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Meet the makers, find incredible pieces.

on a boat LR editGet the look: Reif Black Velvet Turban, giantLION Amethyst Studs, Isobel & Ezra Craft & Culture Exclusive Hanna Necklace, Reif Optic Stripe Dress, Rachel Ravitch White Lambskin Knots Bracelet

 

This weekend I had the pleasure of taking a spin around Seattle’s Lake Union on the Islander Yacht for an afternoon booze cruise. It was nice day to be on the water, and despite the cloud cover, the temperature was a refreshing 78 degrees. Reif’s Optical Stripe Dress was perfect for the on a boat LR edit-2weather–it’s made from a cotton/spandex blend that is so soft and lightweight. I was also grateful to have my Reif turban to tame my mane in the ferocity of the wind. I thought the White Lambskin Knots Bracelet from Rachel Ravitch was a cute little hat tip to nautical style, and I always feel feminine and somewhat mystical when I wear raw crystals, like the Amethyst Studs from giantLION and this stunning Hanna necklace from Isobel & Ezra, which is a Craft & Culture exclusive that we are quickly running out of. I hope I get to take more boat trips before this summer is over. Sipping champagne on a yacht is just so luxurious. It’s a fabulously reinvigorating way to spend a weekend.

On-A-Boat

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While hitting the books as an International Studies and Political Science major at the University of Washington, Deborah Roberts discovered her love of fashion during a language immersion trip to Perugia, Italy. She had always enjoyed fashion on an appreciative level, but it was during this trip that the light bulb flipped on and she realized that this was what she wanted to do as a career path. After she graduated from UW, Deborah switched gears and dove into an intensive program at the School of Apparel Design & Development at Seattle Central. It was here that she learned the technical skills that would bring her vision to life. After completing the program, Deborah got her feet wet in the industry as an assistant designer and materials developer at Eddie Bauer before launching a line of her own in 2013.

Silvae, which is taken from the latin word meaning “into the woods”, is a line obsessed with organic shapes and patterns. There is a streamlined flow and distinct femininity in the lines of Silvae. The silhouettes are flattering and extremely wearable. The designs are conservative enough to be worn to work, but still carry enough personality to make a statement. Soft silhouettes and a love for the surreal combine for an effortless execution of creativity and put-togetherness.

ALV_9142_1ALV_8665Describe the woman who wears your clothes. Where is she wearing them?

Like the clean lines and feminine silhouettes in our collections, the Silvae woman is confident but full of grace. She is looking for unique versatile pieces that she can wear for years and that could be easily worn running errands around town or to an art or restaurant opening.

You’ve said that your aesthetic is inspired by the Pacific Northwest. Where can we see that in your designs?

There’s an untamed quality to the Pacific Northwest that I have always found compelling.  The landscape of Seattle is dynamic with moody weather, mountain ranges to the east and west, and the waters of the Puget Sound that bring in salty air. I am particularly interested in shapes found in nature and have looked to local flora, ferns, pinecones and topography maps for inspiration. I also love that a lot of areas in the Pacific Northwest feel untouched.  It’s wonderful to escape from the city and imagine I’m exploring a section of beach or woods for the first time.

You collaborate on prints with Seattle-based artist, Olivia Knapp. What is the best part about this collaboration? What is the most challenging part?

Olivia and I share a similar vision, and the print collaboration has been so natural and fun.  Usually I come to her with an initial idea for the season, and then she’ll take that and put her spin on it. I love seeing how the idea evolves into the final print, and something truly unique. We’ve started to do events together that showcase her art and Silvae’s collections, and it’s really fun to see the conversation between art and fashion. I think the most challenging aspect of prints is wanting to come up with an idea that feels new and exciting while being wearable. I think we’ve succeeded so far, and I’m excited about how we are continuing the dialogue in upcoming seasons.

What role does community play in your brand?

One of the most enjoyable parts of starting Silvae has been meeting other artists in the community. I’ve had a lot of support from local stores, photographers, stylists and press, and its been fun getting to know other designers in the Northwest. I attended Seattle Central’s Apparel Design and Development School and have had help from old instructors and interns from the program, which has been really key to our development. It’s also been a lot of fun to meet other designers at Capsule during Market Week in New York. It’s really encouraging to see more brands popping up across the country, and witnessing their creativity and success.

