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Apr 24, 2014

Waging a Fashion Revolution

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By Bianca Alexander

On April 24th, fashionistas the world over are turning fashion into a force for good with the first annual Fashion Revolution Day, a worldwide movement in over 50 countries demanding fair treatment for all garment workers and clothing that is made ethically and humanely. Fashion Revolution Day aims to honor the lives of the 1133 sweatshop laborers killed and over 2500 injured in the Rana Plaza factory building collapse in Dhaka, Bangladesh last April 24, 2013 due to unsafe working conditions, and to create transparency and justice in the global fashion supply chain.

Consumers who shop at large retailers like Walmart, The Gap and Forever 21 increase demand for cheap, disposable clothing. As a result, manufacturers look to countries like Bangladesh, Myanmar, and Cambodia where wages and workplace standards for textile and garment production are unreasonably low. The race to the bottom of a competitive global marketplace leads to inhumane safety standards and growing exploitation of millions of garment workers, like 20 year old Rana Plaza survivor Aklima Khanam, who has worked in clothing factories since age 14 to support her family. Aklima’s average work shift runs from 8am to midnight, seven days a week with no days off.

On the day of the collapse, her managers were aware of a crack in the building but threatened to dock one month’s wages if she refused to go to work. When the walls caved in shortly after beginning work on the morning of April 24th, Aklima was trapped under her sewing machine for 15 hours before being rescued. Before the accident, she made $125 per month. With injuries to her head, back and legs, she can no longer work but has received little to no compensation from her employers. Rana Plaza is but one example of the many atrocities occurring daily in the name of fashion.

Fashion Revolution says enough is enough.

With a call to action to wear an item of clothing #insideout on April 24th, 2014 and share a picture via social media in honor of those injured at Rana Plaza, Fashion Revolution Day asks the question “Who Made Your Clothes?” With this simple gesture, thousands of consumers around the world will be empowered to be curious about where their clothes come from and take action on behalf of the human hands that manufacture them.

The campaign is supported by designers, pioneering thought leaders, media across the globe and many celebrities. Fashion Revolution Day ambassador Amber Valletta - supermodel, actress and founder of online ethical fashion retailer Master & Muse, is inspired to wear her clothes #insideout on April 24th, Fashion Revolution Day: “We all need to pay attention to how and where our clothes are made because we share a common thread: humanity.” Watch Amber turn her clothes #insideout on this Fashion Revolution Day PSA produced by Fashion Revolution USA board member and ethical fashion pioneer Marci Zaroff. To keep the momentum going for the campaign after 4.24, Marci collaborated with famed t-shirt designer Michael Stars to create a limited edition Michael Stars x Under the Canopy “Who Made Your Clothes?” #insideout t-shirt made from 100% organic cotton, now available on Shopethica and Modavanti with proceeds benefiting the Rana Plaza Donors Trust Fund.

Join the global Fashion Revolution movement! Post a photo of yourself wearing an outfit #insideout on the Fashion Revolution Day USA facebook fan page by 11:59pm PST on April 24th, 2014 and you could win an ethical designer wardrobe worth over $3,000 courtesy of our brand partners including 2ETN, Bhoomki, Deborah Lindquist, Dhana Eco Kids, GUNAS, Loomstate, Mata Traders, Mink Shoes, Nomadista, Org by Vio, Pashen, Seamly.co, Simply Natural Clothing, Stewart + Brown, Tabii Just, Under the Canopy and Vaute.

How to take part in Fashion Revolution Day:

-On April 24th, wear an item of clothing inside out
-Photograph yourself in it
-Ask the brand “Who Made Your Clothes?”
-Share the picture on social media and the Fashion Revolution Day facebook page with the hashtag #insideout
-Take action by signing a petition urging manufacturers to sign the Bangladesh Accord ensuring factory safety and inspections
-Attend a Fashion Revolution Day event on 4.24

Apr 2, 2014 / 2 notes

The Evolution of Menswear

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By Bianca Alexander

Unlike most animal species, historically, the human female has taken on the laborious and often exhilarating role of dressing flamboyantly in order to attract a mate she can depend on for protection and propagation of the species. As a result, in accordance with the law of supply and demand, fashion designers have gifted women with an entire arsenal of options for adorning and transforming themselves, from silk corsets to stilettos, ball gowns to ballet flats, kimono wrap dresses to kitten heels.

Conversely, this has left our male counterparts with a small handful of style options: for work, a suit and tie with a tailored shirt, dress shoes, and a belt; for casual days, a tee-shirt or button down with khakis or jeans, and maybe, if you’re sporty, a fresh pair of sneaks.

In today’s modern world, women are more independent, empowered and even self-sufficient, either willing or able to take the risk of thriving with neither a mate nor offspring. This challenge to traditional male-female roles has given men the freedom to evolve and model the animal kingdom, working harder to attract a mate that deems them worthy by becoming better cooks, better lovers and better dressed. Despite how alarming this may be to our existing social order, it’s good news for men’s fashion, allowing gents to step up their style game and take risks to create a more dynamic sense of self-expression.

Fashion Group International’s Frontliner event last week, The Casualization of Men’s Suitable Attire, confirmed just that. Hosted at The Garage, Kenneth Cole’s newly retrofitted white-walled warehouse space in Hell’s Kitchen, the panel boasted a line-up of some of the top talent in menswear, including pioneering designer and humanitarian Kenneth Cole; VP/Fashion Director for Saks Fifth Avenue Eric Jennings; Made in the USA menswear designer and former CFDA finalist Todd Snyder, GQ Senior Style Editor Will Welch, and moderator Chris Mitchell, GQ’s VP & Publisher.

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From left: Chris Mitchell, Will Welch, Todd Snyder, Eric Jennings, Kenneth Cole

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The GreenShows CEO Harvey Russack with Kenneth Cole

Alongside a brightly lit backdrop of male mannequins adorned in eclectic, though monochromatic looks from Kenneth Cole’s latest collection, the panel jumped into an intellectual debate about the new movement happening in menswear, which was described by many of the panelists as sartorial. According to the panelists, in addition to wearing slimmer, higher hem and jacket lines, guys these days are taking notes from flamboyant fashion role models like pro ball player Russell Westbrook and hip-hop moguls Pharrell and Jay-Z. Unlike the style icons before them, these gents have successfully deconstructed the conventional suit and are pairing down with athletic footwear, casual tees—and most of all, attitudes that normally don’t mix in the boardroom—to create a look all their own.

For men looking to up the ante on their look, or ladies seeking to dress more androgynously, see below for some of our favorite elements of sustainable guy style.

THE NEW SUIT
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Suit up in body-conscious style in this single button, three-piece, notch-lapel Covert suit from vegan menswear line Brave Gentleman. Designed in New York and hand-stitched sustainably in Italy, down to its recycled PET linings and buttons made from tagua-nuts, this animal-friendly suit reminds us why we love a flat front and a slender silhouette.

A STATEMENT SHIRT

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Bring a fresh pop of color to neutral suited or casual looks with this vintage-inspired shirt in a modern, European fit. Made in the USA from 100% cotton remnant fabric and corozo nut buttons by Glass House Shirt Makers. Tuck it in or leave it out depending on your mood.

JACKET UP
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Vegan outerwear isn’t just for the ladies. This James black waxed canvas moto jacket by Vaute is a great cruelty-free option for the vintage leather look, made in New York using non-toxic, environmentally friendly wax that’s wind and water resistant. Paired here with the organic cotton deer shirt.

JEANS, WITH ATTITUDE
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Nudie Jeans’ 100% organic cotton denim tailor’s jacket is cut to showcase their “slow fashion” selvedge manufacturing techniques, and your personal sense of style. Wear it to work over dressier slacks or with jeans and your favorite tee or sweater on casual Fridays.

A BETTER KHAKI
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Warm up your traditional khakis with these slim cut organic cotton stonewashed jeans in earthy orange, fresh from Nudie’s Spring 2014 collection.

