Category Archives: Club Events

Underfashion Club Holiday Party 2018

Happy Holidays!

Industry friends and colleagues and 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 received holiday donations from this event:

  • The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention 
  • Breast Cancer Research Foundation
  • City Meals On Wheels
  • St Frances Home For The Poor
  • St Jude Children’s 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!

Say goodbye to one of club’s icons, Walter Costello!

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.

The Retail Apocalypse?
Shifting Consumer Demands

On Wednesday, March 14, 2018, The Underfashion Club hosted an open discussion at the Harvard Club in New York City with Sidney Morgan-Petro, Senior Retail Editor at the London-based trend forecasting company, WGSN. Morgan-Petro led an exploration of the turmoil in retail stores. Explaining how retailers in the U.S. are dealing with all the dynamic changes in the purchasing patterns of consumers.

To begin, Morgan-Petro shared some interesting statistics affecting retail stores for 2017, including the fact that about 3,000 retail stores had closed that year. Yet during the same year retailers opened over 1,300 more stores than the number closed. There was actual growth in retail. She also stated that in 2017, 42% of retailers have actually added stores, while only 15% have gotten smaller.

Morgan-Petro says that we are experiencing – not an Apocalypse – but rather a Transformation within the retail industry as consumers are shifting their spending from goods to experiences.

How is Retail Transforming?

Morgan-Petro said that retailers are generally transforming in 3 ways:

  1. Shifting their Business Models from selling products alone, to selling services
  2. Right-Sizing their Operations in order to better balance their businesses
  3. Creating Experiences within their stores that mirror the desires of the newer generations and at the same time, creating new channels

Shifting Business Models

When discussing shifting business models, it’s very worthwhile to review some of the innovations brands are taking. For example, some shoe stores are now offering shoe storage, shoe rental services, and shoe repair services, thus expanding their revenue stream.

Some clothing stores are offering monthly subscription clothing rental services that allow consumers to mix and match outfits by strategically selecting rented pieces of clothing to accent their own.

Luxury handbag stores have always offered repair and cleaning services, but now they are bringing the service “workshops” right onto the retail floor, where consumers can see their products being repaired and serviced.

Some clothing retailers are shifting to selling services rather than goods in specialty sponsored stores. A large international clothing chain is opening in-store, convenience laundromats for college students along with providing charging stations, beverages and music by a disc jockey on staff.

And in the lingerie business sector, some lingerie stores have embraced selling fitting services, consultations, educational services and half-sizes to lure consumers to their stores along with their traditional branded lingerie.

 

Creating Experiences

We’ve learned that both Millennials and the Z-Generation are more inclined to buy experiences rather than products. These younger people are more concerned with the over-all experience of buying the product rather than the actual product itself.

An example is that of a clothing store that sponsors, creates and administers music festivals and experience expositions for which they are charging a premium.

Increasingly, the differentiation between one product and another is not the product, but how and why it is made.

Here are a few statistics:

  • 65% of consumers globally try to support brands that are purposeful
  • 57% of consumers will support or boycott brands because of its stance on a political issue
  • There is a 30% greater tendency for consumers to purchase a brand, based on its beliefs, than there was just 3 years ago

Retailers must convey their message of relevance to these new consumers by making their stance know on ethical behavior, using factories that have policies of fair pay, humane treatment, and offer employees opportunities for personal growth.

These new consumers purchase with purpose. They care who the brand’s preferred charities are and they make purchase decisions that align with their own. They want the brands that they purchase to facilitate action by providing additional services.

 

The Retail Apocalypse?
No. It’s a Retail Transformation

This retail transformation is happening now and will continue to build and evolve as the needs and demands of the new generations of consumers grow louder. This is a call for retail innovation!

UFC Holiday Party 2017

Thanks to all who joined us for The Underfashion Club’s 2017 Holiday Party! We thoroughly enjoyed partying with you, taking photobooth pictures together, conversing with industry friends – old and new, and being serenaded with songs of the holiday season. The delicious hors d’oeuvres, and sumptuous dinner and dessert stations were outstanding. Special thanks to all those who spread the holiday cheer by contributing so many beautifully wrapped gifts to our annual gift drive for the children of Women In Need (WIN.) You’ve helped make this holiday season a brighter one for everyone!

