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The Social Retail Summit & Peter Verkooijen – Education w/ @SocialRetailNYC

The Social Retail Summit & Peter Verkooijen – Education w/ @SocialRetailNYC

The Social Retail Summit #5 is taking place on Wednesday July 24th at the DUMBO Loft in NYC.  We have been following the program since it’s inception, and love the learning opportunity founder Peter Verkooijen has built.  The fifth summit will cover ‘how to launch direct-to-consumer brands, build brand value and reinvent offline retail.’

Register now w/ $100 off ticket price, with discount code: OpenSourceFashion

We recently interviewed Peter to get a better sense of where and why this all started!

OS: Where did the inspiration come from to start the Social Retail Summit?

PV: I am originally a journalist for various Dutch trade publications, covering the impact of digital technology on different industries including retail.  I am aware of broad trends in US retail.

From 2006 until early 2012 I organized a monthly meetup in New York for web and mobile startups – ‘networking for post-internet media, advertising and business’. The classic web business model is hitting a wall.

Since 2010 I have launched three semi-annual summit series that are all about connecting the virtual back to reality; in the case of the Social Retail project putting social media to work for customer relations and sales.

OS: Now in it’s fifth round, what has changed the most?

Peter Verkooijen

Peter Verkooijen

PV: The events are getting better…

OS: What have been some of the most challenging aspects of organizing the summits? How have you overcome them?

PV: They are bootstrapped events in a bad economy. I am trying to create value for attendees, speakers and sponsors and come up with a business model and pricing levels that will be sustainable longer term.

OS: What has been one of the most rewarding aspects of working on the Social Retail Summit?

PV: The support and encouragement of attendees, speakers, sponsors and partners.

OS: Do companies/startups reach out to you or do you seek them out to get involved?

PV: Both ways. The project should be guided by what the community wants it to be, but I also want to set the agenda.

OS: What topics are you most excited for to be talked about at the coming summit?

PV: My definition of Social Retail was never about just Facebook stores, more like ‘customer relations for omnichannel retail’.  Reinventing offline retail has been a topic on previous editions. At #5 it will be front and center.

OS: What revenue models for online shopping do you think are trending and why?

PV: Sales connected to content, again offline as well as online. I think there are several startups targeting this. Commerce will get more distributed and syndicated, following content.

OS: What is your definition of omnichannel and why is it important for retailers and brands to embrace it?

PV: The brand and the relationship with the customer is all that matters. The channel can be anything. Offline is no longer just the classic store either; it can be a pop-up, a party, customers as brand agents, whatever.

OS: How would you define your philosophy on failure?

PV: Try hard to avoid it. Stop doing things that fail, do more of the things that work.

OS: Tell me something about yourself unrelated to work, what do you like to do in your down time?

PV: I don’t have down time.

OS: What are some side projects or initiatives you are working on?

PV: The other two projects are Geoweb Forum and Design for Manufacturing Forum, both with semi-annual summits.

OS: What’s your favorite ice cream (or froyo) flavor?  Please include preferred toppings.

PV: Vanilla ice cream, preferably the cheap ‘artificial vanilla flavor’ kind, with real whipped cream (heavy cream + sugar) and dusted with cinnamon or chocolate bits/powder.

OS: Dunkin’ Donuts, Starbucks, or Indie coffee?

PV: Forty Weight, Crop to Cup.

We wish Peter, and the team at The Social Retail Summit a great day of education and collaboration!

REGISTER HERE w/ discount code OpenSourceFashion for $100 off the price of entry!  

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Fast Fashion Finds – April 2013, Pt. 2

Fast Fashion Finds – April 2013, Pt. 2

Open Source Fashion is all about connecting people and making information and resources more easily available to those working in fashion and retail. These resources include the latest business news and valuable insights for designers, retailers, and fashion start-ups. Twice a month, OSF Magazine will bring you Fast Fashion Finds, a collection of articles, lists and op-eds curated by OSFashion Founder, Pavan Bahl and Content Coordinator, Alex J. Tunney. For more great articles follow us on Twitter: @osfashion.

Business of Fashion || Retail Recon: Inside Warby Parker’s First Offline Flagship by BoF Team

Now, after experimenting with a series of successful “shop-in-shops” and showrooms in several US cities, Warby Parker is making its first major push into offline commerce, with the launch of a physical flagship at 121 Greene Street, smack in the heart of New York’s Soho district.

When BoF visited the new store, three days after it opened to the public, it was already buzzing with a fleet of uniformed sales-staff and people of all ages, both locals and visitors, trying on eyeglasses and exploring the airy space. The deep, high-ceilinged interior was flooded with light and, on each side of the store, the walls were lined with 18-foot-high shelves displaying the brand’s fashionable frames, interspersed with a curated selection of books from independent, artsy imprints.

Business of Fashion || Op-Ed: Racial Diversity on the Runway by Demi Sinclair

This isn’t about filling a quota. It’s about getting global brands to recognize that when they send an all-white cast down the runway, they are promoting an ideal of beauty that does not include the majority of the world’s population. This is problematic. It’s not only troubling from a business perspective. It’s also a social issue. And the bottom line is, a casting director is simply not doing their job right if they cannot see beauty or relevance in models of color.

