Style

Meet Erika Schrieber & Sophie Blake: Proof That Quality Style Can Be Made In America

When it comes to fashion, one of the most common notions is that products made in America lack a certain prestige and craftsmanship when compared to products made in other regions of the world, such as Italy or France. On top of that, Washington, DC doesn’t quite scream “fashion” either. But tell that to Sophie Blake and Erika Schrieber owners of Sophie Blake New York and Erika Schrieber Clothing respectively. Both of the ladies design and manufacture their pieces right here in the USA without sacrificing quality and taste. Erika designs and manufactures here clothing right here in Washington, DC, while Sophie manufactures her Jewelry in New York City. The tagline you will see immediately upon walking into their new pop-up store in the Mosaic District  is, “Lets Do It Right Here” with an illustration of the American Flag, alluding to producing top quality products in America.

 

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Although the two ladies have their own separate brands, it’s no doubt that they make the perfect partnership to produce a cohesive and flawless pop-up store experience. They met years ago but when Sophie first learned of the pop-up shop opportunity she immediately thought of Erika and the two jumped at the opportunity to set-up a temporary (that they hope will turn into a permanent) brick and mortar location to further promote their brands. We had a chance to catch up with the lovely ladies at their pop-up store at the Mosaic District to talk about their current lines, what drives them, and where we can expect to see them in the future. Stay tuned to their websites (and) as they are preparing to layout their 2015 Spring/Summer Collections. Meet the young ladies below:

 

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At only 27 years old, and going on only her 15th month in business, there is no question that Erika Schrieber (pictured above) is one of the most promising and emerging designers in Washington, DC. She would know after all the blueprint to becoming such. Her first job, after graduating from Miami University, “was with a fashion PR firm working specifically with emerging designers”. During that time her admiration for designers grew and when she saw their “passion, and drive to create something from almost nothing” and that their was “a void in the American-made, premium women’s wear category” she decided to “join their tribe — making something you believed in that wasn’t otherwise accessible”.

 

 

Born in Connecticut, Erika calls Washington, DC her second home after living in Miami for a long stint. Her collection, just like her marketing, is clean, sophisticated, and of premium quality. The goal she set for her line from day one was to create a “brand of wearable, and versatile clothing I actually want to wear”. For Ericka, style is the “expression of individuality, how you see yourself, and how you choose for the world to see you.” What’s more intriguing about Erika’s story is that she didn’t’ have any design experience when she started out. However, she turned her weakness into a strength, which she “considers a blessing” because “there were few rules or restrictions” she put on herself when she started out. She says, “I just wanted to create something I believed in”.

In the future Ericka hopes her “brand will be carried in a few brick and mortar boutiques that focus on bringing emerging designers to their customers”. You can find Erika’s clothing at www.erikaschrieber.com and at her pop-up shop located at 2905 District Ave Faifax VA 22031. Be sure to keep your eyes out for her Spring/Summer 2015 line releasing soon.

 

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Jewelry is meant to be an accessory to any outfit or wardrobe and it’s a thin line between over accessorizing and complimenting. Sophie Blake (pictured above) understands the importance of creating statement pieces that aren’t overbearing. She doesn’t like “over-embellishment and enjoys balanced design” and prides herself on “creating designs that are elevated, versatile and modern, that can be worn from day to night”. She wanted to be a designer since a little girl, but she admits, “My parents wanted me to become a doctor, a lawyer or mathematician. I think many immigrant kids could relate to this”. So like any other child, she wanted to make her parents happy, so she attended McGill University in Montreal Canada and graduated with a B.A. in Economics and Political Science. But unfortunately for Sophie, her calling wouldn’t let her rest. “I realized I had a void in my life” Sophie says, “I needed to express my creativity and since I used to draw when I was younger, jewelry gave me a chance to be artistic again and gave me an outlet to design.”

 

 

Sophie is a creative self-starter and first “Learned how to do wire work and beading” on her own “just by studying and looking at the construction of how jewelry was made”. She also credits her education about jewelry to classes she took in Brooklyn while living in New York. In those classes she learned “how to make hollow rings, lost wax casting, and stone setting techniques”.

Sophie gets inspiration for her jewelry wherever she can find it. Her current collection, which she has named “the Cassini collection”, is “inspired by an obscure and beautiful storm system that was discovered on the north pole of the “Golden Planet” Saturn. Cassini was a spacecraft that captured the images of the hexagon shaped storm system”. Sophie “thought a lot about the hexagon shape” and “decided to make it the foundation of the collection and every detail would include the geometric form”. She “played with absence of matter and space, creating pieces that were a bit extraterrestrial but also very wearable”.

