Getting to Know Skyler Man Jewelry

The new Skyler Man collection, The World is Yours, shares a commonality of the natural world;  natural stones, pearls, gold and silver in all of their jewelry.  The jewelry is rich in style as well as substance – it will not lose value as the seasons change, but become a timeless staple in your wardrobe. The World is Yours is dedicated to the distinction between the romantic and dark side of nature. Pre-order pieces from the newly launched collection here!


I really appreciate the message you have behind your jewelry. How did you got involved with sustainable goods and what inspired you to move towards that?

We pride ourselves on the point that Skyler Man is an eco-responsible brand and we aim to be as sustainable as possible in everything we do. Not only do we use recycled gold and silver, as well as conflict-free diamonds, but we are committed to this pursuit even behind the scenes. Our packaging materials, our tissue paper, our stamps, ribbons, mannequins, everything we use, is either recycled or recyclable, locally produced and made in the USA. It’s really just our signature, what we believe in and this philosophy extends beyond our jewelry line and into the way we want to appreciate the world because, why not?

If you can minimize your carbon footprint, then why not do that? But also, jewelry is not so much a philosophy but an aesthetic luxury, and truth be told, it’s also the way a piece of jewelry looks and feels when it’s hand-made that really led me on this journey. I decided right from the beginning how I wanted the jewelry to look, and that required it to be hand-made, which required local production, which led to local refineries that utilized recycled materials. I then sourced local companies which offered conflict-free stones and gems. So I would say that my designs and desire towards a certain aesthetic is what originally drove the need for a sustainable product.I wanted that look and feel, so it became a win-win.


What was your designing journey like? Growing up, is this what you aspired to do?

I come from an artistic home. My mom is an artist, a painter. She used to paint little tiny figures and stories on miniature canvases. I can’t paint, but I have been designing for as long as I can remember. I started dabbling in jewelry design at least 15 years ago with the idea for Skyler Man coming about around 5 years ago. It began with the desire to create edgy, punk- rock, urban pieces that embodied a vintage presence through a modern interpretation.

I mostly liked to wear “real” jewelry, meaning made with real gold, silver, and gems. I like the way I feel when I wear a precious piece of jewelry that also holds more value for me. I feel I can pass it on. Instead of a splurge, I feel as if it’s an investment.  So there weren’t too many cool pieces of “real” jewelry out there at the time, so I started to make my own. I learned a lot over time, because my school and training was actual practice and real life mistakes. The brand has evolved over time and naturally through the design process, to include a wide range of pieces that are more affordable and easier to wear, much like the collection we are doing for Luevo.


For each collection, you have a brief description about the inspiration behind it. Do you do any additional research leading up to each collection? i.e. listening to music, researching history, basing a design off of a picture or texture of clothing etc.

I don’t do research leading up to a collection, but I definitely get inspired by various elements and definitely all of those that you mentioned. I don’t need to travel to a distant land and be thrust into foreign experiences to get completely inspired to design and create. I think that comes from within a designer and it can and will be inspired and triggered by immediate circumstances that ignite an idea or thought that lives within. We are all made up of experiences.

I am lucky enough to have grown up in New York, where my artistic interpretation has been shaped by the rich diversity that paints this city. I am and have always been inspired by the urban streets, past and present, and always the unique styles that represent the times, which primarily include music and clothing. Also, I have a Masters in literature, so my mind is always naturally travelling to different times and various places. I have been conditioned to pay attention to the circumstances which shape thoughts, and so my thoughts are shaped by past experiences and styles, and they manifest themselves and are interpreted into my designs.

If you designed a collection that was solely based off of your personality would we see a lot of colour, texture, and design?

My personality is a dual one. I think most of us are that way. We are not strictly one way or another. My style is black but expensive, an example being the Black Celebration collection. A lot of black diamonds, encased in 18 karat gold, where the diamonds are set upside down so they look like spikes. It’s a sort of edgy glamour or a gothic luxe look.

At the same time, my dark personality is conflicted with my romantic side. Perhaps this comes from my love of Romantic poetry, or perhaps it’s because black spikes look so beautiful paired with bright flowers. Everything looks better and becomes more complimentary when it’s set against its opposite. I would have to say that all my designs are really pieces of my personality. I have to design things that I love and things that I would wear myself. I have to be true to myself and only then I know the designs are good.


I feel that a lot of your pieces stand out on their own and can easily be worn as a statement piece. How long does it take you to find the right materials for a collection? What is that process like?

Sometimes a piece starts with an idea and sometimes it starts with an actual piece of material, like a gem, then I have to build the rest of the piece around that. The hope is always that the piece I make flows smoothly but that’s rarely the case. Like with everything, there is always a multitude of problems, and sometimes I can’t find what I am looking for as easily as I had hoped, but honestly, with experience, the process becomes a lot smoother because at this point I know a little more of what I am doing.

Since fathers day is coming up, what would be your top 3 suggestions as a gift from your collection?

I take pride in the fact that many pieces from Skyler Man are androgynous. It obviously depends on the guy who is wearing it, and on the budget, but if I had to choose for my man, the cufflinks in both gold and silver are great, because you really can’t go wrong with them. I also have teeth cufflinks which look amazing, and they’re cool because they’re teeth, but they’re really substantial and solid.

