10 Names Everyone in Fashion is Expected to Know

written by Georgia Schumacher 10 June 2014

fashion designers

Want to carve out your place in the fashion industry? The history of fashion design is filled with brave entrepreneurs and artistic trailblazers who defined the styles that surround us today—and as someone with a passion for the field, you’ll be expected to know the clothing and history of these important fashion designers. Remember, their names are more than labels or brands; they are legacies of determination and creativity.

1. Elsa Schiaparelli

This Italian designer found much of her inspiration from the Surrealism and Dada art movements. A rival of Coco Chanel, Schiaparelli is known for the avant-garde creativity in her designs, which included such oddities as a lobster dress and shoe hat.

2. Pierre Cardin

Cardin's highly original style centered around geometry, and he's attributed with creating the modern bubble dress. He later developed one of the first package trims available in American cars with the AMC Javelin's colorful interior.

3. Coco Chanel

One of the most prolific and influential fashion designers of all time, Chanel rose to fame in the 1920s with her innovative use of jersey fabric and the development of every woman's wardrobe staple: the little black dress.

4. Yves St. Laurent

This legendary designer is best known for creating the first French ready-to-wear line, as well as developing menswear styles for women, such as the innovative and renowned "Le Smoking" suit.

5. Hubert de Givenchy

Givenchy worked alongside designers Schiaparelli, Christian Dior, John Galliano and Alexander McQueen while dressing icons such as Grace Kelly. Most notably, he designed almost all of Audrey Hepburn's classic movie wardrobes.

6. Azzedine Alaïa

When Cher from Clueless insists that she can't ruin her dress by lying on the street during a robbery, she gives one reason: "It's an Alaïa." This elusive Tunisian fashion designer is known for dressing an array of celebrities while never selling out in his marketing.

7. Vivienne Westwood

Westwood began her career working for Malcolm McLaren of the Sex Pistols, and her contributions to punk fashion and new wave street style are unrivaled. Carrie Bradshaw's Vivienne Westwood wedding dress in the Sex and the City movie is considered one of the show's most notable designs.

8. Miuccia Prada

The founder of both Prada and Miu Miu, this legendary Italian designer is known for her minimalist and comfortable styles, with Miu Miu a more affordable take on her personal wardrobe.

9. Valentino Garavani

The man behind the Valentino label has designed for a collection of starlets and socialites such as Elizabeth Taylor, Audrey Hepburn, and Lee Radziwill. Jackie Kennedy's gown for her wedding to Aristotle Onassis was a Valentino original, and he's well known for his vibrantly colored "Valentino red" dresses.

10. Paul Poiret

Poiret is credited with introducing the draping technique to fashion, thus giving women an alternative to corsets and launching the modern aesthetic still seen today in fashion marketing and sales.

Interested in fashion design or fashion marketing? Learn more about our programs today!

3 Proven Sales Techniques in Fashion Marketing

written by Georgia Schumacher 30 May 2014

Fashion display

You (or your company) may have found the hottest fashion line in existence, but now you need to get it in the hands of consumers. Start by developing a sales and marketing plan with fashion marketing strategies and tactics that ensure that you get the attention of shoppers and stores worldwide.

1. Think about the whole picture

Keep the store flow in mind. Every retail store owner has a specific store flow that they use to direct customers around their location. The store layout utilizes racks, end caps, window displays, and other arrangements to show off the merchandise in a way that's accessible and desirable. Visualize what the clothing you're marketing will look like in each prime store flow location, so you can describe to the store owner exactly how well your fashion fits into their store vision. You want the store owner to realize that you know about their side of things as well and can help them make more sales.

2. Get social

Create a fashion marketing platform using social media and social networking. When you show that you already have popularity, you create a demand for your fashion designs. Whether your pieces are in front of millions on high end fashion blogs or you have a thousand dedicated fans following your or Instagram account or Tumblr, showing that people want your clothes helps business owners make their purchasing decisions. Sites such as Pinterest are particularly useful for fashion marketing, especially if you catch the ear of some of the most active pinners on the site. The visual-based medium of this site is also helpful for showing off your clothing properly, and most sites allow users to easily share content from Pinterest so it's much easier to get a viral reach throughout the Internet.

3. Put people in your clothes

Set brand ambassadors forth in the world. A brand ambassador wears your clothing and talks up your product to their peer group. You want brand ambassadors who will give your products a good reputation, so make sure that you screen potential ambassadors so you aren't on the receiving end of an embarrassing viral video campaign that shows them behaving badly. Not all press is good press, contrary to popular opinion.

Read More: http://www.specialtyretailcollective.com/traffic-flow-make-it-work-to-maximize-sales/

5 Things Store Owners & Entrepreneurial Fashion Designers Should Know about Visual Merchandising

written by Georgia Schumacher 11 April 2014


You pored over the clothing and accessory inventory selection for your store, but it's not flying off the shelves like you expected. Visual merchandising is the art and science of displaying your products, from the window displays that get people into your store to the floor plan that keeps them moving around.

Your potential customers quickly form their first impressions of your store primarily based on the visual input they receive. Effective visual merchandising is just as important to your store's success as the inventory itself. Here are a few visual merchandising tips to help your fashion design sensibilities get a business minded focus.

