Behind the Scenes: Flight to Luxury

This past weekend one of the biggest charity benefits and Denver fashion events of the season took place – Flight To Luxury, a hangar party and runway show that benefits the Boys and Girls Clubs of Metro Denver.  We’re big fans of the Boys and Girls Club here at Goldyn, and so when we were asked to present on the runway we were more than happy to help.  The only downside of working so many runway shows, however, is that we rarely get to actually see any of our shows ourselves (wah wah, I know I know)…. From what we heard and were able to peek at it was a beautiful event, and we were pleased to hear that a lot of money was raised.  Here, though, is a peek at the way we view runway shows – behind the scenes.

red carpet

Ready for takeoff…making our debut on the red carpet at Flight to Luxury, pre-event

backstage

Backstage with the hair and makeup team

goldyn look 1

Goldyn’s opening look, just before heading out on the runway, featuring Oak and Andrea Li jewelry

goldyn looks

More Goldyn looks before hitting the runway, featuring Helmut Lang, Rachel Comey and Zoe Twitt

backstage

Backstage craziness before the show

John Varvatos Pop-Up Shop Wrap-Up

Thanks to everyone who came out for our exclusive John Varvatos Fall Pop-Up Shop this weekend!  We had a great time seeing you all, sipping on some PBR, and listening to DJ Tyler Snow’s apropos mix of 60s and 70s rock and roll and punk.  Check out some pics of the day below, courtesy of new Goldyn Girl Sarai Nissan.

John Varvatos - Tyler Snow

DJ Tyler Snow spinning some jams at the pop up

Attendees at John Varvatos

Attendees at the John Varvatos pop-up shop

Attendees at John Varvatos

Attendees at John Varvatos

Playlist: John Varvatos x Goldyn Rock n Roll

BRMC

Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, a Goldyn and John Varvatos fav (photo credit of Ark Times)

In anticipation of our Fall Pop-Up Shop with iconic menswear designer John Varvatos this Saturday, we put together a special playlist of some of John Varvatos’ favorite rock n roll (and ours too, coincidentally).  Being such a music-centric designer, we thought it was only fitting.  With gems from bands like The Velvet Underground, The Rolling Stones, punk rockers The Buzzcocks and The Distillers, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club and more, we’re pretty stoked on it.  Take a listen and share if you have Spotify! 

Coming Soon….FALL

It’s that time of year again…. there’s a slight chill to the air as the sun goes down, and the leaves are maybe, just barely, beginning to turn their color.  Well, ok maybe it’s just that weird tree with some issues across the street, but still.  Fall is in the air!  As any fashion junkie will tell you, Fall is our favorite time of year, because it means LAYERS!  And KNITS!  And COATS!  Oh, and did we mention LEATHER?!  So many good sartorial things happening this time of year. 

I wanted to give you, dear reader, a little preview of some brand new collections we have coming to Goldyn this Fall, which we could not be more excited about. 

First up is CFDA/Vogue Fund finalist Ryan Roche.  Ryan specializes in uber-cozy cashmere knits that are made sustainably by a women’s cooperative in Nepal.  But these handmade creations are not just your average knits, my friends… Think super fashion-forward, wardrobe knock-outs that happen to be made with the softest damn material you’ve ever felt.  We’re vying for her as the winner of the 2014 CFDA/Vogue Fund (and I think she has a pretty darn good chance, if you ask me), but until then, we’re honored to have her join our portfolio of forward-thinking designers.

Ryan Roche cardigan

Ryan Roche cashmere cardigan in the most beautiful blush pink

Ryan Roche open knit sweater

Ryan Roche’s open knit cashmere sweaters are the perfect Fall layering pieces

Ryan Roche furry sweater

Ryan Roche’s nubby, textured knits are our staff fav

 

Another collection that we’re proud to announce is cult handbag label Building Block.  With sleek, minimalist shapes that are timeless and classic, Building Block’s collection of bucket bags, satchels and totes are meant to “clear away conventional standards of luxury by magnifying what is essential and editing out excess.”  We are in l-o-v-e. 

Building Block bucket bags

Building Block’s best-selling bucket bags are on our wish list

 

Lastly, we’re excited to add one of our favorite fashion bloggers, Jess Hannah, as a designer to our website as well, with her collection of delicate, minimalist gold jewelry.  J. Hannah’s jewelry is made to be worn and never taken off.  Using recycled 14k gold and conflict-free diamonds, J. Hannah creates delicate, sweet stacking rings, necklaces, and earrings that are meant to bring beauty, confidence and power to the modern woman. 

