Thursday 25 November 2010

say it at Christmas...

I'm on a bit of a power trip this week after using last weeks gift guide to push a couple of people in to some cute purchases so I thought I'd do a Round 2.

This week i've focussed on statement gifts. These are the the bold, in your face, unforgettable pieces which really say something about you or the person you're gifting it too. All are things that are sure to get lots of comments so you can be sure you'll never be forgotten as the wonderful friend you are. Some are quite literally a statement, others just make a visual statement. They're fun and loud, just make sure as always to keep you recipient in mind when you're choosing and be nice - My absolute favourite has to be that specs jumper. What's yours?

All prices are in US$ unless otherwise stated.

1. Neivz by Steven Shein grow up necklace £30 2. Whistles intarsia spectacles jumper £95 3. CAST supernova leggings $31 4.Whistles intarsia bulldog jumper £95 5. Dear Colleen skills tote $12 6.Tovicorrie leather iphone case $38 7.In the library perfume absolute 15 ml $65 8. Canny Belle hello goodbye earrings $4.86 9. NoFormDesign ring ring $50 10. R.W Scissors knits badges $10NZ 11. Silly Buddy colorful cubes dog collar $27. 12. Melbell aargh barrette $6 13. Plastique avant garde necklace $20 14. paperwhite studio love you more t-shirt $20 15. ASOS frosted sunglasses £10 16. Timex 80 pink taffy watch £50

Fashion Friday by Evie Kemp

Thursday 18 November 2010

a fashionably handmade christmas...

If nothing else, Christmas is an opportunity to relax and indulge yourself and those you love. As adults we can (for the most part) choose the way we want our own Christmas to be whether that means embracing the traditions of your childhood or banishing them to the back of your memory and starting afresh. Christmas means different things to each of us, but at the very least it is the perfect opportunity to celebrate your hardwork, eat well and spend time with good friends and loved ones.

I wanted to put together a little fashion gift guide of handmade and designed items, leaving the chain stores out of it. Clothing is often an under-rated and/or badly chosen gift but it doesn't have to be. If you think you know a person and their style, don't be afraid to try and find something new for them. If sizing is what bothers you accessories are things that can be beautifully crafted and can make a really special gift. So long as you keep in mind the recipients style rather than your own you should be fine.

Of course no one says that you can't treat yourself at Christmas, so these selections are more than a bit self-indulgent (I'm definitely going to treat myself to those gold flats). Enjoy and feel free to share any handmade fashion and accessories you have bought for gifts or would like to receive! Remember to order really soon if you're buying from overseas too.

Picture 1.

Clockwise from top left: 1. Victoria n Bird striped peter pan collar dress $77, 2. Lolo and Lulu leather bow $22, 3. Emma lucie lace bow sweater $155(NZ), 4. In my neck of the woods Gravity necklace $17, 5. Aforfebre 2 sterling silver initial rings $38, 6. Extraseed satin eco flats $38, 7. Stash small camera bag $115, 8. Dear Colleen hello sailor rosette $15.90

Picture 2.

Clockwise from top left: 1.Thief and Bandit patterns forever braided bracelet $16, 2. Mary Ink dearie pullover $40, 3. Freedom creative japanese fabric brooch $15(NZ), 4. Neneee indian summer dress $98, 5. Miju and You arrow ring $24, 6. Miju and You arise walnut necklace $36, 7. Golden Ponies gold oxford flats (more colours available) $38

Wednesday 17 November 2010

my bag...

'What's in my bag' seems to be a popular theme on twitter and blogs right now and I think it's a smart little way to get a glimpse into someones life so I thought I would share. My bag is very empty today, but I've been totally honest - I've given my wallet it's own section as it's quite large and is hiding a lot of extra junk.

