Athena Magazine

Fashion, lifestyle, passions

The Little Black Box February 10, 2009

pinkbox3From time to time, Athena tries to be a  little sartorial, but we’re generalists here and are into all sorts of trouble. Besides, there are so many more out there who do it so much better. And the Little Black Box blog is one of my favorite discoveries. Basically, it reviews all sorts of great indie designers and handmade items, along with a smattering of great blog commentary. Worth a visit: Little Black Box.


Cheerful retro oilcloth totes December 28, 2008

kiwi-ginghamWell, you know how I can go on about buying local and handmade, and this week, I just happen to be on Johns Island in South Carolina (right outside Charleston), which is exactly where Sabrina Vegis of Tanner Bananer creates her fiercely cheerful oilcloth bags, aprons and kid’s items. Yes, oilcloth, that hardworking ’40s tablecloth fabric, now gets new life in these durable, easy-clean, retro totes, lunch bags and more. They are just so unbearably cute and tough and have been featured in several magazines. Check out these brilliant, bright retro stars.

P.S. Every Friday and Saturday, you can find Sabrina and her wares at Charleston’s historic open-air market.


Fashion’s New Architect: Mr. Crochet December 23, 2008

Excerpted from

fashion’s new architect: mr crochet

Stephane Martello’s creations are astonishing, and his style does not leave you indifferent. Creative, meticulous, and passionate about thread, wool and sculpture, Stephane offers us a spectacular avant-gardist and poetic image. In a subtile mix of paradox, men and women are perfectly harmonious and in osmosis with each other in his unisex clothing.

He aims to establish a new architecture for clothing. With the use of spectacular volumes he sculpts thread, transforming it into a soft shell of wool, revealing at once strength and fragility, femininity and masculinity, softness and coarseness. He successfully marries opposites with virtuosity and presents a poetic and dream-like personal vision inspired by forms taken from nature. Shells. Tree trunks. Rocks. Landscapes. Volcanoes, et al.

Stephane’s designs are quite spectacular and some are difficult to wear, but as he explains, they are only an excuse to penetrate into a world of creation and to vehicle a certain image and savoir-faire. Every piece is handmade and made to order and that is subsequently felt in the price.

He always keeps the same spirit in his work. He commercializes mostly accessories, handbags, jewelry, scarves and hats where he lets himself go and continues his investigations on volume.

His tastes and influences reflect paradoxes. He likes the beauty of natural landscapes like those of Iceland and New Zealand, but also adores the ultra urban world of Japan – between tradition and modernity. He likes the sobriety of the Japanese creators as much as the exuberance of Galliano or Jean Paul Gaultier. He’s a huge fan of the Japanese culture. His favourite designer is Rei Kawakubo and Comme des Garcons, as well as the English designer Hussein Chalayan, and the Dutch designers Vitktor and Rolf. Much of what influences him comes from nature and television – he’s a fan of animal documentaries as well as mangas and animated cartoons that reflect inventive and creative worlds.

A creative designer in knitwear and crochet, Stephane began his studies in the Beaux Arts school in Tourcoing where he worked on textile sculpture and received a DNAP (3 years diploma). In 2000, Stephane participated in his first exhibition at the Maison du Nord-Pas-de-Calais in Paris. This exhibit gave him the opportunity to present his first textile sculptures of needle stitches.

It was when Stephane completed a BTS in Style and Fashion at the Lycee Sevigne of Tourcoing that he discovered a taste for knitting and crochet. His aunt introduced him to the basic techniques of this craft, and it was this first learning phase which inspired him to experiment, allowing him to develop his own techniques.

When he was 26, he met the upscale, pret-a-porter fashion designer, Karim Tassi, and during the semaine des createurs he collaborated on his show.  A few spectacular hand made models which he created were shown on the runway of the Carousel du Louvre.

In 2004, Stephane returned to the Beaux Arts to perfect his work, and returns to his first artistic experiences, sculpture, where he also impliments crochet and video.  Digital imagery, sound and performance all injected life to his sculptures.

It was at this time that he was selected for an artists in residence program at the foundation of Tournai’s Museum of Textile Art and Murals, which provided Stephane with a one year residence as well as the opportunity to exhibit at the museum.  It was an exciting and momentous time for this young artist as it allowed him to encourage and reinforce his desire to develop and pursue his creativity freely.  He was contacted by the museum store of the Piscine de Roubaix to exhibit his creations – this was an important springboard in the development of his label as this will provide him with the possibility of commercializing his products through a big, national fashion brand, the Printemps Paris Nation during the month dedicated to young designers.  Stephane not only wants to sell his creations but wants to share and transmit his passion.  He teaches and supervises students during training programs at the Beaux Arts of Tournai, as well as providing classes in a company in Lille called Maison Marotte.

Stephane Martello’s shop is located in Roubaix, north of France, not far from the museum La Piscine.


A new shopping mall for indie booty November 17, 2008

logo_sp1Posted by Marjorie Cunningham, broken china jewelry designer at Marjorie’s Cracked Plate Jewelry.  She also has a new shop at 1000 Markets.

A new marketplace has opened on the net and it promises to be an exciting one.  1000 Markets opened its doors a few days ago and already independent artisans for filling it up with one-of-a-kind shops.

1000 Markets has some aspects of Etsy in that it is restricted to handcrafted items (though Etsy also carries vintage items which 1000 Markets does not), Facebook in that customers can write on the seller’s Wall and leave comments as to particular products and sellers can create and join groups and communities and WordPress in that sellers can maintain a personal blog in their shop so customers can learn about them.

This new website also is in the process of creating markets, where groups of artisans’ shops will be located according to theme, like food or arts, or region or just a group of friends have gathered together to sell their products.  The site promises many developments in the very near future, but already it’s off to a great start.

So as you’re doing your holiday shopping in the coming weeks, stroll through the shops at 1000 Markets to find unique gifts for your special persons and chat with the merchants there.