolla’s charmingly prestigious La Valencia Hotel.— reminiscent of a time when women would engage in having high tea and models would twirl about wearing the latest fashion and trends. This was an ideal location for Wilhelmina to have women preview her latest collection prior to showcasing on the runways of FWSD. And, since her clothing boutique is located within La Jolla, where she caters to the sophisticated high-society woman housing upscale ready-wear clothing with an emphasis of couture cocktail evening gowns and bridal fashions—having a private showing of her collection at La Valencia Hotel was definitely the right venue for her.
And, as Andrews continues to break ground embracing all facets of fashion, it is no surprise that this year’s FWSD winner for “San Diego’s Top Designer of 2014″—-was awarded to A’doreus- a high fashion couture clothing line for the plus-size woman. Sharlene Borromeo, creator and fashion designer of A’doreus, has passionately dedicated her career in establishing more of a fashion selection and providing clothing options for the plus-size women. She designs contemporary and timeless pieces for the full-figured silhouette of a woman, and though she has been challenged with some of the negative comments regarding the difficulty with pre-conceived notions of taking plus-size women’s clothing and evolving it into mainstream high fashion, she has always stayed the course and now has achieved the recognition as “FWSD’s Top Designer of 2014.”
As Borromeo glances at her sketches, she fondly reflects on her overall experiences and all that she acquired and gained by participating in FWSD. “FWSD and Allison hold the designers accountable, and it has taught me how to work through my weaknesses and capitalize on my strengths….I highly [recommend] any emerging designer to participate in [FWSD].” Borromeo enthusiastically commented. “There is no better way to learn how to work through the struggles than to just jump in and do it. But, the key element is to return a second year, so that you can quantitatively measure your progress, gain the momentum to continue, and dream bigger.”
“I am most proud of myself, because throughout this entire journey I was transparent and stuck to my vision.”
To learn more about FWSD, you could log onto: http://fashionweeksd.com/ and to inquire on how to become one of the participating designers for the upcoming FWSD 2015, you could contact Indie Source’s PR/Marketing Dept at (858) 472-6204 and ask for Joyce
To check out Wilhelmina and Star Fashion House and the latest with her evening cocktail and bridal wear, especially as we are fast approaching the holidays, log onto starfashio2.wix.com/boutique
To check out more about high-fashion couture plus-size fashions with Sharlene Borromeo and A’doreus, you could log onto http://adoreusfashion.com/
Raw Artists Showcasing in LA: i.CTZN
Hollywood’s Walk of Fame was definitely lined up with rising stars, as the spotlight was set on all the emerging artists at LA’s RAW Showcase held earlier this spring on Sunday April 13th at the stylishly plush nightclub, OHM. RAW Artists came out and walked the red carpet, displaying their one-of-a-kind pieces from—photography, artwork, costume and design, & we cannot & must not forget the fashion. Indie Source is all about the fashion, supporting designers with their vision as it comes to life on the runway for these aspiring independent designers. And, as supporters of i.ctzn and RAW Artists, Indie Source was there to take it all in to check out all the indie artists.
However, this past Hollywood showcasing was merely one of the several RAW Artist platforms that RAW hosts throughout the year in cities throughout the United States and internationally to provide these independently talented artists a venue to display and showcase their art. RAW Artists embraces all genres of artistic expression with the intention to promote these artists, and provide them avenues to network and build on their professional career as artists. RAW Artists events are truly a coming together of all kinds of creative talent housed under one roof for an evening of sheer artistry. You will definitely experience a unique mix of talent once you’ve attended a RAW Artist showcase.
The venues are fun, upbeat, and fiercely eclectic, lining up musical acts that can include a female punk band accompanied by electrifying sounds of guitars; to performance art utilizing visual imagery of laser lights; or a full-on theatrical stage performance of costume design and make-up gruesomely displayed on the stage, making attendees feel as if you were watching a scene straight out from a horror flick. Not to mention the presentation and displays of artwork presented with interwoven barbwire fences utilized as backdrops, creating that edgy underground feeling. And, for Indie RAW Artist, it’s all about creatively presenting their own individual message of expression of how they want to be heard and seen. Just as one of the exhibitors, Los Angeles-based jewelry designer, Toni Kohn, displayed her gorgeous pieces of accented gold cuff accessories to beautifully designed custom cocktail rings that any female owning her collection of jewelry would be the envy.
And, as i.CTZN strutted their latest Fall 2014 collection that displayed a sharp sophistication of their military-style statement pieces with an edgy contemporary interpretation of style, i.CTZN was honored as a RAW Artist for the evening and closed the fashion show. “It is great to be recognized as a RAW artist and to be [selected] to show our unique fashion line,” Gao and Krusemark shared. “We [received] wonderful feedback at the show and enjoyed the other artists…creativity….It was a great experience to [have the opportunity to] debut our FALL 2014 collection to the Hollywood area.”
To become part of a RAW Artist event is an extremely unforgettable visually stimulating experience. “RAW’s mission is to provide up-and-coming artists of all creative realms with tools, resources, and exposure needed to inspire and cultivate creativity, so that they might be seen, heard, and loved RAW educates connects and exposes emerging artists in over 60 artistic communities across the United States, Australia, Canada, and the U.K. through monthly showcase events. [RAW Artists] wants you to join them in celebrating the work of these artists.”
How to develop a high-end clothing line that caters to the celebrity lifestyle. Q&A with Meir Yamin of Donatella Dresses
Meir Yamin, fashion designer of Donatella Dresses launched his line of sexy upscale dresses and clothing in spring/summer 2011, showcasing his collection of attainable luxury that displayed his flare for rich detail and embellishments with unique and electrifying pieces. With his designs, Yamin created glamorous and sophisticated looks, incorporating vibrant colors, exuding a woman’s sex appeal from the “hott” beaches of Miami. His looks and style of clothing is something that can be seen straight out from the Kardashian’s, with the intention of bringing out the celebrity persona in everyone. We are fortunate enough to have Yamin share with Indie Source and our network of emerging industry professionals how he was able to create and produce such beautiful designs and take it to the marketplace; from starting a sample to going into production and finding the right clientele for his garments of clothing. In addition, Yamin provides us insight on his decision to go 100% US Made & some of the benefits and challenges he has had along the way in selecting this pathway for his brand.
1) Q: Yamin, in establishing a creative idea for design, how challenging was it to implement an initial sample of your design and what were some of the first steps you took to have your vision come to life?
A: Any first collection is a bit exciting and confusing at the same time. The process brings up a lot of practical questions, such as: What inspires me and how to translate it to fabric choices and from there to the actual design. The first steps were to collect the right ideas and find the right fabrics and trims to make the collection come to life.
2) Q: In finding a good pattern maker and seamstress, what advice can you render to select an ideal candidate and professional who could assist in creating your samples?
A: The pattern maker should be able to find mistake that I didn’t take under consideration while designing. The idea is to create designs that will look right and at the same time not to delay the production. Some designs were found time-consuming and in production they just delayed everything and we were behind on orders. If the pattern maker and the seamstress were able to recognize that in the sampling stage, we could have saved a lot of time and probably money too.
3) Q: When choosing various textiles and fabrics along with different textures to incorporate with your design, how challenging is it to balance price points to reduce costs, but not compromise the integrity of your designs?
A: That’s one of the biggest issues in production. Sometimes I can find a fabric or accessory that I would like to have in the collection, but the price of it is too high to stay in our line price point. There are two choices: 1. To give up on the design; or 2. To make this design a limited edition with a small quantity.
4) Q: In following Q:3, I understand with the Donatella brand that everything is made and manufactured in the US. Though, honorable, how are you able to compete with other brands that decide to go abroad to reduce manufacturing costs and are able to produce garments of clothing similar to the Donatella brand, and can sell them for a half of the price of your clothing?
A: We deal with this issue all year long. We actually have other companies from around the world that come to our booths in trade shows and just take a catalog and 6 months after we see our designs in a cheaper version. Clients care for price and quality— We don’t compromise with our quality and I think that is what plays a big role in the progression of our brand with Donatella. Beside that, some countries that import our goods buy from us because our goods are made in USA and not China or India. It is important for us to support the American economy and it’s important for us to create more jobs in America. I just wish that the government could help us a bit with this initiative.
5) Q: Can you please share with our network of industry professionals, what key tips to consider when deciding to stay within the US for production, what are the benefits and challenges to manufacturing within the United States?
A: Some clients like to buy American made. Made in USA means quality and above all “Made in the right conditions” – which means, everybody received the financial compensation that they deserved , no one is being used and we work by the law and labor standards. I feel this is important for some clients to ensure that they are not supporting any forms of labor and manufacturing abuse including child slavery.
6) Q: Please tell us a few key concepts a new designer should consider and evaluate in the whole development process during the design phase of creating a more high-end clothing line of merchandise?
A: Always care for high quality and don’t compromise the sewing process. Always buy fabrics from a reliable supplier that can remake/reorder the same types of fabrics if needed for your designs. Do not over price your items, while maintaining your quality standards and finding that balance.
7) Q: Can you please provide our network of emerging industry professionals effective marketing techniques and strategies you’ve used to test your designs, and get feedback from your target clientele before going into production with your designs?
A: For us it’s a little different. We own retail stores, so we test designs in our stores before adding them to the final collection. Other designers make a group of samples for feedback, while showing and selling the current collection. They ask their clients for their opinion on the new samples and this way they direct & promote their upcoming collection.
8) Q: How do you, as a fashion designer, get motivation and inspiration for your designs and keep it fresh and new from each season to the next, while maintaining the continuity of your brand?
A: Every season there is something else that inspires me; however, there is a concept that I have to work under, so I don’t go out of the frame of our line concept. A metaphor is like telling a few different chefs to make a dish with strawberries. The dishes will all be different, but the concept will be the strawberries. The same with my collection of clothing; they all have the “Bling” concept, but many designs can go under that category.
9) Q: What advice can you share with designers, who are starting to enter the fashion industry, that would be beneficial on how to get their designs the proper copyright and licensing for their designs, once they are ready to go into the production phase?
A: My suggestion would be to first decide on what designs will be included in the next collection. After checking in the collection, determine what designs are originals and are important to be copyrighted, then contact a lawyer or a company that specializes in that matter.
10) Q: What are some time-saving tips you can provide during the design element to assist with stressful deadlines of staying on top of your production for all your orders etc.?
A: Simply, not to work with too many fabrics or too many trims.
11) Q: If you could provide one piece of invaluable advice to new designers that will help them during the initial design stages of developing their clothing line that you would have done from the get go, if only you knew what you knew now, what would it be?
A: Beside talent, it requires the right funding. Never start a collection using all your money. There will always be some extra expense on something you didn’t consider.
12) Q: Lastly, what is your definition of good design in the marketplace and how does that translate into the celebrity persona for the everyday consumer? To add further, we were told by one of your sales reps from Magic Marketweek Feb 2014 that your clothing has been featured in some of the reality shows such as Housewives of Beverly Hills, please share with our network of followers how this came about for your brand, and let us say congratulations for such an opportunity!
