October 29, 2013

Trick or Trending

The scariest of holidays is just days away so we thought we'd recommend the most stylish and spooky things to do this Halloween!

First off, in need of a last minute costume idea? Well, you're in luck because NYC is the hub of all things weird, theatrical, and vintage. If you're going for retro inspired, the infamous Screaming Mimi's is your pick or if you're feeling more of a futuristic/fantasy angle, you may find yourself at Abracadabra in the Flatiron District. Open year round in the East Village/Union Square area and probably the most well known is Halloween Adventure carrying everything you could ever imagine to be and beyond.

photo via Fashion Magazine

It's not Halloween without some festive pumpkin carving and this tradition has finally gotten a stylish upgrade. Glam up your pumpkin with rhinestones and glitter or channel your inner fashionista by creating a replica of Karl Lagerfeld. For more inspiration, check out some of the most creative ideas here.

photo via Guest of a Guest

For all you party animals out there, this week is nothing short of the fun and obscure. Whether you're looking to hear some tunes like 90's favorites the Smashing Pumpkins, time travel to a 1930's Speakeasy Dollhouse, or summon your inner Sinner or Saint, there's something to do for everyone, especially if you're over the Village Halloween Parade and typical haunted house.

photo via Baked By Melissa

Halloween means goodies galore and there's no better place to be than NYC for some good eats. One of our personal favorites is Duane Park Patisserie with their ghoul and ghost inspired cookies, cakes, and cupcakes. Baked By Melissa has even created an exclusive Halloween collection of cupcakes in flavors of candy corn, green monster, and chocolate orange. Can we say yum?!?

From BCBG's Trick or Chic Halloween Shop to Ahalife's A Costume Life, the fashion world's finally caught on and getting some costume fever. Charlotte Olympia is even releasing a limited-edition capsule collection full of Halloween specific accessories like pumpkin carved flats and vampire fang clutches. We're feeling goosebumps already!

So have a happy, safe, and supernatural Halloween and make sure to check out our Halloween inspired Pinterest board. 

October 24, 2013

RTW SS14 Sneak Peek

With Fashion Week finally over, one thing is for sure, there are absolutely no rules. The past couple of seasons in particular have confirmed this by blending what we typically think of as Spring/Summer with Fall/Winter and vice versa. These days anything goes whether it be furs, culottes, shorts, cropped tops, sheers, you name it, and this isn't the first time you've heard us say this.

As far as moving forward, we've seen most of the key trends on the catwalk before, they've just been given simple updates like changing hemlines, fresh color combinations, new styling techniques and ultra modern silhouettes.

Overall, we are looking at a super feminine season with lightness and fluidity, key sports influences and cutting edge technology as far as prints and fabrics go. Minimalism was the name of the game this time around with a sleek approach to shapes and details. We see a 90’s take but fresher, softer, and at the same time more minimal. Ethnic influences from all different parts of the world are predominant including the likes of Africa, Asia, India, and even the Middle East. The skirt is the new statement piece with new hemlines from midi to calf lengths to just above the ankle.

Not to mention, the most epic news of the week was the announcement of the last ever Marc Jacobs for Louis Vuitton show! So from New York to Paris here is our sneak peek of what to keep on your fashion radar for the seasons ahead!

For the full preview, click here! Stay tuned for the Key Trends SS15 available December 2013...

October 16, 2013

North Of The Border

Today we want to take you to Canada, which has become an often talked about neighboring country especially within the fashion industry. With many US companies looking to expand over the last couple of months, retail growth just north of the border is on everyone's radar.

photo via Nordstrom

At the lead of the pack is Nordstrom who in less than a year will introduce it's first store in Calgary. Following that, the Seattle-based department store expects to open four more stores in Ottawa, Vancouver, and two in Toronto throughout 2016 with hopes to eventually expand their lower priced sister store Rack as well. However, it's not all smooth sailing for the super chain who may see some competition arise as Holt Renfrew plans to launch an off-price high-end apparel shop called hr2 to compete with the steadfast Nordstrom.

photo via Ottawa Citizen

Others like Land's End, White House Black Market and Chico's have also recently ventured across the Canadian border. Many of these stores are taking a different angle and focusing market expansion on their online access versus advancing brick and mortar operations. With J.C. Penney in a rut, Canadian native Joe Fresh has just debuted online shopping as has Macy's and Bloomingdale's who both now ship to the north as of the past year.

