We normally preface each of our blog stories with a little missive about where we are and whom we’re seeing and what she’s (and sometimes he’s) doing. But our NY capsule designer, Natasha, spoke so eloquently of her experience in the fashion industry that today I’m just going to pass the mic to her.
I consider myself lucky that I have known, since I was very young, that I wanted to be in fashion. I have always been interested in art and took many classes as a child – drawing, painting, sculpture and collage.
I grew up in Saint Louis, Missouri. We lived near a small grocery store called Straub’s, and my parents had an account there. My mother could shop for what she wanted and just sign her name at the bottom of the receipt and then they would send the bill at the end of the month. At some point, my sister and brothers and I figured out that we could go to the store ourselves and get candy and then just sign the bottom of the slip without my mom noticing.
One day, the fashion magazines next to the candy in the checkout line caught my eye. I grabbed one — probably Vogue — and signed for it. I must have been about 11 years old. It was like looking in through a window to another world and it just mesmerized me. So I started getting the magazine in the mail and ripped out the photos I liked and taped them to my walls. I started sewing and making clothes and sketching designs – I would staple all of my drawings together and make catalogs with handwritten descriptions and prices and color options.
In 7th grade I went to a career fair and was so excited to finally meet people in fashion — I got all dressed up and even wore eyeliner that my friend showed me how to put on in the bathroom. You can imagine my disappointment when they didn’t have a booth for my dream career. It was a big let-down but I didn’t give up – I just knew I wanted to be a designer.
Why Free People?
I interviewed at Free People for the first time about six years ago but it just wasn’t the right time. I moved to NY and worked at a couple different design companies before solely collaborating with my boyfriend, Jason Ross, on his line of leather goods and accessories (look out for our new jewelry pieces AQxFP available soon!) Jason and I had our daughter Aleksandra in 2013 so I had taken some time off and was considering starting my own clothing line when out of nowhere, the same recruiter called from FP and we started talking about this NY capsule project — it just sounded perfect for me and my aesthetic, and it was perfect timing. I love my job!
From what/where do you draw your greatest inspiration?
Broadly, I draw most of my inspiration from shape and proportion, a lot of which comes from architecture. I love things that are weathered and aged. I love art brut and minimalism — I like the lowest common denominator of things — I also like things a little off-kilter, or not perfect. I’m inspired by people, too — not so much how they dress but their attitude, or body language, how they carry themselves.
Describe your NY capsule. What separates it from the rest of our collection?
The NY capsule is simply a different take on the FP girl. It’s easy and effortless and cool. It’s more minimal than the rest of the collection. There is more of a focus on cut and proportion — we don’t use a lot of embellishment. I am very proud to say that all of the NY capsule is being sampled and produced here in the US, most of it not far from the home office in Philly. Working domestically not only supports workers here in the US but it’s a more sustainable way to work – it’s good for the earth!
What’s on the horizon?
Cut-aways, twists, and ties!
What does the word ‘free’ mean to you?
Resistance is the cause of so much suffering — acceptance can set you free! I really believe this — you have to stay light — stay fluid — roll with the punches.
Thanks for letting us in, Natasha!
Check out more designer interviews on the BLDG 25 Blog!