Monthly Archives: January 2011

12 Must-Know Menswear Designers Behind Luxury Labels

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A round-up of 12 must-know designers behind luxury menswear, including Véronique Nichanian for Hermès, Italo Zucchelli for Calvin Klein & Martyn Bal for Versace.

With all the constant publicity surrounding designers of luxury womenswear, one could be forgiven for assuming Alber Elbaz, Marc Jacobs and John Galliano are the be-all and end-all of LanvinLouis Vuitton and Dior respectively. Whilst they give consumers a tangible face and voice to a brand, it is often the case that there is an alternate independent talent behind the men that grace the runways of Paris, Milan, London and New York.

Although some menswear designers do make the headlines, Thom Browne for Moncler Gamme Bleu, Kris Van Assche for Dior Homme and Raf Simons for Jil Sander, many other creators of influential and popular luxury menswear brands have yet to seep into the consumers’ consciousness. We investigated the menswear designers behind the recent Autumn Winter 2011 collections and present a roster of names you need to know.

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Lucas Ossendrijver, Lanvin

Netherlands native, Lucas Ossendrijver, has been the man behind Lanvin’s menswear collections since 2005. After graduating from Holland’s Fashion Institute Arnhem he went straight to work at Kenzo, then onto Kostas Murkudis. In 2001 he joined Dior Homme under the direction of Hedi Slimane, eventually being selected by Alber Ebaz four years later to head up Menswear at Lanvin.

“When I was a student I once found a hand-stitched men’s jacket at a flea market. I unpicked the lining to look inside, and I was amazed to find a panoply of hidden trims, reinforcements and ribbons. I didn’t understand it, but that’s what drew me to men’s fashion. The construction of men’s clothing is concealed, but it is very precise. That’s what attracted me.”

Website: Lanvin
Quote: Portrait Lucas Ossendrijver

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Véronique Nichanian, Hermès

In a world of male designers dressing women, Véronique Nichanian is one of the few females designing for men. Whilst the famed French heritage brand might be more commonly associated with Martin Margiela, John Paul Gaultier or more recently, Christophe Lemaire, Nichanian has been with Hermès for over twenty years, joining in 1988. The designer graduated from the Ecole de la Chambre Syndicale de la Couture Parisienne, followed by a period working for Cerruti before joining Hermès. Her very first collection for Hermes won her the City of Paris Grand Prix of Creative Art prize.

“I am lucky to have been able to use the most exceptional materials for Hermes, it is essential for me to work with the know-how of traditional craftsmanship, combined with the latest technological advances.”

Website: Hermès
Quote: Pursuitist

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Alessandro Sartori, Z Zegna

Italian Alessandro Sartori originally studied textile engineering in his hometown Biella, Northern Italy, before going on to study Fashion in Milan. He has been with the Zegna group since 1993, originally as the design director of the Linea Soft line. When the Z Zegna brand was created in 2003, to target a younger, more modern consumer, Sartori was appointed creative director, where he remains today.

“Fashion changes while style remains; this is the backbone of how I live my professional and personal life. It’s important to always be modern, and stand out and to evolve but superficial and ephemeral trends should never be followed. It’s most important that a man always feels comfortable in what he is wearing; Clothes should be worn, and not the other way around”.

Website: Z Zegna
Quote: Fashion We Like

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Graeme Fidler and Michael Herz, Bally

The pair originally met in 2003 while working at Aquascutum where Herz was head of womenswear since and Fidler head of menswear. Previously Herz worked in New York for Ralph Lauren, helping establish the RLX line, Fidler worked with Marc Jacobs at Iceberg and eventually in Paris at Guy Laroche, working under the direction of Alber Elbaz. They moved across to Bally following the departure of Brian Atwood, to re-invigorate the ready-to-wear business started in the late 1970’s.

“We largely see ourselves as editors whose job is to challenge each other’s ideas and design concepts. Our aim is to create a different mood for Bally by unifying and evolving the brand with contemporary, relevant collections. What we love about fashion design is the opportunity to continually break rules, to create and reinvent, over and over.”

