Sola Biu has always known two things: She wants to help kids, and she loves repurposing vintage items. Oynx Feather, the jewelry company she began in 2009 and runs out of her Union Station apartment, combines both of these passions.
“I was chatting with my girlfriends about how we all wanted to be doing something we loved but have it matter,” says the media relations coordinator of the beginnings of her jewelry line. One of Biu’s friends encouraged her to make this dream a reality, and when boutique owners started noticing the handmade necklaces she’d wear, Biu knew she’d found the perfect combination.
Nowadays, 15 percent of every Onyx Feather purchase is donated to the Invisible Children Legacy Scholarship Fund, which Biu picked for its use of creative methods to improve the lives of impoverished children in Uganda.
“They address not only a child’s immediate physical needs, but also his or her long-term needs,” says Biu of the education-based program. “That is how you change a community and help it to rebuild.”
We recently sat down with the bubbly, put-together do-gooder to discuss building a business in DC, local designers she loves, and jewelry essentials for every Washington woman. Read on for her insights.
In October 2009, Sydney Poulton decided on a whim to start a blog with her new husband, Tyson, as a way to document their life together and keep in touch with their families. But what began as a personal daily musing took off nationally when she began to showcase her own outfits.
“I was inspired by the street style photos from the Sartorialist and just figured, why not?” says Poulton. Though the rest of the posts never veered from discussions of her daily life, readership boomed once the blogosphere picked up on her impeccable style.
Two years later, and with 10,000-plus readers to boot, Poulton has created a part-time job for herself. Outside of her work as a photographer and time with her newborn son, Everett, Poulton puts in around 20 hours a week running her blog, the Daybook. Her most popular feature? The humorous Awkward and Awesome Thursday posts, which chronicle the embarrassing, peculiar, and laugh-out-loud-funny moments of her week. Awkward and Awesomes have become something of a phenomenon among bloggers, with upward of a thousand people replicating them on their own sites.
We recently caught up with the new Washington transplant (she moved to Northern Virginia in August) to find out the fashion must-haves that no Washingtonian should be caught without and how she thinks her blog will evolve in her new city. When Poulton waltzed in, looking effortlessly chic in her gingham button-down, faux-leather pants, red lips, and beachy waves, it was easy to see why readers from all over the world turn to this twentysomething for fashion inspiration.
This was a banner year for breaking the mold in DC fashion. Between the founding of the Capital Area Fashion and Beauty Blogger network and the launch of Refinery29’s DC branch, the Internet all of a sudden exploded with the fashionable adventures of women in Washington. After months of checking the blogs obsessively, we’ve rounded up our favorites from the year. Trust us—you’ll want to bookmark these right now. We expect big, stylish things from these women in 2012.
The Chic Artist
Who: Meg Biram, 28
The Blog: MIMI + MEG
Why We’re Fans: Biram brings a chic, polished eye—not to mention a major burst of color—to fashion, interiors, art, and trends. The former Hallmark card designer and current artist (check out her abstract paintings here) moved to Northern Virginia in April 2011, and we’re excited to see how she influences (and is influenced by) the area’s preppy, professionally focused style. New for Biram going into 2012: personal outfit posts (finally!) and entrepreneurial advice.
Where She Shops in Washington: “I can always count on Georgetown to steal money from my wallet. I frequent Wink, AllSaints, Cusp, Zara, Intermix, West Elm, and CB2.”
The Most Treasured Items in Her Wardrobe: “1) A chevron Diane von Furstenberg dress I bought for an important ceremony while my husband was in the Air Force. I cherish that dress. 2) A pair of Kate Spade wedges I received for hosting the launch party for the Kate Spade store in Kansas City. 3) A black leather Marc by Marc Jacobs bag. It was my first major purse purchase, and I don’t regret a dime of it.”
Style Advice She Swears By: “Only buy what you love. Then you’ll never have a hard time getting dressed.”
On Her Wish List: A Dannijo Lucas ring ($180).
Pretty People's Annie Lee organizes a rack of vintage dresses. Photograph by Chris Svetlik.
Our September issue follows 19 of the District’s most fashionable ladies and gents through a cool night out at the W Hotel. While the clothes do most of the talking in print, the Style Setters themselves get the last word online.
Who: Aureta Thomollari, blogger and president of D&A Luxury Consulting
Describe your style in ten words or less.
“Eclectic, artistic, modern, inspired by old-world glamour.”
Favorite places to shop in DC?
“Though I’m constantly on the road, I always make an effort to visit Inga’s Once Is Not Enough (430 MacArthur Blvd.; 202-337-3072). It is by far the best vintage shop in Washington. Inga’s work with war veterans and the charitable nature of her business are truly an inspiration.”
