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Maker Series: Michelle Terris

Maker Series: Michelle Terris

1. Why did you decide to become a fashion photographer? 
I went to school for photojournalism, but after doing that for a bit after school I decided it wasn't quite right for me. I started working for a fashion company and got more and more into fashion and styling. I also was introduced to Pinterest and became so inspired by all the photos I would see on there and I thought to myself, " I want to do that!" and then started meeting models on Model Mayhem and planning shoots in my room and around my neighborhood and it took off from there.
 
2. Tell us a little bit about your process as a photographer and what inspires you?
I'm usually inspired by a lot of amazing photographers I see while spending too much time on Instagram. I get inspiration from clothes, models, nature, paintings, movies, music, and architecture. 
 
3. What does sustainability mean to you?
Sustainability to me means creativity. Finding creative ways to reduce my impact on the planet. It wasn't until after the 2016 election that I took a look at what I'm doing and how I'm supporting things that are bad for me, my family, and our planet. I believe that where we spend our dollars makes a huge difference and now I'm trying to change that. It's a lot of breaking habits that I've had my whole life and trying to find new ways to do things sustainably. 
 
4. How do you view clothing and its purpose in your life?
Being a fashion photographer clothing is important in my life. I love expressing myself through the clothes I wear and watching others do the same. I am so inspired by clothing and the visions that pop into my head when I see something I really like and how it makes me feel.  I'm working on changing my mindset when it comes to where I buy my clothes from and am trying to not buy impulsively anymore (it's hard!). I want to build a capsule wardrobe that I can mix and match from a handful of pieces and when I'm out shopping I try to really think if this is something that I really love before I buy it. I've taken too many things to the Good Will and before I wouldn't even think about it, but now it makes me feel really bad dropping off clothes that I've only worn once or that fell apart because they were cheaply made, I'm trying to change those habits too.
 
5. What social issues are you most passionate about?
Women's health and reproductive rights and saving our planet. I've been working on a fundraising project to get reusable menstruation cups to homeless women in Los Angeles. It's called Freedom Cups and we have a GoFund me page at www.gofundme.com/freedom-cups donate it's amazing :)! I'm also mainly trying to work with brands that are sustainable to help get their message out to the world and encourage people to shop sustainable. And, I'm trying to use less plastic, it's not easy. Once you realize it, pretty much everything comes in plastic.
 
6. Who’s your favorite photographer?
Hmm all time favorite and that hasn't ever changed is Richard Avedon. He has this series called 'In the American West' where he road tripped through the western part of the USA and took portraits of all kinds of people with an 8x10 camera which resulted in these super detailed large-scale portraits which are just unbelievable.
 
7. Do you have any daily routines?
I wish I could say I wake up every morning and meditate and do yoga, but I don't have too many daily routines, unless it's going on my phone :) I do drink a glass of water every morning when I wake up, exercise 3 days a week, listen to 'Wait Wait Don't Tell Me' every weekend, and go to the farmers market on Sundays. 
 
8. What’s one of your biggest challenges you’ve faced (as a business owner or otherwise)?
I'd say continually pushing myself to find work and to stick up for myself and asking what I'm worth. Being freelance, every month is different and sometimes it's good and sometimes it's so slow that I reconsider even being a photographer. Pushing through those tough times and forcing myself to reframe my negative thinking has been challenging, but this is the best job I've ever had and I'm excited to see where this road takes me. And working from home all the time ain't easy. 
 
9. What’s one of the biggest rewards?
Meeting so many different amazing and creative people. I feel so fortunate to meet so many people from so many walks of life who are out there living their dreams and trying to make it, it's inspiring. I love meeting new people to collaborate with and learn from.
 
10. What brings you joy?
Spending time with my soon to be husband, going on adventures, networking (which I never thought I'd say, but I have to admit that I always have a good time when I'm out meeting new people. I'm oddly enough starting to like being scared to talk to new people and changing my mindset to push myself past that), traveling, camping, and of course, taking photos. 

