Sunday, December 28, 2008

Don't forget to send a nice note!

There is nothing better than opening presents on Christmas morning with your family. I love watching my little sisters expressions as they tear off the wrapping paper and freak out when they realize they got exactly what they wanted (spoiled brats!)

This Christmas send a sweet thank you card to let friends and family know how much you appreciate their gifts. Handwritten cards are somewhat of a lost art form and that makes me like them even better! PLUS, it’s always nice to get something other than bills in the mail. Right?

Undies & Outies on Queen Anne has an entire selection of adorable cards that offer the perfect way to send a note of gratitude. Or better yet, check out Luxe Paperie, an online boutique that carries a variety of novelty cards including an entire selection of cards by Natalie Eden, a Seattle-based designer,

If your New Year’s resolution is to “go green” save a stamp and send an e-card instead- just make sure you write a thoughtful note!

New Year Fashion Resolutions

2008 flew by… I got engaged, the economy collapsed, and we elected Barack Obama as our 44th President! In terms of fashion, 2008 was marked by an emergence of the green fashion movement as designers continue to redefine what is means to “go green”. Black and grey dominated color stories of fall fashion while pop colors like magenta and blood orange attempted to lift the solemn mood.

The New Year is an opportunity to redefine your personal style and make resolutions for every aspect of your life including your relationships and your wardrobe.

You know the drill. Get rid of those old, ugly workout shoes. Freshen up your hair with playful satin headbands from American Apparel and of course, swap out those winter boots for a pair of seductive stilettos.

My fashion resolution for 2009 is to wear more color. I’ve been mourning the state of our current economy by wearing entirely too much black so my goal will be to incorporate more color into my wardrobe through all means necessary (handbags, head bands, shoes, dresses, tights, accessories).

Here are some of the resolutions my girlfriends are focusing on in 2009:

“When i lived in New York, I lived in 3" heels... I miss the click-clack as I walked down the street... the height that somehow lengthened my monstrous calfs... the uncomfortable, yet satisfying pain of knowing you've spent a day in complete and utter misery... because your shoes demanded the sacrifice.... and paid for it with one secret glance in a window as you walked by..... because they deserved the looks... because they were THAT special....My New Year's Fashion Resolution is that, despite the fact that the majority of Seattleites live in NorthFace gear - it should not (and WILL NOT) oppress my desire to wear f-ing adorable footwear!!!! -Nikki

“My resolution is to focus on me, and really take in what 2008 offered me, and run with it. I also want to purchase a pair of Manolo Blahniks.”- Daisha

“My fashion resolution is to wear more classic pieces." -Marina

“My fashion resolution is to save money and work with what i got. Maybe make my clothes with fabric laying around!” -Jenny

“My fashion resolution is to wear more lingerie. I love the way the silky, soft fabrics feel on my skin. It makes me feel sexy and feminine. And, of course... the husband doesn't mind. It's freezing right now, but the second the weather warms up a bit, I'm wearing more silk.”- Jessica

“I plan to add more stilettos to my shoe collection. I have basic heels that are plain boring and I want to spice it up a bit. I used to be so savvy about shoes but since I work so much I tend to buy basic heels that will pretty much be comfortable to wear everyday and go with many of my work outfits. 2009 will be my year to show off my playful side.” - Grace

"Fashion resolution? Oh god! How long should it be? LOL...I guess it will be to wear matching lingerie under all my outfits and to make sure to wear my CFM boots more often!"

"My resolution is to take more time to accessorize!!! And buy a great handbag."

"In 2009 I want to focus on a nice workout wardrobe. Thank goodness Victoria Secret is investing in designing workout gear for those of us who want to be comfortable and look fabulous!"

