June 4, 2011 - Research

            Recently I chose to continue my research by reading 3 different articles. The first was titled Social Identity and the Meaning of Fashion Brands by Susan Auty and Richard Elliot. The second was The Survivor by Ruth La Ferla. And finally I read You’re a what? Image Consultant by Elka Jones. The first article furthered my knowledge of how fashion works while the other two gave me a better idea of what a life would be like in the industry and as a fashion stylist.
            The article Social Identity was written by two university professors for a scholarly journal so I found myself struggling a bit with the terminology. None the less, I was completely intrigued in what it had to say. The article outlines a study considering the importance of social identity in the interpretation of brands of jeans measured by Snyder’s Revised Self-Monitoring Scale, which distinguishes between people who are highly motivated to respond to social cues and those who remain ‘true to themselves’. The article begins by claiming that “diverse theorists have demonstrated the use of clothing as a code”, then quote a London shopper who says “If I’m wearing a white T-shirt and sneakers, that label [Armani] will fill in the rest of the information about me”. Growing up in a community like Orinda, I have always been aware of the way clothing brands label people but had never thought about how much that might effect a fashion stylists decisions. I realized that when a photographer asks a stylist to style the models in a certain way, the style of clothing is not only important but the brand of that clothing as well. The study then goes on to talk about why clothing is primarily a means of communicating not personal identity, but social identity. I was extremely surprised by this claim because I had always believed that clothing was a way to personally identify yourself. However, when I thought more indepthly about it, I realized a business woman may ask for a personal stylist not because they want to show people who they really are, but because they want to identify with high ranking professionals. Finally the article concluded on how important it is for advertising and clothing manufacturers to identify what social status they want their clothing to be sold under. Often they models they choose for their advertisements and they way they style their clothes will attract people from different social categories and should therefore be mostly advertised in areas with similar social rankings. This was another point that I had never thought about but realized that it is something extremely important for stylist to think about when working for various clothing companies.

Marc Jacobs in his office
            Because the research was done post-presentation, I wanted to make sure I focused some of it on the final question of my project; Is being a fashion stylist the right career choice for me? After discussing this with Mr. Poling he generously found me an article about the life of famed fashion designer Marc Jacobs in the New York Times. The articles main focus was to discuss whether Marc Jacobs career was in full swing or if it was falling flat. One of the biggest points made was about how necessary it was to stay ‘relevant’ in the industry, but without changing your personal style. This meant that one is criticized if they are not constantly staying on trend, but also criticized if they change too much and loose what they are known for. The same is true for fashion stylists who commonly become known (and hired) because of the certain stylistic approach they take to styling a client. However, one of the most important parts of a stylist job is knowing exactly what is trending right then, which proves a difficult balance to keep.
            My final piece of research was about the life of a fashion consultant, a job much like a fashion stylist but usually pertaining more to individual clients then companies and models. The consultant, Lori Johnson, talks about how much more there is to her job then just fashion knowledge. She discusses how important it is to be able to read and understand people and then adapt to their needs. Lori also says that “part of her job is to help make the experience less stressful and to provide encouragement”. Her comments made me realize how important ‘people skills’ are in the business even thought it is often not taught or emphasized when learning about styling. The final part of the article detailed about how Lori not only consults but also does makeup and styling work for photographers, speaks about image and attire at conventions, and even volunteers her services to homeless shelters. Being self-employed, it is necessary to also know how to do your own business related tasks such as managing finances, billing clients, and personal advertising. Many of these things I had never thought about, but quickly realized I am going to need to know so much more than just how to style.
            Throughout my research I thought extensively about whether or not fashion styling is the right job for me. After reading Lori Johnson’s story I realized that I could definitely see myself living the same life she is but wondered whether I had the courage to throw myself into a career that didn’t always have the most promising income source. In the end, I believe that I really should purse what I love to do, which is styling, but also believe that I need to find a career that will guarantee a comfortable life in the way of a steady income. However, I have yet to find exactly what that will be.

Auty, Susan, and Richard Elliot. "Social Identity and the Meaning of Fashion Brands." European Advances in Consumer Research 3 (1998): 1-10. Association for Consumer Research. Web. 30 May 2011. http://www.acrwebsite.org/volumes/display.asp?id=11145.
Jones, Elka. "You're a what? Image Consultant." Bureau of Labor Statistics. U.S. Dept. of Labor, Fall 2005. Web. 30 May 2011. http://www.bls.gov/opub/ooq/2005/fall/yawhat.htm.
La Ferla, Ruth. "The Survivor." New York Times 2 June 2011: n. pag. Print.

