Friday, December 17, 2010

Mochilas for Sunshine, relief effort for Colombian artisans

As you know, I am a huge supporter of Calamarie - a DC-based fashion house working with Colombian artisans to produce handcrafted jewelry and handbags. This past month, El Nina is drenching Colombia, leaving devastating results. In an effort to provide economic relief to the artisans living in these affected areas, Catalina Lemaitre, founder of Calamarie, has created Mochila for Sunshine. The following is a letter she sent her colleagues that I would like to share with you with hope that you support this very worthy cause. I plan to spend three weeks in Colombia with Catalina and her husband (Dec. 28 - Jan. 17) meeting the artisans and surveying the devastation. Stay tuned for an account of our travels.

Dear Friends,

I am writing to you all this holiday season, at a time of joy and celebration, to ask you to help us make a small difference in the lives of the thousands of victims of Colombia’s worst natural disaster in recorded history. Looking at the images of my country, under water is so reminiscent of Katrina, and I can’t believe this is happening again, to so many, and that it is happening right now. It has been raining for weeks and no end is in sight. Forecasters predict it will continue to rain until February—it’s just so hard to believe. (Video of the unimaginable devastation from the air:

For weeks now I have been feeling powerless to help and have been racking my brain thinking about ways Calamarie can be used as a vehicle to raise funds for the victims of this terrible disaster. A few days ago the answer came to me in a dream, I immediately went into action and started making calls to Colombia and the Mochila for Sunshine was born. The Mochila, a crossover traditional handwoven bag, and one of colombia’s most recognized cultural symbols was the answer. Artisans are now busy weaving a custom limited edition mochila similar to the one shown below but with the addition of a few simple words: Cuando salga el sol…(when the sun shines through). With your support, when the rains cease, and the sun shines through again people will have the help they will need to rebuild their homes and lives.
Starting now, you can reserve your own Mochila for Sunshine, which we will ship to you or whomever you designate on January 20th here:

To Order:
If this is a gift, I am happy to email the recipient an email post card on Christmas Eve, letting them know their gift has been purchased, the story behind it and delivery date. Each Mochila is unisex, will be handwoven in cotton in unique combinations of gray, black and/or white and will showcase different designs, reflecting the inspiration of each individual artisan. These are really fun and comfortable bags and cool enough to have been profiled in Vogue this past June. All proceeds from your $50 contribution will be channeled to the Colombian Red Cross by our good friends at Caring for Colombia, a New York based foundation dedicated to supporting vulnerable communities in Colombia.

We will have 150 Mochilas available so please share with your friends and family and help us raise close to $7500 by December 31st. Every dollar counts.
I thank each and every one of you for your support. A special thanks to my husband Juan, my aunt and godmother Vivian and my mom and dad, without whose help, we couldn’t have started to produce these mochilas in such a short time frame.

With gratitude,

Monday, December 6, 2010

MSL Hosts Trunk Shows at Carbon

My Signature Look is teaming up with Carbon boutique to host a series of trunk shows featuring local independent designers - clothing, handbags, and accessories.

Stop by and meet the designers!

Sunday, Dec. 5, 2011; 1 - 4 p.m.
Calamarie - Colombian handcrafted jewelry

Saturday, Dec. 11, 2011; 1 - 4 p.m.
Diamantina leather handbags and jackets produced in Argentina.

Kim Schalk clothing - re-purposed and vintage-inspired chic womenswear.

Saturday, Dec. 18, 2011; 1 - 4 p.m.
Nora Fischer Designs - the local jewelry designer creates contemporary but timeless pieces for that special occasion and/or just to feel glam for the day!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Save the Date: Es Lo Mio! (It's My Style) Fashion Eventl

I'm proud to announce the formation of Five4Fashion, a consortium of fashion stylists and designers (including yours truly) created to inspire, motivate, and propel our fashion careers. This endeavor includes bringing quality fashions and fashion services to the greater Washington area.

What: Our first collaborative event-- Es Lo Mio! It's My Style - 10 hours of styling, shopping, and wine tasting
Where: beautifully renovated Argentine Embassy (1600 New Hampshire Ave., NW, Washington, DC 20009 Metro: Red Line (Dupont Circle)
When: Thursday, December 2, 2010
Time: 11 a.m. - 8 p.m. (evening shopping, wine tasting, and informal modeling - 5 - 8 p.m.)
RSVP: space is limited, (name must be on list for entry) - last call Wednesday, 8 p.m. EST.

Celebrate Argentina’s bicentennial with a fashionable focus on Argentine leather!

The centerpiece of the day: Diamantina gives you the first look at its latest collection of handmade, Argentine leather handbags. Diamantina’s showcase will teach you about the luxury of Argentine leather, its quality and care. The production of cattle for leather exports has greatly contributed to the development of “the Pampas”—one of the most important commercial centers since the country’s origins. Leather sustains a key part of Argentina’s economy.

To complement Diamantina handbags, the hip, new fashion consortium Five4Fashion will jointly sponsor informal modeling, shopping, a fashion salon, and wine-tasting at the newly renovated Argentine Embassy!

Taste rich, full-bodied Argentine wines.

Shop exotic and sophisticated new jewelry designs and accessories by Nora Fischer Designs and Calamarie: Traditional Art Reinterpreted.

Need holiday outfits? Bring clothes from your closet to our Fashion Salon: Bayou Muse and My Signature Look will help you build chic ensembles around them.

Schedule of Events:
Retailers have a daytime preview from 10 a.m.–noon; appointments available all day
Schedule your appointment at the Fashion Salon beginning at 11 a.m.
Informal modeling at 6:30 p.m.
Holiday shopping open from 5–8:00 p.m.

See you there!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Designer Spotlight: Kim Schalk

Kim Schalk is at peace. The creator of the whimsical line “God Help Miss Agnes” has quietly retired her label after eight years to launch a new label simply called, Kim Schalk. But there is nothing simple about her new direction—edge is the new Kim Schalk.

Endearingly referenced as a “fierce designer” from the “fiercest” designer to grace Project Runway, Schalk has taken Christian Siriano’s words to heart and channeled them into body-con silhouettes such as her signature wrap skirt engineered for a universal fit. A piece of leather in unexpected places is an extension of her experimentation with combining fabrics akin to her God Help Miss Agnes line which featured reclaimed materials and reworked vintage.

The day we meet, the mother of three had just finished a photo shoot. “I don’t normally have this much make-up on,” she says candidly. “But it’s fun.” She could have easily built a career in modeling, but you instantly feel the presence of a fashion designer. Upon entering her modest family home in Alexandria, Virginia, a dress form showcasing a reworked dress greets you to the left – standing guard over a kitchen table that serves sketches and fabric swatches. Kim disappears for a moment to remind her children in the next room that it is “mommy time” and returns eagerly to talk about her upcoming collection. The self-taught pattern maker-turned-designer is excited to expand upon her DC-success.

MSL: When did you know you wanted to become a fashion designer?

KS: In the early 90s, I was working at Barneys New York and was doing pattern-making on the side and all of a sudden, I found myself creating pieces for some of our customers. I knew then that that is what I wanted to do.

