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Well, Hello Little Red Shoes

September 18, 2009

red shoesMy heart skipped a beat when I saw these red shoes, and I don’t even like high heels!  These beauties are the latest from indie designer Emily Katz.  She uses found objects like lace to create beautiful patterns and textures on vintage shoes. Currently she has a small collection of heels, flats, and boots in her SE Portland studio.  Prices range from $40 – $80.

It must be fate . . . the red ones are in my size!

more fabulous shoes


A Little Photo Session with Designer Heather Treadway

September 17, 2009

Heather Treadway Fall 09

I stopped by Heather Treadway’s studio a couple of days ago to take a few shots of her new fabulous Fall ’09 fashions. Just a day earlier, I had asked Heather to be in the shoot, knowing that fashion designers look great in their own designs. Heather was a good sport about it, and, as expected, she looked awesome in the new Fall pieces! Check out  her new collection in our webshop tomorrow!

Beautiful, silkscreened and eco-friendly clothing from A Fortes Design

September 15, 2009

A fortes

I first met  Janessa Bautista last Fall, after she recently moved to Portland from New York City.   I didn’t know much about her line A Fortes Design at the time, even though her collection had been in stores like Fred Segal and Steven Alan. It wasn’t until I saw her collection in person several months later that I truly appreciated the scope of her talents.  Her clothes are not just seasonal trends, they are works of art to be worn year after year.

When I visited Janessa’s home studio just a few weeks ago, I saw first hand how her designs are created and sewn.  There are several stations set up for each stage of production, from the cutting table to the sewing room to the dye and screenprinting center.  And every step is hand done by Janessa herself.

Like many eco-fashion designers, Janessa creates her own patterns and uses natural fabrics like hemp, cotton, wool, and denim.  She takes her handmade collection to another level, though, with the hand dying and silkscreening of the fabrics. Having studied textile design at the University of Oregon, Janessa loves to manipulate fabric colors and incorporate her own illustrative designs.

Janessa adds, “The idea behind A Fortes Design was to have each piece be an individual design and to have every piece be a favorite everyday piece that would last season after season.   I also wanted each piece to be functional.  It had to fit my lifestyle, a large part of which is spent on a bicycle.”

I only have a few dresses in my closet (Korinne can attest to this), and one of them is from A Fortes Design.  It’s versatile, well-constructed, and a beautiful fit.  I’m excited to announce that Olio is now exclusively carrying four styles of A Fortes Design’s new Fall ’09 collection!  We hand picked these designs with Janessa for our Olio customers.  Check out the new styles below.

shop A Fortes

New to the collection is the use of raw hemp denim.  (I own a pair of raw denim jeans and absolutely love the look of them!) The A Fortes piece that I’m eyeing is the Smock Tunic, which would look great with leggings and boots.  The new styles are only available at Olio thru the month of September, so start shopping for your favorite piece here.

Back to school shopping at your local children’s store

September 14, 2009

For many, school shopping has come and gone.  The bombardment of ads from big chain stores have once again lured the crowds through their doors and to their cashwraps.  The discounted prices and clearance items are difficult to resist this season, with prices at 75% off.

I’m a huge bargain shopper myself, but I believe that being frugal pertains to quality as much as quantity. If you invest in clothes that can endure a few seasons and multiple kids, that’s a savings that goes way beyond the ticket price.

Your dollar also goes further when shopping locally.  One of my favorite local kids clothing stores is Polligwog, located in Portland’s Sunnyside neighborhood.   They carry some of my favorite kids lines, including Imps and Elfs, Kate Quinn Organics, and Portland-based Peri Ponchos.  Their prices are very reasonable, considering many of their products are gentle on the environment and made domestically or fair trade.


Owners Phoebe Smith Buls and Chris Raak opened Polliwog four years ago.  They carry clothes, footwear, and accessories for both boys and girls, ranging in age from newborn to 10 years of age. There’s also a nice selection of wooden toys and books at the front of the store, which they plan on expanding in the upcoming months.

