Former CEO of Banana Republic, Jack Calhoun

Today’s article is about the former CEO of Banana Republic, Jack Calhoun. Prior to his work he attended Indiana University Jacobs School of Music, Purdue University, and Harvard University. After attending higher education, Calhoun went on to lead an extensive life in the fashion industry. He stated that he, “worked in retail fashion for seventeen years starting in beauty as I ran CoverGirl cosmetics.” In addition to working in beauty, he has a vast amount of experience in the fashion world ranging from marketing manager at Levi Strauss & Co, to account director of Foote, Cone & Belding, to the Vice President of Citron Haligman Bedecarre. He later went on to become a general manager at Young & Rubicam in San Francisco. Also in San Francisco, he worked on brand management at Charles Schwab. In 2003 Calhoun launched his career with Banana Republic as their Marketing and Merchandising expert. Jack’s passion for design did not simply stop at clothing as he joined the board of directors for Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams in 2005, which is an organization that works with furniture design and manufacturing companies. He was later in the board of directors for Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants.

By the beginning of 2007, Calhoun was the global president of Banana Republic, where he continued to be CEO for a respectable twelve years. This job entailed running a $3 billion global business, staying true to the brand, and promoting a healthy working environment for all 22,000 employees that work at the 700 stores around the worldwide. Chris and I were both very curious about the amount of sway a big company like Banana Republic has on the fashion industry as a whole and Jack mentioned to us that “Banana Republic redefined what business casual means, before Banana Republic, people were wearing suits to work. So I think that in the early 2000’s it had a lot of influence.” During his time there he explained to us that he has seen many brands rise and fall as the world of fashion evolves. He claimed that quality brands “don’t try to market to everybody.” And that if a brand is struggling that they should return to their roots and continue to create high-quality clothing.

As more of a side project, Jack was an executive board member of the San Francisco Opera in which he helped fundraise and increased engagement, especially for younger participants. He is now a vice-chair board of directors for the Fine Arts Museums Of San Francisco and continues to be an essential and informative member of the fashion industry through his work as a senior advisor for McKinsey & Company, consulting with high-end luxury brands. He says that this job has a “more flexible schedule” than his work at Banana Republic and he enjoys his work. He travels a lot for work so were we grateful for the opportunity to interview him.

Once we had a good understanding of Jack background we dove into one of today’s growing trends: sustainability. While this is probably not the first beauty trend that comes to mind, it is one that is becoming increasingly popular due to Millennials and Generation Z. “People were just marketing sustainability, but not really doing it, so people your age now or in college actually really care, so they’re not buying brands if they think they’re fake or just a marketing gimmick.” As today’s youth are more conscious of how clothing is processed, they have a deeper desire to have clothes that are not only good for the planet but also made through ethical practices. This pushes companies to be more sustainable because they know it will be more profitable if they manufacture clothing how their customers want them to. I was curious to understand if there was a way to verify if companies were genuinely being sustainable and Calhoun answered by saying, “if you start looking at their annual reports on what they’re talking about on sustainable you can start to really see if they’re actually doing something because it’s a lot about how they source or where they source and even if they report certain things. So you can really see on a companies report are they talking and have details about what they’re doing to promote good ethical practices. So that’s a huge trend.”

This led us into a discussion about different trends and how social media effects these trends. Jack explained to us that, “new trends are starting to come out of Asia which is unique”. This is because in this day and age everything, especially in the fashion industry, is being mobilized. This makes it easy to watch high fashion runway shows and then have cheaper brands, such as Forever 21, rip them off. Social media has also changed the way we advertise. As we mentioned in some of our other posts, today’s “influencers” are becoming the new way of marketing a brand or style. It is much more effective to have a celebrity wear clothes and post about it than to spend money and time on a full shoot. We asked Jack about how this new way of marketing would change the attitude of beauty norms and what his personal opinion on the matter was due to his intense amount of experience. “I kind of feel like at the moment there’s a little bit more fun happening with beauty. It’s more transformative and becoming less gender specific. So I think it’s just creating more fun out of it vs everyone just trying to look like a supermodel which is not very realistic.”

