10th Annual Baker Motor Company Charleston Fashion Week® announces 16 Emerging Designer Semifinalists

Baker Motor Company Charleston Fashion Week®(CFW), one of the nation’s leading fashion events, is proud to announce its Emerging Designer Top Design 16 semifinalists for the March 15 – 19, 2016 competition and runway show.

Officially called the Emerging Designer Competition: East presented by Benefitfocus, the top 16 designers were selected from a large pool of applicants from across the East Coast who applied for the coveted opportunity to showcase their talent on a nationally recognized runway in front of leading fashion insiders and more than 1,000 guests each night.

“This year’s applicant pool was the strongest ever. Congratulations to the 16 semifinalists! We are eager to see what the next generation of emerging talent will showcase on the runway in March,” says Jacqueline Lawrence, production director for CFW.

The five-day event, which takes place in Marion Square in downtown Charleston, showcases collections from emerging designers, nationally renowned featured designer runway shows, glamorous on-site tents including the Belk Tent, a multi-media, entertainment and shopping Style Lounge, hip after-parties and much more.

The Emerging Designer Competition began nine years ago and serves as a platform for undiscovered talent, connecting them with fashion industry insiders and tastemakers from CFDA members to top designers like David Hart. Previous winners and contestants have been featured inVOGUEMarie ClaireELLEWomen’s Wear Daily and on CNN, along with other major media outlets; and their collections have been picked up by stores including Anthropologie, BARNEY’s New York, and Neiman Marcus.

This year’s fashion panel is again headed by fashion icon and New York Fashion Week Creator Fern Mallis, and will include CFW 2016 Featured Designers Raul Arevalo and Brad Schmidt of CADET, Shane Gabier and Christopher Peters of Creatures of the Wind, and Tracy Reese. The 2016 Emerging Designer Grand Prize Winner, selected by the panel at the end of the week, will receive an enhanced prize package worth more than $40,000, including the following: 
• $10,000 cash
• Featured Designer for Opening Night of CFW 2017
• Once-in-a-lifetime lunch with Fern Mallis in New York City in 2016
• Opportunity to intern for a well-known designer during New York Fashion
  Week in Fall 2016
• A private showing of their collection at New York City retailer In Support Of
  in Fall 2016

The Baker Motor Company Charleston Fashion Week® 2016 Emerging Designer Competition: East semifinalists chosen to debut their collections are: 
Brendan Combs, Georgia
Destani Hoffman, Alabama
Elias Gurrola, New York
Emily Seifert, New York
Jamie Morrison, North Carolina
JD Noble, Georgia
Jessica Lache Fulks, North Carolina
Jonathan Millner, North Carolina
Kelsey Kawamoto, South Carolina
Lauren Stilwell, North Carolina
Lisa N. Hoang, North Carolina
Michael Mack, New York
Morgan Cook, Georgia
Ricky Lindsay, Florida
Samantha De La Fuente, Florida
Storm Dorris, Georgia

For more information, including ticket prices and availability, visit www.charlestonfashionweek.com.

HuffPost Women: 48 Things Men Hear In A Lifetime (That Are Bad For Everyone)

Earlier this month, HuffPost Women's viral video "48 Things Women Hear In A Lifetime (That Men Just Don't)" showed the subtle sexism women are subjected to throughout their lives. However, since sexism doesn't exist in a vacuum, the same team is turning the idea around with a new video entitled "48 Things Men Hear In A Lifetime (That Are Bad For Everyone)."

This video shows that the messages men (young and old) hear - "be a man!" "boys don't cry!" "pink is a girl's color!" - all boil down to the same idea: "don't be a woman." Telling men they're not "real men" unless they're tough, financially successful, strong and authoritative not only hurts those that don't fit into these confined parameters but hurts women too. 

The cycle of sexism will never end if we continue to equate traditionally "feminine" qualities as "bad." To hear from the men themselves check out HuffPost Women's video here .  

Rutgers Surpasses $2M Mark for Gloria Steinem Endowed Chair in Media, Culture and Feminist Studies

A little more than a year after launching a campaign to create an endowed chair in honor of modern American feminist Gloria Steinem, Rutgers University officials announced they have surpassed the $2 million mark in donations.

The funds, totaling $2.1 million from more than 250 individuals and 12 foundations, put the university two thirds closer toward the $3 million required to finance the Gloria Steinem Endowed Chair in Media, Culture, and Feminist Studies.

The chair,  a unique collaboration among Rutgers’ Institute for Women’s Leadership (IWL), School of Communication and Information (SCI)  and the Department of Women’s and Gender Studies in the School of Arts and Sciences, will focus on the creative and complex ways information technology and new media are reshaping culture and power relationships.

