Believe it or not, the Skyscraper collection was influenced by the Bauhaus movement. While this may conjure for you some key images of the era (i.e., Mondrian print or the Wassily chair) it was the values of Bauhaus that really resonated with me: design without embellishment. The focus on design for functionality is especially intriguing because it is a core value of my brand. As it relates to this season, I was particularly inspired by the architectural application of the movement and the geometric shapes and clean lines found in buildings, especially modern and glass skyscrapers.
My first design, called the Atrium Dress, is a blackwash denim dress with electric blue topstitching. This particular style is considered an “apron dress” which has come back recently into fashion and I was very keen to put my spin on it. While on the surface it may appear quite simplistic, there are a lot of parts working together. Mikael and I went back and forth as to whether it was too complicated to bring into production. But we decided--this dress is worth all twenty-some-odd pattern pieces.
As much as the world loves the Atrium Dress, it was actually the Skylight Jacket that worked out to be this season’s crowd pleaser. I remember the day I walked past the fantastic quilted silver fabric bolt. The use of PU was mostly experimental, but with great success. There was a lot of love and research that went into making this fabric work. That and a treasure hunt around Portland for the special sewing parts. I learned a bit about leatherworking along the way and I couldn’t bring myself to glue any part of this jacket--it seemed profane, so all the seams were carefully topstitched instead. All the effort to use this special fabric really paid off. Coincidentally, this was the year to offer a Spring jacket given the longstanding cold temperatures. Women were stopping us during our photoshoot to inquire about it!
Even our smallest collections require a shocking amount of work. It’s *just* three pieces! (Note to self: eliminate the word “just” from vocabulary). Why so few? We’re really trying hard to figure out the production side of our business. Many of our styles are made in house by yours truly. Some styles are outsourced to local sewing contractors. We make our garments by the order to eliminate as much waste as possible. This means we don’t keep stock and our customers have to wait for their purchase to be created. We’re working hard behind the scenes to bring our styles to market much quicker so you can wear them right away!
Skyscraper was a great and fun collect to work on. What I love about how we do things is, Heidi concepts for the season and puts the moodboard together, but I don’t look at it until she’s done. Once she’s done, she reveals it to me. There’s nothing quite like moodboard reveal day!
I was super excited to work on something that had a monochromatic and linear feel to it. I went with some more hard-edged stylizing of this collection. I try not to make things too literal but felt like we could get away with that a bit more for this collection. I mean, what else could skyscraper really be reaching for? However, I did want there to be an underlying message; one of empowerment and optimism. Skyscraper really became a beacon for that to me so I went with trying to convey that message.
We’ve had pretty miserable weather in Portland all winter and into most of spring. We had to postpone our editorial shoot for almost one month, which really put things behind schedule. Nonetheless, on the one random day we were going to go for it--rain or shine--we got a beautiful mostly warm and sunny day. Luck was totally on our side!
I had a great time shooting this collection and working outside in full sunlight and really surprised myself at some of the shots we took.
Every collection is more and more fun while always learning a bit extra each time.