The Neighborhood Squirrel reviewed my closet editing service: 365 Things to Do in the Greater Danbury Area
Muse Silk Paintings wrote about my upcycled military jacket: Military Mix – Friday Finds, 1/15/10
KristinaV Photography used my original accessories and styling: Portfolio I
Independent Fashion Bloggers linked my article: Links a la Mode – A Touch of Frivolity, 1/28/10
I spoke about my sustainable wedding plans on All Things Connecticut in 2009
My profile of designer Grace Napoleon of Folk Couture won the Design Blog-Off at WHATdesigners 2009
Hat City Entertainment, March 2009 (no longer in print)
Local Designer Wears A Worldly Overcoat
by Amanda Bloom — last modified 03|04|2009 04:40 PMUnderneath piles of clothes lie the cornerstones of McConnell’s passion for fashion.
Within a few minutes of browsing AnalogueChic.com, this reporter bought two mustache-emblazoned onesies for her friend’s newborn son from a designer on Liberty Street, found instructions for making an easy-folding bag based on the plastic kind you get at the grocery store, and then proceeded to spend a few too many hours assembling digital collages on the web-based image application Polyvore.
Analogue Chic, a blog run by Danbury independent fashion designer Allie McConnell, is a worldly, funny and insightful amalgam of fashion and culture bursting with pictures, clothing tutorials and links to little-known golden corners of the internet.
“I offer readers a unique take on fashion,” McConnell explains. “It’s for people who appreciate vintage clothing and quality construction rather than if something’s cute or Gucci. It’s a mélange for textile addicts, more towards the craftier stuff.”
With posts like “A Cinematic History of Reconstructed Clothing”, “Belated Inaugural Fashion” and “Quilting IS Cool”, Analogue Chic is a neat little segue for the addicts McConnell mentions, who are likely to be found in online communities such as Crafster, Etsy and Instructables.
These sites are expansive and remarkable: one can buy and sell anything from handmade wigs to jewelry to medieval gowns, learn how to make vegan desserts or grow bioluminescent algae, attend live workshops and, most importantly, network with other handy, creative individuals. Most of McConnell’s web traffic comes from communities like these, and in turn many of her readers will find she directs them to intricate handmade projects hosted on these sites.
Underneath piles of clothes lie the cornerstones of McConnell’s passion for fashion: sustainability, community, anthropology and the joy of being a woman.
“I am glad and grateful to be a woman now,” she says. “It has come to a point where we can wear whatever we want whenever we want and not be ostracized. We’re lucky to have that freedom. In the 60s there were certain towns that you didn’t fit in to if you didn’t dress a certain way. You were harassed and it was hard to get a job, whether you were a man or a woman.”
McConnell, clad in a simple navy blue and white pin-striped sweater, jeans and a pair of pink Converse high-tops, describes her own style as “classic American casual with vintage and retro touches”, but she is most fascinated with the dichotomous trends of women’s clothing in America in the 1950s.
“The style was very feminine and sexual but also emphasized the role of wife and mother,” she muses. “It’s almost as though women were being put on a pedestal and kept down at the same time. The skinny waists and full skirts created an interesting balance and contrast, and the bras and underwear were expressive of fertility.”
Though impossible to say whether a trend is good or bad, there is both a wasteful and mindful way to buy, make and wear clothing. McConnell sources her materials from local thrift stores and makes sure that newly purchased materials come from renewable resources. Sensitive to her future customers, she uses environmentally friendly laundry detergents to prepare her fabrics and stays away from plastics and chemically treated materials.
McConnell hopes to one day combine her experience in social work with her worldly fashion sense and skill by getting involved with youth and addressing issues such as style and body image. Another of her aspirations is to offer a fashion and interior design consulting service through domestic violence centers, giving victims of abuse a sense of empowerment and self-possession with their clothing and their homes.
McConnell is currently brightening the community with her original window dressings at Salvation Army on Main Street. Her current colorful spring-hopeful exhibition, “CandyLand” followed the elegant and classic “Enchanted Winter Wonderland”, on display through the holiday months. Her next dressing will be up towards the beginning of March, and though McConnell would like to keep the project a surprise, the outcome is often surprising to her: pulling inspiration from the hangers, she “let’s the Universe speak through Salvation Army”.
In terms of fashion tips, McConnell encourages people to abandon all the rules, except for the one that bans pairing navy blue with black.
“If you’re a redhead and you love pink and red, wear it,” she coaxes. “Balance what you love with what you have to wear. If you have to wear a suit you can add an accessory you love, like a fabulous scarf. It can act as a power talisman.
Take the time to try stuff on. If you find something one-of-a-kind that doesn’t fit, take it to the tailor. There’s nothing worse than being uncomfortable; it affects your mood, your emotions and your behavior.”
Wear your heart on your sleeve and don an outfit you love, spend some time unearthing treasure in your closet or a thrift store and check out Etsy and Crafster for some truly unique works of clothing. Fashion is a world unto itself and you can make yourself a home therein out of whatever you like.
Visit Allie’s blog at AnalogueChic.com.