Young businessman proves his skills in the fashion industry

September 30, 2011 by · Comments Off 

BEYOND THE BUBBLE

By Shelby Foster
slfoster@smu.edu

John Piermarini outside his boutique in Uptown. (Photo by Shelby Foster)

Many twenty-year-olds spend their days sitting in class, studying for exams, attending meetings, going out on the weekends, repeat. The cycle goes on for four years with the promise of a diploma at the end.

But John Piermarini doesn’t waste time going to class. He doesn’t study for exams, either.
In fact, this twenty-year-old doesn’t even go to college. Nor does he plan to.

“John is a hands-on self-learner,” said his mother, Tina Piermarini. “Going to school would have diluted his talent.”

So instead of schlepping off to a university, Piermarini jumped feet first into his dream job: working and designing in the fashion industry. Piermarini Boutique, his namesake business, opened in Uptown in November 2010, just a few months after he graduated from Greenhill School in Addison.

But Piermarini is more than just a shop owner. This summer, he tried his hand at design with a collaborative collection of slips and tanks with Dallas designer Abi Ferrin. Piermarini studied under her for years in high school.

“John is wise beyond his years,” said Ferrin. “His point of view and sense of self are so clearly defined which is not the case for most 20-year-olds or most people, for that matter.”

Piermarini Boutique sits on a quiet street in the State Thomas Neighborhood, surrounded by residential homes. Only a small sign posted near the sidewalk gives a hint at what lies inside the 1900s house: a well-edited collection of clothing and accessories, and one very savvy young man.

Before entering, the customer is welcomed to ring the doorbell by twisting a small handle – one of the several quirks of the old house. All of the interior fixtures are original, including the short doorframes and old-fashioned ventilation.

Earrings in Piermarini's Boutique. (Photo by Shelby Foster)


There is not a single trace of the control found in so many corporate retail stores. The only thing that has changed in the past year is the clothing. There are no floor sets, and no predetermined color palettes.

“I want it to be like walking into a friend’s wardrobe to find clothes,” said Piermarini.

The limited availability creates major competition among his clients, leading some to chase down the delivery truck every time a shipment comes in. But, on the flip side, many clients appreciate the exclusivity.

“I love that you won’t find the merchandise he carries in any other store in the Dallas area,” said longtime client Kirsten Abney.

Twice a year, Piermarini heads to New York City’s international market to hand-select his merchandise.

While he lets his eye guide him, there are a few requirements that clothing has to meet before he will buy. He seeks out start-up designers and brands that have not made it to Texas yet, giving them the chance to be exposed to a new market.

Neiman Marcus recently picked up one brand that John found a few months ago. But once a brand gains department-store notoriety, John is on to the next.

Another one of his requirements is price: nothing in the store is over $500. And he only carries one of each size – that’s one small, one medium, and one large of every dress, sweater, top, and pair of pants.

Tops in Piermarini's Boutique. (Photo by Shelby Foster)


Sami Schwendeman, who has been friends with Piermarini since they were in middle school, has attended market with him a few times.

“When John is buying he’s no muss, no fuss – he knows what kind of look he’s going for and he knows his market to a tee,” said Schwendeman, who just graduated from New York University.

His market is the prime reason why Piermarini loves being in Dallas, a city that allows his client base to range from high school students to older, established women. But no matter their age, he works to create looks that match their personality.

“I want my customers to walk out of here feeling like the best versions of themselves,” said Piermarini.

And every great ensemble needs a proper foundation, which is why Piermarini designed a line of basic slips and tanks called Abi & John.

“So many of the dresses these days are sheer, and girls come to me all the time wearing them,” said Piermarini. “But they need something under it, and what twenty-year-old wants Spanx hanging in their closet?”

So he took the girdle-like garments and reinvented them for a younger buyer.
Abi & John has sold out twice, and Piermarini, who designed his first dress at 15 years old, plans to keep designing in the future.

But for now, he’s focusing on the boutique. Piermarini is there everyday, acting as manager, sales clerk, buyer, designer, and merchandiser. The boutique now runs like a well-oiled machine, but it wasn’t always that way.

Piermarini said he had to learn how to start a business from the ground up, without any formal background.

“I definitely do not recommend not going to college,” said Piermarini. “You have no idea how much there is to learn about licensing, taxes, employees, and insurance. The red tape of business is ridiculous.”

The decision to avoid the normal course of education was not an easy one; many of Piermarini’s classmates doubted his plan to start a business. But now, their opinions have changed.

“My friends come back from college and see the boutique, and they’re so impressed that I’m actually making it happen,” said Piermarini.

