We had a great time touring the The Garment District with yesterday’s group of students from University of Wisconsin-Stout. One of the highlights was a visit to the workroom of Custom Fabric Flowers By M & S Schmalberg, where the group learned about the process that goes into the creation of silk flowers:
People We Love
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Shopping advice from Seek founder Rebecca Frey was recently featured in Refinery 29. Check out the article here: 30 Common Shopping Mistakes We Make – According to Personal Shoppers.
Want personalized style advice? Book a shopping and styling session today!
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You’re invited to join our fashion tour guide, Amalya Meira, as she debuts her Spring & Summer 2017 Collection tomorrow evening, October 5th, from 7-10 PM at the Public Factory concept store at the Soho Grand Hotel.
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Looking for something fun to do this weekend? Our fashion tour guide, Amalya, will be selling her designs during the grand opening of Eclectic Taste! Visit the Amalya Meira pop-up shop on October 24th and 25th from 3-10 PM.
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We were honored to sponsor designer Amalya Meira, who recently showed her collection at Vancouver Fashion Week. Check out some shots of the show (and all of the behind-the-scenes happenings!) below, and be sure to visit Amalya.com to see more of her work!
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Stay tuned to our blog for Amalya’s wrap-up of her VFW experience once she returns from Vancouver.
— VanFashionWeek (@VanFashionWeek) October 2, 2015
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In celebration of Fashion Week, Seek is pleased to highlight several of the unique brands and businesses which make the fashion industry tick. Check back every few days for a new Q&A!
On today’s blog, we learn more about Mallorie Carrington, the designer/founder of SmartGlamour. SmartGlamour is an affordable, fashionable clothing line for women of all shapes, sizes, ages, and heights. The company makes clothing in standard, plus, petite, and tall sizes. Every piece of SmartGlamour clothing is made with love in NYC.
Read below to hear more of Mallorie’s story, and be sure to check out the SmartGlamour website, too!
Q&A: Mallorie Carrington of SmartGlamour
What inspired you to start your business?
SmartGlamour began because of my passion for putting an end to the problem of women’s negative self-image. I believe that a lot of factors go into why women feel so badly about their bodies and appearance. The two largest involve the misrepresentation of women in the media and women’s struggle with shopping for properly fitting clothes. Women above a size 12 or 14 are greatly under-served, and it’s also very hard for petite women, or very tall women to find affordable, stylish options. Often when we can’t find things that fit, we ask ourselves what is wrong with us instead of what is wrong with the clothes. And when we look at ads, celebrities, and images around us and see no one that looks similar to us, we again wonder what is wrong with us.
By creating affordable, fashionable, customizable clothing for every size, shape, age, height, and weight, selling it all in the same place for the same price, and depicting women in our ads and look books that represent reality (every size, shape, age, height, and weight) we are combating these problems and empowering women.
Who is your target customer? What sets your business apart from other similar companies?
The SmartGlamour customer can technically be anyone who wears women’s clothing – but our target is really any one who feels they are being under served or misrepresented elsewhere. Because our clothing runs in such a large size range – and then is additionally customizable, it lends itself to helping solve a myriad of fit issues that women face: lengths being too long or too short, being a different size on top vs on bottom, having a full bust, etc. There are a lot of things about our company that set us apart – aside from offering affordable customizations, we also have the largest size range I have yet to come across, make everything in NYC, promote women’s empowerment, and hire women to model our clothing that represent our full size range and never photoshop them.
How did you get your start in design?
When I was younger I always assumed I’d be a math teacher. I’m good at math and like helping others – but when I entered high school and found out they had a fashion design program I was surprised and excited to say the least. I thought being a fashion designer for a living was equivalent to being a princess. I have always, always loved clothes, accessories, and just dressing up in general – and so I dove in.
What are your favorite pieces from your collection/line?
Personally – I wear Allison Pencil Skirts, Jackie Skinny Pants, Nicole Wide Leg Pants, Annalise Swing Tops, Amy Wrap Tops, Gloria Shorts, and Betty Sweetheart Tops all the time. I only wear my own designs at this point – but those are my go to’s and they can all be mixed and matched. We just released our fall collection and I am already really excited about a couple pieces – to add to my personal collection – like a faux leather jacket and a crop top with lace trim.
What do you hope to accomplish with your work?
Through SmartGlamour, I hope to continue to inspire women to self accept and love – and to empower them to take charge, learn more about their bodies, and ask for what they want in life. I hope to continue to offer accurate representations of women that ladies can relate to – in a world that is so devoid of that concept.
What is your creative process?
My clothing is much more women forward than it is fashion forward. Not to say we don’t create affordable and fashionable pieces – we do, but we aren’t reinventing the wheel as far as design. Instead – we are reinventing the way clothes are made and offered to women. Because of this – that is really where my creative juices flow. We release campaigns like #AllBodiesAreGoodBodies, #MeasureMeBeautiful, and most recently, #SameSizeDifferentEyes to push our message along.
What are the most important aspects to consider when designing your pieces?
