Jess Leigh Jewels: Live in wonder

When Jess Leigh of Jess Leigh Jewels asked me if I was interested in sharing her “Live in Wonder” photo campaign here I didn’t hesitate to say yes. I met Jess Leigh several years ago when she was just starting to make jewelry and sell it at the boutique she worked at. Since that time I’ve witnessed her wholesale bracelet orders flourish into a full fledged business. Enjoy the pictures and make sure to scroll down to learn about Jess Leigh’s inspiration for the campaign. 
For additional photos head to the Slow Southern Style Facebook page. 

The concept for this collection and photoshoot was inspired by Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. When I started to imagine the aspects of the story that were most inspiring to me, a few points really stuck out. The tea party is by far one of the most memorable parts of the stories of Alice. I thought about this particular scene for a long time. I wondered if maybe the tea party was more of a turning point in the story and the participants; instead of being mad or crazy, were they just realizing their own strengths and personalities?

Expanding on that, when Alice arrived in Wonderland what if instead of being a scared, naive, and insecure girl, Alice- through her trials and adventures in Wonderland- started to find herself, her security in herself, and her personal confidence? That was my concept for the photoshoot, to capture the transformation of Alice while she found her true identity. 

In order to best communicate this I chose three models with different styles but similar looks. The start of the shoot is stiff and posed with all three models dressed in Alice’s signature colors: blue,cream, and white. As the shoot continues the models separate and layer on jewelry, take off layers of clothing, and then change wardrobe completely. The end of the shoot is the tea party with three completely different girls all laughing and enjoying themselves. They are finally themselves, completely. 

With the line, I was trying to create something I have never done before- something recreate-able. {Note: Jess Leigh’s pieces are usually made from vintage and repurposed jewelry so each piece is one of a kind.}  A body chain, that is a lot like a collar, represents the feeling of Alice’s self-imposed oppression. Several long pendant necklaces with feathers represent the flowers in the garden in Wonderland. A bib necklace with jewels and sparkles represents the Cheshire Cat’s winning grin. A smaller bib necklace with flowing rhinestone chains represents the wings of the Gryphon. A butterfly hand jewel represents the bread and butterflies, and a feather cuff to represent the flamingoes in the croquet game.
Of course, I still have a penchant for all things one of a kind and for repurposing antiques. I collected as many compacts and pill boxes as I could in the months prior to launching the line. I drilled small holes in each with a drill press and fashioned them into necklaces named “Open Me.” I made earrings from chandelier crystals with unique designs on every pair. I also made large cocktail rings from as many vintage buttons, brooches, and stampings as I could find.
It is my hope to inspire others with this collection, shoot, and story. I love the idea of seeing wonder in everything and want to pass this along.
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W Hotel Hosts New Orleans Fashion Week Retail Therapy Event

I don’t know about y’all, but I’m pretty much always in need of a manicure. I can usually spruce up my claws at home but when my cuticles really get out of control, I head to the pros. Next Wednesday, treat yourself to a little mid-week pampering at Retail Therapy, a New Orleans Fashion Week event at the W Hotel. For $20, Spa Atlantis is offering mini-manis and “signature martinis”, or just stop in to browse the fashionable offerings from Langford Market, The Blues Jean Bar, Hazel & Florange and Hemline. The event is free to the 21 and up crowd. For more information, visit W Hotel’s Happenings.
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What I Wore: Freret Market

