Category Archives: Webinars

Fashion and Sustainability Lecture – Mass College of Art and Design


he word sustainability has been thrown around a lot, especially in the fashion industry. So what does it actually mean? StartUp FASHION recently attended Jennifer Varekamp’s “Fashion and Sustainability” lecture at Massachusetts College of Art and Design and got a glimpse into what’s current in this popular design concept.

Freiderike Von Wedel-Parlow

Sustainability is considered a category, encompassing everything that helps the fashion industry thrive in a positive way. This includes upcycling, being green or eco-friendly, DIY, etc. These practices are steadily gaining popularity in the fashion industry, and with good reason.  As consumer demand rises, designers react.

Something else designers are considering is their “social fingerprint.” This is similar to a carbon footprint, but deals with ethics rather than the environment. It refers to a company’s social impact, including fair wages, good working conditions, and overall benefit to the community. All of these concepts are important for designers to consider during their creative practice.  And as time moves forward, we are realizing that more and more of them are.

Varekamp went on to introduce several innovative designers and companies for whom sustainability is the top priority:

Inti Knitwear

These aren’t grandma’s sweaters (they aren’t chain label sweaters either). Inti is very much it’s own label,  employing local seamstresses, knitters and craftspeople. Nothing is sourced.  Unlike most companies, this one’s objective is to downsize rather than expand as personal touch in the products is extremely important.

If that’s not enough, Inti donates the remaining garments from past collections as well as ones with minor defects to the ‘People in Need’ foundation. Not only is nothing wasted, the community benefits as well. The sweaters themselves are soft, beautiful works of art.

Hess Natur

Inspired by the birth of his son, Heinz Hess founded HessNatur in 1976. Hess believed in the pure and organic, and wanted to provide the baby with that lifestyle despite the lack of options at the time. His medium: clothing and textiles.

Hess initiated multiple organic cotton farming projects and began working with partners to produce organic linen, silk and wool. By 2002, HessNatur had also set the standard for humane labor conditions and 75% of production is now done locally in Europe. The collections themselves are stunning- and not just for babies.  There are men’s and women’s wear lines in addition to children’s, featuring  dresses, sweaters, and even organic chinos.

Freiderike Von Wedel-Parlow

Von Wedel-Parlow has taken the concept of “no waste” to the extreme with her latest collection, Project No1. The garments are created using the entirety of the fabric. The textiles are cut into strips, eliminating pattern scraps that would be otherwise thrown away. These strips are knit, sewn, looped and layered into pieces so chic the recycling aspect could seem secondary.

The fabrics themselves are organic materials, colored by hand with plant dyes that produce vibrant hues. A perfect combination of form and function, Von Wedel Parlow’s project is definitely pushing the future of fashion in the right direction.

At the end of the presentation, Varekamp remarked that in the future, the word sustainability should not even exist; that aspect of design should be a given. While we’re certainly not there yet, we are on our way and these talented designers are helping us get there.

NEW YORK: City Source Expo

Sorry for the late notice folks, but for those of you in the New York area, this Tuesday January 10th, FIT is hosting City Source, a local supplier showcase featuring over 50 local suppliers, including:

  • reps from pattern and sample shops
  • pleaters
  • embroidery shops
  • accessory manufacturers
  • printers
  • digital printers
  • And more!
According to FIT, ” This free expo will put you in contact with New York-based companies specializing in accessories, sportswear, knits and offering services such as pleating, sample and pattern making and grading. Over 50 companies will be in attendance to take orders and answer questions at this one-day expo that will show you just how important these local resources are to making the New York fashion industry thrive.”

When and Where?
Tuesday, January 10
10am to 5pm
Fashion Institute of Technology
The Great Hall
Enter on 28th Street (between 7th and 8th)

Register Here! It’s Free. :)

Learn to Create Your Website with Codecademy

One of the most difficult aspects of starting a new business is the inevitable onslaught of tasks and responsibilities that come your way paired with a limited budget for hiring help.  The key is to prioritize and decide which are the tasks that you can handle yourself and which are the tasks that you should hire someone to help with. Normally I would say that anything involving website creation and coding should be left to professionals (based on my complete lack of web design skills) but recently I heard about something called Codecademy, which could possibly make me change my tune.


A website is such an important part of your overall business and brand identity that I’m not sure if I would ever feel comfortable attempting to create one on my own.  However, from what we can tell, this tool seems pretty easy to use. It kind of reminds us of the Rosetta Stone for html language…only it’s free.

Overall, we think Codecademy is worth a try, especially if a small startup budget is something you’re working with.  Let us know how it works out for you.

