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Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Designer Q&A: Joy Hockensmith

Meet Joy, the designer behind jewelry line Be Joyful. Her fun and unique rings, earrings, and necklaces can be found in the shop. Read on to find out more about how she got her start, her favorite trends,  and what she has next for Be Joyful!

Introduce yourself

Joy Hockensmith

How did you get started? 
I started making jewelry when I was young. My Mother had an extensive jewelry collection and would ask me to fix the broken pieces. Sometimes pieces could not be fixed and that left me with the challenge of making them into something useful so that they can continue to be enjoyed. I learned silversmithing at The Art Center.

What are you up to now? 
I just finished a bunch of “love” necklaces for Vitae’s Valentine’s promotion. I’ll be making polymer flowers to add to pieces I’ll have for spring.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Shining Through

 In jewelry design, as with many things, in comes down to balance - and Maude Wren has got it down.

 Crafted by Alicia Held Morris, Maude Wren pieces tell a story.  In the context of keepsakes and tokens,  they speak  of glamour, beauty and strength.  With this new collection, more so than ever, we are captivated.  We are listening.


Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Designer Q&A: Josh "Jay O" Ansah

Meet Josh, the designer behind clothing line Jaytees Apparel. His comfortable, eye catching, and conversation sparking t-shirts can be found in the shop. Read on to find out more about his favorite trends, personal style, and what he has next for Jaytees Apparel! 

Introduce yourself 
My name is Joshua Ansah, but I also go by Jay O. It’s a nickname my friend gave me a few years ago and it just stuck.
How did you get started?
Jaytees Apparel started off with me making some shirts for an Ansah classic basketball game I put together. The shirts turned out really cool and became popular. I decided that we could sell these, and it helped me come up with other ideas. I made those shirts and then I made a few other shirts that were kids’ shirts, Sneak’R Prince and Princess. (I love sneakers. I collect them, probably since 7th grade. I love wearing collectable sneakers and vintage Jordans). Those shirts sold really well, and I wanted to see what it would really take to make it into a business. I spoke with a few colleagues in the business world to find out what it took to legally start a business and have a legitimate business with the state, retail, and sales tax. I had the opportunity to speak with Mike Draper of Raygun and found out his story and got advice on what to use and what to avoid and how to help my business prosper. I had never run my own business before, I didn’t have a lot of money before, but I decided that if I was going to do it, I wanted to do it right. There are so many creative avenues to explore when making graphic t-shirts. You can create designs that mean something. It takes a little while for me to come up with designs and lines for my clothing and apparel designs within those lines. I never want to just come up with something that I wouldn’t want to wear myself! I want every single design that I come out with to be relevant and make sense.  It’s hard to come up with something that is relevant, understandable and people want to wear. 

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Styling With Sweats

You don't need to shed your glamour when putting on the layers. Here are some examples of sweats with sex appeal from Acanthus Apparel (top 2) and Lovan (bottom photo).  Find these styles and more at Vitae Design Collective.

Friday, January 18, 2013

What's In The Shop?

Come into Vitae to take a look at the new, amazing local designs and vintage finds we have just for you!

Above is a vibrant, red dress from Pink Revolver. It’s perfect for dressing up and pairing up with opaque tights to combat Iowa winters!

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Designer Q&A: Cara Veeder

Meet Cara, the designer behind accessories line Little Pretties. Her cute earrings, necklaces, and bracelets can be found in the shop. Read on to find out more about how she got started, her favorite trends and what she has next for her Little Pretties line!

Introduce yourself
My name is Cara Veeder. I'm 33 years old and was born and raised here in Des Moines. I studied Graphic Design at Minneapolis College of Art and Design from 1998-2000, and I got a BA in Graphic Design from Drake University in 2003. I'm a self-proclaimed design addict and jack-of-many-trades. Aside from making jewelry and accessories for my "Little Pretties" line (and designing all related branding, packaging, and displays), I also love to explore other artistic avenues by creating illustrations, hand-lettered alphabets, graphic design (both for print and web), writing short fiction, crafting with papers and fabrics, knitting, photography, and sewing. I'm also obsessed with researching trends and innovations, mainly in the design and fashion worlds. I love finding new ideas and inspirations for color palettes, materials, shapes, and other artistic elements. I keep countless journals and sketchbooks full of various project ideas and new things I'd like to try!

How did you get started?
From early childhood, I loved to draw, and as I grew older, my drawings grew smaller and smaller, full of almost tediously ornate, complex patterns and lines. I began to form a love for the tiniest details and for adding in little unexpected "surprise" elements that might not be noticed at first glance (like my own little secret message!) By my early teens, I decided to experiment with a new medium, to see if my attention to detail and interest in working on a small scale would translate well to making jewelry. In middle school, I started making simple beaded jewelry for myself, my family, and a few close friends. Then, in 8th grade, my school held an Art Fair and allowed students to display and sell their artwork. I jumped at the chance to market my earrings, bracelets, and necklaces, and they were a hit! I had found my niche! Over the years, I continued to hone my jewelry-making skills and perfect my techniques, getting plenty of practice by working at Bead Creative, a local bead store, for several years. This long and winding road ultimately led to the birth of Little Pretties, my line of one-of-a-kind jewelry and accessories, in early 2008. My jewelry has evolved immensely since those early days of bead-stringing, and my pieces will continue to change as I learn new techniques, discover new inspirations and influences, and experiment with new ideas.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Justified. Functional Jewelry!

Cupid has come early - we're head over heels in love with this necklace scarf from Downtown Bow Brown!  Also available in graduated Blues and rainbo stripe :))

Monday, January 7, 2013

Artist Call for Bubble Ball

Dreams come true at the Bubble Ball.  This event raises a lot of money for Childserve and locally benefits kids with Autism.  It's also an invitation to come and play with yards and yards of Bubble wrap...oh, and to join the Circus too. That's the theme this year, and it's wide open to interpretation. 

The much anticipated charity event will take place at downtown's Capital Square on the evening of April 6th and it typically sells out quickly.  At $125. a seat, attendees are treated to cocktails, dinner and who knows what kind of extravaganza as local artists bring it all to life before their eyes.  

Last year the theme was "storybook".  In the picture above you can catch a glimpse of Amber Hathaway's team with their take on "Where the Wild Things Are", and it was beyond fabulous.

The organizers supply the theme and all the Bubble Wrap you need.  Beyond that, they are very supportive and hands off as you materialize your contribution.  p.s., working with Bubble Wrap as a medium definitely levels the playing field - you don't even need to be an "artist" sets you right outside of your box and into a kind of "bouncy house" world where duct tape and imagination rule.

So DO THIS! Whether individually or with some pals, let's have a circus.  For participating, you will receive a ticket to the event (donate it if you like), lots of support and recognition and a great excuse to get popping.

A kick off cocktail party and supply distribution will be coming up soon.  You can email us at or check our facebook page for updates as we receive them.  

Saturday, January 5, 2013

What's In The Shop?

Stop by Vitae today and check out the amazing local designs and vintage finds we have just for you!


Above is a vintage pastel mix featuring a pin-tuck knit dress, oversized wool coat and a (not vintage) crochet chevron necklace.


Friday, January 4, 2013

Say YES to Pastels

Yup, Pantone agrees with me.  While recently going through my materials, I came across a crazy/Springy print skirt stashed into a time capsule tub to be opened on some future date.  Well, my horoscope said the future is now & by golly if that pastel mash up isn't looking fine! 

Footnote: We're not talking about your faded Easter bonnet pastels, nope...dig your high heels in a little deeper & give it a good twist, there you go... welcome your Spring 2013 rainbow!