Although Earth Day was yesterday, we really should work to honor our planet everyday. An Ochi Shop favorite designer, Samantha Pleet, uses eco-friendly materials and processes wherever possible without compromising her amazing aesthetic. We interviewed our new favorite designer to celebrate Earth Day.
What is your earliest memory of art making?
I have been making art since I can remember. My mother painted and made furniture, we had a wood shop in our house, so I always had plenty of supplies. She always had these creative activities for my sister and I, like painting blocks of wood and then she would cut them up into puzzles with her saw. We would make costumes to wear and preform little plays, I just remember constantly making things and I have not stopped since.
During our process of choosing designers for our gallery shop you stood out because of your clothes’ beautiful and almost architectural lines-can you tell me how you make the formal and structural decisions in your designs?
I look at inspirations, absorb ideas and then let myself freely work with the fabric on the dress form. Everything just has to come together to make a piece just like drafting a building, it is a 3 dimensional structure but it also has to be conformable and flattering on the body.
Your collections feel quite narrative, where do you draw your inspiration from?
Traveling is one of the ways I find ideas. I wander around museums, sights, local cafes and shops where, I find new characters and landscapes then I can imagine. I love to go far, like Iceland or Peru, but even a day trip or a walk around the block can lead to new discoveries. I also find new muses in music, films, and books. I bring it all together on a big board and when i feel I understand the direction for the season, I begin draping the silhouettes, finding the fabrics, and creating the original print artwork that brigs the collection to life.
You showed your FALL 12 collection at Exit Art in NYC, which is an art space. I believe you also have a fine art background. Where do you see the crossover between art and fashion?
Art and fashion are very related in my world. I am not just making clothes, I am creating a way of seeing the world much as an artist does when they create a painting. Part of the fun is imagining interesting ways to present the collection like making short films and fashion shows that bring people into this world.
And finally, what does it mean to use organic and green materials in your designs? Why did you decide to be Eco-friendly?
I use natural fabrics like silk, wool, and cotton in my collection and I like to use fabrics from mills who take the time to create a great product. The wool I use is from a heritage mill in Leeds England with the magical name Moon, and all their fabrics are naturally dyed. I am also proud to produce the clothes locally in NYC factories. I think it is everyone responsibility to be as sustainable as possible.