DC Fashion Gal's 'fashionista spotlight': Alixandrea of ALTernative Creations

As part of DC Fashion Gal's 'fashionista spotlight' series, I'm excited to introduce our 2nd fashionista:  Alixandrea of the Etsy shop, ALTernative Creations.

From cool crocheted rings to adorable handmade crocheted baby birds (a perfect gift for a mini-fashionista or mom-to-be!!), Alix (modeling one her lovely scarf crocheted creations above) is a perfect example of a young fashionista that is making her mark one crochet hook at a time.

I spoke to Alix recently about how she started her Etsy store and what inspires her.  Read on and find out more about Alix and what inspires her to make these amazing crocheted creations!

Q: Where did your inspiration come from in starting ALTernative Creations on Etsy?

A: My inspiration comes from my love of crocheting. I have been making crocheted gifts for friends and family for years. Everyone said to me, "You should sell these!!" so I looked into it, and Etsy called my name!

Q: Who taught you to crochet and at what age?

A:  My Aunt! She taught me to crochet when I was about 6 years old.  She is the most loving and patient person in the whole wide world.

Q: What sort of woman do you envision wearing your crocheted creations?

A: The kind of woman I envision wearing my crocheted creations is anywhere from the age 17 and up. A woman that shops at unique botiques and likes the store Anthropologie (that's my favorite store!).  But really anyone girly, anyone that loves lace, and anyone thats not afraid to have something a little "different" and stand out from the crowd.

Q: How long does it normally take to create one of your beautiful crocheted necklaces?

A: Hmm, good question!  It depends on if I'm watching TV or not!  But probably about 2 hours per item.  Sometimes a necklace can have multiple steps so it may take a few days.

Q: I love Myrtle the Mouse! How did the idea of this adorable mouse come about?

A: Thanks! I'm glad you like him!  Well, I tend to get bored with making the same type of thing over and over. You'll see in my Etsy shop that I have a pretty wide variety of things. Myrtle came about because he was in a pattern book from the 70's that I was able to inherit! I had to make a few adjustments to the pattern, and I absolutely love him! I've made two birds also.

Thanks again to Alix of ALTernative Creations for taking the time out to talk with DC Fashion Gal! I love your honesty and fresh outlook on fashion. 

Are you a Etsy seller and would like to be featured on DC Fashion Gal's 'Fashionista Spotlight'?  

Email us at dcfashionscene@gmail.com or follow us @DCFashionGal on Twitter and tell us about your great Etsy shop!


Fashion never looked so good: MyEye Dr. and 2011 Bethesda Front Row runway event

Still trying to decide what to do tonight? 

I highly recommend checking out Bethesda Front Row's 3rd Annual fashion show featuring designer brand sunglasses from MyEyeDr. Starting at 7:30pm, the fashion show will feature clothing from local boutiques, including Ginger, Luna, Sassanova, and more.

What I'm most excited to see are the sunglasses that will be featured tonight from MyEyeDr. since I need a new pair (or two).  Whether it's November or July, I find myself needing a chic pair of sunglasses to protect my eyes without compromising my style.

Whether you enjoy sporting a pair of aviators (my current obsesssion) or a pair of large Jackie-O style sunglasses, MyEyeDr. has them all and a very helpful staff to help you find your perfect 'movie star' look.

For all local fashionistas, MyEye Dr. is conveniently located in Bethesda, Maryland on the popular Woodmont Avenue next to Mussel Bar and close to Barnes & Noble.

From Prada to Chanel sunglasses, MyEyeDr. will be a fun 'sight' to see tonight! See you there!


Destination: Catalonia by Tea Collection -- clothing that tell a story...

Etched ruffle top & Pimiento leggings
Like many moms, I love Tea Collection.  For this fashionista mama, Tea Collection  represents modern, comfortable clothing that tell a story.  And who doesn't love that?  Each collection is inspired by a destination around the world from cities like Budapest and Prague to Seoul and Barcelona.

Did you know that Tea Collection also has a blog? If not, I encourage you to check it out! From inspiration photos to San Francisco street style, their blog is a great way to connect with the people behind this incredible brand.  

As I read the blog, a lightbulb went off in my head as I thought about my answer to this question:  What does "bring home the world" mean to you?  

Well, to answer that, I thought about the background of my own global world.  My parents were born in Germany and Hungary. They lived in Germany for a number of years before immigrating to the U.S where I was born and raised.  My husband's great-grandparents were born in India and then immigrated to Guyana.  His grandparents and parents were born in Guyana and then eventually immigrated to England. My husband was born in England and eventually moved to the U.S. when he was a little boy.

Twenty-some years later, my husband and I met and as they say, "the rest is history...".   Bringing a part of the world home to our children is very important so that they know not only where they came from, but also so they know what their connection is to the rest of the world for the future. 

And this is when  I had my  'Ah ha!' moment.  The cultural journey that Tea Collection takes you through their global design resonates with my own beliefs that life is a journey and children are truly the little citizens of the world. 

