Posts in ethical fashion
Designer Spotlight x Studio Mari
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Studio Mari is a Los Angeles based jewelry studio by Mari Beltran.  Each piece is first created by Mari by hand before being cast by local artisans.  Her designs are sculptural, distinctive, and timeless.  I had the honor of photographing some of her pieces (analog and digital).  

The Joan ring came to me at a very pivotal time in my life, and it has become a staple object that reminds me of my own tenacity and individuality.  The description reads:  “this ring is all about the swerve - veering off course to find new adventures.”  When I slide it onto my ring finger, I consciously take-in the act of bravery of diving into the unknown to start anew in New Mexico.  It's only fitting that Mari’s work is inspired by Georgia O’Keeffe.  

The Crescent rings are incredibly versatile, and I love to wear them both together and separately.  They are inspired by the waxing and waning of the moon, and I always feel this in the feminine power they exude.

I am excited to see what Mari continues to create as her studio grows and evolves.

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Notes x Emme Parsons
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I’ve been in love with Emme Parsons footwear as soon as she launched. Her pieces are elegant and sophisticated, yet very wearable. Emme works with “small family-run factories and tanneries that are ethically run and adhere to the highest environmental standards.” Each pair is handmade in Tuscany, Italy. Browse beautiful shoes here. Interview below.

"To collect mindfully rather than consume mindlessly" is the philosophy behind Paige Geffen's Object & Us, a consultancy that seeks to redefine the individual's relationship to the things that they acquire. After years as an art director and interior designer in Los Angeles, Geffen recently moved to Sante Fe, where the new landscape and desert stillness further inspires her approach to finding balance and personal connection to the material world.

How would you describe your style?

Right now I'd describe it as 70s Lauren Hutton meets 90s Prada. Androgynous, sleek, and subtly sexy. I love classic lines and menswear-inspired items. I live in vintage levi's and trousers, but sometimes I like to put on a beautiful dress or pair my pants with a very feminine silhouetted top.

Who is currently inspiring you? Sartorially, culturally, or otherwise?

The open landscape of the American Southwest. People I've met here in New Mexico who were, like me, drawn to the land, the history, and the magnetic pull to be here. Sartorially, I've been really inspired by Timothee Chalamet's style. He wears a suit magnificently well.

 What is your current favorite shoe from Emme Parsons?

Right now I’m really into the Certo in Cream because it can transition well between seasons.

How would you style it for a full day on the go?

With vintage Re-work B Sides straight-leg ankle jeans, a Shaina Mote statement top, and perhaps a pop of color in an accessory such as a Clyde beret.

Emme Parsons_Clyde hat_B Sides Jeans_Shaina Mote

Guilty (or not so guilty) pleasure?

I have an obsession with Honey Mamma’s chocolate bars. Most people say they’re so rich that they can only handle bits at a time, but I usually eat the entire bar in one sitting.

 Can you tell us about Object & Us and how it came to be?

Object & Us teaches us about our internal selves by exploring our external surroundings. It's a bridge to the metaphysical through the physical. Our motto is "to collect mindfully rather than to consume mindlessly." We can look to our objects as tools that help us to live intentionally and to practice mindfulness. We are so accustomed to identifying ourselves with our stuff, yet our things have nothing to do with who we are. Who we are comes from within.

I had my interiors business for a few years, and I wanted to translate that into something more fulfilling to me. It's a very consumer-driven business, and I wanted to shift that. I wasn't quite sure how it would look, but I knew I wanted to explore objects and space. I felt an inner turmoil about loving furniture and clothing and objects, while also having a deep respect for the environment. It felt like a terrible contradiction. I became obsessed with marrying beauty with intention—that they could be one in the same. That we could live mindfully and consciously without having to live in stark, empty spaces. As I was developing all of this, I went through an incredibly difficult personal trial. I didn't have a home for nearly a year and then had to get rid of all of my belongings, all while being extremely sick. This experience really pushed the concept forward, as I was getting deep, grueling lessons on what I was exploring. Object & Us was born from this place—a place of rawness and truth.

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 What are some of your most treasured objects and why?

I got rid of nearly all of my belongings prior to moving to New Mexico due to mold exposure. I’m treasuring everything I have right now because I know what it’s like to part with meaningful objects. It’s interesting to start entirely fresh and to only have items that are new to me, so I’m building relationships with the items around me to create a sense of stability and grounding. These are the objects that stand out to me:

My Rachel Saunders Ceramics vase filled with dried lavender from the garden, a beautiful Picasso book I got for $2 in Sedona at the most amazing used bookstore, the old chair next to my bed that holds my candles, a drawing of Joni (my dog) and myself that Amber Lu made for me - it makes me smile every time I look at it, and most recently, the Petite Jess Barrette by Winden.

 Best kept secret in New Mexico?

