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new york fashion study College of Design

Saturday, June 4, 2016

An Afternoon at the Met

On the last leg of our trip we had the opportunity to visit the MET. Having visited the city a couple times before, this was something that has always been on my list. If you have never visited before, I highly recommend taking an afternoon to spend just reveling in all of its beauty. Everything from its architecture, the aesthetic, and most importantly the art is enough to make one speechless (which trust me, I was).

Manus v. Machina was on display at the time and it truly took my breath away. The creativity that went into each and every piece is jaw-dropping. As i walked through the exhibit, carefully inspecting each garment and all of its wonder, I felt beyond inspired. I was in the presence of all the greats: Chanel, Gucci, Alexander McQueen, and Balenciaga!

For someone so interested in fashion, this was the icing on the cake for this week. To see the thought put into each detail to create these beautiful pieces is what it's all about.

Plus you can't forget the other greats housed in this beautiful museum: Van Gogh, Matisse, and Monet. These artists were just as inspiring. To be in the presence of these highly valued works of art sent chills down my back.

So thankful to have experienced an afternoon at the Met, but next time I'm planning a full day to conquer the 2 millions square feet of art.


Sem Sem: Mother/Daugther Apparel

This luxury apparel design house was inspired by the bond between mothers and daughters. The collection of mostly resort wear honors the relationship between mothers and their daughters. The pieces themselves are produced with the same color schemes and detailing just in different silhouettes  for both the mom and her daughter. 

Upon walking in, you can see many workers hunched over machines and patterns making sure that each garment is executed with special care and consistency. Overlooking all of this is Susan Lam. We had the opportunity to chat with her about the brand as well as all of her responsibilities. As she is the main factory director, she has a very personalized relationship with each worker in the factory. She noted she will have workers texting her at 8 in the morning with questions. She is also running all around the city between locations to make sure that every single step is being executed correctly and efficiently.

Listening to her describe her daily activities was enough to make one ready for a nap. She stressed how important flexibility is to her. One must be ready for anything at any time. They hold selling events all over the world, which means everything must always be in place. With garments retailing on average for about $2,000, Susan said there is no room for a mistake. Everything must perfectly match the colors of the season, the fabrics must be the best quality, & everything is sourced from the best of the best. 

Her hard work & dedication was inspiring. It is refreshing to see someone passionate about their career and all of the work that they are doing. She snuck myself and a couple other girls into the room downstairs where most of the cutting for the garments is done. Right away she entered and knew everyone by name. It was such a genuine experience coming out of a company that sells luxurious garments to a high end clientele. 

I strongly encourage you to watch this  video that emphasizes the bond between mother and daughter and why the garments produced by Sem Sem are more than just a piece of clothing.


Asian Cuisine Culture Scavenger Hunts in NYC

New York is a big crowd city like a melting pot mix with different culture perspective from all over the world. Lots of migration from other countries caused the diversity of culture. Cuisine Culture is a big part of our life. As a big fan of Asian food, I can’t wait to explore the eating opportunity in the New York City. 

I originally came from Xi’an, China. Therefore, my first stop in New York is to get some Chinese food from my hometown. 
The name of the Chinese restaurant is Xi’an Famous Food, a family-run business that only based on New York City. It’s a fast-casual restaurant that serves authentic Northern Chinese dishes. Since its founding, Xi’an Famous Foods has gained much popularity. Many celebrities have been to here, and it also featured in many television shows as well as magazines. 
Since most of the dishes are originally spicy, they allow customers decide the level of spiciness, range from not spicy to very spicy. Therefore, anyone could go and try them out. 
I got spicy cold noodles and Chinese burger. They taste really good and makes me miss my hometown a lot. 


The hotel we live is close to the Korean Town, where you can find authentic Korean cuisines such as Korean barbecue and Asian dessert. Therefore, my second stop is to explore food opportunities in Korean Town.
I tried a famous BBQ restaurant called Kang Ho Dong Baekjeong.
Kang Ho Dong Baekjeong established in 2012. Since it opened in Korean, it has been growing tremendously and spread to the U.S. It is a Korean-style dining with a distinctive taste and excellent service, where the server will help you do the barbecue and explain the food in detail. 
Taste Korean barbecue the way it should taste and experience the Korean cuisine culture in K-town!

Facebook page:

My third stop is a Japanese Restaurant in Manhattan. The name of the restaurant is Yakitori Totto, where you can get all kinds of grilled skewers. It is a good place to feel the Japanese skewing cuisine culture. 

Yelp website:

The day before we left NYC, I went to Flushing, where makes you feel like a small town in the city. When I get off the subway, I feel I was in the real China. Everything here is written primarily in Chinese, and you can barely hear people speak English. Since I was late when I get there, I just went to a Hong Kong restaurant to and had some dim sum as midnight snake. However, it still tastes great! 

Hope my experience will help you guys find some interesting place to eat in New York City!

Retail Merchandising

Popsicles in the Park

Popsicles in the Park
May 25th, 2016

Before beginning our adventure in NYC, I had decided that I wanted to use my spare time to explore the vast culture of New York and live like a "true New Yorker" (of course, there was some shopping too!). After our appointments were done for the day, a group of us set out to Brooklyn to relax (and people watch) at Washington Square Park. One added bonus to this adventure was that Washington Square Park is located near NYU's campus. We were able to walk around/see what a University across the country is like which was a very cool experience. 