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Maker Series: Laura Estrada

Maker Series: Laura Estrada

Welcome to the Jean Franklin Maker Series. A series that shares the women who inspire us and embody who Jean Franklin is and what we represent - a community of women who support and encourage each other to always fight harder and pursue our dreams each day. For our first Maker Series - Meet Laura.

There are certain people in life that you meet and think, "I know you" and whether or not you've met before, they feel familiar. It could be a past life love affair, a relatable resonate, but often times it's the truth that they're standing in. THEIR truth. This is Laura. We sat down and asked her where in her heart she moves from and what inspires the jewelry she makes.

Why did you decide to start your own jewelry line? 
I've been making things with my hands from a very young age and always knew I wanted to share my artistic vision with others. After somewhat accidentally stumbling across a metalsmithing course in college at the University of Georgia and falling irrevocably in love with the medium, I knew this was the path I wanted to take. I apprenticed with master jewelers in the field and focused on honing my craft, before moving to Los Angeles and managing a commercial jewelry company where I gained an understanding of the business side of the industry. With those experiences, I felt ready to start my own line and quit my job to make jewelry full time. Nothing makes me happier than working with my hands to create meaningful objects. 

Tell us a little bit about the jewelry and what inspires you?
The jewelry that I make is a reflection of my own personal experience and the way that I relate to and cope with the world we live in. My hope is that this sentiment can translate through the work and create a sense of empowerment and resilience in each individual that wears my jewelry. I come from a nomadic, eccentric, working class Guatemalan American family and making art always felt like a way to tell my story. I find inspiration from the elemental forms found in nature -  the moons seemingly perfect circle, the free flowing undulations of a riverbed, the porous indentions on a weathered rock face. My craft is equally informed by my study of art and architecture, from ancient symbolism to modern construction methods. I observe and absorb, and then I make. 
Why do you sell your jewelry as made to order
I sell my work made to order because it cuts down on material waste, down to the initial removal of metal from the earth. It also promotes the ideology of slow fashion and hopefully bolsters a sense of value in the craftsmanship and love put into handmade work. We all want things so immediately these days, instant gratification seems to be the priority. But the true fulfillment of waiting for a handmade piece that is being made specifically for you, there's something profound and enduring about that.
What does sustainability mean to you?
Sustainability to me means minimizing the impact I am having on the environment, while maintaining a social and economic awareness of the decisions I make as designer and business woman. I work with reclaimed and recycled metal as much as possible, saving scraps and unsuccessful projects to rework later on. My concetual work often utilizes found objects as main components, redefining the intrinsic value of a seemingly insignificant object. This concept is extremely interesting to me and a direction I want to further explore in my future collections.
How do you view clothing and it’s purpose in your life?
Clothing and style is a massively important part of my life, it is part of my identity. The clothes I wear, similar to the jewelry I make, inspire me and fill me with the confidence and strength I need to go out into the world every day and strive to be the best version of myself. As a person who struggles daily with anxiety and depression, my clothes and my jewelry often save me. They make me feel something, they are my armor. All my friends will say - I am the queen of thrifting. The joy I get from digging through bins of used clothes for that one life-changing gem is unparalleled. Almost all of my clothes are thrifted or vintage, although as I've begun to nestle into my place as a female designer in Los Angeles and really immerse myself in the community of empowered women creatives - my goal is to support these incredibly talented, hardworking women as much as I can.
What social issues are you most passionate about?
As an adult, I've always maintained a connection to children and feel a deep love and responsibility specifically for underprivileged and abused children. My home life as a child was not ideal and retrospectively I think if someone would have reached out and offered support, a lot of pain could have been prevented. I have worked with different organizations that help and mentor children, although to be completely honest I am not involved at the moment. I am going to change that. Feel free to reach out if anyone would like to join me in volunteering with children. 
Who’s your favorite artist?
Duchamp
Do you have any daily routines?
I really try to have a routine, and I often do. On a good day, I get up around 8am with my partner and we eat a light breakfast, take a language lesson on our mango app, then head to the track or a yoga class. I love exercising first thing, it really influences the way my day goes in a good way - I have more energy and focus as I head into my home studio to work on design, fabrication, marketing, shipping, the works. As a one woman venture, I am doing all aspects of the business myself (and with the help and support of my loving partner), so having systems in place and structure to the day is essential. I also love cooking and experimenting in the kitchen, so this is usually the cap to my daily routine - a thoughtfully prepared meal with well sourced ingredients and a beautifully paired bottle of wine. 
What’s one of your biggest challenges you’ve faced (as a business owner or otherwise)?
Self doubt. As an anxious person who is also hard on myself, I often feel like I'm not doing enough, or I'm not doing it quickly enough. Or am I even doing the right thing? Am I on the right path? Am I even an artist? The spiral begins. I have to remind myself that it's all ok, things take time, enjoy the process and experience every moment. There is no right path, there are just many and they are all individually beautiful and worthwhile. 
What’s one of the biggest rewards?
The most rewarding aspect of being a maker is seeing the connection people have with the work that I make. Knowing that I can create something meaningful, an heirloom, something treasured, that will perhaps be passed down in the family - that is a gift.  
What brings you joy?
I find such a deep joy in traveling to other countries, doing my best to understand and honor these cultures, listening to their stories, and really contemplating on the significance of empathy and love for every living creature. 