Post-Presentation Reflection

            As I look back on the past week of presentation preparation and how it all ultimately turned out, I can confidently say that I am proud of everything I have done. I began preparation by creating a small packet for my audience to read. Beginning with the presentation outline, I was able to formulate my thoughts into the basic points of my presentation before focusing on the details. I then went back to read the entirety of my journal to find my favorite entries. As I read I smiled at happy memories, wondered about the things I might have done differently, and, with embarrassment, changed a lot of spelling mistakes (whoops!). I don’t think I truly realized how much I had changed until I went back and read my journal. I found that many of my opinions had been tweaked or completely changed by the experience. One of the things that struck me the most was my beginning goals and how many of them I believed were things that I could easily change about myself, however, looking back, I realized that they were not so simple in their answer. This, I decided would be the basis of my presentation.
            After several days of preparation, the time had finally come, so I arrived 2 hours early to make sure everything would run smoothly. As friends, family, and evaluators entered the room, my nerves kicked into high gear. However, just a few minutes into the presentation I felt the words flowing from my mouth and the nerves being suppressed by the excitement of finally giving my presentation. As the minutes flew by I watched the clock, not wanting to over-talk and bore my audience, but found that there was still so much more I wanted to say. As the 30 minute mark rolled by my brain began to display signs of fatigue. I began getting caught up in my thoughts and losing track of what I was saying allowed. I charged on, determined to end the presentation as well as I had started it. Finally, as I concluded my last points, I smiled and took a deep breath. As I sat down for the evaluation, I had no clue what to expect. If all was judged based on the expressions I had seen on my evaluators’ faces during the presentation, all would have been a failure, but luckily expressions do not always match thought. As I had always wished, my evaluators all exclaimed about how well I communicated my emotions both through my writing and through my presentation. One woman began by telling me that she had spent her whole life in the fashion industry and that, as she read my journal, she saw so much of herself in me. This was truly amazing to hear, knowing that an experienced professional in the field believed that I could be a successful as she was. The only criticism I was given was about some things I had left out in my presentation, which made me wonder if they would have preferred an hour long presentation or to just continue on without ever knowing. This also made me realize that my laziness when it came to my journal writing had really hindered my full potential my journal had and I longed to go back and tell the world every detail. However, I cannot change the past, only the future and as the evaluation came to a close, this phrase gave me a yearning to continue the life I had begun with WISE. After I thanked each of my evaluators and watched them leave the room, Trish and I turned to one another and smiled. It was finally over.
            The presentation was the best possible way I could have imagined to end my WISE semester. Being able to look over my entire experience and reflect on it as a whole gave me a true sense of accomplishment.

Wecome to my Blog

Hello and welcome to Lindsey Loeper’s WISE journal. Over the past five months I have been working to understand the world of a fashion stylist. For most of my project I worked closely with a freelance fashion and interior stylist, Danielle (her last name must be omitted from this blog because of its public forum). Simultaneously I took classes in fashion merchandising and styling at the Academy of Art University in San Francisco. If you would like to read my adventure from the beginning please look to the right hand column labeled 'Blog Archive". Here you will find a full list of all my journal entries from, oldest at the bottom to newest at the top. When you click on each title, the entry will appear in the main center column of this blog, and you can either click on each consecutive one or skip around if you are short on time. As you read, you may notice a couple of entries with a star next to the title, this means that these are pivotal entries and vital to your understanding of my project. I hope you will enjoy reading the many ups and downs of my journey.

May 8, 2011*

As I prepare for my final presentation this week and write my concluding journal entry, a whirlwind of emotions take hold of me. I had a fabulous project and experienced more than I could have ever dreamed of, but there is also much I still feel there is to learn.
I want to begin this final entry by letting you, my reader, know exactly what has happened with my project since Danielle’s departure. I contacted the interior designer Danielle suggested but it turned out she moved far away several months ago. The woman did however give me a couple names I could contact, but I found that with only 2 more weeks of my project yet, attempting a whole new internship wasn’t practical. Although Danielle offered to give me remote assignments, I chose to explore my project on my own (i.e. the vintage fashion faire and AAU fashion show). For my job applications I asked if she would be my reference and she agreed, but since then I have not spoke with her. After my presentation, I would like to send Danielle an email (or even call) to fully thank her for all her help with my project. I also don’t see why, when she returns from New York, I couldn’t work with her again if she needs the help so I will ask her if she would like to continue working with me through the summer. As far as my summer job search goes, I have yet to hear back from anyone but have continued to collect applications from wherever possible. Regarding my class at the Academy of Art, I still keep in close touch with my friends from that class and we plan to go shopping together in a few weekends.
As I look over my original goals, I realize I am certainly proud of some of the things I have achieved throughout this journey, but also find there are other things I wish I had done or achieved. My first goal was to stay on schedule. Regarding my journal, I think I did a great job of keeping on track despite my initial worry. At times I was overwhelmed, but when it came to my journal deadline, I always completed what was expected to be finished. Regarding punctuality however, I ready do believe I failed. I was never early to anything I did relating to WISE and I feel this is something about myself I need to change ASAP. I did, however, learn a lot about what it takes to be on time and feel there are no excuses anymore for arriving late to anything. My next goal was to become more confident in my styling choices, but I am a bit torn on how to respond to this. I now believe that confidence in my choices is not something I can learn, but something that will take many years to develop. Originally I believed that confidence could almost be taught, but I now see that only through maturity will I gain self confidence. My third goal was to simply learn as much as I could about styling and fashion in general. I far surpassed my original expectation about this goal. Not only do I feel like I learned enough to send me confidently into my future, but I find a whole new love has grown for fashion through my greater understanding of its history. My experience with Danielle gave me great insight of the real life of a professional in the fashion industry while Clarissa (my AAU teacher) helped me understand why the industry acts as it does. My fourth goal, learning how to conduct myself in front of professionals, has also taken me to new heights. I realize now that this goal was more relating to a fear of talking with adults without a parent or friend to support me. After several experiences on my own, however, this fear has almost completely been vanquished. I feel my opinions can be expressed on my own without the support of someone else which aids my confidence when talking with professionals. Finally, there is no way I or anyone else can deny that my last goal was fully achieved. Through all the ups and downs I sit here now and can only smile. This experience is something I never expected but something I would absolutely never have wanted to happen any other way. Yes, I will always wonder what I could have done if I had continued with Danielle, but this type of spontaneity occurs all the time in life and is something I need to know how to not only get through but grow and make something good out of. All-in-all this project lent itself to great growth inside of me and I am thankful for every moment of it.