Underfashion Club president Victor Vega welcomed the crowd of 100 revelers, and thanked Program Co-chairs Joe Smith and Ellen Lewis, and their hardworking committee members, for organizing the event. Victor also invited everyone to celebrate the Club’s 60th anniversary at the FEMMY Gala on February 6, 2018 at Cipriani 42nd Street in New York City. We hope to see you there!

Program Co-chair Joe Smith took a moment to thank all the attendees for their generosity and recognized the representatives of two of the local charities receiving contributions from the Club this year: Gillian Mendez from Citymeals on Wheels, and Cyndi Snyder and Abigail Stevenson from Women In Need.

We had some great raffle prizes to share this year – An orchid plant donated by Gramercy Park Flower Shop (with the help of Roslyn Harte,) won by Casey Greenberg – His & Hers PJ Set, donated by UGG Australia (with the help of Meghan Murray Cox,) won by Ellen Lewis – A gift certificate donated by Exhale Spa (with the help of Meghan Murray Cox,) and a $100 gift card donated by Black Barn Restaurant (with the help of Kendall Wszolek,) both won by the very lucky Zhanna Shmukler – A $50 gift certificate donated by iPic Movie Theaters (with the help of Jodi Goldin,) won by Victoria Vandagriff – A $100 gift certificate donated by Wacoal-America.com (with the help of Joseph Smith,) won by Andy Blab – 2 Gift Baskets of Kusmi Gourmet Teas, donated by Kusmi (with the help of Rafael Camp,) won by Jamie Gardner and Delrose Taylor, and a luxury silk kimono donated by Christine Lingerie, won by Kaitlin Wilbur. Linda Burhance and Kendall Wszolek each claimed a ticket to the 2018 FEMMY Gala, and Angela Maffia was perhaps the most envied of the winners with her TWO VIP box seat tickets to a future Yankees vs. Red Sox baseball game donated by UBM (with the help of Pierre-Nicolas Hurstel.) Congratulations to everyone!

We ended the night with a dance, a jingle and a mountain of presents for the children. Happy Holidays!

 

See photos from the evening on the Holiday Party 2017 Facebook Album:

Did you use the photobooth? See them on the Photobooth Fun Facebook Album.

Recap of “Trends in the US Retail Landscape”

On October 10th, 2017, The Underfashion Club had the pleasure of hosting Don Unser, Group President of Retail with NPD, at the Harvard Club of New York for a discussion on “Trends in the US Retail Landscape.” The NPD Group is among the top 25 market research companies, providing marketing information and advisory services to companies. After an hour of cocktails and networking, attendees took their seats  to learn about the modern retail climate in the United States.

Don began his presentation by highlighting macro trends across industries and categories before digging deeper into apparel and intimate apparel. Based on tracking $1.8 trillion dollars spent by consumers in the US, Don Unser commented that “There has never been a more tumultous time in retail in the 30 years I have been in the industry.” The overall growth rate is -0.2%, the only time we’ve seen a negative growth rate in US retail since the recession. Apparel sales are now flat, which is a first given that a growth rate of 1-3% is typical in this industry.

Where is consumer spending being shifted? Though there is a downward trend overall, there are several industries that are experiencing a marked increase in sales. Prestige beauty, home improvement, cruises, national park attendance, and RVs are seeing positive growth rates. Don theorizes that this shift toward spending on memories and experiences may be influenced by millennials’ mobile use, online presence, and search for uniqueness. With platforms like Instagram being enormously popular, millennials are always on a search for the “money shot” to share on their profiles. A life that’s personalized and picture-perfect is high on the modern consumer’s priorities.

Even e-commerce growth rates have been slowing for the past few quarters as various categories reach their online maturation points. Don reminded the audience that brick-and-mortar stores are still key for growth, feeding the relevancy of a retailer’s online sales.

