Issue 7

By Design

A peek into the process of some of our favorite makers, who pour passion and craftsmanship into creating everything from shoes, jewelry, and eyewear to home goods and clothing. Here, they sport their wares and answer our burning questions

By Ashley Tibbits
Photographed By Amanda Jasnowski Pascual At Assignment Agency

Share

Covry, Florence Shin and Athina Wang

Eyewear Designers

It was Athina Wang and Florence Shin’s ethnic facial features (low nose bridges and high cheekbones, to be specific) that became the catalyst for their NYC-based eyewear business, Covry. Their mutual struggle to find frames that fit—and stayed put—led to the development of trademark design elements, and their line has been growing ever since. Made in New York at a family-owned factory, the specs and sunglasses all hit around $100, which means that not only are they ethically made, but they’re also impressively accessible.

 If your Spring/Summer ’17 collection were a song, what would it be?

“Raining Patterns” by CFCF is a dreamy song that’ll make you want to dance in the dark with shades on. 

What are some of the hero pieces, and what’s your favorite way to style them?

There’s a certain magnetism about the Elektra. It’s undeniably fierce with frameless aviator-inspired lenses and matte hardware. I love styling this pair with a T-shirt, mini skirt, and thigh-high boots, or a leather jacket, high-waisted jeans, and Converse sneakers.

 What style icon embodies the new collection?

Carefree and always edgy, Debbie Harry embodies its rocker-glam feel. 

Finish this sentence: “I want the woman who wears our glasses to feel…”

Limitless.

Intiearth, Jenni Li

Textile and Home Goods Designer

While many fast-fashion brands outsource manufacturing to foreign countries to take advantage of cheaper labor, Brooklyn-based Intiearth designer Jenni Li taps artisans abroad for their tremendous skills while also providing them with fair, ethical job opportunities. Born in Peru, Li was inspired by the crafts of makers in her native country when she would go back for family visits. And now, the hand-knit cardigans and wraps, reed baskets, vibrant blankets and pillows, and pom-pom-adorned accessories in her line each tell the story of the individual who made it, using centuries-old traditional techniques—which is what sets this brand apart from so many others.

 Describe your brand in three words.

Indigenous, handmade, slow-fashion.

If the Spring/Summer ’17 collection were a song, what would it be?

Kate Bush’s “Hounds of Love.”

What are some of the hero pieces, and what’s your favorite way to style them?

The Taylor basket. It comes in three different sizes, and the giant one is really over the top: handwoven of totora reed, which has been used to make fishing vessels for the past 3,000 years. They stand alone, so styling is minimal. I like to show people how they can be used for anything! They provide functionality and aesthetically pleasing storage solutions. No wonder cultures all over the world have used them for centuries.

If you had a day off to devote to getting inspired to create, how would you spend it?

I would spend a day with the artisans in Peru who make the frazadas [blankets]: spinning wool, dyeing, weaving, and sharing meals with them.

 

Isa Tapia

Footwear Designer

With a pedigree that includes an education from the prestigious Parsons School of Design and stints with Marc Jacobs and Oscar de la Renta, NYC-based footwear designer Isa Tapia truly learned from the best, which is obvious upon inspection of her elegant-yet-playful shoes. Slides come in candy colors with scalloped edges, sneakers are decorated with daisy appliqués, and heels come with ankle ties finished with fuzzy pom-poms. Perfect for the fashion-forward woman who refuses to take herself too seriously. 

If your Spring/Summer ’17 collection were a song, what would it be?

“C’est Si Bon” by Eartha Kitt. I was playing it on repeat while I was sketching. I also think it’s very particular the way she sings it: It’s French and it’s a man’s song to a woman, and she sings it with such conviction and strength, it’s like she’s singing it to herself and to all women at the same time.

What are some of the hero pieces, and what’s your favorite way to style them?

The Merengue slide: I’m obsessed. It’s like a party for your feet. It’s a slip-on mule hand-embroidered by artisans in Jaipur with a 65mm block heel—a very easy height to wear. I wear it with jeans and a T-shirt or a little black dress with fishnets. I also love the variety of the Ana Maria scalloped slides. When you want to be wearing flip-flops or Birkenstock sandals, these are the chicer solution. I wear them with absolutely everything in my spring and summer wardrobe, from bikinis to a relaxed evening gown.

 What’s the most satisfying aspect of your work?

Working with an amazing team and meeting other creative people and entrepreneurs. Having the opportunity to meet people who are trying to change the way things are done in the world. Getting to travel and get inspired.

Apiece Apart, Laura Cramer and Starr Hout

Fashion Designers

It took a trip to West Texas for two NYC girls to find the inspiration to create a clothing line that captured the ease and minimalism they envisioned. With Apiece Apart, designers Laura Cramer and Starr Hout translated that landscape into a collection of relaxed but chic silhouettes that are versatile for creative, confident women, regardless of which side of the Mississippi they’re from. Their latest elevated basics include dreamy cropped, wide-legged denim trousers and cotton voile tops.

Tell us about your design process.

We usually start with imagery from art, interiors, and design. We rarely begin with fashion. The imagery informs the palette that begins our storyline. We create a sense of place, and then envision a muse. We ask, “What is she wearing? What is she doing? And what is she feeling, smelling, and seeing?” And then we take it to reality, because the core of what we do is to make effortless clothing for every day. The fantasy leads back to her real life: taking the kids to school, date night, having friends over, going to work.

 What’s the most satisfying aspect of your work?

Connecting with the women who wear our clothing or follow our Women Stories [on apieceapart.com]. We have worked hard to cultivate a sense of community to inspire one another but have done it somewhat from afar, using online stories. It is so meaningful and exciting when we actually get to meet the women who wear our clothing or read our stories, talking with them at our store or bumping into them on the street.

 What style icon best embodies the Spring/Summer ’17 collection?

We’ve been inspired by Oroma Elewa, a New York–based visual artist from Marrakech. We also conjured up aspects of Meryl Streep’s portrayal of Karen Blixen in Out of Africa, one of our favorite books and films.

If you weren’t designing, what else would you be doing?

Community organizing.

Monica Castiglioni

Jewelry Designer

Milan-born jewelry designer Monica Castiglioni’s sculptural, often conceptual pieces are just as much objets d’art as they are body adornments. While many contemporary designers adopt an increasingly dainty aesthetic, her pieces are decidedly brazen, modernized takes on organic, nature-inspired forms: A cocktail ring is composed of a cluster of stylized stamens; earrings take on the pattern of a honeycomb. It’s no wonder the designer, who splits her time between Italy and New York, has been in the business for more than three decades.

If your Spring/Summer ’17 collection were a movie, what would it be?

Harold & Maude.

Which style icon best embodies the line?

The inspirations for all of my collections range from the Miao Dynasty to African styles, from minimalism and artists like Donald Judd to chaos, and from nature to causal body motions. These first influence my mood, then I follow and repeat throughout my work.

Finish this sentence: I want the person who wears my jewelry to feel…

Free.

If designing weren’t your career, what would you like to be doing?

I would love to be a piano player and singer with Nina Simone’s voice. 

Hair and Makeup Ellen Guhin

Don't miss out on an issue!

Subscribe Now