May 7, 2011

As many schools come to the end of the academic year, final projects often go on display for the pubic to see, especially at art schools. This is particularly true for the school where I attended my fashion merchandising class and whose fashion design school is top notch. In fact, the Academy of Arts fashion design students are the only students in the nation who get to show their designs at New York fashion week (huge deal in the fashion world), so it seemed fit that I go see their final fashion show right here in San Francisco. I thought this would be the perfect chance to reunite with my friends from AAU after our class ended a couple weeks ago, but it turned out none of them were available that day. Then I thought my mom would be the perfect person to take with me because we share similar tastes in clothing and she would be the ideal mate to critique the outfits with as they came down the runway. But this idea was quickly shot down due to the fact that this day was my parent’s anniversary. So it looked like I would be, once again, going on a WISE adventure alone.
When the day came I wanted to make sure I dressed to impress, which meant sifting through my closet in order to find the most up-to-date and stylish outfit I could. This hour long process turned out to be much harder than I thought. But then there is that moment, when you are staring at a huge pile of clothing and saying “I’ve got absolutely nothing to wear!” that, right then, an image of that perfect outfit comes into your mind and you go running to you closet to get out that one perfect item that you totally forgot about (ok, so maybe I’m the only one that has these moments). This is precisely what happened that morning, but good thing it did because I felt confident for the rest of the day knowing I loved the outfit I had on.
Of course these adorable outfits are completely useless when attempting to brave the cold and winds of San Francisco. However, I did not learn this lesson until I had to stand in line outside the event braving the conditions for half an hour. In order to take my mind of the weather I took to listening to those around me conversations. In front of me a young fashion student detailed the creation of her latest dress to a friend. She used a plethora of words describing the stitching and pleats of this dress that I could not even begin to comprehend. Even though I didn’t quite grasp the entirety of her description I enjoyed hearing her talk so indepthly about what it actually takes to create just one item of clothing. This made me think about the designers I was about to see. They had been working all year on what was about to pass across my eyes in less than a minute. Then there was the guy behind me who had great aspirations as an animator or movie script writer. He told his friend of the Alice in Wonderland esque animated movie he’s been working on all year. Beginning with how he originally came up with the idea for the script and then going through each and every step of the animation process. After ten minutes of listening I thought about turning around and asking him where his movie would be showing because it sounded absolutely fabulous. But I never got the chance because all of a sudden they started seating people for the show and I was whisked away into the large tent and seated only 4 rows back from the runaway (the seat was amazing!). Before I knew it, the lights dimmed, the music was turned up, and a model was standing front and center on the runway. As each model walked down the runway, every body in the building leaned forward to try to get the best look they could and see the detail of the outfit. Although there were some designers that I thought were rather lackluster with their earth tones and ‘seen it before’ designs, others stood out in a spectacular way. With a colorful palette and captivating layers of material, a collaboration between Brittany Burggraff, a fashion design student, and Wendy Tam, a textile design student, was no doubt my favorite. Here are a couple of images from their show:

As the show came to a close and I exited the building I expected to have some monumental moment in which I came to some kind of realization lending to my growth as a young woman, but this never happened. I got on a bus, then on Bart, and then I was home and none of it seemed out of the ordinary for me. I think that reaction really shows how much I’ve grown over this whole experience. Going somewhere on my own and doing something alone is no longer a special thing, I feel completely comfortable by myself but no longer in the “I’m so excited I’m doing this on my own” way but instead like a young woman who is accustom to experiencing the world on her own.

April 29, 2011

This week I began my search for a summer job. I knew I wanted to continue with fashion so I chose to apply for jobs at my local clothing stores. I didn’t know who was hiring but I thought it best to just ask for an application from as many shops as possible, so I began on one side of town and went from there. Seeing as I’ve never applied for a real job before I had no clue what to expect. First, I was worried about how to dress because clothing stores often want you to be dressed in the latest fashions and with particular ‘look’ of the store. So no black slacks and a silk blouse, but then again I didn’t want to come off like I didn’t care about how a looked; there is a thin line that I had to make sure I stayed on. Second was that I didn’t know how to ask for any application. There were probably going to be lines so should I wait in them like a customer and then just spring the question? Or go around on the side and wait to talk to someone?
I decided on a chic sweater and dark wash jeans--cute and updated but still refined and professional. I don’t know why, however, I fretted over it so much considering I was just getting an application. Anyways, my mom suggested I just ask anyone working on the side near the counter for the application but that looking confident was really the most important thing. Feeling like I was ready to go, I walked into the first store.
There was no one inside the store. Seriously no one at all. Considering it was in the afternoon on a Tuesday, I guess I shouldn’t have been too surprised. So I started to browse like a customer hoping someone in some back office would notice me and come out. It worked because right away someone came out and greeted me. I asked if they were hiring for the summer and they excitedly exclaimed ‘yes’ and handed me an application. I thanked them and walked out. Wait, whoa, that was so easy! And that woman was so nice and looked like she might actually want to work with me! I walked into the next store confident and ready for the day and the woman at the front desk handed me an application and I was once again on my way. If only getting the job was as easy as getting the application… As I entered the last store, I went and ask the woman behind the counter for an application same as I had done before. As I ask, I got an unfamiliar sneer from the woman along with the question “and how much retail experience do you have?” Well, I really didn’t have any at all so I replied with “None. But I am a quick learner and really good with people”. Apparently that’s not good enough because she was quick to fire back with “Ya, I’m just going to save you some time and us some paper and you can come back after you get some experience.” Great way to end the day, huh?
Well, I had already collected 5 applications, so I decided not to worry about the last incident and get to work filling the applications out. Job applications really make you feel unqualified for anything. Considering I couldn’t even check that I was a high school graduate, I felt a little overwhelmed within the first couple of lines of the application. My past jobs included working with Danielle (which was really the only thing I had going for me) and then I put ‘child care services’, i.e. babysitting. The most surprising thing about the applications were the opinion questions they asked. Of course there were the ‘why do you want to work for our store?’ and ‘how will you provide quality service to customers’ but then I ran into several ‘who are your favorite musical artists’, ‘describe your favorite outfit’, and ‘who is your favorite celebrity and why? As far as the musical questions I knew I had to stay completely true to myself whether they agreed with my tastes or not, but concerning outfits and celebrities? My favorite outfit changes with my mood and I really have no interest in celebrities so what was I supposed to write about?! So I took to the Internet (once again). My favorite outfit was now the one on the cover of that stores most recent catalog and my favorite celebrity was the one recently spotted wearing their clothing. I took a little time getting to know these outfits and celebrities just in case I was asked in an interview, but all-in-all I think my answers will give me an extra little push when it comes down to it.
            On Thursday I returned all the applications but only one said they would call me to set up an interview. I really have no clue what will happen or if anyone will even want me with my lack of experience in retail. I really believe that my personality will be my biggest asset in the end, so I have to make sure that is seen in my interviews. For now I am jobless, but I will continue to collect and submit applications and maybe my professional career will begin this summer!

