16 Apr 2014

NAOBLAKU.SI: WANT TO WALK ON CLOUDS?

How do you like your sneakers? Low, high, glittery? Do you change them regularly? I don't know about you, but I always get that über fresh feeling when switching my kicks. Currently I'm all about comfort and finding something that suits my active lifestyle and still looks fly. So in the spirit of sneakers I want to present you a new Slovenian store "Na Oblaku" (meaning On the Cloud in English) that delivers some cool and sweet footwear for all the active hip souls out there. 

It all started not that long ago when my friend got the opportunity to start his own business. He opened his own company, "Na Oblaku", and I was pleasantly surprised by their selection of sneakers. They currently present two companies: Shulong and Burneties. They offer a great selection of women's and men's high-top sneakers, (my all time favorite) low classics, and some trendy slip-ons at a dope-ass affordable prices. There are always a few models on their discount tab too, which is of course always a good thing.


"Comfortable Dragon" aka Shulong is a trademark that sports stylish and vintage sneakers and canvas shoes that will surely fit every occasion. They've got a fantastic selection of multi-colored delicacies for your feet, so make sure to take some time and check them out!


Burnetie's sneakers are made to fit your lifestyle with an uncompromised quality, no-nonsense price and a commitment to our world by striving for a zero waste manufacturing. They also started with some innovations in reducing rubber and reusing the rubber waste in a way that is both innovative and groundbreaking - as a result their outsoles are made from 30-50% of  devulcanized rubber. Burnetie believes that the packaging is also a big part of eco-friendly solutions, so they're working on programs that will reduce the packaging by 30%.


You can also find "Na Oblaku" team over on Facebook where they'll update you with all of their novelties. I think the models are amazing and I'll sure consider a purchase. I also dig the fact that the prices are totally reasonable. I have my eyes on this black and white Burnetie Low Slip - watcha think, you like?


Big thumbs up for team Na Oblaku! 

xxxx

10 Apr 2014

ANJA SLIBAR ILLUSTRATION: BLACK'N'WHITE WITH A HINT OF RED

I've always had a soft spot for illustration. It all started with the obsession with the mothership of cool blogs - Garance Doré and her drawings, followed by an amazing fashion illustrator Cate Parr, and the list could go on. Have I ever tried to illustrate anything myself? Oh, puh-lease. I can't even draw such a basic thing as an outline of a damn cat. Anyhoo, my latest illustration obsession started not that long ago when I spotted this crazy talented girl Anja Šlibar. Seriously, I was just staring at her drawings for a couple of days, releasing sounds of admiration like "aaaah", "oooooh", "woooow" ... I instantly knew I've got to arrange an interview and present her to you. What I like the most about her work is the fact that she prefers the use of organic pen and paper while staying true to the usage of somewhat basic colors - red, black, and white. She says that she's inspired by small, unimportant everyday moments, girls with long hair, and cats.


Hi Anja, wassup? Can you please tell us a bit about yourself?

Hello! Well, I'm a soon to be a 27 year old lady with hard working habits and a lust for a joyful life - trying to find a balance between those two! Plus I love cats, horror movies and pretty girls with long hair. And if you ask my boyfriend I probably have too many shoes. 

How did you get into illustration?

I think I was always a part of it. I slowed down when I thought it would be more convenient for me to study graphic design. Soon after I started working as a graphic designer I learned how little possibilities it offers. You always have to adapt and change styles. That's when I realized something was missing for me. I started to do things for myself again, I made prints and stickers, T-shirts and bags. Just for myself, you know? And for my friends. Everything else came later. 

Which three words best describe your work?

Red, black, and white!

Most of your work features the coolest girls with long hair; what do you enjoy the most about illustrating them?

Probably the hair! I think I would become a hairdresser if I wouldn't know how to draw.


Please take us through your design process, where do you start?

I start unintentionally with the daily web browsing ... If I see something I like or something I would like to have or someone I would like to look like or hang out with, I save the photo. Later on I observe the photo and try to find out what was the thing that caught my eye. When I do, I try to find as much reference as possible!

Would you define your work as more conceptual or decorative?

Decorative for sure! I like keeping things simple and avoiding conceptualism. The world is too much complicated as it is, I want to help make it more simple.

Do you think an illustrator needs a distinctive style? Why? Any tips on developing it?

