One of the best feelings in fashion is wearing a piece that has been made by hand… especially when you have met the hands that created it. There’s something empowering about knowing the story behind the garment you’ve chosen to wear. Fortunately, communities all over the country are starting to believe more in the power of small businesses and local artisans. This movement is creating a space for artists to realize their dreams. St. Louis has incredible creators who are making products worth noticing. One of the most exciting brands making a splash on the scene is Argaman&Defiance.
Argaman&Defiance is the creative genius of girl boss, Lydia Crespo. Her brand creates bedding, apparel, and accessories that are cut, sewn, and dyed by hand. Lydia is a St. Charles native who studied at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Upon graduation, she received the James Nelson Raymond Fellowship, which helped her start her business. Though she spent several years growing her brand in Chicago, she has recently relocated to St. Charles, where she works from her studio inside the Foundry Art Centre. She is currently working to build her brand in St. Louis and online, but her work can already be found in over 50 boutiques around the country. Argaman&Defiance also has designed for major retailers like Urban Outfitters, West Elm, and Target.
Argaman&Defiance’s products include beautiful silk scarves and cozy items like sweatshirts, ponchos, and robes. Each garment is lovingly designed, using techniques like natural dyeing and fabric painting that make the piece as unique as the person wearing it. I am telling you, her work is beautiful! Every item is quite versatile and can be styled in a lot of different ways. Items range from about $35-125. That is well worth the cost for the fine materials and detailed labor that goes into each garment.
This month, I was given the opportunity to collaborate with Lydia at Argaman&Defiance. She asked me to demonstrate some of my styling ideas with her garments as well as write a review of the products. I was able to recruit the help of my family to show body and age diversity with the products too. We had a great time sharing ideas, and my nieces enjoyed both modeling and getting behind the lens. Here are some of the amazing garments we got to try…
One of Argaman&Defiance’s flagship products is the Marble Fleece Crew Sweatshirt ($58.) These shirts looked amazing on everyone in my family, from my young nieces and nephew to my parents. I am not normally a fan of the tie dyed look, but I can honestly tell you, I love this sweatshirt! The color choices are beautiful and each shirt is completely unique, giving you the chance to choose a color story that speaks to you. It’s super cozy and can be styled in a lot of different ways. I loved it paired with a pink wool skirt and a jean jacket for work! Though the shirt is only offered in adult size XS-XL currently, customers may request different sizing. For my body, I would probably ask to have one made in an XXL in the future.
The Raw Silk Infinity Scarf ($54) is available in several different finishes and colors. Unfortunately, the scarf just ran a little short to double it up on my body. Sometimes, on a plus sized figure certain accessories just don’t work. It would be an awesome addition to your wardrobe as a layering piece with a smaller frame. (My niece sure looks adorable in it!)
The Raw Silk Blanket Scarf ($88) was my absolute favorite item in the collection! The scarf I tried had a large hand stamped print. It is absolutely gorgeous. It’s also available in a speckle and a windowpane print. The scarf is light-weight enough that it can easily be paired with a sundress for summer, or looks perfect with a jacket and jeans for the fall.
The Raw Silk Ringer ($35) is the most versatile item in the whole collection. The scarf is designed to be tied around the neck. It looks great as a pop of color over a plain tee for the summer, or as a layering accessory with a jacket for the fall. I think it also makes a nice headband, either tied over or under your head.
The Fine Silk Flaco Scarf ($68) is another really versatile piece. The fine silk feels delicate and the gold splatter paint gives the scarf a shimmer that is perfect for a girl who likes a little extra shine. It can be worn as a wrap with a dress-up look, wrapped around the neck for a little everyday shimmer, or styled into a necklace for something really unique. This scarf just feels like something special.
The Casual Kimono ($68) is an amazingly warm and cozy cape. I would seriously live in this thing in the fall and winter! The fleece lining is very soft and the hand painted window pane print is beautiful. Even on a plus sized body, the kimono is really roomy. (However, if you are tiny like my nieces, the cape becomes a cocoon.) This cape would be beautiful dressed up for holiday photos, a perfect accompaniment for a day at the pumpkin patch, or just your go-to accessory for staying snuggly at home.
The Argaman&Defiance studio is a really cool space, overlooking the Missouri River. It is a working studio and there is paint splattered everywhere, which only adds to the charm. On occasion, the studio offers make and take workshops , where customers learn how to create custom gifts on their own. A couple of the upcoming workshops include rug making and wine bottle bag dyeing. I am looking forward to taking advantage of the classes and learning something new!
The garments that Argaman&Defiance creates are unique and wonderful. I love that every piece is one of a kind and comes straight from the designer’s heart. Each scarf tells a story of its own and each shirt makes a statement. Support local and stay cozy by shopping this amazing brand. Why buy something mass produced when you can wear a true piece of art?