So what's so special about being a Designer in Residence at FiSF?
Headshot by Portraits to the People
- SPACE – I started Honey Cooler Handmade from my kitchen table. A dedicated space at the Incubator means that I not only have my own work table for pattern making, but I also have an industrial sewing machine that never has to be put away, a huge cutting table that allows me to cut multiple pieces at once instead of just one, and an office that I can close up at the end of the day with my work inside. When I hop the bus back to the Mission at night, I can truly be home and eat dinner (and NOT sew) at my kitchen table!
- EXPERTISE – The Incubator operates under the direction of an executive board with tons of industry experience, and that board regularly brings in the best of the best to help us navigate the complicated world of fashion production. From dealing with factories or figuring out effective branding, the thought of facing the myriad challenges unsupported is stressful beyond measure, but FiSF ensures that we are never alone in our endeavors.
- IDEAS – Jeanne Allen, FiSF’s executive director, has had decades of experience in the fashion industry. Her advice and support come from an innovative mindset coupled with an intimate knowledge of how production truly works for a San Francisco brand. Her husband Marc is our resident design expert and is a wonderful resource when it comes to working through design puzzles. Not only do we have access to the this amazing and experienced executive board, but each of the FiSF designers comes from varied backgrounds, all with very different, yet firmly established perspectives.
- CAMARADERIE – Honey Cooler Handmade started as a series of lingerie pieces where each garment was made individually, out of different fabric, using deadstock vintage laces. Needless to say, larger scale production is a huge leap for me. Luckily, each of the Designers in Residence is going through the same complicated process of producing their lines. The ability to share the triumphs and frustrations of doing so with the rest of the FiSF class is one of the most valuable facets of working from our amazing space. My initial fear was that working alongside such talent would leave me feeling totally inadequate, but the truth is that we all struggle with the universal self-doubt that all artists deal with. We are a united force and we each want the whole group to succeed.
- VALIDATION – The Bay Area is full of talented designers, so gaining acceptance to the FiSF program is no easy feat. Learning I was accepted was probably one of my happiest moments – to have an entire board of industry professionals believe in Honey Cooler Handmade and my abilities enough to admit me to the Incubator program was a truly validating moment. Admission to the program is a big step for any line; For me, it means that Honey Cooler Handmade has serious potential as a marketable, profitable lingerie line and I’m very excited to see what’s next.