Work by Marcela Ortiz-Rubio
SOCIAL MEDIA / BLOG
07 FEATURE ARTICLES
XX EVENT COVERAGE
INSTAGRAM POST New York. The city where a few dreams are made, yet more frequently crushed. The object of so many films and song lyrics. A city that carries so much history, yet bubbles with possibility for future deeds. The setting for multiple Woody Allen movies, and the city where Woody Allen can be caught playing jazz every other day at The Carlyle, in real life... not film. The hometown of Sinatra and Rockefeller. A skyline that never gets old, no matter how many times itâ€™s seen. NYC.. Where singing out loud in the streets and dancing in a subway car became as common as blinking, and where expressing my individuality became a part of my everyday routine. The place that pushed me to give my top performance, yet at times brought out my very worst, allowing me to get to know myself fully and embrace every facet. The city that taught me never to settle, to strive for the best, but also offer my best. Yet it taught me to enjoy sleepless nights and morning parties, midnight museum visits and exquisite food. To expect the unexpected, because with each day came open-ended possibilities, and the expectations of who Iâ€™d meet next were surpassed more often than not. Where walking aimlessly could turn into the biggest adventure in the blink of an eye. Big artists in small venues. 2am Insomnia cookies. 24-hours... everything. Friends that became family. Rooftop brunches. Sunset parties. Midnight strolls. Boundaries pushed to the limit. Life lessons. Movie-worthy moments. 3 years. Irreplaceable memories. No doubt, the best city in the world. New York has made me the person I am today, and has given me the clarity of who I want to become. This is definitely not goodbye, but a be back soon, because New York will always feel like home.
GOOD TO BE HOME
I’m sitting on the plane, heading back home to NYC. My eyelids feel as if they weigh 200 pounds, I can barely keep my eyes open to write this post. The stench of alcohol from the man beside me definitely doesn’t help, and I’m already drunk because of the smell. Or well.. Maybe it does help, depending on the point of view you decide to take. Poor guy, he probably took one too many days of vacation and the only way to avoid thinking of the 3,000 emails and kneehigh stacks of papers awaiting him in his NY office was by drinking his weight in… Vodka? Actually, this thought is now making me quite pensive of my own situation. I start thinking of the things I must do. As a recent graduate my priority is finding a full-time job. And an apartment. Although looking for an apartment in this city SHOULD be considered a full-time job for those of us who don’t have a real-estate license but are keen not to pay a broker’s fee (more of this fun apartment-hunting process later!). I gave up my apartment during Winter break, and the place I’ve been staying at for the past two months is great, but time is ticking as I must leave it by the end of the month. Yet I can’t really get an apartment of my own until I get a full-time job, IF I get a job at all. But how can I even concentrate on getting a job when I might be roofless in a couple weeks? I hate this snowball effect kind of thing. Mr. Murphy had it right for the most part: if something can go awry, it will. Six months ago I had two job offers, a nice apartment and a steady allowance (thanks mom & dad!), as well as lots of guilt-free free time, because as an International student I wasn’t allowed to work. I would’ve taken any of those two jobs in a blink of an eye if I could, though, and now fast-forward six months and here I am, sitting on a plane heading back to the Big Apple after a weekend in my hometown, relying on my few savings (that feel like nothing in such an expensive city), and worrying about getting a job. I might as well join my seat neighbor and get a drink… or five! YET… As I look out the window and get a glimpse of the skyline (perks of flying to and from La Guardia), I still feel that excitement within me as I did the first time I came to the city as a tourist, regardless of my negative thoughts, and relish in the fact that in this city every situation is an experience, and I have to say, while taking the risk of sounding ridiculously cliché, I love NY!
