I’m back! …and doing a PhD

Hi all. After a long hiatus on this blog, it’s about time I picked up again to share some concepts about designing sportswear for people with physical disabilities. I’m continuing on at London College of Fashion to explore a participatory design approach for sportswear design for people with upper limb mobility impairment. More to come…

Authority Marketing “Flair” podcast

Learn how to use “Flair” to energize your customers, colleagues, and audiences from my co-author Jim Poage in his podcast for Authority Marketing – http://authoritymarketing.com/blog/podcast/flair-energize-your-customers-colleagues-and-audiences-with-jim-poage/

Jim discusses how to reach your target audience on an emotional level using the six building blocks of flair that we outline in our book – http://mavenhousepress.com/our-books/flair/

“The book Jennifer and I wrote called Flair, and the subtitles [correlate with] designing your daily work, products and services to energize customers, colleagues, and audiences. The important thing about flair is to engage emotionally and energize people. If you energize people, they’re more likely to act [and to] follow up with you. Energy tends to overcome inhibitions they might have about acting, and help spread the word and message about what you’re offering. It helps move it and propel it around among others.”



Claim the Stage – using “Flair” to be a better public speaker

I was just interviewed on the Claim the Stage podcast, a show about public speaking for women hosted by Angela Lussier. You can check out my advice, personal stories, and tips here: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/angela-lussier/id1119712757

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Meet your Maker article for Fashion Revolution

This article was written for Fashion Revolution about Marcelo Ballesteros, the man who connects the local Patagonian and Andean artisans of animana with the commerce of the brand.



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LCF blogs about our collaborative work…

Click here to read London College of Fashion’s blog article on our successful Design Management collaboration with sustainable luxury brand animana:



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Natural Fibers and Dyes

Written for animaná’s facebook page, published on 6 May 2016:
Our supply chain begins with the sustainable breeding of the four types of South American camelids — two of them wild (guanaco and vicugna) and two domesticated (llama and alpaca). Guanacos and vicugnas are protected species that live in the heights, and the latter are bred in semi-captivity to obtain the finest and most precious wool. Wild herds of both animals are moved towards pens, through a process called “chaku”, where their soft fleece is manually trimmed with scissors.
We also work with industrially spun fibers, but only in their natural shades or naturally dyed, without any chemicals. These natural fibers acquire their colors from the elements provided by the same land that saw them come to life. Flowers, seeds, fruits and tannins provide the necessary colors for both the traditional and fusion designs. The fibers are dyed in trays of hot water that are later drained off and left to dry in the sun, and they are then pressed to eliminate imperfections. As a result, the products respect the unique quality of each fiber: their softness, delicacy and comfort. Natural fibers are an excellent renewable resource, being 100% biodegradable and carbon neutral. For orange, blue and red colored garments, natural dyes are used to enhance the color effect. Other fibers we work with include Andean silk, organic pima cotton (in its natural colors which range from neutral to yellows and browns), merino wool, chaguar, and other natural raw materials such as onyx, nickel, and silver. Artisans spin the fibers by hand and dye them with pigments obtained from native plants, reviving the techniques inherited from our rich history.
Here we present the traceability story of an animaná product, from raw materials to the end- product:
  • Our supply chain begins with the sustainable breeding and shearing of South American camelids in a free environment within the Andes.
  • Classifying and separating the fibers by color, length and thickness is a fundamental stage of the process, after which begins the cleaning of the fibers in pools of hot water and special soaps containing natural elements from the Andes.
  • In order to dye the fibers, we work to recuperate the art of the natural tints, as this knowledge has dissipated in many regions due to extensive use of anilines. The very old from remote villages recall original dyeing techniques from the communities we work with in Peru.
  • The fibers are then manual yarn-spun together with floor, vertical and waist looms. The spinning is defined according to its composition. We look for uniformity in fibers, colors, composition and length.
  • In order to warp the textiles the threads are manually placed in a way which forms the design. Once collocated on the loom the manual weaving begins. One-by-one knots are made with each thread. The pressing is also done manually to eliminate any imperfections (missing threads, knots, etc.) until the textile is perfected, rolled up and ready for sale.
  • The design of each product allows the raw materials to speak for themselves. We believe in recovering the savoir faire of our ancestral techniques, while keeping contemporary design aesthetics in mind.
Through our use of natural fibers and dyes, we demonstrate that luxury fashion, quality and aesthetics are possible through sustainable development and can work in harmony with cultural heritage traditions.
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“Our Founder – Adriana’s Story”

This term at London College of Fashion, we have paired with a lovely sustainable, luxury knitwear brand called animana, based out of Argentina and expanding into the London market.  Here’s a blog post I wrote for them on their amazing founder, Adriana Marina, based on my studies of storytelling in business and defining a company voice.


