Pinky Laing, Electroluminescent Jacket Designer

Who are you Pinky?

I am half English and half Bajan and grew up in England, in the countryside.

As a child I always wanted to organize everything and loved making things. I built doll’s houses, tree houses, made clothes…and everything had to be tidy!

I quit university (to my father’s horror) after 9 very long days and moved to London. I had big plans to conquer the world back then! In my 20s I worked in events planning and interior design. Then I lived and worked in New York for 2 years organising events for a large venue. When I came back to the UK in 2002 I worked for a PR company before setting up my own events company called Pink Tash Events. My great friend Tash and I had great fun throwing all sorts of events for all sorts of people. One of our more memorable events was the BBC Christmas party—sadly he made one too many jokes about the boss, but it all turned out well luckily!

© Marco Walker

Last year you launched a customized military jacket collection, how did you come up with the idea?

My father was an officer and I always loved his uniforms. I would often scour vintage shops looking for amazing old, but in good condition, jackets and uniforms. Then I would re-line and customize them. I started sewing flashing wire on jackets after my first visit to Burning Man, where EVERYTHING and everyone was ‘lit up’! I am obsessed with light installations and lighting. I decided to design my own jackets for the first time last year, as didn’t have the time to keep searching through vintage shops up and down the country. This line is the perfect creative outlet for me, as it combines my love for design, for fabrics and lights, and for making costumes.

Tell us a bit more about your creation process…

An East London factory makes my jackets, my fabrics come from a supplier in Lancashire, and my braiding and buttons all are over 50 years old and come from an old warehouse off Bethnal Green Road that specializes in haberdashery. They have a finite amount of braiding, so once that it all runs out I will have to find some more from somewhere else!

You also create bespoke pieces, how to get one of these and how long does it take to create?

To have a bespoke jacket made, you can either come to my studio or order online by contacting me. Each jacket takes approximately 3 weeks to make on order.

If you had to design a line for a famous brand or designer, which one or whom would you like it to be?

I would love to work with Nicolas Ghesquière at Balanciaga –he is amazing!

Which celebrities would you be honoured to see wear your creations?

My dream has always been to have Scissors Sisters wear my jackets on stage and I would love to make a special version for Florence Welsh (of Florence and the Machine) with white lighting all over it. 

You are based in London: what is your favourite place in the city?

As I have two mini Dachshunds I spend a lot of time in Hyde Park! I also love being outside so I guess Hyde Park is my definite favourite place.

A favourite restaurant?  

My favourite restaurant has to be my own little pop-up place called Maison Du Chien in the attic of Bumpkin in Notting Hill—you can have dinner followed by cabaret and then dancing, every winter for 3 nights a week.

A favourite bar / club?

The bar at Maison Du Chien—because I actually physically built it, covered it in fabric and painted it! Also the Fumoir Bar at Claridge’s. 

A favourite shop?  

I collect butterflies so I love antique shops with preserved butterflies like Les Couilles Du Chien on Goldborne Road, as well as the De Gournay wallpaper shop on the Kings Road. For food shopping I always try to support local farmers markets, but sometimes I can’t help nipping into Tesco metro! 

Any secret place?

I am involved in the creation of a brand new secret place in St James’s…I can’t tell you what exactly yet! Trust me, it’s going to be epic.

If you could live anywhere else, where would it be?

Argentina.

Why?

I love las pampas, galloping on wild horses, good weather and hombres!

What’s next? Any project?

I am working on a design project, a new secret place and new pieces for my collection—trousers and tailcoats.

http://www.pinkylaing.com

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Aurelia Stouls, Designer of STOULS

Who are you Aurélia?

I am from the Left Bank in Paris, from a family with a good sense of style who gave me a taste for aesthetics and an understanding of ​​the beautiful and the casual. I studied at a couple fashion schools and that led me to working for 15 years in shoe design for companies such as Carel, Kélian and Heschung.

You launched Stouls in the summer of 2004; its concept is quite unique. How did you decide to design a line of washable leather clothes? 

I wanted to create a capsule collection of T-shirts similar to the Petit Bateau ones, only in leather. That idea led me to the ‘machine-washable’ concept—a good way to avoid rushing to the dry-cleaner every time you wear leather!

The brand evolved thereafter, season after season: I wanted people to wear leather like cashmere and live in it like in jeans, to consider leather like a second skin, an extension of oneself whatever one’s movements. I wanted to create garments allowing mobility and dynamism, that were both casual and extremely chic.

Your website features 16 ‘Stouls Women’ wearing your Fall/Winter collection. Tell us about them, who are they? What do they represent?

They are friends: women who feel beautiful, confident and glamorous wearing my creations. They are from different generations and have different styles. There is an artist, a rider, a curator, an art director, an art student, a journalist, a designer, a muse, a jewellery designer, a mother, a wife…all beautiful women. What they have in common: each one of them is feminine, unique, beautiful and friendly.