1. Start with a store-wide view

You want a cohesive theme among all of your store displays, so starting with an overall view of your retail floor space helps bring together. In addition, starting with the floor plan allows you to avoid creating displays that are too big for the available space or detract from the store atmosphere.

2. Show an accurate representation

In fashion design, you want your clothes to look as good as they possibly can when the model wears them on the cat walk. The same concept carries over to your store. Select displays that help your customers visualize what the clothes look like on them before they head to the dressing room.

3. Consider ease of access

Balance your floor plan between getting as much merchandise as possible on the floor and making it easy to access everything. You don't want any clothing to be difficult to see or reach, as this drives the customers away from a purchase. When you overload your store with merchandise, you run the risk of your displays being too busy and pulling the customer's attention in too many different directions, resulting in an overwhelming amount of choices.

4. Make sure your store windows impress

Your window displays are the first impression the customer has of you. You want a range of products that shows off exactly what you have to offer. You're not simply putting your best-selling clothes on mannequins and calling it good. You want to tell a story and show the style and theme of your store.

5. Optimize lighting

Your lighting sets the mood and atmosphere of the store. The overall lighting level should be bright enough to clearly see the products, pricing, signs, floor path and other aspects of your store. Use spotlights and track lights to add emphasis to specific products and product displays. Good lighting does more than simply illuminate. It plays off of the texture and features of your clothing, bringing out their best attributes for the customers' eyes.

Interested in a career in fashion design or retail management? Explore our programs today!

Read More

- Silent Selling: Visual Merchandising for Small Retailers
- Visual Merchandising: Back to the Basics with Best Practices 
- The Effect of Visual Merchandising on Fashion Stores

Women Who Changed the World of Fashion Design

written by Georgia Schumacher 4 March 2014

Women in Fashion Design

March is Women's History Month, and that calls for a piece on influential women who changed fashion design. Take a look at four of the great fashion designers and businesswomen who blazed new paths in the industry with their unique, fresh, and exciting views on style and elegance.

Coco Chanel

With the most recognizable name in French fashion design and possibly the entire world, Coco Chanel transformed clothing and style forever. In many senses, she freed women from the uncomfortable fashion trends of the early 20th century. Her influential, classic creations included pieces like trousers and suits for women, as well as the little black dress. Even suntanning became a style trend influenced by her own stunning outfits paired with a tanned complexion she gained accidentally while on vacation. Her branded perfume, Chanel No.5, is perhaps the most coveted fragrance in the world.

Vera Wang

Vera Wang's influence as a business owner and American fashion designer comes in her ability to cross generations and cultures. When she couldn't find a suitable wedding dress, she decided to build her own. From there, the Vera Wang brand took off. Best known for her haute couture bridesmaid dresses and wedding gowns, Vera Wang has also expanded her clothing line to include women's wear and fragrances. She often experiments with more daring designs, including a black wedding dress. Her retail products touch a wide range of ages, classes, and cultures, helping her to earn a spot as a legend within the industry.

Vivienne Westwood

Vivienne Westwood is often called the "Goddess of Punk" in the fashion design industry. Her insistence on freedom of expression and her unique style have made her vastly important to the field. In 1971, the doors to her first store, Let It Rock, flung open and her brand has never looked back. She has done everything from dressed the Sex Pistols to started a menswear clothing line in Florence. Her clothing perfectly meshes the cutting edge with tradition - an area in which few others have enjoyed such widespread success.

Miuccia Prada

The Queen of Handbags, Miuccia Prada has an impressive story that made her all the more influential in the fashion world. This former member of the Italian Communist Party assumed control of her father's luggage company in 1978 and quickly breathed life into the dying brand with energetic creations. Prada's determination to make things completely her own enabled her to become a distinguished figure in fashion design. Leading with her will and confidence, she possesses a style and innovative flair that helped her and her products gain worldwide recognition, adoration, and respect. The brand produces fashion products that are a dynamic and trendsetting blend of femininity, aesthetics, and originality.

Interested in a career in fashion design? Learn how to get started here!

13 Art Institute Students & Grads to Show at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week

written by Georgia Schumacher 8 February 2014

At The Art Institute of Pittsburgh – Online Division, we’re proud to be a member of The Art Institutes system of schools! Across the country, many Art Institutes students and alumni are shaping the future of the creative arts industries, including the world of fashion design.

Design by Rie Yamamoto

On February 11, 2014, thirteen Fashion Design students and graduates of the Art Institutes will show their collections on the runway at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week. At 8pm EST on the night of the show, you can watch a live stream of the runway show! 

For these students, the journey began by submitting sketches, inspiration boards, and a minimum of two garments to industry experts, including fashion designers and student selection committee judges.

In the months that followed, faculty and staff worked with and mentored them on their collections, as finished garments were submitted at regular intervals for lively discussion.

(This image shows a design by Rie Yamamoto, 2013 Graduate, Bachelor of Fine Arts, Fashion Design, The Art Institute of California—San Francisco, a campus of Argosy University.)

Learn more here about these designers and their collections to be shown at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week!

Looking at degree programs and schools for fashion design? Find a Fashion Design program near you, or check out The Art Institute of Pittsburgh – Online Division’s Bachelor of Science degree program in Fashion & Retail Management.