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NuView Blog

FASHION: JULIET'S JEWELS

Maia Wilson

The front of Juliet's Jewels, located off Sycamore St, is vibrantly displayed with sacred images from Tibetan Buddhist art. These images, painted by Juliet's Jewels employee Zarina Karapetyan, promote a positive and calming environment, which is what many customers seek.

The front of Juliet's Jewels, located off Sycamore St, is vibrantly displayed with sacred images from Tibetan Buddhist art. These images, painted by Juliet's Jewels employee Zarina Karapetyan, promote a positive and calming environment, which is what many customers seek.

Less than a mile away from campus, Juliet's Jewels is a quaint, eccentric creation of a local world market with merchandise brought directly from countries like Nepal, Thailand, and India.

An assortment of brightly colored bags, bangles, and toe rings from Thailand. The Buddha statue is hand carved jade from Myanmar. 

An assortment of brightly colored bags, bangles, and toe rings from Thailand. The Buddha statue is hand carved jade from Myanmar. 

Dawa Juliet Sangmu is a selfless, down-to-earth converted Buddhist who is nothing but kind and generous. She has put in years of hard work and dedication to build what today is one of Denton’s most hidden treasures, the bright blue house known as Juliet’s Jewels. Entering the store and being offered a cup of tea creates a peaceful, positive aura that radiates throughout the converted two-story house. Inside, the downstairs is filled with merchandise ranging from jewelry to gifts including wallets, key chains, incense and more.

Owner, Dawa Juliet Sangmu, relaxing in the Dawa Dolma Meditation Center located behind the store wearing 100% cotton sure product from Thailand.

Owner, Dawa Juliet Sangmu, relaxing in the Dawa Dolma Meditation Center located behind the store wearing 100% cotton sure product from Thailand.

The upstairs section of the store is filled with hanging dream catchers, scarves, bedspreads, woolen goods, and tapestries. Below the tapestries are bins full of unique merchandise and clothing that is currently on sale. Upstairs, customers also find foldable backpacks, hats, and home decor items. 

Juliet's Jewels has many markdown items available including dresses, tops, pants, and purses.

Juliet's Jewels has many markdown items available including dresses, tops, pants, and purses.

The majority of Juliet's Jewels' merchandise is unique. A differentiating factor that Juliet’s Jewels possesses, in comparison to similar shops, is the sourcing process. Every piece of one-of-a-kind merchandise is sourced by Dawa herself at the various markets she travels to. These markets are located in numerous countries including Thailand, Nepal, Indonesia, and India, and many of the pieces have inspired mainstream trends today. Unbeknownst to many, the making of these traditional items began hundreds of years ago and carry heavy cultural and spiritual symbolism. The prices offered throughout the store are reasonable, while the interior layout is inviting and vibrant. Overall, the Juliet's Jewels experience is both personable and unique. 

Various door threshold covers from Nepal, belly dancing scarves from India, and batik-dyed flags from Bali, Indonesia decorate the second story of Juliet's Jewels.

Various door threshold covers from Nepal, belly dancing scarves from India, and batik-dyed flags from Bali, Indonesia decorate the second story of Juliet's Jewels.


What are your best selling items here at Juliet’s Jewels?

Rings. Also clothes. The tie dye shorts and leggings that we have (and the rayon fabric that they’re made from in Thailand) are very popular. We sell a lot of tapestries as well. In India, we used them as bedspreads, but people here prefer to place them on their walls.

The upper floor of Juliet's Jewels houses a wide selection of clothes, scarves, tapestries, wall hangings, and even harder to find items such as authentic meditation singing bowls from Nepal.

The upper floor of Juliet's Jewels houses a wide selection of clothes, scarves, tapestries, wall hangings, and even harder to find items such as authentic meditation singing bowls from Nepal.

A majority of the merchandise is bought directly from markets in these countries and sent directly to Juliet’s Jewels. But, I also make custom hand-made jewelry. Usually closer to Christmas time I hand-make a lot more jewelry because people want to come in and get gifts for their friends or family. Just recently, I went to a market show here in Dallas called The International Gem and Jewelry Show so that I can support locally too. I purchased a large variety of beads and other items that I can use to make new jewelry and pieces that I plan on having available for sale at the upcoming Denton Arts and Jazz Festival, April 29th-May 1st. Also, if someone comes in with an order, I am always fixing or repairing jewelry. We have an order book in case maybe there’s something a customer likes and it doesn't fit right or he or she might like it in a different color. I will write down the customer's contact information, as well as the piece they would like, and I try my best to find those certain items when shopping out of the country.

Juliet's Jewels carries real .925 sterling silver rings outfitted with a vast assortment of gems and stones, all at very affordable prices. 

Juliet's Jewels carries real .925 sterling silver rings outfitted with a vast assortment of gems and stones, all at very affordable prices. 

What countries do you source most from? Are there any particular markets you visit more often than others? 

The main countries I travel to for merchandise are India, Nepal, and Thailand.  India is my favorite place to visit and source from because my family is there and I have so many friends there. In terms of jewelry, there is a wonderful store in Calcutta, India that I love that has been there for at least fifty years that is owned by Tibetans and they’re always so good to me. They don’t have to be so generous. There’s many markets in Nepal that won’t offer anything no matter how much merchandise I buy from them. But, there are two shops in Nepal that I go to every time because they are good to me and we’ve formed relationships. In India, I usually stop shopping earlier in the day because stores don’t stay open late and in Nepal there is also a scarcity of electricity. When shipping merchandise back from India and Nepal, I do not have to pay extra money usually because they’re third world countries. But, from Thailand, for some reason, I do have to pay a lot of extra taxes to ship back merchandise to the United States.

Anklets hand crafted especially for Juliet's Jewels in Nepal. The beads are made of real turquoise, coral, onyx, etc. 

Anklets hand crafted especially for Juliet's Jewels in Nepal. The beads are made of real turquoise, coral, onyx, etc. 

Are there any motives behind what you purchase? Any particular merchandise you look for while traveling?

Sometimes I look for something specific, but otherwise I’ll just walk and see what catches my eye. Then, I have to try it on because I have to see how the fit is. If I don’t like it, then I won’t buy it. I personally like every kind of merchandise in my store. Of course, I make the wrong decisions sometimes and an item won’t sell. But, then the next month we’ll sell multiple items that didn’t sell before! It all depends. But yes, I usually shop for items that catch my eyes. Though it does get especially hard when shopping in Nepal because the electricity there is off almost sixteen hours of the days. So, in Nepal I have to work around the electricity to make sure I can view the jewelry in good lighting (laughs).

Detailed sterling silver earrings inlaid with real gems and stones line the glass shelves in the store. In addition to jewelry, Juliet's Jewels also carries incense, CD's, books, statues, smudges, and much more.

Detailed sterling silver earrings inlaid with real gems and stones line the glass shelves in the store. In addition to jewelry, Juliet's Jewels also carries incense, CD's, books, statues, smudges, and much more.

What does your typical Juliet's Jewels customer look like?

You! (laughs) I have a wide and diverse variety of customers. I have many loyal customers that have moved far now and still reply to my email list saying they have fond memories of our store. We also have a lot of young people coming from the two universities, so when I am selecting merchandise I have to consider both young and older people. I have relationships with many of my loyal customers. For instance, a teacher used to come in with her mother and she would always send her upstairs to grab clothing since the mother could not make it upstairs. Years later, her mother passed but the lady still comes in often and we laugh and talk about her mother and how she loved shopping here.

A small selection of bracelets the store offers. The front metal bracelets are crafted in a Nepali style from real turquoise, coral, and lapis lazuli. 

A small selection of bracelets the store offers. The front metal bracelets are crafted in a Nepali style from real turquoise, coral, and lapis lazuli. 

You have been involved with giving back and sponsoring children in India for decades. What made you want to venture out and start involving your business in charity work?

We made an initiative to start sending out money every couple of months to countries that have poor kids and need help. It’s not sent out under the name of “Juliet’s Jewels” or anything; we just send out a small percentage of what we make and people I know in India and also a cousin of a friend from here that I had been introduced to in Africa when I had visited there. We send the money directly to these individuals and with that they’ll buy shoes and necessities such as food, mosquito nets, mattresses, etc. It’s great because I am not sending money to an organization where I may not know exactly where all the money is going to or for what. This way, I can send the money directly to the source of need and my friends will purchase items there to donate. So, it’s also helping those economies by purchasing stuff there instead of sending items over from here. Also, the merchandise is cheaper there which makes the donations go a long way. My friends that do this for me will send me pictures of the children with all of the stuff. To see the pictures of all these unprivileged children smiling and wearing the clothes and items that were given to them with the help of our store’s donations is just amazing. 

Since the store's stock is dependent on Juliet's travels, many items are often put on sale to make room for newer styles. 

Since the store's stock is dependent on Juliet's travels, many items are often put on sale to make room for newer styles. 

If people want to donate they can come in and say that they want to make a donation. We don’t have any special box or anything to drop stuff off in. I don’t want to open any non-profit organization. So, if someone would like to make a donation I would say the best way to do that is to just come in and buy stuff or make a cash donation. We take a percentage of what we make a month and set that aside until after a couple of months we’ll have a few hundred dollars saved for donations that month and that goes along way with helping these individuals in these countries.

Most of your merchandise has significant cultural, spiritual/religious, and historical meanings associated with them and their countries of origin. In recent years, Western society has adopted these items (i.e. the Ohm, the Hamsa, & Buddha) as fashion trends. For which items have you seen an increase in demand because of this?

Yes, it’s because of the yoga that people are doing. They have learned how to meditate or see a banner with chakras that they think look nice and recognize. Those who do yoga become more open-minded. So they’re free and don’t mind expanding their wardrobe and trying new merchandise that they may not have tried on before... like free flowing pants. They may not even know the fashions or that these clothes are being replicated now at some places. They are just more open-minded and love the new stuff that they learn about and try on. It’s not like you can go to Dillard’s and find these free-flowing pants. So [their rarity is] what makes them come in to find these items. Same goes with college students. [Their buying habits have] to do with the same concept. They’re also getting into yoga and meditation, making them more open-minded.

A festive array of stone and metal anklets from India and Thailand. 

A festive array of stone and metal anklets from India and Thailand. 

In regards to Western adoption of cultural trends, what is your opinion on the manufacturing of these ancient cultural items versus purchasing the original, handmade versions from the native countries? 

It’s not only “trendy” due to the look and aesthetics of these styles and symbols. More people are spiritually searching and are lost. When [kids] are pushed to learn something and follow without reasoning, without questioning, that doesn’t go too well with [them]. Kid are too smart these days. The trend is coming from within. So it is a psychological thing, just like all other fashions and why people wear what they wear. It’s dictated by what they’re thinking and I think the [fact that the] population becoming more open-minded is the reason for the “hippy,” “bohemian,” “spiritual” trends. It’s so wonderful to be just a colorful store. [Our store] cheers people up and it’s just so different.

What would you say are the main reasons your products differ from others on the market?

We are going to Tibet and China this year, but I am going to mainly try and buy mostly from Tibetans. There is no middle-man shipping [the goods] to different countries or going through a whole supply chain, naturally taking the rich meaning from [them as they go] from one place to the next. So I know who I am buying from and where the goods are coming from. It’s not like these things are coming from China. We are helping the people that are [living in the countries we're buying from]. In China, there’s Walmart and other big companies helping the economy. It’s just a mass production. And the people there suffer, but we don’t know what those people are going through. Here I can see the families I buy from and the product I order from them. [For instance, when I visit] the family in Thailand that I buy tie dye from, I see kids come running into the shop and over the years I’ve seen them grow. It’s just so nice to be helping the families there. There is a big difference in the products that come from people who have been making them for many years as a way of life. [They have so much more] experience and knowledge of how to make the products versus the companies that are trying to replicate and mass-produce some of the same products.

Intricate traditional carved wooden wall plaques indigenous to India, Africa, and Nepal.

Intricate traditional carved wooden wall plaques indigenous to India, Africa, and Nepal.

What is most special about the merchandise you sell at Juliet's Jewels?

If a woman has a store, then I try to buy from women. We also specialize in products for followers of Buddhism and Hinduism, so it really helps the people. They need certain things for their spiritual or higher practice that they may not be able to get anywhere else close by or that I don't even carry, so I make sure to get those items for those individuals when shopping. I [also] keep their budget in mind because some of the things they may need are very expensive. For example, Thangka is a Tibetan Buddhist painting that is done on canvas with crushed minerals and 24kt gold that can be easily over $100, but it serves as an important learning tool for Buddhists. So, as people advance in their practices and need certain things I go and bring [those items] back for them. So, [those products offer a] different kind of importance, and things that are written in the order book [are special] as well.

An ornament from Thailand embellished with fabric, beads, and pom pom balls.

An ornament from Thailand embellished with fabric, beads, and pom pom balls.

Lastly, how would you describe the customer experience to someone who has never been to Juliet's Jewels before? 

[I'll share] one story. There was a lady that came by and she said her friend was feeling suicidal.  [She] asked if I had anything that could make her friend feel better, like a stone or rock. I said “I don’t have anything that you can buy to make her feel better. A stone, a rock, that won’t make her feel better.” I said, "But I’ll give you something if she’s open-minded." I gave her a red protection cord from His Holiness the Dalai Lama and said to give it to her friend to wear or to keep it with her. And she did. Three days, [the lady] came back and purchased over $300 worth of stuff and said that her friend wasn’t suicidal anymore. Her friend came in two weeks later herself to thank me. She said, "you never tried to sell me anything," and I said, "yeah I don’t have anything you can buy for that. Just completely honest!"

An eye-full of the downstairs room full of beautiful jewelry that Juliet handpicks from India, Nepal, & Thailand. Along with handmade bracelets, necklaces, and earrings, the displays showcase a few hundred sterling silver rings made with real gems and stones.

An eye-full of the downstairs room full of beautiful jewelry that Juliet handpicks from India, Nepal, & Thailand. Along with handmade bracelets, necklaces, and earrings, the displays showcase a few hundred sterling silver rings made with real gems and stones.

[Secondly], we are the only store that offers something to drink. No other stores do that. You know, how much does it cost for a store to offer lemonade? That’s why I’m glad I didn't open a restaurant because I’d be broke from giving away free stuff to people! (Laughs) So that’s a big thing; having the tea, lemonade, and water for people when they come in and just want to relax. The idea came because that is what we do in India. It’s just a form of saying “Welcome” and “take your time,"... here’s something to drink while you look around. They do that in Nepal all the time as well, and by then end of the day I’m all tea’d out!


To see more types of merchandise being sold at Juliet’s Jewels, or if you're seeking further information regarding the travels, projects, or even the Dawa Dolma Meditation Center located in the building behind the store, please visit www.julietsjewels.com.

If you're interested in purchasing any of the merchandise, please stop in explore this gem of a store yourself at:

315 W. Sycamore St. Denton, TX 76201

Store Hours: Monday-Saturday 10AM to 6PM

Phone Number: (940) 566-5005

Dawa would also like to mention that she believes “people will come to her store if they feel the need to just come in or are meant to come stop by”, meaning that the store’s ambiance is consistently inviting and wonderful. The rule of her store - seen on the signage to the right of the front door - reads “Shoplifters will be prosecuted under the laws of KARMA!”


CREDITS

Copy: Jacqui Simses, Fashion Writer

Taylar Gomez, Fashion Editor

Photography: Ashley Nudge, Careers Editor & Editor-In-Chief

CAREERS: ASSISTANT MERCHANDISER PROFILE

Maia Wilson

A successful alumna of UNT's merchandising program, My Le is as talented as it gets. During college, My was an avid member of Merchandising Inc., and completed not one, not two... but THREE internships in various areas of the industry. 

Her ambition and eagerness to learn is what landed her a full-time position with Leatherology, a leather goods company based out of Carrollton, Texas, at the end of her final internship. Since then, My's combination of experience in merchandising, product development, styling and e-commerce has been instrumental in shaping the expansion of Leatherology's product assortment, along with the growth of the e-commerce business in it's entirety. 

Recently, NuView had the pleasure of connecting with My Le at Whiskey Cake Kitchen & Bar in Plano. Today, we're giving you the low-down on how she reached her current position of Assistant Merchandiser at Leatherology, the pros and cons of her daily responsibilities, and why having a great boss/mentor is so important. 


Hi My Le! Tell us a little bit about your education. What led you to pursue a career in merchandising?

My name is My Le and I have a Bachelor of Science in Merchandising from UNT. What really drew me to merchandising was my mother, who was a seamstress. I admired her ability to piece things together and create something truly beautiful out of scrap. This really motivated me to begin my career path.

Where have you worked previously?

I’ve worked at several places before, primarily retail, waitressing to get me through school. I did some freelance graphic design - all self-taught - for small gigs. And I also did internships in between. I did three [internships with] the Bobbi Schwartz Group, Hub City Production, and Leatherology.

Could you elaborate on some of your internship experiences? What did you enjoy about them and/or what did you learn?

[Interning at] Bobbi Schwartz Group helped me become more detailed. Assisting a stylist helped me develop checks and balances. From picking up or returning the right clothes and checking them in and out. I understand [what it means to carry] the weight for the client and get the job done. I think that was one of my favorite internships that I did, other than [Leatherology’s]. Interning at Leatherology gave me the opportunity to explore the many different roles within the company. Working as an integral part of the team allowed me to learn all aspects of the product life cycle, from concept to production.

Currently, you are responsible as Assistant Merchandiser at Leatherology. What are some of the tasks you perform in this role?

