Footwear Company Offers Customized, Hand-Painted Shoes

Nike Zoom Stefan Janoski Galaxy Sneakers, $169.00

We’ve all been there. We spend hours changing our outfit so that we look our very best, walk into an event, and there stands someone one wearing the exact same thing. The great thing about fashion is that it allows you to celebrate your own uniqueness; however, this can get a little difficult sometimes when you have items that hundreds of other people own because of mass reproduction of retailers. This is why I love the idea of B Street Shoes, an artist collective led by Blake Barash featuring one-of-a-kind hand-painted custom shoes.

“ I came up with the name B Street Shoes after feeling like the people wearing my custom shoes were connected to me, like we all live in the same neighborhood, even the same street,” says Blake on his website. “Whether you live in the UK or USA, if you’re wearing B Street Shoes, you’re a unique individual expressing your love for custom fashion.”

As the demand for custom designs has grown, so has the company which now boasts over 200 unique designs and a full team of professional artists. Consumers can visit and shop a collection of Nikes, Toms and Vans. The company will also customize any type of shoe with the design of your dreams.

B Street Shoes is sold exclusively online with shoes shipping out of Costa Mesa, CA. Prices start at $149. Click here to learn more.

Mad For The Manbag?

The manbag: once a most unfairly maligned accessory that was reserved for the more, let’s say, sartorially serious gent. ‘Real men’, of the kind of butch masculinity heralded by Yorkie chocolate bars and McCoy crisps, would never be seen with anything so fey and useful , instead preferring to stock their pockets or maybe condescend to use a natty skate backpack, at a push.

Burberry AW13 collection for men

But that would be me showing my age, for in recent years, the manbag has undergone a reputation overhaul and now is the accepted accessory of nary a man, regardless of personal style or degrees of butch, with everything from satchels to duffle bags thrown over shoulders.

Personally, I’m all for a good man bag: why should men be so heartlessly deprived of life’s greatest pastime (namely, bag shopping) while simultaneously forced to ruin the line of their trousers with overstuffed pockets? Tsk, this is an age of equality we live in and it is only right and proper that men should be able to enjoy the finer aspects of life just as we women do. But just as the most unyielding have come round to this way of thinking and begrudgingly accept that it’s possible for something other than the briefcase to be carried, Burberry have challenged us anew with the latest update to the manbag: the man clutch. I see those questioning looks on your faces; this isn’t a return of the murse, but rather streamlined bags to be carried much in the way you might your iPad, which can no doubt be handily stored inside. Burberry’s offerings included those in brightly coloured metallics (which could work with this season’s skater boy trend, in theory) but the early adopters of the trend on the street often tend to favour oversized, slouchy leather versions in simple black or brown leather, which are more ideal for those wishing to ease themselves in. There are even some to be found that come with a slim chain, so, when you tire of carrying it, you may causally adorn your shoulder. But I see I’m losing you again.

Now, this isn’t going to be for everyone, I grant you, and it may take a few more seasons for the majority to come round, but if you can pull this one off with aplomb, why you’ll look the height of sartorial elegance.

And if anyone questions your choice of accessory, simply throw them a withering look of pity, deprived as they are of the wonder of the manbag. Or failing that, pretend like it’s your girlfriend’s…

Amy Lavelle is a journalist from UK fashion comparison site Style in View. She’s contributed to a number of publications including Spindle magazine.

Father’s Day Gift Guide 2012

Father’s Day is just a few short days away and, guess what? I still haven’t found anything to get my dad – a man who owns everything! And, I mean everything. For his birthday a few months ago, my sister and I pitched in to get him a Kindle Fire, so I’m not sure what present could possibility top that. Shopping for men is hard. For females, all we need is a gift card to a spa or favorite store, and we will all have smiles on our faces. But, men, they are tricky creatures. Anyway, here are a few fabulous options any day would love.

For his skin

Nowadays, men really are paying attention to their skin, and there’s nothing wrong with that! A good skin care regimen is something both men and women should have, because after all, the first thing a people notice about a person is their skin. Set your dad up for complexion perfection with Kiehl’s Sky Flyin’ Foaming Multi-Gel ($19), a foaming gel product enriched with bamboo, lemon and orange fruit extracts, that does double duty as an effective cleanser and shave gel in one.

Kiehl’s Since 1851 Facial Fuel Sky Flyin’ Foaming Multi-Gel, $19.00

For his job

Get dad an ultra-functional bag to easily transport his work necessities to and from home. This water-resistant Modern Waxed Canvas Messenger Bag by Brooklyn Industries is trendy, yet masculine. The bag features a padded laptop sleeve, flannel lined interior and three exterior pockets.

Modern Waxed Canvas Messenger Bag, $88

For his wrist

Give dad the gift of time, with a brand spanking new watch. If your dad is into bling, then he will love this Ecko Unlimited – The King Boxed Watch Set. The set comes with two link bracelets with crystal detailing to use with a stunning silver/black dial with 3-hand quartz movement.

