You never realize just how soul-crushingly tedious most fashion collateral is until you take a good long look at a portfolio that gets it right, like this gorgeous work for boutique shop/studio Finefolk. Begun by Kansas City, Mo. stylist and jewelry designer Leslie Fraley, Finefolk had its name and look crafted by the city’s Design Ranch.
In a world of glossy fashion come-ons, this array of pieces is instead printed black and white on uncoated paper with gold metallic accents, all in keeping with Finefolk’s core philosophy: “There is power in being fundamental, strong, simple and thoughtful.” In these works, local Kansas City “found” models show off the boutique’s clothing and accessories in various states of quiet repose.
“We are drawn to black-and-white photography because of the artistic edge,” explains Design Ranch Co-owner Ingred Sidie. “Our client has impeccable taste, and she shared [with us] fashion and designers that resonated with her aesthetic. We took our cue from her style and let that modern sophistication evolve into the Finefolk brand.
“The design itself is very simple. But if you really examine how the forms, mix of papers, and variety of printing techniques come together, you start to see how much thought went into every detail. We used letterpress for the hang tags. Then there is the gold string used in the binding, the canvas catalog covers, the gold print on — it’s really all very complex. Figuring out this library of elements that can all align and mix and match is what makes this design stand out.”
‘We Ar Finefolk’
Though Design Ranch creatives dreamt up the “Finefolk” moniker while working on an earlier branding project, “we loved the name but it wasn’t right for that particular client,” she says. “We, of course, saved the idea because it was too good to not bring back to the right project.
“We liked the juxtaposition of the store’s name as it related to the materials. ‘Fine’ represents our use of the gold print and metallic string; ‘folk’ is represented with the raw materials and natural papers. Conceptually the name and materials have a relationship that most people would never think about but it’s something that we considered. Design is in the details!”
Indeed, “Finefolk” is a perfect fit for the brand, resulting in a tagline as simple and elegant as it is vexing to writers and editors slow on the uptake (guilty): “We Ar Finefolk.”
“It’s a subliminal message,” Sidie points out. “ ‘We Ar Finefolk’ also reading ‘Wear Finefolk.’ It has duplicity. Again, the raw and the refined — that duality. When we printed the pencils, the printer corrected the spelling and printed boxes of WE ARE FINEFOLK. We had to have them reprinted!”
A Fold Apart
While there are far too many Finefolk pieces to go into here, special attention has to be paid to a couple of items.
First, the exquisite look book blends the raw with the refined once more, this time by featuring the familiar black and white with gold printing on uncoated paper, but now lurking behind a canvas cover. The whole kit and caboodle is singer sewn with gold string.
The pièce de résistance, however, has to be the 11-x-13-inch fashion-show poster, which folds up into a self-mailer ready for shipping. And like everything else with Finefolk, don’t expect a typical fold here.
“This was something we created from an origami form that we found years ago,” Sidie says. “It was a way to mail a letter without having to create or print an envelope. We always look at things differently. The more unconventional the better… as long as it still works for the client. We don’t want to rely on a gimmick; we use tricks and techniques that align with the brand.”
From quirky spellings to unexpected folds, the Finefolk identity design does what any good fashion collateral should: It opens the door, lowers the gaze, and coos ever so gently, “You are one of us. We ar all Finefolk.”
PS — Singer sewn binding was the perfect choice for the Finefolk look book, but there were so many other interesting options from which to choose. Download your free PaperSpecs Binding Cheat Sheet right now. It has everything you need: illustrations, relative pricing, page-count limits and more!
Design: Design Ranch
Paper: Neenah Crane’s Lettra 220 lb. Cover; Rolland Enviro 100 60 lb. Text