Getting Creepy in the Catacombs

Taylor here!

Going to the Catacombs has been on my to do list for as long as I can remember. We finally got the chance to go see them on the very last day they were open, and wow was it worth it. When you walk down, you get a little scared because you go down so far underground. Once you enter a sign inscribed above the doorway leading to the bones says “Stop! This is the empire of the dead!” I thought I would be terrified to walk through and see so many lost lives and nameless bones, but I wasn’t scared- I was sad for them. The feeling of sadness washes over you in waves as you pass by bones after bones for miles. It is one of the most incredible things you will ever see if you decide to go!

Creative Hat Designs

This past week has been full of new experiences. We had the opportunity to do some hat making and it was quite an experience for the merchandising students! Although we had our moments of struggle we all ended up creating some beautiful and unique hats.

As for my personal hat I went into it with no clue of what I wanted to create. I ended up creating a hat that holds some Lady Gaga inspiration. It was an amazing and fun experience and getting to be with the merchandisers for the day was great!

-Brittney Hillmann


Antwerp Shopping Experience

The streets of Antwerp felt just about as cold as Wisconsin the day that we were there, but after taking on the cold and feeling like home, the shopping experience was one to forever remember.

Probably one of the best things about being in Antwerp when we were,  January 3rd, was the fact that the sales had arrived and were in full force starting that day. However, this did mean that some window displays where not up to full potential because customers where scattered all around and just wanting whatever was on sale. The windows were full of signs showing that this store had this much off, while others you saved this much. It was almost chaotic how busy some stores were, especially the fast-fashion brands. This made for a unique, but also exciting shopping excursion.

The main street with the stores was super fantastic lit up at night. The Christmas lights were still on the street lamps and across the streets and it was beautiful altogether. The whole center street felt like the only place to be in that moment or any moment because that was the main street for most all stores and everything played off of the main street after getting off of the train station. The street had chocolates and Belgium waffles and diamonds and clothing, expensive and fast fashion. The target market of the street pretty much reached all consumers. Each store had a lot of foot traffic constantly passing and the fact that later in the night the whole street was closed off to just walking.

The merchandising technique was pretty much the sales signs all around to get people into their stores on the start of sales. That definitely could be seen as a success for many of the stores. The only problem with the sales all starting all at once though, was the fact that clothes were a mess and things were all over the floors and lines were long.

Overall, I would say that Antwerp and our shopping experience was one to remember. With a whole wide range of shops all within a walking distance, appealing to pretty much all tastes of a whole wide range of consumers, this shopping experience was one that will be forever unique.



Beautiful view

Today we walked to the effial tower. It was a long walk that was a hour long but worth it. The walk I got to see more or Paris and the streets and the people. The city from the bridge’s view was really breath taking and to die for. Anyone that comes here should just go the bridge to look at the view and go to the effial tower.

-teyah thompson


Luxury Brands and Inspiring Stories.

This week, we had a few classes with Oliver Roux. Roux had a wealth of knowledge on everything from the French culture and customs, to luxury brands and their history. One of the most interesting stories that Roux had about a commonly known luxury brand, Chanel, was Coco Chanel’s rags to riches and the most surprising, her original name. Coco Chanel’s original name was Gabrielle Chansel. Chanel dripped the “s” in her last name to make it easier for everyone to pronounce. Chanel’s past is also very surprising as well, as a child Gabrielle, later known as Coco, was extremely poor, regardless of the stories she may have told. Chanel made her way to the top by being strong and independent woman. She was a trailblazer in both trends and gender social norms, such as women wearing plants, and her creation of the cross body bag. Chanel’s stories of love, heart break, and being a strong and indecent woman are inspiring to me and countless other young woman.













Embrace Being Lost

One of my favorite sayings is “the more you are lost the more you explore” which is 100% true, especially in the city of Paris. With Paris being such a large city there are so many opportunities to hit the streets and explore and see what you never knew existed. The first week it was pretty intimidating to take the bus system and subway here because #1..where even are we and #2..we don’t speak the language.  But eventually you understand the systems more and you are able to explore and be okay with getting lost.

One of my favorite day’s here so far was getting lost with a friend and rolling with the situation. We ended up in a part of Paris where we had no clue where we were but we kept walking to see what we could find. Of course it was a night where we both were freezing and to add to that it was raining but it was a moment where we will remember and take away from this trip. We found some beautiful side streets and it was fun to walk them to see more of Paris. It was a simple moment but we both found ourselves enjoying getting lost because it gave us the opportunity to see a part of Paris that we never knew was even there.

