Posts Tagged ‘designers’

Think Small

February 2, 2015


In the last few weeks, the fashion industry has imploded with news of high profile firings, and store closures. From the termination of Frida Giannini at Gucci, to Rebekka Bay at the Gap, brands on all ends of the spectrum are panicking. Last week the Gap announced the pending closure of it’s Piperlime division, Kate Spade is abandoning their Saturdays and Jack Spade divisions, and Jones New York, an iconic giant in the moderate market decided to give up the fight. All on the heels of C. Wonder shutting down the week before. What does it mean, when the big players decide to pack it in and call it quits?

Throughout the last several years, we have lived in a difficult economy. Retailers blamed poor economic conditions for  the state of their business, when not blaming the designer. Anything, to avoid taking responsibility for their own failings. As the financial landscape has improved and consumer confidence has risen, it’s harder and harder to make excuses. Especially multi-million dollar ones. Investors are running out of patience and rescources.

It’s easy to blame the designer, who most think decide what ends up on the racks. In a large retail environment, the buyers, or the merchants in fact call the final shots. The best designed and concieved collection can be rendered unsuccessful when bought incorrectly, or edited and tweaked to the point of losing it’s integrity.
Yes, designers do concieve the creative vision, and execute the product to that end. But once the people with check books get ahold of it, it can often go astray. Analysis paralysis sets in. The mentality tends to be that if we sold a zillion green turtlenecks this year, we should offer 10 green turtlenecks next year. That 78% of the assortment should be in pants, even if it’s a skirt or dress year. We can’t sell blank:(fill in a color or style here.) I could go on and on for days, or perhaps start a Twitter account entitled “S*@t merchants say.”

Dont’ get me wrong. It’s not always their fault, and designers do often design plenty of unsaleable merchandise. Playing the blame game doesn’t solve the problem. What does however, is acknowleging that now, more than ever, it’s time to throw the excuses out the window and forge ahead exploring new ideas and new processes.

The consumer has changed. They are savvier than ever, more exposed to fashion and culture, and things are accessible to people across the globe, all thanks to the wonderful world of the technology. If a drone can deliver to a remote location in the western plains, fast fashion is available to anyone, anywhere.

So what does that mean for the industry?

Perhaps it’s time to think small, and execute big. Ask yourself some hard questions, and think like a start up. What does the consumer want that nobody else is giving them? Where do you fit into the retail landscape where you can be best in class? Find your passion again, and do something with it. Be original and authentic, rather than a “me too.” Dare to follow your gut instinct and have some conviction. Someone once told me that if you didn’t have a little bit of stomach ache when making big decisions, you were probably not making the right ones. During the most successful and fruitful years of my fashion career, I ingested an awful lot of Maalox, and made some pretty damn good decisions to boot. Sadly, that is another brand that rode silently off into the sunset too.

I truly believe that now is the time to embrace an entreprenuerial spirit, and to try to think differently. Those that can do that, will be the big success stories of coming years.

In the meantime, I’ll just set out to change the world, one s’more at a time.

photo: Glasshouse Images

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Huffing and Puffing

January 31, 2013

Because I am too freaking exhausted to write anything coherent tonight, here is a screen grab of my Huffpost Live segment, shot today with Christian Siriano of Project Runway fame.

SH On HuffPostLive

I will fill you in on all the deets tomorrow, as well as some tidbits from a chance encounter with Tommy Hilfiger today.

Two very different success stories, from two very different men, who both found a unique way to pursue their dreams.Inspiration doesn’t get much better than this!

Coming soon…

Earn Your Stripes

September 18, 2012

New York designers are showing their stripes next season, with a fresh, innovative twist on the classics.

Bold stripes appeared in lean languid shapes or easy menswear silhouettes. The most notable American designers embraced the trend, with dresses, tops and suits all earning their stripes!

Marc Jacobs is arguably the most directional designer in the world right now, and all eyes were on his collection, as editors looked for the next big thing. After seasons of excess, his Spring ’13 collection highlighted clean graphic interpretations of the 1060’s, while channelling the iconic Edie Sedgewick.

