Fall Inspiration: Q&A with Coyuchi Designer

Fall 2017 | Where land meets sea


We sat down with Coyuchi Design Director Kirsten Sedestrom to talk about her California musings and how Coyuchi has shaped her sustainability efforts. Read our conversation to learn about the inspirations for our new Fall line, which you can shop here.
 
Tell us a little about yourself & how you came to be the designer at Coyuchi.
My parents were involved in American Craft movement so I grew up surrounded by artists and craftspeople and never considered any other career. After years of trying to balance my personal values with larger companies, I was thrilled to find Coyuchi. Our commitment to sustainability and quality combined with our unique aesthetic look makes designing for Coyuchi a true labor of love.
 
What were you inspired by when designing the Coyuchi 2017 fall collection? Is there a theme?
The colors, textures and light of the California coast always influence my design process. I live in a canyon that overlooks the entire bay so morning walks tend to be hunting and gathering missions with my camera and sketchbook.
 
Where do you look for color palette inspiration?
Fall always brings to mind the richness of changing foliage, even in California. Our beautiful green hills are golden brown by midsummer. The canyon explodes with blackberries, plums and figs all summer and my garden flourishes in the fall. I often marvel and the complexity of natural color directly in nature. I am currently obsessing over natural dye processes-they are so magical.
 
Do the natural fibers ever influence your prints?
Coyuchi has a unique look in prints because we are able to produce watercolor artwork on fabric. Natural, organic shapes and motifs lend themselves to the natural fibers and vise versa. We have some really interesting new prints coming for fall…

 
What is the most important thing to you when putting together an entire collection?
Designing the entire collection is a complex puzzle because the new items need to relate to our existing line. I like to think of them as extended family where the family resemblance is clear but the new baby is unique and irresistible!
 
What parts of California influence your work and how?
That depends on the season but fall is usually more land focused and spring tends to be more water/coast.
 
What is your earliest memory of being near the ocean?
Cape Cod or Florida with my family as a kid. I have always loved the water.
 
How has working for Coyuchi impacted your lifestyle?
I am much more careful with my purchases meaning I need to know where a product was grown and made, and that the people involved in making it were treated kindly. Slow food and slow fashion have really impacted me. The film True Cost is a wonderful documentary that sheds light on the impact of cheap clothing-I highly recommend it. Lastly, I am also a much better recycler than I used to be!
 
What do you look forward to at work everyday?
That’s hard. I love seeing what samples arrive each day AND I love the product development team. We are a tiny team who design and develop hundreds of new products a season and laugh a lot as we do it.
 
What has been the most rewarding part of your role at Coyuchi?
Seeing an idea go from rough concept, through sampling and finally to a beautiful finished product. Our development time is over a year long with multiple revisions and corrections along the way- we are pretty picky!
 
What are some trends you are currently excited about?
As a designer, I continue to admire all the beautiful handmade textiles coming from around the world and love using them as inspiration. The exciting part is figuring out how to make them on state of the art equipment for enhanced quality and longevity.

On a more macro level, I love that consumers are starting to be more aware of the impact their dollars can have on the planet and business practices. I am so proud of Coyuchi for Life (link to CFL) since I use to struggle with the reality that everything I designed throughout my career would eventually end up in landfill. Now I get the privilege of designing second and third lives for our products after they have lived a full life cycle as sheets or towels. Currently, I am playing with rag rug ideas.
 
How would you describe your home? Your style?
I wish I could claim to be a practicing minimalist but my love of fabric and yarn (and all things textile) makes that impossible. My living room is heaped with pillows, throws and rugs on a backdrop of simple furniture, white walls and wood floors. My style is casual and eclectic. As a designer it’s hard to stick with one style when I am constantly looking at inspiration.
 
Do you have advice to someone looking to buy organic textiles for the first time?
Notice the difference in the way organic fabrics feel. There is a wonderful tactile quality that feels different (and better) than conventionally grown and processed cotton. Do your research and compare qualities, not prices.
 
What will your first purchase from the new collection be?
That’s like asking a mother to choose her favorite child. Our organic linen sleepwear can be worn to bed or to work (which is where I’ll be wearing mine) so that’s probably my number one buy. Next would be the Tahoe Wool Blanket, except I got the honor of “product tester” for this one so I already have one on by bed and LOVE it.

 
We hear you have a vineyard…what’s your favorite bottle at the moment?
No doubt about this one: Our Perfusion 2014 Pinot Noir has just received a 94 point rating and it is delicious!

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