I had a few more photos from the Cooper Hewitt. Not enough to really give anything away, but just enough to be annoying. The photo above is of the staircase of the mansion, and I think I take a picture of it every time I go there because I’m in love with it. It’s substantial and gracious, and stairs in my regular life just don’t look like that. I also love how the floors creak as you walk. It’s a living building melded into a modern day museum, and there are moments that are quietly shocking, like when you come out of an exhibit and fetch up in a window walled room perfect for sitting and reading. Or taking a hidden concrete staircase that is drenched in sunlight and modernity that runs up the building like a spine.
I thought that I had taken more photos. But I didn’t, which is kind of good because it means I was super engaged. There was exhibit of Lilly Pulitzer florals by Suzie Zuzek, and posters by E. McKnight Kauffman. Im nit sure about the furniture, it may have been in the Kauffman floor. Went to the bathroom and found a chance to show off my Versailles tote bag. And I bought a book about fashion that I already bored with.
Right after I came back from Paris I ended up going to see the latest offering from Anna Wintour’s Costume Center at the Met. For once I actually had someone to go with, so it was a raucous afternoon of laughing at things that other people take seriously and day drinking wine at lunch. Not a date, just two ladies cackling their way through a cultural institution.
I need more of that in my life, tbf…
Anyway. we met up at the museum and wound our way through the excellent display of stolen goods in the Egyptian wing to the museum. The exhibit was in a little room that you could easily miss. The line for the exhibit is over by the Temple of Dendur.
The show centers around American fashion, and the first items that you see on display explain ASAP Rocky’s red carpet quilt. Patchwork and quilting are as old as those little houses on the prairie. It’s an integral part of the American legend, homie and comfortable. It’s a symbol of how disparate parts can come together as a rich and cohesive whole (which we are capable of, but that’s a whole other blog post).
The museum is actually doing the show in two parts, so right now it’s just a dodgy little display in a smallish suite of rooms in the basement. And because of the times we live in, the narrow aisles feel like a death trap. And there’s this horrible music, that resembles no American music trend, droning on in the background, raising the hackles. Yes, I’m complaining. Better to wait and do it properly instead of this, but no one asked me about that, so…
I will say that they had a ton of black designers so I’m excited to see what the larger show will look like. Featured in the exhibit were Pyer Moss, Patrick Kelly, Stephen Burrows, Dapper Dan and for some reason a look from Rihanna’s Savage underwear line. Not to slight her, but she also did a pretty respectable fashion collection that could have been included.
If you’re in New York, I’d definitely go and take a look at it. Try going early or mid-week so as not to be stuck in the maze-like aisles with a crowd. You can get tickets here.
So, I meant to do a bunch of posts, but there are only four Saturdays in every month and we STILL have more Paris vacation to go. So, even though no one asked, I’m just going to post every day until I reach my self-determined goal. Today is a recap of my pop-up experience at Regeneration in Williamsburg.
It’s not good.
I was excited about being asked to participate, and I was excited to be selling in Williamsburg, and it seemed like it would be a perfect fit. But the day came to set up, I realized that it was def not the place to be. The atmosphere felt dead to me. Then the person next to me started acting out because the pop up staff asked her to move her clothing rack over. Just instant drama, and I was just standing there, uncomfortable. As soon as the staff person left my neighbor runs over and grabs my rack and moves it, muttering to herself, then stalks back to her side. I still haven’t said anything. I’m just taking it in.
$280 to spend the weekend next to someone with territory issues. Great! I start unpacking, slowly realizing that everyone else had massive amounts of stuff, but I (oldest, obedient child energy) had brought a small amount as stipulated in the contract. Then my neighbor, out of the blue, goes ’what did you say your name was?’ and I was just done. Like, never do this. Introduce yourself, don’t demand another person’s name. It reeks of bad attitude. Also, if the person is me, they won’t tell you. And you’ll be frustrated and angry while the person (me) ignores you.
So that was move in day.
The next morning, before opening, I brought in some more stuff and a little table. There was someone from the popup staff walking around and I heard her talking to people and being friendly. Then she gets to me and says, ”is this your little setup?” and I was once again, done. Like… its minimalist, ok? Damn. But being me, I just said ‘yeah’, and left it at that. And stood there in my little setup feeling demoralized.