A: Thank you ! Well… It’s always nice to see my designs on TV, especially on the right celebrity. This helps in marketing and it sure does create a buzz. In the Housewives case… we never sent them anything, they just purchased my dresses in stores in their area. This season my dresses were purchased to be on one of the starts of the show “Married to Medicine.” It’s always exciting !
On behalf of Indie Source, we would like to thank you for sharing some invaluable information based on your personal journey of developing your brand of Donatella Dresses, with our network of industry professionals. We know they will find your insight of valuable advice useful and beneficial. Thank you for helping us pay it forward and educate those who are starting out in the industry, by sharing your area of expertise in the initial design phase of production. We feel that our network of up-and-coming industry professionals will find potential solutions based on your experiences within the professional world of fashion. But, most of all, thank you for sharing with us how you were able to get your unique and luxurious designs to jump of the paper, get a sample made, and test the marketplace to take it to your niche clientele of higher-end consumers. Donatella definitely is a brand that caters to consumers, who exudes and creates a celebrity lifestyle & persona for themselves.
To read more on Donatella and check out their latest fashions, go to
J.Toor’s Menswear: A Classic Style Tailor-fit for the Modern Conscious Male
With modern technology streamlining simple apparel design in the men’s fashion industry and constantly mass-producing garments at increasingly high volumes, it’s impossible not to grow nostalgic for unique and authentic styles. Luxury bespoke design house J. Toor, has made a name for its menswear brand by mastering this challenging creative balance. Looking at their signature intricate, meticulously tailored, and overall thoughtfully made bespoke suits; it’s clear that J. Toor’s classic aesthetic and modern conscious that will be reshaping the lifestyle and wardrobes of all true Modern Gentlemen.
After graduating from college, J. Toor founders Jivesh Toor, Diana McCarty, and Jamie Pate established and founded their Chicago-based design house, which quickly became a vehicle to bring back the quintessential English style of menswear. Attuned to modern styling and employing their vast knowledge of menswear, the trio produced looks for men that are classically refined but far from being staid and outdated. Their suits are a refreshing mix, marrying the old and new by combining the best heritage fabrics with updated cuts adding pops of color. With their show-stopping fashions, they have successfully reinstated the high quality standards of crafting any garment for the modern day gentleman. Their design studio houses suits that are unforgettable pieces of wearable art, creating an experience not only for the stylish client, but for all fashion admireres, who can appreciate attention to the finest of detail.
Like the physical garments itself, the J.Toor individualized and personable experience is memorable for all clientele, unlike the many impersonal shopping experiences that are too frequent in today’s world. J. Toor invites the fashionably elite to private appointments at their exclusive speakeasy style Gold Coast suite, where upon arrival, they partake in a conversation on their own fashion style and clothing needs with a J. Toor designer over a glass of scotch.
The uniqueness of J. Toor’s custom design process is that completed suits speak not only to the J. Toor aesthetic, but are also direct reflections of the wearers themselves. Clients are treated to an abundance of lavish suiting options within J. Toor’s luxury English style, choosing from an abundance of fabric patterns and weights from the top European suiting mills such as Holland & Sherry, Loro Piana, Zenga, Cerruti, Scabal, Drago, and more. However, the client’s choices don’t stop at just the outside fabric of the suit. J. Toor stands by their dedication to quality and their beliefs the inside of any garment should be just as impeccable as the outside. So, client’s can also choose to add splashes of color in the jacket lining, aside from it’s already completely canvassed horsehair-lined interior. To J.Toor, not one detail is too small. They let their clientele choose the parts of theirsuit down to its under collar, button holes, jacket lining, and hand stitching.
Every part of a J. Toor suit is collaboration between the client and the designer,making the design house a leader in extremely customizable men’s suiting and accessories. Jivesh Toor, sites this as one of the brand’s most competitive advantages. “What sets us apart from the rest is the immense design factor that we include in our services. There is simply no other clothier that offers such an in-depth level of design customization at our prices,” says Toor.
Redefining luxury standards, giving the consumer more stylish options, and putting the personal connection back into men’s fashion, J. Toor is a leader in the new era of dapper bespoke menswear. With an array of upscale styles fit for all seasons and a plethora of detail and accent options, J. Toor helps clothe men in standout pieces for all functions. From the Chicago businessmen conducting meetings in the middle of winter, to the groom wed on the Chicago River of a Midwestern summer wedding, J. Toor’s suiting are tailor made for any fashionable affair. Reflecting the individual’s own fashion sense and personality, J. Toor’s bespoke suits are a perfect fit for the sartorial modern gentleman.
International Clothing Line Shares Strategies with Aspiring Designers; Gives Tips on Creating Apparel with Universal Appeal
As one of the exhibitors of Magic Marketweek Feb 2014, Indie Source, got a chance to meet with Founders, Sheena Gao and Laura Krusemark from the brand International Citizen (i.CTZN), who was also awarded as being “Best Emerging Designer,” for Magic Marketweek’s 2012. We wanted to sit down with i.CTZN to hear more about their personal story on creating an apparel line with global appeal that is unifying various cultures from around the world. Here we got the scoop from some eclectic ladies that have some interesting strategies and techniques to share with aspiring designers. Our interview is as follows:
Q: Please tell our professional network at Indie Source how the brand of International Citizen came about? What was the brainchild behind iCTZN?
A: After 15 years of working in Apparel Product Development with some of the leading retailers in the U.S., as well as mentoring many talented designers from Europe, Asia, and U.S.A., I decided I had the perfect opportunity to launch a fashion line, something I had been wanting to do for a long time. Along with my talented friend, fellow fashion designer Laura Krusemark, we formed International Citizen Design House, LLC also known as International Citizen [i.CTZN]. The brand is based on inspiration from both of our passions for world travel and fashion.
