Three Ethical Retailers For Your Next Sustainable Fashion Purchase

Think of your most recent clothing purchase: do you know where it was manufactured, whether the people who made it were treated fairly, whether any animals were harmed or the environmental impact of its production?

Though most people couldn’t answer these questions, there’s an increasing proportion of consumers that are becoming conscious of what they’re buying.

Ethical spending now accounts for £81.3 billion of the UK retail market, according to Ethical Consumer, and KPMG’s latest annual retail survey noted that almost 20% of shoppers were drawn to retailers that they know ethically source their goods.

Although high street brand

Think of your most recent clothing purchase: do you know where it was manufactured, whether the people who made it were treated fairly, whether any animals were harmed or the environmental impact of its production?

Though most people couldn’t answer these questions, there’s an increasing proportion of consumers that are becoming conscious of what they’re buying.

Ethical spending now accounts for £81.3 billion of the UK retail market, according to Ethical Consumer, and KPMG’s latest annual retail survey noted that almost 20% of shoppers were drawn to retailers that they know ethically source their goods.

Although high street brands such as H&M and Zara have launched conscious lines, shoppers who are clued up on sustainability are growing frustrated with fast fashion brands who only dip into the ethical retail world.

Instead, these are three retailers who provide conscious consumers with a huge selection of clothes, accessories and more, all of which is produced ethically and sustainably.

Gather & See

Every ethical shopper is different: one might care more about the workers behind the products; another might be concerned about buying only environmentally-friendly items.

s such as H&M and Zara have launched conscious lines, shoppers who are clued up on sustainability are growing frustrated with fast fashion brands who only dip into the ethical retail world.

Instead, these are three retailers who provide conscious consumers with a huge selection of clothes, accessories and more, all of which is produced ethically and sustainably.

Gather & See

Every ethical shopper is different: one might care more about the workers behind the products; another might be concerned about buying only environmentally-friendly items.

[“source=forbes]

How Aussie jewellery entrepreneur Pinar Parry overcame horrific online abuse

Brisbane woman Pinar Parry was in a personal slump when she came up with the business idea that would turn her life around.

The mum was dealing with an ailing business and had put on weight due to stress several years ago.

“I went through a really hard time trying to grow my business and my whole life went to sh*t,” she told news.com.au.

“I wasn’t looking after myself, I put on weight, and I wasn’t living my best life.

“I started looking at what had gone wrong, and I was reading a lot of psychology books about how to find your passion and purpose. I learnt so many new ideas, and I thought it would be great to wear something to remind you to live your best life every day.”

And so the idea behind Delta and Co was born — a jewellery company which produces delicate bracelets engraved with straight-talking “truth bombs” and phrases designed to inspire the wearer.

It officially launched in January 2016 as a side hustle, while Mrs Parry was pregnant with her third child.

At that time, her husband Anthony was often away as a FIFO worker, and Mrs Parry struggled to juggle her hectic family life with her growing business.

Pinar Parry was targeted by online trolls after launching Delta and Co — but she ‘blasted back’. Picture: Instagram/@deltaandco

Pinar Parry was targeted by online trolls after launching Delta and Co — but she ‘blasted back’. Picture: Instagram/@deltaandcoSource:Instagram

For 12 months, Delta and Co products were sold at pop up stores and events but last November, Mrs Parry realised it was time to go “all in” and focus solely on the business.

Her husband quit his FIFO job and joined the company full-time, and they soon “started to find their stride” through Facebook ads.

But then the abuse began.

“I started running Facebook ads as a way of marketing and I noticed some comments on the ads saying I’d copied the quotes from another business,” the 39-year-old said.

“They started popping up every day and at the beginning I addressed them nicely and diplomatically, and then I started deleting them.

“But eventually I decided to address them full-on.”

In a post which soon went viral, Mrs Parry explained the business was “100 per cent original” and that its branding and quotes had been inspired by her own experiences.

“ … if you are going to let yourself be bullied by random people on the internet you won’t survive in business, or in life for very long,” Mrs Parry wrote in her viral post.

Mrs Parry eventually decided to ‘blast back’. Picture: Facebook

Mrs Parry eventually decided to ‘blast back’. Picture: FacebookSource:Facebook

“If you let yourself get pushed around and listen to every a**hole with a two-bit opinion about what you SHOULD or SHOULDN’T be doing, you are simply NOT going to make it.

“It’s your life and you need to defend your right to exist, to shine, to grow, fiercely. And no one is going to step in and do that for you, but you.”

The post soon attracted thousands of likes, comments and shares, with many Facebook users praising Mrs Parry for fighting back against trolls.

Mrs Parry posted her October sales figures on the Facebook group Like Minded B**ches Drinking Wine. Picture: Facebook

Mrs Parry posted her October sales figures on the Facebook group Like Minded B**ches Drinking Wine. Picture: FacebookSource:Facebook

“The story about haters trying to hurt my business resonated with people,” she said, noting the post had led to a big spike in sales.

“The haters f***ed up — it ended up turning things from lemons to lemonade because I spun it around and sold so many (bracelets) just by telling my authentic story.

“Being authentic about who you are really resonates, rather than just saying ‘buy my sh*t’ — that doesn’t work.”