Despite its lack of overall growth, there are clear distinctions between the top and bottom performers in apparel. Woven shirts and dresses are the biggest drivers in apparel, while T-shirts and sweater sales are significantly declining.

The large number of store closings over the past year is a big factor contributing to the difficulty in retail. Don predicts that apparel space will continue to decrease for another two years. To adapt and to stay relevant as Amazon grows, manufacturers are ramping up their direct-to-consumer services. The majority of retailers are using data to figure out how to appropriately distribute their brand outside of stores.

The intimate apparel industry has remained relatively flat for the past few years. Sports bras and swimwear are seeing improved sales while shapewear is facing a slight decline. Bras have more online penetration than women’s apparel, though panties fall short.

Amazon has grown to become the top online retailer in intimate apparel, with nearly 22% of bra sales and 42% share of the underwear market – almost 8x the runner-up. Intimate apparel brands should take note, especially if they plan to partner with Amazon.

With the nature of the modern retail climate and its inevitable changes in mind, Don Unser concluded his presentation with a call to action for both brands and retailers with advice on how best to compete and adapt to this volatile retail environment. We thank Don and NPD once again for an interesting and insightful evening.

See photos from “Trends in the US Retail Landscape” in our Facebook album!

Watch a clip of the seminar on YouTube:

Recap of “Success, Tailor Made For You”

On September 26, 2017, Underfashion Club members gathered at the Fashion Group International in New York City  for the presentation of “Success, Tailor Made For You.”
We’d like to extend a warm welcome to the new club members who joined during that evening’s event!

After an hour of cocktails and networking with old friends and new, club members took their seats for the start of the presentation. Underfashion Club president Victor Vega welcomed Hsin-Yi Shieh, Account Executive – East Coast, Triumph International to the podium.

Triumph International was founded in Europe in 1886 and, with over 130 years of innovation and creativity, is recognized as a world-leading maker of lingerie and shapewear. Drawing upon her professional experience, Hsin-Yi shared her personal vision for “success” in today’s Intimate Apparel Industry.

She discussed the customer’s value of beauty and comfort in lingerie, and what makes the Triumph brand in particular so successful. She urged the audience to put themselves in new situations and believe in their abilities to find their own personal path to success. We hope everyone who joined us drew inspiration from Hsin-Yi Shieh’s heartfelt presentation!

View photos from the event on our Facebook Album:

 

Recap of “Retail Tsunami” with Robin Lewis

Robin Lewis, retail expert and founder/publisher of The Robin Report, shared his insights into the modern retail environment with his presentation, “Retail Tsunami.” Thank you to all Underfashion Club members and friends who joined us on March 28th at the Harvard Club of New York for an evening of cocktails, hors d’oeuvres, networking, and education! Your attendance supports our mission to promote “Education today for a better industry tomorrow.”

Once settled in, all attendees gathered in the next room for the start of “Retail Tsunami.” Robin Lewis began by expressing that he was glad to be giving back to an industry he’s been a part of for so many years. He explained that the most profound transformation in the history of retail is taking place today. In order to stay in business, old world retailers must adapt by implementing new strategies to serve the new young consumer’s values.

It is a complex change, largely influenced by modern society’s most powerful enabler of consumers: the smart phone. The API (application programming interface) software of mobile devices is the means of connecting all users, creating a one-world consumer with shared interests and desires around the globe.

From 1950-1980, the United States had the most explosive growth of retail in all of history. Though demand declined during the early ’80s due to globalization, supply remained the same and became even more efficient with technological advances. Saturation has forced retailers and brands to offer extreme discounts in order to compete. This unsustainable system is devaluing brands and driving many companies out of business. To survive, the basis of competition must shift toward new values that serve millennial interests.

We are redefining what value is. It’s a wholistic, personalized, and frictionless experience that’s powered by the internet and mobile devices that allow unlimited and instantaneous access to whatever we may dream of. This new ability to demand anything as an individual has given the consumer all of the power, encouraging stores to move physically closer to them. The consumer becomes the new point of sale as time becomes the new luxury for young people. Fast delivery and instant access is expected for every product and service.

