Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Black Friday Madness 2010

Did you go out for Black Friday?  Find any amazing deals?  I have never been out in the middle of the night for black friday.  This year I got so excited while designing this festive Black Friday ad (see above) that I decided to get out there and see what this black friday business was all about.

After cooking Thanksgiving dinner I took a disco nap, followed by a few cups of coffee then headed out the door.  We drove to the Niagara Falls Outlet Mall.  There were surprisingly a lot of people on the road.  Once we arrived I was astonished the parking lot was packed solid.  We had to park in a parking lot across the road and proceed to run across the street to the shopping center. Canadians love coming to this shopping center too so it was extra crowded.  There were police on patrol at the entrance.  We luckily missed some riff raff that occurred moments before our arrival.  We entered the shopping center around 12:15 ad it was jam packed.  Any store that had a huge line outside the door (like Coach, Juicy Couture, Bath & Body Works) we quickly walked by it.  We went to stores that weren't as crowded.  The environment was stuffy and hot because there were SO many people.  I bought a few items from Ann Taylor and Brooks Brothers as Christmas gifts.

I'm happy I went and saw the spectacle of people.  The items I purchased were smart, not impulse buys.  I can see how people may over shop in environments like this - you begin to feel irritable, tired, and hungry, but you tell yourself, "i'm here so i might as well buy something".  You become like a hungry animal in search of a great sale.  I bought some excellent quality items at decent prices (I'd rather spend more for good quality than buy cheap clothes for $5 a piece).  We left around 3:00 am and I began to feel sick from lack of sleep.  Next year, I think I'll sleep in and if I need something I'll order it online.


Monday, November 29, 2010

Make Thanksgiving a Part of Every Day

Happy Thanksgiving from Rice Rafferty!  I have so many things to be thankful for this year.  We hope everyone had a safe and happy holiday. This four day weekend was action packed.  I cooked the Thanksgiving dinner for five people and I went with an organic, free range turkey (mmm mmm worth every dollar).  The more I make Thanksgiving dinner the easier it gets. 

Throughout Thanksgiving day I switched between making dinner and creating more accessories!  We're getting ready for our holiday sale at Chatham University in Pittsburgh, PA.  Dec 4 - Woodland Road, Mellon building 1st floor, between 1-4pm.  Pittsburgh is our hometown so we always enjoy going back for a visit.  We have designed new handmade headbands, bib necklaces, and earrings.  The bib necklaces now come on a board for easy hanging or wear if you dare.  WARNING:  When you wear a Rice Rafferty accessory you will get noticed. 

Our accessories are completely one of a kind - made from up cycled materials, hand dyed, and designed for you with love.  Hope to see you there!  If you can't make it you can contact us directly or visit the Pittsburgh Center for the Arts or Burchfield Penney Museum gift shop.


Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Rice Rafferty Accessories November 2010 Photo Shoot

Our Rice Rafferty photo shoot with the photographer Jessica Elizabeth was amazing.  It was a magical day.  Our fashion stylist Liz Szeluga found inspiration from the JCrew 2010 Lookbook, Marc Jacobs Spring 2011, Alexander McQueen 2010, Ecco Eco, and Confetti System.  Liz was my right hand person helping with hair ideas, makeup, inventory, organization, and style ideas. We decided to go with a blood orange matte lipstick - Revlon, and natural looking eyes with minimal makeup.  We wanted the look to have a vintage flare with a modern twist to work with our accessories.  Rice Rafferty accessories are inspired by dancer/ballet clothing, old hollywood glam, and current influences. 

The day started off with a flat tire and my makeup artist who sadly canceled (because her son was sick) and ended with magic.  The photo shoot was a complete success and that's what happens when you have a hard working, creative, and passionate team.  Liz Szeluga and I started the day by getting everyone's makeup ready.  Once everyone had the uniform blood orange lips we were ready for hair.  For the hair I wanted a soft, romantic look.  Carolyn Holmes Harbison, a hair stylist and makeup artist, came prepped with every hair styling and makeup tool one could imagine.  Carolyn's hairstyles included a soft braided up-do, a bun, long soft curls with braids pulled to one side, and soft curls with bangs framing the models face beautifully.  Carolyn nailed the look!

