Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Krista Larson talks about clothing design, what dogs can teach us about good design, subjective beauty, and so much more

As a writer, I live in jeans, black tee-shirts and sneakers, but when I go on tour, I pull out all the stops, which means my Old Gringos, my bird dress, and whatever else I can find. One of the designers I absolutely adore is Krista Larson. Natural fabrics, gorgeous saturated colors, little touches that make everything she makes completely unique. Of course, I tracked Krista down to get her to talk about creativity and her art, and she was generous enough to agree to let me pester her with questions. Thank you, Krista. 

Since this is a blog about creativity, can you talk about your creative process? What comes first--the design idea or the fabric? 

I have been designing for almost 20 years now.  Where did the time go?  I would have to say that the fabric comes first.  I try to come up with a great new color scheme that can be brought together by a great print.  When I design, I try to think about garments that I would like or that are missing from my line.  Maybe I'm going through a looser, baggie phase and I'm missing a longer oversized I feel compelled to design one.  I also try to take the input we get from our customers into consideration when designing.  I might have a store owner that says she's missing "a cropped plain jacket".  Those comments and suggestions stay in my head and eventually come out.  I do like to please.
After choosing the fabric, I start sketching and then I might start sewing.  If I have the time to get on the sewing machine, I am most creative.  It's a wonderful means of expression.
Mistakes in clothing choices?  Are they mistakes or is it life?  I like taupe.  Does it look good on me?  Not so much.  Do I care?  Not so much.  I love the color.  So I try to put on a white shirt underneath.  Is it a mistake that I wear that color?  In some people's eyes it is.  But we're all individuals, with our own likes and dislikes.  I do think it is harder to be individual with so much media flying around us.  There are looks that are considered "beautiful" or "gorgeous"....but in whom's eyes?  It's all very subjective.  It's hard to wrap one's brain around it all.  I try to make things that I like or that I think look beautiful.  I'm not going to please everyone.

So, ah hem, if you were going to suggest clothing for a spring author tour (packable pieces that don’t need ironing and look smashing), what would you suggest for me? (I know this is a trick question, but I’m asking anyway.)

I would probably need to know a little more about you....what your style is?.....are you a pants gal or a skirts gal?  Do you like oversized or fitted?  I love wrinkled linen but not everyone does.  I've got some great stripes and little floral prints for Spring.  I love skirts with a petticoat underneath, but that's me.  I've got a wonderful blue plaid linen that's just divine with a crisp white shirt.  If you need to look professional and minimal, I would suggest a black pinstriped taffeta skirt or slip with a black linen jacket.  Pretty basic.  One thing about my line is that I think it can go layered and funky or minimal and clean depending on fabric and color choice.

Tie dye, diping, spraying, stenciling.  If I had more time, I could be so very creative.  I have all these great ideas but I've yet to find the time to implement them.  Soon....hopefully!

Your bio says you were always attracted to a different way of dressing. Can you talk about that? Are their mistakes that you think people make in choosing what to wear?

I was always a bit of a "misfit" when dressing in school.  I didn't fit in in any click or group.  I was always on the outside.  I dressed differently.  I try to think back as to why I did that??????  I don't know the answer.  Something inside me was just compelled to be different.  I liked different styles.  It's ironic because I don't like attention but yet I dress so differently that it attracts attention.  Hmmmm? 

So, what’s the significance of the dogs on your hangtags? And what can dogs teach us about design?

I love dogs.  Over the last 20 years, I have had 6 dogs.  At one point, I had 5 in the house at the same time.  It's a lot.  For me, it's so hard if I have to leave town.  I worry incessantly about them.  They are truly like children.  I become so attached.  My 6th dog recently died in April of this year.  He was the dog that no one wanted.  In fact, he was returned twice because of a skin condition.  No one wanted to take the time.  I thought I could take a break after him, Wilbur.......I lasted a month and then I got two puppies (my seventh and eigth dogs).  They come to work with me everyday.  They are with me every day in the car.  They are the thought that never leaves my mind.  The constant love and happiness starring me in the face, over there, in the corner, flapping the tail.  I know I am loved.  I am not alone with dogs.

I guess if dogs could teach us anything about design, it would be to wear what's comfortable, that you don't mind getting dog slober on because I do so love to come close and snuggle.

Can you talk about your design philosophy?

Design philosophy?  Hmmmm?  Do I have one?  What is it?  Probably to design what I like, that I think others will like, that's beautiful, comfortable and lasts.

What’s obsessing you now and why? 

I can't think of a single thing.....but I'm not a writer :)

1 comment:

mo said...

oh what a fantastic lady and love krista's attitude ~ from color to character and canines ... must keep this info in an accessible folder so that when i become rich and famous she will be my designer ~ cant wait and thanks for the interview caroline ~ im still smiling ...