“Little” setup. FML.
Moving on from the unpleasant beginnings, I proceeded to sell three items the whole weekend. A handpainted camo jacket with sashiko stitching and an embroidered patch that I designed when the country was burning down last year. I sold a cute minidress from the French flea market, and a maxidress that I purchased in the metro. For some reason the lady that bought the maxidress left me her skirt. She didn’t ask for a discount or to trade. She just gave me her skirt.
The next thing that happened was these two girls came and one tried one my tie dyed denim vest with feathers while the other filmed her and hyped her up. I kind of tried to sell it, but tbh I was just curious. The hype one was talking to someone on the phone in an exaggerated way and I couldn’t tell if I was dealing with a kpop sensation and her stylist or two social media wannabes.
Also, none of the people selling around me spoke to me. Except once. I was outside eating a burger and one followed me outside, suddenly talkative and smiling. Meanwhile, I’m legit trying to eat quickly without choking so I can go back to my booth. It was just not a good time. Plus, why wait two days to speak? And why do you have to come outside like it’s a secret?
That burger was insanely good, though.
So, def not going back. They make a lot of demands about marketing and social media, but they never once promoted me prior to the pop up, and they skipped over my booth during the weekend. And I only made half my money back, so there no financial incentive. It’s just a lost weekend.
So, if you don’t know this, I have a reselling side hustle and I’m always looking for new ways to get inventory. I wanted to go to Paris, which is known for croissants, the Eiffel Tower (which they didn’t even want and Eiffel had to pay for it himself), and flea markets. The first time I visited, I dragged my ex-husband to the Port de Vanves open air market, happily haggling over a silver piggy bank. This time around, after doing some research, I decided on the lesser known Porte de Montreuil marche aux puces.
I’m gonna be honest, I was lost for about 45 minutes trying to find this place. First mistake was getting off at the wrong station. There are two Montreuil stops and I had forgotten to screen shot the metró directions before leaving the hotel (no free wifi in the subway there). After realizing that I should have trusted my instinct to get out at PORTE DE MONTREUIL, the literal name of the market. Then I managed to walk in every direction but the right one. Why? Just wild. If you go, just walk towards the highway when you leave the station. Towards the big glass buildings.
I took euros with me, but some vendors will take cards. It’s just all manner of stuff in there. I was laser focused on vintage and clothing, but there was so much more! I could have happily stayed in there browsing and shopping.
I ended up tagging out after about 20 minutes. I filled my bag, even after rolling everything to make as much room as possible it was still full. I left with some good vintage, a raincoat that I’m keeping, and a still fat wad of euros.
I photographed every piece as soon as I got back to the hotel.
Wrong station, great photo. This is not the flea market station. Just trying to save you time.
Next time? The story of a bike ride through Paris.
Excited!!! Im going to LIVE at the Regeneration pop up next weekend🎉 and they’re having a launch party! (Not just for me, Artists and Fleas is proud to launch their new baby market!). Regular hours are every weekend from 11am to 6pm, at 70 N 7th Street in Williamsburg, but this week? There’s a party from 5pm to 7pm!🎉🤗
Here are the deets:
Shop 20+ vintage, thrift and upcycled fashion sellers at the Regeneration Celebration Saturday, September 25th from 5-7pm. Special guests include @screamie_weemie stick-and-pokes, @toothcharm tooth gems, mochi from @theboiisco, live stream shopping and $20 shopping credit from ShopShops (download the app here and get $20 spending credit to shop the market!), drinks from Recess, custom jewelry from @lesmissnyc, DJ sets from @poptrainrecords and more.
I went by there on Sunday to take a look, and its adorable.
I don’t usually post mid-week, but its Wednesday and I want to make sure I promoted that fact that I, and some curated preloved and vintage fashion, will be at Regeneration (70 N 7th Street in Williamsburg) this Saturday and Sunday from 11 am to 6 pm.
Working on my Shopify store and trying to gain perspective on my side hustle business. Constantly thinking of how to push it into sustainable success. Doing a lot of running around, researching, taking classes and looking at long term strategies. Plotting shopping trips and new marketing strategies.
Going through my inventory, looking for ways to style my items, and just taking time to be still and look at everything and find the significance and meaning in every piece.
Also, since I lost a little weight, I’m trying things on and looking at how pieces will work on real people, how things go together, etc. I’ve been selling since 2015 and have worked pretty much nonstop since quarantine trying to build a brand, trying to find an audience, trying to sell, trying and trying to stay on top of things and stay sane. I can see the finish line, but I still have to figure out how to get there.
I don’t usually feature other photographers, but I have a soft spot for perfection and I had to do a post about an amazing woman who makes art out of old clothes, bedsheets and her gorgeous daughters Jayla, Jada and Ella. I’m usually super jealous… but her work is so good that I had to get over myself.
I started following Alissa Bertrand’s page during quarantine and it kept me engaged with the old. I started waiting for Alissa’s posts. They’re like a portal to a fairy tale world where all the princesses are black with beautiful natural hair. Her work reminds me of old Ralph Lauren ads, or Sally Mann’s revealing body of work that starred her pre-pubescent children. Every image is stunning. The lighting is soft, the girls are self aware and graceful, and the clothing is everything a girl or woman wants in her wardrobe.
I studied photography at Parsons and Columbia College Chicago, and I don’t think that I’ve ever seen such a cohesive body of work or such consistent excellence. Enter the fact that she is doing all of the styling with clothing that she designed, and all of the hairstyling and grooming for the girls and you have a one woman fashion army. If she decided to sell prints, I’d buy them. And I wouldn’t mind a grownup version of this stunning white cotton dress with eyelet lace, either.
I got Alissa to answer a few questions about her images and her plans for the future.
The Jabella Fleur interview:
SEBMARKETBK: What inspired the photographs that you take of your daughters? Was there an artist or designer or magazine that informed your distinctive photography style?
Alissa Bertrand: What inspires the photographs I take of my girls is just simply trying to capture them and the clothing I make for them! It’s also a way for them to have some really amazing pictures of themselves as children, to look back upon and remeber all the times we spent together along with all the fun adventurous stories too. I don’t look to others to inspire what I do. I’m a vintage fanatic and I love vintage aesthetics, so a big part of my look is evoking that style.
SEBMARKETBK: Did you study photography or take any lessons?
Alissa Bertrand: I’ve never studied photography! I wish I had some more knowledge in photography. I simply know the basics of what I like and what I want to capture along with the feeling.
SEBMARKETBK: When did you start designing clothing? Do you remember your first garment?
Alissa Bertrand: I started sewing from the 8th grade, and designing and repurposing about 10 years ago! The first garment was a maxi dress for the girls.
SEBMARKETBK: Do your daughters take pictures or create clothing like you?
Alissa Bertrand: My daughters don’t take pictures. They’re just my mini-muses. They do enjoy sewing and creating little things.
SEBMARKETBK: Where do you see your artwork taking you? Are you interested in being in galleries or museums?
Alissa Bertrand: I see my fashion and photography taking me to the next level in fashion. I’m currently working on a fashion collection for girls, hopefully coming out SS21! I hope my work will end up in magazines and introduce myself and designs to the world!
So as a way to thank Alissa for helping me hold onto sanity during the horrible weeks of quarantine and then the first weeks of the protests against the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and too many others, I’m doing this blog post. She reminded me that art has the power to heal, and that consistency is key in creating a successful art process. Her work reminds me to look towards my family for inspiration and savor the small pleasures and victories available to me.
Please follow Alissa and her girls on @jabellafleur (and tell others!) so that she’ll be a mega-success and I’ll get the coffee table book I keep begging her for. Any requests for collabs or publication should be directed to her on instagram.
More of the same drama going on. Today I woke up over it. I can’t be miserable forever. Last week was utterly horrifying. I felt like there was something pulling me down, and I couldn’t enjoy nothing. I took an online dance class and realized that I was just throwing my body parts around and not really enjoying the moves at all. A week of feeling helpless and sad and angry and now I am done. I have to move on with my life. Starting next Saturday this blog goes back to being about nothing, just the way I like it.
