Oct 30, 2017

Fashion News: GRAY announces list of finalists

The design dust has settled and a total of 53 finalists were selected across eleven categories for the 2017 GRAY magazine awards. Designers and manufacturers submitted their work to be evaluated by an esteemed panel of judges including Olivia Kim, Vice President of Creative Projects at Nordstrom.

Finalists for the fashion category include Suk Chai of SCHAI for her Legion Collection, Deborah Roberts of SILVAE for her Re-Entrance collection, and Khadijah Fulton for her Linea Collection of WHITE/SPACE jewelry.

I met Suk Chai of SCHAI several years ago through her friend and fellow designer Karen Guh of Paychi Guh. Like most people who meet her, I was instantly drawn to her warmth and creative energy. Suk is a big proponent of doing production in the U.S. and shared her perspective as a designer doing domestic manufacturing back in June at the Seattle Sewn fundraiser I helped produce. Suk is a true creative who thoroughly enjoys the entire creative process and is well respected in the fashion community for her leadership on urban manufacturing and integrity to the craft.

It was at that same Seattle Sewn fundraiser that I had the chance to finally connect with Deborah Roberts of SILVAE in person. I followed her journey back in 2014 when she competed in the Independent Designer Runway Show as part of Bellevue Fashion Week and was thrilled when she won the grand prize for her "In the Woods" collection. Deborah is talented, community-oriented and strategic with her brand growth. You can catch her for a limited time at Rizom in Belltown alongside FARIS jewelry and Pacific Standard books.

Khadijah Fulton of White/Space is a refreshing dose of creativity and cool. We met back in 2013 when she was first launching White Space jewelry and needed PR support. Her designs are versatile, sophisticated, and beautifully crafted by hand using traditional metalsmithing techniques. Since our time together Khadijah has expanded her line and continues to enjoy recognition in the media for her chic and timeless jewelry.

GRAY Award winners will be revealed on November 29th at The Sanctuary in Seattle. Tickets to the award show go on sale to the public on Tuesday, October 31st. 50% of ticket sale proceeds will be donated to the BLOCK project, a non-profit started by architects dedicated to alleviating homelessness in Seattle.

There are very few opportunities for local designers to get the recognition they deserve. I am so thrilled to be partnering with GRAY magazine as a fashion sponsor to support this design competition. Good luck to all the finalists. I'll see you on November 29th as we celebrate the epic design community in the Pacific Northwest. For a full list of finalists in all categories and to learn more, visit grayawards.com.


Oct 29, 2017

Beauty Alert: butter LONDON nail bar now open in Seattle

Beauty Alert: The holiday season calls for serious party nails because no great night out ever started with a chipped mani. 

Thankfully, butter LONDON has opened a brand new nail bar in Seattle's South Lake Union neighborhood. The 537-square-foot store located on Fairview Avenue will offer waterless manicures and pedicures starting at $18. Add-ons include nail art, sugar scrubs, and extended hand massages. They even offer manicures for gents.

The Nail Bar was designed by Seattle-based interior designer Leah Steen and features butter LONDON's iconic brand wallpaper. "We wanted to break the mold of traditional nail salons and create an unforgettable experience in a stylish environment where women can have fun and get pampered together," said butter LONDON President Sarina Godin.

Known for pioneering the original 3-free lacquer, butter LONDON prides itself on its assortment of high-performance, non-toxic nail products that are safe and effective. This great local brand was founded back in 2005 by British entrepreneur Sasha Muir and London's premier fashion manicurist Nonie Creme. (Fun fact: Both founders still live right here in the Pacific Northwest.)

butter LONDON Nail Bar
400 Fairview Ave. N.
Seattle, WA 98109
Hours: Mon-Sat. 10 a.m. - 6 p.m.

Local tip: If you stop by for a mani during the week, don't miss the Meat & Bread sandwich shop next door. The sandwiches are delicious and they even offer a simple grilled cheese for kids and grown-ups alike.


