Category Archives: Designer Obsession

Designer Spotlight: Olive & Oak

Olive and Oak, NYC based contemporary label known for the softest knits and on-trend pieces owned by husband and wife, chats with me in their Garment District showroom about their brand. A fairly new brand, they launched in 2011 after coming up with the name to symbolize good fortune (olive branch and oak trees). They’ve rocketed into the opening level contemporary brand offering chic pieces to the budget savvy.

What sparked the interest in contemporary womenswear?
We’ve always been in the industry; We had a clothing line before and realized the need for more budget conscious pieces. We’re not trendsetters, but we knew we wanted it to be on-trend and affordable.

What did you do before launching O+O?
We had our higher price point clothing line, Priorities.

Where do you find inspiration?
We’re not trendsetters, were trend followers. We do our research to be on the cusp of rising trends. We have a good grasp on our customers and what they want so we try to make it easy for them with everyday wearable trends. We hang on to all of our samples from past seasons and when a style works well for us we just give it a quick update for the new season, as well as adding new styles based on trends.

Who is the O+O girl?
She’s trendy and budget conscious.

What trends are you looking forward to this spring?
Florals, rompers, and cohesive separates.

What’s your favorite piece from the spring collection?
This lightweight black belted vest. It’s such an easy piece to work with.

What are your future goals for the line?
Growth, evolve, and to learn more from our customers.

Any plans to expand?
Not at the moment but maybe someday we could venture into shoes.

Where can you find and buy O+O?
We have an online shop, as well as these stockists across the country.
Growth, evolve, and to learn more from our customers.

Any plans to expand?
Not at the moment but maybe someday we could venture into shoes.

Where can you find and buy O+O?
We have an online shop, as well as these stockists across the country, as well as on PiperLime, NastyGal, and LuLu’s.

What do you think of this brand? Have you ever seen or worn them before? Be sure to check back to see how I style some of their pieces on my trip to Africa!

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Designer Spotlight: Georgie & Elaine

Devin Vandermaas of Georgie & Elaine at G&E HQWhen I first saw Georgie & Elaine online I was enamored by the effortless, feminine designs. As I chatted with the team I realized that the brand is so much more. With heart, soul, and drive, this brand is headed for the top. Lucky for me, I got the scoop on the brand before they’re too busy and too big! Walking into the Manhattan offices, you get this overwhelming sense of a warm home; with the tufted couch and soft rugs everywhere you can tell this is a cozy place to workslashmy dream apartment. I embrace the calm and chat with founder and head designer, Devin, about all things G&E.

Devin Vandermaas of Georgie & Elaine at G&E HQ

Tell me a bit about Georgie and Elaine; how did the brand begin?

The brand was founded in 2012 as a way to pay homage to my grandparents.  My grandparents opened their home to me and this idea.  I used to use their shower rod as a clothes rack and their ping pong table as a cutting table.  They would make me lunch every day while I worked.  It was really sweet.  It is those small details that I will always remember.

What did you do before launching Georgie & Elaine? What prompted your interest in fashion?

Prior to launching Georgie & Elaine, I was doing brand and marketing consulting for other fashion brands in New York City and London, and prior to that, I was in London for graduate school.  I have always been interested in fashion and really dove into the industry when I moved to NYC for college but on a deeper level, my grandmother taught me how to sew when i was a child, so i’ve always been making my own things.  Furthermore, the majority of my adult experience has been in fashion related industries from Mood Designer Fabrics to Harpers Bazaar Magazine.

Why “Georgie & Elaine“? What ideas went into creating the brand identity?

Really, my grandparents, George and Elaine, are the root of the identity.  I view my grandparents to be honest, full of integrity, loyal, kind, simple, supportive, and successful.  I view those qualities to be the foundation of my brand and the root of every product I offer our customers.

What is your design philosophy?

We are focused on Ethical Fashion and Smart Separates (the below descriptions can be found on our website)

ETHICAL FASHION:  Georgie & Elaine is proud to be part of the growing design philosophy of ethical fashion. By incorporating non-violent fabrics such as vegan leather and Ahimsa ‘peace’ silk, as well as eco-friendly fabrics such as no-waste novelty fabrics, soy based prints and soy knits, Devin believes sustainability is not simply a trend, it is the future. Through this concerted effort of building a foundation rooted in ethical designs and conscious business practices, Devin is pleased to provide more options of contemporary fashion to a generation who live passionately and care.

SMART SEPARATES:  The combination of ethereal blouses and progressive skirts is quickly becoming known as the signature style of Georgie & Elaine. With versatile separates that you can mix and match from season to season; wearable separates that are appropriate for the office and out past five; and ethical separates that are consciously made with the best possible fabrics and the best means of production, Georgie & Elaine offers our customer an aesthetic that is rooted in consciousness and versatility.

Who do you envision in your designs? Who is your ideal customer?

The G&E Girl smart, driven, successful, metropolitan, and cares.  We really want our customers to think about what they are purchasing; not just with our products but in every way they exercise their purchasing power.

What are your goals? One year down the road, five years, and eventually?

For the next few years, we are solely focused on building lasting relationships with retailers across the country.  There are too many contemporary women’s wear brands and the market is ridiculously over saturated so we believe It is important that we have a personal relationship with each store we sell to; so we are taking our time and doing it right.  At the 5 year mark, we will be moving into a different phase with more funding and will finally be implementing our press and sales strategy on a significantly larger level.  Ultimately, I’d love to come out with a sister line of just cocktail dresses and/ or branch out into other lifestyle products.

Where do you find your inspiration?

I am most inspired by nature, female ambition, and my grandparents.  Those three things are quite different and may appear to not be related at all but each of them drives a certain part of my psyche.  I grew up in middle america, surrounded by beauty and I feel a natural desire to protect, preserve, and celebrate nature and natural beauty.  I am driven by wildly successful women; i love reading about them and learning from them.  I am inspired by women who have built empires, led countries, saved lives.  And lastly, and most importantly, I am inspired by my grandparents, George and Elaine.  Their integrity, philosophy and character is integrated into everything i do and everything i make.

What sets you apart from your competitors?

Quite simply put, we care.  And I know anyone who has a business cares about what they do.  But we really care.  We care about the product we make and who we are selling it to and how we are selling it.  We always take the most ethical road possible, even if that not making as much money.  I personally can’t represent something that doesn’t make me feel good and my business is quite synonymous with my life in general.

Georgie & Elaine fall styleDo you have a favorite piece from your fall collection?

I personally love our Carol Pea Coat.  I love everything about it; its boxy fit, cabernet hues, Italian wool and silk lining.  I will be wearing it every day this fall and winter.

What trends are you looking forward to for fall?

Right now, we are obsessed with vegan leather.  We can’t get enough.  Leather moto jackets and skinny leggings have really made a strong impact these last few years, but taking it one step further with kind, conscious, non-violent materials brings our customers a more thoughtful option.  You will see that reflected in our Fall 2014 collection.

What is your biggest accomplishment so far?

My greatest accomplishment thus far, while it may seem very simple, has been walking down the street in Soho and seeing my product in the window at Foravi (located on Broadway between Prince and Spring).  It brought me so much satisfaction to see that my products belong amongst all of the other great brands located in Soho.

Where can my readers find and buy Georgie & Elaine?

Georgie & Elaine can be found at Foravi in New York City on the Upper East Side and in Soho as well as Farasha Boutique in Park City, UT.  Merchandise may also be purchased on our e-commerce site at If anyone is interested in contacting the team, they are welcome to email

Devin Vandermaas of Georgie & Elaine at G&E HQ

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Georgie & Elaine Fall

Georgie & Elaine Fall

FinalThoughts? Designed by the realest girl with the right attitude, this collection is perfect for any girly girl or a gal with an edge. With plenty of leather accents and dark jeweled tones in flattering silhouettes it’s a collection that needs to be in your closet. What are YOUR thoughts!? Let me know in the comments!!

XO Sahra

Designer Spotlight: American Retro

While everyone is on that Fashion Week grind I’m over here, cozy in my home office and out and about in my styling day job. Skipping out on NYFW is becoming more and more okay with me, because as I tweeted, “The only real reason to attend #nyfw anymore is to network.” but I’ll catch that bus the next time around.
But hey, just because I’m not Front Row’ing it, doesn’t mean I’m out of the designer previews! On my last visit to NYC I checked out American Retro. Contradictory to it’s name-sake, this edgy Parisian brand is full of high quality, modern, aesthetically appealing design. Playing off the Effortless Cool menage of blending that our nation’s style has become known for, this collection boasts plenty of sequins to play off of soft ribbed knits and solid cotton. These Parisians have mastered the current American trends of pastel hues, fringed leather and suede, and a dash of glitter in a way that makes you want to see it on all our favorite style stars. From urban mused bold prints to southern-charming tassels and cacti, there’s something for everyone to mix and mash with denim basics and any sort of jewelry, as we ought to do.

