Posted on March 17 2017
SEEK COLLECTIVE will be popping up at esby apparel 3/16 + 3/17 10–7pm. come by and see her naturally dyed silks, hand block printed designs, & our latest collaborative dress (her fabric design/our apparel design). we're loving her jumper so much.
tell us who you are and what you’ll be bringing to esby over sxsw.
I’m a designer and an artist and the founder of Seek Collective, based in Brooklyn, NY and in India. I’ll be bringing Seek’s Spring/Summer 2017 collection, including the collab dress with Esby, and some of our new season-less shapes capsule collection.
where did you grow up? how has that influenced your style?
I grew up in CT, about an hour by train from Grand Central Station in New York City, and was lucky to travel internationally a great deal. Being so close to NYC allowed me to spend a lot of time in the city and to see the culture of individuality it offered. I was able to visit designers studios as a kid, such as Geoffrey Beene, which left a huge impact on me, from exploring his incredible fabric archives to observing his approach to design and tailoring. Another designer would send me boxes of extra fabric scraps, which were beautiful brocades and silks, and I’d sew things out of them. I think the combination of preppy suburbia, high fashion in the city, urban street style, and international travels has influenced my style which combines sophistication with flairs of eccentricity, utility, and luxury as well as an appreciation of textiles.
how did you find apparel design?
I’m one of those cliché cases of someone who always knew what they wanted to do since they were a kid. It was always about art, painting, design, and textiles. When I was in middle school there was a TV channel devoted to the fashion shows of Paris, NYC, London, and Milan and I would obsessively watch them. In high school it became clear to me that clothing can be used to either fit in or to set yourself apart, which I found really powerful. In college I spent a year studying in Paris as well as summer working for the couture designer Anne Valerie Hash, which helped me find apparel and textile design niches I related to more.
do you have a favorite way to relieve stress?
Yoga has helped me manage stress since I was in high school and still is something I turn to. Meditation and breathing exercises are other tools. And at the end of the day, a glass of wine and a bath with some good music or a dinner with friends!
you work with artists in india to create the patterns for your designs, can you tell us about the creative process?
My creative process is greatly affected by what is or is not possible when working with different artisan techniques. I find this a good thing as all artists and designers need a framework with which to create from and at times it forces you to come up with some unexpected solutions or designs.
I will see something, whether a color on a painted wall or a textile scrap or an obscure image, which will lead me to coming up with an idea for a collection and it’s color story. I usually ruminate for months while slowly collecting more inspiration before I begin designing. Designing the clothes as well as the textiles will sometimes happen at the same time but often the textiles have to come first because of timing for production. The vision I have at the start is rarely what I end up with as some things can’t be achieved or ideas shift as I’m developing with the dyers, printers, weavers, or pattern makers for the clothing. A lot of Seek uses natural dyes and while I work with an incredible group who has been perfecting this science for a decade, there are colors I can’t always achieve naturally. For the block printing, the hand carved blocks can’t be any bigger than about 8” by 8” so this affects the size of the designs. Each technique has parameters to be considered.
you must travel quite a bit, what are your travel tips? tricks?
I travel to India at least twice a year and spend a couple months there each year, traveling domestically to meet with different suppliers and artisans. Trying to get some solid sleep on the plane is key. I’m obsessed with essential oils and creams. On flights I use Neil’s Yard travel essential oil roller, Neil’s Yard wild rose beauty balm, literally anything from In Fiore, and recently got hooked to Weleda Skin Food. A good book is essential, especially in case of delays or in case the movie system is down on a flight (this has happened to me on a 13 hour flight before). I try to bring my own meal on the plane, or at least snacks. Drinking a lot of water to stay hydrated is important, and I need to get better at it. I try to avoid creating plastic waste by bringing a Vapur water bottle which can fold down flat when empty and you can buy a built in water filter for it if you are in doubt about how clean the water is where you are filling up. For work trips I have a lot of samples and textiles with me so traveling light becomes difficult if not impossible, but when I can I try not to check any luggage. I literally always wear a silk crepe top when I fly as silk is both breathable and insulating, all while looking elegant.
is there a dream project for you to work on in or out of apparel?
I have endless dream projects! One is to bring together the profound connection between apparel, craft, textile and fine arts, through my own work and others. Another one is a dream of a nomadic concept store that would assemble Seek with the work of my fellow artist and designer friends as well as special travel finds. A big dream of mine is bringing awareness to all that goes into the complex and global apparel production in a very honest, transparent, and thoughtful way, both for consumers as well as for the industry. Supporting sustainability, craft, communities, and fair trade as something that is modern, relevant, high quality, and interesting in fashion is incredibly important to me.
what’s on the horizon for seek collective?
This spring I will be doing a road trip up the west coast from LA to Seattle where I’ll do pop up shops or trunk shows along the way. I really enjoy the spirit of collaboration and have some more fun collabs in the works with other designers and artists.