Friday, December 21, 2012

yes, that's a black santa hat

Apologies for last week's absentee post - the usual excuse.

With the holidays upon us, and since I'm afflicted with a cold today and not in the mood for putting together a proper post, I'm just going to close up shop for the year. I'll be back to regular posting duties on January 11th.

Now that the housekeeping is out of the way, I would like to take the opportunity to thank you for reading, for commenting, and for supporting my rather quixotic little blog. I really appreciate it, and am grateful for all the wonderful people I've been able to meet through my blogging efforts.

If you have a moment, please respond to the poll in the upper right corner - I'd love to get a better idea for the sort of features you'd like to see in the New Year. Do you like the interviews and want more? Should I offer you more what-I'm-wearing-today posts? Do you miss Frivolous Fridays? Let me know! I'm planning on shaking things up here at The Fashionoclast; I'd love your input.

In the meantime, I wish you all wonderful holidays and all the best for the New Year.

Friday, December 7, 2012

unique LA 2012 - holiday edition

Another Unique LA holiday event has come and gone and, as in past year, the experience was a happy medium between giddy potential and occasionally disappointing reality. Nevertheless, there was plenty of imagination and delight in the year's offerings. A few standouts:

Frigate Ties

Inspired by the plumage of frigate birds, these clever ties involve threading the colourful back end into the black front end, resulting in a lively splash. These are made in LA, and if I wore ties I would definitely get one of these.


Conceived by LA-based Carlie Tracey, who was inspired by the desire to wear summer tops in cooler weather without freezing, Ch-Armz’ delivers a surprisingly nifty and chic idea: attachable sleeves, available in a variety of striking patterns.

Also, ballerina shrugs, with or without hoods and thumbholes.

Yes and Yes Designs

Oakland-based Laura Bruland offered a nifty blend of eco-consciousness and vintage style in jewelry cut and etched, via laser, from recycled books.

And for guys, or gals, with a predilection for dressy shirts, Laura also offered cufflinks. A tad pricey, perhaps, but definitely cool and unique.

Magic Industrie

Continuing the theme of recycled vintage is Magic Industrie. LA-based artisan Ryan Hansen uses old books to design and craft magic wallets – you know, the kind where you lay money, bills, or other papery bits on top of bands in the wallet, close the wallet, and presto, your stuff is secured. For $30, I bought myself a wallet with an Egyptian motif, and I'm stil

Human Tree Robot

Just about the closest thing to a fixture at these Unique LA events, artist Mark Brunner’s Human Tree Robot consists of beautiful hand-made artwork offered at affordable prices. And yes, the art features stylized humans, trees, robots, and combinations of the tree in a lush style that is serene, mysterious, and ever-so-modestly surreal. The only apparel for sale was a t-shirt with one of Mark’s robots, and after much hemming and hawing I decided to break my “absolutely no t-shirts” rule to buy it. The reason? After seeing a few fellows wandering the floors wearing jeans, t-shirts, and a blazer, I was inspired to give the t-shirt a try. I’ll post more about this style experience sometime soonish.

There was more. My wife found herself a purse and a steampunk-ish watch-mechanism pendant. And we found jams. Did I forget to mention jams? Oh, sure, the sweet stuff is not fashion, but SQIRL jams are too exquisite not to share with you. The Blenheim apricot preserves are especially phenomenal.

And that’s it for this year’s Unique LA. For more, check out

Note: All images borrowed from their respective websites under fair use for illustrative purposes only. They will be removed at the copyright holder's request.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

spendmas time is here again

by frédérik

It’s Spendmas, that time of year between Thanksgiving and the week or so before Christmas. You can tell it’s that special commercial time of year because Thanksgiving dinner hasn’t been digested before stores began pouring Christmas carols into the ears of shoppers already afflicted by premature ornamentation and attempts at tinsel-lation. Just last weekend in a local mall, one of Sandy Claws’ many doppelgangers was hauling the kids up onto his lap to hear their greedy little requests for stuff. ‘tis the season to spend, kids, and fair warning: I’m going to be grouchy until Spendmas ends and the genuine seasonal spirit of peace and goodwill makes a guest appearance.

Spendmas notwithstanding, however, as thoughts turn towards gifts for the family and friends we cherish, conscientious fashionistas might ask: where can I get some fashionable gifts that won’t throw my conscience into spasms?

If you happen to be in the LA area, the State of Unique will be holding its annual holiday event this weekend, December 1st and 2nd, at the California Market Center Penthouse between 11am and 6pm. Fashionoclast fave Sheswai Lacquer will be there, as well as some newcomers I'm looking forward to discovering in person:

I’ll be there tomorrow, maybe with Fez on. But if you don't live in LA (or other State of Unique cities) - and even if you do - there are are some wonderful alternatives.

Online, I’ve recently discovered SERRV, a non-profit organization dedicated to fair-trade and handmade products that help improve communities around the world. From Divine chocolate, coffee, and other yummy foods to dishware and lines, SERRV offers a wonderful selection of ethical and delightful products to choose from. For example:

Reversible Ikat shoulder bag made of cotton and vegan leather. $60. Produced by Mahaguthi, which supports artisans throughout Nepal.

Belted Nagita tunic made from natural cotton and block-printed by hand by Indian an fair-trade organization aiming to empower women in impoverished areas of Mumbai. $60

Charming Dove pin made from copper and brass, with an eye made from lapiz lazuli. $16. Made by Comparte, a non-profit that aims to help economical disadvantaged artisans in Chile.

I'm planning on doing some gift shopping here...

Another possibility: National Geographic’s NOVICA. Like SERRV, this organization strives to bridge the gap between the world and artisans from around the world. Their selection features larger scale items than SERRV, and includes area rugs, furniture, statuary, and musical instruments as well as jewelry, apparel, and so on. My wife and I bought a beautiful statue of Buddha from here. The craftsmanship on the part of Balinese sculptor Wayan Kandiyasa was excellent, and the experience of buying from NOVICA was a pleasure. A special touch: each product comes with an artisan’s story card so you can learn about the person who made it.

Cotton batik robe, 'Red Floral Kimono.' $67.99

“Leisure” cotton skirt hand-made by a Thai artisan. $34.95

“Thai Riches” cotton capri pants hand-made by a Thai artisan. $39.95

“Geodesic” silver cufflinks from, and Indian artisan pursuing her dream of design jewelry. $92.95

And there you go.

How about you? What cool, and conscientious, shops/designers have you discovered lately? I'd love to read about them in the comments below.

Note: Unique LA logo, SERRV logo and product images, and NOVICA logo and product images all belong to their respective copyright holders and are used here under fair use for illustrative purposes only. Images will, of course, be removed at the copyright owner's request.