miLES: Pop-Up Done Right

October 22, 2013

If your neighborhood is anything like mine, empty storefronts have become the norm, city or suburb.

Enter miLES (“Made In the Lower East Side”).

Founder Eric Ho discovered that NYC’s lower east side had about 200 vacant storefronts and decided to do something about it. miLES has become a sort of “airbnb for storefronts” (Fast Company) for ease of dialogue between landlord and renter. Their recent (successful) Kickstarter campaign wrapped up funding for their Storefront Transformer, a modular kit that will provide flexible furnishings for temporary spaces.

mILES aims to temporarily breathe life into display windows, driving traffic into the space and giving entrepreneurs (and many more) a taste of space. With “pop-up” shops becoming more popular, the concept of temporary retail has become quite popular and exciting. Retail isn’t the only business to benefit, either. These vacant spaces could be occupied by eateries, artists, co-working spaces, shops for classes, or events. miLES also operates as a daily, weekly, or monthly installation space, giving even more flexibility to interested parties. Even landlords benefit from this exchange, as it drives potential buyers and provides some rent in the interim.

The Storefront Transformer incorporates the idea that design really can make things better. And just because they’ve reached their goal, that doesn’t mean it’s over. You can still fund the miLES project to enable even more pop-ups with more transformers. Check out all the awesome rewards: gifts, experiences, services, or even your own pop-up! Or stop by their upcoming shows this winter (below), if you’re in town.

If not, support it anyway. I think miLES could easily be adopted in other cities and towns. Businesses and individuals are given the opportunity to temporarily try on a store, promote their work, and develop a customer base, while enhancing the local community. Give this project legs and have it come to you.

All images from miLES Kickstarter campaign here.

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Building a Better Wardrobe

October 2, 2013

Clothing rack by Annaleena

I’m not great at receiving compliments, and if and when I’m applauded for my attire, I awkwardly make a comment about trying on several items before settling or, conversely, saying, “This old thing?” I should really be more confident, attributing my conciously-chosen wardrobe from years of actually paying attention to what I wear and how I shop. I used to collect magazine and catalog pages of favorite outfits, then file them in a binder stored in my closet. More recently I’ve been relying on my Pinterest board, “her style‘” for fashion advice. For special events, shopping trips, and lazy mornings, I log on to see what I’ve posted to help inform my decisions. I’ve often been able to assemble an outfit with what I already have, but never thought to put together without a visual reminder.

I’m also a pretty thrifty shopper and tend to stick to neutral-colored staples in my wardrobe. Not much room in my budget to buy latest fashion trends I can’t foresee wearing 3 days a week. However, by poring through pins, I’m able to admit that perhaps I could make a pair of bright colored pants work into my wardrobe, or perhaps invest more into a pair of shoes that will be a workhorse for my everyday attire. My cobalt blue pants did me well the last few seasons, my Clark’s desert boots were only ever replaced with cozy slippers during the cold weather, and Frye ballet flats are doing the work this spring and summer. I’ve even used it for hairstyle counseling, braving thick-cut bangs with curly hair for while. Overall, it’s given me confidence to invest in my style, and how to dress up and down pieces, adding value to each piece – how else would I be wearing a chiffon polka-dot skirt to the coffee shop one Sunday morning when I last wore it to a wedding?


I’ve been pinning on this board for over a year now and it’s interesting to see what I’m drawn to each season – what styles repeat themselves or how color palette changes. I think I could live in dolman tops, skinny pants, dresses, and cardigans (sort of “sexy grandma / grandpa”) and my style board will prove it.

So go pin and see for yourself. Your past-pinning self may reveal more than you think.

Note: I found this post floating in my draft folder from probably months ago! I’ve since started myself a “her maternity style” board to cope with this watermelon I seemed to have swallowed… 

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