Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Made in the USA – The Ralph Lauren Olympics Controversy

By TNT Tauna
The Ralph Lauren U.S. Olympic Team Uniforms
When jobs in the USA are being outsourced to other countries during a time when our own economic situation looks so bleak and unemployment rates continue to stay at record highs, more consumers are taking a harder look at the products they buy and where they are made. This is especially true in the fashion industry where designers have been outsourcing their manufacturing practices to other countries since, well, forever. More people everyday are switching to clothing that is made in the USA rather than those that are made in countries such as China where workers are grossly underpaid and mistreated.
 One would think that if you are supporting Team USA in the Olympics by providing them with free custom designed uniforms you would also support our own economy by manufacturing them on US soil but apparently Ralph Lauren did not see it that way. ABC News revealed last week that Ralph Lauren manufactured this year’s U.S. Olympic Team uniforms in China. Is Ralph Lauren, a multi-billion dollar company, seriously trying to save a few bucks by making them in China? It has sparked such an outrage among politicians that Senator Harry Reid said “I think they should take all the uniforms, put them in a big pile and burn them and start all over again.” The Cut added “And then presumably sit around the fire drinking Budweiser, roasting s’mores, and gleefully watching the berets crackle.” But as The New York Times pointed out, Ralph Lauren has been manufacturing overseas or in Canada for over a decade and “took over the license for the opening and closing (Olympic) ceremonies in 2008.” So why all the controversy now? Well, for one a major media network brought a lot of attention to it which they did not do in the past and secondly I believe there is a general unrest among Americans for all the outsourcing that is going on by major corporations whose only concern seems to be making more profit rather than the welfare of the American economy. How can the U.S. be a major player in the global economy again if American companies don’t even support our own industrial capabilities?
In response to the backlash, Ralph Lauren released the following statement:

“For more than 45 years Ralph Lauren has built a brand that embodies the best of American quality and design rooted in the rich heritage of our country. We are honored to continue our longstanding relationship with the United States Olympic Committee in the 2014 Olympic Games by serving as an Official Outfitter of the US Olympic and Paralympic teams. Ralph Lauren promises to lead the conversation within our industry and our government addressing the issue of increasing manufacturing in the United States and has committed to producing the Opening and Closing ceremony Team USA uniforms in the United States that will be worn for the 2014 Olympic Games.”

While this may quiet some outcries, some people agree with Senator Harry Reid when he says they should just start over but Ralph says it’s too late. American Apparel disagrees. Their rep made a point to tell Fashionista.com:

“The American Apparel factory makes more than 50 million garments a year and that isn’t all for our stores. A huge part of the company’s business is wholesale and private label–we can basically make anything for anyone. Our prices are completely competitive, especially when you factor in the quality control and speed to market. American Apparel could start working on uniforms today and have them in London within 7 days. That’s what vertical integration is about.”

American Apparel tumblr
Founder and CEO of American Apparel, Dov Charney, even offered his factory to Ralph Lauren so that he could turn out the uniforms in time for the London Olympics, the rep told Fashionista. Although, I’m sure Ralph Lauren won’t be bothering with that.

The latest from Fashionista.com says:

“On Monday nine Democratic senators, led by Sen Robert Menendez (NJ), introduced the Team USA Made in America Act which requires the USOC to ensure that “all ceremonial uniforms for the U.S. Olympic team to be ‘sewn or assembled in the United States with fabrics formed and cut in the U.S. or components knit to shape from yarns wholly formed in the US,’”WWD is reporting. The bill would require the USOC to provide justification if it can’t meet the stringent Made in America requirements.”

Right on Senator Menendez! I’m with you!

What’s your opinion about all this controversy? Do you think it’s necessary to write it into law?

This article was posted on Tauna’s blog TNTTauna (http://tnttauna.wordpress.com/2012/07/17/made-in-the-usa-the-ralph-lauren-olympics-controversy/) on July 17, 2012. It was also posted on The Stylist Handbook. (http://www.thestylisthandbook.blogspot.com/)

TNT Tauna is a Fashion Stylist and Blogger residing in Orange County, CA. Tauna started out as a model and soon found herself styling her own shoots. "Styling was a natural progression for me in my career. I really enjoy the creativity and variety that this job brings. I have learned so much from Susan's book "Starting Your Career as a Photo Stylist" and hope to further my studies of this awesome career choice."

