Kids Hit the Target

Photographer: Ackerman and Gruber

Photographer: Ackerman and Gruber

Photographer: Ackerman and Gruber

Photographer: Ackerman and Gruber

Very shortly in mid-July, Target’s mainstay kids’ labels, Cherokee and Circo, will be replaced by all-new kid-inspired exclusive label, Cat and Jack. In other words, Target will be throwing out what has been working for them, to take a chance that kids’ visions will lead them into the future. To do so, Target will have conducted heavy research, interviewed hundreds of kids, and talked to companies like Walt Disney and Nickelodeon. “That was a big decision, because Circo and Cherokee were successful,” says Julie Guggemos, head of product design and development, who’s been at Target for almost 26 years. “The kids’ business wasn’t broken. It was strong.”

All the more reason then, that this is a big leap of faith for Target. But kids clothing is one of the more reliable categories for retailers and a $30 billion market in the U.S. According to Bloomberg BusinessWeek, “Cat & Jack is a crucial step in a long-term plan to revitalize Target, the second-largest discount retailer in the U.S. Executives are funneling their attention and resources into four broad areas—babies, kids, style, and wellness.”

Kids hit the Target. Will it be a bullseye?

 

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Rocking the Runway and Dressing for Success …

Sima (left) and Maggie (right) with the collected donations for Dress for Success

Sima (left) and Maggie (right) with the collected donations for Dress for Success

Collected donations (including those from the fashion models) for Dress for Success

Collected donations (including those from the fashion models) for Dress for Success

When faced with a challenge to develop a fashion show that truly gives back to charity, Kent Place Upper School co-Presidents of GLAM’D (Girls Learning and Making a Difference), Maggie and Sima, discovered the mission and the meaning behind the organization, Dress for Success. The result was an inspiring look into the world of Dress for Success and a fashion show that rocked the runway at GLAM’D’s recent inaugural event.

Maggie explains how they chose Dress for Success: “Sima and I chose to support Dress for Success because their mission and philosophy paralleled beautifully with our own goals for GLAM’D. We love that we were able to make this event about female leadership and networking; we did not just donate clothes or money – our event was centered on Dress for Success’ goal of women helping women.” Continue reading

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Gucci Runways Go Co-Ed

Gucci

Gucci – during the Autumn-Winter 2016/2017 Milan Fashion Week

It seems only natural to me to present my men’s and women’s collections together. It’s the way I see the world today … It will not necessarily be an easy path and will certainly present some challenges, but I believe it will give me the chance to move toward a different kind of approach to my storytelling.” ~ Alessandro Michele, Gucci creative director

Italian brand, Gucci, will present its men’s and women’s collections in one fashion show starting in 2017. There is no word yet if the new shows will launch in Milan for the Men’s Fashion Week or in New York for the women’s shows.

I see combined runways as a positive change; not only from a business perspective to streamline the buying process but also for the conversation that it will bring. Breaking down gender barriers is a modern point of view. I’m buying it!

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Showroom Style at Meredith Banzhoff

Optimized-P1050796When you first step into Meredith Banzhoff’s west-side showroom in the heart of New York’s garment district, you are drawn to the clean, crisp, and colorful clothes and the custom design of the showroom. And as Meredith herself showed me her studio, I felt her personal connection to her clothes and her environment. It’s all personal for Meredith, in fact; she refers to every shirt by her name and much of the furniture and handiwork is from her native Pennsylvania. The four original shirts – four original “girls”- were given names: Bella, Catherine, Liz and Jane. These four are the originals, born from a desire to create the epitome of comfort, construction, and tailoring. Meredith’s commitment to “40 Points of Measure” is the foundation for the design of her shirts. The brand is now three years old and though it has grown to include shirt-inspired pieces, the core is still the classic, made in New York shirt.

I knew when I first interviewed Meredith Banzhoff that I would visit her studio and get fitted for a custom shirt of my own. And that is just what I did – to my utter delight! I ended up with a navy, Isabella shirt, perfectly-fit with just the right combination of stretch. I look forward to seeing where Meredith Banzhoff* is headed!

