Tasmanian-born designer Rebecca Martin started the fashion label Alpha Cruxis earlier this summer from her studio in Neuköln, Berlin. Its launch collection consists of five geometrically shaped handbags that Martin meticulously handcrafts from rigid 3mm-thick Italian leather, using methods she likens more to carpentry than fashion design — sanding, carving, etc. Shot by Martin’s friend Monika Holtzer, the lookbook for the collection pairs the dark, angular bags with colorful everyday objects like balloons, fennel, screwdrivers, and onion bags.
In April, we introduced you to BYCO, a production platform and online shop for custom clothing designs submitted by up-and-coming fashion talents. But BYCO also had a small section for housewares, where designers could apply imagery to a standardized selection of pillows, duvets, and curtains — an idea that co-founders Jesse and Meredith Finkelstein have taken one step further with their new spinoff project, Print All Over Me. The site harnesses the same overseas manufacturing capabilities the pair utilize for BYCO, but instead of producing custom pieces, it offers designers a choice of eight blanks onto which they can apply any image file — think CafePress, but with shirts, sweatpants, hats, pillows, totes, and scarfs that are actually fashion-forward (Jesse’s also the designer behind the New York label JF&Son). Print All Over Me is technically still in beta, but we were so excited about its possibilities that we invited a few friends — Will Bryant, Mel Nguyen, New Friends, Clay Hickson, and Tim Colmant —to post a few items just for us. Read on to check out and shop their mini-collections, or create and sell your own designs.
Renato D’Agostin was born and raised in Venice, Italy, “where for most people photography in those days meant weddings and passport pictures,” he says. Yet the city did manage to nurture his future career, if only inadvertently so: After falling in love with a photograph of an elephant that his mother won in a town prize drawing, he commandeered his father’s Nikon, signed up for a local photography class, and spent his teenage years documenting scenes from everyday Venetian life, a process he’s hewed towards ever since. Still, he considers his first foray away from home in 2002, on a road trip through the capitals of Western Europe, to be his most formative experience. “I took that trip to see if interpreting reality was what I really wanted to do,” D’Agostin recalls. “From that moment on, I never had any doubt. I felt like traveling was the place where I wanted to live, and the camera was my extension.”
It’s hard to say, looking at the image above —with its freestanding kiln-like fireplace, its red-palette Persian rug, and its chic indoor garden — whether the interior featured is genuinely vintage or simply one of the excellent contemporary facsimiles that populate board after Pinterest board these days. But in some ways, that’s precisely the point. The interior above, featured this week on Herman Miller’s excellent WHY blog, was designed in the 1950s by George Nelson, and like many of Nelson’s designs, it is as usable and contemporary today as it was half a century ago. Sure there are dead giveaways of the time period in other photographs — the weird stone flooring that looks almost like linoleum, the predominantly mustard-colored rug — but the essential lines of the wood and steel-frame structure make the place seem somewhat timeless. It helps that the house was recently meticulously restored by its current owner; it also doesn’t hurt that these images were taken by Sight Unseen contributor Paul Barbera, who has a knack for making any old thing look new and lovely. In any case, it’s a beautiful story, filled with many more photos and much more text than we’ve excerpted here. Read on, and the click through at the end for the full story.
The practice of two artists collaborating by mail is nothing new; after all, that’s how Peter Shire communicated ideas to his Memphis colleagues back in Milan and how Alex Segreti and Kelly Rakowski of New Friends got their start (with the former in Philly and the latter in New York.) But what happens when you elevate that practice to something more like a parlor game? We here at Sight Unseen had been wondering that ourselves (and an exhibition on that very theme is in the works, fingers crossed!) which is why we were especially tickled when we found out that Debbie Carlos and Doug Johnston — two of our favorites — had recently happened upon the exact same idea. The Michigan-based photographer and the Brooklyn-based designer spent the summer creating a series of objects under the name “Material Material,” for which they shipped each other the raw materials from which they could fashion several objects. The results were recently shown at the San Francisco shop Little Paper Planes. We asked Johnston and Carlos to take us through the project from start to finish.