September 1, 2014

Hungry for Vintage? Talk to Nickie.

I tend to spend some of my free time browsing Etsy stores. I don’t always look for something to buy, I just like to see what other people find fashionable. It is really inspiring to see great collections of hand made, custom jewelry, one of the kind clothing. Nickie is a local Bay Area Vintage veteran who really knows her vintage stuff. I have featured Nickie’s beloved clogs before and this time I decided to sit down with her and chat. So if you are hungry for some vintage you should read this interview, visit her store and read her fashion blog.

1. When did you realize you had a passion for fashion?
When I was a little girl, my dad used to get me ready and drop me off at kinder garden. My mom would come pick me up and she would be horrified by the outfits he put me in. Plaid pants with floral shirts in completely clashing colors etc. So she decided to let me pick out my own clothes. I guess my awareness of fashion started then. My mom and I used to go to thrift shops and garage sales just for fun when I was in middle school and it was so fun to find cool stuff that no one else had. Growing up in the 80′s was great because there was a lot going on in fashion then, but also in music. Music and fashion really goes hand-in-hand for me and my style has evolved as my taste in music has evolved. So, to answer the question, I guess the interest has always been there.

2. Your store on Etsy carries mostly Vintage pieces. Would you say that Vintage is your true love?
I do love vintage and I love the thrill of the hunt. I love the idea of discovering treasures amongst people’s discards and I love rescuing abandoned things. A girlfriend and I got really into dumpster diving in college. There was this little church thrift shop that used to throw a ton of stuff away for whatever reason and we would find the most awesome stuff in there. It was a very clean dumpster, mind you! ;) I love selling (and wearing) one-of-a-kind pieces that say more about the wearer than the big corporation that produced them. That said, I love to mix vintage pieces with modern pieces to create my own look. I am not into wearing head-to-toe vintage and I’m not a snob about these things. I shop everywhere. There are so many amazing independent designers that I would love to sell some day and I have an endless amount of designs in my head that I would love to produce. I would say my true love is shoes, but that’s another story altogether.

3. How do you find your Vintage merchandise for the store?
I have a homing beacon in my head. No, seriously, things just jump out at me from a pile. It’s like a super power. At this time in my life, the most convenient place for me to shop is at thrift stores. I almost always have my three and four year olds in tow, so to drag them all over town from garage sale to garage sale is impractical. I love flea markets but there aren’t any close to me and the closest one is on Sunday mornings when we are at church. Sometimes I go to estate sales but I find that their prices on clothing tend to be high, you have to get up at the crack of dawn (and I have to drag the kids), people get really pushy (then I have to push back to protect the kids)and they are always hit-or-miss. For instance, the last estate sale I went to advertised “vintage designer clothes“. I got up at 4:00, drove an hour, stood in line in the freezing cold only to find a fairly empty closet with nothing but Jones New York outlet slacks and sweaters. I was pissed. The other benefit of thrift stores is that they almost always support a good cause like a homeless shelter or a church, plus many of them employ people who are a part of recovery programs.

4. I know that you also know how to saw. Do you saw clothes for yourself? Do you do a lot of DIY projects?
I do sew, but I am a pretty average seamstress. I usually only sew something if I can’t afford to buy it, or if it’s a really good idea that’s burning a hole in my brain and I will die if I don’t get it out. I have a reeeeeeaaaaaaaly long list of DIY projects that I want to do, but most of them don’t come to fruition. There’s only so much time in the day. Right now, the DIY projects that I really want to do are homemade pickles, painted boots and a kimono style tee out of a vintage crochet tablecloth I picked up. I have most of the materials, I just need to make the time. I totally believe in DIY, though. I think sewing is a dying art and it’s so sad. Most of my friends don’t know how to sew. Once my kids are old enough, I will teach both of them what I know. It’s really cool to have a vision and to be able to make it yourself.

5. If you could choose, what fashion era would you like to live in?
I definitely am drawn towards the hippie aesthetic, so I’d choose the late 60′s-early 70′s fashion. Of course I like the 20′s, just from an artistic standpoint, but the styles aren’t practical for my everyday lifestyle. I also really like western wear! Jeans, cowboy boots, big belt buckles and I like to mix in leather and Native American style pieces like fringe bags, moccasins, chunky sterling jewelry and feathers.

