Cameron St. Clair Archer’s designs for her namesake jewelry line are a study in perfectly chic contrasts: Blend one part industrial (she works with reclaimed metals) with a dash of tough (hello, spikes and chains), and mix in a bit of earthy, organic beauty (thanks to the raw stones and delicate gems). Finish with a healthy dose of asymmetry and some lush color, and the result is that sweet spot between sculptural cool and endless wearability. Archer launched the line in 2010 after teaching herself to rework her own jewelry, and now it’s a full-time job.
We stopped by her Bloomingdale workspace recently to see where the magic happens, and chatted with her about why she likes working in DC, and how abstract concepts like spontaneity and adventure inspire her designs. Read on for the scoop—and peep her seriously gorgeous creations.
Tell us a little about your background. How did you end up designing jewelry?
I’ve always been pretty crafty, and I love using my hands—the dirtier the better, be it painting, sanding, drilling, refinishing, gluing, you name it. I suppose the jewelry came about from a real lack of creative expression at a previous job. I was hungry for it, and started to take apart/recreate jewelry I already owned just to see if it was something I enjoyed doing. I did some research and started buying simple starter materials. I would stay up very late designing, and I’d wear my creations the next day. I started getting compliments, and women would ask me who the designer was and where they could buy pieces. Thus, Saint Clair Jewelry. There’s something equally meditative and invigorating about designer jewelry—the combinations truly are endless.
How would you describe the Saint Clair customer?
The Saint Clair woman is not afraid to take risks. She stands out in a crowd; she is a leader, a thinker, an empowered woman who knows what she wants. She appreciates and practices openness and inclusiveness. She is a risk-taker, she’s goofy—unapologetically so—and, more important, she is confident, which is the most beautiful piece of jewelry anyone can own.
How has your work evolved since you started designing?
I definitely take more risks. I lean more toward asymmetrical designs, and I don’t stick to one genre. I also am not so obsessed with following the latest and greatest trends, which I’ve learned can really inhibit creative freedom. I make things I like—things that feel right—and I put myself out there. Like I said, design possibilities are truly endless, and if you limit yourself to one genre, it becomes a bit sticky.
Erika Schrieber’s debut collection is proof that minor upgrades to a piece of clothing can have a transformative impact. The nine-piece line, dominated by midi skirts with ever-so-slightly flared hems, flowy shift dresses with drop waists, and sleek blazers with ultra-wide lapels show us how one can look simultaneously sophisticated and edgy—something that holds particular weight in Washington, where striking the right balance of style and professionalism is a never-ending challenge. Schrieber’s full spring/summer 2014 collection, produced right here in DC, just launched online, and she has even bigger plans for the future. We caught up with the 25-year-old designer to hear about how she got started in the industry, where she finds inspiration, and favorite local shops.
It’s not that we don’t love a sparkly bauble from a big-box retailer—see our ample collection of shiny H&M necklaces and dainty Forever 21 studs as evidence—but there’s something special about finding an awesome piece that’s been lovingly dreamed up right here in the area. Our region is lucky to count a whole lot of jewelry designers among our very own, from minimalist GiantLion to luxe Dina Mackney. Click through the gallery to see seven local designs at the top of our love list.
This week welcomed two new lookbooks filled with fashiony eye candy, courtesy of some of DC’s most stylish. The deets, along with a few of our fave images:
Saint Clair Jewelry
Washington-based jewelry designer Cameron St. Clair Archer is one of our faves for her modern-organic aesthetic. For her very first lookbook, she tapped local style writer/stylist/creative spirit Kate Greene as her model and Worn Magazine’s Nicole Aguirre and Beth Silverberg as photog and stylist, respectively. The result: dreamy images bursting with cool design. Click on over to Worn to see the complete lookbook.
Maybe you’re a seasoned DIY-er. Or maybe, like us, two left hands means your chosen form of DIY means hitting the “add to cart” button on Etsy. Hey, we can’t all be Erica Domesek.
Or can we? DC’s latest venture Topaz + Arrow is on the mission to help us all become a little craftier with a brand new series of workshops that will approach personal style, home decor, party planning, weddings, and more from a handmade perspective. The collaborative effort is a partnership of cool creativity, teaming up Morgan Hungerford West of the art and lifestyle blog Panda Head with Virginia Arrisueño of the knitwear accessories line DeNada. And the craft sessions—constructed to be a complete experience, not just a tutorial—will take place in an equally chic spot: Bloomingdale’s multipurpose loft/art studio space the Ulysses Room.
