Posts Tagged ‘American designers’


August is almost here and that means not long off is back to school, back to work, and a new season of fashions. Oh, and did someone say Christmas in July? How about The Holidays in August?

To get a head start on it all, my favorite outing is the American Craft Council Show at Fort Mason Center, August 2-4, 2019. This is our chance to check out high-end handmade items such as furniture, home décor, fashions, and jewelry. Think new for fall, think gifts, think one-of-a-kind.

The American Craft Council Show is the largest juried show west of the Rockies and one of a handful of shows across the country that highlight the best of the best in handcrafted works of art. Over 250 American artists gather at Fort Mason to display and sell their unique wares.


Laura Tanzer. Photo courtesy of ACC.

Among the array of new fashion designers this year is award winning Laura Tanzer from Tuscon, AZ. Laura designs simple silhouettes in natural fibers. She offers jackets, vests, tops and bottoms all USA made. With a commitment to sustainability, accessories such as scarves and handbags are made from remnant material. Check her out at booth #518.


Bela Monde. Photo courtesy of ACC.

Bela Monde by Lisa Limer is a lounge-wear line from Providence, RI. As a contributing photographer for Conde Nast, Lisa has traveled the world. It’s while experiencing new cultures that she gets inspiration for her designs. Made in USA from silk, each piece screams luxury. See for yourself at booth #303.



Nettle. Photo courtesy of ACC.

The local San Francisco line Nettle combines a little femininity with urban edge. Designers Alex Lunt and Lili Pham are committed to sustainable small batch collections, which means you won’t see yourself coming and going. I see some Asian influence in the unstructured silhouettes. Stop by  booth #614-2


MakeShift. Photo courtesy of ACC.

MakeShift Accessories  is Devin Johnson from Northfield, MN. Devin takes found metal objects and recycles them into new pieces such as money clips and bracelets. Find Devin in booth #420.



MoMurray. Photo courtesy of ACC.

Totes! Wallets! Pouches! Oakland resident Morgan Abbott from MoMurray makes them all from waxed canvas on a old industrial sewing machine. With added pockets and details like copper rivets and top-stitching, these bags are practical and stylish. Find MoMurray at booth #812.



These are just some of the impressive artisans featured at the ACC show. Additionally there will be events such as food and wine tasting, crafting with local artisans, and more.

The American Craft Council Show is at The Fort Mason Center, Festival Pavilion, Marina Boulevard at Buchanan Street, San Francisco. $14 one-day pass. Children 12 and under are free. Become a member of the American Craft Council and receive entry to ALL THREE days of the American Craft Council Show in San Francisco and a one-year subscription to American Craft magazine.

This is a summer event not to be missed!


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Ms. McCardell in her “Futuristic Dress” cut only of triangles. Photo: Erwin Blumenfeld. 1945.

Sports clothes changed our lives because they changed our thinking about clothes. Perhaps they, more than anything else, made us independent women. In the days of dependent women – fainting women, delicate flowers, laced to breathless beauty – a girl couldn’t cross the street without help. Her mission in life was to look beautiful and seductive while the men took care of the world’s problems. Today women can share the problems (and possibly help with them) because of their new-found freedom.

–  Claire McCardell (1905-1958), award-winning American fashion designer.

This quote was taken from an essay Ms. McCardell wrote for Sports Illustrated in 1955. What revolutionary thoughts! And in 1955 – we had such a long way to go.

Ms. McCardell was known in the 1930s through the 1950s for her innovative use of sports wear elements in women’s fashions. Like Chanel before her, Ms. McCardell broke barriers and designed clothing for women in which we could move, breathe, and live while still looking attractive. She was the first designer of her era to stop considering Paris fashions and focus on a new American look. This new style was more casual favoring every day fabrics such as denim, calico, and stretch jerseys in drapped and wrap styling. McCardell’s fashions did away with girdles, shoulder pads, and heavy construction. Comfort was key and she designed always with the idea of – “clothes should be useful.”

I agree with Ms. McCardell, however, I wonder what she would think of the way women dress today. We seem to have taken her ideas too far, in Uggs, flip-flops and yoga gear, completely sacrificing style for comfort and ease. I believe Ms. McCardell was striving for both.

Cycling ensemble including McCardell's signature Superman Hood. Photo: Kay Bell. 1944.

Cycling ensemble including McCardell’s signature Superman Hood. Photo: Kay Bell. 1944.

I just finished reading Claire McCardell: Redefining Modernism, by Kohle Yohannan and Nancy Nolf (Abrams, Inc., 1998). This was a really interesting read covering the designer’s early life and entire career from her schooling at Parsons to working for Hattie Carnegie to her early death in 1958. I particularly enjoyed all the fabulous photos included, which exemplifies how we can successfully combine comfort with style.

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