Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Disir Rising

Sisters of the Black Moon started as an online vintage store.  The cross-continental collaboration of three friends then expanded into an online boutique.  Now, SOTBM is known for stocking modern designers that suit the mystique of the shop's name, as well as for breath-taking editorials shot by Alexandra Valenti.  The images, depicting the Sister of the Black Moon themselves, draw the viewer into the beautiful and strange aesthetic of the shop.

Now, they've debuted a collection of their own.  Disir presents timeless styles easily brought to mind when picturing Norse myths, yet suiting a modern woman of a different kind.  And she wears black.

What is the story behind the name Sisters of the Black Moon? 
The three of us have always felt a strong connection to the moon, as many other women do. It is a constant in our every day lives and the moon's cycles mirror the lives of women. That being said, we were on a buying trip together and were dancing to Alecia's ipod in the car and Fleetwood Mac's Sister of the Moon came on and a lightbulb went off! We played around with that as a name for a bit but we were seeking a name that was a little bit more dark and mysterious ... one thing led to another and voila, the name Sisters of the Black Moon was created!

Where did the idea begin to start an online shop?
Ideally, it was something that worked for each one of us personally. With Rachel and Alecia being mothers and Sara living in Sweden (with a baby on the way), it is really the best way for us.

Do you have a physical shop in Austin? Have you even taken SotBM to flea markets?
We do not have a physical shop at this time. We do offer some of our items in a boutique in Austin and our apothecary items are carried in Urban Outfitters. We have taken SOTBM to festivals in the past but no flea markets yet.

How did the editorial element evolve? Alexandra is great. Her style is a perfect fit for the SotBM aesthetic.
We collectively believe that branding ourselves is a huge part of becoming a rock solid business. Having an imaginative styling direction is a must for us and in these moments we can let our dreams run wild. We happened to be lucky enough to have Alexandra as a dear friend to bring these styling visions to fruition.

Where have you shot your editorials? The images capture a sense of being in some exotic place.
We have shot in studios, backyards, forests, Hamilton Pool, Enchanted Rock, and Round Top, Texas,

Why did you choose to use Ebay for vintage? There are so many online shops, I'm just curious about how Ebay suits your business.
When we started this business, Ebay seemed to be the right fit as far as receiving enough traffic. So many people shop on ebay so we wanted to take advantage of that platform to reach a worldwide audience. We opened sistersoftheblackmoon.com in 2012 to offer new designer pieces, artisan work, apothecary items and our own design collaborations.

Where do you hunt for vintage? Have you ever sold hand-me-down's or pieces from relatives?We hunt for vintage pretty much anywhere. Thrift shops, estate sales, vintage stores, garage sales, and our own closets. We don't discriminate.

Do you look for pieces with an aesthetic in mind?Definitely. We try to look for garments that cater to our brand while also focusing on what is selling in today's market and what styles people are drawn to even if it might not fall into our collective aesthetic.  

Is it hard not to keep your finds?
It has gotten easier over the years to let things go. We feel it comes back to you in one form or another. It feels good to pass pieces on and let them live out their full potential.

How do you discover designers to sell in the SotBM online store? And what do you look for in a designer?
We have actually been lucky enough to be friends beforehand with several of the designers that we carry in our store. Others we have happened upon through internet blogs or social networking. I think when looking for designers it is important that they convey a message that we believe in and create pieces that are timeless and wearable.

Do you have any other projects together? Maybe a Sister of the Black Moon girl group? I'd love to know what that album would sound like.

We have just released our SOTBM Spring 2013 Disir Collection. We have been working diligently to create a collection that gives women a sense of beauty, protection, and fluidity. These are strong, spirited pieces that can be easily woven into your everyday wardrobe. I think we are collectively obsessed with each piece. We also have some new products from Naked Eye Beauty on the horizon.

Rachel Hunt wearing the Svala Maxi Cardigan - Disir 

Rachel Hunt

Describe your own style.
It is really hard to define. I find myself to be quite the chameleon. One day, I might be hanging around the house wearing jeans and a t shirt, need to go somewhere, and throw on a red velvet maxi coat (just for a bit of flare). The next day, I could be wearing a dress from the twenties with boots. Really depends on my mood and please note that there are plenty of days I am sure I look homeless and far from fabulous.

When did you become interested in fashion?

Fashion has been a constant presence in my life from a very young age. My dad always told me to try and make a living doing what I love. It hasn't always been easy but I feel blessed to have been able to do so. I love looking back on the different phases of my youth and adulthood and seeing how I chose to express myself through clothing/fashion. It continues to be a wonderful source of entertainment.

Do you prefer vintage?

I treasure vintage. A few years ago I was covered head to toe in vintage. I refused to wear anything else. These days I find myself integrating my most favorite vintage pieces with modern designs.

What are your favorite pieces in the shop?

