Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Mint Focus: Liz Spencer for Aiguille et fil

Tell me a little about yourself. Where are you from? What's your educational background? What are your general professional and non-professional interests?

My name is Liz Spencer and I currently live in Seattle, Washington. I have moved all over the US throughout my life and really love the beautiful surroundings and progressive minded people of the Pacific Northwest. I've also spent considerable time in Portland, OR and went to a small liberal arts college in the Yamhill Valley of Oregon. I've worked professionally as a designer and typesetter for a family owned Letterpress and hand paper making business in Portland and now work part time as a seamstress in a tailor's shop in Seattle but have been designing and sewing my own line of clothing part time for the past 3 years. I hope to design full-time soon and perhaps go to fashion school. I am self taught and would love to take my technical abilities to the next level.

What does fashion mean to you?

To me fashion should mean more than just runways and glamour. Just as many of the consumption choices that we make daily such as whether to drive or bike, eat organic, local or vegetarian perhaps I think that the types of clothing that we buy should reflect these contemplations too. Fashion is a way to explore identity through physical and expressional means as well as through ethical and environmental means.

How would you define your city's fashion?

Seattle fashion is diverse. There are hipsters on Capitol Hill as well as business professionals downtown. Generally I also see lots of active wear and outdoor apparel. We have a rich natural environment surrounding us, and many people are regularly active and outside (despite the rain!). I can see why Kurt Cobain decided to dawn a flannel shirt and launch the grunge scene as they were probably quite plentiful in local thrift shops.

When did you realize you wanted to become a fashion designer?

I realized I wanted to be a fashion designer when I found myself eager to get home from my day job and sew into the night. I feel at ease while sewing.

What do you love most about designing and creating your own clothing?

I love challenging myself and the process from conception or theme to the fruition of a cohesive line of clothing. I love that things change while I sew and that i don't have to always follow through with my original design. I embrace happy mistakes and changes during the process.

What are some of your favorite materials to work with and create with?

My favorite materials include natural fabrics that are hand dyed and/or organic. I also like working with vintage embellishments, buttons, lace, zippers, and vintage printed natural fabrics.

How did you get your start in fashion designing and what have you learned over the course of being a designer?

I began sewing when I was interning for a Portland area fiber artist. I told her I could sew (even though my sewing experience was extremely limited to alterations performed in my grandmother's sewing machine) and she gave me a project of making these nude tulle ball gowns. I enjoyed teaching myself how to do everything from cutting to sewing to finishing and fit. Since then I've been doing everything myself and have refined my design and pattern making skills. I've learned that I will always need more time than I think when I sit down in my studio.

If you could sum up your look and aesthetic in three words, what would they be and why?

Geometric:  I have an affinity for graphic print and creating composition through lines and angles. Colorful:  I love to juxtapose vivid colors and experiment with broad color palettes. Fun: My designs are never too serious or restraining. I make sure that my garments are utilitarian by incorporating pockets, ensuring ease of fit and using comfortable, strong and natural fabrics, but my designs also still maintain femininity in subtle ways.

What are some of your accomplishments as a designer?

I've shown in a fashion show alongside the most recent winner of Project Runway, Gretchen Jones and participant Janeane Marie Ceccanti. I love both of their aesthetics as well as the diversity of fashion looks coming from Portland, Oregon. I've also completed all of my clothing lines while working part to full-time day jobs. I have no formal training and have taught myself everything I know. You can see my past work on my blog http://www.aiguilleetfil.blogspot.com/

Where can readers buy your clothes?

You can buy my clothes on Etsy: www.aiguilleetfil.etsy.com

How long have you worked as a designer and what is the meaning behind the name of your brand?

I've been designing for three and a half years.  Aiguille et fil is significant because I make everything by hand using needle and thread.  I speak French and have lived there during my college years.

Liz has been so gracious to pass along a 10% savings to our fashionable followers for orders placed on her Etsy webstore using the promo code 'Bauhaus Textiles' which will expire on April 30, 2011.  Happy shopping!

Thanks for taking out your time to do this interview Liz! 

Fashionably yours - Shellena


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Remember to stay fashionably bold and true by setting your own fashion trends.

Fashionably yours - Shellena ♥

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