Chris’ Nighttime Skincare Regiment

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Hi everyone! In this post, I will be showing you my daily nighttime skincare routine. As you can probably see from the vast amount of products above, it is pretty extensive. So let’s get started!

Make sure to check below for links to all the products talked about in the post!

Step 1: Cleansing

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My first step is cleansing. I have a few cleansers I use, but I tend to use this one the most. It’s the Classic Rice Enzyme Powder by Tatcha. Essentially, it is a condensed rice powder which when mixed with wet hands creates the traditional foam-like consistency seen in most face washes. I simply wet my face, do as above, then apply it to my entire face and neck, being gentle around the eyes.

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After the product is applied to the face, I take a Foreo exfoliator and work in clockwise motions around my face. Doing this helps remove any excess dirt or debris that may be on your face from the day. This exfoliator vibrates, further helping the exfoliation process. To finish the cleansing process, I simply take a damp towel and wipe away the excess soap.

Step 2: Toning

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The next step in my routine is toning. The toner I use daily is the Glossier Solution. It contains 10% BHA/AHA/PHA, and salicylic acid which is huge in combatting acne. Since I purchased this product a few months ago, I have seen a huge change in my skin. I get acne way less frequently, and my skin looks better than ever. It has done wonders to my skin. To apply this, I take a traditional cotton round/square and apply around 3 pumps of the toner to it. After this, I take the cotton square and apply the product to my whole face, and neck. When finished with this, the skin is left with a relatively dewy/shiny look, true to Glossier’s brand.

Step 3: Refreshing Spray

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After using this relatively harsh to the skin toner, it sometimes may leave a stinging sensation on my skin. To combat this, I like to use one of Mario Badescu’s hydrating sprays. They come in three variants, rose water, cucumber & green tea, and lavender & chamomile. My personal favorite is the cucumber & green tea, I find it to smell the best and be the most soothing on my skin. (I also carry one on my person pretty much daily!!)

Step 4: Serum, Serum, Serum

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Serums are key to my skincare routine. Many may find them a bit ‘extra’ but serums can actually do wonders to your skin. for me specifically, I have a growing obsession with them. What started out with one serum nightly has now turned into three (a bit much I know). Given that I am not a dermatologist, or a skin care guru, I’m not sure the exact correct way to layer serums. However, through the articles I’ve read, I think I have a decent idea.

The serum I like to start with is the Truth Serum, by Ole Henriksen. The Truth Serum is a hydrating and brightening serum. It is also anti-aging, containing vitamin C and collagen for a hydrated look all day. I take one pump of this on the tip of my fingers and apply it all over my face and neck. Similarly to the Glossier toner, this leaves a shiny effect on the skin, showing your truly hydrated skin underneath. Along with this amazing look on the skin, the product also smells amazing, a citrus scent of sorts. This is my first step, as, through my research, I found that serums that contain vitamin c should always go first.

Following the Truth Serum, I go in with ‘Super Pure’ by Glossier. This serum simply targets any imperfections in the skin. Formulated with niacinamide, and zinc it is perfect for getting rid of any blemishes. Because of this, I typically don’t put this serum all over my face. Usually, I will place it only in areas that I may have a breakout, or feel one coming. These areas include my forehead, temples, chin, and occasionally my jawline and nose.

Lastly, following both the Truth Serum and Super Pure, I go in with the Water Drench Hyaluronic Cloud Serum by Peter Thomas Roth. This serum is formulated with hyaluronic acid, which leaves immense hydration for the skin. Hyaluronic acid attracts up to 1000 times its weight in water from moisture in the atmosphere, thus leaving skin very hydrated. I apply this to the entire face, making sure to include the neck. This is the last serum I use, as I feel it locks in all the prior moisture put into my skin from the serums mentioned previously.

