Bourbon Tasting Networking Event

Our Bourbon Tasting Networking Event was held the evening of Wednesday, November 13.

Members were encouraged to bring a new member for FREE access. For two hours the premium bar was open and tasty appetizers flowed through the night.

The Bourbon, Whiskey and Rye tasting was hosted by the New York state award-winning distiller, Southern Tier Distilling Co., a company established in 2002 outside of Buffalo. This is what we learned.

American Whiskey:  We narrowly miss the bourbon category by 1% of corn, and the whiskey is aged “on” New American Hand Charred Oak staves in-house. Finished in whisky barrels – Oaky and vanilla notes with toasted Oak, dark Coffee.

Mash Bill:  50% Corn & 50% Wheat, 84 proof.

Straight Bourbon:

  • Mash: 80% Corn, 15% Wheat, 5% Malted Barley.
  • 88 proof (slightly more burn than the American Whiskey).
  • Aged 2 years – in 53 gallon barrels sourced from Canton Cooperage in Kentucky. The oak staves are left outdoors for three years to naturally season before being toasted and charred.

Smoked Bourbon:

  • It takes experience mashing grain to know that 4% chocolate malt will provide that distinct finish.
  • There is a lot of complexity in this:80% Corn, 16% Cherry Wood Smoked Malted Barley.
  • The malt is smoked before the grain is mashed, similar to Scotch but with the use of Peat Moss & 4% Chocolate Malt.

Straight Rye:

  • The mash is Rye, balanced with corn – to soften out the spice.
  • This is a good “gateway” Rye for Bourbon drinkers looking to expand into the Rye category.
  • The 30% corn balances the spice in the rye and the Malted Barley ties it all together. Aged two years in the same barrels as the bourbon.

2X Hopped Whiskey:

  • This whiskey is made using the same recipe as the 2X IPA. If you aren’t a beer drinker; think of the 2X as the double strong “Kool-Aid” version of the IPA. You basically double the alcohol.
  • The NYS malt is mashed on the 30-barrel system, and is then sent down the street to the distillery where its Fermented, Dry-Hopped, Distilled & barrel aged.
  • “Dry-hopping” means that you add the hops to the wort after fermentation. When you dry-hop you are adding aroma.

We were given a sample swirl and encouraged to get our nose over it. It had a funky, pungent aroma. We were able to sip from all the available options. The guys from the spirit company were very excited to tell us about all the awards they received the past few years.

See photos from the event on Facebook!

The Impact of Socio-Cultural Changes on Fashion 2020-2021


Philip Fimmano, Partner and Director at TREND UNION, a leader in compiling trends from around the world since 1986, spoke to our crowd from the Underfashion Club at the Harvard Club of New York about “The Impact of Socio-Cultural Changes on Fashion 2020-2021.” Socio-cultural trends have had an impact on all aspects of fashion, from sustainability to color trends, fabrics/materials and accessories.

The overarching theme of this educational event was the idea of brown as a color and a metaphor for society getting closer to the earth and the diversity of people. Philip linked the color to the way we will be living in the future. Brown is more in-tune with the current period after 30 years of black, transforming any item into something luxurious, modern, and less aggressive. The consumer wants to be different, focused on ecology, and casual.  Browns and neutrals soften the edges on the body when worn.

A key factor to consider regarding the future of fashion is the increasingly conscious consumer. Their awareness of brands and consideration of ecology when choosing materials directly influences the way businesses should source and market their products. The modern consumer is more focused and specific about what they buy, steering clear of disposable fashion. Dying is being done in sustainable ways, with natural pigments from organic materials, moving away from synthetic processes.

There’s been a revival of basics in fashion that have become elevated by designers that are keen on sophisticated details. Basics are for casual people, particularly younger generations like Millennials and Gen Z. Normcore is based on the idea of blending in in an almost “boring” fashion. In contrast, there is also boldness, which gravitates towards larger volumes.

