Malia Peoples from Other Peoples Polyester

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?

MP I'm very interested in designing my own fabric. I really would love to collaborate with someone who knows how to do this. If you're readying this, and you're out there, please give me a call!