Classy and Dressy at the Matrix-Fillmore

San Francisco is so technology based that it’s almost uncomfortable after 5 days of the week. From Monday through Friday these series of events occur:

You enter a cafe, someone is coding…

You ride muni, someone is on their iPhone….

You walk down Spear Street, you see the Google Headquarters…

You go to a fashion event, and even then… someone is talking about their new technology-based fashion start-up…

After all this, you kind of just wanna go out and paint the town red! But, in this case, I’d be painting the town black… with this gorgeous ArielSimone dress. On Friday nights, I like to go far away from all of the “tech-based” stuff and take two extra buses to the Marina, my favorite district and visit the Matrix-Fillmore. A place where guys and girls gather to socialize, dance & just have a great time (with no networking or name-tags). Best of all, you get to dress up!

These are just a couple of items I’d wear with the ArielSimone one-sleeve dress to stay classy and dressy at the Matrix-Fillmore…

A Toast to Spontaneity and Being Unpredictable

Last week I read an incredible interview between Charles H. Rowell and black American playwright and director George C. Wolfe. In it, Wolfe shares that “…anytime you can predict something, it’s best to leave it.” While I try to refrain from living by any one adage, no matter how good it sounds, Wolfe’s words of wisdom give us something to consider. It’s important to ask ourselves the following questions: have I gotten myself into a rut, unknowingly? Am I a slave to my way of doing things because I love doing things that way, or simply because it’s become a habit? We can ask ourselves these questions in relation to style, relationships, our professions…just about everything! And our answers are revealing.

I’ve asked myself this question and realized that some of the best times I’ve had during the past few months, and especially this summer, are due to those unpredictable moments, spontaneous decisions I made, or those out-of-the-norm opportunities I seized. And because of my intentional choice to break out of a recognizable pattern, I have reaped the best rewards.

As the Education Director for Face Forward, a growing non-profit organization focused on art and social change, one of my responsibilities entails facilitating some events we bring to local communities and organizations. Last week, I had the extreme pleasure of coordinating and emceeing a show in East St.Paul for a group of 60 kids enrolled in the EastSide Kidventure program, which focuses on instilling pride and a love for the community. We booked New Heist, a local breakdancing crew, Earthshake, a drum and dance ensemble, and OSO’s Bomba Umoja, a traditional Afro-Caribbean music and dance group. I had a ridiculous amount of fun dancing with the girls who could groove more than me, responding to the questions that were posed by the kids with little mouths that had more than a few missing teeth, and applauding with screams to the talent of the artists. Reflecting on this experience, I know that a few months ago I wouldn’t have expected this. In May I was still hunched over my computer with books stacked around me, earnestly completing my master’s thesis. When my close friend, and Face Forward Creative Director Amanda Leaveck asked me to join her team, I gave it some thought. I realized it would be a different paradigm of education work that I had done thus far, but knew it would offer me the perfect amount of challenge, fun, and new experience! With few opportunities to engage with artists, youth, and live performance, in graduate school, it’s a breath of fresh air to do so now. I’ve come out of the habit of being a professional student-– a habit of over 18 years-– to doing something so engaging, yet still educational, with multidisciplinary artists and with a community of lively youth! My work with Face Forward is anything but predictable, so I think Mr.Wolfe would encourage me to stay around with it for a while.

Something that I’ve intentionally made a bit more unpredictable is my mane. I’ve worn my hair natural for more than five years now. As a black woman within a culture that consistently affirms straight hair, at least for black women, this was a pretty big change for me. The first couple years were what can be referred to as my tame, safe years. I rocked a little fro and from time to time I’d twist it. But in the past year my girl Chelsea helped me unleash my inner male peacock. Now I experiment freely and find that others often take a second glance at my curls. My mane is in constant flux and it’s my intention to keep it that way. What’s always fun is walking around Minneapolis with Adrienne, whose long, gorgeous locs, whether perfectly assembled in a crown on her head or freely flowing around her shoulders, also catch others’ eyes. People don’t know whose hair to look at. Yesterday morning when moseying down Eat Street, two women stopped us and literally thanked us for looking so fabulous. Why should we ever stop experimenting? Similarly, why should you stay in your usual way of doing things? Let’s all vow to embrace spontaneity, new approaches, and uncharted territories in the final months of 2012.

Until soon,

L

SFFAMA Event at Pigment: Product Pitches

I think that it is rather a funny (and yet an amazing!) concept to have fashion and technology events in SF. I mean, on one hand you run the risk of meeting nerdy, socially awkward men, which has been an issue of mine previously when I worked as a scientist in Silicon Valley. But on the other, which was my experience last week, I found that I enjoy learning about the technology at fashion events (the geek in me gets to show her true colors!). It’s a genius way to diversify the fashion world. Plus, sitting in a letture talking about robots that fold your clothes is such an interesting, intellectual conversation.

