Category Archives: Education

Fantastic Resource for the Business Side of Fashion: StitchLabs

Fashion design is a creative business. Obviously. The excitement lies in the sketching and the swatching and the showing, the launch parties and press spotlights….all the fun stuff. What they don’t tell you in fashion school (usually) is all the time you will spend with the not-so-sexy stuff; the costing, the fundraising, the logistics, the invoicing….

Owning a fashion brand is a business, through and through, and if you don’t spend just as much (if not more) time making sure all the numbers work, then you’re spinning your wheels.  Because you can’t run a business if you don’t make a profit. It just doesn’t work.

Sometimes, though rarely, it is possible to hire or contract out all the different experts you will need.  Most of the time it’s not. Penny pinching is the name of the game. So finding ways to make your life easier in this respect, is a must.

Stitchlabs is an inventory, order, and invoicing software that is created with the fashion designer and retailer in mind. It’s based on our niche business and really takes into account everything we face in our always changing and unique industry.

In their own words:

Stitch is built for small businesses that design, make, and sell products.  It’s an online tool to manage all your contacts, products, orders, expenses and files in one place, find them with ease, and never worry about losing anything again. Our online system allows multiple users to manage your business from anywhere in the world.

I had the pleasure of chatting with one of the guys behind Stitchlabs and it was really nice to hear a human (and young!) voice on the other end. This company is created by two guys and a girl who “get it”.  And by that I mean not only the fashion industry but also the techie, innovative side of things.

Running a business in 2011 (umm, 2012) is so different than it was 10  years ago.  Hell, 2 years ago. At the risk of sounding like a cheesy commercial, Stitchlabs saves you time, money, energy, and sanity….not to mention they are fully integrated with the Etsy and Shopify platforms; giving you more time to spend doing the fun stuff.

Check it out with a free 30 day trial and use the promo code STUF for an additional two weeks (total 45 days!) … Just to make sure you love it 😉

2nd Social Retail Summit StartUp FASHION Discount!

The 2nd Social Retail Summit is being held next Thursday, January 19th from 3pm to 10pm in Dumbo Spot Brooklyn.  Check out the website for alist of speakers and panelists.

Social Retail Summit

For those of you interested in attending, Social Retail Summit has been so kind as to offer StartUp FASHION readers a special discount. Through next Wednesday, StartUp FASHION readers receive 50% off admission.

Free Source4Style Online Textile Sourcing Seminar

Have you been thinking about becoming a member of Source4Style?  If you’re a designer utilizing (or considering utilizing) sustainable materials for your collections, you should definitely be checking them out.

Source4Style Textile Sourcing Seminar

If you’re on the fence or want to learn more, Source4Style is holding a free seminar on how to source on their platform; which has a great breadth of textile manufacturers from all over the world.

And with 30% off a Premium Membership for StartUp FASHION readers, it’s definitely worth a look!

Register here!

Fordham Law’s Fashion Law Institute

Fordham Law, based in New York City,  offers a service that you should all know about.  It’s called theFashion Law Institute, the world’s first fashion law center providing legal services for fashion designers. The institute also offers training for future fashion lawyers, and assistance on fashion related legal issues.

Fordham Law Fashion Law Institute

Started with support and advice from the  Council of Fashion Designers of America and its President Diane von Furstenberg, the Fashion Law Institute will focus on  intellectual property, business and finance,international trade and government regulation, and consumer culture and civil rights.

According to the website, “The Law School’s proximity to Manhattan’s Garment District will facilitate frequent interaction between the Fordham Law community and members of the fashion industry, including opportunities for internships at some of the world’s best-known fashion houses. Additionally, now that New York Fashion Week has moved to Lincoln Center’s Damrosch Park, fashion will literally be right outside the Law School’s front door.” Nice.

We were really excited to share this resource with you all because, frankly, this is something that you should without a doubt take advantage of. Reliable legal advice and services is absolutely imperative for any business venture but tend to be expensive and not always easy to come by.  Yes, there are places you can go to find pro brono help, but never have we seen easy access to law professionals who have a deep rooted understanding of the fashion industry and its unique issues an needs.

