Posts filed under 'Designer Profiles'

Designer Profile: Ted Vadakan and Angie Myung of Poketo

Poketo Suit Totes

Who says that art isn’t wearable? LA-based design studio Poketo is bringing art into the everyday with innovative, limited-edition accessories and lifestyle goods, like the recycled suit totes pictured above. Find out more about how Poketo was founded (including the story behind the brand’s name), what’s up next for Poketo, and how founders Ted Vadakan and Angie Myung kick back in their free time.

Describe Poketo, Twitter style.
Poketo is an LA-based design studio that creates limited edition artist-lifestyle goods based on the idea of "art for your everyday."

When was Poketo founded?  
Poketo was founded by us, Ted Vadakan and Angie Myung, in 2003.

What’s the story behind the launch?
As a part of the San Francisco art community I (Ted) was a filmmaker and Angie, was a graphic designer.  We were always curating shows for artist friends. The shows were a lot of fun and brought tons of people together. But we noticed a problem. No one could afford to buy the art displayed. For this reason, we came up with an affordable solution to satisfy everyone’s art lust.  Poketo, pronounced "poh-keh-toe" got its name through Angie’s grandmother’s mispronunciation of the word, "pocket." And the name stuck. We created limited-edition artist wallets that were accessible and well designed so that no one would be without a piece of art of their own. Wallets were the perfect items to make. Not only were they extremely functional, but they were carried around and exposed to the public everyday. Having a Poketo wallet was like having a traveling art show with you at all times, and it still is today. The first run of wallets were very successful and sold out immediately. So Poketo made more and more. Each time discovering new artists and creating new products until Poketo evolved into what it is today, an innovator in artist-designed lifestyle wares.

Since our company was founded in 2003, Poketo has had the most amazing opportunities, collaborating with not only international artists, but also with companies like Nike, and major art institutions including the SF MoMA and De Young Museum.  We’ve also had the rewarding experience of working with musicians that we’ve been loyal fans of including Arcade Fire, The Shins, Weezer, The Postal Service, and the Coachella Music Festival, as well as as a benefit fundraiser for non-profit institutions as 826LA and 826 National, founded by the writer Dave Eggers. Everyone who appreciates beautiful art should have the right to incorporate it into their lives through affordable design.  With this conviction, Poketo is continuously invigorated to develop ways of making art accessible to all!

Complete the following sentences:

Spring 2010 fashion is about…
Having fun! Vibrant colors! Sunshine! Being green!

Fall 2010 fashion is about…
Being cozy and warm, experimental, being green!

Where can Omiru readers buy Poketo?
Visit our online store at

Fun Fact about Poketo?

We do a mean Karaoke set and are huge foodies!

Last words?

Around Earth Day in April, be on the look out for our newest line of 100% recycled line of bags made from street banners, used leather jackets, couches, and donated clothing!  As the need for ‘green’ becomes a long-lasting trend in everyday living, Poketo is doing its part with these one-of-a-kind artist-designed bags where proceeds go back into the community towards environmental protection, and aiding those in need both domestically and abroad.

We are super stoked to have repurposed something that is both high in quality and part of a larger social mission to make the world a greener, friendlier place to live.

3 comments March 19th, 2010

Designer Profile: Willie Fung and Patricia Poon of Loft604

Loft604 Lightweight Pure Cotton Double Collar Zip Up Shirt

We’ve always been a fan of high quality menswear here at Omiru, and we have a new menswear brand to watch: Willie Fung and Patricia Poon’s Loft604. The Toronto based brand combines butter-soft sustainable fabrics (their bamboo knit is simply divine) with classic-with-a-twist designs. We caught up with Willie and Patricia about how they founded Loft604, their design inspirations, and what’s on deck for Fall 2010.

Describe Loft604, Twitter style.
Toronto based, Loft604 is a menswear brand focusing on sustainable fabrics and sophisticated, urban designs.

When was Loft604 founded?
Loft 604 was founded in June 2009, by me (Willie Fung) and my wife Patricia Poon.

What’s the story behind the launch?