Step 5: Eye Cream

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Following the layering of serums, I go in with my eye cream. Lately, I’ve been using the Eye Duty Triple Remedy Overnight Balm by First Aid Beauty. To apply, I just take a pea-sized amount for each eye. Before applying, I like to warm up the product in my fingers for easier application. To apply eye cream, the best finger to use is your ring finger. This is because the ring finger is the most delicate one, and because the skin around your eyes is very tender, this is key. To apply, simply have the cream on your ring finger, and lightly tap around the eye area, remembering to include the lid as well. The eye cream is a huge part of the routine because it’s so important to keep the undereye hydrated; who wants wrinkles?!

Step 6: Moisturizer

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One of my favorite parts of the routine is moisturizer! The one I personally use is Creme de La Mer. It is obscenely expensive, but definitely does the job better than I could ask. This moisturizer is quite a thick cream, so like the eye cream above, it definitely needs warming up before application. La Mer as a brand prides itself on having multiple formulas/consistencies of this creme to suit different preferences. For example, they have the moisturizing cream (as shown above), the soft cream, the gel cream, and the soft lotion. The only difference between these products listed above is consistency, and finish. Each provides an equal amount of moisture, anti-aging benefits, and various other benefits the moisturizer offers. To apply, I use the spoon (as shown in the photo) and take a small amount onto my fingers. After rubbing it together, warming it up I pat it into the skin making sure to reach every area of my face. This product leaves a luminous look to the skin as it hydrates.

Step 7: Sleeping Mask

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Last but not least is a sleeping mask. I only occasionally do this, because I tend to get a bit lazy. A sleeping mask goes right on top of your moisturizer and other products, after your routine. The one I personally use is the Watermelon Glow Sleeping Mask by Glow Recipe. This is a relatively new addition to my routine, but it is a leave on mask that sinks into your skin overnight. After waking up, you simply wipe it off with a damp cloth and continue with your morning routine. This leaves your skin perfectly hydrated and glowing for the day.

 

PRODUCTS:

Cleanser –  https://www.sephora.com/product/polished-rice-enzyme-powder-P426340?skuId=1673813&icid2=tatcha_lp_polished_carousel:p426340

Facial Exfoliator –  https://www.foreo.com/luna-play-plus

Toner –  https://www.glossier.com/products/solution

Refreshing Spray –  https://www.ulta.com/facial-spray-with-aloe-cucumber-green-tea?productId=xlsImpprod15471023

Serums – https://www.sephora.com/product/truth-serum-P42343?skuId=1910470&icid2=products%20grid:p42343

https://www.glossier.com/products/super-pure

https://www.sephora.com/product/water-drench-hyaluronic-cloud-serum-P222818

Eye Cream –  https://www.sephora.com/product/eye-duty-triple-remedy-overnight-balm-P393601?skuId=1670116&icid2=products%20grid:p393601

Moisturizer –  https://www.sephora.com/product/creme-de-la-mer-moisturizing-cream-P416341?skuId=1932193&icid2=lamer_lp_bestsellers_carousel_us:p416341

Sleeping Mask –  https://www.sephora.com/product/watermelon-glow-sleeping-mask-P420160?skuId=1955764&icid2=products%20grid:p420160

