Brave Spotlight

An Interview with Gabrielle Blair: Design Mom

Gabrielle Blair (a.k.a. Design Mom), an inspiring mother of six with an incredible talent for design and the founder of Alt Summit. We couldn’t be more thrilled to have partnered with her for a very special project. Gabrielle designed a limited edition print for Sseko’s Kaftan and Multiway Shawl to be sold in collaboration with Dressember, an incredible organization that fights human trafficking! 

Catch our interview with Gabrielle herself!

Currently, where are you seeking inspiration?

I’m really interested in looms and weaving right now, and when I really need a dose of inspiration, visiting a National Park is a guaranteed fix. Luckily, I grew up near several national parks, and live near several now.

Why did you decide to partner with Dressember and Sseko?

Sseko was one of the very first companies I learned about that had a social good mission. I remember tying on my first pair of Sseko sandals — with blue striped ribbons and tire treads on the base. I loved them! And always got a million compliments when I wore them. It’s made me grin as I’ve seen the company grow and bring opportunities to so many at-risk women. So I’m always delighted to collaborate with Sseko in any way I can. Participating in Dressember is icing on the cake! Why? Because when I graduated from college with a BFA in Graphic Design, my main goal was to become a pattern and textile designer. But somehow, all these years later, I’ve never made that dream happen. Getting to help design a dress and textile for Sseko, helps me get a little closer to something I’ve wanted to do for a long time, and I’m grateful for the opportunity.

Tell us a bit about your dress design and what inspired you to design it the way that you did?

As I approached this project, I had 3 things in mind: I wanted to design a dress that was chic, beautiful, and memorable. I wanted to design a dress that would look elegant on all sorts of bodies. I wanted to design a dress with a pattern that was personally meaningful. For the pattern, I took inspiration from my Grandmother Daisy Albertazzi Stanley. She was tall, Italian, elegant, always wore pearls, and had an amazing collection of geodes and polished stones. When I was thinking about designing my own wedding ring, she sent me a piece of gorgeous apple jade from her collection to use in the design. I still have that piece of jade! And I used it as a visual reference while I worked on the Dressember design.

Tell us about a woman you admire!

Ruth Bader Ginsberg is one of my heroines. I thought I admired her, and then I saw the movie RBG, and I REALLY admired her. I didn’t know I would get emotional watching the movie, but I basically bawled throughout the whole thing. Her clear vision of the big picture and what she could accomplish, her persistence in pursuing better outcomes for women, her patience and calm in the face of belligerence and misinformation. Our country would be worse without her.

What is the craziest thing you have done in a dress?

I’ve hiked in a dress, rode around Greece on a scooter in a dress, biked in a dress, painted a room in a dress. Dresses don’t stop me from much of anything — it’s shoes that are the killer. : )

Tell us a quote you’re really digging these days

“We shape our dwellings and afterward, our dwelling shape us.” — Winston Churchill. I think a lot about how where we live can affect our actions and relationships.

If you could go back in time, what would you tell yourself when first launching your career?

It’s never too late to pursue that idea you’ve been thinking of. No one is going to give you permission, you just have to go for it.

Gabrielle’s designs for Sseko and Dressember are selling FAST, so make sure you check them out  HERE  if you want to get your hands on one! 

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