[“source=cnbc”]

Fashion for a cause

Image result for Fashion for a cause

Maija Onzule models at the Fashion for a Cure event in Queenstown on Thursday night.

The fourth annual Queenstown Fashion for a Cure event was held at The Grille.

Hundreds of people packed in to the venue see the fashions.

The event supports Breast Cancer Cure, a charity that fundraises for research to find a cure for breast cancer.

Fashion for a Cure started in Auckland and has spread around the country.

Breast Cancer Cure general manager Phillipa Green said last year’s show in Queenstown raised a record $90,000.

This year’s event, hosted by Shane Cortese, featured fashion from top designers Trelise Cooper, Storm, RUBY, Zambesi and Kathryn Wilson Footwear.

[“source=forbes]

The Australian Jewellery Brand You Should Have On Your Radar This Summer

Classic and yet of-the-moment, The Silver Collective is the Australian jewellery brand you should get to know, stat. Lending summer wardrobes a hit of shine, the brand’s collection of super-cool—and surprisingly affordable—minimalist pieces will elevate both your off-duty looks (think denim cut-offs and linen button-up blouses) and after-hours style.

Headed by mother-and-daughter duo Maria and Anastasia Papazoglou, the brand specialises in versatile Sterling Silver jewellery that transcends seasons. A mix of classic elegance and contemporary flourishes, the designs balance timeless style with modern detailing—think of them as heirlooms you’ll want to wear now.

Launching from home under the brand name ICONIC-STYLE in 2015, the label has since been rebranded as The Silver Collective. After two years of online business, the start-up now operates both online and from their year-old Sydney boutique.

The Silver Collective’s wide-ranging jewellery collection includes ultra-fine necklaces and chokers (perfect for layering under beach coverups or metallic party dresses), sculptural earrings and stackable rings. Despite the brand’s love of clean lines and a pared-back aesthetic, each season is crafted with unique personality. One of the brand’s best-sellers—and one of our top picks—the Pella necklace is made from an ancient gold-plated coin. Distinct in shape, it’ll add an insouciant edge to any summer look.

[“source=forbes]

We compared online shopping at Costco and Boxed, the ‘Costco for millennials,’ and one had a clear advantage over the other

Costco Grocery

Costco’s website has a lot to offer, but it can be tricky to navigate.
  • Costco and Boxed are both bulk retailers that sell pretty much everything.
  • Boxed has been called the “Costco for millennials” because it’s an online-exclusive store with mobile ordering and speedy delivery. Costco also has an online store and mobile ordering, but its prices can be as much as 20% more there than in the physical warehouse stores.
  • Costco shoppers can shop online without a membership, but a 5% surcharge is applied at checkout.
  • The websites themselves have some obvious differences, and we found that one was much easier to use than the other.

Costco and Boxed – the so-called “Costco for millennials” – sell everything and anything in bulk.

Unlike Costco, Boxed is digitally native. It has mobile ordering and one-to-three-day delivery. It also offers free two-day shipping if you spend more than $49, and it doesn’t require a membership to make a purchase.

Costco has an online store in addition to its physical warehouses, but products across all categories tend to cost more online than in stores. Though the website allows shoppers to order from Costco without paying for a $60 annual membership, a 5% surcharge is applied at checkout. However, Costco has been taking some steps to reach more millennial shoppers, like offering two-day delivery through Costco Grocery and one-day delivery through a partnership with Instacart.

One of the most clear differences between Costco and Boxed is that Boxed members don’t need to pay an annual fee to access the savings. But the company did recently launch Boxed Up, a premium service that costs $49 a year and provides shoppers with perks like free shipping on orders over $20, 2% cashback rewards, and price matching with competitors.

Both websites offer major savings for bulk shoppers, but upon trying both, I found one was easier to use than the other. See what it’s like to shop at each:

Costco was the first site I went to. On the homepage were members-only savings deals, buyers’ picks, and a selection of different featured products in a variety of categories.

Costco was the first site I went to. On the homepage were members-only savings deals, buyers' picks, and a selection of different featured products in a variety of categories.

It was hugely different from the Boxed homepage, which was very simple and sleek. Scrolling down on the Boxed homepage, there were links leading to more information about bow Boxed gives back to different causes.

It was hugely different from the Boxed homepage, which was very simple and sleek. Scrolling down on the Boxed homepage, there were links leading to more information about bow Boxed gives back to different causes.

Costco had far more departments on its website, but it was cluttered and hard to navigate compared to Boxed.

Costco had far more departments on its website, but it was cluttered and hard to navigate compared to Boxed.

Boxed had a cleaner look. Though there weren’t quite as many categories, it was easy to find everything because the existing categories were pretty broad.

Boxed had a cleaner look. Though there weren't quite as many categories, it was easy to find everything because the existing categories were pretty broad.

The grocery page on Costco’s site, for example, is divided into 18 further categories such as pantry goods, packaged goods, snacks, and cookies. There were a ton of categories, but they were all very broad.

The grocery page on Costco's site, for example, is divided into 18 further categories such as pantry goods, packaged goods, snacks, and cookies. There were a ton of categories, but they were all very broad.

The Boxed grocery landing page is much more user-friendly. The homepage lists popular products, and on the lefthand side are categories like salty snacks, chocolate and candy, condiments and spices, and other more specific categories. Products can also be sorted by brand on both websites, and both offer two-day delivery.

