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Lifestyle Brand Winsome Goods Finds Balance in Minimalism


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Looks from Winsome Goods' spring/summer 2015 collection

Courtesy Winsome Goods

Winsome Goods designer Kathryn Sterner Sieve founded her first fashion line at the age of 20 as an ambitious, apparel-design-school grad. In 2012, she folded the line to be a designer at Target. But Sieve's hiatus didn’t last long—a year ago, she quietly launched Winsome Goods, a lifestyle brand including a mix of Sieve’s own designs as well as handcrafted goods from other independent makers.

The brand has it its stride with a spring/summer product line that includes Sieve's sporty-chic separates—a cotton canvas pullover with a drawstring neck, a matte-metallic vinyl crop top, and a PVC tote with neon accents—as well as a brass arm cuff by NYC maker Winden Jewelry, typographic wall art and calendars by Minneapolis designer Lindsay Schwartz, and ceramics by Seattle brand the Pursuits of Happiness. With its focus on small, limited runs of handcrafted goods made in America using sustainable materials, Winsome offers a feel-good (and chic) alternative to fast fashion

I chatted with the designer about the concept behind Winsome.

Q: How did you come up with the concept for Winsome Goods?

A: The concept came from my desire to curate a small lifestyle brand, coupled with a need of my own to be fully immersed in design and creation again after a hiatus. One of the most important components of Winsome is visibility. I want everyone to know where our garments are being created, and to have an understanding of process behind the products. Social media makes that more possible than ever.

Q: You used to design under the label Kathryn V. How did you end up making the change to Winsome?

A: For me, Kathryn V is the equivalent of the old high school punk band you were in—you cringe when you hear the old band name, you know? I was 20 years old, and criminally motivated. I had so much ambition to start my own line but no clue how to do it. I tried and failed, tried again, and saw a tiny bit of success. Being a one-woman show was exhausting. When I took a designer position at Target Corporate in 2012, I was more than ready for a break from running my own business—I wanted to have some new experiences and learn a totally different side of the industry, so without much fanfare I said goodbye to Kathryn V. But I couldn’t stay completely removed from producing my own work, so along came Winsome. My tastes changed over time, like anyone’s, and I needed a new label to reflect that.

Q: What are some of your design influences?

A: That Brand, Black Crane, Everlane, Band of Outsiders, Dries Van Noten, Rachel Comey, Isabel Marant, Objects Without Meaning, Acne Studios, and Elizabeth Suzann, among others.

Q: You launched last April, but it seems like you’re really refined your vision and aesthetic in this spring’s collection. It seems like this spring line is something of a departure from your previous pieces—it appears to be more modern and minimalist with a sporty-chic vibe. Is this style something you plan to carry over into future collections?

A: I’ve gravitated to starker, more modern lines, for sure. I’m looking for an honesty in the garments—things that aren’t over-designed, but are still surprising. It’s easy to over-design, or to try and create something for everyone, and I want to steer away from that. I made a conscious choice to be less concerned what with anyone else thinks, and to create clothes that I like. I designed almost all of these garments in the span of two weeks. It was fun and easy, and I meant it.

Winsome Goods's cotton-canvas pullover with drawstring neck

Courtesy Winsome Goods

Q: When did you first become interested in fashion design?

A: Oh, I was interested in clothing design at really young age. My mom is an artist and my dad’s a scientist—I think that they passed on elements of both creativity and logic to me, which are sometime at frustrating-yet-necessary odds with one another. Design, for me, is a product of that tension between the two—it's beauty with intention and purpose.

Q: You’ve made your designs available online as well as at Cliché—are there any other retailers you are carried at or expected to add?

A: I’m in touch with a few other retailers, and I have plans to start expanding in other ways this summer. I have some unconventional—and potentially ridiculous—ideas to upend the traditional retail model of doing business. I have a tooth-gnashingly-strong desire to find some different ways to connect with people, make this less about the transaction and something more meaningful. I think there’s a central conflict in this business for me—I’m a very non-materialistic person, yet this industry can sometimes be the very epitome of soulless consumer culture. I remain cautiously optimistic that there are more meaningful ways to create garments I believe in, and connect with people who love them.

Q: I saw on your website there is a section for menswear but it says it will be returning for Fall 2015. Is this the first time you’re doing menswear under the Winsome label?

A: I launched a few menswear garments shortly after debuting the online store. The womenswear, however, ended up being far more successful, so I needed to concentrate efforts there. As Winsome (hopefully) grows, I’ll bring menswear back into the fray, and it will be in the same vein—minimal, simple styles with a focus on unique fabrics, details, and quality.

Q: I saw that you also sell some other non-fashion products on your site.

A: This is where the “goods” part of Winsome Goods comes into play. These pieces are my initial foray into that realm—they are all by other artists and designers, with the exception of the PVC tote and concrete planters. I’m interested in unique, handmade, high-quality pieces, and I plan to both curate and create more of them.

Q: Any other future plans you can share?

A: There’s a lot of exciting stuff in the pipeline, but I’m going to stay tight-lipped about it until its ready for the light of day. Stay tuned. One thing I will mention is that I am stoked about the new streaming applications, periscope and meerkat. I'm excited to be able to live stream from the studio and offer another element of visibility to the production.

Winsome Goods are available at Cliché, 2403 Lyndale Ave. S., Mpls., 612-870-0420, and winsomegoods.com

View the spring/summer 2015 collection below:

Winsome Goods's 30th Avenue Shift Dress

Courtesy Winsome Goods

Winsome Goods's Ari Vinyl Tank

Courtesy Winsome Goods

Winsome Goods's Astria Pullover

Courtesy Winsome Goods

Winsome Goods's Calderon Tank

Courtesy Winsome Goods

Winsome Goods's Etheline Crop Top

Courtesy Winsome Goods

Winsome Goods's Orson Vinyl Tank

Courtesy Winsome Goods

Winsome Goods's Eli Tote

Courtesy Winsome Goods

Winsome Goods's Cement Soda Planter

Courtesy Winsome Goods

Winsome Goods's Lyra Hangers

Courtesy Winsome Goods

 

 

Winsome Goods's Embrace Cuff by Winden Jewelry

Courtesy Winsome Goods

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About The TC Style Blog

From boutiques to salons to your own closet, TC Style will bring you expertly curated tips and tricks from the local shopping, fashion, beauty, wellness, and design scene. Odds are if you put it on, take it off, hang it up, or cut it out, we’ll tell you how to get it. Most importantly, we know that when you look good and feel good, you do good—the beautiful life is about much more than the material world. (But that won’t stop us from loving it.)

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