Scott Ian McFarland Runway Collection Preview

This Monday, I had the opportunity to take a peek at Scott Ian McFarland‘s latest collection, which will be on the runways this Sunday for San Francisco Fashion Week.

I had no idea what to expect and I was pleasantly surprised to find a small intimate gathering when I walked into Jillian’s. The venue was cozy, with dim lighting and wood-paneled walls that reminded me of a cabin in the woods. It was a classy affair with crudités, french bread, and cheese to snack on and waiters taking drink orders.

I browsed through racks of men’s and women’s sweaters, cardigans, coats, beanies, scarves, and knit leggings and played dress-up with the models. The knitwear collection worked well as a cohesive unit and I was impressed by how easy it was to mix and match individual pieces.

At first glance, the collection seemed basic, but upon further inspection, I discovered intricate knit work and lacing, interwoven braided ribbon, ruffled piping, and a palette of grays, deep indigo, and pearlescent hues. The first thing that came to mind when trying to describe it was Alice in Wonderland meets Where The Wild Things Are. The pieces possessed the effortless comfort of Max’s wolf pajamas and the whimsy of Wonderland. It was a match made in children’s book heaven.

Most of the pieces were masterfully crafted by Scott Ian McFarland himself, a rare feat in a world where many fashion designers do not sew their own designs. As a formally trained sculptor, Scott brings a fresh perspective to the San Francisco fashion scene. He experiments with three-dimensional shapes, color, and texture in a way only a sculptor can.

The inspiration behind Scott Ian McFarland’s latest collection is androgyny, the 1920s, ships, and the blues.

Androgynous influences are obvious in the gender-neutral colors and silhouettes, while the 1920s shows itself in the form of loose-fitting cuts and breathable fabrics. The ruffled piping and knitted diamond-shaped patterns reveal ships’ masts and sails. But the blues? Really?

I thought long and hard about how a musical genre could act as the inspiration for a clothing collection before I decided to do some research of my own. The term “the blues” comes from the use of the indigo plant in West African cultures during death and mourning ceremonies. The mourner’s garments were dyed blue to indicate suffering. The indigo plant was also grown in many plantations in the southern United States, where slaves sang of their suffering as they worked in the fields. These songs were called “the blues”.

It was no coincidence then that Scott Ian McFarland used a deep indigo color to accent the neutral grays, pinks, and tans in his collection.

Although Scott Ian McFarland is relatively new to the fashion world, I have high hopes for the new designer and I’d like to see how his clothing translates from the runways to the streets!

by Samantha J. Yee, originally posted on Sam Goes Glam

Falling into the Gap & Stepping up to the Plate

Last night Lexie invited me to an event at the Gap Flagship store in downtown SF. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect but it was actually very, very fun! One thing that we noticed was that Gap is very much stepping up their retail game– a lot of their new fall items are super cute, obviously very affordable and on trend (eg. stripes, dots, neons, skinnies with zippers).  I took some photos of some of the styled looks that I found most adorable!

I’d have to say the best part of the event (aside from cute people and the champy) was the hot, amazing new online lookbook called LookMazing.

They had a photo shoot set up for their site, which I encourage you to register for.  We registered with a cute rep on their ipads, met with a Gap stylist to create a look (Lexie styled our looks) and then we jumped in line to get our photo taken. After all that, the LookMazing reps helped upload our look to the site.

It was so much fun to peep other party guests and their Gap outfits. Here is a photo of my friend Jason– Love the double layering of scarfs!

An amazing feature is that you can tag items of your look online so that they are easy to shop.  You can also easily pin the look to Pinterest! I love fashion and tech.

Here are our photos! Head-to-toe Gap.

by Nkechi Njaka


Friday Feature: Meet Vanessa– a Cool, College-aged Business Owner

The other week, we met the beautiful and tenacious Vanessa Gabriel. She was pitching her company to a panel of fashion and tech entrepreneurs (myself included)  as well as to a panel of Investors.We were super inspired by her motivation and her successes so far that we wanted to know more! We are pleased to share our interveiw with the founder of Make sure to check it out, especially if you are a student looking for great deals on a student budget.

AS: Please give us a brief bio, where you are from and how you got started in fashion technology?

