This is a Thank You to all of those I'm privileged enough to call Friends. Through my love of fashion dolls I have met the most kind, loving and extraordinary group of people. Whether it's from collecting, customizing or plain admiration on my part, you have enriched my life so much with who you are and how you've let me share your life. We might not see each other all the time or email every day but I love you all. I know most of you can say the same. Feel free to post a shout out to your special friends in the Comments section.



If you're brilliant enough to miniaturize or reproduce someone else's original work without permission, then you're smart enough to know it shouldn't be done. You have talent. Wow me with something new and I will buy it. Don't make me hate you for being a lazy douche.

Trend Feature: The Sweater

It's definitely one of the items that I hoard for both myself and my dolls. Sweaters are always a must in Fall, but the past few years' trends have stressed the lightweight version for layering. A delicate balance indeed, especially in 1:6 or 1:4 scale.

Many years ago I decided to make my own sweaters for Gene out of socks as I couldn't knit and Tonner hadn't made any yet. They were crude, bulky and sadly stitched but looked really cute with pencil skirts.

You have my permission to laugh

Imagine my excitement when I discovered Paul and Sherry Fang's knit ensembles a couple of years ago! With the tiniest of stitches and a huge array of color, their knit work quickly became a staple in many collections. From tanks to sweaters to cardigans to dresses and skirts, Sherry managed to make knit sexy and fashionable while maintaining affordability.

A while back Sherry and Paul stopped making knits and focused their production on shoes and boots. Although I am very grateful to have their creativity addressing our girls' footwear needs, I was sad at the thought of not having these beautiful pieces to look forward to.

Great news though! I contacted Sherry this week and learned that not only is she in the process of making more knitwear but that the eBay auctions will start as early as next week. Do yourself a favor and make sure you pick up at least one. Your girls will thank you. eBay ID: paul_zhangby


How Hooked Are You?

We laugh, but there's a reason doll collecting shares the same language as drug addiction. How many times have you heard or maybe even said these phrases: "Who's your dealer?", "I need a fix", "I'm having withdrawals", "I can stop any time" or "Who'd you blow to get that??". I believe I've said all of these at one time or another and sometimes in the same conversation. Being collectors, I think it comes with the territory. 

The question I pose, today, is how serious a collector are you and how far will you go to feed your addiction? I'm not interested in judging anyone or making anyone feel badly about their choices at all. I am, however, very interested in the conversation. Serious collecting brings about little moral dilemmas all the time. Do these even occur to you anymore or are there some instances that make you pause?

A dealer that has done your friend seriously wrong in the past is given a gorgeous exclusive of your favorite sculpt. Do you buy the doll? You receive a purchase with a tiny flaw. You know you'll keep the item anyway because you love it but do you tell the seller in hopes of getting a partial refund? You find out about an amazing sale before anyone else. You know of someone who really wants the sale items but is a blabber mouth. Do you tell the someone and possibly blow your own chances of snagging cheap loot? 

Post as anon or Tweety Bird if you feel more comfortable but spill. 


Oh, yeah, I've been featured...

Featured On Fashionably, that is. Matty asked me if I would be willing to join part in his interview series that he has on his blog, Fashionably Plastic. And because today is the official launch of this blog, he's decided to have the interview posted exclusively here. Read it below and enjoy!
Today's Featured On Fashionably interview is with the multi-talented Sam Danson of Halo Repaints/Empire Clothing. Upon browsing through her website, one will find that she is just as magical as the dolls she brings to life. Having an extensive background in the entertainment industry has only helped her refine her craft and her eye for what's 'in'. While her repaints usually fetch a pretty penny on eBay, her work is still easily accessible to all collector's via her fashion doll clothing line: Empire by Halo Repaints. And just like her clothing line, Sam has always been accessible with collectors. Although she get's a lot of emails each week, you'll always get a response, which is nice in today's world of auto-generated emails. 

Sam has really defined the line between artist and collector which harmonizes beautifully with the work she creates. When a new clothing line or jewelry line launches, you'll find that some of the model's are not always her own (one of her recent favorite's is an Antoinette by Yu). Just as she's always been supportive of her fellow artists, she's always been an advocate for mixing and matching Empire pieces with other clothing her customers may own.

Now, let's get on to the interview!

Q: What got you started repainting, sewing?
A: I'd always made my own doll clothes as a kid, even though I had every Barbie outfit under the sun. I happened upon Barbie Bazaar at 20, saw the OOAKs featured and like many before (and after me), thought, "I can do that!". That was 17 years ago. I didn't get serious about it until *2004 though.
Q: Did you have any formal training in either one of those areas? 
A: I attended a magnet school for art as a teen and continued through college, but painting on canvas is nothing like painting on 3-D vinyl. That's all been self taught. Thank goodness I'm part of a wonderful community that is willing to share information! Same with sewing. I drape and make a lot of my own  patterns. I aim to take a tailoring course in the near future. I'm always looking for ways to get better at anything I do.
Q: How did working with a factory to create your designs translate into the finished piece?
A: Working with Fashion Boulevard gave me a most unique ability to control what was produced. Instead of outsourcing, all the fabrics and trim were picked by me and shipped over. They did a fantastic job of translating my drawings into the real thing. 
I would receive the prototype, tweak it to my liking if necessary; then it was put into production. There were many times the finished piece was even better than I had imagined. Sometimes, I'd end up finishing it off over here with trims or findings. It was a great experience to be so hands on.
Q: What is your favorite sculpt to repaint and your least favorite?
A: My favorite to repaint: Daphne, Classic Tyler, Angelina, Emilie and Euphemia from Tonner; Sybarites as they let me explore a whole different feel; the Numina girls.
Least favorite: I'm not a huge fan of the newer Tonner sculpts as a few seem large and unrefined. Bella comes to mind. That said, I'll try any sculpt at least once. The only doll I refuse to wipe down is a Deva. They have to come to me "clean" if I'm to paint them.