photo via Yahoo Finance

On the other end of things, the Canadian parent of Lord & Taylor, Hudson's Bay Co. just made a major acquisition by snatching up Saks Inc. According to CEO Richard Baker, the goal is to introduce the luxury of Saks into Canada and open seven Saks Fifth Avenue stores, 25 Off Fifth outlets and launch an e-commerce platform targeted at Canadians. Between Lord & Taylor, Hudson's Bay and Saks Fifth Avenue, the conglomerate will now be able to offer customers a range of quality products and distinct shopping experiences at a range of price points from moderate to luxury.

photo via Elle Canada

You'd be more than surprised about some of the Canadian born and bread who are currently power players on the international catwalk. Designers Erdem Moralioglu of Erdem and Dean and Dan from Dsquared2 are all natives who grew up in Montreal and Toronto accordingly.

photo via Financial Post

Despite the market shift, there are some retailers still slow to the game. Which stores are on Canadians' wish lists? From Trader Joe's to Uniqlo to DSW and Madewell, these are the brands consumers are demanding the most, so what are they waiting for?

October 10, 2013

Fashion Evolution

On November 7th, Fashion Evolution: Consumer Power will discuss the most talked about and challenging topics facing the retail and fashion industries today. Keynote speaker Amy Hall, Director of Social Consciousness at Eileen Fisher, will lead into an expert panel discussion with executives from:
  • Naomi Gross, FIT Professor and Assistant Chairperson
  • Faizun Kamal, Founder of SourceFK
  • Gia Machlin, Founder and CEO of EcoPlum
  • Telicia Bunch, Director of Technical Design for a global fashion design company
  • And last but certainly not least, our very own Founding Partner and Creative Director at MBF, Manuela Fassbender
Organized by Ampleen, Fashion Evolution will highlight on how consumers are driving the industry and welcoming Sustainability and Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) into their culture. The evening will examine how far Sustainability and CSR have come and what the future holds for them. Not to mention, it will be a fabulous networking opportunity complimented by wines, small snacks and an environmentally friendly reusable and recyclable gift from FACE Stockholm
So mark your calendars for Fashion Evolution, hosted at the Scandinavia House in New York City at 58 Park Avenue, November 7th from 6-9pm. For more information and to register, go to: https://fashionevolution.eventbrite.com/.

October 2, 2013

MBF Profiles: Steve Bock

Have you ever heard the term …“know s__t from Shinola?” Well…it was a popular American colloquialism back in the forties and referred to a brand of shoe polish. Today knowing something about Shinola will put you in contact with unusual quality products…made in the U.S. of A. We had the pleasure of sitting down with Shinola’s CEO Steve Bock.

photo via Shinola

MBF: Steve, you’ve been with Shinola for a few years now…can you tell us how you originally became involved?

SB: I was hooked in the first 5 minutes…who wouldn’t be?

When a brand is developed around watches made in the U.S. where watches are just the core, every paradigm in developing a brand is thrown out the window.

When you know that this cannot be done in the U.S. without opening a factory, creating jobs, initiating the development of cottage industries around the products…you know you have an amazing concept.

And then starting a business with unique categories – that frankly have not been developed with the same capacity capabilities in decades, you have the beginnings of a business worthy of jumping on board quickly.

Throw in a little marketing and…welcome to the world of Shinola! I am very happy to be involved.

MBF: Shinola’s story begins with Shinola, the shoe polish -- a company established in 1907. What inspired Tom Kartsotis, founder of Fossil to purchase Shinola?

SB: We needed a name. The concept was born long before the name. Several names were thrown around and none really resonated and frustration started to build. And then someone threw out “…you don’t know sh_t from Shinola." Unfortunately, trademarking sh_t globally was not possible at the time.

Welcome to Shinola!

photo via Shinola

MBF: Today, Shinola specializes in U.S. manufactured quality watches, leather goods and bicycles. Why these?

SB: Our assortment will continue to grow. We started with bikes, watches, and leather goods to include journals, shoe polish and Shinola Cola.

Today we are hard at work on the next categories. And there is always a connection between the categories, our stores and marketing. Whether by design, style – our brands value prop, their DNA or connected by leather.

Our expectation and hope is if you like our watches, you will love our bikes and leather goods.