Local Seattle Photographer, Alex Lim

On Friday, Molly and I met with local Seattle photographer, Alex Lim. We met him at his studio in SoDo. Covered with plants, and other aesthetically pleasing interior decor, it was a nice setting to conduct this interview. To start off, we wanted to ask him a little bit about his background. Alex decided that he wanted to become a photographer after college in 2005. Prior to this, he had no formal art training, and didn’t attend art school. He mentioned that he, “started just like everyone, by just picking up a camera after college.” He started off by telling us that his career began when, “digital was not brand new, but it was still at the point where people were still asking the question, ‘Do you shoot with film or do you do digital?’ ” He then elaborated by mentioning that he shoots digitally because he had bought his first SLR camera around that time he started in the business. Initially he was shooting photos for clubs, such as his martial arts clubs, and various other events, and fundraisers. He bought the camera for those reasons, and through this, he found a true passion for photography. He also mentioned that this passion conveniently coincided with when he was graduating from school. His first job after college was working at a graphic and web design studio, but shortly after starting there, he figured out that working on anything that involved coding was exponentially changing year by year and it wasn’t really his interest. His career path became a natural evolution. Once he found his place in the photography industry, honing in on what he really wanted to do, he began his career. He spent the first 4 or 5 years learning, growing, networking and building a strong portfolio which he could use to get photoshoots. Today, having been in the industry for around 13 years, an average day for him as a freelance photographer is sporadic. We asked what a typical day looks like, and Alex mentioned that he doesn’t really have a regular schedule. Every week, month and year is different. Over time, he found that his interest and specialty lies more with model type photos, as opposed to commercial shoots. He likes to use his unique style to tell a story with his pictures; each photo goes beyond the person who is standing in front of the camera. He feels that shooting in foreign locations is a good way of achieving this. We were curious about the process of choosing his models, and how he works with them to create the outcome he is looking for. For Alex, personality is very important. He likes to look for models who also have unique personality traits that will make a shoot more interesting. Sometimes he will have models participate in test shoots to test not only the model, but also the location and the concept. He doesn’t want these to feel like an audition though, so sometimes he will work with a heavy hand, and sometimes not, depending on the model. We were curious about what photographers have influenced his work and his thinking around photography over the course of his career, and Alex mentioned that he admires different artists for different reason, but he named in in particular. He admires portrait photographer Peter Lindbergh for his talent capturing expression and emotion, and also Erik Almas, who is a digital photographer with a real ability to visually conceptualize a shoot/project, and bring everything together into a composite of hundreds of photos.

 

We followed these questions about Alex’s personal story with some questions about the photography industry today in general. To start this conversation off, we talked about how Alex has seen the industry change throughout his time in the field. He talked about how the industry is constantly changing, especially with the addition of the social media boom. Social media has changed the culture a lot, where many influencers can post photos for a brand, and get sent free clothes for example. This is very different from before, as some brands don’t even need to hire a professional photographer to get their brand exposure throughout platforms. “There is a homogenization of everything” Alex noted. There is less specialization and he finds that people today don’t notice the small details as much as they used to, and they don’t care as much about real quality of photos. This he feels has lead to a change in the perception of the field of photography and of the industry as an occupation. Nowadays almost everyone has access to devices with camera capabilities. With the huge influx of social media posts and the integration of modern smartphones, our next conversation moved into the difference between professional photographers and hobby/Instagram photographers. Alex feels that there are a few main difference between the two. Professional photographers naturally work with strong degree professionalism and experience with equipment and technique. This experience is not only with cameras and other photographic equipment, but also working with and directing the models. Professionals know how to engineer a mood board and create the desired effect with their own style vs. an amateur who wouldn’t have those skills, and Instagram photographers, for example, can only create good content for one medium, i.e. Instagram as opposed to a variety of different mediums. Next, the idea of what makes a photo really stand out from the rest got brought up. He simply said that if you look at it in a thumbnail size, or Instagram cube size for example, it should draw you to it. He gave us an example we could easily relate to, looking at someone’s feed on Instagram. He mentioned that usually, you won’t click on every single photo on a feed. Instead, you will click on the ones you are drawn to. That is how he explained how a good photo stands out. Finally, we asked Alex what he felt was the hardest part about being a professional photographer today. His answer was simple, “I don’t know if there are any easy parts.” He said that to him, the key is keeping the interest and the passion and sticking with it, and that can be very hard. In his 13 years in the business, Alex has seen so many people come and go. People these days get so easily distracted; either their expectations for their career didn’t match up, or they didn’t know how to direct models, whatever the case, Alex stressed that “if you don’t stop, you won’t fail”, so just stick with it.