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Two Weeks Off and a Long Flight Away from LA

Two Weeks Off and a Long Flight Away from LA

I don't remember the last time I've taken two solid weeks off from work. That is - ten days in a row uninterrupted by work - not a "stay-cation" where I end up doing chores and tackling home projects.

My husband and I got married in November last year and even that we did on a Monday at the courthouse and then went back to work the next day. Don't get me wrong, it was romantic to elope and took a lot of pressure off from wedding planning, which I appreciated. We decided to plan a real honeymoon/vacation for this year and chose Croatia. 

Woman standing outside looking at ocean

Bol on Island of Brac, Croatia

Unable to get cell phone reception in some areas, I was forced to disconnect from the Internet, email, and Instagram in a way I don't think I have since college. And I didn't necessarily plan it that way.

I fully intended to check email and Instagram every day even though I had left Jean Franklin in good hands with my team here in Los Angeles, you know, just "in case" something were to come up while I was out. 

But after two plane flights and about 14 hours of travel, I had no choice but to rest and get used to the time difference. During the first couple days of our trip, we soaked in the natural beauty of the country we found ourselves in, adapted to the humidity and enjoyed the warm evenings and amazing oceanside.

Ocean view

Split, Croatia

It took me the first couple of days into the trip to fully acknowledge to myself that we had travelled to celebrate, relax and experience the culture and food around us, not to spend the days mindlessly staring at my phone being "productive". While I did take quite a few photos to remember the trip (and posted some stories on Instagram), for the majority of the trip, my phone stayed in my purse. I rarely checked email, and for once spent the time being present.

It took several days to finally feel relaxed (I struggle from some anxiety and am constantly thinking about what task I need to accomplish next). But once I was able to truly feel calm and be ok with literally doing nothing except enjoying our time, then the best part of all happened - I started to feel inspired. Inspiration came from the Dalmatian countryside, the heat, the sea green ocean, fresh cherries, tomato and cucumber salads, antique embroidery on pillows, and the ancient buildings and cities we traversed through. 

Overlooking a city

Dubrovnik, Croatia

Peaches on a tree

Split, Croatia

Old building with white laundry handing outside.

Dubrovnik, Croatia

I'm back in LA and as I work hard like all of you, to make my dreams a reality and create a sustainable business that puts people and the planet first, I remind myself of what I learned on my recent trip - take the time to unplug and enjoy the mundane, simple things in life. If you can't commit to doing it daily, force yourself to go camping or hiking, pick a place you know you can't connect to the Internet, take a deep breath, and see what happens.

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VIDEO TUTORIAL: How to Take Your Measurements for Made-to-Order Items

We get it; made to order items can feel a bit scary when you aren't sure exactly what your measurements are or the best method of taking them. 

That's where this handy little video comes in. Our team member and founder work together to show you the easiest, quickest and most efficient way of taking your measurements to ensure that your made-to-order pieces fit you like a glove.

