Monday, January 31, 2011

She Sells ShaSAM3: Our interview with Julia, the Jewelry Artist

Julia Rutland is the head diva here at Aesthetic Design Style, but did you know she also has a jewelry line? She's a busy little bee! Here is the interview she did for our blog.

Introduce yourself?
I'm Julia Rutland, owner of Aesthetic Design Style and my creative outlet is designing statetment pieces for my line of jewelry called ShaSAM3.

Where are you from?
Born a Buckeye, but have lived most of my life in Indianapolis.

ShaSAM3 "Egypt Royale" (retail $15)

How long have you been designing?
Officially since October 2009 - unofficially all my life.

When did you start ShaSAM3?
October 2009 - the name is a hybrid of my three beautiful daughters' names.

What inspired you to start ShaSAM3?
My mother-in-law had a big suitcase full of costume jewelry she found at her mother's house. All kinds of stuff from all eras and I just was beside myself. We all got the chance to go through it and pick out things we liked; so that's what started my wheels turning. There were a ton of vintage brooches and earrings that had no mates so I just knew I could create something nice from these pieces. I love big oversized accessories and I really love rings. I wasn't finding rings big enough for my liking so I started desiging them out of need :) The more I wore them the more people asked where I got them so I thought maybe this would be something I could share with others. This way the beautiful jewelry that would have been thrown away or left in that suitcase could be cherished for years to come with a modern twist.

What sets ShaSAM3 apart from other accessories lines?
ShaSAM3 "Ring Leader" (retail $50)

I LOVE using unexpected things and making them beautiful or extraordinary. Denim is pretty dull but when you work it into a piece of jewelry it takes on a life of its own and becomes art. The best part is taking denim -which was at one time considered something only "blue collared" workers wore- and turning into something that I pair with an evening gown. Irony runs through many of my pieces. My love of finding new life for old things got me thinking of all the denim I had laying around. That turned into the statement pieces I create out of denim. I sometimes incorporate the vintage jewelry with the denim for an unexpected marriage of hard and soft that really seems to work.

Who are your influences?
Elsa Schiaparelli, Marchaesa Casati, and my Great Great Aunt Rose (whom I never had the pleasure of meeting but she smoked cigars and wore pants at a time when "ladies" weren't suppose to do so - I love hearing stories about her)

What is your favorite piece?
ShaSAM3 Ring (retail $15)

One called Ring Leader that I designed because I was in love with these huge metal rings I had lying around. I added some denim and some nice natural baubles and it turned into something better than I imagined in my head.

What are your price points?
Nothing over $50

Who do you prefer: Independent or Mainstream designers?
an independent fashion revolution all the way baby! (that's trademarked by the way :)

ShaSAM3 Denim (retail $30)

Any other special projects you want to share with our readers?
I am working on expanding the brand this year and having it in more retail establishments and available for online purchasing as well. Look for our designs to collaborate with some local and not so local designers this year and we may just pop up in other unexpected places :)

You can see and purchase more pieces and from ShaSAM3 on their website and the Aesthetic Design Style online boutique.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Leggings Are NOT Pants

One of the most misused trend out on the streets now are leggings. You can pair this accessory with any outfit, casual or dress; but I've seen leggings being assaulted and accosted lately. People repeat after me...leggings are NOT pants, especially if my butt looks like its been put in a cement mixer...or if you can see my unmentionables...

It's not just me, there's a whole Facebook page dedicated for people against leggings as pants.

See they're all using leggings as an accessory; even LiLo! If she can do it, you can too. So promise you will not wear leggings as pants. If you see someone who does, gently tap them on the shoulder and make them take the pledge!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Be a Part of Your Own Clique: Interview with Tiffiany Gilstrap-Scott

Tiffiany Gilstrap-Scott of Clique Da Cour

I was so lucky to meet Tiffiany Gilstrap-Scott last week for the first time. She is such a talented person. It's very rare you find a genuinely nice individual. Read her interview and you'll see what I mean. 