Q: So, how do you take an idea and concept that spans world-wide, meant to unify all cultures, and develop an apparel line that reaches a broad spectrum of individuals to create mass appeal? What type of research did you both do before going into production with your line, so you knew you would attain a global desirability for your brand?
A: From our world travels, we’ve realized there is a niche market for our unique style that blends cultural details into the garments. We incorporate these cultures and countries by showing their flags as patches or screen-print calligraphy in different languages but all with a universal style that is comfortable to wear and easy for travel.
Q: Is there a particular age demographic for iCTZN? If so, can you please tell us more about your target consumers and who you feel are the buyers of your brand of clothing and why?
A: Our demographic is between the ages of 28 and 48. We target a middle to upper class individual that has a strong level of education, works in the creative field, is inspired by travel, international cuisine, music and learning about the cultures of others. Our clothing stands out clearly from other brands and the demographic we cater to is always excited when they get to touch and feel our product. Its all about getting in front of the right people, at volume.
Q: Is i.CTZN currently abroad in any specialty stores that are located in foreign markets? If so, how were you able to tap into those markets? Please give our network some solid tips to break into certain markets based on some of your personal experiences of being in the industry in regards to building iCTZN’s brand on an international level?
A: Yes, we are currently carried in stores in Tokyo, Japan and have lots of interest from Germany, Spain and France as well as Canada. We were able to find these buyers by doing trade shows such as MAGIC. We find the best way to break into the market and find new buyers is by doing these trade shows…as many as possible for the best exposure. We have also done fashion shows and been featured in magazines which helps for the branding and exposure, but for actual sales, tradeshows have been the most valuable.
Q: If you are physically not in markets abroad, does i.CTZN produce a lot of online sales on a global level; and if so, what type of online marketing have you done to be effective in gaining an online presence of followers to promote sales abroad?
A: We have our website online and we also promote and sell on Amazon and Etsy which are both Internationally known sites. We also have followers on our Facebook fan page, Twitter, our blog, Youtube, Instagram and Pinterest – all of these sites provide international exposure and allow us to have more the most reach.
Q: Where is iCTZN housed, where can consumers purchase your clothing– in stores locally here within the US and online, and how did you connect with the owners and boutiques of some of these stores?
A: We are based out of West Hollywood and consumers can purchase our current inventory on Etsy. However, we predominately focus on wholesale to buyers for retailers. Most all of these storeowners have met us through doing trade shows such as MAGIC.
Q: Can you please share with Indie Source and our followers some current projects that i.CTZN is involved in that our professional network of followers would be interested in hearing about, so we could keep an eye out and promote iCTZN with these endeavors?
A: We will be showing with RAW Artists fashion show coming up on April 13th in Hollywood and also working on partnership and licensing with Paramount Pics. Please follow our progress on our Facebook fan page, Twitter and Instagram for the latest updates and news on International Citizen’s events.
Q: Since the world is so big, how do you strategize and determine what destinations to hit up first, and what are specifically some pre-marketing tests that you perform to do some of the analytics to verify if i.CTZN’s clothing will be well received in various countries abroad?
A: We have worked with a marketing company in Spain, who have recommended testing our product in fashion capitals such as Berlin, Milan, Barcelona and London. We have discussed a gorilla style marketing technique(s) to introduce the brand to their markets and see how well received they are. In our four year experience, our feedback from European countries as well as Asian countries have been very positive so I know we would have a good customer following there.
Q: Lastly, what does i.CTZN mean to you and what type of lasting impression do you want i.CTZN to have within the industry of the world of fashion and for your consumers?
A: We are dedicated to promoting the power of universal oneness and creating openness between cultures and countries through unique men’s and women’s fashion. We hope we can continue to represent this vision and create a lasting impression within the world of fashion for many years to come.
Goddess Blessed; Q & A with Onzie Yoga Apparel Founder Kimberly Swarth
More than two decades ago, Yoga became a lifestyle practice for Kimberly Swarth and with it, the driving force of her business. Swarth has another milestone coming for her next year; she is coming into motherhood. Now that the Onzie brand, pronounced OWN-zee, has been well loved within the culture of fitness and training, she takes most of her work / life balance along with her vision, in the most wonderful humor. “My brand will pierce the heavens” could easily be her mantra—and until today, her thriving L.A business has been her baby. Swarth shares her wit and wisdom with Indie Source in an exclusive interview.
Q: Are you just the woman behind the Onzie brand, or are you part of an out-front effort to manufacture a holistic line of active wear?
A: We have really created this business as a team here. In terms of creating the brand, I feel that the people who are here with us have created it—this brand is not even really me anymore. We have created a workplace culture, a powerful all female crew with an entity of its own.
Q: How did your team come into being?
A: Each person here came to us in a different way, there was not a usual hiring process, everyone is so unique and brings a piece to the puzzle—each one an individual in our community that has built us into the company we are today.
Q: Who is the woman behind the Onzie brand? How would you describe her? Who is she and how does your brand pay tribute to her?
A: On our Instagram there are hundreds of photographs of this woman—this woman that is dedicated to the practice, very dedicated to her workout and she is proud of her own health. The Onzie woman is all of these things; she is like a goddess. Our site shows her in so many forms, she is healthy and she is glowing in all of her beauty. With our product, we aspire to match that goddess concept—in both femininity and strength.
Q: Beauty in strength is also a hard-fought win. The Onzie woman has worked hard to evolve and to strengthen her form through meditation and stamina. In what ways has your business done the same?
