Seamless in Seattle Winner: Malia Peoples
Line: Lady Konnyaku
Available at: ladykonnyaku.com, ladykonnyaku.etsy.com
The creative spark: Though she grew up in nearby Olympia, Peoples’ formative design inspirations are Far East, not West Coast. While living in China during her teen years, she became fascinated with her Japanese pals’ closets. “They always had the weirdest, coolest things tucked in there and would wear them in wild pairings,” she says. Thus goes her lively, colorful wear that channels the streets of Tokyo, pairing kooky vintage patterns with out-of-the-box details like balloon sleeves or bell bottom pants.
The collection: A former nonprofit worker, Peoples, 29, often looks to the tube, citing eye-candy shows like Soul Train (hence, the bell bottoms) and old kung fu movies as her inspiration. “I really like to play with color, texture and pattern. I find all my fabrics at thrift stores or through estate sales, and throw it in a pile, looking for pieces that shouldn’t go together at first glance, but then actually do.”
First garment ever made: “Before I went to fashion school in 2007, I had never sewn anything, and I’ll tell you, learning to sew was harder than learning Chinese. So my first garment was for a class project, a little black dress with an appliqué of a cloud on the skirt.”
Biggest fashion faux pas: “When I was living in China, the fad was to braid your hair, bleach it, perm it and let it all out in this frizzy Afro. It looked so, so cool for four months. But then it grew out, and I was left with 8-inch grow-out with horrible silver tips and just flat on top. I had to wear a bucket hat for an entire summer.”