Addendum from Susan Linnet Cox, July 26, 2012:
Today's Los Angeles Times featured an informative front-page article about Dayang, the factory that produced the Ralph Lauren Olympic fashions, along with garments for Macy's, DKNY, Banana Republic, and others. With a capacity that no U.S. factory is capable of matching (5 million suits a year), it's clear that the problem is much larger than just what factory was chosen by Ralph Lauren. The Olympics aspect just brought it to the public's eye. If only we could rebuild the garment industry in this country in addition to our complaints about "outsourcing."
Photo David Pierson, Los Angeles Times

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Revisiting: Fashion Stylist Devon Poer

This is a re-posting of a bio I wrote two years ago. Devon Poer has come even further since 2010 in her quest to share the fashion styling profession. We will be interviewing her and updating her story soon - so I wanted to start with my initial discovery of her exceptional talents...

I was happy to discover a new E-magazine for stylists called The Stylist Handbook. Not only is it a virtually-slick publication with lots of information for stylists of all types, it looks like a great outlet for publishing fashion spreads created as test shoots. Edited by stylist/journalist Devon Poer, this can be an outstanding resource for all of us in the “invisible” industry of styling.

The second quarterly edition [as of Sept. 29, 2010] is in the works right now. I look forward to seeing more articles and some cutting-edge fashion editorials.
Having a lot in common with our focus on sharing information about this career, Devon and I hit it off right away. I asked her some questions about The Stylist Handbook and her busy life.

Q. How did you decide to start the E-magazine? When?
May 2010! How I came to start the magazine... well I planned to do a book called The Stylist Handbook and after leaving my position as the Creative/Fashion Director for a travel magazine, I decided it was time to start my own magazine about my love of styling and to do something that wasn't being done and to help improve mine and others’ knowledge of the fashion styling world.

Q. What types of styling jobs have you done?
Editorial styling has been a huge amount of it, probably has something to do with me being a journalist as well, so lots of magazine work. I've done advertising campaigns for fashion and beauty, press imagery for celebrities and musicians, too. Also, a bit of wardrobe styling for celebrity and personal clients.

Q. How long have you been working as a stylist?
I've been a fashion stylist for about three and half years.

Q. What else do you do; is The Couture House an agency?
I run my company, which is more of a firm than an agency. Right now, I handle all the marketing, PR, and sales for Polaris Cosmetics, who is my sole client under The Couture House business development program. But my company also has a publishing department which is really a non-profit at the moment, we currently publish the e-magazine The Stylist Handbook. As well as a couple of blogs for fashion and beauty. My personal blog is devonpoer.com, I work on it a lot as well.

Q. You live in LA, right? Do you think most of the work in LA is fashion and wardrobe?
I go from Orange County to LA to the Valley. I don't really feel like I live in one place at the moment. Honestly, it depends on the type of styling work. If you want to work in the entertainment industry, go to LA. If you want to work in the editorial/magazine side, I think New York would be better suited. There is work within fashion and beauty in Los Angeles. It’s just about getting connected with the right circles.

Q. Does the magazine take a lot of your time? Do you do it out of a need to share your knowledge? Serve the styling community? Or what?
Yes! And I do it for three reasons, because I like helping people, especially young minds or those in need of a mentor, and I want to develop myself as a better person, and lastly I'm in love with fashion styling and journalism. It’s all exciting to me, that’s why I do it!

Stay tuned for the updated Devon news, coming soon! Meanwhile, her blog and accomplishments can be viewed at http://www.thestylisthandbook.com/.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Layout History

by Susan Linnet Cox

This makeup advertisement appeared in a 1965 edition of McCall’s magazine. While the model’s hairstyle, headscarf, and makeup techniques date the ad to the era, the layout elements are the same basics we use today.

How many of the following layout aspects can you find?
  • Space allocation
  • Star Product 
  • Inset
  • Detail view
  • Headline
  • Caption 
  • Overprint type
  • Reverse type
  • Square finish photo
  • Knock-out photo
  • Eye flow
 This presentation is from "Photo Styling Workbook," available now as an eBook and coming soon in print!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012


by Samia Lavenant


Coming from a well-known family, you would think that the author would have an easy path to a fashion career, but in this book, Sasha Charnin Morrison really goes into details about her personal experiences that are far from fabulous.

Being recognized from a young age for her personal style, she made her way into the industry with some hard-learned lessons, including a stint at Vanity Fair that ended in a modern day comedy like manner.

This book is a real investment for any aspiring fashion stylist as it includes many tips from well-known designers, stylists, and even some tips on how to present you as a real fashion styling professional.

For Charnin Morrison, having a great work relationship with a good tailor is the foundation of success. She points out the importance of fit in all her examples and pictures.

