Corduroy Soul X Youthfuller
A beautifully designed tote bag first introduced us to Erin’s work as a designer. Currently, in her last year as an apparel design studies student, Erin will be releasing her first collection in May of this year. Check her Instagram @youthfuller for updates! But in the meantime, enjoy our conversation with this talented soul.
So we first came across your work when we saw your beautiful tote bag on Instagram. Talk a little about yourself and what it is that you do?
I’m an apparel designer and artist based out of San Francisco. I am also a student and I’m in last year of apparel design studies. My collection, YOUTHFULLER, comes out in May and will be in a fashion show amongst 19 other talented designers May 10th. You can keep up with the youth fuller collection on its Instagram @youthfuller.
I want to give the world garments they won’t ever want to simply throw away. I believe in sustainable and timeless garments that are made to last and will change our apparel industry for the better. I want to create designs that are not only innovative and modern but educate my consumer on how they can reduce their carbon footprint.
A few fun facts about me are that I have a black cat named Fleetwood and I am known to plug his Instagram at friend’s parties. I have celiac disease, and I’m a big advocate for educating people on it — celiac.org. As mentioned, I live in SF, and I’m obsessed with it. You can commonly find me at the Bi-rite market, scrap, the Alameda flea market, makeup room (a dance bar in the mission that I love even though don’t drink I love to dance), ampersand flower shop, Andytown coffee shop, and the SF MOMA
Were fashion and design something that you were always interested in? What sparked your interest in it?
I have had a lot of aspirations and design was one from a young age. I was sewing from a young age and I started a fashion club in high school. Over my time being there, I produced 4 seasonal fashion shows with a group of 30 students and designed capsule collections in them. However, I was often told that this was just a hobby and not something I could end up doing as an adult. I was pushed more towards business and STEM-oriented learning by my family. I had given up on ever being a designer by the time I started college as a business student in San Francisco. Being in such a creative, open-minded city is what brought me back to my love of design. I began meeting very successful artists and designers all over the city. Everyone I met encouraged me to leave business behind and go after what I was passionate about. By April of that year, I had dropped out of the business school and been in accepted into my apparel design major. Four years later and I’m so glad I did.
From having the dream of becoming a designer to now, being a successful student, how much has your style changed? Do you see yourself changing, if applicable, due to the trends, or do you design purely what you personally love?
My personal style has changed A LOT. Everyone’s style does as you grow up and experiment you slowly start to find your style. My design style I would say has changed slightly, as I got older, I began to focus in on suitability rather than trends. This is another thing my education has taught me; how terrible the apparel industry is to our planet. Especially in regards to fast fashion. The only thing that pollutes our planet more then the textile and apparel industry is oil! And no one is aware of it. I try to base my designs on slow fashion and sustainable sourcing when I can.
Do you design menswear as well?
I actually consider all my designs unisex, because I don’t think we should gender clothing. Even though many have pointed out my clothing reads as feminine I do not design it with any gender in mind. I love the saying: If it makes you feel good, then wear it! There are some logistical differences when you design for biological sex, for example, women’s clothing need darts to deal with the curves of her body, whereas men’s clothing doesn’t. Zipper fly, etc, things like that.
Where do the majority of your influences come from?
Art, lots of old art. Lots of Matisse, old mid-century modern ceramics, surreal and abstract art is a big influence as well. I spend a lot of time at the SF MOMA and try my best to support local artists in the city. Oh also! My grandmother Jill, she’s pretty cool, we share the same birthday and she is kind enough to send me her coolest clothes from the 60’s/70’s/80’s.
What are you currently into, in regards to trending/seasonal fashions? How do you take inspiration from it without straight ‘copying’ it, for a lack of a better word?
Currently: Matisse “the dance” — heath ceramics SF– fiber shed sustainable wool out of California — and Sevdaliza’s song ‘Human’.
I try to pull my inspiration from other art forms rather than designers, don’t get me wrong I do consume NYC fashion week media like a crazy person, but I like to pull my inspiration from different art forms other than fashion.
One thing I was told early on in my design endeavors was, don’t get attached to any of your designs, chances are someone has already done it or someone will steal it.
What is your go-to outfit? On the opposite end, what is the one piece of clothing you will refuse to wear?
My go-to outfit is comprised of my grandmothers vintage white leather booties, my pair of denim from Everlane, a great eco-friendly company in SF, a t-shirt I got from a store called After-Life in SF, and a leather jacket that I also thrifted in the Mission.
It really breaks my heart to purchase or wear anything from fast fashion retailers, such as Forever 21, Zara, Brandy, etc. All those really trendy shops have a really big impact on our environment. I try my best to never wear it or if I do get it secondhand.
What’s your motto?
If it makes you feel good, wear it. Also, don’t let your dreams be dreams, Shia Labeouf’s video is my favorite inspirational motto. It’s just great for all levels and can really brighten your day when you just want to cry because you can’t get your fabric on grain.
What advice do you have for aspiring fashion designers?
Know that it isn’t just drawing outfits and being creative, as much as all of us would like it to be. It’s MATH, geometry, fractions, a lot of cussing at a sewing machine at 11pm because your bobbin got stuck for the 20395829035th time, making patterns, draping, doing MORE MATH, putting fabric on grain(sounds simple but it can be a little bitch sometimes), and sewing, lots of it. It’s very hands on.
Go to school. if you don’t have access to school or it’s too expensive (trust me I know I have worked a full-time job through all of school because of this) try to get an education through means you can access for free: public libraries are great for pattern making books. Also, YouTube! Thank God for the internet!
Stop buying into fast fashion. Buy good high quality pieces that are made sustainable and keep them for years. Go to thrift stores! Recycle your textile waste! I have attached a great image of how you can achieve this. This is just the beginning of youthfuller apparel get ready for more !!!
https://youthfuller.squarespace.com (collection coming soon) check back in may when my first collection will be for sale!