Thursday, January 31, 2013

Introducing A New Dress & Other Such Things

Status Update: I am still alive. No, seriously, guys. I'm so sorry! (Am I the worst blogger in the history of bloggers? Probably. -_-) I've cast a heal spell, and am back at 100% HP, for the foreseeable future of, well, until I catch the next bubonic flu plague. (I'm honestly surprised I lasted as long as I did given the amount of sickness going around, and the fact that every single co-worker I have either has flu or strep at the moment.)

I knowwww what you're thinking. "Look, Annika, seriously. You cannot have been sick for this entire month, and you haven't made a single blog update aside from the illustrator call. Where are the new dresses? Where is the new merch?! Are you just fooling us into thinking you're ill when you are really just napping with your cat and playing video games?!"

[To subdue your anger, I will surreptitiously insert photos of Cookie Cat.....]
Look at that disapproving glare! Oh Cook.
Hahahaha. :sweat drop: I really was sick with a terrible flu for a whole week! And then to make matters worse, we had a staff meeting that ran till midnight, I had to get up in three hours, and go back to work, and therefore I relapsed for a bit with the same flu this week. (You try working an entire shift on three hours of sleep, after you've been up the whole rest of the day previous too. ; o ;)

I'm not going to lie, and tell you that I've been super productive and have a bunch of new designs just waiting to be photographed for sale..... Because I definitely haven't been. Honestly, I think I have been going through a bit of depression the last couple months which has caused me to be super critical about my work, and when I don't feel like I'm meeting my standards, doing enough, being 110% at my best, then I get frustrated and mad at myself. And not just my work, or lack there of, is depressing me. It's just been a rough year, and I guess I feel discouraged for a variety of reasons. And I suppose I am having difficulty adjusting and transitioning with it all. So I know I'm not feeling inspired, or doing as much as I know I'm capable of.

See, even Cookie looks a little sad!
With that said, I really am actively trying to snap myself out of this rainy dark cloud that has been following me around lately. Some days are better than others. Even if I haven't been producing garments, at least I have been sketching some out for the fashion show in the summer, while finishing up the Dexter series and getting in to Doctor Who.

Also, I have been working a couple paid commissions which is a nice change of pace. I have been trying (feebly? haha) to teach myself how to use my new Canon Rebel T3 DSLR camera, which was kindly given to me as Christmas present as a way for me to improve the image quality of my designs to show to you, dear readers. And I'm ever so grateful to have a new toy to play with! So I've been giving it a go! (And you thought these photos of Cookie were just random! ; ) )

Still need to work on that focus! >.<
I've been trying to do things for just me, to cheer me and sort of jump start my creative muses again with a good amount of knitting, reading, and playing video games! Plus, with the Illustrator Call for Pop Princess coming to its close, I have been getting pretty excited about that! (The entries I have been getting are amazing! So many talented ladies and gents!)

So enough of me yammering on then, you want to see the new dress! (I heard that sigh of relief, readers!) It took me a long time to make since I've been going through a blue period, but here it is at last!

Black Velvet Alice in Wonderland OP: 

 I went with a similar silhouette and style as Red Bunny Tea Party, featuring the cropped waist and the tempered princess seams running down the front, this time without the lace detailing. The rich, lush black velvet gives ample ruching around the 3/4 leg o' mutton style sleeve which features a key hole design, a sturdy cuff, and antique gold rose buttons.

 Even with the large velvet waist bow pinned at center front, I still didn't feel like the dress was quite complete but I had a hard time figuring out why, particularly since the skirt fabric is incredibly detailed. A few of my darling friends suggested that a detachable peter pan collar would be a cute addition, so after a few variations of style, size, and details I decided on this one. I brought the pattern from the skirt back into the collar, and accented the edge with gold top stitching, and finished it off by neatly and carefully hand stitching on a gold diamond rhinestone trim for a hint of glitter. I like the idea that the collar can be taken off for a more elegant, sophisticated style!

The print, once again, features a black silhouette from Alice in Wonderland. Each featured character, be it Alice or the White Rabbit, is edged in a glittering gold accent. The etchings of gold accenting the dark silhouettes give it a hint of shimmer in the sunlight, which just adds to the elegance in my opinion.

It's not a lot, I know but I promise, I'm going to get back to work!! <3
Buy Black Alice OP Here!

What do you think about the new dress and quality of the images from the new camera? : )
Again, sorry about the long absence, lovelies!

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Call for Illustrators: Fabric Design Collaboration with Pop Princess

My darling readers,

I will keep this brief only because I have been working back to back days, and I am quite sleepy and tired, and not really great feeling. (Back you, evil flu germs, back!!! I can't get sick!) I have just announced a call for illustrators on the EGL community forums, and I wanted to let all of you know about it of course! ^-^ <3

Pop Princess is looking to hook up with another talented artist and make some custom illustrated fabric yardage to be featured at this year's FRILL 2013, all lolita convention, where it will be featured on the runway as well as the boutique! <3

Read full details below! I look forward to working with one of you!

Friday, January 4, 2013

Lolita Blog Carnival: Favorite Indie Brands!

This week's Lolita Blog Carnival topic I have really been looking forward to, especially considering it revolves around the discovering and sharing our favorite lolita indie brands with you, dear readers! As a lolita indie designer, I am always on the look out for other indie brands that I can support, admire, and otherwise promote in the community. While indie brands may not be as popular or well renowned as their big brand counterparts, I find that they are just as deserving (if not more so) of praise and admiration from the niche following they do have, as well as from the lolita community itself.

