Fashion Accessories – How to Update Your Look

Are you interested in updating your appearance, at least in terms of your fashion? If you are, you may not only want to examine the latest in clothing fashion trends, but also the latest trends in fashion accessories. Fashion accessories are rapidly increasing in popularity, particularly in our celebrity-obsessed culture. But many of us still do not know exactly how to use them to our best advantage.

The term “fashion accessories” is very broad and includes a number of products. Just like fashion clothing pieces, accessories come in virtually every size, shape and style under the sun. There are fashion accessories that are designed for children, teens, men, women, petite sized, and plus sized individuals. Below are a few of the major fashion accessory items you might want consider in order to keep your look current and expand your coordination options.

The most well known fashion accessory is of course, jewellery. For teenagers and children, fashion jewelry pieces that are popular often include colourful, oversized pieces, as well as charm necklaces or charm bracelets. For men, a popular piece of jewellery often includes large pendant necklaces, many of which display a cross or another popular or meaningful symbol. As for women, popular pieces of fashion jewelry include watches, earnings, rings, necklaces, bracelets, pins, and so forth.

Another major fashion accessory that you might want to look at is a new handbag. While purses can also be trendy, it is the handbag that has become a real status symbol and major fashion accessory. They come in a huge array of different styles so it is common to own more than one if your budget allows. In fact, many women out there like to match their fashion accessories, including their purses and handbags, with the clothing that they wear.

Updating your handbag every season can be an easy and relatively inexpensive way to update your whole look. If your wardrobe is filled with classic pieces that flatter your body shape and suit your colouring, then simply choosing a new trendy handbag can instantly bring your look up to the minute.

Travel bags are also considered a fashion accessory, but differ from handbags in that a lot of them are designed for both sexes. A travel bag is generally a small bag that can be used as carry-on luggage for a plane ride, a nappy/diaper bag or a laptop carrying case. It can also be the so called “man bag” that is increasing in popularity all the time. Many major fashion labels also have their own luggage line as well.

Shoes are also a fashion accessory, although many do not necessarily consider them to be. Most often, women’s shoes are associated as fashion accessories, as opposed to men’s shoes. One of the reasons for this is the amazing array of women’s shoe style available, for example: athletic shoes, casual sandals, elegant sandals, flat dress shoes, stilettos, kitten heels, sling backs, mules, pumps and the list goes on. As with handbags and purses, most women own multiple pairs of shoes and aim to coordinate their shoes, especially for work, with the rest of their ensemble. Shoes can make or break an outfit, so think about the type of image you want to portray and make sure your shoes fit with that theme.

Belts are also a major fashion accessory. While for many men and boys, belts are not necessarily a fashion accessory as much as a fashion necessity to hold their pants up; the same isn’t true for women. Women’s belts come in a number of different sizes, shapes, and styles and virtually every season there is a new “must-have” style. There is everything from casual, crocheted belts to wear with jeans, to elegant, black leather belts as a pair of slimline black trousers for work.

Belts, handbags, purses, travel bags, jewellery and shoes are just a few of the many fashion accessories that you can use to make a good outfit into a great one. Accessories can be real statement pieces and a way to show your personality in an otherwise classic outfit. Fashion accessories are a great way to spice up any wardrobe, especially one that could use an updating.

Where to Find Affordable Trendy Fashions

Even with today’s economy there isn’t any reason you can’t still buy trendy and fashionable clothing. There are several things happening today in the world of fashion that can actually work well to your advantage when it comes to buying clothing.

One of the things that is happening is that fashion designers are realizing that their customer bases are drying up. Even women on Rodeo Drive aren’t spending like they used to. They’re holding back on spending thousands of dollars on designer handbags, shoes and clothing. How does this affect you?  Well it’s a trickle down effect.

Take a look at some of the higher end fashion sites on line.  What you’ll find is places like Net-A-Porter and eLuxury are having unbelievable sales. They are offering fashions from today’s top fashion designers at rock bottom prices. It’s not unusual to find fashions from designers such as Jean Paul Gaultier, Versace, Zac Posen, Michael Kors and Tracy Reese (just to mention a few) at sales offering 50% and up to 65% off.

