Interview: Just Say Native’s Linde Sayles

I cannot pinpoint exactly when my love affair of oversized, flowy, cotton, Indian dresses began. I do remember shopping for them, in college, from a small dealer inside our local mall and scouring second-hand shops in Raleigh and Chapel Hill. I wish I saved my stash. I began wearing them again after the birth of my daughter. I feel most like myself when wearing these ethereal, non-restricting dresses. This is typically how I introduce color in to my wardrobe as well. Several years ago I splurged on a one-of-a-kind, vintage dress from Stone Fox Bride. Through the discovery of Molly Guy I found Just Say Native and Linde Sayles. I have been dying to interview Linde for years and finally it all worked out to do so. Linde’s eye for unique pieces, beautiful prints, texture, and, of course, that undeniable bohemian 60s and 70s vibe is right on. We have never met, but I feel like I kinda know, through years (literally) of back and forth emails, Linde’s humble, funny, don’t take yourself too seriously, kind self. Thanks Linde! Hope to meet you soon. Shop Just Say Native through Instagram. Hint: You better be quick!  –SoS


SoS: Your story between fashion and TV/film?

There really isn’t a connection. I moved to CA to work in entertainment and eventually became a DGA Assistant Director in Film/TV. During that time, I started JSN as a hobby with my friend, Hillary Justin. She wanted to start selling/working at the Rose Bowl Flea Market and needed someone to help her so I was recruited and/or volunteered. We started at the Rose Bowl selling someone else’s goods and eventually started selling our own finds from trips back home to Michigan. We begin focusing our style and aesthetic and around 2011 Just Say Native was born. We ended our partnership in January 2014. Until April of 2016, I ran Just Say Native on my days off or during hiatus while still working as an AD on various TV shows. I actually kept the two lives very separate…I think.

SoS: Describe Just Say Native in three words.

I want to say Print, Pattern, Texture but that’s probably not it. Uhhhh….Bohemian, Wearable…I’m bad at this. I also want to say Bohemian Luxury. Gahh!! I don’t know. Maybe that’s something I should think about business wise.

SoS: When did your love for vintage begin to bloom.

I grew up with a love of flea markets and antique malls courtesy of my mother. She has always had an eclectic, found object and art focused sense of decor for our homes. She also appreciated the history of family heirlooms whether it was furniture or pictures or art. I would say I naturally grew to have the same style with my own decorating. I would rather have an older piece than something from a big box retailer. I also really loved going through like every rack at TJ Maxx or a department store sale…trying to find the best pieces at the best prices so I guess the hunting has always been there but I was never into vintage clothing. I came to appreciate it from selling at the Rose Bowl with Hillary (who had a lifetime of experience thrift shopping). Honestly, I think it’s still the love of the hunt for me. I think that’s also why JSN is very wearable and not necessarily “dated” to a certain time or place. If someone is knowledgable about vintage, they may know your JSN piece is vintage but they may also think it’s contemporary picked up at Barney’s or some beach side boutique from your recent trip to St. Bart’s. I like the ambiguity and don’t actually consider myself a “vintage” clothing dealer (don’t tell anyone).

SoS: Best part of your job?

I think it’s still the hunt for me. I love finding something I’ve never seen before or a beautiful new print. That’s part of what I love about the Indian pieces, they come in so many forms and prints. It’s a thrill to see one that you’ve never seen before and they’re all so beautiful. I also love, after working 18 hour days, the ability to be my own boss and go grab a coffee if I want to. I also love traveling for shopping and shows.

SoS: Do you have a hard time letting go of pieces?

I don’t. People are always really surprised but I don’t actually wear vintage that often, mostly just for events and shows, so my collection is quite small. Maybe 15 pieces? I also cycle through them occasionally when I find one that feels even MORE me than the last. I shop in a color scheme so it has to fit a few basic criteria to even make it into my closet to start. I also really enjoy finding someone something for clients. I get more pleasure out of knowing the exact piece that’s going to make someone feel just right. So sometimes my personal pieces go to new homes that way. I just sent one of my first Indian dresses to one of my first clients in NY because she emailed looking for “a dress like the one you were wearing when we first met.” I hadn’t worn it in over a year so off it went. She’ll probably wear it way more than I ever did.

SoS: Person, past or present, you would love to dress?

I’m not much of a “stylist” per se so I don’t know…..any woman who wants to feel glamorous and unique but totally casual and contemporary at the same time. Someone who appreciates the beauty of something old and understands how difficult it is to source a collection like JSN. I have celebrity clients, designers and clients who save for months to treat themselves. I like dressing them all.

SoS: Not to miss vintage show on the East coast? West coast?

I really only do one vintage show, A Current Affair, which is in both LA and NY. I haven’t been to many other shows. ACA is great though. Well curated for a contemporary customer and/or designer. The NY is my favorite just because I think NY is really lacking in “good” vintage shopping and the energy at the show is incredible. Plus NYC always has my heart.

SoS: Tips for shopping vintage?

Buy anything you love instantly. Look at literally everything if you have the time because gems are sometimes hiding and what may be a pass for someone else may be the hidden treasure for you. Know a good tailor and you can fix/make most anything work within reason of course.

SoS: What are your customers looking for and loving for spring?

Hmmm. I’m not that strategic but I think for spring, great new floral prints in new points of scale (either really big or really small). Crochet, ruffles, and textured layers.

SoS: Playing in your studio?

Like music? I’m a strange bird in that I don’t listen to music. If I have an appointment I turn on spotify or play a show playlist (I share an office space with A Current Affair).

SoS: Do you have a motto?

Well JSN has had a catchphrase from day one. “Native of a place, time and spirit as individual as you.” Which is where  Native in the business name comes from (the first two words are a combination of my and Hillary’s last name…we never really thought the business would become what it is and it seemed like a cool name at the time). Lately I’ve been repeating a quote my dad sent me. “Great things are done by a series of small things brought together.” – Van Gogh

I’m changing the way I view my business this year. I work by myself….JSN is purely a one woman show and sometimes I get really overwhelmed with all that has to be done to push the brand forward. This quote has really been helping me stay focused and helps curb my anxiety too.

SoS: What’s the difference between vintage and second-hand?

I have no idea. I’m sure hard core dealers have a definition but I just buy what I love so you can call it vintage or second-hand.

SoS: Misconceptions about vintage dressing?

That you have to look like you’re wearing a costume or you have just walked out of a time period movie set. I really think you can wear vintage without anyone knowing and that’s the direction most vintage shopping has gone in the last few years. I think that trend will continue.

SoS: Something surprising about you?

Can I plead the fifth? I’m really an open book and also super boring. I’m not sure what to say? I worked for The Gap for 7 years? Sometimes that surprises people. BORING!

SoS: Favorite travel destination? Why?

I went to the Greek Islands three summers ago and I still daydream about going back. I’m a fire sign but a water baby at heart. The water there is so incredible…the clearest, darkest navy and I have never met a navy I didn’t like. Also the food was amazing. I, also, secretly want to marry someone who will be willing to go to every restaurant ever featured on Chef’s Table so….

