The Living Room — an Elizabeth Suzann pop-up shop featuring Elizabeth Pape’s favorite artisans and makers. Photo: Flock South
Consume mindfully and live intentionally. This is the philosophy of Elizabeth Pape, fashion designer and founder of the Nashville-based clothing label Elizabeth Suzann. In a world where fast fashion and mass consumerism are cultural norms, Pape and her company have been advocating customers to buy only good things and buy them less often.
Since the inception of Elizabeth Suzann, I have had a huge design crush on the company. Each garment is designed specifically to inspire you to be your best self, to be comfortable in your own skin and to live your life clutter-free. The ideas behind ES may sound like romantic notions, but don’t be fooled. In a matter of three years, ES has become a nationally recognized design label. Proving those “notions” are exactly what consumers want.
A one-of-a-kind collection, personally sewn by Elizabeth Pape – only available at The Living Room. Photo: Flock South
In November, Pape moved her company from a small studio to a 10,000-square-foot warehouse. The company was growing at a rapid rate, and it was time to take ES to the next level. The new space has plenty of room for lean production areas for their staff of seamstresses, larger cutting and shipping tables, full-scale customer service and media offices, a large design studio just for Pape and a spacious showroom. Just like the clothing label, the warehouse is meticulously curated to be both functional and beautiful.
ES’s latest experiment is The Living Room — a pop-up shop in their showroom featuring local artisans and makers, as well as a collection of Pape’s one-of-a-kind sewn work. The pop-up opened two weeks ago, and will be open to the public on Fridays from 10 a.m.-6 p.m. until Sept. 23. I connected with Elizabeth Pape to learn more about this project and her desire to collaborate with the creative community.
Hand-crafted goods created by artisans, both locally and around the world. Photo: Flock South
The Living Room is your latest ES experiment. How did this concept develop? What’s the story?
The concept developed from the convergence of two desires I’d been feeling for a while. One was a desire to stretch my own creative muscles, to make new work that may not be as commercially viable as some of our simpler, staple garments. I was craving an outlet to explore things I might not want to commit to, things I may not understand, things that test my limits of chaos and imperfection.
The second desire was to share things that I love — beyond clothing — with our community. The work of friends, the work of customers and work that inspires me — it is constantly shaping how I see the world and the way I design, and I craved a way to bring those things to light in a public way. Carrying other brands’ products was not a concept we’d explored before, but in this format of intentional, heartfelt curation it felt right.
The combination of these two things felt like such a natural representation of my world — like I am welcoming customers into my own living room.
Hand-crafted mule shoes by Elizabeth Suzann, leather handbags designed by local talent Annie Williams, and ink-splattered ceramic planter holders by Shayna Stevenson. Photo: Flock South
Who are the artists participating in The Living Room? What can customers expect to experience at the pop-up shop?
We have goods from quite a few different artists and brands from all over the world — all of them make things I truly love and use in my own life, and many of them are actually ES customers. Learning about the incredible talented community of our customers has been one of the most rewarding parts of this business.
I will have a collection of one-of-a-kind, personally sewn work. These are pieces that aren’t available anywhere else, and a bit divergent from the rest of our collection.
The Living Room will have work available from Katia Carletti, Emil Erwin, Shayna Stevenson, Annie Williams, Maison Louise Marie, Fiele Fragrances, Emily Leonard, Zachary Gray, Land of Women, Jennifer Jeremias, Mary Mooney, Michelle Armas, Julia Kostreva, Melena Cadiz, Liza Anne, Shop ILA, Little Seed Farm and Fecht Design.
In addition to shopping, I want this to feel like a place customers can inhabit and explore — a place to come to see and experience art, listen to records, take in the incredible mural by Emily Leonard, tour our facility, and have a drink in our courtyard. Intimate and personal, and not at all like traditional retail.
One-of-a-kind collection by Elizabeth Pape, Ink-splattered ceramic mugs by Shayna Stevenson, and hand-crafted bath & body products by local company, Little Seed Farm. Photos: Flock South
Collaborating with local artisans is not a new concept for ES. Local artist Mary Mooney designed the gorgeous ES paper packaging for your shipping boxes. How did this idea unfold? Do you have future plans with other artisans?
Picturing a woman opening up a package from Elizabeth Suzann is something I do often. A package she’s curated with intention, purchasing her favorite pieces, waiting for them to be sewn and shipped — I hope it’s an experience that is anticipated, a moment that is enjoyed and savored. I want the fashion in which our garments arrive to live up to the same standards we hold the products to themselves.
