Pop quiz FAMERS…what is the most important component of an ensemble? The correct answer would be accessories. In Steel Magnolias, Olympia Dukakis wittingly delivers one of the best zingers of the movie when she tells Darryl Hannah, “The only thing that separates us from the animals is our ability to accessorize.” And she was right. Prêt-à–porter does not provide women with the exclusivity of couture, but with accessories every woman can take the same piece of clothing and create an innovative, fashion forward look that evokes her own personality.
With a commitment to style, creativity and sustainability, Sesheta Holder and Rebecca Santilli give ladies another reason to whip out their credit card with Maven Fresh LTD. – an accessory line that is a mélange of Mother Nature, color, sparkle and simplicity that is hand made and 100% New York City inspired. Cute mutli-hue crochet hats, shawls and headbands and Swarovski crystals, beads and appliqués add a natural feel to a vintage collection with a modern twist.
I recently had a chance to speak to the “premiere fashion mavens” to learn more about Maven Fresh and find out what they think should be in every woman’s closet.
Tell us about your backgrounds?
Sesheta: Though I’ve always been creative with my hands, I didn’t get into designing jewelry until about 12 years ago, after taking classes on Holistic health. I learned so much about it that it inspired me to want to design things that reflected that knowledge. That’s when I self-taught myself how to bead and weave as well as crochet.
Rebecca: I’ve always followed my instincts when it comes to my own sense of color and style. Different forms of artistic expression run in my family. When I inherited what seems like an endless collection of vintage buttons, beads, and yarn from both of my “fashionista” grandmothers, I knew I wanted to start designing. Learning to crochet came after I met Sesheta and now I wish I started sooner!
How did you meet?
Sesheta: We met while working at the Long Island Children’s Museum. Rebecca was hired to fill my previous position after I changed departments. It was all part of the master plan because we bonded right away on diet (I’m mostly vegan and she was raised vegetarian) as well as on color and fashion.
Rebecca: Lots of days we would find ourselves coming to work dressed in the same color palette. It was not pre-planned…we are just totally on the same wavelength!
When did you first form MavenFresh Ltd?
Sesheta: It was back in late ’08 – MF was born from our conversations about how color excited both of us and about our common love of fashion, accessories and especially styling. We decided one day that we should start a line together.
What is the story behind the name MavenFresh?
Sesheta: MavenFresh is the combination of who we are as individuals as well as all the things that we believe that we want to share with the world. The name means that we are experts and connoisseurs in Fresh-ness – fresh style, organic living, healthy eating and more.
Describe the MavenFresh woman.
Sesheta: We believe the MF woman is ageless because we have found that MavenFresh has something for women of all ages – someone who is connected to what makes her happy and who isn’t afraid to be bold, and make a statement by standing out and pushing fashion norms.
All your jewelry and accessories are handmade. How long does it take for you to construct a piece?
Sesheta: Honestly, it can take anywhere from 30 minutes to three weeks, depending on the style and construction. We collaborate on design and sometimes creation. We know you can’t rush fabulousness so our customer has to know that many of our pieces will last a lifetime so what’s a three week wait! (This wait time really applies to our custom orders).
How do you fuse your vegan/vegetarian lifestyles into the jewelry and accessories you manufacture?
Sesheta: Our designs literally reflect who we are – people who are interested in the preservation of culture and repurposing of what is old and mixing that with new pieces/modern style. Our lifestyles encourage freshness literally – the food we eat is fresher and I think it helps inspire designs. We also are really focused on using natural components when we create.
What five essential pieces do you believe should be in every woman’s closet?
Sesheta: Skinny studded belt, day to night statement earrings, great transitional leather jacket for either casual or dressy, fabulous pair of clog or wooden heel boots [and] a MavenFresh jersey mobius. We definitely believe that it should all be accessories since you can dress up or dress down just about anything based on your accessorizing.
Accessorizing can be tricky for some women. What is one rule of thumb a women should remember when accessorizing an ensemble?
Rebecca: Don’t be afraid! So many women tell us that they could never wear something, but it is all about inner confidence.
Sesheta: Make sure that your pieces don’t compete for attention. Think of yourself like a portrait – where would you want the viewer’s eye to go first? If you start with a statement pair of earrings or a necklace, then build everything else around that so that they all work together to complete the picture.
What do you love most about New York City fashion/style?
Sesheta: I love the edge. New Yorkers are so diverse and I love that fashion can be as diverse as the people. I also love how everyone mixes vintage styles with new trends. It’s fabulous.
Rebecca: Anything goes here- and I love that! You can be inspired to reinvent your style by just a glimpse of the unique fashion combinations that surround you daily…and New York City fashion has totally confirmed my belief that it is ok to be a bit overdressed rather than underdressed.
To learn more about Maven Fresh, click http://www.etsy.com/people/MavenFresh#.
Photos courtesy of Sesheta Holder and Rebecca Santilli
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