Connecting fashion brands and boutiques.

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Yellowcake – Valerie Mayhen’s Sweet Designs

March 16th, 2012 · Brands, Contemporary

Valerie Mayen is a champion of the underdog. She named her clothing line Yellowcake because “yellow cake, the actual dessert, is underrated. It’s the classic combination of rich chocolate frosting with sweet yellow cake. it’s the epitome of classic, and the champion of sweets. Sometimes overlooked, but never disappointing”!

That’s her idea behind Yellowcake. Sweet design with classic style. Eye candy with design substance.


Her designs are heavily influenced by the marriage of mod vintage looks with contemporary cutting edge style.

Valerie’s wants to consistently produce beautiful, high quality work while maintaining Cleveland-based manufacturing, utilizing local sewers, undertaking student apprentices to pass skills on and helping others with a portion of the profits of her work. Since inception, Yellowcake has always committed to donate 5% of the business profits to charity.

Hailing from Corpos Christie with Guatamalian roots her studies took her from Philadelphia to Abeline to Rome and them Cleveland with stints in LA. Valerie epitomizes her line in this detailed coat.

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The Soul of a Chanel

March 16th, 2012 · Brands

Nothing gets me more worked up than when someone complains about the cost of a Chanel jacket.  It’s like buying a work of art.  Either it speaks to you or it doesn’t and if you don’t know the difference then there’s nothing I can say that will make a difference.  But “a picture is worth a thousand words”  so take a look at how a Chanel jacket is made.  Lovingly created not made, brought to life through the legacy of CoCo herself.  Watch and then tell me if you still think its overpriced.

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the Dredger’s Union

March 10th, 2012 · Brands

dredgers union clevelandDanielle DeBoe and Sean Bilovecky, partners in the Dredgers Union are proving that Cleveland downtown retail definitely has a heartbeat.  Their 4,000-square-foot store located in the heart of downtown Cleveland is thriving.

After to returning to Cleveland from a stint in LA, DeBoe opened a boutique in the pre-trendy Gordon Square neighborhood  in 2007 called Room Service.  It sold a fresh mix of old and new items with an emphasis on locally made goods and she curated with the eye of an artist always erring on the side of outstanding design.

A self admitted stress junkie, DeBoe was feeling restless so she launched Made in the 216 in 2008, a shopping event showcasing the work of local designers and artists. She wanted a medium to get the word out that Cleveland was producing furniture, art, clothing and decor on par with places like New York City and Made in the 216 was her vehicle.

The bug hit again when a developer approached her to open a store in downtown Cleveland.  She thought of Bilovesky who had spent five years creating his own wholesale, made in the U.S. clothing line, Wrath Arcane. and proposed they partner up for this new venture.  He suggested designing a new clothing line for the store as a way to keep the experience authentic and with no middleman they could keep their prices on par with U.S. retailers like Banana Republic or J. Crew.  A star was born.

Dredger’s sells a range of items, from locally made lip balm to its own Dredgers Union men’s shirt that’s slim with specially cut armholes for easy movement. More than half the store is devoted to a well curated assortment of apparel and the remainder to accessories, gift items and items for the home.



Shop it, you’ll love it.

Address: Cleveland OH

2043 E 4th St


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SKECHERS Shapes-Up Super Bowl Commercial With Kim Kardashian

February 4th, 2011 · Uncategorized

Kim Kardashian is HOT! Let’s face it…love her or hate her…she’s HOT!

I read a recent article about her and she is truly smart, savy, professional and Hot! Plus she is a true entreprenurial designer at heart. Basically, the kind of woman, women love to hate. Am I right?

But still there is something very appealing about her.  So when I learned she was going to do a Super Bowl commercial, I immediately thought the Super Bowl might be fun. The video is airing close to the two minute warning during the second half. She is suppose to be breaking some one’s heart but we don’t know who?  That really got me going.  Nothing like a good mystery, steaming with sex appeal.  I just showed my husband the screenshots of the SKETCHERS Shape-ups Super Bowl commercial, starring Kim Kardashian and got him steamed up about it….the Super Bowl of course.

Check out SKECHERS at, where you can “Like” SKECHERS and receive special offers. Plus enter the Kim Kardashian sweepstakes after The Big Game. And tune in to see a special Kim Kardashian video aired during halftime on their Facebook page.

Toodles.  Look for my review on Sunday.

