Consumer Research to Create a Niche Market Line Creating a niche fashion line to accommodate the maternity outerwear market by analyzing the consumer, competition, and trends. Maternity wear is a missed market for stylish clothing during pregnancy and this is a time when fit and comfort is most important. Psychographics Reference Groups and Motivation- Mothers who are going through pregnancy still look to celebrities for fashion advice because their style doesn’t change once they become pregnant. 2 Celebrities have made it fashionable to be pregnant, and are looking fantastic while doing it.3 Nearly a third of women use celebrities as idea-generators for clothing purchases.1 Fifty-five percent of women also cite fiber content as an important aspect of their purchase decision.1 Personality and Life Stage- While pregnant, many working women have a problem being taken seriously at work due to the lack of stylish casual and workplace clothing.2 Today’s expectant mother, age 25-34, is a bit older than what was typically seen in the past, she knows what she wants, and how to treat herself well.3 Activities and Attitudes Most pregnant women, ages 24-35 spend their free time taking care of their family as well as working a full-time job.2 They are in search for the perfect combination of fit, comfort, and sophistication.1 Demographics My target market includes pregnant women from ages 23-35, whom are either single mothers or married. These mothers-to-be have graduated college, are settled down, and enjoy their lifestyles as a stay-at-home mother or working mother. 1 41% of mothers are employed outside the home.1
Market Survey All three of my interviewees were married by the time they were 28, had full-time jobs, and already had their first child by the time they were 30. Besides working a full-time job they all spent most of their time with their families, cooking, cleaning and doing laundry. On average these women spent around 5 hours a week watching television, but this consists mostly of children shows and the news, not primetime television. All of the mothers agreed that comfort over style was a necessity, as well as any garment made out of cotton with a classic look. They all enjoy wearing neutrals such as cream, black, white, and grey because these colors are versatile and go with everything. Since all three of these Interviewees had similar responses to my questionnaire it is easy to focus in on a target market for pregnant women who are looking for outerwear. Obviously, I have to use fabric that is easy to wash, comfortable, and in some sort of neutral shade. The price point they would be willing to buy at has to be between $50-$75 dollars because anything more is too expensive since they won’t be wearing their maternity clothes for a long period of time. I also realized that instead of focusing on fashionable, cutting-edge designs, I need to incorporate more classic styles so that they are able to wear for their next pregnancy as well. Color Story 2 “My favorite outfit has to be jeans with a cami or a little fancier top” – Interviewee 3 Sophisticated Gray Classic Black Growing Green Expecting Midnight Warming Red Cuddle Camel Brown Concluding from the research completed and the inspiration of my line, this cool color scheme brings the essence of change and comfort to the line. From the classic black to the fashion prints, the fabrics bring a chic touch to basic colors.
Pre-Eighteenth Century Historic Costume The history of dress can influence aspects of contemporary dress by looking back at their use of accessories, apparel, and footwear to express their feelings of patriotism, wealth, economic stance, or any other expression of self. Comprehending the differences in dress throughout various time periods enables one to understand the influences that exist in contemporary dress and reflect the events of the time period. This analysis also reveals that designers are often inspired by or incorporate aspects of historical dress. 4 3 Standing Lace Ruff In the 1600’s a neck collar became a separate piece of costume separate from the shirt. The “ruff” is often made of lace, very wide, and stiffly starched to keep it standing on end. This characteristic in dress became one of the most distinguishing features of costume during the second half of the 16th century and well into the 17th century for depicting wealth and status. This Chanel dress on the left from their 2010 Spring Ready-to-wear line resembles the color story and ruff from this 1600’s “Portrait of a Young Lady”by Marcus Gheeraerts.
6 5 Doric-Peplos The Doric-Peplos was worn in 550 B.C., during the Archaic period by women. This garment was usually worn to the ankles with a close fit to the body and typically fastened with a large straight pin at the shoulders. The picture on the left is from Marchesa’s 2010 resort line. The contemporary version on the left is shorter than what was typically worn in 500 B.C. but the decorative trimmings and the shoulder manipulation are the alike. The reason dress was draped this way in 500 B.C. was because of the construction of fabric; since there were no seams women would drape one , extremely long, piece of fabric around their bodies to create this fashion and stay cool in warm weather.
