Athens Style: Grinning Mule

Editor’s Note: As the holidays are fast approaching, the crew over here at My Athens would like to remind you of some of the awesome boutiques around town where you can #shoplocal for everyone on your Christmas list! One of our favorite picks is men’s clothing store, Grinning Mule located at 1738 S. Lumpkin St. Check out our story on the shop from this past spring and get to shopping!

Words & Photos by Steven Patterson.

One of the most charming and magnetic characteristics of Athens is the presence of locally owned, one of a kind clothing stores. Recently, Grinning Mule Clothing Company has jumped into the mix of clothing stores in Athens. Located at 1738 South Lumpkin Street near Five Points, Grinning Mule offers high quality men’s clothing with a exceptional twist. Owned and created by Wade Moore, Grinning Mule brings its own brand of clothing designed by Moore to Athens as well as a variety of other brands such as Zenfari, Cooper Jones, True Grit, Age of Wisdom, and other high quality clothing lines. Continue reading “Athens Style: Grinning Mule”

Community Spotlight: Pageman Barbershop


Editor’s Note: With a slew of holiday parties coming your way (and the subsequent stress the holidays bring along) there’s not a better time to treat your self to a new cut in a relaxing atmosphere. If that peaks your interest, this archive piece by Casey Sykes explores the one of a kind experience that is Pageman and its resident barber, Jamie Wester.

Words and Photos by Casey Sykes.

It’s common knowledge that most women enjoy going to a salon. They love being put at ease, getting pampered, and leaving refreshed. But why are these things stereotyped as exclusively feminine qualities? Don’t men also enjoy getting cleaned up and given a fresh cut by a person who pays attention to detail? Shouldn’t there be a place for a man to be taken care of while at the same time be taken seriously? This is precisely the idea behind PAGEMAN, an Athens barber shop exclusively for men.

Continue reading “Community Spotlight: Pageman Barbershop”

Athens Style: Brittani Bumb and Untitled Thoughts

Words By Jose Peña. Photos provided by Brittani Bumb.

Brittani Bumb, the woman behind the brand Untitled Thoughts, is a high-spirited, eco-friendly fashion phenomenon. Inspired from having to wear school uniforms back in bayou bountiful Louisiana, Bumb began and expanded a brand that exudes clean looks with a “green thumb” state of mind. Her desire to pursue fashion culminated primarily from two things: her love and preservation for nature and (limitation as a source of creativity) the minimal amount of self-expression bestowed upon her community.

Brittani Bumb working backstage at La Vie en Rose Fashion Show at the 40 Watt this past October. Photo by Jason Machen.

Bumb began sewing using her great-grandmother’s cast-iron modeled sewing machine and pulled fabrics from her attic, closet, basement—really anywhere she could find them. The idea of keeping a low carbon footprint and not contributing to the negative environmental impact the fashion industry can create with its manufacturing really spoke to her. Bumb also implements her designs with few resources, believing that “more limitation sparks more creativity.” She found it refreshing to come up with ideas for designs without the luxury of having an extraordinary amount of supplies—it allows for the mind to really get creative and think outside of the box.

After working with a mannequin from Joanne’s for five years before it fell apart, Bumb realized she had to amp up her designing experience. She relocated to Georgia for her mother’s company and attended Savannah College of Art and Design after a hurricane tragically destroyed her home. While in college, Bumb visited Athens, Georgia from time to time and attended craft fairs held by local vendors like Indie South and Community. Intrigued, Brittani reached out to some of the vendors and was invited to sell some of her garments in Indie South’s Springtacular and received other invitations to work more craft fairs.

Brittani Bumb working backstage at La Vie en Rose Fashion Show at the 40 Watt this past October. Photo by Jason Machen.

