BONUS INTERVIEW: Kayla Garland of SOVRIN

September 3, 2014 § Leave a comment

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Kayla Garland knew from a young age that she wanted to be a fashion designer. She started SOVRIN, her line of apparel, in 2012 as a way to make the clothes she dreamed of wearing but couldn’t find anywhere. Her work is known for soft black fabrics and darkly beautiful prints inspired by geometry and the anatomy of natural fauna, all made with ethics and sustainability in mind.

What does your office/studio look like?

My office and studio is actually at my parents’ house. I’m very fortunate to have a place that I can use with a lot of space. I have what used to be their workout room, I have that with all with all my printing material. They still have their workout equipment in there, but that’s where my printing stuff is. I have a hallway area with all of my stuff organized, and then I just got my own sewing area. It was in my old bedroom. My mom has her own big sewing area and that’s where I learned all of my skills from, it’s my mom, she’s awesome. She does sewing for a lot of costume-type design and stuff like that. She does ski team outfits, and she has a new company for ski pants that help wick away moisture and keep you warm and stuff. She does amazing things, but anyway, that’s why I just got my new studio for sewing and everything like that, it was because I always use my mom’s, but both of us have been getting really busy so it was time to move on to my own new space.

What kinds of things do you keep around you for inspiration?

I’m kind of starting to do the whole nesting thing in my sewing area and putting up some patches and posters and I have a couple of swords that I have up there – really anything that has been something that I’ve kept for a while. It’s not something that I’m aggressively doing, like trying to be like, ‘Oh I need to have things everywhere on the wall,’ but just as it comes, if I see something I really like, I’ll put it up there.

What kinds of soundscapes do you surround yourself with?

It depends on the mood. I’m really powered by music, so if I’m not frantically running around trying to fill orders, and I have the time to just sit down and put music on, then… it really depends, I go anywhere from alternative ’90s rock to new-age indie and electro – not like the dubsteppy stuff but more like – I don’t know, I like Phantogram a lot, something along that line. And I also do like some of the screamo/hardcore stuff, it’s just really hit-or-miss, folk music, Finnish, really it’s all over the board.

What does a typical workday look like for you? What is your schedule like?

That is hit-or-miss. Like, not really hit-or-miss, but it depends on the day, how many orders I get. If I’m not pounded with orders, then I try and spend some time with designing or drawing, whether it be new prints or new types of sewing materials, whatever I’m really into at the time. I just try and create things that I’m super-passionate about and really excited about, so I try and not limit myself to only one thing. Not just printing, whatever’s inspiring, so yeah, my schedule’s all over the place. I can never know what the next day will be.

The Destroyed Muscle Tank - Creature Skeleton | Source: sovrin.bigcartel.com

The Destroyed Muscle Tank – Creature Skeleton | Source: sovrin.bigcartel.com

What kinds of software and computing devices, if any, do you use to get your work done?

I have a computer, so I use that for printing off orders and managing my Etsy and my website. I use Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop, and then I’ll also use really simple Picassa stuff, because it’s easy to upload it and clip it to something smaller to be able to work off of and do some really quick contrast and alterations there. Excel for looking over my accounts and things, taxes, keeping track of sales and expenses. Excel is a really big thing, Word, pretty much the basics, what you would expect for a business, and a creative one at that.

What kinds of tools do you use?

Tools range from sewing machines and rotary cutters, scissors… I have one print press, that’s what I use, and I use eco-friendly water-based ink. There is a ton of tools that I use.

How do you use them?

I’m not really sure how to answer that. I think it’s kind of self-explanatory for the tool, so I don’t do anything different compared to another artist using the tools.

What is your creative process like?

Basically it’s an organic creative process. It’s whatever I see as something I’m really excited about. I try and keep a sketchbook or some type of a log with me at all times, so if I’m walking somewhere and I have this idea pop into my mind, I can draw it and makes notes and whatnot, so I think that’s really how it started. I’m most creative when I don’t feel rushed, and I just have this burst of ideas and inspiration.

What does “handmade” mean to you?

