FASHION

Flea Markets, new websites and just a lil mix of everything fashion-y !!!

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Q & A with Nolcha Fashion Week’s Kerry Bannigan

**Image used with permission by Nolcha Fashion Week**

LAFashionsnob: What got you into fashion?

Kerry Bannigan: I moved to New York City from England in my early twenties and was quickly connected to independent fashion designers via contacts. My background is in communications, events and marketing; and I soon learnt that there was a gap in the market to provide business services to independent fashion designers.

LAFS: Why did you start Nolcha Fashion Week and when?

KB: After speaking to many fashion designers I learnt that one of their main obstacles in business growth is showcasing during New York Fashion Week which is a key time in the fashion market. Due to the high costs, lack of contacts and non-expertise to produce runway shows independent fashion designers struggle to exhibit or introduce their brand to industry contacts; and many times face not being discovered for that season. We created Nolcha Fashion Week in 2007, held during New York Fashion Week, for independent fashion designers to showcase their collections to a global audience of press, retailers, stylists and industry influencers.

LAFS: Why the name- “Nolcha”?

KB: My business partner, Arthur Mandel, and I wanted a name that stood alone and not necessarily aligning specifically with fashion. We aimed to create our own definition around our business services and even tools that could be expanded to other creative sectors. ‘Nolcha’ is a feminine name of native American origin that means ‘the sun’. It is enlightening, rising and positive.

LAFS: What sets Nolcha Fashion Week apart from NYFW?

KB: It is not the goal of Nolcha Fashion Week to compete with NYFW, but instead be a landmark for independent fashion designers to get a foothold in the market; whether to launch their brand, introduce their collection or use a cost effective professional platform for a certain growth period of their business. Nolcha Fashion Week offers independent innovative, cutting edge fashion designers from around the globe. We aim to be a platform of discovery specifically with the international brands that are on our runway.

LAFS: Describe NFW in three words?

KB: Platform of discovery.

LAFS: What do you hope to accomplish with NFW?

KB: We aim to continue to grow as a key showcase of New York Fashion Week and to receive the positive support from media, sponsors, retailers, industry decision makers and celebrities. Nolcha Fashion Week will continue to be the professional hub for independent fashion designers offering a range of cost effective options to increase designers recognition and develop their business.

Kerry concludes: This upcoming season Nolcha Fashion Week: New York is excited to include Alberto (Germany), B’Venaj (Ghana), Mimi Tran (USA) and Monstrousité (USA); supported by Neulook, Adrian London, Bellaforma and Franciacorta. To find out more and see updates visit www.nolchafashionweek.com

(Bannigan with business partner Arthur Mandel and Jeannie Mai.)

**Image used with permission by Nolcha Fashion Week**

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Stacks On Racks: On a Mission for Sustainable Fashion

Hidden off the beaten path in one of downtown Houston’s industrial neighborhoods and tucked away in a large warehouse are the offices of Stacks On Racks. Stacks On Racks is Houston’s answer to a curated thrift shop- where all the newer and vintage on-trend pieces are readily available at your fingertips without the hassle of digging through piles of ‘meh’ clothing.

This concept was first created by Mazen Baltagi- who owned several nightclubs at the time and wanted to move away from that industry. One day, he decided to invest in a warehouse where the surplus of area Goodwills and Salvation Armys were being graded and sent off to third world countries. He noticed that some clothing (i.e. furs, leather jackets and skirts, etc) wasn’t able to be sent off and thus was sent to landfills. He wanted to find a way to lessen that waste and expense (like $1,000s to contract a waste company to throw away for them). One day, he was going through the clothing and pulled out a great looking jacket. Whenever he wore said jacket, he would always get asked, “Where did you get that jacket?” His response (and on-going joke) was, “I got it from the trash.” {I basically get some of my gems from the garbage in textile places…I see no harm in that and I’m actually quite proud to say that I rescued them from being tossed.} This process got Mazen’s creative juices flowing and he brought his friend- Lanre Omotunwashe on board. Once Mazen told Lanre the idea and took him to a local landfill, where they witnessed mounds of clothing just going to waste; they decided to bring their idea to fruition.

After getting their large warehouse space, they started doing little pop-up shops around the city. Their first pop-up and official launch date was December 12, 2012. The more pop-ups they did, they kept getting amazing feedback by the folks who were shocked at their reasonably fair price points. One time, they sold a white leather jacket (retailing from $300-500) to The Vintage Contessa for a mere $50. She was even excitedly stunned at such an affordable price. After that, the guys knew they had something and don’t price anything above $50, as they don’t see the point of gauging people. Since then, they take private shopping appointments only and clients can shop the exceptional one-of-a-kind newer and vintage clothing and accessories that are hand-picked by the guys and their team.

The guys are firm believers in sustainable fashion and take it to another level. Not only are they rescuing pounds and pounds of clothing from landfills, but they also believe that just because a garment is “outdated” doesn’t mean that it’s any good. They may do some tweaks here-and-there to re-size and update it. Why spend hundreds of dollars on something when you can buy a garment from them and make it new or current. They’ve found anything from a YSL blazer, pieces exclusive to Lord & Taylor and Nordstrom and even a vintage Coca-Cola swimsuit. The best part about buying from them is that no one else will have it!

Thinking ahead in long-term goals, they want to be on the forefront of putting Houston on the map in the fashion industry. ‘Houston’s the 4th largest city in the US, so why not us?’ They also would like to start an underground fashion movement and put local up-and-coming designers on the map as well. They are also in the process of creating a style firm where they will charge a monthly fee for stylists to come and pull whatever they need. “We want to be the platform for anyone who is wanting to make a name for themselves,” Lanre said.

Stacks On Racks is open by appointment only or via their online store. They are working with numerous non-profits (including Dress for Success) where once you make a purchase online, they will donate an article of clothing.

“Not only are we clothing others, but we are saving the waste from going to the landfills.” – Lanre

* Vintage peplum Ungaro jacket, vintage polka dot skirt and vintage pants were bought at Stacks On Racks *

** Photography by Nicole Kestenbaum Photography **

* We’d also like to thank the lovely folks at My Flaming Heart boutique for allowing us to use their restroom to change in.

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** American Textile Recycling Services- Houston (Sponsored) **

When I was contacted about paying American Textile Recycling Services a visit, I was beyond thrilled. ATRS is the fastest growing textile recycling company in the USA, with over 3,000 recycling bins in eleven branches in nine regions, including: Texas, Florida, Michigan, Tennessee, Atlanta, Oklahoma, Arizona, Colorado, and Southern California. CEO David Peganyee and his dedicated staff have saved over 180,000,000 pounds of textiles from going into landfills. They are also involved with the communities here and abroad by helping to create jobs and help fund over eleven different charities (with over $4.5 million donated so far). Plus, I’m a huge advocate of wearing thrifted, vintage and recycled clothing and accessories.

After learning about their mission and meeting some of the team, I was hooked on the company (and support their efforts 100%). I was then invited to do some picking in their 80,000 square foot warehouse to see what kind of gems (vintage in my case) I could find. My first experience digging at ATRS was overwhelming at first, because there was just SO MUCH STUFF! Piles of clothing and shoes on one end and then you have mounds of unwanted goods on the other. BUT, I ended up finding a couple bags of vintage (in good condition), a small bag of vintage glasses/sunglasses and a bag full of vintage hats. It was like Christmas in October! It’s just amazing what people get rid of. It is said that one man’s trash is another man’s treasure…well, at ATRS, that saying couldn’t be more spot on. In the slideshow below, you will see the treasures that I found.

heathermarie_033's ATRS Part 2 album on Photobucket

**All images of me are by Nicole Kestenbaum Photography**

Upon seeing this, doesn’t this make you want to run to the nearest thrift store or rag house?! You can easily find the latest trends for cheaper and better quality, if you just do some digging (or why not start your own trend). The “thrill of the hunt” is quite fun and you’re helping out the environment by keeping millions of pounds of clothing out of the landfills. If you’d like more information on ATRS, check out atrscorp.com

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“The Business of Fast-Fashion”

Below is a short video that briefly explains the business of fast-fashion. I personally believe that fast-fashion is a huge waste and tough on our nation’s economy. I’d love to see more “Made in USA” labels on quality garments that will last years, instead of weeks (or in some cases…just days). If you must toss out a worn out garment, go to your local clothing recycle bin or just donate to a thrift shop. Instead of shopping at H&M or Forever21, make an adventure out of going to your local thrift shop or vintage store… I can guarantee that you’ll likely see or be able to piece together the exact same look that’s in those retail shops…but the quality is better and the prices are more affordable.