The Boxed grocery landing page is much more user-friendly. The homepage lists popular products, and on the lefthand side are categories like salty snacks, chocolate and candy, condiments and spices, and other more specific categories. Products can also be sorted by brand on both websites, and both offer two-day delivery.

Comparing prices isn’t an exact science. For example, both sites sold Tide laundry detergent. Boxed sold a 150 oz. package for $19.99, and Costco sold a 200 oz. package for $28.99. The price was higher, but you were getting more for what you paid.

Comparing prices isn't an exact science. For example, both sites sold Tide laundry detergent. Boxed sold a 150 oz. package for $19.99, and Costco sold a 200 oz. package for $28.99. The price was higher, but you were getting more for what you paid.

Costco: 200 oz. for $28.99Boxed: 150 oz. for $19.99

As for the snacks, the prices seemed to be a little bit higher throughout Costco’s site.

As for the snacks, the prices seemed to be a little bit higher throughout Costco's site.

Costco’s private label, Kirkland Signature, was an exception to this. Boxed also has a private label, called Prince & Spring, but it was almost always more expensive than Kirkland Signature for identical products. A 27 oz. jar of almond butter from the brands’ respective private labels, for example, was $3 more expensive from Boxed than from Costco.

Costco's private label, Kirkland Signature, was an exception to this. Boxed also has a private label, called Prince & Spring, but it was almost always more expensive than Kirkland Signature for identical products. A 27 oz. jar of almond butter from the brands' respective private labels, for example, was $3 more expensive from Boxed than from Costco.

Costco: $8.79Boxed: $11.99

Both sites have a service for booking hotels, with prices typically starting around $100 a night. Costco had more luxury hotels that surpassed $700 a night, while the highest rates on Boxed were around $600. But Boxed was much easier to navigate than Costco — you couldn’t even see hotel prices on Costco without entering a membership number.

Both sites have a service for booking hotels, with prices typically starting around $100 a night. Costco had more luxury hotels that surpassed $700 a night, while the highest rates on Boxed were around $600. But Boxed was much easier to navigate than Costco — you couldn't even see hotel prices on Costco without entering a membership number.

In fact, nothing could be purchased from Costco’s website without a membership, unless you’re willing to pay a 5% surcharge on your purchase. A membership starts at $60 annually, with an executive membership costing $120 annually. The executive membership offers perks like 2% cash back on purchases.

In fact, nothing could be purchased from Costco's website without a membership, unless you're willing to pay a 5% surcharge on your purchase. A membership starts at $60 annually, with an executive membership costing $120 annually. The executive membership offers perks like 2% cash back on purchases.

The membership service at Boxed is optional. It’s structured similarly to Amazon Prime, offering free two-day shipping on orders over $20, price matching with competitors, and 2% cash back on purchases. It costs $49 annually.

The membership service at Boxed is optional. It's structured similarly to Amazon Prime, offering free two-day shipping on orders over $20, price matching with competitors, and 2% cash back on purchases. It costs $49 annually.

The shipping policies are also slightly different. Costco offers free two-day shipping for orders over $75 …

The shipping policies are also slightly different. Costco offers free two-day shipping for orders over $75 ...

… and Boxed offers free two-day shipping for orders over $49. With Boxed Up, shoppers only need to spend $20 for free two-day shipping. On Boxed, you don’t have to spend as much to get the perks.

... and Boxed offers free two-day shipping for orders over $49. With Boxed Up, shoppers only need to spend $20 for free two-day shipping. On Boxed, you don't have to spend as much to get the perks.

Overall, the Boxed website was much easier to use than the Costco website. Even though the Costco website offered the same treasure-hunt experience that its stores do, it was difficult to browse for products, and the deals weren’t as good as in stores. Boxed also makes it easier to get perks like free shipping and 2% cash back.

Overall, the Boxed website was much easier to use than the Costco website. Even though the Costco website offered the same treasure-hunt experience that its stores do, it was difficult to browse for products, and the deals weren't as good as in stores. Boxed also makes it easier to get perks like free shipping and 2% cash back.

[“Source-businessinsider”]

Fans Are Angry That the New Captain Marvel Shoes Don’t Come in Most Men’s Sizes

Vans' Marvel shoe collection

Many of us were excited when the latest line of Vans’ Marvel-branded shoes popped up online. The shoes are comic-book colorful and cool, and I dream of having them all on my feet. Unfortunately for a significant portion of Marvel fans, the Captain Marvel shoes stop at Men’s size 10. This did not go over well, nor should it.

The new Vans feature kicks inspired by the likes of Black Panther, Hulk, Spider-Man, Thor, and more. The most buzz was reserved for the most recent addition to the MCU in the form of Carol Danvers, and the shoes made in her “image.” Carol is particularly on our minds following the debut of her symbol in Infinity War‘s chaotic post-credits scene.

On June 1st, Matthew Mueller over at Comicbook.com gave us a first look at the Carol-based shoes, which had leaked to the Internet prior to Vans’ official announcement. Mueller described the excellent Captain Marvel high tops:

[T]hey feature a full Captain Marvel color scheme of red, blue, and gold. The outsole of the shoe is all white, while the tongue and toe box are red with white eyelets. The Upper features a gold wavy stripe across a mostly blue backdrop, while the heel features gold trim and a big splash of red with Captain Marvel’s Hala Star logo in gold right in the middle.