Oct 27, 2017

Fashion Files: Q&A with Darrah Christel of Loho

Most women don't notice the void for low-rise hosiery until they look around and realize it's virtually non-existent in the market. That was the exact scenario Loho creator Darrah Christel found herself in as she searched unsuccessfully for tights that wouldn't dig in to her love handles and confirm every negative thought she's ever had about herself.

If you can relate to this, you're in the right place, because Darrah's created a brilliant product that will make you love wearing tights again. Enter Loho, low-rise hosiery designed and developed in Seattle featuring a unique waistband that sits naturally on the waistline and molds to the body. The secret is a silicone backing that keeps the tights from falling down making them easy and comfortable to wear for women of all shapes and sizes. Check out our Q&A to learn more about the backstory behind the brand and how you can help support the launch.

Q- How did you come up with Loho?

A- It was sort of an accident, to be honest. I'm a writer by trade. Fashion design is never something I thought I'd dohosiery and lingerie were probably the furthest thing from my mind, but living in the Northwest, tights were a necessary evil if I wanted to wear dresses in the winter. I didn’t really even think twice about it until I had to write about them for my job at zulily. 

When the copy team would sit down to write about hosiery we would collectively chat about how uncomfortable wearing tights could be. Everyone had a “trick” to wearing them. I remember my colleague Alaina telling me, “Cut the sides of the elastic. That will loosen them up.” So that night I tried it. I was getting ready to go dancing and wanted to feel comfortable. But to my disappointment, cutting the sides of the elastic didn’t really help, so I had to cut off the entire elastic waistband. 

Little did I know that without the waistband the tights wouldn't stay up. Halfway through the night, I made a run for the bathroom to rip them off. That's when it dawned on me that wearing my underwear on the outside of my tights would help them stay up. The rest is history. I made my first pair of tights using a lace waistband and realized I was on to something. 

Q- What were your biggest obstacles when it came to manufacturing and why was it important for you to produce in the U.S.?

A- Finding manufacturers was the hardest part of all of this, especially for someone without a design background. After watching The True Cost on Netflix, I realized that only 3% of the clothes we wear are actually made in the U.S. And if you think about that, that means there are very few manufacturers left in the states. They’re all going out of business because it's cheaper to make things elsewhere, like China. In the beginning, I did speak to a few manufacturers overseas, but none of them were willing to disclose information about their employees or working conditions. That's when I decided to do my manufacturing in the U.S., even though it meant fewer options and higher production costs. 

When I first started calling around, nobody wanted to call me back. And I couldn’t find email addresses to save my life. Trust me, I would have rather emailed than called. I’m a millennial. I hate calling people. But I finally got a hold of a hosiery mill that was willing to work with me. I tried to get them to sign an NDA because my patent was still pending, but they ignored all my attempts to get it signed. I finally let it go in order to keep things moving forward because they were the only hosiery mill willing to work with me at the time. 

Six months into iterating and developing the line, the manufacturer sent me an email saying they were going to have to send back my samples and couldn’t work with me anymore. It came out of the blue. Turns out, they sold my design and the process we had just been working on for six months to someone else. I couldn’t have been more pissed off, frustrated, and discouraged—but I put my feelings aside, and went through the motions of formally sending a cease and desist. Trust me, I don’t like taking legal action. As a new business owner, legal fees will bleed you dry, plus there’s no guarantee anything will be done. When all that happened, I thought, "this must be a sign from God that I’m not supposed to make these tights...."

But when you’re in doubt, that’s when your tribe really shines. I wasn't ready to let go of my vision for the line. I remember telling my mom I didn’t want to have to go back to cold calling hosiery mills so she insisted on calling on my behalf. An hour after I gave her a few numbers, she had the owner of CC Hosiery on the phone. It must have been a sign because their showroom was literally a block away from the lace manufacturer I was already working with in New York. And just like that, business travel became much more efficient.

Q- How did you decide what factory would ultimately manufacture your line?

