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Spring, Designers & the Latest by OHMJAM (Women’s online Fashion Boutique)

Georgian Bay
Georgian Bay

Spring, a prelude to summer and my favourite time of the year.  Many designers get inspired by the elements – not me, I can hardly think let alone design.  All I want to do is get outside and feel the warmth of the sun, tend to my garden,

Dahlia from my garden
Dahlia from my garden

watch the birds and listen to them singing.  I’m blessed to live in Canada where we have changing seasons, however, I’ve been missing family and friends in Australia lately.  Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could magically transport people?

This week was one of those weeks I would have loved to be in Sydney for the Sydney Film Festival where Damian Walsh-Howling was screening his latest work Messiah.

Sydney Harbour
Sydney Harbour
Damian Walsh-Howling
Damian Walsh-Howling

I so wish I could have attended with my family both to see the film and share in the excitement. Instead I cruised Georgian Bay. Not that I’m complaining – well maybe just a little.  I managed to watch the trailer of Messiah on YouTube and I have to say the cinematography is amazing.  Can’t wait to see the film in its entirety.  It looks spectacular.

In the meantime, I’ve been familiarizing myself with some of the Australian fashion designers.  A couple of them are now categorized under ‘my faves’.  One in particular is Nicola Finetti who was born in Italy and studied architecture in Rome before settling in Australia.  He brings a hint of his studies to his fashion as his pieces all have structure whether it be an assymetrical skirt or a cut out where you least expect it.  I’ve never studied architecture but I too like to bring structure into my designs.  He also brings florals into his pieces and seems to enjoy combining fabrics and textures.   It’s not uncommon for designers to like the same elements and that got me to thinking the other day, how does one become more popular when designs are similar?  I often get people coming to me asking me to make a piece for them like they’ve seen in a magazine.  I get it, I’ve done the same thing – seen a piece somewhere and made it for myself but I always add my own spin to it.  To be honest with you I cringe every time someone asks me to do that because it stifles my creativity.

I can look at someone and know whether what they are asking for is right for them – so the dilemma then becomes – doing what they want or asking them to put their faith in you and let you design something uniquely theirs.

Nicola Finetti
Nicola Finetti
Elie Saab and OHMJAM
Elie Saab and OHMJAM

When it comes to similarities – Taylor Swift wore this gorgeous piece by Elie Saab, I did the piece on the right for my spring/summer 2016 collection and it got rave reviews too.

Here’s another couple of pieces by Finetti that I love.

Nicola Finetti Designs
Nicola Finetti Designs

It’s time to get busy and start working on my autumn/winter 2016 collection. But I’m going to take a break and enjoy the summer – I’ll be working but on pieces for myself, I looked in my closet the other day and said I’ve been living in the country for nearly 3 years now and it’s all too easy to go for comfort rather than style.

I’m off to make home-made ice cream for tomorrow as I will be spending the day swimming and lounging by the pool with friends.  It’s a rough life but someone’s got to do it.

I’m excited about next week too,  I’m getting a lesson on how to use my new camera properly so I can change up my website www.ohmjam.com with my pieces as I design them.

Lastly I’ll be finishing off the month of June by going to a concert – to see Frank D’Angelo and his 15 piece band – can’t wait.  Hopefully I’ll have pics for you in July.

Frank D'Angelo hits Collingwood
Frank D’Angelo hits Collingwood

In the meantime, enjoy the rest of June and as always Keep Creating!

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Spring has Arrived, a New Season – How about a New Wardrobe – by OHMJAM (Women’s online Fashion Boutique

Allium

Spring is here and it’s one of my favourite seasons, flowers are in bloom, people are anxious to get out and about, and perhaps best of all – you can put away the winter boots, hats, coats and finally show off that figure you worked so hard all winter to get.  Even if you didn’t work at it, there’s no better incentive to get busy than to shop for a new wardrobe.

I took a much needed break last week to enjoy Easter and get caught up with friends after spending months working like a mad woman to present my 2016 Spring/Summer Collection at OHMJAM’s Fashion Fundraiser/Gala in support of the Wasaga Society for the Arts.  The event was a huge success attended by over 150 people.  Now it’s time for me to get down to business – first order of business is to finish a dress for me to wear to the Wasaga Film Festival Red Carpet Gala on April 30th and I’m leaning towards a dress the colour of the allium (featured here).

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, anybody can buy fashion but style is what you do with it.  My latest collection is about simplicity and being timeless.  It’s no secret that I adore black and white anything.  Even my last home was all about black and white.  It started one day while walking thru the Bay, I saw these hand painted dishes and had to have them.  They were so different, so unique – the only problem was my dining room was a Tuscan room filled with orange and soft yellows.

