Thursday, March 31, 2011

Featured Team Member: benddownboutique

The Fashion:Remix Team member featured this month hails from the U.K. Please welcome Katherine Umunna of benddownboutique.

SerendipiT: You've been a member of our team for quite a while now and we'd all love to get to know more about you and your beautiful work. What can you tell us about yourself?

benddownboutique: Hi! I'm Katherine, also known as Kitty or Kat, and I'm a Londoner at heart, but I am currently studying a BA Textiles Degree at the University for Creative Arts in Surrey, so I reside here too! I have been recycling clothes since I was probably 16, where I made the most gorgeous jeans tote bag, accessorised with junk I found laying around the house! But I have been selling my designs for the past 18 months, and it is slow, but steady, I know I can probably do this full time once I graduate!

SerendipiT: Wow, well it sounds like you are definitely on the path to success. I know I speak for the whole team when I say that I wish you much success. You have really unique eye and a clear creative voice in your work. I've noticed that you feature a lot of patchwork and applique and the juxtoposition of patterns, colors and styles. What inspires you?

benddownboutique: Anything and everything inspires me; I could be watching the TV, or flicking through a Fashion Magazine, or I could really be into a type of genre and it would spur me to create all sorts of things. Everything I design is more of a "aspirational" perspective; say, if I was more stylish, I would wear this, or if I was more rebellious, I would wear that... come to think of it, I think it depends on my mood!

SerendipiT: You mentioned that you've been refashioning clothes since you were 16; how did you get started with that and why do you continue to refashion?

bendownboutique: I think its very important to choose the refashioned route. But I would do this because its a way of expressing yourself with the minimal materials that you have, and making your own stamp on the world, whilst impacting less on the environment!

SerendipiT: What drew you to our little team?

benddownboutique: I came across the Fashion Remix Team on Etsy, I thought that it was really cool that there was a group that appreciated the theory of recycling and creating the most amazing pieces. It also is such a privilege to work with such amazing designers! My favorite team member shop is Mountain Girl Clothing; the garments are so hippie-chic, and so quirky, and also very original, its like this is a trend in itself, and its amazing.

SerendipiT: Do you have a particular material that you prefer?

benddownboutique: I love working with cotton- its so much easier to work with when upcycling, and its easier on my sewing machine!

SerendipiT: Let's get personal...tell me a few of your favorite things.

benddownboutique: I LOVE LOVE LOVE Violet Bella's Etsy shop- I have been following her since last summer and I love the free spirited nature of her designs, and I love the fact that she is multi-talented; selling recycled clothing, art pieces, and creating jewellery, AND photography. She is my inspiration.

My favorite blog is probably either lune vintage/elsie cake, they are so cool, with their whimsical lives, and interesting views on life, and fashion. I just really enjoy their way of running a business. I must say, I'm tempted to migrate to America! :)

I love working with scraps when I'm designing for my shop, but when I'm not designing I love working with acrylic paint, its very theraputic to work with.

Favorite book: Leap of Faith, by Danielle Steel

Favorite movie: Juno!

Favorite Colour: Green- ALTHOUGH I have a lot of pink stuff... oh dear!

SerendipiT: Wow, well that's a lot of great stuff for me to check out. I love to shop among my teammates favorite stores; you meet so many cool creators that way. I've never really gotten into Danielle Steel, but I may just have to give it a whirl now. Juno was a great movie and I too love to wear all shades of green, but am secretly in love with pink and orange this year also.

So, aside from Etsy, where do you like to shop for materials and personal clothing?

benddownboutique: Hmm... I always go to the RSPCA charity shop in Farnham, they have the most cutest, and cheapest clothing. I love going there when I have next to no money because I know that they always have something for me, whatever my budget is!

Although I like vintage, I don't like to buy stuff from vintage shops, because I just really see it as "expensive second hand goods", and I wouldn't pay so much money for something I could get at a Charity shop.

Everyone must shop on; they have the most luxurious and eccletic clothing, and its all for a decent price, so everyone gets a benefit :)

SerendipiT: Ok, it's about to get weird so hold on to your seat....If you were an article of clothing, what would you be and why?

benddownboutique: If I was an article of clothing... I would be a dress; dresses are so free, and expressive and colourful, it really does make me feel so girly!

SerendipiT: Good call, and I've got to say that's a pretty popular answer to boot. For the record, I completely agree, dresses do make me feel free and girly and wonderful.

Are there any special Etsians out there that you'd like to send a shout out to?

benddownboutique: I want to give a huge shout out to:
Elizabeth at; without her adding me to the team, I think I would still be trying to figure my shop out on my own, but its really good to have a team of people to help me :)

I'd also like to thank Hannah at for giving me that extra push to get myself out there in the etsy world, when I first started. She really made me see that I was doing a good thing with all the encouragement I got from her!

SerendipiT: Aw, really? A shout out for moi! That's so sweet; thank you very much. It's been a real pleasure having you on the team and I've really enjoyed watching your shop grow and mature. Keep up the great work because you are a real example of sustainable clothing that is fashionable and adorable.

Ok, last chance. What's the one thing that we should all know about you?

benddownboutique: I have never tried stuffing before. Don't judge me!

SerendipiT: I love it! That's the most awesomely random answer to a question that I think I've ever received. While I promise not to judge, you really officially have to come to the U.S. and try some good old fashioned stuffing, preferably around the Thanksgiving holiday.

Thanks for taking the time to share your story, your uplifting attitude and your beautiful creations with us today. We look forward to seeing what greatness you invent this year.

Check out more of Kat's great fashions: