May 3, 2011

May MBF Favorite Picks

Here at MBF Trend Consulting, we are always looking at the changing consumer and how the apparel industry is constantly adapting to meet the new demands. As businesses present new shop concepts with innovative products, consumers are offered a wider range of goods in unique environments that are better tailored to today's culture. As everyone is now asking questions like where and how things are made, and with what materials, brands are implementing new values entailing authenticity, integrity, transparency, and innovation to cater to this new consumer. In times where news is easily accessible and everything is out in the open, failure to do so leads to poor brand image as the major retailer, Victoria's Secret, for example, was recently found guilty of destroying merchandise.  

As the future of the fashion and retail industry lies heavily on ingenuity and honesty, this month's MBF Favorite Picks highlights a few of the best forward-thinking concepts.

photo via:

1. Thomas Sires
New York City’s Elizabeth Street welcomes a new face to the block as design duo Fiona Thomas and Allison Sires, designers and co-owners of the women’s label Thomas Sires, open their very first store. A boutique-turned-gift shop, the store carries not only their own line, but a wide range of highly-curated jewelry, interior products, and small trinkets sourced from all over the world. After a trip to Paris and Tokyo, Thomas and Sires liked the idea of a lifestyle store and wanted to create a space that can capture the whole feeling.

The focal interest of the shop, however, is the Thomas Sires line as it is both extremely wearable as is fashion forward. Aiming to represent who the two are, Thomas states, “This is who we are and what we wear.” Currently, the line offers silk blouses, crop tops, skirts, dresses, and hand-dyed shibori prints. Ideas for lingerie, swimwear, and footwear are also in the works. All made in the U.S.A, the price point of $175 for tops and up to $500 for dresses is a steal. 

photo via: Holstee

2. Holstee
Holstee launched their brand with Holstee Tee, made of 100% recycled material and a unique holster positioned pocket. Within their first year, the team designed and introduced The Recycled Wallet, made of newspapers and plastic bags collected off the streets of India; The People Pendant, made of recycled acrylic scraps from a Chicago-area sign maker, and their Upcycled line of t-shirts,  highlighting the lasting value of apparel.

Today, the 3-man team offers all of their products on their e-shop, and in addition, carries a selected range of carefully picked sustainable designs that are made with the brand’s similar values. All of their products are sustainably made, and carry a social impact. What is particularly unique about Holstee's online store is that all of their products have a detailed description of what they are made of and how the product is socially conscious. Carrying products that support a wide range of partnerships, including Cameroon Reforestation Project and WaterAid, you are guaranteed that whatever you purchase here is making a strong impact somewhere else. 

photo via: Papermag

3. The Sock Hop
If you are particular about your socks and hosiery, Elizabeth's Street's new store, The Sock Hop, is the place for you! Catering to both men and women, the new boutique holds an excellent selection, varying from contemporary fashion-based brands, vintage, to traditionally crafted heritage brands. Favoring timeless quality of craftsmanship over mass production, all products are carefully sourced from around the world from masters and experts. The store also stocks the Tennessee-based Colonel Littleton's handmade bags and accessories.

photo via: Modo

4. Modo
Quoted by Fast Company as "the greenest glasses on the earth," Modo's Eco line is a radically new approach to eyewear using recycled metal and plastic.  As the first eyewear line entirely made of recycled materials, the company received an Environmental Claims Validation from UL Environment, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Underwriters Laboratories, a world leader in product evaluation. Modo is also partnered with Trees for the Future, an NGO that plants trees in Africa and Southeast Asia. Promising to plant a tree for every frame sold, Modo has already planted an estimated half a million trees by the end of 2010.

Considering all aspects of the product, each frame is packaged in a corrugated box. Inside is also an envelope, encouraging customers to send their old frames to One Sight, an organization that sends opthamologists to Africa and Southeast Asia to provide eye care to people who otherwise would have no access to a doctor. The donated frames are given to people whose eyes most closely match their vision.  Recognizing that their product is not biodegradable, Modo has instead created a product that can not only be recycled, but also be part of a unique story.

photo by:

5. Edith A. Miller
Stripes are a big hit this season, so if  you're looking to pick up on this trend, we suggest you take a look at Edith A. Miller's collection.  Offering a sweet selection of short and long sleeve tees, mini skirts, and maxi dresses, all of their goods are completely American made. From the cotton grown in North and South Carolina, to the construction in a rural Pennsylvania factory that's over 100 years old, Edith A. Miller is truly 100 percent American. The first collection was picked up by Steven Alan, a multi-brand boutique which also carries it's own collection of American made shirtings.

photo via: This One Hat

6. Lola Ehrlich of Lola Hats
With a clear knack for millinery, Lola Ehrlich has been designing sell-out hats for celebrities, runway shows, and hat-loving fashionistas for well over twenty years. Based in the Bushwick neighborhood of Brooklyn, all of her head pieces are made by hand in her studio.

This season, for her John line of men's hats, she created a group of fedoras stitched out of newspaper. Using traditional millinery techniques, and replacing raffia braids for strips of newspaper, she has produced sustainable and surprisingly durable fashion head pieces. For spring/summer 2012, the designer is collaborating with graffiti artist, Gabriel Decker, to paint the newspaper hants. Like lithographs, the hats are numbered and the wearer can visit their website to see the inspiration for each hat and see how it was made. 

photo via: Phillip Angert

Levi’s latest concept boutique "Made Here," launched on Boston’s Newbury Street offers a finely-edited assortment of high-end and limited edition of Levi’s goods, including the latest items from collaborative projects with outside partners and exact historic replicas from the Levi's Vintage Clothing collection. "Made Here," also offers a selection of hand-made crafts and apparel developed in the USA by emerging artists. The line includes both Levi's and non-Levi's products, all made in the entrepreneurial spirt of Levi Strauss, himself. 

Some of the craftsmen include Schott Apparel, Upstate, Farm Tactic BagsMarlin Spike, and Belts by Austin Jeffers. NYC's Meatpacking location will also offer a "Hand Made" shop, where all the products will be sewn and crafted on site. A symbol of American fashion, Levi's is bringing back the definition of classic American craftsmanship. 

photo via: Dedegumo

8. Dedegumo
Dedegumo watches are handmade by skilled artisans using craftsmanship passed down through the generations by the craftsmen of Kyoto, Japan. Applying traditional techniques to modern designs, Dedegumo offers one of a kind timepieces that is both culturally and fashionably modern. 

photo via: Task

9. Task
Launched in 2009, Brooklyn-based boutique, Task, is another lifestyle shop carrying a wide range of well-designed goods. Everything from hand-woven Turkish hamam towels, hand-woven bags made in the rural villages of Laos, to jewelry made by local Brooklyn-based designers, Task is the perfect place to shop and find a special gift for a loved one, (or for yourself!). Craftsmanship is highly regarded here at this boutique, and the owner goes long distances to find incredibly unique pieces from all over the world. We guarantee that each product here is made with love and care. 


  1. Nice to see this site.I m a supplier from Bangladesh for fashionable knit,oven, sweater item.I m searching good buyers from Eu.Can u pls give any advise in this regard ? Thanks
    or mail me

  2. Great picks! Totally adore the recycled wallet;)


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