Tag Archives: The Underfashion Club

Intimate Insiders, Intimate Affairs and Upcoming Events

16 Jan

Rouge Seduire_Mimi SetWe’re halfway through January… Can you believe it?  That means Valentine’s Day is just a month away!  I think of Valentine’s Day as the Super Bowl of the Intimate Apparel industry.  I can’t think of any other Holiday that almost requires a lingerie purchase, can you? 

I’d love to hear your innovative merchandising strategies for increasing sales between now and February 14th.  Are you having a sale? Offering a Gift-with-Purchase? An in-store event?  Last year, Margo Andros of The Pink Slip in NYC’s Grand Central Station marketed a “Dear John” campaign which targeted the men that frequent her store.  She sent out a hand-written note to her best male clientele.  Margo recognizes the fact that men appreciate convenience and ease of purchase (especially when it comes to buying underthings for their loved ones!)  So she offered three Ready-To-Give “Packages” to remove the guesswork for the fellas, including optional delivery / messenger service.  It was genius, and proved to be a real success.  What do you have up your sleeve?  If you are planning something special, please let me know.  I would be happy to post it in my Weekly Column.

Here are a few upcoming “Intimate Affairs” (some of which are Valentine’s Day centric):

BN_FitEventTonight, Bare Necessities is hosting fashion’s first LIVE webcast featuring bra fit experts, sexy models, real-time audience Q&A, and lots of special features (and a viewer-only secret deal).  The “Intimate Affair” is being hosted by Bra Fit Expert Freddy Zappe of Eveden and Bare Necessities’ Erin McLaughlin.  Log on at 7:00pm EST and use hashtag #BAREFIT.

Linger MinglerLinger in Spring Lake, N.J. is hosting the “Linger Mingler,” a Men’s Night Out on January 31st from 6:30-8:00pm.  The “Intimate Affair” will feature a LIVE Fashion Show and complimentary cocktails.

2013 FEMMYThe Underfashion Club is hosting its annual FEMMY Gala on Tuesday, February 5, 2013 at Cipriani 42nd Street, NYC.  Again this year, the “Intimate Affair” will be hosted by Carson Kressley.  This year’s Student Design Contest is sponsored by Penn Asia Co., Ltd., Regina Miracle International Ltd. And Stretchline Holdings Ltd.  The theme is “Midnight Garden” – Seduction of Flowers.  The Underfashion Club will be presenting FEMMY Awards to Bloomingdale’s, Cosabella and The Lenzing Group, the Innovation Award is being presented to Hautelook, and the Lifetime Achievement Award Recipient is Josie Natori of The Natori Company.  For additional information regarding ticket purchase or to sponsor a table or to advertise in the event program, visit www.underfashionclub.org.

Sweetest Sin in Red Bank, N.J. is hosting their annual Valentine’s Day Soiree on Thursday, February 7th from 6:00-9:00pm.  You can expect free gifts from brands such as Hanky Panty & Booty Parlor AND the event will feature special guests from LELO, the world’s leading designer brand for intimate lifestyle products.

LingerieFW_imageSAVE THE DATE – Lauren Rich is planning an event to kick-off the first ever Lingerie Fashion Week (LingerieFW.)  The “Intimate Affair” will be sponsored in part by The Lingerie Alliance.  It will be held on Thursday, February 21, 2013.  Details to follow….

Mark your calendars for these upcoming “Intimate Affairs” which are taking place here in the USA and around the World:

Salon International de la Lingerie and Interfiliere in Paris- January 19th – 21st, 2013

Pure London in London- February 10th – 12th, 2013

Moda Lingerie and Swimwear in Birmingham- February 17th – 19th, 2013

Curve NV in Las Vegas- February 18th – 19th, 2013

Lingerie Fashion Week (LingerieFW) in New York- February 22nd – 23rd, 2013

The Lingerie Collective in New York- February 24th – 26th, 2013

Curve NY in New York- February 24th – 26th, 2013

INDX Intimate Apparel Show in the UK- March 19th – 21st, 2013

China Sourcing Fair in Hong Kong- April 27th – 30th, 2013

As seen on LingerieBriefs.com

Intimate Insiders, Intimate Affairs and Upcoming Events

12 Dec

It’s a very busy time of the year full of holiday shopping, long work hours, year-end meetings, goal-setting for 2013, dinners, parties and other events.  And I’m full of anxiety… attempting to accomplish everything I set out to do before the year is over.  Am I the only one that’s feeling the pressure?  Any good tips for maintaining a sense of balance during this time of the year?  I’m getting enough sleep; I’m sticking with my usual meditation routine, allowing time for myself and making self-care a priority… Yet I still feel a bit overwhelmed.  Please share your advice for coping with life’s ups and downs…  I’d love to hear what you do to stay sane. 

