Osei-Duro is renowned for their incredible prints hand-batiked in Ghana, so of course we were super stoked when they announced they were doing a capsule collection with lululemon lab. They designed two exclusive designs which are digitally printed on technical active wear for both guys and girls. With inspiration deeply rooted in the communities in which they work for their line, we had to get designers Molly Keogh and Maryanne Mathias to share what they were thinking about for the limited edition collaboration.
“When the lab approached us about a collab we were excited to explore where our aesthetics might overlap. At first glance they might seem quite different, but we found that our love of organic forms and attraction to meditative crafts processes marries well with the streamlined and experimental look of the lab’s work. We looked specifically at the contemplative art of women from the last century such as Ruth Asawa and Louise Bourgeois, as well as the abstract nature photography of our Vancouver friend Sean Lymworth. We love how quiet yet detailed all of these references are.”
As a retail space and production studio in one, lululemon lab’s unique space is just as busy as the major city center just outside its doors in Vancouver, BC. Started as a design incubator for the global brand lululemon athletica, the lab operates outside the lines with their own collection that is designed, produced and sold exclusively in their West Broadway location. For anyone looking for something beyond the yoga pant for your next workout, it’s a mecca of fashion forward silhouettes and fabrics. Community is a huge reason why the lab exists, so local collaborations have been the name of the game ever since they began in 2009. Osei-Duro is their latest international hookup and we’re so excited to be the exclusive online retailer for the capsule collection starting this Friday, July 17th. Stay tuned!
We met up with the team at lululemon lab to learn more about their process (keep scrolling below for a look behind the scenes) and talked with Women’s Wear Designer Erika Rekis about how this new collaboration began.
HOW DID LULULEMON LAB COME TO BE? WHAT WAS THE INSPIRATION TO CREATE AN INCUBATOR FOR INNOVATION IN DESIGN FOR LULULEMON? The lab was born out of a desire to create a space for emerging designers to play and experiment in a way that big companies often miss out on. The combination of retail and design is modeled after the first ever lululemon store on west 4th and allows our design team to work right alongside our production team as well as chat with the guests to get direct feedback on existing designs as well as what we’re missing.
In a time of fast fashion, it sometimes seems like brands put so much time and energy into the trends that they forget about the people. The cornerstone to Szeki Chan’s design process is her customer. She founded 7115 by Szeki in 2012 from her Lower East Side studio with a mission to design “the hardest working pieces in your closet for years to come.” With two stores, one in the LES the other in Williamsburg, Szeki doesn’t have to rely on email surveys to get customer feedback. She meets as many of her customers as possible and truly gets to know what women really want. And it shows. The functional pieces have clean lines, timeless details and burst with TLC. We had to know more, so we asked and she answered.
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Loriann Smoak has been putting her passport to work. Originally from Carmel, California, she moved around the world to live in some of the world’s most glamorous cities: Paris, Milan, New York. Plus, she’s visited just about everywhere else. In 2011, she decided to take her expansive fashion knowledge gathered from her years globe trotting and set up a boutique in New York City. Condor quickly gained a loyal following for stocking chic, modern clothing with a bold aesthetic. Her store mascot, an adorable fuzzy, English Angora bunny named Merlin gained his own following (follow @merlin_manhattan on Instagram), appearing in Vogue and Lucky. But this past year, Loriann decided to move back home to the sunny west coast and lay down some roots. Now based in Los Angeles, the shop has most certainly kept its New York sensibility of effortless cool. We caught up with her to talk about coming home, the best parts of California living and quiz her on her favorite things.
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Eric Blum’s pieces are so complex they offer up more interpretations than a Sia music video. Born in Fresno, California, Blum grew up in Los Angeles and now calls the East Coast home. He has an intimate studio in New York City where he creates his enigmatic works. Blum began his artistic career as a photographer but currently works with transparent layers of ink and wax-infused silk. You might be able to categorize Blum’s play of light and shapes as abstraction, but his stunning forms have a story to tell and we’re totally hooked. He has been a recipient of grants from The Pollack-Krasner Foundation and New York Foundation for the Arts, and continues to exhibit widely throughout the United States. We were lucky enough to grab a moment of his time to find out more. Blum talked to us about his medium, what his work has to say and more.