Hand Painted dishes
Hand Painted dishes

I did what any (well maybe not) – I bought the dishes and then painted the dining room black and white.  I made white slip covers for the chairs and trimmed them in black.  That one little purchase turned into a bit of an obsession for me.  There’s no denying that black and white exudes sophistication, elegance, it’s also crisp and bold.  It demands your attention and there will always be black and white pieces in my collections.

Alas I’m not all about black and white because I love colour and texture so I incorporated reds, greens and blues into the collection.  This red and white combo was about fun and comfort.

Cute and Casual
Cute and Casual

Comfort was the goal with this outfit. The skirt has soft pleats starting at the hip and can be made in any colour stripe or solid.  The raglan sleeve blouse is a shirt style without any buttons.  Seem to young for you – once we reach a certain age we tend to hide our arms and what better way to do it than with a raglan shirt.   Wear it with a skirt, shorts or your favourite jeans.  It doesn’t have to be done in polka dots or cotton, it can also be done in a jersey print or solid.  It shows just the barest of midriff and cleavage but isn’t revealing so if you don’t want to show off your midriff, wear it over a little camisole or put your bikini on and wear this little number over it.  Remove it at the beach, then put it back on when you go for lunch.

That reminds me have you got your dress for the Red Carpet gala in April? If not book a consultation with me and to celebrate Film Festival month, I’m offering a 15% discount.  Any of the pieces in my collection can be yours in your choice of colour so give us a call at 416-721-4884 or send me an email at info@ohmjam.com and let’s talk about updating your wardrobe.

 

Sale prices for month of April.
Sale prices for month of April.

In the meantime, Keep Creating!

 

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A Little Clarification by OHMJAM (Online Fashion Boutique for Women)

Hand or Custom Made
Hand or Custom Made

 

June has been a rather interesting month thus far and the last two weeks have certainly gone quickly.    Astrologically it was supposed to be a fabulous month for me personally but that hasn’t been the case, not that it’s been bad, it’s just that it hasn’t been fabulous YET.   I’ve managed to do a little gardening which I don’t necessarily like but I do love the end result.   Unfortunately I just don’t have the time.

I had a medical test done last week, not that I felt I needed it but once we get to a certain point in life – the government sends us letters informing us that it’s time.  I was fine despite the fact that I was having this procedure done at a new hospital which can make one a little nervous but I always like to think positively.   I was nevertheless fine up until the nurse told me I had to have someone spend the night with me because I was going to be given propofol.  In case you don’t know what it is  – it killed Michael Jackson.  At that point I was ready to jump off the table, pull the IV out and say “changed my mind”.  I didn’t and obviously it went well – at least I felt fine afterwards, not so great a few days later though and now I wait for the results.

I also had a photography lesson which helped me realize that despite having 3 cameras, all of which are perfectly fine – the only problem they have in common is ME – I need to learn how to use them.

The purpose of this blog however, is not to tell you what’s going on in my life but to clarify a few sewing terms for you.  One of my clients asked me to make a prom dress for her daughter.   I drafted the design I had in mind and she loved it.  The daughter wanted a particular colour of purple and so we went together to look for fabric.  I was glad we went together because purple was not what she wanted at all but in fact fuschia.  Unfortunately the only fabric they had in her chosen colour was horrific to work with.  The fabric kept stretching and after redoing it for the 3rd time I realized I had to make an alteration to the design.  In the interim however, my client had lost faith in my ability to make it work and went to shop for a prom dress.  She found a $23.00 dress that carried the Guess label and then asked me if I could take the top from the purchased dress and attach it to the bottom of the dress I designed.  I was mortified to be asked but agreed to have a look at it.  It was black and the top was nothing more than a stretch sequinned top and would have ruined the look of the dress I had designed, the colours would not have worked together.  It would have been hideous, not to mention for the amount of work involved I would have had to charge twice as much as the dress I designed and the one she purchased together.  I refused.

So here’s the thing – people are prepared to buy anything that has a known label whether it’s quality or not.  Here’s what you need to understand – when you purchase a custom made dress it is by far more valuable than a dress with a known label because it has been hand made for YOU.

What is a label after all?  If I took any of my pieces and photographed a celebrity wearing them my label would be more desirable whether it was worthy or not because of the person who wore it.  What does that say about you and your self image?  Not much.

Here’s the other thing, people keep asking me if I will take in a dress they purchased – I AM A DESIGNER, I DON’T DO ALTERATIONS unless it’s on one of my designs.

