Posts filed under Editorials

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

Amanda Vega, Owner & Curator, Kaleidos

[kuh • lahy • dohs] An online shop offering a curated mix of vintage & independent designs. May you look through & always find something beautiful!

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Two years ago, I remember meeting Amanda Vega for the first time. We shared cheesecake amongst a group of girlfriends and even though this was a new meet, I had a really good feeling about her. Amanda modeled for our first lookbook. Among other pursuits, she is also an artist and musician performing locally in the DMV area with her talented husband, Posido. Amanda is also business owner and curator of the newly minted online shop, Kaleidos. We spent a bright morning together at the Artist's Lofts where we chatted about business, life, the fears and excitement of building new things, and a few fun rapid fire questions (playlist, skincare, recipes, etc). Enjoy the interview and I hope you grow encouraged in your own journey to pursue the best and most authentic version of yourself. From that, the well runs deep, rootedness grows, love flows, dreams may emerge, and others draw close.

 

Tell us about that “aha” moment for Kaleidos. What was the origin story?

At the end of 2012, I left my job as a visual merchandiser for H&M to pursue music full-time - something that I’ve felt calling and knocking on my heart since I was 15. In 2013,  I decided to focus on songwriting - now that I had this time and space. I encountered a really serious bout of writer’s block. I tried to discipline myself through it. Whatever I could squeeze out of myself daily, I tried, but ultimately felt like my soul was dry and had nothing to say. My husband and I moved back to Virginia and moved in with my mom - financially it was difficult.

We had to simplify and scale back a lot and one of those areas was my closet. I had a lot of clothes but wasn’t wearing them so I thought I would start selling them. I discovered a whole community of shops on Instagram, instashops - where women sold their clothes. I began to get really serious about it and started getting creative about creating an instashop - it tapped into my experience as a visual merchandiser. I took a lot of time taking good pictures and styling the clothes for sale on sisters and friends. I started gaining more followers. It was fun and doing this tapped into a distant dream that I've always had of owning my own small boutique. While managing my instashop, I discovered many independent and emerging designers. After that point, I started concepting a real shop.

What is your dream for Kaleidos?

My ultimate dream is to successfully open up a brick and mortar. I want Kaleidos to be a shop that has a creative community behind it. For example, I would love to incorporate live music and do pop up events in the shop. I named the shop Kaleidos because inside of a kaleidoscope live these little variant objects, that when shining light on them creates this inspiring swirl of beauty. Life is far from being one-dimensional. We have complexities (stories, ideas, hopes, dreams, pains). It's the amalgamation of these fragments that make life so interesting and beautiful - and that is the heart behind the brand of Kaleidos.

 

What has surprised you about starting Kaleidos?

What has surprised me is that I could actually do it. It started as a hobby and it quickly snowballed into Kaleidos. I’m surprised that I have actually made this a legitimate business and attended my first trade show in New York talking to and selecting designers for the shop. I am actually doing this. There is a lot of fear coupled with a lot of excitement. When I feel those insecurities, I tell myself to keep going.

 

What is a “lesson learned” piece of advice that you would tell a budding business owner?

Work hard. Believe in yourself. Keep going. This is something that I tell myself all the time. You can do it. You ARE doing it. Just keep going. Specifically, I would say organization is important. There are a lot of roles and tasks that you have to juggle and balance. You get pulled in so many directions but in order to move forward, you need structure. Write down your objectives. Create a structure for yourself so you can move forward. I'm still learning to master this.

What’s on your playlist now?

I am pretty loyal to Kye Kye, Lykke Li, Banks, and Broods. I listen to a lot of woman-fronted bands that are more performance based and have a strong vibe and have an electric/synth sound. I went through a phase when all I listened to was Daughter. Lately though, I have been playing a lot of the "discover" section on Spotify. I love discovering new emerging talent. whether in music or fashion. It's definitely become a passion of mine. (My newest discovery is Norway artist, AURORA.)

What creative do you absolutely love right now?

I am inspired by Madeleine Furlong of Wide Eyed Legless. I am inspired by her aesthetic, approach to life and minimalist fashion sense. She has a good way of exuding a lot of creativity in simplistic form. Also, I am super, super, SUPER late on the ManRepeller game, but I've only recently discovered the amazingness of Leandra Medine. This interview just made me love her so much.

What jewelry are you loving right now?

Right now, I’m wearing my Kicheko collaboration necklace and have been wearing it for a few days now. Love it. I love not caring too much about what I’m wearing. The necklace speaks for itself. It is my outfit. I wear clothes with it of course, but I  can wear it with a t-shirt and jeans and pop it on. I’m also wearing Young Frankk rings, which I’m carrying in the shop. I’ve been a big fan of hers for a long time.