Created by OnlineMBA.com

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**Q & A with RCW Media Group’s Casandra Walker**

From the moment I heard that RCW Media Group CEO- Casandra Walker originally hailed from Houston, I felt an immediate connection. Casandra came from humble beginnings, having began her career in the industry by working in fashion retail. She quickly grew into being a business development director for designers and retail start-ups, thus helping to increase their brand recognition by 80%. Since she has a background in styling and owned a nationally recognized luxury retail store, she easily comprehends the ever-changing demands of the entertainment/lifestyle industries from a variety of perspectives. Fast-forward fourteen years in the fashion/PR industries, Walker now has influence in Houston, Los Angeles (where she is now headquartered) and New York City and a network of over 2,000 stylists, celebrities and top-notch media relations. She has affiliations with such figures, brands and associations including: Will.I.Am, Carmen Electra, Nick Cannon, FGI, Smart Water, Klein Epstein & Parker and Iconic Invanity. Representing all things Red Carpet Worthy is not just a passion, it’s a lifestyle.


*Image provided by RCW Media Group*

1. What made you want to go into lifestyle and celebrity PR?

Casandra: I have been in the fashion industry for over 15 years so it was a natural progression to use my network of contacts to expand into PR, not only in fashion but into lifestyle brands as well.

2. How long have you been working in the PR industry?

Casandra: I’ve had my own fashion business since 2004 which required a lot of personal PR but officially launched RCW Media Group in 2009.

3. What kinds of clients do you work with?

Casandra: I work with fashion and lifestyle brands who are merging and/or ready to re-brand. I like to meet with people who are looking for a full service agency that’s not just PR but a firm that also acts as a well-rounded source for other aspects of businesses. We have worked with all fashion and lifestyle brands from child-brands to beauty companies and women and menswear to help with product placement, celebrity usage, general PR services.

5. How did you make your way from the fashion industry in Houston to Los Angeles?

Casandra: After closing my retail store in 2007, I took a few years to travel and broaden my network which eventually brought me to New York. There, I really discovered my passion for PR and networking through a difference in perspective. I had always been in forefront of fashion as a buyer directly connecting with the consumer but there I learned a backside to the industry which helped me transition into what I’m doing now.

6. What is your favorite part about your job?

Casandra: I love making the clients happy and seeing the end result. I enjoy working with every brand from beginning to end and coming up with a business concept that acts creatively to meet their goals. I also love networking in general, its what I do and love in PR services.

7. What do you consider to be your biggest accomplishment or best moment?

Casandra: I’ve had a few in my life! Owning my own fashion boutique, meeting celebrities and now seeing my client’s products on the red carpet are to name a few. These moments come full circle and learning that process is what brought me to where I am now as owner of RCW Media Group.

8. What is one piece of advice you would give to people who want to break into PR?

Casandra: Stay true to your values and never take no for an answer. PR is about the persistence in believing enough in your clients to get them the service and coverage they deserve.

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DIY Fun with JewelMint!! (sponsored)

I was excited when I had the chance to work with JewelMint, a members-only site dedicated to only jewelry, which is designed by actress-Kate Bosworth and stylist-Cher Coulter. They issued me two credits to choose two pieces to rework. I chose the “Nicolas” necklace and the “Be the Change” bracelet and worked my magic, transforming both pieces into two eclectic necklaces that are great for day and evening! Since I needed some chainage, I went to Forever 21 and bought a few necklaces with several silver chain (since I’m sorta broke, but can still afford to buy Forever 21. Thank you for offering affordable jewelry!) I also found a tassel and the perfect shade of white rope at Jo-Ann Fabrics, and rummaged through some knick-knacks and found some fabrics and wire to embellish the necklaces. So then I played around with the chains and finally decided on the right design. I must also say that having a dress form is a life-saver for jewelry-making! It helps me determine the correct length, drape the chain and make any necessary design changes. I’m excited to wear my new “JewelMint x LAFashionsnob” creations to my next big event!

To celebrate this fab collaboration, JewelMint is offering YOU, dear readers, 50% off your first purchase on the site. The code is: BOCT50 and can be accessed HERE until October 31st.

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CHRONO PLASTIC FROM SWATCH FEATURES TEN PLASTIC-FANTASTIC DESIGNS WITH MOOD-ENHANCING COLORS

Swatch’s ever-growing global fan base desires and deserves a constantly changing choice of watches to adorn the most on-trend wrists worldwide. Ensuring these enthusiasts are regularly stimulated and surprised is, of course, extremely important to the iconic Swiss watch and jewelry maker, evidenced by the regular unveiling of new Swatch collections which always disclose dynamic details, cool colors, fun-packed fashionability and stunning styles.