Now of course a $1000 Nina Ricci silk jacket is still expensive for most of us. But, you can still find great buys on less expensive items. Still not sure how this affects you?

What’s happening now is that lower cost fashion design houses are experiencing an increase in sales. They’re seeing a very large and new gap that needs to be filled in the fashion industry. They’re seeing a need for trendy affordable fashion, and they’re filling it.

You’ll find these affordable fashions at lots of different stores, stores far from Rodeo Drive.  Just check out the selection in your local TJ Maxx or Kohl’s.  Even Target and WalMart are expanding their women’s clothing sections.

So how can you take advantage of this and be fashionable at the same time? Take advantage of fashion magazines.  What, you say, the same magazines that sell high end designer fashions that I can’t afford?  Yes! That’s exactly what I mean. I buy the issue that focuses on a particular fashion season.

Just a few weeks ago I bought a fashion magazine that focused on the new Spring fashions.  I looked through the magazine and saw what they said are the fashions trends to look for.  Some of the trends they mentioned were black and white patterns and geometrics, safari fashion and metallics.  The next thing I did was head to my local stores.  I took a look around and saw a lot of reasonably priced fashions that would fit the bill. I saw skirts, pants, shirts, shoes, handbags and accessories that I could work well in my wardrobe that would prove that I’m both fashionable and trendy as well as thrifty!

Why is Fashion So Fashionable?

Many people look at fashion and say that magazines and celebrities start trends in the fashion industry. That may be true but did you know that you can set your own fashion trend. If people like it well enough and see it often enough they may start copying it for a look for them selves thus creating a fashion trend. A fashion trend is copying the look of some one else and more and more people copying the same look so they can look like that person. In writing copying is not okay, but in the fashion industry it is considered to be a good thing because the more people you have that want to look like you the more people will be your line of designs or your line of clothing if you have it placed in a retail store.

In fashion there are other ways at looking at trends. Another way of looking at trends is through celebrities. Trends tend to come and go because of what you might see a celebrity wear to the SAG Awards or to another award show. Singers also tend to set fashion trends when they go to the video music awards or country music awards. There are a lot fashion trends set by singers, celebrities, movies, video songs, and others in the television industry. You would be surprised at how many people buy clothes to dress like a certain person that they look up to. Also, they decide who to follow and what trends to follow. You always want to look good because you want to have a good example for the people who follow you.

The fashion world is tough because you have jobs in the fashion world that depend on you to do your job as a model or designer and if you do not produce clothes to set every thing in place for the trends to occur and happen then you don’t have a trend. In fashion every thing is different from one day to the next and it can change in the blink of an eye. You can have some thing be hip two minutes ago and in the fashion world be out of hip the minute it was in hip. It just depends on who is wearing and how long the fashion is seen as cool by most of the general population.

People like Jennifer Anniston and Tyra Banks both have influences in fashion. One does in acting and the other does in modeling. This goes to show you that you can have a career in the fashion world and influence a different part of society. It also shows how others influence fashion and the different ways that trends are set where they may not be set before. Tyra has had fashion models looking up to her and people in general that want to be her. She makes billions in profits each year and is considered not just a model but one of the first super models of the run way. This woman created a path for many black women and many women in general.

In conclusion, many people look at fashion and just think a super model for Victoria Secret and that being a model is easy work when in all reality it is very hard work for every one involved. The fashion designer has to be in touch with people that want to sale her line. The photographer really has to know people to take pictures of and the magazines just tend to follow where ever the story takes them. So where ever you may be in fashion you still have to know your stuff to keep up with the latest trends.

Before They Were Brands – How Some Top Fashion Design Labels Got Their Start

They’re the must-have fashion design labels, the status brands that we just have to wear. But some labels and designers have become such a part of our fashion culture that it’s easy to forget that they weren’t always successful brands. At one point, the founders were fashion school students, stock boys or sales clerks. In fact, learning about how the designers got their start makes one admire them even more. Here, then, are some top fashion labels and the story of their humble beginnings.

