Saturday, September 30, 2017

Interview With EFWA Upcycling Designer Yasuhiro Tomita of Rukus by Yasuhiro Tomita (Tokyo)


Share about the journey that led you to fashion design.

I started as a fashion designer from nothing. Reading fashion magazines like WWD and watching YouTube helped to make my fashion. I am still a self-taught fashion designer since 2009.

I know you are self-taught. How did you acquire your skills - sewing, upcycling, embellishing and sizing? What came easiest? What was a struggle to learn?

I keep following new fashion trends through WWD and watching YouTube often helps to make my sense expands. I try to use different sewing machines with different fabrics as many as I can. For other techniques, I use stretch fabrics so one  size can fit all! The easiest thing is to make my one of the kind pieces. The struggle to learn is to make a tailored jacket.

Who you are as a designer? Aesthetic? Customer? Brand? Etc.? Do you offer a new line each season, create custom work or both?

Now I am more into Jewelry line, but twice a year I showcase my new women's clothing collection for ISETAN SALONE in Tokyo.

I am so thrilled to have you a part of the EFWA Upcycling Challenge by Marilyn R Wilson. Have you ever upcycled used garments before? If so, how?


Yes, I've done a lot of upcycling because I love vintage clothing, especially from the 80's, so I sometimes upcycle a vintage dress into a new piece.


Please share a little about your approach/inspiration for creating your runway look for this international show? What can the audience expect?

I used my BF's vintage shirts to create a new dress. This garment has a couple different ways you can wear. Andit is one size fits all - very Eco!



What would you most like the international fashion audience to know about you as a designer and your brand?

I want people know that I am a self-taught fashion designer providing dresses and jewelry to Japanese celebrities such as AI, Superfly, Flower, E-girls etc. in Tokyo. 


What's next for you as a designer? What are your long term dreams?

I have a muscular dystrophy,,, So I am limited in how much I can walk. But I hope to keep designing fashion & jewelry as long as I can.

Links - 

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Interview With Upcycling Challenge Designer Lesley Hampton (Toronto)





Share about the journey that led you to fashion design.

When I was growing up I would turn on FASHION TELEVISION instead of Saturday morning cartoons, and would watch the magic developed to create runway shows and the attention to detail on all the garments. Travelling when I was younger, my parents showed me back streets of Jakarta,Indonesia that were filled with meters of rich embroidered brocades and lace. When I started university, feeling a bit lost with my career path, I went back to basics with my creativity in Art and Fashion. Seamlessly, now I'm building my career in Fashion Design and expanding my brand in the Canadian and International fashion industry.

I know you trained at the University of Toronto and Sheridan College. Talk about the highs and lows of studying fashion design. What did you find easy? What was a challenge?

The highs of studying fashion design is the ability to be around like-minded people just starting out in the fashion industry. It is incredible to be around such creative individuals with different backgrounds, and have those people as inspiration throughout the academic year.

A low of studying fashion design would be having to follow the curriculum. As a creative person and new brand, I often because distracted with wanting to work on my own designs over school assignment, but in the end I was able to thrive in both areas and Im so happy for the experiences.

Who you are as a designer? Aesthetic? Customer? Brand? Etc.? Do you offer a new line each season, create custom work or both?

I design for any women, or female identifying individual, who wants to feel strong and confident in their clothing. The silhouettes and fabrics Im most drawn towards allow my customer to feel like a warrior, having them know they can accomplish whatever they set out the achieve, from the office, to the red carpet, to a night out while wearing LESLEY HAMPTON.

LESLEY HAMPTON offered a new line each season as well as custom work for clients. 

I am so thrilled to have you a part of the EFWA Upcycling Challenge by Marilyn R Wilson. Have you ever upcycled used garments before? If so, how?

This challenge is exciting for me as I am relatively new to working with up cycled used garments. Earlier this year I completed a design challenge with Mont Pellier in which we were given eco-friendly material made of recycled plastic bottles to make a couture gown. Im excited for my EFWA piece to have similar couture qualities.

Please share a little about your approach/inspiration for creating your runway look for this international show? What can the audience expect?

The inspiration of the runway look for this show is inspired by a geometric pattern of tailoring. The audience can expect a warrior. 
What would you most like the international fashion audience to know about you as a designer and your brand?

As a designer, I am proud to be First Nations and an emerging Canadian talent in the local and international fashion industry. As a brand, LESLEY HAMPTON hopes to bring more diversity to the runway and media to allow every body to feel empowered.