Image: Isabel Parra Photography




Designer Interview: Jordana Warmflash

Sanction of Style designer spotlight continues today in preparation for tonight’s event benefitting the Boys and Girls Club of Wake County. Join Brandshop, MA Allen of MA Allen Interiors, Kathleen Fisher and me as we feature NYC’s Novis and fine jewelry brand Bare Collection. The brand name and designer label, Novis, is an homage to Jordana’s grandmother, Gwen Novis Warmflash; a courageous, confident, audacious, happy woman. Jordana’s appreciation of quality craftsmanship came at an early age when her mother taught her to sew on her family’s old sewing machine. Love for the design and architectural aspect of clothing continued to blossom throughout Jordana’s early career working with designers Zac Posen, Peter Som, and Alice + Olivia. In 2012, Jordana launched Novis. The brand continues to grow and is continuously recognized by major fashion industry publications including Vogue, WWD, Harper’s Bazaar, Elle, and many others. And Jordana continues to receive industry accolades including the Ecco Domani Fashion Foundation Award in 2014. In 2015, she was a U.S. nominee for the International Woolmark Prize in Womenswear, and in 2016, she was a finalist for the Fashion Group International Rising Star Award in Womenswear. Be sure to click here to preview Novis Fall/Winter 2017 ready-to-wear collection. It’s beautiful! Some favorites from spring/summer 17: The Sandisfield Blouse, The Curtis Sweater, The Granville Dress, The Greylock SkirtThe Northfield Blouse, The Stratford Skirt, The Sargent Vest.

Ready for a peek inside the life of NYC designer Jordana Warmflash? Let’s, shall we? –SoS

  Designer, Jordana Warmflash


SoSDescribe Novis in three words or less.

Optimistic, artful, luxurious

SoS: What’s the spirit and style of a Novis girl?

The Novis woman is a happy, cultured go-getter and independent thinker who leads a life on the go; appreciates color and quality; and has her own internal style barometer.

SoS: Did you have someone in particular that shaped your love of fashion growing up?

My paternal grandmother, Gwen Novis, for whom the brand is named.

SoS: Where do you look/go for inspiration?

The art world – our collections have been inspired by artists including Paul Klee, Richard Avedon and Ellsworth Kelly and categories of art including mid-century Danish and Swedish furniture and Art Deco ceramics.

SoS: Mantra?

I adore this quote by ceramicist Clarice Cliff (whose work inspired our Spring/Summer 2016 collection), which captures my vision and understanding of fashion – and my design process – in a nutshell: “Having a little fun at my work does not make me any less of an artist. People who appreciate truly beautiful and original creations in pottery are not frightened by innocent tomfoolery.”

SoS: Fashion muse?

Iris Apfel.

SoS: Best piece of advice you have ever been given?

Find your uniqueness and keep developing it.

SoS: Most rewarding aspect of being a designer?

Seeing and meeting happy Novis customers. We love when customers across the country send us pictures of themselves in Novis!

SoS: Most challenging aspect of being a designer?

Balancing so many things in each collection – design elements, commercial elements, silhouettes, price points, pieces to appeal to customers at one store, which are not necessarily the same pieces that appeal to customers at another store, both newness and continuity, etc. There is real alchemy at work all the time in developing the next collection; it’s part science, part art, part gut instinct.

SoS: Most cherished item in your closet?

A black-and-white hand embroidered dress that belonged to my mother when she was a teenager, which I found in my grandmother’s basement when cleaning it out. It’s a perfect fit, and a piece I look to for inspiration when working on Novis.

SoS: Wardrobe must-haves for spring and summer?

Our Bennington Mix Stitch Stripe Dress, which is so breathable, beautiful and comfortable, and our Dover Pleat Neck Halter Dress in cotton gauze – it’s so lightweight and has a great hand crochet trim, so it really stands apart from other black summer dresses out there.

SoS: Closet you would like to raid?

Iris Apfel’s!

SoS: Favorite place you have ever traveled?

Overseas, I adore northern Italy. Closer to home, I love the Berkshires in Western Massachusetts.




Designer Interview: Bare Collection’s Jeet Sohal

Looking forward to helping host a local event organized by the savvy business duo behind Brandshop. Hillary and Laura have officially launched Brandshop MINISHOPS; one-day only events that highlight emerging fashion brands. [FACT: Brandshop was recently featured on] The Raleigh event will spotlight two beautiful brands. Novis and fine jewelry brand (and 14 year industry veteran) BARE Collection. A portion of sales from the shopping event will benefit Wake County Boys & Girls Clubs. Fashion Giving Back. Y-E-S. And it’s always inspiring and informative to have a glimpse inside a designer’s life. Right?! Jeet’s designs encompass Indian, Filipino, Spanish, and American heritage; creating jewelry that is intricate, beautiful, eye-catching, simple and striking. Don’t miss the interview with mom and designer below. Jeet’s designs have been featured in Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, WWD, and worn by Hollywood darlings Liv Tyer, Charlize Theron, Anne Hathaway, Emmy Rossum, and Beyonce. The constellation pendantnesting collar, and cuff are personal favorites. Next up: Novis. –SoS

Designer Jeet Sohal @bare_collection. Image: S. Marengo @stacimarengo


SoS: When did you discover your love for designing jewelry?

I’m still discovering my love for designing jewelry! Thus far, we are locked in what will hopefully be one of my great love stories.

SoS: Describe a BARE Collection girl…

Bare is an acronym for Beautiful Authentic Refined and Enigmatic, all words describing the Bare collection girl. She is living life on her terms, with her own personal style.

SoS: Describe your style…

A good friend described my style as bohemian business casual. At first, I couldn’t quite understand what she meant since I described my style as feminine tomboy but she hit the nail on the head. I look for structured fabrics, great tailoring, and pieces with whimsy to mix and match. With three young boys (3, 5, 7), clothing must handle wear well. Slacks in a pin stripe or subtle pattern are great because they mask any kid fingerprints. I have a lot more flexibility with blouses since the kids are older so I can do a more delicate top. Another go to is an Indian skirt with a simple linen t-shirt and a blazer or tailored jacket to elevate the combination. It’s my version of jeans and a t-shirt. The jewelry is pretty simple, stud earrings, my constellation pendants, a stack of rings and when I need a power piece for some extra polish, a Bare bones cuff in bronze. Shoes are always vans or a mid-heel pump. I’m always looking for cute 2-2.5 inch stiletto or stacked heels! Anything taller and I can’t wear them all day, anything shorter is just destabilizing for me when I walk.

SoS: One piece in your closet you cannot live without?

One piece is difficult! I can narrow it down to three. A great day dress is essential. I love something in silk with a midi hemline and anywhere from a cap sleeve to a long sleeve. It’s an easy silhouette that is forgiving on the body and can be dressed down with a jean jacket and vans or dressed up with heels and a chic jacket. My other go to is tailored straight or wide leg slacks with a silk t-shirt. Again, this works well with vans or oxfords for a more casual look or heels and a blazer for something a bit dressy. I rely on my wardrobe to get me from 8AM to 8PM with school dropoff, meetings, dinners out and I hate changing. Since we are a shoes-off household, changing shoes depending on the time of day is easy, but changing clothing is tough. Because I have a minimal approach to hair and makeup, my wardrobe and accessories really need to work hard to give me some polish!