Marc Jacobs. One of today’s top design celebrities, Marc Jacobs’ first job in fashion was as a stock boy at Charavari, an avant-garde clothing boutique in Manhattan. After graduating from high school, he went to fashion college, where he launched a line of hand-knit sweaters. His first job out of fashion school was at Perry Ellis, but he designed a grunge collection there that led to his dismissal. In 1986, with the help of financial backers, he designed his first collection bearing the Marc Jacobs label.

Kenneth Cole. Not many people realize that the full name of Kenneth Cole’s brand is “Kenneth Cole Productions.” Why is that? In 1982, the designer wanted to show his first line of shoes at Market Week at the New York Hilton, but couldn’t afford a hotel room or exhibit space. So instead, he parked a trailer two blocks from the hotel to sell his shoes. The only catch was that only production companies were granted permits to park trailers on the street. Not letting that stop him, he turned his shoe company into a film production company, shooting a documentary about his business and selling 40,000 pairs of shoes in the process.

Juicy Couture. The label that popularized the velour track suit was founded by fashion school grad Pamela Skaist-Levy and and Gela Nash-Taylor, wife of Duran Duran’s John Taylor. Believe it or not, their first product was maternity pants. After changing the brand’s focus to active wear, the brand continued to struggle until they sent a free track suit to Madonna with “Madge” emblazoned on it. The superstar was photographed wearing it in public, and Juicy Couture was on the map.

Vera Wang. She may be known for her elegant wedding gowns and costumes for figure skaters like Michelle Kwan, but Vera Wang actually started out as a figure skater as well. She competed at the 1968 U.S. Figure Skating Championships and was one of “Sports Illustrated’s Faces in the Crowd” that year. She failed to make the U.S. Olympic team and began a career in fashion journalism. She was a senior fashion editor for “Vogue” for 16 years, but left when she was turned down for the top job that Anna Wintour secured. She then became a design director at Ralph Lauren before striking out on her own.

Anna Sui. Born in Detroit, Michigan, Anna Sui loved fashion as a little girl, clipping out fashion magazine pages for her scrapbook. After attending fashion college, she worked for various junior sportswear companies by day, and designing her own clothing by night, eventually launching her own label out of her tiny New York apartment.

Ralph Lauren. Born Ralph Lifshitz, the designer’s first foray into fashion was selling neckties to his fellow classmates at his Talmudical academy. After serving in the U.S. Army, he worked for Brooks Brothers as a sales clerk. In 1967, he became an entrepreneur and opened a necktie store where he sold various labels, including his own, which he called “Polo.” He soon introduced men’s and women’s suits to his line, and eventually gained international recognition when he designed the clothes for the Robert Redford movie, “The Great Gatsby.”

These brands may have started out small, but they became fashion giants. And that’s inspiration indeed for anyone wanting to break into fashion design.

Fashion Craze – Current Runway Fashions

We know that men’s fashion suits are always on the fashion runway. Fashion suits highlight your prestige value when they fit perfectly on you. Everyone wants to look smart and trendy. Sometimes people try to show their prestige and status in front of their friends or relatives through clothes. Yes it’s true that wearing good clothes has also become a status symbol today. You can choose from a vast collection of formal and trendy casual clothes in the market. You can make an impression in front of others by simply choosing nice clothes.

Yes it’s a fact that fashion suits for men are considered some of the most important accessories because these suits are very versatile and are perfect to wear on any special occasion. Men’s suits are very classy and very comfortable and therefore became a fashion craze for men. Men’s designer suits will define your personality in a better manner and will make you stand out in the crowd. These clothing pieces are very comfortable and sexy. Markets are flooded with a wide range of men’s designer suits which have become a fashion craze these days for men and these outfits come with many different accessories such as a belt or wristwatches which gives these designer fashion suits a look which is unique and amazing.