Fashion’s Collective || Should Brands Get Tangled Up in Vine? by Elizabeth Canon

Vine is proving successful amongst sketch comedians, illustrators and filmmakers, (Tribeca Film Festival has even launched a film-making contest on Vine, using the #sixsecfilms hashtag), but for fashion and luxury brands the main challenge is how raw the final video appears.

The level of artistic control and polish are virtually non existent on Vine, which means that in order for your brand to be successful you either need a well defined personality and strong point of view that has proven successful on social media, and/or you need a campaign concept that is intended to strip away (or re-define) a prestige brand image.

StartUp Fashion || How to Grow Your Fashion Brand’s Pinterest Channel by Kathleen Ong

There have been many articles, tips and advice, and general how-to guides out there for why your brand should have a presence on Pinterest. As the third largest social media channel after Facebook and Twitter, Pinterest is a great channel for brands within visual industries to use as a tool for creating an online community. As a designer you can create boards to showcase your collections, design inspiration, and other topics that fit your brand identity.

So now that you’ve set up a Pinterest account and have started to pin away, what are some things that you can do to grow your brand’s Pinterest channel?

StartUp Fashion || Self-Repairing Fabric in Fashion by Jane Hamill

Developers have created a new kind of smart fabric: a plastic textile that automatically repairs itself when ripped. Self-repairing material is not an entirely new concept, having been used in conjunction with substances such as metal. However, this is the first instance the idea has been applied to fabric. Originally purposed for use in rainwear for professional fisherman, this new self-repairing fabric technology could potentially benefit all kinds of outerwear.

Retail Minded || 3 Email Marketing Mistakes to Avoid by Nicole Leinbach-Reyhle

While email marketing may seem old school compared to Tweeting, texting and uploading pics to Instagram, it still tops customer preferences for gaining useful insight on retailer sales, promotions, events and more. Plus, it’s affordable to do – which any business owner can appreciate it.

Retail Minded || Keep Customers Loyal & Make More Money by Nicole Leinbach-Reyhle

So often, retailers are worried about getting new customers that they forget to care about their existing customers. This type of mentality can lead to a lack of customer retention – and possibly even worse, a bad reputation. The question of “why” this happens is still a mystery, though. If someone has shown you interest in your store, made a purchase or even multiple purchases and possibly even signed up for your email list / loyalty program, then why would a retailer NOT cater more to this crowd?

A study by Deloitte Consulting found that businesses that track their customer loyalty are 60% more profitable than other companies. 60%! What does that number mean to you? Even if you want your business to increase 5% this year (though more never hurts), consider leaning on your existing customers to help you grow your business.

Entrepreneur|| Startup Survival 101: It’s All About Relationships That Work by Martin Zwilling

Most entrepreneurs, and members of any small team for that matter, naively assume that the key to their success is hard work, dedication and long hours at the business. In reality, their effectiveness is usually more related to how well they develop their work relationships with peers and business leaders.

First, they need to decipher correctly every relationship as a workship, friendship or foe.

Inc. || 5 Things You Should Never Do on Facebook by Marla Tabaka

Facebook has become an indispensable tool for business. Why? Yes, because there are a billion people interacting there. Also because your friends, relatives, and most importantly, your competition, are interacting–creating great relationships and building trust–in this global community.

Did you know that Facebook is primarily a consumer-driven community? And most of them are savvy enough to smell (and block) a disingenuous marketer a mile away. We asked author and speaker Brian Basilico for his top five Facebook “don’ts” for your business.

Tweak Your Biz || Don’t Let The Internet Take Over Your Business! by Lewis Evans

It’s so convenient, isn’t it? It’s the first thing you’re drawn to every morning. It pervades your life via your desktop and mobile devices. It sucks you in. After all, it’s your life-support system and it has all the answers. Or does it?

Undoubtedly, the Internet does hold a lot of answers, but how we use it and the expectations we have of it are key.

Increasingly, I see that we’re becoming expert at providing and consuming ‘light’ information on the web. As Internet marketing and interconnectivity become more sophisticated, we are bombarded with half-useful information that never quite gets translated into practical improvements in our business. It consumes a lot of time, while seducing us with fascinating infographics, pictures, videos and never-ending threads.

 

Also check out:

OSF Contributor Liza Kindred, of Third Wave Fashion, was featured and quoted in an article about consumer data collection from The High Low. José de Cabo of Olapic makes an appearance as well!

The High Low || Digital Data Collection and How to Do it Right by Susannah Edelbaum

We spoke to Liza Kindred, founder of Third Wave Fashion, a consulting company which works with entrepreneurs on top-to-bottom branding strategies and specializes in compelling fashion tech start-ups.  First and foremost, Kindred says, “One crucial thing to bear in mind when collecting data is privacy.”  To that end, “Incremental data collection,” done in a way “that’s respectful of consumers’ comfort levels, is an important way for companies to get the information they need.”  To do this right, the approach needs to be direct and social on one side and behind the scenes on the other.

Original Image created by Dave Bleasdale.

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Independent Retailer Conference

Independent Retailer Conference

I’ve always been a believer independent retailers and wholesalers need to lean on each other and select industry supporters to really thrive in their unique goals. While it’s easy to think we can individually “do it all”, the reality is that’s nearly impossible. It’s with this in mind that the Independent Retailer Conference came to life.

Founded by myself and Kerry Bannigan of Nolcha Events, the Independent Retailer Conference will take place May 20, 2013 at the gorgeous Scholastic Auditorium in Soho. This one day, action packed, education rich conference will bring together some of the nation’s leading retail experts, supporters and of course, indie retailers and wholesalers. Attendees from all over the United States will join the Independent Retailer Conference to engage, learn and connect on all things indie retailer.

