Made In Memphis
Designers channel the Bluff City with locally made jewelry and garments.
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Their creations range from edgy-urban to Old World with a twist, and that’s why we’ve included the following designers in the fashion spread of our Culture issue. Like the fruits of their fertile imaginations, each of them is uniquely and positively Memphis. Their work speaks to the grittiness of the city, but also reflects its deeper undercurrents because it’s all produced right here. Read on to meet the designers behind the looks.
Jumpsuit by Ellis Dixon, $230; Brave Design mykonos party necklace, $248; Brave charm bracelet with amethysts and vintage gold-plated link chain, $198.
Mimi Danosky and Mary Seay Taylor of Brave Design love to produce what they call “exquisite adornments” on their Facebook page. Their jewelry is big and chunky, with bright beads and bold stones. Some of the materials they use are agate, opal, lapis, quartz crystal, and coral. The two met in a metal-smithing course and realized they had jewelry-making in common. That common interest blossomed into what has become a full-time business.
“We just started having a conversation about how we both loved jewelry and had been designing, and wouldn’t it be great if we could gift it to friends or wear it ourselves or make it as art?” says Danoski, who has a background in graphic design.
Taylor had been making jewelry for 20 years at that point. “I was always interested in creating things that were beautiful and related to the earth, but still trendy enough to work with higher-fashion pieces,” she says.
Soon after, the two participated in “A New Face for an Old Broad,” a demonstration project on Broad Avenue in 2010 that brought merchants and patrons out in droves. The women made enough jewelry to do business in one of the many pop-up shops during the event, which forced them to produce enough merchandise for a retail environment.
“Because of the response we got from that, we knew we had something to work with,” Danosky says.
Now, their pieces are sold in Memphis (James Davis and Spruce) and Little Rock (B. Barnett and Box Turtle). A website is in the works, but now most of their online selling is done through Facebook.
“We’re inspired by wanting to put things out into the world that make people feel strong and Brave and beautiful,” Taylor says. She’s succeeding.
=Ellis Dixon has been designing in Memphis since she graduated from college eight years ago. What got her into the business? “I’m really not sure,” she says. “I just always knew that I had a knack for it and an eye for design.” She once took a summer course at the Rhode Island School of Design and that cinched it for her. Since then, she’s made a point of “treating clothing as wearable art to express how you feel on any given day.” But her style is far from outlandish. Dixon says she prefers to create timeless looks that can outlast changing trends or fads. “I like to be able to come up with pieces that are basic, in a way, but have a design element to them that can be worn year-round depending on how you layer them.” Most of her designs are custom made for private clients, but other orders come to her through ellisdixon.com.