Do you think leather could become the ‘new’ jersey, ideal for a casual-chic look?

Absolutely! Leather has become in the recent seasons both a must-have and a basic. I think it is more than a fashion trend. How it is worn has evolved with technology and the various treatments of leather.

What is your definition of elegance?

Ah-ah, that’s quite a topic!

Elegance is something innate—one can’t just learn it. When it comes to clothes, always best to choose what we feel good and comfortable in. This applies to a sexy skirt, baggy jeans, a silk blouse…it all depends on our mood—and mood swings!

For me real bad taste is when the clothes don’t match the mood. Elegance is also the confidence one has in one’s clothes.

If you had to design a line for a famous brand, which one would you like it to be?

Hermes or Bottega Venetta. A brand related to leather, of course!

Which celebrities would you be honoured to see wear your creations?

Julianne Moore, Charlotte Gainsbourg and Jane Birkin… Inès de la Fressange already wears Stouls! Only elegant women if possible…I find the ‘it girls’ phenomenon annoying, I prefer real women.

You are based in Paris: what is your favourite place in the city?

It really depends on what time of day it is. It is either my bed or the Musée d’Orsay (I really like the XIX century); I also like having a drink on the terrace at La Palette and a stroll on the Avenue de l’Observatoire.

A favorite restaurant?

Currently, Racines (Passage du Panorama): very small, organic and delicious. Also Kunitoraya (rue Villedo), a sophisticated Japanese in a former bistro. 

A favorite bar / club?

The Silencio, a new beautiful place created by David Lynch. Go quickly before it’s too fashionable!

A shop favorite?

My ‘madeleine de Proust’, a childhood place, is Le Bon Marché. There you can find marshmallows of all colours and Michel Vivien shoes; olive oil and Martin Margiela clothes; books, men’s socks and Korres products—all of that in a ‘Breakfast at Tiffany’s’ atmosphere.

Each purchase feels like a pure luxury, even if it is only an eraser! 

Any secret place?

Secret!

If you could live anywhere else, where would it be?

In my dreams of great idleness, I would live on a Greek island wearing Rondini  flip-flops and pareos. Otherwise in Beirut (the ‘New York’ of the Middle East) where creativity is free from the constraints of Franco-French mentality. And the food there is so good…

Why?

I love the atmosphere of Mediterranean countries unconditionally. There’s nothing better!

What’s next?

No idleness…

Any project?

I plan to open a Stouls shop in Paris, to find an assistant so I can breathe a little, and to go draw my next collection in Jaipur. Wishful thinking!

Check out Aurelia’s website http://www.stouls.net 
Click here to find a retail store near you!
 
 
 
 
 
 

Magali Pont, Jewelry Designer

Who are you Magali?  

I was born in Marseille 33 years ago but Paris has adopted me for a long time now—I’m a real Parisian child! I studied history and archaeology and started working in fashion early on with jobs in design, production and journalism.

You worked for a ready-to-wear brand before starting your own business. Why did you decide to launch a jewelry line?

In 1994, I met someone who changed my life, Laetitia Ivanez. The Prairies de Paris designer, she chose me to be her égérie, her muse, for 10 years. I grew up with her, and after a while, she offered me to design the jewelry collection for her brand. I am self-taught and began to learn my future job by watching the know-how of French craftsmen. Little by little I gained in confidence and decided that is was time to launch my own brand because my style was very different from that of Laetitia. She was supportive and encouraged me to embark on this adventure.

Why did you call your brand AIME?

The second person who changed my life is my partner, Hadrien Bernard. We meet in 2000 and are associates in my company, so it was obvious that we had to name it AIME (LOVE in French!).

Where is your studio? Is everything hand-made there?

My studio is in the middle of Paris near the Louvre Museum, rue Jean-Jacques Rousseau—above the Louboutin shop! All our garments and accessories are hand-made in Paris by the best handicraft specialists who work for French luxury brands.

If you had to design a line for a famous brand, which one would you like it to be?

Hermès. The company has got the best materials and the best workers in the world at its disposal. It would be my dream to have such favourable working conditions.

Which celebrities would you be honoured to see wear your creations?

We are already lucky enough to have Ayo, Eva Mendes, Uffie, Julie Gayet and Louise Bourgoin wearing our creations.

You are based in Paris: what is your favourite place in the city, or favourite thing to do?

My brand is very romantic and all the Paris gardens, its little squares (Place de Furstenberg, Place Dauphine…) and streets offer great spots to watch people living and to find inspiration…

A favourite restaurant? 

My favourite restaurants are the famous Pierre Gagnaire for the gustative experience, and the more accessible Anahi (49 rue Volta, 3rd) for its authenticity.

