Adrienne and Nkechi Take Chicago!

Wouldn’t THAT be a great BRAVO TV show?!

Too bad its just us two (with our little flip camera) that are heading to Chicago this week for a fun little trip of fashion, food, and hopefully the beach! As we mentioned last week, we have an event this Thursday but we thought we would use a couple days to enjoy the city. On our list of things to do, we have scouting for Chicago boutiques to sell our line as well as checking out the Chicago fashion/ shopping scene (All Saints and Zara, here we come!).

Chicago is a city that I happen to have spent a lot of time in and absolutely adore. Allow me to get a little nostaligic for a moment…

One of my all time favorite designer boutiques in THE WORLD (but also in Chicago) is Gamma Player, which I discovered several years ago (2007) when I spent a summer in Chicago during a graduate school break. It was my informal introduction to the fashion industry– so many great things happened that summer. I walked into Gamma Player and was mezmerized by the collection, the store owners (legendary techno DJ and producer Jeff Mills and his beautiful wife) as well as their staff.


{Source}

Instantly making friends, I was invited to a fashion show in their space, where I met the amazing AggaB and tried on the most beautiful quilted dress. I’ll never forget the words she said to me when I stepped out of the dressing room: ‘This dress was made for you to wear.’

(It took me a minute but I was able to unearth this from iphoto…I think I put it on and cried, and then cried again when I couldn’t afford it had to take it off)

{Source}

That event lead to more fashion show invitations, more parties and more industry friends. It was the first time my photo was published  in a social magazine (Chicago Social), the first time I was invited to parties with celebrities, the first time I hung out with models, writers and stylists and had no idea that (as a neuroscientist) this was the universe’s way of revealing to me that this was my community and a place where I actually belonged professionally.

I am so excited to go back and revisit Gamma Player and some of my other favorite boutiques. I am even more excited at the prospect of selling ArielSimone in Chicago! It will be an incredibly proud moment to find a home for ArielSimone in Chicago. Wish us luck and stay updated on facebook and twitter!

by Nkechi Njaka
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Friday Feature: Realia by Jen

Finally! We have the full feature of our interview with Jennifer Scheffler of realia by jen! Sorry to keep you waiting, but I think it was worth the wait!

AS: Please give us a brief bio, where you are from and how you started in this field?

J: My name is Jen Scheffler and I am an educator, creator and a jewelry designer.  I am from a small town in Minnesota called New Prague.  I have dabbled in the arts ever since I could dabble!  I have taken a variety of classes over the years in jewelry making and have figured out a number of things on my own.

AS: How would you describe your personal style?

J: I would describe my style as an eclectic mix of subtly sexy, revived vintage and Parisian-inspired.

AS: How would you describe the style of your work/art? How has this changed over time?

J: I would describe the style of my work as innovative and dynamic.  I think that like all artists, their work changes over greater periods of time, and from moment to moment as well!


AS: When did you first discover your creative talents?

J: I was “that girl” in grade school…possibly even elementary school…you know the one?!  The one that people wanted in their groups if there was going to be some sort of visual presentation required…kind of nerdy, but very outgoing.  I could always make things look good by free handing my own big block letters.  Even back then visual organization was something I loved and seemed to excel at.

AS: Did you always know you want to be an artist?

J: I would say that I always knew it, but it took some time for me to accept it.  For a long time, there was an internal battle between my desire to be constantly creating with no real outlet and the pragmatism of the every day grind of life.  As with everything, I strive to find balance with this.

AS: What inspires you? How do you stay motivated?

J: I am inspired by so many different things – and I think that is what helps me stay motivated!  I love helping people accessorize and creating pieces that hold a lot of sentimental value and can tell a story, whether past, present or future!  Artistically I am very inspired by color and light.  I love going to various exhibits and exploring paintings, photographs, music, movies and the history of all of the different cultures of the world.

AS: What is your creative process like?

J: Circular, cyclical……something like that.  I see something, get inspired, sit down wherever I am and work away at it until something calls me away.  Then I come back to it, tear it apart or add to it and at a certain point declare it done…enough!

AS: What is something that you always carry with you?

J: Something that I wear every day and hold near and dear is my AIDS bracelet.  It was given to my by my aunt who passed away from the virus in 1996.  She was a very special person to me during some of the more formative years of my life.  It reminds me of her and reminds me not to take things for granted.

