Hi everyone, I’m back…and this time your Blogger/Journalist Rachel Ulloa got to have some one-on-one time with designer Jane Suttell…
I have had the privilege to meet Jane at her Sample Sell and I am glad to call her my friend. She is not only talented but she is a bundle of joy to be around and this time I interviewed her and got to learn about her career as a designer which I found very interesting because, as you know, I am an undercover cop in fashion. The day of the interview I was detective Rachel Ulloa and my goal as a blogger/Journalist and writer is to let my readers know the people I interview in a more intimate way and of course I will ask the question who are wearing? in the near future when I interview people on the red carpet (flashback…and much love to the late, GREAT comedian and fashionista Joan Rivers, who changed the red carpet forever by asking celebrities the famous question: “Who are you wearing?”)…and the day of my interview I am glad to say I was wearing Jane Suttell. Now back to my point, that my goal as a blogger and writer is to let my readers know that it takes a designer a ton of work to design a piece and to all the non-fashion lovers out there that dress plain-Jane, take notes; and to you, Jane Suttell, there is nothing plain about your collection! Now there is a designer that takes the time and makes your clothes well. You can’t run from fashion, fashion will run to you! So to all you t-shirt and jeans lovers out there, someone has that design for you! I really hope this interview with designer Jane Suttell could impact any upcoming designers…and if you are not a designer like myself it is always good and exciting to learn about the people’s stories behind any business they have started. The great Benjamin Franklin said: “Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.” We should never stop learning and I am proud to say that your blogger has learned from designer Jane Suttell. Before the interview I got to look around and play dress up. I must admit I had a blast taking a look around!!!
Check me out wearing who else but Jane Suttell!
It was nice catching up with Jane before the interview.
The day of the interview I was super excited and relaxed since having met Jane before took off some of the pressure.The interview was held on 39th Street between 7th and 8th Avenues. This is where Jane showcases her line and her clientele that live in the city meet with her and get some shopping done, but Jane spends most of the time in Connecticut which is where her business is. My interview with her was at 4 PM on the dot. Being a New Yorker and knowing how rush hour could be intense I left home around 2:30 and I got to 39th Street around 3:30 and one thing I love about living in this city is that no matter how many times you go to the same destination a couple of times there is always some kind of inspiration and something new going on in the city. As I was looking around there were so many fabric stores and I saw people coming in and out buying fabric. I also observed how people will touch the fabrics by the huge glass window and I thought to myself how a designer could get so much inspiration from a simple piece of fabric. I also thought to myself and imagined how Jane started. I knew in no time it will be game time but I had drifted off again and I was thinking about my fifth grade performance of “New York, New York,” made famous by the great Frank Sinatra. [It begins: “Start spreading the news, I am leaving today, I want to be a part of it, New York, New York.”] Thinking to myself in silence, I thought about how many people come from all over the world to pursue their career in fashion and how is all starts with the passion to do what you love. I kept on singing “New York, New York” and I was interrupted by the alarm on my phone and I knew it was time for your blogger/Journalist to not just meet and greet designer Jane Suttell but to get to know and show to the world who is designer Jane Suttell and what makes her collection FABULOUS!!!! Before the interview I took some photos wearing…Jane Suttell, who else? Check me out!
Of course I had to start the interview off by asking Jane who she is wearing, and of course she was wearing designer Jane Suttell. Coco Chanel could not have said it better when she said: “A girl should be two things, classy and fabulous.” And, I must add, we both looked classy and fabulous because we were both wearing Jane Suttell! Equally important, I got to find out that Jane’s favorite color is orange. (Jane, because I have much love and respect for you, I should really dress up as a pumpkin for this HALLOWEEN…lol.) She told me how she loves colors and even though people tend to make more things in black, color means happy to her..and I can’t agree more, Jane!
Rachel Ulloa: At what age did you know that you wanted to be a designer?