A friend of Brittani’s told her about an internship posting for Community, a local boutique that advocates sustainability, while working in one of the fairs. The internship was seeking to fill a position for a sewing technician which caught Bumb’s attention, on top of the fact that they sold curated vintage fashion. She sought out to learn more about the business paying no regards to the fact that she wasn’t a local. Sanni Baumgärtner, the owner, ended up contacting Bumb requesting her to present some of her work. Impressed by what was presented to her, Baumgärtner praised her sewing skills and ended up allowing her to work on custom orders for customers. The brand Untitled Thoughts began to bloom as she progressed in her work and people started buying more and more of her collection. The success and positive reaction through her customers ultimately led to Bumb’s official move to Athens.

Today, Bumb continues to sell her brand in local boutiques and works with many organizations to bring an emphasis on sustainable fashion and how easy it can be to obtain. Bumb confesses that she does not necessarily want to become some hot-shot, haute couture designer, but instead wants to share her skills with a goal of bringing a community together through fashion. Maybe aiding the less fortunate to make their own clothes with old fabrics or to teach people how to alter articles of clothing into new, individual pieces. Without a doubt, Bumb’s strong-willed dedication to respect nature (and to look good while doing so), is truly admirable.

Make sure to check out Brittani Bumb on Instagram and at her website then see her collections for yourself in Community and Indie South or on her website!

The following is a photoshoot for Bumb’s most recent party dress collection, A Midnight Clear. All photos taken by Bumb herself.

Model: Astrid Von Winter
Model: Christine Byun
Models: Nikki G and Astrid Von Winter
Model: Astrid Von Winter
Model: Christine Byun
Model: Nikki G
Model: Astrid Von Winter
Model: Astrid Von Winter
Model: Nikki G


Great Dame Jewelry

Great Dame

*Editor’s Note: We are excited to once again feature Katherine Ball of Great Dame Jewelry as we rifle through the archives and revisit stories we think are important. Take a look at the story by Christy Rogers and gather holiday gift ideas.*

Katherine Ball: The Face Behind Great Dame Jewelry

Words and Photos by Christy Rogers. 

“Complacency is the devil.”

Katherine Ball is a woman after my own heart. Clad in all black, we sat together at Hendershot’s Coffee and laid our lives out on the table. A passionate dreamer, Ball spoke to me with a surefire, yet humble confidence and dug into how both her career as an up-and-coming musician and her Great Dame jewelry line strive to be as far away from that “devil” as possible.

Great Dame

As a child, Ball’s first instrument was her voice. When she was only three she made the jump to piano, teaching herself scales and techniques as well as picking them up in her various music classes at school. Much of her influence came from church – Ball split her time between two churches, one hymn-oriented and the other soul-centered. Always learning and craving more singing and piano techniques, Ball was forced with the choice – “It became about living inside the box versus being able to compromise and harmonize and experiment.”

Ball definitely broke the norm in her teens, hiding out in her car and blasting Metallica and Black Sabbath on her way to gymnastic meets and other events. Even though her music now is Southern Gothic inspired, both genres hit close to the cuff. “I grew up in an environment where people said how to act so I tried to act against them,” Ball says. “It’s about taking control back into the artist’s hands.”

Great Dame

That, Ball definitely did. Opting to spend time honing her melodic craft in college, she graduated and moved out to Colorado where she found the person she wanted to be. “It’s like a blank slate kind of,” describes Ball, touching on the weight some history can hold. “And it’s like, ‘Are you gonna let it control you and sink your ship or are you going to make something beautiful out of it?’”

Eventually Ball moved back to Georgia, packing with her so many of the earthy, honest attributes of Colorado and channeling them into her music and jewelry. Picking up the guitar as well, Ball traveled up the Mississippi River with a band, eventually leaving to go through grad school at UGA. “Athens has so many things available at your fingertips that if you just kind of let go, some pretty cool stuff will happen,” Ball praised.

Great Dame

Aside from her music, Ball dedicates much of her time to working on the pieces for her brand Great Dame Jewelry. Mixing in flavors of the East, Great Dame revolves around the idea of empowering women by celebrating the talents and joy that are already inside them.

