CityBeat Blogs - Fashion with Ashley <![CDATA[Fashion Inspiration: G-Star Raw NYFW Contest]]>

It's a new year and what better way to get off on the right foot by getting up close and personal at New York's Fall 2010 Fashion Week! G-Star Raw is a high-end designer line on the cutting edge of denim fashion. The brand is looking for "rookie" runway reporters to cover the G-Star Raw fashion show and after party during New York Fashion Week Feb. 12-16. Each chosen contestant will report using either Facebook, Flickr, Twitter or YouTube. For those of you waiting to be discovered, this is too good to be true, a great way to make contacts and an opportunity to get your foot in the door.---

Cincinnati native Floyd Johnson is entered in the contest in hopes to be a G-Star Raw photography reporter via Flickr. Floyd has long been passionate about both photography and G-Star Raw. Some of you may also remember Floyd's photography efforts from The Living Room Project. Help Floyd to be well on his way by voting for him here. You can give your vote to each contestant once a day until Feb. 1.

If you or anyone you know is also interested in the contest, don't forget to sign up here.

Best of luck!

<![CDATA[Fashion Inspiration: A Conversation With Andrea Sisson]]>

There are many designers and artists in the world who create amazing works of art, but they are rarely ever functional. Andrea Sisson is the answer to that problem. Entering her fifth year at the University of Cincinnati's DAAP program, Andrea is studying Fashion Design that fuses both creativity and functionality for the individual. Her Violin Suit, for example, was designed specifically for a violinist's needs emotionally, functionally and physically, and has garnered a good deal of attention.---

Andrea's work is nothing short of amazing and innovative. With a Summer Co-op in Iceland and an upcoming line to be sold at Cincinnati's Brush Factory, Sisson is a busy bee with a lot of aspiration. She's even got her hands into a little bit of the fictional writing arena. Needless to say, you will more than likely be both seeing and hearing from this talented young designer in the near future.

CityBeat: Andrea, can you tell me where you are from originally and why you chose UC? What year are you in DAAP?

Andrea Sisson: I am from Cincinnati. Born and raised. I chose DAAP because of the amazing Co-op program and, I have to be honest, the in-state tuition for the fact that I pay for my own education. I am entering my fifth and final year at DAAP.

CB: When and what made you decide that fashion design was for you?

AS: I decided to major in fashion design after my last minute application and acception into the program. I always thought I was just an artist, but within my first year of foundations (first year of basic design classes at DAAP) I realized I was not an artist, but a designer. There is a difference.It has to do with an aspect of movement, space and problem solving that excites designers more than anything else. A designer is a designer, and that is what I mostly associate myself with. Fashion comes after that. Fashion comes after the function, shape and desire to create. Designing for the body is simply a problem to solve "in to". There is something about the human body that I love to work with, but I also think it is more about the human "character" and also about the emotional need of that human. I love to fulfill and completely understand this "character" I design for. I really actually like to design "with" others and not just "for" others. 

So when it comes to fashion, I recently have trouble saying that I am a "fashion designer." Fashion can mean a lot of things. Right now, I associate myself with being a designer, which also means that I explore a lot of things besides just fashion (and have been doing that). I still go into "searches" where I think "Man, I should be a writer, or a philosopher,"(that was a funny one), or once, a history major. But being a designer means you can be all these things. I think being a designer is really just a certain personality and a way of thinking about EVERYTHING. Look at Buckminster Fuller, for example.

CB: What are some major inspirations for you currently as a designer?

AS: Buckminster Fuller (always), Iceland, human relationships and friendships,shapes, shapes, shapes! Music - beautiful music from Neil Young to Eddy Kwon to Nico Muhly. Writing brings out wonderful inspiration, and with that, reading. Nomadic things, like strollers, backpacks, houses (I'd like to build a house). Family.

CB: Can you tell me about your designs? Where and how have you used them so far?

AS: My most close-to-heart design is the violin case tuxedo for my friend and talented musician, Eddy Kwon. It is a tailored suit inspired by his music and his needs in playing the violin. Last quarter (Spring), I made a knitwear jacket/chair. It is a jacket with a big back-pack kind of deal that you don't store things in, but instead lean on like a chair. It is inspired by the nomadic lives of DAAP students throughout their 3 consistent years of moving for Co-ops every three months. We all need a place to rest.

CB: UC DAAP students are required to complete six co-ops throughout their college experience. Can you tell me about the co-ops you've experienced thus far? Where were they? What exactly was required of you there?

AS: Oh yes, two were in New York. Corporate and cubical deals. Little required in these types of places, thus little accomplished career-wise for Andrea.  The best part was writing intense and juvenile e-mails about society to other cubical-dwelling DAAPers. So then I went to Italy to dabble a bit in theater for the production of La Bohme. I loved being involved in the whole process, from the costume to tech work, and even got cast as the clumsy waitress in Scene two! Italy was beautiful. I learned a lot about happiness and relaxation there that is prominently important to my everyday life. By far, however, the best is my recent fifth Co-op in Reykjavik, Iceland! I am working for fashion/industrial designer Sruli Recht. It is not only a completely amazing country to be in, but the job is so much more than I expected. I guess I am surprised how well I fit in here. It is so much of what I want to be doing - designing for a reason, solving problems, working with other designers, and collaborations with other medium and creatives like music, film, and dance. There is a strong collaborative world here in Reykjavik. The energy is spectacular. Everyday something new comes up to do, not only in my co-op, but personal design opportunities to work with some amazing people. I don't even consider it a co-op anymore. It is the true beginning of my career.

CB: Iceland sounds amazing and a very inspiring place to be. You spoke of it being the true beginning of your career. What do you hope to accomplish in the future as far as your career goes?

