In February, the American Craft Council hosted their annual Artisan Craft Show in Baltimore consisting of "650 of the country’s top contemporary jewelry, clothing, furniture, and home décor artists." And I got the opportunity to be a stylist at their Style Slam program!
To be frank, the connotation of the term 'craft show' is often misunderstood, especially to many of you who have never attended one. My mother, an advocate for curating a wardrobe consisting of unique and one-of-a-kind pieces, took me to craft shows starting at a young age. This is where I learned that a 'craft show' does not consist of people selling cheap arts & crafts - these shows consist of talented artists selling handmade pieces of jewelry, clothing, and furniture alongside wooden, metal, glass, and ceramic creations. While not all artists' appealed to my style and/or lifestyle growing up, I fell in love with local creativity and supporting entrepreneurs. Honestly, you can attribute a lot of my love for local to my mother and grandmother, as well as growing up in a very community-oriented city.
Cue the ACC Show in Baltimore. I was excited when I when I was reminded of the American Craft Council's Baltimore Show; but I was floored (and flattered) when I was asked to be a stylist for Style Slam, a program at the show dedicated to showcasing how artisan pieces - jewelry, accessories, fashion wearables -- can be easily integrated into one's personal style!
So while vendors and their collections traveled to the Baltimore Convention Center, I was mentally preparing for a Saturday filled with friends & colleagues, styling challenges, and a healthy dose of speed walking through 600+ artists' booths to find the perfect pieces to represent my personal style!
1. Mannequin Challenge
Although the Style Slam program consisted of three 'challenges', the day was less of a competition with colleagues and more a challenge-of-self. The first of those challenges was to style a mannequin using pieces from the vendors at the American Craft Show. I took the mannequin as a static opportunity to showcase my personal style, so I wanted to showcase the three things that I value in my own looks: pattern mixing, structured femininity, and a marriage of neutral colors with bold accents. I love adapting vintage clothing to current trends, so I worked with A Day N June, a vintage clothing store in Baltimore, to dress my mannequin.
I paired a vintage floral skirt with a black & white striped tee; and for my accessories, I elected to play up the red and green accents found in the skirt's pattern with pieces from the show:
Red Coral Necklace, Erica Zap
Julie Crossbody Handbag, Open Hand Leather Goods
Red glasses, Olefson Art Opticals
2. Design Meets Style Challenge
The second challenge of the day was by far my favorite! The Design Meets Style Challenge was a styling collaboration between local interior designers and the four stylists at the ACC Baltimore Show. Four interior designers created vignettes, small spaces displaying their work; and each stylist was paired with a room/designer. It was then our job to style our models to exist in the spaces while showcasing pieces from the show.
I really loved the concept of this challenge. It brought local creatives together in a cooperative way to highlight the designers and stylists individual talents -- and showcased the amazing things that can result from creative collaboration.
I was paired with Sarah Antonieta who designed a very pink room. Now I'm not gonna lie, I was freaked when I found out I would have to style such a bold room. I tend toward bold accents but neutrals are my safe place. This part of the day earned it's title as a challenge because it definitely challenged me to step out of my comfort zone. Although intimidated, I thought back to the three things that define my personal style: pattern mixing, structured femininity, and a marriage of neutral colors with bold accents.
Instead of mixing a lot of patterns on my model, Carisa, I decided to mix patterns with the rug that Sarah had picked for the room. As I was walking through the aisles (felt like miles) of vendors, a sweater coat from Beebop & Wally had caught my eye for it's balance of geometric pattern and bold-neutral colors. I knew I wanted to put it in the room but I was unsure of what accessories to pair with it. I thought the look needed a necklace -- yet anything overly simple felt too understated while something too loud seemed inauthentic to my personal style.
It wasn't until 10 minutes before we were showcasing our looks that I stumbled across a beaded necklace, similar to this one, from Julie Powell. It's geometric shape played well into the pattern of the sweater coat that I had pulled, and it's multicolored design allowed me to pattern mix while pulling in a variety of colors (orange, pink, navy) found in Sarah's room. I kept my model's clothes quite simple to balance out the whites and blacks found in the room by putting her in a white tee, black, high-waisted pants, and ankle-strap heels with a feminine ruffle detail. I also grabbed the red glasses from my mannequin to add another layer of sophistication and to tie in the red found in the sweater coat.
For Carisa's makeup, we went with an ultraviolet eyeliner to pull in the hues of the room's wall color but kept the rest of her face quite natural. All in all, I was in love with the final look (and I still am!)
I think the playful sophistication of the look is amazing -- and in all honesty, the result of this challenge (room + styled model) is something I'm really proud of considering the room's aesthetic was completely out of my comfort zone.
Georgy Sweater Coat, Beebop & Wally
Tumbling Die Beaded Necklace, Julie Powell
Red glasses, Olefson Art Opticals
3. Trend Challenge
By the time we got to the last challenge of the day, my team was a little exhausted. After running around all day looking for clothing, changing hair & makeup, and returning the borrowed pieces to their rightful booths, we lacked some energy and a lot of time. The last challenge, the Trend Challenge, required stylists to put together a look (find pieces, style, hair, makeup) for a given situation in under an hour. Yes, an hour.
Each stylist picked their situation/event out of a hat -- leave it up to us to pick "Cocktail Party at the Lord Baltimore" when WE DIDN'T BRING ANY COCKTAIL ATTIRE. Huge fail on my part, therefore, we had to haul a** to find something at the show. Cue stress. Luckily we found Susan Bradley , a popular vendor at the show, who had a selection of black dresses. I figured there's nothing more classic than a LBD, and her unique take on a classic look was definitely a good route to go!
I paired the dress with a pair of red heels and a pair of red, geometric earrings from Eli Arenas, and we completed the look with a smoky eye + red lip combo. Since the end of the day was so hectic, I only really got one good picture of the look (once everything was finished.)
For a behind-the-scenes look at the day:
I'd love to hear your thoughts about the looks we created during Style Slam. Any you really loved? Would you have styled anything differently? Leave a comment and let me know!
A huge thank you to the American Craft Council and Profiles PR for the opportunity to participate and challenge myself as a stylist during Style Slam. Thank you to Carisa for being an amazing model and Kris for being a fabulous assistant -- the day wouldn't have been possible without the two of them. They also are saints for tolerating my irritability and indecisiveness.
All photos courtesy of the American Craft Council.
For more details on my personal style inspirations, as well as style tips, check out my ACC Style Slam Stylist Spotlight.
Until next time,