Fashion Feature Friday: Smarmy Clothing
When modern times and punk attitudes mix you get designs that make Smarmy Clothes. But Smarmy Clothes isn’t just pink leopard print mini-skirts, bolero hoodies and zombie dresses. They have clean dresses with classic lines and an even sexier edge. Alexis, Smarmy’s designer, was nice enough to let me ask her a few questions.
Furies Magazine: Was there a particular fashion piece that first drew you into the world of designing?
Alexis Lebow-Wolf: I’m fairly ignorant when it comes to the “proper” fashion world, but I’ve definitely had a few strong sources of inspiration. The first was probably Jem and the Holograms. It was my favorite cartoon as a kid, and I think it shows sometimes in my obsession with bright colors, animal prints, and sparkly things. There’s a really cool site that has collected sketches of all of the outfits from the Jem cartoons that I still look at for inspiration some times.
Even then it wasn’t until I was in college that I had any notion of wanting to design clothing. I was bored one weekend in October, and I didn’t have a Halloween costume yet. So I decided to make myself a rag doll dress inspired by Sally from the Nightmare Before Christmas with a bunch of old t-shirts.
FM: Where do you find your inspiration?
AL: Everywhere. My brain never really shuts off, so even if I’m relaxing on the couch watching a movie, something might jump out at me, and I have to grab a pencil and paper to draw a quick sketch. Sometimes it’s the materials themselves… once I see the fabric, the gears start turning. I’m also a Halloween freak, so I get a lot of inspiration around Halloween when I start thinking about all the silly costume stuff I could make.
FM: Do you wear your own designs?
AL: Not as much as a lot of people probably think. Not only do I rarely have time to make anything for myself, but I’m also really lazy when it comes to dressing myself. 99% of the time I’m in a t-shirt and jeans, hair in a ponytail, no makeup. Which is not to say that I don’t want to sew for myself. I’ve got a huge stack of fabrics that I’ve saved or bought just for me waiting for when I have time. I always set aside my birthday as a day to just sew for myself, but I’ll never catch up with my pile of materials at that rate.
FM: What are your future plans for Smarmy Clothes?
AL: Right now I’m working on a line of original sewing patterns as a joint project with my other website www.WhatTheCraft.com, which is my sewing/crafting blog where I’ve shared tutorials and tips for years. People often ask if I sell my patterns, and I finally thought, “Why not?” I know there are tons of people out there that would be interested in patterns geared toward alternative fashion.
I’ve also always wanted to design fabric. A couple of years ago I did a ton of research on it, and it just wasn’t feasible for a business as small as mine at the time. Even the fabric printers that would do small runs required a minimum order of like 1000 yards. That would have lasted me until I was 153 years old. But more recently businesses like Spoonflower.com have made it totally possible. I’m a total fabric fiend, and the idea of being able to make any crazy fabric I can think of is like a dream come true.