Chrono Plastic is no exception to the sky-high standard long-established by Swatch. Produced to the finest levels of technical excellence, demonstrating the attention to detail and innovation that characterizes all Swatch products, this collection of ten new watches boasts a sumptuous and ‘must-have’ selection of soft hues and hot colors all designed to delight in different ways.

Combining the sleek mix of solid plastic and silicone – with which Swatch has famously revolutionized the world of watch-making – each time piece within the Chrono Plastic collection asserts a dynamic visual statement in its own right. The ten watches are offered in a versatile palette of either classic and restrained black, light brown, grey, anthracite or white, as well as more fiercely eye-popping colors such as orange, red, blue, bright pink and light blue. Furthermore, to create double-the-impact, all the watches feature crisply printed digits upon their dials, in colors that contrast subtly or dramatically with the overall shades used throughout the 42mm diameter cases and straps.

Fantastically-plastic and ultra-modern, the Chrono Plastic collection proposes numerous ways in which different moods – whether calm, sporty, urban or extrovert – can be expressed with different colors resonating from the latest designs created by Swatch.

All colors available here: http://bit.ly/SwatchChronoPlasticALL

Acid Drop: http://bit.ly/SwatchAcidDrop

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**Finding the Perfect Strapless Bra**

I had the amazing opportunity to work with one of Houston’s most notable image consultants- Sarah Shah and be one of her ‘strapless bra testers’ for a TV segment. When she first reached out, asking for testers, I immediately jumped at the opportunity- due to the fact that I’ve had the darnedest time finding the right-sized strapless bra for the longest time. We met up at a local Target and she helped me pick out several styles (including a couple regular styles from the little girls department) that might work for my small frame. Though for the segment, I stuck with a Maidenform bandeau and a bandeau from the little girls department (I got a ‘large’ and had to size it down some with my trusty sewing machine). I then had to test out the fit of the bra for a day before the segment. In the end…the Maidenform bandeau deserved a “C” based on that it fit somewhat, but I still had to pull it up (as I felt it slipping) and the padding inserts bunched up to where I needed to maneuver them so they wouldn’t cause any unnecessary awkward wardrobe malfunctions.

The day of the shoot, I gathered with two other girls- Tomira and Metra who were modeling bras from SOMA Intimates and La Mode Lingerie at Method Boutique in trendy Rice Village. Basically, the segment was regarding the “Stretch Your Dollar” segment that was reported by Patricia Lopez and aired on ABC 13. The segment had Sarah giving helpful tips on how to find the best strapless bras that worked with any budget. So we put three bras, whose prices ranged from $12.99 to $73.80 to the test. In the end, the most expensive bra won. The wearer- Metra Burns stated that “The bra that I am wearing is a life changer. You are getting something that is worth the dollar and you won’t replace it as often because it’s durable.” So note to self, paying a little more for a bra that fits is definitely worth it and Sarah also advised that it would be beneficial to consult a professional bra fitter. “A professional bra fitter understands the difference between styles and brands and different figures.”

This experience taught me a lot about finding the perfect strapless (and regular) bra that fit my shape. I may have to shop in the little girls section for a good bra if I’m on a tight budget…but that’s ok….I’ve learned to embrace it. But needless to say, from now on I will be following Sarah’s last bit of advice: “To stretch your dollar, you actually do better buying fewer expensive bras, very well made bras that fit you perfectly, than a drawer full of very inexpensive bras that just don’t fit very well.”

**The numerous styles I tried on…**

**Being Interviewed…**

** The ABC 13 Segment**

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**Proposition LOVE Fine Jewelry**

In honor of the Supreme Court rulings to overturn Prop 8 and DOMA- ruling gay marriage finally legal, jewelry company Proposition Love is offering folks 25% off their entire WEBSITE (use coupon code:LOVEisLOVE and 10% of the proceeds go to support gay rights and marriage equality). They are also giving away TWO EnGAYment rings or wedding bands through their FACEBOOK PAGE.

“Today’s Supreme Court rulings on Prop 8 and DOMA are a huge step toward equality and an acknowledgment of LOVE for all. We are thrilled that our marriage has now been validated by the Federal Government. Proposition Love Jewelry is proud to continue supporting marriage equality and Gay rights until everyone has equality. LOVE IS LOVE!” stated Sam Street of Proposition Love.