For me – it is all about quality and production while keeping items affordable. I hand make the clothes to order – so to ensure the price is affordable, the design can not be too complicated or have too many bells and whistles. We use quality fabric that is not luxury – no silks or leather, etc. People often ask me if I use any “design tricks” to create clothing that is wearable from XXS-6X but I don’t. I am a firm believer that any person can wear any thing as long as it is their size.
How did your company get its name?
I came up with the name SmartGlamour back in 2007 while I was studying at FIT. I had a class project where we needed to create a brand, style, hang tags, etc – and I chose SmartGlamour. I’ve always been bothered by the strict and narrow boxes society tries to put people, especially women, into. And I have always thought of myself as equally fashionable and intelligent. This is something a lot of people have struggled with in regard to my personality, drive, and appearance for as long as I can remember. SmartGlamour is about being anything and everything you want to be – and doing it seamlessly at the same time.
How do you stay motivated?
I stay motivated in a couple different ways. The most important way being the impact I have on women’s lives. I receive emails and messages from strangers who have stumbled upon my company, and may not have even ordered yet, but applaud me for the message I am sending to women and stressing how needed it is. I’ve had women tell me my brand and imagery “subliminally teaches everyone that they are okay as they are.” which is just lovely. How could I ever stop doing that? Additionally – I stay motivated by the friends and family I keep around me. My girlfriends are some of the most inspiring women I know – all very different, very talented, and so driven. And my family and fiance are beyond supportive. I literally could not run this business without them.
Currently we are online only – at www.smartglamour.com. We have a three month pop up from in the East Village which closed in May and I hope to soon replicate that idea at a smaller scale around the country.
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In celebration of Fashion Week, Seek is pleased to highlight several of the unique brands and businesses which make the fashion industry tick. Check back every few days for a new Q&A!
In today’s Q&A, we introduce you to Mariagrazia Stellino, the jewelry designer and founder of Stellino Jewels. Stellino Jewels’ collections are inspired by the warmness and the colors of Sicily, and are handmade with a strong attention to detail.
Read on to learn more about Mara and Stellino Jewels, and be sure to visit her website, too!
Q: What is your background? How did you get your start in design?
A: I’ve always had a great passion for playing and working with small things. When I was in middle high school, I loved to attend art classes and I used to create huge mosaics using colorful rice grains.
At 19, when I had to choose what kind of university to attend, I was naturally attracted to a fashion, arts and design university. So I studied arts, history of design and fashion for 3 years in Palermo, Sicily and in 2008, I graduated with a practical and theoretical thesis about “Red Coral and its Traditions.”
Q: What inspired you to start your business?
A: After my graduation, I started working in an amazing fine jewelry factory in my hometown. I worked as a wax carver first and as a CAD designer after. But my interest in craftwork and manual arts was begging me to return to the bench. So in 2009, curious and fascinated by the marvelous world of jewelry, with the help of a goldsmith, good friend of my family, I started to dabble in the goldsmithing arts and decided to open my modest workshop and gallery in my hometown.
Q :Where do you gather inspiration for your designs?
A: My inspiration for my designs is the flourishing and one-of-a-kind nature and the history of my beloved Sicily, where I was born and raised. Warm and crystal waters surround my Sicily, a sparkling diamond perfectly set in the Mediterranean Sea. My collections are inspired by the colors of my homeland: green, red, turquoise, blue, white, black…
Q: What future projects are you excited about?
A: About 2 years ago, I randomly worked on a movie set in Sicily for a couple of weeks and on Valentine’s Day, I met the love of my life. We spent beautiful moments together! But after the movie finished, he went back to New York and all we could do to keep our love alive was talking through the internet. After endless Skype chats and a huge number of texting messages and emails, I visited him in New York last summer and I fell crazy in love with this wonderful city. After this trip I decided to pack all my stuff and get a one way ticket to New York. So my next project is bringing my brand to the US and establishing my business in NYC…and marry my lovely fiance!!!
Q: Who is your target customer?
A: I love to design bold, colorful, statement pieces for all sorts of women, but I also like to create fresh, easy to wear jewelry, made for teenagers and young girls. I always create different collections for different types of women. But my target customer is a woman with a strong character, who dedicates her life to her own business and family. A woman who shows her femininity, both when she brings kids to school on Louboutin high heels or even when she wears gym suit and sneakers, pulling a cart at the supermarket.
Q: What are your favorite pieces from your collection/line?
A: Naturally I love every piece of my collections. But of course I have my favorites!!! One piece that I’m very affected by is my very first creation, that made me realize that I wanted to be a jewelry designer, a necklace that I made for my university thesis. The other piece I love is called “Red Passion” and it’s a 3 strands red coral necklace that reminds me the warmness of my Sicily and the strength of its people.
Q: What do you hope to accomplish with your work?
A: When I created my first jewel for my university thesis, I decided that my aim would be to create only one-of-a-kind pieces to worship the uniqueness of every woman as human being! “Because every woman deserves to feel unique” is my motto!
Q: What is your creative process?
A: I always start with an idea that suddenly pops into my mind. I usually get inspiration from the nature. Everything around me is inspiring! As soon as I can, I make a few sketches to figure out what I want the final product to be. I love to mix elegant, simple, smooth shapes with strong, bold colors.
