Where Are They Now? Redress Designer Payton-Alexis Brown (2010)

Appalachia is my most recent collection, and the closest one to my heart to date. I created the collection my senior year as a sort of homage to the place I have called home for the past four years. I studied antique photographs of people who lived in the region during the 1930s-40s and was inspired by the details in their work clothes, their way of life, and the natural dye processes used to dye their fabrics. The styling inspiration was that of an anti-fashion movement that happened after the French Revolution in which aristocrats began dressing like peasants to avoid execution. Together, I believe the inspirations mixed to create one rugged, elegantly simply collection. The photographs were taken by me in the Appalachian Mountains.Can you give us the history? What's happened in the years since your Redress show? 

When I participated in Redress Raleigh, I was just finishing up my freshman year in college.  I went on to produce two more collections, Equipoise in 2011 and Appalachia in 2012.  In the fall of 2010, I was lucky enough to be chosen as a designer for FashionSPARK in which I showcased the bridal portion of my Equipoise collection.  I showcased the full Equipoise collection at my university’s fashion show and won Best Construction and Best Overall Designer.  The summer of 2011 I spent three months in NYC completing an internship with the design team at Nicole Miller.  I returned that September to assist in the production of their Fashion Week show and was honored to return again this past September to assist the team once again.  During my senior year I created Appalachia, which debuted at my university’s fashion show in the spring of 2012 and won Best Garment in the senior division and Best Collection in the senior division.  In most recent news, I graduated in May 2012 from Appalachian State University with a BS in fashion design and merchandising and minors in marketing and studio art.  

Are you working on anything right now?            

Currently I am dealing with the great post-grad life struggle of “what now!?”  To make the transition easier from the mountains of the High Country to what will most likely be New York City, I have returned to Raleigh NC to start putting my plans in order.  Graduating has brought on the finishing tasks of completing my portfolio and defining myself as a designer.  Being an artist, I am inspired by countless things and enjoy creating really diverse collections.  Therefore being able to edit myself down to one set of aesthetics that truly define my work and allow me to market myself to companies has been a challenging task.  However, I just finished up my new website design which I hope reflects this new sense of self.  www.payton-alexis.com  

How did your experience with Redress prepare you for something that happened later in your career? How does your ongoing work with Redress influence the business decisions you make now?            

When I participated in Redress the eco movement was really just coming into pop culture and now green efforts span the country as not just a fad but a moral/ethical commitment to each other.  While I no longer focus on altering vintage garments, found textiles still remain my favorite fabrics to work with.  When I am not using recycled textiles I try to be eco friendly in my cutting and patterning methods seeking to leave the least amount of fabric waste as possible.  

We love your site - gorgeous pics! Give us some details promoting a current project.

Appalachia is my most recent collection, and the closest one to my heart to date.  I created the collection my senior year as a sort of homage to the place I have called home for the past four years.  I studied antique photographs of people who lived in the region during the 1930s-40s and was inspired by the details in their work clothes, their way of life, and the natural dye processes used to dye their fabrics.  The styling inspiration was that of an anti-fashion movement that happened after the French Revolution in which aristocrats began dressing like peasants to avoid execution.  Together, I believe the inspirations mixed to create one rugged, elegantly simply collection.  The photographs were taken by me in the Appalachian Mountains.   During my senior year, I began focusing on my studio art minor to define myself as a fibers artist separate from my fashion design.  Currently I am working on photographing a body of work, titled Sensual Atrophy, that I created during that year in response to the ending of a long-term relationship.  In this work I explore the feelings of the individual, notably from a female perspective, dealing with the ideas of love and loss.  Although this is the most intimately personal work I have ever created, once I began showing the pieces at my university the response was overwhelmingly one of unexpected understanding.  I look forward to releasing this body of work to the general public on my website by January 2013.  

Any advice for Redress supporters considering a similar career path?

Every artist’s path is different.  The best advice I could give someone would be to listen to his or her instincts.  In fashion it is easy to get lost in current trends and trying to design for them, however fashion only moves forward when individuals think past the present.  You will be the happiest when you are designing what you love, and you will produce the best work when it is something that moves you.  

Is there anything else you'd like us to watch for? How can Redress supporters help?

By spring 2013 I hope to have made the leap into adult life and be living and working as a designer in a big city.  Keep watching my website and blog for more information on where I am traveling and the release of my fibers work!

Payton-Alexis, great interview! That is one intellectually mature design philosophy - you're rocking the adult world already! Thanks for taking time to let us in on it.

Buy from her http://www.payton-alexis.moonfruit.com/