SoS: Do you have a mantra or favorite quote?

“Life is what happens when you are making other plans.”

SoS: What’s your favorite thing about living and working in LA?

The community, personal and professional. It’s a great mix of people from a million different backgrounds.

SoS: Best piece of advice you have ever been given?

My mom used to do a very verbose version of “You do you.” I’ve interpreted it as I can only do my best version of me and I need to be happy with that.

SoS: How do you juggle motherhood and work?

It’s an impossible juggling act. I do my best, I accept help when it’s available and I’ve learned to be OK with saying no.

SoS: Do you have a favorite piece from your collection?

I love that Bare girls build a Bare jewelry wardrobe, full of pieces that give them sense memory of why they purchased or received a Bare piece. I experience sense memory related to the creation of a piece! Right now I’m obsessed with the constellation collection because they marry my love of the night sky, myself, my husband, and my kids. In many ways, the constellation collection is both sentimental and universal, personal yet private and I love those dualities.

SoS: Favorite place you have ever traveled?

I love every place I’m fortunate to travel to. A few places I would like to visit again include the Atacama desert in Chile, the Himalayas in India, New Zealand, Buenos Aires, and Boracay Island in the Philippines.

SoS: Where do you find inspiration?

Everywhere! My sister, an Orthopaedic Spine Surgeon, once told me that the most important thing about her skill set is her ability to really listen. I had thought it would overlap with mine, seeing. I’m always drawing inspiration from the world around me, be it an illustration in a book, the way a leaf falls from a tree, the rivets in an old steam engine, the way someone fidgets with their jewelry. How the inspiration translates into jewelry at the bench is still a bit of a mystery, but I’m happy that it works!

SoS: What do you enjoy in your spare time?

Organizing my closet, pantry, house, office. I know it sounds ridiculous, but it’s really indulgent! Curling up with a book or cookbook and giant pot of earl grey tea is magical, but the magic ends when I’m tired the next day because I didn’t sleep until I finished my book! When I’m up all night organizing, the magic lasts weeks and works even when I’m tired. Since I’m always in motion, things get messy. Putting things back in order reminds me of my more organized younger self and makes every day after that much more enjoyable…until it’s messy again.



What a Fox!

Meet Fox. A denim lover, designer, and customizer based in sunny LA. FOXHOLE teamed up with GRLFRND denim and Barneys New York this summer for a custom embroidery event to benefit HOLA. (Heart of Los Angeles is a non-profit that provides underserved youth with exceptional programs in academics, arts and athletics.) Don’t live in LA? You don’t have to live on the West Coast to take advantage of Fox’s denim services. I just dropped a pair of jeans in the mail for some overdue mending and a surprise custom embroidery. Check out our interview below and follow Fox and Jeff @thefoxhole on Instagram and breathe new life in to any piece of denim in your closet. Embroidery is hot on the fashion scene; think creatively and request a custom design that’s totally unique to you. –SoS

fox•hole: (noun) 1. the den or burrow of a fox. 2. a hole in the ground used by troops as a shelter against enemy fire or as a firing point.


SoS: How Was The Foxhole Born?

Fox: I met my husband 6 years ago at the Echo in Los Angeles and it all started then. My name is Fox and he is a US Army Veteran so FOXHOLE just clicked. I have been designing denim for over 10 years and he had a knack for collecting interesting objects such as patches, pins, hats and teeshirts. We put our powers together and formed FOXHOLE. We started as a popup swapmeet in our back parking lot and doing festivals and flea markets like the rose bowl and FYF Fest in Los Angeles. Once we found our location in Silverlake it just took off from there. We tailor, customize and repair denim as well as make household items and art out of recycled denim. We sell vintage sports tees, Harley Davidson garb and just cool old rad shit we like as well as vintage denim, duh.

SoS: Three Words That Describe FOXHOLE?

Fox: Nothing like it.

SoS: Best Part Of Your Work Day?

Fox: Making people feel good. Our slogan is #whenyoulookgoodwefeelgreat

SoS: Do You Have A Mantra? Or A Favorite Quote?

Fox: “Fashions fades, style is forever.” – Yves Saint Laurent

SoS: Favorite Tool?

Fox: Our hands.

SoS: How Important Is Denim In The Fashion World?

Fox: The most important. Everyone wears denim. If you meet a person who doesn’t like denim, send them our way 😉

SoS: Describe Your Style?

Fox: My Style.

SoS: Style Icon?

Jeff Garza my husband, partner in crime, best friend.

SoS: Do You Have A Favorite Denim Story?

Fox: Each denim story is special to me, that is my favorite part of my job hearing all the different stories and why each denim piece is special to them.

SoS: What Inspires You?

Fox: Learning.

SoS: What Song Best Sums Up Your Life?

Fox: Ahh not a possible answer.

SoS: Define Cool?

Fox: No one definition of cool, You know when you are cool and that’s all that matters.

SoS: I Would Like To Tell [BLANK] To Fuck Off!

Fox: This list would be too long…





style story: Maleiwa Aikat

We love sharing meaningful, insightful and inspiring style stories with you. We love stories like these. Like Alexandra and Marian. Two Colombian sisters who work with a socially responsible ethic to bring Maleiwa Aikat to the fashion scene. A fashion conscious brand that has been promoting the work of different Colombian tribes since 2009. For the sole purpose of their cultural survival. 2010 was a breakthrough year for the sister’s when a-listers including Alessandra Ambrosio, Uma Thurman, Shakira, Katy Perry among others were photographed carrying their beautiful bags. Maleiwa Aikat bags are handcrafted works of art and each possess a unique spiritual essence that cannot be replicated. We asked Alexandra and Marian a few questions like…What it’s like working together as sisters, their fashion philosophy, Colombian beauty rituals and more. Check out the full interview with MA below. Their bags are lovingly sold all over the world; to discover more about their brand or to purchase one of their beautiful mochilas follow Maleiwa Aikat on Instagram @Maleiwa.Aikat –SoS



SoS: What Does Maleiwa Aikat Mean?

MA: Maleiwa Aikat means the union of the two sisters (Marian and Alexandra) for one dream: to promote Colombian tribes`s work for the sake of their cultural survival.

SoS: Tell Us A Little Bit About The Sisters Behind The Brand?

MA: Alexandra is an architect with a strong passion for fashion and design and Marian is an engineer who believes that social responsibility is the most important and powerful ingredient to transform relations seeking business success. When we first started our project, our aim was to bring out of Colombia genuine works of art made by our aboriginal communities in order to get people to know our culture and more important, make it last. By buying their products, we participate to strengthen their ethnic identity and give them the opportunity to empower their ancestral creations at an international level. We mainly compromise with three native groups in Colombia: The Wayuu, The Arhuacos and The Embera Chami Puro. We are proud to sell genuine products without names or labels, only tags informing the client about all the history and the background behind each piece and more important, the people who produce them. For the reasons mentioned above, we have been against labeling our products to this day.

SoS: Describe Your Ctomer?

MA: Our customer wants something unique with a spiritual essence.

SoS: Bestseller?

MA: Our Wayúu handmade bags.

SoS: How Long Does Each Bag Take To Complete?

MA: Some require three months to complete, others only one month, depending on the complexity of each piece.