Post-Eighteenth Century Historic Costume 9 7 10 8 Regency Spencer Jacket The Spencer jacket was first adopted in the 1800’s from a popular men’s version in 1790. It was worn both indoors and outdoors and for eveningwear and was usually made of silk or a wool material known as kerseymere.Spencers stayed in fashion for about 20 years whilst the waistline remained high with the empire gowns. A gothic and military overtone was also used as decorative work on this type of dress. When the waist slowly began its drop on dresses so did the waist of the Spencer. These contemporary versions on the left are most likely made of wool or a similar type of suiting depending on the season and are still sold in department stores in many different fabrics and styles.
11 13 11 14 12 Bishop Sleeves During the mid 1800’s most sleeves were set low and off the shoulder. The bishop sleeve was made with a row of vertical pleats at the shoulder that released into a soft, full sleeve gathered to a fitted cuff at the wrist. This type of dress was popular from around 1830 to 1840. The contemporary versions of the bishop sleeve are seen typically on shirts and blouses rather than gowns as they were in the past. They are usually made from light weight fabric to show a more fitted drape and are not as dramatic as the sleeves that were worn in the 1830’s.
Cultural Perspectives in Contemporary Dress Identifying and analyzing fashion from different societies can create an appreciation for one another’s cultural differences. Inspiration can come from diverse music, art, literature, and beliefs which can globalize the trends of a culture by inspiring fashion designers and one another’s culture. Bangles 15 16 The traditional bangles worn in India have influences contemporary fashion in America. Bangles, which can be made from glass, wood, plastic, or different metals, have significance to the Indian culture in many ways, where as Americans merely wear the bracelets as a trend. Dating back to 2500-1750 B.C., bangles were worn to symbolize marriage in the Indian culture. Both styles of bangles can be worn in different ways, made of different materials, and convey different meanings in respect to ones culture. For example, in America bangles would be worn to accessorize an outfit, where as in India women wear bangles of silver, gold, or copper to symbolize matrimony. Women may also wear multicolored plastic or glass bangles for festivals.15
Japanese Kimono 17 18 During the Heian period between 794-1192 the Japanese kimono was first adapted. The kimono is useful due to its construction because the garment can fit all body types and it appropriate for all kinds of weather. In Japan, wearing the kimono in different colors can symbolize the season, age, gender, or status of a person. Today in Japan the kimono is only worn for special occasions such as weddings, funerals, and tea ceremonies. The contemporary version on the left is an American style of the kimono that has been inspiration of blouses and wrap dresses. Both of these garments in the pictures above have similar aesthetic appeal, color, and shape but the intricate detail in fabric is more traditional in the Japanese style, where the appliqué is modernized on the left. Many contemporary designs are aware of the traditional silhouette of the Japanese kimono since it is so versatile in fit for different women's body shape.16
Identifying Practical Issues Related to Antibacterial Fibers The developments in fabrics for practical uses can have a beneficiary purpose for the environment, health, or personal use. It is important to expand the uses and growth of practical textiles as well as continue to ensure that these fabrics are helping more than hurting our surroundings. 19 Antibacterial fabric is usually used in active wear garments 20 Advantages of Antibacterial Fabric Developing antibacterial fabrics has the potential to expand new technologies to create more comfortable living atmospheres for the future. The notion is that this agent, usually blended with some sort of plastic or synthetic fiber, can prevent odors from staying with a garment after being washed, can neutralize germs, and can reduce the growth of harmful bacteria by 99.9%. The main use for this fabric would be in active wear because these garments are where bacteria and sweat build up the most. The antibacterial properties are permanent until worn away after a certain amount of washes and they are evenly distributed throughout the fiber because they are incorporated during polymer formation, so the drape and consistency of the actual fabric does not change or differentiate after each wash.17
21 Not all textile mills produce fabric in an environmentally healthy process. 22 Disadvantages of Antibacterial Fabric Although the notion of antibacterial fabric sounds like a good idea, there are many unseen disadvantages involved in the production of this product. For starters the testing tools and procedures for experimentation are costly and therefore increase the cost of textiles. Antimicrobial agents applied to fabric also do not last forever like the product claims. Especially if a dye is added to the textile, which in most cases it is, then the dye weakens the bonds between the fabric and the antibacterial agents. Also, not all anti-bacterial agents are recyclable or gentle to the environment and not all mills try to produce the finish in an environmentally friendly process. In many cases, chemicals are released into the air which in turn harm the environment and eventually harm us.18
Making Connections Between Entrepreneurship and Apparel Merchandising From making business plans to taking action, making connections are made continuously from various fields into one’s own concentration of choice. Elements from apparel merchandising can be tied into entrepreneurial ventures by bringing in the ideas and visual concepts of a boutique and then making a business plan to follow. Laying out the aesthetics of a boutique and then creating financial plans to bring the venture to life conveys your vision to possible investors that can help the success of your business. Creating a Prom Themed Boutique Designing a visual advertisement, logo, color story, and floor plan can help aid your vision to investors and entice customers to shop at your boutique as well. Besides involving the visual aspects of the boutique, it is just as important to project a mission statement, product s and services, demographics, pricing and interior and exterior planning to help further your endeavor. Mission Statement: To give our customers the best possible shopping experience by serving their every need and adding to the joy of their special occasion. The above picture includes a floor plan of Panache.
Preliminary Plans for a Prom Boutique. Target Market: High school girls on their way to prom. Of course Panache can serve other occasions too, where a girl is in the need of a fancy gown or party dress like birthday dinners, weddings, or any other occasion. The main objective is to create a store that is exclusive in many ways but still obtainable to the everyday young woman. Demographic Influences: Since the target customers are young women, it is important as an entrepreneur to examine the influences in their lives and incorporate those into our store. The media: television shows, movies, and the celebrities themselves have a substantial impact on teens. Many girls like to dress like their favorite celebrities and this is sure to affect the merchandise that will be sold in the boutique. Red carpet events— movie premieres or award shows— are great ways to see what the latest trends are. Runway shows can dictate what the best colors and designs are. Special Services: If the customer is looking for a more personal shopping experience then they are able to set up an appointment with one of our personal shoppers to make sure they find the perfect gown. However, we welcome walk-in appointments as well and our helpful employees are more than willing to cater to any shoppers needs. Panache also offers free alterations and if the gown is for a particular occasion such as prom, we can provide an exclusive service to ensure that no one else shopping at Panache will walk out with the same dress as you. Pricing: Thesebeautifulgowns can lend to everyone’s price range may that be as low as 75 dollars or as high as 700 dollars. This feeling of exclusiveness can appeal to many young women, and with a variety in prices and letting the customer know that no one else at the dance will be wearing the same dress is giving Panache an advantage over the rest. When a customer purchases a beautiful gown from Panache or they tell the other girls at prom where they bought it, the girls will be envious and automatically associate this boutique with luxurious and exclusive gowns. Interior and Exterior Planning: Panache should have a classy and clean looking interior and exterior. The location is in a small downtown area in the suburbs, where middle class to upper middle class young women who are in high school should be within reach. The exterior should present an upscale but quaint looksince we market for special occasions. Panache, which means dashing manner, style, and swagger, is exactly what should be conveyed. The interior should be bright and have a heavenly experience so when customers walk from the street into our store, they are taken back by the quaint and elegant feel.
