Category Archives: Fashion

Fashion and Style Reign in Ukraine

Fashion Designer, Ksenia Schnaider talks to FUTURE NOTION on Style post-Soviet.

When one thinks of Fashion in Europe, one thinks Paris, Paris Fashion Week, Paris Couture, Parisiennes. Hardly anyone thinks of Kiev, Ukraine, and neither did we….until now.

Fashion folk, we bring you Ksenia Schnaider – the cooler, friendlier, hipsterer, smarter label that packs more style vision into one season than Kanye ever did.

Ksenia Schnaider Patch work blouse from FUTURE NOTION $235

Ksenia Schnaider Patch work blouse from FUTURE NOTION $235

The achingly cool label debuted their line of menswear and womenswear with a stark, surreal digital fashion show fitting its overarching theme of religion and simplicity. Weaving sartorial elements from monks, nuns and mormons into a tight, cohesive collection of casual downtown separates and dresses, the show comes complete with an uber-cool soundtrack you can access from the front row of your computer.

Ksenia Schnaider Silk Shirt with Contrast Collar at FUTURE NOTIONKsenia Schnaider Men's Short Sleeve Cotton Shirt at FUTURE NOTION $105

Ksenia Schnaider Silk Shirt with Contrast Collar at FUTURE NOTION $209

Thus far, this infant of a label shows a greater maturity than many new brands, as Ksenia has been designing her own label, X’u for the last 5 years. However, wanting to fulfill  a more artistic vision of collaborations with artists and musicians, which would be misleading for X’u’s current aesthetic of a carefree, teen spirit style, she hatched her eponymous label, Ksenia Schnaider.

Ksenia admits that starting a Fashion label in Kiev is especially tough when you are based in a post-Soviet Union country. There were moments of doubt and downs, but she refuses to see the doom, but lives for affirmations such as accolades from the fashion press and strong sales. She draws inspiration from elements that surround her like her feelings in real time, her friends’ stories and her husband, Anton who designed the musical magic accompanying her Digital Fashion show. The new mum also draws strength and focus from motherhood.

Ksenia Schnaider Patch work blouse and Midi length skirt available at FUTURE NOTION

In the long run, Ksenia expects the brand to be a guiding light and inspiration for other aspiring fashion designers in Ukraine and while staying true to their original vision of simple beauty and strength – very much like herself, we think.

Watch Ksenia Schnaider’s SS12 Digital Fashion Show:

Ksenia Schnaider S/S12 Show from ksenia schnaider on Vimeo.

Shop the entire Ksenia Schnaider Collection at FUTURE NOTION to up your style quotient.

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FUTURE NOTION is a social commerce start up for Fashion & Product Designers…

We’ve spent some time covering the trials and tribulations of the Designers that we carry and we thought it might be fitting to tell you about what FUTURE NOTION goes through! (full confession ahead!)

FUTURE NOTION, is a social commerce start up for Fashion and Product Designers, and like any new business, traction is always hard to gain especially in the face of super stiff competition. True, there are a plethora of tools out there to help a new business get started – Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Google+, StumbleUpon, Pinterest, Digg, FFFOUND, Svpply, Polyvore, headhurtingyet? Let’s not even start on advertising, okay? But the question remains – how?

FUTURE NOTION is a Social Commerce start up for Fashion and Design.

No doubt social media is definitely a boon to any emerging business, that is definitely not the issue here. The point is HOW to harness the effectiveness of social media to build your business. The theory of it sounds lovely, but the practice of it is a different story.

We at FUTURE NOTION, find that a combination of tools such as FacebookTwitterPinterest and Stumbleupon definitely helps in traffic. This works for us, and might not work for everyone. We are an image driven site, with original blog content so images are submitted to Pinterest (follow us follow us!) Blog posts and new designers are tweeted about and these get fed back into Facebook. What do YOU use?

FUTURE NOTION is a web2.0 company - gaining traction is NOT easy!

The other day we added a few pins of new products onto our FUTURE NOTION PINTEREST board which barely garnered any response. That was slightly depressing given how Pinterest is the new Social Media darling and drives traffic in droves. We almost gave up. BUT we added another pin that sought to drive traffic to one of our previous blog posts, and voila, the chain reaction was amazing. Almost immediately, traffic went up, the pin was re-pinned and liked and that was encouraging to us! Our point is this – it takes time to understand the mechanics of each Social Media Channel, much like it takes time to understand one’s customer base. So, time is all it takes – but for a lean operation, WHO HAS THE TIME?!?!?! That is something we are still trying to figure out, so if our SM strategy might seem sketchy, we are sorry but we are working on it, believe us!