A: In our organization, my mother, has been doing Bikram Yoga for now, 25-years. It all started with her. Bikram Yoga is done in a heated room of about 100 degrees. Back in the 90s, you worked out in a leotard. You sweat so much that you had to wear a one-piece garment and we started playing around with a mix of different colors for that initial piece—sort of like a onesie—a classic piece for practicing yoga was at the center of our design. We made a word play off of it and pronounced it OWN-zee, and all we were making was a leotard at the time—we liked how the word looked, and then it took off.
Q: So, you set out to put an end to the plain black yoga wear?
A: Yeah, I guess we did. Four-years ago people were not doing color like this. There were no prints for yoga. It was subdued an pastel, calming and quiet. The Kundalini woman was soft, draped in white fabric. She was not letting her higher-self shine through. Today there are many other expressions of exercise and we wanted our line to really let the practice match the experience and all of that color brings.
Q: So, is it safe to assume that you all practice yoga. How have you utilized the principles of yoga practice in your own business?
A: Yes. We do. My staff here, they are all dedicated to their own workouts. The health and wellbeing of our minds is something we practice in our business as well. Our roots are in Bikram Yoga and hot yoga. Dedication, endurance, and determination are huge in our business. At its core—what makes it work— we are sometimes too dedicated—but we have really worked as a team to achieve our goals together and stay strong. We have a Rock star authenticity, All of us here, we are all determined to get that high that comes with doing something really well, and that helps us all to be focused.
Q: How do you decide what to manufacture in your line? Who makes the decisions as to the growth and the look of your brand?
A: The Bikram Yogi was always a bit flashier, a bit more whimsy; we want that to be live in our brand. What’s the most important to us is that we are making a killer fabrication—the product is key—there are so many different products out there, we have stayed really true to our core— and for the price-point that is required for accessibility of our clothes. All of our decisions are made around that truth.
Q: You have celebrity interest in your designs—in the funky prints and ‘mod’ designs. Even Lady Gaga wears Onzie. How did she find out about your clothing and come to take a selfie wearing one of your prints?
A: It is all, organic—it is through the yoga. She is actually an avid Bikram yogi and one of her teachers is connected to the brand and bought our stuff, and literally just rocked it in class. It was not just a PR thing. We don’t do anything like that. The clothing speaks for itself—it’s where a little bit of karma gets you, and a good product.
Q: Offer a bit of advice to aspiring designers here. What are the four things you can suggest to make a line a success?
A: I would say that they should have spirit; they need to know their customer well, and live the lifestyle to match their end user—and have some fun. It is also important to make your line accessible to people and an affordable part of their lives—make that a priority in your business and everything else around your commitment to your work will come natural.
At Onzie, our philosophy is “keep your practice challenging, and your wardrobe simple!”
Indie Source makes premium apparel for clothing brands, then ensures those products make a big impact in the market. Learn more about how they support fashion brands with garment development, apparel manufacturing, fashion sales and marketing at www.IndieSource.com
How to Create the Perfect LookBook
Likened to an artists portfolio LookBooks not only showcase brands collections but aid in their overall success. Distributed to buyers, consumers and even press they are the quintessential way to reach each individual audience and make a lasting impression. As a result of the successfulness they have yielded for many fashion brands through the years LookBooks have become a necessity. Thousands are distributed daily, passing through the hands of prominent figures in fashion leaving many brands wondering not if they should make LookBook – thats a given- but instead how to create the perfect LookBook, a LookBook that will get your brand noticed and for all the right reasons.
When setting out to create the perfect LookBook aesthetics and originality must be of foremost importance. The goal for every brand should be to have a LookBook that grabs attention and calls out in a pile of its contenders not simply, “Pick me, pick me” but instead ” Hello there. I’m exactly what you’re looking for.” In order to stand out in the crowd a LookBook must contain a presentation that is aesthetically pleasing and a glimpse into what makes your brand and or collection unique and innovative. We have provided several key steps to follow in order create the perfect LookBook and proliferate a brands success.
THE BLUEPRINT STAGE
Before creating a LookBook in physical form it is vital to map out a blueprint. LookBooks come in various formats therefore choosing a template that best suits the brand is the first step. Some formats include: the most popular format, a book of styled looks, the increasingly favored digital LookBook, a simplistic catalog or the artistic route of a compilation editorial accompanied by an attention-grabbing story line. Once the format is chosen these essential questions must be brought to the fore: Which pieces and or collection will be featured? What is the brands target market? and What story should the LookBook relate?
Once the blueprint is completed it is time to start the building process. Most brands have a “mission” or what some like to call their brands “philosophy”. Start with a brief introduction at the opening containing that philosophy. This introduction while concise may also contain: the brands history, information on the designer(s) and the inspiration(s) behind the collection at hand. This mini-autobiography of sorts is an imperative step, setting the tone for how the audience perceives what they are preparing to view.
PHOTOGRAPHY & STYLING
Arguably the most important part of a LookBook is the photography. Many are introduced to brands for the first time through their LookBooks so without a doubt it should obtain a positive and lasting first impression. Discernment is needed when choosing a photographer. High quality, artistic photographs that compliment the brand are extremely necessary. If using one, picking a model should be a selective process. They must not only embody the brand but do justice to the collection. Styling and placement of the pieces are comparably as crucial as the photography itself. It should not only be attention drawing but flow with the context of the story and vision created in the blueprint stage. Styling of each piece should show their functionality along with various angles, giving the viewer a broader look at the pieces.
