DC Inspiration: Secondi

While walking through the Washington DC metro area in search of clean, creative, and sophisticated inspiration points, I noticed that it had been nearly a year since I’d been to DC and so much jumped out at once – modern architecture making it’s way through traditional structures and restaurants boasting everything from fusion to all types of great treat. The most obvious change was the people themselves – there was a less conservative flavor to the garb, people wearing more than the tried and true suits I was used to. Washington was loosening up and I was okay with that.

We came across Secondi, a haven for the Washington fashionista, boasting some stellar labels in its Dupont Circle boutique. Specializing in classic consignment pieces, Secondi is a privately held vintage haven with labels from Boss to Coach, Zac Posen to estate pieces. There were sun lit sitting alcoves everywhere for groups to just relax and enjoy the clothing the way it was intended to be viewed. Clothing here is not just something you put on your back, but a visual extension of who you are and, in those rare moments, a work of art for you to wear. We at the CITI camp are huge on creative expression and clothing is our weapon of choice, second only to our client design projects (of course) When we visited, the place was bustling with young women. The manager Shannon, is a woman with obvious style, sporting all of my favorite elements – silver jewelry, black and white color blocking – beauty right down to the ink on her arm. She was delighted to speak with us about Secondi and the changing trends in the DC area.

Q: Are there any new developments in DC that are hugely noticeable? 

A: Well, no one asks if I am from New York anymore. The style has changed in that people are less conservative.

Q: Any runway labels featured here ?

A: Yes, we actually had some Richrd Ruiz pieces here that were scooped up almost immediately.

Q: How Long has Secondi been here?

A: Oh 25 years, but we were across the street prior to this. Ms Callison, the  proprietor of this establishment, has clear vision on the pieces we carry and undeniable taste. From a business standpoint, she also has the chops to keep her boutique open and growing for 25 years.

Along with name brand labels, Secondi supplies its inventory on Facebook and has a shipment process. This is a creative and underutilized option for clothing retailers. Facebook has the power to link people of certain demographics together and, through their advertising system, pull profiles that match with a niche market – in this case clothing obsessed vintage stalkers (ahem myself).  So, for those aspiring collectors in the DC area and beyond, take a look at Secondi – it will be worth the stop.

Clean, Creative, and Sophisticated, MEDINA

The Business of Fashion

Yes, we are still on a Mercedes Benz Fashion Week high, but on a serious note we want to talk about the business side of the industry, the boardroom side, a side without the flashing lights. Fashion companies doing it right are making millions of dollars each year – a small piece of the pie considering the billions of dollars earned by the fashion world in general. This leaves interesting opportunities for entrepreneurs and business owners. Even if you do not work in fashion, you can leverage their financial power to help your business. All companies, regardless of industry, need some essential services (ie: Marketing, PR, Photography, Seamstresses, Design, Social Media work, HR services etc. etc. etc.), and even more if you are in the not-for-profit sector. You can make overtures for sponsorship and endorsement possibilities. However, if your core business is in fashion, take tips from Christian Siriano of Project Runway fame. He is considered the most successful alum of the show. He makes moves to spread his brand, branching out with design deals from Payless to Puma, and even Victoria’s Secret. His networking prowess has earned him a profit and put him in distinguished company during fashion week. Check out this article from INC magazine (a personal source of inspiration for me): Turning Fierceness Into a Brand

Trying to get into the fashion arena?

Check out another article on INC:  Breaking Into Fashion
Clean, Creative, and Sophisticated,

Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Fall 2011

Mercedes Benz Fashion Week held such a special note here at the CITI Camp. It was Rafael and Sean’s “First Time” (not a frequent comment in our offices) attending a fashion show under the tents. Sure, we have been to presentations, shows held in special locations and tons of after parties, but none hold a candle to that magical moment under the tents for an all-out runway show.The office was positively a buzz with energy at the prospect of going. What would they wear? Where would we go afterward? All were great questions, but first, the Creative Director (that’s me!) was stopping by the Perry Ellis show. Perry Ellis is always good for its American inspiration and classic lines – I love adding old-fashioned touches to my own fashion aesthetic. I attended the show with one of my prized ingenues, Rehmyngton Taylor, then lunched in New York City and met with the rest of the CITI Camp for the evening show. Venexiana, a brand that is known for over the top design, with Kati Stern at the helm, introduced a line that was inspired by “A Spring Bouquet.” The colors were vibrant, with fabric draping to call to mind the folds of flowers. Elaborate and dramatic silhouettes met 6 foot models, flashing lights met high energy and over all, everyone was truly inspired by the clothing, and daring direction. A-listers were in attendance and the champagne flowed. The CITI camp went to The Hudson Hotel for a set of drinks named after Fashion Week: The Runway, The Icon and The Red Dress. A toast was given to commemorate the fun, beauty and fashion of the evening.
Take a look at some shots from the shows and a short video of Venexiana.

