Friday, August 29, 2014

One Month Blogiversary!

Fashion week is upon us in NYC! All the fashion pros are gearing up for the big week, which starts Thursday September 4 and ends Thursday September 11. I'm excited for two reasons. The first reason is because I'm designating September as Fashion Month on my blog so I'll be blogging each day of the month in September. The second reason is because I have an exciting announcement for next Monday. So stay tuned for that.
In other news, today marks the end of my first month blogging on this site! Yay, I'm so happy. I look forward to sharing with you all  fashion goodies, ideas, how-to's, fashion blogger and fashion pro interviews that I've planned for next month. So keep it locked right here, for a ton of insights coming up next week for Fashion Month on Style & Media Leah!
Like always, hit me up in the comments section. Tell me what you have planned for fashion week?!
Thanks for reading, take care.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Social Media Tips for New Stylists media, the biggest attention-getter for fashionistas especially for new fashion stylists hoping to make their mark. Social media is great because if you leverage it correctly you could get noticed by the right people. I'd recommend Instagram and Facebook for stylists and to regularly update your account at least a few times a week minimum. But I have to admit that since July I've fallen down on weekly updates but I'm working on getting back to regular posting.
With that said, here are my 5 tips on increasing the likelyhood of getting noticed.

1. Tag People and Companies: To bring attention to your work, go ahead and tag people and companies that you want to see the photo. Choose your favorite artists, celebrities, athletes and brands to show specific work to. Make sure it's your best and it is most relevant to them. They may or may not look but at least you've put your work out there. Keep trying and keep the quality of your work excellent.

2. Hashtag Correctly: Write simple searchable ones that other people use like #orangeshoes, #blackleatherboots or #fleamarketfinds. Don't bother writing ones like #cantwaittogotomacys or #shoptillIdropweekend those are long and not likely to be widely used. Instead, you could write a hashtag like #shoppingatmacys or just #macys, #weekendshopping or #ShoptillIdrop.
3. Learn Great Photo Composition: There are basic techniques to learn but from there use your imagination, push boundaries and experiment.

4. Learn What People Want: And give it to them! Do some research on the top photos on social media and the internet in general. Find out what goes into making an image go viral.

5. Create Arresting Visuals: Nothing get eyes on your work like creating amazing photos. Make sure it's crisp, clear and creatively composed.

What are your favorite tips for new fashion stylists on social media? Let me know in the comment section below.

Thanks for reading, take care.

Mind Right Monday Linkup #2

Hi, welcome to Mind Right Monday 2nd edition! If you didn't read my first edition, here's what Mind Right Monday is all about. Basically, listing my goals for the week as well as listing the things that I'm grateful for. I love it because it is putting me in a frame if mind to stay focused on my goals and gratitude. 
Goals for the Week
1. To blog everyday in September because I'm celebrating it as fashion month!
2. To declutter my wardrobe and let go of things that I don't like any more.
I'm Grateful for
1. The opportunity to have spoken to Chrisette Michele in here Rich Hipster Press Conference via telephone!
2. The fashion opportunities that I've received by being a part of my blogger group.
3. A fashion week announcement that I'll reveal in September.
There are so many goals and things I'm grateful for but I want to save those for future posts.
Check out the hosts of Mind Right Monday on their blogs:
Ok Dani
Reese & Coco
What is one goal you've set for the week and one thing you're grateful for? Let me know in the comments below.
Thanks for reading, take care.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Fashion Styling Class Final Project

This is my final post in a series of experience recaps from the intro to fashion styling class that I attended at F.I.T. in July-August. As I've said in previous posts that the class was indispensable in helping me figure out the various paths I can take within styling. I also learned a wealth of info on what to expect as a stylist, some basic skills, tricks of the trade and a truck load of resources.
All that brings me to my topic for today, the final project! So the final project consisted of an inspiration board. It serves as the fantasy version of what your trying to create in your shoot, to paraphrase what the professor told us. 

She said, the inspiration board  sells the idea of the shoot to the photographer you'll be working with along with laydowns if you have them. A laydown is a still life photo of the actual clothes and accessories you'll use on the shoot. But you don't necessary need a laydown to show a photog, just an inspiration board. In a future post I'll explain how to create an inspiration board with laydowns.
For now, I'll show a basic shot of my inspiration board and two laydowns. In a future post I'll show more detailed pictures of each.

