March 06, 2023 By BED | STÜ
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We caught up with Ventura-based clothing designer and founder of TIGEROWL, Summer Dalton!
BED|STÜ: Hey Summer! Thanks for taking the time to hang with us… Tell us a little bit about yourself and your “why” behind creating TIGEROWL in 2017
SUMMER: To be honest, I ask myself that question quite often! In a world that probably already has more clothing than we could ever use, there are times that I feel odd about creating new garments. That said, I see the awareness shifting from fast fashion to the consumer being more conscious of the process of making things and the impact on the environment. I also love that clothing is a way to express our personalities but it's important to me that the pieces be super versatile and functional. My background is a medley of so many different fields (photography and printmaking, wildland firefighting, art installation, environmental studies, contemporary art museums, and more) but I realized that most of what I've been drawn to has been very hands-on. So, when I started sewing more, it felt like all of those things I've done in the past have all informed where I'm at now with designing and sewing these pieces.
I currently sew most garments but have started slowly working with a sewist in LA so that I can focus my time on coming up with some new designs and ideas I have. I'm also juggling parent life; my girls are 6 and 8 so having the flexibility of making my own hours is so amazing but it can also be difficult to balance it all. I love that they see me passionate about my work though, and they are growing up believing that we can make anything we dream up, which of course I love!
BED|STÜ: There’s no question we all love TIGEROWL over here at BED|STÜ, and even more so, some of our eco-conscious beliefs seem to align! What eco-friendly practices are extremely important to you when creating for TIGEROWL?
SUMMER: This is something I probably think the most about when creating new pieces! I research the materials and make sure the plants used to make the materials are the best practice for what my small business can afford, down to the types of dyes used and where they're dyed so that I know that the excess dye water is regulated and not dumped into waterways. Just because something is made from natural fibers doesn't mean the way it is made is eco-conscious.
Unfortunately making garments with these standards in mind doesn't always align with everyone's wallets, but these garments should be pieces you will have and wear for many many years. I will always encourage my customers to patch and repair their garments if they wear thin and I'm always happy to do it for them if they aren't comfortable doing it themselves. Even if I can prolong the life of a garment for another year or two, it is so worth it. I also do my best to use as many scraps as possible, so I create one-of-a-kind quilted coats or tote bags with my scraps.
BED|STÜ: You’ve done some really cool partnerships/collaborations in the past – may it be photoshoot collabs or a product collab, what has been your favorite one so far?:
SUMMER: The quilted coat I made in collaboration with Daren Thomas Magee of Real Fun, Wow! was exciting! After he ordered a different coat from me, I reached out to him with the hair-brained idea that it would be fun to create a quilted panel mimicking one of his illustrations and make that be the back of a jacket. One thing about me is that I'm always giving myself these super challenging projects. But hey, that's what keeps things interesting I guess. Funny story, though, Daren and I had agreed on an illustration to use, I had all my pieces cut and quilted, ready to launch the following month (September, the perfect time to launch a coat!). Then I broke my wrist while roller skating with my friend and kids. Everything got put on hold and since at the time I sewed absolutely everything I sold; the coat got put on hold too. I was finally able to finish it early the following year, but I felt silly launching a coat as spring was starting. But I did it anyway! As a small business sometimes, you just have to roll with the punches and make it work when you can. It turned out amazing, we have a shot of Daren wearing the coat next to me holding his print up and I'm super proud of how the coat really translates his illustration pretty darn accurately.
BED|STÜ: It seems like you’re ALWAYS cooking up something new and creative – what’s next for TIGEROWL?
SUMMER: My goal this year is to continue to transition some of my production to my sewist in LA. I'd love to have more inventory and be able to ship faster (currently my lead time is 3-4 weeks, since I still sew a lot of garments to order). I've also got another collaboration or two that are in the early stages but I can't wait to move forward with those. I think collabs are such a fun way to get out of your norm and push yourself creatively. I'm also excited about a few new designs I'm about to start working on (one is a dress that I can't wait to finalize!), I think they'll be so fun to add to the line!