Monday, August 31, 2015

B.A.F.F.L.E.D. Recognizes

Tuskegee NEXT: Exploration. Aviation. Innovation--

In a time when Black lives and their value are such a hot point of discussion, it's so refreshing to see an organization doing something positive and uplifting.  Tuskegee NEXT is on a mission to train and support Chicago-area minority youth in obtaining their pilots license.  Students will be introduced and immersed in the aerospace industry through education, mentoring, life skills, and real flight training behind the clouds.  Opportunities and organizations like this are so necessary.  This is remarkable. 

This organization is important because of the options it provides to youngsters possibly believing they have limits.  Tuskegee NEXT is taking mentorship to the next level--opening doors where they may have been locked shut or unrevealed.  They are standing on the wings of the trailblazing Tuskegee Airmen.

So far, students have been super excited to participate in the program and share the experience with their family and friends.  Chicago's CBS affiliate has even spotlighted the organization, giving much credit where it's due.

In their own words, Tuskegee NEXT seeks to highlight and develop math and science skills in minority students with interest in the aerospace industry--all in collaboration with the Tuskegee Airmen Chicago "DODO" Chapter.  With that kind of support, what more could you ask for?!

Check them out on the web, get your future pilot enrolled, and to be a sponsor click here!

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Thursday, August 20, 2015

B.A.F.F.L.E.D. Fashion Law

"I'll Just Get Another One"--Is Fast Fashion Killing Your Pocket?

When fashion first hit the map in the way we know it today--you know, when Charles Worth started putting labels with his name on them in the garments he made--consumers were not only buying custom pieces, but making investments.  We're a bit departed from that today.

Today, we quickly run to stores like Zara, H&M, or Forever 21 (me included, but I'm working on improving my ethical fashionista practices, ok?!).  While those stores give us the quick fix we need, often at their risk of an infringement lawsuit, they also present problems for our pocketbooks.  With a plethora of reasonably priced costume jewelry, t-shirts and dresses to last for a few wears, it's hard not to fall into the trap of spending.  Unfortunately, the trap is actually a spiral.

Going back to the days of Charles Worth, garments, and probably accessories, too were made to last.  Shoppers considered them investments.  They may have had to wear them a bit more often than we'd like to don outfits these days, but the pieces were solid.  They should have been, and should be.  They were quality.  Today, the garments at fast fashion outlets not only skirt the line of infringing on a designer's hard work (both established and new designers), but also put a hurting on the pocketbook--subconsciously.  

What consumers aren't considering when buying 5 dresses for $100 is, "they'll be back".  They'll be back soon.  Those $20 dresses will only last so long before falling victim to the washing machine or an easily snapped string one way or another.  At first blush, the response is--"I'll get another one."  Yep, and put more money into the hands of companies with questionable labor practices or terrible corporate cultures--the discriminatory and disrespectful kind.  (See Zara)  We'll continue to help the owners of Zara and H&M be 2 of the 10 richest people on the planet.  What's also happening is more money coming out of the consumer's pocket.  Every single time a purchase is made for a quick fix, it's less money to be spent on something made of better quality; something which will last longer and wear better.

Very few of us are completely innocent in feeding this bad habit.  Hopefully though, we'll all think twice when we turn down the $45 garment for 3-$50 ones.  Sometimes, that's a great deal.  Sometimes, it's a raw deal.

For more on ethical fashion, click here!

Monday, August 17, 2015

B.A.F.F.L.E.D. Fashion Law

Designers Focus In On Internet Vigilance--

Many established designers were hesitant to embrace the virtual world.  After all, their namesake founders began the collections in small shops or even rooms in their homes.  Soon enough, the internet world caught on, and the ease of shopping made for big benefits to seasoned luxury retailers.  

Then came the negatives.

Despite the plethora of advantages to e-commerce, burdens and disadvantages come along as well.  While luxury brands bring customer experience to the fingertips, so too, do counterfeiters and gray market producers.  As we've discussed here many times, gray market goods are those produced in legitimate luxury factory settings, but outside of legitimate production terms.  Counterfeiters usually take it a step further, producing their own look-alike items.  These goods are generally 2's and 3's in the marketplace.  Remember the Rating System?  

Why Does This Really Matter?  Everyone is Making Money?
With so many online squatters, luxury brands are forced to keep up constant vigilance over their brands online.  This becomes extremely difficult when the internet is flooded with search terms, improper image use, licensing breaches, and sites changing every single day. But, who cares?  The reputable brands get money from their base, and the counterfeit market gets money from their, wholly separate base, right?  Nope. 

We've discussed the great downside of counterfeits--the funding they provide for human trafficking and other horrible crimes.  There is a damage to the designer, too (not eclipsing the trafficking, of course--just separate).  

The crime to the brand--whether luxury founded in the 1800s or worked on tirelessly in a university studio this year-- hurts the bottom line.  It hurts more, the name; the reputation. The problem here is the compromise to one's rights, image to the public, and invitation for confusion when consumers are looking for the right item to suit them.  

Designers must be forever cautious of how they market their brand and where they allow it to be exploited. Just recently, Gucci owner Kering sued China's largest e-commerce brand over harboring fakes on the site.  Nearly $82billion is lost annually to designers' fight against fakes. Many designers are putting millions into this vigilance--millions away from the design shop and brand promotion.  Although the money is a major factor, let us not forget the disregard for brand reputation, too.  It's so similar to one's personal reputation.  Guard it with your life.  

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