Jane Suttell: Well (laugh) I grew up with my Barbie dolls I think by age 11 (laugh) I decided but my mother didn’t sew and so I really learned to sew from my mother’s friends and in Junior High School because in those days they were teaching home ec.
Rachel Ulloa: Did you go to school for fashion?
Jane Suttell: I did and I didn’t. Once I learned to sew I had a really wonderful grandmother who lived in New England and I was at the west coast and in those years there was all these mills in New England and she will go to the mill and buy all this fabric really inexpensively and will put it in the box and send it to me so like at age 12 and 13 I will go to the local dime store and buy patterns and come home and cut things up and I didn’t always finish things if I got to a point and did not understand it or I got uninterested I will just put it in the drawer and my mother never said anything and she told me later that she didn’t say anything because she did not know how to sew so she felt very nonjudgmental.
Rachel Ulloa: Did you feel it was a hobby at first and then it became a passion of yours?
Jane Suttell: I think that it was not sewing so much that got me into it. I think I love to draw so I grew up drawing and then I was sewing so well in Junior High that when I got the next sewing class there was nothing really that the teacher could teach me in terms of sewing so she knew how to make patterns and she actually brought me a pattern book and showed me how to make fluff patterns, so I started doing that so by the time I got to college I could make my own patterns. I am sure it was not like I make them now, but I had the basic facility and so I started in liberal arts and then I really wanted to do fashion so I transferred to Rhode Island School of Design and I went there for a while, but actually because I had gone to liberal arts college and I got involved in theater and that really took up my interest, so I ended up finishing my degree in theater and working as a costume designer for 20 years. Then my son came along and my husband was kind of on an international track for his career and someone had to be around and then that is when I revisited becoming a fashion designer and so I think what was good was I had all this costume history. I had been like making clothes from the 20’s and making clothes from 1870 and so I had all these interesting ideas.
Rachel Ulloa: Describe the women you design for.
Jane Suttell: I wasn’t nineteen anymore, so I think what was fun was I was making clothes for a girl that will fit my life. I was designing for me. I was designing for a creative person who had a career and had to deal with family and kids and stuff. I was trying to make clothes that were kind of day to evening. You know like wore the under parts you change the jacket made dress up to go out. They were fluid. We did a lot of flowing things. We did a lot of separates, things that you could layer on by how you change your jewelry.
Rachel Ulloa: What age group do you design for?
Jane Suttell: I think I design more for a kind of person because we seem to appeal to people who are a little bit quirky. Who really love clothes and are not afraid to make a statement but so they are all of the mainstream kind of straight designers in terms of serious fashion and then there is kind of fast fashion. So I think is people who really are collecting clothes. They want things that are fresh but they also want to think it will be it their closet in five years and they might not be wearing it every day.
Rachel Ulloa: Do you think your clothes are timeless?
Jane Suttell: I think some of the things are. I mean, I think we venture into a kind of trendy stuff….I would like to think the tops and jackets.
Rachel Ulloa: Describe yourself in one word?
Jane Suttell: QUIRKY (with lots of laughs)!
Rachel Ulloa: When women wear Jane Suttell how do you want them to feel?
Jane Suttell: I just want to feel, I guess, comfortable and beautiful.
Rachel Ulloa: Who were your inspirations in the fashion industry?
Jane Suttell:Well, I think there are so many wonderful people out there. I don’t know. That is really hard. I guess what you look at Oscar De La Renta, Bill Blass, and Geoffrey Beene. I think Oscar and Geoffrey they were really class acts. I think they dress a certain kind of woman and they also dress a lot of stars but I think they were just class acts.
Rachel Ulloa: One word to describe your line?
Jane Suttell: I don’t know? What would you use? (I describe her line as “timeless” and Jane describes her line as) timeless and elegant.
Rachel Ulloa: What was the youngest girl who you had shopping here?
