The Dylanium Knits Story: Designing, Creating, Knitting

Dylanium Knits was created by Dylan Uscher, self-taught knitting passionate and businessman, whose talent and designs have gained him world-wide recognition… and that, all before even launching his debut collection last Fall (FW13’)!

Indeed Dylan Uscher has not only collaborated with top Canadian fashion brands like Sid Neigum and Greta Constantine – but his designs were also featured in a MAC Cosmetics global campaign with visibility in over 90 countries! Quite impressive for the American-born autodidact, whose decision to pursue his passion after graduating his Master’s of Arts here in Toronto, Canada has lead him to his dream job: Designing, Creating, Knitting.

Motto of the day: Do like Dylan, and do what you love! I personally can’t wait to get my hands on the Fall 2014 collection (available for pre-order here)!

DylaniumKnits Headshot A

That being said, I was more than excited to discuss fashion with the designer himself (pictured above) and talk about his upcoming Fall 2014 collection, his inspirations as well as his road less-travelled to success.

Here is the Dylanium Knits story:

Dylan Uscher was first introduced to knitting in 2005 while sitting on a bus with a friend who was making a sweater. Dylan not only took a liking to the craft but he also picked up on the technique rather quickly. The self-taught designer and creator initially started hanging out in yarn shops throughout Toronto trying out knitting patterns as well as networking with other knitters in those shops to learn.

Dylan Uscher’s passion quickly evolved as he became more aware of the design of his creations. The designer felt that existing patterns were either one of two things: Fun to make, but that didn’t look that great, or vice-versa. He hence began challenging himself to make beautiful pieces that were intricate and that he could enjoy crafting as well. It was only after graduating from his Master’s degree and briefly working in an un-related field however, that he decided to follow his passion and knit full-time. Dylanium Knits was thus created in 2010 and he hasn’t looked back since. Dylan Uscher slowly began collaborating with designers and it was only last year that he launched his debut collection.

Dylan’s upcoming Fall 2014 collection is composed of six accessories, which includes three heavyweight knits, as well as three lightweight knits. The heavyweight knits are similar to last year’s best sellers and the lighter weight knits beautifully showcase the designer’s diversity and skill-set -as they are a new addition to his line. The Fall 2014 collection is inspired by the designer’s trip to Florence, Italy earlier this year: The stitch patterns are reminiscent of moldings as well as tessellation within tile patterns embedded in the city’s architecture. The color palette for this season is also said to be inspired by the colors of the stone buildings there as well as the Italian skyline.


The pre-sale of the Dylanium Knits Fall 2014 collection is set to launch on Luevo May 4th.

Dylan Uscher’s Boston-based studio will also be participating in the SOWA Art Walk that day, and hold an open doors launch event demonstrating his knitting techniques and machines, and taking pre-sale orders on Luevo directly from his studio.

On May 12th, Dylanium Knits will also be participating in the Aid for Cancer Research Runway in Boston, and have a pre-show pop-up boutique to further take Luevo pre-sale orders.

What is next for Dylanium Knits? The designer wouldn’t be surprised to see if he suddenly began making more and more apparel sketches and ultimately incorporating clothing into his accessories line. In the meantime however, we will simply have to order our beautiful winter and fall accessories on Luevo and keep following the designer’s progression! You can follow Dylanium Knits on Twitter @dylaniumknits or visit Dylan Uscher’s website at for more details.

DylaniumKnits Accessories Logo

Motto of the day: Do like Dylan, and do what you love! I personally can’t wait to get my hands on the Fall 2014 collection (available here)!

This article was written by Angelic from The Weekenders Fashion Blog. Follow her on Instagram @the_weekenders

Talking Callula Lillibelle with Melanie Hart

The Callulla Lillibelle woman is confident, sophisticated and chic. This is a woman who stands out on her own, simply using her presence as a way to gain attention. The bold colours and prints in the 2014 Callula Lillibelle collection are sure to stand out anywhere. Each piece has it’s own flare making it just as unique as the woman who is wearing it. Pre-order pieces from the collection here!

Melanie Fraser Hart, the founder and designer of Callula Lillibelle, has always had a love for the arts and design. You can even say that she embodies the Callula Lillibelle woman herself. Having worked with the likes of Arnold Kopelson and Vidal Sassoon one thing is certain, she does not shy away from doing new things and thinking outside of the box. Her untraditional method to creating is what brings the brand to life. She says, “I go in to what I call my “happy space”, that is being aware of the world that we all live in, but finding the little things that inspire me to create and think out of the box.” It is that very “happy space” that served as a tool to the 2014 collection. I had the pleasure of asking Melanie a few questions about her new collection and her designing methods.

Why the name Callula Lillibelle?

Callula Lillibelle is the name of my 13 year old daughter. It is a mouthful and full of way too many “l’s” but I love it!   I have been told a number of times when I first began this company that people would not be able to say it. Somehow, people have managed it!

