If you feel like the cold temperatures and all the coats and layers cramp your personal style. There’s a scarf for that. Need a little inspiration for how to wear your scarves. Our Design Assistant, Rachell, has pulled together a few easy, 4-step scarf tutorials to get you through the rest of the week.
“It’s about time,” I thought when I saw the media coverage late last year of style icons, First Lady, Michelle Obama, and the Duchess of Cambridge, Kate Middleton each wearing the same dress more than once. Now that it’s deemed acceptable for the First Lady and royalty to get caught wearing the same thing twice, I guess I can keep wearing my skirt.
But since we are counting…I wore my black swing skirt 100 days last year.
This was an exercise in thoughtful consumption, where I practiced living with less clothing in my own closet. I wanted to demonstrate that by making focused choices, personal style doesn’t have to suffer. I didn’t wear the skirt 100 times with the tops and accessories to make 100 completely new and different outfits. Instead, I built a wardrobe that would work around my skirt. Throughout the year I introduced a few new interesting pieces, like my recent favorites, a vintage leather jacket from neighboring business, The Spotted Magpie, and a new pair of kicks from Cincinnati based, stylish, eco-shoe designer Alisha Budkie, but mostly with items I carry at Substance.
This challenge was to live the Substance tag line and wear the clothes I keep.
I’ll admit there were weeks here and there that I wanted nothing to do with that skirt but then inspiration would come my way, like an energizing conversation with a customer. One in particular is Meredith , who shared with me her own commitment to thoughtful consumption. She and her whole family had downsized their living space and were following Project 333, a much more extreme challenge than 100 days in my skirt. It involves an expertly edited closet, 33 items to be exact. I am overjoyed that Meredith has chosen Substance for many of the items in her wardrobe.
I learned a lot last year about what pieces in my wardrobe did the heavy lifting. Almost all of my go-tos were from sustainable designers and lines we’ve carried for years at Substance. I love sharing my honest experience with our product so feel free to email, call, or come visit me with questions or comments about anything from the store that you may own or want to add to your wardrobe.
We’d also like to hear from any of you who may have embarked on your own 100 Day Challenge last year. Let us know how it went for you.
Here are pics of me in five of my favorite and most frequently repeated swing skirt ensembles.
Our design team has been busy assembling an assortment of hand loomed cotton clutch style handbags. These statement bags are not to be reserved for evening but shown off in the light of day. We are loving the artful color combinations with epic texture created from re-purposed cotton tee shirt knit. This collection unveils December 20th.
What happens on Main Street…
…doesn’t stay on Main Street. It ripples across our community and grows our economy. Every dollar you spend at a locally-owned business generates approximately three times more economic activity than a dollar spent at the typical “big-box.” Plus, the experience you have shopping with independent local merchants is profoundly better than lining up for “door-busters” on Thanksgiving at the mall. Wouldn’t you rather avoid crushing lines while making gift purchases for your loved ones?
Substance is proud to have locations in two exciting Ohio neighborhoods, Columbus’ Short North Arts District and Cincinnati’s Over-the-Rhine. We are proud to be in two great Ohio cities and even more proud to have more product than ever made locally by some of the coolest artists in Columbus and Cincinnati.
In Ohio We Style. We design, we produce and we contribute to a better economy.
Get out your calendars. Here’s a jam packed list of cool events and specials happening in and around Substance locations throughout the holiday shopping season.
Saturday, November 17th: Cincinnati Unchained – For this event Substance, OTR will offer $10 off any purchase of $50 or more.
To help celebrate Cincinnati Unchained, local businesses from around Greater Cincinnati are offering special one day only deals on November 17th. In addition to these specials, neighborhood businesses will be giving away gift baskets filled with goodies from participating local businesses. All you need to do to enter to win is visit local businesses throughout the day. For more info check out: http://www.buycincy.com/cincinnati-unchained/
Saturday, November 24th: Small Business Saturday
Get a $25 statement credit on your eligible American Express card when you use your card to shop small businesses on Small Business Saturday. For more information about qualifying small business locations, visit ShopSmall.com.
Saturday, November 24th: Bazaar in OTR, 1420 Main Street & 1416 Main Street, Cincinnati, hosted by the Spotted Magpie (just across the street from Substance in Cincinnati)
Join artists, crafters and vendors for the first Bazaar in OTR – Holiday Gift Market. Shop local on Saturday, November 24 from 10am – 5pm on Main Street in Cincinnati, Ohio.
Final Friday, November 30: OTR-a-Glow Kick-off
Join us for the Over-the-Rhine holiday event of the season! December 1-7, between 5:30-10:00pm participants will set the windows of OTR AGLOW with creative displays. For more info check out http://www.otraglow.com/
Saturday, December 1st: Holiday Hop in the Short North Arts District, Columbus – Substance In Ohio We Style kick-off event 4-10pm
This event marks our first in a series of in-store events to promote high quality, high style, locally made product. Meet the artists and enjoy shopping on a special night with refreshments, music, FREE gift wrap and excellent service to help you find gifts for all the folks on your list.
