Designer Chat is a series created to highlight brands/designers that I personally believe are pushing the envelope aesthetically and with the vision they have for their respective brands.
As a child what did you want to be when you grew up?
As a child, I wanted to be a (are you ready?) hair-wardrobe-make up-stylist-photographer-and-apparel-designer. I remember for “Career Day” in grade school, I came to class suited with a tool belt full of hair products, supplies, nail polish, a sewing kit, and measuring tape around my neck. I was a mess, but I guess I was in tune with what I wanted all along.
You recently graduated from SPU [Seattle Pacific University]. Tell us about your experience & journey there?
Attending SPU was an eye-opener for me. I spent most of my time there (1.5 years) reflecting on my passion for design and my aspirations for the future. Being in an environment that cultivates selflessness and care for others has strengthen what I truly feel is my purpose in this physical world—to inspire others to be greater and to have courage to be themselves—whether it be through my designs, encounters, or giving back to the community.
What prompted you to create a kidswear line?
Children are so innocent. So transparent. So free. Being a designer that focuses on linearity, it is a breath of fresh air to be able to exercise the quirky side of my artistic abilities.
Fall 13 you debuted your menswear label Le Notre. Visibly there’s a similar aesthetic between Le Notre and Meme your kidswear line. What are some differences between the two?
Le Notre and Meme are similar in design aesthetics but are different in use of textiles and shapes. With kidswear, I feel like I have more room to experiment with all sorts of patterns and prints, and will continue to go into this minimal, yet, tasteful direction as time goes on. Silhouettes are elongated and widened to compensate for a growing child. For menswear, I have a more specific vision that I plan on sticking to—designs and palettes will remain darker, but the end result is to push its wearer out of their comfort zone—whether that be with using more delicate fabrics that are uncommon in menswear, elongated and slimmer silhouettes, or even more feminine design characteristics. When I design for Meme I think of boys, when I design for Le Notre I think of women.
I’m a big fan of minimal garments for children and I love how you’ve still been able to incorporate notable variation and character throughout the collection even though the color palette is monochromatic. Do you ever feel limited or bored because of that?
I feel limited in the use of textiles that are appropriate for children to wear versus actual designs of garments. With the chiffon I’ve introduced in the SS14 Delivery 1 collection, I’ve had to use it in ways that it made sense for a child at play (as panels versus the actual body of the garment)—as free and mobile as children are, I don’t want my garments to restrict them from being comfortable.
Name two of your favorite designers and explain how their work influences yours, if so?
Yohji Yamamoto and Rei Kawakubo are my biggest influences. I can write a whole novel on how they influence me—but in short, just their overall knowledge and playfulness, yet, impeccable attention to form and detail are what capture me.
Can you tell us about Art With Heart and why you felt the need to partner with them?
I have a really soft heart for children and with that comes an even softer place for art as well. I sound like a broken record, but a child’s innocence is so inspiring and genuine, and definitely fragile. In our fast-paced, technological world, I feel like we often forget how we grew up as children and neglect to really focus on a child’s true needs or miss out on opportunities to really help develop a child’s imagination and creativity. Art With Heart’s mission is to help children overcome any hardships they are going through in life, through creative expression. This mission alone is the reason why I wanted to partner with them as it resonates with how I even cope with difficult times—with and through art.
What sets Meme. apart from other brands in the ever growing kidswear market?
Meme focuses on gender neutrality and longevity in garments. I design with kids in mind—their growth, their habits, and how they might play. Keeping it gender neutral ensures that brothers and sisters can share clothing (as I did growing up), or that they can be passed to the next sibling, and so on, which goes into the longevity aspect. Longevity in a sense that I keep in mind the kinds of textiles I use—how washable are they? Will this get destroyed in the grass?—and longevity through the silhouettes I’ve created; tops/bottoms are elongated or widened to ensure a longer time frame for wears (if you take a look at the collections I’ve posted, samples were made in a 4T/5T and the ages of children range from 4-7 years old).
One trend in kids fashion that you wish would go away and hopefully never be resurrected?
Crocs. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen kids running around and tripping in their Crocs! And I’m sure we can agree that shoes can make or break an outfit… Why tarnish such a cute outfit with these bulky shoes?
Visit www.memekidswear.com to shop the collection