How do you navigate your relationship with your production team that’s based in New York?ALV_8677ALV_8729

I travel to New York twice a year for Market Week, and found my production team there last fall. They’re a small company managed by a husband and wife that work with a number of factories in the garment district. They did my Spring 14 production, and I’ve started outsourcing my pattern and sample making to them as well. At the beginning of a season I’ll send them a tech sketch and speck pack with measurements and construction details.  They’ll do an initial pattern and then sew that up in muslin (a cheap cotton fabric) and send that to me for fittings. I’ll make my corrections and send it back, and this continues until we are happy with the fit. It’s a lot of back and forth via phone and email, but it’s been great working with them so far and I’m really happy to support domestic production.

How has working with Eddie Bauer helped to inform the launch of your own line?

I’ve always wanted to have my own line, but it was really helpful to work in the industry first and get a better understanding of how the seasonal calendar works and all that goes into designing and producing a collection. It was also very helpful learning how to communicate with garment factories and fabric mills, as well as how to problem solve when there were quality issues. It also provided me with an opportunity to meet a number of people in the local apparel industry who have become close friends and invaluable assets as I’ve launched the Silvae line.

Where is your studio? How have you organized it in ways that are conducive to productivity?

I used to have a shared space behind Neumos on Pike & 12th which had lots of sewing machines and pattern making tables that I used to develop the Spring 14 collection. Now that I’ve outsourced the production, I moved to a live/work space on Madison & 19th. The space is really long and open which has been a great layout for all of my garment racks, fabric and supplies, as well as having buyers or clients over to show the collection. When I develop each season, I like to make inspiration boards and spread out, so it’s been nice to have the space to do this at the new location.

The fabrics you use are extremely luxurious. How do you choose your fabrics and where do you source them from?

As a small brand, sourcing fabrics can be one of the most challenging aspects because there are often large fabric minimums. I’ve started traveling to LA for their fabric show which happens twice a year for Spring & Fall and offers a number of mills with more workable requirements. I love playing with textural fabrics, and as I grow I would also love to check out Premiere Vision in New York or Paris. We’ve been doing our own prints via digital printing, which is a relatively new technology and gives smaller brands the opportunity to create something unique without having large minimums. I work with a digital printer on the East Coast, and have printed primarily on silk, but am looking at printing on other fabrics like cotton, bamboo and rayon in upcoming seasons.

What is the most satisfying part about having your own line?

When starting a new season, it feels like a clean slate and an opportunity to re-evaluate the culture and world we live in. I love seeing how these seasonal ideas evolve into physical garments that tell a story and help define the brand. When building Silvae, I wanted the clothes to be easy to wear, feminine and strong. I think we’ve succeeded in the first season and it’s been wonderful to collaborate with friends and industry professionals on Silvae’s development.

What is the next step for Silvae?

I’m currently working on the Spring 15 collection, and am really excited about our fabrics and prints this season. Each year I am hoping to grow the size of the collections as well as our relationships with stores across the U.S. I made my first international sale to South Korea from the Fall 14 collection, so I’m also looking to work with more international stores and may be making a trip to Europe over the next year to grow the brand. We’ll be showing our fall collection at the Independent Designer Runway Show with The Bellevue Collection in September, and in the future I may look to doing presentations in New York during fashion week.ALV_9079_1

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At Craft & Culture headquarters here in Seattle, the weather is set to hit the 90’s over the weekend. We’re already trying to find clever ways to beat the heat. We’re thinking: lounge around the house in some barely-there Hopeless lingerie all morning, getting the hair off our face and neck with a Reif turban headband, slip our Asymmetric Mesh Racer Dress from First Base over our swimsuit, and head to the nearest body of water. What are you doing to stay cool this summer?

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This week, Craft & Culture debuted a lookbook showcasing a few of our favorite new collections. Two of the designers in our lookbook are from right in our own backyard–Seattle, WA. Silvae is the feminine and versatile debut line from Seattle Central Apparel Design program alumni, Deborah Roberts. The luxurious, minimalist designs of Wyatt Orr are a collaborative effort from Liise Wyatt and Karly Orr, who met in school at Seattle’s New York Fashion Academy (read more about Wyatt Orr on the Craft & Culture blog). Kordal is a crisp, Brooklyn-based knitwear line lead by ready-to-wear industry veteran, Mandy Kordal.

