September 21st, 2010 Mysagharbor.com an interview with Shea Keating of "too shea"
An Interview with Shea Keating, Artist in Residence and The New Designer Everyone is Buzzing About!
Saturday, September 25th 6-8pm
The Grenning Gallery, 17 Washington Street in Sag Harbor.
Paintings by Shea Keating to be included in an Opening of Local Landscapes.
Q ~ MySagHarbor.com:
Okay! Before I even start this interview, I have to ask about the ties ~ your too shea neckties that were included in the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards gift bags! One of the ties was a Michael Jackson memorial design, right? Tell me, how did this idea of designing neckties come about and how did you get the coveted opportunity to be included in these infamous rock star gift bags? Did you receive a lot of response to your brand after that kind of publicity?
A ~ Shea Keating:
I am a huge fan of accessories of all kinds, especially daring, or unconventional ones. While living in Alphabet City (NYC) and attending the School of Visual Arts, I would frequent thrift stores. I was always finding nifty vintage neckwear ~ it was there that the idea to revamp, refresh and recycle neckties came to be. From my love of menswear and of course Annie Hall, then came my decision to market them as unisex ties. There is nothing more powerful than a woman in a tie.
As far as the VMA gift bags go, a top executive at Viacom is a big fan of too shea and often wears his own one of a kind too shea designs, Gun & Flower (Bullets for Flowers) tie on the Red Carpet. He reached out with the opportunity thinking that theses one of a kind designs would be a perfect fit for the VMA gift bags, which go to celebrity attendees, presenters, performers and other VIPs. The Michael Jackson designs were a new addition to the too shea catalog and obviously a nod to the late, great performer, whom I have admired and been inspired by. Luckily, they were ready just in time to be included in the gift bags. To note, a portion of the proceeds from my MJ designs are donated to the Heal the World Foundation in Michael’s honor and his is solo discography is printed on the reverse side of each tie. These limited edition designs are still available for sale on my website and as well at Etsy. On that note, I was beyond giddy to be included in the infamous gift bags and got some unbelievable, exciting responses!
Q ~ MySagHarbor.com:
Okay! Now that I got that out of my system, let’s back track a bit so people know where you came from. You went to Pierson, correct? And then went on to major in Art? Where? It is so hard to have the patience to start out as a “starving artist.” What advice can you give young, creative people on embracing their dreams?
A ~ Shea Keating:
I did attend Pierson High School and credit the art program there to the start of my career path in Fine Art and Design. As far as college is concerned, I sort of sampled a few of the great art schools on the East Coast. I did my first year at The Rhode Island School of Design then transferred to Parsons School of Design to study fashion, before finally settling in at the School of Visual Arts where I majored in Fine Art & Painting.
As far as advice for young artists, it is a quite an under taking to make the decision to commit yourself to producing art, but I find that if you keep yourself engaged, inspired, and constantly creating, the journey may be long and rocky, but it is definitely fulfilling. For me it helps to have both too shea where I can express myself through fashion, and then my painting career. It’s a good balance, when one gets stale I move to the next.
Q ~ MySagHarbor.com:
In taking a close look at your portfolio you remind me of another local artist, Billy Joel. Not a bad person to be compared to! Whereas his music is so diverse, your art is as well. You create very contemporary, almost controversial handbags, to beautiful modern jewelry, to the most tranquil of picturesque paintings. Your fine art designs are on display at the Grenning Gallery, 17 Washington Street in Sag Harbor. Can you tell us a little bit about the art you have on display there?
A ~ Shea Keating:
First off, I love Billy Joel! His songbook is one of my favorites. I agree that there is quite a jump between my designs and fine art work. Part of the diversity comes from having an eclectic taste, trying it all out, and then of course where I have studied and what I have experienced. The too shea designs have more of a contemporary feel. As far as calling them controversial…Well I’ll take it! I want them to have a sort of punch, but to also be poignant. The jewelry though is a totally new and a really fun thing that I will talk more about in a minute.
With regard to my fine art, I will say that there was a definite shift in my painting style after working at the Grenning Gallery, where I was the gallery manager for three and a half years. Being exposed to more classical traditional oil paintings, I became more interested in capturing nature from life. I have since left my position at the gallery to pursue painting and too shea full time. I have been fortunate enough to be included in a few of the exhibits there including one coming up this week. On September 25th the gallery will host an Opening of Local Landscapes from 6-8pm. A couple of my new landscapes will be there on display, including my painting plein air (outdoors from life). These works have been a challenge that keeps things interesting and new.
My paintings can be seen at: www.grenninggallery.com and also www.sheakeating.com which has some of my pre-Grenning paintings, which are much more contemporary.
