Ask a Designer

Photographer Turned Fashion Designer




New York-based photographer Dom Smith has fused his striking photographic aesthetic with his love of fashion to create a unique range of T-shirts under his own AntoineDom label. Smith’s tees are cut longer and slimmer than most of the mass-produced men’s tees on the market, making them the perfect complement to a pair of skinny jeans and boots. The images adorning the jerseys are taken from Smith’s extensive portfolio and include fashion portraits as well as still lifes. Particular favorites of ours are the trash bag caught in barbed wire and the pensive, black frame-bedecked “officer.”

Content courtesy of JCReport. 

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Lining Up at Henri Bendel’s


purpleSo twice a year NYC’s famous Henri Bendel’s holds a search for new indie designers looking for an in to the industry. Designers will start to line up outside starting at 2am in the morning. I was not going to get up that early, however I did get there at 7:30am and at that time was still 2 city blocks away from the entrance. While about a thousand people continued to add on with every hour or so.My time paid off thanks to the hands of the fashion gods and my brilliant reps at Bui-Lavry PR who helped me display and sell my treasured head pieces. Bendel’s is giving me a time slot to host my own Angel Lust trunk show near the end of April, which will coincide with the debut of my items on “Gossip Girl” !!!I’m going to write more about the event on my personal blog along with some very helpful tips for all future designers who want to stand in line. Visit me May Anastasia

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maurices Project Handbag Finalist : Phil Hatchet

Project Handbag finalist Phil Hatchet gives us the scoop on his unique creation, designing for men, and the art of fashion. Read on…

How would you describe your handbag?

Clean lines, intriguing surfaces, and attention to detail were all key for me during the designing process of my bag. A woman’s bag should always tell a story of sort and I wanted to create a bag that said something strong about it’s owner.

Where did you draw inspiration?

I am an admirer of the classical and somewhat a nostalgic aesthetic. In old film noir movies, the men’s shiny black patent leather shoes have always drawn my attention. The way light plays off the surface and the small punched holes along the scalloped edges speak volumes to me and I knew I wanted to translate that feeling into a bag. I placed small gathers in the center front of my design to give the piece a modern feel while drawing from the classic stylings of fine Italian leather shoes for the rest of the piece. The bag is both empowering and distinctly feminine.

So have you always wanted to be a handbag designer?

Though I enjoyed this small challenge immensely, I am not typically a bag designer. In fact, I rarely design pieces for women. Menswear is a notoriously overlooked and underdeveloped facet of the fashion world and I love creating edgy and fresh looks for our male population. Controversial at times, my designs consistently push the envelope and I would have it no other way.

Describe your love for fashion?

Fashion is art. And as art, the purpose of fashion is to communicate. Whether an idea, a feeling, a statement or whatnot, if the clothes speak strongly, they are successful. Sometimes political, other times more intimate thoughts, I want my clothes to speak beyond “looking good”.

Vote for Phil Hatchet’s creation at

Popularity: 1% [?]

maurices Project Handbag Finalist: David Tezanos

A brief interview with Project Handbag Finalist David Tezanos.

project_handbag_david.gifFI: What was your inspiration when creating this handbag?
DZ: The sunshine state..
FI: Have you always wanted to be a handbag designer?
DZ: I have always wanted to be a handbag designer. i just love the fashion statement handbag’s make. I’ve been working hard and this year I will make my statement……

FI: How is fashion a part of your daily life?
DZ: Fashion is life and life is my runway…

FI: Describe your style?
DZ: Unique, eccentric, loud, colorful, bold, sophisticated and classy.


Vote for this handbag at maurices.

Popularity: 2% [?]

maurices Project Handbag Finalist: Cathy Bullington

n_bullingtoncathy_0219.jpgFI: What was your inspiration when creating this handbag?

CB: My muses for this design were my students who are little fashionistas in the making and some fierce spectator pumps I had recently seen in a fashion magazine. The pumps reminded me of some my grandmas had worn back in their days as flappers when the 20’s were Roarin’, thus the Retro. Bringing that style a modern twist by adding the faux stones gave it the Metro. I think the faux stones could be in opaque onyx or chalk white. I had actually drawn a couple of design ideas, but time after time people picked this one as being “HOT!”