Saturday & Sunday, December 1-2nd, Main Street Stroll and Shop in OTR, Cincinnati
Main Street merchants roll out the red carpet, complete with St. Nick.
Sunday, December 16th: Substance OTR in Cincinnati - In Ohio We Style event from 2-5pm
This event marks our first in a series of in-store events in our Cincinnati location to promote high quality, high style, locally made product. Meet the artists and enjoy shopping on a special night with refreshments, music, FREE gift wrap and excellent service to help you find gifts for all the folks on your list.
Thursday, December 20th: Substance Designlab Collection™ unveiling event, both Substance locations from 5 till 8pm.
We’ve saved the best for last. Our designers have been hard at work on this last collection of the year with pieces to wow her this holiday. From 5-8p, stop by to check out the new collection made here in the store and enjoy refreshments in a relaxed shopping environment. We’ll be open later December 20th thru the 22nd, until 8pm, to help you with all of your last minute gift shopping for her.
We are grinning from ear to ear about this spotlight because this collection is designed and produced by our own beautiful and uber-talented, Columbus Store Manager, Madeleine Etter. Her collection, Phyllis + Hazel, is a modern and unpredictable handcrafted jewelry line that’s infused with bold color and good material mixes yet it’s infinitely wearable. You can check out the entire collection on our website.
Maddie, as we know her, first came to work with us as an intern while completing her Fashion Design degree at the Columbus College of Art and Design. We are thrilled she’s back and thought we’d take this opportunity to feature an interview with Maddie about her design process for creating Phyllis + Hazel.
With formal training and a degree in fashion design, what motivated you to design jewelry over apparel?
I’ve always made jewelry. With creative parents, I grew up painting, drawing, sculpting and sewing. My mother worked at a jewelry store for nearly my whole life so she led my creative pursuits in that direction. When I was at summer camp I learned to macramé as many of us did. I started with basic beading and pearl stringing techniques. My mom showed me how to finish things professionally with clasps and hardware and taught me how important keeping an inventory was. I began selling my work at age 11. When I began school at CCAD, jewelry took a backseat for a while as I worked to develop other skill-sets. My senior year I took a course in metal working and recently picked up the craft again at the Cultural Arts Center. This has allowed me to incorporate metal working into my pieces as well as beading and fiber art.
What inspired the name Phyllis + Hazel for your line?
Phyllis + Hazel were my guinea pigs in college. I’ve never liked the idea of just tagging items with my name. It just didn’t feel right. My boyfriend suggested I name it after the pigs and it stuck. Phyllis has since passed away but Hazel is pushing 6 years old now. We now have Agnus as well.
Who is your favorite style icon and why?
I don’t really have a favorite style icon. There are many designers I admire, like Vivienne Westwood, the mother of Punk fashion, the late Isabella Blow and her close friend Alexander McQueen, and up-and-coming designer Charlotte Taylor, whose sense of color and pattern is inspiring. The reason that I went into fashion design was because as a teenager, I couldn’t find anything off the rack that I liked. There still isn’t any one label or brand that never fails me in some way but there are so many inspiring people out there that it is nice to be able to pick and choose.
How do you begin your design process and what inspires you to start crafting each new piece?
I’ve been hoarding supplies since I was probably 6 years old. I recently went through everything I had and got rid of bags of beads that I couldn’t envision becoming jewelry. When I decided I wanted to get serious about selling my work, I restocked and bought a lot of new supplies. I spread everything out all over the floor before I start making jewelry. I have to be able to see everything so if there is a necklace that needs a certain kind of bead or embellishment I can find it. Typically, I really have to be in the mood to make something. I can’t force myself to make jewelry unless I’m restocking on a style I’ve already designed. I also rarely sketch. I wish that I still did, I just don’t’ find it useful anymore. I like to work everything out in my head and get started. The idea is either there or it isn’t for me.
“Frock Ink,” our next Design Lab Collection™ will be unveiling in stores and online on October 2nd!
If you’ve been in our Columbus store in the last few weeks you may have seen our design team hard at work repurposing soft, brushed cotton shirting for our next collection. They’ve used paint and found objects to create modern abstract prints on chic little tie waist shifts.
We can’t wait to see you here.
After signing the official lease on our second Substance storefront in June, my team and I exercised forgotten muscles as we scrubbed and applied several gallons of white paint to the hundred-year-old walls of 1435 Main Street, in Over the Rhine, Cincinnati. In July, we wrestled with a clunky new Point of Sale system that, despite the complimentary tech support, was determined to give us headaches. But now it’s August: we’re stocked, we’re staffed, and we’re ready for you.