The millennial lifestyle is drastically different from that of the baby boomers, bringing a whole new set of consumer values. Due to an increase in college debt and  a decrease in the worth of salaries among the youth, consumers have been inclined to share, swap, rent, and resell rather than own, doubling the trading business since 2013. The new consumer prefers small, intimate, and personal businesses such as local restaurants, boutiques, and craft breweries over big mega brands. Today, companies are urged to be ethical in behavior, representative of their target market’s lifestyle, and to contribute to the world through sustainable practices. Values are becoming more important than price.

All of today’s marketing should be personalized. This is accomplished through the aggregation of big data, analyzing it, and implementing it to localize and personalize commerce. It’s going to be a high-tech, high-touch world. Customers will be equipped with tablets that can download information, interactive dressing rooms, and more. However, as a retailer, there is no reason to have a store if you don’t have an intelligent human touch. Humans are necessary for the personal aspect of a business. 

Technology is going to reverse last century’s paradigm of sexualization, consolidation, and massification into a 21st-century style that advocates desexualization, de-massification, and personalization. Retailers who are waiting for the future to come before they start transforming are “dead men walking,” because the future is here. Robin Lewis urges retailers to embrace the future now or be history. Remember, personalization is key!

Watch the entire “Retail Tsunami” presentation on YouTube:

See our photos from cocktail hour on Facebook:

Holiday Party 2016 Recap

Photobooth Fun

Thank you to everyone who joined us for the annual Holiday Party of the Underfashion Club on Tuesday, December 6th! It was our first time celebrating the holidays at The Harvard Club in Manhattan and it was great! Club members and friends mingled, drank, dined, and danced to a fantastic mix of popular songs fitting to the season, spun by the talented DJ Tom! The Photo Booth was a festive touch, bringing friends together for silly poses with holiday-themed props. We’re glad you all enjoyed it!

Santa's Helpers

Underfashion Club President Victor Vega extended a special thank you to long-time members, contributors, and Santa’s little helpers, who collected 180 wrapped presents from generous guests for the annual gift drive held for the children of Women In Need, Inc, a New York based charity. Thank you all for helping make Holiday dreams come true for the children!

Ugly Intimates

Out of the four fabulous designs put forth for the Ugly Intimates Contest, only one could win! Roz Harte, board member of the Underfashion Club, pointed out that while none of them were “ugly,” one design was a clear winner because it looked so uncomfortable to wear. Congratulations to Walter Costello and Clelia Parisi for their winning design, “Santa’s Athleisure” (shown on the right)! Their prize was free admission to a Program event of their choice.

Gifts

Lastly, we announced the winners of the annual raffle! For each present brought for the gift drive, the donor received one raffle ticket. The first prize awarded was a bottle of wine, won by Camille Block. Another bottle of wine was awarded to Glen Schneer. Zhanna Shmukler won a ticket to the 2017 FEMMY, and a second ticket to the FEMMY was won by the very lucky Camille Block. Congratulations!

Underfashion Club Holiday Party 2016

This year’s Underfashion Club Holiday Party is only a week away!

Members and non-members are welcome to join us on Tuesday, December 6th from 6pm-9pm at The Harvard Club, 35 W. 44th St. We’re excited to celebrate at this new, spacious location. Look forward to some photobooth fun!

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Feeling creative? We’re holding a holiday-themed contest, titled the Ugly Intimates Competition! Decorate your favorite intimate item. The ugliest design will win a prize!

We will be hosting a gift drive for the children of W.I.N. — WOMEN IN NEED INC. Spread holiday cheer and bring a gift for a child! For each gift you donate, you will receive a ticket to be entered into one of our fabulous raffles. Please wrap and tag gifts with descriptions and recommended age group.

Gifts

This year, we are making donations to Citymeals on Wheels, St. Francis Friends of the Poor, Women In Need, and the Breast Cancer Research Foundation.

Register today!
RSVP to – Email: underfashionclub@frontiernet.net, Phone: 845-758-6405
or on the web: www.underfashionclub.org
$50 Prepaid $60 At The Door

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