I also love the Fallen Ring, and the Howl Ring for men, and I found that men love those pieces too. The Pyramid Macrame Bracelet is a really cool, casual piece which I have sold to both men and women alike. Some men who like to be more bling are into the inverted diamond studs and the Black magic earring. But you have to be blingy to pull that off. And if you can, they look amazing.


Is there anything that Skyler Man has yet to do in terms of jewelry that you are looking forward to doing in the future? i.e body chains.

I’m not really into creating jewelry like body chains, I like more classic jewelry, although we did some midi rings which are fun and super cute. The only thing I really look forward to, in terms of design, is more design ideas that I currently have residing in my head. I have an idea for an amazing limited edition, One-of-a-Kind collection. I really can’t wait to do that, but those collections are expensive to make so….soon.

Make sure to keep up to date with Skylar Man and check out their Facebook, Twitter and Instagram!

This article was written by Jonika. You can follow her at @JonikaJun.

Ragazza Bazaar by Nancy Contreras

Nancy Contreras started Ragazza Bazaar as an online boutique which featured a handful of ready to wear pieces made overseas. With the help of social media and blog promotions, the brand has blossomed and grown to what it is today. Ragazza Bazaar is all about glamour, chic, and edge. Each piece has it’s own unique flare and style, much like every girl that’s out there. Nancy definitely makes sure there is something for everyone, and her designs always have a little twist in them, whether it involves a funky colour, a wild material, or a bold pattern. If you are a glamorous fashionista who loves to take risks, or even if you are someone more conservative looking to spice things up, Ragazza Bazaar certainly has you covered. Nancy says, “I hope to be a brand of choice for all woman, a brand that they can relate to and wear. My designs are created to flatter every curve, whether small or large. Every woman deserves to feel beautiful, confident, and comfortable.”

What goals have you accomplished that you are most proud of thus far, when it comes to Ragazza Bazaar?

My website. It represents more than just a Fashion Collection, it displays my creative personality. Every photo, every word, and every page is designed and created by me. I feel proud when others take notice, whether it’s online or in person. I have had many awesome experiences and met many talented people. Every one has been a stage for me professionally. I am very flattered by the amazing people that have responded to my work.


 The Pieces available on the Luevo website are from your Girl Next Door collection.  What inspired the pieces in this collection? What makes them unique? What is your process of inspiration?

At one of the fashion shows that I was featured at, I met Annabelle, one of the runway models that walked for my collection.  She was so sweet and agreed to fit all the designs for a test shoot. I grew very fond of the photos and invited her to  pose for my website. We did a couple of shoots and posted the photos online. The photos made a splash on social media and soon I began to receive messages from local models and photographers that wanted to work with me. Since then, I have featured a handful of models and each of them inspired the”look” making every design unique to their style, hence “The Girl Next Door Collection.”

The use of different textures and patterns seems to be a common theme in your designs. How important is it to you to diversify your designs within each collection to provide a greater variety?

Investing in your look and representing your style can come highly expensive. I design my pieces so that you can wear them year round by easily combining them with your favourite closet classics.

 Describe the RB girl. Who is she to you? What does she represent?

The RB Girl is confident, bold, and daring. She is the girl next door. She represents our flirty side and sophisticated taste, a love for fashion, and the drive for success.

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With the fashion world continuously evolving and changing, what trends do you foresee will take over this summer? What are some of your favourite trends happening right now?

Based on what I have seen so far,  it looks like one piece swimwear will feature lots of cut outs and high waisted bikinis will be a hit. I am quickly falling for the “print on print” combos and the “Chanel Grunge” look.

If you had less than a minute to put together a quick summer outfit for a night out on the town, what are the first pieces that come to mind? Why?

A black halter bodysuit/leotard, wide leg maxi pants or trousers, and strappy stilettos because it’s a chic and easy look that anyone can rock!

Who would you like to see wearing your clothes, whether they are celebrities, friends, family, etc? Why?

I would like to see the everyday girl wear my clothing. I want women to feel confident and focus on developing themselves as successful entities without insecurities about how they look getting in the way. Wearing clothes that are flattering and comfortable make you feel confident and that is a great start to anybody’s day!


For more on Nancy and Ragazza Bazaar visit and follow her on twitter @ragazzabazaar.

This Article was written by Angie.  Follow her on Twitter and Instagram @Unngie.

Catching Up With Linell Ellis

Linell Ellis is a full time luxury handbag designer, wife, mother and philanthropist. This woman is as strong as they come. It’s always an inspiration to see role models like Linell balance it all with a beautiful smile on their face. I had the opportunity to chat with this Maryland based designer and get to know the woman behind it all.

Linell was always a creative type. Her love for fashion actually started right at home with her mother. As a young adoring daughter, Linell would admiringly watch her mother get all dolled up in front of her vanity. She would take it all in, as any bright eyed girl would, as she would elegantly make herself up and match her accessories and handbags to her outfits with the greatest of ease. “I always say that my mom had an understated sense of glamour about her and that inspired me. All I wanted when I grew up was those handbags and the vanity that I got to know so well.” Today, it is only fitting that Linell is designing the very bags that once held a nostalgic place in her heart.

What made you want to leave your career in the hospitality industry as a technology executive, to pursue one in fashion? What gave you that push?

