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Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Burlington's Old Gold Moving to Cherry Street

Posted By on Wed, Oct 24, 2018 at 1:07 PM

Old Gold owner Karin Eisenberg - SALLY POLLAK
  • Sally Pollak
  • Old Gold owner Karin Eisenberg
Two thousand T-shirts, cartons of nippies and pasties, scores of sequined gowns, a rainbow of tutus and stacks of faded Levis will relocate in time for the New Year as Old Gold, a Burlington sartorial landmark, decamps to Cherry Street.

The vintage clothing store and costume shop, whose window mannequins enliven Main Street, is moving from the jam-packed, jaw-dropping space it has occupied since 1977. The store's lease at 180 Main Street will end on December 31, Old Gold owner Karin Eisenberg told Seven Days. She will move her business to 153 Cherry Street — the onetime home of the B Side skate shop — and open there on January 2, 2019.

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Sunday, April 1, 2018

Style Points: In With the Old at Billie Jean Vintage

Posted By on Sun, Apr 1, 2018 at 12:32 PM

Meghan Jean Mello and Diane Jean - SADIE WILLIAMS
  • Sadie Williams
  • Meghan Jean Mello and Diane Jean
The amount of quality vintage clothing in Burlington just went up a notch — or a storefront. Billie Jean Vintage, a boutique and Etsy store run by cousins Diane Jean and Meghan Jean Mello, recently moved from Stowe to Battery Street in Burlington.

Mello grew up in Charlotte. Jean is a Jersey girl. But for the past three years, they've been hawking new and vintage reproduction goods for their discerning customers. Jean also plays in the band Clever Girls.

In Burlington, BJV joins other vintage newbies, such as the Vault Collective on Cherry Street, and staples of the scene such as Old Gold on Main Street. It seems that the Queen City has an appetite for retro, recycled habiliments.

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Sunday, January 28, 2018

Vintage Dealers Come Together for Pop-Up Shop

Posted By on Sun, Jan 28, 2018 at 12:27 PM

  • Sadie Williams
  • Jenn Jarecki
Thursday evening might not seem like the ideal time for a shopping spree, but that's what it became for some folks at ArtsRiot. The first Vintage Pop-Up Market, organized by Sam duPont and Jenn Jarecki, brought together 11 local vintage-goods sellers under one roof.

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Friday, January 19, 2018

Style Points: Bad Luck Goods

Posted By on Fri, Jan 19, 2018 at 8:00 AM

CryBB Patch, Cherry Pie Patch, One Juicy Peach Patch and Barbed Patch by Bad Luck Goods - COURTESY OF BAD LUCK GOODS
  • Courtesy of Bad Luck Goods
  • CryBB Patch, Cherry Pie Patch, One Juicy Peach Patch and Barbed Patch by Bad Luck Goods
Welcome back to Style Points! We took a holiday break but are diving into a new year that will surely be filled with flair. Enter Emma Fern, the nimble needleworker behind Bad Luck Goods.

It's safe to say that Fern, 21, has a lot on her plate … or in her sewing basket. In addition to her budding embroidery company, she's a full-time art student at the University of Vermont. Fern also works at Common Deer in downtown Burlington.

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Thursday, August 10, 2017

Style Points: Skye Makaris Has an Eye for Vintage

Posted By on Thu, Aug 10, 2017 at 9:00 AM

  • Courtesy of Skye Makaris
  • Skye Makaris
Skye Makaris, though only 23,  has a flair for historical fashion and wears it well. Most often, you'll see her around the Burlington area in full-blown 1940s or ’50s regalia, from hat to shoes.

Makaris documents her exploits in vintage fashion on her blog, My Kingdom for a Hat. There, alongside numerous self-portraits, she expounds on market trends in vintage, her love of tailored suit sets, hats and her various fabulous finds.

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Thursday, July 13, 2017

Style Points: Lucy Leith Designs for Humans and Robots

Posted By on Thu, Jul 13, 2017 at 9:12 PM

Lucy Leith's Trilobite Coat - LUCY LEITH
  • Lucy Leith
  • Lucy Leith's Trilobite Coat
Twenty-one-year-old Lucy Leith hasn't wasted her year off from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. The fashion student is half way through her studies — she moved back to her native Burlington in May 2016 and plans to complete her education in the fall. Since February 2017, she's been a driving force in developing the sewing and textile program at Burlington's Generator maker space.

When she's not looking for new teachers or leading workshops at the South End organization, Leith volunteers at Burlington City Arts, works as a teaching assistant for area artist Kate Donnelly and freelances as a gardener.

