My mom and I had our first glimpse today of how our collaboration on my photography could look…
And it looks awesome.
We have similar taste, yet different approaches to it and ideas and perspectives for it, so, working together is easy, yet always unique and filled with wonderful ideas neither of us would have gotten on our own, and that most people never consider.
We have a few foundational bits now, after today’s collaboration, going through clothing and fabrics, and I am confident that we can make this happen… very well, and somewhat soon.
I have a lot of the teaching work I kind of need to do at the moment, but my efficiency there is improving significantly by the day or two, so I’ll be able to put time and mental a leggier and physical effort into the photos my mom and I will be crating together in collaboration.
To this day, I remember Kristin L— in the bathroom at middle school, saying that the ideal roll for a t-shirt sleeve was two rolls up…
To this day, I still agree with her…
And I think of her just about every time I roll or consider rolling my t-shirt sleeves…
And, every time I think of her in this scenario, I have a fleeting moment of physical memory of my nervousness, my sense of not-quite-adequacy I always had around her… I envied her, and, at times, longed to be her (she, of course)… I watched her, observed her, taking in the lessons.
What did I love so much about her?
Well, she was somewhat popular, but it wasn’t so much that as the qualities and attributes that made her popular that had me longing most.
I eventually became a world champion dancer (yes, I have an actual world title).
She did the French tuck with her t-shirts, and rolled the sleeves up twice, always looking fabulous.
I now do that when I feel like with my t-shirts (instead of being too scared of declared to be “copying”, and then not doing it st all).
She wore bras that looked feminine.
I eventually got there, but have found my own version of balancing feminine with natural and with comfortable.
She was confident in life (mostly, anyway… an air of general confidence, we’ll say).
I am comfortable in who I am, and am generally confident in myself and about life as a whole (though the rough bits get to me at times).
She had a Jeep destined to her, horses to visit, and a determined location for college.
I had lots of openness and no-idea-ness for my far future, and kind of still do…, but I embrace it as a dream board to collage nowadays… and I’ve been interning with horses, learning to care for and ride them, too…
All of this made her gorgeous in my eyes.
The comfortable self-confidence projects radiance from my own eyes, and I find myself staring at smiling me in the mirror on many of the good days, and even on some of the not-too-good ones… the rest of my accomplishments have little to do with the beauty I see and admire in myself.
Yet, there is still something about her that makes my insides feel clenchy and hollow and longing, whenever I think about her or her life at present… I still little girl style long to be more like her (she)… to be her (she)… even though I know I want to be myself… that little girl still longs for something unsatisfied in the relationship, it seems, and I’m not sure what it is…
Perhaps I could write her a letter, read it aloud, as though to her (but not actually to her), and then let it all go… perhaps that would handle it all for me.
Yes, I think I’ll give that a go next week (because I still have final papers for this week to do).
Located at 227 5th Avenue in Brooklyn, New York, is a little shop by the name of St. Hrouda. Walking inside, one will find a combination boutique / art gallery, managed by the fashion extraordinaire Nicole Bell. St. Hrouda’s walls are chicly lined with art and clothing from local artists and brands, including, my particular favorite, those made and designed by Nicole Bell herself.
Though I was in Brooklyn this past July, I have not yet seen this wonderful boutique/art gallery, because it has only recently opened its doors. When Nicole first took over the space this fall, it was a somewhat drab and old-looking little shop. Within weeks, she and her father, through their combined genius, had put together one of the most classy spaces I’ve ever seen (even in photographs). The before and after photos of the space showed how true a transformation had taken place, and they actually had me wanting to jump up and down to celebrate the amazing results. It is now the bea-U-tiful space of St. Hrouda, named for Nicole’s grandmother, and housing brands from New York, Australia, Denmark, Mexico, Paris, London, and LA, while featuring, of course, Nicole Bell. And the gallery portion of St. Hrouda displays art by local New York artists (including, again, art by Nicole Bell herself), all for sale.
On a regular basis, Nicole hosts a ladies’ night at St. Hrouda – from which I always see photos of wine and fabulous personal styling sessions (Think of what Becky Bloomwood does with her customers in the Sophie Kinsella novels) – as well as a variety of other events and pop-up shops/parties to help integrate St. Hrouda into the beautiful community surrounding it.
Now, let’s talk for just a minute about the amazing, spectacularly inspired fashionista behind it all: Nicole Bell. I recently had the opportunity to visit and interview Nicole in her work studio in Brooklyn, just weeks before she began work on opening St. Hrouda. Nicole is From Houston, Texas, and, only a handful of years ago, founded her fashion brand Nicole Bell. Nicole herself is a goofy yet stylishly sassy woman who is taking on the world with long legs and big, brave strides. She never fails to put a smile on my face when I am with her, and her determined outer self never hides the truth of what it really takes to be successful in fashion – life is hard, and making it in fashion is even harder.
Nevertheless, fashion is her passion, and so she is going for it with all she’s got (and then some she’s still figuring out)!
Every time I see a Nicole Bell outfit, my inner Lady Gaga whoops with joy and longing – Ooooh! I want! I want! it always seems to shout, over and over, not unlike a little kid begging for ice cream. Nicole’s designs are impeccable and utterly breathtaking on the powerhouse female front. When I picture my BA* self taking on the world in heels, she’s wearing Nicole Bell. And the world is looking on in awestruck astonishment. 🙂
Do yourself a favor, and give my interview with Nicole Bell a listen. I learned so much about the fashion world, as well as how Nicole comes up with her individual designs and collections/lines. Her sense of gratitude to those who have contributed to her journey thus far – as well as those who continue to contribute and show their support – is clear, as well as her almost unreal dedication to sharing her eye and inspiration with the world through fashion, despite the many, many hardships that have come with her endeavors and that still lie ahead. Nicole does not have it all figured out, and that is just part of the beauty of exploration involved in furthering her passion for fashion.
The talk these days is all about getting to know the people behind our food and our clothing – Buy local is a regular mantra (alongside Know your farmer and Made in the USA, in efforts to support quality products and fair trade, respectively). The woman behind this shop and clothing line is definitely worth getting to know. Especially if you’re in the New York area, give Nicole Bell a solid look – she is local and well worth the visit. And, even if you aren’t in the area, look her up anyway – she’s that good.
When you find yourself interested in learning about the glories, trials, and tribulations of pursuing a love of and passion for fashion, give our interview a listen. If you missed the link above, click here to listen to the interview I did with Nicole!
Definitely check out (and follow) her Instagram accounts for St. Hrouda (@st.hrouda) and Nicole Bell (@nicolebelldesigns) – the photos and videos on there inspire me just about every day.
It isn’t often that I hear an old man comment on clothing, – other than it being related to how impractical this or that might be – but the old men usually make it count whenever they do comment on an outfit.
Tonight, leaving the classroom, the professor asks me if my skirt is made out of coat-ties.
I tell him that it is and that my mom and I made it.
With big nods and a big grin, he tells me how he thought so, because, well, it’s one of the ones in the back part, yes that one there – he owns that tie… he has that same one!
I was totally tickled by it, and he was delighted at having recognized them as ties (because we removed the back seams and opened each of them up, making them double the width), and so we both just chuckled along the hallway on our ways out, delighting in the small world that involved my skirt. 😛
After writing about Stromae the other night, I looked up to see if he had any tour dates in the US anytime soon. Unfortunately, he does not. However, I discovered that lots of his efforts have gone into his clothing brand lately, and that the brand is spectacular. All of the clothes are unisex and super cool, are fair-trade, are made in Europe, have an emphasis on sustainable/organic fibers and eco-friendly sewing tactics (to waste as little cloth as possible), and are in limited numbers. (The last part means that only a certain number, say 25, for example, are made of any one item. So, for a t-shirt, there would be 4 XS, 6 S, 6 M, 5 L, and 4 XL made, and that’s it. Once they are sold out, there are no more of that particular t-shirt made again.) They also include a chart on the cost of production for many items, detailing how much money it actually costs to produce that specific item, thereby explaining why an item is being sold for its specific price.
Check it out. Here’s the page all about their being an awesomely responsible company, from which you can click to the shopping area to see the awesome clothes, and here’s the page for the company as a whole, which is more than just a clothing brand – check out their About page found on that one.
I just wish I lived a life where it would be practical and affordable for me to get the cardigan 7, which is a sweater I loved when I first saw it in one of Stromae’s interviews (actually, the one I linked here the other night!). The sweater was cool in and of itself, but it was made even cooler by the fact that Stromae himself actually wore it. Alas, I do not live such a life (and am instead barely getting by financially as a crazy person doing full-time grad school and part-time-ish work), so the cardigans will go to those who do live such lives. 😛
I am the epitome of sliced white bread, as I enter campus.I have on my dance top and shorts and my hipster tie-dye Oakley sunglasses.I am eating a Trader Joe’s snack bar and holding a large bottle of cold Trader Joe’s electrolyte water, and am walking with a cool green backpack on my back, and my dirty blonde hair in a messy bun on top of my head.
Two black guys are walking towards me.The larger of the two, a very large and very dark guy, asks me how I’m doing and what I do here.I tell him that I go to school.He asks if I do any sports or anything, because I look like I do long-distance running; I look very thin and fit.I say that I did.He says that ‘you see there, I was right – you look like it’.I notice that I’m also wearing running shoes – the ones I used to wear for all my walking and bike riding at my Japan job – and that I haven’t just been doing exercise, despite my complete outfit for it.He hands me a flyer while saying that they hope I can join them on the 20th, and then I continue onward.Based on the flyer, it looks like some sort of DJ dance party with stereotypical black advertising and expected attendees. Not that I’m opposed to the party, but I’m not exactly the target audience of the flyer, making it surprising that this guy would have stopped to invite me…I mean, did he see me? Again, not opposed to it. I’m in full support of it. I’m just a little surprised by it. However, I recall that this is a college campus, so they’re probably inviting just about any girl they can find (who doesn’t look like a total nerd, that is), and my surprise lessens significantly.
After a few hundred yards of walking onward, I see what I originally think is a dead snake on the ground.As I approach it, I see that it is a strand of weave, of false hair. A gurgling chuckle rises within me. This is definitely not my typical territory, and I feel as though my thoughts of being stereotypical white bread have just been proven by my surroundings of very much black culture – not to mention the fact that almost everyone I can see is black to some degree – showing up in stark contrast to me.
And then I remember that I also am wearing a drape-y scarf, despite the fact that it is still technically summertime.I’m even more white bread than I had thought.