Friday, February 26, 2010

Lanyapi Designs: Repurposed vintage jewelry with a soul

Vintage is inherently immortal. Furniture collectors flock to antique stores to restore weathered centuries-old chairs and armorers. U.S. cities like Reno, Nevada host week-long festivals in honor of the “vintage” car. Fashionistas shop “vintage” stores for original Chanel suits and one-of-a-kind concert tees. Etsy has cornered the repurposed and vintage jewelry market, and among its designers is D.C. resident, Daisy Bandera-Duplantier.

Bandera-Duplantier, 24, launched Lanyapi Designs two years ago when her collection of charms required a new lease on life.

Lanyapi, in reference to the act of giving something extra, honors relics and quarter-size charms such as lockets, a key, or even a tiny harmonica by fashioning them into necklaces, earrings, bracelets and keychains. They are memories worn close to the heart.

You can say that Bandera-Duplantier is a romantic, unlocking personal sentiments experienced in association with a time, person or place.

“I don’t necessarily follow trends when I am making my pieces,” Bandera-Duplantier said. “I love turning something old into new and knowing that a piece is going to evoke an emotion in someone.”

Case in point, I fell in love with the brass-plated cut out of France and attached Eiffel Tower necklace, recalling fond memories of my study abroad there in college.

She approaches each collection with a memory of her own.

“I am inspired by nature and travel so you will find many pieces from places I’ve been to such as India, Peru or Japan, or I develop a theme around love,” she says.

Other sources are from vendors on Web sites like Etsy, fairs, flea markets, and Eastern Market, where a special section is reserved for vintage.

Repurpose your own special token with Bandera-Duplantier’s help by placing a custom order on her Etsy site,

While some humans like to think they are immortal, vintage has found its fountain of youth with a little help from jewelry designers like Bandera-Duplantier.

Lanyapi Designs Trunk Show, Friday, February 26; 5 – 9 p.m. at Nana

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

DC Fashion Shows Spotlight Ethical Designers

Ethical fashion shared the spotlight at DC Fashion Week 2010 thanks to Avani Ribbon. The organization introduced nearly 150 eco-fashionistas and fashionistas alike to six designers and fair trade companies, proving that eco and ethical fashion is ready-to-wear and au courant.

The Textile Museum served as the backdrop for the runway complementing the current exhibition of contemporary Japanese fashion. Gowns by Japanese designers Issey Miyake and Yohji Yamamoto were suspended in air while DC designers showcased green jewelry, fair-traded handbags and scarves, and clothes produced by women co-ops grounding the fundamentals of style and innovative design.

For the parents of one of the models, the show debunked the idea that eco-fashion means hemp tees.

“The name “eco-fashion” can suggest clothes that are unattractive, but the designers showed how eco-fashion can be great looking,” Jim Sandman said with his wife, Beth Mullin, adding “you could really see yourself wearing some of the pieces.”

Model Bridgett Bassett, 21, sported a sheer tank and sheath top by Rupalee over black leggings (her own) and a necklace by Calamarie in the show. “I love the boho feel of this look. It is very light and flowy,” she said. “I would not suspect this top is “green.” This is something I can dress up or down.”

Cecilia Guerra dressed models in her new collection, Ceci G. The jewelry designer recently turned her skills to apparel, combining her reverence for the 60s and bold colors. The simple A-line construction factored into casual and cocktail-ish sheaths that could be dressed up or down with a pair of shoes.

Thick wool scarves by Peruvian Trends substituted for menswear as male models boldly walked passed spectators naked sans covered from waist to thigh (although most donned scarves around the neck with or without the pants).
Going green looked chic when accessorized with jewelry by Melissa Lew or handbags by fair-trade companies Calamarie and Blumpari.