MSL: How do you approach your design-work?

KS: The design has to meet four needs: innovation, high quality, affordably priced, and great fit. I don’t want to produce something that doesn’t meet all four elements.

MSL: Where do you find inspiration for your designs?

KS: It could be a photograph or an image I’ve come across and where someone may see one think, I immediately think “there is a garment there.” Right now, I’m loving the fashion Faye Dunaway wore in her 1970 cult films and of course, Mad Men. I like to take references from the past and introduce them in a new, progressive way.

MSL: You launched your label, “God Help Miss Agnes” following the closure of your boutique store, Betty in Adams Morgan. Who is Miss Agnes?

KS: Miss Agnes is actually a metaphor. My design partner at that time suggested the name after her grandmother, who was quite the character. Tennessee born and bred, Mama Helen would say such expressions as “God Help Miss Agnes” in place of saying “Oh My God!” She evoked so much passion into her words and we are passionate about our designs.

I must admit--I’m the proud owner of several God Help Miss Agnes pieces that I bought at Nana. I love them for their innovation, but more so, their eco-factor. Do you consider yourself an eco-designer?

I do use eco-friendly materials when I can such as recycled and vintage fabrics. I am conscious about the amount of waste that is often associated with fashion design and production so I am precise in my yardage and choice of materials. One thing to note is that eco-fabrics such as hemp, bamboo, and 100% organic cotton are still very expensive and as a small-independent designer, it becomes a bottom-line issue.

You produce in the U.S., is that important to you?

KS: Yes! I produce here locally and in Los Angeles. The manufacturers are good guys and they are willing to produce in small quantities, which is huge for small-independent designers like me.

MSL: How would you describe your new line?

KS: It’s definitely cutting-edge. I’m ready to take my design work to the next level.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Herban Lifestyle unveils Naked

On the eve of the DC Green Festival, the eco-minded flocked to One Lounge to get Naked.

Mary Kearns, creator of Herban Lifestyle, unveiled her new line of all-natural, certified-organic bath and body products aptly titled, Naked. The line includes lip balms, soaps, and essentials oils free of fragrance and other harmful chemicals. Proceeds from the sales benefited Miriam’s Kitchen.

Kearns teamed with Ferragut Event Group, an eco-event planning firm, to launch the line two years in the making. To take “green to the next level” she stripped the essential oils into a user-friendlier product for consumers with allergies and in doing so restored the oils natural medicinal properties. “Naked is very much gentle for the earth and people,” she says. The final green stamp of approval is in the packaging. Products are sealed in recyclable containers with 100% recycled paper labels - a huge plus for Sarah Matheson, an attendee at the launch.

Kearns connection to Miriam’s Kitchen began with a request for soap.

Her initial donation of body soaps five years ago quickly followed with serving breakfast along with other volunteers on a regular basis. Ashley Lawson, development and volunteer manager of Miriam’s, thanks Kearns for the “best-smelling soup kitchen in DC.”

The organization feeds nearly 350 homeless men and women nutritious meals daily afforded by donations from Whole Foods and locally grown produce. The volunteer-run organization also offers its guests counseling, haircuts, postal service, and art and yoga classes.

One Lounge
, a newbie to Dupont Circle’s eatery and bar scene, has played host to numerous event of late. According to PR Director Daniel Kramer, the restaurant not only wants to offer its patrons libations but draw their attention to local causes. Next Tuesday, October 26, the restaurant partners with Style Exchange of DC to host a clothing exchange to benefit Doorways for Women and Families.

Kearns, a seasoned health and wellness professional, prescribes to what festival-goers will experience this weekend: a sustainable lifestyle requires respect for all things pure.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Fashion for Hope 2010 shines bright on Women for Women International

The second annual Fashion for Hope 2010 gala raised more than hope for its benefactor, Women for Women International; it solidified support. Fashionistas and philanthropists gathered in the Renaissance Hotel ballroom Sunday night to pledge their commitment to “Change the World: One Woman at a Time.”

As the evening’s emcee, WUSA9’s Anita Brikman set the tone with one simple statement: “We [Americans] take for granted the tenets of our freedoms.” Those freedoms compromised in time of conflict. Organizations such as Women for Women International restore lives.

From its DC-office, the organization collaborates with in-country specialists to operate its 12-week job-training program for women living in conflict and post-conflict zones. In Bosnia, women cooperatives turn their skill in knitting into a business and in Africa, the women apply modern techniques to dying fabrics. To reach these women, however, organizers must go through the men first.

“Many of these villages where we work are run by male tribal leaders and we have to ask their permission and/or convince them to offer the training to the women in their community,” says Dieu Tran, Marketing and Outreach Coordinator. “We are working with women who have to overcome much adversity.”

How can a fashion show support such cause?

“Tonight’s event is very much a cultural exchange,” Tran said. “We are here to learn about each other.”

If 80s ruled the fall 2010 shows, then House of Kas dominated the 70s. The local fashion house showcased ready-to-wear and cocktail hour ensembles in tradition of wide-leg trousers, lots of satin and sheen, and Italian-cut suits anchored by floral wide-ties. One Lenny Kravitz-look alike modeled a cream trench coat worn over cream wide-legged trousers and paisley button-down top with confidence and cool.

MinnaK, a New York designer, wooed the audience with airy cocktail and bride dresses. Several models floated down the runway in floor-length 40’s glam bridal gowns – white accented with black beading or belts - while her counterpart walked steadily not to be missed in her jewel-tone thigh-grazing cocktail dress.

The remaining four emerging designers drew inspiration from their contemporaries that included rocker chic, hip-hop, and the power suit.

“This is more than a fashion show,” says Denita Austin, of Inner Expressions. “This is about supporting women all over the world. It’s really a beautiful moment.”

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Fashion Designer Aysha Saeed Visits DC 85 Broads

New York fashioner designer Aysha Saeed is a real broad. In fact, she is among 25,000 professional 85 Broads across the United States and last night, she stopped by One Lounge to visit members of the DC Chapter.

The 85 Broads, founded by women who worked in investment firms on 85 Broad Street in New York, operates in 82 countries connecting women in a variety of careers from the for-profit to non-profit organizations. Saeed is a member of the Broads’ Power Circle.

Saeed traded her lucrative career as a financial banker on Wall Street for the fashion industry more than a decade ago. She moved to Milan to consult on embroidery design and production sourcing, working with fashion houses such as Dolce Gabbana, John Galliano and La Perla. Upon returning to New York in 2005, Saeed honed her design craft and launched her label, Signette. In 2008, she renamed the label, Aysha Saeed.

“I always loved fashion design,” said the New Jersey via Pakistan native. “Everything I have learned in financing has helped to make a great product.”

That product is a collection of coveted ready-to-wear and cocktail dresses for professional women.

“I design for real women who want clothes that are practical, well-priced, and have real value,” Saeed said. “My personal style is reflected in my collection, timeless and perfectly chic.”

