People’s Republic of Clothing by Lars Lee

What do you design?

We do men’s and women’s clothes – up to now it’s been mostly t-shirts with a crewneck sweatshirt, but we’re expanding into hats and looking forward to more customizable pieces or even just accessories to complement the clothing.

Define the word “beauty”

I believe beauty stems from authenticity–especially in fashion. When people wear what they wear as a true extension of themselves, that honestly shines through.

What are your biggest personal/professional challenges that you face day to day?

Being such a small company, dealing with limited resources definitely creates some frustrations but at the end of the day it’s really about believing in yourself and your product and knowing with a little extra work things will turn out like you pictured.

What has been your biggest professional achievement so far?

Bringing the world famous DJ Mick Boogie to Seattle all the way from New York for a club night was a real pleasure. It was great to work with such a high profile figure because it helped us realize how much potential we actually have.

When you think of Seattle Fashion, what comes to mind? How would you define Seattle’s fashion style?

Seattle’s pretty interesting because it feels like we’re the last place to get anything.  Of course, I generalize and probably speak more from a urban/hip hop style perspective, but I just think people here are more comfortable with being comfortable.  We’re all nice people anyways so it’s not like there’s a lot of intense competition in the streets.  As a whole I think Seattle fashion is pretty reserved – not a lot of flash, functional garments due to the fluctuating weather and overall just a very laid back approach to things.  Nobody’s getting dressed up to go buy a bag of groceries.

What exciting things are on the horizon?

PRC has a new Summer line coming out this month that I’m very excited about and we’re doing hats for the first time so that’s a nice step in the right direction for us!

Where does the name ‘Peoples Republic of Clothing’ come from?

We tried all kinds of words, acronyms and such and couldn’t come up with anything that sounded catchy.  We started thinking of something fundamental that tied the (then) three co-owners together.  We all happen to be Chinese-American so someone suggested ‘PRC’, as in ‘Peoples Republic of China’.  From there it was a simple shift to ‘Peoples Republic of Clothing’.  Not as many people know about the political influences as we would have expected, but It’s kind of cool in that there is some historical context as well.  For us, it sounds catchy and there are some personal connections with the name, so I think it fits

High Stakes: High Fashion

Just when we thought that fashion couldn’t get more daring and impudent, the recent spring trends and styles are putting that assumption to the test. The catwalks of 2016 are currently being walked all over by the newest and hottest trends. It seems the recession can’t stop these daring new looks that our favorite designers have constructed. Spring 2017 may be new to us, but these trends are hitting hard and I have a feeling they may be here to stay for quite some time. Living in a city like Seattle, all the current trends are likely to reach our streets. The question is: how risky are these looks? Seattle takes pride in itself for the individualism that comes along with our culture, but not all spring trends are as risky as others. I have accumulated a list of what’s new, what will be seen and, most importantly, what should be worn.

To emphasize the time of year, nude and beige colors are huge this season. Although color seems to be a large representation of spring and summer, beige this year is taking over with a bang. The risk factor of wearing beige colors as the main emphasis of your ensemble is about a 4 out of 10. The chances of seeing another woman or man walking down Pike with the same genre of apparel isn’t outlandish; in fact, I’m guessing that Seattleites are going to stick to this theme strongly.


The trick to wearing these nude colors is by having a “pop” of color somewhere in your outfit, which brings me to the second trend. This pop of color is at a risk factor around a 2. With such a low number you might not be as much as an individual because so many people are doing this, but it is a great way to spice up any outfit. Ladies, if your figure is pear-shaped, a great trick is to wear mostly black or nude colors and have a skinny belt in a bight or neon color around your waist. What this does is it emphasizes the smallest part of your frame while giving your style some extra oomph.

Another add-on to watch out for are the masculine watches on women. Not only are they cute and comfortable, but they literally go with any style. As women are proving themselves in society and as an equal to men, fashion styles are taking notice and mirroring this sociological change.

You can pair them with just about anything and make a statement.

Shoes this Spring seem to be a mixture of older styles from years past mixed with new ideas we’ve never seen before. In 2015 we saw cutouts as a standout style for clothing; however, in 2016 it has dropped to our feet. Cutout slingbacks are the new black, and designers from high-end price to your local Forever21 are selling them left and right. This style I’d give a risk factor of 6, merely because it’s important to wear them correctly and keep it simple with what’s on top so the shoes can really shine.

