We are excited to have Linda Lee be our guest at Artistry in Fashion this year. She will be have a brief demonstration in our Open House at 1:30pm, host a fashion show at 4pm, be selling her patterns in a booth. To introduce y’all to her a little more we asked her a few questions about her background and inspiration.
Cañada Fashion Department (CFD): Your background is in interior decorating. How has that affected your fashion ideas?
Linda Lee (LL): I owned an interior design business for almost 40 years, and I find that I still bring some of the strategies and concepts as a designer to my style in patterns. I love interesting architectural shapes in garments. I’ve sewn enough “two fronts, a back and two sleeve” garments in my lifetime. Now I am interested in sewing pieces that are more like a puzzle – angles, asymmetry, surprise details. Follow the directions and magic happens. And that magic transforms how I feel about myself and am portrayed in this world.
Just like the process as an interior designer of coordinating wallpapers, fabrics and floor coverings, I am comfortable with and mixing textures, patterns and motifs. In order to bring that to my garment style, I am constantly perusing home decorating magazines and online interior sources plus fashion resources as well. I want my pattern collection to be fresh and on trend.
CFD: What does a typical day of work look like for you?
LL: I don’t have a set typical day. When I am in the office, I am making lists of to-dos, making sure we are on track for our work schedules (I have 4 employees), collaborating with my team on pattern work and marketing, and perhaps even sweeping the floor in our studio which is in a historical 1870’s building. The other half of my time is spent on the road teaching workshops, working trade shows, and generally marketing our pattern collection and all of the other products that we sell on our website.
CFD: What is your favorite part of your job?
LL: I love teaching workshops because I get to see the pure delight of my students when they discover they can actually sew well using good techniques and equipment plus they leave with completed ensembles that fit and flatter. I have actually had students tell me that a workshop has “changed their lives” and definitely given them the confidence to step out of their normal sewing box and sew on great fabric using patterns that are for real people.
CFD: Where do you get your pattern ideas?
LL: When I am traveling, I love going to the best boutiques and small shops what specialize in European contemporary clothing. I get ideas for silhouettes and fabric combinations. I enjoy getting the special style issues of the Wall Street Journal and The New York Times, plus both of these newspapers designate one day a week to fashion. I love the ads as much as the editorial. Plus I am a book collector – my library is vast and full of inspirational fashion ideas.
CFD: What pattern has been most successful and how do you get customer feedback?
LL: We have sold more Liberty Shirt patterns over time than any other pattern. Part of that reason is that I used that pattern when teaching a class on working with silk for Craftsy. We have a gallery section on our website where our customers contribute photos of what they have made. It is a huge resource for our customers to share their creations and to get ideas about what other people are making.
CFD: Anything else you’d like to add?
LL: I look back and know that to have survived in this industry for more than 25 years is an accomplishment. I think the key to that success is to stay nimble and willing to change our product mix over time, plus we upped the game in the amount of education we offer with tutorials and books.
CFD: Thank you, Linda! We look forward to a fun day with you at Artistry in Fashion on Saturday, September 26, 2015.