It’s interesting you only create one line a year. A lot of young designers can be really hasty when they first emerge yet you’re being more calculated and thoughtful. Yeah, I’m in the opposite camp. I spend a lot of time developing the ideas. I do all of my own pattern and sample making. It’s really important for me to be very hands-on so I definitely take my time. There’s a lot of research that goes into every collection. Working for different fashion companies over the years, it seems like it would behoove me to go slower and try to figure out who my audience is and really get to know my customer.
How long do the collections live, as far as people being able to order them? They live into eternity. I’m not sure they’ll be on the website forever but if someone orders something from me all of the patterns are changed to reflect how the person wants to wear a garment and how I can make it fit a little better. Once someone orders from me, their pattern is on file and they can order it forever.
Are all of the patterns custom? Each pattern is unique, some more than others. Often times I’ll change the body length or sleeve length. I can also change around the pocket placement and the types of pockets that are available and the fabrication is always flexible. The collection acts more as a basepoint for people to work at so I deal with smaller pattern tweaks.
When people make custom designs, doesn’t the altering usually happen on the body rather than to the pattern? For the most part that is the case. I try to draw a distinction between a fully custom garment and a made-to-order one. What I’m trying to offer is a made-to-order service. So you don’t necessarily have to have a fitting with me but then it might not be as tailored to the body. Most of the measurements I ask for, people can take off their body or have a friend take them. I’m trying not to make the service too New York-specific.
Where do you look for visual inspiration? There’s always visual stimuli but it’s more about crafting a collection from a story. The first collection I did was redesigns of outfits that Carly Simon wore on album covers. That one was very visual but I was also reading a lot about her, listening to her music, and trying to flesh out who she was as a person. The second collection was more of an exploration of a pattern. It’s based on two patterns but they’re changed in a variety of ways to make all of the garments. The collection I’m working on now, called Like Hounds, is based on written descriptions of clothing that doesn’t exist, and imagining what that clothing would be.
It seems like there’s some overlap between music and your designs. On your site you posted songs by Ciara and Future Brown. How important is music to your design process? It’s pretty important. A lot of conversations I have with my friends who are musicians are much more about what they’re doing in that world and what live shows they’re attending. I don’t have many friends in the fashion world. Also, I didn’t grow up with MTV so I wasn’t exposed to the world of music videos until later in life and, now that I have access to them on YouTube, I find them so inspiring because musicians have such interesting ways of representing themselves through their clothing.
What were you listening to when you were designing the Champion collection? A lot of R&B and hip-hop, which is always something that I come back to. It felt like a summer collection and there’s been a lot of stuff happening with loungewear—sweats and pajama dressing—lately. I was also thinking of Aaliyah’s music videos and how people wear more comfortable clothing but look so sexy. I find that that look is embodied in hip-hop and R&B culture.
What are some of the challenges unique to making loungewear? I think the main challenge is figuring out how to make loungewear you can wear out of the house. It’s about treading a fine line between feeling comfortable but not so overly comfortable that you can’t show up to a meeting.