STUDIO DAYS // HOWL Brand at Alternative Fashion Week

A lot has happened since my last blog post! One of the most notable events was showing a collection for my little fashion line that could, HOWL Brand, at Columbus' Alternative Fashion Week. I've struggled to get this recap post out because, on the one hand, I want to be an outlet for positivity, especially when it comes to my work and my brand. So much so that as I'm typing, my insides are screaming, "Don't point out flaws!" But on the other hand, I try to be very honest with myself and I am a brutal perfectionist when it comes to my own work. So I'm just going to be straightforward here, this was not my favorite showing of my work. I had A+ plans and could only manage to deliver what I felt was, at best, a C-. And that might even be cutting myself some slack. There were a few too many Tim Gunn "Make it Work" moments, a few too many corners that had to be cut, and, overall, my vision just wasn't fully realized. I've since had some major realizations and hope to look back on this event as a turning point, the time when I realized my current methods were no longer working for me, and when I made some important changes in order to grow. More about that later, but for now, let's talk about some things that were pretty wonderful just as they were.

1. The event and the PEOPLE! This annual show is put on by the Alternative Fashion Mob and they are truly the most wonderfully strange, encouraging, and inspiring group of people. I remember feeling a few years back that maybe I was a little too "basic" to be a part of the Mob, but they have been so welcoming to me and I have really loved being part of this group. They do a lot to help grow the fashion community in Columbus and Ohio and they are currently accepting "name-your-own membership dues" to help support their efforts. If this is something you're into, you can make an impact here.

2. The venue! I was really stoked that it took place at the historic (and really cool) Newport Music Hall (pictured above). I've been to a lot of concerts here and it was pretty awesome to see it in a different light.

Runway images from Ian C. Powell Photography.

3. The team! Every moment leading up to show was stressful for me, so I felt like the models and the hair and makeup team didn't really get to see me in my best light. But I definitely felt like I saw them in theirs! Everyone was optimistic, friendly, and just overall lovely. I mean look at how great these models are! I especially love the picture above of when we were all waiting backstage, getting ready to go on. The hair and makeup team was led by Dominique Ramsey (follow her at @dominiquedoeshair to see her crazy cool hair color wizardry) with assistance from Caroline Kirk (@carolinescoloringbook). My sister, Brooke, also helped me out immensely. I disrupted her life that whole week and really put her to work! She's basically a saint.

4. The lobsters! I special-ordered this graphic lobster print fabric from Spoonflower and I was really happy with the results. It's amazing how continued work helps so much in defining and refining your brand. I've realized through this collection that graphic prints are a major part of my identity as a designer and I'm hoping to continue down this road by getting some fabric made of my own personal illustrations in the next couple of months. I'm also working on taking the pieces and ideas that I thought were successful (and the one's that I've had purchase requests for) and turning them into "perfect products" to be sold in an online boutique. More on that will come out over the next few months, so if you're interested in keeping up with our growth, please make sure to follow @howl_brand for more updates. 

So some of it really worked, but it wasn't the full vision I had in my head. A lot of special details I had plans for didn't make it to the runway. There were a number of instances where my sewing was done out of rushed necessity, and isn't at all the work I like to present for my brand. Mainly I've realized that I can't continue to do it all by myself without facing major time management issues. I have been juggling multiple hustles for years and, as it all grows, it has gotten to be too much. My career has been picking up in areas, but then I have felt like I'm dropping balls in the other areas that are really important to me. It is simply time to start asking for some help. I have MAJOR goals around the corner and I want to be able to see them through 100%. I need more hands on deck! I'll have more on some upcoming opportunities in a post coming Monday, so please check back in for that!