SWEATER COOL
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Give casual chic a whole new meaning in this Indigenous organic cotton Urban Ski Zip sweater made in Peru with low impact dies in accordance with fair trade principles.

FRESH KICKS
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Step out in confidence with these handsome vegan, fair labor boots aptly named The Defender. Made from biodegradable PU microfiber from Novacas x Brave GentleMan, tuck into slim leg pants for an edgy, military-inspired look or wear outside to create the effect of a dressier shoe.

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Go for a spin around the block in Félicité, Veja’s newest sneaker from their latest collection made in Brazil from organic cotton, vegetable tanned leather, and Amazonian wild rubber.

IN THE BAG
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Stow your laptop, portfolio, lunch or yoga clothes in this slick but roomy Doctor’s style brief bag from vegan luxury line GUNAS. With a light weight and easy, messenger style shoulder strap that can be worn cross body, hopping a cab or catching the train is a cinch.

COVER THE BASICS
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Start and finish the day feeling luxurious in designer Richard Dayhoff’s supple performance briefs made from recycled bottle fibers. Enough said. Model: Kyle Goffney by Rick Day.

Feb 28, 2014

Are You Part of the ‘Normcore?’

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Check out this fascinating article on The Cut featuring a whole new trend most fashionistas never want to hear about…or do they.

Writer Fiona Duncan writes: “not to describe a particular look but a general attitude: embracing sameness deliberately as a new way of being cool, rather than striving for “difference” or “authenticity.” In fashion, though, this manifests itself in ardently ordinary clothes. Mall clothes. Blank clothes. The kind of dad-brand non-style you might have once associated with Jerry Seinfeld, but transposed on a Cooper Union student with William Gibson glasses.”

Let’s hope these looks of nothingness aren’t a permanent trend or that Sci-Fi vision of whole societies of people in metallic spandex unitards just not be too far off.

Read the full article here on The Cut.

Feb 27, 2014

Milan Fashion Week Concludes With Bows…14 To be Exact

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To mark the conclusion of Milan Fashion Week, the New York Times cataloged the bows of 14 fashion visionaries.

To watch the video, go here.

Feb 26, 2014 / 4 notes

Titania Inglis FW14—Moving Towards A Tectonic Sense of Style

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We can hardly mask our appreciation for Titania Inglis and her ability to fuse sculpture with wearable clothing. Environmental textile artist and author Abigail Doan writes of Inglis in The Wild: “Tapping into geological phenomena to inspire and forge a ready-to-wear collection might not be the standard M.O. in the fashion realm, but designer Titania Inglis has once again demonstrated that her core vision of minimalistic silhouettes and earth-centric processes can indeed create ‘tectonic’ style cohesion.”

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We feel the plates shifting for sure.

Read the full article here on The Wild.

Feb 25, 2014 / 4 notes

5 Fashion Brands from China Challenging the Conventional Fast Fashion Ethos

imageLeena Oijala of EcoSalon writes: “When you think of eco fashion, China isn’t necessarily the first country that pops into your mind. But despite the nation’s large part in the conventional textile and apparel industries, several young and extremely talented designers in the country are delving into the realm of sustainable fashion. Upcycling is an especially popular trend among the eco-conscious designers, who no doubt have a surplus of waste material from the country’s numerous factories to work with.”

Check out who EcoSalon picked as their top 5 favorite Chinese eco fashion brands here.

Feb 24, 2014 / 2 notes

Vegan Couture Goes Under Water…For Water

imageCoco Eco Magazine recently featured “Hart of Dixie’s" Claudia Lee clad in Dalia MacPhee’s vegan gowns for water.org

MacPhee is no stranger to celebrity or vegans donning her red carpet looks but this might be the first time they’ve gone underwater.

See all the beautiful images of her dresses in the Winter 2014 issue of Coco Eco.

