Berkeley Boutique, Collections, Company, Design, designer, Fashion, Sustainability, Women's Boutique, Women's Fashion

Make Every Day Earth Day

We use eco-friendly fabrics whenever possible because we believe that every choice can make a difference. In celebration of Earth Day we want to shine a spotlight on one of Stella Carakasi’s favorite fibers to give our customers a deeper understanding of the impact their purchases can make on the environment. As an early eco-adapter, Stella has been using Tencel in her designs since 1996; not just for the incredible softness and drape but because this innovative fiber speaks to her commitment to manufacture clothing in a responsible way.

What Is Tencel?

Tencel is a sustainable fabric, regenerated from wood cellulose. It is obtained from eucalyptus trees that are grown on farms—no old growth forests, genetic manipulation, irrigation or pesticides are used. These forests and the pulp produced for Tencel have earned Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certification that the products come from socially and environmentally responsible forests. The European Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification has also endorsed Tencel’s farming practices as sustainable. Tencel eliminates the negative environmental impacts of traditional fiber processing, using new sustainable technologies.

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Tencel has some distinct advantages over traditional fibers in terms of chemical processing, which can often be extensive and toxic. For example, Rayon manufacturing generates highly polluting air and water emissions, uses catalytic agents containing cobalt or manganese and creates a strong, unpleasant odor. On the other hand, the chemicals used to produce Tencel fibers are nontoxic.

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The cellulose or ground pulp used for Tencel is treated in what is known as a closed loop process in which these solvents are recycled with a recovery rate of 99.5%. The tiny amount of remaining emissions is decomposed in biological purification plants. Because of the nature of the material, the processing never requires bleach. This overall method of manufacturing fabric was awarded the “European Award for the Environment” by the European Union.

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Collections, Design, designer, Events, Fashion, Life & Inspiration, Local Events, Runway, spring fashion, spring outfit, stella carakasi, style, Women's Fashion

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

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"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."
Collections, Design, designer, Events, Fashion, Life & Inspiration, Local Events, spring fashion, spring outfit, stella carakasi, style, Women's Fashion

Fashion Show Countdown

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!

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Part one of a new series: A letter from Designer Stella Carakasi:

New Year – New Direction

2018 marks our 25th anniversary and we are celebrating this incredible milestone by taking our company into a new and exciting direction that I will be sharing with you soon. I know 25 years is a long time so for those of you who have joined us more recently, I would like to start by out by inviting you on a short trip down memory lane.

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.

stella-editorial-image-1--tinyIn 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.

stella-editorial-image-2-tinyThen, 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. 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. 

stella-blog-editorial-image-3-tiny.jpgWith 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. We quickly gained a following of high-end boutiques across the United States, Canada, and Australia. 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 you, our customer. This conversation and sense of community have inspired me to change the direction of our business in new and exciting ways. Stay tuned for the second part of my letter on our blog next week!

Thank you for your ongoing support, it means everything to us!

—Stella

Stella Signature

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Company, Design, designer

New Year – New Direction

New Year – New Direction

2018 marks our 25th anniversary and we are celebrating this incredible milestone by taking our company into a new and exciting direction that I will be sharing with you soon. I know 25 years is a long time so for those of you who have joined us more recently, I would like to start by out by inviting you on a short trip down memory lane.

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Collections

Top 5 Outerwear Looks For Winter

outerwear-600x600.jpgOuterwear is a particular highlight as we move into winter. Noteworthy styles with treatments in boiled wool, rich deep reds, and a stunning powder blue to black Ombre highlight the uniqueness of this category. The cocooning comfort of the Wrap Up Coat is on trend. The overwhelming impression, though, is one of a new softness, and a heightened understanding of what might feel good to a woman to wear.

A special fusion of creativity, craftsmanship, and intelligence go into creating such fine attention to detail that these pieces could easily be worn inside out. In the end, the big takeaway:

There is grace and beauty to be found in comfort.

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Five Perfect Coats for the Season

Coats are to winter what dresses are to summer – a.k.a. the most essential part of your wardrobe. That means you should have more than one! So we’re bringing you 5 of the best styles to keep you warm (and looking cool) all season long.

From more structured versions, to softer ones with fabric to spare, these picks will keep you on point all season.

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Guest Blog by Carrie Motamedi

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I am an introvert, I like to make things happen behind the scenes and make other people successful: It is my comfort zone. However there are many contrasts to this in my life, and it can sometimes make me very uncomfortable. I’m an executive at a startup who sometimes has to speak in front of large crowds. The company I work for is a DIY workshop where creative people (the majority in their 20s and 30s) use high-end machinery and wear jeans and t-shirts. Though I’m in my forties, even as a kid I never really wore jeans. My main work-from-home outfit is a combo of PJ tops and sweat bottoms, but sometimes I have to go to the city or other places where the “jammie chic” look won’t cut it.