Understanding Diverse Perspectives of Ethical Issues in the Field Why are runway models so thin? Discussing ethical dilemmas in the fashion industry allows one to take a stance and recognize the key issues that can help make a difference in the world as well as form an opinion and response to the matter. 23 24 25 The Fashion Industry’s Responsibility Toward Runway Models Year after year, arguments arise due to the extreme thinness of fashion models and the horrors of eating disorders that plague the industry. Although a small trend has kicked off with designers such as Miuccia Prada, Marc Jacobs, and Louis Vuitton booking and sending curvy, healthier models down the runway, the 15 year old trend of skeletal models still continues. After several deaths in 2006 due to anorexia have impacted the industry it has not changed the demand for teeny tiny framed models from designers. This season, 21 year- old top model Coco Rocha told The New York Times that she’s “not in demand anymore ” at several Fashion Week shows because, at a size four, she is considered too big! The New York Daily News quotes Steven Kolb, executive director of the Council of Fashion Designers of America, as saying, ”Fashion shows are fantasy … and to be a model you have to be thin to begin with. There are healthy models that genetically have thin body structures. So [thin models] will always be on the runway.” However, strangely designers samples which used to be size four, are now size zero.8
Taking Action to Encourage a Healthy Lifestyle Currently, the size four model is the latest victim of fashion’s irresponsible, superficial demand that young women, some barely into their teens, must meet a certain criteria. Recently in the New York Times it was reported that the Council of Fashion Designers of America held a symposium where designers, models and editors discussed raising the “sample size,” which is at a size zero, to an industry standard of a size four for runway and magazine photo shoots. Designers and agents alike know that they’re setting the bar for slender too high, but haven’t contributed to fixing the problem. It is apparent that the fashion industry has a responsibility to support models that promote healthy notions of what is beautiful because they owe this not only to the runway models, but to the men and woman who aspire to be the “perfect” body image. In an effort to promote healthy body image, the French fashion industry has passed a charter of good conduct regarding the use of models in promoting healthy body size. The agreement, supported and signed by the French minister of health, recommends the fashion industry to promote “diversity in the representation of the body, avoiding all forms of stereotyping that can favor the creation of an aesthetic archetype [ideal body image] that is potentially dangerous to [youth]”. Those members of the fashion industry who signed the charter also are pledging to participate in preventative actions that would discourage idealization of unhealthy body sizes and also plan to increase public awareness about the “risks linked to extreme thinness.”Other countries have begun to address the weight of top models in the fashion industry. Spain and Milan, for instance, has banned from fashion shows models with BMI’s (Body Mass Indexes) less than 18.5. The World Health Organization and other health agencies classify a healthy BMI as 18.5-24.9. Although, these are steps in the right direction, the industry as a whole needs to gain awareness and change the desire for thin models with the “perfect” body image.9
I want to show people that they can express their personalities through style while being comfortable and gaining their self confidence. Working with people on a day to day basis and being able to express creativity through dress is my dream job. I want to help people feel better about themselves and be able to create a connection with every person I meet. I would like to be able to combine my passion for merchandising, design, and business into one area of work. Besides expressing my creativity in the apparel industry I enjoy relating with people and taking the lead in any project. My design philosophy is rooted in conservative elegance. I want to create garments that bring out the graceful flow and fragile state of a woman’s essence. Through the manipulation of fabric, appliqué, and conservative patterns my designs will bring out the beauty of polished grace in a woman’s walk and character. My designs will give women the feeling of swanky superiority and elegance to capture the attention of observers and women the confidence to capture a room and feel comfortable in their own skin. I want women to feel beautiful without being too revealing and draw the attention of others by their confidence and poise. Women who wear my designs will feel empowered and desirable as soon as they walk into an event.
Store Management, Sales, and Visual Merchandising Internship with The Buckle Gaining industry experience at The Buckle has allowed me to experience the responsibilities that are required to be a store manager as well as contribute on the sales team and head the visual merchandising of a retail store. Through my internship at Buckle I have been able to experience what a manager deals with on a day to day basis, gain leadership responsibilities on the floor, and improve my visual merchandising skills. Our mission at The Buckle is to create the most enjoyable shopping experience possible for our guests by creating a fulfilling learning environment for our teammates. What this means is not only do we carry great denim, brand name and private label apparel, accessories, footwear, and outerwear, we also help the guest find the best product that will make it easy for them to express their individuality through fashion and look great at the same time. Through constant education on product knowledge, learning how to cater to every guest, and supporting each other on the floor we are able to make the best experience for our shoppers and build guest loyalty through our distinguished customer service. Week 1: 8 Mannequin window with the special occasion and casual looks for fall.