What's next for you as a designer? What are your long term dreams?

In October 2017 I will be showing my Spring Summer 2018 collection at Toronto Women's Fashion Week and look forward to elevating my brand locally and internationally in the near future.

Links - 

Website www.lesleyhampton.com/
Instagram @lesley_hampton
Facebook – www.facebook.com/LesleyHamptonDesign/
Twitter – @LesleyHampton
YouTube – www.youtube.com/channel/UCr2n4mfMcJjEz3I5FmKFtZw
Vogue UK designer page http://www.vogue.co.uk/brand/lesley-hampton


Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Interview With Upcycling Challenge Designer Aloke Singh of Micronesium (Kolkata)



Share about the journey that led you to fashion design.

I have always been intrigued by various subcultures and the way people dress, their style and their look. From a very young age I was introduced to various creative skills in terms of embroidery, weaving, painting, stitching and theatre which acted as a catalyst for me to take up Fashion Design as a career.

I know you trained at London College of Fashion, Central Saint Martin’s College of Art and Design and National Institute of Fashion Technology. Talk about the highs and lows of studying fashion design. What did you find easy? What was a challenge?

I was a rebellious design student who wanted to experiment against the set trends, styles or norms of the fashion industry, I did this through pushing the boundaries of design, exploring and investigating through tactile and visual techniques and processes, which gave me a creative high. I always found it easy to adapt to different design perspectives, teaching methodologies, design cultures and presentations throughout the world. 

The biggest challenge for me has always been the need to constantly re-invent my design ideations when confronted with the ever changing design projects. I was dedicated enough while studying at LCF and CSM to become a more adventurous as well as flexible which gave me a more global perspective in my design evolution in Fashion when I returned to India.

Who you are as a designer? Aesthetic? Customer? Brand? Etc.? Do you offer a new line each season, create custom work or both?

As a designer and a creative enthusiast, I am always seeking inspiration from various aspects of nature and human culture, nature through its organic forms both fluid and structured, to come up with new design stories each time. The Aesthetics of my collections lies within the intricate and subtle detailing and visual references to the overall story. I’m intrigued by what makes people tick, what makes a good design in the eyes of the consumer and try to balance this with my own creative tendencies. My design ethos is very strongly linked to experimental individuals themselves who are; well travelled, appreciates different cultures, and are very spiritually and philosophically rich.

Our apparel brand MICRONESIUM speaks of a modern design language through fashion; fusing contemporary style innovation with sustainability and ethics. As a sustainable apparel Label we do not believe in Trends or Seasons. We work on different stories each time with various inspirations embedding sustainable methodologies throughout. We also do take individual customised work for selected patrons who share the same ethos and philosophy as us in terms of green and conscious clothing as well as our aesthetics.


I am so thrilled to have you a part of the EFWA up cycling Challenge by Marilyn R Wilson. Have you ever upcycled used garments before? If so, how?

I am equally excited to be a part of the EFWA Up cycling Challenge for such a prestigious fashion week in Australia. It’s indeed a big platform to showcase our label – MICRONESIUM to a global audience and press. For a New Brand like us, it will give us a major boost in terms of promotion and visibility on a global platform.

I began using up-cycling for my garment designs for a personal commission for a celebrity client, it was a great first experience. We created fabulous up-cycled and reversible jackets out of a Cashmere moth eaten shawls with block prints and hand embroidery used for a textural tactile quality. I also did my first capsule collection – for a concept store in Kolkata by using export waste fabrics and trims. The entire collection was made with thrown away fabrics like chiffon, cotton and rayon which if not up-cycled would have been dumped in land fill creating more pollution. From there on it became an integral part of my work. I travelled extensively sourcing these fabrics throughout India and came up with a design collection fusing contemporary modern design silhouettes with layering and pleating techniques for a more global appeal. The collection was an instant success and was a sold out in the first week of its launch.

Please share a little about your approach/inspiration for creating your runway look for this international show? What can the audience expect?

My approach to the runway look for this international show is inspired by today’s every increasingly disjointed societies and its distressed outlook faced by many ordinary people across the globe. I have taken inspiration from the work of German Visual Artiste Annegret Soltau’s to create the look of the design piece I will be showcasing. The Audience or the Viewer can expect a dramatic and disruptive Silhouette using old shirts where I will add intricate detailing in terms of pattern, style, stitched over embroidery and silhouette to bring out the thematic experiential mood of the collection.