Different designer shirts and cool jeans are available in the market. The quality of material by which these designer clothes are made should also be looked at before choosing a suit. Do not compromise the quality because you can regret it later. Most designer clothes are made of best quality. So bring out the fusionist in you by wearing designer clothes along with the accessories like belts and wristwatches as you will look remarkable with a personality that is classy.

Don’t forget about those chic fashion handbags when you are talking about the current fashion trends. These handbags are stylish and have beautiful colorful combinations, are spacious, come with great designs, and have become the fashion craze for women nowadays. These fashion handbags have made a name in the market as these are designed fashionably and are cool to carry around with you.

Handbags are fashionable and are meant to give you a funky look due to their cool designs. You can carry them anywhere for any occasion. So make sure you get one of these funky fashion handbags from the market right now!

Singapore – Emerging Fashion Capital

Each summer, the Global Language Monitor ranks the Top Fashion Capitals of the World. Singapore and Berlin broke into the Top Ten for the first time this year. Singapore is ranked eighth in the World, coming in behind only Hong Kong in the Asia list.

The impact of Princess Kate and Alexander McQueen propel London over New York as the Top Global Fashion Capital for 2011. That may come as a bit of a surprise. However, to many, the bigger surprise must be the entry of Singapore into the Top Ten, jumping seven spots from last year and overtaking Tokyo.

Singapore is a young city known for its order and conformity. It was not too long ago that Singapore was described by quite a few as a boring, sterile place. It is fair to say that Singapore’s fashion scene has been undergoing some dramatic transformation. For those who know how Singapore works, it would not come as a surprise to see government agencies playing a big part in creating a buzz in the fashion scene. When the Singapore government sets its mind on developing a certain sector or industry – whether it is aviation, pharmaceutical or the creative arts – spectacular success stories usually follow. Thus, when it is declared that International Enterprise Singapore, SPRING Singapore and the Singapore Tourism Board would jointly support the development of Singapore as Asia’s fashion gateway, the foundation was laid for a fast track development of the fashion industry. The government agencies, in collaboration with the private sector, adopted a three-pronged approach to develop the fashion industry in Singapore by cultivating design talent, stimulating demand locally and internationally and positioning Singapore as a fashion centre on the international stage.

In 2010, Asia Fashion Exchange (AFX) was launched as an event which would comprise both business-to-business and business-to-consumer components, as well as talent development programmes to identify promising local and regional talent. Some 50 exhibitors and 1,000 buyers and visitors from regional markets, as well as from Europe and the United States, attended the AFX’s Blueprint – the business-to-business fashion tradeshow targeting fashion professionals. The AFX also incorporates the Audi Fashion Festival which features top international designers and supermodels.

Globetrotting fashionistas now has reasons to add Singapore to their list of not-to-be-missed destinations. The fashion calendar in Singapore boasts AAMA-TEX (for buyers, textile and apparel producers and exporters), the Blueprint, the Asian Fashion Summit, the Fashionably Sustainable Competition, the Star Creation (design competition for new Asian talents) and hosts of other trade fairs and exhibitions. In 2011, Singapore hosted the first Men’s Fashion Week in Asia. Singapore is only the third city in the world to host that event, besides international fashion cities Milan and Paris.

A wealth of fashion education programmes offered by good quality institutions, like LaSalle College of the Arts, Raffles Design Institute and Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts ensure a steady flow of fresh faces and new ideas. Its position as a regional education hub also helps to attract creative talents to Singapore.

A design incubator programme was set up where selected designers would have the privilege to be mentored by established professionals. Under the programme, the designers undergo an 18-month incubation which includes operating an actual retail business and attending group workshops and seminars and participating in overseas mission trip. The programme has helped to launch a number of exciting local labels such as Chalk, UNCVRD, Mae Pang, OwnMuse and Ready.Made.

