happy weekend!


Wow... this week flew and passed me by! Here's to weekends! Don't we need it?

Just a couple finds this week...
The first is Shumaq "a sister act by Peruvian natives Vanessa Barrantes and her business partner sister Jacqueline Barrantes." My husband is Peruvian, so I have to admit I do have a persuasion towards Peruvian artists. But these clothes don't need any extra persuasion. How perfect for the "back to school" feel of Fall? Of course, they're too pricey for just one season, but I find them really versatile for long-term wear.

Next is my favorite Etsy find of the week - bloomers! Channel your inner Josephine March with these dainties that would make any winter night way brighter with those lacy frills. You can check out the selection here.

Lastly, a crafter's paradise: Purl Soho. One browse through the fabrics and fibers has me dreaming up projects for days. Complete with a project-blog and patterns, this is a fantastic resource. Take their beautiful selection of Japanese fabrics including this one from Yuwa with hand-drawn characters

And this one Globalweave Textiles


knit wits

Fall makes me so excited for sweaters and boots and jeans. It's definitely my very favorite time of the year weather-wise because it makes me think of hiking, crackling fires, apples and pumpkins, oh, the list goes on and on. Since learning to knit a year ago, I know have a new thing to look forward to with Fall: all the knitting projects I can work on! So here's a round-up of some knitting news and ideas....

Tom Scott is a designer W magazine featured in this month's issue, and his work is so lighthearted! My mantra for this year is "don't take yourself so seriously", and it seems Mr. Scott is a kindred spirit.

This is a gorgeous sweater from etsy seller astronette that has me inspired to remix salvaged sweaters.

As of yesterday, I've been checking out ravelry and WOW. If you are a knitter or crocheter, JOIN NOW! You have to sign-up for a list to receive an invitation into the community (probably to keep out spam email addresses).

City Knitting is our Grand Rapids one-stop amazing shop for all things knit. Their yarn selection is endless (and the clearance section is superb), there are free patterns available to all comers, their classes are the best ever, and the ladies who work there are very kind and helpful. It's located on that little street behind Wolfgang's.

If you are a beginner knitter or want to learn, keep a lookout for Purl Jam events through the Student Activities OFfice. I'm planning our first one for October, and I'll advertise the date once I have it. This will be an evening event where you can show up and learn from really experienced knitters all that you need to know to get started!


f-troupe shoes

F-Troupe shoes deliver a subtle vintage vibe but stay really modern. According to Daily Candy, founder Mick Hoyle creates based on flea-market finds. They can be difficult to find in the U.S. but that shouldn't stop you from looking! There are some at tobi and creatures of comfort.

Back in action!

Welcome back! I'm here again and I'll do my best to keep this blog updated with all the FABulous news and goings-ons. First things first: thanks for a great cokes and clubs! I can't wait to work with all you newbies to FAB.

Today is the opening of another great thing: Topshop for the U.S.! This is Kate Moss's store based in the UK and there's some great clothing here. Kate makes all clothing look effortless, doesn't she? Enjoy and send me any news you'd like to have posted!


get smart

Bikes may not have THAT much to do with fashion, but recently Vogue ran a photo shoot claiming bikes are the newest, greatest accessories, so I'll make it work. This is the coolest bike through an amazing project (Bamboo Bike Project). Unfortunately for us, the bamboo bike costs like thousands of dollars. But what's amazing is this bamboo bike can be made by people who have lots of bamboo and little money. Check out Calfee Design for more of the story.


spring sewing

This is a pretty easy project from Purl Soho that may be just what you need to calm end of the year nerves. Not to mention, the colors are incredible. It's the Trip around the Wool blanket.



This may only be feeding my tendency towards living in a Jane Austin world, but these aprons seem like such a great idea for this time of year! Well - any time of the year! What with yard work, cooler weather, and the desire to shed my androgynous skinny jeans and sweaters of the winter for more feminine sandals and skirts, aprons are perfect.

This is from Lotta Jansdotter (who has great fabric as well) and it's onsale for $51.20

This is from Pamela Tang's etsy shop ($70) and there are more colors available as well.

