“Movers and Shakers”…the story behind the label

 There was a young  woman who lived in her shoes.  She had so many pairs, she didn’t know what to do.   That is the story of many of our closets.  Shoes have gone from being a necessity to a statement.  They depict our personality.  Maybe you’re outgoing and spontaneous so your shoes are yellow, orange or bright red.  Perhaps you’re more reserved and your shoes are black and navy blue.  Either way, our clothes and shoes tell others a little about who we are. They also tell you about the people who made them.  Designers put their heart and souls into their designs.  The pieces they create tell stories about who they are and where they’re going.  There are two stories in a shoe, shirt, hat or any other article of clothing we wear.  The story of those who choose to wear them and the story of the people who created them.
 My story starts on the island of St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands.  As a kid, I loved shoes.  They are my accessory of choice.  I never thought I had one shoe too many.  However, shoes designed for children just weren’t as exciting as shoes designed for adults.  I wanted to wear shoes like my mom.  Shoes that were stylish not strapped with velcro. That is why it is my mission to create shoes for children that make them feel stylish.  Shoes that bring out their personality. My portfolio ranges from the sporty kid to the trendy one. Kids should feel confident from head to toe and my focus is the toes. You can find samples from my portfolio at Designs By Alexandria Corneiroslideshow
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A friend of mine recently launched his own line. I had the privilege of speaking to him about what his journey has been like.  MAS (Movers and Shakers) Apparel was founded and created by A. R. Paterson. Like me, he is from St. Thomas the United States Virgin Island. He was raised in a single parent home and at an early age he learned the value of independence and hard work.  He worked all through high school.  After graduating high school, A.R. Paterson joined the military.  He allister clothesserved 7 years to include an 18 month tour in Korea and a deployment to Operation Iraqi Freedom.   After the military, he was invited by a friend to travel to Las Vegas, Nevada and Hollywood, California where several friends were showcasing their own clothing lines.  Paterson spent the week indulging in the world of fashion.  He was inspired by their business prowess and style.  Then and there he conceptualized the name for his brand.  He called it “Movers and Shakers”.
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    Being a business owner is adventurous, scary and exciting all at the same time. It is definitely not for everyone. The time I decided to start this clothing line and the time I actually started it was less than a month. Once I made my mind to do it, I just mustered up the courage to do just that. Before I knew it, I was drawing up designs on sketch pads and creating ideas for t-shirts. The most difficult part of starting an apparel company was learning the jargon and keeping up with the new trends as well as learning the old ones. Another obstacle I had to quickly overcome was …myself. By nature I am usually not one to go out of my way and strike up conversations with strangers. As a business owner, networking is God. The people you know, meet, and affiliate with can either make or break your business. My advice to anyone thinking about starting a business is to keep in mind that when the business is yours, it’s always personal. Passion is great to have but do not let emotions force you to make bad business decisions. Also expect setbacks to happen but take the lesson and not the lost. In other words, learn from your good and bad mistakes. It will only better your business knowledge. Finally, learn your field. Become a sponge of knowledge and research research research.

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“Always Settle For More”- A.R. Paterson

allister musicA.R. also loves writing and creating music in his spare time.  He invested in building a studio in his home.  A place he refers to as his sanctuary.  There he records and produces music.  His driven personality has been an inspiration to me and other up and coming designers.  He is a creator with many layers all of which he expresses in the stitch of every hem or the fold in every pocket.  He notes Marc Ecko “Ecoko UNLTD“, Thomas R. Gillett-Spio “Ugly Duklyn” and Shanticleer Graham “Gaudy Apparel” as his inspiration. I look forward to hearing where A.R.’s journey takes him.  “Movers and Shakers” is currently working on creating a website so stay tuned for information on it.

photo credit: jef safi \ ‘Parker Mojo Flying via photopin cc

Faux Leather Faux Promotion! The Truth Behind Synthetic Leather

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Over the course of this blog I’ve spoken a lot about the business side of what I want to do and not a lot about the product I want to produce.  My goal is to launch my shoe line.  I’ve been considering the types of products I would use to create the shoes.  I would like to develop an eco-friendly shoe.  There are shoes made of animal byproducts and vegan shoes.  I decided to do some research on both.  Vegan shoes have been given notoriety for being more animal friendly but are they actually greener than shoes that are not?  Some have called that concept into question. The majority of the argument over ethical footwear centers on the use of leather. Some have argued that while synthetic leathers are animal friendly they are not in fact environmentally friendly and pose the same issues in production as that of real leather.

Synthetic leathers are often petroleum-based, and they also require toxic chemicals in production. Some faux leathers are even made of polyvinyl chloride, or PVC, which contains phthalates, chemical additives linked to a variety of health problems.  Certain vegan leathers are cork- or kelp-based, and many mainstream leather alternatives are a blend of cotton and polyurethane. While polyurethane is far from eco-friendly, it’s less problematic than PVC. But the question over what material makes the greenest footwear is more complicated than whether natural or synthetic materials are used.  “Natural fibers and synthetics have their own problems,” Huantian Cao, a professor in the Department of Fashion and Apparel Studies at the University of Delaware told Mother Jones.

Synthetic leather and leather both require the use of toxic chemicals to produce. Synthetic leather uses PVC. Real Leather is chemically treated so it won’t deteriorate over time. Hydrogen sulfide, ammonia and chromium are all chemicals used in the process.  These chemicals are carcinogenic in large amounts.  Leather production ranks in the top 10 toxic-pollution problems around the world.  There is another option of producing shoes that lowers the amount damage done to the environment.  Shoes can instead be produced using organic cotton and recycled materials.  Simple Shoes, Groundhog Shoes, El Naturalista, Ocean Minded and Soul Seekers Recycled are all companies that produce their shoes using recycled materials.  They use materials like bamboo, recycled car tires, wool, wood, biodegradable bags, cork and water-based adhesives.  Their shoes are all fantastic.  The global footwear industry is estimated to gross over $195 billion by 2015.  That means the sale of many shoes most of which are made from products harmful to the environment.  Personally, I think it is not only important for a shoe to be animal friendly but also environmentally friendly and I will focus my shoe line around that.

Here are some samples of amazing eco-friendly footwear:

Reference Article: Are Vegan Shoes Eco-friendly?
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If You Build It They Will Come

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If you build it they will come. People perceive you off of how you perceive yourself first. The same goes for business. If you invest the time to make what you have for your business look as professional as possible people will be more likely to invest in it. Take the time to create professional labels for your products or business cards for your services. If you are a designer put together a nice portfolio. There are great tools out there that can take your portfolio to another level. You can take images of your designs and create an online portfolio. There are apps that can help you make amazing portfolios. If you would like to do it yourself and not rely on an app you can do that as well. I’ve attached a video below that shows you how to create a website or portfolio of your designs. It uses photoshop. Choosing that route will give you creative control over all the details.

photo credit: dixieroadrash via photopin cc