UFC Party 2012_Gifts for Foundling Kids

On December 4, 2012, The Underfashion Club hosted its annual Holiday Party at The National Arts Club on Gramercy Park South.  The Intimate Affair featured dinner, dancing and a whimsical bra & bottoms design contest which was judged by Lingerie Briefs’ Ellen Lewis and Laurence Teinturier of Curvexpo

Victor Vega_Sophia and Gabrielle_Bob VitaleThe Grand Prize went to Joseph Lara from Delta Galil.  He won a ticket to the 2013 Femmy Gala which is scheduled for Tuesday, February 5, 2013 at Cipriani 42nd Street, NYC.  The 2nd Prize went to Sophia Gergatsoulis and Gabrielle Bizzoco from Wacoal America.  Sophia and Gabrielle each received a 1-year membership in the Underfashion Club for their creative entry in the contest.  In addition to the festivities, the UFC never forgets to take care of its own community…..gifts of clothing and toys were collected and donated to the New York Foundling Children.  Club president Walter Costello and other members of the Club and industry pros including Debby Long-Gedney, Roslyn Harte, Lance Whitaker, Gary Hughes, Victor Vega, Bob Vitale, Julia Burns, Steve Chernoff, Justin Chernoff, Suzanne Beck, Luis Paredes, Joel Fertel, Ellen Lewis, and many others came together to celebrate the season in style. 

Dear Kate Ms Moxie

Dear Kate Launch PartyThe official Dear Kate Launch Party was held on Friday, December 7th.  The Intimate Affair was hosted by Azaleas at 140 Second Avenue, NYC.  Family, friends and fans of the innovative brand came together to celebrate the launch of this unique lingerie line.  Azaleas was standing-room only.  Congrats Julie and thanks for the Dear Kate logo tote!

Bra La Mode hosted a Festive Affair Holiday Trunk Show on Saturday, December 8th.  The Intimate Affair featured Dirty Dolls Lingerie, Love & Dream Sleepwear and Loungewear and introduced – for the first time ever – the luxury lingerie line, Rouge Séduire.  The event was held at the neighborhood spa, Spa 34 on 34th Street in NYC.  Guests enjoyed Mani/Pedis and admired the three independent lines being showcased at the event. 

Buyer Kelly OBrien from Linger chats with Darcy Frye of Love and Dream Sleepwear at Bra La Mode Trunk Show Sat Dec 8th

TulipbackContinue supporting these brands by shopping online at: www.dirtydollslingerie.com and www.shoploveanddream.com.  And although Rouge Séduire is not yet available for retail sales direct to consumer, you must check out the steamy website which just launched late last week- www.rougeseduire.com.

Here are the Upcoming Intimate Affairs:

The Intimate Apparel Square Club’s Holiday Party is being held this Thursday, December 13, 2012.  This year, Santa will be visiting the “Rusk Kids” one-on-one in their rooms while the new RUSK facility is being built.  But members and guests are welcome to join us for dinner at Trattoria Alba on 34th Street, NYC at 6pm.  The Intimate Affair includes presentation of the prestigious Al Jaffin Award to Diane Paccione as well as presentation of the 2012 H.U.G. Award Gala proceeds to the administrators and doctors at NYU Langone Medical Center’s Rusk Rehabilitation Center and Tisch Hospital.  Members and their families: $70; Guests: $80 (Dinner and Open Bar.)

On December 18, 2012, The Lingerie Alliance presents A Festive Affair Holiday Networking Social at Legends Loft Lounge, 6 West 33rd Street between 5th Ave & 6th Ave from 6:30-8:30pm.  Two hours open bar, giveaways & gift bags, an Ugly Holiday Sweater Contest and more.  The primary sponsor of the Festive Affair is LELO, the world’s leading designer brand for intimate lifestyle products.  LELO is donating Prize Baskets for winners of the Ugly Sweater Contest with the Grand Prize Basket valued at $1000!  The legendary lingerie lady, Roslyn Harte, will be judging the Ugly Sweater Contest.  This event costs $35/ per person and is limited to 60 people.  RSVP and purchase your tickets before they sell out: www.festiveaffair1.eventbrite.com.  Tickets must be purchased no later than Wednesday, December 12th.  Please note that tickets will not be available at the door.

TLA_FestiveAffairInvite

Got Insight?  Having an Intimate Affair?  Let us know!  Everyone can be an Intimate Insider!

As seen on LingerieBriefs.com

Intimate Insiders, Intimate Affairs and Upcoming Events

25 Oct

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month… which means that intimate apparel brands and businesses are stepping up to do their part to raise awareness and funds to “support” the organizations that dedicate themselves to this important cause.  Let’s take a moment to reflect on the hundreds of thousands of lives that have been lost to Metastatic Breast Cancer.  It seems that Breast Cancer Survivors get most of the attention this time of year….  Amidst the pink ribbons, armbands, t-shirts and such…  There are the family and friends of those who can no longer celebrate the good news of a clean bill of health.  To find out more about Metastatic Breast Cancer, go to www.mbcn.org  

Moira Nelson and Luis Paredes

Intimate apparel companies Freshpair.com, Naked Princess, and The Lingerie Alliance came together to sponsor PinkChoseMe Foundation’s BREAST RECONSTRUCTION AWARENESS (BRA) Day USA 2012 Celebration, an awareness and fundraising event held on Wednesday, October 17th, 2012.  The event’s primary sponsors included the Breast and Plastic Surgeons at the Weill Cornell Breast Center in NYC.  I was so moved by the breast cancer survivors that attended the event and the stories of those who were lost to metastatic breast cancer. Truly inspiring!  I am even more committed to dedicating my time and energy to supporting this cause. A year ago, I was embarrassed to discover that I knew so little about this important issue.  Today, I am proud to be involved and sharing the message of hope.