A- CC Hosiery is the same company that makes Hanky Panky’s signature lace waistband, and they actually wrote a great blog post about the Klauber BrothersI have plans on going out to visit Klauber Brothers and CC Hosiery with a film crew so that I can share just how great these suppliers are, and how interesting the whole process is. Stay tuned!

Q- How has the line evolved since you first conceptualized it?

A- When I first thought of this idea, I literally thought I’d be making underwear on the outside of tights or somehow connecting underwear to tights. That’s how I sketched them. Luckily, I started working with a patternmaker to bring my vision to life. We tried every kind of lace, backing, denier of tight, and landed at what I think is the perfect pair—beautiful, comfortable, life-changing. I’ve literally worn through all my samples, which I regret because now I have nothing to photograph. 

Q- How has your background helped you launch this line?

A- I used to be a fashion blogger. That was around 2010, the same year I graduated college, and there weren’t a lot of paying writing gigs. I actually flew to New York and had an informational interview with In Style and People Magazine in the Time Warner building, and was advised not to pursue print, since they were unsure what the future might look like for them. 
So, I decided to self-publish and take up fashion blogging. I did that without pay while working at Nordstrom. As it turns out, I have this incredible gift of finding women the perfect denim, no matter their size. I’d study all the jeans we had on the floor, knew the product inventory like the back of my hand and would put women in jeans they didn’t know existed. It was like finding their glass slipper. I got addicted to that feeling. Giving women something they thought they’d never find. 

I’ve also been writing in fashion for a long time, for brands like Nordstrom, Neiman Marcus, zulily, REI, Target, and most recently, Brooks Running. I worked as a stylist in that time as well. And between the two, I’ve learned a lot about the industry, what’s out there, what people are looking for, and most importantly, what problems women are experiencing

Hosiery remains an outdated, non-innovative space women still have issues with. I make it a habit to visit the lingerie department at Nordstrom every time I go in, and I eavesdrop on customers talking to sales associates. And without fail, it’s an issue with comfort or size inclusivity. I feel sad for the customer in the moment, but I feel really good about what I’m putting out there.  

Q- What advice do you have for other women looking to start their own line?

A- Don’t be afraid of not “doing it right.” This is coming from a perfectionist. So I’m with you—I don’t like putting things out there I haven’t perfected yet. But I’ve had to get over that. I started my Instagram account last year with just prototypes of my tights. And the images I have in my campaign are of models wearing prototypes. But if I waited until I raised enough money to make the real-deal manufactured tights, I’d just now be starting, and I wouldn’t have had all the opportunities and exposure I’ve had this year. I wouldn’t have been accepted into Rent the Runway’s Project Entrepreneur program, or been featured on Cara Alwill Leyba’s podcast Style Your Mind. So when people tell you to just start doing, they mean it. Perfectionism is the ultimate procrastination. 


Get Involved

Darrah is currently running an iFundWomen campaign and is *so close*  to her goal of $10,000 to produce the first run of Loho tights. Please consider supporting this campaign by pre-ordering a pair of tights or simply making a donation to see this project come to life. Darrah's iFund Women campaign ends on Oct. 31st and we don't want you to miss out on supporting this great local brand while also supporting U.S. manufacturing! Act now by visiting the iFundWomen Campaign Page and pre-ordering a pair of Loho tights.

Please SHARE this post to help us spread the word about this amazing local brand! We also invite you to follow the Loho story on Instagram. Tell Darrah that Sydney sent you! 😘

Oct 26, 2017

Fashion Calendar: Goodwill Glitter Sale

Goodwill will host its 34th annual Glitter Sale on Saturday, November 11 and Sunday, November 12 in Seattle. Last year more than 2,500 people shopped the sale to help support Goodwill's free job training and education programs. In 2016, Seattle Goodwill provided job training and education services to over 11,500  individuals in the community. Purchases made at the Glitter Sale directly support these valuable programs.

Tickets for the preview sale on Wednesday, November 8th are on sale now for $50 and give guests access to shop the sale a few days early and get first dibs on designer dresses, shoes, outwear, handbags, accessories, and more.

The Glitter Sale is free and open to the public. Arrive early for access to the best merchandise but know that the shelves will be restocked throughout the weekend. The sale runs Saturday and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. but a line starts forming on Saturday morning as early as 5 a.m. It's an experience you don't want to miss and it's for a very worthy cause.

What: 34th Annual Goodwill Glitter Sale
When: Saturday, Nov. 11 - Sunday, Nov. 12
Where: Goodwill 1400 S. Lane St. (Near the corner of South Dearborn and Rainier Ave. S.)
Time: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Social: @SeattleGoodwill #Glittersale


Oct 25, 2017

Fashion Calendar: W Bellevue to host Haerfest Pop-Up

W Bellevue will host an exclusive pop-up shop with CFDA Incubator brand Haerfest on Thursday, October 26 and Friday, October 27. The luxe leather accessory brand based out of New York is currently participating in the CFDA fashion incubator program and will showcase their wares for men and women by doing a total takeover of the Living Room at the W in Bellevue. Founded by brothers Tim and Dan Joo, the collection for women features crossbody bags, backpacks, and totes. For men, the assortment includes a variety of products for modern professionals including backpacks, totes, duffel bags, card sleeves, and wallets.

W Hotels is known for their on-going support of up and coming fashion talent around the world through their partnership with the CDFA and uses these pop-ups as a way to provide a visible platform to support the growth of independent designers and artists.

To kick-off the Haerfest pop-up a special launch party will be held tonight at W Bellevue hosted by Nelson Yong. Media and select fashion influencers will have the chance to meet the design duo and learn more about the brand while getting a sneak peek at featured merchandise.

Event Details
What: Haerfest Pop-Up at W Bellevue
When: Oct. 26 - Oct. 27
Where: W Bellevue 10455 NE 5th Place Bellevue, WA 98004
Time: Daily from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. in the Living Room
Social tags: @WBellevue #WCFDA @Haerfest


Oct 24, 2017

Fashion Calendar: JAG Jeans to host women's denim sample sale

We know Seattleites love their denim and that's exactly why we're thrilled to put this sample sale on your radar. JAG Jeans, located in Seattle's Georgetown neighborhood, is hosting their annual $5 sample sale on Friday, November 17th and you're invited to attend! The event will take place at the JAG Jeans HQ from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and will feature tops, jackets, jeans, and pants in sizes small, 6, 6p, and 18w. The best stuff goes first, so get there early if you want first dibs on $5 jeans. This is a cash-only event so please come prepared- there's no ATM on-site. 

Event Details
What: JAG Jeans Sample Sale
When: Friday, Nov. 17, 2017
Where: 5900 Airport Way S. Suite 400 Seattle, WA 98108
Time: 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. 
RSVP now via the Jag Jeans Facebook event page. 

Oct 17, 2017

Saks Off 5th to open in Seattle

Westlake Center will be home to a brand new Saks Off 5th store. The 36,000 square-foot-store located at 400 Pine Street will open to the public on Thursday, October 19 at 10 a.m. Saks Off 5th already has a local clientele in the Pacific Northwest and is excited to officially open their first location in Seattle. The selection of merchandise from over 800+ brands will include luxury fashion, accessories, and footwear at deeply discounted prices.

To celebrate the store opening, the first 300 shoppers will enjoy a sweet treat and a chance to win a $100 gift card. (30 winners will be randomly selected!) Guests who shop between Oct. 19 - Oct. 29 can also enter to win a $1,000 Saks Off 5th gift card via the in-store sweepstakes. A special VIP store opening party will take place on Wednesday, Oct. 18 in Seattle.

Fran Dunaway of TomboyX inducted into EY Winning Women Program

TomboyX CEO and Co-founder Fran Dunaway has been inducted into the 2017 EY Entrepreneurial Winning Women program. She was one of only 13 entrepreneurs chosen to participate in this year's program and will have the chance to compete for the opportunity to grow and scale her business. Long-time readers may remember that we covered this brand back in 2013 when they launched their initial Kickstarter campaign and we are thrilled to report that the business is continuing to thrive here in Seattle.