But don’t just take our word for it.  As a member of The Fashion Center’s Emerging Designer Group, we were treated to a review of the Fashion Law Institute’s services from a fellow member, the founder of FU e=fu8 Underwear, “I had my appointment on March 9th and it was absolutely amazing from beginning to end. [Fashion Law Institute] trys to have this once a month to help anyone in fashion with pro bono legal advice as it relates to the fashion industry…The Fordham attorneys were all very professional, enthusiastic and very helpful. Prior to my session they had already looked up my website; so they came to the meeting informed with some background research (which is half the battle). The attorneys were all exceptionally bright, knew their stuff and gave me very helpful advice. I had a very productive 45 minute session with them and would recommend it to anyone who needs fashion related legal advice.

Well there you have it; a fantastic resource for fashion designers and other fashion industry professionals has launched in New York and, it seems, is everything it claims to be: helpful, useful, necessary, and pro bono!

Contact Fashion Law Institute:
Professor Susan Scafidi
Fordham University School of Law
140 West 62nd Street
New York, NY 10023
fashion@law.fordham.edu

Social Discovery Meets Social Commerce on Fancy

Today’s world of e-commerce, social commerce and social discovery platforms has become blurred. There are many sites popping up every single day offering unique features that cater to a specific niche. As I always mention, we love this because it shows that there’s an increasing amount of opportunity to get exposure, market learnings, feedback and of course, sales from these start-ups.

Fancy

Our latest discovery is called Fancy. Simply put, it allows users to catalog items that they fancy. In the spirit of social discovery, you can peruse fashion, home, gadgets, art and many other categories. Fancy has piqued the interest of many well-known brands: Alexander McQueen, Anthropologie and J.Crew are listed on the site and drive consumers to theirs to make a purchase. Popular websites like Apartment Therapy and Cool Hunting have their own page too.

How it Works

When you register for Fancy, you get to choose people, brands and retailers that you would like to follow. My suggestion is to follow the people that are in your circle so you are on their radar and because you may eventually be able to connect with them.

Similar to Pinterest, instead of pinning, you get to “Fancy” an image that is shown in the shape of a popsicle and assign it to a board that you name. From here, you have the option to buy it from a retailer, sell it, or share it along with several other features.

If you’re a designer, brand, retailer or a consumer you can sign up for your own store and build your inventory accordingly. Transactions can be made within the site or through your own site as well.

How We See Fancy Helping Emerging Designers

Like many social sites, we see this as another avenue to promote your business and put yourself out there. Even if you haven’t launched your brand, you can still start to show people your brand voice and aesthetic. Whether you have your own store within Fancy or register as a user and upload photos, you can see the popularity of your own products. Perhaps you want to get feedback on a new style or color, Fancy acts as a way to get that consumer research.

At the same time, you get a chance to see what’s going on in the marketplace. You can see how many people Fancy an item and also see the origin, which can lead you to a retailer, fan or a person of interest.

Fancy seems to offer several different types of features that accommodate a variety of users. We think it’s worth checking out to see how Fancy can be an opportunity for your business.

Learn more at TheFancy.com

 

Sustainable Fashion: From Fiber to Fabulous!

F.I.T. puts on some great events.  I spent all day yesterday at theFrom Fiber to Fabulous!  Sustainable Fashion Seminarand what a treat it was. I met amazing sustainable designers,ethical fashion activists, writers,marketers, entrepreneurs,students, industry pros….all with a desire to educate and share what they know in the world of sustainability while at the same time being open to learn about and consider new ideas, techniques, and perspectives.  Yes, it was exactly as inspiring as it sounds, if not more so.

I don’t mean to disappoint, but this article isn’t going to highlight any of what I experienced.  Not because I’m not bubbling over with amazing tid bits, thoughts, ideas, resources, and inspiration but because I am bubbling over with amazing tid bits, thoughts, ideas, resources, and inspiration.  So much so that I can’t share any of it yet. Give a girl a minute to organize her thoughts.

