Designer Spotlight: Pippa Small

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I’m loving London-based jeweler Pippa Small‘s oversized, colorful jewelry. After working under Tom Ford at Gucci and Phoebe Philo at Chloe, she has a fantastic design eye for what’s going to work with a dressed down frock, smart denims and a white tee, or even with a more polished jacket-and-skirt ensemble. Smalls’ new online shop means that her designs are now easily available to anyone with an Internet connection, though her jewelry is available at all sorts of boutiques and is featured on net-a-porter too.Turquoise Jellyfish Earrings

And the designer doesn’t just have an eye for style, she works with what is the world’s 1st registered Fairtrade gold mine in Bolivia, and partnered with Afghanistan-based charity Turtle Mountain, which is working to regenerate the country’s traditional arts. She also produced a collection with the Fairtrade company MADE based in Kibera, a slum area in Nairobi. Read more about these various projects here.TM Chrysocola 6 Sun Necklace

“Pippa believes the art of jewelry making can enhance life and help alleviate poverty and protect precious traditions, helping to grow the confidence of crafts people around the world and reverse the tradition of exploitation associated with the gem industry over the centuries. Her jewelry is collected and coveted by many who appreciate the rough organic, hand made feel of the jewelry.”

Carnelian _ Rhodochrosite Double Greek Ring

Check out the original article on Pippa Small here.
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Source4Style is a Big Step for Sustainable Fashion

When you’re planning collections, one of the most important steps in the process is choosing fabric. The weight, touch and feel are important upon first look, but drape and fit will prove just as important once samples are made. However, if you’re a new company or designer looking for both a fabric supplier and threads that are sustainable and socially responsible, it can be a pretty tall order.

In comes Source4Style. Founded by model and eco-fashion advocate Summer Rayne Oakes, this site connects designers and suppliers in a way that was never possible before. For instance, let’s say you wanted to design a dress with only organic cotton. You may have in mind what type of fabric you’d like, but the biggest challenge moving forward would be finding a supplier. Most suppliers don’t have ready contact information just sitting in the phone book or a functioning website to visit. Business is typically done over the phone or face-to-face, recommendations come from word of mouth, and even then you’ll want to shop around.

From a pure sourcing standpoint, this site is a massive improvement in the industry. But when you add the eco-friendly and sustainable element in, the true value of this resource becomes evident. You can not only search by fabric type, color and other key filters, but you can search for suppliers based on their sustainability rating – recycled, handmade, organic, fair trade, craft preservation, vertically integrated. In addition to being a great sourcing resource, the site curates articles and posts from a-listers in the eco-fashion world like Amanda Hearst, Angela Lindvall and Marcella Echavarria. One of the more useful articles I found today was entitled “Top 5 Sourcing Tips for Emerging Designers.”

So, kudos to Source4Style and their efforts to democratize sustainable fashion for more designers and more companies. This site will ultimately help drive eco-trends that will have positive impacts on our planet and people for years to come. We look forward to watching it grow!

New Year, New School House

Ok, we’re reeling a bit from an amazing day yesterday. After our CEO and COO unveiled our 2012 collection to Barnes & Noble College (and received rave reviews!), we’re so excited to share our Fall line with you over the next couple of weeks.

The inspiration for this collection spurred out of many amazing conversations and months of soul searching. But in the end, we decided to let our mantra, American Collegiate Craftsmanship, lead the way. Our amazing designer, Emily, alongside Rachel and Susan put together a set of trend boards and hand-crafted designs (literally, she sketches amazing things for us just in her free time!) that are so truly special. Today, I just have to share a snippet of what we’re talking about, so without ado, here’s our inspiration – enjoy!

When I first met Charles Carroll, I could hardly believe there were still people making sweaters in the United States.  Like most young people in my generation, the labels in my closet are like sashes in a Miss Universe pageant: Mexico, China, Vietnam, Sri Lanka, Jordan.  Charles, however, has spent the past forty years making clothing in America, and, as I soon discovered, had more than a thing or two to teach us about making garments the old fashioned way.

School House’s fall 2012 collection features the very best collegiate fashion our team has created with our local factory partners.  What started as an effort to bring our t-shirt and hoodie line from Sri Lanka to the United States, evolved into a soul-searching opportunity to elevate our entire brand.  Our mantra—American Collegiate Craftsmanship—speaks to the journey we’ve been on and the products we believe in.

Here, you’ll find oxford shirts crafted in a historic factory in Garland, North Carolina, updated for the college girl of 2012, as well as covetable, cozy knits made by a worker-owned sewing cooperative in the Appalachains.  We even branched into accessories this season, bringing American made school spirit tights and a chunky, irresistable infinity scarf to the line.  Our favorite pieces, however, are Charles’ sweaters—the perfect pairing of our team’s trademark collegiate fashion sense with his old school approach to quality and construction.  The result?  A collection that’s both youthful and classic, modern and vintage, rooted in the legacy of American manufacturing but inspired by 21stcentury fashion.  We hope you love it.

Thank you, as always, for shopping School House!

xoxo

Rachel

Wish Us Luck!

 

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Today, our Founder/CEO, Rachel Weeks, and COO, Susan Williams, are headed to New Jersey to unveil our Fall 2012 line with Barnes & Noble College. It’s been a stressful, hectic, crazy week as it always is when wrapping up the finishing touches on samples, trend boards and an entire re-brand of your line (if you haven’t yet, check out our new look on ShopSchoolHouse.com!).

What most people probably don’t know is that School House consists of our tiny (but mighty!) team of five. And for the past couple months our designer has been working hand in hand with Rachel and Susan to create patterns and samples (the crucial first step!), test fabrics, scout trends and create an entire look and feel for our collection. 

Our theme for Fall 2012 is also our mantra, American Collegiate Craftsmanship. Anytime we create a new piece for our line or think about what School House looks like one, three or five years from now, we put it to the ACC test. What sets our brand apart will be these three principles, and what it creates are collections that are classic yet modern, well-crafted and special, and most importantly  sourced and made locally with our friends and neighbors. 

Keep us in your thoughts – we’re so excited to share all of our new pieces with you soon!  

Top Trends for Holiday Shopping

Holiday shopping got you up the creek without a paddle? No worries, we’re here to guide you! We’ve put together a list of 6 top trends this cold weather season, which provides the perfect jumping off point for your shopping list.

Holiday List

Wedges: http://ow.ly/7KaX7

Bold Color: http://ow.ly/7KaYQ

Holiday Dresses: http://ow.ly/7Kb0u

Trendy Denim: http://ow.ly/7Kb2n

Chunky Sweaters: http://ow.ly/7Kb3M

Casual Booties: http://ow.ly/7Kb6l 

Be sure to make your list – and check it twice!