Jess Hannah rings

Jess Hannah’s 14k gold rings are calling to be stacked

Blogger Jess Hannah

Blogger Jess Hannah in her namesake jewelry

Jess Hannah jewelry detail

Blogger Jess Hannah wears her 14k gold, delicate jewelry

Designer Profile: Selin Kent

Editorial photograph from Selin's website featuring Nico, Koko, mini Koko, and Hex rings

Editorial photograph from Selin’s website featuring Nico, Koko, mini Koko, and Hex rings

 

There’s an appeal in fine jewelry that’s not from a boyfriend – a visible manifestation of an independent spirit. So it’s a strong-willed woman that wears designer Selin Kent’s jewelry – relishing of a ring that’s the fine-jewelry antithesis of a sugary engagement band, this is a woman who can take care of herself.

And so begins my fixation with Selin’s gold-and-diamond finger baubles. It takes a powerful je-ne-sais-quoi to make a girl fall hook, line and sinker for designs so spare, but the psychology eludes me.

I came across the Nico ring – a vertical bar of white diamonds set against a double band of black gold – right before Christmas last year. I don’t remember whether I saw it first in the editorial photographs on Goldyn’s website and then chased it down in the store, or the other way around. I just recall precariously lifting the bell jar under which the ring resided and then snatching it to slide onto my right hand, a move that brings to mind Emily’s vivid accusation to Andy Sachs in The Devil Wears Prada: “You sold your soul to the devil when you put on your first pair of Jimmy Choos, I saw it.” I’m sure there was an obvious lustful gleam in my eyes. But heartbreakingly, albeit luckily for my limited bank account, the ring was too big, slipping off even my middle fingers. I perched it back under its heavy glass shelter, with a promise to the ring I’d be back for it. Knowing me, I probably said that last part out loud.

Editorial photograph from Selin's website featuring Nico rings in black and yellow gold

Editorial photograph from Selin’s website featuring Nico rings in black and yellow gold

A move to New York City and six months buried the fit of desire for the Nico ring in the back of my memory. But then in July I visited Selin’s NoHo apartment for this story, and our chat brought back the longing nearly full-force. I half-heartedly told myself I would hold out; wait for a new job as a reason to pass off the splurge as a reward. But by now I know better than to believe my own weak vows about swearing off.

So during a recent trip home to Denver, I stopped by Goldyn to say hello and try on the Nico ring again; a dangerous endeavor, with the temptations I know lie within the boutique’s walls. For one more day, I forced myself to leave the store empty-fingered, but by then the indulgence was no longer a question of if but when. The siren song of Selin’s collection was too strong. I would return within the week; my jewelry collection was gasping for air and disposable costume jewelry was not the resuscitation it needed.

Wearing my rose gold Koko ring with white diamonds

Wearing my rose gold Koko ring with white diamonds

In those few days during which I steeled myself to hand over my credit card, Selin’s rose gold Koko ring imprinted itself in my mind – decidedly less edgy than than the Nico’s black gold, but in a way even more architectural with its clean use of negative space. I’ll admit that a price tag half that of the Nico had something to do with it, but the Koko ring’s quiet but impactful statement made it my perfect “starter” piece. Paired with a gold mid-finger band, it stands out as a wearable piece of Instagram-worthy modern art. It has me reaching for things with an oh-so-casual sweep of my right hand and planning outfits around it. I’m not even a little bit sorry for the splurge.

The Koko ring is the first satiation of my hunger. I sense the Nico ring, in all its black glory, is next; they say you never totally get over your first love. To quote Stella Tennant, I fear the obsession is with me forever.


Minimalist but statement-making, delicate yet badass – Turkish designer Selin Kent has mastered these types of juxtapositions in her fledgling fine-jewelry line of architectural rings, earrings, bracelets and necklaces made from every color of gold and diamonds – perfectly described in Selin’s own words as “minimalist pieces that are a little bit thoughtful.” Launched in late 2013 after a year of development, the line brought a few fluid adaptions along the way. “Initially I envisioned having more silver and a little less gold, but once I started designing, I found that the designs were more conducive to gold.”

Speaking on her influences, she says, “I feel like I would have been an architect in another lifetime. I take a lot of inspiration from [modern] forms. On a visual level, the clean lines of Scandinavian design. And then certain 20th-century modern artists from the Bauhaus movement; the interplay of the shapes they use.”