Red laces complete the stylish package, and we simply can’t wait to get our hands on them.

Cool as hell, right? Mueller certainly thought so, and he was hardly alone. Carol Danvers already has a lot of fans, and that’s going to grow exponentially after Captain Marvel hits theaters next March and also when she saves the world in Avengers 4.

But on June 8th, following the shoes’ official release to sale, Mueller was back with a follow-up. Those Captain Marvel shoes he couldn’t wait to score are only available up to Men’s size 10. “Some shoes only come in certain sizes, we get that, but the male characters didn’t have the same problem, as those go all the way up to 13,” he wrote.

There’s the rub. These were clearly produced with the expectation that they would be purchased primarily by women, and that is incredibly short-sighted—not to mention the fact that there are many women, both trans and cis, and people of every identification who would also appreciate a higher range of size.

And this doesn’t appear to be a mistake or an oversight on Vans’ part at all: it was an intentional decision. Mueller explained:

So, it comes down to that Captain Marvel is a female character, right? It looks like it, as I wasn’t the only person utterly bummed that I can’t rock some slick Carol Danvers kicks, as Vans has received several responses to the news, asking if they were going to offer bigger sizes at a later time.

Concerned fans received responses like this:

There are bad and outdated gender dynamics baked into the clothing industry and particularly in geek merch (we won’t even get started on toys). While things have gotten better as more companies cater to the diversity of fans ready to spend hard-earned cash to display their fandom love, officially branded merchandise is often the most lacking.

At my local Forbidden Planet store, the Black Widow shirt—the only shirt that featured her—only came in “girl’s cut,” a style I dislike wearing, and its largest size was laughable. One of my best friends was angry that he couldn’t find a Wonder Woman shirt that would fit him before the movie came out. And sizing, in general, is an issue on its own divorced from gender, with many brands still not carrying sizes to accommodate the range of bodies that would like to wear them.

I think the case of the Captain Marvel shoes was a narrow-minded decision where a company did not take into account that many men (and people of many gender identifications) will proudly rock merchandise based on an “AWESOME women’s character.” What makes this all the more ridiculous is that the shoes at hand are visibly unisex: there’s nothing about a red, blue, gold and white shoe that screams “girl” or “boy.” They’re just cool shoes that should be available to everyone.

Yet the fact of the matter remains that we still see a concerted lack of female representation in superhero branded stuff, and so much of this is based on an antiquated idea that the fans spending money on this sort of thing are primarily male and that men are only interested in male characters. Both of these notions are patently untrue.

It’s like I’m writing this from twenty years ago, and it feels exhausting. When merchandise featuring men comes in every size—”male” and “female”—but something bearing a woman’s name is only sized for “women,” that is, these days, frankly unacceptable. Let there be sizing for all.

The only good that I see emerging from this kerfluffle is that hopefully Vans and Marvel will take notice of the feedback, and not do this again—and also, it is wonderful to see men rallying to wear female characters on their sleeve (or feet, as the case may be).

This feels like an antithesis of the recent Star Wars fandom toxicity, and the response made me as happy as the sizing made me mad. To everyone asking to rock some Captain Marvel, I see you, and thank you.

[“Source-themarysue”]

How To Become A Jewellery Designer

Gemstones, diamonds and precious metals: jewellery is born of nature’s finest handiwork. It’s unsurprising, then, that it carries an intrinsic emotional value too. It’s not only the act of buying, receiving or wearing jewellery that invests a particular piece with meaning – jewels are charged with their designers’ experiences and values, too. “It’s important to have a personal relationship with the people or stores that are buying my jewellery,” muses Danish designer Sophie Bille Brahe. “If I made it, I want to make sure it has a good life when it leaves my office.” Thus, jewellery is where personal stories, luxury and traditional craftsmanship intertwine, and any aspiring designer needs to have a handle on a broad mix of artistic, technical and commercial skills. Want to know what it takes? Vogue speaks to six industry leaders for a step-by-step guide to becoming a jewellery designer.

What does a jewellery designer do?

The breadth of a jewellery designer’s job depends on whether you work in-house for a brand or set up on your own. Either way, the most important part of your role is to provide a strong artistic vision. At Bulgari, creative director Lucia Silvestri lays out coloured gems, picks combinations and fixes them in putty to model her preferred constellation. The process involves creating a technical sketch, modelling it with computer-aided design (CAD) software and selecting the stones. Production then follows, starting with a 3D-printed prototype and ending with the work of the goldsmith, which includes metal-casting and stone-setting as well as engraving and enamelling. Unless they are going it alone, most designers won’t be physically involved in this part of the process – but they’ll still need to understand the mechanics of how jewellery is made if they want their designs to be wearable.

Lucia Silvestri.

