Tuesday, March 31, 2009

The Source of The Source

The Fashion Center booth, on the corner of 39th St. and 7th Avenue.

I can't tell you how many times I've walked by the Claes-Oldenberg-style giant button and needle that constitute The Fashion Center, and wondered, what is that all about?  I've worked in this industry for four years now, gotten an Associates Degree in Jewelry Design at F.I.T., and never once have I thought to stop by this booth or actually look into it for any sort of information. In all honesty, I've always assumed it was some sort of tourist guidance hut, since it is rife with irrelevant pamphlets featuring maps of the district and guides to neighborhood restaurants.

Well, Christina and I were doing the rounds of the district for work today, and as we were passing by The Fashion Center, I said, "Why don't we stop in there and see if they have anything we need."  The booth is staffed by a nice lady who simply asked us if she could help us with anything.  I asked her if she could give us a list of stone suppliers, and like a magic genie, within 30 seconds, she printed out a 2 page list of relevant businesses within the neighborhood.  Just so you know, as a designer, it can take years to compile a list of good industry sources.  Often, it feels taboo to ask your fellow designers, even if they are your friends, what their sources are since copying is so rampant.  Designers can be very protective about this information, and often, it's acquired through work experience combined with lots of hunting, to find just the right sources for the kind of labor and material that you require.

While the lists that she gave us was hardly precise, and limited entirely to businesses within the Garment District, it's an incredible starting point if you are drawing a blank, and say, normal Google searches aren't helping you (a lot of these places don't have websites and aren't particularly tech savvy).  Apparently, this fashion database will soon be searchable online, but in the meantime you can email your queries to info@fashioncenter.com, or stop by the booth in person for a printed listing.  Honestly, I can't believe both Christina and I have overlooked this source for so long, considering it's not exactly a secret.

Now I'm super exhausted from running around all day.  Here's what we wore.

Christina wears a vintage dress, a Forever 21 cardigan, Marc x Marc Jacobs boots, Gerard Yosca cuff, and a w29 Showroom tote.

Viktor & Rolf for H&M blouse, Kate Moss for Topshop leather jacket, Zara pants, Alexander McQueen scarf, Miu Miu bag, Rachel Comey boots, Devaki floppy hat, Antti Asplund cross necklaces.

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Sunday, March 29, 2009

Shoes R Us

Wearing my YSL tribute boots, with a Moschino jacket, CDG x H&M blouse, fringed shorts from Screaming Mimi's, CK tights, Arms and Armory horse hair necklace, and a crucifix ring of my own design.

I have too many shoes. I have an entire floor-to-ceiling closet dedicated to heels, a separate area for boots, and still my shoes spill out into the rest of my closet, into my husband's closet space (arguments over closet real estate are very common), and onto the floors of my tiny apartment. Does that stop me from wanting them, or buying more? As much as I try, the compulsion cannot be curbed, so I've decided that from now on, for every new pair I buy, I'm forcing myself to sell or get rid of another pair. Yesterday I crumbled and bought a pair of the YSL Tribute boots from Fall 08 for 80% off at Woodbury Commons that I've been lusting after all season.  As excited as I am about my new purchase, I know it also means I need to get rid of a few things, and have turned to Lulu and her site, Shoes and Your Mom, to get rid of a few pairs.  The site isn't just a great place to pick up some great shoes (hello Chanel Gun heelz), all edited by Lulu's discerning eye, but also a perfect place to sell your lightly used designer and vintage shoes that have been moldering in the back of your closet.  I've already sold a pair of Loubs, and still have a pair of Repetto flats up for sale (they're a little too small for me).  I'm also probably going to put some of my other shoes up (Marc Jacobs, Chanel) in the next week, so if you're a size 6, keep your eyes open!

In with the new...

...out with the old...the Repetto flats I'm selling here on Shoes and Your Mom.


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Saturday, March 28, 2009

April 2 Update

Here is an email I received today with all of the updates on the NYC Topshop opening.

Hey Everyone,

I have some more news about the Topshop opening on April 2nd. If you find the Heartschallenger truck you can receive a gift card that has anywhere from 5-500$ on it! Every card has some money on it but you have to use it on the day of the launch. Regardless you don't want to miss the launch cos you'll be missing out on complimentary Make Up For Ever makeovers, Woodley and Bunny hairstyles, Valley Nails nail art and a great DJ lineup. Don't forget you can track the Heartschallenger truck can be tracked via GPS.


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Thank You Kit!