Philip Fimmano shared upcoming trends for fashion in 2020-2021. Winter 2020 fashion will include lots of frilly materials and transparency in new neutrals. It will be a comforting season with a combination of natural fibers and synthetics with brighter pastels expressing new neutrals, providing coziness and a new pleasure in dressing up. Summer 2021 fashion will be focused on green-mindedness and trends will include florals, pastels, and all kinds of greens and foliage. Pastels will have a more milky quality to them and shades of green express an uplifting energy.

Natural fibers and high-tech materials are a key trend. There will be a return to satin finishes, neoprene, and metallic shine as well as interesting new pastel tones. Knitwear and bigger volumes including softer finishes will be seen, especially in intimates. Sleeve details will help the consumer find the fun in dressing up.

Natural and organic, non-polluted places in the countryside are gaining popularity due to affordability and quality of life. There’s no need to be in big cities since the internet allows us to be everywhere at all times. The separation from politics and outside distractions is coined in softwear, which focuses on the cozy lifestyle. Cuddles are channeled through comforting, teddybear-like materials in sophisticated shades of brown. Faux furs in outrageous colors and modified animal prints show a connectedness to nature while emphasizing that the garments aren’t made of real animals. Blankets have become a key fashion accessory for the home and for picnics, and are even seen on runways. Fluidity and ruffle effects will be observed in clothing such as dresses, lingerie, and even expressed as a singular tuck in satin-like materials.

Vintage linen and lighter colors like whites and creams are part of the cozy look. Bohemian, baroque, vintage satin sheens and neutrals will be seen. The idea of vintage is more than a color story. It is melancholic. Rough and expressive ancient-looking textiles and archaic design language will trend. It’ll be wilder, with fringes and hairier textures. Colors are warmer with spice accents, such as cinnamon. Earthy motifs that look like petals and twigs will be seen in wovens.

Constructivism is more graphic, including color blocking and brighter colors. Neutrals can be brought to life with fuscia or red colors, a key color in the winter season. Khaki and olive will be trending in menswear, with more optimistic and graphic ways of combining things. 2020 implements motifs from the 1920s, inspired by escapism and a yearning for some glamour.

See photos from the event in the Facebook album!

Weaving a Career Path with Whitney Crutchfield

The Underfashion Club held a members get-together on Thursday, May 9th at Slattery’s Midtown Pub featuring “Weaving a Career Path,” a presentation by Whitney Crutchfield. She shared the story of her career and journey towards creating her own business, We Gather, an educational textile studio! We Gather “shares the magic of textiles” in three ways: Hands-on workshops (weaving, dying, stitching), DIY kits that bring the textile learning to you, and commission art and public installations.

Whitney’s professional history has connections to the intimates industry. She’s always had a passion for textiles, beginning as a kid sewing quilts and Barbie™ clothes. Her father was a small business owner in golf and her mother was a teacher; both had some influence on her work today. Whitney learned how to weave and dye at the Art University of Michigan as an undergrad, then moved on to get an MFA with a concentration in textile studio art at Colorado State University. Her focus was on screen printing and repeat designs.

After school, Whitney moved to NYC and dabbled in different practices, taking on many jobs that she never imagined herself doing. She worked in designer projects for editorials and books, designed an apron for Stitch Magazine, did needle point projects for a book, interned for the Martha Stewart editorial crafts department, did paper crafting for QBC and HSN, and more. One of her strangest projects (for a photo shoot,) involved stitching a napkin for 14 hours that ended up under a salad.

Whitney spent a year in residence at the Textile Arts Center in Brooklyn where she continued to focus on designing and screen printing fabrics meant for interiors. She had a studio at the center where she taught workshops in her areas of expertise, getting her first introduction to the professional world. During one of her classes, she met someone who happened to be the head of the print and pattern department at Aerie. They kept in touch and that contact let her know when there was a department opening. It was a fantastic opportunity and she joined their small but mighty team.

At Aerie, Whitney cherished the opportunity to be around like-minded professionals. She learned so much, coming from the arts into fashion and apparel. She worked across many categories and products — anywhere from designing a print repeat in digital format to learning how to create a pattern and knit stitches for socks, scarves, accessories, and more. She also made prints and patterns for cotton undies and designed laces.

