I have a little bit of a girl crush on Jenna Lyons, the creative genius behind the American brand J.Crew. I first was captivated by her personal story of growing up as an awkward kid with a severe skin condition and then climbing the ladders at J.Crew, where now she basically oversees everything. And how can you NOT love her signature mix-and-match style?
Luckily my bank account is not completely depleted because it is a bit harder to get my hands on a cashmere cardigan or a pair of 3" chino shorts here in Hong Kong. So I always make it a point to ship a mountain of goodies (of course using my 40% off promo code) to my parents' house in San Francisco where I usually go back to twice a year.
"Are you really here to visit us or to pick up your clothes?" my mom will ask when I visit.
Anyways, ENOUGH drooling. The catalyst for this design project was what Jenna once said when asked why J.Crew carries non-J.Crew brands in its stores:
"It goes back to editing, and also appreciation of quality. The Red Wing boot—they do it well, they do it in America. Why try and re-create it? Some things are amazing the way they are. Alden shoes, Sperry Top-Siders. We love that you’re buying our Ludlow suit, but we want you to have the option of the best possible shoe out there. They come with tons of history and brand integrity that we might not be able to offer in shoes."
It's so true. As the old saying goes, don't reinvent the wheel. I think it's absolutely wonderful that J.Crew as well as other retailers including H&M, Target, and Gap are collaborating with brands and designers giving costumers the unique opportunity to discover new products and/or own one-of-a-kind pieces that merge the personalities of J.Crew and whatever brand it is partnering with.
Then I saw this this video that J.Crew put out in early 2013 showcasing its Italian-made shoe collection. I was left with two conclusions:
1. I should not feel guilty for having far too many pairs shoes, a few that I also still have not worn.
2. I have the perfect but an unexpected collaboration idea that would showcase these colorful heels in a 'drinkable' way.
What about a Tea Forté x J.Crew crossover?!
In case you do not know, Tea Forté is an American tea company that was founded by American product designer Peter Hewitt. The company's mission, with its beautifully designed tall, square pyramid infusers, is to "elevate a cup of tea into an extraordinary experience for all of your senses." So when I was having myself a cup of this tea, it dawned on me that a Tea Forté drinker could definitely own a pair of J.Crew heels. This woman would appreciate the finer things in life and would take the time to have a cup of tea in her prettiest tea cup, accompanied by maybe a warm scone slathered with strawberry jam and clotted cream and would not mind spending a bit extra for a finely crafted pump from Italy. Have a beverage brand crossover may seem like a bit of a stretch but the idea was begging to be designed.
So I painfully narrowed down to five of my favorite pairs of shoes from the collection and worked away to what you see below. I will have to say the final outcome is quite charming and perhaps too adorable to drink.