FOR A LONG time, “Baltimore style” meant cat-eye glasses and a bouffant ‘do. But now, looking like a local might mean sporting a rugged necklace of reclaimed metal or wearing a slick tee emblazoned with a creepy-cool squid. That’s because local designers, fueled by the city’s many art schools, are turning out unusual handmade finds from soaps to ceramics. Some blocks of Hampden and Federal Hill now rival craft epicenters Brooklyn, and Portland, Ore., but, thankfully, sans any hipper-than-thou attitude.
» Clutch Hit: (Above) We’re smitten with Pistol Designs— vintage-inspired bags, which designer Ali Dryer makes using handcrafted handles and pretty prints ($72, Doubledutch, 3616 Falls Road; 410-554-0055).
» The Chicest Link: (Click to view) Metalsmith Annie Chau of jewelry line Imogene fuses sterling links with colorful reclaimed chains in her newest necklaces ($150, Red Tree, 921 W. 36th St.; 410-366-3456).
» Tail Mix: (Click to view) Pink Kiss Pottery‘s Shawna Pincus handprints whimsical designs onto her high-quality glazed clay dishes, like this clever hunt-themed sushi set ($35, Red Tree).
» Full Swing:(Click to view) The voluminous shape and vibrant pattern make this linen skirt from RWB by Carrie Benney ($74) a punchy spring staple. It’s from the in-house line at Benney’s charming Federal Hill shop, Remember When (1005 S. Charles St., 410-234-0400).
» This Suds For You:(Click to view) Biggs & Featherbelle has earned a national following for its all-natural beauty products, including soaps made with olive oil or raw honey ($4.50 each, SoBotanical, 1130 S. Charles St.; 410-234-0333).
» Tee Time:(Click to view) The quirky-cool designs of SquidFire‘s graphic totes and tees (like the Moby Cat, shown, $25) are so popular, the label recently expanded to its own Hampden storefront (1100 W. 36th St.; 410-327-3300).