Distinctive Father's Day Gifts

Finding a gift for dear old dad on Father’s Day can either be spectacularly easy when you have a father that doesn’t have discriminating taste (a run of the mill tie, some Old Karate, a knitted vest). Or maybe you have an extraordinary father who appreciates the finer things in life, or you want to introduce your father to some of your marvelous finds. If its the latter then this blog is for you.

The Local Artisan Guide recommends the following for distinctive Father’s Day gifts that he will appreciate you went to all the effort for.

D.S. & Durga is a fragrance brand that specializes in scents that recreate experiences. Many of the scents are unisex in nature, however for Father’s Day, “Burning Barbershop” is the perfect scent for dad. The description of Burning Barbershop is as follows: A fire broke out in the Curling Bros. barbershop in Westlake, N.Y. in 1891. All the shaving tonics with their spearmint, lime, vanilla and lavender burned. A charred bottle was found half-full. It smelled like this.

Australian motorcycle brand, Deus Ex Machina, created this trucker hat designed specifically for the dads that want the most out of the warm weather ahead—a cushioned crown, meshed back, and quick-drying design keeps blocks out the sun, keeps ya cool, and looks great in the process.

How stylish and comfortable will your dad be when he slips into his C’H’C’M’ Yogi Elijah Negative Heel Boot. This very affordable suede boot is made in Portugal using the finest suede leathers in Europe.

St. Frank is a home decor brand that features home accessories made from artisans around the world. This St. Frank iPhone case depicts a vintage Kuba cloth from the Republic of Congo, a unique textile featuring complex designs that are created when various geometric raffia pieces are stitched to a plain raffia background. The resulting rough surface is punctuated by repeated geometric patterns with unexpected interruptions in design. Men cultivate the raffia palm and weave the raffia cloth; women then create the patterned textiles. Traditionally, Kuba cloth was used as a wrapped skirt worn during burials. Later, it was incorporated in ceremonial dress for ritual dances and other celebrations.

Rowing Blazers, the brand that focuses on rediscovering and reinventing preppie also offers collections of vintage watches. Here is the Rolex Day-Date reference 1803 dates to circa 1967 and includes its chronometer certificate (a.k.a. "COSC papers") and an extremely rare "The Day-Date" promotional booklet. The dial is beautifully preserved and the case is crisp and full. Wind Vintage purchased this watch from Heritage Auctions in April for $8,437.50, just so there is full transparency on its origin and what was paid. It is understood that the consignor to the auction was the original owner. This watch is currently on view at the Rowing Blazers Clubhouse at 161 Grand Street in New York City. Curated by Wind Vintage.

Nomad Tribe, the sustainable clothing brand has the perfect Father’s Day gifts for the “Woke” dad, here is the Mutuba Organic PlayNomad Shirt, their softest polo yet. Did you notice the musical prints and the 2-tone buttons? (Have another look. Perfect for on the run or the golf course, easily paired with khaki pants, shorts or jeans.

Our picks range from high luxury to extremely affordable and should make dads of all ages pleased you put so much time and attention show them how much you appreciated them being your dad.

Click onto the captions for more product information.

Happy Father’s Day!

By Natalie Rivera



Hudson Yards

Recently Hudson Yards, a complex that includes residences, offices, shops, restaurants and cultural institutions all encased among innovative architecture (innovative for NYC) has opened up to the general public.

The Local Artisan Guide feels its important for you to have information at your hand for shopping destinations whether its on a charming small dead end street or a multilevel complex. Hudson Yards is certainly the latter.

Located at West 34th Street and 11th Ave. (you can take the #7 train to Hudson Yards directly or a crosstown bus), Hudson Yards is where the MTA has housed subway cars for decades (still does). After exiting the highly stylized new subway station, you encounter a complex of new, cutting edge buildings that include residences, the Equinox Hotel, and a very upscale mall for New York City.

Hudson Yards include a complex of residences, office buildings, shops and The Equinox Hotel.

Hudson Yards include a complex of residences, office buildings, shops and The Equinox Hotel.

There is a structure outside the shops that looks like the skeletal system of a bug or artichoke called “The Vessel”. It is a piece that you can enter and explore from the inside (much like the Statue of Liberty). To enter you need to go onto Hudson Yards’s website www.hudsonyardsnewyork.com and reserve a time and day to enter the sculpture (its free). 

In the center of Hudson Yards you will encounter The Vessel, a sculpture you are allowed to enter and explore (tickets available for free online).

In the center of Hudson Yards you will encounter The Vessel, a sculpture you are allowed to enter and explore (tickets available for free online).

After exploring The Vessel you can head straight to the shops across the way. The main store here is department store Neiman Marcus. Neiman Marcus has never been situated in NYC (except for Neiman Marcus Last Call in Brooklyn) so in a city that has been losing iconic department stores for the last few years (Lord & Taylor, Henri Bendel’s etc.) it is nice to have one that has a long reputable establish itself here. Neiman Marcus presents itself in a minimal way, there is no or little clutter. They offer a strongly curated assortment of established and emerging designers in its store. 

Neiman Marcus is the dominant department store at Hudson Yards, located on the third floor.

Neiman Marcus is the dominant department store at Hudson Yards, located on the third floor.

A view of The Vessel and the trains lined up in at Hudson Yards from the interior.

A view of The Vessel and the trains lined up in at Hudson Yards from the interior.

What is interesting in the consortium of stores in the Hudson Yards is its range. Here you can find high end brands such as Christian Dior and Cartier’s, to mid range brands like Kate Spade and Tori Burch all the way to H&M and Zara. All presented much like the high end malls you see in Hong Kong, Singapore and Dubai. Downtown in the financial district you have a similar collection of stores in Battery Park City with high end brands, grand architecture, restaurants, hotels and residences all flowing into each other, yet at Hudson Yards there is a difference as the selection of stores at Hudson Yards has a curated feel to it. Besides the brands mentioned there are also more independent brands that you would find by strolling down the streets of Soho but you wouldn’t find their presence in American malls. These brands include Scanlan Theodore, M.Gemi and Hatch to name a few. 

Fendi is one the high end stores you will find at Hudson Yards amongst others.

Fendi is one the high end stores you will find at Hudson Yards amongst others.

Zara and H&M are some of the affordable stores you will find at Hudson Yards.

Zara and H&M are some of the affordable stores you will find at Hudson Yards.

Scanlan Theodore is one of the many independent brands that have opened in Hudson Yards.

