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TOP 10: Q & A with Designer Rachel Roy

Designer Rachel Roy/Photo: Erin Baiano

Q & A with Designer Rachel Roy: Cynthia Allum–dailybeast.com–11/9/14–Photo: Erin Baiano

TOP 10: Kate Spade Co-Founder Pamela Bell Designs T-Shirts to Empower


Pamela Bell Prinkshop T-Shirts

Kate Spade Co-Founder Pamela Bell Designs T-Shirts to Empower: Nara Shin–coolhunting.com–10/29/14

Treger Strasberg Humbly Designs Homes for Detroit’s Homeless


Treger Strasberg, founder Humble Design in Detroit/Photo: Courtesy Treger Strasberg

UPDATE September 10, 2013: Humble Design is now helping five families a week. It’s become Treger’s passion and she’ll be sharing news about it on this weekend’s The Women’s Eye Radio Show on 1480KPHX.com at 2PM PDT.

UPDATE July 25, 2013: From Treger: We are currently furnishing 39 brand new units for chronically homeless on the east side of Detroit. Our company has grow leaps and bounds and we are now in Austin, Texas as well!

By Stacey Gualandi/May 30, 2012

TWITTER: @smtreger

I am a Michigander, born and raised in Detroit.  So when I heard about Treger Strasberg and what she is doing to help so many who are struggling during the Motor City’s economic woes, I had to reach out and share her story.

“…we cannot fail if we help one family and change the destiny of one child or one mother.”  Treger Strasberg

In 2009, this wife and mother co-founded the non-profit Humble Design.  The company was born out of her desire to help mothers and children coming out of homeless and abuse shelters rebuild their lives.  Humble Design takes gently-used donated home goods and furniture and repurposes them, helping to “furnish a family’s future.”

Treger Strasberg from Humble Design with Poole Family in Detroit

Treger and co-founder Ana Smith with Poole family after home makeover

Treger’s unselfish act has now brought her to television.  Beginning June 1st, Treger and her life-changing design company will be featured in “Motor City Rising,” a new original series on OVATION that “explores the lives of Detroit locals fighting to thrive in a city many have given up on.”  She’ll also be appearing in upcoming episodes.

I had the opportunity to speak with Treger via Skype about being on TV, her mission, and working with families in need.  (You can also hear her on an upcoming The Women’s Eye Radio Show.)   Below you can also read more about how she is helping to give people a second chance in the city I once called home… [Read more…]

Artist Claire Kahn On Creating Exquisite Jewelry And Global Fountains

Claire Kahn designer/Photo by ©Ira Kahn

Claire Kahn with her crochet-beaded necklaces/Photo: ©Ira Kahn

By Wendy Verlaine/May 9, 2012

There’s no need for me to elaborate a typical day for Claire Kahn. On any given day you might find her stringing a pattern for a jewelry piece, working on a translucent, hanging paper cut or absorbed in a fountain design for WET in Los Angeles where she is one of a team of designers of global water projects such as the Fountains of Bellagio in Las Vegas and the Dubai Fountain at the Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world. This prolific designer has been actively using her artistic talent every day of every year since the very beginning.

“Creative talent need not be limited to a single focus.” Claire Kahn

Fountains of Bellagio/Photo: Amylia Ghani

Fountains of Bellagio/Photo: Amylia Ghani

Claire believes growing up in Palo Alto, CA in a family that practiced art as if it were as commonplace as three meals a day influenced her life choices. Her father, Matt Kahn, professer emeritis at Stanford, started teaching fine art and design at Stanford at age twenty-one.

Her mother, a skilled weaver, and father met at Cranbrook Academy of Art when Eero Saarinen and Charles Eames, architect and design icons, were also there. Claire graduated from Stanford with a degree in design. One might guess with this as her family history, her path in life was calibrated at birth.

Claire Kahn's homeDuring my recent visit with Claire in her San Francisco home, her open and bright environment felt like a breath of fresh, colorful sophistication and an inadvertent lesson in art history. It’s a place where creativity is a daily practice and art is collected and valued, but not showcased.