I don’t like tissue-wrapped packages, especially when delivered by mail. The transportation is rough and no matter how carefully it was packed, by the time it arrives it can’t help but look tired. A sturdy, crisp wrapping paper custom-fit to our box sizes was the perfect way to enclose the clothing, but I was unhappy with the idea that so much paper was likely getting thrown out after one use. Particularly for such a specialized part of our packaging, it seemed like it deserved a bit more attention and purpose.
So, we decided to work with Mary to design a custom-painted paper inspired by the color palette of our spring and signature collections. Mary came to the studio to collect fabric swatches and discuss the collection and created an original work in her trademark style of paint on acrylic sheeting.
Beautiful Elizabeth Suzann wrapping paper designed by local artist, Mary Mooney. Photo via Emily Howard and Elizabeth Suzann.
We had the painting scanned here in Nashville and worked with our local printer to create the wrapping paper. Seeing Mary’s abstract interpretation of my work was inspiring and moving on its own, but to know that every customer gets a little piece of art in their box makes me too happy for words.
Art is an integral part of where my inspiration comes from and why I enjoy doing what I do. We are currently working with Nashville-based Emily Leonard to paint a large scale mural on a 12-foot-by-15-foot sliding door in our warehouse. One side faces the showroom and the other side faces our production area. Bringing a beautiful work of art into both of those spaces was so exciting to me (art to benefit both our customers and our employees) — and the door was the perfect canvas. She’ll be working on the mural over the next several weeks, and you’ll be able to see the first side at The Living Room launch!
The Living Room mural (now complete) by Nashville-based artist, Emily Leonard. Photo via Elizabeth Suzann.
Have you bought your tickets to the Sideshow Fringe Festival yet? If not, do it now! It’s this weekend, and the performance DEAR APOCALYPSE is a must-see. My incredibly talented friends have created a stunning production that will knock your socks off.
Dear Apocalypse is an evening-length live theatrical production that is a meditation on traumatic life experiences – our own personal “apocalypses” – which will be presented during the Sideshow Fringe Festival on August 5 & 6 at 7 pm. The show is the result of an eight-month artistic collaboration between Rebekah Hampton Barger, founder & artistic director of contemporary aerial dance company FALL, and Kat Jones of Kat Jones & The Prophets.
Nearly everyone has experienced a personal “end of the world” in some form. The cast will draw from their own experiences as they present Dear Apocalypse, telling the true story that beautiful things can come from ugly experiences through their individual art forms. The heart of this show is a story of survival, discovering hope for the future, and building community in trying times.
Kat Jones & The Prophets will present their forthcoming concept album “I Am Warm Young Blood” which showcases their flamenco-infused punk rock stylings as the musical foundation for the work. The dancers of FALL will provide visual interpretation, with choreography & staging by Rebekah Hampton Barger, alongside original poetry written and performed by Audra Almond-Harvey & Tavius Marshall.
In order to extend this special performance to those in our community who have experienced trauma or who suffer from PTSD, supporters have the opportunity to sponsor tickets for others. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information on how one can sponsor a ticket or receive free admission.
FALL has been a featured artist for four of the past five years at the Sideshow Fringe Festival, Nashville’s progressive performing arts event. Kat Jones and Rebekah Hampton Barger are both resident artists of abrasiveMedia, a local nonprofit that exists to help artists grow, connect, produce, and give back to their communities.
And if your still not convinced to go (which, I personally find insane) – watch this badass video.
Porter Flea Summer Market July 29 & 30th at Skyway Studios
Nashville’s favorite artisan market is back! The annual Porter Flea Summer Market, a modern handmade pop-up event featuring the region’s most talented artisans and designers, returns at the end of this month, on July 29th and 30th.
This year’s Porter Flea Summer Market will be held in East Nashville at Skyway Studios (3201 Dickerson Pike in Nashville), its largest venue to date. The market will showcase more than 120 vendors (40 of which are new to the market), thousands of handmade wares and 12 of the city’s finest food trucks.
What you won’t find at this event are poor quality goods, cheap knick-knacks or mediocre artwork — no need to worry, this ain’t your granny’s backyard craft fair. If there is one thing Porter Flea does well, it’s that the event’s driving forces are style, innovation and impeccable craftsmanship.
