typography by jasmine dowling
typography by jasmine dowling
Sequin embroidered jumpsuit? Black and white tank top with an ideal splash of painter’s tape blue? Metallic and bejeweled sandals with an easy wooden heel? Be still, my heart.
It’s cool, Zara. You can have all of my money. Please, take it. I don’t need it for rent, bills, meals and in case of rainy days. What’s another dozen dinners of instant noodles with a generous amount of Sriracha on top?
Though this blog originally started as a “fashion blog” of sorts, you may have noticed that such style posts starring yours truly have gradually declined. To be honest, I’m much more comfortable (read: less painfully awkward) behind the lens, hollering things like “WERK IT, WERK IT” and “GIVE ME YOUR BEST BLUE STEEL!”
I also learned that bribes of free beer will wear even the most patient of men down when you demand a zillion photos and only pick a measly two.
Thus, I was thrilled when my friends Jasmin and Kassey behind No Seasons Events and Design asked me to take photos for their upcoming website. These two are somethin’ special, let me tell you — not only do they have adorable style (oh, that is so odd; I have no idea how that floral blazer, color block skirt, distressed pinstripe denim and sequin/sheer top disappeared from your closets and appeared in mine), but they are completely hilarious. And I mean the good kind of funny, as in the humor that stems from clever wit. My favorite.
We headed over to Paul Smith’s infamous Pink Wall in West Hollywood to snap a few photos, then went to the neighboring Alfred Coffee and Kitchen for a switch in scenery and to grab a coffee.
Both have ample experience in the fashion and design, working alongside key players in the industry such as Dress for Success, Stela9, StyleBistro and DailyCandy (<3). Can't wait to see what these ladies have in store for us when they team up and pool their talents into No Seasons!
Recent happy discoveries in the Los Angeles area:
Once upon a time, Toni Truong was a 22-year-old energy trader living in Houston, Texas. Every Monday through Friday, she sat at a desk flanked by eight computer monitors and two phones, dutifully dealing megawatts on an electrical grid.
Then, at age of 25, a “quarter-life crisis” hit. She soon quit her job at the oil and gas company, packed her bags and headed to Los Angeles, enrolling in Otis College of Art and Design with an emphasis in fashion design. A flurry of schooling and employment later — with each step of the way fueled by determination and perseverance — Toni now owns and operates her very own line of handcrafted leather goods for the refined and edited woman: TONI. Components of TONI’s luxe products are all locally sourced and handmade.
Though this change of heart might seem rather abrupt to you or me, it never was for Toni. She had always been crafty, particularly since learning how to sew in an 8th grade home economics class. Real life and its aptness toward practicality happened, however, and the hobby took a backseat to carrying out a booming internship turned full-time, lucrative job. Despite this paved path to success in the energy trading world, her “rat race”-type of life left her feeling empty and more than a little bit stuck.
Craving some sort of change, Toni took time off from her corporate-centric routine. Within a year, she gallivanted throughout approximately 14 countries, including a solo trip to Australia and a backpacking trip through Spain, Madrid and Barcelona.
It was the final push she needed. Toni explains:
I was in transition between jobs after Otis, and I worked at a textile company in DTLA. It was at that time I realized I never had worked with leather before. So I brought a skin of leather home and decided to make Christmas presents. The first product was leather bag I made for my mom for Christmas 2009. Then, I started TONI in February 2010. When I made that first leather bag for my mom, it just felt right.
But when you dive first into something you don’t know, you kind of take it as it comes. This also applies to starting a business. I definitely didn’t know what was going to happen — I’m the person who would just go with it.
The backpack, for example, can take six hours to actually make. Smaller bags are easier and take up to at least two, maybe three and a half hours. You have to hand-cut everything because there are curvatures and delicacies that machines just can’t get. From there, you have to assemble it and stitch it.
It’s all of these variables, and finding the right balance. That even applies to designing a bag: You have so many options out there, but you have to find the balance of your aesthetic, what’s available for hardware and leather; and just creating something you can sell, that is honest with you and what others would like. It’s always always a balance with everything, and that’s part of the struggle.
I met Toni while attending one of her first-ever leather workshops that was stocked with wine, gummy bears and cheese and crackers. (Uh, count me in.) What initially struck me about Toni was her bright talent. The second impression that immediately followed the first? Her bright adoration for what she does, shining from the inside-out. Toni’s positive attitude was infectious during the workshop, even coming from someone like me who has absolutely zero patience for working with needles and other small-sized objects. Like the Young Creatives featured on this blog before her, Toni is one to watch, y’all.