Every year at this time, the jewelry industry falls silent for about a week as jewelers take their mandatory holidays. With tumbleweeds rolling through the trade, there isn’t all that much brand new to say about jewelry. So it seems like a good time to spotlight three talented and inspiring designers working in related fields. I’m especially mad about the first one:
Nick Fouquet, hatmaker
Nick Fouquet looks like the love child of actress Kate Hudson and the Mad Hatter (with a dash of Brad Pitt). At his atelier in Venice Beach, Calif., he makes badass hats beloved by Madonna and Pharrell Williams (for prices starting at $900). His website is bitchin’, as is the fantastic video that introduces it (check out the clever timeline on his unconventional About page). Fouquet’s version of California living is almost too beautiful and too groovy to be believed—his chapeaus, however, are the real deal. Made of distressed, slightly misshapen, sustainably harvested beaver fur felt, they exude style and panache without sacrificing originality. Each one comes with a strike-anywhere match tucked inside its brim.
Poppy Barley, custom shoes
From their headquarters in Edmonton, Canada, sisters Justine and Kendall Barber are redefining the footwear business. They founded Poppy Barley in 2012 after Justine returned from a trip to Bali, where she’d had a pair of custom boots made. The experience sparked an idea for bringing custom shoes to the masses. Named after the poppy seeds and barleycorns used by medieval cobblers in England as units of measurement, the company, which makes all its shoes at a factory in León, Mexico, is committed to fair wages and total transparency (about everything from markups to materials to factory conditions). Their showroom is decorated with photos of their customers’ feet outfitted in their shoes (which they select on Instagram). But it is their brilliant ethos about luxury that I most adore: “#LuxuryForThePeople. To us, luxury is not a statement to the world about riches. Luxury is a commitment to craftsmanship, thoughtful design, fair profits, and human connection.”
Clare V, handbags
Last year, when I flew to Detroit for a day and a night to crash the Vogue-Shinola party celebrating the exhibit of Bruce Weber photography at the Detroit Institute of Arts, I met Clare Vivier, a Los Angeles–based bag designer who’s friends with the creative team at Shinola (through mutual collaborator Steven Alan). Her flagship location in the Silverlake neighborhood of L.A. (not far from the Shinola boutique that recently opened there) is home base for her minimalist creations, which she began making in 2008 after noticing a need for functional yet fashionable laptop cases. Her leather products—including monogrammable totes, sacks, clutches, wallets, and shoulder bags—are the perfect blend of French glamour and California cool (for proof, check out her gorgeous Instagram feed).