Did someone say Boots on sale?!

It finally feels like winter out there! I can’t believe it! Christmas day here in Massachusetts was a crazy 67 degrees! I was wearing flip flops! (So there! To those people who said I couldn’t wear flip flops of year long! Take that!)

Well- in expected New England fashion, that was only 5 days ago, and now its a whopping 28 degrees today! Needless to say, I am not wearing flip flops today! Nope, I am wearing boots! I must say, I do love love love boots! They are one of my favorite accessories for the fall/winter season.

I have rounded up 5 pairs of boots that I think are fabulous- AND they are on sale! How fabulous!

First- from Lane Bryant. Current price $39.99! (What a steal!) Get them here while they last! Currently available in sizes 7W, 8W and 9W on their website. I snagged a pair for both me and my mother! I bought these in store, with my feet I always have to try on shoes because I never know how they are going to fit. For these shoes, they happily have plenty of room and plenty of width. I would almost say they are a bit big, but with heavy socks I don’t think it will be a problem. Also I always tend to go with a more lace up boot because they are more likely to fit my high instep foot!

This is more of your traditional winter boot- very practical. However the fur lining is only on the top portion- making it soft yet fashionable. Would have been nice to be fully lined- but for this price I can’t complain.

Lane Bryant Boot1

The next pair of boots I love are the Linen Tall boots from Avenue. Get them here! Now these boots are currently listed on their website on sale for $40.00! Right now they are available in sizes 7W-12W. I love tall boots, but my biggest issue, (no bun intended) is my calf! Usually for me, the “wide calf” is still not wide enough. In that case I usually opt for a boot that has some kind of stretch panel or insert in the back.

Avenue tends to carry these kinds of boots (with stretch inserts) which allow for a little more ease. I do love the look of these boots- they are so chic! The encased bottom is perfect for functionally of all whether- snow or rain. I just hate when my feet get wet.  My issue usually is because of my high instep, I cant get my foot into the boots. But for this price- I just might try!

Avenue Boot1

The next 2 pairs of boots are from Torrid. First are these Multi Buckle Strap Tall Boots- available in both Brown/Tan and Black. Currently priced at $72.50 and available in sizes 7W-13W. Torrid makes shopping for boots a bit easier by listing out the calf measurements of these boots for each size. This helps a ton, especially if shopping online. I mean, think about it, when is the last time you actually measured your calf?

Now I am in LOVE with the look of these tall boots. The tan to me reads a bit more casual, I imagine a pair of skinny jeans and a dark grey leather jacket for the every day look. The black option brings out the rock star in me! The black pair are chic with a gothic flair. I would wear the black ones with my skull dress- get the black boots here, and the skull dress from ASK Fashion here. Get the tan/brown boots here.

Torrid Boot Both

What are your favorite kind of boots? Do you like tall boots or short boots? Straps or lace up? Or Both? Boots by far are my favorite shoe. All of my boot choices are flat bottom boots- IE no heel. Nothing against boots with heels- I just am more likely to fall over and hurt something with them. I love looking at them, but wearing them is a whole different story.

You know what I love more than boots? Jackets! Did you know I am launching a Plus Size Jacket line next fall? Sign up here and get the latest news, updates and the behind the scenes of building a Made in America brand! www.rose-riot.com

Stay warm and classy!

-A

© Copyright Rose Riot 2016

 

Holiday Dresses you can’t live without!

Hello! First I want to wish everyone a very Happy Holiday! Happy belated Hanukkah, Merry Christmas, or whatever which holiday you plan on celebrating- have a happy one!

New Years always seems to be the time for a little extra glimmer and glamour in your life! I always had a hard time with trying to find something to wear and that fit! Plus Size shopping, especially around the holidays was always challenging- but now there are many different options out there!

Some of my favorites are from Eloquii and Torrid. I just love a little shimmer and shine! Get the Eloquii look here! Get the Torrid look here!

holiday dresses

This sequined fabric seems to be the fabric and shine of the season this year! The placement on the Torrid dress is nice because its beneath the waist and the bow adds a hint of cute! I have had a similar dress in the past but the sequins were at the bust, and it scratched up my arms! Not cute.

The Eloquii dress has a shine to it, but it is part of the fabric, in small coated squares, almost giving off a reptile look. I am not one that likes to wear a totally bare shoulder dress- but if this is you look- you rock it! I prefer straps myself. I do like the arm arms pictured here in the Eloquii look- appropriate for the time of year.

However this year you might even be able to rock these dresses without any kind of over coat- since it will be 68 degrees here (in New England-MA) on Christmas Eve! How crazy is that! With the heat wave, I imagine New Years will be just as warm!

