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fashion designer

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A local woman with a passion for vintage fashion recently opened up an online shop featuring a curated collection of high-end finds. Read on for all the details.

Styled and Photographed by Hon; Model Elaina Haehnle

Marcie Hon has always been complimented on her unique style. Working at a high end costume shop as a costume designer has given her an eye for curating one of a kind looks. Hon is constantly surrounded by ornate gowns, costumes, and a selection of vintage pieces which has inspired her to create her own business selling high-end vintage clothing, Down To Mars.

Hon has always had a quirky, vintage style and in the fall of 2016, she launched her Etsy shop. She loves searching for gems and hand chooses each of the garments that are sold, setting her apart from other vintage shopping options. Not only are her pieces high style, but high quality is guaranteed. Her experience in the costume store has made her familiar with vintage cuts and sizes, which greatly differ from those of today. She has an eye for visualizing what a piece on the hanger will look like and knows how to personally style her clients.

Styled and Photographed by Hon; Model Elaina Haehnle

Hon recalls the moment that her love of vintage fashion was solidified. When her grandparents passed, she wanted to keep their clothes. She specifically remembers her grandfather’s members only jacket; some may have thought it was ugly but she felt it was special and soulful. That is where her passion for vintage clothing comes from: the memories that are brought to life through the pieces.

The brand name Down to Mars happened in one of those epiphany moments while driving. She has been called “Mars” by most of her peers growing up, short for Marcie. “The thought of people referring to a potential store like, ‘Hey, let’s go down to Mar’s’ or ‘I got this down at Mar’s’ was something I always liked,” says Hon. “On a deeper level of meaning, I have always been connected to astrology and my zodiac sign, Aries. Planet Mars is the Aries ruler. It all seemed to fit and so in literal terms I really am a down to mars girl.”

Hon at the Cincy Chic 10th Anniversary Celebration

Hon is also a fashion designer and hopes to incorporate this aspect of her expertise into Down To Mars. As a creative person, she wants to live out her own creative vision by integrating old and new styles for clients. She has always had an entrepreneurial spirit and did not know how it was going to manifest itself until she was inspired to create her own vintage boutique. She plans to provide exclusive, appointment based consultations and fittings for both her own personal designs and fabulous finds.

Currently, her curated collection is for sale on Etsy and you can follow Down to Mars on Instagram. She also attends pop up shops and other fashion events.

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Just in time for holiday shopping, a new OTR-based shop opens to give local artists, crafters and designers a chance to sell their items. Keep reading for more.

Featured is a new OTR-based
Featured is a new OTR-based shop that features local artists, crafters, and designers.

Between their degrees in Organizational Leadership and Public Relations, Jasmine Stone and Dominique Peebles are co-owners of “Featured,” a new storefront in Over-the Rhine.

Featured is a shop where local artists, crafters, and designers have an opportunity to sell their items. “The business operates on small businesses or individuals placing their items,” says Stone. These artists provide paintings, jewelry, wooden rustic signs, monogrammed items, etc. The store also provides customized items, like pets, children, and adult clothing. A lot of people, nowadays, go online to purchase items, but the customers that go into Featured, love to see the items in the store in person before buying them. “We have a little bit of everything,” Stone says.

Over-The-Rhine has been a great location for their shop. Over the past five years, Stone and Peebles have watched the area “develop into a great space where it attracts all different types of people,” she says. There are people who have lived in the area their whole life, or have moved to Over-The-Rhine from suburban areas to be in a downtown setting.

“With our business revolving around different types of crafts, we wanted to have a diverse set of customers that would be around,” she says. “That’s why we picked Over-The-Rhine, because of the diversity that’s there. And also we wanted to contribute to the economic aspect of helping Over-The-Rhine to continue to develop.” Featured depends on small business and individuals placing their items into the space.


Stone and Peebles’s shop has received a great response from the community surrounding it. Featured has even started offering monthly classes, like painting, crafting, etc. They enjoy “sharing the talent that we have within our shop with those in the community,” Stone says. Also, in the future, they are looking to expand into areas outside of retail, like food. “Something we’ve been working really hard to do is have a Featured kitchen. It may be where local chefs can come in and cook a meal, or where we could have all different kinds of local food products.”

Stone has enjoyed seeing her and her partner’s dream idea come to life. She enjoys working one-on-one with artists, as well as finding new artists for the space. “I love going out there, curating and seeing, ‘What type of talent do we have in this community,’ meaning within the Tri-State area,” says Stone. “Then seeing, ‘How can we help this business do better?’”

She believes that Featured is a unique addition to the Over-The-Rhine community because of the way that they source their art. The main goal of the business isn’t to earn a million dollars. “I mean, obviously, we want to be sustainable, but the only way that Featured is successful is by making other businesses successful,” says Stone. The ultimate goal for Featured is to open additional shops around the tri-state, preferably in Kentucky and Indiana where there are large amounts of people.

