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New School Tech Meets Old School Style in D.C.

New School Tech Meets Old School Style in D.C.

When you think of Washington, D.C., one thing in particular comes to mind: Fashion.

Ok, so that may not be the case currently, but the fashion landscape is definitely changing in our nation’s capital. And in a city where suits rule (most of the time), menswear companies are seizing the opportunity to dress the men at the top.

hugh and crye

Take Hugh and Crye, a DC-based online retailer of better fitting dress shirts. With a charming little showroom/office in Georgetown, they focus on simplifying the choices for guys starting with just one question: what type of body do you have? Depending on whether the guy has skinny, athletic, or broader build, they make the shirt to fit. Ah, sweet relief. Over the past few decades, we somehow managed to get away from a quality product that actually fits us and instead settled for a mass produced product whose price tag wandered far away from the quality that it reflected. Thankfully, a select few are offering up that possibility again.

I’ve been really impressed to see the way some companies have embraced technology. Sure, fashion has taken to technology on the production side, with the development of fabrics that wick moisture from the skin and dyes that activate with sunlight. But the guys at Alton Lane have found a unique way to use technology on the consumer/retail side. You schedule an appointment at their showroom– D.C. was their first showroom outside of NYC– and a lovely staff will guide you over to a 3-D body scanner. It’s a painless process– think of the scanner at airport security except in a living room-type environment and with a full bar complete with rye whiskey on hand.

alton_lane_showroom_dc

Your exact measurements are sent to their factory and you receive your custom-made garment in 4-6 weeks. Overall, a pretty optimal experience for a guy, I would think. These type of bespoke offerings popping up around the US seem novel at first until you realize that it’s the way our grandparents used to dress. A return to our roots.

And while menswear suits and dress shirts have gotten the most attention lately, we can’t forget about the basics. One company in particular, based in DC, has sought to redefine the staple accessories for men, starting with shoelaces. Yes, shoelaces.

redhand shoelaces

Tim Neill of Red Hand got frustrated last year when his shoelaces were 6 inches too long and coming untied all the time. He had had enough. So, armed with a marketing background, and the reassurance that other men were facing the same problem, Tim redesigned the structure of this little element that’s in each of our lives. But he didn’t stop there. Committed to rethinking all of the current offerings on the market, Tim is taking on the undershirt, socks, and belts– with buckles made from old American muscle cars and, yes, they are as awesome as they sound. He strives to be a brand that recognizes what came before, and one that insists on being a driver in the future. And the best part? He’s doing it all in the US.

redhand belts

From Detroit, where Red Hand’s design team is based, and where they find the metal for their belts, to North Carolina for fabric and trim, up to NYC for inspiration, and back to DC for the business, they’ve found a way to maintain every aspect of their production stateside. Tim makes it sound easy, which, being the owner of a women’s apparel company that manufactures a line of luxury robes in the US, I can assure you that it requires a commitment to wading through the at-times antiquated ways this industry has of doing things. Red Hand is mostly able to do this by selling direct to the consumer. So while you’ll only be able to purchase Red Hand products on their website, you can rest assured that the markups are minimal to bring you the best of men’s basics for a reasonable price. My hope? They open a retail shop in DC. But we’ll have to wait on that for now. Tackling the high rent in this city can kill a business and we definitely want this one to thrive.

Red Hand recently launched a Kickstarter campaign to finance the manufacturing of their first products. With rewards like the belt buckle, you can be the first to get your red hands on their products when you donate.

 

OS Fashion hosted a Town Hall Discussion last month in DC on the local retail climate. To attend similar events and join the discussion, become a member of OS Fashion’s DC Chapter here or follow us on Twitter.

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Treat Yourself Like a Model

Treat Yourself Like a Model

Whether you are a model or you just want to take care of yourself and feel good with your body or you’re simply trying to get back to the good habits after eating a tiny bit too much during the holidays, here’s some smart and easy tips that will help you taking care of your health and your diet every day just by following easy steps. The key is thinking of each of them not as a rule but as a methodical gesture that will help you improving the way your body and your mind feel.

Drink water
Drinking water is crucial, especially for women. As I wake up I drink a full glass of water with lemon, hot or cold and I carry a bottle of water with me anywhere I go. You should drink a full glass of water (8-10 oz) before each meal or snack. It helps your digestion and it also improves bowel regularity and helps to ‘flush out’ waste products.

Exercise at least 30 mins a day (Jump Rope!)
I’ve recently found out that if you want to get a good cardio work out there’s nothing better than the jump rope because it doesn’t only work your legs, but also your abs, your arms and shoulders. It’s better than running because it’s easier on your back and you can do it at home without needing a gym subscription.

