Archive - September 2015

Curated Cotton
Talking Gloves with Damari and Co.
Meet Lilli…

Curated Cotton

Curated Cotton came through my radar via Houston Tidbits. I checked out the website and loved the tees (especially the cactus print tees), which are made locally in Houston. I learned that they were going to have a trunk show at Saint Cloud in Rice Village, so clearly I had to go check it out. During the event, I was able to meet with Shelly, one of the co-founders of the brand and also picked up a tee for myself.

Curated Cotton was officially founded June 2015 by Shelly Bishop and Paige Thompson- who are both working in the creative industries. Shelly started sewing and crafting in high school. She graduated from Baylor University with a degree in Fashion Merchandising. Since then, she has held an extensive career is just about every aspect of the fashion industry. She is currently a fashion stylist by day and co-founder of Curated Cotton by night. Paige- also a Baylor grad, majored in Studio Art and Graphic Design. While there, she explored multiple mediums in the art world, which included designing t-shirts. She then moved on to study at Chicago Portfolio School. After graduating, she worked for an advertising agency, before eventually moving on to Nashville, where she is currently based. She is an Art Director by day, and freelance designer, fine artist, and Co-Founder of Curated Cotton by night.

November 2014, Shelly picked up a copy of Sophia Amoruso’s #GIRLBOSS and finished it in two sittings. This helped ignite the concept for Curated Cotton. She further explains, “There are a few different points she made in the book that really resonated with me, and sparked the idea to design and sell tees. Right away I knew I wanted to ask Paige to help me execute designs, as we’ve worked together on projects in the past, and I love what she does. The timing was right for Paige, as she had also been thinking about starting something on the side. We each shifted our vision a little, and the result is Curated Cotton. Even though I first had the idea for Curated Cotton last November, our site didn’t officially launch until June. There is so much that goes into everything, and we really wanted to take the time do it right. We are based out of Houston and Nashville. Our tees are hand-pulled at Black Swan Screen Printing in the Heights, and shipped out from Houston, but we sell them on our website. I am a night person, and as I was winding down for bed, the name Curated Cotton came to me. I’m a huge sucker for alliteration, so that was a big plus, but I also love the meaning when you break it down. Originally, a curator was someone who was responsible for artfully and meticulously piecing together the best of the best to bring together a fantastic art or museum collection. The term curate is now much more commonly used, especially in the fashion world, to describe something that is thoughtfully and stylishly put together. Using what we’ve learned in school, along with our own experience, Paige and I place so much attention on detail and every decision we make to “curate” our brand. On the other end of the spectrum is cotton, which is casual, organic, effortless…We don’t ever want to take ourselves too seriously, so we thought about how funny it actually was to say that you ‘curate cotton…’ something so simple being so scrutinized.. But it’s actually the perfect way to describe and sum up who we are and what we do.”

Shelly credits her styling background to helping build the brand’s chic ‘west coast’ vibe. “Probably because I grew up in San Diego, I feel best in jeans and a white tee. My personal style is sporty, relaxed, and a little retro. I love mixing high and low pieces to achieve that cool-girl look. Styling for Curated Cotton is very personal for me, since it’s working with our own designs. I think a tee is a super versatile piece. I love to dress mine up and wear them out to events. I like that it’s ironic to wear a tee for evening. Each design we have kinda takes on a personality of it’s own. I like to envision the personality of that tee as an actual girl, and style it from there…how I would picture her wearing it..”

What sets Curated Cotton apart? “I’m a big fan of vintage, and the thrill of the hunt – the feeling you get when you take the time to find those special pieces that no one else has. Paige and I put a lot of effort into researching tees, and selecting the best fit and style out there. We then spend even more time on the design process, going back and forth making adjustments until we are 110% in love with the design. Once the perfect tee and design are in place, our screen printers hand-pull each shirt. When you buy a Curated Cotton tee, you know not a single detail has gone overlooked,” Shelly explained.

The tees range from $40-$55, depending on how many colors and screens are used to make them. Each tee is screen printed by hand on soft, high-quality shirts made of 100% cotton.

Be sure to also visit their Facebook and Instagram for future happenings!

Talking Gloves with Damari and Co.

I was first introduced to Damari and Co. awhile back, but it wasn’t until recently that I had the opportunity to check out the small studio and chat with the namesake founder- Damari Rubio, regarding the locally made brand. Damari’s love of gloves stemmed from her world travels throughout her life. She would pick up vintage gloves at various antique stores and start collecting them as gifts for herself and her friends. This sparked a creative force in her to start designing gloves, which is turning into a lost art. She is one of the few glove designers in this country.

She officially launched her company January 2014 and started out by doing custom work, as she was still getting use to making the gloves. A year later, January 2015, she launched a line of fitness, dog walking, fashion and lace gloves. EVERYTHING is made in Houston. She’s enjoyed every experience of her highly creative career. “It’s been great, seeing what everybody likes and the market wants,” she said.