The technical knowledge she gained during her three years at Aerie gave her a new approach to integrate into her passion for hand-made works, which she would make into her very own business. Aerie gave her enormous support in this decision, helping her move forward. Through her entire career, Whitney continued to teach workshops and fervently desired to teach more hands-on techniques like weaving and dying.

Whitney wanted to start a business in a compassionate, sustainable way regarding scaling and growth. She started in her apartment as a product-based business, where she dyed yarns and would weave them into pieces that were ready to buy. She made rugs, blankets, pillows, and her own inventions with a goal to make products that lasted. She practiced techniques that have been used for thousands of years, wanting the pieces to be memorable. Soon, the practice moved into studios in Brooklyn as she steadily and sustainably upgraded her workspace. Eventually, she went into craft fairs and other markets to share her work.

Research and dye techniques were important to her as she attempted to scale up from hands-on work responsibly. Weaving and dying has been done for tens of thousands of years, so there’s a plethora of information and alternative techniques to take into consideration. Her practice honors traditions while also making space for new approaches.

One of the main branches of We Gather provides workshops that promote creativity. Being informed through research strengthens her ability to provide expert instruction. Whitney teaches these workshops in studios, even traveling for them. It amazes her what people learn and reveal about themselves while being around others in a creative environment. It’s an enriching experience to get people out of their usual context to do something new.

Flexibility is key to the evolution of products and the way they are presented to customers. We Gather offers mail-in kits with materials and instructions, ready to make anywhere. These flexible approaches helped the business grow and got Whitney some press, which was especially exciting as a one-woman business.

Balance is needed in making good, responsible business decisions. Whitney makes an effort to support social good when choosing where to purchase from. The pros and cons of recycled packaging and natural vs. fiber reactive dyes are considerations she takes into account for what she offers her students and customers.

Whitney also makes commissioned home goods, like baby blankets, woven wall hangings for custom spaces, and public installations. One of We Gather’s public installations features looms and woven textiles hanging on the wall of a 63-foot long hallway. This interactive piece has decals that give instructions on how to weave, which gave people in nearby offices the option to take a break to go observe the art, learn to weave, and add their own bit of artwork to the piece. The public installation loom was brought up to the Bronx and left in an art space where other people could add to it.

We Gather tries to create the least amount of waste in the world as possible. For example, Whitney takes leftover flowers and weaves them into sculptures with yarn, which are both compostable. Her wildflower workshop has been very popular. Recently, she did one with a group of Aerie women, where she felt like her career came full circle. It was a delight to bring her passion back to those supportive people from her professional past.

Community is an essential part of We Gather’s mission. Whitney gives free workshops, never ceasing to be amazed by how demeanor changes when people realize they can make things with their own hands. The group art made in We Gather workshops are auctioned or donated to organizations of mutual choosing. These community events are ongoing! The magic of new learners discovering their creative ability and the stories shared bring the community together and keep We Gather going.

See photos from the event on Facebook!

Consumer Evolution with NPD’s Todd Mick

The Consumer Evolution seminar was given by Todd Mick, Executive Director of Apparel and Kristen Classi-Zummo, Apparel Market Analysis Director of The NPD Group; an authority on market size and trends in over 20 different industries. They shared information regarding consumer trends in the intimate apparel industry with The Underfashion Club  at The Harvard Club of New York.

Todd Mick discussed the evolving consumer using 3 key themes:

  1. Category Performance
  2. Channel Performance
  3. Price Segment Performance

Bras are the #1 category of growth in intimates. More people are shopping in channels that offer value and convenience, like off-price retailers and e-commerce. Body positivity, ethnic inclusivity, and campaigns that uplift and empower women are gaining support. Big retailers are on a spending binge. The high-end and specialty lingerie market is growing more than we’ve ever seen before, now comprising a third of sales.

Even with all this disruption, sales in intimate apparel are flat at a $12-13 billion market. It’s only grown 1% in the past 3 years with sports bras and shapewear. Right now, the market’s all about slicing the pie and taking a share.

A modern business’s survival involves adaptation and focus in:

  • Retail & Product Innovation
  • Values & Community
  • Merchandising & In-store Excellence
  • E-Commerce, Excellence, & DTC

Millennials today have great spending power, high self-esteem, and a value for responsible shopping. Making personal connections and sharing concern over current social and environmental challenges will inspire consumers to support a business. About a quarter of intimate apparel sales are made online, where modern consumers do most browsing. Understanding the preferences of the modern market is vital to business growth.

Todd ended the seminar by giving the first-ever Underfashion Club exclusive NPD Bra Awards, showing the top-growing bras of 2018! Thanks NPD for the fascinating show.

Kristen Classi-Zummo‘s panel can be read here.

View photos from The Consumer Evolution on Facebook.

View The Consumer Evolution on YouTube:

Consumer Evolution with NPD’s Kristen Classi-Zummo

The Underfashion Club met on March 12th at the Harvard Club of New York to learn about Consumer Evolution with The NPD Group; an authority on market size and trends in over 20 different industries. Presenters Todd Mick, Executive Director of Apparel and Kristen Classi-Zummo, Apparel Market Analysis Director shared their knowledge and data regarding consumer trends in the intimate apparel industry.

Kristen Classi-Zummo described today’s changing consumer using key themes:

  • New Committed Consumption
  • Casualization Nation
  • Digital Divas
  • The Responsible Consumer

There have been significant changes in consumer culture recently due to the Internet’s accessibility. Over 25% of currency spent on apparel was made through online transactions. Apparel sales have been flat over the past 3 years and are expected to decline in 2019.

Where are consumers spending their money today? People are buying experiences—as observed in increased sales in park attendance, travel, and RVs. Subscriptions cost the average consumer about $300, which results in less for discretionary spending. Consumers of apparel subscription services often cancel within the first 3 months due to loss of interest.

Personalization is key to keeping the consumer invested. The sign-up process is a great opportunity to collect preferential data on individual consumers for personalized recommendations. Shipments that are varied, interesting, and considerate will more likely keep subscribers committed.

Activewear’s popularity helped influence a casualized nation. Despite being made for athletic performance, 60% of those who frequently wear activewear almost never exercise. More people are choosing to stay in, investing in the home’s comfort and streaming media. Meal kits and food delivery services replace grocery shopping. Home automation services and social media encourage the trend to stay at home even further.

The preference for casual comfort is seen in intimate apparel trends such as high-waisted underwear and wire-free bras.

Social media connects us to influencers and the latest styles, impacting how consumers view fashion. However, 46% of people don’t follow their favorite brands on social media. This is a big opportunity for businesses to use social media to connect to potential customers. Over half of consumers purchase clothing after seeing it advertised on social media, and over half of those made repeat purchases.

Social media is the perfect platform to showcase your brand’s message and values, connecting to the consumer’s will to shop responsibly. Social responsibility and sustainability is a movement that is growing, influencing consumers to consciously support companies whose mission reflects their personal values.

We’ll cover presenter Todd Mick‘s segment of this seminar in our next blog!

View photos from The Consumer Evolution on Facebook.

View The Consumer Evolution on YouTube:

Roz Harte’s Memorial

Roslyn Harte passed away on Dec. 20 at the age of 94. Her life, passion and tireless dedication to furthering the education of countless students will always be cherished.

Roz joined the Underfashion Club Inc. in 1969 when it was a women’s-only organization with less than 30 members and became the heart and soul of the club throughout the years, receiving a lifetime achievement FEMMY award in 1997.

Thank you to everyone who joined us to celebrate her life and to all those who knew and loved her.

See photos from the wonderful evening here
You can view videos of the event on YouTube:
Memorial Video
Celebration of Life
Movie Slide Show

FEMMY Awards 2019

On February 4, 2019, The Underfashion Club held our annual FEMMY Awards Gala at Cipriani 42nd Street in NYC. We recognized intimate apparel industry leaders and supported future talent with the 16th Annual Student Design Contest. Body positive activist Supermodel Emme hosted the awards ceremonies, which honored:

Retailer Award
Kohl’s
Accepted by Suzanne Dawson, VP/DMM, Women’s Intimate and Active Apparel

Manufacturer Award
Gelmart International
Accepted by Yossi Nasser, CEO

Supplier Award
Pioneer Elastic (Hong Kong) Limited

Accepted by Matthew Lam, Group Chief Operating Officer

Lifetime Achievement Awards

Mike Freville
Divisional Merchandise Manager. Intimate Apparel, Dillard’s Inc.

