Posts filed under Projects

Behind the New Collection

It's been over a week since we debuted the new collection, launched our lookbook, had our first major pop up of the spring season at Northern Grade. This week, we were delighted to be featured in the Washingtonian and launch our 7-day online pop up with Bezar Marketplace - a marketplace where people who design special things connect with people who desire special things. What feels like a month has actually been two weeks - phew! On this grey and peaceful day, I thought I would share more details behind the collection and the aesthetic - the pieces that have meanings and the pieces that just make us happy. 

One of the principles that guide Kicheko's design is an eclectic minimalism. I love the style and choosiness that our customers exhibit in their fashion choices and desired to provide an array of necklaces that invoke simple silhouettes using quality elements. Sia has been a constant on my playlist and while listening to 1000 Forms of Fear, the inspiration for Elastic Heart emerged. I liked the idea of using neoprene, a resilient, memorable, and highly functional material. Coupled with gold-plated brass tubing, I love the simple lines and curves it adds to a look. I can see this paired with a blazer/collared dress shirt on the weekdays and a t-shirt/jeans/ballet flats outfit on the weekends. The Blush Sterling is another playful pendant necklace using double-stranded blush faux leather and a matte silver-plated pear shape pendant. The Tusker Half Moon establishes a different combination of nylon cording, gold-plated brass arc, and soft white leather to create a longer necklace that is malleable, clean and creates interesting shape to your outfit. 

Last season, Kicheko released the Parlay Cords, natural braided rope and nylon cording set on gold-plated magnetic closures. We introduced it as the "lego of necklaces," something that can be built upon, combined with various colors, and even coupled with necklaces incorporating the magnetic closures. It's been so fun to see what you've all done with the Parlay Cords - the combinations you've made varying color, texture, and knots. I love the versatility of the pieces that can be worn in professional settings and on weekends just wiling out. It even fits the needs of moms with young children because their little ones can tug on the necklaces (okay let's be real, rip off the necklaces) and the necklace proves resilient just needing to be clicked back into place and reshaped. 

Sketching for a collection released between spring and summer, it wouldn't be right without considering a season that is meant to be spent by water at some point - the beach, lake, kayaks, sailboats, etc. I definitely had nautical inspiration on the mind and began researching various knotting techniques. Some of these knots are incorporated in the Kedge Hollow and Darling Hitch necklaces. The Solstice uses 100% natural cotton braided rope, another nautically inspired element, and can be combined with various fiber tassel pendants in several gemstone colors.

Observing the collection, you can quickly gather that Kicheko enjoys using mixed materials. Two of our new necklaces, the Synthesis and Gilded Terra use unglazed ceramic beads crafted by a collective of women in South Africa. I wrapped and sealed the beads in gold foil with the intention of creating a speckled pattern. Customers have shared that the beads look like golden worlds - definitely an inadvertent effect but I love it! The Synthesis uses woven lavender cording, magnetic closures and white leather. The Gilded Terra features a ceramic bead centered by gold-plated metal bars.

I try to incorporate an earthy sensibility in Kicheko's designs, which extends itself to recycling and using natural materials. The deer tine necklaces use 100% deer or elk tine naturally shed. The tine is cut, sanded, drilled and coated in acrylic. Set on a dainty 14k gold-fill chain, the deer tine necklace balances edge with elegance. Quartz is an energetic, balancing and amplifying stone. It harmonizes and is a prolific natural stone. I love using quartz in Kicheko's necklaces and studs. The hexagon studs are laser cut and hand-painted in acrylic for a modern yet woodsy look.   

Along with the release of the new collection, I am so excited to share with you not only our new pieces but also our giving model. Each purchase from Kicheko's new collection provides a scholarship for children most in need to attend school for one month in eastern Congo. Currently, Kicheko is working with Mango Tree School, a primary school based in Uvira that educates over 200 primary-level students in the South Kivu province who are underresourced and cannot afford school fees and the other costs associated with attending school. 

This year our goal is to help students most in need to attend school year round. Often times, families will be able to afford school fees for only a few months. Children cannot attend school the remaining months of the academic year resulting in them falling behind unable to successfully complete year end exams and sadly, the cycle repeats the following year. Kicheko is trying to combat this cycle by identifying students who are most in need and working with families to ensure that their children stay in school year round. Our model extends to earrings too! Each purchase of the wooden hexagons or druzy quartz will also send a child to school for one month. Two pairs of fabric covered studs will send a child to school for one month. I hope you've enjoyed reading more about the pieces in our new collection and that you feel that much more inspired to shop and share Kicheko!