 “Gloria’s birthday is at the end of March 2016, and that is a real milestone.  Our goal is to raise the remaining $900,000 so that we can announce that the chair is fully endowed on or before that special day,”  said Alison R. Bernstein, director of the IWL, who proposed the idea of a Gloria Steinem chair at Rutgers.

Typically, endowed chairs are named after a single donor, but it is particularly important, Bernstein said, that hundreds will finance this chair, the first of its kind.

“Never before has a chair been named for a feminist icon who is still alive,” Bernstein said. “That more than 250 people have contributed shows they buy into and engage with the values and legacy of Steinem.”

That the $200,000 donation to push funds past $2 million came from another female media pioneer, Fran Zone/John Mack Carter Fund, is equally important, said Bernstein. Zone, an award-winning leadership communication strategist, is the founder and CEO of Zone Communication.
“Fran Zone is a communications and media professional who understood Gloria’s key role in changing the discourse of media to understand and include women and their perspectives at the table,” said Bernstein.

Organizers hope to have the chair filled by the 2016-17 academic year, which coincides with the university’s 250th anniversary and the 25th anniversary of the institute.

The Steinem chair will immerse students in debate and scholarship on such issues as how the changing media landscape can bring about social change and how new media technology is influencing the power structure. The person who occupies the chair will teach, conduct research and lead seminars and colloquia focusing on ways to diversify voices in the media, Bernstein said.

According to The Women’s Media Center 2015 report on the “Status of Women in the U.S. Media,” women continue to lack representation in American media. The report found, for example, that 90 percent of Twitter’s tech employees were male and its leadership ranks were 79 percent male.

That imbalance of power inspired the IWL and SCI to create the new Gloria Steinem Media Mentoring Program in conjunction with the endowed chair after receiving a $35,000 grant from the Charles H. Revson Foundation. Launched in September, the pilot program has linked 20 recent Rutgers alumnae with 20 accomplished women in diverse media arenas.

BBB Cautions: Refunds and Exchanges are a Privilege Not a Right for Consumers

What do you do if you receive a Christmas present that doesn’t fit? Or one that you don’t want? Returns and exchanges are common, but the BBB cautions consumers that these actions are privileges a business provides, and not a consumer’s right.
“If you find yourself with an unwanted gift, many stores will allow refunds or exchanges for the sake of good customer relations,” explains Steve J. Bernas, president and CEO of the Better Business Bureau serving Chicago and Northern Illinois.  “However, customers need to remember these actions are privileges stores may allow. They are not consumer rights.” 

Bernas urges that no matter whether the item was purchased in a brick-and-mortar store or online, it is wise look up and understand the return policies to avoid surprises and confusion. Here are several tips and hints to make the process easier for all involved.
  •    The most important first step is to determine where the item was purchased.  If you have a gift receipt, it makes the return situation much easier.  However, if you don’t have a receipt, you need to prove that the item was purchased at a given store.  Another more basic issue is the question of whether or not the store will take back the item for either a refund or exchange without proof of purchase.
  •   Refund and exchange policies differ. Each store, and in some cases different departments within stores, may have varying refund and exchange policies.  These can depend upon the product or usage.  Policies about returns and exchanges are usually available from the cashiers, stated on the sales slip, or available online. 
  • Expect to pay some fees.  Return shipping charges are common.  You may also be subject to restocking fees.  Again, it pays to know the store’s policy ahead of time.
  •  Time limits may apply.  Many times stores have a time limit on how long you can keep an item and still return it.  This is usually stated on the receipt or on the company’s website.
  •   Unsure, ask the gift giver. If you are not certain where the gift you want to return was purchased or if you don’t have a receipt, ask the gift giver where the item was purchased.  If that person has a receipt, perhaps they could exchange it for you.  If this isn’t possible for personal reasons, you unfortunately have a dilemma.  You can try to return it to the store where you believe the item was purchased.  However, they do not have to accept it back for either a refund or an exchange. 

“When questioning a return or exchange policy, look at the situation from the store’s perspective, Bernas noted. “How does that retailer know that the gift was purchased there?  What evidence do you have that you aren’t trying to cheat the store?” 

And Bernas noted that not all stores have liberal refund and exchange policies.  Many have strict requirements about what can be returned and the time frame of when it can be returned.  Also, some stores are charging a restocking fee even if you do have a receipt. 

“Companies with liberal return policies recognize the customer relations value of them,” he explained.  However, for them to continue these policies, it’s best not to abuse the privilege.  An example of abuse would be purchasing six or seven similar items to try on, recognizing that you will only be keeping one of them.  This type of product prospecting abuses the privilege the store offers to its customers with its exchange and refund policy.” 


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