Anna Penc (left) and Bobbie Smith (right) from Freshpair.com

Wolford makes Shapewear?  YES, they do… And it’s as fabulous as their legwear.  In fact, lastweekend I popped into the Wolford store in the Time Warner Center at Columbus Circle to steal a peek at the current Fall line.  Lots to add to my “Wish List.”  The ladies of ILOVEAGOOD are hosting an invite-only Intimate Affair at the Wolford Showroom today, October 25th.  Guests will be treated to Wolford’s “Shape and Control” experience.  Cocktails and a private shapewear fitting…. PLUS, a Free Gift!

Tomorrow, Friday, October 26, 2012, Linda the Bra Lady is hosting a Survive&Thrive Party at her Murray Hill store on 3rd Avenue in NYC.  The Intimate Affair will feature discounts on Anita brand products (basic bras, maternity, mastectomy and swimwear styles!), FREE gifts, a raffle, inspirational stories, goodies, FREE cocktails and treats, and will raise funds for a great cause! 

On Monday, November 5th, the Intimate Apparel Council is hosting “Innovative Peek at Intimate Apparel.”  Guests will hear from Ken Walker, Operating Partner – Innovation, MarvinTraub Associates, a renowned industry leader in retail design and brand building, as he speaks about the importance of using innovation to achieve success in a global marketplace.  This Intimate Affair will be held at the Union League Club on 37th Street.  Registration is FREE for all employees of an IAC member company.  The Intimate Apparel Council (IAC) is one of the most prestigious organizations in the industry and is comprised of leading designers, brands, retailers and suppliers of intimate apparel products.  The mission of the IAC is to stimulate the growth of the intimate apparel business by creating a network and a forum to actively identify, address and act on matters of interest to the industry.  The IAC cooperates with consultants and others in gathering information of special concern to intimate apparel design houses and engages in public relations programs for the benefit of the consumer, the retailer and the manufacturer and design house.  The Intimate Apparel Council is a division of the American Apparel & Footwear Association.

On November 7th, CASS Shapewear is hosting a press preview event– “Champagne, Caviar and CASS.”  Guests will have the opportunity to preview the CASS Spring ’13 Collections with Founder/Designer Susan Ledyard at the invite-only Intimate Affair.

The Intimate Apparel Square Club’s 57th Annual H.U.G. Awards Gala is being held on Wednesday, November 7, 2012.  This year’s Intimate Affair (called “An Enchanted Evening”) honors LuAnn Via, President and CEO of Payless ShoeSource, Inc., as well as Steven Chernoff, chairman of Rago Foundations, LLC and Janet Peters will be presented with the Lifetime Achievement Award for her dedication to the Club.  The annual event raises funds to support NYU Langone Medical Center’s RUSK Institute and Tisch Hospital.  Join us on November 7th at 230 Fifth Penthouse to celebrate the humanitarian achievements of our honorees and to support the “RUSK Kids.”  By the way, a little birdie told me that Bralebrity Jené Luciani may be involved in this event in a BIG way….  Stay tuned for the official announcement!

The Lingerie Alliance is proud to be participating in another fundraiser on November 18th at Teak Restaurant, in Red Bank, New Jersey.  The Intimate Affair, GO NAKED AND CHECK YOURSELF, is an evening dedicated to bringing awareness / prevention to detectible cancers where you can go naked and check yourself – skin, breast and testicular cancers.  The event is presented by Sugarush (a specialty bakery in Red Bank, NJ) and the award-winning lingerie boutique, Sweetest Sin.  The mission of Go Naked and Check Yourself is to take the stigma of embarrassment out of checking yourself, because early detection can prevent long term issues.  All proceeds from the event benefit charities such as The American Cancer Society.

Mark your calendars for these upcoming Intimate Affairs:

December 1, 2012- Bra La Mode presents “A Festive Affair” Holiday Trunk Show featuring Dirty Dolls Lingerie and Love & Dream Sleepwear and Loungewear.  Details to follow.

December 4, 2012 – The Underfashion Club’s Holiday Party at The National Arts Club on Gramercy Park South.

December 13, 2012- The Intimate Apparel Square Club’s Holiday Party at the RUSK Institute followed by a Dinner at Trattoria Alba.

December 18, 2012- The Lingerie Alliance is hosting A Festive Affair Holiday Networking Social at Legends Bar NYC.  Details to follow.

Got Insight?  Having an Intimate Affair?  Let us know!  Everyone can be an Intimate Insider!

Intimate Insiders, Intimate Affairs and Upcoming Events

8 Aug

It’s that time of the year….  Too much lingerie; not enough time to do all of the things I want to do!  From trade shows to press previews, market week kick-off parties, fashion shows, seminars, conferences and other events….  There’s no rest for the weary!

On Wednesday, August 1, 2012, The Intimate Apparel Council hosted an Intimate Affair at the Union League Club in NYC.  Marshal Cohen, Chief Industry Analyst of The NPD Group, presented “50 Shades of Intimates.”  He discussed retail trends and the “consumerology” impacting our industry in particular.  Marshal provided invaluable intimate insight such as current “distractions” that are affecting consumer spending and he emphasized the importance of value and innovation. 

