Manus x Machina: Fashion in an Age of Technology AND a surprise!

Hello again!

So a few weeks ago I was able to find time on my crazy business trip in NYC to visit the famous Metropolitan Museum of Art! And of course I had to go see the ManusXMachina: Fashion in the Age of Technology exhibit! How could I come all the way to NYC and not go see it? Last summer, I was able to see the Met’s exhibition of China: Through the Looking Glass, which was equally amazing!

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The exhibit was breath taking! There was so much to see and admire. Some of these designs were 3D printed, others were a work of art in their complex design and linear structure; there were all feats of fashion. I, myself love the linear looks below, they reminded me of the movie Tron. While some of the others were the Elizabethan concept of tight pleating and twisted it into geometric shapes. It was incredible.

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And then there was the tiny texture and detailing. My photos really do not do these dresses any justice. In person there was just so much more you could see, even the tiniest details made a huge impact. This texture below looks like tiny flowers. I cant even fathom the amount of hours these design took to bring to life. If I were to guess it would be over 100! If not more!

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And of course there was other art to admire! We did end up spending the entire day at the Met! 6 crazy hours (it was a Sunday after all) of walking through those halls filling my mind with inspiration! Its clear I am drawn towards bright colors, bold graphics, hard lines and shape! And I must say I was just drawn to this painting of lipstick. What you cannot tell from my photos, is each of the paintings below are easily at lest 10×10′ Feet! They were huge!

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If the art wasn’t inspiring enough, what I didn’t mention was before we went to the Met, we started off our day at Starbucks, my favorite coffee house. I had just worked through most of my business trip and finally had a day off! It was our last day in NYC and I was not going to miss the Met exhibit. However, little did I know when we got to that Starbucks my life would change!

My boyfriend of 5 years usually accompanies me on my NYC business trips. Although finding time to spend together with a crammed work schedule is a bit challenging, we find the smaller moments together to make it count. Like getting pizza at 2am after a midnight showing of an AMC movie! (Which we did!).

So needless to say when we sat down upstairs in Starbucks, I got the shock of my life. And you know how everything in NYC is vertical, and being upstairs in Starbucks allowed for more privacy for the two of us.

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And there it was! A beautiful, purple, skull (yes SKULL!) engagement ring!! And right on the top of my cup were the words, “Marry me?” and of course, I just had to reply my response on the cup! I said YES!

I was over the moon! And the ring fit!!! Which, I was super excited about, because I have huge hands and I was afraid it wouldn’t fit. (I did find out later the ring was a size 10, which was perfect!).

I had an amazing business trip. I had the best business events, and totally kicked ass at the Curvy Con and Full Figured Fashion Week (read all about that here!)

I couldn’t wait to go home later that night and tell my parents and friends! This is surely one business trip I will never forget!

Want to see what else I was working on while in NYC? Join my mailing list for my new jacket brand and company and get the behind the scenes look!

Sign up here! www.rose-riot.com

Have a comment? Have you been to the Met? To NYC? I would LOVE to hear from you!

With the happiest wishes and heart!

-A

The Business of Fashion: Visiting NYC!

No rest for the weary! Fashion is non stop- a 24/7, 365 job!- Which makes me love it and some times not love it! So I took a “vacation” day from my 9-5 and took the Amtrak train to NYC on the hunt for fabulous fabrics and to meet up with some fashion friends!

My train left at 6:25am.. which was a bit earlier then I am use to. I did not over sleep this time, I did in fact make the train with plenty of time to spare. However, being January I did slip on the ice that  I apparently parked on top of, and barely didn’t hurt myself. This is my life! Its the first time in a while I was able to see the sunrise. I took a selfie and the sun was shining at just the right angle. It was a cool picture.

Me sunshine
Amtrak From Boston to NYC

I visited the DG Expo and Première Vision in NYC! Whenever I travel to NYC it always feels like coming back- almost as if I never left. Boston is my home, but New York is my city. I got amped up listening to Taylor Swifts “Welcome to New York“- don’t judge me! I might LOVE rock and roll, but Tswift has a special place in my heart!