For the fall 2010 collection, Saeed channels Chanel in her suiting options – bolero jackets and above the knee straight skirts in rich fabrics. Her interpretation of the little black dress also comes in chocolate brown and magenta: slimming silhouette with cutout cap sleeve on the right, creating an exaggerated asymmetrical shoulder.

Members noshed on chicken skewers and veggies while perusing Saeed’s fall collection. Several guests stepped into the 8-foot portable pink tent to try on one of her designs, emerging in awe of the figure-flattering silhouettes. At a special 40% discount, guests walked away with more than a new garment, they just bought empowerment.

Photo: Aysha Saeed, in red dress, flanked by members of DC Chapter of 85 Broads

Monday, October 11, 2010

Moroccan Ambassador teams with Nest to promote Moroccan artisans

Marrakesh Palace served as the gateway to NESTINATION 2010: Morocco last Thursday, treating guests to a light fare of Moroccan dishes and shopping for a good cause.

The event, aptly titled "Midnight in Marrakesh," brought attention to the local customs and artisan traditions of Morocco in conjunction with Nest, a nonprofit organization providing interest-free, micro-finance loans to women in developing countries, among them three Moroccan cooperatives.

In the mix of social do-gooders, world travelers, and Nest supporters, was His Excellency Mr. Aziz Mekouar, Moroccan Ambassador to the United States. He addressed the 300+ audience with words of gratitude for their interest in his country.

“Morocco has 32 million people and many very poor living in small villages,” the Ambassador said. “We welcome organizations such as Nest who are helping to generate income for our people.”

A sentiment shared by Hamza Zraqi from Casablanca. “We are not a rich country,” he says, “but we make beautiful crafts and these women want to work and sell.”

The country boasts natural resources in gold and copper, which are fashioned into jewelry and belts. Leather and wood also count among the materials used in artisan goods.

NESTINATION, an experiential journey in the lives of Nest’s loan recipients, is the brainchild of the DC Nest Board of Directors. In April, DC Board Co-President Summer Amin joined 14 other Board members on a trip to Morocco to monitor their projects. They returned humbled and proud of Nest’s accomplishments. “The women we visited invited us into their homes and entertained us with food, dancing and storytelling,” Amin said, “We felt so honored, especially since these women have so little.”

Guests shopped exclusive handcrafted items made by Nest’s loan recipients and bid on a silent auction.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

SoBe Unique shoe store offers the timeless espadrille

King Street in Old Town Alexandria is far from the sands of South Beach Miami but both areas are home for SoBe Unique shoe store. Owner Juan Cortes stocks his stores with handcrafted espadrilles, sandals, and handbags designed and produced in Spain and Brazil. And residents alike connect to the timeless tradition of shoe-making.

One bright Saturday afternoon in August, customers stream into the 300-square foot Alexandria location eager to check out the latest arrival, most of which are lying in open boxes vying for space. Cortes maneuvers through the maze like a pro – pulling and suggesting alternatives without skipping a beat. His fast-pace nature softens when he takes a breath to point out the features of his new designs.

“You have to try on these sandals,” he excitedly tells one of his patrons. “Your feet will love you.” The patron walked around with a grin: sold.

Of the 12 styles Cortes carries, all vary in material and color and crafted from the traditional European and modern techniques – hand-stitching, recycled rubber, natural stone, and genuine leather.

“There is a reason our color scheme mirrors earth tones,” he says. “It is symbolic of feeling grounded and being connected with the past, the tradition of shoe-making.”

Cortes, a former investigator for the music industry, launched SoBe Unique in 1995 to reconnect with his love of fashion, shoes in particular. “I grew up around family who worked in the garment factories,” Cortes explains, “and I wanted to go back to my Spanish roots to preserve the art of shoe-making.”

When not splitting his time between stores, Cortes is visiting his factories in Spain and Brazil to ensure fair working conditions and experimenting with new environmental-friendly materials. In Brazil, he works with his partners at TRADEF on the handbag collection, a non-governmental organization assisting people with disabilities in employment. Each handbag is crafted from the remaining leather used from the shoes.

Cortes is not ready to dismiss the espadrilles just because temperatures are cooling. His female Washington clients still have a few weeks longer to sport the shoe with a pair of jeans and a light cardigan. For him, the fall collection of neutral-colored loafers offers warmth and comfort. With soles made from recycled rubber guaranteeing a 10-year life span, SoBe Unique shoes are not going anywhere.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Upstairs on 7th hosts trunk show to benefit Ovarian Cancer National Alliance

Last Friday, as suited employees rushed out of their high-rise office building on 12th and F Street NW to start their weekend, a distinct group of women a la bohème streamed into Upstairs on 7th boutique, located ground-floor, to let loose while shopping for a cause.

Owner Ricki Peltzman hosted London fashion designer Ray Harris and local jewelry designer Sissy Yates in a two-day trunk show to benefit the Ovarian Cancer National Alliance. The event, plus a month-long donation drive, raised $2,000.

For his spring/summer 2011 collection, Ray Harris delved into our dreams and sorrows to reveal beauty in the search for personal meaning. How does that translate into ready-to-wear? A range of textured fabrics in a palette of vibrant colors molded into the form of a v-neck blouse, floor-length skirt, and button-less “coat.” His trademark technique – a perfected wrinkle – appeals to a tactile woman who appreciates an artistic point of view.

“I love so many of Ray's pieces that I cannot decide,” says Peltzman. “They all work so well for both dressy and casual situations just by adding a casual shoe or a different necklace, a belt, etc and they are so light weight, easy to travel with and care for. I just love the line!”

Peltzman is a Harris-convert. “I found him at a show in New York that represents like designers and I actually walked by and saw all this crinkle and kept walking. But then I saw a woman wearing one of his dresses and I ran right back there and bought the line,” she says. “I have been buying it ever since and he always is changing and doing new pieces in new materials.” His velvet crush garments sold out in the first three hours of the show.

A regular featured designer, Sissy Yates returned to the boutique to showcase her collection, which sold equally as well. However, Yates needs no introductions. The designer is a favorite among Washingtonian tastemakers for her selection of rare stones and gems fashioned into necklaces, bracelets and earrings. Yates’ counts Ms. Oprah Winfrey among her admirers with features in three recent O Magazine editions.

Andrea Glazer of the Ovarian Cancer National Alliance couldn’t resist trying on items from the designers’ collection herself. But she remained focused on her mission for the evening: to raise awareness about ovarian cancer. More than 21,000 women in the U.S. are diagnosed annually, making it the fifth leading cause of cancer-related death among women, and is the deadliest of gynecologic cancers, according to the Alliance.

To learn more about the Alliance and how you can get involved, contact Ms. Glazer at 202.331.1332.

This is article is dedicated to my Aunt Kennie - we love you!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

VirtuArte Launches Virtual Shopping 2.0

VirtuArte, the online upscale fair trade boutique, launches its revamped Web site for a bigger and more educational shopping experience.

The first experience: Meet the Artisan. VirtuArte exists for its artisans who are located worldwide producing items with local materials and traditional methods. The customer visits their world through detailed artisan profiles, sharp photos, interactive videos and a Google map directing them to the artisan’s residence.

