Monthly Archives: March 2013

Mobile Retailers Take Products to the People

By Angelica Anderson

Throughout history, fashion has evolved with the times — so has the business of fashion. For most of history, customers came to retailers in their brick-and-mortar stores, perhaps attracted by ads in traditional media.  Today, however, new media and technologies have made it simpler than ever for brands to reach customers, often creating intense competition to see which company would get there first.

Faced with both the high cost of running a store and the competition of e-commerce, some fashion retailers found a third way.

Warby Parker, based in New York City, has been selling eyewear over the Internet since 2010 when they realized they needed to find a way to separate their brand from all the online clutter.  Warby Parker decided to take their company’s product out on the streets, to their customers. The result? A big yellow school bus on tour called the “Class Trip,” stopping in nine locations across the Unites States from New York City to Los Angeles, with a stop in Dallas.

Photo credit: Dallas Observer

E-commerce has revolutionized the retail industry.  According to the U.S. Census Bureau, from 2011 to 2012, e-commerce sales increased by 15.2, while retail sales – in brick-and-mortar stores — increased by only 4 percent.

Social media sites are continue to make it easier to click and buy.  Sites like Net-a-porter, Shopbop and Zappos offer a wide selection of clothing and accessories with easy shipping and returns, while Gilt Group, Ruelala and Ideali offer the biggest bang for your buck.  Even Twitter has recently partnered with American Express to create Amex Sync, which offers customers m-commerce (mobile commerce) options through @replies and #hashtags.

With all this clutter, creating a one-of-a-kind experience for customers is crucial. Warby Parker’s school bus serves as a “virtual showroom” where customers can try out the stylish, affordable eyewear. Warby Parker says the Class Trip brings “our showroom experience to life.”

Warby Parker’s school bus made its home in Dallas off of Henderson and Knox, providing the same affordable eyewear as their online store.  While they were only in Dallas for two weeks, they were able to make an impact on the community.

A group of local friends and business partners also saw a mobile showroom as the perfect cross between a brick-and-mortar store and an online retailer. Charlotte Jones Anderson, Jennifer Clark, Alyson Griffith, Capa Mooty and Wendy Poston created LuxeLiner, a mobile clothing boutique, out of an old FedEx truck to literally take fashion to the streets.

Photo credit: D Magazine

With a big collection of basic pieces – graphic tee’s, tanks, and boxy shirts – and jewelry, the LuxeLiner has won loyal followers in Dallas.  As a result, the friends have not advertised, but relied heavily on word-of-mouth advertising and social media to get their name out.

“I want women to feel like they are shopping in their best friend’s closet,” says Mooty. “I am proud of everything we buy to sell in this truck.  I won’t put anything in here I am not willing to wear myself.”

To track LuxeLIner’s whereabouts visit their Facebook page or follow them on

Warby Parker has arrived at their final destination in Los Angeles and will have their showroom set-up around the city until March 24.


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A Sneak Peak into SMU Fashion Week ‘13

By Alessandra Neason

Photo credit: SMU Fashion Week 2013

All right fashionistas! Now that fashion week is over in New York, it’s time to focus on our very own fashion week taking place on campus. The second annual SMU Fashion Week—scheduled this year for the first week in April–is right around the corner, and I am going to give you a quick rundown of what to expect.

The week will kick off with a launch party located at Mockingbird Station on Monday April 1, starting at 5:30 p.m. This will be the only off campus event, and SMU will be taking over the station with sponsors from the local restaurants and boutiques within Mockingbird Station. There will be tons of surprises at the launch party, guest hosts, an outdoor film screening, and much more.

Julia Eggleston, a senior at SMU and one of the Creative Directors for Fashion Week 2013, states that Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday consist of panels, and the main goal for the week is to expose students to multiple aspects of the fashion industry. She describes the week as a fun and interactive experience as well as a learning tool to gain knowledge into the fashion world.

Kelsey Reynolds, a junior at SMU, is also part of the executive team for Fashion Week 2013. She says that the team plans to hone in on a particular brand/company each night of the week. For example, Tuesday evening will focus on Neiman Marcus and its role in Dallas fashion. The Dallas-based fashion blogging platform rewardStyle will be featured on Wednesday, as will fashion historian Myra Walker on Thursday.