Seriously, I can just picture Rihanna and Cara Delevigne in anything and everything from this collection. Personally I’m into the mermaid-colored pink sequins and the gold ribbed midi pencil skirt; c’est chic! The gingham pieces? SO Blake Lively. the Suede fringed moto jacket I can see on blogging queen Chiara Ferragni…the list goes on and on, but this collection and brand is one to watch.

Be sure to check out more from the American Retro FALL collection here !

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I Can’t Help But Wonder Do You Ever Think of Me

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One of my favorite things about my trips to NYC, even one of my favorite things when I was living there, was the concept of showrooms. I adore going to a secluded city oasis high above the sky to peruse the styles for upcoming seasons by new and growing brands that are on the forefront of style. During my last trip, I visited The Globe Showroom. While a big post on the other brands I saw there is coming soon, I wanted to share a couple of looks from one of my new favorite brands that I saw there! Deby Debo is a French brand that “provides answers for young women who want to be both feminine and unclassifiable, free, serene, and sensual”; basically, this line was created for Sahra. With wanderlust bones, the collections infuse heavy embroidery with thoughtful beading and quality fabrics in both heavy and ultra light fabrics. The pieces fit in perfectly in any setting, from holiday beaches, or a crazy party, to at a European Cafe or NYFW.  I chose to try on this back chiffon dress with bold embroidery, dreaming of wearing it on another Mexican foray. Below, I also tried on a playfully sheer lace set, perfect for a date night or a fiercely fashion event with gal pals.

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Designer Spotlight: Negative Underwear

Negative UnderwearUndergarments. Underwear. Lingerie, skivvies, pants. Whatever you call it, we all wear it. As aesthetically inclined women who care about the way fabrics look and feel, we care more than others about our underpinnings. While I’m a lady of expensive tastes and restrictive sizing, I’m a picky lady, so when I find a brand that works, I go with it. One new brand is setting a new standard in the underwear world. While in New York last week I got the chance to sit down with Marissa and Lauren and ask them a few questions about Negative Underwear
Negative Underwear Collection
What did you both do before launching Negative? What prompted your interest in fashion?
We met in college at UPenn, graduated and both went into our respective careers in NYC – Lauren in finance, Marissa in branding. The thing is, we’ve always loved fashion – a mutual creative outlet and reflection of personal style – but never saw the professional opportunity. About 4 years ago we were progressing in our career paths but had a nagging sense that something was missing. We decided to take night classes at FIT for fun to see what would come of it. That time together was the beginning of Negative.

Why did you choose to create lingerie?
Because we both came from business backgrounds, we wanted to focus on an area of fashion that presented a good business opportunity. We wanted to solve problems, not just design clothes. So many women – customers and non-customers alike – tell us how dissatisfied they are with their current underwear options and how they don’t know where to go to find an alternative. We don’t want to add clutter to an already crowded fashion category for the sake of aesthetics; we want to build something fundamentally better than what’s out there today. And every time we get a customer email saying we’ve accomplished just that – we get goosebumps!
Negative Underwear Micro Mesh
Why “Negative”? What ideas went into creating the brand identity?
The core idea behind Negative is ‘less is more’ – focusing on the essentials and ditching the rest.
The name specifically refers to concepts like negative space, reduction, minimalism, minus, antidote/opposite… We wanted our name to stand out and clearly communicate our difference from the rest of the lingerie world.
With our brand (and business), we give a lot of consideration to what’s not there, continually editing out anything unnecessary in order to stay laser-focused on what really matters – and what remains. This applies not only to our product design and brand identity, but also to our edited merchandise assortment, web design + UX, packaging, social media + editorial content — the whole customer experience.
The logo / wordmark itself is the perfect reflection of this philosophy – what can you remove from the typography and still get across the same essential idea?

Que Sera Sahra in Negative Underwear #LessIsMoreWhat are your goals? One year down the road, five years, and eventually?
Nearer-term, we want to make our customers fall in love with underwear. (well, you got me!) There’s so much about what you put on your body underneath that’s just for you – in this way, underwear bears more similarities to skincare than ready to wear. We want to give women a reason to care about what they wear underneath. A little gift to yourself!
And then longer-term… we totally want to build a successful underwear empire – for girls, by girls.