I find a conversation with Claire is always spirited and filled with ideas and insight… [Read more…]

Top 10: Kate Young, The Stylist Behind Hollywood’s Red Carpet Fashion

Kate Young, Hollywood designer to the stars

Kate Young, The Stylist Behind Hollywood’s Red Carpet Fashion: video.today.msnbc.com–5/15/12

Television Host Lisa Roberts Finds Antiques Of The Future

Lisa Roberts

By Stacey Gualandi

Twitter: @mydesignlife
Facebook: mydesignlife

Some people have it, some people don’t. I, of course, fall into the “don’t” column. I’m talking about an “eye for design.” But Lisa Roberts, a former architect -turned-product designer, has what it takes to find unique products that gain value as they age. Her own collection of over 300 items is the subject of her first book “Antiques of the Future.”

“Good design improves the quality of our lives…” Lisa Roberts

Lisa Roberts BookcoverHer expertise has landed her as host of a new television show called “My Design Life” on the Ovation Network, produced by Nancy Glass Productions. The ten episode marathon is coming up Sept. 28, 8PM EST and again on Oct. 1 at 12PM EST.

Part travel show, part “In Search Of”, this design doyenne travels the country in hot pursuit of the best new and old products. What she finds will be in her next book: “Design Pop.”

So what makes a product museum-worthy? Lisa took time out from her travels to talk tv, her own designs, and just what exactly a Juicy Salif is… [Read more…]

Heatherjean MacNeil On Creating Ethical Proxy Apparel

Heatherjean MacNeil

By Stacey Gualandi

Twitter: @Proxy_Apparel
Facebook: proxyapparel

Heatherjean MacNeil says she’s on a fashion mission. This 30-year-old former pre-med student could have started with a simple idea. But no. She created Proxy Apparel, an ethical clothing line whose cause is to employ and empower women throughout the world thus the name Proxy. In Spanish it means one who is empowered!

“I always envisioned that I would either start a non-profit or run a business that focused on women.Heatherjean

Heatherjean fashion by Proxy

Models in Proxy Apparel

While Heatherjean is new to the fashion scene, she sees a sweatshop-free, fair trade world in her future. Her Boston-based accessories and apparel line launched online last year, and she is already making a name for herself among the social entrepreneur set.

Proxy partners with existing women-owned “cooperatives” in developing countries to help create pieces in the collection. Visitors at last month’s SXSW/Style X got a sneak peek at her Spring “Peacock” Collection.

The entire line will be on display at Proxy’s Earth Day Gala and Ethical Fashion Show April 21st in Boston.

Heatherjean sums it up simply: “Wear the change you seek in the world”! I wanted to find out what this “change” was all about and caught up with her right after Proxy’s successful debut in Austin, Texas… [Read more…]

Kate’s Famous Draped Dress

Kate Middleton Engagement Dress

It’s simple. It’s draped. It’s sapphire blue and the approximate cost…$611.

And it’s still the dress that has everyone talking. It’s that Kate Middleton engagement frock. A $25 version was a sell-out within 24 hours last November.

Its designer, Daniella Issa Helayel, is hotter than hot now four months after its unveiling and rumored to be yet another person designing the wedding gown of the year if not the decade. She demurely declined to even comment about it to ABC News this week with just over a month until the Royal Wedding.

Daniela Helayel Fashion

Daniella taking a bow after a London Fashion Week Show/2011

Daniella admited to ABC that she didn’t even know Kate would be wearing the draped dress for that special occasion. She says she was shocked, flattered, and honored that her design was chosen.

Kate’s not her only famous client. Others rumored to like the Issa style are Madonna, Scarlett Johansson, Sharon Stone and the Princesses Eugenie and Beatrice.

Daniella Issa Helayel

Photo from Daniella's Rio de Janiero Guide/Conde Nast Traveller

And who is this Brazilian-born designer who says she likes to design clothing for voluptuous women like herself? She’s the founder of the famous Issa London label and is said to be inspired by Coco Chanel. This former law student opened a design studio in East London in 2001 and launched her label two years later.

The Daily Mail Online ran a layout of her eclectic Chelsea flat in 2008 that showed her wondrous, art-filled retreat where she mixes styles from all over the world. A special collection of her favorite framed butterflies mounted the walls of her bathroom.

Daniella Issa butterfly bathroom

She has some words to the wise on ABC today when it comes to women’s fashion: find a shape that suits you and wear it in every color. She insists that it’s all about what makes you feel good.

That’s advice anyone can follow and look at all the decision-making it could save!