On Thursday, August 2nd, I had the privilege of attending a Press Preview Event where I was introduced to the EMPOWERED BY YOU (“EBY”) panty.  The high-tech panty incorporates a patented silicone “flocking” technology and side-seam fusion technique to prevent slippage, impart smoothness and ensure steady wear.  A cause-brand initiative, $1 from the sale of every EBY panty will fund Seven Bar Foundation, a non-profit organization that extends its trademark “ladder” to women out of poverty and into business through microfinance.  Each panty includes an insert with a testimonial from a woman who has been empowered by the Foundation, which works closely with both international and local partners such as Project Enterprise which benefits women in the New York City area.  Project Enterprise is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization whose mission is to support and develop entrepreneurs and small businesses in under-resourced communities in New York City.  The Seven Bar Foundation lends women a “hand up”, not a “hand out” by giving them a “first break”.

Luis Paredes and Moira Nelson

The Lingerie Alliance Launch Party and Lingerie Fashion Show held on Saturday, August 4th at The Griffin lounge in NYC was a huge success.  The Intimate Affair introduced industry leaders, buyers, media and press to the online collaborative community of intimate apparel professionals created by me and my partner, Luis Paredes.  We are so pleased with the way things turned out and are motivated by the enthusiasm and support we have received from the industry.  The Fashion Show featured the SS13 collections from the event’s key sponsor, Affinitas & Parfait, as well as the imaginative designs of independent brands Angela Friedman, Clare Bare Eco Intimates, Dirty Dolls Lingerie, Nevaeh Intimates, Ombrato and With Love Lingerie.  Buyers that missed the Intimate Affair on Saturday night can still get a look at the six emerging brands at the Lingerie Journal Designer Showcase today, August 8th at the AKA Hotel, Times Square, NYC.  The Showcase gives buyers that are looking for innovative, new collections the opportunity to meet one-on-one with these indie designers in a relaxed setting. 

The Best of Intima’s Best Shop Awards were held in the Penthouse at 230 Fifth Ave on Sunday, August 5th.  Last year’s winner of the Best of Intima’s Choice Award, Angela Courtney of Sweetest Sin Boutique in Red Bank, New Jersey, was an honored guest at this year’s awards ceremony.  She said, “It was a great night in Lingerie-land.  It was such an accomplishment for me to win last year’s Best Shop Award and reliving the night with the industry’s crème de la crème again this year was incredible.  I mingled with other boutique owners and CEO’s of the biggest lingerie brands.  Plus the venue was fabulous…a rooftop lounge overlooking the empire state building.  I’m truly looking forward to next year.” 

The 2012 Best of Intima Best Shop Awards were presented to:

Concept Store: Knickers of Hyde Park

European Flair: Forty Winks

Personal Touch: Toujours

Reference Shop: Sara’s Lingerie

The Best of Intima’s Choice: Le Boudoir, Inc.

And Special Recognition Prizes were awarded to:

Best Unexpected Location: Bella Fine Lingerie

Best Niche Product: Kaori’s Closet Tokyo

CONGRATS to the 2012 Best Shop Award Nominees and Winners!

On Monday evening, CURVENY presented The So Curve Fashion Show.  From ballet to burlesque… From a Gotye remix to a touch of the Material Girl…and intervals topless…. The So Curve Fashion Show performed by the renowned Crazy Horse Paris dancers at CurvExpo was a spectacular performance.  The dancers wore selected styles from exhibitors at CurvExpo including Affinitas, Fantasie, Fauve and Freya, Hanky Panky, LOU Paris, Simone Perele and Wacoal, among others. 

The bi-annual Lingerie Trade Show CURVENY just wrapped up and now they’re headed to Las Vegas.  CURVELV runs from August 21st through the 23rd at The Venetian.  Guests can register at www.curvexpo.com.

Last night, the Underfashion Club hosted “A Paris Report” which was presented by Mayouri Sengchanh of Carlin International.  The Intimate Affair featured a report on the MODE City and Interfiliere Trade Shows as well as highlights of the coming SS14 Season.

And tonight, the gals from ILOVEAGOOD are hosting Chantelle’s Fall/Winter 2012 Collection Preview.  The Intimate Affair is being held at the brand’s NY Showroom on Madison Ave and will include cocktails, professional bra fittings and gift bags!  Oooo La La!

What’s next?  Anyone planning a Fashion’s Night Out Event?  Let us know so we can spread the word here on Bra La Mode!

Got Insight?  Having an Intimate Affair?  Let us know!  Everyone can be an Intimate Insider!

As seen on LingerieBriefs.com

Intimate Insider: Victor Vega of Wacoal America

19 Mar

Victor Vega of Wacoal America

In a world where the average worker changes jobs three to five times over the course of their lifetime, Intimate Insider Victor Vega is a statistical anomaly.  He began his career as a warehouse worker with Wacoal America, and by 2005 found himself in the position of Sr. Vice President of Inventory Production and Sales Management through hard work and dedication. 