Do not become hungry!
When you’re hungry, or even starving yourself, your metabolism slows down, hindering your weight loss efforts. Also, when you’re hungry, you’re making bad food choices such as sugary and fatty food, as your body is craving ‘quick energy’. To avoid this, have healthy, low-carb, protein-rich snacks between breakfast and lunch, and between lunch and dinner.

Use anti-aging skin treatments
Even if you aren’t worrying about wrinkles, you might still want to consider trying out rejuvenating treatments. A key component of an anti-aging facial is deep massage to stimulate collagen production. It might sound weird, but it’s a real gymnastic for the skin. Either you go to a Spa or you do it on your own, you should apply intensive masks and anti-aging serum to face, neck, and décolleté. Do it consistently for actual results!

Increase your daylight awareness
Being a good listener of your body signals is primal to understand what you need and to make better choices. Don’t withhold negative thoughts, they’re like poison to your body. Find the time to write them down on a piece of paper and after you’ve written them, don’t read back, just trash it or, even better, burn it. Other tip would be just to say out loud what bothers you, to a colleague, a friend, your boyfriend or just to yourself so that they’re out of your system.

Original image created by Kevin Dooley.

Posted in: Style, Design & Beauty

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Top 4 Ways That 3D Printing is Already Changing Fashion

Top 4 Ways That 3D Printing is Already Changing Fashion

I’m obsessed with 3D printing. The first time I saw it happening live, I sat there with my mouth agape, finally grasping what the concept meant–I knew immediately that the technique was going to have some really cool applications in the fashion world. While we’re still in the very beginning conceptual stages, there is some cool stuff already happening that you should know about.

Here are some current utilizations of 3D printing in our world:

JEWELRY 

This gorgeous “Black Rose Collier” necklace (left) was designed by Dario Scapitta Design and is available for purchase for $111.18. Jewelry designers have been using 3D printing to make prototypes for designs for years. Recently, however, it’s the final products themselves that are being printed, and the designs are really gorgeous. Rings, necklaces, brooches, bracelets, earrings, and even sunglasses and cufflinks are being printed and sold.

REPAIRS & REPLACEMENTS 

An easy thing to do with a 3D printer is to print missing pieces and make repairs on items. Through Thingiverse, a website that hosts thousands of user-generated designs for printing on the awesome MakerBot personal 3D printers, you can print precise sizes of buttons, replacement watch bands, and my personal favorite, replacement high heel tips. (Who doesn’t need those?)

SHOES

Shoes present a special challenge (they have to hold a lot of weight, and shoe shapes and sizes are very diverse), but there are some beautiful prototypes being built.

Biomimicry Shoe“ by Marieka Ratsma and Kostika Spaho (top left)
Invisible Shoe (Naked Version)” by Andreia Chaves (top right)
“Designed to Win” Running Shoes by Luc Fusaro (bottom)

  
CLOTHES

Most 3D printed objects are printed in plastics or metals. Printed clothing will have to use special materials, such as the Nylon 12 that is used in the N12 bikini for sale through Shapeways (a huge resource for 3D printed products). The N12 bikini was developed by Continuum Fashion, a team of two awesome ladies who also designed the “strvct” Shoe at the top of this post (see header image).

“The N12 Bikini“ by Continuum Fashion // “The Lotus Top“ by ThreeForm

 

If you’re interested in learning more about 3D printing and fashion, here are a couple of articles to check out:

Posted in: Fashion Tech, Style, Design & Beauty

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Designing Your Career and Your Business

Designing Your Career and Your Business

I attended a workshop at the Brooklyn Public Library called “Getting Started in the Fashion Business.” Our Meetup group Fashion Drawing Session, hosted by WYRT (Would You Rock This?), had the opportunity of being able to attend this workshop with some pretty amazing speakers. Nellie Partow, a fashion designer, and Christine Helm, FIT’s Enterprise Center Coordinator, both gave very informative insight into the fashion business. There was also Sujatha Sebastian, the director of the Women’s Business Center who talked about their services and upcoming workshops on anything from writing a business plan to learning the difference between an LLC and incorporating your business.