The second experience: Attend a VirtuArte Event. Check online for upcoming trunk shows, a new feature on the site. The shows promise an opportunity to meet the designers while perusing inventory for your wardrobe or home.

The third experience: Introduce an Artisan to VirtuArte. Nominate an artisan – local or international – who you think fit the VirtuArte mission. Submit their information and images of their products for consideration.

Founder Debbie Myers refers to the improved site as a labor of love. “This second iteration takes us closer to our vision, which is to promote artisans who might not otherwise have an opportunity to contribute to the international market,” says Myers.

The instant gratification online shopping brings now delivers a human connection, thanks to VirtuArte.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Fashion's Night Out DC Style

At the stroke of 6 p.m. EST yesterday, DC kicked off its second annual Fashion's Night Out party with nearly 100 stores - boutiques and department stores - participating in the world's biggest fashion party.

First stop, M29 Lifestyle boutique. Guests gnoshed on miniature cupcakes and sipped on champagne as they shopped the store's unique collection of apparel, accessories, and gifts.

Hu's Wear customers ignored the late-night construction on the store's expansion project and poured through the racks of the industry's most coveted designers such dsquared, Cacharel, Alexander McQueen, Jean Paul Gaultier, and most recently Proenza Schouler.

While over at Simply Soles, shoe-lovers received a complimentary Stiruppz, gifted in person by founder Lisa Church and shopped DeNada's fall collection of cozy scarves, knit caps and gloves. Simply Soles owner Kassie Kempel will continue the festivities to next Saturday, when she celebrates the grand opening of her second store at the National Harbor.

Two hours later and my trusty Tsubos carried me three miles west to the U and 14th Street corridor to check out the scene there. Lettie Gooch owner Theresa Watts rolled out the red carpet with the requisite "paparazzi" eagerly snapping away - I couldn't help but feel like a fashionista SuperStar! Not surprisingly, Theresa and her staff pumped up the volume and created a nightclub environment where customers rocked pieces from her fall collections.

At Rue 14, the crowd grooved to a live DJ, waiting patiently for local band U.S. Royalty frontman/GANT model John Thornley to grace the store with his presence. I walked away with a Eryn cute tee by Eryn Brinie and headed across the street for Redeem, my final stop of the night.

Entering Redeem is like walking into a den inhabited by creative spirits. Greeting guests was one of them, Thomas Griffeths, local designer behind Couture Saboteur. He is the reason for Fashion's Night Out, to celebrate the industry's talented artists. His collection of intricate, bold designs casts a shadow over his silent demeanor. But ask Thomas about each piece, and behold an animated response. More on Thomas in a forthcoming blog. I would be remiss though not to acknowledge Lori's other special guest, artist Shawn Helton. His interpretation of the human condition leaves you mesmerized - fitting for a night intent on celebrating the arts on a global stage.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Fashion's Night Out - DC

DC fashion-minded retailers roll out the red carpet for an evening of shopping and socializing this Friday, September 10, from 6 – 11 p.m. Fashion's Night Out, heralded by New York City’s fashion elites last year in response to the industry’s economic blow, returns this year to celebrate the industry’s talent. The event’s gone global with stores participating from London, Paris, Rio de Janeiro, Tokyo to our nation’s capital.

Shop and mingle among local celebrities and stylists at any one of the 100 stores and restaurants in the Georgetown and U Street retail district. My Signature Look will be there to capture the night’s festivities.

Here’s a sampling of what to expect:

Alchimie Forever
– Ada Polla treats guests to complimentary facials and makeovers and a discount on Alchimie Forever products.

Caramel – Indulge your love for art and clothes by shopping new styles while viewing art by MidCity artist Dave Peterson ( (opening reception).

Lettie Gooch – Preview local designer Artistic Aya by Dana Greaves’s fall collection and be placed on Lettie Gooch's "Best Dressed" List by wearing your favorite Lettie Gooch wear!!! Special Guest "Muse" Anji Corley - On-Air Radio Personality of WPGC.

Lost Boys – Kelly’s got the guys covered with “Going Out Lost Boys Style: The Lost Art of the Pre-Game”. Guys get traditional straight razor shaves, shoeshines, Bourbon tastings, and Jeff Dufour's "Top Secret Destination Picks" for an unforgettable night-out on the town.

M29 Lifestyle Boutique – Enter a drawing for a Moyna LBB (little black bag) while shopping the store’s mix of home décor, clothing, and accessories.

Redeem – Fall 2010 Preview Party with special guest appearance by local jewelry designer Thomas Griffeths of Couture Saboteur, showcasing his one-of-a-kind hand-constructed collection. Also, DC artist Shawn Helton presents The Red Thread... mixed media paintings about myth and the human condition.

Reiss – Stop by this store from the UK for 10% off all full-price clothing and a free gift with purchase. Meet men's style bloggers Grant Harris from Image Granted, LLC, Klay Williams of Harrison Williams and style editors from The District Cut, who will be giving one-on-one style advice and showcasing their favorite looks from the REISS 2010 Autumn/Winter Men's Collection.

Rue 14 – Shop the GANT trunk show to live music, including a DJ set from John Thornley, the lead singer of U.S. Royalty and GANT model. Also meet with stylist Victor Price to create a fresh look with our new fall merchandise, and receive complimentary mini-makeovers from a professional make-up artist.

Simply Soles – Shop the fall collection and De*Nada Designs trunk show while sipping on cocktails and meet Lisa Church, the inventor of Stiruppz.

For a list of participating stores in Georgetown and U Street corridor.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Designer Spotlight: David Joseph Designs

In the quiet solitude of his studio apartment, David Fisher sculpts fabrics into couture. The self-taught designer contemplates over fabric choice when creating his custom-made designs for Washington’s socialites and tastemakers. He calculates how he will turn a concept into a finished product, operating on a 3-week start to finish timeframe for ready-to-wear and 4 – 6 weeks for bridal or couture. He is a one-man show.

The 23-year-old native Nebraskan arrived in DC two years ago after a journey across the states in search of the ideal location to launch his label, David Joseph Designs. It began in the costume department, where he interned at Creighton University. Under the direction of the head costume designer, he learned to sew and one costume design class later, he turned entrepreneur and started selling vintage clothing and worked on textile conservation projects for private collections.

I sat down with David in the lobby of his historic apartment building, a luxurious space restored to its original 1920s decor. Said place, in addition to DC’s museums and architecture, serves as inspiration for his vintage-inspired design aesthetic and reverence for the curvaceous silhouette. We talked about his design process, the Mad Men craze, and his green lifestyle.

: What does the collection say about your own personal style?
DF: I love the styles from the 1930s through the 1950s, and every design reflects that. I personally own a large collection of WWII jackets and wear them for special occasions in the colder months. They are definitely my favorite article of clothing. I also like the 1950s aesthetic where men dressed very sharp and tailored and women's clothing was fitted yet feminine. I think it was the last era where clothing was truly beautiful, and I try to encapsulate that in my design aesthetic.

