June 23 2017

The “Secret” Magazine That I Really Love

Let it be known that I subscribe to A LOT of magazines. I remember my older sister, Grace, had a countless number of magazine subscriptions when she was a high schooler. Since we’re four years apart, that would mean I was 10 when I first got exposed to these “glossies.” I experienced the rise of grunge, hello Kate Moss, goodbye Cindy Crawford. One of my fondest memories would be running towards the mailbox to try and get my hands on one of her magazines before she could. I loved the feeling of holding a crisp version of Vogue, Elle, and Allure. Oh and those Fall tomes! The September issue would be the best – picture after picture of gorgeous models wearing outrageously expensive outfits. I wasn’t materialistic, it was about the art of the clothes, the fashion photography, and even, sometimes the articles.

Fast forward a few decades, (ok, three), and now I get these delivered to my door: Vogue, Elle, Allure (ah, still love these three), InStyle, Oprah, StyleWatch, Bazaar, W, Time, Bloomberg Business, Fortune, Forbes, Fast Company, Wired and Inc. It’s a weird mix between fashion and business. My recent purchase is also my favorite….get ready for it: Teen Vogue.

{Awkward Pause} “You know you’re like 40, right?! (That’s my head talking..or maybe you. Stay with me.)

Not sure if you’re aware of this but Teen Vogue has gotten really political and its articles are captivating.

Per The Atlantic:
“In May, 29-year-old Elaine Welteroth took over as editor from Amy Astley, who helped found the magazine in 2003. Welteroth, the digital editorial director Phillip Picardi, and the creative director Marie Suter have moved the magazine more aggressively into covering politics, feminism, identity, and activism. Together, the three have shepherded a range of timely, newsy stories, including an interview exploring what it’s like to be a Muslim woman facing a Trump presidency, a list of reasons why Mike Pence’s record on women’s rights and LGBTQ rights should trouble readers, and a video in which two Native American teenagers from the Standing Rock Sioux tribe discuss the Dakota Access Pipeline protests.”

It feels like Teen Vogue is on the pulse of what’s cool but not in a “trying-too-hard” kind of way. Outside of politics, it also shares some interesting articles like Solange’s letter to her teenage self. I was taken aback by her beauty, her boldness, and her creativity!

Read the whole thing here.

My favorite phrases:

“there will be fear. a lot of it. there will be triumph. a lot of it. there will be constellations you want to reach for but can’t put your finger on. you will trace them like the scars on your body you got from trouble and the times of your life. you will take the long way to get to these Orions. the long way will become a theme in your life, but a journey you learn to love.”

“because you have your mama’s blood, you are fiercely independent and outgoing. you’ve been starting petitions, building tree houses, and starting clubs since as long as you can remember. sometimes in the midst of juggling all this, you put a lot of pressure on yourself and often crash and burn. you shut down. you go into your room, lock the door, put on music, and you do not move for 8 hours straight. it will feel like the heaviest and bleakest darkness you can possibly feel, and when you ask everyone to leave you alone and let you be, what you really want to say is ‘i want you here’ and ‘i need help.’ sometimes it is ok to say just that. it won’t make you less strong or less powerful. no one you love will criticize you or blame you; in fact, they will lift you up.”

Now I want to cry.

Photo: Julia Noni for Bazaar

June 21 2017

Why I Failed as a Lifestyle Blogger

After I left the art blog My Modern Met, I had big plans for myself. I was going to be like my Internet idols Joy Cho of OhJoy!, Joanna Goddard of Cup of Joe, and Bri Emery of Design Love Fest. I would showcase to the world my beautiful and exciting life! Look at my colorful, well-put together outfit, listen to the latest podcast, be on the cusp of what’s cool. I have total respect for them, but lifestyle blogging just wasn’t for me.

Did I not remember that I’m a total introvert? That I have a hard time taking a selfie? That I treasure my privacy? How was I ever going to make it as a lifestyle blogger? Two years passed and I gained about 300 followers on Facebook. About 100 people come to my blog every day. Who are you, people? Why would you be spending time on my site when there are so many more interesting blogs out there? 300 fans on Facebook is not a bad number, mind you, figuring I hardly post there. I was too afraid of criticism, and since I didn’t get many likes on any of my posts, I figured people didn’t care anyway.