The relaxed silhouettes, supreme fabrics, and meticulously crafted garments of the spread form a grayscale palette that calls attention to the intricate details in each design. As we clear out our racks in the Craft & Culture stockroom with the blowout End of Season Sale we’re running right now, we’re left with more and more room for exciting updates to our inventory.

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Versatility and luxury prevail in Wyatt Orr’s clean, contemporary line of apparel.

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Wyatt Orr is a distinctive design collaboration between Liise Wyatt and Karly Orr. The two met while studying at Seattle’s New York Fashion Academy, and ended up sharing a studio space as they worked on their individual collections. On their own, they both garnered critical attention and praise when they each won the 2008 Seamless in Seattle contest. Working side by side on their own eponymous lines, talks of collusion began to emerge. Sharing a love for “comfort luxury”, the two women developed a capsule collection that fused their penchants for refined materials and textural austerity. In the fall of 2012, Wyatt Orr was born.

Designed for creative urbanites who want a no fuss solution to looking amazing while retaining functionality, the Wyatt Orr label offers exquisite construction and luscious, naturally fibered fabrics for a minimalist aesthetic. Drawing inspiration from the mystic scenery of the Pacific Northwest, the line seeks to marry the “understated and the unexpected”.

IMG_5654Have you always intended to be fashion designers?

Karly – I have always loved design and have always known it would be a large part of my life. Designing clothes has always been something I was interested in and I started really exploring that in 2004.
Liise – I was always creating things from a very young age. In college I studied visual art, then textiles, so while I didn’t anticipate fashion design at the time, in retrospect it seems like an inevitable progression.

At what point did the line become a brand?

Wyatt Orr has seen several brand iterations. The line really started to take shape as a brand in 2012 when we officially merged and put our efforts from our individual collections into Wyatt Orr.

IMG_5603How do you navigate the collaboration process?

We are lucky to be so aligned, both aesthetically and with how we want to directionally evolve our brand. We have a very clear vision of what we are trying to do and that mutual understanding makes the collaboration exciting and very rewarding.  We are also big believers in collaboration in general; between the two of us but also with other artists and creators, which makes navigating the process just part of the fun.

How do you delegate tasks between the two of you?

Wyatt Orr is a true collaborative effort, weighing equally on both of our design aesthetics and visions for the brand. We both touch all aspects of Wyatt Orr’s concept, design, production, marketing and sales. What does that look like? Lots of long lists divided up with an “L” and a “K”, good communication and a general understanding of how and what to prioritize.

Where does the design process begin for you?

It starts with a concept and a source of inspiration, which we build off of and evolve as we go.  Inspiration for us comes from all aspects of life, but we draw heavily from our natural environment for imagery and color.

What do you do when you’re stuck on a design problem?

We believe that if we are truly stuck, it’s likely for a reason; maybe the piece is overly complicated or we are forcing something that isn’t meant to be. When we are stuck, we try to re-think what we are trying to do. We take being “stuck” as an opportunity to evolve, learn and grow.

What is the most essential tool in your studio?

Our brainstorming tools, which means a notebook and a bottle of wine.

Where do you source your fabrics from?

We source most of our fabric in New York.  We have great relationships with our vendors and we try to build off of those.

IMG_5494How would you describe the woman who buys your clothes?

We often refer to the Wyatt Orr woman as “Wynona”. She appreciates when comfort and luxury can coexist, and loves statement pieces that can be dressed up or down and easily worked into her wardrobe. She likes high-quality fabrics and looks for refined details in her clothes that aren’t too flashy, but rather understated and quietly confident.

How do you flesh out a collection?

We really try to edit. We start large and then gradually zero in on the most cohesive elements within the collection over the next few weeks. We revisit our decisions as we go along. Its like a big puzzle and the pieces really don’t fully come together until the very end.

What are some advantages and disadvantages to basing your line out of Seattle?

We love Seattle and the Pacific Northwest and find it a huge source of inspiration, which is a great advantage. The biggest disadvantage is that being here means we have to source just about everything from other cities… Our shipping bills are a little crazy. We spend a lot of time communicating from afar with our vendors based in New York and LA.

What’s been the most fun about embarking on Wyatt Orr?

