Friday, December 23, 2011

A Holiday in the State of Unique

by frédérik

Well folks, this is it. My last post for the year. I thought I’d end 2011 with a look at this years Unique LA holiday event. It’s the third year in a row that I’ve attended, and I’m happy to see the event evolve into a bazaar with even more genuinely fun and idiosyncratic offerings. Alas, apparel is still the event’s weakest dimension, particularly for us men looking for something other than t-shirts, but overall the selection of products was more diverse and more creative than in past years.

Particularly enjoyable was either reuniting with artisans whose work I’ve been following since I first started attending Unique LA, like Loomlab’s charming Jane Henry, meeting them in person for the first time, like Sheswai’s Lacquers delightful Debbie Leavitt, or discovering really creative individuals whose work deserves closer attention in future feature posts. As to who these individuals are, well, you’ll just have to come back in the New Year to find out.

In the meantime, I leave you with some other pleasant discoveries.

Enchanted Leaves (
Taking their inspiration from “land, sea, and air,” the husband and wife team of Nedda Shishegar – Szylewicz Aaron Szylewicz are committed to delivering unique jewelry at affordable prices, like this really cute mini silver pewter hedgehog necklace for $15.95.

Jesse & Co. (
Locally handcrafted in Los Angeles, this artisan specializes in leather belts, necklaces, bracelets, earrings, and bags. I’m not too crazy about the use of leather – except for footwear, where leather can be kinder to feet than synthetic materials, I prefer to avoid wearing animal products – but their metal work is very fine indeed. Lead-free metal feather cuff for $38.00.

Sire’s Crown q.v. (
Using woods sourced from Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) and apparently eco-friendly Italian Mazzuchelli (a tree pulp and cotton fiber based composite), Chris Erven and CJ Thomason aim to deliver eco-conscious eyewear. They have a variety of styles inspired by artists like Federico Fellini and Dylan Thomas, and draw on wood such Italian Ebony, Walnut, Rosewood, and many others. Average price for a pair is around $300.

This intriguingly monickered company has a compelling mission. From their website: “LOVE NAIL TREE is a company motivated and fueled by a desire to provoke conversation about topics neglected and often ignored by our culture. We believe in the power of story and think there are many that need to be told. Whether it be the trafficking of helpless children, the devastation of addiction, or the high rate of divorce in America. Our hope is that the stories we tell would move people to action and inspire a deep change within them.” My wife’s eye fell on this $22 radio vacuum tube pendant, and I can’t blame her: it’s a really nifty piece, and a good example of LOVE NAIL TREE’s grungy (but not too grungy), quasi-steampunk aesthetic.

Alter Ego (
Through Alter Ego, Erika Watson delivers recycling with a playful twist: accessories made from reused toy cars and figurines. It’s too pop-artsy and kitschy for my tastes, not to mention far too colourful for my generally monochromatic palette, but any idea that helps keep stuff from the landfill is A-OK in my book. So, if it’s your thing, check out items like Erika’s original car bracelet, available for $60.

Happy Holidays, and thanks for your readership and comments! See you in 2012!

Note: All images borrowed for illustrative purposes from their respective owners, except for the portrait of Jane Henry which I took.

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