FI: Have you always wanted to be a handbag designer?
CB: I have always wanted to be a fashion designer and certainly handbags are part of that. I have designed and made clothes for myself, friends and family as well as jewelry and handbags. My mom had also wanted to be a fashion designer and she taught me many things about art and sewing and style. I am currently learning as much as I can about shibori (stitch shaped resist dye) so I can make my own custom fabrics. As a middle school art teacher, I have put my fashion design skills to use making costumes for school plays and musicals as well as doing backdrops and special effects. Two other art teachers in my school corporation, Liz and Libby, also have that fashion urge and we have collaborated on designs for textiles and fashions.

FI: How is fashion a part of your daily life?

CB: Isn’t fashion a part of everyone’s daily life? My dear hubby Mark is very tolerant of the overflowing
closet and the projects that sometimes take over the living room. He is working on building me a steamer for steaming my dyed silk yardage. My niece Mallory is my fave shopping companion as she is brutally honest about what looks fab and what looks flab. I love to cook too and I think food needs to look good as well as taste good. You need to surround yourself with beauty to have a beautiful life. As Coco Chanel said “Fashion is not something that exists in dresses only. Fashion is in the sky, in the street, fashion has to do with ideas, the way we live, what is happening.”

FI: Describe your style?
CB: My style is very eclectic. I don’t worship one particular style. My style is what makes me feel good
that day. I like to mix pieces from different stores and designers with my own designs to put together my own look. I consider myself a BBW and I am so thrilled to see stores like Maurices offering plus
size clothing that not only fits, but looks good and makes me feel good. Now if we can get some of the hot designers to recognize the BBWs and their wonderful curves…

Vote for this bag at maurices.

Popularity: 5% [?]

maurices Project Handbag Finalist: Christina Oertel

FI: What was your inspiration when creating this handbag?
CO: I was inspired by many things: the classic high-end bags I’ve always admired; the great layering trends; and most importantly, with spring on its way, I wanted to keep it fresh by adding a bold, colorful print on the inside. As a young mom, I wanted to keep things practical so I played with the size and added pockets.

FI: Have you always wanted to be a handbag designer?
CO: The thought of being a handbag designer, or any type of fashion designer, would pretty much surpass my wildest dreams. So yes… that would be a definite ‘yes’.

FI: How is fashion a part of your daily life?
CO: Although I am a graphic designer by trade, I fit in my fashion fixes throughout the day. In the morning, its choosing an outfit that fits my mood; throughout the day, I’m surfing fashion websites while eating my lunch and on breaks; and after I put the kids to sleep, I’m all over the lastest magazines. On a lucky day, I’ll even catch a Fashion Television podcast on my mp3 player.

FI: Describe your style?
CO: My style changes from day-to-day … as well as season-to-season: I love trying new things! In the summer, my style leans toward clean, classic, easy-going and girly-bohemian. Living in Wisconsin, my style has to be a little more practical in the winter months. This winter, I focused on great winter coats and knee-high boots. My biggest celebrity inspirations would be Jessica Alba, Jessica Simpson, Kate Hudson and Rachel Bilson.


Vote for Christina Oertel at

Popularity: 3% [?]

maurices Project Handbag Finalist : Sara Kahrs

mefashionrevue.JPGWhat inspired you to design this handbag?

I love fashion. I enjoy being creative with my style. I have been in the clothing project in 4-H since I was 8 years old, and part of that clothing project is being judged in a “fashion revue” which involves me modeling the garment I sewed, with all accessories I believe enhance my garment. I have constructed everything from an eyelet sun top and capri pants when I was 9, to a short tweed jacket with a black skirt when I was 13, to a mid-calf length red wool coat when I was 15, and I am proud that I have won in several divisions on a state level.

Accessories are a very important part of bringing the whole look together, and the proper handbag is of utmost importance! It must compliment the garment you are wearing, as well as be functional and comfortable! I learned about this contest while I was shopping with my mom one evening. She knew I liked to sketch clothing and encouraged me to try to design a handbag to enter. I thought about what I like in a handbag…one with comfortable handles, with colors that compliment many outfits so I don’t have to do a handbag switch every time I walk out of the house, one that is not so top-heavy that it falls over when I set it down, one that is comfortable enough to carry to the mall but large enough to hold my things! Every girl wants that perfect handbag!

Have you always wanted to be a handbag designer?

I have wanted to be in fashion design, including handbags and hats, for as long as I can remember. As soon as I began making my own clothing for competition, and after having toured the clothing and textile department at the University of Missouri-Columbia, and after attending a style show at Stephens College in Columbia, Missouri, I knew I wanted to go down that career path. I find it fascinating and challenging!


