Tag Archives: Fashion Design

#UCStyleFiles advice from a “rare bird”: Iris Apfel’s key to success

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Finally, successful businesswomen are coming forward to reveal that their career paths didn’t necessarily follow the straight path they were expecting.  While Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg encourages women to “lean in” and not sacrifice their careers for an equally important role as wives and mothers, fashion icon Iris Apfel explains that she never had a “plan” to begin with.

Iris Apfel, who is a self-proclaimed “geriatric” socialite,  boasts quite the resumé. She began as an editorial writer for Women’s Wear Daily, became a successful business owner and textile designer and later, an interior decorator, fashion designer, fashion professor, and style icon.  But the key to Apfel’s abundant success was that she always followed her own path.  Apfel asserts, “Doing your own thing is very good. . . if you have a thing to do.”

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Ursuline College’s 15th Annual Faculty Lecture Series to celebrate the “Best Closet in Cleveland”

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With over 3,500 pieces of 20th Century American fashion donated by Greater Clevelanders, Ursuline College’s Historic Costume Study Collection has been dubbed the “Best Closet in Cleveland.” In honor of its upcoming 30th Anniversary, the College’s 15th Annual Faculty Lecture Series will focus on the collection. Constance Korosec, Ph.D., Chair and Professor of Fashion and Historic Costume Study Collection Curator will present the lecture Tuesday, April 8, 2014 at 7PM in the Mullen Little Theater at Ursuline College.

“Each year, all of us at Ursuline look forward to the Faculty Lecture Series, when we can share our fabulous faculty’s expertise with the greater Cleveland community. This spring we are especially excited to focus on our fashion program, which will be celebrating a hallmark anniversary this fall. Korosec is a well-known speaker and her lecture promises to be both educational and enjoyable,” said JoAnne Podis, Ph.D., Ursuline College’s Vice President of Academic Affairs.

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A look inside the Cleveland garment industry: Joseph & Feiss employees are pictured at work. (Image via Google Images).

#UCStyleFiles On Location: The History of the Cleveland Garment Industry

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Joseph & Feiss employees pose for a photo around their sewing machines. FACT: the work in garment factories was gendered, women typically did the sewing/construction jobs, while men did the pressing. (Image via Google Images)

 

A look inside the Cleveland garment industry: Joseph & Feiss employees are pictured at work. (Image via Google Images).

A look inside the Cleveland garment industry: Joseph & Feiss employees are pictured at work. (Image via Google Images).

You might not know it, but Cleveland was once considered the center of the American garment industry as it was one of the largest garment manufacturing cities next to New York. What is also little known is the importance of the Jewish community to the success of Cleveland’s garment industry.

Maltz Museum

Located in Beachwood, OH–This amazing resource gives us a look into not only the history of the Jewish community, but also serves a an insight into Cleveland’s history as a whole.

 

#UCStyleFiles went on location to the Maltz Museum of Jewish Heritage for Dr. Connie Korosec’s FH 300 Color and Presentation Board class to learn history of Cleveland’s (and the Jewish community’s) role in the garment manufacturing industry as we viewed a very special lecture from Sean Martin, associate curator for Jewish history at the Western Reserve Historical Society. (Martin is the author of several articles about Cleveland and Polish Jewish history, and is currently working on his next project–a history of Cleveland’s garment industry).

Cleveland's rich history comes alive for FH 300 students at the Maltz Museum of Jewish Heritage.

Cleveland’s rich history comes alive for FH 300 students at the Maltz Museum of Jewish Heritage.

Martin’s lecture outlined the growth and decline of the local garment industry. As quoted in the Cleveland Jewish News, Martin states, “Jews immigrated to America in the 1880s and 1920s when consumer goods were taking off, and they were able to get into the garment industry” (Cleveland Jewish News). Further, Martin reveals,  “As Jewish families brought more family members to the U.S., they went into business with them or established enterprises of their own which supported the garment industry” (CJN).

knitting machine

Advancements in technology such as this knitting machine allowed manufacturing companies to efficiently create intricate fabrics for garments, and produce sweater knits.

 

Compex, woven textiles were made possible with the emergence of new technology in Cleveland's manufacturing companies.

Compex, woven textiles were made possible with the emergence of new technology in Cleveland’s manufacturing companies.