Clean, Creative, and Sophisticated,

The Keys to a Green Facility

In 2010 MEDINA = CITI decided it was time to grow, to move to a new facility, this move prompted hard questions as to where and what we wanted. We are a small boutique design haus and we sincerely wanted our clients to step into our world. A relaxing, unique and inviting space, an environment that not only welcomed them but one that they wouldn’t want to leave. Our signature of the company is to be Clean, Creative, and Sophisticated. So we went to work on looking for new spaces that encompassed our tag. We all agreed on some pretty essential needs: it had to be open, there had to be a place where no light could penetrate for video editing and photoshoots, and it had to allow for coziness and warmth. Most importantly, we needed to make sure the building was multi level, enabling us to live in the same building as the company (this being due to my obsession with our clients being happy). Now the last and biggest decision: bring the company into a completely green or Carbon Neutral environment.

Now companies decide to go green for so many reasons, from philanthropic to realistic measures; going green has major environmental benefits and reciprocally great business advantages. Now there is a myriad of ways to make your company a little greener, and thus better. MEDINA = CITI chose to make some changes literally from the foundation up. First and foremost we sought out spaces that were completely green, meaning the building attained a LEED Certification.

Our space is located in a Green Urban Development – the first ever developed in a metropolitan area- Lincoln Park, nestled in the arts district ( Doesn’t the district just suit us ? ) of Newark, New Jersey. We fell in love with not only the area but the building, aesthetically green doesn’t mean ugly and minimalist- this space was constructed to reflect the grandeur of classic brownstones with a modern twist and full green sensibilities in every brick and every fixture. We then chose to create a green strategy: This endeavor would only be successful if we actually sat down and consciously thought of how we affected our environment. We made list of the few big things we could do and the smaller things (They count, people).

The second biggest choice was to make a creative space and only use consignment, or second hand furniture to furnish our office and studio. This for us was a great project and we thought we could show our constituents that green can be awesome, beautiful and used in every-way. So from garbage cans to couches, desks to floor treatments green was the directive.

Take a look at our space. It has become an everyday reminder to us that to be successful is not only about profit margins or great design work, it is in our commitment to having a conscience in our practices and our social responsibilities.

Now we found some great guideline to start our Green initiative at Suit1o1
Here are listed some from our initiatives:

Switching light bulbs to energy efficient is quick but more importantly eventually cost efficient as energy efficient bulbs have longer life spans.

Recycling is an oldie but a goodie! Everyone recycles but they are finding great things to do with recycled materials even making furniture out of it.

Printing only when critical (we have a host of printers but they are minimally used because we can do digital signature via Echosign which provides e signatures

Purchasing high grade energy efficient equipment. We prefer HP and. Apple not only for their commitment to the environment but also great incentives for small businesses.

The most challenging but important was to reduce our carbon footprint by walking or taking public transportation. We brought the rest of the company on board with our initiative.
Whether you take the large steps or the small steps any and all will help bring your company closer to being green and all of us closer to keeping our planet healthier.

Clean, Creative, and Sophisticated, MEDINA

Welcome to Medina = Citi

It is such a pleasure to be writing the inaugural post for MEDINA = CITI, we have had a social media presence for some time now and we truly wanted to bring a new platform to show you what life is like at the CITI camp. This is your behind the scenes pass to see what goes on here, stay in the know on new developments but more importantly for us to share our knowledge about design, entrepreneur life, do it your self creative projects and yes more about our Mascots Karma ( the lovable and bougie Chihuahua) and Paco ( our more seasoned and loyal Mini Doberman Pinscher). Hijinks will follow, laughs will be had, but more importantly we will be able to keep you up-to-date with the goings-on of our design haus. We can’t wait for you to know more about us and hope to have you share with us as well.

Truly Clean, Creative and Sophisticated,