On a less tangible level, Selin infuses the pieces with life through the names she gives them – her first collection draws influence from blues, rock and jazz musicians, with the jewelry having cool-chick monikers like Françoise and Ella. “How many double-bar rings can you have? I felt like I needed to give the pieces a personality,” she explains. “Music has always been a constant source of inspiration, so I thought I’d pare that in.”

Yellow gold Françoise ring with white diamonds

Yellow gold Françoise ring with white diamonds

Editorial photograph from Selin's website showing Françoise ring in black gold with black diamonds & assorted Hex rings

Editorial photograph from Selin’s website showing Françoise ring in black gold with black diamonds & assorted Hex rings

Selin’s two big influences, music and architecture, have me curious why she chose jewelry design. The craft was not the field she started in, and Selin’s path in the newfound trade evolved organically. “I fell into it in a really random way. My first job out of college was at a market research firm in New York – a high-powered, corporate job. And I sort of had a reaction against sitting in front of a computer all day, and I wanted to learn how to make something with my hands.

“I’ve always been curious about how metal was worked with; I had no idea how something so hard could be malleable and bend. So I just signed up for a class pretty randomly and took classes after work and on the weekends for about two years while I was at my old job, and then ended up going back to school and enrolling in a two-year program.”

Though she misses working with her hands, Selin’s built-in business smarts guided her to the decision to let go of making the pieces in her line herself. “I can’t run a business and and scale it and make the pieces all at the same time. I have more production-oriented pieces…I made a decision – did I want to run a business, or did I want to sit behind a bench all day?”

Despite the minimalistic nature of the jewelry, Selin appreciates that it doesn’t necessarily resonate with every woman. “I wouldn’t really want to create jewelry that would work with every woman because that wouldn’t be very interesting [jewelry]. When I was initially designing, I wasn’t really sure who it was for…someone who appreciates luxury and high-quality items, but doesn’t necessarily want to scream it. Maybe [the girl] who would go more for the Alexander Wang bag rather than the Louis Vuitton bag with the logo.”

Editorial photograph from Selin's website showing new stackable ring designs

Editorial photograph from Selin’s website showing new stackable ring designs

This consciousness of style identity makes cohesiveness a key theme of the line. When I ask what she sees as the jewelry’s signature stamps, Selin elaborates, “I like giving people the option of creating their own story…I created the first collection as quite a stackable collection. I think oftentimes the pieces look better paired with other pieces that you may already own, or pieces from my collection. The strongest ones even fit in together, sort of like puzzle pieces. So I’m working on a few designs that have that sort of signature.”

The growth in the line’s distribution has been respectable – Selin has gained footholds in New York, California, Istanbul, Tokyo, Paris and London. She’s in about ten stores by her own count. But Goldyn holds a special place in her heart as the first boutique to pick up her collection. And though she has one eye on the possibility of a few major department stores for the future, right now Selin is happy sticking with the more personal experience of dealing in small shops. She also stays conscious of spreading herself too thin. “I’d rather be represented by 15 stores that do really well than 50 that aren’t selling so well.”

Every entrepreneur has their own nugget of advice for running a business, so I ask Selin for hers. “I guess knowing what to outsource is one of the most difficult but the most important [aspects]…It’s difficult to let go of certain things when you’re used to doing them. But then there are people who will do them so much better than you, who can really help you. For example, outsourcing the sales to my showroom was a turning point in my business in the last year…A lot of it is just trial and error. You gotta go with your gut, see what works, and if something’s not working, you adjust.”

Click here to shop Goldyn’s selection of Selin Kent jewelry (including earrings and necklaces), and see Selin’s full collection here.

Urban Nights: A Runway for a Cause Wrap-up

On Friday, August 1st Goldyn was excited to take part in a special runway show with an even more special cause:  Urban Nights, benefiting Urban Peak – a shelter for homeless and at-risk youth.  The backdrop for this large-scale production was an outdoor area adjacent to event space Mile High Station, under the Colfax viaduct – a fitting place for the “urban” theme.  Goldyn showcased Summer and PreFall looks on the 200′ long runway with about 1500 people in attendance.  Attendees bid on a variety of incredible auction items like trips to Mexico and sports packages, raising money for this very worthy cause.  To learn more about Urban Peak, visit urbanpeak.org.  Check out our photos below of Goldyn’s looks from the show, thanks to our friends Tara Pattie and Frankie Bushell.

