Monday, November 14, 2011

Happy's something new!

This is both a greeting and a declaration ;-)

Greetings my marvelous readers! How was your weekend? Mine was juuuuust fine. Today I'm introducing a new segment called "In the Spotlight" where I feature up and coming designers, crafters, entrepreneurs, etc. Though I won't always do this on Mondays, I will try to showcase someone/something new at least twice per month. Is that cool with you? Cool ;-)

I recently had the chance to get acquainted with up and coming accessories designer, Kristena Witherspoon of Kristena Witherspoon Designs. Kristena is a Little Rock transplant now residing in Chicago (Chi-Town stand up!). Check out our Q & A and some of her work...

Click to purchase the "Sugah" reversible Hobo

OELI: Have you received any formal training in fashion/design?

KWD: Yes, I studied fashion design and business at Syracuse University.

OELI: Ahh, New York, great place to study fashion and business. What made you decide to create your own accessories line?

KWD: I enjoy accessories because they can easily change up an outfit.

OELI: Yes, a good accessory can really spice up an outfit. How long have you been designing/creating?

KWD: Wow…about 12 years now. I began designing and selling handbags in junior high and high school.

Click to purchase similar bag (now on sale!)

OELI: So the fashion bug bit you early. What was the first piece you ever created?

KWD: The first piece that I created was a denim tote out of some yardage that my aunt gave me. That was the style that caught on at school. I’d do the exterior in dark denim and the interior in different fabrics. The different interior is what made each bag one of a kind.

OELI: I love bold interiors on a bag or lining jackets/coats. How long does it usually take you to construct a piece?

KWD: Smaller pieces take 30-60 min and bigger ones take 2-3 hours.

OELI: Not nearly as long as I thought. Do you hand sew or use a machine for your bag line?

KWD: I machine sew.

"I Love Life" earrings currently on sale, click for deets/to purchase

OELI: Machine sewin
g certainly saves you time...and pricked fingers, lol.  From where/whom do you draw some of your inspiration?

KWD: Most of my inspiration comes from different cultures and subcultures as well as architecture. I’m highly influenced by the Diaspora and street fashion as well. Recently, the Chicago art and music scene has been a big influence.

OELI: The gorgeous Kente prints and Ankara are certainly indicative of your love for the Diaspora. I like the different shapes of the totes and hobo bags as well, they're very architectural. Do you have plans to expand your line, will we see clothing in the future?

KWD: Yes! I hope to add a line of skirts by summer 2012. I love a nice skirt with a nipped waist and full skirt.

OELI: I hope there'll be pencil skirts too, I'm beginning to love them. Do you take custom orders?

KWD: I currently no longer take custom orders.

Click to purchase

OELI: Awww, sad face. What is the best perk in designing your own line?

KWD: I would say that the best thing is being able to create art that is functional.

OELI: What is the most difficult aspect of designing and creating your own

KWD: I would say that the most difficult aspect is balancing an item’s marketability with the artistic aspect.

OELI: Who are some of your favorite designers? 

Duro Olowu - bold prints and great tailoring

Korto Momolu - project runway alum and represents my hometown-Little Rock J

Doo Ri - great draping skills

Alexander McQueen - his tailoring skills were amazing and he constantly thought outside of the box

Squasht by Les - Chicago independent designer

NaKimuli - Brooklyn independent designer

Click to purchase this fabulous reversible Hobo!

OELI: I love Alexander McQueen! He pushed every conceivable boundary and his designs really were wearable art...masterpieces!
I hope his protege can keep his house alive and well. I'll have to check out the others you mentioned. How would you define your personal style?

KWD: I’d define my style as urban comfy.

OELI: Urban comfy, that's a new one for me, lol. What are some of your favorite stores/websites/catalogs for shopping?

KWD: Secondhand shops are great...DLR is one of my favorite neighborhood stores…Nordstrom Rack is a great place for nice discounted pieces that are staples. TOPSHOP as well...we finally have one in Chicago now!

OELI: I am becoming a thrift master, lol. You can score some great one of a kind pieces as well as some of the more current pieces (at a huge discount of course) at thrift stores. I love TopShop too but their prices make me ill sometimes, bleh. Name your top 3 fashion magazines.

KWD: Some of my favorite ones are no longer published unfortunately. MissBehave and Honey were hot magazines. I read Vogue and Elle sometimes…just to see who some of the new designers are.
I prefer the street fashion blogs and natural hair sites. I love seeing how people develop their own personal style.

Click to purchase "Delight" coin purse (now on sale!)

OELI: Yeah, I love street style and personal style blogs too, lol. Do you have any advice for other designers?

KWD: My advice would be to know what your point of view and market is as a designer.

OELI: Great, thanks Kristena!
KWD: You're welcome, anytime.

To see more of Kristena's wonderful wares, check out her online store. She's got some awesome hoods to "protect ya necks" from the Windy City winds (for the Chi-Towners). You can also like Kristena's Facebook page and follow her on Twitter for updates and special sales/promos. With the holiday shopping season quickly approaching, Kristena Witherspoon Designs can take the guesswork out of your gift giving ;-)

What do you think of the new feature? Are you loving KWD? Let a sistah know! 

No comments: