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Saturday, December 29, 2012

Designer Q&A: Julie Punelli

Meet Julie, the designer behind Magpie. She is talented, fun to speak with, and has a great eye for vintage finds! You can find her designs at the shop. Read on to find out what she thinks of Des Moines, her favorite trends, and how she defines style!

Introduce yourself  
I am Julie Punelli, and I started the Magpie line a long time ago.
How did you get started?
What I am doing comes out of a long suffering need to redesign things, which really kicked in when I worked in a vintage clothing store - so many little improvements you can make to salvage a piece and get it back out there in circulation. I enjoy original design and have some great materials. I guess I'm a little shy about it, being self taught & all.

What are you up to now?

Presently I am going through my collection of potentials (projects, things to upcycle, materials) and am making some decisions to free up space in my work area and my mind. I'm sure it's all in a hoarder's recovery handbook somewhere.  It feels great so far.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Forward Thinking

It's time for sequines, schmazzle, dazzle & shine!  The last round of holidays are nearly behind us & it's been great.  If you've been strategic, you may even have something left of your cookie stash, but I ask  who is not ready for a new year?

We've all been on both sides of the leading questions "are you ready to... get back to school,  for that new little sister,  are you ready for Christmas??" all cruelly stoking the embers of stress within us.

New years is different though...are you ready for a new start?  A clean slate?  For bright and shiny happy times?  Heck yessssssssss.  Happy New Year to everyone!!

 Rock in the New Year with anything from Girl Friday & you'll be stepping in style!
From mirthy to earthy Be Joyful sets the tone on a high note :)

Sunday, December 23, 2012


Waited until the last moment? No problem! Weve got you covered. Get unique AND local gift ideas for your loved ones now! Check out these great stocking stuffers and stop by the shop to ensure you get everyone on your shopping list.

 Florence Oliver Coin Purses --> $20

Holiday Hours

We know many of you have some last minute Christmas shopping to do and we'll be there to help you! We are open today from noon to 4pm and Tomorrow (Christmas Eve) from 11 to 2pm. We have so many unique locally made gifts for you to choose from.

Here's one more gift idea for that difficult person to shop for on your list... Acanthus Apparel scarves are cozy, stylish and affordable at only $22 each. There are many designs to choose from.  They would make great stocking stuffers! 

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

SHOP VITAE: Another Round of Gift Ideas

Time is winding down for the holiday season. Get unique AND local gift ideas for your loved ones now! Check out these great stocking stuffers and stop by the shop to ensure you get everyone on your shopping list. 

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Acanthus Kids

This is the beginning of something great! We are carrying the Acanthus Kids line.  The is the first hoodie and it's available in size 6 month through size 6.  More styles and designs will be rolling out in 2013 with the official launch and photoshoot in the Spring of 2013.

This is available at Vitae and on Etsy,

SHOP VITAE: Even MORE Gift Ideas

Here are more unique AND local gift ideas for you to give your loved ones. Check out these great stocking stuffers and stop by the shop to ensure you get everyone on your shopping list.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012


We’ve got more unique AND local gifts for you to give your loved ones. Check out these great stocking stuffers and stop by the shop to ensure you get everyone on your shopping list.

  Little Pretties Retromantic - earrings --> $8 to $10 

Monday, December 10, 2012

Accessories for Guys

Here are some stylish hints for HIM from the crafty collection at Vitae:

Leather cuffs and pendants  from Decadence incorporate vintage finds and left behinds.

Grab a knit cap from Whitley Craft Works and a City Bag or Jersey scarf from Alternative Apparel.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

SHOP VITAE: Gift Ideas

Looking to give your loved ones something unique and fun for the holidays? Vitae has the perfect gifts for the season! And we’ll be rolling out ideas like crazy to ensure you get everyone on your shopping list. Take a look at these great stocking stuffers and stop by the shop to get even more gift ideas. 


 Dani Awesome – Earrings, hair accessories, and necklaces --> $14 and up

Friday, December 7, 2012

Things Made From Things...

Well, some people can't leave well enough alone - and we're glad for that!  Many of our artists at Vitae up-cycle found items into something new and fetchy.  We love that about us.  Resourcefulness is such a wonderful quality.  Indeed, it's something we can all appreciate.

Regina Smith of Esparto Studios, based in Fort Dodge, Iowa spends her days putting words together in the newspaper business.  In her off time, she's taking them apart - deconstructing books to source materials for her artwork.  That's a nice balance, and it shows.  There's a clarity to her work that is undeniable...(literal even), which makes for some nifty gifting, as you can convey what it is you wish to say  - down to the word, in fact.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Designer Q&A: Sarah Johnson

Meet Sarah Johnson, the designer behind Rock N Reconstruct. She is talented, creative, and thoughtful about her designs. You can find her clothing available for sale at the shop. Read on to find out Sarah’s definition of style, trends she finds overexposed, and her future views on Rock N Reconstruct.

