See you soon, New York

“One belongs to New York instantly, one belongs to it as much in five minutes as in five years.” Thomas Wolfe’s eloquence with words perfectly explains the magnetism that is New York City. I must admit, it definitely did not take a mere five minutes for New York to have my heart.  The first couple weeks here were filled with too many accidental subway rides to Brooklyn, trekking the wrong way down avenues in the snow and monumental grocery bills. But that didn’t stop me. Some way, somehow, this Chicago girl found her home in the big apple.

Looking back on these last seven months, I can barely even fathom how much I’ve accomplished and learned at my internships, the KSU studio classroom and from the incredible people around me. You can truly feel the creative spirit and ambition in the air that engulfs the city and encourages you to push your boundaries. Throughout those seven months, I had the opportunity to learn from some of the most talented PR professionals in the industry, fulfill my dream of working New York Fashion Week, meet my idol Joe Zee, produce an entire magazine with classmates who turned into friends, (finally) learn the subway system, host an event for Teen Vogue, experience the beauty that is Postmates, attend the CFDA Awards amidst the industry’s top talent, simply enter the Vogue office (trust me, a fashion girl’s dream), write for NYLON’s September issue, create a zine, learn how to brunch like a New Yorker, attend Her Conference and meet some of my best friends.

Coming to New York, I didn’t really have any of my close friends embarking on this adventure with me; but as I’m leaving, I’ve made friendships with some of the most creative, empowered and driven people I’ve ever met. As electrifying as this city is, it’s the people that make it what it is. Every day I felt encouraged to better myself because of my inspiring supervisors, coworkers and classmates.

So, here is my love letter to New York. Thank you for helping shape me into the woman that I’ve always dreamed of becoming. And here’s to my final semester at Kent State: spending it with best friends, creating an incredible issue of A Magazine and living in the moment.

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Empowered women empower women: Her Conference 2017

Empowered women empower women. These words aren’t just a phrase but words to live by. I’ve been lucky enough to have some incredible women in my life, both personal and professional, who have shaped me into the woman I am today. With so much negativity in society, these words are even more powerful and absolutely essential than ever before.

This past weekend, I was honored to be invited to attend Her Conference 2017 in sponsorship with Brit + Co. If you’re not familiar, they’re a media company who truly incorporates this into their foundation. With their platform, their goal is to inspire, educate and entertain women with a creative spirit through content, educational ventures and merchandise which promotes an innovative lifestyle. Founder Brit Morin, an ex- Googler and Apple alum, prides her company on driving the “maker movement”. The site is definitely worth checking out if you’re interested in creative career development, taking an online course or simply checking out their adorable new collab with Target.

One of the best parts of working in fashion media is all of the brilliant, strong women I’m surrounded by on a daily basis. You can truly feel the creativity in the air at any given day at the office. Her Conference put students face to face with some of those women who are leading the pack in the industry.

Her Conference hosted various panels throughout the weekend with mavens in senior level positions for “Navigating the Media Industry: How to Work Your Way Up” to those just getting their footing in “A Day in the Life: Entry-Level Editorial Positions” to other panels in social media, marketing, PR and social impact with the inspiring leaders of the Women’s March. The multitude of view points allowed for a well-rounded learning experience, no matter what your desired area of expertise may be. Each of these women personified that “empowered women empower women” spirit. As Lisa Sugar, keynote speaker and found of Pop Sugar, would say, “Work hard, play nice, and build your dream life.”

IMG_6142 IMG_6279 IMG_6137 IMG_6139 FullSizeRender 2This is a sponsored post in partnership with Brit + Co and Her Campus Media. All words and opinions are my own. 

The Truth Behind Trends

As trends come and go, many of us don’t take the time to think just how those trends came to be. Why are we suddenly buying anything and everything in millennial pink? And who decided that denim skirts from our middle school days are socially acceptable again? I briefly mentioned the notable forecasting firm, Doneger, in a previous article (click here to read!), but they are only one of many in the industry who have perfected the art of fashion forecasting.

It’s so much more than simply deciding “fringe is in this season”. Forecasting takes into account our society’s economic status, technological innovations, societal uproars as well as the art, music and fashion that we find beautiful and inspiring at that moment in time.

Every company from retail giants to fashion magazines to homeware brands practice the art of trend forecasting. Quite honestly, it could be considered the basis of the business operation. Companies analyze these macrotrends and apply them to their personal business models to fit their consumer. Without it, editors would not know what’s best to feature in fashion spreads and designers couldn’t produce pieces that are marketable.

