Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Judging the Chambord Shine Awards

So last night, I was a judge for the Chambord Shine Awards heat in Melbourne held at The Long Room. My fellow judges were Emily Power from the Herald Sun, designer Joe Farage from Farage Style and Kate Mansour from Chambord. We were given a set of criteria to fit the Chambord brief upon which to judge and the 2 judge finalists were; Anna Campbell and Jolet with the Poeple's choice award going to limedrop.

Held in 3 states (Melbourne, Brisbane and Sydney) the 3 finalists from each state will go onto compete for the ultimate prize where their outfit will be worn by a fashion forward celebrity during Spring Racing Carnival and show their collection at a fashion festival in 2011.

The fellow nominee's for the heat still have the chance to win the Wild Card entry so we wish above., Stacey Christie, MLY Black label, Michelle Czech and Alexi Freeman the best of luck.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Panel Beater

So I've taken to becoming a panel beater of late.. and no, not the tradey kind with a flannie and boots (although both are in fashion!). I've become a panel advisor - don't quite know how this happened, but here I am realising I'm on a variety of panels.

1. RMIT asked me to sit on an advisory board panel for a new course they are looking at launching.

2. AEC asked me to sit on their advisory board for the trade exhibition Fashion Exposed of which I have been a guest speaker and judge for the Debut award. (only problem has been both panel meetings conflicted with other commitments, so I haven't been able to attend any meetings as yet - do I still qualify?)

3. City of Melbourne asked me to sit on their breakfast series seminar panel for Melbourne Spring Fashion Week to discuss the topics that should be addressed at this years seminars.

4. I sat on the panel assessments for third year students at Whitehouse Institute of Design in Melbourne where I lecture to assess the commercial and marketing reality of the collections presented.

5. I just got approached today to sit on another education institute's panel to review students work as well.

What's happening? Are all those years of me thinking my opinion mattered when it clearly didn't coming back in a good karmic way? Who knows, but I enjoy it and should anyone else want me on a panel - just holler... apparently I can't say no!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Design Victoria run a lot of great seminars and events based on education and understanding the implications of being involved in the design industry. Most of the events are free and many involve industry icons. I was thrilled when approached to be a panelist in an area that I come across regularly in the fashion industry: Fashion Copyrighting and IP.

Even when lecturing with my fashion design and branding students, I am often at a loss to understand the financial costs and legalities behind copyright. So the seminar I am speaking at addresses the role of registering designs, trademarking, copyright infringement and the reality for small designers and what rights they have. I will be posing case studies and asking Trevor to explain the implications of these cases so that we as an audience can clarify the legalities around this hot issue.

My co-panelists are:
Trevor Choy of Choy Lawyers is an Intellectual property specialist
Eddie Zammit, Founder of T Magazine and Creative Director/Principle of Grin Creative
Ivan Gomez, Managing Director of Department of the Future

Thursday 13 May 6-8.30pm at ACMI Cinemas, Federation Square Melbourne

Hope to see you there.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Guest Lecture about blogging for UTS Fashion Students

I was approached just before fashion week about speaking at UTS for the 4th year fashion students about the role of blogging and my career path. After meeting with the lovely Cecilia Heffer (Course Director of Fashion & Textiles) during LMFF, we discussed how we could make this a stand out, interactive lecture and tutorial series for the students to get the most benefit.

So, I am off to teach 45 students/emerging creatives about the role of online fashion and blogging on Thursday 15th April.

Wish me luck!

For more info on the course, click here.

RMIT - Fashion Promotions Lecturing

I was approached by RMIT School of Fashion and Textiles to teach the 2nd years a new subject "Fashion Promotions" for 1st semester this year.

I have written the curriculum and assessments myself which revolve around 2 assessments; a promotional portfolio and a media plan. So, each Friday I head off to the brunswick campus to teach 80 odd students about the world of Fashion Promotions from sponsorship, loyalty programs, media plans, press releases and the various media distribution channels that the industry use to reach their customers.