As noted in the Cleveland Jewish News article, Cleveland’s garment manufacturing companies included Joseph and Feiss on West 53rd Street, which lasted until the 1990s; Richman Brothers, on 55th Street, one of the largest clothing chains in America in the 1950s; Work Wear, which manufactured and rented out uniforms; and Ohio Knitting Mills–it is noted that this company had more than 1,000 workers in it’s heyday. Moreover, Ohio Knitting Mills now exists on Perkins Avenue in Cleveland.

 

My great-grandfather, Harry Blank was an employee of Joseph & Feiss, which makes this part of Cleveland history a family legacy for my family.

My great-grandfather, Harry Blank was an employee of Joseph & Feiss, which makes this part of Cleveland history a family legacy for me and my family.

Joseph & Feiss holds particular importance to me, as I have a personal connection to the rich history of Cleveland’s garment industry: my great-grandfather, Harry Blank (a tailor from a long line of tailors) immigrated from Montreal, Quebec, Canada to work at Joseph & Feiss (as a tailor, of course, his job was to cut and measure cloth). In fact, my great-grandfather wasn’t my only family member involved in the garment industry: His brother, (great-uncle Sam) was a master tailor at Bullocks in Beverly Hills, who designed and made clothes for actors and actresses and very wealthy people.

Joseph & Feiss was once a booming business, a leading manufacturing company.

Joseph & Feiss was once a booming business, a leading manufacturing company.

Though the Joseph & Feiss building is a shell of what it once was, the building remains as an important landmark, a reminder of our successful history in the garment industry. (image via Google Images)

Though the Joseph & Feiss building is a shell of what it once was, the building remains as an important landmark, a reminder of our successful history in the garment industry. (image via Google Images)

 

Originally a dry goods store (they sold the cloth and raw materials) from Meadville, PA, Joseph & Feiss began under the name Koch & Loeb before changing its name to Kaufman Koch–they established a wholesale store on 82 Superior Street in Cleveland after realizing the demand for ready-to-wear clothing had increased during the war. Eventually the name was changed again to Joseph & Feiss in 1907 after partners Isaac and Moritz Joseph and Julius Feiss. The company relocated again to 2149 W. 53 Street in 1920. Joseph & Feiss owed their success to heavily advertising its $14 blue serge suit, which was dubbed the “Model T” of the clothing industry, a staple piece for the “Clothcraft” company. According to the Encyclopedia of Cleveland, Joseph & Feiss improved its efficiency “by introducing new methods, machines, and scientific management to improve its production and to cut costs.” Fast forward a few years, and Joseph & Feiss went on to merge with Phillips-Van Heusen Corp. in 1966 while still under the same name and Cleveland operations. Joseph & Feiss continued produce and sell tailored men’s apparel under the Cricketeer and Country Britches label and in 1980, it add tailored clothes for women to its line. In 1989,Joseph & Feiss was acquired by Hugo Boss AG, a West German clothing and accessory firm and it became a division of its subsidiary, T.J.F.C. Inc. of New York (Encyclopedia of Cleveland).

In 1995 the company had 800 workers in the Cleveland area. “The following year, facing stiff competition from lower-priced imports and a growing acceptance among Americans for casual clothing, Joseph & Feiss discontinued production of its Cricketeer and Country Britches labels and subsequently layed off over 200 workers” (Encyclopedia of Cleveland). In 1997, Joseph & Feiss again relocated its manufacturing operations from its W. 53rd St. plant to its distribution center on Tiedeman Road in BROOKLYN. Today, Joseph & Feiss, and its nearly 450 employees, continues to produce suits, sport coats, and slacks for the upscale Hugo Boss brand (Encyclopedia of Cleveland).

Fortunately, there are continuing efforts to bring the garment industry back to Cleveland, including The Factory 2.0, an incubator company founded by Clevelander Devin Vandermaas. The Factory 2.0 helps manage local fashion designers who are trying to break into the growing industry.

Click to read more about Joseph & Feiss and Cleveland’s History:

 http://ech.case.edu/cgi/article.pl?id=JFC

http://www.clevelandjewishnews.com/news/local/article_ca874980-47e9-11e3-9ea2-0019bb2963f4.html

Photo via: http://jenesequa.com
The Met Ball has come along way from it's (humble) beginnings.

