Meet the Designer: Sarah Choi of RHOI

You know that feeling when you discover something that fills a void in your life that you never knew you had? That’s how we felt when we found RHOI. The unstructured ease and standout silhouettes of their comfy yet luxe women’s wear line is already making waves with just three seasons under their belts. Designers, and Calvin Klein alums, Sarah Choi and Douglas Reker founded RHOI together (it’s a combo of their last names) with the idea of creating a versatile line that’s bold and beautiful, but free of clutter and excess. It’s an aesthetic honed in the ’90s CK heyday and one that seriously resonates with our lives today. We caught up with one half of the dynamic duo to get the inside scoop on this label on the rise.

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HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE THE RHOI WOMAN? We think she lives by a less is more sentiment, someone who is not going to let her clothes get in the way of her life. A woman who understands that being at ease and comfortable, understated and elusive, can be just as glamorous and powerful as throwing on sky-high heels and a red lip. She’s looking to build a timeless wardrobe with pieces that are as versatile as she is.

Greg Armas of Assembly on style, slow fashion and bicoastal retail

“I started finding that a lot of interesting academic psychic, explorer, and adventurous avatar-type of individuals seem to disappear,” Greg Armas says, describing his Spring/Summer 2016 ready-to-wear collection for Assembly. “The classic examples were Amelia Earhart and Maria Orsic.” We think both of those women would certainly approve of Assembly’s striking, utilitarian pieces. Brave of heart, mixed with a little intrigue, is a fitting mood for Greg, the founder and designer of Assembly. He was first a galleryist in Los Angeles before starting his first foray into retail, Scout, on Third Street in LA back in 2003. He made the move east to open Assembly New York in 2008, launched their namesake label in 2012, and this year, embraced the bicoastal lifestyle with a second location, Assembly Los Angeles.

This month we’re excited to be the exclusive retailer of three pieces from the SS16 collection. So we caught up with Greg to find out more about his approach to retail, his own personal style and the best place to get tacos in LA.

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ARE THE PRINCIPLES OF A RETAIL SPACE AND GALLERY SIMILAR FOR YOU AND YOUR APPROACH? We’ve always run the shops as galleries and built our relationships with clients and designers as such. This can be challenging, considering retail’s breakneck pace, so at times we opt for more of a slow fashion mindset.

Black Crane Designer Momo Suzuki on the power of simplicity

Designer Momo Suzuki is a woman of many talents. The creative mastermind behind one of our favorite clothing lines, Black Crane, she started out designing accessories. Having lived and worked in Los Angeles for 16 years with her husband and fellow designer, Alexander Yamaguchi, it’s pretty safe to say that creativity is etched into every aspect of her life. Her background in art – she has been painting since she was seven years old – is evident in her brand which is known and loved for its minimalistic pieces inspired by traditional Japanese design with original screen-printed fabrics created by Alexander. We’re basically obsessed, so we couldn’t wait to sit down and chat with Momo about Japanese fashion, what it’s like to work with her husband, and the significance of the name ‘Black Crane’.

HOW DID BLACK CRANE GET STARTED? My husband and I started Black Crane in 2009 because we felt there was not much design that I would like to wear to align my lifestyle. It was quite a natural start since we were already doing a men’s line called Alexander Yamaguchi from 2000.

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Designer Momo Suzuki in studio

Meet the Designer: Nettie Kent

The first thing that will strike you when speaking to jewelry designer Nettie Kent is how she might just be the epitome of the word vivacious. Spend even more time with her, and you can’t help seeing the world through rosier glasses. An artist through and through, Nettie dipped her toe into a variety of different crafts – painting, sculpting and writing – before settling in and finding her calling with jewelry. She lives primarily in Brooklyn with her husband and fur babies, but also spends several months a year in her hometown of Martha’s Vineyard, a place that strongly influences her designs today. Using recycled metals and both semi-precious and precious stones, Nettie’s sculptural designs have gained her an avid following of fans, like us. We caught up with her to find out more about her foray into jewelry design, her bohemian childhood, and which fellow designer she likes to spend Sunday brunch with. Hint: We love this designer too!

Meet the Designer: Wray Serna

Known for her eclectic prints and beautifully constructed, easy to wear pieces, Wray Serna has Brooklyn to thank for her creative inspiration. The designer lives there with her painter husband and the creative duo dream up the whimsical prints and patterns for each collection of her eponymous line, brought to life with vivid fabrics. Never forsaking comfort for style, it’s easy to throw on something from Wray and run out the door, looking put together without any effort at all.  Having only just launched her label during Spring/Summer 2015, Wray quickly garnered a fan-base and accolades from the likes of Vogue. It’s easy to see why. Wray’s comfy, quirky-cool classics are the kind of wardrobe staples that you will want to wear over and over. We know we do. We sat down with the talented designer to chat about inspiration, her design process and her love affair with travel and art.

