Saturday, October 29, 2011

Big Heart Collection by Sanja Grcić of Slovenia

One of the most rewarding aspects of maintaining a blog like Ecco*Eco is the opportunity to observe the evolution of talented young designers like Sanja Grcić from Ljubljana, Slovenia

I first featured Sanja's street couture designs in early January, 2011, and I am excited to see how far she has journeyed since then with the creation of her recent 'Big Heart' collection for Philips Fashion Week in Slovenia. Sanja writes, "The collection 'Big Heart' is inspired by Amelia Earhart, Hannah Arendt and Susan Sontag. Designed with thoughts about sports days and evening parties in working shoes – with the sound of saxophone on the streets of New York." This collection has great style and electric pops of color – not to mention those super cool shoes by Borosana. I am hoping to meet this superstar in Ljubljana before too long. All images courtesy of the designer.

Fashion & Accessories: Sanja Grcić
Borosana shoes for Borovo: Sanja Grcić
Patterns for digital print for Firma: Milanka Fabiančič (HaHa)
Jewelry for Firma: Enisa Kunšič
Photo: Nada Žgank
Styling: Barbara Žgalin
MU: Branka Pavlović
Hair: Stevo Pavlović
Model: Alma (MG)
AD: Jerneja Beti 

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Andrea Gutierrez Jewelry Launches New Website

The exquisite topography of a beaded cuff by Andrea Gutierrez

Congratulations to Andrea Gutierrez on the launch of her exquisite new jewelry design website. If ever there was a designer who understands that 'beauty is in the details', it is Andrea with her innovative process of recycling vintage flea markets finds and precious antique embellishments. The crafting is incredibly intricate – both painterly and textured in the surface designs created. I have one of her beaded couture cuffs, and it honestly is one of the most stunning pieces of jewelry that I own.

Hours and hours of handcrafting to create slow fashion beauty

I search flea markets and antique dealers for vintage and antique beaded handbags - carefully disassembling the bags and separating their tiny beads, recycling the past and the materials of another time. The cuffs evolve as I embroider bead, stone, diamond, gold or silver onto the silk. Each piece requires many hours of handwork. – Andrea Gutierrez

View the entire collection here. All images courtesy of the designer.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Indie Designer: Relogyyy of Thessaloniki

One of the best aspects of being a global nomad is the serendipity that is the roadmap of my  life – allowing for unexpected encounters with great artists and designers along the way. 

I was excited to discover, upon my return from Greece in late September, a message from designer Giota Kai of Relogyyy. Her atelier in Thessaloniki produces one-of-a-kind pieces from dead stock fabrics, vintage finds, and colorful fashion remnants – including trims, tassels, and cast-off bits. This cool veteran of the fashion industry is putting a new spin on textile waste by highlighting and illustrating fashion's more whimsical and arty nature.

It's nice to know that resourceful people everywhere are connecting and sharing their fashion stories and methods. This is what it is all about. I am not interested in trends per se but rather finding clever folks who can teach me a trick or two along the way.

Visit Relogyyy on etsy to learn more.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Coclico Autumn/Winter 2011 Picks

We will be doing a special preview of Coclico's Spring/Summer 2012 collection during the next few weeks, but in the interim, I wanted to share several of my favorite styles from the Autumn/Winter 2011 collection – currently available at Coclico's Nolita boutique as well as online

Coclico is committed to ethical manufacturing. Their website's practices description states the following in regards to leather: "We are using more vegetable tanned leathers. These leathers have a beautiful, hand-finished patina from tanning agents derived from bark, fruit, and seeds. We know that sustainability is not as simple as using veg-tanned leather. It's about our tanneries maintaining environmentally responsible practices. We like to reward tanneries who can prove certified standards with our business. This includes water quality maintenance, efficiency practices, and chemical sequestration. It is also desirable to use local sources close to the shoe factory whenever possible." 
Be sure to read the 'raison d'etre' section of the website for all of the steps taken by Coclico to craft stylish, high quality footwear as well as setting new standards in the leather industry. Stay tuned for our Spring/Summer 2012 previews soon.

