My new pinhole art piece from the artist Heather Smith Jones. This was a custom piece Heather made just for me and the geometric image is one she uses often in her work. I love the texture these have, and of course I love the geometry – I keep telling her it reminds me of Buckminster Fuller’s geodesic dome.
I just read a great article in the Harvard Business Review, about why small businesses will succeed in this dismal economy. It talks about how owners of small companies aren’t interested in just the bottom line, or making a lot of money fast. They start their businesses because it’s something they love and have a passion for and their clients can sense that. “Small is the new big.”
I came across the article when I was reading the moop blog. Wendy, the owner of moop, is exactly the type of business owner they are describing in the article. Passionate and hard working and concerned with making a quality product. And she’s super nice too.
I am so excited for this movie to come out, I can’t stand it. I wonder if I can convice one of the boys to wear the costume to the theater?
Lastly, you can find me posting over at habit for the month of april. I’m honored to have been invited and I’m excited to see how it will make me consider my days in a slightly different way.
Thank you for all of your thoughts, both in the comments and emails, about the issue of copying in design fields. It’s such a sticky subject, and one that will never really be resolved I’m afraid.
I do want to say though that personally I don’t worry that much about it. I will keep working the way I do, pushing my ideas in new directions and exploring issues I’m interested in.
I think the Jim Jarmusch quote that I posted here weeks ago, is very relevant when considering this issue and bears repeating:
Nothing is original. Steal from anywhere that resonates with inspiration or fuels your imagination. Devour old films, new films, music, books, paintings, photographs, poems, dreams, random conversations, architecture, bridges, street signs, trees, clouds, bodies of water, light and shadows. Select only things to steal from that speak directly to your soul. If you do this, your work (and theft) will be authentic.
Authenticity is invaluable; originality is non-existent.
And don’t bother concealing you thievery-celebrate it if you feel like it. In any case, always remember what Jean-Luc Godard said: “It’s not where you take things from-it’s where you take them to.” – Jim Jarmusch
“Authenticity is invaluable; originality is non-existent” -I think that is really the key. It’s what you do with your inspriation that is important. I have mentioned before that I rarely look at fashion. I should clarify that I rarely look at fashion for inspiration. I find that other things around me, texture and color, landscape, a piece of vintage furniture, art, are much more inspiring. In those things I can focus on certain phenomenal aspects that are beautiful to me, and then consider how these things translate into another medium.
The dress above is another piece I’ve been working on recently. This started from similar ideas I was exploring with the cocoon poncho and also with a desire to work more directly with fabric and construction as a way of developing a design, rather than starting with a drafted pattern. I am quite excited about this one not only because the process feels so natural to me, but also because the finished piece is very simple and that’s something that I always strive for but rarely achieve.
(I just added a new batch of scarves to the shop, along with a few other things)
We had a little more snow yesterday and I was struck with how beautiful wet spring snow is. It not only cleans things up, but it highlights all the textures and saturates the ground, taking away the dry greyness and making all the colors so saturated. I like it when spring comes in slowly, taking it’s time. So often it’s cold winter, and then suddenly we have summer, without a transition period.
We’ve been talking about thresholds in the design studio I teach and I’ve been thinking that this time in the seasons is just that; a threshold. I particularly like this quote:
Two concepts are particularly relevant to exploring the operation of threshold. The first, from psychology, defines a threshold as the point at which a stimulus is of sufficient intersity to begin to produce an effect, as in “threshold of consciousness” or “ threshold of pain.” The second, from ecology, values the edge between two ecosystems as the zone of highest exchange and diversity. In ecological terms, thresholds are the most important parts of a system. The place where field meets forest is more important than either the field or the forest itself.
Thresholds are where transformations begin, where exchanges between unlikely things occur, and where identities are declared. Because they are the result of dynamic relations – between architecture and landscape, public and private, work and recreation – they resist closure in terms of meaning and space. Thresholds hold the potential of an inclusive realm, where the introduction and maintenance of difference is possible. Unlike an idea of inclusion as “melting pot”, where identities are blurred to create an compromised whole, threshold as an operation entails the preservation of differences, as well as the creation of something new from their coexistence.