I recently had the amazing opportunity to interview two of Tea Collection's lead designers, Katy and Amber, to find out the details behind the Catalonia-inspired Spring/Summer 2011 collection.  I hope you enjoy reading this Q & A and reminds you of how special Tea Collection truly is. 

Tea Destination:  Catalonia.

Motto for the Spring/Summer 2011 collection: Express your inner artist.

How did Tea Collection come to choose the Catalonia region of Spain versus another part of the world?

Catalonia was chosen as a very strong sense of cultural identity and independence. Barcelona, its best known city, is filled with the inspiration and work of iconic modern artists and architects like Gaudi, Miro, Montaner and especially Picasso.
What do the colors on the clothing, for example the bright blue on the Lagarto Graphic Tee, represent? How are the colors chosen?
Colors in the graphics and prints reflect what we see and experience on the destination inspiration trip.  Some of them have cultural significance and symbolism and some colors consistently reoccur like a specific cobalt blue used in tiles or a certain flowering tree that we see throughout the trip.
My favorite infant girls piece of clothing from the Spring/Summer 2011 collection is the Songbird Romper. Beautiful in so many ways. What inspired the songbird design?

The songbird print was inspired by Picasso, his abstract organic shapes and use of large fields of color. We love birds and wanted to do something modern and feminine using shapes that are quietly recognizable.

How long does it take to finalize the design of a tee when all the small details, like the placement of the lizard going over the shoulder on the Lagarto Graphic Tee, really matter in the finished product? 
Every design is different.  Some are really easy and natural.  For example Spanish Guitar design, worked very well with the natural way I [Katy] draw.  It's like I just drew and it just came out of me.  That design probably only took 2 hours.
Others take a lot of reworking and tweaking.  A good example is the Picasso flowers in the first Catalonia delivery, Viva El Artista.  The final design is probably the 10th version of Picasso flowers.
Graphic placements do take a while.  Standard center front placements are pretty easy.  But more difficult placements take a lot longer.  We have to figure out scale and measurements and how they will fit on the final t-shirt for every size.  

The Lizard placement you mentioned was especially difficult.  The printers wouldn't be able to just print the graphic over the shoulder seem like that, so we had to design it as a front and back placement that would be sewn together.  We had to consider that the middle of the graphic wouldn't be able to line up perfectly. It quite a while to design/scale and place that graphic so it fit the t-shirts well.

What can we expect from the next Tea destination in terms of colors and style?**

Well we haven’t officially announced our new destination yet, but it will be full of stripes, vibrant colors, and other culturally inspired graphics and prints from a historically significant country.  

Still interested in more? Take another journey to Catalonia with Laura Boes (head designer for Tea Collection) as she speaks about the inspirations behind the new Spring/Summer 2011 Catalonia-inspired line.


**Side note: A little birdie told me that the Tea designers just came back from shooting their Fall 2011 catalog! So exciting! 

For the love of shoes....

Most women, including myself, love shoes.  How else can you explain the success of retailers like DSW and Zappos.  Two my own personal favorite places to buy shoes. And I intend to pass along my love of shoes to my mini fashionista.

A good friend recently gave me..I mean my mini fashionista...the most perfect book. It's called Birdie's Big Girl Shoes.  Have you heard of it? Neither did I but it's absolutely adorable!! The author, Sujean Rim, is the talented illustrator behind all of Daily Candy's gorgeous illustrations. Each shoe is drawn so precisely, down to the red sole of the beloved Louboutins.

The story is absolutely adorable and perfect for this fashionista mama and her mini fashionista.  The message from the book that I loved so much and one that I hope to pass along to my own daughter is: "Enjoy running barefoot through the grass, twirling around and finding joy in every moment."


Party at the playground?

As the weekend fast approaches, I start getting emails from various DC area hot spots highlighting their happy hour specials and DJ appearances. My plans? To 'party' at the playground with other area moms while our kids play happily in the sandbox.


 Now that the weather has turned warm, I am itching to buy some outfits that are both stylish and functional for running after my two very active kids at the playground. My criteria for some new 'party at the playground' outfits?

1. Can I bend over without flashing anyone?

2. Is the color dark enough to hide grass stains and other badges of honor?

3. Can I throw in the wash every week and know that it will still look great?

4. Do the clothes allow me to run, slide, sit down Indian-style, and climb with my kids?

I love the styles of Gwen Stefani (who always looks ultra stylish at the playground) and Heidi Klum (so gorgeous with 4 kids in tow that it's almost unreal). Both of these celebrity fashionista mamas are not afraid to wear fashionable clothing at the playground that highlight their style yet allow them to go down the slides with their kids. I love that.

What to wear? What to buy? Here are DC Fashion Gal's Top 5 picks:

1. denim surplus jacket, strapless floral maxi dress, skinny gladiator sandals, sequin strap tote - All from GAP .

2. rag and bone Jean skinny jeans in salmon pink, tie dye silk cami-tunic, Missoni Jelly flats--  All  from Intermix.

