Today I have an new interview for you, with Alyson Clair in the spotlight, the designer behind Clair Vintage Inspired. She believes in femininity, elegance, grace and we can see this in the clothes she designs. Enjoy!
Drastic Plastic: Hello Alyson and welcome to Drastic Plastic. What’s up?
Alyson Clair: Greetings from lovely Portland, Oregon! Land of Big Foot, coffee, beer and of course pretty dresses.
DP: Why is the name of your label Clair Vintage Inspired? Why vintage?
AC: Well the “vintage inspired” is thanks to my father. I wanted to just call it “Clair” but the state of Oregon needed more in the name. Clair is actually my last name. My Dad is my book keeper and helps out with lots of odds and ends, and dealing with pesky things like taxes and shipping. So he added the “Vintage Inspired” and sent the papers back. I found out a few weeks later. Ha ha. It works though, since I usually like the styles of vintage more than modern fashion. I do a lot of vintage like style lines with a modern fit and modern fabrics. I’ve also been an avid thrift store shopper from a very young age, and my bedroom growing up was always filled with lots of old things that I just adored.
DP: When did you create your first design? Do you have a background in design?
AC: My first designs were quite funny. I grew up reading the Little House on the Prairie series, Anne of Green Gables, and later Gone with the Wind. I had a little note book I would draw dresses in, mainly of those era with tons of ruffles, bows, and tiers. I wish I knew where that notebook was now! I think I attempted a few doll dresses for the 1 doll I had (I was nuts about with My Little Pony). I grew up on a llama farm, and my mother had a yard business, so I always had my hands busy with some sort of craft or painting. I didn’t really know what I wanted to do with myself until about 10 years ago when I discovered the Apparel Design at the A.I. Portland. I’ve been freakishly obsessed with making clothing ever since. I love creating things, and my most favorite things to create are pieces people will wear and love.
DP: What attracts you to fashion design and where do you find your inspiration?
AC: I feel the need to create all of the time (I’m a huge workaholic, but it’s SO fun!), and I like making useful things. I find my inspirations all around me. I blame a lot of it on my overactive imagination and things I think I see, or day dreams I have. I love 1920s-1960’s fashions and homes. I feel like fashion wasn’t so disposable back then, and I want my garments to stay in someone’s closet for a long time. I also really focus on having a nice fit and offering sizes xs-xl to try to fit a lot of people. My biggest inspiration is seeing someone on the street that I don’t know wearing something from my line. That’s what keeps me doing what I do.
DP: Do you do custom designs, and if so, what was the strangest one you ever did?
AC: I don’t anymore! I wish I had the time. When I was in college I had some friends who were in the video production program. I made a few outfits for their music videos. The strangest/funniets was this outfit for a guy that was supposed to be in the woods playing a keytar. They gave me 2 yards of burlap and asked me to make a clock with a hood – In about 30 minutes. He kind of ended up looking like a warlock, but it worked with the video and cracked me up.
DP: What do you love to do in your free time, when you have the luxury of taking an afternoon off?
AC: I was fortunate to just purchase a home last year. Fixer-upper is an understatement, but the bones are good. I like to work on my yard, which I find very relaxing. I also have 4 dogs, and my husband and I do foster care for shelter dogs that either have medical or emotional needs before they get adopted. So pets are a huge part of my life! If it is summer my favorite thing to do is go swimming with my girlfriends. There are several wonderful swimming spots within an hour. We love to get a bunch of trashy magazines and yummy snacks and make a day of it.
DP: It was lovely having you here, thank you so much.
AC: Thanks for having me on your blog. I love to share my work, and I’m very proud that all of my garments are made in Portland, Oregon. I’m very hands on and love supporting my local community.
For more info and ideas please visit Alyson’s site, facebook page and personal blog, I promise you will love it there.
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