One thing that we did not anticipate was the heat! Coming from Minnesota, we weren't expecting the sun to be shining so bright at 6 PM. We figured our best solution was to get a cold (but still yummy) treat from a food cart; popsicles! 

We spent an hour just relaxing/sitting, talking, and people watching around the fountain that was in the middle of the park. One of the most interesting things that we saw was people participating in something called "acro-yoga". There was a group of 15 people taking turns balancing on each other in yoga poses. We even got the chance to talk to one of the yogi's and he recommended we give it a try. We weren't dressed for the occasion but keep your eye's peeled for a U of M acro-yoga group next fall! ;)

-- Maggie

Sweatshops? In America?

So what exactly does "Made in America" mean anyway? Does it mean that employees are making these clothes in fancy factories? Does it mean that these employees are making enough money to support themselves and their families in an expensive city like New York City? Reality hit me after visiting SemSem as I was exposed to working conditions that I wouldn't consider "fair." I was in a factory in the United States but I immediately compared the space to factories in China where sweatshops exist.

A sweatshop  is a factory or workshop, especially in the clothing industry, where manual workers are employed at very low wages. Sweatshops often have poor working conditions, unreasonable hours, and a lack of benefits for workers.

The picture to the left was taken in the SemSem factory. This picture also resembles many sweatshops that I have seen in documentaries and protests recognizing poor labor conditions. This factory was tight, the room was small and workers had with little space to work. Not to mention, pipes, pieces of wood, and cords were hanging everywhere; it looked like a safety hazard ready to happen. It was also extremely hot in the factory, emphasizing the word 'sweat' in sweatshop. I was terribly uncomfortable in the little time that I spent in the factory, I can't even imagine how the workers felt working long hours standing in that heat and crammed area.

Although I can't say specifically what the employees in SemSem's factory are making, I can say with confidence that it isn't much. Especially compared the price that the garments they make sell for. SemSem produces garments for The Row and other high end lines. These garments sell anywhere from $495-$1500. I was surprised to learn that garments with such high value and sold at such high prices were produced in a factory like this.

When I used to think of "Made in America," I envisioned something much more glamorous. However, my trip to SemSem's factory changed my outlook completely. There are people all over the world that pacifically only purchase items made in America and there are also people who protest anything made outside the United States. It would be interesting to here what "Made in America" means to them. Have they seen what I have now seen? Are the labor conditions that much better in America?

Friday, June 3, 2016

Soho Shopping

One of my favorite parts of the trip was, you guessed it... the shopping! On our last day in NYC, a couple of my friends and I hopped on the Subway and headed to Soho, a neighborhood in lower Manhattan.  Soho is known for great trendy shopping and the area encompasses many of the stores on my list to visit while in New York as well as local boutiques, street vendors, and so much more. 


We popped into a few different stores that do not have locations back in Minnesota such as Topshop, Brandy Melville, Zara, and others. Aside from these stores, the street vendors had a variety of accessories for sale at extremely affordable and haggle-friendly prices; in fact, each one of us ended up picking up a different colored plain baseball cap for only $6 each!

Aside from the shopping, everyone wandering the Soho streets was dressed a bit different than where we were staying in Midtown. Stylish shoppers sported a variety of different trends and looks effortlessly, which created a cool environment and overall vibe to the area. The old, cast-iron architecture of the buildings in Soho is also definitely worth a mention. We even spotted (and talked to) a model easily recognizable from the 2016 H&M and Free People advertisements! I am already dying to go back.


RJM Group

RJM Group is a sales marketing and brand development company with a showroom for new and upcoming designers.  RJM is named after its three original founders: Rita, Jeffery, and May; we were lucky enough to have Rita, one of the founders and president of RJM, speak to us about RJM as well as give us her insight and advice on the industry.

Rita explained to us that RJM Group finds new designers who have not just a good product, but an idea of what they are doing and where they are going.  Prototypes are a must when Rita is looking at new designers.  Rita said she must be careful and strategic in who she takes on as clients.  Once Rita has partnered with an emerging brand, she works with them start to finish on developing their product and getting it into stores.  As for retail connections, she works with some big names including Bloomingdales, Saks Fifth Avenue, Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom, Bergdorf Goodman, Barneys New York and more.  She also uses trade shows and a new program called Constant Contact, which is an easy online way contact and connect with potential buyers.  Some of the brands we got to see in the RJM Group showroom include an accessories collection Rita launched in collaboration with her daughter's, the Beirn Collection, as well as other brands such as ggMAUL and Beatriz Accessories.

As for Rita herself, she began with a Bachelor's Degree in Nursing - probably not what you would expect huh? She found her way to the fashion industry by working for Saks Fifth Avenue in various roles, then moving to Badgley Mischka, and finally opening up her own business.  She gave us some useful advice based on her experiences and knowledge of the industry. "Take advantage of every opportunity ... read a lot ... work in retail ... ask questions," ... these are some of her main points which really hit home with me.  Overall, I think all of us not only enjoyed ourselves while listening to Rita, but also learned a whole lot! Thanks RJM!