I like to incorporate a variety of current examples and case studies into the lectures from fashion, pop culture and lifestyle to show these aspiring creatives how integrated the design world is.

For more about the course, check it out here.

LMFF Fashion Blogger

I was asked by L'Oreal Melbourne Fashion Festival to be a guest fashion blogger for the 2010 festival which involved attending all official events during the LMFF week as well as reporting behind the scenes with exclusive news, designer interviews and industry updates.

Pre-festival I wrote weekly blog posts and during the festival it was a fast paced daily blog post update with a big wrap up post festival.

All of my blog posts can be read here.

Thanks to the LMFF team for making my time enjoyable at the 2010 festival.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

FGI Fashion Flash Seminar Speaker

The FGI Fashion Flash Seminar is back for Spring Summer 2010 trends in Melbourne again. I will be moderating the panel discussion this time with panel guests including:
1. Nicole Williams from Nicolangela
2. Dhini Pararajasingham from Dhini

As always, we'll be watching a Trend Presentation about the season's top trends for Ready to Wear Spring Summer 2010 which is put together by an industry panel including In Style, Neiman Marcus, Vogue & Bloomingdales in New York. After the presentation, we have a panel discussion about how these trends influence the Australian market, consumer and industry issues facing the Australian market currently and the role of technology and social media influencing trends.

Date: February 4th 2010
Time: 6pm-8.30pm
Tickets: $35 FGI Members $50 Non FGI Members
Location: Whitehouse Institute of Design, Melbourne
Details: Click here

Friday, January 29, 2010

Runway to Reality Press

As some of you may know, I write a weekly column for Australian Exhibition & Conferences. One week its Fashion Exposed Online and then the other its Australian Shoe Fair Online. As part of my involvement with the Runway to Reality Workshops, I was interviewed by Belinda Smart (editor of both online newsletters). Above is the screengrab from the newsletter and below is the copy so you can actually read it!

"As Fashion Exposed approaches anticipation is building, with the trade fair offering a number of value adding events in addition to the usual feast of cutting edge brands and products. The Runway to Reality workshops, presented by style expert (and resident Exposed Online iSpyStyle columnist) Kate Vandermeer, is one of these. From what Kate had to say when I caught up with her, they look set to be stimulating as well as commercially indispensable.

"I think this initiative is great and I'm looking forward to holding the workshops," she said. "Whilst the glamour of the fashion industry is fun, these workshops are about the reality of how to capture customers' attention and get them spending with your brand or business again. Many of the SMEs attending Fashion Exposed have been doing it tough through the GFC and now need new direction and inspiration about their customers, their buying habits and what their next strategy should be."

Friday, January 22, 2010

Runway to Reality Press

As part of the PR campaign surrounding the Runway to Reality workshops between iSpyStyle and Fashion Exposed, the Australasian Textiles & Fashion e-newsletter titled "Apparell B2B Central" interviewed me for a feature about the workshops. Above, is a screengrab of the interview, however the full interview written by Dawn Adams is below.

"Strategies on conducting business in a more challenging economic environment and how to improve relationships with customers will be among the topics covered during a series of workshops to be staged at Fashion Exposed in Sydney in February. The 'Runway to Reality' program will be conducted by Kate Vandermeer, director of iSpyStyle in three business seminars designed to tackle grass roots issues.

In a back-to-basics approach, topics covered will include promotions, visual merchandising and buying strategies. Separate menswear and womenswear programs will review trends for spring/summer 2010 and relate them to exhibitor stands demonstrating how they capture the latest looks. "This approach increases the styling relationship with customers," Vandermeer said.

A third workshop will focus on business practices such as engaging the local community by, for example, enlisting a school to become involved in visual merchandising to increase store traffic. Social networking opportunities will also be reviewed but Vandermeer stressed they should only be used if they are appropriate to an individual business. "If their customer is not internet or text savvy, it wouldn't work for them," she said.