Only you can see things like no one can, so take advantage of that and use your eyes and thoughts! I think someone gets to be an illustrator only when he develops his own style. Because when you find it, you also find yourself enjoying doing what you do. And that's why you do it - for your own pleasure or need. And when you start enjoying what you do, people will start noticing your work. If you work only for pleasing others, you'll sure get lost! Tips on developing a distinctive style ... For starters, try out many different styles you can find, even try to invent your own. Quickly, you'll realize what suits you best and bring you most joy while doing it.


Do you sometimes get blocked when searching for ideas? How do you overcome that?

Usually I get "hand blocks" instead of ideas blocks :). Even if I have an idea, if the day isn't right I won't be able to do it ... On some days my hands won't follow my mind. There aren't many days like that, but it happens! And when it does, I put away the pen and paper and do something completely different.

What are your favorite tools to work with and how do they help you to work better?

Tools that help me work are pretty simple: a piece of paper + pencil and eraser + black and red pens + super duper hi res scanner + the latest version of Photoshop. Usually everything is drawn on paper, scanned and "cleaned" in Photoshop. I try avoiding full digital illustrations.

When are images better than words?

Always! I hate words!


Where should a person start if they want to pursue a career in illustration?

I'm not someone who knows this path very well, but I think it should go like this: find the motifs where you can lose yourself in and enjoy doing it. Make stuff for yourself. DO IT A LOT! Like "don't go out, work till you're sleepy, work even if you're too tired" a lot. Get feedback from your sincere friends. Let people find your work, get yourself out there. Make a web page. Make a portfolio. Don't forget about the CV. Be short and effective! Find as much magazines as possible, send them your work. Wait. Wait for a long time. No reply? Do it some more! Send your stuff to blogs, do competitions! Don't be afraid, just enjoy it.

Do you think the internet has made the visual culture a vital part of everyday life?

Yes, absolutely! And as much as I hate the internet and the social media sometimes, deep inside I'm grateful to live in this age! The world literally is in our hands and I love it.


What's currently on your playlist?

This is gonna sound weird but I'm a kind of a person who listens to a song on a weekly basis. When I find a certain song I like, I play it over and over and over again! Usually this lasts for a week or maybe even longer if the song is good. I can listen to one song for eight hours or more a day! So previous week was dedicated to: Battle of Hernani - 1982.

What would be your ultimate goal as an illustrator?

To have my own exhibition and be able to showcase anything I want. And I mean anything!!!

Anja, thanks so much for your dose of inspiration, I really appreciate it!


So guys, what do you think, isn't her work just the best? I can totally see these illustrations hanging on the walls of my apartment. God knows I'd even hang them in my bathroom! If you're also fanatically in love with her work like myself, check out Anja's web page and get your illustration groove on!

xxxx

6 Apr 2014

HAPPY 2ND BIRTHDAY, ODDS&ENDS!

Holy shiz, it's already been two years since I wrote my first blog post! I know, I know, that may not sound much to some of you, but lemme tell you that this is probably the longest free time commitment I've ever made in my life. It's so interesting to see how my enthusiasm was shifting from one to another area of interest during the past two years. It's like having a little diary and there's nothing more fun than browsing through the older posts and having a good laugh at yourself. Don't even get me started on how many interesting people I've met just because of this blog!

So, in honour of Odds&Ends, let's take a quick trip down the memory lane, shall we? It all started with awkward fashion posts. At that time I thought I was SO into fashion and at the moment I couldn't care less about it. I was thinking of deleting all those posts, but an extremely wise man, dr. Shepard, once said that self-acceptance is the only way to one's freedom. So I'm still embracing that thought ... For now. The next chapter was full-force beauty period. Man, that hit me hard. I've always been a huge beauty lover, because there's nothing better than slathering your precious face with new, hyped products in fancy packaging (yes, I'm that shallow). I still like to write about it now and then, but my blog life is currently still ruled by my latest obsession - hunting down interesting peeps, musicians, artists, and getting to know their work and presenting it to you, my dear readers. I love it! In a perfect world that's what I'd like to do full-time. It's dynamic, inspiring, and so freaking interesting. And last but not least, you get to meet tons of amazing folks.

OK, enough with the reminiscent chitter-chatter, here are some of my highlights of the past year:



I can't even express how happy I am to have this little baby of mine! If you're thinking about starting your own blog I have only two words for you: DO IT! Well, actually I have three: DO IT NOW! I also wanna thank all of you for your support and nice comments, you're absolutely the raddest.

xxxx

31 Mar 2014

ZULU ZION: START STOMPING!

