Friday, February 26, 2016

A Fashion Tale - Naz&Court for BlackChalk Magazine



Editor – Justin Howard @Jthnomad
Photographer – Cliff Lipson @clifflipson
Make Up Artist – Victoria Payne @vpaynemua
Male Model – Michael Beliveau
Naz&Court is a fashion collection by designer besties, Naz Harounian & Courtney Barriger, inspired by their belief that life is like a fairy tale – you can get what you want if you dedicate yourself wholeheartedly to your quest. Taking their individual experiences as fashion designer and an internationally exhibited artist, the besties hope that Naz&Court will bring luxury into everyone’s wardrobe.
“Dress to the complexity you wish to experience.” Naz&Court

A Fashion Tale – Naz&Court

JH – What’s your philosophy about the ART of fashion?
N – If you’re not having an emotional response to it, it might as well not exist.
C – Fashion does not exists only in apparel. It can be found in everything.  Look for it on the hiking trail, on a busy street corner, on the lady pushing a baby stroller in 5-inch heels.  It comes out in how you want to feel when you are out in the world.   Fashion has to do with the imagination, how we conduct our lives, what is going on around us.
JH – What does fashion mean to you?
N – I used to believe that fashion was just a means for self-expression, but the more educated I became about the industry I realized fashion is a beast or a prince all in one entity. If the people working in the industry develop products in a more sustainable and ethical manner the beast can transform into a handsome Prince, but at this point, in our history, the beast is at his most angry and terrifying. At Naz&Court we are trying to cause a revolution and change the beast into a prince.
C – Imagine, if you will, having the ability to change with your environment, adapting like a chameleon to your instincts.  Fashion occupies a space, and calls on the imagination to fill it.  It is a walking, breathing art installation that can be simple and functional, or as bold and wild as you feel the call for. Fashion means you can be whatever you want to be wherever you happen to be.

Naz&Court / A Fashion Tale
Naz&Court / A Fashion Tale

JH – What was the first article of clothing you ever designed?
N – I was around 10 and it was a pink satin bag. I used a pearl necklace as the handle and decorated it with a patch of a punk cat with a sexy wink, actually if I could find it now I’d use it. I remember all of my friends and family asking me where I had gotten my purse and confidently responding that I had made it, that answer made me feel a true sense of pride and it still does.
C –  The first models to wear my clothing designs were Mattel Models – that is, Barbie Dolls.  I used to deconstruct Barbie clothes for their buttons and Velcro, and source fabric from old dresses and shirts from my mom’s closet.  She never knew, but I made an entire runway collection out of them.  I had my friends come over to play “fashion designer,” and my Barbie avatar, Victoria Swan (who was also a model/actress), would host runway shows in her mansion to the delight of made-up fashion magazines I would draw up.  It is funny how my eight-year-old self manifested the real life experience.  No sign of a mansion though.
JH – What are some of your accomplishments as a designer?
N – The biggest accomplishment to date is Naz&Court being called the future of fashion by Fashion Fights Poverty and the United Nations, a close second is winning America’s It Girl, a nationally televised fashion design competition and lastly, supporting international female athlete skimboarders through my other fashion brand, SC by Naz Harounian(SCbyNH).
C – Given that I have only taken on the role of designer professionally for less than a year, it came as a shock and a great honor to be recognized by Fashion Fights Poverty – a United Nations non-profit – as “The Future” of fashion for the sustainable and ethical elements of Naz&Court, and for the functionality of the designs.  Fashion Fights Poverty embodies all of my beliefs toward paying it forward and educating people about how toxic the fashion industry is on both the environment and economics of prosperity.  Fashion is the second most polluting industry in the world, second to fossil fuels – according to The True Cost documentary written by Andrew Morgan. The call to action I have taken with Naz&Court has also been recognized by Andrew Morgan.  Morgan has advised me on how and where to get up-to-date scientific information the impact of fashion on the environment and is recommending Naz&Court to his connections following the documentary.  It feels like a seal of approval.