Reflecting this idea, Ball blends antiques, mostly comprising the metals, from her father’s side and a gemmed, earthy character from her mother’s side, all while taking inspiration from them to support small businesses across the US. “We are living in a new Renaissance age. People are out here honing their crafts and should support each other.” Thus, the brand is about so much more than jewelry – every piece tells the story of a “revivalist, sexy, classic, empowered” woman carrying an air of timelessness around her neck or wrist.

Even though the ladies sporting Great Dame are timeless, they are far from complacent. They echo the ideas of constantly discovering your own natural gifts, refining them until they’re exceptional, and not being afraid to get uncomfortable and show them off.

Great Dame


Athens Style: Indigo Child

Words by Maddie Newton. Photos by Savannah Shaw.

Indigo Child is a hip and new, rock-inspired clothing and lifestyle boutique with a vintage flare nestled in downtown Athens that opened in late October. Morgan Miller is the twenty-five-year-old boss lady, Fashion Merchandising graduate from University of Alabama, and owner/operator of Indigo Child. I met with Morgan to learn all of the inside deets about her unique shop.

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Morgan centers her shop around what an “Indigo Child” really is: someone who is creative, influential and ahead of their time. She wanted her store to mimic that vibe and be a laidback hangout for people to shop, listen to music and just chill. Music is one of Morgan’s biggest inspirations and the reason why she brought Indigo Child all the way to Athens.

Widespread Panic, who’s southern rock jams originated out of the Classic City, is one of Morgan’s favorite bands. You could call her one of their biggest fans since she followed them around on tour and collected countless posters that now adorn the walls of Indigo Child.

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Old School rock, funky jams and Athens’ notable music scene are essential to and immensely influence Indigo Child’s overall aesthetic. In fact, you’ll walk through their door to find a rustic, wooden stage surrounded by leather couches, floor pillows and comfy chairs to watch and listen to tunes from local bands! Adding an authentic feature, guitars signed by The Beatles, Led Zeppelin and Pink Floyd are mounted and on display beside the stage.

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Indigo Child’s clothing reflects their décor to a high degree. Seventies-inspired graphic tees from Electric West and Wildfox, Indigo Child brand’s bell bottoms, leather jackets, bodysuits and far-out rompers from For Love & Lemons can all be spotted hanging on one of their racks. Morgan’s love for rock and its iconic apparel (more specifically, bell bottoms) propelled her to start her own business. One day, she hopes to be at the point where she designs all of Indigo Child’s clothing.

Indigo Child has many unique attributes that contribute to their originality. “Good Karma” is a section of Indigo Child where men and women can shop for hand-picked vintage clothing in almost every size. There’s anywhere from old football jerseys to mom jeans and corduroy cut-offs to Patagonia jackets that await to be discovered in Good Karma.

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Indigo Child is even partnering with Georgia brands for the better. Mamie Ruth, a brand based out of Savannah, Georgia and headed by designer and owner, Emily Bargeron, partnered with Indigo Child to benefit Athens’ homeless population. Mamie Ruth donates shirts to Indigo Child who then turns their profits from Mamie’s donated line into food and hygiene goodie bags. Whenever a customer buys a shirt from Mamie’s donated collection, they’ll receive one of these bags to give to the homeless or someone less fortunate. Morgan’s helpful heart doesn’t stop there. Indigo Child will be carrying Happy Feat, a nonprofit organization whose merchandise benefits children and people with special needs.

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Indigo Child is also the only brick and mortar store to this date that carries Jimmi wZ leather bags. Morgan worked for Jimmi while she was at the University of Alabama, attending trunk shows and managing his social media accounts. On top of all of this, Indigo Child carries good hYOUman brand and Guat Handmade.

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Come by and shop or listen to live performances at Athens newest and grooviest boutique and make sure to follow Indigo Child on Instagram to keep up to date with the store happenings!

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Athens Style: The Art of Thrifting

Words by Cliffton Jacques. Photos by Robert Daniel.

