Sassafras: Did you always know you wanted to be a designer growing up?
Malia Peoples: Nope, when I was a kid I wanted to be an Egyptologist, nurse, or a famous saxophone player like Kenny G.
Sassafras: How did you decide on the name Other Peoples Polyester?
MP: I use small cuts of polyester in my designs, all of which are purchased from other people at estate sales. Peoples is also my last name.
Sassafras: Your work is inspired by Mod and Japanese street style; could you elaborate on this?
MP: I use vintage fabrics, so you'll find many colors from the 1960s in my designs. I'm also into mixing prints and textures, which is kind of a J-fashion thing.
Sassafras: What is the most challenging aspect of being a designer?
MP: Production. I have a good time creating a new piece, and after it is perfected I am so ready to move on. I single-handedly produce all of my designs and sometimes spend weeks making a bunch of the same thing to take to market... when I'd rather be spending my time creating new things.
Sassafras: Who is your target market?
MP: This depends on the season. In the winter, my target is an urban customer who wants to look sharp but feel like they are still in bed. In the summer, I make pretty, colorful things for beachy women. Everything I make is comfort-driven.
Sassafras: How would you describe your personal style? Does your work reflect this?
MP: I'm a beach babe. I'm pretty casual; I don't wear a ton of makeup or jewelry and I love dressing for the summer. I love colors. My newest design, the hooded kimono, is getting a lot of play in my wardrobe right now.
Sassafras: What do you love most about the Seattle fashion scene?
MP: I can't make any comments about the Seattle fashion scene, but I have to say that I love what we've got going on at Sassafras. There's a supportive community of makers here that I am so inspired by and am grateful to be a part of.
Sassafras: What do you envision for the future of Other Peoples Polyester?
MP: I'd like to incorporate elements of hand printing and screen printing into my line. Maybe I will expand into housewares, or perhaps I'll change the name. Someday I will open a teaching space/shop/gallery in a big city Chinatown or somewhere warm.
Sassafras If you had the opportunity to collaborate with any designer or your choice, who would it be?