Website: Bally
Quote: Interview Magazine

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Kean Etro, Etro

Originally beginning as a textile house in 1968, the focus on Etro has always been superb fabrics in intricate prints. The family owned and run business is designed by sister and brother team Veronica and Kean Etro, where Kean heads up the menswear collection. After finishing his studies in 1990, Kean joined the family business, supervising the launch of the Etro perfume line and eventually becoming the manager of the men’s fashion collection, where he has remained since.

“It’s very important if you can relate to what you wear, to me, creativity is not just making a collection. You have to invent something every time.”

Website: Etro
Quote: Digital Journal

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Martyn Bal, Versace

Immediately after completing his MA at London’s Royal College of Art in 2000, Martyn Bal was instantly recruited to assist Hedi Slimane at Dior Homme. He followed his tenure at Dior with stints as creative director and design consultant at Verri Uomo and Versace respectively before being hired by Burberry as menswear design director of the Prorsum label. He has now returned to Versace, as head of Menswear and continues to manage his own line, Martyn Bal.

“I intend to have a graphic and constructivists approach to my design, but always want to inject enough energy through movement and fluidity to give it the softness and emotion it needs for it to become pure, poetic and believable.”

Website: Versace
Quote: Dazed Digital

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Milan Vukmirovic, Trussardi 1911

To say that Milan Vukmirovic is a man of many talents is an understatement. Not only is he the Creative Director of Trussardi 1911, but he is also the director of magazines L’Officiel Homme and L’Officiel Homme Italia. Further to these roles he is an accomplished photographer who has shot campaigns for Armani, Hugo Boss, Lacoste and Trussardi, he was a co-founder of Colette concept store in Paris and recently co-founded The Webster in Miami, a retail project focused on fusing fashion, photography and design.

“Everyone knows everything about a product right away, they know the marketing and they know how it works. So I think at the moment, the important thing is for something to have a soul—a real emotion. If you make something personal, that’s what makes the difference. You have to make people feel things. That’s what I do in my work.”

Website: Trussardi
Quote: Interview Magazine

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Paul Helbers, Louis Vuitton

Whilst creative director Marc Jacobs has become synonymous with Louis Vuitton’sready-to-wear collections, it is Paul Helbers who is the director and designer of the men’s studio. Helbers studied fashion at the Rietveld academy in Amsterdam before moving to London to do graduate work at the Royal College of Art. Upon returning to Holland he worked for mass-market chain Mac & Maggie, quickly branching off to start his own label Inch and consulting for men’s-wear companies. He eventually landed a post at Maison Martin Margiela, where he stayed for almost five years as the men’s studio director, before moving to Louis Vuitton in 2005.

“Men are not like women, who will buy a great-looking shoe even if it kills them, Men are extreme creatures of comfort, so quality and fit are absolutely essential. As soon as a man feels restricted in a jacket, you lose him as a client.”

Website: Louis Vuitton
Quote: The New York Times

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Italo Zucchelli, Calvin Klein

Italian designer, Italo Zucchelli, graduated from the Polimoda school of fashion design in Florence, eventually working at Jil Sander and as a designer for Romeo Gigli. In 2000 he moved to Calvin Klein, where he had originally planned to leave only one year in. Calvin Klein himself took him aside and asked him to stay: “He told me that he really liked what I was doing and that he wanted me to go on doing it.” In 2004 he was tapped to direct and design the menswear offering.

“The rules of the game in general are going to change for everything, not just menswear. People want to have fun with clothes. We sold out of the mirror suits in New York, and the black suits were still there. It tells me that men are looking for something that makes them feel good, makes them have fun, and makes them stand out. And it’s all different sorts of men.”

Website: Calvin Klein
Quote: Interview Magazine

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Massimiliano Giornetti, Salvatore Ferragamo

He began his career at Ferragamo as an assistant men’s knitwear designer, ten years later he is the creative director of all the Salvatore Ferragamo collections. He studied Foreign Languages and Literature at the University of Florence, before turning his hand to fashion at the Polimoda Institute of Fashion Design and Marketing.