I recently had the opportunity to meet and spend a morning with Jay Gulley, a local realtor, and a true Athenian. Jay, a man who has done it all in Athens from leading a band, working as a buyer for vintage shops, and now selling homes with character, spoke about and shared with me one of his favorite passions: thrift shopping. Yes, thrift shopping is nothing new in Athens. From pop culture to college students’, thrifting is well known, but my time with Jay led me to experience and appreciate the activity just a bit more thoroughly. Although, he does say thrifting in Athens is more difficult than most towns. A town full of thrift happy college students and vintage shops, there is definitely competition to get the best stuff first.


Continue reading “Athens Style: The Art of Thrifting”

Athens Style: Tips and Tricks for Halloween

Words by Emily Llamazales. Photos by Ben Rouse and Jason Clark.

The spookiest month of all is in full swing and we are almost at the pinnacle event. If you are still soul searching for the perfect costume and looking aimlessly at the racks of one of those pop-up shops, here’s the best advice from someone who knows how to costume.

Jacqueline Daniels. Photo by Ben Rouse.

Rob Hagwood is a core member of Boybutante AIDS Foundation, Inc., an organization that works to raise money for AIDS Athens and other local charities. Their biggest events are the dazzling drag shows and most recently a size inclusive fashion show, La Vie en Rose. Rob has been doing drag since he was nineteen and he can surely lend a generous amount of advice for costuming tips and tricks.

First off is the idea. If you just can’t choose one alter ego, or you have so many characters close to your heart, why not try starting with your preexisting closet. Often times Rob generates an idea for an outfit just from an outstanding pair of shoes. Knowing your favorite pair of flashy earrings or having a great piece of fabric can spark that initial idea for a wonderful costume. For drag shows it is super important to have a killer walk out song that really captivates and connects with the audience to draw them into the performance. Rob says that knowing a perfect song to walk out to can really drive the whole outfit. Going off the emotions and lyrics of a song can provide great inspiration. If you are gearing up for a themed costume party, then really be committed to it. Boybutante’s biggest show last year was their 20,000 Legs Under the Sea drag search. For this show, Rob developed a dazzling mermaid costume in royal blue, complete with a long tail. The more commitment you have to your ideal costume, the more rewarding it will feel as you debut it at the party. Costuming is a show, there’s got to be great hair, eye catching makeup, and maybe some sparkling attire. You’re not always passing as something or someone real, so it’s all about being entertaining.

Photo by Jason Clark.

Rob makes all of his own outfits and typically spends about two days completing the costume. Sewing is a wonderful creative outlet for him when he gets in the groove of things coming together. But if you are not well-versed on a sewing machine, its probably best to hit up that thrift store. He recommends striving to make the outfit as comfortable as it can be, and to opt for scratch fabrics that can move with you. However, as you piece together this outfit, especially if by needle and thread, don’t be afraid if your hands cannot accomplish all that your head envisioned.

It’s best to keep in mind what works for your own style. When Rob is in drag, he’s known as Jacqueline Daniels, but you can call her Jack Daniels. She’s loud and flashy, loves a good corset, and always has big hair and a lot of leg to show. She stays true to her style and, most of all, her makeup. You can check out thousands of tutorials for just about any look or character on YouTube. Rob learned much as a child from watching his mom put on her makeup and later turned to tutorials online and tips from his drag momma. The more you practice applying makeup, the better it will look for Halloween night.

Photo by Ben Rouse.

If there is only one thing that you’re itching to spend money on for your costume, look into a wig. This can take your look to the next level and really pull everything together, making you really recognizable and eye catching. Rob has about 25 wigs that he’s collected over the years. Try to get your hands on one that is styled according to your look. Definitely check out sites online, or maybe turn to that local pop up costume shop.

Boybutante AIDS Foundation, Inc. has been partying for a cause for 27 years and raising thousands of dollars along the way. Rob hopes that one day they will just be partying and the cause alleviated. But until then, you can check out Boybutante’s many charity events throughout the year by following them on Instagram and Facebook.

Athens Style: The Vintage Consumer

Words and Photos by Maddie Newton.

