Fashion designer Jackie Shapiro, who's worked for Tommy Hilfiger and Fiorucci, didn't find the inspiration for her tabletop collection on the runway—instead, she discovered it in the Formica counters of her New Canaan, Connecticut, home. "I looked at them and thought, This is the coolest material," she says. A year ago she launched her French Bull line of colorful, patterned melamine tableware: plates, trays, cups and bowls. As the mother of two, she appreciates the value of dishes that are both functional and affordable. Her tableware is dishwasher safe too—melamine is high-heat resistant and won't discolor. Though Shapiro's heart is in housewares, she hasn't abandoned the world of fashion. She works for Mattel's Barbie brand and designs junior girls' apparel in funky textile prints ($6 to $25; 212-317-9646).
--Susan Choung