To learn more about Featured, visit them at, on Facebook or Instagram.

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    After being a finalist on Tim Gunn’s “Under the Gunn” show, one local DAAP grad is preparing to launch her first fashion collection. Read on to learn more about her inspiration for the collection and when you can see it for yourself.

    DAAP graduate and fashion designer Asha Daniels is launching her first collection on Dec. 1.
    DAAP grad and fashion designer Asha Daniels is launching her first collection “Fearful Symmetry” on Dec. 1.

    Asha Daniels’ abilities as a fashion designer have earned her a great deal of attention. A 2013 graduate of the University of Cincinnati’s College of Design, Architecture, Art and Planning (DAAP), she was a finalist on Tim Gunn’s “Under the Gunn” show and is preparing to launch her first professional collection for her line Asha Ama.

    “This collection is my baby, coming off the heels of my DAAP Senior Thesis Collection, ‘Fearful Symmetry’ and Project Runway: Under the Gunn Finale collection,” she says. “I have always told stories through my work, and this collection speaks of the Afro Punk subculture and celebrates the complex layers women have.”

    The collection, Daniels says, is inspired by her good friend and stylist Juliette Ladipo’s multifaceted, impossible-to-categorize, crazy/zen/beautiful/soft/tough/cool persona. Through this winter collection, she hopes to create something that will give the Afro Punk style pieces a look that are just as unique as the collection as well as the woman she designs for.

    Asha Daniels, a DAAP graduate and fashion designer.

    When describing the collection, Daniels says that it merges hard and rustic vegan leathers with romantically draped taffetas. You’ll also find rich, textured oxblood with bold plaids and quilted detailing.

    “I wanted to create a primal rhythm through studding and silhouette that echoes that of Africa, mixing the literal tradition with a new school edge,” explains Daniels.

    The collection itself will be available Dec. 1 alongside the launch of

    There’s a lot of really exciting stuff in the works for Daniels, too. She says that she has a big announcement coming that she isn’t legally permitted to disclose at the moment, but should be able to break that news early next year.

    To follow along with Daniels and her line, follow along on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

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    Local-now-international designer, Teresa Washington, chats with us about her booming business, dashing designs, and the epic Tri-State runway show where she’ll unveil her newest collection.

    Teresa Washington, CEO, Founder and Designer of STMT-Statement

    “We believe that every woman, regardless of shape or age has the right to wear fun clothes,” says Teresa Washington, CEO, founder and designer of STMT-Statement, which launched February of last year. She manages a small team consisting of a design manager and production assistant. Together, Washington says, they’ve been able to accomplish a lot in a short time.

    “We currently have six boutiques that carry our brand, looking to add more very soon,” she explains. “We’ve had reality television celebrity Lisa Woo of Hollywood Divas (previous Cast Member of Real House of Atlanta) and Val Warner (Chicago’s “Windy City Live” Talk Show Host) wear and love our brand.”

    If Washington could summarize her brand in one word, it would be “confidence,” she says. “We are a small brand and believe that you need a smart, edited Fashionable assortment. We don’t think fashion should be complicated and that you need to buy a whole wardrobe each season. STMT is a brand that builds season after season. STMT pieces are impactful, perfect for mixing and matching, while luxe textures and compelling prints add depth and dimension. Our pieces are designed for the everyday chic woman.”

    A sneak peek of the new STMT Platinum collection
    A sneak peek of the new STMT Platinum collection

    Washington says her exclusive designs, which she and her team create all the way from start to finish, are in high demand. “We never duplicate the same design, meaning once it sells out, it’s gone. Our pieces sell out pretty fast,” she adds. “We had one of our boutiques sell out of our exclusive floral print blazer in one day, and there were times when the website crashed due to an overload of customers trying to get that blazer.” STMT’s next move? Cincy Chic’s very own annual Red, Pink, and Blue event on June 26 where Washington will be showcasing 16 different looks.

    Guests will even have the one-time opportunity to purchase the brand’s exclusive pieces from its new collection at a discounted price. “Cincinnati is where it started so we love coming back and sharing a little fashion fun with all the fashionistas,” Washington says. “The new collection, called ‘Platinum’ is all about zesty prints, comfortable colors, and figure-flattering designs.”

    Also on the horizon, STMT will start offering Private Label Services for boutiques looking to expand their brand as well as private in-home Style Parties, which Washington says will be a big hit. To learn more about the brand, head to their website where you can sign up for the “IT” list to receive news, special promotions, and more. Click here to learn more and RSVP for the June 26 fashion show. Also, and follow STMT on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook for all the latest updates.

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    Cincinnati's newest boutique is moving from Madeira -- expanding into a larger space on Hyde Park Square -- just in time to celebrate its first year of business.

    Necklace by Ken Samudio, paired with black Konstantin dress (click to enlarge)

    It’s been a heck of a year for Arlene Aranzamendez. Just since 2014, she opened a brick-and-mortar boutique, expanded her design business with internationally-known retailers, and is now re-locating the boutique from Madeira into a larger space on Hyde Park Square.