I can’t wait to see you here.
I had forgotten how humbling the hard work of opening a store front can be. I’ve been building this business for ten years, and while the work at times has been mentally and physically exhausting, it’s work I love, and my dreams and visions for what this business will become thrill and inspire me to get out of bed every day to work harder. The reward comes from the support around me: my family I cherish, who so often see less of me than the store does, and the community of Cincinnati, who has offered a wealth of helping hands. I’ve received an overwhelmingly warm welcome from the residents and business community here in Over the Rhine.
They can’t wait to see you here.
Thursday, August 16th marks a celebration of Substance in Cincinnati, but it signifies, for me, so much more: a moment to give thanks to everyone who has contributed to all that Substance has accomplished, and an opportunity to welcome you to Over the Rhine, a community that Substance is honored to join. Our beautiful second location occupies the ground floor of a building erected in 1900, From our two giant bay windows on Main we get to greet and meet the many residents that reside all around us.
We’ll sip wine, nibble treats and be entertained by popular, local jazz guitarist, Benjamin Thomas. All the while enjoy after hours shopping with special pricing on our newest fall arrivals. There’s more… You’ll have the opportunity to meet an inspiring Cincinnati based jewelry artist I’ve met. Molly Sullivan will be showing “metalbark,” her handmade collection that combines natural elements with industrial ones to create unique, primarily re-purposed and exceptionally wearable art.
Join us Thursday, August 16th from 5 till 8pm.
We can’t wait to see you here.
We’ve taken inspiration for our next collection directly from one of nature’s best-dressed.
We’re transforming soft cotton tees into one-of-a-kind little black dresses, each embellished with a unique interpretation of the breathtaking graphic patterns and colors that occur on butterfly wings. Only 10 dresses in all, so don’t miss it! This collection unveils on line and in stores Tuesday, July 24th.
In the fall of 2010, there were two new arrivals in the Substance shop, me, and the line Feral Childe. A rapturous post by (recently published!) Cate illustrates our excitement with the then-new line. It wasn’t a passing fancy: Christina still rocks the Gamma Shift every so often, and in the fall of 2011, I wrote about our deepening admiration for the eco-chic line. This spring brought their bright and innovative spring collection, The Aquaknots, to our storefront — and to me it brought the great pleasure of interviewing the talented ladies behind Feral Childe.
Many thanks to Alice Wu and Moriah Carlson for their inspiring words and gorgeous creations!
What three words would you use to describe Feral Childe?
Printastic! Optimistic! Futurific!
What garments do you find yourself favoring, both in your collections and in your own wardrobes? What elements or details set these pieces apart from the rest? Care to divulge what your all-time favorite pieces are?
Moriah: Our Shoal Shift in black Cupro is going to win for year-round wardrobe staple because you can layer it with a slim tee like our Radio or Rabbits Tee, but go sleeveless for summer. I like to wear Tidal Dress with our Finlandia Jean and will see how far I get into the summer months before it just gets too hot! The Cupro is a mill-end fabric and has a bit of a fishnet-like texture to it, which is in keeping with our Spring 2012 Collection’s undersea theme. The vertical seaming detail has a lengthening effect, and wraps into a cap sleeve. You have to really look at it to figure out how it’s put together. Another go-to piece is the Feral Childe Admiral’s Jacket — we do a version of a blazer every season. Admiral’s Jacket comes in an Italian glazed linen or Hempcel (a blend of Hemp and Tencel). The Jacket is unstructured with smart, tailored details that keep it slim looking. Great for travel, chilly nights or a super AC’d office.
Alice: I like to mix things up, so when I’m not in head-to-toe Feral Childe I love to see how many outfits I can build around my latest find. I got these amazing navy blue Japanese bloomers. In the fall/winter months, I wore them with our Radio Tee or Rabbits Tee tucked in, topped with our Berlioz Blazer and a neckerchief. Plus knee highs and ankle boots. It’s my Little Lord Fauntleroy look. We worked hard to perfect the fit of our Blazer — it’s waist-defining, always a different shaping detail on the lapel, and a great lining fabric or seam binding with our print. The construction and finishings are the toughest design decisions to make but these are the details people wind up loving. And we always want to make the buttons fun — for the past several seasons, we’ve been using tagua buttons etched with our drawings — you might get a rabbit, a face or harp on your jacket; you never know! Anyway, this spring, I’m obsessed with the nerdy sailorette look: I tuck in our Shrimper Tee into the same bloomers. Goes great with our Spring 2010 Pocket Cardigan. Socks again, plus some clog-style loafers.