Then, I had this revelation. Though I still like my privacy, I could be bolder in my life. I could share with the world my failures, my vulnerabilities. A few days ago, when I told all of my 2,000+ Facebook friends that I was starting a new company I was scared s***less. Yet, I did it. Why? Because I think sometimes you have to put your life’s goals out there into the universe. Will some people laugh at me? Probably. Now I’m accountable for my actions. The business could implode and never launch but what’s so bad about that? A little lost money but lots of lessons learned.

What happened next? I chopped off my hair (it was long for over 20 years), dyed it pink and started wearing more fashionable and expressive clothes. I fell in love with fashion. It’s a beautiful form of art!

Now, I feel like I’m back in my element, emailing or talking to artists on the phone about their passion. These people just love their craft, they are completely engrossed in the world of hand lettering. And why wouldn’t they be? It’s fascinating what you can do now – taking a rough pencil sketch and “vectorizing it” to create a colorful, unique work of art.

“Lettering, in short, tells a story by using drawn letter shapes. These letterforms are not fonts that can be bought and simply used over and over again. Rather, they are custom-created for one particular piece and purpose. In this sense, they can be compared to illustration – an illustration consisting of letters.” (From the book, The Golden Secrets of Lettering by Martina Flor.

My UK agency and I are working on the target market right now. Who will wear these statement t-shirts? At first, I thought maybe the ban.do market. The really young millennials. Now, though, I feel as though it should be someone who’s fashionable but also mindful and authentic. There’s a story to be told there. Just wait and see….

June 20 2017

Skylar’s Yoo Cause: Raising Awareness of Mental Health

One of the motivating factors in wanting to start a new business is that I’ll be able to donate a percentage of all sales to a cause. I decided early on that Skylar Yoo’s cause would be about raising the awareness of mental health. I myself am bipolar and my mother, who is now deceased, was too. She committed suicide when I was just 20-years-old. I’ve never shared this with anyone online and only a handful of people know. I’ve learned a lot of interesting facts about bipolar disorder (40 here) including the fact that 80% of people with it will contemplate suicide at least once in their lives. In the general population, only 1 in 12 people will contemplate a suicide attempt.

One day, I will be brave enough to write about the traumatic experiences I went through when I first went manic. It includes a six week stay at a mental hospital where I was, literally, locked up. My youngest son was only seven-months-old and it was torture not seeing him. What were all the moments I was missing? Though the whole experience was a nightmare, there were some positive things that came out of it. My love and appreciation for my husband, my family and my close friends became unbelievably stronger.

There is this negative stigma surrounding mental disorders like bipolar or depression, but I made a conscious decision to find the positives.

Does it make you more creative? Perhaps. As stated in Psychology Today, “A recent study carried out at Stanford University by Santosa and colleagues found that people with bipolar disorder and creative discipline controls scored significantly more highly than healthy controls on a measure of creativity called the Barron-Welsh Art Scale. In a related study the same authors sought to identify temperamental traits that people with bipolar disorder and creative people have in common. They found that both shared tendencies for mild elation and depression with gradual shifts from one to the other, openness, irritability, and neuroticism (roughly speaking, a combination of anxiety and perfectionism).

“It is interesting to note that, according to this study, one of the temperamental traits that people with bipolar disorder and creative people have in common is a tendency for mild elation and depression with gradual shifts from one to the other. During periods of mild depression people with bipolar disorder and creative people may be able to retreat inside themselves, introspect, put thoughts and feelings into perspective, eliminate irrelevant ideas, and focus on the bare essentials. Then during periods of mild elation they may be able to gather the vision, confidence, and stamina for creative expression and realization.”

It’s great to see that mental health is now being discussed.

This news gave me hope: “The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry are spearheading a new campaign to end stigma around mental health.

The Heads Together campaign is a partnership with experienced and inspiring charities that provide frontline mental health support to people who may need it, whilst raising awareness and tackling stigma. Supported by The Royal Foundation, the Heads Together campaign aims to change the national conversation on mental wellbeing.”

“A spokesman for The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry said:
‘Through their work with young people, emergency response, homeless charities, and with veterans, Their Royal Highnesses have seen time and time again that unresolved mental health problems lie at the heart of some of our greatest social challenges.

‘They are passionate about tackling the stigma surrounding the issue. Too often, they have seen that people feel afraid to admit that they are struggling with their mental health. This fear of prejudice and judgement stops people from getting help and can destroy families and end lives. They want to help change the national conversation.'”

I want to create one of these “like-minded” charities to help those struggling with mental illnesses. Let’s see if I can do this!