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Meet the Designer: Dusen Dusen

There is no designer out there who creates prints quite like New York’s Dusen Dusen. Colorful, eccentric and unabashedly bold, the best way to accessorize one of their pieces is with a sh*t ton of confidence. Ellen Van Dusen, the Brooklyn babe behind the quirky brand, has had an obsession with creating prints since childhood and has been honing her craft ever since. Geometric shapes, bright colors, and patterns that resemble abstract paintings are juxtaposed with sleek, simple silhouettes. Beyond fabric, the prints from Dusen Dusen are works of art in their own right. Having launched the women’s wear line in 2010, Ellen has since expanded her repertoire by offering a line of home decor products such as pillows, blankets, bedding and towels that makes us want to completely redecorate. We sat down with the designer to talk about design, pattern play and her adorable Boston Terrier, Snips.

Cold Picnic’s perfect Valentine’s Day is basically our dream date

Just like there are women that inspire #squadgoals (our Brooklyn Babes for example), there are the couples that gave us #relationshipgoals. Phoebe Sung and Peter Buer, the dynamic duo behind Cold Picnic, are one of those couples. It was love at first sight when they met in Boston in 2006 at fashion school. They launched Cold Picnic together in 2010 and it was love at first sight for us when we discovered the quirky, cool line of housewares and accessories. They also happen to be as adorable and charming as they are talented. With Valentine’s Day coming up, we quizzed them on romance, their plans for Feb. 14 and gift ideas for your main squeeze.

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TELL US ABOUT YOUR IDEAL DATE NIGHT. WHERE DO YOU GO, WHAT DO YOU DO? Peter: We always plan romantic dates after openings or parties, and then end up getting a bit drunk and go home to takeout and movies. Which is actually my ideal date night. 🙂

HOPELESS ROMANTIC OR STAUNCH REALIST? Phoebe: Definitely somewhere in between.

DO YOU GUYS CELEBRATE VALENTINE’S DAY? Peter: We’ve always used Valentine’s Day as an excuse to go out and eat A LOT. Now that we’re in New York, we usually go to Flushing, Queens and overdo it on dumplings.

WHAT’S THE BEST RELATIONSHIP ADVICE YOU’VE EVER RECEIVED? Phoebe: It’s always fun dishing about new relationships with friends but after a few years I prefer to keep the dish between my partner and me. As for advice, I think everyone knows what’s best for them. Or at least what they want to do, even if it isn’t good for them!

SO PETER, WHAT ARE THE BEST KIND OF GIFTS A GUY CAN GET FROM A GIRL? The kind of gift I always want probably isn’t what other guys are into as I love to bake! The best present Phoebe got me was a Cuisinart. But a good pair of sneakers also goes down pretty well!

PHOEBE, BEST GIVE EVER FROM PETER? Peter usually gets me Valentine’s Day flowers. It’s difficult for him to surprise me, since we spend all day in the studio together. Usually he’ll say “I need to go out alone for a while,” and come back and say, “Don’t look in the closet until tomorrrow.” Never much of a surprise, but still. The best gift from him ever would be our dog, followed very closely by an engagement ring.

Don’t miss the markdowns from Cold Picnic in our Brooklyn Babes Sale! And you can read more about this adorable duo in our Choose Day interview here.

Photos by BriAnne Wills. Shot on location in Brooklyn at the Samantha Pleet studio.

Meet the Designers: Leah and Rebecca Plante

Combining contemporary modernity with fluid shapes and fabrics inspired by nature, sister duo Rebecca and Leah Plante are designing for our urbanite dreams. Born and raised in Charleston, South Carolina – and now based in Austin and Brooklyn respectively – the Plante sisters launched their namesake line in 2013 and had us at hello. Whether it’s a swath of sage green silk, a sculptural silhouette or an oceanic inspired print, fusing the raw beauty of nature with urban style is their constant source of inspiration. With a new season just around the corner (and their artful wares in our Brooklyn Babes Sale), we couldn’t wait to hear about the process of designing Spring 2016, their take on personal style and the beauty of email.

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Meet the Designer: Lindsey Reif of REIFhaus

Walking that cool line that balances originality with approachability, Lindsey Reif designs for those defining moments in your wardrobe. You know the kind. The ones that can even make taking the bus to the dentist feel like a satisfying expression of your personal style. With a swimwear line newly launched and a fresh collection for Spring 2016 on its way, we sat down with the Portland-based designer to talk thrifting, sewing and studio rituals.

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WHEN DID YOU FIRST KNOW YOU WANTED TO BE A DESIGNER? I don’t think there was an exact moment, but I do know it was always inside of me. As a child, I remember making dresses for my dolls out of tissue, then covering them in clear tape so I could take them off and the dolls could re-wear them. I got my start designing clothing for real people at 18 when I first moved to Portland. I’ve always been an avid thrifter, and I loved repurposing and redesigning pieces I would find at thrift shops. It taught me so much about garment construction and I was able to hone my sewing skills.

Meet the Designers: Keren Longkumer and Valerie Quant of LOQ

Sole mates and BFFs, Keren Longkumer and Valerie Quant approach shoe design with a new, modern perspective on the classics. A boot, a mule or a loafer feel totally fresh in their hands. Hailing from Nagaland and Los Angeles respectively, the duo combines influences from every aspect of their life and always land in minimalism. And we love them for it. Obviously we had to find out more, so we asked and they answered.

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HOW DID YOU GUYS MEET? We met at the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising, Los Angeles during the Footwear Design Program in 2011. We collaborated on a few projects and realized that we had a similar eye for design and the rest is history.