University of Rhode Island  
Textiles, Fashion Merchandising and Design

TMD 402 Spring 2012 "Entrepreneurship"

Entrepreneurship Observed: Winter Study Tour 

Angelica Eipert, Camille Griswold, and Kelly Martin

Summary by Kathryn Plummer


Entrepreneurship can be observed everywhere, especially in the major fashion capitals of Europe: London and Paris. Angelica Eipert, Camille Griswold, and Kelly Martin were lucky to visit the fashion houses, studios, and retailers that are home to such entrepreneurs as Zandra Rhodes, Frederic Malle, and Li Edelkhoort on the URI winter study tour.

Zandra Rhodes opened The Fulham Road Clothes Shop in London in 1967. Her first shop featured dresses made from her own fabrics and printed textiles. She opened the shop after her textile designs were considered to be too outlandish, according to the traditional British manufacturers. Her patterns are made using the bleeding effect and only four colors can be used at once. Through the use of her innovative designs and as well as the hard work and dedication of herself, her assistant, and five workroom employees, Zandra Rhodes is a successful entrepreneur. Arantza Vilas is an entrepreneur as well. Arantza Vilas opened Pinaki Studios in London. She manipulates fabric in an innovative way to create art, costumes, and other objects. Her focus is not on fashion through the use of fabric, but on architecture. She is an entrepreneur in the field of design and architecture.

Arthur Liberty is another example of an entrepreneur. He opened Liberty & Co. in 1875. His goal was to have a department store that sold products such as ornaments and fabrics from around the world. He is also famously known for the Liberty of London prints, which he collaborated with William Morris to create during the Arts and Crafts Movement.

In Paris, Angelica, Camille, and Kelly visited the house of Yves Saint Laurent, who was an entrepreneur. He was the first couture designer to create a ready-to-wear line as well as make the tuxedo suit for women popular with “Le Smoking.” They also visited the house and workshop of Louis Vuitton. Louis Vuitton was an entrepreneur in the high quality luggage industry. His luggage is still handmade in a Paris workshop. The luggage is constructed from natural leather and four types of wood. Louis Vuitton handbags were made starting in 1930 and the now known "LV" logo was designed after his death by his son in honor of his father. Louis Vuitton goods are so prized of their quality and status symbol that merchandise that is not made correctly are burned so they cannot be sold.

Frederic Malle is an entrepreneur in the perfume industry. He found a niche in creating high end perfumes. After working 14 years in the perfume industry, he opened his first store in 2000. He promotes innovation by encouraging his perfumers to do what they want creatively. By doing so, his perfumes are unique and his perfumers get recognized by having their names printed on the bottles.

Li Edelkhoort created Trend Union, headquartered in Paris, to help inspire designers through trend forecasting. Li writes trend books, including 6 books each season, and has a website. Trend Union consists of offices in Paris, NYC, and Tokyo and only 15 employees.

The girls also visited Colette, an innovative concept store featuring a water bar on the first floor, high end clothing on the second floor, and a museum on the second floor. Colette only has one buyer and does not advertise, but does use social media to network.

Entrepreneurship comes in many disciplines, including fashion, design, perfumes, and retail, as exemplified by the URI winter study tour. Many of these designers and retailers have stood the test of time and remain famous because of the innovation, quality, and value they create for the consumer. They found a need, from reliable trend forecasting to unique perfumes to high quality luggage, and created a business around this need.


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