After playing scavenger hunt with Google maps on my blackberry, I finally found the Seattle Center Exhibition Hall. My sister and I came a few hours earlier to get interviews and shots backstage.
Models were practicing their walk down the runway in hot rollers and 4 inch stilettos. Co-chairs were practicing their speeches backstage – “We are the artists. We need to use our designing skills to inspire the city.” The models were actually team members, and I was quite impressed with their natural talent. Designers were pinning, gluing, tucking, sewing. Hairspray and laughter filled the air. The vibe backstage was very much like controlled chaos.
Once I saw the garments walk down the runway, I almost had to wonder if architects know something about fashion that fashion designers don’t. The innovation was mind blowing. If designers could mimic what they do with textiles, the fashion industry would have so much more to look forward to. These were some of my favorite looks of the night:
Pental: Pental Granite & Marble teamed up with LUWA. The two of us were able to sponsor teaming up with SKB, and we thought, “How can we marry the three together?
Darrah: Did you have any original ideas that just didn’t make it?
Pental: It’s funny because we had such a creative and talented group of people. Right away we decided that we wanted to do a little black dress. It’s amazing what transpired throughout the whole process. The flannel looking fabric is part of a warming drawer, like inside of a coffee maker. The tiles are our glass tiles. They’re mainly used for back splashes for bathrooms and kitchens.
Darrah: How did you create that silver wiring on the back?
Kelli (LUWA): We took one of those thermometers that goes into your turkey, and we just peeled off the black coating, and there was this beautiful braid of silver.
Pental: All of the metal tile was on top of a mesh sheet with a ceramic base tile. We had to peel them off, and use a razor blade to cut them.
Darrah: Did you sketch any of this beforehand?
Pental: There were some changes, but we only tweaked it a little bit. At first, we were going to drape the fabric in the front, but we had to modify the design because of the tile.
Darrah: What’s that leather looking fabric?
Kelli: Miele dishwashers are extremely quiet, and that fabric is the sound damper that goes along the toe kick of a dishwasher. We found it in the showroom, and it looked a little like leather, so we added it!
Darrah: I noticed you had a handbag as well. Can you tell me a little more about that?
Kelli: We thought, “Okay we need a handbag. What are we going to do for accessories?” We took the heating vent from the top of a dryer, and we punched holes into it. Then, we took some Miele screws, and put ceramic tiles in between. The inside is a vacuum liner.
Darrah: How long did that take you?
Kelli: A couple hours, but the concept took a couple of days.
Darrah: Why did you choose a business look?
Kelli: Looking at the three companies – you have tile, appliances, and architect interiors. Though we make things beautiful, it’s more about making things function everyday. S0, for some reason a big ball gown or drama didn’t seem right for the company, so we did the little black dress and pieces that are multifunctional.
Darrah: How did you create those earrings? You should sell them on the side!
Kelli: We got that a lot. They were made from tile. We de-laminated the mosaic, and were able to use that. One of the biggest challenges we had was how to make tile and appliances elegant.
Darrah: How will Product Runway help you sell products?
Kelli: This is about relationships and getting designers to take a look at us. This is a great opportunity. I know three or four more designers that enjoy our products now.