My position Assistant Merchandiser involves wearing multiple hats. Some of my responsibilities include photoshoots, product styling for editorial photoshoots, and scheduling photography for web development and catalog. I also work closely with our Site Merchandiser to ensure image accuracy on site. Aside from styling and photography, I assist with product development. It involves regular interaction with our factory overseas, traveling, assisting with spec sheets, competitive research on product, price and color trends. I do little bits and pieces [of various roles], so [my job is] like a combination of everything.

What is Leatherology and what makes the company special?

Leatherology is an e-commerce leather accessories company. We are direct manufacturer that produces all of our own goods. We specialize in personalized leather goods, and all of our designs are designed in-house by the merchants! What makes the company special is the array of beautiful colors and designs we all work carefully to produce.

How would you describe the Leatherology customer?

It’s more of an affluent customer that’s a little bit older. The Leatherology customer is around 35 to 60 [years old]. Slowly, [the age demographic is] going down. We’re building a younger demographic now and that’s what we’re working towards. If you follow our social accounts, the [age] demographics are a lot different.

When you were in school at UNT, the digital retailing program was fairly new. How did you learn more about the digital retailing industry?

It was all self-taught through blogs and few conversations with friends taking courses. It sparked an interested because I knew the e-commerce business was booming, and I was like, I need to get on this! I researched e-commerce companies in Dallas, and DC International, our parent company that operates two direct to consumer e-commerce websites came up, and that’s how I learned about Leatherology and luckily I had friend from UNT who was working there to get me an introduction.

How would you describe Leatherology’s company culture?

We all work closely together. Even though there are different departments we all play a part on getting the job done! Our product and web team meet weekly to identify any open issues and projects we have going on so we’re all looped in.

Digital Glitch Fashion Show & My Le 018.JPG

How did you gain experience in product development? Did you really heavily on material taught in your college classes?

I didn’t take any product development classes while I was at UNT. I relied on learning as much as I could when I did the internship, and I just love making things, DIY, and taking things apart. I take inspiration from my mom [sewing], especially.

So, you interned for Leatherology first, and then were hired on full-time. Did you have a specific role as an intern?

Yes, my role was in Merchandising and Product Development Intern. Gaining that product knowledge is what led me to the position I am in now.

Tell us about work-life balance. Since Leatherology is a smaller company, do you find yourself putting in more hours to in order to accomplish everything?

I did in the beginning! It was hard, especially during the holidays but I love what I do. I’m [thankful for] for the new team members though. I don’t know what I would do without them! When you feel like you used to do a lot it helps to spread the workload and get that balance.  

Do you do a lot of product photoshoots during the week?

I do, when we have promotions. It just depends on the marketing calendar. My marketing director typically plans out yearly, and then my senior merchant delegates the tasks and assets that we need. So, this week they plan on launching a Father’s Day catalog, and we didn’t have any editorial assets yet so my job was to pick the selected styles that we would photograph. [I also] make sure that the items are monogramed, featuring the right kind of leather we want to feature, and that the inventory we photographed would be on hand by the time the catalog came out for the customer. It’s a direct mailer that’s going to be 16 pages [long]. We have a photographer that comes to us in our studio; he’s contracted. Right now, I’m my focus is on editorial so it’s a bit more fun. In the studio, there’s a creative energy that comes over you to get the perfect shot. Especially,  when you’re thinking of an idea for a flat-lay, or if you feel like there’s an angle [that would work well] either on product or on figure, [it’s exciting]. On model is eventually where I want to take Leatherology.

What skills and abilities do you rely on the most to succeed in this position?

Being able to take on multiple projects and handling issues as they come along and just a good work ethic overall.

Which classes were most helpful in preparing you for your current job?

Visual merchandising and consumer behavior.

How often do you travel?

Typically twice a year to China but it ranges if we have a conference or event. I was recently in China in January and then to New York for a leather show. Last year, I traveled to New York to represent our brand in a partnership pop-up shop called the Nude House. We collaborated with 15 other brands, and had our product in a store front for the first time ever. That was really exciting and it was a good opportunity for us [in terms of] brand outreach!

(If you're aspiring for traveling job...and the job you land doesn’t require you to travel, you should always just travel anyways.)

What do you find most rewarding about your job? What is most challenging?

The amount of exposure I have to all aspects of the business. Being in so many different roles, from being an intern, and then warehouse help, and then doing product development, and social media and press. The challenging part is not knowing what I’m really good at but in hindsight the challenge is more of an advantage to really help me determine what I really enjoy.

What kind of future do you see for the company?

I see a strong future for the company from a sales perspective. Sales are good right now, [so I think] Leatherology is going to be here for a while.

[Doing on model styling] is my future goal with Leatherology. I feel like that’s what’s missing from our website right now. It’s a little bit stark, so I want to transition from on-white photography to on-figure. I also want to implement stronger social campaigns, and bring more value to the team. The team's dynamic is constantly changing, we always have new people with a fresh set of eyes who are able to help us grow.

Leatherology does have internship opportunities. How can students apply?

The internship is about right-timing. We’re always looking for an intern, but this year we’re [specifically hiring] a fall intern!

My best advice when applying for a position is continuous follow-up. Whether it’s following up on your application, your introduction of yourself, always make sure to keep the connection going so when a position does become available you’re first to mind to bring in for an interview.

Intern applicants can send resumes to me: My Le: myl@dcius.com


CREDITS

Copy & Photography: Ashley Nudge, Editor-in-Chief

FASHION: 3 PREVAILING TRENDS FOR SPRING 2016

Maia Wilson

 

Soft suede, details of fringe, & a delicate silhouette

 

Spring is the time of year we update our closets to add in fresh silhouettes and lively pieces. However, don’t rid every fall piece from your closet just yet! This spring brings bold trends, as well as practical re-invention to styles we witnessed in fall! In this month’s article I will show you wear you can buy this seasons ‘must-have’ at retailers that won’t exceed your budget. To start off the season with your new debut, here is a glimpse into what spring, 2016 fashion will hold...

1. Suede

Displayed in neutral tones, suede is here to stay for spring. During fashion week, Olivier Rousteing showcased the Balmain show with outstanding suede pieces that have quickly become inspiration for illustrious trendsetters. 

Where you can find this trend…

H&M

2. Fringe

Photo Credit: elle.com

Photo Credit: elle.com

Fringe has been trending for a few seasons now, and can be seen in almost every style of garment. This season, fringe detail is added to garments to highlight the softness – think hemlines, jackets, shoes, and subtle touches to bags.

Where you can find this trend…

ZARA

3. OFF-THE-SHOULDER

Photo credit: Stylecaster.com

Photo credit: Stylecaster.com

From last summer to this spring, delicate off- the- shoulder tops and dresses have empowered the runway. This silhouette gives any look a romantic finish, while fostering a relaxed fit. This will be valued as the temperature rises, leading to summer!

Where you can find this trend…

URBAN OUTFITTERS

Whether you choose soft suede, details of fringe, or a delicate silhouette this spring, step boldly into the season and embrace your unique style.


CREDITS:

Copy: Taylar Gomez, Fashion Editor

Ashley Nudge, Editor-in-Chief

 

CAREERS: VISUAL MERCHANDISING MANAGER PROFILE

Maia Wilson

For students interested in visual merchandising, Amanda Costello has a career path worth taking a few notes on.  She began her schooling at Florida State University, and graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Merchandising. Upon graduation in 2010, Amanda began her career at Carter’s in Atlanta, GA first as a Assistant Merchant then as a Visual Coordinator. In 2013 she was recruited and relocated to Dallas, TX for a Visual Merchandiser position with Fossil. Mid 2014 she was recruited by JCPenney’s for a Visual Merchandiser role for their Juniors and Women’s Contemporary brands. Currently she resides in Phoenix, Arizona, where she works for PetSmart as a Visual Merchandising Manager. Curious to learn more about Amanda? Continue reading and take a look into the exciting, collaborative career of a visual merchandising manager.


Some of our readers may not know what a visual merchandiser does. Could you provide a brief description of your job?

A visual merchandiser is similar to an interior designer, but the visual merchandiser is responsible for not only making the store look great but also driving product sales.

What did you enjoy most about being involved with the visual merchandising team at JCPenney?

What I enjoyed [the] most was being a part of such an iconic company. The collaborative environment of the company was great. I was able to learn from counterparts in different divisions, working closely with the young girls’ and young mens’ visual merchandising teams. {I was also able] to work with many other teams at JCPenney as well including the buying teams, product development, creative, and trend forecasting.

Have you discovered anything that you dislike about your role as a visual merchandiser?

I wouldn’t change much. [At JCPenney], I’ve enjoyed my role, [but] it would have been awesome to work with other products and brands rather than strictly women’s apparel.

As a visual merchandiser, what were your responsibilities on a day-to-day basis?

I was responsible for developing the standards and guidelines for Juniors/Women’s Contemporary apparel for the chain (1500 stores). I decided how to highlight trends, working hand-in-hand with the buyers. [Their] products were photographed, and a brand guide [was] made. A brand guide is a mockup of everything within your department and how it should be set.

What percentage of your career has been spent in-store versus in a corporate office?

60% of my time was spent within the lab store, and 40% of my time was in the home office.

What advice do you have for students who are interested in visual merchandising or any other retail career?

I would definitely say retail experience is a must if you are interested in being in visual merchandising. Multiple internships are always a good idea. Get as much experience as you can, especially if you are interested in fashion. For me, I started out in merchandising and realized visual was more my passion. If you don’t like what you’re doing, you can [always pursue] other roles, especially in the fashion industry.


CREDITS

Copy: Miles Cantrell, Careers Writer

Ashley Nudge, Careers Editor

Photo c/o Amanda Costello

FASHION: NEW ORLEANS' CULTURES & FASHIONS COLLIDE AT BUKU MUSIC + ART PROJECT

Maia Wilson

One of Buku’s four taboo inspired characters that may be seen on the festival grounds. While their apparel varies, the characters will often wear the same hat or mask.

One of Buku’s four taboo inspired characters that may be seen on the festival grounds. While their apparel varies, the characters will often wear the same hat or mask.

New Orleans is infamous for its round-the-clock nightlife, vibrant live-music scene and festive spirit. The food, fashions, and people of New Orleans are all extremely diverse and intriguing, reflecting the cities’ history as a melting pot of French, African and American cultures. The well-known carnival, Mardi Gras, famous for raucous costumed parades and public partying comes to this city annually during the month of February. A few weeks afterwards comes Buku Music + Art Project- one of the city’s most thriving music festivals with a culture of its own. “BUKulture” is what the creators of this event refer to as the new New Orleans. BUKulture is all about creating genuine experiences with 100’s of installations, interactive elements, and non-traditional performances. The event encourages attendees to discover and express however they feel. Buku Music + Art Project features live music, local art installments, and famous creole food vendors. Most importantly, the festival is filled with culturally influenced, and unique fashion that can only be found at a New Orleans festival! Many individuals and groups of friends that come to Buku all have their own take on this fashion and culture collision.

A male festival go-er dons a unique hairstyle and rhinestone stickers that were distributed for free by event volunteers. 

A male festival go-er dons a unique hairstyle and rhinestone stickers that were distributed for free by event volunteers. 

This wall was black when attendees arrived at the festival. When they left, every wall had been graffitied.

This wall was black when attendees arrived at the festival. When they left, every wall had been graffitied.

NuViews fashion writer, Jacqui Simes, personally attended the Buku festival and was able to conduct style related interviews with a few festival goers!


An interviewee stepping onto a graffitied cargo truck, dressed in comfortable, bohemian festival clothing. 

An interviewee stepping onto a graffitied cargo truck, dressed in comfortable, bohemian festival clothing. 

What brings you to Buku festival?

I love the vibes and diversity this city and festival has; you can feel it before even walking inside that everyone is here to celebrate life, music, art, and just being yourself. This is my third year in a row to come to Buku and I plan on coming back every year because it just keeps getting bigger and better.

A group of men play impromptu jazz music. Men with the masks have the time of their lives sharing cultures and unique styles.

A group of men play impromptu jazz music. Men with the masks have the time of their lives sharing cultures and unique styles.

What motivated you to wear these animal masks in the French Quarter before heading to Buku?

Just because they’re different. My friends and I wanted to stand out and we’ve seen these being sold all around New Orleans and just went with them. Our goal is to not lose them before we walk over to Mardi Gras World for day two. We love it here.

How did Buku Festival influence what you chose to wear today?

I wanted to wear something comfortable and “free-feeling”. These graffiti cargo trucks that Buku provides as a place to rest or hang out in-between music performances is definitely my favorite spot I go to every year[.] [This is where I go] to eat some good food and meet new people. So, I chose this kimono I found at a boutique in New Orleans because it reflected this spot to me[,] with the vibrant and free-style pattern. The lace top I chose just because it’s light and fun.

How would you describe the style you ladies created and your main motivation behind it?

The "go-go glam girls" stand out in amazing, coinciding outfits.

The "go-go glam girls" stand out in amazing, coinciding outfits.

We call ourselves “the go-go glam girls” and all met in college years ago. Since then, we’ve traveled to many cities and festivals together. [We] like to create new outfits to wear each time, because creating new looks is fun and we love to stand out. This time we were inspired by the festive culture of New Orleans and the vibrant glittery environment Buku creates every year, but we wanted something more comfortable than what we usually wear, so we chose spandex pants and made our embellished tank tops last week.

Do you find fashion/style inspirations from other festival goers, or is originality important to you when creating your outfit?

We love seeing other groups of people and [the] styles they bring to the festival, but originality is most important for us. When we create our outfits we always stick to the main idea of wearing something that is “festive”, but we definitely don’t want to look like any other people here. Buku is different though. More colors, paints, and embellishments seem to be more prevalent in New Orleans so we kept the culture that’s inside and outside of Buku as our main focus for these outfits.

College guys show off their tropical shirts and matching fanny packs while at the festival. 

College guys show off their tropical shirts and matching fanny packs while at the festival. 

What brought you to Buku?

We all go to college together in Florida and wanted to make a trip out to New Orleans for spring break. We’ve heard about Buku many times from friends at school and finally got the money to come out here and see what it’s all about.

Would you consider the look you are wearing today defines your everyday personal style?

Yes, and no. Our shoes obviously were worn because we knew they’d get trashed since it rained a few days ago, and there’s thousands of people here all trying to see the same performances. [My friend and I] chose to wear tropical shirts because it’s spring break, and the vibes we feel here are free and welcoming. Most of the other stuff we’re all wearing is just normal clothes we brought to feel comfortable in. We did all coordinate our fanny packs though. We knew we wanted to use fashion, and something we [wouldn’t normally wear] to bring our group together and separate us from all the other festival goers.

Two fun ladies pose by an apparel vendor at sunset. 

Two fun ladies pose by an apparel vendor at sunset. 

How would you describe your style, in one word?

Flashy!

What subculture do you most identify with in regards to fashion styles here in New Orleans?

The Mardi Gras subculture, for sure. The wide assortment of costumes worn here during that time, and quite frankly worn year-round by many people here, is so inspiring and fantastic! There’s nothing like it. Just the combination of friendly people, colorful sights, beads, flowers, glitter... it’s all incredible. We’ve both attended Mardi Gras numerous times and the streets just come alive with an energy and culture that is beyond description. Since Buku takes place here at Mardi Gras World [where all the famous huge floats for the parade are made] we get to see the Mardi Gras floats all around us. Buku allows us to be ourselves and bring that subculture into a festival that has a culture of its own.

A positive and energetic girl wears handmade accessories while seated inside Tropical Isle on Bourbon St. during the St. Patrick’s Day parade. 

A positive and energetic girl wears handmade accessories while seated inside Tropical Isle on Bourbon St. during the St. Patrick’s Day parade. 

How did Buku Festival influence what you chose to wear today?

Well I consider myself a “candy-kid” so I make all of these accessories at home with my rave friends, and we decided to make our new candies for this year to be big and bold like Buku is. I’m wearing some Mardi Gras beads I bought at one of the stores off of Bourbon St. last night and incorporated them into my own collection of candies that I’m wearing today, which include many of my own and also a variety of other candies that I’ve traded and received from other candy-kids at previous festivals around the country. I keep adding on to my collection and this year I took a lot of time to make this large candy that says “Buku” because not only is it a one-of-a-kind necklace, but it also coincides with the Mardi Gras culture of beads.

What fashion based store or boutique do you find inspiration from in New Orleans?

Well a lot of the vendors inside Buku have plenty of items that I obsess over, but one store that does not have a vendor table and can be found only on Bourbon Street is called “Marie Laveau’s House of Voodoo”. There’s so many cool things [derived] from different cultures. I love the subculture of Voodoo in New Orleans a lot. It’s so unique.


Overall, the fashions seen in New Orleans and at Buku cannot be grouped into one style because here it is less about trends and more about just feeling good and standing out. This celebration of culture and individuality is reflected in many local boutiques. New Orleans's street style is just as eclectic as the city itself: vibrant prints mixed with delicate details, and masculine boots paired with chic accessories. Many stores offer a huge variety of well-known New Orleans accessories such as beads, feather boas, and masquerade masks.

Merchandise at Marie Laveau’s House of Voodoo off of Bourbon St

Merchandise at Marie Laveau’s House of Voodoo off of Bourbon St

If you plan on making a trip to New Orleans, Buku festival, or would like more information on any of the fashions and boutiques there, then here’s links to help you get prepared or involved!

