Curvexpo New York: Fall/Winter 2018-19 Intimate Apparel Trends

Eurovet’s Curvexpo New York Mode Lingerie and Swim trade show took place at the Javits Center from February 26-28, 2018. Exhibitors featured Fall/Winter 2018-2019 collections to buyers, industry partners, and known industry leaders in all Intimate Apparel and Swimwear categories. Most North American lingerie boutiques (57%) reported improvements in sales in 2017. In order to keep this trend going, businesses should recognize the preferences of a generation that will make up 50% of the working force by 2020: Millennials.

Millennials, known as the “wireless generation,” currently comprise 30% of the global population at 2.5 billion. Millennial mothers have some of the highest purchasing power in history. They tend to be eco-conscious and drawn to brands with sustainable practices and embrace the developments of digital technology. This generation has shown a preference for “barely there” styles like wireless bras and soft bralettes — a trend that is here to stay. Comfort is expected and many reject artificial padding or “enhancements.”

Comfort is key to the future of lingerie, especially without compromising beauty or sex appeal. Many garments in these collections are made with ultra-light, breathable, and natural fibers that prevent skin irritation such as modal cotton, silk, microfiber, nylon, 3D spacer fabrics and laces that are pleasant to the touch. Fuzzy and fluffy coverups and robes made of faux fur or wool will be hot for Fall/Winter 2018-19. Soft and warm materials like velvet and suede are gaining traction in intimate apparel.

Much of modern lingerie is sleek and minimalistic. T-shirt bras remain very popular with superior fit and more smoothness than ever before. Seamless styles like bodysuits and bralettes are very much on trend, which is shown in the strong lack of wires this season. Comfort and support is instead accomplished with technical solutions such as slings in cups and specialized lycra fabrics. Versatility is valued, so these garments seek to accommodate different functions and body types to make women’s lives easier.

As a counter-trend to modern sleekness, geometric and linear patterns, mesh panels, embroidery, quirky prints, and ribbed fabrics were salient stylistic trends at Curvexpo. Straps and cut-out details are still in. Bold-striped functional elastics with a sporty, contemporary style will be seen in a variety of designs. Transparency effects and patchwork, achieved with mixed mesh, were among the top trends. Embroidery with novel designs and tulle trims embellish luxury garments. There were playful graphics such as butterflies, dragons, koi, stars and cats on display. Metallic glints and golden pigments will inspire lingerie as outerwear looks.

Fuller bust bras and size expansions are being embraced by brands. Plus size cups are a sure sell for many boutiques and the plus size market is growing globally. Body positivity and inclusivity is integral to the identity of some of the most relevant brands today. Flesh tones for everyone, trendy nursing bras, and androgynous styles are picking up in popularity. The intimate apparel industry is well on its way to providing beautiful lingerie for everybody!

2018 Femmy Awards Gala

The 2018 Femmy Awards Gala, held at landmark Cipriani 42nd Street in New York City on February 6th, celebrated The Underfashion Club’s 60th anniversary, providing Intimate Apparel Industry leaders with a forum to exchange information and support the education of new talent. The annual event, hosted this year by burlesque queen, musician, lingerie designer and best-selling author Dita Von Teese, honors those individuals and companies that have significantly contributed to the Intimate Apparel Industry and its growth.

“Dedicated to supporting the next generation of talent, the FEMMY Gala is the largest industry event, and one of the many ways we recognize leaders who have made an impact. In 2017, the Underfashion Club distributed $250,000 in scholarships, awards, internships and grants in support of intimate apparel design and merchandising students, and we look forward to expanding our support to other institutions in the coming years.”
– Victor H. Vega, President of The Underfashion Club

The 15th Annual Student Design Contest featured the work of Fashion Institute of Technology intimate apparel design students. Six finalists presented their lingerie designs, and competed for cash prizes and the chance to win an all-expenses paid trip to July’s Mode City Paris Show!

1st Prize
Bianca Jeffs
“Street Level”
Cash award: $5,000
All-expenses paid trip to July’s Mode City Paris Show courtesy of Eurovet/Curvexpo

2nd Prize
Alicia French
“Glamour Et Minuit”
Cash award: $4,000

3rd Prize
Norissa White-Isaacs
“Blooming Lillies”
Cash award: $3,000

Finalists (each received $1,000 cash award)
Alana Fox
Nicolette Leslie
Eunsaem Nam

Design contest sponsors:
Clover Group International Ltd.
Regina Miracle International Ltd.
Stretchline Holdings Ltd.

