Santa Cruz Good Times

Thursday
Aug 28th
Text size
  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size

Blank Verse

AELocal jewelry designers woo Anthropologie … and maybe Madonna

One afternoon in the summer of 2009, good friends Jane Farrar and Laamie Young sat themselves down on the floor of Farrar’s house in Santa Cruz, and spread out beads, buttons, leather fragments, gloves, and a mishmash of craft-related stuff, as well as a bottle of Prosecco. And then they got to work. Hours later, they had crafted together an über chic cuff bracelet that was remarkably original, encompassed by a brooch, slabs of leather and more. Neither had any idea that the day’s creation would be the beginnings of a potentially successful jewelry line, and that the names “Anthropologie” and “Madonna” would become a natural  part of their lexicon just six months down the road.

And so the story of following your dream and trusting your path unfolded. Inspired by what had been an enjoyable craft session, the friends began making more cuffs, and added necklaces, earrings, and gloves to their cache of romantic, vintage, sometimes punk-inspired, cutting-edge collection of accessories. And then fate began to intervene.

Not long after their creations were underway, the women attended a picnic with some friends where they brought their new creations for everyone to try on. People were enamored with the charming designs. A friend asked if she could pass on the accessories to a fashion designer she knew. A week later, their pieces were being featured on a New York runway in a fashion show. How’s that for things falling into your lap?

AE_cuffAs women in their mid-thirties, who already had artistic and career interests underway, this quick transition into the fashion world came as a remarkable, exciting, and welcome surprise. But that was just the beginning. With interest in their products hitting a quick crescendo, they scooped up the opportunities being handed to them, got a business license, Farrar’s husband launched a website for them (blankversejewelry.com), and the women took care of the requisite details to become an official company: Blank Verse.

Then Daily Candy (an online blog of what’s what and who’s who in fashion and culture) discovered their accessories and did a write-up. Their products got into a store, Eco Citizen Boutique, in San Francisco, and another store, Kaight, in New York. The prestigious fashion publication, Women’s Wear Daily (WWD), will be running an upcoming spotlight article on their accessories. And then, of course, there’s the women’s clothing/housewares/accessories store Anthropologie that offers a romantic, vintage, sometimes French/country-inspired, bohemian line of products. A rep for Anthropologie got a look at the Blank Verse jewelry at a trade show, tracked down Farrar and Young, and offered them a contract with the fashion forward company. The ladies designed 60 glove pieces (with the fingers cut off, called glovlettes), which are accessorized with beads, lace, etc., for the New York and San Diego Anthropologie stores. These one-of-a-kind glovlettes sell for $200 in Anthropologie stores.

The women describe their work as “antique, sort of collage, and painterly,” and that’s a pretty good description. “It’s repurposed,” they say. “Taking pieces that had one life at one time and putting them in a new environment so they have a new, fresh look.”

This artistic approach stems from their backgrounds: Farrar, who grew up in a small town in Mexico, had dabbled in clothing design, and Young had a history of creating jewelry. Together, the two merged their interests and created Blank Verse, a mixture of fashion and art.

This is even seen in their work studio on the Westside of Santa Cruz, where the music of the band Iron and Wine plays in the background, and a treasure chest of buttons, lace, gloves, beads, and the like, are all strewn upon a table. Even the mess of crafts presents an eye-catching display. As for how the women are reacting to their newfound fashionable success, Farrar says, “It’s pretty incredible. It’s so unexpected, a treat. We weren’t looking to be discovered. We were just doing something we loved and it serendipitously matched up with a look that is very popular right now.” Young echoes her sentiments and adds, “We’re both in awe and incredibly grateful.” And together they recognize that the days of six months ago, where it was all fun, play, and dress up, are over. Now, they’re businesswomen. But even still, it’s not without the ‘wow’ factor. Like when a model recently wore their accessories in a photo shoot, and the photographer that day just so happened to also do photography for Madonna, and offered to pass on an original Blank Verse necklace to the Queen of Pop.

But even with all the hoopla surrounding their new line of accessories, these Santa Cruz women plan to keep things simple and create their fashions by hand. But if a major fashion house decides to hire them … well … they’re letting fate have its way. And so far, fate has been quite good to them.


For more information, visit blankversejewelry.com. Accessories and jewelry sold locally at Cameron Marks, 402 Ingalls St., No. 7, Santa Cruz, 458-3080.

Comments (3)Add Comment
Owner
written by Suna Lock, February 03, 2010
Also coming soon at Stripe, 017 Walnut Avenue, Downtown.
...
written by rajat esbat, January 30, 2010
Thank you Laamie and Jane for helping usher in the next renaissance .
Beautiful, soulful works of art !!
...
written by Fun play online, January 28, 2010
I think they're quite creative and seem to have come up with interesting designs with unusual materials-now I would hate to hear she wearing real fur.

Write comment
smaller | bigger

busy
 

Share this on your social networks

Bookmark and Share

Share this

Bookmark and Share

 

Mercury Enters Libra

It’s the week of Burning Man, the temporary, intentional, alternative, art-filled community on the playas of Nevada. Mercury, messenger of the Sun, enters Libra this week. Libra is the equalizer, a sign of balance and right human relations. Sometimes with Libra, we can be indecisive and confused while learning how to make balanced and right choices. Sometimes to keep the peace we communicate only what others want to hear. Eventually, we learn how to speak from the heart.

 

Final Cut

Cedar Street Video to close after 10 years at downtown location

 

Banter and Spark

Engaging actors, wry script distinguish lightweight rom-com ‘What If’

 

Back to Silicon Beach

With a new wave of startups, the future of Santa Cruz tech looks more promising than ever
Sign up for Good Times weekly newsletter
Get the latest news, events

RSS Feed Burner

 Subscribe in a reader

Latest Comments

 

Himalayan Kitchen

Chef Purna Regmi on the secrets of Nepalese cooking

 

What’s the nicest thing you’ve done for someone this week?

Germany  |  Beekeeper

 

Best of Santa Cruz County

The 2013 Santa Cruz County Readers' Poll and Critics’ Picks It’s our biggest issue of the year, and in it, your votes—more than 6,500 of them—determined the winners of The Best of Santa Cruz County Readers’ Poll. New to the long list of local restaurants, shops and other notables that captured your interest: Best Beer Selection, Best Locally Owned Business, Best Customer Service and Best Marijuana Dispensary. In the meantime, many readers were ever so chatty online about potential new categories. Some of the suggestions that stood out: Best Teen Program and Best Web Design/Designer. But what about: Dog Park, Church, Hotel, Local Farm, Therapist (I second that!) or Sports Bar—not to be confused with Bra. Our favorite suggestion: Best Act of Kindness—one reader noted Café Gratitude and the free meals it offered to the Santa Cruz Police Department in the aftermath of recent crimes. Perhaps some of these can be woven into next year’s ballot, so stay tuned. In the meantime, enjoy the following pages and take note of our Critics’ Picks, too, beginning on page 91. A big thanks for voting—and for reading—and an even bigger congratulations to all of the winners. Enjoy.  -Greg Archer, EditorBest of Santa Cruz County Readers’ Poll INDEX

 

A Cab To Be Coveted

I first tasted Villa del Monte’s 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon at a Fourth of July party, where the hosts had bought a case of it because they love it and didn’t want to run out. It’s one of those wines that will grab you—in the best way—with its full body and rich fruit characteristics.