Images: island*atelier
History has always been revered and carefully preserved here.  When you add a large, fluid expatriate population to the mix, the result is a thriving secondhand market in furniture and some great chances to find good quality deals.  A couple of weeks ago I was looking for a Saarinen-style tulip table for my kitchen and placed an advertisement for one, not thinking I'd get a response.  Much to my surprise, the very next day I received an e-mail from Delight Morris saying one was available.

As most buying and selling of secondhand furniture is done by way of private sale, estate sale or auction, Delight and her husband Rudy launched Orange Bay Company in 2009 as a means of providing buyers with a new source for high-quality furniture and sellers with a convenient way to dispose of unneeded items.  Named after the area near Negril, Jamaica from where Rudy originates, Orange Bay Company is situated on the top floor of a large warehouse and currently is only open on weekends.  Delight and Rudy buy and sell carefully curated pieces, from large items like sofas and beds to accessories and tchotchkes which help to make a space really memorable and unique.  Orange Bay Company also accepts donations of furniture and part of the proceeds from the sale of these items are donated to charities on island.

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Image: Kelly Wearstler | My Vibe My Life
Kelly Wearstler, one of my favourite designers and who I wrote about here, has just launched her very own blog. I am sure I will be checking it every day to see what ideas and inspiration she comes up with.

You can see Kelly's blog here.

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Image: via Coolhunting
I'm not really the athletic type having only recently gotten "into" sports and was always of the opinion that active footwear was ugly and overpriced. However about 10 years ago I was considering adding sneakers to my stable of shoes and I decided to buy a style which had been around for years and had become a design classic. I invested in a pair of clean, white Converse Chuck Taylors; unmistakably iconic, but perhaps the most unexciting pair about.

That's why I think this pairing of Converse and Marimekko, is win-win.  By combining the classic sneaker with Scandinavian textile house Marimekko's equally ageless designs, they have produced a line with just the right amount of a twist on the original to keep it current and fresh. In addition to the classic hi and low Chucks, two new styles: the Helen (pictured above) and the PJ will get the print treatment.

A short film which explains the concept behind the collaboration is after the jump.

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Fashion seems to be fixated on heritage brands at the moment - not that that's a bad thing. These lines have proven track record of quality, durability, and sustainability, and are not overtly affected by changes in fads or fashion.  J.Crew for example, in addition to selling its own branded products, sells a very limited number of heritage brands like Timex®, Belstaff® and Quoddy®.   Levi's has taken this one step further with Made & Crafted, an Amsterdam-based company which launched in the Spring of last year.

The designers at Made & Crafted have trolled the archives to produce classic pieces under that banner.  At Made & Crafted, the focus is on simple but well-made clothing with interesting details such as their signature curved pockets and buttons made from compressed fabric of the shirt material.

The line is sold in specialty stores in Europe and Japan, Barneys in New York and online.  See some of the Fall|Winter 2010 looks after the break.

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Images: New Caribbean Design
An association of Caribbean designers and artisans has banded together to form New Caribbean Design.  The Love, Freedom, Flow project, spearheaded by Patty Johnson, was originally produced in collaboration with six designers from the Caribbean region. Working closely with artisan producers, communities and craft production factories, the group created twenty new furniture, textile, home accessory and lighting products which represent the work of twenty-one companies from eight Caribbean nations including Haiti, Barbados, Jamaica, Guyana and Trinidad and Tobago.

The collection debuted in 2010 at the International Contemporary Furniture Fair, New York and in September 2010 was shown at the launch of the Tom Dixon Shop as part of London Design Week.  A capsule collection, New Caribbean Design: Guyana, was presented at the Interior Design Show Toronto in January 2011. A few of my favourite designs are (from the top), Plaisance Lounger and Ottoman by Patty Johnson for Liana Cane made from Kufa vine and Nibbi cane, tobacco vases by Jean Paul Sylvaince for Art Expressions Workshop made from papier-mâché'd tobacco leaves and New Candlesticks by Patty Johnson for Amazon Authentics made from certified assorted timbers.

You can see the entire collection here.

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Image: Blu Dot
I love the sentiment printed on this bag as much as I love the design of the bag itself.  Canvas and leather tool bag from Blu Dot.

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Images: Sparrow & Co.
I think it's an interesting concept when a store limits the colour scheme of its goods. The White Company, a UK retailer, was built on this premise and has been in operation for a number of years selling mainly white linens and accessories.  This trend appears to be gaining popularity in America now with stores like Sparrow & Co selling home wares and accessories in muted shades and a restricted colour range.

