Katie Kimmel: Humor With an Expert Hand

Katie Kimmel: Humor With an Expert Hand

Los Angeles-based artist Katie Kimmel makes paintings, ceramics, and sculpture with major personality. Included in her spirited stock: party boys, anthropomorphic food, and angels inside golden television sets.

Hi Katie. What’s the story behind your shop?

I went to The School of the Art Institute of Chicago where I mostly made small ceramic objects. I took a lot of pleasure in seeing how people in the studio connected and played with my work. After college I still wanted to create the same types of sculpture but it felt like I was creating in a vacuum—that stunted me because everything suddenly felt so pointless. Launching a shop gave me a sense of purpose and was the perfect solution to my art-loneliness because now it’s all out there, online for everyone to see and have. Read “Katie Kimmel: Humor With an Expert Hand”

Heju: In Paris, Creative Growth Through Collaboration

Heju: In Paris, Creative Growth Through Collaboration

Since meeting as students years ago, Hélène Pinaud and Julien Schwartzman have launched a design blog, opened an architecture studio, and become the proprietors of an exquisitely appointed online shop. With each piece produced in partnership with fellow creatives, the pair’s inventory encompasses an effortless mix of collaboration, imagination, and—always—impeccable design. 

Tell us a little bit about the history of your brand.

We’re Hélène Pinaud and Julien Schwatzmann, architects from Paris who met at the École Nationale Supérieur d’Architecture of Strasbourg. After graduating, we started our blog, www.heju.fr, which melds Japanese and Scandinavian influences and serves as an online reference for DIY design and photography. In 2015, we opened our own architecture studio and are now proud to be a part of various renovation and design projects for boutiques and apartments. In addition, we design objects seasonally, all made in France in limited edition runs, which you can find in our shop. Read “Heju: In Paris, Creative Growth Through Collaboration”

E. SMiTH workshop: Putting a New Spin on the Everyday

E. SMiTH workshop: Putting a New Spin on the Everyday

Recently catapulted to Internet fame by her Donald Trump-lampooning ashtrays, Erin Smith reflects on where it all began.

What is the story behind your brand?

I spent four years running and curating a webshop called SHIP&SHAPE with two good friends, jeweler Annika Kaplan, and graphic designer Maddy Nye. We spent so much of our energy documenting and promoting the work of our contributors, that we each felt we lacked the time to focus on our own work.

It only made sense to evolve what was a fun and successful business venture into our own brands and personalities. That’s when E.SMiTH workshop emerged. I have a broad love of materials and didn’t want to pigeonhole myself as a pottery studio or a jeweler, so my brand fell comfortably in the realm of being a workshop. It’s a space where I feel free to make anything that I can conceive. Read “E. SMiTH workshop: Putting a New Spin on the Everyday”

Pantainanas: Streetwear with Island Flair

Pantainanas: Streetwear with Island Flair

For Debbie Tea—artist, illustrator, and founder of the Bali-based brand Pantainanas—a journey of many sales started with a single t-shirt. Said shirt is Pantainanas’s iconic Makanan design: soft, stylish, purposely oversized, and screen-printed by hand to feature pizza, watermelon, baguettes, and other toothsome temptations. Promoted one day by a popular blogger, the garment propelled Pantainanas to a new level of success. “Every time my friends see someone wearing it, they snap a picture for me,” Debbie says.

Pantainanas, which has grown to include stickers, bags, letterpress cards, and phone cases, draws inspiration from the artist’s memories, past experiences, and penchant for graphic prints and patterns. “In the beginning,” she says, “I just drew anything that came to mind without thinking too hard about it. I didn’t expect anyone to like it whatsoever. But,” she continues, “things picked up sooner than I thought.”

What’s the story behind your brand?

I didn’t have real goals or plans in the beginning—everything pretty much happened naturally. It was 2014. I had just moved back to Jakarta from Amsterdam, and was trying to transition from ‘living for art’ to ‘art for a living.’ Read “Pantainanas: Streetwear with Island Flair”

Vasuma: The Optics of Cool Glasses

Vasuma: The Optics of Cool Glasses
Shoko Wanger

Steffen Sundelius knows what it’s like to be uncool. As a child, he suffered the universal torment of being made fun of for his glasses, a memory that makes him smile today. As fate would have it, eyewear has become a much-coveted staple among contemporary cool kids, an irony that Steffen and his two business partners (also fellow glasses wearers) find thoroughly amusing. Their decade-old company, Vasuma, which takes its titles from its founders’ surnames – Jan Vana, Steffen Sundelius, and Lars Malmsten – has become a leading producer of high-quality unisex eyewear, celebrated for its simplicity, sophistication, and decidedly Scandinavian sensibilities. 

Though Vasuma has risen far beyond its humble beginnings, its founders remain firmly grounded. “We won an award for best optical brand in Scandinavia once,” Steffen recalls. “I don’t remember the year. But we couldn’t believe it. We were so surprised. We were up on the stage, and I barely remember any of it. It was a weird moment,” he says. “But it was cool.”

Read “Vasuma: The Optics of Cool Glasses”

MAMAMA: The Parisan Home for Global Collabs

MAMAMA: The Parisan Home for Global Collabs
Shoko Wanger

Parisian clothing label MAMAMA has made collaboration its calling card. Founded in 2012 by Charles Deroyan and Reynald Feracci, the brand has since produced upward of 100 pieces, each completed in partnership with a different artist or designer. The pair’s proved there really is power (and prosperity) in numbers: three years in, the MAMAMA family is sixty-strong and growing.

When did the two of you connect – and where did the idea for MAMAMA come from?

We met in 2012 and found we had the same goals and the same spirit. We immediately wanted to create a project together. At the time, we had hundreds of ideas, but none that lasted. We knew we wanted to work on a project that would allow us to collaborate with others, and one day, the idea of creating a brand that gathered the work of illustrators, graphic designers, and photographers arose spontaneously. It started part-time, but we knew quickly that we wanted to work on MAMAMA 100% of the time. So we did – and since then, we’ve had so much fun and felt so much motivation to continue.

Read “MAMAMA: The Parisan Home for Global Collabs”

Rawmoon Leather: Heavy Metal and Soft Leather

Rawmoon Leather: Heavy Metal and Soft Leather

Robin Mustonen started Rawmoon Leather simply because it felt right. He creates his products from first cut to last stitch by himself and manifests his knowledge of metalwork and leather in timeless accessories. 

What is the story behind your brand?

It all started when I was about 19 years old. I was working full-time as a welder but I was getting a bit tired of it; everyday I fantasized about doing something creative. I decided to borrow my grandma’s sewing machine and started to make textile totebags. People liked them and I started to get some orders. I was just about to buy a really nice and expensive sewing machine when my girlfriend and I decided to move to Melbourne, Australia. With everything that comes with moving to a new city I lost a bit of focus. Read “Rawmoon Leather: Heavy Metal and Soft Leather”

Shawna X: Making to Make, Not to Make It

Shawna X: Making to Make, Not to Make It

Shawna X lives life in the gray zone. Some might be stuck between emotions and ideas but this artist finds her inspiration and greatest ideas in between dichotomies as she creates beautiful pieces for her brand Bad Boy Nice Girl.

What is the story behind your brand?

I have to say the theme of my work has been very therapeutic – unabashed, impulsive yet thoughtful, vain yet philosophical, dirty and pure – I love the dichotomy that comes with this crazy life we all have to go through – thus Bad Boy Nice Girl. Nothing is black and white, but a ton of grayscales.

Read “Shawna X: Making to Make, Not to Make It”