*TFIO readers: want to own your own Meredith Banzhoff shirt? Through April 15, 2016: you can purchase any of the four “original girls” styles for 30% off the original price. Just use Promo Code: TFIO30%

The four original girls: Bella, Catherine, Liz, and Jane (Meredith's favorite)

The four original girls: Bella, Catherine, Liz, and Jane (Meredith’s favorite)

Measuring the perfect-fit

Measuring the perfect-fit

Meredith Banzhoff Showroom

Meredith Banzhoff Showroom

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Rally Behind Rallier!

Oliva Rose Fay

Oliva Rose Fay, wearing a Rallier  dress from her debut collection

Incorporating social missions into fashion and accessories brands is an undeniable and exciting trend. There is such a synergistic relationship between wearing a brand you love and supporting change you believe in.” ~ Olivia Rose Fay

There are some stories that tug at your heart. Some fashion stories that soar beyond fashion to the core of the human condition. One feature on TFIO about fashion and philanthropy was not enough to tell the entire story of Olivia Rose Fay, the CEO and Creative Director of Rallier. Rallier officially debuted its first collection, consisting of 15 dresses, just last month, February 2016. But Olivia’s inspiration and purpose started when she was a young girl watching her grandmother, who had immigrated to San Francisco from Shanghai in 1954. Olivia’s grandmother supported her family by designing dresses, eventually opening her own dress store called Lily’s.

At the age of 28, Olivia has already begun the process of conceptualizing her own legacy by looking at a cause that matters to her most: education for girls and gender inequality. Continue reading

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Iris Apfel Designs Sexy Tech

Iris Apfel, courtesy of Wise Wear

Iris Apfel, courtesy of Wise Wear

I didn’t give a damn about going to the party or being at the party – it was getting dressed for the party. And there’s truth and poetry in that.” Iris Apfel, Documentary, IRIS

At 94 Iris Apfel is still a fashion influencer: most recently, designing a collection of wearable technology which she describes as pieces “on the conservative side,” but are staples that can be “mixed with a few more la-de-da pieces.” Leave it to Apfel to take something that is generally considered non-sexy and give it life to actually look like real jewelry. In a new collaboration with Wise Wear Apfel has created sleek tech pieces that also serve an important purpose. They can track activity, give mobile notifications and they come with an array of safety functions, like alerting a select number of contacts when an emergency ensues. The bracelets are also waterproof and have a battery charge that can last up to three days. And she doesn’t stop there: Apfel hopes to expand the line with even bolder and brighter additions like statement necklaces, brooches, and men’s belt buckles. Each piece retails for $300 and can be purchased at Wise Wear.

Ever since I saw the documentary IRIS about her life with her husband Carl (and I featured her on TFIO), I have been in love with artist, visionary, and composer, Iris Apfel. She is an original – with a style that has nothing to do with age.

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The Hero Behind Zero Waste

Daniel Silverstein

Daniel Silverstein in his own zero waste design

It’s been three years since I first met New York fashion designer Daniel Silverstein and that is hard to believe. In that time, I have seen a young designer grow in leaps and bounds in his creation of beautiful designs with a mindful and ethical purpose: zero waste. Now located in Brooklyn and affiliated with Manufacture NY, his journey is reaching new depths and creating a vehicle for change in the fashion world. I applaud Daniel for his energy, positivity, integrity, and for his commitment. We talked about what is on Daniel’s mind now and for the future …

MKG: Why did you move your design studio from Manhattan to Brooklyn and what has the move meant to you and to your brand?

Daniel: I moved from Manhattan six months ago because I felt stuck.  But at the time, I didn’t realize the significance of moving my business to Brooklyn and Manufacture NY – now of course it makes perfect sense. What prompted the change was the fact that I wasn’t having a large enough impact on zero waste designs. I was too focused on succeeding in the industry as it is. I have always worked behind closed doors, developing my designs and techniques in a private, almost secret space with a small team. But moving to a community space (without any walls) has given me a new approach, with the benefits of support and access to equipment. The people with whom I work are excited about my zero waste design efforts and are helping me build and facilitate my message. It is a huge blessing for me and a really exciting time. I had an incredible professor at FIT who told me that there are 2 kinds of designers: good designers and great designers. The good designers get work, and great designers change the way people dress. I always knew that I wanted to be one of the great designers making a positive impact. Continue reading