Handmade is what it sounds like. Made by one person or a couple of people, no crazy machines being used, and also I feel like handmade doesn’t seem very selfish. The people who are making these things, I don’t see it as like some bigger corporation. They’re doing it from the heart, and something that they’re really excited and passionate about.

What inspires you in the creation of your objects?

It can be anything. It can be music, it can be art. I really don’t know, there are so many different things. One of my biggest inspirations, though, is definitely anatomy. I’ve always been really interested in skulls and things like that. I’m trying to get a good collection going, but it’ll take some time. Definitely skulls, anything darker, macabre, nature, those are the things that really inspire me. But I never know what’s going to until it comes to me.

What do the objects you create mean to you?

They mean a lot. I draw everything and make everything from hand – except for when I print on t-shirts and tank tops, I print on American Apparel, so that’s not fully from hand, but it’s a reflection of myself. They do mean a lot to me. Everything I make, I try and put a lot of time and heart into it. I won’t send something out unless I see it as perfect. My parents and my friends definitely see me as nitpicky with what I send out, and they think I’m a little crazy about it, but I feel like these things that people are buying, they deserve to have the best. They’re things I work really hard on, they’re designs from start to finish, drawing them, and printing them, and everything.

Ram Skull Satchel | Source: sovrin.bigcartel.com

Ram Skull Satchel | Source: sovrin.bigcartel.com

What do the materials you use mean to you?

Again, that also means a lot, in probably a different way than most people would answer the question. I like to make sure that everything I use is somewhat eco-friendly, ethical. The materials I use, I try and stick with – there’s one, the Witching Hour tank is not a bamboo blend. I haven’t been able to find a material that lays the way that I’m looking for with it, but all of the other Witching Hour items are all made with the bamboo material. It’s organic, I feel like it’s a lot more eco friendly. I feel like I’m putting out something good in the world, not hurting it very much. So I do that, and I use eco-friendly water-based inks, so when the inks are cured, instead of having the heat extract chemicals and things like that, it’s just extracting water, so I’m not polluting the environment there. And then I use American Apparel for my printed tanks and leggings and things like that because it’s made in America, so I’m not doing as much shipping from overseas, so it’s less emissions. Also it’s sweatshop-free and they are paid a living wage, so I see them as better than going from some crazy sweatshop.

How do you use the internet to connect with others interested in the same kind of work and aesthetic?

I’m not really sure how to answer that. Overall I’m nice to everyone. I try and not be confrontational or rude to anyone, because on the Internet you don’t really know them. If I ever get a negative comment that’s on something like Instagram or whatever, I just ignore it. But if there are other artists or people who are into it and saying cool comments, I do my best to try and comment back and interact in a positive way. I like hearing what people have to say. It means a lot to me, and there’s a lot to learn.

How do you interact with them offline?

I don’t think I’ve ever really met people from online and then in person before, so I haven’t really run into that. If you’re talking about people I don’t really know, I haven’t met anyone from being Instagram friends or Facebook friends, things like that.

Do you consider yourself part of a subcultural community? What name would you give it?

I have no idea. I haven’t really thought about it. I mean, I guess I’m into different darker things, but I don’t really know what type of community it would be. I’m interested in people who are into the artistic darker community. I don’t ever really think about how I’m classified anymore. I think maybe a long time ago I did, but yeah, I don’t even know what name I would give it.

Who are some of your favorite artists, designers, and/or makers?

Oh man, there are so many artists that I look up to, and it has grown immensely over the years of meeting fellow artists. I’ve recently gotten the pleasure of trading with Dahlia Deranged, Poison Apple Print Shop, and Aurora Shadow. But I also really have been in awe of artists like Morph Knitwear and also Kat Von D. There is just a plethora of people I admire, but these are just a few.

Why clothing? What does fashion mean to you?

Fashion is wearable art in my eyes. Its such a great way to express yourself artistically. You can tell someone who you are without saying a word (which can be a positive and negative thing). But I feel more comfortable when wearing something that directly reflects who I am.

Phases of the Moon Leggings | Source: sovrin.bigcartel.com

Phases of the Moon Leggings | Source: sovrin.bigcartel.com

You can find SOVRIN on its website, Etsy, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram!

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