From Target to J. Crew: A Look at Today’s Fashion Designer.

The United States doesn’t have much of a fashion industry anymore, nor do they have a multitude of  American born and bred fashion designers.

Obviously one of the reasons we lack designers is because the economic downturn has made it hard for struggling artists to support their dreams, much less their reality.

Vogue and the Council of Fashion Designers of America realized this problem and tried to fill the void. In 2004, they awarded the first CFDA/Vogue fund to Proenza Schouler.

In order to win business counseling and prize money, one must go through a series of interviews and have their daily life documented, but of course it’s more complex than it sounds. The show is called The Fashion Fund and can be viewed on Hulu.

The CFDA/Vogue fund was created not only to raise awareness of up and coming designers, but to also give them a boost that they often times need. After all, not all of us can be “Tory Burch” and have our daddy fund our fashion endeavors. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not hating on Tory Burch.  I enjoy a good TB flat, but when you say that the colors blue and orange aren’t complementary, there’s something wrong. A missing background in fashion perhaps? The colors are actually the definition of complementary. Don’t know what I’m referring to? Go to about 1:20 on this youtube clip. That’s elementary, Ms. Burch. Simply elementary.

Why am I even bringing the fund up? Well, they recently awarded the 2012 fund to Jospeh Altuzarra  and gave runner up positions to Creatures of The Wind and Pamela Love Jewelry.  I was very surprised to see that shortly after they gave out the awards, a collaboration with J. Crew was announced for all three designers. I was shocked to hear this because it has never been done before. If you were to ask a random person if they knew who Proenza Schouler was they might just know the answer. Why? Because it did a Go International collection for Target. They’re not the only one of the winners to do so  though…Jason Wu recently had a line with Target. Doo.Ri., another previous winner, has a collection at Macy’s that will soon launch. The list goes on and on.

The trend that is occurring is that the designers win and try to make a living, but when it comes down to it, they still aren’t making enough money; therefore, they license their name out. I don’t think this is what the CFDA/Vogue fund was originally supposed to spur. Then again, it doesn’t take into account the people who knock them of, nor does it lend them time. There’s a right of passage that designers must take. For example, Lulu Lemon was founded in 1998. They didn’t become very popular until at least 2005.  There’s a lot of time in between getting your label out there and getting it to catch on.

Point being, I’m glad that each of the three winners get a chance to collaborate upfront- almost like a joint venture instead of begging for  a retailer to sell their items. Plus J. Crew is definitely a step up from Target…Though these designers didn’t start out wanting to be available to the masses, that is what today’s society is coming to and in order to make a profit, following the crowd is sometimes what is necessary. Having just finished a book called Deluxe: How Luxury Lost its Luster, I am sensitive to the extensive loss of good products  to the luxury world, as well as the regular apparel market. I worry for the future of fashion.

On a positive note, here is an article about the J. Crew collaborations and here’s a link to what the collections look like so far!

Besides taking fashion finals (in addition to business finals), there are lots of other fashiony things going on in my life. Here are a couple:

Rock Bottom Visual Display:

Being enrolled in a visual merchandising class has given me insight on more than just textbook information on how to arrange a color scheme within a store. It has given me hands on application. One of my favorite things I did this year was coordinate a window display for Rock Bottom Boutique in Waco, TX. Here’s the display after it was completed:

(Inside and Outside view)

Baylor Fashion Show: The Golden Times

Another cool factor of being enrolled in a visual merchandising class is that I was able to put together a fashion show with my classmates. I’ve been in fashion shows before and walked in this one, but I had never collaborated to put one on until now. It takes more work than you’d think and is very fast paced. My personal position was head of budget and finances, but I also witnessed how to deal with models and was reaffirmed in my belief of how important it is to know how to manage people. Here are a couple shots from the show last weekend:

The designs waiting to be worn

 One of the dresses I modeled. This was for Sarah-Kate’s Senior Collection: Simply Vintage

In addition to modeling for Sarah-Kate, I also got to participate in a  photo shoot for her collection. It was so much fun! Here’s a sneak preview of the shoot!

 Chance to guest blog for Shoe Revolt

I was recently asked if I’d consider posting for Shoe Revolt- an NP Organization that donates money to trafficking victims by selling high end shoes and auctioning celebrity shoes. Check out their site; it’s pretty cool. This is an issue that has certainly raised awareness levels around the country and I believe will be one of the hot topics of the today and the future.

New ties for Southern Elle

A while ago I stated that I was now sewing neckties in addition to bow ties, but at that point I had only constructed one. I had to put that project on the back burner, but am now picking it back up. Who doesn’t love a good madras or seersucker tie? (Especially with Father’s Day just around the corner…) ALSO, I stumbled upon a company that is new to me. It is called Taylor Stitch and is made in the USA!  It makes me a little bit jealous because they only sell menswear, but still go check it out.

There may be 48 days until the first official day of summer, but for me  it starts NEXT TUESDAY.

See y’all then!!

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