Now these are really two of my favorite new skills I've learned from the class. Creating an inspiration boards and laydowns can work for so many projects and not just fashion related either. But more about that in the future.  :-)

Here is the inspiration board and laydowns.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Mind Right Monday Linkup

Hey everyone, today is Mind Right Monday Linkup! The first linkup I'm participating in. I'm very happy to be a part of it because it's all about being positive, setting goals and remembering what I'm grateful for. Without further adieu, here goes:
My Goals for the Week
1. To cook for the entire week and get back to 1 day a week meal prep.
2. To reformat some of the new blogs graphics I made.
3. To work on a couple future blogs posts and write guest posts for other blogs.
4. To get enough sleep.
5. Find some new Fall shoes.
6. To apply to be a model dresser for fashion week.
What I'm Grateful for
1. My supportive family.
2. Being able to live my career dreams in NYC.
3. Being able to build my business.
4. Having the opportunity to do fun things.
5. All my blessings in life.
6. That, and are hosting this linkup so that all participants can layout their goals and what they are grateful for. I know listing things out helps me tremendously when it comes to following through with what I set out to do. Thanks ladies for the motivation!
Thanks everyone for reading, take care.

Personal Branding on a Budget

This post is dedicated to the rank beginners who just want to keep things as simple as possible with their budget and spending. The budget can always be revised later. This is geared towards fashion stylists, fashion bloggers, fashion writers and fashion interns. I will set a budget range of $50-$200 for example purposes for this post ONLY. This will vary depending on your ACTUAL budget, needs and how much you want to spend on each item. This post is only about presenting yourself as your own brand ambassador for right now. The image of yourself that you present to the world is key, so make it count.
Here are 5 Items I RECOMMEND Purchasing:
1. Business Cards: You need SOMETHING nice to hand out your contact info on. You might as well get business cards. There is no excuse not to have them! Vista Print premium cards are a must. Don't bother with the free ones with the Vista logo on the back. Or you could buy Moo Cards, which a lot of people are digging because they are snazzy.
2. Business Cards Holder: So your cards don't get scattered, crushed or dirty in your bag. These don't have to cost a fortune either. You can get one for a few dollars at Muji or Lee's Art Shop (NYC).
3. 9 x 12 Portfolio (industry standard size): To put your tear sheets in from magazines and websites and TFP (trade for portfolio) work. Don't actually tear pictures of your work out of magazines. Use an exacto knife and ruler to cut it out neatly. I like using the Itoya brand of portfolios.
4. Thank You Cards: Choose one set of artsy, creative ones to suit your style as well as a set of simple classic ones.
5. Sharp Shoes and/or Bag: Invest in one or both in classic, chic styles that won't be "out" next season. These are handy when you need to dress to impress or just to wear everyday. I recommend H & M bags because they are stylish, chic, classic or trendy and above all affordable.
What are the must-haves that you'd recommend for fashion newbies? Let me know in the comments below.
Thanks for reading, take care!

Friday, August 15, 2014

Fashion Styling Class Highlights

To be honest, attending the class was one big highlight in itself! But to make things more specific I will choose my 5 favorite class highlights: 1. Guest Speaker Daryl N.: He's a model dresser and helps produce fashion shows. He's a delightful Australian with lots of enthusiasm for his job, sharing with us backstage terminology and protocol, plus a contact of an F.I.T. professor who hires model dressing volunteers for fashion week. He also shared what to expect working as a model dresser backstage at fashion shows and told us some of his interesting experiences. At the end of his lecture he showed us the items in his styling kit for backstage. One interesting item that model dressers need is a bite light. A small mouth-held flashlight used when they turn the lights off backstage before the models hit the runway. 2. Trip to Manhattan Wardrobe Supplies: This store, is the Mecca of any and all supplies you'll need as a stylist. I picked up a few items. Plus, I received a 10% F.I.T. student discount on my purchase when we went. Unfortunately, I didn't get to go back and use the discount before the class was over.
3. Visionary & Trends Presentations: I don't think any fashion styling class would be complete without seeing trend reports. The professor showed up slide presentations created by the trend forecasting agency, Fashion Snoops. First, we looked at a visionary "slide" presentation (just a PDF file). These are the super creative ideas that trend forecasters create for the design world that trends are based on. For example, we looked at visionary boards influenced by the traditional clothing of people in far flung places such as India and Russia as well as visionary boards based on earth elements. For trends we looked at grunge, biker jackets, dirndl skirts and more.
4. Discussion of cultural influences on Fashion: We discussed everything from hiphop and grunge influences to icons such as Marylin Monroe and Audry Hepburn's influence on fashion and editorial spreads. The prof showed us an interesting editorial picture of a lady in black standing in the most odd way. She asked us of we knew what movie the photo was referencing. No one knew, she said the old film, Faster, Pussycat Kill Kill. The title sounded slightly familiar but not really. Anyway, she said in her previous classes the only ones who knew the obscure photo reference were gay guys and French people. She went on to say the film is a cult classic in Paris. Kind of like how Rocky Horror Picture Show is a cult classic here in the U.S. 5. The Final Project: This was the culmination of the class-- all the learning, reading, time, energy and money that I invested. The final consisted of a creative inspiration board with beautiful images and a theme. Mine was titled The Romantic Writer. The theme storyline: The romantic writer daydreams in lace, ruffles and girly details. She writes about her adventures in style. Then, I had to create two "laydowns" (industry term for a clothing still life photo). The laydowns had to reflect the inspiration board and both be in harmony with each other's style. Next Friday I'll be showing pictures of the final project so stay tuned. Have you attended F.I.T.'s styling program or individual classes? What were the highlights for you? Let me know in the comments below. Thanks for reading! Take care, peace.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Starting a Business Alone