Naz&Court / A Fashion Tale
Naz&Court / A Fashion Tale

JH – How do you select your models?
N – I’ve been blessed to be surrounded by people who are beautiful inside and out. I love having my talented friends who inspire me model for my brands. I also enjoy diversity and models who have a great deal of personality because who they are is conveyed in the images and they bring new life and personality to the clothing.
C – Historically, I professionally practice the art of performing as a model.  With creating our own clothing line, Naz and I agree that we want to embody the feel of our brand Naz&Court as both designers and editorial models.  It is extremely satisfying to fashion the environment we want to share with the world, and get to live in it too.
In the future we plan to bring in female and male models who perform a vision of strength, confidence, and diversity.  We want our models feel like heroes whose purpose is to save the world from fashion pollutants and protect the people who are exploited for cheap labor by choosing Naz&Court.
JH – Do you consider yourself an artist?
N – I consider most people artists but some more than others. Honestly, surviving and thriving in this world is an art and everyone who is doing it right is an artist in their own right.
C – Anyone who has imagination and intuition is a dreamer.  You have to be a dreamer to be an artist. The challenge is to materialize it, to animate it.  That is where the metamorphosis takes place and an artist is born.
So if you are dreaming it, and doing it, there you have it!  I must be an artist.
JH – What’s your favorite part about conceptualizing a design?
N – Knowing that soon it will be a reality. Court and I are also screenwriters, making films takes a great deal of time, but creating an article of clothing can happen rather quickly, there’s something about feeling that gratification sooner rather than later that is quite rewarding.
C – I like to imagine what I might be doing in the garment when I conceptualize a design.  That way I can design garments for all occasions, maybe even sleepwear!  I want the design to be outstanding in every element it is designed for.

A Fashion Tale / Naz&Court
A Fashion Tale / Naz&Court

JH – How do you prepare for a fashion shoot or show?
N – The preparation starts weeks, sometimes months, in advance, between figuring out the aesthetics and logistics, but the day of I try not to stress and to eat, eating is important.
C – Naz and I are our own show directors and art directors, so a lot of the pre-production is pulling inspiration from life and other artists to create our own concepts for fashion shows and editorial shoots.  Then we go out into the world and build a team to bring it all to life.  It is a ton of work, but it is always rewarding to see it come to life.
JH – What advice do you have for aspiring fashion designers?
N – First learn the business, then trust your unique voice, it’s the one thing that’ll make you stand out, lastly challenge yourself to do the design better than it’s ever been done before because no designer at this point is creating new articles of clothing, we’re only creating variations of what already exist.  The leather jacket existed before Naz&Court, but we set out to make the best version of it design wise, material wise and production wise. We made the  sustainable, ethical leather jacket for all of our Rebels with a Cause.
C – It is always a good idea for an aspiring fashion designer to apprentice with an established designer.  I apprenticed and collaborated with St. Augustine-based, award winning designer Erin Healy for her 1920’s collection that debuted at Miami International Fashion Week. Though you may not learn everything, you get a good idea of how the business works and how to create a sellable line of production that is successful.  When you are ready, really focus on your story and message before doing anything else.  Coming from a writer, your story is everything.

A Fashion Tale / Naz&Court
A Fashion Tale / Naz&Court

JH – What do you like best about designing clothes?
N – For me it used to be about bringing my design ideas to fruition and making beautiful yet functional works of art, but now there’s a whole new layer because I love doing all of that while also saving the environment, the economy and individuals, the latter brings my psyche greater joy.
C – Knowing that strangers will alter the global climate for the good by wearing Naz&Court is definitely my favorite part about designing apparel.  I want to lower the fashion industry’s carbon footprint by working with the system in place – consumer capitalism -if you can’t change the system, change the product.
JH – How would you define your personal style?
N – My style has changed a great deal over the past few years as I’ve changed as an individual, in one word BLACK.
C – Stay simple, stay elegant, and dress to the complexity you wish to experience.
JH – How would you define the style your line exemplifies?
N – Naz&Court is a legacy collection, every piece is designed to look modern, yet classic.
C – We are making heirloom pieces, legacy pieces that are comfortable, classic and timeless.