As over-the-knee is slowly fading out, these booties are taking over fast. Putting together a complete ensemble with these is easy as pie. Match them with new sequin leggings, paired with a boyfriend blazer and a layered necklace and you have your complete look effortlessly. From runways to your local streets, these boots are a Spring 2017 trend that you can’t miss.

Zippers, studs and sass are what come to mind with the attitude that follows the “biker chic” look that can be found on almost every street. I find myself walking down Pine and Pike and can’t help but notice the 80’s flashback on most jackets. Although I warn you to use caution with this style, it can give attitude to just about any sundress or jumper paired with some wedges. They say that most styles make it full-circle at some point, and the groupies of Poison and Van Halen are now walking the runway. Overall I’d give this style a risk factor of about 7. Here in Seattle there is a stigma against grunge, and we don’t want to emphasize a flashback of the 90’s, we want to add to it, thus creating a whole new generation.

Prints on prints may make you want to cringe, but if done correctly these two can create magical bliss for the fashion world. Although florals are always expected in the warmer months, take this status quo and spice it up with print on print action. From platform shoes to dresses with a separate jacket, women will be seen rocking multiple styles all at once, and if done correctly, they will be turning heads. Risk factor: 5. Make sure to keep hair and make-up simple if your outfit is already making a statement. This pattern play can be fabulous if done correctly and with thought behind it.

As cliché as it may sound, the nautical look for spring is not only back, but hotter than ever. Guaranteed, every local department store or boutique will carry items that fit into this genre. You don’t need a yacht to rock this look, and women all over Seattle are going to be seen in stripes. Another plus to this “trend” is the fact it has such a high reoccurrence in fashion, making the items you purchase an asset to your closet that can be used for years to come: anchors away!

Although all these trends are likely to be seen and heard about, there is still one that is the biggest risk taker of all here in Seattle: the peek-a-boo sheer clothing. Risk factor: 9. This one is tricky, I would advise wearing a comfortable bra underneath so you don’t have to worry about readjustment as well as making sure you are comfortable with your own body. Confidence is key in this case and if you have it, then let it shine because this trend is fabulous if worn correctly

Rodrigo DeMedeiros

How would you describe your photography style?

Sophisticated, clean, spontaneous, and stylish.

Who are your influences?

The amazing creators and bold innovators Herb Ritts, Helmut Newton, Sante D’Orazio, and so many others who helped shape the world through their images.

What are your biggest personal/professional challenges that you face day to day?

Staying on top of the fast paced evolution in both technology and industry trends; constantly networking – it’s tiresome; and juggling family life with professional drive – there is still a huge gap between what I want to do and what I can realistically accomplish.

What has been your biggest achievement so far?

Landing big commercial clients like Microsoft, T Mobile and Boy Scouts of America.

What are your inspirations, your dreams for your brand?

 What I want the most is to be associated with quality and stylish photography, period.

Which designers currently working do you admire most?

Tom Ford and John Galliano.

Do you have any advice for anyone entering your field?

Be yourself. Shoot what you love, and how you love. And be OPEN to learning. Everyone is always learning new things – if you shut yourself down to that you’re dead creatively.

Where is your favorite location to shoot?

Anywhere sunny with spontaneous people

Six Degrees by Renée Corrick

What do you design?
Women’s clothing.

Define the word beauty.
Individual, real, expressive.

What does fashion mean to you?
Creative self-expression; showing the world a piece of yourself.

When did you decide to become a designer?
I’ve always been interested in fashion and kept scrapbooks of magazine tears since I was a kid. I bit the bullet about 6 years ago and started going to fashion school in Australia to see if I could actually do it – I was hooked from that moment.

What were the first items you remember designing?
I remember sketching out a denim corseted gown when I was a kid – I still love denim J

Who would you like to thank for your success?
My family, for their unwavering support.

Who are your influences?
I love original Balenciaga for the amazing silhouettes, but I’m also really inspired by eco/ethical fashion trailblazers like Edun and Linda Loudermilk.

What has been your biggest professional achievement so far?
Winning Seattle Magazine’s 2009 Seamless in Seattle Competition for Most Innovative Collection & being featured in the magazine was pretty great. Seattle Magazine is so supportive of new & local designers.

If you weren’t an designer then what would you be?
Building schools in Africa… and/or travelling the world care-free.

Who and where do you find your inspiration for your designs?
I’m inspired by the fabrics that I work with, which are all sustainable. Outside of that, I can find inspiration in anything – nature, man-made structures, colors, historical clothing.