Introduce yourself 
Hey! I'm Sarah! I design and produce the label Rock N Reconstruct. Nice to meet you!

How did you get started?
It all started with my love of vintage clothing. I would find the coolest t-shirt or dress, but it would be too big or to long so I would start cutting things down and hand sew or tie pieces of fabric together to make it more girly and my style. Eventually I got a sewing machine and would try to make the outfits I could picture in my head. Eventually everyone would ask me where I got the stuff I was making and it just kind of evolved from there. Living in Los Angeles and seeing firsthand how fashion is produced and working with other young designers helped me learn the business and become a designer.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Donate for a Discount

We love this time of year for many reasons  and celebrate in many ways.  One tradition we have here in the East Village is the Holiday Window Decorating Contest in which the shops "compete" in a judged event.  The votes have been cast and we'll see what the outcome will be, but there's more to it than that.  This year the theme is "Shine A light", and we were encouraged to highlight a charity of our choice.  Anyone that knows Vitae knows that we loves us some puppies (and kitties too)!  Anyone that knows us a little better is aware of our respect for the no-kill shelters in our area and the great work they do.  Furry Friends in West Des Moines was our unanimous choice, and we are so pleased to "shine a light" on them!

Our good friend Amber Hathaway designed and installed our adorable window display, and we may very well win.  What's important to us at this point though, is to not only raise awareness of the Furry Friends Refuge, but to offer tangible support.  (Here's where YOU come in!)  Please bring in an item form the list above, and you will not only be making a big difference in the lives of some little ones, but you will get a Vitae discount certificate that you can use at the time of your donation or anytime in December.  We will also gladly accept cash donations for them.  If you have a heart to - they are also looking for volunteers, and if you are looking to should definitely look to Furry Friends.  

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Designer Q&A: Melissa Speridon

Meet Melissa, the designer behind Pink Revolver. She is great to talk to, funny and down to earth. You can find her jewelry and vintage inspired designs at the shop. Read on to find out how she got started, what she thinks of Des Moines, and what she’ll be up to next with Pink Revolver.

Introduce yourself
My name is Melissa Speridon. I am from Minnesota, grew up there. I went to a 2 year school in Minneapolis and took the design program there. I have always loved fashion. I have always aspired to do something artistic and make it into a career. I fell into that program and it taught me the basics of everything I needed to know to get started. It really groomed people into becoming small designers. All the professors there were doing something within the industry. I came to Iowa a few years later and fell into a vintage store. That kind of molded my design ideas and helped me find out what kind of niche I wanted to go into. Later, I met Julie and business ideas kept coming up. We kept pushing each other and it just kind of happened. It evolved from a tiny booth in the east village to our store, Vitae Design Collective. 

How did you get started?
I came up with the label first. Everything I like to do has a rough but feminine edge. Sometimes it is a little loud, but essentially wearable, nothing too crazy. I remember sitting around with my boyfriend and came up with the label name. It just made sense to me. Pink Revolver. It just came from there. I love a lot of fabrics from the 60s and 70s. I love that whole era of freedom, the movements, and experimentations. I was always drawn to that. That is how my designs are influenced. 

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Instant Heirloom

There's something about spoon rings.  Just watching people notice them in the store validates that again and again. - they become so  fascinated by the craftsmanship, the detail, the density.  Even the 20-somethings that don't know the whole "spoon ring" phenomenon of their mother's era, or  that these are made from silverware at all,  seem to realize that they are holding a story.  It's a story we love.  Something useful becomes something beautiful...a keepsake with a head start has an added value that's hard to explain....but we don't have to, do we?  We regularly stock beautiful rings, bracelets, earrings and necklaces crafted by Dank Artistry of Ames, Iowa.

Friday, November 23, 2012

It's a Pretty Little world

Little Pretties is a delightful line of intricate charm and whimsy - which is a word I don't typically use - ever!  Hear me out though, it's not your mama's whimsy.  It's more like Grandma's, or the kind you per sued when you were 6 and found a magical tin of vintage buttons or discovered that there were sweet little violets hiding in the grasses of your lawn one day.  Little Pretties trinkets invite us to pause and remember why we crushed on that freckled boy and used up all of our matchy stationary...they're just sweet and we like them. 

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Designer Q&A: Andrew Kingsbury

Meet Andrew Kingsbury, the man behind Decadence. He has a cool sense of style and is amazing at taking old objects and making them into new treasures. You can find his leather accessories at the Vitae shop. Read on to find out Andrew’s definition of style, his views on Des Moines and what he has next for Decadence.

Introduce yourself J
I’m Andrew Kingsbury. I am a graphic designer full time for Iowa State University and in my spare time I do jewelry making. I have been doing it since 2004 informally and on a professional basis since 2010.

