Luna Zhang on Knits, Crochets, and a Month of Creation

A business brain with a passion for fashion.

It all started with some crochet needles, a sewing machine, and a dream.

Two months ago Luna Zhang was determined to fully realize her passion for sustainable fashion when she applied for a grant from Babson College, where she currently attends. Despite not having any previous experience, Luna was up for the challenge and, with the grant, was able to purchase a sewing machine and take on the one and a half month-long feat of learning how to make clothing garments. 

It has always been a dream of Luna’s to learn how to make clothing and when the opportunity presented itself for her to explore this dream, she knew that she had to jump on it. Along the way, Luna learned as much about herself as the tailoring process- realizing the importance of incorporating her political stances within the pieces as well as how far true grit and determination can get you. 

One aspect of fashion that is especially important to Luna is sustainability. Having been a devoted thrifter over the years, Luna wanted to incorporate sustainability into making her clothes for this project by repurposing the yarn from thrifted blankets as well as parts of clothes from thrift stores. Luna also wanted to emphasize gender neutrality in the pieces that she made, a direction that she views fashion should be going into. During Luna’s final exhibition she even had both women and men wear her pieces, emphasizing the desire for her clothing to be inclusive for everyone. 

The inspiration behind her knits have undeniably been color, which married well with the timing of her spring exhibition. Luna was also moved by different textures and the opportunity to incorporate these in the same piece, especially enjoying combining thick and thin yarns to create a 3-D effect. Additionally, Luna credits some muses throughout her process, such as ʟɪɴᴅsᴀʏ ᴠʀᴄᴋᴏᴠɴɪᴋ – a super talented design student in NYC- being her biggest inspiration along with YouTuber Emma Chamberlain


Throughout her journey, Luna notes the many challenges that she had to overcome in order to finish her project within such a tight timeline of one and a half months. Reflecting back, Luna mentions that she wishes she had three to four months, however, is grateful for the restrictive amount of time, given that it really focused her on completing the task at hand. In the beginning, Luna said that she spent countless hours making a number of mistakes and fighting with her sewing machine, which she definitely underestimated the difficulty of using. Luna mentions that she and her sewing machine fostered an intimate bond, especially when she hit a jam. Looking back, however, Luna finds that the imperfections in her clothes are a reflection of the beauty of the mistakes that she has made along the way. Luna used the process of trial and error along with countless hours of YouTube video tutorials in getting to her final result.

At one point during the process, Luna admits that she wasn’t even sure if her project would fail or succeed. Luna had zero idea of the interworkings of design and fashion and had to completely shift her business brain to a design brain overnight. 

“Business students get put into a box sometimes in what they can do. I had imposter syndrome and self-doubt along the way that I had to battle. I worked with great design students at my Converse internship and never thought that I could do what they were doing,” Luna mentions in our interview. This ties into her biggest learning point:

You are your biggest supporter and enemy, so be kind to yourself and don’t hold yourself back from things you want to try because at the end of the day we make mistakes and you should do it if it’s your passion. 

Throughout this project, Luna proved to herself that she is capable of achieving her dreams and is more than just a business student- she can achieve whatever she puts her mind to. 


Although Luna admits that seeing it all come together at the end was the most rewarding part of her journey, she isn’t stopping with the unveiling of her exhibition. Luna is currently taking future commissions of her work (DM her!) and will be donating the proceeds to the Asian American community, a cause that is especially close to her heart.

I am the happy owner of a Luna original crochet halter top, a piece with a story and meaning so much bigger than I could have ever imagined. 


Company to Watch: Amina Muaddi

I’ll take one in every color!

There is so much to take away from the fashion success story of Amina Muaddi– 33 year old entrepreneur and fashion label under the same name- making it a perfect addition to my Company to Watch series. The accessory designer grew up between Jordan, Romania and Italy, and cites her mother as fostering her love of fashion at a young age. In a recent Vogue article, Muaddi mentions her mother in setting the ground work for her interest in the fashion world, “I would try on [my mother’s] shoes even when I could barely walk in them. She always took care of herself and took such care in the way she dressed, so she was my introduction to this world and led to my passions.”

After studying at the European Institute of Design in Milan, Muaddi worked as a stylist for L’Uomo Vogue and GQ US, yet quickly found her passion was in design and the craftsmanship of accessories. This motivated her to dedicate a lot of time learning about the intense shoe manufacturing process in Riviera del Brenta, Italy’s famous shoe-making district. In observing the lack of technical knowledge her peers had in regards to shoe design, during a course she attended in college, Muaddi regarded this hands-on learning in the factory as extremely important. This experience quickly paid off when she created her own brand and produced her eclectic, complex heels, which are composed of 40 to 50 pieces each and deemed an incredibly comfortable shoe despite their height! 