Have you heard, have you seen? There are new socks in town and they're absolutely DOPE! I can proclaim myself as slightly obsessed, because I've been eyeing them from the moment they first appeared on the market and I've also been wearing them ever since. I'm talking about the fresh socks brand Zulu Zion, a contrivance of Dijana and Miha Rolc, husband and wife, who felt the need to transform their work into something more, something fun, something hot. The couple was sick of always buying the socks with the same old pattern (the well known oh-so-boring polka dots and stripes), so they decided to take a plunge and create something that all the hip souls out there would wear. All of their socks are made from quality materials in vibrant colors that instantly change your mood. The source of inspiration were African tribes, 90's hip hop cultural and fashion movements, and urban environment. Ready to step into the world of coolness? Meet Dijana, Miha and their baby star: Zulu Zion.


Hi Zulu Zion crew, how are you doing?

Well, it's been pretty hectic the last couple of days, but we are still alive and kicking, so we're good.

Could you please tell us a bit about yourself? Where did you two meet?

Oh, us two? We met in high school and kind of stuck to one another and hadn't let go since then. That was ten years ago - in the meantime we got to study and live together and have now been married for almost three years. Oh, and we're expecting a baby in the next few weeks. Pretty standard, huh?

How did you come up with this awesome idea of making the coolest socks on the block?

It was actually Miha's idea from two years ago, but due to other work there was no time to work on a project of our own. It wasn't until we moved from the city to the country side that we decided to go with it. We immediately connected to a local factory of socks and the story of Zulu Zion started.


What exactly made you want to venture into the realm of those unexpected and fresh patterns - what was the inspiration behind it?

Well, once we decided we're going to do this, we started sketching - mainly Miha, he is the designer behind all of our work and I'm the critical eye as he likes to joke. We searched for our inspiration in the patterns of African tribes, streetstyle culture of the 80' and 90' and urban architecture. 

How involved are you in designing and producing processes and how does it all look like? Any special equipment needed?

We spent quite a lot of time during last year's summer at the factory, working tightly with them. Being perfectionist we strive to make the socks exactly as we have envisioned them. But of course there are always obstacles when you start from scratch and on a budget - we had to compromise and work with the color palette of threads they had (which was limited), and learn how to design the patterns for their machines. All in all it has been a great learning experience.


How long does it take to produce a pair of socks - from scratch to finish? Which part of the process do you enjoy the most?

It depends on how much you complicate things and how complex the patterns are. If you have a simple sock with polka dots, it's relatively quickly done, but if you try to bring something new to the table you always have to jump back and forward and search for new solutions if things don't go your way. That's actually the part that we enjoy the most and is the most rewarding. 

How do you handle the challenge of running a brand? What are the main pros and cons about it?

We are at the beginning right now and we are actually launching a Kickstarter campaign today to raise funds for the production of socks and get the Zulu Zion message across the pond. So a lot of work has been put into the campaign (production, video, photography, rewards, etc.), and creating the brand image and identity of course. The pros are that you get an insight into a line of business you didn't know before and learn more about that as well as finally making your vision real. The cons would have to be the paperwork! But the feedback from our customers is the most rewarding, and it's what keeps us going and validates that what we are doing must be right.


What do you think sets the Zulu Zion socks apart from other brands?

What sets Zulu Zion apart from other labels is that we are not afraid in experimenting with patterns and colors. We like to offer out customers patterns that are more complex than stripes and polka dots - we work from our guts, to be honest. Since this is our first collection, we will see which of the models will work best with the customers, and go on from that. For now, we are not afraid to step out of the box and be loud with our designs. 

What's your favorite Zulu Zion pair so far?

That's a hard one, they're all our babies :). But if we had to choose: Miha's favorite is Yoko and my favorite is Pablo.


Do you have any advice for young folks who want to make something out of a simple idea?

The advice would be to go for it. But first make sure that the idea you have is not just one of many on your list. It has to stand out and stick with you for a while. You need to feel the need to realize it and have the drive to do it. If you lose the drive after a week or a month, it's probably best to stop thinking about it. You should never lose focus.

Thanks so much for your time Dijana and Miha, I really appreciate it! Best of luck in your future, you rock!


So, are you as enthusiastic about Zulu Zion socks as I am?! If so, find them over on Facebook, Instagram, and Tumblr and from this day on you can also support Zulu Zion on Kickstarter. I tell you, every time I put these beauties on, they simply make my day brighter, more positive and I'm feeling über swell. Now I can finally get rid of all the boring ones in my drawers and it was about freaking time. C'mon, let's start stomping!

xxxx