If you have made it to this point in the post, please know you are a truly special soul. I hope you didn't mind my stress rant too much. Please feel free to unleash any rants of your own in the comments. You have more than earned my ear! xoxo 

VIBES // Back in the Game

Do you remember me? There are things I've been doing well lately, but blogging definitely hasn't been one of them. I'm always trying to find better balance in juggling my multiple "hats," but lately I got to a point of overwhelm and burn out. Mainly because I've been putting all of my creative eggs into one basket, which is my clothing line, HOWL Brand. I've been making some updates there and getting ready for this year's fashion events. It's been a lot of REALLY DEEP mental work regarding branding, vision, and planning that just left me depleted. I spent this past weekend way more relaxed than I usually let myself be, and all of the sudden the brain fog cleared and I saw the solution to so many problems and decisions I've been trying to make. I may need to evolve this corner of the internet to move with me as that continues to take up more and more time, but I'm trying to let that evolve naturally. In the meantime, I've pulled together some evocative images that really speak to my brain's current state. A focused blend of exhaustion and epiphanies that, for the time being, is yielding results. Updates on everything HOWL to follow this week, so please stay tuned!

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Do you have any passion projects or side hustles you're currently working on? Leave me a comment below or a link so I can cheer you on!

Color Mixing with Greenery, Pantone 2017 Color of the Year

I always love working with Pantone's Color of the Year because even if I don't immediately recognize it as "the hue" of the moment, I'll soon start noticing it everywhere and appreciating how it fits into different scenarios. This year's choice, Greenery, is both vibrant and calming because of its natural omnipresence in our world. It's used a lot in architecture, graphic design, and marketing because it symbolizes nature and works so well with other colors. I'm sharing some examples of how it can be mixed with other colors, and therefore, how it could be incorporated into your design work, interiors, or personal style this year. These are five very different mood boards with five very different tones and moods. Scroll through and let me know which one is your favorite!  

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Which Greenery mood board speaks to you?

VIBES // I CAN Stand the Rain

Rain gets a bad rap. It's the weather you wait for to pass so the "good weather" can come. But I've always been partial to a rainy day. I love an excuse to cancel plans and curl up and watch a movie instead. And there's no better way to fall asleep than by listening to raindrops hit the window. So while this has been the warmest and rainiest winters I can remember in my lifetime, that's okay with me. I think rainy days are pretty darn cool. My hair, however, is telling a very different story...

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Do you like a rainy day?

Weekly Roundup 1.11

Welcome back to the weekly roundup! It's been a while since I posted my regular roundup, and I've missed celebrating my favorite links in style, art, design, and more from around the web. Here are some of the finds I've been loving lately.

1  I'm crazy about the thoughtfully-layered items in Anna Valdez's still life paintings, especially the intricately patterned rugs. They feel so fresh and vibrant, but also homey and comfortable. (Anna Valdez)  |  2  Do you like to read the original book before seeing the big screen adaptation like I do? If so, here's a list of 10 books to read before they hit theaters in 2017. (The Everygirl)


3  These DIY rose petal bath salts seem pretty simple to make and would make seriously gorgeous gifts for your friends on Valentine's Day. (Paper & Stitch)  |  4  This Brooklyn home tour has loads of creative inspiration and organization ideas for the home that's big on artistic vision but short on space. I'm particularly fond of this rolling rack/plant hanger/book shelf combo. (Apartment Therapy)


5  Sometimes I like to share thought-provoking videos to make you question your entire life's philosophies. This is not one of those times. I hope you're all okay with that situation. (The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon)

I always admire Elise's one second a day videos and wish I could commit to one myself.

Some of the stunners from the Golden Globes.

I, too, love Josh Radnor.

And also these whimsical mermaid notebooks.

Some home office inspiration. How great is the dotted desk?

Tips for beating sugar cravings from Liz.

I'm loving Candace's eyewear style post, especially the metallic skirt look.

What are your favorite finds this week?

** Feel free to share one of your own blog's links in the comments.**

GREENERY // Pantone's Color of the Year 2017

Greenery is in as the official Pantone Color of the Year for 2017. According to Pantone, the bright, zesty green with a hint of yellow was chosen for it's ability to evoke spring, a fresh start, and to "revive, restore, and renew."

Green is often considered "nature's neutral" because of it's abundance in our environment and omnipresence around the world. From far eastern matcha tea powders and tropical palm leaves to the grass and trees in your own back yard, it can at once bring a feeling of exoticism and comfort. A color so universal evokes a sense of both global oneness and personal vitality.

How do you feel about Greenery as the color for 2017?