Your collection seemed to take me through the 60’s, 70’s 80’s up until our present day fashion trends- something I really enjoyed. Can you tell us about the collection a bit more? Was that your goal? 

It may sound strange but it is not the particular styles that I try to emulate from various decades, it is more about how women felt inside during times gone by. As we women continue to find our place in the world, we should dress in a manner that gives us strength, not just what society tells us to wear. Of course, there are certain styles popular in each decade, but who dictates what we should wear and what makes us feel powerful and confident is more of the goal.

Callula Lillibelle


How was the transition from theatre and writing to more designing and ultimately starting Callula Lillibelle?

Whether or not it is theater, literature or a piece of art, even something like the shape of antique building it is all creative. My mind goes in to what I call my “happy place” when I experience any kind of creativity which inspires me. It can be as simple as just reading some literature, which makes me feel a certain way and gives me some sort of a vision. Creative is creative and I have my own process as I am sure other designers have as well, but I think mine is a little different. I do not research the color “trends” or style “trends” which some alternate force says is what is going to be happening upcoming seasons. I just don’t.

Callula Lillibelle

How do you feel your theatre background has helped with your designing to date?

My theater background, as previously stated, is a creative source on it’s own. It is about taking on and understanding the inner workings or different people and characters. If I could get my mind around how to do that, performing in a play for example, I like to think that the skill of understanding how others think carries forward.

The Callula Lillibelle woman’s style is described as 80’s power glamour. What about 80’s fashion inspires you to incorporate that into your overall designs for the brand?
The 80’s was a time of female empowerment, it is not so much about the clothes but the way the women emerge in our society. Are you ever going to see huge shoulder pads coming back at Callula? No. It was a time of decadence but it was also a time that women got past the “free love ” and expression era, to a time that women really began to dig their heels in and realize their own inner powers. It is that discovery and awareness that I like.

Callula Lillibelle

I’m very big on prints and bold colours. I see that in your collection you played with different patterns and prints- my favourite being the polka dot high wasted pant. Is there a print in the collection that you are particularly drawn to? 

There are two things that I am convinced will work regarding patterns, polka dots and stripes. There were a few Callula seasons that were big on the polka dot thing and I love it but I have, in the last few seasons, try to take that back a bit and use special buttons or a special pleat or shape that does not rely on just a print. I love a good print. I prefer a print, however, that does not overwhelm the wearer. Prints, like the clothing itself, do not define the woman, it is how she wears them.

Callula Lillibelle

I had the pleasure of seeing Evita when in New York and loved it! I wanted to know what was a recent broadway play you have seen? 

I work 14 to 16 hour days if I am in the city, which leaves little time or energy to go to shows.   I did see “Book of Mormons” which I adored.   I always read New York Magazine and see ballet, opera or theater ads of things that i always mean to see but unfortunately I rarely get to do it.  It is the nature of the beast of owning a company. I hardly even get to go out to dinner!

Because most of the pieces in your collection are really bold what are 3 need to have a accessories that would really compliment some of the pieces in your collection?

I personally hardly wear any accessories. There are three things a woman should never leave the house without; a clean face, neat hair and clean buffed nails. Jewelry and other accessories are utterly a personal decision.

Don’t forget to stay connected with Callula Lillibelle on Twitter @callulagirl andFacebook!

This article was written by Jonika. You can follow her at @JonikaJun.

Introducing Altaf Maaneshia

Fashion is in the moment. It’s an industry full of deeply passionate fashion designers who put their sweat and tears into every piece they create. The man behind the brand Altaf Maaneshia, Altaf himself, is definitely one of those designers. His collections are streamlined, chic, and are intricately detailed. Inspired by neat and structured cuts, his new collection (available here) caters specifically to the powerful modern woman. It features earthy tones, silver accessories, and lots of leather, tweed, taffeta, and wool. Leather being a definite must for fall.

Altaf Maaneshia on runway

Altaf Maaneshia started showing an interest in art and clothes at a young age. In the village he lived in, he would study under a tree. This led to him gathering junk and secretly turning them into small sculptures. He also dabbled with painting.

The designs in Altaf Maaneshia’s new high end contemporary RTW collection are anything but simple. The pieces strike a balance between geometrical cuts and structured lines, while Altaf pays meticulous attention to details. 

Altaf Maaneshia RTW Collection

I believe there is only one thing certain in life and that’s uncertainty. Challenges and struggle are everywhere but you can always make your place in any market if you focus on three E’s: Education – Exposure – Experience. – Altaf M.

A highlight for Altaf’s career as a designer was showing at Mercedes Benz Fashion Week New York. He was the first Pakistani based in New York City to debut a collection. In the near future, the designer hopes to open sell accounts in North American multi brand shops. Altaf’s long term plan includes having a giant fashion house. He wishes for that to cover not only women’s wear but also cover men’s wear, accessories, cosmetics, perfumes and colognes.

