Krystle: Where are you from, and how do you think your background has influenced your creativity?
Brandy: I am from a very, very hot place in America called Phoenix, Arizona! There are so many different things that lead to me being a creative and visual thinker. Most important of these things would be my artsy grandmother who taught me how to sew & knit, my mother who always told me not to care what anyone thought of the way I dressed, and moving to the desert at 9 years old where I felt weird as a teenager and got to see some of the most amazing landscapes in the world! Plus, I think the lack of clothes people wear in Phoenix due to shear heat really put me off and thus I seem to design with a lot of layers and extra details.
Krystle: When did you begin designing?
Brandy: Probably without realizing it around the age of four, I started drawing, in particular ladies, and would make clothes for dolls. At 13, I started to understand that I had been drawing ladies for a reason and wanted to learn how to make clothes properly. By 14, I knew I wanted to study fashion at university!
Krystle: I love how funky your collections are! What makes cats so special to you, and what role do they play in your designs?
Brandy: Thank you so much! My entire life has been surrounded by cats whether at my house, my aunts', my sister's, we are kind of obsessed with cats in my family. However, I usually try not to combine these strange obsessions with designing as I had always found it an overwhelming idea to be influenced by something so close to me. All of the research I did prior to designing my collection kept leading to cats though and I kept denying it until I had a little encouragement as well as discovering a great documentary called Cat Ladies! It was so inspiring to see that, actually, my obsession wasn't so bad and these ladies are a bit mad, yet had this really interesting, effortless, but weird style. Now that I have designed around these ladies and used my own two cats as a print for my collection I feel like my cats and maybe all cats should be on clothes! In fact a lot of my own t-shirts and my friend's t-shirts have become covered in my print so it's slowly taking over my wardrobe and other people's too!
Krystle: If you hadn’t designed around cats, which animal would you choose to base a collection on?
Brandy: I have designed with rabbits before but I think if I wanted to choose a new animal it would be a battle between giraffes and guinea pigs! They are both too cute! Maybe I should combine them!
Krystle: Do you have a favorite piece of yours that you wear often? If so, what makes that one special?
Brandy: My favorite piece that I wear a lot is probably the pink and blue shorts that look like skirts. They are special to me because the blue is a fabric from my dear friend Chrysteena and the pink have my two cats all over them and they are extremely comfortable and practical, which is very important to me. I am obsessed with clothes that have pockets!
Krystle: Where do you find your reclaimed materials? Is it difficult to work with any of the fabrics?
Brandy: I find them all over, really. A lot came from my grandmother who had loads of fabric from the 60s/70s that she had never used so it was in perfect condition. I also got donations from family and friends including old bed sheets, couch covers, old clothes and more- all washed of course! I used my own old clothes and fabrics I had collected over the years. Very few of the fabrics were 'new' but the ones which were, were all end of line materials. Even the inks I used to paint and print were old! It was difficult to use some of the fabrics as there wasn't much of some materials so I had to design around them and just be super careful when making so that I didn't destroy anything that I couldn't obtain more of. I don't see these challenges as a bad thing at all though, and I think it's a part of my design process and can't imagine having all of the fabrics I could dream of at my fingertips. I prefer this limited selection that pushes me to think more.
Krystle: In what ways do you hope to grow as a designer?
Brandy: Well at the moment I am working as a designer for From Somewhere which is a brand that reclaims fabric so it's the perfect job for me. Being so young, I think I don't want to start my own label making seasonal collections just yet. Especially because I feel like there are so many brands in London and around the world I don't really want to join the massive crowd at the moment. Although, I am selling my accessories online, doing custom orders, and working on a print project with some friends in our spare time. So I suppose to actually answer this question I hope to learn from my current job as much as possible, stay as long as I can (as long as they will let me!), and hopefully start my own label and also begin a label I started with my friend called Cynthia Branford!!! I hope it isn't asking too much! They all boil down to creating sustainable clothes in the end.
Krystle: What should we expect from you in the future? More cats, different animals, or something entirely different?Brandy: In the future I would say it will definitely be a lot more cats but with guest appearances of other animals and ideally plants and other objects. I love illustrating so anything with a print all over it. Also, I'd like to design more practical clothes. I have a dream of designing the perfect 100% water proof rain coat so that is something you will see in the future as I am so determined to make it! What would you like to see?! =^ . ^=
Photo Credit: Hannah Slaney
Find more cats here: Brandy Nicole Easter