AS: What do you find is the hardest part about your work? 

J: Finding the time to get it all done!  Isn’t that the case with any job worth having?!

AS: What is your approach to artistic work? Or your method or ritual?

J: I am the ever lovely juxtaposition of organized chaos!  I am a “station” worker.  I get started on something and if I don’t have creative flow I ditch it and move on to the next thing.  If I have creative flow there, then away I go!  Later, I will come back to all of the discarded “stations” and if I have creative flow at that point – work on it and if not, keep it moving!

AS: Any influences or anyone you look up to when it comes to your work?

J: Absolutely!  I am a student of the world so I am constantly seeking to learn all aspects of my business from the design end to the flow charts and inventory spread sheets.  I am also a student of human nature and love to travel and see the sights, eat the food and meet the people!  I also love all things vintage.  A few of my fashion icons include Coco Chanel, Alexander McQueen, Christian Dior & Anna Sui.

AS: If you weren’t creating (or designing) what would you be doing?

J: I would be in education.  Growing up I was constantly playing teacher.  I went on to get a Masters in Education.  Hopefully some day I can join my two passions!

AS: Where do you see yourself in the next ten years either personally or artistically?

J: Creating new and dynamically innovative things!

AS: How do you bridge the gap between business and art?

J: With lots of support and consultation.

AS: Describe yourself in 5 words.

J: Witty, genuine, fast, focused and fun!

AS: Lastly, any words of advice for aspiring artists?

J: If you want to make money – make sure you have a business plan!

We love working with Jen– her creations are so amazing. Shop realia by jen online and become a fan of hers on facebook!!

Bachelor Finale Recap: What I Think about Courtney and Ben

Like many other women between the ages of 20-35, I was watching the popular, albiet ridiculous, season finale of the Bachelor on Monday evening.  I was perfectly situated in the home of a best friend from college (who shares my love obsession), seated comfortably next to her and her husband, who was appropriately wearing this under his lululemon loungewear:

{You can buy your guy one too}

We had the DVR set, we ordered pizza, drank vodka infused cocktails. It was perfect. We planned to take shots every time anyone said “journey” but we were too distracted by the drama.

What drama? Well if you have been keeping up with the season, then you probably shared America’s hatred for model (and probable aspiring actress) Courtney Robertson. When it came down to engagement time, we were desperately hoping that he wouldn’t choose either, if he wasn’t going to choose Lindzi. But, alas, Ben asked Courtney to marry him. Are we shocked? The heart wants what the heart wants. And Ben wanted Courtney from the moment he heard she was a model. Or maybe it was after the numerous times he (and we) saw her naked on the show. Despite what all the other girls were saying about how awful she was, Ben just needed the approval of his sister (anyone notice that Courtney is just a prettier version of her??). And after his sister’s initial judgmental hatred for Courtney, she passed the test. And Ben got down on one knee.

 After the show, there is an after-the-show show, which allows all the other girls to speak their minds, hate on the woman Ben choose and grill Ben for not picking them because they thought what they ‘had was real.’  Despite how much I disliked Courtney, I actually felt bad for her getting berated, ripped apart and booed relentlessly by the audience. When Ben saw the aired episodes, he felt duped. And they broke up for a minute. But after apologizing for abandoning her and insisting that he did not cheat on her, they are in a ‘good, happy place.’ I think Ben even said something along the lines of ‘Nothing was ever wrong with us. What was wrong was what surrounded us’ before announcing that the two were, in fact, engaged.
Will it last? Courtney sure seems to think so, trying on wedding dresses the day the photos leaked that Ben was cheating on her….Plus, Ben put the ring back on Courtney’s finger, and says they are in a good place….so that must mean they are. (Um, did anyone else think it was weird that Chris Harrison had the ring with him for almost the entire show????)
All in all, it was entirely awkward and uncomfortable to watch Ben sit and try defend himself and watch Courtney try and answer whether or not they were together (she honestly looked confused and like she didn’t know where they stood). Show and ratings aside, I was not pleased how Ben handled his relationship with her after the proposal. So I didn’t really feel that bad that Ben looked kinda like a hot mess. Courtney looked like a better made up version of herself on the show in a fabulous dress.  I’m glad its over– I’m ready for next season!!
Tell us your thoughts if you’ve been keeping up with the Bachelor. Also, let us know if you happen to know where Courtney’s amazing white dress is from (photo above).
by Nkechi Njaka

Review of Fashion Star by Adrienne Yancy

I love shows about fashion and design, so naturally I was really excited to see if the new show Fashion Star had anything on my favorite show Project Runway. The show opened with a meaningless dance segment followed by a lingerie collection from the show host Elle Macpherson. ( I don’t think it was needed and the styling was off.)