I can tell you this though.  Yesterday’s event has inspired me, as editor-in-chief of StartUp FASHION, to give more “air time” to sustainable design and resources.  Don’t get me wrong, I have always had a passion for sustainable practices in design; having taken Ethical Design classes at FIT, created my own eco-conscious accessories, and worked to open others up to the concepts and ideas through my writing.  However, here on StartUp FASHION I didn’t want to alienate those designers who are not implementing sustainable practices, and therefore tried not to “over do it” or be too preachy.

Here’s the thing, three years ago someone told me that designers who do not embrace sustainable practices will left behind, and I’ve always believed that to be true.

As a brand you need to stand for something and it sure as hell better be something that makes the world a better place. 

I was so inspired by the passion and commitment of the people I met, so many of whom I’ve been connected to virtually but never had the pleasure of an actual meeting, that I am making it a rule to focus more on sustainable practices in our articles.  I don’t see this as any kind of shift, I just keep going back to the “being left behind” comment and realized that if StartUp FASHION is truly going to act as an in-depth and business-building resource, we must stress the importance of sustainability when building a fashion business.  So expect all kinds of great articles next week on aspects of this event and a continuing education for our readers, there after.

I’ll leave you with this quote from Nick Hahn of Hahn International, “Anything you can do to bring sustainability into the [fashion] industry, is a home run.”

Happy weekend!

Solve the Headache of Fashion Inventory Management with LightSpeed

One of the most daunting aspects of having your own fashion business is inventory and sales management. It’s a bit of  a headache really, the bigger your brand grows, the more stores you’re in, the more sales you’re making, the more confusing it gets.

LightSpeed Retail is a solution to this little conundrum. Brands use LightSpeed to manage their businesses and create engaging experiences for customers across all shopping channels because it provides an end-to-end retail management and point of sale system (POS) that reinvents the in-store and online shopping experience.

LightSpeed-Cloud

Using LightSpeed, retailers can power omni-channel sales environments (meaning all sales avenues from your own boutique to wholesale accounts, to online sales) with powerful but still easy-to-use inventory management, customer data, eCommerce and mobile checkout capabilities, all in one solution.

With 17,000 retailers, from boutique brands to large global brands, that average more than $400,000 in annual revenue, and processing $8 billion in transactions in 2013, they seem to know what they’re doing.

LightSpeed

LightSpeed is really designed to support the nuances, overhead and risks involved in running an inventory-centric fashion business.

Why should emerging designers check out LightSpeed?

  • You can easily look-up your inventory and quickly see which sizes and colors of an item are available, at all of your various retail locations
  • You can sell online and offline with same inventory; no confusion
  • You can generate reports and analytics, making it easy to see what’s selling (and who’s selling it) and which pieces from your collection are over or under-performing     

Head on over to the LightSpeed website and check out all that they have to offer.


Questions or inquiries?
Contact LightSpeed: info@lightspeedretail.com

Though LightSpeed commissioned us to share this cool resource with you, we never agree to write about anything we don’t think is really awesome. Promise.

3 Rules To Keep Search Traffic When You Redesign Your Website

Guest post by Erika Miller,  founder of ELM Consulting & Senior SEO Strategist at Adobe. 

Though I realize that this stuff isn’t always top of mind while you’re building your fashion brand, it’s extremely important information that will have a direct impact on the growth of your business.

There are essential rules you need to follow when you are redesigning and developing a website. If you are changing URLs, making a change from one blog to another, or expanding your e-commerce platform, this set of rules is a must-read to ensure you are prepared and do not lose your search engine traffic or keyword ranking.

These top three rules have been hand plucked from experience, not only coming from numerous missteps by my clients (before we met of course), but elaborated and confirmed by search industry experts and pros.

Here are the top 3 rules to know in order to keep search traffic after redesigning and launching a website:

Rule #1: Make Sure You Ask for 301 Redirects of all Old (Legacy) URLS to New Yummy URLs

Problem: This is the biggest misstep. Surprisingly developers are not thinking about what to do with your old website pages when you move to a new server, or launch a new set of category folders, such as changing “/designer dress” to “/designer-dresses”. If you launch a new URL, and your old URL still lives online (meaning you can pull it up in your browser), then you have a problem; often referred to as a 404 error. These errors cause a red flag in search engines, and often too many 404 errors can cause Google to stop crawling.