Kicheko Giving Model

Projects: I Could Dye

Blog_Finished Eggs 12

The weekend is upon us! Pastel foils, cross-weave baskets and peeps diorama contests can only mean one thing...EASTER! I absolutely love this time of year and with Easter this Sunday, I thought I would share a fun DIY egg dye project to add a dozen pops of color to your decor, outdoor space, or office desk. It has been several YEARS since I last dyed eggs and to get back on the 'ol bike, I used 3 techniques to color the eggs: 1) dye 2) marbleize and 3) paint. The project took about 1.5 hours when all was said and done. The key with this project is to feel freedom to go freeform and have lots of paper towels handy - it can get messy.

Blog_Plain Eggs

Place a dozen eggs in a medium pot with cold water and bring to a boil. Also bring a kettle of water to a boil at the same time. Once the eggs are boiled, remove from heat and let them rest for 10 minutes. Place ice water or cold water in a bowl and move the eggs into the bowl to cool. While the eggs are cooling, prepare your dye jars or bowls. Have one jar or bowl handy for each color of dye. Add 1 tablespoon of vinegar to each jar. Double the amount of dye instructed on the dye packaging. Add 1 cup of hot water from the kettle to the jars and stir.

Now you are ready to dye your eggs. Spoon an egg into the dye jar carefully and leave in the jar for a minute. The longer you leave the egg in the jar, the darker the dye. Spoon out the egg and let dry. I lined two silicone muffin pans with paper towels and let the eggs dry there so they wouldn't roll away or bleed through the paper towel. Once all the eggs are dyed, move the jars aside and prepare your marbleized mixture.

Use a flattened bowl or sturdy paper plates. Prepare a darker dye mixture using the same technique above but add more drops of dye to darken the color. Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil and use a fork to swirl the mixture. Take your egg and swirl, spin, and dip. Pat the egg dry with paper towels and place them back on your drying rack. At this point, I found that the eggs have an oily sheen to them so I quickly dipped them in water and patted them dry before painting.

Blog_Marbled

I experimented with metallic gold paint, a sharpie and a calligraphy pen. You can do anything you like during this stage. Draw designs, paint patterns or write quotes on the eggs.

While these eggies were drying, I took the original carton, cut the top lid off and added moss to nest the finished eggs. And let's be honest, I cracked two eggs in the process. One was beyond repair so my husband ate it. And the other, the dye dried darker in the cracks and I painted over it in gold so it has this cool fractured look to it.

Did you like this project or have another technique to offer? Comment below if you'd be so kind or share this DIY project with a friend. Happy egg hunting and Happy Easter everyone!!!

Blog_Finished Eggs 2
Posted on April 18, 2014 and filed under Projects.

Travels: Sweet Southern Hospitality #Downsouthtour Recap Pt. 2

Nashville Photoshoot

Travels: Sweet Southern Hospitality #Downsouthtour Recap Pt. 2 If you missed Part 1 of the summer #downsouthtour, you can read it here. Onward and westward with a sunny day ahead of us, Tiffany and I headed from Atlanta to Chattanooga, Tennessee. Meeting up with our friends Victoria and TJ, we perused a few shops on Frazier Avenue, stopped for a quick bite at Mojo Burrito, and viewed the revitalization happening on Main Street.

Tiffany's show that night was at Highland Park in a large, unfinished garage on an open lot. Hosted by a group of artists called "Flock With Me," the show was packed with young, punk, artistic people. Tiffany performed an upbeat set on guitar and keys alongside another musician, poetry and spoken word. Sincere and searching, the Flock With Me group is earnest in their desire to freely create and have fun while doing it.

The next day, we drove to our final city - the musical town of Nashville. Arriving in the early afternoon, we stopped at a few shops on Woodland Street (will post more on this later in the week) before heading to the Listening Room Cafe. The Listening Room is a great venue on 2nd avenue that prolifically showcases artists - from blues, country, pop, acoustic folk, etc.

Tiffany performed that night in a writer's round with Jenn Bostic, Phil Barton, and Emily Shackleton. Each artist performed an alternating song list featuring their unique styles and where appropriate provided harmonies on each other's songs. Jenn even had a musician and friend of hers come out to accompany each artist on the cahone. It was a fun night that engaged a crowd of over 50 strong. Feedback, sweet meetings and reunions, and CD sales flowed thereafter. Dinner, drinks, good conversation, and a restful stay at Jenn's place in the Gulge area was the perfect way to cap the tour.