What would you most like the international fashion audience to know about you as a designer and your brand?

The ethos of our label MICRONESIUM is to sustain, not destroy, we do this through positive action aesthetically deriving inspiration from nature, and the beauty of human craftsmanship. Ethics and sustainability form the core ethos of the brand. Each garment is painstakingly created by hand from exquisite woven organic fabrics and up-cycled old garments and off-cuts. We hand source our organic textiles ourselves from across India and only select organic fabrics that are dyed with natural dyes, some by award winning dyers certified by international bodies. Our goal is to eliminate chemical colours from our collections, apart from those already found in old textiles and garments. 

Our apparel speaks of a post millennia design language, fusing contemporary style innovation with sustainability and ethics. Each collection is conceptually challenging, creating contemporary design pieces which stand alone as immaculately constructed garments, endorsing hand craftsmanship with modern techniques, leaving a profound impact on one’s creative perception.

What's next for you as a designer? What are your long term dreams?

After EFWA I will be focussing on creating a sustainable design capsule collection which we would like to be showcased in Europe. I am also developing a collection using non conventional fibres like bamboo, soy and banana and researching on other sustainable, recyclable and renewable fibres too. Our Label MICRONESIUM is also invited to showcase at the prestigious Ethical Fashion Show, Berlin in January 2018.

My long term dream is to establish our Sustainable label MICRONESIUM as a Fashion and Lifestyle Brand on a global scale and have an opportunity to collaborate with various artistes and individuals on different creative projects, and to highlight the craftspeople that actually spend their lives creating the clothes the world wears. Part of this would be to have the opportunity to direct a documentary on fashion and its worldwide socio-economic impact on lives of millions of people across the globe.

Links -

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Awoke (The Want Series) by K.T. Conte

Katya must decide whether she values the simple and easy life she created for herself over the complex and difficult world now asking her to stand and fight.

Synopsis - 

Katya leads a normal life any teenager would be envious of – popular, pretty and dating the high school elite. Not she enjoys the spotlight, mind you. She wants everyone to believe she is normal.

But when Katya sees the real reason behind the earthquakes plaguing everyone in Boston, the truth rattles and shatters the perfect normal illusion Katya created for herself. An ability to see unearthly creatures and manipulate waves of life energy labels her as anything but normal. And it’s an ability that attracts unwanted and dangerous attention.

She reluctantly finds herself in the company of Gregor, a handsome member of an international spirit military team called the Kyrios. Her simple decision to help thrusts Katya in a world of the undead spirits, betrayal and a perpetual battle between undead monsters and the wardens that keep them in their place.

Katya must decide whether she values the simple and easy life she created for herself over the complex and difficult world now asking her to stand and fight.

Review -

It's always fun for me to pick up a YA fiction book.  They are easy reads and usually have few constraints in terms of what can happen. The sky's the limit.  Awoke fell right in this category. I actually zoomed through it in one day. Yes I am a very fast reader, but when this happens it means I am fully drawn into the story - it has come alive for me. So kudos to the author.

I think all YA readers will be drawn to the main character - Katya. She has felt out of step and different from the time she was young. All she wants is to be normal.  For her - she sees things around her that no one else does and at the time we meet her, has begun to have difficult visions and nightmares.  Through chance she discovers that this spirit world is real and becomes aware of a serious threat to the world that has arisen. Not only is she drawn in, but she is told she is central to a prophecy regarding it.  Add in a dash of intrigue, betrayal and romance and you have the mix for a great story here.

Buy the Book: Amazon ~ Barnes & Noble ~ Add to Goodreads

Meet the Author - 

Fab Author Interview - HERE!


K.T. Conte is a lover of books, people and all things wild and crazy. She received her B.A. in English from Boston College and her law degree from Suffolk University Law School. While she has and continues to be a licensed attorney, her first love has always been books from the tender age of 2. Originally from Massachusetts, K.T. currently lives in New York City with the monsters in the closet, her husband Everett, a couple of building fairies and her dog, Champ.

Connect with the Author:  Website  ~  Facebook  ~  Twitter


a Rafflecopter giveaway


Interview With K.T. Conte, Author of Awoke (The Want Series)

Please share a bit about your journey to becoming a writer/published author?