I’ve always had the passion and for years I did both. I worked in the corporate world and I did my passion on the side. About two years ago, the company I was working for was going through a large transformation and I kind of took it as an opportunity to follow a new path. My husband and I took that opportunity to go all in. My husband and I first started in 2001 and I’m self taught; I learned everything on my own. Ever since we decided to re-launch, it’s been great and we’ve gotten a lot of movement. It was scary but in the end I really enjoyed it. Hopefully, it will continue to be successful and it will be worth it. Even if it doesn’t continue to be successful, it will still be worth it because I have found  my true voice in all of this.

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Was fashion something you always wanted to pursue? 

For me, creativity has always been a part of who I am. I’ve also always loved people and even in my career I’ve always focused on jobs that deal with people. For me and I think a lot of other women, accessories are an easy way to show personality. You never have to worry about what size they are. They are just there to spice things up and make you feel good.

What is your creative process of inspiration? What inspires you to create your high quality luxury bags?

A lot of it is around travel, words, and music. I use that a lot for inspiration. When we travel, I love learning about new cultures, meeting new people and finding out what’s important to them. I take that as a point of inspiration, like a thought, phrase, colour, etc, and build an inspiration board around that. I always use classic shapes and very rarely will venture out into some weird shape. I’m also really drawn to colour and that usually shows up in the inspiration boards as well.

How would you describe the Linell Ellis woman? What’s her personality like? What does she embody?

The Linell Ellis woman is a go getter. She’s out and about and loves to be active, whether that involves her career, community, or raising her family. She loves experiences. She loves to travel, go places and make memories. But as for accessories, she really looks for quality and she will pay for that. She is connected to technology, she shops online a lot and keeps up with fashion trends. She may not be trendy and may just be aware of the trends but she knows what they are. She’s a very savvy, smart women, who knows what she wants and how she’s going to get it.


The Live Completely Motto is something I really admire about your brand.  The idea that the true luxury is in our experiences is a powerful message.  What inspired this philosophical view for your brand?

I think that’s really the essence of me. My family and friends  always say,”Linells always trying to create these crazy experiences and memories”. For me that’s what creates connections with people. For me, this motto just reminds me to slow down, enjoy life. When you have experiences, they are something to be felt, whether it’s a smell, taste, or memory, it’s all important. And it’s important not to rush. So many people today equate luxury to a dollar amount or value, which in some cases is true, but for us what it’s about really focusing on the quality of something and what experiences you will have with it. There is no high price dollar amount for that.

It is wonderful to see a talented designer like yourself giving back to the community with your “You Feel So Much better When You Give” program. What does giving back mean to you? Why do you think it’s important?

I think for me, it’s just how I was raised. It’s what I know; when you are given a lot in your light it is understood that it is required of you to give back as well. Just recently we sent a handbag to the Broward Country Austism society for a raffle. I’m always looking for ways to give and I can see that it makes people feel good. My husband really focuses on children and the different organizations that we can donate too in those aspect. I focus on seniors; for example we also work with the National Alzheimer’s Association. At the end of the day, we can make all the bags we want and sell them, but what I really want to be remembered for is that we cared.

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As a mother, wife and designer, how do you balance your busy life, how do you stay motivated?

Some days it’s easier than others. That’s really the benefit of having your own business. I can afford to make sure I’m focused on my children and husband when I need to be. I may be at the computer for all hours of the night one night and the next day I’m off to Karate and wherever else I need to be. I work very hard at trying to keep the balance. I had our son a little later in life so I try to be there for all the big things for him.

What advice do you have for emerging designers who want to pursue their dreams as you did? What obstacles did you face while coming up?

I’d say the first thing to do is believe in yourself and in your passion. If you really believe in what you’re doing, you have to push yourself to keep going. Really do your research. Find out about the industry that your getting into and be open to constructive feedback. Always ask questions if you don’t know. Most importantly keep believing and keep pushing.  Celebrate small successes.

The most impactful obstacle that we were able to overcome was finding quality manufacturers. We’ve learned what to do, what to look for. That was a big thing. I think for us, being able to find manufacturers in the US was a big factor. In 2001 I sat down and said I needed to figure out how to make a bag. I traveled overseas and tried to learn what I needed to know. Meeting minimums was very difficult. I spent a lot of time finding good quality manufacturers in the US. Some of our manufactures are actually here in Maryland and that’s important to me because I know I’m helping people to work in the state I’m in.


Linell Ellis is one of those classy women who are all about living in the moment and living for what you are passionate about. Her Brand is one that wants their wearers to feel as amazing as they look. Her nurturing and caring nature towards her community and those around her is admirable. People like her show us that fashion can make a contribution to the world and it matters.

For more on Linell Ellis, visit her website at and follow her on Twitter @LinellEllis

This Article was written by Angie.  Follow her on Twitter and Instagram @Unngie

The Dylanium Knits Story: Designing, Creating, Knitting

Dylanium Knits was created by Dylan Uscher, self-taught knitting passionate and businessman, whose talent and designs have gained him world-wide recognition… and that, all before even launching his debut collection last Fall (FW13’)!

Indeed Dylan Uscher has not only collaborated with top Canadian fashion brands like Sid Neigum and Greta Constantine – but his designs were also featured in a MAC Cosmetics global campaign with visibility in over 90 countries! Quite impressive for the American-born autodidact, whose decision to pursue his passion after graduating his Master’s of Arts here in Toronto, Canada has lead him to his dream job: Designing, Creating, Knitting.

