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Artisan fashion and home objects.

Another Craft and Culture Exclusive brought to you by one of our favorite textile and jewelry artists, Rachel Ravitch. No stranger to C&C, Rachel is the newest edition to our Exclusives collection — other designers include Hendrik. Lou, Hopeless Lingerie, and REIF.

Rachel uses boundless creativity as a reflection in her work: weaving, braiding, looping, and knotting are all intricate steps she uses to stitch together butter soft lambskin and patent leathers, hand dyed silks, and other natural materials into wearable works of art. And using her same thoughtfulness for C&C, our Exclusive design is an endless loop of white and midnight blue leather stitched together over natural rope and doubles as both a necklace and a wrap bracelet when twisted around the wrist.

Did we mention we got not one…but two versions of this Exclusive? This design comes in basic Bi-Tone or the Hand Splattered White Enamel Paint version. Look closely and the leather is a deepest of navy blues.

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Shop the Rachel Ravitch Exclusive design and find more of her collection at Craft and Culture.

Wish we were in Germany. The origin story of Craft & Culture has at least some of its roots in the last Nordic Fashion Biennale that took place here in Seattle. I met a host of impossibly cool Nordic designers and soaked up lectures and discussions on slow fashion. The same and more is happening right now in Frankfurt and if it’s not enough that perennial favorites Kria, Gudrun and Gudrun, Barbara i Gongini and Steinunn are showing – the rising Nordic talents Bibi Chemnitz, MUNDI and a host of others are bringing design ‘without boundaries’ to life.

Aptly titled “The Weather Diaries”, this year’s event is presented in collaboration with artists Cooper & Gorfer. Just look at this exhibition:

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weather1barbara2steinunnsteinunn22kria22hrafnhildurhraf22All photos courtesy of Nordic Fashion Biennale. 

 

We recently restocked our inventory of jewelry by Montreal-based designer, Elaine Ho, and we are living for her new collection. The massive chunks of crystal caged in oxidized silver look like they were forged in Middle Earth, and are well suited for anyone looking to add a little magic to their collection of accessories. Hefty hunks of various types of quartz draw the eye, and add drama and whimsy to even the most simple of ensembles. Each piece has a life of its own, transforming with time as the darkened oxidized silver evolves to become more brilliant and lustrous with wear. Take a peek below to see some of these remarkable rings and necklaces.

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tumblr_mzip0auvYO1r2fwmgo1_1280Name: Megan Dalke @ TCM Models

Age: 20

Height: 5’10”

Birthplace: Vancouver, BC

What was it like breaking into the US market?

I was extremely lucky and an amazing agency took me under their wing right from the get go. New York was my first market and where I learned to model.

Have you seen any differences between how the US and Canadian markets operate?

I haven’t actually had the pleasure of working professionally in Canada. Hopefully that’s something that changes this year.

Where are some of the most exciting places you’ve traveled to for modeling?

The Maldives have been the most exciting place I’ve traveled to so far. The beaches and islands were absolutely breathtaking. If it wasn’t for modeling I don’t think I would have ever had the chance to experience those incredible islands. Without modeling, I probably wouldn’t have ever gone to Tokyo or Paris, either. I was shocked to find how much I grew to appreciate and love both cities and look forward to returning.

Do you have any model idols? Girls whose careers you’d love to emulate?

Candice Swanepoel is a huge inspiration to me, obviously the amazing super model that she is. But most of my idols are girls I have met along the way who work their butts off to achieve the success they deserve.

hpmods_50Who are your favorite fashion photographers? Anyone out there that you’d just die to work with?

Of course it’s any models dream to work with photographers like Steven Meisel or Mario Testino, but there are so many young and talented photographers out there that I’d be excited to work with.

Before you got into modeling, were you interested in fashion?

Not as interested as I am now, that’s for sure! But I did attempt to build my prom dress based off an Elie Saab couture gown. I started modeling shortly after high school, and once my knowledge developed of the fashion industry, my love for it grew immensely.

What are some essentials in your own wardrobe? Where did you get them and when? What is their story?

Some essentials in my wardrobe include a black faux fur vest from Alice and Olivia with a leather belt. I got this during fashion week in New York (S/S 2013). A black, wool, somewhat floppy hat from Aritzia was added to my wardrobe just this past summer. I cannot leave town without it! Perfect for masking those dreaded bad hair days. My vintage Calvin Klein denim jacket that I was so lucky to score from a little vintage shop in Paris. I probably wore this every day last summer. and one of my favourites, my beautiful black leather and suede Celine inspired T-Babaton bag. This beauty has survived 2 years of portfolios and heels being squeezed in and hauled around from casting to casting.

craft_and_culture_stateofundress_4What are some of your favorite pieces from Craft & Culture and why?

One of my favourites is the Ovate Resurgam Cardigan. LOVE those lambskin leather sleeves. The Hopeless lingerie collection all together is amazing, but I would say the Abbie harness is my favourite. The First Base Classic Men’s Shirt: sharp, clean, and crisp. The Stowe Denny backpack I fell in love with, as well as most of those beautiful leather bags by The Stowe. The White Space Diamond and Dot 14K gold earrings: beautifully simple studs. Just to name a few. It’s hard to pick favourites off this website, everything is unique and beautiful and has its own interesting story.