It was early on in her career that Muaddi partnered with a friend to start her first shoe brand called Oscar Tiye. Despite having promising beginnings, the brand wasn’t a success and soon closed up shop. However, Muaddi was persistent and launched her second label in 2018 under her own name. Since the launch, Muaddi has had the opportunity to collaborate with French couturier Alexandre Vauthier on the launch of his shoe line as well as design the footwear for Rihanna’s LVMH-owned FENTY line, which launched in July 2020 and from which Muaddi won the Collaborator of the Year award at the FN Achievement Awards

Muaddi is unique to the industry in myriad of ways. Firstly, in her brand’s style. Her shoes, which were deemed as “pandemic proof” in the fashion editorial world, are about as sophisticated and eccentric as it gets- somehow expertly balancing the two. Muaddi’s shoe designs are instantly recognizable and a cult favorite with celebrities and influencers a like- Kim Kardashian West, Bella Hadid, and Irina Shayk to name drop. The shoes have edgy, yet tasteful signature styles, such as a square bottom heel, rhinestone embellishments, and a square toe. There is no question who the creator is when you spot the shoes, you just know it has to be Muaddi. Bottom line, they are eye-catching and splashy, making them perfect for capture on Instagram… if you have a cool $1,300. 


Her business model also isn’t defined by standard fashion norms. When Muaddi first started her Amina Muaddi brand, she knew that she wanted to launch a see now, buy now product through wholesale, which has kept interest very high. She didn’t want to appear in fashion week months ahead of the pieces’s sale date, despite being advised against it, noting in Vogue Arabia “my customer never gets bored of my product before it even hit the stores”. Muaddi also only designs two collections a year, which can only be found in high end, third-party retailers such as Bergdorf Goodman, Harrods, Mytheresa, and Ssense. Beautiful shoes with a secretive and anticipated release = fashion gold. 

Yet, it’s her vulnerability in sharing how failure, patience, and persistence are part of the process that make her truly one of a kind. Although we like to think that she was, Muaddi was no overnight success. “[I]t took me 8 years to get to where I am today. And I failed before with my first brand, so I’m not scared of that,” Muaddi notes in a sit down with Business of Fashion. Muaddi has stuck to her gut instincts all along and its gotten her so far. Persistence has paid off. 

I know I am on my tippy toes waiting to see what else this fashion maven has up her sleeve next, no not because I have a pair of Amin Mauddi’s myself… not just yet. 

My Favorite Purchases from 2021… So Far

Did someone say free shipping?

2021 has definitely been the year of the online shop for me. I have really hit my stride when it comes to having multiple tabs of retailers open, checking my honey coupons, and searching for discount codes galore. What is more fun than a good online shop sometimes? During a time when not too much is exciting, inspiring, or stable enough to look forward to, I have found that sometimes it’s the little things that can spark some joy. A skincare product that encourages self care, a bathing suit that get’s you excited about the summer once again, or a pair of comfy yoga pants that encourage you to join your mom in her daily yoga flow. I have had so much fun finding these pieces to add to my closet and hope you enjoy my little review. Maybe some of these items will even make it into your shopping cart too!

Sunny Yellow Tank Top by Club Monaco


When I saw this color on the shelf, I knew whatever kind of top it was I would have to get it. Ever since I was little I have had an affinity for the color yellow – the paler the better! When I was about two years old I had a matching yellow and white striped belly shirt and shorts set that I lived in. Despite having a chubby baby belly and bowed legs from starting to walk too early, I wore my little set with pride. Although this tank top has a bit more fabric than my childhood favorite, it is just as soft and just as sunny. Definitely worth the purchase! 

High Waisted Flutter Legging by Alo Yoga

Airbrush High-Waist Flutter Legging - Black

I don’t remember where I first saw these leggings, but I remember that when I did I thought that I needed to have them. I mean look at those slits! Whenever I look for pants I always try to look for basics with a twist and these are just that! Because they were such a hot item when they came out, they were sold out on the Alo Yoga site. However I was able to find a new pair on Poshmark, thanks to my Poshmark Queen Tara, who found them on the day they were listed- and for less than their original retail price! Although I would have preferred the waistband to have been a bit wider, these pants fit super comfortably and have great stretch. These yoga pants are also happily yoga class approved!

Bordighera Black Strappy Sandal by Jacquemus


When you see Jacquemus and on sale in the same sentence, there is nothing you can do but submit to the inevitable. You will be purchasing and not regretting the decision. These eclectic sandals were calling my name when I first saw them online on a thrifting retailer’s site. They just happened to be my size and were a mere fraction of their original price. I was lucky in that they had just been listed and knew that I had to act fast before someone else swiped them up. Despite having no where to go for a while now, I knew I had to find a place in my wallet and closet to make room for this new gorgeous addition. And I’m happy that I did. 

Cucumber Green Tea Deodorant by Frank Body


What can I say? I had to recommend this one, considering I see myself as somewhat of a deodorant aficionado of sorts. There is something about deodorant that drives me crazy- in both good and bad ways. I really have an aversion to body odor and find that deodorant is a must- but not just any deodorant! One that is odor and sweat resistant, yet not so scented that it simply replaces the need for cologne or perfume. It shouldn’t be visible on clothing and cause a mess. These are the deodorant rules I live by and this deodorant that I just discovered is truly the holy grail, ticking every box with flying colors. 

Tie Up Snakeskin Flats by Steve Madden 

Steve Madden Ryee Sandal (1)

I often find inspiration from those I see in every day life; the woman walking into a coffee shop wearing a pair of stunning leather pants, a tourist on vacation wearing a big straw hat, and, in this case, a woman wearing the strappiest pair of sandals I had ever seen attending an outdoor carnival. Once I saw that pair of strappy sandals, I knew that I had to find a pair for myself. Recently, I went to work, scouring the internet for something with some ties that was fun and unique. I found my item and, with little hesitation, made my purchase. In 5-7 business days I was pleasantly surprise and truly delighted by my sandal arrival. 