KAAM Handmade Accessories

I am always on the lookout for one-of-a-kind accessories that celebrate an engaging art fashion fusion. Perhaps this is why these fantastic knot necklaces by KAAM handmade in Poland really caught my eye. 

Designer Kamila Skrzypulec intricately crafts colorful
 wearable sculptural necklaces out of knotted nylon fiber and satine rope 

Kamila's blog is also a treasure trove of creative ideas and inspirational design snippets. Her wearable designs are beautifully packaged and collectible as unique works of fiber art.

KAAM all tied up – down to every last detail

all images courtesy of the designer
learn more here

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Shabd Fuses Art, Fashion and Natural Phenomena

Tie-dye! The ancient eastern technique and former symbol of psychedelia has been enjoying a stunning revival. Is it the current Zeitgeist of protest and change? The rise of DIY fashion? Is the Aquarian Age finally dawning? Whatever its source may be, New York label Shabd takes the trend to new heights.

Artist Shabd Simon-Alexander bestowed her fabulous name upon the label in 2009 when she made apparel her medium of choice, treading the borderlands of art and fashion, favoring neither above the other. Now in their 4th season, Shabd designs really are works of art: all fabric hand dyed by the artist herself in the Williamsburg studio and each piece crafted in New York's garment district. Shabd's work celebrates the history and culture inherent to hand dyeing, applying this to trans-cultural, inter-seasonal, highly versatile looks.

No longer bound by t-shirts and concentric circles, tie-dye has a seemingly limitless potential for mirroring nature. Shabd harnesses this phenomena by delving into alchemy and releasing patterns of "lichen, magma, the cold winter sky, ocean cliff sides, and digital video glitches." The current collection channels an array of seemingly unrelated influences: Shibori dyeing techniques, Indian kirtans, Mongolian wrapped tunics and Icelandic volcano ash. Elemental tones ranging from icy blue to deep garnet offer up an unexpected, yet perfectly fresh palette for hazy winter days.

Shabd's mastery of the technique even landed her a spot on the Martha Stewart show, tie-dyeing cosmos-inspired leggings with the world's happiest homemaker. Potter Craft, a division of Random House Publishing, also invited Shabd to design a how-to book for the modern tie-dyer, to be released in spring 2013.
The cobblestone effect is a far cry from Wavy Gravy –

Shabd Alexander-Simon also teaches tie-dye courses at the Textile Arts Center in New York City. Follow Shabd's blog for updates on future classes and textile workshops.
  Fiber Reactive Dyes created by Shabd

A special thanks to Emilie Florenkowsky for contributing this piece.

Freelance writer and translator Emilie Florenkowsky has lived in Berlin since 2005. Check out her online journal of art, science and all points in between, META magazine.

Object Mythology: Soft Layers for Storytelling

100% baby alpaca – hand knit in Peru

100% baby alpaca – hand knit in Peru

90% baby alpaca/10% silk – hand woven in Peru

One of the most important things that I learned while working at Patagonia a few years ago is the importance of subtle layering. The option of adding and subtracting to one's outfit is key to staying warm and temperature regulated. This is particularly true when doing active sports as well as simply going in and out of buildings during the colder months.

I love these hand knit and woven accessories from Object Mythology. They are a stylish and ethically-responsible solution to layering and personal storytelling. Founder Karen Chien believes that, "Every object tells a story and builds character over time, that is Object Mythology ... We comb through the markets of Buenos Aires, Peru and Cambodia for one-of-a-kind treasures, and we identify and build partnerships with highly skilled artisans groups in developing countries to execute our design vision and make a social impact."
Also not to be missed are Object Mythology's home accessories like this Uma Baby Alpaca Throw, totally luxurious and sustainably smart. The ideal cover up for vintage or hand-me-down chairs that have yet to be reupholstered. Nesting never looked so good.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Cruelty Free Friday: Matt & Nat Loren Wallet

Matt & Nat's vegan double flap 'Loren Wallet'
"Beige wallet in stardust material features a double flap with snap closures at front. Interior features back zipper compartment, flap pocket with tri-fold layout, 5 bill compartments, 8 card compartments, 1 photo window, lining made of recycled nylon.  Measures 7”x4.75”."

