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“We’re are all different and all equal. We can be both,” says Shaun Williams, Founder of Equali Tees, a clothing line that supports various causes through its products and events.

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Equali Tees started with a black equal sign on a white shirt, which customers were expected to customize according to their personal style. Today, all items still have the equal sign, and there are a variety of customizable printed patterns, colors, t-shirts, and tops.

The equal sign represents that each person is equal, and the various stylings show that they are different. A social cause is often tied to a particular color or combination.

Shaun grew up as a dancer in Boston and became inspired by fashion at a young age. She moved to New Orleans in February 2015.

Out of college, where she studied Arts Management, Shaun worked in financial assistance at the Department of Higher Education. She took a Politics and Public Policy grad program and then worked as an assistant to Representative Willie Mae Allen at the State House.

Over time, Shaun’s passion for art brought her to the world of fashion. On the side, she starting producing items for Boldfacers, which exposed her to extravagant parties.

Many of the people she met shared Shaun’s sense of compassion, yet were unaware of systemic challenges people face as a result of class or race. “We are all different and all equal,” Shaun noticed, and the concept for Equali Tees was born.

If people with this sense of compassion at all levels of society could come together in one place, like the space Shaun is creating through Equali Tees, maybe they will have meaningful discussions and solve problems like the ones that her work in government purported to address.

The very first Equali Tees were printed in 2011, when, totally at random, fashion icon Daphne Guinness replied to Shaun’s Tweet in which she offered to make her a shirt. “I don’t know what made me offer something that I didn’t have, but it led me here,” says Shaun.

Boston Fashion Week

She registered Equali Tees in 2012 and has since participated in fashion shows, popups, and produced extravagant events of her own.

In Boston Fashion Week 2013, Shaun evolved Equali Tees beyond t-shirts, experimenting with club-style shredded, chained, dyed garments and hoodies.

In 2014, Shaun, along with Jessica Leigh French and Chaylin Diaz, organized and directed the Boston Gallery of All Arts for Black History Month, to raise awareness of the long unacknowledged 1921 Tusla race riots and Greenwood Cultural Center. This event showcased a diversity of culture and art forms, including dancers, performances, musicians, live painting, and poetry flash mobs. Participating artists wore black-on-black Equali Tees.

In New Orleans, Shaun is hatching plans for a fashion show at NOEW or Fashion Week. She would also like to organize another collaborative Gallery of All Arts event.

Shaun has a “Peace Love Equality” design that directly supports Mother’s Love, a nonprofit which Shaun’s mother has been working on establishing to aid parents and caretakers that have lost loved ones to violence.

Another cause that recently caught Shaun’s interest is supporting transgender people that are unable to transition due to their financial standing. This cause will use a rainbow-on-white t-shirt design, and Shaun is actively looking for an organization where funds can be allocated to impact this issue.

Equali Tees are traditionally customized by individuals before and made to order. More recently, Shaun hosted a popup at El Libre in the French Quarter during Decadence 2016, and pre-made a number of items. She is now establishing a permanent collection to take to markets and events with minimal prep time.

Shaun is also experimenting with a new glitter vinyl material.

Equali Tees are typically ordered by contacting the Equali Tees Facebook page. Customers can pick from photos of available materials, fabrics, and colors to customize their own design.

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“It is incredible the resources that are thrown out,” says Lester “Trey” Bernard with reference to his tendency to reclaim discarded wood for his art projects. He explains that upcycling is economically beneficial and people are generally happy to relinquish their so-called trash.

Trey’s creations are retro, psychedelic, weird, pop, posterized, solarized, and visually duplicative. Several pieces can be seen at nowmultimedia.com.

In addition to furniture, Trey makes various sculptural and pictorial works often drawing from pop culture examples like Bruce Lee, Marilyn Monroe, and Ghandi, whose portrait he laser etched into the base of a skateboard for the 2015 Sailor’s Cross Tattoo Sk8board Show.

The range of media in Trey’s work includes plywood, industrial wood pallets, and shipping crate covers. He experiments widely with halftone depictions (such as the Ghandi skateboard) and solarization effects, and enjoys fine tuning laser cutting settings to calibrate the levels of solarization. Trey is intrigued by how halftone imagery is unrecognizable at a close distance, and that once the image is seen, it sticks in the mind and cannot be unseen.

Trey is a web designer-developer, graphic designer, and founder of NOLAdynamic.com. His journey into art started in college at University of South Florida with his exploration of various printmaking techniques. He became inspired by printmaking, but wanted to incorporate more tools, media, and techniques. The evolution and appearance of Trey’s work today recapture this early inspiration.

Currently, Trey is experimenting with a technique and medium he has not combined before: burning the back of a mirror with a laser cutter. In his furniture design projects, Trey is incorporating “modular fashion” into a table, where the legs can be moved around and placed in 256 different combinations. This allows the user to have many pieces of furniture incorporated into one.

On the horizon, Trey will be doubling down on distributing his work at market gigs, art shows, and nowmultimedia.com.

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Marissa in RosyRipe

Marissa Noell in RosyRipe swag

“I certainly embrace art for art’s sake, but for me everything I make has to have some kind of purpose,” says Marissa Noell, a graphic designer and founder of RosyRipe.

Under RosyRipe, Marissa produces and sells a variety of novel jewelry designs and wearables using IDIYA’s laser cutters and materials like high heat silicone rubber and old inner tubes from her bike.

“I got a flat tire and pulled it on out,” said Marissa. Instead of throwing the inner tube away, she literally turned trash into treasure by making jewelry out of it.

Marissa’s flexible materials of choice arch and conform to the body, resulting in intriguing works of jewelry.

“Creating new fashion has always been a big interest for me. I wanted to create wearable things that I haven’t seen before for myself,” says Marissa. After some time of wearing her creations in public, it became evident that people wanted their hands on and in them. This led to the beginning of RosyRipe, a product line that has been described as “gothic cute.”

Cat on the Moon Earrings

The popular Cat on the Moon earrings is one item that will benefit animal organizations in November

“I want to see how far I can go with recycled materials, and to incorporate advocacy with my design,” says Marissa on her vision for her work’s evolution.

In October, the “nasty woman” necklace was born in response to Donald Trump’s description of Hillary Clinton as “such a nasty woman.” Women’s organizations benefit from a portion of the sales.

Animal Shelter Week is in November, and Marissa plans to donate some of the profits generated by animal-themed products to relevant animal organizations.

RosyRipe wearables can be found online at Etsy and in New Orleans at Road Kill, Miette, and Fifi Mahony’s. Marissa also vends at various markets, including the Frenchman Art Market, Magazine Street Market, and Freret Street Market. In addition, RosyRipe products have appeared in popups in New Orleans and New York City.

Before Marissa started using the makerspace at IDIYA, she had to outsource a remote factory to fabricate everything from her digital designs. “I was limited on materials, and it was not cost-effective,” says Marissa.

IDIYA has enabled her to take control of production, experiment with more materials, fabricate on-demand, and more quickly iterate on the underlying digital designs of her wearables by making them in-person on IDIYA’s laser cutters.

Felicity Magazine Lividity Magazine Eyeball Choker

Pictured above are a shot by Felicity Magazine, the Nightbloom Eclipse Silhouette choker in Lividity Magazine, and the Eyeball choker.

If you are a fan, make sure to follow RosyRipe on Facebook and Instagram. Any retailers interested in carrying RosyRipe products are encouraged to contact rosyripe.love@gmail.com.

 

Frank LopiccoloIn August, we blogged about how IDIYA’s direct-to-garment specialist Frank Lopiccolo’s Chewbacca underwear may have helped the Intergalactic Krewe of Chewbacchus break a Guinness world record of the most people wearing only underwear gathered in one place.

The spotlight is shining on him again this month for Maker of the Month.

“Ever since I was young, I liked to skate and was fascinated by different skate brands. I became motivated to create my own,” says Frank. After nearly 5 years of working out of his dining room with a screenprinter, he also became interested in designing for a wider audience that includes women and high fashion markets.

In 2016, the “Regionally Inspired Iconic Style” High Brass Apparel clothing line was born, drawing inspiration from iconic artwork and popular culture.

High Brass Apparel can be found in Jean Therapy and Revival Outpost. The clothing line has also appeared in pop-ups in New Orleans and Austin.

The name “High Brass Apparel” is derived from New Orleans. “I was inspired by music culture in New Orleans. After researching different instruments, I discovered that the trumpet has the highest register in the brass family.”

High Brass Apparel is going digital this month and will be available for sale online. Frank is currently planning  a move to Los Angeles where he will work on entering a bigger market.

If you placed an order for a custom article through IDIYA Factory, chances are Frank had a hand in fulfilling your order.

 

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Noirlinians

Bloggers Noirlinians in Polishedbrand

“My inspiration has always mirrored the women I grew up around in New Orleans,” says Christina Blunt, founder of Polishedbrand. “I strive to bring that concept of strong, vibrant, classy, and sexy to the forefront for each design.”

Christina’s creations have appeared in Dallas Fashion Week, pop-up shops, and the most recent RAW New Orleans show in June.

This fashion-forward maker can be found at IDIYA every Friday at 7PM teaching her Sip and Sew class, where attendees receive one-on-one needlework instruction on whatever sewing project they bring to the table. “We bond over commonalities like sewing and socializing,” she explains. “The group has become closely knit.”

Christina also teaches a bimonthly Foundations of Style class, which surveys different sewing styles.

“Being at IDIYA has allowed me to produce at a larger level,” she says. “The work tables, the lighting, and the exposure to contacts and clientele all have impacted my work.” Seeing others working around her pushes Christina to make more, which has led to her booking more fashion shows and other events.

Visit Polishedbrand’s website and buy Christina’s designs >>>

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IDIYA Direct to Garment class instructor and maker Frank Lopiccolo recently connected with Ryan Ballard, Overlord of the Intergalactic Krewe of Chewbacchus, for an IDIYA Factory order.

Frank holding Chewbacchus undwear

Chewbacchus underwear fresh off the Direct-to-Garment printer

In the week preceding the first annual National Underwear Day Parade, Frank went to work on the direct-to-garment printer to make pair after pair of underwear featuring everyone’s favorite Wookiee, Chewbacca.

Not only did the National Underwear Day Parade amass nearly 3,000 undergarments for donation to the New Orleans Mission to distribute to the homeless (almost triple its initial goal of 1,000 undergarments)…

But the count of participants at the parade rally, several of whom sported the Chewbacchus underwear from IDIYA Factory, reached 2,442, and (pending Guinness approval) is rumored to have broken the existing Guinness World Record for largest gathering of people wearing only underwear–set at 2,270 in Salt Lake City in 2011.

Some watchers along the parade route  doffed their outer layers and joined the procession, driving the participant count up and off the record.

Find out more about Direct-to-Garment Printing at IDIYA! >>>

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The Wookiee wins again!

Chewbacchus underwear on the press

Chewbacchus underwear on the press