THE WALKING... DEAD? It’s finally Spring! I know technically Spring started a little over a month ago, but apparently New York’s weather just got the memo… But better late than never, right?! We can finally venture out with a t-shirt… Just a t-shirt! No need for jackets, scarves or earmuffs anymore (especially if you’re like me, the type of person that’s cold all the time and up to a couple weeks ago had to wear earmuffs). Happy vibes can be felt all around the city, and it’s only expected that more and more people have decided to start walking around instead of taking the subway. Just lovely… Or so it seems for the first few moments, but then you’re trying to get somewhere in a hurry, and the person walking in front of you decides to stop dead in its tracks to take a picture of a mosquito. Juuust lovely. There are several types of “walkers” you might encounter while strolling around NYC, and I decided to name a few here so that, if spotted, you at least know which category they fall into: -The tourist: probably the most common, it walks at .00001 mph, might halt at any moment with no warning whatsoever, and will smile at you (not apologetically, simply because it’s happy) when you crash into it. Will probably have a camera around its neck. -The cell junkie: extremely common type as well, it walks around dangerously while focusing all its attention to the small device in its hands. It will run right into your face if you don’t move out of its way, and many times will walk around as if following a zig-zag shaped sidewalk. -The non-cell junkie: I still have a hard time understanding it, but this type of walker can’t walk in a straight path. It doesn’t have a cell-phone, or anything that accounts for this behavior, but it’s extremely notorious, especially when trying to walk around it and the task proves to be almost impossible. -The elders: Predominant in the UES or UWS you might catch them slowly trailing along or towing a grocery cart. Yet the slow walking is understandable, and even in the most stressful of times you might find yourself being very patient and tempted to offer your help. -The hoarders: Oh! These happy walkers normally come in a group of three or more and think they own the sidewalks. They’re normally holding hands or have their arms interlinked, ergo blocking the ENTIRE sidewalk. The cherry on top is that they normally walk at a glacial pace… -The smokers: This type of walker believes that every person behind it loves second-hand smoke, and exhales it freely with no regard for those trailing behind. Some walkers in this category do have more respect, and hurry along closer to the buildings or the street to exhale the smoke out of your way. These walker categories are by no means the only ones, but they’re definitely predominant ones. Heck, I’ve even fallen into one or another of these categories every now and then, but the important thing is to realize it and become a “normal” pedestrian, and enjoy New York!
IS IT STILL A BEDROOM IF THE BED DOESN’T FIT?
“The city where a washer & dryer mean you’ve made it.” Need I say more? This title, taken from the StreetEasy campaign, are the perfect intro to what I mentioned in my last post about the super fun process of finding an apartment in the city, and I would love to elaborate… Because what’s not fun about learning to decipher coded messages in the ads; it’s like playing a game: • Cozy and quaint = apartment the size of a closet • Partial park view = a tree in the sidewalk spotted when poking your head out the window and straining your neck • Partially renovated = a new stove(!) that gives the excuse of getting charged $500 more than the identical apartment next door with an older stove • Quiet and peaceful = renter probably has hearing problems • Amazing location, great price, recently renovated, no broker’s fee = close your browser and run, it’s a scam!
06 Apply this basic principle to any other ad and you’re already one step ahead. After reading and deciphering about 300 of these types of ads, emailing the top 100 choices that look decent for your budget, and scheduling showings to at least 50 apartments (all in under one week), you might feel you’re definitely close to your dream home. Fast-forward that week and you might be found crying out of desperation in the street (been there!). At least you’ll be relieved that you weren’t murdered in the hallway of the last building you attended for an open house. By this time, while standing in the middle of the street and getting drenched by the rain, you’ll probably start considering: A) Getting a broker and paying the low fee of 25% annual rent (this is real, no sarcasm!). B) Moving far away into the suburbs and making peace with the 2-hour commute. C) Moving back home and buying a castle for the same price as one month’s rent, with money to spare to build an artificial lake with swans and a bow-bridge, and then some. But don’t give up! You’re so close… You’ll find a beautiful and conveniently-located apartment with a nice finishing, decent closet space, a laundry room and well-lit hallways. If it has a washer/dryer in the unit, you’ve hit the jackpot! So take it immediately, because half an hour later while waiting for your future roommate’s opinion (not complicated at all) might be too late, with some other apartment-zilla snatching it away from the market with no second thought. YET… When you’re given the key to your apartment, start settling in and making it yours by adding a cozy nook here for relaxing, or a bookshelf there for your precious volumes, you’ll forget all about that nightmarish process. Your apartment will become a sort of sanctuary from the craziness outside, the hordes of tourists, the extreme weather, the hectic vibe; you’ll start feeling excited about what comes next, and you’ll finally feel at home!