My friend's family farm. I went there my first night here, and I couldn't have dreamt up a better night—it was an epic introduction to New Mexico. I drove down a private dirt road surrounded by stunning mountains to get there. When I arrived, I was greeted by a beautiful meal cooked over an open fire and an interesting mix of strangers. We were brought together by the food and the scenery for a night full of laughter and connection. We concluded the evening in a wooden hot tub under the starry sky, as we watched the moon rise over the mountains. I hope to have many more nights like this in the spring/summer here.

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Describe your perfect winter day in New Mexico.

Breakfast/tea outside (or if it's too cold, in the dining room looking out the windows to the beautiful landscape) with my journal. Perhaps heading to a local cafe in town to get my people watching fix or going to Ten Thousand Waves for some luxurious (yet affordable) relaxation. Cooking a nourishing dinner while blasting music. Eating in front of the fireplace.

Mused: Sensual Healing
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In last week’s post, I wrote a nightly shut-off ritual, where I suggested having a bit of a sensual experience with your sheets prior to going to bed. This exercise is truly about connecting to your body in order to ground before falling asleep. Sensuality is about awakening pleasure in the senses, and no, it’s not always related to sexuality. The reason I practice grounding with objects is because they are physical, and grounding is about physical connection to our bodies and to the earth. Yes, our objects can be machine made out of less than “earthly” materials, but you can actively choose to surround yourself with objects made mindfully. I encourage you to observe your objects, but I also encourage you to touch them. Run your fingers over the imperfect texture of your ceramic vase, your hands on the soft paper of your book. Awaken the pleasure in your senses, and feel into your body. We can choose to check-out and we can choose to connect - it’s up to us. Here are some recommendations of beautiful items to connect to your sensuality (all female-owned brands), and listen to the Sensual Healing playlist while you browse.

Lonely is “for women who wear lingerie as a love letter to themselves.” - Helene Morris, Lonely Designer. They are an ethically based company in New Zealand with stockists all over the world and celebrate fostering positive body image for all women. On their website, you will find their Lonely Girls series, where they feature women wearing their beautiful pieces in the comfort of their own spaces. I am completely in love with this beautiful set photographed by Kelly Geddes (one of my favorite photographers) for Anyonegirl, which is the perfect segue to the next item.

Anyonegirl is an online and in-print journal, with beautiful photography and insight. I first discovered them while shopping at Passenger (a lovely store in Echo Park) and picked up the first issue of Waist. “WAIST considers the ideas surrounding the female mid-section, both inside and out, exploring sex, movement, digestion and a woman’s GUT INSTINCT.” I am excited to explore issue 03.

I just discovered Nedda Atassi, a ceramicist whose work is absolutely stunning. I’m captivated by her use of organic shapes. The crinkled vase, featured above, is the perfect object to practice grounding with. It’s made of the earth, free-form, and there’s so much to explore in the texture. Browse more in her shop.

The work of Studio Mari is both interesting and timeless. I recently had the pleasure of meeting Mari, and she is no different. Her jewelry pieces are like small sculptures, alluding to much larger references. Putting on jewelry can be a slow experience. Explore the piece as you slide it down your finger or clasp it around your neck. All pieces by Studio Mari are designed and made in Los Angeles. Shop here.

Willow feminine oil is about “embracing women’s sexuality through self care.” Willow is comprised of high quality oils to help balance hormones and PH levels, soothe irritation, and nourish the skin. Oh and I haven’t mentioned - it’s for your vagina. I need to get myself a bottle, but I did try the oil (on my hands) when Nicole, the founder and creator, let me try it prior to the launch. It smells incredible, and it can be used on other parts of the body as well. Vaginal health is so important, and we often neglect this area as a result of lack of information and understanding of the best way to care down there. Our everyday soaps can be very stripping to this area. Willow can help you to break this neglect with a simple, nourishing, and hopefully sensual ritual. You can purchase the oil here.

Eliana Rodriguez recently debuted her line of beautiful and simple comfort-wear, Gil Rodriguez - a clothing company designed and made in Los Angeles that adheres to ethical and sustainable practices. They source their fabrics from local mills and fairly compensate their workers. These are the Benton Leggings, made of 90% cotton, and they look incredibly comfortable and soft - to touch and against skin.

I recently came across Dehei, a New Zealand-based range of knit bedding made of 100% cotton marle. Dehei means “at home” in Swiss. Make these products part of your nightly ritual, and you’ll certainly feel at home within your bed and yourself.

Listen to the playlist here while practicing some of your new rituals.

OZMA Interview

I had the pleasure of being interviewed by one of my favorite brands OZMA of California - a female-owned, sustainable and ethical clothing company based here in Los Angeles.  Scroll down to read the interview.  I'm wearing the Matador Romper in Natural - shop here.

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You live in Topanga Canyon! Tell us how living there has affected you creatively?

