Tuesday, March 31, 2009

The Bead Stylist: Spring Fashions African Style

What don't you want from this Out of Africa collection featured in The New York Times.

The shoes are truly the show stopper sans the pricing of up to $3,000

Out of Africa shoes leading the style

Or is it the head dresshead dress#2  head dress#3 

Fashions are conceptualized not from an ethnic perspective, but from the rich geometric shapes, and burst of muted colors out of Africa.

Here are some highlights form the main article which details the mix of inspiration for accessories, shoes, handbags and of course the role colors plays;

Fabric was the story at many shows, starting with the animal prints revisited — but in bright hues

The most dramatic example of tribal fabrics was offered by the Japanese designer Junya Watanabe. He came up with bold prints in an African palette of big-sky blue, burnt orange, earth brown and leaf green. Those fabrics were made into pretty summer dresses, while heads wrapped with bunches of wildflowers sweetened the mix.

...colonial world has also been mined for inspiration. The heat-and-dust colors of stone gray and sand beige, with a hint of military khaki, produced another African scenario. For Hermès, that meant re-creating the effect of desert sands on the surface of rippling suede dresses. For Ralph Lauren, the colonial looks fell somewhere between India and Africa, with low-crotch pants — those sarouel and jodhpur styles that are so à la mode this summer.

Necklaces with a faintly tribal feel look great when in graphic shapes. Bangles are everywhere, from wide cuffs to narrow bracelets, mostly in inventive modern materials to emulate the ivory and horn of now-endangered species.

Bags have just a hint of the wild in their serpent skins or with other natural materials like galuchat (a type of fish skin) or stout saddle leather. For the smaller clutches, a few beads threaded on a cord are sufficient to pass the message — without resorting to the heavy embellishments that are going out of fashion.

But it is the shoes that are leading the forward march of African style...the demand is all the more piquant because no pair of these shoes is alike, enforcing a desire for the unique, handcrafted object in which Africa itself excels.

Link to article

Here's the link to the complete slide show - please note, that some of the slide shows titles are out of order.

Out of Africa Fashion Slide Show from The New York Times

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

The Bead Stylist: Gap's Banana Republic Brand to Focus on Limited Edition Jewelry Designs

A fascinating read for me especially since, not long ago, I posted in a forum that it's quite possible large, and small retail boutique stores, will be looking to offer unique limited pieces of jewelry designs and that Etsy may very well be the place for them to find many of their unique creations.

The new test stores they are creating, according to this MarketWatch article 'Gaps Banana Republic To Open Accessory Store' (for some reason can't link to this article)

"For our customers today, affordability is paramount and being fashionable is always in style," said Jack Calhoun, president of Banana Republic, in a statement.

My previous blog post about how fashion designers are refocusing is giving even more credit by this particular MarketWatch article.

Just think about it, we are talking about The Gap, Banana Republic; and while sales may be down you can be sure that they put some serious research dollars behind designing this new concept store. And if their research has determined that limiting styles to only 100 pieces per design is what customers want and this trend takes off; well, jewelry designers that don't care to mass produce may want to take notice!

It remains to be seen how the test store may benefit Banana Republic, analysts said. In comparison, about 100 listings of Banana Republic's existing jewelry collection were featured on its Web site, offering earnings and other trinkets mostly under $50.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

The Bead Stylist: Finding Jewelry & Bead Art Design Trends on the Runway 2009 Spring / Summer Fashion Week

The Fashion industry's focus is already on designing for 2010; but so many of us need to stay focused on designing for now, Spring / Summer 2009.

This week I will be reviewing the shows via New York Times archives focusing on accessories used by designers.

Here you will find links to the Spring 2009 New York Fashion Show.  Not only will you notice how many of these designers like Tracy Reese are using this seasons colors, but how they accessorized their fashions.

So to you I say - Get Inpired!

NOTE: why not keep one browser window open with the color chart listed in the Primary Colors blog post so you can see how the designers are using these colors.

Tracy Reese Spring Collection

Izaak Mizrahi

Betsey Johnson


In case you don't get a chance to review all of the shows, I will be adding more during the week.

Monday, March 16, 2009

The Bead Stylist: Primary Colors for 2009 Spring / Summer

Pantone Color Blocks Spring Summer 2009 2009 Spring / Summer season are oh, so pretty:

Rose Dust & Slate Grey are two of this season neutral colors

Dark Citron & Vibrand Green truly capture the changes of Spring and naturally work well with the Spring Leaves Beads Mixes - but don't limit yourself to just these bead mixes

Salmon Pink & Lemon Yellow just scream Summer Fun! Several Bead Mix Color Palettes will be fun to work into your bead art jewelry designs!

