I am currently working on a line of summer ties, as well as belts, watches, and pocket squares that will be hitting my Etsy store soon!
1. The first time I sewed or learned how to sew was in Junior High detention. The detention monitor made us sew, knit, and crochet blankets, hats, gloves, scarves, etc. to donate (I grew up in Minneapolis, where winter is unforgiving, especially if you don't have those things...).
2. My friends and I are starting a Non-Profit community art program in St. Louis, in which we will take our Mobile Art Studio (literally a converted school bus with all kinds of cool art stuff inside) into the community to teach and inspire underpriviledged communities to create!
3. I played division 1 basketball in college (even got to play in the "Big Dance"), and am a huge sports fan.
4. I'm a health nut, and I love cooking as well. Is there anything better than eating and being healthy and fit (well, besides designing men's fashion)? NO!
What got you started crafting?
As an athlete, I used my body and hands to create this art form, and for almost all of my life that was how I expressed myself creatively. Most people don't think of sports as art, but I always did, and basketball is such a fluid graceful game, yet so forceful and explosive, it was an amazing way to create. Once basketball ended and my career was over, I searched hard for ways to create again, and fashion is what caught me. I have always found fashion and style to be this unique and amazing form of creativity. It is both inward in the way it makes you feel, and outward in the way it can make the world feel for you/of you. I find it fascinating, and sometimes overwhelming. So once I started sewing and designing, I was hooked, and I hit the ground running like Forest Gump.
What is your source of inspiration?
I find inspiration in the idea of design itself. It consumes my mind. Just thinking about the process and the idea of designing something, and then creating it drives me. I have many friends who are artists and architects and designers and they have been a huge inspiration as well, I take everything they say and do regarding design into account, and use that information. I'm not naive or ignorant at all in the fact that I have no formal design experience, I go off of instincts and desire, so I listen to them. They have really driven me to learn as much as I can about design, and to keep creating and thinking critically about my designs.
What have you made recently?
I have just started making these very cool lapel flowers. I saw a picture on Scott Schuman's The Sartorialist blog of a man in spain wearing this wonderful khaki suit, a gingham shirt, a navy knit tie, and this white lapel flower pin. At first, you can't even notice the flower, it fit in so incredibly well. Once I noticed it, I couldn't help but make one, and try on an outfit with it. I have put a little design twist on the idea, by making the flowers out of fabric, especially plaid and patterned cottons. I want to make the lapel flowers casual and cool for guys to wear, because they just look that good. You can wear them with a sweater, blazer, cardigan, suit, or whatever. I also love the idea (much like my ties) of taking this typically formal accessory and turning it into a casual item, that guys can wear anywhere to any occassion.
Where do you sell your crafts presently?
I sell mostly through Etsy, especially in the last couple of months. I also sell ties in a local Vintage shop on Washington Ave in Downtown St. Louis called Eve's Apple Vintage. For the store, I take some of the old vintage items and turn them into Neckties and Bowties, to keep the spirit of the store intact. I first started by doing custom orders for friends and locals in St. Louis, but soon realized I could make it into a real business (I was a business major, so it was organic to me to use those skills and start a business).
Why are handmade crafts important to you?
To me handmade is about the process and detail. Taking an idea and turning it into a physical form is exhalirating. Once you are finished making that final stitch, it hits you, that accomplishment of turning nothing into something is powerful.