SoS: Favorite Color Combination Or Design?

MA: Our favorite color combination is Vivo: bright colors that reflect the sun and the beach. We are from the Colombian north coast!

SoS: Fashion Philosophy?

MA: Ancestral creativity in a piece of art.

SoS: How Does Maleiwa Aikat Give Back?

MA: Maleiwa Aikat works with groups of women encouraging them to keep tradition alive as a way of life, promoting fair trade and helping them with the supplies. We truly believe that diffusing their products, fruit of their labor, is the best way to help them recover their autonomy and consequently, reaffirm their indigeneity.

SoS: Most Beautiful Aspect About Living And Working In Colombia?

MA: Diversity and the possibility of helping in every corner.

SoS: What Is It Like Working Together As Sisters?

MA: It`s great because we know each other, we know our strengths and weaknesses.

SoS: Any Colombian Beauty Secrets? A Product Or Routine You Cannot Live Without?

MA: We only use 100% natural beauty products, we are addicted to coconut and roses, two powerful ingredients, nothing like cleaning your skin with a roses soap and moisturized with first cold pressed coconut oil.

SoS: Best Piece Of Advice You Have Ever Been Given? Who Gave It To You?

MA: “Work like you don’t need the money” – our DAD! It means enjoy what you are doing.

SoS: Go-To Item In Your Wardrobe?

MA: Mochilas! Each of have dozens of them, we even have this contest to find the most beautiful one.

SoS: Favorite Place You Have Ever Traveled? Where To Next?

MA: Marian: Amazonas. Machu Pichu. Alexandra: Tayrona Park. Caño Cristales.

SoS: Anything Else You Would Like Our Readers To Know…?

MA: To discover our products, Follow on Instagram : @maleiwa.aikat




Wayúu – Our Wayúu Mochilas are crocheted by Wayúu women from La Guajira, in northern Colombia, they believe that the knowledge to weave is a symbol of creativity, intelligence and wisdom. Every day, Wayúu women encourage the youth to follow in the traditional way of their culture, preserving this Wayúu ancestral creativity in the fabric of their mochilas, bracelets and dresses, which they create using pure cotton yarn and a crochet technique. The bags are made in three distinct color schemes. Vivo : bright colors that reflect the sun and the beach. Tierra : colors that reflect the earthy colors of their native land. Pastel : similar to the hues of a rainbow. Each bag is different and patterns are never repeated.

New Collection – The New Collection has been developed by a small association of women living in a small town located near Barranquilla, one of Colombia’s most important cities. These women from Aboriginal communities are dedicated to promoting their ancestral culture by offering, among other things, authentic mochilas, shoulder bags, which they weave by hand in the traditional way passed down through generations. Mixtures of earthy colors and vivid symbols highlight their attachment to the traditions of their ancestors. The distinctiveness of these bags is the fact that each of them can be reproduced.



Ballet Beautiful

Maybe you’ve heard of the box office thriller Black Swan? We’re thrilled to share our exclusive interview with professional ballerina, celebrity fitness guru and Ballet Beautiful founder Mary Helen Bowers. Mary Helen was Natalie Portman’s personal trainer for the 2010 thriller. If you’ll recall, Portman won the Oscar for Best Actress for her mind blowing performance in the 2010 film. Ballet Beautiful brings ballet inspired training and fitness to women and men via Ballet Beautiful Custom Workouts, online classes and bestselling DVDs. BB has been featured in publications including Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, W, Elle, WWD, The Wall Street Journal Style Magazine, Shape, Women’s Health, and Self. Mary Helen’s professional journey of hard work and dedication are inspiring to say the least. From training at Manhattan’s prestigious School of American Ballet, to being invited to join the New York City Ballet at the age of just 16. It goes to show this kind of talent, dedication and determination have its rewards. Grace, beauty, and strength are the core of the Ballet Beautiful method. “Ballet Beautiful mixes the athleticism and grace of classical ballet with targeted exercises and stretches that sculpt a dancer’s toned, lean physique.” Read the full interview below and learn more about the force behind what A-list celebrities, supermodels, Victoria’s Secret Angels and woman all over the globe are raving about. Shop Ballet Beautiful on Net-A-Porter and –SoS 

“I believe every woman has the ability to transform her body.” – Mary Helen Bowers

balletbeautiful_maryhelenMary Helen Bowers ~ Professional Ballerina, Founder of Ballet Beautiful. Image Courtesy of Ballet Beautiful

SoS: Describe the Ballet Beautiful technique? What makes it unique?

MHB: Ballet Beautiful is a workout inspired by ballet. Each exercise, movement and stretch is designed to strengthen and lengthen the body, sculpting a powerful and elegant physique.

SoS: How do you balance being a new mom and running a successful business?

MHB: Balancing work and motherhood is a challenge for so many! Time suddenly becomes so precious and more valuable than ever. I don’t think anyone ever achieves the perfect balance between these two because it’s difficult to be pulled in two very disparate directions.

I work hard to be as efficient as possible when I am in the office so that when I’m home I can put down my phone and relax! Building a positive, like-minded team around me to maximize every moment and opportunity at work is definitely key. The same is true in your home life. A working mom needs a lot of help!

SoS: What are you most excited about as far as the ballet trend that’s happening now in the fashion industry?

MHB: I love seeing ballet come into main-stream fashion! As a dancer, ballet has always had a huge influence on my wardrobe. Creating beautiful pieces that work for a workout and street wear is endlessly inspiring to me! I spent years searching for the perfect ballet street shoe for example. Now it’s so much fun to know that the shoes I am wearing of my own design, handmade in Italy by third generation artisans.

SoS: We know we’re not the only ones who became a little obsessed with Natalie Portman’s body in Black Swan. What was it like to train her for the film?

MHB: Working with Natalie for Black Swan was an incredible experience. She is hard working, generous and kind. It’s inspiring to spend your days with someone dedicated enough to their art (in Natalie’s case, acting) to spend 5+ hours a day training to prepare for a role!

SoS: Secret Obsession?

MHB: I adore an afternoon tea service!

SoS: Beauty Secret?

MHB: Water, great skin care and sleep! Plus lots of Ballet Beautiful, of course!

SoS: Favorite product that you use, love and would recommend to new moms?

MHB: With newborns you don’t need much at all! I do love glass baby bottles for heating milk or breastmilk. We use Aventi’s and they have worked so well. Now that Lumina is bigger, keeping a couple of Dr Seuss books in the diaper bag is my secret weapon for dinners out or long flights!

SoS: Mornings seem to be especially hectic for working moms. Sum up your morning routine…

MHB: I shower and wash my hair at night to save time. In the mornings I sometimes make a healthy lunch for myself while preparing Lumina’s breakfast. From there anything related to me getting ready has to happen as quickly as possible. There isn’t time to fuss over much makeup or the perfect outfit. It’s grab and go!

SoS: Do you have a daily uniform? Please tell us it includes leg warmers and ballet slippers

MHB: Always! I live in my leotard and tights. In the cooler months I layer with legwarmers and high boots and toss a dress on top. When it’s nice out I’m always in my Ballet Beautiful street shoes. I haven’t found anything more comfortable or chic!

SoS: Favorite go-to item in your closet?

