March 8th, 2013

Favorites

I play Bon Iver’s self-titled second album almost every night as I rock Vivian to sleep. It’s the perfect soundtrack to the happy ending of our day — as though a camera is zooming out from the scene as I hold her head in my hand, and her cheek to my cheek.

March 5th, 2013

Family week

Happy Lyle Yost Day! My Grandpa Yost’s cousin Lyle would have turned 100 today, so the mayor of his Kansas hometown named the day after him, honoring “a man who did so much for his community and farmers everywhere.” Lyle invented the unloading auger and the self-propelled swather, both of which are used regularly by today’s farmers. (Like my dad!)

And from the other side of my family, I learned today that my Grandpa Swartzendruber passed away. He lived a long, wonderful and creativity-filled life, which I’m genuinely looking forward to celebrating with my family in Colorado.

So this is a week of celebrating my Mennonite roots! I’m not sure how much I’ll be posting in the next few days, but I promise to be back soon.

xoxo

 

March 1st, 2013

Favorites

  • A Cup of Jo: “Researchers from the Netherlands discovered that the largest boost in happiness from a vacation doesn’t come during or after the vacation, but instead from the simple act of planning a vacation. According to the 2010 study, ‘vacation anticipation’ generally boosts happiness for eight weeks, whereas after the vacation ‘there is hardly an effect.’” So the journey really is the destination! Image of Jackie O. and her sister via Simple Lovely

  • The verdict on soy — which I’ve been avoiding for the past year or so. “Soy is the leggings-as-pants of the food world — people either love it or they hate it.” (Hilarious!) Refinery29′s experts agree that fresh soy (both edamame and fresh tofu) and fermented soy (miso, tempeh, soy sauce and tamari) are fine to eat in moderation. What’s not so great is processed soy, which is used as filler in loads of grocery items, and which is often genetically modified. Read more.
  • Helen Hunt’s gown at the Oscars was from H&M’s Conscious collection. I missed the red carpet, though it sounds like she made a nice soapbox of it for sustainable clothes. *This is where I’m not commenting on whether fast fashion can be sustainable.* Image from Fashion Insider

 

February 26th, 2013

A chat with Manimal founder Kristen Lombardi: On reuse, making miniatures and being a mom

 

In 2004, Kristen Lombardi founded Manimal, her line of impeccably handcrafted moccasins and leather accessories. To hold one of her baby moccasins in your hand is to appreciate the skill and caring that goes into each piece — they’re perfectly formed, perfectly sturdy, and they’re lined with cushy faux fleece! My favorite part is that when I peek under the seams, I can see the lines Kristen used to trace her pattern before cutting it out.

I first discovered Manimal in 2008 when I bought a pair of her Ribcage Earrings at a boutique in Chicago. I learned then that her accessories were all made from scraps left over from moccasin-making. Several years later I was fortunate to be able to sell advance editions of her accessories in my online store, and this winter, I’ve worked with her to share more of her baby moccasins with the world.

Kristen has just released the Manimal Spring/Summer line, and as usual, the colors are beautiful. Those are the images you’re seeing throughout this post, and you can get each one in the Manimal online store.

And in my store, you can now get my three favorite Manimal baby moccasin colors for 15% off! They’re the end of last season’s collection, so they won’t last long.

Kristen is inspired by the American Southwest; by Native American costumes and forms. Here’s how she translates that wild spirit into one of my all-time favorite ethical fashion brands.

How did Manimal begin? 

I began a loose form of Manimal (I was trying things out — denim, bags and the moccasins) almost ten years ago, when I was 23! I graduated from Massachusetts College of Art with a fine arts degree, but concentrated on fashion design. I started out by selling at craft shows and had a job reworking vintage at two Boston thrift stores. My leather skills are totally self taught, though I have a natural inclination for making things and figuring out hand work.

I love how you seem to consistently offer a few staples — always ribcage moccasins and earrings — and yet you really mix up your color palettes and accessories from season to season. What’s your perspective on balancing a regular selection while still keeping it fresh? 

I like to offer a few of the same styles every collection in different color options — the styles that are the basics and my best sellers. Naturally, it’s important for me to include original work every season. That’s easily done when I have ever shifting ideas about what I want to be wearing and what I want my hands to be working on. That said, I’m still pulling on my double fringe boots from four collections ago every morning when I leave the apartment.

Can you elaborate a bit more on how you reuse your leather scraps? 

I began making accessories purely as a way to use up scrap from the moccasins making process. Now they are usually my favorite pieces each collection. It’s a good design challenge to come up with new forms with a limited material. Since I cannot bear to throw leather away I always have at least two boxes of scrap tucked away in my studio. (Ed. note: Kristen has said she keeps any scrap larger than a dime!)

And now you have a little boy and a baby line! How has that been for business? 

I began the baby styles about a year before I had my son and I’m so glad I did — the children’s styles are a really fun addition to the line for me. People seem to like the little moccasins, though I suppose it’s kind of hard to resist anything in miniature!

Has he changed how you look at your company and your career? 

It’s great to be a full-time mom — but the biggest challenge is trying to work full time as well. I’ve learned a lot in the past two years about getting good help I can rely on and being OK with a little less control. It’s been difficult but good for me. Creative work is just part of our day-to-day around here, so I include Theo in my work. Some days he sits at the table while I work on samples and I set him up with his own little sewing project, other days we sketch together at the museum. It’s not easy, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.

What does your production process look like? 

This will be my third season working with a very talented couple in Maine. They handle all production for the adult line, while the baby pieces and accessories are made here in Brooklyn.

What’s your favorite piece you’ve ever designed? 

My favorite piece to date is a little folio from this spring collection.

“Manimal is a careful, quiet operation in Brooklyn, New York.”

 

February 22nd, 2013

Favorites

  • I love scrunch socks and legwarmers! And this week, The Sartorialist does, too.

February 19th, 2013

Six picks from Society6 (free shipping through Sunday)

Untitled (Landscape) by Tchmo, hanging in my living room

Mnemonic 1: Dear California by Matthew Korbel Bowers, text by Marissa Korbel Bowers

Arrow Shaft Face by Amanda Michael Harris

This is where I want to be… by Kurt Rahn

Lincoln Sloat Sun by Michael Korbel Bowers, on my mantel

؅ ؆ ؇ ؈ ؉ ؊ ؊ slices by Sofia de Eça

Society6 is a wonderful community for selling and buying art affordably. Each artist must be accepted to the marketplace, and I find many more gems there than on sites like art.com or 20×200. Artists don’t make a very big cut of the retail price (about 10% on most items, I’m told), but some choose it to avoid the commitment of shipping and inventory, and/or as a more affordable way to offer oversized prints. Society6 is offering free shipping through Sunday.

What’s your filter for selecting art? I choose pieces that give me a happy vibe, are not too pretty but not too ugly, and could be “classic” — I think about the items in my parents’ house that they bought when they first made a home together — some of it felt so out of date by the time I was old enough to care. I hope my picks will stand the test of time. (Especially on account of the cost of framing them!)

February 15th, 2013

Friday Favorites: Darkened Skies, Pad Thai

Above, a Thierry Cohen image of Paris. 

February 12th, 2013

Rain booties review: Jeffrey Campbell vs. Loeffler Randall

Last November, after plenty of mulling over it, I bought the grey Loeffler Randalls on the right. Then I wore them a time or two and realized they were TOO SMALL. (Rubber doesn’t stretch-to-fit like leather does! They were just too tight around the ball of my foot.)

Next, I bought the green Jeffrey Campbells on the left. (And I’m selling the grey ones on Ebay.) Here are my thoughts on them both.

For this purchase, the most important things to me were style and quality. I wanted an elegant rain boot — already a bit of an anomaly — that would last.

Loeffler Randall has a wonderful reputation for both. I’d had my eye on their beautiful rain boot shapes for a while. This lace-up style was a shape I didn’t yet have in my closet, and they look so good I’d wear them on sunny days, too. They’re made of real rubber, which you can read the benefits of here.

But… I fall right between their sizes. I’m sad that their rain boots will never work for me. (Though who knows, maybe the slip-on styles are looser. You’d have to try them on in person, which I haven’t.)

After deciding to sell those boots, I only casually had my eye out for a replacement pair. But I soon found these shiny, green Beatles boots at Shoe Biz, a local shoe store with an always-excellent selection.

jeffrey-campbell-forecast-rain-boot-review

To my knowledge, Jeffrey Campbell has never been transparent about its practices, neither in manufacturing or sourcing. It’s not a brand I’ve ever bought from before. I really wish I could have found my rain boots from a brand I know I can trust.

But — these pair a classic style with an eye-catching color. Not too traditional, not too trendy – a balance I always look for. The green plastic/rubber is translucent, so the jersey-looking lining shows through. They’re super unique.

Which is why I’m confident that I’ll wear them for years to come.

(But only on truly rainy days. Their shininess is just too much otherwise.)

Fancy! Which pair do you like best?

…and if you prefer the Loeffler Randalls and wear a non-wide 7 1/2, you should buy them from me on Ebay

February 8th, 2013

Friday Favorites

  • Earlier this week, there was a great conversation on Design Mom about ethics. So many good and honest thoughts there. I’ve written this blog about ethical fashion since 2007, so I always love to hear perspectives from people “outside” this world. One striking thing about those 45 comments is that most everyone who wants to buy conscientiously wants to do so because of the impact their purchases make on people. I love this so much. Especially back in 2007, I often found more focus on the environment than on people in circles like mine. So, my friends, I can attest to us experiencing a cultural shift! We care more than ever about provenance, heritage and ethics. Bravo.
  • I got stitches last Sunday. Viv broke a ceramic dish, and then one of the pieces fell on my hand, broken-side-down. That was not my favorite. But what was? Jon knowing me and knowing how to take care of me in that situation — that all I wanted was to be distracted from what had just happened. It feels good to be known.
  • I also worked this week on a wonderful “secret project” — I wrote a 500-word vignette about my perspective on getting pregnant with Viv as a surprise, and how that experience has ended up changing my life and my career in amazing ways that I’d never imagined. But it won’t be published for a few months! So for now, we’ll be patient.

Artwork by Jessie Breakwell via Fenton&Fenton, the ethically sourced retailer who inspired Gabby’s Design Mom post on Wednesday. 

January 29th, 2013

The results are in: My scarf design will be produced soon by FashionABLE!

Sometimes it’s incredible how things come together.

Five years ago, I started this blog, promoting brands that respect people and the environment.

Two years ago, I wrote a post about FashionABLE, a for-benefit company that sells scarves woven by women in Africa.

Also two years ago I first attended Alt, a mind-blowingly fantastic blogging conference in Salt Lake City, which opened my eyes to a world of opportunity. Several months ago I was asked to speak at this year’s conference.

A month ago, I was excited to see FashionABLE (in partnership with ONE) hosting a scarf design contest for Alt. So I knew I had to submit a few designs…

And last Friday, I WON!

That’s me with my winning scarf above. Isn’t it beautiful?

This is SO incredibly special to me. I am humbled.

FashionABLE is a for-benefit company hero of mine, and Alt Summit is a conference of 600 of the best-of-the-best blogger heroes of mine. FashionABLE prototyped the best designs they’d received, woven by their team in Africa, and Alt asked everyone at the conference to vote for their favorite of four top designs. I had no idea in advance that mine would even be included.

My scarf design will come out for Mother’s Day in May. (Extra special that I’m a mother myself now, too.) With every scarf sold, FashionABLE is able to create sustainable business for women in Africa.

To Barrett from FashionABLE, Jeannine from ONE, Gabby from Design Mom, everyone at Alt… THANK YOU!

Keep reading →

January 21st, 2013

I’m speaking at Alt

On a panel called “Blog to Shop,” Thursday at 2:30 p.m.!

December 11th, 2012

Come see me at Renegade Craft Fair this weekend in SF!

Hooray, I’m selling at my first-ever Renegade this Saturday + Sunday!

250+ of the country’s best handcrafters in one spot. I LOVE this show. (I haven’t missed a single one, summer or holiday, since my first time in 2010!)

Earlier this year, I wouldn’t have even imagined that I’d be selling at RENEGADE. I started brewing the idea for Fashion Loves Babies in August, and getting accepted into this show the month after was my catalyst for launching it (rather than waiting a few months… or not at all!). And it’s been a blast, of course! So thanks, Renegade!

My booth is front and center. (!) Veer left once you enter the front doors for a big hug and some sweet baby gifts.

I’ll have Renegade exclusives that aren’t in the online shop, yay! (If you can’t make it, watch my Instagrams!)

November 25th, 2012

Introducing Fashion Loves Babies!

FREE SHIPPING from now through Monday!

I’m so excited to be announcing my favorite project ever! Since my daughter Vivian was born a year ago, I’ve gone out of my way to find baby products that make both me and her happy. So I’ve brought my favorites together in my own pop-up shop, of ethically made, well-priced baby goods that fit your style.

Everything here I owned myself first and loved and can vouch for its quality. Some I’ve made myself.

I hope you love this pop-up as much as I do! It would mean the world to me if you’d share it on your blogs, Tweet it, Pin it, Like it and generally tell everyone you know about it.

SHOP NOW

November 23rd, 2012

Everlane on Black Friday

October 9th, 2012

The Summer Uniform

Some friends of ours bought an incredible house in Sonoma earlier this summer, and we’ve made it out of the city to visit a few times. The last time, I dressed me and Viv in matching chambray!!

I’m wearing Thread & Crescent’s Summer Uniform, an absolutely beautiful two-piece dress. (I’m not the midriff-bearing type, but it actually doesn’t matter in this.) It’s perfectly classic, like it’s straight out of the Forties, and I hope I can wear it forever.

Now, the Summer Uniform is on sale now for $75! Much, much less than the $160 I paid for it. It’s in both chambray and an airy white. The size medium is perfect for me.

Tell the lovely Mitzi at Thread & Crescent I sent you.

September 19th, 2012

This Saturday! Score Pop-up Swap in SF

This Saturday afternoon at The Bold Italic HQ, trade in your old records, shoes and accessories for new (to you) ones! It’s the first West Coast edition of Jenny Gottstein’s awesome curated swap / party / fundraiser, Score. You get to choose whether your $5 ticket benefits non-profits Surfrider, 826 Valencia or Dress for Success.

Get your tickets here before they sell out: http://scoreswapsf.eventbrite.com

WHAT TO BRING:

  • Shoes
  • Vinyl Records
  • Bags
  • Jewelry
  • Scarves
  • Cufflinks / Ties
  • Sunglasses

WHAT NOT TO BRING:

  • Clothes / Books / Housewares (normally they swap everything, but for the first SF event, they’re keeping things small)
  • Dirty or Broken Items
  • Your roommate’s stuff. Not cool.

I’ll be contributing mostly vintage goodies, which will be all set up when you get there. (Because I’m a Style Partner! It’s official.)

Hope to see you!

Score! Pop-up Swap: SF Edition
1–4 p.m.
September 22
Bold Italic HQ, 34 Page Street (between Gough and Franklin)

September 6th, 2012

“The Creative Entrepreneur’s Guide to Building a Brand”

Next Wednesday in SF, I’ll be teaching a Skillshare class for creative entrepreneurs who are looking for guidance on creating a brand people love. The class sold out yesterday morning, but I just opened four more spots.

I’ve taken two Skillshare classes recently and LOVED them! One night I learned how to make great videos, and one night I learned how to use my DSLR’s manual settings. Those Skillshare folks are onto something.

September 2nd, 2012

Seattle + Vancouver

Last month, Jon keynoted at a conference in Seattle, so I got my first visit to the Pacific Northwest. Now, I could see us living there someday. Here’s my highlight reel from the trip, mostly from shopping at independent shops — my favorite way to get to know a city.

In Seattle…

{far4} was one of the most beautiful and interesting shops I’ve ever seen. Run by brother and sister Jenny and Yuri, full of objets d’art that are worth writing home about. I got this sculptural necklace by Seattle’s Ladies & Gentlemen.

 

Seattle Art Museum Store was wonderfully curated and surprisingly well-priced. I got Viv this stuffed bunny, made in Ghana by Dsenyo, for $22.

 

The owner at the brand-new Revolver Vintage in Ballard had red snooker balls sitting on top of vases all over the shop. I love that they can seemingly turn a piece into an altogether different vessel. The two I bought look perfect on a vase and a candlestick in my bookcase.

 

At The Globe Bookstore, I found beautiful early editions of Charlotte’s Web, The Story of Babar and The Unhappy Rabbit.

 

We were turned on to Skillet Diner’s bacon jam burger by my friend Emily. Best burger ever, hands down. (And I’m not a burger person.) And Canadian poutine!

 

In Vancouver…

I saw these Padraig booties at Rowan Sky and knew immediately Viv was getting a pair. They’re made by hand in North Vancouver.

 

What a treat to stumble upon The Found & the Freed’s latest pop-up. An absolutely beautifully curated collection of found treasures.

 

Hi, Danielle! It was so good to meet up with The Jealous Curator and her lovely family for dinner on Granville Island.

April 17th, 2012

Threadflip: The newest, sexiest way to shop each other’s closets

Consignment and clothing swap apps have been getting so good lately!

Threadflip just launched today, and it’s the best-looking web app I’ve seen yet for shopping people’s closets. (Poshmark still wins for mobile!) It makes it easy to buy and sell clothes and accessories you’re not using anymore.

A few highlights…

  • End-to-end shipping solution: As soon as your item sells, you receive a prepaid shipping care package, including an addressed pre-paid shipping label and wrapping materials.
  • White-glove service: If needed, send your stuff in and they’ll photograph, price and merchandise for you.
  • Every time you use the site, it understands more about who you are and what you like so your experience becomes more curated.
I’m a sucker for their branding and marketing — do you recognize the Hallmark typeface? And my friend Laura from On the Racks, who modeled the last round of FLP tees!
I plan to post some pieces from the back of my closet soon. Let me know if you join too!

February 16th, 2012

Market Publique for Brooklyn Charm

Already! I ordered these bracelets last week as soon as I heard about the new Market Publique for Brooklyn Charm collaboration, available for a limited time on Market Publique. About 30 excellent bracelets and necklaces are available, intended for layering, designed by Market Publique founder Pamela Castillo from BK Charm‘s selection of natural, vintage and dead stock charms, stones and chains. Prices are super affordable at $25–$100 per piece.

I got the Gucci Link Bracelet and the Personalized ID Tag Bracelet — which I had customized with my baby’s middle name. The listings said they could be sized to fit, so I got out my measuring tape and ordered them at 6.75″ to make sure they’d fall exactly where I wanted. They’re perfect.