A favourite bar/club?

Right now my favourite bar is the Silencio!

A favourite shop?

For furniture: Astier de Villate (173 rue Saint Honore, 1st)

For clothes: Les Prairies de Paris (23 rue de Debelleyme, 3rd)

For colours & art supplies: Magasin Sennelier (3 quai Voltaire, 6th)

For flowers: Vertumne (1 rue de la Sourdière, 1st)

You have a baby, what is your favourite children clothes shop in Paris? Do you have a secret place?

I like to go by Petit Pan where you can find a lot a cute presents for kids, and also to Bonton and Zef. My secret place for children is La Cité des Sciences, a science museum in the Parc de la Villette!

If you could live anywhere else, where would you live?

We would like live in Tokyo for a year.

Why?

Mainly because we do a lot of business in Japan!

What’s next, any project?

A shop, I have already found the location but it is a secret for the moment. I hope it is going to work out!

 
 
Check out and shop Magali’s collection on http://www.aime-bijoux.fr/

Clemmie Myers, Vintage Detective

Who are you Clemmie?

I am Clemmie Myers 30 and I live in London. I describe myself as The Vintage Detective – but that loosly describes what I do which is source fabulous one off vintage pieces and unusual statement garments from around the world for people who have an individual sense of style and want something a bit different in their wardrobe.

Why did you decide to sell vintage clothes? Where is that passion coming from ?

I grew up with a Mother who was very expirimental with dressing. She always encouraged me to be an individual and to appreciate the beauty and history of well made garments. We had a huge dressing up box in what is best described as a cave under the stairs and I spent a lot of time there. In fact in old pictures of me as a child I seem to have spent a lot of time in dressing up clothes, turbans, Spanish flamenco dresses (my grand mother lived in Spain for 15 years and would send them over….a bigger one every year) When I was 11 I bought my first vintage piece. An Early 1970’s Brown sheepskin coat from a shop in Oxford on a school outing. Whilst everyone else was browsing in the highstreet I slipped off and found a shop in a backstreet called Unicorn. Well I say it was a shop…it was more like a room with hundreds of clothes piled on top of each other and a rather eccentric lady sitting on a chair in the middle of the pile. I felt compelled to go in and once in, I found the experience magical. The clothes were old and seemed to be simply things this lady liked. I saw the sleeve of the coat poking out at the back and asked her if I could see it. She rather begrudgingly got it out for me and I tried it on and I said id like it. I cant remember how much it was but it was worth every penny. I left with it on and wore it pretty much every day for 5 years. To put it in perspective……It is still a little big for me today so you can imagine how silly it looked when I was 11! But I remember the smell of the shop and the weight of the coat and the sense of history, that someone had owned it before me, that it had had its own life and that one day someone would own it after me. I was intoxicated by this idea that clothes could have a life of their own. I loved the idea of discovering something that someone else had discovered and making it my own. Something that I had chosen and that later would be chosen by someone else. Something that had hopefully been to wild festivals or magical underground gigs. Had belonged to a writer or a musician or a young girl with hopes and dreams like I had, a person that had seen things I hadn’t seen. That first experience has never left me.

How do you source clothes?

I am always on the look out. If I go on a weekend away to a new place ill go thrifting. I was in Devon recently and found some gems in Totnes. I go to New York 3 or 4 times a year, I’m going to Paris later this year. People sell to me directly which I love because they can always tell me the story behind the piece which I can pass on to the person who buys it. I also do the vintage fairs on Sundays. Every now and then I find a wonderful piece in a vintage shop or high end charity shop. I recently found an East West Musical Instruments Co Navajo Jacket with beading and fringing in a charity shop in Worlds End. When I went home to research it, the cheapest one online was $2,000! I have emailed the biggest collector of the jackets in the states and given him the neatly stitched serial number. He will be able to tell who bought it originally as he has the archive list. I am hoping it is someone fabulous. They infamously dressed Janis Joplin, Led Zeppelin and even Elvis!

You sell from home on appointments only or do you also sell in retail stores?

Yes I do appointments at home night and day and 4/5 times a year I do a 3 day sale. I share the space with my boyfriend who is a musician so it’s a hub of creativity, lots of amps, guitars, dresses, hats and coats hanging everywhere! I keep on saying I’ll get some neatly laid out salon type studio in Holland Park, but my clients are like “no please don’t, we love the chaos and the music and the pieces that appear from nowhere”. I have been approached by a couple of Boutiques to be stocked under my own label so watch this space as I think it is just about time to take the leap. I also do top to toe styling/sourcing for special events and parties. I once kitted out a family of 6 women for a 1920’s party and I’ve done some presenting for 1TV 2.

Do you have a specialty?