For a color so universally abundant, the response has been a bit more polarizing. I've seen lots of comments from people, likely put off by the yellow tint, who can't see a hue like this being incorporated into their wardrobe, decor, or day-to-day life for fear of it being unflattering. If you're on that side of the fence, I'll be exploring the versatility of Greenery next week with different color combinations and ideas of how to incorporate into your current style. So make sure to check that out. And if you're already team green, here are some items to shop to kick of 2017 in Pantone-celebrated style.


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Will you embrace Greenery this year?

VIBES // Happy PSAs with Jeremyville

Whether or not you take part in resolution-making, it's pretty hard to deny the power of the new year for motivating change. If you caught my Resolution Blueprint post you know that this year I'm focusing less on breaking habits and more on adding one simple positive action to add growth and happiness in areas of my life that I'd like to improve. These cute-yet-powerful illustrations by NY-based artist, Jeremyville, fall right in line with that positive momentum. Started as a daily online art project, these Public Service Announcement prints aim to "explore such concepts as self empowerment, personal growth, human virtue, love, loss, and what it means to be human, through simple imagery and words." I'm digging that. Happy 2017!

FRIDAY VIBES // Time & Tide

Friday-Vibes-Caris-Reid-Teal For this week's vibes I wanted to share the work of Caris Reid, whose most recent exhibition, Time & Tide, is as meditative as it is bold. I love her use of historical symbols and iconography to express femininity and spirituality. The vibrant colors and imperfect symmetry add to the charm of her pieces.

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Have a magical weekend!


FRIDAY VIBES // Viva Vivetta!


A lot of designers are talented and make beautiful clothes, but Vivì Ponti, the genius behind the label Vivetta, goes beyond that: she makes my soul sing! Her surrealistic clothing and accessories (those collars!) seem both classic, with their clear Schiaparelli-esque style notes, and entirely modern. I mean, have you really ever seen anything like these pieces? Vivetta is fresh, dreamy, and completely inspiring. I. AM. OBSESSED!

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Are you a Vivetta fan?


STUDIO DAYS // HOWL at Alternative Fashion Week


You guys!! I got to live out one of my lifelong dreams last Sunday and I've been dying to share these pictures with you! I was so excited to not only get to flex my design muscles creating a Howl brand collection for Columbus' Alternative Fashion Week, but when Shiree Houf (my co-designer on this collection) and I arrived at the venue, we found out we were closing the show! It was SUCH a cool experience!


The opportunity itself was really exciting, but I felt especially thrilled to get to share it with some super-talented family members. My li'l sis, Brooke, came along as my assistant because she's a crafty godsend and just the best ever. I love having her at these types of things because no matter how high-stress a situation, she always keeps it cool, which is just exactly what everyone needs. Zach's li'l sis (and my future li'l sis), Madison, was one of our models. She's pretty new to the modeling world and it's just been so cool to watch her grow. You can see her stomp it out for us in this video (and like her modeling page while you're there!). Also, my brother-in-law's sister (that's a mouthful), Dominique, and her stylist friend, Rachel, came and rocked out our hair and makeup. Dayton-area friends, if you need a stylist, I'd definitely recommend checking these ladies out. Not only is Dominique the only person who ever gets my platinum just right, but both the girls were just a complete blast to be around! It was a sisters' and extended-sisters' weekend! Go team!


After a lot of fun backstage, it was time to hit the runway! We had a couple of major themes in this collection. First, and most importantly, is color! We went heavy with the white and denim, but made sure to throw in lots of pops of rainbow colors! Silver was tied through as a glam touch. Seriously, how major are those pleated pants?!


We also added lots of athletic touches, using quilted sweatshirt material and classic sporty trim. The white dress with the rainbow buttons over the sweatpants was one of my favorite looks. Paired with the silver turban, I think it gives a really great sense of the overall vibe of the collection.


We also put a lot of time and effort into hand-crafted details. In this image alone, we've got the sporty cropped cardigan, which was made out of hand-woven velour, a quilted vegan leather top with custom-dyed fringe over a patchwork skirt, a hand-embroidered denim top, and, while you can't see much of it here, the white skirt and pants were painted and embellished by (you guessed it) our own (tired) hands.


