Lookbook Love: Drifting Arrows at Craft & Culture

Hana Ryan is doing some cool things over at Craft & Culture, and shares my passion for highlighting indie designers and local Seattleites. Here's her latest designer feature, Leah Lawrence's Drifting Arrows.

The Pacific Northwest may not typically be considered a swimwear capital but Seattle-based designer Leah Lawrence is about to put it on the map with her new line Drifting Arrows. In the debut collection, Leah presents four impeccably edited styles in a palette of oceanic matte colors. A life of travel and time spent near the ocean inspired the designer to create swimsuits that incorporate timeless elegance into a modern lifestyle.

Born in Africa and raised on Maui, Leah grew up in vibrant cultures and dramatic landscapes. Having lived in the Pacific Northwest for the past 10 years, the designer wanted to create a line to reflect both her nomadic upbringing and Seattle sensibilities.

The theme of Drifting Arrows is “traveling without a set destination.” Leah envisioned a worldly but realistic woman. “I thought about the experience of going to the beach, swimming and then having a day of stuff to do after,” she said. “One of my primary considerations was creating suits that transition seamlessly into the outfit a woman will be wearing after the beach -- something that will be beautiful peeking out from under your clothing.”

How has Africa influenced you?
I think Africa has inspired me to travel to unexpected destinations and places that are less developed. I’m interested in areas that have more authenticity, a kind of a ruggedness and untouched quality.

Is Drifting Arrows your first design venture? 
It is! I designed swimwear in school years ago but finished school feeling kind of disillusioned. After graduating I worked as a buyer at Blackbird Ballard, a men’s retailer in Seattle, and tried to get a real grasp on the industry and how to get from point A to point B in the fashion world. When I realized it was time for me to do something, swimwear was the obvious choice.

What do you think makes a great swimsuit? 
I think a great swimsuit makes a woman feel super comfortable and sexy. That is the most important thing, honestly. You have to avoid a situation where the bathing suit is wearing the person and also create something that highlights the best assets of a woman’s body depending on what those are. Each woman is different.

Tell us about your materials. 
I source all my materials from an Italian company that makes the highest quality lycra you can get. That is what they specialize in and their testing is really, really thorough. They also offer an amazing array of colors. I’m proud to import it myself.

What has surprised you most about this process?
I worked as a buyer for a long time so I was on the receiving end of peoples’ emails and phone calls. People were reaching out trying to get me to take a look at their line and I always knew what they were doing was hard. I wanted to be really empathetic to their situation and look at everything that they were trying to show me but you can’t get to everything. I thought I already knew that was how it was going to be. But when I actually started calling stores and trying to get my thing out there, it was hard. Ultimately I got tough skin, stopped caring and would email someone a 7th time. And sometimes after that 7th time, they were like, ‘Oh my god, I didn’t see your email. I’m so glad I saw it this time.’ So you have to persevere through that and not be so sensitive.

Where do you feel most at home? 
I feel most at home in the upcountry of Maui with my family. The compound.

What are you most excited for in the future?
In terms of Drifting Arrows, I’m really excited about fleshing out the line and adding more styles, colors and prints -- really bringing my vision forward. I had to start as simple as possible with minimal styles, minimal colors, no prints. So I am excited to expand and at some point do eyewear, beach bags and give a whole story.

Interview by Hana Ryan of Craft & Culture. Photography by Mckinley Parker. Product model: Juliana @ LUSH. Editorial model: Anna H. @ TCM.


The Parallax Project by Brian Oh

My friend & photographer Brian Oh recently took the leap to doing freelance photography full-time, with studio space and everything! This is his Parallax Project. He's sending out disposable cameras to people in 47 countries and 4 states. Their only task is to use this camera to document their lives. However and whatever they capture is up to them. It's awesome to see what's come back so far. I'm looking forward to seeing more come in as the project progresses.

Remember what it was like to take pictures with disposable cameras?

Check out more Parallax Project on the BrianPhotoh Facebook page, and look out for his Kickstarter campaign to support the Parallax Project soon!


