Month: September 2014

PIC BOOK TARTAN MOOD

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PIC BOOK TARTAN MOOD

 

 

Sara Dal Monte

Schermata 2014/07/23 alle 22.40.56

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TARTAN & CO

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TARTAN & CO

Sorry for the easy irony .. but writing about tartan , the link ” Scottish – kilt – urban legend ” it has been too easy … please grant it ! But back serious and throw headlong into the theme of the day that goes well with the Christmas atmosphere that now you can breathe everywhere.Well…yes…we entered totally into the Christmas mood !

So, how not to talk about the much loved Tartan?! More than established season’s evergereen (as in summer are the stripes), during the winter time we become “tartan addicted” … because a tartan accessory, leaning in some corner of the house, makes immediately “Christmas time” and warms the atmosphere!

Tartan was born in the scottish Highland in 1815, with the registration of “clan tartans”, officially becoming “fabric of recognition” and distinctive sign of belonging to different clans. With its playful and colorful weave of fine threads, the tartan fabric expatriate easily winning the tastes of many. Always fashionable, from clothing to home, we find it declined in a variety of shapes, materials and colors, from the classic plaid, to the ceramics.

Sara Dal Monte

Schermata 2014/07/23 alle 22.40.56

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BEHIND THE VANS BOOM

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BEHIND THE VANS BOOM

More than a fashion trend, Vans has maintained double-digit growth for 19 consecutive quarters.

Speaks to Kevin Bailey, president of the action sports division of VF Corporation, which owns Vans, to understand the key components of the company’s strategy

LOS ANGELES, United States — “Vans was a brand that was run very emotionally,” said Kevin Bailey, president of the action sports division of VF Corporation, which owns Vans, a company with almost 50 years of heritage, as well as associations with Z-Boys Tony Alva, Jay Adams and Stacy Peralta, who created modern skateboarding in the early 1970s. “I think emotion is capable of sustaining a brand for a period of time,” continued Bailey, who previously spent time at Nike, American Eagle and Lucky Brand. “But with global growth ahead of us, if we want to reach beyond the confines of being a fairly regionally-driven brand, a Southern California brand, we really needed to understand our consumer better. Instead of being purely emotional and right-brain-driven, we had to add the left brain and get smart about it.”

Getting smart about it has led to impressive results. From 2008 to 2013, Vans grew revenues from $750 million to $1.7 billion. The second quarter of 2014 marked the company’s 19th consecutive quarter of double-digit growth. And the brand says it’s on track to reach its target of $2.9 billion in revenue by 2017. But Bailey — who returned to Vans in 2009, after a two-year absence — is already thinking beyond 2017.

“We made the decision years ago of understanding the importance of not grading ourselves against the best action sports companies, but grading ourselves against the best companies period. I think that was the biggest change we made: to behave like companies that were much bigger than us in terms of business processes and discipline.”

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REVAMPED BRAND STRATEGY

In 2004, Vans was acquired by VF Corporation, which owns Wrangler, The North Face, Timberland, Lee, Eastpak and others. The acquisition “took the heat off the company,” according to Bailey. Importantly, it also funded an 18-month survey of 26,000 consumers in 12 countries. “As we were staring to bump up against some larger brands entering our space — the traditional athletic brands in particular, who spend a lot of time and money on consumer insight and strategy development — we realised we really needed to upgrade the way we thought about the business,” explained Bailey. “We started with a qualitative study to understand consumer perceptions and consumer needs, then jumped into a quantitative study to understand their purchasing behaviour and their activity behaviour, within our space, to make sure we fully understood our consumers on a global scale.”

Following the survey, Vans defined a new target customer — “Expressive Creators” — and evolved its brand strategy. “When I was at the brand previously, we would say our pillars were art, music and street culture and they rested on a foundation that was action sports. When I returned to the brand [after Lucky Brand] I said I would like to turn this a little and think about art, music and action sports sitting on street culture, which is interchangeable with street fashion,” said Bailey. “I got some pushback inside the brand [from those who said] that I was changing the DNA and I said, ‘I don’t really think so, I am just asking you to turn it on its side.’ We have become iconic as a culture brand and, previously, I think we were trying to prevent this from being true; brands can be scared of getting big. But I believe we can open up the valve of who we are within our greater universe, without abandoning our heritage. When I was at Nike I learned not to be afraid of big goals. Not to be afraid of what the potential of a brand might be. Nike is very good at remaining aspirational while growing commercially by understanding the importance of keeping the brand sacred. Nike stands for athletic performance; we stand for creative expression.”

RESISTING THE FASHION BANDWAGON

In 2012, Céline designer Phoebe Philo reignited high fashion’s fascination with Vans’ iconic slip-on when she began wearing the original shoes and created a Céline version made with python and ponyskin. Since then, luxury brands such as Saint Laurent and Givenchy have released slip-on footwear in the same mould. “The style started as the ultimate representation of West Coast skate and surf culture, then morphed into a mainstream casual sneaker option. But like everything else in fashion, its popularity has been cyclical. Most recently, I would credit its return to the forefront of fashion to when Céline did its take on the iconic silhouette — stacked sole and luxury treatment — seasons ago,” explained Eugene Tong, style director of Details.

