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Seasonal Shoots

In addition to the annual fashion show and other events, AIMO also aims to put together seasonal photoshoots every semester where ECU students are styled.

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Atlanta Apparel Mart

Each fall, AIMO travels to the Atlanta Apparel Mart for a weekend trip full of learning experiences and networking opportunities.

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All About AIMO

Read all about AIMO's history and goals over on the About page.

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Knotti By Nature

Knotti By Nature

Check out our first ever salon feature on local natural hair salon Knotti By Nature.

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Thursday, January 3, 2013

Where do you see yourself after graduation? Working in the corporate world crunching numbers? Getting an entry level position at a retail store hoping one day "I'm going to open my own store and I'll make the rules"... We all know life after graduation seems like your working for something bigger to come along in the next 10 years....

ECU Graduates Ashley Dodd and Lauren Priest left the Pirate Nation in December of 2009 and entered the "real world". Both armed with a degree in business marketing, they set of into jobs appropriate to their field of study. But the two came together and found a way to incorporate what they've learned in college, working retail, and working in marketing, to launch their online boutique LASH by Lauren and Ashley in September 2012 .

"Now or Never.."

MP: What inspired you to join the online retail industry?

AD: In one of our business classes we learned about market research and one of the projects was to research for an actual company. It gave us a lot of real life experience...

We also got experience while Lauren and I both worked at Pink boutique where we were able to help the owner with buying the merchandise...

Lauren and I had thought about it before and because Lauren was working in sales, and I worked for an advertising/marketing company it made since to try going online. I had a friend who can code websites and I have a background in graphic design, so we just thought... 'Why not now?' 

MP: What does it take to work and run an online boutique at the same time?

AD: It takes a lot of motivation and organization...

We meet with a lot of different people and business owners who gave us advice about all the different areas of running a business. 

"You need to be passionate about it to give it your all." 

MP: What are the pros and cons of and online retail business?

AD: Running an online boutique if a lot more flexible and you dont have to pay rent. The hard part is catering to customers who are less enthusiastic about shopping online and are more hands on. 

MP: What can customers find at LASH?

  • Jewelry created by local designers 
  • Personal stylist feature where you can ask Ashley and Lauren for advice on putting outfits together (Ask the Stylists
  • Great clothes and accessories for the college student budget in their "LASH for LESS" section!

MP: Any last advice for the Merchandisng Enthusiasts? 

AD: Any one can do this if you set your mind to it and you have a good plan! Think of ways to be different... 

It's a new year and a new semester! Take what you've learned from Ashley and Lauren's climb to success and start planning your next move. Just because your in school or have a job doesn't make it impossible to take chances and do something bold and fun! Once you make a plan and do your research all it takes is passion and confidence. 

Ask questions. 

***Join ECU A.I.M.O and LASH this Spring semester for a Stylist Party! More detail will be posted so keep a look out! ***

Posted by Melissa Phillips

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Inspiration is the fuel to fulfill any goal, dream, or be what leads one to reaching their self-potential.
Since entering in the Merchandising program here at ECU, I’ve been learning how to prepare for life after undergrad. Advisory board discussions, AIMO meetings, and the merchandising courses have all been wonderful resources to help guide and provide understanding about the fashion business. Having passion for what you do when it comes to choosing a career has been then one piece of advices I’ve heard on numerous occasions. It’s important to do what you truly love. If you don’t love what you do then it’s not guaranteed you’ll give your all.

The AIMO trip to the America’s Apparel Mart in Atlanta this October was such an eye opening experience. There are so many avenues, different career paths, in Fashion than what simply meets the eye. We were able to meet and speak with some of the most driven and inspirational people who work and attend the Mart, which also made way for gaining helpful information, resources, and networking opportunities.

After the trip I had the amazing opportunity to interview the young and successful Dana Boerckel who holds the sales position for the Jessica Simpson Collection, G-III Apparel Group, in New York. Hearing about her experiences and how she has gotten to where she is in her career now has motivated me to continue to embrace all the opportunities that can help me build the career I long for in fashion.

