Open Road

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It’s rare nowadays that we indulge in this level of, well, indulgence, on The Stylesmith Diaries (we save that for instagram) to the point that I actually almost completely forgot to post these pictures.

On the way back from Coachella, Hagop and I, decided to stage an impromptu fashion shoot, the light was perfect, the dress (Jill Stuart) was breezy and the road was open. Photo shoot commence!

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Thanks for the snaps Hagop! Follow him on Instagram for tons of beautiful shots, many of which featuring actual models :)

And in case you missed it – click for more pics:
Coachella Day One
Coachella Day Two
Coachella Day Three

Kelsi xx

Finding a Conscience at the Las Vegas Shows

Last week saw my semi-annual jaunt to the desert for the Las Vegas shows. For the first time in sometime I actually made it to a whole slew of shows and even a few seminars.

At every show (this was my twelfth) I’ve always sought out the new and unusual, with a preference for domestically manufactured. Over the past few years that preference has become an obsession, add in the state of our planet and my work with clients on the eco spectrum and that obsession has become a necessity.

One of the seminars I attended was “Doing the Right Thing Now For Fashion’s Future” at SOURCING at MAGIC. It was a panel discussion led by Katherine Stein of SGS which featured Justin Dillon of Made in a Free World, Jeanine Ballone of FASHION 4 DEVELOPMENT (and also Senior Director, Global Sourcing/Innovation and Product Development at PVH CORP) and Amy Hall, Director of Social Consciousness at EILEEN FISHER.

It was a good discussion, one that felt, sadly, poorly attended. One statistic stood out to me.

By 2030 the world will need 40% more water than it can possibly provide.

It was a statistic I’d heard before, but amidst the mass consumerism that is one of the largest apparel tradeshows, it was much more sobering. It took my everything to not leave and run through the convention centers screaming “Go home – you don’t need to buy anything – our planet is dying -we’ll have no water left in 15 years!!!”

Instead I channeled my frustration into good and went on a hunt for conscious fashion in a city not particularly known for consciousness :)

My first obvious stop was at the Emerging Designer Showcase at WWDMAGIC. The designers had been moved to the main concourse, giving them much more exposure than previous years – definitely a positive move. It felt smaller and weaker this season though – but there were two definite standouts.

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/EIS/ Los Angeles, (pronounced Ace) from Japanese born, raised and educated, Ayumi Shibata, is a line filled with gorgeous prints and textures, many pieces are reversible (multi-use = less clothing purchased = yay for reduced consumption) and most of the line is produced in the USA.

I fell particularly hard for the Ex Combo Cape in Midnight and the Reversible Skirt in Denim.

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Luis Denim, another participant in the Emerging Designer Showcase, was showcasing a great made in L.A denim brand. All the styles were not your average denim cuts. I loved the overalls and the unusual button up shirts.

After WWDMAGIC I headed over to another MAGIC show, Project Women’s (formerly ENK Shows). At Project Women’s an effort had been made to showcase conscious brands under the project “Conscious Collections”. The definition was fairly broad and sought to highlight brands that were “making a difference”. These brands included charitable brands such as The Giving Keys and Half United (featured below) and eco brands like Eileen Fisher (love).

Less obvious inclusions were Rebecca Minkoff  - I didn’t stop by their booth (I didn’t see that they were a participant until after the show) so I don’t know if they had a new project that would make them a valid participant. It could be through their collaboration with Honest Co – but if that’s the case, two bags does not a conscious brand make.

Half UnitedVegasTradeshows_August15_Project_HalfUnited_3VegasTradeshows_August15_Project_HalfUnited_1VegasTradeshows_August15_Project_HalfUnited_2Half United are a Los Angeles based jewelry brand that follows the give-back or “TOMS” (with whom they are partnered) model. For every product sold Half United provides a week of meals for a child in need. The company are “serving” the USA, Cambodia, Fiji, Nepal and Haiti. The majority of the collection features recycled bullet casings (symbolizing the fight against hunger) and is made in the USA.

After PROJECT Women’s I headed over to Pooltradeshow. Pooltradeshow is synonymous with indie art driven brands – so I figured this was a good place to stop on my hunt for “consciousness”.

I was super happy to see Nooworks – an out of San Francisco brand that I’ve posted about before (see my instagram) that focuses on limited edition, artist designed textiles with super simple silhouettes.

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Thread and Onion is a minimalist line out of Savannah, GA. The clothes are made using luxury silks and natural fibers.

