There are moments when fashion has a way of inspiring you to live better. Stand tall, smile big, and overall just embrace life. Job interview – easy. First date - piece of cake. When I first saw this blouse I was so in awe of its quality and beauty I had to find out how to get more Xsilk in my life.
The Xsilk blouse and the rest of the beautiful collection by Dani K, located in Brooklyn, are made to order which gives every item a unique story. Here is a snippet of the process that goes into each blouse: Xsilk hand paints and dyes the silk using only non-toxic dyes. The colors are set the old-fashioned way: air curing for two days, then slow steaming the silk. The silk is selected by the quality, free of excessive wax and binder. Each blouse is one-of-a-kind. Truly a stand-out, luxurious piece in anyone’s wardrobe.
Xsilk’s collection of shirts, dresses and scarfs have a touch of avant-garde edge, femininity, and perfect airiness for summer. A Xsilk blouse styled with a blazer is a sexy, chic look or just standing alone with a pair of worn jeans or black skinnies.
Q & A with Dani
1. When did you start your etsy shop?
A friend had told me about Etsy, and I opened Xsilk with handful of pieces late summer of 2011. I have been working as an artist and designer since I received masters degree in combined media fine art. Early last year, I was working on an art project, planning a performance/installation art. I picked up silk painting designing customs 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.
Like many people, I had been hesitant about wearing silk until I started to wear ones I made. I thought it was difficult fiber to take care. But in fact silk is a high performance fiber – it’s very resilient, light, breathable & cool during hot weather and surprisingly warm when it’s cold out. When it is dyed in the right way, silk colors will not run. If washed in cool water, it will not shrink. For me the practicality was just as important as the aesthetics in garment. After putting my own pieces on a test run, I decided my works can be sold to others. A few months ago, I invited an artist friend to join Xsilk team. Ginelle is a good friend and great person to bounce off my ideas. I found Etsy to be a great platform. Response has been wonderful. Xsilk garments can now be found in boutiques in New York, Chicago, Ohio and California.
2. How would you describe your collection?
Current collection was inspired by city parks and community gardens in NYC. I visit parks on my day off. They are precious oasis providing a taste of nature to urban dwellers. Nature has a very different rhythm than man-made pace of the city. I tried to capture the feeling of buoyancy and resiliency of green patches growing amidst dense urban jungle.
3. Describe a typical day in your life?
My morning starts with seeing my husband off to work at subway station. I grab a cup of coffee at a corner bodega and come back home and have a quick breakfast. I usually plan the day in the morning. Depending on what I need to do, I work from home or walk over to my studio a few blocks away. I spend time dyeing, painting and sewing. Process silk painting & dyeing requires strict adherence to timing, so once I start working, I have to stick to a schedule. I come home from studio or stop working at home studio around 6pm and start preparing dinner. After dinner, I spend some time on my PC and I might work on the idea for next project before I go to bed.
4. What is your favorite thing to do on a day off?
I like chatting with a friend over a cup of coffee. When weather is fine, I like visiting local parks and community gardens. I usually find a nice spot in the park and soak in the view. I also like taking walks to nowhere. It’s common my hour-long walk would turn into an afternoon long walk. My current guilty pleasure is to watch back episodes of the Big Bang Theory on DVD.
5. What inspires you?
This is a tough question because an inspiration can come anywhere. Most of my inspiration comes from observing things/people around me. Each has it’s own unique rhythm. I think creativity is like creating a new dance, it’s about understanding a rhythm different than your own and submerging yourself in that new rhythm. As a child I used to fantasize about living in a house I built wearing clothes i made and I living off of home grown food. My dream of becoming self-sufficient is more modest now, but the motivation “to make” remains the same – I make because it’s fun. I also have to add my husband is a big influence in my work. He’s an architect and one of the best artist I’ve met. He helps me to see things I’ve overlooked, usually something quiet but potent and beautiful.
6. What is your favorite thing in your home?
I have a collection of ceramic wares I started about fifteen years ago. I can spend hours looking at old pottery in museums. My collection is eclectic mix of pieces from Asia, Europe and America, some old, some contemporary. I usually display the collection on a shelf, but I often use them to serve food or hold fresh flowers. They are like sage friends residing at my kitchen. My favorite is a 200 year old bowl originating from Korea. It’s flawed, earthy, humorous and sublime.
To visit the Xsilk sites:
Dani at Xsilk was so kind to offer The Sunday Sparkle readers a discount.
For the entire month of June you can enter the code “blue10″ for 10% off on all items.
Thank you Dani and Xsilk