Take a look at my most inspiring interview pieces yet!

AB: Tell me a little bit about your background?

DB: I did my first internship during a summer in high school, for design with Calvin Klein. My family knew someone who worked for the company and that’s how I was able to get the internship. After I graduated from high school I attended F.I.T and continued from there.   

I later started working for Rampage which was my first full time paid internship. This was the job that exposed me the most to wholesale and got my foot in the door because I gained so much experience before graduating college. I worked as a sales assistant the summer of my junior year at FIT.

My senior year in college I did an internship with Valentino for the women’s pret a porte collection in their New York showroom. I didn’t get a job with them in the end but it was a great experience I’ll always remember.

I also worked retails jobs during college to gain experience at BCBG Max Azria and Hugo Boss.
I realized buying wasn’t my niche because it’s very numbers driven and isn’t what it used to be years ago in my opinion. Sales is more product driven while still being able to work on the business and production end. You have your hands in all different aspects at all times. Sales to me is more dynamic. It’s fast pace and not a regular 9 to 5.

Head hunters (Employment Agency that specializes in certain fields to find job candidates for employers) found me the position that I currently have now.

AB: What do the duties of your job entail? What’s a typical day for you like?

DB: Working in sales I’m what could be considered the middle person. I work with the dress division for the Jessica Simpson Collection and Vince Camuto. I wear a lot of hats. I’m not only involved in the business side, but we interact with our design team, production, accounts payable and the warehouses.
Market week is always the 1st or 2nd week of the month. We show the new collections to buyers and collaborate with them on what should be on the stores selling floor each month. Each week we analyze selling and look for any opportunities to offer buyers re-orders to maximize on selling the garments that customers are responding to.

AB: How long have you worked there?

DB: A year and a half
I got promoted from sales assistant to account executive after 5 months.

AB: What’s your definition of style?

DB: I think the definition of style is following the trends but making it your own. Style is whatever you make it and can be influenced by many different things in the world whether its your peers, a celebrity, or what makes you feel comfortable in your own skin. It can derive from anything.

AB: Describe your personal style?

DB: I would say my personal style is contemporary trendy/edgy but still classic at times. Our dress lines are designed that way as well offering something for every girl who has somewhere to go whether its works or a wedding.

AB: Name items that you would consider being on your fall favorites list:

- Leather
- Lace (even though I’ve always loved lace before it was considered a “trend”)
- Smoking slippers
- Anything embellished and shiny

AB: What inspires you at work?

DB: I would say it’s inspiring to know that I’m helping make a woman feel great about herself when she puts on a dress that I sold to her favorite store. And it feels great to be part of a large company and know that you are contributing to their success at the end of the day.

AB: Who are your favorite designers?

Yves Saint Laurent

I’m a big shoe person. I’ll splurge on shoes and accessories but mix it with affordable clothing. When I’m not wearing Jessica Simspon or Vince Camuto, I shop at stores such as H&M, Urban Outfitters, Zara, Rulelala.com and BCBG. I’m like contemporary brands like Alice and Olivia or Parker. I don’t like paying full price for anything since I understand the markup.

AB: What do you do with your free time, how do you relax from your busy work life?
DB: A typical work day for me is from 9am to about 6:30pm. Prioritizing is a must in order to get things done. Works Monday to Friday and have Saturdays and Sundays off. I make time to do things after works such as going to the gym or meeting with friends for dinner.
AB: What would you say goes into having a successful career?
DB: Anything that you’re passionate about or have interest in. It’s important to expose yourself to as much as you can.
I had a double major in college, majoring fashion and minoring in home fashion. It wasn’t until I shadowed someone the home market I realized I definitely wanted to work in fashion. Shadowing is a great way to network and see what types of jobs there are without committing too much of your time like an internship is.
When you start out you need to prove yourself in this business and be a hard worker. You need to put your time in. That’s important.

AB: If you had a choice of working in any other career field what would it be and why?
DB: Food critic or a travel agent. Love to travel and I love food and trying new places that offer a new culinary experience.

