I'VE KNOWN LAUREN THROUGH THE EARLIER BLOGGING days of years past and have always always admired her work, even when she was mostly peddling a finely curated selection of vintage goods. Now she's gone even further to impress me with her amazing clothing designs and ceramics work. I love all the materials she works with and the fact that she uses natural dyes in beautiful colors you don't normally see. Her current Japanese-inspired collection has some great indigos and yellows, along with my standard color: white. I'm very much coveting her slouchy Olive pullover with a wide, perfect turtleneck. And here you see the Wraparound Top paired with a handcrafted ceramic necklace (also from Lauren Winter), black (lint-covered) pants and a beautiful bag from San Francisco based Joshu+Vela.
Also, from now until Friday 11/21, enjoy a 15% discount on the Lauren Winter website with the coupon code MELISSASONICO at checkout!
Read on to find out more about Nashville designer Lauren Winter and her wares!
How did you get started in design?
After graduating from college, I was given a sewing machine as a graduation present. In the beginning I learned how to sew by altering thrifted clothes. I was terrible. Slowly I got better at sewing and designing, and my style evolved as I grew older. Learning through your own is a blessing and a curse in so many ways, but I wouldn't change a thing about the process. You are always growing.
What, if any, are your design inspirations?
It's probably no secret, but this past season was very inspired by Japanese style - and most especially the 1980s movement that fused traditional Japanese wear with something more western and avant garde-- designers like Yohji Yamamoto, Issey Miyake, Rei Kawakubo. And street style from that time too, minimalism mixed in with crazy shapes and patterns. Lately I've been discovering Sonia Delaunay's designs, whose use of color puts my nearly all-black wardrobe to shame. There are so many great independent designers out there today too, it's hard to not be inspired! Shaina Mote, Willow Knows, No. 6, and Electric Feathers are some of my favorites.
What other creative outlets do you have?
I like to throw clay on the wheel every now and then, and I do some hand building as well-- including hand-formed clay beads for necklaces. I've been dreaming up Christmas presents I can make for my family this year, like a coffee pour over for my sister and a lantern with cut-out shapes for my niece and nephew. I also teach video game development classes to kids and teens at a local museum. Video games have been a passion of mine since I was little, and today I design games for the fun of it and play video games constantly.
Describe a typical day at work and also a day off.
I think anyone who is self-employed will tell you that there is no typical day at work, it's always changing! A day of work usually consists of ironing, a lot of cutting and sewing, packaging, a little photo taking and editing, and dyeing once or twice a week. Right now I dye fabric on our stovetop at home (which can be extremely messy), but next month I'm moving into a different studio that has concrete floors and a space for dyeing, meaning I can get everything done right there. I'm excited for more room and more possibilities.
As for days off, Neil and I love to explore the islands along the coast-- Cumberland Island being our favorite-- for hikes and the occasional camping trip. Those are my favorite days off. There are other historic sites around the area that we love to visit, places like Drayton Hall, Wormsloe Plantation, Bonaventure Cemetery. There's a dog-friendly beach at Fort Pulaski that we take our crazy little terrier to on occasion. And of course, burgers at Green Truck Pub and cocktails at the Florence.
What's next for your line?
This fall/winter is all about filling orders, plus I'm working on some exclusive collaborations with a few shops that I'm excited about sharing. And stay tuned for new spring/summer styles early next year!