Maker :: Leslie
Shop :: Choisette- chic beachy clothing, accessories and home goods
When and why did you open an online shop on Etsy?
I started Choisette in 2010 essentially because finding well-made designs in the shops that fit my relaxed California lifestyle was a real challenge. I sensed there could be a niche market for what I envisioned. Fortunately, my hunch proved true.
What got you started in your craft?
I have two younger sisters, and our stylish mom made almost all of our clothes on her trusty Husquvarna, the sewing machine I now use. She encouraged us to pick out the patterns and prints we liked, and also gave us artistic license to modify any part of the design. It wasn't high fashion, but we still felt like mini catwalk models. I learned to sew at age seven. My "Little Grandma" Thelma ( she was only 4'9"!), a true fashionista, always had extra fabric to experiment with at her tiny house, and she'd let me go nuts. My technique was a little different back then since it involved tracing around my body with a Magic Marker to make a pattern out of the comic section of the Sunday newspaper. Yeah, I was a hot grammar school mess.
Who or what influences your style the most?
My influences are all over the place. I am infatuated with free-spirited, old school style icons such as Lauren Hutton, Patti Hansen, Charlotte Rampling, Julie Christie, Chrissi Hynde, Ali McGraw, Peggy Lipton and Jane Birkin. I'm all about the unconventional audacious girls like Jenna Lyons, Jemima Kirke, Uli Hezner ( Project Runway Season 3), and Sarah Jessica Parker. Then there are the designers and design houses: Diana Von Furstenberg, Prada, Thea Porter, Chloé, Stella MCartney, Dior and Vivienne Westwood, to name a few. In high school I worshipped at the altar of the supreme nutty cuckoo Betsey Johnson, aka the Cartwheel Queen. She was once married to musician John Cale. How cool is that?
What inspires you and how do you get into your creative space?
I don't really have a "process", per se. Although I can't even think straight until I've had coffee and a croissant in the morning, so technically that's Step One. As far as a creative inspiration goes, I spend so much time on Pinterest and Instagram that I probably need an intervention. Plus, I can stare at design books like " The Selby is in Your Place, "Facehunter", or " The Staroialist" for hours. Literally hours, people. It's a miracle anything gets done. Collecting vintage beach snapshots is another favorite complete time-waster of mine. Often I'll find inspiration in some great subversive movie from the 60's or 70's. For example, in Shampoo, Goldie Hawn wears a fabulous embroidered Mexican blouse in a scene with Warren Beatty. Something a girl could wear today and totally rock. At other times, I draw inspiration from the places I travel to, especially cities like Paris, London, Amsterdam and Tokyo where the street style is out of this world. I'm also lucky enough to live near the beach in So Cal so I'm immersed in the fantastic surf culture that goes along with it. Last but not least, I never ever miss an episode of Project Runway ( Go Team Kini!)
When it comes to style, I think Lena Dunham nailed it when she wrote : "Confidence lets you pull anything off, even Tevas with socks".