Feel free to drop by any of my online stores. Right now I’m working on taking photos, listing new merchandise and working on upcycling projects. Between covid and looters, my immediate visual merchandising gigs may not be as plentiful as I’d like so I have to build up my side hustle just in case. I’m probably going to start looking at selling photos, books, and handmade beauty products in the coming months as well. The year is half over. I don’t want to end up homeless and on welfare because I was too depressed over something that I can’t control. I have to shift focus back to myself and making sure that I have revenue coming in to cover rent, bills, food etc.
If you want to support a small black business, feel free to click on any of these links and start shopping:
As a lifelong introvert, I’m no stranger to staying in while the sun is shining and everyone else is off having fun. Ever since I was a kid, staying in was my favorite option. I was the weirdo that had to be forced outside and had no one to play with when I got there. I read book after book, fought with my brothers and thought up crazy ideas for what I would be when I grew up. None of which involved being (self) quarantined because of a global pandemic. This current time period is straight from a scifi movie.
I’ve only been in here for 8 days, so far. On April 1st I find out if anything is happening with my job, so for all intents and purposes I have nowhere to be until April 2nd. So what am I up to? Am I stir crazy? Lonely? Panting to leave? No! I’m busy. Busy af. Here’s why:
Just before I went in for the long haul, I had a long talk with my Mommy. We haven’t spoken in a few years because I remembered some things and I felt justified in withholding love and attention from her. I’m an adult and she can’t make me do anything. Enter coronavirus and I realized that whatever happened, happened. That’s all. It was just stuff that happened a long time ago and I have to let that go. The first thing I did as I was prepping for quarantine was run up and down Utica Avenue putting a box of wigs, haircare products and a big African gown for Easter. That’s how I love people, I shop for them.
This stuff is for her next box, an early Mother’s Day present. Kmart on 34th Street was closing and I started slowly looking through the place, extracting style gold for my Mommy. I didn’t get shoes, because I was trying to do a surprise and my brothers didn’t text me back when I asked for the shoe size. I figured two full outfits, plus a nice housecoat (the blue and green folded item), and I got her a long slip because her generation wore them. Florals are cheery and colorful, so I know she’ll smile when she wears these tops. The bottoms are stretchy, for her comfort. Plus a book of bible verses, because she not only believes in God, but she prays for me. I figure this will help her pick topics to focus on.
I ran all over the place looking for someone to love me, and all I needed to do was love my mom and let her love me back. It’s so peaceful.
2. My laundry:
I had laundry piled up before quarantine happened, but things have entered a critical area. No undies and no inclination to wash them myself. Also some thrifted items that I was supposed to send out so that I could post them. And my favorite socks were dirty. And my workout clothes need cleaning. And I want to have all of my sheets available. LUCKILY the laundry service is considered essential (think hospitals and nursing homes, not just for people too lazy to use the laundromat in the building like me) but now they’re only picking up at night. I got half the laundry out, with the next load ready for next week.
So now I can clean the bathroom and decide if I’m finally going to finish that storage table I made and then left unfinished.
I decided to branch out and try a new natural haircare provider and I found Fro.ology on Etsy. She had all the products I had grown to love, with improvements. I got the Hair Tea Rinse, $12, which has lavender, peppermint, and chamomile to soothe and nurture the scalp and encourage growth. The Onion and Garlic Hair Oil, $10, is an anti-microbial (kills the fungus that causes danduff) with vitamin c, infused with hibiscus, rosemary and lavender. I used this as soon as I got it because my scalp was so dry and it works wonders. I also ordered the Super Thick Deep Conditioner, $10, which contains aloe vera, rose water and rice protein. It is indeed thick, and super moisturizing. I used it this afternoon and after leaving it on for an hour (I got busy and forgot about it) I rinsed with cold water as directed, patted dry and had the curl definition promised.
And did I mention that Gianni, the business owner, included a full shower cap and tea infuser? I really appreciated that touch. The products are great, the shipping is fairly quick (about 5 days as she makes the products to order), and I’m definitely sticking with this brand for the long haul. Make sure you check out Fro.ology on instagram, too.