Jumpsuit by 6397

A playful jumpsuit from 6397

A look from Oak from Goldyn

A Pre-Fall look from Oak, available now at ShopGoldyn.com

A look from 6397 and Helmut Lang

Casual chic done right from 6397 and Helmut Lang available at ShopGoldyn.com

Cutout waist dress from Mara Hoffman

A cutout waist dress perfectly suited to go from day to evening from Mara Hoffman

Day dress by APC

A casual day dress in linen from APC, paired with a necklace by Native and Nomad and clutch by Grey Sunshine

Cutout dress from Helmut Lang

This cutout back dress from Helmut Lang offers a demure front view with a surprisingly sexy back

Laser cut leather skirt from Zoe Twitt

A laser-cut leather skirt contrasted with a simple tee offers the perfect look for evening from Zoe Twitt and Helmut Lang

Leather varsity jacket from Oak

Rock and roller meets jock in this men’s look from Oak and APC

Oak Scarf Vest

A fashion-forward men’s look featuring drop crotch pants and a vest with scarf from Oak

Oak shawl collar sweatshirt

A dapper men’s look featuring a shawl collar sweatshirt from Oak and selvedge jeans by Raleigh

UMS Round-Up

Bryon Parker is best known as Courtney Parker’s husband and contributing member of Denver-based noise rock group, Accordion Crimes. He will be a Contributing Music Blogger for Goldyn, reviewing concerts and bands, both locally and nationally. For his first review, Bryon shares his Top 4 Picks from the 2014 Underground Music Showcase: Hollow Talk, Tjutjuna, South of France and Scatter Gather.  

HOLLOW TALK (July 24th, Hi-Dive) One of the first acts slated to perform on night one of the
Underground Music Showcase were one of the most anticipated. It seems like every musician friend of mine had Hollow Talks number that night. Being dissembled for nearly a year and a half, this reunion performance was as focused and melancholy as a poem by the great Walt Whitman. A sound that could be best defined as dark folk-rock with hints of post-punk abandon.

hollowtalk

Hollow Talk

Hollow Talk’s sound was a combination  of  previous projects that trace back to the member’s dissolved acts (D. Biddle, Lion Sized, Ideal Fathers, Machine Gun Blues).  Their leader, Duncan Barlow, maintained a degree of confidence that fit the discretion of a performer with nothing left to prove. At times, he channeled a desperate vocal delivery comparable to the late Mark Linkous. Howling choruses proceeded whispered verses. Droned out keyboard lines worked seamlessly around well-crafted shoegaze guitars. The drum and bass combinations were thunderous and pounding. Their quiet-LOUD-quiet dynamic was in full force and each player fully serviced the set of well-constructed numbers. This band set the bar very high. No other act performing on Thursday measured up to the dynamics of Hollow Talk and compositions like ‘Jacksonville’ never sounded so hopeful.

TJUTJUNA (July 25th, Hi-Dive) I was driving an off-white van with the other members of Accordion Crimes sitting shotgun. It was an overcast afternoon at nearly 6 o’clock. The radio was gently humming a local AM station as the street sounds from South Broadway were leaking in with the occasional raindrops. Finding parking in Baker with a thirty foot Econo-line is easier said than done. At last! My luck was restored near a bus stop on Lincoln Avenue. While the other members of my noise rock trio were cool as a fucking cucumber, I was not. I communicated my desire to not miss Tjutjuna‘s set to my mates as we brushed past other UMS patrons at the street level. A break in traffic found us jay walking our way over to the Hi-Dive. The time was nearing 6:30 and the venue was packed. After maneuvering around the doorman, I found my best viewpoint from the side stage.

Tjutjuna

Tjutjuna

I sipped water from a styrofoam cup and  watched as this three-piece of bearded thirty-something’s demonstrated an impressive take on aggressive instrumental soundscapes. I was immediately occupied by what I heard.  Their last two songs left a strange impression on me. It was as if this trio were from the future and all of the waves of music they drew influence from were from the year 2020. I felt like a tourist. It was refreshing and I was awe struck. Gentle psychedelia rose above primal drumming. Keyboards delivered color and timbre. Beautiful hues of dissonance and angular crescendos. The guitar sounds were distorted and melodic. All three members appeared to be in some kind of trance. I did not see them ever communicate with each other. They were calculated and as tight as a jazz trio.