Jane Suttell: We have done ten-year-olds (laugh). Because their moms love the clothes and the girls… For birthdays or anything? Yes or for bat mitzvahs. So the moms wear the clothes, so the kids grow up and they love the clothes and the moms say will you consider…
Rachel Ulloa: But you don’t design for, you only design for women?
Jane Suttell: Yes.
Rachel Ulloa: But if you had to, you design for children?
Jane Suttell: Yes we will do a lot of cut to order, cut to measure. So we do a lot of when we take some measurements and we make this coat.
Rachel Ulloa: Will you design for men?
Jane Suttell: I have done numerous things for men. So like what? Give me an example? Well, I have done crazy tail suits with kimono edges. I have opera coats and linen suits.
Rachel Ulloa: Why did you decide to name your line Jane Suttell?
Jane Suttell: Well it was my maiden name and it was my professional name when I worked theater, and when I was setting up the business part of my side business I started out being Jane New York. It was a really cute label. It was square and I really liked it but the lawyer said all real designer use their name, and so I thought about it and I thought okay, I will be just be Jane Suttell, and since then I gotten married and so at that point I decided I will have a private life and I had a public persona so that is really what happened.
Rachel Ulloa: What do you listen to the radio? Do you listen to the radio?
Jane Suttell: I do. I love Adele. I love music. I spend many years listening to Am radio it was notorious driving people crazy because I love popular radio but there is no really good radio in New York so I listen to a lot of Pandora a lot. I listen to Bollywood mix, (laugh from the both of us and Jane explained) I love a lot of Bollywood. I watch a lot of of Bollywood and buy a lot of soundtracks. I just got really into it. I love the colors and stories and I love all the singing and dancing. I like to consider myself multicultural.
Rachel Ulloa: Who would you like to design for like a celebrity?
Jane Suttell: I designed for a number of celebrities. Well we done Glenn Close, and we did Margo Martindale, we dressed her for the Emmys which she won. We have done a lot of Tony Awards. Ellen Burstyn, Camryn Manheim, we do our fair share. I think it will be fun to do younger girls (I suggested Rihanna and Jane agreed). I think that because I come from theatre that I can do a great job.
Rachel Ulloa: What year was you line Jane Suttell founded?
Jane Suttell: I think we started like 1992 so about 23 years now.
Rachel Ulloa: When did you find yourself as a designer? Like, you started in theatre, so how did you find yourself? Did you always know what kind of girl you wanted to design for?
Jane Suttell: Yes because I think I was designing for me. I was designing for the creative, active, traveling person who has a family, so thinking in terms of you know being fully engage to work place and also being engage in her family life so in creative fields. I mean I had never had a 9 to 5 job, being in fashion is the most 9 to 5 job I ever had, so I think in creative fields your time is much more fluid. In one sense that is good and in another sense you end up working all the time because you’re just kind of working and doing family, you are not just like leaving it in the office.
Rachel Ulloa: Do you design for the plus size women?
Jane Suttell: Yes we cut to about 3x. (I had to smile because I believe all women should embrace their curves.)
Rachel Ulloa: I ended the interview with a quote from the great Thomas A. Edison. “Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time.”
There you have it, ladies and gentlemen, my interview with designer Jane Suttell. She describes herself, in one word, as “quirky.” If I could describe her in one word right now I will describe her as “passionate.” It was an honor and privilege to interview a woman that is honorable, quirky, warm, and talented. In addition, Jane Suttell designs for the woman who wants and is not afraid to have elegance. Her designs read graceful, chic, dashing, elusive, high-class, in vogue, modish, superior and the list goes on and on. Not only could her designs be described as such, but she designs for the woman that shows skin at the right places and could still make a grand entrance. Less is more, ladies and gentlemen, and this is where designer Jane Suttell excels. She makes clothes for the woman who is secure with herself and I am proud to say that I am that type of woman. I must admit, I felt sexier than I have ever felt before when wearing her designs. Take a look at my last look wearing Jane Suttell. Until next time Rachel Ulloa is On The Go!
Photo Credit: Asa Williams