daydreamer, designer Gypsy lingerie. one-of-a-kind undies.
Hawaii. (north shore Oahu)
INTERVIEW WITH GYPSY
Why did you decide to start designing handmade underwear?
I wanted to get into sewing bikinis and was given a sewing machine as a gift from a few close friends last year. Everyone warned me how I may want to ease into working with bathing suit material since it's tricky fabric to work with. Around the time I was given the sewing machine, I went back to New York for a vacation and went fabric shopping. I found some really beautiful stretch fabric. I had 2 pairs of undies that I loved. I cut them up and basically redesigned them so together they would be the perfect pair. It started out just for fun, making them for myself and friends but friends starting asking for several pairs so I decided to keep hunting for good fabrics and to try selling them. I am always searching for cute, comfy and sexy undies. I wanted to make something my friends and I would love.
Each pair is one of a kind. Designed & made locally. I try to keep my personal taste in mind, so keeping the styles and fabrics really unique and beautiful is really important to me. The feeling of gypsy is modern vintage, unique but classic.
How long did it take you to put that dream into action?
I was gifted the sewing machine for my 30th birthday last July. I started learning to sew from my good friend and playing around with the design & what worked for me. By Christmas, I was getting very curious & inspired to start finding fabrics that would work well. After a trip home to NY and some fabric scouring & shopping, I started creating and sewing the designs in the new year. By May of this year, I had my first shop debut. In Hawaii, there is an event every First Friday in Chinatown within the Arts District. The art galleries and boutiques open their doors & it's a really wonderful event. I was featured in May's First Friday on May 7th at Etown Studios, an awesome boutique in Chinatown. That was the debut of Gypsy's first collection and over the month of May, my line sold out from Etown.
Do you spend a lot of time outdoors?
Yes, it's pretty much the reason I moved to Hawaii. That decision to leave NY and move to Hawaii was not an easy one. My entire family and close friends are in NY and I truly aminspired by that city. Since moving here though, I find you can be happy in two completely different places. I love the energy & range of experiences you can have in NY. From your interaction with a cab driver to the guys at your local bodega, the city is full of wonderful energy and inspiration. But I found myself in a place where I just simply wanted to start living the dream of a house by the beach. Of bikerides in the morning, beach walks & swims and being able to spend most of my days outside. I was ready for a chang. I came to visit Hawaii and spent a sunday afternoon floating in the middle of the ocean. It literally was that moment when I realized I could do that every sunday if I lived here. And as soon as my plane left to head back to NY and I was tearing up, I realized this place was where my heart was.
How has spending a lot of time outdoors influenced your designs?
Hawaii & living a life where you basically spend the majority of your time outdoors has given me both space to dream and think as well as colors to inspire me. Riding my bike down the bike path here you bike under a range of tropical flowers, palm trees & sun filters through the branches. You get shady breezes and it's the most amazing feeling. Or you can step onto the beach with your bare feet, sit on the sand, watch the ocean and listen to the rhythms of the water. All of these things inspire me by renewing me. I can take a swim in the ocean after a crazy day and it brings me back to center. Living so close to the ocean, you are constantly reminded of the cycles and rhythms of life and it basically forces you to let go and just embrace things as they are. This has been a tremendously good lesson for me with my new business.
Where do you pull the bulk of your inspiration from?
I have worked in fashion photography for the last 8 years. In NY I worked for a fashion photographer for 5 years and have always loved being involved. I lived in the East Village and Brooklyn for 5 years & loved every minute but always dreamed of living on the beach. It felt like something I may never do if I didn't take the chance at that moment. I was leaving my job and was ready for something new in my life. I came out to Hawaii and it just felt right so I took a leap and moved here 3 years ago.
I feel like living in hawaii has allowed me the time and room to think of this idea and to try sewing for fun. moving out here, was the first time i really felt like a traveling gypsy. leaving my home and everything comfortable for something completely unknown, without knowing a soul here. i also have tons of amazing friends in my life who embody this idea of being a free spirit and following what you love without questioning why. i live by the saying 'follow your heart' and somehow the word gypsy evokes that to me. Be your own person and love it.