Scanlan Theodore is one of the many independent brands that have opened in Hudson Yards.

Also unlike the malls in Asia or in Battery Park City, Hudson Yards strives to have something for everybody as shopping and eating there runs the gamut of all price ranges. You can find both high end restaurants and more affordable eating, like Shake Shack at Hudson Yards. 

Hudson Yards offers besides shops, multiple places of all price points to dine. Shake Shack is amongst food choices at Hudson Yards.

Hudson Yards offers besides shops, multiple places of all price points to dine. Shake Shack is amongst food choices at Hudson Yards.

Many of the shops have still yet to open at the Hudson yards. The experience of shopping at Hudson Yards is similar to the World Trade Center instead there the art structure is part of the interior shopping experience and in Hudson Yards its on the exterior of the building.  Hudson Yards incorporates art installations throughout the interior and exterior of the complex making for a cultural experience too.

Hudson Yards included art throughout the entire complex.

Hudson Yards included art throughout the entire complex.

Hudson Yards is bound to be a popular place to visit in the future, especially if you live there or are staying in Midtown when visiting NYC. It is definitely worth a visit.

By Natalie Rivera

Bleek Street No More

In the summer of 2017 The Local Artisan Guide wrote a blog on the sad state of Bleecker Street. With its high rate of empty store fronts, Bleecker Street was starting to look more and more like a street in the mid-west rust belt. Retailers both local and national were abandoning their shops due to astronomical rent increases while landlords were fine with waiting out for tenants that could afford high rents. A few national beauty brands were moving in such as Aesop and The Organic Pharmacy, but in general walking down Bleecker Street seemed quite bleak. 

Fast forward to early 2019 where walking down Bleecker Street is now a more positive experience. Rents have started to come down however there are still multiple shops that are empty. Unfortunately stores are still closing (Sunni Spencer just shut down) but a few new brands are opening up under the revitalization project “Love, Bleecker.”

Still many empty storefronts dot Bleecker Street.

Still many empty storefronts dot Bleecker Street.

“Love, Bleecker” is a collaboration between Skylight and Brookfield Properties, created to breathe back some life into Bleecker Street. “Love, Bleecker” has acquired four storefronts to introduce four online brands who never had a brick and mortar presence. The four brands are couture retailers Prabal Gurung, men’s leather good brand Slightly Alabama, cashmere brand Lingua Franca and plant based bodega with floral collab Bonberi & Fleurotica

Along with the storefronts “Love, Bleecker” will also introduce art installations, music and more interactive community events in collaboration with the shops. 

#lovebleecker

#lovebleecker

“Love, Bleecker” paired each shop with an artist to have fashion and art play off each other. For Slightly Alabama they paired artist Chelsea Hryrick Browne, who created an installation of intricately hand-cut paper designs that will be displayed in the shop’s windows for 6 months. Her designs, which are layers of hand-cut paper create the illusion of an abstract painting.

Slightly Alabama and artist Chelsea Hrynick Browne collaboration.

Slightly Alabama and artist Chelsea Hrynick Browne collaboration.

Prabal Gurung was paired with Edward Ross who crafted a glass sculptural lighting installation which will live in the space for the year.

Prabal Gurung and Edward Ross collaboration.

Prabal Gurung and Edward Ross collaboration.

Lingua Franca was partnered with artist Ashley Longshore who made a very colorful and glittery painting of Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

Lingua Franca and Ashley Longshore collaboration.

Lingua Franca and Ashley Longshore collaboration.

Bonberi & Fleurotica have been paired with Signe Pierce who created floral and neon illuminated sculptures. 

Bonberi & Fleurotica collaboration with Signe Pierce.

Bonberi & Fleurotica collaboration with Signe Pierce.

Besides “Love, Bleecker” there have been multiple store openings of brands that have not had brick and mortar stores including; TDE (The Daily Edit), Kilona, St.Frank, Naadam, Margaux, Hill House Home and gold no.8 to name a few. Some pop up shops have opened up indefinitely such as Netluxe, The Citizenry Bunkhouse, Buckberry, Quaker Marine Supply and Greyers. Other more established brands have opened up new locations on Bleecker Street, which include Faherty, Buck Mason, Jay Kos and Marine Layer making Bleecker Street an up and coming men’s fashion destination.

Welcome to Bleecker Street! New brands are popping up along the way.

Welcome to Bleecker Street! New brands are popping up along the way.

So in the end, just walk down Bleecker Street, enjoy the new brands, art and events and remember at the end of the road there is thankfully Magnolia Bakery.

By Natalie Rivera

Notable Gift Shops in NYC

Where best to find holiday gifts, especially last minute gifts? A store dedicated to the art of gift giving! Not a brand with a gift section, not a department store with a gift table, we are talking stores that search the world over for gifts or create gifts locally. Here The Local Artisan Guide list ten notable gift shops in New York City that we have come upon while we scour the city for local, independent businesses. The gift shops listed below will guarantee unique, thoughtful, local, artisanal gifts. Best is that every shop mentioned has very affordable items for everyone on your holiday list.

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TOP HAT GIFT SHOP - 245 Broome St., Lower East Side, NYC

Top Hat Gift Shop is the brainchild of Nina Allen which reflects her world travels and her love of modernist, eclectic gifts. You never really know what to expect here at Top Hat which features home goods, stationary, crafts and well…anything that strikes her fancy yet fits into the modern aesthetic of her shop.

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CW PENCIL ENTERPRISE - 15 Orchard St., Lower East Side, NYC

Pencils for a gift! Definitely if they come from CW Pencil Enterprise. CW offers the Cadillac of pencils in every color and grade. Plus in this charming shop you will find pencil accessories, stationary and items you never knew existed but you must have and gift to your loved ones once seen.

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YUNHONG CHOPSTICKS - 50 Mott Street, Chinatown, NYC

Yunhong Chopsticks offers just one thing in their shop, chopsticks. However they offer every variation and price point for their chopsticks. The chopsticks come in different materials, colors and set numbers. All beautifully packaged making for easy, unique gift giving.

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JOHN DERIAN COMPANY, INC. - 6 East 2nd St., East Village, NYC

John Derian has been a destination for the art of decoupage since 1989. You can easily lose a whole afternoon in Derian’s shop browsing through his many designs (which are all done locally a few blocks away in his studio). Derian has added some additional categories through the years including tabletop, small goods, candles, textiles, stationary and more.

