It’s not news that Houston is home to some pretty inventive and amazing local designers, so it shouldn’t be a surprise that some of those designers have taken to the mass online outlet of Etsy to showcase their crafts and apparel. Continuing our work to find great local artisans on Etsy, I’d like to introduce you to some great apparel by Houston natives.
After immigrating to Houston from Latvia, and losing her father in an unexpected family tragedy, Olga Tarasova needed something to do with her hands. She took to felting, following the long tradition of hand crafts that her mother and grandmother had instilled in her from childhood. Crafting scarves, bracelets, earrings, and even specialty felted journal covers, Tarasova brings influences from art, contemporary trends, into her work. Her felt pieces all capture a warm, nostalgic appeal that at the same time still feels chic and modern. All of her materials are organic and hand woven, from silk and wool, to cotton and even bamboo, Tarasova felts them all for you with her hands and her heart.
But felting isn’t all that Tarasova does. In addition to her handcrafted felt work, she restores vintage apparel, mostly leather and shoes, and sells them at her other shop, Must Love Vintage. While Tarasova's knitted scarves aren't really suitable for the Texas summer heat, you can never go wrong with a good pair of vintage leather shoes or a restored handbag.
Tarasova’s works can be found outside of Etsy during select merchant events. She has sold at the Winter Holiday Art Market, Houston Center for Contemporary Craft Asher Gallery and Design Craft. Tarasova is a member of the Houston Area Contemporary Handweavers’ Guild, so her work is included at their annual sale, and her work is also stocked seasonally at High Gloss.
LAKEITHA “KAYE” WASHINGTON: Washington Ave. Styles
If you find yourself missing the bold styles and patterns of the 1980s, then look no further than Washington Ave. Styles. Creative director and designer Washington has a passion for reinventing retro styles and bringing back the best fashion parts of decades part.
Washington is a reconstructive designer, who either restores vintage clothing herself or recreates the pieces that are beyond salvage. Washington’s team of designers and crafters make some amazing pieces which can remind us of the golden days of big sweaters, bright colors, and bold florals.
Just one look at her Etsy store—currenty the only place to find her collection—and you’ll see how Washington is inspired by women, soul, and nature into each piece. With models that emanate a fashionable joy in each product shot, these high-personality pieces are hard to resist. That's not just our opinion—her pre-fall Fantu collection has already sold out.
ASHLEY MOORE: Wild Whisper Boutique
Ashley Moore’s Etsy store also features reconstructed and restored pieces from the past. Moore’s work consists of cute skirts, cotton dresses, restored handbags, and even vintage hats. With a wide swath of options, it's easy to put an entire outfit together while browsing her pieces (or maybe two… or three…).
When she's not running the online store, Moore is also a full-time student at the University of Houston, majoring in political science. Her love of fashion runs the gamut of 20th-century styles, but she particularly adores the fashions of the 1930s, '50s, and '70s. Searching for vintage clothes at consignment stores and garage sales, she sometimes finds pieces in mint condition and sometimes has to recreate them herself. This process of rebirth makes every article from Moore’s shop unique.
Moore's afordable pricing (clothes start around $20) means retro style-lovers can find what they're looking for without breaking the bank. In addition, half of all profits from the Wild Whisper Boutique go to charity efforts aimed at helping women and children across the globe.
Moore is a part of the Women for Women International Organization, a charity that allows donors to provide for women’s education and health in war-torn countries. Each donor can choose to sponsor however many women they choose, and their donations go to educating women in health, self-care, financial management, critical analysis, and more. Wild Whisper currently sponsors one woman annually in this organization, as well as making regular donations and volunteering with Houston local women’s shelters.