 

The 2018 Femmy Awards recognized the following honorees:

Retailer – TARGET
Accepted by Marybeth Moser, VP DMM Intimates, Performance, Swim and Heather Fryxell, Director of Women’s Intimates

Manufacturer – KOMAR INTIMATES
Accepted by Debby Gedney, President

Supplier – TEXCO HOOK & EYE TAPE LTD.
Accepted by Tommy Fung, Chariman, Texco Group

Lifetime Achievement  – DONALD R. ALLEN, Jr.
Vice President, Design & Innovation, The Underwear Group, PVH Corp.

Diamond Jubilee – LYCRA® BRAND
Accepted by Bob Kirkwood, EVP, Marketing & Technology INVISTA

Thank you for your contributions to the Intimate Apparel Industry!

See photos from Cocktail PartyThe Red Carpet, and Awards Show on Facebook!

Intimate Apparel Trends: Spring/Summer 2018

Spring and Summer are just a few short months away, bringing fresh lingerie collections! Get ready for an especially innovative and complex approach to fashion in the near future, reflecting a new generation of lucid and modern women. In the warmer seasons, lingerie is a must as it peeks from beneath outerwear as a statement. There will be more variety in color and patterns to complement the diverse range of styles on the market.

See the hottest thematic intimate apparel trends for SS18:

Marine

Marine life inspires depth in lingerie designs with materials such as chiffon, lace, and mesh used for an ethereal effect. Organic textures will be channeled through scalloped lace and shell motifs. This sea trend includes a palette of floral hues and aquatic shades such as waterlily, coral blush, milky blue, and persimmon.

Tropicana

This botanical theme draws inspiration from the natural world with floral and earthy tones like bluestone, turtle green, dusty olive, florida keys, and antique moss. See this style layered with sheers such as mesh and tulles for an immersive, yet delicate feel. 

Athletic

Athletic intimate apparel will continue to undergo technical improvements and stylistic innovation, driven by the rise of health-conscious consumers and the athleisure trend. These garments are made with functional materials such as spandex and power mesh. See it in vibrant colors such as azure blue, summer & jolly green, blazing yellow, fiery red, and florida keys.

Geometric

Geometric patterns with sharp shapes and edges create powerful visuals that appeal to the new generation that’s keen on combining masculine and feminine elements. Designs are light, soft, and linear, highlighting the feminine form with architectural elements. Symmetrical and asymmetrical cutouts with color combinations and mix-and-match techniques will create graphical effects. This clean-cut style will be expressed in colors like blueberry, pine grove, pirate black, waterlily, and ethereal green.

Eclectic

Eye-catching customization will illustrate the modern embrace of creativity. Expect the unexpected with contrasting materials, colors, and prints, with novel visuals that break the rules. Androgynous references are made with graphic, bold, and fresh aesthetics that deliver a feminist edge.

Classic Romance

Familiar femininity lives on in classically romantic pieces, made with delicate lace, lightweight satin, and understated colors for subtlety. An airy and silkiness is illustrated with colors like pastels, baby blue, rose violet, and anise flower. Sheerness and lace with prints will tell a delicate summer story.

Sensuality

Passion and lust are expressed with deep saturated hues like blueberry, fiery red, violet, and classic black in sensual materials such as satins and high-end lace. Cut-outs, cross straps, and other bold embellishments will expose the skin while carving sexy silhouettes.

Resources:
https://www.behance.net/gallery/42328129/Lingerie-Forecast-Spring-Summer-2018
http://vanjonssondesign.com/trend-blog/2017/9/25/spring-summer-2018-lingerie-trends
http://fashionwebgraphic.com/ss2018-trend-forecasting
http://www.lingerieinsight.com/mode-city-introduces-key-trends-springsummer-2018/
http://www.fashiontrendsetter.com/v2/2016/10/30/maredimoda-swimwear-intimates-preview-trends-summer-2018/
http://www.tactiletrends.com/home/interfiliere-trends-ss18
http://www.vogue.it/en/fashion/trends/2017/04/06/spring-summer-17-trends-lingerie/

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:

 

The Relevancy of Bralettes

Bralettes watercolor illustration by Rebellious yet Romantic

The Intimate Apparel industry has fully embraced bralettes ever since their introduction and meteoric rise in popularity during the Spring of 2016 – and for a number of reasons, this trend is likely here to stay.

