5 Things We Love About Steampunk

We love the steampunk aesthetic and the community around it! If you’re not familiar with steampunk, it’s a subgenre of science fiction that imagines a world powered by steam — usually a Victorian-era world, but as you’ll find out in a minute, there are endless variations. This literary genre has inspired costumers, cosplayers, musicians, prop makers and more. Conventions around the world give steampunks a place to gather, show off their latest creations, shop, hear their favorite bands, drink tea, and generally escape the mundane world for one powered by steam and imagination.

Here’s just a few of the things we love about steampunk.

Steampunks Are Makers

The steampunk community values handmade items. Many steampunks make their own costumes and props, and what they can’t make themselves, they often buy from other artists.

And as if that’s not enough, many makers in the community share their techniques freely on the internet, as shown in this fun tutorial for a top hat.

Steampunks Are Green

A lot of steampunks love to recycle, upcycle, and repurpose in the creation of their costumes and props. From taking a ho-hum blazer and turning it into a sweet jacket to assembling a ray gun from random bits of hardware, they’re always looking at things others would discard and asking themselves “How can I salvage this?”

In a world that treats so many things as disposable, it’s refreshing to see an entire community built around giving old things new life, and keeping perfectly good materials out of the landfills. In the process of learning how to remake things, you can also learn valuable skills that will help you repair the non-costume items in your home and give them a longer life, too.

Sakkara Clothing & Costume belt made with upcycled textile scraps.

Steampunk Has So Many Permutations!

Although the steampunk literary genre started out with stories that imagined a Victorian England powered by steam, people took that idea and ran with it. Now you can find steam-powered adventures taking place in every corner of the globe, in imagined worlds, and in a post-apocalyptic future. Some steampunk stories rely only on science, while others add in magic.

In its alternate history variations, steampunk can serve as a lens to look at some of the problematic issues in our past, such as Imperialism, colonization, racism and slavery. Many steampunk novels feature anarchist heroes, or at least an element of civil unrest. Others serve more as a fun romp through an imagined past, and can be an enjoyable escapist read when the real world becomes too much to handle.

Gail Carriger’s books feature airships, parasols, vampires, and werewolves.

Steampunk Music Rocks

The funny thing about steampunk music is that it’s a genre bound together by a general aesthetic and subject matter, and not any sort of musical style. As such, no matter what your tastes, you can probably find a steampunk band that appeals to you. There’s steampunk rap, steampunk metal, and steampunk earworms, like this popular track from Seattle group The Nathaniel Johnstone Band.

Steampunk is Fun for All Ages

Although some steampunk conventions will have adults-only events like burlesque revues and absinthe tastings, over all the genre is great for the whole family, Kids can really get caught up in the sense of wonder engendered by floating airships and talking automatons. We love to see whole families dressed up and enjoying an event together.

Steampunk can be an opportunity to introduce your kids to the joy of creating a character and making their own costumes and props. It can also be used as a lens to explore history and culture. If your children enjoy a specific alternate-history steampunk book or movie, it can serve as an excellent springboard for them to learn about how that period in time played out in our own world. Ask them to explore what was the same between the book and reality, and where the author took some liberties. What a great learning opportunity and thought exercise for older children.

Of course, the really little ones just look adorable in tiny boots and aviator’s caps.

This steampunk baby carriage posted by Zoluna on DeviantArt is a thing of beauty.

If you love steampunk too, we hope you’ll come see us at Steamposium 2017 here in Seattle! The event is happening October 27-29 and there’s a great lineup of guests and events, plus vending (that’s where you’ll find Sakkara Clothing & Costume).

Why Local and Handmade Matter

Shop local. Buy handmade. The rallying cries of the small business. You see these phrases as memes on social media, as stickers in the window of your favorite independent book store. But sometimes, you may question why you should spend a little more, and go out of your way, when the local big box store is just so convenient.

Today I’d like to argue that buying local and handmade not only benefit your community, but in the long run it will often save you time and money. Additionally, working with a small business or artist is usually just more enjoyable than dealing with a big corporation.