Fuschia Red is so much more versatile than you might think; even when worked with color neutrals Rose Dust & Slate Grey

Lavender & Lucite Green - Lavender another color carried over from Fall/Winter, showing just how versatile it is working in the Lilac Bead Mix Color Palette

Friday, March 13, 2009

The Bead Stylist: Spring / Summer 2009 Colors & Coordinating Bead Mixes Part 2 Focus on Fuschia Red

Pantone Spring Summer Color 18-2328 Fuchsia Red 

Fuschia Red, with it's blue undertones, is described as evoking certain emotions, being a show stopper while at the same time adding a sense of elegance in fashion, cosmetics and home decore.

It's quite interesting to know where inspiration comes from for designer's; what experiences they draw on to create.  I captured much of that on these pages which were created to, not just focus on the one color, but visualize complimentary colors too.

That's where the Bead Mix Color Palettes come in; as they not only show, at-a-glance, how, or which colors you might choose to start designing with - isn't that more than half of the time we spend before even putting wire-to-bead?

Now I'm not saying that what's compiled here is all there is to work from - but do make sure to check back often, 'cause I will do make frequent updates to the palettes - but, like I stated before, these color palettes can be a tremendous time-saver.

2009 Spring Summer Fashion Colors1 Spring Flowers 2009 Spring Summer Fashion Colors3 Heather Flamenco Pink Flamingo2009 Spring Summer Fashion Colors2-1 Lilac

Now don't forget to check these pages to see how fashion designer's are pulling these colors together; and have Fun!

Monday, March 9, 2009

The Bead Stylist: Designer's are Changing Their Strategy in This Economy and Positioning for Better Times Ahead

Although we may consider ourselves small-time, niche designer's, remember, that's where many of the larger designers got their start; so there are clearly some lesson's to be learned here.

Technically, in the beading world - from jewelry design to bead weaving, it's all about Fashion; so why not take what these designer's are saying about how they are positioning themselves to face the challenges in this down economy and see how that can help the survivors survive.

The past few weeks I've come across forum posting, Wall Street Journal articles, and email newsletters weighing the pro's and con's of what it takes to make it in this down economy, if your your a small entrepreneur on Etsy and you question the economy, then your told you have a negative attitude or outlook; if your in major department stores and your designs have been marked down to prices you never dreamed of selling your creations for then it's the department stores that have caused you this malaise.

But the last article I read on MarketWatch.com is what prompted me to finally be able to write about this subject; because it does show how, despite the truth in all of the aforementioned, there are some ways to benefit during this  these challenging times.

  • Find out what your customer is looking for during this economic down turn - believe it or not, people are willing to spend; but perhaps they have certain conditions.
  • Stay on top of what your customer wants.
  • Keep your quality consistent - after all that's probably what got your customers in the first place.
  • Flexibility in your designs - fashion designers are noticing that their customers are still willing to pay BUT they want different and functional clothing.
  • Develop your Niche or go back to your roots if that's what worked for you originally.
  • Cut costs where you can that won't show up in your designs.

Several fashion designers are not cutting back on the decision to expand; however, they are being more focused on how they go about expanding.

Having a niche product and designs, and keeping things fresh seems to be the going theme as these designers share how they intend to this time period:


"Without people buying your clothes, you are not going to have a business anymore," said designer Rebecca Taylor, who added she had to make sure each of the 33 pieces she put on the runway stood out. "It's very important to bear that in mind when you are designing."

Newness, while always critical, has become the latest industry buzzword and now carries a sense of urgency.....After the carnage of the holiday season, newness, everybody agrees, is what's needed to spur shoppers to look past what's in their closets and start buying again. -- or better yet, to start paying full price again, after being pampered with deals of at least 70% off during the holidays.

"Designers are definitely stepping up their game and giving people a reason to buy," said Claire Hamilton, a retail analyst at trend-consulting and information firm WGSN. "You need to make every piece as distinctive as possible. Everyone is so much more conscious of the real commercial nature of the fashion industry. Designers are aware that if they make beautiful clothes that don't sell, they won't survive."


OK, it's time to get back to work!

Sunday, March 1, 2009

The Bead Stylist: Down Economy Screams for Pick Me Up Colors

A New York Times article narrated by Bill Cunningham seemed a bit to far out to me at first, but after watching the video and listening to his commentary Bill's interpretation did make more sense.

Of course several of the suggestions you may not pair-up, or wear in public yourself, but remember this was during the New York Fashion show where inspiration is certainly to be had.

Now in the beading world accomplishing these extremes in color design is certainly not difficult, but the call is to make the extreme color combination wearable - at least that's what I would like to do.

video article   A Dash of Color