April 25, 2011- Research

            For my latest research I read Chloe Leiberman (Sometimes Wong), a novel by Carrie Rosten. Now this may not sound like the usual fashion research book, which it isn’t, but this is because I felt it was time for something new. For my past research entries I have written about facts, so I wanted to read a story, something where I would find a character I could relate to. I felt a fictional novel would help me understand the personalities of the business of fashion, not just the façade that all must put on to be professional. So I entered my school’s library and found Chloe Leiberman.
            The novel began with a little opening blurb that told the reader about a high school senior name Chloe Leiberman (sometimes Wong). She was half Chinese, half Jewish and her parents had high hopes of her becoming a doctor/lawyer/person that makes money, but Chloe had other things on her mind. She had a passion for fashion (which was completely unacceptable to her parents), so instead of applying to parent pleasing Ivy League colleges, she applied nowhere. Absolutely nowhere. But Chloe had one dream and that was a fashion school in London, so armed with that one dream “Chloe finally sent this, what you’re about to read, to design school. It’s like an application but not. It’s a little long and strange and unconventional but so, as you shall see, is Chloe” (pg. 1). Thus begins the novel and a journey into the life of a high school fashionista not too unlike myself.
            The book is split up into several parts as you would see on any college application. Part One: Personal Data/Family. Here Chloe tell about her life in Wells Park California (yup, that’s a real place!) and where we first hear about her self-proclaimed FD, or fashion disorder. Chloe claims to experience uncontrollable hallucinations of sorts in which suddenly everyone around her could be turned from frumpy to fabulous featuring looks “she had totally created and approved!” (pg. 22). Part Two: Indicate a person who has had a significant influence on you. First we hear about Chloe’s next door neighbor, La Contessa Coco l’Orange, or La Contessa for short. No one is quite sure how she obtained her money, but this woman plays a large role in showing Chloe what high fashion truly is. As a woman who wears a mink coat in the summer heat of Southern California, she is a slave to fashion and the extreme of the novel. Then we hear about Chloe’s friend Spring, whom has no interest in fashion and would prefer to blend in as much as possible. Part Three: Extracurricular Activities. Of course this part can’t be complete without shopping as an activity. Here you truly see Chloe’s creativity and talent for fashion and design. As she creates new looks from old flea market buys the reader realizes that fashion is not just an interest for Chloe but something she is truly talented at. In the end, Chloe goes onto design a line of clothing inspired by California for her portfolio, but we never know whether or not she is accepted into the school.
            This novel showed me that just when you think that you are ‘too strange’ someone will come and prove you are just the right amount of strange. As I read Chloe’s story I found not just a girl I related to on the surface, but emotionally as well. She helped me to realize that there are all different personalities in the industry of fashion, some you will understand and others you will not, but all whom you will have to be able to work with. Although I did not learn much about fashion, styling, or art, I did learn about myself and how necessary it is to believe in yourself no matter your quirks.

April 24, 2011*

            For my first week of ‘taking my project into my own hands’ I looked through several pages of our local entertainment and arts newspaper (suggested to me by Mr. Poling) and found a vintage fashion faire to go to. With my latest research about the history of American fashion, I wanted to test my new found knowledge by identifying the decade to which the pieces of clothing I saw were.
            On Saturday morning I walked into a small room filled with racks and racks of clothing and a hustle and bustle of people all different shapes and sizes. I thought how nice it was to just have a couple vintage clothing sellers in an intimate atmosphere…and then someone handed me the “show map”. Turns out I was just in the entry room and there were six other ballroom sized rooms dedicated to the show. Oh My Gosh, I’m never going to leave this place!

