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Thursday, January 22, 2009

Fashionology LA - An Honest Review of A Kids' Fashion Concept - 90210-style

THE CONCEPT

Fashionology LA is a fashion destination on Canon Drive (that's two blocks east of the famous Rodeo Drive) designed for "tweens." Now, when I was first asked to review this fashion concept of a store, I said "My daughter is only 6 1/2 - is she really considered a tween? Please say no."   Well, thankfully they said a "tween" officially starts around the age of 8, but the folks at Fashionology LA said she was still at a good age to give it a try. Whew.  That was a close one.  No need to get myself all worked up thinking my 6 1/2 year old was being labeled with a word that too closely resembles the word "teen."  Yikes. 

Moving on....

Fashionology LA was explained to me as kind of like "Build-A-Bear" but with clothes instead of well, bears. And I was like "Stuffed clothes?" How fascinating. Finally a store not focusing on that disturbing message to young girls that you need to be thin to wear hip clothes but instead was actually working on making tweens gain a few pounds with their stuffed clothing. 

Well, suffice it to say, I was wrong. Fashionology LA is not about stuffed clothing at all. There's nothing stuffed about it.  But that's not to say either that they are trying to push the thin message - they're not at all. Is anyone following my line of thinking here?  Or am I out here on my own?

Moving on...

Fashionology LA is a cool, hip, 90210-zip coded store, where little girls and tweens can go and design their very own piece of clothing. And not only can they design it, they have an actual hand in making it.  Sounds cool, right?  Well, it is cool. No doubt about it. What I love about this review business is having the opportunity to experience some truly fresh, innovative products and concepts, and Fashionology LA is definitely paving an original path in the world of children's fashion.  

THE EXPERIENCE

Over the holiday break, my daughter and I were invited to trek on over to Fashionology LA for a Beverly Hills afternoon.  Now let me be clear, I am not a frequent visitor to Beverly Hills although they do have a massive Crate and Barrel which I am known to wander through when I'm in the wandering mood.  But we had a task at hand so stroll into Beverly Hills we must. A mother-daughter outing, shopping, lunching, skipping hand-in-hand together past the Armani, Gucci, Prada, and Harry Winston storefronts to partake in a one-of-a-kind hands-on design experience.

From the moment we set foot in the store, we were jazzed to give this a try.  The vibrant, funky, energetic design and friendly staff got our creative juices flowing.  I mean, it got my daughter's creativity flowing because this was about her right?  Oh yeah, right.

Colorful cotton tees, tanks, pants, skirts, and dresses hung bare and ready to be personalized by my budding fashionista.  We were led over to Fashionology LA's signature touch-screens where my daughter first had to choose the design theme that fit her "fashion mood." 

And because my 6 1/2 year old daughter is not quite a "tween," her mood was best described that day as "POP."  What?  You think that's a sign that she's actually already a "tween?"  NOOOOO!  I just think she liked the pink colors of the word "POP."


So "POP" was her name and a cool purple dress was her game.  Now all she had to do was click and drag all kinds of goodies onto her garment to get the vibe she wanted.  The possibilities of all kinds of 'big looks" (iron-ons) and "thingalings" (pin-ons, clip-ons, bling-ons, and sew-ons) are endless.  At least it seemed endless. To me.  The mom standing by watching all the fun shake down.  Now is there any way I can be considered a tween?


This virtual playground dubbed the "Design Pad" is the true brilliance of Fashionology's innovation.  My daughter simply could not get enough of hanging out at the huge design screen. 


Actually it was hard to get to her commit to the kinds of goodies she wanted to adorn on her purple frock, she wanted everything.


And she wanted to design multiple items in all of the themes.  And I don't blame her.  I wanted to, too.  But oh yeah, this is a store for kids, right? Oh yeah, right

But in the end, after preaching all kinds of self-restraint and "No, honey, mama doesn't have enough money for all of that bling," (yes, our visit was complimentary but practical me was in no way going to let her take advantage of the situation), she finally committed to her design.  Literally, we could have been standing there for hours.