My last stop on the tradeshow tour was Capsule – another show known for it’s embrace of the emerging designer community. They were also showcasing a number of conscious brands in their “Above the Tree Line” collection.

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Juniper Ridge are not a new brand to me, but were my first stop at “Above the Tree Line”. They’re stocked by our client Vert Beauty, and I’ve followed them for a little while (they have a beautiful instagram account). They’re a fascinating company, formulating “Wilderness Perfume” – extracting scents from nature – all of their products are 100% natural. They’re very good storytellers and their site and social media (and zine) do a fantastic service to the brand.

The also have a “Field Lab” collection which are small batch creations made on the trail, literally capturing a day in a scent. Extremely evocative.

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Jungmaven is another Los Angeles based brand, founded by Robert Jungmann. The brand produces clothing made from hemp and hemp/organic cotton blends and the result is not crunchy ponchos and fisherman pants, but well cut and soft tees (for men and women), great dresses (the kind you want to live in) and tunics.

The blue, red and white tee pictured above was my favourite – an instant classic and I know I would wear this dress every day forever.

Jungmann has been working with hemp and natural dyes since 1993, He works with indigo, black tea, turmeric and coffee and even makes paper from the hemp scraps. Given the seminar mentioned earlier it was great to learn that hemp is substantially less water intensive than cotton, cleanses oxygen and one acre produces 250% more fiber than cotton and 600% more than flax.

Now those are reasons to buy a t-shirt.

10TreesVegasTradeshows_August15_Capsule_10Trees_1As someone who has spent the past 12 months really reconnecting with their outdoorsy side (well, making an effort to) this vest stopped me in my tracks. When I found out it was by 10Tree I was even more excited.

10Tree plant 10 trees for every purchase made, they also produce (overseas) ethically and use many conscious fabrics such as tencel and organic cotton. I cannot wait to take a hike (literally) in this vest when it comes out (and let’s be honest probably snap a pic and wait till I have WiFi again so I can post it on the interwebs)

After exploring “Above the Tree Line” I checked out the remainder of the show.

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Vivian Chan is a made in Los Angeles brand that produces seasonally collections around a specific “girl” driven by a career – previous careers have included Pastry Chefs, Florists, Art Teachers, Tattoo Artists and more.

The line is extremely feminine and considering the quality, and made in Los Angeles factor, is extremely affordable – shop the Summer 2015 Collection now to see for yourself.

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Make it Good are a made in Portland brand (I swear I didn’t intentionally gravitate to only West Coast brands…). They hand dye their fabric, make their own prints and produce everything in house. The result is super wearable clothing and a cute sister brand – Nell and Mary – with adorable bags and soft home goods.

Personally I want to live in this 3/4 sleeve dress for Fall.

So, overall, I found some new brands that I’m excited about, but I think all the shows could do a better job to be more inclusive of conscious brands and highlight their work and what makes them conscious – I want to see more of it showcased and made available – perhaps a glossary style code – “made in the USA”, “eco”, “charitable” – those tags would make navigating the three massive convention centers that much easier and really help guide those of us looking for a conscious alternative.

Kelsi x

Eat, Drink (Work) Denver.

Denver_RedRocks_6About two Sunday’s ago I got a call from our client who wanted to see if I could come to Denver that week to help produce and creative direct a shoot for their website, and while I’m there set up a few blogger appointments.

Naturally I obliged, and two days later was on my way. Vert Beauty, the client, is an all natural beauty destination in the Highlands area of Denver (and online). We’ve been working with them for a few months now and it was my first opportunity to head out there and see the store for myself.

Now those of you have been been reading this blog since it’s DFOF days (oh you know, almost 7 years…) might remember our original beauty editor, and my BFF, Kate. Kate left Los Angeles at the end of 2009 to return to her hometown of Denver where she now works at, you guessed it, Vert.

So, whilst work was the primary objective of the trip (and many many hours were spent doing exactly that) we absolutely had to squeeze in some eating, drinking and catching up.

Overall Denver I really liked Denver, good food, good cider, good views, good company (and amazing architecture – this one was really surprising, but the houses out there are wowza’s – next time I’ll get more pics of those!)