MHB: Our sweetheart neck mesh leotard is available in many different colors and looks just as great with a full skirt or jeans as it does for a Ballet Beautiful session!

SoS: What do you miss most about living in North Carolina? What do you love most about living in NYC?

MHB: The pace of everything in the south is a little slower. And no one can beat my mom’s biscuits and country ham!

NYC is so fast paced and vibrant. I love living and working in one of the worlds most influential homes for the arts.

SoS: Mantra?


SH: What results can women expect from your online custom workout? What gear, if any, is needed?

MHB: Our Custom Workout has transformed so many bodies and lives! It’s been incredible to see the results from our members all over the world. The workouts are targeted and designed to help people achieve a world class workout from the comfort and privacy of home.

The best part is that no dance experience or equipment is needed. Of course, our ballet slippers will make you really feel the part but all you needed to get started is wifi, a towel or mat, and a nearby waterbottle!

SoS: Favorite Ballet Beautiful training tip?

MHB: Remember that ballet is all about the extension of the body through space. Listen for my cues on how to lengthen and extend through the arms and legs!

SoS: One thing people might be surprised to know about you?

MHB: I can’t live without chocolate and cheese! Dieting is not the way to go!

mary-helen-bower-ballet-beautiful-1Image Courtesy of Ballet Beautiful

“Lily Aldridge specifically credits these workouts for getting her body back after her first child.”

“It’s just very effective for me. Ballet Beautiful has just transformed my body. I can’t speak highly enough of Mary Helen Bowers.” – Lily Aldridge

“I’m not a ballerina but I enjoy working out like one. Ballet Beautiful makes me feel beautiful, confident and strong.” – Maggie Gyllenhaal

“Mary Helen’s technique…allows anyone to achieve the long, toned physique of a dancer.” – Natalie Portman

“I adore Mary Helen Bowers: she knows how to make ordinary women look like ballerinas. Mary Helen’s intelligence, attention to detail and extensive training as a ballerina has made her a wealth of knowledge. With her simple streamlined technique she can make incredible changes. She’s the real deal.” – Zooey Deschanel

“Mary Helen is wonderful! We train together using her Ballet Beautiful program doing leg work, butt lifts, and stretches. I love working out with her.” – Liv Tyler

“Mary Helen Bowers radiates an effortless beauty and grace that extends to her clients…[and] creates a feminine, lean, long body that is gorgeously strong.” – Jamie King

“You need your fingertips to your toes to be a good model, and that’s what Ballet Beautiful does. It really gets you connected mentally to your whole body.” – Erin Heatherton


kick asana

If you live in the Raleigh metro area considered yourself lucky. Raleigh’s own EVOLVE Movement can boast having one of the finest and most distinguished yoga teachers in the country. And beyond the impossibly effortless, liquid smooth free flow is one of our favorite things about Carson Efird. Her Meaningful Hugs! And her beautiful, full of love, gracious spirit and smile. Whether you are a seasoned yogi or have always wanted to find your special place to feel welcome and practice we urge you to sign up and take a class with Carson. You will leave feeling 100% recharged, more limber than when you entered, and bursting with positive energy. The photographs below, from photographer D.L. Anderson, will give you a visual description of Carson’s spirit and energy. Read our interview to discover more about this incredible soul and her kick ass credentials. Follow Carson on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. –SoS

Carson Efird outside Evolve Studio, Raleigh, N.C., May 2015


SoS: You are considered the best of the best in the yoga world. Explain your yoga credentials in layman’s terms.

Carson: You sweet! But, I have to say, I consider my teacher, Shiva Rea, to be the best of the best. As Shiva said on retreat this week at Esalen in Big Sur, “God/Goddess desires to hit it out of the park.” Essentially, what that means to me is that by following our passions and sharing our gifts from a place of humility, devotion and service we experience the success of aligning with our sva dharma or self-purpose in this life. I am honored to have been a dedicated student of Shiva’s since 2005 and to have had the opportunity to assist her internationally for teacher trainings and retreats since 2009. In 2012, she invited me to lead Prana Vinyasa Teacher Trainings at EVOLVE and we also initiated a program in UCLA’s Department of World Arts and Cultures together in 2013. The Prana Vinyasa collective of teachers is incredibly tight knit and supportive so I have also had the pleasure of teaching around the country at some of my dearest friends amazing studios from California to Colorado and I look forward to bringing them to EVOLVE to inspire our community. What makes Shiva the best of the best to me is that she is a living breathing student of yoga, meaning that her practice and teachings are continuously in forward motion while profoundly honoring the roots of yoga in India and the lineage of her teachers. She inspires me to dance along my “evolutionary edge.”

SoS: Daily Mantra? Life Mantra?

Carson: My mantras change with the seasons and life initiations that flow my way, but the single mantra that is in my heart on a daily basis is the Gayatri Mantra. The Gayatri celebrates the staining power of the sun, and, calls that luminosity into our bodies, minds, hearts and spirits so that we may shine our light in reverence for the gift of each day. This mantra is traditionally chanted at sunrise or sunset and when we lived on the PCH in our vintage trailer over looking the sun plunging into the Pacific this became a daily offering of gratitude that lives on wherever we are. We, meaning me and my husband, Joe.

SoS: An essential prop/props in your daily practice?

Carson: My altar at home is my most essential prop in my daily practice as it holds sacred space for my practice and it holds me accountable to my practice. The altar itself is an antique that I inherited from my grandmother, and because Joe and I are sustaining our marriage across the country, my altar is dedicated to our union. On it is a murti, a statue, of Radha and Krishna, the divine lovers, California sage, two hour glasses (when celebrating relationships displaying objects in pairs is customary) and a picture of us dancing on the beach where we were married as well as conch shells from that location. Otherwise, my Manduka mat for practice and my grandfather’s sheep skin for meditation and savasana is all I need. One of the many things I treasure about yoga is that all you need is your body, mind and heart as well as the knowledge. The practice is portable and can happen anywhere and everywhere.

SoS: How important is meditation and what are the benefits?

Carson: Essential!!! I am passionate about meditation whether it is sitting, moving or a state of conscioness that imbues any action with intention. I feel very fortunate to have found teachers from the beginning of my journey who emphasized meditation equally to asana. Seated meditation is my morning practice and I have a very consistent rhythm that includes: pranayama, mantra, prayer, visualization, as well as, listening deeply to the words of wisdom that my heart teacher whispers. Of course the physical benefits of meditation are motivating like decreased stress etc… But, I find the energetic benefits even more profound. Starting the day in rememberance of the innate connection between the flow of breath and the underlying support of the universe shifts my perspective on my daily purpose.

SoS: Can you recommend an easy stretch or pose that helps with a tense/tight lower back as well as shoulders? Perhaps something one could do at her or his desk.

Carson: Love to! On a desk, counter or table that is hip height or slightly taller, or even a wall, place your elbows the width of your shoulders and make a peaceful fist or prayer between your hands. Walk your feet back until your spine is in extension keeping your elbows slightly higher than your shoulders. Separate your feet shoulder width distance and sway your hips side to side. Simultaneously, melt your heart towards the earth and release your neck through your arms.

SoS: How do you deal with stress?