Last Thursday, I went to the SFFAMA product pitch event at Pigment Cosmetics. I went to learn about what people here are up to, to network with key industry leaders and to drink wine and eat delicious cookies.  Let me give you a short recap on some of my favorite presenters.

FoldiMate: a smart clothes-folding robotic appliance, which will soon be available to both laundromats and sophisticated retailers. Who doesn’t want or need an intelligent apparel folding robot? ArielSimone sure does!

The Google+ team are huge supporters of fashion and their product presentation was on one of the Google+ features– hang outs. The cool thing about hang outs is that it allows people to stream what is happening in another space. It gave me some ideas for our upcoming launch party, here in SF. Hopefully, we are able to use this feature to virtually stream our party or a future runway show. Wouldn’t it be amazing if all of our fans around the world could attend our event or watch our collection presentation at the same time?? I am certain that it would be phenomenal. Google+ is also co-hosting a workshop for creative communities with Fashion+TechSF at FIDMSF on August 8th (RSVP here). I plan on attending that and providing you all with an update on that so stay tuned!

I also really enjoyed the presentation by Atelier Advisors’ founder Lili Balfou, who covered the ABC’s and F of finding funding for entrepreneurs. The stand out was B- thinking BIG! Also F, which was for financials. It’s super important for all entrepreneurs to thing long term and to know how they are going to make money in a way that will sustain their business.

There were so many good pitches, but I’d have to say that the one that gets the prize for most entertaining was a presentation given by the the dry-witted sense of humored Stewart Keller, owner of  E-ttorney at Law™. He spoke on basics of fashion copyright  and trademark law, which was amazingly informative. I have never given parody law much thought but it’s really interesting what action some companies takes in order to protect their brand, name, logo, fabric, etc. This was the best example:

Chewy Vuiton– this is literally a bed (not bag) for your dog!! I encourage you to read more about this lawsuit.

Here are some photos of the event, curtsey of SFFAMA.

Fall 2012 Trend: Houndstooth

TREND ALERT! A psychedelic twist on traditional houndstooth is all the rage for fall! The classic black and white look has been replaced with vibrant modern colors that make it anything but ordinary. These bold patterns were seen in varying forms, from suits, to coats, to dresses.

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This vivacious pattern suit was seen at House of a Holland (left), while the trend was paired with sheer fabric to create this sexy evening dress at Pucci (right). Dior took the trend a step further, pairing it with the fall muted pattern trend, to create this statement trench with scaled-back houndstooth print (center). This colorful print is being seen in everything from outerwear and dresses, to handbags and other accessories in soft and hard textures. With this trend it’s all about making a statement. Pair a colorful houndstooth piece with a classic black legging for an edgy city look. Or use it as an accent piece by updating a classic look with houndstooth accessories like Emma Stone in these Salvatore Ferragamo houndstooth pumps. We also love this Oscar de la Renta houndstooth dress for a more elegant and professional look for the chic business-savvy.

GET THE LOOK: Want to rock this trendy style?  Try the ArileSimone houndstooth headband for a classic and elegant look in black and white, or choose a custom color for a more daring statement piece.  Admittedly the best accessory to any outfit that will spruce up that wardrobe and put some flirt back into your frock.

By Joanna Komvopoulos

{Photo 1} {Photo 2} {Photo 3} {Photo 4} Final Photo: ArielSimone for ILWYW.com

Return from Long Beach by Lucie Jane

I’m back! I had a lovely week in California, learning and working hard with my professor and instructors, but also relaxing and having some fun. Below is a little Instagram tour of my trip!


First night in Long Beach! Went out to a Tapas place for dinner. Good food but they were “all out” of goat cheese and mushrooms…both items that are very necessary in a vegetarians dinner diet…

First class! I was able to create this using natural indigo dye painted onto cotton cloth! So cool!

No trip to California could be complete without Pinkberry! The best frozen yogurt around. I like mine with Strawberry and Original flavored yogurt topped with kiwi, strawberries, mochi and mango. YUM!


Beach time! My fellow student assistant, Jordyn, and I were able to spend some lovely time soaking up the rays in southern Cali. #heaven

I found Nemo! On one of our afternoons off we visited the Aquarium of the Pacific. Such a good place. You can even touch sharks!!!

And back to the airport and back to the midwest. It was a great trip, but its always nice to come home.

xoxo, Lucie Jane

Make It Work!