Altaf designs for the modern woman. She is powerful, trendy, structured and she loves accent colours or accessories on her outfits. He has provided women with many contemporary and ready-to-wear designs to choose from. As a designer, what matters is quality and consistency.

The Altaf Maaneshia Fall/Winter ’14 collection is available for pre-order here

Article written by Tianna Alexandre, editor.

Getting to know Joeleen Torvick

Joeleen Torvick traveled to both New York and London to obtain a greater amount of knowledge for fashion. Having such creative and driven people around her helped make the process easier to launch her line 2010. She has always experimented with softer tones in her previous collections, but for her spring 2014 collection she used colours and shapes we normally don’t see from her.

Joeleen was given a book called Wonders of the World that had some inspiring pictures from the City of Arts and Science in Spain. The art from the museum inspired Joeleen to experiment with shapes and colours in this collection in ways she hasn’t done before. I had the pleasure of speaking to her about her new collection and the inspiration behind it.

With your previous collections you used softer tones and more flowy shapes. I see that with your new collection you experimented more with shapes and colours and the fitting. Was that something you wanted to try? Or do you feel that is a new trend we’ll start to see for spring/summer?

Experimenting with different shapes and colours is something that I wanted to try. My colour palettes in the past have really been neutral colours. You can never go wrong with a good black or white shirt, but I wanted to evolve and push myself out of my comfort zone and add more vibrancy, while still maintaining a confident and sophisticated look.

I think this spring/summer we will be seeing a trend of somewhat tailored and classic silhouettes, with a touch of bold. The boldness I am talking about is coming in with pops of bright colours and metallic fabrics, but in keeping with classic silhouettes, the lines will be clean.

Joeleen Torvick

Describe your new collection using 3 words and why?

Clean, fresh, and versatile. The lines I created with my fabrics are anything but fussy. The pieces are easy and lively; they are great to wear to work, and going straight from there to a night out with friends.

How has the colours, shapes and fabrics played a role in the theme for this collection?

I was inspired by the Museo de las Ciencias Principe Felipe in Valencia, Spain, also known as the City of Arts and Science. The museum consists of multiple buildings with amazing architecture, all of which is surrounded by pools of water. I mirrored the brightness, boldness, and shapes off of the colours (silver, white, black, and blue) and architecture of the different buildings.

I used a metallic hand woven fabric as well as a cotton sateen that have a stiffer hand, without actually feeling heavy, which lent me the ability to give the garments a bit of structure. The pools surrounding the museum also give a light and fresh feeling, which made me bring in some soft silks to create that hard and soft contrast.

Joeleen Torvick

Why did you choose to move back to Minnesota after working in one of America’s leading fashion cities- New York City?

The main reason on moving back to Minnesota had to do with family reasons. At the same time, I thought it would be great to be a part of and help grow the Minnesota fashion industry. By moving back to Minnesota, I also have the ability to focus more on my own clothing. I look forward to becoming more involved and shaping the Minnesota fashion industry.

How has your design upbringing helped you with your brand today?

I would have to say that my design upbringing is just as a part of my brand today. I attended a great school that gave me a strong background in the production and the technical side of design. My education/internship/work experiences in New York and London opened up another creative side to me, as well as gave me amazing life experiences. My parents and my husband are entrepreneurs, so I grew up learning and continue to learn a lot from them. I would have to say all of these have attributed to making up the backbone of what I have put into my brand.

A lot of creative people tend to be inspired by hobbies that they have. Are there any routines or hobbies you have that helps inspire your designs or the way you design?

I grew up always thinking I was going to be some big executive and having my own office in some corporation. As I got older, that isn’t what I wanted anymore, but I tend to imagine if I were to be doing what I thought I was going to do, what would I wear? Knowing how my life is now, I design for that woman, the woman who is working at a desk, or maybe not, but is always on the go and needs to look great all day.

Is there a piece in your collection that is your favourite or that you are particularly drawn to the most?

This season I designed this shirt jacket that is tailored and zips up the back. I love that particular piece because of the beautiful fabric. The fabric is hand woven in India by artisans, in which their particular textile making is becoming a dying art. I also love the top with the asymmetrical drape and the paneled sleeves and hem. It is easy to wear and flattering for many body types.

Joeleen Torvick

What is next for Joeleen? Are you looking to design a winter or summer collection? Or are you sticking with spring and fall?

I have always focused on designing tops, but for my fall collection you will see a wider range of products. I will be going into dresses, skirts, pants, etc. Although I have only created spring and fall collections, in the future I plan on expanding into resort and pre-fall collections. More than anything I am looking forward to expanding and growing my business overall.

For all the latest with Joeleen Torvick be sure to check out her Twitter and Facebook pages!

