Before Christian Dior revolutionized women’s fashion, in 1947, he had one goal to replace the unsightly Zazou trend with his New Look. Forever 21, H & M, Uniqlo, Target and Zara hope to equally influential with low-cost goods for the budget-mined with big style dreams. Organizers as a fast fashion retail model their purpose is to fill stores with quickly manufactured merchandise based on catwalk and red carpet trends. What that means is that the moment it’s online it’s available soon after. Sadly, any concept this perfect, is bound to have major flaws too.
Pollution, and Other Problems
Naysayers from the environmental and educational fields have been their biggest detractors lately citing pollution, over-consumption and poor quality as the top issues. To quiet the dissenting voices the fast fashion retailers have taken steps to repair their image.
Budget Shopping is the In Thing
Rebellious, but fabulous, the younger generation of the 1960’s helped propel fast fashion and its instant availability. Another bonus was hipsters could be “in” for little money, allowing them to obtain different from their parents, without having to get their permission. The “it’s chic to pay less” fast fashion sentiment permeated popular culture from the “late 1990’s to the early 2000’s” ushering in an eclectic shopping style. Sharon Stone’s ingenious pairing of a “Gap turtleneck tee with a black Valentino gown” at the 1996 Oscar’s is an accurate example of this philosophy. In 2017, it might be demonstrated with a print coat from a thrift store over a maxi dress from Forever 21.
Qualitative Lifewear from Uniqlo
Concern over their target customer’s inability to recognize “quality” caused Uniqlo to rename their merchandise lifewear, and insist it uplifts instead of detracts. The collaboration they did with J.W. Anderson for a classic British-style capsule demonstrated this mindset perfectly. Target in a similar mode also upgraded its women’s wear with it’s A New Day line, adding another chapter to fast-fashion’s history.
Wong, Grace. “Fast fashion shopping: It’s cute, it’s cheap, but should you really buy it?” (Chicago Tribune, November 27, 2015, http://www.chicagotribune.com)
The reason I like writing store profiles so much is they include everything I love about fashion, retail and writing in one package. Creatively there’s the colorful, adjective-laden prose, photos, and illustrations that visually make it appealing. Economically there’s the thrill of discovery and journalistically there’s the joy of flexing my brainstorming, researching and interviewing techniques.
My first exposure to writing store profiles happened when I was taking a Retailing class as part of my Fashion Merchandising program at CSULA. I had to write a three-store profile for my Mid-term paper, so for the assignment, I chose three furniture businesses, Civilization for the high end, Plummer’s for the mid-range, and a discount store for the low end. Throughout my writing career, I’ve duplicated the process I was taught to use, in this class, of researching a company before interviewing the owner or owners and sales staff, describing the interiors and exteriors of the site, describing the merchandise and displays, and explaining how they fit into the current retail climate.
Fabulous L.A. Store Displays
Lasta Icelandic Fashion Shop
While working as a fashion columnist for Culver City News, in 2014, I wrote a store profile about Lasta Icelandic Fashion Shop (Lasta Icelandic Fashion Shop is a wonderful source for an individualist. It remains one of my favorite experiences as a writer.
Iceland was really “trending” in 2014, and the co-founder and major proponent of Icelandic and Nordic fashion, Helga Olaffsson, was a fascinating interviewee and businesswoman. Besides being a big fan of mystery writers Steig Larsson, Henning Mankell, Jo Nesbo and Karin Folsum, the other pop culture element that influenced my decision to write about Lasta were the T.V. shows, The Killing, Wallander, and Borgen. Finally, the reason this profile really stood out for me is the individuality of the designs represented and the lovely way they were displayed.
At first, I couldn’t believe it when I heard that the majority of the class I’ve been working with, as a Special Ed Instructional Assistant at Leo Politi Elementary School (LAUSD), had never been to the zoo. How could that be when going there is such a childhood rite of passage? When I was their age, in Kindergarten through Second Grade, my mother insisted on taking my brother and I to the L.A. Zoo, nearby Griffith Park, Ringling Bros. Barnum and Bailey Circus, Farmer’s Market and The La Brea Tar Pits.
