Shihar: I am fortunate to be designing & creating clothes since 2001. Originally a sculptress and a performance artist trained in Fine Arts in London ( Camberwell college of art & design), through the experimental multimedia art in Jerusalem (School of visual theatre)
I am inspired by architecture, nature, origami, Zinas, folklore costumes merging eastern lines with modern cuts, An internal hybrid of my English and Mediterranean culture.
A trip to India revealed to me the magical world of fabric. Initially by sketching locals munks and nuns, discovering the rich nature of fabric, with It’s folds drapes and crinkles.
From there on I started designing my personal clothes, and shortly after, on demand from my surroundings, I began creating for other wonderful women.
Andrea D’Ambrosia knows what she likes. As the designer behind her ever-evolving creative business, she knows that Washington, DC is the right place for her, and the right place for her designs. “DC style works for me,” she says. “Understated elegance, but with an element of drama.”
Andrea has always been creative, and grew up in a family of makers. Her father built motorcycles, her brother built radios, and she started sewing and knitting with her grandmother at age five. She was the “weird dresser” in high school who made her own clothes instead of flocking to the mall spots the other girls liked.
So when she decided to start her jewelry business full-time in 2006, she knew exactly the type of pieces she wanted to make: elegant items that were versatile and beautiful, but also completely functional.
Andrea’s favorite materials are semi-precious stones like jade, onyx, lapis, and turquoise. She especially loves to combine pearls with turquoise. She uses her favorites, along with whatever she finds that inspires her, to create jewelry that is timeless and sophisticated, never “crafty-craft” or trendy.
Her line is always evolving, because when inspiration strikes, she just goes with it. Andrea finds herself being inspired by fashion, art, music, and the personal style of her own customers. A customer once came to Andrea with a problem. She had an unusual, vintage jaguar pin that she loved, but didn’t want to just stick it on her lapel. She wanted a more modern way to wear it, and Andrea was struck with an idea.
Andrea created a necklace, using the jaguar pin as inspiration for its color and style…but also as the removable clasp of the necklace. This created a one-of-a-kind, versatile look that was really three looks in one! Her customer was delighted, and Andrea was inspired.
In addition to her usual favorite sources for new and vintage beads and stones, Andrea began collecting vintage brooches as well. This is the style that caught my eye and made me pay attention to Andrea’s work. I love the combination of new and old, and that such a simple piece can still be so dramatic, and so versatile.
The vintage brooch items are especially popular with brides, who are often looking for ways to incorporate family jewelry into their wedding looks. Andrea loves the fact that her necklace or bracelet is often the only item from the bride’s wedding day outfit that ever gets worn again!
Andrea loves to work with individual customers on unique looks for them. She has found that she is particularly good at understanding a client’s personal style, and translating that into wearable jewelry that is dramatic and elegant. One of her current projects really intrigued me: combining a customer’s antique cameo collection and a copper chain to create a one-of-a-kind necklace.
Necklaces and bracelets aren’t the only accessories that Andrea likes to make. She credits her professional background in engineering with her emphasis on functionality. Placing function on the same level as form and style naturally translates into a love of all accessories. What other way to make practical dressing exciting and interesting, if not with unusual accessories?
Her obi belts made from men’s neckties were born when she found a particular tie that she liked so much she wanted to wear it herself. She played with the concept for a while until she came up with the current design, just in time for wide belts to come back in style.
Will she continue to branch out into fabric accessories, or make more jewelry? “Who can say what will inspire me next?” she says. There are always ideas for elegant and versatile accessories floating around in her head. You can find Andrea’s work in her Etsy store and at local juried craft shows. You can also contact her for a private appointment or consulation.
Parasol Project was born out of my overwhelming ambition to produce one-of-a-kind apparel with recycled salvaged and vintage fabrics. By juxtaposing these Eco-friendly threads and my prairie/retro inspired designs, Parasol Project’s mission is to be a part of making this ‘green’ trend more of a vogue currency that never goes out of style!
Brides whose taste runs a bit rustic should check out the relatively new shop Lilacs and Lace. You’ll find jewelry (not just for brides, mind you), boutonnieres and bouquets and had screen printed cards. The shop is run by a university student studying Graphic Communications who is currently trying to fund her own wedding. Lilacs and Lace was started when she realized that she just wanted to constantly make things and loved working with her hands.
I love love love the champagne swarovski and moonstone earrings because they are just so gorgeous! They catch the light beautifully.
At lilacs and lace you’ll find lovely nature inspired wedding flowers made from long-lasting silk flowers, feathers and other elements. If you want your wedding flowers to last forever, this is the way to do it. Her rose bouquet is ensconced in cholla wood for a unique look. I also love how she works metal leaf elements into her boutonnieres. It really gives what can be pretty standard a modern edge and extra interest.
I take my inspiration from nature. 100%. I love things that look like you could have plucked them right from outside.
The shop gets it’s name from two of the owner’s favorite things. Lilacs, her mother’s favorite flowers, are close to her heart. On an annual trip to Denver, she cuts multiple stems from her mother’s lilac bush, and bringing the beautiful blooms and lingering scent home. Lace, on the other hand, has such texture and history to it. The artist often find herself in antique shops looking at the old lace tablecloths wondering what sort of occasions they must have seen. One day Lilacs and Lace‘s artist hopes to be able to focus on her craft full time. She’s off to a good start, so let’s give her some encouragement and a few more sales.
I don’t know why, but I’ve got travel on my mind more than ever these days. Maybe it’s the temperatures increasing ever so slightly and the sun peeking out from behind the clouds. Or possibly, it’s also the not so distant memories of snow and that we’re still wearing coats and gloves most days. (Screenprinted T’s from New Duds.)
Whatever the reason – there’s probably nothing more fun to daydream about then time away in beautiful places. I have two trips on the horizon, that I am hoping will happen within the next year. One to Maui, and one to Paris. Neither are confirmed yet, but that hasn’t stopped me from doing a little bit of research to see where my top places to go in each city are. Maui would be all about hiking, eco-tourism and time at the beach for me!
In Paris – La Duree for some sensational macaroons, Versailles in all it’s splendour, and biking in the French countryside are all top of my list.
And being the fashion loving girl that I am, I started to think of what clothing I’d want for these trips! For Maui, brightly colored lightweight dresses, tank tops and bikinis. For Paris, breezy romantic dresses and clothing in sweet pastels….
I thought I’d take a peek around Supermarket at some great indie fashion – matching each outfit with a fun getaway destination.
First up, these cute screenprinted t-shirts at the top of this post from New Duds! Almost instantly, they had me thinking Road Trip. T’s are always comfy for long trips in the car, with a stop at a cozy roadside dinner or a fun pub for lunch or dinner.
The Pastorius Dress from Dressed in Yellow makes me think of New York!
Lekkerlife Clothing offers this oh so cute black and white pleated skirt that says vintage California to me – I can just see myself wearing this great ensemble, top down, driving around in a classic car.
Finally – this gorgeous organic cotton dress from Gina Michelle has me thinking of Paris. This dramatic little number looks perfect for a candlelit dinner at a raucous restaurant!
Have you started shopping for spring and summer clothes yet? Any fun finds?