Even though the holiday dress options out there were many, I still decided I wanted to make myself a dress.  And honestly, I made it, because I could- so why not? I always seem to be looking for the perfect dress but never being able to find it! Well I stumbled upon this amazing gold shimmy coated ponte fabric. Its amazingly comfortable and its stretchy and it adds just a hint of shine and sparkle without being overwhelming. AND I don’t have to worry about being scratched with sequins or losing sequins off my dress! Like my dress? You can get it too! Check it out below!

amanda gold instagram

There are limited quantities available! Check it out here and gets yours today! Sizes 14-32! Limited Time use code: HOLIDAY50 for 50% off ANY dress in my shop! Order by tonight at Midnight (EST) and get it before Christmas! I don’t know about you but I love metallics this season!

I would love to see what dress your wearing to your holiday party this season! Add a picture with a comment below!

Did you know I am also working on launching an exclusive plus size jacket line that will be manufactured ethically in the USA?- Check it out here and be in the know! www.rose-riot.com

Tweet at me, Facebook me, or post a comment and let me know you signed up, and I will give you a special coupon code for my dress shop!

Stay Classy my friends and have a wonderful holiday!

-A

© Copyright Rose Riot 2016

 

It all begins with a sketch..

Hello! Welcome to the Koker Chronicles! I renamed my blog- as this is the beginning of my journey- my chronicles if you will. (And my last name is Koker, so it just kina fit). I want to take you into my world of fashion design and the makings of a made in the USA, Plus Size Fashion Brand and Company. Here I will show you my behind the scenes of what it is to really launch a brand and make it work, and of what it takes to get there.

As the title of my blog post today states, it all begins with a sketch. When I first went to fashion design school (Mount Ida College in Newton, MA), I always started with a sketch first. I always had this vision in my head of what I wanted to create- I could see it. My sketching skills weren’t the best- but that was what fashion school was for- honing and perfecting my skills and learning new techniques to justify the visions in my head and realize them on paper.

I have always loved jackets- there was something about them that made me feel strong, and powerful and chic. In fashion school I would make one of my favorite tailored jackets- it was an ivory jacket with forest green contrast cuffs, collar, and buttons. God I loved that coat. I wished that I had made it in MY size. My model was beautiful, and a size 8. The jacket fit her perfectly.

1Ivory Coat 2009

 See it pictured above. Its a lovely jacket and I did spend a lot of time on it. But it got me thinking- why couldn’t I have this jacket in MY size? So, I started sketching..
sketch 2
This jacket would translate just fine into a size range that is plus size (14-28). I might even change the colors. Now that I think of it, I believe the original design was intended to be black and white, or white and black, but due to time constraints of college and deadlines, I ended up going for this ivory and forest green combo.
I love sketching. Its one of my favorite parts of the design process. I think one of the hardest things for me to accept was how the design process changes over time through development. Sometimes what looks good on paper doesn’t actually look good in 3D, or vice versa. Sometimes the fabric you find just doesn’t want to be molded into the design you envision. The hardest part of design for me was letting the design transform into what It needed to be; not being so stuck on your initial design. Sometimes the transformation was even better than what you expected- that’s the fun of it.
sketch 1
Keep an eye out for more sketches!
Did you know I am launching a Plus Size Jacket Line that will be manufactured right here in the USA? Sign up here www.rose-riot.com and be the first to know!
Stay Classy!
-A
© Copyright Rose Riot 2016

Fashion Friday!

HI again and welcome back!

This week I am beginning a series called “Fashion Friday’s” where I will be posting images of my outfit of the week! Friday is obviously the best day of the week- every other week its pay day! Who doesn’t love getting paid? I know I do!

Every Friday I will choose the best outfit I wore that week, and tell you all about it! Because let’s face it, I know I don’t have it all together every day of the week. I do try, but its just not my reality.

This outfit was actually made by me!- Amanda Koker! Yay! That’s my favorite part of being a fashion designer, its finally being able to make clothing in my size. During college all the samples that I made were usually between a size 4-8. Which was fine, I didn’t mind because I was learning, and I needed to start somewhere. But now that I have these skills, I want to be able to apply them to myself and to others!

me2

When I saw this fabric, I just fell in love! This fabric came out of NYC and it is the softest fabric in the world. Its Viscose Jersey and it drapes incredibly well. I had first made this garment for Boston Fashion Week! Its technically from the new Spring 2016 Line! I will be posting a video from that fashion show soon! Stay tuned for that post! I went ahead and made this version as I realized that not all women feel comfortable in a bodycon (hip hugging) dress.

