Monday, August 8, 2011

Outfit Post: August 8, 2011

Who: Just me. Met friends for lunch at Dandilion Kitchen.
What: Xhilaration top, Gap Always Skinny jeans, ShoeDazzle shoes
When: Monday, all day.
Where: To write at a coffee shop; to shop downtown.
Why: I was sans baby. I could wear my hair down without getting it pulled by sticky baby fingers. (Ahem, pure bliss.)

Excuse the poor image quality...may-jor camera issues.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Hier Apparel is rooted in an appreciation for organic geometry

The point at which unintended sidewalk cracks and overgrown weeds meet is most commonly a nuisance, one that must be remedied. It is not typically thought of as inspiring or beautiful. Unless you’re Laura Good, founder and designer of Minneapolis-based Hier Apparel.
Indeed, Laura finds these things stirring, rousing, moving.
“I love the patterns, stains and cracks created by the wear and tear of life. The plants which squeeze their way through the side of a building are a soothing reminder that we are not in control and the natural environment always wins.”
Laura’s natural environment ranges from Chicago to Minneapolis. These cities—their sidewalk cracks, worn streets, and wavering streetlights—are reflected in Hier Apparel’s designs. Looking retrospectively at her design history, Laura decides her design ethic is “rooted in an appreciation for organic geometry and its ever-present reflection in modern culture and urban infrastructure.” Laura’s outlook on style and its place within the organic world is no less than refreshing.
Hier Apparel's GRAFF Dress
Photo courtesy of Hier Apparel
Hier Apparel’s GRAFF Dress is a permeable manifestation of an urban atmosphere. Like the rusted steel of a freeway’s overpass, the bleach-speckled panel down the middle of the dress creates geometric appeal. The dress stays true to her focus in design culture, Laura says. “I focus on everyday wearable garments with simple shapes and unexpected details.” She creates the print by hand, so it should be expected that each individual piece varies slightly.
Crafted from cotton twill, the dress is comfortable and can be styled for summer or winter. The neutral-yet-spunky attitude of the dress allows seasonable accessories to complement the guise without looking like a crazed trend zombie.
Hier Apparel's GRAFF Dress
Photo courtesy of Hier Apparel
Simply stated, that is what Laura’s personal style is all about.
Ignore trends. Wear what you like,” she vows.
What recent trends have you ignored? Which trends did you follow, but in retrospect probably should have left on the rack?

Monday, August 1, 2011

Beck and El: Style expresses who you are and who you want to be

Growing up on a hobby farm in the middle of Nebraska, sisters Becky and Ellie were unlikely candidates for a career in fashion. Stepping outside the stereotypical bounds of what a Nebraskan farmer may look like or dress like, they got started in their creative interests very early, “Me with making clothes for my Barbies and Ellie taking pictures of flowers and nature around the farm with our mom's camera,” piped Becky.
Becky, now living in Minneapolis, and Ellie, in Texas, are both in Minneapolis in the same time, a rare occasion. “We were on vacation together road tripping across the northern United States: Minneapolis to Seattle and Portland and back.”  
While their time together physically is infrequent, in May of 2010 they launched their line, Beck and El, with a show at The Beat Coffee Shop in Uptown. Now, Ellie plans to make the move to Minneapolis. “We want to be a part of Minneapolis fashion shows, get into a local boutique, and have a website for our brand up and running. With our efforts combined, we are doing what we love and creating something for everyone.”
Beck and El Bohemian Day Dress
In the meantime, though, Becky continues to explore her city for fashion revelations that she can manipulate with her mom’s old sewing machine. “I find a lot of inspiration in the basement of Cheapo Music on Lake Street, at a thrift store, around Cedar Lake. This city has so much to be inspired by.”
Meanwhile, 1,200 miles away, Ellie finds the results of her sister’s elegant exploitations waiting on her doorstep. “I mail her the clothes so she [can] model and take pictures of them.” (Probably, I imagine, much like when they were young children on the farm.)
When Ellie opened the package containing the Bohemian Day Dress (above) Becky designed, she found something that was both versatile and comfortable—and, I would argue, adheres to the trends without being a victim of them. The aztec print is a step outside the norm, while the drawstring harmonizes with the waistline. “This dress is meant to be worn all day and into the night. It can easily be dressed up with statement shoes for an art opening, or out grocery shopping with boots or huarache sandals,” the sisters whistled in agreement.
Likewise, Beck and El’s Ikat Watercolor Deep Plunge Dress (below) is exquisite. Perfect for a summer day in the city, it can be styled with an on-trend, oversized, button-up denim shirt over, tied in a knot. Pairing it with wedges or ankle boots will take you from brunch to the farmers market to a street festival and beyond. Punctuate the ensemble with chunky bangles and mismatched necklaces.
Beck and El's Ikat Watercolor Deep Plunge Dress
No matter what you wear or where (whether on the farm or in the city or even on a cross-country roadtrip with your sister) the secret to personal style, the sisters say, is, “Wear[ing] what you love. Put it on and walk out the door, no apologies. Style should express both who you are and who you want to be.” (After all, your style is perceived as reality.)
That, in my fashion belief system, is exactly what discovering your personal style is all about.