Kendall Jenner at Coachella music festival 2016

As the athleisure trend gained traction, consumers became increasingly interested in apparel that is stylish, supportive, comfortable and versatile. Bralettes fill that demand and have risen as intimate apparel’s embodiment of leisurely fashion. From bedroom selfies to red-carpet outings, celebrities and fashionistas are being spotted wearing bralettes as standalone statement pieces that communicate ease, confidence, and cutting-edge style.

The practicality and comfort of bralettes give women the freedom required to chase their goals. Women today are busier than ever tending to professional obligations without compromising their personal interests and social endeavors. With today’s active, fast-paced lifestyle, the very last thing a modern woman wants is to waste time thinking about or fussing with restrictive, painful, or uncomfortable undergarments. The comfort of bralettes means that she won’t be distracted from what matters most – living her authentic life!

Lastly, the social implications in feminism and personal confidence are reflected in the  rise of bralettes. These garments provide women with a more natural form of support and comfort, rather than shaping the female body to what she “should” look like to fit someone else’s narrow standard of beauty.

Getty Images

The progressive wireless trend is here to stay, requiring technological advancements to produce garments that are more functional and accessible to meet the growing global demand. Currently, bralettes work best for smaller busts and lower impact activities. The intimate apparel industry has an opportunity to optimize and create new construction methods that provide more support and greater comfort. The textile industry will soon produce the ideal materials that supplement that support, feel soft against the skin, and afford the breathability and flexibility needed to be truly versatile. As technology advances, compromises between beauty and functionality are minimized – and women everywhere can be on the receiving end of those benefits.

CurveNY – Spring/Summer 2018

Eurovet’s Curvexpo New York trade show gave a platform for over 350 exhibiting intimate apparel and swimwear brands to share their Spring/Summer 2018 collections with thousands of buyers and visitors at the Jacob Javits Center in August 2017. We scouted the show floor for the most salient trends of the season.

Bralettes

Bralettes and androgynous basics are picking up in popularity. Comfort is key in an active and fast-paced society and the no-fuss nature of these garments provides a functional foundation for a working lifestyle. Their lighter structure and breathability are appropriate for the sunny and warm seasons.

Embroidery

Embroidery illustrated a certain femininity in various lingerie styles. Like lace, embroidery adds a level of dimension and sophistication to the garment it adorns.

Prints

Summer 2018’s prints are multicolored and organic with animal prints and an abundance of leafy and floral patterns. Graphic and striking impressions are trending with digital aesthetic influence.

One-Pieces

One-piece swimsuits are making a tremendous comeback, implementing a refreshing variety of modern stylistic trends. These supportive and athletic garments were seen with asymmetrical shapes, extra straps or cut-out details, earthy prints and bohemian themes.

See more photos from CURVENY in our Facebook album:

Welcome, Underfashion Club Board Members!

We’re very excited to welcome the Underfashion Club’s newest board members! To get familiar, we’ve asked each member to answer two questions regarding their goals for the future with the Underfashion Club.

Margaret Clougher
VP, Production/Technical Design
Aerie

  • We’d like to know why you joined the board and what you hope to get out of your experience.

I’m excited to be part of the board and hope to bring some of what we are doing at aerie (which is resonating with the younger consumers) to the UFC.

  • What do you want to accomplish while on the board?

I’m hoping to help attract more members and especially younger members of our industry to the UFC as well as a broader range of intimates fashion students as full time members.

Linda Elton
President, Private Label Division
Vandale Industries

  • We’d like to know why you joined the board and what you hope to get out of your experience.

 I joined the board as I love and respect Ann Deal and know how precious and limited her time is.  Ann is so committed to the Underfashion team and its mission of mentoring and nurturing college students entering our industry.  Mentoring is something I believe in with all my heart.  I was blessed to have had amazing role models to guide me throughout my career beginning with my first internship at Felix Lilienthal Buying Office many years ago.

I was so impressed with the board members I met at last month’s dinner at Sarabeth’s and am excited to be working alongside such a terrific group of professionals.

I’m looking forward to expanding the Underfashion Club member base and to getting involved with various fundraising efforts, which ultimately help students entering our industry.