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CHESS FORUM - 219 Thompson St., Greenwich Village, NYC

Looking for classic games like chess, backgammon, checkers, dominoes, Chinese chess and much more? Well at Chess Forum you find these items in all variations from casual gaming to over the top, high end sets. Charming part of Chess Forum is that they also have a chess parlor where you can come and for $5 play a game and increase your chess skills ($1 for seniors and kids play for free).

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CONSIDEROSITY - 131 West 4th St., Greenwich Village, NYC

Considerosity is the perfect gift shop for one stop shopping as you can most likely find something for everyone on your holiday list. Considerosity carries a selection of candles, soaps, jewelry, bags, accessories and more. The collection is comprised of a number of artisanal designers primarily from the New York area and around the country.

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THE MEADOW - 523 Hudson St., West Village, NYC

The Meadow was founded by Mark Bitterman in 2006 out of his love of travel, food and culture. He decided to open a shop to share his discoveries of craft made salts, gourmet chocolates, handmade cocktail bitters, accessories and gifts that every gourmand would love and treasure.

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EARTH SPEAKS - 139 Atlantic Ave., Boerum Hill, Brooklyn, NYC

Earth Speaks is a boutique that offers an array of gifts such as terrariums and air plants, organic skin care products, terrarium jewelry, soap and candles-- all of which are made in-house at their shop in Brooklyn. Earth Speaks also offers locally made artisanal products such as paintings, pottery and jewelry.

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SWALLOW - 361 Smith St., Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn, NYC.

Having a hard time finding the perfect gift for that person in your life who has immaculate taste, style and aesthetics? Well Swallow may be the shop for you to find a highly curated gift they are sure to love and not try to return or regift. This petite boutique is full of vases, ceramics, bowls, wall hangings, decorative objects, crystals, sea glass, organic home decor and more. The gifts are so beautiful you will most likely want to keep them for yourself.

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UNION SQUARE HOLIDAY MARKET - Union Square, Chelsea, NYC

Up until December 24th, Union Square Holiday Market is a a must-visit destination for unique gifts created by local craftsmen and artists. With dozens upon dozens of stands. Union Square Market offers up every possible category of gifts from jewelry, to leather goods, stationary, crafts, accessories, home decor, artisanal foods, toys, holiday decor, drinks, snacks and more.

This is New York City so this list is just the tip of the iceberg for unique gift giving but its the local artisanal tip recommended by The Local Artisan Guide so you know its well worth the advice and will also benefit the small, local businesses.

Happy Gift Giving!

By Natalie Rivera




Olfactory Experiences in NYC

Once on a date with a fairly new boyfriend a few years ago my new beau presented me with a beautifully wrapped package. As I tore into my unexpected gift I uncovered to my dismay a fancy bottle of perfume. I was quite frankly a little insulted. “Is he having a problem with the way I smell?” immediately went through my mind. He sensed my reaction and tried to put me at ease by saying he was gifting me the perfume because the scent I was wearing reminded him too much of an ex-girlfriend he would prefer to forget. He gave me a very expensive bottle of perfume that at the time I had never heard of, Annick Goutal’s Eau’d Hadrien (yes my new beau was loaded). I was ignorant at the time of the great gift he had given me, obviously he thought if he was going to ask me to change my scent it would be less offensive if the perfume was one of the world’s most expensive at the time. Since our sense of smell is the sense that brings a memory back the most vividly, I didn’t want him remembering his ex when we were together so I gave up my mixture of Issey Miyake’s L'eau d’Issey with a base of Fresh’s Milk Body Lotion (now discontinued) and started wearing the Eau’d Hadrien

I was not exactly thrilled about this because my signature scent of L’eau d’Issey and Fresh’s Milk Lotion was my calling card at the time, one that had strangers telling me how wonderful I smelled. The Eau’d Hadrien did not mix well with my skin chemistry, it smelled like bug spray when it hit my skin so after awhile I just went without scent. My new boyfriend turned out to be a playboy and we broke up so I gave the bottle of Eau’d Hadrien to a friend of mine and she smelled like a lovely citrus and orange grove the moment it hit her skin (which I believed is what you ideally smell like when you use Eau’d Hadrien). 

Once you find a perfume, fragrance or cologne you love, you claim it as your own and state to the world, “this is my signature scent!”. Well that is fine but for the last few decades there is a great chance that many people around you are shopping around the same places to buy their scents (department stores, Sephora, airport duty free shops) so as you walk into a crowded room don’t be too surprised if your scent is not as original as you think it is. 

That is why I recommend you start looking off the beaten path for a scent that is your’s truly and also offers an olfactory experience when seeking it out. 

In the last few years there have been a few brands both old and new that have created a magical, lovely and at times a bespoke experience when seeking out your signature scent. Many of these brands have gone back in time to how fragrances were created hundreds of years ago and have followed the model of the apothecary. Some brands have gone into the future and have reinvented fragrances by creating them to recall olfactory experiences from around the world that are more unisex in nature. 

Here are a few picks of artisanal brands and olfactory destinations located in New York City but available world wide that are making it easier to truly find a signature scent that you can feel quite confident no one else in the room is going to be wearing.

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Aedes Perfumery - 16A Orchard St., Lower East Side, NYC

On the cusp of the Lower East Side and Chinatown, as you walk down gritty Orchard Street with its small contemporary art galleries and fashion forward independent brands there you will find Aedes Perfumery. The shop is petite, dark and romantic. You almost feel trepidatious by entering but once you do you enter you are immediately enveloped into Aedes’s world of highly curative perfumes from over 75 small independent brands all over the world. Their excellent staff is trained to educate their customer on different olfactive groups and let you explore their scents and what works for you. Aedes also has their own perfume, AEDES DE VENUSTAS. Housed in aubergine glass that is baroque yet futuristic, AEDED DE VENUSTAS offers nine very different scents and experiences, it is definitely a boutique you can lose a whole afternoon in. They also offer candles and home fragrances which make for unique gift giving.

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Claus Porto - 230 Elizabeth St., Nolita, NYC

In neighboring Nolita, the neighborhood has lately become a destination for artisanal perfume and fragrance brands lining the small streets along with other high-end independent boutiques. One of the latest brands to join this unique enclave is Claus Porto. Just entering the shop is an experience in itself with a 42 ft long archway made entirely from Portuguese cork, which visitors can step into and admire Claus Porto’s signature products. The brand is over 130 years old and stems from Portugal and built its name on hand-crafted, artisan fragrances which draw on ingredients from Portugal’s lush countryside. All the artwork is from their decades old archives and besides fragrances you can find soaps, candles, diffusers, bath and body and stationary, all which make for perfect gifts.

