Summer 2017 Part 2 "Portrait of an Artist as an Old Woman"

Photos by Lauren

There is something to be said with growing older. Definitely growing wiser isn't one of them... well it isn't guaranteed. I discovered, albeit a little late it life, it is more fun to enjoy creating than worrying about fashion as an enterprise. Fashion as it stands today does little more for the world than legitimize itself by making itself "relevant" with forecasts and trends etc... which is just malarkey. There might be a trend but it isn't a seasonal thing, more of a 8-15 year projection of taste, which is harder to predict than what Bob Dylan will do in 24 hours.

Anyways, price is always a topic of importance in apparel. I always calculate simply by fabric + construction. Fabric is a difficult source, well good fabric is... which is why I prefer new-old and just old fabric. Whether used or not makes no difference to me. I just like to work with beautiful stuff. I like bedding and fabrics, not typically used outside of ethnic dress. Summer is especially difficult as most fabrics are not durable enough to wear everyday and if they are they are not breathable. 

This year I decided to do a mix of 80's bed sheets and yukata fabric. 80's bed sheets always reminded me for the most part of Hawaiian shirts. Yukata are one of my all-time favorite fabrics to work with. They are usually a nice muslin with a stencil resist dyed print on the top, usually indigo and white. The narrow widths are a bit tricky to work with but they look and feel so great once turned into a shirt. 

This is just an example. Combing two different patterns creates a really nice texture. Therefor I named this piece "You-Gotta" shirt. Cause like a magic trick Alakazam! Poof! You got it? 

All jokes (bad jokes) aside this shirt is seriously comfortable, it's like wearing a yukata in a hotel room in Japan, relaxing! The colors are simple and detailed enough to work with just about any look. 

This is oversized but I am sure you get the idea. You might be thinking it is a baseball jersey... but you'd be wrong. It is originally from an old Boy Scout uniform. Cause you know sometimes girls are scouting for boys... teehehehe 

The other shirt here is from 80's bed sheets. These had the Hawaiian shirt feeling I was just talking about a second ago. The cotton/poly muslin is durable and comfortable, and well it just made the perfect Hawaiian shirt. My grandsons are quite handy with naming things so they aptly named it the "Salacious Coke Dealer" shirt. They said somebody might catch the reference. 

As you can see from the pics either shirt works either over-sized or follow the general sizing so don't be hesitant to buy one too big. I am sure it will work with your style!

Let me get back to my main point here, for apparel being cheap and expensive it hard to be a small brand like ours to place our self in the market. Depending on who you ask and what books you read the prices are higher or lower... it just serves to confuse in general. All the summer items this year have pricing in accordance with the fabric. Some of the bed sheets we found dead-stock and of course cost more than used ones. The you-gotta shirts are the same deal, a few of the fabrics were very limited and those will be reflected in the price. 

Everything is going to be on the web-store soon such just hold tight, or just prance your fingers over and send me a mail. 

Summer 2017 Part 1 "Unisex and the Bees"

It's kind of old fashioned really these days to talk about "the birds and the bees". Actually it's embarrassing. People are naturally informed of such things through a barrage of constant distraction media. 

Photos by Lauren

Weird thing is- people are still uncomfortable with unisex clothing. I have no idea why men have issues with floral prints and women have issues with large silhouettes. Women and men seem to manage it just fine in movies... sorry drifting off again into a larger discussion for another time. Our items are intentionally gender free. Why? Simple, because clothing doesn't have sex organs. They can't have a gender. 

Which is why I like quilts, bedding, and Japanese fabrics. The colors are generally acceptable and the florals are subtle and quaint enough for most men and women to say "okay I could wear this comfortably" but at the same time "damn people are going to notice this". I like garments that can pretty much go anywhere in modern society. Maybe my perception of what is acceptable is a bit extreme but why can't these quilt bombers make their way to an office? Well, I guess that I will leave up to my audience to act upon. 

For this summer and it being our first collection we've gone all out and done some photography. First thing you'll notice in this episode is the lack of male models. This is to open the doors, if you will, to my simple vision of unisex. So for this round a little inspiration from 80's manga, bubble gum, and ice cream parlors.  


There's something going on here. Confidence with a youthful play on colors... cause really our bodies can get old but our colors shouldn't. Plus there's nothing cooler than ice cream and quilts. Maybe you didn't know this or not, but we never use size tags. I got tired of vanity long ago, so our zipper colors are basically our stealthy way of saying this is a large, medium, extra small etc. It is pretty clever I know... but it was to remove that idiotic lettering from our items. Thats why we don't really carry a stock of items. We want to make one for you. Open a new line of communication, create a partnership, and make connections. 

These two ladies really make my creations come alive. It is one thing to look at a finished product in a picture it is a totally different beast when someone is wearing it. Some might even see quilt jackets as silly but I would have a hard time finding it behind this incredible wall of elegance.

BGFM - June 2017-142.jpg

It is really interesting how the colors on these quilts just translates so well to a camera. The texture and subtitles really emerge from the simple design and the whole piece becomes an organic structure. Kind of like Michael's art. And then there is that whole realm of sass and sassiness here... 

Art, Play, Fashion

So many people ask me: Where do you find the energy to do all this? Where does the inspiration come from? The answers are always easy. From my everyday life... 

