Designer Spotlight: Angela Kreitlow of Really Lovely
Really Lovely designer Angela Kreitlow with one of her customized chairs.
Image courtesy Really Lovely
Angela Kreitlow has been in and around the Twin Cities fashion scene for years as both a hairstylist (for Hairpolice salon and countless local fashion shows) and model. With the recent launch of her brand Really Lovely, she has added the title of “designer” to her resume. The collection of handmade creations and customized, upcycled vintage decor and wearables mixes a 1970s vintage Southwest-inspired aesthetic with bright pops of color. The remixed vintage decor and neon-drenched dreamcatchers would be perfectly at home in the bedroom of a Coachella-attending, modern-day flower child with a legion of Pinterest fans.
I chat with the designer about the inspiration behind Really Lovely, how one of her designs got the attention of the Cartoon Network, and what to expect at this weekend’s Really Lovely trunk show at Uptown shop B. Resale.
How would you describe your aesthetic? It seems like sort of a colorful take on Southwest style.
I am definitely not a minimalist. "More is more" is something I have often said in regard to my love of pattern and texture. It does seem to have a sort of Southwestern vibe right now; I have mostly been inspired by my Native Mexican heritage. Central American textiles are so playful—amazing, bold color combinations and patterns—so it's hard not to be happy when working with that type of material. I am just so in love with trying different combinations of color and texture to turn something that would otherwise be garbage into a treasure.
How did you get inspired to start making things?
I have always been artistically inclined, but as an adult, I didn't seem to ever have the time to really get into it—other than a few paintings here and there for friends. I was a very busy and successful hairstylist for eleven years; at the top of my game. But, a few years ago, I experienced some really hard times personally and some major shifts in perspective. I was suddenly able to open myself up to new creative avenues—because I made that time important to me, I allowed myself to value it again because it brings me so much joy. I started out restoring vintage and antique furniture and then I made a few dreamcatchers as Christmas gifts last year, and I was surprised and delighted that people wanted to buy them from me!
Really Lovely's Adventure Time chair, before and after
You got a lot of attention, via Reddit, for your Adventure Time chair. How did you come up with the idea to customize that chair, and chairs in general?
That Reddit thing was nuts! I had no idea it would garner so much attention, I was blown away. I am always looking for chairs that sort of have a face shape to the back—I like to make them look like Dia de los Muertos sugar skulls. My nephew had just introduced me to Adventure Time—it's a kid's cartoon but absolutely one of those that can be fully enjoyed by adults as well. I was positively giddy when it suddenly struck me that this chair appeared to have been made for this! It looked so much like the main character from the show. After a few quick sketches and a lot of elbow grease, I helped the Adventure Time chair achieve its ultimate destiny: to be internet famous!
Did you get any reaction from the Adventure Time people about the chair?
A few days after the initial post on Reddit, a photo of the chair was posted on the official Adventure Time Facebook page run by Cartoon Network. They called it, “The most mathematical chair in the history of chairs!" More than a million people have seen and liked something that I designed and created with my own hands, and I still am just in complete awe of the power of the Internet. A lot of people have requested to buy it, or one like it, but it's already been sold. I'd love to make more, the response from Adventure Time fans has just been so overwhelmingly positive.
You're also creating a lot of similarly colorful dreamcatchers. What about dreamcatchers do you love, or what do you love about making them?
I started making dreamcatchers as a way to use up all the vintage doilies and antique lace that I had collected for years. I have always loved dreamcatchers—my house is full of them. I really believe in trusting your intuition and listening to your inner voice of knowing, including gaining knowledge from your dreams. I feel that dreams can be really important symbolic messages from our inner guide. I love making something new and beautiful out of things that were once considered "scraps” or "outdated." I consciously create every dreamcatcher with good intentions, meaning I make sure that I am in a great place energetically so that they reach their destination with good vibes. But even if you don't believe in that stuff, they still look really pretty and make great gifts.
Do you think your background in hair inspire you in any way with Really Lovely?
My background in hair has given me an amazing sense of color and balance when it comes to design. I also do a lot of woven textiles, so I utilize my braiding skills quite frequently.
What can people expect to see from you at this weekend's trunk show?
I'll mainly have "giftables" at the trunk show for the upcoming holidays, so it will be a selection of dreamcatchers, leather earrings, lace skull appliqués, home decor, and a few pieces of ultra-colorful furniture. And I am excited to add some re-worked clothing to the mix as well. It started out as an experiment with "upholstering" some vintage boots and it opened up a whole new world of opportunities. My love of art and obsession for shoes has come together very nicely. I will also be joined at this show by Mickey Iluebbey, an amazing local artist and close friend. Mickey's art is mainly inspired by the beauty of strong, empowered women, bursting with color, pattern and texture—a perfect visual accompaniment to the items I'll have on display.
Where do you see Really Lovely going from here?
I see Really Lovely as sort of an all-around design endeavor. I am strong believer in using what you already have. I also believe that your home is your sanctuary. Being able to help people use what they already have to make their home their sanctuary is a goal for next year. Decorating has always been a great love of mine, and I would like to add that to the mix. Maybe someone will let me upholster their walls!
Really Lovely Trunk Show: 1-4 p.m. Sat., B. Resale, 2613 Nicollet Ave., Mpls., 612-824-1292, bresale.com.
See examples of what you might find at this weekend's sale below:
Really Lovely dreamcatcher
Really Lovely seashell necklace
Really Lovely hand-painted vintage boots
Really Lovely dreamcatcher
Really Lovely shell necklaces
Really Lovely painted & reupholstered vintage chair and dreamcatcher
Really Lovely dreamcatcher
Really Lovely embellished vintage boots
[All photos courtesy Really Lovely]