AS: For me, this collaborative thing is going pretty darn good. I'd love to continue to work with other talented people in design and in other fields. I don't see myself necessarily working for a company, but working with others. It's the only thing that makes sense right now and something I have learned that is a possible career path from being here in Reykjavik. One day, possibly grad school as well and I am currently starting up a little fiction writing, so look for that. 

CB: Are there currently any buying or viewing options for your designs? If so, where or how can we find them?

AS: I am currently getting involved in the new development of a store and design co-op in Brighton of Cincinnati, "The Brush Factory." It is being started up by Rosie Kovacs (2009 DAAP graduate) and will involve an exciting co-operative effort from many young designers, such as myself. It will be opening sometime in the Fall or Winter and I will sell some of my designs there. While I've been here in Iceland, I have been working on some of my own product ideas to sell there and I am quite excited to get my own show on the road! I am also trying to get a Web page started up for viewing and selling as well. In the meantime, if anyone is interested in my designs or working with me (or Web people that like good projects), they can e-mail me at

***If you like what Andrea's designs have to offer, vote for her in the Cincinnati Innovates contest! The winner of the contest receives a whopping $20,000 and you can vote once a day until September 1, 2009.

Vote for Andrea here:

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<![CDATA[Fashion Inspiration: Crystal City]]> As a young girl, I had a deep fascination with crystals, rocks and stones. So much to the point that I had quite the rock collection (I know Maija did too). I recall some of my favorites from my rock collection being amethyst, desert rose and fools gold. I think I may have even found a fossilized dinosaur tooth once, however this is still yet to be proven. It wasn't just the colorful and sparkly features that attracted me to these small treasures. As I ran my hands along the buckets filled with smooth jade, tigers eye and other crystals, I realized that I loved them so much because, like snowflakes, they are all so different even if they are the same.---

For fashion inspiration today, I'd like to share some images with you from Antwerp's Royal Academy of Fine Arts 4th year student, Irina Shaposhnikova. With crystals as a main source of inspiration, Irina represents them perfectly with strong, clean lines and irredescence in her 2009 collection, entitled "Crystallographica".

For more images, visit the slideshow here.

What's inspiring you lately? Comments, thoughts and opinions are always welcome!

<![CDATA[Buried Treasure: A Chain/Department Store Shopping Guide]]>

As a final installment for this shopping guide adventure, I leave you with the Greater Cincinnati area's chain and department store options. If you aren't new to the city, many of you probably already know of these locations — but, hey, it's always nice to be reminded!---

1. H&M 7875 Montgomery Road, Kenwood, 513-699-1500
2028 Mall Road, Florence, 859-371-1231

That's right, Cincinnati is finally getting an H&M. Two of them, as a matter of fact. Scheduled to open in November 2009, the Kenwood Towne Centre will welcome a whopping 22,000 square foot H&M into what once was the Showcase Cinemas in the food court, next to Forever21. Scheduled to open in October 2009, the Florence Mall will hold a 16,000 square foot H&M in the Sears Wing in what used to be Kirklands and Lane Bryant. H&M is a Swedish based company that sales high fashion trendy items, including collaborative designer collections, for incredibly low prices.

2. Nordstrom 7875 Montgomery Road, Kenwood, 513-699-1500

Another "Can you believe it!? Finally!" addition to the Queen City. Set to open September 25, 2009 in the Kenwood Towne Centre, Cincinnati fashion addicts will soon have the freedom to shop as much Burberry, Chloe, Marc Jacobs, and Jean Paul Gaultier as their little hearts desire.

3. Saks Fifth Avenue 101 W. Fifth St., Downtown, 513-421-6800

The only place in town that can actually give Nordstrom's a run for its money, as far as designer collections go. Unfortunately, not that many people seem to shop downtown anymore. Don't they realize the amazing Kiehl's selection they're missing at Saks?

4. Macy's

As home of the Macy's headquarters, in these department stores you will find mid-to high-range mens, womens and childrens clothing, furniture, accessories, bedding, bath, beauty and other home decor.

5. Urban Outfitters 2510 Ohio Ave., Clifton Heights, 513-872-0245

Nestled in what once was a Catholic church is hundreds upon hundreds of unique and trendy mens and womens apparel, furniture, accessories and gifts. The company even offers collaborative collections with up-and-coming designers such as Charlotte Ronson, Lark & Wolf, Geren Ford, Rachel Comey, Cool, Casual by Slow & Steady Wins The Race, etc. Be sure to check out the creative and thoughtful visual displays, as they are a whole other world of their own.

6. Anthropologie 2643 Edmondson Road, Rookwood Commons, Norwood, 513-731-6424

If whimsical and classic, yet unique, is what you're looking for, check out Urban Outfitter's sister store, Anthropologie. The store offers a wide range of women's clothing, shoes, accessories and home goods including vintage inspired door knobs and dishes. The visual displays are always breathtaking and if you want to feel like you're a princess in her own little dream world, be sure to visit the fitting rooms.

7. American Apparel 243 W. McMillan St., Clifton Heights, 513-721-3078

Find that basic v-neck T-shirt, hoodie or leggings etc. in any color of the rainbow that you want in this small but great American Apparel corner store. The prices may be high for just a T-shirt, but it's the quality that you're paying for. All American Apparel products are manufactured in America (L.A. to be specific) by people who get paid possibly more than you do AND receive pretty amazing benefits. Definitely the place to go for that basic item that still somehow makes you stand out from the crowd.

8. IKEA 9500 Ikea Way, West Chester, 513-779-7100

Clear your entire schedule for the day if you decide to wander into this monolith of contemporary designed furniture, including bed, bath, kitchen, dining, laundry, lighting, storage and textile options. The prices are heart-stoppingly low for such adorable, Swedish-designed decor! Don't worry, there are arrows marked on the floors to guide you and your shopping cart throughout the store. If you've had too much and need to make a pit-stop, there's even a cafeteria with food that's pretty darn good. I'd recommend the Chocolate Overload Cake.