A Fashion Tale / Naz&Court
A Fashion Tale / Naz&Court

JH – Where do you get your inspiration?
N – When designing for Naz&Court I think we find inspiration in the material, we ask ourselves “What’s the best article of clothing that we can  design with this sustainable material?” and then we create it.
C – We design based off of the fabric we consider to be the most sustainable.  Fabrics that are organically grown as cotton or eucalyptus, contain no azo dyes in our silk, no cancer causing chromium 6 in our leather, and decompose in the most natural way possible.
JH – What are your favorite fabrics to work with and why?
N – SUSTAINABLE. SUSTAINABLE. SUSTAINABLE and BLACK. Sustainable because it saves the environment and black because everything, according to me at least, should come in black and studies show people are more attractive when they wear black.  Basically, let’s save the world and look sexy, why not, right?
C – Since I’ve discovered Tencel, I have fallen in love with the buttery soft jersey.  It is organic material grown without pesticides, the chemicals used to break it down are safe and recycled back into the factory, it is water resourceful, and it is so safe for the environment you can throw it on your compost and it will go back to the earth.  I consider it to be the most sustainable fabric out there.

A Fashion Tale / Naz&Court
A Fashion Tale / Naz&Court

JH – Why the name ‘Naz&Court’?
N – Naz & Court is equal parts Naz and Court, hence the name, we also thought it sounded regal.
C – Naz Harounian + Courtney Barriger = Naz&Court.  It could have been Har&Barr – but it doesn’t quite have the same ring to it…
JH – How did you launch your new brand into today’s world?
N – We used a great deal of online networking and social media.
C –  We launched Naz&Court with a great deal of help from our very talented and amazing friends and supporters who are photographers, website developers, magazine editors, models, sound engineers, drag queens, rock bands, actors, cinematographers, make-up artists, connectors, editors, brain-trusts, store owners, club promoters, talk show hosts, advocates, and folk who bought from us before we were an official business ( have I left anyone out?).  Everyone who believes in Naz and myself and who sees a sustainable future as a reality they are willing to give themselves to has helped us become what we are now.
Without the village, Naz&Court would still be an idea.  We have a lot of love and gratefulness to give out in thanks.

A Fashion Tale / Naz&Court
A Fashion Tale / Naz&Court

JH – Are you influenced by any music or art movements?
N – YES! I’m influenced by almost everything around me, especially music and art, but my taste is so vast I can’t possibly list it here, but this would be a day that would influence and elate me.  Wear all black. Listen to Placebo. Go to museums. Hold the hand of the person I love.
C – Not only am I influenced by music, movies, and art movements, but Naz&Court dreams to dress musicians, create sustainable wardrobe for films, and create art installations on runways and 2D art displays that tell the story the mess we have made in the fashion industry and the hope we have for “The Future” of fashion.  The current movement is toward sustainability and saving our planet. Let’s do this!
Instagram @NazandCourt
Facebook @Naz&Court

Black Chalk Magazine / Naz&Court
Black Chalk Magazine / Naz&Court

Naz&Court on the Red Carpet - La Jolla International Fashion Film Festival

Monday, February 1, 2016

Paths to a new Prosperity - By Simonetta Carbonaro and Christian Votava

Simonetta Carbonaro is an expert in consumer psychology, comfort science and strategic design management. She does research in the area of consumer behaviour and the social and cultural change of our societies. She is a member of the European Cultural Parliament, teaches at the Domus Academy in Milan, where she is a member of the Research Centre, and is also Professor for Humanistic Marketing and Design Management at the The Swedish School of Textiles, THS, University Colleges of BorĂ¥s, Sweden. For more than 10 years Carbonaro worked as a consultant on innovative branding strategies and is today a Partner at REALISE, where she is actively involved in Value Branding and Strategic Design.