Chris Melton
Merchandise Manager Intimates, Dillard’s Inc.

Humanitarian Award
Mahesh Amalean
Chairman & Co-Founder of MAS Holdings

President’s Award
Tristine Berry

 

The 16th Annual Student Design Contest featured works by six talented Fashion Institute of Technology students with a specialization in intimate apparel. There were four sponsors contributing cash awards this year. Thank you to Best Pacific Textile (Hong Kong) Ltd., Clover Group International Ltd., Regina Miracle International Ltd., and Stretchline Holdings Ltd. for providing the cash awards totaling $20,000!

The 5th sponsor, Eurovet/Curvexpo, is providing the 1st prize winner with roundtrip airfare, accommodations and complimentary admission to this July’s Interfiliere Paris/Salon International de la Lingerie. Intima Magazine will feature the top 3 winning designs in the August issue of “Best of Intima.”

1st Prize Winner
Sierra White
“Art Nouveau”
$6,500

2nd Prize Winner
Dorshelle Guillaume
“Hollywood Glamour”
$5,000

3rd Prize Winner
Laurel Yau
“Shadowed Beauty”
$4,000

The 3 finalists: Aura Henriquez Alvarez, Breanna Childers and Jessica Trusio, each received $1,500.

Thank you all for another fabulous FEMMY Awards Gala! We can’t wait to see what the future of the intimate apparel industry will bring.

See more pictures on our FEMMY 2019 Facebook Albums:
Red Carpet
Cocktails
Awards Show
Etc.

Underfashion Club Holiday Party 2018

Happy Holidays!

Industry friends and colleagues left a bit of the holiday stress behind for a few hours of fun at the Underfashion Club’s Holiday Party on December 4th at The Harvard Club of New York. The festive venue provided musical entertainment, photo booth fun and 3 hours of open bar and delicious food.

 

It was also an excellent opportunity to give back to those in need. The following charities are receiving donations this year:

  • The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention 
  • Breast Cancer Research Foundation
  • Citymeals on Wheels
  • St. Francis Friends of the Poor
  • St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital
  • WIN – Women In Need

This year again, the UFC chose to support Woman in Need Inc., a New York-based charity focused on supporting the homeless, as the recipient of the toy and gift drive. We received 180 gifts for the children this year!

Each gift given by a generous guest was rewarded with a ticket for fabulous raffle prizes.

Raffle Winners
  • Kathleen Kirkwood
  • Ellen Lewis
  • Camille Block
  • Clelia Parisi
  • Mitch Kauffman
  • Laura Pulgarin
  • Jean Criss
  • Andie Farkas
  • Zhanna Shmukler
  • Jenny Chen
List of Raffle Prizes
  • Gift Card from Commando
  • Gift Card from Wacoal
  • Pajamas Set from Fleur’t
  • Silk Robe from Christine Lingerie
  • Gift Card from Black Barn Restaurant
  • Fleece Robe from Splendid
  • 2 Tickets to the Femmy Gala
  • 1 Signature Cashmere Throw courtesy of Nordstrom
  • 1 Cashmere Robe courtesy of Nordstrom
  • 2 Tickets to Broadway Musical “The Bands Visit” courtesy of Eurovet

Thank you for joining the party and making Holiday dreams come true for the children of NYC!

Wishing Suzanne Beck and Walter Costello all the best!

See more photos from the evening on our Facebook:

Had your photo taken in the photobooth? See them here:

Success Means Understanding a Mobile First World” with Bora Chow

Industry Lead on Fashion and Luxury retail on Facebook and Instagram, Bora Chow shared her expert insight with the Underfashion Club at the Harvard Club of New York in her presentation “Consumer Behavior & Expectations in a Mobile First World”!