            The first thing I noticed was the type of people that came to the faire. Of course there were tons of young 20 something hipsters already wearing their favorite 50s polka dot dress or 60s long hippie skirt and looking for ‘cute gems’ to add to their personal closet. But then I noticed a large amount of older woman not so much into the vintage fashion style but more looking for reminiscent pieces from the past. These women were looking for windows into the past; many of them had their own vintage shop full of pieces that reminded them of their childhood. As I listened to “Wow, I used to have a dress just like this in college!” I realized just how much clothing is a part of our lives and often a marker of events in our lives. Today I may think nothing of the significance of the clothing I wear everyday, but in decades to come they will become markers of certain times in my life, even showing the emotions I was feeling at the time.
            As I strolled casually around the rooms, I began the assignment I had given myself. Looking through racks of clothing and becoming excited when I could identify the decade to which the piece belong. However, reading about clothing in books and actually being able to see it in person provides a whole new amazement. Being able to touch the material, feel the weight of the dress, or the compare the shape of a shoe allowed me to have a greater sense of the past. The sellers also provided for the mood of the faire. Many of them had gone all-out in their attire for the day and made you feel as if you were in that decade. Like these woman who give a very 1960s vibe:

            As I reflect on the day, I come back to one conclusion: our society doesn’t give enough credit to clothing. Often one piece of clothing can reveal the answers to a multitude of questions regarding our history. From the silhouette a dress or suit can create, to the materials for which the buttons are made from, we can understand what was going on around the world at that time. They can reveal if a war was occurring (to conserve wool and cotton, dresses became shorter and vests and cuffs disappeared), the roles woman were expected to play in society (short flapper dresses meant woman were allowed to dance), and even new discoveries (such as the King Tut craze after his tomb was found). So the next time you get dressed, ask yourself what that outfit reveals about the world your living in, you’ll come up with some pretty interesting ideas.

Some photos from the faire:
 50s dress and skirt suit

 original page of McCall's fashion magazine

victorian era booth

April 21, 2011

            Today I received another email from Danielle. She had just read my latest blog entry and was none too pleased with what I wrote. She was angered by the fact that I had claimed she had left me with no ‘plan B’, when if fact she had been working hard to get in contact with an interior designer whom I may be able to work with. So I wanted to make a few things clear to you, the reader. First, I need you to understand that what I write here is often pure emotion of the moment, and this changes rapidly. Often I will write as soon as something happens, even though it may be better for me to thoroughly think about the situation before letting the world know what is going on. When I wrote about Danielle “leaving me stranded” it was because, at the time, she had not suggested the job with the interior designer and I felt the offer of giving me a remote assignment each week would not be something my teacher would approve of. These misinterpretations are one of the biggest reasons I was hesitant to write a blog that all could read at any moment. Second, Danielle has not left me stranded. She is trying her best to help me complete my project by continuing to give me assignments and assisting me in getting in contact with others in the fashion field. Today I sent an email to the interior designer Danielle suggested I work with and next week I will go job searching at several stores in our local mall. I hope I can get my project rolling again in the coming week.

April 17, 2011

            As my final quarter of school begins, I feel the need to take a step back and think about my project as a whole, has everything gone as originally planed? Am I achieving the goals I initially wanted to? What is the future of my project? If I had written this only a week ago, this entire entry would be completely different. But because I am writing this now, I will evaluate my project as of this very moment.
            With my classes complete and Danielle on her way to New York, it seems my third space has been completely eliminated. I have begun to think of interim third spaces such as fashion shows or amateur photo shoots, but I yearn for a professional environment in which I can continue to learn.
            Journal writing is just about the only thing that has stayed consistent throughout my project. I have surprised myself with my ability to write long pieces and am proud of how well I have been able to stay on track and on time with my journals. Soon I will begin to arrange my writings into a formal, presentable binder and I am looking forward to designing it to reflect the fashion and art I have been working on.
            The research I have done for this project has helped me beyond belief. I knew there was much that needed to be learned and I feel that I have put a lot into finding the right books to read and documentaries to watch. Although I do not believe the writing I have done best reflects how much I am learning, I feel that with every new thing I learn, comes a whole new world for me to explore. I would like to focus this quarter’s research maybe a bit more on interior design and the business of fashion (marketing and merchandising).
            One of the best parts of my project so far has been my developing relationship with Trish, my WISE mentor at school. We have been working well together and I feel she is the best person to talk to about my project. Recently, she has been ill, so my time with her has been limited, but I don’t believe it has hurt our relationship and I know she will be the best person to assist me on my way in this project. I think continuing to see her every other week is the best for the both of us and I look forward to hearing her opinion on what to do next on my project.
            Today, for the first time since I wrote them, I looked over the goals I set for myself in my very first journal. My first goal was to stay on schedule and on time. As I discussed before, I believe I have done well with keeping up my journal entries; however being on time is something that is still frustrating me. If I end up assisting another stylist, my goal will be to always arrive early (that should work for at least getting me there on time). My second goal was to become more confident in my own fashion choices. My time at the Academy of Art class has shown me how beautiful each person’s own unique look is. That class was the first time I was around people who all had their own look and were completely confident in it and I feel this has given me the confidence to feel good in my own style choices. The third goal was to learn the most I can during this experience. Between my own research, working with Danielle, and my class at Academy of Art, I feel I am learning more than I ever expected. My fourth goal was to become more confident around adults. I think this goal needs more time because I still feel young and naive around industry professionals. My final goal was to enjoy 100% of this opportunity. After everything that has happened in the past week, reading this goal made me take a step back and look at my project as a whole. I truly appreciate everything I have been able to do so far in the project and know that, in the end, the good will most definitely weight out the bad.

April 12, 2010

            Danielle called me today, completely unexpected, but much to my delight. She wanted to talk with me before she left for New York and her life became hectic. I knew she was my best chance at getting in touch with a new stylist that would take me as their assistant so I asked if she could recommend anyone to me; she claimed to not know any others. I was getting frustrated because, with only two months left of my project, I doubted anyone would want to take me in for such a short time. I considered getting a job at our local mall, but with such a bad economy and no experience, I was not wanted. Then, Danielle suggested I get in touch with an interior designer she knew in the area. I had completely forgotten about my desire to pursue interior design as well so I was very excited to hear she thought I might have a chance working with an interior designer. She didn’t know the name of the woman at the time, but she says she will email me later this week about it. Cross you fingers everything turns out well!