I recently read that you love of anything “sparkly” (me too!) In your designs, what is your current love, or main focus, at this time?
A ~ Shea Keating:
Well, my newest endeavor is my line of too shea-mless jewelry, which is “sparkly” at its finest! The process of creating the jewelry is actually kind of neat. In designing each piece, each one actually comes together gradually. I just start piecing along until things they seem to fit. I never really know what the finished product is going to look like until it’s completed. The materials I use, combined with the time it takes to turn out a necklace, adds to the originality of the line. Swarovski crystals and rhinestones are used in all aspects of the jewelry along with vintage beads and a wide variety of cabochon (a gemstone which has been shaped and polished, as opposed to faceted.) These range from opaque pear-shaped accents to really kitschy stuff (i.e. a huge pink glittery poodle!) There are two different aesthetics that the line offers so I named the line too shea-mless. It is not just for the faint-hearted, because frankly some of the necklaces are flat out monstrosities! Huge, shiny and kind of humorous! And then, on the other side you have my too shea-mless Mini’s “Glamour for Your Everyday Endeavors.” This look is much more mellow, easily wearable, and appeal to a broader audience. The line at the moment only includes necklaces, although I am working on making earrings.
All of the jewelry, like my other designs are exclusive one of a kind originals. On an even more exciting note, I am also recently engaged and planning on designing my own too shea gown for the big day, as well as some headwear. Who knows, bridal gear may be in the future for too shea!
Q ~ MySagHarbor.com
Where can you find too shea designs and what type of audience do you think would be drawn to your lines?
A ~ Shea Keating:
The too sheam-less jewelry line can be found right here at Illusions in Sag Harbor (78 Main Street) and also at Smith (28 Nugget Street, Southampton). Smith features all one of a kind creations, including a few of my vintage clutches and pieces from the too shea clothing line. I am always on the hunt for additional retail opportunities throughout unique boutiques in NYC and on Long Island that would be a good fit for too shea. All of my merchandise can also be seen and purchased at my website: www.toosheadesigns.com and on my Etsy page: http://www.etsy.com/shop/tooshea.
I would like everyone to know that the mentality of too shea is universal, meant for people from all paths. It is built on originality and the company prides itself on freshness, optimism and the desire to spread both around. too shea relies on a catalog of hand drawn designs to speak for themselves, and although the presentation of these designs varies, all of the merchandise is always printed by hand, making each piece an individual. Everything is marketed as one of a kind, because all aspects of the creating are one of a kind. Whether it is drawing the design itself, or the printing of the garment (which is done by me on a printing table the old fashion way), or piecing a necklace together.
Overall, I find that my designs appeal to one who is bold and “young” at heart. They can be one of many generations, races, styles and walks of life. Appreciating too shea is not about age, but a state of mind. My main ambition in life is to stay creative, true to myself and somehow manage to make ends meet doing it. I feel blessed to be surrounded by good people, and my parents who are my very best friends. And, although I am an import, to Sag Harbor, not home grown like some of my comrades, Sag Harbor has slowly seeped into becoming my hometown too and there’s no place like it.
July 1st 2010: "too shea" available for sale at Smith Boutique in Southampton, NY
"Hear Ye, Hear Ye" ... One of a Kind "too shea-mless" Necklace as well as Vintage Clutches are now officially for sale at Smith an all handmade Boutique right off of Main Street in "downtown" Southampton!
"Owner Alissa Smith can usually be found in her tiny, year-round shop, tooling away at the sewing machine that takes up a good deal of the space. The product that comes off the end of the big Singer is stunning: floaty camisoles and ethereal dresses in vintage silks and other fabrics, embellished with bows, lace and even re-purposed jewelry. They're the kind of pieces you'd find at a high-end boutique, but without the stellar price tags—or the mass production (you'll never see anyone else in your frock of choice). These one-of-a-kind pieces, along with funky jewelry, totes and tees, are all hand-made by Smith and a select group of local designers...."
Add "too shea" to the list!!!
Check it out:
28 Nugent Street
Southampton, NY 11968
May 28th, 2010: One Foot Fashion Show hosted by Social Element
Social Element Presents the One Foot Out the Door Fashion Show featuring young up and coming designers.
This winter three SE reps will be climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro in order to help raise money for our non-profit partner Kid-too-Kid. (visit www.kid-too-kid.org)
Glock Dead Gorgeous
Made on Long Island
Point & Shoot
Come out and support our young designers, kilimanjaro trekkers, Social Element, and Kid-too-Kid.
