Artist & Mentor
Interview on Wednesday, December 13
Location: DesignLab Miami
First of! Tell us a bit about DesignLab Miami and how it all started?
This had been something I wanted to do for the longest time.
I opened DesignLab back in 2010, with the idea to help creative people. DesignLab is a place where anyone can come to be inspired and learn how to sew, and design. All the skills they need to create for themselves. The studio just grew organically from there. When I first started in this business, I had limited resources but did have the skills, drive, and passion to turn my dream into a reality.
How did you create the sewing program? Your program is designed for all ages! How different is it to teach a 6 year old to a 96 year old?
The beauty of it all, is that no matter what age the student is, the fundamentals are all the same. Sure, the style in which I explain the techniques may be different, but sewing in its raw form is basically simple math and shapes so it is very easy for anyone to understand and build onto these basic techniques.
What are the benefits of young children/ teenagers taking these classes? What has it taught you throughout the years?
The benefit of teaching young kids is that they are able to grasp the concepts a lot faster. It is also extremely satisfying to watch them grow both personally and creatively. While it can be very gratifying it doesn’t mean it’s always smooth sailing. I’ve taught my kids patience but I have also learned to be patient from them. Our mantra here is “anything is possible”. When you come through this door the answer isn’t a “no, you can’t”, it’s always a “yes, you can”. This mantra and their hunger for knowledge is what keeps this business alive.
As an advocate for conscious fashion, we’d love to know some of the innovative materials you are currently working with at the lab?
Conscious fashion and sustainability is so important in today’s disposable world. I try to educate my students in the two main approaches to the problem, which are how fashion is used, and the new and innovative materials that can be used to create conscious fashion. Some of the innovative fabrics I’ve been loving and working with include Ecoalf which is made entirely of plastic recycled from the ocean. Vegan leather made from Kombucha and gelatin are also other unique material sources we’ve included in our projects at DesignLab.
Tell us more about your believe in "slow fashion" and preserving the traditional methods of fashion design?
I’ve always felt that we need to start creating awareness and teaching kids at a very young age about the responsibility of sustainable fashion. Younger kids are the future generation and the ones who will ultimately change the status quo. However, this idea is important to understand no matter what the student’s age so I teach and practice it at all levels. Our goal is to combine traditional methods of sewing and design with the modern concepts of recycling, up cycling, and sustainable practices to not only create unique fashion but to perpetuate responsible ideas for future generations.
What would you say is the absolute best perk of your job?
I relate so much to my students because I understand that urge to simply create. While financial success is an important aspect to any business, my success is measured through the joy and satisfaction of my students. I like to look at the DesignLab as a kind of creative therapy, an outlet where anyone can come create and in turn build their confidence or just let off a little steam. I always see the potential and possibilities in people. I am so lucky to be able to do this, I can’t see myself doing anything else. I am in love with it.
Thank you Angie, welcoming us at the lab and showing us the magic in creating.
Interview by Erika Greco