When Veronica Lynn Harper first started designing her own clothes four years ago, she often caught the attention of strangers. She and her friends have been stopped on the street by people asking to get a closer look at her designs. Once, a woman in her 80s stopped her in the airport and asked about a bag she had made.
“I see a lot of people attracted to certain patterns and certain colors, and I've never had that with any other type of artwork before,” Harper says. “I realized that I had something special, something that people could connect with.”
Harper is the founder of Mother Earth Fine Art, a Seattle-based independent fashion brand selling clothing, bags and accessories, and most recently, face masks. Her patterns are all individually hand painted, combining a traditional medium with modern, vibrant styles to create unique looks.
Harper pulls inspiration from many sources. The natural landscapes of the Pacific Northwest inspire her vivid, watercolor-style patterns, which take her anywhere from one to 10 minutes each to create. She purposefully paints while listening to music to capture the energy of different genres in her designs. When people purchase items with certain patterns, she can often tell what kind of music they like, she said.
“It's like they're wearing themselves outwardly, versus just wearing a color,” Harper says. “There's so much more depth to what the designs truly mean.”
When the pandemic started, Harper shifted her focus to creating face masks. Her mother and sister work in health care on the East Coast and struggled with the limited supply of personal protective equipment. Harper donated her first round of 300 face masks to health care workers in Pennsylvania.
Interest in her face masks boomed when she put them on her website. In the first month, she says sales hit $25,000. She created a hashtag, #MatchTheMask, for people to match their makeup, hair, nails and looks to their Mother Earth Fine Art masks.
“This is something that I have to wear on my face, and if it's something that they can connect with and can match their outfits with, it's more of a positive thing versus a negative thing,” Harper says.
Harper’s next step is partnering with boutiques to sell her products and host pop-ups. She’s also working on bringing more of her digital background into her work, such as creating virtual runways and AR experiences that “bring the patterns to life,” she says
“We can make art just to make art, or we can make art to create positive change,” Harper said. “But if I can create things that make people feel amazing, and if I can do that on a grand scale, it just brings that much more happiness into the world.”
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