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Getting to Know Portland Designer Nelli Millard

Being a great fashion designer takes a certain type of person and unique inspiration. Not only do you have to be confident in your designs but you have to be confident in yourself. For Portland, Oregon’s 2013 Designer of the Year, all of this comes naturally to her. 

Her name is Nelli Millard, a Russian born designer that lets her inspiration and love lead her to places many wish they could be. Her love of designing started in Russia as she learned how to sew and design from her mother. 

She brought those valuable lessons and her passion for designing to the U.S and has become one of the best designers you may not have heard of yet. Expect to see and hear more from Millard as her clothing line, Nelli Millard, is becoming one of the hottest in the Northwest. 

Millard’s inspirations for her designs are truly unique and powerful. Whether she is getting her inspirations from a Chinese horoscope or a world famous violinist’s “Euphoria” performance, Millard delivers the perfection that people want to wear.  

Madelyn 2014

non fabric dress (1)

We were fortunate enough to speak with Millard and get inside of that great mind of hers. We thought our readers would love to hear what she has to say almost as much as they’ll love wearing her clothes. 

Luevo: What goals have you accomplished that you are most proud of thus far, when it comes to your label?

Millard: Honestly, I don’t know yet…. Being fashion designer is a hobby for me. I don’t make a goals, I just enjoy what I do.

Luevo:  What is your favorite thing about being a designer? What path would you have followed, had you not become a designer?

Millard:  Being a designer for me is a way to express myself as an artist. It is my favorite hobby of life, which brings me joy and inspiration. My other path in life is very much related with a clothing design. I’m a specialist in the custom garment industry.

Luevo: What do you think has helped you most with your designing to date?

Millard:  I work every day to improve my professional and artistic skills, by self learning new trends and technologies.

Luevo: What obstacles have you had to face and overcome to get where you are today?

Millard:  My biggest obstacle is the market. It’s not easy to be in the competition with big garment corporations with cheap prices.

Marmaid dress

non fabric dress

Luevo: What inspirations did you draw on to create this collection?

Millard: To create this collection, I draw my inspiration from violin music “Euphoria” performed by World famous violinist Vanessa May.

Luevo: What is the thing that makes all this hard work and effort worth it for you?

Millard: The biggest thing to work for are results: when I see a person wearing my garment, and she looks beautiful, stunning and empowering – that’s the thing worth working for.

Luevo: What was the turning point in your career that made you say “Yes I’ve finally made it”? 

Millard: My career turning point was the day I was recognized as a designer of the year of 2013 in Portland OR, but I think the sky is the limit.

Luevo: How would you describe your process of inspiration? What do you do to keep your ideas fresh and interesting? 

Millard: The process of the creating of new collection is a combination of many things: my vision, prospect, mood, and environment. I can say it’s a sort of meditation form for me.

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Luevo: If you could describe your new collection with one word, what would it be and why? What would you say the overall theme of this collection would be?

Millard:  My new collection “Euphoria” shows my emotional felling combined with happiness and overwhelming sense of contentment.

Luevo: How did you start your design journey?

Millard: Since I was a child I had a pretty good idea of who I wanted to be, because I grew up in a fashion sewing atmosphere. My mom was a professional tailor and I got it from her.

As you can see Millard is not only an inspiration to many future designers, but she in an inspiration to anyone wanting to reach their dreams. She is proof that if you love something enough and are willing to chase your dreams you can achieve them. It also doesn’t hurt to be really good at your craft like Millard. 


Written by Elias Trejo; writer for AskMen, BleacherReport & owner of The Raider Nation Times. 

Are you looking for a new writing opportunity? Perhaps you have style tips that you would like to share with the world? We value new fashion trends and are always looking for talented guest bloggers. If you’re a blogger or writer, this is the place for you to get noticed. Can you see yourself as a part of our blogging team? Apply here!