My personal favorite, from Selvedge (in the UK, sadly), Fog Linen Work apron (L30, which is maybe about $50)

If you're feeling crafty, Favorite Things has a great pattern here. And, Amy Butler have a fun apron pattern included in her Barcelona Skirt pattern here. If you're in Grand Rapids, Field's Fabrics (on 44th St ) has many of her patterns and many other fun apron patterns!


Still stuck on the airbrushed thing... this is the funniest blog I've seen in a while (the best since my tall friend, Emily, introduced me to Stuff White People Like). It's called Photoshop Disasters. The name says it all...


an unachievable aesthetic

That's the problem with air-brushing, according to the British Fashion Council... "an unachievable aesthetic". So their answer? Label accordingly. If an image has been airbrushed, the BFC wants the magazine to indicate this information. Read this article from New York Magazine for more info. Would this make a difference? Images are powerful; what happens when it's image vs. word?


subtle Bottega Venetta

I'm currently reading a GREAT book for anyone interested in the fashion industry... it's the much commented on Deluxe: How Luxury Lost it's Lustre. Author Dana Thomas really takes a fascinating dive into the underbelly of the luxury industry. It's a reality check for any fashionista or designer, and it's making me rethink how we define luxury, access, labels, etc.

So imagine how great it is to acquire all this insider business knowledge of the luxury industry, then find this article in the NY Times today. Titled "You'll know how much you spent", the article reveals how the high standards of Tomas Maier have become almost subversive in a market that wants more fast. But - wonder of wonders! - he has a strong market. It's a great article in light of Deluxe's presentation of aluxury industry that perhaps has dictated more than it's listened. Maybe Bottega Venetta's success (and I would include Prada's success as well) is a testimony to what happens when we let creative directors (as designers) run fashion houses - instead of interior decorators and aggressive business men.


trashy fashion

Check out this amazing (student) fashion show

Also, this page has some really great minimalist designs like this coat.


sartorialist goes to India

And the results are stunning. I can't get enough of the young lady in black with the yellow silk slippers. and these eyes. Check it out HERE.

"April can wait"

This is a great little street fashion feature from the NY Times.

And who else LOVES the Diane VonFurstenberg Am. express commercial?


etsy treasures

There have been so many great etsy finds recently, a LOT including magical felting. here are a few to consider...
(the necklace above is from the ever amazing kjoo. $65)

Florals are all the rage! A happy find from Mid West Vintage for just $15)

These are cute and bright, without being too precious. Choose 3 for $10 from The funky felter

Dino LOVE from Monster Hoodies for $49.99

This shop is endlessly creative. from Squidlicks for $18


These cloth shoes are adorable. What a fantastic DYI project just in time for spring break. You can find the pattern here. Thanks to K. for sharing!


chic and antique bags

Daniel and I are both crazy about nice, sleek, strange bags, so we are always on the lookout. Here's a few favorites of late...

This bag from Delight.com (found via Outblush) is great because it's so chic and girly! ($58)

This vintage Czech bag is an antique find from P.O.S.H. in Chicago - one of my favorite Chicago stores. ($40) The Swiss Glacier goggles ($22) are just too fun.

This is an exciting etsy find from upaproject. The bag is called Oito


hoodies remixed

Rose La Biche has created some amazing new "hoodies". Much much more on her site HERE.


etsy find

A great etsy find! Gaia Conceptions has wonderful, imaginative pieces made from locally produced/dyed organic fabric.


radio edit

There are some wonderful npr programs lately covering the fashion industry that have a lot to do with the past several articles I've posted (several have author Dana Thomas as a contributor!).

Made in a Sweatshop?

the economy and fashion week

can accessability turn luxury dull?

"never has storytelling been so central and quality so peripheral to the business."

This is an other fantastic article about the fashion industry and the position of "luxury" brands that should accompany your thoughts as you pick up your next issue of Vogue, W, Elle, or any of those publications. There is so much in here - including the author of the article, Kerry Howley, who is reviewing and responding to the book Deluxe: How Luxury Lost its Lustre by Dana Thomas. I highly recommend you read the article here. Below are some quotes from the article that reveal the author's ideas about class and where (or, to whom) fashion belongs.