Terry Cloth Bikini by Triangl


Maybe it was summer just around the corner or maybe it was just some good marketing – probably a little bit of both – that I felt like I just needed this bathing suit. I know what you’re thinking terry cloth and white on a bathing suit, meant to be worn at the beach!? Umm… yes. It’s all for the sake of fashion! When I received this long awaited suit in the mail and tried it on, it was such an exciting moment. The fit is so great and it’s such a classic cut, yet with a unique flare. I can’t wait to wear it this summer, if only the weather would warm up already!

Flare Bottom Medium Wash Jeans by Citizens of Humanity


If you find a jean that just fits right, you have to buy them. I think it’s an unspoken rule somewhere, maybe in jean land. I have been looking for a nice medium wash jean for a while now and, when I saw this pair, I knew that we might be a perfect match- and we were! This pair of pants fits in all the right places and are a perfect length for me, which isn’t always easy to find. They hit right below the belly button, making them a perfect height without landing in high waisted territory, and have just the right amount of distressing. You can also really feel the quality of the denim in these pants. I always think that jeans are a great investment, these pants being one with recurring dividends. 

Water Sleeping Mask by Laneige 

Water Sleeping Mask - LANEIGE _ Sephora

I’ve been looking for some more expensive skincare face masks to replace to CVS sheet masks and the giant tub of Amazonian clay mask powder I have in my skincare stash. After a deep online search and too many friends pestered later, I finally landed on this hydrating sleeping mask from Laneige. Once I tried it I really fell in love, you truly feel your skin instantly hydrating- it’s like someone just splashed you with a bucket of water! I also love the fact that you get to sleep with it on overnight and rinse it off in the morning. This mask is, for sure, worth the investment to add to your skincare routine! 

What have been your favorite purchases of 2021?

Company to Watch: Saks Potts

Fur, glitz, and glam.

And we’re back for another episode of Company to Watch! Last year, I reviewed the inspiring accessory retailer Ubuntu Life and this year I am bringing back the blog series more regularly, taking a deep dive into companies that are shaking up the retail industry, Saks Potts being one of them.

Screen Shot 2021-02-17 at 9.44.07 PMThis Danish clothing company was started by Copenhagen natives Catherine Saks and Barbara Potts in 2014, who felt motivated to create beautiful and fun statement coats for Copenhagen’s cold winters. Despite having no fashion training, Saks and Potts have built an incredibly successful brand off of the notion that a coat is a statement piece that deserves statement treatment, adding pops color to Copenhagen’s muted palette with their splashy and candy colored coats- most notably in orange, blue, and green. “A coat is the first thing you see when you meet someone. It’s such an important statement of your personality,” Saks mentions in an interview with Harvey Nichols. But fun coats are where Saks Potts begin, not where they end.

Although, Saks Pots had humble beginnings, handing out their coats to women they admired outside Hôtel Costes during Paris Fashion Week, the fashion house continued to stay relevant by incorporating everything from glittery twin sets to swimsuits among their signature colorful fur trimmed coats. The collections are inspired by empowered and fierce women, like Princess Diana and Dolly Parton, who balance fun and feminine nature with serious boldness and power- a message that has clearly resonated with women. The company has won three Elle Style Awards, being Unavoidable of the Year in 2015, Brand of the Year award in 2018, and Show of the Year in 2019. It’s no wonder that Catherine and Barbara named the company after themselves, they are on to something quite special here. 

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Much of the company’s success, however, is a testament to the entrepreneurial nature of the two founders, who have displayed their business chops by having learned the ins and outs of the Copenhagen fur trade and attaining an 80-100% sell through rate in all of their collections, as cited by Business of Fashion. Saks Potts has also done a recent collaboration with vintage car dealer L’Art de l’Automobile, which has allowed the company to gain a greater exposure to different markets. A slew of celebrities who love and wear the brand, such as Kylie and Kendall Jenner, Lady Gaga, Cardi B, Selena Gomez, and Rihanna, have also helped to skyrocket the retailer to stardom. 

I can’t help but think that the innate splashiness of some of the pieces Saks Potts creates has something to do with their virality. The pieces are catchy, focused, and instantly recognizable as being from Saks Potts, a testament to true brand unity. The founders have recognized that their clothes have this “see it, want it, have to have it” effect on consumers, which may be changing their business model in the future. Over the course of the pandemic, the company spoke about deciding between dropping clothes every three to four times a year or doing more consistent drops that they feel confident in during the year instead. “When we see something on a catwalk or at a presentation or on some girl on Instagram, we just really want to buy it in the moment. So I think right now is an especially good time to adopt the see-now-buy-now model,” Saks mentions in an interview with Vogue back in August.

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As Danish fashion continues to infiltrate the American fashion scene, I anticipate seeing furry cuffs and candy colored coats walking the streets of New York and LA in the future. Who knows, maybe I’ll invest in some Saks Potts candy too down the road. Who am I kidding, I’m obsessed! #bossbabe CEOs for the win.

Marsalis Pearce on being an Associate Merchant at J.Crew

Men’s shoes, J.Crew work culture, and so much more.