If you have attended any of the Porter Flea events in the past, you understand that they are popular. The kind of popular that results in hourlong lines just to get through the front door. If a long wait is not your idea of a fun weekend, don’t fret. The amazing Porter Flea team now offers two shortcuts: attend the Preview Market on Friday and get an exclusive first look for $25 (plus a few complimentary perks) or pay $15 for a Porter Pass and skip the lines on Saturday.
Melissa Weiss Pottery
Now, on to the fun part — the must-see vendor list. The variety of vendors this year is pretty impressive. There is something for men, women, pets and kiddos. You’ll find items including locally designed apparel, shoes and handbags, beautiful prints and paintings, as well as hand-dyed men’s accessories, hand-crafted leather-rope bike locks and delicate handmade ceramics that will make you dizzy with delight. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. I can honestly say that every single vendor attending this year is going to knock your socks off. But! There are a few artisans, 10 actually, that have created wares so delicious, you will be camping days before the market opens just to get your hands on these goodies first.
1. DVRA – Handbags inspired by all things tropical. Favorite item: the black papaya clutch, $68.50.
2. Rise & Ramble – Flowy, modern collections designed from luxurious hand-dyed textiles. Favorite item: the Louna tunic dress in silk noil, $180.
3. Bean and Baily Ceramics – Contemporary slip-cast ceramics designed by a darling Southern duo. Favorite item: skinny hanging crystal planter, $27.
4. Native Bear – Modern bohemian stationary and gifts inspired by the earthiness and magic of the 1970s. Favorite item: orbit prints, $35.
5. Norman Leigh – High-quality reclaimed furniture, décor and accessories. Favorite items: Reclaimed Hexagon Tray $92 and Triangle Mirror $320.
6. Lonesome Traveler – Classically constructed men’s accessories designed in both vintage and new fabrics. Favorite item: Capulet’s Garden cotton necktie, $62.
7. Mary Mooney – Delicate abstract expressionist paintings and jewelry in vibrant hues. Favorite item: Hand-painted necklace pendants, $110-$240.
8. M.I.D. Goods – Nashville-based brand specializing in original hand-crafted ink/paper goods. Favorite item: Botanic colonies of the United States, $50.
9. Hechizo – Exquisite handmade accessories inspired by global traditions and décor, using ceramics, leather and metals. Favorite item: Pamona charm necklace in tumeric, $120.
10. Natalie Joy of Portland – Thoughtfully hand-fabricated jewelry and brass mobiles. Favorite item: Monstera Deliciosa brass mobile, $130.
Have you been to Milk & Honey in Chattanooga? If not, I’d say you should hop in the car and head to Chattanooga, TN. immediately. But guess what? They are coming to Nashville!
Milk & Honey is a sweet shop created by the restaurateurs, Mike and Taylor Monen (owners of Taco Mamacita). Known for “where pure gelato, craft coffee and fresh fruit popsicles are made from scratch daily”. Aka, where one goes to find heavenly dessert bliss. If sugar and caffeine are not your thing (crazy talk, I know), they also have a divine breakfast and lunch menu that will make your taste-buds swoon. Locals, and myself included, rave about the Farmhouse Biscuit – M&H breakfast sausage, Benton’s bacon, tomato jam, egg, arugula, white cheddar, caramelized onions and shallots on a homemade buttermilk biscuit.
And don’t get me started on the handmade, locally grown gelato. The Counter Culture coffee is so good, it’s sinful. Everything at M&H is made in-house, using as many local ingredients as possible, and the menu rotates seasonally.
One of my favorite things about this little shop, besides their incredible desserts, is the décor. A warm mixture of classic and modern styles, with a dash of humor. Upon entry, you are met with “Order here, honey!” in vintage typography. The cheery space is lined with retro bar stools, high-back booths and penny tile, reminiscent of an old-fashioned soda shop but with a twist.
I won’t forget the first time I stepped into M&H. I was immediately welcomed by the southern charm and delightful energy. I grinned from ear to ear as I glanced around – sleek furnishings, an indoor/outdoor bar, vivid high-contrast colors and not a single piece of barn-wood in sight. Yes, I said it. You know it’s true, the rustic-industrial epidemic needs to end. It’s for this very reason, I crushed on M&H so quickly. They were quite clever in how they introduced farm-to-table in their design while retaining a space that is both contemporary and chic. It’s a refreshing aesthetic, and I can’t wait to have one in Nashville.