MSL: Where do you acquire your materials?
DF: I acquire my materials from all over the globe. For day-to-cocktail ensembles, I procure materials both locally and through online fabric retailers. For bridal and couture designs, I often important one-of-a-kind fabrics and trims from Europe. For one couture gown, I purchased a custom silk produced in the same shop that made the costumes for the HBO series, The Tudors.

MSL: How many pieces are typically in a collection?
DF: Since each design is custom-made, I do not produce a typical collection. Each season, I choose a theme and make a select number of designs based off the inspiration. This usually ranges from six to twelve pieces per collection.

MSL: Who is your target audience?
DF: My target audience is modern women who are on the move. When I established my label, I wanted to create designs that could seamlessly transition from the workplace to a cocktail party to any type of formal event. The modern woman does not want to waste time and money constantly changing her wardrobe. For my ready-to-wear designs, I create fashion-forward pieces that work in a variety of settings, assuring my client is effortlessly chic at every stage of her day.

MSL: What has been one of your most elaborate designs to date?
DF: One of my favorite designs is the Lake Gown I made inspired by the one Natalie Portman wears in Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones. Movie reproductions are always magical, as it is a labor of love to see a masterpiece on screen, and then see your inspired creation come to life. The minute I saw the gown, I knew it was extraordinary. It took three attempts and nine months to create the ombre effect with the dye. Start to finish, it took nearly a year to make. I sent it to a photographer in Ohio for a photo shoot and was absolutely mesmerized by the photographs. They are so beautiful, it looks like a dream.

MSL: Where do you see yourself in five years?
DF: Over the next five years, I hope to see my business grow into a thriving label. I am very happy living in DC and hope my fashions forever find a home in this wonderful city. It has always been a dream of mine to open a flagship store in New York, and I hope to achieve that within the next few years.

MSL: How does your green living influence your profession?
DF: I don’t waste anything! I measure my fabric carefully as not to waste and use fabrics that are high in quality and going to last. I recycle everything. And personally, I want to be healthy so I eat organic produce and walk everywhere.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Diamantina’s sustainable-spin on its leather goods

Rarely does one put leather and eco-friendly fashion in the same sentence. Then came along Diamantina, a Washington, DC-based leather handbag company that righteously claims sustainability as its moniker.

“I’m not going to tell you that leather production is completely free of toxins. ” Claudia Diamante says about her leather handbags. “However, the leather we use comes from a sustainable cycle where our trusted Argentine producers treat their cows very humanely.”

Such statement raises a conundrum for vegan fashionistas. If the purpose for not wearing leather is founded on the treatment of animals, does the assurance that designers and apparel companies such as Diamante purport of ethical conditions take precedent?

Argentina, known for its quality leather, produces cowhide from cows raised for consumption and not leather products, per se. A cow’s diet consists of high quality vitamin and cereal mix and pesticide-free grass. For production, every part of the cow goes unwasted.

There are environmental implications in the tanning process, which includes vegetable tanning, as there are in the production of any synthetic product. Diamante counters the argument by saying, “The tanning process itself does not yield toxins, as in air pollution, however the by-products of the process can be toxic and it is up to the producers to ensure proper disposal of contaminants. The main reason this process is done is to toughen the leather to ensure our products longevity. That’s where we hope to make an ecological difference. By producing long lasting products through a humane unwasteful process. ”

Diamante returns to her native Argentina bi-annually where she meets her design partner to discuss designs and manufacturer to survey working conditions and the production process.

Capitalizing on Argentina’s diverse geography and beauty, the Diamantina collection evokes luxury akin to the earth’s elements. The leather, fashioned from full grain, embossed, patent or suede, is complemented with detailed silver hardware, all hand-crafted by Argentinian artisans. The collection includes oversized handbags, hobos, and day and evening clutches.

“What we do is create beautiful handbags that will last you a lifetime,” Diamante says. Initially starting with leather jackets and handbags, the collection focuses on handbags and will expand to wallets in its spring/summer 2011 collection.

Visit the Diamantina Trunk Show this Saturday, August 28th at the Diamantina showroom (406 G Street NE, Washington, DC). RSVP,

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Neiman Marcus Hosts Fall Fashion Preview

Aptly timed with fall’s beckoning presence, Neiman Marcus at Mazza Gallerie hosted an evening of fashion’s fall trends courtesy of two DC resident fashionistas. Andrea Rodgers of Ask Miss A and model Katie Rost styled six models each in their favorite fall trends.

Rodgers, an admitted Chanel aficionado, opted for classic, tailored day and cocktail dresses with the necessary pop of hot pink such as a pink marabou shrug worn over a knee-length black fitted dress.

Rost, on the contrary, pulled separates that could be worn from day to night. Her first look introduced this season’s “jeggings”, aka denim leggings, paired with a Theory t-shirt and Diane vonFurstenberg leather jacket.

At the top of their list ranks 50s redux, sequined and gold studded embellishments, statement necklaces, and leather jackets.

“Although Katie and I have different styles,” Rodgers said, “we both incorporated similar fall trends.”

Common designers among their picks were dresses by Diane vonFurstenberg and Carmen Marc Valvo, Chanel jackets and handbags, Tory Burch suede knee-high wedge boots, St. John skirt suits, Alexis Bittar jewelry, and emerging designers, Aidan Mattox and Sue Wong, cocktail dresses.

For good measure, Liberty Jones, PR Manager for Neiman Marcus, suggested adding lace, capes or a poncho, and boots to your fall wardrobe. “Consider incorporating lace whether in a shoe or hair piece,” says Jones. “Trilogy offers an amazing fur poncho and Rebecca Taylor’s faux fur vest.” For boots, she seconds Tory Burch’s knee-high boots. "These are all smart DC looks."

Following the presentation, guests took advantage of free makeovers and noshed on cupcakes while listening to the jams of DJ Neekola.

Rodgers and Rost’s spotlight continues with their upcoming profiles in the September issue of Vogue. The magazine features women who are making a difference in their communities through their charitable work. Both Rodgers and Rost lead foundations committed to improving the lives of children in need, Courage for Kids and Ronald F. Rost Foundation, respectively.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Jason Wu Fall 2010 Collection Pays Homage to American Artist, Robert Ryman

In the art world, contemporary American artist Robert Ryman is revered for his use of mix-media, the fashion community can say the same for the impressionable Jason Wu. The two worlds paid their respects in a special one-night only event as part of the After 5 series at The Phillips Collection.

Great minds think a like. The museum partnered with Neiman Marcus and Project Beltway’s Rachel Cothran to illustrate the relationship between art and fashion, proving a visual sensation for the patrons and its subject.

Ryman’s Variations and Improvisations exhibit currently on display at The Phillips serves as the inspiration for Wu’s fall 2010 TSE cashmere collection. Wu, 27, captures Ryman’s quiet montage in a 13-piece collection of textured coats, dresses and separates. The event’s organizers garnered half of the collection for a live model demonstration while a video of Wu’s fall runway show streamed in the cafe.

A departure from previous collections in terms of color (with of course, the unforgettable off-white Grecian one-shouldered gown he designed for Ms. Michelle Obama), Wu inherits Ryman’s somber palette of cream, white, black with accents of soft pastels or variation of shades. The luxe fabrics and textures combined with color choice stimulated rather than deafened the senses. What can be more beautiful in the onset of winter than a lightness of being?

