Posts filed under 'Features'
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.
Omiru: 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.
O: 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!
O: 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.erikapeña.com.
February 22nd, 2007
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.
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.
O: 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.
O: 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 Beklina.com. 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 http://www.jackandmarjorie.com.
February 1st, 2007
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.
Omiru: 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.
O: 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.
O: 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.
O: 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.
January 25th, 2007
We asked: Is Bright Yellow In or Out?
You said: Long live Bright Yellow! A significant 70% majority is all over the cheery color.
Omiru’s take: We’re sweet on Bright Yellow to cheer up an otherwise humdrum outfit. Got a pair of grey slacks and a white button-down for work? Add a Bright Yellow sweater or overcoat to the mix. Even if you’re not into bold colors, you can still add spark to your wardrobe with Bright Yellow accessories. Try out Bright Yellow with a cute handbag, a pair of shoes, a brooch, or even a ring.
Next Question: We’ve noticed Charm Bracelets rising up the trend ladder, probably for their inherent versatility. But what do You think? Tell us, are Charm Bracelets
In, or are they Out? Cast your vote on the sidebar!
Pictured: Kenneth Jay Lane Oversized Enamel/Pearl Flower Ring | $88 at Shopbop.
January 15th, 2007
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.
Omiru: 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.
O: 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!
O: 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.
O: 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 http://www.tattydevine.com.
December 21st, 2006
Born in California and based on the East Coast, Michelle Zacks of knitwear line Spring & Clifton deftly fuses the sophisticated attitude of New York with the easy-going vibe of the Golden State. And she has exactly what you need to bundle up this winter. Read on to hear about Michelle’s design inspiration, her views on expensive clothing (Expensive does not equal Good), and her thoughts on next season’s fashion trends.
Omiru: What’s the story behind the name Spring & Clifton?
Michelle: When I first started the line, I had a partner. At the time I lived on Spring Street in Manhattan, and she lived on Clifton Place in Brooklyn. Though we stopped working together after the first season, I kept the name.
O: Writers often experience writer’s block when they run out of ideas. Do you ever experience designer’s block?
M: I have experienced “designer’s block” in times of extreme stress or when I’m pushing myself in the wrong direction. But I don’t freak out about it. I think the art of being creative calls for letting go but also being involved in life. My real “problem” is probably that I have TOO MANY ideas. I am constantly editing, editing, and editing. I also keep a notebook - uh, pile - of my sketches and photos from magazines that I can always refer to if I need a kick. I often revisit the same ideas, which used to frustrate me, but now I think of these ideas as elements of the Spring & Clifton look, and I hope to evolve them with each collection.
O: How do you strike a balance between being classic and trendy?
M: You can get really tripped up if you go too far on either end of the spectrum: what’s new is unrecognizable, and what’s tried & true feels uninspired. I used to think I had to reinvent the wheel with every collection, but now I think it’s more important to just evolve the Spring & Clifton look from season to season.
O: From where do you draw your inspiration?
M: Everywhere! I’m constantly observing everything and tucking it away into the inspiration file. I love traveling. I try to make it a point to go to museums and galleries. I look at the work of designers whom I admire. I’ve gotten ideas from reading the New York Times. I’ve used movies and books as references. I love flea markets and eBay. I love New York nightlife and how girls put themselves together.
For my Spring 05 collection, for instance, I was collecting old Playboys from 1960-1970 for the pin-up illustrations of Alberto Vargas. I love his illustrations for the detailing on the clothing and the shoes. Anyway, I realized that the pin-up was the ultimate sweater girl…and the idea for the collection was born.
O: When it comes to knitwear, do you think expensive equals good?
M: Oh, hell no! I don’t think that expensive = good. I mean, it can, but it doesn’t exclusively guarantee goodness. The most stylish women in the world know how to strike the perfect balance between high brow and low brow, and it’s that contrast that is so much more interesting to me. I’m also a huge flea market/thrift store scourer. I don’t know what my life would be like without secondhand things, which have so much personality. As far as knitwear goes, when you start getting into the finer yarns, like cashmere, of course the price is going to go up. That to me is something worth investing in, but in general, I like to offer a range of prices with Spring & Clifton.
