Of a Kind

Buy this Harare coat now, keep it forever—that’s what I say. —erica

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Weather Vain: Seattle, Washington - 64 With a Chance of Rain

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The weather in Seattle today is very…Seattle-y. Here’s how to dress for it. —erica

Clockwise from top left:

+ Some freakin’ awesome Rachel Comey rain boots—so that the forecast doesn’t keep you from exploring Olympics Sculpture Park.

+ A Cook & Gates tote—in case you stumble upon something you can’t pass up at Totokaelo.

+ Skinny sweatpants from Rag & Bone that you should probably never travel without again.

+ An Apiece Apart sweater as minimalist and perfect as the decor at Bar Sajor.

+ What’ll put a smile on your face as fast as a scoop of melted chocolate ice cream from Molly Moon’s? This Bing Bang cuff.

+ A blue braided Aurelie Bidermann bracelet—to compensate if the sky’s gray all day long.

Whoa, so much more “Weather Vain” over here.

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Of a Kind

Try to ignore the siren call of those Target back-to-school ads—but maybe do get yourself a new Cook & Gates bag to replace whatever beat-up tote you’re lugging around these days? —erica

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Miranda Bennett

Growing up in Texas, California, and Southeast Asia, Miranda Bennett spent a lot of time with her clothes, “naming my dresses,” she says, and hanging out with a nanny who made all of her getups from scratch. So, naturally, Miranda’s first foray into fashion was learning to sew herself, eventually putting on a fashion show as a senior project in high school.

“In Texas, I didn’t know any fashion designers—didn’t know anyone who did this for a living,” Miranda notes. But that didn’t stop her from packing her bags and moving to New York City for college, graduating from Parsons with a degree in—you guessed it—fashion design.

After launching a high-end ready-to-wear line and opening a store in Brooklyn, Miranda decided, in 2013, that it was time to head on back to TX and make a name for herself in Austin. “I was blown away by how much the city had grown and expanded—and how there were all these like-minded people who were moving here specifically from different places,” she recalls. The move also motivated her to take a back-to-basics approach with her namesake line, cutting, sewing, and even dyeing fabrics by hand. And now? “I love the organic quality of touching every piece I make,” Miranda explains. “The variation of the pieces—they aren’t cookie-cutter clothes anymore.” —genevieve ang

mirandabennettstudio.com

 

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How to Wear Miranda Bennett’s Top Everywhere

Let her pal Cheyenne show you the way.

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When Miranda Bennett describes her clothes as easy and versatile, she ain’t kidding around. “My collection is one-size-fits-most, from size zero to ten,” she says. “It’s a big part of the philosophy of my brand to offer clothes that almost anyone can wear to anywhere.” To make her point, Miranda asked her pal Cheyenne Weaver, co-founder of Austin-based GirlsGuild, which connects makers with potential apprentices, to show-and-tell how she’d wear her Of a Kind top on a crazy-busy day. genevieve ang

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1 P.M. – Hitting the Office

Cheyenne: “My days fluctuate a lot—generally I work from home in the morning and meet my co-founder Diana after lunch at GirlsGuild HQ at the Austin Center for Design. The clothes I wear for a typical day are usually very casual—I’d like to give the person who made work-sweatpants possible a medal, but I’m also often in jeans and a loose top.”

Miranda: “This is a simple option for a super-flexible day. I don’t believe in rules like “no white after Labor Day”—I’m more dictated by personal style. If it works for you and your wardrobe, you can wear whatever you want, whenever you want!”

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3 P.M. – Nailing a Presentation

Cheyenne: “We’re organizing a panel at the Harmony STEM schools for 800-plus high-school girls to promote tech for women, so I think it will be important to dress fun and fashionably to represent women in tech in a different light. This outfit, with its big necklace and cute skirt, is a winner.”

Miranda: “My go-to polished look is the dress version of this top with a nice accessory and my Rachel Comey shoes. I feel like I’m outing myself—now anyone who meets with me will know what I’m going to wear!”

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7 P.M. – Swinging by an Art Opening at Big Medium

Cheyenne: “I especially love the drape of this shirt at the shoulders—the style is so subtle and elegant and can anchor so many different outfits. In addition to Big Medium, which recently closed an amazing exhibition of Kim Westall’s work, I’m also a huge fan of MASS Gallery and Arthouse.”

Miranda: “For an art opening or a cool nighttime event, don’t be afraid to layer unconventionally. I definitely do that a lot when I’m travelling given that I live in Texas. It gives new life to pieces I need to repeat-wear, and you can create really unexpected silhouettes that way.”

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9 P.M. – Grabbing Duck and Fig Ravioli from Botticelli’s

Cheyenne: “I’ll confess that starting a business has produced a lot of slouchy, take-out dinners in the past two years, but when I do get dressed up to go out, I’m all about the black flats and some sort of vintage dress or trousers.”

Miranda: “My style is timeless, classic, and personal—I have an ever-expanding jewelry collection from all my friends! When I’m out to dinner, my go-to accessory is a pop of color on my lips, like this Universalist Matte Multi-Use Colorstick from the Austin-based organic beauty company, W3LL People.”

Images by Nicole Mlakar.

Ready to work this chambray beauty into your life? Click here!

 

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Dip into Natural Dyeing with Miranda Bennett

Get in-the-know about indigo.