In my last visit to the shop, I discovered some new found favorites, like fair-trade Satch & Sol felted wool kid shoes from Mongolia ($36).  The designs are so sweet, and they look so comfortable!

If you’re looking for a great kid birthday gift, there is the Color Me House cardboard playhouse- guaranteed to provide countless hours of roleplaying fun and artistic innovations.  I love the fact that parents can setup and break down the playhouse pretty easily, and that the playhouses are made here in Portland.

Another favorite find are handmade children’s aprons made by 102 year-old Edith Pate! Some of the aprons are made from vintage fabrics that Pate bought over 50 years ago! Raak said that they started carrying the aprons after Edith Pate drove to their store three years ago (at the youthful age of 99) and showed them her handmade collection.

You can now pick up one of these great items and other goodies at  Polliwog for an additional 10% off through the month of September. Just mention the Olio blog post for your discount.

Polligwog's great selection of wooden toys

Polligwog's great selection of wooden toys

Color Me House playhouse ($40) and Edith Pate's children's aprons ($20)

Color Me House playhouse ($40) and Edith Pate's children's aprons ($20)

Book reviews by Hazel, Phoebe and Chris' daughter

Book reviews by Hazel, Phoebe and Chris' daughter

Polliwog is located at 2900 SE Belmont.  Their store hours are Mon – Sat. 10 – 6 and Sun 11- 5.  For questions on any of the products mentioned above, call 503.236.3903.

Plywerk Artist Series with Anthony Georgis and Jill Bliss

September 12, 2009

plywerk show

Since our last Plywerk show in February, we’ve had fans ask when our next show would be.  The show was such a hit, Korinne and I have decided to make it a continuous event.  We’re calling it the Plywerk Artist Series, and the next online show is just around the corner!

Our next show features works from photographer Anthony Georgis and artist Jill Bliss.  All artwork is limited edition, so be sure to snag your favorite ones early. Show goes live Friday, September 18.

New Olio United blog launches!

September 11, 2009
Korinne and I in our shop. Photo by Anthony Georgis.

Photo by Anthony Georgis

When Korinne and I met in 2006 , I was teaching high school art and Korinne was making handprinted wedding invitations. Neither of us had a business degree or significant work experience in the retail industry. We were two artsy moms in Portland, Oregon who happened to like the same quaint independent lines and found a shared mission of seeking out the best handcrafted, socially responsible products.

What we’re about is defined by our name, Olio United.  Olio means a miscellaneous collection, which represents the large group of designers we have worked with (over 150 in the last two years!).  United stands for our vision to partner with designers and to share their stories with you.

It hasn’t been an easy road the last few years following our “calling,”  but more than ever we are committed to this idea of sustainable living and figuring out just what that looks like. We’ll be the first to say that we don’t have all the answers.  Is bamboo really sustainable if it has to be shipped from China?  Should we only buy made in U.S.A. products? What we do know is that we need to continue dialoguing about this so that we can make the best choices for ourselves and  those impacted by our decisions.

In the words of Robert Frost, we are taking the road less traveled, and we are inviting you to join us. Through our blog, we plan to feature local designers and businesses, show you studio visits and home makeovers, and bring you the lastest product finds.  We also look forward to hearing from you, our readers! We love inspiring stories about living responsibly, favorite indie designers, and green home renovation projects.

If you haven’t already done so, you can sign up here to get our latest blog posts via email.

Winner of Pigeon Toe Planter Giveaway

September 9, 2009

Thanks for participating in our giveaway everyone! The trunk show was a great event for us and hosting the giveaway added a little extra fun. We have selected our winner (via and Kirin Reinehart was selected!

Kirin resides in Northern California and is a blogger, BBC lover, and vintage shop troller. Fashion, art, design, and traveling the world are her true passions as shown through her blog Rakish Beaute.  Kirin will be hanging her planter and succulent in her office above her bamboo desk, I’ll post a pic to our flickr page asap.

For those of you that did enter our giveaway and didn’t win, don’t fret! We have something special coming your way in just a bit.