Be Mindful, Be You, Be Clean. by Ayana Cotton

Frustrated with disappointing products at high end skin and body care stores that still found a way to use thickeners, fragrance, and preservatives, despite being marketed as organic, natural and cruelty-free, Becky Waddell, founder of Be Clean, knew there was a better way. Enter, Be Clean- a DC based online store and retail showroom stocked solely with responsible brands producing effective and pure products without unnecessary preservatives, synthetic fragrances, emulsifiers, and animal products. 

In addition to 100% natural, plant-based products (all made in the US), Be Clean embraces a holistic approach to skincare, offering the option of balance and wellness as an alternative to traditional beauty approaches.   Encouraging moments of pause with goods like aromatherapy oils, essential oil perfumes, and mindfulness journals, Be Clean’s ethos reminds that self-care is the first component to looking and feeling your best.  Waddell also stocks thoughtful home goods like handmade and plant-dyed wall hangings, ceramic water bottles and essential oil candles- an acknowledgement that where we rest and re-charge has a huge impact on our overall wellness.

Visit Be Clean's retail installation at Redeem now through September.  Brands include Josh Rosebrook, Essential Apothecary Alchemist, Na Nin, Herbivore, Smoke, Soul Sunday and Aster & Bay. Visit the website here.

DeNada Has You Covered this Summer by Ayana Cotton

All photos by Moonrise District

Citing her father's love of travel and art, and her mom's undeniable sense of style, it's no surprise D.C.-based designer Virginia Blanca Arrisueño has built a loyal brand following though her business DeNada Design with deep connections to her parent's Peruvian heritage.

Part of DeNada's brand ethos is intentionally rooted in working with artisans, with an emphasis on handmade products using natural materials. The debate of man vs. machine, handmade vs. mass-produced is not something Arrisueño spends a lot of time grappling with. For her, it's simple and intrinsic to not only what she does, but how she does it.  "Art is my background. I studied fine art in college. Closely working with artists is just a part of my creative process." DeNada was a natural evolution of Arrisueño's work and pursuits as a trained artist. 

You can always tell the difference between something that’s handmade and something that was made by machine, you can see that every single item isn’t the same and I think that’s beautiful; and people ultimately appreciate that.
— Virginia Blanca Arrisueño

DeNada has been successfully specializing in Fall/Winter knitwear since 2009 but, excited to grow the business, Arrisueño had been considering evolving into a year-round knitwear brand for some time. When we asked about the inspiration behind finally launching her very first Spring/Summer collection, it became clear the impetus was based on a very simple mantra, "NO MORE EXCUSES."  After attending trade shows this past year, a seed had been firmly planted. Arrisueño exclaims, "I literally came back from trade shows and I just said, 'We're going to do this!'"

Similar to her cold-weather collections, Virginia decided to focus on a neutral palette with a pop of color and swiftly set a firm launch date to bring it to life. When discussing the process from start to finish, she informs, "We created every single style here in the [D.C.] studio and sent the samples to Peru with my parents. It was all very fast. I wanted to get an early start on production so by the time I visited, I could quality check and approve the styles so we could keep going."  Moving forward, DeNada will be offering the 2 seasonal collections each year, along with working on an Autumn/Winter Kid's Collection- with more plans of growth in the future.

We're thrilled to be the only brick-and-mortar retailer for DeNada's premiere Spring/Summer collection; in store now!

Some Things You Need in General by Ayana Cotton

The brand is named GeneralNeed for literal reasons- as it relates to practical product offerings, but is also a take on discussing life’s frustrations and the ongoing search to satisfy our general need in a broader sense.
— Skyler Javier

When we heard much loved DC designer Skyler Javier was making a brand pivot from his coveted Native Danger to offer something more consumer facing under the brand name GeneralNeed, we were excited and extremely curious..

As a fan of Javier's work, we had a ton of questions.Familiar with the Native Danger aesthetic, we wondered how much would change and what might remain with his new project.  "The core of our overall creative direction and ethos is the same with GeneralNeed as it was Native Danger," Javier informs us. That's a sigh of relief, but we wanted to know more. "It's still motivated by the nuanced experiences and emotions in life that cannot be expressed in verbal or written form. Heavy and convoluted sentiments that elude traditional communication. My design premise still splices those elements with performance detailing and an active lifestyle. However, in contrast, GeneralNeed puts the consumer, as well as product design and quality, in a more balanced relationship with the 'heavy feels' than Native Danger did".  