The U-Bar was our next stop where we received a print-out of our design and a friendly staffer, aka our "fashionologist", gathered my daughter's choices to prepare for garment implementation.  


The iron-on portion was taken care of by our personal fashionologist and the rest was to be handled by the designer herself.
 



One of the highlights of our visit was when my daughter was taught to use the "bedazzler."  Now for those who read me, you know I am as far away from a sewing, crafty-kinda mom as they come, so this was my first time ever being near a "bedazzler" or even hearing the word "bedazzler."  I know, I know.



Well, let me say I did not know what I was missing and now I'm thinking of asking my dude for a "bedazzler" for Valentine's Day. Talk about fashionologist!! That's gonna be ME baby!

Oh yeah, this isn't all about me.  

Really though, the look on her face as she proudly mastered the "bedazzler" was worth every penny I was not spending. But would have spent just to see that expression of pride and satisfaction.

When the last sparkly blingy jewel had been bedazzled into place and the final charm clipped-on, our Fashionology LA experience culminated with another look on my daughter's face that almost made me well up right there standing amidst all that bling. (Yes, I am known to be rather emotional.)

In the back corner of the store, there is a mini-stage where my daughter got to strut her stuff after changing out of her well-worn Target clothes and transform herself into a runway fashion model. As she stepped into place, bright lights shone on her and the mounted automatic camera started snapping. I loved watching her as she started her first pose self-consciously but then gradually became more comfortable in her freshly-designed piece of art.  The hands on the hip came after a couple of tries.  I think the pose says it all.  At least to me.  Her mama.


After the photo session, she got to choose the pose she liked the most and the store emailed us a copy of that photo for our memory book.  Or for this blog if I could find the photo in my one hundred million emails.


And then as if an ending could get any sweeter, her chosen pose is added into the store's slideshow rotation and we stood and watched as she had her debut on the big, BIG screen that hangs over the store.  

There she is.  My not-quite-a-tween up in lights.  Hands on hips. Proud. Confident. Creatively satisfied.  And standing tall for all the world to see.

And that my friends is what Fashionology LA is all about. Empowering young girls to express themselves in a fun, innocent, age-appropriate manner. 

And let me tell you after we said our final farewell to our fashionologist and walked outside, my daughter had an extra spring in her step and just a little more attitude in her hip stance.  

Check it out. 



WHAT THE KID SAYS:

The kid says "Can we go again Mom?  And can we bring the lil' sis so she can make something too?"  (If you don't know, the lil' sis is 4 1/2 but acts more like a tween than her older sister.)

WHAT THE MOM SAYS:

The mom says I would love to take my almost-tween back to Fashionology LA and I would even consider letting her take a few select friends there to celebrate her 7th birthday if she was still on the fashion bandwagon come June.  The only downside to this entire experience for the mom was.....can you guess?  

Oh yeah, the price.  I can't say I'm doing an honest review if I don't honestly express my opinion on the pricetag of this stellar experience. 

As I said, I was adamant in making sure my daughter did not bling up her dress so as to cost a small fortune.  Her design would have cost me $84 and change. Believe you me, I had to stop her as she clicked and dragged her way well over the $100 mark.  And I had to painstakingly ask her to start removing things from her design.  

Maybe that's because she's not really a tween.  Maybe a tween would have had more self-restraint.  Mothers of real tweens, care to weigh in?

Now I realize that you're paying not only for the garment, but mainly for the experience but I just don't know many people in my sphere of LA moms who would spend this kind of money on a cute cotton dress with a couple of iron-ons, some bedazzled jewels and one clip-on charm. I would love to see this entire concept reach a wider audience.  All girls deserve an experience like this - I just think the cost needs to be more accessible.

Fashionology LA has been open less than a year so they are in their infancy really. I will definitely be keeping tabs on the buzz around this store and as they launch the online version in the Spring of 2009.  The concept is spectacular, original and so much fun and the actual store experience was well-thought out and smoothly executed.  In the end, I can honestly say that by the time my girls are really tweens, I hope we can head back over there to get bedazzled all over again. 

Thanks to Mom Fuse for their never-ending patience and to Fashionology LA for a fabulous mother-daughter outing 90210-style.  