The show highlights 14 designers who are offered the chance to become the next great fashion star. Each designer shows one of the latest looks from their collection and they compete to have their look purchased by H&M, Saks Fifth Ave, or Macys. If the look is purchased, consumers can purchase their favorite looks the next day online and at select brick-and-mortar retailers. The season winner gets a 6 Million dollar contract for a collection.

The designers who don’t get offers for their look go into the bottom and risk being eliminated. Each episode one designer gets voted off. Nicole Richie, John Varvatos, and Jessica Simpson are the designers’ mentors, while Nicole Christie is the buyer for H&M, Terron Schaefer is the buyer and Executive VP of Saks Fifth Ave, and Caprice Willard is the 17-year veteran buyer for Macy’s.  For the premier episode, the designers are challenged to create one piece for the buyers that show who they are as a designer.

The Designers:

Orly Shani, The Bartender. She presented a convertible mini skirt; I like the concept of the shell mini skirt, but I don’t think I’d buy it. Bought by Saks for $80,000.

Buy Now 

Edmond Newton, The Hair Stylist.  He presented a halter cocktail dress. I didn’t like the dress because it’s been done so many times before. Macys offered him $60,000 for his look.

Buy Now 

Oscar Fierro, The El Salvadorian Drama Queen. Eveningwear is his specialty and this week he showed a butterfly mini dress. The judges didn’t like the look, since it’s been seen dozens of times already, too. No offers, but he really put up a good fight to stay!

Nikki Poulos , The Swimwear Designer.  She also showed resort wear and tonight showed a Kaftan with three quarter sleeves. Macy’s offered $50,000 for her retro-chic look.

Buy Now 

Nicolas Bowes , The Male Chauvinist . Additionally, a former model, he showed a lambskin motorcycle jacket. They said it’s been seen before… obvi. He made Jessica upset enough to wanna slap him! He didn’t seem to like the fact that women were critiquing his menswear, since they were women!! He got no offers.

Barbara Bates, The Breast Cancer Survivor. She showed a shirt and skirt. No offers.

Sarah Parrott, The Self-taught Designer.  Presented a sexy shift dress with a back cutout. I really liked this design! She’s the first designer to show a look that I really like and could see myself wearing. They loved the dress. $80,000 offer from H&M. They loved the wearability and the edge of the look.

Buy Now 

Ross Bennett , The Texan Tailor. Presented Full Cullottes. I think they’re too baggy, but then again culottes are baggy. They didn’t like his old school silhouette of the pants. They bashed his tailoring, but loved his style and personality. No offers for his pants because of the limited scope of customers.

For some reason they fast-forwarded the show… I guess it was getting repetitive for them too, so we don’t really know who these designers are: Ronnie Escalante, Luciana Scarabello, Lisa Vian Hunter and Lizzie Parker (they did show her get a Macy’s sale, briefly.)

Buy Now

Kara Laricks, The Androgynous Menswear Designer. She showed a collar as an accessory, and got no offers.

Nzimiro Oputa, The Over-Achiever. He presented a sport coat/blazer. They really liked the sport coat, styling, and permanent stand up collar. $50,000 offer from H&M.

Buy Now

Overall only six designers made sales and are safe, and eight designers are in the bottom. Nicolas, Oscar, and Kara are chosen as the bottom three. The mentors get a save each week, and this week saved Oscar, while the buyers must drop someone from the final two, and let Nicolas go.

Overall I liked the show, but I didn’t love it. It’s very showy with all the staging and lights and dramatic music, and could be a bit more laid back like Project Runway. For example, I feel like they use a similar stage as The Voice, and I think it makes the show too much of a production, instead of being focused on the actual artists and their work. I don’t care to hear Jessica Simpson and Nicole Richie talk throughout the entire show; I want to hear more from the talent. I’m willing to give it another try next week, though.  If you’ve seen the show, we would love to hear your comments!