I’ve been lucky enough to get to know Mr. Vega personally through various organizations like The Underfashion Club and the Intimate Apparel Square Club.  I have found him to be a “true gentleman,”  he is kind, honest, and humble.  I caught up with him just before the Femmy Gala this past January, where he received a Lifetime Achievement Award for his dedication to the intimate apparel industry and for his loyalty to helping others.

I asked Mr. Vega about his lifelong devotion to charitable causes.  “I’ve always believed it is important to give back in our communities” he told me, “especially to those less fortunate.  Helping others motivates me.”  In addition to his participation in the non-profit organizations affiliated with the intimate apparel industry, Mr. Vega is involved with (and holds leadership positions in) numerous civic organizations in his own community.

When asked about the intimates industry as a whole, Mr. Vega said that he has seen many changes in the industry since the beginning of his career, and is looking forward to what the future will bring.  “I hope to see the industry evolve and grow; to have different people involved in it.  We all need to work together to take the industry to the next level, and the infusion of the next generation is wonderful.”

Victor Vega’s contributions to the industry are legendary, but when asked to name his greatest accomplishment, he says it is his good old-fashioned success story.  He’s proud of having worked at the same company for so many years, and for rising to his current position through hard work and dedication.  This year marks his 40th Anniversary with Wacoal America.

Victor Vega is honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2012 FEMMY Gala

And finally, how does Mr. Vega feel about his Lifetime Achievement Award?  His response is simple and as always, humble.  “It is an honor, especially because it is given by the Underfashion Club which is made up of fellow industry professionals.” he says. 

Mr. Vega is an inspiration to all of us working in the intimate apparel industry.  His dedication to his employer is truly impressive.  But it is his devotion to those less fortunate that really makes an impression on me.  Victor Vega is a rare breed.  I feel privileged to know him and am honored to consider him a friend.

Intimate Affair: The Underfashion Club’s Annual Holiday Party

12 Dec

The Underfashion Club held their annual Holiday Party at the National Arts Club on NYC’s Gramercy Park on Tuesday, December 6, 2011.  The annual Intimate Affair brings together professionals in the intimate apparel industry and related fields for a festive holiday event replete with cocktails, dinner and dancing.  The event included a “whimsical” holiday-themed design contest.  And guests were invited to bring gifts of clothing or toys for children (from infant to teen) which were then donated to the non-profit New York Foundling Home, an organization dedicated to supporting abandoned and neglected children. 

Walter Costello, president of The Underfashion Club

The Intimate Affair began with a lively cocktail hour which allowed guests the opportunity to mingle and network with fellow club members.  Club president Walter Costello then welcomed guests and made a few remarks including an announcement of the 2012 Femmy Gala Award honorees– Century 21 Department Stores, Fruit of the Loom and Top Form Brassiere Manufacturing Company, Ltd.  The Innovation Award will be presented to Penn Asia Company Limited and the Lifetime Achievement Award will be presented to longtime Underfashion Club member Victor Vega of Wacoal America.  The 2012 Femmy Gala will be held at Cipriani on 42nd Street on Tuesday, January 31, 2012.

After Walter made his remarks, club board member and co-chairman of the charity committee, Michael Floru, announced that the club would be making donations to New York City’s Meals on Wheels, St. Francis Friends of the Poor and the New York Foundling Home.  It has become a tradition for the club to disperse funds to three designated charities at the annual holiday soiree. 

Andrea Greer from Maidenform with her Winners

At this year’s event, the design contest received an assortment of unusual entries!  The contest judges Ellen Lewis of Lingerie Briefs and Colette Wong, chair of fashion design at NYC’s Fashion Institute of Technology, selected two entries as first and second prize winners.  The first prize was awarded to Andrea Greer of Maidenform for her Rudolf the Red-Nosed Reindeer Bra which earned her a free ticket to the 2012 Femmy Gala.  And, the second prize was also awarded to Andrea Greer for her red and white Snowflake Bra.  This entry earned her a year’s membership in the Underfashion Club.  Congrats Andrea!  What a surprise to have the top two entries submitted by the same person!

The highlight of the Intimate Affair was the raffle prize.  All guests received a raffle ticket upon entrance to the event.  The guests gathered in anticipation of winning the grand prize- a trip to Paris in July including round-trip airfare, three nights hotel stay and entrance into the Mode City and Interfiliere trade shows.  This prize was generously donated to the club by Eurovet, the international organizer of trade shows for the intimate apparel and swimwear industries.  The lucky winner was intimate apparel industry professional Vanessa Martin.

Guests at last week’s Holiday Intimate Affair included club president Walter Costello and board members Roslyn Harte, Victor Vega, Deborah Long-Gedney, Karen Bromley, Steve Chernoff, Gary Hughes, Kenneth Natori, Lance Whitaker, Michael Floru among others.  Numerous other professionals attended the event such as Tim Regan, Don Allen, Richard Murray, Alice Paparatto, Stacey Siokas, Michael Drescher, Heidi Lehmann, Peter Coppola, Tyler Lee, Lisa Alvarez, Lysa Villeneuve, Susan Buchanan Malinowski, Mimi Patel, Colette Wong, Laurence Teinturier, Jean-Luc Teinturier, Lindsay Petersen, Ellen Lewis and dozens more.  Media professionals included Karyn Monget from WWD, Mozz Manzoor and Libby Dowd from The Lingerie Journal and Ted Vayos from Body Magazine.