What item of clothing do you wish that more men/women wore?
More eco / sustainable / locally produced labels!

If you could go back in time and experience any fashion moment, what would it be?
The early 1900s when some of the great couturiers were starting out (Balenciaga, Chanel etc).

If you could collaborate with one big name international designer, who would it be and why?
Ali Hewson of Edun – so I could experience and learn how they succeed in running a profitable fashion business whilst lifting communities out of poverty.

How do you see the brand developing over the next couple of years?
I would love to open my own studio with a store front, or at a minimum have a store-within-a-store, a feature space in a great existing boutique. Beyond that and on a larger scale, I plan to follow a similar ethical manufacturing process similar to Edun, where I take a lot of my production over to communities in need to help create long-term sustainable employment in the developing world.

What is your design philosophy?
I intentionally limit the types of fabrics that I can use (sustainable / organic fabrics only), so I really try to push the limits of what people expect out of sustainable fashion. High end glamour that is also better for the environment is still a little unexpected these days.

Do you have a typical type of person in mind when designing and if so does this evolve with each season?
Someone I admire a lot once told me that designers tend to design for the superhero version of themselves. I tend to agree with that – many of the pieces I design are ones that I wish I could rock out in public myself.


Which fellow designers/brands do you admire locally?

Jessica Milton is really blazing her own path now, which is awesome. Eco-labels like Prairie Underground and Spun are also insprirational.

When you think of Seattle fashion, what comes to mind? How would you define Seattle’s fashion style?
Based on the young local designers I know, I’d say that Seattle’s fashion landscape is definitely evolving, becoming braver, more innovative, more aware, more elegant.

What excites you about the future of Seattle fashion?
Many Seattle designers are hungry for success and really pushing the limits of fashion. We’re like the underdogs of the fashion world, ready to really launch the Seattle as a fashion powerhouse. Look out Portland!

What would you say are the benefits for Seattlelites of buying from local designers?
Obviously it’s great to support local businesses and keep growing Seattle’s economy, but buying from local designers will slowly help to put the Seattle fashion scene on the map. Then local designers may gain more national/international attention and other major designers (national/international) may start to focus some of their efforts towards Seattle. A win-win for Seattle fashion!

Can you share a few address book recommendations to our readers (hairdressers, tailors, shops… anything you like really)?
I love Mode Organic Salon in downtown Seattle and Sugar Sugar in Roosevelt.

Do you have any advice for anyone entering your field?
Don’t be afraid of hard work.

Bri Seeley Designer

What do you design?
Women’s clothing, specifically, garments that are less casual and require quality fabrics.

Define the word beauty.
Beauty is one’s aesthetic interpretation of wholeness.

When did you decide to become a designer?
I never actually made the decision to become a designer. It is my life’s path and I am merely following it. I have always known that this was my calling.

When did you fall in love with fashion?
I fell in love with fashion on May 13, 1983 at 5:18am – the date and time of my birth!

What does fashion mean to you?
Fashion is a personal expression of one’s self to the world. It communicates how one sees them self, how they want to be seen by others, their current state of mind, their emotional status, political beliefs, passions, etc. It is the most effective tool to communicate with the outside world, without speaking one word.

From whom and where do you find inspirations for your designs?
I look to historic fashion and more recently nature for my inspirations.

What is your design philosophy?
My design philosophy is to create feminine garments that are different from the norm, yet still wearable. I work to highlight each woman’s best feature regardless of their body size or style in order to make them feel like Rockstars from the outside to the inside.

Do you have a typical type of person in mind when designing and if so, does this evolve with each season?
I love designing for women that are willing to take risks, step out, and be seen.

What were the first items you remember designing?
The first garment that I had produced from my design was my Junior prom dress. Another note worthy garment of my making was my dress for my High School graduation party – it was created out of a shower curtain! I didn’t want to have a graduation party, so I only agreed to attend my party if I was able to make my dress out of a shower curtain – my mom actually allowed me to do it! It was a smashing success :-)


Who are your influences?

I am influenced by historical figures – Dior, Esther Williams, Grace Kelly, Queen Elizabeth, etc.

How do you see your brand developing over the next couple of years?
I would like my brand to expand significantly with more production while maintaining my quality of craftsmanship and materials. At this time I make only one-of-a-kind garments. I plan to make my garments available in limited runs at local boutiques. I dream that my brand becomes a household name with distribution in at least three continents.