These are the definitions I would ask you to familiarize yourself with so that you can make an educated decision the next time you want a dress that will make you look like a knock out.  Sewing terms

A SEAMSTRESS – is a person who makes their living sewing.    They can range from someone who does a hem, fixes a zipper to someone who can make a custom dress from a pattern.

A TAILOR  is a person who makes, repairs, or alters clothing professionally, especially women’s suits and men’s clothing.

A DESIGNER designs clothes which are functional as well as aesthetically pleasing. They consider who is likely to wear their garment and the situation(s) in which it will be worn. They have a wide range and combinations of materials to work with and a wide range of colors, patterns and styles to choose from.

While everyday wear  is considered a more conventional style, unusual garments are mostly sought for special occasions such as evening or bridal.

When a designer makes a piece for an individual, it is often referred to as haute couture/tailor or custom made.   Today most clothing is designed for mass markets and is considered casual or every day wear.

Haute Couture is French and basically translates as elegant sewing and has literally become more well known as the business of designing, creating and selling custom-made high end women’s fashion.

So never belittle that dress you’ve had made by someone whether it be a seamstress, tailor or designer just because nobody else has something with their label.  Wearing a label that other’s don’t have means you have made a conscious decision to be well dressed with a design that will set you apart from the crowd.

Oh and in case you’re wondering – I redesigned the top of the prom dress and it turned out stunning.  That’ll teach you to not have faith in me.

Style and tasteUntil next time Keep Creating!

 

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Our Spring Collection – OHMJAM (Online fashion boutique for Women)

 

May Already
May Already

It’s Spring and we’re finally showing our spring collection although it’s been busy and one piece has already sold out. That’s right the stunning black and white houndstooth dress with the low back and full skirt is gone already.

I told you that you would be hearing more about Tania Wood and here she is wearing a dress I designed and she hand painted.  The vibrant colours are beautiful against the blue and it reminds me of a cityscape.  This was the first but there will be more to come and we’re also working on bags that you’ll love, so stay tuned.

Stunning hand painted dress by Tania Wood.
Stunning hand painted dress by Tania Wood.

April was a busy month for us here at OHMJAM.  We have been working on custom pieces; we were invited to tape a local television show “Women with Vision”; I’ve spent time doing some volunteer work, making new friends and I even had a chance to go to Rama for the first time and saw the Monkees.  I’m not really a fan of casinos but I do love live shows and I was really impressed with the Monkees’ performance.  It’s so good to see Mickey Dolenz and Peter Tork still sharing their talent they sound fabulous and they are full of fun and I hash tagged them #sexyatanyage.

There is never enough time to do all that I have and want to do but isn’t that the way it should be, otherwise wouldn’t life seem dull and boring?

I’m hoping that we’ll see some lovely flowers in May but at this point I’m not too sure we will.  It’s still cool here and while it’s been warming up the last few days, the evenings are quite cold.  I’ve promised myself to devote this weekend to doing some clean up outside so I’m hoping we don’t get rain.

I’ve got to run, I’ve got a busy day planned but I couldn’t close without saying something about the devastation in Nepal.  My heart goes out to the families of the people who have been lost and my prayers are with you.  I encourage everyone to do what you can to help.

As always Keep Creating!

Don’t forget to

Just do it
Just do it

 

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April Showers Bring May Flowers by OHMJAM (Your Online Fashion Boutique)

easteregg

Only 10 days into April and it has been BUSY.  First there was Easter; I’m getting ready to show our spring collection; Graduation time is approaching for many, those Prom dresses are needed and that means fittings.   Throw in a television appearance; teaching knitting to novices; collaborating on a new project with Tania Wood; and spring cleaning – well there just aren’t enough hours in the day sometimes but I wouldn’t have it any other way.

I am delighted to be featured in the latest issue of Women with Vision.

I love fashion, creating the perfect style for an individual and the right fabric.  However, sometimes you have to bow to your client’s wishes and that was the case with this dress – she wanted that colour.  I have to admit it suits her beautifully but the fabric has made me crazy unlike this navy linen blend

Navy Dress with Top Stitching
Navy Dress with Top Stitching

which was so easy to work with.

Fitting a prom dress
Fitting a prom dress

 

Rumour has it that overalls are making a comeback and since I’m not a fan I wanted to do my own more elegant version ..  We showcased this little number while taping the Women with Vision television show (more about that next month).  I absolutely love the colour, the fabric and the polka dots.  I’m going to do it in a lighter blue and black.