The Stella McCartney Red Nose T-shirt, worn with a Proenza Schouler for Target cardigan, Viktor & Rolf for H&M skirt, Marc x Marc Jacobs flats, YSL scarf, Rodarte tote, vintage straw hat, Gerard Yosca necklace, and H&M ring.

Last week, I won a Stella McCartney Red Nose T-shirt from the lovely Kit, who is behind The Fashion Assistant and Style Slicker in London.  While Style Slicker documents London street style, The Fashion Assistant provides behind the scene shots from Kit's job as a stylist's assistant, and is definitely on my must read list. You know how much we love behind the scene shots at 66Sick, in addition to hearing about someone else's take on the industry.  I was so excited to get my tee that I broke it out for the first day of real spring yesterday, and wore it with my new crazy straw hat.  The shirt, which Stella McCartney made for charity for the U.K.'s Red Nose Day, is only available in the U.K., so it feels extra special, and it features a classic picture of old-school Madonna with a red-clown nose printed over it.  Thank you again Kit!


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Friday, March 27, 2009

Side Effects

Here are a few pages from our friend Joshua's zine Side Effects. Side Effects is a zine series based on myths legends and other worldly creatures, with the first issue about vampires. Although that sounds dark serious, the zine is really funny. Joshua asked me to contribute to to the sound bites section because we share the same love of gross amazing vampire movies and Destiny's Child.
You can check out more of Joshua's photography on his blog Boy Division.

Happy B-day Joshua!!!!!!!!

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The Greatest Show On Earth

My favorite look of all. The best part of this three-neckhole, two-armed sweater is that when it gets cold, I can let the other 66Sick girls in on either side. I swear, this piece was made for us.

I've already written about how obsessed I am with the group behind Andrea Crews, and the Fall 09 Sisters of Mercy collection that they presented a few weeks ago has cemented my love for them. I've always felt that art is usually at its worst when it aligns itself with fashion, yet fashion is at its best when it aligns itself with art. That's probably the inferiority complex that I will forever suffer as someone who left the art world for the fashion industry. Andrea Crews is one of those fashion designers whose work verges on becoming art, and the actual construction of the clothing even reaches into the realm of performance, with the creators having giant DIY events to recycle and remake used clothes. Still, while Andrea Crews is distinctly concept based in many ways (their website apparently is down at the moment, but normally they have a manifesto of sorts up), they manage to remain on trend. It's as if they take some of the most popular motifs of the season---drop-crotch, slashed pants, statement necklaces, sweats---and filtered it through their own deranged criterion for what clothing should look like.  It also shows what amazing things you can do if you simply refashion things that already probably exist in your own wardrobe.  Excellent inspiration if you, like me, are planning on doing a lot of "shopping your closet" this season.  Here are some of my favorite images from the show, taken from their Colette blog.

This reminds me of a more twisted take on the Givenchy chain necklace. This time though, the focus is on the crosses, which are blown up to extraordinary proportions.

The Andrea Crews take on slashed pants, paired with a face obscuring headpiece.

I love this low-cut jacket made from sweatshirt material, and the fringed visor.

A very CDG looking dress made out of two dresses. Such a great idea, such an easy DIY, definitely on my to-do list.

A slashed dress, that reminds me a bit of Alexander Wang.  Christina actually made a very similar one for 66Sick a couple of weeks ago.

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Thursday, March 26, 2009

My Preferred Mode of Shopping...

Oops.  Sorry for the late notice. Ana Lerario, who runs Fiftytwo Showroom and designs the line Lerario Beatriz, will be having a trunk show tonight from 4pm-8pm, where you can preview her Fall 2009 collection, as well as pre-order pieces at wholesale prices.  In addition, she will have pieces from Spring available at discounted prices.  This season's collection was inspired by Tim Burton, and is darkly romantic, full of rich velvets, sequins, wood sequins (!!!), all with a hand finished couture touch.  This is my favorite way to shop---at a discount, and ahead of time---I already have my eye on ordering a pair of the stirrup leggings and the wood-sequin embellished jacket.  I will probably stop by sometime before or after I go to Allegra's gallery opening, and for those of you who live in New York, you should definitely pop in and take a look.

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Wednesday, March 25, 2009

On the Hunt

Kling by Kling Japanese sweater, $185.