The night before I had to come in the house I raided Target’s beauty aisles and ordering products online because boredom is real. I have also been lagging behind on my total body selfcare. I have been running and running for 3 years, swinging from job to job before finally ending up where I wanted to be as a Visual Merchandiser. I’m getting better at merchandising, and getting bigger assignments. But I was tired from all the crappy jobs that made me feel like a cog in the wheel. I figured this quarantine isn’t just about the corona virus, it’s about me.
I barely ever have time to do my nails. I bought a tube of depilatory and it’s still sitting in the bathroom. I NEED to take care of myself to feel good about me. After 8 days, I am starting to shed the stressful, pinched feeling that I’ve been carrying and starting to forgive myself for mistakes and starting to feel good about whatever future is going to be there for me. This is the first time in three years that I can stay home and not be afraid of losing my job or not being able to pay rent. I know it was caused by something bad, I do feel for the people that are sick and dying. But it also reminds me to LIVE.
Last but not least, I’m going to the post office on April 1st, and I’d love to be able to mail out some new, used , vintage or upcycled items for you guys to flex in. I’m having a yellow tag sale on selected items and bundles. Go to http://www.depop.com/sebmarket and get 25% off on yellow tag items, and if you do a bundle of 3 or more items, you get 25% off as well as free shipping. If you’re on the app, I’m @sebmarket.
How are you dealing with self-quarantine? Are you even in the house? If not, please remember masks, hand sanitizer, handwashing and staying 6 feet away from others to help flatten the curve. I know it all seems scary, but you can only control yourself. Do the right thing, and try to help others if you can
Started in the 70s, resurfaced in the 90s, still slaying in 2019. The simple, a-line smasher, the prim but naughty must have…the button down skirt.
I was watching the wicked A Simple Favor on Hulu and I started noticing that Anna Kendrick’s character Stephanie was killing it in her tidy button down skirts. She had multiple versions and they fit into her perfect little mommy vlogger facade. They were beautifully fitted to her frame and it made me think about how easily we dismiss people who are casually nailing it every day. Today, I salute the button down skirt in three ways.
The 70s were good for lacy romantic bohemian looks, so I paired this wine red corduroy mini with a flouncy lace top. The top is machine lace layered over a cream camisole, with 70s looking, fluttery wing sleeves. Delicate star bracelets, a handmade shopper tote from RePurposing NOLA and Minnetonka fringed boots finish the look without being costume-y. Marcia, Marcia, Marcia!
90s syle was more grunge than romance. This super retro looking Firth denim skirt (love the two front pockets) rocks with a cropped Guess t-shirt and a sweet Love You More necklace. . Trucker hat? Yep. Espadrilles with crazy socks? Check. And a faux snakeskin hobo from Kensie to lug your cds and your ticket to Lollapalooza.
Come as you are is every day in 2019. Throw hip hop, grunge and punk in a blender for a day of navigating social media and sometimes real life. Shoutout to Brooklyn with this Derek Heart shortsleeved hoodie, which works perfectly with a black Firth faux suede button down mini. My upcycled Lone Wolf denim jacket , bamboo earrings and pre-loved Converse all-stars are streetstyle gold. Finish with a vintage 80s silver crossbody (you can tie it on your waist, too) and you’re out.
Burgundy corduroy miniskirt. 70s style a-lone, snaps down the front. Medium wale cords. No pockets. Brand new, never worn. Measures 16.25 inches long. 15 across the waist, 18 across the hips, 21.5 across the hem. *US shipping included.
Style & Co.lace top, size XL
Angelic cream lace blouse from Style & Co. Fully lined, lining is sleeveless. Blouse is loose and has an elasticize waist. Decorative button placket at the neckline. Sleeves are lace panels. Has a 70s hippie vibe. Measures 24 inches from shoulder to hem. 20 inches from armpit to armpit unstretched. *US shipping included
Shooting Star chain bracelets. 1/8 inch star pendant on a delicate link chain with lobster claw closure. 7 inch chain, plus 2 inch extender. Gold or silver plating on zinc alloy. Pretty alone or worn in multiples. 🌟Specify gold or silver when purchasing⭐ US shipping included.