One of the most rewarding things for us is seeing a collection finally come to fruition after weathering the challenges between conception and production. We also really love the collaborative aspect of Wyatt Orr, and enjoy the process of combining our two aesthetics and seeing where we end up each season.

What advice would you give to other designers, business owners, or artisans?

Be patient.
Believe in what you do.
Be ready and willing to change and try new things.
Be open to feedback of all kinds

Past meets present in a fresh and modern way with clothes and accessories by Portland-based designer, Lindsey Reif.

reifPortland-based designer, Lindsey Reif, is a small town girl at heart. Born and raised in the Black Hills of South Dakota, Lindsey was shaped by rural roots that have bestowed her with an appreciation for design that takes time. She understands that for something to be done well, it will not necessarily be done quickly, and she applies this philosophy to her own eponymous line of clothing and accessories.

Reif takes design ideas that were very fashion forward when they were first introduced, but have now become iconic of a time in the past. In this way, Reif is able to successfully achieve an aesthetic that is simultaneously modern and classic–two seemingly contradictory ideas that meld flawlessly when approached this way. When asked to describe her line, Lindsey chose words like “approachable, edgy, classic.” These terms may not intuitively complement one another, but it’s an apt description of Reif’s transcendence of time and technique.

reif_07cWhere are you from and what do you want people to know about Lindsey Reif the designer?

I’m originally from Deadwood, South Dakota, which is a super small town of about 1200 people that was recently made famous by the HBO show Deadwood. Yes, it’s a real place! Deadwood is about 45 minutes from Mount Rushmore and is surrounded by some of the most beautiful scenery I’ve ever seen. The Black Hills will always be a big part of who I am, but the city was calling my name! In 2002 I moved to Portland, Oregon, where I’ve been living ever since.

When did you realize this was your passion?

I’ve always loved making things, but never really thought about being a designer until I was about 20. When I first moved to Portland, I started attending college and completed a major in Spanish and Applied Linguistics. Sewing started for me as a hobby and the more I learned and experimented the more I realized that it was what I wanted to do with my life. Since I didn’t go to fashion school it’s definitely been a learning curve every step of the way, but I think that just makes me more determined.

Where do you pull your inspiration? What other designers/artists do you look to? Who or what are your biggest influences?

I pull inspiration from everywhere. Bauhaus art posters, mid century furniture, and the little details found in vintage clothing constantly inspire me. I also pay attention to street style and they way people actually wear clothing–I’m intrigued by form vs. function and how they can be one in the same. Dion Lee is a huge inspiration for me, as well as Alexander Wang and Ann Demeulemeester. Francois Hardy, Edie Sedgewick, Alexa Chung, Chloe Sevigny and Rihanna are among my style icons.

reif_07aWhat is exciting you right now in the world of fashion and design?

I’ve noticed that clothing is becoming more minimalist while accessories are taking center stage.  Accessories and shoes are such a fun way to change an outfit and add a splash of color so I think it’s a really smart way to go!

What is the most thrilling aspect of the creation process?

The biggest thrill for me definitely comes from seeing a collection go down the runway or getting back photos from a lookbook shoot! It makes all the hours of hard work worth it to see the final product all together. I also really love seeing people wearing my designs on the street!

Portland is producing some amazing designers right now. What’s in the water?

Ha! I think it’s the supportive community we have here, really! Because Portland is not a fashion mecca (yet!) and doesn’t have a lot of the resources of places like New York, designers have to ban together and pool resources and knowledge! I know that I wouldn’t be where I am today if it wasn’t for the support of local boutiques, press, and of course the shoppers. Portlanders are also very prideful, and they like to support local artists, which is awesome!

Dream collaboration? If you could collaborate with anyone past/present who would that be?

Presently, Chloe Sevigny. Past, textile artist Gunta Stölzl.

Where do you hope to see Reif five years from now?

I hope to see both my clothing and accessories being carried in stores nationwide. I would love to be collaborating with other designers and possibly designing new things like shoes or housewares.

reif_01dYou left South Dakota 11 years ago and relocated to Portland? What spurred the move? What drew you to Portland?

