Archive for the ‘Featured Indie Designer’ Category

2012 indie designer gift guide

December 4th, 2012

I love Christmas shopping – actually i just really love giving gifts. Those who know me best know i don’t really need much of an excuse – random gift out of the blue, i’m on it. Tell me you are pregnant, you will receive maternity clothing. You sew? you get patterns. You’re homesick, you get a care package. Tell me you have an obsession with something, and it’s pretty much on my mind every time i shop. I generally plan for Christmas for months, because i really care about getting my friends and family thoughtful gifts.

Over the years, as i’ve been growing my own indie design label – i’ve come across some truly talented indie designers. I’ve seen how important it is when people support my business, and so i’ve been striving to support more indie designers – especially over the holiday period.

So i thought i might share with you some of my favourite finds from some of my favourite indie designers. Please check them out, they are truly talented artists.

Anja’s marbled leather is just amazing. period. I love all of her new accessories, and these marbled leather cat coasters are pretty much the best thing ever for cat lovers. right?! seriously.

Oh Merl. There isn’t a jewellery designer out there i love more than Merl. She has the most amazing aesthetic, her design is flawless and unique – and she herself is one of the kindest sweetest people i’ve ever met. My collection of Clydes Rebirth necklaces is fast growing and with good reason. Her new collection is just wow, and i’ve already gone nuts and bought myself (cough) a few presents hehe.

Foundry is one of my newest finds – and i pretty much love everything Alana comes out with. I recently bought this print for our family room, and i love catching a glimpse of it during the day. Such a great reminder.

Rennes leather accessories are just amazing in my opinion. Julia has a real eye, and I feel like all her pieces are the kind of thing you use every day and keep forever. Her totes and pouches are my favourite.

I’m really into pretty dishtowels these days – and my favourites are the florals from Lisa Rupp. They are even prettier in person and last beautifully.

I’m kind of obsessed with Albie Designs city prints at the moment. I love that they perfectly capture the heart of the city, rather than being a technically correct rendition. The D.C. one is obviously my current favourite, i miss that lovely city and the wonderful friends in it.

I have been head over heels in love this Odette pod ring for ages, and who can really go past arrow bangles? not me.

You’ve probably heard me gush about Melissa Esplin a number of times – she’s the graphic design genius behind Megan Nielsen patterns cover art. She has a number of gorgeous instant download art prints that i love. I have this “You are my favorite” print hanging in our room, and i freaking love it. I was also going to recommend her calligraphy beginner gift pack too, but it’s sold out. yeah she rocks.

How cool are these Red Rhino leather and gold bangles? I really love the colours and the natural feel to them. They’re so awesome

Leah Duncan‘s store is always my first stop when i want cute new art for my house. She does amazing prints, cards, scarves, cushions, calendars and teatowels – and they are all amazing. I typically have no self control, they are that good.

What about you? Who are your favourite indie designers? Do you think you’ll shop indie for the holidays?

becoming a designer: Erika // Asuyeta

March 30th, 2012

Friends, I am so happy to introduce you to this months Featured Independent Designer! I have been following Erika and her work for quite a while now, and I really love her pretty carefree designs. She is such a sweetheart, and somehow manages to balance running her clothing line and having a family too.

I’m so happy to have Erika contributing the story of how she started her brand to our Becoming a Designer series. I love how open and honest she is, and I think her story is so inspiring! Once you’re done reading please visit her gorgeous store (she’s offering a discount at the bottom of her post!), and her blog – and while you’re at it, she’s one of my favourite people to follow on twitter

Hi everyone! I am super excited to be featured as an indie designer on Megan’s Blog! I am gonna tell you a bit about my label asuyeta and how it all started.

It all started when I was doing a 2 1/2 year apprenticeship when I was 18 as a visual merchandiser and got pregnant half way through it. It was a shock but I decided to make the best out of it and finish my apprenticeship.

While I was on maternity leave for 3 month (this was in Germany, where you get a 3 month paid maternity leave no matter where you work!) I felt the urge to start something new, something creative.

So I picked up a sewing machine and some fabric and just started sewing. I sewed every day, picked up a bunch of BURDA magazines and books and taught everything to myself. I decided to make one-of-a-kind shirts because at that time all I was wearing were jeans and I could never find any cute tops.

In May 2003 my son was born and in July 2005 I registered my business as Erika Hendrix and began to sell my one-of-a-kind shirts on consignment to stores all over Germany.

Soon, I started making skirts and shorts and in Fall/Winter of 2008, while living in Oklahoma, I made my first collection.

After moving back to Germany, I was looking for a studio space and found a little store instead. It was super cute and I really loved having a store. I hired someone to help me sew and also had two interns, it was a great time and so much more fun than sewing alone.