“For the kids around here, it’s a totally new thing, to go to the zoo,” said one of my co-workers. “They aren’t used to going to places like that.”
But this new generation, where constantly diddling on cell phones, wearing leggings as pants, and dropping out of school are the norm, the zoo is a foreign concept. As a representative of the baby boomer generation, whose childhood was far from perfect, I still felt it was my duty to share this one experience with them.
You Can Never Ask Too Many Questions
The L.A. Zoo
“Can we pet the animals?,” asked one of the students before our fieldtrip.
Following a series of obstacles, our class finally started the countdown to our trip at the end of March. To prepare the students, for what they were about to see, I bought an animal board book at the Mar Vista Library Book Sale and gave it to them to read and study.
“Will we see spiders and snakes there?” asked a student one morning.
“Can we pet the animals?” another one asked.
The questions were endless, with the book becoming old before its time, from beloved overuse and rough treatment.
Dressing Comfortably for the Big Day
Simultaneous to the field trip, I had to do an assignment for my FSH 628: Mobile & Social Media Journalism class on “Social Listening”. I chose the internet feedback about the Hunter x Target collaboration. For my research, I went to check it out, as an event at the Target on LaCienega and Jefferson. There were plenty of clothes available, in my size and style, so I ended up purchasing quite a bit.
The first outfit I wore was perfect for our big field trip day- a red, pink and white striped windbreaker over a white and orange sleeveless top and orange and white track pants, accessorized with a pink sun visor, cream cat-eye framed shades, white Levi’s sneakers, a white and pink flamingo print tote and an orange leather hobo bag.
In addition to walking long distances, at the zoo while looking at the animals, I also had to help maneuver one of our student in a wheelchair when she needed to sit down, making comfort a necessity.
“We didn’t get to see the hippos and the leopards!” some of the students complained at the end of our trip.
Walking in a well-organized, but a curious and active group, we saw the meerkats, a swan, ducks, lions, giraffes, snakes, spiders, exotic birds, turtles, tortoises, alligators, gorillas, chimpanzees and more.
“We didn’t get to see the hippos and the leopards!” some of the students complained at the end of our trip. “You’ll have to visit them the next time you come back, with your families,” I told them.
While waiting for the tram, after our lunch break, I met a little boy wearing a Junior Zookeeper outfit, complete with binoculars. He jumped up on the seating area and insisted on waiting for the tram despite his mother’s protests.
“He really knows what to do, and where to go at the zoo, doesn’t he?,” I said. “Oh yes, he’s been coming here ever since he was little,” his mother said. “We have a membership, so we can come any time we want, and stay for an hour or longer. It’s a great place to hang out.”
“It was the best day of my life,” said one of the teachers who went with us to the zoo.
Leo Politi Elementary School
A few days after the trip, I asked one of the teachers whose class went too, did he enjoy himself. “It was the best day of my life,” he said. I hope that’s how our students felt too, and it joins their other happy memories from this time.
Hunter x Target was the latest collaboration for both the traditional British fashion company and one of America’s most popular retailers. Since the debate started around April 14 and April 15, 2018, a lot of consumers, including myself, anxiously awaited its arrival.
Before using the mobile app, Hootsuite, I read various articles about the collaboration after searching for news trending stories on my News app. From the article, People Are Losing Their Mind After Target’s Hunter Boots Collab Sold Out Super Quickly by Stephanie McNeil on buzzfeed.com (https://www.buzzfeed.com/stephaniemcneal/hunterxtarget) I saw quite a bit of gloating going on from Instagram users who shared selfies and photos of their new swag, while most Twitter users, who posted, complained, “they were unable to purchase anything because everything was sold out or made of inferior quality.”
Hunter x Target Price Tags
Visiting the Store
With such an unbalanced response, I decided to visit my local Target to see for myself what was going on with the collab. So on April 17 and April 18, 2018, I examined the Trend Spot section and was able to buy quite a few items, on my wishlist, and talk to a few customers.
