Fashion

Kansas City Fashion Week On Fleek

Let me tell you a little story about a trip I took, to Kansas City Fashion Week. … enter Evie. 

 
Growing up in England Evie said “The sun was calling for me” on what began as her journey to fashion designer. 
 
 
One morning Evie invited me to come see her runway collection with a side of adventure. Who was I to decline. Evie, the designer behind the brand More Than Just Fig Leaves aka MTJF is switching things up this season. Do not be fooled! The MTJF ready to wear collection is a sartorial ode to a time not forgotten but this new collection was something to behold. 
 
 
“From Scraps” were the words she used when describing the beginning stages of the design process this time around. And you would never know it. Although each look had a rawness to it, the pieces fit too perfectly to think that it wasn’t done on purpose. And purpose it had. Evie is a big believer in authenticity and her craft shows it. This time around the collection had pieces of up-cycled fabric found in the deep sky caverns of Manhattan also known as “the garment district.” She’s as hands on as one can get down to the button and is in constant construct mode. Always tweaking, adding and asking what more she can do for her collection. 
 
 
I’ve worked with Evie in the past and can say her commitment to fashion is one of a rare breed. It comes from the most honest of places of just wanting to create beautiful clothes that people can love and love to wear.  
 
 
Whatever she’s doing it works. The show was a hit and the collection was out of the park. Excited to see what’s next! 
 

 

Talya: How did you come up with the name More Than Just Fig Leaves?

Evie: Figleaves was always on my mind with its biblical connotations to clothing the body. “More than Just” came about after hearing the biblical “midrasha” source that Adam and Eve went and made proper clothes for themselves , the fig-leaves being only a temporary covering.

Talya: Did you always know you wanted to design?

Evie: I have been designing dresses for as long as I can remember, in fact all my schoolbooks are lined with sketches! I didn’t think of going into dress design because I thought that being a good sewer was a must. (That has since changed , as have my sewing skills!)

Talya: How is this collection different from your last collection? Design elements you used ?

Evie: All my clothing has a similar brand concept in that they all exude an air of femininity for the real woman, yet in this collection the process was entirely new! All the creations were born out of the desire to recycle and preserve fabric. In this case all fabrics were those that I had in my possession, and some sourced from factory garbage. Such strips I used for facing… etc, and fleece leftovers that were stuck together again (a bit like Humpty Dumpty!) and re-used as fabric! The focus of design was very much on fabrication and texture, while the structure and silhouette followed the fabric shape, as opposed to cutting fabric to preconceived patterns. Each item in this collection is therefore exclusive and cannot be repeated in exactly the same. They are unique.

Talya: What was the inspiration behind your designs?

Evie: I always had this thought in the back of my head to use scraps and leftovers to build new items, but never had the nerve, until I saw Daniel Silverstain of ZWD in action. I happened across him at a factory and saw what he was doing . This gave me the courage and confidence to go ahead and do this, My patchwork sweatshirt is definitely inspired by his work, while many of the other pieces in this collection came to life by virtue of the shape the fabric came in.  They just “happened” and took shape through the process of fitting and draping

Talya: What is the hardest part about being a fashion designer?

Evie: Very hard work at high costs. Until you are selling and recognized, the money, time, energy and costs involved are intense. This is a very labor intensive business. You gotta love it to stick to it.

Talya: What is the message you are sending through your work?

Evie: I would like to send a message of empowerment to women through my clothing . I wish for women  to be at peace with themselves through wearing my clothing, and at peace with the world around them. My clothing stands for quality solidity in a very fast paced world. “Quality life, slow Fashion” that’s my motto.

Talya: What did you discover about yourself though the process of creating a brand? 

Evie: I discovered that even at the age of 50 you can reach for what you desire to do, and do it! I realized I do have the tenacity and patience to see things through , meet deadlines and face opportunities head on. 

Talya: Who are some of your fashion icon inspirations?

Evie: I love them all!. Anyone with style who sets their own trend because it suits them and they are comfortable, is what represents flawless style. If I chose one from the past, and one from the present, I would say Audrey Hepburn for her elegance of  bearing and today, there are so many well dressed women . if I was to choose I would say the fresh faced Taylor Swift lends an air of fun to all that she wears. You can see that she really enjoys her clothing, and wears it well. Another mention goes to Michelle Obama. I like her “sassy yet incredibly chic” style.

Talya: If you could design clothes in any other era which would you chose and why?