Elegant and fun overall
Elegant and fun overall

 

getting dressed in the green room
getting dressed in the green room

Oh I almost forgot I’ve signed on to help out with the Wasaga Beach Short Film Festival.  In just 4 short years it has grown and it’s time to shoot for the moon – hopefully a new theatre in the Beach.  It would be so good for all the creatives we have here and every day I discover just how many we do have.   Hopefully I can get our cousin Damian Walsh-Howling, that fabulous Australian actor or his amazing mom Iris to submit a couple of their short films this year.  Are you reading this Damo and Iris? 

Well that’s about it for this week.  I haven’t been to the gym all week so I’m off to get back on track, I’m determined to be fit and fabulous this summer after I have cake tonight (in celebration of Samuel Hahnemann’s birthday today}. After that I’m going to curl up with my good friend Eden Baylee’s newest Book (A Snake in Paradise).

Eden's latest work
Eden’s latest work

Hope you’re having an amazing April so far and remember – and if you haven’t signed up for our newsletter yet, what are you waiting for.

Just do it
Just do it

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Keep Creating!

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Our Australian Misadventure by OHMJAM Creative | Unique | Playful ~ Young Adult Fashion Designs

I’d like to start off by wishing everyone a Happy, Healthy and Prosperous 2014, late but heartfelt nonetheless.

As you know I spent the holidays “down under” in Australia.  I was excited to go but without expectation for a number of reasons (too numerous to list) although I will say that every time I’ve gone in the past I have returned ill, twice with life threatening illnesses (needless to say I was a little apprehensive).  I was most excited to see the children that make up the OHMJAM label, two of which I had never met face to face.

The trip itself is a long one and while I love to travel, I’m not a fan of the actual means to the end – flying is not my thing especially when it means sitting on a plane for 14 plus hours with no stops.  Tedious doesn’t even begin to describe the feeling.  The first leg of my journey was from Toronto to Vancouver leaving at 7:35 p.m. and since I was leaving from the country (a two hour drive to the airport) on Christmas eve, during an ice storm which left many parts of Toronto crippled for days, I decided to take the shuttle at 9:00 a.m. to make sure I made it there in plenty of time.  The trip was kind of like driving thru a fairy tale with ice covered trees

Winter wonderland
Winter wonderland

but the minute we hit the highway in Toronto I was grateful to not be living in the city any longer as I could feel myself tensing at the mere thought of driving on the 401.  I arrived in time for lunch and then spent 4 hours sitting watching people coming and going at the airport until I checked my luggage, then another 3 hours before boarding my flight.  I won’t bore you with the details of the 28 hours of flying but suffice it to say, it was not at all pleasant.

I arrived on Boxing Day exhausted and desperately wanting to take a shower after almost missing my final flight from Sydney to Melbourne in the heat while wearing winter clothing.  It was a short, pleasant flight and by the time it was over so was I.  There awaiting me as I came out were my sons and the OHMJAM kids.  It was a moment of pure delight marred only by the fact that all I could think about was wanting to shower and get out of my winter clothes and nobody thought to take a photo.

It had been 8 years since I’d seen only one of them in person and the last time I saw the oldest she was still a baby and now a teenager.  Illness and family obligations had kept me from visiting them and they hadn’t been to Canada to visit me so this was like a dream come true for me.  For years I had hoped for Sunday dinners with the extended family, sleep overs where I could teach them all the things I loved and the chance to get to know them.  Unfortunately too much time has passed, they don’t remember me and they’ve grown up to the point of not really caring that I’m their Grandmother from Canada but that’s what happens when you’re not in their lives on a regular basis and the parents haven’t made sure that you are.  It doesn’t matter how many presents you’ve sent, nothing can replace human contact.

Not only did I have a very short time to make up for nearly 10 years of not being present, I was sick from the moment I landed to the day I left.  It seemed that everything I had hoped to do was impossible for one reason or another, people had other plans/agendas and it turns out that you really can’t please all the people, all the time and trying to only leaves you vulnerable to misinterpretation.  So after travelling 12,000 miles to see my grandchildren and hoping to make up for the lost years, I ended up spending exactly 7 hours exclusively with them.  Oh I spent time in their company but that was with everybody around and when you have 10 people all vying for attention, somebody’s bound to be excluded and their feelings overlooked.

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Hayden singing Get Lucky
1689260_10152083463337182_1585494170_n[1]
Maeve

Mia and Ali
Mia and Ali

Olivia practicing for Nationals1656369_10152083462487182_408076413_n[1]

All was not lost though, I did get to see the O & J kids swim and trust me they are amazing.  Watching them glide thru the water with perfect strides was like watching Olympic athletes.  I got to see H get up to sing and dance when he heard his favourite song, he’s beautiful and loving; I got to spend a birthday with J who is already a comic; I got to see the oldest M run thru her Tai Kwon Do moves.  I got to fall in love with the two youngest ones, the ones I’d never met in person, the youngest M shares a birthday with my late Mother and it was like being in the room with my Mother who always spoke her mind without caring what anybody thought and the A who was for me an absolute ray of sunshine – not only is she sweet, she’s absolutely gorgeous.  They are all beautiful, intelligent and talented although we don’t know each other any better than we did before this trip.

