Graduate student and eco-friendly fashion designer, Allison Bowles has her hands full of fabrics and textbooks all day long. She is passionate and persistent, and shows no signs of slowing down her climb to the top of the fashion ladder anytime soon. Allison debuts her brand new, eco-friendly fashion collection at the 2015 Redress Spring Fashion show next month and is more than ready to show her designs to the world. Hard work and dedication are the exact qualities Allison possess that are going to make her successful. Not only is she a passionate designer, but she wants to make other women feel beautiful and carefree while wearing her clothing. Her collection uses simple designs and fabrics that translate into whimsical, carefree fashion pieces that any woman could enjoy wearing. I can speak for everyone in and around the Redress community that Allison's collection debut will be a highly anticipated event!
Aleena: How’s graduate school going?
Allison: Since my graduation from N.C. State University in 2007, I wanted to return to school for the great network of people--manufacturers, suppliers, and overall expertise in this area. Being a part of the Raleigh community is important because it is very supportive of my fashion goals There are multiple projects going on in my current textile courses, I am very busy, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. When I complete my graduate studies, I will have received a Master’s degree of Textile and Technology Management.
Aleena: Why did you choose the Spring Fashion Show as the time to launch your brand?
Allison: Well I think of the Spring Fashion Show is a huge networking event with a specific community, the Redress event allows me to establish relationships with other indie, new designers as well as buyers from local boutiques and other people in the industry.
Aleena: Tell me more about working with Spoonflower’s fabrics?
Allison: Spoonflower is a great, supportive, and close resource that I utilize a lot for my designs. I love working with simple silhouettes, and taking the prints and making them unique. Cotton, polyester, silk, and the cotton jersey fabrics are all materials I use from Spoonflower.
Aleena: How do you go about creating your textile designs?
Allison: Since I began my work designing for a hosiery brand, my mind naturally works well within the textile industry. I like to pick a great inspiration and tell a story of that inspiration which all of my designs. I’ve been working with prints for about five years now.
Aleena: Advice to share with others who are planning to launch a brand?
Allison: It is a long process of hard work, you are not going to succeed on your first try at anything, and you should always have a ‘Plan B’, ‘Plan C to Z’! Persistence is very important as well as the ability to be multi-disciplinary (developing, marketing, designing, etc.).
Aleena: When did you decide to become a fashion designer?
Allison: I decided that I wanted to work in fashion during my time as an undergraduate at N.C. State. I toured the Textiles campus, saw all the labs and the studio areas and loved the way technology was mixed with design.
Aleena: What do you enjoy most about the design process?
Allison: I enjoy actually coming up with an entire concept to design around-- going from an idea to a real, tangible product. Clothing is important to life--everyone wears it so everyone has a perspective and can relate to it.
Aleena: What do you enjoy most about the production process?
Allison: The idea of my designs being disseminated, seeing others wear your clothing, and mostly the well deserved rewarding feeling you get after you know completed all the hard work to get to that place.
Aleena: Which of the two do you find to be most challenging?
Allison: Definitely the production process just because of all the simultaneously moving parts that are involved (fabrics, color, manufacturing, etc.). By far, I think scheduling has been the most challenging tasks thus far.
Aleena: What was the inspiration for your upcoming collection?
Allison: The free spirited and independent woman--women who embody this spirit and also creating something that any woman can wear. Artemis is the goddess of the hunt and protector of women.
Aleena: How did you go about selecting the materials for your upcoming collection?
Allison: My collection will be very wearable, sellable, and I’ll be keeping it very simple-- since I make everything out of my own sunroom at home I am my own manufacturer.
Aleena: What do you hope will take away from your collection?
Allison: That sustainable fashion IS wearable, and the clothes do not appear, aesthetically, in any way to be ‘eco’, ‘sustainable’, but are just far better for the environment. Techniques at Spoonflower, my main source of textiles, are highly sustainable. Navigate through all of Spoonflower's beautiful, eco-fashion prints HERE
Aleena: How do you incorporate sustainable design practices into your process?
Allison: Mainly by sourcing locally in North Carolina and by utilizing Spoonflower so much considered how much of a sustainability focused business organization they are in the Raleigh community. They use the digital printing process that makes use of “unused yardage” which lower wastes in the process of printing fabric.
Aleena: Who are the designer and makers you look up to?
Allison: I started reading Diane von Fürstenberg’s recently published book, “The Woman I Wanted To Be”, during the time I was thinking of embarking on my own business ventures. DVF is business-oriented woman and she relied on a single silhouette design that remains her inspiration for her fashion design today.
Aleena: What kind of impact do you hope to make within the design world?
Allison: I would really love to be a part of this particular eco-friendly design community as well as surrounded by all the wonderful local talent and entrepreneurs.
Come see the debut of Bowles' collection, Artemis Clothing Co., at the 2015 Redress fashion show--purchase tickets here------->Fashion Show Tickets