Designer Spotlight

Stay warm and stylish with the fashion-forward creations of these local scarf designers.

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    Cheetah scarf in light gray, $221 (normally $245), at Blue & Cream

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    Birds scarf in light blue, $221 (normally $245), at Blue & Cream

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    Poem scarf in ivory, $221 (normally $245), at Blue & Cream

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    Owl on Skull scarf in red, $218, at

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    Designers Connie Lui, Emily Chen and Ling Chen


Cheetah scarf in light gray, $221 (normally $245), at Blue & Cream

Connie Lui, Emily Chen and Ling Chen of We Are Owls

Who they are: By naming their sumptuous cashmere scarf label after everyone's favorite creature of the night, cousins Emily and Ling Chen, along with childhood pal Connie Lui, gave a clever nod to the fact that the line was born in the evening hours, after their day jobs had ended and the girls convened to plot their future business. Friends since their days at La Guardia High School, the trio approaches We Are Owls, which debuted last January, as a collaborative effort: Having majored in fashion and illustration at Parsons, Ling sketches the whimsical patterns, while creative director Connie manages the business end and PR maven Emily's background in luxury-buying gives her a keen trend-spotting eye. "One day it just dawned on us," explains Ling. "The three of us really loved accessories, and the scarf was the perfect piece to begin with."
About the line: When asked about her worldly inspiration, which ranges from Da de los Muertos sugar skulls to the Tibetan Book of the Dead, Ling just credits her NYC pedigree. "New York City is my home," she says. "I have been exposed to so many diverse cultures, global influence just comes naturally." Each of her designs is rendered on a lightweight blend of silk and cashmere, and hand-printed in a studio in Inner Mongolia. Every scarf ($218--$245) is striking and, at more than six feet long, large enough to double as a wall hanging; when spread flat, what first appears to be an abstract print billows into a fully formed image, like the fall line's tessellated birds or digitally manipulated waves. "The scarf should not just function as a winter accessory, but also make a statement," explains Ling. For the spring collection, available in stores in early February, We Are Owls evokes Mayan ruins and forgotten cultures with tribal prints and native folklore brightly emblazoned on the soft fabric.
Where to buy: Blue & Cream, 1 E 1st St at Bowery (212-533-3088, Mention TONY for 10 percent off through Jan 31.

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