Thursday, November 20, 2008

How has the housing crisis affected home fashion retail?

Quality vs. Quanity

The two main things that have been affected by the diminishing housing market are quality and quantity. Not only has home quality gone down, because every contractor is trying to build the cheapest home and still make money, but they quantity of homes being built and the contractors building them has gone down significantly. If homes are not selling and homes are not being built then people are losing money and they are losing jobs.


In regards to home furnishings it's the battle of the Q's. Again quality vs. quantity comes into play again when people are buying furnishings for their newly purchased homes.

The first group of people are buying quality homes and either buying cheaper furniture to compromise with their expensive home, or just not buying as much furniture as the usually might. These people have adopted a mentality along the lines of not caring so much about the quality of the inside of their home, so long as the outside looks nice. Some people might do a combination of the two. 

The second group of people are buying less expensive homes in hopes to lavishly furnish them. Whether the home is smaller or just of lesser quality I do not know, but their are people spending less on homes in hopes of decorating them the way they wish on the inside.

My personal thoughts would be to have a combination of quality and quantity. No one wants an ugly house on the outside, or a tacky house on the inside. So, to solve this problem with the modern economy in mind, one must opt for the smaller home in hopes to furnish it elegantly. 

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Challenges of Apparel Retailing

A Hard Concept

Apparel retailing is a difficult process because of the work required to make any line successful. Design is hard because on one hand you want to be innovative and unique, but on the other hand you want your merchandise to sell. It’s hard to be original, but be on the same wave of originality as designers coming out with lines at the same time. As a designer you don’t want to miss the trends for each year because it could be detrimental to your business.

Another hard aspect of retailing is the marketing of a line and its presentation. In the modern world a manager needs to have their products in malls, online, and in catalogs to be successful. Managers also need to hire the correct people to accurately market their line. The line needs to be presented to the target market in an approachable way. Consumers need to be attracted to displays and showrooms, and advertisements need to catch their eye.

Color forecasting and color story are challenges for apparel retailing. The right color is an important issue in regards to retailing. When the economy is bad some designers want to use bright fun colors in hopes that they will lighten consumers mood and make them happy, hopefully if their happy they might ignore their economic troubles and by something for the heck of it. Other designers choose dark colors when the economy is bad to symbolize the "darkness" the country might be experiencing.

Monday, November 3, 2008


Exploitation & Greed

Sweatshops are defined as having: difficult and dangerous working conditions, along with limited rights for their workers and few ways for their voices to be heard. Sweatshops can expose an employee to harmful or hazardous materials while already working at excruciating temperatures. In my opinion the employers inflict this type of abuse.

I understand that most people working in these third world sweatshops are doing it because they have chosen to. This doesn’t mean it is right. Employers are exploiting these citizens because they know that the employees will continue to work under the current conditions because the money is there. This brings me to an even worse situation, one regarding wages. It is sick how meager the employees wages are. It doesn’t matter to me that these people are making “enough” to survive. It is inhumane to exploit them in this way when we can afford to pay them more for their efforts.

Child labor in completely inhumane and the laws prohibiting this act should be intensified. Their is absolutely no excuse for child labor and the people continuing it should be jailed. Regardless of whether the child's parents allow it for their own selfishness or employers are forcing them it should all be the same in the eyes of the law.

Through the continuation of sweatshops these countries will continue to live in poverty because they allow companies to make their wages so low. Companies pay the bare minimum because they are greed driven, and provide only enough so their employees can survive. The only way to stop sweatshop labor is to boycott the buying of the products they produce. This is much easier said than done, especially considering the United States imports a significant amount more than it exports.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Fashion: Art or Usability?

A Wearable Art form

I see fashion as an art form first and meant for usability second. Clothing design as well as the art of dressing are such great ways to express oneself, J.Lo said "Fashion is art that you wear everyday, it makes you feel a certain way, and you can tell how someone feels about themselves by how they dress." Her words sum up my thoughts of fashion as an art form so perfectly.

I consider fashion an art form because the amount of time that goes into making these clothes. The prints of chosen fabrics combined with the detailed embellishments and structure of each and every garment. The best example of this caliber of clothing is Marc Jacobs' latest line for Louis Vuitton. It is absolutely incredible. After viewing something as amazing as this line no one can argue that fashion is not an art. Jacobs detail and emphasis on every part of the outfit is absolutely heavenly. The layering of pieces, the vibrant jewelry, the handbags being apart of the outfit rather than just an accessory, and most of all the detail regarding SHOES! Shoes seem to make an outfit these days, something I am in love with.




There are those who believe than dressing yourself is purely based on modesty and modern theories of appropriate dress, but i believe it is to express oneself. The clothes wear you, and can stand alone as an art form by themselves.

Friday, October 3, 2008

If you had a clothing line what would it be like? Who would you design for?

Nobody wants a Stick!