Shop Local

If you want to see your neighborhood and city thrive, shop local. Multiple studies have shown that when you support local small businesses, more of your money stays in your own community. The most commonly quoted numbers are that for every $100 spent at a local business, $68 stays in your local economy. On the other hand, if you spend $100 at a non-local business, only $43 dollars stay in your local economy. And that’s for businesses that have a store front in your community. How much more of your money is leaving your city if you’re purchasing from an on-line only company?

Economic impact of shopping local

To see the full-size graphic and read more statistics, check out Why Shop Local? on SuperSavings.com

But the benefits of shopping local go beyond just the economic impact. Local vendors better understand local needs.

Have you ever had to buy a jacket in the Spring? Often it’s still a little cold here in the PNW as late as May, especially at night. Maybe something happened to your favorite jacket and you suddenly need a new one, or a visiting friend didn’t pack one and is freezing. So you head down to the local big box store to pick up a cheap jacket, only to find out that the clothing department is a sea of swim suits and short-shorts, because as far as the retail world is concerned, it’s summer and everyone is having fun in the sun.

Of course if you pop into a local clothing store, they probably have hoodies and scarves displayed year-round. They know that sometimes you need a little extra layer at night, especially if it rains, even in the middle of summer.

Buy Handmade

If you want to take it a step further, don’t just support a local business, support a local artist. Handmade goods are made with love, and they’re made to last. When I spend hours cutting out and sewing a garment, I don’t want it to be worn-out and unfashionable in three months. I want it to be something you’ll treasure for years.

An artist or craftsperson’s reputation is entwined with their work. As such, we strive to design things that look good, work well, and stand the test of time.  We pay close attention to materials and construction, to make sure that they are up to our standards of quality.

This dedication to quality shows in the longevity of handmade goods. To use my own work as an example, I have customers who are still wearing pants they bought from me seven years ago. And even with daily wear, a pair of my cinch pants lasts for an average of about three years.

Black Organic Cotton Pants, made to last

One thing that local business owners and artists have in common is that we’re tuned in to what our customers really want. A large business takes a macro view of things — they analyze trends, look at sales numbers from stores, maybe do some focus groups.

I talk to my customers.

I listen when you say “I love these pants, I just wish they came in green” or “This is my favorite skirt for the summer, have you considered making a heavier one for winter?”

Of course I can’t fulfill every customer request, but I can pay attention to themes. If I’m hearing the same ideas over and over again, I know they’re worth exploring. And if I’m hearing the same complaints, I also know that it may be time to retire or redesign a product.

Artists and craftspeople pay attention to how our products are integrated into your life, and we plan accordingly. We make yoga pants that aren’t see-through, shirts that don’t disintegrate after three washes, skirts that can go from work to happy hour.

The Human Connection

What local businesses and artists have in common is that you develop a real, human connection with them. Even if your favorite local boutique has several employees, you probably still run into the owner from time to time. Even if you buy from your favorite artists on Etsy instead of face-to-face at a craft show, they’re still the one answering your messages and hand-writing a note to go along with your purchase.

By contrast, big business often feels faceless and soulless. Even if you have a great conversation with your cashier at the big box, there’s no guarantee you’ll see them next week. Big business is driven by profit and share holders, not by meeting the needs of customers and communities.

As corporations grow bigger and bigger in an endless series of mergers, that human connection gets harder to find. But it’s right there if you look for it, in your own community. Take the time to find that local business or independent artist who really speaks to your style and ideals. I promise it’s worth it.

5 Reasons to Attend Hexenfest

September is already almost halfway over, which means Hexenfest is just around the corner! If you’re still on the fence about whether to attend, allow me to give you five excellent reasons to buy your tickets today.

5 Reasons to Attend Hexenfest

1 – Fall in Wine Country. Hexenfest is held in Sonoma County, where the average highs for late Sept/early October are in the upper 70s, and lows hover around 50. Sounds perfect for a festival, right? Warm, inviting temperatures during the day and the crisp bite of fall at night. And let’s face it, Sonoma County is a beautiful place year-round.