Today, and four years into business, Sophie is building a brand for “sophisticated, stylish, and confident women”. She believes that “it’s important that women who wear [her] pieces feel comfortable in them, that the weight is just right, the length is appropriate, and the pieces are used to complete the look”. In a perfect world her products “would be carried in national retailers like Intermix and Barneys and give the brand national exposure”. She looks forward to continuing her relationships “with current brick and mortar stores and possibly open a location in Miami and New York”. She aspires “to be able to build both a brick and mortar presence and a wholesale channel effectively, and give the brand more reach”. You can find her most current collection and stockists at www.sophieblakenyc.com as well as at her pop-up shop located at 2905 District Ave Faifax VA 22031.

 

 

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For The Good of Man

It’s a rainy Tuesday evening in early October at the Sophistocrat office and the last task on the agenda before calling it a day is a photo shoot featuring a Sophistocrat full of style. As 6:30 pm strikes, the slim yet bold act arrives on cue and expectedly the grey clouds outside haven’t tampered his style or demeanor. After all, his name is derived from the word “spiffy”, an adjective, that Webster dictionary defines as “smart in appearance or dress; stylish”. Meet “Spiph” Collins (real name Jerrod Collins), personal wardrobe stylist and CEO of The Goods For Society (TGFS). The name stuck with him after working in a jewelry store and customers telling him, “You always look spiffy” Collins recalls. From there he came up with the name “Spiph” adding his own twist to the word (replacing “-ffy” with ‘”-ph”). Emerging from the 3rd floor elevator decked out in a navy blue bomber jacket, a custom hoody from his 2014 F/W collection, a green tote, fitted black jeans, and an umbrella suited for The Rat Pack, Spiph is right in his element.

It is this element and confidence that he looks to give to his clients. For Spiph, style is more of an emotional component than a physical presence. He believes style is dictated by, “the reaction to your emotions. When you wake up in the morning your emotions, combined with your agenda for the day, will most likely influence what you wear. I feel like people make style so definitive instead of looking at it as an opportunity to showcase who they are” Collins says.

In the words of Oprah, his “aha moment” came during high school in Hartford, CT where he would “remake jeans with different patterns and materials” Collins says. Soon his friends were paying for his jeans. He laughs that, “It wasn’t much but it was dope, it was original. It was then that I decided to go to school for fashion merchandising”. While studying at Howard University in Washington, DC he worked at nightclubs and patrons began to identify him by his custom ties. It’s clear that he has come a long way since his undergraduate career, but the principles he was able to develop there still help him today. He credits his time at Howard University as “a forewarning to how detailed the [fashion] industry was going to be. They were able to give me perspective. People look at fashion just as an art but at the end of the day it’s a business, so it taught me the balance between the two. Its all about awareness and demand you have to know how to forecast. Fashion is always a season ahead so it’s about preparation” Collins said. As for real world job experience, Collins describes it as “very fast paced”. Outside the classroom, “it’s more about reaction time. You have to be able to adapt fast”. Essentially, “you are a salesman so you have to know the prices, the point of view the collection is being presented in order to sell it, while being able to interpret what the consumer is looking for”.

On this rainy Thursday evening the experience he has garnered in the classroom and is evident. Before becoming the muse for today’s shoot, Spiph pulls out a wooden crate (paying homage to the era that inspired the theme for his TGFS brand) full of ties with custom velvet and leather backs, to custom pocket squares with glow in the dark stitching, and t-shirts dawning his TGFS logo.

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After explaining the inspiration and craftsmanship of his new collection, Spiph is camera ready. Just minutes into the shoot, his natural capability to be the mind behind the scenes of a brand, yet effortlessly stand in front of the camera is exciting to watch. His face is polarizing and full of contradictions. His eyes are red as if he hasn’t slept for a few days (he is currently preparing to launch his collection during his alma mater’s homecoming weekend) yet he dawns a childish smile of excitement, eager to stand on mark for today’s shoot. After all, sleep is a luxury when you have to juggle as many hats as Spiph. During the day or his “9 to 5” as he refers to it, you can find Spiph serving as a Sales Associate at Rag and Bone in Georgetown (DC) and from 5-9 he is knee-deep into developing the TGFS brand and serving as a personal wardrobe stylist for clients such as DJ Alizay of 93.9 WKYS. As he runs through his many responsibilities, as if they are regular routine now, his face lights up when he declares his most important role of them all-being a father to his four-year-old daughter Chloe. Its evident he’s motivated for a far deeper reason than recognition and money. He truly believes in his product and helping his clients develop an entire wardrobe, not just supplying them with one outfit for a single event.

