Friday, January 29, 2010

New items in my Etsy shop!

Ladette - new limited edition - purple and brass decorated! Gorgeous!
Terri Ann - also a limited edition - and a sneak preview of my up coming fall range!
SWAG  royal blue floral patchwork zip clutch - a beautiful eco-fashion piece - and a preview of my TRIFF textiles line
Jaki tote in wedding white - gets you mind into summer! And caramel - great TCB bag!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

There's good everywhere - you only need to find it - lol (my nearly Andy Rooney moment, directed at Independent Fashion Bloggers)

I am usually tough on so called 'Independent Fashion bloggers', especially if they call so themselves... Usually for the mere lack of purpose to their mission.

Independent Fashion Blogger.... - commonly someone beyond that kind of 'title' is female, usually a student (hence the time on their hands for all the blogging & unloading pictures..), proudly supported by their working family; has true passion for keeping tabs on their latest purchases in junior stores, taking generous loads of pictures of themselves in several outfits each time, and sharing them with their elaborate network of virtual friends, throwing in a few brands or names of fashion icons in their scarse comments to create references...

I am often wondering what exactly makes these bloggers 'classify themselves' as  independent?  Independence in their direction and fashion creativity? Hardly. They are not setting fashion trends or creating them - usually their wardrobes  - and therefore - sources of blogging material -  are fuelled by teen or discount stores, where 'the finds' were picked-up on shopping-sprees, focusing on pure quantities (the more - the better), with little regard to quality of the purchased item, it's propriety or purpose.

Main target is either on a manufacturer's brand, or discount received. Often, boasting about baggin'-up a dirt-cheap couterfeit accessories fills pages of 'independent fashion'. Title Independent is most likely drawn from the lack of authorisation/ or endorsement by a reputable source to one's writings on internet....

Another word that 'gets me' about this title, is the very word 'Fashion'.

If you photograph clothes, then you think you must be showcasing fashion. Well, in the eyes of those creating fashion, what you really are showcasing is your own wardrobe  - and oftentimes, mis-use of the aspiring items.
Junior stores do not create fashion, they mass-produce it. And so do the big brands, and as a result of this consumerism is disquissed as passion for fashion. And mainstream marketing campaigns of air-brushed pictures, and models striking stylized poses - get these copycats to attempt some home version of the same  - and then, unfortunately, to put it all out to Internet for us to see! Lack of regard for fashion, along with lack of regard for purpose of the whole ordeal, leave a bad taste of purely narcicistic intentions beyond these photoshoots, as well as an indirect way to boast about yourself.

Do IFB's live to buy? I suggest that all the 'Independent Fashion Bloggers' I've described here, to be re-named to Fast Fashion Bloggers (slightly better than Consumerist Bloggers )- and they can stay Independent, if they like .

Here's a few suggestions to upgrade yourself in Blogging - from Douchebaggery to Fashion.

If you consider yourself any kind of fashionista - even more so  - independent fashionista   - then look to the Independent - to the grass-roots of fashion in the jungle of indie art.
Fashion is given birth toitself right there, during the countless scavanges and re-works of thrift items; discovered hiding in dingy craft shows, amongst the vast pages of . That awckward, one-of-kind (very temporarily, as we know), unseen before, item, that none of your friends seem to have (this year - or next) - that's THE fashion item, the trend setter - and not a follower - generate from Inate inspiration, rather that 'as seen on...'  (and copied from) - that's what you should be aspiring to. The originals, not mass-produced copies. Big brands and chain stores popularize trends with their cash, as well as steal them - but it is Us, Indie Artists, that discover them in the first place, before that item became 'the season's Must Have a few years later. Blog about that - even if you're wearing the item in your pics! We'd forgive you.

Do not support counterfeit market. Copying someone else's designs and selling them as your own, is stealing. Buying stolen items is supporting the thieves. If this is hard to comprehend, imagine someone getting wind of your original grad outfit and showing up wearing the same one - claiming they created it themselves.