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Maisonette 1977 – Master Mixer of Textures and Patterns

October 1st, 2010 · Brands, Contemporary

Just found a great little house I like a lot!  No bedrooms, no bathrooms, no kitchen but full of beautiful, interesting clothes.  “Maisonette 1977”  which means “little house 1977”  is designed by Jane Ibrahim, a Parsons School of Design grad.  She worked for Michael Kors, Vigal Azrouel, Oscar de la Renta, Bill Blass New York, Theory and Cynthia Steffe before undertaking her own line. She was a self professed lover of “grunge” at 13 and even after a decade of design experience you’ll see glimmers of that love throughout the line.  Part of that is what makes it so uniquely appealing and the other is that it is just beautifully feminine and wonderfully crafted.  A dash of sweet, a pinch of tough, a splash of modern and a hint of retro.  Add it all up and you get totally wonderful.

Maisonette 1977 Skye Shearling Coat

It’s no surprise that even though this is her third collection, she’s getting tons of coverage.  Her looks are loaded with press appeal – distinctive, interesting, and sell-able at the same time.  Like the Skye shearling coat featured in Marie Claire this Fall.  A master piece!  I love it 101 times.

Maisonette 1977 Coat
Also look for her pieces in Lucky and In Style.

Maisonette 1977 Coat in Lucky

Maisonette 1977 skirt and jacket In Style

Maisonette 1977 Jacket and Dress

Maisonette 1977 Draped Neck Dress

Keep your eye on Maisonette 1977.  Or better yet bet your “open to buy” money on Maisonette 1977.  In my opinion “its the little house that can”.  Jane Ibrahim’s unique take on mixing textures and patterns, craftsmanship in draping and modern sensibility translates  into eye catching fashions. Just what retailers need to motivate the consumer to buy.  Now I love it 102 times and growing!

Maisonette 1977 Dress Jacket and Pants

PS I don’t know about you but I always like to meet the designer so here’s Jane (on the right)!

Jane Ibrahim Designer of Maisonette 1977
Photos:  Maisonette 1977 Website and Facebook Pages

Where to find it:

Maisonette 1977

Joey Showroom

Asia Inquiries:
Maisonette 1977 Asia    joanna@maisonettene

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Instant Fabric – Cotton in a Can

September 28th, 2010 · Brands, Product Merchandising

Paul Luckham an engineer and Manel Torres fashion designer teamed up to create cotton fabric that comes in a can.  It’s called Fabrican Ltd. and the company is working on mass-producing this fabric in an aerosol can.

The fabric consists of tiny cotton fibers dissolved in a solvent which quickly evaporates after you spray it on, leaving a seamless piece of fabric right on your model or mannequin.  It feels a little like suede and can be washed and reworn.

While it creates a custom (and snug fit) when sprayed on the body, sizing could easily be standardized through the use of mannequins.  And since it can be dissolved in a solvent and reused again and again, there is no waste.

Sound to good to be true.  There are those pesky aerosol cans and the chemical solvents involved but Luckham and Torres just may be in “high cotton” pretty soon.

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360Sweater – Outrageously Chic, Effortlessly Cool

September 27th, 2010 · Brands, Contemporary

Leslie Gifford designs awesome sweaters that keep you warm while making sure you feel cool. The name comes from a 360 degree circle which she says replicates the seamlessness of the most perfect shape found in nature. Her mostly cashmere sweater line combines California contemporary with New York sophistication to make a wardrobe. But she does not limit her creativity to just cashmere, she uses silk, wool cashmere, silk cashmere, Australian wool, organic cotton and linen in various gauges and weights

For fall 2010 Leslie has introduced her first accessory collection. It is an outrageous collection of scarves, wraps, blankets, gloves and hats in cashmere and cashmere blend yarns.

Each of Leslie’s everyday essentials have a unique design twist; texture, stitching, buttons,  wrapping or like the newly patented ‘Pocket Sockets’ which is essentially a glove built into a sweater pocket.

I love sweaters and consider myself a sweater aficionado given all the sweaters I bought and sold over my buying career. 360Sweaters are a sweater lovers dream.  They are priced well so you can achieve good margins at the store level, the details make them stand out from the sea of sameness and the quality speaks for itself.  So if you don’t have it in your store now…its not to late…sweater season has just begun.  Burrrrr!

