Havana, the surreal and unique city where I spent an important part of my life before moving to the USA. Maybe that's why my connection with this top was instant, as instant as my connection with its designer. Lisa is not only talented and beautiful, but she is also one of the most real, down-to-earth and easy-going girls that you could ever meet. I am extremely honored to have her at The Hidden Seed today and to celebrate this, I am wearing the very blouse that started our connection. In fact, everything that I am wearing here is from Anthropologie :)
1. Dear Lisa, would you tell us a little bit about yourself, your background?
Hi Elsita! Well, I’m originally from Cincinnati, Ohio (home to Graeter’s ice cream & incredible thrift stores) & attended University of Cincinnati for Fashion Design. While I was in college, I worked at the Anthropologie store for 4 years & once I graduated, I moved along to Anthropologie’s home office in Philadelphia & have been there ever since (almost 4 years now!).
I started as an intern working in the Print dept, moved on to the Color & Embroidery dept, and then eventually landed in the Soft Wovens dept, where I remain today as Designer. I very happily design blouses, skirts, & dresses & even get to hand-draw the embroideries that go on them! I work with 3 other wonderfully talented ladies in my dept -- I am so grateful to have a job that I am excited to go to every day & to have co-workers that I love.
And as if that isn’t enough, I am also lucky enough to be able to bring my amazing chihuahua-toy fox terrier pup, Atlas, to work with me every day (he loves going to work even more than I do). Other than that, I am just a 27 year old girl who loves cheese, thrifting, neko case, & a great craft project to work on… and who also maybe borders on obsessive when it comes to shoes. Oops.
2. As a full time Apparel Designer for Anthropologie, how do you keep yourself inspired in order to come out with new creations?
By staying busy! I’m a thriftaholic, so I have to say that is my biggest source of inspiration. Nary a weekend passes without me trekking off to somewhere outside of the city to seek out some vintage treasures. Also, museum exhibits are a fantastic source of inspiration – two of my favorite museums are the American Folk Art Museum & the Museum of Arts & Design, both in Manhattan. The American Folk Art Museum has a permanent Henry Darger exhibit that I never tire of visiting & adoring, & they also had a completely incredible quilt exhibit not too long ago.
The Museum of Arts & Design had an unbelievable exhibit called “Pricked”, which featured some of the most jaw-dropping embroidery I have even seen. If you want to see me get me excited about design, just show me one of Andrea Deszo’s embroideries & I’ll talk your ear off about how totally awe-inspiring her teeny-tiny stitches are!
Other than that, I am fortunate enough to travel to Europe several times a year for work to gather inspiration – shopping boutiques & flea markets, visiting (more) museums, people-watching, & soaking up foreign cultures are all good fodder for design. I’m going to Paris & Copenhagen in a couple of weeks & I am so excited!
Here are some photos from Clignancourt, which is a really fantastic flea market in Paris that we visited last time we traveled. It was an unbelievable source of inspiration.
2. What is the main element that makes you feel attracted to a piece of clothing created by another designer?
Okay, confession: I secretly wear mostly vintage. I love the feeling of knowing that what I am wearing has been around longer than me, that someone else loved it before me, and that someone else will love it after me. It also doesn’t hurt that wearing vintage makes my closet more one-of-a-kind & eco-friendly too. But if I had to pick one element that attracts me to a piece of clothing, I would have to say it would be attention to detail – a row of meticulously packed-together pintucks, a cleverly-placed yoke, or a perfectly unusual button… these sorts of details signify a well-designed garment to me.
2. Do you remember anything special that you wore when you were a little girl?
Oh do I! My mom is a wonderfully crafty person herself & she sewed both of my favorite childhood outfits, which I cherish to this day: an adorable hunter green & white corduroy dress with hand-appliqued cardinals that I wore on Christmas Day when I was 4 or 5 (my dad & brother wore matching plaid vests also made by Mom that year!)
and my amazing fluffy white swiss dot Easter dress with red, blue, & yellow ribbon trim that I’m pretty sure I wore whenever I could convince my Mom that it was a good idea (with white frilly ankle socks & mary janes to boot… man oh man, best outfit ever).
4. What do you think about Etsy?
I love it! I think it is an absolutely fantastic resource & I am so so happy to be part of the Etsy community. It has provided me with a wonderful source of creative outlet, a terrific place to shop for handmade & vintage gifts (for others & myself!), & great insight on how to manage a small business. If it weren’t for Etsy, I wouldn’t have known how to start my own project, & I certainly wouldn’t have met all of the wonderful people I have met along the way (yourself included ^_^). It’s the first website I look at in the morning & the last I check at night – I’m happily obsessed with it.
5. In your opinion, what is personal style?
To me, personal style is how you interpret ordinary objects to be your own, a way to express yourself. If given a white t-shirt, how do you wear it? With a pair of jeans & loads of jewelry? Tucked into a skirt with a pair of heels? It’s what makes people-watching one of the best ways ever to pass time!
6. What's your favorite thing about working for Anthropologie?
The fact that I have met all of my best friends there & that we all get to work together while doing what we love. Can’t beat that, you know?
Dear Lisa, you're definitely in the right place doing the right thing. CONGRATULATIONS. Your work is highly appreciated and we're looking forward to your new and wonderful creations. Thank you so much for being here today, it's been a real pleasure :)
Also, you can visit Lisa's Etsy store for beautiful jewelry created by her very hands using unique vintage elements. I am the lucky owner of one of her necklaces which I adore. I promise to feature it here soon :)