One by one we got models prepped and they were ready to accessorize.  Liz helped me dress and style the models.  It was a great time intuitively coming up with color combinations and deciding which scarf with which necklace or hair piece.  One of my favorite looks was the lace on lace.  I also love the combination of the bib necklace and a devore scarf.  Rice rafferty accessories are so interchangeable.  We brought hand dyed devore scarves, long and short tutu with fiber optic lights, hand stitched bib necklaces, and headbands with feathers and up cycled jewelry.  Most of our looks were wedding and dance inspired. 

Our photographer Jessica Elizabeth has an eye for accessories and fashion.  I knew she would be the perfect photographer for this shoot.  Jessica photographed from so many interesting angles which really helped make the accessories the focal point.  Our models all brought something unique to their photos - Bri - bright innocent modern yet vintage look, Tina - was regal and mysterious,  Laura - brought a sexy look and flexible ballet moves, and Christian - was confident and glamorous.

Rice Rafferty is a company for women by women.  As our company grows we are giving back to our community.  We print our business cards and marketing materials locally in Buffalo, NY.  We buy our materials locally and work with local photographers, models, and stylists.  Thank you to everyone who made it a magical day!  We can't wait for the next fashion photo shoot!

Visit us at www.ricerafferty.com

Friday, November 19, 2010

Shoe of the Moment

The shoe trends for Winter 2010-2011 are very high or pancake flat shoes.  Above is my favorite trend right now - the hidden platform high heel.  This is perfect for us shorter girls because it gives the illusion of height.  UGGs are still very popular - now in new colors, looks, and styles.

BCBGirls Parade Platform Pump - pick from a variety of colors and textures.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Mood Fabrics from Project Runway

Mood Fabrics was so inspirational!  As many of you may know Mood Fabrics is the fabric shop on the hit television show Project Runway.  Mood is located in Manhattan, fashion district.  The store is two floors full of luxurious fabrics and trims.  I felt like a kid in a candy store.  My favorite part was meeting Denise, a worker there, who was also a textile design major at FIT (Fashion Institute of Technology).

We discussed our education, backgrounds, and interests.  Denise told me about her experience working as a temp at Express.  She felt it was a little too corporate for her.  I appreciated her honesty.  One of the most important things when beginning your career is to know about YOURSELF and what kind of environment you can really thrive in.

She told me about Amy Butler textiles which I love!  Amy Butler's designs are Midwest Chic.  She uses a beautiful color palette and exquisite designs full of rich hand painted textures.  If you live in Buffalo, NY you can purchase the fabrics on Elmwood Ave at Elmwood Village Fabrics (which was featured at the Mass Appeal Fashion Show 2010 in the wearable art segment).  Elmwood Village Fabrics is a great place to go for inspiration if you're feeling stuck on your next project. http://www.elmwoodvillagefabrics.com/home.html

Visiting Mood Fabrics reminded me of my old days at the University at Buffalo hanging out in the costume/theater closets drawing shoes, hats, and accessories.  I found such peace surrounded by these fashion items.  Do you ever have those aha! moments (as Oprah calls them)?  Those moments when everything in the world starts to make sense?  That's how I feel when my graphic design, marketing, and fashion background all come together.  Every little experience adds to where you will go and what you will be.

In our studio
Right now at Rice Rafferty we're preparing items for our holiday sale at Chatham University (Chatham College) in Pittsburgh, PA.  We're also getting ready for an upcoming fashion photo shoot - more details soon.  I'm also planning a trip to Toronto soon to investigate their fashion district and report back.  Does anyone have recommendations on where to go?  I also want to check out their shoe museum!