About the Underfashion Club

It is the mission of the Underfashion Club to raise funds and expend energy to safeguard the present and future health of the intimate apparel industry by supporting education of new talent, attracting this talent to careers in Intimate Apparel and to act as good citizens in the local community within which the industry exists. 

The club’s Femmy Award Gala is the most prestigious event of the Intimate Apparel Industry.  The annual Femmy Gala is held in recognition of outstanding executives for exceptional achievements.  Proceeds from this event provide the primary funding for the Club’s extensive scholarship, awards, internship and grants (SAIG) programs.  The SAIG Committee interacts with and monitors the progress of scholarship recipients, coordinates industry participation in educational seminars for students, supports intimate apparel education on the high school and college levels, and actively pursues an intimate apparel internship program in the New York area. 

The Program Committee develops informative seminars featuring guest speakers and panelists from the industry and related fields.  Held at frequent intervals, these meetings are designed to stimulate and entertain, as well as provide opportunities for career networking.  The committee also offers fun get-togethers such as the annual Holiday Party where, in the spirit of the season, clothes and toys are generously donated to the New York Foundling Home. 

Through the Charity Committee, meaningful cash donations are made in support of many worthy causes that are industry-related and/or humanitarian in nature.

Resources:

The Underfashion Club

www.UnderfashionClub.org

Follow @UnderfashionNY

Intimate Affair: The Underfashion Club Hosts “Eye on Trends”

17 Oct

The Underfashion Club hosted a panel discussion entitled “Eye on Trends” on Thursday, October 13, 2011.  The event was moderated by Guido Campello, Cosabella’s vice president of sales, branding, and innovation and member of the Underfashion Club’s board of directors.  The panel was comprised of trend experts David Wolfe, creative director of The Doneger Group, Sharon Graubard, senior vice president of trend analysis at Stylesight, and Danielle Black, co-founder and chic operating officer of www.iloveagood.com.  The event was held at St. Giles Hotel on Manhattan’s east side. 

The evening began with a cocktail hour which allowed the Club’s membership to mingle and network with fellow industry professionals.  Like all Underfashion Club events, it was well attended and the evening’s “Eye on Trends” panel discussion was highly anticipated.  Attendees at the Intimate Affair included the Club’s president Walter Costello, lifetime member Roslyn Lances Harte who coordinated the event, the Club’s executive vice president Victor Vega, several members of the Club’s board of directors including Suzanne Beck and Gary Hughes, as well as dozens of members and new members including buyers, merchandisers, designers, marketing executives, consultants, and account management executives from intimate apparel retailers, ecommerce retailers, manufacturers, trend services, fabric and lace mills, and trim suppliers. 

After sipping on cocktails and munching on hors d’oeuvres, the members of the Club were ushered into an adjoining room by Roslyn Harte where the presentation was to be held.  It took a few minutes to quiet the crowd as many members look forward to catching up with old friends, associates, and former colleagues at these events.  But as soon as the Club’s president Walter Costello stood at the front of the room and greeted the members of the Club, we focused our attention on the event which was about to be presented.  Many members pulled out notebooks and prepared themselves to hear the latest trends influencing our industry and the world we live in as well as upcoming trends which we should keep an eye on.

Guido Campello, VP of Sales, Branding & Innovation at Cosabella

Utilizing a well-prepared Powerpoint presentation, Guido Campello began the evening with his own interpretation of trends.  First, we need to understand what a “trend” is…  There are various ways of looking at trends and our own experiences influence our perspective.  Guido’s dad says “It is like love…. we may not understand it, but it will be happening.”  And Guido said it is like cooking.  A cookbook helps him to get to the masterpiece.  Creativity is good, but we need tools to lead us there and to help us to understand where we should be headed.  Guido talked about knowing your brand and knowing your market.  He emphasized the importance of knowing your target consumer in each market.  A style or color could be great in one country (or one part of a country), but it may not sell well in another country.  Guido suggested a few books which have helped to influence him greatly including Buzz Marketing by Mark Hughes, Socialnomics by Erik Qualman, and Freakonomics by Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner.  He also reads industry trade papers including Women’s Wear Daily and the California Apparel News, and he follows daily and weekly email newsletters such as Daily Candy and Ellen Lewis’ Lingerie Briefs.  He also mentioned using the “blogosphere” as a resource which is becoming more and more relevant in today’s world.  Regarding trends, he said “if you see repetition, it might be a trend.”  The key is in being able to react quickly.  As an example, his company Cosabella saw bandeaus popping up…. As a brand, they recognized this as a trend and were able to jump on it quickly.  He suggested, as a vendor, assign tasks to various members of the team.  Then, when you come together to discuss ideas… If several people are seeing the same thing… It is likely to be a trend.