Motto of the day: Do like Dylan, and do what you love! I personally can’t wait to get my hands on the Fall 2014 collection (available for pre-order here)!

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That being said, I was more than excited to discuss fashion with the designer himself (pictured above) and talk about his upcoming Fall 2014 collection, his inspirations as well as his road less-travelled to success.

Here is the Dylanium Knits story:

Dylan Uscher was first introduced to knitting in 2005 while sitting on a bus with a friend who was making a sweater. Dylan not only took a liking to the craft but he also picked up on the technique rather quickly. The self-taught designer and creator initially started hanging out in yarn shops throughout Toronto trying out knitting patterns as well as networking with other knitters in those shops to learn.

Dylan Uscher’s passion quickly evolved as he became more aware of the design of his creations. The designer felt that existing patterns were either one of two things: Fun to make, but that didn’t look that great, or vice-versa. He hence began challenging himself to make beautiful pieces that were intricate and that he could enjoy crafting as well. It was only after graduating from his Master’s degree and briefly working in an un-related field however, that he decided to follow his passion and knit full-time. Dylanium Knits was thus created in 2010 and he hasn’t looked back since. Dylan Uscher slowly began collaborating with designers and it was only last year that he launched his debut collection.

Dylan’s upcoming Fall 2014 collection is composed of six accessories, which includes three heavyweight knits, as well as three lightweight knits. The heavyweight knits are similar to last year’s best sellers and the lighter weight knits beautifully showcase the designer’s diversity and skill-set -as they are a new addition to his line. The Fall 2014 collection is inspired by the designer’s trip to Florence, Italy earlier this year: The stitch patterns are reminiscent of moldings as well as tessellation within tile patterns embedded in the city’s architecture. The color palette for this season is also said to be inspired by the colors of the stone buildings there as well as the Italian skyline.


The pre-sale of the Dylanium Knits Fall 2014 collection is set to launch on Luevo May 4th.

Dylan Uscher’s Boston-based studio will also be participating in the SOWA Art Walk that day, and hold an open doors launch event demonstrating his knitting techniques and machines, and taking pre-sale orders on Luevo directly from his studio.

On May 12th, Dylanium Knits will also be participating in the Aid for Cancer Research Runway in Boston, and have a pre-show pop-up boutique to further take Luevo pre-sale orders.

What is next for Dylanium Knits? The designer wouldn’t be surprised to see if he suddenly began making more and more apparel sketches and ultimately incorporating clothing into his accessories line. In the meantime however, we will simply have to order our beautiful winter and fall accessories on Luevo and keep following the designer’s progression! You can follow Dylanium Knits on Twitter @dylaniumknits or visit Dylan Uscher’s website at for more details.

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Motto of the day: Do like Dylan, and do what you love! I personally can’t wait to get my hands on the Fall 2014 collection (available here)!

This article was written by Angelic from The Weekenders Fashion Blog. Follow her on Instagram @the_weekenders

Created by Fortune

Created by Fortune is all about edgy glam. Melissa Fortune, the creator of this trendy and unique brand, wanted to be involved in the arts as far back as she can remember. Constantly sketching and creating when she was younger, she turned her passion into a career. Miss Fortune has a strong understanding of what it means to stand out and be a trendsetter.

Melissa Fortune’s collars are on the Luevo Website, ready to become the exclamation point of your outfit! The Created by Fortune S/S 2014 collection is available for preorder here!

In the fashion world today, accessories are just as, if not more important than the outfit itself. An accessory can pull a look together, and really add to the essence of what the wearer is trying to portray. Michael Kors once said, “I’ve always thought of accessories as the exclamation point of a woman’s outfit“, and Created by Fortune definitely understands this. Using bold colours and dazzling embellishments, Created by Fortune provides fashionistas everywhere that extra something they are looking for. Melissa Fortune described the CBF girl as “edgy but feminine at the same time. She’s a rebel! She knows what she wants and goes after it! She means everything to me, she’s who I design for, she’s my inspiration.” 


How was Created by Fortune started? What obstacles did you face that made you the designer you are today?

It started 4-5 years ago when I really wanted a pair of studded converse, so I made them. My boyfriend convinced me to start selling the sneakers on Ebay, and it took off from there. Since Ebay took a big chunk of my profits, I decided to start selling them on my own website. Once the site was up, I slowly started to add other accessories.

As my brand expands, it’s becoming extremely hard to manage all of the aspects of it (designing, financial, social, seo, etc.) and maintain a full time job. Right now, my Ipad and Iphone are my life lines. I use 1 app to manage my deadlines and another to manage my social media schedule. This helps me stay focused and not get too overwhelmed.

How do you stay inspired and keep your pieces different and unique from the ones out already there?

Anything can inspire me, I try to stay as open as possible so that the inspiration can soak in. When you own your own business and run every aspect of it, it’s easy to get stuck in a bubble and ignore the outside world. I read my favourite blogs everyday, which range from fashion, travel, lifestyle, gossip, makeup and hair. I’m such a blog junkie, I don’t necessarily think about being different, I just design what I feel strongly about.

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Describe the inspiration behind the Peter Pan collars on the Luevo website. It looks like it takes a very bold person to rock them out!