Tommy Hilfiger is synonymous with all-American style. His collection featured classic and deconstructed stripes in easy feminine takes on menswear.

Michael Kors also played the stripe card, with bold sailor stripes on clean modern shapes.

As you are packing away the last of your summer wardrobe and getting ready for fall, hold on to that boat neck striped tee for one more year. It is sure to be the center piece of your wardrobe next spring.

Fashion Flash: Milan Fashion Week

April 2, 2012

WIth all of this talk about food, and leftovers, I thought it was time to talk about fashion again. Here is an article previously posted on Fashionista Cafe, a website that I am a contributor for.

Milan Fashion Week offered a beautiful take on old world opulence with a decidedly modern flair.  Textiles and embellishments played a big role in fashion this season, and time-honored techniques such as gold embroidery and beading enhanced the rich, luxe fabrics and couture-like cuts that roamed the catwalks.

Dolce and Gabbana are some of the most prolific designers in the world, taking an idea and turning out multiple iterations that never fail to impress. This season, they took their inspiration from Sicilian baroque traditions. Lavishly embroidered frocks and capes, reminiscent of religious vestments were worked against lace and figurative needlepoint florals replete with images of cherubs, in some of the duo’s signature silhouettes.

Aquilano Rimondi also took their inspiration from the church, religious jewelry and the richness of Renaissance paintings. Their modern twist on opulence ranged from masculine to feminine silhouettes, in an array of deeply colored jacquards and luxurious velvets.

Miuccia Prada took a more modern approach to her collection, using chunky jewels to embellish the strict, elongated shapes she showed.  The mostly black ensembles were shown in strong contrast to the bold geometric prints reminiscent of David Hicks that were also part of the offering.

Consuelo Castiglioni stayed true to Marni’s roots, showing a clean, modern assortment that spanned the range from spare to opulent via her play on textiles and ornamentation.

Whether it was her Bauhaus inspired separates in a unique color palette of camel, red, winter white and duck egg blue or her rich jacquards and jeweled pieces in black and gold, an architectural influence prevailed.

Antonio Marras is a master at his craft, and this season was no exception. Marras mixed velvet, tapestry, menswear fabrics and fur into 40’s inspired silhouettes for a feminine and artistic take on the season. His keen attention to workmanship and details made this collection one to watch.

Raf Simons bid adieu to Jil Sander with a ladylike collection with a couture-like edge.

Simons vision of a woman in shades of winter white, toast, soft blue and pale pink were shown in oversized coats, which the models clutched modestly, over slip-like dresses in charmuese. Unexpected pops of rich red, and a shot of metallic silver added an air of modernity.

It was an outstanding finale to a brilliant career at Jil Sander, soliciting a standing ovation from the audience.

The Milanese designers provided covetable clothing that stirs us emotionally and inspires us creatively. All in all, it was the stand out city among the fashion capitals this season.

Photos: Courtesy of Fashionista Cafe/ Pixel Formula

You’re a Doll

August 27, 2009


I always credit Barbie for having a profound influence on my life. She sparked my interest in fashion, and was the muse for my earliest designs.

This month, some of the world’s most significant designers have come together to dress Barbie and her longtime beau Ken, for a very worthy cause.

The fashionista dolls, as well as illustrations from many of the designers, were commissioned to celebrate the 10-year anniversary of Jeffrey, the upscale fashion emporium in New York City’s Meatpacking District.IMG_0250

All of the dolls are available for purchase via a silent auction. Proceeds will be donated to benefit AIDS and breast cancer related charities.

Check out the exhibit on display in the store, until September 17th.


449 West 14th Street New York City

Bids are accepted in store, or via telephone: (212) 206-1272

Urban Gladiators

July 24, 2009


From Prada to Payless, the gladiator sandal is the shoe of the season.
Inspired by Roman Gladiators, and interpreted by designers at all levels, this flat-heeled strappy shoe is showing up everywhere!

This trend started last year, and has spread to the masses, with children and grandmothers alike all sporting an iteration of the shoe.

When something peaks to this extreme, it begs the fashionista in us to ask: “What’s next?”

Tell us what you think the next big sandal trend will be by commenting below, or emailing us at

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