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.
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:
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.
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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