designer

Featured Designer - Carolyn Burgess of Acorn + Archer

Ouija on Leather

Ouija on Leather

How did you get your start as a jewelry designer?

I started with a different line of jewelry about 15 years ago and like many designers, just created for myself and friends until a boutique owner inquired where she could get her own.

Where do you get your inspiration?

Primarily from decades past. You can find art deco patterns as well as mod Bauhaus lines in my designs.

Uwan in White Porcelain

Uwan in White Porcelain

What do you enjoy about the Nashville design community?

The support and encouragement you receive from other designers.

What resources do you wish Nashville had more of for designers?

With my focus on clay right now, I wish we had more resources for beginners. I took a community education class for two years to have access to a kiln before purchasing my own and getting my own studio space. It is an expensive startup, but so much fun!

Who is your number one fashion icon?

Jane Birkin

What has been a collaboration you’ve really enjoyed?

Though we've never intentionally collaborated at the creation phase, Shannon of People Like Art and myself always design pieces that are very complementary of the other's work. We've paired her clothing with my jewelry for photo shoots, runway shows and just for website material and it always looks as though the clothing and accessories were designed with the other in mind. We both love to get together and do the pairings and ohhh and ahhh about it.

Ohm Necklace

Ohm Necklace

What is a goal you have for your business?

I plan to expand to home goods in 2017

What’s the hardest part about being a jewelry designer?

Jewelry is an accessory and it is really hard to make it front and center. If you are planning a photo shoot or just an outfit, it's easy to be swayed by a great pattern or cut of a garment and the jewelry can get lost.

Are seasons important to you as a designer?

No, I find that jewelry is always in season.

What three words describe your style?

Mod, natural, statement

Why is it important to buy local?

It is so great to be able to know where your fashion comes from, but the main reasons are that it impacts the local economy and environment by requiring less to be trucked in. It cuts down on processing, packaging and transportation waste as well as supporting local businesses who in turn can produce more income, jobs and taxes for our community than big box stores. I would rather support quality products being made locally than lower prices of foreign sweat shop labor.

See Carolyn's designs and her collaboration with photographer Ashtin Paige at the next Fashion Happening on October 15. Get your ticket here.

Featured Designer - Emil Erwin

Emil in his studio. Photo by Andrea Behrends.

Emil in his studio. Photo by Andrea Behrends.

How did you get your start as a designer?

The term designer is one that shouldn't be taken lightly.  Competent designers can take ideas to the final product and understand all the ins and outs along the way.  Not to say that if you can’t ______, you aren’t a designer, but I feel it's important to understand all aspects of something you want to create, as each step informs the design.  Since I was a child, I have been fascinated with the idea of taking materials and bringing them together to create something useful.  Emil Erwin has been my full time gig for six years, but I am just now becoming comfortable with the idea of calling myself a designer.

What resources do you wish Nashville had more of for designers?

I would love access to more materials and hardware.  Everything I get has to be ordered and is at least days away, and often much longer.  I have a very tactile design process, with little pencil to paper time.  I like to just get right into fabrication and if I don’t have the materials I need when inspiration strikes, I’m stuck.

Who is your number one fashion icon?

I just googled fashion icon??  I really dig what Celine is creating.  Their design is so clean and purposeful, while remaining intriguing.

What has been a collaboration you’ve really enjoyed?

We worked with Barneys early on.  It was an incredible experience to learn how the machine works at that level.

What is a goal you have for your business?

I want to grow our production capabilities, in house.  I have spent the last 6 years building a small factory with all the equipment we need.  I know of only a couple of facilities in the region that have our capabilities.  Now I just have to fill all of these chairs. ;)

Photo by Andrea Behrends.

Photo by Andrea Behrends.

What’s the hardest part about being a designer?

The intersection of art/design and commerce is the hardest part.  Everything I design and create is such a personal outpouring, and then I have to put a price tag on it.  It is hard then not to take it personally when sales are down.  You have to consciously separate ego from your work if you want to thrive in an environment where you are trying to sell your work.  That, and being poor.

Are seasons important to you as a designer?

Not really.  It does affect some color choices from summer to winter, but overall I try to create designs that stand the test of time/seasons.

What three words describe your style?

Black^3
 

See Emil's designs and his collaboration with photographer Brett Warren at the next Fashion Happening on October 15. Get your ticket here.

Featured Designer - Ceri Hoover

Designer Ceri Hoover

Designer Ceri Hoover

What made you want to start Ceri Hoover Bags? 

It really was a happy accident. I love designing beautiful things and had been drawn to textiles and fabrics, and since I was into interior design at the time, I loved designing pillows. One day, I had made a cowhide pillow and realized it made a great clutch. I started carrying it around and then I was hooked. Before long I had half a dozen designs and was rearranging my future.

What are your current design influences? 