Stressed throughout the workshops will be to ensure that strategies are effective for each customer base. Vandermeer also highlighted how difficult it was to fully comprehend the demographic being reached in today's marketplace. "We tend to shop around, pick who to follow and graze a wider retail environment," she said. "It's harder to pinpoint a detailed demographic."
She said important was to test strategies with care to ensure a core customer base was not alienated.

And she stressed the value of knowledge held by retail staff pointing to the importance of asking the 'right' questions to find out more about a customer base. "Retail staff don't always realise how much they know about the customer base," she said. "They might know their habits, if they shop after school, if times are tough for them or if they're time poor." - Dawn Adams"

Runway to Reality Workshops

2010 is the year of the iSpyStyle Workshops launching and to kick it all off is a great collaboration with Fashion Exposed. This year Fashion Exposed and iSpyStyle are presenting "Runway to Reality"; a series of 'back to business' workshops aimed at supporting, nurturing and inspiring the SME's attending.

The Menswear Report - Sunday 14 February, 1pm - 1.45pm
Be guided on how to maximise next season's trends for the best return for your business.

Retail Workshop - Monday 15 February, 1pm - 1.45pm
Attend this retail workshop to learn secret trade tips on how to improve your marketing, branding and retail presence, incorporating tips on visual merchandising, social media and building customer loyalty!

Runway to Reality - Monday 15 February, 3pm - 3.45pm
Understand the top Womenswear trends and how they can be interpreted to suit a 'real, everyday customer' in order to improve your business and sales.

All workshops are FREE to attend, you just need to be a visitor to the Fashion Exposed Fair held at the Sydney Exhibition Centre, Darling Harbour from Sunday 14th February to Tuesday 16th February 2010.

Look forward to seeing you there. Come and say hi!

For more info on other iSpyStyle workshops, check out the website.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Ragtrader Feature

I am fortunate to have had a great relationship with all the lovely ladies at Ragtrader now for some years. However, it was quite an honour to be asked by the new editor Assia Bemmedjdoub to feature as one of 3 women in Australian carving a niche in the online world of fashion. Our interview was appropriately held on google chat and was a three way conversation between Assia, myself and Patty Huntington.

So it was with great pleasure when I saw the first Ragtrader issue under Assia's reign appear on newstands this week, featuring my mug shot on the cover! Assia has done a great job in narrowing down a 1.5 hour online chat into a double page article covering the world of online fashion, the role of technology and where Australia sits in the space.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

iSpy AEC

The lovely and talented Belinda Smart (former Melbourne & Online editor of Ragtrader) has recently moved to Australian Exhibition & Conferences (AEC) and heads up the fortnightly e-newsletter for Australian Shoe Fair and Fashion Exposed. Belinda and I caught up recently and I was thrilled when she asked me if I wanted to contribute to both e-newsletters about trends in the Footwear and Fashion Industry from my point of view.

So each week I will alternate between Fashion Exposed and Australian Shoe Fair talking about trends that iSpy. Most of these trends are discovered through my work as a lecturer, writer, trend forecasting contributor for WGSN and also through the work with iSpyStyle (my business).

I look forward to sharing my bite sized trend insights with AEC.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Twitchett & Tonge Shoot

Earlier in July, I styled /produced a photo shoot for the Autumn Winter 2010 Shoot for Twitchett & Tonge. The designers approached me to style their shoot as they were wanting to take the label in a slightly different direction. My involvement in this shoot was to style and produce the shoot including; consulting with casting the model, co-ordinating the actual shoot agenda, sourcing accessories and directing the photographer, art director, make-up /hair artist and liaising with the designers. The results are stunning. You can read the designers testimonial about my work below and see a list of the team involved.

"Being designers and looking at your own work continuously for months on end, means that sometimes you need the eye of another creative fashion expert to help with promotion and advertising. Kate stepped in and helped with our styling for our upcoming Autumn/Winter collection 2010. Her attitude and professionalism was outstanding, which inevitably allowed the shoot to run smoothly and successfully.

Kate had excellent creative ideas that were relayed in her well thought out story boards. These boards were then effortlessly executed into some fantastic images. We were impressed with her energy into the project and we will definitely use her again in the future."

Label: Twitchett & Tonge
Photographer: Jarrod Barnes
Art Director/ Re-toucher: Myamn Creative
Hair & Make Up: Siobhan Kelly at Napoleon Perdis
Model: Shoona Stanes at Scene Model Management
Stylist: Kate Vandermeer of iSpyStyle
Gloves & Belts : Tribu
Jewellery: Kitte Accessories
Shoes: Peep Toe Shoes

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Judging Fashion Exposed Debut Award

I've been a part of Fashion Exposed for some time now. When I was at stylehunter, I set up a partnership with Fashion Exposed to be a media sponsor and to help celebrate the emerging designers of tomorrow through the Debut Award.

Debut gives much needed promotion, financial support and the opportunity to showcase their collection as part of the Fashion Exposed trade fair. There are 3 Categories each year. 1. Avant Garde 2. Clothing 3. Accessories /Jewellery

I've been a judge on the panel who select the winners for Debut before and am judging again this year. It's a privilege to be involved in this and as such I've offered to give the 3 winners of each category a complimentary 1.5 hour consultation with me to help them understand what they could be doing to better market and brand their up and coming label.

I'll look forward to sharing the results with you next week.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Crowd Sourcing with AIMIA

The lovely Angelina Russo from Swinburne approached me earlier in the year after she saw me speak at Fashion Palette. She is part of research team at Swinburne currently investigating the role of Crowd Sourcing and User Generated Content in relation to designers.

We met up to discuss this movement and then I began to formulate the angle my talk would talk. I wanted to come from a trend observation point of view and use contemporary case studies. I wanted to discuss how in the current world we live in, we are so technology driven and demanding of others time, that speediness of brands responses to our feedback is imperative and we can actively make or break a brand in milliseconds through social networking. How does this impact on the consumer taking the control of an idea and promoting it Vs the old traditional method, where brands are interactive only with consumers during the selling period of the product.

The case Studies I focused on were: The Sartorialist and his style of recruiting for the Denim campaign for Saba (crowd sourcing was the unique point of difference for this shoot). I Spy Levi's using a jean hunt on twitter to create an interactive campaign allowing 2 touch points - offline and online. Threadless and Milk Shop Gang using the design community to create new designs whilst giving them a cut of the profits. Adidas Originals for their House Party interactive game where they encourage users to upload their photos to "adiatars" to create a house party online and ASOS -and locally Sportsgirl are using forums to generate market research into their own consumers.

So, the seminar was last night at Sensis in Melbourne featuring Adam Schilling from 99 Designs (a crowd sourcing business model for graphic design work) as well as Professor Lyndon Anderson (Deputy Dean of Swinburne). I felt quite out of place after meeting both Lyndon and Adam as their knowledge in this subject far surmounts mine, however it was most definately a stimulating and thought provoking night with many talented designers and interactive developers attending.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Marketing Magazine Article

I sat next to Kylie Flavell at LMFF this year and got chatting and discovered she is editor of both Crystal and Marketing magazine (and I thought I was busy!) So we exchanged cards and not long after, I approached Kylie about writing a regular column in Marketing Magazine with a focus on women. I was wrapped when she liked the idea, and so I set about researching what I thought Women might want to read and respond to.

The results are in the August issue of Marketing Magazine on page 66-67 in the digital section titled "What do Women want online?" Love to hear your thoughts and feedback.

Friday, July 24, 2009

WGSN Australian Contributor

A lifelong dream to work with the well reputed WGSN (Worth Global Style Network) came to fruition earlier this year. When I was at RMIT studying, I was introduced to WGSN through a guest lecturer and was overwhelmed that a website even existed in this format talking all about the world of trends, consumer behaviour, tracking where trends come from and evolve too etc.

Having used WGSN in many roles throughout my 20's at various companies and attending the WGSN twice yearly seminars on trends, I was familiar with what the site had to offer from a client point of view but always hoped that one day I might get to contribute to the site as a trend observer.