Search Engine Optimization. I love how happy this term sounds, optimization / optimize / optimisticHaha, not entirely related..SEO is definitely a crucial component to any business seeking to grow their traffic organically (read: no beeg beeg advertising budget) It is the cornerstone of the web business and it does work if enough time, effort and intelligence is spent on it. BUT, again, who has the time, riiiight? Our advice is to pick a few words and optimize the heck out of it – make a conscious effort to work on those few words and there will be rewards.

Here’s what we have done, hopefully you might find it of use.

1. Install WordPress SEO by Yoast.

Can’t stress the importance of this enough. It’s basically a walk through for any new blogger or website (if you are on wordpress that is, but if you are on another blogging CMS, there should be a solution too. Just google it.)

2. Pay special care and attention to:

Title – make sure your keyword is inside it. work that right brain.

Meta Description – also make sure a keyword is inside. work that right brain harder.

H1 / H2 (for those who don’t know what this means, it simply stands for Header 1 and Header 2. easy peasy. Header 1 is important, okay?)

Keywords

Don’t stuff it – anything beyond 8-10 keywords is stuffing. That’s the threshold.

Follow these steps for a start, and you can progress to something more advanced once you have that nailed. baby steps, k..if you need further explanation, emailinfo@futurenotion.com, we will be more than happy to share our knowledge.

Administratively, it is also a challenge to implement best practices, some sort of workflow system and operational procedures. There are tools out there, of course, but sometimes, especially in more creative businesses, it is tough to carry it through, but needs must.

Cash flow – that is something ALL businesses face, unless you are Apple and have something like 40billion in cash just sitting pretty, you will face this problem.

What are some of the problems YOU face in your design / creative business? Share it with us okay?

Fashion Designer, Irina Gustavsson talks to Future Notion about her tattoos and fashion views.

Berlin-based Irina Gustavsson of irinalaaja is one Fashion Designer who we think will clearly go the distance…

Displaying the ingredients needed for serious Fashion chops – a need to put utmost energy into her work, trying against all odds and she even has a tattoo of a sewing machine! Chekkit…

Ultimate Fashion branding - Irina Gustavsson tattoos a sewing machine on her arm.
Ultimate Fashion branding – Irina Gustavsson tattoos a sewing machine on her arm.

Her label, irinalaaja is a journey in the making and a story of the trump card nature has over nurture.

Irina’s parents are both artists and her mother used to sew her clothes when she was a child. Even then, she would display a sharp sense of what she wanted by crying whenever a detail didn’t look right. This frustration of a wee child led to her making, or rather, remaking, her own clothes as she grew older. At the age of 17, after many fashion design disasters, she began studying the craft.

Although her taste in fashion might veer on the course of avant garde and her inspirations tipping on the scale of melancholic, she doesn’t see herself as such. Instead, she views her work as a kind of therapy that helps her overcome negative emotions that might have been borne through hard times, preferring to visualise beauty in the destroyed, weird and rough as opposed to a manufactured, sculpted perfection. Very much like her inexplicable inclination towards the number 7 and machines (that explains the sewing machine tattoo)

Intrigued? Experience the fashion of irinalaaja yourself today and be sucked into her esoteric world where seahorses rule, and straightjackets are cool..

Hi Fashion, Meet your Sister, Hard Work…

The Fashion Business is a deceptively breezy one. It appears glamorous, heck, FASHION IS glamorous – look it up in any Dictionary and I guarantee you’d find a picture of Kate Moss striking a pose-just kidding!  But the truth of the matter is that it takes hard work, an astute business mind, an unerring taste level and a passion for Fashion so deep that it your pockets aren’t just empty but burningly so.

So, you’re a Fashion Designer who really wants your Fashion Business to succeed – please know that building a sustainable company in the often finicky world of Fashion, Fun and Frivolity is not, well, frivolous nor always fun…BUT! it can be done, many have done it, and you can too! 🙂

The first and most important point is to get your pricing correct. Yes, it is easy to just say I want to sell a dress for $800 because that is the way it should be, but will it alienate your customer? Does it reflect accurately the quality of the work. MOST IMPORTANTLY, do you make a profit? If your piece requires hand sewn beads and torched lace, then chances are, $800 is your cost price and you can spend the next few months starving. So, get pricing right okay? VERRRRY important. You DO want to live to see the next collection. (It might be wise to also start getting some consumer confidence and eyeballs on your brand by selling at FUTURE NOTION (just sayin’) )

Once you nail that down, it is time to get some customers and buyers – a.k.a the bread and butter of your business. Fashion buyers are not an easy lot to please, and many of them have a very precise vision of what they’d want their store to look like, so be patient and polite as traipsing from one buying meeting to another is super stressful!