I decided one day while everyone had other plans that excluded me to find my way around and ventured to the nearest mall.  After walking for hours and having people give me wrong directions countless times, including a bus driver, I finally found my way around to do a little shopping in the burbs, the best part of it was finding Pancake Palace where I had lunch and finding a cute little boutique called Polka.  I knew I couldn’t do the walk home with the bags I was carrying, I purchased a card for the bus.  You not only have to buy the card which you tap when you get on and off the bus, you then have to purchase credits which are used for the distance travelled.  I got on 3 buses and asked if they travelled to the part of the City I was going to only to be told by all 3 drivers that they didn’t know.  I kid you not, they didn’t know and couldn’t tell me which bus did go where I needed to get to.  $20.00 later I ended up having to take a taxi home which cost another $12.00 and I had to give the driver instructions when I didn’t even know where I was.

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Flinders Station
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shoes
The last ten days of my trip were spent in the CBD as it is called, or as we would say in the downtown core of Melbourne.  The city is lovely, the architecture is impressive.  I was 2 minutes from the Crown Casino, the River and Flinders Station and every day I passed thru Flinders Station to venture to Collins, Bourke and Swanson Streets to shop hoping to find some fabulous clothing to bring home.  I hate to say it but I did very little shopping – I couldn’t find anything that made me feel I had to have it.  The styles were somewhat retro and nothing wrong with that but they were all pretty much the same from shop to shop and the fabrics were not to my liking at all.   I didn’t find any cotton or cotton blends, most of what I found was polyester, spandex and flimsy which surprised me – in a country where temperatures reach the mid 40’s how does ones skin breathe in those fabrics.  I won’t even discuss the shoes, I searched high and low and found nothing, I found the shoe styles quite dated by North American standards.  There are a couple of stores that carry extremely inexpensive clothing – LeFemme, Angels, Cotton On and Ice.  Most of what they carry are harem pants, leggings and Tees, an outfit could be purchased for under $25.00.

I did manage to find a few stores that I would recommend, one was Polka which carried a lot of Herve Leger bandage type dresses in multi colours – the better shops all seemed to carry that style, Country Road which was more upscale but again the styles didn’t excite me, I’d much rather shop at BCBG where there is more versatility and style but my favourite store was a little shop on Collins called Kookai where they carry a lot of jersey knit with mesh but the colours and styles are modern and priced right.  Despite the fact that their tops are all sized 1 or 2 you can find something for almost anyone.

I have to talk about the coffee because Australia is known for it’s coffee.  I absolutely dreaded ordering coffee while I was there, unlike North America where you can order a large or small coffee with cream or milk, an espresso, latte or any flavour you like, it’s not so easy in Australia, you need to be tutored in how to order a coffee and if you don’t do it properly they look at you as if you have two heads.  Firstly they don’t say large or small, you ask for a tall or short, they don’t serve it with cream as we do so if you ask for cream you’re going to get whipped cream on the side.  I spent 3 weeks asking for every variation I could think of and never did get it right so I never knew what I was going to end up with and everywhere I had coffee it was warm.  I’m told that’s how coffee is supposed to be served – no thanks, I like my coffee hot.  To their credit I must admit I had the best Chai Tea Latte I’ve ever had at a little place called Flinders Coffee House.  Order the muffins only if you’re very hungry, they’re the size of small cakes.

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The Boat House

Lastly I have to comment on the food since I ate at a few rather popular places while there.  We dined at the Prince Alfred Hotel in Richmond one night and the Penne with meatballs was the worst Italian food I’ve ever had in my life.  The only good thing about the meal was our waitress who just happened to be from Canada.  I lunched at the Waterfront (Southgate) one afternoon thinking I’d enjoy the ambiance as well as the food.  I’m not sure but I think Javier Bardem was dining there and if he was I hope he didn’t have the Salmon fillet that I had because I went back to my hotel room and spent the rest of the night in bed with terrible cramps.  Not only that but I got bit twice by something that looked like a flea.  The only good thing about the meal there was that they had Peroni on tap.  I don’t think anybody knows how to cook Salmon like we do in Canada.   I did dine a few times at The Boat House in Moonee Ponds which is owned by the country’s Master Chef – Gary Mehigan who I had the pleasure of meeting.  I had my best meals there, the pizza was to die for, their french fries are mouth watering and I had a piece of cheesecake unlike anything I’ve ever had before.  On top of that the scenery is fabulous and the service was delightful.