Dwelling in Athens it’s not uncommon to know someone who straight up adores secondhand shopping. There’s a lot of us thrift-store fiends who capitalize on the killer vintage market here. It’s kind of hard not to. In fact, there’s a lot to be said about the Athenian vintage consumer.

Vintage queen, Sam Meacham

I sat down with Sam Meacham, the Vintage Queen (unofficial-official name), to talk about these vintage consumers. Sam Meacham is a die-hard vintage lover and grad student at the University of Georgia. She’s writing her thesis on the analysis of the vintage consumer and works part-time as a Teacher’s Assistant in the Fashion Merchandising department. If you’re a FACS major, you’ve likely run into her and probably haven’t forgotten about it. Her personal style is totally memorable as it is full of sass, sophistication and 50’s charm. Sam’s daily digs are likely found from local pre-owned retailers like Atomic, Dynamite and The Pope on Prince. After being in Athens for two solid years, she’s established herself as a vintage fashion icon and is a perfect example of what it looks like to be a secondhand consumer.

Sam is passionately curious about the vintage consumer. Taking advantage of the local vintage scene, she took to the streets and interviewed people coming in and out of preowned apparel stores. Setting out to find answers to questions like, “Why do vintage consumers behave the way they do?” and “How are they different from the average consumer?” have led to some pretty neat discoveries.

Sam has interpreted that overall, consumers shop following a “linear model.”  She explained that generally people buy an item, own it for a period of time and then discard it either by disposal or donation to places like Goodwill. According to Sam, this process has gotten shorter and shorter because of the ever-growing “Fast Fashion” movement many stores have adopted. This movement is diminishing the quality of merchandise and speeding up the duration of time an article of clothing spends in one’s closet. Therefore, expediting clothing into landfills. Although some vintage consumers are environmentally conscious and know the positive affects of shopping vintage, many of them aren’t necessarily influenced by the sustainable benefits that accompany it.

From Sam’s personal collection

Unfortunately, Sam has found that customers disapprove of specialty thrift store prices. Unexperienced vintage consumers complain that their rates are too high for what they’re getting in return. She commented that “specialty stores are a curated space” and the price includes compensation for the person who took the time to locate the items, potentially fixed damages and brought them to the store to be sold. Sam made the point that, “instead of having consumers rummage in and out of thrift stores looking for the perfect item, specialty stores have already done it for you.”

Sam noticed that the knowledgeable vintage consumer view heftier price tags as an investment. The vintage buyer is aware that these garments will stand the test of time if the proper care is taken. These shoppers aren’t turned off by more strenuous clothing care and they’re more likely to handle their garments more cautiously than other consumers. Neither small stains nor hand-washing will deter them from buying a piece of clothing. Vintage lovers are accepting of flaws and write them off as added character.

Sam has concluded that, typically, vintage buyers are not concerned with following trends. Alternatively, they purchase garments because of the garment’s emotional appeal or similarity with the rest of their repertoire. They realize that shopping vintage is “an easy way to be unique.” This type of consumer buys clothing that fits their personal aesthetic and style, rather than what’s currently all-the-rage.

In addition to studying and consuming vintage, Sam is in the process of constructing her own online vintage shop on Etsy. She is a self-taught seamstress and repairs her fab finds that need a little TLC.

Follow Sam on Instagram to check out more of her amazing style and when her Etsy shop will launch!

Athens Style: Ghana Community Trade Program

Words by Kathleen Knowles. Photos provided in part by UGA and Caroline Wise.

Imagine a trip where you get to make jewelry from smashed glass bottles, buy handmade fabric in a bustling marketplace to create your own clothing, travel to new places every day, and all while earning class credit. Sounds too good to be true, right? Wrong. This trip exists and it’s available to students through the University of Georgia’s Interdisciplinary Ghana Study Abroad program housed in the College of Family and Consumer Sciences (FACS).