But while the attention has rocketed Vans into the consciousness (and wardrobes) of industry insiders, the company has been very careful to resist the urge to react to fashion’s ebb and flow. “We all know there is a slip-on that has come into trend thanks to the runway and everyone is doing it at the high end and I would envisage that by next year Spring/Summer it will be more mass driven,” said Bailey. “But Vans is not going to overly saturate that; we are going to simply state that we are the original — that we are the iconic item and let consumers choose. We want to understand trends, but not manipulate them to the point where we build a bubble and create a fad.”

“We say no to things more often than we say yes — that includes distribution offers, that includes collaborations. I would even call out price elasticity,” continued Bailey. “We have done some collaborations, like Kenzo, that we know we could put out there at a much higher suggested retail price. But it’s very important to us that pricing stays reasonable. At the end of the day, it’s a canvas, vulcanised shoe; it is important that we don’t do anything that is not authentic to the Vans brand, which was always about making quality, affordable shoes.”

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LOCALISATION AND DIGITAL

In order to better tap global growth, Vans has empowered regional managers to develop their own approaches. “This trajectory that we have had in the last 19 quarters has been because of the team’s recognition of the potential; asking how we achieve that and really freeing up the general managers to attack their own landscapes,” said Bailey. “The only thing [headquarters] really gets involved with is making sure that design remains consistent and the strategies we embrace fit within the brand.” Importantly, the company has also been “levelling the playing field” between the four regions in which it operates: Asia, Europe, North America and South America.

A focus on digital has also been critical to the company’s success. “Our target age group moves at digital speed. We believe the digital interactive space is absolutely critical and we have spent a lot of time building assets there, especially unique content through our ‘Off The Wall’ digital TV station. Our growth in social media is from a genuine two-way conversation. If people comment, they get a reply from us directly on a global scale. And we recently rolled out a new digital site to merge content and commerce and tell our brand story, as well as allow commerce to occur in a more seamless way. This is a global platform to which local regional marketing teams can apply regionalised stories.”

Thus far, the approach has been working and there is significant room for future growth. The global footwear market is set to reach $211.5 billion in 2018 and recontextualising Vans beyond action sports has positioned the company to tap a much larger percentage of this pie. “We know that we are still are small relative to the potential of the sector. If we continue to be able to transcend [action sports] and really consider what the broader opportunities are, the number could be massive.”

“We are still under-distributed — even in the US — and just taking that into consideration, we don’t see an end to our growth. All four regions have broad goals and all of them are targeting greater than good double-digit growth. We do believe this brand has a very broad and long runway ahead of us if we continue to activate it. Vans is this beautiful little gem with all these facets to it. Particularly as we expand globally, we have to be able to turn the right side of the gem to face the right consumer.”

Sara Dal Monte

Schermata 2014/07/23 alle 22.40.56

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PICK BOOK – WINTER HATS

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Sara Dal Monte

Schermata 2014/07/23 alle 22.40.56

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NAILS FOR THE CAUSE // STAND UP TO CANCER

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NAILS FOR THE CAUSE // STAND UP TO CANCER

Friday evening while watching the Stand Up To Cancer special, I was inspired to create a manicure to share here as a way to become part of the movement to bring awareness to this great charity whose mission is to raise funds to accelerate the pace of groundbreaking research that can get new therapies to patients quickly and save lives.

Each day about 1600 people in the U.S. die from cancer and that means everyone knows someone who has been affected by cancer. For me, it was my dad, who died from skin cancer when he was just 54 years old.Stand Up To Cancer brings together the best and the brightest researchers and mandates collaboration among the cancer community to help more people diagnosed with cancer become long-term survivors.

So in addition to donating, I thought I’d paint my nails for the cause as a way to help spread the word {just in case you hadn’t heard of it}. Think of all the people you can help so we can all stand up to cancer together and make a real difference.

Sara Dal Monte

Schermata 2014/07/23 alle 22.40.56

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BIKER CHIC(K): WHY YOU NEED A NEW JACKET

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BIKER CHIC(K): WHY YOU NEED A NEW JACKET

It’s officially fall now – yay! Well, according to the calendar. LA may not have many “changing” seasons, but we’re totally on board with dressing for fall regardless of the temperature, dangit. Shorts are so last week.

So, you’ve unpacked your sweaters from winter storage, you’ve hopefully gone shopping for new bottoms… But what are you gonna sport on top? Obvi, a leather moto jacket. As you can see in our gallery, there are plenty of dapper dudes and chic chicks sporting leather outerwear. Plus, we’ve included two vintage photos of biker ladies (look for the ones in black and white) which go to show that a moto jacket truly is timeless. Peep our gallery to see how many different ways you can style a leather jacket.

