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The retailer's just-launched storefront made a stunning backdrop for its latest photoshoot. By Diana Elbasha
The model is wearing a zip-front trench coat by Low Classic. Photograph by Marshall Johnson.

Since it launched last spring, ANTHOM—the brainchild of local creative masterminds Carla Cabrera (of the President Wears Prada), Ashley Turchin, and Marshall Johnson—has remained at the top of our wishlist for its daringly edgy selection of apparel and accessories by “under-the-radar” labels (Achro and Low Classic are two standouts). Following a successful year as an e-tailer and a visibly popular showing at Union Market’s Thread event, it came as no surprise that the stylish collective would take its web-based business to brick-and-mortar. 

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Posted at 03:46 PM/ET, 05/15/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()
We chatted with designer Maria-Alejandra Avellaneda to get the inside scoop. By Diana Elbasha
Mars Vida swimsuits, launching May 1, range from $65 to $95. Photograph courtesy of Mars Vida Swimwear.

Photograph courtesy of Maria-Alejandra Avellaneda.

Born in the vibrant coastal city of Lima, Peru, and raised in Los Angeles, Maria-Alejandra Avellaneda has spent nearly her entire life surrounded by beaches. So when she decided early on in life that she wanted to start her own business—later supported by stints at the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising and Marymount University—it came as a no-brainer that her niche would be inspired by her sand- and palm-tree-filled upbringing. “All of the swimsuits I’ve ever owned have been Peruvian-made,” Avellaneda tells us, “and I wanted to bring their unique styles, high-quality textiles, and bright colors to the US.”

Thus was born Mars Vida Swimwear. Now based in Northern Virginia, Avellaneda is the sole designer behind the soon-to-launch bikini label, which she began crafting last October. The debut collection—which debuts online Thursday, May 1 (and celebrates with a sold-out launch party)—is full of mustard yellows, neon pinks, and jungle greens in a variety of cuts that are beautifully reminiscent of the luxe beachside vacay we’d wear these to. Read on for more on the inspiration behind the collection and a peek at Mars Vida’s first pieces.

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Posted at 01:55 PM/ET, 04/29/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()
You won’t want to miss this cool collective of local brands. By Diana Elbasha
Shop the quirky-cool designs of Rachel Pfeffer, shown above, along with six other local brands at SWANK. Photograph via Rachel Pfeffer Designs.

We’re more impressed every day by DC’s emerging creative community—its growing number of designers, stylists, and artisans are changing the face of Washington with each fashionable event. Morgan Hungerford West is a prime example. Panda Head’s editor, also a stylist, studio owner, and Topaz + Arrow cofounder, is at the forefront of some of the city’s coolest collaborations, supporting and bringing together the best of Washington’s creative talent. Next week, she brings back SWANK, an awesome ten-day pop-up shop that showcases the works of seven local jewelry makers.

Held at Monroe Street Market’s Wild Hand Workspace, which West co-owns with photographer Victoria Milko, SWANK returns for a second time with a refreshing new group of DC-based brands, some of which you might recognize from Etsy: DigDogDigElaine BBeth LaurenMallory ShelterNMCParis Air, and Rachel Pfeffer. The jewels will be arranged in gallery-like fashion at the studio from April 24 through May 3, shoppable by appointment on the weekdays and publicly from 11 to 4 on weekends.

The event kicks off with a cocktail reception Thursday, April 24, from 6 to 9, at which you’ll be able to mingle with the designers over drinks and small bites.

SWANK. April 24 through May 3. 716 Monroe St., NE, Studio 8.


Posted at 02:32 PM/ET, 04/18/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()
Her custom-made bracelets have been spotted on Kanye West, among other big names. By Diana Elbasha

Artist and designer Yvette Crocker.

Yvette Crocker began her fashion career as an artist. The self-taught painter, who grew up in Washington, quit her 9-to-5 job a decade ago to take on the world of fine art: working in a gallery and independently selling her paintings, which now grace the pages of Essence magazine each month. It wasn’t until a friend, recognizing her artistic talent, challenged her to make a beaded bracelet that she delved into the world of jewelry-making. Crocker’s brand, Tsion Rocks, is one of six vendors participating in the "Here and Now" installment at Thread, which kicks off tomorrow. The first-ever showcase aims to draw attention to lesser known, emerging talent from around the country; DC-based labels Woodrow Jewelry and Erika Schreiber will also make appearances. We caught up with the designer to hear more about her products and what she’s most looking forward to at the weekend’s events.

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Posted at 03:19 PM/ET, 04/03/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()
Because nothing beats the combo of local shopping, gourmet food, and beautiful weather. By Diana Elbasha
District Flea, inspired by the success of Brooklyn Flea, returns to Florida Ave. this weekend. Photographs via District Flea on Facebook.