IFB Links a la Mode 5/24/12 - edited by Fresh Jess

I edit the Independent Fashion Bloggers' Links a la Mode once a month (every 4th week.) If you're an IFB member, Links a la Mode is a great way to be featured in the massive community. Each week, you can submit your best blog post for consideration in LALM. We (the editors) then read each submission and select 20 for that week's roundup. I'll be writing another post soon that goes more into detail in what I specifically look for when I'm going through submissions. If you're not an IFB member, take a look at some of my favorite fashion blog posts from the last month :)

DIY Days of Summer

Edited by: Jess of Fresh Jess

The bloggers are taking it to the crafts these days! What better way to get your wardrobe ready for summer than breathing new life into what you’ve got? This week’s Links a la Mode is chock full of quick & easy DIY projects for everything from crystallized shoes and Miu Miu-inspired clutches to top buns and accessories laced with neon. If getting crafty’s not on your to-do list this week, don’t fret. We’ve also got thoughtful posts on personal style, dressing for summer events, supporting local designers and blogger besties. These posts are getting better and better every week and it was hard to choose just 20 of them. Keep ‘em coming!


Spring Sale at Shopbop: Magda Berliner, Weitzman, Rachel Roy, Badgley Mischka, Raquel Allegra, Garde Paris, Rebecca Taylor,Oliver Theyskens & Sonia Rykiel

If you would like to submit your link for next week’s Links à la Mode, please register first, then post your links HERE. The HTML code for this week will be found in the Links a la Mode group will be published later today. ~Jennine


Fresh Style: Snapshots

For someone who gets pegged as a fashion blogger a lot, I sure don't do many of my own style posts on here. I was not one of the ones blessed with a photography background or a photog boyfriend :), plus I hate taking outfit pictures. Anywho, here are some of the pieces and things that have been in heavy rotation in my wardrobe lately. Seattle doesn't seem to know what to do with itself weather-wise, so the last couple of months have been all about layers and toting around both sunglasses and an umbrella. Increment weather conditions indeed!

Got my hair done at Swink Style Bar for my birthday dinner & dancing!
In God We Trust sunglasses (funky similar ones here) / Marc Jacobs necklace / old leather jacket (similar)

Watching my friend Sara's boutique SPUN Sustainable Collective in layered bursts of color. This orange tank was our swag from the Lucky FABB opening cocktail party at Kelly Wearstler's boutique!
H&M denim shirt / Kelly Wearstler distressed neon tank / scarf from Moksha / old snakeskin print leggings (coated denim version here) / Topshop studded flats 

What can I say? I love Alive & Well. They don't even sell women's gear. I've been living in this hoodie every time it's cold.

Waiting our turn for brunch at Pete's Egg Nest in Greenwood. I have also been living in this maxi dress and military jacket!
MinkPink printed maxi dress (similar) / Roxy military jacket / black/speckled gold TOMS / vintage crossbody bag

detail of the Roxy military jacket

AlixRose and I hung out on the Google campus in Fremont prepping for our DIY Hangout on Air earlier this month.
Uniqlo windbreaker / Sincerely Jules' Dream-Believe-Achieve tee / printed denim from Moksha / Zara platform booties

 Alix actually gave me this tee for my birthday. It's designed by one of our favorite bloggers, Sincerely Jules! I love the positivity oozing from this tee.

What are your wardrobe staples?


Lookbook Love: Insight S/S '12 Womens

My lookbook love this week is Insight 51's spring & summer Untitled series. Not much to say but that it's dripping with style & edge! Let the photos speak for themselves:


Inspire & Be Inspired

This is probably one of the nicest compliments I've ever received as a blogger:

Welcome to the fold, Candy Cucumber! Thank you so much for reading Fresh Jess.

Have a great weekend everyone!


Styled Seattle's First E-Zine

File this under "Seattleites doing awesome things." Darcy Camden is the professional wardrobe stylist behind Styled Seattle. She's recently ventured in the e-zine world with this quick Issuu read which profiles her team of equally talented professionals; swimwear trends; accessorizing tips and even highlights a Seattleite whose wardrobe was transformed by Darcy.