Marsalis Pearce, better known as Marz, is a Harlem native who is all about retail. Having graduated from Babson College with a concentration in retail supply chain management, Marz has always had his sights set on working in the industry. Marz’s passion for the fashion industry originated during high school, at a time when he was interested in design and had sights on starting his own clothing line. Over the years, Marz worked in sales at The Foundation Showroom in New York City and had the opportunity to work with men’s apparel and footwear brands. Marz also interned at Ross before his last semester of college, where he took a deep dive into merchandising, the opposite side of the coin from sales. Now, Marz has found his place at J.Crew, working as an Associate Merchant, managing the men’s footwear business both online and in-store.

Leading up to working at J.Crew, Marz had a list of companies that he was interested in working for, J.Crew being on the list because of its cool aesthetic of classic American style. When he checked out the career opportunities at there, Marz stumbled on the Assistant Merchant role and applied. Soon after he heard back, Marz had an interview, and got an offer the next day! Marz credits the timing of everything, his prior experience in retail, and his ability to communicate authentically in telling his story in helping him land this dream job. 

Marz credits culture as being one of the biggest things that has kept him working for the company for three years now. From his very first encounter interviewing for the company, Marz knew that J.Crew was a place that he wanted to work, the employees all being incredibly friendly and inviting. Within the first few months of working at J.Crew, Marz was encouraged by the fact that no matter what your position, your perspective matters and your opinion is valued. Marz is always encouraged to share his point of view, not only on his business but other businesses within the company as well. 

Screen Shot 2021-03-02 at 8.18.44 PM“There is nothing that you are going to do here that is going to burn down the building,” says Marz, a piece of advice that he was given from a co-worker, which has helped him adopt a healthier mindset towards work. 

During J.Crew’s recent Chapter 11 bankruptcy, which the company recovered from, Marz also felt that the transparency that J.Crew offered during this time was extremely refreshing and reassuring. Marz specifically credit’s J.Crew’s leadership in helping their employees stay motivated during a really tough time. 

As an Associate Merchant at J.Crew, Marz is responsible for managing the full product lifecycle within men’s footwear, which includes shoes, boots, sneakers, flip-flops, and slippers. Marz partners with design, production, planning, allocation, stores, marketing, and brand creative to ensure he’s delivering the right assortment, at the right price, at the right place, at the right time, and to the right customer, all while meeting the financial goals of the company. His job involves a significant amount of cross-functional interaction, his role really sitting at the heart of the company. His division ultimately is in charge of brainstorming the needs of the company and customer to deliver the most value. Within the footwear department, there is also a high penetration of third party brands, as J.Crew works in close partnership with New Balance, Adidas, Sperry, and Reebok to name a few.

Marz has had a passion for footwear for over six years now, considering Adidas Sambas and a classic white Nike court sneaker to be some of his go-tos. Marz considers his style to be a mix between Americana with a hint of streetwear. Although he has had a huge passion for streetwear since he was little, Marz mentions that J.Crew has unlocked another level of style for him. Some days Marz likes to throw on loafers and jeans, while others he dawns chinos and sneakers. “I always choose the shoe first and dress from the bottom up.”

A day at work for Marz is super fast-paced, especially at the peak of the pandemic in Spring, Summer of 2020, as Marz was having to react to the pandemic’s effect on the economy. When stores were quickly closing, Marz was forced to rethink incoming orders and pulling goods forward. It was an intense but insightful process, Marz notes, as it enabled him to understand how to read and react to supply and demand. In the mornings, Marz has a touchbase with his manager to review expectations for the week, month, and quarter. Marz then could be reviewing previous or future budgets and having meetings with production and design team to review upcoming products. The end the day could look like another team meeting with the marketing division about a sneaker launch and the needs associated in order to promote the style. Despite working from home, Marz is able to work pretty efficiently, but also goes into the office in person to review products with his teams.

“Day to day really varies. It’s a perfect balance of rhythm and chaos,” says Marz. 

Marz’s favorite aspect of the job is the road mapping stage, when he plans for the future of J.Crew Men’s footwear retail will look like. Currently, Marz is working on Spring 2022, considering the company’s needs, looking back at previous seasons, and accessing what opportunities or misses that he has had- buy less, more, or not at all. The job’s analytical and creative requirements is also an aspect of the job that Marz appreciates.That being said, Marz typically works on 5 seasons at a time:

  • Liquidating holiday 2020
  • Preparing to launch spring 2021
  • Putting finishes on summer 2021
  • About to place fall 2021 orders
  • Having conversations about holiday 2021

Looking towards the future of fashion, Marz predicts that the industry will change in a number of ways. “As technology changes and as we get older and our needs change, our buying decisions change as well,” notes Marz. Marz regards the recent increase in consumer spending and pent up demand for certain products ironic in some regards, since we are all working from home and limit leaving the house. With the pandemic having an impact on special events, such as weddings, as well as office culture changing, Marz sees a shift towards more casual styling, especially in the suiting world. The pandemic has also resulted in a segment of consumers reevaluating what they are buying and the value and quality of those items. Overall, there seems to be a lot of  introspection happening that hasn’t happened for a while, as people have more time to stop and reflect. 

What excites Marz about his own future? The opportunity for him to learn more about himself- his interests, strengths, and areas of growth. Marz’s resolution for 2021 is to get to know himself more and to leave behind any baggage, which has led him to a positive direction in life and work. Marz is filled with a lot of hope this year and- you know- so are we. 


My Retail Predictions for 2021 (Part II)

My retail rundown.

