May 2, 2011 § Leave a comment
Hamburger Disco. Three guys, some dope t-shirts with a fun & nostalgic theme, and an epic Vancouver entrance and exit. I went to visit this pop-up store today on their grand finale day to pick up my free tee (via Vancity Buzz + HD contest – thanks!). I was a little sad that the style I picked didn’t come in womens sizes but that’s okay (I picked up a mens small), baggy t-shirts are much more comfortable anyway. I’m capable of eating atrocious amounts of food, so I guess a baggier fit is more suitable for me! Here’s what I got, handed to me in a cute little white paper bag …
Please excuse my lame pose. I become awkward when you pull out the camera.
Hands down, Hamburger Disco came & left Vancouver with a BANG. I was talking to one of the fellas & he mentioned that they might come back to Vancouver in July, so for those who haven’t had their Hamburger Disco fix, there might still be hope. Otherwise, check out their t-shirts online at www.hamburgerdisco.com and don’t forget to follow them on Twitter (@HamburgerDisco) and Facebook (Hamburger Disco) for news and updates.
Look Out for Hamburger Disco t-shirts,
January 18, 2011 § Leave a comment
After a cold and windy walk, we were greeted by Alexandra Twohey, designer of Mira & Belle in her warm and cozy Yaletown apartment last week. After saying hello to baby Mirabelle, we sat down with her to ask a few questions about Mira & Belle and her life as a designer. One of the things that we enjoy most about fashion blogging is that we get to meet people like Alexandra. She was very welcoming, bubbly, down-to-earth and passionate about her fashion line.
Mira & Belle is a knitwear collection that encompasses split style personalities for women with two separate lines. Mira represents the sexy and edgier side of a woman whereas Belle caters to a soft and pretty side. Alexandra explained that she was not formally-trained at any fashion institute, and she had very little experience in fashion. She admitted that she self-learned how to use her knitting machine by reading library books and watching YouTube videos to learn different knitting styles and patterns! Yet we were blown away as we were sifting through her unique collection and admiring the detail in her one-of-a-kind pieces.
Alexandra striking a pose with her Mira & Belle knits
S&M: What inspired you to start the Mira & Belle knitwear line? Was it an “ah-ha!” moment or was it something you’ve always dreamt about?
A: Doing a line of fashion was always something I’ve wanted to do as a teenager, around the time when I started to knit and crochet. I used to work full-time and then come home to knit a couple of pieces and sell them to a local boutique or craft market. But I’ve always really wanted to do it full-time. I’ve always told myself that once I go on maternity leave, I would focus on an actual name for my label and just have a more aesthetic idea of what I was trying to accomplish.
S&M: How did you come up with the split personality/style idea for the Mira & Belle line?
A: It’s the way I design. I didn’t design with a collection in mind. I would always have just an idea and my aesthetics were always different, as most women are. Sometimes you want to look and feel pretty and sometimes you want to look and feel sexy. So although they both make you feel good and strong, they look very different and I was trying to figure out how I was going to start a line that would encompass all of that within me. Rather than pigeonholing each piece into this one big collection, we can say we all have split fashion personalities and that’s how I came up with Mira & Belle.
S&M: Where do you get your inspiration from when designing or constructing Mira & Belle pieces?
It can come from a variety of different places. Usually what ends up happening is that I have an idea in my head of a piece, whether it be a sleeve, a neckline or a drape to a piece, and then from there I start constructing a piece in my head as to how the whole look should go together. Then I actually start making and inevitably I start editing it. It’s almost like a painting. I start off with a canvas. I kind of sketch out my idea in pencil but the paint and the picture that ends up on the canvas isn’t always what I originally had in mind.
S&M: What would you say is the biggest distinction that sets the Mira line apart from the Belle line in terms of style? (Colour, cut, embellishments etc.)
