Seattle might be notorious for niche coffee shops and scenic waterways, but locals know it's also home to an array of people who love to create. This city is chock-full of artists who we love to feature weekly on Seattle Refined! If you have a local artist in mind that you would like to see featured, let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org. And if you're wondering just what constitutes art, that's the beauty of it; it's up to you! See all of our past Artists of the Week in our dedicated section.
Seattle Refined: What do fashion and style mean to you in terms of art?
Angela Ehrig: Each wearer has their own style, and the way that person puts together their outfit and attire reflects their personality. Fashion is the trend of what is "it" or popular at any given time. The wearer can either commit to and/or make it their own with their personal spin. The "art" is to make it look effortless and natural and be "one" with the attire.
How long have you been designing? Do you work with other mediums?
I have been designing for over 20 years. I work with fabric, leather, sterling silver, semi-precious stones to create all elements of an outfit from unique clothing to matching jewelry, leather purses, bags, belts and scarves.
Tell us about your business.
I'm so fortunate to make my living doing something I love so much. My designs are created in my home studio in Ballard. I sell my work out of my studio, on my website, and at select juried art shows. I design my garment patterns in my Ballard studio and sew the first garments here. My inspirations are plenty. It could be a color I don't have in my wardrobe, or I need a scarf accessory, or I don't have a top in the right color to go with a jacket or scarf. It could be a pair of edgy earrings to match a black jacket that I created when I discovered a natural fiber fabric with a lot of texture or a leather belt to close a long cozy jacket. When I couldn't find what I was looking for, I designed it and created it. This is how I started my business. I made the item that I wish existed.
Can you tell us about your artistic process and how the different stages work into it?
I create what I have a connection to — the natural world around me, the business world, and the art world. A new design might be inspired by a new fabric I discover, a new silhouette I sketch, or something that I wish existed, but I can't find, or a customer-inspired me to create a garment. I recognize what I love, and I am authentic to my design aesthetic. My patterns also play into this process. I might start with one or two of my favorite patterns and combine them differently to make what becomes a completely new direction. The seasons also play into the stages of the design process in terms of the fabrics I choose and how much the body needs to be covered.
Tell us about where the inspiration for your styling/designs come from?
I like to create fashion that makes a statement, is timeless, comfortable and easily combined with garments that are already in the closet.
What fashion icons do you have/who inspired you when you were young?
Jane Birkin, Ali Mac Graw, Francoise Hardy inspired me early on. It's the effortlessness of how these women dressed and how they presented themselves that made a huge impression on me. Today I adore the style and quality of Eileen Fisher.
What experiences in your life have affected your design/business?
Growing up in Germany and seeing the European design aesthetic and quality of design influenced me and gave me the sensibility that I still carry today.
If we want to see more of your work, where should we go to find it?
My creations can be found in a number of places:
- Website: www.engayla.com
- Facebook: www.facebook.com/engayla
- IG: @engayla_designs
- Twitter: @Engayla
- Email: email@example.com
Engayla, my unique women's clothing studio in my home in Ballard:
- 10045 Dibble Avenue NW, Seattle, WA 98177 (by appointment)
What is next for you? Anything you're working on right now that you're really excited about?
My latest passion is eco-dying. I grow and collect some of my favorite plants, then use their leaves to dye with on natural fiber fabric. There is a science and an art to it, and the outcome is always exciting and surprising. With this process, I have been creating clothing and scarves that are truly one-of-a-kind. This has led me to designing my own fabric yardage. The result is stunning, and my creations are now going to be available as a wholesale item at an affordable price. I also dream of opening an art studio/art mall with lots of different art from my artist friends in the areas of fashion, jewelry, home accessories, wood furniture, handcrafted glassware, sculptures, and more. Seattle is a phenomenally creative town, and we harbor a lot of art here. A lot of this beautiful, creative work is sitting in artists' home studios, ateliers, storage facilities, garages, etc. This work doesn't get "eyeballs" so that these creations can find new homes. The demand and the interest are there, but in a city that is as pricey as Seattle, artists can't afford the brick-and-mortar storefront to get "eyeballs." If artists come together and share in the cost and effort to run such a studio/mall, we would all benefit.
Lastly, how do you take your coffee? We ask everyone!
Strong and with half & half or whipped cream just like it is served in a cozy coffee shop in Europe.