Friday, December 19, 2008

Fast Fashion is not a Trend

The concept of “fast fashion” is buzzing throughout the fashion industry. Retailers are changing their business models to take part in it, and consumers are breaking their loyalties to companies who don’t carry it. It’s undeniable that the speed to market approach results in retailers enjoying a higher profit margin because of the simple fact that they are capitalizing on fashion that their competitors either don’t carry or don’t have in stores yet. Fast Fashion is a topic that will continue to define the Fashion Industry over the next decade because it’s span spreads over a variety of areas within the fashion industry and will have a direct effect on the way consumer’s shop and react to trends in the future.

Although it’s a relatively new concept for many consumers, Fast Fashion has been around for years. In 1999 American Vogue Editor Anna Wintour sent a personal letter to all major international designers notifying them that photographs taken at their recent runway shows would be appearing on This move was seen as a “demystification” of the fashion process and the catwalk then became a public arena. The Internet began to make it possible for the average consumer to gain access to runway shows that had previously been conducted behind closed doors. In the words of David Wolfe, one of the leading trend correspondents at The Donegar Group in New York, “The hunger for “instant gratification” on the part of some fashion-aware consumers led companies such as Zara and H&M to steamline their methods of production to rush copies and interpretations of runway items into their store faster than ever before”.
This meant that instead of waiting 4-6 months from concept to delivery, companies like H&M were able to rapidly react to runway trends and put new product into stores within 2-3 weeks.

It’s undeniable that fashion trends are peaking faster than ever before. The rise and fall of fashion trends comes and goes in the blink of an eye and even consumers attempting to keep up have a hard time keeping pace. Marketing firms depend on selling consumers on the idea of ‘Here Today, Gone Tomorrow’ via Limited Edition Collections and low quantity production runs of special items that encourage them to visit the stores more frequently. Fast Fashion creates excitement in a store and it separates one storefront from another as consumers stroll down the mall. Under the “fast fashion” model, product life cycles are much shorter, meaning that customers see a constant turnover of a store's clothing assortment. Retailers who carry fast fashion collect higher margin profits from the sale of their fast fashion merchandise because they are able to sell through it so rapidly that it skips the entire markdown process altogether. After the merchandise sells through the company then has more money to do it all over again. They key for retailers is the “speed to market” approach that comes through vertical integration throughout the supply chain in order to achieve greater flexibility to market changes. Companies are also addressing the speed to market approach by setting up design offices and distribution centers in the countries they are producing in. Developing counties like Bangladesh depend on the fast fashion business model to survive. In fact, nearly 80% of Bangladesh's foreign earnings are derived from the garment industry. Although it could be said that companies take advantage of cheap labor and production costs in countries like Bangladesh, it should also be said that the citizens of Bangladesh benefit from fast fashion by having stable employment through the creation of jobs in the industry.

Fast Fashion has been a great way for retailers to keep pace with their customers need for rapid self-editing. Consumers have always showcased their social commentary through their choice of personal dress by making style statements with pop culture t-shirts, fashion forward accessories or even a head to toe “look” styled after their favorite celebrity. Annamma Joy, a Professor at Hong Kong Polytechnic University’s Institute of Textile and Clothing thinks that fast fashion sufficiently caters to the needs of postmodern consumers. “Fast fashion allows personal editing of not just the wardrobe but also personality,” says Joy, “In the US for example, consumers have “closet consultants” who help them throw away clothes that no longer reflect their lives”. Fast Fashion provides consumers with the freedom to be themselves through instant style editing while allowing businesses to cash in on the transformation.

The “speed to market” approach in the Fashion Industry doesn’t come without red flags from Environmentalists who can easily identify the concerns and issues regarding the sustainability of the fast fashion movement. Fast fashion is regarded by conservative consumers as “wasteful’ because rather than buying one high quality item to satisfy a wardrobe need, consumers are buying multiples that are lower quality and then throwing out old items just as quickly as they are bringing in new ones. In fact, many Consumers report that the fast fashion apparel they are purchasing is actually cheaper to buy than to wash because they would rather dry clean it than risk putting it through their own washing machines and compromising the garment integrity. This trend is a sharp contrast to the rest of the pop culture trends that exist today including the Green Movement and the concept of Sustainability.

