Sassafras: Laura, you recently moved to Seattle, and we're excited to have your beautiful clothing line, Hier Apparel, at Sassafras! What brought you to Seattle? Laura: I'm happy to offer some of my designs at Sassafras. I love that you showcase a broad range of styles and are so supportive of regional, independent designers. What brought me to Seattle is the diverse and abundant landscape, the mild weather (an in my opinion coming from the extremes of the Midwest, AMAZING weather), and the socially progressive slant of the city. I absolutely love it here and I think I've found my new home.
Sassafras: How would you describe your designs?
Laura: My designs are modern and minimal, but rooted in an appreciation for organic geometry and it's ever present reflection in every corner of the universe, from celestial bodies to flora and fauna to technological infrastructure and our modern culture. I focus on everyday wearable garments with simple shapes and unexpected details.
Sassafras: When designing new pieces, who do you have in mind as the wearer?
Laura: The woman I design for is ultimately a woman like me. I'm a very practical person and I have a pretty casual lifestyle. When I design a garment, I'm thinking about wearability on an everyday basis, but I'm also thinking about something that looks polished and intentional. I want to look well put together even if I'm just running errands. I'm also a creative individual with a unique sense of style and I'm not afraid to stand out a little. I appreciate small details, unusual textures and organic geometry. I think my style falls somewhere between retro future mod elf, geometric minimalist modern and fleeting moments of ultra feminine delicacy. I incorporate all of these into my design aesthetic at different times.
Sassafras: You have awesome names for your pieces, like "Thora jumper" and "Labyrinth skirt." Am I sensing a theme here?
Laura: Oooooohhh the names! I don't know why I insist on giving each design a special name, but I do and it gets a little harder to come up with them every year. Sometimes the inspiration behind a piece is very clear to me and naming it is easy. Other times I just do stream of consciousness brainstorming about what the garment reminds me of. I do google searches, look up synonyms, Wikipedia pages, etc. Sometimes that results in an actual word and sometimes, like in the case of the Thora jumper, it's made up and short for Thorax.
Sassafras: Your designs reflect combined edginess and elegance. How do you see this fitting into Seattle style?
Laura: Over the years of browsing Etsy and design blogs, I started to recognize that so many of my favorite designers were located in the Pacific Northwest, particularly Seattle and Portland. I saw similarities in their aesthetics and influences and I just felt like that was where I fit in. I'm a sucker for any and every shade of gray and typically work with neutrals and earth tones. I think a lot of women in Seattle gravitate toward those colors. I also think there are a lot of creative, quirky, grown up weirdoes in Seattle who still have a subversive undercurrent, but want to look a little more refined. I definitely think those types are drawn to my designs.
Sassafras: You have incredible skill and technique, making your clothing a superior quality. What is your background?
Laura: It's really nice to hear that, because it's something I've always been a little under confident about. I'm self taught, so I think I work really hard on construction and finishing, trying to make up for whatever I'm afraid I lack. My mother taught me the basics of sewing when I was a child and we worked from patterns together to make me dresses and swim suits and such. Then I picked it back up as an adult and have learned so much just from trial and error. It's also really helpful to browse clothing stores or my own closet and inspect the seams of a garment. It's not about copying the design, but I'm a visual leaner and sometimes just looking at the seams of something is all I need to unlock the knowledge of a specific technique. That moment when a light bulb goes on, when ignorance becomes understanding is a very special moment.
Sassafras: Do you recall an event or moment when you discovered that you were an artist and wanted to design clothing?
Laura: I've been interested in the arts for as long as I can remember. I loved to draw as a child, I sang and played various instruments and studies ballet and dance until early adulthood. I dabbled in performance art, short films and photography before focusing on clothing design. Being an inherently creative person, I'm particular about how things affect my senses, the fibers that cover my body are no exception. I have always been particular about what I wear, how it makes me feel and how I can express myself through it. I decided to focus on clothing design because I wanted an independent creative career and clothing design seems like the surest bet of all my interests. I forever thankful to Etsy for their international community of adventurous shoppers. I couldn't have come this far without them.
Sassafras: Finally, what are your future plans? Will we see any new designs coming soon?
Laura: I will be moving away from online sales and won't be pursuing Hier Apparel as my full time gig. I'm starting therapeutic massage school in the fall and intend to balance massage therapy with yoga instruction. I'm moving over to the healing arts. I want to continue sewing and designing and I will absolutely keep offering my designs at Sassafras and maybe other shops as time permits, but I'm ready for a career change. I've just finished up some fun, Summery designs and they will be available at Sassafras in mid-June.
Sassafras: Can't wait to see your new designs, Laura. Thank you!