Creativity & Business

When I initially decided to create a business plan for a disruptive innovation in the fashion industry, I naively thought that crafting a creative business plan would be the same process and layout as the business plans I’ve created in my entrepreneurship classes. While the fundamentals are the same (executive summary, value proposition, etc.), the ~mood~ is starkly different.

Let me explain. When you think of “business” what are some of the images that come to mind? For me, it’s men in a sharp suit, carrying a briefcase in a big city. There’s a lack of color, imagination, and flair. It’s essentially communication of getting from point A to point B efficiently and economically.

Harvey Specter

Now when you think of “creative” what are some of the images that come to mind? For me, it’s passion, emotion, and vibrancy. It’s an eccentric person with bright purple hair painting something abstract in her attic.

Granted, I recognize that both of the personas I’ve described are on extreme sides of the spectrum. However, in my business plan, I want to take both extremes into account. Since my work is geared towards fashion industry professionals, that leaves a lot of room for diversity in opinions, aesthetics, and preference.

NYFW 2017 Front Row

As I’ve completed almost 50% of my draft of my business plan, I’m starting to think about how I want to present my business plan. Do I want it to be in a PDF format, including images and graphics throughout. Or perhaps, do I want it to be more interactive? For example, one of the capstone projects in my genre uses a website to navigate the business plan. I’m starting to wonder if either of those options, or perhaps a hybrid of the two, is best for my project. I really want my project to be aesthetically pleasing as well as a testament to my style as a fashion-obsessed writer.

I think it’s okay to not have all of the answers right now, but I’m going to have to decide soon how I can pair the outlandishly creative with the traditional professional. Stay tuned…

This is me, Caroline, asking for help!

As we chatted in class yesterday about our “Tips for Success” in terms of the Capstone project, I thought about my tip:

“It’s okay to ask for help or to admit you don’t know it all.”

For as long as I’ve been in school (shout out to my kindergarten teacher, Mrs. Judy), I’ve always felt embarrassed to ask for help. I’m not sure if it has to do with the idea of feeling inferior to my fellow classmates or the mere act of speaking up in class, but not asking for help has been a habit I’ve been trying to break for at least 18 years of my life. It’s only been in the last two years that I’ve experienced firsthand the distinct difference in the quality of an assignment when I ask for help, compared to when I don’t.

Mean Girls GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

So this is me…Caroline…asking for help from all of you! Specifically, for my capstone project.

My project is essentially a business plan for an online platform that connects fashion brands, fashion bloggers/influencers, and fashion magazines. Right now, there’s immense competition between influencers and magazines, and the goal of my business plan is to provide a platform that allows these three major players to collaborate, not compete.

Here’s where you come in.

Although I know which brands, influencers, and magazines I engage with the most, I want to get a wider variety of examples for my platform. I have a few short questions that I would love feedback on as I create my platform:

 

  1. What is your favorite high fashion brand?

  2. Which fashion brand do you shop at the most?

  3. Do you read fashion blogs or follow fashion Instagram accounts. If so, which ones?

  4. Do you read print fashion magazines or visit fashion magazines’ online sites? If so, which ones?

Please feel free to provide as much or as little information as you want! Your responses are incredibly helpful as I “move towards the mountain” that is my Capstone project.

RookieMag

Screen Shot 2015-09-21 at 8.34.29 PM

Rookie mag (http://www.rookiemag.com) is one of my favorite blogs, and I’ve been an avid reader from its inception. Tavi Gevinson originally started fashion blog when she was a sophomore in high school. It was a pretty standard fashion blog in format, but the international fashion community became enthralled by this pint-sized fashion prodigy. She traveled to countless fashion weeks, and met with the fashion world’s most coveted icons. Yet in 2013, she started rookiemag, a new franchaise in which she completely reinvented her blog to resemble something that looked much more like an online magazine publication.

Each month there is a theme, and all of the articles put out that month have to do in some way with that particular theme. These themes range from ‘mulitiplicity’ (this month’s) to ‘up all night’ to ‘trust.’ The articles incorporate these themes in a vast variety of ways, some expected and some a little less clear in their connection. Readers can click on each issue and read the articles posted each day for that month, or they can click through the “category” section in which they have articles written under categories titled things like “beauty,” “dear diary,” or “live through this.” Some of the articles are written about current cultural phenomena, some are written about fashion and beauty, and others are articles of advice. The entire publication is geared toward young high school and college aged women. Though there are many different writers who contribute blog posts, the publication has a really clear voice directed toward young women. None of the articles feel preachy (which I feel frequently when I read Elite Daily) or too dry. There is a really nice range of articles from different categories, all of which feel relatable to my particular demographic. I also like the fact that there is a nice mix between serious articles about sensitive topics such race, abuse, or politics, and fun blog posts about music and fashion. It captures the complex range of interests that any young woman might have.