I never truly explored being a writer until I was studying for the bar exam. It was at first a means to escape the pressure of the exam but it became so much more for me. It was shortly after that time that the idea of “the Want Series” came to me. And it’s taken me five years to get to this point. But I believe that I had to go through the love/hate relationship I had with this book to make me realize that writing truly is my passion. Also I promise the next one will NOT take 5 years to do.

Why did you choose the genre of YA Fantasy for your first book?

I love fantasy in general – it’s the only genre that you are not tied to any particular scenario. Anything can happen. And it’s having endless possibilities that makes the genre so endearing to me. Originally this story was going to be an adult Paranormal story but my main character Katya didn’t feel right being 25. She seemed much younger. And since the majority of the books I enjoy are YA, it was only fitting to make this book Ya as well.

Where did the inspiration for the storyline in Awoke come from? For the characters you included?

It was a random night with friends when the inspiration came out of nowhere. It came from a simple question. “What if the Grim Reaper was human?” And I became a woman possessed fleshing out the idea that very night. As for the characters, they came to me as I fleshed out the plot line. But Katya was the original character I knew I wanted to have. A black female starring in a fantasy book which is truly rare.

How does the writing process work for you - write when inspired, scheduled time? Was there any research needed?

Review HERE!
I have to schedule writing. So many things are distractions at home like my husband or my dog. I have tell everyone from such and such a time I am unavailable. It usually works. There was some research involved such as some of the names have Latin origins, Gregor’s Scottish past and the Seven Original sins.

As an author - what do you enjoy most about writing process? What come the hardest?

I love it when people tell me they get sucked into my story. That fulfills me beyond words. That my words and imagination allowed you to get lost for a couple of hours into the world I created. And because so many great authors did that for me, it’s amazing when I can be considered amongst them. The hardest part is the editing. The first draft I finished in three months. The editing, aka ripping it to shreds and perfecting, took the majority of the 5 year cycle.

I believe this was written to be the first in a series? How many books do you envision? Have you begun book 2?
Yes this is a three book series. I haven’t started book 2 but I will do shortly after the new year.

What do you most want reader to know about you and the books you write?

I write these books as though I am the reader myself. What would I enjoy reading about? Which is why there is action, romance, plot twists and turns. I hope that by putting myself as a model reader that I will be able to capture your attention as well.

What do you do to relax and refresh when not writing?


I am a sucker for Korean dramas and hanging out with my husband and friends. Oh I can’t forget my pup too!

Connect with the Author:  Website  ~  Facebook  ~  Twitter



Interview with Eco Fashion Designer Michiyo Hayes Kuramochi



Tell share about the journey that led you to fashion design.

My grandmother was a kimono maker. She taught me how to sew by hand. She always gave me the off-cuts of kimono materials, mainly silk. I started to make doll's clothes out from it. I also loved spending hours to draw girls in detailed dresses, I think I naturally become obsessed by sewing and designing garments in my childhood in the way.

I understand your studied fashion design at F.I.T.? Why did you choose this school?

I always admired people who studied how to make garments properly. I went to an art school in Tokyo called Setsu Mode Seminar but didn't learn to make garments.

After I moved to NY, I met an Asian girl who was studying hard to get a high score in TOEFL; she wanted to apply to F.I.T. Until the point I didn't think it's an achievable target but she made me think if I also try my best I might be able to make my longtime dream comes true! Then I made it happen!

Talk about the highs and lows of studying fashion. What did you find easy? What was a challenge?


I enjoyed being surrounded by friends who loved fashion as much as I did. However, to me, most of the classes were challenging on the language side. But I learnt mostly by eye I did the quick drawings of procedures my professors showed us. I especially loved draping class. I couldn't believe how the yards of fabric become a wearable sculpture! After F.I.T. I went to another school in Holland called ArtEz. It was seriously hard to be in the Dutch-speaking environment, However, the totally different way of teaching fashion was a great experience. It's become a strong element of my work: improvising.

Who you are as a designer? Aesthetic?

My inspirations often come from social matters I get interested in. I grew up in the family continuously talking about politics. I also love the miracles of nature the universe offers us. Not just because of their beauty, also the sense of synchronicity that it is the perfect final form.

I understand the majority of your garments are produced through upcycling. Where do find the raw materials?

As I used to be a U.S vintage clothing buyer for a store in Tokyo, I can still sense where I can find good materials for my works. Even though I rarely buy something from current productions, I have enough sources. Also, during my family visit to Japan, I find kimono materials and unusual roll-ends so on. I never stop looking for my kind of materials wherever I go.