Do you think you will ever expand from lingerie? (congrats on adding the cozy tanks!)
Definitely. The idea of removing unnecessary elements and focusing on fewer, better components is not just applicable to underwear. We definitely see Negative as a bigger concept – a lifestyle brand of products, services and content that happens to make really cool underwear first. Our tees and tanks are just one extension of that philosophy beyond intimate apparel.
Negative Underwear Tanks
Where do you find your inspiration?
Our initial collection is a true reflection of our brand philosophy – it’s very edited, very simple, with really luxurious textiles and elastics – we dissected the core components of bras and underwear and scoured the world for the best of the best without compromise. When you wear our line, you can feel the difference.
One of our textiles (the Essaouira line) specifically reminded us of a Moroccan lantern, so we used Morocco as a subtle theme throughout the first collection – Essaouira is a little surfer town right outside of Marrakesh, Boa and Albatross are species native to the country and a Sieve is something readily found in a typical Moroccan Souk.

What sets you apart from your competitors?
The fact that we designed our line from a function-first perspective – and challenged a lot of typical industry conventions around sourcing and distribution. So much lingerie is made to just look beautiful and serve no other purpose. Or it’s made to be 100% functional with zero sex appeal. Given how essential underwear is in a woman’s life every day, we wanted to make something that felt amazing on – but still looked great too. We were sick of having to compromise on comfort versus cool – so we challenged ourselves to do both!

Do you each have a favorite piece?
MV… It’s like picking a favorite child! I honestly wear everything from the line on rotation (it’s best to let your bras have a few days in between wears to let the elastics readjust FYI). But most often, I’d say the Essaouira demi bra + thong – it’s probably the most uniquely recognizable of our fabrics, so I wear it as often as possible under anything white or sheer – it’s the closest we get to a walking calling card!
LS… Our collection is super edited, so really each piece serves a different purpose in my wardrobe. Boa is like my second skin, Albatross is for when I want a pop of color, Essaouira is the perfect bra for a little side boob action and Sieve is great for date night!
Negative Underwear

MY personal final thoughts on the collection? These ladies have done their research; they’ve asked the questions, traveled the world, and found the coziest fabrics and trendy yet subtle prints, perfect for underwear. After trying on the Sieve micro mesh style, I was in love. It was the comfiest bra I’ve ever worn, and hard to remember was even there.  With an InstaGram full of re-grams of packaging and Polaroids of happy customers, this brand is on their way to the top. With affordable pricing and a killer brand motto, Negative Underwear should be in your arsenal.
Que Sera Sahra in Negative Underwear

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Designer Spotlight: Sheena Trivedi

Que Sera Sahra interviews Designer Sheena Trivedi in her NYC studio
With the brand tagline “traditional inspiration and modern interpretation” it’s clear that the Sheena Trivedi brand is a unique fusion of her Indian heritage and NYC lifestyle. Her apparel, fused with bold colors, hand embroidered fabrics, and the softest leathers, combine her love of The City and her Western background. With a recently launched jewelry collection as well, the collection comes together with spikes and edge. Below, find my interview where I delve into her inspirations and goals for her brand!
NYC designer Sheena Trivedi
NYC designer Sheena Trivedi
NYC designer Sheena Trivedi
NYC designer Sheena Trivedi
Who is Sheena Trivedi and how did the brand begin?
I was previously a buyer for Saks and a personal shopper and stylist. 2 years ago, in September 2012, ST began as a way to fuse my Indian decent with my own style.
What is your design philosophy?
“Don’t follow a trend, be a trend”. Also, the aesthetic philosophy of “less is more” to embrace subtly bold styles that aren’t in your face.
Where do you find your inspiration?
Everywhere. With twice yearly trips to India, I’m inspired by the Bollywood culture, food, and music. I have dresses in my collections inspired by sari’s but without the lengthy fabric to make for easier wearing. I like using brocade too. I’m also inspired by my mother, an accessory designer.
Who do you envision in your wears? Who is yoQue Sera Sahra in Sheena Trivediur ideal customer?
Women and men who take risks and think outside of the box. Jet setters from all over the world who go from day to night. Versatile styled people.
What are your goals for Sheena Trivedi? One year, five years, eventually?
My goal has always been to open my own store, in NYc, New Delhi, and hopefully Paris. It would carry my own line as well as emerging designers. I want to be an international brand but NYC based.
What is your biggest accomplishment so far?
To be working on my fifth collection right now. So many brands don’t last long or make it far. Also, being sold in many states, as well as being worn by Miss Universe, Miss USA, Miss Teen USA, and congresswomen.
You have apparel and jewelry, any plans to expand further?
Yes! I eventually want to do it all; mens, womens, shoes…
What are your favorite pieces from the recent collections?
For spring and summer I love the color blocked linen jackets. For Fall/Winter I was loving skulls and had some subtly embroidered into the dresses. I also love the feathered tops, all hand made.
Where can people find/follow/buy Sheena Trivedi?
Online, at Sheena We’re sold in a handful of stores nationwide (The Webster (Miami), Jeffrey (Atlanta and New York), Engle Shop (Englewood, NJ), and Maxfield (Los Angeles)). Twitter. Facebook. Instagram.
NYC designer Sheena Trivedi