It wasn’t all bad, I met some lovely people during my stay and I did get to go to the races with my grandchildren and share my love of horses with them but there wasn’t anything about the trip that would make me want to go back anytime soon, in fact I cut the trip short by two weeks.  Even the deep freeze Canadian temperatures weren’t enough to keep me from wanting to come home to my friends who always make me feel loved and appreciated,  and where life isn’t complicated.  Unfortunately whatever I got sick with while I was away has stayed with me but I’m slowly on the mend and looking forward to Spring, a kitchen renovation and my spring line.

In the meantime, keep creating!!!

 

 

 

 

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Thursday’s Treasure #5 is Corset Laced Mannequins by OHMJAM Creative | Unique | Playful ~ Young Adult Fashion Designs

I have a board on Pinterest named Addicted to Black and White (because I am) and while searching for things black and white I came across a mannequin ‘Toile de Jouy’.

Toile de Jouy
Toile de Jouy

I immediately fell in love and wrote “where can I get this?” I was so excited to see it that I didn’t even stop to read where it came from, I just hoped that whoever had posted it would see what I wrote and contact me.  Eventually I went back to it and realized that the company name ‘Corset Laced Mannequins’ was right there.  I was beyond excited thinking that I could purchase that beautiful mannequin and then I went to the website and realized that I was in serious trouble because they’re all so beautiful; I want them all.

Anyone studying fashion design realizes that at some point they need a dress form which we generally refer to as a judy in Canada (or mannequin), they’re crucial for designing, in particular for draping.  A friend recently said she couldn’t believe that I didn’t have one and the truth is I never wanted to spend the money for something that is generally made out of unbleached muslin, is expensive and quite frankly  –  ugly.  There are wire ones but I think of using those as bird cages and then the adjustable ones – well they just don’t do it for me.  Corset Laced Mannequins are so unique, old world, so well made and romantic that I knew I was right not to have invested in something I wouldn’t be happy with.  Now all I have to do is decide which one I want.

I’m delighted to have Lucy Curtis, the owner and designer of these gorgeous pieces of art, all the way from Devon in the United Kingdom as this week’s treasure.

So Lucy tell us how did you come to making mannequins and when did you start?

Basically, I needed to earn a living but I wanted to be my own boss.  I thought about what I loved in my home and my small collection of vintage fabrics sprang to mind.  Could I use these to earn a living?  I could have made cushions, bags etc. but I’d already tried that.  I wanted something different.  Something no one else was doing. I’d also noticed that vintage mannequins were selling very well on Ebay.  Could I replicate these in some way? Of course I could!

Did you make the corset laced mannequins from the beginning and if not what was your inspiration?

Family and friends supported and encouraged me to sell them. I also thought “these are beautiful and the fabrics are stunning”.  If I liked them, then I knew there must be other people out there that would too. It took me many attempts and techniques to come up with the perfect pattern. It clicked one day, when I was out, that I could use a corset and laced back.  I was so excited to get back and try it out.  It worked perfectly and I was elated.  It goes to show that you must never give up and continue to think about a problem and an idea will pop into your head at some point.  The flat backed version came later, again after much trial & error.

The fabrics that you use are simply divine.  Anybody that knows me, knows that I’m like a child in a candy store when it comes to fabric, I love the textures and colours.  I have a feeling you’re a little bit like that as well or am I wrong?

You couldn’t be more right!  I have a stash of fabrics that I just can’t imagine ever cutting into but that’s the beauty of my mannequins, they are the perfect way to display fabrics.  It’s wonderful to have a room full of beautiful colours & textures.  My fabrics are neatly folded and displayed on shelves so I can gaze at them.

Oran
Oran

 

Can you visualize the finished product when selecting the fabrics or do your customers generally tell you what they want?

Usually yes.  I love to choose something different which provides me with a challenge…it doesn’t always work though but its all good experience.    Currently, I’m inspired by vintage and antique utility materials such as antique grain sacks.  I choose the fabrics myself, thankfully I usually get it right with the occasional howler that doesn’t sell but I still love her.

 Your mannequins are so beautifully made, they’re like pieces of art and I note that you have images of them being used decoratively.  What is your customer demographic, would you say more personal or corporate?

When I first started I was selling mainly  to homemakers for display in their bedrooms and living areas but slowly the business buyer has grown and I suppose its now around 50/50.

Is one considered a best seller and if so, which one?

Emma is very popular and has been for a long while.  She is a plain natural linen and will work with most home & shop interiors..  Adding a corset & laced back gives her an unexpected & interesting detail.