Yes, I moved to Portland in 2002. Like so many 18 year olds, I wanted to exert my independence and find out who I was, and Portland seemed like a great place for that. I was always attracted to cities, and Portland is a good size – not too large that it lacks a personal feel but big enough to have the perks of a big city like things to do and great food. I was also attracted to the natural beauty of the Portland area, it reminds me a lot of home. I love having nature so close to the city limits!

Did the move alter your aesthetic?

In a way, yes. I was 18 when I moved, and hadn’t started designing at the point, so I would say that at that age, I had no real aesthetic then. It solidified here in Portland, but the foundations obviously started back home.

How do your small town roots influence your creative process?

I think coming from a small town has given me an appreciation for the design process as a whole.  It’s easy to get caught up in “fast fashion” but I think there is something more genuine about craftsmanship and designs that have longevity.

When you design, what kind of woman do you have in mind?

The REIF woman is independent and creative, and has a strong sense of her own personal style. She seeks out clothing that is unique yet ubiquitous and is not afraid to take risks or try new things when it comes to fashion.

Is Reif an extension of your own closet?

Absolutely. At the end of the day, if I wouldn’t wear it, I won’t design it! When designing a new collection each season I think about what I want to wear at that time.

reif_07bHow do you want a woman to feel when she puts on your pieces?

I want her to feel confident, comfortable, and sexy. Yes, you can have all of those things at the same time.

Takes us through a day in the life of Lindsey Reif.

My morning consist of drinking coffee, hanging out with my cat, answering emails and blogging inspirational images. I’ll often make a run to a fabric store or do a little thrifting, then I head home and start sewing! I’m a night owl, so I can often be found sewing late at night, unless I’m out with friends!

Do you have a daily uniform? What’s your go to piece, or pieces?

I mostly wear skirts and dresses, so black opaque tights are a wardrobe must for me–I wear them almost every day during the fall and winter.  I also own more babydoll dresses than is probably necessary, and I have an extensive collection of grandpa sweaters and chunky infinity scarves.

What has been your proudest Reif moment to date?

Seeing some of my turbans on an episode of Portlandia!

Turbans are one of those timeless pieces, but many women don’t think they are capable of pulling them off. What advice could you offer?

I would tell them to try one on! Nearly every woman I’ve encountered that has apprehension about wearing a turban has totally changed their mind once they put them on and realize how comfortable and versatile they are.  They are great for bad hair days or the beach, keeping your ears warm in winter, and look great with long flowing locks, pixie cuts, top knot buns and everything in between!  You might think you aren’t a “headband” person but you probably are, just give it a try!

The heat is on!

Summer is just around the corner, and Craft & Culture is stocking up on all of our favorite designers with selections that are sunshine ready. One of our latest arrivals comes from Icelandic label, Helicopter, whose graphic printed garments come in breezy fabrics and loose, flowing fits perfect for staying cool and stylish through the warm weather season.

Dressed up or dressed down, these new Helicopter pieces make use of such fabrics as cotton stretch sateen, viscose jersey, and georgian silk for a polished look that moves easily from day to night. The digitally patterned designs are fierce and feminine, striking a beautifully blended juxtaposition between the brazen prints and the soft lines of the construction. Whether headed to a backyard barbecue, an outdoor music festival, or a hot night out on the town, these new Helicopter designs make it a breeze to look effortlessly on point.

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Elegant asymmetrical jewelry from Seattle-based designer, Khadijah Fulton.

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It was during the 90’s grunge era that Khadijah Fulton originally felt her calling toward design. Trained at Parsons New School for Design, Khadijah relocated to Seattle after spending over a decade in the commercial fashion industry, cutting her teeth in this demanding line of work well before she embarked on her own line. Making use of the some of the most durable materials on the planet, White Space toys with the unknown space betwixt dichotomies, the “white space” in between.

_-CoCoK8vpgbTAx4-E3SvJmc-kQQshViMC7VoZKHa9UEvery piece is handmade in the White Space studio in the historic Pioneer Square neighborhood of Seattle. Khadijah uses silver, gold, and diamonds as well as asymmetrical forms in her jewelry to inspire both individuality and intimacy. Khadijah strives to achieve balance, whether that be in shaping her line of jewelry, or in the constantly shifting roles she find herself in as a woman. Along with the birth of her son came the birth of White Space. The young mother keeps the hectic bustle of women’s lives ever present in her mind when designing, making her jewelry utilitarian as well as glamorous. “As a new mother,” Khadijah says, “I wanted to create pieces that were easy to live with all day, interesting enough to allow your personality to shine, and could speak to a desire for quality and timeless design.”