Part two, here we go! Last Friday we talked about experiential moving online, video tutorials, brick and mortar closures, supporting small business, and the end of scheduled collection releases. This week, I am bringing you five more retail predictions to look out for in 2021! A few parting words- make sure to support local businesses, research the companies that you buy your products from, and be bold with your purchases! That feather dress and glittery bowtie is all you!

Online Retail Consulting 


Because we aren’t able to have in-person shopping consultations, these experiences are moving online to help shoppers get that personal touch from the comfort of their own homes. The well-known Korean skincare company innisfree is one retailer that offers free one-on-one skincare consultations with one of their Korean skincare experts. I foresee many businesses providing similar services in the future, whether it be personal shopping consultations or virtual product walk-throughs. These virtual experiences are being explored now for definite utilization in the future. 

Global Online Discovery and Purchasing

Screen Shot 2021-02-15 at 3.13.02 PMAs a result of more people shopping online than in store, consumers will have a greater likelihood of discovering international brands with an e-commerce presence than ever before. Popular brands such as Australian e-commerce swimsuit retailer TRIANGL and France’s first online-only retailer Sézane, allow you to import the fashions and trends you love from across the globe. Opportunities to purchase clothing from niche retailers abroad has also allowed for less regionalization and more globalization when it comes to fashion, yet another example of how our world is becoming increasingly interconnected. 


Blurred Lines Between Social Media and Buying 

Instagram has done it with their shopping feature, Pinterest has done the same with the way in which you can purchase items tagged in photos, so what’s next? Shopping and media often go hand-in-hand, which is why it is my opinion that other platforms such as TikTok and Youtube- who knows maybe even Twitter- will soon be integrating certain buying features in their technology. When Gen Z-ers see something that they really like, they instantly need to know where to find it and how to buy it. Keeping this in mind, in addition to the fact that social media platforms thrive on ad revenue, it’s hard to see how this won’t be the future. 

Increased Reliance on Consumer Reviews

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Lately, I’ve seen an increase reliance on consumer reviews, reviews done by unbiased third parties such as Consumer Reports, or even unpaid promotions by social media influencers for customers to get a better idea of what they are purchasing. Buying a product, testing it out, and then having to return it can be a big hassle for some, who often buy online just to reduce said hassle. These hyper specific reviews and comments can be an extreme benefit to companies too, who have a loyal and engaged following that is willing to evangelize to others of their excitement for products. Glossier is one company that has thrived because of its consumer reviews and has a detailed approach as to how they capture review data that is worth taking a look at if you, yourself are looking to sell products online.  

Sustainable, Ethical, and Value Driven Brands

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Although this trend has been coming down the pipeline for some time now, ethical and value driven brands will never go out of style in the U.S., as sustainability and the environment have become an increasing concern within the fashion industry. Brands such as Everlane, Parade, and Biossance have all sought a niche place within their market on the basis of being more sustainable than their competitors. Sustainability reports are even becoming more popular for brands to disclose, a write up on their sustainability efforts and performance. Companies that are reporting on this are only putting more pressure on others to conform to higher ethical and environmental standards. Let’s keep it up retail!

My Retail Predictions for 2021 (Part I)

My retail rundown.

Retail is an ever-changing game. One day, critics say that shopping malls are dead, the next they are saying that in-person shopping experiences are paramount of importance, the next that consignment is the new method of purchase. There are a million opinions about what the future of retail will look like. This year, I thought I would take a stab at some trends that I see blossoming over the course of this year. Don’t forget to sign up for my weekly newsletter that comes out every Sunday to stay updated for when Part II comes out next week!

Experiential Moving Online

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I think that everyone would agree that shopping is meant to be all about the experience. Touching the clothes, wearing the clothes, interacting with the sales people, and purchasing the items- maybe even doing a little twirl in the dressing room? But, when company’s retail storefronts are forced to close down, much of the experience that consumers get purchasing, has gone away. Consequently, companies have been striving to find innovative methods to recreate unique experiences for customers. Some ways that retailers have started to do so is through augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) technologies. AR is one compelling way that furniture retailer Wayfair, for example, has been engaging it customers through almost exclusive e-commerce selling. Through AR, Wayfair app users have been able to see what Wayfair items would look like in their house, whether it be couches, rugs, or anything in between. This is a truly innovative solution that the company is exploring in order to further engage the consumer and allow them to explore different opportunities with the touch of a button. It also allows purchasers to feel more comfortable with their buying decisions, given that they have already had the opportunity to “try out” the items in their own home. Similarly, AR and VR company Obsess has been building these tech experiences for companies such as Tommy Hilfiger, Christian Dior, Coach, Ulta Beauty, and Ralph Lauren. Obsess has created virtual stores and buying experiences for 5 years, increasing the return on investment for retail stores by setting up a virtual sales channel. This is truly the wave of the future.