Pink House Boutique

Marie Laveau’s House of Voodoo

Grassroots

BUKU Music + Art Project


CREDITS

Copy: Jacqui Simses, Fashion Writer

Taylar Gomez, Fashion Editor

Photos: Jacqui Simses

The Buku Project

 

 

CAREERS: INTERNSHIP DIRECTORY

Maia Wilson

So, you're progressing through your degree plan and have determined that you're ready for the next level of learning. The INTERNSHIP. Whether you are a rising senior seeking a "for-credit" opportunity for graduation, or a sophomore hoping to gain early experience for your resume, we know that searching for an internship can be quite time-consuming. At the end of a long day of classes and work, sitting down at 10:30pm to hunt for that ideal opportunity can easily feel like a job itself!

However, if you're one of those students who knows what you want to do, or at least what you're interested in pursuing career-wise, you're in luck! We at NuView want to make your lives a little easier, so we've created this reference guide to finding a retail internship in Texas. By now, we all know that Dallas is a retail-hub with many exciting companies headquarted just an hour's drive from UNT. With our internship guide, you'll now be able to see exactly which companies are offering what kinds of internship. You'll be able to determine which local internships match your interests in a fraction of the time!

Think you'll find our guide useful in the near future? Feel free to download our printable pdf version below, and save yourself the trouble of wondering who has buying, product development, e-commerce, etc. etc. kinds of internships. The answers are all there! 

Hope you enjoy! 

Internship Directory


CREDITS

Ashley Nudge

Editor-In-Chief / Careers Editor

CAREERS: PALM TREE BOUTIQUE MANAGER - DENTON, TX

Maia Wilson

Whether you’re a native, resident, or visitor of Denton, everyone knows of the historic downtown square. The place where you can casually stroll while enjoying a Beth Marie’s ice cream cone has a new addition. Located on North Elm Street, The Palm Tree boutique offers amazing contemporary women's clothing and accessories. This past week I was lucky enough to have a one-on-one conversation with store manager Ashley Rogers, about what makes this new retailer special.

Name: Ashley Rogers

Professional Title: Store Manager of The Palm Tree Boutique

University & Degree: The University of North Texas, Business


Who is your target customer?

We try not to pinpoint one group, so we keep our [market] between the age of 18 and 55. Our clothing and style accommodates both mom and daughter?

What would you say is the mood of the store environment?

The Palm Tree boutique is both inviting and fun. It is a source for contemporary young women’s clothing and accessories.                

What do you enjoy most about the boutique culture?

The ability for one-on-one relationships with customers as well as employees. It is so nice to know who loves and shops at your store, and know who works for and with you.

What is the impact of social media regarding The Palm Tree?

The impact and reach of social media is huge. We started our social media reach before we opened in order to introduce ourselves in Denton and get the excitement started for the store. Now that we are open, social media helps us connect to our customer outside the walls of our store. This allows them to see what we have, all the newness, and how to style themselves.

Can you talk a little bit about the balance between managing a brick-and-mortar AND online store?

Thankfully, we have divided ourselves management wise so that someone else manages the online site. This allows me to keep my focus on the store. Though I do communicate with the people that run the website, it is a minimal part of what I deal with.

What is your most and least favorite aspects of the job?

I am so thankful to work for the owners that I do. I love that my opinions and thought are not only heard but strongly considered. I have worked for corporate retail where you are told what and how to do everything from minimal tasks to large ones. Here I am able to contribute to processes and decision making in all aspects of the business. Outside of actually owning your own business there are very few places that will give you that. There is not anything I really dislike. With that said, if I had to answer, my least favorite thing is making the schedule, balancing my employees schedules to make everything fair is difficult.

Interview takeaway:

When planning the interview with Ashley, I was immediately impressed with her immense kindness and willingness to help me. In the retail industry, where things change in the blink of an eye, time is precious. I was grateful for half an hour of Ashley’s time, to understand a little more about what it takes to running a boutique. My takeaway? Take time out to get to know people, because it is those people who will be the ones to shop with you. As a firm believer in customer service, I can assure you that next time I need a new outfit, I will be heading over to Palm Tree Boutique.


CREDITS

Copy: Navya Kaur, Careers Writer

Fernando Zamarripa, Careers Editor

Photos: Courtesy of The Palm Tree Boutique Instagram

FASHION: NRFSA PRESIDENT PARTNERS WITH COTTON INC. IN SUSTAINABILITY MOVEMENT

Maia Wilson

Delaney Murphy plays multiple roles and can be described as a modern ‘renaissance woman’. She is a Merchandising and Digital Retailing student at UNT, and is known to the members of NRFSA (National Retail Federation Student Association) as the President of the organization. She is also known as a philanthropist, sustainability advocate, DIY clothing restorer, art appreciator, and NRF Shop.org attendee.

This fall, Delaney felt it was important to unite NRFSA members and the CMHT (College of Merchandising of Hospitality Management and Tourism) community with a sustainable cause. Therefore, she recently completed a Blue Jeans Go Green denim donation drive at UNT. The donations supply Cotton Inc. with denim that is transformed into insulation for homes. Through this manufacturing process, the lifecycle of the jeans are extended with a new purpose. Sitting down with the President of NRFSA herself at West Oak Coffee Bar, Delaney and I discussed the drive’s impact on sustainability and the learning process involved in running a successful clothing drive.


Tell us about your collaboration. How did you get the idea for NRFSA to be a part of this?

I’m president of NRFSA, so I was kind of looking for a project we could do. We normally just have our meetings and don’t do outside events. We’re more of a national level [organization], so we don’t have as many local [activities]. I heard about the project through my cousin. She was a merchandising student at Texas Tech and the club she was in had done it a couple years ago.  I had been thinking about it for quite a few years actually, since my spring semester of my Freshman year. Back then, I was like, okay, well if I get to be the president of NRFSA I will do this project. I contacted them on their website and they were really excited about what our school does. We started talking about it in May and the project started in October. I had to learn how to plan promotions [and] all the logistics of it. It was a bigger project than I realized!

Is Cotton Inc. the insulation manufacturer?

Cotton Inc. is the one that oversees everything. Blue Jeans Go Green is a part of Cotton Inc. [They] work with another company that makes the Ultratouch denim insulation, and you can buy it in stores like Lowes. You can also apply for a grant to receive the insulation through Habitat for Humanity. [Essentially it’s an environmental alternative that’s] diverting a lot of waste. 600 tons of waste has been diverted since they first started the program in 2006.

Can you describe the process of how the jeans are transformed into insulation?

[The denim goes to Arizona where they make the Ultratouch denim insulation. It’s shedded up. They take out all the metal and any additional embellishments or closures. They combine the [cotton with a] binding agent, which makes the insulation mildew resistant, mold resistant, and capable of meeting all the standards [to be] flame retardant. It’s a safe alternative to the traditional insulation, which is the pink fiberglass that is itchy, hard to work with, and [less healthy] for the lungs.

Are charity homes the only homes that can use the insulation?

The insulation [benefits] houses for Habitat for Humanity, but it can be [used in] any house. It’s also used for other types of insulting. I know it’s a good sound insulator [since it] has a good rating for sound absorption. [The insulation is essentially] denim that would probably end up in a landfill at some point. That’s the end  of the game. At least as insulation, [the denim is helping to] keep a house warm. It has another purpose. It’s a cool way to do things, and that’s why I got on board with the whole project.

You mentioned that Lowes sells the insulation. Is that the only retailer that sells it?

I think Home Depot does as well. You can basically buy it at any [home improvement] retailer that sells insulation. It’s not as common to find it [since] it’s not as traditional and it’s a newer thing. Blue Jeans Go Green has collected a million pieces of denim since they launched, and created 2 million square feet of insulation. [An interesting fact is] it takes 500 pieces of denim to insulate one house.

What exactly did you have to do to prepare for the drive?

Starting off,  we thought, okay, what kind of promotions do we want to use? They gave me a big list of things that they definitely thought we should use, like flyers.  We used some online promotions, t-shirts, insulation samples, and the [Cotton Inc.] branded sunglasses we handed out. I think we were just trying to figure out the best way to reach our audience. I didn’t know a lot about the specifics until probably September. [The company told us] you need to do a few tabling events on campus, you need to a community event... so they had a few different requirements. They give you a layout of the program, because it is an assigned program they do every fall with different universities.

This was the first year the drive was held at UNT and you received quite a few jeans. What was the final total?

We received 288 pieces of denim plus scraps. I found out a Honda CRV can hold at least 288 jeans! We put it all in one box and was shipped off [to] Missouri. At some point it ended up in Arizona where it is actually made into the insulation.

What common trends did you find in the donations?

Some of the trends I saw were colored denim, patterned denim, and some of the Miss Me  [jeans with] eccentric bling... and skinny jeans. We had a lot of skinny jeans. When I got jeans from the consignment stores that [came from a] older group of donors, I saw a lot of dad jeans and thought oh my dad actually has a pair just like these. For the older men it was that 80's acid [really light] wash.

Do you think that has anything to do with the flared leg trend we’re seeing with denim at the moment?

I think every time you have a trend, there’s a pendulum swing.  I think we have flared jeans coming in [because the] 70's are coming back. [But sometimes] you want skinny jeans [as] something a little skinnier [to tuck in to] boots. I think that’s why I saw a lot of skinny jean [donations].

Currently, what’s your favorite denim trend?

I wear jeans, but I have a very classic style. I don’t invest my money in trends right now. It doesn’t make sense for me to do so. I try to go for something I can wear for a long time and make use of. It’s the whole sustainability concept. [I don’t prefer the] fast fashion strategy of just throwing things out. Personally, I like to invest in something that is going to last a while. Quality is important to me, but of course you want it to be fashionable. I don’t want to be wearing mom jeans. I’ve probably had the same pair of jeans, since I was 15, so 4 years now. I like the jeans that have a different flare to them. I go with the classics. I like a good dark wash jean that fits well.

I try to reuse pieces of apparel. I like to tear clothing apart and re-piece it back together, cut a hem, or add trimming to a hem. I try to reuse [the product], so I get a little more use out of whatever the product might be. Yesterday, I found this shirt I had for a while. I liked it, but it was a little out of style. There was lace on the arms, and I took off the lace to make it more simple, because it was too much. Now it’s a cute top I can wear again. I have used [old pieces of garments] for costumes. My mom had an old bridesmaid dress and that turned into the Elsa costume!

Which denim trend do you wish would make a comeback?

I can tell you things that shouldn’t come back. I don’t think 80's jeans should ever come back. I’m going to go back to the classic style. It’s always going to be around. I like the style of jeans from the 50's with the cuffs. I know highwaisted kind-of made a comeback, but it was more like 90's high-waisted. I hope low-rise doesn’t come back, but it looks like low-rise bell bottoms is what we’re going to have. Personally, I can’t do flared jeans because I trip. I’m not coordinated enough. Of course, certain styles are better on certain people. If there’s a denim trend at all I would say wear what fits your body type, and wear what makes you feel good. I would rather see less jeans that [cater to just] the ideal and more jeans that actually fit people. It’s the eternal struggle for women to find jeans that fit. Let’s make some realistically [fitting] jeans here!

As a digital retailing major, can you comment on the new technology that is capable of scanning your body to help you find the perfect fitting jeans?

Right now it’s not there. The technology exists, but it’s not ready [since it's] not as accurate as it needs to be. Another 5 years or so, maybe then we can change that. It’s a cool idea. It might work for a very small number of apparel items, but it’s not developed enough to really make a difference in the market.

Delaney poses on the steps of Chilton Hall with her dog, Paris.

Delaney poses on the steps of Chilton Hall with her dog, Paris.

Do you know of some apparel and accessory companies who are making progress with sustainability?

H&M is trying to recycle. They’re trying to make their clothes sustainable. The key word is ‘trying’. I mean there are some other companies like People Tree. They’re based out of the UK and are featured in the documentary on Netflix, The True Cost. They are very much about sustainable sourcing. You have other companies like REI and Patagonia who try to be sustainable [innovators]. There’s a lot of companies that are doing a good job, but aren’t as well known right now. I always find little small scale companies that are trying to make a difference and I definitely try to support them. I feel better when I buy from those companies, because you can feel good about what you’re getting. When you see pictures of the women who actually made your shoes, that’s so cool. Recently the owner of Symbology came into our pre-internship class. They do  traditional stamping and have really cool patterns. I think in the next 5 years you’ll see more companies moving more towards sustainability. It’s not even a trend, it’s a movement. It’s a consumer movement. It’s generational. Millennials and Gen Z are very conscious about that. When I’m shopping I think about, what do I know about this company? Transparency is a huge thing. Ten years from now you won’t see companies around who aren’t transparent... because people want to know [the origins of their clothing].

What did you learn through the process of planning the donation drive?

I learned a lot about several things. I learned about promotions, about organizing events, there was a lot of red tape. I had to contact like 5 people just to get a bin in Chilton Hall. [The logistics] was probably the biggest challenge. I had to contact UNT... I had to contact student activities and get [tabling] events set up. It was a challenge, but we made it work.

What is your next philanthropic venture?

Honestly, I’m exhausted after the last month. I’m [going to] have a break from large scale events. My next step is to find ways to help in the different areas I care about, and continue recycling and buying more sustainable products. It’s a new thing [companies are] trying to break into, and it’s important to support people who are trying to do the right thing. It’s about gradual changes in the right direction. There’s little things you can change on a personal level, but companies especially [can make a big impact].

How will this drive help prepare you for work in the fashion industry, as well as to lead a more sustainable life in the future?

It’s really hard to (gain) experience in [the] area [of sustainability since] it’s such a new concept for the industry. [Sustainability is] one thing I’m trying to figure out how to get experience in. [This project has] allowed me to get my foot in the door. It gave me a lot of insight into recycling... to be able to use innovative technology [within] the fashion industry. It gave me hope [of potentially pursuing a career in] sustainability and fashion. [The fashion industry] gets the stereotype all the time that it’s a very materialistic industry, but I thought this [project would bring things] full circle. [We’re] selling the denim. We do the merchandising, the buying... so it’s kind of cool to see how the life of this product continues.

For those interested in joining NRFSA, how would one become a member?

We have our monthly meetings on the last Wednesday of every month from 5-6 PM. Dues are $20 for the entire year, so it’s a one time $20. Next spring it will be $10. You don’t have to be a member to show up to the meetings. You have to be a paid member to apply to The Big Show or Shop.org. It’s not a huge commitment. For what you receive, it’s totally worth an hour of your time. We have great speakers come in. We have graduate panels. It’s great networking and that’s what our organization is about. One of the officers last year met Stacy London and Martha Stewart at the previous Big Show. [Last year’s] student challenge team created a product for The Container Store and met the CEO and chief merchandiser of The Container Store. There’s a lot of opportunities getting into the industry. You get a chance to give your card to [recruiters].


I gained a lot of knowledge by speaking with Delaney about the importance of sustainability in the fashion industry, as well as how consumers and retailers can make an impact. Sustainability is a vital cultural trend amongst upcoming generations that must be recognized by industry leaders who aspire to succeed in the future. Soon enough, merchandising and digital retailing students will have a say in how retailers are to ethically respond to consumer demands for sustainable fashion and labor practices. By participating in the Blue Jeans Go Green donation drive, NRFSA president Delaney Murphy allows students to be a part of the movement for a more sustainable world.


CREDITS

Copy & Photography: Charis Orr, Fashion Writer

Taylar Gomez, Fashion Editor

Graphic 1: Ashley Nudge, Editor-In-Chief

CAREERS: MARCELLA CO. OWNER PROFILE

Maia Wilson

Meet Marcella Jones Penn, a fashion show producer and designer from New York City who is now living in Dallas. In this week’s careers profile we will learn about Marcella’s background in fashion design, and how she made her dreams of creating her own collection into reality.


Name: Marcella Jones Penn

Professional Title: Owner of Marcella Co., Dallas, Texas

Degrees: Bachelor's in Fashion Merchandising and Buying, Bachelor's in Criminal Justice

Hometown: Buffalo, New York              

 

About Marcella Jones & Co. 

 

When and how did you become a designer and fashion show producer? 

I actually started producing fashion shows in 2013, [but Runway Dallas] was my first “big” show. I’ve always [been a designer]. [I find it fascinating how you can use] prints, patterns, colors and textures to express yourself. I started designing when I was 12 years old. I did some architecture in between the years but I’ve been dedicated to designing and producing shows lately.

What is the inspiration behind the style of your clothing?

When people ask me that question, I have to be completely honest. It’s God. It’s all God inspired. I love business, and I love business women who are dedicated and don’t take anything from anybody. The structure of business buildings and the women inside them [are where my direction comes from].

Photos from  Marcella Co.'s lookbook

Interview Takeaways:

Originally from the big apple, Marcella is a self-made businesswoman who is now living in the heart of Texas. What had first started as a dream, quickly became a company. Marcella Company is a contemporary women’s clothing line for women who are sharp, confident in making a statement, and don’t take no for an answer. Designing a range of dresses, jumpers, separates, blazers and suits, Marcella believes in only creating statement pieces. Her second and newest line is called, Marcella Sport. Although she described Marcella Sport as an “awesome accident”, her sportswear line has evolved into an athletically influenced line with a casual yet edgy feel.  

About Runway Dallas

Photos of Runway Dallas by Lachelle Scott

Interview Takeaways: 

As the creative director and primary producer for Runway Dallas, Marcella and 14 other talented designer premiered their latest collections on a chic and glam runway in downtown Dallas. Before coming to Dallas, Marcella was doing well at making a name for herself in the fashion design and show production industries. She wanted to be challenged by a change of setting, so she figured Dallas would be the perfect city to establish herself in next. Marcella is a dedicated, kind, and professional women with tons of ambition. 