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Olfactory NYC - 281 Mott St., Nolita, NYC

Its easy to step into Olfactory from the outside as the boutique is an explosion of all the colors of the rainbow. That is when the Olfactory adventure just begins. The friendly staff will guide you into their process for creating your very own perfume. First you will explore their core scents that  are created using the finest and natural and sustainable ingredients. Second you will explore different variations of your core scent by adding accords that help enhance and customize the scent. Third you will chose the color of your of your bottle and help personalize it and like magic you have your very own custom scent! A plus is that the ingredients are vegan, organic, sustainable sourced, Phthalate And Paraben Free and the packaging is sourced locally. Scented candles, body lotions, body wash and gifts are also available so you can shop for yourself and your loved ones in a sustainable manner.

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Le Labo - 233 Elizabeth St., Nolita, NYC

Is a perfume brand founded in New York City in 2006 and has a mission to customize your scent with a made-to-order bottle to ensure the freshest fragrance at the time of purchase. Created in collaboration with the world’s top perfumers and using only the highest-quality essential oils, Le Labo creates scents that are vegan and cruelty free. The brand’s fragrances, hand-dipped candles, and body products are designed to enrich the senses. Once you select your scent they will freshly blend your bottle and then personalize and engrave your bottle for you. There are also grooming, hair, body, home accessories and an eclectic set of oddities available at this rustic and earthy shop that helps ensure you are creating a unique experience for yourself. 

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Atelier Colognes - 247 Elizabeth St., Nolita, NYC

When Christophe Cervasel and Sylvie Ganter first met, little did they know that their love for cologne and scents would spur a brand that is dedicated entirely to cologne. Hence Atelier Cologne was created so colognes could be worn as pure perfumes. With six olfactory groups they have created over 38 scents that range from flowery scents to nights full of the essence of tobacco. All made in France using ingredients native to France. Atelier Cologne products are with 0% paraben, paraffinum liquidum, GMO, animal derived ingredients, colorants, sulfates and made by artisans and craftsmen. Their charming boutique also offers candles, bath and both, travel sizes and gift sets. 

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Malin+Goetz - 235 Elizabeth St., Nolita, NYC

Malin+Goetz is a skincare brand that operates like an apothecary using the simplest ingredients to provide a healthy product for your skin. They have a curated collection of fine fragrances, each inspired by a traditional perfumery ingredient with a modern interpretation and are perfect unisex scents. The shop shares its owners spare, less is more philosophy with clean minimal lines that is reflected in its packaging. The brand also offers besides skin and fragrances, candles, hair, body products, soap, beauty and gifts.

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Deceim/Avestan - 26 Prince St., Nolita, NYC

Deceim, the beauty brand that has been revolutionizing the beauty world has created a brand of unisex perfumes and fragrances called Avestan. And just like Deceim has brought new concepts to beauty, Avestan has brought new concepts to fragrances by focusing on experiences and scents that bring back memories from world travels. Wonder what an aromatic visualisation of firewood near a tent in Tanzania smells like? Or what the inside of a violin atelier smells like? The smell of copper in a Budapest architecture? Well with Avestan you will be privy to these unisex fragrances that work with the magic of olfactory memory. Currently they have over 15 scents that all included besides fragrances, candles, body and hair products. 

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Santa Maria Novella - 285 Lafayette St., Nolita, NYC

Santa Maria Novella is a apothecary brand from Florence, Italy that can trace the beginnings of its formulation from 1221 with the official pharmacy opening in 1612. Thus the Officina Profumo - Farmaceutica di Santa Maria Novella (Perfume and Pharmaceutical Oficine of Holy Mary Novella) was born with an emblematic name that gave precedence to perfume or the ephemeral rather than the curative aspect of more spiritual inspiration, the medicinal or pharmaceutical. They catered to royalty, nobles and merchants worldwide and today Santa Maria Novella offers a multitude of aromatic waters, colognes, candles, home accessories for both men and women (even pets). Its a brand draped in history and with a staff that is more than happy to help explain the centuries old formulas that have been past down the ages.

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MiN NY - 117 Crosby St., Soho, NYC

MiN NY is a fragrance brand that operates on a conceptual philosophy of our definition of what constitutes a fragrance. Set in Soho’s Cast Iron District, MiN NY have created over 17 fragrance with such names and experiences as “Shaman” for mystical time travelers, “Moondust” because the moon it is said the moon smells of gunpowder after a desert rain. “Old School Bench” to bring back memories of pencil shavings and vintage desks. The brand also offers candles, haircare, gifts, eyewear and a highly curated selection of artisanal perfume brands from around the world.

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Fueguia - 21 Crosby St., Soho, NYC

Fueguia is an Argentinian sustainable perfume brand that uses only certain natural ingredients, being often very unique and used for the first time in perfumery. These ingredients being used in perfumery are also a great challenge due to the fact that climate change affects the availability, quality and prices of the different botanical species. Because of the scarcity of these ingredients, Fueguia 1833 produces only limited series of fragrances, using the finest natural ingredients available at the time of production. Each bottle shows the year and the lot number of the fragrance that is enclosed – a progressive number from 1 to 400 being engraved on a crystal bottle of each perfume. The boutiques are dark with well crafted vitrines highlighting the scents and adding to the luxurious and unique event of sampling the limited edition fragrances.

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Marianell Soap Bar and Spa - 102 Thompson St., Soho, NYC

Marianella Soap Bar is the brainchild and passion project of mother and son team Marianella and David Foote who recreate the soaps and scents of Marianella’s nostalgic travels and her Venezuelan childhood spent making soaps and beauty products by hand in her grandmother’s kitchen. The fragrances and soaps makes the most luxurious one of a kind bath and body products with no Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, No Parabens, No Harsh Chemicals and No Animal Testing, all made in the U.S.A. Their beautiful, light, airy and cheerful shop features their custom fragrances, soaps, beauty, bath and body, home fragrances and gift sets (they just started a monthly subscription box). 

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The Scentarium - 85 Franklin St., Tribeca, NYC

The Scentarium is by appointment only and once there, its owner Sue Phillips will help you create a bespoke signature fragrance that captures the essence of you and gives you a custom perfume to wear and cherish. Whether its just you or a party of 50, Sue Phillips will educate you on perfumery and help you decide what is right for you by introducing you to groups of scents and then mixing and matching to get the unique scent that you desire. Sue also offers her own scents that she has created throughout the years.

