WWDMagic August 2014 – Brand Discovery!
This time around, I discovered quite a few more brands that I had not known of before, thanks mainly to social media and fellow bloggers. Though a few of these brands I just stumbled upon…and I’m glad I did….
AS by DF
I had the pleasure of meeting Denis Focil, designer of Los Angeles based brand- AS by DF. AS by DF’s parent company – Alpinestars was founded in Italy in 1963 and has always been known for advanced and high quality motorcycle apparel. AS by DF was created in 2010 with focus on contemporary ready-to-wear and most importantly, leather jackets. The AS by DF woman is defined as daring, sophisticated and ready to take on the world.
Denise explains, “When I designed this line, I always wanted it to be luxurious, down to the last detail…with the lining, the little hidden gems and things that I put inside my pieces. It’s all about discovery. Every single time I design a jacket the customer will end up going home and finding things later…I do little hidden pockets inside a jacket…Little things to scrunch up your sleeve that’s hidden inside… Just everything so well thought out.”
Denise wanted the Spring/Summer 2015 collection to be all about color, but also keeping some black and neutrals. She was inspired by music, especially rock n’ roll. “In this particular case, by a lot of mix takes on rock n’ roll music but interpreted in modern way. So a reinterpretation of classic silhouettes done in a very fresh way,” she concluded.
AS by DF can be found in numerous boutiques around the country, including Fred Segal and Satine in LA and Azuz Boutique in Rice Village. You can also check out asbydf.com to shop and get more information.
So I was on a golf cart, being shuttled through the main aisle of SOURCING at MAGIC from one end to the other, when I spot a booth with vintage clothing. I literally almost jumped off….But I didn’t, so I waited until I was in the area again and power-walked to the booth. I enthusiastically want to introduce- Morphew Concept, an online retailer who is based in New York City and focuses on high-end vintage clothing. When I walked into the booth, it was like the gates of heaven were opening, along with the cheesy “aaaaaahhhhhhh” tunes. I viewed some of the rarest, most beautiful pieces of the past from such designers as Norma Kamali, Pierre Cardin, Christian Dior, Lanvin, Valentino and more. Garments from as early as the 1920s were on display. Funky jumpsuits from Dior and Norma Kamali. Sequined exquisite caftans and dusters. Delicate lace Edwardian blouses. It all made my heart swoon. Owner- Bridgette Morphew launched her former brand Paradox Designs (now Morphew) in 2005 with the mission of giving people access and the ability to purchase highly coveted vintage, classic and couture designer pieces from her archive of over 5,000 pieces. Bridgette recently transitioned Paradox Designs into Morphew Concept, still keeping it in the forefront of the fashion industry. For more information, check out morphewconcept.com.
Meghan Los Angeles // Boheme
I spotted Los Angeles designer- Meghan Fabulous showing pieces from one of her brands- Boheme. Her S/S 2015 collection is full of color, wild prints, decadent trims, exotic textiles, lace and crochet. She also recycled vintage Levi’s and added very bohemian yet vibrant trims. I feel that her unique line is inspired by her world travels to places near and far. Either way, the brand coincides with Meghan’s whimsical and fabulous personality. Check out meghanla.com for additional information.
I had heard of Stela 9 via the instagrams of multiple tastemakers carrying their bohemian and tribal-esque handbags. So being able to see the brand in person during the show was very admirable. Guatemala based- Stela 9 was conceived in the summer of 2010 by archaeology assistant- Jess Bercovici. It was during an archaeology project in Guatemala that she immediately fell in love with the Mayan culture and its artisan leather crafting and weaving traditions. Each collection is meticulously handcrafted by skilled local artisans while using recycled textiles, semi-precious stones and ethically procured leather. The brand directly contributes to the livelihood and sustainability of the indigenous communities that craft such valued works of art. Loved seeing their bags and footwear up close. One of my favorite styles being the beaded cactus clutch and the wonderfully vibrant weekender bags. They are also branching out to clothing as well, as I saw THE BEST pair of multi-color tribal striped shorts (that I’m still coveting). To meet the makers and get more information on the brand, check out Stela 9.
Ancestral Ground is a French denim brand that was created in 2009, but officially launched during this show. Designer Faical Marzouq created denim jeans for both men and women to fit like a second skin. They were designed with only ONE invisible seam and no side seams. The jeans are made with only top-quality French and Italian fabrics. Faical designs jeans that range from a size 0 to an 18, but can create for larger sizes upon request. According to the Ancestral Ground rep, “The fit of the jeans is custom to every body. You can be a size 0 or 20…He will design them to fit your body. That’s a great thing about jeans from a plus-size perspective… His jeans fit like a glove.” For further information and to contact them, check out ancestralground.com.
Black Swan Clothing was born in California in 2013. The brand prides itself on effortlessly blending edgy textiles with soft, romantic silhouettes to reflect the complexities and layers of the modern woman. The Black Swan customer is “Refreshingly unique, she finds comfort in her own skin. She is effortless in her styling, chic in her demeanor and strong in her sense of self.” The brand fits a variety of women and is versatile in the fact that it’s effortless and easy to wear. For their S/S 2015 collection, they drew most of their inspiration from travels abroad, which gave them their bright yet soft color palette as the ease and versatility of many pieces in the line. The brand is sold at over 1,800 high-end specialty stores all over the country (including Ron Herman, Planet Blue and M. Fedric) and department stores, such as Nordstrom.
Harlyn Label was the last brand I saw before leaving the trade show floor, which I’m glad I stopped by. I always seem to gravitate towards bright fun prints and fresh silhouettes- Harlyn fit the bill. The Los Angeles based brand was launched in Spring 2013 as Bizz Inc.’s first designer collection. It is inspired by the label’s designer- Maria Stanley’s love for vintage and feminine clothing. Creative Director and owner of Bizz Inc. Kei Kim oversee the development of the collections and overall creative direction. Their S/S 2015 collection is titled “Down the Rabbit Hole” and blends the perfect mix of timeless American nostalgia, the fun and carefree attitude of 50’s style and of course, Haryln’s feminine vintage-inspired roots. The collection feature’s the brand’s signature prints, such as: ‘Mondrian’, ‘Polka Dot’, ‘Picnic Check’, ‘Splatter’ and ‘Daisy’; as well as flattering new bodies and natural materials (like linen, cotton, denim and mixed media). Maria’s angle on the 1950s Americana aesthetic leaves us with that era’s ‘boy meets girl’ twist on the classic bodies that the brand is known for.
From what I saw during MAGIC, Harlyn really is a ‘collection of lovelies.’
Ducks in a Row SF
Ducks in a Row SF is a fairly new brand, having launched in Autumn 2013. Although owner and designer Rebecca Leonard and her husband have worked in womens apparel for seven years, they had always had the goal of one day launching their own line. Rebecca recalls, ” We often said “when we get our ducks in a row we will be able to launch my own designs.” So when we finally got the opportunity to start our own line, it seemed fit to call it ‘Ducks in a Row.'” The brand is heavily inspired by their funky and historic Haight/Ashbury neighborhood in San Francisco. All clothing is designed with a lot of attention to the cut and fit, so it flatters more body types.Rebecca draws inspiration from vintage fashion but updates them with a twist on fun modern color combinations and details. “Like our city, we are young at heart and won’t shy away from wearing cat ears on our bowler hats or Scottie dogs on our dresses,” Rebecca adds. So of course, the Autumn 2014 collection has a signature cats and dogs theme (with equal parts cat ears and Scottie dogs). I saw dresses with plaid prints, but would have Scottie dog appliques or kitten prints and cozy looking coats with a faux fur hood with cat ears. I loved seeing the very 1920s inspired hats and cloches and am pleased to see that Rebecca revitalizes vintage style hats in a new way. All their Autumn hats are 100% wool, are fully lined with satin and have adjustable draw strings. Ducks in a Row SF is a brand to watch- especially if you are one who loves animals and are a vintage loving quirky girl at heart!
Mellie J Showroom // Ewa i Walla
I’ve known Melanie Flood- owner of Mellie J Showroom for awhile now, so when I saw that she had a booth at MAGIC, it was obvious that I had to stop by. She showed me one of the latest brands she was repping- Sweden based Ewa i Walla. The brand was founded by Ewa Iwalla in 2002 and focuses on vintage-inspired romantic garments with an emphasis on Old Swedish farmer culture. Ewa takes great pride in offering creative and unique design, deconstruction, layers of unexpected fabric combinations and quality materials such as: cotton, linen, silk, wool and her signature crushed organdy. Her S/S 2015 is “My Summer Saga”- based on the Swedish saga of traveling to South Asia. This season’s collection spotlights the “Kitchen Check”- a light and comfortable voile fabric, as well as fabrics that are similar to linen, lace and silk, yet have different qualities. The brand also incorporates interior design styles that come in the form of curtains and pillows. Check out ewaiwalla.se for additional information.
TV personality Whitney Port (Laguna Beach, The Hills, The City) launched her namesake brand in 2008, mixing easy California sophistication with New York City edge. The brand is known for custom prints and captivating silhouettes, like convertible party dresses and classic menswear-inspired pieces. While in the booth, certain qualities I noticed from the S/S 2015 collection were: lots of oversizing, quilting, floral and palm prints and very texture heavy separates. I did have the pleasure of meeting Whitney at her booth, she explained that her inspiration for the collection was, “‘New Age Hawaii’…My modern take on tropical…So it’s a lot of fun floral and scale prints, mixed with more feminine pieces.” For more information and to shop the brand, check out whitneyeve.com.
Show Me Your Mumu
Show Me Your Mumu was launched in 2011 by lively and free-spirited friends- Cammy Hebert and Cologne Schmidt. This was after a last-minute trip to Miami (in the dead of Summer mind you), and they realized that nothing they brought seemed to be comfortable, cute or flowy enough to survive through the humid weather. After consistently buying oversize tops and trying to convert them into a mumu-esque dress, they still could not find the ideal fit. It wasn’t until later that they reinvented the style by shortening the dress and changing the spelling (from ‘mu’u mu’u’ to ‘mumu'”). They started out by making the mumus in their tiny NYC apartment, before relocating to sunny California- where the brand is now based and manufactured. The brand has since branched out to making dresses, skirts, jumpsuits, tops and pants, but with their signature mumu (or ‘mu’) being the best-seller. It was such a pleasure seeing the brand in person, as I’ve only seen it via social media. The clothes are whimsical with fun bright prints and even some vintage-style silhouettes. The S/S 2015 line was inspired by Mexico: tropical, palms, cacti (let’s talk about that cacti print tee!), and vintage-inspired prints in the line, but with a Mexican (colorful) flair. You can read their ‘fairy tale‘ and shop the brand via showmeyourmumu.com.
Show Me Your Mumu is proudly made in the “GORGE USA”!
Willow and Clay
Los Angeles based Willow and Clay launched about five years ago and is described as “the every woman”- meaning that she is an artist (Edie), a workaholic (Riley) and socialite (Scarlet). This season, the girls journey through a “Desert Odyssey”- traveling the world, exploring new places and meeting new faces. We are able to witness a few of their adventures…one being “Sahara Snow”- a place that is cold, frozen-over and barren. The girls bring out their wardrobe, consisting of cozy knits and sweaters, lots of embellishment and a palette of white, light lilacs and soft grays. We then transition to “Nomadic Dreams.” Their wardrobe changes, switching to warmer desert hues such as pinks, orange, white and sky blues. Clothing fabrications become lighter and we see more lace, cut-outs and bohemian layering.
The Willow and Clay booth was charming, featuring pieces from the Fall 2014 and S/S 2015 collections. I gravitated towards the plaid maxi and shirt dresses, the black/white striped track pants, the brown vest/cape, the white boxy short sleeve vegan leather top, the yummy moto jackets, the black sheer striped tee and black sheer willow pullover top.
Thank you for having us! Be sure to check out their amazingly creative lookbooks on the website!
Austin, TX-based brand Vinca was founded by Amanda Dimova in 2006. Dimova has been a creative all her life, always dabbling in making paper dolls, little purses, doll food out of clay, etc. It wasn’t until she was 18 when she truly found her passion in jewelry making. “I realized that it was a more universal wearable art form. It didn’t have to be sized, any body type could wear it, and I could produce it so that it was made in USA and affordable,” she explained. In 2006, she officially launched her brand- Vinca. Vinca is the name she created for her original collection at the start of the company and is based on a small five petal flower, called the ‘Vinca.’ Amanda runs a small factory in Austin, where she designs and manufactures her line. She draws all her wooden and acrylic designs and oversees the cutting and assembling that is done in-house. Raw materials that are used in creating the little quirky pieces of jewelry include: sterling chain, specialty acrylics, wood and plastic (and of course are sourced right here in the good ‘ole U S of A, which she calls ‘micro-manufacturing’). Their wholesale catalog offers over a thousand styles, so there’s something for everyone! Prices range from $8 for a ring, $16 for earrings to $30 for most necklaces. They also do custom designs as well. Along with their online store, if you are local to Houston, you can find Vinca at Hello Lucky and Biscuit Home. I cannot speak more highly about Vinca. The product really adds a touch a whimsy to any outfit. It’s locally made and sourced, which is an A+ in my book. As Amanda concludes,”I take it as a great compliment and am humbled by the fact I’ve been able to sell my designs for the past couple of years and really grow the business. I hope that when people see Vinca jewelry they can see the hard work I’ve put into it to make available a large selection of their favorite things in pretty colors at an affordable price point, and made sure it’s produced in ethical working conditions (my desk is in the same room as the manufacturing an inventory).”
Cobb Hill Shoes
I was always familiar with the New Balance sneaker brand…but didn’t know that they branched out into making trendy yet comfortable footwear…until I met with them during FN Platform. I would also like to add that they were one of the most hospitable booths at the show. As it turns out, Cob Hill is a part of Drydock Footwear Group (a joint venture with New Balance)- located on Boston’s historic commercial drydocks. Cobb Hill is New Balance’s very trendy and fashionable sister- with styles that can take you from day to night. The footwear consists of burnished leathers, antiqued hardware and handcrafted stitching, but with all the characteristics that make up the performance that New Balance offers. The footwear, ranging from trendy oxfords to little booties to vintage-inspired Mary-Janes- are lightweight with flexible soles and have ultra-cushioned footbeds. To shop the brand, check out cobhillshoes.com and be sure to check out Drydock as well.
Huge thanks to Kelly and Karen! It was also lovely seeing the Drydock HQ while in Boston and meeting the team.
KAS New York
What do blouses with fringe, sequin shorts, vibrant prints and lacy garments have in common? KAS New York. The brand was founded by Kirat S. Anand in 2007 and specializes in affordable luxury in the womens contemporary ready-to-wear market. Anand started his career as an investment banker at JP Morgan, but soon realized that his heart belonged in fashion. He had grown up in the industry, with his Father being a self-made manufacturer and Mother- a designer. He would travel to India, where he’d spend hours at the factories and samples, taking in as much inspiration as possible. Today, the KAS brand is known for having non-traditional urban style blended with lux bohemian vintage accents. “My desire was to create a lifestyle brand, which wasn’t ageist or restrictive. There were so many options for the younger girl, but a modern sophisticated woman either had to go couture, missy or moderate. My goal was to create a brand for women who embrace their style and dress with the 3 Fs in mind; having Fun, being Fashionable and not spending a Fortune,” Kirat explained (via his website). Upon viewing his S/S 2015 collection, I realized just that. The collection consisted of sequin tribal print shorts, vibrant tops with fringe, an amazing lace jumpsuit and all-around richly-colored separates. Check out KASnewyork.com for more information.
Foot Zen by Doctor Specified
I was in desperate need of a pair of socks during FN Platform and I happened to come across Foot Zen by Doctor Specified- a booth dedicated to socks that focus on the health and well-being of your feet. Doctor Specified is an initiative between South Africa and America, based in North Carolina. They believe that socks are vital to overall foot health. The socks are extremely comfortable and are designed with MED DRY(TM) moisture treatment, extra fine Merino wool with their Lanolin treatment and mohair- a premium natural fiber known for its anti-friction characteristics. The socks are available in a variety of styles and colors. Check out footzen.us for more information.
Thank you for saving my feet!
Love, Sadie is another cute Los Angeles based womens contemporary brand that was recently launched within the last year or so. They offer dresses, rompers, pants, tops and jumpsuits that are offered in a variety of fun prints. Love, Sadie is free-spirited and effortless, inspired by adventure.
Wanderlust + Co
Wanderlust + Co is an online jewelry brand that was conceived in Melbourne, Australia in late 2010. Founder- Jenn and her team strive to create beautiful and affordable accessories without sacrificing comfort and quality. They put out new styles weekly. Ever since I’ve seen their jewelry, usually via social media, I’ve always been impressed by what they have to offer, such as: the midi-rings, the hexagon and double arrow cuffs and gem statement necklaces. I swear, I think they even started the ‘ring stacking’ trend. Well, after playing with some of their jewelry at their booth, I am a fan myself. Check out wanderlustandco.com to shop this fab jewelry brand.
Meeting emerging designer- Paul Redmond was one of the highlights during this trip. He officially launched his brand this year and specializes in 3-D and digital print and laser cut designs. His concept, “Download This Dress,” is where you can go to his website and actually download a dress or the plans for a dress and then either have it laser cut, 3-D or digitally printed. The designs can be custom-made to your size or custom designed…period. His designs are priced lower than “normal” clothing is now, because you do most of the manufacturing yourself. He also reduces waste by reusing materials that have been cut and putting them on another garment, etc. Available materials are: neoprene and polyester. Sizes range from a “small to “large” and “0” to “11.” For more information and to download a dress, check out paulredmond.co.
The future of fashion is here……
Courtney Allegra Swimwear
Sixteen year old designer Courtney Allegra just launched her swimwear collection three months ago (with her official launch being at MAGIC this time around). The San Diego brand has technically been around since 2013, when she launched her ready-to-wear collection. Her swimwear line consists of eclectic prints with unique island names and island-nation names for the patterns. Most of the styles are reversible. She also offers matching cover-ups. To shop and find out more about the brand, check out courtneyallegra.com.
Maggie May Swimwear
I’m thankful that the rep (uniquely dressed in her one-of-a-kind creation) for Maggie May pulled me aside to discuss the swimwear brand until the designer came back from a short break. When Magdalena Trever arrived, she personally showed me the line and discussed what makes her brand unique and shine. She launched NYC-based Maggie May Swimwear in 2010 and emphasizes in loom-knitted swimwear for women. She specializes in creating the wearable art out of high-quality bamboo, which has helped her get into a lot of stores and Sports Illustrated because it’s eco-friendly, goes great on the body, in water and doesn’t stretch out; also because the material is anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and wicks out the moisture. She also believes in using the highest quality trimmings as well, such as Czech glass buttons, Swarovski crystals and fresh water pearls. “I’m all about the quality, I don’t put plastic on it,” Magdalena stated. Well, paying attention to the quality and design certainly pays off, as one of her bikinis landed on Kate Upton in Sports Illustrated in 2012. Magdalena is extremely hands-on, creating each piece herself, so each swimsuit is not exactly alike. In fact, when I was at the booth, she saw a small snag in a bikini. She immediately whipped out her knitting needle and fixed it in less than five minutes. Total dedication right there! Check out maggiemayswimwear.com for more information and to shop the brand.
Thank you WWDMagic.. it was a HUGE pleasure being your guest this August!
Dying over the Whitney Eve and Show Me Your Mumu design! thanks for sharing Heather!