Unabashed Apparel

Twitter is a magical place. I know, I know… you’re thinking, ‘this gal is crazy!’ But I’m serious;). Maybe I’m not online 24/7 tweeting about my every move, but I am on there daily, checking out news stories, learning about new shops, and discovering new designers. Last week, I got a ‘follow’ notice from Unabashed Apparel. I clicked on the website to learn a little more and was taken to a charming site with some pretty darn fabulous designs. Wearable, stylish, eco-conscious… everything a gal needs these days. I sent a quick note off to mastermind, Sarahbeth Larrimore and received the nicest response in return.

From our first interaction, I knew I’d made a  friend in Sarahbeth. She is kind, generous, intelligent and creative. The kind of gal who you meet and feel like you’ve been friends with for years. A read-through of our conversation below will show you what I mean! Please enjoy, send a hello to Sarahbeth and buy some of her fabulous designs!!

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Unabashed Apparel

the website :: the blog :: the online shop :: the tweets :: the fan page

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Meet Sarah Larrimore, the brains, the brawn and the beauty behind Unabashed Apparel

[hint: she’s the one on the right!]

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Just Plain Lovely: Where are you from?

Sarahbeth Larrimore, Unabashed Apparel: Rural Cackalacky. I mean Ru-Ral

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SS10

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JPL: Where do you live now?

SL: Asheville NC

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SS10

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JPL: What do you love most about your area?

SL: Living in mountains so old with such a great great grandfatherly feeling, and a very vibrant and community driven arts scene in town.

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JPL: Where does the name Unabashed Apparel come from? What does is signify?

SL: We’d need a novella for that one. [JPL note: for a start, check this out]

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JPL: How did you get your start in clothing design?

SL: My godmother is one of the most talented seamstresses I’ve ever known and she was always sewing up amazing creations for me growing up. I started dreaming up my perfect and favorite things I wish were out there when I was a wee teen and then got interested in how you create patterns to fit the dreaming. I loved simple beautiful pieces – couldn’t find them and started drafting, draping and generally going about everything by the seat of my pants. Man – I cringe to think back on those early trial and error years.

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SS10

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JPL: What were you up to before Unabashed Apparel came to be?

SL: I seriously have always designed and created. There wasn’t really a before – there were experiences bending my road this way.

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JPL: Tell me a bit about the organic and eco-conscious side of your business.

SL: The fabric industry is incredibly toxic and harsh on the environment and workers. We have a lot of work to do towards better standards and safer practices environmentally and for humanity. Organic farming solves some of the problem. There are still fair trade issues and issues of waste. We have to both work to improve the industry and to change the way we view clothing and its lifespan. Cradle to coffin, I want to know I’m doing my best to design and produce clothing that is conscious, responsible, and lasts, if that means it takes longer and nets less monetarily – I’ll take that trade with a hearty smile. I am an environmentalist, a humanitarian and a fashion designer. All of those are equally important to me when it comes to my business. But you know what – organic burlap can so be sexy trussed up the right way.

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SS10

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JPL: Where did the concept for your current line come from?

SL: S/S 2010 – was all about my favorite things: daybreak, swedish design, linen, the first star in the evening, and that capable can-do woman of the 1930s.

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SS10

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JPL: What are you current favorite designs in your shop?

SL: Ah – the floor length linen shirtdress and the simple scoopneck tee. Oh and the lambsear henley. Ah – one more… that crinkly starlight dress. I wear the heck out of it. I layer it with everything and throw it in the wash. It looks better a bit worn.

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SS10

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JPL: I noticed something on your blog about a wedding dress… do you do custom designs?

SL: I create 1 or 2 custom wedding dresses a year when I have a bride that just gets to me. I love a wedding and when I have someone come along and say words to me like: “rich red – party dress wedding gown” – and “You make it look fabulous and decide everything else” – how can I say no? If the project really speaks to me I’ll do it.

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SS10

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JPL: Do you work on your own, or do you have helpers?

SL: I design all my bits. I draft, often dye and always sew it all up. I expect to have a couple of great gals to help me out on the sewing production part of it soon. I’ve been working on Unabashed Apparel for 9 years now and I have to say, without the help of all the women in my life I would really be lolling about on the veranda wailing and gnashing my teeth. The Unabashed people I know pat me on the back, dust me off and sometimes say, ‘that looks like crap.’ I depend on all of them. Some of them help with communications, marketing, and repping the line. I have a fabulous stylist and they all work for clothing. As my friend, Apple, reminds me, it takes a village, and there are always free rooms in mine…

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SS10

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JPL: Do you work out of a studio, or out of your home and what do you like most about your work space?

SL: I have the best of both worlds. I have a small farmhouse and the entire upstairs that was once the farmer’s 3 daughter’s bedrooms is my studio space. There are lovely gabled eaves and a sense of the young women who told their secrets and dreams to each other. The most important thing: I have a door to shut when I need a break or to clear my head.

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SS10

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JPL: Who are some of your favorite designers?

SL: I adore Maggie Norris. She is such an amazing American Couturier. Nicole Miller, Ralph Lauren and Donna Karen for your staple large designers. Alabama Chanin – wow – just a thank you to that gal. She totally understands and is a founding creator of the need for responsible, conscious, and beautiful fashion design. Gary Graham. Kara Larson makes a line of dresses that are fabulous and answered the questions of a young gal just starting out. Both the designs and the story behind Rodarte please me to no end. Eileen Fisher… she created something simple that women really needed.