<![CDATA[Buried Treasure: A Cincinnati Boutique Shopping Guide]]>

If you still want to find that particular item that is unique but is maybe from a local or up-and-coming designer and is of high quality, Cincinnati has quite a few options for you to peruse. If you so choose, use the following as a guide to help you along your way!---

1.  The Brush Factory 2019 Central Ave., Downtown


Expected to open in the Fall/Winter of 2009, The Brush Factory will be a cooperative boutique and studio for emerging and talented designers, including DAAP students. The Brush Factory will be a place to either rent store space for your line or pay a small fee to work as a sales associate and use the equipment/studio/resources within the store to design and create a line for the upcoming season. All clients and customers are invited to tour the working studio as well! Are you excited? Because I am. For more information, contact Brittany Kovacs at

2.  The Alligator Purse 2701 Erie Ave., Hyde Park , 513-871-6171

This fun and modern boutique is packed with unique pieces from designers like Diane Von Furstenburg, Geren Ford, Citizens of Humanity, Milly, Robert Rodriguez, Theory and more. With dresses, tops, bottoms, shoes and accessories, The Alligator Purse will be sure to keep you riding in style.

3. The Wardrobe 6904 Miami Ave., Madeira, 513-271-4800

This newer addition to the city offers personal styling, trunk shows and private appointments to help you find your latest clothing, shoes or accessories crush. Offering luxury fashion that is still chic but casual, The Wardrobe carries everything from designers you've never heard of before (local DAAP designer Natalie Jonston's label) to househeld named designers such as Cynthia Rowley, Dolce Vita or Geren Ford. Tailoring is a free bonus for all purchases too! It is extremely exclusive due to the fact that there is only one size of everything, however, so don't miss out!

4. Suki 3456 Michigan Ave., Hyde Park, 513-751-7854

Suki is the jackpot if you're looking for luxury collections from designers such as Dries Van Noten, Sonia Rykiel, Vivienne Westwood, Martin Margiela, Sass & Bide, Cheap Monday, etc. Here, you can even find Diptyque candles and perfume!

5. Sara Benjamins 6810 Wooster Pike, Mariemont, 513-272-2280

If you have no idea what you're looking for or need some serious shopping advice, Sara Benjamins is the perfect place for you. The boutique offers an extensive list of unique designers to choose from, including Alice Olivia, Anna Sui, Converse by John Varvados, Hudson, Enza Costa, Robert Rodriguez, True Religion and more. Sara Benjamins is especially great if you're looking for that perfect pair of jeans - a whole other epic journey of its own.

6. Dr. Mojoe 2743 Edmondson Road, Rookwood Commons, 513-631-MOJOE

The Dr. has the cure for all of your denim-searching woes. Check out their extensive high-end denim selection, including Chip & Pepper, 7 For All Mankind, True Religion, Hudson, Rock & Republic, etc.

7. Denim 3212 Madison Road, Oakley, 513-321-1892

Just as you may have guessed it, this boutique specializes in denim, denim, denim!

8. Snap Boutique 2732 Erie Ave., Hyde Park, 513-871-8333

Have you been coveting that amazing dress you saw Mischa Barton wearing in US Weekly, or maybe a scarf worn by Reese Witherspoon? Snap Boutique can help you out. The boutique offers hard-to-find collections from Alice Oliva, LaRok, Miss Me Couture and more.

9. Addison Mac 566 Buttermilk Pike,  Crescent Springs, 859-344-8666

Northern Kentucky's premier Women's boutique, featuring exciting labels from Earnest Sewn, Milly, Mint, Lilly Pulitzer, Tory Burch, Lacoste, and more.

10. 4th Street Boutique 135 W. Fourth Street, Downtown, 513-651-3372

Are you drawing a blank when trying to figure out what to wear to work? This boutique is unique in that it is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing work appropriate clothing to Dress for Success Cincinnati. It is a high-end thrift shop, selling clothing and other donated items for low prices!

11. Shoetopia 4044 Hamilton Ave., Northside, 513-591-7463

If you're tired of walking in the same shoes as everyone else, this cozy space will provide you with a plethora of unique shoes. There's even handcrafted jewelry to boot, no pun intended.

12. Nest 3184 Madison Road, Oakley, 513-871-8852

This boutique is filled with urban and vintage treasures that are perfect for gifts and for your home. My favorite purchase are their selection of Votivo candles and the bath salts that smell and look like scoops of ice cream. Yum!

13. Sassy Boutique 3437 Michigan Avenue, Hyde Park, 513-871-2500

Vintage & new vintage-inspired furniture and decor.

14. Outside 16 E. 12th Street, Over-The-Rhine, 513-744-9344

This shop is an urban gardener and grill-master's dream come true. Offering everything from designer garden furniture to Thai dragon peppers and Italian parsley.

15. HighStreet 1401 Reading Road, Downtown, 513-723-1901

Boasting 8,000 square feet of space dedicated to modern London and American neoclassicist decor, HighStreet is the best place in town if you're looking for furniture and home decor that is designed both beautifully and thoughtfully from across the world. The visual merchandising alone of this store will blow you away.

Feel free to leave comments, suggestions or tips on other Cincinnati boutique options!

<![CDATA[Buried Treasure: A Cincinnati Vintage & Antique Shopping Guide]]> Cincinnati is a city that is full of secrets and treasures untold. Among these “hidden” gems are shopping options that too many Cincinnatian’s are not privy to. Of course, there is always the question of whether or not it’s best to disclose information on said places for fear that they may lose their sparkle. In this case, I’m going to vote no. The Cincinnati fashion and shopping scene needs help, especially its small, local businesses. In hopes of accomplishing this and of increasing Cincinnati’s awareness for shopping options, I will be featuring shopping guides in my next several blogs. ----

Today, I am focusing on vintage and antique shopping options. I’ve always enjoyed going “thrifting” or shopping for vintage and antique items. My palms get clammy just thinking about sifting through the piles of long beaded necklaces, trinkets, weird baby dolls,old trading cards or who-knows-what, even if it's just to find that one unique item. It sort of makes me feel like I’m in The Goonies looking for One-Eyed Willy’s hidden treasure. The following is a condensed guide of some of Greater Cincinnati’s best places to find your own version of buried treasure. Comments, suggestions or tips on other great shopping places are of course welcome.

