Recently, I met Ebony Robinson of The Shabby Atelier -- "a girlfriend with an amazing closet, and an inside dish to all things amazing." And during an enjoyable coffee chat last week with Ebony, which was a nice hook-up of sorts from my dad, the two of us discussed everything under the sun when it comes to fashion. From designers and budgeting to local shops and LA events, no topic went untouched. Especially when one of us is a vintage designer and a former boutique owner. And I love that she shares my philosophy that shopping without breaking your bank is totally attainable if you use your smarts. Think purchasing couture inspirations versus the real deal (unless it is an on-sale designer item, of course!).
So until our next Coffee Bean meeting this week or next, in which we are working on a fab projects (We are both fashion writers, personal shoppers, and stylists! So you can figure how many ideas were bounced back and forth between us), I decided to bring some of her flair to y'all -- my loyal Good Girl Gone Shopping readers.
Here is my interview with the brains behind her indie designer label, Sweet Audrey:
So tell me when you had your epiphany of “I am going to design vintage wear!”
I’ve always wanted to be a designer since I was about 9 years old. Upon graduation from HS I wanted to attend FIDM. Long story short, it didn’t happen. And from there I never imagined I could actually do it, let alone doing it 20-something years later. After closing my bath and body boutique in 2005, I decided to just try it. Upon designing my first pieces I was inspired by old black and white movies, pin-up girls and vintage glam goddesses. From there I created cute cocktail dresses under my brand label, Sweet Audrey, and showed my first collection at the Black Business Expo. The rest is history!
Do you also plan to design men’s clothes at some point?
No, I love everything girlie, ultra feminine...my favorite color is pink for goodness sake. So for now, I’m sticking to women’s apparel.
Who and/or what influences your designs?
My personal style is described as California Chic to the T. I’m a very Southern California, shabby-chic kind of gal. I’m an effortless dresser and I don’t follow trends. I wear what I think looks good for the day and the occasion. My personal style is a rainbow of skinny jeans, tailored denim jeans, tees, dresses, scarves, flip flops, stilettos, boots etc. What you won’t see me in is mini skirts -- they're just not my thing.
Tell me about your own personal style. How would you describe your fashion sense?
My personal style is described as California Chic to the T. I’m a very southern California shabby chic kind of gal. I’m an effortless dresser and I don’t follow trends. I wear what I think looks good for the day and the occasion. My personal style is a rainbow of skinny jeans, tailored denim jeans, tees, dresses, scarves, flip flops, stilettos, boots etc. What you won’t see me in is mini skirts, there just not my thing.
What do you think are fashion must-haves for every woman?
A fresh tube of mascara, an off-the-shoulder blouse, a great pair of jeans, a cardigan sweater, and also lipgloss. Nuff said.
So you were a boutique owner, now a designer, and you are also a stylist and personal shopper…How do you find time for all of your ventures?
I love the beauty of being a woman, so I embody anything than can assist in the lives of women to help them look better. I am ultimately a boutique owner who provides a well- rounded sense of service and business. I feel more boutiques should provide, personal styling services, personal shopping services, and special events, and create a private label that helps with marketing their investment, which is your business. Women are loyal, and if you provided them with options, I have to make time for all my creative ventures.
What do you have up your sleeves for ’09? What can fashionistas expect from “The Shabby Atelier” going forward?
The Shabby Atelier is my new baby. It’s a mix of eclectic women’s apparel from recycled, new, vintage and indie fashions. I’m looking forward to selling bath and body, candles, fun gift items, and plus-size fashions for my full-figured fashionistas, as well as the resurrection of my Sweet Audrey label. I’m hosting my first trunk show, and planning a full calender of events for the spring and summer. I’ve also made plans for opening a boutique/studio in the works. If the fashasionistas are looking for something that’s not cookie cutter and something different, then they can look me up on facebook, twitter, and my blog, http://www.theshabbyatelier.blogspot.com/. There’s so many exciting things happening in 09’!
* Ebony is based in Fontana of Southern California. Contact her via her blog regarding her vintage designs for purchase.
Photo Credits: Courtesy of Ebony/ pictures of her wearing Sweet Audrey exclusive designs.