Category - Brands

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Tucson’s Laura Tanzer Creates Sustainable Clothing for the Modern Woman
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KisaKisa Clutches Create Buzz Among Houston’s Fashionable Set
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Cactus Clutches and Other Accessories by Madalyn Nault

Tucson’s Laura Tanzer Creates Sustainable Clothing for the Modern Woman

I first heard of the Laura Tanzer Designs brand when I was browsing through Phoenix Fashion Week’s social media pages in 2015. At the time, Laura was an emerging designer and had presented during Phoenix Fashion Week‘s annual runway festivities at Talking Stick Resort. Tanzer had showcased the “Les Rayures des Fleurs” collection- a stunning assortment of skirts, dresses, blouses, and jackets that were in an array of red, black, white, and navy blue hues. What also grabbed my attention were the floral prints, stripes, high-waist flared pants, maxi dress with dramatic low cut back, and asymmetrical jacket.

I immediately reached out to Laura, and have since been a fan of her brand, which is sustainably made in Tucson. The designer has been creating clothing ever since the tender age of seven. She, alongside her grandmother, would make clothing for her Barbies. The clothing creating continued throughout the years, as she made wearables for herself, her sister; then her friends, and finally- clients! Along with the impeccable construction of the clothing and passion for what she does, she also credits getting her inspiration comes from anywhere and everywhere. For example, the collection that will be unveiled during Phoenix Fashion Week on the 14th…”The inspiration for my current collection combines my love of modern form, contrappunto, and my travels to places with water – Venice, the Outer Banks off North Carolina, the Pacific Ocean.” I have seen some of the teasers on her Instagram, I can only predict that Spring 2017 will be sophisticated and elegant.

This month marks the three year anniversary of her official launch (October 2013). She now has a charming Atelier in the historic train depot in downtown Tucson, where she works and where clients can come in, browse, and buy. I’ve had the pleasure of stopping by the atelier a few times, not only to finally meet Laura in person, but to also see, feel, and try on the clothing. Let me tell you, the fit of her clothing was amazing! It was refreshing getting a one-on-one ‘fitting consultation’ with her, as she’ll explain the fit and have suggestions on tailoring or how to wear the pieces. It was also fun to see the room where she and her small staff construct the samples and put together the collections. I’m loving that the clothing is made with the highest quality fabrics, right there in Tucson, and with the utmost care and sustainability.

Speaking of sustainability, Laura also believes in not only creating sustainable clothing, but also, a sustainable lifestyle. “I want to contribute to the local economy, create jobs, build my business by respecting the environment and our natural resources. Our Sustainability Series occurs the fourth Wednesday of every month. We host specialists in various areas of sustainable practice/knowledge, such as water, air, toxins, social behavior, etc. It is always entertaining, and always inspirational! My co-sponsors are: Mrs. Green’s World, Green Living Magazine, Local First Arizona, Delectables Restaurant and Borderlands Brewery,” Laura explained further.

If you are local to Tucson, I suggest taking a trip to visit the Atelier. If not local, you can shop Laura Tanzer online. Be sure to also follow her on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Google +, and Youtube.

In the photos below, I am wearing select pieces from the “Les Rayures des Fleurs” collection.

Laura Tanzer maxi dress, nyfw, sustainable fashion

Laura Tanzer maxi dress, nyfw, sustainable fashion

Laura Tanzer maxi dress, nyfw, sustainable fashion

Laura Tanzer maxi dress, nyfw, sustainable fashion

Laura Tanzer maxi dress, nyfw, sustainable fashion

Black and White Striped Maxi Dress (call (520) 981-9891 for ordering info)

** Above images by Sofia Emm **

Laura Tanzer maxi dress, nyfw, sustainable fashion

Navy Blue and White Striped Hi Waist Flare Leg Pant + Navy Blue Top (call (520) 981-9891 for ordering info)

** Above image by Julie Stanley **

KisaKisa Clutches Create Buzz Among Houston’s Fashionable Set

Kisa Williams’ round clutches have the fashionable crowd in Houston buzzing. Williams launched her brand- KisaKisa in 2015 and creates round statement clutches in a variety of prints and colors. She has an intense passion for what she does, and pours her heart into her work. Every clutch is handmade in Houston. I very recently commissioned her to do a custom piece for me, inspired by cactus, the desert, and the Southwest. I just received my bag and OHMIGOODNESS…. she NAILED it! I just can’t sing enough praise for her talent and an eye for something DIFFERENT!

Below are photos of the handbag in the desert. I thought it was only fitting, as desert and cacti/Southwest go hand-in-hand…

KisaKisa Cactus Clutch, made in Houston, Southwest print, desert, mountains

KisaKisa Cactus Clutch, made in Houston, Southwest print, desert, mountains

KisaKisa Cactus Clutch, made in Houston, Southwest print, desert, mountains

KisaKisa Cactus Clutch, made in Houston, Southwest print, desert, mountains

KisaKisa Cactus Clutch, made in Houston, Southwest print, desert, mountains

KisaKisa Cactus Clutch, made in Houston, Southwest print, desert, mountains

KisaKisa Cactus Clutch, made in Houston, Southwest print, desert, mountains

KisaKisa Cactus Clutch, made in Houston, Southwest print, desert, mountains

KisaKisa Cactus Clutch, made in Houston, Southwest print, desert, mountains

KisaKisa Cactus Clutch, made in Houston, Southwest print, desert, mountains

LAFashionsnob: Tell me a little about yourself…

Kisa: I’m from Austin, Texas. I moved to Houston in 2001 when I transferred with my job, Houston Board of Realtors. I can remember sitting on my mom’s bed in my PJs, watching her get dressed. It was like an art form. She had pride in the way she looked. Everything was perfect, from her hose, to her lipstick that matched her handbag and shoes. I can remember her having so much jewelry; and she would allow me to try it on and play dress up. That is where my love of accessories was born. Since I was a sick child, she made sure I had other activities to do besides going outside to play. So she drowned me in markers, colored paper, glue, and glitter; and I had the big pack crayons with the sharpener on the side. I can remember I had a Scooby Doo coloring book. I felt so sad for them [the characters] because they were in the same outfits all the time. So I colored Velma Dinkley’s outfit different, I made her turtleneck purple with small pink and yellow flowers. Her A-line skirt was boring, so I colored it black and white polka dots. Her socks matched the yellow flowers in her sweater. I also gave her gold glitter shoes.

I decided to go back to school late in my life, my 40’s. I have had many other jobs: real estate, nanny, clerical, and I was even a foster mom for awhile. I felt like I had a creative side, but just didn’t know how to express it. HCC [Houston Community College] showed me how to tap into my creative side and do something spectacular. I owe everything to them. The professors not only teach you, but they mentor you as well. I’m not a number, I’m KISA. I can remember sitting across the table from my professor at Chili’s on 59, and pulling out my badly made sample handbag to show her. She was like, ‘OMG I love it!’ She advised me on the size of the bag and other minor changes that I made.

LAFashionsnob: Speaking of handbags, what inspired you to start making the clutches?

Kisa: I have always been a handbag girl. I would often be asked, “Where did you get that bag?” The first chance I got, I took a handbag class with Professor Ken Simmons at HCC, and that is where it all started. I took a very simple concept and made it my own. I owe a lot to Simmons. I’m going to name a bag after him.

LAFashionsnob: Why are the clutches in the shape that they are?

Kisa: I did know at first why I was drawn to the circle, but while having lunch with a close friend- Sarah Shah, she pointed out to me that the circle is the shape of a sickle cell. I was born with Sickle Cell Anemia, the disease causes my red blood cells to be in the shape of a sickle. When the bag is open, it is the shape of a normal blood cell. There is no cure for the disease… YET. I hope to being awareness and raise money with a signature red bag.

LAFashionsnob: What makes your handbags unique?

Kisa: My bags are unique because they are circles, and made out of fabric, not leather. I was so tired of seeing square and rectangular shaped bags. I wanted to do something different. I mix colors and fabrics in a unique way, something different than black and brown.

LAFashionsnob: Where can we find your handbags?

Kisa: www.kisakisafashion.com, @kisakisafashion, Pinterest, and Mio Boutique on Westheimer in Houston.

KisaKisa clutch, fashion, style, Houston made clutch

KisaKisa clutch, fashion, style, Houston made clutch

KisaKisa clutch, fashion, style, Houston made clutchKisaKisa clutch, fashion, style, Houston made clutch

KisaKisa clutch, fashion, style, Houston made clutch

KisaKisa clutch, fashion, style, Houston made clutch

Cactus Clutches and Other Accessories by Madalyn Nault

Cactus | Blogger | KLM Photography

There are many things in life that make me giddy… Vintage, the desert, estate sales…and cacti. Now, by cacti, I am indeed referring to the desert plant…but also all the cacti decor and accessories that have been popping up everywhere lately.

Cactus | Blogger | KLM Photography

Cactus | Blogger | KLM Photography

I was introduced to Madalyn Nault’s version of cute cactus clutches via Instagram, and immediately fell in love with them. I was able to meet the Phoenix based maker a couple months ago, at her studio. She showed me her quaint workspace, complete with a vintage sewing machine and piles of fabric neatly stacked in shelving. I also saw some of her other handbag and wallet designs. When I was choosing which cactus clutch I wanted, I had a very difficult time choosing because not all the cacti designs were the same. Once my clutch was chosen, Madalyn and I had a brief chat about her brand.

LAFS: How did you get started?

MN: I’ve been sewing since I was very little. I would sew doll clothes or make little stuffed animals or pillows, and other random stuff. When I got into high school, I was really awkward and wanted to be super punk rock…so nothing was ever cool enough. I started just making purses for myself that I could put band patches on. When I started doing that, I would have friends asking me to make them bags, and then it just organically grew from there; until what my brand is today. As I grew up, and my style changed, so did what I made. It’s been a long process. Probably within the past three to four years is when my brand became a “brand,” and I just stumbled into it. I just started making a style and it stuck, and people recognized the style. It’s the craziest thing to me — that people can recognize my brand. I don’t take it for granted because I think it’s the coolest thing ever!

LAFS: When was your official launch?

MN: The brand just organically grew. I’ve been doing shows ever since I moved to Arizona, probably about seven or eight years ago. I’ve never really had an official start date, it just all of a sudden worked.

LAFS: Materials used?

MN: I get a lot of hand-me-down fabrics. My parents live in a retirement community. My mom and my friends’ friends know that I sew, so I’ve had instances where my friends would say, “Oh my mom is moving out of her house, so I’m going to give you 15 boxes of fabric,” or “Oh, does Madalyn want this?”and it’s a stack of awesome fabrics. But there’s a couple unique fabric stores here that I go to. They get what they get, which I love, because sometimes I can make a handful of purses out of it; or sometimes I can only make one. Sometimes it is vintage, depending on where I find it and how it gets to me, but sometimes it’s not. Sometimes it looks vintage and sometimes it’s not. I usually will tell people if I’ve made something that’s made out of vintage fabric, because I think it makes it extra cool.

LAFS: What makes the Madalyn Nault Accessories brand unique?

MN: My brand is 100% unique, even if I make the same thing, something about it is different. Every single piece I make it unique, whether it’s the lining, pocket inside…something about it is different. I pick all these different fabrics and sometimes I can never get them again. Sometimes they’re vintage and sometimes it’s the way I paired them… You’re not going to see anyone else carry the same bag as you.

LAFS: Do you have any best sellers?

MN: Classic color combinations, wallets, cactus clutches… Though it’s hard to pinpoint best sellers because I do each piece so differently.

LAFS: Price range?

MN: Wallets start at $15, and then clutches, depending on size and materials…the most I’ve gone up to was $65. The clutches are usually between the $30 and $45 range.

If you are a Phoenix/Arizona local, you can find Madalyn Nault Accessories at the following: Frances Vintage, The Roose, Copper Whale in Prescott, PHX Flea, Pineapple Triangle/AZ Share That You Care, Crafeteria, and Festivus at Phoenix Public Market.

You can also find her on INSTAGRAM, FACEBOOK, and her WEBSITE.

Cactus | Blogger | KLM Photography

Cactus | Blogger | KLM Photography

Cactus | Blogger | KLM Photography

Cactus | Blogger | KLM Photography

** Images (of me) by KLM Photo **

(Vintage Cactus Dress- MRS Couture, Vintage Concho Belt + Tribal Belt- thrifted, Vintage Heels- Deja Vu Fashions Resale Shop, Sunglasses- random vendor, Cactus Clutch- Madalyn Nault Accessories.)

Madalyn Nault Accessories | supplies | Phoenix maker

Madalyn Nault Accessories | supplies | fabric | sewing machine | Phoenix maker

Madalyn Nault | fabric pile | Phoenix maker

Madalyn Nault workspace | Phoenix maker | sewing machine

Madalyn Nault | handmade clutches | Phoenix maker

Madalyn Nault | handmade clutches | Phoenix maker

Madalyn Nault | handmade clutches | Phoenix maker

Madalyn Nault | handmade clutches | Phoenix maker

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