I didn’t get the hang of Instagram for a while. Having been obsessed with photography for a long time, I initially saw it just as a way to share many of the weird and wonderful photos I take every day with the wider world. I mean, why would brands use it? You can’t even post a clickable link in the caption like you can on Twitter, so surely it’s a rubbish marketing tool? Fast forward a couple of years and I realised how wrong I was! If I like an image enough, I’ll easily click through tho the bio to check out a company’s website or shop, and creating a strong visual brand image whilst connecting to your potential customers on a more personal level means that these new customers are often more loyal.
Now I use Instagram to discover new brands through recommendations from stylish friends and also via the many fashion bloggers I follow. Slowly this circle has grown, as I spot ‘regrammed’ images from these people’s friends and discover even more people whose sense of style I admire. Anyone who knows me will be unsurprised that I follow quite a few women with a penchant for bright coloured plastic jewellery, including the wonderful kim0006, melodymae, leopardprint72 and hellocactus, through whom I found out about the beautiful handmade brooches of Tangerine Menagerie. The brand is based in Seattle, Washington, and the Instagram feed caught my eye straight away as it is crammed full of photos of super stylish women wearing their pieces to accessorise some pretty impressive and colourful retro outfits.
Each piece is designed and carefully hand assembled by Julia Carnevali from plexiglass, lacquer and resin with each layer hand-painted to achieve a wonderful 3D effect. Her portrait brooches are utterly amazing – check out the incredible likeness on the wonderful Rita Hayworth, Anna May Wong and Edith Head! – and each piece is limited edition. There’s always something new too as, although popular designs may make a comeback, no design is continually produced so you need to grab ’em while you can. After pondering buying one for most of this year, I finally decided that the Alice In Wonderland inspired white rabbit brooch had to be mine.
A few weeks ago, the brooch arrived safe and sound from the US, packaged in a lovely display tin with a little bit of bubble wrap for protection while in transit. I have to admit to being a bit worried about the cost as, with the pound being weak at the moment plus the added cost of the custom charges, it worked out to be the same price as a vintage Lea Stein brooch. However, I can most definitely say that Julia’s brooches are worth the money! The attention to detail is amazing and the quality is superb. The brooch is signed on the back and fastens with a sturdy pin, meaning that my rabbit feels secure on everything I’ve fastened him to so far. I have yet to work out the perfect outfit to photograph him on in order to properly do him justice so, for now, you’ll have to make do with this pic of me that I snapped in the fitting rooms at H&M yesterday. The light was shockingly bad, so I’ve gone a little over the top with the Snapseed filters in order to make it look halfway decent (seriously, I was so yellow I looked like a Simpson’s character!). I got the Boden dress from a clothes swap and I thought it looked rather Alice-like with the shoes and my new brooch. I shall definitely be trying him with lots of my winter wardrobe when it comes out of hibernation too.
I’m utterly thrilled with my Tangerine Menagerie brooch and it’s got me a whole load of compliments already. Really nice to have an accessory that brings a big smile to people’s faces! I highly recommend checking out the rest of the designs on her Etsy shop.
UPDATE: Here’s a better photo, paired with a Vivien of Holloway skirt and a Collectif cardie.