1.The Mustard Seed Boutique 311 Ludlow Ave., Clifton, 513-221-4022


This new & resale consignment boutique may be small, but it sure is homey! With charming crystal chandeliers hanging from the wooden ceiling that match the wooden floors, you can find clothing brands ranging from vintage or local designers, Anthropologie, J.Crew, Chanel, Diane Von Furstenburg, Gucci, Marc Jacobs, or even Oscar De La Renta. Prices are reasonable and the customer service is always friendly with a personal shopping option to boot.

2. Casablanca Vintage 3944 Spring Grove Ave., Northside, 513-541-6999

Casablanca's claims to have the largest selection of vintage in the Greater Cincinnati area with its two floors worth of funky vintage outfits, ranging from old furs, silk gowns, long gloves, 1970's suits and Elton John-esque glasses, etc. If you're lucky you'll run into Hollywood, Casablanca's owner, who lives for finding armful's of vintage outfits for you to try on. More often times than not, you do have to really dig to find the true gems in this establishment. You can be rest assured, however, that even if you walk out empty-handed you will know that you at least had a great time.

3.Chicken Lays An Egg 3107 Hamilton Ave., Camp Washington, 513-265 - 6386

If you're looking for a retro dress and sunglasses,groovy vintage shoes, old suitcases and television sets, funky dish sets, or a 1950s skateboard or other weird toys, look no further than Chicken Lays An Egg! With an interior that practically seems to be glowing from the inside out, the store even offers $10 bouquets of gorgeous flowers to cheer you up!

4. NVision 4577 Hamilton Ave., Northside, 513-542 - 4577

Here you can find vintage, locally designed, handcrafted, redesigned and recycled clothing, art and furniture. NVision even offers clothing alterations and custom fittings. Their Web site also allows you to purchase items online or they will make local deliveries for a small fee. NVision definitely has something for you and everyone you know. You won't be disappointed!

5. Avant Garage 4183 Hamilton Ave., Northside, 513-703 - 4683

Recently relocated, Avant Garage now resides in the back half of Ali's Boutique in Northside, offering vintage clothing, retro bar accessories and kitchenware, and other kitschy knick knack collectibles.

6. Damn Swank 4137 Hamilton Ave., 513-542 - 0045

Swanky 1920's through the 1950's digs and pulp fiction post cards, etc.

7. La Belle's Vintage Boutique 708 Fairfield Ave., Bellevue, 859-907-7155

Men's and women's vintage clothing and accessories from the 1920's up to today.

8. Edie's Vintage Rose Room 3241 Harrison Ave., 513-662-3700

Find that perfect 1970's leisure suit,retro housedress, or groovy home decor in this boutique that truly feels like you've stepped into Edie's own home.

9. Down Town Nostalgic 119 Calhoun St., Clifton, 513-541-6999

Rewind back into time with a selection of vintage fur stoles, pillbox hats, shoes, jackets, shirts, etc.

10. Talk of the Town 9111 Reading Road, 513-563-8844

Find the perfect period costume for rental or for purchase at Talk of the Town. Local theatre groups, such as Playhouse in the Park, and local schools swear by it.

11.Red Polly Space Outfitters 4016 Hamilton Ave., Northside, 513-541-6856

Where else can you find amazing vintage furniture in mint condition that will be delivered to you free of charge? The Red Polly makes it their #1 priority to help set up your space in style. In-house upholstery and furniture restoration services are even offered here and you can rent out the 5,500 sq. foot space for parties, shows, birthdays - you name it. The Red Polly is truly a one of a kind place for Cincinnati.

12. Valley Thrift Store 9840 Reading Road, Evendale

Seriously, the mother of all thrift stores. No further comments.

13. Brass Armadillo Antiques 10132 Business Centre Drive, 513-265-8886

It once closed, but now it's back in all of its glory of endless selections of antique furniture, books, clothing, records and more.

14. Florence Antique Mall 8145 Connector Drive, Florence. 859-371-0600

You'll spend hours weaving through the mazes of antique furniture, books, records, cameras, pictures, trinkets, clothing, jewelry, etc.

15. Sin City Antique Gallery 822 Monmouth St., Newport, 859-291-8486

16. Greg's Antiques 1400 Main St., 513-241-5487

Take your pick from the antique slot machines, juke boxes, brass cash registers, neon clocks and signs, etc.

17. Duck Creek Antique Mall 3715 Madison Road, Madisonville, 513-321-0900

18. Grand Antique Mall 9701 Reading Road, 513-554-1919

19. Esses Antiques 5919 Vine St., 513-641-0159

20. Wooden Nickel Antiques 1410 Central Parkway , Downtown, 513-241-2985

21. Fuzzy Bee Antiques 334 Fairfield Ave., Bellevue, 859-261-1600

<![CDATA[Fashion Inspiration: The Brush Factory]]> For all of you well-groomed and fashion-friendly folk out there, hone in on your sewing and/or fashion design skills with a fine-toothed comb at The Brush Factory. Located in historic Brighton at 2019 Central Ave., The Brush Factory used to be a, you guessed it, Cincinnati brush manufacturing company for over 100 years. ---

Cincinnatian Brittany Rose Kovacs has taken matters into her own hands by converting the space into both a cooperative boutique and studio for emerging, talented designers. Kovacs has also been associated with the production of GRASS, a recent community-inspired arts & crafts market. As of Aug. 1, 2009, The Brush Factory will be a place to either rent store space for your line or pay a small fee to work as a sales associate and use the equipment/studio/resources within the store to design and create a line for the upcoming season. All clients and customers are invited to tour the working studio.

