Interviews by Zara Khalid Photos by Taylor Pratt
How long have you been designing, and what is your specialty? I learned to quilt in high school and I have been sewing clothes since then probably. I usually make knitwear or crochet, which I have been doing since I could hold sharp objects. I also started silk-screening in high school too. Are there any sort of motifs or designs you like to use? (Laughs). One of my recurring designs is an old lady, I also like using leaf patterns. I love those, I used to draw them everywhere – bags, shirts, posters, I even have a tattoo of them. How long does it take to get a piece done? If I’m sewing, it only takes a few hours over the course of a few days, but with crochet it takes longer, usually two to three months. What’s your inspiration for the clothes you design? It’s usually something that’s part of my own style, something I would be want to be comfortable in. So what materials do you like to use? I like cotton, jersey, yarn, (lots of yarn). I tend to go for comfort. Who’s your style icon? I design for my body, and I like having a bit of autonomy in my style. If I had to choose an era, I’d go for the 1920’s or the ‘30s. Probably Louise Brooks, actually. I wish I could be her! Does designing tie into any of your other interests? I’ve been able to incorporate both my majors: Studio Art and Media Studies. I’ve been interested in what’s traditionally been considered “women’s work,” and the bond between women that is created through making things. It was a natural progression, my grandmother taught me to sew, and my mother’s friend gave me a sewing machine. Women have inspired my progression into design, and I want to explore that theme. What makes your clothes different? I don’t knit sweaters. I do tank tops, skirts, anything different. Actually, I’ve been working on a skirt recently – it’s semi-revealing and lacy, but still practical. Has Vassar helped inspire or encourage your designing? Definitely. The people I’ve met are really into fashion. My friends have always encouraged me. Being at Vassar has made me view my work differently. The person I’ve become wants to do more with fashion and challenge myself more. I’m thinking of working with more dresses and shirts, maybe work with vintage as well. What’s next? I’m working on a full-length dress. It’s green and blue cotton jersey with pockets and a racerback. It’s an experiment with form: wide flowing and simple.
Vassar Contrast's Fall 2011 issue