IndieRetailConfLogo

Some of the key presentations include:

- How to Gain Press (Without Hiring Someone To Do It For You)
- Ways to Maximize Your Store Profits
- Tips on Email Marketing Specific to Indie Businesses
- Technology and APP News for Indies
- Marketing on a Dime (Or For Free)
& much more

All registered attendees will receive a free issue of Retail Minded Magazine, free business cards from MOO.com and many other prizes to help retailers and wholesalers thrive. Additionally, one select attendee will win a trip to Las Vegas for the August ASD Trade Show. Finally – all attendees are invited to join us at Anchor Bar following the conference for networking, complimentary drinks and fun.
Seats are limited, so register today.

Thanks to their wonderful sponsors including Moo.com, Snap Retail, Kabbage, ShopKeep POS and the Retail Council of New York State, they can offer you a huge discount on the $79.95 ticket price, making your price only $29.95.

Independent Retailer Conference
Date: May 20, 2013
Location: Scholastic Auditorium
557 Broadway in Soho

Simply register with code OSFASHION HERE.

Hope to see you on May 20th!

Posted in: -OSF & Other Events-

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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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Fast Fashion Finds – March 2013, Pt. 2

Fast Fashion Finds – March 2013, Pt. 2

Open Source Fashion is all about connecting people and making information and resources more easily available to those starting out in the fashion business. These resources include the latest fashion business news and valuable insights for designers and fashion start-ups. Twice a month, OSF Magazine will bring you Fast Fashion Finds, a collection of articles, lists and op-eds curated by OSFashion Founder, Pavan Bahl and Content Coordinator, Alex J. Tunney. For more great articles check us out on Twitter: @osfashion.

Third Wave Fashion || Your Startup Needs To Host More Events. Here’s Why…  by Leticia Domenech

We all love a good party. There’s nothing better than great horde’euvres, some refreshments, and plain ol’ good company. Interestingly enough, these features are typically what makes a business/networking event so successful. So why is it that so many startups choose not to host events? It’s an interesting paradigm but we’re siding with ‘you should definitely be hosting more events.’

Third Wave Fashion || Major Brands Are Adopting Startup Strategies And Here’s Why by Leticia Domenech

Here at Third Wave Fashion, we understand the amount of research and preparation that goes into launching a successful startup. There are trends to discover and analyze, as well as previous business models to dissect — from all the things that worked to all the things that fell short. Not every great idea will translate into a solid business. VentureBeat coined the term, ‘Enthusiasticus Founder Syndrome’ (we’re not kidding) wherein a novice entrepreneur allows the enthusiasm of his or her idea to take over, and ignores the critical mistakes of inexperience. Other times that isn’t the case at all. There are plenty of fashion tech startups whose business models are so effective and downright innovative that even major brands have adopted their models into their older, more mature fashion tech functions.

Fashion’s Collective || Insider Access: Q&A with Cannon Hodge, Bergdorf Goodman by FC Staff

Cannon Hodge: I’m really fond of twitter and how it’s given Bergdorf Goodman’s single New York address such an instant connection to the world.  From the very first tweet we knew we wanted to create a human connection – Bergdorf can be overwhelming so we knew this would be the place to show the store’s personality.  That said, we still wanted to provide the best customer service possible (it’s a matter of pride for us) – so I make a point to read every tweet and mention and respond when applicable.  The entire company is attuned to how quickly twitter unfolds, so we have a rule that any customer service issue must be answered within an hour.

Business of Fashion || First Person | Brian Atwood Says Never Compromise on What You Love by Tommye Fitzpatrick

“Key” to his growth has been listening closely to customer feedback, says Atwood. “Talking to your customer at your stores and seeing what the customer’s buying, I think that is so important. [Because] what are you going to do, just have a store full of shoes and not sell any?”

So what has he learned? “It’s not only 20-year-olds who want a six-inch heel,” he says. But conversely, “some women don’t want or can’t walk in the high heels. That’s something we’re responding to very quickly. They like the fun fashion shoe — on a sensible heel, sometimes. Sensible…[it’s] not in my vocab, but we do it. I’m learning.”

He also interacts with customers directly online. “Sometimes I’ll tweet and say, ‘Guys, I need names for shoes, send me names,’ and I’ll have 1,000 names, which really helps me out when I’m thinking,” he says. “It’s fun to see the reaction, and you’re not giving up the luxury, you’re just putting it out there and getting more followers.”

Business of Fashion || The Fashion Industry (Still) Has an Image Problem by Imran Amed

As beautiful as fashion imagery can be, the so-called ‘dream’ that the industry projects can lead to unhealthy behaviour. According to the National Eating Disorders Association, twenty years ago, the average model weighed 8 percent less than the average woman. Today’s models weigh 23 percent less.Would the industry ever be able to change and step outside these ideals? I wasn’t sure.

StartUp Fashion || Success in the Fashion Industry is Relative by Nicole Giordano

Success in the fashion industry is whatever you want it to be. Yes, the fashion industry is tough. And yes, just like anything else worth pursuing it takes a lot of hard work to build a business and become profitable. But that doesn’t mean it’s impossible. And it surely doesn’t mean you shouldn’t go after you want. When I hear people talk about being successful, so many concentrate on making exorbitant amounts of money. Don’t get me wrong, this can obviously count as success. But so can making a living spending your days doing exactly what you love.