Guido introduced us to David Wolfe, creative director of The Doneger Group.  David is responsible for both tracking trends and forecasting trends.  He first asked, “What is a trend?”  He said, “Every definition is correct.”  He said it is easy to spot current trends and he utilized his Powerpoint presentation to illustrate his point.  We are seeing lingerie inspiration in ready-to-wear collections.  There is an “Exposure Explosion” happening as women are becoming more comfortable displaying their bodies.  He laughed while saying, “I’m so old I thought you should wear things that flatter you!”  He pointed out the fact that prints are still prevalent and color is still strong (less and less black on the runways.)  He touched on “mega forces” around us such as culture, lifestyle, economics, and demographics.  All of these things influence trends.  And we are now living in a world where the consumer has power (as a result of the internet and social networking).  My favorite line of the night was “You never want to be surprised…  If you’re surprised, it means you lost money.”  How true is that?  So how do we avoid this as a brand or as a business?  How can we be on top of the current trends and attempt to predict future trends?  As a brand or business, I don’t want to be in a position where I’m saying “coulda, woulda, shoulda.” 

Time Magazine February 2011- Singularity

So… what is about to happen?  David gets excited to think about upcoming trends….  What’s to come?  First is “The Future.”  David referenced Time magazine’s cover story on “Singularity” in which the futurist and engineer, Raymond Kurzweil, makes five incredible predictions including “computers will think like humans do by the end of the 2020’s,” “the Singularity will occur in 2045,” and “after the Singularity, humans will become functionally immortal.”  These are pretty incredible statements.  But, how far-fetched are they really?  We will start controlling our computers via brain sensors.  Internet enabled contact lenses are being developed.  And what about cars that drive themselves?  We are moving into the age of “magnetic force.”  Fossil fuels and electricity will be relatively obsolete.  So what does all of this mean for the world of fashion?  Modernism.  Apparel will be a reflection of the society that wears it.  David suggests that the apparel industry needs to catch up to other fields such as architecture and art.  Architects, designers, and engineers are using “out of the box” materials. 

Soumaya Museum Mexico City

David referenced an image of the Soumaya Museum in Mexico City.  What’s happening in the world around us is certain to influence fashion design and the textiles used in fashion.  David thinks we’re really dragging our feet and falling far behind other fields in this regard.  He predicts luminescent fabrications, shimmery surfaces, pearlescent…. Fabrics that dazzle, shimmer, and shine.  How about clothing that changes color based on your mood (remember the good ol’ mood ring?)  How about pieces that glow in the dark, are 3-D, or light up? 

David’s second prediction is “Age in the New Age.”  People aren’t “done” at age 70 anymore.  And as advances in medicine and technology continue at the pace they have been, there is a new notion of “amortality.”  Time magazine writer Catherine Mayer coined the term and defines it as “the burgeoning trend of living agelessly.”  Age appropriate behavior and age appropriate dress codes have gone by the wayside.  Donald Trump, Bill Clinton, and Cher are all turning sixty-five.  Does this change our view of the average sixty-five year old?  Market to the Baby Boomers!  Baby Boomers are rethinking old age.  The fastest growing demographic in the United States is eighty-five plus years old and they have the most money of any demographic.  Targeting the youth is still important, but they need to be regarded differently.  The Gen V (generation virtual) is different than previous generations.  What does this all mean for those of us that are designing and marketing apparel products?  The Boomers are regaining fashion economic control.  And as we are becoming “ageless,” we need to design product that caters to various groups.  We can no longer pigeon-hole apparel by the age of a certain demographic; we need to think about “cross-aging” apparel.  Is eighty the new sixty?

Sharon Graubard, SVP of Trend Analysis at Stylesight

David focused his presentation on burgeoning mega trends which fascinated the crowd.  But he was followed by Sharon Graubard, senior vice president of trend analysis at the well-known trend forecasting service, Stylesight, who made intimate apparel trends more tangible.  Sharon shared images from the Fall ’12 runway shows and helped us to understand how we can interpret these trends into our intimate apparel designs.  It was amazing to see how much of what is currently being seen on the runway is influenced by current lingerie and sleepwear trends.  Sharon said “Runway is a rich, hot bed of ideas.”  She referenced intimate apparel brand VPL and demonstrated how they are modernizing color; they are expanding how we view neutrals and as well as “sport” in intimates.  When looking at the runway shows, we should be looking for consensus in a trend and consensus in designers.  Again, if we see repetition, it is likely to be a trend.  What is that “thing” underlying it all? 

What we see on the runways can be translated into intimate apparel.  Sharon saw a “fetish” trend (soft bondage).  Many designers used interesting straps to accent the bustline.  She saw a lot of slips and slip dresses.  Vintage is still prevalent.  The brief is sexy!  There’s a lot more coverage… Sharon says, “The thong isn’t looking so sexy these days!”  The hipster is happening.  She is seeing an influence of 1960’s… Think Brigitte Bardot.  Sharon saw sweater-knit knickers on the runway.  Here’s an opportunity to explore a different fabrication.  Sharon shared her idea that “Sexy is within… Dress the way you feel.”  What about the tap pant?  It’s making a resurgence… It is more fluid and has more volume.  She saw sheer slips peeking out from underneath dresses.  Many of these slips had a certain “stiffness” to them and were meant to be seen…  Fabrications included organza, netting, and tulle.  Many gowns were floor length.  We can easily translate this trend into our lingerie and sleepwear lines.  The Camisole is still an important silhouette.  Sharon saw thermal and thinks it could be a fabrication easily incorporated into loungewear, pajamas, underwear, and tights.  There are “PJ” trends…. Classic styles with piping, silk and silk foulard, tunics, and kimonos.  The babydoll silhouette has a “ballet-look.”  Sharon said lace was key on the runway and of course, this bodes well for our industry.  Sharon saw wraps, cocoons, and tunics on the runway which can influence our upcoming designs in bathrobes.  There were cardigans in various styling which can be interpreted for our daywear and loungewear collections.  She saw robes on the runway which were reminiscent of the styles worn by 1930’s startlets such as Jean Harlow.  And, she even saw slippers on the runways!  She saw everything from man-tailored styles to fluffy, furry, fun styles!  Sharon’s intimate insight is invaluable to us as industry professionals whether we are retailers or wholesalers.  I’m sure that many members of the Club were anxious to get back to their drawing boards to put together a new collection.  The best part is that each of us interprets information differently.  I can’t wait to see what is in store for intimates for Fall ’12.

