Content '11 is quickly approaching, are you excited yet? In case you live in a box, Content is the fashion installation event where each designer gets to transform a room in the Ace Hotel to showcase the spirit and style of their line. MOD asked the designers a few questions to get you salivating until Saturday, when you can feast on the real deal.
Designer: Julia Barbee
What is the inspiration for your showroom in Content?
I'm always drawn to neutrals, and white specifically, so the room is catering to me more than I am to it I guess, but it's a good compliment. I'm excited to show my work in an unusual environment with such great architecture.
What are the three most important things to you as a designer?
Texture, form, and now that I'm working with perfume, scent.
What materials are you working with right now? Why?
Perfume is my new passion. I recently returned to Portland from LA where I got my MFA in studio art. My thesis was based around attraction and repulsion related to scent.
For this show I'm combining perfumes with accessories made from felted wool, spun wool, leather, and antlers. I'm always trying to pay attention to the market and what it can handle, so accessories seem more palatable to buyers than garments at the moment. I've been doing some quick t-shirt recycles which are honestly one of the first things I've made that I actually wear myself. It's nice to strip things down once in a while, but know you can throw on a fantastic accessory or phenomenal fragrance and feel very dressed all of a sudden.
I'm going to be in New York the night of Content doing a performance for a week with Art in Odd Places, and I'll be wearing some pieces similar to those in the show for the duration of my performance. I've moved into a largely scent-based world, where the visual isn't as much the focus, so I'm stretching a lot of people by playing the visual piece down a little bit.
What is unique about Portland's fashion community? Why do you choose to live/work/show here?
I like that it still feels like a family, I'm in contact with Kate Towers & Holly Stalder from early Seaplane days, the pioneer days, and it's just fun to know that group has all kind of settled into life at this pace and scale. I know there's tons of new talent as well, the more the merrier! I think the economy being what it is, Portland designers are being quite responsible in creating small runs and one-of-a-kind garments, because then we don't have to ditch shipping containers full of failed designs (I really wish large corporations had to deconstruct their own waste!)
I'm in SE Portland, and I pared down for my time in school. I'm just getting things back up and running, selling in a space at Stars & Splendid antique mall, a shop in Seattle, and looking at next steps from there.
What kind of person do you imagine wearing your clothes or accessories?
Someone with a spark. Or hopefully the work illuminates something in them.