Retail Minded || 5 Things to Consider Before Purchasing a POS by Jason Richelson

Your POS system should be easy to set up and simple to use. You’ll want a POS system with an intuitive interface to process sales quickly and keep lines moving. Training cashiers and managers should take minutes, not hours. Managing inventory should be straightforward and painless. Remember that any POS system that’s confusing to learn or complicated to use will decrease employee satisfaction and waste time that could be better spent elsewhere.

Tweak Your Biz || Super Advertising Via Social Networks: Amazing Ways To Leverage Customers And Sales by Maria Lynette

Which factor measures the success of a few companies while others falter? The reasons vary. But, most often the prime reason behind the failure of most companies is the poor marketing and advertising campaigns they have tried on social media sites. Well, leave the ones that faltered, but consider the ones that have succeeded with their exceptional campaigns. Trying the tricks they have followed would give a deeper insight, which in turn allows you to come up with an interesting advertising strategy yourself.

Inc. || 5 Lessons From 361 Start-ups by John Harthorne

MassChallenge founder and CEO John Harthorne explains what early-stage entrepreneurs can take away from the experiences of more than 350 start-ups that have participated in his annual $1 million global start-up competition and accelerator program since 2010.

Inc. || The Only 2 Words an Innovator Needs to Know by Howard A. Tullman

The key to successful and ongoing innovation is simple. You need a perfectly clear understanding of the two concepts that define the process: mistakes and failures. Understanding and discussing these two ideas correctly in every conversation about innovation is crucial to your focus, clarity and momentum.

 

Also check out:

Our friends over in DC, The Tailored Man, were featured in The Washington Post.

The Washington Post || Alexandria tailor weaves custom solution for taking orders by Abha Bhattarai

It takes 25 measurements, including the circumference of a client’s ankles, for Sanjay Daswani to design a suit. By the time he is done, there are numbers upon numbers to calculate and crunch.

All those numbers add up to data, and Daswani, vice president of operations for The Tailored Man, has found a way to weave the information together, in hopes that it will help the Alexandria-based business become savvier about marketing and anticipating customers’ needs.

Meanwhile our friends at L+C featured our other friends, The Vanity Project, in a recent article:

Lifestyle + Charity || The Vanity Project – Finance to Fashion and Philanthropy In Between by Danielle Valente

These graphics represent “TVP’s” mission: to create non-profit apparel that “people would actually want to wear,” compared to oversized, unappealing tee shirts typically given out at charity events. It donates 51% of proceeds to the organizations it represents.

The meaning behind the clothes is just as significant as the story behind its Northwestern University co-founders, both of whom stumbled into the industry somewhat untraditionally

Even though Sochol’s family participated in service work throughout his life, he never thought he’d work with non-profits full-time, until several experiences swayed him away from the life in corporate America he had originally imagined.

 

Original Image created by Elena (on Flickr).

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A Size Zero Isn’t Nothing

A Size Zero Isn’t Nothing

“Hey, can you get me a size four. I thought I was a size two but…”

“Oh don’t worry, it’s not you.” I’ll say sympathetically, “Everyone tends to size up in this store.”

I worked in retail fashion for over three years. It was no career, but I enjoyed the job. I got to talk to people and help them find what they’re looking for. Sometimes they need an addition or two to their wardrobe. Often times they needed something spectacular for a night out or something just right to wear to a wedding. I knew that I did my job well when I found them staring at themselves in one of the mirrors, posing and pleased with themselves, acting like they’ve had this outfit since forever even though they hadn’t even bought it yet. It feels like a triumph for everyone involved. And for women finding an outfit or a dress while shopping is very much a triumph, especially when it comes to dealing with size and fit. Using the US sizing system is like using a cheap cell-phone to navigate in the dark. It makes the above conversation an everyday occurrence. What’s even worse, is that it’s been like this for decades.

As someone who sold men’s clothing and very often wears them, I can tell you that men have it easier when it comes to shopping. Menswear is pretty simple: you pair a top with a bottom and you create an outfit somewhere on the spectrum between formal and casual. (Somehow guys still manage to screw it up, but that’s another topic.) The major thing that makes it easier to shop is that men’s sizing is makes sense. While small, medium, large are somewhat abstract, everything else is based off of measurement: waist sizes, hem length, chest circumference and neck circumference and so on. Occasionally, there is vanity sizing—an S at a European brand like Topman is an XS at an American brand like the Gap— is but it’s not rampant.


Womenswear sizing, however, makes absolutely no sense. What is a Size 0? What is it even measuring? And the 00?! What even is that? UK sizing starts at 4—of something—which is slightly better. Even better is European sizing, which starts in the high 20’s and continues on into the 30’s and 40’s. 32, for example, sounds like a number that a person could be. But, it is only one measurement of some arbitrary thing. Busts, hip size, waist size and height, at the very least, factor in to how clothes fit. Once someone has figured out their size, they’ve only figured out their size in that and similar items and their size in that particular brand alone. Women might as well have to carry a spreadsheet around when they go shopping.