The Perfect Fashion Investments

When I hear the word investment, I always think of what’s in the bank, what shares you’re buying and what your net worth is. I’ve never associated fashion and investments together. They just don’t seem to fit together. I used to think that fashion was all about how many clothes you can fit in your closet. I didn’t think of the quality of the clothing; just the quantity. I always find myself donating clothes after only 3 months. Why? Well, because the clothes I bought started looking like rags and were not suitable for wear any more. A woman on the subway heard me talking to a friend about my frustration of how my clothes don’t last and she started lectured on fashion investments.

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She told me, “It’s better to spend a few more dollars and have less but good quality clothing than spending less and throwing our more.” I then realized that she’s right. I thought I was saving money by buying really cheap clothing, but then in reality, I spent more. As my style started to change, I saw myself buying more sophisticated pieces and keeping them longer.

In the investment world, there are the good investments and the bad ones. What are good fashion investments? Well, according to Leandra Medine’s mother, “Invest your money on shoes and handbags as you can improvise the others through meagre means.” Is this good advice on fashion investments? I agree with her. Clothing usually goes on sale but bags and shoes are rarely found on sales racks. I always put more money into buying a pair of shoes that I know will last longer and is comfortable to use on any given day. Handbags, or any bags in general, are also great fashion investments. A good bag can last you a long time. Proof of this is my mothers TOD’s handbag that she loves so much. She uses it everyday and it hasn’t given up on her.

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Overall, it’s not bad to wear expensive clothing, like Chanel and YSL. At the same time, clothing wears down quicker than a bag or shoe. Buy a good pair of shoes or a bag for the full price and get clothing when they’re on sale. Also, when buying clothing make sure that they are not the current seasons trend. Seasonal clothing (clothes that are on trend during that season, but never goes through to the next year) always lack usability when the season changes. Buy classics and focus on fashion investments. Get clothing you know you can mix and match, and are also comfortable to wear.

Article written by Jeakeen, the blogger behind fashionaccordingtojhake.com. Be sure to follow him on Twitter @fashionbyjhake!

Are you looking for a new writing opportunity? Perhaps you have style tips that you would like to share with the world? We value new fashion trends and are always looking for talented guest bloggers. If you’re a blogger or writer, this is the place for you to get noticed. Can you see yourself as a part of our blogging team? Apply here!

Summer Fashion Essentials – Part 1

With spring coming to a close, it’s time to start focusing on the upcoming season of sun dresses and floppy hats: summer. Summer is no longer on the horizon; it’s within reach. What we need are quality items that will stand the test of time and look great. These essentials will definitely get you through the event filled summer months. It’s time to start shopping for your summer fashion must-haves. #trendwatch sunhats

A Sun Hat; Whether you plan on spending those seemingly endless days touring new territory or lounging poolside, you’ll definitely need one of these. Even though sunglasses are great, a sun hat will protect against UV rays. You don’t want a straw hat that looks like it belonged to your grandmother. Go for something stylish. Your sun hat will keep you safe from the sun and you’ll look great.

#trendwatch maxislip

Midi Skirts and Maxi Dresses; Not just any maxi dress, but one that is convertible. For during the day, pair it with sandals and the classic updo. When you get that last-minute event invite, throw on your coveted pair of heels and let your hair down. Instantly, you’re ready for whatever lies ahead.

#trendwatch prettyinprint

Print; Add dimension and colour to your wardrobe with prints, specifically print pants. It’s an ongoing summer trend that shows no signs of stopping. Print shoes, dresses, and even swimwear. There’s an endless selection of ways to rock this trend.

Stay tuned for part 2 of our summer fashion must-haves! What are some of  your summer essentials?

Written by Tianna Alexandre, yourstyleforecast.com Editor. Be sure to follow her on Twitter.

Are you looking for a new writing opportunity? Perhaps you have style tips that you would like to share with the world? We value new fashion trends and are always looking for talented guest bloggers. If you’re a blogger or writer, this is the place for you to get noticed. Can you see yourself as a part of our blogging team? Apply here!