For more info on animana, please follow on facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/animanaonline/ or instagram at: https://www.instagram.com/animanaonline/

Our Founder – Adriana’s Story
“animaná is the constructive union between thousands of hands working together to build a unique platform based on the search for the safest evolutionary process.” – Adriana Marina
We invite you to meet Adriana Marina – the founder of animaná. She is the executive in charge of development and is fully committed to sustainable production, local development of communities and relationships with the artisans from the Andes and Patagonia and education about sustainability in fashion through Hecho x Nosotros and Foro Moda etica latinoamerica.
Adriana was born in a Stockbreeding Establishment in Patagonia, Puerto Santa Cruz, Argentina, where she bred lambs and guanaco and coexisted with the communities of Tehuelches and Mapuches. She received her education in Buenos Aires, where she got her degree in Information Systems and Economics and completed a doctoral thesis through a scholarship she earned from Argentina’s Investigation Council on topics of convergence and poverty among Argentine regions. After obtaining her PhD in Economics, Adriana concentrated on issues of local development, inequality, and poverty alleviation, specifically the task of transforming scholastic theory into proactive action within this region.
She has experience in investments, innovative businesses, forming networks of horizontal work and creating spaces that maximize benefits of both the individual and the group. During marginal times she developed sales networks in different areas of Argentina with great success. This experience and the socio-economic impact on the people she got involved with expanded the richness of this project throughout its entire production chain. Adriana also mentored the social project carried out through Hecho x Nosotros, an NGO that is highly committed to the local reality in Latin America. Her work there helped to accomplish a process of training and empowerment of more than 500 artisans directly and 3,500 others indirectly.
This is how she was inspired to create animaná. Adriana decided to lead her own social project in order to communicate the abundance of natural resources and manual capabilities of artisans from Patagonia, travelling through the Andes. With this goal in mind she flew to India to meet with Bibi Russell, a woman who has the task of empowering 30,000 artisans in Bangladesh. From this experience, Adriana mobilized a team of professionals, artisans, coordinators, administrators, designers, artists and craftsmen to join in the collaborative network that forms the animaná platform. The animaná team works to recover and document ancestral techniques such as the use of natural fibers and dyes, and also promotes them. It cooperates in getting access to international certifications and in the creation of social and economic networks that later have an impact on local development.
She launched animaná as a social enterprise focused on reviving the Patagonian and Andean culture that she so deeply loves. Using a highly principled approach to developing products that put people, the environment and local development first — without compromising the feel or aesthetic — a truly unique style was born. Adriana strives to take part in the construction of an invisible bridge between the culture and resources of Patagonia, the Andes and the world, and to achieve this we offer products full of wisdom and history to our customers. The fashion and textile industry spans across the world, and it is up to us to challenge the former industry model that condones slavery conditions and contaminates the earth, so that we can reach a SUSTAINABLE MODEL.
Animaná fully embraces this challenge and invites you to join the commitment with us.
“Very special thanks to our customers who are our everyday promoters of this dream which is finally coming true.” – Adriana Marina
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Flair is now available!

The book has been published!  Buy your copy today on Amazon


Learn how to add WOW! to your products, services, and everyday work in order to increase sales as well as advance your career. What makes certain products gain mass appeal, acquire a dedicated following, and draw customers to wait in line for the latest version? Why do some restaurants book out weeks in advance and create buzz among would-be patrons? How are certain employees able to energize their colleagues and elicit enthusiastic participation during meetings? What sets these notable products, services, and employees apart is their flair – their charm, panache, liveliness, and energy. Flair shows how to add meaning and joy to your products, services, and everyday work. Employing principles and practices developed from interviews and research with design firms, artists, and business experts, the authors show that anyone can create inspiring flair – not only in products and services but in their own daily work – in reports, presentations, and meetings. The benefits of flair for your company are an exceptional reputation, increased sales, and premium prices. For you, flair increases management’s appreciation of your work, enabling you to stand out and advance your career. And once you fully understand flair, you’ll see that creating it can be fun.

book cover

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