After only witnessing a mere fifteen minutes at the tail end of their set, I was left wanting more. I will make it an effort to see this band again. I wish I had more to say but traffic cut my time at this show short.

SOUTH OF FRANCE (July 26th, Main Stage) Having already a developed, preconceived notion about South of France based on a memorable in-store performance within the confines of Goldyn, I was intrigued about how this band would play out on the main stage. To my discovery, they had since added a fourth member on bass as well as a new drummer.

South of France

South of France

Colorado Public Radio’s own Alicia Sweeney took to the stage to introduce them with courteous enthusiasm as a, “breezy surf pop band!” Under any other circumstance, this description would have sent me headed in the other direction. My second impression of South of France relays the stance that they are a cut above the rest. Once again, they came across as pioneers of sincerity. The music fit their own compartmental style. The vocal interplay between Jeff Cormack and Kelly Lueke fulfilled continuous hooks above the jangle of retro guitar pop. Listening closely and scratching the surface, I heard traces of The Zombies and The Velvet Underground.

If you’re as cynical about music that fits commercial placement as I am, I’d argue that it would do you good to give this band a chance. It may just renew your love of concurrent indie rock.

SCATTER GATHER (July 27th, The Hornet) The first show on my Sunday schedule aligned with a band called, Scatter Gather. Having never heard of this act before, I thought I would look them up briefly. Their contributed UMS bio read, “Just a couple of dudes who like lightening and the smell of rain”…Really? Nothing more than that?  OK, fair enough. I didn’t hold it against them too much. I remember thinking, “I hate writing about my band too. It sucks.” At the end of the day, I think most people were turned off by “just a couple of dudes who like lightening and the smell of rain.” At UMS, people want the two-piece band with the memorable name followed by career ambitions and plans to take over the music world. Most people want the two-piece band that have good PR and the opening slot for The Black Keys. I suppose I’m not like most people. This is why I consider myself one of the thirty privileged people to have seen Scatter Gather.

Scatter Gather

Scatter Gather

Before their set and while tuning his guitar, the singer/guitarist took off his shoes and shirt and set them neatly in the corner. I was a little uneasy about this and what would follow left me completely caught off guard. It was as if the drummer only listened to DNA and the guitar player only listened to Fugazi. And it was magical. They often sang together, completely incoherent to everyone else and completely in their element. No one was bothered by this because it came together in such a way that was their own. They’d scream, sing and thrash about… and it was a rather joyous event. This is the band that sounded like drums falling down a staircase in 3/4 time. They could harness dynamics and win you over with their complete control only to take their own train off the track. It was as equally challenging as it was accessible.

I don’t mean to create hyperbole, but Scatter Gather was the best band of the Underground Music Showcase. This band represents the very spirit of what the UMS is about: local, underground, independent and pushing musical boundaries.

Have a Nice Afternoon: A Goldyn x Kristen Hatgi Sink Project

We are so excited to present our latest art collaboration with photographer Kristen Hatgi Sink, a stop motion video entitled Have a Nice Afternoon.

Enter the world of Daria and Alex, the modern-day pair. Featuring music by Jeff Cormack of the band South of France, we get to peek as Daria and Alex dress, undress, and go about their day with irreverence and playful nonchalance. This special project highlights clothing from designers Mara Hoffman, Rachel Comey, Helmut Lang, A.P.C., 6397, Shipley & Halmos, Raleigh Denim, Lauren Nevada, and more, paired with jewelry and accessories from Loeffler Randall, Jerome Dreyfuss, Amy J. Metals and Native & Nomad; all available for purchase at Goldyn.

Shot in Denver-based fine artist Laura Krudener’s studio, and featuring her original artwork, the stark contrast between the vibrant clothing and the bare white walls, sleek cement floors and brightly hued paintings makes for the perfect backdrop: a true artist’s loft. Jeff Cormack of South of France was tapped to create music for the project, bringing an additional element of lighthearted pop energy, which was an obvious fit for this whimsical piece. Jeff’s group South of France, a Denver-based indie pop band, has always been a Goldyn favorite. As always, it was incredibly important for Goldyn to support the local Denver arts and music scene by working with and featuring locally based artists and musicians.

