Meet the Designer: Mandy Kordal

Sweater weather is better because of this Brooklyn babe. After studying in Cincinnati Mandy Kordal worked in the studios of Travota, J. Crew and Doo.ri before venturing out on her own to focus on ethical and sustainable knitwear. She launched her namesake line in 2012 and is now expanding into other weaves and women’s wear. A move that is making our closets very happy. Mandy also happens to be one of the coolest, sweetest women we know. As she worked on an exclusive sweater for our holiday collection, we went behind the scenes to find out more.
TELL US ABOUT YOUR PROCESS. WHAT PART DO YOU LOVE THE MOST? Our process starts with a general mood or inspiration and, from there, we start to source our fabrications and textiles. Sometimes we source based on an idea for a garment and other times we let the textiles drive our designs. From there, we start to sketch and also create knitted swatches to see how the yarn is going to react to certain textures and patterns. We then photograph and show the collection at market. Last step is putting our styles into production with our vendors based in New York and Peru.
My favorite part of this process is seeing the collection come together. It’s hard to imagine all of the pieces falling into place at the very beginning, but once the samples start arriving and you see it all styled together, it’s like the picture has finally come into focus and it feels so good!

A Garmentory Holiday: Jewelry Edition

Shine on magpies. Our holiday collection is all about classic black and white, no filter and no filler, even when it comes to jewelry. We’ve got 12 limited edition pieces in The No Filter Series handcrafted by designers like In God We Trust, Seaworthy and TARA 4779. All available exclusively on Garmentory.

Ceramicist Lindsey Hampton on studio style and multitasking

When you get a look at Lindsey Hampton’s Vancouver studio, a question springs to mind: Is there anything this woman can’t do? The multidisciplinary artist and designer, focuses mainly on print design and ceramics, both functional and sculptural, while not only dabbling but excelling in photography, installation and music. It was only in the past few years that the multi-tasking Canadian artist took to studying sculpture and won over the world with her playful, architectural ceramics. We’re super excited to have a few exclusive pieces for our holiday collection, so we went behind the scenes with her to find out more.

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HOW DID YOU DECIDE ON CERAMICS AS A CAREER PATH? I didn’t really, it kind of happened by accident. I took a course about five years ago and have just been doing it ever since. I sold some pieces to my first store, One of a Few, I think about three years ago and it’s just snowballed ever since. I do it pretty much full time now, although I still leave some room for freelance design projects.

Meet the Designer: Marisa Howard of Seaworthy

There’s something about the fluid jewelry from Seaworthy that hints at a bigger story behind a minimalist piece. We went behind the scenes with self-taught jewelry designer Marisa Howard to find out more.

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TELL US HOW YOU BECAME A JEWELRY DESIGNER. I studied Journalism and Communications at University of Oregon, with a focus on magazine writing. I thought I was going to write long feature stories and learn about people’s lives, but once I was out in the “real world”, I learned that I didn’t like pressing people for their stories and I didn’t like the publishing industry in general. So I moved into Marketing and PR and worked my way into the lighting industry somehow. My “career” before starting Seaworthy was in the commercial lighting industry. I worked with clients like Nordstrom and Costco and worked on casinos in Las Vegas and Atlantic City, as well as other large projects all over the US. I traveled constantly. I can see now that all my random jobs prepared me to run this small creative business.

In the lighting industry, I worked as an operations manager for a couple years. So I hired and fired, I managed a budget, I did sales and customer service. I also managed a warehouse and implemented shipping schedules and inventory management. I also learned the creative side of lighting design and layout. In that career though, I could see the end of what I wanted to learn and accomplish. I had burned out and I knew I needed a change. In January of 2010, I just quit. I had a couple part time things lined up: a retail job and a freelance editing job for a Canadian publication, but I really had no idea what I was going to do. I was making a little jewelry as a creative outlet and a way to build community. Eighteen months after I quit my “career”, I was making jewelry full time. That was four years ago in August.

Talking charcoal, coconut and beauty traditions with Woodlot

Discovering charcoal for beauty products is kind of an epiphany. When first using Woodlot’s small-batch charcoal soap you’re distracted by the dark suds for a split second and then totally enveloped by this amazing scent and feel. Local Vancouverite Sonia Chhinji originally began making candles with her boyfriend as a fun side project and lucky for us, it snowballed into a full-blown career and natural beauty company with olive oil soaps and more. The couple (now engaged) draw from the beauty traditions of their heritages and make it their mission to keep everything toxin free. We’re excited to have them as part of our holiday collection of exclusives and we obviously had to quiz them on the whole story. Here, Sonia spills on their process and all her favorite things.

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NOT ONLY DO YOUR PRODUCTS SMELL AMAZING, THE INGREDIENTS ARE ACTUALLY GOOD FOR US. TELL US ABOUT THAT. I’ve been a candle lover my entire life. As a child, I would hand roll cotton wicks with my mom to make tea lights for Diwali and to light around our home. My partner Fouad has been making soap bars for years, a practice he learned back in Lebanon. We’re both pretty conscious of what we put into our body and were starting to apply this way of thinking in other aspects of our lives as well. I quickly discovered that a lot of the products I was purchasing in my home and in beauty were made up of toxic ingredients. We started to play around with a number of plant-based waxes and discovered coconut wax. It’s not the simplest wax to work with, but we loved how clean it burned and went for it.

Talking handbags and favorite things with designer Molly Spittal

Whoever said diamonds are a girl’s best friend has clearly never found the perfect handbag. We recommend getting to know The Stowe. Known for their signature all-black-everything look, Montreal-based designer Molly Spittal found passion in utility back in 2011 and we’ve been crazy about her handbags ever since. Each leather handbag is handmade in Montreal with some serious TLC. We went behind the scenes with Molly in her studio to get the full story.
HOW DID YOU GET YOUR START IN DESIGNING ACCESSORIES? I have a background in clothing design, but never really felt that passionate about it. I needed a tote bag for a trip I was taking in 2011 and I couldn’t find the perfect bag so I decided to make one myself. It was really rough and the proportions were all wrong, but it was like a lightbulb went off in my head: “Oh! This is what I should be doing!”

Ring stacking and tequila stocking with Tarin Thomas

Kylie Nakao has had a life long romance with adornment, so starting her own jewelry line seemed as natural as Kim Kardashian publishing a book of selfies. After growing up in Toronto, Kylie headed to NYC to study design at Parsons and went on to get some serious industry experience working as a buyer for trendy upscale boutiques. When buying for others, Kylie saw a lack of cool, easy to wear, sophisticated jewelry at a reasonable price point, so she filled the gap by creating Tarin Thomas. The line is the perfect balance of old world craftsmanship and modern awareness. Each and every design explores dualities like masculine and feminine; delicate and bold; and modern and traditional. We caught up with her to talk unisex style, stack stories, grapefruit margaritas and more.

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Behind the scenes with Gamma Folk in their Brooklyn studio

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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Meet the Designer: Geography 541

Inspiration from new destinations makes each piece from Geography 541 unique.

Madeline Tolle makes adventures wearable with her jewelry brand, Geography 541. Launched in 2014, her brand is perfect for the kind of person that likes to take the road less traveled. Inspired by wanderlust, Madeline’s pieces “capture the ‘essence of place’; the sights, the smells, the light, the temperature, the sounds, and even the chaos that makes each locale so unique.” She is influenced by places as close as her own neighbourhood and as far as Southeast Asia. We talked to the Philadelphia-based designer her about her favorite things and her next destination.

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