Last year, I came across an incredibly beautiful collection of handmade blouses, upcycled from vintage kimonos, by a British company called Beautiful Soul. Each piece was one-of-a-kind and absolutely stunning. I really identified with what she was doing and appreciated each of her pieces as individual works of art.
Based in Notting Hill, one of my favorite London neighborhoods, Nicola Woods is the founder and designer of this company. Her business model is so similar to mine and pieces so lovely that I have been following her ever since.
Over the past couple of seasons, Nicola has come out with new collections that are just as stunning as her repurposed kimono pieces. Pictured above are a few pieces from Beautiful Soul’s ‘Olivia Rose’ Collection for 2012. I am so in love with the long turquoise dress with poppies on it. Check out the new collection here.
A couple of weeks ago, I had the pleasure of meeting and spending six days at the NY Gift Fair with Fatima Fazal, the super talented inventor of this biodegradable, smile-inducing, new way of eating. She just launched her heart shaped, all-in-one cutlery that she calls Iheart-this with this awesome website and video that she and a friend shot and edited themselves. I just want to watch it over and over.
I worked from home today and somehow I got a little distracted. We recently moved into a coop brownstone in Park Slope and the past month has been spent settling in and making it ours. My photo shoot started with lunch. I made the most simple, yet delicious and healthy dish and was so thrilled with myself that I had to photograph it. I basically threw dried French lentils and brown rice in a pot with water and vegetable bouillon, let it cook for about 30 min, then threw in some chopped broccoli and cooked it for 10 min more. After lunch, I couldn’t stop and ended up photographing a few of my favorite things. Hope you enjoy.
Last week, at Lincoln Center, there was an awesome and groundbreaking event for fashion week. The Green Shows took place in the tents and it was fantastic. Beautifully styled by Julie Ragolia, the work of some of the top ethical fashion designers in the US was presented. The event was only an hour long and the space was jam packed with press and buyers.
There was also a gorgeous accessory installation in the middle of the room featuring a few of my bags along with two other handbag designers and gorgeous jewelry by Erika Lauren, Victoria Simes, Natalie Frigo, Mal Jewelry, Nettie Kent, East Fourth Street.
My best friend asked me to make a men’s bag for her boyfriend as a Christmas present last year. I used the thickest jacket leather I could find and lined it with suede from a skirt. I made sure the handles were short and the strap long and adjustable. I have to say, I was very happy with how it came out. My friend loved it and so did her boyfriend. Maybe one day the shop will have a men’s department…
I met the beautiful Kirsten Muenster a couple years ago when I was living in San Francisco and I liked her immediately. As I was early on in my business, it was so good to meet another designer who I had so much in common with. She is just as dedicated to sustainability in her work as I am and is so great to share ideas with. We run our businesses very similarly. Most of our work is one-of-kind and made in-house, with a few things being locally outsourced.
Kirsten is a metalsmith and artist who crafts breathtakingly beautiful jewelry from the most interesting and sustainable sources possible. She is always on the lookout for strange and incredible materials to incorporate into her pieces. Petrified woods, fossilized tusks and bones are only a few examples of the types of materials she uses for her “stones”. She only uses recycled metals and knows the history behind every material she incorporates into her pieces.
Kirsten’s most recent work is a collection of incredibly intricate hand crafted chains (above photos). She hand forms each and every link of these necklaces and bracelets, creating incredibly beautiful patterns that remind me of knitting. Each one is hand coiled, hand cut and shaped into place to create a very strong pattern of links – the ends line up seamlessly because they are cut by hand – so they actually have a very clean appearance. I can’t even imagine the tedious amount of work that goes into each piece.
I can’t believe it has taken me this long to write about Jenny Gordy. Jenny & I shared a studio (along with Jennifer of Odette) for a year and she makes the most beautiful handmade clothes. Looking at her pieces and how well crafted and designed they are seriously puts the majority of store-bought clothes to shame. Rather than create a line of 25 pieces and hope one sticks, Jenny makes very few, but those few are reworked to perfection – and they sell out quickly. Jenny is meticulous in everything she does. She and her husband recently left Brooklyn to move to Iowa and I wondered how it would affect her business and inspiration being away from so many of her colleagues and the energy that NYC generates, but it is clearly working for her. It seems leaving the distractions of the city has really allowed her to focus and her work is better than ever. She has even opened up her very own curated shop of some of her favorite products.
Check out her beautiful new shop.