My first stop- Starbucks. Because duh!. 6:25am train doesn’t require coffee because you sleep most of the time. However, I had arrived and now was the time to put my game face on. Luckily right next to the Pennsylvania hotel is a Starbucks, so I didn’t have to go very far! I went right into the DG Expo.

What I love about the DG Expo is that it is set up with new and small designers/brands in mind. Most of the minimums are low, there is fabric, trims, and even a few USA factories. There are also a bunch of useful resources! One of my favorites is the Fashion Law Studio based out of NY and run by Katharyn and Nima. What is great about them is they knew their craft!- Both Fashion and Law, and they make it really easy to understand. Sometimes I know all the legal mumbo jumble can give me a headache! But they work with new designers and make it easy to understand. They say if you can make a dress, then you can understand fashion law. I highly suggest checking them out!

Another part of the Expo I really enjoy is the fabric shopping! There is every fabric you could think of and then some! I love seeing all the new prints and fabrics available. One of my favorite parts is seeing the new trims! Buttons, and zippers, and more!

Fabrics at DG

Then I met up with a friend of mine that I met in college. She is kicking ass and taking names in NYC! I am so proud of her! She is designing full time for a juniors company! I love meeting up in NYC and talking about our college days, sewing for hours on end in our studio! It was a great time! I miss college sometimes. If my college had a reunion I will go. I graduated with only 7 other people in my Fashion Design class! (Because its not as easy as TV shows like Project Runway make it out to be!) It felt like we were in college again, at the end of the day, when we swung by a Fabric shop and took home at least 100 swatches! I just love fabrics; seeing them, feeling them, your mind just starts to go crazy with ideas!

Fabric swatching is part of my development process. Sometimes the fabrics tell you what they want to be, and other times you are finding a fabric to fit already preconceived design.

I am currently working on a new jacket line specifically made and fit for the plus size woman. Check out my progress here and get in the know! www.rose-riot.com I am very excited because I found lots of fabric options for the new line! I can’t wait until the swatches come in the mail! Check out some of my other pictures from NYC here!

Then I went over to Pier 94 to Première Vision.  They had global manufacturers, leather, fabrics and accessories from all over the world. I am pretty such France was represented- as all I could here was French! And maybe a bit of Italian.

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The trends were fun to see, and all the new fabrics and especially the prints! A fashion designer at the trade show is like a kid in a candy shop! I want it ALL! And as a business person my budget quietly reminds me, I am here to order swatches to start.. and then we will see. Another favorite part of attending these Expos and trade shows is meeting new people. I even met another plus size fashion designer! How cool is that? Its VERY cool, because true plus size fashion designers are far and few between, and we need to stick together!

After a quick trip to the fabric store, I was on my way back to Penn station! Time flies when your fabric sourcing! It will be another 6 months before the trade shows pop up again! But not to fret- there is still Tex World, and City Source coming up in the next few days!

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That’s the life of a fashion designer for ya! And then it was home to bed, ready to get back to my 9-5 this morning. It was a struggle, but I did it. You push through. You make it work because it means something to you, because you don’t have a choice. Your success or failure begins and ends with you. So I got my ass out of bed this morning.. dragging my feet, and went to my bread and butter job. I am not going to lie, the trade shows are the fun part, the exciting traveling, meeting new people, seeing new fabrics. But these are the things I look forward too, because all of a sudden, I was boarding the train.

Life happens to fast- don’t forget to enjoy it!

 

Stay classy and sassy!

-A

© 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!

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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.

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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

ASK Fashion At Full Figured Fashion Week 2015!

First I want to say hello again, and welcome back to my blog! This is the ramblings of a quirky 25 year old on this crazy journey known as life as a plus size fashion designer and entrepreneur! It is quite a ride let me tell you! Today I am highlighting my experience at the infamous Full Figured Fashion Week in NYC.

This year Full Figured Fashion Week had many sponsors- the biggest sponsor was Fruit of the Loom- who launched a new plus size, and new fit underwear line. I just want to say those ladies were AMAZING and I literally have a least 60 new pairs of underwear! (And I must say they are fabulous thus far!- microfiber being my favorite!)

