Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Featured Crafter: Julie Bent {LOT201}

What led you to pursue clothing design?

I often see things that I like and think to myself "I could figure out how to make that." I am a natural problem solver and I love finding my own answers. Art is concept and execution, and I enjoy both challenges.

What is your process like?

People watching is my current muse. I love to see what kind of garments flatter the shape of people's bodies. Body shape is so unique from person to person, which is one challenge all clothing designers face. I am inspired by the interplay between garment and body and I pursue balance in all my designs.

From a more "nuts and bolts" perspective, my design process usually evolves from sketching ideas (both abstract and more technical drawings) to fabric sourcing. Once I find the perfect fabric, I begin building the garment much as an architect goes about designing a structure. A garment is developed on paper and tested in fabric. These fabric prototypes are marked for fit changes. These changes are then applied back to the paper pattern. The final paper pattern is graded out into different sizes and acts as a map that will eventually guide the garment through production.

What materials do you prefer to use?

I like to work with high quality cottons and silk...soft but crisp cotton holds its shape and still feels nice against the body. Silk is a really diverse material that creates a very distinct visual effect (color, reflection, texture, etc.). I like mixing different silks into one garment.

Do you consider yourself an "indie" artist?

Yes. Being independent from a team of designers, marketers, PR staff, and laborers means I do it all myself or find collaborators. Indie artists have no choice but to create their own opportunities.

For example, my fall collection - a collaboration with Form Boutique owner Aimee Bracken - started as an impromptu conversation about a private collection for Form. At the time, I didn't really know Aimee, but I admired her selection of garments at Form and thought that our pooled skills and resources could help our chances for success.

It turned out that an in-house line for Form was one of Aimee's original inspirations for opening the boutique. The garments that have resulted from our creative partnership are quite different than the garments I have designed solo, and I am excited to present our work to the public and especially to Form's established clientele.

What advice to you have for other aspiring independent designers?

There are definitely financial and logistical obstacles that I face as an independent designer. Therefore, working together with other people is important. I look for people who have the same standards for quality and attention to detail as myself. This way we won't have to manage each other.

The Form Clothing Label will debut on September 25th at the In Good Fashion Show Charity Event. To see more of Julie's designs, visit her website at www.LOT201.com.

Top image courtesy of
Bmore Media.

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