Art by raquel-cobi.

June 15 2017

Predicting the Future of Fashion

Staff writer for Fast Company, Liz Segran, met with graduate students at the Fashion Institute of Technology to ask them what they think is going to happen to retail stores. In the beginning, Skylar Yoo will be strictly an online store but I plan on selling the shirts to big department stores as well as (possibly) on Amazon. In the future future, I’d love to have brick-and-morter stores but ones that are totally unconventional. I want people to come to the stores to see incredible, cutting-edge art on the walls, I want one-of-a-kind art installations where people can interact with art, and I want a DJ to be playing some jammin tunes. In this day and age, don’t we or shouldn’t we expect more from a retail store?

Here’s what the graduate students said:
“Department stores must think of themselves as entertainment centers: In Korea, some malls are more like amusement parks, complete with rides and art installations. Some brands should become landlords, leasing out part of their space to smaller startups, which will give customers a reason to stop by the store to see what’s new. For other brands, turning unproductive retail spaces into local distribution centers might be a good idea, since it might allow them to get products to customers within hours at lower shipping costs.”

Will the industry adapt and change? All I know for sure is that we’re living in a fascinating time for fashion.

June 14 2017

We’ve Signed on Luke Lucas!

I’ve admired the work of Luke Lucas for almost eight years now. The Sydney-based artist is skilled at typography, graphic design, and illustration. Call him a jack of all trades. He’s a self-made artist whose work now spans two decades. He’s worked with the best including The Washington Post, Los Angeles Magazine, Oprah Magazine, The Hollywood Reporter, Diet Coke, Variety, Esquire, and Nike. We recently agreed to a two year licensing deal. I couldn’t be more stoked! Here’s a sample of his work. Ridiculous, right?

You can see what we’re brewing up together, here.

June 13 2017

Why Smart Habits Beat Ambitious Goals Hands Down

This morning, I read this really great blog post about how making good habits are more important than creating ambitious goals. Here it is in its entirety.

“We all have goals, right? That’s what going further means, although it’s not always the right way to think about becoming your best you.

Last year, we discussed the dark side of goal setting. Research shows that pursuing clearly defined goals sometimes motivates people to lie, cheat, and otherwise engage in short-term thinking to overcome obstacles.

That’s the problem of focusing on results over process. In other words, allowing your ego to strive for becoming instead of doing.

For example, in the arena of fitness, we say we want to lose 20 pounds instead of focusing on the day-to-day mechanisms of eating well and exercising regularly. That’s the difference between an outcome goal and a behavioral goal.

And what is a behavioral goal anyway? It’s the desire to develop a beneficial habit that sticks. Developing the habit is what’s key, because it’s beneficial whether you achieve the exact outcome or not, and means you’ll maintain the outcome you do achieve.

Last week, Shane Parrish pointed out that the distinction between habits and goals is not semantic, because each requires different forms of action.

His examples:

We want to learn a new language. We could decide we want to be fluent in 6 months (goal), or we could commit to 30-minutes of practice each day (habit).
We want to read more books. We could set the goal to read 50 books by the end of the year, or we could decide to always carry one (habit).
We want to spend more time with family. We could plan to spend 7 hours a week with family (goal), or we could choose to eat dinner with them each night (habit).
There’s a reason why the heading of the Further About page is happiness is a way of travel, not a destination. Living your best life is all about what you do on your journey, not where you ultimately arrive.

Keep going-

Brian Clark
Further”

Love this!

June 13 2017

Explaining the Beauty of Hand Drawn Letters

In order to show you just how incredible and involved the art of hand lettering is, I want you to see it at different stages and I want to explain it to you in words. One of the top hand lettering artists I’m working with, Tobias Saul, created this masterpiece.

Here he is explaining his creative process:
“Everything starts with rough sketches. It doesn’t have to be perfect at this stage. It is more about finding a good composition and a general look and feel. Once I decided on one sketch, I create a bigger, more detailed pencil drawing. It is very helpful to create grid lines to make sure your letters have the same high and angle. In the next step I use a light table to make a cleaner black and white drawing of it. That will be the base for everything further. After scanning the drawing I start to go into details – cleaning up the lines and correcting mistakes. So now as the drawing looks good to me, I start playing around with color, shadows and effects to bring the whole thing to life.”

Now if that’s not amazing, I don’t know what is.