How would you describe your own personal style?
My personal style is casual, comfortable, and classic – spiced up with killer shoes! I purchase garments that can be worn for many seasons in many different looks and then alter them to fit my mood with accessories.

Who would you like to thank for your success?
I attribute my success to my mom and my grandma. They taught me how to sew, how to be a successful female, and how to do it all with grace and ease.

What is the one item you never leave home without?
I never leave the house without sunglasses – even on rainy or overcast days!!!

One question you wished we had asked?
If you were to be any cartoon character, which one would you be and why? Strawberry Shortcake. She has tremendous style which has evolved with her image over the past 30+ years. She has obvious staying power and hasn’t lost her ability to stay sweet throughout her career!

What are you looking forward to in the future?
I am looking forward to the day in which I can share my vision of design and help women find pride in their appearance – despite their perceptions of their bodies.

Which designers currently working do you admire most?
I currently admire the designers willing to step up and lead the movement to end the skinny model trend. I personally prefer my models to look healthy. The fashion industry’s obsession with unhealthy models only perpetuates the body and self image issues facing the women in our country. Kudos to those willing to stand up for changing and empowering women’s perceptions of themselves!

What is the biggest mistake you have made with your business so far?
I feel the biggest mistake I’ve made so far is not taking enough risks.

What are your thoughts on the show “launch my line”, do you think you can compete and come up with designs that will potentially give you and Seattle the exposure it needs?
I have no doubts that I would be able to compete on a show such as “Launch My Line.” I know that a show of its magnitude would give myself, or any other designer, the platform to share their personal (or geographical!) design style on a grand scale.

What item of clothing do you wish that more women wore?
I wish that women would wear more skirts and less sweats!

If you could go back in time and experience any fashion moment, what would it be?
I would either choose to experience Queen Elizabeth’s court or Dior’s New Look.

If you could collaborate with one big name international designer, who would it be and why?
I would choose to collaborate with Salvatore Ferragamo – his revolutionary shoes were an inspiration to how women presented and felt about themselves.

Which fellow designers/brands do you admire locally?
I very much respect Luly Yang. She was a pioneer in this area for high end women’s wear.

When you think of Seattle fashion what comes to mind? How would you define Seattle’s fashion style?
Seattle fashion is unique. It is an atmosphere where anything goes due to the diverse population, and it is accepted as there is a lower incident of judgment in the community.

What excites you about the future of Seattle Fashion?
Seattle fashion is exciting as I feel that it is really taking off – there’s only growth from here! And it’s catching the attention of other markets. People are turning to the designers from Seattle for inspiration.

What would you say are the benefits for Seattlelites of buying from local designers?
Local designers understand and connect with the Seattle culture. Seattle is a place like no other, and until you truly live here you never understand Seattlelites. Plus, buying from designers in the area means that customers can work directly with the designer to commission one-of-a-kind garments.

Do you have any advice for anyone entering the field?
My advice to anyone wanting to pursue fashion design is to find your inner strength. There is always going to be a critic that tries to make you small. Belief in yourself is what is going to allow you to overcome this and keep going.
The advice I would impart onto a fashion student is never to take yourself too seriously! If you’re not having fun, then you’re not doing it right!

Shannon Koszyk Jewelry

Shannon Koszyk
Jewelry Designer

www.shannonkoszyk.com

What do you design?
Jewelry and Home Décor

Define the word beauty.
Effortless elegance

When did you decide to become a designer?
When I was 25

When did you fall in love with fashion?
When I was 7

What were the first items you remember designing?
Re-worked vintage clothing

What does fashion mean to you?
Tasteful creative expression

Who are your influences?
Ralph Lauren, Dolce & Gabbana, Classic & Gothic Rock

What is your design philosophy?
Classics with a edge

Do you have a typical type of person in mind when designing and if so does this evolve with each season?
30-40 something with a love of the classics and a need for edge.

What are your biggest personal/professional challenges that you face day to day?
Finding the right people to help me define my vision and having enough money to pay them

What is the biggest mistake you have made with your business?
Not hiring a professional photographer sooner

What has been your biggest professional achievement so far?
The respect of my peers

Who would you like to thank for your success?
My Mother & my Husband

How do you see your brand/label developing over the next couple of years?
Broader product mix

What exciting things do you have in the pipeline that we can look forward to?
Light of any kind, chandeliers and candles…

What are your inspirations, your dreams for your brand/label?
Creating the world that lives inside my head

If you weren’t a designer then what would you be?
Drug Dependency Therapist

Why did you decide to start your label/brand here in Seattle?
Seattle’s not saturated, not plastic or jaded.

