Once And For All Clothing

I started getting really interested in fashion four years ago when I started my blog and I bought into the trend-salad…I wanted EVERYTHING trendy and I wanted to wear all of it at once.  I look back on some of the photos and cringe because it sometimes looked like I was wearing a costume.  Now that I’m a little bit older and my style has evolved, I’m gravitating towards classic and well-made pieces.  Basic pieces that are elevated and expertly crafted.

I’ve been following Molly and her clothing brand Once And For All for a while now.  She’s a local designer who crafts stunning pieces that aren’t trendy, but completely classic and will last a lifetime.  Molly recently sent me the Nya II blouse and oh my god, can I just tell you how beautiful this top is!  I had to do this beautiful piece justice, and something about it totally inspired me to do an artistic photo shoot.  I collaborated with two of my best friends- Ryan Kell with his photography and Chuck Tingley with his artwork as the backdrop, and I think this turned out to be one of my favorite shoots to date!

I asked Molly a few questions about her business and her inspiration, and here’s what she had to say!

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When did you start your business?

I started by hand making and re-purposing vintage garments in 2011 under the name Once Vintage. I sold on consignment at local boutiques, at local markets and on Etsy. I switched gears and launched into manufactured wholesale product under the name Once And For All in 2014.

Have you always known that fashion design was something that you wanted to pursue?

I had always loved fashion since I was a kid but I did not think that it would not be the right fit for me as a person. I was more interested in art and business. My degrees are in Marketing and Graphic Design and I am an oil painter. I fully switched gears into fashion while I was working in the advertising field in New York where I fell in love with the fashion scene. In retrospect I had always had a preconceived notion that fashion was just fluff, but I came to realize that it really was art. I think that was the reason I opened up to the industry.

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How did you come up with the name Once And For All for your brand?

I was just looking for a segway name from Once Vintage, my previous business, that felt somehow related. I wasn’t sure where the businesses were going to go, or if I was going to keep doing both, so I wanted something to keep them together. I thought about using Once since it was the only word usable for the new concept and I thought about the phrase “Once And For All”. The name easily lent itself to a lifestyle brand, it sounded sure of itself, and it felt inclusive all of which fit my requirements. I then thought further about the connotations of the term “Once And For All” such as; an ending, a definitive decision, completion or something of conclusive in nature. This led me to think of the philosopher Seneca’s quote: “Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end”. I am a Christian and my faith is very important to me, so it felt like there was an expression of my faith in that concept.

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What do you love about owning your own business?

I love the involvement in so many different areas. I am of a decidedly dual nature mixing the creative and business, so its vey fulfilling to utilize both sides. My day-to-day activities are varied and include: research and development, design, technical design, sourcing, fabric testing, pattern making, manufacturing, quality control, photo direction, creative direction, sales, graphic design, web design, e-commerce, marketing, social media, PR, accounting, customer service, and all of the organizational and administrative stuff I have to do daily. The design aspect is my favorite, but I often think that if I was only a designer I couldn’t do all these things I love to do and I would miss them.

What are the challenges that come with owning your own business?

Well, its really hard sometimes. It can be isolating, you can get down on yourself, and you can get in your own head a lot. Plus the self discipline of time management, creating and maintaining your timelines, and pushing yourself to grow can be really hard. I have to work really hard at staying balanced through self care and a positive mental attitude.

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Where do you draw your inspiration from?

I concept in depth each season like a sociologist on my subject matter. The inspiration is different each time and comes about organically through my current exposure to art, history, music, geography, current events. Wherever I am feeling inspired or compelled, I follow. I exhaustively research, write and pull photo references as I sketch my ideas. After I let myself be immersed in my concept, I source my fabrics and do my tech drawings and this is when start to edit down the big ideas to whats manufacturable and sellable.

What do you love most about Buffalo?

Truly, my family. Also the ability to go into the country or be on the water in various directions in 20 minutes.

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What’s currently on your playlist?

I am listening to my vinyl collection a lot at the moment, my next collection is very 70’s inspired so my listening habits are heavy on the singer songwriter babes of the 70’s.
Joni Mitchell – Blue
Carol King – Tapestry
Bonnie Raitt – Bonnie Raitt

What are your plans for the future of your business?

Currently I’m working on expanding my wholesale sales and e-commerce. I would like to make larger collections on a larger scale of production. Future expansions could possibly include a manufacturing facility or a retail location.

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Thank you so much, Molly, for answering my questions and this beautiful top! Make sure to check out her website Once And For All for more incredible designs!

Under The Sea

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I present to you another post in my Buffalo Public Art project, and boy is this a fun one.

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This beauty comes to you from one of my good friends Chuck Tingley, who I’ve mentioned before in the past…check out my post on his recent art installation HERE!

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So, real talk, the “For Lease” sign is pretty  much ruining my life, but please try to look past it to see the complete badassery (is that a word?) that is this mural.

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I’m dying over the diver guys and the tentacles…so good.  And as a complete and unplanned bonus, this mural totally matches my hair!

Find the location of this guy and plenty of other stunning murals in the city on my Buffalo Public Art page.  New works being added all the time!

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Daily Diversions by Chuck Tingley

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It’s no secret that I love art.  Having lots of artistic friends, I get super jealous when I see someone create beautiful pieces when I’m having a hard time trying to draw a stick figure (I can never get the legs to come out the same length!)

One of these artistic friends is the insanely talented Chuck Tingley.  I’ve known Chuck for about, I’d say, a hundred thousand years.  I used to work retail with him back in 2002…now I feel old.

Fast forward a few years, and he’s absolutely made a name for himself in the Buffalo art scene.  He’s been published in Artvoice, The Public, and Spark Magazine, had solo exhibitions at the Olean Public Library, El Museo Gallery and High-Temp Fabrication.  He’s also been included in group exhibitions at the Burchfield Penney Art Center and the Erie Art Museum.  He has executed numerous public murals in Western New York, including that beautiful mural at Artpark (yeah, THAT one) and most recently Art Alley in Niagara Falls (read my post about Art Alley HERE!)  This year he was also honored by Arts Services Initiative of Western New York as a Finalist for the “Artist of the Year” Spark Cultural Award.  Wait…I’ve never been nominated for “anything of the year.”  I think I received an award for “Student of the Month” in middle school once.  Not really the same, though.

Chuck doesn’t only work on the large-scale mural spectrum.  He loves to create smaller “notebook sketches.”  According to the artist, “These sketches started as a diversion from my everyday painting routine and soon because the catalyst for an open and fluid exchange of thoughts and ideas, while creating some permanence to what would otherwise be forgotten.  Working on a smaller scale than my other paintings and murals also allowed me to execute the drawings with a sense of immediacy and intimacy as I delved into the visual world of my own personal nostalgia.”

Chuck’s notebook sketches will be on display starting Friday, October 7th at Studio Hart on Allen Street in Buffalo.  The opening reception runs from 6-9pm.  If you haven’t had the pleasure of seeing any of his pieces in person, you definitely won’t want to miss this.  The exhibit runs through October 29th.

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