No Team, No Problem!
For me, starting a business was something I've always wanted to do since I was about 11 years old. I first got the idea to be a business woman watching my mom do taxes, writing checks to pay bills and make phone calls. She has a lot of business acumen, which is neccessary to be a good mom and wife, so she set a good example. She made it all look so easy and actually fun.
When I told her I wanted to be a business woman someday, she was super supportive and helped me get my ideas written out. My initial business idea was to have a one stop-shop wedding planning/dress boutique business. That business idea has since morphed into a few things over the years. Like when I was 13, I wanted to become a fashion designer when I grew up.
When I was in my 20s I wanted to travel the world and find really cool stuff to sell in a shop. Also starting a production company was another big idea since I went to college for communications/TV production. I had tons more ideas, but I settled on fashion styling since it doesn't require any over head or much expensive equipment aside from a supply kit. It combines my love of fashion, shopping, creativity and bit of media production too!
All of which brings me to starting AND running a business alone. It wasn't daunting to me at first. But when I realized I needed other people in order to make things happen it became stressful trying to figure everything out.
And it took about 2 years to figure everything out.

Here's what I came up with.
1. Rome Wasn't Built in a Day: Neither will my business or having the right support team and that's ok. I have to work with the resources and knowledge I currently have.

2. Seeking Support from Non-Supporters: This has been the trickiest part for me. My so-called friends who stepped forward to "help and support" are nowhere to be found, when it comes down to it. It took me a long time to be ok with that. The fact is, some people mean well (in the moment), some people are just disingenuous with pretending to care when they don't. As a business person I've learned that I just need to disregard people who say they'll help until they actually step up to do something!

3. Seek Real Support Systems: Real support systems include family and I'm so blessed to have all of them support me. Business networking groups and business counselors at the Smaller Business Administration (SBA) and SCORE (Service Corp of Retired Executives). Business workshops, business fairs and expos. All of the above are great places to find REAL support that will follow through.

4. Use as Many FREE Resources That are Available: Check out books/magazines from the library, university events/lectures open to the public, library and local city events, Meetup groups, online videos, Facebook groups, social media, blogs, websites, business support programs etc. There are so many FREE resources to be had that are just waiting for you.

5. Invest in Paid Resources: Sometimes you'll have to pay and that's ok. Just research to find the most worthwhile investments that suit your needs. This included books, magazine subscriptions, business consulting, conferences, workshops, continuing education classes etc.

What are some of your trials and triumphs when starting your business? Let me know in the comments below.
Thanks for reading, take care!

Friday, August 8, 2014

Attending a Fashion Styling Class at FIT

This summer I was blessed with the opportunity to attend an intro to fashion styling class at Fashion Institute of Technology. The class was held on Thursday nights from 6-9 p.m. on June 19-July 24 taught by fashion stylist, Nancy Alusick. But the first class session was taught by fashion stylist, Emma Sosa, who's specialty is vintage clothes and accessories. I enjoyed the class very much and it really helped clarify for me the various avenues of styling that are available.

Here are 5 Reasons why the class was worth it's weight in gold for me:

1. I've learned a wealth of information in six weeks that I never learned in several years of Googling about the styling profession and watching the Rachael Zoe Project.

2. Professor Alusick covered a massive amount of info in just six 3-hour lectures.

3. I've learned that editorial styling is the most creative yet least paying. Advertisement styling is the most high paying and catalog/online stores offer the most steady work and predictable work hours.

4. It's important to build relationships with photographers because they can get you styling gigs on projects they're working on and get you jobs on other projects that they're not working on.

5. I've learned the difference between working in the costume department vs. the wardrobe department of a production. The costume department just sources and designs the costumes. The wardrobe department maintains the costumes on-location. A gig in the wardrobe department gets you a ticket to travel, as well as opportunities to network with all the other production crew.