When you think of Seattle Fashion, what comes to mind? How would you define Seattle’s fashion style?
Simple, understated

How has the Seattle Fashion landscape changed over the years?
Became less grunge and more streamlined

What excites you about the future of Seattle fashion?
Hopefully a merging of grunge and high fashion

What would you say are the benefits for Seattlelites of buying from local designers?
Supporting local artists is what makes cities intereting and gives it a specific personality.

What is the one item you never leave the house without (other than a cell phone)?
Leather jacket

Which designers currently working do you admire most?
Boris Bijan Saberi

What item of clothing do you wish that more women wore?
Simple solid colors, no prints.

If you could go back in time and experience any fashion moment, what would it be?
80’s with Madonna and Basquait

If you could collaborate with one big name international designer, who would it be and why?
Ralph Lauren because he created a world and blends Vintage with luxury so effortlessly

Do you have any advice for anyone entering your field?
Stay focused and don’t let emotions get in the way. It is the Business of Fashion.

Now this is your chance to ask yourself and answer the one question you wish you had been asked but have never had the opportunity to do so. Why religious jewelry?
To deconstruct and make available the Eclecticism of religious symbolism with a contemporary bent in order to unite and encourage cross cultural experience for all religion, creed, color and sex and age.

Anar Couture

Anar Couture
Designer: Rana Ghezelayag
http://www.anar-couture.com/

What does fashion mean to you?
The way that you arrange your clothes in a manner that expresses yourself in the best way to make the individual feel beautiful, confident, and comfortable.

Who are your influences?
Giti Pashai, my late aunt, who was a famous Persian singer. She inspired me with her strength of character, self-reliance, perseverance, and hardwork towards building upon her talent.
Madonna for her creativity and innovativeness, perpetually reinventing herself.

What excites you about the future of Seattle fashion?
I am excited to see more local (Seattle-based) designers become more popular inside and outside of the Pacific Northwest.

What are you looking forward to in the future?
I am looking forward to combine my background as a chemical engineer into designing of new textiles and expand my business.

When did you fall in love with fashion?
As my mom says, it seems it started since I was a little girl; I was always into fashion and colors. I had to pick my own dresses and match it with my shoes and handbag. It seems I was even had my opinion for my mom cloths too!


If you could go back in time and experience any fashion moment, what would it be?

I would like to experience the 1950’s western style.

Do you have a typical type of person in mind when designing and if so does this evolve with each season?
Basically, what I am thinking when I am designing is of a woman who wants to wear a dress (such as an evening dress) more than one time and to different venues.

What would you say are the benefits for Seattlelites of buying from local designers?
It would help the local designers to grow in terms of getting better ideas about what people of their city would like and need more… instead of buying something that is nice but is not much useful for them or meets their style and taste. Also, if Seattleites bought from local designers, it would help the Seattle economy and probably amplify Seattle’s presence in the fashion world.

Emici Livet by Marie Conrad

If you could go back in time and experience any fashion moment what would it be?
That very first piece of jewelry or clothing created soley for ornamental purposes by early man. The fashion seed that started it all.

When did you decide to become a designer?
Being a designer is more of a compulsion than a straight forward decision for me. It’s being spontaneously inspired by something unexpected and an idea popping into my head that I can’t resist trying. It often is the dominant thought in my mind. How can I make that design concept happen? The thing about it is that it never stops. When one is done I am always thinking about the next.

Who are your influences?
I think that I am most influenced by images that I see. They can be in real life, on television or in print. I tend to focus on the details. To give an example, I was watching an American history show and I had to stop to draw a design concept for a piece that featured my take on a bow that adorned the hat of a soldier during the Revolutionary War. I never know when something like that will happen. It strikes in strange places.

What are your dreams for your brand?
My dream for my brand is that my work with Emici Livet will be associated with quality and a passion for bringing truly unique and artful pieces to my clients. I think that everything else will fall into place after that if I work hard enough.

Which fellow designers do you admire locally?
Luly Yang. You know when something is beautiful but you have to reach out and touch it so you can believe your own eyes? The urge to pour over the details on one of her garments is perpetually renewed as you realize that the next one will be just as gorgeous. I left there thinking I had to get back and create something as my own tribute to that inspiration.

What does fashion mean to you?
Fashion is a combination of personal tastes, art and function. The function does not necessarily need to be practical. It could just be about making a statement.