Ecko Unlimited The King Boxed Watch Set, $225

For his feet

Give dad something soft and comfortable to slip his feet into after a long day at work. Acorn’s Men’s spa slippers contains memory foam that conforms to his feet for a super comfy feel. What I like the most about these slippers is that you have the option to personalize it with his initial.

men’s acorn spa slippers, $34.95

Ice, Ice, Baby – Rafaello & Co.

Celebrity Jeweler Gabriel Jacobs
Celebrity Jeweler Gabriel Jacobs of Rafaello & Co. was on hand proudly showcasing his one-of-a-kind iced-out pieces.

Last week, I had the amazing opportunity to visit the showroom of Rafaello & Company Jewelers. Located in New York City’s Diamond District, the company’s clientele reads like a who’s who in the entertainment and sports industry. Celebrities such as Drake, Jay-Z, Alicia Keys, Carmelo Anthony (NBA), and Dwight Freeney (NFL), to name a few, have all donned customized pieces by the designers – not bad for a high-end jewelry line that has only been around for three years.

Launched in 2009 by Rafael Aranbayev, Eric Aranbayev, and Gabriel “The Jeweler” Jacobs, Rafaello & Co. has emerged as one of the leading go-to places for luxury jewelry. The company features everything from glamorous iced-out necklaces to watches to earrings, for both males and females.

Their jewelry may be icy, but their hearts are not. Ten percent of the net proceeds from their Blackout collection are donated to international charity, All As One, as an effort to raise awareness to the needs of Sierra Leone.

After seeing some of the magnificent pieces first-hand, I can see why the top stars choose Rafaello & Co. I was left completely hypnotized by the sheer brilliance and intricate detailing of each piece, and if you keep scrolling, you will see why.

BFAM charm made for Derrick Caracter (LA Lakers).
Pictured (L-R): Cufflinks with White Crystals in Yellow Stainless Steel and Cufflinks with White Crystals in Red Stainless Steel ($1,000 each set).
Hands Holding Globe.
Opulent Beaded Cross Rosary Chains.
Pictured above is a special sneak peak of Rafello & Co.’s Red Ruby in Red Stainless Steele watch, which will be delivered to music artist Cee Lo Green.
Reggae Artist Sean Paul's watch.
Earrings blinged out in Yellow Canary and White Diamonds.

Visit their website to see more stunning jewelry, and click here to follow Rafaello & Co on Twitter.

Lands’ End Spring/Summer 2012 Preview

Yesterday I traveled to Paris, was whisked away to California, then stumbled upon a vineyard wedding, and finally relaxed on the beach. Sound like a dream? Well, not quite. This was the set up at the Lands’ End clothing line Spring/Summer 2012 press preview event that I attended yesterday evening. The clothing retailer took attendees on a journey across the country, with intricate table stagings and the fashions to match each destination. The sailor preppy vibe was predominant in this collection for both men and women, with a majority of the clothing, from shorts to dresses, featuring deep navy blues, pin stripes and ship anchors. Soft, lightweight fabrics in the collection contrasted with the thick knit crewneck sweaters I encountered on my journey through the different settings.

Lands’ End was a brand I used to shy away from, but items from the retailer are slowly starting to make their way into my closet, as lately my fashion sense has desired to develop a more sophisticated aesthetic, so I was excited to have the opportunity to preview the upcoming fashions. All of the pieces are great for layering, and offer a more updated and chic version of the iconic preppy style the retail chain is known for.

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Ray Vincente MS Benefit during NYFW – S/S2012

On Monday, September 12th I attended a private runway presentation of designer Ray Vincente, as part of the Lawrence Blake Couture Series® at the Bryant Park Hotel’s Cellar Bar. Set against the room’s vaulted gray brick ceiling and medieval chandeliers, the designer presented special pieces from his Spring/Summer 2012 menswear collection.

The collection, a high fashion men’s sportswear line, featured crisp white, clean pieces with modest pops of color. Some of the clothing shown were nonchalant of the urban preppy vibe, which contrasted with pieces that featured edgy fabrics and elaborate detailing. The clothing is very stylish, and targeted towards men who have a strong fashion sense, and want to add a sophisticated, high-end aesthetic to their look.

The show’s host Carlos Anaya, known as the Latino Ryan Seacrest, made sure to inform the audience about the important cause behind the fashion presentation – all proceeds from the event benefited the National MS Society.

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Jimmy Choo launching shoe collection for men

“I’ve lost my Choo!” This famous line was uttered by a frantic Carrie Bradshaw (Sarah Jessica Parker) in a scene in Sex & the City when she loses one side of her beloved Jimmy Choo shoes while trying to catch the Staten Island ferry. This winter/autumn 2011, you may hear a man repeat these same exact words, because Jimmy Choo, the women’s luxury designer company, has recently unveiled collection of footwear for men. The collection, which debuted this week at Milan’s Fashion Week, includes Oxfords, biker boots, sneakers, loafers and a wide range of evening slippers with prices ranging from $595 and $1,095, in addition to a $9,000 boot made of real crocodile skin. The line has been described as reminiscent of ‘70s Mayfair playboy, and features an assortment of footwear designs from classically understated to colorful animal prints. The line is expected to be available online for purchase by the summer, and may also be offered at select department stores.