So here's a few pointless facts that you can find out about me; I have a large leather bag that my parents bought me for my birthday (some of you will have read about it here), I walk everywhere so I only use bags that you can wear across your body as everything else is a pain to fuss with- it has to be large as the more shit I do, the more shit I have to lug around with me.
I really do carry a notebook everywhere, I get through about one a fortnight. Currently I'm using the yellow 70's style MMMG one. Ideally I like lined or squared paper - plain paper freaks me out. I have a few bits of stock with me today some tea towels to drop into a shop for a wholesale order and a rosette to photograph. Under the rosette is one of the most important things in my life - my orders book. Every single order that I get goes into that book once I have completed the order I tick next to the name and write the date so I know when it was posted. Next to my order book you'll spy some make-up, yes I'm a little vain. I may have holes in my shoes but I wear Channel lipstick - if I was to hind anything it would be that I feel a little ashamed that I spend so much money on a bit of wax in a tube.
I always have my sunglasses on me, I find the sun unbelievably bright in New Zealand. And yes that's right I have two phones not because I'm a super important business woman it's just that my iPhone doesn't work as a phone outside of the UK so it's been down graded to an iPod touch and I have a rubbish little pay as you go. I'm not sure if you can make out my headphones but they're in a terrible state they're held together with japanese masking tape and super-glue. The rest is just bit's of scrap paper and post office receipts. For some reason I'm still carrying American dollars in my wallet - I keep thinking I'll be heading back through there soon so why take them out - but if I'm honest they do get in the way.

If you fancy you can also take a look inside Evie's bag and remember to drop by tomorrow for her fashion friday post.
On a final note I've had another chair re-covered at es design - it's in their show room at the moment if you want to pop along to take a look. It's not as outlandish as my pink office chair but I think the blue velvet with the wood is so yummy and I have the perfect cushions in mind to make it a little more hip (the cushions on it aren't mine). I picked up the chair as part of a three piece set in the salvation army's a few months back, it was a utter steal. Two of my friend have taken the other pieces off my hands so we're all having them reupholstered in different fabrics - I'll try and get some pics to share as they get their's done.

Thursday 11 November 2010

in the paper...

I had a different post written for today but then carrying on from gratuitous Rob Ryan loveliness (below) I was directed to the Rob Ryan wedding dress. How have I never seen this before? It makes me want to get married… but to a paper groom.

The idea of a paper dress is an adorable concept that to me really signifies that link between the graphic and the fashion designer. Paper is so important to a designer and I personally think paper is just the most perfect material there is. (If you're having doubts about paper then you must check out the blog Upon a Fold). In another post I want to address more the connections and crossovers between these two design disciplines but for now I'm just going to share a few of my own favourite paper looks.

Theres not really much to say about paper dresses. They're just incredibly fun to look at. However something that should be taken from them is that if you can make a gown from toilet paper you can't blame your materials as an excuse for a shoddy design. (The pink and white designs above are all made from toilet paper... wow)

Speaking as someone who this year has made a paper dress I say everyone should relax, grab some newspaper and a stapler and go wild. Call it art therapy, real life Project Runway or just some crazy time. Paper is lovely and so is Haute Couture. Oh and of course a paper outfit wouldn't be complete without the paper shoes.

By Evie Kemp

Tuesday 9 November 2010


This is not the blog post I'm meant to be writing - but in the last week or so I've really started to think about the future, not the distant hover-skateboard future but next year. I haven't had a clear vision for myself or my business since starting 'Dear Colleen' it was more of a field of dreams philosophy, which to be fair isn't working out so badly but if I'm really going to turn this into something more then I have get my head round what I actually want.
One morning last week while looking at illustrator extraordinaire Rob Ryan's blog something just clicked and it became very clear than I want a studio, I used to collect pictures of desks but a desk isn't going to cut it anymore I want more space and space with room for screen printing facility. I'm also facing the very real and scary fact that i'm going to be working on 'Dear Colleen' full time before next year is through. I would say all the fear is met in equal part by incredible excitement but I'm definitely developing a knot in my tummy.
However I'll continue to take inspiration from Rob Ryan's amazing studio and shop shown above and Wellington furniture designer/maker Duncan Sargent who runs this workroom come shop (the red building also shown above), which I guess is more what I have in mind. I really do believe that knowing what you want is the hard bit, making it happen is just a case of one foot in front of other so I think it's nearly time for me to take the first step.

Thursday 4 November 2010

dressing for success in the handmade market...