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Sunday, June 11, 2017

Style Points: Sam duPont Curates Vintage So You Don't Have To

Posted By on Sun, Jun 11, 2017 at 2:22 PM

Sam duPont is the bright mind behind the carefully curated racks of Project Object Vintage, an apparel and accessory boutique that sells through Etsy, Instagram and frequent pop-up events and studio sales.

With a discerning eye, the Burlington-based entrepreneur has put together a collection of vintage clothing, shoes and accessories for a variety of body types and tastes. She gravitates toward natural fibers — think flax, linen, silk and cotton — but isn't opposed to the occasional synthetic fabric if the garment's cut is flattering.

But fashion isn't duPont's full-time game: The 34-year-old splits her time between farming and Project Object. She started the latter four years ago in November while living on Mount Desert Island in Maine. Like many seasonal workers, duPont was anticipating a long winter without a job.

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Saturday, May 27, 2017

Style Points: Mean Folk by Jon Testa

Posted By on Sat, May 27, 2017 at 11:20 AM

  • Courtesy of Jon Testa
  • Jon Testa
In case you missed our first installation of Style Points last week, here's another chance to dig into the Vermont fashion scene. We're back with another local designer killing it in an international market.

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Saturday, May 13, 2017

Style Points: Natural Lingerie by Hanna Broer Design

Posted By on Sat, May 13, 2017 at 3:54 PM

Model Aubrey Ebony in pieces from Hanna Broer's spring underwear line - RUNWAY PHOTOGRAPHY
  • Runway Photography
  • Model Aubrey Ebony in pieces from Hanna Broer's spring underwear line

It’s finally spring. The birds are chirping, the sun is shining —  sometimes — and we're pushing heavy outerwear to the backs of our closets. It seems like a good time to introduce a new blog series focusing on Vermont designers, stylists, fashion mavens and textile-oriented entrepreneurs. For this inaugural post, meet eco-friendly designer Hanna Broer.

Broer first started designing under garments in 2011, when she was still living in her native Montréal. "One day I needed underwear, so I made some for myself and had a lot of fun," she said. "I was working for a Montréal fashion designer, [Katrin Leblond,] at the time, and I got a lot of encouragement, so I made more to sell. I’ve evolved a lot since then, but that’s how it started."

Now, the 27-year-old designer lives in Craftsbury, where she makes all of the organic cotton bras, panties and loungewear in her eponymous lingerie line. Her work features nary a whisper of underwire, relying instead on high waistlines downstairs and sleek-yet-comfortable cuts upstairs.

Lace makes an occasional appearance in Broer's ever-evolving lineup of intimates, but, for the most part, she produces comfy underwear sets in printed and solid organic jersey fabrics. Seven Days caught up with the designer over email to learn more about her business.

SEVEN DAYS: What was that first underwear like that you made, and how have things changed?
HANNA BROER: My first pair of underwear was the wide-band panty style. I was working in a fashion studio in Montréal at the time. I was wearing a pair of baggy jeans — really baggy, like some men wear it — and I was so frustrated with having to wear shorts underneath, so I made myself some undies that would give a similar effect to the boxers that show under men's pants. One of them even had a plaid print. I've refined the cut since then for a better fit, but the style is still the same. I've added other panty styles since, and I eventually started making bras to go with the bottoms.

SD: Why no underwire?
HB: There are a few reasons. First, comfort is essential to me, and underwire bras can be very uncomfortable if they don't fit perfectly. Then, a more practical reason for me is they are very time-consuming to make, and getting the right fit through only measurements can be quite tricky. I'm slowly teaching myself to make them fit comfortably and reliably. There are people who do prefer underwire bras for support, and one day I might offer them, but I'm not there yet. I do offer some bras that are still quite supportive for not having wires, and I have many happy customers in all ranges of breast sizes, including in my XL and XXL sizes.

Sierra McKenzie models Hanna Broer's spring line. - DAVE TADA
  • Dave Tada
  • Sierra McKenzie models Hanna Broer's spring line.
SD: On to materials. Where do you get your fabric? Is it hard to find organic materials, and how do you verify that?
HB: I buy most of my fabric online from a few wholesale companies. It is difficult to find organic materials and especially organic stretch jerseys, which I use for my undergarments. I spend lots of time searching!

SD: Why do you hand sew? Couldn't you get a factory to make all your designs and save time?
HB: I love to sew! I'm a very creative and hands-on person, and I love being part of the whole process. I also think that there are starting to be many lost arts in our culture, and I want to keep the craft of sewing alive here. Eventually, if I can't handle all the sewing, I will want to hire someone, or a few people, locally.