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Hey There, Delia: Our Newest Apron Style Jumpsuit

Hey There, Delia: Our Newest Apron Style Jumpsuit

For that groovy, old-soul, 21st century babe.

This piece was inspired by our founder’s great-grandma who had tenacity and strength; she lived through the Dust Bowl, was content with what little she had and made the most of everything. She baked the best cinnamon rolls and was an independent soul, driving her blue Chevy Bel Air until she was in her 80s (and yes, Amanda, our founder got to take it for a spin!)

Related to the Betty Dress, the Delia Jumpsuit is an easy, adjustable apron style silhouette that’s been designed with slightly cropped wide-legs. The jumpsuit creates an elongating effect as well as holds different sized busts in place making it the perfect shape for all different heights and body types. Wear this mama by itself or pair with our Eva peasant blouse, tee or turtleneck underneath as the weather cools down.

Our jumpsuit is made-to-order from deadstock fabric, which means there is only a limited amount we make in each color. Just pick your size and you'll receive your dress in 3 weeks. Personalization without the hassle. 

 

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Come meet Betty at Jackalope Artisan Fair!

Come meet Betty at Jackalope Artisan Fair!

On April 28th and 29th, our Betty Dress will be debuting at the Jackalope Indie Artisan Fair!

Our Betty Dress is made from mid-weight cotton with an open back and side pockets, paying homage to those rad 70’s aprons we all know and love, as well as our founder’s sweet Grandmother. We have a feeling that Betty and Jack are about to hit it off…

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In the Pursuit of a Deal, What's the True Cost?

In the Pursuit of a Deal, What's the True Cost?

Image from www.trustedclothes.com

Did you know that studies show the pleasure areas of our brain light up like a Christmas tree when we’re pursuing something we want? And that once we’ve invested time, energy and money into this something, those investments make it hard for us to let go of the item we’ve grown attached to during our hunting?

This is an example of how fast fashion plays into our neurological pathways. There is real pleasure in the act of searching for the perfect piece of clothing and when we find it on sale or at a great price, we’re sold. However, a University of Michigan study showed that liking an item wasn’t enough — it was how much the person liked it and what they paid for it.

Did you also know that Americans are buying and throwing away 80 pounds of clothes per person a year? Talk about a HUGE global textile waste issue.

To keep up with the fast fashion mentality, retailers put pressure on factories to reduce costs and to produce clothing faster. The factories in turn, put pressure on their staff, neglecting worker safety as well as turning a blind eye to the environmental impacts of cutting, sewing and dyeing. This leads to wasted resources and deaths — 1,137 people to be exact when the Rana Plaza factory collapse in Bangladesh in 2013.

We're bringing these issues up to raise awareness behind one of the biggest industries in our world and how we can make little shifts to bring about much needed change.

When you shop Jean Franklin’s made-to-order pieces, you’re recycling deadstock fabric and saving wasted resources, which helps support our environment. Our vintage pieces already exist with their own stories of the past to tell, and are looking for a new home. Buying clothing that already exists eliminates all of the energy and materials that would go into making something new.

When you shop Jean Franklin, you’re collaborating with self-employed women in LA, helping to support their dreams, their families and their craft.

So when your brain lights up again while hunting for a great deal (trust us, we get it — we’re not perfect, either), remember that the real gift is the choice we make when we value each other, our Earth, and a fine piece of ethically + sustainably made clothing.

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Jane Blouse + Favorite Vintage Pieces From the Shop

Jane Blouse + Favorite Vintage Pieces From the Shop

We've pulled together some of our favorite vintage pieces currently available here in the shop and paired it will our Jane blouse which we are wearing all the time right now.

We love how easy it is to dress this blouse up or down. We've created a couple looks to show you how versatile it really is. Pair the Jane blouse with shorts and chunky heels for a spring day or brunch. The Jane blouse is light and airy and easy to tuck in or wear out.

Or take it up a notch and dress the Jane blouse up with a pencil skirt, like the one pictured here, also available in the vintage section of our online store. 

Here are a couple more separates we think look would great with the Jane blouse:

Black and White Houndstooth Pencil Skirt

Silk Print Trousers

Khaki Cropped Trousers

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