Silk Road Spirit

Scarves, Shawls & Pashminas for Men and Women

Do we like men in scarves?

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Believe it or not, the debate is still going about whether men look hot - or not - in scarves. Extra conducted an online poll in September (Men in Scarves: Sexy or Silly?) - results indicate that 68% of women like their men in scarves. Some say ''yea!' and some say 'yuck!'

What do you think? Check out today's slideshow on Rediff News of some of Bollywood's most handsome men who love their scarves -- and we love their fashion sense! See pics of Shah Rukh Khan, Akshay Kumar, Ranbir Kapoor, Hrithik Roshan and more.

Still Thinking Scarves Are Cold Weather Fare?

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Not so fast... scarves are so "hot," they're cool. I was happy to discover two articles posted just this weekend noting that "women's scarves are by far the hottest fashion accessory today." The trend is still huge!

Check out this article titled "Scarves a Warming Trend for Summer Fashion" by Mike McGinley in Sunday's (10 May 09) Northeastern Pennsylvania's Times Leader.

You might also be interested to read Shaun kedikede/Nbu Melissa's blog titled "Today's Hottest Fashion Accessory is Women's Scarves," written today (11 May 09).

Don't forget to follow us on Twitter!

Silk Road Spirit at Art for Health Benefit

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Today, Silk Road Spirit is proud to be participating in the Art for Health fundraiser to benefit ASU's Nurse Managed Health Centers, particularly the Breaking the Cycle Community Health Care Clinic in downtown Phoenix. The annual event -- including a juried art show, excellent jazz-inspired music, great food, and a select few exhibitors like us -- will be held on Friday, May 1 at Grace Lutheran Church -- 1124 North Third Street in Phoenix. We're donating 50% of our sales to the clinic, and 10% to the church.

If you're a SRS blog follower in Phoenix, I hope to see you at the event to support this great cause! If you are elsewhere, maybe you could check out the event online and figure out another way to support the cause.

Twitter, Twitter Little Star...

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So, my friends, I've succumbed at last. I am now a Twitterer. I'm Twittering. I have a Twitter. Honestly, this hot social media movement has very wisely developed a language all its own -- it will probably take me months to learn the lingo. Whatever the phrase would be for I've jumped on the Twitter bandwagon, that's the phrase I'm looking for.

I attended a do-it-yourself social media workshop last night sponsored by Local First Arizona, and came away with an appreciation of the power of Twitter. Then once I read Chris Brogan's article, 50 Ideas on Using Twitter for Business, I was sold, as they say. I'm going to give it a try.

So please... help me to develop my Twitter group. Follow my Twitter.

50 Ways to Tie a Scarf

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I wish I were an artist -- if I were, I would draw pictures for you of the more than 50 different ways that I know of to tie your Silk Road Spirit scarf. I'm working on a project now to write out the steps to the most popular scarf-tying styles, but so far, I'm not convinced the descriptions are going to help all that much (though it may help to quality you for the America's Cup yacht racing team). Eventually, we hope to have at least one picture of every imaginable knot on our site.

In the meantime, while you're waiting for us to get our acts together, I think you'll be most impressed with the Scarf Tying Guide from a company called Texere Silk. They offer step-by-step instructions and full color illustrations for more than 50 ways to tie a scarf. And if you love hand painted silk scarves, you're going to love this site. Enjoy!

Be a Lucky Scarf Winner!

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All you have to ask yourself is, 'Do I feel lucky today?' I don't know if you've noticed yet -- we give away one FREE SCARF every month at Silk Road Spirit. All you have to do is sign up for the drawing, tell us why you'd like to win, and voila! You're a winner. You can take my word for it, your chances of winning a beautiful scarf from Silk Road Spirit are very good. Honestly, the very worst that can happen is that you don't win the scarf, but that you do receive great discount offers from time to time. What have you got to lose? Sign up!

Tyra's Recessionista's Fashion Tips

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Tyra Banks is a juggernaut these days. So much so, that I confess I sometimes have to tune her out. But I do give that woman all the credit in the world for her talent and ambition and creativity and get-up-and-go. I really can't take all of her shows, but she's got great tips, that woman. Did you catch the episode in January in which Jill Martin from Us Weekly demonstrated multiple ways for How to Wear a Scarf? I missed it too... but Tyra's website features a clipi of three of the more inventive ideas that Jill demonstrated on the show. Take a look!