**examples of EnGAYgement rings and wedding bands**

**examples of the LOVEisLOVE bracelets**

**Images courtesy of RappAround PR**

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**Bergdorf’s Creates Buzz at Last Call Neiman Marcus**

Last Call by Neiman Marcus has always been known for finding designer brands at a bargain price. I usually shop at thrift and vintage shops nowadays, but I must confess- Last Call is growing on me. My last purchase was a pretty sundress from Gypsy 05 (the “Fiona” maxi dress, which has been seen on Vanessa Hudgens) and I was so thrilled to have gotten it at a price my wallet could handle. So needless to say, I can always count on them to have some of my favorite trends from a season or two ago at prices I can handle!

I recently found out that another high-end department store based in NYC…I’m sure ya’ll have heard of Bergdorf-Goodman…well, as of February 20th, they are collaborating with Last Call and sent select stores merchandise marked down up to 75% original retail price. I stopped by my local Last Call and checked out all the clothing and accessories. How do Manolo Blahnik, Charlotte Olympia, Prada, YSL, Miu Miu, Alaia, Jimmy Choo, Louboutin sound in terms of fancy footwear? I browsed the racks of clothing and found Helmut Lang, Oscar de la Renta, Roberto Cavalli, Missoni, Jil Sander…and so on. The sale also includes stunning handbags from some of the aforementioned brands.

I have included some of my faves/finds in the slideshow below. And Last Call, if you are reading this, I really want the sparkly fuchsia Miu Miu heels and the YSL yellow and straw platform, but the ones that were available were not my size…just sayin…

Participating Last Call stores include:
Arizona Mills, Arundel Mills, Austin Brodie Oaks Shopping Center, Camarillo Premium Outlets, Franklin Mills, Grapevine Mills, Great Lakes Crossing, Gurnee Mills, Jersey Gardens, Katy Mills, Livermore Valley Premium Outlets, Milpitas Great Mall, Potomac Mills, Sawgrass Mills, Sugarloaf Mills, Tanger Outlets at the Arches, The Outlets at Orange, and Woodbury Common Premium Outlets.

Disclosure: I was gifted a $150 gift card from Last Call by Neiman Marcus in exchange for posting about this. All opinions are my own.

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**Zappos Tour Experience**

I was recently on a trip to Vegas for vacation with the boy and his family. I knew that Zappos.com was located in Vegas and was wanting to stop by their headquarters while out there. So while researching their website for PR contact information, I learned that they did give tours of their facility (the tour was free for the first ten people and $50 per person over that ten). I reserved my tour a couple days in advance and tried to get their shuttle service (which you had to book 72 hours in advance and they were fully booked, so I wasn’t able to take advantage). But luckily, the facility was only twenty minutes from our hotel in the suburb of Henderson. I arrived about a half-an-hour early (it does say arrive fifteen minutes early) and was immediately warmly greeted by the friendly Zappos concierge gals. I signed in and while waiting for the tour, had the option of free popcorn and coffee or hot chocolate. I can’t stress enough the warmth and hospitality I felt from the concierge and even from the employees that were walking around the area. Minutes before the tour started, we gathered into another reception room where we were greeted by our three hostesses: Dani “Culture Kitten”, Renea “Culture Fireball” and Valerie “Culture Clown.” We watched a hilarious short video that introduced us to Zappos history and culture before being separated into three small groups for touring the building. I was chosen to be in Valerie’s group. We were immersed in the world of Zappos and learned about their history and core values. We even become Zappos VIP ‘Royalty’ when we sat on the oversize throne and played with the props- which included crowns and swords (great photo op). We saw the many different departments and their lunch room. Employees receive many food options and drinks for free or have the option of paying $3 for a ‘cooked meal’; which I see as a huge benefit and I think other companies need to follow that. This workplace is ‘not your mama’s workplace’ in that employees are able to come in dressed in pajamas if they so desire (just nothing offensive) and they are allowed to decorate their cubicles (which they did and saw that some people got really creative in their workspace décor…a.k.a. ‘awesome chaos’ would best describe the environment). Employees who were in our path were friendly, waving and used their noisemakers when we passed. We saw “Monkey Row,” where Tony (CEO), Chris (CFO) and Fred (No Title) sit. They give a new meaning to the typical ‘Open Door’ policy, in that there are no doors to begin with. The tour ended with a look at their library, full of educational books and we were able to take home a copy of their Culture Book from last year. Tony sends out an email to all employees, asking them to jot down their thoughts on what Zappos culture means to them. The responses are turned into the yearly Culture Book. We were then encouraged to place our name tags on “Lucille Ball” a ball of name tags from tours-past located next to the entrance/exit.