VG: My name is Vanessa Gabriel and I’m a 20 year old full time student/entrepreneur. I founded (pronounced a society) an E- Commerce site exclusively for college students offering 50-80% off retail prices of their favorite fashion brands. I’m from a small town called Tracy where there are fields where cows roam and everyone knows everyone. I’ve always loved shopping ever since I was a little girl. I was no stranger to bargain shopping since I was raised by very young parents. I quickly became an expert at shopping at stores like Ross, TJ Maxx, Marshalls, Target, etc. My shopping addiction didn’t change when I moved out to Colorado for college. The only thing that was different this time was that I was now paying for my own wardrobe instead of my parents. Being on a limited student budget with no car only to find out there was no mall in my town was ridiculous. I quickly turned to the Internet to shop instead and was quickly disappointed by the lack of sites that catered to my style and budget. Websites were either way too our of my price range or did not cater to my style tastes. I was then immediately inspired and envisioned the future of how college students would shop online. A place called aSociete.

AS: You are a fulltime student? What do you currently study?

VG: I’ve been studying business for the past two years. My first year and a half was at the University of Colorado at Boulder. I just recently transferred to the University of Pacific here in Stockton where I’ll finish out my schooling while I run aSociete.

AS: How would you describe your personal style?

VG: I have a very laid back comfortable style that I like to infuse with accessories. Each year my style evolves and I grow a little more comfortable in being bolder with my wardrobe. Whether it’s buying statement pieces, bold colors, etc.

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

VG: My parents inspire me everyday. They continue to strive for their dreams and do what makes them happy. They encourage and support me to achieve greatness and reassure me that I can achieve anything that I set my mind to. My motivation is knowing how far I’ve come in the past year or so with launching aSociete and the success we’ve achieved so far. My team and I have achieved things that are not normal of 20 year olds and to think of our bright future ahead of us keeps me going.

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

VG: I always carry my iPhone and lipstick. I’m always going to meetings and connecting with successful people in the Bay Area so my phone keeps me organized and my lipstick to make sure I always look presentable!

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

VG: The hardest part about my job is that it’s a constant learning process everyday since I’ve never founded/ran a company before. I’m grateful for all the advisors and guidance I’ve received thus far because aSociete wouldn’t be here today if it wasn’t for them.

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

VG: Like I said before my parents are huge influences in my life because they continue to work hard for their dreams. Everyday they fight for what they believe in and stop at nothing to make their dreams come true. I also look up to Tony Hseih the CEO of Zappos because he took his company and catapulted it to great success. He has an amazing story and has truly changed the E-Commerce industry forever.

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

VG: I’d be a normal college student in Colorado working two part time jobs.

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

VG: I see aSociete being a success and me as CEO. I picture myself traveling the world and running my company.

AS: Share with us something funny that has happened to you recently.

VG: I was asked by a company to put together a gift guide for college graduates and I’m not even graduating college. I barely just finished my second year of college lol. I didn’t express that I wasn’t qualified to help them out so I just asked my friends about what they would want if they were graduating college.

AS: What was the last thing you ate?

VG: I ate frosted flakes for breakfast this morning.

AS: Who was the last person you spoke to on the phone?

VG: I talked to my dad.

AS: What it is that you love about your work?

VG: I love my team and the culture we’ve created. Our warehouse is our creative space/ headquarters and we are really close friends like a family. We are a for college students by college students company. We are college students ourselves that gives us a relevant advantage over many other companies. Plus I love knowing the fact that I’m helping my peers by saving them money when they shop.

AS: Describe yourself in 5 words.

VG: Ambitious, believer, caring, persistent, and  outdoor lover.

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

VG:You only live once and make the most of it. Life is too short to not pursue your passions and doing the things you love. Don’t ever give up and don’t let the world convince you that you cannot achieve greatness. There is no age requirement for success.

*** All photos were provided by Vanessa Gabriel

BEAUTY EXPO: Recap of Another SFFAMA event

One thing that I have been LOVING about SF is that just about every other week, SFFAMA—the committee that curates SF Fashion Week—hosts events to support and foster the SF fashion community as well. Something I have noticed true to SF Style is that almost anything here is affilicated with technology. Big companies like Facebook, Youtube, Apple, Google, (and many more) are here as well as other popular social media platforms like Instagram, Pinterest, Polyvore and Copious. It’s exciting to be where it is all happening and as the industry grows, we will become more integrated with technology and science. I, as a self proclaimed multidisciplinarist, love the collaborations and thrive on the meeting of the minds.


We attended the Beauty Expo last Saturday which was held at 1 Market Street, home of Pigment Cosmetics. It was an evening for an eclectic mix of  fashion and tech community members, fashion bloggers and vendors to on look a local H&MU talent to compete in a challenge of best inspired look. There were 4 groups and each pair of Hair and Makeup Artists had a fashion blogger as their model. The model/fashion bloggers (Lona Duncan and Alison Messinger) were wearing the designs of Jennifer Ly . While the models were getting made up, all the attendees ate cheese, fruit and chocolate, sipped wine and champagne and networked with fellow guests until the runway segment began.

