This weeks lolita blog carnival topic is “Your favorite Indie Brand”, but I’m going to be honest here; I know so many indie artist that I really can’t just pick one, so I’m going to feature a handful of my favorite indie brands (and this is not at all an exhaustive list!) and what I like about each one. Ready? Ok, let’s go!
Belladonna is owned by my significant other, Michelle, and her best friend Rachel. Michelle does the print designs and dyes the lace, and they both do dress designing, sewing, etc. I help them out sometimes with convention booths, stock photography, etc.
Best points: Their wrist cuffs are made nicer than the brand ones I’ve bought. The bows look really nice, the elastic is cased and the lace is soft. I’m more likely to wear a bunch of deco bracelets than wristcuffs personally, but when I do wear wristcuffs, I go for belladonna ones. I’ve been disappointed with every brand pair I’ve bought since I got my first pair from them. Their custom print dresses have great themes as well, and they make a point to offer colorways that work for a variety of people. They are sticklers when it comes to lace and material quality as well (I’ve watched Michelle take a fabric sample and try to destroy it to test if a fabric is going to hold up well to wear, including trying to tempt our cats into scratching it).
Black Friday Specials: Free shipping for the first 15 orders + discounts on a bunch of items
Sweet Mildred is another local designer, and she’s probably the indie brand that I have purchased the most from over the years; mostly headdresses, and the occasional piece of Jewelry. I have a whole book shelf that is just headdresses I’ve bought from her, and it’s full now so they are spilling onto other shelves and any place safe I can tuck them.
Best points: Her headpieces are wonderful, and she makes things that will match pretty much anything from sweet to classic to Gothic. They are versatile, well made and make quite an impact. Her accessories often include delightfully quirky things (I’m in love with these angry conversational heart rings I got from her that say things like “not sorry”), that make great conversational or statement pieces for any coordinate. She also makes a lot of dresses in all sorts of interesting fabric prints. If you want something to make a coordinate pop, or you want a piece with a lot of visual interest, check out Sweet Mildred.
Small Business Saturday Specials: 30% off all items + lucky packs
Haenuli is a brand from Korea. They primarily produce custom print garments, though they also make some accessories (usually to coordinate with a specific piece). The main designer who goes by the nickname NuNu also draws a really cute slice of life as a designer comic strip which is posted to their facebook page.
Best points: Haenuli’s dresses often come in a lot of colors, and they offer a lot of sizing options. They also offer print tights in multiple sizes. The pieces I own and have handles are really solidly constructed, and the material choices are good. Their prints are intricate and interesting, and even when the motifs are popular motifs, the overall look and tone of the artwork is unique. They also have a lot of creative and interesting dress designs.
Black Friday Specials: 10% discount with code: HNL10persale
Moss Marchen is another local brand. The designer Martha creates accessories which trend towards gothic lolita and mori styles.
Best points: Moss Marchen has really great ribbon embroidery pieces, which are surprisingly cheap considering the time commitment required for making them. The long-style necklaces she makes are also very nice and visually well balanced. The designer has a good eye and a skilled hand. They are made of good materials, and very reasonable in price for the high level of quality. As a bonus, her floral corsages are really nice and a great alternative to buying a corsage from a major Japanese brand like Pink House where they will cost you significantly more if you can even find one.
Unfortunately, this brand frequently sells out and is often not available for sale online. At the time of writing, the online shop is currently closed. It’s best to try to catch Moss Marchen at an event.
Peppermint Fox is based out of Australia and is a team of two. Their brand trends towards otome style, and features lots of beautiful water-color-styled artwork. If you were a fan of beatrix potter as a child (or even now) you are sure to find Peppermint Fox delightful.
Best points: Their tiny companion series of pins. Each pin features an animal illustration, and each one has a name and a short back story. The stories are touching, and the expressions and clothing choices of each little animal backs up their story and personality. They make great gifts too, because you can easily match up a person you know with a sweet little personality.
Black Friday Specials: N/A, but there is a general sale going on at the moment.
I Do Declare
I Do Declare is a US based brand run by designer Kelsey. While most lolita has a strong Victorian influence, I Do Declare goes back farther in time and draws influence from the European middle ages, and older.
Best points: Technical sewing craftsmanship and detail work. The pieces made by the designer directly have intricate, high level technical details like lace inserts, traditional applique, bead work, etc. In the image spread above the white lace is a close up of a lace and bead work insert the designer put inside of the back of a white gown that gave the illusion of being able to see the wearer’s spine. The manufactured garments produced from her work also have a high level of technical detail, which show off the designer’s skill and vision. It’s a pleasure to look at her work, and the quality is absolutely stellar.
Black Friday Specials: Pre-orders for the wool witch hat shown above open at 8:00PM EST.
VooDoooDolly sells mostly jewelry and hats. The designer Mallory sculpts, molds and hand casts her jewelry, going as far as to use vintage metal sources in some of the pieces to add additional meaning. While fashion in general is an art-form, I would argue that many of her pieces are really more of tiny pieces of wearable sculpture. If you wear Gothic Lolita, and you don’t own some of her work, you are really missing out. I don’t know how to put it into words properly, but looking at her work feeds a starving part of the soul that longs to live lost in an art gallery full of masterworks. It eats at me that I can’t do her work justice, because it is so beautiful.
Best points: The hand cast jewelry and elaborate hats. The jewelry which is interesting and powerful is really, really high quality and a steal at the prices she sells it for. Her hats are all unique, elaborate and detailed.
Black Friday Specials: I don’t know of any, but she doesn’t need one; she’s already selling things terribly cheap for what you are actually getting.