We at NAKID are so excited to bring you this exclusive interview with one of New York’s top designers,Samantha Pleet. We shot inside her incredible Brooklyn home, which is just as much a testament to her personal style as the clothing she creates. I love meeting an artist who’s entire life is an expression of themselves in every way. Samantha lives in her own dream-like vintage flower child world, and she’s able to share a little glimpse into that magic with the clothing she creates.
So tell me, is fashion always art for you? The design process for me is very artistic! I’m always developing new techniques and sourcing fabrics that are a great medium for my work. I also use art as inspiration for almost every collection.
How does your own personality play into your brand? Is your brand very much an expression of your own personal style? Definitely! My clothes have a sense of humor, are playful and whimsical and I like to make women look sexy in a smart way. I think my personality comes through also in the details–in embroidery and print that wink at the wearer. The line changes with me and what I’m inspired by, which can be anything from muses to the music I listen to or films I’m watching.
What was your early work like? Did you always want to be a designer?
At first I wanted to be an artist and I went to Pratt to study art, but then I had friends in the design department who were always doing projects I wanted to be doing. Eventually, I just decided to switch to fashion design instead and after a few internships I started my own line. The first collection was very renaissance inspired, little mini dresses, peter pan collars, etc. very early 2000s! I think my collections have gotten progressively more colorful and magical, but I still love some of those first pieces.
What are you designs influenced by? Is there a dream “Samantha Pleet” girl or are you more influenced by memories and imagination?
My designs are heavily influenced by history and fantasy. The SS17 collection for example was inspired by Midsummer’s Nights Dream. I was pregnant while I was designing it and was craving fruit, so it came out very luscious! I painted a watercolor of fruits and fairies that I used for a print, and also came up with a seed embroidery. I design for a creative woman who is sexy in a smart way. Most of my customers are women who are small business owners, photographers, actors, artists, writers, chefs and do so many other amazing, inspiring things.
What’s a typical day for you?
I just combined my home and office this year while I was expecting Valentine. Its great that Patrick and I can both be home with her and get all our work done, we take turns. A typical day for me involves getting up, making a small breakfast for everyone…well Patrick makes it and then my assistant Tyler comes in around 10 30 and get to work. We do everything here, from designing to studio visits to photoshoots and all those things could happen in a day.
Does music or movies influence your work? Yes! I like to imagine I am designing clothes for a cast of characters for each collection. Past collections have been inspired by Joan of Arc, The Never Ending Story, Black Moon, Twin Peaks, and Wes Anderson movies and so many more. For music I’m lucky that a lot of my favorite musicians have pieces of mine like Caroline Polachek, Natasha Khan, Jenny Lewis, Solange and Lorde. I love music, and what I am listening to always comes out in my work one way or another.
You just had a baby girl! Tell us a bit about that, what’s motherhood like? It has been the single most wonderful experience in my life, and I love her more than anything, it’s an incredible sensation. I thought when I first had a baby it was going to be so hard to keep everything going, but I have learned how to better balance my time, and my daughter makes me so happy–one smile and I melt. She has only made me a better designer!
What are you looking forward to this year?
I am excited to announce that I’m adding shoes to the collection that will be out next year and a new line of children’s wear that will be out in September. I also planned a trip to Italy in August so I’m looking forward to that!
What are you currently reading? “The History of Pasta”
What are you currently listening to? I’ve recently been getting into old records, so re-buying all the classics like Kate Bush, Cat Stevens and Niko.