#UCStyleFiles The History of the Met Ball

beyonce-vogue-7may13-rex_b_240x360You’re Cordially Invited:

Fashion Focus is pleased to announce that we will be hosting our first ever Met Ball fashioned after the annual event which is hosted at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC. This event will take place on Saturday, November 23, 2013 from 7:00 P.M-11:00 P.M and centers around a “Retro” theme, a tribute to fashion from the 1930’s-50’s. This amazing event will allow students to show off their skills either as fashion designers or stylists for the event–with entry submissions due November 16th—with a chance to win our Best Dressed Award. The proceeds raised at the Met Ball will go to our annual Toys for Tots collection drive. The event is open to all Ursuline students, faculty, staff, and alumni. Tickets are $10.00 and will be sold on Wednesday November 20 from 12:00 P.M. (Noon) until 5:00 P.M. in the Besse Library hallway. Tickets will also be available for purchase on the night of the ball, so arrive dressed for the ball and purchase a ticket at the door! We hope to see you there! -xoxo

Below is a brief history as we honor the roots of the most spectacular event of the year.

The History of the Met Gala:

Guests attending the Met Ball arrive in original designed wearable pieces of art that are designed to correspond with each year’s theme. The public interest and success of the Met Ball is of course dependent on its A-list attendees, stunning museum exhibition, as well as what is so elloquently described as “the masses of couture, vintage, and fashion-forward designs worn by the well-groomed attendees,” thus all of these elements make this event a rival to the Oscars (History of the Met Ball).

Photo via: http://jenesequa.com The Met Ball has come along way from it's (humble) beginnings.

Photo via: http://jenesequa.com
The Met Ball has come along way from it’s (humble) beginnings.

The first Ball was held in December 1948 and women paid $50 for the chance to wear gowns from the Costume Institute’s archive. In 1960, the event was coined the “Metropolitan Museum Fashion Ball” which hosted a select group of celebs and Manhattan’s elite members of society.

In 1971, Diana Vreeland helped transform The Met Gala into the extravagant event it is today.

In 1971, Diana Vreeland helped transform The Met Gala into the extravagant event it is today.

Another change came along in 1971, Vogue alumn Diana Vreeland took the position as the consultant to the Costume Institute at the Metropolitan Museum and took the annual gala to a new level, charging $150 for the extravagant event such as Romantic and Glamorous Hollywood Design and Fashions of the Hapsburg Empire which allowed for guests to dress accordingly in elaborately constructed outfits to illustrate the theme of the event. The success of the event was evident as it was called “The Party of the Year.” Today, the Met Gala continues to transform with the scariest–yet most powerful and influential woman at the helms, Anna Wintour. As Vogue took on a new look putting celebrities on its front covers, Anna Wintour transformed the look of the Met Gala into what is called the “Tour du Force” that it has become today (History of the Met Gala).

The Devil Wears--themed, wearable art? The Met Gala was placed in good hands as Anna Wintour took over as chair of the committee in 1995.

The Devil Wears–themed, wearable art? The Met Gala was placed in good hands as Anna Wintour took over as chair of the committee in 1995.

“Today, Wintour’s prominent place in the fashion industry has turned the Met Ball into a major fundraising event for the museum and her clout brings in an estimated 9 million dollars a year of donations” (History of the Met Gala).
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#UCStyleFiles Honors Designer Edith Head

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A very special “doodle” in honor of the designer behind clothing of many iconic stars such as Audrey Hepburn and Grace Kelly.
Image via Google.com

Today, Google.com’s “doodle” honors fashion designer, Edith Head (1897-1981) on what would have been her 116th birthday. Edith Head was born Edith Claire Posener in 1897 in California to Jewish immigrant parents and began her career in 1923 at the Players-Lasky Studio (Time Magazine). With dedication she worked her way up from an apprentice job, later being hired by Paramount Pictures as the first female head designer in 1938. Edith lacked experience in art and costume design, but learned diligently and was able to wow everyone with her skills she acquired on the job.

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Edith Head, shown with her most notable costume sketches. Image via Google

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This original sketch, autographed by Head, features a costume to be worn by actress Jeanmaire in Anything Goes (1956). Image via Wisconsin Center for Film & Theater Reasearch.

Eventually Edith earned her first Academy award for designing Olivia de Havilland’s “spinster” outfit in the film, The Heiress in 1949 (Time Magazine). Edith celebrated an incredible amount of success throughout her career, as she was nominated for 35 Academy Awards–As noted by biographer Sarah Fisko: this included every year from 1948 through 1966, and Edith won eight times (“Edith Head”). Edith Head won more Oscars than any woman in the industry.  Edith Head’s designs were worn by celebrities in the 1940’s and 50’s which included the likes of Ginger Rogers, Bette Davis, Sophia Loren, Grace Kelly, Audrey Hepburn, Elizabeth Taylor, and Natalie Wood (Time Magazine).