Introduce Yourself
My name is Tiffiany Gilstrap-Scott. I was born and raised in a small town in Indiana. I have a bachelors' degree in Merchandising and Design from Academy of Design and Technology in Tampa, FL. I just moved back here about 7 months ago. I love to design and also play soccer; its' still a fun past time for me. I work two jobs other than designing. People call me crazy all the time, why do you work so much. My answer is you have to work hard to get your dreams. No one is ever going to hand you something you have to be persistent and work through the rough spots to get to the prize lol :).

Where are you from?
I grew up in Tipton, Indiana.
How long have you been designing?
I have been doing this a long time. My mother and grandmother both taught me at a very young age how to crochet and sew. I remember sitting on my grandmothers lap teaching me how to sew my baby doll clothes . It's just something I just always did. I used to make some of my dresses for school growing up as a kid and special event I had. I just loved having something that I know no one else would. There is nothing worse than showing up somewhere where the girl is wearing the exact same dress as you. Thank heavens that has never happened to be, but it has happened to people I know. It's an awful thing.
When did you start Clique Da Cour?
Well it was part of a school project actually in high school and I just been fine tuning it ever since. I really started getting into it when I was in college. I know it was something I wanted to keep pursuing and I figured I better start soon and just keep building on as I go along. You're never finished; it is always an on going
process to keep bettering yourself as you get older and learn more things along the way. I always tell people you can never know everything in your line of work there is always something to be learned to better yourself not only as a businesswomen but as a person too.

Clique Da Cour (retail $95)
  What inspired you to start Clique Da Cour?
I would have to say a good part of it was from my grandfather Dennis Gilstrap; which is no longer
with us. He was a very successful business man. He started a company with his partner Henry known as {the} Val corporation. It was a retail establishment with hardline and softline products. He sold it several years ago, but he also owned a warehouse several apartment complexes along with buying houses and flipping them for profit or renting them out. He was always in a business venture and always trying to get to the next step and conquer something else. He was very persistent and never stopped working. I hope to one day be as successful as he was.
What sets Clique Da Cour apart from other lines?
I try to make each piece different. I want someone to appreciate the time and effort. I not only want it to look good on but also be visual appealing and someone go wow you really made this yourself. We try and make each piece unique to set us apart, its not something you could go in a department store and but off the shelf.

"Sugar" Feed Bag Clutch (retail $15 and up) Designs may vary

Who are your influences?
My mother Angie, my grandfather Dennis, and my grandmother Georgia.
What is your favorite piece?I don't think I have one! As long as what I make for someone and they appreciate it and love it; that's all I ask. That's the best reward I can get.
Sloutch Beanie on Etsy (retail $12)
What are your price points?
I would say they're from anywhere to $15 to couple hundred but that is for a gown. I do want everyone to enjoy my pieces. I didn't grow up with a lot of money and I do want people feel that they can afford my clothes. You don't have to live in a mansion to get designer wares.

Who do you prefer: Independent or Mainstream designers?
Independent designers!!! I do like some mainstream, but its getting to the point where anyone with money can design. As long as you have a big enough checkbook you just pay people to do everything for you. There are some mainstream designers that went to school for design and worked their butts off to get to where they are today and I applaud them for that. We all know its not easy. Now we got all these people that are just getting into just to make money and to most independent designers it means more to us than just money its something we put our blood, sweat and tears into; doing what we love. Most independent designers are an artist {and} the business person, they do it all from production to the end product and then sell it for a profit. 

Any other special projects you want to share with our readers?
I am going to be entering into a competition called Indy Fashion Time (IFT). I am really excited about it. You comprise three looks which one of them is avant garde. I have some great ideas and starting to get started as we speak. It's coming May 31st to June 4th, 2011. The final competition is being held at the State Fairgrounds.
Clique Da Cour (retail $ 80)

Take a look at more pieces from Tiffiany and Clique Da Cour on her website and her Etsy page.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Sparkling Chic: Our Interview with Sarah Radford

Last week, we featured an independent designer from Cleveland, OH. We got such a huge response from it, we decided to do it again; but with our clients. We want you to meet the reason why ADS is here. Without these people there would be no ADS. We want to thank them and introduce them to you.

Sarah Radford is the founder and designer of Chic Gems Etc.. Sarah answered some questions for me in an interview.

Accessories Designer Sarah Radford

Introduce yourself
My name is Sarah Radford and I am the founder and designer of Chic Gems Jewelry. I have loved fashion since I was a child and have worked for numerous fashion companies.

Where are you from?
I grew up in Cleveland, OH and lived in Chicago from 2002-2009.

How long have you been designing?
Couture Pearl Flower Necklace (retail $125)
I began designing jewelry when I was about 10 years old.

When did you start Chic Gems, etc.?
I founded Chic Gems as a side project in 2002.

What inspired you to start Chic Gems, etc.?
Floating Pearl Necklace (retail $35)
I was wearing suits to work everyday for my corporate sales job and I decided that I needed a way to make my wardrobe more exciting. I was not thrilled with the fashion jewelry that I was finding at stores, so I thought, "why not create my own?" I love all things fashion and I have a passion for helping women look beautiful. I believe that with the right accessories you can transform an entire wardrobe.

What sets Chic Gems apart from other accessories lines?
Swarovski Starfish Necklace (retail $63)
I offer many customizable pieces through my website and private consultations. I take the time to listen to my customers requests and exceed their expectations. One of my niches is affordable custom jewelry for bridesmaids.

Who are your influences?
I am influenced by pop culture, nature, and Old Hollywood Glamour.

What is your favorite piece?
Tampa Necklace in Emerald (retail $55)
 I really love the Tampa Necklace. It is a stunning piece that can be worn at the office or for a night out on the town.

What are your price points?
My prices range from $18-$125. Most of the pieces are under $70.

Who do you prefer: Independent or Mainstream designers?
Most mainstream designers began as independent designers, so I support both. I think it is great when independent designers achieve their dreams and share their designs with the World. 

Any other special projects you want to share with our readers? 
I always enjoy the opportunity to work with charities to create customized jewelry that they use for unity and fundraising pieces. The most recent charity I have partnered with is High Hopes in High Heels,

For more information on Chic Gems etc and to see Sarah's entire inventory, go to their website

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Interview with the Plus Vintage Queen, Sweetooth

Last week I found an amazing designer on the Sense of Fashion website. For those who know me (Janelle) personally, you know I'm a proud chunky girl. I'm always looking for designers that promote plus size women. Plus size, according to fashion circles, are sizes eight and up. Depressing...yes I know; but the reality is "normal" sized women are considered plus size even though the average woman is size 14.

Sooo I found the designer, Sweetooth. An independent designer hailing from Cleveland, OH. I'm so happy she agreed to do an interview with me. (Take a look at the Taffy Pull Dress below...yeah I ordered it!)
How long have you been designing?
 About 3 years.
Where are you from?
 Cleveland, Ohio
How did you come up with the name Cupcake Cuddlebunny? Sweetooth?
    Cupcake & Cuddlebunny was just supposed to be a temporary name when I came up with it. I started out just doing alterations and someone was interested in a garment that required an invoice, so I thought I should probably have a name/logo/separate bank account. One of my nicknames was "cupcake" and I called my cat my "cuddlebunny" all the time, so I just threw it together. I'm actually changing the name of the company to "Sweetooth Couture" in the coming weeks. Too many folks think my business is a bakery or a kids clothing store, so its just easier that way.

   Sweetooth Couture is meant to still sound sassy like C&C, and embody the campyness, fun style, and daring lines my clothing offers. I really only came up with it because I like the idea of a tooth as a symbol for ferociousness!

Why plus size? Why vintage? Why couture?

In the Stacks Dress sold on Etsy (retail $36)
I started doing plus size stuff because I've been a plus sized person most of my life and up until recently, have always struggled to find the type of clothing I've wanted to wear. I've had a deep love for vintage clothing for as long as I can remember, and so much of it is really small in the bust and waist even if you're lucky enough to find it in larger sizes. Vintage clothing has so much to offer that today's clothing doesn't have- impeccable construction, glamour, fine details. What's not to love?

The dilemma here is that when you're a modern size 18 like I am, you end up searching for cute stuff in vintage size 22-24, which is basically the chupacabra of clothing. Its hard to find, and when you do find it, its usually overpriced at an actual vintage store, as opposed to the cheaper items you can score at the thrift store or at estate sales.

When I moved to New York City to finish my psychology degree in 2005, I found that there were basically no thrift stores that carried plus sized vintage (Re/Dress NYC wasn't open yet), so when I'd visit my hometown of Cleveland, Ohio, I'd thrift my little heart out and come back to NYC with garbage bags full of dresses that needed repairs or alterations. This is basically when I began to teach myself how to sew.

I moved back home a couple of years later and my friends and acquaintances noticed my style and I started to get a lot of requests to do personal shopping and make stuff for folks. I think a lot of people have that special garment that they have a lot of sentimental value wrapped up in, and often our bodies grown and change and that garment sits in some one's closet for the rest of their lives. I really wanted to unearth those garments for folks and alter them to fit again, so couture ended up being part of what I offer. I certainly am no couturier by the strictest of standards, but I believe that one of a kind, hand sewn, custom garments are special, and people of size deserve them!

By the Summer of 2008, I had a six month long wait list for custom garments, and I thought I should probably open an Etsy store; you make my order management easier, so that's how Cupcake & Cuddlebunny was born.

I started designing the Sweetooth line last year because I had so many customers get irritated with me when I'd only offer one of a garment. I had never designed before, and quite honestly am a terrible drawer, so I took what I knew about pattern making (very little) and tried to create a line of 12 pieces that embodied a lot of the requests for custom clothing that I'd received. Working with a manufacturer to produce pieces brought on a whole new set of challenges that I've never dealt with before, but it was a really great learning experience. I've received a wonderful response from the Winter 2011 line, and am working on a Summer line right now.
What type of woman is a Sweetooth Couture woman?
Lollipop Dress sold on Etsy (retail $72)
I think a Sweetooth Couture woman (and I don't just want to cater to women- I want anybody who likes my clothing to wear it) is bold and confident. I don't make clothing to hide people's bodies, I want it to enhance people's bodies. Coco Chanel was at the forefront of breaking women from wearing corsets and girdles from day-to-day, and I really try to embody that spirit. I'd like to think that when people wear my clothing, they feel liberated, sexy and stylish no matter what their size or shape.
What's special about Sweetooth Couture?
 Sweetooth Couture is special because it makes people feel special. I try my best to run an ethical business as well. I'd say about 95% of the fabric I use is vintage or "upcycled" as fancy folks like to say, and most of my zippers, buttons, appliques, and trim are vintage as well. My new line uses a lot of recycled cotton and sustainable wool. I promote altering old clothing so folks don't go out and buy new stuff that's made in a sweatshop. I pack things in re-usable envelopes as much as I can, print on only recycled paper, and try to make things as affordable as possible. I employ a non-profit pricing structure that pays me $15 an hour for my work + materials costs and that's it. I'm a one-person show, so that helps to keep costs as low as possible. I am very serious about providing honest and reliable customer service, too! It gets really hard to compete with big box stores on that type of thing, but I really do try my best.
Explain how you construct your pieces? Vintage?
I am a huge proponent of doing custom fittings. Obviously, I don't always have the luxury of that when folks are ordering online, but having an accurate set of your own measurements is almost impossible to get by yourself, so when I can fit someone and then fit them a second time during construction of a garment, I know it will fit as accurately as possible. If I just have measurements to work with, I crank my adjustable dress form to those measurements and make it work.

After a fitting, I take into consideration where the customer will wear the garment and what it is for, and try to find the best fabric to suit their needs. I end up making a lot of garments out of vintage polyester, which most people despise even thinking about, but in reality, it doesn't wrinkle, has a good amount of stretch, and does not lose shape or color after several washings. (Its also never going to biodegrade, so I think its great to have people wear it instead of throwing it out.) I usually have a customer send me links to garments they like or provide me with pictures, and I go from there. I tend to put my own design spin on garments, which most people really like. If someone wants me to make a reproduction of something, I usually turn the job down. I'm a designer first, seamstress second. I don't really want to spend my time making stuff that already exists.
What are your inspirations?
Taffy Pull Dress sold on Etsy (retail $62)
 My main inspiration is the social and political implication that fat people should be ashamed of their bodies. I want to defy that notion, and I do, each and every day with the way I dress AND what I do for a living. My friends also have a huge impact on what I design. I am lucky to have many gorgeous, plus sized, confident people in my life and I feel honored that they think the art I make is special enough to actually wear out in public. They inspire me to keep plugging away when I feel like I can't do it.
Do you prefer independent designers or mainstream designers?