While on the board I would like to help to build a greater awareness as to the importance of the Underfashion Club in serving our industry and the many young people entering the fashion industry.  

  • What do you want to accomplish while on the board?

I would like to recruit new members and lend my hand in various fundraising efforts – perhaps create some new fundraising events that are held in smaller,  more intimate venues with dynamic guest speakers.

Pierre-Nicolas Hurstel
CEO
Curvexpo, Inc.

  • We’d like to know why you joined the board and what you hope to get out of your experience.

Organizing the Curve shows I have learned how special this industry is and I want to contribute to its success. We want more young people to discover that this is a great industry to work in – whether it is to work in design or any other responsibility – we need more talents and I think the UFC is instrumental to achieve this.

  •  What do you want to accomplish while on the board?

More visibility for the industry, more talents who want to join, more support for them.

Erin Lynn
VP of Marketing
PVH

  • We’d like to know why you joined the board and what you hope to get out of your experience.

This is my first participation on a Board of Directors and thus far, I am really enjoying just learning about how a board operates.  The UFC board is such a passionate group of people who deeply care about the future of the organization and I am honored to become part of it.  My experience in the intimate apparel industry has been positive, both personally and professionally, so this is a great opportunity to give back.        

  • What do you want to accomplish while on the board?

As one of the only members of the board with a background in Marketing, I see an opportunity to leverage my experience to benefit the Underfashion Club.  I have recently become the Chair of the Brand Oversight Committee, which includes managing the website, social media and any other content that promotes the Club.  I think we can gain more engagement from our current members, but I also feel that promoting the Club’s activities to the industry can also have a positive impact on membership as well.

Kerry O’Brien
Designer / CEO
Commando

  • We’d like to know why you joined the board and what you hope to get out of your experience.

Intimates is such a unique and interesting area of the fashion world. There is so much camaraderie and collaboration in intimates, and so much room for continued innovation. I want to be a part of the future of intimates, and I want to make sure we are all pushing the boundaries of what intimates means and what we can do. The Underfashion Club’s mission of education and development is very true to my own mission for commando. 

  • What do you want to accomplish while on the board?

I’d like to see intimates become a bigger part of the larger conversation in fashion. When I first started in this industry, celebrities didn’t want to even talk about their underwear, much less be photographed in it. All of that is changing now and it’s trickling down to the way women think about their foundational pieces. They demand more from their garments now, they show them in ways they never have, and I think that’s so exciting. 

Dawn Schonewald
Brand Manager
Nordstrom

  • We’d like to know why you joined the board and what you hope to get out of your experience.

I have had the honor and privilege of being a part of the world of lingerie and intimate apparel for the past 26 years.  I’ve met incredible people, many whom I can say are dear friends to me today.  In my current role, I support a team of lingerie designers, many whom do not come from a lingerie education background, but rather have had the good fortune to apply their talent in categories that wasn’t initially part of their training. And, like me, have come to love lingerie – the product and the people – and couldn’t imagine ever leaving.  What I’ve learned in this process is that we need more designers trained in the field of lingerie and intimate apparel.  The industry will benefit from a stronger and diverse group of talented young designers and developers.  

I also look forward to more closely connecting with the incredible talents and experienced leaders of the members of the board.  

  • What do you want to accomplish while on the board?

I would like to support the student designer/intern program, through the Femmy project, as well as expanding intern placements beyond the NYC location. I would like to be a part of working to encourage, foster, and create opportunities for talent in our industry.

Another idea I have – I would also like to work to further strengthen the UFC by growing our membership base (I have only recently become a member of the UFC, in spite of my nearly three decades in the industry).  I think everyone in our Lingerie/IA world should be a part of something bigger – and this I believe can be done through the creation of a more “personal connection” to the community of Lingerie/Intimate Apparel.   Similar to other industry groups (like a Two Ten Footwear), could we encourage a broader scope of membership, and support, for a larger mission?  What would we want to do?

Sonia Vizcaino
VP, Tech Services & Finished Goods QC
Wacoal America, Inc.

  •  We’d like to know why you joined the board and what you hope to get out of your experience.

I accepted the invitation to join the board in order to be of greater service to the UFC. The prospect of collaborating closely with other industry leaders in addressing the needs of our industry’s future is exciting to me and will aid me in my own continuing professional development.        

  • What do you want to accomplish while on the board?