Style Starts Within – Bishme Cromartie, Fashion Designer

Clearly emerging fashion designer Bishme Cromartie of Baltimore, MD was born with the fashion bug; as a little boy he used socks and scraps of fabric to make clothes for his toys. At the age of eight he began putting his creative visions on paper sketching designs for women’s clothing. I would love to see the early designs of a young and uninhibited Bishme with his own imaginings of what the female should look like.

[two_third]February 9, 2007 was a defining moment for the 16 year old Bishme; destiny knocked on his door and he showcased his work at his first solo fashion show. His designs were remarkably chic and very well made for someone of his age. Word spread quickly about this wiz kid designer on the rise. Today Bishme’s architectural-looking creations are modish, vibrant and over dramatic; and have been featured in Elle Vietnam and on Vogue Italia’s website. R&B singer Ashanti wore his design on a “Good Morning America” appearance. Who says dreams don’t come true, in the “Emerging Designer” category? Bishme showed his exhilarating pieces at New York’s Fashion Week 2013!

Bishme’s collections are strong and beautifully sleek sultry works of art. They are eye catching with exaggerated shoulders and hips. His collections absolutely tell a story of strength and are not for the faint of heart. Women who wear his clothing must not be shy or afraid of having all eyes on her.[/two_third][one_third_last] BishmeC_Image1[/one_third_last]

 

[one_half]Bishme is never afraid to go against the wind with his line, so he is inspired by designers that are the same. One of his favorite designers is Giambattista Valii, who is known for being dramatic and paying the upmost attention to detail. When asked what was so special about this designer, Bishme told the team at Greedmont: “[he] is never afraid to go against the norm and it is a very pleasing thing to see such creative work from [him]”. [/one_half]
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You can view Bishme Cromartie’s full collections on his personal website.

Guest Blogger: Elaine Crocker

Sitting Down with Lois Laine – Part2

This is part 2 of a two part interview with Toronto based independent fashion designer Lois Laine. Lois designs eco-friendly clothing with fabrics and labour sourced in Canada. If you haven’t already, check out part one of this interview here.

What do you hope your consumers see when they are attracted to your brand?
I want them to see that it’s unique, but not showy. It’s unique and subtle, just something that they want to grab on to every day.

Lois Laine Fashion Designer

What are some of your fashion goals?
You know I really know that I should have it more defined, but my main goal is to be able to keep doing what I do. I have envisioned a couple of different scenarios: I think generally people have to get bigger to sustain their job in this industry, for me that’s not the most important thing; if I need to get bigger I’m happy to do that. But if I can keep going like this where I have been up till now designing for the upcoming season, and I really enjoy doing that and I can take advantage of doing those limited yardages and I can be more on the season because its coming right up. But if I go into the wholesome market, which is generally how you get bigger then I need to be able to order a 100 meters of something and so I won’t be able to do some of these other nice little treaty things. So my plan is to do two fall/winters this year, so that I can get into the wholesome market and see how that goes. I’ve been in contact with Ana Caracaleanu from Luevo and I am very excited about their idea, the platform would allow me to keep going with the fabrics that I can just grab onto and do small scale or big. That is just very exciting to me. I’m still doing some artisan sales like: the Wearable Arts Show in October from the 24th-26th at 918 Bathurst St. Also, I’ve been invited into the Fresh Collective in the fall (August/September).

 

For more information on Lois Laine collections please go to the designer’s website: loislaine.com
Guest Blogger: Tiffany D’Souza, tiffanydsouza.com

FAT – Fashion Art Week in Toronto

A giant warehouse, an oversized lumberjack style plaid shirt, top-notch street style and great music could only be all at FAT Fashion Week. Well, that is what I have been led to believe since moving to Toronto. You see I’ve never had an opportunity to attend FAT being from the east coast, but so many people love this ‘alternative fashion week’. I was wholeheartedly not disappointed. I had the opportunity to attend the Thursday night events on April 25th and watch six runway shows out of nine.

