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).
Left: Fashion designer Vivian Hoffpauir, of Vivcore; Right: Musician Dandy Wellington. Photographs by Keith Lane
Another year, another gloriously fashionable Seersucker Social. DC's vintage-loving social club, the Dandies and Quaintrelles, brought a little touch of class to their Saturday leisure. After a bike ride through a beautiful early June Rock Creek Park, hundreds of impeccably dressed Washingtonians parked at the Hillwood Estate and relaxed with mint juleps, croquet, and what must only be termed as polite conversation.
Why do they do it? We're not really sure. But event after event (Dandies & Quaintrelles founder Eric Brewer also puts on fall's Tweed Ride), we remain consistently grateful for the über-fashionable eye candy.
When Jessica Blaszczak isn’t coordinating the Ballston Market in Virginia, helping to manage Silver Spring’s Fenton Street Market, or working in her own studio, she somehow finds time to band together with a small group who are working day and night to promote Washington’s burgeoning craft community.
Pretty People's Annie Lee organizes a rack of vintage dresses. Photograph by Chris Svetlik.
Seersucker socialites at Hillwood Estate. Photograph by Chris Leaman.
The Dandies and Quaintrelles are at it again. Riding the wave of last fall's wildly popular Tweed Ride, the group hosted a second bicycle jaunt this Saturday, dubbed the Seersucker Social. After a leisurely bike ride through Rock Creek Park, guests stopped at the Hillwood Estate for an afternoon of lawn games and mint juleps. The result? Quite possibly the highest concentration of impeccable 1920s style Washington has seen since, well, the 1920s. Daisy Buchanan would be proud.
Weight loss. New job. Plus-size chic. Washington, we know you’re a smart lot, so don’t feel bad if there’s a fashion equation you can’t quite solve—figure issues and big occasions can leave even the most style-savvy fashionistas quaking in their heels. Instead of stressing, why not let us work out the answer?
For an upcoming feature in our July issue, we’re on the hunt for Washingtonians who feel they can’t quite get it right in the sartorial department. Send us your wardrobe woes, and you could be selected to receive a free style consultation, plus a shopping budget to go with!
In the spirit of last spring’s Seersucker Social and 2009’s inaugural Tweed Ride, Washington’s creative crowd stepped out for another old-timey cycling jaunt Sunday. The second annual Tweed Ride, hosted by the DC social club Dandies & Quaintrelles, began in Capitol Hill’s Lincoln Park and ended with an after-party at the Stroga yoga studio in Adams Morgan. Participants came dressed for lots of photo ops, and we took full advantage. Browse our slideshow for more than 40 adorable takes on caps, bowties, and that lovely nubby fabric we all associate with Ivy Leaguers and English countryside.
Fashion's Night Out. An evening where stores keep doors open late, fill with special guests and promotions, and celebrate style for the consumer-oriented gloriousness it truly is. Started last year in New York City with the intent to go international, Anna Wintour's pet project came to Washington in a big way last Friday night. Shoppers, stylists, and even a few Real Housewives headed down to Georgetown for special trunk shows and parties galore, and kept the style-savvy buzz going well into the night. We came, too, and brought the cameras along for the ride. All photographs by Chris Leaman.