Charleston Pierce was our dynamic host of the night. He had great energy and a booming personality. I really appreciated his enthusiasm and his coaching of the fashion bloggers when they walked down the runway. Charleston’s line of work includes model coaching and production and I can see how it would really be impactful to work with him (aspiring SF models, are you writing that down??).

The judges were Dario SmithGwen Wright and Joyce Hu the BookR. I spoke with Joyce a little bit about her work before her event duties required her attention.  She runs a modeling booking platform in Sausalito, which allows models to have control of their own careers, which I think is really important. She also happens to have a beautiful and elegant presence.

Here are some images of the looks; the use of needle work netting in this photo below was incredible.


My favorite look was look 4…I loved the black sheer, the hair and the model, whose name is Hart.


The winner, however, was look # 2 inspired by the peacock. I am sure there were more elaborations on what inspired each look, but the acoustics made it hard to hear and so I missed some of the details. Here was the winning look below. Congrats to Avital Elgaziel and Jerushalem Weaver of Avital Beauty Lounge!


Over all, it was a good event. I met some interesting contacts that I look forward to seeing at future events. For more photos, check out the SFFAMA blog.

by Nkechi Njaka

Digitally Chic: Meet the SF Fashion Geeks and Fashion Freaks

There’s hoping! When Lexie invited me to attend Digitally Chic’s Summer Fling at the San Francisco W, I couldn’t refuse the offer. Described as an event to mix and mingle with SF fashion nerds and techies, discussing trends and tech topics while sipping delicious cocktails, what person would resist such an opportunity?!!  Certainly, not I, since I might even consider myself a bit of a fashion freak….

The only place I felt I failed in preparation, was in showing up in a vintage blouse, my favorite Top Shop navy blazer with dark Theory skinny denim and camel color ankle booties. I should have maybe dressed according to theme with some great, flirty, colorful pieces– maybe a killer neon and white pairing or a fabulous peach and fuchsia color block dress…but no. Since I had other meetings before this event, I chose to dress less radically and went for a more conservative look. This photo was taken right outside the Academy of Arts University, where Lexie and I were scouting for sf street fashion inspirations (that post will come later!). So back to the event at the W….

The ladies behind Digitally Chic are Ashley GustafsonNatalie Grinnell and Angelica Benjamin. Aren’t they adorable? They host fashion/tech events every month, so I am super excited to spend more time with them and their friends!

The event was great! We met some really wonderful and inspiring people, and I am happy to share with you who they are and what they are doing.

I met a lovely fashion blogger named Cheryl van den Berg who has an amazing style blog called Oh to Be a Muse. She just moved to the Bay Area with her tech hubby so they were the perfect Digitally Chic pair.

I aso met the lovely ladies Emily and Jennifer  of SnobSwap, a cute online marketplace where fashionistas can swap, sell, and shop for coveted fashion and luxury brand clothing, handbags, and accessories. Its a great concept, and plan on using it! They are based out of DC and I love that they are also new in the SF fashion scene just like me!
One of the founders of Digitally Chic, I discovered, has an excellent personal blog too. Check out the day to day writings of Angelica Benjamin. She had to dash off to another event, but I look forward to reading about her and running into her at other events in the future!
I also met Erica Takeuchi from Sneekpeeq, which is another cool social marketplace that is currently partnered with Facebook. I love the layout of the sight– they do a lot of marketing for the listings so that the seller/retailer/distributor doesn’t have to. Think Spotify for clothes. It’s something that I plan on looking more into for ArielSimone.
Of course we will keep you posted on other events and people we meet! It was super fun. As I asked earlier, who can resist meeting cute fashion/tech people, drinking champy and eating a baby blue frosted cake???! Not I! SOOOO glad I made it out to the W last night!
by Nkechi Njaka

Selling to Boutiques pt.1

As you know, we are  repping ArielSimone in SF. The cool thing about the SF fashion community is that it has amazing resources for people of all experience levels. Online video forums, meetup groups and seminars are held weekly with industry leaders to mentor and advise next generation designers, rising fashion entrepreneurs and other up and coming industry people.  It truly feels like a community where everyone is sharing their information to groom everyone’s success.

Something that was particularly resourceful for us, since we are creating our strategy for selling in SF, was this video produced by Altitude Showroom. Watch Karri Ann Frerichs, a fashion sales rep, describe what boutique and buyers are looking for.

In summary, these are the things that matter most: