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5 Amazing Finds Under $50 from Supermarket, the New Etsy

25 Sep

Watch your back, Etsy, there’s another website featuring arts and crafts products by independent designers, and it’s called Supermarket.

While Supermarket doesn’t yet have the range of products or designers using their site that Etsy does, it’s well worth the browsing time. Items are split into three main divisions: “wear + carry” (clothing, accessories, etc.), “space + place” (home goods, etc.), and “paper + prints” (stationary and posters). Unlike Etsy, there isn’t a “Vintage” category, so most products are home-made, though many from recycled materials. You can search by key word or designer, or sort by “Newest,” “Most popular,” or “Most comments.” To purchase anything, you’ll need to set up an account first.

Here are 5 amazing finds under $50 that we found on Supermarket:

Check out Tamé, the design label of a Montreal based craftswoman, for their eclectic leather knot necklaces that have been featured in Real Simple. Their signature design comes in different colors or multi-color combinations, but we like the versatile black option below.  A great deal for only $30 .

We love the life-like detailing of this delicate small hydrangea flower necklace, from Boston-based designer Twigs and Heather. Cast in silver from an actual flower, it has an interesting history behind its design. As the designer explains on Twigs and Heather’s Supermarket page, “My twin Kerry loves these plants. She nurtures them and they grow beautifully. I wanted to cast one for her and I am thrilled with the results.” It’s these unique stories that make Etsy and Supermarket products so meaningful.  For only $45, this sweet and petite necklace would make a great gift or stocking stuffer. The price tag even includes the sterling silver chain, shown below.

Looking for something with minimal, streamlined design? Check out this $32 threaded moonstone necklace, from Austin, Texas designer Anne Kiel.  Hanging from a wire so thin it’s almost invisible, this natural faceted moonstone adds visual interest right at your throat. Bella, I think this necklace is for you.

How about an accessory that’s functional? Look no further than this $38 “Spare Pocket” by Po Campo, based out of Chicago. Designed with bikers in mind, this product is made out of water-resistant fabric and cinches around your ankle, arms, or bike bars to provide you with “just enough room for the necessities, with reflectivity to get you noticed.” We love this product but, Po Campo, we have to point out: no way is anyone going biking in red heels!

Finally, with chilly fall weather around the corner, we love this $32 hand crotched “Smugglers” neck warmer in Spice from Pittsburgh designer Nina Ramone. Made from a mixture of lambs wool and acrylic yarn, Ramone guarantees it’s “always soft, never scratchy.” The warm Spice color feels perfect for autumn, but if you don’t agree you can customize your order in any one of a dozen plus available shades (see below).

What Does Birth Control have to do with Shoes? Ask Designer Martha Davis.

9 Aug

Credit: Paul Chinn

You may not know the name Martha Davis yet. But, you probably know her design.

Before making the leap into shoes, Davis, who studied sculpture as a grad student at the Rhode Island School of Design, spent the past twenty years making a name for herself in the industrial design world. She built an award-winning career working on design projects for clients like Coca Cola, Sony, and Alessi. Even though many women aren’t familiar with her name, they know her work; Davis is behind the innovative redesign of the Dialpak birth control packaging for Johnson and Johnson’s Ortho-McNeil Pharmaceutical. Ten years ago, Ortho had 11 oral contraceptives, but Davis was able to design one universal package for all the brands that is refillable and recyclable, saving billions of pounds of plastic and making birth control more accessible and easier to use for many women.

So, long story short, Davis had a successful career. But, something was missing. Shoes, to be specific. That’s right–in 2005, Davis realized she couldn’t find a pair of shoes that were both comfortable and beautiful anywhere. This frustration ultimately led her to enroll at Milan’s Ars Sutoria in 2007, where she spent a year mastering the art of Italian shoe-making. Immediately Davis realized that footwear was a perfect fit for her, as it combined the challenge of functionality with creative sculptural possibilities. She launched her own line of sculptural shoes and boot in 2008, and it has been generating buzz ever since.

These #23 strappy leather sandals with wooden heels, a signature piece in Davis' latest collection, are on sale for $235 at GimmeShoes (originally priced at $588).

I like the unexpected factor in Davis’ designs. Whether it’s proportions, structure, or materials, I find myself drawn to the part of her designs that are “off” in a good way. For example, the positioning of the wooden heels in Davis’ #23 strappy sandals (picture above) makes me think of the wooden legs of an armchair chair. With the zip up back these shoes have a very industrial meets organic feel.

These emerald green peep toe booties are also on sale for $223 at GimmeShoes.

The peep toe cut-outs in these booties are another example of how Davis likes to break the rules. While these cut-outs are very feminine, Davis’ indented wooden heel again evoke a more masculine, functional feeling of an armchair’s wooden legs.

Here’s another example of Davis playing with cutouts, as well as color blocking, to bring visual interest to sandals:

I like Davis’ color blocking strategy of using the bright green and purple straps around the ankle with the more neutral metallic shades around the toes. Having that pop of color around your ankle draws the eye up the leg to give you an extra boost of height beyond what the heel offers. You’ll benefit from the illusion of looking taller, and, theoretically, thinner (yes! that magic word).

The more you examine Davis’ design, the more you appreciate her interest in illusion. Besides working with indented heels, Davis likes to incorporate “hidden” heels into her design, like in these green wedges:
In these shoes, the platform of the wedge heel is hidden in the design. This small little detail adds a touch of mystery and strangeness to what might otherwise be a same-old, same-old wedge.

As Davis says, “The fun thing about shoes is that you can do something delightful with them that can completely change the product and how people feel about it.” We love her arrestingly fresh designs and hope she continues to do intriguing, rule-breaking things with shoes. We can’t wait to see what’s next!

Designer to Watch: Melissa Joy Manning

29 Jun

If you’re into the bohemian luxe look, Manning’s jewelry is for you.

Manning makes beautiful and unique pieces using semi-precious and precious stones like geodes, moonstones, druzy, and ocean jasper. Each piece has the feeling of a handcrafted, organic, one of a kind treasure.

You may have noticed Manning’s pieces in In Style’s July 2010 issue this month, featuring Cameron Diaz (check out p. 172-183).  I particularly liked the gold necklace with charms in the look on p. 177, which was photographed by Michaleangelo Di Battista and styled by Rossela Tarabini:

fashion with edge

Unfortunately, Manning doesn’t currently offer this piece on her website (where shipping is free when you spend more than $100), but I’m dreaming about this one, a Jasper Slice Ring in 14k gold for $375:

this is on my wish list

I love that this ring is sweet and playful, yet with a little roughness around the edges. The hand-hammered band has a lovely delicateness to it which is contrasted with the oversized prongs. The variegated colors and textures of the semi-precious stone draws the eye in. Nothing about this piece is straightforward–exactly what I’m looking for in a gorgeous, dramatic statement ring.