Filed under: Trends

Christopher Kon: Exclusive Designer Profile!

imageAs a follow-up to this week’s Crazy for Christopher Kon… Handbags write-up, I thought it only fitting that I also blog about the brains behind the biz: Chris Kon. A dedicated follower of fashion since the tender age of 7 (I repeat, 7!), Chris clearly has always had a “handle” on his career path.

Praised for his winning purse-o-nality and business savvy, Chris has been churning out wearable works of art for women of all ages for nearly a decade. Spotted on the shoulders of fashionistas from Montreal to Manhattan, Chris’s coveted leather carryalls can be found hanging around leading retailers such as Neiman Marcus, Saks, Macy’s and Nordstrom. Fashion Junkie chats-it-up with this cool Canadian about his obsessions from surfing (who knew?) to satchels. Check out more, after the jump.

imageFJ: What prompted you to become a handbag designer?

CK: I have always been creative. I started designing around the age of seven and I started formal teachings in Painting at the age of 12. Handbags were the family business and I knew it well, so it was natural for me to evolve my art into the business.         

FJ: Describe a day in the life of a handbag designer.

CK: Magazines and coffee to start. From there, styling, designing and working with customers to better understand what they need.

FJ: If you weren’t a handbag designer, you’d be a… ?

CK: Jewelry Designer, musician of pro surfer.

FJ: Who is the typical Christopher Kon woman? For example, is she a student, a full-time Mom, a career-obsessed fashionista or a jet-setting retiree?

CK: I think a Christopher Kon customer is less about lifestyle and more about the values that our customers have. Someone who doesn’t need a label to let them know they have made it. Someone who is confident and knows what they want. Our bags don’t take away from a woman, they add to her.

FJ: There are so many back-busting (a.k.a. over-sized) bags on the market. Can you offer Fashion Junkie readers tips on choosing (and using!) a silhouette that flatters their figure?

CK: with the exception of a few bag lines that are known to be “heavy” to start with, the biggest problem with big bags is the stuff women put in them!!! More room = more stuff!!!!! Women live with their bags… all the things they carry are important to them, so our solution is to make the lightest leather bags we can. The thing is, that the bigger the bag, the more dramatic it is. The leather falls better. I love the way flat hobo’s look on women, they fall really well, and they suit most body types. Most of all, they are easy!

FJ: Now that the “It” bag status has finally subsided (thank G-d!), a plethora of contemporary handbag lines have suddenly flooded the market. What are you doing to differentiate yourself from the competition?

CK: By keeping a focus on what we have always done: keep things simple, yet edgy with our silhouettes and timeless design.

FJ: Your Fall/Winter ‘08 collection is absolutely stunning! I’m especially obsessed with your “Amy” shoulder bag in plum (style #0155). Who or what inspired this particular collection?   

CK: manipulation, moulding, patching.

FJ: Myself (and hundreds of hardcore Fashion Junkie handbag fanatics) are dying to know how much labor goes into each Christopher Kon bag design? Can you please explain the production process from start to finish?

CK: I always start at the bottom…with a pencil and paper. All designs are done old-school here at Chris Kon. No computer aided design programs…it’s the only way to really FEEL it! From there, I work on the pattern to make sure proportions and details look right…then were off looking at leathers!! Once we find the leather (by the way, the inspiration can start with the leather also) we start the sampling process. The average time for a bag to be produced is 3 hours.

FJ: How has the state of the current economy affected your handbag collection?

CK: we are focusing on service, quality and price. We try to stay creative in all facets of the business, not only in design.

FJ: What prompted you to launch your new entry price-point brand, Co-Lab? How will this line differ from your original handbag collection?

CK: due to popular demand. We can reach a lot more people at those price points and felt that it was the right thing to do. The reaction has been great and our history in manufacturing has helped us greatly as we know what to look for when it comes to possible problems in production and materials.

FJ: I love the name of your new Parachute JUMPER collection. When will this line be launching and what exactly is it?

CK: It won’t be launched – we will throw them off a plane across all of north America! It’s called jumper, because we are using high quality parachute material for this line and trimming it with Veg leather. It’s an answer to the big problem women are having with heavy bags… I also felt it was time to bring Nylon back baby… it’s been too long!

FJ: What are the hottest handbag trends and fabric innovations in the market? How will these be incorporated into the Christopher Kon Spring ‘09 lineup?