SD: What dictates how your designs change between seasons? For example, in 2017, you're using the same print in a variety of natural-looking colors. For 2016,  you used more lace and added more loungewear to the line.
HB: I like to create inspiration boards for myself with colors, textures, trends and details that inspire me. Ultimately, the decision is often more practical. Some of it depends on what fabrics I can find, and which colors compliment each other.  Some of it depends on the season; some of it comes from wanting to accommodate different body types, and it's all based on what I'm inspired to make.
Cait Lion in items from Hanna Broer Designs - CAROLYN JEAN
  • Carolyn Jean
  • Cait Lion in items from Hanna Broer Designs
SD: It looks like you recently started making swimsuits. Is that material harder to work with? Do you think you'll continue offering them?
HB: There are some challenges to making swimwear, and the material can sometimes be tricky, but it's not much more challenging than lingerie is for me. The biggest reason I haven't done swimwear until now is that I've committed to using environmentally friendly fabrics as much as I can. Since swimwear has to be made from synthetic materials, that has been a setback for me.

Recently I was able to find a company that uses polyester that has been produced using significantly less water than conventional polyester. I've been using that fabric for a small test run, and hopefully this summer I will be offering more swimwear made out of recycled polyester.

SD: What are your primary means of marketing your product?
HB: At the moment my primary marketing comes from social media (mainly Instagram), and through Etsy.

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Monday, April 10, 2017

International Fashion Show Showcases New American Designs

Posted By on Mon, Apr 10, 2017 at 9:58 AM

Sahar Alsammraee - SADIE WILLIAMS
  • Sadie Williams
  • Sahar Alsammraee
In Iraq, Sahar Alsammraee operated a clothing design studio out of her home. Her stock-in-trade were elaborately embroidered designs for traditional Arabic/Islamic dresses called abaya. That all came to an end when the 55-year-old designer fled to Syria at the start of the Iraq War in 2003. When conflict escalated there she returned to Iraq, then migrated to Vermont in 2014.

Alsammraee provides home care for her mother. And it's taken her some time to save up for sewing machines and fabric. But this year she has returned to the practice she loves: designing and sewing abaya.

And now, she has an outlet to show those designs: The Karibu (Welcome) International Fashion Show. Staged by the Champlain Valley Office of Economic Opportunity, the show takes place on Thursday, April 13, at the Higher Ground Showcase Lounge in South Burlington.
A traditional Iraqi dress by Sahar Alsammraee. - SADIE WILLIAMS
  • Sadie Williams
  • A traditional Iraqi dress by Sahar Alsammraee.

Aslammraee is one of three designers preparing garments for the show. The others, Pamela Tshilemba and Virginie Diambou, are from the Democratic Republic of Congo and the Republic of Congo, respectively. The show features 21 models from far flung countries such as Peru, Guatemala, Mexico, Iraq, Togo, Ghana, Nigeria, China, Nepal, India, the Democratic Republic of Congo and the Republic of Congo.

CVOEO associate director Sandrine Kibuey, formerly of the DRC, cohosts the event with Alex Hirsch from WCAX-TV.

Alsammraee was preparing four pieces for Karibu in her Winooski apartment on Tuesday afternoon. The designer doesn't speak fluent English, so Houda Musanovic, formerly of Morocco, translated.

One red evening gown with long sleeves not yet sewn to the bodice was draped on the couch near a small sewing machine set up on a folding table. She'll be making two dresses in that style.
Detail of evening wear dress by Sahar Alsammraee - SADIE WILLIAMS
  • Sadie Williams
  • Detail of evening wear dress by Sahar Alsammraee
The other two, which she has already finished, are abaya in seashell pink and turquoise. One is adorned with glitzy rhinestones, the other bearing an appliquéd band of silver lace trim down the center.  The dresses are composed of two parts — a loosely fitted, ankle-length sheath dress in poly-blend satin topped with a layer of sheer chiffon.

The designer says she gets her fabric at Jo-Ann Fabrics and Crafts in South Burlington, but that it's more expensive than the material she used to work with in Iraq. She's also using machine-embroidered fabrics from Jo-Ann. In Iraq she designed embroidery patterns and commissioned area seamstresses to fashion them either by hand or machine, depending on the complexity of the design.

Alsammraee and Musanovic explained that the light, flowing abaya are typically worn "the day just before a wedding, henna day." On that occasion, women dress up and gather to adorn the bride-to-be with temporary henna tattoos. "Just girls," Musanovic says, adding, "sparkle is very important."

Aslammraee is excited for people to see her designs. "It's just the beginning, she says." She hopes to grow her business here and be successful with it, as she was in Iraq. She adds, "It helps to be known in the community."

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