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Posts Tagged ‘fashion’

Aren’t these just amazing?  These nebula galaxy heels have caught the eye of many Tumblr bloggers, but they originate on Etsy!  They’re sold by Kustom Kix under the shop name AlexandraSophie.  France-based duo Sheriff Nasir and Alexandra Sophie specialize in photography and custom painted shoes.

Sheriff is the artist behind the galaxy wedges, which are faux suede made extra-terrestrial with just acrylic paint and coated with varnish for longevity.

Sheriff cites the Cave Nebula as a source of visual inspiration, but says, “the main inspiration for this project basically came from the universe, the stars, planets and everything up there so majestic and breathtakingly beautiful in its own way!”

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This now out-of-print tee by JunkPrints pushes the envelope of social construction and bursts with the power of imagination.  As Mr. King said:

“We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence. Again and again we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force.”

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This week’s favorite comes from Etsy seller Shmugusta.  Her line of knitwear is called ADKnits, and it’s full of vibrant colors and natural fibers.  These fingerless gloves caught my eye on the Etsy blog, and I immediately ordered a pair for one of my friends.  Augusta, the artist behind ADKnits, was a pleasure to talk to and my friend loved her gloves!  What could be a better fall birthday gift?  Now I’m looking at a pair for myself, because they’re also made in red and in gray.  What fun!

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Furoshiki is a square piece of fabric that can be folded and knotted into a bag.  Versatility and sustainability combined!

It gained popularity during the Edo period of Japan, several hundred years that include the self-isolation of Japan.  The word ‘furoshiki’ is derived from two words: ‘bath’ and ‘spread’.  The square cloths were used to carry one’s clothing at the sentō, or public bath.  Eventually they were used to wrap all sort of goods for transport or as gifts.

Click on this chart to see more furoshiki wrapping methods.

Today, furoshiki has the potential to make a huge impact in the effort to slow the use of non-biodegradable and flimsy plastic bags.  While the fabric shopping bag is a good alternative to the plastic bag, furoshiki can be folded and used in many ways.  Not only can it carry your things, it can be a reusable gift-wrap or a lunch container that turns into a table cloth!

Etsy’s myfuroshiki, whose work is featured in this article, is the project of two sisters, Olivia & Michiko Yasue.  Michiko returned from a trip to Japan and introduced her sister to the concept of furoshiki.  Myfuroshiki was launched in January of 2009.

One sister based in the UK and the other in Australia, they screen print and collaborate on their collection of furoshiki that incorporates elements of traditional designs and fun modern patterns.  Their fabrics are %100 cotton, which they cut, edge and print with water based inks.  Instead of wrapping with paper and tape, all of which gets thrown away immediately after the gift is opened, wrap with a furoshiki!  It’s easier, it’s earth-friendlier, and extremely affordable.

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My favorite kinds of charities are the ones that work directly within the community they seek to help.  Change has to come within, I think, for it to really take hold within a society.  In this spirit, today I’d like to profile Project Have Hope.

In the Acholi Quarter of Uganda, you will find 100 women making paper beads to sell.  With the sales of the beads, this project has expanded to a system of micro-loans for the women to start their own small businesses,  child education sponsorship and even agricultural programs.  Some of the Project Have Hope women attend vocational school, all in an effort to better their future for themselves and their children.  This relatively small cooperative of women is creating a sustainable, positive impact on the community.

Bostonian Karen Sparacio first visited the women of the Acholi Quarter as a volunteer photographer.   Many of the women are victims of war.  Sparacio’s experience, she says, made her want to “help them create a better future in any way that [she] could.”  She bought a small bag of beads, sold it in the U.S., and decided to turn the small success into a large fund raising not-for-profit effort.