I have access to nature - it's all around. I've been jumping into the ocean nearly every day, and for me, freedom is what inspires me to create. I don't think there's anywhere I feel more free than in the ocean. It's such a cleansing, purifying act, and I feel completely at home in the water. I once was told that in a past life I was a mermaid, and that in this life I finally got my legs. I think it was probably symbolic, but I often feel like that - as if I'm somehow missing something that everyone is clued into. But I also feel like that's part of being creative - feeling a bit "out of it" in the world, yet so, so at home while creating. So jumping in the ocean has allowed me to be more free in the type of work I'm making because it opens up the space for me to tap into that "true essence" part of myself.

 

You've mentioned that your place is pretty tiny. What's your best advice for those us with less square footage in our lives?

The most obvious answer is to own less. I think more importantly - to create spaciousness within. I sometimes feel like I'm going mad in my current space. I've lived in small spaces for the past 6 years, and my current space is absolutely the smallest, at just over 300 sq. ft. When I feel like the walls are caving in and I want more room to move around in, I go inward and ask myself what my insides need. Sometimes it's as simple as "I'm here and I love you", but sometimes I need to really talk to my inner self and see what's going on underneath it all.

 

How would you describe your fashion sensibility?

Easy, simple, laid back, androgynous. I like mixing masculine and feminine, and sometimes I feel the sexiest in a button down and pants.

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What inspires you?

Nature, chairs, old coffee table/art books, people who are free to be exactly as they are.

 

Were you always interested in interior design?

Yes. I was always interested in my surroundings and how space affected me. I got really into interiors during my senior year of college. It became almost an obsession. In my spare time I would drive around and go to consignment shops to find old pieces. I love furniture so much.

 

Ozma of California_Paige Geffen

How does sustainability play into your life?

Sustainability has played into my life since I was 15.  When I found out about global warming, I started an environmental club is my high school.  Once I went off to college, I felt so powerless over everything and sort of gave up trying.  Now I know that we do make a difference as individuals, and in order for the collective to be influenced, we have to make big strides independently.  I gave up fast fashion a few years ago, and I pretty much only shop independently/vintage.  This is very important to me.  And with my philosophy on bringing objects/items into my life/space, I am extremely discerning about what I acquire.  I call this mindful collecting.  We mindlessly consume, and our culture/media trains us to do so.  We have to change the narrative.  The work that I do is really about grounding within ourselves so that we can let go of our attachments to the physical world (emphasis on attachments, as we can't let go of the physical world).  This doesn't mean you have to move into a tent in the woods.  It’s truly about being mindful of the space and objects we surround ourselves with.  We can change the stories we tell ourselves about what we need.  We don’t need anything physical other than food/shelter (meaning, we wouldn’t die without clothing or our beloved objects).  However, we can accept the society we live in and approach how we operate differently.  Yes, by shopping mindfully, but also by strengthening our inner selves so that we can shift our relationship with objects from symbols to tools.   If a piece of art moves you, that piece of art becomes a tool for connection.  Otherwise, you just have art on your wall because “it goes there” or because it's worth something (and is therefore a symbol of money or stature).  You can read more about this concept here.  This method is so much less overwhelming than overhauling your entire life and becoming a radical minimalist.  I'm not suggesting to NOT radically change, but I think it's important to be realistic.  I’ve found that people aren't going to be open to making any strides if they feel overwhelmed.  I still use paper towels.  There are absolutely areas where I need to do better.  I'm working on it.  But I'm transparent about it.  Not because I think being honest gets us off the hook, but because it's better to be honest then to paint a false picture.  Sustainability is trending right now.  I've been reading interviews where people say that they care about where garments come from/how they're made, and then I see these people tagging Zara in their photos.  This is what's problematic and why I feel we really need to change the narrative.  People care about the environment, but not to the extent that they are willing to inconvenience their lives.  Hence my relationship with paper towels.  But answering this question is getting me fired up and ready to end my relationship with them for good.  The more open we are, the more we can inspire change in ourselves and others.

 

Got any good advice for us on best plants to brighten up a home?

Rubber plants are my favorite because they are the most low maintenance, and they're pet friendly. Some plants ( like aloe) are toxic to pets. I also love bringing in flowers from outside. When at a floral shop, I always pick up baby's breath and eucalyptus.

Robert Mapplethorpe

Thrifted decor or new?

Thrifted.

 

Favorite all time song?

This question is too hard! First thing that comes to mind right now is: Both Sides Now by Joni Mitchell. The second/jazzy version. It's like she has this new ( sadder, yet deeper) perspective on life, and you can hear it in her voice. Perhaps that she's been let down in ways, but it created the most moving song. If I ever want to cry, I'll get in my car, roll the windows down, and aimlessly drive, and blast this song.

 

Favorite hole in the wall destination in LA?

Hmm. Stories. Does it count as a hole in the wall? It's a bookstore in Echo Park. I love going there and sitting on the benches and opening random pages of books and reading them. I always fantasize about what books I'll end up reading, but I usually feel satisfied just reading bits and pieces in the store and leaving with a lot of unanswered questions ( and no physical books).

 

Read more on OZMA's journal

Interview by Jasmine Bouzaglou

Photography by me and inspiration imagery by Robert Mapplethorpe