Also, copying someone else's designs, producing a far inferior copy and selling it as THEIR product, is not only stealing, but degrading too. Designer quality items require hard work by highly skilled people. Inferior, cheap, copies undermine value of the originals, due the the price disperities and lack of consumer education. They also degrade and tarnish the work of designers by the poor quality involved in mass produced copies, that claim to be the actual originals.. Never ever buy a counterfeit - there are lots of alternatives to funding a purchase of an original, or getting your 'brand fix' through buying an alternative item in the same fashion house. OR - possibly there are other items, related to the same trend around already - you just have to find them...

Overall, if you love fashion - show it as art, rather than tool to express your narcicistic  needs. Post pictures of other people sometimes - especially if they do fashion  better than you. It takes a hero to admit it!

Also - be concious of the environment. Buy natural, healthy, fairly made and traded, and cruelty free fashion only - the one you'll keep for a long time, and not one you'll discard to landfill once the photoshoot is viewed by more than 6 people... And obstain from buying all over again, sending your money to chains, which hide sweatshops, cruelty, plagiarism and child labour behind their countless quantities of identical products.

Include one of a kind items in your looks - they're especially easy to locate in Thrift stores. You'll never find an item, identical to what you've found in Thrift store, again. And - use DYI items in your looks. They'll be uniquely yours, and you will -  at least for that one photoshoot - be allowed to clai that you create  fashion!

Work with looks, specific to your cultural, religious or environment  needs  - and stretch them, byt integrating pieces that you like into your attire, shaped by cultural norms. Research your possibilitities and give advice.

Be the first - do not be a narcicistic follower. Bring meaning to the messages you're subjecting us to. Create, love and support art - not just plain consumerist douchebaggery. Sources are out there - just find them. look furhter than yourself - look to fashion!

Be a fashion blogger - an advocate for Fashion.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Big day for a small brand

Talk about bragging rights - my merely 9 months old line just may get another micro expansion. A third retail location! The lovely Two Of Hearts Boutique on Main street.

Really thrilled to finally sell locally! For someone who hardly does any major PR - or any PR for that matter, just as little marketing; and all design, production, purchasing -alongside a full time demanding job, this attention is not only a surprise, but a case of overwhelming.

So the day looks somewhat like this:
  • dropping off several of my 'creations' at the boutique
  • collecting packages that finally made their way in from around the globe, carrying goodies, ideas and inspirations
  • signing up for a day-job related, yet interesting class;
  • returning home and designing..... fall stuff. (I cant even think of fall in this weather - my mind is in the spring!)
  • major replenishing, sweat shop-like sewing marathon for the rest of the weekend, if cold does not cripple me. 
  • oh - and applying for another major handmade show - gee, I am not sure if I can pull it off...
Thank all of  you for finding me....

Pls, visit my bags alongside lots of great locally made pieces of clothing, jewellery, accessories and art

Two Of Hearts Clothing & Boutique

3728 Main St.
Vancouver, BC


**ps - fall stuff is nowhere in my head...


Monday, January 18, 2010

Your low-down of some excellent clothing trends for this spring

More and more days feel like spring time in Vancouver. Quite a contrast from last year, when we were covered with deep snow, which had blackened and turned porous over the weeks.

This year, there's the sunshine, the rain, the birds and that way-too-early-to-be-around warm wind. I am already thinking of Spring - and so do alot of us, I am sure. Spring clothing is sheepishly appearing at the stores, bringing back joyous mood and lighter colours.

I feel somewhat obligated to give the audiences a fair summary of what to look for in order to stay on top of trends this spring. This post will cover the Overview- traits, spotted amongst global Brands, that impact and lead us into each new transition - be it a simple season change or arrival of a new direction in apparel. I will not focus on labels, but rather looks.

Each outfit - or, even better - each single piece - combined of not only patterns that differ, but also very different or opposing materials and textures. Pair modal with knits, silk with linen, tweed and lace, leather and jersey - stiff with flowy, masculine with feminine, solids with remnants - all good, as long you thought those ideas could never work together - they CAN (despite what your grandmother or boyfriend says)!