Since I have been a member of the SAIG committee for some years and the scope of the committee is expanding, I would like to help in the expansion of the programs and ensuring that a solid foundation is established with each new school so that we can aid students from a wider cross section of schools. It would also be beneficial to help out on other committees to aid in reaching out to industry professionals that are not aware of the work that the UFC does and how their companies can benefit.

UNDERFASHION CLUB’S Q & A WITH KAREN CURINTON RIPPY

KAREN CURINTON RIPPY

Recently, the UNDERFASHION CLUB spoke with Karen Curinton Rippy of both PARSONS SCHOOL OF DESIGN and the FASHION INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY. We wanted to give our readers some insight into this talented Intimate Apparel teacher who is enabling her students to follow their passion for lingerie. Not only is Karen an Assistant Professor at PARSONS and Adjunct Assistant Professor at FIT, the Club is most familiar with her as Faculty Liaison for the Intimate Apparel Design contest showcasing the work of gifted FIT students at the annual FEMMY GALA.

Additionally, Karen teaches Lingerie Fundamentals at PARSONS where several Club members had the opportunity to meet the students and see their work. The May 17 design contest and members-only event featuring the work of PARSONS students can be seen on the UFC website.

 

UFC – TELL US ABOUT YOUR EARLY YEARS.

KR My mother and father saw that I could sketch at a young age, and they sought out after school art classes for training. I attended the Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and, in my junior year, selected an Illustration major. My teacher /counselor introduced me to WOMENS WEAR DAILY, a fantastic publication highlighting the fashion Industry. I thought it was magical and I knew at that time I wanted to be involved in Fashion Design. In my senior year I applied to The Fashion Institute of Technology! I attended FIT for 4 years and in my 3rd year took a Lingerie class. I was so impressed with the classification, design, fabric variety and an exquisite element called LACE, I wanted to pursue Intimate Apparel as a career. Once I graduated from FIT I began interning and working at BILL TICE. Additional companies I worked for over the years are N. Edelson and Sons, Gilead Lingerie, Dutchess Lingerie, AJ Schneierson, Martha Colon Lingerie, and Jack Murphy Loungewear.

UFC – HOW DID YOUR PARENTS INFLUENCE YOU?

KR – My parents always supported my career. In my early years, they attended my art exhibitions and sat at all of my fashion shows. Prior to getting a sewing machine I was sewing complete garments with needle and thread. My parents saw the dedication and time-consuming completion to my garments and bought me my first sewing machine (SINGER GENIE 1972,) which I still have. I’m grateful to my parents for their guidance, love and being so supportive.

UFC – YOU ARE IN THE UNIQUE POSITION OF BEING A PROFESSOR AT BOTH FIT AND PARSONS. TELL US ABOUT EACH SCHOOL AND HOW THEY DIFFER.

KR – I have been blessed to teach at two top Fashion Colleges. Both schools have wonderful studios, curriculum, resources, contests and opportunities for internships that prepare students for a career in the fashion or fashion related industries. Both have great campuses, and PARSONS has a brand new building that houses all of the fashion classes! FIT offers a design specialization tract for students starting in their 6th semester who will create a senior thesis based on their specialization tract, i.e., Sportswear, Knitwear Intimate Apparel, etc. At PARSONS, in addition to the BFA program there is an AAS program offered to students who have previous college degrees. I enjoy teaching students who are a bit older and more experienced with the college process, and who also appreciate a second opportunity to follow the career path they have desired in Fashion Design. I enjoy teaching a variety of classes at both schools and my mantra is that wherever I’m teaching, I am an advocate for my students in helping them get the best fashion education from me.

UFC – HOW DID YOU DECIDE TO GO INTO TEACHING?

KR – I was at an FIT Alumni event and the President of the College, Mr. Marvin Feldman approached me about teaching positions that would be available in the Fashion Design department. I didn’t think I would have the patience for teaching, but I decided to apply and now 26 years later I have had a great teaching experience at FIT and 12 years at PARSONS.

UFC – DO YOU HAVE A ROLE MODEL?

