Behind the Label: Boston Bag Company

Behind the Label: Boston Bag Company

“Elegance is not standing out, but being remembered.”

Giorgio Armani

Today, in the fashion industry it is not enough to be innovative. Buyers are getting whiplash with all the new trends, colors, patterns, and increasing collection releases. Thanks (not at all) to fast fashion every couple of weeks the window displays are turned over presenting a new “must-have”. There is nothing elegant or timeless about this trend. In a world of fast fashion the new stand out pieces are labels that have a history and message behind them, the antithesis of fast fashion.

I was fortunate enough to meet the incredibly talented Marie Thompson, lead product designer behind Boston Bag Company, a couple of months ago at the Boston American Field Pop Up Market. She graciously invited me to tour the factory and learn more about what makes these bags such a standout. I should admit that at first sight I was head over heels in love with the aesthetic as much as the construction. Boston Bags are meant to last a lifetime and they have proven their worth since 1928 when they first began manufacturing industrial canvas bags for utility workers.

When others outside the utility business began to see just how hardwearing and versatile these bags were, their presence was noticed everywhere from the boating industry, to sports fields, and the family picnic. It became the all American bag and has remained so today.

In 2014 under the guidance of Marie, Boston Bag Company expanded their line to include the Revival Series featuring three small pockets, a shoulder strap, and leather handgrips. What made the original lineman bag so popular can also be seen in the Revival Series. Metal rivets and double stitching give it a unique look but also offer a timeless characteristic that is missing in todays fashion industry while ensuring its strength and durability.

Here is what I love most about Boston Bags: first they are made in the United States. You can find their factory right in Boston and meet the people behind their existence. There are about five people behind the creation of the bags including Andrea who specialized in stitching on a long-arm machine. All their machines are original and an in-house repairman ensures they are up to snuff and produce the same quality customers have come to appreciate over the years. Furthermore, all the materials are sustainably and responsibly sourced. From the leather to the canvas, each step of the supply chain has been well cultivated and overseen, ultimately producing a bag you can feel good about from the first day you use it until the last. And, I recommend you hang onto it for a longtime. Boston Bags have been known to pop up on second hand sites for a pretty penny and their worth isn’t going to diminish anytime soon.

If a large tote isn’t what you had in mind at the moment, although I would highly recommend one for the perfect travel bag, Marie showed me the latest addition to the family, a waxed canvas, or natural canvas (buyers choice) clutch. But alas, it is not just a clutch. Keeping in the tradition of Boston Bag, Marie has designed a bag that is versatile, strong, and ultimately timeless. Use it as a clutch, a makeup case, a travel pouch, or just about anything else you can imagine. I see this bag becoming the perfect gift for even the most discerning recipient. Hopefully we will see this hit the store soon.

A very special thank you to Marie and the entire Boston Bag Company for letting me tour the factory. I can’t wait to see all their future endeavors.

To order your bag: Head on Over to Boston Bag Company

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Intrinsic Bonds: An Interview with Renli Su

Intrinsic Bonds: An Interview with Renli Su

“[I want to create] garments that retain physical traces of their past in order to form an intrinsic bond with the weaver” 

-Renli Su

Back when I was in London I had the great privilege of sitting down with designer Renli Su in her home to discuss her upcoming SS15 design process and inspiration. Named one of the “Ones to Watch” by Fashion Scouts Renli Su has continued to prove that fashion can be both ethical, beautiful, and empowering.

Just looking at her fabric choices I knew immediately great attention was paid to selecting, curating, and ultimately creating each piece. Renli told me that she placed a high importance on choosing fabrics that were organic both in their texture but also in their potential draping. Yaks wool from Tibet, ramie thread from China, and Irish linen are just a few of the fabrics you will see in her collections. It is evident that Renli spends a lot of time and care in hand selecting her fabrics through what must be a very laborious process. But, she confided in me, the real praise goes to the craftsmen and women who are doing the block printing in India and the weavers who use handlooms to ensure each textile maintains its’ natural feeling. Renli’s attention to the organic process certainly shows well.

Setting her apart from other designers is her insistence on being authentic. Everything from the fabric to the designs scream of detail at every step of the process. When creating her SS15 looks she mentioned her inspiration came from Louisa May Alcott’s “Little Women.” Renli was drawn to the concept that women have both a feminine side while also possessing a strong sense of self. Other designers have tried to separate these two concepts but Renli masterfully incorporates the two to create a collection that is both flowing in femininity yet maintains a structured like appeal.

Renli successfully shows that design does not have to abandon traditional modes in order to keep up with the modern pulse. She goes further pointing out that sometimes a throw back to a different era shouldn’t just be held in the design phase. The choice of fabrics and printing techniques deepen this sense in letting the wearer feel connected to a by-gone era while maintaining the modern flexibility we have come to demand from today’s fashions.

I for one cannot wait to get my hands on one of her pieces and look forward to seeing what the future hold for Renli.

