LaLove Designs: Who I am

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I was asked to put together a short bio of myself and my clothing line to put in a local boutique called Pattern that exists soley to boost the local design community. (You can see the blog post with my q&a for their blog here.) As you well know if you follow me my writing is never short and sweet, but I managed to come up with a not-overly-long (hopefully) bio that expresses who I am and what my clothing line is all about. Let me know what you think!

 

Sarah Raquel LaLonde

Owner of LaLove Designs: a handmade (and often hand stitched) clothing line located in Shelbyville, Indiana

Blog: http://www.sewlalove.com

    A little about me: I am so grateful and blessed to be working as a fashion designer- even in a region of the country that isn’t yet known for having much of a fashion industry. I’m excited to be on the frontlines of fashion in Indianapolis, where we are working together to turn that around! I believe God has gifted each of us specifically and intends for us to be a blessing to others by putting those talents to good use. I pray this clothing line will keep me inspired and inspire others to be instruments of God’s grace, forgiveness, and love through Jesus Christ.

I have always been intrigued by the arts and in middle school, my specific love for fashion blossomed as I began to pour over fashion magazines and sketch clothing. I had the wonderful opportunity of studying fashion design at Brooks College in Long Beach, California, where I received a wonderful education in design. Being based in LA, I also learned all about industry standards and how things are done exclusively by keeping costs low and outsourcing all of the manual labor. I realized that seamstresses are actually looked down upon in the industry, because companies can out-source that so cheaply. After being ingrained with that kind of thinking, I was resistant to start my own line when I moved back home, because I didn’t know how a small scale designer could compete with the low costs of cheaply made, mass-produced clothing lines.

    Then it hit me: who wants everything they own to be carelessly made and mass-produced? Just because that’s the industry norm doesn’t mean that it should stay that way. As a bargain-hunting mother of two, I definitely understand the economics behind shopping for the best deal, but I also know the best value is usually a piece I absolutely LOVE and feel comfortable and beautiful in and will wear again and again. LaLove Designs strives to make quality, well designed clothing in a mix of classic staple pieces that won’t go out of style and high-impact “Wow” pieces to sprinkle into your wardrobe. I’m very excited to be part of a network of local designers and artisans who are bringing back industry to the United States and focusing on sustainability by making unique, thoughtfully crafted boutique items.

    I look forward to dressing you and making you a “Lovie,” a fan of LaLove clothing! (If Taylor Swift can have swifties, I can   have lovies, right?)

Pattern Indy Interview

Pattern Blog July Pics

I am very pleased to announce to you guys that I was recently interviewed for the Pattern magazine blog about designing for a local market and you can check that interview out by clicking the link below.

http://www.patternindy.com/2015/07/30/qa-with-designer-sarah-lalonde/

   This interview tells a bit about my design history, inspiration, my personal aesthetic as a fashion designer, and my process and personal story.

Pattern Indy and Me:

   Pattern Magazine is the first fashion mag based out of Indiana…ever, as far as I know! They put out some killer work-I definitely hand it to them for superior editorial high fashion shoots. Not only is Pattern a magazine, but it’s a collaborative effort to bring together and equip people in any facet of the fashion industry in our area. If you read me very often, you know I’m an unapologetic Christian and when I say “Thank the Lord for Pattern” I don’t just mean it figuratively.

    I touch on it in this interview, but Pattern had a lot to do with my decision to get back in the design game. When I moved back to Indiana after getting my degree in fashion design in California, I planned on it being a temporary hiatus. That is, until I had my twin girls and decided that their stability was more important than my dream. That’s when design became just that to me- a dream. Before becoming a mom, it was my plan. Afterward, it was a very abstract wish that I held onto rather loosely. It’s not that I gave up on design. I just resigned myself to the fact that there was really no fashion industry to get into here. We were just starting out with two babies at once to raise and take care of, and my full time job with good benefits took priority over fashion. Sadly, because the dream was painful to think of since I was so far from it at that point, I removed the reminders-putting away my sewing supplies, sending my final collection from school to Goodwill, and trashing my pattern sloper set (my worst mistake perhaps ever!)