While at a trade show in Vienna, I realized that something had to change, my concept and my name weren’t right anymore. So, when I got back home I searched for a new, more authentic name for my label. I researched my Cherokee roots and soon came across the word asuyeta which means chosen. It’s perfect because my items are not mass-produced, throw-away items but chosen for the gal who buys them!

I was still making about 15 pieces for each style but soon realized that it’s a waste of my energy and the fabric because if one doesn’t sell very well, I have all these made items laying around and eventually have to put them on sale which I don’t want to do because I price my item as low as I can in the first place.

So since my last collection (AW2011) I decided to make all pieces when ordered, which gives me more freedom to make something else out of the fabric if it doesn’t sell well, and let me tell you, its unpredictable!

Like I said above, I taught everything I know myself and I am still learning every day. And by that I am not only talking about sewing, I am talking about everything you need to know about running a business, like webdesign, book keeping, PR, marketing workshops and all that. I even did an 8 week intensive marketing school online called Rich, Happy and Hot B-School which I can only recommend!

We just moved back to the states and this is not just a new beginning for me personally but for asuyeta as well. So I had a new logo made and I redesigned my website completely. I also post blog posts almost every day to keep my readers inspired and happy ;) right now, I am still a one-woman business and I do everything myself but I am hoping to hire a seamstress very soon!

I hope you enjoy checking out my pieces and blog as much as I do creating it all!

I would also love to offer a discount code for Megan’s readers. Just enter MEGANLOVE at checkout and receive 15% off (valid all through April 2012)

Becoming a Designer series by Megan Nielsen

Becoming a Designer: Jennifer // Hound

February 8th, 2012

I’m very excited to introduce you all to the next guest designer in our Becoming a Designer series. I stumbled upon Jen’s blog a few months ago and i was immediately in love. Completely hooked. It’s incredibly rare that i come across a clothing line which leaves me wanting every piece – and yet that’s exactly how i felt after perusing the pieces in Jen’s line, Hound. Jen is a complete sweetheart and incredibly talented and skilled. This girl really knows her stuff. I’m so excited to have her as this months Featured Independent Designer (you see that button on my blog sidebar?? click it,  you will love her store i promise). Anyway, without further ado, Jen has kindly agreed to share with us the story of how she became a designer. I hope you enjoy it!! Once you’re done reading it I encourage you to check out her gorgeous clothing line, her wonderful sewing patterns and the array of incredibly good sewing tutorials on her blog

Hi everyone! I’m excited to be featured as an Independent Designer here on Megan’s blog, thanks Megan! I’m going to tell you a bit about my path to becoming a designer and about my line, Hound.

I did go to school for fashion design though it was not my first career path. I originally got a degree in photography and had to go back to school for fashion design. I spent most of my time in school focusing on the technical areas of design since I knew with all the student loans I had amassed getting two degrees nobody in their right mind was going to give me a business loan to hire the various technicians I might need. About 6 months before graduation I got my first job as a patternmaker which was super helpful not only because it was a job in the industry but also because I was able to put my production patternmaking into practice and learn new things which I could apply to my line. Yes!! While I do love patternmaking, it gets tedious making patterns for someone else exclusively, so on a whim a few months after graduation I decided that I would start a small line, just to give myself something to do. I hired a friend as my fit model and got down to business making patterns, doing fittings etc. and finally Hound was born!

With Hound I try to always adhere to a few principals, clean lines, classic, fun, and I’ve never been know to shy away from color either. Each season has a new inspiration and I like to carry over successful design elements of past collections so that each collection flows into the next, building on the most popular pieces. I think my favorite part of the having my own line and the design process is how you can pull together seeming unrelated sources that inspire you into one cohesive idea. That and setting my own schedule to a degree.

While there are so many fun and rewarding parts to having your own fashion line, it’s also really rewarding. Like a lot of small indepandant designers, at the moment I am my own patternmaker, cutter, production line, marketer, accountant, etc. Last season was the first season I actually hired someone, a friend who is an amazing printmaker / textile designer and it was such a positive experience that we’re currently working on prints for the upcoming year. I really look forward to being able to get an intern and a larger studio space, working alone constantly is for the birds!

My advice to anyone looking to start their own line would be to do the really boring stuff first. Make a business plan, figure out your target customer, maybe take a business class. Though mind numbing at times, these things will help you really discover what kind designer you want to be, who you want to serve and how to go about it. After that, work hard and stay positive!