Evie: Definitely Art Deco !!!! The 40’s , a time of experimentation and change in fashion as can be seen by those clean lines, new silhouettes, and in the later period, simplicity and minimalism due to the need for economy. It was the breakaway from the frills and flounces and corsets too, and I like the idea of comfortable wearable clothing that this period inspires.

 

Talya: Best advice you were given when joining the fashion industry?

Evie: Have a vision, and then make a plan. Plan, and plan again. Research, know what is ahead of you, because the beginning is tough.  If you love what you are doing, don’t give up when the chips are down.

 

 

One thing I love about the fashion industry is the ability to collaborate. Fashion collaborations have brought together some of the greatest minds of our time and we’re glad they did! Evie, an avid collaborator worked with Erin Page from Erin Page Jewelry for Kansas City Fashion Week. I must say it’s as if the clothes were made for the jewelry and the jewelry for the clothes. Watching Erin adorn the models going back and forth between pieces was fun to watch. I always enjoy seeing creatives in their nature and this was no different. Erin’s jewelry is hand crafted to a level bespoke. You could say her designs are art and I would go to that exhibit. She uses raw materials like Evie, and molds them herself. Her earrings dangle, looking heavy but are actually quite light. With gold, copper and brass hues her collection seems almost as if you would find some of the pieces in an ancient queen’s chambers. Although both designers evoke a certain theme in their personal work, the outcome of them coming together was simply marvelous. 

 

Talya: How did you come to be a jewelry designer? 

Erin: I always tell people I was born an artist, so it came naturally to create jewelry. I became a designer when I was staying at home with my son and ordered a Mother/Daughter bracelet set and when I received it I thought, “I can do this, and, do it better.” That was the moment it all started.

Talya: What is your favorite part of the design process? Some techniques you use? 

Erin: I LOVE the moment when the piece and/or collection becomes a crystal clear vision in my mind. I can see it, touch it, and feel the way it will be presented on a runway or on the person wearing it. I have tried several techniques such as beaded, melted lucite, and hammered metals. I am currently using mostly patina copper, but I am open to experiencing the adventures of other techniques as well.

Talya: Do you work with only specific types of materials/hardware?

Erin: Many of my designs are an eclectic mix of beads, wire, copper, and, at times, acrylic paint. I also incorporate found objects I bring home from a run/walk with the dog. I can’t help it – I see something of interest and it speaks to me! Parts of run over orange traffic cones, wire, pipes, random metals, etc. have all been used along the way.

Talya: What gets you inspired about creating a collection? 

Erin: A moment. The latest collection called “No Coincidences” was a moment in time where I was sitting at a table thinking about and sketching thoughts for my Fashion Week application when I looked over and saw a small Gustav Klimt print my son gave me when he was little (now a teenager). He gave it to me for my birthday or Mother’s Day. He had asked his dad while at an estate sale if he could buy it for me because he just KNEW I would love it since I had one other print of his work. The way the print was matted and framed didn’t really speak to my current decor style, but, as a mother, you keep such treasures and love them like masterpieces. It has floated around my home over the years and I had recently moved it into the corner where I was sitting. Seeing it sitting there was the moment!!! The vision for the collection became crystal clear – I was going to use some of the painting techniques within the Klimt painting as well as drill holes through the copper. Thus, the collection name “No Coincidences” was given and the vision started to become a reality.

Talya: Do you use a studio or create in a personal space? (at home etc..) 

Erin: I have two spaces within my home. One is in the garage for cutting, filing, and polishing. The second is a large room for assembly, etc.

Talya: How many pieces would you say you’ve made if you could count? 

Erin: Well over 2000+. This includes simple beaded pieces for everyday to the large statement, one-of-a-kind couture designs which grace the runway.

Talya: If you could collaborate with any jewelry retailer as a capsule collection designer which would you choose and why?

Erin: I am open to anything that comes. I prefer to go with the flow.

Talya: Favorite quote?

Erin: “Love Life. Dream Bigger.” – Erin Paige (Me) (This has become the platform for my life, my designs and inspirational speaking. When I started loving my life (all of it) I found my dreams were getting bigger and bigger. Nothing is stopping me now!!)

TalyaWhat’s the best advice you can give to new jewelry designers? 

Erin: My advice to anyone is this…  love the process (the good and not-so-good), don’t be too hard on yourself, keep going and mostly importantly, listen to your own unique and beautiful inner voice…it is always right. 

 

I couldn’t agree more!

You can find out more about both of these brands by checking out their websites! 

http://www.morethanjustfigleaves.com

https://erinpaige.com/product-category/jewelry/

 

 

 

 

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