CK: again, it will be about the Nylon… I’m not big on canvas, although we do offer it in Co-Lab. Nylon and Leather is where my focus is for spring/ summer… super light, super bright!

FJ: Who’s sense of style do you most admire and why?

CK: I love Karl Lagerfeld. It’s crazy rock. I don’t know, on him it works! Anyone who just doesn’t care too much about it… it’s all too serious sometimes..

FJ: Where are your favorite places to shop in Montreal and New York?

CK: hmm…tough question. I don’t really shop in Montreal, but if I had to pick: Simon’s for basics and American Apparel. When I’m in New York, my favorites are Laundry, Atrium and so many others.

FJ: What advice would you give to someone who’s trying to break into the fashion (design) business?

CK: DON’T DO IT NOW! It’s a tough time to start now as most retailers are not bringing in new vendors. My advice is: keep you head down and work hard. Always stay inspired and don’t worry about anyone else’s business – worry about your own. Hard work will get you to point B!

FJ: What’s next for Christopher Kon?

CK: VACATION! I’m leaving in December with my girl and I’m so excited to get a little time off. After that, it’s about super luxe snakeskin for Christopher Kon in Fall ‘09! I can’t wait!

Craving even more Christopher Kon? Visit christopherkon.com and make sure to join his Facebook fan club!

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Filed: Interviews, Trends

Crazy for Christopher Kon… Handbags!

imageDuring one of my recent Brooklyn shopping sojourns, I noticed that upscale designer clothing boutiques like Zoë have started adding lower-priced, yet stylish merch to their existing Fall/Winter ’08 lineup. So, because of the current economic crisis, I felt it was my civic duty to single-handedly boost consumer confidence and make one last fall purchase: the head-turning Christopher Kon carryall shown here (a.k.a. the “Amy”).

A cutting-edge handbag company that’s been churning out fashionable and affordable arm candy since 2000, Christopher Kon is coveted by style influencers for signature details such as zippered pockets, eye-catching studs, ruching and durable handles that won’t slide off your shoulder. Far superior than any of those pricey designer “It” bags I’ve spotted on the market, the Amy, which happens to be crafted from ultra-lightweight and luxe Italian leather, will only set you back $385, which (believe it or not), when compared to other high end designer handbags of similar caliber is quite the bargain.

Roomy enough for stowing everyday essentials including my iPhone, keys, wallet and handi-wipes (yes, you can say germ-a-phobe!), my beloved Amy bag comes in an assortment of au courant colors such as clay, cognac and black. My personal fave, however, is the plum – a punchy shade that perks up my predominantly black wardrobe. Now if only it would do the same for the depressed economy.

Check out Christopher Kon’s complete Fall/Winter ’08 handbag collection at endless.com. Happy shopping!

I’m curious to know how you’ve been scaling back on your wardrobe purchases. Don’t be shy… share your stories with the rest of the Fashion Junkie community!

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Filed: News & Views, Trends

Body Reformers Worth Bragging About: Rese Pilates

imageAs a fitness fanatic who also happens to hail from Canada, I’ve amassed quite an impressive collection of Lululemon activewear over the years. But I have to admit, while I love the style, the fit of some of the tops is questionable. I’ll spare you the unsightly red strap marks imprinted beneath my chest, so you’ll just have to trust me on this one. I guess that’s one of the drawbacks you have to accept with trendy workout apparel?

That’s what I thought until I stumbled upon ResePilates.com (pronounced Ree See), a cutting-edge and less costly fitness line that will have you doing backflips. For the uninitiated, Rese Pilates was actually designed to help you do exercises correctly by promoting proper alignment. Each garment helps you focus on key muscle groups such as your core, ribcage and other breathing points. For example, the workout bottoms are emblazoned with a black and white Yin & Yang logo, which sits at the front of the pant, reminding you to breathe and pull your navel towards your spine (a must for core strengthening). Now how smart is that?!

imageCrafted from ultra comfy, moisture-wicking fabrics like Supplex and Lycra, Rese Pilates offers a plethora of breathable tops and bottoms that won’t dig into your waist or ride up your rear. Some current must-haves include a sleek v-neck tank with gathered fabric at the bust (pictured above), extra-long racer-back tops that define your core and magically shrink your waistline (woo hoo!), sports bras that give “les girls” ample support, stylish extra-long-sleeved hoodies, skorts (ideal for tennis fans) and low-riser straight leg pants with skinny belts.