O: What can we expect next? What is the next big knitwear trend?
M: I think that a big trend we’re going to see is clothing with a socially conscious message. For Fall 07, I’ll be using a Bamboo/Cotton blend yarn, which I’m attracted to because bamboo is a biodegradable textile material that is really kind to our environment. I’ve done bamboo/cashmere in the past, and I was surprised at how many new clients I picked up because people really responded to the organic factor. I think it’s something that people really want.
Don’t take this to mean that the clothes will be at all hippy dippy or anything. I’ll be making bamboo interesting, stylish and sexy! It’s also amazingly soft, which is important to me because I’m big on comfort. One of my design mantras states that there’s no style without substance, and I think this reinforces that idea.
O: As a designer, do you feel the pressure of always having to dress stylishly?
M: I challenge myself to constantly push my personal look forward. I think that it reflects in my designs and makes me a better designer. When I’m starting a collection, I always have in mind what I need in my own closet. I want to know what women want before they know they want it! My one bad habit is my tendency to reach for my jeans first. I really have to fight that some days!
O: If your house was burning down and you could only save one item in your closet, what would it be?
M: I’d save my 2 cats, Cooley & Slice! If I had extra time, I’d grab my vintage blue hoodie with the silkscreened birds on it. I am really a blue hoodie kind of girl.
O: What type of women do you want to see sporting your designs?
M: That girl on the street that you have to stop and check out twice because something about her style caught your eye. I’ve seen all kinds of women wearing my sweaters, and at the end of the day, I want anyone who gets a feeling from my clothing to be able to wear it.
O: Where can Omiru readers purchase your clothing?
M: Barney’s Co-Op, M.Z. (my store on the Lower East Side), and online at Shopbop.
Want to see Michelle’s latest line for Spring & Clifton? Visit Spring & Clifton’s website.
December 14th, 2006
Armed with a bundle of t-shirts, scissors, fabric glue, and appliqué, Melody Kulp and her partner (and now fiancé) David Reinstein founded Sweetees in 2002. Four years later, Melody Kulp’s line of of effortlessly luxurious tees, sweaters, and dresses is firmly entrenched in the young contemporary market—and in the closets of celebrity style icons from Sarah Jessica Parker to Beyonce Knowles. Read on for Melody’s Fashion Do’s and Don’ts, where she finds her design inspiration (travel), and how she met her partner in work and life.
Omiru: How would you like people to describe Sweetees?
Melody: Fresh. I love it when a customer says, “Oh my gosh, I haven’t seen that anywhere else.” I feel it’s my job to create something that doesn’t exist necessarily or something that others aren’t selling. We’re a fun, girly, colorful, happy brand.
O: Design influences?
M: I get inspiration from travel. I love seeing all the different cultures—the artisans, the colors, prints, and embroideries. I’m not one to look at what everyone else is doing. I’d rather go off of my intuition rather than follow the runways. Why? Everyone else is following the runways.
O: Favorite travel destination?
M: I don’t think I could pick just one. South America. Mexico, for their colors and embroideries. India has beautiful colors and fabrics. Morocco has amazing cool stuff that’s different.
O: You work with your fiancé at Sweetees. How’d you meet?
M: We met while traveling. We were both part of the Semester at Sea program, a university on a boat that travels all around the world. We traveled to fourteen countries, but we were both from the same place.
O: What’s it like working with your fiancé?
M: Really good. He and I work on totally different aspects of the business, so it works out. We’re not stepping on each other’s toes—we’re filling each other in.
O: How do you separate work and life? Or do you?
M: It’s still a work in progress. We try to discuss other things when we’re not at work, but work and life bleed into each other. We manage to make it work. At the beginning, all we did was talk about work. Now, we strike more of a balance.
O: What’s your current favorite piece from your collection?
M: I really like our rib and chiffon group. You can dress it up and dress it down. It’s daywear, but the chiffon makes it dressy.