Fall Into The Fur Trend

September 30, 2010 by · 1 Comment 

By Krystal Schlegel
kschlegel@mail.smu.edu

This season fake and real fur has been making a huge come back at fashion week, in stores, on celebrities and on students.

The trend was seen on the runways of Chanel, Tory Burch, Alice + Olivia, and Juicy Couture- at all different price points. Chanel, always a trendsetter, sent models down the runway in head to toe faux fur ensembles at the Fashion Week.

“Fur is such a large trend this season, because we are seeing a huge ‘70s retro comeback,” said Patty Talley, a top sales associate at Neiman Marcus NorthPark, who styles many SMU clients. She said the ‘70s inspired look can be observed in every fashion magazine and is being worn by many celebrities now.

According to Talley, shoppers are spending from $100-$300 on faux fur vests and jackets and $1,200 and up for the real deal. If shoppers are looking for real fur that is less expensive, rabbit fur is the lowest price.

Valerie Elizabeth of SocietyStylist.com tells her clients to buy vintage furs second hand at a cheaper cost.

“You can pick fur up in so many ways,” Talley said. “Not particularly the full coat, but accent pieces at any budget are available.”

Stylish students can transition their wardrobes from summer to fall by adding an accessory. Young customers are incorporating fur any way they can into their wardrobe with vests, shoes, and bags, said Talley. Students are pairing their fur vests for daytime with simple and understated outfits such as jeans and a T-shirt. However, they can also take the trend from day-to-night by styling fur accessories with an evening dress.

As far as color goes, “beige and blush are huge trends for this fall,” Talley said.

Neutral colors are highlighted in top designers such as, Chanel, Chloe, and Theory’s fall 2010 looks in stores now.

The September issue of Vogue also showed the trend in a spread with a wide variety of accessories and clothing with fur embellishments.

The fur trend is somewhat controversial.

“As a vegetarian, I only wear fake fur because I don’t like the idea of killing animals for skin,” said Lauren Taylor, a fashionable student and member of the SMU Retail Club.

Taylor shops at Cusp and plans to wear fur this fall to school and out with friends. Her fashion icon is Rachel Zoe, a celebrity stylist who can almost always be spotted in a fur vest or jacket, even came out with her own line of faux fur for qvc.com. Zoe is well known for her vintage seventies inspired looks.

Sarah Bray is the Style Editor of the Daily Campus and co-founder of SMUstyle.com. The SMU senior said she looked everywhere for a fur vest last year, but was disappointed there were not any options in mainstream retail shops.

“Now faux fur is everywhere,” Bray said. “After Chanel showed fur on the fall runway, everyone got in on the trend.”

Bray is faux fur all the way. “I can’t handle the thought of a dead animal on my body-it really grosses me out. Even if I had the budget, I still would never purchase real
fur.”

Bray has a passion for style.

“Fashion is art and personal expression, an outfit in an unexpected unique way is like looking at an artist’s work,” Bray said. “Having the ability to be different and who you are is the best part of being a human, so why not express your personality and stand out through what you wear.”

Career Center Prep Students for Job Fair

September 1, 2010 by · 1 Comment 

By Kwynn Kirkhuff
ckirkhuff@smu.edu

The Hegi Career Development Center is hosting a career fair prep day Wednesday in the Hughes-Trigg Student Theater. (PHOTO BY FELICIA LOGAN / SMU DAILY MUSTANG)

The Hegi Family Career Development Center is hosting a prep day Wednesday, Sept. 1. There will be five different workshops throughout the day that will prepare students for the Career and Internship Fair on Sept. 16. These workshops will focus around resume building, job searching and networking.

There are five different workshops that will all be held in the lower level of the Hughes-Trigg Student Center from 1-4 p.m. There will be a résumé class that will help students make their résumé stand out to employers. There is also a job search prep for international students from 1-2 p.m.
Want to learn how to succeed at the actual Career and Internship Fair? From 2-3 p.m. students can prepare for what to expect, and from 3-4 p.m. there will be a workshop on how to dress for success. If students want to practice professional networking skills with employers from a wide variety of businesses, there will be a speed networking session from 4- 7 p.m. Please not that students must RSVP for this workshop.

The Career and Internship Fair will feature companies such as, Neiman Marcus, American Airlines, Exxon Mobil Corporation, Frito Lay, Match.com, US Air Force and many more.

For a complete list and more info about the Career Internship Fair Prep Day click here.

The Daily Update: Tuesday, April 27

April 27, 2010 by · Comments Off 

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