Shopping for a Cause

We all love to shop, there is no doubt about that. But, what if buying a new t-shirt meant a glimmer of hope in the eyes of a child lost in the inconsistent life of foster care? Would you do it? Would you buy the shirt?


Together We Rise, a non-profit organization that organizes programs and fundraises for kids in foster care, is partnering with to raise money for kids stuck in the shuffling of foster care. The two organizations teamed up to create custom designed t-shirts for this event. They will only be available this week. Fourteen dollars of every purchase goes toward a better life for these kids.

Please take a look, order a few and maybe you can make a difference in the lives of many foster care children.



BMDesigns founder talks about her life as a designer

By Cara Winkley

Brittany Davidson has been into fashion her whole life; literally. At the age of three, Brittany’s grandmother taught her how to sew. As she grew up, she became more and more into fashion and by age seven she was already starting to design.

When Davidson was 16, she received a scholarship through Pen State to study fashion and French at American University in Paris for a summer. After summer she returned home, graduated high school and started her first semester of college at Savannah College of Art and Design. After one semester she transferred to American Intercontinental University in London. There she studied fashion design and marketing. Davidson liked AIU’s hands-on teaching method and more traditional approach to dressmaking compared with SCAD.

After finishing her studies, Davidson came back to Kansas and started her company, BMDesigns in 2009. She designs and sells seasonal collections as well as one-of-a-kind pieces you can only order through her.

“It was extremely hard to get started and it takes a lot of time, work and dedication; but I wouldn’t have it any other way” Davidson said.

In addition to managing BMDesigns, Davidson bought a local children’s store that had gone under three years ago in Overland Park. The children’s store, Chocolate Soup, sells other designer brands, but Davidson plans to eventually sell her own children’s line under the Chocolate Soup name. Until then, Davidson juggles both businesses on a daily basis.

“The fashion industry is extremely competitive and until you have manufacturer backing, it is designing, making and selling one piece at a time” Davidson said.

The inspiration for her designs comes from her first-hand experiences traveling and exploring other cultures. She markets her clothing as having a European flair. She also gets inspiration from the streets as well as old-fashioned research. Another way she creates her designs is to take something old and modernize it to make it new.

Davidson describes her designs as classic silhouettes with a modern twist. Her target customers are stylish individuals in the 20 to 40 year old range.

“They are more affluent and the way they dress is important to them, they want something unique but still fashionable” Davidson said.

These individuals are always on the go and need clothing that can carry over from work to a night out on the town, she said.

Davidson has shown her designs in many local fashion shows including Kansas City Fashion Week and St.Louis Fashion Week. This coming season she will be showing in Plitz’s New York Fashion Week in addition to Omaha Fashion Week.

Jennifer Hermon, a fashion beauty blogger in the Kansas City area, attended this year’s KCFW where Davidson showed off her latest collection.

“She knows what it takes to show a collection on the runway” Hermon said.

Davidson’s favorite moment so far as a designer is the moment her designs walk down the runway.

“All the stress, all the time, all the panic or tears, all the effort is for those five minutes on the runway- and it’s completely worth it” Davidson said.

Davidson works 24/ 7 because she loves what she does. Not only is she a hard and successful worker, but Erin Barnes, a local fashion blogger, describes Davidson as “another sweetheart you can’t help but like.”

Being a designer has its perks – parties, photo shoots, runway shows, hairstylists and make-up artists – but in no way is it glamorous.

“What the public sees is only about one percent of what a designer does, most my days are spent in my studio by myself with three dogs sewing, draping or designing” Davidson said.

Even though being a designer may be hard and very time consuming, her advice to other designers is not to quit.

“No matter who tells you you can’t do it, if it’s what you love then keep trying” Davidson said.

Her ultimate goal for BMDesigns is to get her designs into department stores one day. Until then, she hopes to continue to grow as a designer and as a company and brand each season.

“I couldn’t imagine having any other job,” said Davidson. “So, I know I am extremely fortunate to be able to do what I love for a living.”