How did you get started?
Originally I was just making things for myself and friends. I was interested in leather craft. I was buying belts from the thrift store and started making them for myself. 

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Designer Q&A: Dani Ausen

Meet Dani Ausen, the designer behind daniAWESOME. She is exciting to talk to, fun, and creative. You can find her accessories at the Vitae Design Collective shop. Read on to find out Dani’s favorite trends, her top style essentials and what she will be up to next!

Introduce yourself
I’m Dani. I’ve always been a person who enjoys making things and being busy. That is what I do. I am always busy and always making something.

How did you get started?
I started making accessories four years ago, and I have been selling at Vitae for three years. I was in an Urban Outfitters 4 years ago and first saw feather accessories. I was really disappointed how expensive they were for the quality. I thought I could do better. I made hair clips for my friend’s wedding and people kept asking where they came from and that’s how I got started.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Koi Story: Acanthus Spotlight and Giveaway

Head over to the Koi Story blog and enter to win an Acanthus Apparel bee hooded scarf. There is also a designer spotlight featuring Acanthus. They answered some questions about how Acanthus got it's start and where they get inspired. Check it out and good luck with the giveaway!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Now at Vitae: Acanthus Fall/Winter 2012

All month new Acanthus Apparel has been trickling into Vitae. Stop in and get yourself a cozy new scarf, hoodie or t-shirt. Stay tuned in November for even more goodies and maybe a holiday sale.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Drake Community: African Art Expo and Fashion Show

Hello!! Intern Nehwoen here. Looking rather awkward in my attempted model pose above! I hope you have noticed my posts (tagged as intern Nehwoen Luogon) Apologies for taking so long to introduce myself. I am a senior marketing and finance major at Drake University and I hope to go into fashion marketing one day. I love having the opportunity to work with Vitae Design Collective this semester. It has given me great insight not only to fashion in general but to the wonderful and talented fashion community right here in Des Moines. Although I am a marketing and finance major, this past Friday, I was able to further showcase my interest in fashion. 


Through the Drake African Students Association, our executive board put on an African Art Expo & Fashion Show. We displayed different pieces of art from around the continent of Africa, African inspired artwork, and casual clothing embellished with African fabric. I hope you enjoy the photos from Friday night. I will continue to do my best promoting the amazing shop that Alyssa, Melissa and Julie have created. I love Vitae Design Collective and I hope you do too!!

Friday, October 26, 2012

Halloween Pup Parade

Boo!!  It's time for the annual Spooky Paws Parade, a fun and much anticipated excuse to don your costume and dress up your pup for all to see.

The event is this Sunday, October 28th at 2pm right here in the East Village, and goes from E. 3rd to E. 6th by way of  Locust St.  

So leash up little Sparky Boo Boo and join in the stroll, we'll be watching for you as you pass by Vitae.

There will be on site signup at 1:15 at the corner of E. 3rd & Locust, or you can log onto to pre-register.

Also, this Sunday is the final E. Village Sunday Market Bazaar of 2012 over on E. 5th, from noon to 4pm & we'll be open too :)

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Get Your Fall 2012 Trends at Vitae!

Several fashion websites have got you covered on the latest fall trends. Luckily, WE’VE got you covered on how to get those trends closer to home! Catch some of the fall 2012 trends mentioned on with a unique and local spin right here at Vitae.  

Patterned Skirt
Patterns are a great way to keep your fall wardrobe fresh and fun. Try out this Pink Revolver skirt - $42  

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Acanthus Apparel Fall/Winter 2012 Style Guide

Here are some of our new Acanthus Apparel photos by Figment Art Photography. They were all styled by Mayim Yael and will hopefully give you some ideas on how to wear your Acanthus Apparel. Some of this is available right now at Vitae and on Etsy and the rest will be available soon. 

Photography: Figment Art Photography
Hair: Amber Hathaway
Stylist: Mayim Yael
Models: Oxana and Josh Ansah
Designers: Joshua and Alyssa Bowers

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Pink Revolver and Little Red Riding Hood

     Yeah Halloween is right around the corner but that really was not on my mind when I thought of the concept for this photo shoot.
      I design the Pink Revolver line and for several fall/winter seasons I have been playing around with these flowing draped little numbers. Each becomes the equivalent of a potter with his clay pushing and pulling the material ultimately letting go control and molding the fabric in the direction it wants to go. Its fun! 
      I let the softer side of my designers eye come out in these pieces and though the story of Little Red Riding Hood was a perfect "story" to emulate. 

      Working with MG Photography was the perfect photo artist to bring on board to really capture what I was thinking to convey. And the Blomberg couple Joelle and Jake being always in love were the perfect couple to act out the story. 
~Thanks to Maggie Gulling{Photography} , Devan Elbel{hair},  Alexandra Leigh Benson{makeup},
and Jake and Joelle Blomberg for modeling