Samantha Pleet: Bright young thing for 2011
B HIVE - Bianca Salonga () - October 10, 2010 - 12:00am

There is good reason why Fashion Week — whether in New York, Milan, London or Paris — causes such a stir. It is during this time of the year that the world’s most fashionable gather to celebrate innovation, creativity and the birth of new propositions. It is also the time when industry insiders ask each other, “What’s next and who’s hot?”

Front row regulars during the more established shows wonder — season after season — how a particular label’s creative director will bring a fashion institution into the future. Sure, there will probably be a few hits and an equal amount of misses, but it is nonetheless good to see what form style will take in the coming months. Then of course, there is the constant lookout for the new, bright young thing on the style front. Each season, observers, followers, critics and yes, even a few victims, are more than eager to get first dibs on who will define the future of fashion, how it will be done and most certainly, to what extent their influence will go once all the hype and buzz have died down.

During the recently-concluded New York Fashion Week, there seemed to have been a fascination over young designers propagating sustainability and eco chic fashion. One such designer is Brooklyn-based Samantha Pleet. It was in 2006 when Pleet first debuted her collection and since then she has been the go-to designer of such talented artists like Beach House, The Dirty Projectors and Au Revoir Simone. Pleet explains, “I design clothes for people who think every day should be an adventure, so I like my clothes to tell a story — one that is whimsical, mysterious and a bit fantastical. I am known for rompers because they look like a work suit for an adventurous day.”

Pleet’s work was immediately recognized for its unique silhouettes, refreshingly nonchalant appeal and use of special organic fabrics. “I actually like the way organic fabrics feel. You can tell that a lot of care was taken in creating them,” declares Pleet. She continues, “I tend to stay away from any man-made fibers. I have always been drawn to silk, cotton and wool. I also like to support the local business — all my clothes are produced in New York.” While the functionality and diversity in Pleet’s body of work are absolute expressions of an urban and modern aesthetic, she nonetheless manages to integrate nostalgic elements as in the case of her Spring Summer 2011 collection.

Taking inspiration from the last days of summer, Pleet’s latest offering relives the memories of love and heartbreak, joy and sadness, anxiety and tranquility. There is a certain brand of simplicity to Pleet’s work yet immediately, one can see that it takes a certain character to pull off her pieces perfectly. She affirms, “My clothes take on the personalities of those who wear them — they are unique and can make you feel special without the garment wearing you.” When asked how she comes up with a collection, Pleet also reveals, “I read, travel, watch films, listen to music and try to observe the world around me. I try not to be influenced by trends, I don’t read fashion magazines and I design things I am looking for but can’t find on my wanderings.” Pleet also goes on to describe that her clients, aside from individuals in the music industry, are mostly those who have an overactive imagination, allowing her pieces to freely adapt to any given mood, theme or temperament.

Creation has always been Pleet’s passion. Prior to her first collection’s debut, she had apprenticed for Harper’s Bazaar and later for experimental fashion label, threeASFOUR. Although Pleet had eventually taken up Fashion Design at Pratt Institute, she began delving into the realm of creation through painting and later realized that fabric was her medium of choice. Pleet recalls, “Since I was a child I wanted to create. Long before I studied painting I also tried to learn music and acting.”

One to constantly explore all possible channels for creativity, Pleet has also done several collaborations since she started designing. Just a few years ago, she created a line for Urban Outfitters called Rapscallion, which created quite the stir among the trendsetting set. She had also curated a hip pop up shop in LA called Space 15 where she created a Samantha Pleet universe by filling the store with trinket, vintage pieces, jewelry and clothes, which has been accumulated through travel.

So what else does New York Fashion Week’s bright, young thing have up her sleeve? Pleet reveals, “I did a shoe collaboration with Osborn design Studio’s, it’s exciting to have oxfords that match your clothes. I also did a small line of swimsuits, and for the first time I developed my very own Samantha Pleet print!”

Art direction and photography by David Black • Assisted by Andre Dubow • Styling by Turner • Makeup by Kumi Craig • Hairstyling by Brian Fisher • Model: Victoria Legrand • All outfits by Samantha Pleet • All accessories by Bliss Lau

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