Where does inspiration come from? Do you have an idea for a look and find the materials to make it come alive, or does your inspiration come from the materials you find?

Either way. As I mentioned above, I'm always looking for materials and continuously inspired by social matters, politics, and nature (universe) surround me everyday basis. I have a huge collection of materials never get smaller only becoming bigger and bigger and my interests in social, political and nature things are getting bigger all time so I need to work much harder to use up my materials and inspirations.

Do you have a favourite look from amongst your body of work? Why this one?


I like most of my looks for different reasons, but if I choose one, it might be the pink~purple gradation kimono coat. It is made out from 60's~70's deadstock curtain material. I used 1950's Disney print cotton and transparent duvet bag material at home to make many circle patches to create the bubble effect on the hem of the coat. My inspiration for the coat was kimono trader(it was a topic around the time) and economic bubble in 80's-90's in Japan, which was under the huge influence of United States. I also love to make my kimono-style jackets out from deadstock British & Europian suiting wools deliberately showing the embroidered salvages to state the origin of the materials. I find the salvages are beautiful. It's not easy cutting but surprisingly so little waste, one handful for 3m. I will execute this way of less waste tailoring.

What's next for you as a designer? Where do you go from here?

I hope one day in the very near future to showcase my collection in LFW or wherever I can be a part of. I also hope to have international stockists, I'd love to see real people wearing my works.I do what I do is because I'd like to show that "LESS WASTE, ethical, sustainable and so on, can be very creative and desirable as any great designers/ fashion houses' work. I know I've not even made the first step but I could have quit many years ago if I hadn't had such a strong feeling so I just have to keep doing, I guess!

Links -

Monday, September 25, 2017

Interview with EFWA2017 Upcycling Designer Sacha Cooper 0f Cooper Hotcooture (Luxembourg)


Please share about about the journey that led you to fashion design.

I was always fascinated by and interested in fashion and started drawing clothes since the moment I could hold a pen. It was therefore pretty quickly clear to me that I wanted to follow this path and went seeing a few fashion design schools in Germany, where my mother was originally from. When I got approved to ESMOD Munich and, a year after, to a fashion design academy in Duesseldorf I just followed my passion and learned all about the fashion industry.

Photography by Harald K
I know you trained at ESMOD and AMD (Akademie für Mode & Design). Talk about the highs and lows of studying fashion design. What did you find easy? What was a challenge?

Studying fashion design wasn't always easy and the most important in my opinion is to stay true to yourself from the beginning. I had many downs when faced with a few teachers who had their very tight taste and usually gave best grades to the students that designed what the teachers wanted.










I was more the rebel kind of person and designed what I wanted instead of what the mostly female teachers would wanna wear. Luckily my guts usually gave me right as I ended up being the student that won the most design challenges and prizes during my studies.

Who you are as a designer? Aesthetic? Customer? Brand? Etc.? Do you offer a new line each season, create custom work or both?

As a designer I'd consider myself as someone aesthetic, not thinking too much and design what comes into my mind with always a certain subtle sexiness and playful class. I often see women wearing labels from head to toe, not because it suits them perfectly but only to show off the money they spend on fashion and accessories.

Collaboration to dress the runner ups
 of Miss Côte d'Azur
Even though they'd be the perfect customers when it comes to money, my aim is to design for the remaining women. Being in love with fashion while staying true to themselves without focusing on seasonal trends only. This is also how I work as a designer. I never watch fashion shows or have any designer as my idol but listen to my inner voice only and design what comes into my mind with the fabrics I think fit best. I pay a lot of attention to details, to a high quality of fabrics and try to offer affordable couture as ready-to-wear designs.

This is therefore the main reason why I offer 1-2 lines per year but also custom work under the condition that it fits my design aesthetics. I had many offers that I refused because it simply didn't tell me that I'd stay true to myself by doing it,

I am so thrilled to have you a part of the EFWA Upcycling Challenge by Marilyn R Wilson. Have you ever upcycled used garments before? If so, how?

First of all, I'm very delighted to be part of this challenge with many talented internationally acclaimed designers and hope I can stun the crowd.

It is indeed not my first time that I upcycle a garment. During my studies we had such a challenge where I upcycled a bathing robe and turned it into a 2-piece hippy design with pearls and sequins we got sponsored for the challenge. I just tried to think outside the box for this past challenge and was happy when I was told that I was voted first winner.