UNIQUE IN ITS SPECIES ‘Fashion is business, not art’: The never-ending debate within fashion offices around the world between designers and stockholders; and part of what has pushed the growth of the fast fashion phenomenon seen in the last decade. At least twice a month, proposals for clothing and accessories stroll down the runways in the fashion capitals of the world to then be replicated over and over until the next Fashion Week arrives…
Trends that a few decades ago would be totally ignored or would lack importance to the masses are now some of the most iconic smithereens in a fashionista’s closet, such as vintage, limited edition or one-of-a-kind pieces. “Not only is vintage shopping a fabulous way to find unique and sophisticated clothes, it’s also eco-friendly” (Nina Garcia in The Style Strategy, p.121). There is that word again, unique.
Most industries are going through change due to new technologies and globalization, and the fashion industry is no exception. It’s important to take advantage of that, and of the fact that “At this point in fashion we don’t need uniforms, but unique and very personal pieces that separate women from the pack” (Giorgio Armani).
This is not only seen in the clothes themselves, but in everything surrounding them, including Fashion Weeks. “What used to be a platform for established designers to debut their collections to select media and buyers has developed into a cluttered, often cost-prohibitive and exhausting period for our industry to effectively do business,” commented Catherine Bennet, senior vice president and managing director at IMG Fashion Events and Properties, on an interview with the Wall Street Journal. In consequent the company stated that for February 2014 New York Fashion Week, the guest list would be cut by 20%. To re-impose that exclusivity that little by little has been lost in the industry due to multiple external factors is just another example of the search for exclusivity.
In this thriving industry a word has surfaced that resounds in the brains of fashion’s connoisseurs: unique; rare pieces that a lucky few get to wear. This word has one meaning: alone in its species; and in this world where there’s thousands of styles available in stores all over the globe and that are bought by many, being unique has become a sort of mantra. As Elaine Stone, fashion author of more than 14 fashion texts very clearly states in her book The Dynamics of Fashion, “Increasing importance is being placed on fashion individuality—on expressing your personality, or refusing to be cast in a mold…”.
The basis of all this change? In the words of journalist and author Mark Tungate, “once a luxury that only the elite could afford, fashion is now accessible to all. High street brands…
have put fashion within the reach of everyone.” This in turn creates a snowball effect that causes more people to care about creating an image for themselves, and therefore strive for uniqueness.
Now, after absorbing all this information, it’s clearer why Mexican designers and clothes are starting to gain much momentum in the Fashion Industry on a global scale. Thanks to social media, Mexican brands have reached further than ever, but the lack of a well-imposed fashion industry and the still evolving fashion culture in our country makes way for pieces that are still art and somehow, unique. Garments and accessories from designers such as Alfredo Martinez, Alexia Ulibarri and San Andres Milano, still posses that element of originality and touch of heritage that may even make them exotic in foreign eyes; the art in the garment can be appreciated. The growing interest in different ethnicities has opened a market for many designers around the world, including those from our country. Martinez mentioned in an interview with Haunted, “To our favor, we have a very particular aesthetic that fascinates the world, we live in a country rich in history, tradition and color. The moment we distance ourselves from folklore and incorporate our own essence in a global way, we will be in the condition to start building the fashion industry in Mexico the way it should be.”