This is truly an exciting and unique cooperative opportunity and will serve as an inspiration powerhouse for our fair Queen City. Not many places allow you to get the full package of viewing the process of design from start to finish before purchasing. The Brush Factory's mission statement is as follows:

"The Brush Factory is a studio and retail space that designs and produces high quality hand crafted apparel for fashion conscious men and women. It will provide Cincinnati with an exciting shopping alternative by being able to view the process and become an incubator for emerging design talent.

This organization and design co – op will provide professional development and resources so designers can establish a sustainable livelihood through inspiration and craftsmanship."


If you'd like to see more of what Brittany Kovacs is all about, check out her efforts here and here

Designers should contact Brittany to learn more about showcase opportunities at

<![CDATA[Fashion Inspiration: To the Moon!]]> This year and last year have seemed to be all about getting as vertically high as possible in fashion. For fashion inspiration today, I have some images of incredible and innovative shoes that I like to refer to as "moon shoes." They can help get you closer to a quasar or even to a black hole. And a fashion collection from Setareh Mohtarez of Antwerp's Royal Academy of Fine Arts third year class. The collection is entitled "Brightness Dawn" and is truly out of this world. Sit back and please enjoy! ---

 Setareh Mohtarez - "Brightness Dawn"

Christian Louboutin for Rodarte

Yves Saint Laurent Suede Platform Pump

Covered Zip Bootie at Opening Ceremony ($336)

Lattice Wedge at Opening Ceremony ($312)

And, of course, if you want to get spaced out without losing too many precious pennies from your penny jar, consider these options:

We Who See Buckled Up Wedge at Urban Outfitters ($128)

Jeffrey Campbell Cutout Wedge at Urban Outfitters ($128)



<![CDATA[Fashion Inspiration: Fashion Goes Blade Runner]]>

Mesh, spikes, studs and leather have all been appearing in the past two years or so of runway, namely with designer Alexander Wang. I can't help but think of that amazing movie from the early '80s, Blade Runner, or Gotham City even. Also, the FIT Museum had an exhibit entitled Gothic: Dark Glamour earlier this Spring that I was fortunate enough to see. Is it a sign of the dark times? Or just another go around for '80s punk revival? Maybe it's both. Either way, I'd like to feature this fashion statement for inspiration today in all of its dark, glamorous and quirky ways. ---


Material Boy A/W 2008 "Le Pod" Leather Jacket

Alexander Wang Brenda Zip Chain Bags

Alexander Wang Eniko Gunny Sack

Alexander Wang Coco Duffle Bag

Alexander Wang Stretch Netting Skirt/Dress

Giles Deacon

Insane Shoes:

The infamous Christian Louboutin's for Rodarte

Sweet Life by Dolce Vita Lace Heel at Urban Outfitters ($99).

Covered Zip Bootie at Opening Ceremony ($336).

Mesh Mid-Wedge at Opening Ceremony ($308).

TIY (Try It Yourself)

Channel your inner bad-ass with the Sweetheart Two-Toned Mini Dress from American Apparel ($50).

Or the Nylon Spandex Micro-Mesh Long Sleeve Mini Dress ($42).

Go for the sweeter side of life with the Soft Petal Dress from Forever21 ($36).

Accessorize with the Zipper Flower Necklace at Urban Outfitters ($50).

Or the Geometry Necklace ($40).

<![CDATA[Fashion Inspiration: John Dillinger and The '30s]]>

Last week was the grand opening of Public Enemies, Johnny Depp's portrayal of John Dillinger. Maybe it was just Depp's charming good looks or maybe it was his effortlessness at being so cool, but I was hooked on the fashion from the sunglasses down to the shoes.---

There certainly has been a surge of '30s and '40s inspired fashion as of late. Round sunglasses and even rompers have been spotted everywhere. Who needs pants when you can wear a fun romper or a simple jumpsuit, right? They're both effortless, like Johnny Depp's attractiveness. . . or John Dillinger's many bank robberies. For inspiration today, lets take a moment to reflect on the past and see how it's emerging today. What comes around goes around, no?


This girl has the right idea, with the '30s-inspired shades, pencil skirt and shoes.


Staying cool with round sunglasses and a jumpsuit.

A playful mixture of blade runner with a '30s inspired romper and sunglasses.

Try your hand at a '30s-inspired romper with this adorable Premium Tulip Corset Playsuit from Topshop ($100).

Or, try this Silence & Noise Ruffle Front Jumper, available at Urban Outfitters ($68).

Or the Bird & Leaf Print Romper from Forever21 ($19.80).

In search of some protection from the sun? Check out these fun-in-the-sun-glasses for a price that won't deflate your bank account.

Urban Outfitters Skyline Sunglasses ($24).

Small Round Sunglasses at Topshop in Green/Grey ($30).

Round Sunglasses from Forever21 ($5.80).

<![CDATA[Fashion Inspiration: Henry Darger]]>

America knew Henry Darger late. So it goes for most prodigious artists. Born in 1892, Darger worked as custodian at a children's school for most of his life. His mother died early and his sister was put up for adoption. Darger actually never met his sister and spent his time growing up in various institutions, including a children's mental asylum.---

Needless to say, Darger may have had some skeletons in his closet. From 19 to 81 years old, he created 15,000 pages of illustrations of volumes upon volumes about the war between the Vivian Girls and the Glandelinains, an army of child enslaving men. He even wrote battle songs to accompany his illustrations. He used mostly old telephone books and newspaper clippings for his canvas with a focus on children that were being attacked and enslaved. His crooked depictions of children is thought to be derived from his own sense of a lost and deprived childhood. Perhaps the strangest thing is that he never showed his artwork to anyone. Instead, he kept it all hidden in his small downtown Chicago apartment. His mountains of artwork weren't discovered until after his death when his apartment was unlocked to be vacated. Today I bring Henry Darger and his work as inspiration. The colors and stories say so much and have so much movement. It would be interesting to somehow see them represented in a fashion collection.



