Creating a Fashion Catalog

Photo by Nick Chao. Left to right: Kate Fisher, owner/fashion designer of Synergy, production manager Gina Peters of Synergy, fashion stylist Missy Schnaps, model Desiree Amariei. 

In December, The Penny Rose production team was approached by international clothing company, Synergy Organic Clothing, with the idea of having our team produce/direct/style/shoot/design Synergy's Fall 13 catalog. We came on board and during the last week of February and the first week of March, our crew came together for 10 days to create the photos for the catalog. We had an amazing experience together. 

A lot of people ask me about what goes into doing such a project. It's a huge but very rewarding job. As the creative director and producer, it was my job to pull together our crew, dialogue with our talent (the models), find locations, secure locations, plan all logistics, create shots lists and call sheets, and oh so much more before we even began shooting. On the set, I served as the point person to make sure everything flowed smoothly and that my producing efforts had paid off. (They did!) Also, on set, I used my 10 years of on camera experience as a professional actor to help the models with movement and posing. 

While on set for 10 days straight, I brought on a brilliant and talented crew including our photographer Nick ChaoMissy Schnaps who served as fashion stylist and hair stylist on the featured looks, Anna Wu who provided makeup for 10 days, and Ginger Vaughn who styled hair during our five cut out days. We were also joined by the client, Kate Fisher, fashion designer and co-owner of Synergy, as well as two staff members from Synergy who served as production assistants, Gina Peters and Cat Gomez.

Photo by Nick Chao. Makeup artist Anna Wu applies makeup to model, Alyssa Lenore.

Photographer Nick Chao on set.

Producer/Creative Director Christa Martin directing model, Coco, before a shot.

Our schedule was broken up into five day sections. During the first five days, we shot "cut outs" in the studio. These are basically stills of the models striking three poses to best show off the garments. The images will be used both in the Fall 13 catalog and on Synergy's website. For our second set of five days, we shot our featured looks in downtown Santa Cruz, in the nearby mountains at the home and property of Laamie Young of Blank Verse Jewelry, and also at the Pacific Cultural Center, a vibrant, airy, serene yoga center. 

After the 10 day shoot was over, photographer Nick Chao and I spent a day together going through 1,500+ photos, editing them down to our favorites. Over the next month and a half, the images will be presented to the client, approved, selected, then given to the graphic designer, Jose Estevez, to lay out the catalog. Come May, the new Fall 13 Synergy catalog should be viewable and we'll be sure to share it here on The Penny Rose. 

Members of our team: Kate Fisher (fashion designer/co-owner of Synergy), model Desiree Amariei, photographer Nick Chao, producer/creative director Christa Martin, production manager Gina Peters.

A Year In Review

Photos: Nick Chao
One year ago, I gathered a select group of writers and fashion and beauty insiders, and launched The Penny Rose. In the last year, we've gained a loyal and growing readership. We offer five articles a week on everything from eco-beauty reviews to the latest on the runway, to fashion tips, and much more. Over the course of the last year, we created several high fashion photo shoots that were shot by photographer Nick Chao and featured the talents of fashion stylist Missy Schnaps, hair stylist Ginger Vaughn, makeup artist Anna Wu, and model Desiree Amariei.
Photos: Nick Chao
We received an arts grant from the Cultural Council of Santa Cruz County to continue to fund the blog.
Photo: Nick Chao
We attended Fashion and Digital Art Night at the Museum of Art & History in Santa Cruz.
We created several fashion videos including this holiday film by Deva Blaisdell-Anderson.
Photo: Mama-T
On a weekly basis we featured items from local boutiques in our "I Love That" column by Mama-T.
We're producing/shooting/designing/styling a Fall 2013 catalog for Synergy, an international clothing company. 
We tried out eyelash extensions at L'Atelier Spa in Santa Cruz.
We fell in love with the color combo of pink and gold
And we also fell for geometric jewelry.
We made sure to support our locals like fashion designer Sally Esposito and jewelry designer Laamie Young of Blank Verse Jewelry (necklace above). It's been an amazing first year of blogging, and we're very grateful to our readers for their support, and especially to our Santa Cruz audience. We have an online boutique, Instagram, advertising options, a production team, and much more. Cheers to our second year! Please email us anytime at to share story ideas. We love to hear from our readers.