My fashion and my design comes from playing. Playing at life that is. I came to the apogee of creativity a number of years ago by discovering something simple for myself about life. That playing it rather than trying to "live" it is a much better way of navigating the currents. Art for me is the best example of this. Really good art comes from the psyche, not necessarily painting or physical art but the creativity that drives people to come up with great ideas and make beautiful things. Anyways long story short and a skip and a jump to the point of this post...

Art for me is the expression of things that can't be expressed with spoken communication easily. So for clothing and design I always feel I leave some lacuna in the design. So I teamed up with an artist in LA and we did this photo shoot with some of the items we finished a few weeks ago. I think we have filled those spots here, well I hope we have. So the main dish so to speak of this brand is Art, Play, Fashion. Artist + Fashion (me) and a little bit of Play and we have these pictures below. I love them. These are my standard items, the meat and potatoes if you will... Shorts, Bomber, and "Emoji" (Kimono). They will always be around and available for ordering. But we have some special surprises in store for you all in a few more weeks. Summertime fun! Also don't forget to check out my friend Michael's artwork on his site as well. 

👘 Emoji of a Kimono-Shirt 👘

I love Japanese traditional fashion. It is a fascinating subject. Fabrics and textiles are usually silk, wool, cotton or blends of those, synthetics are even used today, but techniques to make a kimono have not really changed. Kimono are traditionally made from one bolt of fabric and not a single scrap is wasted and hand sewn. For our newest item we came up with a simple, comfy, functional: 👘-Shirt.


Emoji of Kimono Shirt

Using dead-stock Japanese fabric that was originally intended for kimono we have devised a sort of in-between species of shirt here. The reason for the Emoji is that this is modern design. We used sewing machines here, these aren't hand-sewn (that would take forever), but they are carefully designed and no two are alike. We have combined a sort of monks work clothes same with a longer hem on it, and slightly slimmer sleeves. The ties are from old silk fabric that contrast each pieces differently. In an effort to keep this out of the realm of fashion but make them stylish we have made them in an assortment of fabrics and colors. There is a little humor, mixed with pizzazz, haberdashery mixed with wackydashery. It is about as serious as an Emoji of Kimono in essence, and they are made to be worn with a sense of humor and swagger. 

Summer in California is not as oppressive as the midwest. You can shoulder a light shirt over a tee comfortably. It gets cool at night so its convenient to keep it close at-hand. This shirt is designed for summer, but could easily be layered up during winter. 

"The Emoji" as my grandson likes to call it, is available in any of our antique quilts that are listed on the site and some rare one-offs will be available in the webshop. 


Sutures for the Future

What does the future hold? The best and pretty much only answer for myself is "Endless Possibility". Designing for the future is a difficult endeavor. Some may even consider it futile...

Currently most people design for the "next season". I prefer to design for a concept that feels far away. I spend a lot of time meditating and putting a collage of ideas together in my mind, it takes a considerable amount of time but once they come together like a puzzle, I can see the image clearly. For me the really important part of making clothes is making art at the same time.

Our current collection will be slowly released while simultaneously developed, and is conceptualized around; Fashion. Play. Art. Our items come from the heart. Thought-out and developed considering people who came before us and who will come after us to create wholesome heartfelt items that leave less waste and are more interesting, and beautiful.

One thing will not happen... release a new item and then turn around the next day and release something new again. Long term satisfaction is what we are after, pulling from the past (old fabrics, quilts etc) and creating for what "feels right". I hope to change the current "throw-away" mood in fashion, and create and sell items that people will want to wear, not just buy and show off but something unique to an individual. Something like the facets of your past and your family that you can't change that makes you a unique individual. 

Grandma would really love it if when we all leave this planet we all left it a little better than when we arrived. That is my promise to you. That the products we produce will be important, practical, funny, heartfelt, and made for our family. We hope you join our family, cause we are on the starship of the future!


Why Quilts...

We keep a personal digital history in silicon. In the past humans (Americans) kept a physical record of photo albums,  heirlooms, memorabilia and quilts. Quilts extend from a need for warm bedding and community produced goods. They are personal social records of communities in a way. In current modern society such analog items have come to be utilized as novelty and decor. Quilts in a way are a women's way of saying "I'm retired". They have lost their luster in the home. 

Quilts are an expression of the domestic artisan. Asia has many folk crafts, specialist, and multi-generational craftspeople. America has the quilt. The antique quilt utilizes many different types of fabric types, natural dyes, and printing methods. Because the quilts were scrapped together it took a bit of artistic genius to put them together into a complete quilt. There are never two that are exactly alike. The stitching or the cut of the squares, the selection of the fabric they each have their own unique beauty. It is something very akin to shibui, and after they've been passed down a few generations they sometime have a hint of wabi-sabi to them. 

We live in a world where we can manufacture any textile instantaneously, and where clothing and textiles are manufactured in the poorest countries, in environmentally harmful, and poisonous (economically, physically, and artistically) ways. There is an immeasurable amount of reusable, dead-stock, vintage fabrics and textiles at hand that the emerging artist can use. All of this could avoid an enormous output of social, artistic, and environmental pollution. 

I believe that if two people from anywhere in the world met and if they had a quilt between them they could have a conversation despite, language, cultural, or ethnic barriers. Quilts are global cultural translators, and every culture in every country around the world has something similar to the American quilt. But they aren't just conversation starters, they are well made and reliable. 

Everyone had a grandma and everyone is a part of a family whether virtual or genetic; all we have is our past and our community. From here the possibilities are endless...