Independents, definitely. I think what happens a lot of the time is that Independent designers grow weary of constantly scrapping and scraping for things like food, rent, and health insurance, and end up selling out to mainstream lines and stores. That's the nature of the beast, and I don't judge anyone for doing what they have to do to get by or get ahead in this industry. Its hard to get your voice heard, you know what I mean? Some of my favorite independent clothing designers are Bertha Pearl of Size Queen, Valerie Mayen of Yellowcake, Mondo Guerra, Lucy Peterson of Hissyfit, Leanne Marshall, and Rodarte.
Who are your influences?
Though it doesn't show much in my clothing, I am undeniably in love with the more outlandish couture fashion giants. Alexander McQueen, Vivienne Westwood, Heatherette, old school Karl Lagerfeld. I think my fashions most reflect Mary Quant and Coco Chanel, or at least I hope they do.
What is the average price of your pieces?
   $14-$78 with some "couture" or super fancy vintage that needed a lot of work going a bit higher. Custom work is $15 per hour plus the cost of materials.
What is your favorite piece?
The Divinity Dress sold on Etsy (retail price $68)
The Divinity Dress. It's really simple if you take off the epaulettes and really fancy when you attach them.
Do you have any side projects you want to share with our readers?

Yes! I am working alongside Valerie Mayen, from Project Runway Season 8 to build a sewing co-op and fashion incubator in Cleveland, Ohio called Buzz and Growl. (You can check it out at Its her brainchild, but I'm working with her to establish it as a non-profit and secure funding for youth programming. I'm really excited to see how it turns out! 
Sweetooth at work.
 See more apparel from Sweetooth on her website and Etsy page!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Longing for Spring

We thought Jack Frost was visiting, but it looks like he's going to stay for awhile. Forty nine states in the country have snow on the ground. Even Hawaii has snow in the mountainous regions. The only thing that perks me up (besides hot toddys, warm blanket and guilty pleasure T.V.) is the hope spring in near.

I love spring. The grass and flowers start growing. The birds start chripping. The days are longer. Most importantly, your wardrobe starts to shift and layers start to fall and even SOMETIMES you have to go shopping. This spring, we are told by the fashion gods, that bright colors, stripes and vintage (especially the 70's look) will be trending. Here's a peek of what you can expect to see in the spring.
Brynn Capella Oversized Heather Envelope Clutch in Lipstick Red (Retail Price $258)


Aquilano.Rimondi  (pic from
Tamara Cosmetics Pretty Lips "Brave" (Retail $18)

Kate Spade Dress (Retail Price $375)

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Indiana Fashionista Meetup Luncheon

On Saturday, January 8, Aesthetic Design Style was happy to be in the company of some key players in the Indiana fashion industry. The Indiana Fashionista Meetup Luncheon brought fashion bloggers, designers and photographers together to network and share tips of the business.

The luncheon, planned by Leah Barr of Circle City Style, included attendees from Indianapolis and Bloomington; bloggers and photographers. Others in attendance were Michael Trace from Michael Trace Photography, Crystal Hammon and Emily Lytle-Painter from Dresses Her Days Vintage, Jessica Quirk from What I Wore, freelance fashion writer Erica Sagon, Truen James creative director of  the House of 5th clothing label and treasurer of Indianapolis Fashion Collective, Christy Pastore founder of the online magazine Fashion Wrap Up, Chelsea Kouns model and the 2011 face of Fashion Wrap Up, Kaitlyn Elyse Fashion Wrap Up stylist, owner and creator of T. Party Clothing, photographer David Van Deman and Janelle Cissell from Ruby Leonne.

Held at Cafe Django, owned by Barr's uncle, we laughed and talked shop. Aesthetic Design Style hopes to work with all attendees in the near future.  We are very thankful to Barr for setting the luncheon up and can't wait for more activities and networking opportunites in the near future.

