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Samantha Pleet Interview

Samantha Pleet Interview & Rapscallion Collection


Samantha Pleet is one New Yorker with a lot on her plate. On top of designing her own line (which debuted while she was still in college), Pleet has recently teamed up with Urban Outfitters to produce an exclusive collaboration entitled Rapscallion. The collection, true to its name, features adorable button-downed jumpers, feminized tuxedo shirts and military-esque jackets and capes. "I was so excited when found out that I would have the opportunity to work with them on designing a line...I grew up shopping at Urban Outfitters". Rapscallion will debut in October and house a total of six new collections--one delivering every other month. A pop-up shop will also be erected in Los Angeles, stocking the designer's full range for Urban Outfitters, her ready to wear line, and other design endeavors, including Pleet's eco-friendly line, Bodkin.

For Bodkin (worthy of its own post), Pleet collaborates with studio-mate Eviana Hartman--a freelance writer and former features editor at Nylon. The line, which started out as a weekend experiment transforming dusty clothes into handbags, offers an monochrome collection of edgy separates not without their own delicate softness. Bodkin is made entirely out of recycled and organic fabrics.

To read our review of Pleet's Fall 08 collection, click here. Below, our interview with the designer and below that, the Rapscallion look book.

Can you give us some background on your Samantha Pleet Fall '08 collection and the mugshots you used to depict the collection?
The Fall 08 collection reflects a madcap array of inspirations. From Dickensian urchins to vintage black-and-white police mug shots to sharp-dressed sixties rock bands— and marks the introduction of a small menswear line, Patrick Pleet...We started collecting vintage police mug shots some were from the turn of the century. We found them at flea markets and image libraries. Each shot told a story and some of people in them had a really inspiring style, a few of them looked crazy those were usually the best ones.It was a great way for me to incorporate real people that found inspiring and asked them to let me "arrest them".

You seem to draw inspirations from lots of different places like music, literature and art. What is your process for narrowing this down to a story and from there into actual clothes?
This process happens very organically for me. My subconscious seams to be able to blend everything together. I do a lot of image gathering, thinking, sewing, sketching, and sourcing. It is not until I start to put a few of the samples together that I begin to see the collection take shape. This is a never ending story because I have to keep designing.

What is a typical day in the studio?
I only live 10 minutes away, so I walk to work get coffee at Oslo with Patrick. I usually have to go to the garment district during the day for a fitting at my sample maker. I now work with my friend Dusting McSwane, he does my technical design, which is amazing. I usually distract my studio mates Susan (designer of Dirty Librarian Chains) and Eviana (writer and Bodkin partner) with new samples to show them. We all try them on to see how they fit. It is a wonderful and inspiring place to work.

What do you enjoy doing on your days outside of the studio?
My life is my work so even when im not in the studio I like to gather inspiration. I love to wonder around the city. My perfect day would be to have brunch at Diner walk over the Williamsburg bridge, wander into shops in the Lower east side, walk over to 9th street in the East Village get coffee, and then over to Soho check out some more shops--go to an art exhibition or two on the journey. Later to go see a concert and then join friends in the evening, which usually turns into talking about doing another project. Finally I would go home and watch a film or read a book and listen to music.

Do you have any personal favorites from the Rapscallion collection?
I love everything in the line but my favorite is the Cape dress. It's a wool dress with a detachable cape, I will be wearing this a
lot. I also love the high wasted jeans, the banner dress.

What do you have in store for curating the pop-up shop for Urban Outfitters?
It doesn't open until November in LA. We still have a lot of planning to do. Patrick, my husband who is an architect, will be working with them on the space. It will carry the first two Rapscallion collections, my Fall 08 collection, Bodkin, and I will be curating some vintage clothing, gifts, and jewelry, and other curiosities.

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