If I were to design a clothing line, it would be amazing. I have curves, and because of that it's my inspiration for design. I am not sure when the fashion industry confused curvy with plus size, but I don’t appreciate it. When I say curvy, I am not speaking of larger women, I am referring to women with: hourglass figures, most having average to large breasts, and women with wider hips than the average, and having a larger than average butt. My line would cater to curvy women, and clothes shaping well with their bodies.

My line would consist of very feminine garments. I would use lots of silks and airy fabrics, but also have structured garments than flatter the silhouette of a curvy woman. I would use a lot of high-waisted belts, and pleats than accentuate the waist. My Structured garments would mostly me high wasted skirts and pants that would: accentuate the waist, and flatter the booty. A lot of my shirts would be three quarter sleeves because I don’t like short sleeves or sleeveless shirts, and some would have synching along the sides giving the illusion of curve to women with big boobs, but not necessarily an hourglass figure.

Some examples of the body type I would target are:
(in no particular order)

1. Kim Kardashian(
2. Beyonce Knowles(
3. Toccara
4. Shakira
5. Jennifer Lopez


Friday, September 26, 2008

Ethnic influences on design


The most basic reasons for dressing oneself include: protection, decoration, modesty, and status. In different cultures one’s dress can be affected by gender, age, or social status. Dress can also hold ceremonial uses or be used to enhance sexual attractiveness. (The Visible Self, 2000. Eicher, Evenson, Lutz.) These factors combine to form the thought behind the everyday dress of different cultures around the world, and because of this designers are able to pull ideas from various trends and adapt them to an acceptable western form.

Something that is ethnic is something that has come from the past, and has not changed. Dress is used as a mark of ethnicity that communicates group identity. Ethnicity embraces this group cohesion, which also includes shared language, similar dress, manners, and lifestyle. This sense of ethnicity is not immediate, it is established over time. Some examples of particular garments that have impacted western dress are: the kimono, the dashiki, the hijab.

The hijab, meaning to veil or to cover, originated in the Islamic and Muslim worlds. Both require women to cover everything except their face and hands. The hijab has become a symbol of “Islamic consciousness and has emerged as an affirmation of Islamic identity and morality.” (Wikipedia, 2003.)

The hijab has been adapted to western dress and is see through many variations. Without knowing, women and sometimes men, are wearing their scarves, or wrapping their headdresses based on the hijab’s influence.


The dashiki, which originated in Africa, is another garment that has influenced the west. is a colorful men's garment that covers the top half of the body. Traditional female attire is called a caftan. A common form of these two garments is a loose-fitting pullover, with an detailed V-shaped collar, and an embroidered neck and sleeve line.

The dashiki has been modified to western dress by almost every designer. When making the garments designers typically make the western style tunic somewhat form fitting, with patterns a little more tame than that of the dashiki and the embroidery not being as detailed.

Asia influences western dress more than we realize. The kimono is possibly the most recognizable garment originating in Asia. Kimono's are long t-shaped garments that brush the floor. Kimonos are wrapped, left side over right, and are held in place by a belt. Designers have adapted the printed flowers of kimonos to western dresses, along with the structured shape of the garment. The high-waisted belt could have also been taken from Asian dress.

Media has influenced people around the world, in that through media people that may never travel from their home country are influenced by international dress. Designers now travel all over the world, see styles they love, and adapt them to western dress.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Trends for Spring 2009

Exclusively New York!

Because Mercedes-Benz fashion week hosts so many designers I decided to pick three, completely at random, to write overviews on. In order to describe the trends for Spring 2009 RTW I reviewed as many lines as I could without feeling overwhelmed.

The first designer I chose was Anna Sui. In this collection I noticed a combination of textures on every piece. Sui combined lace with silk, and criss-cross patterns with vertical stripes and bold colors. She had plaid throughout her line, combining minor plaid attributes to many of the pieces. On every piece there was either a fringe or lace lining around the hem of the dress, but incorporated barely any shorts or capris. “The work was very colorful, optimistic and happy, which is what I’m pushing for these days.” Sui stated of her line.
Anna Sui Spring 2009 Ready-to-Wear

The second designer I chose was Diane Von Furstenberg. Furstenberg described her line as “rock goddess” which included layered dresses, and many outfits with silk capris. There were a few form fitting pieces that I would have though did not match, but when put together looked great! She had a lot of bold patterns, for example combining flowers with stripes. Style magazine described her line as having “boldly colored, lush prints!” “The overall effect was one of complete optimism. We could all use a hefty dose of that…” ( (2008). Diane Von Furstenberg. Retrieved September 7, 2008, from
Diane von Furstenberg Spring 2009 Ready-to-Wear

The last designer I chose was Reem Acra. Meenal Mistry, the author of the review, described that this line “wove a tale that began in the attic of a royal castle, the kind of magically cobwebbed place where one might chance upon a forgotten stash of silks and gems.” Almost every piece in this entire collection had a collar, whether it tied or buttoned. Acra used sheer and delicate fabrics that were, as Mistry described them, “electric in color.” It seemed to me that some of the patterns (the types of floral chosen) and architecture of the tops were oriental inspired.
Reem Acra Spring 2009 Ready-to-Wear

