Tell me some background on the production process (where clothes are made and by who, techniques they use, what those techniques mean, why you like them)?
We manufacture our entire collection in India in a city called Gurgaon- it’s just southwest of New Delhi in Northern India. It’s a thriving place, and we chose to work in this area of India because our collection is comprised of both knits and wovens and this region is known for manufacturing both. It’s also incredibly important to us to work with factories that are socially and ethically compliant, so that no child labor is used at any point in the process, and Gargaon delivered on that point, too.
Another reason we chose to do our manufacturing in India is because of the artisanal embroidery and hand-printing capabilities available there. It is very challenging to find embroiderers in the US that can do this kind of stitching- it requires a high level of skill to achieve the designs. Some of the pieces or elements are done by traditional hand stitching, and can take up to two days to do by a skilled crafts person- for just one garment! Other designs can be executed by a manually guided embroidery machine.
The two hand-printing techniques we use for our prints are hand silk screening and hand block printing. Silk screening by hand, also called table printing, involves moving silk screens along the table section by section (as opposed to rotary printing which is entirely mechanized). Hand block printing is when a design is carved into a block of wood and is hand-dipped into pigment, then applied to fabric. Since the heavy blocks have to be held and worked by real people, rather than machinery, it can impact the scale and repeat of the design. Each block motif can only be 8 inches square.
I like the variation that is created by hand printing . There are a lot of tiny imperfections that can occur that make the pattern more interesting- it’s not a flat look, it’s unique. I am the type of the person that likes the variations and imperfections, like lightness and darkness that pass through the pattern.
What was your Inspiration for the Fall collection?
This collection was inspired by the transition from city to country and the sort of peace that washes over you as you leave the city limits. The color palette is based on the flora you see out in the countryside, where I grew up. The floral print has a little of a hint of an Art Nouveau motif that was inspired by a favorite vintage tin, and the embroidery was inspired by an antique Guatemalan textile that was re-purposed into a more modern silhouette.
Choosing the materials for this collection was easy. I am obsessed with anything gauze, it has a rustic sensibility. Our double gauze fabric is really light and airy, and can be layered easily under a chunky fall sweater or our quilted kimono jacket. I personally favor lighter fabrications and the idea of season-less dressing, so made sure that our pieces are something that you can wear year round.
What is your first step when designing a piece in the collection?
Generally, initial concepting involves gathering a lot of photography, art, vintage, and inspirational imagery and objects, then really editing everything down to a certain feeling and color palette. Print design is such a big part of what we have been doing with Printfresh Studio for the last 10 years, so working to develop a unique print is a natural part of the process for me. Once the print is established, I then start working out the silhouette of the garments. For silhouette inspiration, I look to favorite things in my closet and to vintage- I tend to not take much inspiration from what's currently in stores or on runways. The collection is meant to be timeless, so I try not to be overly influenced by trending shapes or ideas, because I want these pieces to be longer lasting.
How do you know when a design is done?
It sort of just happens. It’s a very intuitive and base-level thing, an emotional response: I’m either excited or I’m not. If something doesn’t elicit that emotional response, then it’s just not done. Maybe it needs more work, or it needs to be something different entirely. The whole process is so long- from initial print design and embroidery prototyping to garment design- and then you get these bits and pieces…
It’s really when I’m at the photo shoot stage that I see everything finally come together. That’s the point when I get to see what things are really like, what they’ve grown into.
Who will be drawn to your clothes?
The line is for a woman in her 30s to 50s. She values having something that is unique and enjoys supporting small-batch fashion lines (as opposed to the big retailers). She values natural fabrics, and she loves bohemian style, as well as objects and clothing inspired by travel that aren’t too over the top or touristy. To my customer, shopping for beautiful clothing is a treat- she may be really busy with work or kids- so she chooses these special boutique experiences where she can take some time for herself and select something with details and craftsmanship that she may not find elsewhere.
Where will women want to wear your clothing?
I think it’s definitely a more casual line. She could wear it during the work week in a casual or creative work environment. There is also a relaxed vibe, so for some women, it might be worn over the weekend. It’s great for laid-back outings: trips to the farmers market, taking kids to the playground, or shopping around old city.
Do you have a favorite piece?
The quilted set is my personal favorite. I love the jacket because you can wear it anywhere - hiking outdoors, an overly-air conditioned trade show, in my backyard. It provides warmth when needed, but is still lightweight, and it can be worn so many different ways. The pants are great because they feature an elastic waistband - easy, comfortable, quick to pull on- and they can handle a little dinner indulgence! For being quilted pants, they have a really nice fit.
How can women accessorize your clothing? Shoe or accessory brands you feel match well?
I am a huge fan of traditional Swedish clogs- Sven and No. 6 are my go-to clog brands. I think that very simple jewelry compliments the line well; you don’t want to over-accessorize with the print and embroidery that the clothes have going on. I also like geometric-yet-organic statement earrings, like those designed by Annie Costello Brown and Modern Weavings. For bags, I am a big fan of Mansur Gavriel. Another handbag designer, Clare V., has a great circular bag (that I think looks perfect with our quilted jacket!).