Tuesday, July 22, 2008

handmade portrait: built by wendy

etsy has an addictive series of videos called Handmade Portraits, and the newest installation is about Built by Wendy designer Wendy Mullin. i have always felt that wendy and i were kindred spirits, and i've been a fan for about fifteen years! apparently we both moved to nyc to become clothing designers around the same time (i arrived in 1991, just out of college), and i remember discovering her clothes in two record stores, Rocks in Your Head in soho, and later Adult Crash in the east village, and thinking that she was a genius for choosing her own marketing channels. i still remember buying my first BBW item: a green corduroy mini with little patch pockets with funny buckles on them. and i remember the time i saw a hand-written sign on her rack at AC stating something like: "to the #$%#& a**hole who STOLE clothes from this rack, i want you to know that i am up late every night sewing them in my bedroom, and i can't believe you would do such a %@#& disrespectful thing!!!" and i thought 'wow, that Wendy sure don't take no crap!'

well, i'm sure it's that pluck that's gotten her where she is today. though we chose practically opposite paths toward becoming designers, we have both landed on the independent, DIY end of the industry, where home sewing is as valid (if not preferred) as buying something off a rack. i recommend her books, Sew U, and the new Home Stretch, to my students all the time, and her patterns are the only commercial sewing patterns i've ever used! so watch the video and check out some of the others too, as they're all inspiring and fascinating. i love peeking into the lives of makers...

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