"This program not only provides the resources and networks to help women grow their businesses, but also the power of a like-minded community of entrepreneurs with common goals and challenges who act as resources and advisors for one another," said Kerrie MacPherson, Principal Financial Services Office at EY. Participants of the program average 20% revenue growth within the first year in the program and some businesses have experienced as much as a 50% growth by year two.

TomboyX is a Seattle-based e-commerce company that focuses on high-quality, sustainably produced underwear. The brand promise is inclusivity and + body positivity, plus every style they make is available in sizes XS to 4X.

As part of the program, Fran will travel to Palm Springs next month to participate in the invite-only EY Strategic Growth Forum. Over 2,000+ leaders of the nation's most successful high-growth companies will be in attendance to learn from investors and advisors who can offer insight and share strategies for growth.

Good luck Fran! We've been rooting for you since day one!

Models announced for Wine Women & Shoes

Olive Crest has announced their line-up of models for the annual Wine Women & Shoes gala that will take place on November 10 at the Fairmont in Seattle. This year in lieu of traditional models, the non-profit will send pairs of model citizens down the catwalk in a runway show produced by Darcy Camden of Styled Seattle. View the full list of featured models and participating retailers here.

Wine Women & Shoes is an evening designed to help raise critical funding for Olive Crest programs that support foster kids in Washington.

Blue Nile launches the Astor By Blue Nile

Blue Nile hosted a beautiful event at the W in Bellevue last Thursday to celebrate the launch of their new elite collection of diamonds, Astor by Blue Nile™. For this particular collection, the cut of the diamond was extremely critical because it allows light to reflect into each diamond facet, resulting in extraordinary sparkle. Astor by Blue Nile™ diamonds are ranked as an "excellent cut" by the Gemological Institute of America and only 1 out of every 1,000 diamonds meet the requirements to achieve this high-grade category.

"Customers come to Blue Nile for a superior experience and unmatched value," said Chief Executive Offer Jason Goldberger. "We know they want more than a diamond. They want a lifetime of lighting up a room." The diamonds are brilliant indeed and sparkle like crazy in the light. Blue Nile Astor diamonds can be purchased individually or used to build custom rings or earrings. Add these to your holiday wishlist now!

The event also included hair and makeup touch-ups by stylists from Coupe Rokei Salon and signature cocktails by Glass Vodka.  Learn more about Astor by Blue Nile™by clicking here.


Oct 11, 2017

3 Seattle Fashion Events to Check Out This Week

Fall is a fabulous time for fashion in Seattle and we've got a full line-up of events to prove it. Diamond fans will gather at the W in Bellevue tomorrow night for the VIP release of Astor by Blue Nile (blog post coming soon), Moorea Seal is hosting a special sneak peek of her Downtown Seattle store for media and influencers on Friday night, and there's so much more happening this weekend. Here's a round-up of 3 fashion-forward events happening around town.

// Visette Multi-Designer Trunk Show // 

If you love fashion and want to immerse yourself in the local style scene, join Seattle designers Kate S. Mensah, Tom Ordonio, and Suk Chai of SCHAI for a special trunk show this Thursday at Visette Boutique on Capitol Hill. Guests will get to meet the designers, shop new and exclusive pieces, and meet Visal Sam, Curator and Buyer for Visette Boutique. The event runs from 5-9 p.m. at 307 E. Pike St. in Seattle.

// Moorea Seal Store Opening // 

Style boss Moorea Seal is unveiling her *brand new* storefront on First Avenue this weekend and you can be one of the first to experience it. The new store is located at 1012 First Ave. in Downtown Seattle and the team is celebrating with a full weekend of festivities. Hello Robin will be on-site Saturday and Sunday serving up fresh batches of cookies from 1 -5 p.m. and there will also be drinks, shopping, new arrivals, a debut of Moorea Seal's latest book Make Yourself at Home, and more. Check out the official Facebook Event invite here. (Above photo by: Andrea Lindquist)

