Founders Journey: Stella Carakasi

In 1993, eco-fashion disrupter, Two Star Dog was launched by brothers Steven and Allan Boutrous. Shortly thereafter, I joined the team and together we created the first hemp clothing collection in the United States, which was very controversial at the time. We designed and trademarked “The Original Hemp Jeans” which quickly became a national bestseller and the company rose to the top of this niche market proving that sustainability in fashion was possible. In the mid-nineties, major growth opportunity came knocking with mainstream fashion paying attention to Two Star Dog. As the business grew, I found myself being pulled in many directions not only designing for our brand but for a myriad of other opportunities including department stores, catalogs…even wardrobe design for a few Hollywood movies.  It was easy to get wrapped up in all the excitement of the moment but I wanted to experience everything I could about the industry and all it had to offer. I think I must have traveled around the world ten times as the nineties came to a close. I learned about balance in those days, I learned about focus, I learned about priorities but most of all, I learned that time doesn’t stand still and the fashion industry somehow makes it move even faster. stellax4jpg Then, just as I thought nothing could stop us, the economic crisis of 2008 hit, taking a toll on the entire industry sparing virtually no one. During that same time, my daughter was born prematurely, sending me on a tumultuous roller coaster I was hardly prepared for. While facing the unknown, both personally and professionally I found my strength in knowing that we all have the power to change our lives with our thoughts and I chose to remain positive. Setting an example for my daughter to be a strong independent spirit became my priority, and sparked a desire to find deeper meaning in my work as well. I am spontaneous, strong and fearless. Growing up as a child of Greek immigrant parents in Germany made me tough– good traits for the competitive fashion industry that must adapt to the ever-changing social trends and economics. After much reflection and contemplation, I resolved to take a stand by creating a lifestyle brand that reflected my core values, one rooted in social and environmental responsibility– a brand that would re-energize the market by inspiring women to express their individuality through design. With the help of my amazing team I began to lay the foundation for our new direction, and by Fall 2012 the Stella Carakasi brand was born.  Not long after that, we launched our e-commerce site, followed by the opening of our flagship store in Berkeley, California – both of which created a direct line of communication with our customers. This conversation and sense of community inspired me to change the direction of our business in new and exciting ways. stellax3-2We recently launched a crowdfunding campaign on StartEngine, the nation’s leading crowdfunding platform and invite you to take a look by clicking here. It’s a new approach to investing in a company you believe in. There are several levels to opt-in, each one offering some great perks and at the end of the day, you own a piece of a company you love. This is your opportunity to own a piece of the brand and make a difference in the fashion industry. Join us as we grow!

Stella Carakasi Creative Director and Co-Founder break barriers

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Sustainable Shopping: 5 Tips For Reducing Your Fashion Footprint

Here at Stella Carakasi we are constantly looking for ways to infuse sustainability into our clothing and the way we do business because we believe that even the smallest of choices can make a big impact. With this in mind, we thought we would share some ways to incorporate sustainability into your own life, especially when shopping for clothes!

5 Tips For Reducing Your Fashion Foot Print:

1. Shop online

  • According to this analysis, 22 percent of a garment’s climate impact comes from the process of a consumer driving to the store to try something on, driving to another store to try that thing on, then bringing their final selection home in their car. Shopping from home means one less car on the road! The courier service that delivers your package (such as UPS, FedEx, or USPS) is like public transportation for your clothing: efficient at moving a lot of stuff with minimal fuel.
  • Shopping online gives you access to the retailer’s mission and story, you have the opportunity to learn about what they are doing to make fashion more sustainable before making your purchase.
  • Know your size and refer to the manufacturer’s size specifications to hone in on the best fit for your size and shape to reduce return shipping.

2. Prioritize natural fabrics
Synthetic materials like polyester, nylon, and acrylic can take up to 1,000 years to decompose—which means that all of the polyester that has ever been made still exists. Those materials account for a large chunk of the clothing that’s currently sitting in landfills. Choosing all-natural fabrics is one way to work toward a more sustainable wardrobe—try silk, organic cotton, wool, hemp, cashmere, alpaca, and Tencel, which are more luxurious, breathable and feel great on your body. (Stella even uses recycled paper in some of her sweaters!)

