Designer Audrey Barrett turns vintage finds into earth-friendly kids’ dresses that are both beautiful and practical, adding bits as little girls grow.
LGB: How did you get into designing children’s fashions? Do you have a design background?
My background is in commercial Interior design using sustainable materials whenever possible. I have been a platinum photographer using a vintage large format camera and making my own emulsions to expose the images. Our backgrounds definitely influence the creative work we do even as it evolves; our experiences form the thread of this process. My love of textiles and fashion inspired me to create my own clothing line. I am a self-taught fashion designer. I design and make my own patterns and sew everything myself.
LGB: How do you work the vintage element into your designs?
I often fashion my clothing from already-existing fabrics like vintage kimonos or ’40′s lingerie and dresses.
LGB: When did you start designing dresses for kids?
Designing vintage toddler dresses started 2 1/2 years ago when a friend was expecting her child. Knowing the baby was a girl, I wanted to do something special–perhaps a “keepsake,” a bit beyond something you’d get in a store that she’d just grow out of. Looking through my stash I came across a vintage bureau scarf that was perhaps my grandmother’s. It had these lovely crocheted edges and was good quality linen. It sort of spoke to me, and I thought, “What a lovely tunic dress a baby can grow into as a toddler.” When Chloe started to outgrow the garment, a piece of linen was simply added to the hem. Her playmates’ moms loved the unique dress and wanted to know where to get it.
Inspired, I searched out vintage linens and came across some very beautiful, unique pieces. I made them into tunic dresses that can grow with the child by adding adjustable snaptape at the shoulders–and some with attachable hems.
The friend I mentioned is a professional photographer and her daughter, Chloe–the little girl for whom the original dress was made–modeled the tunic dresses. That’s when Audrey Barrett Kids was born!
LGB: What are your current plans for Audrey Barrett Kids?
Currently my target audience is young toddler girls and parents who are aware of the value of eco-friendly clothing and being able to teach their children about this value. Vintage linen doesn’t cause any harm to the environment. There is no pollution or dangerous dyes, no manufacturing waste filling up landfills. Being concerned about the environment and making eco-friendly clothing from natural, already-existing fabrics makes good sense, as does recycling something for years to come. Hopefully my tunic dresses will have a long life and become heirlooms, passed on through generations and used again and again.
LGB: Where–and when–can we buy your beautiful designs?
My tunic dresses for toddlers will be available in the near future on Etsy.com, but you can contact me directly with any personal inquiries.Audrey Barrett: email@example.com
© Photography by Lenka Ulrichova