Trend Forecasting Services for Emerging Designers

If a designer can get a good handle on what is going to sell in the coming season, they have gotten one step closer to building their brand. But with an emerging designer’s slim budget, it certainly may mean that using trend forecasting services is completely out of the question. However, it’s time to think again ladies and gents because there are so many ways to use trend forecasting services while staying in or under budget.

As many of you read in mylast article, I interviewed forecasting queen Wendy Bendoni of StyleLens and Design-Options. As Wendy  works for two of the biggest fashion forecasting companies, she had some great insight on the variety of resources that beginning designers can use to build and sell their brand. These resources includedtradeshows, lecturesbooks and stalking style blogs and different social media outlets.

To start, it is important to attend as many tradeshows and lectures as possible. Although we know that these tickets and attendance fees can get pretty pricey, many places such as the Cal Mart and Javits Center offer free lectures, festivals and shows. For example, this month the Javits has all kinds of events from the New York Green Festival to the Int’l Apparel Sourcing Show. These events are right on their website for you to check ticket fees, RSVP or just learn about what is going on next. The significance of networking is such a necessity in the fashion industry, making attending events for free even more essential.

In addition to popping up at all kinds of events, reading books is and educating yourself about all aspects of business is absolutely essential. When it comes to trend forecasting,  starting with books is a good way to go because it can help you learn the outlets you should target depending on what area of fashion you are working in. It will also give you the basic knowledge on what to look for when approaching blogs, street style, what is sellable or what to watch out for.

One of my personal favorites when it comes to keeping on top of trends is stalking your favorite social media outlets and blogs. Whether it’s Pinterest, your go-to style blogs, Instagram or LOOKBOOK, it is important that you stay up to date with what everyone is wearing and follow style icons or bloggers so you can learn their interests, lifestyle, hobbies, etc.

As each designer is different and has a different type of consumer, it is best to focus on maybe 3 or 4 different style bloggers that you feel would be the perfect customer. For example, some of my favorite style bloggers are Steffys Pros and Cons, Karlas Closet, Flashes of Style and Orchid Grey.

Also, when focusing on bloggers, once you’ve built your relationships,  consider doing things like product giveaways to see what the reaction of their followers is like because the bloggers followers are most likely your potential customers. do a little rowd sourcing.

With the dominance of Internet resources today, many trend forecasting companies have started public blogs where they post some of their latest projects and reports. Some companies who offer free information are StyleLens which has a 30 minute free pass to their entire website,WeConnectFashion which has opportunities to see past reports, trendstop which has a free trend blog andPolimoda which offers student services that are usually free or discounted.

These resources are for the most part what trend forecasting company’s focus on. So if you make the effort to utilize all of the amazing opportunities out there, you can become your own independent trend forecaster.

Fashion Collab, Marketing Workshop. Thank you!

StartUp FASHION would like to thank all the wonderful guests attended this week’s marketing workshop, Fashion Collab.  As well as all of the amazing women who donated their time and shared their knowledge and expertise so freely with the group.

The event was intimate and was a day filled with helpful information for all of us!

We covered topics like “Crafting your Brands Story“, “Social Media Do’s and Don’ts“, “DIY Public Relations“, “Selling in Stores vs. Selling Online“, “Smart Digital Content Creation“, and so much more.

What I loved about the event was how easily one topic lead into another, allowing us to go from “telling your story” to “how to deal with a local factory!”…we had a guideline for the day’s topics but we also went with the flow and embraced discussions on topics we hadn’t considered.

A special thanks to Angela Gilltrap, Melissa Hall, Inna Shamis Lapin, Jennifer Heal, Sue Di Meo, Tara St. James, Benish Shah, and Tuyet Tran for being so very helpful and inspiring!

Though we may not collaborate on another Fashion Collab event exactly, we as StartUp FASHION will continue to strive to bring you new and exciting events.  So be sure to sign up for our mailing list in order to stay up to date on what’s next!

Check out Facebook, for a few more pictures from this great event!


How To Make It As A Fashion Designer

Yesterday we had the pleasure of sitting in on a Wall Street Journal Spreecast with designers Rebecca Minkoff, Mara Hoffman, and Danielle Snyder of Dannijo.  It was an hour long question and answer segment that offered some notable insight for emerging  designers.