Carson: Spontaneous dance parties with myself and some loud groovin’ music!!! Or, hot baths with bath salts (I love those Detox bath salts from Herbivore), or, Ayurvedic Brahmi Oil from Banyan Botanicals. Or, driving with the windows down in the country airin’ it out!

SoS: Describe the Shiva Rea technique/approach as well as Prana Vinyasa Flow. Are they one in the same?

Carson: Yes, mam! Shiva Rea is the creatress of Prana Vinyasa Flow. Prana Vinyasa Flow is an ecstatic expression of her life’s work honoring the Shakti, the creative energy, in all forms.

Specifically, Prana Vinyasa Flow is Shiva’s evolution of Vinyasa Flow that invokes the five movements of Prana to energetically align breath and movement, body and mind, microcosm and macrocosm. Three identifying elements of a Prana Vinyasa class include:

Three Part Vinyasa – Inviting movement into the asanas to teach alignment in the flow and connect with the pulsation of breath.

Wave Sequencing – Creating a seamless class experience that naturally unfolds from simple to complex towards a peak asana.

Bhavana – Opening to the feeling state of each asana, as well as, the whole experience of the class, physically, mentally and emotionally through the use of poetic language, music, free-form movement, ambiance and more.

I love Prana Vinyasa because it encourages diversity and creativity inside of the practice while opening pathways for depth, growth and evolution inside of the practitioner.

SoS: You know we have to ask…What’s your favorite brand to wear/practice in the studio?

Carson: AVIATOR NATION!!! And, Spiritual Gangster.

SoS: What do you think is the biggest misconception people have in regards to yoga?

Carson: Oh lord! The one I hear the most that makes me laugh is, “I can’t do yoga, I’m not flexible enough!” Which is the perfect portal into the conversation of where to begin. Krishnamacharya, the Indian yoga guru who is the grandfather of our modern-day practice, advised to begin where we are, because really, we have no other choice aside from not beginning. So, begin with tight hamstrings. I love it when Shiva says in class that you might have tight hamstrings for a really good reason… Maybe you are a firefighter who runs up flights of stairs saving people from burning buildings. But it is so funny and endearing that we think that in order to do something we have to be accomplished at it first. How self- defeating!?!? This as my grandmother would say is putting the cart before the horse, or as Pattabhi Jois, Krishnamarcharya’s student would say, “Practice and all is coming.” Yoga is self-acceptance. The practice teaches to look at our misconceptions, judgements and criticisms, of things outside of ourselves like, “yoga is only for flexible people,” and realize that they are reflections of our misconceptions about ourselves “I am not flexible.” Once placed in our bodies, yoga empowers to transform these limiting misconceptions of ourselves into opportunities for potential growth and personal evolution. As Iyengar said, another of Krishnamacharya’s students, “Yoga teaches to cure what need not be endured and endure what cannot be cured.” After beginning where you are you will gain either more flexible hamstrings, or more compassion for your hamstrings that are stronger than they are flexible for a good reason. There are infinite numbers of misconceptions of yoga, but these are the best places to start the conversation on beginning a yoga practice. By reflecting on your misconceptions of yoga, you learn more about what you need out of the practice. And, this will help you find the most appropriate style of yoga as well as teacher. Generally, in yoga, the obstacles on our paths, whether physical, mental or emotional will be our greatest teachers.

SoS: What does the word yoga mean to you?

Carson: Integration. This first time I heard yoga defined as integration by my friend and teacher Chris Tompkins it really hit home. Traditionally, yoga is defined as union. But, I prefer integration because it goes deeper, beyond coming together, or meeting in the middle. Integration is two things becoming one without fear of losing their individual essences. Whether it is the integration of breath and movement, body and mind, individual and community or microcosm and macrocosm, one shines light on the other. For instance the more connected we feel to our breath the more connected we will feel to our movement and vice versa. Breath doesn’t fear being lost in movement and movement doesn’t fear being lost in breath. In their coming together they learn more about themselves. Breath is movement. Movement is breath. This to me, on all levels, is the essence of integration, of yoga.

SoS: What are the top 3 benefits of this ancient practice for you personally?

Carson: This is an interesting question because I don’t feel like I have practiced specifically to receive the benefits of yoga for a long time. Eventually, you stop practicing because you want to be more flexible or stronger or more relaxed and you start practicing because it is a part of who you are and what you do. The benefits are inherent to the practice. But, if I think about what brings me back to the mat after a hiatus, like a vacation or something, it is always the desire to return to a rhythm, routine and ritual of self-care. If I don’t practice for a few days, I get grumpy, like energetic constipation, it is easier to make negative choices for myself, and, I don’t feel like I am resonating at a high frequency. My intention becomes less clear. As soon as I resume my physical and meditation practice as well as the Ayurvedic lifestyle routines I follow, my mood lifts and I feel empowered to make positive choices for myself. I begin living in alignment with my intention and emanating higher vibrations. The ability to cultivate this inner and outer transformation to me is the greatest gift of yoga. How are we supposed to do good on this earth if we aren’t feeling good ourselves? And, no one else is responsible for our feeling good other than ourselves, so in that light the practice is incredibly motivating and inspiring. The last three Niyamas, the observances towards the self, that come from Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras are: Tapas, discipline, Svadhyaya, self-study, and Ishvarapranidhana, surrender. This is what is coming to mind. Through the practice yoga embues the practitioner with will-power, self-awareness and humility. Those could be the three greatest benefits… but, really, you are right, it is so personal.

SoS: Greatest lesson you have learned throughout your years of dance and yoga?

Carson: Dance and yoga have been in conversation in my body since I was a baby growing up on the beaches of South Carolina. I remember at Yoga Trance Dance Teacher Training Shiva asked to free write about our original dance, our first memories of being moved by our internal intelligence. The first thing that came to mind was when I was around the age of two, I would only go to the bathroom if Dad put me in the john boat, rode me out to the Pawleys Island inlet, stripped me naked, and let me dance around until I squat down in the sand. This specific internal intelligence is what we would call Apana Vayu, or the movement that flows down and out. Both dance and yoga have taught me to tune in, listen, and respond to my natural instincts while cultivating a deep trust and respect for my whole being. Dance brought me to yoga, yoga brought me back to dance, dance returned me to yoga and yoga has returned me to dance. They are two parallel inseparable paths. I used to think of them as binaries, and that I would have to choose, but I am learning that the two practices inform one another within my embodiment. For me it’s not about integrating the two on the outside, but what happens when the two forms alchemically combine on the inside. And this is what is so exciting about the revolutionary research Shiva and Chris Tompkins, are doing together, essentially asana practice as we know it was birthed from spontaneous improvisational dance.

SoS: One or two things that people would be surprised to know about you?

Carson: I was a debutante, twice (!), in Union and Greenville, South Carolina! And, I write country songs in my free time.

SoS: You divide time your between the east and west coast. How are the vibes different and how are they the same?

Carson: In my experience east coast vibes are stability and growth and west coast vibes are freedom and adventure. I am loving my bi-coastal flow and I feel that my intention in each place aligns with the strengths that each place has to offer. It feels good to come home to Raleigh and focus so intently on growing EVOLVE; and, it feels equally awesome to go home to Los Angeles and open to the spirit of adventure. But, essentially, home is where the heart is, so I love connecting with the amazing local communities in both towns and experiencing the local flavors. Both Raleigh and Los Angeles are in new exciting phases of development right now and have a lot of creative momentum. I am grateful to be a part of it.