Real Estate agent Claire Welsh now knows what to wear this fall. “The collection is just amazing and I’m excited about wearing creaming, it looks very clean and sharp.”

Hosts Cothran (wearing a heavenly chiffon Vena Cava dress) and Neiman Marcus’s Liberty Jones opted for elegant ensembles in muted taupe and black, respectively, in spirit of Wu and Ryman, while the sold-out crowd dressed in this season’s bright hues. Yours truly donned a customized red cocktail dress designed by local designer, David Fisher, another talented independent designer who celebrates a woman’s hourglass silhouette. (More on Fisher in a forthcoming article.)

The Ryman exhibit ends September 12 and view Wu’s fall 2010 runway show streamed on his Web site.

models, T.H.E. Modeling Agency

Claire Welsh, fashion notable: adding sparkle to her ensemble with strappy heels by Giuseppe Zanotti and vintage Gucci purse

Orinda Basha, fashion notable: heels with ostrich feathers, purchased in South Africa

Project Beltway's Rachel Cothran, David Fisher of David Joseph Designs, and yours truly

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Shop the hottest summer sales during Dog Days in MidCity

DC and summer unanimously equals sticky hotness. Rather than wither away indoors this weekend, grab your friend and/or more aptly Sparky and cool off in MidCity. The 11th annual Dog Days in MidCity is here and the neighborhood stores and restaurants are gearing up for the season’s hottest sales.

Take advantage of major markdowns on spring and summer apparel and accessories and then pamper your pooch at Green Pets before a play date at Shaw Dog Park.

DC just got a bit cooler…

Caramel, suiting DC’s professionals in work and casual wear, offers up to 75% off on summer styles and 10% on fall preview items, plus shop an ADMK trunk show from 3 – 7 p.m. with special discounts on Saturday. Located: 1603 U Street NW.

Junction is the intersection between then and now. Vintage aficionados modernize classic trends with local artisans’ jewelry. Take advantage of $5 rack and $2 bins. Located: 1510 U Street NW.

Hip hop your way to Lettie Gooch, the street chic outpost for designers such as Orion, Beth Bowley, Prairie Underground and AG Denim, for discounts as much as 90% off. The Early Bird special, 10 a.m. – 12 p.m., offers 30% off on select jewelry. Play a game of hopscotch for a chance to win extra discounts starting at noon. The sidewalk sale includes 50% off selected handbags, 50 – 75% off selected denim, 30% off summer dresses and shirts, 50% off all menswear and 50 – 90% of clearance items. You will need Letti’s famous lemonade after working up a shopping sweat! Located: 1517 U Street NW.

Nana crams racks with spring and summer apparel marked down up to 50% off. Can’t leave without nabbing a vintage dress for $25 or less...and that’s why Nana was voted DC Favorite Boutique of 2010! Located: 1528 U Street NW.

Add edge to your wardrobe from Redeem. Owner Lori Parkerson stocks her 4-year-old store with independent designers such as Feral Childe, Wrath Arcane, and Kaylee Tankus. Take 25% off spring and summer apparel, plus an additional 25% off previously marked down merchandise for up to 60% off select items. Jesse Walker, designer behind REALM jewelry, will be onsite. Located: 1743 14th Street NW.

Rue 14, the creation of two former fashion insiders for Polo Ralph Lauren and Brooks Brothers, opens its loft space for patrons and dogs alike. Discounts on brands such as Free People, Penguin, and Gant. Located: 1803a 14th Street NW.

Treasury,another vintage haven, offers 20% off summer items (excluding jewelry) and a sidewalk bargain rack, where everything is $5. Preview the exclusive in-house line Ouroboros, handmade in DC from deadstock vintage textiles. Your ensemble is not complete without accessorizing from the LITHICS collection. You can have any ring customized to your size and finish specifications. Located: 1843 14th Street NW.

For a full list of participating stores and restaurants, visit MidCity, a business trade association promoting businesses in the U Street corridor.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Create your Mad Men look at Uesa Goods Vintage

Last Sunday marked the fourth season of AMC’s Mad Men and in true fashion, the drama delivered a thoughtful depiction of fashion history’s most colorful decade: the 60s. In forthcoming episodes, will costume designer Janie Bryant put Betty in a geometric print shift dress and Peggy in a mini skirt? Perhaps, Don will embrace the color orange? Oh, those rebels!

For the vintage aficionados and Mad Men fans, leave the drama in the boardroom and create your own retro glam with the era’s finest at Uesa Goods Vintage, the DC-based online vintage store.

Owner and vintage-connoisseur Uesa Robinson scours estate sales to offer her clients a treasure trove of decades past rare apparel, footwear, and accessories. Pick your Mad Men beauty and Uesa has an accommodating ensemble. For those dark and stormy summer nights, don’t leave the house without a tailored trench, perfected by Bill Blass. Going to an after-hours office party? Throw on a Pucci mini-dress and bold-colored low wedges. Accessorize with large beaded necklaces and bracelets.

As much as we love the show, remember, it is 2010. Consider adding a modern twist to your outfit with a metallic belt, skinny jeans, or gladiator sandals such as the “Cassandra” by Modern Vintage (sold online at Simply Soles). Alternatively, ladies, retro-fy your Theory suit with a psychedelic-print blouse and gents, wear a wide tie in a bold color and add The Kinks and The Who on your iPod for good measure.

So, what will Joan wear in tonight’s episode? I predict a shorter hemline.

Photos courtesy of Uesa Robinson

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Indonesian designers use traditional textiles in U.S. debut collection at fashion show

Indonesian fashion takes center stage at the Indonesian Integrated Investment: Remarkable Indonesia event Wednesday, July 7. Cita Tenun Indonesia/Indonesian Woven Cloths Association (CTI), with support from the Indonesian Embassy, brings Indonesian’s top designers to showcase traditional textiles in an effort to promote Indonesia as a central market for woven textiles.

The event will be held at the Ritz Carlton, 1150 22nd Street NW, beginning at 6:30 p.m. with a reception followed by a gala dinner and fashion show.

Designers Oscar Lawalata and Denny Wirawan launched their collections in the 90s, garnering immediate attention for their modern interpretations of traditional Indonesian clothing, without sacrificing their cultural identity. The designers integrate traditional textiles, fabrics such as tenun and ikat, natural dyes, and detailing to unite the two worlds. In doing so, the designers support communities to engage textile weavers across Indonesia.

Lawalata is the recipient of the British Council International Young Creative Entrepreneur (IYCE) Fashion Award 2009. He is noted for resurrecting cultural references through modern fashion, creating powerful fashion statements.

Denny Wirawan, who has an “ethnic ready-to-wear label”, equally claims several prestigious awards. Among them, the Fashion Designer Contest organized by the Femina Group (one of Indonesia’s leading fashion magazines), nominated for Designer of the Year by NOKIA & A+ Magazine, and was selected as one of the 5 Best Indonesian Fashion Designers by JAKARTA POST. He is also a member of CTI. His latest collection: “A Fascinating Journey of Sumatera” explores his fascination with the hand-woven blongsong cloth. The fabric, produced in South Sumatra, has unique designs similar to ikat with combined lines, checks, and range of colors and shades from soft pastels to bright and light tones.

