This post started off as innocently as any other Fashionably Indie post – tracking down a feature-worthy small fashion brand and giving you, the readers, the nitty gritty on tis background and how to add their pieces to your wardrobe.
Upon finding Fables by Barrie a few days ago, I was quickly derailed. What was once a simple blog post became an exciting interview that I must share with my fellow Indie Fixx’ers. Drawing inspiration from the “classic” TV show Hee Haw and the sunny shores of San Diego, Fables by Barrie isn’t your everyday clothing line – it is all about being yourself (go figure).
Their Spring 2008 line is drawing many to Etsy, but their past collections are just as drool-worthy, available via their website’s store. Being an indie brand, designer and founder Barrie Kaufman is always open to doing custom pieces, a number of which have made appearances in some chic photo shoots. Keep read to find out more about how this brand came to be, its unique influences and why 1970’s jeans are the best.
When did you first become interested in starting your own fashion brand?
I’ve always been interested in fashion, I spend lots of my free time sewing and transforming vintage pieces into something new and more exciting. I decided to start my own label when things just came out better and better (with PLENTY of practice and mistakes corrected) and when I would wear my creations out and people kept asking where I got my items, it was just perfect timing.
I noticed you are from Iowa – how did you end up in San Diego?
Iowa was a fantastic place to grow up (a super small rural town of 200); the people are nothing but sincere and willing to help out their neighbors. I attended film school at the University of Iowa, hoping to start a career in film as a camera person, and eventually direct documentaries. I made the big trek to Los Angeles upon completing my degree, worked on random productions when I could, and eventually fell into wardrobe. A job opportunity opened up for me in San Diego doing costumes for cheesy telenovelas (Spanish-language TV soap operas), and made me realize that there was so much more in doing my own line, that I dreamed about all day and night, so San Diego became the home of Fables.
Who/what are your design influences? Do you set a theme for each collection? What is the inspiration behind your most recent collection available on Etsy?
I try to keep each collection themed as much as possible, but my mind frequently runs wild with new ideas all the time, so there are always odd-ball pieces, and when there are runways shows ahead, I always whip up a few costume-y pieces last minute, to get some of the creative build up out to share. My current collection was mostly inspired by old reruns of Hee Haw, totally honest. I love that old country feel of the clothes, with a modern twist, of course!!
Are you currently both the designer and seamstress or do you have others helping you out?
I do most of the seamstress work myself, with the current line in production, I use one seamstress at a time to pick up some of the slack, but I really prefer to have complete control of what we put out for the public. I have a fantastic intern who helps out immensely.
Why the switch from the name “Cornfed” to “Fables”? Despite the name, how long has your line be around?
“Fables” was a new concept. When we were “Cornfed”, we used a lot of vintage pieces, but with the demand for a consistent product, we decided to change the name to give the company a mini facelift. We think the new things are whimsical and give a storybook type of vibe, hence Fables by Barrie. Also, our first photo shoot ever was with fantastic models, but we put animal heads on them all to give it more of an animal kingdom feel, so it worked out lovely.
What fashion trend are you dying to revive? Which one would you love to leave buried forever?
High-waisted everything! We’re so tired of the super lowest of low pants, we know the trend is picking up, but we would love to see it stick around forever, its so flattering on most gals. With the creative designs of our line, we like to add a little sparkle and special vibe to our products. It’s so often that out and about you see so many girls with matching or close to identical outfits. We love individuality and promote standing out in a crowd.
Victoria Everman is an eco-writer, model, crafter, yogi and attempting locavore. Perpetually looking for fresh ways to share her unquenchable green knowledge, she writes her own blog at Victoria-E.com and is head writer/editor for CraftingAGreenWorld.com. She will be imparting her fashion wisdom with us every other Friday on the Indie Fixx Guest Blog with her column Fashionably Indie.
In honor of Earth Day on Tuesday and today’s Fashionably Indie column, you could win a copy of the new book, Green Chic: Saving the Earth in Style by Christie Matheson. It’s a smart little green guide
How to win it!
Leave a comment below with the name of the publisher and you will be entered into the random drawing for the book Green Chic: Saving the Earth in Style. The contest ends on Monday, April 28th at 11:59 EST and one winner will be chosen to win a copy of the book. Comments will be kept secret until after the contest is over.