I'm bad with doing gift guides in time for the holidays. It falls in line with the end of the semester which is always bananas, but here's a small niche one for last minute ideas.
I imagine when I have a little girl I will encourage her to explore the beauty in global cultures. Like my parents did with me as a little one. From Brazil to India, Ghana to Guatemala, here are some fun gift ideas to inspire that global girl in your life.
clockwise: Untitled Yellow Print; Indian Voile Muslin Blankie from Masala Baby; Little Miss Rue: Zuri Doll from Quelly Rue; woven bracelets from Miss Mochilla; Guatemalan worry dolls; Woodblock Rhino by Benjamin Bay; Just Add Color: Brazilian Carnival coloring book by (my homie) Sarah Walsh; Abeo Doll Kit by AskeyPrint; Following My Paintbrush by Gita Wolf; My Elephant from Mirasa Designs; Emi Girl Playsuit.
I have a soft spot for hand-made leather bags. Especially when they come in the form of simple silhouettes with flat structures. Check out these luscious leather bags, and pouches perfect for glosses, cards, and phone. (I'm loving the scalloped one from Matine.)
1. The Stowe Laurel Tote 2. Leah Lerner Leather Pouch 3. Otaat Myers Collective Circle Pouch w/ Strap 4. Pine & Boon Convertible Dot Pouch 5. Scalloped Mini Pouch 6. Basic Black Leather Tote Bag 7. Semicircle Pouch Purse
As you know, I love color. But as I settle into my personal style, I'm realizing that basic neutrals, like black and white, really suit me. Paired with flecks of warm sparkles like a pewter or gold, the combo rounds out the look with edge and flair. With this realization, my wardrobe has become more defined, which makes it so much easier to get dressed everyday. (It really comes down to having pieces I cherish, that I know fit right, and don't speak to a specific trend.) Here are a few items inspired by this new direction.
The Spirit of The Mountain Tote Bag from MilieO - I'm loving this graphic print.
Sewasong Necklace - This is on my wishlist!
African Gold by Timothy Garrard - This was a fantastic find at a used bookstore in Kansas City.
Studio Ink cards - During my visit at the Hallmark headquarters I was browsing around the Gold Crown Store and found these lovely little cards. They are from Studio Ink, a collection of
Shape Study earrings - I wear these everyday, my new go-to earrings.
Rebecca Minkoff 'Mini 5 Zip' Convertible Crossbody Bag - I've been wanting one of these for a while. I recently picked up a similar version, but still have a place in my heart for the gold zippers in this one.
Here are a few things I'm into right now, some of which are on my wishlist and one that is on it's way to my home!
clockwise: I totally need a pair of these fun Open the Gate shoelaces for my all black Converse sneakers; this dress from Demestiks is too cute; I love this Rifle Paper temporary tattoo for Tattly; The Spirit of African Design is an oldie but goldie design book of inspiration for the home.
A few little things that make me give a big smile...
clockwise: Vera: The Art and Life of an Icon, I'm finally making time to read this book about Vera Neumann, who for me, is artist and businesswoman inspiration; paint-by-numbers art found at a flea-market, I can't wait to frame them; during a recent visit to Philly I stumbled upon this amazing zine featuring the paper cuts of Jad Fair, you can see some of the pages here; I've been using the Faber-Castell Pitt Pens for my drawings and LOVE them; now carrying fun printed handkerchiefs in my bag when I'm on the go; I was not an earl grey fan until I tried the blend from Paromi Tea, it is sooo delicious.
Here are a few things I've added to my space, or wishlist for the gifting season.
Remix: Decorating with Culture, Objects, and Soul - This is a great book to add to your design library. I love the tips and sneak peeks into designers homes. As I'm getting my space in order, it comes with great inspiration for incorporating pattern and color.
iPad Cases from Della - I want all of these cases!!! The cases are made from in Ghana from locally sourced materials. You can find them here and a capsule collection on the TOMs website. Della is a socially responsible fashion line based out of Ghana.
Funky picture frames - I'm trying to be better about printing photos and having them up and around me in my space. Because I love color and pattern, I've been looking for some frames that really reflect my style. I've already collected a few but here are two that I'm eyeing: left, Spectrum Picture Frame, and right, Chevron Frame.
Mercado Global Clutches - This brand was showcased at a pop-up shop I recently attended, and I instantly fell in love with their handwoven handbags and clutches.
Neon Glass Clock - I need this for my office. The pop of color is perfect!
Patterned Erasers from Kate Spade - Who said erasing couldn't look fun? These would make a fun gift, and a lovely addition to my office supplies.
Is there a particular object or item you've been eying for your home?
Currently, the imagery I've been collecting to inspire my new work has all been connected to hip hop in some way. I have been totally intrigued by the stylings of Trinidad James and the gold chains A$AP Ferg rocks in his video for "Shabba Ranks." The over-the-top layering and costume-like feel of this style of adornment has me thinking about the thread between identity, history, culture, and style.
But you can't look at these distinctive looks without taking it back to some of the originals in hip hop culture. So I've been pulling images of Rakim, Big Daddy Kane, and of course Slick Rick (to name a few). As the researching and collecting continues I'm curious to learn more about the origins. Does it go back even further? Is there a connection to the ornamentation that we see throughout countries in Africa? I've heard this theory before but the monologue by Pimp C at the beginning of Jay-Z's "F*ckWithMeYouKnowIGotIt" has me thinking about it a little more in the context of these personal projects:
"A little over a year ago I was in bondage, and now I'm back out here reaping the blessings and getting the benefits that go along with it, everything that's out here for kings like us. The reason why we like this, this jewelry and this diamonds and stuff, they don't understand is, because we really from Africa, and that's where all this stuff come from. And we originated from kings, you know what I'm saying? So don't look down on the youngsters because they wanna have shiny things. It's in our genes, know what I'm saying? We just don't all know our history, so—"
My friend, Jessica, and I often discuss the concept of ancestral memory and how unexplained habits and attractions span across generations without necessarily being exposed to those things in your lifetime. I'm sure there are many arguments, tons of research to explore and conversations to be had but this all inspires me. These ideas all inform the concept of "identity" which has been the underlying current in all of my work, so I look forward to see how it all comes together.
P.S. I threw Mr. T in the above collage because I've been wondering if he was the first person in our pop culture history to rock the layer gold chains look.
Collecting trinkets, accessories and things from around the world is something I'd love to do. I don't travel internationally as much as I'd like to but love online shops like Secret Ships that allow me to add to my collections without leaving home.
1. Roxy Marj Harvest Print Envelope Clutch 2. Tamsin Classic Pump 3. John Robshaw Block Print Drawing 66 4. Madewell Geometry Tee 5. Lavender Sachets 6. Southwestern Spring Canvas Sneakers 7. Bungalow Derby Pillow 8. Embroidered Chinos
In honor of Black History Month I will be sharing a few posts about African Americans who's stories and talents have inspired me. Like, Jean-Michel Basquiat, who's work continues to inform and enlighten us; especially in the realms of fashion, design, and other visual arts.
I always enjoy having a few items around me to commemorate the legacy of people who have played an important role in history. Whether it's something to wear, watch, read or hang, it's good to be reminded of their wonderful contributions to our story and culture.
clockwise, Basquiat by Mark Mayer; Reebok Basquiat I Am Tee; Jean Michel Basquiat: Radiant Child; Basquiat giclee print by Alison Black; Jean-Michel Basquiat x Reebok NPC Clean; BASS-QUIAT Bowtie; Basquiat Dragon Candle.