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Grace Kelly wore this stunning satin gown designed by Edith Head to the 27th Annual Academy Awards as she accepted her Best Actress aaward for her role in the 1955 film, “The Country Girl.” (Image via Time Magazine)

Edith Head stood out from her male counterparts in the industry because her of “low-key” working style, often meeting exclusively with her clients. It is also noted that other studios would “loan” Edith Head’s services out to other production companies per the request of celebrities.  “Hollywood fashion designer Edith Head was the consummate movie designer. Edith was the go to designer and her designs are a legendary in the motion picture business. Edith understood color and fit.  Each of her movie creations often made the actual actress more famous.  Movie directors would ask for her to be on the movie production team. Her designs are one of the most photographed in the world. Edith Head won countless awards but her most cherished was the Oscar!”–Dr. Constance Korosec (Professor and Chair Fashion Ursuline College)

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(As quoted in Time Magazine’s article) Head once said, “There isn’t anyone I can’t make over.”

I happened to know quite a few dedicated Audrey Hepburn fans, here is what they had to say about Edith Head’s most notable “It Girl”:

Dr. Rachel Meyer, “Audrey Hepburn is one of many celebrities that served as the personality or inspiration behind Edith’s designs. It was in part Audrey’s popularity that gave life to the famous outfits.”

Becca Wrenn: “Audrey Hepburn’s style, often made possible by legendary designer Edith Head, continues to inspire me. She always presented her style as classic, minimal and elegant. My favorite Edith Head and Audrey Hepburn collaboration was in Billy Wilder’s film Sabrina. The costumes represented the character’s transformation and told the Cinderella story so well.”

Becca's favorite Edith Head design was featured in the movie "Sabrina" starring the iconic star, Audrey Hepburn.

Becca’s favorite Edith Head design was featured in the movie “Sabrina” starring the iconic star, Audrey Hepburn.

Brittney Edelman: “What inspires me about Audrey Hepburn’s style is how her clothes were seamless additions to her persona. Her garments didn’t own her or ever overwhelm. They accompanied and enhanced her personality and star power. Blacks, creams, chic hats and perfect dresses. Her style wasn’t all about clothes, either. Audrey’s impeccable style oozed from the tips of her polished brown hair to her groomed eyebrows, flawless skin and gazelle-like neck. She is the embodiment of classic.”
A montage of Brittney's favorite looks as worn by Audrey Hepburn.

A montage of Brittney’s favorite looks as worn by Audrey Hepburn.

#UCStyleFiles Setting the Mood with Color

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There’s no better way to illicit drama, mood, and emotion than to express them with color. Whether you’re thinking about fashion, marketing, branding, interior design, or graphic design color plays a momentous role in the overall composition.

What does your favorite color say about you?

Image via Pinterest: What does your favorite color say about you?

People tend to want to immerse themselves in an atmosphere that brings them comfort: If you think of something cool and calming, you’re probably thinking about the ocean. Thus, going with a cool, peaceful, beachy color scheme can provide a relaxing environment for a bedroom, or an office.

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(Image via Pinterest) A light and airy color scheme brings peace and relaxation to your office space.

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(Image Via Pinterest) Soft neutral colors can also illicit a calming effect where you need it the most!

It is no coincident that both of these offices utilize a cool color scheme, because the office isn’t always the most relaxing place. But what about your outfit? Have you ever asked yourself why you chose THAT top? There’s a room in my house, decorated with a blue-gray color palette which is were I find my serenity—and find it almost impossible to leave this room to get to class! One day I chose to wear a Free People top of a similar hue so as to mimic the peaceful surroundings of my favorite room–and this is something I did subconsciously.

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Want to have that upper edge on a first date or job interview? Consider the message your color choice sends. (Via Google Images).

In terms of fashion, our style trends follow a seasonal color palette which helps set the mood for the season. With the seasonal color forecast in mind, you can still observe the initial mood or emotion each color presents. If you choose to stick with a neutral or monochromatic color scheme, you can accessorize add playful pops of color according to a mood you want to create.

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BOLD and dynamic, this outfit can suggest that the woman wearing it is a powerful, ambitious person.

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Adding a soft yellow blazer to a black dress creates a cheerful, yet sophisticated look.

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Add the right amount of drama to your monochromatic look with a pop of color!