And Yes, the above textile is designed by me.  I hand painted flower motifs and created a repeat pattern.   You can also learn how to do this by taking a textile design class at Buffalo State College, which is one of the best in the United States for fashion.  The class is taught by the head of the fashion department Professor Elaine Polvinen.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

The FIT Museum Luxury Collection

What is luxury to you?  Egyptian cotton sheets?  A manicure?  A $400 pair of shoes?  A couture gown?  Luxury changes with the eye of the beholder and with the times.  Above are some of my picks of Etsy luxury for 2011 from www.etsy.com.  The items range in price from $90 -340.  The shops are Ouma, Myrakim, Gimmenicole, and Ashesandempires.

Since I was a young girl I would dream of visiting the FIT campus and years later I finally got to see it.  I remember reading an article about the Fashion Merchandiser for the TV show Buffy the Vampire Slayer back in 1998 which lead to my research of FIT.  I thought wow what a cool job!  I want to do something like that!  The FIT Museum is a fascinating place to visit.  Everyone from fashionistas to historians will enjoy it.  I love seeing the evolution of fashion throughout the years.

The collection we went to see was about Luxury.  Coco Chanel once said simplicity does not mean poverty.  Her goal was to bring high fashion to every woman's life.  Coco saw the value in the less is more philosophy.  She placed emphasis on luxury and minimalism.   There are many degrees of luxury.  Lavish fabrics, trimmings and embroidery.  It is thought we live by and for luxury.  Luxury tends to show class distinctions. 

Fashion, like most things tends to repeat itself and go through cycles.  Fashion is influenced by the economy, politics, technology, and environmental concerns.  The collection at the FIT Museum emphasized that luxurious things can often be the most simple.  This was my first time seeing the authentic dresses and women's dress suits by Coco Chanel.  Some of the items I remember most were the Chanel dresses and flapper 1920s dresses.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Mass Appeal Fashion Show 2010 Review

Mass Appeal is a fashion show to benefit the Elmwood Village of Buffalo, NY inspired by Project Runway.  It's Buffalo's Fashion Week!  Buffalo, NY has become fashion central.  Buffalo is in close proximity to Toronto, Niagara Falls, and the Finger Lakes bringing in multicultural influences to a creative hardworking community.  Buffalo State College offers one of the best fashion programs in the United States, so it's no wonder Buffalo is now fashion mecca.

The fashion show included local shops and designers.  The event was sponsored by Sorrento Cheese.  Some of the shops included were Half & Half, Anna Grace, Splash Panic, and Anatomy. The designers were Morgen Love, Clementiny, Atelier, Holly Hue Clothing, Aella, among others.

The overall trends from the fashion show were recycling and up cycling (which we strongly support through our Rice Rafferty accessory designs).  There was also an idea of extremes - casual street wear to dressy couture gowns.  High waist dresses, lace gloves, empire waists dresses, big belts, fur coats, and lots of big jewelry.  Old style Hollywood glamor is making a huge comeback.  We're a society deprived of formal dressing and we now crave it (at least I know i do).  I'm always looking for an excuse to dress up.

The show opened with boys in t shirts and jeans with painted faces and holding baseball bats.  Next up my favorite, couture gowns, wearable art, tattooed men wearing g strings and the show ended with a circus performance.  It was really quite a show!  The wearable art segment was my favorite.  Inspired by Project Runway, artists made dresses to represent local shops using the materials from that shop - materials used were books, egg cartons, jewelry boxes, and garbage bags.

After the show I headed to The Chocolate Bar to celebrate my best friend's birthday.  We enjoyed white chocolate martinis, brie cheese, crab cakes, and a chocolate volcano.  Overall it was a very decedent and glamorous evening.  Marie Antoinette would have approved.

Kristen and I after the fashion show.  I'm wearing the Rice Rafferty Celebration Bib Statement Necklace!  www.ricerafferty.com

Friday, November 5, 2010

The Color Association of the United States

Color has the ability to set the mood.  Color can entice hunger, cause relaxation, and even create anxiety.  Color has proven to be the number one way to drive performance and create a positive impact for a company.

The Color Association of the US was founded in 1915.  The association delivers color forecasting knowledge to many industries throughout the world.  Its headquarters in New York City began with the specialty of fashion - specifically textile manufacturers; items like hats, gloves, and hosiery.

While I was visiting the office, we were told of the Childrenswear trend for Spring 2009 - Summer of Love - clothing and accessories receive a 1960s influence with faded pastels and worn fabrics.  As you've seen the 1970s trend soon followed with earthy tones, avocado green, brown, orange, vegetable colors (this has become such a huge trend because of new eco friendly mindset).

Trends in color are spurred by people wanting change.  People get tired of the same colors after a few years.  What colors are you sick of right now?  I've tried to minimize black in my wardrobe and I've turned to gray as my new favorite neutral.

The color trends for men in 2009 were deep red, navy, brown, gray - cotton tweed fabrics - casual every day - down to earth look.  Menswear tends to stay in this earth tone realm because men love earth tones.  To look for the hottest trends look at street wear - what are the young kids wearing?  Also look to NYC - Soho, Lower East Side, Tribeca, and the Meat Packing District.  I see a huge contrast between casual dressing to very dressy and sophisticated.  Recent fashion revivals of the 80s and 60s have influenced everything from leggings, jeans, long over sized blouses, thicker belts, to chunky heels.  Women's fashions have the most color stories aka colorways.

Green is emerging right now and will slowly become more accepted.  Organic cotton is huge with the organic food, fruits, vegetables, cereals movement.  As places like Whole Foods becomes more accepted this changes all other markets as well.  Organic cotton is cotton that hasn't had pesticides so the fabric has a grainy, off tone look.  Colors for 2009 - rock crystal and vegetable gardens.  What has been growing in your garden?  These are the hot colors of today!  Fashion is about mindset.  Political, social, and economic concerns heavily shape and influence fashion.

What are some intimidating colors?  I picture navy, charcoal, black.  I took a social psych class in college where we discussed how certain sports uniform color were banned because they were too intimidating looking.  That's why the basic black became so popular.  It was a quick, simple way to give yourself a sophisticated look in the work place and be taken seriously.

The Color Association of the US has a committee that chooses the color trends.  They get inspiration from museums, travel, moods, streets, and politics.  As Coco Chanel once said, "Fashion is not something that exists in dresses only. Fashion is in the sky, in the street, fashion has to do with ideas, the way we live, what is happening."  Go outside today and see what speaks to you.  Have a very creative day!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

The Donegar Group

The next stop on our fashion trip was The Donegar Group, a fashion trend company founded in 1946.  The environment was pristine, very corporate and professional.  Our fashions today are a mix of yesterday and today.  To prove this point.  Check out the list of trends from Autumn 2008 and how relevant these trends still are today.  It takes awhile for trends to reach the general public - it's a trickle down process.  At first glance we typically reject trends, but the more we see the trends we begin to accept them.  For example, I was always anti UGG boots and after 6 years of seeing these boots EVERYWHERE I began to wonder - how great are these boots?  Two weeks ago i tried on a pair of Uggs for the first time and damn, they're pretty comfortable!

Womens trends - striped blazer, cargo pants, striped top, double breasted jacket, bubble skirt, navy blue, piping or banding on skirt, knit tops, turtlenecks knit tops. 

Mens trends - more polished and dressed up. V-neck argyle sweater, Mr. Rogers sweater (this is fun because i'm from Pittsburgh, the home of Mr. Rogers Neighborhood), peace scarves, military pins

Childrenswear trends - Catholic school look - tie backwards, shirt out - rebellious catholic school look (Gossip Girl totally worked this look)

Color - lots of black & gray, red added to basic black outfit, bat wings, red pants, navy and black combination, eyelet, rich jewel tones - amethyst/purple, rich colors - magenta, fuchsia with black, brights and neutral.  Greens against bronws - green leather. (i see this as an influence on the peacock trend now)

Issues and Objects & Desires
texture, long furs, feathers savage chic
new fabrics - plastic resin
luxe pink - pyrania studs on jeans, belts, earrings (now it's zippers on purses, wallets, belts, etc)
metal objects - metallic
Art Deco & Bauhaus - drop waist, color blocking
Art Deco accessories - hats, jewels
lumberjack plaids
denim - wide and skinny
white - all year
ankle zips, twisted seams
layering - adjusting to weather
cap sleeves, salt and pepper jacket
menswear trend - boyfriend cardigan, boyfriend pant
celebrating in style - pleats and ruffles, tuxedo jackets and shirts
the 70s - Farrah Fawcett hair flip, t shirts, bow blouses
kids - hippie style

Statement Makers
sleevless/short cut sleeves with gloves, driving gloves, berets, satin footwear, clutches are larger. Feminized oxford shoes, scarves go much larger

The biggest trend since the economy tanked is investment dressing - reinvested classics.

New retailers - Luella, Twenty&Twelve, Jack Wills University Outfitters, fabulously British clothing (new competition for Abercrombie because it's more polished and sophisticated.  I really dig it!) http://www.jackwills.com


Wednesday, November 3, 2010

For Your Baby, Trust Fund Baby

Have you ever heard of Trust Fund Baby?  The hip, little shop opened in 2004.  Trust Fund Baby specializes in childrenswear.  Many celebrities buy clothing from Trust Fund Baby for their little ones.  The store is decorated like a really cool apartment.  Very homey.

Trust Fund Baby designs and manufactures.  Items are manufactured in Hong Kong, Turkey, and Italy.  They have shop locations in NYC (239 Elizabeth St. NYC 10012) and Atlantic City (The Pier at Caesars).  No advertising.  They rely on word of mouth.

The owner's background is in wholesales, sourcing, and merchandising for Armani.  She dropped out of school after 6 months.  She started off faxing for people, buying them coffee, and worked her way up.

The owner said when she interviews people she asks about their culture and family.  Interesting approach, right?  Like her clothes, her business is about the people and it makes sense to create a team of like minded employees who have similar values in family and the celebration of our differences and similaries.

KEY TO SUCCESS FROM TRUST FUND BABY OWNER - Work back.  See where you want to be, then see what you need to work there.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

The Concrete Jungle

In Autumn 2008, I took a jetblue flight to NYC with fellow Buffalo State College fashion students.  We toured the hottest fashion companies and museums in Manhattan - Trust Fund Baby, The Donegar Group, The Color Association of the US, The FIT (Fashion Institute of Technology) Museum, Mood Fabric, WWD, Vivienne Tam, Design Tex, Target, and Diane Von Furstenberg.

We ran around Manhattan 3 days straight up early and to bed late.  It was a really interesting experience being able to see inside the companies, behind the scenes at their store fronts, touring fashion museums, and running around the fashion district.  Any time a rack of clothes was sitting nearby my heart would skip a beat.  We saw everything from the hottest most expensive trends to the clothing vendors down on the streets and in vans selling a knock off Prada for $20. 

Some highlights:
-When we were visiting WWD, Ricky Lizalde, Project Runway Season 4 contestant, happened to be there so he came in to talk to our group. He was dropping off some dresses.
- While drooling over the fabric at Mood I was talking with a worker there, also a fashion student, about how much i love textiles.  She recommended Amy Butler and Ms. Butler's designs have been my favorite ever since.

My fascination at the time was textile design...little did I know I'd be working at a fashion trend book company, art directing photo shoots at a kitchen appliance company, and starting my own cottage industry, rice rafferty couture accessories.  The more we go out there in the world and try various jobs, and meet people we learn where we fit.  Every experience is valuable whether we see it or not.

I'll be posting a separate post about each company I visited soon, so I can give you a more in depth description of each experience.  I loved going to each place and observing the vibe - like when you go on interviews and you think "I can see myself here." It's funny how the congestion on the streets of Manhattan, aka the concrete jungle, give me flashbacks of the tall towering trees from Lake Tahoe.  Both are completely different - one serene, one hectic, but both give a similar vibe.  :)