INSIDEOUTSIDE Between Architecture and Landscape, Anita Berrizbeitia and Linda Pollak
A threshold allows you to see more clearly what is on either side of it. I feel that right now, especially in the last few days. The little bit of wet snow makes me so aware that things are changing.
I was just reading Orangette, and molly told a little story about a guy who writes sayings and words of wisdom on a dry erase board in his shop. The other day it said “I can’t wait to see what happens next”. When I read that I thought “exactly!”. That’s just how I feel almost every day.
volume pocket coat -in progress, UNIFORM Studio (please excuse the poor photos -my camera lens is broken….)
note: I will restock my shop tomorrow with more gossamer scarves. There is a new yellow gold color and also a charcoal grey (almost black) along with the orange and light grey. There might be a few other items as well. I’ll update it right after noon, CST.
I haven’t shown anything in progress lately so I thought I’d post some images of a coat I’ve been working on for awhile. This has similar pockets to the volume pocket dress. The neckline is something that has evolved from an old dress pattern I made several years ago. It really looks nothing like that neck, but there are similar ideas buried within, and the idea of it being convertable, or being able to wear it several ways is the same.
I’m not yet happy with the neck -there is still too much material. But it’s getting there. Sometimes I feel like a sculptor, nipping and tucking and snipping away. I have some beautiful grey linen with a bit of metallic sheen that I’d like to make this in.
I’ve been wondering whether I should stop showing process work or not. I like to have a record of my ideas and process, and it helps me to “talk” through issues. I also very much welcome your feedback. I haven’t really found any other designers doing this though. Probably because they want to keep their ideas to themselves. I’ve been reading about more and more cases of small designers getting copied by big companies lately.
It’s sometimes hard to know if it’s a case of blatant copying, or if it’s just two designers thinking similarly, unaware of each other. This recent example though seems pretty clear, at least in the final product.
I guess it doesn’t make any difference if you wait to show things when they are completed or not. If someone is going to steal a design they will do it whenever. And I like talking about process too much to stop:)
Speaking of all this, which is a difficult subject and one I’ve tried to avoid, Target has a dress right now that is very similar to the volume pocket dress I mentioned above. A friend sent me the link and I thought it seemed similar but it was hard to tell from the photo. Then I saw it in the store and the distinguishing details are pretty much the same. The differences are that their dress has no sleeves, a zipper up the back and of course is in a different fabric. I don’t know what to think really.
Happy first day of spring! And thank you for all of the shop love yesterday. I really appreciate it. If you didn’t get one of the scarves and really wanted one, I’m making some more right now and they should be ready at the end of next week. I’ll update you here and send an email out to my mailing list. I’ll also put them up later in the day, to give the west coasters more of a chance.
We had a bit of snow this morning, which is typical for Minnesota in March. It was actually quite pretty and cleaned things up a bit. I love how surprising spring weather can be. Different almost every day. I had a bit of ‘found time’ this morning, so I made a spring list. It’s pretty random, just like the season:
This morning I saw wild turkeys right here in the city. Odd and wonderful.
The shop is now open and I made many cayenne scarves this time, so hopefully no one will be disappointed. And if you’re looking for inspiration on how to wear an orange scarf, a friend just sent me a link to this image (scroll down) on Garance Dore. So cute.
Unfortunately the transition wraps are already sold out, but I will take special orders today at the sale price if you didn’t get one in time. I can’t take any more orders right now -thank you!
I hope you have a wonderful Thursday, and thank you so much for all of the nice comments about the new collection!
update: The cayenne scarves are all gone. I will make some more next week. Thank you for your support!
U N I F O R M Studio vapor t-shirt + transition wrap states of matter COLLECTION, spring 2009
I plan on having a small shop update, tomorrow -Thursday, 3.19.09, in the morning. I have restocked the gossamer scarves in cayenne! and grey. There are some of the t-shirts and wraps you see above, along with some ink blot t-shirts and a few other surprises from my spring collection. Since Gallery 360 offered 20% off this weekend in honor of the show, I wanted to extend the discount to all of you as well so all of the new spring pieces will be on sale at 20% off Thursday only.
For the fashion show I only showed part of the spring collection. The second part will be available after the Gallery 360 spring trunk show, which is May 7th.