"Democratization is a dangerous game, and the executive who misjudges the balance between accessibility and positional value can destroy a brand’s cachet in a single season"
It's hard to believe there will ever be a time that an $800 bag will not be sold to a person with $800 to spend. That doesn't mean "democratization". To the people in the stores and industry, it may seem like such audacity for a ripped-jean wearing bum to stroll in and buy their stuff. But the issue is that not that the industry has somehow started having the concerns of the masses in mind (maybe the wallets of the masses). We are placing "positional value" - the status that comes with buying Louis Vuitton or Gucci - over the reality of our life. Sure, as Howley states, "Buying into a dream has always been part of high fashion’s allure"; the difference is we started believing it more than anything else. If we believe the storytelling of advertisements - that Prada really makes me the urban sophosticate, or Versace somehow makes me more sexually liberated - we literally are sold to the business and give up a lot more than $800.

And to keep those stories going, consumers must be able to find places to insert themselves in a narrative that selectively reflects the realities of their life. Just like the fashion shoots in magazines where women in $6000 furs are grocery shopping or pumping gas, it seems major labels are walking a fine line between building their brand to impossible heights and trivializing themselves.
"Fashion is more celebrity driven than it used to be, and the editors at US Weekly never tire of revealing how celebrities are 'just like us.' Pictures of Renee Zellweger taking out the garbage are as important as pictures of her on the red carpet. You can pull off a Carolina Herrera dress too, or at least a wallet. You both do chores. You’re practically twins."

What an observation. The other side is the celebrities who pair a white t-shirt with an Oscar de la Renta full-length skirt (or the like) on the red carpet. The juxtaposition of a ridiculously pricey, handmade piece with a basic one (also handmade, but most likely in a sweatshop) could undermine the luxury or bring it to wider distribution.

Read the article for yourself and let me know what you think.


Every wondered if those campaigns work?

"There is a broadening concern that business marketing is taking on the patina of philanthropy and crowding out philanthropic activity and even substituting for it"

“We’re not encouraging people to buy more, but if they’re going to buy a pair of Armani sunglasses, we’re trying to get a cut of that for a good cause”

“Red is not a charity; it’s a business”

These are all quotes from a great article on Product(RED) from the New York Times this past weekend exploring the details and facts about the campaign. You can read it here.
Every time I see a GAP commercial promoting their (RED) campaign, I've wondered if it's really working. This article may not exactly answer that question as much as complicate it, but maybe it's good to be reminded that saving the world is not as easy as buying a shirt or bracelet.


swimming beauty

These are almost fun enough to make me want to start swimming again! found here.

the best

even though I usually don't get that excited about valentine's day, I do LOVE the color red and think this is too cute to miss...

$16 at the curiosity shop


the search continues

Found a fantastic article on the ethics of clothing from Linda Grant (of The Guardian). It ends with some "beautiful ethical" labels including the UK's popular People Tree.

enviro clothing

Dwell magazine usually sticks to modern home design, but they had a great article about Nau, an environmentally progressive clothing company out of Portland (not Canada, as I said earlier). The clothing won't fix any color longings you may be having during the dreary February stretch, but there's some very inventive and fun stuff. (I've been informed that the color choices are also rooted in environmental initiatives AND there's some brighter looks for spring on the way!)


urban outfitters inspiration

this dress is made by recycling men's plaid shirts. Urban Outfitters is finally doing the actual recycling thing instead of just making this dress LOOK like it's recycled.

hable construction

beautiful fabric! Hable Construction is a favorite of interior designers... but I can see dresses and bags in these lovely prints.

tulle and AA Super Tuesday

Fashion is Spinach has some great photos from Elle (shot by Karl Lagerfield). Looks like it's all about tulle this spring.

There's a nice interview on shiny squirrel with artist Julianna Swanney (from oh my cavalier). She's a Michigan artist!

Are you on the American Apparel email list? Usually I try to avoid them because I could spend too much money too easily, but today is different.

"We urge voters to consider Obama on the Democratic side."
There's information on their website and you can see all their ads and read articles... AA is by default a more political company than many in that they have taken their commitment to responsibly made clothing very seriously (without waiting for government sanctions). Immigration is a large concern to them because it really effects their workforce, but also because they are invested and working in the LA garment industry. In LA alone it's estimated there are more than 5,000 sweatshops. AA has done a lot to expose the needs of workers and immigrants.

"We urge voters to consider McCain on the Republican side"