KU students share their thoughts on BMDesigns


Andrea Banner: Hi, my name is Andrea Banner and I’m from San Diego, California. The dress with the yellow and white stripes that she’s wearing the sparkly heels with; I really like that dress because it’s really classy and simple. Nowadays, you are seeing a lot of the scandalous, revealing dresses so I really like how classic this looks.

Addie Polk: I’m Addie Polk, and I’m from Wichita. I’m looking at a few of these designs. It has a lot of colors on it – fall colors and it’s like a half-short half-dress thing. It’s probably a little too wild for my taste, but I do like it for the runway.

Jeremiah Karczewski:  I am Jeremiah Karczewski. I’m looking at the picture of the gentleman and I think that I might wear that shirt. Never by itself though like he’s wearing it. I don’t care how hot it is outside.

Claire Breslin: I’m Claire Breslin. First one’s a little funky, it’s different. I feel like it’s definitely chic, I guess. It looks very runway.

Kacey Eaton: I’m Kasey Eaton. I’m from Wichita Kansas. I’m a senior this year. The dress is blue and yellow and it looks like spring again and the heels are super cute. You could also wear it to a picnic.

Chantelle Johnson: My name’s Chantelle Johnson and I’m from here in Lawrence Kansas. The first design with the peacock feathers reminds me of high fashion. It may be something you’d wear to a really glamorous party. I really like the peacock feathers. I feel like the feathers are coming back in style.

J419 FINAL Graphic

Outsourcing in the Textile Industry

By Cara Winkley

Shopping is many girls’ favorite pastimes, and while girls look at style, colors and price when buying clothes, they often neglect to look at where they were made.

Liz Tillhof, a junior studying business at the University of Kansas, took a look through her closet specifically looking at where each piece of clothing was made. She found that out of 40 items of clothing only four were made in the United States.

Outsourcing American jobs to textile industries in other countries has become more and more popular and has raised many concerns. Today, the United States imports 98 percent of its clothing and produces only two percent on American soil, according to ABC News.

The definition of outsourcing is to purchase goods or subcontract services from an outside supplier or source.

While there are advantages and disadvantages to outsourcing, one of the major concerns is loss of American jobs. According to Overdressed, by Elizabeth L. Cline, more than half a million American garment industry jobs were lost between the years 1996 and 2011.

Dan Galindau, an international business professor at the University of Kansas has a positive outlook on outsourcing American jobs.

“Hopefully, as we outsource those low value jobs it allows people to focus more on high value jobs that will pay more; that’s the ideal situation,” Galindau said.

Though outsourcing textile jobs to other countries may decrease jobs in America, it actually helps out the economy. Without outsourcing, companies would have to charge more for their products to cover production costs and fewer consumers would buy them.

“This is true of all countries, as they move up the income and standard of living ladder along the way they have to lose some types of jobs because they are not feasible economically to maintain in country,” Galindau said.

The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) went into effect on January 1, 1994 according to the Office of the United States Trade Representative. This agreement eliminated barriers of trade and tariffs on products being imported and exported between the U.S., Canada, and Mexico.

Tailan Chi, a University of Kansas international business professor, said that as a result of NAFTA, the U.S. Labor Department reported that more  better-paid jobs were created than lower paid jobs were lost.

International trade between countries allows each country to do whatever they do best. If we didn’t outsource that means we would have to shut ourselves off from international trade, Chi said.

Shutting ourselves off from international trade is less than likely, however, we can take action to improve our textile industry. The answer is found in one simple question.

“How can we develop the textile industry in the U.S. where it is really a value added in terms of either processes, the design, the materials used, or something that brings in value where it doesn’t compete just on price with socks and t-shirts,” Galindau said.

Graphic by Cara Winkley

Top trends of the decades

By Cara Winkley

Style changes so often that most people don’t know last season’s trends from this season’s. Below is a timeline showing the top trends of the past six decades to keep you in style and up to date, or just to look back and reminisce.