One of my all-time favorite pieces is a sample from our Fall 2007 Collection “Canadian Alphabet.” We made a men’s version of our denim houndstooth-printed Moto Jacket. It’s lined in fleece, has a stand-up collar with resin log-shaped beads we made. The jacket is slouchy and oversized, and goes with everything. I also really get a kick out of making outfits combining pieces from all different collections we’ve done over the years.
I’ve read in various sources that your careers are based in a studio art background. Do you feel that this influence is what sets you apart from other designers? How does it affect your day-to-day process, as well as your long term goals?
Our design process has always been influenced by our art background. While we’re meeting more and more individual fashion designers who come from fine arts as well, we haven’t met many design duos in which both partners have the art background as we do. We collaborate on every design decision, which in itself is a challenge we find intellectually exciting. All the artistic disciplines we started out doing individually — drawing, painting, printmaking, sculpture, performance, photography, and so on — have taken on important roles in Feral Childe, from the textile designs to the shapes and garment construction details we are known for, to the branding and marketing materials that help get the product out into the world.
From the start, we shared similar aesthetic interests and the philosophy of exploiting the possibilities of whatever materials happen to be available. In the artist’s studio, we were always improvising. As designers, we want to take something and make it better (i.e., what would make for an interesting jacket?). A large part of our design conversations involve editing, paring down something to its most essential elements. We make all of these decisions as a team. The Feral Childe look has everything to do with creating a particular voice that is ever-evolving, ever-changing.
Here at Substance, sustainability and thoughtful production are as important to us as beautiful design. We know this is a priority for you as well — can you tell us about the most effective or exciting measures you have taken to make ethical garments?
Community-building has been key. Without our network of suppliers, contractors, designer colleagues, and the retailers who support us, it would be impossible to source more sustainable fabrics, find reputable service providers to work with and reach our customers so we can keep doing what we do! Our relationships have saved us in a pinch when fabric has run out or a factory has closed, enabled us to travel the world and reach new audiences, and given us so many opportunities that we couldn’t have even imagined when we started out. Using sustainable fabrics, paying fair wages, producing locally, and avoiding waste are all important aspects of ethical production, but we also believe taking an active role in sharing resources to support those around us can be one of the most effective ways to make more ethical garments.
What icon, past, present, real or fictional, would you most like to dress in your creations?
Toughie. So many women, so little time. Maybe we’d start with Madame de Pompadour. Patti Smith. Alice B. Toklas.
In a subsequent email, Alice asked me to add Jo March to that fantastic list. Having read Little Women over a dozen times since I first picked it up at the age of 9, that will probably go down in history as my all-time favorite postscript. Thanks again, ladies — we can’t wait to see what you create next fall!
A couple of weeks ago two of my favorite topics, food and fashion, came together in a panel at the Ohio State University, featuring an energizing discussion on how we define sustainable consumption. I was honored to speak among the many intelligent and inspiring people gathered there from the Columbus food and sustainable fashion scene. Preparing for the panel was an opportunity for me to brush up on some alarming statistics on the environmental impact of our industry. The most concerning fact I found? That for every U. S. citizen, 68 pounds of clothing is thrown away every year.
The thought of so much unwanted apparel adding to the textile waste that occupies our landfills and pollutes our planet is exponentially troubling given the countless alternatives available when it comes to discarding–or updating—the items in your closet.
“We sell the clothes you keep.”
Four years ago at Substance we adopted this as our motto and we’ve been saying it ever since. While we do work hard to honor that pledge by offering interesting fashion and helping our customers to thoughtfully build their wardrobes, we know that individual tastes and waist lines change and that no garment lasts forever. That said, you can clean out your closet and honor our planet this Earth Day by trying these 5 great alternatives to throwing away your unwanted clothing:
1. Make friends with the earth by making friends with a seamstress! Get your not-quite-right clothing altered so you love the way it looks and feels on you. For Columbusites, we recommend the alterations expertise of Elizabeth Ashleigh Designs.
2. Redesign or repurpose your garment into a piece that’s as unique as you are. Something as easy as our 3 step redesign idea can give fabulous new life to an old tee.
3. Donate gently used clothing to good causes. Locally we love Dress for Success, which provides suits for job interviews to low-income and disadvantaged women, and there are many great chapters nationwide.
4. Resell your items to local consignment shops. It’s are a great way to keep clothing out of landfills and make a little money at the same time. Your old duds may be a bargain-hunter’s next treasure!
5. When you shop for new clothes, shop with purpose. Look for wardrobe pieces that you know you’ll wear more than once. Challenge yourself to wear what you buy more often—I recently started my own 100 Day Challenge, in which I set out to wear my swing skirt 100 times this coming year. Crafting so many outfits around one piece is a great way to evaluate what’s important to you in your clothing, and the kinds of things that will last you a long time, saving you major headaches in the dressing room!
Help us celebrate this Earth Day 2012 by sharing these tips, and together we’ll help next year’s statistics look a lot more stylish!