Most of the workshop was from Nellie’s perspective and how she got started into the business. It’s really interesting to note that she started out as a business major and then moved on to pursue fashion design at Parsons. She’s a really inspiring individual and I liked that she talked out some very important things. Here are some of them:

  • Relationships and business networks are extremely important and fundamental to any kind of business. Meet as many people as you can, ask a lot of questions to those who always know more than you do. Build a network, it is sometimes about luck and who you know.
  • Know what you want to do first before you start a business and be focused. Figure out what you’re good at and what your strongest asset is.
  • It is important to intern and work for other people to gain experience into the business you want to go into. She talked about interning for a smaller company and that it could benefit you in the long run because you learn a wider range of experiences and perspectives. Work in the industry you want to be in.
  • Know your brand, figure out what your target market is, do the research and see what people are looking for, and also doing research on your competitors.
  • Know that as a creative, you are ideally getting into a business and that’s the reality of it. There are so many aspects that go into starting your own business. It’s hard work and preparing ahead of time for the season collections and production takes time to prepare as well. Throughout the year, she is focused solely on the business side and only two weeks out of the year does she ever get to do any real design work.
  • Bring a look book and set price points before you meet with a buyer. You have to know how much the manufacturers are costing you and minimums as far getting your products made. It’s all trial and error, testing it and seeing if works. The buyers will want to know if you can make them money.
  • You’ll grow through out the process and will find people that want to help and support you. There are good people out there who genuinely want to help you.
  • Don’t be afraid to make mistakes or fail the first time.
  • As far as products and where to get started, find something you like the quality of and base it on that and use  as an example to bring to manufacturers so that they get a better of what you are looking for. Always use visuals and pictures!
  • Always, trust your gut and don’t waiver from it. You make the choice whether a piece is good or not, and allowing yourself to go through a process of development.

Christine had a few importnat things to say as well:

  • Take classes and workshops related to the type of business you want to get into, skills you want to brush up on, and study.
  • You have to really get out of your comfort zone and talk to people. If you really want to take career in fashion design seriously, you have to do the work and just put yourself out there.
  • Research and read up on how other brands got started, but remember that everyone has a different experience and how it unfolds to you is unique to you.

Christine teaches a workshop series at FIT called Design Entrepreneurs NYC. It’s free and covers everything to running your own label as well as many other aspects such as marketing, operations, and financial management.

I seem like a very unlikely person to have attended this workshop since I am an illustrator and story artist for animation. Nonetheless, this workshop was useful in that it provided a first hand experience and account from a designer and business owner. Anybody looking to start their own business would have found it very invaluable.

The originial image was created by memyni.

Posted in: -OSF & Other Events-, Style, Design & Beauty, Vision & Opinion

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Styling Your Brand: The Right Fit for You and Your Customers

Styling Your Brand: The Right Fit for You and Your Customers

Definition of style:

a particular, distinctive or characteristic mode of action or manner of acting: “they do these things in an grand style.”

When planning the launch of your brand, there are many factors to keep in mind, but before you begin you should take a step back and ask yourself “What is our style and what about our style sets us apart.” Style is an all-encompassing aspect to consider, it’s how you dress, how you pitch, how you decorate, how you approach your goals. It will influence your designs, your aesthetic and your voice.

At Lion’esque Style our team is filled with different perspectives of style, but our overall brand style is fierce-ness. We are fierce about the way we hunt for new brands, analyze trends, and deliver fashion advice to our customers. It fuels our goals to make our customer’s life easier by providing her with a daily does of what’s trending and how to get the look in a unique way. We are helping her be a leader/influencer in her group.  We are actively injecting our fierce qualities into her life.

Now how do we translate this to your business? Let’s evaluate which part of your style gives you the hook you have with your customer. Does it inform the essence of the nucleus of your target market or does it at minimum help you understand her/him better?

Let’s run through a short check list of questions:

About You:

  1. What drives you to launch your brand?
  2. How would you describe your own personal style?
  3. What inspires your design and aesthetic?
  4. How do you approach goals, work, social activities?
  5. What’s your one-liner?

About Your Customer:

  1. Does your brand talk to a customer base that’s interested in price, quality or both perhaps? If it’s both which takes precedence?
  2. Is being on-trend a motivating factor to purchase? If so, what kind of trends does she/her care about?
  3. Where does she/he shop now and what kind of shopper is she/he? They can be need-based, impulse-based or they use shopping as a social activity.
  4. Does she/he prefer shopping in person or online and why? If it’s in person, is it because she/he values the personalized experience and if your shop is online based, how are you going to fill in that gap? If her/his preference is online due to convenience because of her/his busy lifestyle, how are you going to keep their purchase process as quick and easy as possible?
  5. What does she/he do for fun outside of shopping? (Indie movies or blockbuster, visit the next opening at the MET or loves a picnic under the stars, prefers rooftop cocktails or BBQ’s and beer).

Your lifestyle and that of your customer will determine so much about what she/he is looking for and what you can deliver to enhance their world and make your brand invaluable to them. Your own style (and that of your brand) will distinguish how your product is delivered to your customer in a unique way. Knowing your style will enhance the aspects that set your brand apart and will enable you to create a more personalized relationship that your target market will value, remember and return to. So, before your launching be sure to take the time to understand your own style and how you will proudly inject it into your brand!

Posted in: Style, Design & Beauty

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