Farewell at the Airport

A full day ahead of us, Tiffany and I toured around Nashville driving through the main strip and Music Row. We visited a vintage shop set to reopen this week (will post more on this later), did a photo shoot in the afternoon, and then grabbed lunch before my flight back to DC. The #downsouthtour took us through four cities in five days, 1800 miles of pavement, and amazing memories. The sweetness of the trip is in part to the depth and thoughtfulness that our hosts showed in welcoming us to their homes. Traveling long distances, it meant a great deal to receive such enormous hospitality. It taught me a lot about what it is to share hospitality and how beautiful it is when it is genuinely shared together. Pineapples aside, it was an incredible trip for both of us. Tiffany and I deepened our friendship, gained courage for next steps in both of our lives, and are excited to plan the next tour by the end of the year. Stay tuned for a post later this week on a few great spots in Nashville for vintage and contemporary fashion!

Travels: #Downsouthtour Recap Pt. 1

Clayton's Home Decor

Travels: Sweet Southern Hospitality #Downsouthtour Recap Pt. 1 Kicking off our summer music fashion tour, Tiffany Thompson and I packed our bags for a 5-day roadtrip down south from Aug 8-13th. Combining house and venue music shows with Kicheko and local shopping, we traveled through Tennessee, Alabama and Georgia. Covering 1800 miles, the #downsouthtourwas indelibly encouraging, fun, and life-giving as we connected with a diverse set of communities.

Our first stop was Chattanooga, Tennessee to connect with friends who moved away from DC one year ago. They showed us warm hospitality preparing the guest bedroom, goodie baskets, a full coffee pot the next morning, and time to do some work in their light-filled living room before we hit the road the next morning.

We then made our way to Florence, Alabama to play a house show as well as visit a childhood friend of mine and her husband in their home, which is about 5 minutes drive from John Paul White of the Civil Wars. The house show turned "We are One" festival drew an energetic crowd of many ages as well as food and jewelry vendors. Chairs and pillows set up, displays smoothed out, and guitar tuned, Tiffany belted out a beautiful and engaging performance. Folks enjoyed the performance so much that at the end of the show we did a soul train followed by more merchandise sales. The support and encouragement we received was a perfect start to the tour. The next day, we visited the Billy Reid flagship store. Read it here.

The next stop was Atlanta, Georgia for a picturesque house show, originally slated for an outdoor performance on the terraced lawn. With a setup staged just so, we went inside to change and then...the downpour. Scrambling to save the keyboard, guitar, PA equipment, and merchandise from the rain; we made a series of barefoot runs with the help of our hosts and managed to do a quick re-setup indoors.

The show must go on of course. Our hosts drew in a vibrant and young audience that night. As much there for the music as for tasty wine, light fare, and each other's company, the audience was a tight knit community that whole-heartedly threw its support and good nature behind us. Kicheko was a hit and the audience asked Tiffany to perform well past midnight as we transitioned to the outdoor court where the show was originally envisioned.

Staying up late into the night chatting with our hosts, we shared many a cheers reflecting on the wins of the tour halfway through and thoughts on friendship and the complexities of love. Probably, the best part of our Atlanta night was the impromptu singalong where Jeremy got on keys, Jebb on the guitar, and Tiffany on mic. We sang Billy Joel, Beatles, Rolling Stones - it was joyous and reminded me of my adolescence at summer camps in Scotland where the whole camp would gather round for a hearty and boisterous singalong in the main marquee.

While in Atlanta, we visited Sid Mashburn and Ann Mashburn. Husband and wife as well as business collaborators, their stores are connected to one another in the Warehouse District. Sid displaying a well-polished, well-traveled, and playful store contrasts nicely with Ann's, which presents a brightly-lit space, classic lines, and splashes of sophisticated elements from African beads, coffee table books, and an inspiration wall. Our time in Atlanta was both fun-filled and restful, giving us an extra kick to tackle the rest of the miles and the cities left on the bill. Stay tuned for Part 2 of the recap where I will share about Chattanooga, Nashville, and the rest of the tour.

Jams: Press Panda on this Summer Cruisin' Mix!

Jams: Sit Back, Press Panda - Summer Cruisin' Mix GotchuNothing says summer like white jean cutoffs, ice cream cones, itsy bitsy teenie weenie yellow polka dot bikinis, sunburn, roadtrips, and of course, the quintessential playlist for all your summer galavants and needs. Quite appropriately, on my 28th birthday, I would like to debut the first music/fashion collaboration between Fashion & Philosophers and my friend, DJ Twisted Panda. Summer Cruisin Mix art

Summer Cruisin' Mix by Dj Twisted Panda on Mixcloud

This is the gift that keeps on groovin'. A two-month project in the making, we wanted to incorporate many of our influences from Bill Withers and Notorious B.I.G. to Florence & the Machine and Kimbra. Now, is he not a talented DJ? Get by that pool or behind the wheel, set your mode to cruisin', and click on that furry panda. Cheers friends.

Posted on August 15, 2013 and filed under Jams, Projects.