Yet, how do Mexican designers establish their own identity and differentiate themselves from American, French, English, or other more established designers, especially when our neighboring country already has the fashion industry down to a par? Paradoxically, the more popular the fashion industry becomes, the more “consumers are looking for smaller, humbler brands with genuine human faces behind them”, says Tungate. “Mexico has been a great importer of American fashion into the global market”, comments Martinez regarding this matter. “The closeness, the cultural exchange and the complete immersion of American television and cinematography have permeated our taste for everyday fashion. On the other hand, when talking about important events, we prefer the European aesthetic. Mexico is working to find its own identity, that will most likely be a mix between these two great influences more so than our own national identity, which has to do with the Mesoamerican culture, and the later mix with Spanish, Arab and French cultures.” According to Stone, the fashion industry in different countries may offer fashion on three levels: High fashion; fashion products that reflect its national heritage of crafts; and ‘offshore’ sources of products for North America’s manufacturers. In my opinion Mexico has the potential for all three levels, and even though the first is still in its evolution process, the others are
starting to be well positioned. Did you know that according to the American Apparel and Footwear Association, as of 2004 Mexico was only second to China in providing the highest apparel imports into the United States? This fact also taken from Stone’s previously mentioned book is worthy of note. The potential for growth in the fashion industry in our country is definitely there, and with the right steerage the industry in our country may definitely reach global recognition. “If Mexican design has the necessary quality, price, and opportunity, there’s a market everywhere… but there has to be an offer of product that interests consumers, as they are the ones that guide the decisions,” mentioned Anna Fusoni, Fashion Observer and Analyst, in an interview with Mexico está de Moda. Mexico is a country with many industries that are in their development process, and fashion is one of them. The advantages offered by new technologies allow national designers to reach further, yet the mystery and exoticness from their pieces is still imminent. The new generation has the task of revolutionizing this industry and place the fashion industry in our country at a global scale.
UNIQUE IN ITS SPECIES Technology: One term, so many interpretations when heard, and one that’s radically changed in the last 200 years. Its use has seeped into practically every industry, and the fashion one being no exception, has been heavily revolutionized by it in more ways than one.
From the introduction of machinery in all areas of production during the Industrial Revolution, and with this the ability to create mass-produced clothing, there has been non-stop advancements. Technological developments, such as computer design of fabrics and/or automated weaving and knitting machines, have revolutionized the textile industry. The industry-related benefits that appeared with technology, such as computer-aided design (CAD), is also used more and more. Even though fashion designers still love to hand-draw their designs and colored pencils abound in fashion offices around the globe, CAD allows to test color combinations, fabrics and styles in a digital manner, therefore reducing the creation of physical and costly sample garments. Computer-aided manufacturing is a widely used technological advance, since computers have the ability to be linked together so they can direct an entire production process form design to finished garment.
But not all the technological advances are so technical and albeit boring for the everyday person. There’s a whole area that is fun and useful for the actual consumer! Mass customization, for starters, is a way to create personalized products that enhance each person’s individuality. The search for uniqueness and original style is always ongoing among the fashion crowd, and the ability to add a personal finishing into an otherwise mass-produced item is a concept that has been growing in popularity. NikeID, miadidas, and Ray-Ban Remix are some examples of the application of this customization experience by American brands. The idea to “combine the efficiency of high-volume or mass-production with customization at a price level that does not imply a switch in an upper market segment” (Heike Jenß) is only one of the perks (or not, depending on who you ask) of technological developments in fashion. Another and one of my personal favorite technological advances: ecommerce. Shopping on the Internet is not only time-saving, but retailers are always enhancing the sites to make the experience with the consumer more interactive, not to mention the fact that geographical boundaries are less and less an issue. Sometimes brands offer online-only products therefore making them a bit more ‘exclusive’.