In love with every piece from our Disir Collection (I have a feeling this will be a unanimous answer). I wear Moonshine and the Ovate Valhalla hoodie on a regular basis. Honestly, there isn't anything in our store that I don't love and wouldn't make a permanent fixture in my wardrobe.

Where are you from originally? How does it compare to living in Austin?

 I spent a good amount of my childhood living in Austin. I have lived in several different Texas cities but none of them have made me feel more at home than Austin does.

Do you have other creative outlets? Do they affect your approach to working on SotBM?

SOTBM is currently my main creative outlet. However, I deeply value the moments when i have time to create my own personal art.

Who are your favorite bands or musicians?

 I am so all over the board with this one but I tend to gravitate towards to classic vinyl side of things! Bob Dylan, Neil Young, Rolling Stones, The Beatles, George Harrison, Fleetwood Mac, Allman Brothers, Black Sabbath, Iggy Pop, Patti Smith, Nina Simone, Ravi Shankar, Booker T & the MGs, Fela Kuti. Blessed to be married to a talented musician/artist whose band, The Black Angels, happens to be one of my favorites.

Do you listen to music when working on SotBM? 

Oh it is a must. Helps create the environment for the task at hand! The music really depends on how I am feeling and what I am working on. I tend to play from the list above or put on Pandora for a little variety.

Has music influenced your style?

Music is such a major part of my life that of course it does. The flamboyant style and attitude from the 60s and 70s will always have my heart when it comes to rock and roll. Today, it is all about taking that influence but making it my own.

Alecia Marcum
Alecia Marcum wearing the Lofn Dress - Disir

Describe your own style.
As a mother, I tend to keep things easy on a daily basis. I'm a jeans and t-shirt kinda gal. When I do go out, I tend to keep it monochromatic. The color black has been slowly taking over my wardrobe since we started this business. Coincidence? Maybe.

When did you become interested in fashion?
I became interested in fashion pretty late. I was a tom boy/dancer growing up. I moved to Austin in 2002 and starting working at Feathers in 2005. It was then that fashion really started to make sense for me. My whole perspective on fashion started to blossom and my eyes were opened to the vintage world.

Do you prefer vintage?
Not necessarily. I love a rare vintage gem but lately I've been more into the minimalist approach.
What are your favorite pieces in the shop?
My favorite pieces in the shop right now are our SOTBM Disir Collection. I want every single piece! Audrey Cantwell of Ovate is constantly blowing my mind though. Her Valhalla Hoodie is one of our best sellers. I practically live in mine.

Where are you from originally? How does it compare to living in Austin?
I'm originally from Norman, Oklahoma. Home of the Sooners. Major college town. There is much more culture and extremeties here in Austin. On average, the people here are more well rounded and open minded.

Do you have other creative outlets? Do they affect your approach to working on SotBM?
If you can consider being a full time mother a creative outlet then yes. Being a mother definitely affects my approach to working on sotbm as it has helped me grow astronomically as a person which has aided in every aspect of my life. It really put things into perspective for me and helped me weed out the bullshit.
Who are your favorite bands or musicians?
Steely Dan/Donald Fagen, Jethro Tull/Ian Anderson, Led Zeppelin/Robert Plant, Metallica, Megadeth, Thin Lizzy, Prince, & Freddie Mercury.

Do you listen to music when working on SotBM?
Yes indeed. I listen to quite a wide range of music. I'm a rocker at heart but I adore jazz, prog rock, and I gotta have my metal. I am lucky to live in a city that has some great music coming out of it. Some local favorites: The Sword, Eagle Claw, The Octopus Project, The Black Angels, & American Sharks. The list could get pretty extensive but to name a few recent listens: Soundgarden, Rush, Children, Yes, Moab, Sharon Jones, Esperanza Spalding, & Justice.

Has music influenced your style?
Most definitely! Music not only inspires me stylistically but it keeps my spirit refreshed and alive.

Sara Larocca-Ramm wearing the Nokken Maxi Dress - Disir

Sara Larocca-Ramm
Describe your own style.
I've always felt my style was a little rough around the edges. I will wear a favorite piece of clothing until it is falling apart at the seams. I also prefer to wear silhouettes that would suit either gender. Since I have moved to Sweden my style has changed a bit due to the weather. Fabric content and the art of layering have become so important to me now. On a daily basis you will find me in a pair of worn to hell black skinny jeans and black boots. For special occasions it is usually a maxi dress in a muted tone with simple accessories.

When did you become interested in fashion?

It is hard to think of a time when I was not interested in fashion. As a child I was always envious of those children who could draw or paint with ease so I used clothing as my artistic expression. Growing up we did not always have the money for shopping trips or the newest brands so I was pushed to create different outfits from what already existed in my closet, and I still do that today.

Do you prefer vintage?