Product Pages with Videos and Tutorials

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As a result of in-person buying being put on hold due to the pandemic, more companies have and will start incorporating videos reviews and tutorials into their product pages in order for the consumer to get a better idea of what they are purchasing. Because buyers aren’t able to touch, try on, and experience products in stores, online retailers should be more motivated to put up dynamic content in order to best inform the consumer on the products they are interested in. ASOS does a good job of including videos of models in the clothing that they sell, giving the consumer a better idea of the fit, movement, and texture of the clothing- aspects that they might not be able to detect from just a photo. Beauty products are especially difficult for consumers to buy online because they tend to require testing within the consumer journey. Customers buying an eyeshadow, for instance, in stores, would often be able to test a sample to examine many aspects of the product- texture, color, contrast with skin tone, and scent. Understanding this obstacle, Sephora has begun to incorporate short videos and tutorials into their product pages, such as this one, which showcases what the product looks like on a range of skin tones as well as a brief glimpse of how the application works. The more information that buyers have, the more equipped to make a purchase. Dynamic content remains king. 

Brick and Mortar Closures, Except for Big Box

Café Congreso in the Phillipines - inspired by Wes Anderson films

This comes as a shock to no one, but it appears that more brick and mortar closures are in the cards for small to medium size businesses. The return on your investment for retail storefronts, especially during the pandemic, have become smaller and smaller, as consumers have found online shopping more popular and safe than venturing into brick and mortar shops. E-commerce companies, who can leverage online marketing to their advantage, can see profits well above their counterparts, who are spending thousands of dollars on shops to gain recognition and hopefully pull some passersby in off the street. I can definitely foresee popular online retailers opening up shop in the future, but only after having establishing intense brand loyalty and a steady stream of sales. I also imagine pop up stores becoming more popular, as retailers are able to test the market on whether or not there is a consistent customer base in a specific location as a proof of concept.

The End of Scheduled Collection Releases

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There was once a time, long, long ago, when designers showed their latest collections during Fashion Week. Due to the setbacks of the COVID-19 pandemic, many designers have had to reschedule or even cancel shows. However, this has allowed for fashion houses to reevaluate their participation in such prescribed events. Michael Kors even moved his Spring 2021 presentation from September to October 15th in 2020. “I have for a long time thought that the fashion calendar needs to change,” he said in a statement. “It’s exciting for me to see the open dialogue within the fashion community about the calendar—from Giorgio Armani to Dries Van Noten to Gucci to YSL to major retailers around the globe—about ways in which we can slow down the process and improve the way we work,” Kors comments. The pandemic has allowed for designers to rethink many aspects of tradition within the industry, set seasons being one that has created more cohesion for some and stress for others. In the future, I see designers favoring their own pace over industry convention. 

Supporting Small Business 

Why Kamala Harris's Outfit Made a Striking Statement at the InaugurationSmall business owners will continue to challenge major players in the retail space this year, including everyone from trendy Esty candle and acrylic coaster makers to young, emerging fashion designers. We saw it at the presidential inauguration and will be seeing it a lot more in 2021. Vice President Kamala Harris chose to wear a purple coat and dress designed by up and coming African American designer Christopher John Rogers, a Louisiana native. Similarly, First Lady Jill Biden wore a blue ensemble by emerging designer Alexandra O’Neill, who is originally from rural Colorado. Although outfits worn during this prestigious event are traditionally made by U.S. companies, both women went out of their way this year to support individuals lesser known in the industry.

Likewise, there has been a continual push for consumers to eat and shop more locally, supporting businesses that have been hit hard due to the pandemic. Buying from American owned businesses has also become a priority in attempting to boost the local economy as opposed to purchasing products from abroad. This movement has shown a heavy spotlight on new faces within the industry- a true breath of fresh air. I have also witnessed social media, such as TikTok, play a large role in increasing exposure for small businesses, like instant acrylic nail company Klaw Beauty, sustainable clothing company STAN, and candle company ember candles, to name a few.

The way that we shop in 2021 is shifting and I hope and pray it is here to stay!

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❤️ Valentines Day Gifts to Say I Love You ❤️

Ditch the basics this year, it’s 2021.

Love is in the air- just the way I like it! I love Valentines Day so much, finally a day I get to express to those in my life how much I love and care for them without feeling weird about it! Not to mention, all my favorite things in one day, love, friends, family, and gift giving. My mom is the one who has instilled a love for the holiday in me. Growing up, she used to celebrate the Valentines Day in a big way for me and my family, setting our table with a red table cloth and heart confetti. Everyone received chocolates and a little treats. And when it came to sharing valentines with my classmates in Elementary school, my mom and I would sit at our kitchen table and hand-make paper hearts with personalized messages in them- if you were my crush in the 5th grade, you definitely received more hand-drawn glittery hearts in your valentine. To help inspire you this Valentines Day, I have put together some gift ideas to say “I love you”. But, when in doubt, just say “I love you,” that will easily surpass any of these ideas for sure.

Sugarfina Candy Cube BundleScreen Shot 2021-01-05 at 7.23.58 PM

If you love candy like I do, this Sugarfina candy bundle is meant for you- or your loved one to buy for you! My personal favorites are the champagne gummy bears and the peach bellini hearts, but Sugarfina has tons of sugary options to choose from, so if its not this bundle, another will suit perfectly. Everyone loves to receive something sweet on this day. A kiss to go with it might not hurt either.   

Venus et Fleur Classic Bundle

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It’s always lovely to get flowers on Valentines Day, but getting flowers that last for an entire year, is even better! This Venus et Fleur classic bundle rose and candle set is the perfect gift if you are looking to spoil your loved one all year long. Despite being delicately preserved, the roses still retain a fragrant and sweet smell, so you don’t have to sacrifice anything for this special flower treat. A 10/10 gift in my book. 