There is also a Military direction to it - when flowy fabric tunics or dresses are tamed with structured blazers, featuring army style finishes.

Avoid: colour clashes. They by no means have to match, but to go is neccessary.
Where to buy highstreet: This is an easy one - dress here, jacket there - mix things from different brands + add DVF

FLORAL - and the more vintage looking, or closer to the 60's wall-paper look - the better! This look has been around for a while, and this spring it is bringing some new cuts and new appreciation of vintage. Also, the dreamy 'Cruise' floral is growing, (whether is a good thing or not), along with modernized, or so called 'Translatable"  florals, most of which we will see in our retail stores shortly. Those are the prints that will suit most bodies and colour pallets. However - if you are picking a more fashion-forward floral, consider your statue more than anything else. Classical rule is that large prints can over-power petite frames. Sometimes belting a big pattern floral dress does the trick for petites. Here are my pics:

Avoid: Overpowering - if you're petite - break up a print with a belt, scarf or blazer.
Head-to-toe floral - is just wrong
Where to buy highstreet: as much as I've seen - the leader is H&M. And vintage......

Some version of BOHO - I am so glad this theme is still around. I solely give this trend all the props for "teaching" me how to dress; and inspiring me to love the world the way it is. Layered, ever-changing, independent, untamed. That is MY version of Boho.
This year Boho channels a few other directions and is losing it's primary 'stark' version - we're not seeing quite as many pon-pons, symbolics and headbands. But the appeal is there, as it always has been. So, be wild, bold, laid back, eco-grunge-chic, or downright crunchy -  and  - at the same time - incredibly tasteful....

This year may be the last one that we're talking about BOHO as a trend. Environmental awareness, recycling and all thing eco-chic have put this movement onto the Shelf of Timeless, next to Classical style and functional Sportswear. BOHO will always be around as a direction, rather than temporary fashion trend. Amen to that - and may your purse never match your outfit!

Avoid: inapropriate pics for your environment - some versions are suited for work, but some are just not.
Over-doing: head-to-toe grunge sometimes is a failure, too many layers can over-power YOU.
Where to buy highstreet: Start with Vallue Village, rework your finds and add new pieces as you go.

MINIMALIST - Usually, when a fashion direction is present for as long as Layering and Volume have been around, there is a fresh 'opposition' rising eventually. That's why this spring new, cleaner, looks were spotted on runways. No co-insidence, we're starting a new decade too. For some artists, this is a way to start fresh and minimal, shedding all the layers and embellishings, and reminding us that less is more.

Clean lines, focus on tailoring and exposing craftsmanship rather than additives...

Yet, not only craftsmanship is exposed.... There is a body-concious line within this trend. Some clothes are tailored to closely fit the body and mimic it's lines. So all eyes are on the wearer, the clothes supplement, rather than over-take.

Avoid: colours that wash you out. Also, if you're curvy, broken -up separates work better than solid strech fabric pieces.

Where to buy highstrreet: Hmmm, try Contemporary section of Holts, American Apparel, Pure And Simple line at Life Of Riley, also - great BC designers such as Toggery & Two Of Hearts.

DRAPED  - some Grecian versions of this look has been around since about 2004. But this year the focus is on draping rather than cultural influences. I personally love this trend, because it works for the most body types. Keep it light and fresh.

This type of clothing cunstruction, if selected right, allows us to seemlessly 'hide' the parts of our bodies we are not happy with. And if paired with solids, this trend can look very professional and personal at the same time.
 Avoid: Like anything new, this idea can be easily over-used.  When you're not sure apply the 'less is more' rule. Also - it is important to try these clothes on while you're moving. Space permitting, take a stroll in and out your changeroom, to see how the flowy materials move with your body.
Where to buy highstreet: hmmm... this is a tricky one - mainly because it may take a while till this trend reaches our shores. For now, your best shot is at Zara.
Should you venture abroad - try TopShop, as they're always ahead of many other stores with their fun and fashion forward ideas.