A common characteristic of the major fashion capitals of the world is the strong support for local labels. This is something Singapore may still lack but things are also changing. Ashley Isham, having made his name in London, now has a loyal local following. He retails his own label at the flagship store at The Fullerton Hotel. Jonathan Seow’s Woods & Woods, Keith Png’s KOOPS, Al&Alicia and Nicholas and the likes are becoming recognised names among the fashion conscious. The increasing number of boutiques offering trendy labels of local designers is further evidence of growing support for the local fashion industry. Blackmarket at Jalan Pisang (Kampong Glam), [A-mod] at TripleOne Somerset (Orchard – Somerset Belt), Antipodean at Lorong Mambong (Holland Village), Egg3 at Erskine Road (Chinatown) and a string of similar boutiques stocking local labels have sprung up in different shopping precincts across the island.

Singapore is now a place that welcomes and promotes fashion innovation – a stimulating environment with buzz and creative energy. There is a vibrant fashion scene and an established platform for designers and creative talents to showcase and retail their works. There is a belief that designers can flourish, fashion business is viable and the whole industry is moving up in the world of style and glamour. The stage is set for Singapore to take its place among the top global fashion capitals. Eighth in the World is a great achievement – but don’t expect Singapore to be content to stay there.

August 2011

Essential Qualities of a Reputable Fashion Institute

A career in the fashion designing and management industry can be highly rewarding. Students head to fashion institutes and colleges to learn about the industry and train themselves. But real knowledge and success comes to those who choose reputable fashion institutes.

Many talented students hope to harness their skills to their full potential by enrolling in a fashion institute. But even the most gifted of students is helpless if the institution itself lacks vision, or the backing of structured courses, experienced staff and advanced training methods. That is why to make a successful career in the fashion industry you need to make sure that you choose the most reputable fashion institute- characterized by a futuristic approach to learning and global training & teaching methods of learning and also a career oriented style of instruction.

The learning approach which defines a reputable fashion institute is comprehensive, contemporary as well as career oriented. These institutes are run by people from the fashion industry that have been a part of the global apparel or designing sector. Following decades of experience in designing, manufacturing, retailing or merchandising these fashion houses have professionals with a deep knowledge of the current trends in fashion and a thorough understanding of how the industry works. They use this experience to create courses, learning modules and teaching methods because they know what learning is needed to be best prepared as a new entrant in the fashion industry. Another great aspect of their curriculum is that they teach to create tomorrow’s fashion leaders. This is made possible because of their experience on the global fashion platform which gives them a clear vision of the turns fashion is going to take in the near future. That is why they train their students to be skilled enough to not only catch up with the latest trends, but set them too.

So, students of fashion, training with such ace institutions will not simply learn fashion basics, but will be given a real practical exposure so that they will know what to do in the real workplace. You will observe that the courses they offer will support different sectors of the fashion industry.

The course itself will be structured to allow for a thorough yet intellectual study of a subject. Flip through the brochure of any reputable college and you will know that behind every course there are people of high repute in the fashion industry- who have used their skills and experience to design each of the courses.

Not only are the ‘real’ professionals designing these courses, they are teaching them too. The learning environment of such institutes is buzzing with interactive courses, skilled students and most importantly experienced faculty. People teaching you about designing and merchandising will be those who have ‘been there-done that’. These current professionals will impart you with not only textual knowledge about the glamorous profession, but will give you insights in to the workings of the industry which they have gained over the years in the field. Don’t be surprised when your teacher whisks you off to an apparel manufacturing plant to see how it’s done and have a chit chat with a fashion house owner. Unlike regular colleges, these leading fashion designing institutes will allow you to learn the practical side of things with the aid of cutting-edge technological learning tools.

So, look for these features before you get enrolled in any fashion school.

Fashion – A Necessity or Desire

Before we begin our discussion on fashion and its place in our society let’s first try to understand what fashion really is.

Wikipedia defines fashion as: A general term for a popular style or practice, especially in clothing, footwear, accessories, makeup, body piercing, or furniture.”

It is very difficult to follow a given set of parameters that can define our individual concept of fashion. With such a vast diversity of cultures and interests, a single pointed dimension does not do justice to our imaginative minds. It is an ever changing and an ever evolving set of ideas that are followed to bring about a newness or uniqueness in various dimensions of our lifestyle.