Success in utilizing a forecast is in the analyzation and familiarity with your target market. They are called macrotrends for a reason; they’re broad. The key is to take these findings and transform them into something tangible. Every macrotrend can be interpreted in a thousand different ways depending on who this trend is being analyzed for. Do they take risks or do they like innovation in small doses? Are they looking for a comfortable or cutting edge wardrobe?

As an example, I took the recently released Doneger macrotrends for Autumn Winter 2018/2019 (Yes, you read that right. Fashion really does work that far in advance.) and condensed their extensive report into a simple concept mood board and street style inspiration board.

Origins: Say hello to nature for this season. Doneger describes this as “Medieval meets mountain living.” In this trend, you’ll find rich, earthy tones and dreary neutrals. Think thick fabrics, like wool, furs and a focus on sustainability.

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Revival: On the contrary to Origin’s Medieval essence, Revival is the new Renaissance. It’s the appreciation for art, beauty and innovation in a world that can seem so dark. Fashion romances with delicate and art inspired silhouettes as well as features intricacy in details. Revival-DonegerAW18

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Imperial: This trend is where luxury meets power. I can already picture the ultra-fierce women of New York strutting the streets in these bold tones, lavish fabrics and opulent prints. 
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Infusion: This trend quite honestly has a little bit of everything. Doneger literally uses “granny chic” to describe this trend’s whimsical florals and kitschy graphics. It is reminiscent on all things retro- but with a modern twist. This prediction also shows us the oversized silhouettes and bright colors of the 90’s and 80’s aren’t going anywhere.
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The Not-So-Glamourous Reality

Behind the glossy pages, billboards and fashion weeks, a darker reality lies beneath the glamourous exterior. It’s no surprise that back lash has resulted from years and years of abusing this illusion within the industry. These bad behaviors have led to the encouragement of eating disorders, sexual abuse and disregard of labor laws. Of course, it’s understandable that designers want to find a model that will portray their collection in the best light, but that’s no excuse for the consequences that have come of these actions.

Picture Me 516lr4gQfiLis an eye-opening documentary directed by Sara Ziff, a successful veteran model, and her boyfriend, Ole Schell. It starts out by explaining the basics of the industry and shows how Sara started her prosperous career at the age of 18. At first glance, Sara’s life is the epitome of glamour: jet setting to Paris, walking in shows like Chanel, seeing her billboards line the streets and cashing checks a size that some of us may never see in our lives. As time progresses and Sara meets more and more models, their struggles become more apparent. The documentary introduces us to models across the globe who have come face to face with this harsh reality of the modeling industry.

Since this documentary aired in 2009, there definitely have been improvements within the fashion industry as a whole. In 2015, Paris Fashion Week declared that all models must be of a healthy BMI to participate. Fashion weeks across the globe have slowly followed suit. There has also been an increase in diversity, especially in New York. This season of NYFW featured the most models of plus sizes, ages above 50 and transgender. Even 31.5% of models were of color. Designers, like Christian Siriano, Marc Jacobs and Brandon Maxwell, casted models in a variety of ethnicities, ages and sizes. Another trend setter has been Aerie. 56df40e41500002a000b16a1Their #AerieReal campaigns have received much positive recognition from consumers. They include models of all kinds without the use of retouching. Consumers were so adamant about these changes that Aerie saw a 20% increase in sales during its initial launch in 2015. These are feats in the right direction for the fashion industry, but they are only baby steps in the larger scheme.
Sara Ziff has also founded The Model Alliance to help combat these changes. As models do not have access to a union as other performers, such as actors with SAG, The Model Alliance was created as a volunteer-run advocacy group for American models. Their goal is to ensure long lasting change in labor standards, financial transparency, affordable health care and set an industry standard code of conduct. These changes will not only directly benefit the models but create more ethical work environment for all and set a better example to the many who admire the fashion industry. 
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The Finale of Fashion Month

One of my favorite aspects of fashion is the celebration of individuality. Even though forecasting firms, like Doneger and WGSN, have a large influence on the direction of fashion, each house makes the macrotrends their own. The excitement of waiting months for each designers’ interpretation of these trends is what keeps the industry constantly on its toes.

The trend that stuck out to me from Doneger was Resilience. It draws inspiration from geometric lines in architecture, powerful shapes and uses bold yet muted tones. This trend is culturally relevant to our society and was able to be carried across seas to shows in Paris.