This article was written by Jonika. You can follow her @JonikaJun.

Presenting Franco Vernica

Franco Vernica is a Los Angeles based designer best known for his high quality Italian made animal leather accessories, handbags, and mens shoes.  I had the pleasure of getting to know the man behind the designs. What some people might not know about Mr. Vernica, is that he is not only a designer but a doctor as well! It is only fitting that he is a Respiratory Therapist, as his designs are simply a breathe of fresh air.

Presenting Franco Vernica

Passion Never Dies

Franco had always dreamt of becoming a designer but chose to go into medicine first, because it was the path that offered him the ability to be stable and financially well. But his love for fashion never left the depths of his heart from the time he was a young high school art student.  When I asked Franco what pushed him to take the steps to follow his dreams, he said it was not a question of what, but who. That who was his wife, who’s beautiful middle name titled the 2014 Spring Cristina Collection. “She always had such a big passion for fashion and constantly complained about not being able to find the right shoe and dress that fits her correctly. I took that extra step because I wanted my wife to be happy and beautiful and I wanted to bring to all women, that ability to be beautiful but also comfortable.”

Franco’s inspirational perseverance is to be applauded. He is proof that it is never too late to pursue the things you are passionate about.  How does he do it? He says, “It’s a combination of wanting a better life, doing what I enjoy 24 hours a day and a lot of Red Bull!”

Franco Vernica

Spring/Summer Cristina and Luevo Collection

Franco’s Spring Cristina collection is fun and full of colour, while still remaining elegant and classy.  When asked to describe his collection in one word, he answered, “Pepe Le Pew”.

Your spring Cristina collection is fun and bright, while also remaining quite sophisticated and sleek.  What inspirations did you draw from to create this line?

My beautiful loving wife. She is the inspiration behind this collection. My collections are named after the things that I love in life and which inspire me to live.

My favourite piece from the Luevo limited edition bags is the quilted beige leather handbag, what makes this quad of bags so special to you?                                                                                                                      

They are special to me because of the fun that I had taking a Chanel design and putting it in different shapes and sizes with the colours of spring.

Franco Vernica

Plans for the Future

What future aspirations do you have for your brand?

I want to expand my business to Clothing, a Jeans Line, Belts, Sunglasses, Perfumes, a Beauty Line, and much more. My business goal is to one day be where Armani is now. Giorgio Armani showed me that we both have things in common; medicine, and the will to start a fashion label at the age of 40.

What is the thing that makes all this hard work and effort worth it for you?

What makes it worth it is seeing someone with my designs at the end of the day. It completes me! It makes me want to do more.

You are proof that one should never give up on their dreams, what advice do you have for designers just starting out, trying to make a name for themselves?

It’s a long way to rock and roll !! Never give up, believe in yourself, and be prepared to accept failure if you cannot overcome it.

Franco Vernica’s inspirational story should remind us all that the time to follow our dreams is now.  Nothing will be handed to us easily and we too must love what we do 24 hours a day.  That is what life is all about.  Franco’s Limited Edition designs are now available for pre-ordering on the Luevo Website.  The fun, Chanel inspired bags, are perfect for chasing winter away and welcoming a bright and beautiful Summer!

Presenting Franco Vernica

You can follow the multi-talented Franco Vernica on twitter @francovernica.

Visit for more!

Article Written by Angie.  You can follow her on Twitter and Instagram @Unngie.



Talking Skinny Bikini with Aida Takyrbasheva

It is officially spring! This means it is time to shop for shorts, skirts, sandals and all that other good stuff. During winter we work hard in the gym and keep at our diets for this moment. To flaunt our summer body and feel confident in our own skin. While you prepare for that vacation or just for the summer in your city, you begin searching for a bikini that is just right for you. Skinny Bikini is a swimwear line that is sure to embody everything you are looking for in a bikini.

Aida Takyrbasheva and Kelly Mi Li are the founders of Skinny Bikini. A glamorous, daring, sexy and edgy type of fashionista is what they had in mind when they founded the swimwear line. Skinny Bikini is known for their sexy cuts, and their original bold prints and designs. All this and the impeccable fit is why Skinny Bikini has attracted so many women to date. I had the pleasure of speaking with Aida about their line and their new collection, Jet Set Glamour 2014.

Can you tell us briefly about how you got started with Skinny Bikini Swimwear?

For years I have been in search of a perfect bikini that would not only enhance my figure, offer incredible comfort and support target areas, but also be an expression of my individuality, high-fashion taste, and sensual style. Travelling from a young age, has evoked feelings of love and appreciation for a diverse palette of colors, designs, culture, and multi-faceted people. In addition, being raised by such powerful, strong, inspiring women such as my grandmothers and mother allowed me to develop an immense appreciation for beauty, the art of fashion and expressing a personal sense of femininity and uniqueness from the inside out.

