Tuesday, March 3, 2009

My favorite CFI designer (other than me, that is!)

I am sure someone out there was wondering how CFI went with 6 designers all in the same space. I’m not going to lie, there was definitely some tension between certain people (one Russian in particular rubbed EVERYONE the wrong way-but I won’t name names ). My most favorite person I met at the Incubator was the lovely and talented Kristin Hassan. She is the greatest person and has become a very dear friend. She is in the middle of getting her brand, organiK Revolution, up online and available for e-commerce. She is such a doll and I would like to introduce her to you!

Interview with Kristin Hassan from organiK Revolution

How/when did you get into fashion?

I graduated from the Illinois institute of art - Chicago with a BFA in fashion design in 2006. I got into fashion at an early age as my mother and grandmother were very crafty and taught me everything from sewing to making jewelry.

Where are you from and where do you currently live?
I was raised in Midlothian Illinois, about 30 south of the city. I currently live in Orland Park.

Who/what inspires you the most when you're working?
I'm inspired by everything really. Music, art, billboards, toilet seats covered with stickers (found in the dressing room backstage at the metro). I love to travel and can draw on that always - I'm very fortunate to have been able to see places like Italy and Barbados and that always gets my creative wheels turning.

Do you think that Chicago is a good city to live in for your work, or would you rather be somewhere like New York?

I love Chicago and I would never chose to relocate. Ok maybe to Paris! (I studied French for 7 years and fell in love with the city on my honeymoon)
Chicago has an amazing underground spirit. I love that we aren't looked at a fashion capital yet. We bring such a unique vibe to the table and the talent here is really underestimated. It's definitely a small design community but I find that to be more comforting than being in the midst of a huge city like NYC.

Do you work from home, or do you have a separate studio?
For the last year I proudly had my office at the Chicago Fashion Incubator (CFI) at Macys on state street. CFI is a city initiative to keep emerging designers in Chicago and provide great resources when starting a business. It was a great space with office space, workspace, and a showroom but My term as part of the first class of designers in residence officially ended today, Feb 20th. For the mean time I've moved back into my studio at home. But with my husbands recording studio also in the basement (he's a musician) it's become pretty packed. So organiK revolution is in the process of researching a great studio space in the city.

What is your process of designing a new piece for organiK Revolution?
I'm involved in everything from sketching the idea out to sourcing the fabric, I make the first draft pattern, sew the sample, do the fittings, adjust patterns, sew another sample, do another fitting, cut production, hand it off to my factory for production sewing, get it back to tag it and hang it and sell it. Of course I have help with most of these steps but I'm involved in every aspect.

How would you describe your personal style (is it similar to your designs)?
My design philosophy is to always design what I want to wear. My style is a wonderful mix of girly dresses mixed with menswear pieces like vests and suspenders, a big touch of rock and roll and some cowboy boots for good measure. I love experimenting with layers (big fan of dresses over jeans) and find delight in crossing over styles which all results in a weird preppy girly rocker hippy kinda vibe.

What makes your clothes eco-friendly? Does this particular line of yours have a specific name?
organiK Revolution is an earth positive company because of a number of initiatives. Not only do we use sustainable fabrics like soy jersey (soybean and spandex) and organic cotton (cotton grown without pesticides) but we seek out better processes like screen printing organic cotton t-shirts with water based non chemical inks. We produce most of our apparel locally in Chicago which cuts down on carbon emissions release during travel. We're even working on replacing the lighting at our factory with energy efficient bulbs. I outsource t-shirts from a factory that is run entirely on solar and wind power. And of course we do the obvious things like using recycled paper and soy inks for all printing, etc.

How old are you (sorry, have to ask this one), and do you ever get flack for being so young and successful?
I'm 23. I always get asked if being young bothers me/sets me back... And the answer is always no. I think part of it is that I don't notice my age... I've always done what I wanted, good and bad, regardless of the age limitations. I think being young is an advantage... I'm not too scared and I've got a lot of energy right now. Besides if I screw this up, I'm tough enough to reinvent myself and no one would notice!

What do you think of shows like Project Runway?
I think that it's a great opportunity to showcase oneself on a national level.

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