Wednesday, August 20, 2014

The D&M One-Two Punch

The Design and Merchandising program teaches students the building blocks of design, strategic planning, organization and fundamentals of business. The curriculum touches upon multiple facets of creative and business industries, which is one of the reasons why the program is so great. Not every D&M dreams of being a stylist or working with clothing directly. The number of directions that are possible after graduation are endless.

The beauty of our program is that it offers a one-two punch of sorts. We have the opportunity to experience all different areas of creative and business through a wide variety of courses. We are then allowed to go out into the real world for six months and apply of our lessons from school.

Interning during my junior year is the best experience I could have asked for. After being in class for two and a half years I was able to acquire the tools that would allow me to strive at my internship. I had taken a wide variety of courses and my skill set was where it needed to be. After five months of interning I have to say I have learned much more than I ever expected to. Being thrown into such a fast passed industry can be quite a shock to the system. While I do love working in creative services and being involved in the projects the people around me are working on, I know that I don’t necessary love working for such a massive corporation. These types of realizations don’t come from textbooks or quizzes, but experiencing the environment first hand.

Interning, no matter what company you work for, is a hugely rewarding experience. Not only have I learned more about the fashion industry, but I’ve learned so much more about myself and what I want out of a career.

Long Days, Longer Weeks

As I mentioned last week, I have a retail job in addition to my Co-Op. This makes me a full time working girl! I am working seven days a week which make this next month long and tiring. I cannot wait to be back in Philly and just have school on my plate! I do not have a job while in school but with only six months until I graduate, I should get used to working!
Although my jobs are in related fields, they are both completely different. My internship is much more fulfilling to the point where I do not even mind going into the office during the week. However, my retail job is pure hell. I stand for ten plus hours finger spacing and fixing hangers! My back and my feet are not too happy about it. I love helping customers put outfits together but the store I am working for does not have customer service on their priority list at all. I make it a point to help shoppers as much as possible to gain a little human interaction and creativity from such a meaningless job.
One month and I will be back at Drexel! Can't wait!

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

The Final Fall Term

As I approach the completion of my internship at Michael Kors, the reality of the end of my college education is beginning to hit me. Not only has the summer flown by, but that last three years have passed in an instant. I remember being a timid freshman scared to death that I would get lost getting to my first day of classes in Nesbitt.

The last three years have shown me what I am truly capable of. I have learned more about myself than I expected to. Entering senior year makes me feel a mixture of emotions. On one hand, I’m nervous to go back to school after six months without papers and exams. I’m eager to be back on campus surrounded with friends. I’m stressed about getting a job come graduation. All of these thoughts bubble around in my head. I’m anxious and excited and scared to see what the next few months bring.

In addition to taking a full term of classes this fall I am currently applying to internships. After commuting the first three months of Co-op I feel prepared to do it again- only this time, I’ll tone it down to two days a week. I’ve been on a few interviews and am excited to see what will happen. My fall term is looking pretty crazy between an internship in New York, full time classes and working at the Loft. I know it sounds like a lot but I want to prove to myself I’m capable of juggling. After all, life is a complete balancing act. Why not learn how to manage early on?

Friday, August 15, 2014

The Michael Kors Brand

As a Design and Merchandising student, my professors have constantly taught about the importance of branding.  Branding is monumental to a company’s success, for without a clear messaging it is impossible to get through to the customer you’re trying to reach. Having a consistent brand identity and vision helps establish a perspective. Interning at Michael Kors, an internationally recognized brand, has further drove home the importance of this concept for me.

The term “Jet Set” is used around my office as frequently as “hello”. Designers, copywriters, and managers are constantly asking one another if the work being produced fits the “Jet Set” brand. Michael Kors offers ready to wear and accessories for the “Jet Set” woman and man. Every piece of collateral put out by my office must fit in with the “Jet Set” mold. If something is too trendy it will immediately be shut down. What does it mean to be “Jet Set” you may ask? A Jet Setter is glamorous yet casual, sophisticated yet indulgent, iconic yet modern. While these words may seem to juxtapose each other, within the world of MK they provide a sort of road map for the creative team. Every department at Michael Kors follows the same brand parameters. From the designers to merchandisers, every employee has the Michael Kors brand engrained into their brains. 

Straight from the offices of Michael Kors, here are the brand pillars that every aspect of the Michael Kors Corporation holds true to. And I have to say, they do a fantastic job sticking to this set of buzz words in every facet of the brand. 


"I'm Every Woman"

   Like any other retailer or brand, Loft has a label attached to it--no pun intended.  It carries a stereotype, assumption, or some other predetermined notion that others group with it and its shoppers even without knowing much else.  For example, Urban Outfitters would be the edgy, expensive retailer that reaches a "hipster" crowd, while Abercrombie and Hollister are overpriced cookie-cutter fashions that tweens are infatuated with.  Loft's label?  Loft is simple and classy workwear, also known as trousers, trousers, and more trousers.  Loft is the classic "mom" label.

