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

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!

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.

Alex Lim

Define the word beauty.
Whatever is personally aesthetically pleasing. For myself, I’d probably have to use other singular words, such as Quality, Unique, Moving, or Heartfelt.

What does fashion mean to you?
Style you wear.

When did you decide to become a photographer?
I believe it was June 22, 2005.

When did you fall in love with photography?
Whoa whoa whoa… who said anything about love?!? I thought we were just messing around…?


Are you professionally trained? How did you learn your craft?

I’m professionally self-trained? I don’t really know what ‘professionally trained’ means. There are plenty of ‘professionals’ and ‘professional institutions’ (at least that’s what the card says), but I’d have to define it as otherwise. I learned (and learn) through trial and error, just like all the other monkeys.

What would you say is your specialty (beauty, fashion, editorial)?
Editorial.

Do you prefer shooting in a studio or outdoors with natural light?
Can I say shooting outdoors with non-natural light? But to answer, yes, anywhere other than studio is generally preferred.

Do you post process your photos, or prefer a more natural look?
I think it’d be weird if you didn’t do it every once in awhile, right? Right??

What do you shoot other than fashion?
The squirrels in my parents’ backyard are particularly photogenic. I’m not kidding. Better than some models.

Who are your influences?
We are influenced by both the good and bad I think. I’m not good at pulling up names, but you guys know who you are ;)

Who would you like to thank for your success?
Me!

What are your biggest personal/professional challenges that you face day to day?
Biggest personal challenge… to not be lazy. Biggest professional challenge… to not be lazy.

What has been your biggest professional achievement so far?
The fact that I’m still shooting.

What is the biggest mistake you have made with your business?
I don’t make mistakes! They’re… happy accidents.

What has been your most difficult job?
It was probably a project called the ‘Viet Model Project’ in LA. I’m pretty soft spoken and very non-self-congratulatory about my own work… but I have to say I worked MAGIC to bring together a shoot of 20 models, with 20 Different setups, using several male models as prop-age, to develop a concept/story on the spot, in a foreign city with virtually no resources, on a 95 degree sunny LA rooftop, with almost no help, all in about.. 5 hours total. I was fairly proud, not only did I pull it off, but I was packed up and out on time, with heatstroke, and time leftover for a ‘group shot’ at the end… And the producer never even paid me! Good stuff huh? Yea, don’t work with Van Pham. Douche dot com. Lesson learned. But it’s those types of jobs that condition you for the rest, which by comparison, are cake! Yum!

What are your inspirations, your dreams for your business?
I’m inspired by surprises. The things that for all rational thought should probably Not succeed or exist, but against odds they push forward to be different.

How do you see your business developing over the next couple of years?
I have rough goals, visions, fluid dreams… wait that sounds funny. I take things one step at a time. If I like the direction of the step I just made, I’ll take another. But maybe in a few steps, I’ll see a cuter, more attractive step off on the side.

What exciting things are on the horizon?
The future! and possibly clouds!
Oh, also, I’ll probably throw a new studio launch event for my pad in Sodo. Debating on whether to make it a networking mixer… versus a fashion show… versus a weird theme party… versus a giant duck, duck, goose game.

If you weren’t a photographer then what would you be?
A non-photographer. Probably homeless.

Which photographers currently working do you admire most?
I admire any Working photographer.

Do you have any advice for anyone entering your field?
Just use your iPhone camera, cause it’s the best camera in the world.

When you think of Seattle Fashion, what comes to mind? How would you define Seattle’s fashion style?
Honestly? I think misfits. Misfits with good intentions. I also think of great creativity and passionate individuals, but often it’s energy mis-directed… OR, said parties will simply depart for greener pastures, because well, they have to. I definitely applaud the local designers starting out who incorporate the Green movement into their aesthetic. I think it’s smart, timely, and appropriate for the hipster scene in which we live.

How has the Seattle Fashion landscape changed over the years?
I have no idea. Probably… grown?

What excites you about the future of Seattle fashion?
Hmm… I am cautious.