Her best-selling gloves (and this blogger’s absolute FAVORITE style) are the angled gloves. The mesh gloves come in a variety of colors and have elastic trim. Damari purposefully leaves out the thumb because of accessibility. People need to be chic, but also need to have access to their phones and other technology. She also designs regular gloves as well, like for opera season and such. Oh and let’s not forget about her line of driving gloves… I mean really, even that is a lost fashion trend (back in the day, people actually wore gloves while driving)… I hope that her version, made of breathable fabric, helps the trend will make a comeback.

When she showed me the packaging for the gloves, I squealed at the ingenuity of it all. She packages each collection in a box that is designed to be a book. The collections are categorized as follows: Be Fit, Be Playful, Be Romantic, Be Chic and Be Free. Every glove has a story. The idea is that you can collect as many “books” as possible and them keep them packaged and ready for use.

The chic gloves are good quality, that don’t come with a hefty price tag. They range from $25 for dog walking gloves to around $90-120 for lace gloves. Check out Damari and Co. for amazing gloves that will fit every aspect of your lifestyle!

** Photo courtesy of Damari **

Meet Lilli…

As an avid vintage clothing collector and seller, I’ve come across numerous designer labels that were highly regarded back in the 50s and 60s, but have since fazed out. I’ve heard of the brand- Lilli Diamond and recently came across a couple of dresses where I work. My boss suggested that I do some research on the brand, which I happily obliged. I learned that Lilli was still living in California and I just HAD to meet with her during my recent trip.

On my last day in California, I sat down with THE Lilli Diamond, just one of the loveliest women one could ever meet. She gave me some insight on her life, career and the legendary fashion company and we vintage fans know and love.

The beginning:

She was born in Brooklyn. Her dream was to become a dancer. Through-out her childhood she took dancing lessons. When she was around 15 or 16, her dancing teacher had her fill in for a girl who had gotten sick, to dance at the night club with the rest of the dance troupe. She of course, said yes. That was the start of her dancing career. It wasn’t long after, when she decided she should go to Hollywood. She remembered saying, “Hollywood is where it’s at. That’s where you have to be!” She got on a bus for five nights. She briefly ended up staying at a relative’s home in Riverside, but found that it wasn’t close enough to her end goal. Soon after her parents found another relative for her to stay with that lived closer to Hollywood. She recalls, “I stayed with a distant relative for one night. The next day I started walking around and getting a feel of the neighborhood. I wanted to show Hollywood I was here…So a car starts to follow me…I got to where I was going. I went upstairs and he followed me. He introduced himself and then left. And when he left, I said, ‘Ohmigod, he is coming back!’ The people I was with asked, ‘How do you know?’ I replied, ‘I just know.’ He did. So that was the beginning… ” So they got married, had a child and started their life.

Lilli on the brand (which launched in the early 1950s):

“Al Diamond was a dress cutter in a dress factory. He decided one day that he didn’t have to be just a dress cutter, he could be the boss. So that’s what he did. He went to a design school and found a couple students that he thought had merit. He hired these students right out of school and had them make up a couple of samples. He went, by himself, to a trade show in San Francisco with samples. He didn’t have any money to rent a space at the show, so he just sat in the hall. As people walked by, he showed them the samples and they caught on. That’s how the business began. He came back and said, ‘We’re in business!’ He got a friend and they sat down together and contemplated naming the business. The friend said, ‘why don’t we call it Lilli Diamond?’ He did things that nobody else did in the business. He took risks. He never had inventory. While most of the factories used mannequins, he used live models. He would fit the garment to the girl, which was a big difference. He’d wait for the orders and they’d have the materials flown in, even though it was expensive. Still, it paid off to do it that way. So when the store’s buyers would come around, they’d just pick out what they wanted and then he would order the fabric. He just figured out the best way to do everything and that’s why he was successful. He was famous for fit. His cocktail attire was very dressy and sexy. He was smart, he was bright, he took risks and he had me.”

Lilli Diamond was sold at upscale boutiques across the country. The company flourished well into the 60s, until it was sold to Campus Casuals in 1965. Campus Casuals continued selling dresses with the Lilli Diamond label until the 80s.

Examples of Lilli Diamond Dresses:

(Image via Etsy, Image via 1st Dibs)

(Image via 1st Dibs, Image via 1st Dibs)

(Image via Davonna Juroe, Image via Etsy)

Lilli eventually got back into acting and took up competitive dancing. She actually appeared in the 1999 Miller Lite commercial- “SEANCE,” as the widow (seen below).

* Video via 2punchpikey’s YouTube *

Lilli’s advice:

“Trust. Honesty. You play your cards the way you wish they would fall/you wish they would happen… You play the game, you see the end result. If I do this and that, then this is going to happen…”

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