Teaming up with renowned photographer Hatgi Sink for this project was also a natural choice. Hatgi Sink and Goldyn owner Vanessa Barcus came up with the idea to use stop motion animation in order to add another level of dimension and sense of movement to the clothing. Using hundreds of shots put in sequence, Have a Nice Afternoon captures a special moment that expresses Goldyn’s essence. Hatgi Sink, a Denver-based artist and photographer, has worked with Goldyn on a variety of projects, including last season’s first-of-its-kind wet plate lookbook, entitled Crowns. Always trying to innovate and create new ideas, this season Goldyn decided to step away from the wet plate technique, a specialty of Hatgi Sink’s, in order to try something more modern, cutting-edge and personal.

Goldyn has decided to stray from the traditional seasonal lookbook approach that most designers and retailers do every season. Rather than developing lookbooks, Goldyn is instead teaming up with high caliber artists, such as Hatgi Sink, to develop art projects that are far more advanced and conceptual, proving further that Goldyn is much more than just a clothing store – it serves as a cultural hub for Denver and the greater creative community, with a huge focus on art and music in addition to fashion – all of which are perfectly balanced in Have a Nice Afternoon.

Business Profile: Zoe Twitt

Name: Zoe Twitt, Beauty, Denver

For this Business Profile, I talked with Zoe Twitt, creator of her own self-titled clothing line and, more recently, the natural-wellness lifestyle website Shop Zoe Life, which is part blog, part e-commerce store. Evident almost immediately during our chat is an earnest integrity that translates into how she approaches her businesses, and it gives her a down-to-earth, effervescent demeanor.

Zoe met Goldyn’s founder and buyer Vanessa Barcus when Zoe lived in New York and Vanessa was visiting the city on a buying trip. Says Vanessa, “Zoe and I met many years back because we actually had the same publicist in NYC. We all got drinks one night and she and I hit it off.  Later on we found out that her now-husband actually went to college with me in California, which was so funny. It’s a small world!”

Zoe launched her eponymous clothing label at the end of 2009 with a collection of basics, seeing a meteoric rise with distribution in 60 stores in the infant line’s first year, including New York City’s exclusive Henri Bendel. (Click here to shop Zoe’s clothing line at Goldyn.)

Zoe relocated to Denver when she got engaged, closing the gap in a long-distance relationship. The move resulted in a hiatus from her label, because like so many other fashion moguls, she discovered that Denver largely lacked the infrastructure to support a growing collection. “I’d been trying very hard to live part-time in New York and part-time here, and I realized I couldn’t run my business from here,” she explains.

 But out of the void came Shop Zoe Life. This latest project is truly a labor of love, born out of Zoe’s personal experiences with the differences that natural and organic health regimens have made in her life. “I can incorporate all of my skill sets…I’m really into natural beauty and wellness,  so I spent about eight months researching the most amazing, most effective organic and natural products around the world. Then I started to buy after those eight months and build my site. My vision for the brand was very clear: basics. Basic skincare, hair care, beauty, body, and apparel basics.”

Vanessa Barcus was eager to continue collaborating with Zoe, so the two put their heads together and created a permanent Shop Zoe Life pop-up beauty shop at Goldyn. For Vanessa, the introduction of beauty products to Goldyn was a natural move. She explains, “The fashion and beauty industries are so interrelated. I had been thinking for a while about adding a few beauty lines to Goldyn, so that we could be more of a one-stop shop for customers, so the timing of this collaboration with Zoe really was perfect.”

 Zoe’s genuine passion for the lifestyle she advocates, and the beauty products she curates, has made Shop Zoe Life as earnest as Zoe herself. She came into her belief in all-natural remedies through her personal health struggles. “Most of them were undiagnosed, but the crux of it was inflammation. I started studying qigong and became interested in wellness. I didn’t have a lot of information from my conventional practitioners. I had to go out and do my own research, and I started realizing that what I put on my skin made a huge difference in my health and well-being, and also to the inflammation. I had to go on an anti-inflammation diet; I had to use a lot of natural and quite simple products. And unexpectedly, I found that it was far more effective in clearing up my skin issues as well as health issues. So I became way more passionate about [natural and organic products].”

 But Zoe is reluctant to pigeonhole the beauty products on Shop Zoe Life with highly connotative labels, even those associated with the forefront of her products’ construction. “I don’t even like to call my site an ‘organic wellness’ site, because that doesn’t do the products any justice – the packaging is really beautiful; [the companies’] mission statements are world-changing; all the skincare that I’m carrying is made in America. It’s been really hard because I’ve not really known how to brand it – it is organic, but I’ve just branded it as the best of what’s out there, because it is. Organic doesn’t need to mean ineffectual.”