Deciding to launch with a capsule collection to test the market, Javier plans to follow up with a fuller series if the response demands it. When talking inspiration, Skyler mentions the actual design is rooted in his vision of the ideal summer uniform. "I often wear the same essential ‘uniform’ for weeks, or even months, on end. I'm probably a bit severe in my redundancy, but I think it’s actually somewhat of a common practice. If certain pieces prove themselves reliable and are visually correct, then it’s easy to see how an unofficial uniform can take shape." By creating a compelling, easy uniform that we can count on, it seems as though GeneralNeed is appealing to the ultimate luxury: Time.  "I put together my take on the quintessential summer uniform for the guy with an active life in the city who values the progression of time and wants to look relevant but not ‘trendy’ in the contrived sense. It was an opportunity to concisely define the niche that GeneralNeed is addressing in offering modern technical essentials in their most timeless, but future leaning, form."

I’d love for GeneralNeed to become a staple to Washingtonians who value visual balance and quality.
— Skyler Javier

Just in time for the warmer months Javier is launching the line with three different color ways that are the epitome of tasteful. The variety of hues are inspired by his travels, giving us a glimpse into the world as he sees/experiences it.  "The one occurrence of a bright almost 'jewel tone' blue was an interjection from the beaches of Cuba that randomly left a cutting mark on my mind while visiting family there. And then, of course, there's a healthy dose of black because black is always right...".

As an ever-evolving designer, Skyler is quick on his feet and isn't shying away from shifting gears on his creative journey. While DC's fashion infrastructure is emerging, being a designer in the District takes a significant amount of effort, ingenuity, and hustle. We asked Skyler what advice he'd give to other DC designer's trying to make their mark on the city, and the world. He reminds us, "I think the tricky part of starting a line anywhere is the left/right side of the brain. Most individuals who are motivated to start a line are very right heavy- myself included, for sure. However, it takes a really disciplined and abnormal balance of both sides to make the desired progress. Constantly trying to strike that chord of balance is not always a comfortable process for creatives." 

Skyler is hosting the first public GeneralNeed launch event at Redeem Saturday June 18th from 6:30pm to 8:30pm. 

Snake Dance with Avocet by Ayana Cotton

Sensual in nature for both men and women, one can tell Avocet is crafted with both soul and heritage at the heart. Inspired by the graceful, yet bold and unapologetic nature of the rattle snake, Avocet remains true to the brand's ethos with deep roots in Mexico City. The line is new to our brand offering yet it feels incredibly familiar. The pieces have a relevant sensibility, pairing well with our modern sheer and cotton offerings in store.

"Avocet Jewelry is a line of handcrafted jewelry inspired by relics and venerated objects. Avocet is a convergence of rituals, cultures, and stories as portrayed in the form of jewelry."

Based out of Mexico City it makes sense Avocet took to their environment for inspiration on their new collection. Rattle snakes are primarily found in Mexico and the American Southwest and they bite without hesitation- but these delicate pieces sway and fall on the body in the most delicate way possible, biting...but not too hard.  

The Avocet Story...

"Avocet Jewelry was created by Michelle Goni, a native of Mexico City, who, following her studies in college and owning a women's boutique in Asheville, North Carolina, decided to return to her roots, moving to Mexico to study jewelry smithing in 2011. After finishing her courses in 2012, Michelle set her sights to developing a brand that reflected her unique multicultural upbringing. She sought to pay homage to the natural beauty of the Appalachian Mountains of rural North Carolina while appreciating the organized chaos of Mexico City and the indigenous cultures that impacted each so profoundly."

Handmade in her workshop one block away from Zocalo, where Mexico's story began, with intention and an ode to the history and culture that informs her design intuition, Michelle pulls us into her world through the poetry of her craft and invites us to snake dance.

Visit avocetjewelry.com to view more.