A: The Mira is more of a tough, sexy girl and Belle is more of a frilly, pretty girl. They can also cross over. For the Mira collection, the blue is darker with some black thrown in, while the Belle is a soft sky blue and the gray is more of a dusty colour. My next collection for Fall is going to be similar in the contrast of colours. With Belle, there are a lot of oatmeal and neutral colours, whereas the Mira line is going to have really dark, thick black and charcoal knits.
S&M: What is a Mira & Belle bestseller at the moment?
A: I would say the Mira Dusk Crop Top, and it’s made out of 100% bamboo and it drapes very nice. It’s a coffee colour that tends to go well with everyone’s skin tone and it looks like a nude. They’re all one of a kind, so it’s hard to say which one the most is sought after. Once a piece is sold, no one really knows about it!
S&M: Can you describe the Mira & Belle Spring/Summer 2011 collection? Also, what trends do you see being big in Spring & Summer?
A: They’re easily wearable. I’m not much of a fitted knitwear person, I tend to go oversized so there is definitely an oversized feel to both of them. Also, drape is very important because especially with knitted pieces, it can look very stiff and chunky. We don’t want a chunky sweater, we want it to drape nicely on our bodies.
I would say the oversized look is still carrying over from last season. The crop is still in, but more of a layering piece whereas last Spring we saw a lot of bare midriff.
S&M: How would you describe your own style personality? Are you a Mira, Belle, a bit of both, or neither?
A: I’m definitely a bit of both. I have my days where I want to spend 3 hours getting ready. I want to have full makeup and hair and stilettos, and then there are days where I want to be in jeans, a cardi and flip flops and feel just as good, but it’s a different look altogether. I’m a Mira & Belle and everything in between.
S&M: What are your own fashion and cultural influences?
A: I wouldn’t say I have any fashion icons or influencers. I look to women in general. I almost see myself as more of a stylist before a designer in a sense that I’m always thinking, how is this going to look on a woman? I think about how she wants to look and feel. The everyday woman is my influence.
S&M: According to your own journey and experience in the fashion industry, what advice would you give to aspiring fashion designers?
A: I would say the number one thing is to find out what your vision is. I think with being an artist, it makes it very easy to be distracted by your own ideas. Although ideas are what fuel your passion, it can also lead to your destruction in a sense because you can get so consumed by your ideas that you forget about the marketing, getting into stores and the business side of things. If you want to be successful in fashion, you need to have an understanding of the business side as well. Don’t give up, but when you have the idea, know what you want, know what your end goal is and don’t ever forget about the business side.
Let us know if you’re a Mira, Belle, or a little bit of both.
Look Out for Mira & Belle,
Sellina & Melissa
October 27, 2010 § 3 Comments
In the night life entertainment industry where men dominate the scene, there are few women onboard ready to bring their female essence into the picture. That is, until Lavish Entertainment (LE) emerged. Lavish Entertainment is a powerful, all-females promotion group full of energy, confidence, passion and sass. Created just over a year and a half ago, this group of young women have become very reputable for holding some of the most exhilarating and unforgettable nightlife events. From various themed parties such as foam, masquerade and Hello Kitty parties to fundraiser events such as Party in Pink (to promote Breast Cancer Awareness), LE has been there and done that. Being the first ever ladies only promotions team, Lavish has definitely set the bar high in the entertainment industry and have earned themselves extra points! They embrace femininity by hosting a number of events specifically targeted to the women of Vancouver, offering them free beauty services to transform every girl into a lusciously Lavish girl.
We chose to feature Lavish Entertainment because we’re all about female empowerment, energy and entrepreneurship which is why we sat down to chit chat with LE’s Co-Directors, Jana Phan and Christina Dang.
S&M:Tell us how Lavish Entertainment first got started and what were your hopes for it?
C&J: Our girlfriend (Vanessa Dang) actually started it as Independent Entertainment. She saw that the majority of promoters at parties were boys, so she decided to create Lavish which started off with 6 girls and now we have 25. We’re different from other entertainment companies because we provide the ultimate girls night out.