Decoder Heart Valentine Card Stationary Set by Paper Source

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Everyone loves receiving a personalized note in the mail for special events and Valentines Day is no different. Throw some excitement into the mix with this “decoder” stationary set to write secret messages to your admirer. Gifts are meant to be equally sentimental as they are fun and surprising. This stationary set ticks all of the right boxes. Plus, who wouldn’t want to dawn those groovy 2000s 3-D style glasses to decode the message? 

Glitter Eye Mask by Ulta

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Being in love is hard, but someone’s gotta do it! Gift this glittery gel eye mask to your love or treat yourself! This eye mask is perfect to pop in the fridge and take out to help you de-puff and hit the relax button. Pair it with your favorite skincare mask and put your feet up. Let’s be honest, this Valentines Day should be as much about self love too!

Polaroid Camera by instax

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I love taking pictures to capture memories of some of my favorite moments with friends. Capturing those fun times with a Polaroid makes it all the better, as you don’t have to stress about getting the perfect angles or making sure you’re smizing. You simply take the picture and let the chips fall where they may! It’s also perfect because your picture develops right after you capture it. Polaroids for everyone! 

Stemless Wine Glasses and a Vinebox Wine Club Subscription

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When I first saw these stemless wine glasses I thought to myself “this is how shopping addictions start”. They are absolutely gorgeous and pair nicely with any wine club subscription, such as Vinebox. You can never have too many glasses or too much wine in the house, so this seems like the most responsible gift. 

Doordash their Favorite Food

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Having surprise food delivered to your house is like finding a surprise letter in the mail. You didn’t know it was coming and now your entire day has been made. This year, surprise your love with a box of cupcakes, a pizza, bubble tea, or even a whole cake delivered straight to their door. This is especially great because you can pre-pay for it all and schedule the order in advance, letting Doordash, UberEats, or any other food delivery provider take care of the rest. No more hungry bellies on Valentines Day! 

Smallest Love Letter Charm by Catbird 

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Catbird is the epitome of cuteness. Every jewelry piece that they sell is delicate and adorable and this love letter charm is no exception. Custom engrave this piece to include a sweet message and your loved one’s name or address. Better yet, get a matching necklace for you and your bestie. Honestly, the possibilities are endless here.

 Flowers by UrbanStems

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Sending roses in 2020- fine- sending roses in 2021-basic. This arrangement by UrbanStems is so unconventional and special to make any loved one take a double take. This hand-dyed, dried arrangement is a perfect way to communicate your undying love (wow, that got dramatic). The soft, pink hue of this arrangement will bring a smile to your face when you see it every day. That, I am sure of. 

Rose Facemask by Fresh

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Yup, this is one to gift yourself as well as your loved one. Roses are nice to receive in a traditional format, but imagine someone gifting you a rose face mask and saving your skin by hydrating and toning it all at once!? If someone looks after your skin for you, they definitely care for you. Now, that’s true love. 

What are some of the ways you are treating your loved ones this year?

My 2021 Fashion Predictions

Stepping out in 2021 lookin’ like…

If 2021 is anything like 2020, it will be unpredictable! Nevertheless, I thought it would be super fun to make some future fashion predictions based off of my observations within the fashion industry. This year, I have many predictions for what is to come. Comfort will prevail, but in more sophisticated and put-together way. Mesh and velvet will be worn in unconventional ways. Unique puffers will continue to compete as a statement piece with the sneaker. Retro will be all the rage, with throwbacks from the 1960s and 70s, while keyhole cut outs will contend with bare all outfits. If my predictions are right, we are in for one fashionable year.

White Cowboy and Gogo Boots

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The black over the knee boot taking a backseat as white cowboy and gogo boot styles take center stage this year. This boot is a new versatile and stylish alternative to some of the styles we saw in 2020, adding a pop to any mini dress or fringe skirt moment. Already making its way into influencer’s wardrobes, these two styles of boot are on the cusp of hitting every department store shelf and e-commerce virtual shopping bag. Get them while they are hot, which, honestly, might be for a while. I think these styles are here to stay!

Statement Jackets

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Although it would be hard to stamp out the frenzied nature of sneaker buying and selling, I spy statement jackets catching on the trend of limited releases and exclusive collaborations just the same. We can thank Moncler’s Genius Collection for this shift in attitude, where the company invites individual artists to collaborate with the brand to create innovative and dynamic designs. These fun coats help us to stand out and stay warm. It’s a win-win if you ask me. 

Bell Bottoms

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I would agree, this style is a far cry from the skinny jeans that were popular not too long ago. Yet, as looser fitting clothes have become more commonplace, it’s about time our pants got similar treatment. What is attractive about this cut it that they accentuate the hips and butt, while providing a lengthening effect on the legs. I see these 70s staples as a returning popular cut, just you wait!

Hippie Halter Tops

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Just as 70s flare bell bottoms are preparing for a rerun, so are these hippie halter tops. Coming in a variety of different styles, colors, and textures, I predict that this flattering top will be the latest trending showstopper. Paired with a high waisted jean, this top exudes the hippie, laidback spirit that is making a comeback in our culture. 


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The original sweat suit material will now be integrating itself into tops, bottoms, jackets, and so much more. A luxurious fabric that is the epitome of comfort, velvet will be incorporated into more clothes as we seek to be comfortable on dinner dates or even at parties and events. A fabric that is rich in color and can be either dressed up or down, it’s the perfect option when stiff taffeta no longer seems attractive to squeeze into.  

