Thursday, October 16, 2008


Today we have the great Shaina Mote from Los Angeles, CA of Elfland. She sells handmade clothing, bags and occasionally jewelry made from found metals or everyday objects. All the clothing that she makes is made from reclaimed materials. As you will see...she does not sacrifice style in the process.

What is your real life like?
I am only nineteen (twenty in a week!!!) so I don’t have any kids or anything like that. I hang out with friends- I intake as much art, in any and all forms as possible to fuel my creative endeavors. I play in my darkroom, in my journal, on canvas and on my sewing machine.
As far as my work schedule goes, I work for Elfland most days a week- working weird hours (ie: 4pm-4am) and one day a week for my father’s tree moving and preservation company as a photographer and marketing manager. (check him out: he moved and saved the largest tree on earth!)

What is your process?
My process starts with finding the right materials and let me assure you—I am very picky. I can’t stand fabrics that are scratchy, non-breathable or stiff. I always go for beat-up, faded men’s t- shirts, vintage silks, rare fabrics like woven gold, metallic thread, vintage hardware (buttons, zippers etc) anything that has true personality is for me.
Once I find the materials, I look at my inventory of fabrics. Some colors and textures play off of each other- I take it from there. Usually I am not sure what I am going to make when I walk into my studio, it just happens.

Business Goals and Vision...
My main goal for Elfland is to maintain integrity, hopefully that means making enough money for me to survive on!
My long-term goal is to start another line called mote (my last name, the smallest fairy in Shakespeare’s Midsummer Nights Dream, meaning a minute speck of dust). Mote will be comprised of more “handmade couture” items if you will. This line will be a bit more polished and experimental versus Elfland’s everyday, ready-to-wear attitude.How do you market your business?
I market mainly through and I rely heavily on word of mouth from happy customers. I also sell at an awesome boutique in the arts district of Culver City, called Indie Collective owned by a fellow etsian.

Do you subscribe to any business related blogs,zines or magazines?
Not at this point. But I love picking up art, fashion and photography magazines like: Blindspot, Artforum, Zink, Nylon, (the upcoming designers section), Another Magazine, etc.

Who is your favorite musical artist? (click on artist to see video)
Hard question… I’ll have to go with the B-52’s.
What inspires you?
Everything, but here are the highlights-
My mother, fairy tales and myths, circus, Anais Nin’s writing, junk, Henry Darger’s illustrations, dream life, off hues or diluted colors, bright or oversaturated colors, circles.

What are two of your favorite things from your shop?
The Secretly Aerodynamic Socialite because of it’s unique shape (third picture)
and The Halo Sculptress because of the rarity of the types of fabrics used. (second picture)

Am a fan of these places... my friend, owner of Indie Collective boutique and gallery my fathers tree moving company view independent designers collections here the dream of traveling the inspiration for my bottle house
Find seller at...


Kelly said...

I'm positively drooling over the dress in the first pic. Everything is immensely wearable without sacrificing uniqueness and style. Another great feature!

BlueRockGourds said...

I am with Kelly!
Love the dress, I want it!
Awesome work?? Where can I get it!
Blue Rock Gourds

Mayhem said...

I would injure someone to get that last skirt♥♥♥♥

Mannie Vincent said...

WOW! Her stuff is great! I just might have to purchase from her as soon as I get some money!

<3 Mannie

piggy said...

Beautiful pieces! especially the skirt with the ribbon! All of the items are so wearable and beautiful.. and most of all.. Shaina is SO SO Young!!

getpalmd said...

Nice nice shop. Always fun to find new shops you've never heard of before! :-)

Sarah said...

I'm so glad to have one of Shania's awesome pieces. :) It is one of my absolute favorite things to wear (a simple skirt/dress) and I always bring some of her business cards with me when I go out in it, so that i can give them to any of the many folks who comment on the piece. :D

Annette said...

WOW, I love these clothes! So comfy yet pratical!

CreationsByRobin said...

Great blog... well done interview!

13moons said...

I agree Mayhem, that skirt is adorable. Nice interview. I'm impressed she only 19; she sounds very together.


LittlePeanutShop said...

What a wonderful interview - and gorgeous photos!!

Nancy Merkle said...

I agree--you've presented the interview so well!


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