When I get to the final sketch, the design that I love the most, I sit at my bench and start to create the real piece with my own hands and tools.Depending on the piece I want to realize, the creation process takes from a few hours up to a few days.
I’ve been working as a jewelry designer and goldsmith for about 7 years but it’s always amazing and stunning seeing how something you had just imagined, now you can touch it and wear it! And you are the only one on the earth wearing that jewel! I guess it’s a nice feeling! And every time I sell one of my creations, I hope to transmit the same emotion that I feel.
Q: What are the most important aspects to consider when designing your pieces?
A: When I design a collection there’s an essential aspect that I consider.
I’d love my art to reflect myself and my sunny character. My Sicily is inside all my jewels. Smooth and simple shapes remind its peaceful and quite nature during a sunny day. Strong and vibrant colors remind the wildness of its volcano and the strength of its people.
Q:What sets your brand apart from other similar labels?
A: There’s a lot of jewelry brands nowadays, similar labels to compete with. And it’s getting even harder to compete with the huge global market that works mostly with quantity and big numbers. My aim has always been “making one-of-a-kind jewels for one-of-a-kind women” and I’m pretty sure that, as long as I keep working with this purpose, my brand will have something so special and unique!
Q:Where can customers purchase your products?
A: Customers can visit my personal website www.stellinojewels.com to view all my collections. They can purchase my one-of-a-kind creations on my Etsy shop and on my new Zibbet shop.
For custom orders, feel free to contact me: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Getting so excited for my runway show at Vancouver Fashion Week this fall & sewing up a storm! Here is my newest addition to the SS16 collection: Magna Wake~Can’t wait to watch it float down the runway!
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As a guide, I have had the pleasure of meeting really great (and fun) people on our tours. It’s a perk of the job I’d say. A few weeks back I met a mom and her fashionista daughter from the Midwest, who took a combo Garment District/Teen Shopping tour. We had a blast! Like I said, perk of the job.
I soon discovered Peggy- the mom- co-owned Soul Flower, an eco friendly, Made in the USA clothing brand and online store. The brand/online store is the brainchild of husband and wife team, Peggy and Mike Rossi. Soul Flower was founded in 1999 in St. Paul, Minnesota, as a small shop on a street popular with college kids and locals. They even worked the local music festival scene, as they say “spreading the vibe wherever they went.” By 2004, they decided to exclusively sell online and two years later, expanded to have their own line of eco-friendly clothing, using fair labor practices. The rest, as they say, is history.
Below is the Q&A with Peggy Rossi, co-founder of Soul Flower:
How did you get your start?
We started out as a small retail shop in St. Paul, MN back in 1999. Our shop was a 1000 square foot small boutique, set up as place for locals, hippies, and all-manner of unique folks to hang out and get some fun, funky clothing, a box of incense, or a cool wall hanging. Things have changed a lot since then! We have closed our store, started an online shop and catalog, and now create our line of eco-friendly clothing. We operate out of Minneapolis, where we have an online retail and wholesale website, warehouse and screenprinting shop. We carry Fair Trade, recycled fiber, organic cotton, hemp, and Made in the USA clothing. All of our screen printing is hand-designed and hand-printed in-house by our own talented team of “buds.”
What is the most challenging part of what you do?
The clothing industry is not exactly a “green” industry – lots of waste, chemicals, pollution, sweat shops. For me, the challenge is to move away from the traditional dirty part of the industry to something more positive and clean (eco-friendly). Finding manufacturers to work with who have the resources we need has been a huge challenge. But we continue to find ways to minimize the negative impacts on the environment and workers, and create a positive energy from the clothes and designs that are Soul Flower. We do a lot of manufacturing here in the USA and for the items we import, we work with a fair trade vendor in Nepal. We make sure everything we sell has a story to tell in that it was made in a positive way.
Who is your target customer?
Our customers enjoy a laid-back, bohemian, eco-friendly & peaceful lifestyle. A typical soul-flower bud likes comfort AND fashion, is thoughtful about how their clothing is made, and seeks out organic, natural fibers, recycled goods and products. Most care deeply about the environment & other cultures in the world, many enjoy live music and the vibe of a festival environment and lots of other outdoor activities. They all like to wear unique clothing & accessories that help express who they are.
Where can customers purchase your products? What future projects are you excited about?
Soul Flower is available online at www.soul-flower.com. We are always expanding our line and creating new pieces each season. Our newest project is working with some new tie-dye patterns that will be coming out in Spring of 2016.
What is your advice for someone who wants to start their own line?
Keep trying and find yourself a niche! There are so many designers in this industry, it is really hard to stand apart. So I would pick your story and stick with it. Know what you do you well and get to be an expert at it. And work to understand all aspects of the business – both the financial and the creative.
How does working out of Iowa & Minnesota affect your designs?
One of our best-selling designs says right on it “kindness matters”. Our designs have peaceful, positive messages, with a little bit of nature thrown in. That all reminds me of the midwest! Logistically, working from this location can be a challenge but with the technology available, it has become easy. We make buying trips to LA and Vegas every season and work closely with our mfg in LA almost daily. Everybody is just a Google Hangout away!