Miranda Bennett spends some serious time with her clothes. Take the fact that dyeing each garment in her easy-chic line takes anywhere from 30 minutes to two days (!!!). But it’s totally worth it. As she says, natural dyeing is “a really intimate process that’s not about rushing, but about thoughtfulness and slowing down a little bit.” Read on to see what she means. —genevieve ang

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Learn the Ropes
“I basically started with books. When I moved to Austin, I took time out from wholesaling to really learn and experiment with natural dyes because this was something I was interested in. I did a lot of studio visits, read, and experimented.”
Miranda’s book recs: A Handbook of Indigo Dyeing, by Vivian Prideaux, and The Complete Guide to Natural Dyeing, by Eva Lambert and Tracy Kendall.

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Know Your Fabrics…and Plants
“I start with natural fibers—they are the ones that respond best to dyes. Each fabric responds to dyes differently. For dyes, I usually use indigo, but I’ve been recently experimenting with wood fibers like madder, which is the root of a plant, and sandalwood and cutch. Natural dye means that the dyeing agent comes from a living, organic source.”

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Get Ready
“If I’m using indigo, I first mordant the fabric, which means I prepare the fabric to take the dye and become more colorfast. I wet the fabric in plain water then simmer it in the pre-dissolved mordant in a pot large enough for the fabric to move around freely. I then prepare different containers with the dye—sandalwood and cutch needs to be boiled and then strained. It’s kind of like chemistry because you can completely alter the color depending on how long you leave the fabric in the dye and how much heat you use.”

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Test Some Things Out
“I create different conditions for swatches. Most recently, while dyeing with cutch, I tried a 10-minute dip, an overnight soak, and a follow-up soak in black tea, and I tried using an alum mordant and not using a mordant. Once the swatches are dyed, I review them to determine which color I want my fabrics to take. Being in Texas, I’m very much influenced by the colors of my environment—I’ve recently begun working in a Southwestern palette, from siennas to warm blushy tones to taupes.”

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Ogle the Results
“Not to sound hokey or anything, but there’s a very special quality to a naturally dyed fabric. The color range is more subtle, and you end up with colors that have nuance and quality that I don’t feel like I can find from synthetic dyes.”

Photos by Nicole Mlakar.

You’ve got to see the chambray shirt Miranda made for us—it’s so good.

 

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Of a Kind

This Richards skirt is like a prism through which I’d like to see jazz up the boring stuff in my wardrobe. —erica

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Of a Kind

Lotus Ikat Weekender by Lo & Sons for Of a Kind

BUY / 24 of a kind / $145

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Of a Kind

Um, big, fat YES to a corduroy collar. Feeling it, Save Khaki. —erica

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Rock Out With a Lo & Sons Playlist

There’s a reason the names “Derek” and “Jan” start with D and J.

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Derek!

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Jan!

When Derek and Jan Lo aren’t making killer travel totes and overnight bags with their mom Helen, the brothers are likely DJing on New York’s Lower East Side. (Yes, we totally wish the Lo matriarch was in the booth, too.) To show off those skills, they’ve pulled together a compilation of songs inspired by their Of a Kind edition, the Windsor Camera Bag. “I think what really makes our bags special is that we’ve managed to bridge conflicting ideas in an elegant way—it’s extremely hard to find that balance of style and substance,” Derek explains. “So we chose music from modern artists who either have paved their own path in a unique way, or bridged genres in a creative and sophisticated fashion.” —olivia seely

To listen to the whole playlist, head on over to Spotify.

“Machu Picchu” by The Strokes
Jan: “The bassist used to sometimes DJ at the same L.E.S. bar where I used to DJ—obviously his night was way better.”

“L.E.S. Artistes” by Santigold
Jan: “Later, when I was living and DJing in Beijing, it often tripped me out realizing small and interconnected the world is. Thanks, interwebz!”

“Cherry Wine” by Nas, featuring Amy Winehouse
Jan: “Who can’t relate to that yearning for that something real, which definitely seems more elusive as one gets older and more successful?”

“Mushaboom” by Feist
Derek: “If you don’t feel a little cheerier after listening to this, you are not human.”

“Groove Me” by Maximum Balloon, featuring Theophilus London
Derek: “One of the few electro-rap tracks that gets me going.”

“Lost” by Frank Ocean
Derek: Stories make the best songs.

“Get Free” by Major Lazer
Jan: “After Hurricane Sandy, the song definitely took on a different level of resonance with the imagery of the levees breaking.”

“Myth” by Beach House
Jan: “Happened to re-listen to this song with some friends right before Sandy, back when the hurricane reports still did not seem fully real.”

“Get Some” by Lykke Li
Derek: “This is like an emo version of ‘Shake, Rattle & Roll,’—yet it’s so good.”

“Staring At The Sun” by TV On The Radio
Derek: “It’s so damn dramatic, poetic, and just plain epic.”

“Faster” by Janelle Monáe
Derek: “My favorite modern-day jitterbug beat.”

“Video Games” by Lana Del Rey
Derek: “Anthemic love song.”

“Two Weeks” by Grizzly Bear
Jan: “I remember first mixing this song in after a mini Southern rap set—and the hipster kids lost their proverbial shit.”

You’ve gotta see what these guys made us. Their edition is coming tomorrow.

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