My top advice for getting lost in Paris:

  1. GOOGLE MAPS!! This app will help tremendously because it will give you routes for the subway, bus, and walking.
  2. Learn the main tourist attractions to put the city into perspective.
  3. The street names are normally on buildings so when you are trying to find the street name don’t always look at the street sign on the corner.
  4. Embrace the side streets because you’ll find little hidden gems.
  5. After a day or night of being lost…treat yourself with a crepe because you deserve it!

-Brittney Hillmann

Galeries Lafayette

The Galeries Lafayette is an amazing shopping mall. Although very touristy, it is a must-see for anyone in Paris. Each floor is organized by type of merchandise for ease of shopping, but at the center of each is a wide space with a beautiful ceiling. It is unlike anything we have back home. We are lucky enough to be here during the holiday so there is a gigantic white christmas tree to add to the decor.

My favorite part of the mall were the windows. They are again, all white and have moving parts that show a polar bear scene at a long table. Paris has amazing windows in general but this was definitely one of my favorites.

One thing to be cautious of when visiting Galeries Lafayette…the macarons! They look incredibly delicious but they taste like dinner. Turns out white truffle is not a sweet dessert flavor, but a mushroom. Other than that, it was a fantastic experience and we will definitely be going back!

-Sam Rohde



Don’t Feel Intimidated, Everyone is Friendly

I do not speak French as well as the other Parisians; But I have noticed that as long as you try, they will be friendly to you. I have never encountered a single time where one Parisian has been rude or careless towards me being a foreigner in their country, let alone an American. There is this one mini market place near my apartment. I have been there so much that the man that works there, recognizes me. Today he helped my roommates and I with French greetings. He reminded us the French words for good morning and goodnight. Even earlier today, my roommates and I went to a bistro. The waitress was very friendly and helped us out with the menu and she knew English fairly well. As long as you try to respect their culture and language, they will do the same in return. On the plus side, my roommates and I were able to successfully conquer a French laundromat! Now that’s something to be proud of 🙂 It really is possible to live in a foreign country and be able to survive! 20170106_175805[1].jpg

  • Brianna

Madame Picco & Madame Lenoir

Today was our first official class day with no museum visits and just straight fashion and it was amazing! We learned from Madame Lenoir and Madame Picco who talked about Madame Gres and her life and journey in the fashion industry. It was fascinating to hear Madame Picco speak to us in full French and get to see her true emotions and then have our translator, who did such a great job helping us understand the story. After Madame Picco was done telling the store of Madame Gres, a few lucky students got to try on their beautiful designs. Rachel tried on one made by Madame Picco while Sam tried on one made by Madame Lenoir.

I fell absolutely in love with this gorgeous red dress that Madame Picco designed. It was an honor just to try it on and I immediately felt beautiful and feminine in it. I always believed that a good designer should have the ability to make any woman feel that way when wearing their clothing and she did just that. I never wanted to take it off and the experience is one I will never forget.

– Samantha Mandich

The dress that I tried on was a beautiful blue with such a gorgeous top piece and a beautifully complimenting shawl to show case the design. When I was wearing it, I could feel the love and emotion and time that Madame Picco put into her piece. You could tell how proud, and rightfully so, she was that this piece is hers and that she had the privilege to work alongside Madame Gres and learn all the techniques herself. The gown fit like a charm was felt so incredible on the body. It was a once in a lifetime experience!

-Rachel Reichardt



Seeing Icons in Musee D’Orsay

Taylor Van Slett here-

Paris is the most incredible city full of music, culture, and art. So many famous masterpieces are housed in the many museums in the city, but Musee D’Orsay is just magical. Walking in from the back entrance toward the main part of the museum, the sheer size of this beautifully preserved train station catches you off guard.

The most beautiful statues await you in the main walkway, and if you turn around right when you get in you can get a pretty sweet look at the amazing gold clock that watches over the museum.

Then, just when you think you’ve seen the most beautiful part of the museum, you get into the gallery rooms to fin your favorite iconic paintings that were taught to you through years of art history. (Needless to say, I was geeking out!) Definitely a must see if you’re going to be in Paris!

Time to get to sleep, it’s our first real day of classes tomorrow!

Bon nuit!