I'm having a bit of a break this week (and by break I mean catching up on paperwork- yuck), anyway that's why it's been so quiet on the blog front. I'm hoping to write a quick round up about Craft2.0 tomorrow and be back into the swing of thinks more fully next week. In the meantime I'll let Evie do the talking today. Inspired by my recent outing at Craft2.0 this fashion friday is all about dressing to represten your business and yourself. I really love this as an idea for an article and I'm hoping we can follow up with a part 2, so if you have a story and hopefully a couple of photos to share about the way you like to dress for your 'art, design or craft' business then please drop Evie a line


In the pre-Christmas rush of the craft market crush what is it that gets you and your stall noticed? With so many beautiful things and hoards of customers even the most exquisite products can sometimes get overlooked. It is so important that your products and more importantly your brand is looking it's best and that includes you. When people choose to buy handmade they have a connection to the person who made it and to them, you ARE your brand. Personal appearance is so important and the way you dress could change someones mood. Call me fickle but I've honestly been swayed many a time by an enthusiastic and well-dressed seller all because they inspired me.

I thought I would pick Jessica Whiting's brain on the topic as a seller, craft market veteran, Auckland Art & Craft Fair organiser, founder of Foxes shop of design & wonderment and all-round know-it-all in the NZ craft and indie design scene. Jess makes some great points on the role of personal style in handmade success…

I always try and wear something that someone I know (or stock) has made. I have an unhealthy obsession with brooches so I usually have one on. My favourites are a Dear Colleen custom black rosette with my name on it that she made for me earlier this year and some works from Cheek Pinchy — nearly every accessory on my dresser has been made by someone I know; I am so lucky to know so many clever and talented people! I think that it's important to practice what I preach; I always promote my artists works by showing that I genuinely do like what they make and buy it myself, I choose things for the store that I would like to own or already do own.

How important do you find what you wear to events? It's like being the lead in a play — which sounds so cheesy! But you are playing a character, you are your own brand and people need to instantly recognise that. At the same time, it's so easy as my work is me to a tee so it's not hard to dress as yourself! I do make a conscious effort though in my choices when I get up in the morning for a market or a publicity meeting; I may not be working in an office anymore or need my suits, but I still have to keep up appearances.

As a market organiser and longtime stall holder do you notice those that make an effort? Absolutely! Quite often I only deal with people via e-mail or phone, or you read their blog or shop their on-line store so there is minimal physical contact. When you finally meet that person in 'real life' you have sort of built them up in your mind and it can be quite strange when they look so different to what you expect! That's only happened to me a couple of times, I think that most indie designers or crafters are pretty open and honest about who they are and their appearance naturally reflects that.

Is there anyone you think of who really 'IS' their brand? I think that Gem and Nathan Speeden from Hunter Gatherer are an extension of their brand, but again that is because the brand came from them. They always look fantastic behind their table, totally at one with their work.

Thank you to Jess for sharing her thoughts!

With all this in mind I've put together a couple of points to consider if you're wanting to brand yourself a little better at your next market or event.

  1. Take a look at your display, who would you like to see standing behind it or (even better) what would make a great photo (your photo will inevitably be taken).
  2. Interpret and reinterpret. It's not about being ridiculous you can be fashionable, stylish and comfortable and still be incredibly effective. For example if you sell children's toys, you don't need to stick one on your head, but think about the colours, the textures and the overall theme of your brand.
  3. Practice what you preach. If you can, wear what you sell. Be inspirational. You wouldn't sell make-up with a bare face, the same rule applies here.
  4. A market is a step away from reality: it is not an office. Shoppers aren't there because they have to be. They're there because they really want to be. It's a happy place, so have fun. Markets are full of visual delights, don't be afraid to be one of them yourself!
A smile goes miles (but you knew that).Because a picture speaks a thousand words (and I've already written about 1000 of them) I thought I'd finish up today with a bit of visual inspiration from one of this week's featured etsy sellers Shan Shan from TinyToadstool. Shan Shan has both a vintage shop and a handmade shop selling her (very cute) knitted accessories. However what really made me ooh and ahh was Shan Shan's personal style lookbooks. Her distinct, pretty style totally embodies TinyToadstool and visa versa, she really is her brand and it's addictive.
It's a personal choice as to how far you like to go with this, but I'd love to hear your thoughts on the subject (both buyers and sellers) and you can nominate your own best dressed too if you like.