What’s next for Megan? Any big shows or shoots coming up?

I am heading back to New York to continue on with modeling but also pursue my love for acting. Before I started modeling, acting was more of the direction I was leaning towards, but a modeling opportunity presented itself and that brought me to New York, where I fell in love with this career and industry. I’m very excited to integrate both of my passions and see what will evolve from it.

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Working directly with the designers that are a part of Craft & Culture is my favorite part of what I do because I learn something new almost every day. I am constantly inspired by their discipline, determination, creativity and expertise. One of the things that has become apparent to me is that the sole makers and designers of brands spend so much time in the hands on process of their work, they know exactly how to care and treat them for maximum use and beauty over time. And so, with a group of experts living together under one online roof, we are re-launching the Expert Series on Craft & Culture.

It felt natural to start with our first handbags and leather designer Randi Obenauer of Ora Bags whose amazing white leather bags just launched on Craft & Culture.

Ora leather goods are not only gorgeous functional accessories, they’re also impeccable works of art. Craft & Culture sat down with Ora designer Randi Obenauer to ask her how one maintains the integrity of such beautiful products.

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C&C: Obviously natural wear and tear has to be factored into the ownership of leather goods; can someone expect the color or texture of the leather to change over time? In the same vein, what effect does prolonged sun exposure have on leather?

Randi: One of the things I love most about leather is the way it ages. Observing the way leather goods evolve and develope natural patinas thrills me. Black leather will show wear the least, depending on the way it was dyed of course, but any natural or coloured leather will eventually darken with use due to environmental factors, oils from our skin, spills and stains, and every day use. I see this as a beautiful evolution of the character of a leather product. In addition to visible changes, the feel of most leathers will also change over time, becoming softer and more supple or even smoother. Prolonged sun exposure will of course fade leather, however day to day use and sun exposure will cause minimal change versus say a leather bag hanging in a window display for months on end.

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C&C: As a person with the utmost respect for your materials, how do you envision the individuals who buy your items caring for them? Is there a certain regimen you recommend to ensure that the leather stays in good condition?

Randi: It is really important to me to marry durable functionality with a beautiful aesthetic in each of my designs. Some might consider me to be rough on my own bags, as I use them and enjoy them with confidence in their durability – I bike in the rain, I take them camping (usually as my camera bag), I take them to the beach and on my motorcycle. At the same time, I also treat them as precious items – I would never set my bags on the floor in a restaurant or bar or bathroom or leave them where they could be sat on trampled on. And when my bags do get wet from the elements, I hang them to dry inside (never use electric heat) and then roll and massage them when they are completely dry to encourage them to stay supple and soft.

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C&C: Does the size of the item factor into the care regimen?

Randi: Not necessarily, but when talking about leather, an important consideration is how to care for suede or nubuck, as the nature of these more raw/rough/brushed surfaces means they will absorb stains more and differently than smooth leathers. If you are like me you might be ok with your suede or nubuck darkening and earning a patina, however if you want to attempt to preserve its original look and feel, chemical sprays available at your favorite cobbler shop are the way to go.

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C&C: Scuff marks are tragic, and happen to all of us; is there anything that can be done to counteract them, and reclaim some of the perfection of the leather pre-scuff?

Randi: It depends on the leather, and what your attitude to the look of your product is. I personally do not use any protective or cleaning agents that are harmful to the environment or harmful to my health. Various spray cleaners and protectants might rescue and preserve your leather, but the idea of our own skin absorbing these chemicals from wearing the item concerns me. If you are very particular about having a leather product that remains pristine looking, I recommend going with black or other dark options.

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C&C: Does leather change when it gets wet? If soda gets spilled in an episode of accidental arm flailing, is there a way to combat the stain?

Randi: Leather is skin and cows live outside – this simple attitude of mine urges a simple approach to leather care. Wipe any spills or stains immediately with a damp rag. Don’t use a dark rag on light coloured leather. Don’t rub or scrub a smooth leather surface with a rough scrubby or other surface. If you want to invest in leather cleaners or conditioners, talk to a local cobbler about simple cream style products that can be wiped on. Water/liquids can change leather, depending on how long and how deeply they are saturated. A dry crunchy surface could result if the leather was fully saturated for a prolonged time, then left in the sun to dry or if it was dried with a hair drier or left by a heater.

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C&C: How would you rate hardware on the importance scale when working with leather? Is there a process by which people can better preserve the hardware on their Ora items?

Randi: The quality of hardware varies greatly, from it’s ability to support weight and the quality of its finish, such as solid brass versus brass plated, or nickel plated versus stainless steel. Many of my more minimal aesthetic designs do not include hardware, as the weight of leather I use is conducive to being punched and capable of holding weight without additional structure. Poor quality hardware might discolour or rust over time. Some gold coloured hardware, that might be plated over steel, might ship off or fade, however this might be ok aesthetically if the light colour of the leather also takes on a patine…. as long as the hardware still functions properly. It all comes down to aesthetic preference and quality.

C&C: What are your hopes for the life of an Ora bag?

When it comes to the age, funtionality and beauty of leather products, the prevalence and quality of highly coveted vintage leather bags says it all. I hope my creations stand the test of time and enjoy use by multi generations.

Shop Ora on C&C.

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