‘‘I don’t believe in fashion as provocation. I’m not interested in the ‘wow’ effect, I’m more concerned with beauty and decoration. Fashion is not a primary necessity in life. The point of fashion is to make your daily life more special.’’

Website: Salvatore Ferragamo
Quote: The New York Times

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Tommaso Aquilano and Roberto Rimondi , Gianfranco Ferré

Roman Tommaso Aquilano and Bolognese Roberto Rimondi, originally met in 1988 whilst working as designers at Max Mara. In 2005 they won first prize at Italian Vogue’s Who’s On Next contest open to young talents and formed their 6267 label shortly after. In 2007 they became creative directors of Italian cashmere brand Malo, then owned by IT Holding SpA that also controlled Gianfranco Ferré. When Lars Nilsson’s resigned in early 2008, the duo were tapped to design in the womenswear, they are now responsible for the creative direction of the whole business.

“The fashion system is also a bit forced, it uses this idea of the “young designer” to look for something else. But you can have a designer who might be 80 years old but who does things that are different. It’s the search for what is different more than for what is “young.”

Website: Gianfranco Ferré
Quote: Interview Magazine

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Paolo Gerani, Iceberg

Originally his parents business, merely one year older than him, Gilmar S.p.A. was created to produce and distribute clothing under the Iceberg and Gerani brands. Paolo originally studied business marketing at Los Angeles University followed by an economics and commerce degree course at Urbino University. He joined the family business and was immediately drawn to the design side, particularly the study and research of trends, fabrics and colours. He devoted his time to advertising and corporate communication, before eventually becoming vice-chairman and creative director.

“I want to respect the knitwear heritage of the brand, which is what we historically produce. Knitwear is our fabric.”

Website: Iceberg
Quote: Dazed Digital

Source: Luxurysociety.com by Sophie Doran

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How to Become Fashion Designer ( Part 8 ) – Look Good on Paper

Writing a Resume and Cover Letter That Will Get You in the Door


The resume is your marketing tool that will sell employers on the idea of interviewing you. Even if you’re an ideal candidate for the position, if you don’t look good on paper, recruiters won’t give you a second glance. Not only do your skills and qualifications have to impress, but you need to make sure they stand out amongst the hundreds, and in some cases, thousands of other resumes that companies will receive for the same position. Keep reading to find out how to create a well organized, intelligent resume that will get you through the door!

What They Want to Know

Your resume should include the following information:

  • Contact info: Basic information about yourself that also serves as your header. Include: Name, Address, Phone, and Email
  • Objective: A brief statement (one or two sentences) describing the position you are seeking and how you hope to contribute to an employer.
  • Education: Name of school, Years attended, Concentration, Degree received, GPA (if above 3.0)
  • Qualifications/Skills: An itemized list describing relevant abilities such as knowledge of computer programs, languages, etc.
  • Work Experience: chronological list of previous employers, starting with the most recent. Include position held, duration, and important responsibilities/accomplishments.
  • Honors and Awards: List any honors and awards and year received.
  • Course Highlights/Relevant Activities: If you have limited work experience, list course highlights, or relevant extracurricular activities, clubs, or organizations you may have participated in.

There are tons of resume creating resources and examples out there, many of which can be misleading and inaccurate. If you choose to seek more examples, make sure you select a reputable source. Click on the resume sample link below to see our example of a well formatted, clearly organized resume.

What They Don’t Want to See

Knowing what not to include can be just as important as knowing what to include. When listing work responsibilities, don’t over exaggerate – a professional recruiter can see right through an unrealistic resume. Also avoid making general statements- if you can, always list specifics to support your qualifications. For example, instead of citing “designed collection of dresses”, state “designed and illustrated 5 piece dress collection for Fall 2007 collection”. Giving specifics adds individuality and gives the recruiter better insight into your achievements.

When listing job responsibilities, it’s a good idea to use action verbs to add variety to your statements. Write Express has a good variety of action verbs to choose from. And then of course are the basic resume no-no’s: any personal info like age, religion, race, and salary requirements have no business in your resume.