For the past 5 years, while I had worked for a sportswear/loungewear company, Patricia and I had a vision to create the next big thing in men’s fashion.  We’d felt that there is a need for a brand with luxurious fabrics and sophisticated details. But really, comfort is the key to our brand.  It’s important to touch and feel our collection by hand to experience the 100% cashmere that feels like butter. This is Canadian craftsmanship: quality over quantity!

Complete the following sentences:
Spring 2010 fashion is about…
Silk cotton shirts that are lightweight - super soft and cool for the summer.  Colours are also a strong theme this season.

Fall 2010 fashion is about…
Heavy cashmere knits are the thing to wear this Fall.

Where can Omiru readers buy Loft604?
Omiru readers can purchase Loft604 from many retail boutiques located in the cities of Toronto, Vancouver, Chicago, Los Angeles, and New York.

Fun Fact about Loft604?
We love to travel around the world for inspiration from arts and culture. We capture interesting artifacts, landmarks, and historic attractions with our cameras.  We also collect a lot of antique cameras and look for interesting items that can be reused.  

Last words?

We’ve used the Twin Lens Camera as our logo because it is a classic.  We love photography, and we collect a lot of interesting cameras, films, and accessories.  Oh, and the name Loft604 is actually where we live and work - all in one place!

March 9th, 2010

Designer Spotlight: Topman

The US has Gap, Japan has Uniqlo, Sweden has H&M, and Britain has Topman, the UK-based menswear-only designer that has been gaining more and more publicity in the UK.  Topman is appreciated for its budget-friendly prices, but the clothes aren’t half bad either.  But best of all, Topman is coming to the United States this Fall.  

In the meantime, you can purchase Topman clothes online and have them shipped to the US.  Here’s our six favorite pieces from Topman’s UK Fall 2008 collection:

Knitted Grey Toggle Cardigan
Knitted Grey Toggle Cardigan | $75 (approx) at Topman

Chunky cardigans are in this fall and this is your chance to get a great one.  I love the texture and the toggle detail.  Plus, it’s machine washable, unlike most sweaters.

Orange Check Scarf
Orange Check Scarf | $19 (approx) at Topman

Perfect for when the leaves change, this scarf adds an instant burst of color to any outfit.  Wear it when the rest of your outfit is muted to make it really stand out.  

Navy Blue Skinny Tie
Navy Blue Skinny Tie | $19 (approx) at Topman

Maybe I’ve been watching too many Mad Men reruns, but I am all about monochromatic outfits this year.  This tie is simple and stylish – although, at 3.5 cm, not “skinny,” as the site labels it. One of my favorite ways to wear a solid navy tie is with a medium gray suit and a simple windowpane shirt.

Style tip: For all things ties, be sure to check out Tie Crafters.  They specialize in cleaning ties and can narrow, widen, shorten, elongate, reline and even retip your ties.  They are based out of New York, so unless you live there, you will have to mail your tie to them.  But it’s worth it.  Neiman Marcus in Palo Alto, CA, charges $112 to narrow a tie, but Tie Crafters sets you back just $17.  Not bad.

Brown Hudson Leather Brogues
Brown Hudson Leather Brogues | $140 (approx) at Topman

Topman seems to favor selling “distressed” (or in their words, “creased”) shoes.  I prefer to buy a clean pair and distress them myself through wear.  I love loafers and lace ups that are really worn in.  

Grey Check 5 Button Waistcoat
Grey Check 5 Button Waistcoat | $56 (approx) at Topman

I think waistcoats should be worn more often.  Waistcoasts aren’t just for bankers wearing three piece power suits.  I think a great waistcoat can look fantastic with a tie and shirt over jeans.  It’s a great going-out-in-the-city look. If you want some visual inspiration, look no farther than Mr. Simon Spurr, the creator of his eponymous label.  

Grey Dogtooth Skinny Blazer
Grey Dogtooth Skinny Blazer | $104 (approx) at Topman

A one button blazer is about as rakish a blazer as you will find.  I like the grey “dogtooth” (I don’t know what that is either; I’m assuming they mean houndstooth) detail; it gives it character from afar and is a cool little detail up close.  Most of all, I love the look of a slim lapel, which this piece surely has.