Jenny Altman and Danielle Black, Founders of http://www.iloveagood.com

Our final trend expert panelist was Danielle Black, co-founder and chic operating officer for www.iloveagood.com.  Danielle chose to discuss marketing trends with an emphasis on the importance of social media (and the internet in general) as a means of marketing our intimate apparel brands and businesses.  She and partner Jenny Altman created I Love A Good as a forum for communicating with customers.  She said, “We put it on every day, yet it is still an unmentionable.”  She said their site is a “feel good” resource.  They want to encourage women to embrace their femininity.  Don’t be afraid of it.  She talked about Facebook and Twitter as excellent marketing tools.  She said that more users check their Facebook account at 7am and then again after 9pm.  Posts with eighty characters or less get 27% more engagement.  Brands such as Zinke Intimates are even using Twitter to book appointments.  The benefit is that they can do it while “on the go.”  Crowd sourcing is an important tool.  Listen to consumers.  Don’t tell them what they want; listen to what they want.  Use Facebook and Twitter to ask questions and to create a dialogue.  We can use Google Alerts to track key words so that we can listen in on the conversation.  Brands are now posting “sneak peeks” of upcoming collections on Facebook and Twitter so that they can gauge interest before placing bulk production orders.  Today’s consumer is looking for instant gratification.  And the consumer tells us immediately what they think.  In addition to social media in general, trends include the use of expert or celebrity partnerships to promote product.  Contests and giveaways are popular methods of generating buzz.  As consumers are being more knowledgeable, we need to make it newsworthy or give her a reason to buy.  We need to give her something she doesn’t already have.  We have heard a lot about the importance of social media and embracing technology in our industry over the past few months.  I appreciated Danielle’s intimate insights and am excited to see how more brands and businesses in our industry look to implement these tools into their marketing strategies.

The event came to a close after a brief “question and answer” session.  Anthony Oren asked, “Is Twitter perceived as a threat?”  Panelists responded with an emphatic “No.”  In fact, in terms of trend forecasting, Twitter allows us to know what people want even before they know it!  Twitter is an excellent tool for listening in on the consumer conversation.  A buyer from BareNecessities.com commented that, unfortunately, department stores are still driving the business and they are not allowed to take risks.  They are allotted very few dollars to purchase product that is truly innovative.  This makes all of our jobs more difficult.  Everyone agreed that specialty stores are critical to the future of our industry.  Guido Campello talked about our responsibility to educate our retailers about the need for more diversification in their stores.  I think we can continue to improve our industry if we work together.  The events which are hosted by The Underfashion Club throughout the year are vital to the continuing education of our industry’s professionals, especially as our world is evolving so rapidly.  This Intimate Affair proved to be no exception.  Each of the panelists brought their own unique perspective to the discussion and they each provided important Intimate Insights in their own area of expertise.  Thank You to The Underfashion Club for doing what you do. 

About The Underfashion Club

Established in 1958 as the Corset and Brassiere Women’s Club, Inc., in 1963 the group was re-invented as the Underfashion Club — a non-profit, intimate apparel industry organization dedicated to education.  The Underfashion Club’s mission is to support new talent with scholarships and internships and it offer seminars, panel discussions, and networking opportunities to industry professionals.

Today, the Underfashion Club members work in all facets of the intimate apparel industry: foundations, daywear, sleepwear, robes, and loungewear.  The Club’s membership represents all areas of the industry: retailers, manufacturers, textile mills, fiber producers, and trim suppliers.  Members hold positions in all departments: management, marketing, merchandising, sales, design, education, and human resources.

The Club’s annual Femmy Gala, a premier event in the intimate apparel industry, recognizes and celebrates the achievements of intimate apparel industry leaders worldwide.  Honorees are chosen from all sectors of the business and have included Designers Donna Karan and Josie Natori, retailers Neiman Marcus and Victoria’s Secret, manufacturers Carole Hochman Design Group and Maidenform, and industry notables Eileen West and Elle Macpherson.

Proceeds from the Femmy Gala are distributed by the SAIG Committee (Scholarships, Awards, Internships, and Grants) to deserving students who pursue high school or college–level intimate apparel related courses. The Fashion Institute of Technology and the High School of Fashion Industries in New York City are primary beneficiaries.

Resources

The Underfashion Club

www.UnderfashionClub.org

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