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Archive for the ‘Fashion’ Category

Holiday Fun – Dressy!

This will be a short but sweet post with some ideas for a dressy (but not black-tie) holiday get together. There are some fantastic styles available from Mission Savvy – one of my favorites is this lovely Carrie Parry dress –

Carrie Parry dress

 Need a pair of heels to go with this? Check out the fabulous olsen Haus Galaxy style available on our site

Galaxy

Finish off the look with this fantastic clutch available at Compassion Couture
 

Reveal Clutch

 
Now – who said that vegan fashion is boring ?
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As I was getting dressed this morning, I thought about  the clothes that I was wearing. A pair of black pants that I’ve had for 8 years now,  a Vaute Couture message tee and my beloved popomomo cape. And I thought, “I’m dressing in memories”. I remembered buying these pants at a women’s clothing store down the block from me and thinking at the time that they were expensive – but I knew that I would wear them all the time. Eight years later, that has certainly been proven to be true. The Vaute Couture tee is especially cherished by me.  I remembered when I first heard about this brand, my first conversation with Leanne, the first time that I met her – lovely memories. So each time that I wear it, it’s like having Leanne with me. The popomomo cape is special to me because – 1) I just absolutely love the style 2) I met the designer Lizz  at Rendezvous back  in the fall of 2010 3) Abigail Doan of ecco*eco bought the same cape when she visited my shop last fall, and so every time I wear it, it’s like having her with me.

 

The above photo was taken of me by Abigail when she visited me – on that day, I was wearing the same tee and cape as today. I wear the clothes that I love constantly.

Every time that we wear something, it absorbs more memories. Maybe that’s one of the reasons that we have such a hard time cleaning out our closets – it’s hard to part with the dress that you were wearing when you met someone who became a special part of your life. What do you do with items that no longer fit but you really cherish?

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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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Styles for the holidays

The holidays are upon us – and even if you don’t celebrate them in any type of traditional sense – chances are that you will be invited to some parties. I am always searching for something that I would love to wear. There are some wonderful eco-friendly boutiques out there with stunning selections of clothing and accessories. So here are a few of my picks for what I would love to purchase (click on the pictures to go directly to the corresponding website).

 First up is the stunning dress by Stewart and Brown which can be found at the wonderful Shift Boutique in Cape Cod, Massachusetts:

I am completely in love with the “Organic Disco Top” from SUST and available at Equita (in Pittsburgh, Pa.).

Do you want something  abit more dressy?  This gorgeous top from Feral Childe is just the thing – and it’s available at Mission Savvy (located in Charleston, West Virginia)

This next item is something that I actually already purchased for myself. Did you know that Cri de Coeur also has a line of jewelry? I love all of their pieces but especially this bracelet:

And last of all, is something from my shop – I love POPOMOMO – and especially this gorgeous black dress :

What are some of your favorites ?

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Elizabeth Olsen

One of the best aspects of having a shop is getting to meet the gifted designers who work so hard to push their industry in the direction of compassion and eco-awareness while remaining beautifully style-conscious.

I first stumbled upon an early OlsenHaus website before I opened my shop – while doing endless google searches on vegan products. It had some pictures of wildly stunning footwear.  I had to keep checking that yes, it did say Vegan on the website. I was unable to connect with anyone at this point but about 1 year after opening Cow Jones, I received a postcard in the mail from Elizabeth Olsen announcing her debut collection. I immediately responded and she graciously agreed to make the trek up north here to show me the collection in person. As it turned out, it was a truly serendipitous meeting. Two lovely women who I had recently become friends with (Donna & Dickse) stopped by that day to visit – and with them were Chloe Jo Davis (Girlie Girl Army ) Joshua Katcher (The Discerning Brute), Jeremy Davis and another friend of theirs – I think his name was Zoe. I was under the influence of some strong medication that day and so the day went by in a blur. But I do remember how lovely and kind everyone was, how much fun we had and what an incredible collection of shoes I saw.

Each season I am amazed at the stunning styles that Elizabeth has in her collections and I truly admire her emphasis on using sustainable materials.

Elizabeth has some pretty exciting things planned for the future. Read on and get a closer look at the creative force behind the footwear that you have come to love.

 You have been involved in the fashion world for many years now – what first drew you to this career?

Ever since I was a small child I’ve liked making things- whether it was a collage, paintings, sculptures, anything, I love to create, and the joy I saw it brought others, and the praise I received from my parents. I have also had a mission to help animals since I was 15 ( so for over 20 years now)…after High School- I wanted to go into fashion design, but got accepted into FIT’s Accessories program based on hats I was making in college.

  I have been in design, but I really don’t consider myself to be in “fashion”- I had an epiphany when I was about 20, and very depressed, came the vision that I would create a very successful vegan shoe line- at the time I had no idea how to get from point A to B- ……….but I continued working as a designer/stylist/ creative director for many years- traveled, made money, but never really felt satisfied, or like I was doing enough to help animals- finally after not being able to take working for other people and meetings where design was discussed more than actually created- and the timing of after 20 years of being a vegetarian that I made the connection to be vegan-

I also remembered the epiphany I had years before. Everything I have learned, experienced, and studied about design, marketing, business, and the human condition and reactions to vegetarians and vegans has been put to good use in starting Olsenhaus, there are no doubts it is here to stay and run the course of transitioning other brands and people to veganism 

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

The role of fashion in an eco-life is a freedom of expression. Fashion that is environmentally conscious is not only an expression in an art form, but also taking into account the important issues that effects us all-our natural resources, the environment, air, water, land, the other beings of this earth. Basically eco-fashion is extremely important, because you are making a statement about your life.