Marcella moved to Dallas a little over a year ago, and began the production of Runway Dallas in October.  In order for the first event to be successful, she  knew she needed to find people who were willing to volunteer and work for little to no pay since all of the event's proceeds were to benefit St. Jude’s hospital. Fortunately she was able to find volunteers and emerging designers who were eager to gain experience and exposure. She was also able to find a couple more experienced designers who were willing to help her out. “We aimed for the show to be beneficial to all people in the fashion industry, not just for entertainment purposes. Whether it be the models, designers, makeup artists, or hair stylists, we wanted to provide them with a platform to express themselves and showcase their work. We invited all types of people to attend the event, including fashion buyers, bloggers, and others in the industry so that everyone could network and help advance each others careers.  

Career Advice

Models walk down the runway wearing Marcella's designs at a fashion show in NYC.

Models walk down the runway wearing Marcella's designs at a fashion show in NYC.

What advice would you give to someone who aspires to be a fashion producer or a designer?

Follow God and let him guide you. Don’t be afraid to take risk. Network with as many people as possible and trust in God. Be prepared for anything to happen, because we all know that the industry is unpredictable. You have to want it, [and make sure not to] lose yourself in [it]. Get inspired by other designers and create your own [style] and stick with it.

With the support and love from her husband, family, and fellow designers and friends, Marcella was able to make her dreams into reality. Currently, Marcella has a great outlook on the future, is ready to take on her next challenge of producing Runway New York.

View Marcella’s current collection on her website.

View the Runway Dallas Recap video, below! 


CREDITS

Copy: Amani Wells, Careers Writer

Fernando Zamarripa, Careers Editor

Graphic 1: Ashley Nudge, Editor-In-Chief

Photos c/o Marcella Penn

 

 

FASHION: YOU TOE-TALLY NAILED IT!

Maia Wilson

Everyday, just before 10 a.m., women begin to arrive at the nail salon. Eventually, the front desk is busy with eagerly awaiting clients. This is often the morning scene at Bella Salon and Spa, a nail salon located in Denton, Texas. The manicurists have a busy workday ahead, as they will spend their entire day hunched over fingers and toes. Once an indulgence reserved for special occasions, manicures and pedicures (especially pedis) have now become a routine grooming activity across the economic spectrum.  According to census data, there are now more than 17,000 nail salons in the U.S. Bella Salon and Spa is among the most popular, and is located right here in Denton!  The salon display’s their inner workings within a gleaming glass front and elegant decor, mirroring that of a department store during the holidays.

As  the holidays near, many clients book appointments several weeks or months in advance in order to obtain their favorite technician and mani/pedi. Being that fingernails and toenails are an important part of hygiene, the services to uphold physical looks have gradually been revamped. What was once just a basic manicure, has now become a multifaceted day at the spa! Client appointments often include additional amenities, with either a hydrating glass of aloe vera juice, refreshing coconut juice, or even a relaxing arm massage complete with nourishing moisturizer. Aside from those enticing extras, it can be problematic trying to decide which type, and color of polish to choose! In this post, I will talk about polish technique’s currently on the market, as well as offer design inspiration for the holidays!

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NexGen Nail

With over 100 color options to choose from at Bella Salon and Spa, you are sure to find your favorite! Additionally, the salon performs services with gel, shellac, and dipping powder.  Dipping powder, or NexGen nails, is the next generation in nail enhancement technology. After dipping your fingers into a colored powder for a few minutes you will love the finish. You can proudly showcase nails that are crack and chip resistant, as well as packed full of calcium and  vitamin E.

A manicurist gives a customer a NexGen manicure

A manicurist gives a customer a NexGen manicure

Compared to the currently popular gel nails - a manicure that claims to last longer than standard manicures - the new NexGen manicure provides even more benefits. Based on my personal observations, many women are now opting for NexGen rather than gel. NexGen is an environmentally-friendly option that allows the nails to grow, while at the same time offering a resilient finish. To achieve the best NexGen nails, you should prepare to dedicate an hour-and-a-half of your time to the manicurist. NexGen nails may be a longer process, but I believe it is well worth it to try something new!

Gel Nails

I think we all noticed how quickly gel nails became a trend in the world of beauty. Yet, what really is this gel we put on our nails? Gel is a type of polish that is settled with the use of a drying machine. First, the nail technician applies the gel polish of the customer’s choice. Then, the technician helps to place the customer’s fingers under a machine that produces UV rays. The UV rays allow the polish to harden on the customer’s nails, creating a long-lasting coat with a smooth finish. The gel polish is very pleasing, as the coating is thick and more difficult to chip than a standard manicure. To date, the gel polish has been available longer than the dipping powder of NexGen nails, so there are more styles that can be created. For example, at Bella salon there are new gel polishes every month,including a great majority of gel polishes from the popular brand O.P.I.!

A customer receives a gel manicure at Bella Salon and Spa

A customer receives a gel manicure at Bella Salon and Spa

Holiday Inspiration

Fall colors are in full swing by the end of September, as we begin to see the leaves change and comforting colors emerge! As I talked to the owner of Bella Salon and Spa, I was interested to learn that dark red is currently one of the most popular colors of polish. In fact, the salon owner has to constantly purchase more dark red polishes in both dipping powder, and gel polish! Fall fashion trends typically include dark hues of color, which then integrate into the cosmetics industry and nail polish. Trendy darker-hued nail polishes by O.P.I include, a dark plum color named Lincoln Park After Dark, and a taupe color named My Private Jet.  

I think we could all agree that taking the time to get a manicure or pedicure is a relaxing experience. It is a time to indulge yourself by investing in glamorous nails for both your hands and feet… a time for you to embrace the holiday spirit and alluring fall colors. As a result of fall being one of my favorite seasons, I love seeing themed nails to match the holiday spirit! Mark your calendars, because December is only a few weeks away! This means it is time to set a nail appointment, and complete your trendy winter fashion look!

If you plan to make a visit to the nail salon soon, we're here to help get your ideas prepped!


First, start by viewing Pantone's Fall 2015 color report!

Next, grab inspiration from the provided images below!

Thank you to Bella Salon and Spa for helping NuView with this post!


CREDITS

Copy & Photography: Elizabeth Phan, Fashion Writer

Taylar Gomez, Fashion Editor

Graphic 1: Ashley Nudge, Editor-In-Chief

 

CAREERS: RIFFRAFF OWNER PROFILE

Maia Wilson

Meet Kirsten Blowers Stuckey, a University of Arkansas graduate who has a love for the lone star state and all things fashion. In this week’s careers post we will learn about Kirsten’s amazing story of how she turned one hundred dollars into a four million dollar business.


Name: Kirsten Blowers Stuckey

Profession: Owner, Creative Director, and Head Buyer for Riffraff Dallas, Riffraff Fayetteville, and ShopRiffraff.com

Location(s): Dallas, TX and Fayetteville, AR.

Education: University of Arkansas, Fayetteville.

           Major: Interior Design

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Who is Kirsten?

The ultimate list make of to-do’s, Kirsten Blowers Stuckey is a one of a kind, creative and self-motivated entrepreneur, with a taste for coffee and fashion. Listed as one of 25 People Shaping Retail’s Future in 2015 by the National Retail Federation, Kirstin constantly reinvents herself. By keeping an open mind and talking on new challenges, the 28 year old surrounds her with kind spirits, making her dreams into reality.

What are some things you like?

·      Disco Balls

·      Chubby Babies

·      Destroyed Denim + White Tees

Favorite Quote:

"Your journey has molded you for greater good, and it is exactly what you needed it to be. Don't think you've lost time. It took each and every situation you have encountered to bring you to the now. And now is right on time." - Asha Tyson

Riffraff THEN:

In early 2009, while still a full-time college senior, the 21 year old took a chance and opened a furniture boutique in Fayetteville, Arkansas. One early September morning, with a budget of $100, Kirsten visited every garage sale within the area to create what is now a million dollar business. After sanding, designing, dismantling, painting and rebuilding the furniture she bought at the garage sales, she slowly but surely created her first inventory.

In February 2010, Kirsten opened the doors to ‘Riffraff’ Home Décor and Fabulous Finds Shop in the east side of Fayetteville. While working weekends from 10-6, and racing back and forth from class and the shop, Kirsten was a one-man-show in her early success years. With one customer a day, she was terrified - still - and exhausted, but excited for what she would accomplish.  With the help of social media, primarily Facebook at the time, Riffraff was able to generate business. Not until she slowly introduced jewelry and gift items to the store's assortment did she start noticing a quick sell-through rate.

It wasn’t until July of 2011 when she began to see change. After moving locations into the Historic Downtown Square in Fayetteville, she found herself with a couple of built in clothing racks. Having no credit line and a tight budget, instead of removing the racks she took a chance and stocked-up the space with tops. The tops being the number one seller on the night of her grand opening, she then knew that sparks were about to fly. What had started as a home décor and gift store, Riffraff quickly grew to become a showroom, an apparel business, a company, and the brand they are today.

Riffraff NOW:

After a year of design, planning, and growth in followers, Riffraff then launched their ecommerce, SHOPRIFFRAFF.COM. But it wasn’t till 2013, that they perfected their look, and established their brand. With new office space, vibrant ideas, and constant innovations, the small boutique grew even more in 2014.

Today the six-year-old company is looked at by millions of people, and is known for their impeccable and customized customer service. In the year 2014, Riffraff grew their southern roots into Dallas as the third order of business. Located in Northwest Parkway, Riffraff Dallas is a trend forward women’s chic clothing boutique, with a distinctly southern flair. With a range from separates and dresses, and a focus in taking casual to cocktail, Riffraff is for the girl graduating high school to the mommy before kids. Offering lavishing accessories, shoes, and gifts, Riffraff is fun, poppy, and vibrant.

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What was once a one-man show, rapidly turned into a fully-employed company. Riffraff interns handle everything from in-store merchandise and customer service to shipping and logistics. By having fun and keeping the company culture upbeat and positive, life at Riffraff will always be enjoyable.

The Riffraff team

The Riffraff team

What is your favorite part of the job?

“The challenges, the freedoms and learning that comes behind the business.”

What is retail to you?

“[Retail is] from the cup of coffee you have in the morning, [to the time you spend on Pinterest] at the end of the day. Retail is everything... so be ready to evolve. Not only personally but within your career.”

 

Want to know more about Riffraff?

Riffraff Website: http://shopriffraff.com

Kirsten’s Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/kirstenblowers/

           @kirstenblowers

Riffraff Dallas Instagram:  https://www.instagram.com/RiffraffDallas/

           @riffraffdallas

ShopRiffraff Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/ShopRiffraff/

            @shopriffraff

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/RiffraffFayetteville

Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/ShopRiffraff

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/shopriffraff/


CREDITS

Copy: Fernando Zamarripa, Careers Editor

Graphic 1: Ashley Nudge, Editor-in-Chief

Photos c/o Kirsten Blowers & Riffraff social media channels

FASHION: HONG KONG/CHINA STUDY TOUR REFLECTION - Part 1

Maia Wilson

Interested in studying abroad? If you have a desire to travel and experience a new country while furthering your education, then studying abroad is for you. Fortunately, the merchandising department at UNT has more than one opportunity for students to travel abroad!

For this months article, I've collaborated with a few of my favorite people, including Mrs. Zorola, Senior Lecturer and faculty leader of the Hong Kong/China Study Tour, and one of my best friends + frequent flyer companion + NuView Careers Editor, Fernando Zamarripa. In this two part blog post, we will be share thoughts, experiences, tips, and personal media from our study abroad trip to China and Hong Kong. I hope you will explore this post with an open mind, and come away with a desire to join the club of student globetrotters!


Travel Expectations

Hong Kong

 Expect the weather to resemble that of Texas…only more humid! Hong Kong is a subtropical city, that experiences frequent thunderstorms in the summer months.

China

The weather is not as humid as in Hong Kong! However, the temperature is warmer.

Packing Tips for Hong Kong/China Study Tour

As Fashion Editor of NuView, I understand the need to incorporate personal style into one's travel wear! expressing your personal style without having your whole closet to choose from can be quite challenging. Therefore, here are several packing tips for maintaining personal style when traveling to Hong Kong/China. 

Taylar's Packing Tip

Plan your outfits ahead of time by putting together potential looks that will be appropriate for your daily activities. It is worth noting that I did occasionally swap certain garments according to unexpected weather changes, so make sure to pack a few easy, mix & match options. This tip saved me time, luggage space, and the stress of not knowing what to wear. 

OUTFIT INSPIRATION: Exploring Beijing

Get the look: Circle skirt, tee, ankle booties, cross body bag, statement necklace

Get the look: Circle skirt, tee, ankle booties, cross body bag, statement necklace

Check out some more of my looks in this video! 

Fernando’s Packing Tips

“My packing tip would be to roll your clothes in your suitcase, opposed to folding them. I found that by doing this, I was able to pack more items than expected.”

“Wear light weight clothing, so you are comfortable at all times. I brought pieces that were easy to mix and match from day to day. This saved me a ton of luggage space!”

“Make sure to bring an umbrella with you, even when you don’t think you will need it. The weather tends to be unpredictable.”

“Always check to make sure you have everything you need before starting your day.”

OUTFIT INSPIRATION: Lantou Island

Interested in the trip yet? If so, you're in luck!

Mrs. Zorola was kind enough to answer a few  frequent questions, along with some not-so-frequent questions that may have skipped your mind!

Packing Pointers

What are your best packing tips for Hong Kong/China study tour?

Mix and match your wardrobe and plan for ONE pair of dressy shoes for professional appointments and then coordinate your outfits around that. I always select my shoes first, “These light tan kitten-heel shoes,” and then I choose outfits that will match those shoes. If I choose my outfits first, I may find myself needing 2-3 different pairs of shoes.

Also, in terms of maximizing your luggage space, I roll all my clothing instead of folding. For one, it saves space, and two, your clothing won’t wrinkle as much.

Choose clothing that is light, packs small, and is easy to wash and quick to dry. Think synthetic. Yes, they are hot but they will wick moisture and wash/dry easily and quickly.

Place liquid items into small plastic baggies in your carry-on. If anything breaks or bursts open, then the damage is contained to the items in the small baggie. No baggies, and the mess goes everywhere. Large baggies, and the mess still gets on a lot of other product. Use SMALL baggies.

What aspects of your everyday routine do you miss the most when traveling abroad?

Having access to my entire facial product routine. The weather can wreak havoc on your skin, so I make the investment to buy travel size of everything I need, or buy small bottles to take as much with me that I can. I cannot find my preferred line of products overseas so I need to try and take it with me.

Also, not really related to packing, but I miss my fitness and nutrition routine the most. I work out 6 days a week and calorie/macro count every day. Practically impossible to do overseas on such long, tiring days, and when I’m eating new foods. But it’s worth it!

What is the most challenging part of packing for the study tour? 

I would say accounting for everything you will need across 16+ days. You can’t imagine what you’ll need when you haven’t traveled overseas before. Start a list now and add to it as you think of things. Choose a day to carefully follow your morning routine. Write down everything you use. I washed my hair so I need shampoo and conditioner. Then I put X-product in my hair. Then I wore a pony tail so I need hair ties. Then I cleaned my face with cleanser so I need cotton balls and facial cleanser. Etc. etc.

What should students be aware of when purchasing items to bring home with them?

Every time you want to buy something, remind yourself that you will need to carry that home. Is it worth it? Do you want to deal with it? Will you be heartbroken if it breaks? If so, can you possibly ship it instead?

Do you have any helpful tips for mixing and matching with items you've packed?

As noted above, start with your shoes, and build your outfits around that. I take 3 pairs of shoes with me: 1 for professional appointment, 1 for factory appointments that can double as my casual shoes, and 1 for working out.

What fiber blends should be avoided when packing, and why? Are there any particular fabrics you recommend for traveling on the study tour?

Stay away from thick cottons. They stay wet in humid conditions, and they take forever to dry when you wash them. I recommend anything synthetic or with a synthetic blend. Cotton/polys, for example. I wear a lot of poly and nylon tops and bottoms that are loose and airy. That allows for more breathability, wicking, and quick drying. Also, they are lightweight. And for the love of God, leave the denim at home! ;)

Destination Suggestions

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Where do you recommend shopping in China/ Hong Kong?

I rarely shop for clothing while in Hong Kong or China because the sizes don’t fit me. In terms of souvenirs, I recommend for students to wait to shop in Beijing so they are not lugging around souvenirs for the next week and a half. In China, they will be more affordable. Also, we usually make a stop at a Chinese art gallery where many pieces are painted by the students and teachers of a local art school. The prices are great for a meaningful, one-of-a-kind piece.

What are your tips for shopping at Pearl Market?

Walk away. You can easily walk away and they [the vendors] will quickly come down in price. I have heard that you should only pay about 10% of the original price they offer. For example, if you want some Beats headphones and they offer $500RNB, you should be paying closer to $50RNB. Also, if you can, buy in quantity. If you buy multiples, you will often get a better price.

What excursions or activities do you suggest checking out when shopping?

Many of the shopping centers will often have free exhibits you can visit. Last May, there was a French shoe exhibit in one of the shopping centers. Also, I recommend getting out into the parks to be around the locals. That will give you a true flavor for the country you are in. Personally, I love to try different food. So visiting different restaurants is fun for me. Again, the local food is a great way to experience the culture.

What is the best gift item you've purchased? Are there any gift items you suggest buying or not buying?