Ticket sales launched today for the inaugural workshop, “Feathers, Yarn, and Brands: A Home Decor Craft Session.” June 23, 1 to 3 PM at 52 O St., NW, Studio 302. Tickets ($37.50) are available through Topaz + Arrow’s website. Read on for a word from the duo on why they launched the venture, and what to expect from the series.
We know you’re busy mapping out your spring shopping marathon right now, so while you’re at it, add a local label to the list: Nana.
When the Mount Pleasant boutique of the same name closed earlier this year, owner-turned-designer Jackie Flanagan assured us she wouldn’t disappear along with it. With a slew of events, like a Valentine’s Day bazaar and trunk shows for the shop’s most-missed brands, she’s still very much involved in the local shopping scene. But what we’re really dying to know is what’s happening with her own clothing line.
Nana’s spring collection launches tonight via pop-up at one of our U Street faves, GoodWood, offering the first look at the much-anticipated wave of organic dresses, skirts, and tops. The brand’s gotten a little more creative this time around, using new textures, hues, and prints, like the florals on the blouse shown above. Flanagan describes the aesthetic as “utilitarian elegance,” aiming for the collection to be as befitting for a European vacay as for Friday’s board meeting. Each piece is sewn together at Adams Morgan's Bits of Thread studio and made from sustainable materials. Ever owned a skirt made of hemp? Here's your chance.
It won’t be the first Nana event. Since the shop closed in January, Flanagan has been adamant that the brand has simply changed its location, not its presence. She plans to team up with more local retailers for similar events, and of course, the Etsy shop remains.
The event is from 5 to 8, but if you can’t make it, not to worry: the collection will become available online starting tomorrow. Happy shopping!
Yes, we admittedly talk about the Shirt a lot (see here, here, and here). But as a small fashion company lead by two kickass DC ladies with an equally kickass product, it’s hard not to. Especially as their collection of something so essential to the Washington woman’s wardrobe gets more and more chic each season. And we’re not the only ones taking notice— InStyle focused the November version of its popular “Your Look, Three Ways” column on the Shirt’s.
Jewelry designer Caroline Whittington grew up in Northern Virginia, where she was inspired by nature and the workday fashions downtown Washington is known for. After four years studying painting and jewelry-making at Virginia Commonwealth University, she’s back in Centreville creating edgy, tribal metal and beaded jewelry in her home studio, which she sells out of her Etsy shop giantLION. Read on for the scoop on how our fair city gets her creative juices flowing, plus plenty of gorgeous jewelry pics.
As a socially conscious purveyor of Americana-inspired neckwear and shirts (for every product sold, a book is given to education initiatives in Africa), Spring Valley native Read Wall has been on our radar for a while now. The 25-year-old entrepreneur founded Read’s Clothing Project in 2011 after interning at Vineyard Vines, and has enjoyed modest success after nods from major men’s fashion sites such as Selectism and Valet Mag. And while it’s perfectly rational to let a new business incubate for more than a year, Wall is not exactly one to rest on his exceedingly stylish laurels. He quickly expanded RCP into Read Wall, a full-on made-in-the-USA sportswear line complete with crisp chinos, bright wax jackets, and cotton polos. After flipping through the amazing lookbook (GQ could seriously run the thing as an editorial and you wouldn’t know the difference), we knew we had to get him on the phone. Read on for more shots of the fall collection (soon available for preorder), plus a first-person look at how a distinctly Washington upbringing has shaped his aesthetic. When Wall hits it big—and we have no doubt he will—we’ll be thrilled to say it all started in the District.
Our love affair with Beth Lauren jewelry began way back in January when we featured two of her bracelets in a post about striped skirts. At first, designer Beth Silverberg was just another name to admire from afar on the Internet, and we kept visiting her site for the amazingly affordable mix of vintage elements, tough-girl spikes, and stackable chain bracelets. And then last month we discovered she resides here in the District. Win! Read on for the backstory on her line, plus a look into her U Street workspace.