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Archive for the ‘Cri de Coeur’ Category

Today is the first day that I have really felt like I want to wear something spring-like  instead of the endless layers and over-the-knee socks. Plus, most of the spring/summer inventory has finally arrived. I thought that it would be fun to show some pairings of styles (Dresses matched with shoes, etc.) that I personally like.

The first paring is actually what was used in a photo shoot by Chronogram Magazine. I wish that I could post the photo here – if you are able to get your hands on the April issue, check out page 51. The model is wearing this great dress from popomomo –

paired with these equally stunning Cri de Coeur Emma shoes –

and this lovely (and very colorful) bag from Dialog –

Next up is a pairing for times when you want a more sophisticated look. I love naturevsfuture – and this trench style coat looks so great as a dress too –

Pair it with the  gorgeous Galaxy shoes from olsen Haus

and this eco, beautiful and versatile clutch from GG2G (in a wonderfully eye-popping color)

stay tuned for more pairings –

Happy Spring!

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This is a picture of a pair of vegan boots that I had custom made for me about 20 years ago – style-wise, it is certainly a far cry from the fantastic styles of Cri de Coeur, olsen Haus, Beyond Skin, Mohop (and others). They were also much more expensive. But these other designers weren’t around at that time . After wearing poorly made, plastic shoes for a few years, I ended up going to Eneslow – a shoe store in NYC that specializes in orthotics. I still love these boots – they do “fit me like a glove” and so I pulled them out of my closet the other day (after neglecting them for a few years). Don’t they look sweet with the lovely pin made by Leanne Hilgart of Vaute Couture decorating them? In case you can’t read the pin, it says “No Fur For this Girl”.  No leather either.

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For months now, I have been trying to get my thoughts together for this post. I had originally intended the title to be “The Price of Ethics”. But as time went on and I thought about what I really wanted to say about all of the products that I am going to talk about – well – it became clear that one of the things that they all share in common is that they are MADE WITH LOVE. From the absolutely perfect chocolates made by Lagusta’s Luscious to the stunning footwear created by Cri de Coeur and olsen Haus to the fabulously warm and beautiful winter coats by Vaute Couture to the gorgeous handbags by GG2G  – they are all made wth love. 

  They all share the desire to fairly compensate everyone along the way in the production of their goods. This comes at a cost. And because we as consumers have been conditioned to seek out what is cheap or a bargain, many of these companies have been scrutinized for their prices. I see it in the comments that people make on FaceBook pages or in e-mails that I get from customers asking about the pricing. In fact, Leanne (of Vaute Couture) wrote a post on her blog last year – “Why my coats aren’t cheap”. She covers every point so well that it would be ridiculous for me to paraphrase anything. If you haven’t read it, please check it out – she spells everything out so clearly:

http://onoursleeve.com/?p=1615

 What does it mean when we buy somehing that is “cheap” ? So often we hear people saying – “Oh, you should shop at xyz, their stuff is so cheap!” I decided to look the word up in a dictionary – there were numerous definitions but these 2 were of special interest to me:

“of little account; of small value; mean; shoddy: cheap conduct; cheap workmanship”

“stingy; miserly: He’s too cheap to buy his own brother a cup of coffee.”

Do we really want cheap? Do we want to spend our money on something that is made poorly or do we want to be seen as miserly?  I am really interested in what you think about this issue. This post is the intro to a series – I would love to incorporate your thoughts.

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I remember very clearly the first time that I heard about Cri de Coeur. A good friend of mine had forwarded a link to Daily Candy  – the feature that day (2/15/08) was the new vegan footwear line – Cri de Coeur. My boutique had only been open for a little bit more than ½ year at that point and I had been searching for a vegan shoe line that would make me think – “I so want those shoes for myself”. I contacted Gina right away and when I received the linesheets, I fell in love with every style (especially Scout).

Since then, each new collection of Cri de Coeur has been filled with stunning, vegan and eco styles. The recent addition of the Hearts of Darkness line makes Gina’s and Julie’s designs accessible at all price points. Fall’10 also brings the debut of Cri de Coeur handbags – made in NYC! Start saving – you will definitely want one – this will be a handbag for life.

We have had Cri de Coeur Trunk Shows at the shop – the most recent was last April and it was a blast. We plan to have an event like this twice a year to coincide with the new collections – so stay posted to find out details about the next one.

So – on to the interview with these 2 talented and lovly designers- Gina Ferraraccio and Julie Dicterow.

What made you decide to get into fashion ?

Julie: I wanted to fill the void in the high-end vegan fashion market.

Gina: I’ve been a fashion-phile all my life – I can’t imagine doing anything else!

How do you see the role of fashion in an eco-life ?

We think that what we wear says so much about who we are, and it is so important to wear your heart on your sleeve, so to speak, by making choices in fashion that compliment our ideals on the inside.

What have been some of the most positive experiences for you since starting your company?

It’s awesome to know that we’re making a difference by doing something we love.  It’s also been great to see that the awareness of how a vegan lifestyle can benefit the world has grown tremendously, from helping to reverse global warming, to healthy living, to eliminating animal suffering.  We rarely get asked ‘what’s a vegan shoe?’ these days.

What have been some of the draw backs ?

The cost of keeping things “green” up against the prices people can afford in this economy.  Sourcing has been one of our biggest challenges.