There were several events held that week- all which were fabulous!

The first I attended was the buyer/press conference that was held on Tuesday June 16th. I got to meet a lot a awesome people! I had a little table set up, with my business cards, portfolio, pictures and logo. It was really cool. This event is the first time you really get a chance to talk to anyone (well, it was for me, as this was the first event I was attending). See below a picture of my little table!

I am also currently obsessed with panoramic views! See the picture below of the entire room! So cool!

It was an awesome event! I got to meet up with a few friends of mine! It was a really nice meet and greet moment- a perfect beginning to the week!

In between- there were seminar type events going on as well. One of the best parts of FFFweek is all the amazing people you get to meet. I met up with friends I made last year, and made even more new friends this year! After a business event that we held- we all went and got lunch together! Sharing experiences, swapping stories and advise- it was amazing. There are so many women out there, business owners, designers, models, editors, etc and they have so much to share- its quite incredible. I must say- one of the things that makes FFFweek so special, is that it is a space where women are just helping each other up and through; such a supportive group.

The next day was my favorite day- it was the day of the white boat cruise! The fitting for the designers and models takes place during the day- but the all white boat cruise is my favorite evening festivity! The fitting went well- as it usually does; the models are fantastic and prepared! It went pretty smoothly, with only a few minor adjustments. Needle and thread in hand!

Right after the fitting, its a mad dash back to the hotel- to get ready for the boat cruise! This year I was running late- as usual- and I couldn’t hail a cab for the life of me! I was so afraid I was going to miss the boat- I ended up getting a ride from a bucket bike driver! He was so nice, and to his word- he got me from 37th, down to Pier 41 in just under 15 minutes! If I had taken a cab, I would have missed the boat!

My bike peddler was really funny and made the trip really fun! So needless to say I got there in time! And even had time to spare! While we waited I found friends of mine, other designers, models etc and took pictures! They even had a fake Instagram picture frame to take pictures in!

I mean take a look at our bad ass boat!

This boat was really kick ass! It had 4 floors, and you could look down onto the dance floor from the second balcony floor! Just look at how kick ass this view is!!

Luckily it didn’t rain- although is was VERY windy that day! My friends nicknamed me Marilyn, because my white dress had a life of its own, and just would not stay in place! The wind would blow and skirt of my dress went up with it! Haha- luckily I was with a very awesome group of inspiring women, who just had a great time! We all had a good laugh! I met up again with Karen Ward and her Husband- of “Her Big Sister’s Closet” up in Canada, and with Madeline Jones of Plus Model Magazine! They were nice enough to take a picture with me! wooo!

Thursday was a nice quiet day. My boyfriend came to the city to support me, and of course to go to our favorite restaurant to celebrate our 4th anniversary! Woo! Our favorite restaurant is a small place called Ninja. It is amazing! A little on the pricey side, but we only go once a year. If you have never been, I highly suggest it! They have an underground/ ninja like atmosphere and all the waiters play the part of ninjas. Each table has a little cubby type place, with sliding wood doors for a little bit of privacy. Its hilarious! The waiters come out of no where and scare the crap out of you! Its really a great time!

After ordering dinner, one of the “ninjas” who is really a magician comes to entertain you for a bit. And I must say, the last few times we have been the magicians have been incredible! We always give them a good tip, and one magician, (all are wearing sleeveless shirts btw)- made a potato come out of thin air. But really- he did- I couldn’t logically figure it out, and it was a real potato- I held it in my hand after. I was like- holy shit!

I just love this picture of the lantern that sits outside Ninja. From the outside it literally just looks like a door. When you step in, you meet a hostess, that brings you to the elevator, and you descend down into the little ninja world. Its quite an experience. This is in NYC, down in the Tribeca area.

Then it was Friday! Show Day!

Photo By Farrah Estrella

That’s me! I love that I now get to say- that I am wearing an ASK Fashion Dress. How cool is that?!? I finally get to wear my own brand! The coolest part I think is seeing my company name in the label. That was surreal.