Feb 21, 2014 / 2 notes

Vinylize Produces Eyewear From Unwanted Vinyl Records

imageVinylize glasses are handmade in Hungary by Tipton Eyeworks. After searching for a new material to make frames, Zachary Tipton discovered his father’s old record collection, and had the idea to recycle the abundant material to serve a new purpose.

The first series was developed from communist vinyl, salvaged from the budapest flea markets. the durable pressings could still be played, even after half a century, but to insulate them from the effects of heat, they were fused with biodegradable cellulose-acetate using proprietary technology. following years of testing, the team developed methods to transform one of the longest lasting plastics into eyewear…

Read the entire article on DesignBoom.

Feb 20, 2014 / 1 note

In Brazil, Fast Fashion Heats Up

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As global fast fashion giants arrive in Brazil, the market heats up with Topshop, Gap and Forever 21 chains eyeballing an open market.
Is this another frontier for fast fashion to spread and environmentally, is this a hiccup that the planet can continue to withstand?

Business of Fashion writes that Paulo Correa, vice president of sales at international apparel chain C&A Brazil knows one thing for sure: “Our project Poderosas do Brasil (Powerful Women of Brazil) has the goal to identify different aspirations from women in different regions of Brazil and create pieces with the unique regionalism that is characteristic [of] different Brazilian states.”
Right.

With China re-evaluating it’s fashion influence as well as other countries disregarding quality over faster amounts of quantity, one might ask who is in charge of dictating, on an international level, what fashion defines.
Certainly not high fashion.

Read the full article on Business of Fashion here.

Feb 19, 2014 / 2 notes

Hot on the Scene: 5 Top (New) Online Eco Boutiques Worth Shopping

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While online boutiques like Beklina, A Boy Named Sue and Kaight have been around for a while, new eco boutiques are popping up with an even greater selection of sharply curated ethical products from names we don’t always hear about.

Check out EcoSalon’s top 5 online eco-boutiques to see if you’ve missed some new shopping openings and who is hot on the scene.

Read the full article here on EcoSalon.

Feb 16, 2014

T Magazine Launches Women’s Spring 2014 Issue

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T Magazine’s spring 2014 women’s fashion issue looks at the way women really want to dress with cult fashion-designer Phoebe Philo as cover girl and ring leader.

Philo, “whose quiet, understated designs for Céline give new meaning to the term ‘power dressing,’” says T, are coveted by some of the smartest, savviest women out there.
In addition to a feature on Philo, Cathy Horyn examines the divide between what women actually want to wear and “the tricked-out, challenging get-ups that come down the runway,” as well as a host of other fashion notables celebrating powerful women and the clothes they wear.

Check out the online version of T magazine here.

Feb 14, 2014 / 4 notes

One Of ManHATtan’s Last Millinery Factories Has Star Studded History

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As one of Manhattan’s last hat factories, Satya Twena has been an integral part of NYC’s rich fashion history.
Worn by the likes of Frank Sinatra, Brad Pitt, Spike Lee, Kim Kardashian,
Jessica Biel and Madonna, each hat is made in New York by hand utilizing vintage blocks and free-hand forming techniques to create wearable art.

Just a few years ago, the factory that made Satya’s hats went out of business and in pure entrepreneurial form, the designer and her cousin bought the factory and kept business, history and jobs alive.

Check out the video on Satya Twena’s millinery studio here on Maker’s Row.

Feb 11, 2014 / 10 notes

New York (Sustainable) Fashion Week Recap

imagePhoto courtesy of EcoCult

Team GreenShows was kept busy this past New York Fashion Week sponsoring sustainable fashion parties, runway shows and shopping at a pop-up shop that made us swoon.

First stop?
The GreenShows-sponsored Daniel Silverstein F/W 14 collection “Mezzo” was presented at an invitation-only event sponsored by Launch NYC, a Manufacture NY initiative.

imageDaniel Silverstein and models, photo courtesy of EcoCult

Silverstein tells The GreenShows that Federico Fellini’s surreal film “81/2” provided him with inspiration for the F/W 14 collection.