Aida from Skinny Bikini

It is with this dream in mind that I have become so passionate about designing my very own line of swimwear. Skinny Bikini represents a confident woman, show-stopping jetsetter with an immeasurable sense of individuality who loves to have fun. A Skinny Bikini customer is daring and edgy, provocative yet elegant, and appreciates a comfortable fit without having to sacrifice a sexy look.

Describe Skinny Bikini. What sets this a part from other swimwear brands?

With our attention to detail, hand crafted precision, unique designs, and dedicated team of employees, we raise the bar for designer swimwear transforming our products into luxurious, sophisticated pieces. Our end products speak for themselves with their “second skin” fit and comfort. At the end of the day, no matter how beautiful a swimsuit is, if it doesn’t fit properly and accentuate a woman’s figure she won’t buy it. Versatility is also a big factor that sets our line a part. Many of our pieces have detachable accessories that are easy to dress up or dress down for a more casual setting.

Skinny Bikini

What’s your design background?

Years of travel, a cosmopolitan lifestyle and admiration for the richness of different cultures have allowed designer AidaTakyrbasheva to experience a fascinating life journey and served as inspiration in founding Skinny Bikini Swimwear. The brand sky rocketed a year into business when partner Kelly Mi Li, a successful entrepreneur, came on board adding great synergy to the established team. The interesting people, treasurable moments of love and exotic places served as a road map to inspiration for the 2014 Jet Set Glamour Collection. This collection is dedicated to bold, confident, unique women who are passionate about life, strong in their sense of individuality, worldly in their outlook, and classy in their etiquette. They aspire to look fabulously luxurious while collecting new experiences on their adventures.

What has helped you come up with some themes for your collections? For example, your From Russia with Love Collection.

I believe that inspiration comes in all shapes and forms if you aspire to inspire. Look around you it is everywhere: it is in the colorful details of a gorgeous sunset, it is in the early blossom of spring flowers,  it is in the experiences and people that you meet when travelling and it is also from within one’s soul.

Our 2013 Collection: “From Russia With Love” is a sneak peek into the ever so rich, bold, extravagant, gaudy world of glamour. There are many layers to the Russian culture due to the abundance and diversity of cultural history. My goal with the new collection was to show our audience the intricate details, powerful colors, and opulent statement pieces that you can rock from the runway to the beach. I also wanted to push the traditional boundaries of the swimwear industry and sex it up a notch!

What’s your favourite type of swimwear to wear? One piece or two piece? colour?

It depends on the occasion and my mood. I believe in dressing for your body and how you feel. Let’s face it we don’t always wake up feeling like a super model ready to strut around the pool. Sometimes we just want to be the girl next door and slip into something more comfortable while lounging at the beach. So it all depends on the day. We’re women and we’re unpredictable, so it’s good to have lots of options!

What do you think the 2014 swimwear trend will be for this summer?

2014 will be about combining different fabrics, textures, and pushing the limits. Lots of geometrical shapes, fun laser cut outs, custom printed fabrics.

I’ve been on some cruises and gone to some pool parties, but I can never find a great outfit to pair with my bikini! In your opinion how do you make your bikini stylish with your whole outfit for a party, the beach or on a cruise?

My advice would be to find 2-3 staple swimsuits of your wardrobe and dress them up with accessories. I’m not big on mixing and matching tops/ bottoms but if you invest in a nice one piece, bandeau bikini and triangle top bikini you are set. Sometimes it’s good to go back to basics and work with your favorite pieces and switch up your cover ups, incorporate hats and other accessories. We have a variety of different styles on that will satisfy all of your fashion needs!

Skinny Bikini

Be sure to keep up to date with Skinny Bikini and connect with them on theirFacebookInstagram,  Twitter and Tumblr!

This interview and blog was written by Jonika. You can follow her @JonikaJun

Bringing the Drama with Ina Soltani

Ina Soltani is a Los Angeles based celebrity designer best known for her flare for dramatics. She has dressed countless household names including Margaret Cho, Katy Perry and Alassandra Ambrosio, just to name a few.  I had the privilege of getting to know Ina and what makes her tick, as well as talk to her about her new Fall/Winter 2014 collection called 2ND SKIN. She recently showcased her new line at Style Fashion Week on March 9th, 2014, and it is as daring and bold as ever, exuding sheer confidence and strength, two characteristics that every woman should  have in my opinion.

Ina Soltani knew she wanted to be a designer as early as she can remember.  She described to me that she “She knew as early as she knew herself.” From the time she was a young girl in Sarajevo Bosnia, she would make little dresses for all her dolls.  Designing was clearly engraved into her mind  from a very tender age.  Her passion has taken her from lovingly dressing little dolls in her room, to confidently dressing  celebrities on red carpets everywhere.  The journey has not been easy of course.  Ina articulated that “She had to build thick skin on criticisms she received, but ultimately she stayed firm and true to her vision, whilst keeping in mind that it was crucial to make her art form a profitable business.”

