Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Interview with Ethical Designer Rachel Fernbach of PonyBabe

PonyBabe is an up and coming ethical clothing line designed and manufactured in Brooklyn, New York. The concept behind the collection is to provide clothing that works 24 hours of the day: clothing that is comfortable for sleeping and movement but can also be dressed up for formal situations. Working with a neutral palette, PonyBabe shows us a true example of a simplified wardrobe. All the items can be mixed and matched effortlessly. What's even better is that everything from the packaging to the fabrics is produced sustainably and transparently right here in the United States.
Today I had the pleasure of interviewing Rachel Fernbach, the designer behind the label.

What drew you to fashion initially?
I have a background in photography and fine arts, and I used to do a lot of home sewing. After stepping away from my career as a therapist, I wanted to get involved with a creative project, and was inspired by my experiences with yoga and dance to create a body-friendly clothing collection.

Who is your clothing designed for?
The 24 Hour Outfit is perfect for so many lifestyles. The comfy layers work well for yoga, meditation, and dance, but can also be dressed up for office casual. Expecting and new mothers will find the clothes great for their changing bodies - and the Cardigan and Wrap both double as on-the-go nursing covers. Minimalists and capsule wardrobe devotees are well served by PonyBabe's neutral color palette and simple silhouettes.

What inspired you in creating this collection?
I wanted clothing that I could wear 24 hours a day - for work, play, outings, and even nap time. I was inspired by my yoga practice, by listening to my body and finding out what I need to be comfortable all the time. I've often had women comment to me that I "look very comfortable" and I wanted to be able to share this experience with other women!

Have there been any major setbacks along the way?
Learning the ins and outs of clothing production has been a challenge, but there haven't been any major setbacks. I'd say the biggest challenge is simply gaining ground in a very competitive environment, and getting the word out about PonyBabe.

Do you have any advice for fellow designers?
I think it's important to receive feedback and input from people who have wisdom to share, but always remember that at the end of the day, your creativity and self-expression are what's most important! Stay true to your vision, and share your voice with the world. The world needs you.

To support Rachel's project, you can shop the pre-sale on PonyBabe's kickstarter.

Monday, October 24, 2016

DIY Candy Corn Ombré Tights

1 pair white tights
1 box yellow powdered fabric dye (I use RIT dye)
1 cup white vinegar
1 standard cleaning bucket of hot water

-Wet your tights in hot water.
-Dissolve package of dye in the bucket of hot water.
-Add your 1 cup white vinegar to the bucket.
-Hang tights in the dye bucket slightly above desired length where you want your gradient effect to occur.
-Wait half an hour stirring the dye mix occasionally.
-Slowly lower the still-white part of your tights in just a few inches and hold for thirty seconds to give a gradient effect.  
-Rinse tights until the water runs clear.
-Hang to dry.

This is a Do It Yourself project I have been wanting to do since last winter when I made my ombré dyed galaxy tights. I had the idea for dying candy corn tights and bought myself both orange and yellow dye for the project. I dipped the tights in yellow dye first but after half an hour in the dye bath the tights turned out pretty orange so I didn't need the orange dye after all (good thing I saved the receipt!). The tights for this project came from a nearby thrift shop (they were still in their original store packaging but sold for a quarter of the original price). So dye included, I spent a little over four dollars on this whole project and I love the way they turned out. They are perfect for Halloween but subtle enough that I can wear them all year round!

Do you have any fun DIY's to share? 
I would love to see them! Post in the comments below!

Outfit Details
Everything I'm wearing is old or secondhand.

Friday, October 21, 2016

Tiny Treasures

One of my favorite things about going outside is that you never know what you will find. Today I went for a short walk behind my school and was enchanted by the gallery of golden leaves, flowers, and porcelain berries hiding in the underbrush. I know that I'm not supposed to like porcelain berries because they are invasive and choke out native plants but I still can't help but admire their delicate array of turquoise and periwinkle. 
Working at a preschool, students are continually picking up 'treasures'. Often it's really just a handful of wood chips or gravel but to the three year old, it really is treasure. I like to think of spending time in nature as a similar kind of treasure hunt. A square foot of ground can hold so many mysteries and so much beauty that I usually don't stop to consider. 
This post is dedicated to the tiny treasures.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Old Pictures of People Looking at Ancient Things

I'm not sure why but I find these vintage National Geographic photos of people looking at ancient things completely fascinating. Maybe it's because I get to feel like an archaeologist when digging through photo archives that it's a little jarring to see people in the past uncovering the past. Obviously, as a child in school, I knew that not every discovery we learned about was current but I guess it just felt current to me because...I was learning about it for the first time. Looking at these pictures makes me feel connected to people generations before me. These artifacts and structures were ancient and mysterious to them the same way they are ancient and mysterious to me. Mankind has seen so many cycles of art and architecture. We can only look at what is left behind and try to put the pieces together. What was life like back then?

Monday, October 17, 2016

What is a Mori Girl?