Graphic by Cara Winkley


Comfort wins this fall when it comes to style

Women share what popular styles they have seen selling in stores and on campus

By Cara Winkley


Cara Winkley- New fashions are popping up everywhere in stores and on the streets. Some of the most popular styles this fall include colored skinny jeans, blazers and boots. Kelsey Clifton is the manager at the downtown Lawrence clothing boutique, Fortuity. She tells us her reaction on what she has seen selling out the most.

Kelsey Clifton- Right now, I think just like sweaters like what I’m wearing right now. Just oversized sweaters are really in right now. Leggings, obviously, the cold weather is coming in. Leggings and big sweaters is my favorite and we’re getting in a lot.

C.W. –Hillary Wehmeyer and Liz Powell who are students at the University of Kansas, see this look on campus every day. Hillary thinks that this style is most popular because a more practical style on campus is best.

Hillary Wehmeyer- I think that if you’re going to make a fashion statement on campus then it’s still going to be really like…

Liz Powell- Laid-back.

H.W.- Because you’re walking around, probably were up late the night before, so something thats just easy and comfortable.

C.W.- Even though fall has brought along many new styles, more students are taking into account the comfort and practicality of clothes when deciding what to wear each day. This has been Cara Winkley for Stay Stylin’.

High Heel Health Hazards

Women risk their health when putting on heels

By Cara Winkley

High heels are seen in almost all fashion shows, fashion magazines, and women’s closets, but the pleasure in wearing this glamorized accessory may come at a cost.

Wearing high heels can not only make you look taller, thinner, and ‘sexier,’ but they can also pose a potential risk to your future health.

“Women are the ones who wear high heels and they’re the ones with the bodies that actually shouldn’t, ” said Kerry Benson, journalism professor at The University of Kansas, who wears heels frequently for work.

According to a study released this year in the Journal of Applied Physiology, women who regularly wear high heels are at risk for permanent physiological damage to their knees, hips, back and tendons. Women as young as 25 years-old are already experiencing these effects.

Some effects that may occur from wearing high heels:

  • Shortening of Achilles Tendon– The position of the foot while wearing high heels shortens the tendon and can become chronically shortened if the heels are worn often enough.
  • Bunions– Friction created as toes rub against the inside of the shoe can cause bony growths around the big toe. The big toe can then turn inward toward the other toes causing more pain.
  • Ankle sprains– High heels shift all your weight onto the balls of your feet, which causes your balance to become unstable and can lead to falling and spraining an ankle.
  • Knee Osteoarthritis–  The stress put onto the joints of the knee while wearing heels can lead to knee osteoarthritis.
  • Lower back pain– The spine is made to evenly distribute weight, but when high heels are worn it alters the posture and puts uneven strain on the discs, joints and ligaments on the lower back.
  • Morton’s neuroma– The stress put on the balls of your feet can lead to nerve swelling and inflammation known as Morton’s neuroma.

Many women do not know the specific effects of wearing high heels, but almost all of them know that there is a generalized notion of pain that comes with wearing them. Most will ignore it referring to the well-known saying, ‘Beauty is pain.’

Jaclyn Bitto, a junior from Chicago, recognizes that there is pain that comes with wearing heels, but wears them anyway.

“I like the way they look,” said Bitto. “I like the way they can complete an outfit.”

Fortunately, for women who don’t want to give up their heels, there are options. Benson, a journalism professor at KU, has come up with her own method to lessen the risks that come with wearing heels. She does not wear heels every day, but on days she does wear them she alternates heel height.

“I’ll put them on and I might wear them for class, but before the end of the day I’ll put on another level, and then at the very end of the day I’ll put on a flat” Benson said.

Some other examples of how to lessen the effects of heels:

  • Stretch– Place a towel around the ball of your foot. Grab hold of each end of the towel and pull it toward you. This stretches the bottom of your feet and your calves.
  • Wear Wedges– These put less stress on the ball of the foot and offer a more balanced support.
  • Wear Orthotic Insoles– These can make heels more comfortable and reduce the stress placed on the ball of the foot.