Now that spring weather has graced the area with its presence, we’re eager to take our shopping outdoors. You’re already familiar with local staples such as Eastern Market and neighborhood farmers markets—but for those seeking a fresher experience, where to go on a beautiful spring Saturday in search of antiques and decor? Vintage frocks? Handmade jewelry? Read on for a primer on some of the area’s best spring retail markets, from returning outdoor pop-ups to trendy out-of-town newcomers. Tip: Mark your calendar for April 5, when many of the events kick off.


Dock 5 at Union Market, 1039 Fifth St., NE

When: April 4 from 1 to 7, April 5 from 11 to 7, and April 6 from 11 to 5

Union Market’s second pop-up retail experience returns to Dock 5 for three days, featuring temporary installations of such esteemed local brands as Politics & Prose, Mutiny, and St. Clair Jewelry. A few national names will also be in attendance, as well as a new showcase dubbed Here & Now of up-and-coming fashion brands. See our original post for more info.

DC MeetMarket

The lot at 1514 15th St., NW

When: 11 to 5 on the first Saturday of every month from April through November

Organized by husband-and-wife team designer Virgnia Arrisueño and street artist Kelly Towles DC MeetMarket aims to showcase the works of emerging local craftspeople and business owners. The market’s 40-plus vendors include beauty, fashion, kids’ clothing, and jewelry brands, in addition to food trucks, live music, and a slew of DC-based artists. See the impressive list of vendors online.

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Posted at 02:58 PM/ET, 04/01/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()
Here’s what to expect at the pop-up shopping event. By Diana Elbasha
Mark your calendars for Thread, where you can shop a slew of indie brands like Saint Clair jewelry and Follain beauty. Photographs via Thread on Instagram.

Last fall, Union Market hosted an experimental pop-up shopping event, Thread, in which 24 indie brands came together for a three-day extravaganza at the up-and-coming venue. Showcasing such coveted local labels as Saint Clair and Hugh & Crye, as well as emerging national names, the inaugural event proved a huge success, attracting upward of 5,000 visitors daily. Thus, round two was quickly put into the works—and will debut at Dock 5 in just a few weeks.

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Posted at 09:45 AM/ET, 03/12/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()
The chic baking duo curated a 12-piece collection for the site—and created special cupcakes to match. By Diana Elbasha
Does life get any better than cupcakes and jewelry? Photograph courtesy of RMO Wetherly.

As if Katherine Kallinis Berman and Sophie Kallinis LaMontagne—the sister masterminds behind Georgetown Cupcake—weren’t doing enough by churning out DC’s most popular confections, they’ve found a way to combine the treats with another of our favorite things: jewelry.

Just in time for Valentine’s Day, the duo has partnered with jewelry powerhouse BaubleBar to create a custom line of whimsical statement necklaces, drop earrings, and stackable rings. The 12 pieces, available on the website through the end of the month, incorporate flirty, feminine details such as blush florals and mint gemstones—reflecting what the sisters describe as a combination of their personal styles and the Georgetown Cupcake aesthetic. As a bonus, they’ve created three special-edition cupcakes inspired by the line (more on that below!), available at all locations beginning tomorrow. We spoke with Berman and LaMontagne to hear more about what inspired the collection.

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Posted at 04:04 PM/ET, 02/10/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()
Meet Cameron St. Clair Archer, the creative spirit behind this Bloomingdale-based jewelry biz. By Michelle Thomas
All photographs by Andrew Propp.

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. 

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Posted at 02:29 PM/ET, 11/05/2013 | Permalink | Comments ()
The local accessories brand’s new offerings range from cozy infinity scarves to edgy fingerless gloves. By Diana Elbasha
DeNada specializes in handmade alpaca knitwear. Photograph courtesy of DeNada Design.

Bloomingdale-based designer Virginia Arrisueño has grown leaps since we first featured her a few years back. She’s now the owner of multiple creative projects such as DC MeetMarket, Topaz + Arrow (along with Panda Head’s Morgan West), and the Ulysses Room—as well as her own accessories brand, DeNada Design. DeNada is now sold at multiple retailers in five countries, and features scarves, gloves, arm warmers, and more cozy knit pieces in vibrant patterns influenced by Arrisueño’s Peruvian heritage. The autumn/winter line comes right at the launch of DeNada’s new website, where you can now shop the new 26-piece line. Click through the slideshow for a peek at the full collection.

Posted at 10:00 AM/ET, 11/01/2013 | Permalink | Comments ()
The PR girl turned designer created her first collection—on pre-order now—from her Silver Spring apartment. By Diana Elbasha
Minor, but transformative details, like the drop-waist hems on these otherwise simple shift dresses, are Erika Schrieber's specialty. Photographs courtesy of Erika Schrieber.

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.

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Posted at 02:03 PM/ET, 10/22/2013 | Permalink | Comments ()