No. To be honest I love what I love and I usually just get a gut feeling about something. I have a Victorian cloak in at the moment but I also have a Bruce Oldfield lady in red long satin evening coat from the 90’s. If it’s a piece that works in my collection and reflects my eye I’ll choose it. I do have a lot of 70’s and 80’s pieces but many of the 80’s pieces I have reworked shorter or remove shoulder pads etc. I like to breathe new life into pieces within reason, but if I can keep them as they are I do. I always make sure my pieces are in excellent condition.

What is the most precious piece you’ve sold or that you still have?

I have a couple of prototypes. I get very overexcited by prototypes, I have one by Paco Rabanne from the early 90’s and a Zandra Rhodes from the 80’s. Most of the pieces I sell I find hard to say goodbye to. I Could write a whole list!

Who are your favorite designers, why?

The cut of YSL, the colours and quirk of Zandra Rhodes and the punk of Vivienne Westwood. But there are so many designers that I love and admire many of whom are relatively unknown.

Who would you most like to come for an appointment?

Give me an hour with Lady Gaga, that would make my year. What I love about Gaga is that not everything she wears is necessarily outrageous, it’s just she puts it together in such a thoughtful way and everything is considered from the hair to the nails to the gloves and accessories. You can tell that she finds a piece that she loves and creates a story from that piece, she then becomes a walking piece of art. I’d love for one of her stories to start with a piece that I have chosen.

What is your favorite trend for Autumn/ Winter?

I’m really into Steampunk at the moment. Lace, leather, Velvet in black. Every vintage queen should have a hint of the elegant dominatrix about her this season.

You are based in London, what is your favorite place or thing to do in the city?

My favourite thing to do is shop for Vintage….I know that might be a bit sad as it’s my job but it’s the truth! Otherwise I love finding a quiet café somewhere to sit and write (I’m on my third play and have been writing poetry since I was little). I make frequent trips to the Royal Court their new writing is always inspiring. Last minute gigs or fringe plays always result in meeting new and interesting people.

A favorite restaurant?

Rules is a special place for my boyfriend and I. It is the most beautiful old school restaurant in Covent Garden.

A favorite bar?

I am still searching for the perfect Cocktail bar. To be honest anywhere that does a Lychee Martini and I’m happy!

If you could live anywhere else, where would you live?

New York City !!!!

Why?

There is no reason not to live in New York. It is vibrant, eclectic and every day you wake up knowing that anything can happen. It is the city of limitless possibility. It is where I got inspired to open Lime Green Bow. I went to New York for three weeks and came back with 3 suitcases, a maxed out overdraft and opened Lime Green Bow a month later.

What’s next? Any project?

At some point a studio in Holland Park or Notting Hill and I’m sure you will see a selection of my pieces in a boutique in the not too distant future. Appointments continue as usual from St Helens Gardens W10 6LN.

 
 
 
 
 
Clemmie is having a 3 day sale  from Monday October 24th to the Wednesday the 26th.
 
When:   12pm-8.30pm
Where:  59A St Helens Gardens, W10 6LN (Corner of St Helens and Kelfield Gardens, 5 mins from Ladbroke Grove tube) Look out for the black door and lime green ribbon. 
What:  Beautiful, quirky and unusual statement vintage pieces for the expirimental vintage queen, the designer junkie and the conservative magpie. Halloween outfits for fashionistas.
 
For a private appointment give her a call on 07798602782


Hattie Rickards, Jewelry Designer

Who are you Hattie? 

I am British and at the ripe age of 28!  I am a jewelry designer and launched Hattie Rickards Jewelry in November 2010.  HRJ is a British designed and made luxury brand with a focus on sophisticated design and an ethical backbone.

We want to create beautiful and desirable pieces of refined jewelry that tell a story for or about the wearer.   We also look to cater to a growing client base who wants to know that the rings that adorn their fingers are ethically and responsibly produced.

How did you decide to design jewelry and when was “Revealed”, your first collection born?

I’ve always loved jewelry but it wasn’t until my foundation course at Wimbledon Art College and my BA Jewelry Design and Making degree at Central Saint Martins in London that I decided to make a career in the industry.

We took our inspiration for the launch collection ‘Revealed’, introduced in January, from movement. The twelve rings that comprise the collection allude to as well as inspire this movement theme using kinetic assemblies and rough uncut stones as well as vibrant precious stones.  It is currently exclusively stocked at Dover Street Market in London.  The entire Revealed collection is handmade here in the UK out of 18ct Fairtrade Fairmined Ecological certified gold and a variety of precious stones. The clients may personalise their own piece by choosing the own colour-way of stones and metal.

One of your main piece is inspired by a ruby cube, it’s a great ring, tell us about it.

The Rubix is my signature piece which has been a huge success!  I wanted to create a ring that did something, something that one can play with, distract you, something that was different.  Men love the Rubix because they appreciate the concept of a piece of jewelry having a function.