If you've attended the intro to fashion styling class at F.I.T. what great insights did you take away from the class? How has it helped you further your career goals in styling? Let me know in the comment section below. Thanks for reading take care.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Motivation and Support for Writing a Blog

Hey everyone, happy Monday! How was your weekend? Mine was great. Welcome to Media Mondays as they'll be known here on the blog. I want to talk about two important topics to all bloggers and that is MOTIVATION and SUPPORT. And I'm dedicating this post to people who have had the best intentions of launching a blog but just haven't gotten to it yet. There's hope just take baby steps.
Motivation, in my opinion, is the number one key to sticking with blogging. I blogged for 6 months on my first blog about fashion and natural hair ( from May to early December 2011. At the time, I was in school taking all online classes. So I really had to let go of blogging in order to focus my full attention on school.
At the end of finals week, which was the end of December, I had fully intended to pick right back up where I left off. But immediately after finals week, I had to get ready to move back to NYC for my final semester of college. I had a total of two weeks to ship out so I lost motivation fast. Life happening can always ruin one's motivation to blog and that's normal.
It wasn't until another year after that in December 2012 that I really decided that I wanted to try to blog again. I knew I had to start one to support my fashion styling biz. So I started writing and saving my blog posts in Microsoft Word because I wasn't ready to release my blog out into the world yet. Funny thing about motivation and how it ebbs and flows. I didn't officially set up until February of 2013.
I was still just writing and saving blog posts in Microsoft Word, STILL not ready to show the world my blog YET. In June 2013, I took the plunge and bought the domain name. But by now you know the story, I still didn't find the motivation to launch until last Friday, August 1, 2014. As it is, I have SO MANY old posts that I didn't even publish and don't know if I ever will. I'd rather move forward and create fresh content that resonates with me now in 2014.
So why did it take so long, you ask? Well it was really deeper than just lacking motivation. I quite honestly saw, admired and was very daunted by all the fancy fashion blogs. I thought 'Whoa, there's no way I can compete with the beautiful, professional photographic imagery, sleek blog design, model-looking, high-end designer brand wearing chicks out there. So I'll just take a seat, over there, somewhere.' LOL
But now I'm simply NOT going to worry about attempting to compete with all that awesomeness. Instead, I'll stick to being uniquely myself and awesome in my own way. I'll do what I CAN do: writing on deeper universal topics and problem-solving. For me, it'll be efficient and a better use of my time to approach fashion blogging and my budding styling career from those two angles. That way, it'll help other up-and-coming fashion bloggers and stylists get some answers for their own journey as I am on mine.
Now, let's move onto support. It's so, so, so important in order to help bloggers stay motivated to keep going. Support from other bloggers is the best and support from other writers is excellent too. And in my case, I'm trying to hone my skills in essay and short story writing as well. I've loved writing and excelled in it since I was a kid so I want to maintain my non-blogging writing muscles. So to help me get support in my writing I'm a member of an several online blogger groups plus I'm really going to make it a point to FINALLY go to a couple in person writers groups in NYC, hopefully soon before the end of August.
I would encourage you all to stay motivated and get the support you need to stay blogging though your challenges.
Tell me your best tips for getting and staying motivated in blogging slumps and getting the support you need. Hit me up in the comments below!
Thanks for reading, peace.

Friday, August 1, 2014

Blog Launch Today!

Hi everyone! I'm especially excited because today is the launch of my blog, finally! It's been a long time coming for sure.
I promised myself I'd launch on August 1st, so here goes. Let me tell you what the blog is about and what I've been up to lately. I named the blog Style & Media Leah because of my passion for style, fashion and media. I'm an up-and-coming fashion stylist and will be documenting my career journey, fashion, beauty and hair tips and media ideas. I have a certificate in fashion merchandising, Associate degree in Marketing and studied communications/TV production at university. I've been loving writing since I was a kid and was a student journalist in community college and university. So that's where the media angle of the blog comes from.
Last Thursday I completed a 6-week Intro to Fashion Styling class at Fashion Institute of Technology and absolutely LOVED IT! I'll be sharing insights in a retrospect of my experience next Fashion Friday, so stay tuned.
Thus far, for about 2 years I've been a personal stylist helping everyday people put themselves together. But I decided that I want to branch out to do editorial/commercial work, as well as working with big fashion companies. So the F.I.T. styling class was instrumental in teaching me the basics of what to expect. I look forward to taking classes there in the future and possibly completing the certificate in fashion styling. We'll see what the future holds.
Right now I'm super excited to be starting up my blog and grabbing any opportunity in fashion that will help me gain experience to hone my craft and build relationships with industry peers.
I hope you'll join me for my fashion styling career journey, this will be an interesting ride.
Thanks for reading and please share with your aspiring and up-and-coming stylist and fashion media friends. Take care, peace.