Women Who Rock
On this International Women’s Day 2018, we celebrate courage, unity and creativity. We are proud to share some amazing destinies and stories on this special day. Whether they are hyperactive, poets, community-driven or defending a cause, these ladies rock…..From Lebanon, to Paris and the US, they all share that sparkling energy that can break all barriers and take you wherever you set your mind!
Get ready to smile and be inspired! Happy Women’s Day to you all.
Joining Forces and Style for Sustainability
Chantale and Krys – Founders of Chan + Krys
How did you girls meet and decide to create a brand together?
We met at a popular trim boutique in 2008. I was on the hunt for trims and Krys, who was working there part time, happened to assist me. Our friendship bloomed and we soon became each other’s accountability partners. Krys and I both were starting our own lines and supported each other along the way. After 8 years, we decided to go into business together. Two heads are better than one!
How would you define the style of your creations and apparel?
Chan + Krys is known for our stylish and sustainable separates that focus on texture and comfort. We design silhouettes that Krys and I would wear daily, put them into special fabrics and add different details to make each style unique.
Which brand and fashion designers have the most inspired your work?
Our work is mostly inspired by Art, Architecture and Nature, for sure! However, to go forth into sustainability we were inspired by all the sustainable designers ahead of us such as Vivienne Westwood, Stella McCartney and Edun. We also appreciate our fellow sustainable industry folk like Marja Germans Gard Studio & Zelma Rose who design jewelry and Dominque Drakeford with her sustainable style.
Tell us about your ethical mission and values.
We choose to produce our clothing locally in the New York Garment District with factories whom we’ve developed close relationships. Being able to visit the factories at any time, we make sure all the employees are happy. As for our accessories, Krys and I hand make them out of our homes, it keeps us close to the process and makes us more connected to our customers.
How do you see the fashion industry embrace a sustainability stance in the future?
We hope that more designers and more consumers know the effects that fashion has on the environment. Knowing this, we hope in our life time, the fashion industry will follow a new standard. A new standard where all companies in the fashion industry have to follow and include some sort of environmentally friendly component in their business. Hopefully more than one.
You no longer live in the same city. How is it to work so far apart? What are the pros and cons?
In 2014, it was sad to part, but we just want to thank technology for making it so easy for us to communicate. Since, I’m still here in NY, I lead all of the clothing production and all the NY events. And recently Krys has been creating most of our accessories and she heads all of the SF events. Even though we wish we can be together, for each of us it’s been fun taking over our own cities. Divide and conquer!
Drastic decision at the cafe
Celine Fafar – Founder of Parceline Céramique
Tell us about your life shift.
That’s a funny story. Ten years ago, I was in a in between, leaving a beginning of architecture studies, after finishing a carpentry formation. I was young, questioning myself about what I would do in life.
One day, I ended up in a ceramic café, this place where you can paint on ceramic while sipping on a coffee. I just felt so relaxed, and I thought, maybe I can do that as a job? The same day, I went on the internet, I googled Ceramic studies, found a 3 years formation in Montreal in ceramic., applied, and that’s it!
Learning, practicing, failing, starting over…from your experience, what advice would you give to beginners?
It takes time. A lot of practice, you need to be patient. It’s like when you want to learn a music instrument. You need to practice, fall, retry, learn, understand the right way to make it. And you will never finish to learn and improve your skills!
How did your work evolve along the years? What changed?
Obviously, my work has changed a lot since the beginning. My style has been refined, my technique has improved and my collections have grown.
My first collection mixed lace and porcelain. Most of the objects were hand-built.
Then, I started add poetry on my objects. And, a bit later, I returned full time on my potter’s wheel. I tried new kind of clays, new technics. Also, I decided to make less kitchen-oriented objects. No more teapot, pitcher, etc… Now, I make a wide range of planters (because I just love plants!!) and I’m actually thinking about new products for my collection. My ceramic will always evolve.
You are marrying pottery, colors and poetry, was that your intention from the get-go?
The mix of poetry and pottery started many years ago. When I started to date my boyfriend, who is a part-time writer, he suggested me to make bowls with short poems on it. People loved the poetry on my ceramic. It was a hit!
The collection became a nice way to democratize poetry and use it on everyday items.
So, year after year, we improved the poem collection, I changed the form of the objects, added colors, patterns, Julien wrote new poems (and we are still together and have a little boy) Voila!
How important “sharing with others” is for you? Has it brought a lot to your brand?
The poem collection is just the nicest way to share with others. The people always find the perfect poem that touches their soul, they recognize their own stories in the words of Julien. When I sale during shows, it always happens. Visitors start to cry, share their story, I start crying, and…so on…yeah…
A few years ago, a woman contacted me after she bought a mug with the following poem:Marcheur de neige, sur les montagnes pieds nus, de l’Himalaya (Snow walker, on the barefoot mountains, of Himalaya). Her girlfriend just died a few months before, on the Himalaya Mountain. She found the poem-mug: It was a sign for her.