Welcome Hunters is doing an awfully good marketing job with their email blasts, cause every time they send me one of their updates, I end up trawling their site for several hours on end, wishing I lived in L.A. (not something I ever wish for in normal everyday life), and dreaming of perusing their racks in person. Since Dernier Cri closed last fall, there is a palpable gap in New York's relatively well covered independent designer market. For example, where am I going to find Marjan Pejoski's freaky-whimsical fair nowadays? And I certainly don't know of any East Coast boutiques stocking Finnish bad boy Daniel Palillo's deranged Shakespeare-meets-Hip-Hop-channeled-through-a-Euro-clubkid collection. Welcome Hunters doesn't just stock young and up and coming designers, but it buys the collections with just the right balance of humor and sophistication.  The items that they carry are quirky, sometimes silly, yet never sophomoric, and it's obvious that the buyers don't take themselves too seriously, which is something I'm afraid a lot of other independent boutiques are horribly guilty of.  And while other stores are buying safer, I love that this boutique still buys the outlandish and outrageous. I'm slightly obsessed, but seeing as I have no plans of visiting L.A. anytime soon, here are some of my favorite picks from their online store.

Daniel Palillo cropped top, $100, and Baroque leggings, $315.

Marjan Pejoski chiffon top with attached silk vest, $172.

Brian Lichtenberg holographic leggings, $145.

Miroike neon red gladiator sandals, $140.

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Tuesday, March 24, 2009

What do we have if we don't have our own integrity...

Christina's bird skull necklaces, that went into production for her jewelry line, Arms and Armory, three years ago.  For those of you who think it looks familiar, you probably have seen the copy (I won't name the designer here, but props if you can figure it out yourself) that has been floating around for the past year.

This is a very difficult subject for me to write about.  A couple of months ago, one of my favorite bloggers, and fellow DIY aficionados, Outi from OutsaPop, wrote about copying versus inspiration in design.  Outi, like us, has worked has a professional designer in the fashion industry for years, and anyone within the business will let you know that copying runs rampant in design.  And while I can't say that I haven't ever bought a pair of knockoff shoes at Forever 21, I certainly can't help but get a little aggravated over the subject matter.

As any of you who regularly read this blog knows, we ourselves often are inspired directly by looks from the runways when we are creating our outfits for Six Six Sick.  At the same time, we are making these outfits as DIYs for ourselves for non-commercial purposes, with no intent to actually sell or profit from them, and when we blog about the outfits we make, we cite all of the sources of inspiration.  I am a huge believer in DIY whenever this is possible (often it is not), and I don't believe that this ultimately cuts into a designer's sales since the end result never hits the market.

When we design commercially for our own lines, or design for other companies, we also are inspired by multiple sources, but always make sure that the designs are not directly lifted from another designer.  Being inspired is obviously vital to constant creation, but sometimes designers take the easy way out and find themselves copying something exactly from someone else.

Most often, the people who get in trouble for this are the mass retailers, like Forever 21, who are completely unafraid of the negative publicity, and undeterred  by potential lawsuits.  The only thing that they have changed is that recently, it seems like they've been looking to copy smaller designers, who have less means with which to fight back.  I've recently seen their knock offs from Obesity and Speed, Bless, and Rick Owens, to name a few of the surprising choices.  One of my friends told me that at a tradeshow, a Forever 21 designer came up, introduced herself, and asked if she could buy a single piece from one of the lines she was representing.  The purpose of the garment she wanted to order was obvious, and my friend politely declined.

While we can shake our heads at these large companies, ultimately I feel like they are business corporations without any creative heart or soul, and certainly without moral center.  On the other hand, when a small company or designer copies another small designer and sells that idea as their own, it actually makes me much angrier.  This designer MUST take accountability for their creative actions and decisions, and if they chose to blatantly plagiarize someone else's work, the moral onus is on themselves, rather than being masked by the cover of a larger, faceless organization.  Both Christina and I have had our work copied before, and most disappointingly, we find that it hasn't come from H&M or another megastore, but at the hands of other young designers in similar positions as ourselves. 

There are many faults with the fashion industry, too many to even begin mentioning here.  And when you work in it, there is little that you can control outside of your own actions.  As a designer, I feel like you have a responsibility to others and yourself to maintain your integrity.  What goes around comes around.  And at the end of the day, the designers who will be remembered aren't the ones who blindly imitate other people, but the ones who have a true individual voice of their own.  What do you think?


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Sunday, March 22, 2009

Black and White

Coven sweater, Monki convertible dress worn backwards, 66Sick striped skirt, American Apparel stockings, Marni shoes, Vintage belt, Antti Asplund necklaces, Iosselliani and Gerard Yosca rings.