The best gifts I have purchased were at the Chinese art gallery because those were one of a kind pieces. Something that won’t break, and can be hung on the wall to look at and enjoy every day. Also, I like to buy things like Chinese candies and pretty Chinese-style bags. I fill them with candy and pass them out to my nieces and nephews. It’s inexpensive and they love getting a bag full of candy. I recommend not spending too much money on anything counterfeit. Know it won’t last. Handbag straps will bust, jewelry will tarnish, sunglasses will break. If you are OK with the item not lasting long, then that is fine. But don’t be surprised if your handbag doesn’t make it home without ripping first.

Tell us... what are your tips for haggling with vendors? Is it even worth the effort? 

Well, apparently I am the most beautiful lady in the world because everyone was offering me a special discount “just for you because you are a beautiful lady”! ;) 
I don’t like haggling much. I’d rather just buy something and move on. You still want to haggle some, but why spend 5 minutes trying to get them down from $50RNB to $40RNB when that is barely ONE American dollar? I always figure that dollar means more to them than to me. Granted, I am sure they make a killing in those markets, but I don’t have the patience to spend 5 minutes to save an extra dollar.

Advice for Professional Appointments and Factory Visits

What type of attire is appropriate for professional appointments?

Business casual is what I advise to students. Conservative shoes that are either flat or with a low heel. No low-cut blouses, skirt and dress hems all the way to the knee, no sheer fabrics, and you should be able to sit in your clothing and retain your modesty. No overly tight clothing.

And attire for the factories?

Pants or capris. No skirts, no open-toed shoes, no active wear, no bra straps showing. Although we will be in factories and sweating quite a bit, our tours are often lead by the factory owner and we want to make a good impression. Also, imagine if you were working full-time and your employer sent you to China to spend a week in the company factories. You wouldn’t be able to take a day off and show up in workout pants, hair in a top-knot, and no makeup. You still have to look appropriate at all times.

What are some questions that students should ask at the appointments?  

I believe that almost any question is a good question. [The question] should be focused to the process seen in the factory, and it can be related to the people or workers. Just remember that a question should not be asked for the purpose of embarrassing anyone or putting anyone on the spot. We are not there t =o challenge their systems. Remember, they see things from a very different perspective than us. What is important to us, may not be important to them, and vice versa.

What's your top tip for how students can make a positive impression during the appointments?

Show interest! Don’t engage in personal conversations or hang at the back of the group. Show urgency. Stay at the front, ask questions, and take pictures (not selfies). The best thing you can do is ask questions. They want to answer questions, and if there are no questions, then it might be misconstrued as a lack of interest.

Personal Reflections

What do you hope that students will gain from this trip, both personally and professionally? 

Personally – I hope that students will understand the challenges that our American consumerism is causing around the world, not just in China. So many of the manufacturing and logistical challenges are due to the consumers’ strong demands for cheaper and faster product. The choices we make have a real effect across the world. It’s not just a $5 t-shirt or a $12 skirt. It’s very well someone’s life and livelihood. We have to start making better decisions that can help improve the fashion industry. There’s a place for fast fashion but there is so much more than just that.

Professionally – I hope that students come away with a great overview of the supply chain. I want students to see how everything works together and how one area affects another.

What visit are you most looking forward to during this summer's upcoming study tour?

We will be visiting a denim dye house, so I’m looking forward to seeing something I have never seen before. Also, I know there are Nike factories in Dongguan and I am still trying to see if we can find a connection at one. In China, everything is about relationships, so unless I can find a connection into a factory, I likely won’t be able to cold-call and request a visit.

Which city is your favorite to visit on the study tour, and why?

I love Hong Kong! The city comes alive at night, there are great museums to visit, lots of wonderful places to eat, it’s easy to get around, and it’s a great mix of people from all over the world! It mixes the new with the old. You can be in some of the most luxurious shopping centers in the world, and then in an hour be at the top of a mountain visiting the Big Buddha. It’s fascinating! I love that mix of history and future.

What is the most valuable thing you have learned from the study tour trip?

The most valuable thing I have learned while traveling in China is that if you want to know about the local culture, just ask! People want to talk to you and share what they know. You cannot believe everything you read about a country from the local media. You have to experience it for yourself. If you have pre-conceived ideas about China, lose them! Travel with us and experience the country and the people for yourself. You’d be surprised to learn how much you thought you ‘knew’……was actually wrong.

What about the study tour do you cherish the most?

I cherish the friends I have made. It’s a little like a homecoming when I visit again. The people I have met in China are beyond kind! They go out of their way to make you feel welcome and comfortable. They think of everything, they are the perfect hosts! I’m always excited to see my old friends Billy, Bun, Yin, and Andy. They really are some of the most beautiful people I have ever known.

Interested in traveling to China and Hong Kong? Email Mrs. Zorola at mzorola@unt.edu. There is still room for 18 students,  but keep in mind that once the applications are up, you'll need to move fast in order to secure a spot!

Lastly, stay tuned for Hong Kong/China Study Tour Reflection (Part 2) which we will be sharing later in December with even more tips!


CREDITS

Copy & Videos: Taylar Gomez, Fashion Editor

Photography: John Keller

Graphic 1: Ashley Nudge, Editor-In-Chief

 

CAREERS: FASHION STYLIST PROFILE

Maia Wilson

Ana-Patino-Dallas-Fashion -Stylist-13.jpg

Meet Ana Patino, a UNT graduate and Merchandising Inc. alumna who has built a name for herself as a respected stylist in the Dallas fashion industry. While earning her degree in Merchandising, Ana interned at D Magazine where she discovered her love for creating fashion editorials. Known as the girl in high school who made "things that were cheap look super expensive," Ana always knew she was passionate about styling. She worked in the corporate world for several years, but at a certain point, she couldn't help but feel like something was missing. It was then that Ana followed her creative instincts and returned to a collaborative life on set with photographers, models, and of course, racks and racks of amazing clothes. 

In this interview, Ana tells us about her journey to becoming a fashion stylist. After starting off where she wanted to be, deviating for a few years, then making the decision to pursue styling full-time, today she is back and ready for more opportunities to come her way. As Ana explained, now she is "happy, at peace, and truly doing me." However, success as a freelance stylist did not come overnight. Only once she invested in herself and built relationships with other was she able to get the recognition and clientele that she deserves. Needless to say, Ana's talent shines through in her work, and we're certain you'll be  inspired by her story. Keep reading for more on Ana's experiences, advice for aspiring stylists, and lessons she's learned along the way. 


Name: Ana Patino

Current Title: Fashion Stylist (Freelance, Dallas-based)

Education: B.S. in Merchandising at the University of North Texas

Styling by Ana Patino

Styling by Ana Patino

What was your career path to becoming a fashion stylist?

I did an internship with D Magazine. I worked in the marketing and editorial department. I got into marketing because editorial was already taken at the time. Then, when I finished my marketing internship, [D Magazine] was like “Hey, we need some interns for editorial,” and I said “Yes, I’m there!” So, I interned for D Weddings. That’s where I got my first look at doing big shoots and productions, aside from Merchandising Inc. [where] we would do fashion shows in the spring and fall. After I did that internship with D, I worked in different places. I was a fashion stylist at Express part-time for a while until I found a job right out of college. Then, I got a job at Fossil. I always knew I wanted to do styling but I just wasn’t really sure how to go about it. I [thought], you know, what if I do marketing? With marketing, I had experience [due to] my internship. Marketing involves collateral, photography, and models, and [I thought] surely that [has to] count for something. So, I kind-of started going that route. After two years in marketing, I just really missed the fashion aspect of my job. So, that’s how I started styling.

About to enter the studio with models wearing Valentine's Day bridal trends

About to enter the studio with models wearing Valentine's Day bridal trends

Are you represented by an agency? How did you get signed?

Honestly, [becoming represented by an agency] was luck I guess. In my marketing job, I had met my would-be agent. We actually got to work together, and then she left the company and started her own talent agency. She had been a talent agent for a while. We connected and whenever she opened up her agency, I [asked] “Are you going to be representing artists?” And [she said] “Yeah, I’d love to.” With really no experience [or] huge portfolio, she took me in because she knew me, because we’d worked together. And the ball just started rolling from there. Previous to [that], I had done projects. I had interned. I had done what I could. When I joined the agency, [I] kind-of just learned on set. Then, it snowballed from there. Now, it’s [been] three years since then!

Many students fear that a career as a fashion stylist will not be as financially stable as some of the more traditional, corporate careers. Is this something you’ve experienced and if so, how did you overcome it?

Most definitely. Two years into my marketing job, I knew I needed to go back to fashion because I was starting to feel like I didn’t want to get sucked [into corporate]. My marketing job was a corporate job. But at the same time, I needed experience [with styling]. I didn’t have a lot of experience coming out of college, so I needed to do something. I actually juggled my full-time marketing job and my styling job for three years. I just recently left my marketing job about two and a half months ago in August. The reason I had been keeping both jobs was because of that [concern]. You know, the corporate world, stability… [wondering] what am going to I do? I guess you do overcome it eventually.

What were some of the first steps you took in order to establish yourself as a stylist?

I would say I’m in the beginning stages of being freelance on a full-time basis. But, I think when you are trying to pursue styling, at least the first one or two years you’re probably going to be working for free a lot of the time, only because you don’t have a portfolio. You have to build it, you have to build your style, you have to build your skill as a stylist. You have to build the trust that people are going to put upon you to do shoots, or fashion shows, or whatever the case may be. So it’s really going to take some time to get established, to get to know your work. I felt that after three years, my portfolio was a lot stronger than it was [before]. I felt like I had met with a lot of people. I networked a lot. So, I kind-of felt comfortable. I thought maybe [it] was a good point to keep working hard, but maybe I wouldn’t have to juggle as much. It took three years for me to feel that I was ready to move on and not be juggling both.   

Ana's portfolio

Ana's portfolio

Which areas of styling do you specialize in?

My baby - the one that I started with - was editorials and anything print. I love doing fashion show styling as well. Most recently - almost two years - I’ve been doing tv styling, so I [style] segments for tv. I also do personal styling. I just get requests, so that’s something I do. I don’t really market myself as a personal shopper, but when the requests come - if people like my work - I’m definitely open to working with them and helping them with their fashion needs.   

Ana talks Father's Day fashion on Acceso Total

Ana talks Father's Day fashion on Acceso Total

You majored in merchandising at UNT. In what ways has your education helped you with your career?

I think it’s helped a lot actually [by giving] me a lot of credibility. Now that I’ve been in the industry for a few years, [I’ve noticed that] many of the stylists I’ve met have been self-taught or they didn’t have any formal training or schooling. I think that having a degree in merchandising and being educated really helps [with] my confidence - just personally. I think people trust me more, and they [think] okay, this is what she went to school for. This is what she studied. She must know more than other people. Also, if [a corporation is] trying to hire freelancers, I think anyone with a degree is going to be up first [for those jobs]. Or, say that tomorrow I didn’t want to pursue a freelance career, I could always fall back on being an in-house stylist or doing something else. Most of the jobs that I’ve seen out there always require a degree. For me, my second choice is a corporate job... a fashion corporate job. They’re always going to ask for a degree, so I’m always thankful that I do have it and that it’s there.  

Can you describe the process of getting booked by clients?

It varies depending on what project I’m working on. [For example], with a print styling job - let’s go with a magazine. I shoot a lot for ON Magazine. The group is mainly the photographer, the stylist, the hair and makeup artist, and the model. I build a lot of my relationships, especially for print, through my photographer. So, it really starts with the photographer. If the photographer likes my [work], and if it [compliments] their client, [that’s how I get booked]. Half of the time, at least with print styling, it’s usually through the photographer. The photographer will say “Hey I’m working on this editorial.” The deadlines for the editorials are usually two months ahead of time. So we start brainstorming. We put the theme together. Either the editor has sent over ideas that they’re thinking [of] for [the upcoming issue], or [ideas for] whatever they’re going to be talking about. Then, we - as artists - also put in our own input and ideas. We really just work off of eachother. That’s the first thing that happens when I’m preparing to do an editorial.

Styling by Ana Patino

Styling by Ana Patino

What is your role in bringing the concept to life?

From there, my job as a stylist is to pull the clothes to tell the story. A lot of that requires research on my part, whether it’s online, physically going to the stores, or making calls to local designers. I’m constantly researching, and networking. It’s always good for me to know [which clothing providers will] fill the style or just have someone in mind for whatever project I’m working on. That alone takes a while... maybe a few days.  I would say [the time commitment] for an editorial depends on how many looks we’re doing. If we’re doing 6 looks, it could probably take a good 20-30 hours of a week. Once I [determine where] to pull the clothes, I call the stores and say “Hey, I’m working on this editorial.” It makes my job a lot easier when I’m [working] for a magazine, because [the partnership] is for credit for their stores. So usually they’re like “Yes, of course! We’ll let you use our stuff.” After that, I gather all the clothes. I put it together. I say okay, what do I want to shoot?

What does a typical day on-set look like?

We get on-set, and I usually do fittings first because typically I don’t get to fit the model before the shoot. [I just do that] to make sure everything fits, and if it doesn’t fit, I figure out what we’re going to do as a backup to fix it. From there, the shooting process happens. For an editorial, I’m usually at the studio all day long. It could be a 9-to-5, [or] 8-to-6 hour day. During post-shoot, I go through the clothes to [make sure] that nothing got stained or ripped. Then I organize it. I pack it up, and either ship it off to wherever it came from or physically go drop it. The last part I do is put together the credits sheet [of what the model is wearing in each look] that is actually going to go on the magazine photos.

How many projects are you working on at any given time? How do you manage everything?

 I am usually working on multiple. [I] have to prioritize. I work very well with to-do lists, so I just make checklists for myself. I start with whatever project is going to come first. Now that I’m doing this full-time, two or three [projects], is basically full-time work for the week. It’s not just me sitting on the computer. [I’m getting out]... there’s a lot going on. So, with three jobs I’m pretty much booked. I really have to prioritize and stay on schedule. Luckily I’m organized. [At my corporate job] we had a lot of deadlines, so I just learned to be very organized. I’m able to juggle multiple things at once.

Preparing to dress models for the Tinsley Radix Fall Fashion Show

Preparing to dress models for the Tinsley Radix Fall Fashion Show

Backstage at the Tinsley Radix Fall Fashion Show

Backstage at the Tinsley Radix Fall Fashion Show

What are some of the skills and personality traits needed in order to be successful in the field?

For a stylist [career], you really have to want it if you’re going to pursue it. You really have to believe in yourself. There’s no right or wrong way. Aside from [figuring out] this is what I want to do with my life… this is what career path I want to take, you also have to be honest with yourself and [ask], am I good enough? [Determine], is this for me? Because if it’s not, you might as well learn that in the beginning.

After that, then you definitely have to be willing to get out there and work for free because you don’t know how the industry works. You have to have an open mind about wanting to learn, and that also encompasses wanting to work in a good team environment. You have to be a good team player because [with] all photoshoots or fashion shows, there’s always teamwork. There’s always going to be at least three other people besides you. You definitely have to work well in the group.

As stylists, you’re also seen as style experts, so you have to be on top of what trends are happening and any special event that happens. Get on Women’s Wear Daily. Look for inspiration. See the new line. I used to not really pay a lot of attention to fashion week and what would come down the runway, but now that I’m a stylist I definitely feel the need to know about what’s going on. I tend to track presentations at least every fall and every spring just so I’m in the know. You are a stylist, but people really see you as a style expert, so you have to know your stuff. People are going to ask you questions and you don’t want to [say], “Oh, I don’t know.” You might lose a bit of credibility there. Definitely take some time to study your field and know what’s going on.

Styling is very hands-on. If you don’t know anything about sewing a button or faking a hem - anything that’s more hands-on [and] more [typical] of a design student - you really need to educate yourself because you’ll definitely need those skills on set. You [need to] learn how to pin correctly. You need to pay attention to the small details, [such as], oh, there’s a wrinkle. Everything needs to be perfect. [Beforehand] you don’t really have that practice of looking at every detail, but once you become a stylist that is your job. Your job is to make sure that the image or whatever it is that you’re creating looks amazing and perfect.   

Ana in between shots during the "Beyond White" portrait series

Ana in between shots during the "Beyond White" portrait series

What are some of the challenges of being a fashion stylist?

For challenges, I would say getting my name out there. I feel like it’s taken me a while, but eventually people started to notice my work. Another challenge [is that] people think that styling is a glamourous job. But, it’s really not. It’s actually pretty taxing on the body. You’re out all the time, you’re walking around, you’re carrying around bags, you’re steaming. You kind-of get a workout. Sometimes it can be tiring, especially when I have weeks [where] I’m working on two editorials. You’re definitely beat by the end of the week. You’re carrying around everything, [and] just the logistics of it [are exhausting].

What are some of the rewards?

Some of the rewards - for me, at least - [include] seeing my name in print. To have my name next to [anything I do] is always one of my proud moments. I’m always super excited to see the final images because it’s always nice to check-out [and see if the photo is] the way I wanted it to look. You know, when the model went in there and owned every photo, and the photography and lighting was amazing, and the hair and makeup was on point... And the styling! [You think about] when you were pulling and wondering, is this going to work?, is this not going to work?... and you see the photo and it looks great. You just feel like everything worked out perfectly. For me, that is very rewarding. It’s what you work hard for… for the idea or the story to come through... and if it does come through the way that it should, that’s the most rewarding.   

Styling by Ana Patino

Styling by Ana Patino

How would you describe the Dallas styling industry in comparison to those of Los Angeles, New York, and elsewhere?

Luckily Dallas has a lot of commercial work. But say, if you wanted to be a celebrity stylist, you probably wouldn’t get a ton of work here in Dallas. You’d have to go to LA. I think that depending on the demographic of [the city], you might make more money elsewhere. And if your family lives here, that’s a big decision to have to move. That’s something you definitely want to consider.     