Tuesday, while examining the existing boots, I did see one pair of the coveted rain knee-highs, but they were a man’s size 11, causing them to remain on the shelf. They were still there when I went back the next day. One of the two men I talked to, in the department, told me they were from Woodland Hills.
“There were more boots and shoes there than here. They also have more clothes too.”
–Customer I met at “Target”
“There were more boots and shoes there than here. They also have more clothes too,” one of them said.
On Wednesday, when I returned to get the rest of the clothes I liked, I talked to another customer. “I came from Santa Clarita to see what they had,” she said.
Hunter x Target Haul Slideshow
Comparing the complaints from the lucky ones who at least snagged one item against those who didn’t I was able to judge more objectively and obtain my own significant haul. Later, I took some photos of it, then used the PicCollage app, before posting it on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram as my Hunter x Target haul. In opposition to all of the gloating, I responded with what I felt was a tasteful display of gratitude, at what I was able to buy. Since I always seem to luck out and enjoy these collabs I don’t think Target should change how they do them because it brings customers into the store and introduces a higher priced, more stylish brand, to a lower economic group of consumers.
Thred Up Gear: Red and white checked gingham shirt with color blocked pants
On August 1, 2017 when I started my new blog, Every Day Style: Fashion for the Mainstream (https://www.victoriawordpress587.wordpress.com), and the accompanying website, Lookin’ Good, Feelin’ Good (https://www.lookingoodfeelingoodblog.wordpress.com) to help readers, and myself, coordinate clothing for daily activities and realistic budgets little did I know stores like Target and Walmart would step it up so much with such great buys for regular people, and online companies, like http://www.thredup.com, would offer the same type of quality second-hand merchandise found at Goodwill Thrift Stores and Council Thrift Shops.
After talking to a lot of people, at work and around the city, I kept hearing the same complaint about how difficult it was to find attractive clothing for plus sized women, older people and those with financial restrictions. Now it looks like there might be hope among the those listening in the industry. I hope to be one who is continuously on this track.
So far I’ve written about 10 blogs, and plan to add more about fashion coordination, great accessory finds and other related tips in the future. Recently I created a professional page on Facebook, “Keepin’ Up With Vicqui,”@victoria2thread (username) where I plan to add my updates about my blogs regularly.
Jessica, Ronald Reagan International Trade Building, Washington, D.C.
Filename: Stk jessicabw 06. jpg, Copyright: Jason Schlosberg
Jill Manoff: Doing Her Job
Glossy Media’s Editor-in-Chief, Jill Manoff, is a very accomplished writer who reports on a variety of fashion and retail-related subjects for the online publication Glossy. In the past year, while her articles, London Fashion Week Recap: Exits big statements and the joy of sex; OH at the Glossy Summit: ‘You can’t rely on influencers’; What retailers think about the store of the future; and Inside The Dreslyn’s small-is-beautiful approach to e-commerce impressed me with their depth and organization, her February 11, 2018 article, NYFWDaily Recap: Female empowerment is the weekend’s resounding theme (https://www.glossy.c./fashion-calendar/nyfw-daily-recap-female-empowerment-is-the-weekends-resounding-theme) gave me more additional insight than the others.
Well-written and strong, it was a pleasure to read and mentally tag along with Manoff as she encountered different fashion shows and personalities. One of the most fascinating was Jill Stuart’s “presentation at the National Arts Club where artists, musicians and actresses” lounged around in a contemporary salon.
Included, within the piece, in the Discussed section is Glossy‘s weekly podcast featuring Celine Semaan, “CEO and designer of the sustainable fashion and accessories brand Show Factory.” Throughout the 21 minute and 53-second podcast she talked about transparent manufacturing, a new library of sustainable materials, and human rights.
The accompanying photographs Manoff posted on her Instagram page, from NYFW (New York Fashion Week), are sophisticated, elegant and uncluttered. A white dress, shown with black stockings, by Tibi, reveals her personal taste and editorial talent. Eclectic and witty, through two of her posts she even confesses her love for jumpsuits by posting a photo of a striped one, by dvf (Diane von Furstenberg) next to its avant-garde mate on display at MOMA (Museum of Modern Art).
