sass & bide The Good Winter top, rings by Diva and Digby and Iona, vintage cuffs borrowed from Lucia.
This week I landed the job of my dreams; coordinating the public relations and digital marketing for an online fashion retailer. Months of work and thoughts exploded into opportunity almost overnight and I can hardly believe my luck. I apologize for the lack of posts lately but there is only so much of putting my heart on the line that I can handle at a time. I am more excited than you would believe so instead of trying to convince you I’ll let these incredible cuffs do the talking.
Hold a piece of Digby & Iona jewelery and a fable begins to take shape in your palm, exposing an idea lifted from paper to reality to notoriety. Brooklyn-based creator and designer Aaron Ruff, a carpenter by trade who found his calling in metal work, creates delicately whimsical pieces that whisper of childlike adventures and hint at melted-down family silver.
In between putting the final touches on his Spring collection, Aaron downed tools and spoke of his next move.
You made the move from Maine to New York City to set up a workspace. Why did you choose Brooklyn?
I actually made the move to New York City for school, furniture design at Parsons. I spent my first mandatory year in the dormitories in Manhattan and vowed never to live there again. I’ve been able to keep that promise, even choosing a few winter months of homelessness over housing back in Manhattan! Over the last nine years I’ve lived in just about every neighborhood in Brooklyn.
Your designs have such a distinct style. Are you all about signature pieces?
It certainly seems that way, doesn’t it? I really enjoy making large and ridiculous jewelry, most of my most popular pieces such as my 14 point buck ring and moustache necklaces have been pieces that I made solely to amuse myself never thinking they’d catch on and be so popular. It’s very lucky that a lot of other people seem to share my child-like sense of humor…
Who are your favourite designers?
At the moment I’m following a lot of men wear designers like Shipley and Halmos. I’ve recently been trying to break out of my daily ‘dirtbag construction worker’ look and dress a little more properly, so I’ve had to reeducate myself a bit.
What does the future hold for Digby & Iona?
For this coming season I’m working with a lot of detailed engraved imagery and doing my own take on signet rings. I’m also currently working on a collaborative collection with childrens book author / illustrator Oliver Jeffers based off the imagery in his books. I tend to design jewelry for ‘grown up children’, so this is a dream project for me.
What’s got you up at all hours?
I’ve been frantically filling Valentine’s Day orders for the Digby & Iona Stump Ring. This piece is based on an idea that has been rolling around the studio for a few years and I finally got the chance to sit down and carve it over the holidays. The finished ring reminded me of Shel Silverstein’s The Giving Tree, so making a limited edition version with an engraved heart for Valentine’s Day seemed perfect. The ring is available plain or with any two sets of initials engraved inside the heart.
The Stump Ring is a playful piece with a legacy of character. A friend of mine made a stop motion film about the Stump Ring and I could hardly believe my eyes when I saw it come to life on screen; it’s as if he has captured a scene from my mind.
sass & bide top, pants and foot jewellery worn over Acne Beat heels.
The biggest rush is in the moments before all your thoughts and ambitions collide. When the air is thick with promise and all you do seems to tick the boxes, you can’t help but feel like you are on the verge of the next big thing. I’ve been up at all hours working on a personal / professional project that has me more inspired than ever. Once I know more I’ll uncross my fingers and come clean.
In a blast from the past, clips from a March 2009 Russh editorial featuring Karmen Pedaru in Louis Vuitton play nice with a handful of Tom Binns pieces from past seasons. Fast forward to the present hour and I’m inspired by the shoe jewellery shown on the runway at sass & bide AW10; hit pause and stay tuned while the Nikon and I make the most of the sunlight.
Acne sweatpants, sass & bide bodysuit, Bianca Spender blazer, Acne Beat heels, tribal anklet, Mimco chainmail bag & Argentinian belt borrowed from Lucia.
Oh, the power of a fashion mood. If someone had told me even a few months ago that come January I would be rocking sweatpants with heels I would have laughed in their face. The slouchy jersey feels so current after years of tights and leggings and paired alongside sharp shoulders it hints at just the right ammount of careless confidence.
images courtesy of Vogue Paris, Vogue Russia & ID magazine
I just can’t get enough of gap toothed models. The off beat gazes of Georgia Jagger and Lara Stone embody everything that is inventive in fashion. An experimental fashion mood has seen casting agents shift from the army of perfects that once graced the covers and catwalks in favour of models with just the right amount of awkward. Hardly a fresh observation (Jagger was named Model of the Year back in December and Stone has been killing it in the cover count for the past 18 months) but perhaps the signature of a new consumer order.