Key Take Aways from How To Make It As A Fashion Designer

  • Rebecca Minkoff attended only one semester of FIT, worked 3 years for Craig Taylor, then started her own business
  • Celebrity attention was a big part of the success for all three of these designers
  • Important skills other than technical: sales, bill collecting, event planning, finance, e-commerce, social media, blogging, understanding how to create your own language and voice for your brand.
  • Forget the glamour, focus on being business savvy.  Do every single part of your business in the beginning in order to learn.  Once your business is at the point for delegating, you will have a solid understanding of how the business runs from all aspects.
  • Get uncomfortable.  You will inevitably be in situations that take you out of your comfort zone.  That’s imperative in order to grow.
  • Social media is essential. Talk to your consumer and use social media as a way to be as close to your costumer as possible. Allow them to know you.
  • Give your brand a voice, a face, and a spirit.
  • How the designers first reached out to buyers: begging and pleading.  They  went store to store with a bag of their clothing, asking the buyer to give them just 5 minutes.  You must have the “nothing to lose” attitude. But find the balance between being annoying and effective.
  • Accept rejection and embarrassment.  You have to be fearless. This is not easy.
  • On finding the money to start their brands: focus on no or low overhead. No studio or office, use your apartment.  Plug every cent you make in the beginning into your company. Know that it will take a very long time to see profit, live like a “church mouse”.  After you start to get orders and show a track record, banks may offer lines of credit. (Mara Hoffman)
  • Dannijo combined a small family loan and their own savings for a total of forty thousand dollars. They worked on consignment in the beginning in order to get more stores. The best entrepreneurs understand how to be scrappy and prioritize where the money goes.  It’s scary and risky. 
  • Rebecca Minkoff had a personal savings of ten thousand dollars. Though she was not smart with her money, spending  $2,000 on a photo shoot and other things.  She eventually managed to get a family loan when she was at the point of not being able to pay her rent. To this day, the business remains thrifty.
  • On reaching magazine editors: search the mastheads, do your research, and just start emailing. Celebrity endorsement is important but so is editorial placement.
  • On hiring public relations firms: all three designers did everything themselves, along with interns, until they were profitable.
  • No showrooms, knocked on doors themselves in order to get new accounts.
  • How to determine what collaborations are right for your brand: the appreciate the brand’s values and they have a complimentary aesthetic. It’s easy to say yes to every opportunity but in the end it can hurt you.
  • Once you’re ready to hire help, find people who know the things you don’t (i.e. numbers person). Fill in your weaknesses.
  • No typical days. The job always changes.
  • Wear your stuff, start locally, get opinions, offer your collection to a boutique on consignment in order to collect market research.  This is an excellent way to get feedback and learn about your customer.
  • Over time, the goal is to build a brand DNA
  • Tough love: you have to be able to put your entire soul and other people’s souls into the business. You’re on call all of the time and you will  not see people for weeks on end, you will miss holidays. You need to have a very high level of focus.

Free Online Event: Developing and Producing Your Fashion Collection the Right Way

You’re invited to a FREE online Discussion and Q&A!

Developing and Producing Your Fashion Collection the Right Way

Join us for a discussion and Q&A with Liza Deyrmenjian, founder of Fashion Business Accelerator 360, as she covers must know information for starting your fashion collection.

You will learn:
– First steps to take in developing your line
– How much money you will realistically need
– How to speak the industry language
– How to develop a well-rounded collection

We’ll be offering this live video-based discussion on the Spreecast platform and we’re inviting you to submit your questions during the event for a chance to be answered live by Liza. It will be fun and informative.

Hope to see you there!

Register right here.

How to Make Your Fashion Images Shoppable with Stipple

Let’s be honest, it’s hard not to love Pinterest’s display of eye-catching images and the ability to follow the most recent creations of our favorite designers and inspirations all from one dashboard.  However, even though Pinterest is beginning to offer brands shoppable features, the real potential of the site as an e-commerce shopping platform has yet to be realized, which has been a bit frustrating for brands that are trying to justify the time spent on the platform….We all seem to get lost in that endless scroll of beautiful imagery.

How can emerging designers sell their products, capture new interest, and drive revenue all through the power of product images?

Stipple, which has been around for a few years now but seems to have improved over time, is an online and mobile app that allows brands to post images or videos of their products, along with product information, price, and a shoppable link. Calling themselves “the first in-line commerce solution based on images”, Stipple helps brands create revenue by enabling consumers to browse, compare, and ultimately purchase products in-line on social media or on popular websites.

How Does Stipple Work?

The Stipple shopping experience is entirely centered around your product image. Your interested customers can explore and buy your products without ever having to leave the product image that initially caught their attention on social media or in the awesome content that’s on your own website.

Considering how often ecommerce shoppers seem to get lost along the purchasing timeline, simplifying the process as much as possible is definitely important for you to keep in mind.

When the viewer rests his or her mouse on an image, a pop-up box will display the product name, the price, and a “shop” button that will send them directly to your site to make a purchase. And yes, you can make several products shoppable within one image.

