Interview with Patricia Ayres

When I find a designer or label that I love, I tend to become slightly obsessed. Yet it’s still hard to believe that I only came across my newest favorite designer this past April, based on the amount of thought and blogging words I devote towards her and her work, ‘her’ being Patricia Ayres. In case you aren’t a regular reader and/or an obsessed Etsyian, Patricia is otherwise known as the sole genius behind ArtLab, a fashion design and fine arts studio based in NYC. After formally studying at the Fashion Institute of Technology, Parsons, and Brooklyn College, Patricia continues her artistic pursuits not only through fashion design, but also through photography, sculpture, and installation art. Patricia’s artwork and fashion collections have been shown and sold throughout the world, and she continues to produce amazing artisan, one-of-a-kind, and conceptual designs which never fail to amaze their viewers. With the unveiling of her F/W 09/10 collection, “Distressed Luxury”, I had the absolute pleasure of interviewing Patricia to get to know my ‘personal designer’ a little more. I must say I’m a wee bit nervous as it is my very first go at being an interviewer, but I do think that you’ll enjoy…

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What was the very first piece of clothing you designed?

My Mom tells me I designed my Holy Communion Dress. My Grandmother would make many of my clothes, so I guess it was a collaboration of sorts.

Do you wear your own fashion designs?

Yes, I do.

What is a typical outfit for you while you’re running errands, grabbing a coffee, working, etc.?

Either my gold Adidas sneakers or a pair of funky boots, a grey fedora I picked up in Berlin, usually a distressed, beat up tee, a skirt (probably asymmetrical and a bit off in some way), and one long earring.

What is your most treasured item of clothing that you have ever owned (self-made or bought)?

I adore my Martin Margiela leather jacket from his “Flat Collection”, where he moved sleeves and armholes to the front so the garments lie flat when not worn. I also really like my black linen ace bandage dress (as pictured to the left).

What is your favorite season to design a fashion collection for?

I have been thinking more about seasonless clothing lately.

If you were limited to one type of fabric in one colour for your entire next collection, what would you choose?

I was thinking about that blue jumpsuit worn in the film 1984 based on George Orwell’s novel. I could take that one piece and make many different looks from it.

If you received a bulk order for one particular piece, and it was up to you, would you be the perfectionist and strive to make each one exactly the same, or would you enjoy purposely making each one unique?

It depends on the design. If I have worked out the cut to be very precise and specific, such as a coat I did for my current fall collection, I would want each one to be exactly the same. I have some fascination with the idea of a uniform. I do also enjoy the contrast to that, which is to create something that is one of a kind and not meant to be reproduced.

What music do you listen to while you’re working?

I listen to anything from Jay-Z to avant garde jazz to Tom Waits, reggae, and NPR.

Who would you most want to design an entire outfit for (living or dead)?

The boxer Jack Johnson.

If you weren’t a designer/artist, what to you think you’d be doing right now for a job/career?

Anthropologist, film maker, actor…

Do you prefer online shopping or brick-and-mortar store shopping?

I do prefer online shopping as it’s fun and so easy. Unless it means going to shops such as Comme des Garçons, Yohji Yamamoto, or Barneys, where I can really look at and touch the clothes. Especially when it’s the designer’s own store and they have entire collections, not just select pieces.

And finally, what is your favorite piece from your new collection?

Not sure I can pick just one yet! It might turn out to be the pant skirt piece.

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Check out all things ArtLab in Patricia’s Etsy shop and on her website. Also check out Patricia’s new Etsy shop coming soon, which will have her collection pieces. And stay tuned here for what is sure to be many more Patricia Ayres-related posts.

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