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Bond No. 9 New York - 9 Bond St., Noho, NYC

Bond No. 9 New York is the first American parfumerie to be headed by a woman, Laurice Rahmé, who gives homage to New York City by giving every New York neighborhood a scent of its own. The brand is very civic minded, campaigning for and spreading peace internationally and raising funds for the cause via their universally loved “Scent of Peace”. The store itself is a Alice in Wonderland experience that will have you browsing through the city via your olfactory senses. 

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Kilian - 946 Madison Ave., Upper East Side, NYC

Founded by Kilian Hennessy, Kilian is a luxury perfume brand that seeks to create perfume the way it was made in the late 19th and the early 20th century, but adding a contemporary twist at the same time. Kilian’s concept of their “eco-luxe” philosophy that each bottle can be refilled and kept for a lifetime help put them on the map worldwide. There are over 35 scents in the collection, each telling a story with names like “Arabian Nights”, “Asian Tales”,  and “In the Garden of Good & Evil”, every scent evokes ultimate sophistication and timeless luxury.

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Editions de Parfums Frédéric Malle, 898 Madison Ave., Upper East Side, NYC.

Think of Editions de Parfums Frédéric Malle as a publishing house for the industry’s very best Perfume Designers. As their editor, Frédéric Malle guides them individually through their creative process to ensure that they are always transcending their limits. Together they create works of art that will be the perfume classics of tomorrow. With a team of 13 perfume designers, the shop resembles an elegant home, a contemporary interpretation of a 1930s Parisian apartment with the clinical design of a fragrance laboratory. There are celebrated features including Frédéric Malle’s own signature smelling columns and refrigerated perfume cabinets. Besides helping educate the customer on olfactory elements, there are limited editions, candles, home scents, beauty and gifts. 


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Twisted Lily - 360 Atlantic Ave., Boerum Hill, Brooklyn, NYC

Twisted Lily is a unique fragrance boutique and apothecary featuring hard to find niche, indie and natural fragrances from all over the world. This Brooklyn bright and cheery boutique curates fragrances that are created from just a few blocks away to the far side of the globe. Twisted Lily also features modern apothecary products such as skincare, grooming and beauty lines. 

So there is a small sample of olfactory experiences in New York City. There are also a few honorable mentions such as Alchemlogie, Joya, Annick Goutal and more.

Besides finding your signature scent, all the brands mentioned are perfect destinations for thoughtful, unique, beautiful gift giving for the holidays.

I am now confident when I walk into a room that my scent is as personal and unique to me as my fingerprint. I will not reveal the brand or formulation I chose because this is truly “my signature scent”. My fragrance will forever bring up vivid memories of just..me.

By Natalie Rivera



Ethical Shopping for Black Friday

It's here, Black Friday. That day of the year that jump starts holiday shopping with cut throat sales on brands across the board. 

Whether you plan to shop at a Brick and Mortar shop or go online, The Local Artisan Guide has made some suggestions to highlight some of the many brands that now focus on ethical and sustainable products that you should know about.

BRACKISH BOW TIES  is a Bow Tie brand made in Charleston, SC.  No dyes are used, giving each tie a unique coloring. The feathers are all-natural and sustainably sourced. Each tie arrives in a hand-branded, pine gift box. including a list of the feathers used and instructions on how to care for your tie.  www.brackishbowties.com

BRACKISH BOW TIES is a Bow Tie brand made in Charleston, SC.  No dyes are used, giving each tie a unique coloring. The feathers are all-natural and sustainably sourced. Each tie arrives in a hand-branded, pine gift box. including a list of the feathers used and instructions on how to care for your tie. www.brackishbowties.com

ROTHY'S  is a San Francisco brand that created a women’s flat with low-waste, low-impact materials, hand-assembled for high quality and durability. The flats fit true-to-size and have a removable insole and 3D knit upper for seamless comfort. Machine-washable in cold, gentle cycle; air dry only.  When you finally are ready to replace them simply send them to their Rothy’s recycling facility and help close the loop in making our planet a better place.    www.rothys.com

ROTHY'S is a San Francisco brand that created a women’s flat with low-waste, low-impact materials, hand-assembled for high quality and durability. The flats fit true-to-size and have a removable insole and 3D knit upper for seamless comfort. Machine-washable in cold, gentle cycle; air dry only.  When you finally are ready to replace them simply send them to their Rothy’s recycling facility and help close the loop in making our planet a better place.   www.rothys.com

ANITA DONGRE GRASSROOT  is a sustainable luxury brand born to revive, sustain and empower India's crafts and artisans. The brand translates village art into design for the globetrotting woman, and showcase the handcrafted traditions of India in contemporary tales. Grassroot works with rural artisans to create local employment opportunities, empowering every village to become a self-sustaining unit.   www.anitadongregrassroot.com

ANITA DONGRE GRASSROOT is a sustainable luxury brand born to revive, sustain and empower India's crafts and artisans. The brand translates village art into design for the globetrotting woman, and showcase the handcrafted traditions of India in contemporary tales. Grassroot works with rural artisans to create local employment opportunities, empowering every village to become a self-sustaining unit.  www.anitadongregrassroot.com

PATENT OF THE HEART  is a handbag and small leather goods brand made in Turkey. Designer Elif Akaydin has artisans create her sophisticated collection made with the finest European leathers and materials. Patent of Heart assures you every bag purchased is not only made with high-quality craftsmanship, but with a strong sense of functionality and style. A portion of profits helps contribute to worthy cause especially helpings young girls attain an education.   www.patentoftheheart.com

PATENT OF THE HEART is a handbag and small leather goods brand made in Turkey. Designer Elif Akaydin has artisans create her sophisticated collection made with the finest European leathers and materials. Patent of Heart assures you every bag purchased is not only made with high-quality craftsmanship, but with a strong sense of functionality and style. A portion of profits helps contribute to worthy cause especially helpings young girls attain an education.  www.patentoftheheart.com

JOE GROOMING  was established in 2002 with a goal to create a natural and organic line of hair products formulated to meet their core objective. By lowering surfactant levels in their shampoos, adding soothing, moisturizing extracts to both cleansing and styling products, and fragrancing with essential oils rather than synthetic fragrances, they have taken the first steps toward achieving this goal.  Extra benefit is for every order of a Joe Grooming product, they donate a bar of Joe Grooming soap to a resident of homeless shelters across the USA.  www.joegrooming.biz