What FAT really specialized in was bringing the art scene back into fashion. Of course that seems obvious by the name, but if you’ve ever attended other fashion events you would quickly learn that it is not the case. I had to notice that fashion and art here was really at its core. There wasn’t a ‘The Devil Wears Prada’ feeling of pretention and ‘that’s so last season’ that you may expect. Instead, it was a venue for people who love fashion as an art form and use it as an expression as ones self, not as a status symbol. It was everything fashion should be and it was beautiful.
FAT - Arts and Fashion week Toronto

The patrons at FAT for the most part did not wear high-end big brands, but really rocked the more rare pieces from smaller designers. I’m used to opening conversation with somebody during Fashion Week by commenting on a person’s newest big designer item, but at FAT, you would have instead asked where they purchased the item as so many people were wearing indie. Because of so many unique brands and styles being put together, FAT has amazing street style. Even between fashion shows, you were treated to unique pieces, wearable art and many beautiful combinations. When attending a previous fashion event earlier this year, I noticed that while yes, everybody had beautiful style and a chic way to wear items the event was lacking on the street style front. Where was the fashion and beauty that inspired street style blogs and popular photographers like The Sartorialist? Where are those people who love to mix high-end fashion from decades past with local favourites? If you don’t know Scott Schuman of The Sartorialist, you should check it out here. You won’t regret it. It was of course the shows themselves that displayed the most creativity, but the patrons attending were a close second. FAT bar-none had the best street style.

The runway shows were also a great mix of art and fashion. The first three shows of the evening had an edgy rocker and sometimes-gothic theme. Many of the pieces were wearable, but of the first three shows they each sported something that was un-wearable and simply for art. The next set of three shows featured more wearable pieces that focused more on beautiful tailoring. These shows made you anticipate what you would like add to your wardrobe more than shock value. Below is one of the better shots I had taken, evidently with my favourite piece of the night from the emerging independent fashion designer B.E. Shields.

Fashion art Toronto B.E. SHIELDS

For better quality images, have a look at the FAT blog on their official website and you’ll get an idea of the creativity that takes over the runway.

Guest Blogger: Bhreigh Gillis, Intern Community Manager at Luevo, Fashionista and sailor enthusiast.
Twitter @Bhreigh
Personal blog

Fashion Designers Apply Now to Fund Your Next Collection!

We are so excited to have seen a wonderful 2014/2015 season with so many amazing collections being funded on our platform!

Here is a short list of FAQs to prepare you for the application process:

Q1. I am fresh out of school can I still apply?

A1. Yes. Your acceptance depends on a combination of  factors: experience, education, skills, awards received, uniqueness of products. We are looking for talented individuals  that have the potential to grow when using our service.

Q2. I am a somewhat established independent fashion designer, what can I get from your service?

A2. As an established designer  you can use the Luevo platform to test the market desirability of  your new products. Better yet, you gain more followers, pre-sell your collections and further strengthen your brand!

Q3. Can I just post my design drawings?

A3. Unfortunately, no. Our customers want to see exactly the final product they will be buying. You will have to produce a sample and post high-resolution images that show the details of your product.

Q4. Is Luevo manufacturing my products once they are successfully funded?

A4. NO. You as a designer are in charge of your own production.

Q5. Do my products have to be handmade?

A5. NO. This is not a site for handmade products only. You can choose to make your own production or outsource. We encourage using local manufacturers and suppliers.

Q6.What happens with the returns?

A6. You are responsible for accepting returns and refund the customer.

Q7. Do I have to compromise on price because I am pre-selling my products?

A7.  You are responsible for determining the appropriate price for your products, based on your costs and required profit margins. If your minimums are high then it makes business sense to reduce pricing accordingly.

Q8. Does Luevo own the rights over my designs?

A8. NOPE. You own full rights over your designs, products and brand.

Q9. Do I have to be based in North America to post my products on Luevo?

A9. YES. Currently we can only launch US and Canada based designers.

Q10. Do I have to pay to have my products on Luevo?

A10. NO. It is free to post products and request pre-orders. We only make money if you do, after you successfully fund your products.

If you are a fashion designer ready to crowdfund your next collection, please use our online application HERE. And if you’d like to learn more, don’t forget to check out our free tips and sign-up for courses and webinars.