Conclusively this article impacted me because, it is as eloquent as a print version, and it didn’t shy away from subjects like empowerment, the runway debate, sustainable fashion, and diversity.
Jacqueline Moore with Friends and Family (c. the 1960s)
Jacqueline Ella Moore is a woman who’s seen a lot of history. At 79, she’s lived through the assassination of John F. Kennedy, racial segregation, Watergate, and 911. Relaxing back into a brown easy chair in her living room, clad in a roomy black tee and matching pants, she tells me, “I was born in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma on December 19, 1938. Part of the time I spent with my father’s mother, Grandma Watson, in Luther, Oklahoma, and part of the time I spent with my mother’s mother, Grandma Poole in Fairfield, Alabama, while growing up. She had all of her children’s children then,” she said.
Essie Poole’s Hat (c. the 1950s)
Oklahoma: My Hometown
Sometimes known as the Sooner State, Oklahoma received statehood, as the 46th state, on November 16, 1903. Cosmopolitan with a small town feel, Moore’s parents Bernyce and Bennie Watson left their hometown, Luther, Oklahoma for Oklahoma City, Oklahoma when they got married in June 1938. “They lived in an apartment,” she said. “My mother was a homemaker and my father made about $14 a week working in a furniture store as a janitor.”
Vintage Bead Necklaces (c. the 1960s)
Dissatisfied with their claustrophobic, structured life in Oklahoma, her parents decided to move to California in 1940. Nicknamed the Golden State it has always drawn outsiders because of its tolerance towards various lifestyles and ethnicities. “It was nice to finally live in a place where everyone didn’t know everyone else’s business,” Bernyce Watson said once.
When the Watson’s came to L.A., in 1940, they were part of a boom that caused California’s population to quadruple through 1990. From 1946 to 1948 they joined the group of “working-class African-Americans” who moved to Watts, California. “My mother’s sister, Essie and her husband Floyd, were really the first of our family to come out here,” Moore said. “They were living in Pueblo Projects when I came out, at six, with my cousin Andrea on the train.”
Downtown Los Angeles, photo by Daisy Naranjo
The Changing City
Many things have changed the energy of the city-immigration, crime and socio-economic issues-but the phenomenon that affected Moore the most then was geographical racism. “At that time, if you were Black, they assumed you were poor so that meant we lived in Jordan Downs Projects,” she said. Somewhat vague about direct experiences with prejudice, she insists children aren’t aware of that type of thing, and when she was growing up she just recalls they only went where they were welcome. “I was looking at a television program, the other day about Clifton’s Cafeteria, and I realized when I saw a lot of African-Americans in the picture, that that was one of the few places we were allowed to go.”
Moving Out of Watts, California
In 1948, even though Moore moved to a house on Chesapeake Avenue with her parents, she still came back to Watts to visit her Grandma and Grandpa Poole. “I actually stayed with them until the school year was out, on 108th Street, in a duplex that belonged to my Uncle Graff,” she said. Her grandfather was very loquacious and loved befriending people in the neighborhood. One of his favorites was Sabato (Simon) Rodia (1879-1965) “an Italian immigrant, construction worker and tile mason” who created The Watts Towers of Simon Rodia out of discarded bottles and other recyclables he found.
“We always laughed at him, and thought he was crazy because he walked around with a little red wagon full of junk,” she said.
The move to Chesapeake resulted in a large cultural shift, from the predominately African-American and Hispanic environment of Watts to a mixture of ethnicities, especially the Japanese on the Westside. Again Moore insists she didn’t notice any bias while attending Virginia Road Elementary School then. Unfortunately, at Mount Vernon Junior High, when a White teacher refused to let her enter her class in a borrowed coat because it was dirty, she couldn’t deny it existed. Instead of meekly walking back out, she acted in a manner characteristic of her familial background, and responded, “You don’t buy my clothes or pay for my cleaning.”