Becoming a Designer series by Megan Nielsen

featured indie designer: Lyndsay of Seams to Be

December 1st, 2011

Good morning friends! I’m really quite thrilled to introduce you to Decembers Featured Indie Designer – Lyndsay of Seams to Be! Remember my gorgeous new scarf from last week? It was lovingly created by Lyndsay. I really hope you enjoy learning more about her – she is incredibly sweet, and her store is full of wonderful warm goodies! I’m definitely a fan, and I know you will be too :)

Hello! My name is Lyndsay Senerchia and I am super excited to be featured on Megan Nielsen’s beautiful blog. When I first heard she was featuring independent designers I was beyond thrilled. You see, it’s hard for us indie designers to get our names out there, let alone be acknowledged for our creativity and hard work. My very new, small line (but growing!) is called, “Seams To Be…” Everything that I enjoy making contains seams so it simply “seamed” to fit!

As a young designer, I designed and produced head-bands and hats for friends fighting the weather in my home state of New Jersey. It was a great way to start nurturing my talent but to my surprise, my items became in demand! Orders were over flowing, so naturally, I decided to start an etsy shop. Those head bands and hats turned into scarves, “snoods”, which turned into mittens, which is currently turning into sweaters (we will see!). Over the summer I had no use for warm wools so I turned to my sewing machine for guidance. Lo and behold a new obsession. I love to sew! Pajama pants- a great first project- got me hooked. Soon enough, I was whipping up dresses in just a few hours.

Since I am not a master pattern maker (yet) I lean on simple basic patterns that I can adjust the Hell out of. And sew it began. I am mostly inspired by fashion made popular in the 1950s, 40s , 30s. Feminism also has a tendency to makes an appearance in my designs – even if it’s quite the contradiction (oops!)

As you can tell from my dresses, I am a sucker for high waists, dirndls, and a low back. Oh la la. I have always had an affinity for film noir – not to mention the femme fetal-which heavily inspired me to make dresses fit for real women. Beautiful, comfortable and strong.

My new designing journey, although grueling at times, has been nothing short of amazing. Hopefully with mentors, like Megan Nielsen, and a little community support, I will continue to evolve as a designer. Stay tuned for updates on both my blog and etsy.

Thank you so much to Lyndsay for taking time to chat to us all today! Please don’t forget to stop by her store!

Rank & Title fall collection

November 2nd, 2011

Remember lovely Caitlin, our current featured indie designer? Well her beautiful fall collection is in store now!

Pop on over and check out her gorgeous clothing – and don’t forget, you can get 10% of your purchase for the next few weeks using the code MEGAN10

featured indie designer: Rank & Title

October 25th, 2011

I’m so thrilled to introduce you to our latest featured indie designer here on Design Diary! Caitlin is super talented and absolutely sweet. Her clothing is so classic, incredibly well made and full of beautiful details –  I know you will love her and her designs!!

Hi there! I’m so honored to be Megan’s featured designer for October. I’m here to tell you a bit about my designs and my new label, Rank & Title. This year I launched my label and first collection with two dresses: Merit and Forbeau.

When I design clothes for Rank & Title, I make sure they’re pieces that not only would I wear, but are practical for layering, accessorizing and are uniquely timeless. It’s so important that the clothes I design have a little something special. For the spring collection, the Forbeau dress was my favorite, with that scoop back and navy band across the shoulders.

My second collection is for this fall/winter and is about to come out, so I’m giving y’all a sneak peak! The jersey Toujours dress has grosgrain ribbon straps with adjustable D-rings so the look of the hem is up to you. Stripes are such a classic look, I wanted to let them do their business with just a little design interference.

When I design, I tend to think for a long time before ever drawing sketches. Clothing ideas roam around in my head while I go about everyday activities and then something will come together, needing to be put down on paper immediately. The striped Trovare skirt took me a little while to figure out because I wanted a simple design but something fun with those stripes. In case you were wondering, trovare means “to find” in Italian. Fitting, eh?

Sometimes certain designs become little darlings I don’t dare get rid of, for example the neckline and shoulder details in my first collection’s dresses were restyled a teeny bit for the silk shirt in my new collection. I like the idea of reusing styles in different fabrics and tweeking them a bit to create new styles. I’m already planning to bring back the Forbeau dress in a future collection, and why not? I’m making my own designs and putting all that energy into creating something I’m proud of. For me, that’s what design is all about, staying true to what I love and making the rest up as I go.

photos & styling: Julia Platt-Hepworth and Caitlin Clark
hair & makeup: Caitlin Clark

Thanks so much to Caitlin for being Octobers featured indie designer!

Don’t forget to check out her store, Rank & Title, and sign up for her newsletter so you’ll be the first to hear when her fall line comes out!! Caitlin is offering Design Diary readers a 10% discount for the first few weeks after the release of her fall line – just use the code MEGAN10