Thirst, by Karen Sparacio; prints available

Today, you can purchase jewelry or beads directly from the website.  Or, you could host a bead party, an event for your friend, family and community to buy the beads.  Project Have Hope’s site profiles many of the women and offers the opportunity for you to sponsor a specific child.   There are five pages of children on the site that need sponsorship.  Penina Lakica is one:


My name is Penina Lakica. I am 10 years old. I live with my aunt and uncle. My parents live in a camp in Kitgum. They had fear I would be abducted. I like reading and drawing and playing netball. I want to be a judge.

$510 per year will cover Penina’s tuition at St. Kizito Junior Boarding School in Kampala.

The website also features women who are looking for sponsorship.  Many of them, as I have said before, have experienced horrific events during the war.  Most of them are supporting several children, some who are not their own.  These women are looking for sponsorship to start or to expand a business.  Akot Alice is one of these women.

Meet Akot Alice . Alice is from the village of Pader and is 28 years old. She is married and has five children. Alice also cares for two non-biological children. One is the child of her husband’s co-wife, from whom he is now separated, and the other is her nephew. Alice has lived in the Acholi Quarter for 15 years. She came to the Quarter after experiencing horrific violence in the war. One such instance was when she witnessed a group of people, including her own father and stepfather, being lined up and then decapitated. The heads were then put on poles and cooked, and Alice and others were forced to eat the dead. To support their family, Alice makes paper beads and her husband works in the stone quarry. Alice also has a balcony garden and attends adult literacy classes through PHH. Akot Alice would like a $760 grant to set up a local produce store.

Project Have Hope has a summer volunteer trip to Uganda, which involves “6 days of volunteering in the Acholi Quarter and 4 days of excursions” on safari and to Kampala, the capital of Uganda.

I love the craft and the artistry of these recycled beads.  But what I love most is the positive effect they’re having on their community.

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How exciting are these shoes by lepiedleger?? The delicate crochet work and obvious craftsmanship make me want to slip them on and frolic through fields of newly-born grass.

These shoes are the happy result of a couple living in Montevideo, Uruguay.  Through Etsy, they offer the shoes in regular sizes as well as custom sizes!  At only $45 each, these shoes are the perfect springtime wardrobe addition.

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portrait by bruce weber

Last month, I went to the Peabody Essex Museum on a terribly dreary day.   The perfect day to see the exhibit Rare Bird of Fashion: The Irreverent Iris Apfel, which explodes with color and flair.

The show exhibited 80 outfits of Apfel, a fashionista of a different feather.   Different rooms grouped the outfits in terms of style: a room for the glamorous clothing, a room for the ethnic garb, the winter clothing, the circus clothing.  In addition to the outfits, which all appropriately sat on identical mannequins with her enormous glasses, were cases and cases of jewelry.  I adored the ethnic jewelry, dripping with silver or fit with huge hunks of amber.

Who is Apfel? Why does she have money to buy the turquoise jewelry I want?  Iris Apfel and her husband began a business in textiles- specializing in replicating antique fabrics, a specialization that took them all over the world and even gave them several jobs at the White House. 

While she cannot sew or create, and certainly wouldn’t have an Etsy shop, Apfel would immediately be a hit as a Storque (Etsy blog) writer.  Her style is fun and bold because she didn’t and doesn’t follow trends.  And she believes it’s not about what you spend, but about what you’re buying.  Pieces from the collection came from designers and they also came from the bottom of a bin in a flea market.  Says Apfel:

I’m not too fond of real jewelry. I know it’s very beautiful and very valuable but I never had a yen for it. (What a lucky man my husband is!) My stuff is much more dramatic and much more fun.

My mum was fascinated with this breastplate and even more so when we realized it was a recent addition to her wardrobe (Apfel is 88 years old).  We both loved the metal dog shaped purse.  One of my favorite pieces is utterly make-able: the googly eyed bracelet.

Iris on shopping:

I’m a hopeless romantic. I buy things because I fall in love with them. I never buy anything just because it’s valuable. My husband used to say I look at a piece of fabric and listen to the threads. It tells me a story. It sings me a song. I have to get a physical reaction when I buy something. A coup de foudre – a bolt of lightning. It’s fun to get knocked out that way!


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