People love to say, Oh, only you know what size the thing you’re wearing is, as if it’s supposed to help. It doesn’t. Yes, it shouldn’t matter what size a person is. Yes, the sizes seem a bit arbitrary. These ideas make sense, but what people know and what people feel about things can be different. When you’re trying to squeeze yourself into a dress or a pair of pants, logic doesn’t always matter. Yes, you are not your dress size, but how many of us— men and women alike— describe ourselves as our sizes? Saying “I am a size X.” instead of saying “I usually wear a size X.”

When you think about how we talk about our bodies and clothes, it is no wonder that women often think that they have to change their bodies to fit the clothes. I’ve heard customers say that they just need to lose a few pounds to fit into a dress or a pair of pants. To some it’s easier to change their bodies than to keep on searching for the perfect fit. This sounded backwards to me at first, but I have come to understand the logic. Yes, the clothes themselves can be changed and can be made to fit. There is a whole culture of bespoke fashion and tailoring—for men. (So much so that bespoke might as well be called bro-spoke.) Women’s clothing is often more complicated compared to men’s clothing, so short of a simple hemming, it’s expensive or near impossible to tailor. So women are beholden to the shapes and six or seven sizes presented to them on the rack.

Hunting for clothes, and it is a hunt, can be demoralizing. It’s time consuming, stress inducing and a physical strain for so little payoff. So when a woman finds the right clothes to for her wear, yes, it is a triumph.

Original image created by Liliana Amundaraín

There have been some advancements that have made shopping slightly less crazy. There is Me-ality and their size-matching stations which scan and measure your body and then prints out a shopping guide with your sizes and fits in certain brands. While idea is brilliant and the execution is great, it still puts some unnecessary work in the hands of the customer. There are two things that we as members of the larger fashion community we can do to make shopping slightly easier for women shopping for clothes:

  1. The first is a major push for accurate, transparent and easily accessible measurements. Any brand that doesn’t have a sizing chart on their website or store should not be getting anybody’s business. However, I think collectively we could and should go farther: retailers and designers (that run their own shop) should put measurements on clothing, instead of arbitrary sizes. If they’re able to know all the necessary measurements about their clothes they want to purchase, shopping online and offline would be a lot easier for the customer and retailers wouldn’t have to worry about customers returning something that doesn’t fit.
  2. Or to come to a solution from a different direction: there should be standardization to women’s (and men’s) clothing, like there is in Europe (see: EN 13402). Sizes should be attached to something concrete. The US has attempted to standardize women’s clothing—since the beginning of the 2oth century. We’re in the 21st century now; surely we can come up with something that could work? Sure convincing major retailers would be a Herculean task, but independent designers and retailers might have better luck if band together and start changing things from the bottom up.

We’re a long way from cheap personalized clothing, but both ideas are something in the right direction.

Shopping for clothes shouldn’t be about customers feeling self-conscious and frustrated but about them both looking and feeling good. Whatever steps retailers and designers can take toward alleviating their customers’ stress should be taken.

Original image created by bradhoc.

 

Posted in: Vision & Opinion

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Fast Fashion Finds – March 2013, Pt. 1

Fast Fashion Finds – March 2013, Pt. 1

Open Source Fashion is all about connecting people and making information and resources more easily available to those starting out in the fashion business. These resources include the latest fashion business news and valuable insights for designers and fashion start-ups. Twice a month, OSF Magazine will bring you Fast Fashion Finds, a collection of articles, lists and op-eds curated by OSFashion Founder, Pavan Bahl and Content Coordinator, Alex J. Tunney. For more great articles check us out on Twitter: @osfashion.

Fashion’s Collective || SxSW Survival Guide by FC Staff

It’s that time again: when the city of Austin is overtaken with the madness and mayhem of SxSW. In many ways (OK, in every way), the experience can be a bit overwhelming. At any given moment there are dozens of panels, presentations and events to choose from. Since SXSW doesn’t yet allow us to filter the plethora of activities based on our industry, we created a way to do it– by publishing our own SxSW Survival Guide, which includes a curated list of the panels we think are most applicable for our industry.

Third Wave Fashion || 16 Twitter Handles That Are Sure To Keep You In The Know Of Everything @ SXSW by Leticia Domenech

It’s finally here. All week long we’ve been building up to this moment. From the hottest fashion tech startups participating at SXSW to the 7 SXSW events you cannot afford to miss, we made sure you know exactly where to be in the coming week. We, for one, can’t be happier to finally be in our sky-high cowgirl boots, chewing on straw and talking tech. But our coverage of all things South by isn’t over just yet. We want everyone to feel like they’re included in all the festivities because SXSW and Third Wave Fashion are firm believers of growing our fashion tech network.

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Business of Fashion || Top 10 Fashion Films of the Season by the BOF Team

Fashion label Vena Cava recently released a hiliarious spoof film to promote its diffusion line “Viva Vena!” which gets at everything that’s wrong with far too many fashion films: slow, dramatic music; models gazing dreamily at the camera; and rambling narratives that don’t really say anything. Many of these unfortunate clichés are rooted in the misallocated budgets and entrenched politics that stem from the print-centric culture that has long dominated fashion media. But times are changing and brands are learning.

Overall, it has to be said, it was a lacklustre season for fashion film, with few genuinely new ideas or approaches. But the most successful films broke away from the old template, embracing the unexpected plots, quirky music and bursts of humour that resonate with online audiences.

