Fashion has always being a fundamental means of expression for both designers and every day people which means that often Fashion and Politics have become strange bedfellows when it comes to making powerful statements. This past season on the runway everyone from Dior to Vera Wang was making a statement with their designs but this practice of politics through art is not exclusive to the high fashion world. Locally here in Seattle I had the opportunity to meet with local designer Crystal from Anguay Reed Designs who has found her voice in the recent political climate by creating amazing handcrafted clutches that also carry with them a strong statement of empowerment.
Crystal is an incredibly inspiring person who grew up in Korea and moved to Seattle for school, she has a much broader world view than most and uses her rich knowledge of politics to enrich and inform her flourishing new business. With a motto like “Breaking the Glass Ceiling with Our New Clutches” Crystal’s story and her designs are something you don’t want to miss:
What prompted you to start designing?
In my work life, I work for The Washington Bus, which is a statewide youth organization that gets young people involved in politics and civic engagement. Last year was a tough year… Working in politics, I realized that I need a creative outlet and a way to self-care to make sense of this burning dumpster fire. I’ve always grown up with some type of creative thing, whether it was taking art classes or playing piano or violin. My mom also is amazing at quilting and teaches Hawaiian Quilt in Hawaii. So I’ve always grown up with art and creatives around me.
Last year, I started a fashion blog and from there realized that I loved fashion and all it has to offer. Living in the intersection of politics and art, I had an idea to create things that changes the conversation of conventional fashion. I started learning how to sew at Drygoods in Pioneer Square and picked up sewing, designing, pattern making pretty fast. I didn’t know where I really wanted to go, so I also interned at Wai-Ching Designs, which is a green, eco-friendly bridal wear and learned from Chrissy, (the designer) to learn more about the Industry. Anyway, the store started out as a friend wanting to buy one of my bags and now a business!
Your Best Selling Bag features a fist, what does it stand for?
I made this when I was in Hawaii after the election. So, I was feeling pretty down. The fist stands for “power to the people.” There is a lot of historical context that goes with the actual meaning of the raised fist, which was used during the civil rights movement in the 60s, so I owe a lot to folks who have paved the way who fought for equity, equality and freedom. It means to be in solidarity with our brothers and sisters. It really embodies the fact that we need to fight for our tomorrow. It’s not a time to stay silent. I wanted to create radical wear to remind people that we need to fight.
Where can someone who is inspired by your bags purchase them?
We are now in stores in Clementines, which is a very cute boutique in Pioneer Square (in Seattle.) I usually do a lot of markets on the weekend. I’ve been to BadWill Market and other pop ups in the International District! I will probably be in Fremont soon as well! The best way to follow where I will be is through my Instagram (@anguayreed) and Facebook (@Anguay Reed Designs). I also have an online shop, at anguayreeddesigns.com
*Post Sponsored by Anguay Reed Designs, all thoughts and opinions my own.