 

What beauty product is a game-changer for you right now?

I’m into skincare products right now and recently discovered Herbivore Botanicals - a skincare line that uses natural ingredients. I’m using their black charcoal soap and toner and absolutely love it.

What recipe can you not get enough of?

It’s super simple but I roast a lot of veggies. The mix varies but it includes brussel sprouts. sweet potato, red potatoes, asparagus, onions, carrots, zucchini, cauliflower and sunflower oil with salt, pepper, garlic. Set the oven to 425 degrees for 25 minutes and you have a super healthy dish.

Who are your style mavens that inspire your own aesthetic?

It's a mix - Lykke Li, Alexa Chung, Leandra Medine, Mary Kate and Ashley Olson. You can get a visual aesthetic of my favorite lady muses here on my Pinterest. The core style that represents the Kaleidos girl is that they wear whatever they chose to wear effortlessly and with confidence.

If you weren’t doing Kaleidos, you would be…

Doing music. I haven’t given up my music. This new venture has definitely occupied me in my creative space but it all started because I wanted to do music and it’s still a big part of who I am.

 

I hope you enjoyed this glimpse into the head and heart of Amanda. Her diverse background in visual merchandising, music and fashion set her up to uniquely curate an exciting new addition to the creative community. Follow @shopkaleidos on Instagram and visit her online shop. We have our eye on a few pieces ourselves and are excited to keep up as the shop rolls out new designers in the next weeks. Also, check out our collaboration necklace, the Nanga - a beautiful mix of natural and nylon rope cording designed to anchor any outfit and drawn together with gold-plated magnetic closures. 

Kicheko Travels: Los Angeles

Kicheko traveled to the city of angels and oh my, was it heavenly.

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The beaches, the architecture, the food, the sunlit everything. Between our lovely host, Ally, and our friends' recommendations, we had a lengthy list to see, explore and eat from Orange County to Malibu. 

Often, there are weeks that just seem to go by in a blur but our time in Los Angeles seemed to stretch and leisurely meander like it was having a picnic of Roscoe's chicken and waffles in a sunlit field of poppies. Being fully present for each moment helped us see and experience the city with greater detail and needed pauses to just breathe it all in and bask in the rays.

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I'm excited to share more about the trip including our upcoming lookbook, which we shot in a few iconic places around the SoCal area. We will also share about our meets with some incredible people and organizations that truly inspire our work and mission. I think they'll inspire you too!

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Work brought us out and I hope it brings us out again. California, I am vibing on you hard. 'Till next time. XOXO. 

Follow us on Instagram for more views and fun snaps of our trip

Maven Style: A Chat About Design & Biz with Zoom Interiors

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Beautiful design. Budget friendly. Quick turnarounds. Beatrice Fishel-Bock, Elizabeth Grover, and Madeline Fraser are the friends, founders and designers behind Zoom Interiors, an online-based interior design business whose mission is to provide professional and stylish design for clients who don't have a lot of time and are on a budget. I had the pleasure of sitting down with the boss ladies of Zoom and learned more about their story and their business. Fresh on the scene, there is no doubt they are talented, fun, and hard working entrepreneurs committed to expanding accessibility to beautiful design for those who don't know where to start or don't think they can afford it. Trust me friends, these ladies can show you how. 

On a sunny weekend day at Eastern Market, I met Madeline at my Kicheko tent and we hit it off. She went home with the arc rainbow crystal quartz necklace and I went home with an interest in this budding design business. Beatrice, Elizabeth and Madeline met at the George Washington University through the Interior Architecture and Design program. While abroad in London, the concept for the business began over conversation centered around the question that all approaching graduates ask, “What am I going to do after school?” The trio realized that there was a gap in the market for friends and peers who wanted affordable design but did not know how to navigate this world or knew whether affordable interior design was even possible. They decided to help one friend out lending their design services for free as an experiment requiring only that their client purchase furniture, decor and art at cost. The result was a success for both parties and as a result, this first client referred coworkers, friends and her boyfriend to seek their design services. With a $1400 budget, they transformed a room and its success gave them enough affirmation to launch the business. Zoom Interiors was born.

