Sunday, 7 February 2010

Subject-change Sunday: A little bit of indie shopping

Sometimes I feel like I get so caught up in beauty that I need a little respite in other types of frivolity, or something completely unrelated. So, I'm making Sunday a day to talk about something a little different, a day where I can talk about myself, the things that have been bothering me, a completely trivial outpouring of thoughts. Whatever it may be, if you're only here for the beauty then feel free to skip over.

Like many women, I love to shop and all too often fall for the pricey allure of pretty things made by huge corporations who turn cheap fabrics and labour into diaphanous tops and dresses to be coveted. However, sometimes I like to shop off the highstreet, where the competition for the last size 10 for the latest must-have is a little less crowded and infinitely more fun if you're into the whole window shopping thing. I think that 'indie shopping', so it is termed, immediately connotes one of those 'holier-than-thou' attitudes, like it's the smug hybrid car owner of the shopping world, which is probably an attitude carried over and perpetuated from the music genre of the same name, which often comes across as the epitome of smuggery.

Nevertheless, I don't really see shopping indie in the sense of 'my purse is more indie and original than yours'; in fact I see it as a really friendly community where sellers are willing to go the extra mile to ensure you get exceptional goods. And there are some amazingly talented people out there with lovely products which are overshadowed by the current highstreet brands. What is sad, though, is that the majority of these little quirky brands are situated in the U.S., and sometimes the shipping prices and possibly customs charges are just a little too high. However, today I'm going to share with you a few of my favourite little indie buys and/or companies, and show you their wares.

One of the first companies I want to tell you about is Mogo Goods, a company whose mantra is 'modern goods from scratch'. They stock a variety of kitschy-cute little products, but the real star of their shop is something I've ordered time and time again and I love the little pop of colour and fun it adds into the otherwise dark recesses of my handbag.

It is the UFO snap wallet, which has evolved from a small dynasty of similar-but-much-smaller products, the first being the 'snap case', which was smaller than a credit card. This is the perfect purse for me to keep all my cards, change and various detritus (plectrums, photos of Kiwi, a silver loveheart...) and I've re-ordered this more than a few times. That's not to say it doesn't last a long time, but once it got a bit grubby in my bag, so I tried to clean it with a toothbrush and some gentle washing detergent... Which ruined the whole thing :( The fabric is custom-made by Mogo and they have a few other prints, such as a foosball theme and one featuring balloon dogs :)

A company which had been on the periphery of my consciousness until recently are Box and Flea, who are a duo with a small and sweet line of bandanas and bags. I'd been eyeing up one of their products for a long time until Kiwi surprised me with their Swallow Bandana for my birthday in the colour coal. This little company say their ethos is to make a product which will become someone's favourite, a treasure for years to come, and the little bandana I own is testament to the passion they have for their work. I'm excited to see what comes next from this store.

Another little venture which has caught my attention has to be the fashion exploits of Effie's Heart, who are doing beautiful things with fabric and ruffles in a way which inspires me to want to dress differently and live in a different era. Their taste in fabric, colour and design is just lovely and they have an eye for little details which make their products stand out, but not too loudly. My favourite thing about Effie's Heart is that they are unashamedly retro and build upon vintage stylings to create items which are incredibly unique. One of my favourite things I've seen from them are their riding tights, but I wouldn't say no to one of their beautiful dresses.

Etsy, of course, has always been the Queen Bee of indie shopping, almost a friendlier eBay with much nicer sellers and fewer people leaving gratuitous negatives when their item doesn't arrive one day after they've ordered it. I've always had an awesome experience with all the sellers on there who will often design you a product from scratch if you ask. Etsy is one of those sites, however, where sometimes you have to trawl through a lot of... let's say crap... to find something awesome. With an ever-expanding user-base, there's a lot to see and not all of it's good. They're a friendly bunch though, so I'll share with you my favourite picks:
  • For quite some time I've been admiring these lovely Baby Pussy Willow Earrings, which have obviously been crafted by a very talented individual with a lot more lovely items to coo over in their shop.
  • I've also been eyeing up this Cat Ear Beanie, which, despite the terrible mannequin head which features largely in the picture, looks cozy and cute without being too twee and Hello Kitty-ish for my pink-avoiding tastes.
  • And finally, if you've got a little kitty-cat who is a bit of a stoner, then Maisonwares has got the most amazing catnip toy for your pointy-eared friend: it's a catnip toy in the shape of a moustache! Whose cat wouldn't want one?! (My little cat decimated this in a matter of hours). Maisonwares are currently re-vamping their web store, however, so sit tight on this one.

1: UFO Snap Wallet, $35, Mogo Goods
2: Swallow Bandanna, $35, Box and Flea
3: Riding Tights, $36, Effie's Heart
4: Baby Pussy Willow Earrings, $17.50, Starrydesigns @ Etsy
5: Cat Beanie Hat, $30, Pixiebell @ Etsy
6: Mustache Catnip Toy, $3, Maisonwares @ Etsy

Another one of my favourite little sites to browse is Of Cabbages and Kings, which holds within a miscellany of quirky and cute products ranging from hair slides to egg cups. They have a simply beautiful selection of necklaces (some rather pricey!), but all very classy and understated items with a whimsical twist. For me, there are a few stand-out items that I just adore:

All Of Cabbages and Kings.

So there we are. A few of my favourite picks from independent online sellers who really pack a punch. I hope you all enjoyed :)

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