How important is it to be creative in the field? 

You do have to be creative, and you do have to be willing to get out there and try things. People are going to trust you on-set with whatever [expertise] you have. And even if you don’t, you have to own it. In the beginning it’s really hard to decide on one jacket or the other. You second-guess yourself a lot. You have to [know], how am I going to work through this project? and, where am I going to gain this inspiration from? whether it’s magazines, the internet, or something you ate. Now [when I go to the store] I can definitely differentiate, and [think] this would be great to wear, and, oh my gosh, this would be great for an editorial. That’s the way that I think now. For me personally, I tend to get inspired more by the clothes first. If I see something, I just start to imagine the rest of the set, and the rest of the looks  It usually starts with one item of clothing and then I go from there.   

Styling by Ana Patino

Styling by Ana Patino

What advice would you give to an aspiring stylist in college?

Intern, intern, intern! It’s super important. I wish I had done more of that when I was in school. Study like other stylists out there. [Find out] what was their career path? What did they do? Obviously now that the styling profession is a little bit more mainstream and known of, there’s people that you can research and [find out] well, what did this person do? You learn a lot from that as well.

Networking is also super important. As a stylist, probably a third of my time - or sometimes more depending on the time of year - is spent going out to network. I attend a lot of fashion events. Whether it be the opening of a store, a designer coming in to town, a new collection being unveiled… anything. I usually attend all of these because people know people. Now, I get referrals from people that I know, especially from the Dallas area. So, it helps to really get out there. You have to get out there. And [it’s] not just networking. [It also involves] reaching out to people, whether it's a photographer, a hair and makeup [artist], or anyone you might admire. Don’t be afraid to reach out!   


To view more of Ana's work and to get in touch, visit her portfolio: www.anapatino.com


CREDITS

Copy & Graphic 1: Ashley Nudge, Editor-In-Chief

Photos c/o Ana Patino

CAREERS: SYMBOLOGY FOUNDER PROFILE

Maia Wilson

In an industry that thrives on fast-fashion, finding someone with a vision to create high-end, sustainable apparel is a light in the dark. Meet the founder of Symbology, Marissa Heyl. This “creative-in-chief” has one goal in mind: to create beautiful pieces of clothing that emulate high fashion and folkloric art forms, all while empowering women in developing countries. With a background in fair trade and a love for design, she is living proof that with a lot of passion and hard work, nothing is impossible.

 

Name: Marissa Heyl

Location: Dallas/ Fort Worth

Job Title: Founder of Symbology

University: University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Class of 2007

Major(s): Anthropology and Journalism

 

What led you to the fashion industry?

I’ve always wanted to be a fashion designer. I just reveled in watching runway shows and going to the mall and things like that. What I love about fashion is that it’s wearable art. I love the fantasy and the artistry that goes into it. This focus I have with Symbology on integrating really ancient folkloric art forms into high fashion is something really exciting and different.

Tell us a little bit about the process that goes into creating for Symbology.

I’ll come up with a concept or a theme based on a motif that runs through various cultures, and use it as a basis for a pattern. We look at three different aspects: the colors, the silhouettes, and the print trends that are coming up for that next collection and we factor that into production. I always keep in mind what the opportunities and limitations there are when working in the communities. For instance, when we are working with Palestinian refugees in the West Bank we don't have access to the type of fabric we make most of our garments out of. So we have to keep in mind that when we are working with their embroidery, we have to use a base fabric that they have in stock. We design each piece with each culture, depending on what resources they have available. I think I learn a lot from the artisan groups and the different cultures. You learn a lot about what’s truly important, rather than the superficialities that pervade in American culture. my view is to take positive aspects from each culture and bring it together, not just for Symbology but in my own life.

There is such a human element to your work. Can you talk about that?

Whenever you have a piece of art, that is something that can only be created by a human being. There is a spiritual element to that item. There’s a history, there’s a story, there’s an identity behind it. That is something that really differentiates what we’re doing. It’s something that invigorates me as a designer. From an aesthetic and moral perspective, I love the craft and the art form. I love working hand in hand with the artists. The travel and the hands on collaboration with these artists is a really unique experience to have as a fairly privileged American. It’s really humbling to meet people of all different walks of life. It’s important to take a step back and think about the amount of influence we can have and the change we can create in the world if we make that effort. I think through my trips and communications with these groups, I am reminded of that.

What is the biggest struggle you face in the industry?

One of the hardest things is establishing yourself as designer, because what does that necessarily mean? I mean even Chanel started off in a very modest place. We’re using quality fabrics and creating really beautiful pieces. The addiction to cheap stuff that is not well made, is really toxic. I see that as really problematic and unsustainable. It really does a disservice to the heritage of fashion. So it’s more than just fair wages for me. As a designer, I want to see unique, colorful and different pieces. I wish people would really embrace fashion, and make it their own. That’s something I try to do with our designs at Symbology.

If you could give one piece of advice to a student, what would it be?

Well, what I have learned is that you can really pave your own path. You have so much [flexibility] and ability to create your own identity and career choices, particularly this day and age. Being in college, you have access to research and study abroad opportunities. That’s why you’re in college, to soak it all up like a sponge. Take that with you into your 20’s and 30’s and pick up different experiences. The kind of opportunities afforded to you in college are a great stepping stone, I really want to encourage students to take advantage of that and explore the opportunities. College is so much more than the classes, the student organizations and ways to engage with other students can be really exciting. My best experiences were outside of the classroom. I want to encourage students, particularly those who are more entrepreneurial, to really get experience and be empowered to start their own venture. A lot of times fear of the unknown prevent people from taking that leap, but if you have the passion for it, then go for it all the way.

It seems like in a world driven by consumerism, it’s time to take a step back and think about what matters. When speaking with Marissa, I was inspired by her ability to take her passion for her work and use it in a way to give back to the community. If you’re willing to put in the hard work, whether it’s something as small as starting your own blog or as big as building your own company, anything is possible. The point? Find what you love and run with it.


Marissa is recruiting interns for Spring/Summer 2016. Send a cover letter and resume to: marissa@symbologyclothing.com


CREDITS

Copy & Graphic 1: Navya Kaur, Careers Writer

Photos c/o Marissa Heyl

CAREERS: FOSSIL INTERN PROFILE

Maia Wilson

Founded in 1984, Fossil originally opened its doors to the public as an accessories store. Now, the company offers a range of women and men’s appeal, exclusive watch collections, accessories and footwear. Fossil represents authentic American culture, innovation, creativity, and optimism. Both a company and brand, Fossil is the pioneer when it comes to American vintage products. By designing watches and accessories for brands such as Michael Kors and Tory Burch, they have extended their creativity to represent something greater.

Being a prestige company, Fossil's corporate leaders are selective in who they choose as interns. With elevated expectations and a high GPA requirement, the company only selects the best. This weekend I had the privilege to interview UNT student, Marcy Plefka, one of the few Summer 2015 Product Development interns. Together, we discussed what it took for her to become and excel as a Fossil intern.

Marcy with Summer 15' Product Development interns

Marcy with Summer 15' Product Development interns

Name: Marcy Plefka

Hometown: Hurst, Texas

Major(s): Merchandising and Digital Retail

Introduce Yourself:

My name is Marcy Plefka, and I am a double Major in Merchandising and Digital Retailing at the University of North Texas. I interned with Fossil in their men’s watch product development team, so I was the fossil men’s watch product development intern.

How did you find the Internship?

[I first heard about the Fossil] internships when I went on the[Dallas] study tour with Mr. Last. We visited Fossil and I [remember] thinking, “Hey I would like to work here.” I heard the internship was difficult to get but I was up for the challenge. I was fortunate enough to get the internship after applying and I started the job soon after. There were not many positions in the DFW area for product development jobs so that’s why I applied.

How was your internship structured? What were your day to day duties?

We got an intern road map on day one. It [the road map] explained to us how we were to interact with our mentors, our duties and schedules. We had stakeholder meeting which set [us] up with different people in different areas of the companies.... Just to see what they did and how [their jobs] related to product development. [As an intern] I picked up samples, tracked them, learned how to price everything, and pulled selling reports. I also got to work on look books for men’s and women’s styles. I got an inside look as to how [a product design] got from [the designer's] brain to the stores.

Marcy's desk at the Fossil corporate offices

Marcy's desk at the Fossil corporate offices

Would you say the internship was fast paced, and were you taught along the way? If so, did the learning process ever make you feel overwhelmed? 

I actually came on a “LIP week” which is when we [established the season's styles]. This was probably the most inconvenient time to come in. Our mentors were really stressed out, and they didn’t have time at the moment to show me the ropes. But, luckily it was a 14-week internship so I got to see the production stages repeat themselves. [In other words] I got to see the different orders [for the] different seasons. At first it was a little bit overwhelming, but I ended up being able to connect all the dots. I wouldn’t say that it was fast paced. I just had to get the hang of it. Though, there [was] always [the chance that] something could happened or change. Say a client like Nordstrom wanted one of our watch designs, but they wanted it custom tailored so only Nordstrom could have it. [That could] add stress to our design team and make everyone move and change faster.

What was the company culture like at Fossil? Was it relaxed or more professional?

[The culture] was absolutely relaxed. The amenities that Fossil offers their employees were really cool. We would have "Re-Charge Wednesdays" which was like happy-hour with coffee. The dress code wasn’t strict. You could wear ripped jeans to work or sandals and t-shirts... you just [had to] look presentable. I always felt comfortable talking to everyone and I felt like I could always connect with anyone if I needed to.

What would you say is the most valuable piece of information you learned during your internship? What did you learn that you'll be able to take with you throughout your merchandising career?

The most valuable thing [I learned] would be just knowing when to communicate and how to communicate. Since everyone is always doing a thousand things at once, it’s good to check in with your boss or your co-workers and let them know that you’re doing your job. That's what my manger liked about me the most. I always checked in with her even without her asking [me to], just so she knew I was on [the task and] had it covered. Sometimes people get so busy and forget that they gave you a job to do, so it’s good to check in and reassure them that the task has gotten done. What I will take with me throughout my merchandising career is curiosity - always asking questions and doing something that’s a little out of [my] comfort zone. That’s something that I will forever push for and keep doing throughout my career.

Interested in pursuing a Product Development internship at Fossil? Check out https://www.fossilgroup.com/  and click on Careers for more information.


CREDITS

Copy: Amani Wells-Onyioha, Careers Writer

Photos c/o Marcy Plefka

Graphic 1: Ashley Nudge, Editor-in-Chief

FASHION: THE LIFE OF A UNT FASHION DESIGN STUDENT

Maia Wilson

It all began with a sketch.

Did you think I was talking about Walt Disney? Not quite, but what he and a talented UNT student have in common is their impeccable illustration skills.

Morgan Emmert, a fashion design major at the University of North Texas, is infatuated with drawing. “I’ve always loved painting, drawing, and art far before I ever thought about a college major, and even back when I thought I was going to be a veterinarian,” said Emmert. She always knew she wanted to do some type of art from the time she was young. A scene from the movie, When in Rome, starring Mary Kate and Ashley, inspired her interest in fashion design. After this revelation, Morgan began experimenting by doing her own rudimentary sketches and tracing VHS movie covers. Her talent matured and developed during high school art classes. Back then, she preferred realism to any other artistic movement, and found pleasure in painting people whereas her other classmates dreaded the task. Since then, the artistic process of blending and breathing life into the ideas on a page has brought Morgan an immense amount of joy.

In deciding her major, Morgan was set on pursuing something artistic and creative. She thought about selecting painting, but then she remembered the Mary Kate and Ashley movie, and was directed to fashion design. Another determining influence was the fact that she was surrounded by fashionable people growing up, and had an urging desire to make clothes for them. Although she enjoyed painting, she did not want to become a teacher, so design was ultimately the best route for her. According to Morgan, with design there are many different career paths. Though majoring in fashion design is difficult at times, Morgan is confident that she has found something she truly loves and is motivated to pursue. Fueled by the passion she applies to all of her projects, Morgan trusts that financial security will eventually follow any of her future endeavors.

The creative and technical aspect of the fashion design process begins with sketches. For school assignments, Morgan is required to create an inspiration board and five sketches in total. Afterward, one sketch is selected and replicated to make a variation of fifteen sketches. Additionally, she pairs each sketch with flat sketches and illustrations. Through a muslin fabric mockup, Morgan developes the silhouettes and brings the sketches to life.The most strenuous step begins as Morgan fits the muslin version to the model in order to determine necessary changes. Often, the revisions can be much more than just a quick adjustment to a hemline. Once that step is accomplished, she creates a second muslin version with a “dry run” of the final garment, a task which involves every element of the design apart from the textiles. Last comes the daunting feat of what design students call “paper hell,” otherwise known as making patterns. Afterwards. she emerges from a sea of paper to the light of the real world, and 1.5 to 2 weeks later, she has a finished final product with new and improved sketches and flats.

Until this point, all of Morgan’s projects have been focused on womenswear. Two of her pieces were showcased in fashion shows, including a knit aline dress for the Go Red show, and a black geometric avantgarde formal dress with a villainess influence for UNT’s Spring 2015 Art Wear show.

Recently, she made a cobalt blue cape, a peplum suit with a cape, black pants, and an accompanying striped top to match. For the suit jacket with the peplum hemline garment in particular, her idea was to create a straight visual where lines intersected with side seams. She hoped the matching lines would create a very unique, polished look that represented her detailed design aesthetic. Morgan has been told that her design style is very classic and minimal, but always includes details that make the garments shine in a subtle way. Her designs also consistently feature a feminine twist.

Currently, Morgan is working on three garments that are each inspired by a different theme. “My inspiration for the overalls was the Grand Budapest Hotel, [and] I figured the backpack was cute for an adventure and the overalls were just fun. I feel like I was going for [the scene] when [the actors] were going on their adventure as inspiration, and for the colors and everything,” said Emmert. The overalls are being created as an ensemble for adventure, something that would be practical for any type of journey. The “overalls” look also includes a backpack design, an aesthetic addition that was inspired by a small backpack she saw in a magazine. After settling on the accessory idea, her instructor gave her the suggestion to make the backpack detachable.  They figured, if Morgan was going to make an accessory at all, the design should primarily be for utilitarian purposes. As a result, an avantgarde accessory turned into functional accessory. Influenced by Frank Stella, Morgan’s second piece currently in development is an evening wear combination that is covered in pintucks with a mermaid silhouette skirt.

What sparks the ideas behind her unique creations? As Morgan explained, inspiration occurs in phases, the first of which is a complete fixation on a particular trend. After that, she cannot rest until she produces something inspired by the trend - something that builds off of certain elements. For instance, she was enamored with babydoll dresses until she made the red dress for the Go Red fashion show, and then the silhouette was out of her system.

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Mostly, the sources that inspire her are red carpet events and fashion weeks. She also considers wearable art to be a muse. In fact, during her internship, Morgan’s boss instructed her to research what was trending during fashion week last spring. During the process, she observed that re-occurring themes were red plaid, chunky jewelry, fur, and sheer garments - the last of which coincidentally aligned with the “free the nipple” campaign. Morgan was fascinated to discover how runway trends can reflect the current ideas of modern pop culture.

These trends and influences are all kept in mind when Morgan designs and develops her personal brand. She believes that she differentiates her brand by the thoughtful details that are included in her pieces. The detachable backpack on the overalls, and the panels on the avantgarde evening dress are not typical, and are therefore perfect examples of how she sets her designs apart from those of other designers. Morgan pointed out that she also has fun with her designs, and this is easily portrayed in her final creations. For her, designing is all about the subtleties, another contributing factor that makes her designs so intriguing.

What’s next on the agenda for Morgan? In terms of her immediate future, Morgan’s goal is to complete her mermaid skirt for the project inspired by Frank Stella. The design is comprised of lines, pintucks, texture, and feminine flare… all of which she hopes to combine flawlessly for a stunning, unique design. Next, Morgan will undertake a menswear project. Although she has not worked with menswear before, she is very interested in that area of fashion and is excited to see how she can apply her design aesthetic to men’s garments. Simultaneously, she must also submit three pieces for the upcoming Spring 2016 Art Wear show. As a senior in the fashion design program, this is where Morgan will showcase her final senior collection, an assortment of cohesive designs that will be photographed for her first designer lookbook.

After college Morgan plans to travel since she is currently bounded by any commitments. She has been presented with the opportunity to work for Thread of Life, a fair trade company in Uganda that the country’s residents how to make and sell simple garments in a safe and healthy way in order to earn income for their families. She also plans to backpack through Europe and likes the idea of potentially doing an internship overseas. Also, there is always the possibility that Morgan may design clothes for her sister’s company, Fresh, an online clothing business that she launched with a few trunk shows here and there. However, Morgan’s ultimate dream is to create personalized, custom designs for an individual or celebrity while accompanying them on their travels. Without a doubt, Morgan would love to experience a variety of cultures by exploring and living in many different countries.


CREDITS

Copy and Photography: Charis Orr, Fashion Writer

Graphic 1: Ashley Nudge, Editor-in-Chief

FASHION: PERSONAL STYLE Q&A WITH CORDELL GREEN

Maia Wilson

Earlier this week, I had the opportunity to interview Cordell Green at Chilton Hall on the University of North Texas campus.  Having changed majors from dance, to fashion design, to merchandising, Cordell is known as a hard-working student with goals of becoming the next best talent in visual merchandising or styling.  According to Cordell, he “loves anything visually appealing,” and enjoys shaking up his style by wearing unique outfits on the streets of Denton. He is outgoing, amiable, stylish, and captures the attention of many onlookers. I witnessed this personally while I snapped pictures of Cordell for this article, as several students stopped to compliment his fashion sense, muscularly toned legs, and outrageous hair color.  Contributing to his distinct style, Cordell likes to dress in moderate colors and garments that are both simple and comfortable. 