As in 2012, the Retail Club fashion show will top off the week. The show will be held Friday at 5 p.m. on Bishop Boulevard. Students will wear fashions from Tootsies, a high-end women’s boutique, for the event. Be sure to look out for your peers struttin’ it on the runway!


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Print Fashion Magazines Still in Vogue

By Jordan Swensson

There is something exciting about coming home form a long day and opening my mailbox to find a new issue of Vogue.  Opening my favorite magazine is the escape I need from the computer, TV or my phone. I get lost in the inspirational designs, colors, photography and beautiful clothes I wish I owned.

Our generation is unbelievably tech-savvy. Many of us, myself included, can spend hours online each day. We’re the ones reading online, sending traditional media industries into a panic.  And some print industries have reason to panic.  Over the past decade newspaper readership on the printed page has dropped by about half — from 47 percent of Americans to 23 percent.  In contrast, statistics show, online readers make up an ever-greater share of all newspaper readers.

Photo credit: PEW Research Center 2012 News Consumption Survey

But would I want to read Vogue, or any fashion magazine, online?  I couldn’t touch the glossy pages or smell the perfume ads. This may be one case where the online version cannot provide the satisfaction we get from the real thing.

2010 was a successful year for many fashion publications.  According to Business Insider, a business news site, Vogue added 100 pages of advertising pages to its September edition that year, while Glamour magazine produced its biggest September issue in 20 years.

So print newspapers may be in trouble, but traditional fashion magazines seem to be doing fine. In fact, when I surveyed an SMU fashion media class, 43 out of 55 mostly female students said they preferred to read print fashion magazines versus online or on an iPad.

One student explained: “I like getting print magazines because there is something almost magical about holding it in your hands. Also, there is a lot of time and thought that goes into the layout of a magazine that is lost online.”

Many students shared a similar interest in tearing out pages to keep for inspiration or to collage with. One student said: “I’m always tearing out pages from all the fashion magazines I read so that I can refer back to the amazing outfits they put together when I need inspiration or when I want to know what is in style.”

Another student shared why she preferred online: “I like reading on the  iPad because they have interactive features and you can buy the things you directly see. However, I find that I read less of the magazine than if I have the print copy.”

Yes, it may be convenient, eco-friendly and interactive, but can you picture a world without printed fashion magazines? I sure hope not.

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By Tashika Varma

Take a look around: Today nearly every 12-year-old and up has a “smart” camera phone.  Not surprisingly, amateur or “citizen” photography has flourished in this environment.

Citizen photographers have often been the first to provide news organizations with photos of breaking stories like Hurricane Sandy, Superstorm Nemo or the Super Bowl blackout.  These photos then go viral on image-oriented social media sites such as Instagram and Vine.

Professional photographers agree these changes have altered the dynamics of their profession — but they’ve adapted by staying ahead of the game with a higher quality product.

Steve Lee, an SMU professor and a freelance entertainment photographer, shoots many concerts at American Airlines Center.  He has photographed performers from Lady Gaga to Kelly Clarkson to Taylor Swift.  And in a dark indoor concert venue or fashion show, Lee says, smartphones can’t compete with his more sophisticated equipment: “You can’t do [with a smartphone] what I do.”

Photo credit: Pegasus News
Kellie Pickler opens for Taylor Swift at American Airlines Center in Dallas on March 11.
Steve Lee photographed the concert.

Lee says he uses social media to promote his photography.

“Most of what I see on Instagram and Vine is clearly poor quality,” he says. “When I post a picture on Pinterest, I get so many repins because the pictures were shot with a Nikon, not an iPhone.”

These same limitations have led Sidney Hollingsworth, an SMU sophomore and professional photographer, to avoid using applications like Instagram to promote her work.

Photo credit: Sidney Hollingsworth
Sidney Hollingsworth photographs people on the boulevard before the first football game of Fall 2012.

“I gave in about three to four months ago and got an Instagram [app] but I only use it to post personal photos,” she says.

Hollingsworth says she has run into legal copyright issues with social media.  For instance, in several cases, people have copied promotional photos from her by cropping out her watermark and then using the photos on other sites.

“It was upsetting to learn that something I was sharing was being used for a profit by other bloggers,” she says. “I learned a lot from the experience and am now communicating with those bloggers. I’ve also increased the size of my watermark on my photos to about three times bigger.”

