1. When did you first discover that you wanted to be a fashion designer?
As the child of a textile artist, I was designing from inspiration and impulse with fabric scraps before I could even be conscious of the desire to be a designer. My mother had about 100 angora rabbits throughout most of my childhood, and she would spin their wool into yarn, weave fabric, dye it and design clothing. I still have the first piece of fabric (silk) that I ever painted with her when I was 3. As children will rebel, I refused to sew and would always create wrap designs to wear. This approach has been delightful to develop, and I love saying that I have a “no-sew fashion line.”
2.How would you describe your designs?
I develop versatile and empowering fashion tools. When someone wears a piece from PranaMaker, I want the wearer to feel that they could easily gain or lose 35 pounds and still have many wonderful ways to wear the piece. PranaMaker serves the wearer’s desire to accentuate and accommodate their body as they please, instead of having their waistline (etc) having to match a pre-determined silhouette.
3. What are you favourite materials to work with?
Silk, because it was my first love.
Athletic fabrics, because they are so versatile.
Ribbons, because they are joyful, and as I say, they are “The Feminine Duct Tape…” I fix everything with ribbons!
4.How important is color to your design process?
I have a symbiotic relationship between color and drape. At times I am exploring different color balances and color relationships in my creations. This is especially true in my initial design phases when I am planning my public art exstallations with PranaMaker textiles, with pieces averaging 500 square feet, which I use to decorate homes, bridges, parks, schools, protests, etc. When I am focused on designing fashion, I may want to center a certain color transition, but drape becomes the main focus when showing off the models’ assets is the primary goal.
5. How did your knowledge of color theory change the way you think about design?
Color theory is an ongoing exploration, with its fundamentals being like very useful algebra equations that inform how you choose to bring your vision to life. I love to learn rules so I can break them well. This is true for traditional seasonal color palettes. I love to add flecks of neon to my neutrals, and vice versa, because this is what happens in nature. For many, color theory is a strictly visual process. However, I was raised by someone who is a gemstone therapist, and I am also deeply steeped in yogic training regarding chakras. So my study and application of color are fundamental to communicating the philosophy of my brand as a platform. I have a few key sayings to illustrate what I mean: “The rainbow reminds us that diversity unites us in beauty,” and “Mother Nature reminds us that all colors are beautiful together,” and “We are beautiful together as a disordered rainbow.”
6. Who or what is your biggest inspiration?
My biggest inspiration is the outdoor natural world as representation of God’s creation. I grew up on farms where we collected feathers from peacocks, turkeys, doves, ducks, guineas, and every type of chicken we could find. I see constant color interplay and juxtaposition in nature, and I long to help others delight in this, and our shared, diversity.
7. What is the biggest risk you ever took with a design?
During my first fashion shows in Madison, Wisconsin, I would go out on the runway with my models and dance with them while re-styling their wraps to the music of DJs. The moves and looks were created spontaneously in front of the audience, and often the models had only met me briefly beforehand. I look forward to doing more of this again. Later I did a show in Raleigh, North Carolina, where I pulled the wrapped dresses apart and turned them into scarves before the models walked offstage. Most recently in New York with Live Out Loud Charity, I walked the runway with a GoPro on a stick, and I also sent a model (who is a photographer) down the runway wearing her camera like a purse, and she took a picture of the photographers when at the end of the runway. These are a few examples of edgy elements I have brought into shows that are meant to be lighthearted commentary on how fashion is “done,” while setting the audience at ease and making them wonder what entertainment might pop up next.
All of the above are interesting fashion design risks that I’ve taken. But I’m really a bit of a design engineer, and sometimes I take interesting risks testing my fabric…
I have wrapped spaces where unarmed people have been killed by the police, to draw attention and simultaneously uplift.
I had an exterior house porch wrapped in Wisconsin for 1.5 years, through snow storms and rain storms and hail and sun, testing the durability of my color saturation and fabrics.
I wrapped my classroom when I was a Special Education teacher.
I put up a 300 square foot rainbow along Chicago’s LaSalle Bridge over Lake Shore Drive in the middle of the day before a rainstorm.
I biked over 30 miles up 10,000 vertical feet wearing a PranaMaker wrap dress while going up Maui’s highest crater, Haleakala.
8. What are you working on now? Any new designs you can hint at?
Right now my major design focus is bringing to life my goal of breaking the World Record for the World’s Largest Tie Dye. Of course, it will also be the most beautiful. I could break the record at the scale of 5ft by 1 mile, but my goal is to create a 5k route of 10ft by 3.5 miles. I would display it as a series of exstallations. You can support this goal by shopping PranaMaker or donating to: paypal.me/PranaMaker
9. How was it showcasing in New York Fashion Week produced by founder of LOLC Sherrie Gearheart? Describe the experience.
Working with Sherrie Gearheart and the Live Out Loud Charity Board and community is a phenomenal experience in terms of outstanding show production, location and documentation. Sherrie Gearheart cultivates a professional and supportive environment where the conversations are elevated in all the rooms involved at her events, from backstage rack city to the runway. Sherrie facilitates an incredible entourage of high-minded professional artists who are on a mission… to save lives. And I thank God for her! So going to New York with her felt amazing. I was assured that my time would be rewarded with an incomparable network. Sherrie Gearheart and Live Out Loud Charity always deliver and add value.
10. Where/how can we purchase your items?
PranaMaker is carried at:
Enchantress Gallery in the Shops of Wailea in Maui
Lost Eras in Chicago, IL
Or hit me up via messenger on Facebook and Instagram.
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