Dana Boerckel (Center of the first row), Freddy Simon (Center of the second row), and AIMO members during the Atlanta trip at America's Apparel Mart this October.

AB: What advice would you give college students who are majoring in the merchandising or design program or to someone who would like to follow in your footsteps career wise?
  • Shadowing is a great thing to see what someone does and to see if it’s something that you really want to do.
  • It’s good to try new things to get a sense of what type of environment you would like to be in.
  • Confidence is key!
  • Don’t be afraid to contact people, what’s the worst that could happen?
  • (A few girls in AIMO contacted her after the trip, she was really impressed)
  • When you’re in school you have so many doors that are open to you. Companies are really willing to take you on and help you out.

AB: Where do you see yourself within the next five years?
DB: I see myself being a Sales Manager or Sales Director by 30. Its part of my own personal goal timeline. But sometimes you have to sit back and just live in the moment and focus on the present in order to get there.

It is evident that Dana's hard work and consistency has helped her obtain great experiences as well as a successful career. Having success or being successful doesn't simply happen overnight, it takes time and effort. I hope that by reading this interview piece you're encouraged to find out what your true passion is, and pursue it wholeheartedly.

Always remember passion is key!
Posted by Alexia Bwensa

Apparel and Interiors Merchandising Organization’s Christmas Mixer
Come see what we’re all about!!
$5 Entry Fee
Food drinks and music will be provided!

Time: 7pm- 9pm
Location: Greene Room at the Croatan
Date: December 4th, 2012
Posted by Alexia Bwensa

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

This week, we will be learning how to recycle old t-shirts that we all just have lying around the house! I have noticed over the past month or so how many DIYs there are that just allow us to create cool and fashionable items from all of our old clothes! Instead of always having to buy specific items, we can just recycle what we have and make it unique and our own. This week, we will be creating a cute and fashionable fall scarf! It's pretty quick and easy. The supplies you will need to complete this project are:

  • A large or extra large t-shirt depending on how long you want your scarf to be
  • Scissors
  • Ruler (if you are a precise person)
  • Food coloring or dye (optional - this is if you are using a shirt color that you what to dye)
  • In the video, Mr. Kate also includes trinkets to decorate the scarf (also optional)

I hope you enjoyed this DIY and I would love to hear your feedback and see some of the cute scarves that everyone has made. You can send them to britneyoates8@gmail.com!

Posted by Britney Oates

Monday, November 12, 2012

AIMO's trip to the America's Apparel Mart in Atlanta, GA.
October 12th-14th.

Posted by Alexia Bwensa

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Let's face it. Finding internships is not always easy. Sometimes it's who you know. Sometimes it's what you know. But in reality, it's about your passion and what effort you put in towards that dream internship.

If you want to know how to get started in your search or even what trends you can find on the campus of ECU, Trendy Lindy knows it all. Her resume would need to be professionally bound with all of the amazing things this senior Fashion Merchandising student has accomplished. On top of having her own blog, Lindy has established herself as a wonderful writer for College Fashionista as well as a fashion columnist for The East Carolinian (As if your own blog Trendy Lindy wasn't enough :) )

This college fashionista has done it all by trusting in herself, her faith, and her drive to take initiative.

Read Lindy's interview to see what she has done throughout her college career.

MP: Give me a timeline of what you've done that has brought you to today.

Fall semester of my freshman year I made my own blog. It was called Pirates Prevailing Taste and I took pictures of people on campus for fun. I would have posts about hair, trends, outfit of the day (OOTD)...It was really hard because I didn't have a good camera. 

That same year I heard about a blog called A Blond Ambition that I really liked so I emailed the creator (who is from Arkansas where they are big on fashion) asking if she had an intern. She had never had an intern before but asked me if I could co-author her blog, and we became good friends.

Sophomore year I found College Fashionista and applied to be a Style Guru for East Carolina. 

That semester I was contacted by Charlotte Style Magazine who asked me if I wanted to work with them. I shadowed a stylist who worked on photo shoots, picking accessories, etc. 