Sneaker Peak

Working at Nike for a few years left me with an affliction towards sneakers that will never fade. Luckily, sneaks have found their way out of the gym or off the field and into the hearts of designers long beloved in the fashion industry. While shopping for a new pair of running shoes, I found myself drawn to some of these lifestyle pairs too. Missoni Chucks & neon Cole Haans? Sign me up!

I love the colorways of this collaboration of the iconic print with the classic All-Star.
Missoni & Converse Chuck Taylor All-Star (via Nitro:Licious)

Such a fantastic update to the wingtip style. Neon soles!
Cole Haan LunarGrand Wingtip

Been seeing these pop up on my favorite fashion bloggers' feet the past few months. I love the hidden wedge - great for short ones like me.
Isabel Marant Wedge Sneaker

Nike takes the season's hottest trend - floral print - and applies it to several of their most popular shoe styles.
Nike Liberty Dunk Hi

This one is coming out soon. Lots of fun for the summer time. This will look awesome paired with miniskirts and tank tops for the beach.
Kenzo & Vans (via StyleSight)


Daniel Radcliffe Interviews Helena Bonham Carter

I am a huge Harry Potter fan girl. There is nothing quite like geeking out on all things HP with other equally crazy fans. I love it. My favorite character in the books and films (besides Harry of course) is Bellatrix LeStrange, the most diabolical witch on the block. In the films, Bellatrix comes to life thanks to Helena Bonham Carter, who is so absolutely perfect that it's hard to imagine anyone else playing the part.

Interview Magazine recently featured Helena Bonham Carter, in an interview by none other than Daniel Radcliffe himself. Color me the happiest HP fan in the world! They talk about all things Helena, from being raised in an exemplary family to being typecast to working with your love & the father of your children. I've posted a few of my favorite excerpts on self-expression and style below, but you can peep the whole interview over at Interview.

Photo: Peter Lindbergh for Interview Magazine

On comparing yourself to others
BONHAM CARTER: Everybody has an inferiority complex when they step into a room. But then when you have children and you get older, it doesn't really matter. When I was young I had so many inferiority complexes. I had an inferiority complex because I didn't go to university. I had an inferiority complex because I didn't train. Then it gets tiring. And you do get bored of it.

RADCLIFFE: Right. And so that boredom is actually what ultimately leads you to go, "Oh, fuck it."

BONHAM CARTER: "Fuck it" is my guiding philosophy.

RADCLIFFE: I think people see your career as almost having two halves, one where you played this kind of ingénue. And then there's a perception that around the time you met Tim [Burton], you started getting weird. But I know you'd been weird long before that.

BONHAM CARTER: I was weird right from the start. It's just that you can't ever expect people to get you. And I do think that really did mess with my head, being well-known young, when you really don't know who you are. This is how ridiculous I was: I'd sometimes go look at a written profile of me and see how I was described and say, "Oh, is that who I am?" You can't ever put your self-definition in the hands of somebody who meets you for 15 minutes.


"Do you have to be the witch or the queen tomorrow?" I thought, Well, that's pretty much my life.

Personal style
RADCLIFFE: Would you describe yourself as being into fashion? I know you have your style—self-expression, really.

BONHAM CARTER: All I'm into is dressing up. I love dressing up. It's like what we do for our job, get paid to dress up. So I carry on doing it in life, and I do put on a bit of clothing, and the clothing changes how I feel.

On being typecast
RADCLIFFE: For me, it seems to be about getting audiences accustomed to seeing me in different things. There is never going to be one part that's going to totally separate me from 10 years in a part that I loved, you know? And I would never want to be totally separated from it.

BONHAM CARTER: I think in time, you will, darling.


BONHAM CARTER: Honestly, people have such short memories. Absolutely.


Fresh Jess the Freelancer

It's true. I left my job a few weeks ago and am freelancing full-time. I thought about keeping low-key, but I've realized I don't owe anyone anything. Except myself, of course, and I owe everything to the opportunities that have come my way thanks to blogging and social media. I have wanted to do my own thing for so long and for me to not put myself out there is doing myself a severe disservice.

I am extremely thankful for my friends and family who've told me I should've been doing my own thing all along. It's humbling and encouraging to hear things like "I'm so excited to see what you'll do!" and "It was only a matter of time!" I am grateful to the agencies and brands who've reached out to me about full-time gigs, but I know this is the best thing for me right now. I've taken the last few weeks for some personal time, the Lucky FABB conference, and organizing my thoughts.