KR – The greatest influence in my life was my mother! She would say to me “Work hard to play hard!” She was a hard worker, maintaining 2 jobs, working at The New York Telephone Company and as a part time travel agent. She enjoyed taking glorious vacations around the world. She enjoyed trying “new things.” My love of music variety started with my mom and I was exposed to classical, jazz, ballads in addition to the current music of the time. She introduced cultural events like plays and museum visits and food was an “EXPERIENCE” with my mom. I remember being on a Caribbean cruise with her and, when we were in port, we walked almost a mile to get to the restaurant to taste the native delights. Best of all was my mom’s love of fashion! She taught me how to sew!! My mom enjoyed putting interesting fabrics and colors together. She was a very thoughtful dresser and dressed for every occasion. Overall, my mother taught me to live life, be open to new things, be creative, laugh and treat people kindly.

UFC – WHERE DO YOU GET YOUR DESIGN INSPIRATION?

KR – I enjoy being out and about, taking walks whether on the streets of NYC or along the sunny Caribbean beaches, hiking or biking. All of this allows me to think creatively.

UFC – WHO IS YOUR FAVORITE DESIGNER?

KR – I have many favorite designers, and on the top of my list is American designer HALSTON, the Iconic clothing designer of the 70’s. He was brilliant. His choice of fluid fabrics and colors in sexy and elegant silhouettes was HALSTON’S signature in my opinion. I also enjoyed the models he chose to wear his garments on the runway that brought his creations to life! I also would like to give mention to the MONSE line. I love the creative, strong and edgy, hip designs from 2017 CFDA winners Laura Kim and Fernando Garcia.

UFC –WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE QUOTE?

KR – “Dress shabbily and they remember the dress, dress impeccably and they remember the woman” – COCO CHANEL. I tell my students to design and execute beautiful clothing that will excite and exude confidence for the wearer.

UFC – WHAT WOULD YOU SAY IS YOUR TEACHING STYLE?

KR – I want the students to be prepared and organized, and to work hard and have fun so I run my classroom as if the students are working in the industry. Begin the class on time and ready to work. I arrive early to organize my lectures and demos. Depending on the subject, I have a wide selection of visuals, garments and illustrative stimulation for the students to review. Music playing, laughter and humor are also a part of the teaching experience. Most of all, the students should have excellent technical skills, understand construction and produce saleable garments.

UFC – HOW DO YOU PERSONALLY IMPACT YOUR STUDENTS?

KR – I try to teach with passion, enthusiasm, precision, kindness, and humor. I challenge my students to always showcase their best work and to be proactive with their career paths. As a mentor, it is very important for me to motivate and give constructive feedback to my students. I tell them, “Think positive, be positive and positive things will happen!”

UFC –WHAT IS YOUR ADVICE TO THE GRADUATING SENIORS?

KR – Students should continue to research and learn after graduation, finding inspiration and being creative. Having an optimistic attitude is very dynamic. I tell my students that it’s okay to not be perfect, but they need to learn from their mistakes and to do their best. Surround yourself with positive and creative friends that you can grow with. Be kind and respectful to all people.

UFC -HOW HAS THE UNDERFASHION CLUB HELPED YOU AND YOUR STUDENTS?

KR – For the first time, earlier this year, I had the honor of mentoring the FIT students competing in the UFC sponsored Student Design Contest held in connection with the FEMMY GALA. I also had the privilege of my PARSONS Lingerie Fundamentals class taking part in the UFC sponsored MODERN ALLURE 2016 and MOSAIC VISIONS 2017 design contests held in the spring. It is a wonderful opportunity for the students to receive support from a Club that consists of people working in the Intimate Apparel industry. Club members have also taken time from their busy schedules to visit my classes, to join in the critiques or come as guest lecturers. UFC has been amazingly supportive providing resources, fabrics, laces and trims to aid the students with the execution of their creative designs. Last year UFC saw the need for the Parsons Lingerie Fundamentals class to have proper lingerie forms and, thanks to their financial support, this year 14 forms were delivered! Summer paid Internships were also sponsored by UFC and awarded to deserving student candidates from both FIT and PARSONS. The UNDERFASHION CLUB, INC. has partnered with the various fashion colleges and has been the link between Education and Industry. It’s fantastic for the students to be a part of this collaboration, with an organization that is supportive and nurturing, and helping the next group of creative and talented students find future employment within the Intimate Apparel Industry. Thank You UFC.

KAREN CURINTON RIPPY IN CLASS AT PARSONS WITH STUDENT,
LUCY NGOZI NZEI AND HER DESIGN

STUDENT DESIGNS AT PARSONS