When/How did you learn to sew?
My mother taught me how to sew when I was 4 years old. I’ve been sewing ever since! By the time I got to my first home ec class in grade 7, I was already making full outfits for myself.
What made you want to be a designer?
I was ALWAYS into fashion. I used to plaster the walls of my room with Vogue pages. But I didn’t think of it as a career until 2008.
What are some of the highlights that you look back on in your career up to this point?
The New York trips were amazing. Being in British Vogue was a dream. I was on the cover of a couple of Scottish and Celtic magazines a few years ago that I was really proud of. But I’ve also still loved the shows I’ve done at my favourite local pub (Durty Nelly’s).
How easy or hard was it for you to find your niche market? Was that intentional or did it just sort of happen?
Actually, for me – the niche market came before the idea of being a designer did. It was most certainly intentional. I wanted women to be able to represent their heritage in a way they would dress normally. So I created my first collection with that in mind.
How would you describe your brand?
Modern styles in traditional Scottish fabrics.
You are definitely one of the more established designers on the East Coast. What is your advice to new and aspiring designers?
I always say – you need to find your niche. Lots of people can make ‘pretty dresses’. But what makes your stuff different from the rest? In today’s economy, you can’t compete with the mall. So you have to create things that don’t already exist.
What makes you stay in the East Coast?
I love to travel, and I love traveling to other cities. But I love the East Coast atmosphere.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
I imagine pretty much where I am now? I’d like to do more international shows, and I’d like expand my brand a little more. But my focus will still be on the Scottish and Celtic communities.
What is your favorite piece that you ever made and why?
I’ve made a lot of pieces I’ve loved over the years. But my all time favourite thus far would be the backless MacQueen tartan gown with the floor length pleats. It was an idea I’d had in my head for a couple of years, but I’d pictured it in another tartan. When it came time to make it, I saw the MacQueen tartan sitting there, and all of a sudden the picture in my head altered. I knew it would be a game changer (and it was!).
“If you aren’t a little different than your competition , you’re in trouble.” – Mark Sanborn