Formatting

There are of course many different ways to format your resume, but keep in mind that your resume has only a few seconds to grad the recruiter’s attention so if it’s not easy to follow, you won’t stand a chance! As an entry-level candidate or even after a few years of experience, your resume should not exceed one page. Recruiters won’t care what high school you went to (unless it was industry specific), or what your hobbies are, so keeping your content concise and relevant to the desired position is a good way to maintain a reasonable length.

Just because your resume is clean and organized, doesn’t mean you can’t get a little creative with it. Experimenting with different fonts and coloring for your headers is one way to make your resume stand out amongst a sea of black and white. If your field is eveningwear, using a delicate script for your headers can be a great accent. Just remember to keep it simple- the fonts should still be legible and should support, not detract from your resume.

Presentation

While you will probably use Microsoft Word or a similar word processing program to create your resume, if your resume is going to be emailed, you should convert the file to PDF. When printing your resume, select a professional presentation paper. Your local stationery or office supply store has tons to choose from. Once again, paper choice should not detract from the content of your resume or affect its appearance if your resume is faxed or photocopied.

Cover Letter

Anytime you fax or email your resume, it should be accompanied by a cover letter. The first thing that recruiter reads, the contents of your cover letter should serve as an introduction and offers an opportunity to talk briefly about your background and knowledge of the company. You should definitely invest the time to make your cover letter well-written and well-focused. A poorly written, vague cover letter is a surefire way to get your resume overlooked.

Without repeating the details of your resume, introduce yourself to your prospective employer in three or four concise paragraphs including the following points:

  • Why you are writing / the position of interest
  • What you have to offer the company (accomplishments, work ethic etc)
  • Your knowledge, enthusiasm and reasons for interest in the company
  • Request an interview and specify how you will follow up

Keep in mind that the desired outcome of the cover letter is for the recruiter to take action so it should be tailored specifically to the company you’re applying to instead of for a general position. Use your company research (you did research the company right?) and draw upon your knowledge of what they usually look for in successful employees to demonstrate how you can be an asset to their organization.

A quick word about following up: do it! I cannot tell you how many interviews I’ve received because I followed up after sending my resume. Not only does it demonstrate your follow up skills (very important) but it emphasizes your interest in the position. In one instance, a recruiter told me that from over 300 resumes he received, he contacted me for an interview because I was one of a handful of people who actually followed up. A handful (out of 300+) sounds like a pretty good way to make yourself stand out!

Once you’ve prepared your resume and cover letter, proofread them more than once to catch any mistakes or irrelevant information. Have a friend take a look to catch any mistakes you might have missed. When you’ve finished your resume, you’re ready to begin applying for positions! Remember that even after you’re hired, your resume should grow along with you. Keep it constantly updated as you gain experience and skills and when it’s time for you to look for another position, you’ll be glad you spent the time on it along the way.

Source: Designernexus.com

 

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How to Become Fashion Designer ( Part 7 ) – Setting the Course

Decide Where You Want to Go and Develop an Action Plan to Get There

So you want to be a fashion designer, right? You might be applying to different fashion schools, already in school, about to graduate, or maybe you already have your first job in the industry. No matter which stage you’re at, it’s important to have an idea of where you ultimately want to end up. If you’ve read the previous “Break it Down” article, then you’re aware of the different categories and specializations within the fashion industry. Have you thought about which fashion market you want to end up in? What specialization? With so many different options, how do you know which one to choose? In this segment, we’ll walk you through the process of weighing your options, setting career goals, and developing a plan of action to increase your chances of reaching them.

Know Yourself

Before you can plan where you want to go, you need to figure out where you are. Getting a clear picture of who you are will clarify what will make you happy and fulfilled in your career, and in life. Here are a few things to ask yourself:

  • Preferences: What do you like to do?
  • Skills: What do you do well?
  • How do your personal desires fit into the picture?
  • How much do you value creating a balance between work and your family and friends?
  • Do you prefer a small or large company setting?
  • What are your work values, and how important is it that your employer shares these values?
  • What’s your ideal work environment?

Career assessments are great tools that will cover the above questions and more to help you identify and organize your qualities and preferences. Assessments can easily be found at your school’s career/guidance office, career agencies, and of course via Internet sites such as www.assessment.com.

