The holidays are here again! For those wanting to get a head start on shopping for one-of-a-kind items- it means attending the annual holiday shopping event: Felt Club, held at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeleson November 16th.
Felt Club was founded by Jennifer Ryan. This year, it was hosted by LA’s famous historian Charles Phoenix and featured 150 vendors, prizes, food, music by DJ Lance Rock, DJ Dirty Robot, Mr. Cocoon and Leslie Hall. There was also Swap ‘O’ Rama Rama, located on the balcony, where wannabe designers swap clothes and take them to DIY and silkscreen stations, turning drab garments into fabulous works of art.
I arrived at the event around 10:30am, a half-hour before it started. I was able to find great parking, though the price was somewhat steep (at least for my budget). There was already a long line of anxious creatives eager to get the gift bags that were to be handed out to the first 250 people. Unfortunately, I was one of the 300 somethings in line.
Upon entry into the magnificent hall, I was immediately entranced by the array of trinkets and other ditties that were being sold. Among the vendors that caught my eye was a woman named Jenine, from Providence, RI; who flameworks her own glass jewelry. She designs what she wants to see, but has never seen before. She told me that she has been flameworking her own glass jewelry since she was 18. She also designs clothing. The jacket she was wearing to the event was beautifully crafted and beaded by her. She hopes to launch a texile line in the Spring of 2009. You can see her line at www.jenine.net.
Another vendor, Adjowah Brodie, designs jewelry from vintage typewriter keys and watch faces. When asked what inspired her, she replied that she was inspired by those around her. Her products can be viewed at www.theweekendstore.com.
Earlier in this blog, I had mentioned that one of the featured singers was Leslie Hall. She also was one of the vendors. Selling merchandise bearing her picture and name. I watched her take pictures and sign autographs for fans. She was very bubbly and free-spirited. I had the fortunate opportunity to ask her alittle about her music and influence. She told me that she wanted ‘to make catchy songs that I can have fun doing live.’ She has since made three albums on her own since 2004. I also asked her what influence her elaborate costumes. As for that, she says her Mother helps her with that. Leslie tells her ‘space, wrestling and ice skating…not NOT 70’s and cheerleading.’ Check her out at www.myspace.com/lesliehall and www.leslieandthelys.com.
As I browsed aisle after aisle, a glimmer of kitsch and deliciously bold colors caught my eye. This vendor sold kitschy plastic, some vintage charm bracelets and necklaces. As a huge fan of random, fun kitsch myself, I just had to meet the designer! Her name is Jen Rowan. She was dressed in an outfit her designed that is inspired by Japanese streetwear and had a warm, approachable personality. She started making jewelry for 12 years, but this particular style for 3 years. She has been selling at Felt Club when the shows were smaller and the booths cost a mere $24. Besides selling her funky “doo-dads” at www.beebalalou.etsy.com, she has sold to at least 35 retailers, mainly in the Bay Area, but also here in LA, NYC, Japan and Spain. She sells wholesale, as well as retail. She says that she wants to maintain an affordable price for her customers. Most of her treasures don’t go for more than $30, with the cheapest being $1.50.
Among other vendors I thought were interesting were: Mi So Happi, local Los Angeles designer Sandy Shishido takes gently used items and turns them into stunning contemporary duds. Huntington Beach designer Feanna Otta (www.kaitemerson.com ) designs cute children’s clothes, blankets,etc. And lastly, another handmade jewelry and accessories designer, Jessee Maloney, designs under the name: Art School Dropout. When asked why she named her company that, she said she was indeed- an art school dropout. Her creations proved that you don’t have to go to some fancy art school to be successful, you just have to have the talent, passion and drive and of course, from what I’m learning as well…the patience…
For more information on FELT CLUB, go to www.feltclub.com.