 Zoe’s commitment to advocating products she strongly believes in makes her highly discerning about what she chooses to feature. She handpicks every product, recipe and beauty ritual on Shop Zoe Life. “I’ve tried every single item. I’ve spent a lot of time doing the research because I wanted to make sure the selection was absolutely perfect and that there was a little bit of something for everyone. But not too much, because you don’t want to get lost in a sea of products. I asked “What do we all basically need? For skincare, haircare, [etc.]?’ I thought it would be great to have a site that people could just go to and know that everything there is safe to use…not just a for-profit corporate business.”

 She loves every product she carries on the site, but the Morihata Binchotan charcoal soap has proven itself a star of the collection, a cleanser among cleansers. By Zoe’s testament, “it cleared out my skin to the point where I don’t have to wear any makeup whatsoever.”

Vanessa Barcus also sings the praises of the charcoal soap, and has a few other Shop Zoe Life favorites of her own. “I honestly have loved all the products I’ve tried thus far! And I do try to test it all out, so I know what I’m selling. My favorites, though, are the RMS Lip2Cheek pots – I use them daily on both my cheeks and lips, as well as the RMS Un-Coverup. All their products are organic and based in coconut oil, which I am a huge fan of. Oh, and I am a big fan of the Rodin body oil…that jasmine oil – so yummy! Zoe really has done a fantastic job of curating the best natural beauty brands.”

 The May Lindstrom “Clean Dirt” cleansing clay is also a favorite. “[It’s] the most incredible mask I’ve ever used. It literally brings everything to the surface, and removes everything from under your skin. It comes in a powder form, and you scoop a little out and add a few drops of water, and it foams up. It looks like dirt – my five-year-old niece was like, ‘Why are you putting dirt on your face? That’s disgusting, you look dirty!’” Zoe laughs. “It smells incredible – [May Lindstrom] puts things like marshmallow root and cayenne pepper and fair-trade Tahitian vanilla.” Her enticing descriptions of the products would tempt any skincare junkie, and they have me pulling up their pages on Shop Zoe Life while we chat. I have a feeling I’ll have found a few new beauty-regimen obsessions before long.

 Our conversation turns to Zoe’s love of beauty fads; I point to this year’s facial oils and last year’s BB and CC creams as the of-the-moment superfoods of skincare. “I’m obsessed with anything to do with trends, and anyone who knows me knows it,” Zoe gushes with a chuckle.

 “But I’ve got to tell you, the only route to good skin is through diet. Nobody talks about this. I know that I’m pushing products here, but it’s about what you put into your body, first and foremost. Secondarily, what you use on your skin. It’s complementary.

 “Some of the trends are right on the mark, but the truth is, they’re unsustainable for our bank accounts and our bodies. We need to use simple products and eat better. There are products you can use that are very inexpensive, such as coconut oil, that are fantastic for your skin…I think simpler is better. Our skin gets really overworked with all of the beauty products that we’re using. Also, we don’t always know what’s going into them. Some cause a toxic buildup over time.”

 Zoe brings her holistic approach to health to readers in the form of favorite recipes and DIY beauty regimens. She also hopes to expand the e-commerce section beyond skincare. “I’m going to be adding more things to the site, such as gluten-free alternative flours for baking, and some supplements.”

 A big reward of Zoe’s labor lies in knowing that Shop Zoe Life has had a positive impact on some women’s lives. “It’s simple things like hearing people’s reactions after using the products, hearing how it’s made a dramatic difference with their skin and confidence. I’ve had people say that after using the Binchotan soap, they stopped wearing foundation and feel more liberated. I also have a friend who had a really negative experience at a dermatologist with a procedure, and it has damaged the texture of the skin. She started using the May Lindstrom products, and it’s really evened out her skin.” Call it skin deep, but when that skin is beautiful, Zoe’s work is pretty fulfilling.

Zoe & Vanessa’s Top Beauty Picks:

Click here to browse ShopZoeLife’s full collection of addicting skincare products and other tempting goodies (and discover some new favorite recipes and beauty tips), and shop Goldyn’s selection of Zoe Twitt clothing here.

Goldyn’s Summer Sale: Our Top Picks

The Goldyn summer sale is in full swing! It may seem hard to believe since it feels like summer is just getting started, but pre-fall and fall deliveries are en route to Goldyn. In order to make space for new arrivals, we have marked down spring and summer merchandise. There are so many great pieces currently on sale, our favorites are as follows…