Fashion Trends

World Travel – Pros and Cons

beach-84533_960_720The problem with travel is that it requires travel! This usually means you need to fly to your various destinations. Well, as most of us world travels know this can be a test of stamina and endurance. There is no doubt and a fact that flying is an amazing feat of engineering. For instance, how can a 350 thousand pound plane with 50 thousand pounds of fuel and hosting two hundred passengers with luggage fly through the air at 500 miles per hour? I know my husband, the German flight stress engineer would love to explain these facts in detail but we don’t have the time to get too detailed here! The fact remains that the logistics for those who traveling can be a test of endurance that is way too often a rather torturous event.

We have just spent a much needed pleasant change of pace and relaxing ten days on vacation in the southern Caribbean on a friend’s sail boat. Getting there and back has been anything but pleasant or relaxing. Our outward bound flight from LAX was smooth flying with three transfers but upon arrival found us without our luggage, which it seems did not fly with us. Nothing really new here, except we had to journey on the next day to meet up with our friend and host on her sail boat. So, on landing in Grenada we not only had no luggage we also needed to stress about whether the lost bag would ever turn up and if so when, and then how it would find us in the eastern part of the Caribbean. Luckily we are seasoned travels and had carried on swimwear, toiletries and self-defense weapons. After our first night spent in a hotel we then made numerous phone calls as to where the lost bag was and if found how it would possibly get transported to us at our soon to be remote location. Amazingly, and much to our surprise the bag was located 24 hours later and American Airlines arranged to have it sent by ferry boat so we could collect it from the dock. This in its self was a pleasant surprise.

Homeward bound was another exhausting stress filled travel experience that goes down in my scrapbook of travel experiences as a marathon journey! Broken plane parts resulted in a ten hour delay in Grenada, which then resulted in the domino effect of missed connections, frustrations, exhaustion, more frustration and a fascination of how, for the most part good natured people are when pushed through these extreme travel experiences. Thankfully, after 36 hours in transit found us safely home!

So, what does all the above have to do with fashion? People watching while traveling is for me the most interesting and a time consuming hobby. What people choose to wear for any occasion is fascinating stuff for clothes minded person like myself, but traveling internationally can be an interesting observation of what people choose to wear while traveling.

It seems that “Juicy” on the butt is still a popular fashion statement with some! Most of us may well ask, “why”, would an attractive, intelligent women (or girl) want to walk around with that statement so close to a bodily area that ……… well, let’s not even go there!

Cargo pockets are really the ideal choice for travel for men if they don’t over stuff them with everything needed for a two week vacation.

Pedal pushers in all styles and fabrics for women with and without cargo pockets.

Denim in all weights are to be seen while traveling, including; leg shapes, low raisers, high raisers, various sizes, fits, stitching details, pocket design, distressing and with multiple finishes. Nothing new here.

Workout gear can be seen on more travelers this season. This seems to me to be the ideal choice for comfort and practicality. Need for layering is important as you can be boiling in Miami and then on the plane freeze yourself to death sitting next to the escape doors where the draft is so severe it can make the journey miserable just trying to keep your feet at a normal temperature.

T-shirts galore in all shapes, styles, with a vast variety of graphics and sizes!!! Some more grotesque, obscene, confusing and stupid than the next! Then there are some who choose to wear the shorter length t-shirt that expose rolls of fat and protruding belly buttons with a confidence of the wearer that makes them seem proud to be carrying around all that extra fat.

Running shoes and thongs in every imaginable color, shape and brand on the planet. Personally, I prefer shoes that slip on and off for easy of maneuvering through the strip down security search blockade.

Color trends – Every color under the sun! Mix and match are preferred!

Other than the above I do not have much to report on the latest fashion trends for travelers. All very boring stuff!

However, we are glad to be home in southern California where the weather is beautiful year round.

Fashion Industry

Project Runway – Good Industry Image or Bad?

7127418127_322e2305ae_oIt appears that a lot of viewers think that Project Runway is a great show on tv. Well, I have to disagree. I am one who thinks that the show has in fact been a very bad example of what a fashion designers real job is realistically all about. Project Runway, in my opinion has served as a major bad influence for the industry as a whole and to the thousands of young people who have been swain by the show to study fashion design. While, for the MANY colleges, universities and other further educational institutions who offer fashion related degrees around the country, I am sure it has been a major boost in enrollment the fact remains there are not the jobs to sustain the graduates. Many have to take student loans that they will be paying off for many years to come. Or, once they have exhausted job interview opportunities, or worked for a while in the industry and become disheartened they are force to go bankrupt, and then it becomes the tax payers’ debt.

I deal daily with professionals in the apparel industry and I am also fortunate to guest speak at many fashion college events. I understand the industry and what are the many changes taking place on the Global platform. I can assure you that Project Runway has nothing to do with the real industry. I have had four of my ex-students, or Fashion Business Incorporated members who have been on the show. My feedback from them has not been positive. Project Runway is nothing more than entertainment and I would have no problem with it as a show if it clarified this. But, to watch continuously these mean spirited reality shows torture their participants’ is to me very distasteful. The industry has for years had a bad enough reputation and to add another layer of negativity is a shame!