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Who What Wear Comes to Target in 2016

Katherine Power (left) and Hillary Kerr | Source: Courtesy

C0-founders of Who What Wear – Katherine Power (left) and Hillary Kerr | Source: Courtesy

A sketch of Who What Wear's Target collection | Source: Courtesy

A sketch of Who What Wear’s Target collection | Source: Courtesy

Exciting news from The Business of Fashion: two of my favorite fashion destinations will be joining forces in 2016 – Target and Who What Wear. Beginning February 2016, Target will introduce a fashion line under the name Who What Wear. The inaugural collection will include nearly 70 pieces, priced from $14.99 to $49.99. The collection will be ongoing, with four seasonal collections delivered to 800 Target stores during the first week of every month. Although not every store will carry the entire range, all items will be available at Target.com and WhoWhatWear.com. The collection will include denim, day dress, party dresses, knits, sweaters, jackets, blazers and accessories. “We’ve wanted to do a line at Target probably since we started the company in 2006,” says Katherine Power, co-founder and CEO of Los Angeles-based Clique Media Group, whose properties include WhoWhatWear.com, Byrdie.com and MyDomaine.com. Says Power, ““We’re operating at the intersection of fashion, media and e-commerce.”

Who What Wear launched in 2006, almost ten years ago, as an email newsletter with a goal to help consumers shop the looks of their favorite celebrities. It has become a community for inspiration and style and fashion direction and a social media success story. I tune into Who What Wear for my daily boost of editorial content. And now, Target will be taking its focus on style to new levels with this launch. I can’t wait. I’m buying it!

 

 

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Behind the Birkenstocks – One Man’s Story

Courtesy T Magazine: Photo Credit

Tom Lonergan in his studio – Courtesy, T Magazine: Photo – Aaron M. Conway

I discovered a gem of a story in T: The New York Times Style Magazine about Tom Lonergan and his booming business as an independent repairman for the shoe company, Birkenstock. Here is a man who, after retiring from real estate 10 years ago, was looking for something to “keep him ‘out of trouble,'” had worn Birkenstocks himself, and enjoyed working with his hands. The company offered him a trial license as an authorized repairman as long as he agreed to buy the equipment necessary, which he did. Lonergan knew nothing about the rise in popularity of the Birkenstock sandal a few years ago (thanks in part to Céline’s Spring/Summer 2013 collection), or how it has grown to be a fashion hit in places like New York and L.A.; in fact, he has no idea about couture, or  fashion trends and fads, or when this shoe went from ugly to super-cute.

What he does know is his craft – repairing over 1,000 pairs a year – that Birkenstock customers are long-standing and loyal. And that the business of repairing Birks may be going to the dogs. Says Lonergan, “The people who’ve been loyal wearers are really good customers. Plus, there’s always the dogs. People love Birks, but dogs love Birks. I probably get three phone calls a week where the dog has destroyed a pair.”

The Birkenstock Doctor, written by Alex Ronan, appeared in T Magazine on August 28, 2015.

 

 

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Overalls? I’m Not Buying It … Anymore

Optimized-Guarino_002-2Optimized-Guarino_003Over the last few years we have seen the overall trend take over as a springtime must-have. On many women they are adorable; certainly the high-waisted 70s style and even the full-leg, boyfriend style. But for me, I did my time in overalls and I will not go back. Let me explain: I had a pair of overalls over the four years that I was either pregnant, post-pregnant, or pregnant-again with my two boys. They were my go-to’s and at their peak were a dependable, stylish choice for my expanding waistline. Even when they ripped at the knee I continued to wear them, thinking: these are even more cool with ripsBut something happened at the end of those four years: I got sick of those overalls. And they started to lose their cool-factor. What I once considered cute and edgy became tired and baggy. I remember looking at myself in the mirror one day and saying, that’s it – I am done.

The last time I wore them my younger son was about 3 months old. He and I smiled for the camera and after we took these photos I said good bye to my one-time staple, for good. But just because I said good bye doesn’t mean I didn’t love them; they played a significant role in my life. It simply means it was time to let go and move forward. And so I have no remorse when I see others rocking their overalls. In fact, I applaud them. As for me, I am done. I’m not buying it … anymore!

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