Below are two of my best published writing clips. I hope you enjoy reading them as much as I enjoyed writing them. If you would like to view additional articles, just email me your request with the address I've provided on my "About Me" page, as well as your reason for needing to view additional pieces.
La Mode Dallas (March/April 2009)
Jade Stone, Designing Detective
by Brittany Baugher
Savvy, Dallasite boutique owner with a flair for fashion has a knack for solving mysteries...and lands herself in one hilarious predicament after another.
“So, do you have an answer for me, darlin’?”
Jade Stone looked up from her caramel macchiato, lips still pressed to the rim of her white porcelain mug. She, and the man towering above her, Troy Jensen, were in front of her favorite place in the world, The Corner Café, as he obnoxiously awaited an answer to an all too obnoxious question. Calmly, Jade sat the coffee down on the café table in front of her, and brushed her blonde bangs out of her eyes. At 23, she had owned her boutique, Jade’s Treasures, for one year now, having used the inheritance her dead grandmother left her, to open it. The money, along with her B.S in Business Administration, had given her the knowledge she needed to be an astute business woman. Jade’s Treasures was a hip boutique, with the most modern statement jewelry (some of which were Jade’s own designs) and beautiful gemstone pieces in Dallas. You couldn’t find a place quite like it anywhere in the city. Because of Jade’s success, she had many stalkers…er,suitors. Much to her chagrin, she attracted men like honey attracted flies. Troy Jensen happened to be one of those flies.
“Troy,” Jade acquiesced all too sweetly, “What answer would that be?” He paused for a moment and gave her a knowing look. Jade stared into his green eyes for a few seconds longer than she meant to, until the realization hit her. Suddenly, she surprised even herself as she grabbed the lapels of his Marc Jacobs designer leather jacket and pulled him down to where she was sitting. The sudden motion caught him off guard and sent him stumbling to regain his balance. “Hey! Watch the coat, sweetheart!”
“Listen here,” she hissed “If you are referring to that pathetic proposal of marriage you offered me the other day as I stood in line for a cup of coffee, then, first of all, you have awful timing. Second, it’s not normal! Besides, no woman in her right mind would take a backseat to a man’s designer wardrobe.”
Troy looked at her incredulously as he regained posture, and straightened his collar, indignantly. “You’ll be sorry you did that, baby.”
Jade rolled her eyes. Troy’s father may be wealthy, but that was no substitute for having manners and a little couth. She absolutely couldn’t stand his arrogance. He grabbed his brief case and started to saunter off, a defeatedlook haunting his features.
“Sure, Troy. And by the way…” She paused as Troy turned back to look at her. “I’m not your baby.” She grinned smugly.
He snarled and muttered something under his breath. Something that wasn’t age- appropriate material for the children sitting at the table next to her with their family, Jade could only imagine. She finished up her strong brew, gathered the orders she was working on for the boutique, and started the mile walk to Jade’s Treasures. Sure, she could drive…if she had a car. No matter. She enjoyed the exercise anyway. There would be plenty of time to buy a car once she had saved up enough money from the business…and it would be a nice one. Oh yeah. Maybe a sports car. Or a BMW.
Jade rounded the corner of Main Street , passing by her favorite little pastry shop, Sweets for my Sweet, and contemplated going inside for just a little nibble. But that would defeat the purpose of walking, she thought, and groaned inwardly. Maybe next time. Hmmmm. She could just taste that decadent chocolate éclair—Jade’s thoughts were interrupted as she walked up to the door of her boutique. Something was wrong. Terribly wrong. She could sense it, instantly. The door was ajar and from the looks of things, the knob had been tampered with.
How could that be? she thought. Jade looked around at all the passers-by, and knew there was no way that an intruder could have broken in without someone else noticing. Slowly, she creaked open the front door and stepped inside. She knew her way around that shop in the dark, and stealthily crept over to the light switch. Light illuminated the roomy boutique as she flipped the switch, and she turned around to view the damage. Jade couldn’t believe it. Nothing could have prepared her for the view. All her beautiful displays of designer earrings, necklaces and bracelets, were spilled onto the floor like debris from a category five hurricane. She groaned out loud.
“Great! This is just great,” she shouted, confident that no one outside the shop could hear her. “How in the world did this happen?” she asked the air around her. A rustling noise made its way from the back stock room to her ears, and Jade froze in terror. Heart pounding, beads of perspiration forming on her forehead, she grabbed the nearest thing to her hand on the counter. A pen.
She did a doubletake.
“Are you kidding me?” she half-whispered, half-hissed, and frantically looked around for something else. Anything. Some kind of weapon she could use to defend herself. Suddenly, the door to the back room edged open little by little, and Jade held her breath.
(to be continued in the May/June issue of La Mode Dallas.)
Interview (La Mode Dallas, March/April 2009):
La Mode Dallas gets the inside scoop from Danny Sullivan, internationally-acclaimed designer, founder and creative genius behind Irregular Choice, a hip line of shoes, that are just – well, irregular.
Brittany Baugher: Where did you get the inspiration for Irregular Choice?
Danny Sullivan: Basically, my parents were designing crazy Irregular shoes right through the 70's, 80's and early 90's. A lot of my inspiration comes from product they were doing, and really I am just moving on what had already been a design concept that they had created back in the 70's and 80's in London.