So, these are the main four avenues that stood out in the spring run-way shows. There are other, additional directions, that were also spotted - like the return of bright colours, mixed prints and safari look, that has been around for a while.

As buyers, our task is to pick what suits for us and make looks our own. Plan and enjoy your wardrobes!

In the next post I will try to cover local, BC indie brands and fashions. BC is marching to it's own beat, when it comes to fashion, and I will try to summarize the new and fresh ideas that appeared in our back-yard in the past few weeks.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Grassroots styles' sale

With spring upon us very - hopefully shortly, - I reviewed all the styles of my bags based on your responces,  my equipment improvements, growing construction knowledge and my overall creative direction.
I have decided to retire some styles or re-design their original form.

This is the kind of process that goes on throughout your life with art, as I  believe the strongest warning sign of 'burning out' is when an rtist starts to think that they're fully happy with what they're doing, and rom for change and search is little.

In the next several days I will run the GRASSROOTS STYLES' SALE on my Etsy page. Again, my favourite 35-45% off discount of selected grassroots, mostly one of a kind bags, that will not be repeated...

Great for individual purchasers and re-sellers!

Watch for further announcements...

Monday, January 4, 2010

2009 reflection

So, we finally crossed over into the new decade. Cellebrations are over for most, costumes and fireworks had been put away. Time to make new plans and also - how to accomplish them...

Looking back on the year that past, I feel thankful - for all good things that happened; and for even more to look forward to. I re-discovered my creativity this past year. It has been placed on the back burner during the turmoil of settling in Canada. It changed the way I look at things and built new appreciation for this city and it's unique face.

It also built up my awareness of the environment and ways to preserve it, helped me to return to my roots and lifestyle of my younger years. I began to embrace simplicity again, re-using countless great finds, avoiding bad and pricey habits, creating unique identity. Where I saw shortages before, I now see an opportunity to fill them with creativity.

My biggest discovery - or change - have been the Van's Indie arts influence on myself and my esthetics. I suddenly re-found vintage items - anything from furniture, clothes, accessories, to decor, to craft supplies - as long as they don't turn into dust between my fingers. I let my eyes wonder around Main street and size up all youth sporting their great - and bad vintage (hey, after all, it's great no matter what - as long as the kids can still get a job wearing that stuff...); skinnies and fedoras, belts and sack-bags, used dresses and their dads' vests. It's a healthy antidote to anything stuffy, counterfeit or 'soccer'....

Simplicity, minimalism and thoughtfulness that comes along with it, is beautiful.... My understanding of what I should pursue has definitely shifted towards the independent, and marking new trends, rather than formal and following rules - and I am glad about that...

I've also committed to working more with recycled materials. My goal is to re-work each item I am using in full - to utilize all it's parts and pieces; and reduce the waist in the process as much as possible. The very potent source proved to be Recycled Wool and Scrap Leather.

I am still searching for ways to recycle leather clothing, but so far I am having concerns about the amounts of dispose.

A jacket can only be recycled in some 30-40% of it's volume - or just the outer shell, but the lining, padding, snaps, fasteners and seams will end up in a landfill... Leather skirts and pants generate less waste once cut apart, so they might be a good source or re-usable supplies...

Liquidated or overstock leather is what I choose to work with. These pieces are beautiful, but rejected by their primary industires, such as upholsterors, car seat or garment mannufacturers due to size, frequency of print pattern, branding marks, etc. These pieces would otherwise also likely end-up discarded... they haven't been shaped into anything, so I am able to use them up to small scraps, that I will later - recycle....

The demand for new leather is built artificially and is not always associated with meat production. Some leathers, just like fur, are the only product that is derived from an animal. Think of the exotic and wild animal types of leather, use of which most indie designers will not support.

If you are to buy a leather  - or fur made - item, I would encourage you to choose one, made of recycled or liquidated animal materials.

And - please, shop handmade. Let's support each other! You will get unique and environment cautious style; a different, distingtive look - and
We will be able to continue our mission of providing that to you...

*source of all images used in this post - Google Images...