RSVP to Kadrieka Maiden at or 240-446-8148.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

MSL styles for Vintage to Vogue Summer Fashion Show

My Signature Look teamed with fellow stylist, Bayou Muse, to showcase our styling talent at the Art Soiree's Summer Fashion Show last Friday. Yours truly outfitted the guys in vintage and contemporary clothes - taking him from the halls of Congress to Happy Hour to poolside. The event was held on the rooftop of the eco-friendly WestEnd 25 luxury apartments near Georgetown. The breath-taking view served as the perfect backdrop for an elegant evening of style. Here are some pics of the guys in one of three looks...check the MSL Facebook page for more pics.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Roarke NYC shows in DC

Last Thursday, DC fashionistas transformed their government attire from conservative to glam with one necklace. Laetitia Stanfield, one-half of the duo design team behind Roarke NYC, showcased the fall collection of bib necklaces, bracelets and garters in the chic confines of Napoleon Bistro in Adams Morgan.

The event brought out mom and local supporters of the one-year-old collection donning the line’s signature bib necklace “Le Charlot” adorned with intricate beading and weightless beaded bracelets. Each made-to-order piece begins in an Indian factory known for its beadwork, Oscar de la Renta and Balmain among its clients. The delicate detailing is paired with nontraditional fabrics such as chiffon and pomp mesh. The collection is not to be admired from afar, yet experienced.

The guests gushed over the Aztec and Ikat patterns and the nifty attachable braided chiffon extensions. However, the real showstopper is the bib necklace’s versatility – appropriate for both a day and evening ensemble – and its graceful draping.

“We scrutinize each piece for how the necklace lays,” Stanfield says. “The draping should appear without effort.”

The contrast between structure and fluidity equally describes the designers’ personalities. Stanfield, a former buyer for Bergdorf Goodman, admires her design partner’s ability to create from a blank canvas where she prefers an evolutionary process. Their complimentary nature has redefined statement accessories, propelled by innovation and design. Perhaps, the next iteration will involve recycled materials increasingly being embraced by the jewelry industry.

In their short history, Stanfield and partner, Mignonne Gavigan, have expanded their collection from one design to four, garnering wave reviews by celebrities and industry insiders. Undeterred by the potential lure for mass production, Roarke NYC remains a niche, exclusive to online and trunk shows. To show in DC was a logical choice for Stanfield, a native Virginian and George Washington graduate.

“DC fashion is really blossoming as evident by the number of retailers and designers they are carrying,” Stanfield says.

In the spirit of a good-neighbor policy, DC welcomes Roarke NYC.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Old Town Alexandria Boutique - 3 Days of Sales

Members of The Old Town Boutique District are welcoming summer with three days of sales, gifts and events. Stop by participating stores June 11, 12 and 13 for special discounts, gifts with purchase and other fun.

The Old Town Boutique District is a collection of 28 independent, locally-owned businesses located within walking distance of each other in historic Alexandria. Located just outside Washington, D.C. and easily accessible to the King Street Metro, these Old Town merchants offer a unique shopping experience. Shoppers can find everything from home décor items, fashion, jewelry, beauty items, children’s apparel and gifts.

Events and discounts include designer trunk shows at The Shoe Hive and The Full Cup, storytimes and craft classes for children at Hooray for Books, pick your own discounts at Monday’s Child and Pink and Brown, discounts on summer clothes at Treat, Gossypia and Apple Seed, free gifts with purchase from Arts Afire, The Christmas Attic and The Little Monogram Shop, free interior design consultations at Red Barn Mercantile, tastings at The Sugar Cube and free coffee at Grape + Bean, and chances to win classes from Fibre Space and La Cuisine.

Other participating merchants include:
Apple Seed, 703.535.5446, 115 S. Columbus Street
Arts Afire, 703.838.9785, 1117 King Street
Bellacara, 703.299.9652, 1000 King Street
Bloomers, 571.312.0852, 924 King Street
Diva, 703.683.1022, 116 S. Pitt Street
Fibre Space, 703.664.0344, 102 North Fayette Street
Fitness on the Run, 703.299.9333, 109 S. Alfred Street
Gossypia, 703.836-6969, 325 Cameron Street
Grape + Bean, 703.664.0214, 118 South Royal Street
Hooray for Books, 703.548.4092, 1555 King Street
Hysteria, 703.548.1615, 125 S. Fairfax Street
Imperfections, 703.837.1670, 1210 King Street
La Cuisine, 703.836.4435, 323 Cameron Street
Lauren B Gallery, 703.535.7880, 1316 King Street
Lawrence Miller & Co, 703.548.0659, 121 S. Royal Street
Little Monogram Shop, 703.549.3777, 106 ½ N. Columbus Street
Mint Condition, 703.836.6468, 114 S. Royal Street
Monday's Child, 703.548.3505, 218 N. Lee Street
Mystique Jewelers, 703.836.1401, 211 The Strand
Periwinkle, 703.519.5242, 1557 Potomac Greens Drive
Pink & Brown, 703.684.1050, 1212 King Street
Red Barn Mercantile, 703.838.0355, 113 S. Columbus Street
Stanton Gallery, 703.299.3055, 121 S. Royal Street
The Christmas Attic, 703.548.2829, 125 S. Union Street
The Full Cup, 703.836.9441, 218 N. Lee Street, Suite 206
The Shoe Hive, 703.548.7105, 127 S. Fairfax Street
The Sugar Cube, 703.548.2868, 210 N. Lee Street
Treat, 703.535.3294, 103 S. St. Asaph Street

To learn more about the Old Town Boutique District or to join its mailing list, visit

Monday, May 31, 2010

Fashion Show Round-Up, May 25 and 27th

Last week, designer labels hit the runway for two charity events benefiting the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society and Dress for Success.

The Woolly Mammoth Theater transformed itself into Bryant Park for the DKNY Spring 2010 collection as part of the second annual Couture for a Cure. Founders DC United’s Bryan Namoff and wife Nadine secured the collection through the generosity of Ms. Karan. Karan, who lost both her husband and friend to the disease, stated her support in a release, “Cancer has touched all of our lives in one way or another. To fight this dreadful disease, we have to come together as a community of compassion and consciousness.” The event attracted 400 on-trend guests to celebrate survivors and honor those who lost their battle. A percentage of the ticket sales will help underwrite the medical expenses for Joe Vide, Bryan’s former DC United teammate who was diagnosed with the disease in April.