Woman Empowering Women
Faten, Founder of Metis Deco
Keenobby is a female community and shining light on talented people is our mission. Please share how was the “Stitches by Metis“ project born and what you need for it to succeed.
I really wanted to try and design embroidered items like cushions and blankets. My mom taught me once how to knit and cross stitch but it wasn’t for me. Then I remembered how she always worked with different women whenever she needed anything fixed or some help with a new project. And it hit me! Why not design the products I have in mind, and hire these talented women to do what they do best: hand make items with their artisanal techniques. They are very passionate and extremely skilled but never had the means to show their crafts. This way, I’ll be able to help them work in the comfort of their own homes, which makes it simpler for them and easier on their everyday schedules. A lot of them are single moms or the main bread winners of their households. Each piece is manually cross stitched, embroidered, knitted and sewed, and turned into a beautifully handmade product. If you could see how enthusiastic and happy they become every time we give them a new piece to work on, it will make your heart melt like mine does every time. And I have learned so much from them!
Stitches by Metis products allows me to help these women work and improve their living, even if it’s not much for now, it is considerable and substantial. One day, I would love to expand, build the team and hire more talents. There are so many women whom I would like to include in this project, and the opportunities we can create together are endless. Each one has at least two or three skills she excels in. Empowering women is something very important and dear to me, especially in Beirut where we have a lot of potential but not a lot of opportunities.
Improving kids’ lives
Joslyn, Founder of ShopUnbuntu
How did the Ubuntu journey begin?
In 2015, I went on a mission trip to Haiti with my husband and a few of our friends. We went to serve and wanted to love on as many people as we could so we visited a lot of orphanages with kids that had special needs or wherein remote locations and did not get many visitors. We had a blast, but those kids really touched my heart and when I left I just wanted to help in any way that I could. I had just graduated from college, moved to NYC and got married and didn’t have very much money, but I did have a bunch of beads from high school and college where I would make jewelry as a hobby. I made a few bracelets and started selling them just so I could raise money to sponsor at least one kid and now, 2 years later, Ubuntu sponsors 4 children monthly and it is incredible! We also started a scholarship program for middle school kids in NYC that we are really excited about!
Tell us about your connections with children in Haiti.
One of the orphanages I visited in Haiti is called Notre Maison, but locally it’s known as Gertrude’s Orphanage because Gertrude is the woman who started it. She still runs the orphanage and is an amazing woman. Many of the children at Gertrude’s have special needs and so there are extra costs to make sure they have everything they need besides, food, clothes, and clean water (which are such basic needs to begin with). By sponsoring 4 children every month, we make sure they also have physical therapy, diapers, schooling, that kind of thing. The best part is I know all of these children. When I receive updates about them, these are children I have held and played with so it’s wonderful to see their faces and how they are growing.
An Insatiable Appetite
Jessica – Founder of Tadfield traditions
You describe yourself as multipotentialite. Can you tell more about this?
Absolutely. A multipotentialite is a person who has many different interests and tries to pursue them all. In artistic terms it might be easiest to think of it as the opposite of a “master.” When I think of a master, I think of a person who has studied the ins and outs of one medium for over 20 years. A multipotentialite is more likely to dive into several mediums, sometimes one after another and sometimes all at once, during that same time period. That’s not to say we don’t acquire a certain level of mastery. This drive to pursue our interests is very strong and when you are passionate about something, you tend to absorb it quickly.
The reason I consider myself a multipotentialite is that over the years I’ve done things as different as craft and video production, homeschooling and belly dancing, acting and studying art history. In the last year alone I have tackled projects in sewing, cross-stitching, painting, knitting, needle felting, basketry, paper quilling, origami, soap making and wheat weaving and also worked as a video producer, predominately with a band called Cool Banana Wig. They perform for children and get the kids up on stage to jam with them on homemade instruments.
How do you manage such a huge creative appetite?
I drink a lot of coffee. I’m kidding. Sort of. But seriously, I usually have dozens of projects going at once. I try to balance projects that are long term with projects that are quick; projects that need concentration with projects that are more mindless. I keep all of the tools and materials for a particular project together in a tote bag or box so that I can pick it up and continue where I left off. I also take lots of notes. I conceded a long time ago that I won’t remember all the details of my process and it helps jog my memory if a project has lain dormant for a while. I’ve also conceded that I can’t do everything. My website often goes months without an update, I have a back catalog of video work that I’ve been meaning to digitize for years, and my house needs a serious cleaning. I mention this because through the narrow frame of the internet it may seem like someone has it all pulled together when in reality they have a sink full of dirty dishes.
Your work is also very meticulous. Which pieces are the most challenging?
The coiled baskets made with embroidery floss wrapped over beef twine can be a challenge. They are really small, measuring only a few inches in diameter. They are made using the same technique used for big coiled basketry only on a much smaller scale. A basket this size takes just as long as a full size coiled basket. I’m not sure of the exact time, but I’m guessing 8+ hours. It takes longer if I’m indecisive about colors and pattern or if I haven’t had enough coffee.
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Written by Keenobby
Photo credits: Chan + Krys