Hair Bandanas

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They have been used as tops, bag adornments, and coverups, it was just a matter of time before they made it onto our heads. This cute look is coming in full force in 2021, an easy way to elevate any outfit. A head bandana also serves as a perfect head covering for all of the beach days in our future. Whether you have short hair, long hair, or no hair, this is such a fun look that I cannot wait to see more of this year. 

Mesh tops 

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Although these mesh tops have already been making their rounds, I think that they will start becoming more mainstream this year. Sexy, yet subtle, these tops showcase trippy patterns that make a statement with a simple pair of black jeans and some matching booties. They come in almost any color. You just have to pick one!

Fine knit dresses with tights

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It’s my bet that this 60s inspired look is going to be everywhere this year. Everyone has a go to tiny dress in their closet and an investment in a $5 pair of candy colored tights will elevate any look to a fun and flirty one. With retro being all the rage, this showstopper is just waiting to make an appearance. My guess? Right around Spring time.   


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The past few years, we have seen our fair share of skin. Take one scroll through Instagram and you’ll find mini skirts, high slits, and deep V necklines. This year, I foresee a bit more modesty being incorporated in the form of tasteful keyholes, that still offer a sexy look, but one that leaves a little more to the imagination. Until you find a key at least. 

Elevated Loungewear Outside 

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We have been wearing our loungewear every minute of every day in 2020, so naturally, because we have accumulated so much of it, it’s going to make its way outside. To avoid all of those shady side eyes, I see us elevating our looks to compete with true outerwear. White sneakers, expensive sunglasses, camel coats, and designer bags will be accompanying our silk pajamas and cotton sweater. Mark my words!

CEO Sit Down: Ivana Mesarić on American Opulence

Thrifting like you have never seen it before.

Palm Beach raised, Boston educated, and currently living in the Orange County area, Ivana Mesarić is a force to be reckoned with, ready to make waves in the fashion industry with her new vintage luxury retail company American Opulence

Ivana has always known that she was destined to be a full-time entrepreneur and, even when she was in Middle School, exhibited some incredible entrepreneurial spirit. Ivana remembers heading to Goodwill with her mom when she was 13 years old during the 2008 financial recession, as her family had encountered hardship. For Ivana, this was a drastic change, however she learned to enjoy the experience, going with a friend to find fun and interesting items. Everything changed one day when Ivana went to Goodwill and found a Tory Burch tunic for $3, which she was able to resell on Ebay for $100. Ivana’s ability to make money this way was mind blowing to her at such a young age. Selling the tunic sparked the idea of buying other things to resell. Ivana quickly began familiarizing herself with designer labels and subscribing to popular fashion magazines in order to educate herself on what popular designer brands she should look for and which would yield the best resale value. As times changed, Ivana transitioned from selling on Ebay to Poshmark and got more serious about her hobby once she moved out to Orange County, California after graduating from Babson College. 

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Although Ivana is currently an analyst at an energy consulting company, she always makes time for thrifting. Having been involved in creative outlets her whole life, whether it be in music, dance, or musical theater, Ivana has always tapped into her creative side. Thrifting was just another way Ivana expressed herself, this time through fashion. “You never know what you are going to find on a thrifting outing,” Ivana says, “which makes it so fun and therapeutic in a way”. One of the most compelling parts of the business for Ivana is making older items look new again, she mentions. She also enjoys having control over the branding, fashion, and overall styling of the pieces. 

While living in the Orange County area, Ivana has curated a large selection of cool items, which got her to consider formalizing her resale business into an exclusive luxury store over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic. Ivana always thought that her transition into entrepreneurship needed to include a world changing idea, yet she realized that it really didn’t have to be- it could be stylish and simple.

American Opulence’s aesthetic is luxurious and fashion forward, most of the pieces being one of a kind, Ivana tells me. One of the company’s main motivations is to convey that you don’t have to purchase from fast fashion retailers in order to be on trend. Surprisingly, Ivana finds a lot of fast fashion items while she thrifts, most likely items sent to influencers in press packages, she informs me. Some of Ivana’s favorite pieces in her curated collection, however, are oversized trench coats that exhibit quality and classic style. Lifetime pieces.  

One of the challenges that Ivana has encountered during the process of starting her business has been figuring out who her niche target market is, seeing that there is a lot of competition in the thrifted fashion space. That being said, as far as the future of thrifted fashion goes, Ivana sees the second hand fashion industry as a huge market that isn’t going anywhere soon. Gucci’s recent collaboration with The RealReal is just one example of how high end designers are trying to leverage the thrift market to the company’s benefit. Looking towards the future, Ivana also senses that getting traffic to the website will become a challenge, which she prepares to mitigate by leveraging Instagram and Instagram ads to target the Gen Z and Millennial market. 

“Even though the market is saturated, it’s not over saturated,”

Ivana says. 

In terms of the future, Ivana is excited about her new company, but also the impact it will have on the world, given that 5% of all of her sales are going to one of her favorite charities called MoviesMakingaDifference. MoviesMakingaDifference is a non-profit that directly aids the survivors of human trafficking and is especially important to Ivana, as she has volunteered extensively for the organization. 

I am convinced that, if Ivana is involved, the future of fashion looks more than bright.