JOE GROOMING was established in 2002 with a goal to create a natural and organic line of hair products formulated to meet their core objective. By lowering surfactant levels in their shampoos, adding soothing, moisturizing extracts to both cleansing and styling products, and fragrancing with essential oils rather than synthetic fragrances, they have taken the first steps toward achieving this goal.  Extra benefit is for every order of a Joe Grooming product, they donate a bar of Joe Grooming soap to a resident of homeless shelters across the USA. www.joegrooming.biz

EDUN  is a sustainable high end fashion apparel and accessories brand that makes all its products in Africa from artisans using fair trade methods and guidelines.  www.edun.com

EDUN is a sustainable high end fashion apparel and accessories brand that makes all its products in Africa from artisans using fair trade methods and guidelines. www.edun.com

APOLIS  is a fashion lifestyle brand founded on the simple idea that people can live better lives when they are given equal access to the global marketplace. Apolis is a socially motivated lifestyle brand that empowers communities worldwide.  www.apolisglobal.com

APOLIS is a fashion lifestyle brand founded on the simple idea that people can live better lives when they are given equal access to the global marketplace. Apolis is a socially motivated lifestyle brand that empowers communities worldwide. www.apolisglobal.com

Black Friday doesn't have to be a consumer nightmare, it can be a practice in conscious shopping. Don't forget to check out your local brick and mortar shops for Black Friday and Small Business Saturday, you'll be amazed at the wonderful Black Friday sales and products you will find.

By Natalie Rivera

Local Artisan Valentines Day Gift Recommendations

Its here! That time of the year when you are highly encouraged to show your bae that you really care about them with greeting cards, chocolates, dinner at an overcrowded, trendy restaurant and a little trinket to seal the deal whilst donning racy lingerie. 

We here at The Local Artisan Guide have come up with some gift recommendations for those who want to celebrate this day of love with style and panache. The selection below is available online (click the link) and at their brick & mortar store. We did the legwork and sought out the greeting cards, chocolates, trinkets and sexy lingerie in a range of price points (Goop we are not!). We did leave the restaurant choice to you.

The recommendations are divided into three groups: for her, for him and unisex gifts. All recommendations are highly curated, sure to please, unique and thoughtful because in the end that is what we all seek from a gift from a loved one. 

 

GIFTS FOR HER:

 

Kempton & Co., Small Leather Pouch, Black, $52

Kempton & Co.'s pouches are great for multiple uses whether its for storing your cosmetics or using the pouch as a clutch for the evening out.

                           

                           

Pierre Hardy Shoes, Memphis Sandal, Mutli Nude, $795

Pierre Hardy Shoes are sexy, au courant and at the same time very lady like. 

Maison Close Black Feather Fan, $90

Let me entertain you! Imagine the surprise on your lover's face when you enter into the boudoir with this burlesques feather fan and...well not much else!

              

              

 

Gurhan Jewelry, Amulet Pendant in 24k gold with cabochon ruby. $2,400

If you are going to go all out and give jewelry to your Valentine, think out of the box with this ruby amulet that will make her think of the middle ages, poetry and being serenaded on a balcony.

                                      

                                      

 Le Labo Fragrances, Rose 31, eau du parfum, $175

Le Labo is a special fragrance brand as you can work on creating your own scents, however their Rose 31 scent is the perfect Valentines Day scent as it is reminiscing of walking in a rose garden.

              

              

Soapology, Fresh Cut Soap, Chamomile, $8

What a special way to show someone you think they deserve the best without emptying your wallet. The natural ingredients and fresh cut soap is not only good for your skin but makes for a beautiful item to add to a bathroom.

 

 

FOR HIM:

                               

                               

Ernest Alexander, Andy Leather Laptop Brief, Brown, $295

This sleek and handsome leather briefcase not only carries your computer in style, the side pocket can carry an iPad and the inside pockets easily hold a man's iPhone, wallets and pens.

                                         

                                         

Noah Waxman, Hyde Park, Tobacco, $595

Here is an innovative way to do color block on a man's shoe that looks like it can go from day to evening in style.

goorin bros., Rooster BBL, $30

You don't have to go into credit card debt to give your man a gift that is unique, fun and you know they will use often.

                                       

                                       

Larsson Jennings, Lugano Collection, $275

A timepiece is always a hit as a Valentine's Day gift and to have it at this price point is a win/win for all.

      

      

Fellow Barber Signature Candle, $60

Your man will appreciate this multi functioning gift as it will make his place smell like a cypress forest and when its done he can use it as a cup. 

Santa Maria Novella, Latte Corpo Uomo, Men's Body Milk, $96

If your man is a history buff he will appreciate this body lotion made from the finest ingredients with a formula used for past centuries for men all over Europe.

 

UNISEX GIFTS:

Taschen, "The Little Book of Pin Up, Vargas", by Dian Hanson, $9.99

What a sexy gift to flip through before you end your Valentine's Day evening.

                               

                               

 Marie Belle Chocolates, 16 piece Caramel Box, $40

These chocolates are so beautiful you may not want to eat them but their innovative flavors will change your mind.

Greenwich Letterpress Valentines Day Card, "Brain on Love" $5

Forget Hallmark, come to Greenwich Letterpress to find Valentines Day cards with wit and romance that you know are also unique at the same time.

So hopefully our recommendations have given you some ideas that will lead to an evening of unconditional love, lust and items you and your bae will cherish forever. 

Happy Valentine's Day!

By Natalie Rivera

The Truth Behind Counterfeit Stock

The Local Artisan Guide is fortunate enough to be based in downtown Manhattan, in the neighborhood of Soho which has great energy, stores, restaurants and some of the best residences in New York City. Soho is also surrounded by hotels, where you see countless tourists everyday exploring all New York has to offer. Usually their country’s currency is good for shopping in the United States so they have researched ahead of time premier shopping destinations that will give them more bang for their buck (or Pound, Yen, Euro). Soho, Century 21, Nolita, Williamsburg are on their list for shopping and finding great bargains however unfortunately so is an area right next to Soho which is Chinatown. 

Chinatown is a great destination in New York City to go to for delicious, affordable food, groceries, cultural shock and wares from Asia. However Chinatown is a destination for many tourist for all the wrong reasons.