The entire experience of FFFweek is surreal- as it goes by so fast! You prepare for months to get ready for the once a year fabulous week! And then its over! I can’t believe its already been a month since I was in NYC! Like honestly, where did the time go?

The fashion showcase went by quickly. This year- Gwen Devoe- the fearless leader and kick ass fashionista of FFFweek- made things a little different this year. This year, all the designers were interviewed right before the collections walked down the runway. That was pretty cool- and really exciting. Your in such a state of euphoria that you feel like your floating. Honestly its the best feeling in the world.

And then its over! So exhausted after the show- we hauled ourselves back to the hotel! Thanks to Fruit of the Loom- the main sponsor of FFFweek- I walked away with at least 60+ new pairs of underwear. Not only did we get new pairs in the gift bags from the showcase- (my parents and grandparents each got a bag filled with underwear) but I was given even more underwear at the vendor event earlier in the week! I am happy to say, we found homes for almost all of the underwear- many different ladies are happy; as we received many different sizes.

We finished our NYC trip on Saturday- at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. My boyfriend and I spent almost 6 hours! And we barely finished the first floor! We have to go back to explore the upstairs portion. However we did stumble upon the fashion exhibit “Through the Looking Glass: China”.

It was AMAZING! Below is the Buddha dress! This dress was in the center of the room. On the edges of the room were many different types of Buddha-esque statues. It was pretty damn cool.

The trip to NYC was truly an amazing experience! What a blast! I still cannot believe its been a month since we were there! How fast it comes and goes!

They have already announced the dates for FFFweek 2016! Mark your calendars now! See you next year!

Were you at any of the events? Which events did you enjoy the most? Have you been to NYC? What other kinds of events have you been too? I would love to know!

Stay Classy!

-A

Ⓒ ASK Fashion LLC & Ⓒ Rose Riot

ASK Fashion Goes to Full Figured Fashion Week 2015!

I am SOO Excited to share with all of you that I will be heading back to NYC for Full Figured Fashion Week 2015! I am so VERY excited! This year is going to be better then ever! I have already made the hotel arrangements!

I cannot believe in only 46 days we will be back in NYC! Wow! Almost a year has gone by since we showcased last season in NYC with FFFweek.

I must say- I am VERY grateful to all the independent plus size design support that is out there! Especially thankful to Gwen Devoe- the master mind and kick ass creator behind FFFweek- for not only providing this amazing event, opportunity and audience, but for taking a chance on me and my small company.

Our Indie Designer showcase takes place on Friday June 19th in NYC. We will also have a vendor table at the Celebration of Women event- which also takes place in 6/19. Don’t miss out! We will have our entire Spring 15 line available for sale!

Sign up for our mailing list and get all behind the scenes info, coupons, contests; be the first to know! Sign up here: www.rose-riot.com

Follow me on Instagram and get in the moment updates! www.instagram.com/askfashion90

I am so very excited to be returning to NYC this summer! Boston is my home, but NYC is my city! I just love going into the fashion district and feeling like I am home.

I just know the events that Gwen Devoe is going to have are going to be bigger and better than ever! I cannot wait.

The famous white boat cruise is probably one of my favorite events. Of course I will be sporting an ASK FASHION White Dress- soon to be available for sale! Stay tuned! Last summer I also wore my pink converses to this white cruise- my feet were in such bad shape that day. BUT it was funny, that Gwen had also worn her converses too! That made me feel better. (I wasn’t the only one, not wearing high heels)

My other favorite events are also the showcases of course! I just love seeing all the new fashion! Its so cool and interesting how each designer truly has their own voice- I love it! Everything is so different and that is what makes it so great!

I also LOVE all the models! The casting team does an amazing job choosing these girls! They are the best! They are truly professional and so easy to work with! It really makes my job easier as a designer- when I have the best team to work with, and I am so happy and grateful that I am provided with a truly kick ass team! Couldn’t ask for better!

Stay tuned for more! Only 46 days until FFFweek Begins! I hope to see you there! Have you ever been? What fashion shows have you attended and/or wanted to attend? What did you think? I would love to know!

-ASK!

Ⓒ ASK Fashion LLC & Ⓒ Rose Riot- All Rights Reserved