5 comments August 27th, 2008

Designer Spotlight: GAP Men

Our first designer spotlight highlighted an up-and-coming designer, Engineered Garments.  This time around, we explore a company that has been around for awhile but has been rejuvenated by new designer.  Patrick Robinson, who has worked at labels ranging from Armani to Target, is turning the GAP around.  The GAP used to be that default store for shirts, chinos, and sweaters.  But the GAP seems to have lost its swagger in recent memory.  Is it back? Time will tell, but if Mr. Robinson keeps producing pieces like these, it just may.  

The GAP Original Khaki
The GAP Original Khaki | $44.50 at Gap

The first thing I notice about these khakis is the great fit.  Mr. Robinson has created garments that fit so much better than they have in recent years.  Slim, but not Ramones-skinny, these khakis are what you want; they’re trim but comfortable.  I like them in “chino cedar.”  And, in fashion right now is a short, soft break, such that the pants lie at the top of your shoe.  It’s a casual look to be sure, so don’t wear it to the office on casual Friday unless your name is Thom Browne.

The Leather Bomber
The Leather Bomber | $298 at Gap

Again, fit, fit fit.  The slim fit is what makes this leather bomber jacket so stylish.  Wear it as they do in Milan: slightly snug with a thin layer underneath.  

Striped Pocket T
Striped Pocket T | $19.50 at Gap

Bold stripes and a pocket. I love it.

Herringbone Blazer
Herringbone Blazer | $88 at Gap

Unstructured blazers are the epitome of that dressy casual realm of style.  This two button navy piece is quite rakish, and I love the shirt it’s paired it with too (which, with its bold horizontal stripes, is very much in fashion right now).  Check out the jacket details too. The herringbone pattern gives it something extra.

Flat Front Shorts
Flat Front Shorts | $24.99 (sale) at Gap

It seems Mr. Robinson’s most noticeable effect so far is the slimmer fit of the clothes.  All the pieces suggested are closer to the body than you may be used to with GAP clothes.  These shorts are no exception.  Slim, cool, above the knee, and in a very summer shade of khaki—just how we like it.

Style Tip: GAP seems to be following in J. Crew and H&M’s footsteps by hiring a high-end designer to create a line for the label at a lower price point.  Unfortunately, none of the Pierre Hardy for GAP boots are available online yet, but be sure to check back for them.  The quality and design of Pierre Hardy at a lower price point is a great value.

3 comments July 23rd, 2008

Designer Spotlight: ToyWatch

Who says watches have to be all gold, diamonds, and leather?  Chicago-based ToyWatch challenges you to think differently; think nylon instead of calf or alligator skin bands, plastic instead of gold or sterling silver cases, and, as is the case with their newest collection, neon-bright colors instead of more subdued offerings.

These Italian-designed watches from designer Marco Mavilla are crafted after high-end watches, but sell at more affordable prices—most watches are in the $200 to $400 range—exactly the kind of steal we love here at Omiru.

The magic of these watches is that they resemble high-end luxury watches, but you never get the feeling that they are just cheap knock-offs.  Jazz is to music as ToyWatch is to watches.  Like jazz artists, who take already written pieces and employ tropes to make the music their own, ToyWatch takes classic timepieces and uses new and interesting materials and design elements to make them unique.

Mr. Mavilla designed his first ToyWatch in 2006, and just two years later, they have caught fire, especially among L.A. celebrities.  It could very well be that ToyWatch will be the next Swatch.

Brown Sports Watch
Brown Sports Watch | $255 at Barney’s New York

At first glance, this piece, the result of a collaboration between Men’s Vogue and ToyWatch, looks like an expensive luxury watch.  The band is a grosgrain ribbon, and the subtle rose gold finish on the casing is absolutely perfect.  Subtle and refined, you could wear this piece for almost any occasion and it would look great.  I love this watch.  Limited to 200 units; a steal at $255.