Do Your Homework

Once you have a better idea of your skills, interests, traits, and desires, you can begin selecting career choices that fit you best, and weeding out the ones that don’t. Take another look at our “Break it Down” article, and using the results of your assessment, decide what design market is the most appealing to you. Select a category that interests you, such as menswear, womenswear, sportswear, or intimate apparel. Then break it down by specialization. Would you prefer to work with wovens, knits, tops, dresses, bottoms…? You may find a few that interest you- and that’s ok because the next step is to do your homework and research your chosen markets and specializations.

Make a list of companies within your chosen market and research them as well. Your objective is to educate yourself as much as possible in these areas so you can make an intelligent decision regarding career choice. As you learn more about your chosen paths, you may discover that you had unrealistic expectations and your needs and wants may change. Informational interviews can be a helpful way to gain insight into a particular category/company of interest. Informational interviews will be discussed in more detail in our “Preparation is Key” article (coming soon).

Define Your Goals

After assessing yourself and exploring your career options, the next step is to set career goals for what you hope to accomplish. Defining your goals will help you take the right steps to reach your ideal career. Keep in mind that your goals may change at anytime. In fact- as you reach your initial goals and continue to grow and develop personally and professionally, setting new goals will be essential. It is important to constantly motivate yourself- keep learning and striving for satisfaction. Remember, the world changes quickly and so do you!

Set the Course

To set your career plan in motion, you will need to follow through with the goals you’ve set. Break each goal into manageable “chunks.” Each week/month tackle a step or two. For example, if one of your first goals is to get a position as an entry-level designer for a better sportswear company, your calendar may look like this:

  • Week 1: Research moderate companies
  • Week 2: Prepare portfolio
  • Week 3: Prepare resume and cover letters
  • Week 4: Prepare interview responses and wardrobe
  • Week 5: Apply for positions

Breaking your goals into smaller tasks will help them seem more feasible, and by completing each task one by one, you’ll reach your goal faster than you thought!

When your job matches your interests and your personality, you are more likely to be happy and successful in your work. Having a plan of action and being prepared doesn’t mean that you’ll get that dream position immediately after graduation. But your classwork, job search, market research, etc. will all be focused in the direction that will get you there one day!

Mialn Fashion Campus

Source: Designernexus.com

 

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Up Your Marketing Game In 2011

The new year is upon us, and while the new year promises many new opportunities, they won’t magically appear without a game plan. Setting New Year’s resolutions is old fashion, and we all know they are most often broken. This year, set goals in the form of a marketing calendar. By setting a year full of achievable goals, you’ll set yourself up for success and create a game plan for 2011 to market your business.

Of course, everyone’s marketing calendar will be different, but I’ve laid out some ideas you can incorporate into your marketing strategy to get you started. 

1) January – Plan a marketing campaign calendar for 2011. Plan ahead to take advantage of seasonal events with promotions and leaves room to learn at least one new thing each month.

2) February – Share the love with your clients. The season of love is the perfect time to integrate or upgrade your referral program to ensure clients feel valued.

3) March – Sign up for my blog/RSS feed. I admit this seems a little self-motivated, but the key to being a successful marketer is to stay on your toes, and by receiving regular marketing information you create a reminder to stay on top of things. It also creates an atmosphere for you to continue learning each month without overwhelming yourself with too much information at one time. Plus the while reason I write my newsletter and post articles is to help stylists like you learn to market your businesses. So if you haven’t already, sign up. (See that box at the top of the right column, that’s where you can sign up for my newsletter. Above that look for the RRS icon to grab my feed.)

4) April – If you haven’t launched your business’s Facebook page yet, times a wasting. Everyday Facebook becomes more and more popular and more and more important as a marketing strategy. As previously mentioned, the stylist’s business lends itself perfectly to a Facebook strategy since our business is, after all, based on relationships.

5) May – Stock up on summer reading. Good idea is to buy books to help you create the kind of income you have always dreamed of from your favorite job.