What do you love most about what you do?

I love that the ideas that I feel compelled to bring to life can not only become reality but actually take on meaning and significance for someone else, or become an outward expression of their individuality.

0QP46oipa9bi8pZ9ATiNLGQsbgfkJW3Bi4tlLSmnhDUWhat’s in your tool kit?

Mental: gut instinct, curiosity, openness, perseverance, wonder, courage. And by the way, these are all things for which there is a daily pursuit, they are not mastered!

Physical: my sketchbooks, hammers, files, torch, saw, so many other comforting tools that help my ideas come to life.

What is your most loved object?

My engagement ring. It’s by one of my favorite jewelers, Malcolm Betts, and is not only sentimental for it’s obvious meaning and that time period in my life, but also is a daily inspiration in terms of gorgeous, simple craftsmanship, and the beauty of imperfection.

Who do you consider your greatest inspiration?

I don’t really have one greatest inspiration. There are so many people I’ve known in my life (or not personally known, for that matter) whose strength, creative spirit, boldness, elegance, charm, adaptability, confidence, kindness, selflessness, wisdom, innocence, patience, have been inspiring…not to mention all the beautiful things one can see just walking down the street, and how people present themselves to the world… I long to be continually inspired.

rv3Wgb2AAqAQB2oZuxdkxq2XtJtveTTseS_gM18f5_kAre there any of your characteristics that are translated into your pieces?

The idea of dichotomies and bringing disparate elements together in a subtle way to create something new. I’m a bit of a mish-mash, and have always had an appreciation and thirst for so many different things creatively that sometimes I feel like with my work I’m looking to define the spaces “in between” those things. That’s actually how I came up with the name White Space.

How does Seattle influence you as an artist?

Seattle has a nice balance of a more relaxed pace of life, where people really enjoy the beauty of nature and fresh air, along with an appreciation for art, music and craftsmanship. There are incredible things going on in the world of food and lifestyle in particular, and every day I feel like I’m discovering people doing exciting new things in the city, opening great boutiques, creating gorgeous products, etc., without the harsh grind of a bigger metropolis.

Who are 3 other artists you are inspired by?

EEsh! Just three? Ok…The photographer Loretta Lux, the musician James Blake, and Line Vautrin. ….And Caitlin Mociun. Had to do 4 – her work is just awesome.

cgb563xzqNeqR4AmPe5AIayKx3iQgBsRcHsbM-AqHn8How do you get to work?

I take a 20 minute drive from my neighborhood that is rich with natural beauty, into the historic Pioneer Square neighborhood downtown that is rich with urban beauty. All in all, a lovely commute that gets me ready to create and get my hustle on.

What do you see out your studio window?

A bustling corner in Pioneer Square, where century-old buildings and modern glass towers come together, along with people from various walks of life, fantastic street art, and the world renowned Salumi shop. Yum.

How do you celebrate your creative accomplishments/meeting your goals?

Usually dancing around, enjoying a moment of unabashed excitement with my son (kids are great for that), eating something decadent, and then investing in more tools or things for the business and dreaming bigger.

65ezoS28yG7gTsTS4uyxArqZnrnAJ_Av8ZBuo50tH68What do you love most about jewelry?

It’s ability to highlight a person’s beauty and individualism in a very visceral way… It’s a little thing that makes a big difference, like the perfect red lipstick. I also love that it’s the way that we continue to adorn our bodies with Earth’s little shiny treasures. It’s a universal human experience – we can’t help ourselves! People have been doing it since the dawn of time.

How does your design process begin?

Usually with an idea – sometimes they literally just pop into my head, sometimes they come from something I physically see that makes me think of something else, or translating a particular shape or juxtaposition into a something wearable. I then sketch to flesh it out, or take to the bench to start working it out in metal.

What is one thing you would wish for in the next year?

Laser Focus. Being a “design-preneur“ in the digital age is an incredibly amazing opportunity but it’s also challenging in ways that those who came before us never had to deal with. Like many creative people, I naturally can tend to be a little “all over the place”, but the ability to be really focused on a few key things that need to come together to make my creative voice heard is a challenge I am excited to pursue.

 

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