My Brother’s Bar

MyBrothersBar Denver_MyBrothersBar_5 Denver_MyBrothersBar_4 Denver_MyBrothersBar_3 Denver_MyBrothersBar_2 Denver_MyBrothersBar_1Pics: The JCB Burger | My Brother’s Bar exterior | Window | Wild Cider | Jalapeno Cream Cheese Poppers | Table Top

In the brief moments that I had to do research, before I headed out to Denver, I discovered My Brother’s Bar. A classic bar and burger joint (apparently Denver has a thing for burgers) My Brother’s Bar is a yummy, must do destination. I had the JCB (jalepeno, cream cheese burger) and it was ridiculous delicious.

This is where I also discovered that a) Colorado makes great cider (this one is by Wild Cider) and b) at altitude I’m a serious lightweight.


Denver_Linger_2 Denver_Linger_8 Denver_Linger_7 Denver_Linger_6 Denver_Linger_5 Denver_Linger_4 Denver_Linger_3 Denver_Linger_1Pics: Linger exterior | Wagyu Sliders | Edamame and Hummus | Glider Cider & Pork Belly Bun | Pork Belly Bun | Patio | Linger Rooftop

After a full day’s work, the Vert team treated me to dinner at Linger – a former mortuary (not kidding) turned restaurant. We went family style and far too much food was ordered. Apparently Denver was pretty set on me leaving obese and addicted to Colorado cider, this time from Colorado Cider Company.

Inside Vert Beauty

Abby_6 Denver_VertBeauty_5 Denver_VertBeauty_4 Denver_VertBeauty_3 Lacey_4 Denver_VertBeauty_1 Rebecca_5 Denver_VertBeauty_2Pics: Testing Products | Jane Iredale display | Odacite Display | Osmia Display | Testing out Laurel Skincare | A sneak peek from our product shoot | Rebecca from The Novice Native post #GreenRoutine makeover | RMS display.

Whilst yes, I’m bias, they’re a client, Vert Beauty really is an amazing destination for all thing natural and beauty. If you’re in Denver, absolutely stop by. The team is super knowledgable, and it’s well worth it. I left with a ton of new products and am in love with them all. If you’re not in Denver – well, they have a website, so you can shop from your couch. Yayness.

Colorado Cider Company

Denver_CCC_7 Denver_CCC_6 Denver_CCC_4 Denver_CCC_2 Denver_CCC_3 Denver_CCC_1Pics: Table at Colorado Cider Co | Kate | Cider Tasting | Me cider tasting the wrong way | Cider tasting again | Spit take!

My love for cider is well-documented, my love for US cider. Not so much. The US has a tendency to make cider that is way too sweet and way too light. Colorado Cider Company is by far the best cider I’ve had in the US (because they use actual cider apples not dessert apples!). Unfortunately it’s not easy to find outside of Colorado – but if you do, I highly recommend the Glider (both the original and the dry) and the The Old Stumpy, and if you like a sweet cider, the Cherry Cider is bizarrely delicious (it actually tastes like cherry pie)

Broadway Drinks

Denver_Sputnik_2 Denver_Sputnik_1Naturally when it comes to having a few drinks out, the fewer pics the better. We headed to Broadway, a hipster-iffic part of Denver where the bars were full and the beers cheap enough to have a good time. Not that it mattered, in Denver I’m a cheap date.

Bars visited: Historians Ale House & Sputnik

Red Rocks

Denver_RedRocks_8 Denver_RedRocks_7 Denver_RedRocks_6 Denver_RedRocks_4 Denver_RedRocks_3 Denver_RedRocks_2 Denver_RedRocks_1 RedRocks_1On my last day we decided to get up obscenely early (alarms were set for 5.30am) to go and see Red Rocks. Thanks to the night of drinking (and by night of drinking I mean the cider tasting and about two drinks and home by 11pm – thanks altitude) we didn’t actually get there until 8am, and then we had to wait for some crazy people who got up even earlier to do yoga at red rocks to vacate the amphitheater.

The rocks, are, essentially, red and large and rocky (the name kinda gives it away), and the view is gorgeous. The space is used for all sorts of performance events and live music, and I’m confident it would be an amazing venue to see your favourite band. Next time Denver, next time.

It was here that I also learned that Denver likes Lululemon and fitness (in that order) and I saw an actual deer.

The Cherry Cricket

Denver_CherryCricket_2Before flying out we stopped by the infamous Cherry Cricket for a burger (see Denver <3′s Burgers). This place is a Denver institution with a “build your own burger” type menu. It was a great classic burger – I’m going to say I preferred My Brother’s Bar on account of the patty – but it’s a close call, so just do both, given the opportunity :)

Kelsi x