Beginning the business their junior year, they allowed themselves one year to experiment, at times, working on client projects in the back of classes. They continued to work with friends building a curated portfolio for their website. Their online approach and mission for the business broke with traditional molds of interior design, which inevitably encountered questions and some resistance from professors and colleagues, who were steeped in traditional methods of interior design. Zoom Interiors has now been in business for 14 months and their main offices have moved from the District to Philadelphia. Over the course of this time, Zoom Interiors has amassed an impressive collection of clients from personal room designs, interior redesigns, television set design, and commercial spaces. Working with clients in DC, Philadelphia, LA, New York and Virginia, the Zoom team’s services give the business the flexibility to work anywhere and with anyone.

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How it works:

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1. Online Survey. Fill out a basic survey asking basic questions relating to style and color preferences. This initial survey is used to fill out a basic profile for a new client. In the meantime, a second survey is sent with more detailed questions asking about dimensions, measurements and technical info.

2. Free consultation. Phone or skype. A member of the Zoom team will review your survey and discuss the project.

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3. Zoomboard. At this point, $150 fee per room is required to continue. The Zoom team will proceed designing a moodboard matching your desired preference including colors, patterns, and pieces.

4. Design and communicate. You can discuss and make changes to the board up to 3x until it is exactly what you want.

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5. Zoomcart. Once the board is approved, the team will put together a cart with all of your requested furniture, decor, and custom art. A $250 deposit is applied towards the total cost of the cart. You approve the cart and pay the remaining balance.

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6. Arrival and Install. The zoom cart will arrive to your home. At the same time, the team will provide you step-by-step instructions and floorplans on where to put the furniture pieces and hang the decor. After assembly, moving and hanging, the zoom process is complete.

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Depending on the turnaround time on the surveys, a room design can take anywhere from two weeks to one month. Room refreshes start at $1,000. Brand new room designs start at $2,000. The Zoom team is transparent about the budgets they can work with - everything from $1K to $50K and higher. Their relationships with manufacturers and other lines afford them the best prices in the business, which they pass to their clients. When asked about their clientele’s niche, the Zoom team says,

“The interior design hemisphere is a brutal world for the busy, and more so, budget-conscious individual. We believe everyone deserves to be graced with beautiful spaces to enhance their lives. And it is our mission to do just that- interior design on a budget.”

Each of the designers backgrounds and individual design eye have influenced the role that they now play in moving the business forward. This was a learning process going back to their first set of clients when all three would work together on each project. Beatrice hails from Geneva, Switzerland and Miami. Her design strength is shabby chic and her role is bigger picture managerial, financial and web. Madeline is from Los Angeles and her aesthetic forte is Moroccan and eclectic. She is charged with marketing for the business and is also the in-house artist, completing custom paintings and artwork for clients. Elizabeth comes from Richmond, Virginia and her preferred interior style is contemporary and modern. She is the project manager and does the bulk of the design work from boards to floorplans and install instructions.

I asked each of the ladies if they have a favorite project to date. For Madeline, a PR office in LA where she was commissioned to do 5 custom paintings for the space. She flew out there to help with the install and see the project through. For her, this project was like her baby. Elizabeth responded with a loft design project for a former Bachelor contestant. From the sounds of it, upon the breakup with his now ex-girlfriend, she damaged a significant amount of furniture, which gave Elizabeth the opportunity to redesign the whole space. Photos of that project will soon be on the website. For Beatrice, her favorite was their first client. The experience was their first one and it was so good that felt enough gumption to launch the business. This project was a milestone and will always be her favorite.

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The ladies look up to companies like Ikea because they changed the game in the home decor industry for affordable design. The ladies also look up to pioneers like Sophia Amorouso of Nastygal. When asked about their future goals, the ladies responded in unison that they have a 10-year plan and big ideas for the business. One of their major goals is to create a lifestyle brand around Zoom becoming the gurus of stylish and affordable living as well as expand Zoom Interior’s business from not only services but to their own furniture and product line. They would also like to grow their clientele adding more male young professionals to their list of clients. There is a growing number of urban, young professionals who are building careers, buying homes, and desiring stylish design, but do not have the time or expertise to go about designing their homes.

Going the entrepreneurial and independent route is an attractive alternative albeit one that requires a superlative amount of vision, discipline and motivation. Near the end of our conversation, I asked them what the best part of running their business was and they were in unison that it has been the opportunity to work together. They count themselves lucky to spend so much time together socially and also that they get to work together each day. I got the sense that they have been through a lot and have a genuine respect for each other and each person’s work. To be young women and entrepreneurs, it can be an intimidating climate especially in the wake of the Great Recession whose residual effects are still felt even in urban centers. Beatrice, Elizabeth and Madeline are crystal clear on who they are, their mission, and who they exist to serve. That laser focus has continued to form over their nascent growth and while they are creatively minded, they are also businesswomen. Their first year in the working professional world, they consistently seek new opportunities, raise the bar, and are learning everyday. Madeline wears a necklace from a former professor and dear friend with the words “Fuck it” on the pendant. That bold and succinct message embodies the spirit in which they have launched their business and their career.

