Well shoot. As if I didn’t already have enough designers to obsess over, Lindsay Degen comes along and blows my mind. We are so ecstatic to have her crazy awesome shoes on our site…they literally just arrived today!!
I absolutely love Lindsay’s quirky and fun clothing. Her impressive background and knowledge of design and knitwear is apparent. Each piece has its own personality making her work so eye-cathing and intriguing. Lindsay strives for her work to address human’s anxiety towards body image, a philosophy I wholeheartedly embrace.
Lindsay was kind enough to answer some questions for us. Get to know our new muse, get excited about her shoes, and start obsessing. She is friggin’ adorable too, no bigs.
What’s the philosophy behind your mantra ‘ASKTELL’? I was excited and emotional over the repeal of the “Dont ask dont tell” policy and thought- this is repealed but should be replaced with an Ask Tell policy. People should be able to communicate with each other.
All your designs are so wearable and look amazingly comfortable. Is this something you purposefully strive to achieve? You might be one of the first people to call the pieces “so wearable.” But yes, despite having cut outs and crazy colors I like to create simple shapes and the textiles do all of the talking. I also use suuuper soft materials which make you want to live in it.
What do you do to overcome any creative blocks you experience? I do what everyone does- hang out with my friends. My friends are the most inspiring to me. Having fun and laughing make new ideas flooooow.
How do you describe your work to someone who has never seen it before? I usually struggle with that. I usually keep saying the word fun and let them free associate and hopefully it looks something like my work.
I had no idea knitwear was a whole major! How did you decide to focus on this? I like to be comfortable in my clothes and knits and T-shirts really do that for me. But once I got into it I got really into the idea of using knitting for a fine art purpose. I guess it all came back around though for my fashion line. It’s important that it’s comfortable.
I love the styling and overall aesthetic of your lookbooks and videos. How important is it for you to get it ‘just right’? Thanks! It is SO important to me that everything is just how I want it. BUT I have help. My friend Ian Bradley styles the collection with me and my friend Mark Fina is the creative director of the videos and shoots. It’s all very collaborative. I wear a ton of hats but Ian and Mark maintain the focus. (and tell me when Im over the top in a bad way)
You’ve revealed that your parents are scientists and this has played a large role in your own artistic philosophy and designs. How do you approach translating science into fashion? I don’t think about science too much when I think about fashion but I have memories of these beautiful slides that my dad made of cells and brains. You know, like proper, art history class type slides. In order for the viewer to see the diseased cell- they use a little bit of dye to illuminate the problem area. It’s beautiful and a great color reference for me.
For you, is there a huge difference between designing clothes and shoes? No not really. I made drawings that look crazy and then try to decode how they would actually work as a garment or shoe. It’s a similar process except that I am way better at knitting than shoe making. So I get a bit of help from a shoe making master named Chris Coulthrust who helps me make my dream-shoes a reality.
I personally have no clue how to knit. Do you think it’s important for our youth today to learn such skills despite modern technology? No, I just think it’s important to be passionate about what you do. It could be that your passionate about knitting but it could also be that you’re passionate about teaching. I just want people to dive into whatever they are doing and be passionate.
You’ve said fabric is a critical aspect to your designs. How do you make final decisions on what to use? The season determines the type of materials. In the winter it’s wool and cashmere and in the summer it’s cotton and linen and angora. Then I make swatches to develop the fabrics. There is no final decision really because what I like will evolve over the course of making and designing the season. So in my collections you will see fabric groupings because I will go through phases while i’m making the garments.
I am in love with the way you address the human body and its realness. How would you advise others to confront anxiety concerning body image? It’s cliche but true that you have to be open and true to yourself about your body. If you’re not happy with your body, adjust your attitude or work to change it. But regardless everyone is built differently and I think that’s great. That’s why knits are THE BEST. Because they will conform to your shape (even if it’s a baggy drapey knit) They just work.
Fall fashion treasures/inspiration/wants/favorites? I just can’t wait to get out of this heat and into a cashmere sweater!!! I’m getting back into those curly shoe laces. Remember? The ones you don’t have to tie and they are spiral-ee. I’m tracking them down! Also glitter.
What’s a quirky fact about yourself we don’t know? Ummmmmm. I was a girl scout up through high school and also the captain of my varsity cheerleading squad in CINCINNATI! #confessions.
Check out the rad vid below for her Fall/Winter 2012 collection and her website here: http://degen-nyc.com/index.html