That's almost impossible to say. I am inspired by everything and everyone I experience. There a a number of designers that I love- many here in town-  and I'm inspired by their creativity and their spark.

Name four key words that describe your aesthetic.

Simplicity, timelessness, complementary, and artfulness

Alys collection bag

Is there one design that you're particularly proud of? That says what you're all about?

Maybe it's because it is my newest, but I think I am most proud of the Alys collection it has almost no hardware, has this beautiful shape and texture, and is completely new. It is both practical and edgy. I just love it.

What is it like to be a Creative in Nashville?

It just feels like we are all in the middle of something great. Maybe not San Francisco in the late sixties or Seattle in the 90's, but similar. Like we have all found this well of inspiration in a city that is transforming right in front of us. It's really neat.  

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Featured Designer - Amanda Valentine of Valentine Valentine

What made you want to start Valentine Valentine?

Designer Amanda Valentine

It was so long ago, I couldn’t even tell you!  I’ve been designing clothing in various forms since I was a very little girl. I took sewing lessons in Junior High,  I started The Sewing Club in High School, and got a fashion design degree in college.  I was always a goal. I always knew I wouldn't be totally happy designing for someone else, so I had to start my own collection!

What are your current design influences? 

I love diving into something new each season, but at this point I do have a bit of a formula.  I’m at 1970s gal (I just barely missed living in the decade, so it’s a little unknown and magical to me!).  I like being bold and graphic but also layer rich cultural influences on top.  For Fall 2015 I’m obsessed with the easy knit dressing of the 70s and antique Turkish jewelry.

Name four key words that describe your aesthetic.

Graphic, effortless, contrasting, bohemian.

Is there one design that you're particularly proud of? That said THIS is what Amanda Valentine/Valentine Valentine is all about?

The Mod Block dress that I have online now- a color blocked maxi dress.  It takes a confident woman to wear it, but it’s not fussy or overdone.

What is it like to be a Creative in Nashville?

I clock in between 60-70 hours of work a week, so I have to say I usually don’t look up long enough to even notice where I am!  Okay, I’m half kidding.  I love being in a growing city- people complain about the change, but I think it’s exciting to be on the ground level of the fashion industry here.  I’m surrounded by insanely talented people and amazing brands and am humbled by how supportive everyone has been.  Viva Nashville!

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Featured Designer - Otis James

designer Otis James

designer Otis James

What made you want to start Otis James Nashville?

Starting this company came out of a desire to create connection, both for me personally and to anyone else interested in having a stronger connection to the source of products. I had just finished a big solo bicycle trip around the country, and I moved to Nashville with the desire to make custom clothing. I quickly got sidetracked into accessories, but I'm happy to stay there for a while. Basically, my initial idea was to have a business where the name reflects the source, where you can make a call or email and speak directly with the person who made or designed the product, and where you can physically see the scope of the operation and understand at least some of the work that goes into creation.

What are your current design influences? 

I'm kind of a filter feeder. I don't actively seek inspiration too often, but I may find ideas from films, paintings, or photography. To be honest, much of what I am pursuing now are ideas that I wrote down 5 or 6 years ago, ideas that I just didn't have the time, skill, or resources to pursue at the time. A lot of them came from my time traveling.

Name four key words that describe your aesthetic.

Simple. Textured. Subdued. Natural.

Is there one design that you're particularly proud of? That says what you're all about?

In general, I'm most proud of the cap designs. They have required the most work and revision, and a lot of skilled labor goes into the construction of each one. Specifically, at the moment I am particularly proud of my latest style, which is an ivy cap. It's something I've been developing off and on for a couple years now. I'd done many iterations, but nothing that really satisfied me. I'm very pleased to finally have this in my catalog.

What is it like to be a Creative in Nashville?

For the most part, being a creative here has been invigorating. I remember distinctly how welcoming and encouraging this city was when I got started 6 years ago. With all the attention the city has received of late, there have been many opportunities afforded someone like me. It's something for which I am very grateful. 

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Featured Designer - KariBeth

What made you want to start KariBeth Jewelry?

I began making jewelry as a creative outlet while working a regular 9-5 after moving back home from Detroit, where I was a Crafts major in college. I've always had the need to be creating with my hands. But, it wasn't until I moved to NYC several years later that I would combine my jewelry making with my obsession with antiquing. I fell in love with the process of hunting for special heirloom pieces and the challenge of recreating them into modern day jewelry.

What are your current design influences? 

Overall, I'm mostly influenced by the unique vintage pieces that I find. But, I also find that my jewelry designs are highly influenced by my love of interior design. I feel that a person's fashion style doesn't stray too far from their home decor style. Currently, I'm obsessed with Kelly Wearstler, and I think that the way she puts things together in a space is genius. I'm incredibly inspired by her mix of metals, textures, shapes, and color combinations. 