Closing out the show was so cool! And I was SO proud of the models! Overall, we just wanted this collection to be a total explosion of happiness and fun, and that's exactly how it came out! The girls danced and spun on the runway to Mika's Grace Kelly (I could be brown, I could be blue, I could be violet sky- a perfect compliment to our rainbow collection) and it was one of the most purely happy moments of my life.

image credits: Emma Parker  |  Ian C. Powell  |  Robert Berry


I've gotten many questions about purchasing pieces and the wheels are in motion! The silver turbans and some other accessories will be available VERY soon! I'm still working on the details regarding clothing production, but I hope to also have some of these pieces available in the near future. You can show support for the brand and stay up-to-date on the latest collection news by following HOWL on Instagram and Facebook!


The LISTS // Art in my Heart


If you keep up with the blog, you know my outside life has been a little crazy lately with design (more on that tomorrow). And because life-imitates-art-imitates-life, that's basically the inspiration behind this month's lists: art, design, and getting creative! I've got some finds I've been coveting lately as well as my ULTIMATE playlist. The one I put on when I want to get lost in work. First up, all the things!...



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Seriously, how much fun is this list? I don't know why I love that astronaut or those hand curtain tiebacks so much, but I do. I'm also loving the fun shapes on this Gorman necklace and Poketo planner. And don't you love how some retro things just never go away? Case in point: Converse shoes, a forever classic. I especially love them in this photo print called Motel Pool. Plus, how great is it that mood rings are a thing again (and again and again)? I thought this one from Olivia Kane was gorgeous. And in a real twist of retro-made-new fate, is anyone else dying for a Polaroid camera, mainly to make cool photo layouts like this one for Instagram? It's a little ironic, isn't it? Printing photos for a digital IG image? Regardless, I'm all about it. I'm still crazy about mud cloth prints, and thought this throw was extra lovely. I've also been dying for a letter board for my home. The possibilities for endless amusement are just too tempting. I think I'd use mine for rotating Kanye tweets, because why the heck not? The man is a comedic goldmine. Speaking of word art, how great is this candle? It's fig and tomato scented, which sounds so weird that I'm entirely intrigued. And lastly, have you all seen these lettering videos on IG by @kellycreates?! They put me in a trance and are major #lifegoals for me. So obviously, I'm going to need a set of brush pens, like these from Kuretake.

Now for the music! This is a snippet from my work.create playlist on Spotify and it's what I put on ALL. THE. TIME. It's pretty random. Some songs are new and some are old favorites. Some are slowier and moodier and some are full-on dance party songs. The only real premise for this list is that the songs have to make me feel something. I need to literally be inspired. On the full playlist, through this link, I've got over 70 songs and 4 1/2 hours of "get creative" music. And if you like it, let's connect! I'd love to hear what's on your radar!


What are some of your favorite artists to listen to for inspiration?


FRIDAY VIBES // Keep Swimming


I have a very draining creative cycle. It basically involves having big events and deadlines, like Sunday's runway show for Alternative Fashion Week, and working kind of obsessively for weeks, not sleeping nearly enough, you get the drill. Then the event or deadline passes and I'm in massive recovery mode for a couple of weeks, needing to catch up on rest and all the self-care that I neglected the weeks before, until the next big event or project is on the calendar and it's back to the cycle. While I have definitely been resting up this week, I'm trying not to fall too deep into recovery mode. I instead feel like I just need more structure and balance at all times, looming deadline or not. This is the constant creative struggle for me.

I love these swimming images because they're basically how my mind feels right now. Or, I suppose, how I aspire for my mind to feel. I've never been much into swimming myself, but I love how swimmers seem to have this perfect balance of zen mindlessness and focused purpose, kind of like meditation. The repetition of motion and pattern in these images is speaking to my quest for routine while the overall vibe is reminding me not to obsess or shut down, but to patiently and continuously keep pushing into the next phase. Just keep swimming.

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Happy weekend!


