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Holiday Chic: 7 stylish gift ideas 

This year's gift guide features items that are made in Charlotte

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"My favorite is still 'El Mero Mero,'" Whitted says, "which is like 'the cool guy' and it's got this silhouette of this dancing guy on it."

One of her main goals in launching Hola Baby was to establish a brand for the Latino community. "Baby Phat is a brand that people identify with the urban culture, but there isn't a brand that people identify with Latino culture," Whitted says. "That would be awesome if Hola Baby came to be that brand that represents Latinos, at least with children."

Whitted says her products appeal to parents interested in exposing their children to the world and its languages. "There are plenty of T-shirts out there with a Spanish word on them, but mine has the awesome design to go with it. While your child is learning all their new English words, it's a great gift for the new parents who want to expose them to Spanish as well."

Right now, she has 11 designs available: four for girls, four for boys and three for toddlers. The T-shirts can be purchased via her website.

www.holababyshop.com

Abibi — Handmade Aprons

As the weather gets colder and the skies become gray, the best way to fight off any winter blues is to incorporate some bright colors into your wardrobe. Abby Baet, creator of Abibi, gives you the chance to perk up your kitchen look with her handmade, colorful aprons. She has five different styles — Flirty, Butcher, Ruffle Half, Frilly and Café Half — that can be found on Etsy and in The Boulevard at South End.

The first one she made was the Flirty, inspired by a gift she bought for a friend. "I actually got my friend an apron from Anthropologie for Christmas one year because she really wanted it," Baet says. "I was amazed. I had just paid $40 and I looked at it and thought, 'I could definitely make that.'"

Baet makes each of her aprons, and she rarely uses a fabric pattern twice. "I try to do no more than a few of each one so that they're really special for the customer." Patterns vary from holiday ornaments to playful pink flowers to blue paisleys, but all encompass a lively energy and girly style.

"It's a great gift if you have someone who loves to cook or just loves to host a party," Baet says. "When you have something cute and fun on, it makes you feel less stressed out; you don't feel frumpy with some plain canvas apron on over your really cute clothes."

www.etsy.com/shop/abibi

The Boulevard at Southend, 1440 S. Tryon St. Suite 100

Beast Streetwear — T-Shirts

I don't care if Charlotte is known as Banktown — the street culture here is alive and thriving. And if you've got people on your holiday shopping list who're into underground hip-hop, skateboarding, or sneakers, you're going to want to go Beast on their asses.

Beast Streetwear, courtesy of London-born creative director Jeremy Thompson, offers limited-edition T-shirts, both online and at Black Sheep Skate Shop. "The Beast aesthetic draws on post-war pop culture and mixes influences from graffiti/street art, comic books, punk rock, and surf and skateboard graphics from the late '80s and early '90s," he says.

One of the more attention-grabbing shirts — especially if you're into Star Wars — is the Street Trooper shirt ($28). It comes in four colors: red, black, light gray and dark gray. "The idea behind that was just taking a classic character from pop culture and appropriating it, making it a beast kind of trooper," Thompson says. "The distressed effects, that's where the street art comes in. Star Wars is so sci-fi, and especially the Storm Troopers, they're all really squeaky clean, really white. I just scratched it up a bit."

Thompson says his line is geared to people who are looking for something a little different, something exclusive — and that's part of why it fits so well into street culture.

"It's limited edition and it's hard to get hold of," he says. "You're not going to be able to find it in the mall, and that's something we do on purpose. It'd be a great gift for somebody because it's special and unique. The recipient may never have heard of Beast, but if they like skateboarding or Star Wars or robots, that kind of thing, they're going to be pumped about it. You could say streetwear has almost become mainstream, but there are definitely still core elements. That's what Beast tries to do; it's tried to stay core."

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