Fast Fashion just might be one of the only things in the Fashion Industry that is here to stay. Consumers love instant gratification and companies will go to great lengths to provide it. Meanwhile, the Internet will continue to drive the fast fashion trend and solicit consumer interest in fashion hot off the runway, while the excitement of fresh new fashion will be a focal point in storefronts as they attempt to differentiate themselves from their competition. Fashion will continue to follow the evolution of consumers who are constantly changing, growing and editing not only their values and personalities but also their wardrobes.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Rocco E Dante Christmas Handbag Sale!

A great wardrobe always starts with style staples. For women this includes a great outfit paired with stylish shoes and of course, a fabulous handbag. You should never underestimate the power of a great bag because it’s the one item that can truly pull your entire look together. Tara, from Rocco E Dante handbags knows this concept very well and on December 19th, 20th and 21st she’s offering her bags for up to 60% off their normal retail prices. This is an amazing steal you won’t find anywhere else and of course, it’s only on Queen Anne at Rocco’s boutique tucked away at 812 5th Ave. North (just a few blocks up from 5th and Mercer). Doors will be open from 12 noon until 8pm for 3 days only. Pencil this into your agenda- you won’t want to miss out on a sale like this!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Shop in the City and Save This Weekend!

Seattle City Stimulus

A few months ago I wrote a paper on retailer consolidations. At the time, the economy was on the brink of a major recession and Macy’s had just announced they were closing their buying office in Seattle. More than 750 employees were laid off (including some fellow classmates who graduated with me from The Art Institute of Seattle). As the retail industry continues to consolidate itself consumers are left with fewer choices and centralized buying offices begin to control more territory than ever before. The hardest hit retailers are the small independent boutiques because they generally have less room to deeply discount their prices and they don’t have multiple locations to help balance out the hardships of a tough retail climate. I’m a huge advocate for Seattle’s boutiques and small businesses because I’ve worked closely with many of them over the past five years while working on Fashion First ( These businesses are the heart and soul of our city and without them the fashion choices in the city would consist of big box stores and mall-based chain retailers.

You can support some of Seattle’s best small businesses this weekend by shopping with a "City Stimulus Card" available at:
It’s totally free to sign up and all you need to do is log on to the website and sign up with your name and email address to get a shopping pass that will get you discounts all over the city- just in time for all your weekend shopping!

The pass is good December 4-7th and I highlighted a few of the noteworthy deals and discounts below:

Thursday 12/4
Belltown Bistro- Half off all bottles of wine (excluding champagne)
Havana- Free cover and happy hour all night
Palace Kitchen- Free wings with the purchase of a cocktail (Keeping it Classy!)
Suite 410- Happy Hour All Night

Friday 12/5
Dahlia Lounge- 50% off your lunch tab
Boat Street Café- 15% off your bill
Matt’s in the market- Free appetizer with the purchase of any entrée
The Saint- Happy Hour All Night

Saturday 12/6 (Everything listed below is valid all weekend long Saturday & Sunday!)
Baby & Co- 30% Off
Clutch- 20-50% off select regular price items
Café Vita- Free 8 oz. drip coffee all day! (Capitol Hill location only)
Sway & Cake- The first 50 customers receive a free gift bag with purchase
Snowboard Connection- 20% off Streetwear
Goods- 20% off everything except shoe release
Tulip- 25% off all purchases

Sunday 12/7 (Everything listed below is valid all weekend long Saturday & Sunday!)
Kuhlman- 10-25% off select items
Retail Therapy- Buy 3 items and get a 4th of equal or lesser value free
Snowboard Connection- 15% off outerwear
Goods- Free red Goods new era cap with purchases of $50 or more
Polite Society- Various deals throughout the store

For a full list of participating locations check out