Kaitlyn Elise of Fashion Wrap Up & T. Party Clothing and Truen James of House of 5th & Indianapolis Fashion Collective

Leah Barr of Circle City Style, Christy Pastore and Chelsea Kouns of Fashion Wrap Up
Crystal Hammons and Emily Lytle-Painter of Dressed Her Days Vintage
Truen James

Julia of Aesthetic Design Style, Jessica Quirk of What I Wore and freelance fashionista Erica Sagon

The ladies of Fashion Wrap Up
Julia and Jessica

Friday, January 7, 2011

Trendy Thrifting

Purse I bought from Goodwill for $2.99
When people think of thrifting, they generally think of stores that smell like moth balls and look like 100 closets threw up items that someone named Mable or Agatha once wore. The persona of thrifting is changing. It's no longer a hobby for old ladies or a place you take tattered expendable clothes. Thrifting is a new retail outlet providing quality pieces at inexpensive prices. As more people think outside of the department store or boutique box, thrifting will continue to gain popularity.

Fly Won, an Indianapolis fashionista, is owner of the Fly's Nest, an online store through the Sense of Fashion website. The Fly's Nest has been selling products from clothing, shoes and accessories online for a year. The average price of her pieces are $10-$15; nothing is over $50.

Other mass or box thrift stores, like Goodwill or Disabled American Veterans (DAV), rely on the donations of others. These places become a catch all for pieces from different decades and price points. But when Fly Won looks for items to sell, she considers pieces she would personally wear. Fly Won notes she would wear everything she sells it if were in her size. 

Fly Won
Shopping at thrift stores, online or at a storefront, can be intimidating.When shopping in thrift stores, Fly Won suggest you don't go with the intent to find a specific thing.

"Let your eye guide you. I rarely sift through the multitude of things in thrift stores. I just do a quick walk through and let my eye be my guide. Meaning, I wait for something to CATCH my eye." 

Fly Won uses a different approach when purchasing items online.

"ASK QUESTIONS before purchasing and read the fine print. Expect things to possibly have slight wear, OR make sure you are aware of any flaws."

Thrifting is not a new retail outlet, but it's reputation is evolving into a popular trend. If you ask the right questions and let your eye be you guide, you will find some diamonds in the rough.

Check out Fly Won's online thrift store, Fly's Nest, at

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

An Independent Revolution

Independent - (1) not subject to control by others (2) not requiring or relying on something else or others (3) showing a desire for freedom

You look in your mailbox and you just got your brand new issue of "X" high fashion magazine. You take a seat on the couch and flip through the high glossy pages and see the dress of your dreams. Well it would be the dress of your dreams if the hem were longer and it was a size 10...and the color was neutral instead of honeysuckle and orange...oh and the hardware of the dress is a bit bulky...and if you could wear it to the office without being called into human resources for sexual harassment...and it you could afford it. Now that you're pondering the piece staring back at you, that dress just won't do. Can you call John Doe couture and tell him his vision for your closet doesn't meet your needs? Or tell him a few changes and a couple of hundred dollars cheaper you or people like you could buy the dress?

Fashion is not born on the runways of New York or Paris. It's not John Doe's best or worst dressed list. Fashion is derived from the streets of your city; your neighborhood. Who better to monitor the hub of fashion but the independent fashion designer? You can have a relationship with an independent fashion designer. Most independent designers will make a garment to your preference.

The independent designer is not confined to a look, trend, or status. An independent designer is not defined by a logo or label. Independent fashion is breaking the mold and creating pieces out of the ordinary; from pret-a-porter to couture. Independent fashion also provides revenue to local economies and produces a creative workforce. Two key ingredients of a striving culture.

We, at Aesthetic Design Style, want to be an advocate for independent fashion designers. In our original mission statement, we introduced ourselves as liaisons to retailers and independent designers; but we are much more than that. We want to be at the forefront of the independent fashion revolution. Our new mission statement reads:

Aesthetic Design Style partners with and supports independent fashion and accessory designers. We are a liaison and the voice between the designer, media, and retail establishments; fostering an independent fashion revolution by implanting seeds of ingenuity within the fashion industry.

Please join us in support of the independent fashion designers, media outlets, and retailers.