Business of Fashion || Au Revoir Fashion’s Night Out by the BOF Team

It seemed like a good idea, and for a short while it was: for one night of the year, in balmy September, stores along New York’s Fifth Avenue, Lower Broadway and in the city’s Meatpacking district — everyone from high-end brands like Gucci and Stella McCartney to mid-market names such as Ann Taylor and Guess — stayed open late into the night, welcoming would-be-shoppers and treating them like VIP’s, or at least like part of the otherwise impenetrable fashion community.To this end, designers and hired celebrities appeared in stores and mingled with guests while deejays and free drinks provided the setting of a surprisingly democratic fashion party. Goodie-bags were handed out and — in a laudable effort — forty percent of the proceeds from special FNO-branded merchandise sold during the event went to the New York City AIDS Fund.

Yet today’s announcement, in WWD, that until further notice Fashion’s Night Out will no longer take place in American cities suggests that all that fun may have come at too high a cost.

Retail Minded || 3 Reasons to Use Mobile In Your Retail Biz by Nicole Leinbach-Reyhle

If you are a retailer who needs to get things done fast– yet still efficiently– while also reaching a broad network of consumers, it’s time to consider how mobile may be incorporated into your business. While implementing mobile may not happen overnight, working towards it should be your goal. Not only can mobile support help you reach and sell to more customers, it can also help you in your store operations.

StartUp Fashion || What Boutique Retailers Can Learn from the Big Guys? by Dominique Leger

Staying current and ahead of your competition as a boutique retailer is a full time job all in itself. It’s important to keep up to date with what your nearest competitors are doing, but checking out what’s happening with major brands and large, well established retailers will keep you going in the right direction and inspire some new ideas.

Tweak Your Biz || 7 Ways To Improve The Visibility Of Your Blog by Dawn Altnam

With so many websites on the Internet, it can feel like rising in the ranks, increasing traffic and building your brand is an uphill battle. Fortunately, you’re not alone. Others have been, and are going, through the same journey. We’ve got some advice to impart to you on yours. Every time you write a blog post, make sure you incorporate these methods.

Inc. || 14 Revealing Interview Questions by Jeff Haden

Interview questions: Everyone has them. And everyone wishes they had better ones. So I asked smart people from a variety of fields for their favorite interview question and, more importantly, why it’s their favorite and what it tells them about the candidate.

Betabeat || Is This Men’s Shaving Service The Next Thing From Warby Parker? by Nitasha Tiku

The “pre-launch” page for new start-up called Harry’s features a handsome image of a razor emblazoned with an “H” logo and the slogan, “RESPECTING THE FACE AND WALLET. SINCE LIKE… RIGHT NOW.” Sign up to learn more and you’ll be directed to what looks like a package deal on shaving supplies, including the historically-named “Truman Handle” and the “Winston Shave Set” How mid-century! But why not just label it the Don Draper special?

According to a source, Harry’s is actually tied up with the marketing experts at Warby Parker. Jen Rubio, head of social media at the eyeglass retailer, shared the site on her Facebook page with the message, “Remember in 2010 when I said Warby Parker was going to be big? This is kinda like that.”

TechCrunch || Want To Build A $1B Consumer Company? by Jacob Mullins

With the recent talk about the growing “billion-dollar club” in startups, I’ve been wondering, as a Series A investor, what characteristics a $1 billion consumer tech company has. I examined the pool of consumer companies that have had exits over $100 million within the current era of consumer tech, which I consider to be post-recession 2008. I wanted to see what I could learn and ideally reverse-engineer common characteristics that would help me identify the next big winners when I see them today or in the future.

The Emerging Designer || Fashion and Technology Exhibition at FIT by Melissa Hall

Fashion and Technology, an exhibition running through May 8 at the Museum at FIT shows the impact of technology over the past 250 years to present day and poses the question as to what technology is while showing how it has changed culture.

On display, you’ll see how the manufacturing industry was impacted with the introduction of the sewing machine and jacquard loom, which allowed the masses to have access to woven textiles, something that was originally available only to the wealthy.

Original Image created by Jason Dean.

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Fast Fashion Finds – February 2013, Pt. 2

Fast Fashion Finds – February 2013, Pt. 2

Open Source Fashion is all about connecting people and making information and resources more easily available to those starting out in the fashion business. These resources include the latest fashion business news and valuable insights for designers and fashion start-ups. Twice a month, OSF Magazine will bring you Fast Fashion Finds, a collection of articles, lists and op-eds curated by OSFashion Founder, Pavan Bahl and Content Coordinator, Alex J. Tunney. For more great articles check us out on Twitter: @osfashion.

Third Wave Fashion || AW13 Fashion Week: Leveraging Digital, Social Media, and Strategic Partnerships by Cyndi Ramirez

These days we’re seeing that it isn’t enough for big fashion brands to create a collection, cast top models, and have them strut down the runway. It also isn’t enough for fashion blogs to simply report on trends and street style. People want more. Increasingly, we’re noticing a demand for digital, innovative coverage. To satisfy this need, more and more traditional fashion labels are putting a spin on fashion reporting by emphasizing the digital developments. This year brands are stepping their tech game up and are coming up with clever, new ways to engage fashion week enthusiasts in and out of the tents.

Third Wave Fashion || The Decoded Fashion Hackathon Finale: The Chats, The Discussions, and Everything Else by Leticia Domenech

Another thing we’re still chewing over was the finale of the Decoded Fashion Hackathon. Throughout the day a number of startups and the finalists of the Hackathon would take minutes to tell the fashion tech world exactly what they were doing, their plans for the future, and their outlook on the industry in general. [...] Held in the Mercedes Benz tents at Lincoln Center, The Decoded Fashion Hackathon finale was a mixture of fur, metallics, arm parties, coding and iPad minis.

