19th & Whimsy: A little Holiday Sparkle!
We've carried 19th & Whimsy in-store since day one of opening! We've always been a fan of these high-quality handmade clothing pieces. Owner and designer, Lauren Hayashibara, pays incredible attention to detail and does much of the sewing herself.
If you've had a chance to try on or have even purchased one of her designs, you'll notice there isn't a thread out of place, that the fabrics are oh-so-soft and each design has beautiful drape. Each piece in handmade in the USA, mainly by Lauren herself, and designed with every body type in mind.
So, with that said, we wanted to introduce Lauren as our featured designer the month and share some of the story behind her and her Holiday collections.
Camille: How did you get into fashion design and what's the inspiration behind the brand 19th & Whimsy?
Lauren: I started getting interested in shopping and small sewing projects when I was about thirteen years old and pretty much knew I wanted to go into fashion design while in high school. I moved to Hawaii from Los Angeles after high school and got my bachelor's degree in Apparel Product Design and Merchandising from UH Manoa, interned at St John Knits in Irvine, and worked for a lingerie and sleepwear company in downtown Los Angeles for a couple years before moving back to Honolulu and starting 19th & Whimsy.
I decided to start my brand because it was always a dream of mine and I knew that I would need to start my own business if I wanted to be a fashion designer in Hawaii.
I came up with the brand name and concept because I wanted a clothing line that mixed contemporary fashion with an element of whimsy. I've always been drawn to comfortable body styles, pretty prints, and sparkly things and wanted to incorporate that aesthetic into versatile styles that could be worn and afforded by a wide range of women. I love using a variety of fabrics: jersey, crepe de chine, sweater knits, and tulle - they each offer something special for different looks and customer's body types. I also am very proud that my entire line is designed and cut and sewn in the USA. This was very important to me. Some styles are still made in Hawaii, some are made in US mainland factories, and most styles are still handmade by me in my home studio I've recently relocated to in Los Angeles.
C: The fabric you use is so soft! How do you get it to feel so good?
L: I personally precut and preshrink all the rayon-blend jersey I use to get it super soft and to greatly reduced any future shrinkage. I think it's necessary for any fabrics where the size and style would completely change after washing if the fabric wasn't preshrunk. It was always important to me to offer washable styles since my generation, and I personally, don't go to the dry cleaners on a regular basis.
I'm excited about a new organic cotton collection I'm working on that is super comfortable and uses a garment dye process that softens the fabric and also eliminates shrinkage - stay tuned!
C: The pieces you design have really great drape to them and look good on a lot of body types! What types of things do you take into account as you're designing?
L: I love fabrics that drape well which is why I use a lot of my preshrunk jersey. It's a medium weight and looks great even in the boxiest of styles because of that great drape rayon has plus that little bit of spandex helps it to retain it's shape and reduces wrinkling significantly. But I also use more rigid fabrics for different looks that I couldn't get with jersey. I design a mix of contemporary fashion, resort fashion, and basics that create a modern and wearable collection. Because our daily lives require a wide range of clothing options, I offer tshirts and tank tops alongside dresses that can transition from work to evening. When I design, I think about what I want to wear, what my customers want to wear, what my sister and my Mom want to wear, and I try to make styles that will be comfortable and flattering on everyone. I also make custom size XS and XL and can do custom length on certain made-to-order styles I sew myself.
C: You also design exclusive prints for 19th & Whimsy! Can you tell us about how you got into designing prints and the process?
L: I love designing printed fabric and artwork for my women's and Keiki collections! I hope to be able to offer more prints in the future. I learned how to design prints while working as an Assistant Designer and Assistant Merchandiser for a lingerie and sleepwear company in Los Angeles. It was fast fashion, so we were constantly designing new prints as well as turning artist's artwork into repeats for printing. I fell in love with learning these new skills and learning what digital printing had to offer and began selling my own prints on fabrics and wallpaper through Spoonflower. When I started 19th & Whimsy, I was excited to finally be able to feature my own exclusive prints in my collection. I use many different techniques to get to the final step of creating a repeatable print. Some examples include my Rock Candy print: I used actual rock candy sticks I crushed up, took photos of, and recolored and created the repeat on the computer. The Rainbow Pineapple print began with an actual pineapple I painted with metallic gold and green paint and took photos of. The Rainbow Frosting print also started with photos of frosting I dyed and spread to create horizonal stripes. Prints like the Seagulls, Seahorse Ombre, and Salmon Skin prints started with my own paintings. And two of my favorites, the Petal Paws and Rainbow Paws floral-looking prints, were created by painting my beloved dog Dexter's paws and paw printing on paper. I'm currently working on bringing back some of my favorite prints for a collection of infinity scarves that will be available soon!
C: Can you tell us a little about the inspiration for the Holiday collection?
L: My inspiration for the new Holiday 2017 Collection started with my color scheme. I really wanted to offer navy blue and I found the perfect sweater knits that would coordinate with the navy blue, silver, and black pallette. I had the design for the Tulip dress in mind for a while and knew the time was right to launch this dressier style for the holidays and offer a couple sparkly versions of it. I had also been wanting to design a long cardigan with long sleeves that could be worn rolled up because I think that looks so chic. And I designed it with side seam pockets to keep a clean look and because everyone loves pockets! I tend to design dressier for the holiday collection, but I always keep the Hawaii resort lifestyle in mind and think about designing timeless and season-less body styles that can be recolored in solids and prints in future collections. So this collection includes new styles that are comfortable for Hawaii weather and can be layered on for colder climates plus I recolored the same crepe de chine styles from the SS17 Collection dressed up in solid black with lace trim and added the new Toni Culottes I had been working on for a while, but didn't quite work in the Rainbow Pineapple print. I also added the new Kaya tunic and Primm dress styles (named after my sister's dogs) because I'm always wanting more tops that look good with leggings and day-to-night dresses that look great on everyone.
We're looking forward to see what's in store for 19th and Whimsy!
Lauren Hayashibara in the Sophie Dress
(Mom Made Market in Kakaako)