Beth Takes to the Catwalk for a Seminar at Pure London

February 23 2017
Last week Beth returned to the fashion stage, speaking at the Pure fashion trade show at Kensington Olympia in London. She loved presenting to such an attentive and involved crowd, with a large standing room turnout. Pure London showcases very creative, current and forward thinking independent designers and manufacturers, and the halls were filled with bustling activity. We had to pull Beth away from shopping to do her talk!  

The presentation provided a great chance for Beth to express her take on Transformational Branding, and marry it with another one of her passions - fashion! Speaking about How to Communicate your Brand using Photography and Motion, she analysed some of the hottest brands out there and how they are nailing their branding, with tips on how to read their imagery and apply this to attendee’s fashion and retail businesses. 

We would like to thank Taina, Sarah and all the team at Pure, as well as all the attendees Beth spoke to after the presentation. Roll on Pure July 2017!

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A Big Fashionable Thank You: MODA

August 17 2016

Beth recently spoke at MODA in Birmingham, UK, to a wonderful audience of retailers, designers and other fashion folk. MODA is one of the two main fashion trade shows in the UK, and it encompasses women’s, men’s, accessories, footwear, and athletic wear and lingerie, so it is a very comprehensive gathering of designers, manufacturers and retail buyers. 

For her first experience on the catwalk, Beth talked about “Why Having a Brand Matters,” with an emphasis on helping the audience to understand how global fashion brands are built so that they can learn how to do it themselves. The audience was terrific, as were the exhibitors who she had the chance to interview and chat with.

Thank you, MODA! We have lots of new ideas on what to wear for 2017!

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Get your Clothes On: Beth speaks at MODA UK, 8th August 2016

July 19 2016

Beth is excited to be giving her first presentation on the catwalk at MODA, the UK's largest business-to-business fashion event bringing together the best in international design. 

UK designers are so fashionable, fashion-forward and stylishly eccentric, so MODA will be a real treat. Beth is looking forward to checking out all of the amazing creators to help them learn how to discover, excavate and communicate their fabulous brands and to build and expand their markets. 

She will be speaking at Hall 20 Catwalk from 2:15 – 2:45. Please jump on the train and come to the NEC for what is bound to be an informative talk geared towards the fresh faces of fashion — AND YOU!

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Thinking about the magic of Albar Elbaz

November 01 2015

I can’t say why I’ve been so obsessed by the phenomenal Albar Elbaz’s departure from Lanvin.  I’m reading every article, reading his statements, reading about his staff, the workers and their demands that the majority owner of Lanvin come to Paris and answer their questions. What is so special about him, anyway?

During his tenure at Lanvin, Elbaz has been considered to be at the most haute level of the fashion world, although he does not formally do “haute couture.” While I try to stay deeply plugged into what is going in fashion, particularly as a lens to society and culture, I have always seen that his work that is far above trends. And that has seemed to me to be coming from a core place inside of him --- he’s not just another designer describing this fall season’s collection as being inspired by Swiss milkmaids in the Yucatan, or Unicorns coupled with The Matrix.

So, I want to share with you an excerpt from an interview done with Elbaz in 2014 with the Business of Fashion. They write, “His designs reflect consistency, intellectual involvement and a depth of investigation into designing clothes that puts Elbaz on the level of a master like Cristóbal Balenciaga. Well known is the story of Balenciaga's reaction to a journalist whose enquiry about his “new ideas” for the coming season elicited the cold reply, “Madam, I never have new ideas.” Diana Vreeland once told me, referring to Seventh Avenue in the 1970s, that “modern designers think they need ideas. But they are wrong. All they need is a point of view.” In many ways, Elbaz’s way of working at Lanvin reflects the stance of both Balenciaga and Vreeland. He does not think each season must be a new start, or a fresh awakening. Indeed, he resists the ebb and flow of fashion in favour of developing his own ideas, incrementally, over long periods of time.” 

I’m so interested in this quote because it reflects what the essence of the work I do with my clients. Point of view is not style; it’s elemental, wired into who you are, and expressed through peak attributes married with your skills. Elbaz could be a fashion designer, or a chef, or an architect. The magical alchemy, pleasure, and rigor of his work will be the same, no matter what. That is indeed someone, and something, above fashion. 

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Celebrating with our Clients: Josh Rothstein and Eli Schmidt

June 12 2015

It’s always an incredible pleasure when our wonderful clients receive recognition for the great work that they do. It’s also deep confirmation that working from your center, understanding your brand attributes and putting them into play consistently yields tangible results – sometimes really BIG results!

Hot fashion chainlet OTTE kicked off their first in a series of shows at the Gansevoort Hotel with fashion photographer Eli Schmidt. We’ve been working with Eli for the past few years, and his provocative, powerful, fashion-forward point-of-view was a logical choice for this modern, expanding fashion brand to showcase. The major turnout of fashion people showed that they clearly love Eli as much as we do! Eli is up to an amazing personal project that we will be talking about when he is ready to reveal…all!