After Party will be held at East Hampton Point, following the runway show...21+
January 15th 2010, Critic Choice Awards VH1 President wears "too shea"
At the 15th Annual Critics Choice Awards held January 15th, 2010 in Hollywood it appears that VH1 President was spotted wearing his signature "too shea" neck tie as he mingled with a plethora of celebrities on the red carpet. Check him out with Kristen Bell: Life.com
November 10th, 2009 MTV.com- too shea in the Video Music Awards gift bag
too shea was lucky enough to be included in this years VMA gift bag, with a number of great brands and products! Needless to say we were stoked and honored.
We contributed a gift certificate for a hand printed too shea tie! All the attendees were able to pick one out of four original hand drawn too shea designs, and have them printed on a 100% Silk unisex tie!
Click the link below to see the table of goodies offered, and how you could enter to win one of these gift bags yourself!
(Take notice of our Gift Card at the bottom! )
A "too shea" spotting at the VH1 Divas After Party
September 17th, 2009
When the final curtain came down at the VH1's Divas Live event and the last lady sang the night was just beginning. There was of course... the "after party".
Tom Calderone, the president of VH1, donned a too shea original neck tie to the post party! His snazzy neck-wear was captured in a shot with Divas host Paula Abdul.
View the photo below courtesy of LIFE.com and Kevin Mazur/Wire Image.
Thrillist, August 27th, 2009- too shea Michael Jackson Series
So new they're not even on the webstore yet, these ltd-edition, hand-printed-in-Sag tees depict MJ in a moonwalking profile, a gravity-defying lean, and a crotch-grabbing pose, wherein Michael roughly cups "James Westfall" and "Dr. Conrad Murray".
Purchase an MJ shirt by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org; check the rest of her line at toosheadesigns.com
check it out here: Thrillist
*27East:Young designers making their mark on, what else?, t-shirts*
December, 2nd 2008
by Pat Rogers
Ever wonder what teenage artists coming up through the ranks are doing? A Sag Harbor clothing store, LABL, a hip shop carrying new lines by several young designers who live on the East End, may provide a window in. A few are still in high school. Others are in their 20s and are trying to make a splash with either edgy clothing or fine art, or both.
But first, you have to find the store. LABL is in Sag Harbor Village but so far off the beaten path that a map seems a necessity. From Main Street, the store is accessible after penetrating the Shopping Cove, where Black Cat Books, Java Nation and a few other shops make their home.
Head down the back stairs and make a left into a small brick courtyard, and there you’ll find LABL. An almost secret entrance from the public parking lot tucked behind Main Street also leads to LABL.
To make a splash (and encourage people to find them), the store holds afternoon pizza and soda parties with music when a new local designer unveils his or her clothing line. Last Saturday, there was an opening for Qendrim Hoti. The Southampton teenager launched a new line under the name Gryle (short for Grimy Style), which includes six t-shirt designs so far. More designs are under development.
Several of Mr. Hoti’s fine art paintings are perched on the clothing racks that hug the store walls. As an artist, he is represented by Chrysalis Gallery in Southampton. As might be expected, Mr. Hoti is happy with the attention his clothing and artwork have been receiving lately. He graduated from Southampton High School last year and decided to devote a year to his art before going to art school.
His artwork depicts urban landscapes marked up with graffiti, and both his art and clothing designs reflect his attraction to rawness and imperfection in the world. His art has been exhibited at the Southampton Artists Association’s Student Art Show and he won an honorable mention for his painting, “Brooklyn Subway,” at the Parrish Art Museum student show.
Mr. Hoti makes his own marker paint to make the colors more vibrant. A native of Kosovo, he moved with his family to Canada when he was 2 years old. The family moved to Southampton in 2003.
Including clothing design as part of his artistic output was a natural move, Mr. Hoti said. While he was attending Southampton High School, kids bought t-shirts he designed through word of mouth. Deciding he was onto something, Mr. Hoti pared down some of his designs so they would visually pop from the clothing and the Gryle line was born. www.gryle.com Most of the designs are silkscreened, but one is “discharged,” which means the graphic is bleached onto the shirt.
Another t-shirt line, Tribute, was founded in a similar fashion. Pierson High School senior Sam Guest starting drawing on clothing with magic markers in sixth grade, about six years ago. Other students starting buying shirts with his handmade designs on them. After a few years, he found a silk screener to re-create his art on clothing. It was then he realized the designs needed to change so they would have more visual punch.
This summer, he developed new designs and Tribute was born. Mr. Guest’s designs are geo-patterned, with graphics inspired by patterns found in nature and the industrial world we ;live in, he said. Tribute, which has ;four designs in the current lineup, had a trunk show at LABL in October to launch the new line and label.
When Tribute hit the shelves at LABL, Mr. Guest joined several other local designers who had already gotten into the game. The first line welcomed by LABL was Edgewood Goodies, color-drenched t-shirts designed by former Bridgehampton High School classmates Jake Patterson and Max Spooner and Jake’s brother, Tripoli Patterson. The design team has at least three designs in LABL.