Responsibilities: As I worked through my internship at Buckle I was given various responsibilities catering to my specific interests including being named as the visual merchandising manager, going through leadership certification, helping train new employees, and work on a specific department development. Every Monday the team leaders including my store manager Rachel, a leader in training Tague, an assistant in training Ashley, and I would review new education pieces to fill the teammates in on, expose areas we needed to work on as a store, and plan out the tasks for the week. This included recognizing areas in the store that needed to be reworked, finding areas to place new merchandise while going through weekly merchandising checklists, and reviewing the failures and successes in the past week in accordance with our goals. My job as a leader in training was to teach teammates the importance of handing out fit cards to every guest, informing people about our buckle charge, impacting teammate’s presentations, and changing out the store windows every Tuesday. Week 4: Mannequins with layering pieces for back to school fall fashions Objectives: My personal objectives in this internship were to be able to gain managerial, sales, and visual merchandising experience. Since I first started out at Buckle as a sales associate, I worked on gaining the respect of my teammates as a leader so that they felt comfortable coming to me with any problems they might have. I also enjoyed working on sales as well and being able to connect with the customer. The most enjoyable part of my job was being able to help our guest find the perfect product that they are excited to wear as soon as they get home. Another enjoyable part of my internship was being able to work on the twelve mannequins in the front of the store. There are the special occasion, casual, and west coast couples all involving 4 mannequins in each section that needed to be coordinated by product and color. The window displays were definitely the highlight of my whole week since I was able to be creative and pull outfits together easily based off of what guests are wearing in the store. I also enjoyed being able to meet the district manager a few times and learn about the business side of buckle involving buckle charge, last year’s sales compared to this year’s, and even percentages of product we were selling most in the store. Featured denim in the window to display our variety in washes and styles
References "REBIRTH OF MATERNITY - Clothing options for moms-to-be are getting better and better." Cotton Incorporated Building the Market for Cotton. 11 Sep. 2009 <http://www.cottoninc.com/lsmarticles/?articleID=301>. "REBIRTH OF MATERNITY - Clothing options for moms-to-be are getting better and better." Cotton Incorporated Building the Market for Cotton. 11 Sep. 2009 <http://www.cottoninc.com/lsmarticles/?articleID=301>. "From Here To Maternity - Fashionable Options Abound For Modern Moms-to-be." Cotton Incorporated Building the Market for Cotton. 15 Sep. 2009 <http://www.cottoninc.com/lsmarticles/?articleID=442>. "Bangles | New Delhi | Video Tour. Information on bangles - tradition, history, styles ." Guided Video Tours and Reviews of Travel Destinations Around the World . N.p., n.d. Web. 28 Feb. 2010. <http://www.geobeats.com/videoclips/india/new-delhi/bangles>. "kimono « Samurai Dave: The Roving Ronin Report." Samurai Dave: The Roving Ronin Report. N.p., n.d. Web. 28 Feb. 2010. <http://samuraidave.wordpress.com/category/kimono/>. Rodie, J. B. Warm, Dry And Odor-Free. Textile World v. 156 no. 3 (May/June 2006) p. 66 The stinkin' truth Andrea Gabbard. Sporting Goods Business. 2000. p. 8 (2 pages) Cochrane, K. (n.d.). Why are models still so thin? | Life and style | The Guardian . Latest news, comment and reviews from the Guardian | guardian.co.uk . Retrieved March 23, 2010, from http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/2010/mar/14/kira-cochrane-thin-models Whittington, J. (n.d.). Fashion Industry Taking Steps to Promote Healthy Body Image Among Women | Southlake Counseling. Southlake Counseling | (704) 896-7776 | Say YES to Life!. Retrieved March 23, 2010, from http://southlakecounseling.com/2009/10/01/fashion-industry-taking-steps-to-promote-healthy-body-image-among-women/