So what is it that I'm doing? Quite simply, stuff I've already been doing. Blogging mostly, because what I've wanted more than anything is to grow FreshJess.com to the amazing blog I know it will be. I am also writing, strategizing, creating, speaking, mentoring...doing. In short, helping tell amazing stories, launch awesome campaigns and bring fantastic ideas to life through words, networking and media.

One of my favorite Russell Simmons quotes is "Only do shit you believe in. Period." I can't tell you how excited I am to create a work life that weaves seamlessly with my blog and personal life, and most of all, to work on things I truly believe in.

  Jess Estrada Fresh Jess Freelancer
Source: thewellnesswarrior.com.au via Jess on Pinterest

For a full run-down of my services, you can take a look at my new Freelance Services page and contact me at jess@freshjess.com for more information.


Lucky FABB: Conference Day Recap

After a jam-packed Sunday of networking, mimosas & sun, I was eagerly anticipating Lucky FABB conference day. Though the skies were grey for most of the conference, the beachside venue made for a perfect day full of awesome photo opps in the midst of learning from some inspiring speakers.

I was really impressed with the diversity in talent, industry and experience that Lucky brought together for this conference. I was actually drawn more to the tech mavens like Brit Morin, Randi Zuckerberg and Soleil Moon Frye. It was also super cool to learn about the great things Jessica Alba is doing with The Honest Company; Mad Men costume designer Janie Bryant's various ventures; and Elizabeth Banks' lifestyle website. All of the speakers and panelists had such unique insight from brand, personality and blogger experience that I left with a ton of wisdom and to-do list items.

If you'd like to take a look at my notes (they're messy!), check them out on my Evernote.

The view from the Annenburg Community Beach House. A perfect place for a conference!

Credentials in hand. Ready to roll!

Conversation wtih Zac Posen

Stay True to Your Voice
Sophia Rossi, HelloGiggles.com / Kristin Ess, The Beauty Department / Jane Marie, The Hairpin / Bri Emery, DesignLoveFest / Brit Morin, HelloBrit.com

Just one of the many beautiful installs in The House of Zappos

A Conversation with Jessica Alba & Christopher Gavigan of The Honest Company

What Hollywood Can Teach Fashion
Christin Trogan, Funny or Die / Will Gluck, Film Director, Screenwriter & Producer (Easy A) / Ashley Madekwe, Actress & Blogger, Ring My Bell / Hillary Kerr, WhoWhatWear / Jeannie Mai, television host & digital correspondent, NBC Fashion Star

A Conversation with Mad Men's Janie Bryant & Kiernan Shipka

My outfit via Value Village Fashion Ambassador: thrifted yellow wool blazer / Banana Republic silk sleeveless top / H&M high-waisted skirt / With Deena & Ozzy nude booties

How I Became An Entrepreneur
Soleil Moon Frye / Alli Webb, DryBar / Wende Zomnir, Urban Decay / Jenni Radosevich, I Spy DIY / Kate Sommerville, Kate Sommerville Skincare / E.J. Johnston, co-creator, NBC Fashion Star

How Brands Work with Blogs
Suzi Weiss-Fischmann, OPI / Quinn Donnelly, Benefit Cosmetics / Geri Hirsch, Because I'm Addicted / Gabrielle de Papp, Neiman Marcus / Aimee Song, Song of Style

A Conversation with Elizabeth Banks

A Conversation with Randi Zuckerberg (My absolute favorite part of the day!)

After all of these fabulous panels and fun times in the sponsor gifting suites, it was time for the closing  party. I got to say thank you to Lucky's editor-in-chief, Brandon Holley:

After the party, we were sent home with LeSportsac duffle bags FILLED with countless beauty, skincare, fashion & fitness goodies. This is the most serious swag bag I've ever seen in my entire life. So much amazing stuff:

Lucky FABB was without question my favorite conference to attend. Lucky took such great care of us for the short time we were together. I made countless connections with brands, other industry professionals and fellow bloggers. I'm really looking forward to the next!