Being an indie brand, of any kind really, takes a lot of gumption and an entrepreneurial spirit. Anyone can sew/design/create, but not everyone can do it well or with such beauty that the designer's talent, sweat, tears, and heart show through the finest stitching details that make a piece not just an item of clothing but a work of art. It requires an eye and a skill set that (usually, unless we're talking about natural god given talent like Christian Dior, or Coco Chanel, who had no training) is built upon a solid foundation of training in the field one wants to pursue---i.e. essential knowledge of garment construction, professional training of how a garment is put together/finished, pattern making, draping, tailoring, sewing techniques/finishes. All of these things, while being different parts of a whole, are essential in understanding why a garment isn't working, why something isn't laying correctly or fitting properly, or even seems proportionally off or unbalanced. These skills make a garment beautiful, through each little detail, something amazing is created. It is not just about being able to illustrate pretty pictures, but being able to turn those images into a living piece, breathing life into it from something two dimensional to a garment someone can actually wear. You cannot cut corners, every single stitch, every decision you make needs to be a professional, skilled finish that is done with precision and caution.

What I don't think you realize during your training, however, is that in order to be successful, or really even to get started as an indie brand is that you can't just rely on the creative side of your brain for a company to truly blossom or become established. A lot of indie designers are a one person show, meaning they are the creative spirit: the illustrator/designer/seamstress/pattern maker, the entrepreneur: coming up with the idea, research, putting idea into reality, the accountant: finances/keeping the books/Excel Sheets, the PR and Marketing person: running social medias/blogs/promoting the brand, and the businessman: running the shop/keeping track of investments/etc. In a big company, you have entire divisions or floors set aside for each of these tasks, but when you're an indie brand you literally have to invest your time into all it. There are entire days I have to dedicate to just one of these aspects, like logging in every single piece of fabric/trim/material into Excel sheets with dates/money invested/is it in inventory or not, and then check those against the financial spread sheets that calculate the price of each product---the list goes on and on and on.

Indie designers especially I think have to be strong spirited. Even if you are good at all of those things I mentioned above, it can be difficult to carve out a legitimate space for yourself even in a niche market like lolita. You have to gain a following, clients, repeat customers, and establish yourself as someone that is not only able to create, but someone that does it well, that produces quality work. But above all, I think you have to learn to accept the fact that there will be times when nothing is working, you get frustrated and feel like you won't make it, and everything seems to be going wrong. There are days you will break down, and want to give up. However, you have to learn to endure, and just keeping pursuing your dream if it's what you really want. Again, it takes a strong heart/spirit. In all reality, you have to accept that sometimes you will fail, you will make mistakes that cost you money or customers, etc, or that dream may continue to be a dream and really never take off. You have to be a realistic and accept that failure happens, and learn from it, make different decisions, and have enough strength to keep going. Being a brand/a designer can't just be a hobby if you are truly serious about it. It has to be your life, your first love, your every waking moment, where ideas are buzzing about in your head or even trickling into your dreams.

On that note, here are the indie designers that I truly admire for their skill, their eye, and there strong spirits. As indie designers, I admire them as a fellow designer and also as someone humbled by their great talents and often find myself striving to reach their greatness as mentors.

* Haenuli (Click Here

Though I have not yet had the honor of meeting the designer of this indie brand, I was able to see her garments in person at the last fashion show I participated in over the summer in Baltimore at Otakon's Ultimate Lolita Fashion show! And let me tell you, they are even more stunning in person than they are in the photos. If Haenuli's extremely decadent, elaborate, and exceptionally detailed hand illustrated prints do not blow you away at first glance then I can't say that much will. The intricacies of each print is part of what makes her garments so spectacular. I honestly can't imagine the mass amounts of times it takes her to conceptualize these and turn them into custom printed yardage. But my heavens, is her work beautiful! If the prints aren't your style, then take a closer look at the gorgeous tailoring, cuts, and fits of each her pieces---I believe they could rival some of the nicest big brand names, if not best them. I also adore her extereme attention to the little details---these are what make a garment amazing.

Source: Chokelate Tumblr
Source: Chokelate Tumblr
Credits: Haenuli

*I Do Declare (I.D.D.) (Click Here)

There are truly many things that I adore about Kelsey's work, but first and foremost is the designer herself. If you have ever had the pleasure of meeting her in person, you will know that Kelsey is one of the sweetest girls with such a light hearted spirit, and contagious laugh and smile. Her spirit radiates throughout her, filling the room with a kind of glowing warmth. Her designs are kindred spirits of who she is, ones with sweeping lines of elegance, tailored and classy cuts, and finished with the finest, most elaborate details. If you have had the chance to see IDD in person or on the runway, you too will be filled with a sense of nostalgia, of being swept back in time in a sort of Victorian whirlwind romance, and struck by the fine illustration skills that Kelsey prints on her garments.  I, myself, am not a terribly skilled illustrator but am always star struck by the amount of fine detail that is put into Kelsey's illustrations for her garments.

Credits: I Do Declare
Credits: I Do Declare
Credits: I Do Declare

Discover other neat Lolita indie brands/designers by reading articles from the rest of the LBC! :


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