My friend inspired this collection, she purchased vintage patterns and one of them was a large vintage peter pan collar. She gave the collar to me and said you should do this and I did! But I made it more modern and added my CBF edge to it.

Neon colours seem to be a hot trend right now for Spring and Summer, what do you love about this trend in fashion right now, that made you want to incorporate it in your accessories?

I love neon colors! They’re so much fun and can add a fun pop to any outfit.

What is your favourite piece on the Luevo Website, why?

My favorite piece is the Queen B. Stone collar. It’s so bold and edgy.


What staple accessories do you think every girl needs in her jewelry box?

Unique stud earrings, stackable rings and cuffs.

If you could describe your own personal style in one word what would it be?

Dirty Debbie!

How has your style affected the way you design?

My style makes me take all of my designs to the next level.

What is your favourite thing about being a designer? What path do you think you would have followed had you not become a designer?

The best part about being a designer is creating pieces from my imagination that people love. If I didn’t go into design, I would have become an illustrator or animator.

For more from Melissa, follow her @Createdbyfortun and visit her website at

This Article was written by Angie. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram @Unngie


Maybe By Catalfo

Maybe By Catalfo was created by Sarah Catalfo, an emerging Canadian designer, who’s fun and playful designs are a thorough reflection of her personality. This sweet and spunky girl is no stranger to the fashion world and her story is an inspiring one! It’s the kind of story that makes you want to take a chance on yourself. Those are the ones that turn out to be the most rewarding after all. I had the great opportunity to meet Sarah and learn more about her story and her brand “Maybe by Catalfo”.

Growing up in Orillia, Ontario, Sarah always felt the need to be different and stand out. She explained to me that the Fashion scene in her town was pretty one dimensional and no one really took risks or expressed themselves through fashion in the way that she felt the need to. Fashion was more than just putting clothes on. It was a way of life, a way to express herself. She was the type of girl that would rock of pair of great stilettos and red crinoline to third period Math, without even batting an eye. Very Pretty in Pink-esque if you will! Being a risk taker from a very young age, taking the risk to pursue a career in the fashion industry was second nature to her. “I wasn’t sure about fashion as it was a risky industry to get into. I went to school for Fashion Management and got hired as an assistant buyer. I learned a great deal there but I wasn’t being fulfilled. I had to go back to my roots and at least try my hand at designing.”


Designing has always been a passion of Sarah’s. She began designing right in the comfort of her own home as most designers do. Printing out blank Archie comics and creating fun designs for Betty and Veronica, was one of her favourite things to do as a youth. Her actual career in design however, really started when the time came to find a dress for her 10th grade semi formal. She decided she wanted something unique that no one else would have. As any girl would, she evoked the help of her mother, who had always been an amazing seamstress, and the end result turned out exactly the way she wanted. Her mother, who worked a full time job and still found the time to make that beautiful dress for her daughter then said, “Alright, now next time you’re making your own!”

Sarah loved the idea; to be able to wear something that was genuinely hers lit a spark in her heart and the rest was history. “After that I started working at Fabricland, so I learned a lot of old lady tricks and learned a lot about fabric that I was never taught in school. Looking back it was a great move. To this day, I have to be around fabrics to get inspired.” As the years progressed, Sarah created dresses for herself and even went on to work on a freelance basis, creating dresses for others who took a liking to her unique designs. She has even designed for the famous Canadian artist Lights, who wore a Maybe by Catalfo dress to the 2009 Juno Awards!


The Maybe Story

What is the story behind the sweet and simple name “Maybe”?

It really started as a school project. The assignment was to create your own line, with all the details that a real line would need.  It was a very creative project. I knew I wanted to make dresses but I thought about naming it “Catalfo” since no one has that name. But I came across the word “Maybe” and it really struck a chord and grew on me. It reminded me of classic foot pop like “maybe ill go out with you”, “maybe ill go to the school dance”, that kind of cutesy feel. It has now evolved from that, into a more sophisticated  feel, catering to everyone from young girls to young women.

As such a young designer I’m sure it hasn’t been an easy road.  What obstacles have you had to face and overcome to get where you are today?

Everything from being at work and feeling like, “is this what I’m supposed to be doing? Why am I doing this?”. A huge obstacle was getting caught in a full time job, how do you adjust a stable life to that of an entrepreneur? Making that transition was hard but it fell into place. I take it as: whatever happened was meant to be and it was a huge blessing that I was able to make that transition. I saw people who were older and stuck in jobs that they hated. I didn’t want that to be me. There will always be challenges when starting a business, obstacles don’t discourage me. It doesn’t mean you’re not doing well, if anything it means you’re doing things right.

The Choose Your Charity Program is a very admirable thing to take part in.  What made you want to take part in such a philanthropic endeavor?

I didn’t want to start promoting Maybe without looking at the bigger picture. To be able to impact something bigger and put it towards these efforts that are for a good cause is important to me. Success is not about how much we make. Essentially, I want to make more dresses so that I’m able to make bigger donations. I want the Maybe girls to feel like they were helping the world. It’s great to work with local charities for fashion. It always keeps you aware and appreciative of all the things you have. At the end of the year I look back and I realize how all these little efforts made a big difference and it puts things into perspective. Clients and customers have things that are dear to their hearts and if they care about it, we want to show that we care too.