 

3 Tips for the Emerging Fashion Designer

Yet another week of fashion extravaganza stormed through our city, and many emerging fashion designers have had the opportunity to mingle, network or even launch their collections.

I am a big follower of everything that moves in the fashion industry: bloggers, stylists, designers, fashionistas and pretty much anyone that cares and is involved in the local fashion scene. I lived every moment of the fashion week by digesting Twitter feeds , Instagram pictures and Facebook posts.

And here is tip #1: If you are an aspiring or emerging fashion designer – you must stay connected to your local fashion influencers! Twitter is a good place to “stalk” them and stay up-to-date with latest news and events in the fashion industry. Find bloggers, stylists, fashion publications and organizations that will surely overload you with the latest fashion news.

Indeed, during fashion week it can be a little overwhelming with all the media hype around the big established designers and the runway shows. But learn to listen and filter to what is of real value to you
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Tip #2: Attend smaller events where you can get valuable networking done.

Best part of fashion week is the high concentration of fashion influencers, but you will have to find the appropriate event to network with them. One of these opportunities was the speed-networking event organized by Fashion Group international and Fashion Takes Action. This event is typically sold-out, and you can meet with potential clients, HR recruiting firms specializing in fashion, bloggers, boutique owners and mentors. I recommend these types of events to anyone starting up in any kind of industry, and make sure you bring tons of business cards!
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Tip #3: Enroll in industry specific organizations before the fashion week.

You are very lucky to be able to start a fashion business in a city like Toronto. Bigger metropolitan cities typically have fashion hubs that come with non-for-profit organizations, incubators, and an abundance of mentors. Being part of these will give you access to latest news, reduced ticket prices to fashion events and more networking opportunities.
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Here is a short list of organizations that as an aspiring or emerging fashion designer in Toronto you should seriously consider:

Toronto Fashion Incubator – an innovative and highly respected non-profit organization dedicated to supporting and nurturing small business entrepreneurs in the fashion industry.

Fashion Group International – global non-profit organization of executives, designers and entrepreneurs in more than 30 chapters around the world. Toronto is their only Canadian chapter.

Fashion Takes Action – Canada’s premier non-profit organization that focuses on sustainability in the fashion industry.

Is Eco-Fashion Just a Trend?

I recently attended the GREEN JOBS FORUM in Toronto to find among the speakers many young entrepreneurs in the fields of fashion and beauty.  I became curious about eco-trends in fashion when we were recently approached by local designers Alexandra Wilson and Jessica van Enckevort from LittleWhiteDress (we will review their line in a separate post).

We are picky eaters, picky travelers, picky partners, but how about fashion? How concerned are we of where our clothes are being made, or if young children were the “tailors” of our clothes? I would leave that up to you my reader, but my guess is most of us aren’t. Most brand name labels do produce their lines in a third world country, but I am not even going to go there.

This post is about those designers that are trying to make a difference, and not only that they source their materials and produce their designs locally, but they also try to incorporate sustainable practices in the manufacturing process of their clothing lines.

At the GREEN JOBS FORUM I listened to Shawna Robinson co-owner of LABEL.

The designers at LABEL use recycled and organic materials as much as they can and they use eco-friendly printing processes for their T-shirts. Shawna also made an interesting point on being  sustainable versus eco, as a company. They choose “sustainable” design patterns, to make full use of the materials available and reduce waste. This is one of the reason why their most recent collection has a lot of asymmetrical designs – which is not only sustainable but also very trendy, and we love it!

Obviously, prices are always going to be an issue for the buyer, as most of the sustainable and eco-friendly clothing will bear a higher price tag than, you know their non-so-sustainable competition. But I believe if we can pay  50% more on organic foods than we should consider local designers that  not only are they doing something good about our environment, but they are also a source for  innovative  fashion and high-quality craftsmanship.

For more information on sustainable and eco-friendly fashion you can have a look at FASHION TAKES ACTION,  an industry non-profit organization.