What was the turning point in your career that made you say “Yes I’ve finally made it”?

The turning point for me was when I was voted as a finalist for the prestigious Rising Star Award by Fashion Group International. This is a family that has honoured Jason Wu, as well as Tory Burch , and it is a family of leading designers in the world. To enter that family was a true honour and a great validation as a designer.

Ina Soltani

Ina Soltani

What inspired you to create this new collection?

This point in my life inspired this collection. It shows a readiness to risk and believe in my choices. Just like the women that will go for it.

How would you describe your process of inspiration? What do you do to keep your ideas fresh and interesting? 

I always say that inspiration and imagination finds me, verses me finding it. I am the explorer, a person that is always intrigued by something new. New culture, new art, new friends, and this is what keeps it all fresh in the expression of oneself.

If you could describe your new collection with one word, what would it be and why? What would you say the overall theme of this collection would be?

Confident. Because it takes a confident woman to exhibit it. It has formfitting, clean lines, it’s daring and it’s leather. The theme and collection is titled 2ND SKIN because that is the way it makes you feel. In regards to this collection, leather is the new cloth.

Ina Soltani

Ina Soltani

You have dressed countless people, from Margaret Cho to Alassandra Ambrosio, who would you say you were most excited to dress in the span of your career?

Margaret was great fun, she is such an attractive woman with a great body. Glamouring her up was absolutely great . Of course working with the diva herself JLo! What a fantastic and stunningly gorgeous woman. And must add Miley Cyrus, she is a great talent and an expressive young lady who looks just perfect in my clothes.

Who would you say would be your dream person to dress (if you have not dressed them already)? Maddona. Madonna is an ICONIC woman of power and originality. She is a risk taker with a distinctive sense of style that is truly memorable and trend setting. This is the epitome of what the Ina Soltani woman should be!

Ina Soltani

Ina Soltani

What are three pieces in your closet that you simply cannot live without?

Comfortable and chic white pumps, a fabulous bag, and my very own INA SOLTANI motorcycle leather jacket.

Apart from designing, what other passions do you have?

Traveling and exploring different cultures and art is my constant inspiration. Film is a definite passion of this life time for me, which I know I’ll revisit sometime soon.

How has your background in Film influenced your design career?

Film is a great outlet of storytelling, which in a way goes hand in hand with fashion. Fashion is the same shape, just a different form. Both are narrative fields, for the original vision to come alive. I  have deep appreciation for film, which has certainly influenced my dramatic and colourful approach to everything I do.

ina soltani

You can follow the dramatic and talented Ina Soltani on Twitter and Instagram @InaSoltani

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Article Written by Angie. You Follow her on Twitter and Instagram @Unngie.

Talking Skinny Bags with Elena Sibiryakova

Creating pieces true to that one person can be real tricky. However, founder and CEO of Skinny Bags Elena Sibiryakova has done just that. Elena has created a small leather bag that women can wear for any occasion. These bags come in different colours and can be customized to add your own personal touch.  She founded the leather hand bag company last year and has since seen it grow into the new year. I had the opportunity to ask Elena a few questions about the company and herself.

Can you tell us how you got started with Skinny Bags?

I’ve always had that idea to run my own company. With Skinny Bags it all got started once my husband and I moved to Los Angeles. We fell in love with the Californian creative spirit, and that’s how we got the idea to create our handbag line. My husband and I combined fashion and engineering experience together to create an outstanding product. I am very happy with the results we have! Every Skinny Bag is a bold statement piece, while very durable, reliable and practical. We are very proud that all our handbags are made in the USA.

Skinny Bags

Why custom leather bags? What intrigues you about a leather bag?

As many other girls, I am obsessed with bags! And I do believe that a high-quality bag is one of the best investments! I mean you can be wearing a simple dress, but once you pair it with a statement, high-end purse, it immediately makes you look more classy and chic! For Skinny Bags we use only genuine leather because the quality is very important for us.

Skinny Bags

What are some of your interests that have helped in the creation of the brand?

Obviously, reading, fashion and travelling! Plus, as I said I have always been a very business-oriented person. Working as a fashion buyer requires a lot of different skills. You are in charge of the whole process of creation, production and sales, starting from the analysis of the trend for the collection till the actual product in the store. All my previous experience helped me a lot while creating Skinny Bags!

Skinny Bags

I read in one of your interviews that because of you being a fashion buyer you had the opportunity to travel to many different places. Can you tell us which place impacted you the most in terms of serving as inspiration for Skinny Bags and your own designs?

While traveling a lot, I was thrilled by how many amazing, beautiful and absolutely unique places are out there. Every place has its own attraction and charm. The same thing with fashion. I feel like many people are getting tired of mass market and fast-fashion products, and they are hunting for something new, rare and unique. But as I said, the biggest inspiration behind Skinny Bags was the city of Los Angeles.