My junior year I went to New York with my family and met with my boss at College Fashionista. I knew we were going to be in the same area so I contacted her to see if we could meet. Since then we've become closer. The next semester I applied to be the social media intern for College Fashionista, where I am in charge of the Tumblr.

Before this past summer I applied to over 25 different companies and didn't hear back from any but one. I got an internship at a PR agency in Boston. I moved to Boston in May and started my internship two days after getting there. It wasn't what I expected it to be but sometimes you have to start somewhere to know what you really want to do.  

In June, I got another job in Boston working at Urban Outfitters which is the 2nd largest UO in the country. 

In July, I received an email from CollegeFashionista about writing for USA Today in September. Only 12 people are chosen a year from College Fashionista. I got the chance to write about the fashion on ECU's campus, which was really exciting. 

This month I went on a trip to New York for Teen Vogue Fashion U 2012. I found the program online and applied. Only about 500 people are accepted to attend. I had to pay for the program and my way to New York, but it was worth the money. It made me realize how many people are trying to get into the industry.

MP: What do you think has lead to your success so far?

LM: Taking initiative. Some people think an internship will just fall into their lap, but it won't. It's about making your own connections. Find something you have in common with  someone and go from there, even if you don't know them. 

MP: What do you wish you knew before today that could have helped?

LM: I wish I would have been able to find out more about the internship in Boston before spending all of that money. 
Do your research! You have to hope for the best, but expect the worst.

MP: Where do you get your fashion inspiration?

LM: From blogs. Some of my favorite blogs are...

-The Sartorialist (because they have different styles) 
-Natalie Off Duty
-See Jane.

I hope Lindy has inspired you to go out and find that dream job, make that call, and send that email. All it takes is a drive for success and willingness to step out of your comfort zone. You don't have to wait for your advisor, teachers, or parents to tell you when to start doing what you love. If you want to start a blog NOTHING IS STOPPING YOU. Express yourself in creative ways so you can have something to show at your next interview.

Take chances. 

Posted by Melissa Phillips

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

The fashion world is full of trendsetters and well-dressed folks that usually live or are from a big city, but going to the Bevello fashion show on October 25, 2012, one would not have known the difference! The atmosphere was filled with lighthearted fun and enjoyment and women, with the exception of a few men who were dressed to the T. There was such a diverse crowd within the doors of Bevello that one could get lost with all the inspiration you could gain from the crowd (I know I did)! On top of the audience’s ensembles, the outfits within the show were awesome! It was about 30 minutes of non-stop trends for any and everybody. The store was able to incorporate styles for the girl who enjoys a quick and simple look that still is trendy, the girl who enjoys more of a tailored look, and also the party girl whose outfits revolve around and incorporate all the latest trends. Bevello is definitely a store any girl who likes being up to date on the latest fashions should shop in and it is even for those who have a little trouble putting outfits together. Due to the fact that the staff at Bevello is extremely fashionable, they are able to help anyone put together a terrific ensemble, just as they did the girls who were actually in the show. All in all, I can say that the show was pretty awesome due to the variety of clothing that Bevello was able to put together and the environment that they were able to achieve. Below are a few pictures from the show along with a trend description of each. Enjoy!

Here we have a very comfortable but cute look that can be worn just about anywhere! This outfit can be worn to the grocery store, shopping, or even to class. It consist of a black maxi skirt, red v-neck, a hat, cute satchel purse, and a feather necklace to add a little flavor!
This outfit fits more for the semi-rocker chick. This girl likes to have a little edginess along with a slightly girly touch to the outfit. She is wearing an above the knee dress, jean jacket, and a scarf to brighten up the look!
This model is wearing a beautiful dark fuchsia dress with orange and navy blue accents with a nude heel that allows the dress to shine on its own. This dress is also very versatile because it can be worn to a wedding, on a date, or just out with a few girlfriends. Either way, you will look like the chic women you are!
As you can see, most of the outfits have been fun, but here we have a statement look! It is an all black jumpsuit with a deep v-slit in the front with a red statement necklace to makes the neckline pop! This outfit an be worn by multiple age groups, but will be eye catching in any situation.
Posted by Britney Oates
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