Lifestyle Magazine

Fashion Feature Friday – Starring Xsilk

By Theyouandmecollective @youmecollective

I’m SO excited for my first Fashion Feature Friday! Can I get a drum roll please? Okay, I don’t know how to type a drum roll, so let’s just get on with it…

The moment I came across the tops from Xsilk, I was completely enamored by their colors, patterns, and beautiful drape. These made-from-scratch, hand-painted pieces truly are works of art.

Fashion Feature Friday – Starring Xsilk

Xsilk is the creation of Dani K of Brooklyn, NY. She had been working as an artist and designer since receiving her master’s in Combined Media Fine Art. She entered the world of silk painting early last year while working on a performance/installation art piece.

“I picked up silk painting designing costumes for the performers. When I started silk painting, I really fell in love with the process as well as the result. I was trained in sumi painting (ink painting on rice paper) and calligraphy as a child. And to my surprise silk painting was very similar to sumi painting. My mother-in-law is classically trained Kimono silk painter in Japan, so I had been keen on learning more about silk painting ever since I saw her beautiful works. I didn’t start out planning to market the garments, but as my collection grew, I realized I had something useful, something people might want to own.”

More interested in style than fashion, the process of making always comes first for Dani. To her, having an understanding and good rapport with the materials, results in the design aspect naturally falling into place.

Fashion Feature Friday – Starring Xsilk

The term “ethically made” has many facets to Dani. She has first-hand experience with the world of mass-production, which had a big impact on her future as a maker.

“For a time, I worked as a designer for a handbag company in NY. Bags were made in overseas factories and tanneries. Industrial tanning is a pretty toxic process, and cheaper commercial leather goods come from countries with laxed environmental laws. Leather goods became much cheaper in the last fifteen years due to this reason. In addition to the ecological impact, I think it’s important to think about the value of labor and the raw material that is being used. Mass produced items are often a product of multi layers of transactions which are mostly business driven. It’s really impossible for one to completely divorce herself from “mass produced” anything, but I think as a producer, it’s always good to eliminate some of the layers, be enviromentally responsible and to pay fair wages to actual makers.

Dani started Xsilk with the desire to put a spark in others to create. Although her process is labor-intensive, she find it so rewarding to be able to make something that is unique to only you.

“A piece of garment is an object that is very necessary and personal.”

By openly sharing her process, Dani hopes to encourage others to make something special for themselves and would be flattered if they drew their inspiration from her designs. But, the flattery ends when someone mimics her designs using cheap, mass produced materials that take out all of the imagination of beautiful, truly created-by-hand items.

Fashion Feature Friday – Starring Xsilk

“There are a lot of good designs and good ideas out there, and there will always be cross pollination between designers, but respecting the integrity of other designer’s intention is just as important as respecting the copy rights relating to monetary benefits.”

When it comes to choosing a favorite piece in her collection, Dani says it’s whatever she’s working on at the moment. She truly puts herself into each garment, making clothes that she knows she herself likes to wear.

Fashion Feature Friday – Starring Xsilk

“I like carefree, casual clothing but with certain element of graceful polish. On hot summer days, I wear a pair shorts with one of my tops, or just throw on one of my dresses. I would add a blazer and a pair ballerina flats if I am going out in the evening. They are very easy to wear, but they do get noticed without overwhelming the wearer. I like to keep it simple.”

Ah, style after my own heart. While Dani can’t speak for her customers, she wears her own clothing all the time and likes that they are made by one person beginning to end… added bonus that they’re made by her own two hands!

“Hand made clothing, especially when it is hand painted or hand embroidered, exude a sense of age old luxury. Once I started to wear hand made clothes, it’s hard for me to wear anything else. Every woman deserves to own something that’s made just for her, no matter how modest.”

Dani agrees that shopping ethically can be difficult. She has had to rethink her relationship with everything she uses and buys. Like many of us, she used to have the mindset of “I can always buy another if I get tired of it”. Now, she tries to make smarter choices by researching items before she buys.

“I check the origin and try to buy locally produced items when I can. I don’t buy any new leather goods, I opt for vintage. I try to buy eco-friendly items and try to conserve things I’ve already purchased.”

Fashion Feature Friday – Starring Xsilk

So, what’s Dani’s summer look like?

“I actually like to stay indoors during summer because I’m prone to bad sunburns. I like to listen to audio books, especially historical novels or biography. I work while I listen. I had been looking for a vintage coverall to wear at my studio, but since I am petite, I have not been able to find one that would fit me. I actually wear silk shirt and shorts when I work. Sounds crazy, but the feel of silk against my skin actually grounds me while I work. And you need to be grounded and very patient when you work with silk. Because if you are not, brush strokes on the silk will reflect your state of mind.”

I always like to know what others are reading, watching, and listening to, so of course, I had to ask Dani her recommendations:

“I’ve been listening to a biographic novel about Queen Elizabeth I on CD. I checked them out from local library and it’s addictive! On a hot night, I would recommend Jim Jarmusch’s “Stranger than Paradise”. The scenes shot in the bleak and cold landscapes of Ohio will definitely cool you down. As for music I’ve been listening to Gotye, I really like his music.”

As someone who has run through the majority of audio books at her local library, I have to 2nd the addictiveness of it!

As for the future, Dani has a few new things up her silk sleeve. I know I’ll be staying tuned, so visit the links below to follow her work ↓

The Xsilk Blog (See her process start to finish!)
‘Like’ Xsilk on Facebook

And, most importantly, head over to her shop and get yourself one of her gorgeous pieces of art:

Fashion Feature Friday – Starring Xsilk

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