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If you have a room in need of a refresh or design, check out Zoom Interiors to learn how they can transform your space. Follow along on their blog for a plethora of boards and education on interiors as well as fun sartorial shoots of the ladies and other inspiration. I have a feeling we will be seeing a lot more of these ladies and Zoom Interiors in the future. We are thrilled about this up and coming business and the businesswomen behind it. To all of you who want a refresh to a room or have a tabula rasa of a space in need of expert designs, I highly recommend Zoom Interiors. Happy reimagining and designing!

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All photos provided by Zoom Interiors LLC

Editorial: Sounds of the House

A Few of my Dad's Favorite Things

A little over a month ago, my life's axis tilted in one of those slow motion, paradigm-shifting ways, like in the movies when you see the realization of sudden news unfold in the face of a character you know and are rooting for. My mom called on an unusually gray afternoon and shared the news, in measured pauses, that my dad had passed away. Since that day, it has been a mix of emotions and mental mazes with each day bringing some aspect of this new reality to bear. As the news took root and I spent the subsequent weeks at home making arrangements and spending time with family, one of the realizations that hit me was that my dad filled our home with sound. He had a love of music, timepieces and play. Some of my dad's favorites were the Lettermen, Beatles, Beach Boys, Bee Gees and ABBA. I have fond memories of these records playing on a weekend morning filling the apartment with these melodies. Now that he is gone, the sounds of my childhood home will be forever different but not forgotten. This first post since Fashion & Philosophers' hiatus is dedicated to my dad.

Edgar Yenesa Magallanes was born in 1953 in Manila, the capital city of the Philippines. He had two brothers and two sisters. While earning a degree in economics and studying engineering, he had a dream to move to the United States. After college, he befriended and won the affection of a pretty lady named Eva, who had just moved to the Manila area. Their friendship grew and they were married in 1976. The following year, they welcomed their first child, a son named Gary Michael, to the family. In 1981, my dad was recruited by an IT company, which required him to move to Los Angeles. A risky and faithful move, my dad went to LA to work and eventually landed a job in New York City in the World Trade Center. Shortly after, he was able to send for my mom and brother and they were reunited at Christmastime in 1982. Three years later, a spirited baby girl came along. ;)

As we were preparing for my dad's memorial service, one of the surprises of the whole process was discovering a photo album that I have never lain eyes on in my 28 years. It was a brown leather album with "Family Heritage" in gold script lettering on the cover. Inside were pictures of my dad from childhood to the early years of marriage. My dad has always been very sensitive about his past due to an estrangement from his family ever since I could remember. My mom kept these photos hidden for years and unearthed the album after a vigorous search. As I looked at the photos, this whole other side of my dad's life was finally revealed and I spent hours poring over the photos imagining the stories behind the pictures.

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One of the best discoveries from this album was finding photos of my parents in the early years of their marriage. In my recent memory, they have definitely had their share of difficulties. It was nice to see them so happy and in love. In another photo album, the first third of photo sleeves was filled with 3x5 photos with handwritten notes on the back of each photo. We learned that when my dad first traveled to LA for work, he took pictures and wrote little captions and notes on the back of each photo and then mailed them to my mom. These were their postcards.

Processing the last weeks with a few close friends, I asked them about their most poignant memory of my dad. After some thought, they shared remembering my dad's love to dance during parties and celebrations. I was so pleased to find these photos of my mom and dad boogieing in the 70's and putting it side by side with this more recent photo. Still got it.

After a decade of battling various health issues and heart ailments, my dad is now free. I feel a duality of relief and love for my father but also grief and confusion because as much as we know the facts about life and death, loss stings. It just does. Even as his health declined, Edgar's mind and spirit remained strong until his passing. His visiting nurse remarked that "Edgar has a fighting spirit." I could not agree more. With each day, I have been increasingly comforted and loved on by the people in our lives, increasingly aware that life is a gift and compelled to live our limited days fully, and increasingly thankful that God's grace, character and love abound in ways that I continue to explore and appreciate. Though he is no longer with us, his memory and his legacy will live on. The sounds of my childhood home will be different now but fortunately, I have a few of his old records, timepieces, games, and dance moves to remind me of his ways. We love you and miss you dad. Happy Father's Day.