It is known that in all careers there is much to learn through experience, but this book certainly gives you an insight into how much work and all the loose details that are often glamorized by Reality TV in fashionista shows. It even explains the ordeals she had to endure when declaring some items in a customs form that required fast thinking and LOTS of patience.

It is a great guide to basic things that are overlooked at times such as a complete guide to shape wear, and how to remove different type of stains from different kind of fabrics.

I certainly do think this is a book to keep close to you if you want to go into fashion styling and to reference back to in case of doubt. It is a true investment and a core book to keep for times of a fashion crisis.

This is one of a series of stying book reviews published by The Invisible Stylist.

Samia Lavenant has been an outstanding student of mine this past year. I am sure her fashion style and curiosity will take her far - can't wait to follow her career!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Gypset Style and ReWorking Fashion in HD

by Haley Byrd

This is an excerpt from stylist Haley Byrd’s entry in a 2011 contest offered by Lucky Magazine: My Career, My Way. Her fashion blog is http://fashionrework.com/. Haley is a regular contributor to The Invisible Stylist.

From working in the lush tropics, trudging through snowy city streets or braving a sandstorm in search for the perfect ambience for a late night dinner with friends, the women who can experience and have it all have one thing in common, preparedness. As a Wardrobe Production Assistant and budding Costumer in television and features, I spend all my time with clothing and on the road. Taking up brief residencies in split locations, I quickly learned to think of my wardrobe as a Swiss Army Knife.
When I’m not working on a production, I’m traveling and spending every free moment I have building up my blog which narrates my passion of art, design, fashion, adventures in travel and street style. The last few productions I’ve been working have taken place in Hawaii. Ten-to-twelve-hour workdays are the norm and there is not one minute to primp in a mirror, touch up make-up, or wear questionable shoes. Given the nature of this position, comfort and practicality is key.

Habits of a Highly Effective Stylist
Moving around for work and pleasure has made me a devotee to the small, well-edited closet. I use a costumer’s trick by keeping my clothing safety pinned down on a muslin hangers and break up each hanger into various groups. I’ve divide the tank tops, skirts, shorts, jewelry, bikinis, intimates, scarves, belts and even dresses to their own hanger which allows me visually access all my inventory and to dress effortlessly.
I also maintain my own personal style commandments that keep me from getting sloppy and hitting new style lows, which can happen pretty easily even for a stylist and fashion enthusiast such as myself. I refer to these as my Six Styling Sins.

1. Laziness - Do Not Dress by Default

We all have certain items in our closet or footwear that are easy to wear or default to but know what those items are and stay away from them. For me in Hawaii, flip-flops are the eternal footwear but I look for cooler materials in closed toe variations to counter it.

2. Shopaholic - Less Is Truly More

I personally know I’ve dressed better out of a suitcase than I have out a walk in closet. Having a small edited closet challenges me to be more creative. Resoling a great pair of shoes, simple alterations and a quick dye to a garment help give your wardrobe the lift it needs.

3. Buyers Remorse - Know Thyself

By knowing your shape, color palette and likes you are more likely to buy what you need and get more full usage out of your current wardrobe. I always shop with a strategy and goal in mind. I’ll assess holes in my wardrobe and figure out the items before hand. Otherwise, I find most of my shopping to be fruitless. Lastly, I’ll get a majority of my key pieces tailored. A cheaper garment that has been tailored looks like better than an expensive ill fitted garment.

4. Overdoing It - Keep What You Love and Toss What You Don’t

I regularly scan and filter every element of my wardrobe and accessories on a monthly basis. I always keep the receipts and tags on unused items so I can return or exchange if I still haven’t worn them. For items that are no longer appealing to me, I’ll sell them online through a variety of great ecommerce sites or I’ll walk it in to one of the local Buy/Trade/Sell Shops. If I have a good group of items sometimes I’ll organize clothing swaps with some of my other stylish girlfriends and make a Saturday afternoon of it complete with food, laughter and fun impromptu fashion shows.

5. Never Changing - Always Evolve Your Style

Make it a weekly goal to try one new style out a week. Sometimes it’s in footwear, other times its something like boyfriend jeans, palazzo pants or a romper. This is the only way to get comfortable with something outside your comfort zone and to really keep your style evolving.

6. Brand Junkie - Don’t Discriminate

There are amazing finds and treasures in both fast fashion retail like Forever 21 to even signature collection lines with Target, Wal-Mart, and Payless. These are great venues to find items that can also have similar manufacturing quality that are just as good as some popular designer lines. I would also like to stress the importance of vintage clothing as well. Sometimes my vintage holds up better than my designer items and it’s usually already had thirty years plus on them too!