Solution: 404 errors can easily be resolved ahead of the launch if the developer, or even you, know to simply say “we need to redirect the old site to the new site; can you use 301 redirects for that?” of course a good developer does know what a 301 redirect is, and will be able to execute this, but often they are then left to decide where the old URL should redirect to. It is really best left to you to define the URL redirect path. We call this a “URL mapping.”

Why Google Likes It: When you relaunch a website, always tell your developer where you want the new pages to be, and then how the old pages should redirect. This not only solves the 404 problem, but also keeps the search traffic flowing, because a 301 redirect is a pathway to tell Google, and other search bots that “this page has moved” without disrupting their user experience.

Rule #2: Avoid Duplicate Content Caused by Out-of-the-Box Blogs and Some Ecommerce Platforms

Problem: Launching a website with pages that share the same content and different URLS, or different URLs and no content need to have a solution. If you are hosting a publishing site that syndicates content or you have an ecommerce platform like Magento, then listen up because this solution is for you.

Solution: Duplicate content can be resolved in several ways, depending on your website platform and goals. For example, if you are a publisher that syndicates 3rd party content, the best way to resolve duplicate content would be to use a rel=canonical tag. Here is a formal list of the best ways to resolve duplicate content on your new website:

  • To prevent a site from being penalized when sharing content that will or has been shared on many sites, the use of a rel=canonical tags should be applied. Using the tag in a page heading helps control the search engine crawl, letting the bot know the origin of the source – this technique works.
  • Using a META NOINDEX tag in the heading of a page will also prevent a search bot from indexing it – this allows for duplicate content to live but prevents it from harming the site.
  • If you’re using an out of the box platform, like WordPress or Magento (for ecommerce) you might want to ensure the developer configure less plug-ins than more, and be careful with product pages that share refinements

To prevent duplicate content, here is an SEO tip for e-commerce owners: not all refinements need a URL.
Tip for bloggers: tags should not be used outside of a fixed list.

Why Google Likes It: Google does not like duplicate content and any time you have duplicate content URLs they need to be resolved. Since there are several methods to fix this issue, listed above, Google and other search engines will not index your pages if they have duplicate content.

Rule #3: Be Practical Not Pretty; Choose Text Based Navigation Over Image Navigation

Problem: Many in the fashion space want to be pretty like ELLE, in the gloss. Although this is nice, it typically is not a web standard that is supported by all browsers, the hearing impaired, and growing mobile & tablet users. Having image based navigation or heavily Flash based web pages is pretty, but if  the business needs to keep web traffic coming and increasing after the relaunch, then you want to be practical and choose a text based design. Of course a good developer can always bring the two together, but that always in the budget.

Solution: Use text based navigation links. Nowadays so much can be done with CSS to design a template that has background images, or using HTML5 to make things float and style differently. The need for image navigation is nice when you are not interested in getting traffic from search, like Burberry, or Louis Vuitton, but for those of us without  22 million in advertising ever 6 months, it still matters.

Why Google Likes It: If Google can’t get to the deeper pages of your site because your pretty image navigation is a hindrance, then really your probably not going to get much new traffic, and the traffic you might have once earned, will slowly decline and others will start to outrank you; those Google finds prettier, and easier to read!

To connect with Erika Miller to learn more about how to keep your website traffic after a relaunch, please find me on Twitter @ELMConsulting. If you are interested in consulting on SEO best practices, check out my website at www.ELMConsulting.org

Relaunching Your Website? Check out Erika’s upcoming NYC training course at the Freestyle Fashion Conference covering, “Redesign Tips to Keep Your Search Traffic When You Relaunch.” She explores this exact topic is greater detail, so if you live in the area and are soon to relaunch your website, sign up today!

Study Fashion in the US

Do you dream of bringing your art and design to runways around the world? Do you strive to express yourself through modern design and unique, creative style? If so, then a career in the Fashion industry may be for you. A proper education can provide you with the skills you need to break in to this exciting industry. And don’t worry – no sewing is required for many fashion-related careers.

What study fields can help me pursue a career in fashion?