With so many different designers showcasing their work it is hard to tell what styles will be copied so that we, the middle class, can afford them. There are some definite trends to be on the look out for. Color is a huge trend to follow. Bright colors will be very popular, along with eye-catching prints. Flowy tops with a tunic styling to them seemed to be a part of every designer’s collection along with a number of silk pieces. Above all I think designer wanted to make their pieces fresh, airy, and extremely feminine.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Organic and Environmentally Friendly Clothing

All That is Friendly

“Organic clothing is clothing that is made from materials that are raised or grown without the use of chemicals in the form of pesticides, herbicides or other chemicals.” (Wikipedia 2008) Garments that are unquestionably organic share factors that benefit the environment. One factor, stresses not harming humans or animals, another focuses on preventing chemical leakage. After doing some research I’ve realized that different “organic” or “environmentally friendly” retailers specialize in different products. Some focus on lifestyle and beauty products. Others in products made from organic, recycled or alternative natural materials, or made by fair trade producer groups. A few combine fashion and eco-friendly clothing and donate to charitable organizations.
Cotton is harvested in a few ways that are eco-friendly. One way to reduce the need for chemicals and dyes involved in the finishing process is for manufacturers to bye naturally colored cotton. Natural colors include: brown, rust, red, beige and green. The colors enhance over time, and are produced in Arizona and Texas.
When organic cotton is produced it must follow certain state mandated regulations. For a tag so say organic, the cotton that was used to produce the shirt has to have been grown in a field where organic farming techniques have been repeated for at least three years. On this land no synthetic pesticides or fertilizers may be used. Transitional cotton meets the same standards as organic cotton, but the required three-year minimum has not yet been fulfilled. Green cotton is another alternative for consumers. This describes cotton that has been washed with a mild natural-based soap but has not been bleached or treated with other chemicals.
I think it would pay off for producers if they focused on hemp. Hemp can be cottonized and processed to feel just like cotton. Hemp can be white or come in other natural colors, and can be machine-washed and dried. Hemp is absorbent, and does not require pesticides during production. More hemp can be produced per acre than cotton, and hemp can be used to rid farmland from mercury and zinc.
I do think that organic clothing is a fantastic idea, and no one can argue the aid it gives to our environment, but these pieces are so expensive. Naturally colored cotton sells for twice the price of white cotton.
Now that it is “cool” to wear organic clothing and bye eco-friendly wardrobes, celebrities have begun doing it. Everyone knows that when something becomes popular in Hollywood, the price is going to rise. The freshest new designers are going cater to the wants and needs of Hollywood’s hottest in hopes of becoming the next big thing. For environmentally and organic clothing to flourish there needs to be an incentive for producers, and a demand from consumers which would come naturally if the product were affordable.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Favorite Designer

Why Isaac?

“They’re not trendy clothes, they’re chic.”

Whenever I began to think about this assignment I was completely confused as to what designer might be my favorite. Of course as a CARS major one would think I’d be able to rattle off designers and reasons for liking their lines, but I was stumped. To me high fashion designers seemed to be the obvious choice, but that’s a little mundane. Although the average person does not think Isaac Mizrahi when they think of runway, I beg to differ and wish to shed a bit of light on his brilliance.
It is not in the mind of most designers to create pieces that won’t be seen on the runways of Milan or New York, so to master ready-to-wear for everyday women is genius. “Known as much for custom-made ball gowns as tweed jackets” Isaac brings high fashion to the suburbs, through a convenient retailer and at an affordable price. I love Isaac’s designs because they’re fresh as
well as stylish because he adapts the runway to everyday. He creates the illusion that we, as middle class Americans, have become the new “it girls” of New York and his newest designs have been catered specifically to us. Isaac has been described as designing “cheap-chic” and his talents don’t end there, he also designs shoes, bags, bedding, various accessories, etc., and although Mizrahi’s pieces are not one-of-a-kind, buyers cannot get enough.

Stick thin models are commonly used due to the appeal they create for the modeled clothes. Although I believe this to be impractical as well as untrue the situation remains as such. Just because a garment is offered in various sizes does not mean that it was designed for bigger women or that it will flatter them, and with a broad range of sizes existing in modern women I think it’s vital to a designers success to cater to all of them. Through personal observation I have seen Isaac’s line look great of all body types. My sisters and I vary drastically in shape and size and are able to fit, and feel comfortable wearing his clothes.
In essence Isaac Mizrahi is my favorite designer because of his ability to reinvent the runway and produce a ready-to-wear line that is within price, and is extremely fashionable. I respect Mizrahi for establishing himself with Target, and hope that he can produce the same results in revitalizing Claiborne’s line.