This past week has been all about spring cleaning, and I've been doing a major wardrobe overhaul, taking bags of stuff to resale stores and Housing Works Thrift shop, while setting aside a pile of goodies to sell online.  In the process, I realized that I don't even wear 90% of the things I already own. Yesterday I found this convertible Monki shirt/dress that I bought the first time I visited Jimmy in Stockholm two years ago, and haven't worn in over a year.  Now that I've pulled it out of oblivion, it almost looks new again.  It's obvious that I've gotten into the very bad habit of buying new things, wearing them nonstop for a month or so, getting sick of them, and then burying said item in my closet until I forget it, then repeating that cycle.  Seeing as I am again, very broke, I realize I need to curb my ridiculous habit, and really take advantage of what I already have.  After finding the shirt yesterday, I put together this black and white outfit for our TriBeCa Grand party, half of which is composed of items I haven't worn in eons.


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Saturday, March 21, 2009

Magic Spells and Crystal Castles

Things you should never do when you have a really nasty hangover: hang out at Macy's Herald Square, have your eyeballs nearly seared out by overembellished Ed Hardy Bags, or listen to the music of Sean Paul, which has been proven to cause epileptic seizures. These are all unfortunately things I had to endure today on my way to a meeting in spite of having the most massive hangover after our gig at Webster Hall last night, featuring Boys Noize (who, by the way, for some reason has a huge male model following???).  After all of that, the last thing you would think I would want to do is listen to more pulsing electronic music.  Yet I'm so excited about the party that we are doing next Friday at Webster Hall, featuring a DJ set with Crystal Castles, that I've been listening to them nonstop all afternoon, pounding headache and all.  I lovelovelove this band, and whether you like hardcore DJ music or not, you cannot deny that lead singer Alice Glass is totally girlcrush worthy, with her Louise Brooks messy bob, and old school riotgrrrl style.  Her and her partner Ethan Kath also get extra points for contributing to the soundtrack for Bruce LaBruce's gay Zombie horror flick Otto; or Up With Dead People (which GnarJen wrote about here), with their song Crimewave.  Anyway, we are giving you plenty of advanced notice here (not common on this blog, not common at all), so please write it in your calendars.  Mark The Cobrasnake will be joining us for the night as a guest host taking pictures, and if you stop by our table, we'll make you a drink.  Make sure to say 66Sick at the door for free entry, as usual!


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Thursday, March 19, 2009

Minimarket at Tres Bien Shop

Minimarket wedge boots of my dreams, in the strangely perfect shade of cerulean blue, sadly sold out in my size.

Now that the American Dollar is FINALLY going up (although I know this is more of an indicator of economic duress in the rest of the world than an indication that our economy is getting better), I feel like it just might be the right time to engage in some online shopping. Not that I have the funds or the means, but now that everything overseas seems tantalizingly in reach, I can't help but spend hours clicking through farfetch.com, etc. Yesterday night, I discovered that the amazing Swedish retailer, Tres Bien Shop has semi-opened their long awaited (by me at least) online boutique, and even though most of their wares aren't up yet, I found plenty of Minimarket stuff to drool over. Seeing as Jimmy and I are returning to Stockholm this summer, when sales will hopefully be in full swing, I know I should hold out and wait, but of course it's more fun to have things now, and then there's the added incentive of receiving a 20% VAT discount as a non-EU resident.  Personally, I'm longing for the bubble-gum-pop cerulean blue zipper-backed wedge boots, that are unfortunately sold out in my size (otherwise they'd be mine already).  They also come in black, and after the 20% discount are around $220, just slightly more than my on-sale Margiela nail booties.  Here are some other Minimarket pieces from the website that are tempting me to dig deep into my cobweb filled wallet.

The black version, with a back view of the zipper.

The bright red bowler hat that I saw at Rendez-Vous, around $100.  I might look for a cheaper version on eBay...

A pinkish version of the blazer that I've been seeing everywhere this season.

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Wednesday, March 18, 2009

66Sick Sewing Circle!: DIY Alexander McQueen

Six Six Sick dress, worn with YSL platform shoes, Iosselliani ring, and E.M. Noir earcuff.