Fashion entails much more than just clothing. It is a multifaceted industry offering many exciting opportunities to express yourself. The following details the study programs and degrees that can put you on the path to a fulfilling career in fashion.Fashion is a hot study topic »

Fashion Design

Fashion Design requires a passionate, creative pupil. You learn the basics of form, color, material, and technique in order to develop your personal vision as you work towards creating clothing and styling concepts.

Looking for a school to study fashion design?

Known as the “fashion design powerhouse,”Parsons, The New School for Design is considered the best fashion design school in the US. With celebrity alumni including Donna Karan, Marc Jacobs, and Tom Ford, Parsons has proven to not only teach fashion design, but lead students into successful, rewarding careers as fashion designers. The Fashion Institute of Technology is another notable fashion design school, also located in New York.

Merchandising and Marketing

Fashion merchandising and marketing experts are the driving force behind fashion, popularity, and culture. Programs in this field focus on consumer and design trends, the lifecycle of fashion products, and the fashion business as a whole. These fields also include Retail Management, Fashion Buying, Public Relations, and Advertising.

Looking for a school to study fashion merchandising and marketing?

Parsons, The New School for Design ranks very high with their Fashion Marketing program. Kent State University in Ohio also offers a top Fashion Merchandising program, including study abroad opportunities in Paris and Milan, and a garment center studio in NYC.

Production Management

Production managers run the front lines of fashion. They design the processes and schedules to turn raw materials into textiles, to turn textiles into clothing, to get clothing into retail stores, so that you can purchase and wear the latest trends that you see in magazines, movies, and on television. Managers in this fashion field find the most efficient ways to produce quality products at the lowest cost. This has many profound economic implications and is correlated directly with many current hot topics, like sustainability and green manufacturing and technology.

Looking for a Production Management Degree?

The Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City offers a Production Management degree that will help you master the product development process, and get you at the center of US fashion.

Production managers run the front lines of fashion. They design the processes and schedules to turn raw materials into textiles, to turn textiles into clothing, to get clothing into retail stores, so that you can purchase and wear the latest trends that you see in magazines, movies, and on television. Managers in this fashion field find the most efficient ways to produce quality products at the lowest cost. This has many profound economic implications and is correlated directly with many current hot topics, like sustainability and green manufacturing and technology.

If you are fascinated with the way fashion is made from start to finish, you should consider studying Production Management.

Visual Presentation and Styling

Are you creative? Theatrical? Visual presentation and styling is an important aspect of fashion that many forget to consider. Exhibits, fashion shows, showrooms, store displays and windows are three-dimensional environments that bring fashion to life for audiences and consumers. Stylists work with advertisers, photographers, and directors to make clothing and models look good by researching inspiration, editing fabrics and silhouettes, arranging accessories, hair and makeup, and even music. Stylists have direct creative influence on the products they are presenting.

Want to study Visual Presentation and Styling?

The Academy of Art University in San Francisco offers a Masters of Fine Arts Degree in Visual Development. Plenty of graduate and undergraduate programs around the US offer programs that will leave you equipped with a portfolio of work that will enhance your professional opportunities in this exciting fashion field.

How can I apply to a US fashion school?

While schools around the US can be very different, there are certain requirements that international students can expect when applying to study fashion in the US. For example, Parsons, The New School for Design requires the following:

English Language Requirements

Non-native speakers are required to submit TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) orIELTS (International English Language Testing System) results. The minimum TOEFL and IELTS score requirements for degree programs at Parsons are as follows:

Applicant’s Desired Degree TOEFL Score IELTS Score
Bachelor’s degree (BBA, BFA, BS) 92 7.0
Dual-degree (BA/BFA) 100 7.0
Associate’s degree (AAS) 79 6.5
Master’s degree (MA, MArch, MFA, MS) 92 7.0

International Transcripts

Applicants who are interested in transferring academic credits from non-US institutions must have their transcripts evaluated by credential evaluators such as World Education Services, or by another member of the National Association of Credit Evaluation Services.

Visas

International students are, of course, required to apply for an I-20 or DS-2019 to obtain a visa that will allow you to study fashion in the US. Instructions for applying for this visa can be found here:http://www.internationalstudent.com/immigration/

Fashion is an exciting career and the US has many great schools to choose from. Don’t miss your opportunity!