DAVID ATLAN

Guidance from industry leaders and famous jewellery designers

Whether you want to design in-house or run your own brand, the first step is to get educated. And while you can expect to be in school for up to six years, the good news is there’s a lot of flexibility to jewellery design courses. London’s British Academy of Jewellery (BAJ), for example, offers programmes that last from six months to three years, including paid apprenticeships. Depending on the level students apply for, the interview process can include a bench test – in which you’ll show off your measuring, cutting, forming and soldering skills – and a portfolio review. So how do you get that portfolio to the top of the pile? “I would certainly want to see what’s behind a finished piece,” says Sofie Boons, BAJ’s head of academy. Students should always include moodboards and prototypes in their presentations – “so that I can see their thinking, their problem solving, [and] how they have come to a certain solution,” adds Boons.

Alternatively, you could hone in on your preferred craft. Bille Brahe trained as a goldsmith for almost five years at the Copenhagen Technical School of Design & Technology before enrolling on an MA course at London’s Royal College of Art. “Without having the craft, [the design process] becomes quite hollow,” she explains. Or how about gemology? Among Silvestri’s team at Bulgari are graduates of the European Institute of Design (IED), the Academy of Costume and Fashion in Rome, and the Gemological Institute of America (GIA). Other designers place less emphasis on technical expertise. “I don’t think it’s useful to go deeper if you [want to] create your own brand,” says French designer Anissa Kermiche, who advocates a short technical course to provide the necessary introduction to 3D printing, sketching and stone-setting. It suited her perfectly, combining two technical courses at the BAJ – CAD for jewellery production and Level 2 jewellery manufacturing – with a creative BA in jewellery design at Central Saint Martins.

Lucia Silvestri’s Rome studio.

DAVID ATLAN

How do you go from a student to a working jewellery designer?

Silvestri’s advice on getting that first break? “Shadow expert leaders, maybe abroad, even as an office assistant,” she says. And once you’ve got your foot in the door for an interview, you’ll need a strong portfolio of existing work showing competency at technical sketching and CAD. The BAJ advertises jobs through its social channels, but Boons advises students to keep an eye on trade publications and websites such as Benchpeg, Retail Jeweller, The Artists Information Company and The National Association of Jewellers. In some cases, it’s worth reaching out to companies directly, and important to bear in mind that the jewellery trade still relies on word of mouth. Applying for competitions such as HRD Antwerp or Talente in Munich – which in turn can lead to exhibitions – is essential to let yourself be known to as many industry professionals as possible.

The job interview process varies widely. Small businesses might require only one stage, but established companies can involve up to five, including bench tests, interview panels and, in some cases, a written exam. “Research is key,” says Boons. “Students should look into why their skills can contribute to the company, read their strategic plan and see how they could complement it. [Ask yourself] what job could get me the experience that they are looking for? It’s about planning and being resilient.”

Practice makes perfect

If you’ve been hired by a big brand, expect to keep training for the first two years of your career. “School is good, but practice is essential,” sums up Silvestri. “Even if our new recruits have commendable degrees, they always start by copying jewellery sketches from the Bulgari archives.” It’s the same at the Japanese heritage jeweller Mikimoto, where trainees spend 18 months learning Japanese traditional ink and fine-point brush techniques while sketching the entire Mikimoto design archive. The goal is to better understand how to manage your artistic goals with the mechanics of making jewellery. “Pearls are spherical and it’s quite difficult to incorporate round objects into jewellery,” explains Akira Haga, Mikimoto’s general manager of merchandise development. “It’s not something that you can learn in a day or two; you need a lot of experience.”

Akira Haga.

Learn how to communicate

At Mikimoto, designers compete to have their sketches chosen among dozens of other drafts, so it’s important to learn how to sell your design internally. “We line up all the rough designs on a table, followed by each designer’s presentation,” explains Haga, adding that communication skills are also essential between designer and craftsman. It’s this latter relationship that’s essential for a designer to master, as it’s the artisans who will interpret your design. This is easier in smaller houses; Bille Brahe, for example, manages a team of seven in her Copenhagen workshop. For bigger houses, it can be more complicated: at Cartier, the designers and craftsmen work under the same roof to ensure smooth communication, with Pierre Rainero, the brand’s director of image, style and heritage, describing “an endless discussion between the designers and the jewellers.”

When launching your own business, start small

When launching her brand, Kermiche transformed her house into a jewellery lab, crafting her first prototypes with small, relatively inexpensive stones. “I managed to save money because I spent [the previous] years learning how to make my own prototypes, so I didn’t have to spend on manufacturing,” explains the designer. “I don’t recommend mass producing right away,” adds American designer Jennifer Fisher, who was a wardrobe stylist before launching her own label. “You have to start small, grow from there and see what is successful.” Fisher made personalised dog tag charms for clients on set before setting up a customer-facing website, while Bille Brahe began making bespoke pieces while sourcing the financing for her brand. For the investments you do make, be strategic. “[It was important] getting a team that had the experience I didn’t have,” says Bille Brahe, while Fisher adds the simple but all-important advice to “make sure that the infrastructure of the business is sound.”

Jennifer Fisher.

Learn to tell stories

“Journalists love telling a story,” says Kermiche. Designing personalised pieces with a narrative can help you create an identity for your work in the international marketplace. Fisher, for example, created her dog tag design to celebrate the birth of her first son, while Bille Brahe started incorporating pearls in her jewels after her mother gave her a pearl necklace to celebrate her pregnancy. “You cannot offer anything as amazing as some of the big jewellery houses do,” she explains. “The only thing you can do is offer something that is very different and personal.”