FRIDAY VIBES // May Flowers


Here in Ohio spring has pretty much been cold then rain then cold then rain. And all of the sudden, I pulled up to my apartment yesterday and the rose bushes were all full of gorgeous blooms. The color and the life after such an arduous winter was such a welcome little surge of energy.

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Happy Weekend!


FRIDAY VIBES // Inspiration Boards


Sorry there's been a bit of radio silence around here the past week. I had a design opportunity come up and it has pretty much consumed my thoughts and time recently. I've been really immersed in gathering creative inspiration and along with that I've started becoming fascinated in seeing the way other people collect inspiration. Please enjoy my inspirational collage of inspirational collages. :)

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Do you keep an inspiration board outside of Pinterest?


STUDIO DAYS // The Beginning Stages of HOWL


One of the hardest things about being a "creative" is that it can be a real challenge to wrap up for other people that age-old small talk go-to, "What do you do?" Sometimes I think you could ask my closest family and friends what I do all day and many of them wouldn't exactly know. I wear a lot of strange design "hats" and I'm not always the best about sharing the finer details of that with the world. Maybe it's classic middle child syndrome or something, but attention or praise is just about the last thing I even think of when I'm working on a project. It was pointed out to me recently that because of this, I don't really share enough of my creative work and that it possibly holds me back in progressing my career. This is something I've been thinking a lot about lately. I often feel like the act of blogging alone is so self-focused that saying, "Hey guys, look at this other stuff, too!" is a little bit of overkill, but according to my friend (and every biz post ever written) this opinion is pretty off base.

Anyway, that is the long-winded backstory on this new post series. The short version: I'm hoping to start chronicling and sharing more of my projects here on the blog. My life lately has been pretty consumed with launching a clothing/accessories brand with my design partner, Shiree Houf. The brand, HOWL, is a combination of our last names. We just created a Facebook page and Instagram account about one minute ago (literally), so if you want to be among the first likes and follows, please hop on over! We have been very busy working on our first full collection for Alternative Fashion Week here in Columbus.


These are some very preliminary sketches. They've changed A LOT since this picture was taken, but I don't want to give away too much of our final designs. ;)



I've been a part of Alternative Fashion Week before as a band stylist and blogger. Those pics above, taken by Meghan Ralston, are of local bands, Trachete and The Salty Caramels. I LOVE styling shoots, especially with bands because they always have such cool personal style, but I've never actually shows a full fashion collection as a designer before, so that makes this year even more exciting for me.



In an attempt to not let a little thing like an out-of-reach budget hold us back, we ran a fundraising campaign selling handmade friendship bracelets and, because our friends and family are obviously incredible, we reached our goal! We actually met it on my birthday, so that was extra special. The materials list is pretty endless (think zippers, snaps, linings, garment bags, shoes, etc.) so these bad boys are still on sale for anyone interested. Donations of $10 come with a friendly rope bracelet, while $25 gets you a mix-and-match set of three.



Now that you've heard my official Shark Tank investment pitch, let me tell you about our collection! There are several points of inspiration: Star Wars, the 70s, athletic wear, chunky woven textures. It's got a lot going on, but there is one thing that every single piece has in spades and that's COLOR!! We are using a rainbow-inspired color scheme. The specific goal was to have a rainbow that was a little bit "off." Colors that are non-traditional to the good ole' ROY G. BIV, like salmon and mint, are what really make the color palette exciting to me.



We've been doing a lot of hand-crafted textiles, like the picture above. It's a black quilted "vegan" leather that we cut into strips and sewn into tubes, which we then used those to create our own woven textile. For now you'll have to use your imagination on what this will become, but I think the woven pieces are turning out so cool! They make me really excited to see everything in it's final stage.



We have a lot of white and denim pieces, but each look, even a classic flowing white shirt dress has a pop of color with a row of rainbow buttons. These buttons we actually made ourselves (and by these I mean several hundred of these) with a button tool because the only rainbow sets we found were the standard spectrum and, like I said, we're pretty committed to those "off" colors.



We have made a lot of fringe. We looked into buying fringe at first, but decided instead to make it out of white cotton denim and dye it an assortment of colors. In retrospect this idea might possibly have been crazy (I won't be starting a fringe-making club anytime soon), but I do love how the colors came out and I'm really excited for the fringed garments.