I could probably go on for a few more points, but I think I’ll leave you with those highlights. I highly recommend taking the tour. However, they are in the process of moving their offices to downtown Las Vegas. Not sure if you are aware, but a lot of funding has gone into the revitalization of downtown (known as the Downtown Project). Over $350 million in fact (which Zappos helped to contribute) that will aid in residential development, small business, real estate, education and tech startups. The past few times I’ve visited Vegas, we’ve stayed in one of the historic hotels in the downtown area. It’s definitely an up-and-coming place and a nice change from the crowded Strip. For more information on tours and such, please check out Zappos.com and ZapposInsights.com.

If you have taken the tour already, what were your favorite highlights?

I’d love to give hugs and huge thanks to: Zappos, Courtney, Valerie, Renea, Dani, the gals working the concierge desk- Priscilla & Elyse, Mig, Tony, Chris and Fred. Thank ya’ll so much for your hospitality!!

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**Kissin Slavery Goodbye with Radiant Cosmetics**

I was beyond thrilled when Radiant Cosmetics approached me to participate in their Kiss Slavery Goodbye campaign. I’ve heard about them through various bloggers,as they seem to be pretty popular with the gals in Phoenix. When I learned that this small cosmetics brand was based out of Austin, I was even more eager to work with them. I soon learned the Radiant Cosmetics is no ordinary makeup brand. It was recently founded by Nicole Marett- who has loved the makeup industry for as long as she can remember. As she was pursuing her dream working at a fashion house on Fifth Avenue in New York City, she realized something was missing from the equation. After her stint in NYC, she felt compelled to do mission work through The World Race. While in Thailand, she befriended a prostitute, who would later inspire her to form a makeup company who’s mission is to partner with anti-traffiking organizations both financially and by physically getting people involved in their own communities. According to Nicole, “The cosmetics industry generates $170 billion annually. Women dominate this industry and of the over 2 million human beings trafficked each year, 80% are women and girls. My dream is to awaken a generation of women to not sit back and allow this injustice to happen to our fellow sisters. My dream is to set the captives free, one lipstick at a time.”

The Kiss Slavery Goodbye campaign is running the entire month of January. This January marks the 150th anniversary of Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation (abolishing slavery) and is also National Human Trafficking Awareness Month. When you purchase a lipstick during the month of January, Radiant will donate a lipstick on your behalf to either a survivor or current trafficking victim. The brand goes on to explain, “Lipsticks will be donated to our partner non-profit, Redeemed, to be used for outreach efforts in our home town of Austin, Texas. Lipsticks will also be donated to a special project in Brazil with another incredible organization focused on fighting human trafficking in the beauty industry, The Trade.”

I realize that the end of January is upon us, but you can still do your part to help fight trafficking; whether it be purchasing a lipstick, posting a picture on Instagram (using hashtag #KissSlaveryGoodbye), tweeting, or updating your Facebook status.Check out RadiantCosmetics.org for further information!**Photos by Loghry Photography**

I am wearing the “Daphne” moisturizing lipstick ($20.00).

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**Kmart Fashion’s Concierge Program**

In all my experiences with attending fashion week, I’ve always had an issue with either wardrobe or personal. It’s usually been a small issue but nevertheless…. And of course, there’s never been a Walgreens or CVS around where I could run to before or in-between shows. During NYFW, (I wasn’t personally there YET unfortunately) thanks to social media, I learned of an amazing service called Kmart Concierge. If you were lucky enough to be in NYC that time, all you had to do was tweet to @KmartFashion using the hashtag #fashionweekproblems and one of the concierge gals, clad in a Sofia Vergara pencil skirt and Attention blouse will come to your aid (in two hours or less), with anything from Advil, Starbucks Frappuccino coffee drink, Orbitz gum, Clorox bleach pen or Dr. Scholls foot care, etc. NYC-based designer Chrissie Miller designed a cute #fashionweekproblems tee to coincide with the service and was offered at participating retailers. Kmart has offered this service for four seasons now and has obviously been a hit among the fashion and blogger crowd. Heck, I really wish (and ahem-Kmart, I hope you are reading this…) that they would provide this amazing service at other fashion weeks as well, because I’m pretty sure the same issues happen at other (though somewhat smaller) fashion weeks too. For more info on Kmart Fashion, check out KmartFashion.com.