SoS: Favorite healthy snack and meal?

Carson: I am super into eating local and supporting small binesses. So, when in Raleigh:

Raleigh Raw juice, Buchi Kombucha and Slingshot Cascara tea are my favorite pick me ups.

My regularly weekly circuit of fresh food includes: Kimbap, Neomande, and, my favorite vegetarian Indian place, Udupi. Or, Garland if I am looking for a night out on the town!

SoS: Describe Evolve Movement in 5 words or less. 

Carson: How about six? Movement is life. Life is evolution.

SoS: What’s on your playlist in the studio? What’s playing in your car?

Carson: In the studio: I’ve been working on my Soulful SUNday Sweat Fest playlist mixing rock and roll, kirtan, gospel and reggae inspired by: George Harrison, Steve Gold, Govindas & Radha, CC White, Bob & Ziggy Marley, Agape International Choir and more!

In my car: The spring mix includes Lucinda Williams, Joni Mitchell, Frazey Ford, Hiss Golden Messenger, Gillian Welch, War on Drugs, Tinariwen, Grateful Dead, D’Angelo, Mount Moriah, Neil Young and Califone.


Carson Efird outside Evolve Studio, Raleigh, N.C., May 2015 034 CARSON EFIRD SH DLA 045 CARSON EFIRD SH DLA Carson Efird outside Evolve Studio, Raleigh, N.C., May 2015 Carson Efird outside Evolve Studio, Raleigh, N.C., May 2015 Carson Efird outside Evolve Studio, Raleigh, N.C., May 2015 Carson Efird outside Evolve Studio, Raleigh, N.C., May 2015 Carson Efird outside Evolve Studio, Raleigh, N.C., May 2015 176 CARSON EFIRD SH DLA Carson Efird outside Evolve Studio, Raleigh, N.C., May 2015 Carson Efird outside Evolve Studio, Raleigh, N.C., May 2015 Carson Efird outside Evolve Studio, Raleigh, N.C., May 2015 Carson Efird outside Evolve Studio, Raleigh, N.C., May 2015 Carson Efird outside Evolve Studio, Raleigh, N.C., May 2015Image Sources: D.L. Anderson


Vanessa Jenik Jewelry

Vanessa Jenik is a natural beauty and she has a sense of style to match. We are sure this is why we have always loved her designs. Each VJ piece is designed and handmade by Vanessa using sterling silver, 14k yellow gold and rose gold. Complimenting these metals Vanessa works with precious and semi-precious stones, diamonds, wood and bone. We are excited to collaborate with Vanessa for a small capsule collection. Look for the collection on our SHOP page soon. In addition, if you live in the Raleigh Metro area barre3 Raleigh will carry pieces designed exclusively for the studio. Vanessa’s designs are beautiful, simple and are meant to be loved and worn everyday. Get to know the designer, whose career started in the costume department of the movie industry, in our interview below. Be sure to stay close for another Sanction of Style giveaway. It has been a while but this one is so worth the wait. –SoS


Vanessa Jenik


SoS: What inspires your designs?

VJ: I am mostly inspired by nature. I think my designs and the materials I e are reflected in this. Lots of bone, horn and natural elements that are incorporated into my jewelry.

SoS: What do you listen to while you work in your studio?

VJ: I’m a podcast junkie. The Moth, This American Life and Serial are a few of my favorites and I always have a book downloaded that I listen through audible.

SoS: Favorite designers?

VJ: LOVE Raquel Allegra, Current/Elliott, Rag & Bone. I tend to gravitate towards casual.

SoS: Must-have spring item for your closet?

VJ: Nili Lotan cropped military pant in camo…..and black…..and eggshell:)

SoS: How do you define happiness?

VJ: Happiness to me is getting to the point in your life where you learn to really appreciate it all. The good and the bad. It’s a lot easier said than done. I’m still working on this one.

SoS: A good read?

VJ: I just recently finished My Sunshine Away by M.O. Walsh and loved it. Hafrau by Jill Alexander Essbaum was another good one. Quite dark and very thought provoking.

SoS: Chunky or delicate jewelry? Why?

VJ: I am and will always be a delicate jewelry person. Most of the jewelry I design is on the delicate side. I jt find it timeless.

SoS: Describe your style?

VJ: My style is very casual. A pair of Current/Elliott jeans, a t-shirt and a pair of Officine Creative sandals and I’m good to go.

SoS: Favorite mineral or stone?

VJ: I would have to go with pyrite on this one. Nicknamed fools gold, it’s a unique protector that draws energy to create a shield against negative forces/energy. It helps to bring confidence and the persistence to carry things through to completion. As an artist this is a bon!

SoS: Go to restaurant at the beach? Downtown?

VJ: Rx is our go to place downtown for dinner and I have to say, we love The Brasserie. Slightly addicted to their salads.

SoS: Favorite place to shop local?

VJ: Beanie & Cecil

SoS: Do you have a favorite online shop?

VJ: One of my all time favorite stores is Lost & Found in LA. They just so happen to have a great online shop too. LOST & FOUND: a collection of shops. Women. Men. Children. Home.

SoS: Where do you dream of traveling next? Favorite place you have been?

VJ: I always look forward to spending time on Tortola in the BVI where I have a lot of family. Having grown up on St. Thomas I love that I can give my son a little bit of that special experience. My dream vacation is Jaipur India. I hope to get there one day sooner than later.

SoS: What piece of Vanessa Jenik Jewelry should every girl own?

VJ: I would have to say the bone beaded bracelets with the pave diamond details. You can wear one or stack them to make more of a statement.

SoS: Something people might be surprised to know about you?

VJ: hmm….this is a hard one. Maybe that I learned to SCUBA dive when I was 5.

SoS: Your hubby is in the film industry. What makes a good film in your opinion? Do you and your husband have a weekly must-see show that you watch together?

VJ: It all starts with a good story (script) and is followed by good actors. There have been many bad actors that have ruined a good story. I sometimes find it hard to watch these movies with such big named actors because it can be hard to get past the persona of the actor and get into the story. Movie studios need to take more chances on lesser known actors and have the guts to finance originally scripted films. Lots of talent out there. We of course loved Breaking Bad and The Killing. Right now it’s all about The Walking Dead.

SoS: Favorite weekend activity with your family? When it’s jt you and your son?

VJ: Favorite weekend activity with the family would hands down be Sunday brunch. Either Dixie Grill or Pembroke’s. My husband does travel quite a bit and when he is out of town Kyle and I tend to go to a lots of movies!