I’ve always been a bad fashion blogger. I %#$*@! up this picture with the port-o-let in the background, and zero $%*@# are being given about my bra peeking through my tank top. My bad. What I do care about  is putting my money where my mouth is. With the exception of a necklace, everything I’m wearing was either bought from an independent fashion designer, secondhand, or made in the USA. I’ve always been an advocate of ethically sourced clothing, and after the atrocities that occurred in Bangladesh, it’s hard for me to buy clothing made in  factories that engage in surreptitious practices without feeling guilty about it. Read this article from this past July that explains the complexities of child labor for some particularly disturbing insight. How do we combat that? Spend your money at  local art markets, support independent fashion designers, buy secondhand, and give fast fashion a big FU. Sorry for being so crass, but it’s really a simple choice that could result in a great deal of change if enough people get behind the movement. 
Tank top: Everlane
Necklaces: Haus 131 (old) & Nelson & Little
Cuff bracelet: Satchel
Shoes J. Crew via Buffalo Exchange
Handbag: Lucky via Buffalo Exchange 
Sunglasses: Celine via Buffalo Exchange 
For more of the Freret Street Market, check out these Vine videos I took for Propaganda New Orleans
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Mamie Ruth: Music Fest Fashion Designer

Music festivals are so much more than just the music that’s being performed. They embody a free spirited vibe, where you can literally let your hair down, become completely absorbed in the music, and just let loose. It’s this same care free spirit that 28 year old designer Emily Bargeron achieves with her clothing line, Mamie Ruth. Describing her customer as a free spirited “chill kind of chick” that doesn’t shy away from bright colors and bold prints; she’s a hippie at heart.

Bargeron started making jewelry when she was 13, selling it at craft fairs. Shortly after college, boutiques started picking up her clothes. The basis of her clothing line started in large part from her desire to wear something unique at music festivals, and grew out of necessity. “People would stop and ask if they could buy the clothes off my back”, she explains.  Named after her grandmother, a florist, the Mamie Ruth line “started 6 years ago as something I did on the side. I slept on the couch and ate nothing but tuna for a week. I definitely suffered for it but it was worth it.”
While her inaugural pieces consisted of remade vintage clothing and African wax prints, she began manufacturing when she started selling wholesale to boutiques. “When stores wanted 6 of something, they wanted 6 of something,” Bargeron explains. In 2009, she was an emerging designer at Charleston Fashion Week, and employed the help of seamstresses to showcase there.  S/S 2013 was her first Atlanta Apparel Mart, and went from being carried in 5 stores to 26, from Florida to Tennessee, in just 8 months. These are impressive figures for someone who did graphic design half the week, and made jewelry the rest of the week when she first started out.
Originally from the” one red light town” of Louisville, Georgia, Bargeron now calls Savannah home. “What I love about Savannah is the slow, southern charm but it’s so eclectic. SCAD brings a lot of that hipster vibe, but we have that sweet Liliy Pulitzer lady as well.  Georgia weather definitely affects the collection. No super big outerwear, because the Savannah weather is so warm. I’ll put in some pieces for other places, but I always think of the weather here.”


Like any true artist, Bargeron is an embodiment of her work. “Everything I do kind of revolves around Mamie Ruth. I don’t know how to turn it off. Every time I go out I constantly feel like I’m working, constantly promoting my brand. It’s what I love to do so I never feel like I’m working.”
Focusing on comfort, she likes to keep the line artsy and hip. Bamboo fabrics and baggier silhouettes keep the clothes wearable during the warm months of festival season.  Her spring line embraces  a few current trends such as dresses with side cut outs, high low hemlines, and tribal prints, but it’s all done with the quintessential Mamie Ruth Style. There’s the trademark ease to the collection, with drapy  cuts, boxy, breezy blouses, and bold patterns. Leather bustiers are sexy yet sweet, Mexican dress style embroidery adorns a pair of high waisted shorts. Now that she has a bigger audience, Bargeron is revisiting the African wax print motif that she experimented with earlier in her career.  Expect a “galactic, gypsy from Arizona feel” and lots of metallic, hologram, and custom prints from Mamie Ruth in the near future.To purchase Mamie Ruth online, or for store locations visit the website. You can also keep up with her latest creations on Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter.

All photos c/o Mamie Ruth

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Cavortress at Bonnaroo

If you’re headed out to Tennessee for Bonnaroo, be sure to say hi to my fashion designer/stylist friend Julie Wheat (aka Cavortress) and her pink, black, and silver booth. She’ll be slinging vintage clothes, jewelry, handmade items, even some costumes. Y’all know how I feel about costumes. Julie’s also snapping some street style photos, so check back for some of her favorite Bonnaroo fashion in an upcoming post!