    Then one day my coworker and BWFF (best work friend forever) brought in a clipping from the morning newspaper about Midwest Fashion Week. I was floored. While I had my head in the proverbial sands of data entry and such, a fashion industry had been sprouting up around me. It ignited a thought-a whisper-of possibility. A year or two later, I heard of Pattern. There was now a Hoosier fashion magazine? I sarcastically wondered if they featured Carharts and farm attire. (A little Indiana humor, folks.) They were having regular meetups to establish a cohesive industry within our state, so I went to one- and LOVED it! It was on sustainable fashion, which I’ll admit I hadn’t done a lot of thinking about, since I had abstained from fashion altogether for a few years. It struck me that not only is there growth in the fashion industry around me, but the growing societal conscience for sustainable, responsible fashion was a tremendous benefit for local designers.

    You see, we were taught in college to OUTSOURCE EVERYTHING. It took Pattern to break that mentality for me. After studying about the impacts of large scale “fast fashion” I wanted to not only get back to doing what I loved, but help lead the charge for change in the industry which glamorizes disposable fashion and making the quick buck. Learning to sew really, really well has taken me some time. I’m not where I want to be yet, but I’m pretty darn good. It took a ton of time to hone my pattern-making and -grading skills…and it will require more still. I’ve also had to change my outlook on the ideals of the design industry.  But you know what? It feels so good. The slow road isn’t glamorous. Operating a mom and pop design business (two people actually would be GREAT!) doesn’t equal overnight success. But I can tell all of you aspiring fashion designers that it is such a great way to develop a really strong foundation and skill set to springboard your line an ideas on fashion once you have the fundamental know-how in place.

   Thanks, Pattern, for the role you’ve played in coaxing me out of my comfort zone to jump into the industry. Here’s to making a splash!!!

Have No Fear, VBS Capes are Here!

IMG_3519-0   Yesterday I finished the 6th and final superhero cape for Vacation Bible School at our church. As there are fewer seamstresses around than there once were, I’m pretty sure those of us who do sew get the whole gamut of oddball requests. I love oddities and challenges, so to me it’s more of a perk of my vocation than a downside. Design and sew a half dozen superhero capes for kids and come up with my own super logos for the backs? Yes, please!

   I do have to admit, the church came dangerously close to having 6 little Darkwing Ducks running around for a week…well, 5 little ones plus me-because you know if I had made Darkwing Duck capes, I’d be rocking one of them! As it was, the theme song has been running through my head for the past two weeks. (Remember the songs and catchphrases, you 20 and 30 somethings? “You better watch out you bad boys,”  “Let’s get Dangerous,” and let’s not forget the slightly unsavory “Suck Gas, Evildoers!” I bet my mom loved me repeating that all the time.)An Ode to the Dark Knight, Uh… Wing

The Capes:IMG_3525

An Arrow: Because I ran out of ideas and because Jesus is the Way!IMG_3524A torch…also because I was running low on ideas and Jesus is our light.IMG_3526Yeah, that’s a Bible. My husband thinks it’s lame for a cape, but it’s our Sword of the Spirit, right?IMG_3519-0

A lightning bolt: Because it looks really cool.

This really has no symbolism behind it, although I could pull some out of my hat if my kids asked me. Moms are great at that- it’s like our superpower! P.S. I went through,like, 3 mangled lightning bolts before I had to look up pictures to draw from. I can’t believe it was that hard, but I was cutting without drawing first. If you want a challenge, I dare you to cut a lightning bolt from fabric without looking at one. If you do it, hit me up in the comments section. If you do it with no trouble, I’ll happily concede to you because this lady had one  tough time!IMG_3515A Shield of FaithIMG_3518-0

Hearts: because the pastor wanted some for girls and what better symbolism for the kids than Love?