For more information about Renli please visit her website at: http://www.renlisu.com/

Photographs taken from renlisu.com Little Women SS15 Collection

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An Instant Connection: Interview with Veronika Vimpelova

An Instant Connection: Interview with Veronika Vimpelova

An Instant Connection: Interview with Veronika Vimpelova

“Tradition is a guide and not a jailer.”
― W. Somerset Maugham

First a little background: When I started this whole blogging adventure I knew what I wanted to achieve but had very little understanding of how to get there. I read article after article; blog after blog, hoping some of the mystery would be unlocked. But, nothing quite prepares you like first-hand experience and a whole lot of courage. Veronika Vimpelova was one of the designers I had heard about months before I began. It came on the recommendation of a friend studying at Parson’s School of Design and I  couldn’t have been happier with the recommendation. As soon as I saw Veronika’s work there was an instant connection.

About Veronika and the Vimpelova Label: First off, getting meetings with designer’s seemed like an absurdity to me (why would they meet with a new fashion blogger?) but, with a little courage like I mentioned before, I blindly sent e-mails requesting interviews all while pouring out my love for their work. I just hoped they didn’t think I was some nut case and would give my request some consideration. Veronika did more than just give my e-mail some consideration. After explaining to her who I was and what I was looking to achieve she welcomed me to meet her at a tiny coffee house just outside London. I was thrilled but now had to figure out how to get there. I thought I had it all figured out until I arrived 45 minutes late – that’s London traffic for you! Terrified Veronika wouldn’t be there I couldn’t have been more wrong. Not only was she still there, but she welcomed me with the warmest of smiles and offered a coffee. It was evident this is why I had come to meet her; sincerity in all forms spills over into individual’s work and Veronika was oozing of it.

For over an hour we confessed our love for military apparel design in its’ simplicity and utilitarianism. Veronika told me she was deeply inspired by her Great-Grandfather who has seen battle first hand. There was an obvious comfort in her nostalgia as well as her interpretation of his uniform. She uses military lines and buttons intertwined with more modern fabrics that still pay homage to traditional folk-wear. The Vimpelova label accessibly transcends her Great-Grandfather’s life making it comfortable in today’s fashion forward pulse. By recreating prints from the end of the 18th and beginning of 19th centuries Veronika has created a label that pays tribute to a bygone era while her experimental attitude utilizing natural fibers and a drive to create timeless and classic pieces shows the wearer history doesn’t have to be stuffy or outdated.

While Verokina made mention of transitioning over into the costume film industry it is obvious that the fashion catwalks won’t let her go so easily. It is rare to find a designer with a finger on the past while putting her feet forward with quality, comfort, and tradition about all else. On 3 Feburary 2015 the Vimpelova collection will be shown on both the catwalk and in a popup store in London at the RAW: Natural Born Artists Event. If you are in the area I would highly recommend going and maybe you will even get to meet one of the sweetest designers out there: Veronika Vimpelova!

Information and tickets for the RAW: Natural Born Artists Event can be found at www.rawartists.org/vimpelova

To find out more about Veronika and the Vimpelova Label check out: www.vimpelova.com

Lastly, a huge thank you for Veronika taking a risk on an unknown blogger (at the time) such as myself and for deepening my knowledge and love of fashion design. Also, thank you for the use of the pictures from your collections which were found at www.facebook.com/vimpelova

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Ros Millar: Looking Towards the Future

Ros Millar: Looking Towards the Future

“The most beautiful women I have known had one thing in common apart from beauty: humility. It’s a shame that those with less to boast about do it the most.”
― Donna Lynn Hope

If you haven’t heard of Ros Millar yet, then you are missing out. Soon to become synonymous with timeless, cutting edge, and original jewelry; Ros is busy creating a brand that sets herself apart in an industry over saturated with knock-offs and uninspiring pieces. I had the serious honor of sitting down with her in the quaint Cockpit Yard Studio in London.

Aside from being one of the most humble and talented jewelers I have met, Ros packs some serious creativity and skill into her creations. Hailing from Northern Ireland she made the move to London starting her own line after University. When I asked Ros if jewelry design had always been her ambition the answer was no. Originally Ros focused on fashion design, gravitating more towards sculpture and graphics. It was only when forced to take a jewelry class during University that she fell in love with the craft. When left to experiment with various techniques on her own Ros fell in love with more traditional techniques that have been forgotten over time. This includes the use of cuttlebone casting and photo etching. The remarkable thing about using cuttlebone is that once that cast is used a new one has to be created making each piece a unique treasure for the soon to be owner. The results of using such methods besides the pieces’ uniqueness is allows for Ros’s personality, likes, and dislikes to really shine through.

So how exactly would you classify the Ros Millar collection? Some have described it as “Gothic Lux Edge” and while I tend to agree with this I also think it over simplifies the current collection. The term gothic can be off-putting to some but I cannot stress enough that with Ros there is something for everyone. From dainty stack-able bracelets, to chunky statement necklaces, and delicate cocktail rings the complexities that are Ros Millar help to satisfy any consumer. As Ros pointed out she doesn’t want her jewelry to define the person, she wants the wearer to make it their own.