Fashion has been a part of our society from the very beginning, changing its form and subject as the need arises. For me, not choosing to follow the popular trends could mean fashion, however, for a dedicated fashion enthusiast, following these trends in depth might define his/her entire character and the concept of fashion.

When we talk of the necessity, this need arises from the very creative minds, wanting to transform their ideas in to something that the world can see. It is not only their desire, but to let out all those fierce and out of the box ideas, becomes a need for them to be able to express themselves. This gives birth to the most talented minds, as world known personalities, who begin to explore this burst of ideas as a career, which has now largely come to be known as the “fashion industry”.

These Fashion Gurus, start to define the trends, styles, lifestyles that can be called as the latest fashion for a particular period of time. Whereas, others begin to follow these guidelines, due to the immense faith and respect that they develop for these Gurus over time. These trends can be in a vast array of areas such as clothing, footwear, interiors, furniture, paintings, body art, hair etc. However these trends are short lived and take a new form over a period of few weeks or months, as and when new ideas start bubbling into the creative minds of our fashion gurus.

So we can largely say that fashion becomes a need for few, in the form of a career due to their dire need to express their ideas. And it also becomes a necessity for the very fashion conscious followers to be an active part of this idea conceptualization. It becomes a daily part of their life to keep themselves updated with the latest trends and religiously follow them.

However following all this fashion comes at a price, since it is an art that is generated from great talented minds, that can take as long as years to conceptualize their ideas. It is not a product that can be manufactured at any given time, from any given machine. It needs inspiration and some nurturing.

Hence following these trends and to be a part of the fashion industry is not an opportunity that everyone can afford. However there are still people who have this great desire to be acceptable in the society or rather known in the society as Fashionable. It is a want that arises from seeing the glamorous world that exists around them, and the urge to be a part of it captures their mind and heart. They want to look good, and feel good, and to be complimented on their great fashion sense. It is a form of peer pressure that spreads like a virus, and before people realize they are hit by it! Many of us, though not understanding this glamorous world of fashion, are forced to look or behave the way others want us to. Several times during this process we are lost and don’t understand out rue nature, and wants, and desires. Wanting to be fashionable becomes an injected desire.

Thus, we can safely say that though Fashion exists in every strata of our society, it is a need for some and desire for some. Whereas other are just plain victims!

Understanding African Fashion

For a very long time fashion has been perceived to be something foreign and not African. However, the scene is changing fast as with the election of President Obama the Afro American community has become more aware of their fashion sense. The African American community is indulging in the fashion of Africa especially to remind themselves of their rich and diverse heritage. The roots of African fashion can be traced back to centuries before now. Whether you consider the vibrant sisal skirts which are an important part of African dances to the Kanga which is now an iconic fashion garment, African fashion is being featured on the fashion ramps across the globe. Recently the fashion scene in Africa has become quite lively with runway shows occurring on a frequent basis with African designers competing with the level of international designers.

Fashion with a purpose is the main theme of most of these fashion shows which attract a number of fashion enthusiasts from all over the world. Fashion is also a big part of the African pop culture where some designers have strong following with celebrities and public personalities. These celebrities include well known names like Oprah Winfrey, Beyonce, Solange Knowles and Will Smith to name but a few. It is not just the celebrities but also the common masses who have embraced African fashion in an effort to look good. Men are also equally fashion conscious and many of them have been taken in by African fashion garments.

Apart from this the Miss World beauty pageant has also contributed to the growth of the African fashion industry. This is because the representatives from the African countries turn towards local designers in order to get their ensembles designed. This has caused the African designers to become popular all over the world. African fashion has essentially become the signature preference for men and women who wish to express themselves through their clothing. Most of the African designers also have understood how to successfully combine western styles with African ones and create authentic and original garments. This has resulted in a fashion scene that is vibrant and colorful and all the richer due to this combination.

The garments created by African fashion houses are also easily available globally, in fact they are available online in fashion stores dedicated to African fashion as well as via some own branded online stores. This has enabled the global community not belonging to the ‘African’ community to be able to express their liking for original and authentic designs and styles based on traditional African fashion.