Thus, instead of relying on Facebook, Hollingsworth plans to search for a host site where she can market and sell her work.

Of course, not everyone has $7,000 worth of camera equipment.

Kelsey Charles, an SMU senior and fashion blogger, uses social media constantly to promote her new posts. Her blog, Loft 222, uses photos from the web as well as photos she’s taken via applications like Instagram. On Instagram she posts her “outfits of the day,” known as “#ootd.” These universal hashtags help drive traffic to blogs like hers.

Photo credit: Loft 222
Kelsey Charles posts her “outfit of the day” during her time in Washington D.C. for the presidential inauguration.

“It [the hashtag] gets your name out there on a national level instead of being so specific,” Charles says. “It’s all about driving traffic to your account, and it’s easier to do that on a larger scale with broader hashtag and key words.”

But Lee’s not worried.  He’s not competing with smartphone-wielding fashion bloggers.

And even with the anticipated improvements to camera phones, they will not be sufficient to allow amateurs to match the quality of photos taken by professionals, Lee says.

“These new camera phones could possible compete with a simple digital camera, but not a DSLR [digital single-lens reflex cameras],” he says. “The quality between a DSLR and a camera phone is so different that there is no comparison.

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Revamped Dallas Fashion Week Has Both Designers and Consumers Talking

By Catherine Stacke

Photo cred: DFW Style Daily

Fashion Week is returning to Dallas March 17 -23! After a series of Fashion Week flops in the past several years, Dallas fashion junkies have the right to be skeptical. With that in mind, this year’s Fashion Week creator Nausheen Daniel and executive director Cedric Moses are completely revamping the event. The executive team gathered inspiration from New York’s Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week in preparation to put Dallas on the national Fashion Week map.

“The goal of Fashion Week DFW is to become an integral part of the DFW Fashion Community, supporting its eclectic sense of identity and the diversity along with showcasing these talents to the world,” according to a press release about the event.
Daniel and Moses are no strangers to the fashion scene either. Daniel is an up and coming local designer in the process of opening up her own store. Moses is the current CEO of DFW Concierge Services, from which he has established multiple corporate connections to aid him in the planning of this event.
The breakdown for each day of Fashion Week DFW can be found at and is as follows:

10am – 2pm: Educational seminars directed towards fashion industry professionals.
10am – 6pm: Daily runway shows, trunk shows, retail happy hours, retail/restaurant discounts and specials throughout the DFW Metroplex
7pm – 9pm: Fashion Week DFW official Runways featuring emerging and established designers and entertainment

Fashion Week DFW also aims to draw more attention to Dallas designers. It will feature collections from local designers such as Isabel Varela, Leslie Pennel, Lisha Brightman and the creator’s own Nausheen Daniel Design, in addition to the more famous designers who are Fashion Week regulars.
Also in keeping with the fashionable theme, Dallas’ newest luxury hotel, the Omni, is set to host the weeklong extravaganza.
“The Omni is a remarkable venue and will allow us to truly showcase DFW’s highly fashionable talents of fashion designers, boutique owners, make-up artist, models and fashion-enthusiasts,” Daniel says.

Interested in more information? Visit to stay up to date on everything Fashion Week!

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rewardStyle Lets Fashion Bloggers Live the Dream & Pay the Rent

By Catherine Stacke

Meg Jones
Photo: Styled Spotted Snapped

When Meg Jones walked into her Fashion Journalism class in the spring of her senior year at SMU, she never imagined that the course would lead her to the woman who would jump-start her post-college career.

Amber Venz, rewardStyle CEO, founded the company shortly after graduating from SMU.  Jones was immediately struck by Venz’ motivation to do something that few fashion bloggers had done before:  turn her hobby into a lucrative business.

Photo: 949 The Blog

“I was so impressed that a young SMU grad had started her own company from the ground up just a few years after graduating. I loved that it was a full-service monetization solution for bloggers, run by bloggers,” says Jones.

Although Jones had visited Venz to interview her for her Fashion Journalism class, it was soon clear that this was the beginning of a significant business relationship.  Soon after the profile was completed, Amber Venz hired Meg Jones as an intern and proceeded to offer her a job post-graduation.

“The SMU Fashion Media program has prepared me to wear many hats in my job as an account consultant at rewardStyle,” Jones says.