So, but you know, once you got that done, you are a bona fide Fashion Designer. It IS gratifying, that’s for sure…and don’t worry, humble pie is something many have eaten – just think of it as an appetizer to the juicy steak of success that is coming soon.

Rebecca Minkoff, we all know is a super successful Accessories Designer who has had a long and illustrious career, but read on for what it took for her to get to where she is today. (the take we get from it is that, well, credit card debt ain’t thatUNcommon in the pursuit of a career as a Designer and as an Entrepreneur – perhaps we should cover Entrepreneurs and Designers who have gotten themselves into some kind of Debt before Distinction.)

So now that you know a little more on how business is conducted in the Fashion World, jump at it & drink tons of Champagne while you’re at it okay?

Online Shopping List for Middle of Fashion Week Bliss

Need a Shopping Spree that you can immediately enjoy after following the Fashion Weeks’ news?

Check out these choice picks at FUTURE NOTION!
Ksenia Schnaider Jersey Dress, $319
Ksenia Schnaider Jersey Dress, $319
Camilla Wellton Ceti Top, $145
Camilla Wellton Ceti Top, $145
MODEMENT Lace Up Boot, $369
MODEMENT Lace Up Boot, $369
Irinalaaja Sexy vs Straightjacket Dress, $195
Irinalaaja Sexy vs Straightjacket Dress, $195
darkcloudsilver Sterling Silver headphones Pendant, $390
darkcloudsilver Sterling Silver headphones Pendant, $390
De Siena Mary Jane Pumps, $850
De Siena Mary Jane Pumps, $850

There’s No Business like Fash Business

Building a business from scratch is not easy. Building a Fashion Business, with its double whammy of competition and saturation is even more difficult. Building a Fashion EMPIRE…well, whooooo, well..but it can be done. Baby steps okay?

But as they say, those who can, Design, get a guest judge gig, get a tanan IPO, anda few Fashion week shows thrown. (feelin’ like an underachiever? who? ME? no, not really, okay a little.)

Being able to craft a collection and mould a piece of clothing, art or furniture out of a 2 dimensional piece of material is a talent, and one that should be celebrated. Everybody’s gotta start from somewhere, I mean, c’mon Rome wasn’t built in a day, yes?

Here are some basic things to do if the going gets tough! 

1. Work on outward facing situations first – if a seam needs to get fixed, fix it, if resolutions need to get adjusted, do it, if logos need to be re-worked, fire up photoshop or illustrator. These things tell people you are meticulous and care about your brand.

2. Get your Collections visible. Get your own online store, sell on (ahem, shamless plug) FUTURE NOTION, walk around stores in your neighborhood to ask about consignment opportunities. Get the word of your brand out there! Connect, connect, connect!

3. Get Social – Facebook, twitter, yes, there are many social media channels out there, and it will seem daunting. But instead of being overwhelmed, think of it as a glass full of opportunity and publicity channels for YOU!

4. Send a nicely crafted email out to friends and press. It’s free. again, IT’S FREE! Some free tools you might want to use are mailchimpconstant contact and vertical response.

5. Always respond to emails and Deliver top notch Customer Service. If you missed one or two, it’s okay. Just apologize profusely.

6. Remember that Fashion, like Real Estate, is CYCLICAL. Far better than WGSN and any other trend-spotting tools, is this infographic that might help you in your Merchandising next season.

Hipster Fashion Cycle - Merchandise Forecasting Remixed for being more on-trend
Hipster Fashion Cycle – Merchandise Forecasting Remixed for being more on-trend

What we would like to know is how are YOU doing? What are the challenges YOU are facing? Let us know in the comments if we can help you in any way!

FUTURE NOTION’s Shopping Widget & an Affiliate Proposal.

If you take a look-see on the right of this blog, you’d notice a new addition to our side bar – behold the FUTURE NOTION Shopping Widget!

You can also take a look at it here on our site:

PARTNERS

FUTURE NOTION shopping widget

FUTURE NOTION shopping widget

We love this super viral sales channel because it’s like a mini mall that you can take everywhere with you AND multiplies like zits on a teenager’s forehead – there ain’t no stopping it…woot..

In conjunction with launching the shopping widget, we are also launching FUTURE NOTION’s affiliate program – and frankly, it’s a win win win $ituation – ju$t $aying – drop us an email at info@futurenotion.com if you’d like to explore this option on your blog / site.

What we are looking for  are Design / Fashion / Lifestyle / Interior Design Blogs with good taste and good traffic to work with, and we have fancy things installed to track payments to you…

So whatcha waitin’ for?