                                                                     You are about to launch “Geo”, your second collection, what was your inspiration?

It’s SO exciting it will be launched in November!

It is a range of necklaces, rings and bracelets – all handmade out of 18ct Fairtrade and Fairmined ecological gold and precious stones.

The inspiration for the collection is ‘connection’; the idea of many becoming one.   Visions of puzzles, tessellating shapes, combining geometrical structures and vibrant stones.

You are also working with MADE, a fair-trade accessories brand based in Kenya, can you give us more details about this collaboration? 

My collaboration with MADE required a very different approach to that of HRJ.   I arrived at the workshops outside Nairobi with a few potential designs in my sketchbook, only to be told my brief was to design 70 pieces in ten days!  Initially I was thrown, but after a couple of hours of absorbing the creative atmosphere, witnessing the incredible speed of production and the hard-working enthusiastic team, I embraced the challenge.  It was a very different time scale to the HRJ luxury brand where I design one annual collection.  MADE, in comparison, produces thousands of pieces of jewelry a year from recycled brass.  I have just completed designing my second collection for them which will be in the shops in Spring 2012.

Ideally, if you had to design a line for a famous designer, which one would it be?

I have always admired the work of Matthew Williamson and would the relish the opportunity of working on a collaboration with them. 

Which celebrities would you be flattered to see wear your designs? 

Livia Firth wore the Bullet Ring to The London Film Critic Awards in February. (click here to see the photo)

Vanity Fair asked Poppy Delevigne what her favourite piece of jewelry was and she replied “My Rubix Ring by Hattie Rickards”.

You are based in London, what is your favorite place in the city?

I am based in Gloucestershire but my studio is in London where I am three days a week. During the weekends I love to walk my favorite markets absorbing all the colours, noises and smells.  Starting off at London Fields, walking through Broadway Market  and grabbing my favorite fajita feast from Toma Mexicano … mmm… YUM!  Along the Canal then down to Columbia road in perfect time find all the salesmen eager to shift their last flowers so all going dirt cheap!  I get so carried away!

A favorite restaurant?

Mildreds in SoHo

A favorite bar?

The Experimental Cocktail Club hidden away in Chinatown.

A favorite shop? 

Millau. They have a stall under the Westway at Portobello.

If you could live anywhere else, where would it be?

In the hills of Spain, Andalucia for a warm, peaceful life but still not too far away from the UK!

What’s next? Any project?

I want to go to the mines in Colombia where I source my Fairtrade Fairmined Ecological Gold from.  I want to meet the miners that extract the gold that I use and to achieve first hand experiences.   It is important that I can pass these experiences on to my clients so that they learn the importance of using ethically and environmentally sound materials for their jewellery.

All the pieces shown in this interview apart from the Rubix ring are part of Hattie’s upcoming collection “GEO”.

 
Click here to access Hattie’s website.
To see her collaboration with MADE, click here
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Laure Pariente, Artistic Director of American Retro and Zoetee’s

Who are you Laure?

I am a 32 years old Parisian and I am the artistic director of AMERICAN RETRO and ZOETEE’S.

I studied international business, which has nothing to do with fashion- but I knew that I wanted to be independent and to have my own business one day.

I have always worked in the fashion industry. Before creating my own brand, I was a sales associate in a multibrand shop. After that, my husband, his older brother and I decided to launch our label.

You created American Retro in 2002, tell us about this adventure.

Just after school David, my husband, and I had the opportunity to distribute Joe’s Jeans from Los Angeles, so we decided to drop our jobs and start our own business with Gregory, my brother in law. Over the summer, we went to India to meet a supplier and from there we started AMERICAN RETRO. It was a line of cotton voile dresses, blouses, and cargo pants. It was a huge success at the first “Who’s Next” show.

What about Zoetee’s?

The idea for Zoetee’s came to us in 2005. We realized that the t-shirt was something really different from any other garments and that it deserved to have an unique label … And I’m a big t-shirt lover!

Who is the typical American Retro girl?

The American Retro girl is a young independent woman. She likes clothes, she likes to play and to mix & match. She is a woman who enjoys herself and wants to have fun in life!

What was your inspiration for the FW 11 collection?

This collection was inspired by exotic animals such as panthers and leopards and by the Eighties gothic icon Elvira, handcrafted knits, different mixes of lace and velvet.

The overall look of this season lies between an urban metropolitan style with gothic elements and a luxurious, winterish party look!

According to you, who is the ultimate Parisian girl? 

The ultimate Parisian is stylish, but doesn’t take any risks. She likes vintage and she likes to be unique.

If you had to design a line for another famous brand, which one would it ideally be?

CHANEL

Which celebrities would you be flattered to see wear your designs?

Kate Moss or Kate Middleton

You are based in Paris; what is your favorite place in the city?