In addition to the content, the blog is incredibly well designed, featuring hand-drawn icons and a vintage color-palette. The illustrated icons next to each article really attract the reader and the entire publication is overall aesthetically pleasing. Ultimately, I like this blog because I think it speaks to a very specific audience in every way – both through content and design.

Harper and Harley, The Greatest Fashion Blog You’ve Never Heard Of

If you’ve ever glanced over my shoulder before class, you probably saw me scrolling through Instagram. You may have even noticed that at least every other post comes from someone I’ve never met and probably will never meet in my lifetime. These people are fashion bloggers.

Tea time via @harperandharleyThey live a life I can only dream of living. One where having high tea at Burberry sums up a typical Sunday afternoon (see left) and sitting front row at Versace during New York Fashion Week is no big deal.

While most fashion bloggers post similar items, I’ve found that my favorite blog to follow is Harper and Harley, created by Sara Donaldson. Sara is an Australian blogger focused on providing readers with inspiration using her black, white, and grey philosophy. Essentially, Sara believes that color–to a certain extent–should be removed from one’s wardrobe and true style can be achieved using only neutrals.

I found her fashion blog while reading an article on refinery29.com titled, “The Crazy Response Fashion Bloggers Get When They Take A Break”. In response to fans that can sometimes get upset when bloggers have not been posting as regularly, Sara notes, “Sometimes, it’s just a simple fact that you would rather not be on your phone and instead, live your life in the present.” I was immediately intrigued by Sara’s response, mostly because of her emphasis on living in the present, and decided to check out her blog.

Sara Donaldson via @harperandharley

Compared to other fashion bloggers, Sara’s emphasis on playing with essential pieces of one’s wardrobe (think: jeans, black t-shirts, nude heels) is relatable for many people. I often struggle to add color to my wardrobe because I prefer wearing neutrals, like black or white. It used to bother me that I couldn’t buy something of color until I found Sara’s blog. Her unique perspective on style without color allowed me to feel more comfortable with my own personal style and experiment with different textures and accessories.

While Sara’s blog is directed mainly towards women in their 20s, her blog, according to her “About” page, is for “inspiration on how to wear these key pieces, but also as a guide for those who wish to follow suit and eliminate colour from their wardrobes.” Thus, both men and women, if they identify with her style and aesthetic, can appreciate and enjoy her posts. Personally, I believe that fashion is an art form and that, like other types of art, can be appreciated by anyone regardless of age, gender, ethnicity, etc. All it takes is a willingness to try things you’ve never tried before.

Blog Post on harperandharley.comSpeaking of posts, Sara writes about everything from wearing double denim to why you should workout outdoors. Similarly, she travels so often (and gets paid just to show up at fashion shows!) that her Instagram and blog are filled to the brim with photos of London, Milan, and Paris. With such a wide variety of content to choose from, Sara remains one of my favorite fashion bloggers and hopefully she’ll become one of yours, too!

The Sartorialist

laughing

The Sartorialist is my favorite fashion blog to visit on a regular basis. I first heard about the “Sartorialist” blog through a NY Times article, which praised fashion photographer Scott Schumann for creating the popular blog which has won numerous praise from prominent fashion critics. Schumann has been a successful fashion photographer for decades with his work being featured in a magazines such as Vogue, GQ, and Interview, and has created fashion campaigns for some of the hottest names around such as Gap, Crate and Barrel, and Burberry. After quitting his job in 2005, Schumann began walking around the city sidewalks in New York City with his camera taking photos everywhere he went. Schumann began posting these photos on his blog and quickly began to attract the attention of fashion admirers.

Some of his subjects includes famous models, fashion photographers, musicians, or other celebrities but most of the photos are of regular people.  All the photos have this causal essence, as if Schumann just ran into someone in the middle of the sidewalk and simply asked for a photograph. This is what I love about the Sartorialist and why it is such an inspirational fashion blog for me, because I feel it is easy to connect to the fashion through his photographs which seem so effortless and simple both artistically and fashionably. When I look through Schumann’s blog I always get inspired and think that it would be so simple to recreate the looks his models present – and that’s what fashion is about right? Style choices that are attainable and pleasing to the eye. Schumann achieves this perfectly and is why his blog has remained relevant for so long.