Bus loads of tourists make their way to Canal Street and Chinatown every day in New York City to look for inexpensive souvenirs of NYC which are aplenty but even more notorious in this part of town is that Chinatown, especially Canal Street is the mecca for counterfeit products.

Handbags, luggage, watches, fragrances, sunglasses etc. are all counterfeit. They are copies of the most well known international brands in the world; Prada, Gucci, Dior, Louis Vuitton, Rolex, Tumi, etc. Street hawkers will whisper to you as you go by to look at their wares, they will even invite you into backroom areas to see more high end product they swear are real. If you walk away they will start haggling with you to close the deal.

A view of the counterfeit shops that line Canal St. in Chinatown, NYC and their wares. Hopefully froggy is legitimate.

A view of the counterfeit shops that line Canal St. in Chinatown, NYC and their wares. Hopefully froggy is legitimate.

If you think for one second that the product is genuine or it doesn’t matter purchasing counterfeit products, let me remove all doubt and ignorance so you don’t even begin to justify that you are just getting a bargain or paying what you think is fair and the large multinational conglomerates will not miss a penny.

Counterfeit fragrances sold on Canal St., Chinatown, NYC.

Counterfeit fragrances sold on Canal St., Chinatown, NYC.

The main bulk of the counterfeit products come from China. China is a master of illegally counterfeiting product. As most mass retailers have their products made in China, there is a culture of factories replicating and selling the products domestically and internationally at a dramatic cut cost in black markets across the world. Many so called reputable factories in China will produce legitimate products legally and near by have a sister factory producing the same stolen designs and intellectual property illegally. 

Counterfeit handbags and watches sold on Canal St., Chinatown, NYC.

Counterfeit handbags and watches sold on Canal St., Chinatown, NYC.

As a former product development manager who had to travel frequently to Asia to review the product I was developing, I saw whole shopping plazas in China with stores that were all counterfeit. I even once found a store in China that had the name of the brand I was working for even though we did not have a brick and mortar store in the United States. As I looked into the windows of the closed shop, I saw a mixture of our handbag designs and their own designs but with our leathers and fabric patterns. The shop actually looked quite nice and luxurious. However it was all counterfeit. There was a fake Donna Karan shop, fake Calvin Klein, fake Pucci, etc., etc..

Here is what you are contributing to when you buy counterfeit items; besides depriving well known brands of your money for their products, when you buy counterfeit you are contributing to child slavery, dangerous work conditions, poor salaries with workers that have little or no rights plus a multitude of other labor violations. You see, when a factory is illegal there is no regulation of any kind. It is a sweat shop where the government or social compliance auditors cannot oversee to make sure there is a safe, humane labor practice occurring. 

Do not try to fool yourself for one minute that this is not the case no matter what the hawker will tell you. Unfair circumstances that we cannot imagine happening are occurring all over the world and when you buy counterfeit product you are not only contributing to it you are encouraging it.

Some of the counterfeit handbag brands sold on the street on Canal St., Chinatown, NYC.

Some of the counterfeit handbag brands sold on the street on Canal St., Chinatown, NYC.

All over the world there are areas like Canal St. that specialize in selling counterfeit items. Once while I was in Florence, Italy walking down one of the streets that legitimately sold the high end accessories brands of the world, I noticed right after the shops closed, immigrant hawkers came and laid out the same counterfeit bags that you saw in the store windows on the ground and for a fraction of their retail cost. It was very bold. Yet still counterfeit.

There are even seemingly nice, legitimate stores in Soho that have a mix of genuine vintage high end handbags and what they claim are an overstock of “it bags”. These bags are very easy to fool even a trained eye. They have quality raw materials, follow the designs of “it bags” and copy the packaging of the bags to the tee. They even have the cards with the certification copied down expertly. If you see a vintage Chanel that you are quite sure is legitimate, why wouldn’t you think the Celine bag that is just a few feet away, still in new condition not real? Be warned these bags are not $100, they are sold for over $1000 and more as they are claiming the product is new or overstock. Remember if its too good to be true, it usually is.

Police raids on vendors selling counterfeit product on Canal St., Chinatown, NYC.

Police raids on vendors selling counterfeit product on Canal St., Chinatown, NYC.

There are frequent raids on Canal St., but the norm is to see sellers are out in the open hawking their wares which makes a tourist think that this is quite legal. However you as the shopper can also get in trouble for obtaining illegal counterfeit product so is it really worth it? Some countries in Europe will give you a ridiculously high fine if they catch you with counterfeit product when you come into customs. If you have any questions on whether a product is counterfeit or not, you can call customer service of the brand you are questioning or Google as there are many articles and sites that teach you how to determine if a product is legitimate or not and how to avoid counterfeits.

So whether its a keychain, handbag, watch or whatever you see hawked on Canal St., Chinatown, (or anywhere around the world that have similar markets) The Local Artisan Guide wants you to remember if you read this article you now know the truth and your decisions are now informed decisions. What kind of world that you would like to contribute to?

No excuses.

By Natalie Rivera

We Are Going Live...

But we still have quite a ways to go. 

Almost a year is upon us as we started social media for The Local Artisan Guide and we are now going live to show you some of the neighborhoods in New York City that we have been exploring and carefully curating for the discerning shopper. More neighborhoods will be added in the future and more stores, boutiques, artisans and smaller brands will be added on a daily basis. 

Plus besides Brick & Mortar shops will be soon be adding on a daily basis a "Local Artisan Brand" which are brands that operate with an online site or are wholesale. Future cities both domestic and overseas will be added and we are currently working on our app. The app will help you not only find the artisan of your choosing but will help you organize your speciality shopping finds, be apart of a rewards program, use your social media to highlight your finds and most of all shine a light on artisans, sustainability and giving back to the community. We are designing the app to be fun to use and share.

In the meantime please follow us on social media (links below), join our newsletter and any feedback, comments, questions inquiries will be greatly appreciated.

We will start having more blogs, interviews and video added to our site plus collaborations and promotional events.

We are very excited and we hope you are too. So if you don't want to walk in a room and find someone else dressed the same as yourself in head to toe Prada, are environmentally conscious of the impact "fast fashion" has in our world and love being an individual in your style both in fashion, beauty and home we are the site for you. 

