Surfs Up! The Surfer Culture

Posted by: Rachel Iwaniec

As many of you probably already know, from your stint as a surfer or pretending to be one to get a surfer, the laid back lives of these gods and goddesses is very laid back to the extent that laces or evening wear is not required. If you are anything like me, the winter has gone on too long and such a lifestyle is looking good from this side of the pastures.

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The warm weather might not be here quite yet, but there is no need to keep your feet waiting in vain.  While Céline caught on to the desire for the perfect casual, laid-back flat a season or two ago, some of us are just becoming aware of such magical and essential footwear. 

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Enter the signature slip-on rehabilitated in all variations of fabrics, color ways, and price.  Pairing such beauties with just about anything brings style to a comfortable level where toes are not scrunched into the bottom of your shoe or heels are crying for help.

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The use of materials such as leather, cowhide, embellishments and more has lifted, what was associated solely with surf culture, to both a day and night accessory to a wide range of ensembles. 

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Here are some of the various renditions of the once oh so simple sneaker-flat-amalgamation. 

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Emerging Designer Tip: Pop Up Shops

Posted by: Rachel Iwaniec

I am a fan of love at first sight… you know, your eyes meet, there’s a moment of hesitation, you’ve spotted the love of your life.  It’s like that scene in the movies where you’re running through a field of daisies towards your soul mate. Maybe this isn’t how your shopping experience feels, but you get the gist. After waiting patiently, or as patiently as I can, for the newest shoe collections to move from the screen to the stores, I revel in that first encounter with that most perfect butch biker boot.  Nothing in my past can match it and I find myself unable to part with this flawless creation.

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Today, people are taking advantage of the unprecedented access of e-commerce enterprisesOnline boutiques provide an effortless alternative to the search for the right (shoe) mate.  With a few details and a couple clicks, online browsers are presented with an index of items that might be a match.  Nothing is left to the imagination.  These e-commerce sites provide the item’s background, extended family, occupation, etc. But that’s not all these sites have to offer, one might be interested in pairing their selections with recommended items, or perhaps need affirmation in the form of stylist feedback.

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So if finding your match can be this easy is the classic brick-and-mortar mode of selling even necessary?  The answer is yes, especially for emerging designers.  In fact, there needs to be a marriage between the online and offline spaces.  Even with the ever-expanding world of e-commerce, 80% of transactions still take place face-to-face – making it challenging still for emerging designers to win over their future (soul) mate.

Ipso-facto, the Pop-up store has become the healthy medium between the two spaces.  While you can meet your mate online, you also have the option to make an acquaintance with them in person.  Companies such as Ebay, Etsy, Moda Operandi and Net-a-Porter have taken to the ground for better consumer experience.

A recent example of pop-up shopping happened last week in sunny and fashion forward Barcelona. In support of Fashion Week, 080 Barcelona implemented the low-risk, low-cost ethos of the pop-up shop concept for emerging designers. Displayed in what seemed like Gaudi’s interpretation of a forest, each designer displayed his or her designs on branch-like structures that enveloped the space.

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Shoe designer, Eva Maria Bazan provided her account of the benefits of having the opportunity to capitalize on the pop-up shop movement.

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Eva has an online store where she offers her label Eva Vs Maria. However she also regularly participates in offline events around Barcelona. As a shoe designer, Eva argues that these types of events are necessary not just for networking and sales but also to enable the consumer to try on and see the quality of her product. It is the consumer reach of the online space and the intra-personal experience of the offline setting that must be incorporated into the superior method of providing consumers with the right conditions for finding his or her mate. Both the enterprise and the consumer can’t loose with a combination of virtual and carnal encounters.

Among the emerging designers showcased…

Beatriz Parras, Barcelona based owner and designer of hair accessories, Secretos de Alcoba.

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Condesita (established in 2009) creates original handbags, where design, prints and images form the main look of the bag.

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Lubochka (established in 2009) is a handbags and leather accessories brand. Inspiration comes from the creative concerns of the Russian artisan designer Olga Dubovik.

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Gioia Maini’s collections’ heavy industrial look came from the combination between images of wasted cars and photographs of her mom, Diana , from the 70’s.

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Ativ by Vita, (established in 2009) are the creative ideas of Tania Muñoz Garcia from Barcelona and Mirko Gardella from Italy, focusing mainly on their unisex bags.

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De Flores y Floreros  presents a unique design in each and every shoe.

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A unión between art and fashion can be seen in Marina Graeuille designs as she uses macramé and micro-macrame, a technique she has been using for 8 years.

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