Fashion design major, Angie Leberte, recently launched her own line of hand-dyed kimonos called Gypsy and Magnolia.
Each garment is hand dyed so they’re all different; they all have their own attitude and style. Leberte says her goal is to give people something unique and special to wear that no one else has.
The process starts with a plain white kimono, then Leberte picks whatever dying technique she’s is in the mood for and next she selects a few colors. The end result is a groovy kimono ready to be worn.
Although it seems like a quick and easy process, Leberte puts a lot of thought into each product. She studies dying techniques from all over the world and from all different time periods. She said Japan has a lot of ancient techniques she likes to use. She reads lots of books for inspiration as well as looking to other artists and cultures and of course, Pinterest.
“I’m always on the Internet trying to find something new,” Leberte said. “I just like to experiment and see what I can come up with. It’s all very organic and in the moment.”
Not only is Leberte a student but she also works at Behind the Glass in downtown Auburn. She said working at the boutique has completely changed everything she thought she knew about fashion.
Leberte said working in retail allows her to see and interact with consumers. Styles change so quickly but being immersed in it permits her to apply what she sees in the store back to what she’s doing.
“It’s so easy to get caught up in doing what you want to do for you,” Leberte said. “It’s easy to forget about the customer. Working at the store definitely helps me remember the customer and to see what people are into at the moment.”
Leberte said she is surprised at the amount of success Gypsy and Magnolia has had. Although, it was not always that way. In the first set of products she released she tried to do it all, shirts and pants and more but she quickly saw it was the kimono that was taking off.
“I think the kimonos are a cool way for someone to wear the design,” Leberte said. “Now that I’m focusing on just kimonos I get emails daily from bloggers, websites and stores that want to carry my line.”
Leberte is now collaborating with her sister, Emmy Leberte. Together they will take the designs to events to push the brand even more.
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