One of the amazing things about life in Sofia is that I rarely go to an ATM. My daily trips to a cash machine in NYC have been whittled back to once a week or simply twice monthly. That said, my wallet is looking a bit old and tired these days, and I have been thinking a lot about what I want out of my next wallet (which I typically use for five to seven years or more.)

I love this cruelty-free 'Loren Wallet' designed by Matt & Nat. The double flap in the front reminds me of the petals of a flower or a leaf unfurling – a nice feature for me as I like to think of commerce as an organic exchange. The soft beige hue will also compliment a lot of pieces in my natural fiber wardrobe  –  cocktail attire included. I am pretty sold on this pick, as well as the enlightened design philosophy of Matt & Nat as a company. Adding the Loren Wallet now to the growing list of the cruelty-free upgrades to my closet and tote.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Japan Fashion Week: Johan Ku Spring/Summer 2012

Stunning knitwear and textile innovation by celebrated Taiwanese designer Johann Ku for Spring/Summer 2012. Learn more about Ku's glow in the dark runway pieces on The Daily Mail. Read my previous writings on Ku's sculptural knitwear featured on Ecouterre.

All of the above photos are courtesy of Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week TOKYO aka Japan Fashion Week.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Love Mert Spring/Summer 2012 'Trae Rings'

Love Mert Spring/Summer 2012 recycled wood sitting pretty

I love these bold and beautiful rings recycled from wood shop remnants by Love Mert for their upcoming Spring/Summer 2012 collection. Currently available as part of Foundfuture's handpicked line up of one-of-a-kind designer collections – these rough cut gems are painted with non-toxic pigments and are great statement pieces to mix and match. Recycled woods include walnut, cherry burl, and birdseye maple.

Love Mert Spring/Summer 2012 recycled handcut wooden 'Trae Rings'
'Trae Rings' are $38 each and the range of colors includes platinum, geranium, petrol, lemon, or raw wood. Available on LoveMert. More details available via Foundfuture.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Fashioning Self & The Environment: Martín Azúa

I am working on a variety of art submissions, writing projects, and fiber enterprises at the moment, so my posts these next few weeks might seem a bit scant. Apologies in advance for this. During my recent research on innovative ideas related to 'fashioning self and the environment', I came across this amazing Casa Básica Project by Martín Azúa. I love that this mobile unit folds into a simple square that one can slip into one's pocket or personal tote. It's pure volumetric poetry with a low-impact sort of footprint. This is what great design is all about.

Learn more here ... via L O L I T A

Friday, October 14, 2011

Cruelty Free Friday: Faux Fur Coat By Ivana Helsinki

My grandmother (a botanist) used to keep what I believe was a dyed beaver fur coat in her closet. I remember venturing into her wardrobe from time to time to pet this "luxe" fur and experience the texture of it's smooth surface. It seemed seductively soft, but I never quite understood the allure of fur – even as a child. To be honest, it all made me feel a bit uncomfortable. 

This faux fur by Finnish designer Ivana Helsinki definitely caught my eye on Beklina's online boutique. Perhaps it was because I thought that it was so darn cool that a Scandinavian was opting to use faux-fur. I also liked the styling of the shots and super cozy possibilities that this overcoat provides. Either way, it is great to see that for just over $500 women can invest in a fur coat that might last for generations and send a powerful message.

I would want my own children to surely know the difference.

Do not miss other enlightened offerings on Beklina.