Students from the 2016 Interdisciplinary Ghana Study Abroad Program in Bonwire, a Kente cloth weaving village

In 2001, with the help of Dr. Patricia Hunt-Hurst, FACS created the Ghana study abroad program for students majoring in textiles, merchandising and interiors (TXMI), or social work. The program is offered during the three-week Maymester period and provides adventurous students the chance to get a true taste of experiences they usually only talk about in class. Social work students spend time learning about issues such as health, education, and urban redevelopment in Ghana through hands-on experiences while TXMI students participate in the Ghana Community Trade Program.

UGA student Gordon Hobbs discussing his designs with the local dressmaker
UGA student Gordon Hobbs discussing his designs with the local dressmaker

Through the Trade Program TXMI students are able to experience each step of the textile manufacturing process. Each participant is required to collaborate with an Athens boutique on designs that the student later brings back to sell in the store. The students sketch designs they believe will be marketable to Athenians then dive directly into the Ghanaian culture by visiting one of the country’s largest markets and purchasing bright, beautiful handmade fabrics from local vendors. In order to understand each part of the production process, students take their fabrics and designs to local dressmakers to be made into wearable garments. The best part? Participants in the program are also able to design clothing for themselves, making the Ghana trip truly one-of-a-kind. After the students meet with the dressmakers, the pieces are finalized and reach the Athens boutiques four weeks later. Items from the Ghana study abroad program are sold at Community, Entourage, and Atomic.

Models Imani and Ishana wearing jewelry and clothing mades by the students
Models Imani and Ishana wearing jewelry and clothing mades by the students

As if we weren’t sold on the program already, students are also able to fully immerse themselves in Ghana’s culture through a countless number of workshops and excursions. During the three-week program students spend a lot of time traveling throughout the African country. This means that class can be held in the back of a charter bus, after a dance class with a local teacher (who was eight months pregnant, no biggie), or even while visiting a slave castle on the coast of Ghana. Students learn how to make beads out of crushed up bottles from one of Ghana’s expert artisans; they visit the Kumasi Orphanage to play with kids and work with non-profits, such as Global Mamas who ensure fair prices for handmade Ghanaian goods; they even try their hands at the local art of weaving Kente cloth, a tedious process of interweaving cloth strips.

UGA student weaving Kente cloth in Bonwire
UGA student weaving Kente cloth in Bonwire

Marcela Guerra, a student on the 2014 program, said her favorite part of the trip was learning about Ghanaian’s textiles and Adinkra symbols, which are stamped onto handmade fabrics. According to Marcela, “The Ghana program is an incredible experience where you are able to learn so much about the Ghanaian culture and lifestyle.”

Nearly every aspect of Ghana’s vibrant culture is jam packed into this three-week adventure. The once-in-a-lifetime experience offered through the Ghana study abroad program leaves all of us with only one question: “Where do we sign up?”

To learn more about UGA’s Interdisciplinary Study Abroad in Ghana and sign up for yourself, visit here.

The following photoshoot features jewelry and clothing made on the interdisciplinary trip that is available for sale in local Athens boutiques. All clothing is sold at Community and all jewelry is sold at Atomic.






Athens Style: Hannah Betzel & Slow Fashion


Earlier this year we sat down with artist Hannah Betzel to give us the lowdown on her Slow Fashion challenge of 2016. Months later this movement is no longer a challenge for Betzel, but a lifestyle. We are so proud of her commitment to ethical fashion! Read the original article below to get the scoop on what Slow Fashion is and join us in the movement today!

Words by Cliffton Jacques. Photos by Christy Rogers.

In life, we are constantly bombarded with the newest clothing trends. Whether it’s from the pictures hanging up in stores, the latest person you follow on Instagram, or the incessant amount of clothing collections being made, the fashion industry is always ramping up production. When trends come at such high speeds, it becomes next to impossible to stop and ask where these clothes came from, who made them, or how did it affect the environment. Hannah Betzel is a local artist in Athens and has taken on a new challenge this year, Slow Fashion. Betzel is suggesting that we need to do just that; slow down. While she did not start this slow fashion movement, she is working to become a part of it. Continue reading “Athens Style: Hannah Betzel & Slow Fashion”