The Luevo Collection

All of your dresses are very unique and portray a completely different style.  What inspirations did you draw on to create this collection available on the Luevo website?

What really inspired me was the fabrics, it’s always the fabrics that inspire me and inspire the dresses I make. Each fabric could be for a different girl, each colour could be for a different girl. The collection is something so diverse that you could wear every one for a different life event. The day to day outfits you can make from them are countless. I wanted party wear but also something easy to wear. I’m always looking for a reason to dress up and it’s better to be given a reason and to have fun with what you wear!

Describe the “Maybe Girl”, who is she to you?

The Maybe girl doesn’t care if she gets attention as long as its the right attention. The Maybe girl is reminiscent of the young me; flirty, fun, not afraid to take a risk or have fun with fashion. When I was in school, my friends and I would go to American Apparel, get something great and go out just to be able to show off that new outfit! That’s what the Maybe Girl embodies. She’s carefree, she doesn’t take life too seriously, and that’s why she likes to have fun with what she wears because as long as she feels beautiful in what she’s wearing, that’s all that matters.

What is your favourite dress on the Luevo website right now?

I don’t have a favourite! I would need them all in my wardrobe. Date night, party, day to night, they are all necessities.


Sarah Catalfo’s story is one that embodies perseverance. It’s okay to take a risk if it’s for something you truly believe in and what’s more important than believing in yourself? You could end up with everything you want and more, as long as you’re willing to work for it.

You can follow the funky Sarah Catalfo on Twitter @Maybebycatalfo and visit her website at The Maybe By Catalfo Fall/Winter 2014 collection is available for preorder here!

This article was written by Angie. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram @Unngie

Talking Callula Lillibelle with Melanie Hart

The Callulla Lillibelle woman is confident, sophisticated and chic. This is a woman who stands out on her own, simply using her presence as a way to gain attention. The bold colours and prints in the 2014 Callula Lillibelle collection are sure to stand out anywhere. Each piece has it’s own flare making it just as unique as the woman who is wearing it. Pre-order pieces from the collection here!

Melanie Fraser Hart, the founder and designer of Callula Lillibelle, has always had a love for the arts and design. You can even say that she embodies the Callula Lillibelle woman herself. Having worked with the likes of Arnold Kopelson and Vidal Sassoon one thing is certain, she does not shy away from doing new things and thinking outside of the box. Her untraditional method to creating is what brings the brand to life. She says, “I go in to what I call my “happy space”, that is being aware of the world that we all live in, but finding the little things that inspire me to create and think out of the box.” It is that very “happy space” that served as a tool to the 2014 collection. I had the pleasure of asking Melanie a few questions about her new collection and her designing methods.

Why the name Callula Lillibelle?

Callula Lillibelle is the name of my 13 year old daughter. It is a mouthful and full of way too many “l’s” but I love it!   I have been told a number of times when I first began this company that people would not be able to say it. Somehow, people have managed it!

Your collection seemed to take me through the 60’s, 70’s 80’s up until our present day fashion trends- something I really enjoyed. Can you tell us about the collection a bit more? Was that your goal? 

It may sound strange but it is not the particular styles that I try to emulate from various decades, it is more about how women felt inside during times gone by. As we women continue to find our place in the world, we should dress in a manner that gives us strength, not just what society tells us to wear. Of course, there are certain styles popular in each decade, but who dictates what we should wear and what makes us feel powerful and confident is more of the goal.

Callula Lillibelle


How was the transition from theatre and writing to more designing and ultimately starting Callula Lillibelle?

Whether or not it is theater, literature or a piece of art, even something like the shape of antique building it is all creative. My mind goes in to what I call my “happy place” when I experience any kind of creativity which inspires me. It can be as simple as just reading some literature, which makes me feel a certain way and gives me some sort of a vision. Creative is creative and I have my own process as I am sure other designers have as well, but I think mine is a little different. I do not research the color “trends” or style “trends” which some alternate force says is what is going to be happening upcoming seasons. I just don’t.

Callula Lillibelle

How do you feel your theatre background has helped with your designing to date?

My theater background, as previously stated, is a creative source on it’s own. It is about taking on and understanding the inner workings or different people and characters. If I could get my mind around how to do that, performing in a play for example, I like to think that the skill of understanding how others think carries forward.

The Callula Lillibelle woman’s style is described as 80’s power glamour. What about 80’s fashion inspires you to incorporate that into your overall designs for the brand?
The 80’s was a time of female empowerment, it is not so much about the clothes but the way the women emerge in our society. Are you ever going to see huge shoulder pads coming back at Callula? No. It was a time of decadence but it was also a time that women got past the “free love ” and expression era, to a time that women really began to dig their heels in and realize their own inner powers. It is that discovery and awareness that I like.

Callula Lillibelle

I’m very big on prints and bold colours. I see that in your collection you played with different patterns and prints- my favourite being the polka dot high wasted pant. Is there a print in the collection that you are particularly drawn to? 

There are two things that I am convinced will work regarding patterns, polka dots and stripes. There were a few Callula seasons that were big on the polka dot thing and I love it but I have, in the last few seasons, try to take that back a bit and use special buttons or a special pleat or shape that does not rely on just a print. I love a good print. I prefer a print, however, that does not overwhelm the wearer. Prints, like the clothing itself, do not define the woman, it is how she wears them.