While not everyone will embrace this trend, I can see how it could simplify the choice for the consumer and make curating a store's inventory much easier, because if a product doesn't meet this very strict criterion, it simply won't be eligible for sale.

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Image: via Warby Parker

Suno and Warby Parker, two labels that have been previously featured here and here, have banded together to create three limited edition frames in SUNO's Afro-centric prints for its 2011 collection.

Both lines share a similar social mission.  SUNO employs local Kenyan talent and with the aim of creating lasting social and economic change in that country, while Warby Parker donates a pair of glasses for each one purchased to people in need worldwide.

The sunglasses come with with polarized lenses and will be available in the summer. 

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Image: Blu Dot
It's that time of year when winter turns to spring and then to summer and we start thinking about spending more time outdoors.  

This lounge chair by Dwell/Rapson put me in a summer frame of mind.  The chair has been designed to be as comfortable as it is stylish.  Made from a nearly-transparent mesh and steel, the chair is available in two finishes, stainless steel or black, and can be purchased here.

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Image: apartmenttherapy.com

When I was 13, I built a bookcase that looked a lot like this one.  Of course it wasn't styled quite so well... It was (and remains) a fairly stylish, low-cost way of building additional shelving and it did the job.  I thought it was funny to see one featured on a design blog.

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Image: Shopbop.com
I would wear these in a heartbeat, but I've always had a thing for cleft shoes like Nike's Air Rifts.  Tabi perforated boots by Maison Martin Margiela.

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Image: Colleen Jordan
Today must be weird design day.

Someone has designed a "wearable planter" which allows you to take your plants with you when you go out.  Because plants are good for you and clean the air you breathe.  Don't think you'll catch me wearing one.

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Image: Slade Architecture
OK, so I don't have a dog.  Who knows, perhaps if I did, I would see the appeal of this pup tent from Slade Architecture which won the AIA's Small Project award last year.  Looks like a lot of design went into it, but would it pass the most important test?  Would your dog want to sleep in it?

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Images: Anthropologie
You can always count on Anthropologie to source the most unusual items for its furniture and home wares line. While some of the items may be a little ornate for my tastes, you have to agree that it is a great source for quirky and unique items which add interest to a room.

Take these Springbok benches for example. Made from hand-woven rattan, the benches can be be attached to form one extra-long bench which I think looks quite striking.

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Images: Blu Dot
I love this quirky lamp from Blu Dot. It works horizontally or vertically and looks great both ways. The Rook lamp is available from Blu Dot here.

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Images: MariasUSA
One of my favourite shoe designers, MariasUSA, has just launched its spring/summer catalogue.  I love that the shoes have the typical MariasUSA look and feel but have been updated for 2011. I am little disappointed not to see in the return of the espadrille that I loved so much last year, but it appears to have been replaced by the open-toed bootie, above.

I'm looking forward to seeing the entire line when it hits stores and the web.

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Images: Pirouette Cacahouete
I am fond of cardboard furniture for kids and have written about it here, but this company has taken the concept to a whole new beautiful level with the Ma Cacabane, a box which is designed to be a private space for children while potty training, although I think they can work as a play space for any reason.

The Ma Cacabane is available here.

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Images: Small for Big, 24-7-365, Blonde Designs Blog
There are loads of really great ideas for making homemade Valentine's Day cards out there and better yet, many of them offer free downloads. Here are a couple of my favourites starting from the top left: Small for Big,  top right: 24-7-365 and bottom two: Blonde Designs Blog here and here

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Image: The Cut
More shoe posts, but this one was too interesting to pass up.

Loeffier Randall's African-inspired spring collection for Suno goes on sale online today.   The small collection features platform and flat sandals made of cotton canvas fabrics inspired by "kanga," a brightly printed African garment.

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Image: Crewcuts
JCrew will bankrupt me with it's kiddie cuteness.  More photos from their latest campaign after the jump.

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Image: Leifsdottir
Leifsdottir, the high-end line in the Urban Outfitters-Anthropologie stable, have just launched a eponymous footwear line.  The first collection of high-heeled sandals and ballet flats have come out just in time for Spring|Summer 2011.  I am particularly loving these Ilona heels but you can see the whole range here.

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Image: Peter Foley/EPA
Mercedes Benz Fashion Week started yesterday in New York.  Last fashion week saw us reviewing almost all of the shows (see the month of September).  That was a huge task and one we will not be replicating again.  Instead, the plan will be to highlight a few shows and trends which emerge.     