6) June – As you head into the dog-days of summer, be a resource for your clients and potential clients. The summer is long and not so busy for most, so use your Facebook page to publish tips and information that you believe is interesting and useful for your customers.

7) July – Celebrate Christmas in July and use this opportunity to reach out to your clients and thank them for their patronage. Everyone expects cards in December, but sending cards in July is so unexpected that you will really stand out in the crowd.

8) August – As parents start to think about sending the kiddos back to school, it is the perfect time for you to remind them about a new look for fall. It’s also a great time to run promo specials for kids. What about steeply discounted kids’ rebate when mom/dad are shopping too?

9) September – By now you have mastered Facebook. It is time to tackle a new project, how about Twitter? For some reason, Twitter seems overwhelming, but once you get started you’ll see that it is very basic and lots of fun. Head over to Twitter to get started. Once you get the conversation rolling, you’ll be hooked. And better yet, your clients will be hooked on you.

10) October – BOO! Don’t underestimate the number of people who need a special look for October 31. Use the holiday to your advantage and market yourself accordingly.

11) November -Before the holiday rush sets in, set aside some time to take stock of what worked and what didn’t work in your marketing plan for 2011. This will help you be ready to prepare for 2012, and it might point out something that is lacking for the holiday push. If you never analyze what you have done, you’ll never see how to improve, so take a moment to reflect so you can adjust accordingly.

12) December – Remember the “dead zone.” If you plan correctly, you’ll be super busy during the week between Christmas and New Years, which will set you up for a great 2012.

Have a happy and prosperous new year!

Copyright (c) 2010 Tarsha Beavers

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Spring/Summer 2011 Updo Hair Trends

Spring/Summer 2011 Updo Trends

There is nothing sexier and more elegant than a simple updo that adds interest to your neckline and brings a glamorous, yet effortless vibe to any appearance. From different versions of the famous ballerina bun to extremely severe, slicked chignons and high top knots, updos will be one of the hottest hairstyles for spring/summer 2011.

Spring/summer 2011 comes with a wide palette of beautiful, feminine hairstyles. Among all these, there is one timeless trend exuding maximum femininity and sophistication: the updo. Seen in a myriad of different versions suitable for numerous occasions, an updo is universally flattering and works amazing on long and medium-lengthR hair.

Versatile and practical, an updo will always add a special vibe to your looks, whether you choose a simple bun, a messy, festival-chic one, a polished chignon, or, a sophisticated knot with a retro appeal.

Diane Von Furstenberg                                     Jil Sander
The ballerina bun was one of the hairstyles chosen by many designers for spring/summer 2011. Its elegance and simplicity makes it one of the best options when it comes to finding the perfect hairstyle for a casual, daytime outfit, or for a more special event that requires a more chic appearance.
Classic and tidy at Nina Ricci and Jil Sander or rather messy, yet attentively studied at Diane von Furstenberg, there are various versions where to choose from. It is very practical and it can be done in an instant. You just have to make a ponytail and wrap the hair around the elastic band, then secure the bun.
Hervé Léger by Max Azria                                Nina Ricci
Summer is all about flirty and playful, just-got-out-of-bed looks with breezy, romantic dresses and appropriate hairstyles. You can enjoy this amazing season to the fullest going for effortless, yet feminine, adorable hairstyles such as a romantic chignon as spotted at Proenza Schouler and Dsquared². Moreover, if you want to add a glamorous feeling, yet preserve a sweet look, you can draw your inspiration from the Dolce & Gabbana or Nina Ricci runway shows where the chignon reveals sophistication through a simple approach, perfect for a candid and luminous character. This is a simple and chic updo with minimal styling required. 


Dolce & Gabbana                                                        Proenza Schouler

Dsquared²                                                                      Nina Ricci
As we have seen, there are timeless hairstyles that never go out of fashion and keep reinventing themselves season after season. Well, this is the case of the elegant chignon that never seems to fail due to its numerous versions and ladylike luxurious aspect. This is why it can be said that this type of updo is among the most popular choices when it comes to chic hairstyles. 

