Cool Thing Saturday: Handcraft Heaven

Some of you may know that I am in a constant search for beautiful things with a story, great design, and the inspiration for me to settle in my own fashion and other design work. Today’s cool things post centers around those that got away from the thousands-manufactured, impersonal outsourced design for profit, and opted for the small-scale, meticulous beauty of limited and loved designs. Straight from the designer rather than made in china appears to be a growing trend (or maybe i’m just noticing more and more of those that are new, and those that have stuck it out and stayed family-owned for generations).

In an amazing display of extravagent beauty and meticulous attention to detail, check out Judith Leiber‘s current line-up of clutches. In terms of my search, this doesn’t exactly fit the bill, but it sure is beautiful. Though, while the designer whose name graces the label retired more than ten years prior to this seasons bags, the company seems to have carried on her methods of meticulous hand-craft in her absence.
I am particularly fond of this birdcage gem(or several, really):

It feels like a carousel to  me, in an odd way. The color scheme as well as the splendor, like that of a child viewing a carousel in only the best most fantastic light.

As I continue to grow in my fashion schooling, I am falling in love with the amount of hand-craft that is out there. I’m confident I’ll find my design niche  among the widespread small-scale-handmade revolution.


George Esquivel, the designer of the above men’s shoe, popped into my History of Fashion class the other day (he had been giving a talk to the accessories majors, and then our dept. chair gave him a tour of the building). He is an amazing inspiration for the fact that he hand stains, hand burnishes his designs, and all in all sees his concepts all the way through to point of sale, working with only a handful of people all in his studio in California. No Chinese slave labor, no simple stamp of approval on something that will carry his name but he has no real hand in. Thia is masterfully hand-crafted footwear. For me, this is true design.

Another designer of note I happened upon via Oh Joy! ( a great source for inspiring images and design – loving the new oh bob! sections for the men at our sides) is Furze Chan, an artist in Hong Kong (check out her own lovely blog here).

I love these little puppets! Beautiful penwork. It’s an illustration and a toy! (Get them started early appreciating beautiful art and taking care of their things).

Among my other finds recently was one that is currently most inspiring; Brooklyn Tailors.

One of the few bespoke clothing shops in the country (that I could find anyway; it’s a lost art in America) Brooklyn Tailors are all about those things I mentioned I was looking for: small quantities to ensure utmost quality, the designers hand in the whole game, beautiful attention to personal fit and details. A small team produces great work. That is a beautiful thing. And their work is beautiful.

(I need to give these good folks a call and ask if they need an intern!)

That’s all for today. Certainly I will post more handcrafted delights as I find them. Feel free to let me know if you know any (or especially if you are the proprietor in search of some blog-love! I’d love to find them and love them too. Just leave me a comment or send me an email (!

Much love,