So, as you probably know, Project Runway kicked off a new season, and the premier episode aired last week! I had the pleasure of attending the viewing party we held here in MN at Moto-i because one of Minnesota’s own, Raul Osario, is in this seasons line up of contestants! During the episode I got to sit by a few great friends, one of them being  Christopher Straub of Project Runway Alum. He dilighted us with hilarious comentary and stories from when he was a contestant.

If you missed it, I will give a brief overview. Project Runway is in its 10th season, and they brought the final runway show to Times Square like they did in their very first episode! After introducing the designers, we see that each of the new contestants have brought a look from home that ‘represents them as a designer’, and are challenged to make a piece to go along with that one. They are sent to mood with a $100 budget, and then the real fun begins!

I thought the challenge this week was good, because you got to see what the designers could do with unlimited time, and then what they could do with a time limit. Instead of reviewing the entire episode, I’m going to rate my top 3, bottom look, and which designers to watch!!

Top 3 Looks

Nathan Paul

I love the colors he chose, and the way he manipulates these fabrics is beautiful. He definately knows a womans body, and how to make a beautiful gown.

Elena Slivnyak

These pieces are amazing! I don’t even want to know how long it took her to make that jacket! I also love how the black and white dress fits the body so well. The color blocking accentuate the models figure in a great way.

Ven Budhu

I don’t even know how he manipulated this bodice, and the pleated pant suit is to die for! The little pink dress is cute too, I love the elegance that this designer is bringing to the competition!

Bottom Look

Lantie Foster

Simply put, I don’t know who her client is, or who would wear these pieces.

Ones to Watch!

Christopher Palu – Already a fan favorite, this designer’s got an attitude, and skills to back it up!

Alicia Hardesty – She’s got an awesome point of view that I think needs to be seen. Her clientele is an untouched area in the market.

Kooan Kosuke – This Japanese-American is not so much known for his skill as he is for his sense of humor and misunderstanding. He is hilarious!

I hope you will join me in watching Project Runway this season! Also, please comment and let me know if you agree with my top and bottom choices. We will definately be back next week to review Episode 2.

{Photos}

By Adrienne Yancy

ArielSimone Summer Newsletter– Updates, Recaps, News!

Recaps & Highlights

2012 is FLYING by! We can hardly believe that it is summer already. But! It has been an incredible year so far. As we enter into the third quarter, we want to share some of the things that have been going on in both Minnesota and in California.


We have already hired 2 new interns for the summer that support Nkechi and our operations team in San Francisco. We’ve also added some very talented guest bloggers this season and we hope to continually provide interesting and relevant content for all of you! We have decided to be more strategic with our postings– we feel that our blog supports the re-branding of ArielSimone. We have carefully chosen writers who are fun, approachable, stylish and girls we would want to hang out with! Make sure to check it out!

We’ve also added a new online retail space--Copious , which is a fashion tech company in SF. We actually were able to be a part of their website photo shoot, where we pulled ArielSimone pieces. We are excited that one of our skirts made the landing page!!

We are finally listed on I like What You’re Wearing— check out our current listings and these gorgeous images! We are thrilled.

Something else we are thrilled about are our new product– headbands! We are excited to be moving into accessories, and these are just so stylish and fun and can be worn on any occasion. These are a must for summer! Make sure to stay connected to hear about all of our amazing summer promotions.

What is going on in SF 

As you know, last quarter we had a big change– Nkechi moved to SF to expand ArielSimone. She is working with a talented team out in California on a re-branding project which is expected to launch the first week in September. We have strategically planned to reveal our make over during SFFW, where we hope to show our S/S13 collection. The uncovering of our new image will also happen to co-incide with our very own, brand-new retail website and an SF launch party! We are so extremely excited about this! Stat tuned for more details soon.

Fashion Shows

Of course we can’t forget the shows. We had a very fun time showing at KTWIN Show at The Brick (Downtown Minneapolis).


Upcoming

We have several things coming up in the next few months that we are really excited about. Here are a few shows to put on your calendar:

Fashion Fighting Stigma– St. Paul-  August 16th 2012 Landmark Center
SF ArielSimone Launch Party- San Francisco – September 7th, 2012
MNFW The Shows-Minneapolis- September 25-27th, 2012
SFFW– San Francisco – September 24th-30th, 2012

Make sure to keep coming back to learn about upcoming events, new garments, behind the scenes at photo shoots, fashion tips and more! Also, our Facebook fan page has a lot of really great daily updates to keep you in the loop about styling, events and inspirations. Thank you for your support–ArielSimone is not what we are without all of you. Wishing you a fresh, happy, and love-filled Summer 2012!