Business of Fashion || In the Glare of Fashion’s Growing Circus, A Double Standard? by Vikram Alexei Kansara

It’s no secret that a democratising tide of digital media has brought a radical new accessibility to the global fashion industry, giving rise to a wide range of new voices and transforming what were once closed, industry-facing fashion weeks into large-scale consumer spectacles. Perhaps nowhere is this shift more apparent than in the growing power of street style imagery, which has turned show-goers into virtual actors on a digital stage that’s beamed across the world in realtime to thirsty fashion followers via blogs and social platforms like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and, now, Vine. Some have actively courted the attention, peacocking for the cameras, becoming online celebrities and attracting lucrative marketing deals in the process.

StartUp Fashion || Manufacture NY: Domestic Production for Fashion Designers by Nicole Giordano

Manufacture NY is the next generation premiere fashion incubator and vertically integrated production facility for fashion brands. [...] Manufacture New York will provide designers with the resources & skills to streamline their production process, and transform local manufacturing into the most affordable, high-quality option for all.  Bob [Bland] is leveraging a decade of practical experience as an NYC designer to achieve this objective, and is joined by a dynamic team of organizers, including Tara St. James– designer of Study NY & 2011 Ecco Domani winner.

StartUp Fashion || 4 Kinds of Mentors for Fashion Designers by Nicole Giordano

Not too long ago, we wrote about the benefits of having a mentor as you work to start and grow your fashion business.  Mentors are so important because they offer you an objective third party opinion along each step of the way.

A mentor has nothing personally invested in you or your business but instead has plenty of experience in a certain industry that they are willing to share with you.  With that said, you don’t have to stop with having just one mentor in one industry. Think about your needs as a new business and where you could really use some grounding and guidance.

Tweak Your Biz || Twitter for Business: The Ultimate Guide by Sian Phillips

Since Twitter first started in July 2006 it has grown to 500+ million registered members and 140+ million active users worldwide sending out 340 million tweets a day (Twitter stats March 2012). Find out how to best use Twitter for business including getting set up, finding followers, tweeting, managing accounts and marketing.

Tweak Your Biz || Reputation Management and Why You Should Care About It by Craig Barnes

The web has made creating, sharing and finding information a doddle, but is arguably a double-edged sword. The open nature of the internet means it’s easy for negative or unflattering data to quickly eclipse factual or positive items. In the quest for relevancy, search engines are unrelenting in their pursuit of information, so it makes sense to put your best side first. This type of SEO is known as reputation management and can be beneficial for companies and brands of any size.

Inc. || Your Start-Up Needs Some Structure by Karl Stark and Bill Stewart

For a small entrepreneurial company, the lack of a formal organizational structure actually helps the team break down barriers and move quickly to capture the highest-value activities. But once a company reaches a certain threshold, a lack of structure becomes a hindrance to further growth.

Also check out:

There was this great Instagram event held at LIM College. I don’t know if you heard about it, but some great people organized the event! But really, thank you to Melissa Hall for attending an writing up this great recap.

The Emerging Designer || OSF Meetup Recap: Leveraging Instagram to Grow Your Business by Melissa Hall

Instagram. It’s the wildly successful and somewhat addictive platform that allows you to share and filter photos to your liking. For businesses, it’s one way to grow your brand and with their recent announcement of a new status feed combined with third party applications, there are so many ways to use this tool. From a marketing perspective, you can use the platform to help drive sales, execute a contest or even connect with editors, retailers and fans.

Open Source Fashion || DC Town Hall Discussion – Retail & Fashion InTheCapital*

OSF DC members and fashion-minded people in the area:  OS Fashion & The Selected Few have produced an opportunity for you to catalyze change in the District. Join us for a Town Hall Meeting at iStrategy Labs, where we will host a discussion focused on analyzing and improving DC’s retail and fashion industry.

 

Original Image created by dulnan.

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Fast Fashion Finds – February 2013, Pt. 1

Fast Fashion Finds – February 2013, Pt. 1

Open Source Fashion is all about connecting people and making information and resources more easily available to those starting out in the fashion business. These resources include the latest fashion business news and valuable insights for designers and fashion start-ups. Twice a month, OSF Magazine will bring you Fast Fashion Finds, a collection of articles, lists and op-eds curated by OSFashion Founder, Pavan Bahl and Content Coordinator, Alex J. Tunney. For more great articles check us out on Twitter – @osfashion.

Third Wave Fashion || IFBcon: Blogs, Brands and the Business of It All by Kellie Friedman

Founded in 2007, Independent Fashion Bloggers (IFB) is a self-funded organization that cultivates a community for fashion bloggers to share their experiences. With over 55,000 active members, IFB has become the go-to source for insider tips and industry information.

For the past couple of years, founder Jennine Jacob and the IFB team have been hosting a twice-yearly conference for bloggers. IFBcon is a two-day event, scheduled around New York Fashion Week, that brings together bloggers from around the world to network and learn from the best. Expert panels, brand presentations, and sponsor demos, are just a few of the exciting events that take place during the conference.