P.S.  I found the photo emailed to me from the store.  It's sweet.


19 comments:

  1. I love the stuffed clothes idea!

    I was going to suggest you all just go out and get yourself a bedazzler, go to a local t-shirt printing place for the iron-on, and save a bachillion bucks. But, you are so right...the price tag is DEFINITELY about the experience. And a what a great one.

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  2. Looks like fun!

    Can they do a true stuffed clothes version for adults?

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  3. ok, i am SO in love. i think the two of us should open our version of this and make it 1) cheaper and 2) for tweens, teens AND us old ladies!!!! this IS really brilliant.

    can i just say how adorable your daughter looks? she did a fantastic job designing and modeling the dress. she's a natural!

    the minute you said build a bear but with clothes, i thought "it's gonna be pricey"... i think build a bear is way expensive and you do have to use restraint or you bear will end up being $150.

    i know i am going on and on about this (and i don't even have girls)... it's just that i love the idea so much.

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  4. Holy cow! What a BRILLIANT idea!

    I wonder how long until Dallas gets one. There are plenty of (crazy) moms here who would gladly pay the pricetag.

    Any chance they will do a boy version? Probably not. What boy wants to wear a bedazzled dump truck? The Oldest actually, but I digress.

    Time to grab the niece!!

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  5. is this for girls only? or do they do boy's stuff too?

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  6. Sounds like fun.. May be when i have kids i can take them there!

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  7. what a neat concept...love it, but the price is a lil overwhelming...i am used to paying 3.50 for t-shirts with iron ons for peanut...$84 is a lil much. Yet for a day out with maybe an 11 year old then I might be able to justify it.Great review.

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  8. Hi! Thanks for stopping by to see my brain.

    This sounds totally cool! Maybe by the time my 2.5 yr old girl is a tween it will be cheaper - and available on the East Coast!

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  9. That sounds like a blast! It's kind of like designing your own Nikes ( I don't even wear Nikes but i could play around on the website for days.)

    I love her sassy pose outside the store, she's so sweet.

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  10. Man it makes you wish you were a kid again...between this and being able to take your American Girl doll to the beauty shop for a new do and then to lunch in the cafe. They didn't have this fun stuff when I was a kid! But I agree...the price would certainly stop me from bringing my kid...or grandkid there...although it looks like SO much fun!

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  11. that is freaking awesome! I want one!!! I hope one gets to St Louis, but that's unlikely- we're losers- although Build a bear started here- now that Anhueser Busch is done- that's our call to fame- freaking bears!!!

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  12. I love the concept...the whole time I am thinking "the price" glad you gave it to us.
    I think a bit cheaper, and they'd have a "Build a Bear" hit on their hands.

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  13. Oh my gosh CR looks so darn adorable and her pride and pizazz come shining through in those photos.

    I LOVE it and so would my not-quite-yet-tween!

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  14. great review.
    and the price is a little shocking...but it might be a fun "experience" for a mommy/daughter day out.
    if it were cheaper, it would be the BEST birthday party EVER!!!

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  15. Great concept, but I agree about the price. Wow!

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  16. That is an amazing concept. Taking the build-a-bear concept and child bedazzler labor to a whole new level.

    Very California I would say too.

    I loved it. I remember like 9 million years ago when I was a kid-going to a store in the mall and picking out an iron for a tee-shirt. "I love Kitties"...and I thought I was a total fashion designer! So this is just killer.

    Thanks for sharing. Now I gotta pimp this on Twitter fo-sho.

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  17. I recently came accross your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I dont know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.


    Elaina

    http://www.craigslistpostingtools.info

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  18. Just wondering if this is entertaining for 12-13 year olds too, or if it's just a wee bit childish for that age? Thinking of taking a group over there but concerned that the clothing/add-ons, etc are too "young" for them. Anyone been there who knows?

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  19. Fashionology was started by three EXTREMELY wealthy moms so they are quite out of touch regarding what a normal working family can afford. I will still book my thrilled daughter's birthday party there, but she is only allowed to bring her sister and two friends, bringing the cost to around $300 (for 3 t-shirts!).

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