Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Behind the scenes: Interview with KMart's Senior Designer for Attention Brand, Tori

Have you ever wondered who are the faces behind the brands at stores like KMart that don't highlight the well-known celeb designer?  I know I do...well, I thought it would be interesting to find out more about designers at KMart to get insight into what they do to design the clothes we buy at the stores.  There's always an interesting story behind how they got their job and what they foresee in the fashion future of their store...get some great tips and inside info from Tori!

Q.  Where did you begin your fashion experience (i.e. internship, job at a
store in the mall, etc.)? 

A.  **I would say my first fashion experience started while playing dress up in my Mom's closet around 3 or 4, followed closely by a fierce love of Barbie! I started sketching and reading fashion magazines at the age of 7 and the rest as they say is history! Through high school I always made it a point to incorporate fashion into my daily activities whether I was working at the dry cleaners, the Gap or Express after school and in the summers, I was constantly around fashion. I would even turn class projects into a fashion related topic. 

Q.  What did you go to school for? 

A.  **I studied fashion and textile design at F.I.T. & Michigan State University

Q. What type of line did you design?

A.  **I focused on evening wear while attending F.I.T. when I was at Michigan State I focused on tailoring techniques as it relates to sportswear. 

Q.  How would you say the experience you had prior to KMart helped you land
the job you have today?

A.  **My prior experience at designer labels has helped elevate the aesthetic of the Attention brand. I have been able to implement tailoring techniques that give added value to our product. In addition,
my prior experience has given me the ability to develop fabrics that look and feel like 100 bucks but really at our price point.

Q.  Where do you want to be in your fashion career path one day? 

A.  **I would love to have my own collection one day. I am in no rush though, it takes a lot of muscle and money. You need the proper infrastructure and investor. And if all else fails, I can be Tom Ford's
design assistant for his much anticipated women's line, lol! Tom, did you hear me?! 

Q.  Who/What inspires your personal fashion choices?

A.  **The 70's inspires my personal style. You could call my look "tailored eclectic". I love looking at old family photos and re-creating my Mom and aunt's chic looks of the 70's. They were always dressed to the

Q.  Where do you look for direction with the KMart line?

A.  **As a Designer, you are constantly looking at people and new sources to pull trends and inspiration. I look at what women are wearing on the streets of NY, shop Europe and even how my girlfriends pull together their looks. 

Q.  What are your favorite magazines?

A.  **Some of my favorite magazines are Bazaar, Teen Vogue, Marie Claire, UK Elle, Vogue Italia, Bloom, Elle Decor. 

Q.  What are your favorite blogs/sites? 
A.  **Is this is trick question, lol! My favorite website besides kmart.com is shopstyle.com. It will search the specific clothing or accessory item you are looking for, it's like google for the shopaholic!
Shopbop.com & 
net-a-porter.com do a fantastic job of highlighting the trends through the merchandise they sell on the site. 

Q.  When did you start working at KMart? How has fashion/design/customers changed since being there? 

A.  **I've been with Kmart 2 1/2 years. The fashion is more updated and contemporary. In many ways our customer has updated herself alongside us. But we are starting to attract an even younger consumer. A 25-35 year old woman who is shopping for her lifestyle. Our goal is to take her from the cubicle to the club, or maybe even the boardroom to the bar. It's about offering her great items she can add to her wardrobe and completer pieces, such as our grey sateen boyfriend blazer that she can wear in her air-conditioned office by day and peel off when she gets to the bar. 

Q.  What can we expect to see evolve at KMart in the fashion department in the near future? 

A.  **You will see the store experience evolve and become more inviting. In addition, you will see wider range of products as we begin to offer our customer alternative options for her weekend lifestyle by adding drapey tees and soft french terry to the assortment. 

Q.  What are your favorite parts of attending a fashion show?

A.  **Honestly, my favorite thing to do when attending a fashion show is people watch! But the energy of the actual show is fantastic. I love the chill you get when they shut the lights off, and that few seconds of
silence before the lights & cameras start and the music starts pumpin', it's exciting. 

Q.  Which designers do you look to for inspiration?

A.  **My favorite designers are Chloe and Stella McCartney. Designers to look to for inspiration can change from season to season depending on what's hot. 

Q.  What is your must-have piece at KMart right now? 

A.  **My must-have piece is our Attention ruffle shoulder rib tank. I have it in all colors. They are $8.98, you can't beat it! It's the perfect item to feminize a pair of rip and repair jeans or wear the white one back with our fierce fiery red capri. For a more girly look, you could tuck the ruffle rib tank into a printed mini skirt, like our wide waistband rainbow animal mini. Another must-have is our maxi dresses.  The prints are absolutely beautiful. Perfect for a beach vacation or a night out with your beau. 

Q.  How do you style your looks to incorporate the KMart brand...basically, are you about high/low dressing? What are your tips to people in high/low dressing?

A.  **I'm all about high/low dressing. I love, love, love flow-y blouses, so my favorite pieces to buy at Kmart are all of our beautiful printed blouses. They are great to pair back with a Route 66 skinny jean or cargo, or even a jegging, yes, I said it, a jegging! My splurge is often found in my shoes or handbag. My favorite shoe of the season are my Marc by Marc peep toe cork wedge heel lace up ankle booties! They're HOT!  There are soo many fantastic shoes this season. I find myself picking out what shoes I'm going to wear for the day and then working my way up.  But if you look in my closet there is no denying my love for the Attention blouses.


**My tips for other women who want to dress high/low - is to know your figure and what colors works best on you, then go for it. High/low dressing is here to stay. Women have so many options at their fingertips without even leaving their homes. It makes my job tougher but a lot of fun at the same time. It keeps me on my toes. We always have to continue to give her added value in the product. Kmart is the
perfect place for women to pull from for a high/low look. For example, a customer who needs to wear a suit to work can walk out from a Kmart store with an Attention suit for 50 bucks. God forbid there's a sale, wow, what a steal! The suit is going to have impeccable detailing and a tailored fit. People will stop her and say what people always say to me, "OMG, that's Kmart!" Yes, it is indeed. :)

For more on Tori, check out her designer profile on Kmart Design's page!  Do you have more questions for Tori?  Share your questions in the comments section and I will see what we can do on getting more answers:)

***If you spend $50 or more online, use code: KMART5OFF50 to get $5 off your purchase!  Enjoy!

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