The trio sold t-shirts in area stores before launching their new venture this summer. www.edgewoodgoodies.com Jake is a painter who had a show of his self-portraits at the Bridgehampton Historical Society last winter. He and Mr. Spooner graduated in June. Trip Patterson is an independent curator who has mounted art shows in the Bridgehampton area for the last several summers.
LABL also carries handmade printed designs by Too Shea Clothing. Created by Shea Keating of Sag Harbor in 2006, the one-of-a-kind designs are printed on shirts and ties. Also a painter, Ms. Keating graduated from the School of Visual Arts and also studied at Parsons School of Design and Rhode Island School of Design. Her clothing designs feature a combination of recognizable objects that have a universal quality, she writes on her website, www.toosheadesigns.com
LABL’s Local section also stocks designs by Dan Bailey of East Quogue and Burgermeister NYC created by Danielle Lebosco of North Haven and New York www.burgermeisternyc.com. Ms. Lebosco is a visual artist and a member of the Arts 4 collective of Sag Harbor. Mr. Bailey is a percussionist who recently released a recording. www.danbaileymusic.com
LABL owner Rob Hess said most of the area designers know his son, David, and have approached the store with their clothing. Not every designer has been accepted, nor is knowing the Hess family a requirement, he explained. Mostly, the designs have to be edgy with styling that could be classified as risky. They have to catch his eye and fit with the urban-streetwear vibe the shop is known for.
Carrying the clothing of local designers is a way to encourage area talent and give the new store a boost in terms of community, Mr. Hess said. Arts 4 staged an art show at the store over the summer. The designers spread the word about the store to their networks and encourage their friends and supporters to attend the trunk shows.
“We want to have a place where ;they feel comfortable—a place of their own,” Mr. Hess said. “We’re notin the business of selling local designers. We sell clothing we believe in.”
For many of the designers, it’s their first taste of the business world. This means talking about markups and appropriate pricing. Most of the t-shirts cost between $30 and $50. The local designers who garner the most success bring a following with them to the store, Mr. Hess said.
“It’s definitely a two-way street,” Mr. Hess said. “It’s good for us to attract kids to the store and they get their designs out there and a little bit of fame. We have a trunk show opening for all of them. It’s fun. It’s a good way to kick off the line.”
LABL is located at 78 Main Street, Suite 11, under Java Nation in Sag Harbor. The store carries Levis, flannel shirts and casual clothing by WeSC, Accomplice, 3 Sixteen, Shades of Greige and others. For information, call 284-3377 or visit www.LABLNY.com.
"Fashion Plate"- too shea in Dans Papers July 11th, 2008
Issue #16 - July 11, 2008
by Tony Vargas
*In the Hamptons we have some of the most talented artists on the globe. It was refreshing to meet some of those who create one-of-a-kind creations and promote how fabulous we are to help us stand out. Bravo to them all!
Mark Finley's 20 years in advertising, working on other company's brands, made its mark on him. His skills as a designer and talent as an artist merged perfectly into something that was long past-due in fashion: The modernification of the jacket, the final frontier in men's wear.
"too shea's" Pink Man v.s. Machine t-shirt - $51.25 Size Large
Chomps Blue"tie - $92 and above
(The white shirt is Dan's - you'll have to fight him for it).
*Available for sale at:
LABL 78 Main Street,
Sag Harbor, NY 11963
(under Java Nation)
And on-line at www.toosheadesigns.com*
Sag Harbor, born and raised, Daniel Graham Crawford is a part time waiter at the Beacon restaurant and a full time party animal. He is the one and only exclusive male model for "too shea," which he aspires to help expand over seas. too shea was created in 2006, by Shea Keating, a Sag Harbor resident. The company's designs are all hand drawn originals, mostly made up of a combination of easily recognized, well-known objects, giving them a universal quality.
The pairing of designs is done with the intent to cross barriers and even relay a bigger, stronger message than what meets the eye.
The printing is also all done by hand- needless to say too shea is a "hands on" company. Each piece is an individual in one-way or another, making every item an exclusive, and one of a kind.
The "Fabulous Hamptons" collection
Mens & Girls Tees $20
Golf shirts $30
(Collection also includes Hoodies, Underwear, Bags and more)
For orders or questions: Danielle Franz . 631.276.6780
William Falkenburg sporting "Fabulous Hamptons" tee-shirts that he designed.
The Fabulous Hamptons can be found at:
2102 Montauk Hwy
Bridgehampton, NY 11932
78 Main Street
Sag harbor, NY 11963