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

 Positives:

The feedback from supporters, customers, people who are just learning about vegan life, and what it means.

The camaraderie of other people speaking about the same mission, helping our environment, and human health, by making the connection.

In the last 2 years I’ve seen acceleration in people’s awareness of how they live their life, the cause and effect of their choices and the impact we all have on the beings and environment of this planet.

 What have been some of the draw-backs ?

 I have a company to run, so I have a very busy hectic schedule, and all of the normal day-to-day things to do, but an immense amount of time is spent educating. That is not a draw back per se, but I did not realize, going in, how involved the educating process would be.

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

 More openness, more curiosity, and a lot less aversion to simply the word vegan.

An undeniable awareness to issues: animal’s rights and the environment.  These are affecting us all. You see the awareness daily from people reusing bags rather than taking plastic bags, to people shopping at vegan specific stores etc., the truth is spreading and naturally causing a growing demand in vegan footwear. The UK, Japan, and Germany are a step ahead of us here, they have a more universal understanding of what the word vegan means.  It’s not an alternative /hippy fringe choice. They see it as awareness and consciousness of what is actually going on- it’s a wakeup call. 

 You have really pushed the industry forward in your usage of eco-materials such as your faux-suede which is made from recycled TV monitors and the heels in your spring’11 collection which are made from recycled plastics. How do you discover these materials?  

 Through research, and keeping on top of the material industry to see what is going on, and through continuing to make the brand more well-known, the suppliers contact me.

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

 That this is the new luxury, animal based fashion is outdated.

Footwear is highly technical and is actually a very expensive product to produce; fashion in general is an expensive industry to compete in.

  Also that there is also the story and message behind the line- that for me would be the only reason to create another footwear line- to make change in the world for those suffering- nature, animals and people.

 Where do you get your inspiration from for each collection?

 It differs, but it is always somewhere in the everyday.  When designing spring 2011 I had been spending time at my parents place in Florida.  I was inspired by the beach, by nautical design, and I also had business to attend to in Japan so this season was a combo of simplicity, Japan, the ocean.

 What eco clothing lines do you especially like? Which ones do you feel have a look that works well with your styles?

 Definitely Linda Loudermilk, Lara Miller, Mr Larkin, Stewart &  Brown

 What are some of your favorite styles (from any of your collections) that you find yourself reaching for time after time?

The Balance style shoe which I first used a few seasons ago has morphed slightly and has appeared in each season since. This fall it has morphed into Muse and Muse 2, for Spring 2011.

It is the most popular style with customers, because it has clean lines and even though it has a high heel it is comfortable. And the strap that goes over the ankle provides a lot of support.

 You were on The Fashion Show last year  – what was this like? Did you feel like the contestants were excited about using alternative textiles in the challenge?

 It was a great experience!  They were very psyched to do something different as they had been designing apparel the whole time.  The alternatives gave them greater room for creativity and introduced them to these materials that looked amazing as their designs. Overall I think it was eye-opening and thought provoking for them and the hosts of the show. I applaud the producers for contacting me for the show.

 Olsen Haus has a huge following in Japan – what do you attribute this to?

 Japan is a bit ahead of us here in the US in deciding the next fashion trend, and they like things that are designer-based, a little bit funky- fashion forward and have a story behind them. I think OlsenHaus offers them both the style they crave and the world of veganism is slowly catching on. 

 You have some amazing styles for children for Fall – how has this part of your line been received ?

 This is our biggest season for kids so far, but every season so far has been bigger than the last in general.  When in our showroom, people automatically gravitate to the children’s shoes first.

In the future we will expand further to have a full children’s collection

 Are you still considering doing men’s styles?

 Yes we want to launch into men’s, and more fully into childrens, also hand-bags and clothing-it’s all work in progress. The womens has been the main focus and I wanted to solidify the brands position, before branching out.

 I have been doing a lot of thinking lately on whether or not having the word “Vegan” on my storefront is a good thing or not (for business). You are truly out front with your messages about animals and the environment. How do you think this influences potential buyers?

 Having the word “vegan” in the logo and being up front and educational about the issues was a very conscious decision. Exposing the truth is really at the essence the main goal of the company, I don’t think I would have created the company, if there wasn’t this need, believe me it would have been a lot easier to stay a creative director and take the paychecks…

But having said this, I knew it was a risk, but I had to take it, and happily it has actually been what has drawn people in……

But for other companies, I think it has to be taken on a case by case basis…….there is no trick involved, but the public has a preconvieved notion of what a vegan is… so if it turns people off, or isn’t working for a brand/company, then- drop it, build the company and let people find out at their own pace and then reintroduce the word when you have the following.

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

 It has a huge influence. I think it has a big influence on any business in this day and age, internet networking……

It is a great way to stay up to date with our customers, and do outreach with all sorts of information, daily, cheaply and fast…it also can have the effect of being on a more personal level with customers/buyers, etc….  If someone visits our website then sees we have facebook and twitter it is a great way for them to get to know us further and pass us onto their friends.

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

 Well we are working to make OlsenHaus a household name. If we had unlimited investment money we would veganize everything that we can, a lot faster.  Keep watching. Our next venture is a store front here in NYC, and my personal dream is put up vegan message billboards!

 

I’m so grateful to Elizabeth for taking the time for this interview and for providing such thoughtful answers – and of course, for creating such fabulous footwear. To learn more about OlsenHaus, check out their website –https://www.olsenhaus.com/ and their Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/pages/Olsenhaus-Pure-Vegan/56800612585

And their Facebook Page.

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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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