2 – I’ll be vending. Not only will I have everything that you can find on the website, but also some great designs that haven’t been posted online yet, like my velvet ruffle mini skirts. Don’t forget to also check out the sales rack. One of my JamBallah customers found a great sample of a discontinued style of pants… what will you find?

Teal velvet mini skirt by Sakkara Clothing & Costume
Teal crushed velvet ruffle miniskirt. ©2017 Sakkara Clothing & Costume.

3 – Live music and dance performances all weekend long. Since its inception, Hexenfest has been dedicated to featuring the best pagan and mythpunk bands, as well as dancers who draw on mystic influences to create their art. Here’s a taste of what you can expect from event organizer and musician Sharon Knight

4 – Workshops! It’s not just music and shopping all weekend. There’s opportunities to learn, create, and grow. For instance, Sydney Miles (aka Belladona Atropa) is offering a beginner-friendly belly dance class called “Sensuality in Dance.” What an incredible way to get in touch with your body! Check out the event schedule to see what other workshops and rituals might appeal to you.

5 – Participate in a clothing swap with people who actually share your taste. Sakkara Clothing & Costume is dedicated to slow fashion and keeping textile waste out of our landfills. What better way to ensure that the clothing that no longer quite fits or doesn’t match anything in your wardrobe goes to a loving new home? Best of all, anything that doesn’t get swapped will be donated, so you won’t even have to pack it up and take it back with you.

If that all sounds as good to you as it does to me, then I hope you’ll make plans to attend. Hexenfest is happening September 28th-October 1st 2017 in Geyserville, CA. It’s being held at the Isis Oasis, a truly magical location. You can get lodging on-site, in the cabins or camping. Day passes are also available if you’ve got other accommodations (like if you’re lucky enough to already live nearby).

What part of Hexenfest are you most excited about? Let me know in the comments or on Facebook.

The Big Move

Have you heard the news? I’m in Seattle now!

Yes, that’s right, after years of living and working in Portland, I’ve decided to move north.

Moving is always a big undertaking, but even more so when you’re not just packing up your personal life, but also your business. Moving a studio requires going through years of fabric and supplies and deciding what makes the cut to come to your new studio — and what needs to go in the destash bin!

Destash fabrics

While this is a big change for me, it shouldn’t impact my customers much. I’m still in the PNW, and it’s still influencing my design aesthetic. I’ll continue to do my favorite Portland events (I was just at JamBallah NW, in fact). I’ve just moved a little further up the road.

In the meantime, I hope that my Seattle-area fans will share with me their favorite local restaurants, shops, and events! Help me get to know my new home a little better. Leave a comment here, on my Facebook page, or touch base with me at Steamposium in October.

Join Me at JamBallah NW!

JamBallah NW Banner

This weekend is the fabulous JamBallah NW festival in Portland, OR. This celebration of Middle Eastern dance and American fusion is held at the Artists Repertory Theatre, a beautiful venue in downtown Portland. There will be great workshops all weekend, afternoon showcases and evening gala shows, and of course, a stellar vending area!

Silver Gloves by Sakkara Clothing & Costume.
Silver fingerless gloves with button detail. ©2017 Sakkara Clothing & Costume.

I will be there with all of your favorite Sakkara Clothing & Costume wares, including some new items not yet available on the web. My Velvet Ruffle Mini Skirts and Fingerless Gloves are great costume or classroom accessories for the upcoming Fall and Winter season. They’re available in a variety of fun colors, and as always, I’ll have sizes XS-3XL!

Teal velvet mini skirt by Sakkara Clothing & Costume
Teal crushed velvet Ruffle Mini Skirt. ©2017 Sakkara Clothing & Costume.

In addition, I’ll have some gorgeous fabric and costuming supplies from my studio destash! This is the perfect opportunity to pick up a few things if you want to make some costuming to match your ready-made Sakkara Clothing & Costume pieces.

Here are a few of my favorite JamBallah NW tips:

-Parking can be a headache, especially if the Timbers are playing (thankfully it looks like they don’t have a home game that weekend). Give yourself extra time to find a spot if you’re driving!