Toy Watch Crystal Watch Rolex Oyster
Crystal Watch | $175 at ToyWatch (left) and Rolex Perpetual Submariner from GQ (right).

This is the quintessential ToyWatch.  The case and bracelet are both made of a clear acrylic.  And at 38mm, the size is just right.  And, while it is not explicitly stated anywhere, this piece was modeled after the classic Rolex Oyster Perpetual Submariner; just look at the resemblance!

Ceramic Watch and Chanel J12
Ceramic Watch | $950 at ToyWatch (left) and Chanel J12 from TimeZone (right).

A piece from ToyWatch’s high-end line, this watch is just beautiful.  The entire thing is ceramic, which gives it a sleek, modern look.  Best of all is its durability: it’s virtually scratchproof. It reminds me of the Chanel J12.

Strong Watch and Panerai Watch for Ferrari
Strong Watch | $385 at ToyWatch (left) and Panerai Watch for Ferrari | $6400 at GQ (right). 

Featuring a black rubber band with stainless steel buckle and a silver dial and bezel, this bold piece is another stunner.  The shape of the case and face make me think of those beautiful Panerai watches.

Mother of Pearl Chrono and Breitling Navitimer
Mother of Pearl Chrono | $275 at ToyWatch (left) and Breitling Navitimer | $6,425 at Mens Watches Guide (right). 

Nothing says “man watch” like a chunky chronograph.  I like this piece here, with its mother of pearl dial.  It looks similar to a Breitling Navitimer, no?

Style Tip:
ToyWatch’s website has a nice little glossary of watch terms that appear frequently throughout the ToyWatch site.  Remember, the informed buyer always makes a better purchase.

1 comment July 16th, 2008

Designer Profile: Juliana Renz of Le Doux Swimwear

Mother-daughter team Marly and Juliana Renz are bringing sexy Brazilian style to the American market with Le Doux.  With daughter Juliana’s eye for design and mother Marly’s experience in the fashion industry, they created a high-end swimwear line featuring embellished styles fit for women of leisure.  Read on to learn more about the luxurious swimwear line, Juliana’s best swimsuit flattery tip, and what to expect next from Le Doux.

Flora Swimsuit Le Doux SwimwearOmiru:  How would you like people to describe Le Doux?

Juliana:  I hope people think of good quality, cute designs, and good fit.  

O:  Tell us about your design inspiration.

J: I get my inspiration mostly from materials.  I go shopping for stones, and I get ideas from colors, the stones, and fabrics.  Sure, time periods are interesting, but only as a reference.  I can’t design clothes that look like costume.

O:  You and your mother work together on Le Doux.  What’s it like working with family?

J: Difficult.  We tend to only talk about business.  Don’t get me wrong—we have and always had a good mother-daughter relationship.  But we end up talking about business instead personal stuff, and it’s easy to get frustrated with each other when talking about business.

O:  Le Doux swimsuits are actually made in Brazil.  Why?

J:  In Brazil, we have our own factory.  We did this for quality control. We want to make sure everything is as perfect as can be.  We’ve tried working with manufacturers before, but there was always something wrong.  Either the color was off, or the end product looked like it was low quality.  

O:  What’s your bestselling style?  

J:  Femme Fatale is a big hit.  Flora [pictured above left]  is also doing very well.

Rose Swimsuit Le Doux SwimwearO: How about your current favorite style?  

J:  I’m a fan of the Flora style.  Flora has volume and is embellished.  But it’s a bit hard to wear.  I also like the simpler styles.  Of those, I think Rose [pictured at right] is very good.  

O:  Your swimsuit designs tend to be fancy and embellished.  Who are you designing them for?  

J:  They’re for people who want to lounge around looking beautiful.  They’re for the style conscious who sit around by the pool or on the beach.  They’re not surfing suits, they’re not sports suits.  

O:  There aren’t a lot of people in that market.

J:  It’s a shame.  The materials we use are expensive, so we need to be at a higher price point.  Sadly, the market at the end of the day is all about price.  For 2008, we’re changing the line a little bit to create a sub-line.  We’ll have plainer suits at a lower price point.   

