Malia Peoples wearing Lady Konnyaku
Lady Konnyaku Clothing features original Japanese-street fashion and vintage-inspired clothing for cute ladies. All designs are made using a mix of colorfully paired new and vintage fabrics. Handmade from start to finish by Seattle fashion designer Malia Peoples. Get yours!
Who inspires Malia
Eri Utsugi, designer for Japanese label Mercibeaucoup. I have been following her since I began fashion school. Her designs are “out there” and she blends colors, patterns, and textures in a way that I find quite pleasing.
What Malia does
I am the one-woman does all behind Lady Konnyaku. Anyone in the fashion business knows that this is much more complicated than it sounds. It’s a full-time job-worth of fabric selecting, pattern making, pattern grading, sewing, and finishing. In addition, I have created, updated, and maintained my own website, taken and edited pictures, and have done all the graphic design work for my company. I started this company from scratch, without any funding or help… starting off small and truly independent is something I take great pride in.
What Malia Does best
I’m the best at putting together weird fabrics, colors, textures and findings. Without fabric, you can’t have clothing, and I get most of my inspiration from fabrics.
What other profession Malia would like to attempt
I’d like to be a high-level sales executive in the Tampon industry inChina. No joke, it is an untapped market with huge investment potential.
What turns Malia on creatively, spiritually or emotionally
Other creative people. Weird people. Makers of things. Passionate people. My colleagues in the fashion industry who have retained their humor, humility, and humanity- the ones who have not gotten swept away by the “fakeness” of it all by staring down their nose at people and acting catty.
Where to find Malia
Ready-to-wear Lady Konnyaku clothing and custom clothing requests can be fulfilled at www.ladykonnyaku.com!
Where Malia got her Talent/Education
I have really intelligent, supportive parents. They have always encouraged me to try new things, have confidence, and believe in myself. I was a pretty active kid, taking part in music, dance, art, sports. That set the stage. After I graduated from high school, I moved to China. Mind you, I was barely 18, I didn’t speak Mandarin, and it was my first time away from home. That sink-or-swim year of living gave me a new perspective on life and was empowering. After I graduated from the University of Washington, I embarked on another solo adventure to work in New York at a Chinese nonprofit. I eventually returned to Washington, where my work prospects were disappointing and I decided that I could learn a new skill. I needed something that would compliment my knowledge of Chinese: fashion design. I mean, where else in the world do they manufacture more clothing? With a fistful of cash and a giant wad of determination, I tried to woo local art schools and community colleges. Needless to say, they were not interested in teaching someone with a clean slate. See, I had absolutely no prior knowledge of sewing, pattern making, fashion design… I’d never even touched a sewing machine. I think this was fate, though, because I found my way to the New York Fashion Academy in Ballard. Terry Horlamus, the director of the school, accepted me as I was and taught me everything that I know. Within a few years, I had completed the program and slowly began Lady Konnyaku Clothing.
Finally borrowing from Bernard Pivot- If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates?
Well, since God speaks all languages, I would expect Him to speak Chinese. He would say, “欢迎欢迎! 我们等着你. 请进来！” (“Welcome! We have been expecting you. Please come in!”)
Image: (1) Portrait by DCTdesigns (2) Others of Malia’s designs from her website
***I hope to make this a regular feature on my blog. Tuesday Talent Interviews are designed to introduce you to a myriad of incredible artisans. Enjoy!