Name four key words that describe your aesthetic.

 Unique, timeless, playful, complex

Rorschach inkblot necklace

Is there one design that you're particularly proud of? That said THIS is what KariBeth Jewelry is all about?

The pieces that truly challenge me are my favorite, so I would say any of my Rorschach Inkblot pieces. They're like putting together a complex 3D puzzle, and they make me really think outside the box. They also showcase my obsession with symmetry. 

What is it like to be a Creative in Nashville?

I think that Nashville is very receptive, nurturing, and supportive to those that are creative. I feel that there are so many creatives here in Nashville, and as much as we cheer on each other, the community is also rooting for our success.

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Featured Designer - Kimberly Parker of Sisters of Nature

Designer Kimberly Parker

Designer Kimberly Parker

What made you want to start Sisters of Nature?

I decided to start Sisters of Nature after my mom passed away. She had been telling me since I was young that I needed to start a business and use my talents for good. I used to ride my bike to boutiques at a young age to pitch my line of designs to the owners. I had a drive and determination to share my work with the world. Somewhere along the way, as an adult, I got lost and got into other jobs. Diving into the creative world was always pulling at me though. It was always calling and letting me know that was my true passion. Losing my mom made me realize life is too short to do a job that sucks the life out of you. I was passionate about design and working with other creatives. It made me come alive, so that's how I knew that's what I needed to do. 

What are your current design influences? 

I am always influenced when I'm traveling. Something about getting away for a bit opens up the creative flow for me. It makes me stop and actually look at things and soak in the beauty around me rather than getting caught up in schedules and to do lists. 

"Always keep your eyes open. Keep watching. Because whatever you see can inspire you."-Grace Coddington

Name four key words that describe your aesthetic.

romantic

feminine

adventurous

balanced

Is there one design that you're particularly proud of? That said THIS is what Sisters of Nature is all about?

There's actually a design I'm working on right now. It has little brass triangles that I am hand stitching on the bodice overlaid on top of a sheer fabric. I really love it. I think Sisters of Nature is all about unique details, interesting fabrics, and feminine designs. 

What is it like to be a Creative in Nashville?

I cannot even say how much I love it. I have only been in the creative world in Nashville for a little over a year, but it has been so incredible. In addition to my recent project of designing for Sisters of Nature's private label, most of my job actually entails curating.  I get to work with many different local designers and create collections for my store. It is so encouraging to see how much people support each other, encourage each other, and feed off of one another's creative energy. It's like everyone is in it together for the greater good of our city. I feel so blessed to work with all the designers that make Sisters of Nature great and to design my own private label for the store now too. I just feel constantly inspired by everyone. 

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Featured Designer - Eric Adler

What made you want to start Eric Adler?

Someone once told me in Spain that they would rather travel north to vacation so they could wear warmer clothes and be fashionable. This concept completely astonished me and made me ponder on the highly casual nature of American dress. This also created a desire to bring this well dressed mentality to the U.S. and start my own clothing line, dressing up American gents.

Designer Eric Adler

What are your current design influences?

Three Toms : Tom Ford for his intrinsically sexy aesthetic, the late Tommy Nutter for being a rebel in the menswear realm, and Thom Browne for almost everything he does.

Name four key words that describe your aesthetic.

TASTEFULLY LOUD MASCULINE ELEGANCE

Is there one design that you're particularly proud of?

That said THIS is what Eric Adler is all about? Maybe one trench coat I made last year for Nashville Fashion Week 2014. It has special powers. 

What is it like to be a Creative in Nashville?

The best! I wouldn't rather be any other place in the world, but shhh don't tell anyone. Keep our secret safe :)

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Featured Designer - Anna Zeitlin of Fanny & June

Designer Anna Zeitlin

Designer Anna Zeitlin

What made you want to start Fanny & June?

Once I realized there were people who made hats, I knew that was for me. There was never the question of not starting my own label, I just did it.

What are your current design influences? 

My favorite milliner is Stephen Jones. He does brilliant, almost sculptural hats, a lot of the ones you see on the runway. My favorite designers right now are Sarah Burton for Alexander McQueen and Giambattista Valli and I love looking back at classic Dior and Schiaparelli. Also taking a lot of inspiration right now from Renoir and mid-century advertisements.

Name four key words that describe your aesthetic.

feminine, romantic, daring, elegant

Is there one design that you're particularly proud of? That said THIS is what F&J is all about?

It’s a constant evolution. Right now I’m obsessed with making intricate silk flowers.

What is it like to be a Creative in Nashville?

It’s a mixed bag. In the US, New York is the city of fashion design. That’s where the resources are, that’s where the community is. But with the internet you can connect with your community anywhere in the world, order supplies from anywhere in the world, you don’t necessarily need to have a studio in The Garment District. Nashville is thriving right now, and it’s a very exciting time to be here. I proudly proclaim “made in Nashville.”