For a further glimpse into Darger's work, check out the book Darger: The Henry Darger Collection at the American Folk Art Museum.


or the documentary In The Realms of the Unreal by Jessica Yu.

Visit for more information on Henry Darger and other folk artists"?

<![CDATA[Fashion Inspiration: The Uniform Project]]>

Tired or bored with what’s in your closet? Look no further and seek advice from Sheena Matheiken and designer Eliza Starbuck. If you haven’t heard of it already, The Uniform Project is an effort that started in May 2009 for Sheena to wear one dress for one year in 365 reinvented ways. Sheena wears seven identical black cotton dresses, which were designed by Eliza Starbuck, for each day of the week. She uses vintage, handmade or donated accessories to reinvent her outfits and documents said outfits on her blog each day. Sheena also gladly accepts any donated accessories or personal designs, as well as any collaborative or conceptual ideas for the project. ---

As if this project wasn’t already cool enough, Sheena is using it as a fund-raiser to raise money for the Akanksha Foundation, a grassroots movement to provide uniforms and other educational expenses for slum children in India. It costs $360 to pay for one child’s education in India and so far The Uniform Project has raised $3,118!

The Uniform Project is what I bring to you today for inspiration. Especially with the state of the economy (I know we’ve heard this too many times already), this idea is encouraging to not be so excessive in what we want, need or buy. Hopefully this project encourages others to take a second look at their closets to discover what they can really do with their clothing. Maybe that dress could be worn as a shirt tucked into another skirt or pants? Or that button-up could double as a dress if you just threw a belt around the waist. You could even donate those shoes you haven’t worn in ages, but still love, to Sheena! This could also go for any other household or personal belongings.  

If you can’t donate your extra change or accessories to The Uniform Project, at least try to reinvent your wardrobe. Either way, every bit counts!





<![CDATA[Fashion Inspiration: The DAAP “Reject” All-Stars]]> Last week's blogs (here and here) were all about UC’s DAAP Fashion Design students. Today, however, I’d like to cross the river (not the Ohio) to the other side of DAAP-unrelated and fashion-based talent in Cincinnati. If you don’t already know them, chances are you soon will. Meet photographer Floyd Johnson, stylists Kelsey Wing and Shannon Yoho and make-up artist Kayla Smith, who are all twentysomething Cincinnati natives.---

As it turns out all of the artists have something in common besides being young and living in Cincinnati: They were all rejected from DAAP. For those of you who are not aware, DAAP is a serious program and can be both competitive and difficult to get into. Ambitious as they all are, they were not going to let this minor setback affect them. Instead, they were going to do something positive about it. They decided to come together in a collaborative effort that allowed to them to showcase their individual talents in photography, fashion and cosmetology. This effort is entitled “The Living Room Project."

“The initial intent behind the Living Room project was to work collectively with other talented people that were also rejected from the “high status” DAAP program," says Johnson. "I’m a genuine believer that you don’t need a degree to make things happen. College is great (maybe not that great), but without a drive to accomplish a mission it’s ineffective. I was originally inspired by Terry Richardson’s New York Dolls photos he did for Vogue Nippon’s magazine a couple months back. From there I assembled a team to bring this inspiration into fruition. Kelsey and Yoho are two powerful and driven individuals who couldn’t know more about fashion and styling. Kayla is a genius with makeup so it was only right to bring everyone together and make something happen. They did all the work I just took snaps and drank cheap wine. We shot these photos inside of Red Polly which has an insane assortment of vintage furniture. We were going for the Edie Sedgwick meets modern look so this place was perfect.”

Even outside of DAAP, Cincinnati has talent all around. See for yourself:





It’s inspirational to see such a progressive effort here. So far, the photo shoot has already appeared on, and Who knows where they’ll be next! It seems as though these artists are definitely taking a step in the right direction. Photos were shot at Red Polly 4016 Hamilton Ave. in Northside. For more images, check out Floyd’s website at

<![CDATA[Fashion Inspiration: A Conversation with Lacey Voss]]>

To coincide with Wednesday’s blog about last week’s 58th DAAP Fashion Show, I bring you an interview with DAAP’s very own fashion design student, Lacey Voss, for inspiration. Lacey will be a Junior as of this fall and is excited to be releasing her own self-titled capsule collection. The collection will be available in local stores at the end of this summer! Find more out about Lacey and what she’s been up to…---

CityBeat: Lacey, can you tell me where you are from originally? Why did you choose UC?

Lacey Voss: I am a born and raised "Cincinnatian." The West Side, to be specific, and Delhi to be even more specific. I grew up knowing about the UC DAAP program. I was very involved in art through school and had always heard it was a great program. When I started looking for schools I thought I wanted to move away and go to New York- "anywhere but here." I got accepted to a few other places but after realizing how expensive out-of-state tuition was, I decided Cincinnati wasn't so bad and went for UC. It was actually kind of a struggle for me to get in on account of my SAT/ACT scores and the fact that they don’t look at portfolios. But I was pro-active because I knew this was what I wanted to do with my life.

CB: When and how did you first realize that fashion design was for you?

LV: I have known for a long time that I wanted to go somewhere in this field. I was about 13 and in middle school when I knew I wanted to be in design. I made a lot of my own clothes and had always reconstructed vintage things. It was what I did while my brothers played video games. I would have loved to be an artist because I love to paint and I need a creative outlet to be happy, but I found I needed a stable career more. When I realized I could make clothes for a living I knew I wanted to be a fashion designer. Design was the perfect balance fore me, it's functional art.