S&M: What is it like to break the mould in the nightlife industry as Vancouver’s first-ever female only promotions group?
C&J: It’s great. People are starting to notice that oh, look it’s that all-female promotions group. The thing with being an all-female promotions group is that we know what women like so we can cater more to them.
S&M: Who’s in the Lavish team and could you describe the personalities and the dynamic of the team? (ie. personality, backgrounds, relationship with each other, how everyone works together).
C&J: We have the core team which has five members, and then there are the junior promoters and the dance team. We’re all very different. Each of us is super fun, bringing our own individual spunk to the team. The Lavish team is very multicultural, bringing in girls from all over the Lower Mainland.
S&M: Describe a typical day at the office.
C&J: We come into the office and the first thing we do is check our social media accounts and emails. Then, we follow up on the girls. Having to manage 25 girls is new to us, so we’re on the phone a lot! We also have a blog, where we write posts about our events, post up videos and keep track of our sponsors.
S&M: Which Lavish event would you say was the most successful and why?
C&J: We would say it’d have to be the Hello Kitty event because it was a great turn out. We had fifteen different sponsors. There was a lot going on in the club. We had spray tanning and make-over sponsors and then we had dance performances as well. We didn’t even have a dress code, but everyone ended up coming decked out in pink and in hello kitty wear.
S&M: Lavish is about a year old now and it has become very well known in the entertainment industry. What would you ladies say is the biggest reason for that?
C&J: Like we said earlier, it’s an all females group, which gives us more of an edge than the other groups and also because we work with a lot of sponsors which help to promote us so that we establish a network.
S&M: You guys go to school, are a part of a hip-hop dance team, run Lavish, and so much more! How do you juggle such a busy schedule?
C: I send [Jana] events for everything and we sync our calendars.
J: I’ll wake up in the morning and see like, 8 emails and they will all be from Christina.
C&J: Even if it’s something small, we’ll mark it as an event and put it on our calendar with one hour reminders. We also make to-do lists.
S&M: What are some of your favourite places to shop in Van when you get a chance for some retail therapy?
J: I used to like Aritzia but now everyone shops there so I go to the states or do some online shopping on revolve clothing and karma loop.
C: I like going to little boutiques down Main Street or Cambie because it’s different and I like to support local businesses. They treat you differently. When you walk in, they greet you right away.
S&M: Where do you see Lavish Entertainment in the next year?
C&J: Bigger and better! We actually hope to hold more events and girls night out. Right now we have about two per month, plus long weekend events. We hope to have weekly night events and then eventually hold events outside nightclubs, such as at a restaurant.
So, who’s up to party with the lovely Lavish ladies? With their history of successfully held flashing lights and bumpin’ kinda nights, who wouldn’t want to? Support these gals by following them on twitter (@LoveLavish) & facebook (Love Lavish Entertainment) or visit their website www.lovelavish.ca for details about how you can collaborate with them to host your own event!
LOOK OUT for Lavish Entertainment,
Sellina & Melissa
October 9, 2010 § 2 Comments
OhKuol is a unique jewellery boutique which was opened up in 2007 by sisters, Vi and Priscilla Phan. Unlike most jewellery and clothing boutiques in Vancouver, OhKuol really does go the extra mile to make sure they show love and support for locals by featuring products created only by local artists and designers in their store. Products include accessories such as headbands and jewellery, dresses, handmade tote bags and greeting cards. All products are showcased with a write up about their corresponding artist/designer & their inspiration behind their creation. OhKuol not only helps locals get their products out to the market, but they also ensure that the artists themselves are receiving recognition for their creative individuality! This fun, flirty boutique offers a range of various jewellery styles to accommodate for different jewellery preferences. Our favourite picks would have to be the Silver Trumpet cameo rings & necklaces and OhKuol’s silver and gold-dipped leaf earrings and necklaces.