I absolutely hate handsewing. I find it medieval, as in: slow, intensive, boring, etc, the kind of stuff 19th century husbands forced their wives to do in order to keep them bound in domestic servitude (then again, I feel the same way about cooking and house cleaning). The prospect of making this dress filled me with no small amount of dread. Christina and I had seen a beautiful Alexander McQueen dress at the Gothic Dark Glamour exhibition at F.I.T. a few months ago, half sheer nude, and half covered in bright red rectangles of acrylic sequins. As usual, Christina pointed and said "we could totally make that" (an impolite phrase that has oft been repeated in stores, at museums, and during other people's runway shows), and while I agreed, I secretly hoped that she would forget about this massive handsewing project. Nonetheless, during fashion week, she brought the idea up again, and soon we each found ourselves in our respective homes, handsewing our homemade paillettes, while bitching to each other nonstop over the phone in a modern day sewing circle.  Yes, we started this project before fashion week, and we just got it (mostly) finished yesterday night.  It is THAT time consuming, not to mention a masssssive pain in the ass.  In the end, I think we were all pretty pleased with the results, even though each of our dresses ended up looking different (we ran out of paillettes and had to improvise our designs accordingly), and we ended up wearing them out last night to 66Sick.  Here's how we did it. 

1. Christina made the base dress out of black and nude jersey.  Here she is "making the pattern" which usually is 95% improvised as she sews.  It's basically a one armed black dress with a nude panel inset.  If you don't feel like your sewing skills are up to par, you can always buy a cheap jersey dress to use as the base.

2. To make the paillettes, we bought several yards of black see-through vinyl, and black coated cotton, which we cut up into large irregularly sized rectangles.

3. We hand sewed the paillettes in rows, mixing up the vinyl and the coated cotton pieces, trying to make them overlap and cluster, so that they would appear as dense as possible.  The vinyl pieces really stick together, so we had to make sure that they didn't touch.

I started with the back of the dress, and then did the front of the dress. Christina designed her dress differently, with paillettes running up the bottom back of her dress, so that it created a sweetheart back, and up the front in a type of halter.  I don't have any pictures of her version right now, but hopefully they'll appear shortly!

4. I finished my dress by sewing the paillettes to the sleeve portion, which is the most difficult portion to hand sew since it's so narrow and difficult to get into.  The original sleeve was full length, but since I also ran out of paillettes, I had to improvise, and ended up cutting it and making it a half-sleeve.  I actually really like the way it looks.

*EDIT*: Here's a picture of the original Alexander McQueen dress that was up at the Gothic Dark Glamour Exhibition at F.I.T.  As you can see, we altered the design of the dress quite a bit, eliminating the whole feathered skirt bit, and changing the color.

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Monday, March 16, 2009

Zodiac Kidz

The Libra Zodiac pendant, featuring a baby's head on one side of the scale, and a pile of dismembered wee hands on the other.

Could this blog get any creepier right now?  I know that my interest in weird deformed babies and dolls has started to scare my husband, so if this is too much for you, say uncle.  I've come across Karen Yost's line, Anomaly Jewelry, several times before, both on blogs and in downtown boutiques.  While they have always caught my eye for the incredible wax carving skills of the designer, often they haven't really differentiated themselves from the oversaturation of castings and pendants on the jewelry market.  That is until yesterday, when I was down at The Dressing Room trying to sell off a couple of bags of my unwanted threads.  The buy/sell/trade shop, which doubles as a bar, has a couple of cases of beautiful jewels (and I'm quite a snob), including an assortment of Anomaly's creepily altered baby dolls, cast in sterling silver and strung on necklaces as pendants.

It's funny.  When I was a child, I was totally freaked out by doll flesh, hated Barbies, and even reviled the look of my rather sweet looking Cabbage Patch Kid.  Nowadays I can't get enough of it, and am completely fascinated by Yost's half-horrorshow take on the usually Q.V.C.-styled Zodiac Sign Necklace.  All twelve signs are rendered with Yost's signature sweet-meets-scary touch, and while the fish-tailed Pisces merman is quite cute, the conjoint twins that represent Gemini look like something straight out of an exhibit at the Mutter Museum.  My favorite piece though is the beautifully crafted set of scales that represents Libra, with a baby's head on one side, and a pile of tiny hands on the other.  Creepy?  Perhaps.  Expertly rendered?  For sure.

My zodiac sign, Taurus, wearing a devilish set of horns. 

Baby Leo holds a lion's mask over her face.

The cutest Zodiac Kid of them all---the Pisces merman.

These conjoint twins are just as frightening as the real-life Gemini men that I've dated.

Cancer, with dangling crab claws in place of feet.

Armless and eyeless Aries, with revolving wheels in place of legs.


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