Social media vs traditional PR

If you’re launching your own brand, social media can be your friend in getting the word out. Kermiche used her Instagram account as a lookbook, creating a fully-fledged visual identity for her new-born brand at a minimal cost. She then used the app to find journalists. “It won’t be long before they notice if your product is right,” explains the designer. Hiring a PR agency is another option, but for Kermiche the decision boils down to the designer’s personality. “If your friends are influencers, just do it yourself,” she explains. “But if you’re more of a creative mind, then of course a PR is vital.” However, thinking carefully about commercial partnerships you make and being aware of legal implications, including avoiding long contracts, is paramount. “I would have loved to have had a background in law,” she adds. “It would have saved my life on a daily basis.”

Sophie Bille Brahe.

Value your relationships with retailers

“I think it’s very important to respect relationships in this business, stay true to your word and respect the people who have respected you,” says Fisher. Barneys was the first US brick-and-mortar department store to approach her and she has maintained that relationship exclusively ever since. Similarly, Kermiche manages up to 20 face-to-face monthly meetings with retailers and mines these relationships for consumer insights she can feed back into her design work. “I ask them what sells in [their] shop, what’s the price point they like the most, what’s the colour of gold [they prefer],” she says. “It really helps me target my designs in a way that will sell.”

A step-by-step guide to becoming a jewellery designer

If you want to work for an established company:

  1. Choose a degree in fields like Design, Gemology or Fine Arts.
  2. Scan trade publications for job offers. Applying for competitions, exhibiting your work and networking are the easiest ways to get noticed by future employers.
  3. Get in touch with established brands, even if they are not publicly advertising for a role.
  4. When applying for a job, your portfolio should showcase your technical, manual and creative skills as well as your thought process. Include sketches, prototypes and moodboards.
  5. Do your research and keep up-to-date with industry news. Showing a good knowledge of a company’s history and commercial strategy can give you the upper hand over other candidates.
  6. Communication is key: as a designer you will be required to work with artisans, so practise explaining your thought process and concepts in a clear and concise manner.

Sketches at Akira Haga’s studio.

If your goal is to launch your own business:

  1. Combine a short technical course with a creative degree.
  2. Be financially aware: start with a small production, support yourself with bespoke orders, make your own prototypes and find people with the experience you don’t have.
  3. Self-promotion is essential: learn how to use social media to your advantage by creating a strong visual identity and connect with journalists, clients and retailers. Be mindful of your relationship with retailers: nurture them with personal meetings and use them to better target your designs.

[“Source-vogue”]

The World’s Largest Jewelry Marketplace – The 62nd Bangkok Gems & Jewelry Fair 2018, Integration of Modern Trade and Artistry of Unique Thai Charm

Image result for jewelry design

HONG KONG, Jun 20, 2018 – (ACN Newswire) – Thailand has rich history as one of the world’s most prominent centers for gems and jewelry. The country has abundant kinds of minerals and gemstones especially ruby and sapphire. Its skilled craftsmanship, unique designs had merged with modern technology to produce jewelry competitive in international markets.

Today, Thailand has developed into a large-scale and export-oriented commerce center. In year 2017, Thai gems and jewelry exports had grew by 2.25% for the first time in 3 years, making positive progress despite recent sluggish economy worldwide, generating around USD 13 billion of income, which is 5.4% of the kingdom’s total export.

In the first four month in year 2018, Hong Kong had imported a total value of USD145.7 Millions precious jewelry from Thailand, including jewelry of precious metal (22.87%), Ruby, Sapphire & Emeralds (18.83%), Diamonds (15.52%), Silver jewelry (12.59%) and Semi-precious Stone (8.04%), etc.

THE RECORD BREAKING SUCCESS OF 61 EDITION BGJF IN FEBRUARY 2018

Organized by the Department of International Trade Promotion (DITP), Ministry of Commerce of the Royal Thai Government, the 61 edition BGJF had attracted visitors from 113 countries over five days period with top five visiting nations from India, Myanmar, China, USA and Russia respectively.

There were a total of 853 exhibitors participate occupying 2,003 booths. Major exhibiting countries are around the globe besides local exhibitors, diverse as Hong Kong, Poland, Turkey, Japan, Singapore, India, Korea, Israel, Indonesia and Canada, etc.

The 61st edition had generated a trade value at USD 63 million comprising of USD 19 million immediate sales and another USD 44 million’s worth of orders in one year. This remarkable value had shown a 2.5% increase in compare to previous edition.

THE ROYAL THAI GOVERNMENT CONTINUING THE GOAL OF MAKING THAILAND “THE WORLD’S GEMS AND JEWELRY PRODUCTION AND TRADING HUB” AT THE 62 EDITION BGJF IN SEPTEMBER 2018

To continue the legend of success at past editions, the Organizer (DITP) will carry on the existing show elements along with innovative ideas to collaborate with “Thailand 4.0” and “Creative Economy” initiatives at The 62nd Bangkok Gems & Jewelry Fair 2018, which will be held during 7-11 September 2018, at Challenger Hall 1-3, IMPACT Convention Center, Muang Thong Thani, Bangkok, Thailand.