Photo Credits: Candice Albach
We were lucky enough to grab a few minutes of OhKuol’s bubbly sweetheart, Priscilla’s time to ask her a few questions for more OhKuol deets.
S&M: Could you tell us how Oh Kuol got started and what your vision was for it?
P: In year 2008, my sister Vi, and I decided to change the concept and the direction of the store. Vi actually wanted to be a fashion designer. We both love unique merchandise and attended local craft shows to search for such pieces. One of the first craft shows we attended was Portobello West, a market with talented artists who were very inspiring and tons of one of a kind, handmade accessories. The vision for the store was to bring in locally made products that had a story behind them created by people who put their creativity and passion into their pieces.
S&M: Oh Kuol. That’s a pretty creative name. How did that come about? Any story behind that?
P: It’s kind of funny! We were discussing it over the dinner table, and we were looking through an InStyle magazine and made a comment about a piece of jewellery in there and we were like “Oh Cool!” We thought, hey, there’s a ring to it! We didn’t wanna spell it like c-o-o-l because it’s too common, and we wanted a twist. We brainstormed a little and decided to spell it as “OhKuol” in honour of one of Vi’s bestfriend, Lynn Kuo, notice the “Kuo” in her last name. OhKuol also stands for original, handmade, creative, unique, one of a kind, and local!
S&M: How would you describe the pieces of jewellery you sell at that the store?
P: We get a lot of interest in recycled and reclaimed material pieces or anything vintage. There’s a wide range for our customers. We have pieces that are nature-inspired, neutral, and classic but with a twist. Then we have more posh pieces which are more dramatic and edgy.
S&M: What’s the hottest item in the store right now?
P: The Silver Trumpet collection by Andrea Halvorsen. She designs vintage cameos and pieces made of smashed-up antique tea saucers which are hand sanded. The leaf design made by OhKuol’s in-house designer is popular as well.
S&M: Your boutique features the products of local artists and designers. Is there a specific list of criteria you guys look for when featuring their work?
P: We look for collections and pieces that are of course, handmade and designed locally. We can usually tell because pieces that are designed and handmade by the artists will have some imperfections. We also look for originality of the pieces and whether there’s a story behind the collection or what the designer’s inspiration is for their pieces.
S&M: Who are Oh Kuol’s in-house designers and could you tell us a little bit about them?
P: My sister, Vi designs our in-house collections, such as our semi-precious stone collection. When she comes up with new designs, she’ll ask me for my input and then she may or may not alter the designs.
S&M: What is the process like when your customers want custom-made jewellery?
P: It’s really fun! It’s usually brides who come in for custom made jewellery. They pick a design that they like, then we sit down to design the piece to her taste. After that, we make a mock up, usually a sketch and then we set up a meeting for their approval. If they like it, we take a deposit and start making the real thing.
S&M: What are your own favourite types of jewellery and what do you usually wear?
P: My favourite pieces are always changing. It usually depends on my outfit, but I do like the long gold and silver (offered at OhKuol) chains because they’re really versatile.
S&M: When it comes to fashion and style, what’s your own personal mantra you live by?
P: Shabby chic and eclectic. I don’t really go for the name brands so much, unless it’s something like a bag, then sure. I like whatever is classic but with edge. For example, if its clothing, it could be a regular leather jacket, but I will look for the cutting and fit to give it that edge. If the cut is different but the jacket is still flattering to my figure, then that’s a bonus! Oh and comfort is a huge thing for me. If it ain’t comfortable, I’d rather throw on sweats than look pretty!
S&M: What are your future plans for Oh Kuol?
P: We’d like to change and redesign the store so that it has a more French-couture, eclective feel to it. Right now it’s very colourful, very vibrant and welcoming. We want to enhance it and give it a more sophisticated look. We are very, very excited about that! In addition, we plan to incorporate elements that will help OhKuol become an authentc mini handmade community on its own because we have so many local artists featured here!