Christian Votava is an expert in the areas of marketing, innovation and organisational efficiency. He helps make it possible for companies to operate safely and successfully in today's rapidly changing saturated markets. He holds a doctorate in chemistry and an MBA, and was active for more than 10 years in leading marketing and operating positions in Europe and the USA. He was a con- sultant at Logika AG and A.T. Karney. Today he is a Partner at REALISE. In addition to project work, he assists business manager and boards with their strategic and tactical decisions, and publishes new developments and methods in marketing.

Paths to a new Prosperity
By Simonetta Carbonaro and Christian Votava

Let's speak plainly: It is fear of the future that's the actual trigger of our current consumer crisis, and it's consumers' reticence to consume that is the cause of growth weakness in our Western economies. The optimism and belief in progress, which was once the motor of our affluent society have not been fulfilling us for some time, now. Whereas once upon a time a simple worker could actually imagine that his or her son or daughter might become a doctor, today a lawyer is satisfied if his or her own children have a job at a call center after finishing university rather than being unemployed.

The promise of continuously increasing material and social prosperity has lost its credibility in our Western societies. It was a utopia that has moved on to the emerging markets of the global economy, and which has left “memories of the past“ here in its wake. This is why we cling with anxiety and mistrust to what we know we have rather than taking off to new - unknown - shores.

In order for us in our Western societies to construct a new “vision of the future,” a new ideal of prosperity, we can no longer rely on politics alone. Its ability to play an influential role is becoming more and more limited in our globalizing world. Now it is the turn of industry and retailing to take their fates into their own hands and to develop a consumer culture which holds out to people the prospects of a new consciousness of prosperity, or at least “memories of the future.” This is about a kind of consumption that makes “sense” - that has its reason - for consumers.

Paradigm change: Back to needs

Marketing has not yet quite grasped how to properly deal with “sense” as a new customer need. Indeed, marketing continues to hold on tightly with nearly messianic conviction to the dogma of customer orientation. It leaves no stone unturned in attempting to read consumers wishes, which are expressed through a variety of immaterial benefits and manifold lifestyles. This leads to a range of segment specific “dreamworlds” that by their nature implode almost as soon as they appear, which leads to a new product offensive in order to shore up the attraction of what is being offered.

Naz&Court Sustainable Tee

Such a marketing orientation to customer desires is driving a vicious circle of innovation pressure, information flood and shorter product life cycles that has turned our already saturated markets into something more and more complex. This vicious circle also leads to an exponential growth of the marketing costs which, in the meantime, can barely be offset by increases in production efficiency. In order to break through this circle, industry and retailing must undertake a paradigm shift and rededicate themsel- ves more conscientiously to customers' needs or, to put it more precisely, their latent, not directly formulated needs. This will take an active examination of people's priorities rather than simply an easy answer to their wishes.

And yet, the classical market research, with its strength in capturing conscious and known phenomena, is simply not up to this challenge. It is hardly suitable to support strategic farsightedness or to anticipate the new. To understand consumers' latent needs, we need to rely more strongly on qualitative methods such as “Grounded Marketing," which touches on the tried and true approaches of social research*). 

This method makes it possible to investigate social phenomena within the context of an exploration process of induction and deduction - building and examining hypotheses - which is oriented (“grounded“) in a permanent observation of the real or actual. We work closely with humanistic researchers, artists, designers or fashion designers, who bring their insights and power of imagination into this process.