This was a really fun project and was also an opportunity to do some more hand stitching, which you know I love!IMG_3527

IMG_3516-0I used velcro for the neckline to close the cape. I thought that would be nicer than just tying them. IMG_3517-0

Pardon my cluttered background and to answer your question, Yes. Those are turkeys on the wall. I realize we are a long way out from Thanksgiving, but we happen to be coming around again, which means I don’t procrastinate, I plan ahead!IMG_3451

You can see in this picture just how full these capes are. They are a half circle so the kids can play with them and hold them over their little faces, which is cute. It’s less cute when I do it and pretend to be Darkwing.IMG_3528

I think that’s actually my villain face. Oh well. It was worth it because while I was dressed up and singing the theme song, I realized I could replace “Lets get dangerous” with “Lets get Biblical!” None of the kids will get the reference, but my nerdy friends will! And the people my age who don’t: I’ll just stop hanging out with them. Just Kidding. But not Really.


***Bonus Post***

   Since this is already a long post and I’d already gotten out the “Selfie Stick,” here are some pictures of today’s Pinterest hairstyle. I’ve determined to actually try some of the styles I’ve had on my Hair board on Pinterest on myself, my kids, and frankly, probably some unsuspecting friends and family members. I know it isn’t sewing related, but it is fashion related…loosely. So I may do some posts on hair and hairstyles, since the topic is so intermingled with fashion. If you follow my blog and you hate or love that idea, let me know! Styling and taking care of long hair and biracial hair are both close to my heart, so keep an eye out for posts on those topics.

 My “Pinspiration”:Everyone will think this easy braided headband required a lot of effort. | 17 Ways To Never Have A Bad Hair Day AgainMy Reality:IMG_3536So, I definitely didn’t “nail” the teasing, but the braid is cute and super quick! It would show up much better if my hair was lighter on the ends, but I still dig it. IMG_3529IMG_3535

 


LaLove Designs

11139850_790414081043640_1519081390_n 10602945_790413951043653_1984979599_nLaLove is introducing it’s very first Spring Line!

Any of the items from my line can be reproduced for clients and made to their measurements or in different fabrics or colors. That’s the way it’s done in the world of Haute Couture, and I’m sure hoping I’ll be able to make a splash that way myself. I’ve decided to start there instead of mass-producing my lines. The reasoning is three-fold. One: Economics. Two: Customization is King. Three: I’m my only employee.

My vision is to innovate new and creative ways for independent designers to go from sewing out of their homes to building a legitimate, lucrative business. To all you designers and entrepreneurs who follow me—You’re in for a ride! Together we’re going to learn to BOOTSTRAP our way to success and fulfillment carving out a way to make a living doing the thing we love, that we were blessed by our Creator to do well. Join me as we build skills: Pattern making, sewing, altering, navigating the retail world, working with clients, budgeting our cash flow, managing time, organizing our space and stuff, and juggling our family, commitments, and outside jobs. You get to see my wacky brainstorms, my successes and failures, and tell about yours so we can all learn together.

Slow Fashion is making a comeback. I’m excited and blessed to be a part of building a community of conscientious makers and consumers!
11093191_790414054376976_1311706552_nThis outfit is a blush pink and gold jacquard crop top and pencil skirt set. The top has a flyaway open back and a comfortable gold elastic band to keep it in place. Both the top and the skirt are fully lined. The skirt zips in the back, but could be customized to zip on the side. My inspiration was the fabric! Every time I passed this in the store, the bolt called to me. I could only ignore it for so long until I purchased it. I had originally planned to make a structured sheath dress with fun, geometric cap sleeves, before I realized it would be perfect to make a crop and skirt set like I had been determined to do this year. I hope to make a dress out of this, as well. 11131789_790413934376988_614356141_n These pictures were taken by my friend Duke of 2K1 Photography here in my hometown. He always does such an amazing job, even though I’m no natural in front of the camera! He probably spends more time trying to get me out of my shyness than snapping pics, but he puts up with me.