360 Sweaters Navy Cardigan

Leslie Gifford Creative Director of 360 Sweaters

Leslie Gifford Creative Director of 360 Sweaters

Photos: 360 Sweater Website and Facebook Page

Where to find it:

310-315-2881 fax

NEW YORK, NY 10018
310-315-2881 fax

Findings LA
860 South Los Angeles Street, Suite 608
Los Angeles, CA 90014Phone: 213-622-0717
Fax: 213-624-9536

Stephen Mirkin & Associates
350 North Orleans St.
Apparel Center, Suite 1392
Chicago, IL 60654

Cell: 561-632-3190
Fax: 513 791-8178

Butch Plott & Co.
2050 N. Stemmons Freeway, Suite 15696
Dallas, TX 75207

Phone: 214-630-3009
Fax: 214-630-2470


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Christopher Raeburn – An Eco, Ethical Jacket Line That’s Stunningly Beautiful

September 10th, 2010 · Brands, Contemporary, Product Merchandising

Christopher Raeburn’s eco friendly designs for men and women would have made fellow Brit, Winston Churchill proud.  This talented designer upcycles (a form of recycling where new products are made using other products that have become disused or retired) re-appropriated military jackets, Eurostar uniforms and old Belgium army tank suits into ethically beautiful jackets.  They are visually exciting in an earthy palette with burnished neutrals, cutting edge design and tons of history. The originals never saw combat duty and were found inside a UK surplus warehouse with the packaging labels from the 50’s still on.

In an interview with Fiona Sibley of the he said  “My reasons for using this fabric is twofold: firstly, it is functional and waterproof. Secondly, the military always has to overproduce its garments, so there are warehouses with thousands of square feet of military surplus sitting around. For me, giving that a new lease of life is very interesting.”

His Battledress parka featured in the August 2010 issue of Vogue hit just in time as I was dreading the search for a new fall jacket.  Now I’m praying for snowfall.  Thanks to Raeburn I’ll be doing sorties in my Battledress and Wellies on the 9th grade soccer field.

His upcycled parachute parkas take on a different tone. So bright, light and whimsical they’ll  have you doing rain dances.  They’re fully waterproof so no threat of getting wet.

Raeburn has very limited distribution right now.   He currently sells through Barney’s in the United States.  If you want to be one of the lucky few, move fast.  This is just the type of special line that can heat up your outerwear business.

As Winston Churchill said ” I am easily satisfied with the very best”.  So am I.   If you are too, Christopher Raeburn is one of the very best new designers on the horizon.  So pick up the telly now and call.  Jolly Good Luck!

Where to find it:

Exhibition at Somerset House

17 – 21 September 2010


Christopher Raeburn
Tel:(+)44 (0) 78 8428 4560
T +44(0) 208-5250-687


Tranoi Parc Royal, The Loft
10/12 Parc Royal

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Wool and the Gang – Ready-to-Wear and Ready-to-Knit Fashion

August 25th, 2010 · Brands, Contemporary, Stores

With two sticks and string, a gang of wannabe knitters, and a community atmosphere,  Wool and the Gang has changed “Nanna’s knitting shop”  forever.

If you haven’t heard of it, Wool and the Gang, is a fashionable, new retail concept that opened in Soho in November 2009.  It’s part stylish design studio, part DIY knitting school, part luscious Peruvian yarn shop and part trendy knitwear boutique.  Knit them all together and you’ve got one fantastically, fun shopping experience.

Here’s how it all began.  In late 2007 Lisa Sabrier found some fantastic chunky yarn in a downtown knitting shop in New York and  thought if she took hunky yarn and combined it with chunky needles she could get fast results—ideal for today’s hectic lifestyles.  She had the concept and then just needed the design.  She and her partner Carolyn Main sensed people were looking for a connection to what they were wearing beyond logo’s and mass merchandise.  They felt they wanted a more personalized, meaningful experience.  One where instead of  “simply wearing it”, consumers could “make it as well”.  Sabrier and Main designed some hip styles, packaged them in cool kits for quick, easy knitting and launched them at Colette (one of my favorite Parisian boutiques). They were an instant hit and the rest is history as they say.

As soon as you enter their shop in Soho, you’re hooked.  Surrounded by bright-colored skeins of Peruvian yarn, white washed walls, designers abuzz with ideas, a huge working table in the middle of the store, and a crowd of people so interesting you can’t wait to join them in the fun and castoff a funky scarf or luscious sweater.