When you go to the footwear shows, what kind of response do you get from people who don’t know at first that you are a vegan/eco line ?

 We try not to lead with a disclaimer that our line is vegan. We like the product to speak for itself and stand on its own among other contemporary and leather-heavy footwear and handbag companies. With that being said, when asked about materials, people are often surprised about how similar to leather it looks. We would love to replace the need and want for leather goods by offering something that won’t cause people to feel they have to sacrifice style to support cruelty-free fashion.

 For Gina- what difference do you see in your company now that you have a partner – what is it that you both bring to the table ?

I can’t imagine doing this without Julie now!  It’s great to be able to bounce ideas and to have another pair of hands, and our skills are really complementary.  The design process as a collaborative effort is amazing, and we’re both constantly surprised by how much we’re thinking the same things.  

For Julie – what drew you to Cri de Coeur & – do you find that you are influenced by your music?

I was drawn to Cri de Coeur first as a consumer looking for vegan shoes to complement my wardrobe. Cri de Coeur designs were stylish, comfortable and fashion forward.

 I think that being a musician and being a designer are just ways in which I can express myself creatively. They are the only things in this world I feel I can do well. I love that I can use these outlets to also make a difference in the world by raising  awareness about the cruelty of animals in a way that is not as painful for me as if I worked for PETA or The Humane Society, for example. It is my own way of functioning in the world, but still being proactive in the change in the world.

 How did you connect with each other ?

Julie: While at Parsons New School of Design, I was looking for an internship and met her for an interview. Very quickly we realized that we worked very well together and had similar tastes and desires for the future of fashion. I really wanted to introduce handbags to the line, and we collaborated on the expansion. After that, we became partners!

 What are some of your favorite styles (from any of your current or past collections) and why?

Julie: I love Scout and Alexa. The Scout because it is simple, very stylish and comfortable.

Alexa because it is so fashion forward and unique.  Everyone stops me on the street when I wear them.

 Gina: I’ve been reaching for Lydia almost everyday this summer – so easy and comfy for running around everyday.  The wedge heel and elastic straps on Emma also make for an amazing summer sandal.  And I know when fall comes back around, Ariel and Stephanie will be my go-to boots again.

 What would you like to have customers understand about the production of your line – 

Customers sometimes balk at the prices, and being on tight budgets ourselves, we understand – but we hope people are aware that the price tags aren’t come up with arbitrarily…every step of the production process adds its own cost to the bottom line.  For example, all products are made by hand in socially responsible factories that pay fair wages, and materials are the highest quality.  Not only do they look and feel good, they’ll endure through many years of wear. 

 Where do you get your inspiration from for each collection ?

Each collection is newly inspired – by personal experiences, photoshoots, girls with great personal style, films, art, nostalgia – it all depends what we’re feeling at the time. Cri de Coeur’s upcoming fall’10 season is inspired by the idea of women on the frontier, a little rough and unkempt, but still edgy and forward thinking; Hearts of Darkness is glam and luxe – lots of rich textures.

What eco clothing lines do you especially like ?

We like Lara Miller, Vaute Couture, Feral Childe, H.Fredriksson, Popomomo, Study NY, Mociun…there are so many we could go on and on!

 I know that Cri de Coeur shoes/boots have been worn by models in fashion shows for popomomo and Vaute Couture – any others or any future ones planned.

We love to collaborate with designers during fashion weeks – there will definitely be a couple this September.  We’re also the exclusive women’s shoe designer at the upcoming NY Vegetarian Expo’s fashion show on Oct 2.  More details here: http://nyvegetarianexpo.org/index.php4

 What changes have you seen in the industry since your debut collection ?

The economic recession hit us hard during 2009, and while it’s much better lately, there is still a lingering sense of caution when people are purchasing – both wholesale buyers and end consumers.   More happily, in the past 3 years, there’s been a surge of people wanting to live a green and humane lifestyle.

 What influence do you think that Facebook, Twitter, etc., (social media in general) has had on the growth of your business ?

The social media help us connect quickly to a vast amount of fans in so many ways. Also, networking helps us link together with other like-minded businesses to get the word out and help each other.

 What’s your favorite aspect of your business ?

Julie: My favorite aspect of our business is designing the collections with Gina.

Gina: I love getting the first prototypes of our new designs and seeing all the ideas come to fruition.

 If you had unlimited investment money, is there anything else that you would branch out into.

 Oh yes! Many, many things!  If anyone out there is interested, email for our business plan and proposal 😉

Thanks to Gina and Julie for taking the time to provide such thoughtful and comprehensive answers. To learn more about their wonderful company, check them out on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/cridecoeur?ref=mf 

and on their website – http://cri-de-coeur.com/

p.s. – they now have a stunning collection of jewelry. I’m waiting to get the bracelet that I ordered and then I’ll post some pics.

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Stop by the store on 4/17 from 1-5  for a fabulous trunk show featuring Gina Ferraraccio’s vegan footwear lines Cri de Coeur and Hearts of Darkness . We’ll have super delicious chocolates from  Bluestocking Bonbons by Lagusta’s Luscious and yummy baked goods from Countess Carrots. Plus a fun raffle wth prizes ranging from gift certificates to fabulous books (like Thanking the Monkey and Vegan Brunch for examples).

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