Emma
Emma

I always wonder if people that create objects of beauty have trouble parting with them.  I note that you have sold some one of a kind pieces.  Do you have a personal favourite?

It is difficult sometimes.  The vintage fabric one of a kind mannequins always pluck at my heart strings when I have to pack them up for their new homes.  I still have a few vintage mannequins that are not replaceable and I hope to hold onto them for as long as I can.    My favourite changes over time.  Usually it’s the latest new  mannequin

Betty
Betty

I’ve created but I do have a bit of a passion for Betty!  It’s the vintage style blue ticking and the cherry red ribbon at the back…perfection!!

How many hours does it generally take you to make a mannequin and do you have people helping?  I hope you have students that you mentor because I imagine that this is somewhat of a dying art.

I do all the work myself but I do have a very supportive family.  I couldn’t do it without them.  My daughters are getting older now…maybe they will join me in the future.

I see that your mannequins have been used quite a bit in the U.K. for TV and other media.   I know you ship all over the world but would you say that most of your sales are within the U.K?  Where other than the U.K. do you export the most to?

Yes the UK is my largest market, the US next but it’s always very exciting to ship to a new country.

What is the one thing that people wouldn’t know about you or Corset Laced Mannequins from visiting your site, that you would like to tell them?

Umm not sure, I’m quite a private person so maybe it’s best to keep people guessing 😀

I knew that you were busy but now that I know you do these wonderful pieces on your own I am ever so grateful to you for stopping by to tell us about you and your mannequins and after this I suspect you might be even busier.  Thanks for stopping by Lucy!!! I can’t wait to have my own or two or even three.

Oran
Oran

Just goes to show that if you love something enough you can rest assured that others will too.

You can check these beautiful works of art at Lucy’s website at  www.corsetlacedmannequins.co.uk.

As always keep creating!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Glorious Gingham and Technology

Fashion
Gingham Designs on the Runway
Computer Carol Wanted
Red Computer

It’s been an interesting week as most of mine usually are.  In the midst of getting pieces together for a spring launch, I realized that it was time for a new computer; if I’m going to be able to get my website up and running, working with my old computer was going to be an exercise in futility.   I had a couple of pre-requisites; I wanted a sleek, red laptop.  I finally found what I was looking for and with the help of our IT person, I went thru the list to customize it and there I was at the check out when my order was refused.  It wasn’t available in Canada.  All that time searching wasted and back to the drawing board.

Note to Canadian manufacturers – in addition to all the bells and whistles; AND since we have to pay so much more than our American neighbours, would you please give us colour options too!!!!

With laptop purchased it was time to start getting organized for social media.  My amazing friend and writer extraordinaire – Eden Baylee helped me sort out my Twitter account, I had two and neither indicated what OHMJAM is about and I’d never bothered to really post anything.  I’m even going to give her credit for designing my business card; given enough time I’m sure I could have done it myself but who knows when that would have happened.

That was only part of my week, I’ve been working on pieces for my spring/summer collection and there’s always some reason to run to a fabric shop, every time I do I find myself wanting to buy more gingham.df2bba5aa3c8b539e37eefec2486edf9  I think I have a serious gingham addiction if that’s possible.  I love it, I love all the colours, the various sizes of the check and yet I’ve never owned anything made from gingham myself.  Fortunately I’m not the only one who seems to feel that way about Gingham.  Almost every designer has used it in their collections.  Even Christian Louboutin seems to find it fascinating.  After seeing what Karl Lagerfeld managed to do with the jacket that Coco Chanel made famous decades ago, I think we should give gingham it’s due respect tobc531fa18e14b12a9410f201f9e8ce53[1]o.  I decided to do a little research on this wonderful fabric that can be made into pieces that will express whatever you want it to.  On a little girl I see it as an innocent expression, when it’s used for furniture, I find it very country but sophisticated – you bet.  Mondo Guerra winner of Project Runway All Stars made this little number which any hip young woman would love to wear to any event.    That’s the versatility of gingham – what’s not to love?   958adbb1c4d6f53ad8b04cc934801580[1]

brigitte-bardot-wedding-200x300While conducting research I also discovered that back in the 60’s, French, sex kitten Brigitte Bardot wore a beautiful little gingham number as her wedding dress, it was her second marriage so I guess she didn’t feel the need to wear white but the effect was, she looked fresh and innocent all over again.    One of the first dresses I ever made for my granddaughter Maeve was a simple, lilac gingham dress, it was one of her favourites.  I will carry that dress always in every colour in the OHMJAM line.