Body Con dresses do look good on a lot of different women- below is a picture of my fabulous model Nina rocking it at the Boston Ice Loft! The Ice Loft was such a cool place to hold a fashion show and photoshoot! (More pictures to come from that! Stay Tuned!)

Photo: Dan Minicucci
Photo: Dan Minicucci

 

Both dresses are now available for sale! Check it out here! I also have a 25% off coupon going on right now! Use code: HOLIDAY25 at check out!

I must say this is one of my favorite dresses! It was so comfortable to wear all day, and it never clung. Its really gratifying to finally be able to wear the clothing I design. Fashion is for everyone, and now I finally feel more apart of it! Yay! Wishing you a very happy Fashion Friday!

Have a great weekend!

-Amanda

© Copyright Rose Riot 2016

 

#AskLaneBryant- Valid Points Among the Bullshit..

Sometimes I find myself glued into social media, following twitter conversations or getting transfixed into my Facebook feed. I bet this happens to you too? I sit online and all of a sudden 2 hours have gone by and all I have done is read Facebook posts. Something about the internet just sucks you right in!

Well yesterday I stumbled upon #AskLaneBryant on Twitter, while updating my profile: Follow me here! It had not yet begun, it was to be a conversation between the public and Lane Bryant’s CMO. But it was evident that the conversation had already turned before it had begun! I understand we all want our voices to be heard, and as someone who works in the industry its always an interesting experience when receiving feedback or criticism. There are always “take aways”, things to learn from and to think about. However it quickly became a bitch fest.

Its always been interesting to me how bold people are when they have a screen to hide behind. Yes I know what your thinking? Aren’t I the same since this is a blog post? Sure you could say that, but I for one voice the same opinions, in person, to “your” face as much as I would write a blog post about my opinion. But your here reading it so I assume you are interested in an educated opinion.

I admit I did read through a lot of the tweets and some had valid points.

From “Ready to Stares” Alysse Dalessandro- who “Broke the Internet” with her recent release of a red dress that was not clinched at the waist line- a public show of rebellion that plus size women can wear what they want, and reminding us that an hour glass is not the only shape out there. Rock on girl!

askLB

Alysse called for campaigns with 22+ size models. I am all for this. The issue seems to be complex, as there seems to be a call from the consumer for more diversity in model selection- and some retailers seem to be making an effort. I myself (size 26/28) model the clothing in my shop, because I also feel and want to show multiple representations of what my clothing will look like. I understand that clothing always looks good on size 16, who is 5′ 10″, however I am 5; 5″ and usually a size 26.

Its nice to see what the clothing will actually look like on my body type as well. I think more women will benefit and relate. However, in Alysse’s case, when she herself modeled her red dress, that was not synched at the waist line, the internet exploded.  You can’t have it both ways. You either want to see people, models, designers of multiples sizes or you don’t. Its frustrating as a designer and a brand because there is this mixed message of- I want it, but I don’t. Decide People. For me, I am going to keep rocking my size 26 ass on my website (here!) Take it or leave it.

askLB1

Another interesting point of why LB doesn’t carry sizes above 26 in their stores. I do think that they offer up to size 28 online, and in some stores. What most people don’t realize is not all stores are equal. Stores are “graded” based on traffic, physical size and location. Based on this grade, determines the products they receive or don’t receive, this includes the sizes offered as well. A larger store- like the one in Braintree MA, I consider to be an “A” or “B” store, as it has a very large amount of square footage and seems to carry the most local assortment and variety of sizes. However, if I compare that to the Lane Bryant in Walpole Ma, there is a huge difference. Walpole has maybe 1/3 of the retail space, and much less of an assortment and size range. Don’t get me wrong, they carry all the sizes, but they will distribute the sizes in much smaller quantities, thus making getting a larger size more difficult, because there might only be 1 available in that location.

Now I want you to know that I never have worked for Lane Bryant in any capacity, however I do have a corporate day job at a plus size retailer, and I imagine the basics of retail are the same. So to L J Laubenheimer’s point- there just might not be those sizes, or many of those sizes available in local locations. Could this be fixed? Yes- but from a retail perspective it will depend also on the shopping patterns of that location. If certain sizes aren’t selling- or go on clearance, they most likely will not buy so many in the future. I didn’t say that they should buy this way- but it is business. Personally I had an experience at my day job where a store manager asked a executive at corporate for more product in their location. And what was awesome, was corporate listened, and shipped more product to that location. This gives me hope that things can change, and the retailers are listening.