Meeting with I LIKE WHAT YOU’RE WEARING

Hello, Happy Tuesday!! I’m sure you’ve noticed that we’ve been short on the blog posting. Part of that was due in part to our ArielSimone team being split up around the country last week and this week. From LA to NYC, we have been a little off schedule. But we do have a very interesting update to report.

While in NYC, we had a very important meeting with a brand new retail site.

I Like What You’re Wearing  is an ecommerce, shoppable online fashion magazine that features the hottest next-generation fashion designers.  By seamlessly combining ecommerce and publishing, ILWYW are perfectly allowing readers to click and buy items they like right off the editorial photos and pages. We love this concept and are so excited to be apart of this fantastic project.  We met with Oliva Gossett, the brain child of ILWYW along with other really amazing fashion projects, and her colleague Tomm Zorn featured below.

{Photo Source}

Our next steps will be selecting garments for our first collection on the site. We will keep you posted on the progress and let you know when the site launches! We love adding new retailers that we can really stand behind. We are super pumped to see what the future holds with this new budding fashion relationship!

Chocolate & Couture

We’ve been gone for a while, but don’t fret we’re back! We missed everyone last week; we’ve been working on some pretty big things here at ArielSimone, and we wanted to make sure we kept you all in the loop…

As many have heard the story, last summer when I went to Italy I went on a grueling and life changing hiking trip through the Cinque Terre Mountains. Well, during that rigid hike and throughout the rest of my Italian escape I really got close with one of my great friends Jamie Greenberg Arlin of Cake Bite Girl.


This is us midway through the hike of our life. Don’t mind the sweat and exasperation/desperation.

And this is what Jamie truly looks like, with her delicious creations!

I haven’t seen Jamie since Italy, but I’m so excited that we’re now going to be doing a show together in Chicago. We’ll be rocking out in downtown Chicago for a spring fashion show featuring ArielSimone that will combine other stylish local designers, Jamie’s delicious desserts, and cocktails at Jbar on March 22, 2012 at 7-10pm. Tickets are available online.

Here are the details:

HOSTS: Schae Lewis & Bahar Partow, Mission 2 Organize, Jamie Arlin, Mixins-Chicago. 

FASHION DESIGNERS: ArielSimone, Shah Riaz and Richard Dayhoff

MODELS: BMG Models 

DESSERT: Cake Bite Girl

DRINKS: The Naked Grape 

RAFFLE PRIZES: 2 Shah Riaz ties, Ariel Simone top, $150 gift certificate towards a personal or business portrait photo session (Angela Garbot), 2 Chicago Chocolate Tours, 2 hrs closet organizing (Mission 2 Organize), Box of cake bites (Cake Bite Girl)

YOUR TICKET INCLUDES: Fashion show at 8:30pm, 2 Complimentary glasses of wine, Passed cake bites, Chance at 50 Gift bags, and a Raffle prize entry. Available online.

Here’s a little teaser of the Cake Bite Girl treats that will be at the show!

Red Velvet Trios – OMG YUM…

Salted Caramel Cake Bites – My mouth is watering

Blue Velvet Cake Bites – Red Velvet, but blue?? Ok, I’m sold….

Honestly, I can’t wait to try each and every option, so now I need to figure out how many pounds I’m willing to gain on this trip  😉

by Adrienne Yancy

NASA by Lucie Jane

Its NASA time, everyone! I’ve finally moved on from the initial research phase to the prototyping phase.  My group’s first tests involve different types of conductive thread, yarn and fasteners.  Two initial prototypes of the entire garment will also we made, one by me and one by a group member. We will be testing our prototypes on a few volunteers, interviewing them on their range of motion, access to the swatches and general comfort.

Here is a photo of my initial prototype that I worked on this Saturday:

Image

The very rough prototype I made (above) has two different types of joints at the shoulders.  I created these from manipulating pattern pieces into different shapes to allow room for movement and comfort. The zipper down the front will be the “switch” completing the entire circuit.  The shorts are removable via the zips around the torso.  We are planning on testing this and our other prototypes over and the week after spring break, more on the results then!

In other news, there are more photos from the Resurgent show last week posted on my blog.

xo, Lucie Jane