WildTalk: Fashion Designer Samantha Pleet
We got to chat with NY based fashion designer Samantha Pleet on her new short film Visions for her AW14 line. We were immediately entranced by the airy, dreamlike state of the two young heroine's worlds in this celestial modern day tale. Visions is a fantastical collaboration unlike many others. Directed by Sarah Sophie Flicker and Maxamilla Lukacs, produced by Samantha herself and Patrick Pleet, the short film brought in talent like Louisa Gummer, Hannah Metz, Tara Violet Niami and India Menuez to bring the vision to life. Get lost in the film and listen in on our exclusive interview as Samantha talks about her inspiration, creative process, dreamworlds and reality.
WS: Visions is such a mystical dream. The film makes it extremely easy to get lost in the fantasy of it all. What was your inspiration for the concept?
Samantha Pleet: The seed for the whole project came from reading "Joan of Arc" by Mark Twain. I learned not only about the amazing real world accomplishments of a powerful young woman, but that her drive and motivation came from lucid visions and hallucinations and this intrigued me instantly, as I am always interested in exploring the lines between the real world and the dream world and how they bleed into each other. Stylistically, I brought in elements of The Never Ending Story, films by Ingmar Bergaman and even Where the Wild Things Are to make it relevant for today.
WS: You create an entrancingly different story for each season. What is the creative process like? Do you envision the clothing first or the story you want to create?
SP: It is really not cut and dry one way or the other. I am constantly developing ideas for styles, while also exploring the world through travel, and reading about concepts in art and history. At some point themes seem to emerge, and ideas start to overlap and intersect, and a concept starts to materialize. It really is not a predetermined inspiration or story, but it comes about naturally through curiosity and exploration.
WS: What real life influences play a part in your work?
SP: I don't see a clear distinction between the real world and dream world that I am creating. Ideally they should merge, and be blurred to some degree. For example, my real friends are also my models and inspirations, so there is no need to draw distinctions. Since I know what the clothes are used for in real life, I am aware of technical requirements, but I don't see that taking away from the dreaminess, rather it makes the dream world seem all the more real.
WS: What led you to becoming a designer?
SP: From a young age I was deeply involved in dress up and fantasy role playing with my friends. I was also always interested in art and other creative pursuits which led me to study art, fashion and cultural studies at Pratt Institute. I apprenticed with ThreeAsFour and that really opened my eyes to the power that fashion could have to create and express a unique world of my own. So with the little experience I had, and a large dose and naiveté that kept me form being intimidated by the amount of work that was required, I dove in head first and never looked back.
WS: If you had to describe your work in three words, what would they be?
SP: Modern Dream Quest
WS: What are you most excited for in the upcoming months?
SP: I'm excited to share this film, Visions, with the world because I feel it is the closest I have come to expressing the greater worldview behind my brand, not to mention that the clothes also look gorgeous. I am also excited for warmer weather, so I can start to see my new spring clothes out there in the world being worn by inspiring people who are inspired by what they wear.
WS: What does wild mean to you?
SP: To be true to what comes naturally.
Interview by Sienna Brown
About the Designer
New York designer Samantha Pleet is best known for her whimsical prints and twisting classic silhouettes into modernity. The Pratt Institute alumni has established a cult following with indie musicians and creative dreamers around the world with her elegant otherworldly collections and shoe collaboration with Wolverine. Additionally, she has shown her work with Gen Art and Ecco Domani during New York Fashion Week.
Pleet hand drapes each style, playing with classic silhouettes while focusing on construction. Pleet painstakingly seeks out inspiration when creating her custom prints—drawing from art, history, photography and film—giving each collection a unique, dreamy quality. Pleet also enjoys expressing her designs through movies, bringing her world to life through film.