CB: What are some current inspirations of yours?

LV: I went to public school on the West Side and for being a public school, I had an extremely strong background in classical art training. I credit my art teachers for my artistic eye. That being said, I find my inspirations in the same way a painter would. I relate very much to nature and the beauty of the human form. I value individuals in a body conscious way and put that into my designs. As far as inspirations go, its whatever sparks my interests. Some past inspirations have been rock crystals, geodes, oysters, Chladni Plates (frequency patterns)...

CB: Can you tell me specifically about your designs? Is there a common theme or favorite style you tend to follow?

LV: I generally don’t like to design bright colorful things. I love black, grey and navy but I do like to add color here and there. I like to design wearable garments that are still high design and very interesting. Detail is important to me. You want to get what you paid for. I also like to play with proportions and how they accentuate the body, but always in a body conscious way. I want to make women look sexy and powerful.

CB: UC DAAP students are required to complete six co-ops throughout their college career. Can you tell me about your co-ops thus far and what you are doing currently? What was required of you? Did you learn anything that was useful?

LV: After this summer I will have completed three of my six co-ops. For my first I went to New York to work for Garan, a children's wear company that makes Garanimals clothing line. I was an assistant designer for the young girls and misses. My second was in Columbus for Abercrombie and Fitch as a woman's tech designer for all brands: A&F, Abercrombie, Hollister, Ruehl and Gilly Hicks. Both were large corporate companies where I learned a lot designing on a large scale with an established brand. For this summer and my current co-op, I opted for the opposite experience and have decided to create my own mini-line. It is self-titled, LACEY VOSS, and will be a women's high end line that will be sold locally at the end of summer 2009!

CB: What do you hope to accomplish in the future as far as your career in fashion design goes?

LV: I know I am very happy in this field. Whether I want to work for a label as a designer or start my own, I'm not totally sure just yet. I guess it depends on how this summer goes....

CB: Is there currently any way to view or purchase your work? If so, how may we go about finding it?

LV: Yes, I am very excited! I am currently working on my mini line, LACEY VOSS. It will be for sale at local stores at the end of this summer. So please keep an eye out for me and I will fill you all in on the details!

** Stay tuned for more information on Lacey’s line and for more interviews with fashion forward Cincinnatians!


<![CDATA[58th DAAP Fashion Show 2009]]>

For those among you who are fashion-forward and missed DAAP’s 58th Fashion Show on Friday, June 12th, you’re in luck. The show was Web-casted, showcasing the incredible hard work of the 2009 graduating fashion design class at the University of Cincinnati. If this isn’t enough inspiration for you, then I don’t know what is. I’ve pored through hundreds of senior critique images and have picked some of my favorite designs…Cincinnati has talent!---

The show was quite impressive, including an honorary awards speech for celebrity women’s wear designer and DAAP alumnus, David Meister. The show also included DAAP’s fashion design students’ collaboration with UC’s very own CCM and efforts towards creating new and effective hospital gowns. Words, however, just do not do the show justice. Catch the entire show here!

Sincerely” by Rosie Kovacs. This collection reminds me of warriors or elves from a movie, such as Lord of the Rings. The intricate knitting in the men’s shirt with cape and the angled leather detailing on the men’s jumpsuits show just how well constructed the collection is. The teal, black and grey color palette is a perfect combination. Very innovative!

Wanderlust” by Meg Molli. Again, the intricate knitting is phenomenal. The neutral color palette and fit of the pieces make the collection something that anyone could wear. The collection also seems extremely well made. I can’t imagine how many hours went into it.

Human Potential” by Erika Beartie. This particular dress from the collection is absolutely stunning. It reminds me of a Rodarte piece – dreamy and effortless. The black and nude sheer fabrics compliment one another quite nicely.

Transition” by Beth Porter. This collection is great because of how well-constructed it is. The soft grey color palette is easy for anyone to wear and so are all of the actual designs. The play on shapes is enough to make the collection both classic and unique.

The Soft Exoskeleton” by Mandy Kordal. Definitely a unique collection because it faintly works tiny details into the designs, like the human skeletal system for example. Again, this collection is visibly well-constructed and easy for nearly anyone to wear. Love the fact that the coats and vest could be considered unisex pieces.

Buttoned Down” by Katherine Ryerson. A fun collection with a 1930s lingerie influence with great colorful and luxurious fabrics. 

The Sweater Jacket” by Andrea Sisson. An amazing and innovative piece that doubles as a chair back when you sit down!

"Vol de Femme” by Lara Frappier. Another fun and well-constructed collection with a 1940s inspiration. Bringing back a new emphasis on jumpsuits, the high and fitted waistlines are sure to be flattering for all.

Creatures of Culture” by Miranda Hall. A creative and fun adventure for fashion. Great construction mixed with a ton of different shapes, bright colors and unique prints and embroideries. The sharp lines and exaggeration of structure are one of a kind.

** When watching the video of the fashion show, also be sure to look out for the following designer’s collections: “ #17 Cherry Tree Lane” by Kendra Nafziger, “You Say You Want A Revolution” by Lauren Primm, “Common Ground” by Lauren Laskey, “Bernice Bobs Her Hair” by Chelsea Forsythe, “Klimt” by Allison Jacobs, “The Cat’s Meow” by Jamie Vishauski and “The Dawn of Man” by Nathaniel David Siefert Porembka.

To view more DAAP senior critique photos, click here.

Congratulations, class of 2009!