BB: What is your definition of fashion?
DS: Fashion for me is anything creative, something that is different but still relevant to what is going on. To design a crazy pair of shoes is easy; but, to design a fashionable pair of shoes that hits the trend, but moves on with the design, just enough that doesn't scare people away, but can maintain creativity, is difficult.
BB: How have your travels influenced the designs of your shoes?
DS: I believe anyone that gets a chance to travel will find diversity in their thinking going forward. Whether that is seeing the beauty of the Italian countryside, or being humbled by the poverty in 3rd world countries, you are always going to come back with a different concept of the world and its vastness in people, creativity and history. For me the greatest influence is seeing the creative history that a lot of countries have, nonemore so for me than China and Japan, where their creative history is everywhere and so diverse and different from ours. I have found a lot of inspiration from these elements.
BB: How many different continents/countries have you been to and which ones?
DS: I haven't been to the Pole's or Africa. I am very interested to see Africa, and I hope to experience it one day, as to the Pole's, they are too cold for me!! Within the other continents I have been to, I have traveled through a lot of them, be it Vietnam, Malaysia, Eastern Europe, or Scandinavia. The only country I am guilty of not traveling through is my own. UK is so small in comparison and I have no excuse not to see a lot more of it. I would think that I have seen under 10% which is unforgivable when you think you can drive to all these places in just a few hours!
BB: Some of our readers would like to know what new designs of shoes/handbags are set to come out in 2009? Can you tell us a little bit about them?
DS: There will be a real tropical mood for SS09 – parrots especially! And a lot of Matador touches – La Guitara shapes and rich colour. I’ve incorporated a lot of handcrafted bleached out wood to the wedge heels for next season.
BB: Dallas is known for its trendsetters. How do you think the Irregular Choice line fits in with fashionistas and individuals who desire to set their own trends?
DS:The good thing about Irregular Choice is that I design so much product that it moveson quickly. You would be very unlucky to find someone else wearing the same shoes as you when you go out. This gives you a chance to be more individual and make a statement. On top of that you also have the creativity that is Irregular Choice that you won’t find in other brands.
BB: Do you have any advice for those in our audience whose dream career is fashion design?
DS: The only advice I can give is to try and stay true to what you believe and what your ethos is. Although it will change as you grow and you and your creations develop, you need to start with a clear idea of what you are and your identity. You will unfortunately have to adapt it in life, and this is OK, as people around you won’t always understand it, and you need to have certain people on your side to be able to develop/manufacture your designs. But you have to find the balance of what is 'selling out' and what is keeping your identity. That is a line only you can draw, and if you have that line in mind of how far you are willing to go, then hopefully you will never be diluted too much. As you build, you can develop more into the areas that are trulyyou, as you have made that clear picture in your mind from the start.
BB: How have your parents inspired and supported you in your career choice?
DS: Being that my parents had already been in the trade and doing the same type of design and product, I thankfully had/have their support, knowledge and experience, and they guided me in the correct way through the mine field.
My mother still makes all my samples for me in Taiwan, and my father looks after my production. They are the people I can trust around me, and without them and their knowledge I wouldn't be as far along as I am now.
I was lucky to be bombarded with this business from the day I was born, whether that was sitting round the dinner table over hearing them talk about business, being dragged around the factories and exhibitions as a kid, working as a kid in their stores on the Kings Rd and Covent Garden, or traveling the world with them when they were working in America, Japan, Europe, etc. It all gave me a great basis to develop from.
BB: What is a normal day like for you? What do you do for fun?
DS: My day can consist of absolutely anything. I am lucky that I am not 9-5, 7 days a week behind a desk. Whether I am traveling, or just out at meetings, it is diverse. I only actually get a few weeks a season to design and put the collection together, the rest is unfortunately made up of building the business.
And for fun these days, my wife and I are expecting our second child. So any spare time, I spend it with them, which is the best thing in the world!
BB: How many Irregular Choice shoes do you own?
DS: I couldn't tell you how many, but I have bin bags full of them in the attic. Some I haven't even worn or were samples that I only developed for myself.
BB: Do you think Irregular Choice is as popular with the men as the women?
DS: The men that know and buy Irregular Choice love it as much as the women. We have a much wider audience on the ladies side, as they are obviously more diverse and are willing to experiment more. There are still a lot of men that need to know about the Irregular Choice men’s collection, and more and more are finding us every day.
BB: If you could leave one quote at the end of your life for the rest of the world to remember you by, what would it be?
DS: Well on my grave stone I want it to read 'Gone to lunch, back soon'!
BB: Irregular Choice has skyrocketed from being a small brand in Europe, to a well-known and respected name featured internationally. How does it feel to see your original designs being worn by well-known actresses/fashionistas?
DS: I just love seeing anyone in the shoes. It is obviously nice to see famous people wearing them. But I have seen mums and daughters wearing Irregular Choice down the street together, and over 60 year old women wearing them, and that brings a big smile to my face. I love it that there are so many people out there that want to be different, and may not be able to show it or afford it in everyday life, but can be irregular in the shoes they wear and make a statement.
I just still love seeing people wear my shoes and that they love being irregular and making a statement.