Jones says she’s been an avid follower of multiple fashion blogs for several years, and she credits rewardStyle with connecting her love of fashion and blogging to her career.

“It is fun working for a start-up company where everyone is willing and eager to work hard in a fast-paced environment,” she says. And a fast-paced environment it is indeed.  Bloggers have certainly become an important complement to fashion publications over the past decade, and fashion brands everywhere are scrambling to profit from their increasing influence.

SMU’s William J. O’Neil Chair in Business Journalism Mark Vamos stresses the value of the direct connection bloggers have with readers: “It’s clear that companies, which once had to go through intermediaries like the media or advertising to reach customers, increasingly have direct access to consumers through multiple touch points,”  Vamos says.

This more direct relationship between fashion bloggers and their readers is exactly the area that rewardStyle is capitalizing on — and with great success.  The website allows bloggers to link their pages to the products they focus on, fostering a unique relationship between blogger and brand.  Whenever a consumer purchases an item linked to a rewardStyle blogger’s page, she receives a commission equal to a percentage of the item’s cost.

The influence of fashion bloggers is significant, and the opportunities for them to cash in on that influence, endless.  With a list of more than 300 retail clients – including ASOS, Shopbop and Neiman Marcus – rewardStyle offers an attractive option for up-and-coming fashion bloggers.  The rise of social media has only upped the ante.

Yes, Amber Venz and rewardStyle have caught a very stylish wave — and should be riding high for some time to come.

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Courtney Kerr Loves Dallas — One Fabulous Outfit at a Time

By Mackenna Scripps

Photo cred: Robert Ascroft

Loud, over-the-top, confident and a bit obnoxious at times. These are the words Dallas-based fashion blogger and reality TV star Courtney Kerr uses to describe her personality and style.

When I tried to reach her in the midst of New York Fashion Week and her super-busy schedule, Kerr celebrity-level busy schedule didn’t allow her to meet with me.  Though I wish I could’ve had the honor, I could sense Kerr’s vibrant personality through our e-mail exchanges alone.

I was lucky enough to learn more about this fashionista and her growing success, including her new reality show coming to Bravo – Courtney Loves Dallas — in the coming months.

You may recognize Kerr from Most Eligible Dallas, another reality show on Bravo. Or possibly you read her fashion blog, What Courtney Wore, which showcases her unique style. Either way, Kerr’s success is only growing. The Dallas socialite says it all began when Bravo found her during their scouting for Most Eligible Dallas:

“The blog happened as a result of the fans wanting to know what I wore in the reality show and then Courtney Loves Dallas happened in result of the blog. It’s kind of a chain reaction that keeps getting more exciting every day!”

Kerr attributes these accomplishments and her continuing success to her outspoken personality as well as her love for fashion.

The new reality series will showcase both. Bravo’s press release promises viewers that each episode will chronicle Kerr’s navigation through the Dallas social scene, including the struggles of balancing her work life with her love life. “Courtney proves that having it all isn’t easy,” quotes the release.

Texas Monthly contributor Jason Sheeler recently addressed the challenges Kerr might face expanding her “brand” beyond “Big D.”

“Courtney has been able to leverage her style and sense of humor towards a loyal Twitter following and two seasons on Bravo, accessorized with her relatable, Texan, ‘every-man’ quality,” Sheeler writes.  “What remains to be seen though is how popular she’ll be outside of North Texas – and if her good outfits and goofy laugh will truly permeate pop culture.”

With Courtney Loves Dallas beginning to film and everything else on her plate, Kerr was in search of an intern. She went through Hire a Stang — a company that helps SMU students and graduates find jobs – and found SMU sophomore, Shannon Russo.

Russo says the reality show will reveal Kerr’s collaboration for Bauble Bar Jewelry with Hunter Dixon clothing, as well as showcasing her newest job as a co-host on the local talk show D: The Broadcast.

D: The Broadcast aired for the first time on Feb. 18. The hosts, along with Kerr, chat about all things Dallas – entertainment, fashion, food and family.

“Working with Courtney is exactly like working with an older sister. Courtney and I just clicked the second we met,” Russo says. “Courtney walks the perfect line of work and play. She cracks down when needed, but also can be a total goofball when we have a second to breathe.”

Growing up in Fort Worth, Kerr says she’s loved fashion since she was 2 years old.