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Images: Gilt
The boys from SE curated a selection of vintage clothes on Gilt Groupe, the luxury discount website yesterday.  By the time I checked the site last night, everything had sold out.  The looks are very predictable for them and the focus was on classic shapes and natural materials.  I love the leather suspenders.

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Images: Night & Day Studios, Inc.
I feel really behind now. A few weeks ago I featured children's toys with illustrations by Charley Harper on them. The toys and books were old school: building blocks, colouring books and jigsaw puzzles, however I have since come across a more modern application which blows all those toys out of the water and brings Charley Harper firmly into the 21st century.

This app which is available for the iPhone and the iPad is called Peekaboo Forest and it uses the illustrations of Charley Harper beautifully to teach kids basic sight words and letters. I think it is a gorgeous and modern way of using the illustrations in a new medium and one which brings Harper's designs firmly into the portable, digital age.

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Images: Joel Henriques
This is one of my favourite blogs.  Joel Henriques invents and then shares the most creative of ideas with downloadable instructions.  The toys are often made from re-purposed items or scraps and while some projects are easier to make than others, his shear creativity never ceases to amaze me.

Have a look at Joel and his imagination here.

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Image: Hertha Hurnaus, Dwell
Image: IFC
Every couple of years of some topic tends to capture the zeitgeist and the imagination of a large number of people. I have noticed with increasing frequency, that it has become unhip to be a hipster.

A proliferation of blogs poking fun at the hipster phenomenon have sprung to the forefront practically overnight. Unhappy Hipsters is one of my favourites and it takes those beautifully styled (but often sterile) homes found in magazines such as Wallpaper* and Dwell and adds humorous captions.  Other blogs are slightly more malicious unlike the light-hearted fare found at Unhappy Hipsters.  Look at This Fucking Hipster is one such blog and pokes fun at hipsters through candids or submitted photos.

Now cable television has jumped on the bandwagon with a new half-hour sketch comedy show called Portlandia which debuted on IFC at the end of January.  Portlandia stars Fred Armisen of SNL fame and musician Carrie Brownstein.  It aims to make fun of the hipster lifestyle in Portland, Oregon and the few episodes I have seen are quite good.  Check your local schedule for showtimes.

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Images: Wallpaper* Magazine
I got really excited when I came across this article by Wallpaper* magazine featuring modern Caribbean architecture recently. Some of the buildings are familiar to me, like the fairly new National Academy of the Performing Arts in Port of Spain, Trinidad (middle picture), however I was pleasantly surprised to find that there appear to be a growing number of architects taking the initiative of designing beautiful modern buildings for the region.

One such architect is Mark Raymond and his private house (top picture) is featured in the gallery. It appears to be situated in the hills overlooking Port of Spain, and has been designed to afford a beautiful views over land to the Gulf of Paria.

Another gorgeous home is the Shoestring House designed by Architects Cubed (bottom picture).  I'm not familiar with this property which is situated along the very crowded Gold Coast of Barbados, but it uses to great effect that blurring of indoor and outdoor spaces that appeals to me.

In addition to featuring examples of more traditional Caribbean-style buildings in the slideshow gallery, the Bequia House by Edgley Design which I wrote about here also receives a mention, as well as one fantastical hotel complex in St Lucia called Jade Mountain which I had never seen or heard of before.

I'm really excited and encouraged by what appears to be a push toward beautiful, modern architecture in the region.

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Images: Chloe
Well not quite, but I have noticed that more and more high-end designers are launching eponymous kids' lines.  Stella McCartney, Dior and now Chloe have all jumped on the bandwagon.  I quite like Chloe's spring/summer looks, but then I am partial to neutral-coloured clothing for children anyway.  I love the light, simple lines and lack of embellishments.  

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Image: Emilie Bailey
Images: Marwood
There are a couple or reasons I am glad I am not a man and men's fashion is a large part of it. There's only so much you can do with women's clothes, so I find the restrictions on men, who society dictates must be a lot more conservatively dressed, a real deal breaker.  It takes something exceptional to make me take a real interest in anything happening in men's fashions, and Marwood has done just that.  The idea behind their reworking of men's ties is so beautiful in its simplicity that you have to wonder why no one ever thought of doing it before. 

Marwood was founded in 2009 by Becky French, a designer who previously worked for Ralph Lauren and Aquascutum and the ties are manufactured in the UK and Italy.  They use texture to striking and unusual effect by overlaying the (unlined) fabric with lace.  The Autumn/Winter 2001 line will be available for purchase in June 2011 and you can find more information on the ties and stockists here.

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