askLB3The wonder Curves and Chaos- who I had the pleasure of meeting in NYC last year- also calls for more diversity. I also think this is a valid point. She points out not just size, but shape and ethnicity. I agree- I think the diversity is better then it has been in the past, but I would love to see models with apple shapes, models who are petite, etc. I personally would love to see a model who Is my size 26 as well. I think its smart because it helps the consumer relate and see what the brands clothing looks like on multiple body shapes. Don’t get me wrong, not everyone can be represented all at the same time from one brand. But that’s the beauty of fashion- its not one brands job to satisfy everyone. If it were, there would only be one brand. The point is to give consumers choices and options.

askLB4On a personal note- that’s me- Rose Riot– on twitter asking about smaller brand collaborations. Now don’t get me wrong, I am all for seeing Project Runways Christian Siriano produce a collection for Lane Bryant because he is crazy talented and I fell in love with his designs watching him on TV. However, brands like Lane Bryant have more power then I think they realize. As a start-up/small brand, its very difficult to get In front of consumers and a collaboration with a major game changer like Lane Bryant could be beneficial not only for a smaller brand but for the consumer. I see a lot of women commenting on wanting to see different styles at Lane Bryant. Whether its different fabrics, prints, etc. Style is taste is different for everyone and you can’t expect 1 retailer to please everyone, but a small brand collaboration would be one way to offer more variety and help catapult the next big plus size fashion designer/brand. I wouldn’t mind if Rose Riot was Lane Bryant’s guinea pig.

askLB2It was nice to see that Lane Bryant stayed classy in their response. Not for nothing, and I think people forget this while on the internet- there are people behind the screen. You are talking to people- whether is Lane Bryant or whoever, I think it might be nice to be kinder to each-other. Its easy to be an asshole over the internet or spew uninformed and uneducated opinion.. but remember your talking to a human being. Its one thing to voice your opinion but its certainly another to be nasty about it.

Lane Bryant, and all retailers- don’t own you anything. They aim to please and want you to feel valued and loved, as we should be, however they can’t be everything to everyone. If you don’t like it- go somewhere else. That’s the best part of freedom of choice. There are more choices then ever- there is no excuse. Do your homework and support the brands you care about and give you what you need.

Want to know what I am up to? A New Plus Size Jacket Line that will be ethically made in the USA.. Launching Fall 2016! Sign up and stay tuned!

That’s all for now. Stay Classy.

-Amanda

© Copyright Rose Riot 2016

This is HALLOWEEN…..

First off, I hope everyone had an awesome Halloween! For the first time in what feels like forever, Halloween night fell on a weekend night! The Saturday was the perfect time for Halloween; parents didn’t have to deal with work, kids didn’t have to deal with school; and average people like you and me could have a drink or two and not have to worry so much about going to work with a hangover! #Truth

I am not a procrastinator as much as I literally am out of time, all the time. If I could have 40hrs in day, that would be great. The night before Halloween, I decided I was going to DIY my costume, and paint a sweater I bought from Saver’s. My idea was to do a skeleton type costume, but sort of day of the dead-esc but not crazy. I haven’t painted in a long time, and I forgot how therapeutic it could be.

Below are pictures of my finished sweater. I googled a photo of “skeleton chest” to use as reference and did the best I could. I didn’t want to go for a stark white bone structure- I thought it would look to gimmicky.

Skeleton Painting Sweater

I did end up liking the end product. I also had bought skeleton hand gloves to finish off my outfit. I also dug through my most recent fashion show bag of accessories and easily found all things Halloweenish. It was great- one of the bonuses of loving roses, skulls and things all year round! Needless to say, I found a bunch of rose hair pieces in both black and red. I wanted to look day of the dead ish- and the hair pieces ended up being perfect! Its hard to see the hair pieces from the picture below- but you get a better idea of what the completed sweater looked like. Also I pulled out skeleton earrings and a red necklace to finish the look.

Amanda Skeleton

I am no make up artist- and thank god I bought red make up from the wedding I had recently attended (I wore a red ASK Fashion dress to my boyfriends, cousins, wedding). So I had deep red lipstick and dark pink blush, and red eye shadow to finish the look. Its not obvious but I wore my black sweat pants too! Had to be comfortable for a night of getting together with the best friends a girl could ask for.

Pictured below is my good friend Maria- who did way more skull make up than I did, and boy she did look amazing! That is one of the best parts of going to a Halloween party with your closest friends- you all are nerdy enough to dress up and have a great time! It was a good reminder to just relax and have some fun.

Amanda and Maria Halloween

I think that’s one of the hardest things to do today- is de-connect and relax. I decided once I arrived at the party- that there would be no fashion business after I walked through that door; that night I was going to relax, hang out, have a glass of wine, and enjoy myself!