O: Le Doux combines Brazilian sexiness with California style.  What do you love about LA?

J:  I love the way people are just so stylish in LA.  People are ready for whatever they’re doing.  Brazil’s not that way at all.  I love the city—the weather, the way people socialize, the way that they’re constantly out.  There’s a certain energy there.  

O:  And what do you love about Brazil?

J:  I grew up in Brazil, where there’s a big big beach culture.  People love to have fun.  In Brazil, it’s all about having fun.  It’s different from United States.  There’s a freer spirit there.

O: Having grown up in Brazil, you’re a beach connoisseur.  What’s your favorite beach?

J:  The beach I grew up on.  I love Rio.  But I also love the South of France and Maui.

Shiva Cover-up Le Doux SwimwearO: Fashion Dos:

J:  Clothes that are sexy without revealing too much.  Clothes that are appropriate for one’s body type.  Clothes that aren’t just what everyone else is wearing.  Clothes that are appropriate for you.  

O: Fashion Don’ts:

J:  The 1980s.  The fashion was ugly then, and it’s uglier now.  People are so used to wearing whatever they’re told.

O:  Little known fact about you?

J:  I’m a surfer and a shopaholic.  But these aren’t little known facts.

O:  What can we expect next from Le Doux?

J:  We’ll be doing swimwear for girls in July.  We’re also launching a sleepwear/lingerie line in the next couple of months.

O:  Where can Omiru readers purchase Le Doux swimwear?

J:  We have stores in California, Arizona, Hawaii, Florida, Nevada, and overseas.  We’ll be selling online in a couple of months as well.  

O:  Last Words?

J:  The less fabric a suit has on the back, the smaller the butt looks.  Brazilians used to wearing small suits—now you know why.

Love Le Doux?  Check out Le Doux’s entire collection at: 

March 12th, 2007

Designer Profile: Erika Peña

On the day of her 18th birthday, Erika Peña moved from her homeland of Puerto Rico to New York City to begin a new life as a designer.  Studying with the best and the brightest at Parsons School of Design, Erika worked with designer labels Donna Karan and Josie Natori.  With her strong industry experience, Erika’s fashion-forward journey has been a successful one, filled with charm necklaces, chandelier earrings, and celebrity clients.  Erika shared with Omiru how her Latin roots have influenced her work, how she earned her celebrity clientele, and where you can pick up one of her designs for yourself.

Erika PeñaOmiru: How has your Latin heritage influenced your work? 

Erika: My Catholic upbringing, in particular, has influenced my work very much. I’m inspired by my move from Puerto Rico to New York.  I try to convey this experience through my jewelry, which is a bit rough and edgy, like New York, and a bit light and airy like the Caribbean.

O: What makes your jewelry line unique?

E: It’s spiritual.

O: Which of your pieces do you personally love to wear?
E: My mini Ala earrings make me feel special, and I always get compliments wearing them. They are gold vermeil chains stranded with beads on oval wire frame, available in turquoise, red, white beads with 14K gold filled beads and sterling silver chains.

Erika PeñaO: How long does it take to make one piece of jewelry in your line? 

E: Sometimes ten minutes. Other times, up to four hours—it depends on the piece.

O: Do you ever experience designer’s block?

E: Yes, I do get designer’s block from time to time. It’s funny, but I actually design best in airplanes.

O: Do you have a team of people working with you?

E: Yes, they’ve been with me since the beginning. And my sister, Bielka Peña-Bevillar, has a strong financial background, so she has helped me out on that part of the business.  With my designer background and her business background, we are building our clientele and expanding the Erika Peña empire!

Erika PeñaO: Jennifer Aniston, Beyonce, and Paris Hilton all wear your jewelry.  How did that happen?

E: Because we are sold in over 300 boutiques around the globe, celebrities have been exposed to the brand. The boutiques have also been supportive and usually call me when an important celebrity buys a piece. Paris Hilton, Brooke Shields, Paulina Rubio, Jessica Alba, Beyonce, Ashlee Simpson, Fergie and Jennifer Aniston all have worn my pieces.  I have also custom-designed jewelry for celebrities. My goal is for those who wear her jewelry to feel good, and to have a sense of good self.