O: What do you like about LA style?
M: It’s laid back, but not too laid back. There’s a balance.
O: What do you love about LA:
M: I love the subcultures in LA. On a weekend, you can go to Olvera Street and feel like you’re in Mexico. You can go to Little Tokyo and feel like you’re in Japan. The subcultures are all so close to each other, but they’re not mixed.
O: Celebrities love Sweetees. Turning the table, though, whose wardrobe would you love to raid?
M: Gwyneth Paltrow or Angelina Jolie.
O: Fashion Dos:
M: Scarves. Accessorizing outfits correctly, putting things together well. Layering in the right way. A great handbag and shoes.
O: Fashion Don’ts:
M: Tucking your shirt in. Hiking your pants up too high. Trying too hard and going overboard. Being a fashion victim. It has to be organic and natural to you. Don’t be something you’re not.
O: Little known fact about Sweetees?
M: It was started when I was in college at age 19 by two young entrepreneurs.
O: Where can we buy Sweetees online?
M: Find Sweetees online at ShopIntuition.com, RevolveClothing.com, and LisaKline.com.
Pictured (from top): Suede Cami ($119), Gianna Top ($86), Gaston Top ($79).
December 7th, 2006
With a zest for life that extends from the racetrack to the clothing rack, Lisa Kline isn’t the kind of woman who likes to take it slow. In a city that prides itself on its laid back vibe, the avid racecar driver is speeding towards success, however you measure it. In the past year alone, Lisa oversaw the opening of three of her eponymously named boutiques—and gave birth to a brand new baby. Read on to get a glimpse of life in the fast lane, from Lisa’s foolproof outfit to what she loves about LA.
Omiru: How would you like people to describe your stores?
Lisa: Comfortable and welcoming. I’ve designed my stores to feel like a home—warm, friendly, and easy to shop.
O: Who are you buying now?
L: Our Beverly Hills store just opened a couple of weeks ago. For women, I’m buying Johnson (shorts), Miguelina, Bailey 44, Rachel Pally, Cynthia Vincent, and Charlotte. For men, I’m buying Ever, Fred Perry, Theory, Modern Amusement, Salvage, Chip & Pepper, and LA Denim.
O: Current bestsellers?
L: For women, Rebecca Taylor, Splendid, Robert Rodriguez, Ingwa Melero, Juicy Couture, Chip & Pepper, and Joe’s Jeans. For men, Splendid, Ever, Modern Amusement, Theory, and Juicy Couture Men’s.
O: What do you buy for the girl who has everything?
L: A Botkier purse. Straight-legged denim. Shorts—perfect for wearing with a tunic dress. A cool belt. Fun jewelry.
O: How about for the guy who has everything?
L: A cashmere sweater from Autumn Cashmere. Black or grey denim for Spring. Or jewelry—a wallet chain, money clip, bracelet, necklace, or cufflinks.
O: What trends do you think will be huge for Spring?
L: For women, dresses—especially minidresses and tunics. Great tops that are long enough to be a dress, paired with shorts and high heels or boots. Skinny legged denim. Leggings. Belts. 80s infuences. Patent leather accessories. Miniskirts.
For men, western influences, rocker looks, and straight legged jeans.
O: What trends do you wish would just go away?
L: None. I really love all the trends that are happening now!
O: 5 Things you like about LA?
L: It’s a beautiful place to live with great weather and no seasons. You can take risks. There’s room to be creative. It’s hip and fashion forward. It’s a place where dreams come true.
O: 5 people whose wardrobe I’d love to raid:
L: Cameron Diaz, Kate Hudson, Paris Hilton, Jennifer Aniston, and Halle Berry.
O: Best Fashion Tip?
L: Wear what makes you feel comfortable, even if it’s not the trend.
O: Your foolproof outfit?
L: Jeans, a sexy top, a sweater, and heels. Oh, and a killer purse.
O: Little known fact about you?
L: I like to race cars. I’m also a mom with two kids.
O: Last Words:
L: If you have a passion and a dream, go for it.