Avani Ribbon works with local and international eco-designers and fair-trade companies in educating consumers about ethical fashion. The DC-based organization has produced shows for DC Fashion Week and Street Glam Fashion Event.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

DC Ethical Fashion Runway Show kicks off DC Fashion Week on Monday, Feb. 15

DC Ethical Fashion Runway Show kicks off DC Fashion Week this Monday, February 15 at the Textile Museum. The Ethical Fashion Show features local and international ethical designers who take an ethical approach to their design and production. Avani Ribbon, in collaboration with Social Butterfly Events and DC Fashion Week, marks its return as organizer of the show.

Avani Ribbon’s main objective is to promote sustainable development in the fashion industry. It achieves this through education and marketing services to small businesses (retailers) and designers. Priya Downes, founder and President of Avani Ribbon, requires their clients to adhere to an ethical code of conduct.

“Being part of the DC Fashion Week demonstrates that ethical can set trends and that green designers can compete with the mainstream,” Downes says.

The show will feature six jewelry and accessories designers.


Winner of the NYC Design Competition for “Most Socially Responsible Handbag,” Blumpari designs handbags inspired by the Thai culture and traditions. Blumpari, pronounced bloom-pari, means the “the eternal heavenly blossoming flower.” Designer Cherry Kwunyeun studied at Parsons where she received a Fulbright grant to study and consult on microfinanced handicraft/textile groups in Thailand.

CG Originals
Since 2003, Cecilia Guerra is creating chic and fun pieces of jewelry, her collection includes pieces made from materials such as sterling silver .950, turquoise, spondilus and avalon In 2005 she combined her lifelong interest in the handcrafted arts with her niece Patricia Real forming CG originals. The pieces are designed for women of all ages to make them feel sophisticated and stylish.

In February 2009 CG originals introduced a ready to wear clothing line Ceci G. The designer Cecilia Guerra get her inspiration from the late 60's, as well as the different colors and textures of the fabrics.

Traditional Art Reinterpreted was founded in 2009 by Catalina Lemaitre in Washington DC. Calamarie works with artists across Colombia to preserve traditional art forms by purchasing and developing products that use traditional materials and techniques but are reinterpreted for the contemporary woman. At DC Fashion Week 2010, Calamarie will showcase the recently arrived winter collection, including virgin wool and hand woven hammock cloth bags, iraca palm clutches, ground coffee, seed and orange peel necklaces and many more hand-made and earth-friendly accessories.

Melissa Lew Jewelry
Melissa Lew is an award winning DC Metro area artist and designer whose work is strongly influenced by her Chinese heritage, especially the culture’s deep respect and esteem for nature. She uses various green and sustainable materials, including recycled silver (precious metal clays) and bamboo, to create unique eco-friendly, sculptural jewelry to wear and/or display. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in Art and Visual Technology from George Mason University in 2005; her work has received numerous awards and has been exhibited throughout the D.C. Metro area, including at the Bead Museum of Washington D.C.

Peruvian Trend
Peruvian Trend Co. represents the fine art and crafts of Peruvian indigenous women artisans. Using ancestral techniques, PT Co. showcases clothing, accessories and home accents using 100% natural fibers as Baby Alpaca wool, Pima organic cotton among natural elements as semi-precious stones from the Andean region of Peru.

PT Co supports the artwork of women artisans from the Andean and Northern region in a NGO called Myta Kipu, where 90% of the money goes to them and 5% is used to organize preventative and public health campaigns in their communities. This partnership provides these women with income and needed health services.

Rupalee presents figure flattering, contemporary women's apparel conceived to make its wearer look fabulous, feminine and graceful at all times. Rupalee's sustainable and fair-trade clothing is eco-friendly, made from hand-woven and hand-block printed fabrics, earth friendly dyes and hand embroidered. Fabrics are 100% cotton, cotton silk blend and 100% silk is used. Rupalee is a member of Fair Trade Federation.

The event is free but reservations are highly recommended (space is limited). Doors open at 6 p.m. for networking and show begins at 7 p.m. RSVP at