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NOLA Fashion Week Recap

Oops! It’s been a month since I’ve updated. Sorry y’all. Life tends to get in the way of blogging. I’ve had some major life changes, all of which have been positive but I’ve been distracted, to say the least. Propaganda New Orleans has been keeping my inbox nice and full, but I was able to take time out to attend NOLA Fashion Week earlier this month. Our Creative Director Donovan Fannon took gorgeous photos of the Amanda deLeon show, and there are more on our Facebook page, with pictures still being added. There’s plenty of coverage on my personal Instagram account and the NOLA Prop Instagram as well, but here are some of my favorites.

Team Propaganda- me, Lissy, and Leslie. photo c/o Lissy
Group shot!
Lissy, Meg, and I, minus my NOLA Prop wifey Leslie
Dorothy Wins, always

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Tallulah’ Designs: Created Not Made Kickstarter Campaign

Heather Williams of Alabama based fashion label Talullah is expanding her brand, and she wants you to help her hire. If you aren’t familiar, Talullah is a “created not made” collection of dresses and separates, all handmade by Williams herself. She’s looking to raise $35,000 via Kickstarter to hire on a staff and expand production from 40 dresses to 200, all while sticking to her mantra of lovingly made clothing vs. mass produced goods.

In addition to feeling good about supporting a southern fashion designer, you’ll get Tallulah goodies, at all levels of support. From exclusive t-shirts, jewelry, all the way to custom made dresses. Watch the video below to learn more about the Tallulah brand, or click on their Kickstarter link here to help.

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Sewn In The South: Kim Noland

I had the pleasure of interviewing Alabama based fashion designer Kimberly Noland as part of my monthly column for Oxford American. Read about it on the OA website by clicking here, or cut to the chase and buy one of her superbly flattering dresses on her website. 

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Fashion Week New Orleans Top Designer Competition

Are you an aspiring fashion designer looking for a platform to share your creations? Fashion Week New Orleans is looking for applicants for their Top Design Competition. 10 designers will compete and showcase their collections to a panel of judges in March.

2012 Top Design Competition winner Stephanie Young.
Photo c/o Fashion Week New Orleans

2012 winner Stephanie Young received a prize package including a Brother sewing machine courtesy of, a fashion spread in Amelie G Magazine, a professional photo shoot from John Charles Photograhy, a manufacturing package from NOLA Sewn, and her collection is carried by Vernon Clothing.

Interested designers can apply here but hurry! Applications are accepted only through December 15th.

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RAW Artist Awards

This Saturday, RAW: natural born artists is celebrating the end of their 2012 season with the semi-finalist round. All across the country, up and coming fashion designers, jewelers, performance and visual artists, photographers, musicians, and hair and makeup pros are given the chance to showcase their natural talents in front of  an audience.  Each RAW event has a different theme, and the atmosphere encourages attendees to chat with the artists themselves in a nightclub setting. The last show of the season will advance one semi-finalist in each RAW: NOLA category to the finals.

Jess Leigh Jewels, an accessories designer semi-finalist

There are 3-5 nominees in each category, and in addition to the expert panel of judges, the audience will cast their vote as well to decide which artists will go on to the final level of competition.

Having started just this spring in New Orleans, RAW has already featured some of the most talented up and coming artists in the city. Slow Southern Style has supported all of the fashion and accessories designers in some capacity, so it’s going to be hard to choose a singular favorite.

Molly Stackhouse
Half Shell Productions
Jess Leigh Jewels
KC Thomassie Designs

KC Thomassie Designs, an accessories designer semi-finalist

To purchase tickets for the New Orleans show and to find out more about the event go to the RAW New Orleans site. Looking for another city? Head to the main RAW: natural born artists website.


November 17th, 7pm-midnight
The Howlin’ Wolf 907 S. Peters, New Orleans
Ages 18+ $15 presale, $20 door
Cocktail attire suggested

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