Video from Vancouver Fashion Week FW 17

Please share a little about your approach/inspiration for creating your runway look for this international show? What can the audience expect?

Well, I don't want to take away the surprise but I can say that I am going with something sleek and playful in black & white, including same colored patterns hoping it will please the audience.

What would you most like the international fashion audience to know about you as a designer and your brand?

That I love to be underestimated, always go with my guts instead of trends and offer fully handmade garments enabling me to be proud owner of the official label 'Made In Luxembourg'.

Photography by Simon Armstrong
What's next for you as a designer? What are your long term dreams?

My current project is to rock my participation at Eco Fashion Week Australia and I also have another project to make a collection out of a newly created color pattern for interior design fabrics.
As a long term dream I would love to open my own concept boutique where sadly this is the only dream I still don't have the guts for as I fear it wouldn't work due to financial impact.

Links -
Website - www.cooperhotcooture.lu/
Instagram - @cooperhotcooture/
Facebook - www.facebook.com/CooperHotcooture/

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Interview with EFWA2017 Upcycling Challenge Designer Tieler James (New Orleans)


Share about the journey that led you to fashion design.

My true journey started in 4th or 5th grade. I was being bullied alot eveyday and sketching was my way to escape. I took my sketches and started trying to make them. It seemed as though I was pretty good so I continued. I watched videos and read a ton of books. I practiced and practiced and stil do to this day. Design saved my life so I feel its my duty to better myself everyday.


I know you are self-taught. How did you learn to sew and draft sizes? What came easiest? What is a struggle? Do you intend to pursue studies in fashion design after graduating high school?


I am completely self-taught. At times some of the things just come naturally to me like draping and sketching. I had to teach myself how to draft pant patterns and sleeves, but once you do that for awhile it's like second nature. In terms of sizing, I just drape a new pattern to ensure a good fit for each of the garments, especially for clients.

Who you are as a designer? Aesthetic? Customer? Brand? Etc.? Do you offer a new line each season, create custom work or both?

As a designer, my artist statement has changed from when I first started to know. Initially, my goal was to dress women and to make them feel strong, and that it still true. But, especially in the current political climate, my statement has evolved to creating fashion for non-binary people because I have noticed the lack of fashion for non-binary and gender nonconforming people in the industry. each year I create a new line with a new point of inspiration, and while I am making the collection I am most likely creating custom commission pieces for clients.

I am so thrilled to have you a part of the EFWA Upcycling Challenge by Marilyn R Wilson. Have you ever upcycled used garments before? If so, how? 



I am so glad to be apart of the Challenge. Yes, I have upcycled garments before. My most recent was fun... I took a bunch of mens dad jeans that I purchased from a thrift store and made a really cool 90s style skirt and jacket. I loved how it came out... I attached a picture below. 
Please share a little about your approach/inspiration for creating your runway look for this international show? What can the audience expect?

With this look, I really want to be inspired by classic menswear and how it has evolved, but I want to keep up the idea that menswear has just kept evolving and it hasn't stopped.

What would you most like the international fashion audience to know about you as a designer and your brand?

Something that I want the audience to know, and I believe in this with my whole heart, is that fashion never dies. Keep your garments, keep all your basics in terms of clothing, all of these styles that you think are dying out will come back in!

What's next for you as a designer? What are your long term dreams?

I'm not really sure what the universe has in store for me, but I'm a senior right now and I cannot wait to go to college. I'll be studying Fashion Design and Fashion Business. After I graduate college I'm hoping to be farther in my business and to be world renown.


Links -
Website – www.tielerjames.com/
Instagram – @tielerjamesdesigns
Facebook – www.facebook.com/designertieler/


Friday, September 22, 2017

Life Long by Ronald L. Ruiz

"To be fleeing cops and bad guys is scary enough, but imagine, as novelist Ruiz…does, that you’re also schizophrenic—and on the run, as it were, from yourself."  - KIRKUS REVIEWS

Synopsis - 

Ray Lopez is on the run with a duffel bag full of cash. Both drug dealers and the police are after him. But Ray is not a criminal. His last brush with the law was over traffic tickets. Recently released from the hospital with a diagnosis of schizophrenia, he is haunted by voices, auditory hallucinations, that frighten him and cause him to question his every move.