ROCK THIS WAY: 7 WAYS TO GRUNGE UP YOUR LOOK

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ROCK THIS WAY: 7 WAYS TO GRUNGE UP YOUR LOOK

Anyone who ever doubts that fashion is a cycle only need look at each season’s runway recaps to see that something is always making a comeback – a style or an article of clothing, if not an entire decade enjoying a resurgence. We’ve known for a while now that the ninetiesare back, and if that’s the case there’s no way you can talk about it and not mention the heyday of grunge fashion. The grunge movement may have begun years earlier in the Northwest, but by the early nineties it was a full-blown fashion genre as well, and a lasting one at that, surely to the surprise of some. Now, we can’t purport to know more about its musical origins, but we also can’t help but appreciate the comfortably nonchalant, perfectly imperfect dress style that came along with the aloof and sometimes angst-ridden attitudes of the time. Here are some of our favorite features of grunge-chic fashion along with a few girly-grunge looks…

7 Ways To Grunge Up Your Look

1. The Layers Club – Perhaps a nod to the crisp Seattle weather, layering is a major distinction of grungy dressing. There’s nothing wrong with wearing a thermal under a graphic tee under a flannel under a dumpster peacoat. (And that’s just on top!) Even if nothing is neatly tucked in, a layered outfit just tends to look put-together. Effortlessly so. Choose less substantial materials of varied lengths if you’re worried about too much bulk, and don’t forget you can always peel those layers off as the day goes on.

Outfit

Moto Dreams Faux Leather Jacket, Ribbed Apart Racerback Midi Dress, Plaid On The Back Flannel Shirt, Ride It Out Lace-Up Booties

2. Sweet-Tartan – Let’s face it, one of those layers should probably be plaid. The classic flannel is almost synonymous with this style of dress, and simply tying one around your waist is enough. But the checkered print is so signature that you could even get away with a flirtier, more fitted silhouette, so long as you pair it with some other genre-characteristic pieces. When matched with a slouchy sweater, heavy work boots, and maybe some faux leather jewelry, even a sweet skater dress can evoke the grunge vibe.

3. Aged Before Beauty – It’s also okay if you’ve scuffed up those boots or wore a hole through that graphic tee. And no problem if you’ve snagged your sweater or washed the color out of your jeans. Again, you’re not going for pretty and picture perfect here. Faded, worn-in clothing is a total do when you’re rocking the thrift store look; it gives you that edge. We’re talkin’ vintage T-shirts, secondhand jackets, ripped denim, even holey tights. Disheveled was never this desirable, busted never this beautiful.

Outfits

Mixed Media Faux Leather Cargo Jacket, I’m So Fanci Muscle Tee Tank Top, Back To Basics Slub Raglan Top, Major Crush Velvet Shift Dress

4. Hair-Don’t-Do – No need to go in for that Brazilian blowout this week, because the last thing you want here is a not-a-hair-out-of-place ‘do. As seen on the NYFW runways, bedhead and hat hair are totally in right now and exactly what you need as a finishing touch for your greasy grunge look. So tousle up that perfect mane of yours, and skip the dry shampoo and comb-through. Top it all off with a knit beanie if you can’t stand to look at it. But for once, limp, tangled tresses are gonna work for ya.

5. Boyfriend Tag – There’s something a little androgynous about the grunge look. Kurt Cobain famously wore a leopard print fur coat and floral shirt dresses. For us girls, we can forget about what our mothers taught us, ’cause it’s totally okay to slouch a little…in oversized clothes, that is. Which makes it only natural that our boyfriend jeans and boyfriend sweaters fit into the equation here. Got a big cardigan that droops a little in the front or some relaxed-fit denim that sags a little in the back? Perfect.

Outfitsss

New BF Crochet Back Knit Sweater, Rad Plaid World Skater Dress, Cut-Out Double Buckle Booties

6. Floral History – At the same time, don’t think you have to forgo all things girly to don grunge fashion. Allover floral prints are totally indicative of the decade, and you can’t go wrong with a dark-grounded motif with a small repeating pattern. Try a floral slip dress paired with a flannel and boots for a cute but carefree look. You know, a la Claire Danes during her My So-Called Life years, uh, year. Or floral combat boots, which seem to remain both classic and modern no matter what decade we are in.

7. Cool Combat – And speaking of combat boots, how did we go this long without mentioning them? A casual pair of loosely-laced work boots can transform an entire outfit, taking a flat- or heel-paired dress from cute and pretty to cool and edgy. Don’t have a pair yet? You can substitute with some buckled moto boots. Or almost anything in faux leather with a chunky heel or rugged sole. For a great modern update, try the exaggerated platform lug sole we’re seeing on shoes today. It would fit right in.

Sara Dal Monte

Schermata 2014/07/23 alle 22.40.56

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