If you don’t find this fabric worthy by now then what can I tell you – it even has a purpose for men.  7d2ebacc39bc6cfec48aaaeb4437f4c2[1]Yep I think Gingham is glorious.   As for technology, I’m delighted with my new laptop and excited about finding a whole other world trending on Twitter.  I’ve discovered so many wonderful websites, interesting people and children’s clothing shops all over the world.  How exciting to chat with people on the other side of the world and to see how European children are dressing.   I look forward to featuring some of them in the future.

As always keep creating.

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Time Flies

It’s been quite awhile since I last blogged and at that time I was about to start designing my line.   I’m happy to report that the line is underway and I’ve been posting some of the pieces on Pinterest.

Since my last blog I’ve been busy and wildly distracted.  In September I had a visit from my oldest son who lives in Australia, there were a number of social gatherings to attend and before I knew it Christmas had arrived and brought with it more festive gatherings to attend.  I thought that I would get  right back into the swing of things but it hasn’t been easy.  There seems to have been just one thing after another keeping me from being creative.

ribbon
Ribbon at Mokuba, Queen St. in Toronto

I am now pleased to say I’m back at it and getting ready for my spring/summer collection.  I love to use ribbon in my designs and a couple of weeks ago I headed down to Queen Street to visit two of my favorite places along the strip.  One is Mokuba, if you haven’t been there, it’s a must see.  They have such an assortment of ribbon and lace edgings, the colors and textures of their ribbons range from vibrant to neutral and everything in between.  It doesn’t matter what kind of mood you’re in when you arrive, you’re sure to walk out in a better frame of mind.  There’s just something about ribbon that lifts your spirits and almost takes you back to your childhood.

displayThe displays at Mokuba inspire you to be creative and the young lady featured in the photo (her name escapes me) is not only delightful, she’s mokubaknowledgeable and wonderfully helpful.  I could have spent hours in there but tore myself away before doing too much damage.  I’ll be back to this amazing store, they don’t have a website, it’s all word of mouth so a trip to the store is essential for purchases.  Check it out  for yourself.

my purchasesThese are some of the ribbons I purchased which will be included in my summer line.  It will have a nautical element inspired by the O,H,J & A in OHMJAM, two of which recently represented their State in the swimming Nationals.  I hope to honor their amazing achievements with beautiful pieces.

I’m hoping to take a trip down under in the next few weeks with a stop in British Columbia, to visit family.  I’m giving everyone fair warning now, in addition to spending time with everyone, I’ll want to go on a fabric hunt.

Till next time.  Keep creating.

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Arts & Flowers

Picasso Vest
Arts & Flowers – Best in the Vest

Our first label was aptly named Arts & Flowers.  Arts because our originals were hand painted using paintings of famous artists such as this Picasso.

My sons had returned from a year in China and I was working at a job I hated.  On a whim, I went shopping one day for what else – fabric.  I came home with bags of material, not knowing what I was going to do but I was bursting at the seams to indulge my creative spirit.  The boys looked at me like I was crazy wondering what I was going to do with all that material.  “I’m going to start making clothes” I told them.  What I didn’t tell them was that I had no idea what I was going to make but within days I had moved the furniture, cut out dozens of pieces for vests and the dining room table had become the sewing table with three machines going all at once.  I had engaged the entire family.  The thing about my boys is that they’re also creative so it didn’t take much convincing to get them involved and my mother was happy to do anything with her Grandsons.

I taught the youngest to cut and sew, while the oldest one looked on and told me I couldn’t do it without a plan.  Plan thought I, I had no plan but that night we sat and decided what we wanted to do.  We decided to utilize my oldest son’s artistic talent and got him to paint the creations which we then had silk screened onto the vests.

Making them was the easy part but where were we going to sell and market them we wondered.  We started at an open market and much to our surprise they started selling faster than we could make them.  Before long we were approached by a store that wanted to sell them and then another that wanted to sell the originals.

It didn’t take long before we were getting orders to design and create for restaurants that were starting and wanted something different.  Our little cottage business quickly grew into a full time busines and we needed more space.  So in the midst of it all we moved into a larger space and were teetering on the brink of becoming a full scale manufacturing venture.  Others quickly followed our lead but in the media we were featured as the best in vests.

Timing is everything and if you’re not 100% committed to what you’re doing you can’t continue.  My boys were at the point in their lives where they wanted to get married and start their own lives.  I too was at a crossroad so rather than take that next step, I opted to buy a house and renovate.  Arts & Flowers was put on the shelf, only to be used for the creations I make for myself.  The renovation has taken years to complete but now that it’s done my heart is longing to get back to where it can once again create.

“Your longing is your calling” (Louise Hay) and so I must.

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