Santa Cruz Fashion Week Film Trailer

The Penny Rose—Santa Cruz Fashion Week 2012 Trailer from The Penny Rose on Vimeo.

Also watch it

Look for Santa Cruz Fashion Week on The Penny Rose from Sept. 3-7. Every day we will feature videos, photography by Nick Chao, gorgeous fall "looks," Santa Cruz stores and more.

Here's a sweet video that takes a beautiful peek at the behind-the-scenes talents of our cast and crew for Santa Cruz Fashion Week. This mini-movie was created by Deva Blaisdell-Anderson, an independent filmmaker whose most recent project includes co-directing and producing a short film, "Hotline," starring Emmy Award-winnning actress Camryn Manheim.

Fashion Sale on Sunday

If there was one closet in town that I could raid, it would be that of Missy Schnaps. I'm in luck. The Santa Cruz-based fashion stylist/hair stylist is opening up her wardrobe for an exclusive sale this Sunday, July 1, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m at 305 8th Ave., Santa Cruz. (No early birds, please.) Ladies, line up, because this is a one-of-a-kind opportunity. Schnaps has impeccable taste and an entire attic-like space that's been converted into a closet. She has a covetable selection of shoes, bags, pants, dresses, blouses and more, from places like Anthropologie and from designers like Diane VonFurstenburg, Marc Jacobs, Mike & Chris, Prairie Underground, Level 99, and Free People. Frocks come in all sizes and the shoes will be mostly in sizes 9 and 10. (Some home furnishing items will be for sale, too.) In addition, Schnaps will be pulling items and providing on-the-spot styling for customers, and she will have an additional stylist on-hand, too. This is no hometown yard sale, folks. Schnaps knows her stuff. She styled the exquisite fashion issue for Good Times last year and she recently styled a look book for the Russian edition of Vogue magazine. This is the best in fashion styling that you'll find in Santa Cruz. 

Summer Wardrobe Must-Haves

Spring won't be here much longer, so what's a stylish summer wardrobe to look like? (Minus the obvious shorts and such.) We're looking for genuine statement-making fashion. So we turned to our resident fashion stylist at The Penny Rose, Missy Schnaps, for a few tips on how to spruce up our closet for the warmer weather.
What are some wardrobe must-haves as June approaches? 

As we all know, June (in Santa Cruz) usually means fog, hence the "June gloom" we've all come to grin and bear. While most of us are anxiously awaiting displaying our summer sundresses and sandals, we know that we must never leave the house without layers. For me, this means a scarf that can transition from day to night—something lightweight and yet warm. I found mine in the form of black jersey by the brand Fluxus—available at Cameron Marks in downtown Santa Cruz. While researching alternate ways to wear this jersey gem, I found that I'm not the only fan. Oprah mentioned this scarf as one of her favorite things.


What are some solutions to look chic in the summer for women who aren't comfortable baring their legs or wearing swimsuits?

I love a flowy silk maxi skirt. It can go with anything—a flat sandal, booties, wedges, there are infinite possibilities. Caftans are an amazingly chic way to look put-together, of the season, and modest while keeping covered and still being part of the beach scene.

What are a few items in Santa Cruz, at recommended stores, that you think will be a hit this summer? 

I'm loving the mullet skirt trend (shorter in front and longer in back). It must really appeal to the hairstylist in me. Stripe is carrying a beautiful one which would be very versatile to transition from spring to summer.

What are a few online favorites for a summer wardrobe? 

For inspiration, I always turn to It's like looking at a faraway friend's best travel and fashion journal. I also love Pinterest—I've spent many a night falling down the rabbit hole of beautiful clothes leading to fabulous shoes to endless creativity.

What's "in" for summer color? 

Sequins—in pastels, stripes and geomtric designs. Also, the colors pamplemousse, seafoam green, cobalt blue, and white in modern architectural shapes. Something like this dress below can be worn to a wedding, a weekend in Vegas or a night out at the Red Room in Santa Cruz.


What about shoes for the summer? What are you eyeing? 

I'm loving flats that take it up a notch; a smallish heel, lace-up wedges and Chloe's studded rocker booties.

Missy Schnaps is a fashion stylist and hair stylist. She works at L'Atelier Salon, 114 Pearl Alley, Santa Cruz, (831) 423-4247, Contact her at