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Featured Designers - Sarah Mallory + Eric Davis of Denim & Spirits

What made you want to start Denim & Spirits?

Designers Eric Davis and Sarah Mallory

We wanted to give guys who are fans of classic American menswear a destination to come to for things that fit well, are stylish but not trendy, comfortable without sacrificing style, and most importantly affordable.  Sometimes guys may feel like they may no longer quite fit the urban outfitters demographic, but aren't about to start  shopping at places like Brooks Brothers or the mall and have to settle for "relaxed fit" or even worse...."dad jeans".

What are your current design influences? 

In general our design influences come from the past.  Musicians, album covers, classic denim from the 50's, blue collar workwear/workers and classic pop culture.

Name four key words that describe your aesthetic.

Timeless, Handcrafted, Heritage, Detail

45's by Denim & Spirits

Is there one design that you're particularly proud of? That said THIS is what Denim & Spirits is all about?

Our jeans and the way they fit took us months to finish and perfect, they are the reason we started Denim & Spirits and will always be our staple item and what we hope people will think of first when they hear our name or see our logo.

What is it like to be a Creative in Nashville?

It's great to be in a town that is so embracing and loving of the creative community.  We live in a city that is filled with creative people from every medium and people who appreciate and support it.  We love that there's been such an uplifting and positive community of creatives built here that only continues to grow.

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Featured Designer - Lindsay Walker of Walker Jewelry

What made you want to start Walker Jewelry?

I first fell in love with metal working when I worked as a coppersmith for the Urban Electric Company in my hometown of Charleston, SC. I then went on to study Jewelry design for 3 years at the Institute for Fine Metals in Copenhagen, Denmark. During this time I experimented with many different techniques and materials and most importantly, I learned how to stay committed to a design process. Later on I studied sustainable design and this helped me to solidify what I wanted to do creatively and professionally. Being creative through design and craft is my passion and I have always wanted to own my own business. Working for myself is a very rewarding experience and a great challenge. 

What are your current design influences? 

I'm constantly looking at the work of Spanish artist Joan Miro for inspiration on my current collection. His use of space is a good direction for creating balance in my pieces, in which circular elements are used to make modern bolo ties that are inspired by English Teddy Boy Fashion. In working on this collection, I ask myself, "Would this look good with a leather jacket?" and "Can this be worn in the summer with a black silk camisole and in winter with white cashmere sweater?" I want my designs to be seasonless and to compliment a variety of looks. 

Name four key words that describe your aesthetic.

classic, sustainable, silver, versatile 

The Rachel Necklace by Walker Jewelry

Is there one design that you're particularly proud of? That said THIS is what Walker Jewelry is all about?

The Rachel necklace is a very popular item from the “Bridge Collection.” The Rachel Necklace is made from hollow silver tubing that is mitered at a 45 degree angle and then seamlessly soldered and finished to a high polish. I used to miter and solder angles for days when I made lighting, working tediously to make sure that the angles were squared up just right. I incorporate many of my previous metal working techniques to make jewelry and as far as materials go, I mostly use sterling and fine silver in my designs, because it is a noble metal with a reasonable price point. 

The Rachel Necklace incorporates a classic chevron design to make a piece that can be worn with many different looks and for many years. 

What is it like to be a Creative in Nashville?

There is so much good and positive creative energy in Nashville right now. My workshop is at Fort Houston which is home to many creative individuals and businesses. People are very open to collaborate and work together and it's been a great city to start my business in. 

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Featured Designer - Shannon Lea of People Like Art

What made you want to start People Like Art?

Designer Shannon Lea

After working as a designer for several years, I found it was important to me to create my own prints for the garments I made instead of buying fabric with someone else’s print design on it. So I set out to design a line of clothing that focused on the surface design while keeping the silhouettes simple. Creating my own prints makes the garments more personal and allows me to experiment with paints and dyes until I get exactly what I want or discover something I didn’t know I wanted.  I get to think of the tops and dresses I make as my canvases


What are your current design influences?

I’m always influenced by art in some way.  Abstract Expressionist Clyfford Still is my current obsession.  The colors, organic shapes, and thick impasto textures he uses are really exciting to me.  His work has a controlled messiness that I look for in art.

Name four key words that describe your aesthetic.

Modern, Fresh, Casual, Colorful

Is there one design that you're particularly proud of? That said THIS is what People Like Art is all about?

My new “Ink” print is one of my favorites I’ve ever done.  It is free handed and expressive.  Every garment I make, like a painting or a person, is unique.  That is what PLA is all about.


What is it like to be a Creative in Nashville?

There is always another creative person close by here, and the community of Nashville is so supportive of the arts.  There is a sense here that people want to see and experience your work, and people want to see you succeed at your creative endeavors. 

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