// Shop Her Closet // 
I truly love when fashion bloggers band together to give back and that's exactly what's happening this weekend at Hotel Max. Style bloggers Ambra and Natalie of Tallz and Smallz have organized an event that will give guests access to the closets of their favorite Seattle style bloggers. "Shop Her Closet" takes place this Saturday from 4-7 p.m. and all proceeds benefit the Seattle chapter of Dress for Success. Featured style bloggers include Morgan Lillian, Megan Little, Molly Clifton, Doug Ta'a, and more. The event is currently sold-out but you can still donate to the cause via Eventbrite. Hotel Max is located at 620 Stewart St. in Downtown Seattle.

Oct 9, 2017

October Beauty: 4 products you need right now

It's officially fall in Seattle which means the leaves are turning red, pumpkin spice lattes are back at Starbucks, and the mornings inevitably have a crisp chill. If your skin tends to go crazy when the seasons change, you'll enjoy this post filled with must-have beauty products to get you through the transition.
If you're an 80's baby like me you probably played Sega as a kid, so you don't need me to explain why the new GLAMGLOW Gravity Mud Sonic Mask is so cool. It's literally metallic blue and instantly cools, firms, and brightens skin. Priced at $19, it also makes the perfect travel-sized gift.

Wait, wait, wait. Blotting papers packaged as rolling papers? Only someone as cool as Rihanna could think of this. The Fenty Invisimatte Blotting Papers are designed to gently lift shine while looking pretty damn cool in your makeup bag. $16

Speaking of oily skin, I'm still obsessed with the Fresh Umbrian Clay Mattifying Face Exfoliant ,$33.  This product is a carryover from my summer beauty arsenal but it still works like a charm. If your skin tends to go haywire when the seasons change, this product is perfect for you. You use it after you wash your face to gently exfoliate dry skin and balance oily areas. The packaging suggests that you only use it twice a week, but I've used it more frequently than that and have not had any issues.

Last but not least, the one product you need right now is a pretty polish from Julep's Zodiac Collection. I'm a Virgo, but that doesn't mean I'm not totally in love with this shimmery blue Aquarius shade. It's the perfect way to embrace the onset of the season and let's face it, it will look pretty cool in your next coffee cup Instagram pic.

Oct 3, 2017

Fashion Files: An interview with BBD Fitness

Four years ago Rachel Sigl found herself deep into her fitness career teaching classes and virtually living in her workout gear. Going back and forth between teaching classes and conducting business meetings she realized that her fitness gear was functional but lacked the fashion-forward street appeal she desired. So, she assessed the market, profiled her clients, and realized that there was a gap in the market for functional fitness apparel that also pushed style boundaries- that's how BBDfitness was born. 

BBD stands for bold, brave, and daring as evidenced by the styles in the line. Each piece is styled way beyond a basic and is designed to energize, motivate, and empower. The current line includes sportsbras, leggings, coats, and accessories. Each quarter, the company launches a new collection and strives to push the envelope with each new release by adding new fits and showcasing added fabric technology. 100% of the line is produced in L.A., making it easy for BBDfitness to oversee the development process and quickly make adjustments as needed once goods go into production. 

Aside from occasional trunk shows, the line is predominately sold online. "We were lucky to launch in the early stages of the online shopping craze," says Rachel, "Social media helps us sell, market, and land new opportunities to connect with customers." Bloggers and influencers have also helped the brand spread the word and those collaborations continue to play a vital role in the company's marketing strategy.  

So what's next for the brand? Be on the lookout for the BBDfitness unisex line that will launch this fall. The line will include a coveted jogger pant, a cocoon coat, a muscle tee, and more. Next spring, they'll add a dedicated men's line. And after that? Your guess is as good as mine, but you can bet it will be something way outside the box. 

In the meantime, you can catch BBDfitness at the Ville Northwest Fashion Awards on October 16th. BBDfitness has been nominated for the Designer of the Year award alongside Buki, Do The Extraordinary, and Seeking Alice. You can also follow the brand's fashion adventures on Instagram @BBD.fitness
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