-The best way to get to the Theatre is to take the MAX Light Rail. Thank you Portland for having great public transportation.

-The Artists Repertory Theatre is air-conditioned! The vending is free and open to the public. The afternoon showcases are only $5, so it’s a good way to cool off, be entertained, and find some nice additions to your closet even if you’re not a belly dancer.

-Don’t miss the evening shows! Show up an hour before the doors open to enjoy a glass of wine and some light snacks at the theatre bar. It’s an elegant evening of top-notch performance by the event’s teachers and professional dancers from around the country.

Black velvet mini skirt by Sakkara Clothing & Costume.
Black velvet Ruffle Mini Skirt with black pinstripe ruffle. ©2017 Sakkara Clothing & Costume.

Will I see you at JamBallah NW this weekend? Let me know in the comments or on social media!

Flame & Ocean

Teal and orange make interesting friends, don’t you think? 🙂

After a fantastic event like JamBallahNW wraps up, the best place for a designer to go (mentally) is a mood board. Every designer/artist has their creative process, and for me sometimes it is to create colorful fantasy lands that I’d love to live in.

I look for vivid, impactful images in colors that don’t represent the palate of what you might have seen in the #Sakkara booth, and then I happily geek out by arranging them just so. The benefit to playing with different color combos, and imagining life in the Flame & Ocean world, is that sparks will ignite towards new designs.

Want to be the first to know when the new stuff drops? 😉 Sign up for our newsletter!

-Kim

#Etsy #Summer #Inspiration #newstuff #creativeprocess

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The first time I ever saw a bellydancer

The First Time I Ever Saw a Belly Dancer

It’s no secret that I love clothes and everything about designing them. The fabrics, technique, and the awesome people I’ve worked with along the way…it’s all very exciting. Despite the hard work and inevitable bumps that are a part of being self-employed, it’s the passion for a great garment and a happy wearer that keeps this party going. Whoo hoo!

So, what started this whole love affair with clothing and design? I hope you will enjoy this multi-part blog about how it all began.

I want to tell you about the first time I ever saw a belly dancer.

Continue reading The first time I ever saw a bellydancer

Reigning Down on Oregon

It’s time to start thinking about Reigning Down on Oregon, because it’ll be here before we know it! So, what’s RDOO?

A blurb from their website sums up the event nicely:

Do you like dancing?  Do you like music?  Do you like to eat, drink and be merry?  Do you love to laugh? Do you enjoy spending time with your friends and family doing what you love?  Well then, look no further! The sixth year of Reigning Down on Oregon is here! 

We’ve got a jam-packed retreat in store for you and we are so excited to head into the woods for our sixth year of art, friendship and fun in our wooded sanctuary of West Salem. 

Sakkara Clothing & Costume will be there to kick off our Pacific Northwest vending tour! Since this is one of our first events of the season, you can expect a great selection, beautiful new products, and focused, personal service.

Do take a moment and check out the RDOO website. They may have a few spaces still open (and it’s super affordable). Come join us in the woods!
rdoo2015 final

You’re Invited to 3rd Coast Tribal

We’re so excited this is coming up! Have you got your tix yet? 3rd Coast Tribal is the largest tribal belly dance festival in the central USA. We want to see you there!

Come on out. The vibe is welcoming and fun. There are plenty of kickass teachers to study with, and wonderful evening shows to occupy your dreams! Top it all off with excellent, on-site restaurants and great shopping, and you’ve got an event that combats the post-holiday slump.

We’ll be there. Wanna know what we’re hauling in our vardo? Lots of fabulous things like the new Lux Skirt, Deluxe Ruffle Pants, plenty of our new tops and more! We’ll try to pack every length and size that we can for you, but if you have any special requests please let us know! Save on shipping fees and save more time for your dance by pre-ordering. Details will be posted soon on the 3rd Coast event invite or email info@sakkaraclothing.com.

That’s all for now, lovelies. Enjoy your holidays and HAPPY SHIMMIES! xo

3rd Coast Tribal

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