Some key highlight of Special Zones and activities include: New Faces (showcasing products from over 120 SMEs worldwide), Innovation and Design Zone (displaying innovative techniques and products to inspire jewelry segment), Niche Showcase (featuring the latest trends for niche markets, in particular on five main areas, such as: Heritage & Craftsmanship, Beyond Jewelry, The Moment, Spiritual Power and Metro Men. On top of that, our Fashion Show each year will present the exquisite collections crafted with authentic Thai touches. For further details, please visit www.bkkgems.com

THAI TRADE CENTER HK WELCOMES HK & MACAU BUYERS AS TRADE MISSION

TTCHK, also known as the Office of Thai Trade Commissioner (Royal Thai Consulate General – Commercial Section) in Hong Kong is here to serve entrepreneurs in Hong Kong and Macau regions, aiming to enhance business opportunities and create win-win situation for all parties. We are one of the 62 branches worldwide, under the Department of International Promotion (DITP, The Organizer of BGJF), Ministry of Commerce of the Royal Thai Government.

In order to value each chance to meet with potential traders, TTCHK will be faciliting our TRADE MISSION (TM) via two platforms for the 62 edition BGJF in September 2018, offering exclusive benefits to registered Trade Mission members with complimentary lunch coupons, express registration TM counter and buyer’s directory, etc.

(1) Come join us at Booth 3B134 (Hall 3B), during Hong Kong Jewellery & Gem Fair during 21 – 24 June 2018 at Hong Kong Convention & Exhibition Centre
(2) Contact TTCHK via (Tel) + 852 2525 9716, (E) thaicomm@netvigator.com or follow our latest updates at our FACEBOOK PAGE: Thai Trade Center Hong Kong

Deadline of TM registration will be on 27th August 2018

We as the Organizer, shall evaluate from our previous experiences and carry BGJF onto the next level that can further fulfill international standards, allowing jewelry industry from worldwide to shine through this international stage.

Event
The 62nd Bangkok Gems & Jewelry Fair (The 62nd BGJF)

Venue
IMPACT Convention Center, Muang Thong Thani, Bangkok, Thailand (www.impact.go.th)

Fair Dates & Opening Hours

Trade Days: 7-9 Sep 18 10:00am – 6:00pm
Public Days:
10 Sep 18 10:00am – 6:30pm
11 Sep 18 10:00am-17:00pm

For visiting and media enquiries, please contact:
Thai Trade Center Hong Kong
Address: 8 Cotton Tree Drive, 8th Floor Fairmont House, Central , HK
Tel: +852 2525 9716
Fax: +852 2868 4927
Email: thaicomm@netvigator.com

For more information, visit www.thaitrade.com / www.bkkgems.com
Follow our updates at FACEBOOK: Thai Trade Center Hong Kong or
Download our mobile apps via Google Play Store: ThaiTrade.COM

[“Source-asiaone”]

Fashion comes from within, says Japan’s style guru Naoko Okusa

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If you ask Naoko Okusa how to dress your best, she will tell you to look inside yourself before you stare into your overcrowded closet or oversized mirror.

Arguably the most influential fashion stylist in Japan, Okusa, who has 136,000 followers on Instagram, offers tried-and-true tips for women who are stuck in a style rut.

She helps them discover — or rediscover — the joy of dressing up by helping them experiment different stylistic affiliations while staying true to their essence.

“The way you dress and the way you live are two sides of the same coin. They can’t be disconnected,” Okusa, 45, says.

“It’s not the amount of clothes you own. It’s how well you know yourself that allows you to wear what makes you feel and look like the best version of yourself,” she says.

Okusa says if you’re relying on designer tags to make your style and people see the Hermes Birkin bag holding you and not vice versa, it’s a sign that you have yet to learn the language of fashion.

“I wouldn’t want to be remembered as ‘the lady with the Birkin bag’ because that means Birkin makes a bigger impression than you. A woman who chooses to splurge on designer handbags and be someone she is not should know that her self-esteem is superficial.”

What seems like a dream job happened by chance. After transitioning from the fashion magazine editor’s desk to the life of a freelancer, Okusa was doing everything herself.

“I was an editor, producer, creative director, stylist,” she says. Although she never called herself one, “people started referring to me as a stylist so I figured that must be my thing.”

Okusa knows fashion. She pursues it, and she breathes it. Not only does she hand-select clothing and accessories worn by models at photo shoots, she has exclusive contracts with retailers as their fashion consultant and is a best-selling author and speaker.

She’s not one to tell you to camouflage your body flaws with draped sleeves or flared pants. Rather, she would remind you that a well-maintained physique is the foundation of dressing well and tell you to hit the gym.

“Fashion is about you, but dressing well equates to good manners. It’s about making others feel good too,” she says.

“You can’t deny that it’s also a way to appeal to the other sex, whether you’re a man or a woman. Say you’re going out with a banker, an advertising agent, a tech company president, a freelance artist — wouldn’t your clothes depend on who your date is?”

Okusa says she used to alter the way she dresses to please her boyfriends, but when she met her Venezuelan partner and current husband after a failed first marriage she found a sense of security that soon reflected in her clothing choices.

“I like stronger women more than fragile women, cool over cute, self-reliant over dependent, basics over trendy. That’s me, and he has no problem with that. Now I know what I want, in fashion and in life.”