Ray’s journey from California to Laredo is perilous. Like so many Americans before him, he travels through unfamiliar territory with no clear way of knowing who will help and who will harm him. And he may well find himself on the wrong side of the border with a mind that has no borders.

Review - 

This was an interesting book to read. In it we follow Ray, a schizophrenic, who ends up on the run carrying a bag full of cash stolen from some scary people. Not something he planned, it just developed by accident.

Ray rides buses over the coming days surrounded by other poor, trying to reach a safe haven and struggling not to stand out in the crowd, His drugs to control the voices are running low. He tries to blend in as he could be so easy preyed upon, but his schizophrenia and the fear of capture often make that impossible. Surprisingly, many along the way who could take advantage of him choose instead to give him sound advice.

Author Ronald L. Ruiz offers strong, solid characters and an unusual story line blended with a unique journey into the mind of someone mentally ill. How might they move through difficult challenges that take them out of their comfort zone? Here is one possibility.

Buy the Book:
Amazon ~ Barnes & Noble ~ Kobo ~ AbeBooksIndieBound ~ BookDepository
Add to Goodreads

Meet the Author - 

Born and raised in Fresno California - Educated at St. Mary´s College California, University of California Berkeley, University of San Francisco - Practiced law from !966 to 2003 as a Deputy District Attorney, a criminal defense attorney, and a Deputy Public Defender - Appointed to the California Agriculture Labor Relations Board by Governor Jerry Brown in 1974 and later served as the District Attorney of Santa Cruz County California.

Ronald L. Ruiz has published 5 novels and a memoir. Happy Birthday Jesus (1994), Giuseppe Rocco (1998), The Big Bear (2003), A Lawyer (2012), Jesusita(2015). and Life Long (2017).

Connect with the Author: Website ~ Facebook


Thursday, September 21, 2017

Interview With EFWA Upcycling Designer Stevie Crowne (Toronto)



Share about the journey that led you to fashion design.


I began to DIY all of my clothing when I was 16 years old in high school while trying to find my own personal sense of style. I was inspired by pop culture and outlandish design aesthetics. Accustomed to punk and glam infused visuals, I was fascinated by the type of fashion which turned heads being worn as reinvented streetwear. My talent agent at the time gave me a chance to show a five look collection in my hometown(Saskatoon, Saskatchewan). I proceeded to produce two shows before I headed to Vancouver in 2012.

I know you are self-taught. How did you acquire your skills - sewing, upcycling, embellishing and sizing? What came easiest? What was a struggle to learn?

I learned from my mistakes, which in my opinion is the best way to aquire an aesthetic being a design creative. It is the process of messing up multiple personal projects which gave me the fire to continuously discover ways to repurpose clothing. In the beginning I was not the best seamster so I stuck to embellishing, painting, applique, and stenciling as a way to transform each garment.

Over time I did begin to learn the fundamentals of sewing and construction through mentors like Evan Biddell once I arrived in Toronto. Even up until that point I felt as if each client I ever had in my past six years pushed me to learn more and more. There were never two purchases that were the exact same which definitely pushed me to newer heights each time.

Who you are as a designer? Aesthetic?

As a designer I am definitely keen on bold visuals, texture, and pop culture which is translated to reimagined streetwear designs. Each collection I produce is recycled and reworked vintage which focuses on a theme or underlying message.

For example, my 2013 Vancouver Eco Fashion Week collection debut was focused on post apocalyptic aesthetics. This was translated through military jackets, religious symbolism, and heavy use of studs and spikes.

For my debut Toronto SS17 Ride Or Die collection, themes were based on relevant social issues including integrated diversity, addictions, education, and environmental awareness through the art of up-cycling. It tackles the way we communicate in today's digital age through popular symbolism.



Customer? Brand? Etc.? Do you offer a new line each season, create custom work or both?

My customers over the years have ranged from 14-40, depending on where I showcased the line or how I marketed/promoted it

This year already in Toronto, I have done five shows! One of which was surreal as it was showcasing the top sustainable designers of the year in Canada(Fashion Takes Action). With each show I have done this year nearly all of it has sold out, and I have had long waiting lists for orders.

My brand is self eponymous with my name. Crown is a metaphor for being true to one's own style journey and aesthetic. To be the ruler of your own choices in fashion. As a leader of my own brand I encourage the market to make the decision to support local and sustainable creatives.

Please share a little about your approach/inspiration for creating your runway look for this international show? What can the audience expect?