MBF: Shinola has offices and manufacturing facilities in the distressed city of Detroit? Why there?

SB: Detroit is a storied city with a deep heritage in manufacturing, craftsmanship, design and innovation. It is also a city with global recognition – not only for manufacturing but also music and the arts in addition to a community spirit and a can-do attitude.

It has a broad appeal and while the city continues to work through very difficult financial challenges, we also see its potential. This is a city that is rebuilding itself and while this will take time, the potential is very exciting – a new Detroit built on its heritage with renewed focus on innovation and creativity. We are very proud to be a small part of that renaissance. We love being in Detroit!

photo via Shinola

MBF: As niche-market luxury products and brands continue to develop/evolve, what are Shinola’s brand values? How do you differ from your competitors?

SB: We do not see ourselves as a niche market luxury brand.

We fill a space where quality is not only critical but is married to design and the value of our products is immediately apparent. And though our products are fashionable, they are not steeped in seasonal fashion trends.

We expect our products to retain their desirableness, be worn and used for years to come – they are not meant to be disposable; this is not about throwaway fashion.

We are filling a niche that is at the entry level to what is commonly referred to as prestige or designer level.

We use the same if not better components but by focusing our energy and drive, we are able to manufacture and assemble our products at a much better value then our competitors.

And our marketing is not celebrity-driven but rather focuses on the people behind our products, those who actually produce them. The fabrics and the components we use with our designs.

Our products represent “where American is made” and our brand is U.S. focused – not on a particular segment or market within the country.

MBF: Who is Shinola’s customer?

SB: Across the United States – broad, happy, interested and enthusiastic people.

photo via Shinola

MBF: Shinola opened their first NYC “brick-and-mortar”, the Tribeca flagship. The store is very “post-industrial” and warehouse-like. It’s a great place and a space that invites you to “cruise”. Do you have a strategy when branding your stores?

SB: Our stores reflect our brand’s DNA. We want our customers to feel very much at home with our products and our stores.

It’s more about a community and presenting products and a brand that are welcoming – in a relaxed environment, an environment that is intriguing enough that you will want to return again and again – to see what’s happening, what’s new.

MBF: How do you market them and how does this tie into your social media strategy?

SB: We combine the digital platform with more conventional marketing. Our customers are not insular – they are broad and we look to engage through all channels.

MBF: What other brands do you carry? And why?

SB: We are continuously looking for and adding to our line-up.

We want to be current, forward-looking. The “home” for exciting products that speak to great design, compelling value and beautiful craftsmanship…just like Shinola.

MBF: Do you think the consumers are making a conscious purchase? Are they buying because of Shinola’s a great story, the social aspects or because of the “Made in the U.S.A.?"

SB: We love being in Detroit and having this city as our home base. But no one is going to buy a Shinola product if it does not offer innovative design and great quality. That is what differentiates us from the competition.

The quality of our components and the value inherent to our products ensures we have a complete story.

We continue to strive and ensure we build our brand with products built with this criterion – guaranteeing this is what Shinola stands for…Made in America and competitive with any product developed anywhere. We stand above the fray given our design, quality and value props.

photo via Shinola

MBF: So the future is bright. What does it hold for Shinola?

SB: We will continue to work to make more products, remain transparent about what we can do here in the U.S. and what we cannot. We will also continue developing cottage industries that allow us to develop components and products in the U.S. And of course, in a small way contribute to creation of jobs as we continue to grow.

Our MBF Profile ends with a questionnaire that follows in the footsteps of Proust's Questionnaire and American TV show host James Lipton's "10 Questions."

MBF: Your favorite swear word?

SB: Used to be sh_t … now it’s Shinola.

MBF: Your least favorite word?

SB: Impossible.

MBF: Your favorite word?

SB: Yes.

MBF: What turns you on?

SB: None of your business.

MBF: And of course, what turns you off?

SB: Negativity, pessimism.

MBF: What sound do you love?

SB: Snow falling.

MBF: If you could pick any profession – what might you be?

SB: I’m doing it.

MBF: If you could be anywhere right now, where would you be?

SB: I'm here.

MBF: If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates?

SB: Go back…you have more to do and experience…there is no rush, we will be here for a while.
Creative Commons License
MBF Trend Talk by MBF Trend Consulting is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.
Based on a work at mbf-trendtalk.blogspot.com.