Shopping

Poor Cat Designs Shows Us How to Throw a Proper Arm Party

theupdatedfriendshipbraceletFriendship bracelets have been all the rage in the last couple of years and Poor Cat Designs has brought us super cool yet chic and timeless options to add to our arm parties! From personalized ID bars to a fun array of charms that will fit just about anyone’s personality, the possibilities really become endless! We absolutely love Poor Cat Designs‘ take on the friendship bracelet!

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News, Shopping, Take Note

Shopbevel.com Allows Indie Jewelry Designers to Show Off Their Skills

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“Crowdfunded fashion: so hot right now.Patrick Robinson recently launched his new clothing brand via Kickstarter. Hong Kong startup ZaoZao is making inroads in Asia, introducing online shoppers to the region’s up-and-coming designers. And New York-based Cut on Your Bias is giving users a chance to actually participate in designing the garments its indie label’s create.

Only time will tell whether or not any of these concepts have lasting power. The first round of crowdfunded and crowdsourced fashion—most notably Fashion Stake,launched in 2010 as a crowdfunded site and relaunched as a traditional e-commerce sites under new owners Fab.com in 2011—weren’t so successful. When it came down to it, shoppers didn’t want to design their own clothes, or even vote on designs. Too much work.

However, entrepreneur Courtney McColgan thinks that these days—that is, two years later—customers want a bit of say. Maybe not complete control, but at least some input. That’s why she’s launched Shopbevel, which helps indie jewelry designers get their work shown to thousands of online shoppers. “Designers submit designs, the community votes, and Shopbevel produces selected winners,” the site concisely explainsScreen Shot 2013-03-18 at 5.14.28 PM

But what makes McColgan, who has raised $750,000 in seed funding from venture capital firms including Lightbank (run by two Groupon founders) and Great Oaks (early investors in Warby Parker and Bonobos), think it’s going to work this time around? “Jewelry designers are very widespread—and there’s a lot of them,” says the Stanford Business School grad, who counts ex-Threadless chief creative officer Jeffrey Kalmikoff as an advisor.

Indeed, Threadless is a much bigger inspiration for McCoglan than Kickstarter. Every piece produced is under $100, and Shopbevel takes care of the difficult part of the business—producing the product and holding the inventory.The designer receives a 15% royalty on every piece sold—not much, but then again he or she doesn’t have to worry about the backend stuff. Plus, there’s plenty of free marketing and exposure.

That’s not to say production has been easy for McColgan to pull off. “Obviously jewelry is harder than t-shirts,” she says. To figure out the manufacturing side of things, she spends half of her time abroad visiting factories and also scouting for new designers. (It helps that she spent four years before grad school helping to launch a non-profit in China. She took a year off from undergrad just to learn Chinese.)

McColgan has also had a tiny bit of practice. She initially launched Shopbevel under the name Crowd Jewel at the end of 2011 (with a $50,000 investment). Crowd Jewel hosted its first contest in January 2012, attracting 68 designers and 4,500 votes—she sold 20 pieces of jewelry in that first round. Shopbevel is like Crowd Jewel 2.0, just with lots more funding and a much more robust manufacturing program.

Will shoppers bite? Check out Shopbevel.com and let us know what you think.” – Fashionista

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Inspiration, Shoe Porn

Jenna Lyons’ Insane Shoe Collection

Ever wondered what it would be like to own a whopping 289 pairs of shoes? Well wonder no more because J. Crew’s creative director, Jenna Lyons, is coming out about her insane shoe collection! In the latest episode of J.Crew on Film, Lyons talks all about the traffic-stopping, outfit-making, mood-lifting power of a great pair of heels and takes us on a trip to Pisa, Italy, where J. Crew’s collection is brought to life in a small workshop.

“Shoes are like fairies… with that little magical piece that finishes everything.” – Jenna Lyons

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Images and video courtesy of J. Crew

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Color Theory, Shopping

Color Theory | Neon vs Silver

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NEON

1. The 2 Bandits earrings

2. Poor Cat Designs bracelets

3. Matt Bernson flats

4. LAYLAJOY heels

5. t+j Designs necklace

SILVER

1. The 2 Bandits cuff

2. t+j Designs bracelet

3. Karen London necklace

4. Matt Bernson flats

5. Poor Cat Designs charms

6. LAYLAJOY heels

 

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Daily Dose of Pretty, Events, News, Take Note

Dreaming of “Paris Haute Couture” Exhibit

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Probably one of the most over-used and misused terms in fashion these days is “haute couture,” which translates to “high sewing” meaning that it is made with the finest fabrics, carefully sewn by hand, and has incredible attention to detail.  With ready-to-wear pieces now costing sometimes upwards of thousands, it is easy to see where the confusion could come in.

Thankfully the Hôtel de Ville in Paris has created the exhibit, “Paris Haute Couture,” with help from sponsor Swarovski, who has been helping couture pieces dazzle since they were created to show what haute couture truly means.

The exhibit, which runs through July 6, 2013, shows the history of haute couture through video and photos as well to help viewers understand the complete process of creating the impecable garments.  And of course there are over 100 dresses, from well and lesser-known designers, to make you truly appreciate these works of art.

“A darling pink taffeta dress from Yves Saint Laurent’s short tenure at Dior is there, alongside the work of the house’s namesake and its last designer, John Galliano. And it’s interesting to compare the Chanel skirt suits—one by Coco Chanel, the other by Karl Lagerfeld—next to each other. There are plenty of gowns from lesser-known designers as well, offering a bit of surprise alongside the standards.” –Fashionista

If you’re like me and most likely won’t make it to Paris in time to see this incredible exhibit, then head over to Fashionista to see their incredible slideshow complete with videos and photos from the exhibit.  It will leave you saying J’adore haute couture!

Paris Haute Couture from Swarovski on Vimeo.

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