6. What is your most favorite and most versatile piece of clothing in your closet?
I basically always want to wear the bell bottom jeans I sell in my shop. I take a pair of good jeans and make them into elephant bell bottoms. They are always comfortable and stylish and they are practical for me as a stay-at-home mom who is always schlepping a ton of stuff around. I wear denim jackets a lot too. Living in the Bay Area you really have to layer. It’s always a good idea to have a denim jacket with you! I normally don’t fuss with a lot of jewelry, but I always have a statement ring on. Right now I’m wearing a big sterling and coral ring that my dad bought for me years ago at a Pow Wow. I love sentimental things! My favorite shoes are my Jeffrey Campbell Charli Clogs. They are pretty trendy right now, but to me they are a classic style that I will wear even after the frenzy dies down. I would say those are the three most versatile pieces in my closet. As you can imagine, I have a lot of clothes that I rotate through, but the bell bottoms, denim jacket and clogs are definitely my staples.

This post originally appeared on Moda Epidemic

A Chat with Fashionistette

One of the great things about blogging is the fact that you meet a lot of great people. I met Pamela at one of the fashion blogging events and I instantly fell in love with the clothing brands she is caring at her online store. I’ve wanted to interview her since then and we finally found some time to chat. Pamela was also so generous and offered extra special discounts for Moda Epidemic readers. Just go on her website and enter Chic30 on the check out page for EXTRA 30% off!

Pamela is the founder of Fashionistette, the Bay Area-based online clothing store that carries contemporary brands like Black Halo, Genetic Denim, Cynthia Vincent, Tracy Reese, Rory Beca and more.

To date, Fashionistette has had great success with its latest fashions, including: evening and casual dresses, jeans, tops, tunics and more.

“I decided to go online because it is so exciting to reach more people. With the growth of bloggers, social media and online fashion communities I was able to market my business online and reach a bigger audience”, says Pamela.

Also, more than almost anywhere else, the Bay Area consumers value contemporary, sophisticated and affordable clothing and that is what Fashionisttete is all about.

1. I know your background is in retail. What made you decide to start your own business and go online?

I’ve always wanted to start my own business. After working for traditional retailers for over 20 years in planning and buying I decided to go online to reach more people. I’ve always wanted to open my own online boutique that would carry unique, fashion forward brands easily accessible for everyone online. I wanted to respond to the customer demand for shopping online for one of the kind pieces. It is undeniable that online shopping has been increasing tremendously over the past couple years and it has been overshadowing traditional ways of shopping for clothing. With the growth of bloggers, social media and online fashion communities I was able to market my business online and reach a bigger audience.

2. How would you describe your client’s style?

The Fashionistette customer is 25-45, mostly educated professional. The merchandise I carry is contemporary, casual and chic. The Fashionistette client shops for brands like Rory Beca, Twelfth Street and Nation Ltd Tees.

4. How does your buying process look like?

I buy from established California designers mostly in Los Angeles. I bring in new merchandise each month and select the best pieces offered for each delivery carrying and assortment of tops, dresses and denim.

5. Is Fashionistette a reflection of your personal style?

Yes, the merchandise I carry is a reflection of my personal style. It’s fashionable, feminine and fun. The fabric and tailoring are high quality with unique details and fabrics.

6. If you had to wear one thing for the rest of your life what would that be?

Genetic Denim Dark Skinny Jeans, a stylish Nation Ltd Burnout Tee untucked and a pair of cool, stand out shoes like Cynthia Vincent Luella Wedges or my new sky high peep toe clogs. My new favorite pieces this season are from Generra, the Stone Trenchcoat and Charcoal Stripe Dolman Sleeve T-Shirt Dress.

7. Fashionistette carries only new merchandise, have you ever thought about adding some vintage pieces as well?

Yes, I would like to bring in vintage to pair with new merchandise to give my customers styling ideas.

8. Skinny jeans or Boyfriend jeans?

Skinny Jeans

This post originally appeared on Moda Epidemic

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Sightseeing with Marc Jacobs

One of my close friends Paulina came to visit from San Diego last weekend. Paulina happens to be a photographer and she was kind enough to shoot some pictures of me during her stay. I showed her around the city and we shot where ever we pleased. There was lots of dressing up, changing outfits and overall I think we both had a blast. You’ll see some random pics in this post but I find them all to be worth showing. As you can see we were pretty much relocating all day long. As far as my outfit here, I’ve meant to show you this dress for a while now. It’s a summer dress by Marc by Marc Jacobs that I bought at Jeremy’s. They usually run lots of designer sales and if you get on their email list and stop by on their sales days I bet you’ll score some goodies. This whole outfit is pretty much all Marc by Marc Jacobs, I know sounds kind of lame but I can’t help it. I like him so…. Enjoy! Paulina, thanks again for awesome shoot! People, stay tuned for more posts and pics taken by my friend.