3. AG Tomboy cropped jeans, Michael Stars Scoop Neck Sequin Stripe Tank, Chuck Taylor vintage slip-on sneakers in Navy--All from Zappos.

4. skinny cargo pants, graphic tee, printed flip flops--All rom Old Navy.

5. roll-up shorts, cotton tee, rosalie flats --All from Anthropologie.

I hope this helps all of my fellow moms out there find a way to bring a little style to the playground.  See you at the party!


Japanese Cherry Blossoms First Birthday Party

This past weekend, I celebrated my mini-fashionista turning 1!! I can’t believe it’s been a year—it really does go by fast. Although I am not a party planner by trade, I love planning (and attending) parties, especially for my children.  And this birthday party was no exception.

Was it a lot of late nights printing, cutting, pasting, and assembling? Yes!

Did I run around to a million and one places the day before the party tying up all of the loose ends like a crazy mama? Yes!

Would I do it all over again? Absolutely.

With the help of a photographer (that would be my husband), here is a recap or story, if you will, of how everything came together.

The theme: Japanese cherry blossoms.

 The location:  Private residence of close family friends.

The d├ęcor:  Japanese paper lanterns of various shapes and colors hung in the trees for a light and airy festive feel.

The colors:  Pale pink, hot pink, and reds all mixed together.

The main food: Light lunch fare, including vegetarian sushi, cold pasta salad, fruit kabobs, tortilla wraps, and flower shaped sandwiches for the kids.

The drinks:  Sapporo beer, customized Izze drinks, water with customized labels, Pinot Grigio, and pink lemonade for the kids. Also making an appearance, pink and white vintage straws with customized “Happy 1st Birthday” flags.

The dessert:  Inspired by the super talented Amy Atlas, I designed a dessert table with the cherry blossom birthday cake, mini cupcakes, ‘sushi’ cake pops, various candy, and of course rice krispie 'sushi' (very easy and fun to make!).

The guest of honor:  My adorable 1 year old daughter who wore an equally adorable kimono outfit from Nordstrom ‘It’s A Small World’ collection

A special thanks to all of the vendors I used, especially my Etsy sellers whose fast and prompt communication meant the world to this fashionista mama. Want the name of a particular vendor? Please email me or leave a comment!


Alexander McQueen and all this 'stuff'........

Andy Sachs:   You know, it's just that both those belts look exactly the same to me. You know, I'm still learning about all this stuff and, uh...   

Miranda Priestly:  'This... stuff'? Oh. Okay. I see. You think this has nothing to do with you.

Love it! This from one of my all-time favorite movies, The Devil Wears Prada.  The look on Meryl Streep's face alone said it all.

But many people probably have these same sentiments when it comes to fashion (especially runway fashion that is sometimes more theatrical than wearable) because they can't translate designer fashion into their everyday lives. And that's such a shame!!!

A year ago one of the greatest fashion designers to grace us with his never-ending creativity and thought provoking designs passed away--Mr. Alexander McQueen.  Luckily though, from this year's Met Gala to the windows of Bergdorf Goodman and Saks, his inspiration lives on.

I loved watching Alexander McQueen runway shows becuse they always told a story in the most imaginable way and the clothing almost became the supporting role that was oh-so-important but maybe not obvious.And how were McQueen's fashion translated into our closets?

Well, he was very known for dramatic, dark gowns (think Gisele Bundchen and Salma Hayek at the Met Gala), precise tailoring and of course the gothic style. As Miranda Priestly explained to Andy Sachs, these looks then filter down into the major retailers and online websites into affordable fashion that still had elements from this great designer. Let's take a look:

Alexander McQueen:


Amazing, isn't it?  What I loved most about Alexander McQueen is that he was sort of like one of my favorite Alice in Wonderland characters, the Mad Hatter.  Full of magic, full of energy and a character true to himself.  May he rest in peace. The fashion world is lucky to have had such an inspiring designer.


It's coming up roses...

 This warm weather always makes me think of the beautiful blooms happening everywhere, my favorite being roses.  Pink roses to be exact (I also love pink peonies, ah..bliss). 

Gilt.com (one of DC Fashion Gal's guilty shopping pleasures!!) recently had a sale full of pink. I was so giddy with excitement because it's one of my favorite hues.  From fuschia to the palest of pinks, this color makes me happy.  With the right shade, I think every woman can wear this gorgeous color and add it as a 'neutral' to your wardrobe.

Need some ideas on how to pair a shade of pink? Here are some DC Fashion Gal picks:

1. Pink and orange never looked so good together

Need some more pink inspiration? Check out this cute ad from Hysteria's website:

Isn't that dress absolutely adorable??? Love it.

In addition to Hysteria (located in Old Town Alexandria), DC Fashion Gal recommends checking out these chic boutiques:
  • Urban Chic (located in Georgetown, Baltimore, Annapolis, and Bethesda)
  • Ginger (located in Bethesda, Maryland)
for a great selection of summer clothes that include some shades of pink. Tell them that DC Fashion Gal sent you!!