O: What’s the price point of your collection?

E: My lower end line starts at $60 and goes up to $1200 for the designer line. I want to reach every woman and for everyone to be able to experience the Erika Peña brand.

O: Will you branch out into other accessories?

E: I already have handbags—I love them, you’ll see!

O: Where can we purchase your designs?

E: At my website, Bloomingdales, Harvey Nichols, and Epoca the Shop.

Want to see Erika’s latest collection?  Check out her website at www.erikapeñ

1 comment February 22nd, 2007

Designer Profile: jack&marjorie

They say a picture is worth a thousand words, but in the case of
jack&marjorie designer duo Meghan Parsons and Manuel Opp, it also served as inspiration for a handbag and accessories line.  After coming across a box of old 1940s photographs, the pair was inspired to create a line made of military surplus materials. In each of their collections, you’ll find wool blankets, ground sheets, parachutes, and webbing paired with more feminine elements like vintage lace, silk, brocade and buttons. Meghan shared with Omiru the story behind the jack&marjorie name, why they chose to create with military surplus materials, and how living abroad has shaped their work. 

neck wrap

Omiru: Tell us the story behind the jack&marjorie name.

Meghan: Jack and Marjorie Allard were my grandparents on my mother’s side.  I came across a box of old photographs of them taken in the 1940s, and they inspired the line. 

O: Writers often experience writer’s block when they run out of ideas.  Do you ever experience designer’s block?

M: Yes, often we do for a short time, but it never lasts long.  As soon as we find some cool new army surplus materials, new ideas emerge.

O: Why combine military surplus materials with feminine lace and silk?

M: Not sure why, but I’ve always loved army surplus. I just love how it looks. It’s really utilitarian and practical, and I love that there’s often some sort of a history behind it.  As for the feminine elements, it’s fun to combine things that are polar opposites and try to make them look cohesive, like they were meant to be paired together.

O: From where do you draw inspiration?

M: A lot of random things inspire
us: cities that we’ve lived in and visited, Tokyo, Berlin, Barcelona,
old photographs, army surplus, buildings and furniture.

evelynO: You lived in Tokyo before moving to Toronto, Canada. How does the experience of living in Tokyo influence your work?

M: Though Tokyo has been and still is a huge inspiration to us, there weren’t any styles in particular that we adopted.  I guess it’s more of the aesthetic in general. There is just such unbridled creativity there.  More specifically, I think the attention to small details and finishing on our bags was really a result of seeing it on a lot of our favorite things in Japan. 

O: When it comes to handbags, do you think expensive equals good?

M: Really, it depends on your definition of expensive. In terms of the super-pricey high-end designer bags, I assume for the most part, they are of the highest quality and will last for years and years, so in this way, they’re good. Most of them don’t excite me design-wise, though. I don’t even really feel like we’re in the same product category- it’s a different universe. In our world, we really struggle with the balance of trying to keep our prices low enough to be accessible to many women, but at the same time keeping up a high standard of quality. We love to use unusual and unique details (like hand stitching, one of a kind vintage buttons and fabric, etc). Add to that the costs of producing a small line like this locally, it’s difficult. 

boy peterO: Favorite handbag you’ve ever designed for jack&marjorie? 

M: At the moment, it’s the Boy Peter (pictured left). Lately, I’ve been using this bag almost every day. It’s very functional, the perfect size for me, and I love how it hugs the body.  But I’m hoping it will be de-throned by one of the new spring bags coming out soon!

O: What type of women would you like to be seen carrying your handbags and sporting your accessories?

M: Just women who are carrying it because they love it. 

O: Little known fact about jack&marjorie?

M: I’m not sure much of anything IS known!  Hmm, maybe that our names aren’t Jack and Marjorie, it’s just the company name?  That is definitely our most-asked question.

O: Where can Omiru readers buy your designs?

M: At the moment, the stores that stock our bags are listed on the website.  Online, you can find us at  It’s also possible to order bags through us.  We promise to get our webshop up and running by the time the spring stuff comes out. In the meantime, send us an email at info at jackandmarjorie dot com. We do sometimes have items in stock that customers can purchase.

Want more?  View the latest jack&marjorie collection at

4 comments February 1st, 2007

Designer Profile: Freddy&Ma

What does the future of fashion look like?  Customized for you, according to Anthony and Amy Pigliacampo of Freddy&Ma.  Indeed, the brother-and-sister duo have already turned this idea into reality for the accessories market with their custom handbags.  These handbags (generally between $200-$600) are custom designed by the customer and made-to-order, allowing Anthony and Amy to create unique handbags that truly reflect the personal style of the wearer.  Read on to learn more from Anthony about the future of fashion, how Freddy&Ma bags are made, and what’s next for this forward-thinking fashion brand.  

Freddy&MaOmiru: Tell us the story of you came up with the idea for Freddy&Ma.

Anthony: I had been working as a design consultant and became very interested in the concept of mass customization.  High end products were reaching a saturation point.  Everybody had the latest IT bag, which diminishes the cachet of that style.  I wondered if it was possible to create a line of handbags where every bag was unique so that you might have the IT style, but each would still be unique from everyone else’s.  My sister and I also thought that clients would enjoy participating in the design process as it would allow their handbag to have its own creation story.

O:  You’ve already hit upon one of the Next Big Things in fashion: the idea of customization of luxury goods.  What other ideas do you think will change the industry in the next five to ten years?  

A: I think you will continue to see the fashion becoming more open and more interactive.  The popularity of Project Runway illustrates how much consumer desire there is to see “behind the curtain,” and I think eventually you will be able to go to a brand’s website and see the “behind the scenes” creation of their products.  I think you’ll also see more integration of fashion and technology, where technology such as advanced websites and body scanning for custom fitted clothing are used to make purchasing fashion items much more of an interactive experience.  I hope someday that all of the clothes in my closet will have on some level been constructed to fit me perfectly, and I think technology advances will allow that to happen.

Freddy&Ma Production Fabric PrintingO:  Walk us through the production process of making a Freddy&Ma bag.  

A: A client designs a bag and orders it on our website.  We immediately submit the fabric to the printers to screen the client’s design on the fabric.  Each fabric panel on our bag is individually printed—we do not stock any of the prints we carry!  While the fabric is printing, the leather portions of a bag are sewn together.  Once the fabric arrives, it is combined with the leather portions, and all of the finishing and detail work is completed.  The bag is then put into a slip cover, packed in an F&M box, and shipped to the customer.

O: How do you find the prints for the bags?  

A: We originally placed ads in the NY area to find artists that wanted to submit prints.  But since going live with the site, we’ve received a handful of artist submissions every week.  We have been amazed at how many talented designers have contacted us with GREAT designs that they would like featured on our bags.

Freddy&MaO:  What handbag trends are on the way in?  

A: Very few brands are paying attention to the smaller "after work" bag.  The "hi/lo" concept is also finding its way into the accessory market. [My co-founder] Amy often carries our hobo bag with a Louis Vuitton wallet and $12 credit card organizer from Urban Outfitters that everyone mistakes for Marc Jacobs.  Mixing vintage with designer finds and bargain deals is a trend that continues to gain momentum.

O: On the flip side, which handbag trends are on the way out?  

A: We see a lot of people still hanging on desperately to the bohemian trend which has definitely passed its moment.  Massive amounts of embellishment are also beginning to fade away.  It’s a continuous cycle.  Aside from that, I think that in a market flooded with every imaginable option and influence, women are choosing handbags based on what fits their personal style rather than following set “trends.”

O: What’s your favorite classic handbag?  

A: Why? I love all leather versions of Freddy&Ma silhouettes.  They’re classic without being boring.  In broader terms, every woman should own a Louis Vuitton Speedy in the classic monogram, and a quilted Chanel—the kinds of bags that have been around for so long they truly will never be "out" of style.

O: How about your best fashion tip?