Our first stop: Baker’s Beach. So sunny and beautiful.

Baker's Beach in San Francisco and Golden Gate Bridge

Report Sandals

Next stop, random tractor on the side of the road.

Marc by Marc Jacobs Sunglasses, Marc by Marc Jacob dress, Report Sandals

Lyon street, my secret spot.

This post originally appeared on Moda Epidemic

Bryna Nicole Handbag Revolution

I’m a big fan of handbags and I love to see local San Francisco designers design high quality, unique pieces. I met Bryna Nicole through a mutual friend and I instantly became a fan of her handbags. I can recognize her bags at any store from a distance. I think that it’s the shape but mostly hardware that is really making it look so different than what it is currently available out there. If you look at her collections you’ll see lots of metal accents that definitely make a statement.
I applaud Bryna for following her dream and making it come true.

Below you’ll find Bryna’s new Fall 2010 collection and if you are interested in becoming the owner of one of those you can find them on Bryna Nicole website, Shop Style, Ideeli and at your local stores. Please check Bryna’s website for more information.

Bryna was also kind enough to share her experiences with me and allowed me to interview her. Here is a recap of our brief conversation.

Before you start reading let me know who is your favorite Handbag Designer?

1. What made you decide to design handbags?

I was working as a stylist at a local boutique and had clients who were dying for a less brand-oriented luxury handbag and there were none out there at the time, so I decided to go to fashion school to learn the business.

Why handbags and not clothes?

Sizing is intimidating for someone who didn’t even know how to sew! Handbags were also where I saw an opening in the market.

2. What is your inspiration?

I’m inspired by all sorts of things. What my friends and what I need in a bag really comes to mind when sitting down to create a new shape. Functionality and style is always the most important.

3. How would you describe your brand? And what is different about your brand?

Vintage-inspired luxury with modern details. I try to use really unique leathers and textures throughout the collection and there is a very special attention paid to the smallest details like zipper pulls, lining fabric, and stitch size.

4. Who is your favorite handbag designer and why?

Miu Miu’s bags are always amazing. They use the best textures and combine things in ways that others would never dream of. They maintain the highest standard of luxury while still making a young, fun and functional bag.

5. What do you love about your job and what you don’t like so much?

I love that I am my own boss. I could say this is one of the challenges as well. I don’t have to answer to anyone but myself and a lot of times that is the hardest things to do! It takes a lot of self-motivation but luckily I love what I do and when I see a woman walking down the street with one of my bags, it’s the biggest reward.

6. Describe an average day of a handbag designer?

Oh jeez. It can be completely different every day! I work out of my home, so the first couple hours are usually answering emails and tending to any urgent things that have popped up since I went to sleep the night before. I usually have a couple designs in the works so some time is spent working on finalizing the detail sketches. Lots of counting: inventory, orders, prices, hardware quantities. Always making sure I have enough pieces for the upcoming production. Sometimes I have a meeting with a boutique or a trunk show or shopping event. A lot of times I’m travelling to NY, LA or Vegas – and most days I try to save an hour to take my puppy to the park :).

7. Lamb or cow leather?

Mostly cow because the skins are much larger and easier to work with, but lamb is sooo soft…

8. Plans for the future? What’s’ next? Any plans to design other things?

Future plans include more accessories: belts, jewelry etc…and hopefully down the line we will get into shoes!

Addison Messenger Hobo

Fallon Hobo

Varennes Clutch

Cordelia Hobo

Studded Bay Bag

Tall Harlow

3 Stud Bay Bag
This post originally appeared on Moda Epidemic

San Francisco Fashion Week

San Francisco Fashion and Merchant Alliance put together a great two day Fashion extravaganza. I had a pleasure to attend and support one of my friends Pamela with Fashionistette. I’d like to congratulate SFFAMA for choosing a fabulous venue. I have never heard of Vitamin Water Social Club and I have to say it’s a really fun place.

Right before the show with Fashionistette Pamela:

Me and a really cool Vitamin Water Wall.
I’m wearing hear a ZARA dress.

Me and Fabulous Siv with JCrewholics

And finally some fashion…

Photography: Doug Birnbaum

This post originally appeared on Moda Epidemic