Le Marais, la Place des Vosges and le Palais Royal.

Your favorite restaurant?

Pizza Chic, best pizza in Paris.

Your favorite bar / club?

Le Montana in St. Germain

Your favorite shop? 

I love to have lunch at Rose Bakery.

For deco, Atelier 154 and Merci.

For the kids, Serendipity and Bonton.

For vintage: Kiliwatch and Hippie Market.

Any secret places you love?

There is this antique shop, D’Eva Pritsky, in the 20e district- during the day it is a shop and during the night it becomes a very cool bar where you can have a drink with artists friends…

If you could live anywhere else, where would it be?

New York City or Sao Paolo.

Why?

Because I love the energy of New York and I would love to have the experience of living there for few years.

I would live in Sao Paulo because I am simply in love with Brazil and I see my family and myself there later on in life.

What’s next? Any projects?

There are some new collaborations with artists, musicians, designers which I’m working on… but those I’m keeping secret for the moment!

www.americanretro.fr
www.zoetees.fr

Anndra Neen, Jewelry Designer

Who is behind Anndra Neen?

Annette and Phoebe Stephens:  We were both born in Mexico City.  We went to school in the US and have lived in New York ever since.  When it comes to Anndra Neen we do everything together both the design and the business side.

Why did you pick the name Anndra Neen?

It is a combination of both our middle names Alejandra and Annette.

 

We can’t say that your backgrounds are jewelry oriented, how did you decide to start a jewelry line?

We took a trip to Japan together and we were so inspired by their aesthetic and fashion sense that we decided we wanted to do something creative together.

Your grandmother, Annette Nancarrow, has had a great influence on your creativity, can you tell us a little about her? Is she the source of your inspiration?

Our grandmother was an artist, sculpture and jewelry designer in Mexico in the 30’s and 40’s who was part of the art movement of the time.  Her jewelry was all hand made and one of a kind. She has been a huge inspiration for us both in her attitude towards life and her creativity.  She was always adorned with big statement pieces.

 

 

All your pieces are unique. Are they all handmade in NYC?

We have a workshop in Mexico City and everything is handmade there.

 

Ideally, if you had to design a line for a famous brand , which one would it be?

Lanvin, Verdura, Buccellati.

Which celebrities would you be flattered to see wear your designs?

Michelle Obama, Jessica Alba, Anna Paquin, Drew Barrymore, Iris Apfel have all worn our pieces.  We also love Tilda Swinton, Daphne Guinness, Marion Cotillard, Kate Bosworth, Carey Mulligan, Eva Green, Mary Kate and Ashley Olson, Kirstin Scott Thomas Polly Mellen.

You are based in New York, what is your favorite place in the city?

Annette: Finding rare books at The Strand.

Phoebe: I love walking around aimlessly.

A favorite restaurant?

Annette: Little Owl

Phoebe: Kajitsu

A favorite bar / club?

Annette: Kenmare

Phoebe: Boom Boom Room

A favorite shop?

Annette: No. 6 Store, Atelier, Edit, The New World Order

Phoebe: Kirna Zabete, Shop Bop, Maryam Nassir Zadeh, Couture Lab, The New World Order.

Any secret place?

Annette: Little Branch Bar

Phoebe: There is a beautiful secret park on Hudson and Barrow

If you could live anywhere else, where would it be?

Annette: London

Phoebe: Paris

Why?

Annette: The street fashion, music. The city is forward thinking and alive.

Phoebe: The city is breathtaking and the fashion and food are amazing.

What’s next? Any project?

We are working on our new collection that we will showcase during fashion week in September with a surprise spectacular.

Anndra Neen pieces are available on CoutureLab and Shopbop.
For more information, visit their website anndraneen.com

Victoria Spruce, Shoe Designer

Who are you Victoria? 

I am a 25 year old British footwear designer based in London. I first studied at Cordwainers, London College of Fashion and now have just recently graduated from Royal College of Art. Now I’m out into the real world!!

How did you decide to design shoes?

I’ve always wanted to. It’s been my ambition for as long as I can remember! It wasn’t until I was finishing school that I found out there are degrees solely for footwear design… at which point I applied and was lucky enough to be accepted!

This is your first collection, where did you work before launching your own brand?

I am fresh out of college so this is my first step into trying to make my own collection. Before my second degree I worked for a high street footwear company as their head designer, which was a great experience, but too limiting on the creative side within that market bracket.

Your designs are architectural, sculptural and ultra sexy, where do you find your inspiration?

Funnily enough… my inspiration has always come from architecture and sculpture! I thinks that it’s amazing to take elements of something from a much larger size and scaling them down to the size of a shoe. I always kind of set out to design a collection of sculptures that just happen to be wearable at the same time!

