Designing an Ethical Collection with Inspiration from the Swamp

Posted on September 11, 2013 by Katie Schmidt | 0 comments

I am a nature girl. I was born in California, I spent my summers at the beach and during fall and spring I was hiking in the mountains. However, my sister was the true nature girl and if it wasn’t for her I would not be where I am today… living life to the fullest. So when thinking of a place for a photo shoot I decided to bring it back to nature and since my new home is New Orleans, the swamps of Louisiana felt perfect.

Fair trade skirts and dresses. 

All of the fabrics form this collection are hand block stamped with natural dyes that are made from plants, seeds, nuts, flowers and leaves.

Fair trade skirts and dresses. 

The Passion Lilie Fall 2013 Collection is organic, fun and playful, but also can be dressed up for work or for a night on the town. Mignon Faget’s Hive Collection was the perfect complement to my collection. Her collection also takes inspiration from nature. The wide cuffs, statement necklaces and dangly earrings added a new level of class and elegance to my collection. The quality of her jewelry is excellent and I had to hold back from buying all the pieces for myself.

Fair trade skirts and dresses. 

And yes, we did sweat, a lot, and there was a lot of bugs, but it was truly magical being in nature for the day. We saw an alligator, lots of interesting bugs and heard a lot of noises you don’t hear in the city. A special thanks to our photographer: Nicole Harvey and to all our models: Sharon Cooke, Latiera Harmon, Enjoli Muse. For more photos please visit here.

Alligator in the swamps of Louisiana.

Posted in Design, Fashion

Designing Dresses in India: Part 5

Posted on August 28, 2013 by Katie Schmidt | 0 comments

Before leaving India I had prepared my ideas and designs. This preparation involved lots of research (looking at fashion magazines and catalogs), some brainstorming and finally taking pencil to paper as I sketched out my designs. I always do a rough sketch first, then a final sketch that shows every stitch, gather and detail. And sometimes my choice of fabric changes my design.

Fair trade and hand block printed cotton fabric.

The first day that I was in Bhopal, the workshop began by showing me all the fabrics that were available, the different stiches they use for embroidery and the different items they have made. I then showed them my designs and I began to explain in detail how to make the first dress. I had to give them all the measurements (bust, waist, hips, length, etc.) and for each size (S, M, L, XL). As I talked away, the manager’s niece, Sanga, translated to the tailor. I only hoped she was translating correctly!

Designing fair trade dresses.

I was in Bhopal for a week and I slept upstairs above the workshop. Every day, I was busy checking the work of my designs. Each dress that was made had to be tried on by me at least twice and then the tailor made the necessary adjustments. Normally, when making dresses the tailor has a dress-form, but this tailor did not, so I was the model for the size small. Once the prototype for the size small was perfected, I than gave the measurements for each additional size. This process was very time consuming as I had to inspect everything before making the duplicates.

Creating dresses in India was a challenging learning experience, mainly because of the language barriers and the cultural differences in garment making. The tailor knew how to make an Indian dress, but a western dress with its intricate details, took a lot of explaining and translating from Hindi to English. Also, the frequent power outages that happen in India, especially during monsoon season, really slowed down the work process. The fun part was picking the fabric from stacks of colorful hand blocked fabrics. It may seem easy to have a few dresses made in India, but in order to get the right design and size, it takes time, careful management and an experienced eye in both dress construction and design.

Posted in Design, Fair Trade, India

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