Fall gear you can’t wait to wear?
“The fall 2010 fashion shows were full of exquisite, gilded jewelry, shocking, sculpted shoes, and sophisticated, elegant clothing. I’ll be wearing Eddie Borgo cuffs and rings, thigh-high Dsquared2 spine boots, and everything Celine. I appreciate designers that take the season’s classics and put their own twist on them.”
Our September issue follows 19 of Washington’s most fashionable ladies and gents through a cool night out at the W Hotel. While the clothes do most of the talking in print, the Style Setters themselves get the last word online.
Who: Cheryl New, divorce attorney, New & Lowinger
Describe your style in ten words or less: “Rebel with a cause.”
Favorite Places to shop in Washington: “Muléh when I’m looking to be creative; Saks Jandel, Gucci, or Ferragamo when I have to dress for a particular event; Neiman Marcus for shoes; and Target for long, ribbed tanks to wear under scratchy sweaters.”
Fall gear you can’t wait to wear: “Capes are big this fall. Ponchos or cape-type wraps complete any outfit, and I’ve been wearing them for years. I’m also looking forward to longer-length in skirts and dresses. Unless you’re five-foot-two and 16 years old, the short-short lengths just aren’t flattering.”
Who: Rockstar Diaries couple Naomi Davis, dance instructor and blogger, and husband, Josh, banking associate
Describe your style in ten words or less.
Naomi: “Vintage-inspired, colorful, classic.”
Josh: “Eclectic, pragmatic, varied, and not what it used to be.”
What do you love about your significant other’s look?
Naomi: “One of the first things I noticed about Josh was the way he dressed. I love that he has the confidence to wear things you never really see, and that he knows how to pair them with the appropriate shoes or blazer to make everything work. I’m glad I don’t have to ever worry about ‘dressing’ my guy.”
Josh: Naomi has a knack for color and matching different patterns. The way she dresses reflects her love of everything pretty, girly, and feminine.”
Who: Eric Felten, jazz singer and trombonist
Describe your style in ten words or less.
“A retro sensibility embracing the swing era and the Rat Pack.”
Favorite places to shop in Washington:
“The Polo store in Chevy Chase always has a great selection of suits cut in the late-’30s, Savile Row style. I get my suits tailored by Baytok in Georgetown. For casual clothes, I like Lacoste shirts, Brooks Brothers khakis, and Levi’s 501s.”
Fall gear you can’t wait to wear:
“A new navy-blue suit with an early-’60s, narrow-lapel Mad Men cut. Cut slim, with no break in the trousers, it’s both modern and vintage at the same time.”
President, Desho Productions, which produces the Live! On Woodrow Wilson concert series.
What she’s wearing: A Cavalli jacket with a Diane von Furstenburg dress and Steve Madden shoes. Her sunglasses are an inexpensive pair purchased from a street vendor that she keeps at her desk for the times she forgets her regular shades.
How would you describe your style? “I think of my style as a personal expression of my creativity. Each day is a different mood.”
Have you gotten a lot of comments about the jacket? “This morning as I was walking up the street, a man yelled out to me and gave me two thumbs up. In some places, women will make reference to the label; they just know it somehow. Here, women just say, ‘You look great’ or ‘I like that on you.’ I think it’s important for women to compliment one another.”
What will you be wearing this summer? “Strong, bold colors. My eye has been going toward color-block looks recently—crisp reds, pure white, and jewel tones.”
Rachel says: What’s your standout statement piece? Mine is a pink, swing-shape brocade vintage jacket with beaded embellishments along the opening and cuffs. It looks great with jeans or with a springy pencil skirt. I feel happy every time I wear it, and compliments are always guaranteed. What in your closet makes you happy?
Allison Curtis, 19
Student, American University
What she’s wearing: Dress from Smash! in Adams Morgan, thrift-store boots, and tights from the back of her sock drawer.
What will you be wearing this summer? “Dresses along the lines of this one. I’ll be going to thrift stores to load up. I like Unique Thrift and Value Village because they’re large. And St. Alban’s Episcopal Church has a thrift store right across the street from my apartment.”
Do you have a style uniform? “Oversize sweaters and tops with black skinny pants of some kind. Anything high-waisted, like American Apparel Disco Pants.”
Rachel says: A loose dress, ripped tights, and old boots? Some of you will say “no thanks,” but Allison’s look represents a certain undone, less-is-more swagger that’s all the rage in fashion circles right now. If the New York Times says it’s true. . . .