Scarves Aren't Just for Winter Anymore!

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Finally! Someone besides me is discovering that scarves are for Spring, Summer, Fall AND Winter. People tell me all the time that scarves don't sell in the Spring, that I should give up trying. And then I read this great article in the Orlando Sentinal -- in FLORIDA, no less -- about an abundance of scarves in the Spring. Check out the article "There's a New Spin on Scarves" in the March 5 edition. Again, thank you, "Slumdog Millionaire"!

Outsourcing Advice from the Pros

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Those of you who know me know that my other business, Silk Road Asian Sourcing, helps companies here in the U.S. to develop their products and to find partners overseas to manufacture them. Despite what you may think or feel about outsourcing and overseas production, I do believe that the practice benefits everyone involved -- and not just those greedy U.S. manufacturers who are trying to "take advantage" of those poor, defenseless workers. You can't tell me we are ready to take back all of that manufacturing in the U.S., or that Americans are willing to pay twice as much for a toothbrush, or a pup tent, or a set of kitchen knives.

Anyway, BusinessWeek SmallBiz recently published a Special Report on Outsourcing, and I was quoted in an article titled Outsourcing Advice from the Pros. Check it out!

Flower Power: Political Movement or Fashion Trend?

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To me, it’s fascinating how popular culture influences fashion, and fashion influences pop culture. In the 1920s, for example, women won the right to vote, and a certain liberation followed. Flappers flew, women threw off their bustles and girdles, and in some cases, even in high society, they threw off their undergarments altogether – witness those early films featuring Carole Lombard, Jean Harlow, Claudette Colbert and others, dressed in those slinky satin gowns without a stitch on underneath. I think you could make a case for fashion following culture in that era.

In the 1940s and ‘50s, a new morality emerged, and we saw the rise to prominence of such moral dictators as Edgar J. Hoover and Joseph McCarthy. Filmmakers endured strict censorship, and American families moved to the suburbs. Women squeezed back into their Maidenform bras and girdles, and accessorized with matchy-matchy belts, handbags, gloves and shoes. Is fashion following culture, and the mood of the country here? I think so.

The 1960s brought a new kind of liberation in the form of the birth control pill. Free love. Miniskirts were born, and as skirts rose, so did easy access, if you know what I mean. Or did ‘easy access’ give rise to rising skirts? Hmmm… Was ‘flower power’ a political movement or a fashion trend?

In my opinion, the 1970s were a slovenly period in our fashion history, and I can say that, because I came of age in the ‘70s. I, personally, wore overalls and either a red or a blue bandana on my head for most of a full year sometime in the ‘70s. We all walked on the backs of our blue jeans, the rolled up, frayed pieces of the jean straggling on behind us. Narrow wale corduroys, one in every color, and painter’s pants (complete with the hammer-holding loop) were de rigueur. Clogs. Adidas (this was before Nike came to pass). Earth shoes. While I lived through this era, I can’t begin to tell you why we dressed that way. I can’t honestly associate it with a political trend, and I certainly don’t think Nixon or Ford is to blame.

My point is this: Fashion and Culture are inextricably linked. I’m hardly the first one to notice that what’s popular in the culture finds its way into the fashions of the day. It’s no secret that manufacturers market their wares to the masses based on what’s popular in the culture. Sales of shirts and hats sporting flags increase when we go to war; sales of pink things increase proportionately with our increased awareness of breast cancer issues. How many offers did you receive in the month of March for green items, just because certain people wear green once a year on St. Patrick’s Day? I received eight offers by email alone. In these cases, fashion definitely follows culture.

If America falls in love with a little-engine-that-could film called “Slumdog Millionaire,” and we are moved by the story, and by the film’s Indian setting, not to mention the exotic beaded tops (kurtas) and patterned scarves worn by Latika, the lovely leading lady, then all things India will be hot for a while. Our interest in Indian culture thus piqued, new Indian restaurants will pop up, the rich saffron and curry color palette of India will find its way into our furniture and home décor, and fashion-forward women everywhere will wear the scarves and traditional salwar kameez of India with pride.