Sara’s submission. Vote for it now!!!

How is fashion a part of your everyday life?

Fashion is a part of my everyday life because no matter where I go, I want to show my personal style. You can tell a lot about a person just by what they are wearing. Like it or not, we are judged by our look and the clothing we wear. Our fashion and clothing choices are all parts of our complete body image package. When we look good, we feel good and show more confidence! When I start my day looking my best, wearing the right shoes and carrying the perfect handbag, my whole day goes better!

Describe your style.

I feel like I have a very unique style. I absolutely love to wear my skinny jeans and high heels, or my turtleneck with the jumper over it with my legwarmers and heels. But, I also love the elegant look. One of my idols is Audrey Hepburn, I love her look. I like to take old styles, and make them more modern and up-to-date, so as to bring them back, but at the same time, make the look my own. I live in a small town, and love to go to larger cities to shop.


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maurices Project Handbag Finalist : Robin Lee Simmons

When Fashion Indie teamed up with maurices to produce Project Handbag, we we’re prepared for a full helping of handbags to judge and select from. “Full helping” was definitely an understatement. We were downright stuffed. Hundreds designer-bio-2.jpgof handbags we’re submitted from all across the US. Designers from all walks of life and of all ages submitted handbags that ranged from amazingly inventive to down right illegal (woman who submitted a picture of a fall 2006 Ferragamo bag, yeah, we’re talking about you).

In the end, once we whittled down the entries, we we’re left with ten promising handbags, from ten unique designers. Robin Lee Simmons (pict left) clutch caught our attention for its use of vintage fabric, intelligent design (why every clutch doesn’t have a handle is beyond me) and diamond accenting. We got a chance to chat with the designer about her creation and love of fashion.

Fashion Indie: What was your inspiration when creating this handbag?

Robin Lee: I have always been inspired by vintage fashion. Vintage clothing and accessories are timeless, elegant and a work of art. I love the simplicity and elegance of this bag. The classic appeal is essential to every fashionista!

The Winning Bag - Vote for it at

FI: Have you always wanted to be a handbag designer?

RL: Working as a photographer & makeup artist I have been around fashion and beauty for years. It wasn’t until I was pregnant with my son and became unsatisfied with a diaper bag purchase that I decided “I know how to sew, I will make my own!” I designed a diaper bag and then the ball started rolling…I needed chic little handbags that would fit right inside the bag to make my life easier, but still allowing me the fashion freedom!

FI: How is fashion a part of your daily life?

RL: Like all girlie-girls, I am addicted to clothes, shoes, jewelry and BAGS!! I change my handbag depending on my outfit…just like my shoes!

FI: Describe your style?

RL: My style is Vintage-inspired with a touch of SASS!

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maurices Project Handbag Finalist : Kate Weimer

We catch up with Project Handbag finalist Kate Weimer about her design and desire to become a handbag designer.

What was your inspiration when creating this handbag?

My inspiration when I created the purse was the fabric itself. It was from my grandma’s fabric stash and I think herringbone is a cool weave. When I showed the completed bag to my parents, they told me my grandma (who died last year) had used the rest of the fabric to make a skirt.
Have you always wanted to be a handbag designer?

Ever since high school, when I created my own gym bag out of a towel, I have wanted to be a hangbag designer. I have sold purses to friends as well as at craft shows. Hopefully this contest will help me get noticed!
How is fashion a part of your daily life?

Fashion is fun. I love to watch shows like Project Runway and America’s Next Top Model because they show the stylish, interesting things you can do with a piece of cloth. I used to work at JoAnn Fabrics, and fabric inspires me every time I see a unique print or weave or texture.
Describe Your Personal Style

My personal style is a mix of old and new. I love to layer pieces in interesting ways, and my signature is accessories–jewelry, belts, pins, etc. I like shopping at Goodwill because it’s like a treasure hunt, and I like mixing the pieces I find there with the rest of my wardrobe. I don’t think fashion has to be expensive. And I definitely like to mix it up. My style is always changing!
Why do you shop at maurices?

maurices has great clothes. They cater to the category I fall into–I’m not a Juniors size anymore because I have hips and boobs, but I’m not a Missy size either. I’m just starting my career and maurices provides quality and fashion at a good price.

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Golden Oldies

Looking for all the classic indie goodness you’ve come to love.

CLICK HERE to be taken to our old site and view some classic posts.

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