Off-White’s Fall 2017 Ready to Wear collection featured Resilience with an influence of 1990’s streetwear. The collection included classic streetwear pieces like hoodies and denim jackets but added atypical silhouettes than what is normally seen on those garments. Sticking with the 90’s influence, dark hues and plaids were used throughout the collection. The unconventional take on the slightly overdone 90’s trend was extremely well-done.
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Chanel’s Fall 2017 show took us out of this world: literally. Instead of seeking inspiration from the past, Chanel channeled the same strong lines and muted tones as Off-White but in a futuristic fashion. The collection included muted tones with metallics and glittery lunar boots complemented by the house’s signature tweeds. This gave the collection a more glamourous appeal but still stayed cohesive with the upcoming macrotrend.
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The end of Paris Fashion Week concluded with Louis Vuitton’s show at the Louvre. Similar to Off-White and Chanel, Louis Vuitton used strong neutrals along with geometric based patterns. They also featured classic tweeds but complemented them with leathers, furs and thick knits. Louis Vuitton stayed true to season by adding a multitude of layers and turtlenecks throughout the looks. I also noticed inspiration from a variety of decades. The loose shift dresses were reminiscent of the 1920’s while shoulder pads and furs included 1980’s notions. Overall, the collection was wearable yet exposed daring details which set it apart.
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A Teen Vogue Weekend

I must admit, I am feeling like one lucky girl. It’s the craziest feeling seeing dreams that seemed so far off start to materialize in front of my eyes. They say hard work pays off, and it’s incredibly true. You can do anything you set your mind to.

I’ve been absolutely loving my time in New York thus far. Every day is a new adventure and new life lesson. Whether it’s a study tour trip to a trade show, taking notes on revolutions in fashion media or putting those skills to the test in my PR internship, I grow as an individual and a professional each day.

This weekend, I had the honor to immerse myself in the world of Teen Vogue for a unique learning experience of its own. My roommate and I attended the Teen Vogue x Urban Outfitters collaboration. The event was an ode to the magazine’s latest love issue. It was hosted by Teen Vogue’s Editor in Chief Elaine Welteroth and Cleo Wade. Both women are inspirations of their own kind that I could write pages upon pages on each. They talked about the importance of love in our society and the beauty of writing as a form of expression. Poets were invited to stage to express their thoughts on their distinctive ideas of love. It was an eye opening and inspiring evening.

I also had the opportunity to host a Teen Vogue event of my own. This past fall, I hosted a Teen Vogue x A Magazine event and was lucky enough to be asked by the Teen Vogue staff to host a round two for their Spring Refresh party. The amazing sponsors provided us with loads of products to sample, and we couldn’t get enough! The girls of Kent State’s NYC Studio were able to share in the fun as we brunched, discussed the future of fashion, and enjoyed the goodies from Teen Vogue.

It’s been such an honor being a part of the IT Girl family. Teen Vogue has held such a special place in my heart from growing up admiring the magazine, attending Teen Vogue Fashion University to watching the magazine grow to be such a driving force in media.

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NYFW Makes a Statement

New York Fashion Week is always about making a statement- but this season went past just a daring fashion choice. The fashion industry reaches nearly every person on the planet (well besides nudists), so why not use such a powerful platform for the greater good?

Designers and influencers took note of this for NYFW AW17 to make a statement to society: whether it was about human rights, feminism or diversity. This season was host to the most models of plus sizes, ages above 50, and transgender. Even 30.3% of the models were of color. The CFDA set the tone before the week started by giving away pins saying “Fashion Stands with Planned Parenthood” to industry leaders and attendees to provide support and education on the benefits of Planned Parenthood. Mara Hoffman even invited the leaders of the Women’s March to speak prior to her show.

As the week continued, designers used their platforms to spread positive messages in their own unique ways. Christian Siriano, Prabal Gurung, and Jonathan Simkhai still featured gorgeous garments as well as groundbreaking slogan tees. The influence of the 1970’s was still prevalent this season with the use of extravagant furs, bold colors and meticulous detailing. Christian Siriano and Prabal Gurung closed their shows with slogan tees that left a statement in the mind of the attendees. “People are People” was the stand out at Christian Siriano while Prabal Gurung had an array like “Revolution Has No Borders” and “I Am an Immigrant”. Jonathan Simkhai highlighted his beautiful designs on the runway, but attendees left with t-shirts that said “Feminist AF”.

Another common theme was drawn from patriotism. Designers like Coach, Calvin Klein and Marc Jacobs all drew inspiration from America. Coach and Marc Jacobs both channeled the old school, New York hip hop scene for their collections. Coach even took it a step further by combining influences of the wild west in the garments as well as using a prairie as the runway. Raf Simons utilized the classic red, white and blue for his runway debut for Calvin Klein. His statement was less obvious but still effective as he closed his show with David Bowie’s “This is Not America”.
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