Recently I had a string of speaking engagements in the Bay Area and Austin, and it sent me into a bit of a panic after seeing photos of my last attempt at self styling for the stage. I turned to my amazing and always put together friend Julie Gordon White for advice and she simply said, “I have the perfect line for you. Do you know Stella?”

I’m not familiar with any fashion designer or high-end brand of anything when people ask, so no, I had not heard of Stella Carakasi before then. I looked online and saw the gorgeous model and thought it just wasn’t me; clearIy clothes like these were made just for her. Mine is not the body type to pull off those cuts. Julie waved away my initial reluctance and made an appointment for me to go in to the shop (of course she had to come with me as my extrovert helper). “I’m telling you, these clothes were made for you!”

IMG_6956And so started my journey with Stella, as I took in pieces that I thought were “maybes” and walked out as if someone finally got me. I left the shop with several items, feeling like those amazing French women who have a few basic pieces that plug and play and wow. I wore my “Pressing Engagement” jacket for my next talk. (BTW , Julie ended up getting the same jacket and despite us being different heights, it looked amazing on her too.)

Not long after that I had the opportunity to hear Stella Carakasi speak . When she talked about her own challenge with being more on the introverted side and having to be the front person of a label and give talks, it provided so much insight into the soul of her clothes. Now I understood why someone like me could feel comfortable wearing something that was eye catching. Her clothes made me stand out without making me feel like I was trying too hard or over thinking it.

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I was hooked and went back before heading out to moderate a panel at SXSW (South by Southwest) in Austin. I even wore some things from the Spring line that I wouldn’t normally have (like the “Made for Me” jacket which was rock n’ roll fun). I’d learned to trust the style and was able to go from an executive formal work dinner to a band performance at a local bar.

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The outfits took me from technology panels to after parties because the clothes were elegant, timeless, current, fresh and — most importantly — made me feel comfortable enough in my own introvert skin to dabble in being an extrovert. (The “Attitude” pencil skirt is one of those pieces I want to own five copies of, just to make sure I have it in my wardrobe for the rest of my life!)

jacketFashion should transform you, not help you hide. Clothing can impact not only the way you look and feel but how you ARE. I don’t want to worry anymore about what to wear. I want to be me and be comfortable so I can focus on what I’m doing, who I’m with, and enjoy any moment in life comfortably. But looking good certainly doesn’t hurt, and since I have been wearing Stella I’ve gotten so many compliments that I know I can grab anything from the line and go. Now, I’m actually ok with putting myself out there.

Carrie lives in the Bay Area with her husband and two active boys. She is Vice President of Marketing for TechShop, a do-it-yourself workshop and fabrication studio. Cooking, Baseball and inspiring people to make things are her passions.

Collections, Fashion, What To Wear

An Introvert Dresses the Part of an Extrovert

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[Designer’s Notebook: F14]

Early Fall 2014, Pre-Fall or Transition. No matter what you call it, this is the season that we anxiously await. This is the time to add new dimension to your wardrobe. This excitement is not without warrant. Stella Carakasi’s Fall 2014 Collection is a gorgeous collection of essentials, statement pieces and pure tactile delight.

Mesh Combo Watercolor Print

Mesh Combo Watercolor Print

Stella Carakasi has a natural and smart approach to style with her emphasis on texture and layers for Early Fall 2014. The tactile line-up of rich neutrals has an old world aesthetic to them complemented by fresh bamboo, bittersweet and a hushed nude that all harmonize in a vivid, banded, watercolor mesh print. The intriguing line-up of pre-fall colors works just as well with the last of the summer whites as they do with denim and darks that march seamlessly into fall.

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Wrap Up Cardigan in Cameo

Stella has a devotion to weaving the complicated with the simple. No matter your personal style, you’d be hard pressed not to find pairings that match your mood. For example, the fitted stretch twill pants would seem basic enough if not for the gorgeous hand and forgiving cut, because of this they are a favorite. The art of the not so basic, basic.

Whether it’s the classically tailored zip-up cocoon coat, garment dyed and cut from soft Tencel, the open weave sweater combinations, or a little shaped dip-dyed tee from the more casual side of the collection, Stella offers an array of propositions that invites a woman to pick and choose – mix and match. The sweater knits feature subtle mesh inserts that look casual yet elegant and suggest a promising start to an exciting fall season that successfully advances Stella’s global point of view.

Experience F14 in store and online today.

Collections, designer, Fall Collection, Fashion, Life & Inspiration, stella carakasi, Stella Studio

Designer’s Notebook: F14

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