Callula Lillibelle

I had the pleasure of seeing Evita when in New York and loved it! I wanted to know what was a recent broadway play you have seen? 

I work 14 to 16 hour days if I am in the city, which leaves little time or energy to go to shows.   I did see “Book of Mormons” which I adored.   I always read New York Magazine and see ballet, opera or theater ads of things that i always mean to see but unfortunately I rarely get to do it.  It is the nature of the beast of owning a company. I hardly even get to go out to dinner!

Because most of the pieces in your collection are really bold what are 3 need to have a accessories that would really compliment some of the pieces in your collection?

I personally hardly wear any accessories. There are three things a woman should never leave the house without; a clean face, neat hair and clean buffed nails. Jewelry and other accessories are utterly a personal decision.

Don’t forget to stay connected with Callula Lillibelle on Twitter @callulagirl andFacebook!

This article was written by Jonika. You can follow her at @JonikaJun.

Introducing Altaf Maaneshia

Fashion is in the moment. It’s an industry full of deeply passionate fashion designers who put their sweat and tears into every piece they create. The man behind the brand Altaf Maaneshia, Altaf himself, is definitely one of those designers. His collections are streamlined, chic, and are intricately detailed. Inspired by neat and structured cuts, his new collection (available here) caters specifically to the powerful modern woman. It features earthy tones, silver accessories, and lots of leather, tweed, taffeta, and wool. Leather being a definite must for fall.

Altaf Maaneshia on runway

Altaf Maaneshia started showing an interest in art and clothes at a young age. In the village he lived in, he would study under a tree. This led to him gathering junk and secretly turning them into small sculptures. He also dabbled with painting.

The designs in Altaf Maaneshia’s new high end contemporary RTW collection are anything but simple. The pieces strike a balance between geometrical cuts and structured lines, while Altaf pays meticulous attention to details. 

Altaf Maaneshia RTW Collection

I believe there is only one thing certain in life and that’s uncertainty. Challenges and struggle are everywhere but you can always make your place in any market if you focus on three E’s: Education – Exposure – Experience. – Altaf M.

A highlight for Altaf’s career as a designer was showing at Mercedes Benz Fashion Week New York. He was the first Pakistani based in New York City to debut a collection. In the near future, the designer hopes to open sell accounts in North American multi brand shops. Altaf’s long term plan includes having a giant fashion house. He wishes for that to cover not only women’s wear but also cover men’s wear, accessories, cosmetics, perfumes and colognes.

Altaf designs for the modern woman. She is powerful, trendy, structured and she loves accent colours or accessories on her outfits. He has provided women with many contemporary and ready-to-wear designs to choose from. As a designer, what matters is quality and consistency.

The Altaf Maaneshia Fall/Winter ’14 collection is available for pre-order here

Article written by Tianna Alexandre, editor.

Getting to know Joeleen Torvick

Joeleen Torvick traveled to both New York and London to obtain a greater amount of knowledge for fashion. Having such creative and driven people around her helped make the process easier to launch her line 2010. She has always experimented with softer tones in her previous collections, but for her spring 2014 collection she used colours and shapes we normally don’t see from her.

Joeleen was given a book called Wonders of the World that had some inspiring pictures from the City of Arts and Science in Spain. The art from the museum inspired Joeleen to experiment with shapes and colours in this collection in ways she hasn’t done before. I had the pleasure of speaking to her about her new collection and the inspiration behind it.

With your previous collections you used softer tones and more flowy shapes. I see that with your new collection you experimented more with shapes and colours and the fitting. Was that something you wanted to try? Or do you feel that is a new trend we’ll start to see for spring/summer?

Experimenting with different shapes and colours is something that I wanted to try. My colour palettes in the past have really been neutral colours. You can never go wrong with a good black or white shirt, but I wanted to evolve and push myself out of my comfort zone and add more vibrancy, while still maintaining a confident and sophisticated look.

I think this spring/summer we will be seeing a trend of somewhat tailored and classic silhouettes, with a touch of bold. The boldness I am talking about is coming in with pops of bright colours and metallic fabrics, but in keeping with classic silhouettes, the lines will be clean.

Joeleen Torvick

Describe your new collection using 3 words and why?

Clean, fresh, and versatile. The lines I created with my fabrics are anything but fussy. The pieces are easy and lively; they are great to wear to work, and going straight from there to a night out with friends.

How has the colours, shapes and fabrics played a role in the theme for this collection?

I was inspired by the Museo de las Ciencias Principe Felipe in Valencia, Spain, also known as the City of Arts and Science. The museum consists of multiple buildings with amazing architecture, all of which is surrounded by pools of water. I mirrored the brightness, boldness, and shapes off of the colours (silver, white, black, and blue) and architecture of the different buildings.

I used a metallic hand woven fabric as well as a cotton sateen that have a stiffer hand, without actually feeling heavy, which lent me the ability to give the garments a bit of structure. The pools surrounding the museum also give a light and fresh feeling, which made me bring in some soft silks to create that hard and soft contrast.

Joeleen Torvick

Why did you choose to move back to Minnesota after working in one of America’s leading fashion cities- New York City?