For spring/summer 2011, a refined, office-appropriate approach of the chignon was spotted at Chloé, with hair worn at the nape of the neck, and Gucci, in a slicked way with a total wet effect. However, a more elegant and extremely polished updo that you can rock at a special event is the one seen at Oscar de la Renta and the French twist from Zac Posen.

Chloé                                                                                   Gucci

Oscar de la Renta                                                     Zac Posen
The newest hairstyle trends for spring/summer 2011 will feature adorable and unique shapes and styles. Creative knots oozing self-confidence and relaxation, yet glamour and style will be some of the hottest hairstyle trends for the warm season. Looking just like twisted sculptures, the updos seen at Gucci and Viktor & Rolf are effective without creating the illusion of trying too hard. 

There is nothing more comfortable and sweet than wearing your hair up during hot summer days when the heat might get quite unbearable. In this circumstances, a high top knot can easily do the trick without too much effort. This hairstyle screams spontaneity and laid-back style and it works great even on curly hair. Draw your inspiration from Z Spoke by Zac Posen and Moschino. Add a headband or a scarf for a unique look.


Gucci                                                                                   Viktor & Rolf

Z Spoke by Zac Posen                                                  Moschino
Photos via elle.com

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How to Become Fashion Designer ( Part 6 ) – Well Put Together

What to Include in Your Fashion Portfolio

What’s the most common faux pas when it comes to fashion design portfolios? Many fashion design students and entry-level apparel designers make the mistake of filling their fashion portfolios with all of their favorite fashion illustrations, or photos of garments they’ve made.
The trouble with this is that apparel industry companies don’t need to see tons of imaginative avant-garde fashion sketches – who’s really going to wear that stuff? They just don’t sell! Don’t get me wrong, you should still show off some fashion figure illustrations and your ability to develop an apparel design collection, but following an organized presentation format is a much better approach to showing off your fashion design talents and skills.

Choose Your Dream Market

First thing’s first: decide in which market you want to have your fashion career, and make a list of fashion industry companies that fit into that category. For example, if you would love to be a fashion designer for a better sportswear collection such as Bebe, other fashion companies on your list could include Armani Exchange, Anthropology, and DKNY. Then take some time to look into the companies you chose. What’s their design philosophy? Who is their customer? Where do they draw inspiration from, and what does their current collection look like?

Once you’re familiar with the type of fashion industry companies you want to design for, think about what they want to see from you – the fashion designer. You’ll need to show that you have an eye for style and can create a cohesive apparel design collection for a specific customer, and the company should be able to identify with the price point and styling of your fashion designs.

Putting It All Together

In addition, most entry level or assistant fashion designers start out sketching computer fashion flats, assembling fashion presentation boards, and preparing apparel tech packs. Show your prospective employers that you’ve got each area covered! Develop a series of 3 to 6 small groups with 6 – 8 fashion figures or complete outfits per group. Start off each design group with an inspiration page: a collage of images, fabric swatches and other findings that help set the mood and introduce the color story for the group. Next come the fashion illustrations, which show fashion figures in various poses wearing your apparel designs. These fashion sketches will demonstrate how garments will look on a fashion body and give you the opportunity to express how you would match up each piece to create coordinated outfits.

 

Following your fashion figure illustrations are flat sketches or floats (stylized flats). A “flat” is basically a black and white sketch of how a garment looks when laid flat. Fashion flats must be clean, correctly proportioned, and include all garment details like: seams, topstitching, buttons and hardware. While some apparel companies still sketch flats by hand, the vast majority creates flat sketches via computer so it is important that you are comfortable using popular CAD software such as Adobe Illustrator for the fashion industry.

Apparel floats are more stylized versions of flat sketches that usually show some kind of movement in the garment. Alternating the use of flats and floats from one fashion design group to another is a good way to add variety to your fashion presentation layout while showing your versatility. Fashion CADs (flat sketches rendered with colors and fabrics) can also be incorporated into a group of your fashion illustrations or flats and can be added as a separate section.

 

And please don’t just display your fashion sketches on a plain white or solid color page! Tie each design group together using fashion backgrounds that follow the theme for each group. Fashion backgrounds are an extra opportunity to show your creativity and fashion presentation skills.