The fashion show brought an issue I’m constantly thinking and grappling with to the front of my mind this weekend. The pace that fashion designers have to work to produce 2 or more collections a year is crazy. When I think how long it takes me to conceive of one design, develop it, draft the pattern, test it out and make changes, and then do that again and again for a whole collection I get dizzy. I really don’t know how they do it.
My process is so much slower. I work on something, and need to leave it alone for awhile and then come back to it. And I’m often working on similar ideas and designs from season to season. I like the idea of a collection that continues to grow and evolve over time, rather than something completely new each season. It seems more sustainable as well.
There must be designers out there that work this way. I don’t follow fashion all that much* but I think some research is in order. If you know of any interesting designers not following the normal industry conventions please send me a note. I’d like to compile a list and I’ll post it here.
*the exception to this is Tracy’s blog. She does an excellent job of curating the collections and each piece she posts about I find interesting.
This weekend I watched the documentary Rivers and Tides again with my two sons. Thanks to Amanda for reminding me what a great film this is for kids. I really love Andy Goldsworthy’s work, but more than that I find I connect with his working process. He comes back to the same issues again and again, and works very slowly and carefully. Each time he has a failure he learns a bit more, and then goes back and works the piece again. I really appreciate his slow and iterative process. It was the perfect inspiration for me at this moment, after the fashion show which had me feeling quite confused about where exactly I fit in.
The Gallery 360 fashion show was Friday night, and it was so much fun! It was the first time I’ve participated in a fashion show and it was very interesting to see how these things work. Actually, to see how much work is involved. A local celebrity designer, Kimbery Jurek, organized the show, and showed her spring line along with Heather Hambrecht, Atom Pechman, and myself.
Everyone had to arrive hours beforehand and the time until the show was filled with sorting models, clothing try ons, finalizing accessories and how they were to be worn and choosing shoes. Then there were the hair and make-up people. And a run through.
Luckily for me, Tia from Silvercocoon Handmade (stylist extrordinaire) showed up a few hours prior to the show and helped out with styling my models. Two of them wore her jewelry, which I think goes so well with my work.
It was all very strange, and fast paced, and foreign to me. Tiny girls running about in underwear and makeup people asking me what sort of “look” I wanted for my models. I stayed in the miniscule backstage area to help the models do their quick changes so I didn’t get to see the actual show but from the sounds of the jam packed crowd I think it was a success. There was a photographer out on the runway and it will be fun to at least see some images of the show. Hopefully I’ll be able to afford a few of her shots as well.
At the end all of the designers had to walk down the runway and back. I literally thought I was going to faint and I was walking so fast I think I stepped on Kimberley’s heel at least once. Other than that, it really was a fantastic and exciting night. And it was fun to see and talk to a few friends in the crowd afterwards.
solid volume dress, states of matterCOLLECTION, UNIFORM Studio spring 2009
It’s been a long time coming, but I’m very excited to say that about one third of my spring collection, states of matter, uses organic and sustainable fabrics. Hopefully within the year, I can make that 100%. For now I’m happy to think that even though it’s a small part, I’m going in a direction I’ve been thinking about for quite awhile.
The solid volume dress is made of 100% bamboo fabric. It’s super light and has a wonderful feel and crispness. It holds it’s shape very well too. The transition wrap, while not organic, is made from industry offcut fabric.
In additon to the bamboo dress, all of the new t-shirts in the collection are made of organic cotton.
vapor dress, states of matter COLLECTION, UNIFORM Studio spring 2009
Hello. It seems like forever since I’ve posted here. February was busy and March is starting off that way as well. I just wanted to let you know what I’ve been working on and tell you about a local event coming up that I’ll be participating in.
On Friday, March 13th (I’m not superstitious, are you?)Gallery 360 is hosting a spring fashion show in their space. It will be small and intimate -I will be one of just 5 designers -but there will be food and music and it’s sure to be a lot of fun. Everything in the store will be on sale for the evening as well.
Even though we’re still deep into winter here, I’ve been working on a small spring collection and it will debut at the show. If you’re in the Minneapolis area stop by, I’d love to see you there. Hopefully the dye will have faded from my hands by then….
The show starts at 8, but the space is tiny, so I’d come a little early to get a seat. You can get all the details and location information at the Gallery 360 website.
About the 3rd week in March I will update my shop with a few things from the new collection. I’m also planning on having some ink blot t-shirts and more gossamer scarves.