Their website is an engaging version of their store. Fun, hip interactive.  It’s a mix of easy how-to video tutorials, sketch memos, and great on-line shopping.

Wool and the Gang unlocked the mystery of how to connect with consumers in today’s fickle marketplace.  They put the FUN and the SOCIAL back in ready-to-wear.

If you are a boutique owner or a designer get over to Wool and the Gang for a healthy dose of imaginative thinking and out-of-the-knitting-basket thinking.  It’s worth the trip to New York or LA to get your creative juices flowing. Also their kits make a great addition to any boutique that sells knitwear.

Stop doing the same old, same old.  Get Inspired and your customers will follow.

If you can’t travel there, check it out here.

Photo’s – Wool and the Gang Website

Studio/Shop 98 Thompson Street New York, NY 10012
(212) 966 9266

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A Peace Treaty – Weaving Dreams Into Fashion

August 23rd, 2010 · Brands, Contemporary

I told readers about A Peace Treaty in April 2010 and was thrilled to see Oprah just had an article in her magazine this month (September issue 2010)about them.  Must Love Boutiques scooped Oprah!  How about that. Glad APT is getting well deserved attention, just in time for the Fall season. Below is my original post.  Enjoy.

A PEACE TREATY is the beautiful by-product of a Pakistani Muslin (Farah Malik) and  a Libyan Jew (Dana Arbib).  In 2008 they joined forces to produce luxurious hand crafted accessories inspired by Middle Eastern, Asian, European and African influences. But here’s where it really gets interesting, they only work with local artisans in regions immersed in sociopolitical conflicts.  Why?  They want to provide employment to artists so they can preserve their trade.  They want to provide fair trade wage rates (that can be up to 8 times the local rate) so they can better artisans circumstances.  They want to enlighten people throughout the world about social issues that are important to them. In summary, they want to make the world a better place.

Their design inspiration starts with Arbib.  She forms a picture in her mind of what she wants to see people in or something she is lusting over.  Then she sketches it out for Farah and they start building on the ideas.

With ideas in hand they look for trades that are dying out because of industrialization and conversion to factory-based manufacturing.  They research the type of handicrafts a region offers or the types of colors and patterns used within the county’s aesthetic culture.  Story boards are made to inspire them as they look for interesting ways to modernize what a country has to offer and then translate it into one great accessory.

Each season they select a different region to work in.  Their new spring collection, Sozan Doz, was done in partnership with Afghan Hands. Each scarf is hand-embroidered by a widow in Afghanistan using traditional embroidery skills. In an interview with the Cut they told Sharon Clott, “It wasn’t easy, because infrastructurally, Afghanistan is harder even than Iraq to work in,” said Malik. “We had to airlift fabric in. The whole project took three or four times longer than any of the other projects we’ve done. It was a total labor of love.”  Their line is a total labor of love-Arbib’s love of graphic, textile and product design and Malik’s love for social justice and human rights-combined to create beautiful, lovely things.

While A Peace Treaty is mainly known for its exotic, understated, exquisitely crafted scarves, this Spring (2010) they introduced a jewelry line, Sunari which means “female goldsmith”.  The jewels are inspired by the Kuchi nomadic tribes of Afghanistan and the Turkoman tribes of Central Asia. There are 12 pieces in the collection and no two pairs of earrings or necklace are the same.  Each hanging amulet and talisman is 24 karate gold-plated and has beautiful intricate geometric carvings.

Their Capra collection of scarves and shawls features hand-woven Himalayan cashmere made from the shedding hairs of  Capra Hircus mountain goats.  The items are woven using the finest and silkest hairs of the goat and the skill and craftsmanship learned and passed down through many generations.  The Kilim collection of scarves, stoles and neckerchiefs features hand-blocked printed silks. The process embodies the art of carpet weaving found in traditional Central Asian kilim carpets.

If you need artisan-level accessories for a luxury market customer, you need A Peace Treaty.

Pricepoints: Scarfs: $$60-$320 Retail, Jewelry: $120-$280
Lifestyle: Casual Chic, Luxury

How To Find Them

1133 Broadway Suite 618
New York, NY 10010
646-352-2127 Phone
646-861-4643 Fax

Showroom Representation:
Simon Showroom
95 5th Ave
New York, NY 10003-3052

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