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3. Invest in high-quality products, not quantity
Choose clothes that are made with the best craftsmanship, the finest materials, and timeless classic design. Durability is a key component in the environmental impact of a garment because its carbon footprint decreases every year that you own it.

4. Consider the number of uses
Ask yourself: “Can I wear this to work and to brunch?” and “Can I wear this in multiple seasons, or year-round?”. When you choose clothes that you can picture in different places and climates you’ll keep them longer and get more use.

advertorial-photo-35. Capsule your wardrobe
A clothing capsule is an extremely edited collection of versatile pieces that can be endlessly mixed and matched, so that you get maximum use out of minimal possessions. The goal is to gain clarity of your personal style and only purchase pieces that make you feel like your best self. With a thoughtfully curated wardrobe, you can easily put together a great outfit and you’ll no longer find yourself making hasty purchases because you have nothing to wear. (You can contact a stylist at Stella Carakasi to get styling advice and help curating your own capsule.)

As part of our effort to support sustainable fashion we are excited to announce that throughout the month of June and for the first half of July, our flagship store in Berkeley, California will be hosting an in-store pop-up with Vincetta Studio, a collection of season-less pieces with intentionally minimalist design.  To kick off this exciting collaboration, we are co-hosting a Sip & Shop event Monday, June 11, 2018, from 4 to 6 pm. Click here to RSVP!

 

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Runway Recap: Spring Edit

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Red carpet wrap up:
We’re coming up for air after fashion week in San Francisco. We want to thank Fashion Community Week for making the Bay Area fashion scene more visible while highlighting local and international designers with a focus on sustainability. FCWSF rocked the Redwood Room at the Clift Hotel in the heart of San Francisco on March 17th. We were excited to open the Pret-A-Porter show with our spring favorites. 

Stella’s vision of Spring/Summer 2018 came to life on the runway, featuring an abundance of looks that could lend themselves easily to both a casual or fashion-forward lifestyle. Stella, always designing for the woman who dresses for herself, celebrates the ease with which women move between roles and worlds, all the while balancing the duality of strength and beauty.

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Behind the scenes, the models line up. On the runway: Zip Code Vest & New Wave Skirt.

Shop the runway
Stella is obsessed with form and function and chose chose to highlight her ultra light weight linen sweaters, liquid Art-Silk separates and hemp fabrics on the runway for Spring/Summer 2018. The look was both modern and sleek, but at the same time totally wearable. The line up included our current Spring 2018 offering now available in-store and online …plus a forward look to the season ahead with a nod to the enduring beauty of black and white for summer, as well as the romance of sheer silky layers.

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Shop The Runway Looks

1. Style To Spare Jacket (Orchid)
2. Clean Slate Top (Orchid)
3. Cool Moves Pants (Orchid)
4. Equal Parts Vest (Soft White)
5. Side Effects Top (Feather)
6. Cool Moves Pants (Feather)

Special thanks

Thanks to Shirin Hashem and the amazing team at FCWSF, to the models for making our designs come to life, to all the fashion bloggers and  fans near and far for your support. We look forward to doing it again next season!

Photo credits: Stuart LocklearCarlos Orozco

Sign up to be the first to know about runway shows, special events, and all things Stella.

Fashion Show Countdown

"It's an exciting feeling, preparing for a fashion show...we're all in it together from sketch to runway and there is nothing like seeing all your hard work strutting down the runway looking all glamorous and polished."

RUNWAY READY!
After weeks of planning, fittings, pinning and stitching and more fittings, we are just days away from Fashion Community Week Spring Edition fashion show.

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Stella’s Spring 2018 Collection brings effortless wear-now pieces that were made to be layered. Breezy tunics, drapey tops, crisp poplin blouses and cool Art Silk pants kick off the season.

Join us on March 17 at the Clift Hotel for the Pret-A-Porter Spring Edition Fashion Show. Get your tickets here. As a fan of Stella Carakasi, please use the discount code EXCLUSIVE to receive 15% off your ticket.
Show your support for Stella by voting for her as your favorite designer! Click here to vote!