How would you describe your own personal style?
“Classy”. Inside joke. No, I don’t know. I’d let other people describe it. I’d just call it personal.

Can you share a few address book recommendations to our readers (hairdressers, tailors, shops… anything you like really)?
Bossi & Ich Ky was cool, but they’re gone… too high a price point/style for the scene (and location). I wandered in Jack Straw on 1st the other day, that spot had a really cool vibe. I should probably get out more.

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.
Q: Are you ready?
A: Yep

Kelly Flynn

What do you design?  

My trademark style combines tailoring and handcrafted elements infused with an adventurous edge and modern fabrications. One of my goals is to create clothing unique enough to be worn through the seasons. I also love to bring together traditionalism and modernism. I design clothing for both men and women.

What does fashion mean to you?
Confidence, Creativity, and Innovation

When did you decide to become a designer?

High school. Deprecating comments from one classmate to another were common practice and created self-esteem issues all around. I longed for a world where people could fall in love with themselves and their distinctive qualities through the exploration of style. There was something missing when I tried fit into a clique or conform to the norm. I used creativity to fulfill a void left by loneliness. I became inspired to sew, put together different looks, and paint on my porch underneath the vast, starry Montana sky. Watercolor fueled my appreciation for color and unique textures.

When did you fall in love with fashion?
Using clothing as a means of expression became important to me at a very early age; my printed dog swimsuit took the place of a comfort blanket or teddy bear. I loved to model my different super-hero under-rue sets on my hot wheel and never wanted to leave the house without my star-shaped Bootsie Collins sunglasses. Fashion was a fun way to celebrate expression and individuality!

What is your design philosophy?
“Shine” I live to captivate the spirit of my fashion clients.

What are your influences?
Texture, color, music, business cycles

What are your biggest personal/professional challenges that you face day to day?
I have persevered through the challenges presented by my professional path (tough in the best of times, potentially crushing during the current economic downturn), making personal sacrifices and putting in countless hours to perfect technique and advance a powerful creative vision.

What has been your biggest professional achievement so far?
Although I have received notice for my work, the greatest reward has been durable self-confidence and patience, and the ability to learn more every day. Design has blessed me with the ability to seek creativity in everything that I do.

How do you see your brand/label developing over the next couple of years?
Modern Classics for Unique Freaks

What are your inspirations, your dreams for your brand/label?
My dream remains to promote self expression, acceptance, and to captivate the spirit of my fashion clients.


What is up next for your brand/line and what can we expect?

Placing an emphasis on tailoring and figure flattering silhouettes’

If you weren’t a designer then what would you be?
A Teacher

Who would you like to thank for your success?
My mother-she is full of love, character, and support.

Why did you decide to start your label/brand here in Seattle?

The landscape and the music of the Northwest inspires me

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

Passive aggressive

What excites you about the future of Seattle fashion?
A world that wants to be alive and discovered

What would you say are the benefits for Seattlelites of buying from local designers?
Fitted, unique garments that can define your sense of individuality.

What item of clothing (if any) do you wish that more men/women wore (specify which)?
For men a fitted blazer, for a women the proper undergarments for the look

If you could go back in time and experience any fashion moment, what would it be?
The 1940’s

How would you describe your own personal style? Can you share a few address book recommendations to our readers (hairdressers, tailors, shops… anything you like really)?
My style varies from Modern Classic to Modern Edge.
Net-a-porter is my favorite site for Internet fashion shopping
For Hair I am forever faithful to Will @ Nucleus Salon. Lisa Vann and her Aveda team are also extremely creative and talented as well.
For Manicures and Pedicures I go to Diamond Nails in Lower Queen Anne.
John Fluvog carries the best shoes in Seattle.
I shop World Spice by the market for cooking.
Three of my favorite restaurants for dining out are Ocho (Spanish Tapas) , Brad’s Swing side Café (Italian) , and Tamrid Tree (vietmamese).

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

Do you have any advice for anyone entering your field?
Believe in yourself and concentrate on defining your artistic style. Success is developed from hard work and patience.