Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Stars Flip for Scarves!

Thank goodness for the Daily News, who published 26 pictures of hot, hot, HOT celebrities wearing -- you guessed it -- scarves! My favorite is the one worn by John Legend in Pic #5, because Silk Road Spirit offers that great Cotton Dobby Scarf for only $29.95!!! Hint: THREE of the 26 pictures feature Brad Pitt wearing scarves.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Tyra's Recessionista's Fashion Tips

Tyra Banks is a juggernaut these days. So much so, that I confess I sometimes have to tune her out. But I do give that woman all the credit in the world for her talent and ambition and creativity and get-up-and-go. I really can't take all of her shows, but she's got great tips, that woman. Did you catch the episode in January in which Jill Martin from Us Weekly demonstrated multiple ways for How to Wear a Scarf? I missed it too... but Tyra's website features a clipi of three of the more inventive ideas that Jill demonstrated on the show. Take a look!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Scarves Aren't Just for Winter Anymore!

Finally! Someone besides me is discovering that scarves are for Spring, Summer, Fall AND Winter. People tell me all the time that scarves don't sell in the Spring, that I should give up trying. And then I read this great article in the Orlando Sentinal -- in FLORIDA, no less -- about an abundance of scarves in the Spring. Check out the article "There's a New Spin on Scarves" in the March 5 edition. Again, thank you, "Slumdog Millionaire"!

Friday, March 13, 2009

Outsourcing Advice from the Pros

Those of you who know me know that my other business, Silk Road Asian Sourcing, helps companies here in the U.S. to develop their products and to find partners overseas to manufacture them. Despite what you may think or feel about outsourcing and overseas production, I do believe that the practice benefits everyone involved -- and not just those greedy U.S. manufacturers who are trying to "take advantage" of those poor, defenseless workers. You can't tell me we are ready to take back all of that manufacturing in the U.S., or that Americans are willing to pay twice as much for a toothbrush, or a pup tent, or a set of kitchen knives.

Anyway, BusinessWeek SmallBiz recently published a Special Report on Outsourcing, and I was quoted in an article titled Outsourcing Advice from the Pros. Check it out!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Flower Power: Political Movement or Fashion Trend?

To me, it’s fascinating how popular culture influences fashion, and fashion influences pop culture. In the 1920s, for example, women won the right to vote, and a certain liberation followed. Flappers flew, women threw off their bustles and girdles, and in some cases, even in high society, they threw off their undergarments altogether – witness those early films featuring Carole Lombard, Jean Harlow, Claudette Colbert and others, dressed in those slinky satin gowns without a stitch on underneath. I think you could make a case for fashion following culture in that era.

In the 1940s and ‘50s, a new morality emerged, and we saw the rise to prominence of such moral dictators as Edgar J. Hoover and Joseph McCarthy. Filmmakers endured strict censorship, and American families moved to the suburbs. Women squeezed back into their Maidenform bras and girdles, and accessorized with matchy-matchy belts, handbags, gloves and shoes. Is fashion following culture, and the mood of the country here? I think so.

The 1960s brought a new kind of liberation in the form of the birth control pill. Free love. Miniskirts were born, and as skirts rose, so did easy access, if you know what I mean. Or did ‘easy access’ give rise to rising skirts? Hmmm… Was ‘flower power’ a political movement or a fashion trend?

In my opinion, the 1970s were a slovenly period in our fashion history, and I can say that, because I came of age in the ‘70s. I, personally, wore overalls and either a red or a blue bandana on my head for most of a full year sometime in the ‘70s. We all walked on the backs of our blue jeans, the rolled up, frayed pieces of the jean straggling on behind us. Narrow wale corduroys, one in every color, and painter’s pants (complete with the hammer-holding loop) were de rigueur. Clogs. Adidas (this was before Nike came to pass). Earth shoes. While I lived through this era, I can’t begin to tell you why we dressed that way. I can’t honestly associate it with a political trend, and I certainly don’t think Nixon or Ford is to blame.

My point is this: Fashion and Culture are inextricably linked. I’m hardly the first one to notice that what’s popular in the culture finds its way into the fashions of the day. It’s no secret that manufacturers market their wares to the masses based on what’s popular in the culture. Sales of shirts and hats sporting flags increase when we go to war; sales of pink things increase proportionately with our increased awareness of breast cancer issues. How many offers did you receive in the month of March for green items, just because certain people wear green once a year on St. Patrick’s Day? I received eight offers by email alone. In these cases, fashion definitely follows culture.

If America falls in love with a little-engine-that-could film called “Slumdog Millionaire,” and we are moved by the story, and by the film’s Indian setting, not to mention the exotic beaded tops (kurtas) and patterned scarves worn by Latika, the lovely leading lady, then all things India will be hot for a while. Our interest in Indian culture thus piqued, new Indian restaurants will pop up, the rich saffron and curry color palette of India will find its way into our furniture and home d├ęcor, and fashion-forward women everywhere will wear the scarves and traditional salwar kameez of India with pride.

A case in point: On December 5, 2008 the AP published an article (I read it in the Minneapolis Star Tribune) stating that Pantone had declared Mimosa (the yellow flower, not the drink) would be 2009’s hot color. Expect to see it on the runways, etc. This was after Slumdog premiered in theaters, but long before it swept all the awards. Then on March 3, post award season, I read a blog post by Elizabeth Wellington on Philly.com’s fashion blog 'Mirror Image' titled “Slum Dog Millionaire's Freida Pinto in Pantone Color of the Year, Mimosa Yellow.” The article accompanied a picture of the film’s leading lady in that beautiful mimosa scarf that she’s wearing in the movie’s exhilarating final dance sequence, and in all the publicity trailers.

Which came first? Fashion or culture?

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Scarves Inspired by Slumdog Millionaire

Unless you've been hiding under a rock for the last few months, you are undoubtedly aware that "Slumdog Millionaire" stole the show at the Golden Globes, the Academy Awards, and every other film awards ceremony this year, and in the process, it stole our hearts as well. The Indian underdog epic centers on the Dickensian story of a poor young man's unexpected appearance on India’s ‘Who Wants to be a Millionaire.’ If you're like me, you were inspired by the exotic beaded tops (kurtas) and patterned scarves worn by the leading lady Latika, and by the film’s Indian setting.

Give your wardrobe a Bollywood twist! Any of the Indian scarves from Silk Road Spirit will add that certain Indian spice style to your outfit -- one of my favorites is the beautiful and versatile Saffron & Curry Scarf woven in the rich spice colors of India. Or if you love texture, another special piece to bring that Indian flavor to your wardrobe is a silk blend turquoise and blue work of textile art called We Got the Blues.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Scarf Lovers Roundtable

If you love scarves like I do, you might enjoy checking out this random discussion in Amazon.com's Fashion Community chatroom "From Scarves Addict." Scarves Addict started this interesting dialogue for scarf lovers on 9 January, and as of today (9 April), there are 62 posts! Someone even mentioned our site!