Check out his website! http://www.alexlim.com

Molly Repurposes Jeans: Part One – Embroidering

Good evening, readers! Today I decided to try my hand at embroidering. For this project, I first went to a local thrift store and purchased a $30 pair of 90s Levi’s (a pretty good deal if I do say so myself).

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To embroider my jeans I used embroidering thread and needles. It is important to use embroidering thread instead of sewing thread as it is thicker and will be more visible.

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Then I used an embroidering hoop to make sure the denim was nice and taut.

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After the hoop was in place I drew a few simple designs that I wanted on my jean pockets. Once I had sketched out the designs I started embroidering away. I was worried about what the final product would look like as I don’t have much practice hand sewing, but because I went slow and followed the lines the task turned out to be relatively easy and fun!

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Final jean pocket looks:

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Pike Place Market (feat. Aidan !)

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Welcome to post #1 of our senior project adventure! These photos were taken a while back, but we never got around to posting them. So here it finally is. For this post, we thought it would be fun to visit one of Seattle’s most touristy locations, Pike Place Market. We did this with the help of our stylish and lovable friend, Aidan. This populated market is full of bright colors and quirky stores, both of which fit Aidan’s unique brand. Despite bumping into people, eating, and bugging Aidan about his love life we still managed to get a few photos from our adventure.

Chris’ Outfit

Jacket: Yeezy wool bomber jacket

Top: Black turtleneck

Bottom: Reworked Levi’s jeans

Shoes: Vans Sk-8 Hi

Aidan’s Outfit

Top: Blue flannel w/ white t-shirt

Bottom: Thrifted Paco denim

Shoes: Raf Simons x Adidas Stan Smith

 

Fall Vibes

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To truly embrace the cold Seattle weather, we took this shoot outside on a fall night. Set in a scenic garden, we utilized the natural surroundings to create a nice backdrop for the photos. To balance the dark palettes, we posed with a variety of flowers and plants. Molly is wearing gold jewelry and natural orange makeup to welcome traditional Fall colors into her wardrobe. Chris sticks to a full black and white outfit (in typical Chris fashion) While we put the outfits together it is clear that the most stylish one of all is Ginger (the good dog)

Molly’s Outfit #1

Top: Chunky green sweater

Bottoms: Black corduroy overalls

Molly’s Outfit #2

Top: Burnt orange sweater

Bottoms: Black jeans

Jacket: Fuzzy green jacket

Chris’ Outfit: 

Jacket: Balenciaga denim jacket

Top: Plain white T-shirt

Bottoms: Black pinstripe pants

Shoes: Fenty x Puma creepers

 

Cozy Sunday

 

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As the season changes to Fall, our style changes along with it. Due to the cold weather, we decided to stay inside for this shoot. Dressed head to toe in sweats, these looks definitely give off a comfortable feel. We tried to match our comfy fits with the atmosphere of each room. We were also in agreement on the beauty of each room so we took some individual photos of the decor as well. We suggest that everyone should enjoy a nice Sunday in every once and a while.

Molly’s Outfit #1:

Top: Thrifted green crew neck

Bottoms: BP bell-bottom jeans

Molly’s Outfit #2:

Top: Yeezus tour T-shirt

Bottoms: Maroon sweatpants

Chris’ Outfit:

Top: Thrifted Seattle Sonics (rip) sweatshirt

Bottoms: Adidas sweatpants

Shoe: Black Puma slides

 

happy halloween – Molly’s costume

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Happy Halloween, friends! For this, we thought we’d share Molly’s Halloween look for this year. This is a modern take on the classic devil costume. We incorporated a corset with a baggier pant to balance the look. We kept it simple with a black and white theme and minimal makeup. The multi-colored pumpkins and corn stock add cozy fall vibes to help set the tone. Everyone eat lots of candy and stay safe this Halloween!

Accessories: Devil horns

Top: Basic black corset

Bottoms: Adidas track pants

Shoes: Fenty x Puma creepers