My personal fave is “The Connie” – a fitted boot-cut pant embroidered with a horizontal stripe at the waist (shown above), which helps focus hip alignment (for a constant reminder of my herniated disk!). Plus, everything comes in a variety of au courant colors such as fuchsia, burgundy, red, navy, turquoise and of course, black.

With such a fashionable and functional assortment of Rese Pilates merch to choose from, you’d better believe I’ll be sporting my supply well beyond those early morning latte runs. But don’t take my word for it… test-drive Rese Pilates and see for yourself!

Special Fashion Junkie Deal Just For YOU! Since I’m all about spreading the love, I’ve arranged for Fashion Junkie fans to receive a special 15% discount off any ResePilates.com items of your choice. Simply enter the promo code “Fashion Junkie” upon checkout. But don’t dilly dally… this exclusive offer is only valid through October 29th, 2008. Happy shopping!

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Filed: Trends

Farefell to Fashionista!

imageWhile the economists might not say it specifically, it’s clear, from where I sit, that we’re currently in the midst of a recession. Gas prices have gone through the roof, the cost of wheat is on the rise, job cuts abound and pricey designer goods such as shoes and handbags aren’t selling as swiftly as they should.

What this means for you? Ladies… it’s finally time to banish the buzzword “fashionista” from your style lexicon (phew!). A term that’s been totally abused for the past several years (at least in my humble opinion), “fashionista,” thanks to today’s tight economic times, is simply no longer cool.

I know, you’re probably thinking: “How on earth could a catchphrase like fashionista possibly be sent to the crypt?” Don’t fret… there is a new universal term that’s far more in-tune with the times: recessionista – slang for serial shoppers, including yours truly, who are now scaling back on big ticket designer clothing and accessory items due to the shaky economy.

So rather than shop at Barney’s for pricey Loefler Randall pumps and the latest status “It” bags, recessionistas are suddenly scouring the mall (gasp!) for cheap, yet just as chic, thrifty finds sold at fast-fashion mega chains like Mango, H&M, Target and soon, Topshop (I can’t wait for the Manhattan flagship to open this fall!). Plus, with so many limited-edition discount designer collaborations (a.k.a. diffusion lines) including Pierre Hardy for Gap, Abaeté for Payless and Rogan for Target, why wouldn’t you shop discount? Even consignment shops like New York’s Ina and ChristabellesCloset.com have suddenly become flooded with, you guessed it: recessionistas!

Even I’ve turned into quite the frugal fashionista… oops! I meant recessionista, of course. What about you? Have you been scaling back on big ticket designer items due to the recession? Don’t be shy… share your thoughts on the subject with the Fashion Junkie community!

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Filed: News & Views, Trends

FashionJunkie.com: As Seen In… US Weekly?

imageHas anyone picked up a copy of this week’s US Weekly (the June 23rd issue)? In case you haven’t, it just so happens there’s a draped yellow Sex and The City-inspired dress featured on page 69 that’s attributed to, of all sites, FashionJunkee.com. Note the spelling of “Junkee.”

imageEver since the issue went to press, I’ve been inundated with frantic email requests asking me where to purchase the dress on my site (hysterical, I know). For those of you who are visiting FashionJunkie.com for the first time and are wondering why you can’t find this particular dress, I’m sorry to tell you FashionJunkie.com is strictly an online style source for “serial shoppers” and NYC-based personal shopping service – not an e-tailer (at least not yet). If you’d like to purchase the yellow dress, please visit FashionJunkee.com (with the EE) assuming there are any left (apparently they’re on backorder due to the press). So, as you can see, this US Weekly snafu is simply a case of mistaken identity.

And now, more about this in-demand dress! The “Crossover Fauxe Wrap Vintage-Inspired Jersey Dress,” is featured in an US Weekly “Looks For Less” clothing spread with the leading ladies of the film, Sex and The City. In the spread, Samantha is wearing a “Bombshell” Versace dress that’s priced at a steep $1,700. The cheap, yet, just as chic version, is the Fashion Junkee draped dress. Made from a blend of rayon and spandex, this dress has a sexy crossover design that gathers over the bust for a va-va-voom voluptuous look. It also ties at the back of the waist, creating the illusion of a fitted, hourglass shape. While not as slick as the Versace version, with a price of only $36, what’s not to like?

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Which version do you prefer… the cheap or steep version? Don’t be shy… share your thoughts with the Fashion Junkie community!

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Filed: News & Views, Trends

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