Keep reading to reveal the one-on-one I had with Cordell, and learn a little more about the inspirations behind this student’s unique fashion sense.

Where are you from?

I’m from Rowlett, Texas.  It’s far enough, but not too far.  Before UNT, I really wanted to go to FIDM, but… let’s be real now. Tuition was no joke.

What do you want to do with fashion?

I want to [do work] that deals with visuals.  I can work as a stylist for photo shoots… creating looks for specific photos that revolve highly around the clothing.

What retail experience do you have?

I used to work at Macy’s as a sales associate. I was one of the youngest [employees] working there; therefore, I was picked on a lot. I [also] used to work at Express.  I loved that job more than Macy’s because [their merchandise was] geared more towards my demographics and style.

What inspired you to wear today’s outfit?

The weather outside was really nice.  Luckily it [the weather] feels this way today since this is one of my longest days on campus.  I like to be comfortable on long days.  I also woke up happy and excited about the interview!

Can you describe your personal style?

[I’d describe my style as] urban but unique, so urban with a twist.  What that means is [I like] being able to look comfortable and slightly edgy.  Usually, [my edginess] depend[s] on how I feel.  Typically a song would ignite the emotion that influences my dress that day.  If I want to feel like a badass, I would wear a black mesh top, studded shoes and hat.  Anything studded [is ideal].

What makes your style unique?

What makes my outfits unique is [the fact that] I add personality to my fits.  For example, wearing a fashion jersey with super high socks.  Who does that? Me.

Where do you pull inspiration from?

[I pull inspiration from] anywhere and everywhere, from music to my natural surroundings.  I love flowers, so I love floral print.  Rihanna is my number one icon, and the way she dresses is similar to my urban [and] unique style.  I love jamming to her [songs]. Also, [I find inspiration in] being a student in fashion merchandising! If I like the way they [my peers] wear something, I would want to try it too.  Every now and then I would look into trends online or through magazines, but last fall I was really into Alexander Wang and kept up with his designs.  Creeper shoes were my favorite from him.

Do you see hairstyles as a part of fashion?

Hair is definitely a big factor in [completing] my look.  I consider it fashion.  Fashion is change, and my hair colors change all the time.  If I can remember [correctly], I went from blonde to red to gray and now to blue.

Why did you settle with blue hair?

Blue is my favorite color and it is very vibrant. 

How often do you change your hair color?

I usually change my hair color once I’m bored with it.  From the outside looking in, [one may assume] I spend a lot of money dyeing my hair but [I actually don’t] since I do it myself.

Who is your fashion role model?

Like I said earlier, Rihanna is my icon.  I just love her effortless style.  She is so beautiful. 

What is your favorite item in your wardrobe and why?

My favorite is my first pair of Jeremy Scotts.  They are so different and unique.  The shoes are gold and black Adidas with wings coming out.  They are my first pair of designer [shoes] so I cherish them. 

What is your favorite apparel brand and why?

I have several brands that are my favorites, but one that I can afford [the most] would be ASOS.  It [ASOS] is an English brand known for their individualistic graphic tees.  They have many pieces that are not common, so [I spend] a lot of time [looking at them online], and money [on their pieces].

What makes you stand out from your peers?

Besides my hair, I would say the energy I exude. I am always positive and smiling. If I could describe myself in one word, [it would be] outgoing.  I’m super chill and down to try new things.

What trends are you seeing recently? Do you follow them?

In my product development class, we do a lot of labs using WGSN [Worth Global Style Network] and what I have been seeing a lot from the trend forecasting website is athletic leisure.  [That trend is] very similar to my style.  The use of [those] textiles reminds me of what I like about fashion, such as holographic textiles and mesh.  I also find the iridescent fabric intriguing. 

Your style of dress is different from your peers.  In a day in the life of Cordell, what are some comments you get about your outfit?

“Are you wearing any pants?” Or, “I like it, where’d you get that from?”

Do such comments affect your self esteem?

I usually laugh at them [questions about not wearing pants] because why would I not wear pants?  It becomes annoying. 

Are you the type to pick out clothes in the morning or the night before?

I like to plan the night before so in the morning I can just wake up and get ready for school.  [Planning] takes about 15 minutes to pick something out.

Describe your accessories collection.

It’s GROWING.  I have about 50 different rings in gold and silver, 20 chains and necklaces, 10 to 20 earrings, 15 to16 pairs of shoes, 8 to 10 snapbacks, 6 or 7 beanies, and 2 scarves. I have mainly silver jewelry because the color SILVER is a ‘cool’ color. As for gold, it’s better worn in colder climates [since it’s a warmer color]. 

You say you own about 16 pairs of shoes. What do the 16 consist of?

A lot of high tops! A few creepers. And of course boat shoes.

Today, tattoo is known as an art form and can also be related to fashion and self-expression. Can you tell me about yours?

I have four tattoos total.  One tattoo is in Japanese [lettering] called Kanji, which [translates to] moods.  Another is [of] images representing freedom and eternal happiness.  I really want to get more [and have] ideas up in the air. Some of my ideas are my date of birth on my shoulder, and a crown on my chest because a crown stands for royalty and leadership. As a natural born leader, you are the leader of your life.

What fashion item could you not live without?

I probably couldn't live without any of my accessories! I feel like they truly complete all of my outfits. 

What advice would you give to someone seeking to create their own unique sense of style?

I would probably tell them to dress and wear whatever they want. As long as they feel comfortable and confident about their look, [then] they will be just fine!

What is your most favorite outfit you have ever worn?

I would say that my [most] favorite outfit would probably be my "cao Bella" tank top with an oversized denim shirt over it.  Simple, but also very comfortable. I could probably sleep with it [that outfit] on.

What fall trends do you love?

My favorite fall trend would have to be the "oversized" look that a lot of designers are starting to lean towards.

What are you excited to wear this fall?

I’m most excited to wear all of my jackets! They've just been sitting in my closet all sad!

Although school does get restless, Cordell does his best to always look good. Outgoing, sweet, and honest about his styling tips, he's one to get to know more by checking out his Instagram @_cordabulous_ and by chatting with him around campus!

CREDITS

Copy and Photography: Elizabeth Phan, Fashion Writer

Graphics: Ashley Nudge, Editor-In-Chief

 

CAREERS: RAW DALLAS SHOWCASE DIRECTOR PROFILE

Maia Wilson

In 2009, the founders had a vision, a vision to connect all artistic individuals within every community, city, and town… a vision where no boarders separated those with talent, and no boundaries existed to keep them from joining together in their creative diversity. RAW: Natural Born Artists, is a networking community that hosts events in over 60 cities across the globe. By creating a platform for the filmmaker, the designer, the painter, the photographer, and the musician, they bring the arts to people, and people to the arts. The artists and guests involved have the opportunity to connect, to appreciate, to hear, and to love. They are young, creative, and passionate optimists who are bold enough to inspire and impact the world though art. They are RAW.

This week I had the privilege to sit down and interview Sarah Badran, a UNT alumn and the RAW Dallas showcase director, at Café Brazil in Deep Ellum, Dallas. Originally born in the Philippines, Sarah moved to Texas when she was 8 years old. From an early age, Sarah was able to identify her passion for art and entertainment. Due to her experiences working in restaurants, various hotels, and at a music label, Sarah gained valuable people-skills that proved to be beneficial as a young professional. In 2012, Sarah brought RAW to Dallas. A competitive, strategic, and self-made businesswoman, Sarah has successfully grown RAW Dallas as the result of her admirably strong work ethic. 

Philly and Sarah NuView Photos 388.JPG

Name:  Sarah Badran

Job Title: Dallas Showcase Director

Hometown: Born in the Philippines  

University and Major(s): The University of North Texas – Public Relations

Minor: Marketing

Photo: Marcus Lopez Photography  

Photo: Marcus Lopez Photography  

What is RAW in your own words?

RAW is currently the world’s largest independent arts organization that focuses on indie artists within the first 10 years of their careers. We are a platform that provides artists with resources, opportunities, networking, and exposure. It’s really an opportunity to build community within each city and give local artists a voice.

Based out of California, RAW: Natural Born Artist, has been up and running for six years now. With a show every other month (six annually), RAW Dallas typically showcases about 40-50 new artists in each show, with hopes of spotlighting fresh creativity.

How did you land a job as a Fashion Showcase Director for RAW?

It’s really funny when I tell people this story, because sometimes they don’t believe me or they think it’s really crazy. But, [the job] was a post on Craigslist that I found. Initially, it sounded like a fake position. The authors of the post were looking for an art director in the city who’d be willing to work with different types of artists, and specified that he or she would make money by hosting different events. At first I was like, “Really?” And when I applied, I heard back almost instantly, which made me question the job even more. But what happened was, RAW had almost given up on launching the shows in Dallas. They had interviewed over 150 people for the position, yet they couldn’t find anybody [suitable]. The day I applied was the last day they where going to look for someone in the city. The process literally happened so fast that the next day I had a Skype interview with the CEO based in LA. After a week or so, I was flown to LA to train and see what RAW was all about [in terms of] the planning and execution of the show. I was so excited to bring the show back here because I knew Dallas wasn’t ready for the bomb I was about to drop on them.

Interviewer Takeaways:

RAW was something that Sarah had dreamt of, and spoke into existence. At only 24 years old, a few months before seeing the job posting online, she was driving the streets of Galveston when she thought to herself, “Why aren’t there enough events at which I can meet different artists?” And soon enough, everything happened as it did. Quite possibly, she was destined for this.

Photo: Marcus Lopez Photography

Photo: Marcus Lopez Photography

What do you like to do in your free time?

I enjoy being anywhere I can channel music, dance, or hangout with friends. I honestly don’t like to play around a lot. For example, I like to work during my days off.  Luckily, what I do is so fun. I get to go to fashion shows which I consider work and play.

Interviewer Takeaways:

Sarah likes to stay active. Recently she’s traveled to LA, New Orleans, and Atlanta. She explained to me that she loves to explore different arts within each unique city. Although music is her first passion, Sarah also enjoys watching Keeping Up with the Kardashians and engaging in social media.

What would you say distinguishes you from others?

Interviewer Takeaways:

To stand out, you have to be bold and unafraid of things. Having curiosity, a strategic mind, and passion will distinguish you from others. Sarah never gets content with what she does, and that’s what keeps her going in the industry. She is always looking for ways to improve and grow.

Tokened as the most connected woman in the city, Sarah said that her relationships didn’t happen overnight. She explained how in the first year of her career, she had to take initiative to attend different events, converse with people, search for people, and identify the movers and shakers in order to really build those organic relationships that would enable her to have a successful show.

Tell us about your first year after graduation, and how did it feel?

[Getting settled after graduation] has been a long, drawn-out process for me. I didn’t graduate until last year. But that was only because I was going back and forth every other year from school to work. I worked throughout my whole college career, which allowed me to pay my way. I believe that everyone has their own journey, and doing it the way I did - working while getting an education - helped me refine the knowledge that I was getting in school. It helped me appreciate and use my knowledge more effectively.

Interviewer Takeaways:

Sarah explained to me that she is far from home. With a mother in the Philippines and a father in Egypt, she didn’t really have anyone in the city to rely on for help, which forced her to be more independent. At the age of 24, she became a self-made businesswoman by launching RAW Dallas.

Philly and Sarah NuView Photos 337.JPG

How many shows do you have a year? How do you believe RAW helps rising artists?

We have 6 shows a year, and RAW provides a platform for artists to build organic relationships. It’s a way of networking, and a way to experience real-life art and real fans. I always try to go above and beyond for my artists, so I’ll invite A-list personnel to come and network, as well as secure media placement throughout the show.

What kind of artists do you look for when you’re developing a show?

I look for individual artists who will fit the theme of the show, and having a big line up in music is very important. For example, one rock artist, one pop artist, one hip-hop artist, maybe an R&B singer, will give me a wide range of music. With music, you need to have that “star” quality, and it’s definitely one of the most competitive slots in the show considering the fact that I can only put five music artists in a show (30 total in a year). As far as performing artists go, we are always looking for someone who’s really interesting, someone who will excite the crowd, and someone who will be visually engaging. I always try to make my shows very cultural and diverse.

How do you like living in the city of Dallas, and what are some of the pros and cons in terms of your job and personal life?

Interviewer Takeaways:

In the beginning of Sarah’s career, nothing was happening, and she was discouraged to the point that she wanted to move away. But in order to be successful, Sarah knew she had to be smart, strategic, and adaptable. Although she didn’t profit much from the first show, she was excited to seek out all of the opportunities the city had to offer. She described Dallas as a “big, small city”, because everyone knew each other despite the population. One of the cons about the city is “the system that [goes] against new growth”. She explained how Dallas has its group of “mean girls” who don’t endorse change. Yet, as an urban minority organization, she is determined to break down every door of adversity until she reaches her dreams.

What is your most favorite and least favorite part about your job?

I think the answer to both is working with artists.

Interviewer Takeaways:

Sarah enjoys seeing crowds, and being able to experience and support new artists. She loves the gratitude and appreciation she gets from the artists at the end of each show. On the other hand, one of her least favorite aspects of the job is the times when she has to “babysit” artists. According to Sarah, “one of the biggest [obstacles] that hold back artists in Dallas is their expectation of things to be handed to them. They don’t have a built-in work ethic.” She also dislikes when artists flake-out and waste valuable time. Regardless of the situation, “the show must go on”.

Tell me about one of your greatest accomplishments during your time as a Show Producer.  

The general catalyst effect in the engagement growth… and the number of women contacting me to tell me that I’m an inspiration, are my greatest accomplishments. Also, the fact that Dallas ranks number three in the list of most popular RAW shows internationally is amazing. Now it seems that the number one spot (currently occupied by Los Angeles) is more attainable  

Does RAW Dallas offer internships? If so, where can students get more information?

View flyer!

When I’m looking for an intern, I am looking for someone who is passionate about art and the city. I want someone who is knowledgeable about industry, someone who is a hard-worker regardless of the pay, and someone who can adapt quickly.

Can you share three tips for students who are perusing a career in the industry? 

  1. Be BOLD. Starting something from scratch wasn’t easy. In order to be successful, you need to put yourself out there, and let people know what you are about.
  2. Change your perspective. A lot of people normally focus on the negative. But if you change your perspective, it will do you wonders. Don’t let little problems get in the way of your success, and persevere through everything. Always stay positive.
  3. Follow your dreams. Never stop following your dreams.

Want to learn more about RAW Dallas?

RAW Dallas: http://www.rawartists.org/dallas

Instagram:  https://instagram.com/rawdallas

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/rawnaturalbornartists?pnref=lhc

Twitter: https://twitter.com/rawdallas

CREDITS

Copy & Photography: Fernando Zamarripa, NuView Careers Editor

Graphic 1: Ashley Nudge, Editor-In-Chief

FASHION: DRESS FOR SUCCESS IN ANY PROFESSIONAL SETTING

Maia Wilson

Img via Pinterest

Clothes make the man. Naked people have little or no influence on society.
— Mark Twain

Preparing for an interview for your dream job or internship can be nerve-racking and intimidating. Feeling confident in your communication skills and resume content are the first steps! The truth is, whether or not you are wearing a professionally appropriate outfit has a significant influence on the impression you leave behind. What does your business attire say about you?

Unsure if you are wearing the right attire in a certain professional setting? Wondering what to wear to a networking event? While attending a conference? Presenting a project in class, or volunteering backstage at a fashion show?

Finding an appropriate and trendy outfit for an interview or networking event can be bothersome and time consuming. Debating between wearing a formal suit or a more conservative dress can leave your head spinning!

Don’t sweat it. In this post, we will talk about which pieces are appropriate to wear to various professional occasions and provide you with some outfit inspiration. Also, you’ll be happy to know that all of the pieces included are under $50!

PROFESSIONAL SETTING #1:

NETWORKING EVENT

When attending a networking event, you can expect to dress in business casual attire. Networking events are an opportunity to connect with professionals in a more formal environment, but this doesn’t mean you can’t incorporate some individuality into your outfit! 

ADVICE FOR THE OCCASION

  • Ask others if you look appropriate beforehand
  • Smile!
  • Mingle with your peers and companies in a friendly manner. (You may be speaking to your next boss or colleague!)
  •  Prepare a resume and business cards

OUTFIT IDEA: Career Expo

PROFESSIONAL SETTING #2:

CONFERENCE

A business conference can entail a great deal of standing, walking, and talking with others. Wearing a comfortable outfit is important, as well as an appropriate one. A business casual outfit is appropriate for this event. Whether you are presenting, interviewing, or just in attendance, packing a blazer is always a good idea. 

ADVICE FOR THE OCCASION

  • Prepare resume and business cards
  • Update LinkedIn profile
  • Research the companies
  • Have a plan for which general keynote and breakout sessions to attend
  • Get rest the night before/ caffeine during the day

OUTFIT IDEA: Business Conference

PROFESSIONAL SETTING #3:

PRESENTATION

When presenting a project in class or in the boardroom, it is important to not wear bold colors or risque styles. You should want the main focus to be on the project you worked hard to prepare. Be sure to consider how far you may have to walk to class, along with the duration of time you will be standing to present. If you'll be on your feet for a while, wearing comfortable shoes is a must! Also, skip the noisy bangle bracelets that will cause distraction if you use hand gestures. 