Whether you’re looking to feature your creations at Ohkuol or find an excuse to shop ‘til you drop for accessories, visit them at 2439 Granville Street, Vancouver. Their products can’t be found in many other outlets, so you’ll walk out with something that not every other girl in Van will have. Talk about a bonus! Spread the local love by following them on twitter (@Ohkuol), hitting up their facebook page (OhKuol) or visiting them online at www.ohkuol.com for more information.
LOOK OUT for OhKuol,
Sellina & Melissa
June 25, 2010 § Leave a comment
Although Vancouver may be known for its unpredictable weather, there is no doubt that the forecasted weather at Holly will be cool with a 99.9% chance of chic on any given day! Windy or not, this young, trendy and refreshing boutique will blow you away. Launched by owner, Holly Wong on February 18 of this year, Holly, a boutique nestled in the heart of Gas Town lightens up its dark & gritty streets with its wide selection of hot, fashionable brands & styles that are difficult to find elsewhere. Holly specializes in bringing in pieces of the latest trends and styles within a great price range right to your neighbourhood! Such pieces are commonly worn and photographed on A-list Hollywood celebrities. Exclusive brands offered by the boutique include AG, Black Halo, Boulee, Charlie My Love, Charlotte Ronson, Chasers, Genetic Denim, Gypsy 05, House of Harlow Shoes/Jewellery, James Perse, Jay Godfrey, JFG Jewellery, Kain, La Rok, Mason by Michelle Mason, Modern Vintage, Monrow, Parker, Plastic Island, Pleasure Doing Business, Rachel Pally, Rebecca Minkoff, Rich in Friendship, Rosegold & Twenty8Twelve. With this long list of diverse brands, you’ll have no trouble finding your perfect outfit whether you’re looking for a casual outfit, edgy ensemble or cocktail dress because Holly has it all!
We paid a little visit to Holly and sat down to ask Holly Wong a few questions about herself and the boutique.
S&M: What motivated you to open up a clothing boutique and what did you hope to achieve?
H: It’s something I’ve wanted to do for a long time, I’d say back to even my twenties. I found it was mostly about timing. I realised that there was not a lot of diversity of brands in Vancouver so I wanted to bring a mixture of brands and styles into the city. The opportunity came up when the space came up and that’s when I decided to go for it.
S&M: What was the inspiration for creating this fun, young, and fresh personality for the store?
H: I work with a co-buyer who’s style is more fashion forward and edgy while mine is more feminine and girly so we decided to mesh the two [styles] together. It’s also based on the location. I find that Gastown is really dark and a little more grittier so I wanted a space that was easy, girly, and open.
S&M: Who is the ideal girl coming in to shop at Holly’s? How would you describe her?
H: She’d probably be from about 25-45 years old. She is someone who has a career. She wants something that is trendy and stylish that she can wear to work but also something she can accessorize and wear to go out for drinks at night. So like transitional pieces. She’s the girl who likes trendy pieces that are wearable.
S&M: How do you know which brands coming into your boutique are hot or not?
H: We do a lot of research. It’s not necessarily that the brand is hot but what we feel passion for. So the styles, brands, and cuts that we love, we’ll bring in and usually it ends up being popular. What drives us is what we really love and then we go from there.
S&M: What is the most sought-after product at Holly’s at the moment that our readers should LOOK OUT for?
H: Mason by Michelle Mason dresses and rompers because of their cuts and colours. Their style is bit of a boxy cut but they’re also feminine. Also, The Ex-Boyfriend Crop by AG Denim which has had a lot of press. It’s like your usual “boyfriend” jeans but it’s tighter and cropped.
S&M: How would you describe your own personal style? What is one piece of clothing or accessory that you just can’t live without?
H: My style is feminine but I like to edge it up. I’ll wear a cute spring floral dress but with biker boots. I like to mix and match things. One thing I can’t live without right now is anything nautical, and you see a lot of that in the store too. Navy and white are my favourite right now.
S&M: Describe your experience in owning a clothing boutique.