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JPL: Define your personal style… how do you feel that affects your own designs? From where do you draw your inspiration?

SL: I’m a Southern girl picking up hay bales in faded denim and a navy merino wool wrap, a New England daughter of the Salem witch trials, a history major in a linen shift studying the timber and mud in the Moravian buildings from the 1700s, a Scandinavian modern artist who refuses to wear anything but grey and white, a curvaceous bartender with wine painted nails playing the fiddle on a fire escape in NYC, and a West coast gal wearing blue ticking and plaid, steering a boat alone out on misty waters. A tad disheveled – with a too-loud laugh. Bosom friends and heartfelt talks over wine and bonfires. The quiet and solitude. My designs are certainly a dance between my style and the influences of the unabashed women I know. The seasons, literature, historical dress, and a bit of fairytale or a long southern yarn thrown in for good measure weave their way in.

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JPL: What advice would you give up and coming designers?

SL: I think what I’d say to them I’d say to anyone working towards their heart’s desire: You have to design for yourself. If you don’t you’ll be lost when rocky weather sets in. Don’t design for fame or money, design because at the end of the day, that’s what you’d be doing anyway. Look to your elders. These women have been sewing to clothe themselves, their families and in great artistry. They have so much to teach us.

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FW10/11

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JPL: I love that you do gratitude Fridays on your blog… how did that come to be and how long have you been doing it?

SL: Thank you. I had a moment when Unabashed apparel was finally in its stride – finally what I envisioned and evoked the style and fulfilled the need I saw out there. I poured it all into the business and was exhausted – writing out the things I have to be grateful for restores me.

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JPL: If you could pick anywhere in the world to visit right now, where would you go?

SL: There’s a small island you can’t get to but by boat with 1 greying and decaying fishing shack and nothing else off the coast of NC. I’d give a lot to have a tiny boat and go there. Ask me again in the fall – I’ll say on a road trip up to the coast until the car can’t go any farther in Maine.

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SS11

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JPL: Lastly… I saw a few sneak peek photos (on your blog and on Jana Busbin‘s site) of the SS11 line and am in loooooove. When can we expect to see those designs in stores?

SL: It is such a measure of restraint to be so excited about a line and not be able to show it!!! I’m still itching to debut the fall/winter 2010 line. It will start to debut in July – we’re so excited about it. There’s a whole hint of story that goes with it. As far as S/S11 – it will start to peek around the corner in late January. Ah the torture!

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the favorites

Author: Toni Morrison, Neil Gaimon, J Ruth Gendler

Musician: Patty Griffin, The Wailin’ Jennys, and the now defunk The Duhks – my heart’s still broken.

Drink: Bloody Mary – the more olives and the hotter it is the better. I couldn’t live without coffee.

Flower: ​Spring – Muscari & Lambsear; Summer – Hollyhocks, Sea Holly & Nasturtiums; Fall – Lumina Pumpkins; Winter – Dark Hellebores

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** Many thanks to Sarahbeth for being such a lovely gal;)

[all photos by Jana Busbin for Unabashed Apparel – please check her out!! fabulous photographer with a lovely blog!]

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Comments

  1. oh, I just love unabashed apparel!I have to say, I have one of her older pieces, and it is one of my favorites… these are great photos!

    • oh yay!! I’m a little late to the game, I’m afraid, but I’m a new dedicate;). the photos are all Jana Busbin – fab! I’m super excited to get my very first Unabashed piece!

    • Hello! Thank you so much for your kind words. It’s such a delight to see my photos and this great feature on your darling blog.

      I can completely attest that Sarahbeth is one of the most warm, generous and good-hearted people I know. It goes without saying she’s a fantastic designer, and working with her is a dream. I hope more people discover her, too!

      • Jana, SO thrilled to feature your gorgeous photos on the blog! I’m excited to see more and am happy to have found not one, but two new sites to follow. I’ve been loving your blog:). Thanks for your kind words as well!! Enjoy this last bit of weekend!

  2. “The kind of gal who you meet and feel like you’ve been friends with for years.”

    An apt description of Sarahbeth… I met her just a year ago, and I’m already deep into a plot to convince her to buy a summer home in Oregon, just so I can have my good friend Sarahbeth close by more often – after all, she’s one of my oldest friends (or maybe it just feels that way).

    Oh, and she’s pretty good at the whole designing thing, too. I attended a wedding with a bride in a Sarahbeth original; the dress was gorgeous and perfectly suited the bride’s personality.

    I love the Unabashed apparel I currently own, and I covet several more pieces.

    • Thank you so much for reading and for sharing that story! I’m sending some luck your way that you’ll convince Sarahbeth to get a second place out West. From I hear, Oregon is just stunning! Hope you have a fabulous weekend!!;)

  3. i love this designer. thanks for the interview!

  4. Danielle Becker says:

    I am one of the lucky brides who had the honor of having my dress designed by Sarabeth. She is a beautiful person and an amazing artist. Thank you for featuring her!

  5. Danielle Becker says:

    Oohhh..Sarahbeth, don’t kill me…I misspelled your name in my first post! 🙂 xoxo

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