ADVICE FOR THE OCCASION

  • Prepare notecards
  • Save your final presentation to a flashdrive
  • Get rest the night before
  • Practice in front of a friend/colleague
  • Have someone look over the content

OUTFIT IDEA: Presentation

PROFESSIONAL SETTING #4:

BACKSTAGE AT A FASHION SHOW

Working backstage at fashion shows can be fun, and also a great learning experience! Wearing the correct attire will show your respect for the producer, designer, or brands being showcased. Unless otherwise instructed, you should wear black from head-to-toe. Comfortable, low-heeled or flat shoes are crucial as you will be on your feet from start to finish! Lastly, refrain from the urge to wear lipstick. The last thing you want is to get a makeup smear on the clothes. 

ADVICE FOR THE OCCASION

  • Be there early
  • Bring extra supplies if necessary (safety pins, fashion tape, etc.)
  • Eat breakfast! (You may not get a chance to while you’re there)
  • Take notes of what you are asked to do if necessary
  • Always have a sense of urgency

OUTFIT IDEA: Backstage Fashion Show Volunteer

PROFESSIONAL SETTING #5:

INTERVIEW

For an interview, wearing the correct business attire is very important. A pant suit for both men and women is always an ideal choice. When wearing a dress or skirt, wearing a blazer to match is suggested. Remember, the individual you are meeting with is your potential employer, so you want to make sure you look polished and professional!

ADVICE FOR THE OCCASION

  • Study the job description
  • Practice a mock interview beforehand
  • Pack all necessary materials, including a copy of your resume and business cards  
  • Do thorough research on the company
  • Prepare questions for the interviewer

OUTFIT IDEA: Internship Interview

Knowing how to dress for a professional occasion doesn't have to be a daunting task! Planning outfits may seem difficult now, but practice makes perfect! Grab inspiration from the outfits above, and add your own personal style to make them yours. 

 If you have a question about what to wear, or want help creating that perfect interview ensemble, check out my Polyvore account! Send me an email regarding the occasion and describe your personal style. I can then tailor a unique look just for you!

Taylar's Email: nuviewfashioneditor@gmail.com

Taylar's Polyvore: http://taylaralexandra.polyvore.com/

CREDITS

Copy & Collages: Taylar Gomez, Fashion Editor

Graphic 1: Ashley Nudge, Editor-In-Chief

CAREERS: NORDSTROM INTERN PROFILE

Maia Wilson

Last week, I sat down to interview Nichole Fallis at Frosty's Diner in Denton.  She's a determined, focused student with big dreams of creating a product or company that will shake the ground of the retail industry.  This past summer, Nichole was one of the few students across the country selected to intern at Nordstrom's headquarters in Seattle, Washington. Although she told me twice that she's still not sure how she got the internship, one can easily understand how after getting to know her. She's humble, authentic, professional, and most importantly, she knows what she wants. Besides her stunning blue eyes, what I find most fascinating about Nichole is her never-ceasing, organic enthusiasm... something that is often hard to find. She proves that with enough passion and preparation, you can achieve your highest goals. 

Read on to learn more about Nichole, and uncover what it really takes to impress HR, land the internship, and excel in the office at one of the leading upscale fashion retailers: Nordstrom.  

Name: Nichole Fallis

Hometown: I grew up in military family since my dad was in the air force, so I’m from a lot of different places. My parents have lived in Helotes, Texas in San Antonio for quite a few years now so I consider that my hometown.

Major(s): Merchandising and Digital Retailing

Minor: Business

Where did you intern at? Which company and in what city?

Nordstrom in Seattle, Washington.

What was your classification when you completed the internship?                                        

Junior going into Senior year.

What was your job title? What department did you work in?                                                             

I was a Buying and Planning intern, also known as a Nordstrom Merchandising Group intern. I worked in the Skincare 1 Buying Pod. There’s two, so I was on team one.

What is the internship paid or unpaid?                                                                                               

 Paid

Part or full time? Exactly how many weeks?                                                                                        

Full time, 9-weeks. 

Did you have any previous internship experience? If so, what experience did you have?           

I did a local, unofficial internship with Austere magazine, but it wasn’t super professional. This was my first real internship with a real corporation at a corporate office.

What were the daily hours?                                                                                                                        

I worked a lot.  Hours varied. Some days I’d only work 8 hours. Some days I’d work 10 or 11 hours. It was a personal choice; I wasn’t being forced to stay there. Either I wanted to be there, I wanted to help… or I had stuff I wanted to work on and get done so I wouldn’t have to do it in the morning and I could work on other stuff.  The weekly hours varied. Some weeks I’d only work 40 hours and some weeks I’d work over 40.  Just depended on what was happening that week.

What was the dress code?                                                                                                       

Nordstrom’s really flexible with the dress code. You kind of have to gauge your pod and division. Cosmetics was actually a little more dressy. I’m not sure why. The denim buying pod always dressed really casual in denim, and tech was super casual wearing flip flops. It ranges, so you have to base it off the certain pod you’re in.

Did you feel like your workload as an intern was manageable? Why or why not?                        

It was manageable but it was just enough to be overwhelming. But, that’s how it is at a new job.

What were you responsible for while at your internship? Describe you day-to-day activities.  

I did a lot of stuff. One of the main things that the buying and planning interns did was go into this system called RDW and pull reports. For example, if my boss said “Oh I don’t think Kiehls is doing that good today,” then I’d pull a this-year last-year report and see how Kiehls was doing last year compared to today. I’d pull that information then give her a little brief over the actual breakdown of the specific numbers. There was also a lot of vendor communication so, if my boss needed me to call a vendor and ask a quick question since they weren’t responding by email, then I’d do that just to take it off of her plate. I also did other little stuff like comp-shopping during my free time. I’d scroll through Sephora and see the deals they had compared to what we had and see if some things weren’t lining up. 

What was your favorite part of the internship? Least favorite part?                                              

[In regards to my favorite part], when you’re at Nordstrom’s internship, they take you on all these different tours and you basically get to go to every different part of the company. So we went to the quality center, the call center, the studio. Honestly my favorite one was the quality center. If you have two feet that are different sizes, Nordstrom will let you purchase one pair of shoes that are two different size shoes. So there’s a lot of leftover shoes at the “Single’s Party” as they call it. So at the Singles Party in the quality center, they are really just trying to match all the singles together from all the stores in the U.S. and Canada. Also, when people buy fancy designer goods and return them, we can no longer sell them at Nordstrom full line stores. So, they go to the quality center and they inspect them, they refurbish them, and there’s actually a whole area where there’s a bunch of cobblers working and they fix the designer shoes and they’ get randomly sent to any rack store in the U.S. And they get sent directly to the manager’s office so that the employees can’t just buy them right away because it’s like Gucci, Chanel, and all these crazy products for really discounted prices that weren’t currently being sold but were very recently being sold. So, throughout the day the manager will randomly just place them in racks at Rack stores. That was something that was really interesting to me that I likedabout Nordstrom. The Rack is a true scavenger hunt, and seeing that side of it from the quality center was really cool.

[When I think of my least favorite day] there was one day when it was Amazon Prime Day. There was just this feeling in the pod that was a lot more stressful. It was a more challenging day, because we were kind of freaked out about what Amazon was doing and [wondering] how we [could] differentiate ourselves. It was like a really REAL day in retail. We were competing against Amazon. That was the gloomiest day. We were all just like “AHHHHH! Amazon is scary.” That was the day when it I thought “Wow, this is not just a fairytale.” 

What did you learn from this internship that contributed to your growth as a professional? 

This is such a broken record, but the importance of networking is crazy at the corporate level. Even though you’re there… you [still] have to network you’re a** off. Be a happy person in the work place because the people who aren’t stand out in a negative way and it’s not good. And just being a true team player and doing things like sending out a little email if you have ten extra minutes saying “Hey I’m not doing anything right now other than my intern project and I can help anyone else out that needs help.” People will come up to you and say “Oh my goodness, if you could just do this one thing…,” and it makes them so happy! Even if no one needs help, just the fact that you sent it out and to make yourself an option makes them think more positively about you as a new person who’s just come in.

Did your views on the retail industry change at all due to the experience?                              

Yes, because Nordstrom had us visit all of the different parts of Nordstrom, and we worked on the floor for a few days during the anniversary sale. I guess to me, I had always thought that corporate positions were the most important (which sounds bad), but I just kind of felt that way because it seems unrealistic otherwise when you’re not there. I thought, “Wow, I hope one day I get to work corporate.” I thought it was like this big thing, like a dream kind of. And then we’re you’re there you realize, yeah corporate’s cool but you can’t even have a job if it’s not for the people that make your job possible. It sounds really silly but, it’s just the idea that all parts are really important. Whether you’re in the quality center, in the fashion studio, or on the floor, they’re all truly equal and interdependent. 

Where did you live in Seattle while you were interning? What did you enjoy or not enjoy about your living quarters?                                                                                                                           

I lived in U District, which is where the University of Washington is located. U District is not as sophisticated as downtown Washington where Nordstrom is located. It’s where the college students live. It’s a little bit more grungy. Seattle has a ton of homeless people, and some of them do live in the U District. I didn’t have a problem with that, but I know that that made some girls uncomfortable. I guess that was one of the sadder parts because you see that they don’t have a place to live. We lived in the University dorms. Mine was in Mercer Court and I got stellar roommates, so it was pretty great. It depends on who you’re rooming with because if you’re rooming with cool people it’s going to be great not matter what location you’re in. I will say the people that didn’t live in the dorm were really left out of stuff because we would just go from our dorm to do stuff. Those who chose not to go the avenue of dorming with Nordstrom… they just didn’t get to have as much fun I feel like.

What was the commute like to and from your internship?

The good thing about living at the University of Washington is that there are bus stops everywhere. From our dorm to the bus stop, it was probably just a 1 to 2 minute walk. But, public transportation in Seattle is a lot different than here because a lot of people use it… so it’s a lot more efficient than what you think of here. Sometimes I’d walk up to the bus stop and the bus would just come, and from there it only takes me 10 minutes for me to get to the bus stop that allows me to get to work… with a 3 minute walk. But some days, it would take the bus 10 minutes [to show up], so my commute could be anywhere from 20 minutes to 30 minutes. But at Nordstrom you don’t have to get to work at a set time. It’s just like, be here before this time, or between these times, so it was never super stressful. Sometimes you’re packed like sardines [in the bus], and sometimes children throw up, but other than that it’s fine. 

Can you walk us through the steps of your interview process?                                           

Towards the end of December 2014, I submitted my application online. Nordstrom doesn’t do any testing, so there’s no personality test, there’s no retail math test. You just turn in your application, and at the beginning of the year – I remember it being around the end of Christmas break – I got an email saying I got to the next step and that I’d be doing a video interview.  The first Skype interview you could do any day before a due date. So you just logged onto the site and you did the interview any time you wanted. The first interview, you’re not actually talking to anyone live. You’re talking to this prerecorded lady who’s asking you questions and you respond. I recommend doing it during the day when your roommate’s gone and you have nice natural light on your face and you just look really good. And if you do well on that, they send you another email asking you to do the final interview which is using that same system but you’re actually with live people. And they’re flexible. They give you multiple times to choose from. I know when Neiman Marcus interviews, they’re just like here’s the time you’re doing it and if you can’t, then… sorry. But Nordstrom is not like that. They’re like “Choose between these times, let us know…,” so they’re very nice. You interview with a panel of people. Mine was with 4 or 5 people, and it starts exactly on time when they say it does, and it ends exactly when they say it’s going to end. They were very punctual which was cool. They asked some difficult questions; I was kind of surprised. I consider it one of the hardest interviews I’ve done. An example of one of these hard questions was “Explain a time in your life when you used numbers to solve a difficult life situation.” I can’t remember what I responded with. If you guys get to that point, be prepared for that question. [After that interview] they emailed me and let me know I got it and sent me the details and stuff.

What skills/experience/and classes benefited you the most while on-the-job?                     

Profit Centered Merchandising. It’s only the Excel part. I was never having to sit down and number crunch. Any class that has forced you to be adaptable, I would say is the most useful. I hate to learn to use Outlook. I hate Outlook. That sounds silly but that was challenging to me… learning how to use their mailing system. You have to be kind-of tech savvy because what you’re having to do is essentially getting on their reporting systems and figuring out how to pull their reports and it’s very complicated. They give you some training but nothing can fully prepare you. 

What was the structure of the training program?                                                                 

Nordstrom is not big on training, but they did offer the interns a few classes. At the beginning of the internship we had a lot more training and then it dwindled down. But, they did have a class where they taught us how to pull those reports. They had a class that showed us the best way to approach our intern projects. We listened to guest speakers [like Olivia Kim!]. We had basic classes on merchandising, but specific to Nordstom and they’re acronyms and terms that they use. We had a culture club too which was run by former interns where they told us stuff that most people don’t know. Like, at Nordstrom, no one chews gum because the Nordstrom bothers really hate when people chew gum. And they taught us things like, never bring another retailer’s bag with your lunch – like a Forever21 bag – into the Nordstrom corporate office, because people are going to look at you and wonder what you are doing. Make it seem like the only place you ever shop at is Nordstrom. We took classes that helped us merge into the culture which is a bigger deal to them than hard-core training.

What was the most challenging obstacle you had to overcome at your internship?            

What made it challenging was we were given an intern project at the beginning of our internship. The project was really specific and you had to give a presentation towards the end of your internship. So, what was difficult was balancing digging in deep to that project while still helping my pod out.

How would you describe your relationship with the other interns?                                                

My roommates were interns so I would say amazing. It was really fun. It’s just kind of cool when you have all these people who have such similar interests as you and are really passionate and are obsessed with the same company.  I can remember going out to dinner with my roommates and we got horrible service. And Nordstrom is really big on service so we were like “ughhh… that was such horrible service!,” and then we all looked at each other like, ”wow.” People have really similar values as you and also the same interests. We definitely went out on the weekends, and would run into everyone in the same area, so it was a really positive, good experience. I heard rumors of other people not getting along, but I didn’t really have that problem. 

What did you do after work Monday-Friday and on the weekends?                                    

Monday through Friday, sometimes the HR department would have different events for us to participate in, like one of the duck-call things, little cocktail hours, stuff like that. Sometimes I would meet up with my roommates if we were getting off around the same time and go have one drink and head home. Or we’d go straight home and change into ugly, comfy clothes and then go walk down The Ave and get Indian or Thai food and maybe go thrift shopping. On the weekends we did everything.  We went to Portland one weekend. We went to Pike’s Place which is the big market in Seattle. We just tried to see as much of Seattle as we could and at night we would go-out, go-out. 

How would you describe your relationship with your boss and/or mentors?                              

My boss was really sweet… more soft-spoken, but would obviously speak up when she needed to. She was more nurturing. My boss was a buy-planner. So she was in charge of a product category, ours being Skincare 1. And too, her pod is broken up into a buy-planner, a buyer, an assistant buyer, an assistant buy-planner, replenishment buyers, and also a merchant assistant. But now, there’s also going to be a merchant analyst/office aide. That’s the structure of the whole entire pod, so basically everyone in the whole entire pod was my boss. But the person who was in charge of my documentation was the buy-planner. She was able to explain to me how to do stuff and invited me to vendor meetings. I got to sit down in meetings and talk with people and they’d make me feel like I was part of the team. I remember being in one meeting with the buyer in my pod and she was like “Smell these two scents. Which one do you think is better?” And then she was like “Okay we’ll take this one too.” So I made that decision, and it was going in the store. It sounds miniscule but they truly value your opinion. I wasn’t in the back just holding a clipboard; I was sitting at the table and helping them make decisions, and talking about what the packaging looked like, and what scents we think are going to be big at certain times of the year. 

From your perspective, how would you describe Nordstrom’s corporate company culture?  

Be an individual, but be an individual that works well with other individuals. When you’re walking down the street in Seattle, you can kind of tell who works at Nordstrom because they have really good style that is also very unique. And I think that’s something that’s really unique to their culture. They’re very much themselves but also very nice and humble at the same time. You can’t really tell who’s a higher up executive in the corporate office. 

Would you recommend this internship to other students? Why or why not?                          

Yes, yes, yes! Because, Nordstrom is going to have world domination! Just kidding. There’s a few reasons. Nordstrom’s an old company and they’ve been growing as a company for a very long time, which is challenging in today’s environment. When I was applying for internships, I knew I wanted to be with a stable company; one that I was pretty sure wasn’t going downhill anytime soon. I wanted to intern for a company I wanted to work for. That was something I really looked at, and Nordstrom fit that for me. They’ve been doing really well, and they plan on growing a lot more by 2020. They’re also growing well with technology. I recommend it just because you learn a lot, they take your opinion, and the company is doing well… there’s not this weird feeling because people are getting fired. 

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What is one piece of advice you would give to a student pursuing an internship at Nordstrom?                                                                                                                                                

They need to tailor their resume. But, I think for Nordstrom its way more about the cover letter. I could be wrong. But, I put a lot of time into my cover letter. I made sure they knew that I knew about their company history, so I sprinkled in a fact about how they were originally a shoe store, but in a fun and quirky way. Obviously if you’re applying for the buying internship, make sure that it’s evident that you have retail math skills, and that you’ve taken certain classes. Then in your cover letter, make sure it shows your personality, what you’ve done, and that you know the company. Also, if you know someone that knows someone, get them to pass on your application. That’s another big thing. 


CREDITS

Wardrobe Styling: Nichole Fallis

Copy, Photography, and Graphics: Ashley Nudge