You know, readers, that’s one of the amazing things I’m seeing about small business. (And by small business, I mean teeny, tiny, really, really small businesses like mine, where you’re trying to grow from absolutely nothing into a working, functional business.) We get to help each other out. Part of bootstrapping is teaming with other people with similar goals, or people for whom you can supply something they need through your business or talents. This is where your creativity will pay dividends! Look for ins. Look for ways you could help someone whose help you need. Are you a great bookkeeper? Maybe someone is looking for those skills, but can’t yet afford one. So trade for labor. Maybe you’re an organizing freak and addict like I am. Again, use that to help people whose help you need! You would never get free labor just because. But bootstrapping means you’re willing to do work for someone else who in turn can do some work that you need done. And don’t discount a person or a business because they look so much bigger than you are. You never know what needs a company has until you talk to them.

The bottom line is: this is your business, whether it’s a working business already or just a dream you want to pursue. Approach it like a business, but creatively. Never give up. Keep working-with your goal continually in mind. Pray. Dream. This is your business. Work for it!11134188_790413954376986_358253271_n

Fashion Photography

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In my never ending quest to get better at all things fashion, sewing, and blog related, I’ve gotten back to practicing modeling. If you remember my Photo-Oh-No post, you know it’s an uphill battle! I teamed with my friend Duke, at his 2K1 Photography studio for these shots. If you didn’t see my previous post on some of his work, check it out HERE.

These aren’t my designs, but I did style the looks, which was really fun. Modeling is definitely harder than I would have thought, but I think with practice I’ll be able to take really good shots of my work for this blog. I’ve got dresses I’ve made that I want to share with you that I’ve held back on because my only option is the old selfie-in-the-mirror trick. It gets old. I’d really love to hear from any models and photographers out there on handy tips you’ve picked up. The hardest part for me is to not clench my jaw. The pics from this session were a little expressionless because I was so focused on the posing.

As always, I’m gladly accepting the challenge to learn something new and become great at it. That’s what life is about to me-learning and growing as people in the areas we’ve been gifted with talent or interest in. After  all we have to be willing to be bad for a while in order to become good. As a perfectionist, there are a lot of areas in life I’ve kind of bowed out on because I was too embarassed to look bad. That’s why I never played any sports. Well, that and a total lack of hand-eye coordination and general athletic ability. But I’m finding that with age, I’m gaining confidence-confidence to try and succeed and even the confidence to fail. What is failure, after all, but a step on the road to success?

I wish I had the attitude I have now when I was a teenager, but I certainly won’t let getting a late start hold me back. Sometimes I look at the 8 or 9  years after design school “wasted” that I could have spent in fashion. I think it would have been so much better to pay my dues in the industry when I was younger and to already be established now. Then when I step back from my pity party and look objectively, I think of the many wonderful people, experiences, and achievements God has blessed me with in that time. And I KNOW His timing is perfect. And I know He’ll make a way, even if that way is something totally unexpected. I spend most of my time being a complete stress case about things I can’t control, but I’m learning how to relax and trust Him for my life. As if I could ever make a better plan for myself than He can!

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Why I Harp On Organization

Organization is something I talk about a lot on this blog. The reasons are tri-fold. Here they are:

Three Fingers

1. This blog is directed toward a creative audience and creative people are messy.

Maybe you don’t like to sew or design, but you love to express yourself creatively through your style. That’s being artistic, too. And the problem with creative, artistic people (aside from being completely mad) is that we’re generally pretty unorganized naturally. The nature of creative thinking means we take off on flights of fancy- over and over again. Our last great idea is trumped by a newer one, which isn’t necessarily better, but it feels like it to us because of the intrigue of it’s newness. So we scrap the old unfinished project for the shiny new project and BAM! We’re elbow deep in clutter- physically and mentally. Bottom line: We start a whole lot of new things and have a tough time finishing them! (Ok, maybe it’s just me, but I think it would be hilarious if at this point, the blog post just ended! Wouldn’t you wonder what project i’m off doing now?)