April 10, 2011*

            Today I checked emails after a week of being away on spring break. Seeing as Danielle and I had discussed meeting up this coming week, I was taken aback when I received an email from her saying she would being moving to New York for the next two months. ‘So I guess it’s about time something went wrong with my project’, I thought. I’m not mad; in fact I’m happy she got a really good job in New York, I just feel like I was left a bit stranded, with no proper goodbye and absolutely no plan B. I never really got to know Danielle, or how she really feels about her life as a stylist. I did get a rare view into the industry however, and I can’t thank her enough for taking me under her wing. I don’t know what is going to happen now…

April 2, 2011- Research

            Recently I found a book at my local library detailing the history of American fashion and beauty, from the first settlers of Jamestown to the plastic surgery addicts of 2010. Because this book included not only fashion but beauty as well, exercise, diet, and makeup trends gave me complete feeling of the times.
            Within the first page of the book the reader learns that Native Americans were the first creators of foundation cream—they smeared a layer of grease or animal fat under face paint to keep it in place. Next we learn of how Native Americans influenced European men and the first American settlers to wear fur. Fur trade would become the first American beauty business among the colonists. However, as influential as Native Americans were, European fashion would have the biggest effect on Americans for the next two centuries. Then, with the American Revolution, came groups like ‘The Daughters of Liberty’ who boycotted European goods and encouraged woman to spin their own cloth. As the ideal waist size rose and fell, diets and exercise proved for some rather ridiculous new inventions and beauty advice. Then the first photograph, produced in 1839, showed woman around the U.S. how woman of the time really looked, not just painters or engraver’s versions of them. Advertisers soon realized that people would buy their product if endorsed by a ‘beautiful’ person and magazine subscriptions shot through the roof. Between 1890 and 1919 woman began to free themselves from the restrictive garments of the past. Woman’s rights movements flourished, makeup became widely accepted, and woman began to join the work force. Electricity soon became the next big thing and everything from massage machines, to perms (permanent hair curling), to electric “fat reducing” corsets were quickly in vogue. As the ‘roaring twenties’ rolled in, men and woman abandoned the traditional clothing of previous centuries and embraced styles like the flapper and the “King Tut craze”. The movie industry and Hollywood were soon producing movie stars and creating celebrities known to everyone. The movie craze continued into the Great Depression of the 1930s as the beauty industry proved to be the only depression proof industry. During the depression people went to the theater at least once a week to watch the larger than life stars dazzle in a world of luxury and prosperity. The beauty industry was probably the only industry in which new companies could start up and succeed during the 1930s and Revlon, Almay Cosmetics, and Clairol were some of these new companies. Then, in 1941, World War II hit the U.S. and fashion took a momentous turn. With the War Production Board restricting materials at rapid pace, woman and men were forced into simpler styles. Woman needed more reasonable clothing and hair styles as over six million of them joined the work force to support the war efforts. However, with the ending of the war, women were forced back into the home and a style that had not been seen for more than two decades was rekindled. In 1947, Christian Dior released his “New Look” which called for corsets, long full skirts, and full hips and breasts. Television was also making its way into the homes of Americans and TV advertisements became a powerful new tool for the beauty industry. Suddenly, not only movie stars were influencing fashion, but political figures, like First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy, were as well. Finally, fashion moved into the modern era, where woman in pants are accepted, beauty through surgery can change “anything”, and movies, TV, internet, and instant communication influence our every step.
            Having been the most interesting book I believe I have ever read, I wanted to retain as much information as I could to help me with my growing inner database of fashion. As I read, I found the new information so completely amazing that every five minutes I would stop and tell the closest person around the new fact I had just learned. I hope my knowledge of the history of fashion will help me be able to quickly identify the time period of various articles of clothing. The book also helped me to understand how trends change and the importance of politics, economics, and social media on fashion and beauty image.

Some interesting images from the book...

real ad from 1892

ideal waist size in early to mid 1800s was 16"

1920's bathing suits

plastic surgery obsessed Jocelyn Wildenstein

April 1, 2011

            This week Danielle gave me a surprisingly difficult assignment. She asked me to think about some of my favorite movie characters and their unique style. I was then supposed to dress up in my best replica of that style for a day and record my thoughts on the new style. I immediately thought about all my favorite strong and independent female movie characters, from Erin Brockovich to Angelina Jolie in any action movie. But I was quickly faced with a rather disturbing truth; all these strong woman were designed by men for men. With their tight body suits, revealing tops, or sexually charged language, I realized I may have admired their courage and fight power in a movie, but these weren’t the type of women I could look up to and dress like.
I struggled for several days, looking through internet pages titled 100 Greatest Movie Characters (of which only 11 were female) or Movie Characters that became Icons (Scarlet O’Hara would have been rather difficult to imitate). As I grew more and more frustrated, I decided to look up movies instead of just characters. I new I enjoyed the styles in 80s movies the best so I looked for the top movies of the 80s and instantly fell in love with the idea of become Molly Ringwald in 16 Candles or The Breakfast Club. Immediately I took to my moms and my own closet for a floral knee-length dress, a large tee shirt that I could cuff the sleeves on, or a long skirt. I couldn’t find anything remotely similar to her outfits. Now I was really frustrated.
            Then, while looking through a list of newest movie releases, I found exactly what I was looking for; The Runaways. This movie tells the true story of Joan Jett’s all girl rock band known as The Runaways. Although transforming into a 70s rocker is not too far away from my usual dress, allowing myself to go all-out (with leather pants and jacket and even an old black wig) made me feel as if I was truly in that decade. I ran to my parent’s closet to grab some black leather pants, then my dads black converse, then to my own for the jacket, and finally the costume closet for my second grade witch wig (which I cut to model Joan’s hair). Danielle had wanted me to go out and about in my clothing and judge the reactions of people I saw, but when all came down to it, I couldn’t bring myself to go out in front of people in such an outfit. I can’t pinpoint exactly why I ultimately decided not to reveal my outfit to strangers, but I feel that with time confidence will allow me embrace myself no matter what I’m wearing.