Thanks to the help of some friends, we were able to put together a little impromptu promo shoot. Our model, Madison Wilz, and photographer, Laurel Harvey, both deserve trophies because they helped squeeze this shoot into the narrowest of scheduling slots. Luckily, they're both total pros, so as much as we were flying by the seat of our pants that afternoon, I think the pictures turned out so good! If you're in the South/Central Ohio area and are looking for a great photographer, Laurel is really talented and working with her was wonderful. Our model, Madison, is actually my future sister-in-law and she'll be walking in our runway show, too. Isn't she the cutest? :)



The show is June 12th so the next weeks are going to be pretty intense. We've got a lot of Alternative Fashion Week-related events coming up, including model fittings, an event called Couture Cuisine, where chefs will create dishes inspired by some of the designers' past looks, a Gallery Hop Pop-up Shop, where we'll be selling some of our jewelry and accessories, and filming our designer interview videos, which will be played before our runway show.


Now the real question is, when in the world am I going to have time to get my ridiculous roots done?! For real though, I'm thinking about kicking my platinum up a notch to icy white, almost gray, like this gorgeous 'do. Please live up to your reader's civic duty and place your hair vote in the comments. ;) I can't wait to share more of the process and eventually the final product with you!


What do you think of the new blog series? Do you ever have a hard time taking credit for your work?


FRIDAY VIBES // Earth Candy


I've always had a thing for gemstones. My older sister had a collection when we were growing up which I obviously thought was the coolest thing ever. We used to go to this store in the mall, and I have no recollection of any details about this store, except that they had little gemstone grab bags for a couple dollars. Every mall trip we would each get one and it was so cool because it was like playing the childhood lottery. You could end up with our most coveted, an amethyst geode, or the baby's breath filler of the gem world, a stinking piece of petrified wood (which, to be fair, I still kind of loved). Anyway, with today being Earth Day and all, I thought it was the perfect occasion to celebrate the fact the our planet is so cool that it actually makes its own jewelry. Earth, you are truly a gem. :)

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Do you have a favorite gemstone?


FRIDAY VIBES // Crafted Denim


Major nostalgic trend alert! Embroidery, appliques, flare pins, patches, even paint- basically anything from your craft closet is taking over the denim world right now. I love this look, not only because it reminds me of my childhood, but also because it offers so many incredible options for adding a boost of personality to an old jean jacket on the cheap. I'm overflowing with DIY inspiration right now!

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What do you think about crafted denim?



FRIDAY VIBES // Fine Art and Hip Hop


In my opinion, art and music are two of the most important aspects of life, so I love to celebrate anytime they work hand-in-hand. The rap-meets-Renoir Tumblr account, Fly Art, got a lot of buzz a while back for their brilliant pairings of fine art paintings and hip-hop lyrics, bringing new meanings to both. These are a few of my current favorites.

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Aren't they fun? I'm thinking this idea could make for a really great thrift store art DIY... And If you like them as much as I do, you can even buy a piece to wear on your person over at Rad. I want this one.

**PSA: The selections featured here are more PG-rated than some of the other lyrics on the site. So if that sounds like something you are not be into, you have been warned.

Are you a fan of Fly Art?


Friday Vibes // JOMO

Friday-Vibes-JOMO-Anja-Niemi-Bed Have you ever heard of JOMO aka the JOY of missing out? I totally relate to that concept. Especially on Friday nights. No matter how appealing an event is, to me there are simply no plans greater that the ones I have with my sweatpants, a bowl of cereal, and the latest Project Runway. I loved these images by photographer Anja Niemi because they're basically exactly how I feel when Friday nights consist of anything other than the aforementioned trifecta of happiness.

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What's your idea of a perfect JOMO night?


Friday Vibes // Taste the Rainbow


As I was writing this post on my favorite collections from the Milan shows, I realized that I had unintentionally described the colors at Fendi as "eggplant, mustard, and melon," in what might possibly be a record number of food words used in one sentence about clothing. Either I was starving or the produce aisle is really having it's moment on the runway.

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What colors are you hungry for this season?