Not For Hire was actually the title of a resort-wear clothing line that I designed while in college and the title has stuck with me. I am now turning Not For Hire into a critiquing blog for fashion advertisements and products. I have serious issues with name brand companies putting out horrible ads/products that get great reviews just because they are popular brands or they use famous models & celebrities. I'm here to write real reviews on advertisements/products even if the truth hurts. Most of what I write will obviously be negative feedback but there are some companies that deserve serious credit and will get it from me. Hope you enjoy the critiquing and you are more than welcome to critique my critiques; I love a good debate!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Harley Davidson: Classic American Beauty

Harley Davidson is not prominent in the fashion world but should at least receive an honorable mention.  They have revolutionized the world of leather and protective clothing (and of course bi/tri wheel engineering) while creating a sophisticated, sexy and powerful image to go alongside the ‘bearded, fat biker’ cliché.  I have seen them mold, sculpt and sew leather in ways that my sewing machine would break a needle just thinking about.  Not only do the designers of HD think about making fashionable products but they take into account the fact that people will be wearing this while they are riding a Harley.  Much of their clothing is meant for ‘weather and wipeout’ as I like to call it, meaning they may get caught in any sort of  weather and they may (God forbid) crash.  What may seem like a nice night for you may call for leather gloves and a jacket to a rider.  Riding gear also has the ‘snow shoveling’ effect where your layers keep cold winds out but keeps hot body temps in which leads designers to design with breathable air vents.  I once put on a HD jacket that had removable pads inside the layers of fabric with hidden zippers for access and adjustability.  There was a zipper in every fold and seam with pieces that attached and detached depending on what function you needed it for.  Not only was the jacket impeccably constructed but it was also beautifully embellished with eccentric stitching. 

Not only are HD’s clothing fashionable, their advertisements are as well.  They have had several advertisement campaigns with Victoria Secret’s model Marisa Miller which markets their brand as very sexy with a sense of strong feminine independence.  

HD also used Marisa Miller in a Veteran’s Day campaign that was used to promote sending letters to deployed soldiers and designate November as ‘Military Appreciation Month’.  It was inspired by vintage ‘blond bombshell’ pin-up girls with motorcycles that match.

HD also has a Pink Label collection that a portion of the proceeds goes to Breast Cancer Network of Strength and they have a Muscular Dystrophy Association that has raised more than $65 million in research aid.


Harley Davidson’s vision is, ‘We fuel the passion for freedom in our customers to express their own individuality’ which they do by emphasizing the non-traditional pairing of sophisticated style with brute strength.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Attack Of The Trends!!!

Predicted Trends:  ‘70s, gold, Asian influence, studded and slashed punk look, giant print fabric, and Western which includes suede, snakeskin & fringe

Let me kick this off with a quote from Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland, “What if it was agreed that 'proper' was wearing a codfish on your head? ”  This is how I feel about trends about 90% of the time.  Everyone needs to realize that there are people at the top of the trend forecasting pyramid that don’t only predict trends but also pick & choose trends they see fit no matter how ridiculous.  One of the newly predicted trends is fringe.  Fringe is wonderful……on cowboy and Indian Halloween costumes, the occasional curtain, or when translated tastefully into a purse (Louis Vuitton Limited Edition Multicolored Fringe Bucket Bag).  It may also be okay when it is used in a ‘20s flapper look but not in this hideous ‘cowboy look’ trend. 
Louis Vuitton

Seek out the ads for both Blumarine and Roberto Cavalli.  It is as if they are competing for title of ‘most trends thrown into one hideous garment.’  Blumarine did larger-than-life cheetah print with fringe, hitting on the trends: ‘70s, gold, prints, suede, fringe, and animal influence.  Roberto Cavalli did ‘20 ways to use snake skin’ with large amounts of fringe scoring points on the trends:  fringe, snakeskin, and the Neo-Punk look that consists of silver junk embellishing the entire garment.  I can’t pick a winner even though Blumarine clearly wins on trend count because Roberto Cavalli's garments are just so horrible!  Don’t get me wrong though, snake skin is beautiful as a purse or shoes, but NEVER as a garment.  Check out the Balmain denim skirt (page 222 of the March 2011 Elle) that is covered in safety pins and body piercing hardware for a better example of the Neo-Punk look; doesn‘t even list a price, shocking!

Roberto Cavalli


The large print trend is a tough one to accomplish without making the garment look tacky.  Missoni tried out this trend and added ‘70s to it making it go from tacky to a complete train wreck.  My husband says it looks like they took a rug from the 1970s and turned it into clothes (this was a negative comment if there was any confusion).  A few designers did pull off the large print trend such as DKNY and Etro.  Check out the ‘70s inspired ad for Solange Azugary-Partridge (SAP) and tell me how much you don’t want to buy their products. Solange Azagury -Partridge Ad Campaign 2010-2011 Shot #5 -
 An excellent ‘70s inspired look was designed by JBrand Jeans which had a brunette wearing a blue top and elephant leg jeans who resembles my mom from the early ‘70s like its no ones business; its absolutely gorgeous. 
JBrand Jeans

 To conclude my rant I will end on the note of Marc Jacobs whom I could talk of all day long.  Their campaign includes a ‘70s inspired look with a bit of scary-ugly thrown in the mix.  Marc Jacobs has been predicting the scary-ugly trend for a very long time igniting the flames of my hate relationship I have with him.  Ahhh, Marc Jacobs, I’m sure I will always dislike you and wish you could find a professional cameraman to get better shots of the delusions you have about good fashion.  There will be a complete blog in the near future based on the true feelings I have for Marc Jacobs.
Marc Jacobs

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Watch Out For My Bias Opinions!

I try to have a completely open minded and unbiased sense to everything that I see but there are some things that I just can't help myself about.  I fall head-over-heels sometimes about the smallest detailing or fabric choice of a garment even though the overall product may not be so wonderful.  Then, there are specific things that I go completely ga-ga about no matter what it is or how it's used.
Number one thing....Leather - just the word leather makes me yearn for that beautiful smell.  Almost anything made from REAL leather makes me like and want it: jackets, purses, shoes, belts, luggage, even chaps make me happy! 
Number two would be embroidery.  I love a good embroidered and/or topstitched garment.  It sends shivers down my spine to see a jacket with rows and rows of beautiful topstitching on sleeves or giant stitched patterns on the back. 
Third thing that I'm bias about are garments that take me a while to figure out their construction.  Good example of this would be anything Lady Gaga wears.  People make negative comments, such as her clothes are tacky, crazy, and ugly; I always say 'how did they make that?'.  Everything she wears, no matter how 'awful' it is, intrigues me.  The out-of-the-box designs are amazing and the fact that they could pull off the construction fascinates me.  Makes me think of a teacher I had in college that was always a Negative Nancy about crazy designs I made and how she always said it was impossible to construct.  Seeing her face the next week when I walked in with the 'impossible' garment completed was simply priceless.  Kudos to the designers of Lady Gaga!