*Barney G. Glaser; Anselm L. Strauss: The Discovery of Grounded Theory.
Strategies for Qualitative Research (1967)
Evert Gummesson: Are current research approaches in marketing leading us astray? Marketing Theory, Vol. 1, No. 1, 27-48 (2001)

Naz&Court Sustainable Suit 

Quality: Paths to a new prosperity

Customers are no longer “consumers." Today, they work as enlightened market participants and are no longer impressed by something as simple as a communication of superlatives. The many colorful image and experience worlds have made them perhaps even more distrustful of everything they perceive as “marketing.” Rather, they are much more seeking intuitively understood reference points, which are in harmony with their own value system and their individual life themes. Because consumption, and we would like to restate this here very clearly, is very closely connected with consumers' entirely individual expectations of quality of life and selfactualisation.

The best approach to bridging the gap between products and consumers is by paying attention to the quality factor. Our own research work in the consumer sector reveals quality to be a very strong and indeed, convincing subject. But one must take care not to reduce it to its rational and scientific dimensions, but to include the emotional and subjective aspects which we all relate to as consumers. We were able to identify four relevant values sites (each one of them comprehending three further life themes defining the relevant fields of action) that covered the range of meaning attributed to quality as a topic, and which define the “sociocultural model of consumption.” 

Our model illustrates the entire bandwidth of consumer motivations today. It makes it quite clear that purchase decisions in our saturated markets depend less on rational arguments about use and benefit, or emotional seduction arts, than they depend on their significance for consumers. Thus the “socio-cultural model of consumption” describes a new understanding of prosperity, which allows the generation of considerable competitive advantages.

The major potential of this “softer side” of marketing was also recently recognized by proponents of the suddenly very fashionable “multi-sensual marketing and branding”, although the “multi-sensualists” only rely on one of the socio-cultural categories for support and don't take all of the others into account. For consumers, a brand only achieves a sustainable significance when it reflects in its identity all four value sites.

Excellence: The new luxury

The Italian Slow Food movement provides the ideal-typical example for working with this “softer side” of marketing. The Slow Food movement understood very early how to activate tradition, region and culture as added values for food, thus defining Excellence as an entirely new quality category. The term - Excellence- can be applied across the entire consumer goods sector if one is thus able to designate products and shopping locations to which con- sumers feel a strong affinity or cultural relationship. The strong identification potential of those products of excell- lence represents a real added value for which consumers are prepared to pay an extra charge.

Throughout our Western countries, Mr. and Ms. Everyman are today looking for unique and original products. You only have to observe their shopping behavior outside the supermarkets or department stores to understand that they have become “truffle pigs” of excellence. The “search for exclusivity by the masses”, as Umberto Eco calls the new phenomenon of Excellence, specifies a growing mar- ket segment that unites tradition with the Zeitgeist. It arises from the consumers' need for things that extend beyond simply products, but that also represent goods, whose value creation can be grasped and experienced in a mani- fold way-from the knowledge about their production, to the atmosphere of their points of sale. Excellence is thus in some way able to remove the gap between production and marketing and represents a counter-trend to the cultural globalization that is affecting the market of industrially- produced mass products.

The significance of products and shopping locations of Excellence allows consumers to express their capability to enjoy life, their cultural understanding, as well as their indi- vidual uniqueness. In this sense, Excellence defines and relates to an entirely new concept of luxury - not as a symbol of “status” but as a symbol of “being”. The “new luxury” is an expression of a nascent historic value shift of our post-industrial affluent societies and their undergoing utopia of constant upward social mobility.

Mass and class complement each other

As it happens, the segment of mass produced products itself is in the midst of a fundamental state of upheaval. Consumers are increasingly finding the classical quality designations of low, middle, high and premium to be artifi- cial categories of an increasingly similar standard quality. Consumers can no longer relate the various advertising messages and brand promises to any actual quality distinctions that would justify price differences in their eyes. As a result, they are increasingly picking what's cheapest.

Yet we can't simply regard this often discussed market polarization between an “Excellence” segment and a “Cheap” segment as contradictory - or opposite develop- ment. “Class” and “mass” are rather beginning to support and supplement each other. The market for Excellence is thus a sensitive seismograph for the latent needs of peo- ple. It is the actual trendsetter of consumption and func- tions as a model for the market of standard industrial pro- ducts. In return, the discount sector is making it possible for a broader segment of the population to save money in class and mass complement each other order to afford something “special” every now and then without exceeding their household budget.

