A. | How do you define yourself?

Von Stratton has become me onstage. Von Stratton girls (those who model and perform in her designs) are just an extension of me—who I was as a teenager, who I am again now— the type of girl who is a little fun and quirky a little smart and intelligent, someone who is an interesting person who loves a little bit of color. 

A. | How did you become interested in the fashion industry?

I never “became interested” it was just part of something I had to do, it was never a customer or a thought of “oh this is what I should do”…it just came from being a child who found out how to make stuff to wear while in high school and when performing—I got into musical theater in high school and college, which kind of progressed naturally from one into the other — now burlesque.

I was never afraid to jump into the deep end in some form or fashion. When I turned 25, I was feeling super stale creatively but I knew I needed to do something and I had the thought “if you’re young, and you’re already broke and you want to be an artist…that's when you should move to NY, right?! But I found a corner space on Capitol Hill to have a 300 square foot retail space. 20 days later I opened a store on my 25th birthday. I still didn’t know what I was doing but I was faking it until I made it. What I was providing my customers was an example of small artists making it work! After two years I realized what a terrible thing to do while having two jobs…so I sold the space and made custom designs. And I finally traveled then and I saw the world. Traveling to places like Shanghai was an interesting experience because it showed me what the world of manufacturing looked like on a huge scale…it was really inspirational to know that manufacturing wasn’t so far out of reach….Traveling is important to my soul.

A. | What is your work routine? What does your job entail? 

I work a 16 hour day most days including admin work/emails, research and then the design and manufacturing aspect. It's normally a 16 hour day…For me it is important to keep up with fashion and design, what the fashion weeks are showing, what other designers are doing. It is important to see what's happening…some designers think the opposite because they are concerned with accidentally copying what they have seen.

A. | Where do you feel at home? 

In Seattle (born and raised).  I'm feeling the most at home and at peace more than I ever have at this particular moment in my life and it's because I have an amazing balance between love and work and passion. 

A. | What's your vision for the future of your work? 

I am very excited. I decided last year to produce Ready-to-Wear and wholesale. I am no wallowing more accessibility for girls across the nation for the things I create.

A. | How do you define success?

Production-wise a successful project is something that is done with enough time that any fixes and alterations can be made—there is enough time to make it perfect for those who wear it. Resources like time and budget are what I would love more of. In general, happy clients equals success!

A. | From where do you get inspiration? 

Inspiration comes from my own mind—I’m constantly drawing from the cool color-block chick—the scooter girl in the mid 60’s that i’ve wanted to be my entire life—that Beverly d’angelo who plays a fabulous 80’s lady…My designs are inspired by the girls I want to be.

A. | What are you most proud of in your career?

Working with Daniel Helman. I created looks for him and it was so beyond the scope of my understanding and it helped me have real, raw designer experiences that at the time make you want to cry and later are so important…we created crazy stuff. Having done this for so long but being self taught, there’s a lot of things I learned the hard way—a lot of things I learn as I go, especially when it comes to custom design of really extravagant things.

A. | What is unique to Seattle’s Fashion Industry? 

We can all attest that the Northwest doesn’t always have the best fashion sense…I don’t think that anyone should go to any red carpet event looking like they are going to the grocery store..there is so much access to glamour!..You can literally go to goodwill and walk away looking like a million bucks for 15 bucks. I find myself wishing a lot that the level of personal pride in fashion was higher here. I cannot tell you how many big, amazing events I have been to where I see someone wearing an XBOX T-shirt…this comes from the tech industry being very relaxed…I suppose if you're going to have a party you should indicate what your attire should be like. 

A. | How does fashion play a role in society? 

Social norms are pretty much the only thing that seems to be working for encouraging style. I wish people would not give two fucks about not looking weird and believing that they're going to look fucking awesome.