Erin Barrett has a gift; a natural and true talent. And we are certainly glad we stumbled across her beautiful weavings on Instagram @sunwoven. It was love at first site. The thoughtful designs throughout her work and, of course, all the fibers, colors and textures are incredible. Don’t miss Erin’s shop SunWoven on Etsy. Her designs sell quickly but she’s always adding new pieces and welcomes custom orders too. We have our eye on several but it’s almost impossible to choose. From mini scale weavings to impressively large pieces; we love watching and waiting to see what Erin has up her sleeve. Oh, and Erin’s three year old daughter, Sunny, makes the most adorable sales associate! Thank you for taking a few minutes to let us in to your sunwoven world. Read our full interview below. Here Comes The Sun –SoS

erin_sunwoven2icm_fullxfull.52106950_4xvl6g6hcg4kckss84wwicm_fullxfull.52122851_bb3x4k2h714c4sck00wwerin_sunwoven3Images: Elsie Larson


SoS: how long have you been weaving? how did you get started?

EB: I started my weaving journey in July 2014. I came across a tutorial on the blog, A Beautiful Mess, and was immediately attracted to the art of weaving. My husband spends a lot of time traveling for work, and after our three year old daughter is in bed for the night, I have a lot of time to myself. I had been searching for a new creative outlet for sometime, and when I saw the tutorial it jumped right out at me! I immediately got started the next day. Once I finished my first wall hanging, I was instantly hooked. (Weaving number one is currently hanging in our daughter Sunny’s room.) When I first began weaving, I was making them for friends and family members, then more and more people were requesting weavings, and custom orders. That’s when I realized that maybe I could open an Etsy shop… plus our house was overflowing with wall hangings that all needed new homes.

SoS: what does the name sunwoven mean to you? 

EB: I knew I wanted the name of my business to be simple, explanatory, but also meaningful. Right off the bat, I thought of my daughter Sunny. Her name is so special to us, and fits her personality perfectly. Hopefully in being inspired by the joy that she brings me, a part of that will shine through in my work, and the business name.

SoS: what exactly is a lap loom?

EB: A lap loom is a smaller loom, without legs, that sits on your lap. Up until a few weeks ago, all of my work was made using my lap loom. I love, love, love it. For my birthday this year, my sweet husband surprised me with a frame loom. It’s a much bigger loom that can be adjusted to different sizes. Even though I have had this loom since September, I didn’t attempt to work with it until the end of December. The size of the loom was very intimidating, and I didn’t have the courage to try bigger pieces. After I finally finished my first large weaving, I was thrilled. Now I really enjoy using the frame loom along with the lap loom.

SoS: why wool?

EB: When I first began weaving, the thicker, chunkier wool yarns were the easiest for me to work with. Now that I have more experience, I’ve branched out and started using all sorts of materials, including both cotton and wool yarns. A few months back I found a bag of vintage ribbon in a local store. I have really enjoyed including materials such as gold, copper, and silver ribbon in my work.

SoS: where do you look for inspiration? what or who inspires you?

EB: This is my favorite question! My number one inspiration is color. I rarely start out with an exact idea in my head when I begin working on a weaving. The best part for me since I’ve started weaving, has been selecting colors, and putting color combinations together. Once I come up with a grouping of colors that I love, I let that sort of guide me through each piece. Sometimes the strangest color combinations look the best together… but you never know until you try it! But don’t get me wrong- I’ve most definitely made some questionable decisions when it comes to picking color combos.

SoS: fav. colors and color combinations?

EB: My favorite color to work with is definitely mustard yellow. Any shade of yellow really. I have also been surprised with how much I love to work with pink. Pink never would have been a color that I thought I would enjoy using, but more and more I find myself being drawn to all the various shades (mostly blush) of pink. All of my roving is purchased through Etsy. A few months back, I received the most beautiful wool roving in a gorgeous chartreuse color. I will look for any excuse to use that color of roving. The color combination I have enjoyed working with the most is this soft blue, the chartreuse roving, ivory, with touches of gold foil. The ending result is bold, yet subtle and soft. I actually am starting a custom order piece tomorrow using these exact colors. Couldn’t be happier about it.

SoS: describe your style? what are your wardrobe essentials?

EB: I am a summer gal through and through. I love living and dressing for the warm weather. Even though the winters are fairly mild in Charleston, I find it really difficult to dress for the fall and winter months. Almost every day of this past summer, you would find me in my favorite plain white C&C California t- shirt, denim shorts, and my nude Swedish Hasbeens. (Best purchase of 2014) Also, Madewell opened in Charleston over the summer… so double thumbs up for that!

SoS: Style Muse or Icon?

EB: Brigette Bardot. The hair, the eyeliner, the stripes. Everything!

SoS: top five songs on your playlist right now?

EB: We are most definitely a music loving family. My husband plays drums for the band Band of Horses, and spends a lot of time touring and practicing. Needless to say, music is a big part of our everyday lives. On top of it all, to be totally cliché, I love indie rock. As far as playlists go, a lot of what we are listing to is being decided on by Sunny. Here are a few we seem to listen to on repeat these days…
-Jenny Lewis “Just one of the Guys”
-St. Vincent “Birth in Reverse”
-Cate Le Bon “Duke” (whole record actually!)
-Anything by Kurt Vile
-Anything by Mac Demarco
-May I add one more? Tame Impala

SoS: winter or summer? 

EB: 100% Summer! Hurry up already!

SoS: mountains or coast? 

EB: I love the mountains, but I think I can officially say that we will always live by the coast. East coast, or west coast, as long as there is an ocean. I never really had an opinion either way when it came to the water, but each year I live in Charleston, I fall more and more in love with this city, and with living on the coast. We feel very blessed that we get to raise our daughter in and near the water.

SoS: favorite to follow on Instagram?

EB: OH! I just found the account @JaneBirkinDaily. Talk about inspiration! Mega babe.

SoS: best thing about being a mama?

EB: The best thing about being a mama… waking up next to my sweet Sunny every morning. Couldn’t wish for anything more.

SoS: if you had a crystal ball what might it tell you about the future for SunWoven?

EB: For something that started out as just an experiment and a hobby, it really has blossomed into this amazing thing that brings me so much joy. As long as I wake up everyday excited to start new projects and work on orders, I will continue on! Next up… an even bigger loom!!!

Bonus question

SoS: What is something most people would be surprised to know about you? 

EB: Before becoming a mama, I was a professional ballet dancer for 7 years. I grew up in the midwest, and got my first job with the Tulsa Ballet in Tulsa, Oklahoma. When it was time for something/somewhere new, I got a job in Charleston and moved to dance with Charleston Ballet Theatre. I currently am a ballet teacher at Ballet Academy of Charleston. I teach 3 year olds through adults! Ballet will always hold a special place in my heart, and will forever be a part of my life.


Kate Moss for British Vogue

She has an extraordinary unspoken power. She captivates paparazzi, followers and fans with her cool, classic, edgy, sometimes risky, and natural, in terms of ease, sense of style. You see her face often but it’s not so common that outsiders ever get to hear Kate Moss utter a word. In this exclusive interview for British Vogue, Moss charms the viewer with her seemingly down-to-earth, giddy, nonchalant personality. And of all the adjectives that could be written down to describe Kate Moss – mysterious is one of them. For a girl that has been in the industry since the tender young age of fourteen. Moss has lived life to the max; under watchful and judging eyes and constant scrutiny of an entire world. Yet, ultimately, Moss has figured out how to remain, very much, a private person. Perhaps this is part of her allure? Whatever your thoughts on the icon; we love that she still seems so young at heart. And, of course, we could listen to that cool British accent for days. –SoS

Source: British Vogue