Sunday, March 29, 2009

Wear the Rainbow

While working at Nordstrom, I've been savvy to the many methods that retailers use to drive business. For example, Sales Associates are given several means by which they can establish personal relationships with customers, such as, business cards, a computer application called "personal book" that recalls transactions and customer information, and hand-written "thank you" cards, to name a few. Another way that the company drives sales and at the same time rewards employees is to have contests. During one contest, I sold the highest number of coats so I won a free coat, and I won a pair of jeans another time. The company also holds events, sales, and promotions to drive business. Being the Accessories Striker, last month I was in charge of coming up with a scarf promotion. I decided it would be a unique idea that for every scarf purchase, the customer could choose an iron-on decal and we would apply it at no charge. The promotion was a success and I like the way my scarf turned out, as well.

This month, the department as a whole was to come up with a creative camisole promotion. Since we have lots of colors of camis, we decided the theme should be "Wear the Rainbow" and we would give away a bag of skittles with each cami purchase. It wasn't the most successful promotion, it turned out to be on the day of the freak snow storm and people generally thought the skittle offer was quite laughable. I wanted to dress the mannequins in a long "cami dress," having camis layered in a rainbow color scheme, but alas the visual department would not allow it because "it wasn't something anyone would actually wear." Someone should tell that to Macy's because those crazies dress their mannequins in head-to-toe flowers for some parade they throw every year. However, I was allowed to make an illustration that we printed and to which we attached the skittles and our business cards. Its a goal of mine to keep up my illustration practice, and hopefully in the future, I can do some freelance illustration in addition to my fashion design.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Style Profile

I had no idea my black knee highs were such a treasure, but I love them! They look great layered over tights or by themselves. If seeing me isn't believing, then check out Marni's Spring 2009 line.

Black tights add a nice contrast to bright dresses. I bought this dress two years ago at a boutique on my street. Who knew it would be the perfect dress years later, complete with the popular purple of 2008 AND the yellow of 2009.

Everyone needs a little black dress, or several of them. This one is quite versatile, being made of jersey, it can be dressed up or down, depending on the accessories and the shoes. I love belts right now, they really change the mood of an outfit. This belt obviously brought out the sassiness.

Enjoying my morning coffee and feeling confident in this simple yet stylish ensemble. The belt not only spruced up this plain black t-shirt, but also created a pleasing silhouette by showing off my curves and dividing my body into pleasant proportions by elongating the bottom half. Skinny jeans, of course a must-have and I know I can't live without my go-to cowboy boots, also a must have since they go with EVERYTHING! This outfit definitely went from drab to fab with the addition of the layered gold necklace.

I just made this tank-dress yesterday and I simply adore it. It has a racer-back which adds a nice touch and it can be worn with or without a belt. It is absolutely delightful to be able to make something that I would buy at a store. I bought this knit fabric on sale so this dress probably cost me less than ten dollars, knowing how to sew, however, priceless.

It was a chilly Spring day so I decided to layer with my new sweater. I really had to justify spending money on clothes when I don't really have that kind of money, but this is a really nice sweater that will get a lot of use. I like the 3/4 sleeve, good for layering with long sleeves and also good as a light cover for a nice Spring day. It has a gathered band in the back that gives it a fitted shape and the brown is a unique shade. I figure I can make a lot of dresses, but I can't sew a nice sweater and thats all the justification I need.

This ensemble was kind of a wild card. I was really picking my outfit based around the strange peacock feather necklace that I made the other day, and I think it turned out pretty well. I generally don't wear light colored jeans and I haven't worn the black vest very much, but I think both may make it into the rounds more often.

This feather necklace is kind of strange but I like to be a little quirky. That's what is fun about personal style, you make your own rules.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Portfolio Peek

I settled when I got my first degree, I didn't know what I wanted to do with my life ten years ago. Now, I know. After two semesters at Johnson County Community College, it was apparent to me that I was much more mature and determined than my classmates. I excelled at all of my classes, but more importantly I loved going to school. I love fashion and I'm going to love my career in the fashion industry. Knowing all of that, I made the decision to apply to the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York. New York is the fashion capital of the United States and FIT is located in the hub of the garment district. The training, the experiences and the connections within the fashion industry that FIT will provide will be invaluable.

The portfolio that I had to submit to FIT for my application was to contain photographs of garments that I had made and sketches of original designs. I believe they rather liked my portfolio because I was accepted to the Fashion Design program for the Fall!!!