Stipple Shoppable Images

Why You Might Want to Use Stipple

  • Integration with Social Media- your customers have the option to like or share your item via Facebook and Twitter. This means two things: you boost visibility for your brand across social media channels and potential new customers who run across these posts will then be able to shop your items directly from their Facebook Newsfeeds or Twitter Feeds.
  • User-Friendly and a Time-Saver- As an emerging designer with oversight of most everything happening at your brand, you already have your hands full.  Stipple will automatically tag your entire product feed for you, and connect the product information you provide to the appropriate images. You will however retain complete control over your brand’s photos and the information you would like to be associated (i.e. keywords and price), throughout the entire process.
  • Secure Payment-  Stipple operates in the front-end of the e-commerce process, connecting interested consumers to your website. From there, the actual purchasing and payment process takes place from your own site which also means more traffic in general to your site.

One of the great advantages to in-line e-commerce shopping tools is the importance they place on the product image. This is helpful for emerging designers who have not yet generated enough brand buzz to drive revenue solely on brand name or logo.

All designers are placed on an equal playing field when capturing interest and getting a consumer to click comes down to simply the appeal of a product image.

Note: According to Inc. Magazine, Stipple is “Free for social-media campaigns with up to 1,000 engagements, then $250 a month and up.”  But to be honest, we had a hard time finding that information on the Stipple website.

What to do think about this tool?  Positive or negatives that come to mind?

Important: New Google Updates Will Have a Major Effect on Your Fashion Business

Some recent news from Google about their Gmail functionality got us a little worked up; not just for the growth of our own business, but for the growth of yours.

We’re not sure if you’ve heard, but there are new Google updates that are rolling out  with new features that will automatically filter emails.

It seems that emails coming from businesses will be automatically sent to a special folder called “Promotions” instead of directly to inboxes.

Naturally, we thought about our newsletter subscribers (you guys!) and how we definitely want to make sure that you receive all the great content and opportunities that we share with you.

But beyond that, we thought about how you all are businesses too!  You probably have a mailing list through which you send sales, events, contests, blog posts, and more to your customers.  We’re sure that you don’t want to lose your audience simply because they’re not remembering to check their new “Promotions” folder.

What do the recent changes to Gmail mean for you and the growth of your business?

To Continue Receiving the StartUp FASHION Newsletter in Your Inbox

If you are a gmail user, you won’t see any emails from us unless you adjust your settings. Since Google is rolling this out slowly, you may not yet see the changes. But once you do see them, here’s what you should do…

Take one of our emails and drag it to the “Primary” tag. Then just click “Yes” when you get the alert.

If you prefer to completely remove the new tabs – head over to the Settings box in the upper right hand corner of your inbox and select “Settings.” Click on the “Inbox” tab and un-click all of the categories but “Primary”. Then hit save.

To Make Sure Your Customers Receive Your Brand Emails and Remain Customers!

Take the instructions we wrote above and send a email to your list!

Go ahead, copy them, we want you to use them!  Email marketing is such an important part of your brand awareness and sales growth that we want to make sure that you have the information and tools you need.

Changes like this creep up and the effects aren’t always immediately understood.  It’s tough to stay on top of everything that happens with all of the technology we depend on to run our businesses. It’s crazy, we know.

Now that you know how to make the adjustments, you should be all set.

Looking forward to staying connected!

Not on our mailing list yet? Whatcha waitin’ for? Sign up now for informative content, useful business tools and resources, and exciting emerging designer opportunities!

What Emerging Designers Can Learn From the New BoF 500

Just recently, the well-respected publication The Business of Fashion released it’s “BoF 500”, a collection of influential people working at the forefront of the fashion industry.

Based on the suggestions of BoF’s diverse and global community of followers, accompanied by months of extensive research by the BoF team, the index will no doubt  serve as a valuable resource for those already working within fashion and those just looking to break into the business.

The BoF 500 webpage is organized by three primary sections: “who they are”, “what they are doing”, and “how they break down”.

Within the first section, visitors can view any of the 500 individuals’ dedicated professional pages, which include a thorough biography, career timeline, and related articles.

This is also where emerging designers can watch videos of their favorite designers at work and hear them discuss their personal experiences and inspirations.

These professional pages also serve as great discovery tools for readers who are interested in general research and learning more about the industry, with the inclusion of recent news, related people, and links to a professional’s social media handles.

The “what they are doing” section highlights the digital and social media activity of the 500 professionals. In addition to a list of trending topics and popular hashtags, this portion of the site includes pictures and data for the most recent brand or designer social media mentions.

Emerging designers interested in learning how to generate their own buzz will be able to see how others within the industry are engaging with fans and followers.

The final section, as its name implies, breaks down the 500 by role and location. With this capability, visitors can easily filter the 500 and find specific information that will be the most valuable to them, whether it is digital marketing advice, e-commerce strategies, or design techniques.

Overall, the site promises to be helpful to emerging designers for both research and encouragement in the fast-paced and transforming industry.

If you stumble upon a professional’s page that is particularly insightful or inspirational, please share it with us and your fellow readers!