What do you design?
Define the word beauty.
Individual, real, expressive.
What does fashion mean to you?
Creative self-expression; showing the world a piece of yourself.
When did you decide to become a designer?
I’ve always been interested in fashion and kept scrapbooks of magazine tears since I was a kid. I bit the bullet about 6 years ago and started going to fashion school in Australia to see if I could actually do it – I was hooked from that moment.
What were the first items you remember designing?
I remember sketching out a denim corseted gown when I was a kid – I still love denim J
Who would you like to thank for your success?
My family, for their unwavering support.
Who are your influences?
I love original Balenciaga for the amazing silhouettes, but I’m also really inspired by eco/ethical fashion trailblazers like Edun and Linda Loudermilk.
What has been your biggest professional achievement so far?
Winning Seattle Magazine’s 2009 Seamless in Seattle Competition for Most Innovative Collection & being featured in the magazine was pretty great. Seattle Magazine is so supportive of new & local designers.
If you weren’t an designer then what would you be?
Building schools in Africa… and/or travelling the world care-free.
Who and where do you find your inspiration for your designs?
I’m inspired by the fabrics that I work with, which are all sustainable. Outside of that, I can find inspiration in anything – nature, man-made structures, colors, historical clothing.
What item of clothing do you wish that more men/women wore?
More eco / sustainable / locally produced labels!
If you could go back in time and experience any fashion moment, what would it be?
The early 1900s when some of the great couturiers were starting out (Balenciaga, Chanel etc).
If you could collaborate with one big name international designer, who would it be and why?
Ali Hewson of Edun – so I could experience and learn how they succeed in running a profitable fashion business whilst lifting communities out of poverty.
How do you see the brand developing over the next couple of years?
I would love to open my own studio with a store front, or at a minimum have a store-within-a-store, a feature space in a great existing boutique. Beyond that and on a larger scale, I plan to follow a similar ethical manufacturing process similar to Edun, where I take a lot of my production over to communities in need to help create long-term sustainable employment in the developing world.
What is your design philosophy?
I intentionally limit the types of fabrics that I can use (sustainable / organic fabrics only), so I really try to push the limits of what people expect out of sustainable fashion. High end glamour that is also better for the environment is still a little unexpected these days.
Do you have a typical type of person in mind when designing and if so does this evolve with each season?
Someone I admire a lot once told me that designers tend to design for the superhero version of themselves. I tend to agree with that – many of the pieces I design are ones that I wish I could rock out in public myself.
Which fellow designers/brands do you admire locally?
Jessica Milton is really blazing her own path now, which is awesome. Eco-labels like Prairie Underground and Spun are also insprirational.
When you think of Seattle fashion, what comes to mind? How would you define Seattle’s fashion style?
Based on the young local designers I know, I’d say that Seattle’s fashion landscape is definitely evolving, becoming braver, more innovative, more aware, more elegant.
What excites you about the future of Seattle fashion?
Many Seattle designers are hungry for success and really pushing the limits of fashion. We’re like the underdogs of the fashion world, ready to really launch the Seattle as a fashion powerhouse. Look out Portland!
What would you say are the benefits for Seattlelites of buying from local designers?
Obviously it’s great to support local businesses and keep growing Seattle’s economy, but buying from local designers will slowly help to put the Seattle fashion scene on the map. Then local designers may gain more national/international attention and other major designers (national/international) may start to focus some of their efforts towards Seattle. A win-win for Seattle fashion!
Can you share a few address book recommendations to our readers (hairdressers, tailors, shops… anything you like really)?
I love Mode Organic Salon in downtown Seattle and Sugar Sugar in Roosevelt.
Do you have any advice for anyone entering your field?
Don’t be afraid of hard work.