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Hearts on Fire Leave it all Behind You

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Image and video hosting by TinyPic
Thrifted blouse
faux shearling vest from TJ Maxx
H&M jeans
Charlotte Olympia inspired cat wedges via Buffalo Exchange
Linell Ellis handbag (c/o)
Pearl necklace from le boyfrand
Safety pin necklace and midi rings from Nissa Jewelry

This beautiful, gorgeous handbag is the product of internet friendships turned IRL. Linell Ellis, local handbag designer, and I started talking on twitter before I realized she was local and we decided to meet for real. After showing me her latest handbag collection I was in love; everything is made from fine quality leather and metal, the “leopard” is dyed calf hair, and her logo is hand stamped with gold foil. Even just touching one of her masterpieces you can tell the care and thought that went into the design and product. Being able to take home one of these babies was a dream, even just for the weekend! As I eluded on InstaGram, picking which one was the hardest, especially with so many stunning clutches and practical cross body bags.
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What do you think of these bags? Do you like the style I chose!? Be sure to follow Linell Ellis on Twitter and instaGram to stay up to date about this new collection !
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Wishlist: ASOS Shoes

Oh man, oh MAN! The ASOS Women’s shoe collection is blowing my mind, with a little bit of everything! Here’s a pick of my favorite styles perfect for the upcoming fall!

1: Deny Wedge High Tops (Move over Marant, these are cheap and chic!)

2: Alvi Platform Ankle Boots (creeper, leopard printed perfection)

3. Attend Chelsea Wedge (Snakeskin in my favorite color with the perfect amount of height)

4. Sidney Pointed Heels (Classy cap toes are a major trend at the moment!)

5. Toronto Shoe Boots (Class and color, all together)

6. AMP Chelsea Ankle Boots (a bit of color to add to an all black outfit, perhaps?)

7. Alton Leather Cut out Boots (cut outs on shoes look amazing)

8. Handle Wedges (Oh, geometric fun!)

What do you think of my picks? Which is your favorite? Check out the rest of the shoes ASOS offers here!

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Go Local withMeInto!

Due to the recession, a major focus has been placed on more local businesses. As consumers, especially in the slowly drowning fashion business, we need to do our part to support smaller businesses.

One online website is completely revolutionizing how we can do this. MeInto brings local boutiques’ merchandise to consumers across the world! On the site you can view apparel by style, boutique, and location. Not only do they have womenswear, they also have accessories, some KILLER jewelry, menswear, and childrenswear.

Here are my favorite pics from their current women’s collections:

Striped Biker Jacket $60 fromUmgee

Blue Dress $56 from Lush

Sequin Jacket $249 from Betsy Moss

As you can see, they’re very on trend with the sheer maxis and leather accents.

These boutiques, and the site, carry hundreds of different brands, and is a great all in one place to find both classic vintage pieces, and newer top brands like J Brand and Miss Me. Right now, they are also having free shipping! Take advantage, and if you’re looking for some great more formal dresses, check there first and support local business!

Also, even greater news; MeInto is doing a Facebook giveaway and YOU could win a $1000 wardrobe! Like their page, upload a video, and good luck!

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Behind The Scenes: Amirah Creations Lookbook

Yesterday I had the pleasure of modeling for the Amirah Creations lookbook. The line is retro and vintage inspired, so it was only fitting that hair and make up carried on with the theme with pin up ‘dos and glam faces.

LOVED my hair like this! Also, here’s a random snapshot from me modeling Amirah’s Creatioons during NYFW!


Enjoy! I’ll be haring the official lookbook images with you once they’re finished, so be ready! ❤