1. How did you get your start in the handmade community?
I got started sewing 28 years ago, patternmaking about 18 years ago, and doing this as more than a hobby about 7 years ago. Sewing has gone from being a hobby to a slight (okay, maybe my husband wouldn't agree with the slight part) obsession for me through the years, and doing it as a full-time endeavor and designing clothing for young people just seemed to be a natural outgrowth of what I loved. The real start for Eddy & Scout was the challenge of trying to make boy's clothing that was durable, soft, comfortable, and would comfortably clothe my lanky boy. Now I make boy and girl clothing, but believe it or not, I started with boy stuff. Girl stuff just tends to be a little more fun to design and sell (sorry boys!). Eddy & Scout turns 4 this year! It is hard to believe, but it has been such a fun journey!
2. What do you feel makes your work unique and truly your own?
Let's face it. It's kind of trendy to make cute little clothes and sell them on the internet. Why are Eddy & Scout clothes any different? Honestly, if I didn't feel like they were different, I wouldn't keep doing what I do. I have a mission to really provide a quality garment that provides an alternative to the currently accepted norm of buying trendy and "disposable" children's clothing. I believe, as a parent, that sustainability applies not only to the way that a garment is produced, but also that a garment has the ability to stick around and not only clothe one child through two full years, but to still hold up to countless "hand me down" cycles, and various adventures that kids regularly undertake that tend to be rough on their clothes. For this reason, you'll notice that our sleeves and pantlegs almost always are cuffed, to lengthen or shorten according to the stage of growth. You'll also notice that our boy pants have reinforced knees, that our girl leggings have a "ruching" function that allows them to adjust 4" longer. That we use 9.5 oz cotton jersey milled in LA for our garments, instead of the 6 oz that you'd see in almost all leggings and tees, and that all of our dresses and skirts are cut to be appropriate lengths on growing bodies. More than that, we really care that our clothes are washable, and soft. It is easy to find polyester in kid clothing, but becoming harder to find the quality cotton that we seek out. Feel means everything to us. If our most sensitive testers turn a nose up at our designs, it is back to the drawing board. If our kids are comfortable, that means less dressing hassles, and more time to focus on the adventure of being a kid!
3. What or Who Inspires you?
Strangely enough, I receive the most design inspiration when traveling and people-watching. I think about clothing design all hours of the day and night, and I only wish that I had the resources to be able to sell half of the things that I design. I am held back a lot by the complexity of the garments I want to design, and, in the interest of creating things that people can afford, I end up simplifying a lot, as the amount of time and work that would go into a more complex design would keep me from making enough pieces, and force me to work for much lower than the worst sweatshop wage!
4. What is your creative process like?
My creative process is pretty fluid. I receive inspiration from a shape I see, or a curve on an existing garment, and then I immediately begin cycling through ways to implement it. I watch small children, and see how they play, and I consider what will have the most fun as well as functionality too. I go over and over in my head, ways to sew such a design most efficiently, and only once I have all of this figured out do I begin to sketch. Sometimes once I get to the fabric sourcing step, I will find several fabrics that play well together, and they may inform a modification to best showcase themselves. I will draft a preliminary pattern, sew a sample, and then try it on several children and solicit feedback from kids and parents. At any point during this process, there are usually edits in complexity, sewing order, special details, fit, or seam placement, but I really enjoy the lack of rigidity, as it brings me so much joy to revel in the process of the garment bringing itself to life. The real crowning glory is watching a child light up at something that I've created, and especially when one of those "details" (like a thumbhole in a hoodie, or a pocket in a skirt) make that piece special for them. Honestly, that is what keeps me coming back for more--because it feels like more than just "making kids clothes" to me.
5. What is the coolest artistic tip you have ever received?
Someone once told me that "you cannot pour from an empty cup", and I find this to be especially true of creativity, and for me, clothing design. If I am stressed, and feeling like I need to produce--that which I produce is usually not something I'd be comfortable putting my name on and selling. I am learning more and more that if I allow my life to be run by deadlines and timelines, that my cup depletes, and I face a diminishing return in the quality of design that I can produce. "Filling my cup" is sometimes as simple as taking a drive toward the ocean and glimpsing the sun on the water, or sitting quietly and listening to my own thoughts instead of the ever-growing list of all of the things that I "should" be doing.
6. What can we expect to see from you at Jackalope?
I am really excited about some of the Spring/Summer designs that will be available for purchase at the upcoming Jackalope. Inspired by my recent move to California, my designs have taken a more flowy, layered look, and there will be swingy and twirly dresses and layering cardigans, as well as some old favorites like our Penelope Pocket Skirts and Hadley dresses. Spring and Summer fabrics will have fireflies, light and airy florals, and wildflowers, which just remind us of sunny fields, warm summer nights, and beachy breezes.
7. Where can we learn more about you?
You can see more about us on our website, www.eddyandscout.com, on our instagram at instagram.com/eddyandscout, and via our facebook page www.facebook.com/eddyandscout. We also have a VIP group on facebook where we offer our newest products first, as well as sales, and VIP only bargains and giveaways. You can find that on facebook for searching for "Eddy & Scout's Rockin VIP group".