Fashion and technology are in the process of merging now more than ever, this exemplified perfectly with the line of Google Glasses designed by Diane Von Furstenberg, DVF Made for Glass, which will debut at her 2015 resort presentation. Whether the shades are fashionable or not may be subject to debate, but the slogan “Technology is your best accessory” may be right on point nowadays. In a simpler level and a good way to illustrate, it’s fascinating how some people even change phone cases every other day, mimicking the way handbags and shoes are worn differently (guilty!). Back to the industry, what about those laborious processes that make fashion workers lose precious time? Here come Fashion GPS, an industry’s digital tool for managing samples currently used in 20 countries and by over 150 top brands. Not only does it track samples as they travel through the world, but a tool like this allows the fashion community to access showroom collections in a global scale. But where does Mexico fall in all of this technology mumbo jumbo? Even though the fashion industry in the country is in the process of evolving and fighting to be globally positioned, technology is definitely present in many designers’ workplaces as well as the knowledge of the benefits it offers.
The importance in timesaving and cost reduction is also important for Mexican designers to take into consideration if they haven’t yet. In an interview with CNNExpansión, the General Director in IQ Innovation and Dassault Systèmes business partner, Enrique Marín, commented about the use of three dimensional software. “With a software that allows to recreate the collections in the cloud and collaboration between all parts in the production chain, production time can be reduced up to 50% from concept to final product.” In other words, digitalizing the production chain can reduce costs up to 30%, and give the fashion industry in our country a favorable turn in manufacturing.” “Lorena Saravia, Malafacha y Black by Lozanne are three Mexican brands that have adopted gadgets and technological advances to develop their creations and demonstrate the talent Mexico has to offer to the world”, states an article in the official website of Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Mexico. Whether these designers use it for commercializing their products digitally, to create 3D modeling with a mannequin and play with different shapes in a garment, or to simply combine tech accessories for complementing their clothes during a show, embracing technology has definitely made these brands stand out.
Another Mexican designer who has embraced technologies like a software for retailers, 3D printing, and electronic commerce, is Cristina Pineda, Designer and Co-founder of fashion house Pineda Covalin. “If we can use these technologies in the industry of Mexican fashion, then it will have more value and we will be able to promote fashion and design internationally in a better way,” she mentioned in the article with CNNExpansión.
Designers are not the only ones who have taken note. Moda Nextel, as another example, takes place three times a year to foment and support of the original mix of innovative proposals in fashion, technology and entertainment (vogue.mx). An important aspect here, though, is the fact that most Mexican fashion houses that have made peace with technology and embraced the pros it has to offer, are using it in-house. The fact is that the national fashion industry is in boom and having a website, although still a great way to attain markets in corners hard to reach before, is no longer enough. The importance of being aware of new tools, like Fashion GPS, is necessary for the expansion of Mexican brands. This subject may even cradle new opportunities for other industries in the country, like software creation. Guadalajara, for example, is a center for digital creations, so why
not join forces in fashion and technology to strengthen not only the fashion industry, but the digital as well? Whether it’s locally created or not, a software or similar tool that gives offices around the world access to Mexican designer’s collections immediately promotes their brands in a global scale
PRIVATE GOES PUBLIC The lights of the School of Fashion Auditorium shone bright on stage, and the audience basked as the evening unfolded. Dean Simon Collins, sitting on the platform opposite Giancarlo Giammetti, leaned forward. “What would you like people to know about Valentino that’s never been asked?” This question, written by Susej Cristina Uzcategui, was the winning one for the School of Fashion’s Countdown to Private competition held last week, and to which Valentino shouted from the audience “Be careful!” causing an explosion of laughter from attendees. Students, faculty and the public were invited this past week to join Dean Simon Collins for a conversation with Giancarlo Giammetti, honorary president of the Valentino Fashion House and trusted partner of designer Valentino