Since TWF is lucky enough to have bloggers on the team, we were able to attend the event and soak it all up. With six different panels of experts, there was a lot of advice and memorable information presented. We’ve narrowed down the day’s events to give you an all-encompassing recap.

Third Wave Fashion || NYFW Fall 2013: 5 Tech Things You Should Expect to See by Cyndi Ramirez

here’s nothing more exciting – and exhausting – for a fashionista than fashion week (or month if you’re a sought-after editor, blogger, or buyer that has to attend every show under the sun). As things kick off here in NYC, we thought it’d be a good idea to share some predictions that we believe (and already know) will happen this #NYFW.

Now, as many of you know, we don’t report on fashion trends per se, but we are all about predicting what digital trends — especially the ones we see emerging as the models strut down the runway. Here are just a few that we predict will be happening during NYFW Fall 2013.

The Emerging Designer || 6 Insider Tips for Your DIY Public Relations Campaign by Melissa Hall

Sabina Ptacin, President of Red Branch PR and Co-Founder of ‘Preneur and Danika Daly, Founder of Danika Daly PR, know a thing or two about public relations. As publicists, they work with emerging designers to not only pitch their business in hopes of media placement, but to also grow their band. At The Emerging Designer Meetup, they shared their best PR 101 tips to make the process easier and manageable for those doing their own DIY PR efforts.

Business of Fashion || India Inc. | Following the Thread of India’s Artisans by Bandana Tewari

Living in India, it’s not difficult to see the magic that lies in the country’s artisanal crafts and textiles. From the foothills of the Himalayas to the tip of Kanyakumari, there is tremendous variation. We wear them with ease, in a terrific mix of drapes and silhouettes. And we wear them everywhere: to family get-togethers and grand dinners alike.Indeed, the Indian thread is something of an arterial lifeline that connects the spirit of this vast nation. And though the “Made in India” brand hasn’t been cultivated, protected or promoted nearly as much as “Made in France” or “Made in Italy,” it’s no secret that many of the top international fashion brands use Indian craftsmen.

StartUp Fashion || 4 Ways a Fashion Designer Can Build a Relationship with a Retailer by Dominique Leger

Sometimes it’s just as difficult to be noticed by a retailer as it is to find a needle in a haystack or a lucky four leaf clover. You need to be different and stand out from the rest but you don’t want to risk being brushed off for shouting ‘pick me pick me pick me!’ over and over again.

LinkedIn || Will Software Eliminate Physical Retail? Not Quite by Reid Hoffman

Software will not replace all offline retail, but will be used instead to transform certain offline retail experiences. Software can bring more customers to the stores, increase conversion in the store, reduce overall costs for the retailer via better analytics on supply and demand, and– for the customer– create a radically better real life shopping experience.

Retail Minded || Optimizing Your Online Outreach by Nicole Leinbach-Reyhle

Let’s face it, most consumers are online in some way or another. Many are online more than anywhere else – such as in your physical stores. Third parties across the nation can help support you in your online goals, but sometimes that simply is not in the budget– and we get that. Here are a few tips you can apply to your business today that can help your online existence thrive.

Tweak Your Biz || Email Marketing Has The Nut Hand At The Marketing Poker Table by Lindsey Harper Mac

In email marketing, less is more. Sending unwanted, too-frequent emails is the quickest way to lose subscribers. Email marketing is the most personal venue for online business communication and you shouldn’t impose on a subscriber’s interest in your business. They signed up for your subscription somewhat attracted to your business or something you offered. That doesn’t mean you can have free reign. Practice restraint. But, more importantly, give subscribers an easy way out.

Inc. || Tech Trends: New Ways to Connect by John Brandon

When I hand out business cards at trade shows and other events, I always wonder if they’ll end up on the bottom of someone’s bag–or, worse, in the trash. Over the years, I’ve tried several smartphone apps designed to exchange contact information, but many of them work only if both people have the software installed. Recently, I tried out two promising alternatives, near-field communication and QR codes, at the L.A. Auto Show.

Original Image created by Ben Sutherland.

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Social Retail Summit – NYC Jan 17th

Social Retail Summit – NYC Jan 17th

The small Social Retail Summits taking place every six months in Dumbo, New York, are very different from the average social commerce event. The evening insider conferences go beyond Facebook and Twitter, covering how social media change customer relations in retail, offline and online.

One panel at Thursday’s (Janurary 17thSocial Retail Summit #4 will cover extending the two-way conversation with customers to product development, with panelists Rachel Brooks (Citizen Made), Seph Skerritt (Proper Cloth), Carine Carmy (Shapeways) and Stephan Clambaneva (Dassault).

In their Case presentations Jen Rubio (Warby Parker) and Abe Burmeister (Outlier) will describe how they use social media to build brand value. The Summit has five panels. Other panelists include Claire Mazur (Of a Kind), Angela Min (Snapette) and Robert Gaafar (CropUp). Check out the full schedule with information all the panelists here.

Open Source Fashion readers get a discount on the registration fee by clicking here.

While you’re waiting for the event on Thursday, check out these quick interviews with some of the panelists:

[Left to Right] Panelists speaking at Social Retail Summit in July 2012 featuring: Liza Kindred (Third Wave Fashion), Mark Curtis (Enter:New Media), Jen Rubio (Warby Parker) and David Fudge (Bonobos).

 

Social Retail Forum is a project by Modified Ventures LLC, a post-internet market development company founded by Dutch business and retail industry journalist Peter Verkooijen.

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