The main reason on moving back to Minnesota had to do with family reasons. At the same time, I thought it would be great to be a part of and help grow the Minnesota fashion industry. By moving back to Minnesota, I also have the ability to focus more on my own clothing. I look forward to becoming more involved and shaping the Minnesota fashion industry.

How has your design upbringing helped you with your brand today?

I would have to say that my design upbringing is just as a part of my brand today. I attended a great school that gave me a strong background in the production and the technical side of design. My education/internship/work experiences in New York and London opened up another creative side to me, as well as gave me amazing life experiences. My parents and my husband are entrepreneurs, so I grew up learning and continue to learn a lot from them. I would have to say all of these have attributed to making up the backbone of what I have put into my brand.

A lot of creative people tend to be inspired by hobbies that they have. Are there any routines or hobbies you have that helps inspire your designs or the way you design?

I grew up always thinking I was going to be some big executive and having my own office in some corporation. As I got older, that isn’t what I wanted anymore, but I tend to imagine if I were to be doing what I thought I was going to do, what would I wear? Knowing how my life is now, I design for that woman, the woman who is working at a desk, or maybe not, but is always on the go and needs to look great all day.

Is there a piece in your collection that is your favourite or that you are particularly drawn to the most?

This season I designed this shirt jacket that is tailored and zips up the back. I love that particular piece because of the beautiful fabric. The fabric is hand woven in India by artisans, in which their particular textile making is becoming a dying art. I also love the top with the asymmetrical drape and the paneled sleeves and hem. It is easy to wear and flattering for many body types.

Joeleen Torvick

What is next for Joeleen? Are you looking to design a winter or summer collection? Or are you sticking with spring and fall?

I have always focused on designing tops, but for my fall collection you will see a wider range of products. I will be going into dresses, skirts, pants, etc. Although I have only created spring and fall collections, in the future I plan on expanding into resort and pre-fall collections. More than anything I am looking forward to expanding and growing my business overall.

For all the latest with Joeleen Torvick be sure to check out her Twitter and Facebook pages!

This article was written by Jonika. You can follow her @JonikaJun.

Presenting Franco Vernica

Franco Vernica is a Los Angeles based designer best known for his high quality Italian made animal leather accessories, handbags, and mens shoes.  I had the pleasure of getting to know the man behind the designs. What some people might not know about Mr. Vernica, is that he is not only a designer but a doctor as well! It is only fitting that he is a Respiratory Therapist, as his designs are simply a breathe of fresh air.

Presenting Franco Vernica

Passion Never Dies

Franco had always dreamt of becoming a designer but chose to go into medicine first, because it was the path that offered him the ability to be stable and financially well. But his love for fashion never left the depths of his heart from the time he was a young high school art student.  When I asked Franco what pushed him to take the steps to follow his dreams, he said it was not a question of what, but who. That who was his wife, who’s beautiful middle name titled the 2014 Spring Cristina Collection. “She always had such a big passion for fashion and constantly complained about not being able to find the right shoe and dress that fits her correctly. I took that extra step because I wanted my wife to be happy and beautiful and I wanted to bring to all women, that ability to be beautiful but also comfortable.”

Franco’s inspirational perseverance is to be applauded. He is proof that it is never too late to pursue the things you are passionate about.  How does he do it? He says, “It’s a combination of wanting a better life, doing what I enjoy 24 hours a day and a lot of Red Bull!”

Franco Vernica

Spring/Summer Cristina and Luevo Collection

Franco’s Spring Cristina collection is fun and full of colour, while still remaining elegant and classy.  When asked to describe his collection in one word, he answered, “Pepe Le Pew”.

Your spring Cristina collection is fun and bright, while also remaining quite sophisticated and sleek.  What inspirations did you draw from to create this line?

My beautiful loving wife. She is the inspiration behind this collection. My collections are named after the things that I love in life and which inspire me to live.

My favourite piece from the Luevo limited edition bags is the quilted beige leather handbag, what makes this quad of bags so special to you?                                                                                                                      

They are special to me because of the fun that I had taking a Chanel design and putting it in different shapes and sizes with the colours of spring.

Franco Vernica

Plans for the Future

What future aspirations do you have for your brand?

I want to expand my business to Clothing, a Jeans Line, Belts, Sunglasses, Perfumes, a Beauty Line, and much more. My business goal is to one day be where Armani is now. Giorgio Armani showed me that we both have things in common; medicine, and the will to start a fashion label at the age of 40.

What is the thing that makes all this hard work and effort worth it for you?

What makes it worth it is seeing someone with my designs at the end of the day. It completes me! It makes me want to do more.

You are proof that one should never give up on their dreams, what advice do you have for designers just starting out, trying to make a name for themselves?

It’s a long way to rock and roll !! Never give up, believe in yourself, and be prepared to accept failure if you cannot overcome it.

Franco Vernica’s inspirational story should remind us all that the time to follow our dreams is now.  Nothing will be handed to us easily and we too must love what we do 24 hours a day.  That is what life is all about.  Franco’s Limited Edition designs are now available for pre-ordering on the Luevo Website.  The fun, Chanel inspired bags, are perfect for chasing winter away and welcoming a bright and beautiful Summer!

Presenting Franco Vernica

You can follow the multi-talented Franco Vernica on twitter @francovernica.

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Article Written by Angie.  You can follow her on Twitter and Instagram @Unngie.