Garavani for fifty years. The conversation revolved around the launch of his book, Private, an autobiography that details his childhood in Rome under Nazi occupation and his chance meeting at a café with young rising designer, Valentino. It continues on to detail—in chapters and hundreds of images—his life with the designer. In commemoration of the visit, students had the opportunity to boast their creations in response to a challenge posted in the School of Fashion’s digital magazine, 560. Every student 13 was invited to participate with the following, and the winners were to receive a signed copy of Private: Be like Andy Warhol or Banksy: Create a portrait of Mr. Giammetti and Valentino and share it with us! Inspire us! Channel your inner Valentino and drape or draw your vision. If you could ask one question of Mr. Giammetti, what would it be? The results were exquisite! While the crowd gathered to watch a screening of the documentary Valentino: The Last Emperor and before the talk commenced, Simon, Giancarlo, and Valentino reviewed the submissions before choosing four winners. Who, you may be asking by now, are the lucky and talented pupils who took home a copy of the charming tome? After Susej’s question was asked, Dean Collins announced the winners for the other two categories: Danielle Perret, David Valencia, Carteris Travanti, and Maria Garcia provided the awe-inspiring designs. Each was met with a big ovation. Mr. Giammetti signed a book for each of the winners. Here are the winning images: The prizewinners then joined Giancarlo, Valentino, and Dean Collins backstage to receive their prizes and mingle with VIP fashion figures in attendance. The signed books were a hit but an overwhelming excitement peeked from behind the eyes of the winners when taking a picture with the two icons of the industry. It was a great night, but even greater is to see the young talent emerging from Parsons The New School for Design and the acknowledgement of true skill. Congratulations to the winners!
CONVERSATIONS IN MODE Everyone loves a makeover, which is why Phaidon Press’ The Fashion Book has been modernized. With 72 new entries ready to spruce up its interior (totaling 500 entries), it’s no wonder the tome has been baptized by Vogue as the fashion bible, not an easy feat I imagine. To celebrate its release, Topshop hosted a talk on Thursday, October 10 with famous designer Vera Wang, fashion icon Iris Apfel, and Style.com’s editor Dirk Standen, and was wonderfully moderated by Parson’s Fashion Dean, Simon Collins. A complete battalion from the industry allowed me, as well as other fashion inamoratos, to listen in on an interesting conversation covering multiple industry-related topics. The positive vibe emanating from Iris really put me and others in a good mood, especially when she remarked that creative individuals should take their inspiration out of being alive… “Keep your eyes open, your ears open and just live, that will make you a success in this world”. How asserted! I considered this one of the highlights in the night’s phrases. I sometimes get caught up in a whirlwind of tasks and forget to relish in the minute details that surround me, especially in New York City. As the night and the conversation evolved, and the Internet became the specimen being examined by the fashion posse, Vera revealed she had seen a lot of change in this area since she is 64 years old… 64! I heard a gasp ripple through the listeners as they gathered this information, because even with her in front of us it was impossible to guess her age. Not only does she look physically young, but her cheery and carefree personality allowed me, and I assume others, to relate to her regardless of the generation gap. Conceiving how each day technology is boosting in caliber, and age is not an obstacle anymore, I found it alluring when Iris revealed she only used her phone to make and receive calls. Period. This same topic evolved to discuss how not many bloggers are featured in the newfound version of the book, which I found worthy of note. I realized that we are yet in a pace of evolution, and the new technologies and media offer an extensive array of opportunities to break into. Fellow students and I are living in an era where not much is defined in the area of technology, and I find this fascinating: multiple directions we can take, but still in the step of innovation… With my champagne flute empty and the evening’s discussion about to conclude, I headed over to the counter to purchase ‘the fashion bible’. After quickly flipping through it, I felt a jolt when I saw Parsons adorning one of the pages and relished in the fact that it has “trained some of the most prestigious names in fashion”. I left the store with a limited edition print signed by Mats Gustafson (who created the artwork for the cover), an exclusive tote bag, and a whirlwind of opinions, because in the words of Dean Collins, “Fashion isn’t just clothes, it’s life”.
Published on Mar 13, 2018