Photo credit: Inspired Luxe
There are few people within the fashion industry who are as dedicated to the art of handmade goods as Denise Bradley-Tyson.
As the founder and CEO of the e-commerce site Inspired Luxe, Bradley-Tyson's mission is "supporting the imagination of small-scale makers and showcasing artisanal treasures, traditions and innovations from around the world."
Inspired Luxe is not driven by trends, but rather craftsmanship -- which is an anomaly in a business dominated by fast fashion. But we've learned that slow style is often worth the time and investment.
Thanks to Bradley-Tyson the curation of these custom-made items has already been done for us. Her love for travel and keen eye for one-of-a-kind fashion and accessories has resulted in a selection of items from domestic and international designers that is stunning to say the least. Combine that with an emphasis on ethical fashion and social entrepreneurship and you've got yourself a gem of a company that will definitely be a go-to destination for finding something special for loved ones, or for yourself.
We asked Bradley-Tyson to select just a few of her favorite artisans -- something she said was very challenging -- and tell us why they are worthy of praise and our support. Here are her picks in her own words.
"'Engineering feats.' 'Architectural wonders.' Those are the expressions that come to mind when I think about Guidemore Chigama's work -- which I guess is appropriate since he trained as an engineer in Zimbabwe. He uses recycled glass and old African trading beads as well as up-cycling found objects, including elements lifted directly from nature, to create contemporary, unique statement necklaces. I marvel at his beautiful constructions: they drape; they hang; they pivot; they swing. In contemplating his work further, I would characterize Guidemore as the 'Frank Gehry' of jewelry design. Why Frank Gehry? His work too undulates, is organic, intelligent and stands on its own."
"Innovative in her use of local resources, Thabo Mekheta is crafting beautiful, elegant capes and coats made from traditional Lesotho blankets. In so doing, she is not only helping to keep artisanal traditions alive, but she is also providing a walking, swinging piece of education for the wearer and any of the many admirers who see the wearer in these stunning sophisticated capes and coats."
"With roots in Oakland, Corinthia splits her time now between Brooklyn and Las Vegas -- and that duality of urban cool and showmanship flash comes across in her work. Her use of asymmetry is part and parcel of her signature style, which is completely reflective of the world we live in today -- it is never straightforward or completely linear. Asymmetry reminds her of the human species in how we are, in her words 'perfection within imperfection, balanced within the plight of being balanced.'"
"Her work is nature-based and evolves from what nature has to offer us: fossils, shells, raw stones and textures. It is the stone that inspires each of Jane's pieces. Organic to couture -- her designs flow from natural stones, fossils and pearls. She has the innate ability to allow the stone to dictate what it should become in terms of wearable art. Because they are derived and crafted from natural stones, each piece possess its own special energy and presence."
"San Francisco jewelry designer Tamara Hill is a multi-faceted artist, photographer, traveler, art historian, teacher and inveterate collector, so it is no wonder that her unique pieces reflect that. Her jewelry is inventively re-purposed as contemporary treasure pieces that honor and convey the spirit, symbols and magic of many far-flung cultures and timeless legacy of traditions. These intriguing amulets and pendants, iridescent talismanic shells, polished ancient fossils, earthy minerals and luminous gemstones are gleaned from bazaars around the world and inspired by her travels."
This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.