HUGE thanks to the folks over at ICED Media for sending over a sample #fashionweekproblems kit, complete with a Chrissie Miller tee, tote, Clorox bleach pen, Dr. Scholl’s heel guards, Orbitz gum and Starbucks Frappuccino. I’ve been using it during Phoenix and New Orleans Fashion Weeks.

Also, ya’ll have GOT to check out this uber-hilarious and overly dramatic Kmart Concierge infomercial, where you’ll see the likes of: Andrew Mukamal, Cory Kennedy, John Jannuzzi, Sarah Howard, Faran Krentcil, Christina Caradona and more.

**Video Courtesy of ICED Media**

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**Nina Garcia + Bauble Bar**

Famed Marie Claire fashion editor Nina Garcia has teamed up with Bauble Bar to create FOUR collections (one per week) around her ‘must-have’ jewelry trends for Fall. First up, is BEJEWELED, a collection of bold statement earrings, collar necklaces and bangles. The collection is affordably priced beginning at $30 and topping off at $84. When you click on a product, Nina will show what other Bauble Bar pieces to wear it with and three different ways to style it for work, day and night.

Below, I’ve compiled a collage of my faves from this first collection. Each week, I will also update with a collage for every collection (so stay tuned).

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**A ‘Lil Michael Antonio Shoe Love**

So I’m on this HUGE platform shoe kick lately and the I recently checked out the Spring 2012 Michael Antonio shoes lookbook and am loving the platforms and wedges that are out, as well as the color-blocking and pastel hues that accompany them. Though there were two chunky platforms that caught my eye… the Giordano snakeskin platforms and the Gallista platforms. I like the Giordano in white because first off, I’m a neutral girl, whether it be shoes or clothing, I like my blacks, whites, browns…and they are a staple in my wardrobe. But I feel that this shoe in the black and white combo makes more of a statement and I can pair them with any color outfit to add some edge. Now let’s transition over to the Gallista… my, that is one heavenly shoe! I actually tried a pair on while at one of my fave shoe boutiques in LA- Lola’s Shoetique. I can only describe this shoe as perfection. It fit well and due to the platform and heel ratio, didn’t put much strain on the balls of my feet. The Gallista comes in a variety of colors like: black, yellow, blue and pink. I’ll take one in each color, please! And so begins my love affair with Michael Antonio…. Anyway, I would suggest checking out MichaelAntonio.com for your next function or for a sassy shoe fix for the upcoming back-to-school season.

** Shoe images were used with permission from Michael Antonio Shoes.**

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**CUSP at Neiman Marcus**

During my travels, I had the chance to drop by Neiman Marcus in Ft. Worth, TX and check out their new CUSP department. I was impressed by the friendly sales folks that made sure I was never at a loss for help. CUSP is a new contemporary brainchild of Neiman Marcus and has specially curated set of designers that are delivered in ‘hip and trendy’ online and in-store environments. As President of Specialty Retail- Jim Gold explains, “CUSP is for fashion savvy customers who prefer to curate an individual style by mixing and matching ready to wear and accessory collections and items across all price ranges. Our goal is to give our contemporary customer a fun, unique, modern and unexpected shopping experience.” CUSP is only located in select NM stores and has six free-standing boutiques as well. Eventually, the other forty-two Neiman Marcus stores will transform their Contemporary departments into CUSP. To find a CUSP near you, go here. The Ft. Worth store boasted such brands as: Alice + Olivia, Theory, Vince, Rag & Bone, Haute Hippie, Rachel Zoe, Equipment, Rebecca Taylor, DVF, Ella Moss, Joe’s Jeans, Joie and more! The department also offers CUSP jewelry and shoes (also nicely selected). I saw beautiful statement necklaces and sparkly rings and cuffs. Oh and the one of the latest trends to hit the shoe scene is the ‘smoking slipper,’ which is basically a loafer. But when I saw the leopard-print smoking slipper by Sam Edelman, I literally just stood there, mesmorized. I seriously need that shoe! My other faves include: suede leggings by Vince, a pretty peplum dress and floral ditsy denim by Alice + Olivia, lace print denim from 7 For All Mankind, the Joe’s Jeans “Highwater” skinny in leopard print, a pink/white chevron striped maxi by Ella Moss, a GORGEOUS and I don’t know how many times I have to emphasize GORGEOUS sequin jacket by Haute Hippie with my name written all over it, but alas…$1,000+ was a lil out of my budget. When you visit CUSP, some trends you might spot are brights, maxis, prints, menswear, smoking slipper, studs (on apparel and shoes), navy-blue being the ‘new neutral,’ and statement jewelry. For more information on CUSP, go to CUSP.com!