Anyway, if anyone is reading this and wants to get in to the fashion industry first take the time to educate yourself about the many different job opportunities and the different colleges and what they offer. They don’t have to be private colleges that cost a fortune! There are some really good community colleges and state universities that offer good degrees. Personally, I have been very impressed with Cal Poly Pomona’s courses offered and their graduates. But, for the most part it is up to the students themselves to take what they learn and use that to network into a real job. Paying $35,000 a year for four years and then not getting a job is a financial tragedy.

The fashion business is an amazingly interesting and exciting industry that has been very good to me! I have had so many great adventures and opportunities. But, maybe I got a head start in my own reality and it is in my blood! I started sewing at twelve and learned from my mother, who was a designer for her brother who had a factory in Nottingham, UK. Her mother, (my grandmother) was a lace maker in Nottingham. My father was a chemist who specialized in textiles. My aunt had her own dress making business…. My grandfather on my father’s side had their own brewery…!:)

Fashion Trends

Where to Buy Pepper Spray for A Fashionista’s Self-Defense

woman-163687_960_720Ladies who love to be updated with the current fashion trends need not worry about personal protection. They can be donning the spring collection or carrying a shoulder bag of some famous designer and be still protected. Yes folks, there is a way to make fashion and personal protection work with each other. Use disguised self-defense weapons that is. There are stun guns that look like a mobile phone, a pen knife, and the one that caught my eye is a lipstick pepper spray.

Pepper sprays are the indubitable source of defense for fashionable women. It is a good self-defense mechanism to escape from an unwarranted attack, theft, mischief mongers and similar undesirable elements. If you are looking for drop shipping companies where to buy pepper spray, there are lots of them online. Lipstick pepper spray is the best you can use whenever you face danger or unexpected attack.

On the Internet, you will see pepper spray for sale, but the lipstick type is more ideal for women. You can use it to momentarily stun an opponent or attacker and while the attacker is immobilized, you can run to safety and get help. It gives you time to call the cop or daring bystanders.

It is very easy to use and easy to carry around in your pulse. It is not weighty. It is just like your usual lipstick and no one will suspect a thing when you tuck it in your bag. Its potency is unquestionably high and other chemicals in it increase the chances of apprehending the attacker.

One major reason you should give this pepper spray a try is that it is convenient and it is a perfect disguised pepper spray. When being attacked, simply remove the cap, point and press. That is all! Your attacker will be incapacitated and you can take a bolt and call for help. By now, you are probably wondering where to buy pepper spray that looks like a lipstick. No worries. You will find more than enough for sale online.

No doubt, pepper spray is hot and it is one of those things that should not be far away from your purse. Women are vulnerable to attack and it is your duty to pre-empt that. It helps you to dissuade your attackers without harming them beyond repair.

However, you should exercise caution while using lipstick pepper spray or any other pepper spray for that matter. Pepper sprays are not meant to be used like lethal weapon. This is what you should bear in mind at all time. These are meant for lesser evil that a woman might be subjected to. As you know defense is the best form of attack. By being ready to dissuade those who must learn the proper way to behave with pepper spray, you are protecting yourself and making yourself invulnerable whenever you go out doing what you love to do.
So, just hit your web browser, search and you will have lots of options.

Fashion Industry

The Cost of Clothing is Ridiculous!

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First you plant and grow the cotton, or grow and tend the sheep. Or, with synthetic fabrics, process the oil/wood/bamboo into filament.

It is then spun and woven, dyed, printed and finished into textiles that can then be shipped to manufacturers to be then inspected, laid out for cutting, cut and bundled for sewing. The machine operators then sew the cut goods into the finished style using a number of different machines depending on the final design; overlock, straight stitch, hemming, embroidery, and many other specialized machines are put into operation. The goods maybe ironed, labeling attached with hang tags, which may also include EDI (Electronic Data Information) for tracking. The goods are again inspected and they are then warehoused to be sorted for the different customers’ locations. The orders are picked and packed, and distributed per the stores instructions. The retailer receives the goods then again inspects the goods to be placed in the store for sale. The retailer will then price the goods up to their retail selling price which is usually around 55% above the price they paid the manufacturer. Example: if the retailer paid the manufacturer $20.00 for the goods the retailer will price for the final sale at around $45.00.

Now, the manufacturer has also marked up the goods for their own profit margin. For simplicity of this example could have been keystoned (doubled). So, the $20.00 price the manufacturer sold to the retailer means that the Cost of Goods to produce that includes all the material, zippers, buttons, and then the labor was around $10.00 to produce!!!! Now also consider, the final wholesale selling price has not included the development cost, from designing, sampling, marketing, sales representatives, grading the sizes and marker making for the cutter. Then there are the overhead costs, rent, salaries, telephones, etc. that are also not included in the cost of goods.

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Now who can tell me that clothes are overpriced!!! Clothing has not increased in final selling price for the last 20 years. A pair of jeans at Target can still be purchased for $29.99 2010! I remember in the 70s when I paid $70 and above for a nice pair of California designer jeans.

The industry is also looking for speed to market and domestic production. Some ask why it should cost so much to make clothing domestically. Please tell them!

Fashion Trends

Fascination with Fascinators!

8540084871_ebb627305a_bPersonally I think most fascinators look rather pretentious and stupid! I honestly can say I have not seen many adaptations and creation of the fascinator that improve the wearer’s overall looks. I do love hats and have enjoyed being a wearer of head gear for many different occasions. As we know, for the most part hats do normally have some kind a function. They were created to protect us from the elements; the sun, or the rain, or to keep our ears warm in the cold weather. They can also be worn to protect from paparazzi. Caps and sunglasses are a well recognized disguise. They are also worn as a status or as a uniform , for example with priests and train guards. However, for hundreds of years hats have also been created to be worn just for the fun of it. They are worn as the topping off of a beautiful elegant outfit. But, it seems to me that most fascinators have pushed the “for the fun of it” to the limits of becoming ridiculous. Like “modern art”, there are some forms that really defy art or reason.

rs_560x415-130423150754-1024.Beatrice.mh.042313Princess Beatrice and Princess Eugenie example of topping off their wedding outfits with those craziest of fascinator as a head decoration just left me frowning and fascinated at how they just did not work to improve the wearers’ appearance. Was the objective to get attention? In which case the fascinators worked, but then they would have had their share of the spot light being the cousins of the Prince. Princess Beatrice has her own unique beauty she would have been better advised to highlight that instead of wearing that toilet roll holder on her head!!:)

As I am a Brit I could assume that maybe it is another example of their humor! Our daughter got married last July 4th and we had a number of family members from the other side of the pond from the UK and my husband’s side from Germany turn up with fascinators packed in their suitcases to wear under the California sun at the garden wedding! Luckily we had planned for the sun and provided white umbrellas’ for them all to protect them from frying in the heat of the late afternoon sun.

Maybe I need to hear from you and if you would wear a fascinator like the one Princess Beatrice wore?

Fashion Industry

Opening a Fashion Retail Store

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Opening an apparel related retail store in order to sell directly to customers is attractive to many designers, lured by the promise increasing sales and building a brand. However, like manufacturing it should be fully investigated before making a final commitment. Many fashion designers, both large and small, have become successful retailers. With the addition of a retail store the business now becomes a vertical operation; from the first sketch to the point of sale, the designer/manufacturer has control. Once you open your store, it may also be a good idea to include other product lines within the store, which would complement your own creations. These other lines could be sold on consignment, which would help cut back on the direct costs of investing in inventory. Having several options will empower you and help you to make the right decisions. Opening a retail establishment demands a significant amount of time to properly oversee every aspect of the fledgling business. If you are a designer/manufacturer do you have that time available?

Finding the right location and understanding your customers’ needs are key elements of owning a retail store. It is helpful to sell what you know! However, if you are not familiar with basic marketing principles or the fashion industry, it will be critical to learn about and investigate the market. Becoming profitable will require continual upgrading on a weekly basis to improve and refresh your retail operation.

All of the information in my soon to be published Fashion Retailing for Profit will be very valuable information to you when planning to open any retail store. Even if you are not going to manufacture clothing yourself, it is important to understand all aspects of producing a garment, from concept to the consumer. Some of the most important issues that will influence your success as an apparel store owner will be the same as the components necessary in becoming a successful designer/manufacturer; both your discerning good taste and your business expertise.

Fashion Industry

The Innovated Mind Is Nurtured By Experience, And Real Life Education

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I believe that on the whole most people wishing to start their own business feel disconnected to conventional further education. Much of the courses taught in traditional institutions have major gaps when it comes to both life skills, business survival and to entrepreneurship. Conventional further education seems to be diluted and detached from the real world of business and from major commerce. This leaves the majority of people, who in fact run most of the businesses in this country, or soon hope to, less likely to survive their first year. According to research conducted by Dunn & Bradstreet, there are hundreds of thousands of small businesses started each -year; minorities and women start over half. The emergence of women in entrepreneurship in America and indeed globally is perhaps the greatest advantage to our economy, and to the world’s economy. It is therefore important to the survival of these small businesses that we teach modem business practices and incorporates this into university and college curriculum.

My 30 plus years of further education within the fashion industry has been such that for the most part college curriculum does not change at the same pace as the industry. Tenured professors and instructors don’t have real the real world experience needed to instruct students today. We are a Global industry with a Global economy and this should be an important part of the curriculum. Often making any changes to a curriculum requires extra work and effort and this is often rather over looked than addressed.

It is my belief that you don’t need a four year college degree to learn the art of entrepreneurship. For most it is in their blood and for others it cannot be taught. However, for trades I really believe we have to return the old method of education through learning on the job rather than in a class room. The Germans still educate through apprenticeship, which is a system of training a new generation of practitioners of a skill, e.g. patternmaking, draping, sewing, woodwork, and electrician. Short term training and retraining is the future for trade education…. Well that is my thoughts of fashion programs that turn out too many graduates with no job openings available to them. Most are left with large student loans and end up working in a retail store to pay them off.