Finally at the ripe age of 30, having paid some dues and working across a variety of areas within fashion (visual merchandising, retail, design and development, lecturing, marketing and branding) I have a more thorough understanding of how the fashion industry works and in a better position to be an Australian Contributors to WGSN.

My focus is about covering Retail stores, What's in Store and City Guides. My first assignment was to go to Sydney and compile an updated report on where to shop, eat, drink and be inspired in Sydney. A favourite feature on WGSN are the city guides where you can download the print ready guide which gives you the insiders tips to where to go for creative inspiration whilst in that city.

So if you are a subscriber, check it out. It's live next week.

If you think you have a new & exciting store, great inspirational pop up store, gallery launch, window display or installation and want me to report on it. Let me know. Check out my website to get in contact with me.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Fashion Category Producer of Soya Awards

Got a call during the week from the delightful and (my own career crush) Jess Scully who is creative director of the Soya Awards - a brilliant initiative by Qantas to encourage creativity in the youth of Australia. I really wish I had of known about this when I was growing up within my career as I would have jumped at the chance!

Jess asked me to be the Fashion Category Producer of the Soya Awards which basically requires me to source some great design talent and help get the word out about the Soya Awards and then select 10 finalists from all of the entries.

So, are you a budding fashion or accessories designer? Or perhaps a craftsperson or stylist? Are you interested in winning $10,000 and a mentorship with Zimmermann?

With past winners including Akina, Friedrich Gray and ANT!PODiUM, this is one serious competition open to students and emerging designers who want to get ahead!

So.. this is what to do.

1. Go to the Soya website and follow the application questions and upload examples of your work.
2. Add some info about stockists, media coverage, participation in events or fashion shows, study etc
3. DONE ... its that easy!

Only catch - do it by July 31st 2009. That means 3 weeks till deadline! So get your project runway/stylish behind into gear and get entering!

Monday, July 6, 2009

iSpyStyle is live!

So finally the website platform of my new business venture "iSpyStyle" is live! Soft launched on Friday 3rd July. Already a lot of interest, traffic and signups which is comforting!

iSpyStyle was created to establish a community between like-minded individuals who share a passion for the creative design industry. We wanted to begin a resource that would “spy” on the industry with insightful, educational interviews and connect the established industry leaders with the emerging design talent of the future.

Our aim is to offer a resource that searches the globe to collate relevant industry data associated with design from both a creative and business viewpoint, interpreting the results for the Australian market.

iSpyStyle also offers a consultancy for brands that wish to re-evaluate their online, marketing or branding strategy.

So make sure you check it out, tell your friends and send us your feedback, so we can make it even bigger and better.

Check it out.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

FGI Fashion Flash Panel Speaker

Last night I was part of a panel including Vanessa Rochman, Design Director of Metalicus and Elle Roseby, CEO of Sportsgirl with moderator Patty Huntington. This was for Fashion Group International's Fashion Flash series held in London, Milan, Paris, Sydney and Melbourne.

After featuring a 50min presentation of the top trends for Autumn Winter 09/10, Patty asked Vanessa, Elle and myself of our experiences in the local Melbourne market in terms of retailing, how the economic climate had impacted on business, how we interpret trends and the natures of our social networking strategies.

It was revealed that Sportsgirl were planning a new website re-launch with a forum, blog, full time online editor, twitter integration and a new super flagship store to be opened in August at Chadstone. Metalicus also revealed that they were planning a huge program of variations on the "little black dress" for their investment orientated customers who wanted more classics and versatility in their wardrobes rather than fast fashion.

For those who missed out, there will be another panel in September as part of Fashion Exposed.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

The Blogging Circle - Online Divas Blog

Online Divas have added my guest blog on Internet Retailing to their blog. A copy of the article and where it came from is all on their blog. I've also been asked to speak at the next Online Divas Event in Melbourne on Thursday 25th June with the gorgeous Kate from Drop Dead Gorgeous Daily.