PRODUCT & COLLECTION INFORMATION
Product knowledge is important to display especially for potential buyers and consumers viewing LookBooks. Just as with the showcase of angle assortments of the collection information such as varied fits, colors, fabrics and style names or numbers for future reference should be displayed. Similar to the brands introduction at the beginning of the LookBook, product information should be brief yet informative. Since they are not initially able to see the pieces in person the LookBook should give the viewer descriptions vivid and detailed enough that the physical void is somewhat filled while not leaving them overwhelmed with insignificant information.
AESTHETICS & ORIGINALITY
As stated above, creating the perfect LookBook and gaining attention for a brand is based largely on the books presentation and distinctiveness. When it comes to aesthetics minimalism and a cohesive flow are a solid foundation for not only standing out in the crowd but gaining respect as a legitimate brand. The only way to remain original is by executing this undertaking in a contrastive way then the rest. Fortunately it is feasible to do so while still adhering to the basics. This can be accomplished by adding information such as: sketches, fabric swatches and even a glance into the design and production process of the featured collection. Along with the content the disposition of the book such as the paper and text used while they may seem somewhat insignificant are very consequential to its success.
Ultimately, displaying brand information is an important step in keeping in contact with buyers and consumers. Brand information should include: websites, phone and fax numbers, the address of headquarters, an email address and any social networks such as Twitter, Instagram or Facebook. Once the blueprint is drafted, the vision set into motion and accomplished you have created the perfect lookbook.
How to get Media Attention for Your Brand
There are many aspects in creating and establishing a brand from conceptualizing an idea, to developing that idea, & formulating the buzz to get your merchandise into the hands of your consumers. As an up and coming designer of an emerging brand, it’s all about strategizing and comprising some sort of a marketing plan to acquire exposure from various media outlets. Of course, with the incentive to maximize and build that brand identity and recognition. The question is—How do brands obtain media attention to attain the exposure that they are looking for that lends itself to a successful first and lasting impression? Here are some helpful tips to capitalize on garnering the media’s attention and develop a relationship with them, so they view your brand as newsworthy to be written about.
Evaluate the goals of your brand & determine your audience to establish brand identity
As a designer, you need to determine the publications that fits your niche market and demographic for your brand, so you could develop a voice to establish your brand’s identity. When finding a voice for your brand, it’s all about brand recognition and becoming aware of who your competitors are to find out what separates and makes you different from those brands. This is so important because to garner the attention of editors and reporters, you need to know how to pitch the story behind your brand to sell them on what makes your brand so unique and different. Once, you’ve found your voice, then you could create your own press release to paint that picture and depict to journalists the significance and savviness of your brand.
Establish and create your own press release and tell your brand’s story
A press release is a snapshot and synopsis that tells professionals in the media industry the journalistic W’s of your brand. It is the editorial formula that describes the who, what, when, why, and how of your brand with the intention to ignite media’s interest. So, they feel that writing about your brand will have value to their readers. The motivating factor is to discover the angles and hidden stories of your brand that will compel editors and writers to give your brand the press and publicity you seek. Therefore, it probably would be a wise investment to hire a professional writer, who can provide a well-written press release that conveys the underlying message of your brand. Also, trained writers possess the ability to read between the lines and can be more objective in deciphering what makes your brand stand out. This way they can write the prose of your press release, while simultaneously thinking on how to effectively pitch future editorial ideas regarding your brand to these same publications. Therefore, your press release will serve as an introduction and concise summary of your brand in order to plant the seed in the minds of these media insiders, so they are cognizant and aware of your brand with the goal of getting something published. However, make sure that your press release includes your contact information, so publishers, editors, and journalists can easily contact you for a press opportunity.
Research writers and editors of these publications and establish professional relationships with them
So, once you have fine tuned your press release and have emailed them to publications that you have determined will be a right fit for your brand, it’s a good idea to research some of the writers of that publication as well. The basis for this is because you want to find the right writer to approach when you do a pitch for an editorial story for your brand. Get to know their writing style and research some of their previous articles and become familiar on what appears to moves them, and what do they seem to like to write about. Find out what is their area of expertise. Do they strictly write about new trends in fashion for the different seasons? Do they take a more consumeristic approach and talk mostly about sales within retail and fashion. This way when you have decided on what angle of a story that you want to focus on pertaining to your brand, you will know what writer to approach. Also, it is very important that you just select one writer for each publication,and do not bombard several writers from that media source. You do not want to come off like you are spamming everyone. Because, writers and editors of the magazine come together during their meetings to discuss editorial ideas and topics for their upcoming issues, and you just do not want to be inconsiderate and waste a writer or publisher’s time, if all their writers are all pitching the same story idea for your brand. Especially,since journalists and media professionals are always on strict deadlines to get copy in,because they are in a competitive race to scoop the story and be the first media source to get the news out to the public and their consumers.
Attach your brand to a publicized event or charity fundraiser within your local community
Start with major events in your community that you’ve done the research that you know that a portion of your niche consumers may be attending some of these events, and find an avenue to get your brand involved. For instance, if your brand is targeting more of the younger urban slightly grunge vintage crowd—-find out if there are any music festivals or street fairs that are giving swag bags and see if you could put a promotional item in the bag that will get those niche consumers curious about your brand— enough to have them check out your website. You could also somehow become a major sponsor for the event by donating your time or an item of your collection, so your brand can be written about in the paper, or even make mention of your brand in any of their marketing and promotional pr materials that is publicizing the event. Here’s another idea—How about raising money for the fundraiser by auctioning a vintage denim studded jacket from your new line of eco–friendly fabrics to get people and media interested in writing about your brand. So get creative and storm up some innovative and unique ideas with your marketing team to get involved with these events as a means to attain brand awareness and get your brand noticed by the public, its consumers, and journalists, so you can claim your stake in the world of media and get your personal brand the attention it deserves!