THE LAYERS ARE JUST STUNNING. IS THERE A UNIFYING THEME FOR YOUR PAINTINGS IN TERMS OF INSPIRATION OR FEELING? I didn’t know it when I started out, but the unifying theme turns out to be uncertainty: seeing without looking, which expands the possibilities of interpretation… how a form viewed peripherally or in the background can be felt as something other than itself, something potentially more desirable, poetic or preposterous. Like anagrams, parts are mixed up and reassembled to become something that ultimately appears foreign; no longer resembling one’s own preconceived ideas.
Sometimes the best things come in small packages. West End Select Shop is tucked away on SW Oak Street, just down from the Ace Hotel in Portland, and houses only a few racks and one big dressing room. But the good stuff is definitely all in the details. Andi Bakos is one of those details. The blond beauty opened the boutique doors just over a year ago and has already gained a loyal following for her impeccable taste for European designers, quirky jewelry, vintage denim and gems from her travels to Tokyo. Not to mention her rad personality that’ll make you want to shop with her and only her for the rest of your life. Choosing only what she loves and wears herself, Andi’s buying technique comes from an already longstanding career in fashion. We had to find out more so we asked and she answered.
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HOW DID YOU GET YOUR START IN FASHION? I’ve worked in product development, product management, buying, market research and styling. I started out in my younger years working in retail. I was a buyer from a young age. I graduated to the corporate world where I stayed through my twenties, working for Nike at both their European headquarters and world headquarters here in Oregon. After Nike, I freelanced for several years as a trend scout/market researcher, mostly for Nordstrom but also for trend agencies like WGSN and Stylesight. I feel like I was raised in a corporate environment. I couldn’t do what I do today without having had that experience. I learned so much about process, structure and the importance of listening to the consumer.
“It was full on,” Timo Weiland says, surveying the state of his Flatiron District studio following New York Fashion Week. “We did two shows in 20 hours or less. We had one show at 5pm and then the next one was at 9am. Maneuvering that schedule was really challenging but we made it work and it was great. Definitely the best response we’ve had to date.” He has just showed the Fall/Winter 2015 collections for men and women for his namesake brand which he runs alongside partners Donna Kang and Alan Eckstein, but the studio shows no signs of slowing down.
“I thought the short one was so much cuter,” Donna says as they discuss exclusives for one of their retailers. “It’s younger.”
Timo agrees. “In the black and navy brocade. That fabric’s doing really well. We’re going to have to order more of that.”
Alongside rave reviews from editors and bloggers for their runway shows (“The Timo Weiland design trio has a way of making looser silhouettes and layers seem alluring, and inviting to the girl who doesn’t try (or wants to look like she doesn’t),” writes Style.com.), they’ve gained a following in Hollywood for their cool, laid back aesthetic in a few short years. Anne Hathaway, Tina Fey and Kerry Washington are some of the latest actresses to wear Timo on the red carpet. They also work with stars like Kanye and Pharrell Williams and you’ll spot a few pieces in their music videos. Timo is characteristically sweet and down to earth about it all. “It’s nice having them wear our stuff. It’s cool.” We love a line even more when the sought-after designer is also the nicest human.
We quizzed him on just about everything during our studio visit in New York City, so here are a few things you should know about Timo.
A couple of blocks away from Café Grumpy (made infamous on GIRLS) in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, Lily Piyathaisere cooks up her designs for the handcrafted line of statement jewelry and accessories called Gamma Folk. And we mean this literally. Scattered around her studio are various pots holding her natural dye concoctions, jars of minerals and bolts of hand-dyed yarn waiting for a turn on the loom. Originally a graphic designer by trade, Lily noticed a real lack of unique, fiber-based jewelry for the modern girl on the market. In 2012 she founded Gamma Folk. “Gamma” for the brainwave frequency where we learn, process information and associated with bursts of insight. “Folk” as a reference to folk art, which is a major inspiration for her work. Lily makes every piece by hand with natural dyes, making every single piece special and no two ever come out the exact same. We had the chance to visit her studio on our last trip to New York and she gave us the tour.
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Oh, ya know… Just chatting with Michelle Rizzardo of Vancouver store One of a Few. We looove her store so, so, so much. We just had to ask her why SHE loves it as much as we do. How could she not?
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