June 12 2017

New Clothing Brand: Skylar Yoo is Secretly Coming Alive

Though I’m still a few months out from fully launching, I wanted to give you a sneak peek of what’s to come with my new clothing company Skylar Yoo. Currently, I’m working with around 20 different hand lettering artists and have about 50 completely original and exclusive designs. Though most won’t make it to the site (I’ll only launch 10-20 shirts and hoodies and I’m being highly selective), it’s still a thrill to see the designs start coming alive. I’m working with Big Fan Agency on the brand identity and website. I think they deserve a shout-out. I’ve worked with them before and they’re just an unbelievably creative, efficient and reliable team. I also have to thank Christopher Jobson of Colossal and Jeff Sheldon of Ugmonk for giving me priceless advice on how to run a successful online shop.

Now for the fun stuff: We’ve chosen the colors of the brand – it will be a combination of millennial pink and red. Together, they look bold and beautiful. The tagline of the company is simply “Be Bold.”

Yesterday, I put up an Instagram account (@skylar.yoo) so that you can start seeing some initial designs. Also, because of my love for art, design, photography and powerful quotes, I’ll be including those in the feed. Follow it if you want to see a start-up fashion line become a worldwide brand. (Yes, I’m ambitious and proud of it!)

Which hand lettering artists am I working with? I know it may seem like I’m giving away all of my secrets, but I believe in transparency and openness. Everyone can have an idea, ultimately doesn’t it always come down to execution? Fortunately, my experience in working with artists and my love for art has now found a new home. I want you to feel like you’re a part of this exciting journey. Plus, while working at My Modern Met for seven years, I gained the utmost respect for the creatives in the world. As French artist Henri Matisse once said, “Creativity takes courage.” That’s why I’ll be crediting every artist I’ll be working with both on the website and through all social media channels. The talented artist who hand lettered “Girls to the Front” is Maddy Nye. Tobias Saul is another talented artist who I’m working with for three designs. He just completed two for me and, let me tell you, I was speechless when I saw them. I am working on signing on Luke Lucas and Jessica Hische, who are both rockstars in the art world. It would be a total dream to even be associated with them.

Let me quickly explain why I decided that, in this first collection, I’m only working with hand lettering artists. I bought several books on the art form. It’s like marrying the old with the new. The artists start with a sketch, which could be in pencil, pen, marker, or paint and then they scan their work onto a computer. From there, they use software like Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop or After Effects to make a refined, and oftentimes colorful work of art. The artist must be adept at both drawing words and using software. Watch this awesome video, by Noah Camp, to see a piece go from a simple marker drawing to a spinning, rainbow colored 3D model. Isn’t it fascinating? If you want to learn more about the art of hand lettering, read In Progress by the queen Jessica Hische.

Why the name Skylar Yoo, you might be asking. Skylar is the name I would have given my daughter if my second child was a girl. The first time I heard that name I instantly loved it. I would have nicknamed her “Sky”. It reminds me of the saying, “Reach for the sky.” To me, it means set very high goals, aspire to be the best.

As I’ve mentioned previously, Skylar Yoo will be a clothing brand dedicated to bold women and girls. The feminists. The ones who stand up and take action. The creative entrepreneurs who pursue their dreams. The women managers and CEOs of this world that work their a**** off to get to where they are. My current rockstars? Tina Roth Eisenberg of SwissMiss, Joy Cho of Oh Joy!, Bri Emery of DesignLoveFest, Jaime Derringer of Design Milk, Chriselle Lim, Aimee Song of @songofstyle,
Gabrielle Stanley Blair of Design Mom and Alt Summit and, of course, Jessica Alba of The Honest Company.

It also includes women that have inspired me throughout my life like my wedding photographer Jessica Claire, my wedding planner Jeannie Savage of Details Details, and my event planner Sunny Ravanbach of White Lilac. These are creative, powerful women who’ve built their businesses from the ground up.

Have you heard about the movie Dream, Girl? I’ve only seen the trailer but it gave me goosebumps. Women are starting 1,200 businesses a day! That’s incredible and inspiring.

Now about Skylar Yoo…there’s more to come! Keep up with “her” on Instagram.

I’ll leave you with this: I just read the book We Should All Be Feminists (yes, there was a TED talk and a book before there was a ridiculously priced Christian Dior shirt) and it explained that a feminist simply means this: Advocating social, political, legal, and economic rights for women equal to those of men. In this day and age, is that too much to ask?

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