I am inspired by Hawaii, my dreams, travel, my notebooks & journals from previous travels & by my peers and friends. I am inspired by the idea that I can have a positive impact on the world and that there is constant room for growth and improvement. I find that rereading my journal writing from travels & looking through photos helps my mind to start thinking the right way again & expands my thoughts, while getting me centered & giving me the space to really start brainstorming. My surroundings help tremendously. When I get stuck or feel uninspired, I can go to the beach & be revived by the ocean. I can float on my back, under the sun & come out feeling anew. It always brings me back to myself and creating again & helps me remember why I began this journey to begin with.
Most of all, though, my brand started from one small little line that inspires me every step of the way. FOLLOW YOUR HEART. Growing up, my mother raised me through all difficult decisions using that phrase. And ironically, when I began Gypsy, a very close friend reminded me of the phrase as the only way to live and conduct my business. No matter how much you doubt yourself or what your fears or hesitations in life are, things will work out if you simply listen to your heart & believe solely in what you want. I believe that business can create social change, especially when it is born from a place of need, inspiration, and reinvestment in a community. That is how this whole adventure began. I followed my heart to Hawaii. Then, despite all fears, I followed my heart to begin Gypsy. It has never failed me. I am grateful for every step of this exciting adventure.
How and why did you decide on that one specific cut?
I want something different that is sexy but still provides enough coverage so that you can actually sit around the house in them on a saturday morning..... Being that I live with all girls and find us constantly roaming the house on weekend mornings in our undies, i wanted something comfortable with enough coverage but still really cute. I basically deconstructed several pairs of panties that had aspects I liked about them. For example, the boyshort can be super cute & comfy but not the sexiest style. The brazilian style can be a bit too skimpy and you feel weird tramping around the house in them. I cut apart several pairs I owned and loved and started constructing a pattern that worked for me.
Since you are an undies gal, does it bother you to see people clearly wearing the wrong undergarments (visible lines and bunching) with their outfit?
Who am i to judge? I try to make undies that will make a woman feel beautiful, happy and comfy! As long as your undies do that, life is good right?
Do you fold your panties or are you more down for the crumple and toss into the drawer method?
I'm a bit of a gypsy, I have a huge crumpled pile of lace & flowers in my lingerie bin!
I love all of the Gypsy photos. The combination of photographer, and models (and the setting didn't hurt either) set the mood for Gypsy wonderfully. What was your process for that selection?
I met Daeja randomly upon moving to Hawaii, and she has become an incredible friend and inspiration to me. After spending a ton of time together & seeing her work, I realized she had a very similar aesthetic to me and that it would be an amazing opportunity for us to work together. We have a very similar vision and that vision works wonderfully for gypsy. She tried out the collection and we swapped photo inspiration & ideas and worked super close on getting the style and modern romantic feel of the images to be just right for gypsy.
Any advice for other small businesses peeps?
It's truly about putting yourself out there & being open to meeting people every step of the way. It's about knowing what style you love. Good things will come in your direction, you just have to pay attention.
Do you design any/all of the patterns used?
Yes, I design the pattern for the undies. I currently have the one pattern which I constructed myself and offer the one style in several different fabrics. I am looking forward to the near year and expanding into other designs and offering more sizes and options. In the new year,gypsy will be releasing a lace bandeau bra and a bikini into the collection. I am so excited about all the new stuff to come!
If you were to dance around the house in your skivvies, what song would be playing?
And It Stoned Me by Van Morrison. I grew up singing Van Morrison songs with my mom and it's truly one of my favorite albums. When I moved out to Hawaii & was bringing my record player and collection, I had to make a slim selection of what records to bring. Now it's one of my favorite records to put on and dance around the kitchen to while I'm cooking. no matter what that song always makes me smile.
What are your thoughts on people going commando?
...if it makes you happy!