Visit their website for more info.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Guest Blogging Article on Internet Retailing

I was asked by Mark Freidin of Internet Retailing (a new e-tail website) to guest blog the introduction to the Women in Retail section. It's been published online and may be an ongoing guest blogging opportunity for me to profile successful and emerging women in online. The website aims to support and nuture Australian online business owners who sell or want to sell online, or even those that just want to market online. Whether a green upstart or a seasoned online retailing veteran, this site has something for you and your business.

Read full article here.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Feature in Australian Financial Review

Recently, I was interviewed by Hannah Tattersall of the Australian Financial Review about the return of the shoulder pads.
It's an interesting trend as to the unsuspecting public, the return of the shoulder pad is truly a "pop culture fad" and yet there is so much more to this trend.

To quote the section I was featured in, see below;

"Fashion Forecaster, Kate Vandermeer says designers are lapping up trends because of the volatile retail sector. Consumers are uncertain about buying at the moment and if designers see something is selling they want to be a part of it. "This year, because a lot of designers are in a bit of a predicament - fashions tricky for Australian Retail at the moment because obviously there's just not the money that there used to be and its a superflous addition to one's lifestyle - they're looking for a commercial trend they know they can work with and that people want".

Vandermeer says the economic situation provides a suitable climate for attention-grabbing dressing. "The shoulder look first gained prevalence after World War I, along with red lipstick - It made women feel like, "we're over the war now... it's time for us to feel confident and excited, and look for some opportunity amongst the doom and gloom. The fact that it has come back now is certainly no coincidence. However, Balmain was one of the first designers to pick up on the trend and reignite it.

Just like a pair of high stiletto's makes your bottom tauter and you have to watch where you're walking, shoulder pads give a sense of authority. There's a little bit more of a swagger that one adopts from wearing the exaggerated shoulder", says Vandermeer."

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Fashion Palette

When Sonya from Fashion Palette approached me late last year to be a guest speaker on the Fashion Palette 2 day conference in Sydney, I was very honored. The amazing presentation she sent me was the clincher in making the decision to commit to the event. Her organization, planning and the level at which she wished to produce this event was exceptional.

So off I went to Sydney in late April early May for the 2 day fashion feast incorporating Mimco, Insight, Instyle, Alpha 60, Peter Morrissey, White Sands amongst others. A huge crowd of students and fashionistas filled the auditorium ready to listen, absorb, be inspired and learn from the various speakers.

I spent quite some time preparing my speech as I have attended many seminars and felt that there is a real art to bridging the gap between been a boring, exciting, informative, funny and helpful keynote speaker. So I wanted to ensure I didn't just talk about too much and explain where I came from, experiences I had that had led me to creating and about the online fashion space in general.

I get quite the rush from public speaking, so enjoyed this experience immensely. I was fortunate to have some great personal feedback about my presentation and had many people follow up with tweets and emails as a result.

Highlights for me personally were learning more about Cathryn Wills from Mimco (I missed working with Cathryn when I was at Mimco) and Kate from Instyle magazine as well as learning about the daily life of the "Insight" boys.

Major kudos to Sonya and Crystelle for having an idea, making it happen and executing it brilliantly.

Thanks to Love Jungle for the lend of the photo of me. Check them out.

Monday, May 18, 2009

I co-created under the Catalogue Central company in 2007. For 6 months I researched the place of online fashion domestically and internationally and learnt about navigation and what makes a website memorable. I then met with a variety of "fashionistas" in Australia who gave their learned opinion about our potential website with valuable feedback. We launched in September 2007.

I was handling all aspects of stylehunter - concepts, branding, marketing, art direction, editing, working with our tech, production and operations team and handling the budgets etc as well as the sales side. A big role to undertake and one that has taught me a tremendous amount. I became brand manager and editor and guided stylehunter to become a memorable, carbon neutral, online fashion magazine.

I left stylehunter in April 2009 and was still freelancing for them editing the weekly e-newsletter "VIP STYLE" until recently and my last monthly magazine was the "May issue". will be taking on a different format and becoming a quarterly magazine which will be outsourced from the Catalogue Central (now CC Media) team.