A case in point: On December 5, 2008 the AP published an article (I read it in the Minneapolis Star Tribune) stating that Pantone had declared Mimosa (the yellow flower, not the drink) would be 2009’s hot color. Expect to see it on the runways, etc. This was after Slumdog premiered in theaters, but long before it swept all the awards. Then on March 3, post award season, I read a blog post by Elizabeth Wellington on Philly.com’s fashion blog 'Mirror Image' titled “Slum Dog Millionaire's Freida Pinto in Pantone Color of the Year, Mimosa Yellow.” The article accompanied a picture of the film’s leading lady in that beautiful mimosa scarf that she’s wearing in the movie’s exhilarating final dance sequence, and in all the publicity trailers.

Which came first? Fashion or culture?

Scarves Inspired by Slumdog Millionaire

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Unless you've been hiding under a rock for the last few months, you are undoubtedly aware that "Slumdog Millionaire" stole the show at the Golden Globes, the Academy Awards, and every other film awards ceremony this year, and in the process, it stole our hearts as well. The Indian underdog epic centers on the Dickensian story of a poor young man's unexpected appearance on India’s ‘Who Wants to be a Millionaire.’ If you're like me, you were inspired by the exotic beaded tops (kurtas) and patterned scarves worn by the leading lady Latika, and by the film’s Indian setting.

Give your wardrobe a Bollywood twist! Any of the Indian scarves from Silk Road Spirit will add that certain Indian spice style to your outfit -- one of my favorites is the beautiful and versatile Saffron & Curry Scarf woven in the rich spice colors of India. Or if you love texture, another special piece to bring that Indian flavor to your wardrobe is a silk blend turquoise and blue work of textile art called We Got the Blues.

Taylor Momsen made my day!

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My good friend Alexandra, who is a big fan of the CW hit show, Gossip Girl, sent me this picture of Taylor Momsen, who plays Jenny Humphrey on the show.

Alex was really excited, because she wondered if it was possible that THE Taylor Momsen had possibly found the Silk Road Spirit website, and ordered her scarf from us. I had to admit that the pink cotton scarf Taylor is wearing is not ours, as the scarf has only just arrived in stock, but I wish it was from us -- I'd be thrilled!

Be that as it may, I am happy to say that SRS does now carry Taylor's pink scarf, as well five other rich jewel-toned colors of the same style. I like Taylor in the pink, but I also think she'd be smashing in the cobalt blue scarf.

My apologies in advance to the photographer who took the shot of Taylor -- if I knew who you are, I would gladly give credit where credit is due.

Welcome to my blog!

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This is my very first posting -- welcome to all of you who will read this blog and any future postings. Let's face it, we probably all spend way too much time at our computers, and too little time enjoying our friends and family IRL. But sometimes blogging IS the fastest, easiest way to keep in touch -- and if you're like me, you do a lot of it in the middle of the night. So here we are.

I'm writing today in Hong Kong, having just spent three weeks sourcing new products in Bangkok, Delhi, Guangzhou (the great Canton Fair), and Hong Kong. I've seen a lot, and am happy to write that I accomplished what I set out to complete. I've also witnessed first hand how the general panic over the economy is affecting commerce around the world. The big trade fairs in Asia continue on, business-as-usual, but where are the buyers? And specifically, where are the Americans? No matter where I am, be it trade show, coffee house, train station, or hotel lobby, the conversation centers on two topics: the state of the economy (where are the American buyers?), and who's going to be the next president of the United States (these are the two BEST candidates of each party that the great country of America has to offer?).

My best days this trip were in Delhi, India. I was shopping for new products for Silk Road Spirit, my fledgling fashion accessories business, and having a ball! I'm sure I reviewed more than a thousand new shawls, scarves, stoles, pashminas (take your pick of names to describe those lovely things) in search of the very best first collection. The color and variety of wools, silks, cashmeres, linens and cottons was quite stunning... overwhelming, really. The creativity of the designs, the skills of the weavers, the richness of the blends were a joy to behold. Besides the work, I have many wonderful friends in India now, garnered over many years of travel there. Yes, I had a good and productive trip to Delhi!

I am looking forward to putting this first collection together, photographing it and getting it online for you to enjoy. I'm also looking forward to hearing from you -- so please do write (that is, BLOG), and tell me what you think. Great days ahead!