designer profile: Purlieu

Purlieu was formed in response to the summer Sky Ferren and Wynnie Crews went mad. Their first collaboration was an exhibition titled Get Happy and Mothers, an installation where children and rabbits played freely with pretty thugs and happy gangsters. They shared a common interest in illustration and all things made by peoples’ hands. Soon after meeting, they were living in Los Angeles on facing couches in a friend’s apartment. In L.A., they visited the garment district every day and developed their product.

I had the pleasure of asking Wynnie a few questions about her line, the idea behind her fall collection, and her inspirations.

How did you get into fashion design?
I was in high school. My mom had a sewing machine, and I started altering my clothes to make them fit better- I shopped mostly at thrift stores, and this gave me the freedom to buy just about anything I liked, regardless of the size, and customize it. But I knew nothing of the real "rag business" until Sky and I moved to LA and saw it first hand. That's when Purlieu was born.

What does the Fall 2008 collection, titled 'Native American,' represent?

Native American is about Americana, and the culture of the modern-day Native American (i.e. anyone who calls him/herself an American).

Why did you choose the name Purlieu?
To us, the name is about the idea of a haunt or a special place that a person frequents- possibly a remote or secluded place where you would go to be alone.

How would you define your personal style?

Experimental, intuitive

Outside of fashion, what inspires you?

Nature & American culture

You develop and produce everything personally, from the patterns to the screen printing. What process do you find the most challenging?

Patternmaking - It can take a lot of trial and error to perfect an idea.

In your eyes what makes a good collection?

Quality vs. quantity, cohesiveness, freshness.

What kind of person do you imagine wearing your clothing?

Girls ages 16-30 - Intelligent, fashion forward, with a sense of humor.

visit Purlieu at

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