With the phenomenal box office success of Black Panther awareness of African-American style, and how it influences the fashion industry, has been in the news lately. Writer Fawnia Soo Hoo, in The Costume, Hair, and Makeup in Marvel’s ‘Black Panther’ Are A Celebration of Black Culture and Heritage (The Costume, Hair, and Makeup In Marvel’s ‘Black Panther’ Are A Celebration of Black Culture and Heritage, www.fashionista.com) wrote, “The costume, hair, and makeup were designed to create new, never-before-seen, and sure-to-be-iconic looks and personas…” Going back to the late 1940s and 1950s, when Moore was in elementary through high school, the popular styles for young girls were full skirts, shirtwaist dresses, and waist-length button-down cardigan sweaters. To reflect the middle-class lifestyle they’d attained, thanks to her husband’s self-employment with Busy Bee Maintenance, a rug cleaning business and junk enterprise in Watts, Bernyce Watson dressed Moore presentably and well.
Jacqueline Moore’s Beaded Cardigan Sweater (c. The 1950s)
Fashion Just Wasn’t Her Thing
“I never cared that much about clothing,” she said. “Still my mother dressed me like a paper doll, because she was competing with her sisters, and showing them how well off she was.” Always stylish, and matchy-matchy, she remembers for school she usually wore dresses, pleated and gathered skirts and jumpers. “I really wanted to wear straight skirts but I was too skinny then,” she said. Within walking distance, from Dorsey High School, of Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Mall she claims she primarily shopped at two department stores, the May Co. and The Broadway.
Despite a conscientiously chic mother, who usually wore slacks and coordinating tops, Moore’s passion for dressing up waned after she retired as an Administrative Assistant for Hughes Aircraft Company. She attributes it to weight gain and less money for clothes upon retirement. Other factors could also be the increasing casualness of today’s mainstream styles and a lack of guidance for older customers from retail establishments.
From the perspective of Black Panther it appears the movie proves African-Americans have come a long way, but when I asked Moore if she thought the culture was in a better or worse place, she said, “We’re worse off, because kids today take it for granted everything our generation achieved for them like desegregation and the vote. They don’t seem to be interested, in the history of Dr. King and our other Black leaders either, which is in contrast to the sixties and seventies when we were aware of and care about everything.”
Andrew Asch has two things going for him that make him an influential fashion journalist-he lives in Los Angeles, California and works for the California Apparel News. As their Retail Editor, his motto is “Telling the story of California’s fashion boutique and retail scene”. In a city known for its laid-back attitude and casual dress, he excels at keeping fashion fans up-to-date with articles and blogs that chronicle its sartorial history. Nothing escapes his radar and he gives everything he covers equal weight, whether it’s a brief about a pop-up store or an updated company news story.
California Apparel News, an important trade publication, “owned by TLM Publishing Inc.,” has been around since 1945. Their presence on the internet includes blogs written by Asch as well as articles from their print edition. Without losing any of their journalistic information or professionalism his blogs are just as thorough and entertaining online as in print.
On Monday, January 22, 2018, for his piece Anrealage’s Fabric Puts on a Show he skillfully managed to add enough relevant text to appeal to art lovers, Japanese culture enthusiasts, textile designers, shoppers and computer fanatics. By including the visuals and accompanying words that featured the exhibit A Light Un Light he gave the reader a complete blueprint for embracing a new retail experience.
Mostly warm, sunny and forgiving L.A. weather is perfect for a cool tee and a pair of jeans. The stylish native is always on the hunt for that special topper that will give them awesome street cred. When Asch wrote Band of Outsiders Pops at Fred Segal on Friday, February 9, 2018, he thought about the consumer when he described their “shirts with nautical details and animal prints”.
The exemplary way he provided the who, what, where, why and how, in less than 200 words, for the brief proves he’s aware of the difference between the internet and print reader. No detail is left out and the adjoining photos are relevant. Both as a strength and a guideline, for other bloggers to emulate, these are assets worth noting.