I recently learned about Mori Girl, a Japanese subculture that I think I could belong to. A mori girl (or forest girl in English) has a continual love affair with nature, she walks with her head in the clouds, and makes time for daydreams. Mori girl style uses lots of layering and lace. It is poetic, earthy, and feminine; perfect for long walks in the woods with a fairy tale in hand. These are girls who love the forest, browsing bookshops, and taking time to slow down and breathe in the seasons.

Ten Mori Girl Traits
  1. Wears loose fitting, earthy toned clothing.
  2. Enjoys reading literature and poetry.
  3. Appears laid back in personality.
  4. Makes things herself (knitted scarves, muffins, post cards).
  5. Enjoys spending time in nature.
  6. Is often introverted.
  7. Looks like she stepped out of a Scandinavian fairy tale. 
  8. Walks with a camera or journal in hand. 
  9. Goes shopping in vintage stores.
  10. Enjoys the little details of life. 

From what I can gather, mori girl fashion has been around since 2006 but it still is not hugely popular so there is some discrepancy over the details of what exactly makes a mori girl a mori girl. I gathered all my information from a series of different internet guides and informal websites (like this blog)! If you are interested in seeing more examples of mori girl fashion, I recommend these tumblr feeds:

Friday, October 14, 2016

My Preschool Teacher Uniform

I've talked a lot lately about capsule wardrobes and simplifying what you have. One easy way to do this is to create a uniform for yourself. I work as a preschool and elementary school teacher five days a week at a school where teachers aren't allowed to wear leggings, jeans, or sweats. Not being one for stiff dress slacks, I had to find something professional and easy to move in that also stayed true to my style. The solution: knee length leggings underneath a rotation of easy to throw on dresses. The leggings are necessary for picking children up, sitting crisscross applesauce, and all around movement while allowing me to wear what I want to wear and feel cute. This outfit is comfortable in the classroom, on the playground, and at home. Getting dressed takes about two minutes instead of ten because I know what I have to wear and I know that I like wearing it.
My Preschool Teacher Capsule Wardrobe
1 skirt (polka dot)
2 pairs of gray leggings
1 pair of black jeans
3 tees (striped, plain black, plain gray)
1 blouse 
3 cardigans (navy, bright blue, gray)

I'm still in the process of refining it but this is roughly what my capsule looks like. My clothing color palette consists of blues and grays with pops of primary colors. I wanted something versatile that can include my favorite quirky pieces and make room for occasional brightly colored tights or shoes.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Maternity Style: Tania

My friends Micah and Tania are expecting their very first baby in two weeks. And because this blog seconds as an excuse for me to play photographer, I jumped at the opportunity to capture this special time for them right before the baby is born. What I loved most about this photo shoot was how clearly Micah and Tania's friendship and excitement shone through. It was almost like taking engagement photos, only the energy they carried felt much deeper, grounded, and completely ready for the next step. 

Today Tania wore a pretty lace maternity top paired with a colored maxi skirt. When asked for style advice during pregnancy, Tania recommended working with what you already have (lots of dresses can double as maternity dresses) and to check thrift stores because women buy maternity clothes only to wear them a few times before donating them. Having a body that changes so drastically is a challenge for women and seeing how beautifully Tania embraces this is completely inspiring.

Monday, October 10, 2016

Style Portrait: Alison

Sometimes style portraits are premeditated and people carefully choose what to wear but today's was completely spontaneous. The sunlight was gorgeous and we went for a walk. Meet my sister-in-law and friend Alison. I can't begin to talk about how much I like this person. She is creative, fun, great at listening, thoughtful, and just an all around good one. If you follow my blog, you may recognize her from this post back in January. Today I was loving her messy side braid and knitwear that just sang October. Also, she made the scarf she is wearing herself. It is basically a crocheted rope that loops around into several different shapes bringing a very cozy feeling to her ensemble. 

Art: Colin Thompson

I fell in love with Colin Thompson's artwork a few years ago when I bought one of his bookshelf illustrations as a sticker to cover the back of my laptop. I like that you can get lost in the details of his pictures. It makes perfect sense that his work is published as children's books and puzzles. In his website biography, Thompson says "I have always believed in the magic of childhood and think that if you get your life right that magic should never end. I feel that if a children's book cannot be enjoyed properly by adults there is something wrong with either the book or the adult reading it." 
Working at a preschool, I get a little glimpse of the world from a young child's perspective. Watching children play pretend and get excited over the mundane helps me to approach my own life with a similar sense of playfulness and wonder. 

Friday, October 7, 2016

Maple Holistics Review

Today I'm here to review Maple Holistics, a beauty product company I recently found out about and can really get behind. Maple Holistics makes skin and hair care products in the United States from natural and cruelty free ingredients. I recently tried out their Silk 18 conditioner. The product left my hair feeling smooth, fluffy, and smelling sweetly of nutty vanilla. I liked it so much I featured it in a photo shoot!