• Fashion Week Dispatch: Samantha Pleet proves eco-couture need not "scream green"

    Video: Samantha Pleet SS 2011, Starring Victoria Legrand, Directed by David Black.

    Mercedes Benz Fashion Week might have a new location this year at Lincoln Center, but the freshest and most creative fashion presentations arguably were found off-site. A perfect example was Samantha Pleet's Spring/Summer 2011 presentation, which was part of the Greenshows downtown. A film created by Pleet's friend David Black featured BeachHouse singer Victoria Legrand as a star-crossed lover. The film and still images were projected onto the walls surrounding models styled by Christina Turner in jewelry by Bliss Lau and shoes designed specially for Pleet by Osborne.

    Nothing about the clothing looked particularly eco-friendly, ethically sound or fair trade, but it was nice to know that fantastic design and styling can be all those things without screaming "green." To top off the evening, Pleet gathered friends and fans at the Classic Car Club, where she and I grabbed a seat in 1955 Porsche 550 Spyder for a quick interview… (more…)

  • Saboteur: a fashion makeover for Silicon Valley

    Kristen Slowe, creator of Saboteur men's clothing, is taking on Silicon Valley one disheveled tech geek at a time. And Slowe knows from tech geeks. She's married to Reddit founder Christopher Slowe, who has a Ph.D. from Harvard in Math and Physics. He's the kind of guy who has things on his mind other than what he's wearing — exactly Mrs. Slowe's target customer.

    One might argue that Silicon Valley execs don't care enough about their wardrobe to purchase anything from Saboteur. Slowe suspected as much, so she ran an online survey that found her Silicon Valley business friends did care. They said they felt outgunned fashion-wise by colleagues in places like NYC where cargo shorts are not typically acceptable business meeting attire.

    Armed with that intel and a passion to knock some fashion sense into startup culture, Slowe, a FIDM graduate, secured a partnership with Justin Kan of Justin.tv fame, and designed a line of shirts and sport coats that are beautifully tailored but accessible for fashion newbies. (more…)

  • Duplicious

    Duplicious Masthead.jpeg

    Siveya Ethersmith wants to help you fine-tune your bullshit detector. His blog Duplicious is a fun blend of the author's musings and observations, which may or may not be based in reality. Posts have a Duplicious status of "reality," "deceit," or "TBA." For example, would a 9.5-mile-wide clock have a lethal minute hand traveling at 60 mph? Are wind turbine farms straining the Earth's tectonic plates? Does Siveya have a history as a card-counter and host of trespass parties? Yes indeed he does.

    Siveya is also writing a memoir, The Giving Thief, about a decade he spent exploring the country's urban landscape.

  • Body of Evidence: Artist works with silver nanoparticles dispersed in hexane


    (PHOTO: Artist Kate Nichols, with her nanoparticle art / Kristen Philipkoski)

    When Kate Nichols traded her paintbrush for a pipette, she had to accept a few changes in the way she created art. First, control and predictability went out the window. Sometimes her new medium — nanoparticles dispersed in hexane — behaved, sometimes it didn't.

    "It is docile and containable at times, unruly and given to bursting uncontrollably from my pipette at others," Nichols said.

    In science, such unpredictability leads to failed experiments. Reproducibility is king in science; it's vital if a researcher wants to prove what he or she is seeing isn't just a fluke. Scientific journals require many repeated identical results before they'll publish a scientist's work.

    But in art, it's just the opposite. Uniqueness is most important. Reproducing art only devalues it, so Nichols' inability to predict what her materials might do next only made the work more compelling. (more…)

  • Chrisrann: Spartan, art deco jewelry from JPG mag's creative director

    chrys.jpgRannie Balias, creative director at JPG magazine, recently launched a unique and beautiful line of jewelry called Chrisrann (a combination of her name and her sister's name).

    The pieces mix braided leather deadstock from the late 80s and early 90s (which Rannie was lucky enough to stumble upon) with strategically placed gold fill chains and links.

    The aesthetic is Sparta meets art deco. and the colors are perfect against summer suntanned skin (but wear your sunscreen!). I have the breast plate, shown here—it's even more amazing once you put it on.

    The line was partly inspired by Natasha Khan, the feathered, headbanded, war-painted lead singer of Bat for Lashes. She wore the Chrisrann spartan bangle onstage when performing at San Francisco's Great American Music Hall last June. "I about died," Rannie said.

    You can buy Rannie's pieces at Shotwell in San Francisco, you can order online at the Chrisrann site, or if you happen to be in Ichinomaya Japan, you can find Chrisrann at me + buki.

  • Spoonflower: online DIY fabric pattern service


    I recently wrote wrote about Colourlovers, a site that's revolutionizing the business of hues with inexpensive software and a vibrant community of—well, color lovers. Users can create their own palettes or patterns (like plaid, sunburst, or polka dots), and share them or import them to their Illustrator or other software.

    If you've created your pattern and want to use it to make something outside of the digital realm, like curtains, clothes, bags, pillows, whatever, go to Spoonflower, upload your pattern, and create your own eco-friendly fabric. All of the fabric is printed in Mebane, North Carolina.

    From the site:

    It was founded in May 2008 by two Internet geeks who had crafty wives but who knew nothing about textiles. The company came about because Stephen's wife, Kim, persuaded him that being able to print her own fabric for curtains was a really cool idea.

    I love it when chics and geeks put their heads together. Along with the site's 70,000 fabric enthusiasts, you have the option to enter a fabric-designing contest or vote in one. You can also order fabric designed by other users. Check out the "gingham invaders" fabric at the top of this post. The pattern is made of tiny space invaders.

  • Colourlovers: free, online alternative to Pantone


    Anyone who needs to know the hot color of the season—designers, buyers, stylists—until recently had to go to one company, Pantone, and pay hundreds or thousands of dollars for color trend forecasts. The company is the undisputed authority on color, and they pretty much have the monopoly on the color business. Pantone also holds the standardized numerical keys to color. By matching swatches with Pantone, everyone can make sure they're referring to the same hue. They're like a proprietary Dewey decimal system for color.

    But the founders of a young internet startup are changing that with free color tools and an online community: Colourlovers. Pantone may not disappear any time soon, but Darius Monsef, the Colourlovers founder, is pleased to at least give color researchers another option. The site lets users not only explore which colors are trending, but anyone can create a virtual color palette or a pattern using Colourlovers' free software, or if they want to get a little more serious, they can buy the ColorSchemer software (screengrab at left) for between $35 and $50.

    Why does anyone need special software to create a color palette—a simple rectangular box filled with strips of various shades? Using a program like Adobe Illustrator it can be a surprisingly laborious many-step process. People get very excited when they discover how easy it is on Colourlovers.


  • TED fellow using nanoparticle paint

    Kate Nichols is a painter trained in 15th century Northern Renaissance techniques. But this week she will give a presentation at TED, perhaps the most prestigious big-think technology conference. Her topic? Nanotechnology. 

    It might sound bizarre, but when you listen to the story of Nichols' quest to recreate the brilliant blue iridescence of the Morpho butterfly, her scientific presentation makes perfect sense. 

    Nichols learned painting as painters did in 15th century Flanders: by apprenticing under a master and learning to make her own paints. She became skilled at creating the type of complex colors only possible as light travels through thin layers of oil glaze. But she eventually found that no amount of layering could recreate the complexity she saw in the Morpho butterfly's wings. 

    [More images and more about the artist after the jump] (more…)