Over the years, we’ve worked on so many different projects with Director & Photographer Josh Rothstein. We met when Josh first signed on with Sarah Laird&good company, and so began our exploration into Josh’s background, and how the attribute that was least articulated turned out to the piece that has really driven his career and projects. The most recent is the culmination of six years of work directing a long-form documentary called Dukale’s Dream, made in Ethiopia in conjunction with Hugh Jackman. Josh’s sensitive and non-judgmental approach, coupled with his strong cinematic eye and ability to improvise and create imagery in any situation is beautifully highlighted in the film about how helping a coffee farmer has eddying effects on his family, community, and ultimately, the globe.

Josh invited me to the NYC premiere last week, and I couldn’t be happier for him! Incidentally, I also just interviewed him for ProMovieMaker magazine, published in the UK, and our Q & A on the nature of what makes a hero will be interesting reading in the July issue. Stay tuned!


October 09 2014


by Kyrie Chamberlin, Mercurylab staff

I went a little bit before closing time, which was my first mistake. When you walk in, it’s like a mad house. There are people everywhere, there are clothes all over the floor and there never seems to be enough staff. Everyone looks slightly lost and is constantly bumping into one another.

I went originally to get a gift, but I stayed to buy some affordable fashion for myself. Primark has so much on offer that it’s almost dizzying. Everything is cheap, and cheaply manufactured, but you get what you pay for. That's part of the Primark Experience. You don't go to McDonalds expecting a steak dinner; you go for a super cheap, sometimes questionable burger. Primark isn’t trying to seduce you with nicely crafted, high-end goods—that's not what their brand is about. Their brand attributes: disposable, trendy and fast. Likely not ethically produced, either. This brand has nothing to do with quality. They want you to buy a lot, and you want to as well. That’s part of the sense of urgent anxiety that starts to churn when I’m in their stores.

I ended up buying a couple of dresses, a jacket, and my gift items. The jacket is actually very chic, and you would never know it was from Primark. That’s the good news. Anyway, my second mistake was not trying anything on. I ended up having to return one of the dresses (pink with a crisp white collar) because the collar was not even close to being centered. Don't be too shocked!

The checkout lines are unsurprisingly very long, but they move relatively quickly. This is key because once you are ready to pay, they need to get you out of the store as fast as possible before you reconsider. The clothes are not worth a long wait in line, which they know.

Of course, the returns line is separate from the cashiers. It’s almost like a secret place (hard to find, so hard to return – classic customer manipulation). It’s tucked away on a different floor in a corner on a different, airless floor. The line is deceptively short, but since everyone is returning many items, a complication always ensues. Customers were hot, angry and impatient. Again, this is not surprising, as a store hawking cheap, disposable products is frequently unconcerned with providing a good customer experience – Primark is a fast food shopping experience.

I have to say, I would go back. Primark is so inexpensive, and so well stocked, it’s almost addictive. Although, I never want to return another item, so next time I will have to gather up my courage to attack the dreaded fitting rooms. Help!

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Mercurylab/Go Forth! | Mercurylab in the Veneto, Italy (Part Four): The Allure of Presentation

September 05 2014

We all know know that there is an art and craft to effective merchandising display. I was really struck by the divergent displays I found on a quick hit and run trip to Italy. The Veneto is a hotbed of medieval towns and cities, Palladian architecture, and extraordinary masterpieces by Giotto and Tintoretto. It’s also an incredible place to experience truly divergent approaches to merchandising presentation, ranging from controlled vintage to sleek contemporary Italian design.

Cases in point:

An up-to-the-minute gourmet shop built on top of a wine cave built on top of exposed medieval and Roman streets in Vincenza. The prepared food was incredibly light and offered an alternative to a conventional pasta lunch, the product selection a sophisticated mix of carefully chosen artisan made foods, and the display a contemporary approach in its repetition, form and colors.

An osteria in Verona. Osterias serve simple, well-prepared food, and can be known for their wine list. This particular osteria utilizes the complete vocabulary of what was considered by Americans in the 1950s to be the ultimate in traditional italian restaurant design, including checked tablecloths and wine bottles covered with candle wax. The atmosphere is personal and welcoming, reflecting the sense of being invited into the owner’s home. And you could easily buy a bottle of wine to take with you, reinforcing the idea of taking Italy home with you, no matter where you live.

A historic candy shop in Verona, displaying traditional glass jars and product design associated with the past.

A local fashion designer in Verona, one with a quirky Italian aesthetic perfect for a girl from Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Her collection encompasses natural fibers and simple shapes for the bookish girl — slightly boyish, referencing school uniforms, but with sleek and natural details.

All are strong local brands with clear and successful brand messages.

H&M, COS, & Other Stories

August 26 2014

Did any of you know that H&M has launched yet another sub-brand? I was having a meeting with two very chic photo agents, both of whom happened to be wearing the same jumpsuit (they had gone shopping together at & Other Stories on Regent Street in London, and hadn’t checked in with each other that morning before going to work. Hence the twinning element in their clothes that day).


Anyway, I loved that pantsuit, and so they both fervently suggested that I go shopping at the store, and described it as the mid-range brand between COS and H&M. I wonder if they knew that it is owned by H&M. On their corporate site, H&M states that, “& Other Stories was launched in March 2013, offering an extensive selection of clothes, shoes, bags, jewellery and cosmetics. The brand is all about fashion, with particular focus on quality and design details as well as personal expression and styling.” And they describe COS as “Modern, timeless, tactile and functional. Exploring the concept of style over fashion,” and "high-end design and quality that lives beyond the seasons is available for women, men and children.”


What I get from their communications writing is that COS sounds more expensive, and has more design integrity than its sister sub-brand. In reality, the clothes are beautifully conceived, well-cut, restrained and chic. The store design feels deluxe and sleek, reinforcing the clean lines and clarity of the design palette. It’s hard to leave the COS store without purchasing something, no matter how small. The retail experience at & Other Stories, on the other hand, felt decidedly down-market, despite the prices. Sharp lighting, cheap display, strange stand-up price markers on the metal, free-standing racks. I was completely underwhelmed, yet the brand is building up speed very quickly. It’s not quite fast fashion, as it’s too pricey, and that position is held by the parent brand in the H&M structure. I can’t even put my finger on their brand, which either means I’m not the target audience (shouldn’t make a difference, as I don’t drink coffee but I understand what the Starbuck’s brand is about) or that all the pieces haven’t yet been knitted together between the clothing design, store design, signage, variety and quality of product. As a self-respecting shopper, I’m happy to stay tuned to see how the holes in their brand are resolved.

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Hanging Chads, Whoops, We Mean Hangtags

June 25 2014

Slowly, but surely it seems the fashion industry is joining the 21st century in terms of social awareness. From racial diversity on the runway, to more body types being shown in ads, to accountability in manufacturing conditions—there seems to be a glimmer of change.

left & right

Which is why when I recently bought a dress from the ultra-cool Swedish collective brand, Acne Studios, I was taken aback by their hangtag design. Acne’s tag uses plastic and two heavy pieces of paper, which seems like (or rather—is) a total waste of resources. It’s overkill. For a brand known for such a modern, sleek, and minimalist aesthetic, the wasteful and environmentally unfriendly tag presents a weird brand disconnect. And Acne is not the only brand to overdo, or rather overuse, in this arena.

left & right

Now, no one is equating runway racism with eco-unfriendly waste in terms of fashion injustices. However, the oddity of the whole issue stems from the lack of thought and consideration. It’s 2014! Our cars can are programmed to stop before they crash. We order our groceries online. We trustingly buy our life insurance online. Therefore it can’t be that hard to design a green and eco-friendly hangtag. Ethical Fashion, an online forum that addresses a wide range of issues within the industry, recently posted about some underground labels using tags that are washer ready. The tags are made of a soap mixture that disintegrates in the washer and rids the fabric of any chemicals added during manufacturing. So it can be done!

Hangtags are an applied expression of a brand’s positioning and design aesthetic. A more thoughtfully designed and produced hangtag can be a win-win for a fashion brand, and a small but easily achievable step in protecting our natural resources.

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Fashion Week February 2014: Jill Stuart

February 12 2014

This past weekend, I had the opportunity and great good fun to attend Jill Stuart’s Fall 2014 fashion show at the tents in Lincoln Center. In reality, going to the tents is nothing like Project Runway, kids. It’s a fairly straightforward experience, with the audience sitting in a dark space constructed with a kind of ad hoc feeling, bleachers, and a white runway. The difference from one show to the next is in the music, the hair and make-up and of course, the clothes.

Jill Stuart is known for her feminine dresses, and she has been selling them successfully for quite a long time. She was born into a fashion family and immersed in the fashion world from a young age, and amazingly sold her first jewelry collection to Bloomingdales at age fifteen. Along with five hundred other retail outlets, she still sells there today, and even created an exclusive collection for Bloomies for the 2013 holiday season. Interestingly enough, one of her earliest collections was heavily featured in “Clueless,” a film that was infused with the upscale, girly, socially exclusive and fun clothing worn by Alicia Silverstone and her faux friends.

Going into the show, my impression of her Jill Stuart's design aesthetic was girly, easy to wear, and middle-of-the-road. I was wildly surprised to see magnificently detailed dresses hit the runway, with a feeling of incredible modernity in cut and embellishments. For the first time, I became a believer. In her press handout card, the collection was framed as being: irregular beauty, untameable, easy, boyish, effortless, unimpressionable and adorned. From a brand perspective, I understand this particular collection as being easy and effortless (which are in fact identical brand attributes), adorned (a capability rather than an attribute) and boyish in that the shapes of the clothes were quite angular and clean. Does it follow my impression of the brand as a whole? A qualified yes. And in fashion, is that enough? Again, a qualified yes!

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