Monday, August 03, 2009

Guest Blog Post from Little Designer Book

Today's post is from a friend we have discovered on Twitter known as @designerbook. Andrea was gracious enough to share with us her thoughts on local designers. Enjoy and support our friends by following them on twitter, facebook, or via their blogs!

.. I’ve been following emerging designers very closely for several months now, hearing their design stories and offering them resources while they prepare to launch their collections. I absolutely love what I do and I’m thrilled to share some of my favorite “local” designers for you on Boutique Culture.

Before the Internet, local was just that…small businesses in our local communities that used community art fairs and word-of-mouth to sell their wares. Unless a designer was ready to mortgage their house for the money to pay their publicity and marketing expenses, they weren’t going to move far outside of their local area.

So, what is a local designer today? Etsy, twitter, facebook and thousands of fashion/design blogs have given local designers an inexpensive platform to market their lines. I am often amazed at the caliber of designers I meet. Many are fresh out of design school with little money but a whole lot of talent. I feel so privileged to be one of the first to share their stories with you. Here are just a few of my favorites:

Jesica Milton, creator of Jesica Milton

Jesica Milton’s designs come straight from Jesica’s studio in Seattle, WA. Her Fall ‘09 collection was inspired by ruffles. She was even awarded Best Emerging Designer by Seattle Magazine and the award for The Most Cohesive Collection. If you’re in the Seattle area, pick up a copy of the September edition and you’ll see a spread of her story. I’m impressed by Jesica’s very clear vision for her line. Her designs are very well thought out and executed. She doesn’t stray far from her initial inspiration, which says a lot about her talent and marketability.

You can find Jesica Milton designs at Aspiring Couture, Habit Boutique in Chicago and soon at Stanton James and Portland Fashion Week. This is certainly a designer to watch!

Melissa Baswell, creator of Mountains of the Moon

Melissa is an up-and-coming designer from Chicago, which…if you follow fashion, is a great place to be right now! (We have found amazing talent in that city, so far) Melissa’s story is another exceptional one.

We all know that today’s fad is eco-fashion. But this is a designer that has been intrigued by the idea of creating green fashion even as a little girl…long before it was trendy. And, what’s more, she creates fashionable eco-fashion. No burlap bag skirts here! On the contrary, Melissa’s designs are fashion forward and pushing the envelope of eco-designs. In fact, Melissa told me, [she’s] “not designing eco-friendly apparel that is based on trends so much that it won’t be ‘in style’ next season, but we’re also not creating stereotypically “granola” pieces. I really try to design clothing that will make the most discerning fashionista feel chic and stylish, but that can also be worn on many occasions, for many years.”
My favorite image from Melissa’s portfolio is a dress made of candy wrappers! Last fall, during Chicago Fashion Week, her candy wrapper dress was exhibited at Chicago’s Museum of Contemporary Art, which Melissa describes as one of her most amazing moments as a designer.

You can see more from Melissa and Mountains of the Moon on her website:

Erin Voorhies, creator of Kempt Handbags

Another favorite designer of mine is Erin Voorhies, the creator of Kempt Handbags. I love, love, love handbags and Kempt is a great example of quality and careful craftsmanship that I appreciate in a favorite bag. Erin designs from her studio in New York City and uses a re-purposed factory in MA to carefully manufacture each piece.

What I love about Erin is her dedication to each bag. She puts so much thought into each detail and isn’t afraid to spend all of the extra time necessary to make it perfect. A Kempt handbag is a handcrafted gift!

And…apparently, I’m not the only one who thinks so. Erin was recently chosen as a finalist in the 2009 Independent Handbag Designer Awards under the category of Best use of Swarovski Elements. And now, her final bag in on a world tour with Swarovski.

I can’t wait to watch what Erin does next.

I hope you enjoy all of these designers as much as I do. I love dishing the latest on the very best in new fashion design. You can read more inspiring stories from emerging designers on my blog, And if you have favorites, tell me! I love learning about new talent in the business!

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