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**Chic Little Devil Style House**

1206 Maple Ave. 11th Floor (Bendix Building)
Los Angeles, CA 90015
Ph: (213)745-2442

By Appointment Only: Monday-Friday 10am-6:30pm, Saturdays from 10am-6pm

Heaven…That is one word that came to mind when I walked into the Chic Little Devil Style House one Saturday when I had to view the Gasoline Glamour Collection (read about GG here). The 10,000 square foot showroom housed multiple collections of well-known, emerging and high-end designers; along with vintage pieces. CLD was founded by Michelle Wendell. Fashion was not originally in the Michelle’s career plans, but seeing that she was business-savvy and good with numbers…fashion just seemed to fall into place. She began to buy clothing from designers and then resell them on ebay or use them for personal styling. Over the years, she would curate the collection of great finds and closeouts and came to realize that she was sitting on a gold-mine that people would love to get their hands on. And so, Chic Little Devil was born! The showroom recently moved from Santa Monica to the current rooftop space in the Bendix Building in downtown. She hired an in-studio services manager and then let everyone know they were a costume house and come rent from them. CLD pride themselves on their pieces are really hard to find. A lot are from high-end designers that was straight off the runways and never went into production, for example Alexander McQueen. There are also certain brands that you can’t find in the U.S, but are available in the showroom. To sum it all up- CLD is comprised of five businesses under one roof. CLD PR, which was launched about six months ago, represents several lines like: Pleasure Doing Business, Jerell Scott, Sheri Bodell, David Alexander, Gasoline Glamour and Romona Kaveza just to name a few. They act as the showroom and do celebrity and media outreach. They do studio services. Costume designers are able to pull from the showroom. Some notable TV and film appearances include: Melrose Place, Vampire Diaries, 90210, The Killers and The Green Lantern. CLD also has their own styling department, which is very practical in that the clients have everything under one roof (the stylists and the product). Thanks to CLD, what would normally take 3-5 days to prep, would only take 3 hours. Lastly, CLD also do photo shoots and produce lookbooks as well. They offer two 3,000 sq ft balconies with 360 degree views of the surrounding city, making for perfect  location shoots (GQ, British Vogue have shot there).  So if you ever need styling, PR services, studio services or just want to take a look at the beautiful pieces, go to Chic Little Devil!

I’d like to thank Desiree from CLD PR, Michelle, Rebecca, Isabelle and Kelly for their help and support!

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**The Sewing Studio**

107 S. Fair Oaks Ave. Suite 107
Pasadena, CA 91105

I found out about the SEWING STUDIO from my friend, Rebekka, who works as a design assistant there. I arrived at the quaint two-room classroom/office in Old Town Pasadena, in time for the 10:30-1:30 Saturday class. After taking a seat out of the way, I observed my surroundings and listened as the instructor, Cynthia Harvey went over the class. There were seven people in that day’s class, which was in the process of making the Shift Dress. I noticed that the small class size and classroom were just enough so that Ms. Harvey could  have more “one-on-one” time with her students. She was very attentive to their needs, demonstrated the edge stitch and  helped the students with their sewing machines and fabric.

Cynthia Harvey is the CEO of Sewing Studio and is the only instructor. She attended FIDM (Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising) and majored in fashion design. After graduating, she worked in the industry for several years and this past year, started the Sewing Studio. She wanted to open the studio as a resource for designers and students who wanted to better their skills. She offers classes (some introductory and intermediate “ready-to-wear”) that make totes, dresses, skirts, etc for kids, teens and adults. There is also a class called, “Designer Challenge”, where  more advanced students can better their skills and also learn how to start a business. Classes start at $125-300 and are in a series for four weeks. However, she is offering a take one class, get one free  deal, partly due to the economic situation and getting people more involved in the industry.

For more information about the Sewing Studio (I highly recommend taking a course), you can contact Cynthia at the address above or www.4theloveofsewing.com or 626-795-9494.

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