<![CDATA[Fashion Inspiration: Tavi G., the Style Rookie]]>

For those of you who are in the loop of the fashion blog-o-sphere, you may already know of Style Rookie aka Tavi G. For anyone who has no idea what I’m talking about, meet Tavi, the 13-year-old girl who runs Style Rookie, a blog dedicated to clothing and all things fashion. ---

I’ve been following Tavi’s blog for nearly a year now and I must say that she has never failed to amaze me. The girl is incredibly smart, witty, and has both an impeccable eye and knowledge of the fashion world. Just reading one paragraph of what she writes is mind blowing. When I was 13, I was thinking about my rock and keychain collections and boys.

Most of the content for her blog consist of photos of her current inspirations and obsessions as well outfits that she puts together. The coy, sarcastic and passive-aggressive gal has come a long way since she first started her blog. She recently visited Laura & Kate Mulleavy, designers/masterminds/sisters behind Rodarte, in L.A. and also now designs her own T-shirts and sells vintage finds online. She sends proceeds toward Clothing With A Cause, an effort dedicated to helping the victims of genocide in Darfur.

She is inspirational to me personally as she creates her own interpretations of designer’s collections as well as creates her very own outfits by mixing crazy colors, materials and patterns with random designer and thrift store finds. The greatest part of all about Tavi is that she says she doesn’t take fashion too seriously because it’s always going to change. There has been much speculation in the past that she is truly not the one behind the blog, but recent Vimeo’s from her have only proven her excellence. Maybe it’s the fact that she can get away with wearing what she does because she still resides in a 13-year-old boyish body frame. I’m not sure, but I love it and find it completely refreshing and inspiring to be more creative in what I wear, despite what age I may be. The point is, she does it and she does it well.

For inspiration this week, I bring you Tavi and all of her wonder. How many people can truly say that they’re inspired by a 13-year-old girl living in Chicago? Meet Tavi.


This is Tavi's collaboratively designed T-shirt, available for sale at Style Rookie



A young Mia Farrow?


Alice in Wonderland.



Tavi in her new-ish Rodarte knitted tights (LUCKY).



And in case you ever had any doubts, check out this video of Tavi’s musings on blogging and fashion, etc…

blogiversary from Tavi G on Vimeo.

(Sidenote: Don’t forget that UC’s DAAPWorks runs this week thru Saturday! The 2009 Fashion Show will be held Friday, June 12th from 8-10:30 p.m. in UC’s Campus Recreation Center. Tickets are $35. Also, Alumnus and women’s wear designer David Meister will be honored at both the fashion show and the VIA After Party. Don’t miss it!)

<![CDATA[Fashion Inspiration: Circular Beauty]]>

Looking at the artwork of a friend of mine, I started thinking about how his work related to the fashion and style around us. Clint Colburn is a Lexington based artist known for using circles of all sizes to create a larger harmony within a larger picture. This works the same within the fashion realm. Each component works in harmony with the other components, resulting in a larger piece or product. There is a beauty and a science to it, all at the same time. --- The following is an example of Clint’s work:


Clint Colburn: Super Vision Left

Roy Lichtenstein also used this notion of circular, harmonious beauty:


If you look close enough, it’s all around us in everyday things:




Examples of this harmony in shapes have been found within the fashion world for centuries. Most recently notable are designer Christopher Kane’s representations:



Spin these circular and scalloped shapes into your own wardrobe with the Scallop Skirt Dress from Topshop ($135), also available in pink:


Or try the Circle Organza Dress in lilac.

All different shapes surround us every day, everywhere we are, creating a sense of harmony. The question is whether or not we notice them. What shapes do you notice? How do they effect what you wear? Do you notice a balance or harmony? Any comments, thoughts and suggestions are welcome! Hope you enjoy your week and that it is filled with nothing but inspiration.  

<![CDATA[Monday Fashion Inspiration]]> Cincinnati is slowly becoming more progressive, both economically and politically. And because economics and politics have historically been reflected through fashion and style, it’s important to pay attention to both not only understand your culture, but the world around you as well. Take the proposal of public transportation, the street car, for example. Or Cincinnati’s participation in the Tea Parties. Recently Cincinnati even produced a surrealism-inspired fashion show and an Eco Go-Go fashion show – a go-green initiative. ---

On Mondays, I will be posting blogs that reflect current fashion trends. And amongst other fashion and style-related things, I will be posting inspirational images, whether they are of people, places or things, that will tell brilliant color and style stories. Along with these images will be how-to guides of how to transform them into walking fashion.

As most of us well know, or at least should know, it’s spring time in Cincinnati. I’ve been obsessed with pastels and small, antiquated ditsy prints lately and found these images of macaroons perfect for some inspiration. The playful colors scream flirty fun and springtime all at once. Not to mention, they look absolutely delicious.




Also, old fashioned soda shops have been inspiring to me lately. Everything from the vinyl booths and swivel chairs, to the cheeseburgers and french fries or the orange cream sodas (which I could totally go for right about now).


Spin all of this into your own wardrobe with this adorable queen bee playsuit ($90) from Topshop by Barbara Hulanicki. The playful shade of purple is perfect for springtime. Layer it with black tights for an evening look.

If it’s a bit too chilly out and you want to make the outfit more casual, I’d suggest this versatile bleach wash jean jacket ($24.90) from Forever 21. The color and material are both light enough to balance out the dress while also giving the outfit an edgier feel.


To keep it simple with both outfits, try these nude ballet flats (
$68) by Marais USA available at Urban Outfitters. Also come in black. 


Or, make a statement with these punky-chunky tuttle cutout wedges (
$148)! The zipper and unique cutouts have what it takes to add just enough flavor to your outfit. Available in mint green or black, by Colonial Madness for Urban Outfitters. 


All in all, I feel that these items are a great way to start off the spring and steadily cruise into summertime. This concludes our lovely Inspiration Monday update. Have any comments, questions or suggestions? Don’t be afraid to share! Until next time…stay tuned!

Ashley Thomas
has a degree in fashion merchandising from the University of Kentucky.