Shop Lisa Kline’s boutiques from the comfort of your own couch at http://www.lisakline.com/.
November 30th, 2006
Jewelry designer Brooke Medlin wants people to describe her work with an "Ohh, Wowww!" But perhaps with another ‘W’ or two. Her organic metal designs surely elicit oohs and ahhs, both for their inherent beauty and for their affordable prices. From her home in Dayton, OH, she spoke to Omiru about her first love (Metal), her fashion Dos and Don’ts, and why flat shoes should stay in style Forever.
Omiru: How did you first get into jewelry design?
Brooke: I’ve made jewelry since I was a kid - I remember being verrrry proud of my clasps made from fishing swivels. I sold my first piece to a store when I was 18 and living in Chicago - a simple, beaded necklace that sold for just enough that I could buy more beads. When I was 20, I became more seriously interested in jewelry making, and thanks to my friends’ advice, I began to approach stores and slowly built my business from there. I am constantly looking for new mediums in which to dabble. Metal is my first love, but I am so drawn to color…you can expect to see some enamel and resin pieces on my site soon!
O: In a nutshell, describe your design aesthetic.
B: Metal and Color. I love combining organic, handworked metal with vibrantly colored glass. Hammered textures with high gloss = Perfection.
O: What trends do you think will be huge for Spring?
B: Dark denim skirts with low, slouchy suede boots, because that’s pretty much all I’m planning to wear. I also hope the tendency towards long, layered, drapey clothing continues. I like to cover what needs to be covered, while avoiding frumpiness. Flat shoes need to stay in style forever - who do I call to make that happen?
O: What trends do you wish would just go away?
B: Please don’t communicate with me through the seat of your pants. I need not know if you are ‘Sexy’ or ‘Juicy’.
O: What’s on your radar?
B: I would love to see more bike friendly cities - my dream life is biking to my (hopefully few) errands in a small city by the ocean. Until then, I’ll take biking to the post office and grocery in a dedicated bike lane. In fantastic pants.
O: How about your favorite piece from your collection?
B: The Delicate Dish Earrings are my current favorite. The earrings combine little concave sterling discs - which I heatform until their shape just begins to give way - with uniform teardrops via balled rivets that allow each component to move separately. I give the earrings an oxidized finish, then burnish them lightly in selective places, which gives them a great, soft glow.
O: Best Fashion Tip?
B: Wear the comfortable shoes. Trust me.
O: Fashion Dos:
B: For the love of Maude, be yourself! Wear the pants that fit, the shoes that won’t let snow slosh in and settle, and the big hair that everyone is jealous of! I think you’re beautiful.
O: Fashion Don’ts:
B: Don’t try too hard. Don’t spend half an hour in your closet forcing yourself to find something other than black shoes to wear with that outfit. You love those black shoes. Wear them. (But think about the colorful headscarf, yeah?)
O: Little known fact about you?
B: I have an imaginary friend…or three. (Hi, guys!)
O: How would your best friend describe you?
B: I had to pick through the sappy bits from the email my boyfriend (and best friend) sent me. Having done that, I’m left with: “Even though she may sometimes smell, she is truly my inspiration.” Thanks, babe.
O: 5 Things you like about your hometown, Dayton, OH:
- Flavors Eatery - Best food in Dayton.
- Shrug - Nice boys , excellent music.
- Riverbend Art Center - Where I learn and teach.
- Mendelson’s Liquidation Center - Run, don’t walk! Go now!
- The Little Miami Scenic Trail - I love my bike, and I love this path…and only partly because HaHa Pizza is the perfect stopping point!
O: Where can we buy your jewelry?
B: Online, I can be found at Orange Button, Imogene, and my own website. I try to give each online shop different items, so be sure to visit each one! For a list of retail stores in which to find my work, go here.
O: What can we expect next from you?
B: Glossy resin in my familiar, organic shapes. Look for seashells…and teeth! More castings, more enamel. More color!
Can’t get enough of Brooke? Shop her latest collection at http://www.brookemedlin.com.
November 16th, 2006