Does Size Really Matter?

In a word: yes! Make sure your fashion design portfolio is a manageable size. Most likely, you’ll be showing your fashion portfolio in an office and need to open it on a small or cluttered desk. Anything larger than 9″ x 12″ is just too large and unnecessary. I remember making my first fashion portfolio 11″ x 17″ (the advice of a college professor, believe it or not). As you can imagine, it was not practical at all – I even recall one interview in a small office where I had to present my apparel design portfolio from my lap!

That being said, by following these guidelines, you’ll be sure to create a kick butt fashion design portfolio that will get your talents noticed and give your fashion career a competitive edge amongst other apparel design candidates!

Source: Designernexus.com

 

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How to Become Fashion Designer ( Part 5 ) – Fulfilling Your Vision

Becoming Your Own Fashion Designer

I know some of you may have been disappointed by the realities we exposed in our “How to Become a Fashion Designer” article series. Our apologies, but we had to destroy the bliss of naivety to spare you from many rude awakenings when you start your fashion career! That being said, I’m sure there are also some of you who are determined to become that ideal vision of a fashion designer: create your own label, design your own fashion lines, runway fashion show and the whole nine. We commend your ambitiousness and of course, we are here to help! Here’s our suggested approach to become your own fashion designer.

Learn the Fashion Biz

First thing’s first, and we’ve all heard it a million times: Fashion is first and foremost a business. Yes it’s true – you could have the best apparel collection in the world, but if you don’t have the business savvy to manage your fashion design operations or market yourself; you’re in for a rough and disappointing journey in the fashion industry. Countless talented fashion designers try creating an apparel line without the proper business foundation to support them. Issac Mizrahi, and Narciso Rodriguez are just a few well-known fashion designers whose fashion careers were almost destroyed by their lack of business knowledge.

We highly recommend educating yourself and taking business courses- either in school or on your own. Really get to know the fashion industry. However, if for some reason you prefer not to, you should at the very least seek a knowledgeable (and trustworthy) business partner to handle that end for you.

Finding a Niche

Concerning the actual apparel designs, if you want to make your mark and get noticed in the fashion industry, you have to make sure your apparel designs stand out amongst the swarm of pretty outfits already crowding the runways. If your vision for your collection is just to design “pretty” clothes, the chances of your work getting noticed are like finding a needle in a haystack! The cliché word of advice is to design for a niche market. But what does that mean?

A Cause for Design

Here’s our take on finding a niche: find a cause, and design for that cause. Choose something that you’re passionate about, or pick a theme and design for that theme. Create a trademark that you will become known for. Betsey Johnson is known for her funky, outrageous, one-of-a-kind garments that reflect her quirky personality. Diesel created their highly functional, hardware driven signature style from the construction worker lifestyle. When apparel designs are consistently focused around a specific element or concept, they will receive more attention and that concept will become your design signature. Once your fashion line is established and well known, you can always expand. And whatever you decide on, make sure it’s something you believe in; something you are passionate about. When your fashion designs come from the heart, it shows, and you’re inspiration will be endless.

Get Your Name Out There!

So once you’ve selected your cause and designed an extraordinary apparel collection around it, how do you make sure your fashion designs get publicity? Fortunately, modern technology makes promoting yourself a much easier task. There are tons of venues that showcase emerging fashion designers such as nolcha.com and haute.net (See the Independent and Underground Fashion at our Resource Center for more links). There you will find underground designer showcases that give beginner designers their own venue space. You bring the designs – they bring in the crowds.

In the past few years, an underground fashion revolution has emerged, creating a shift in the apparel industry. Consumers are tired of apparel fashion clothing that is dictated by an elite few fashion designers, and have begun searching for more unique, down to earth sources for their apparel & fashion needs. New waves of fashion designers are discovered in unconventional places and recognized for their individual fashion design styles. Educating yourself, knowing the business, designing for a cause you love, and promoting yourself through new avenues are all steps in the right direction towards having the fashion design career you’ve always envisioned!

Source: Designernexus.com

 

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