“I used to throw temper tantrums before school every morning with my mother as we would battle it out over what I would wear to nursery school.”

She graduated from Abilene Christian University with a B.S. in Fashion Merchandising and moved to Dallas in 2004.  Kerr pursued a fashion retail career for about 12 years until she decided to leave to become a full-time fashion blogger. It all spiraled from there. Most Eligible Dallas scouted her, What Courtney Wore came next, and now her own reality show and a co-host on D: The Broadcast.

So what’s next? Kerr jokes that she doesn’t have tomorrow’s outfit picked out yet.

“In all seriousness, though, my next steps are always very well thought out and premeditated, but I like to keep everyone guessing, so I do have some surprises in store the next couple of months. I can say this — they involve fashion.”


SMU Fashion Media’s Q & A with Courtney Kerr:

SMU FM: Fashion inspiration?

CK: Diane von Furstenberg – she understands a woman’s body and continues to update the classics season after season.

Staple piece in wardrobe?

Leather pants – especially this time of year. They go with everything and add instant glam to even the basics, like a white tee or an oversized sweatshirt and heels.

Favorite trends for Spring/Summer 2013?

I am all about bright colors when spring and summer roll around. I challenge myself every April-August to not wear black from head to toe. I love bright pops of neons and prints are still so popular!

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Dallas Hosts Fashion Week

By Catherine Stacke

Fashion week is returning to Dallas March 17 to 23.   After a series of fashion week flops,  however, Dallas fashion junkies have the right to be skeptical.  With that in mind, this year’s fashion week creator, Nausheen Daniel, and executive director, Cedric Moses, are completely revamping the event.  The executive team gathered inspiration from New York’s Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week in preparation to put Dallas on the national fashion week map.

“The goal of Fashion Week D-FW is to become an integral parts of the D-FW fashion community, supporting its eclectic sense of identity and the diversity along with showcasing these talents to the world,” Daniel says.

Daniel and Moses are no strangers to the local fashion scene.  Daniel is an up-and-coming Dallas designer in the process of opening her own store.  Moses is CEO of D-FW Concierge Services, through which he has established multiple corporate connections to help him plan this event.

The breakdown for each day of Fashion Week D-FW can be found at The agenda each day is as follows:

10 a.m. to 2p.m.: Educational seminars directed toward fashion industry professionals

10 a.m. to 6 p.m.: Daily runway shows, trunk shows, retail happy hours, retail/restaurant discounts and specials throughout the D-FW Metroplex

7 p.m. to 9 p.m.: Fashion Week D-FW official Runways featuring emerging and established designers and entertainment

Organizers also hope Fashion Week D-FW will draw more attention to home-grown design talent.   Collections from local designers such as Isabel Varela, Leslie Pennel, Lisha Brightman and Fashion Week founder Nausheen Daniel  will be featured alongside well-known national brands.

Also in keeping with the fashionable theme, Dallas’ newest luxury hotel, the Omni, is set to host the weeklong extravaganza, says Daniel.

“The Omni is a remarkable venue and will allow us to truly showcase D-FW’s highly fashionable talents of designers, boutique owners, make-up artists, models and fashion-enthusiasts.”

Visit  to stay up to date on everything Fashion Week.

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Hot campus trend: lululemon athletica gear

By Mercedes Owens and Lexie Hammesfahr

from on .

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Kate Hudson’s Design Debut

By Jade Reichman

Another celebrity is making a foray into the design world. In collaboration with American label Ann Taylor, actress Kate Hudson will launch her first-ever clothing collection. Although she has been the label’s face for the past three seasons, Hudson is taking a different role with the company, designing a collection for summer 2013.

Inspired by Hudson’s red carpet style, the “capsule” collection will include reinterpreted everyday wearable pieces for summer. While she collaborated with Ann Taylor’s creative director, Lisa Axelson, Hudson’s personal touch will be added to every piece as she contributed her own designs and inspirations. Hudson has also shot two campaigns for the upcoming line and will do a third sometime this spring.

Many celebrities — including Jennifer Lopez, Eva Longoria and Victoria Beckham — have tried to brand a fashion line. While some succeed, many fail. It will be interesting to see if the capsule collection, which will be available in Ann Taylor stores beginning in May, will take off with the public.

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