Kristen Stewart as Joan Jett

Lindsey Loeper as Joan Jett

March 28, 2011 -- Feedback from Mr. Poling


Your mid-March entries are solid.

I appreciate your thoughts on Trish, your mentor. It is great to hear that you are getting the most out of that relationship. I know she enjoys working with you too. She has told me several times!

Your photo shoot with the AAU class sounds like it was well planned and very enjoyable. You are fortunate to have such a great group to work with. I’m still interested to hear your thoughts on group work and collaboration. Perhaps you can reflect on some of those questions I asked last time about collaboration in the design world. I really enjoyed the tree photos you included. Can you give us some details about the assignment you and your classmates were working on? Do you feel you accomplished what you needed to? Let us know what sort of feedback you and your group get from the teacher?

Similarly, your visit to the Legion of Honor Pulp Fiction exhibit really seemed to light you up (despite the traffic/ tardiness woes). What a treat to share that extraordinary exhibit with Danielle. Again, I love the pictures, but what exactly is each picture? Can you provide some captions for each and even some explanations/ quotations from the exhibit program? What did you learn about fashion, creativity, or working with paper from viewing these 60+ recreations?

In your last paragraph (3/17) I felt the joy you expressed about being alone and taking in the museum and the city, as well as your growing comfort with finding your own way in life.

I wish you fewer late arrivals and more growth experiences in the weeks to come.

Mr. Poling

March 25, 2011

            This week I got a chance to implement the inspiration of last weeks museum visit. Because Danielle was gone, she asked me to create a collage illustrating how art has influenced fashion during the last 100 years. I was ecstatic to read the assignment because I had just started to read a book detailing the history of American fashion and now this collage seamlessly combined with my new knowledge of the history of fashion. As I began my research however, I realized I had no clue where to begin. Having not to great a knowledge of historic artist, I felt the best path to take would be to enter ‘art inspired fashion’ into Google. First I found a woman who had designed a line of jewelry directly inspired by a famous piece of artwork, like Van Gogh’s Starry Night or Georgia O’Keefe’s Pink Tulip. Next I learned that Louis Vuitton, in collaboration with a Japanese anime artist, had created two cartoon movies and then fashion lines relating to the images in the movie. As I began to run out of articles already written on the subject, I decided to start researching art and architecture styles of each decade. After identifying the key characteristics of these styles, I searched for fashions of the same decade that reflected these styles.
            As I discovered these links between illustrated art, architecture, movies, etc., everything around me began to change into fashion ideas waiting to come to life. I was amazed at how much this small realization had opened up my vision and I became fascinated by these art and fashion connections.
            After printing out 20+ images of works of art and their corresponding piece of clothing, I began to formulate my ideas for how I would present a collage. I fantasized about creating my own outfit that paralleled a work of art I had recently created in my schools art class, but found time to be quite suppressive of such ideas. I knew, however, that I could not have a plain and simple background for a collage that was built on art and creativity, so I began to place colored paper strategically on my board to create an abstract background. Finally I was able to place my images together and 3 glue sticks and 30 pieces of paper later, I had a completed collage.
            As I write about this assignment, I notice one thing that really irks me; my use of paper. I think sustainable fashion is quickly catching on, but I wonder what I can do here at home to contribute to the ‘green’ effort. I began to think of how this collage could have been done without the use of so much paper, but while still having the same visual effect. What makes a collage so appealing to fashion industry personal is that it is portable and appears exactly the same to everyone. So is it possible to create one on the computer? But this would be difficult for many people to view at one time because of the small size and could be viewed differently on different devices. I haven’t figured out what the best answer is, but I would like to continue my thoughts on this and if Danielle gives me another collage assignment, I will ask if I can do it on a computer instead of on paper.

Working on my collage and my final presentation for my AAU class all at the same time!!!

The completed work :)

March 23, 2011

            As I receive feedback on my journal entries, several questions have arose so I wanted to take a little time to reflect on people comments and answer some questions they may have asked. After Mr. Poling read my February 26th journal about my thoughts on journaling, he asked the question: How can you transfer your journaling confidence and competence to more academic writing if/ when it comes your way in the future?
I’ve always despised ‘academic’ writing because of the immense limits I feel it puts on my creativity and ideas. I find writing prompts are often given to us already skewed by opinion or with little room to explore ones own thought. With this is mind, I do not feel I can write a confident passionate piece if I cannot put my heart into my writing. I understand that in college I will have several papers in which I will be unable to connect emotionally with the subject and so I can only hope my strive for success will allow me to forget my discontent with the assignment and learn to write exactly what the teacher wants.
What types of writing would you need to do if you pursue a career in fashion?
After reading this question, I realized that I did not know much about writing in the fashion industry or what positions called for such work, so I took to the internet to find out. The most interesting position I found was of editorial fashion copywriters who attend fashion shows and travel the world in order to study fashion trends. These people usually work closely with photographers to create spreads for magazines and websites. I cannot confidently say this is an area I believe I can excel at, but I feel that with the right training, it could be a fabulous direction to explore.