So when and where is the big question, right? Milk & Honey Nashville will open in Summer of 2016 in the Gulch. Originally slated for spring of this year on Church street, the Monen’s decided to move to the Gulch for a larger space and open at a later time. The Nashville location will be three times larger than the one in Chattanooga, as it will serve as a restaurant and gelato shop. The Monen’s finalized a deal to open their Milk & Honey concept in a roughly 5,000-square-foot space at 214 11th Ave. S. in MarketStreet Enterprises’ new Gulch Crossing building.
For those of you who cannot wait a year, make that trip to Chattanooga. The drive is so worth it!
Nestled in the historic Edgehill Village is a charming European-style boutique called Kore + Nashville. Consistently beautiful, well-curated and full of interesting home and personal care goods. Known as the shop for personal indulgence and gifts, Kore has a little something for everyone.
The moment you walk through the door, you are enveloped into a full-sensory experience. Walls lined with shelves chock-full of organic personal care products in bold colors and eye-catching labels. One of a kind Kantha throws are strewn about in the loveliest way. Books upon books – from seductive designs and mouth-watering recipes to delightful children stories – are stacked in every nook and cranny. And the divine scents wafting throughout the shop will have you gobbling up every candle, sachet and parfum oil.
Owner, Jenelle Hynes, opened the design and lifestyle boutique four years ago with the desire to curate a collection of premium goods that was not only beautiful, but would feed the spirit and respect the planet. Hynes has an impressive background – a certified NCDIQ and LEED-AP interior designer who has designed for some of the world’s leading architectural firms. She has also traveled to numerous countries, experiencing a wide variety of culture, design and education. It is no wonder that her shop is impeccably smart.
Kore offers a variety of items, but it’s her natural cosmetics and skincare lines that have customers returning time and time again. Brands like, RMS Beauty, ILIA and Alima Pure, are exclusively sold at Kore. And there isn’t a single shop in town that can compete with her famous “Men’s Wall” – an entire area dedicated to men’s grooming products.
“One of my favorite things (and is dear to my heart) is when my regular customers bring in their adolescent daughters for a special trip to try make-up or skincare products for the first time. Watching a mother teach their daughter about these organic lines that we carry and share their benefits…it’s just really great to be a part of that experience.” Hynes understands that finding a skincare line that suites your personal needs is difficult. Which is why she takes great joy in educating her customers about the lines she carries. “I have issues with my own skin, so I know first-hand the trials and tribulations of sensitive skin. I use these products myself, and I have had incredible results. I love helping people, and showing them that there are products available for every skin type”.
New to the scene at Kore is the cheeky Ban.do line of agenda’s and to-go mugs. Hynes says the line has become so popular, she can’t re-order fast enough. Another new addition to the store is the luxury lounge-wear, like the Rifle Paper limited edition Paper Crown Collection. The Paper Crown collection is soft with flowy floral patterns and has a lovely feminine-modern aesthetic. The other collections come in muted pinks, creams and grays varying in solids and stripes. “I’m not a clothing store, and I am never going to fill my store with a lot of apparel. But the pieces I do have, fall in line with the other indulgent wares that my customers really love. Just touch them, you’ll understand why”.
So all in all, you can see why I adore this shop. There are many gift shops in town, but nothing compares to the quality of Kore + Nashville. The remarkable design layout, products and overall experience is one of a kind – a real treasure.
My Favorite Finds:
New Line – Ban.do agendas and travel mugs
Jewelry – Anita Schmadtke and Consider the Wldfwrs
Scents – Rosy Ring Candles & Sprays and the Botanical Wax Curiosities
Furnishings – Holler Design Stool
Décor – Parisian wall trays & bookcase, Kantha blankets, hand-crafted pillows and blankets from France & England
Garden – Succulents and Airplants
Kitchen – Organic cleaners + soaps by Laundress
Woman’s Cosmetics & Personal Care – Aila nail polish, Alima Pure make-up and Tata Harper skincare
Men’s Personal Care – Whiskey Sea Salt after Shave by Portland General Store, Soft + Sweet Beard Oil by Beardition and Mr. Natty wax
Nashville Goodies –Strawberry Rhubarb syrup by Bang Candy and Masala tea by Firepot Chai
Children – Manny & Simon wood toys and the library of children’s books