Monday, December 10, 2012

Una Winter Warmers from Susan Fedore-able

Courtesy of guest blogger, Judy Vue
Angela poses as Edward Scissorhands
After 14 years of designing for big names such as Eddie Bauer, Cutter and Buck and Tommy Bahama, Seattle fashion designer Susan Fedore took the big leap to create her own fashion line, Una. She started in 2007 and has been surviving ever since, cutting and sewing away on a 24/7 workweek in a small room in her Ballard home, which she lovingly calls “the dungeon.”

Fedore enjoyed making crafts since she was in high school, however, working in the fashion industry was something she fell into. “It wasn’t that I picked it so much that it picked me,” she said.

Coming up with the idea to design clothes was easy. Finding customers to buy her creations was a whole different ball game she hadn’t prepared for. “First, I started doing craft shows,” she said. She then managed to get her Website posted online. But she knew that wasn’t going to be enough. “I realized this wasn’t going to be easy unless I got into wholesale,” she said.

Fedore managed to find a good home for her clothes at three boutiques, and has expanded into online sales and selling smaller accessories at other venues — such as a holiday favorite: comfy cotton arm warmers at Momo.

Elements of nature inspire Una’s hand silk-screened arm warmer designs. One pair features a spread of fern in order to emulate going on a walk in the outdoors and looking at the ferns growing from the ground. Another pair features a pattern of pine needles, specifically knob cone pine trees, which remind her of trips taken along the Pacific Coast. One of her most painstakingly intricate arm warmer designs features a birds’ eye view of a moth spreading its wings.

Her design comes from other sources too. For instance, her scissor-patterned arm warmers? 

“[I did that] as a tongue-in-cheek reference to Edward Scissorhands,” she said with a laugh. In spite of her lightheartedness, she admits being a solo fashion designer can be tough. “I’ve never worked so hard for so little,” she said. In her first two years of starting Una, she experienced days where she felt she couldn’t do it anymore.

But Fedore isn’t letting the exhaustion get to her. “It’s not just a monetary thing,” she said. “It’s just an honest pursuit of what I love.”

If you’re interested in getting a pair of Susan Fedore’s arm warmers this winter, stop by Momo or check out Susan’s Website.

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