How did you get started in design?
Originally, I started drawing and painting in my father’s studio. He is an artist. Through being around him,I discovered early on that I loved to make things and to be in that magical, creative space where there is no time. He’d put Coltrane on and give me some paper and pencils and I’d just draw and draw for hours.
That was in a part of Big Sur called Limekiln. Later we moved to Partington Ridge, where a more collective spirit was developing. We had shared vegetable gardens, chicken coops, goats, and horses. The men were painters, sculptors and musicians while the women would get together to make sack dresses from Indian bedspreads, jewelry, and leather sandals that they’d then sell at Nepenthe, a nearby restaurant and bar that had an store annex called The Phoenix. I was a little girl then, walking around with a pet tarantula in my pocket, and I just soaked it all up. You could definitely say that was my first introduction to the design process.
What are your design inspirations?
Workwear and minimalism are constant sources of inspiration. I respect designers like Martin Margiela, and Dries Van Noten. I consider them to be artists. Margiela’s early work is so conceptual, and Dries is simply some of the most beautiful and well made designs I have ever seen.
You could say that I pull inspiration from extremes - I was a tomboy for most of my life but as I got older, I started dressing more feminine. I never used to wear dresses because they were so girly, but now I love dresses because they’re more minimal and comfortable. I’ve always felt funny in an exaggerated femininity!
Where did the name come from?
It’s a reference to Heaven in Orwell’s book, Animal Farm.
How does the place you live in influence your design aesthetic?
California will always have a bohemian fashion sense. I think culturally, it doesn’t have as much of the conformity or hierarchy you see with fashion on the East Coast so there’s a certain level of freedom of expression. It’s also just so much easier to get into stuff here, it always has been, even though it feels like that’s starting to change. Heading west to start over, to reinvent yourself - I don’t think that’ll ever really go away.
As a California designer, it’s really about day to night attire that’s easy and effortless but still stylish. I’m not a “hippy” designer but it does inform what I do. My mother wore everything from Oscar de la Renta and Halston to burlap sack dresses and chunky ethnic jewelry. She loved fashion - was a debutante that rebelled and married a beatnik artist. She would wear couture fashion as well as the fashions she was making for herself, her friends, and her children during the 60s.
What is your mission statement for Sugar Candy Mountain?
We’re an environmentally and socially-conscious company. We make every effort we can to leave as small a footprint as possible on the environment. This includes using techniques such as french seams and all natural materials that guarantee that the garment will last as long as possible. When shipping, we wrap our garments in recycled paper rather than the unlimited number of non-reusable plastic bags that are the industry standard.
Our designs are timeless, so they can be worn and re-accessorized as styles and trends come and go.
What other creative outlets do you have?
Cooking is a huge outlet for me. There are so few rituals left that bring people together but cooking is still one that is important to me. I like how it feels to bring people together around a meal. My speciality is making healthy food that tastes good! On occasion I’ll draw or paint.
Describe a typical day at work and also a day off.
A typical day at work usually involves running around downtown LA overseeing production. You’d be amazed to see all that goes into making a garment! I usually wake up in the morning and give thanks for the love and abundance in my life, meditate for the well being of humanity and the environment, hug my husband, and pet the kit-kats. Then I start thinking about what I need to get done that day which is either designing or production managing.
A day off always varies depending on what I need but my ideal day off is to have nothing scheduled and it usually involves a meal with friends or a walk - simple pleasures. Nothing scheduled, some time in nature to just ‘be’. Having time is my ideal always!
What's next for your line?
Fall 2018! It's crazy how fast it moves since we just finished Spring/Summer ’18. Stay tuned!