As pertaining to my writing on the Academy of Art class: How important is collaboration in the fashion world?
Super duper important. The fashion industry is the ultimate of social jobs and the connections one makes can be vital to his or her success or failure. Because fashion stems from creativity, it is important to express thoughts clearly and have the ability to work with other people to in order to manifest those ideas into something that will be successful. I feel that I work well with others because I am a natural leader and I rarely withhold my opinion. While working with my AAU classmates, I was comfortable and expressive with my ideas and I hope to be able to continue this confidence as I begin working with professionals.

March 18, 2011 -- Feedback from Mr. Poling


Your latest journal entries from the end of February are well-written.  I agree with your assessment of your writing as it pertains to WISE.  Your prose does show more confidence in your WISE journal than it did in the traditional English essays of last semester.  This is an interesting idea to reflect on.  Why do you think you write better in your WISE journal?  Do you feel as confident writing the WISE research entries?  How can you transfer your journaling confidence and competence to more academic writing if/when it comes your way in the future?  What types of writing might you need to do if you pursue a career in fashion?

I really enjoyed the learning you describe happening in your Academy classes.  You provide rich details of what you’re doing and who you’re working with. I would love to see some reflection on the idea of collaboration.  Do you work better in groups?  Why/ Why not?   What makes some groups work well and others fail?  How important is collaboration in the fashion world?  

Your journals ended in February.  What have you been up to the first two weeks of March?

Mr. Poling

March 17, 2011

Two days ago, Danielle sent me an email consisting of nothing more than ‘let’s meet at tomorrow at this address’. After finding the address on Google maps and using the street view to look around the area, I was stumped. The address I was given, according to Google maps, was nothing but some grass and a nice view of the ocean. So I emailed her back asking what we were doing and she replied “inspiration”. I was a bit perplexed, but knew Danielle had something exciting in store for me. After checking how much time Google estimated my trip would take, I decided to add and extra 20 minutes onto the time in order to insure I would arrive on time or even hopefully early.
On Wednesday I left right on schedule and even felt a little proud that I had prepared myself enough to be able to casually and unstressfully walk out the door. As I cruised down the freeway I noticed a flashing sign ahead that said something along the lines of ‘accident on West 580. 2 lanes closed. use some other freeway”. I quickly thought that the sign must be about the other freeway ahead because luck wouldn’t be so cruel. Well, the sign should have read “Lindsey! Transfer to hovercraft immediately!” because within 30 seconds I had come to a compete stop on the freeway. As the minutes flew by, I sat in my car desperately wishing I could fly (really, that’s what I thought about for 20 minutes). As I watched the tourists in front of me get out of their cars and start posing for pictures in the middle of the freeway, I realized I could no longer convince myself that being on time was still an option, so I called Danielle and told her I would be about 15 minutes late. She told me she understood and that I should call her when I got there, but I knew I had once again proven I was not reliable when it came to timing. For almost half an hour I sat in my car going no more that 5 miles per hour. I blamed myself over and over again and thought about how I could have avoided once again being late. I guess I should check traffic conditions next time. It seems I’m learning a bit slower than I should...
At about I drove up to a huge beautiful building and noticed Danielle’s car parked in front. I called Danielle and she told me to walk in and meet her downstairs. I still had no clue what I was even doing there! As I approached the building however, a large sign reading Pulp Fashion caught my attention and I smiled at the photo of a beautiful dress just below the words. I would later learn that I had just arrived at the Legion of Honor Museum where world renowned artist Isabelle de Borchgrave was displaying her work for the first time in the U.S. I met with Danielle downstairs and, although she was not openly irritated by my lateness, I could feel her disappointment. As we walked into the exhibit, she began to tell me exactly what we were looking at and I was astonished to find out that this artist recreated significant pieces of fashion all out of PAPER. Yes, paper. This woman has dedicated the last 15 years to the recreation of 60+ famous pieces of fashion, from the dresses of the Medici woman and Marie Antoinette to more modern pieces designed by Ralph Lauren and Coco Chanel. Standing in the presence of such work I was amazed, overwhelmed, and almost a bit peeved that someone would create such masterpieces out of something so simple, and flammable, as paper. I stood there, studying every detail with Danielle, discussing how she might have made each piece. One certainly feels small when looking at such great work as these:

            As we rounded the final corner of the exhibit, Danielle told me that she would have to leave immediately and could not stay to talk because my lateness had put her behind schedule. As I thanked her and said goodbye, I felt horrible for being so late, but seeing as I could not change the past, I continued to look over the exhibit without her. I realized I had never been to a museum by myself, never been able to look through an exhibit at my own pace, or simply slip into the creative mind that the silent viewing of art allows. I was old enough to not have museum staff cringing at my every childish move and as I walked upstairs and out into the entrance courtyard, I truly felt like an adult. I was alone, but completely comfortable. Although I was only in San Francisco, I felt I could be in any country in the world, exploring its beauty on my own and discovering who I truly was. When I got into my car I didn’t want to go home. I thought seriously about driving around the city and looking for a nice café to eat at and maybe even finding another beautiful place to take pictures. And yet I knew I had homework that needed to be done and a mother that would be waiting for my arrival. I know there is a vast and great world that I will someday be able to explore, but I also know that it is necessary that I finish my education and live the life that is expected of me. I realize that I may not get to do everything I wish to do in life, but I hope there is a middle road that will satisfy my adventurous nature but not lead me too far from the path of expectancy.

Some pictures I took of the inspiring scenery