   I would by lying if I said that I did not hold these notions as part of Loft until my employment with the company.  However, soon after working for Loft, I faced a complete 360 flip in my opinion.  Sure, Loft houses lots of trousers and basic "mom" wear, but the company is much, much more than that.

   So when asked my favorite thing about the brand, I answer with an unusual answer coming from someone whom used to buy into the stereotype.  My favorite thing about Loft as a brand is the versatility in style and clientele.  Sure, some of the fashions may be pretty straightforward and basic--but not all of them.  And even the simpler ones, I find clients trying on or coming in styling them in a beautifully unique way.

   As a Design and Merchandising major, many of my classes have touched about fashion versus style.  Fashion is what you purchase, what is sold, the clothing itself, while style is what you do with it.  You may be fashionable without being stylish; the clothes wear you.  Or you may be stylish without being fashionable.  A great example of this in popular culture would be Lady Gaga or Katy Perry.  Their way of dressing is not based on fashion or the latest designs.  However, they have their own unique method of style that makes them individuals.

   Going back to Loft, this company is exemplary at providing fashion that indirectly provides style.  The fashions Loft sells have great range without looking like a smorgasbord of clothing thrown under one label.  We sell everyday $10 tees and tanks to your basic workwear, as well as a more out-of-the-box refined line we've named "New Dress Code."  Loft also recently launched a line under their name last fall called "Lou & Grey."  Lou & Grey is a refined casual line that helps its users look put together, not lazy, while also at comfort.  This line includes leggings, parachute pants, tees, dresses, and more.  It did not take long to become my favorite section of the store as it has a bit more edge in its designs.  With all of these options said, it is no wonder that the women that come into Loft are multiple generations, demographics, and races.  My latest inspiration came from a Muslim woman who came in wearing one of our dresses paired with tan pants, her traditional headscarf with a glam headband slid over, and a statement necklace.  She was the best example of style that I have seen come through our doors.  The dress with pants did not look sloppy or like it should not have been together, something I never would have even thought to attempt.  I especially love that she dressed for her culture and religion while also dressing for her passion of style.  This woman clearly had an individual style that made her shine, inside and out, all while wearing Loft that was never showed styled that way in ads or on mannequins.

   Lately, I have been finding myself more and more pleasantly surprised at finding inspiration from our clients.  They prove to be a wonderful example of style that embodies what a Loft woman really is--a perfect balance of work and play while still looking at ease, put together, and unique.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

When Enthusiasm Goes Too Far

Being eager to learn from an internship is a quality that all employers are looking when hiring. The desire to learn and grow from an interning experience is more than natural, and enthusiasm goes a long way. With that being said, there is such a thing as being too eager and aggressive at an internship.

I’m sure everyone has worked with a person so eager to get ahead that they don’t mind stepping on other’s toes. Learning how to deal with different personalities is a huge part of growing up, both socially and professionally. I make it a priority to get to know the people I interact with on a daily basis in my office, whether that be the doorman, my fellow interns, or my supervisors.  Not everyone follows this same code. Maybe they are preoccupied with projects or distracted, I’m not entirely sure. When interning, you never know where those around you will end up working. Having connections with fellow interns is just as important as with your supervisors, in my opinion. I have met interns who have worked for some amazing companies and had both great and terrible stories I can learn from.

I know that my attitude towards my peers isn’t one shared by all of the young people entering this industry. From our first days as freshmen we are taught to be prepared to work hard. Fashion is competitive and ruthless at times. I have found that the ruthless ones are the ones just starting out, not the seasoned executives in the office. People who are so eager to land their dream job that they miss out on the journey. Yes, interning isn’t always glamorous, but it is a part of the process. I know I wouldn’t want to jump right to the top of my field without experiencing what happens at the base. Some intern tasks may seem menial, but in the grand scheme of the corporation make a huge impact. I hope that my career journey will be shared wit those that I have had the chance to form relationships with along the way

Nicole Miller Gets Rescued

This past Sunday, Nicole Miller at the Bellevue partnered with Rescue Spa at 1601 Walnut Street for an afternoon of pampering with top notch services provided by Rescue and brand new fall styles from Nicole Miller.  Mothers and daughters from Nicole Miller Philadelphia gathered to tour and experience the beautiful setup at Rescue.  They were greeted by the expert technicians from Rescue and our very own fashion consultants from Nicole Miller.  With facials, manis/pedis, and massages booked, guests enjoyed the company of successful and inspiring women along with a few afternoon cocktails.  Several guests picked up some staple Nicole Miller cashmere pieces as well as some fresh styles for fall.  As we continue to celebrate Mary Dougherty's 20th year in business, we continue to partner with local businesses to showcase Philly's hidden treasures!

Schedule your service at Rescue Spa to experience a day of relaxation!

Visit Mary K. Dougherty and Associates' events page to check out more Nicole Miller Philadelphia Events!