H: It’s only been open for four months but it’s pretty good. My retail background working at Aritzia has helped and that’s what kind of pushed me. Also my parents own restaurants so I’m familiar with the business background.
S&M: What should our readers expect from Holly’s boutique in the future?
H: I think I’m just going to see how this goes first but I do want to do online shopping for Holly in the future.
If you haven’t done so already, hurry on down to Holly at 215-332 Water Street, where you’ll find a variety of trendy pieces to add to your closet! After all, too much is never enough. Make it a holly-day & spoil yourself! Need a sneak peek? Visit www.shopholly.ca to get a glimpse of just what all this hype is about.
LOOK OUT for Holly,
Sellina & Melissa
June 18, 2010 Comments Off on Step inside the Haus of Luxe
Haus of Luxe, which opened its doors on March 2010, is an upscale casual clothing boutique created by best friends and entrepreneurs Joanne Lai and Jo-An Moon. Inspired by fashion trends in the streets of LA, Haus of Luxe offers high quality clothing and exclusive products to meet the demands of fashion trendsetters in Vancouver without making huge dents in their bank accounts. Haus of Luxe (meaning “House of Luxury” in German) looks as cool as the name sounds. Located at Knight Street, the quaint and modern-chic boutique offers exclusive brands for both men and women such as, Dussault, Mackage, Hardihood, Hudson + Hudson, Michael Stars, Rich & Skinny, Twenty 8 Twelve, and Voom by Joy Han. Some familiar names include Rock and Republic, J Brand, Juicy Couture, Sky, and William Rast. From the hottest denim wear to unique graphic tees and hoodies to femme dresses, Haus of Luxe raises the roof as a hot spot for affordable and up-and-coming fashion.
We visited the Haus and sat down with Joanne Lai in a charming seating area (scattered with up-to-date fashion magazines and catalogues with a flat screen TV just above our heads). We interviewed Jo-An Moon (the other owner) via Blackberry because she’s a busy lady and couldn’t be in the store. Talk about a Haus call!
S&M: What does fashion mean to you?
J: Expressing your individuality. Just being yourself and having fun.
S&M: What was the inspiration for opening up a clothing boutique?
J: We wanted to incorporate our business background with our passion for fashion.
S&M: How would you describe the style of clothing that Haus of Luxe offers?
J: Upscale casual clothing for ages 13-35.
S&M: How are the brands picked to be in Haus of Luxe and how exclusive should we expect the brands in the boutique to be?
J: We are working on our exclusiveness right now. We plan to go to fashion trade shows to bring in more exclusive brands into Haus of Luxe. We carry DonCartel Apparel which is exclusive to our boutique.
S&M: How do you guys keep yourself updated with the latest trends?
J: We research daily using mediums like magazines, internet, and television. We also attend fashion shows and read up on fashion blogs.
S&M: What is the hottest product in the store at the moment?
J: Mackage jackets.
S&M: What it like having a partnered business with your best friend?
J: It is very difficult. It’s difficult to maintain balance between a business partnership and a friendship. Sometimes emotions flare when we’re making decisions. But in the end I’m glad we’re in the process together.
S&M: Who are your own fashion icons/designers?
J: My own favourite designer is Zac Posen. My fashion icon would have to be Angelina Jolie because of her simplicity and elegance. She doesn’t go over the top.
S&M: How was your journey in opening up Haus of Luxe? Any words of advice for those looking to do the same?
J: We’ve poured our blood, sweat, and tears into the boutique. Everything that’s in the boutique we did ourselves. My advice for those looking to follow the same path is to network. It took us several months to obtain the contacts we have today. Network at parties or social events related to the fashion industry.
S&M: Any future plans for the boutique?
J: We are planning a grand opening party with a live DJ, drinks, and food in the store for our distributors and other associates who made Haus of Luxe possible. It’s a great opportunity to connect with the people we work with.
LOOK OUT for Haus of Luxe,
Sellina & Melissa