2. Being truly organized is my White Whale. I want that bad boy! And I bet you do, too.

I often describe myself as a “Messy Type A Personality.” My brother, who, I assure you, is a real Type A in the sincerest form of the term, endearingly calls me an “A Minus.” You’d think it would sting, but it rings too true! And the truth is, it would drive me crazy to be a legitimate Type A. Ugh, all that responsibility and the world on your shoulders? No thanks. I’ll leave that to all the firstborns of the world! But I do have enough of those personality traits to understand the value of a life well-planned and lived. I have the mental clarity that they have to see what needs to be done. I just don’t have as much natural ability to actually get it done. Maybe not ability. Maybe more like stamina.

Because let’s face it, creatives, following through is boring! Making a plan? Wonderful! Sticking to it? Blah- Not so much! Planning is creative. It involves imagination and ingenuity; it’s right up our alley. But living out the plan requires good memory, perseverance, and the ability to cope well with boredom. I wish I had even one of those traits! Or maybe I don’t. (Decisiveness is another trait on the list of characteristics creative people often don’t possess!) Because it’s best to know who you are, understand your strengths and weaknesses and be able to live a life directed toward your talents, not obsessing over your shortcomings. It’s okay (and necessary) to learn to be “Good Enough” in your weaker areas. We don’t have to be walking palm pilots with emaculate houses. But we do need to have a system that work for us, not against us, to foster our creativity.

3. Being organized promotes freedom.

I’m not trying to beat any non-Christians over the head with this stuff, but there’s such a close analogy with this to spirituality that I can’t not write about it: From the outside looking into church, religion, and walking with God, it seems so restrictive, doesn’t it? It seems like there are a million rules in the Bible and “why would I possibly want someone else telling me how to live my life?” Never mind that He’s the Creator of the universe and He made people and knows better than anyone else how we work. We just don’t want His rules! The beautiful dichotomy there is that once we decide to follow Jesus and be His disciple, we start trusting His Word because we love and trust Him. We want to try to follow His rules because we want to please Him out of our love for Him and because we know theoretically that they’re guidelines on how to live the kind of life He made us for.

And then, the incredible happens as we get used to following those rules…they make our lives better! We find ourselves happier and more stable- better parents, spouses, friends. We make more responsible decisions because we’ve become more emotionally healthy and want to live wisely. We find-miraculously-that those rules we fought so hard against for so much of our lives are really the framework for our freedom! We find that without God, we were never truly free and that the “straight and narrow path” that looked so boring and offensive to us before is really not so hard or unnatural when God’s the One we love most in life because He blesses us with the ability to live life truly to the fullest. It’s pretty phenomenal how He works that out in our lives!

Similarly, having external structure in your life allows you to accomplish your dreams! Once you find a system for organizing your space and your time that actually works for you, the cool part is your system takes over a lot of your workload. No more wondering where to put stuff or spending more time deciding what to do with your day that actually doing it. When you have a comprehensive, DO-ABLE plan, it provides the architecture around which you can build your life, your business, your hobby, what have you. And if you’re a nerdy creative like me, you’ve been dying to find a good mix of system and play. I strongly encourage you to keep at it. Get organized ENOUGH (not perfectly) to fulfill your dreams and goals. And remember, a little organization goes a long way for us. Keep your structure light and easy and, perhaps most importantly, changeable! We love a little chaos! We do. And when our lives are adequately organized, we can have all the chaotic, inventive madness we want- without it taking over our lives. Well, maybe just a little.

The Moral of the Story?

I’m gonna get myself and you guys organized if it kills me. Because only then are we freed up enough to be doers and makers. (I feel like that’s actually more fun, but sounds more boring than being movers and shakers. Hmmm. Someone should write their congressman!)