“Creating a wardrobe that you can use excessively day in and day out is important. Whether you have to go to work, on a date, or a black tie event your wardrobe should have ready options at all times” Collins says. “I feel like style defers a lot of people from participating in certain things because they don’t feel like they will look the part. I don’t believe in renting clothes for my clients because I feel like certain pieces can be used again in multiple ways”. He urges his clients to be “confident, eager, and open-minded”.

Passion, desire and persistence are all essential to building a brand. However, at the end of the day it all comes down to the product, or as Spiph would call it, “the goods”. And take it from us, as the name of his company infers, he definitely has the goods for society. The inspiration for the name of his company came from “looking at historical war images” said Collins. “As a team we were taken back by some of the pictures we saw of pilots during that time. Pilots were a vital piece to operations because they were in charge for dropping crates of cargo, food, and supplies off at so many places all over the world; they were really dependent upon. So we used that as a comparison and analogy for what we feel like we offer our customers.”

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Processed with VSCOcam with hb1 preset

As his brand enters into its second year, Spiph is preparing for his biggest debut yet, his 2014 F/W collection. As for what to expect from the new collection, Collins says, “In this collection we have regular size ties, slim ties, oversize pocket squares. But we’re working with crazy patterns, the velvet fabrics, all hand picked and paired together. Everything is original. From the yoga studio to the boardroom we have you covered with this collection”. To find out more about Spiph Collins and his The Goods For Society brand, log onto TheGoodsForSociety.com, follow him at @spipchcollins (IG), and @thegoodsforsociety (Twitter). Think you should be featured or have somebody else in mind, email us at info@TheSophistocrats.com.

 

 

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Meet Erika Schrieber & Sophie Blake: Proof That Quality Style Can Be Made In America

When it comes to fashion, one of the most common notions is that products made in America lack a certain prestige and craftsmanship when compared to products made in other regions of the world, such as Italy or France. On top of that, Washington, DC doesn’t quite scream “fashion” either. But tell that to Sophie Blake […]

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It’s a rainy Tuesday evening in early October at the Sophistocrat office and the last task on the agenda before calling it a day is a photo shoot featuring a Sophistocrat full of style. As 6:30 pm strikes, the slim yet bold act arrives on cue and expectedly the grey clouds outside haven’t tampered his […]

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Perfecting Your Image

Legend has it that style is the ability to speak, and express yourself, without ever opening your mouth. Our style, or appearance, serves as our initial introduction to the world. Investing in your personal style doesn’t just show that you take pride in your appearance but that you’re mindful of what you’re communicating nonverbally to […]

Read More

Perfecting Your Image

Legend has it that style is the ability to speak, and express yourself, without ever opening your mouth. Our style, or appearance, serves as our initial introduction to the world. Investing in your personal style doesn’t just show that you take pride in your appearance but that you’re mindful of what you’re communicating nonverbally to those around you. Whether you agree with the notion, that people form opinions of you based on your appearance, or not; it’s the reality we live in today.

Unfortunately, not all of us are born with the innate ability to capture our voice and effectively portray ourselves in the proper light on our own. Luckily here to help us is Alison Beshai, the fashion stylist, personal shopper, and founder of Alison Beshai Styling. Alison has a background in retail and has been contributing to magazines and fashion companies since studying Fashion Merchandising at VCU. Only 25 years old, she’s already making her mark in the Washington, DC market. She launched her company, two and a half years ago and has already been featured in DC Magazine and Washington Life Magazine and worked with brands such as HGTV, NUMARI, and Nike. Alison “prides herself in being able to read her clients and their personal style so that they can remain themselves through the imaging process”.

We had a chance to sit down with the talented stylist to get her take on exactly what style means to her and some advice for her personal favorites for Fall/W inter fashion for women. Get a taste of her style and expertise in the video below. Whether you need some assistance preparing for a special event or need help updating your entire wardrobe, call Alison and tell her The Sophistocrats sent you. She’ll not only make sure that you perfect your image but that you’re also projecting the proper message with your appearance.

 

 

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Meet Erika Schrieber & Sophie Blake: Proof That Quality Style Can Be Made In America

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