    Although, Aranzamendez is no stranger to the fashion and design world. She began her career in 1995, working with Insignia Design Associates for five years and then worked for international design agency, LPK. In 2004, she started her business Aranzamendez Design, which specializes helping small businesses launch their brand.

    In 2013, Aranzamendez launched a ADORN USA, a product line featuring high-end jewelry and bags, as well as handcrafted pieces from Aranzamendez’s personal line called “Konstantin” and a select group of designers. Then, in 2014, Atelier boutique was born.

    “It was launched via our parent company ADORN USA. ADORN USA sells solely jewelry and handbags online; that being said, we didn’t want to confuse our customers by calling it ADORN USA,” explains Aranzamendez. “Atelier is technically Atelier by ADORN USA and carries much more, including clothing and hostess gifts.”

    While she is continuing to do digital work part-time, she can add ‘jewelry and handbag designer’ to her repertoire. “It’s been such an exciting adventure for me to move from full-time marketing agency, website and digital entrepreneurial work to now focusing on building this new and different kind of business,” she explains, adding that she sees Atelier continuing to expand both online and in brick and mortar stores in select regions throughout the country in the next 5-10 years.

    What makes Atelier different than other boutiques in Greater Cincinnati? “Atelier is about making a statement,” Aranzamendez says, explaining that she believes accessories should be treated as the “star” of the show. “The boutique is called Atelier, named after an old French term for a workshop or studio, especially of an artist, artisan or designer. It specializes in unique handmade jewelry and accessories such as handbags, clothing and gifts such as Vosges Haut Chocolat, Tokyo Milk and elizabethW.”

    Another distinguishing factor from other boutiques in the area is that the clothing she curates for the shop is specifically selected to complement the jewelry line. “The jewelry is created to be more than just an accessory – each piece is designed to be a statement piece,” Aranzamendez says. “I’m also very selective about the materials we use; some pieces in the Konstantin line feature hardware in resin, while others feature eco-raw materials like beads and twine. I love the artisanal quality and I’m passionate about making each a true statement piece.”

    Aranzamendez’s eye for style and unique designs are catching the attention of international retailers. In fact, Anthropologie, an international retailer of curated clothing, accessories, gifts and home décor with 185 stores throughout the U.S., Canada and the United Kingdom, currently offers custom pieces by Aranzamendez (online at Additionally, The Autry National Center Museum, a renowned museum dedicated to the American West (located in Los Angeles) also carries the Konstantin line. Most recently, Aranzamendez and her team are in the process of establishing the line for retail distribution online at “We want to continue to see a growing online presence in the near future,”Aranzamendez explains.

    Atelier By Adorn USA is located at 2716 Erie Avenue, on the 2nd Floor next to Tanya’s Salon. To learn more, visit Atelier’s website and follow along on Facebook!

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      From Project Runway to playdates, see how one local fashion designer was inspired by her newborn to design a new baby clothing and accessories line. Keep reading for all the stylish details.

      Althea Harper and her daughter Lilias, who was her inspiration for a new clothing ling, Lilias & Love.
      Althea Harper and her daughter Lilias, who was her inspiration for a new clothing ling, Lilias & Love.

      Children are a source of love and inspiration for many, including fashion designer Althea Harper. “My daughter, Lilias, is my main source of inspiration,” she explains. “I’ve always enjoyed working with and creating unique prints, and when I began to buy items for my daughter, I felt like I couldn’t quite find what I really wanted, so I set out to make it.”

      She’s no stranger to fashion design, either. After graduating from the University of Cincinnati’s DAAP program and being the runner up on Project Runway Season 6, she launched her own fashion line, Althea Harper.

      10646935_294893207387471_3667319493399946110_nAfter her daughter Lilias was born, she realized an issue that many women face – especially mothers of girls. It’s tough to find something that isn’t glittery, pink and covered in bows. It’s even more difficult to find something that’s unique, Harper says, that every other newborn or toddler on the block isn’t already wearing.

      That’s why Harper, a native of Dayton, founded Lilias & Love, a boutique baby-wear line that features leggings, headbands and hats in cute and edgy knits, applique and screen print t-shirts in addition to custom fur vests and dresses.

      All of the items in Harper’s line, which just launched after Thanksgiving 2014, are handmade in Dayton.560184_312215325655259_1079212101461008513_n

      Harper is already expanding her newest clothing line. She says they just introduced a few new prints in the spirit of Valentine’s Day. Customers can also expect to see a handful of new prints with each season. “As the weather warms up, we’ll be attending more craft fairs and creating some unique warm-weather custom-order items,” Harper adds.

      All items in Harper’s Lilias & Love line can be purchased on Etsy by clicking here. “Customers can request custom orders through Etsy as well,” adds Harper.

      She says that you can find sneak peeks and adorable pictures on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and, soon, at