December 15, 2015
Lauren Winter has been on our Favorites list for some time now, and we are so excited that her move to Portland was the serendipitous step that brought her to apply to our Seattle Holiday Fair! Boy, oh boy, is it going to be a fashionable weekend!
When/Why did you start working in this particular craft/field?
I see clothing design as another form of art or expression with the best canvas around – the human body. I learned how to sew by altering vintage clothing in college, and I slowly made my way from working with sewing patterns to designing my own.
Have you had any major failures? If so, what were some important insights gained?
A few years ago, I almost quit before I had began – I was designing clothes more as a hobby than as a business. I needed direction, so I applied to a handful of grad schools, almost enrolled in a couple of them, took some classes, and worked some odd jobs. It took about six months for me to realize how much I missed sewing and creating. I rebranded under my own name and jumped back into sewing, vowing to take it seriously, and I haven’t stopped since. The process has taught me a lot about myself and my limits. I believe some people place self-perceived limitations on themselves because they are afraid of how much they can accomplish – I am one of them. Now that I’ve pushed out of the box I created for myself, I’m more comfortable taking risks.
What has been your proudest/favorite moment since creating your business?
It might seem small, but the first time someone tries on a new design, whether it’s a friend helping out with fit or a model or myself, is always a favorite moment – a design’s transformation from a flat piece of fabric to a draped design to being worn.
What made you take this leap into being your own boss?
To me, there is nothing more gratifying (or challenging) than being your own boss. When your name is on a project, there is no one else to point fingers at when something doesn’t succeed, and that can be a pretty strong motivator to do well and work hard.
What are some inspirations for your work?
Each design I make is inspired by origami and the playful nature of shapes, wraps, and folds. I also have a lot of love for traditional Japanese silhouettes, Japanese influence always finds its way into my work. My current inspiration includes Sonia Delaunay sketches and watercolors from Georgia O’Keeffe.
What are some tips or suggestions you’d like to offer to fellow makers?
Anyone that runs their own business knows it’s hard work, but it can be easy to forget how important delegation can be. If you want your business to succeed, you can’t do everything yourself! Build a solid team that you can trust with both small and large tasks.