The ongoing success of the discounters is impressive evidence for the very realistic behavior of customers today. They know that the discounters have an entire system in place geared to supply what they need at the best price. They do not expect discount products or discount stores to tell the story of their tradition and they are happy, not having to listen to any fairy tales either.

Real Quality: The revolution of the authentic

Nevertheless, it would be wrong to try to equate market segments with customer segments in saturated markets. Today's consumers transverse all market segments and put together their own personal product mix. By so doing, however, they prefer discount and Excellence products and are increasingly avoiding products and shopping loca- tions of the mid-range segment, whose substantial quality got jeopardized by the gimmick of immaterial benefits. Both the discount and Excellence segments are able to persuade more and more people because their market presence reflects their quality positioning in a coherent way. They beam forth what they are and make quality “real”, which is to say, rational and emotionally understandable. It is just this disarming authenticity of both segments that deliver their power to convince: In an increasingly complex world of products and goods, authenticity has the power of giving orientation, reliability, as well as significance. Authenticity can radiate the confidence of a “memory of the future” which represents an incalculable added value
“Real quality” describes a value added strategy from which can be derived more than simply entirely new approaches to brand management, product range and price policy, and innovation management. It also leads to ground-brea- king forms of consumption scenarios and exciting busi- ness expansions based on a symbiosis of discount and Excellence (Fig. 7). And yet, “real quality” is more than a strategy for saturated markets. After “value for money” and “value for time”, “value for sense” defines a new consump- tion culture that represents a silver lining for industry and retailing, but also for consumers in our crisis-ridden societies.

Textile Journal

Naz&Court Preview at The Style Bouquet for STAFW - Beth Shankle Anderson

Los Angeles Designer Naz&Court A Preview of Designers for Upcoming St. Augustine Fashion Week 


As part of a series, in the next few weeks, I will be previewing some of the designers who will be showing at St. Augustine Fashion Week on March 4th – 6th.  I am looking forward to attending St. Augustine Fashion Week where I will be profiling a number of different designers while my photographer gets some great shots of their newest designs.  Today’s designer who I am previewing is Naz&Court.
Naz&Court is an innovative sustainable and socially responsible apparel brand made in Los Angeles who has been hailed “the future” of fashion by The United Nations.
Naz Harounian and Courtney Barriger began their vision for a sustainable future after collaborating and winning LA and NYC based reality show America’s It Girl.  Through fire and trial, they refined their unique aesthetic and paired it with their desire to make the world a better place. Aware of the impact today has on the future, Naz and Courtney are taking initiative to create new modern classic apparel with unparalleled dedication to sustainable sourcing and ethical manufacturing.
Photo 1(Photo © 2016 Cliff Lipson)
According to Naz&Court, the current garment industry is saturated with synthetic fossil fuel fibers and chemically treated organic materials that are processed in facilities that shed harmful waste into the environment, contributing to carbon pollution, biohazardous waste and disease.
N&C fabrics are cutting edge technology married with old-world craftsmanship, bringing the movement to protect our planet into everyday new modern classic clothing.
Photo 3(Photo © 2016 Cliff Lipson)
The co-founders take ease of wear into consideration when designing.  Naz&Court silk dresses have no buttons, snaps, hooks or zippers, they just slide on over the slip for an instant glamorous look.  The leather and lyocell are buttery soft to the touch.
Taking their commitment one step further, N&C have created the self-funded grassroots educational movement What’s on Your Back? The program is designed to inform youth about impact the clothes they wear has on the environment. When you purchase Naz&Court you are giving back and paying it forward.
PB8A8716(Photo © 2016 Cliff Lipson)
image001(Photo © 2016 Cliff Lipson)
image003(Photo © 2016 Cliff Lipson)
Photo 4(Photo © 2016 Cliff Lipson)