Halloween is one of my most favorite times of year! Yet it came and went so quick! (Just like everything else seems to be doing lately!- Like where did the time go?!?)

If its not enough to feel so connected and rushed, I felt like I have had no time to recover post-Halloween. I mean that in the sense, that literally on November 1st we are being shoved Peppermint Latte’s and Christmas Music! As if it wasn’t bad enough that the second “Back to School” was over- we were already seeing Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas- jeezz! I mean I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised to see New Years things, any day now! I feel like saying.. Stop Rushing Me! Lol.

I am not going to lie- I am not disappointed that I can now order my favorite drink of the entire year- Gingerbread Latte from Starbucks- (the BEST!). But, it is a bit much, a bit too soon! I feel like people need to relax, and take some time to enjoy themselves and the people they surround themselves with. Sometimes I feel we forget what is really important- we get so busy, so consumed with our lives, we forget to stop and look around every once in a while. As Ferris Bueller once said “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”. I feel like, if you take away anything from this post- it will be to stop and look around the try to enjoy and appreciate life. This is something I am constantly reminding myself; as a business women, fashion entrepreneur, and overall busy person working 3 jobs- that I have to stop every once and a while and relax, take in my surroundings, enjoy my life, hang out with my friends and family and have some fun, and try acting like I am 25 for once! (not 25 going on 45!)

What were you for Halloween?! I would love to know! Comment below!

One last note- I will leave you with one of my favorite cover songs, from one of my favorite movies, from one of my favorite singers! It gets me into that Halloween mood!- Sally’s Song by Ame Lee of Evanescence. Take a Listen! Its Amy Lee from Evanescence, singing a song from the movie- the NightMare Before Christmas. Love that movie!

Thanks for reading! Don’t forget to sign up on my mailing list and stay up to date on all things- ASK! Stay Fabulous my friends!

Don’t forget to sign up on our mailing list Here!

white skull head prop

Stay Happy and Classy my friends!

-A

© Copyright Rose Riot 2016

Jackets Jackets and More Jackets!

Hello Again!

I want to start out by saying I just LOVE the fall. It is by far, my favorite season of the entire year! Here in New England, I love seeing all the trees lose their leaves, and the leaves changing colors! Highway driving becomes pretty pleasant!

I must admit that I have an outwear problem; meaning I cannot get enough jackets and coats! I just love them! They are my favorite fashion item! And fall is the perfect time to start taking out those wonderful jackets!

One of my favorite jackets I had made when I first graduated from college- pictured below. And it is one of the best jackets that I have ever made. It got me thinking- I wish I had one in MY size! In college they teach you the how-to’s of fashion design and pattern drafting and draping, and typically you build your skills based on using a “standard” model size- usually sizes 2-6. Well I don’t know about you, but I have never been and never will be a size 6!

Black and White Leather Jacket

This is my constant frustration with the fashion industry. I feel like, even though the plus size fashion community has only continued to grow there is still so much more room for improvement.

So that is where I am going to begin. I will make this jacket in MY size, and rock the hell out of it. I am tired of being an after thought for major retailers, especially when it comes to outerwear. I still find myself thinking- I wish that was in MY size. Well No more of that nonsense! This time next year I am launching a full fledged outwear plus size fashion line.

I would love to know your struggles with finding the right jacket for you! What is your biggest complaint? I hate when I find jackets I love that don’t fit right, AND don’t have pockets! I mean really? What person who wears a jacket doesn’t want pockets! It seems crazy to me!

I want to feel funky, and fabulous too! I feel like we are lucky enough to get a rack or two, yet our more slender counterpart gets 20! Its craziness to me. I found myself looking for a new fall/winter coat to wear to my day job, something warm, well fitting and functional that had my kick ass style- and I came home empty handed. There is nothing more annoying then not being able to find what I am looking for! Its getting cold out, and I need a jacket! And I imagine all of my fabulous plus size friends out there need one too!

Keep your eyes pealed for my new jacket line next fall (2016!). It time that I take this problem head on and design the jackets that I have always dreamt of! After all I want a kick ass jacket too! I deserve to feel strong, fabulous (and warm!) and so do you! I can’t wait to show you want I am currently working on and developing!

I would love to hear your feedback! What are the top 3 things you look when shopping for a jacket/coat/outerwear. Please give me a comment below and I might just send you a coupon code for my Etsy Shop! (Shop Here!)

If you LOVE this jacket as much as I do- leave your email in a comment, and get on the mailing list- be the FIRST to know when this jacket will be available for Pre-Order! Woo! Or Sign Up for my mailing list here!  www.rose-riot.com

Thanks for reading!- Stay fabulous!-

-A

© Copyright Rose Riot 2016