At the National Museum of Women in the Arts, models walked gingerly through the main lobby in vintage French couture to raise funds for Dress for Success. The French-American Chamber of Commerce teamed with local fashion stylist Elizabeth Gibbens, to stage a fashion retrospect. The ensembles, apparel and accessories selected from Uesa Goods Vintage, Second Time Around, and Art & Soul, incorporated vintage pieces into a modern-day look. The event also included a silent auction and raffle for a trip for two to Paris. C’etait magnifique!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

GWFCC hosts a day of fashion advocacy on Capitol Hill

The Greater Washington Fashion Chamber of Commerce (GWFCC) has spent the last year hobnobbing with the politicos to draw their attention to the district’s fashion interests. Their efforts have recently paid off with the formation of the Congressional Apparel Manufacturing and Fashion Business Caucus. To celebrate, the GWFCC in collaboration with Fashion Washington, DC50 home of the CW and Yelp DC are hosting the first annual State of Style Awards and Advocacy Day on Thursday, May 20, 2010 at the U.S. Capitol, Room H-137 from 8:30a.m. – 2:00p.m.

Global radio/TV personality Jeannie “Kitty of the City” Jones of WKYS will host a fashion benefit at The District in Adams Morgan, proceeds going to the DC Fashion Foundation, Thursday, May 20 from 7 to 11p.m. presented by House of Echo and Curtis & Amanda Polk. The evening includes a fashion show featuring collections by Tashia Senn, Evelyn Brooks, Tsyndyma, Cecilia Guerra of Ceci G, and Kenny “Kas” Flanagan. Guests will nosh on hors d’oeuvres by Gina Chersevani of PS7’s Restaurant and drink signature cocktails by Versailles King’s Vodka and Emperor Vodka mixed by Famed Mixologists. The DC Fashion Foundation supports fashion student scholarships “Project Fundway” and student fashion camp “DC Camp Runway” in the greater Washington area. To purchase tickets to attend the awards luncheon and evening fundraiser please visit:

Honorees who will be accepting an award from GWFCC on Thursday, May 20, 2010 from 12p.m. – 2p.m. in the Capitol Visitor’s Center (CVC) building on Capitol Hill include the following:

o Elements of Fashion Legacy Award – Fern Mallis, President of Fern Mallis LLC, Fashion Business Pioneer
o Honorary leadership award – Rep. Diane E. Watson (CA) D-33, Co-Chair of Congressional Apparel Manufacturing and Fashion Business Caucus
o Fashion Advocacy of the Year award – Save the Garment Center, Inc.
o Leadership in Emerging Business Award – Lara Miller, Executive Director, Chicago Fashion Incubator & Emerging Designer
o GWFCC Fashion Scholarship award – Adegbemisola Ademisoye, 2009 Project Fundway Winner
o GWFCC Fashion Chamber Choice award – Evelyn Brooks Designs, GWFCC Member of the Year

The annual State of Style awards reception and advocacy day brings together the efforts of major national trade organizations, non-profits, industry veterans and designers involved in the development and preservation of the American fashion industry. To register for Advocacy day forums, meetings and activities please visit:

The GWFCC is a 501(c)(6) trade association that serves the greater Washington metropolitan area. Its purpose is to promote the business interests of the national fashion industry in addition to promoting Washington as a Global Fashion Capital.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

The simplicity of a tee

Everyone has a definition of “comfortable” wear. For some it is a breezy cotton dress that moves with them and another a fitted velour tracksuit. We’ll withhold judgment on the latter, but consensus says there is nothing better than the feel and simplicity of a basic tee.

Unlike other garments, the tee translates across socio-economic boundaries; therefore making it a wardrobe essential. There is a price point for everyone, a shade complementary to any skin tone, and necklines fitting for long and short necks. And in the spirit of entrepreneurship, the tee has ventured into the realm of dresses (i.e., Alexander Wang’s slim halter tank dress) and promotion of social issues (i.e., The Gap’s RED Campaign or celebrity designed graphics to support a cause).

But there are a few rules to get the most for your buck.

o Invest in quality fabrics – think about it, spending $80 on a high-quality tee is cheaper in the long run: last longer than the $10 tees you end up replacing bi-monthly (high quality doesn’t necessarily mean thick fabric)
o Choose tees that are tailored, rather than boxy
o Shoulder seam should sit right at the widest part of your natural shoulder
o No extra fabric under your arm
o Cap sleeves flatter most figures (broadens shoulders)
o Long sleeves should hit at the heel of your hand
o Ribbing is a big no-no – it loses shape after a few washes (again, always think in terms of clothes as an investment) and adds bulk
o A lightweight, fitted cotton tank worn as an undergarment will save you from soiling your top and additional trips to the dry cleaners!

Ladies, when aiming for a “comfortable” outfit, consider a well-cut tee with jeans, a pencil skirt, or shorts and add interest with jewelry and appropriate bag depending on the occasion. For guys, there is nothing wrong with jeans and a tee but opt for vintage tees to enhance that cool factor.

Tees making the cut

The Atlanta-based Alternative Apparel has dominated the tee market since 1995 with their über-soft fabrics and bright colors. The Alternative Earth eco line includes tees and pants made from organic cotton, recycled polyesther and man-made fibers derived from sustainable raw materials. Sold at Rue14, 1803A 14th Street NW, Washington DC.

Guys, stock up on tees by Comune, sold at South Moon Under (2700 Clarendon Ave., Arlington, VA), and Worn Free vintage tees and Nudie Jeans “Miles the Night Before” tee at the Denim Bar (Pentagon Row and 4939 Cordell Ave., Bethesda, MD). While there, surprise her with a Worn Free tee as well or the “Kathi Wrap top” by Velvet.
Worn Free

Nudie Jeans


Sunday, May 2, 2010

Eco-gifts for Mother's Day

This Sunday, we celebrate the family matriarch with breakfast-in-bed, flowers, or a long-awaited phone call. Mother’s Day is payback day. After years of being told to turn off the lights when not in the room or wearing hand-me-downs, you’ve become the poster child for environmental stewardship. Thank her with an eco-friendly gift.

Give her that Calgon "take me away"-moment with a gift-set of natural bath salts from Joyful Bath Co. Chief Bath Mixologist, Rochel Roland, creates organic concoctions with therapeutic benefits from healing muscle aches and pains to promoting energy and mental clarity. The Bethesda-based company has six signature bath salts (8 – 10 oz. jars).

Say I Love You with an “Envelope Letter” charm necklace by Lanyapi Designs. The repurposed charm holds a fingernail-size thin gold-filled sheet revealing a secret message (of course, we can’t tell you or else it wouldn’t be a secret!). All charm necklaces from Lanyapi Designs are one-of-a-kind.

Even mom’s can look sexy. The figure-flattering Twistflower Dress by ecoSkin hugs the curves while playing it modest with the arm and hem lengths. The super-soft, environmentally sustainable fabric is woven, dyed and sewn in the USA. ecoSkin is sold at Hysteria.

Complement the ecoSkin dress with an oversize clutch by Nazly Villamizar. Working with Colombian artisans, Villamizar uses jute, a natural fiber sustainably grown in Colombia. The clutch is fully lined and hand dyed with 100% vegetable products. Sold online at Virtuarte.

Better yet, treat her to an eco-fashion styling service by My Signature Look. After a mini-lesson on “eco-fashion”, she will be introduced to DC retailers stocked with eco-friendly clothes and accessories. She will walk away eco-chic!