When it comes to accessories and shoes I definitely prefer vintage. A little wear and tear on a bag or a pair of boots really appeals to me. As far as clothing goes, I tend wear modern pieces but definitely will not snub my nose at a fitted victorian top or jacket.

What are your favorite pieces in the shop?

I have to say first off our new DISIR collection. I could toss out most of my closet and live only in those pieces. Another staple is my black water tank that is an SOTBM collaboration piece with the amazing Leslie Crow of Heyoka leather. And if I wasn't pregnant you better believe I would figure out somewhere to wear that insane Anu Tera corset skirt!

Where are you from originally? How does it compare to living in Austen?
I am originally from Lake Charles, Louisiana. I think you get that genuine southern hospitality in both Louisiana and Austin. As far as food, fashion, music and overall culture goes, Austin blows my hometown out of the water. But, I no longer live in Texas. I made the move to Sweden about 2 1/2 years ago to be with my husband and make a life here.

Do you have other creative outlets? Do they affect your approach to working on SotBM?

When deciding to open our store 3 years ago I think the entire vision was to be able to express ourselves creatively and make a living from it. When I am not working on SOTBM, I enjoy jewelry making, cooking, photography and I am dying to take a woodworking course.

Who are your favorite bands or musicians?
Oh man! All time favorites are Neil Young, Peter Green era Fleetwood Mac, Alice Cooper, Townes Van Zandt, Black Sabbath, Pearl Jam, Patti Smith, Graveyard.

Do you listen to music when working on SotBM?

To me it is vital to have some background music playing while I am working. In the mornings it is usually my man playing guitar in the living room. Other artists that have been on repeat lately are Chelsea Wolfe, PJ Harvey, Tonbruket and Goat.

Has music influenced your style?

Sure! I mean, I am not going to go out in full length fringe sleeves because I've been watching some Sabbath videos but I think music has a way of creeping into your wardrobe in a subtle, unconscious way.



Friday, January 18, 2013

Winter Music

Ryan Adams: Love is Hell Pt. 2
source: unknown

Several years ago, I picked up Love is Hell: Part 2 in a music store.  I didn't know much about Ryan Adams at the time, but I knew that his music was important to a lot of people, so I figured I'd give it a try.  The album protrays one of the many sides of Adams.  His music, to me, has a little piece of something dark in every song.  But you have to really listen for it.  Love is Hell put those feelings on the table.  In the opening track, he describes his lover "making snow angels in the gravel and dirt."  The image of purity, the beautiful snow, is mixed with fowl and gritty elements.  Adams' accessable level of vulnerability is heightened, the depth exposed.   Almost a year later, I found Part 1 in a different music store.  It, too, is a great EP, but Part 2 remains my favorite Ryan Adams album.  I was very shocked to later on discover that this was the album his label rejected when he used his jilted feelings to make Rock n Roll.

Fiona Apple: Tidal
source: unknown

Tidal was a Christmas gift that I got around the age of 15.  Fiona Apple's level of vulnerability, and ability to form something so compelling with words, still fascinates me.  I went on many snowy walks with Tidal in my walkman (I actually chose my coats by whether the pockets were large enough for a CD player). 

anything Placebo...

Placebo just has this sort of dark, desolate vibe with an energy of its own.  Stefan Olsdal remains my favorite bass player.  Especially in their oldest, darkest material I feel so much emotion in every note.  I was at first able to come to grips with this being what I love about Placebo when I first heard "Lady of the Flowers" and "Without You I'm Nothing."  I hope I get to tell him this some day :)

The band also has some wonderful instrumental material that they recorded a while back.  One winter I made a mix cd of those songs and listened to them every night before bed.

Nine Inch Nails: Still

source: Chapman Bachler

My relationship with Nine Inch Nails is one that spans many years.  I used to be terrified of the guy.  In grade school, I saw the video for "Closer" on TV and I wanted my mommy.  I avoided his music.  Upon entering high school, I began to listen to Nails out of curiosity.  I found beauty and vulnerability and suffering that I empathized with.  Years ago, Trent described his music as an exploration of self-inflicted internal decay.  I was finally old enough to understand that. 

Nails has touched other areas of my life.  A few years ago, when my mom tried to teach me to play the piano for the 100th time, I finally came away with a result.  She left the room frustrated to go make a cup of tea.  When she returned, intending to make me learn to read music, I had figured out the guitar and paino parts to "Something I can Never Have."  One of the beauties of Nails is that the music translates seamlessly from this mecha creature into something so delicate in an acoustic form.  Transcendent music is very special and rare.

Alter Bridge: Blackbird

source: unkown

Ok.  Honestly, I listen to this album every day.  ABIII is great too, but Blackbird remains my favorite Alter Bridge album. 

Some of my Favorite Accessories...

 belt - thrifted
 boot bracelet - thrifted
 medicine bag - thrifted
 earrings - made by me
bracelets - made by me