Posts Tagged ‘Kristen Caven’

Author and artist Kristen Caven says she wanted to start a fashion trend but, she’s not a designer. So instead, she wrote a story that combines her interests in fashion (specifically the dirndl), German culture, and current societal issues. Her latest play, called The Dirndl Diaspora, is actually a reading with animated (and super cool) paper dolls!

Dirndl images by Leah Vass.

Caven initially had the idea to hold a dirndl fashion show at Oaktoberfest, an annual celebration of all things German in her Oakland Diamond District neighborhood. But with the pandemic in charge this year that was not meant to be, at least not in person, however, she did receive a grant from the Diamond Improvement Association to write a play and a six week writing frenzy began.

The Dirndl Diaspora tells the story of a rising Oakland fashion designer, Savannah James, whose signature look is mashups of dirndls – the dirndl silhouette created with fabrics from other cultures, such as Scottish wool tartans. The audience gets a peek into Savannah’s colorful studio and to listen in on conversations she has with her diverse clientele. They talk about history, current events, travel, life!

Caven says, “It’s my dream for this play, or a version of it, to be staged each year at Oaktoberfest (Oakland’s version of Oktoberfest) and create a focus for more cultural creativity and camaraderie among women through fashion shows and storytelling. The stitching together of multicultural fabrics is a metaphor for stitching together many cultures, as we do here in Oakland. We need to get better at it.”

We do indeed need to get better at blending and appreciating all the fabulous cultures that make up America. I see The Dirndl Diaspora as an excellent educational tool; a fun and engaging way to teach kids about history and different cultures. But it’s not just for kids, this unique show has something for all of us.

The Dirndl Diaspora is available to watch now through November 14, 2020. Click here for more information.

Congratulations to Kristen Caven and all the people who helped get The Dirndl Diaspora out into the world.

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Some of the most inspiring efforts to stand up against bullying are sartorial.

A nationwide movement to wear pink shirts in protest of bullying everywhere started when high schoolers in one Canada town passed out pink shirts from the Goodwill and discount stores for seniors to wear in support of a ninth grader who had been bullied for wearing pink.

ea2459b61afb11e2914322000a1f984e_61Students in three high schools in San Francisco’s East Bay towns wore skirts on buses and to schools to show solidarity for an agender senior whose skirt had been lit on fire on the bus.

Gang Up for Good’s Mean Stinks campaign has two million girls painting their pinky fingernails blue to show they won’t stand for bullying.

And here’s a great story about boys! Young football players, rather than “beating up on the bullies” as tough guys tend to want to do when they’re feeling hurt and upset, dressed up instead to show they were with the target. Way to disengage from the bullying dynamic!


Kids at school often bullied Danny — they didn’t understand why he wore a dress shirt or fedora each day, and they didn’t understand why he couldn’t talk. Danny has apraxia of speech, a motor disorder that makes it difficult for him to communicate. Kids would go up to him and ask, “Why can’t you talk? Just talk.” He’d come home from school distraught.

But a group of the boys on the Bridgewater Badgers’ football team, where Danny is the official water manager, wouldn’t stand for this. Their solution? A “Danny Appreciation Day,” where they would all imitate Danny’s suave style and proudly go to school. In the Life Is Good video, you can watch scenes from that day — more than 40 boys wore suits. Danny led the march.


Kristen Caven is a cartoonist, illustrator (she designed the fabulous OverDressed for Life logo), and author. She recently co-authored the book, The Bullying Antidote: Superpower Your Kids for Life with her mother, Dr. Louise Hart.

October is Anti-Bullying Month.

Thanks for the great post, Kristen.



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Image courtesy of Kristen Caven.

Image courtesy of Kristen Caven.

Like most women, Kristen Caven (cartoonist, writer, and the fabulous artist who created my logo) loves shoes. And when she was part of the dance troupe known as the Decobelles, she and the other Belles often got together to chat about their mutual obsession. It was these chats that made Kristen want to write a musical about shoes. She envisioned a chorus line of lovely ladies all sporting a different style, everything from Converse to Louboutin.

At the same time, Kristen had been pondering the fairytale, Cinderella. She says the story didn’t make sense to her. “Why did Cinderella have to have such dainty feet?” she asks. “She was a maid!” Kristen found herself wondering what it meant to find a shoe that fits. And then it clicked – she would write a musical Cinderella, a modern Cinderella called The Souls of Her Feet.

Kristen and her writing partner, Michael O’Dell have been working on The Souls of Her Feet for ten years and as part of the process, Kristen decided to also put it in novel form, which is now available on Amazon.

Our 21st century Cinderella is teenager Ashley St. Helens, an orphaned teenager who lives with her dysfunctional step-family, likes to clean and … she has the biggest feet in town – size 13. With feet like that, no way is she going to the prom. What shoes would she wear? Ask Harry, Ashley’s Fairy Godfather, who shows up just in the nick time to sprinkle some magic and song:


You know, girl, a rose may be a rose may be a rose, but:

Anyone who says a shoe’s a shoe is just a shoe eschews the wisdom of the new, the few, the women who know through and through that whatever you do you’re on a path, be it to town or Timbuktu, so blue, ecru, or any hue, your shoes give you direction that is true.


— I guess they do.


Footwear is important but you’re never fully dressed without a smile, so it’s essential that your tootsies honestly reflect your style. If the shoe fits, and it’s comfy, disregard the fashion file, or walk a mile in someone else’s moccasins, once in a while


— Ah yes. Be versatile.

Harry reaches for shoes on racks, from above, and in bins to illustrate his points.


When you accessorize the hemisphere beneath your thighs, remember: there’s a purpose for every variety of shoe if you are wise; wear fuzzy slippers to keep warm, and steel-toed Docs to vandalize; Flip-flops for the beach and for sports, Air Jordans help you to fantasize.

and, my dear, they come in your size…

The Souls of Her Feet, by Kristen Caven is a clever, fun read loaded with vintage shoe detail and a bit of shoe philosophy, to boot!

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Have you spotted what’s new on OverDressed for Life? Take a close look.

See it? I have a hat!

Since it was time for another run of business cards I decided that perhaps it was time for a logo update as well. After pondering just what to do, I realized that there’s nothing better to perk up an outfit than a hat. So I contacted the creator of the original logo, artist extraordinaire Kristen Caven, and asked her to come up with some hats.

It was a difficult choice, I must say.

net hat

I really liked the netting on this one.

feather hat

Who doesn’t appreciate an extra feather in her cap?

Ah, cloche hats are my favorite and this was a very close second.

Ah, cloche hats are my favorite and this was a very close second.


In the end I chose the picture hat. I like the rakish angle and the larger size offers a nice balance to the whole picture. Hey, do you have one of the original OverDressed for Life postcards? Hang on to it, it’s now a classic.

Would you like a new postcard? Become a subscriber (if you’re not one already) and then e-mail your address to: overdressedforlife@yahoo.com. I’ll get one right out to you.

Hats off to Kristen Caven for another job well done.

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