For the photo shoot of my garments, my friend, Amanda, manned the camera while Andrea and I modeled.

For the sketches, one of the assignments was to design five articles of clothing. The two tops, two bottoms and jacket were to be mixed and matched to make four outfits for a weekend trip. My sketches consisted of a lace minidress, sheer leggings, a long cardigan sweater, denim trousers and an ostrich leather jacket. Since my photo shoot was in a hotel, I continued the luggage theme and made the fabric swatches into suitcases. I even hand-knitted a couple of the swatches, below. I think they turned out cute, I would wear them!
Just a few more cute sketches...

Back To School

After Andrea and I got accepted to be designers for The West 18th Street Fashion Show, we got right to work knowing we would need all of the time allotted to complete our line. Sewing the scales on one-by-one was more time consuming than I had realized, which caused some anxiety, but overall, I was really loving the whole process. Most importantly, I was learning a lot, sometimes the hard way but still learning, nonetheless. Taking on the fashion show was the push I needed to help me make my career change, so I took the next obvious step and registered at Johnson County Community College for the Fashion Design Program. I enrolled in Fashion Illustration I and Apparel Construction I for the summer session. Both of those classes were really crucial and helped guide me to my next step. Before I get ahead of myself, below are some illustrations that I did for my class. We used nine-head proportions, making the body very elongated, which makes me cringe at myself when I look in the mirror but makes the drawings oh so pretty.

My first illustration for the class was of Madonna from the cover of Vanity Fair.

Plaid rendering using Prismacolor markers, colored pencils and Sharpies.

Sequin rendering using Prismacolor markers and colored pencils.

Fur rendering using Prismacolor markers, colored pencils and Sharpies.

Collage using hand-cut paper, Prismacolor markers, watercolor, colored pencils, and Sharpies.

Knit rendering using Prismacolor markers and colored pencils.

Hardware inspiration using Prismacolor markers, acrylic paint and Sharpies.

Foliage inspiration using Prismacolor markers and Sharpies.

Jewelry inspiration using Prismacolor markers, beads, feathers and Photoshop background.

Two person illustration using Prismacolor markers, watercolors, Sharpies and Photoshop.

Ad layout using Adobe Illustrator.

1950's inspired swimwear presentation board with flats and swatches.

Final Project: Original designs with flats and swatches.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Summer at Sea

Last spring, during one of our creative girl nights, Joey and Lily were discussing their plans to apply to The West 18th Street Fashion Show. I was immediately jealous, wishing that I could design for the show. As we continued to talk, ideas kept popping into my head. I kept imagining what I would do if I were a designer in the show. I had plenty of ideas, some basic sewing skills and a lot of determination so I thought, "Why can't I do it?" I finally decided to face my fears and to give it my best. I used the fashion show as a chance to test my creativity, my skills and my drive to be a fashion designer. I partnered with Andrea and together we designed and constructed our line.

Andrea and I drew upon sea creatures, fish scales and Greek Sirens as inspiration for the "Summer at Sea" theme. We wanted our models to look sexy, feminine and polished and based on the positive feedback we received, I think we achieved our objective. Our models looked beautiful!

The West 18th Street Fashion Show was one of the most important experiences of my life. It was my chance to prove to myself that I had the motivation and talent to become a fashion designer. Still, it was the positive feedback from others and being featured on the cover of INK, that was the greatest validation. I have to admit, I kinda liked my little taste of fame.
Above: Andrea and I were interviewed for the article in INK, written about the fashion show.

Left: Jamie Brehm (jewelry designer) Middle: Me Right: Andrea Harms

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Wedding Gift

My friend, Kelly, introduced me to my favorite wedding gift idea and together we made this gift for my sister's wedding. Our gift consisted of a basket filled with three bottles of wine with DIY labels, a decorative metal "L" for Amy's new last name "Long", and glass coasters with DIY inserts keeping with the "L" theme. The three wine labels contain the last name of the newly-married couple, followed by the wedding date and positive wishes for their future. The card enclosed explained that the first bottle of wine was to celebrate their day of marriage, the second to celebrate their first anniversary and the third to celebrate their first child together. Besides the wine, the basket can be filled with any number of things. Some relevant items would be wine glasses, corkscrew, picnic basket with supplies, pasta and sauce, and the list goes on. I really love the personal touch that this gift exhibits and the versatility to adapt to different couples, plus its pretty!