Natalie Rivera

Founder, The Local Artisan Guide

Design Theft

The Local Artisan Guide

Design Theft

Last night Ivanka Trump walked onto the stage to the tune of "Here Comes the Sun" (much to the dismay and disapproval of George Harrison's estate) and while she spoke on behalf of how her father Donald Trump was going to make "America Great Again" and his plan to help small businesses, we thought it very hypocritical of Ivanka Trump as her lifestyle brand has been guilty on occasion of practicing the same corrupt methods of her father. Many small business will attest to how the Trump Organization will use their services and then pay a small percentage of their invoice if anything at all causing many businesses to practically collapse or have to let go of employees. Trump Organization assumes that small businesses do not have the funds for a long protracted law suit and bully their clients into accepting little or no pay for their services. Ivanka Trump is apparently a chip off the old block as her brand has been publicly called out and has a few lawsuits against them for design theft.

Ivanka Trump entering and addressing the RNC to George Harrison's "Here Comes the Sun". More like "Here comes Trouble".

Ivanka Trump entering and addressing the RNC to George Harrison's "Here Comes the Sun". More like "Here comes Trouble".

One of the problems of being a local artisan in today’s world is design theft.

Having worked in the corporate retail fashion industry for almost twenty years in the production and product development arena, this site is familiar with the workings of how large fashion brands create and develop their product. 

In the first stage of designing a collection for larger brands the designer is sent on a shopping trip for aspiration and inspiration samples (i.e. other brand’s products). Some brands send their designers on adventures to be inspired by nature, cultures and architecture. However most brands go to Europe or Asia and shop for items of clothing, accessories or jewelry that will be part of their samples for inspiration. 

A good designer would take one aspect of something they found on their trip and elevate and/or appropriate the idea to make it their own and within the aesthetics of their brands. It could be a pattern from an expensive piece of vintage wear, a dress from another brand, a piece of jewelry or a button from a low cost brand. Researching on the internet or catalogues has made seeing what is being offered globally much easier for most brands. The design team then creates inspiration boards which reflect trends, materials and color palettes that everyone has agreed to work from to form a cohesive style statement.

However especially in the last few years we are seeing well known brands that are high end or brands that specialize in mass production at low price points blatantly steal the ideas and designs of smaller, local artisans. Brands such as Zara, Banana Republic, H&M, Ivanka Trump and ASOS have knocked off designs of smaller brands without even changing much of the original design. Its not designing just another nude pump or t-shirt, it’s very intricate designs that are being copied detail by detail.

I have heard from many smaller brands that they do not let in other brands in their showrooms or even let buyers or merchandisers come in as they just steal their ideas and designs and have them created elsewhere. This isn’t only for clothing, its footwear, accessories, home decor, jewelry plus other areas of design. Many smaller brands are vulnerable to other designers just coming into their shops and downright stealing their ideas and designs.

These larger brands have access to legal teams and count on the “grey area” of stealing intellectual property from other brands. They rely on the fact that for the most part the local artisan does not have a budget for a legal team to sue for design infringement. Due to this atmosphere there is rampant theft of intellectual property that does not go challenged in the design world domestically and internationally.

While many may appreciate seeing a Gucci or Balmain knockoff in Zara now within reach of their budget they are ignorant that they, the customer contribute to the problem. They remain unaware that many (not all) of the designs they are purchasing are not original and hurt the business of the original designer whether it is high end couture or local artisans. 

Much of the blame can be laid at the hands of the venture capitalist who have acquired most of the well known brands you recognize. These investors don’t want to hear that fashion is fickle, they want a return on their investment and for them part of that is laying a very structured design process that doesn’t breed originality. They want a sure deal. Their buyers, sales teams and merchandisers have numbers on what worked and what didn’t so the design team starts out with limits placed upon them even before the design process begins. There are very few brands today that are design driven instead of merchant driven. The big business of corporate fashion is one of the reasons there are so many local artisans out there as they left corporate fashion to design their own lines and bring originality back to their trade. 

With the advent of social media, it has been a great tool to put a spotlight on when these infringements happen. Just recently the very artisanal Italian shoe brand Aquazzura has decided to take legal action against the Ivanka Trump brand for blatantly stealing their footwear designs. The style in question is very intricate and it was copied in its entirety. Of course in typical Trump fashion they denied they copied Aquazzura’s design however since the design was quite original Aquazzura feel they have a good case against Ivanka Trump and ask to cease and desist and take the product off the shelves (the main action a brand asks another brand to do when there is design infringement). The Ivanka Trump line also in the past was taken to task by Derek Lam for copying a footwear design that was quite original and not to be mistaken as a design coincidence. 

Here is an example of Ivanka Trump's brand blatantly stealing from the smaller more artisan Italian artisan brand Aquazzura.

Here is an example of Ivanka Trump's brand blatantly stealing from the smaller more artisan Italian artisan brand Aquazzura.

What is curious about this particular Aquazzura style is that Zara, Banana Republic and ASOS also copied this design yet they have not been sued as of now for design infringement. Aquazzura also is currently suing Marc Fisher for design infringement for another style that again was quite original and hard to believe it was a design coincidence. 

One of the problems with corporate fashion and design is that most brands follow very similar processes and trend reports which makes it definitely plausible to have designs that are very similar. If you walk down Broadway now in Soho nearly every mainstream brand has white eyelet clothing and dresses with men’s shirting patterns in similar color palettes. This design process is what the larger brands are counting on for their defense legally as to why their designs are similar to others.

Ironically no one gets as upset or puts more money to stop being copied than the larger, well known retail brands as so much of their production is made in China. The counterfeit problem there is of massive proportions as the Chinese love owning well known brands. There are plazas in China that resemble upscale malls where all the product is actually all counterfeit. The brands get very upset and invest a lot of money to try and prevent factories from copying and distributing “their designs” as they rightly resent the lost of potential revenue. However that is exactly how the local artisan and smaller brands feel too when their designs are copied.

My recommendation for smaller artisans when they see their designs copied by other brands (especially their more intricate, original designs) are to send a cease and desist letter to the brand and use social media to highlight the design infringement. Once its out in social media that a certain brand is stealing designs it is hard to get rid of that reputation and these days reputation is everything. 

In the meantime feel free to let The Local Artisan Guide know when this happens and we will be more than happy to shine a light on the matter. If we don’t let them get away with it in the first place this will be a diminishing problem in the design world however we all need to work together in the first place. And to the general public, as a customer you need to take on your responsibility of not shopping in places that you know are guilty of design theft. As for designers, wouldn’t you rather your work be an original? As Oscar Wilde use to say, “Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.”