Nintendo, Star Wars, Alice in Wonderland… TheVintageDoctor brings you such d.i.y. delights and just so happens to be our newest Featured Indie Designer!
How did your interest in fashion begin? Necessity is the mother of invention! I am a filmmaker by trade, and mostly create fantasy and period-based shorts & music videos. All my of my films require custom-fitted pieces for the actors, so it was convenient for me to simply make my own costumes from scratch.
What motivated you to start selling your designs and what were your expectations when you started? It was kind of a fluke, actually. After my films were completed, I had all the costumes left over just laying around. Since I figured that somebody else could get more use out of them than my closet, they were sold on Ebay. I made the initial crossover to women’s clothing when I was forced to design a DIY dress for myself to wear to a wedding (since EVERYTHING in the stores sucked). Afterwards, I sold that on Ebay too, and people loved the unique style!
Do you have any formal training in fashion, art or design? Not exactly. Everything I know is self-taught. I experiment. If there is something that I simply cannot wrap my brain around, I look up tutorials online. Then I experiment some more. I do it over and over and over again until I get it right!
Is The Vintage Doctor your primary job? A 9 to 5 workday is NOT for me – I’m too much of a night-owl and I hate mornings. 🙂 I started selling my DIY items on Ebay in 2003. It took some time to establish a stable customer base, but as of May 2005, I took on The Vintage Doctor as my full-time job!
How many people are behind the scenes at The Vintage Doctor? Just me! I am the sole designer, purchaser, seamstress, shipper and everything inbetween!
What are some of the best and worst aspects of being an independent designer? The best & worst aspect of being an independent designer is the same thing: being your own boss. Haha! The cool thing is that I can set my own hours. Plus it is an indescribable feeling being able to succeed at an enterprise built entirely by you from the ground-up. We also have a special-needs kitty who requires almost constant supervision. Working from home allows me to support myself and kitty-sit at the same time.
BUT sometimes you don’t feel so well, or you feel really lazy that day. The problem is that if you don’t work, then you don’t get paid. There is a lot of pressure when you run your own business and taking time off sometimes just isn’t an option.
Where do you get inspiration for your designs? If I wouldn’t wear it, then I wouldn’t make it. I love tunic tops & extended sleeve cuffs – I think they are really flattering to a woman’s natural curves & body. You can definitely see those influences in my latest DIY items!
How would you describe your designs? I try really hard not to subscribe to a particular culture or trend. I know that any designer strives to create something totally fresh and new, but my first concern is comfort. A DIY item may look really cool, but if it does not fit properly or is troublesome to wear, then it has failed its purpose.
I also experiment by blending different styles into one item – it creates an enjoyable challenge for me and sometimes has suprising and very successful results. For example, I love Star Wars and I like corset lacing. Merging the two together in a dress gave me something really unique and totally wearable at the same time. Plus, it makes room for amusing conversation: “Is that a wookie in your lap, or are you just happy to see me?” 🙂 (audience groans)
Any advice for aspiring designers? If you are serious about being a designer, make something! Make anything! Be very patient and do not expect success to come overnight. Experiment, experiment, experiment. Don’t be afraid to ask for help, but do not let anyone do it all for you either. With self-reliance comes confidence. Devote yourself to what you love!
Do you have any interesting hobbies (outside of sewing/designing)? Besides being a filmmaker, I am an avid video game & anime junkie. If I’m not sewing, I’m droning on my TV. *drool*
One last question: Who would win in a fight, a werewolf or an alpha male Silverback gorilla? Definitely Chuck Norris.
Check out Sarah’s designs on Ebay – TheVintageDoctor!
at her website – TheVintageDoctor.com
or say hello via myspace – www.myspace.com/thevintagedoctor