I had the pleasure of meeting the lovely and talented Vanessa Leigh through a mutual amiga (Hey Tasha!) at a get together. Vanessa is the oh-so-fabulous mastermind behind SweetLeigh - a line of beautiful hats and hair accessories and it's chock full of retro prints and fabrics and she's even coming out with a Grace Jones line! I picked Miss Leigh's brain a bit and have a little interview for you all, so enjoy!
TheRetroNatural - What inspires you when creating your accessories?
SweetLeigh - I am inspired by glamour! I start with a muse, like Frida Kahlo, or Marlene Dietrich, or Grace Jones who inspired the Winter collection (The Amazing Grace Jones Collection), always women with unique style. I love old movies, great music, art, and all of those things inspire me as they do everyone I suppose. I of course love current fashion as well, Valentino never disappoints for lady like fabulousness, Jill Sander is inspired this spring and fall as is Suno. But really it comes down to my interpretation of the muse. I don't really believe in trend, I worship at the house of style. In my world the hat never went anywhere, and women want to be seen.
TheRetroNatural - How long have you been sewing?
SweetLeigh - I've been sewing since, 2001? Not long really. Sometimes, I think it's a shame I never thought to go to Fashion school as a kid. I was super political, an activist for over a decade while working in non profit orgs and then moved into non profit case management which is a very different path that directly led me to sewing, so there you go. All is well.
TheRetroNatural - Where would you like to see your hats and accessories sold at in the future? (You know you gotta tell the Universe whatcha want lol)
SweetLeigh - Universe, I would love for my hats to be at the LACMA gift shop, as well the Craft & Folk Art Museum gift shop here in Los Angeles, which has the best gift shop ever! Universe I would love for my accessories to be sold at an upscale vintage boutiques where people love and appreciate craft! I would love to make a limited edition collection especially for a design house like Carven or Rodarte.
TheRetroNatural - What's currently inspiring you for a future line of hats/accessories/etc?
SweetLeigh - I am obsessed with Masterpiece's Downtown Abbey and it takes place over my favorite time in the 20th Century. The second season ended with the New Year of 1920. I have also newly started watching Boardwalk Empire. I am definitely considering doing a spin on the Cloche for spring. Which I need to figure out yesterday! Wink. And as of now, I am pretty committed that Carmen Miranda be my muse for Summer Cannot wait!
Anyone who's into retro hair styling would benefit from owning a piece (or seven!) from her Etsy shop. I had the pleasure of hanging out with Vanessa at a vintage and craft market and I even got to try on a few things.
Check out a few additional snapshots from the market.. I'm in love!
You can learn more about Sweet Leigh and shop by checking out these fine, dandy links:
Treat yourself to something pretty, lovies! I think the cherry print tilt hat is calling me!
~The Retro Natural