Archive: Designer Spotlight

Chatting with Rowdy Sprout Rocker Tee Royalty, Laura Angotti

the clash shirt

Babesta scored a backstage pass with a brand that’s been rockin’ the cradle since 2003 with a top-of-the-charts kids’ fashion line.

What’s the playlist of your closet? If you’re a fan of hip baby tee company, Rowdy Sprout, your rotation might include Johnny Cash, Sublime, Jimi Hendrix, Blondie, Bruce Springsteen—and lots of Grateful Dead and Dylan. California native Laura Angotti, the brand’s founder and self-proclaimed “hippy at heart,” has been rocking the kids’ fashion world with her band tees since 2003. Formerly an art installer (she used to hang classics on the walls of everywhere from the Guggenheim to the New York Historical Society), Angotti got an opportunity to appease her love for fashion. Ten years ago, at the behest of a friend, she says, “I made 26 iron on transfer band tees.” She was excited by the idea of shaking up the very pink and blue baby world with something more edgy. Her concept quickly made its way up the fashion charts, and now a decade later, the hits keep coming.

We got to chat with Angotti about what’s new at Rowdy Sprout, her new collection “Unplugged” and why, when other trends come and go, the music always plays on.

 Were you ever in a band? OMG I have serious musical envy—I’ve never been in a band and don’t play an instrument. I sing, but not well!

 If you ever started a band, what would be your band’s name? The name of my band would be “The Blistered Nipples.” We’d play a mix between folk and punk rock. I would be a singer/guitar player. We would definitely hit small venues all over the world—Spain, Italy, Portugal, Ireland, NYC, and all over USA.

OK, you’ve been making band tees for a decade. Music changes a lot in 10 years. Does musical taste in fashion change? It’s funny because the truth is the same bands are still my best sellers. ACDC, Beatles, anything with Grateful Dead. I constantly am searching for new bands and new licenses but it’s harder than you would imagine to find the people who have the authority to license merch. And then you come across a lot of companies that do everything in house and won’t work with anyone else which is a real bummer.

How has Rowdy Sprout changed over the years? The longer I do this, the more seriously the bands and merch companies take me. At first it was really hard to get bands and companies to give me license rights. Over time it’s gotten a little easier but unfortunately the bands and companies are getting harder and harder to work with. I have found that I have to work five times as hard to get the same amount of shirts approved. However, over the years, I have also created a much better product than what I first started with—lots of variety in color and style. I also now have two children which has made a huge difference in my design. In fact, my daughter has inspired me to create a whole new look for girls (coming spring ’15!)

This season, you launch your new Unplugged line–how did that come about? I’m so excited about Rowdy Sprout Unplugged. The bands are great but many have gotten harder and harder to work with. Unplugged was originally started so I could have something that I have complete control over. I love a good tee shirt and vintage inspiration is always big for me. Of course, I also design things out of need in the marketplace. The sweatpants were created because I simply can never find cool sweats for my kids. I think comfort is key for kids and why not look cool at the same time?

new york city shirt

Why do you think it’s so important for kids to be exposed to music? I think music shapes us from a very early age. I have memories of music that are almost more palpable than any other memory. Like chocolate, I think music is one of the finer things in life and very important to share with your children!

What do you listen to at home? We listen to a lot of everything. My husband is the DJ of the household mostly! We listen to Spotify all the time and get lots of new music from there. Our current favorite song is by Lord Huron “Ends of the Earth” It also happens to be in my kids’ favorite movie “Walking With Dinosaurs.”

 If you could meet any musician, dead or alive, who would it be and why? Easy, that’s Bob Dylan! Lyrical genius.

Shop the entire Rowdy Sprout collection.

Sweet Seats! We Love Monte’s Cubino Seats and Loveseats!

monte cubino cool kid chairs

 

Ready to decorate the playroom? Or, for city dwellers, define a cozy and stylish spot in the room where your toddler can set up shop. We’re crazy about the Cubino chair and loveseat by Monte! It’s the perfect perch from which to read, play or relax, meshing seamlessly with a sophisticated and modern interior. The chair is made of thick durable foam covered with a soft durable microsuede. Add a shelf of books and voila! Shop Monte at Babesta.

 

Jungle Room by Dwell Studio

dwell studio jungle print sheets furniture babesta modern furniture kids nursery

Elvis isn’t the only one with a jungle room. This fanciful bedding by DwellStudio, featuring animals galore in a fitted sheet and bumper, can transform your New York nursery into a safari adventure!  The “wild” pattern also finds its way onto sleep sacks, play blankets and more.  The exotic animals will feel right at home in your home, especially if accessorized with a Mid-Century crib, changing table and bookshelf also courtesy of the style setters at Dwell!

 

Welcoming Quinn + Fox to Babesta!

Quinn and Fox cool tshirts and pants

We’re totally stoked to welcome Quinn & Fox to the fall lineup at Babesta! We are smitten with their hand screened tees and sweatpants with the adorable and quirky circus prints! The company, founded in 2013 by self-described “parents of two curly haired girls,” works with artists to design their funky graphics, and the tees and sweats are organic and made from scratch in California. And, per the kids who wear it, it’s super comfy to boot!

Shop Quinn & Fox at Babesta

For Those About to Rock! Choosing a Rocker, Glider or Recliner

monte design at Babesta

Today’s rockers aren’t your grandmother’s rockers. They’re sleek, modern and can work as easily in nurseries as they can in living rooms. And gliders, once large, clunky eye sores, are now high style contemporary nursery-musts, available in tweed, micro suede and leather—some even go so far as to kick back and recline.

Choosing between a host of good options may make decision-making even harder of course. Tribeca Pregnancy and Parenting Education Director Erica Lyons confirms, “There’s no real difference for soothing a child,” when choosing between a glider and rocker. But for families with toddlers, she adds, gliders have an added benefit: “Gliders don’t rock on little hands—but as long as mom is aware of no little fingers under the rocking chair, either is fine.”

Ralph Montemurro, co-owner of Monte Design Group, a family owned Canadian company founded on the concept of locally manufactured chic chairs, gives his own take. “A glider is great because it is a quiet, stable option that looks great in any room—and the glider-recliner gives you that and the ability to put your feet up and lay back. A rocker, on the other hand, is a classic choice because of its timeless style and design, and, with no moving parts, can last generations.”

Montemurro says he and his wife Michelle started Monte Design after successfully identifying a void in the market, and notes, designing a better nursery chair wasn’t easy. In fact, they made 40-50 prototypes of the original Luca glider (named after their third child) before going to market.  Since then, they’ve been manufacturing gliders and rockers in Canada, without seeing a trend in preference between gliding and rocking. It seems in the end, it comes down to personal preference and aesthetic taste.

So, what do you say? Are you going to rock or glide?

Whatever you choose, we salute you.

Some questions to ask after you’ve decided to rock or glide

Is it easy to clean? Is it comfortable? Does it fit in with my decor?  Is it easy to get out of (not too low)?  Where is it made? How is it made?

 

Move Over Hermes. Meet Homies, the last word in luxury a la Brian Lichtenberg.

We cracked up when we first saw these tongue in cheek tees and sweatshirts by Brian Lichtenberg. Amping up the luxe cool this holiday season! Shop Brian Lichtenberg at Babesta!

gif by Katrina Tang; model: Callie Reiff

Brian Lichtenberg tee steals the show.

Brian Lichtenberg tee steals the show.

Chatting with Cassandra Rhodin of Mini Rodini

Cassandra Rhodin of Mini Rodini

Whether on a onesie or a national ad campaign, Swedish designer Cassandra Rhodin deftly pulls from the beautiful, quirky fantasy world she’s envisaged, replete with anthropomorphic animals and vintage references, served up with a modern twist. Wielding her pen she knows how to entice and entertain, possibly a genetic talent passed down from her great grandfather, circus king Brazil Jack. Though her heritage and own childhood inspire, when it comes to designing her children’s wear label Mini Rodini, Rhodin notes, “My biggest inspiration definitely comes from hanging out with my two kids. Their imagination is unbelievable.” Fall ’13 is arguably her strongest collection to date, and, we hear, Rhodin is growing the label from kids’ wear into home goods. We were psyched to sit down with ringleader Rhodin and hear the ballyhoo on the brand.

Shine Bright Like a Diamond

We’ve got gems galore from Mini Rodini this season!  Now we know that technically diamonds don’t shine, they reflect; but because they’re reflecting the sheer awesomeness of your kid’s style we figure we can get away with the phrase.

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We think Mimi had it right with regards to styling the print, but you can definitely get away with a ton of cool outfits by breaking up her look into separates.  We’d love to hear how you style your kids’ gems, so hit the comments and let us know!

-L.E.