Currently, I want this collaboration to explain itself once it hits the runway and thereafter. I am currently about to begin moodboarding but have drawn inspirations.

What would you most like the international fashion audience to know about you as a designer and your brand?

First of all, this is a huge benchmark for me to be going international, even if it is producing one look for this showcase. I dreamed of opportunities like this in my childhood.

I truly exist within my work so you can definitely expect to see my usual aesthetic in what I will be showcasing. Fashion is my full-time job and I am entirely connected with my craft. It is essential to my survival as food, water, and oxygen is.

What's next for you as a designer? What are your long term dreams?

I see myself continuously producing eco friendly and repurposed collections for a long time(There will NEVER be a shortage of vintage + inspiration). It has been a thrilling, daring, and overall successful six years as a creative when I look back at all I've done since a teenager.

A large part of my success can be attributed to my everlasting hunger for opportunity and the ANGELIC mentors/ supporters/clients I come into contact with everyday.( I hope to continue to keep positive people around in my ventures).

My ancestors were pioneers of farmland in Canada's mid west. They truly created something out of nothing. I view myself in a similar way as I take discarded items(seen with no value) and repurpose them in a way that jacks the value back up for buyers.

I will continue to produce fashion shows, store collections, custom orders, and participate in projects that bring awareness to fashion consumers and the industry. My goal is to show that ethical fashion has the chance to change the world, one garment at a time.

Links -

Website – www.steviecrowne.com/
Instagram – @steviecrowne
Facebook – www.facebook.com/StevieCrowneDesign/

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

A Year in the Company of Freaks by Teresa Neumann

It's 1972 and a seismic clash-of-cultures is rattling northern California.

Synopsis - 

In the redneck town of Trinity Springs, rumors of hippies migrating up from San Francisco have residents bracing for an invasion. When Italian-American hometown boy and Berkeley graduate Sid Jackson is busted for growing pot on his deceased parents' farm, locals suspect the assault has begun. Will a crazy deferral program devised by the sheriff keep Sid out of prison? Or will a house full of eccentric strangers, a passionate love interest, and demons from his past be his undoing?

A "disarmingly appealing" tale of discrimination, transformation and restoration, Freaks is bursting with intrigue, drama, comic relief and romance. Reviewers agree this five-star, coming-of-age classic "very much reflects the attitude and mood of the times."

Review - 

This is a fun review to write as author Teresa Neumann surprised me and I love being surprised by an author.

When I cracked open A Year in the Company of Freaks I balked at the length - 511 pages. WOW!  Could the story really stay compelling with that many pages and would I get through it in time to write this review.  THREE DAYS LATER I was done.  How did that happen?  I am a fast reader, but the truth was I couldn't put it down.

A Year in the Company of Freaks unfolds through flashbacks and the experiences of several different characters. This is a complex way to tell a story, but the author handles it beautifully. Life, love, loss, humanity and truth all find their expression here is a story that will keep the pages flying by.

When Sid Jackson is forced to move back to the family farm for a year and take on four diverse boarders, everything he had come to embrace while living in Berkeley is put to the test.  And returning to live in a home filled with childhood memories - something he had been avoiding at all costs - causes the well-buried grief he has carried over his parents death when he was only 12 to bubble up.  Added on top is the daily dynamic created by the odd group of boarders ranging from God-fearing to Vietnam veteran.

This is a coming of age story in many ways.  Yes, most of the characters are in their 20's, but as anyone who grew up in the hippy era knows, most of us did our best to walk away from every expectation we were raised with. We threw out the good right along with the bad.  It was a time of change during which our move into adulthood didn't come easily. Most of us took awhile to figure it all out and give ourselves permission to find a balance between old and new.

A great read and a great look back for me personally at a time I remember well.

Buy the Book: Amazon ~ Barnes & Noble ~ Add to Goodreads

Meet The Author - 


A Great Author Interview HERE!

Author of highly-acclaimed "A Year in the Company of Freaks," Teresa was raised in a large Midwest family and now lives in Oregon. She is also the author of "Bianca's Vineyard," and its sequel, "Domenico's Table." Both books are based on the true stories of her husband's Italian family in Tuscany. In addition to enjoying family, writing, reading, meeting her readers, wine tasting, traveling, and all things Italian, Teresa loves playing the fiddle with other musicians.

Connect with the Author: Website ~ Facebook ~ Twitter


a Rafflecopter giveaway