Behind the Seams with Deborah Lindquist

Photo: www.deborahlindquist.com

The epitome of clothing made from recycled and vintage fabrics is the self-titled brand by Deborah Lindquist.The epitome of clothing made from recycled and vintage fabrics is the self-titled brand by Deborah Lindquist. Green Living fashion writer Victoria Everman talked with Deborah about favourite fabrics, doggie sweaters, her recent collection and upcoming projects.

A favourite among celebrities like Gwen Stefani, Sharon Stone, Jessica Simpson, Demi Moore and Charlize Theron, Deborah Lindquist is well-known for her trendsetting eco-sweaters made from recycled cashmere. Trained at the infamous Parsons School of Design in New York City, Deborah is always working on integrating new sustainable fabrics and styles into her line, including her first full green bridal collection.

Green Living Online: Your self-titled brand is one of the most well-known sustainable clothing companies around . Could you have imagined your work would have grown to such proportions when you first began?
Deborah Lindquist: Not really. When I started out, eco fashion wasn't even a term!

When were you first introduced to sustainable fabrics and recycling vintage/second-hand fabrics?
I started using recycled materials when I first started making accessories under my own name in 1983. My first belt was made of recycled leather.

In your Spring 2008 collection, you use a notable amount of hemp, organic cotton, peace silk and some vintage cashmere. Do you have a favorite eco fiber?
I love vintage cashmere. I'm known best for my sweaters. My favorite new eco fabric is hemp because it can be grown without the use of pesticides and herbicides. It is so pest-resistant as a crop that it even makes neighboring plants pest-resistant.

With so many big name celebrities touting their affection for your designs, is there any particular person you would love to make an outfit for?
I appreciate whatever support I get from celebrities and am grateful to them all.

You recently began selling a line of made-to-order recycled cashmere dog sweaters. Did this collection come to light via customer demand or your own desire to provide pets with stylish duds?
I thought it made sense since the doggies look so cute in sweaters. My girlie Greta loves her sweaters. She gets cold in the morning during winter. (She's the dog model on my site.) I also like that they are wearable, sensible and not foolish.

After creations so many collections season after season, where do you find inspiration for new designs?
I send my girl traveling from one place to another in my look book photo shoots, so I think of places I'd personally like to go. I find inspiration in exotic travel but also everyday things like my garden.

Your website, which currently features your Winter 2007 collection, shows a few designs for both kids and babies. Are there any plans to expand these into a full line? Is a men's collection a possibility?
Yes, I am working on a look book of kids clothing. The men's sweaters are so limited in recycled materials that I can only do a small group. I don't have any other plans for men's clothing.

What sort of customer response have you gotten from your green wedding gown collection?
The brides are the ones that urged me to do a collection. I had shown only one bridal gown at the end of my Spring 2006 runway show and it went from there. I'm getting a great response. I think women want choices. I'm more of an alternative-look wedding designer.

What do you say to the folks that still believe global warming is just a myth?
I can't imagine how it could be more obvious. It's really about educating yourself. I can certainly try to talk about it, but I feel that actions speak louder than words. That is why I have dedicated myself to working ethically.

Do you have any other nifty, secret projects in the works that you could hint at?
I worked with a makeup artist/creative director recently to pick colors and names for two new ethical lip palettes she's developing. She used two of my red-carpet looks for her promotional photos and pulled me in to assist the colors and names. I'd like to work on an eco make-up line with her -- maybe in the future.

Victoria Everman is a freelance writer, model, on-camera personality and founder of the San Francisco Craft Mafia. She is a regular contributor to Green Living Online.