What would be on your custom Skinny Bag?

My Diary is a kind of my own custom bag, because it’s very personal for me. Also, I would probably go with my initials or some sweet nicknames that I got from my husband. I love working on custom Skinny Bags because it’s such a wonderful way to express yourself! At the same time, it is so amazing when men contact me asking to create a custom Skinny Bag for their sweethearts! That is the best one of a kind gift ever. It is very stylish and practical! I should probably share this idea with my husband.

Skinny Bags

What is next for Skinny Bags?

We are currently working on our new collection, which will be all about fresh colors. Also, we are already going worldwide. I am so proud to say that Skinny Bags are is available not only in Los Angeles, but in the very heart of Moscow, Russia. You can find them in the amazing boutique close to Red Square called Podium Market.  We are so also excited about our launch with Luevo, which starts on March 13th. We hope this will help us bring Skinny Bags closer to many fashionistas all over the world.

You can find Skinny Bags here at Luevo on March 13th. Make sure to keep up with them from their Twitter, Instagram , Facebook and the company website.

Let us know what your favourite Skinny Bag is @LuevoFashion

Article written by Jonika. You can follow her @JonikaJun

Up Close with Mika Kari of Black Teal Brick and Steel

Mika Kari is the designer and founder of Black Teal Brick and Steel. I had the pleasure of getting to know her better, and learn about her new collection that recently premiered at Philly Fashion Week. After speaking with Mika, one would be able to see how much love she has for life and for the experiences it brings. It is those two very important factors that help create this line. She founded Black Teal Brick and Steel in 2013 after doing freelance work. Having the freedom to create whatever she imagined is what pushed her to launch BTBS.

Why did you decide to have a designer name and is there any meaning behind the name Mika?

I like to keep my designer persona separate from my personal life. Hence, I go by two different names. My family knows me as Mandee, but the runway calls me Mika Kari. The name “Mika” is Japanese. Japanese street fashion was a world I uncovered in high school, and it was a big part of the reason I became a fashion designer. The culture inspired and intrigued me. I took the name Mika (美 (mi) “beautiful” combined with 香 (ka) “scent”) because my spark for designing began with Japan. I found the name to be fitting.

Black Teal Brick and Steel

How did you start your design journey? 

I started my design journey with my Grandmother when I was very young. She was a factory seamstress, and my love for designing really began with her. She will always be my inspiration. I did go to college, VCU Arts, for fashion design as well, and shortly after graduating I created my brand “Black Teal Brick and Steel.”

Can you tell us a little bit about your new collection? Why did you choose to take it “back to the basics”?

As I see the world around us become more and more complex and difficult, I wanted to be able to bring forth a collection that was simple. A collection that focused only on what was necessary and stripped down designing to its most raw form. It was a new concept for me, and a challenge that I was excited to take on.

Black Teal Brick and Steel

What was your inspiration for this collection? Did the fabrics and colours play a roll in terms of your inspiration and theme?

Raw simplicity inspired me for this spring collection. My inspiration carried straight from the designs into the fabrication and color palette. What says simple better than knits? I wanted to make this collection completely from knit fabrications. I chose ponte knits, viscose knits, and variations of jersey knits to create the entire look. I also wanted to keep the color palette natural, focusing on grey and brown shades. I added a nice pop of coral to the colors, to keep the spring feel for the collection.

Why did you choose to premiere this new collection at Philly Fashion Week?

Philadelphia is a city that I call home. I think it’s a great place with a lot of fashion talent brewing, so I love being a part of the fashion week here. I wanted to stay connected to my roots, so I chose to debut the collection at Philly fashion week this season.

Black Teal Brick and Steel

On your Twitter I saw that you went to a U-Kiss concert. I am also a Kpop and drama fan. I would like to know who you like in the Kpop world? Does their style or the Korean fashion style play a role in your fashion sense and the way you design?

This is so exciting! I love meeting other Kpop fans. The Korean pop culture scene has played a MAJOR role in how I design and see fashion. I really admire how they push the envelope and are always at the forefront of fashion. There are so many people and musical acts in the Kpop world that are very dear to me. Of course Ukiss is my favorite kpop group, but there are many artists that I find to be inspiring. I’ve recently been listening to Vixx a lot more. I love a group that changes concepts and pushes their musical and fashion boundaries. I think Vixx and girl the group After School do that very well. My favorite vocal singer though would have to be K.Will. His voice is fantastic and I listen to his albums often. I have to at least mention Big Bang if we’re talking fashion icons in Korea. They are such a major influence in the Korean fashion scene. The list could go on forever. When I discovered Kpop music 5 years ago, I felt that I had finally found my fashion utopia. Their design aesthetic fit me so perfectly that I know I was born on the wrong side of the globe. Korean fashion and pop culture will continue to fuel my inspiration for designing. Also, watching Korean dramas as I sew helps pass the time. I usually watch an average of 4 seasons of kdramas while sewing my collection every season.