One of my favourite authors on luxury fashion branding argues that the appeal of luxury fashion lies in exclusivity and inaccessibility. A casual search of 90’s campaign images reads like a high school year book. Similar faces with similar features; a class of supers. Too perfect for words, so conversations just aren’t needed.
Lately something has stirred in the world of branding. Aspirational messages have become tired and gloss without character is fading faster than you can say ‘easy, breezy, beautiful’. All brands, not just those in fashion, need to prove themselves more than ever.
Luxury fashion’s foray into the realm of social media runs almost parallel to the rise of Jagger and Stone. Most of the industry, that has made its money through mystique with a carefully curated feign of disinterest, has only recently followed their customers online. It’s more than likely an uncomfortable dynamic for fashion brokers who are used to a ‘top down’ approach, satisfied in the position to dictate in a one way conversation to their customers. Now these customers are talking back.
Now more than ever fashion messages need to be more relevant or marketers will risk losing their customers to another online channel. Competition, or criticism for that matter, is only a click away and brands than appear elusive will be left out of the conversation. The brands who are willing to talk and embrace the democracy of the internet will undoubtedly prevail over those who shun it for fear of lost control. Brands who do not speak do not have influence and finding the perfect balance between too cool and too inclusive is a challenge that the fashion industry needs to confront; preferably with a gap-toothed smile.
I first turned my attention to Twitter when it landed my house mate Mr. Whipps the job of his dreams. A talented designer and photographer, Mr Whipps created a Flickr portfolio and a professional blog whilst also building a relationship with a local creative agency over Twitter. As weeks past, the agency couldn’t help but notice him and one day called him in for a meeting. They ambushed him with a contract and he now tweets from his new office.
I couldn’t resist joining the conversation. At first, Twitter intimidated me; conversation is difficult without an icebreaker. So I chose a username, added a few fashionable tweeters… and listened. I dropped in an out of conversations, clicked links to articles and discovered new tweeters through those I followed. I had created my own personal feed of tailored content streamed to me and could tune in an out whenever I liked.
I found I was learning more through my Twitter stream than I could have if I had to source the content myself and came across opportunities that would have otherwise passed me by. I attended a Retail Trends seminar hosted by Westfield (thank you @Ragtrader) and even had my style profiled between the pages of @GraziaMagAus.
For every blog I visit that has a twitter feed, there are a handful more that don’t. For fashion bloggers, who are selective in who they choose to follow, Twitter is a real time data-stream of knowledge from those in the front row (figuratively and proverbially); the ultimate in fashion forward. If you tweet, let’s get in touch. If you haven’t yet but are thinking of it, here are a few of my thoughts on how fashion bloggers can make the most of Twitter.
- First of all, don’t feel like you have to say anything just for the sake of it. This may feel at odds with the concept of Twitter, so start by paying attention to what those you follow have to say and retweet the most interesting comments.
- Understand your Twitter audience and tweet with them in mind. Curate your Twitter comments as you would your blog content and keep your comments relevant to your ‘blogger brand’.
- It may sound obvious, but publish your blog developments on Twitter. Each time you write a new post, tweet it. If your blog is mentioned elsewhere in cyberspace, mention it.
- When tweeting a blog post, post a tiny URL rather than your whole blog address. At first, I thought it was necessary to ‘advertise’ my blog URL in the hopes people would remember it before realizing that I was wasted a large portion of my 140 characters. Seeing my URL won’t impulse people to click through nearly as much as an enticing one liner. Think of Twitter as a wink across a crowded room; be alluring.
- Share your finds over Twitter; us bloggers are a stylish and savvy bunch so if you find an interesting article or tweet (breaking news of a new Topshop/designer collaboration for example)… tweet it! If you think you have nothing to tweet, search. Keeping up a Twitter feed is the perfect excuse to hunt for new ideas.
images courtesy of Jak & Jil Blog