[Photo courtesy of Naoko Okusa]

There was an off-track phase post divorce, she says. At that time she needed to wear bright, vivid colors to make herself believe she was happy. She looks back on the few photos she has from those days and sees a lost girl trying hard to conceal her emotions.

Okusa says she has learned that “dressing your age” is not necessarily negative. She wants middle-aged women know that just because they are now choosing from a small selection of clothes doesn’t mean they are less attractive.

On the contrary, Okusa says, it means less stress, less distraction, less expense, and more peace.

“Age helped me declutter my wardrobe. Age helped me get rid of the things I don’t need. It made my fashion options narrower and deeper,” she says.

“Yes, you get that extra layer of fat and you start noticing gray hair. In my case, my dull complexion taught me to avoid pastel colors and light beige. But hey, a colorful closet doesn’t equal a colorful life.”


[Photo courtesy of Naoko Okusa] 

Okusa notices women in Japan are experiencing a general fashion confusion, and they think their best bet is to emulate the style of the Parisians and the New Yorkers. One of the most popular questions she gets from fans is “What do I look good in?”

But that’s a question that requires one-on-one counseling, Okusa says. She says she would need to know your background, your budget, your closet content, how you want to feel and who you want to be.

She suggests finding a brutally honest friend or a critical family member whom you can turn to for fashion advice, but better yet, she says you can always train yourself to stand back and look at yourself objectively. It takes practice to dress well, and it’s a lifelong learning curve.

One thing the fashionista strongly recommends is getting others to take photos of you. “Not the ‘say cheese’ kind of photos, but ones that capture unexpected moments,” she says. Knowing your facial features and posture is a start.

“I want people to learn to make objective decisions through fashion. It takes discipline. I’m 45 now, but I can say I’m much more fashionable than I was when I was 30. And in 15 years’ time I know I’ll be even more so because I’ll be better trained.”

Okusa has always dared to be different and original, and can’t think of a fashion icon she idolized growing up.

If not from people, where does she get her fashion inspiration?

“There’s not a fashion blogger or Instagrammer I follow. Fashion is such a big part of my life already, I feel like I get enough. So I look elsewhere,” she says.

“If I see delicate pink sweets placed on a dark gray slate plate, it teaches me that soft and hard go well together, and mixing light color to dark can add freshness that gives the combination some kick.”

If she had to name one person that influenced her fashion choices, Okusa says it would have to be her mother. She never wore anything expensive but never seemed to have a style dilemma either.

“As a little girl I used to love her color and fabric choices. She also had a sense for home decor. It was chic, and her fashion blended with the interiors. I don’t really remember her wearing flashy colors. It was more brown, beige and navy.”

Okusa says she chooses not to drop serious cash on high-end designer clothes for her three children, but she and her husband do their best to teach them fashion etiquette.

“I want to spend money on myself so I’m not buying expensive clothes for my kids. But fashion can be a communication tool if you shop together or talk about what to wear on what occasion,” says Okusa, who has two daughters and one son.

“They’re free to wear what they want at home, but I tell them it’s not okay when it involves other people. For instance, when my son insisted he wear his soccer jersey to a fine-dining restaurant, I had to explain to him clothes can show respect or disrespect.”

With her latest book — her 13th — published in April, Okusa says she is enjoying a career landed by accident but led by passion, and the longer she works, the more she realizes she is doing a lot more than helping women create the perfect wardrobe.

“The great thing about my job is that I get to relive a person’s life story. I get to learn about their past and get a glimpse of their future. Sometimes I feel more like a therapist than a fashion advisor,” Okusa says.

“I want to free women from deceptive marketing messages that make them feel worthless without a Birkin bag. No one should be measured by the number of brand items they own. Clothes don’t make the woman. The woman makes the clothes.”

[“Source-KyodoNewsPlus”]

This Viral Tweet Explains Why Pockets Are the Unicorns Of Women’s Fashion

If you’ve ever reached down to put something in your pocket only to realize that whatever you’re wearing doesn’t actually have pockets, then consider yourself in the majority. It’s a frustrating situation to be in, especially if you’ve only got a few things to carry and don’t feel like lugging around a bag or purse.

Twitter user Delilah Dawson recently shared some thoughts about this dilemma, proving that the struggle is so real when it comes to the lack of pockets in women’s clothing. In her tweet, she wrote a fake exchange between “women” and an “exec” where the women are trying to ask for pockets and the “exec” keeps suggesting other funny additions to clothing like “Clothes with pre-made holes in delicate fabrics” and “Shapes that require new bras!”

Responses to the tweet were hilarious and completely relatable, with people saying that dresseswith pockets are basically the unicorns of fashion.

One person said that she learned to sew just so that she could take care of this problem herself. Now that’s some serious dedication right there.
Others pointed out that even the clothes that do come with pockets can be, well, problematic. Inquiring minds want to know: What’s up with jeans that are so tight that you can’t actually put anything into the pockets? I mean, why even bother?

While a viral tweet probably won’t be enough to sway an entire industry to reconsider its stance on pockets in womenswear, it can at least bring us all together in a brief moment of fashion solidarity. And maybe, just maybe, one day we’ll get the clothing-with-pockets that we all want and deserve.

[“Source-teenvogue”]