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It’s our night and we want to share it with you from behind the scenes to the front of the house. Sign up now to receive updates in your inbox!

New Direction – Customer Focused

Part Three Of A New Series: A letter from Designer, Stella Carakasi:

Now that we have launched our new Direct to Consumer business model we want to take this opportunity to say THANK YOU!

stella photoblog-3-2-tinyWe love and value your ongoing support and enthusiasm for our work. Nothing makes us happier than knowing we have touched your lives and made a difference in how you feel showing up in the world dressed in comfortable clothing that accentuates your unique beauty while supporting social and environmental change.

We are a fashion company that is using technology versus a technology company that produces fashion.

In our ever faster-moving world that is technology dominated, it never fails to amaze me that even young clothing companies have to “mask” themselves as being “tech” in order to succeed. I value technology, but I also value nature, the true artistry of design, high quality, mindfulness, intention, and the wide spectrum of beauty.

We believe that great companies are built one customer at a time, one relationship at a time. We are dedicated to helping you build the best “wearable” wardrobe you’ve ever had– and it doesn’t stop with your most recent purchase. We are centered on longevity and bringing value to your life every time you wear Stella Carakasi.

I invite you to sign up to be the first to learn about live product launches, fashion shows, community events and more!  Check out some of this season’s highlights:

Look for more exciting news, including opportunities for feedback and involvement. We’re in this together! Thank you for supporting what we do.

—Stella

Stella Signature

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Spring Style Event: Don’t Miss a Moment!

The team here at Stella Carakasi is excited to invite you to our Spring Style Event! We have customer-models walking the runway, delicious d’oeuvres, and a very special guest. We’ve created a handy guide for you to reference so you don’t miss a moment of our special event.

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5-6PM Nosh & Mingle, Sponsored by Whole Foods Market

We have teamed up with Whole Foods Market to provide bites and beauty tips for Spring! Here is a sneak peek:

Three Steps to Glowing Skin

Tips for Rosy Cheeks & Lips

Anti-Aging Skincare

Pro-Tip: Be sure to check out the skincare demo from Evanhealy. The first 50 guests will receive beauty goody bags from Whole Foods Market!

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6-7PM Spring Fashion Show

This Spring we are gathering inspiration from women who inspire us to be our best selves and encourage an air of whimsy. In this spirit, we are honored to introduce our special guest, author Alysia Helming. Through her her debut best-selling novel PROTOGENESIS she shares her imaginative world of Greek mythology seen through the eyes of her protagonist HeleneWe have crafted the perfect nod to her literary talent and the Spring season with our exclusive Protogenesis look inspired by Alysia’s book.  

Pro-Tip: Check out the preview of the “Protogena Jewelry Line” created by ANATOL, available on Protogenesis.com April 10th.

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7-8PM Book Signing with Alysia Helming

Get a chance to meet Alysia Helming and have her sign your copy of PROTOGENESIS!

RSVP for Free Here

See you there!

Designer’s Notebook: Color Workshop – Classics

[Designer’s Notebook: Color Workshop – Classics]

Start the season right with classic colors from Stella Carakasi. Recharge your basic blacks and introduce softness with winter whites. Find your staples for the upcoming months!takenote-eyefordetail

Travertine is a classic neutral – grey with a touch of limestone – shown left as the Take Note Vest. This chameleon-like color can mix it up with black and white for a clean modern look, or can be pared back with earthy neutrals and deep autumn tones for year-round appeal. Neutrals like travertine are seasonless; it should be a classic color in every woman’s wardrobe — and is as important as black or white. A light neutral like travertine makes a great base layer and turns an ordinary jacket into a statement piece.

Black is intriguing, mysterious and radiates confidence. Black implies self-control, independence and a strong will. In the Eye For Detail Jacket, black is sophisticated and elegant. Layers of black allow you to play with texture. A great base layer like the Slimming Ankle Zip Pants can be accessorized with rich fall colors, neutrals and metallics. Black is the most popular fashion color and continues to be an important staple in every woman’s closet. It’s the ultimate fashion color that will never go out of style.