You say you design for women who are culturally conscious. For yourself is there anywhere that you’ve been that has had a big impact on your design aesthetic and why?

I haven’t had many opportunities to travel yet in my life, so I know there will be numerous places in the future that will impact me strongly. If I had to pick somewhere, I would have to say the city where I went to college, Richmond, Virginia. I feel it was there that I had the opportunity to meet so many people of different backgrounds and cultures all in one place. Living in Richmond for 4 years really educated me on other people of the world. Our campus also had a sister school in Qatar, which continuously opened my eyes to new experiences and interactions with people of other cultural backgrounds. I came from a very diverse high school, but it wasn’t until college that I was able to really put the world into perspective.

All photos taken by FBH The Agency. All photos are from the spring  2014 collection of BTBS on the Philly Fashion Week runway.

To learn more about BTBS visit their website and be sure to keep up with Mika on Instagram and Twitter.

Article Written by Jonika. You can follow her at @JonikaJun

Introducing White Space Jewelry

Jewelry can be timeless and meaningful for many. For Khadijah, founder and creator of White Space, she works at creating those pieces for women who are looking for a distinctive yet everlasting look. The growing jewelry line based in Seattle was created by designer Khadijah Fulton in 2012. All the pieces are hand made and designed by Khadijah. With how much love and care she puts into this line one can easily feel that through her designs. I had the chance to ask her a few questions about White Space Jewelry and about her creative process.

Why the name White Space?

I have always had an appreciation and thirst for so many different things creatively that I feel like with my work I’m looking to create the “new” in the spaces in between my inspirations and experiences. I loved that “White Space” has multiple uses (design, tech, business) but in all of those things it’s an element that can be undefined, but is important and essential.  It’s not there, but it’s SO there. I felt that was a fitting way to give a name to the type of jewelry I was making.

I find it very interesting that you studied metal smith work. Is that something you took interest in when you decided to design jewelry or before?

I’ve designed jewelry with beads and stones as a hobby for years, but never had the time to really delve deep into metalwork until I was out of the corporate grind. I always found it interesting from a distance, but it wasn’t until I had a little break after the birth of my son that I was able to pour all of my creative energies into developing a whole new skill set with tools and materials that are so different from what I’d worked with in the past.



Has the birth of your son changed your design aesthetic? If so, in what way?

It has given me yet another opportunity to connect with other women, made me appreciate that shared experience of motherhood and all the craziness that goes along with it.  You are still who you were, but you’re also forever changed.  You never have enough time and you need quality pieces that can really move with you through that aforementioned craziness while still highlighting your beauty and individuality. So it has pushed me in a cleaner, more minimal direction that is just as focused on versatility as uniqueness.

How was it making that transition from clothing designer to designing jewelry for your own line?

I’ve learned that clarifying your individual creative voice and being an entrepreneur is one of the most challenging and rewarding things one can do. It will expose every little quirk you have (good and bad). The learning curve is immense, but what you discover about yourself and how you stretch yourself and connect with others in the process is priceless.  In terms of moving from apparel to jewelry, I am always learning new techniques from masters of the craft and people I work with who have deep wells of knowledge about gemology and metalsmithing.  That aspect is so exciting – I’m constantly learning new skills, which keeps every day interesting, but I also enjoy the freshness I bring to it by not being bound by traditional “rules” of making jewelry.


You’ve said your goal with this jewelry line is to create clean pieces that embrace the power of subtlety. Do any of your jewelry designs have another meaning? Or is it solely designed out of simplicity? 

There are some pieces for which the symbolism of shape comes into play, for example, in my diamond pendant series, the tusks derive from the gentle strength of elephants, and also the belief in them as a symbol of good luck that was instilled in me by the women in my family.  Also, the pendulum speaks to ancient shapes that can be found in African and Peruvian goldsmithing, and the full and half moon pendants echo the lunar phases – all things celestial are endlessly fascinating.  But for the most part I like to explore shape and textural interaction more so than representative symbolism.

SS-lg-tusk-diam-stone-1 INFINITY_RING_BLACK_GOLD


With there being such a high demand for big and flashy jewelry designs what do you feel makes your line stand out?

I make jewelry for women like myself – we’re not as drawn to the big flash, and more to quality of materials and the quietly interesting; pieces that help us broadcast our individuality to the world with a distinctive elegance that prompts a second or third look, a “where did you get that?”, a little unexpected visceral pleasure for ourselves and those around us. 

To learn more about the line or see many more of these amazing pieces go to the White Space’s website or the  White Space Facebook page

Article Written by Jonika. You can follow her at @JonikaJun