Fashion vs. Function: The Pocket Problem
Consumer buying habits are influenced by a number of factors. Cost, branding, and the design of apparel can determine the success or failure of a clothing line. One aspect that can be overlooked in the design of a line is the functionality of the garments. Whereas some consumers might consider what is fashionable as their main driving force in the buying process, others might weigh the functionality or practicality of apparel with just as much gravity.
Specifically in men’s apparel, the abundance of pockets and pocket placement plays a large factor. Let’s assume that the average man, at any given time, carries multiple items on his person: cell phone, car keys, wallet, sunglasses, gum and/or mints, maybe even cigarettes, and a lighter. The normal five pocket jean will allow for storage of these items, but in that confined space the transporting of said items will not be a comfortable journey. Options for transportation of these items come in the form of courier bags, backpacks, and carryalls. These accessories address the problem of transporting items comfortably, but each has its own drawback. Courier bags are becoming more prevalent in society, but most occasions outside of business functions do not call for that level of affectation. Backpacks are a student’s best friend, but for many adults it can lead to a perception of immaturity. Carryalls, which have a resemblance to women’s purses, are mostly unacceptable for men in American culture.
With disregard to the shirt (pocket bulges where there should be straight lines are unbecoming); the next viable option becomes outerwear. For this instance, outerwear will refer to any apparel that is used over a shirt: cardigans, jackets, pullovers, hoodies, etc… Open pocket versus button pocket versus zipper pocket seems like a marginal argument; but if lifestyle choices dictate a person to carry a handful of items, those choices can have impact on what form of clothing is purchased. Designers that envision outerwear with shallow, inseam, and/or vertical pockets might want to incorporate zipper pockets, rather than an open or button pocket, to ensure that consumers’ items do not fall out. Deeper horizontal pockets should have buttons, to avoid a blousing effect created by the items that are kept within. Outerwear used for weather related reasons should at least have one inside pocket; if slash pockets are incorporated they should be deep enough that a hand and a small item can fit into them comfortably.
It can be easy to overlook the development of functional clothing while still trying to make fashionable apparel. Pockets serve a simple function, but the abundance or lack thereof can stifle even the most fashion forward buyer. It is necessary to remember that clothing was created to satisfy a need in society. As needs and desires become more sophisticated, designers and apparel makers would do well to consider not only the fashion, but the function as well.
Top Resources and Tools every Fashion Designer should know about
When your job is based on something that is very artistic and requires time and inspiration one of the must do’s is research. Research and experience is the key to success as a fashion designer. This article is going to be all about sharing some of my tips based on experience for any fashion designer that is having problems finding resources and some handy tools.
One of the greatest resources in my opinion is books. Books are always packed full of information and there is a huge variety of them for fashion design. You can buy encyclopedias which show you sewing techniques and materials, books about the history of fashion so you can study different styles and how they were made and of course drawing books that help you learn how to sketch great fashion garments quickly.
Magazines are great for creating inspiration. They help you keep up to date with current trends and show you different garments that are available at different price ranges, colors and materials. One of my favorite things about magazines is the ability to cut out anything that might inspire me at that moment and create a big mood board or a folder full of inspiration to help me create some new designs.
It’s great as a fashion designer to have separate folders with separate work in them. One folder should be all about different materials that are available on today’s market including man made materials and natural ones too. The second folder should contain inspiration of all the different garments that exist and for each garment you should dedicate one to two pages for each style. Last but not least a folder that contains all the different colors available so you can be instantly inspired for choosing which color material for a garment. Lots of colors are available and some of the few categories are the classics, neutrals, jewels and so on. Make sure you have a color chart that you will neatly create so you can keep looking back at it.
Create a space in your house/bedroom that you keep all your fashion design work there and make sure it is all neat, labeled and organized. Buy a clothes rack that you will only use to hang any garments you have sewn. Surround yourself with inspiration on your walls, in your folders and any other resources and tools you may have.
I hope you have found this article helpful!
How to get Your Clothes on Celebrities
Tips for Designers to get their Clothes worn by their Favorite Celebrity
For most designer’s, it is a dream to have their collection of clothes draped on some of the most adored celebrities, along with having snap-shot images on the red carpet to go with with their one-of-a-kind designs. And, for most emerging designers, they may see this as a sure pathway to success within the realm of fashion in building their brand. Having that one photo-op, capturing a major celebrity in their clothes is the moment of exposure, launching that mass market appeal and getting their brand to the next level. But, before designer’s follow this strategy, it’s a good idea to take the time to research the celebrity that they are trying to target. For one celebrities, are not just beautiful faces with gorgeous bodies, they are people with personalities and have their own personal brand that they are trying to build as well.
So, one question a designer should ask themselves, is their clothing line and brand alligned with the celebrity itself? When deciding to select a celebrity to help build one’s brand, it’s a good idea to get behind the total celebrity persona–not just the celebrity we see in the front of the the cameras. Just because you see a celebrity grace the covers of several magazines and making all the headlines of entertainment news, this may not always be the right fit for your brand. Of course, notariety always promotes publicity, but is it the right type of publicity for your consumers and is it going to help develop your brand in the direction you want to go? As a designer, it is key to know who your prospective buyers of your brand will be, so you could determine whether the celebrity you are trying to endorse will sit well with them. Determining who your niche audience is and foreseeing who will be wearing your style of clothing is an essential part of developing your brand. It’s essential to determine whether your clothing is more for the young trendsetting hipsters in their early 20s to mid 30s; or is it the young conservative professional sophisticated type in their early 30s to mid 40s. Whoever it may be, it is important to know this early in regards to building your brand and developing yourself as a designer.
In doing your research, your marketing strategists can assist in getting feedback from your personal database, by utilizing social media and other online marketing tools to test how your potential consumers feel about the celebrity you are trying to approach. Because, it is senseless to hire a celebrity that you may simply be fond of, when your niche buyers may not have the same affection for this celebrity as you do, or worse, they could care less for this particular celebrity and may think they are talentless and tasteless trash. So, it’s wise to invest some time and do your homework before selecting a celebrity to help boost your brand and find out if it’s a good compliment for your brand.
And, once you’ve done your research and determined if your clothing fits the celebrity you have in mind, you need to do more research on who is their support team from their publicists to their stylists etc., and discover ways to develop relationships with these individuals. Again, getting acquainted with the whole celebrity persona, meaning finding ways to know all the industry professionals involved in making that particular celebrity come to life along with all their looks. It’s also a good idea to keep an eye out for past and current red carpet trends for this celebrity, and what types of clothing they have been seen photographed in to determine their sense of style. So, look online and check out previous magazines to get a good sense of both of their casual and formal looks. This could really be essential when it comes to red-carpet events, having the goal of somehow managing to get a sample from your collection sent to their publicist or stylist. Although, all designers would love to aim for high-profile events such as awards shows and big movie preimeres, it probably would be more realistic to start off with some of the lower profile events. These can include red-carpet charity events and fundraisers as a way to get your foot in the door, and start to get your brand noticed by your celebrity with the intent to establish relationships with their professional team of people.
This is when writing personal notes to celebrity’s publicists and gifting certain items by lending out samples of clothing from your collection for these more low-key events can be a beneficial approach. And, make sure you maintain relationships with their publicists to track whether your garment of clothing will be worn for that specific event in order to obtain as many photographs as you can to promote your brand. Maybe, even take it a step further and find out in advanced some of the photographers who will be covering the event. However, make sure you clear things with the celebrity’s publicist, as well as manager, before posting photographs on your social media and marketing sites to avoid any uneccessary legalities. The last thing you want to do is get involved in some type of nasty lawsuit, so make sure you cover all your basis and not get ahead of yourself and start posting everywhere.
Another method of approach that may provide a favorable outcome is to research some of your celebrity’s favorite charities, and learn what organizations they are involved with. Find a means of developing and building connections with some of these establishments that are close and dear to their heart and offer creative promotions, where a portion of your sales from your clothing will go towards some of these causes. This can lead to a spark of interest by your sought-after celebrity to promote your collection and render you the results that you are seeking. So, discover where your celebrity donates their time and make effort to initiate relationships with some of these charitable organizations.
Also, don’t always focus on celebrities that are already in the limelight. Obviously, it can be fierce competition in getting your personal merchandise seen by these A-listers, because it is a known fact that they are constantly bombarded by designers and professionals in the world of fashion and entertainment. So, in selecting your celebrity, it may be wise to choose a celebrity on the verge of breaking out in their career—not one who is already established and constantly sought after for their notable fame. Of course, in the realm of celebrity status to dress the “Brangelina’s” and “Kimye’s” of celeb royalty is a dream for most upcoming designers, but having more realistic expectations may be more ideal and promising for you. Stay grounded with the vision of working towards that caliber of celebrity status for your brand—because all things are possible.
So, whatever method of approach you may take to garner the interest of your chosen celebrity, the most important thing you can do for your brand is fundamentally do your research. Get to know the overall celebrity and become familiar with their celebrity persona. Don’t just get caught up with their glamorous aura, get to know who they are as people and individuals and develop relationships with their support team. Discover what they care about and what moves them in order to build those connection between you, your brand, and your celebrity, and let the red carpet take you and your brand where the spotlight takes you!
“Made In America” What does it mean?
The “Made in America” claim is used describe the extent of a product’s US origin. Although the reasons may vary, the steps for obtaining an “American Made” certification are very simple and straightforward. You must first fill out an online form with the Made in America brand, self-certify that you meet the requirements of displaying a “Made in America” certification, and get accredited by the brand. The major requirements are:
1. You must be able to prove that your company has been in operation for 12+ months.
2. You must make a product or service that is all, or almost entirely made in America in accordance to the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) definition of “Made in America.”
3. You must retain evidence that your product will continue to be made/produced/assembled in America (that is, you must prove you will continue to be eligible for the certification).
4. You must provide exceptional services and produce well-made goods.
5. You must pay an annual licensing fee based on your company’s annual revenue.
There are four separate “Made in America” certifications which describe the amount of American materials that the product was made with. The minimum is a “51% American Made” credential, the next highest being 75%, then 90%, and then 100% American-made. The percentage is determined by several factors, including where the final manufacturing step/assembly/processing took place and what materials make up the components of the final product. The FTC requires that, specifically for apparel, the final product must be manufactured in the United States, of fabric that was manufactured in America (regardless of where the raw materials to make the fabric came from). Even if a garment is made of raw components that originated in America, it is not considered “American made” if it was manufactured outside of the US because the raw materials are considered too far removed from the final product to have bearing on where it originated.
If your product does not qualify for a “Made in America” seal (ie, your product is made of 50% or less American materials or was not fully manufactured in America), you can apply for a qualified claim certification. There are declarative certifications (for example, “Made with American materials and assembled in another country” or “Made from American steel”) and comparative ones (“Made with 20% more American materials than our leading competitor”). This is a clever technique that can help a brand showcase its desire to be “Made in America” without having all the requirements met.
The awareness for “Made in America” is growing. This initiative has many domestic backers, and more and more money is being spent promoting this idea. Now is the time to consider domestic apparel manufacturing. Let Indie Source show you why “American Made” has great branding capabilities.