If you had to design a line for a famous brand, who would it be?

I’m a big fan of the shoes they produce at Balenciaga… so I guess it would be there. I love the diversity of each footwear collection season by season and material mixes that they throw together always work and totally compliment the clothing collections on the catwalk.

Who is the shoe designer you admire the most and why?

I’m probably going to have to be quite predictable here and say Manolo Blahnik… I think his shoes are beautiful and timeless… and he will always be the pinnacle of footwear design for others to aspire to.

Which celebrities would you be flattered to see wear your designs?

Due to her current success in both the music and fashion world… I think I would have to say Lady Gaga! Whether you love her or hate her, I think it’s hard to deny the power and affect that she has over todays media. If she is wearing something today then everyone else is wearing something similar tomorrow!

You are based in London, what is your favorite place in the city?

During the summer months (when we are lucky enough to get summer weather) I love making a picnic and heading to one of London’s many parks with friends… when you are surrounded by such a bustling city everyday, its amazing that the parks can take you completely away from that feeling, and you can just relax, have a laugh and watch London’s diverse and quirky characters go by.

A favorite restaurant?

I love Mien Tay. It’s a small Vietnamese restaurant on Kingsland Road with amazing food! The best thing is that it’s nice and cheap too!

A favorite bar or club?

I’m not sure I really have one to be honest… it changes all the time, and a place can change depending on the crowd that are there at any one time…

I did however find a small bar the other day that you wouldn’t know was there otherwise… you go into a cafe and open a completely normal looking SMEG fridge… but instead of butter and milk inside, there is actually a staircase leading down to a dimly-lit cocktail bar! (The Mayor of Scary Cat Town)

A favorite shop?

I have a thing for art and stationery shops… I can spend hours inside them and end up walking out with all sorts of things that seem like a great idea to buy at the time but end up sitting on my desk unused…

If you could live anywhere else, where would it be?

Either Paris or New York… I could see myself fitting brilliantly into either and have made it my goal to live in both cities at some point in my life.

Why?

I love city living… and although I love London… I think that both Paris and New York have different vibes to them as well and I want to experience them for more than just a holiday trip!!

What’s next? Any project?

I am still at the very early stages… I am currently working on developing my samples through to production… I’m hunting for investors and trying to develop the materiality further so that they can be perfect when I am finally ready to sell them!

To find out more information about Victoria check http://www.victoriaspruce.com and her Facebook page

Helen Parker-Jayne Isibor: Singer, songwriter, composer and musician

Who are you Helen?

My name is Helen Parker-Jayne Isibor, a singer, songwriter, composer and musician. I am known as The Venus Bushfires. I play a number of African drums, percussive instruments and the Hang (pronounced hung).

I am about to turn 30 -which somehow I feel is important to say! I was born in Ibadan, Nigeria and moved to Benin City, Nigeria with my family soon after, where I spent 7 wonderful, magical years with the Nigerian sun. We moved to London, England when I was 7 years old, so I feel very much a proud daughter of both cultures. I’m one of 5 siblings so I come from a large family-and I’ve loved the sense of community that that my parent encouraged us to cultivate.

How did you become a musician /singer? Was it always a passion? 

My parents tell me that I always sang and as far as I can remember, I loved to make up songs and hit pots and pans. Now I am a singer and get to play everyday. I can’t tell you how happy and grateful I am that it’s working out because I can’t imagine myself doing anything else. In school I would enroll in any kind of creative class or after school club and try to turn it into a musical. Now when I think about it, it makes me laugh. It didn’t matter what kind of club or subject it was, P.E, debate, whatever, I would always find a way.

You are playing this great, sophisticated and unusual instrument, the Hang, can you tell us a little more about it?

I am completely and unreservedly in love with my instrument, it is a Swiss-made instrument. I’ve had my little hang baby for about 3 years now and it’s the instrument that actually changed my life. I first heard it in Ibiza just walking around the Old Town over 3 years ago. There was a girl playing it and I had never heard a sound like this in my life. This UFO shaped percussive/melodic metal object emanated a cornucopia of harmonic heavenly resonance. I felt like my soul jumped out to embrace me and then settled peacefully. I felt an overwhelming sense of joy in abundance. I knew that this sound would be a part of my life and now it is. This is one of the rarest instruments I have ever come across- and they are not easy to come across- so I am very grateful to have one. My hang is a part of me. I feel that in many ways it is the gateway to my salvation. When I play it I can do anything, be anything. This is how it feels. It helps me maintain an open and optimistic spirit.

I saw you performing, you have a very powerful aura, is spirituality important to you?

Thank you very much. Yes, spirituality is very important to me. I was brought up as a Catholic and went to an all girls’ convent school. Although religion and spirituality are often linked, they are separate things to me. Spirituality is to me the connection you have with yourself, others and the entire universe, your awareness and desire to fully explore and experience on all levels, planes and dimensions available. The desire and ability to discover in the purest sense is spirituality to me. I have chosen to use music as my vehicle in this exploration, the lingua franca, international passport accepted and welcomed at all borders.

Do you perform a lot? Where can we usually see you?

I perform a lot. I perform live commissions as well studio sessions. In the past I have explored my music in impromptu and unusual spaces such as disused buildings and under bridges. I was experimenting with the experiential. So every time I would perform the piece would be altered to some extent.

What was your most memorable experience singing?

I performed live with the hang on a national breakfast show in Nigeria about 2 years ago and it was a poignant moment for me because that was where the dream began. I felt like the prodigal daughter being welcomed back home. It was wonderful; I will remember that feeling for the rest of my life.

You are based in London, what is your favorite place in the city or thing to do?

I live in Goodmayes, on the outskirts of London and I’m always in London. Most of my performances or recording sessions in the UK are in London so I’m dancing around the city with my hang most days. I love London generally and my favorite place is the East End. When my family and I moved there in the late 80’s, we lived in Hackney and I have never stayed away from E1, E2, E5, N1, N8 and EC1 postcodes for too long. To me, this is the creative hub of the city. I can walk on any street here and just walk up to someone and say, “wanna jam”? Usually they say “yes”! I love that about these areas. People are very open, ready for anything and willing to participate creatively.

A favorite restaurant?

I tend to favor home cooking, but when I get a craving for a green tea dessert no one does it better than Franze and Evans on Redchurch Street in Shoreditch, London.

A favorite bar or club?

Ha ha there are too many bars/clubs to mention!

A favorite shop? 

I love the Fashion Exchange on Bricklane. I bought a vintage a gold woven Vivienne Westwood headpiece from this store. The previous owner must have been a powerful woman. For sure there is some kind of energy exchange when I wear it. Whoever you are, thank you for the gift.

If you could live anywhere else, where would it be?

Right now I think I am where I am supposed to be. I wouldn’t moved but right now I would travel anywhere in the world to see Pantha du Prince live.

What’s next? Any projects?

I don’t think I’ve ever been as busy as I am right now and I am very thankful for this. Recently, I had live performances in Ibiza and at the Lovebox festival in London. I’m currently working on an EP that I hope is ready by the end of the summer. It’s been such a wonderful experience. I’m experimenting with the Edo language, English and pidgin (West African). I am also exploring the hang with minimal electronic music. In the last few months I’ve been in the studio writing and recording songs for a new Play Station 3 game called Okabu. I feel very blessed. It’s a good time.

For further information on the lovely Helen, please check the links below
http://thevenusbushfires.tumblr.com/
http://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Venus-Bushfires/118956831459088

Bex Rox, Jewelry Designer

Who are you Bex?

I’m Bex Manners and I am a 30 years old.  I grew up on the island of Menorca.  I started my label BEX ROX in 2006 after working as a fashion stylist in New York.

How did you decide to design jewelry?

When I was a fashion stylist, I used to make pieces for shoots all the time. People on the streets would constantly ask me where they were from, they even bought the pieces straight from my neck… That’s how BEX ROX was born.

Can you tell us about Ski Safari, your animal-inspired F/W 11 collection?

Ski Safari was inspired by the Big 5 african animals in combination elements from the art deco period.  I have always adored art deco and I have always incorperated animal elements into my pieces.

Later in the season you will be offering a limited edition piece for the Tusk Trust Charity, can you give us more details on this project?

The Tusk Project started when my brother decided to train to cycle across Africa for TUSK- a charity that focuses on wildlife conservation and community development.  To support my brother, and to tie it in with my Ski Safari collection, I designed the Mini Elephant Collection all with blue tusks- the colour of Life Cycle Africa. I also launched the 4GB USB on multi coloured cord necklaces which hold all the information on the charity along with a 20% discount online.

Which celebrities would you be flattered to see wear your designs?

Alexa Chung, Jessie J, Danni Minogue are some of the celebrities who are already wearing my pieces.

You are based in London, what is your favorite place in the city?

I must say, I do love London for being so eclectic.  I love the parks, the markets, the underground galleries, if only the weather was always bright!

A favorite restaurant?

I love Bar Shu for its sichuan food!

A favorite bar?

Downstairs at Hix is always great for a pre dinner cocktail!

A favorite shop?

I collect vintage- so Portobello Road on a Friday morning is brilliant.

If you could live anywhere else, where would it be?

I would live in Paris

Why?

It’s chic, refined, the food is amazing and you can walk everywhere

What’s next? Any project?

I am just starting a couple of very exciting collaborations which I can’t disclose yet… but they will be launching in SS12!

Check out and shop Bex Rox collections on her website 
Click here to find retailers worldwide.