Bora has been at Facebook for about three years. Prior to joining Facebook, Bora spent a majority of her career in the publishing industry and most recently, she was at Vogue for five years, helping them grow from the one magazine platform to 10 different platforms. At Facebook, Bora consults with leading fashion and luxury retailers on their mobile and social strategy and how to execute a customer centric approach across Facebook’s family of apps.

The in-store retail experience hasn’t really caught up with the rapidly changing consumer behavior. Smartphones and the Internet are causing disruption across all industries. New startups are completely changing the brick and mortar landscape. Today, mobile is not a choice for marketers. It’s an imperative.

  1. Consumer Behavior on Mobile

By next year, mobile will surpass television on time spent. Millennials lock their phones 150 times a day. They’ve coined a new phobia: FOBO (Fear Of Being Offline), highlighting just how essential it’s become to be online. 64% of people are accessing mobile devices while shopping to learn more information about a product. 90% of all time spent on digital is spent on apps, and 90% of that time is split between top 5 apps. These apps are Facebook, Instagram, Messenger, Spotify, and YouTube.

As a result, the consumer is in the driver’s seat with a newfound sense of control, expecting all things to be brought to them with the click of a button. We are now always shopping, creating an opportunity for companies to be always present in the consumer’s life by being where she spends so much time.

  1. Mobile Storytelling on Facebook

Fashion and luxury brands of the past dictated trends as consumers wanted to mirror those values seen in magazines. Today, to be exclusive is to be inclusive. Consumers will choose brands that create bespoke and personalized experiences and those that fit into their personal values. As a result, businesses are releasing so much more variety to address the personalized needs of their diverse consumer pool.

Creating content for mobile has become a new discipline for creative directors today. When producing video content for your brand, ask yourself if your content is passing the “three-second audition.” As people’s attention span is getting shorter due to mobile, today’s challenge for marketers is to earn peoples’ attention. To learn more about how to optimize your content for Facebook, please check out the Blueprint courses here.

To be a relevant and a competitive business today, mobile and the customer should be at the center of our business decisions. Your competitive advantage is driven more by your creativity than your budget. The more you create, the more you learn. Be open to testing, learning, and iterating for today’s fast-paced, mobile first world.

See more photos from the evening on Facebook!

Boutique Innovator Laura Henny and Parsons Intimate Apparel Design Contest

On Thursday, May 17th, The Underfashion Club hosted boutique owner Laura Henny as a speaker during the same evening as a Parson’s School of Fashion Intimate Apparel Design Contest at The Fashion Group International in New York City. During the reception, current and new Club members viewed stunning intimate apparel garments produced by the six exceptionally talented design contest finalists from the Parsons School of Fashion. The members then voted for their favorite design, and the results were announced at the end of the evening. Laura Henny, the event’s featured speaker, shared her personal journey from Amsterdam native to lingerie boutique entrepreneur in Brooklyn. Propelled by her enthusiasm for cute bras in inclusive size ranges and her love of sneakers, Laura opened “The Rack Shack” to serve youthful and diverse customers in a city full of women from all walks of life.

Thanks to Membership Committee members Becky Kneski and Michele Schrak, pictured here with Membership Co-Chair Tristine Berry, for organizing this special event!

Thanks to SAIG Committee members Yaysa Bello and Sonia Vizcaino, pictured here with SAIG Co-Chair Clelia Parisi (center,) for their work with the Parsons design contestants and faculty resulting in another outstanding design contest.

Professors Julia Poteat and Karen Rippy from Parsons proudly stand with the student design contest winners: 1st prize – Anna Colena Yap and 2nd prize – Bhagyashree Ghuwalewala. Congratulations!

See the garments that were created exclusively for the contest, truly unique expressions of the contestants’ talent and creativity!

Anna Colena Yap / 1st prize – $3,500

Bhagyashree Ghuwalewala / 2nd prize – $1,500

Pamela Cooper

Shine He Sang

Minzhi Jiang 

Ming Steven Chung

Thank you all for sharing your beautiful work! With each generation comes more variety in design and a clear progression in abilities. We’re glad to see that the future of the intimate apparel industry has greatness in store!

See more photos from the evening on Facebook.