Afternoon with Abigail

Added on by Chloe Gilstrap.

Last week I spent some time with my friend and coworker, Abigail. We photographed some of her school projects, she's attending Seattle Central for apparel design. I had a chance to ask a few questions... here are her responses... 

(Thanks for your thoughtful responses Abigail).

Where are you from? Describe your childhood.

 I've been lucky in that I've been able to live on the East Coast, Gulf Coast, and the West Coast in my life, but home will always be south Louisiana. I grew up on the banks of the Mississippi, and the unique mix of Southern, Creole, Caribbean, and European culture in that part of the country is ingrained and a part of who I am. I was homeschooled along with my other three siblings by my mother, who is an amazing, strong, creative woman who always taught us to follow our own path, and not be afraid of taking risks and doing something different. We kind of had that mythical southern life that people dream of- we grew lots of tomatoes, wore straw hats in the garden, raised chickens, drank sweet tea under oaks covered in moss, haha. Because I grew up somewhat in the country and spent a lot of time at home, women and the domestic will always be a huge source of inspiration for me.

What made you decide to study fashion design?

 Touch has always been the door to my world. It makes things real. I also have alien fingers. I'm double jointed, and I can bend them in really bizarre ways. Literally, when I was born, my aunt looked at my fingers and said I was going to do things with my hands one day! She was right. I've always loved touching-texture, fiber, cloth, handiwork...they just make my heart race in a way that nothing else does! I've always loved history, particularly fashion history, and the language of dressing, because of the way it gives you a glimpse not only into a specific point in time, but into the thoughts and mind of the wearer. It's the silent way of communicating who we are, where we're from, and what we believe, without ever having to say a word. This is amazing to me! I used to collect books from the Kyoto Costume Institute and the V&A, and would pour over these for hours on end. I also watched a lot of old films and collected vintage; I loved the construction and how women used to put such care into the way they dressed. It was the combination of these things, and the fact that no one in my family really sewed, that made creating clothing so appealing.

What's been your favorite fashion project so far?

I really like detail work, so my favorite has been the shirt dress that I designed. Menswear is really fussy, and collars, cuffs, and plackets make such a big change in the look and feel of a garment, so playing with these details was a lot of fun for me. As far as home projects go, there was this dress I made a while ago, with a spiral steel boned bodice, waist stays, zipper guard, built in bra, and other geeky hidden "behind the seams" stuff that I freak over. I haven't really worn it, I just like to look at it, haha. I'm working on an outwear project right now though that I'm super excited about...

What's your favorite thing to do apart from designing clothes?

I like to pet cats. Really. It's therapy. And drink tea. Sketching. Good books. I read Hemingway's A Moveable Feast during break and fell in love. Also late night walks are always fun. I like to go out at midnightwith friends and bring blankets and cookies and lay under the trees. Seattle is great for this. I slept under the cherry blossoms at UW at least once a week this Spring.

Why Seattle? And what are you feelings towards this city?

I moved to Washington in 2013 with my family, and to Seattle about 8 months ago. Honestly, at the beginning, I didn't know if I would ever feel at home. Everything was foreign- the trees,people, smell in the air, even the light was strange. Since then, it's completely won me over. I love exploring this city, and all the little distinct neighborhoods. We really have the best of everything here. The mountains, the ocean, prairie, even rain forests...I love it all. 

What's your favorite thing to do in the city?

There is this particular kind of day that you only get in Seattle, that I love. It's in January, and a little bleak, and you're cold and the rain seems like it will never stop, and you squish in to a crowded coffee place( I like Analog, Vivace, Victrola, and Bauhaus because of the balcony...) and order a 12oz. I love that feeling. Sitting by the steamy windows overlooking the street, phone away in your coat, with The Stranger resting next to your cup. It's my favorite:) 

What's your favorite thing to do outside of the city?

Hiking! The forests in the PNW are so otherworldly beautiful. I like going to Deception Pass and all the lakes, like Samish, Shannon. And Skagit Valley near the flats is so beautiful. I have this dream of buying and restoring an old farmhouse out there and living in it.

Anything else you'd like to share?

My favorite ice cream flavor is Blue Bell Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough. No substitutes. I can't find it anywhere in the city though. If you see it somewhere please let me know! 

And I like my red lipstick, roux dark and my eggs sunny side up.