A: Find your style and stick with it.  If you find something you like, have someone remake it for you in lots of colors and fabrics.

O: Current obsession?

A: We are currently obsessed with 70’s fashion style and have been collecting vintage illustrations to get inspired for a clothing line we would like to do next year.

O: 5 things a woman should always carry in her handbag:

A: An extra $20 bill, rosebud salve, a small sewing kit, mints, and baby wipes.

Freddy&MaO:  Little known fact about Freddy&Ma?  

A: Even though we run the company together, Amy lives in New York and I live in San Francisco, which though difficult, gives us a nice West coast/East coast cross perspective on things.

O: Best piece of advice you’ve received?

A: Everyone can handle success, but the only people who get the chance are the ones who have learned to handle failure.

O:  Things you’re looking forward to in 2007:  

A: We have a retail line of bags that is launching where stores design the specific bags they are ordering.  We are very excited to start shipping these styles and see our custom bag concept continue to grow.

O:  Last words?

A: Fashion should be about you and your own sense of style.  Don’t ever be afraid to buck the norm and try something different. Trends all start with one person doing what they want to do.

Custom design your next favorite handbag online at Freddy&Ma.

4 comments January 25th, 2007

Designer Profile: Rosie Wolfenden of Tatty Devine

Is a degree in fashion design an asset or a liability? While most designers consider formal training a benefit, Rosie Wolfenden and Harriet Vine believe that it would have prevented them from starting their jewelry line, Tatty Devine. A favorite of Vogue, and a regular at Fashion Week (London, and now New York), Tatty Devine enjoys a devoted international following for their delightfully eccentric necklaces, bracelets, and earrings.  Read on to hear about Rosie’s take on the London fashion scene, her current obsessions (including Chanel black nail varnish), and what’s next for the design duo.

Go on, immerse yourself in the world of Tatty Devine.

Tatty Devine Record BraceletOmiru: In a nutshell, describe Tatty Devine.

Rosie: Tatty Devine is Eccentric, Eclectic, English and Exciting!
O: What are your design influences? How did your art school background affect your aesthetic?

R: [Harriet and I] are both influenced by so many things. Old films, music, books, memories, each other, our friends. I think the fact we went to art school has a massive effect on our aesthetic. If we had gone to fashion college, I don’t think we would ever have started Tatty.
Tatty Devine Satellite NecklaceO: What are your favorite piece(s) from your current collection?

R: I really like the great bear brooch, the satellite necklace (pictured, right) and the red balloon necklace.
O: What do you like about London style?

R: That it changes all the time. The mix of new and old. People’s making things themselves and looking individual.

O: What about London style do you wish would just go away?

R: All the people who don’t make things [themselves] and look individual!

O: Current obsessions?

R: Herman Dune, silver leggings, Jarvis Cocker! Oh, and Chanel black nail varnish.

O: 5 Things you like about London:

R: Going to gigs, the George and Dragon (my local!), walking around, the parks, all the people I know and love that live in it.
O: 5 people whose wardrobe you’d love to raid:

R: I like my own!
Tatty Devine Octopus NecklaceO: 5 brands you can’t live without:

R: Eley Kishimoto, Bernhard Wilhelm, Antoni and Alison, Vivienne Westwood, and Bernstock Speirs.
O: 5 things you always carry in my purse:

R: A notebook, pen, lipstick, mirror, tape measure and compass!
O: 5 things you’re feeling for Spring 2007:

R: Lots of colour, nostalgia for growing up in the 1970’s, disco, glitter balls, and fun.
O: Fashion Dos:

R: Shop in fancy dress shops! Coloured tights and colour co-ordination. Second hand fashion.

Tatty Devine MouseO: Fashion Don’ts:

R: Can’t think of any…except maybe thongs, fake orange tans and jeans with special bleach patterns!

O: Little known fact about Tatty Devine?

R: Tatty Devine has over 1000 designs from past collections for sale in their shops.

O: What can we expect next from Tatty Devine?

R: Opening more shops, expanding the Brick Lane shop, designing other lines.

Shop Tatty Devine’s latest collection online at

December 21st, 2006

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