Handmade tote bag from REpurposing NOLA.
Cloth scraps refashioned into a stylish and sturdy bohemian bag. All natural fibers, soft and foldable, beautiful colors.. Red leather handle is detachable, to make washing easier. Two inside 5.75 inch deep pockets, snap closure. 12 x 13.5. 9.5 inch strap drop, fits comfortably on shoulder. Made in New Orleans, one of my fave places. *US Shipping included.
Firth retro denim mini, size S
Retro medium wash denim skirt. Two patch pockets on the front, 70s style. Buttons down the front. Belt loops on the waistband. No pockets in back. Measures 16 inches long. 14.5 across the waist. 19 across the hips, 20.5 across the hem. *US shipping included.
Guess stretchy striped crop top, size XS
Cap sleeves, low cut back. Rayon viscose fabric. Good condition, clean and ready to go. Tie a little scarf at the neck for a retro bad girl look, or try a hot girl underboob look. Measures 16 inches from shoulder to hem. 14 1/2 inches from armpit to armpit. Back dips 9 inches from shoulders. *US shipping included.
Trucker snapback cap
Throwback Time Machine boom box mesh snap back with white neoprene front panels. Fresh to death. This is an awesome hat. US shipping included.
Silver Love You Morenecklace
Love You More silver/zinc alloy block letter necklace. Chain is 9.5 inches long with 3 inch extension. Pendant is 1 inch square and rests on breastbone. Love all day long. Comes with gold lamé pouch.
Bejeweled froggy socks, OS
Cute pink socks with handpicked acrylic jewels. Fits women’s sizes 7-9. Stretchy acrylic. 6 inches high, from heel to ankle.Brand new, never worn. *US shipping included.
Wild Pair tasselled wedge heels, size 10
faux leather espadrille wedges. Features Ankle strap with gold hardware and fringe on one side. 5.5 inches high. Rope edging around the upper and sole. So cute. Some wear on the soles, but not worn down. I wiped them down with soap and water, then wiped them off with alcohol, so they are ready to go. Great for summer, but can be worn with fishnets and colored tights in the colder months. *US shipping included
Firth faux suede mini, Size XS
Retro style faux suede skirt. A-line, button snaps down the front. 100% polyester. 79s/90s vibes. No pockets. Brand new, never worn. Measures 15 inches long, 13 inches across the waist. 16 across the hips, 20 across the hem. *US shipping included.
Derek Heart Brooklyn hoodie, size S
Emerald green short sleeved Brooklyn hoodie with kangaroo pocket from Derek Heart. Cotton/poly. Gently worn, comfy. Love the bright, attention getting color. Measures 23 inches from shoulder to hem, 25 inches from armpit to armpit. Sleeves are 13 inches long. *US shipping included.
Upcycled, distressed Lone Wolf denim jacket, size M
SEB Market BK original.. Handpainted back panel with wolf patch. Lightly sprinkled with stars and studs, faux pearls and a sparkling bumblebee on the back. Black roses wind around the front, a rhinestone encrusted snake slither around the collar on the left side. Cuffs have acrylic jewels inside. Jacket has been bleached and distressed. Measures 21 inches from shoulder to hem. 19 inches from armpit to armpit. 18.5 across the waist. Sleeves are 24 inches from shoulder to wrist. *US shipping included.
Bamboo style doorknocker earrings, white
Classic hip hop style earring. Hollow, so they weigh less than an ounce. Measures 3.5 inches from top to bottom. *US shipping included.
Vintage 80s silver crossbody bag
Silver purse with detachable strap. Same size as a fanny pack, can be tied around the waist, used as a shoulder bag or crossbody. Has no label. Faux leather finish. *US shipping included.
Pre-loved white Converse All Stars, Women’s Size 8
White canvas low tops with red white and blue All Star labels on tongue and heel. Grungy. Some wear, but lots of life left. Measures 10.75 inches from heel to toe, 3.5 inches across widest part of the foot. Men’s 6, women’s 8. *US shipping included.