Edited by Bee Tomlinson
What is your idea of perfect happiness?
Whenever I can sit with the sun on my face, I think that’s pretty close, and I don’t take it for granted living in Chicago. But I’ve also decided that happiness and perfection aren’t generally compatible, and I’m pretty content with a little imperfection in life.
What is your motto?
My general motto, in design and in life, is to eliminate what isn’t really necessary. It’s sometimes hard to do but usually the right move.
What is your current state of mind?
Hopeful that the new year will bring a rip-tide of change in our country.
How would you like to die?
A very long time from now, hoping I made the world more interesting in some way.
What is it that you love most about what you do?
I love that clothing design gives us a chance to express who we are as designers, but also to participate in someone else’s self-expression when he or she wears the clothing that we make.
If you could have a conversation with anybody (alive or dead), who would it be?
The answer to that must change every day, but today I’m thinking about what the Midwest and the Great Plains looked like when they were oceans of tall grass and prairie, before they were the cultivated farmland and cities they are today. I’d love to talk to someone who experienced what this was like.
When did you realize that you wanted to be a creative?
I think I’ve always known it, and have just been waiting for the right time to really make a go of it.
What motivates you?
Trying to be the best version of me whether as a parent, a friend, a designer, or a member of my community.
What do you love about being a woman?
Being given the constant opportunity to defy other people’s expectations about what I can or should do.
What is your experience of being a woman, while also being a creative?
Our mainstream culture hasn’t always cultivated the skill to form strong opinions from girls growing up, but creative work demands it, so it’s a constant balance. When making a design decision, I aim to go with my gut instinct, and stick with it. I make clothing, which people have to wear or it’s not clothing at all but a design artifact, so of course other people’s preferences have to enter into the equation at some point. But I usually find that my initial instinct is the right one, and that I have to trust that and be strong enough to stand by it throughout the design process.