Each of the previous examples can lessen the negative effects of heels, but cannot completely prevent them. For the women brave enough to substitute fashion for comfort; there is only one solution.

“Not wearing them,” said Bitto. “That’s probably the best answer.”

High Heels Round – Table Discussion


Kristin Hodnik –  My name is Kristin Hodnik. I go to KU – Med. I’m in nursing school. We were told to talk about high heels. At least my stance on high heels is, I’m five – foot – nine and I rarely wear high heels. It’s not because of my height. It’s because I’m very uncoordinated and I just fall even when I’m wearing tennis shoes.

Megan Mroczek –  My name is Megan Mroczek and I just graduated last year. I don’t usually wear high heels either because I too am awkward and can’t walk in them and look silly. I used to wear them sometimes when I was a freshman and my feet would hurt some mornings when I would wake up after wearing them. They did not feel very good.

Kiley Sheehy – My name is Kiley and I’m a senior at KU. I wear heels probably like whenever I dress up. And I like to wear tall heels.

M.M. – Do you think your back is going to hurt in the future?

K.S. –  No I think my back is going to hurt because of my backpack.

K.H. –  Do your heels ever hurt?

K.S. –  No, probably the balls of my feet hurt more than the heels. But, I’ve noticed I get shin splints from running. I don’t get shin splints from my heels. I feel like.

K.H. –  At least for me I think it’s because all the weight has shifted forward in the heel that probably on the balls of your feet it would hurt. And actually I’ve heard at least through some findings that high heels aren’t really great for your feet, but if you wear Doctor Scholls in them it could probably work out for the better.

K.S. –  Doctor Scholls are effective.

K.H. –  I personally don’t wear heels, but that’s what I’ve heard.

M.M. –  One time when I wore heels in college, I woke up the next morning and my feet were swollen. Really bad.

K.H.  –  I do like to see the heels. Okay, but do you wear the really high obnoxious heels?

K.S.  – I like to, but this is what I do – I practice wearing them. If I’m cleaning my room or doing something like unloading the dishwasher ill put them on and practice.

K.H. –  But, does that hurt?

K.S. – No, it doesn’t hurt because I just wear them for little stints at a time.

Lawrence boutiques are successful despite the economy

By: Cara Winkley

Locally owned boutiques in Lawrence see an upward trend in spending and are thriving in a town where the majority of residents are penny-pinching college students.


Intro: Natural Sound

Cara Winkley: Many say consumer spending has been down, but locally owned boutiques in Lawrence have different opinions.

CW: Courtney Ricketts, the Co-Owner of Nomads Boutique on Massachusetts Street in Lawrence, noticed the effect the economy had on her store within the past few years.

Ricketts: “Well, it did definitely kind of slow down when the economy started getting bad, but I think within the last year or so its starting to pick up.”

CW: Nomads is not the only locally owned boutique seeing upward trends in spending. Gretchen Mukmin, a sales associate at Sunflower Outdoor and Bike shop is seeing this same increase.

Mukmin:  “I don’t know if the economy is getting better or what but even the sidewalk sale was our best one ever.”

CW: In addition to the rising economy, there are other details that factor into this consumer spending increase. Katie Glas, the manager at Envy boutique gives her opinion.

Glas: “Well I know a lot of customers look at prices. So that’s the biggest part. And that’s why we try to keep ours lower, just to get them in our store.”

CW: Even though the boutiques are competitors, they still lend a helping hand to the competition. Ricketts, the co-owner of Nomads, helps the customer as well as her fellow boutique owners.

Ricketts: “You know, if somebody can’t find something in here, then ill send them across the street to the other clothing store.”

CW: Despite what most people say about the economy, here in Lawrence boutiques are doing just fine, and are even helping out the competition. This has been Cara Winkley reporting for Sunflower Style dot com. Stay Stylin’.