What’s next for Ros Millar? Already named UK Designer of the Year in 2013 and had her pieces adorn the bodies of Rita Ora and Jourdan Dunn, Ros doesn’t look like she is slowing down anytime soon. Her collections have recently been picked up by Harvey Nichols, Urban Outfitters, and Mino to name a few. Her previous collections including Meteor, Nugget, Black and Rose, and Fortress clearly embody the influences of nature, and medieval life. Moving forward Ros hinted that we may be seeing pieces shaped by biology and various sea creatures with an emphasis on a smaller collection showcasing larger stones with a few refined pieces. I for one cannot wait!

For more information on where to buy Ros Millar Jewelry please check her stocklist here.

For pieces up for sale on-line you can check out her website here.

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Leaps Of Imagination: Miguel Alex AW14/15 Collection

Leaps Of Imagination: Miguel Alex AW14/15 Collection

“Without leaps of imagination or dreaming, we lose the excitement of possibilities. Dreaming, after all is a form of planning.”

-Gloria Steinem

So often we go through our days imagining things to be different. Our imaginations and dreams habitually outpace reality and few of us dare to fully indulge in their absurdities. Miguel Alex is not one of those people. He doesn’t ask what is possible. He dares to make his imagination come to life molding those dreams into reality and creating one of a kind pieces in which you can palpably feel the energy and excitement.

A tour of his showroom in Madrid demands a certain homage. The genius of his work is not traditional. The asymmetrical lines, use of various materials, and alternative draping come together to form perfect harmony wherein one does not outshine the other. My first reaction to seeing his AW14/15 collection was one of pure energy. I could imagine Miguel working late at night, frenetically moving around the room from sewing table, to mannequin, to design table while music played in the background at a considerably loud volume. It made me want to be part of the process, to soak up some of that energy and too innocently enjoy its’ purity.

While giving a nod to the sophisticated woman in his choice of colors and comfort, Miguel also makes sure to nudge her along the lines of progress all while keeping her in the comfort zone. At first glance a jacket may appear stylish for the way it is cut yet, ideal for transgressing any style of the moment. Upon closer inspection you start to see Miguels’ imagination leap into reality. The jacket is partially made from wood, some of the bags from stone. This leaves one to ask how can it be so versatile, so purposeful, so light, and comfortable while being made from unconventional materials? Sometimes I find it better not to ask how or why but to just dive into the world that is Miguel Alex. He has demonstrated throughout his collections that when we stop asking questions and just enjoy the leap from reality to imagination magic happens.

Miguels’ SS15 collection promises to continue exciting the imagination. The colors are muted, the lines asymmetrical, and the overall feel whimsical. But, don’t let this whimsy fool you. The collection is meant to highlight the sophistication and ease of a woman while paying tribute to the hecticness that is daily life.

I hope you enjoy the AW14/15 collection and the sneak peek to the SS15 collection as much as I did!

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Love At First Sight: Moises Nieto AW14/15 Collection

Love At First Sight: Moises Nieto AW14/15 Collection

“She loved him because he had brought her back to life. She had been like a caterpillar in a cocoon, and he had drawn her out and shown her that she was a butterfly.”

Ken Follett: The Pillars of the Earth

It was love at first sight! Walking into the Moises Nieto showroom I knew immediately the woman I was and the woman I wanted to be. In a world of revolving trends Moises has the ability to bring fashion into focus without being over confident.

As one of the designers to watch Moises Nieto does not disappoint. I had the true pleasure of viewing his AW14/15 collection in Malasana, Madrid and it was a transformative experience. I find it easy to get lost in an unyielding selection of designers, fashions, and trends. Often, it is effortless to conform to the style of the moment while easily losing our own fashion identity. Moises doesn’t demand this loss of identity. If anything he guides us back to simplicity, a complimentary accessory to the individual.

It was clear that Moises has the utmost respect and deep understanding for a woman, not just her body but also her sense of being. Simple lines with rich fabrics made 100% in Spain pay tribute to his home, his mom, national art, and youth culture; never demanding a certain ideal of the women he envisioned wearing his creations. It is easy to imagine with so many inspirations the collection could be confused or overpowering. This could not be further from the truth.

What I loved most about the collection was its’ ease. More than once while I was in the showroom I found myself daydreaming about working long hours and then running out to meet friends with certain effortlessness. His clothes have that kind of effect on a woman. The wool and lace combinations, neutral palettes, and comfort make it ideal for any woman looking for key pieces to add to her closet. I cannot wait until the collection comes to the United States but in the meantime have been busy stocking up from his on-line store!

Shop the collection at: www.moisesnieto.com

Feature Image from the Moises Nieto FW/14 Campaign Ad 7’27”

The Apartment PR Agency. Madrid

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