Ann Forseth of Romany Rapture
How did you become interested in designing clothing?
First of all, a heartfelt Thank You to Cat for letting me share! XO
As far back as I can remember I’ve been drawn to the exotic, colorful and highly decorated clothing of cultures and societies outside my realm and I really wanted to touch and wear them. Clothing and costumes are some of the most wide spread (world wide) forms of self expression. The cultural relevance of any sort of clothing style still intrigues me. I narrowed my focus starting in my teenage years when I began finding antique blouses, coats and dresses to buy. If they didn’t fit, I would alter them or adorn them with my own bits of found lace, ribbon, buttons, etc. When a purchased pattern wasn’t quite what I wanted my super seamstress mom would help me get it to where I envisioned it should be. That simple delight in seeing and then going on to make, (in my own way) interesting and creative clothing is probably the beginning of my interest in designing clothing from start to finish.
How long have you been designing ?
I’ve been at it about 18 years. The last 6 years more seriously.
What or who inspires your creations?
The shapes and movement of people I see every day are the most inspiring. Fabric speaks quite eloquently to me and can convince me rather quickly that I need to take it home and transform it into some other shape! I really love the Victorian and Baroque styles for the exuberant way textiles and trims were applied. So many layers and colors and textures, oh yes! The colors of India are another huge source of inspiration. I realize not everyone can be as enamored with color as I am but Indian fabric is so cheerful and utterly alive. Then there is the dark and secretive feel of black you can usually find in Gothic styles. Pure elegance there, I love it.
How do you begin your design process?
Lots of thinking…letting my brain build something I can work with I guess. Sometimes the ideas present themselves fully formed. I then sketch out the various parts of the garment. I’m not very good at fashion illustration so I do drawings of parts rather than the whole. Then I dig around in my fabric collection to see which ones strike me as compatible, or… do I need to buy some? I love it when that happens!
Pic includes my model; Shannon Boxrz on the left, myself and author Nikki McCormack, who also has kindly modeled for me on occasion. Author Nikki McCormack
What are your favorite fabrics and or styles to work with?
I love woven fabrics. Natural fibers like silk, linen, and cotton are lovely to handle. Sometimes the fabric is so well behaved I just want to sing!! I’ll admit to my fabric addiction right now. Jackets are my most favorite garment to make. Things that are both fitted yet flow I like, also styles that allow me to add trim. I really like decorating the garments! So, Victorian, Steampunk, Gothic and my lifelong personal favorite style; Boho-Hippie-Fairy-Summer Girl.
Circus Punk Outfit Model is Arika Thomas
What other interests and hobbies do you enjoy in your spare time?
Sewing and designing can be very structured so my “off”time I find myself doing things with less structure. I still sew….goodies like freeform bags and voodoo dolls. I love my camera and it goes everywhere with me. Hiking, gardening, archery, dancing, painting, screen printing, reading are a few things I enjoy when I have time. Taking a class in something new is great fun, and stirs up the brain cells! I’m starting soon in a fashion photography class and I’m very patiently teaching myself to drum, a hand drum called a djembe.
What is your most treasured handmade possession?
An earring/bracelet set my daughter made for me, in greens and blues with a silver turtle charm. And a quilt my mom made when I was 13, in the brilliant colors she knew I loved so much.
Models are Shannon Boxrz and Nikki McCormack
Where can we find your lovely clothing designs?
You can find me on Etsy
Also on my website
other places I play…
Thank you so much, Ann! Until next time dear readers! XOXO Cat
**ALL PHOTOS ARE COPYRIGHT OF AND COURTESY OF ANN FORSETH AND ROMANY RAPTURE.