“In the film, the main character Guido seeks counsel from a cardinal who tells him that ‘that which is outside the city of God is in the city of the devil.’ The cardinal suggests life can be categorized into right or wrong.

imageDaniel Silverstein F/W 14 collection “Mezzo”

The surreal film, however, shows that this perspective was flawed. This resonated with my thoughts about art. For me, art isn’t about interpreting right or wrong. It’s about experiencing the moment and seeing what happens. It’s about fully appreciating a life lived between these two extremes, a life in middle. ‘Mezzo’,” says Silverstein.

imageDaniel Silverstein F/W 14 collection “Mezzo”

TGS also did double time by being the sponsor of Fashion Revolution Day’s #INSIDEOUT party, a growing worldwide movement inspired by the tragedies in Bangladesh at Rana Plaza where 1,134 garment workers were crushed inside their place of employment.

imageSculpture memorial by Conscious Living TV's Bianca Alexander

The Fashion Revolution Day movement was created to bring awareness to transparency and fairness in the fashion supply chain which, in addition to speeches from GreenShows CEO Harvey Russack and Conscious Living TV’s Bianca Alexander, a sculpture created in memory of the fallen garment workers served as a somber reminder for the party.

imageSculpture memorial by Conscious Living TV's Bianca Alexander

Harvey sums up the rising ethical fashion ethos. “You can count on The GreenShows to stand united on Fashion Revolution Day, wearing our clothes inside out and our hearts on our sleeves.”

According to Fashion Revolution Day USA’s Executive Director Oceana Lott, Launch NYC was a perfect location for Fashion Revolution Day USA to host its first event.

imageConscious Living TV's Bianca Alexander, The GreenShows Development Consultant, Tim Woodcock, Fashion Revolution Day’s U.S. Director, Oceana Lott, Thread documentary Producer Marci Zaroff, The GreenShows’ Harvey Russack

Manufacture NY’s commitment to supporting local, ethically made fashion and designers in New York aligns with Fashion Revolution’s mission of bringing transparency and fairness to the supply chain around the world. Transparency anywhere supports transparency everywhere,” says Lott.

imageHolly Henderson Nimet Degirmencioglu, and The GreenShows CEO Harvey Russack wearing their hearts on their sleeves and their clothes inside out

The #INSIDEOUT/NYFW event also launched the #INSIDEOUT photo contest, where consumers are encouraged to find out “Who made your clothes?” and take photos of themselves wearing outfits #INSIDEOUT to win designer clothing from ethical brands like Indigenous.

imageMarket 605 designers Mandy Kordal, Lily Piyathaiserre, Tara St James, Helpsy’s Rachel Kibbe, Harvey Russack, Yegang Yoo, Susan Domelsmith and Nettie Kent

We also had the pleasure of attending Market 605, a West Village-based, month long celebration of ethical fashion. The collaborative pop-up shop is still on until the 18th of February and is organized and run by nine of New York’s best local designers and independent label creators and offers a finely curated array of womenswear, accessories, jewelry, home goods and gifts.

This past Saturday night, a private party at Market 605 and hosted by sustainable e-commerce site Helpsy offered attendees a chance to meet the shop’s designers while shopping a handpicked selection of exclusive items.

Shoppers, friends and colleagues gathered to drink, laugh and purchase special pieces of clothing, accessories, beauty and home goods.

If you didn’t make it to the pop-up, here’s a detailed list of the Market 605 designers provided by Helpsy:

Dirty Librarian Chains
For nearly a decade, Dirty Librarian Chains designer, Susan Domelsmith, has been working at the forefront of the sustainable fashion movement. Her collection of bold retro-futuristic jewelry is based on a zero waste design model and ensures the production of every piece utilizes USA made materials dating from the 1960’s to the 1980’s.
dirtylibrarianchains.com

Feral Childe
The bicoastal design duo of Moriah Carlson (Brooklyn, NY) and Alice Wu (Oakland, CA), who both come from a fine arts background. The two collaborate on the drawings and collages that form each collection’s signature textile designs. Feral Childe combines thoughtful choice of sustainable materials and attention to quality construction to make smart, wearable silhouettes for forward-thinking women, and is proudly manufactured in New York City.
feralchilde.com

Gamma Folk
Gamma Folk is the jewelry of designer and maker Lily Piyathaisere. Created out of the spirit of past and present, Gamma Folk is a celebration of aesthetics, experiments in materials and the preservation of craft.
gammafolk.com

IMAGO-A (pronounced ee-mah-go ah)
A NYC-based leather handbag and accessories line. The IMAGO-A collection is built upon geometric and sculptural shapes that are both innovative and functional. All IMAGO-A pieces are produced locally by luxury-leather craftsmen in NYC.
imago-a.com

MAISON CAPRON
Born from a desire to create beautiful pieces made with integrity and respect to the environment. Sustainably designed and produced domestically in Los Angeles using natural fibers, ethically sourced materials, natural plant and low impact dyes and local, artisanal resources. The line works to optimize beautiful, handcrafted design with an attitude of relaxed glamour, while promoting a harmonious and responsible relationship between business, community, and nature.
maisoncapron.com
 
Kordal
A women’s knitwear collection that fuses innovative forms and textures with functionality. We believe in creating garments that will inspire creativity and wearability. All of our knits are designed and and produced in NYC in an effort to support American manufacturing.
kordalknitwear.com

by natalie frigo
Natalie Frigo’s passion is creating unique, heirloom jewelry. Natalie’s inspiration ranges from early metallurgy and textile design to recent architectural developments, culminating in a collection that is contemporary, but by referencing venerable artifacts, also feels timeless. 
bynataliefrigo.com

Nettie Kent
Nettie creates handcrafted jewelry from recycled metals in Brooklyn, New York. Nettie Kent has earned a cult following and loyal clientele that appreciates her sculptural forms, unique designs and her ethical approach to jewelry making that emphasizes sustainable design and sourcing recycled materials. Summers on the beach and winters in Brooklyn influence all of Nettie’s designs, a mix of organic shapes cast in rough golden metals juxtaposed with soft leathers.
nettiekent.com

Study NY
A sustainable womenswear label based in Brooklyn, NY. We make season-less clothing locally and ethically without subscribing to the traditional fashion calendar. Our goal is to create the ideal wardrobe for our customers. We believe the clothes we wear should be well-made using quality materials, and the hands that manipulate those materials should be respected and cared for. We tell the story of how our clothing is made, one step at a time.
studyny.squarespace.com

AND many more from Bhava, Freedom of Animals, State, Kallio, The Greater Goods, Shino Ceramics, Titania Inglis, Pima Doll, Mullein & Sparrow, Susan Alexandra, Bing Bang NYC, Andrea Diodati, Marble&Milkweed, Job&Boss and Good Candle.

Feb 10, 2014 / 5 notes

New York Fashion Week: Degen Offers Magik and Astral Threads

imageDegen’s A/W 2014-2015 “M.A.G.I.K” collection (Majestic Astral Glowing Irredescent Knitting) was certainly a highlight show this New York Fashion Week.
Designer Lindsay Degen showcased her looks at Industria, a space nestled between ​Manhattan’s Meatpacking District and West Village, to a packed house filled with knitwear afficionados.

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Changing lights that went from blues to saturated reds were a major feature, illuminating the designer’s glowing reflective knit threads that spelled out words like “Magic” and featured interesting textures, patterns and even oversized eyeballs.

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Designer Lindsay Degen’s passion for knitting began at the age of three when her grandmother gave her a set of knitting needles and taught her how to stitch.
Her site reads: “Over the years Degen honed her skills and made a name for herself in her hometown of Mariemont, Ohio, weaving basic thread into unique pieces, each telling a story about her life and experiences.

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In pursuit of mastering her skill set, Lindsay attended Central Saint Martins and the Rhode Island School of Design, where she studied under knit master Liz Collins. After graduating from RISD, Degen moved to New York City and continued her concept-based binge knitting.

Which of course, the NYC based textile community, couldn’t be any happier about.