Q: Do you have a favorite piece of Empire out of everything you've created?
I have many that I'm really grateful to own: the saris, Matt's cargo pants and tanks, the White Gauze Dress that reached cult status. However, if I could only pick one item though it would be my Skinny Jeans. Originally created in 2006, they are the "go to" item I am always reaching for.

Q: When repainting, do you listen to music and if so, whom do you listen to? 
A: Occasionally, I'll have a movie/tv show on, usually something that I've seen a billion times before, so that I can zone out while being entertained ie: Zoolander, The Mummy, Pride and Prejudice. If I'm listening to music, it's the Thomas Newman station I created on Pandora. The calm instrumentals let me concentrate on the work at hand. Photo shoots are a whole other thing. I'll always reach for something upbeat and fun like the Pussycat Dolls or some techno.
Q: I love how your repaints transcend the gamut from goth girls to glamour girls...do you have a favorite style?
A: I really do love painting all of them! I couldn't do all glamour girls, just like I couldn't do all goth all the time. I love "Soon" as much as I love "Eris". I do enjoy the creativity that goes into an "Eris" or "Druyd" though. I love surprising myself with what I can do to take it the the next level.

Q: What has running and creating your own business taught you?
A: Surround yourself with good people! If you aim to be a multi-hyphenate, there's no way you can do every single thing yourself so find skilled, like minded people who can help you get where you want to be.
Q: Do you have anyone help you out with all the mailing, creating etc.?
A: LOL, contrary to my above statement, aside from my brilliant graphics designer/tech wizard, anything and everything done is all me. Without Empire being factory produced at the moment, I am more than capable of handling day to day operations.

Q: Do you now hate going to the post office? LOL.
A: Not at all! Because of Empire, I got to know my local workers really well, lol. When I'd arrive at the post office with 60-80 packages at a time, I know I'd strike fear into them. I could have used Click and Ship, but much to their chagrin, I liked the security of personally handing them over and seeing them carted away. Now, I just go to catch up with the clerks :)

And if you're still wanting to know more after what you've just read...

In her non-doll related life, she's a Mom to a teenager.  In addition, she's a huge sci-fi/fantasy/comics fan so each year she tries to get to at least 2 Comic Cons. She also enjoys doing research (which can entail looking for that perfect face to recreate or a new technique to try) when she's not actively working on a doll or clothes. And in terms of technology, Facebook and Twitter have enabled her to catch up with friends from her show biz days; as she says, that's always fun. As Sam is always thinking of new ideas, (wait until you hear this one!) she says there is also talk of plans for a possible foray into human sized offerings. Which definitely keeps her more than busy.

If I were to sum up Sam in one sentence, I think Tonner says it best, as this Super Girl definitely is the definition of Believe in the Power of Play. At this time, I'd like to thank Sam, for taking time out of her very busy schedule for this interview. With all that she does, I'm glad she was able to squeeze me in! :-) 

*The year MJ graduated High School, LOL.
**All photos are courtesy Halo Repaints/Empire Clothing and are used by permission.

...And if you haven't bought your girls any Empire wear, what's stopping you? 
Click on the boots, and say: 
"There's no clothing like Empire." (x3) 
I promise, you won't be disappointed!

Posting Schedule

My aim is to post at least once a day about something relevant to our passion, fashion dolls.

Each Monday I will publish a trend report on the Empire Clothing page of the blog. I thought it would be a nice kick off to the week and will give you the next 6 days to follow up on looks or shopping. The first one is up so take a look!

Wednesday is Tip day. (If I can I might squeeze another one in during the week but you'll at least have one to get you over the hump). I will be sharing tips on repainting, collecting, photographing, etc. and recruiting some of my friends to share as well.

As new ideas come up I'll be sure to add them to the schedule.

Lift off in 4...3...2...Fun!

Hello Everyone,

I thought this would be a fun way to keep you all updated on the latest happenings and offerings from Halo Repaints/Empire Clothing. I'll also be sharing tips of the trades and my views on all things doll related. To keep your dolls up to date, check out my trend reports for what's hot on the "Empire Clothing" page. 

This isn't all about me though. I'll feature other artist's wares and tell you where to shop for the coolest must have items. Pick up awesome free wallpapers by Graphics God, Matthew Powley! I hope this will become your favorite place to keep informed on dolls and fashion. Can't wait to get your suggestions and feedback! 

Thanks so much!

-Sam :))