Our women designers series is an on-going project to highlight innovative designers across the world that incorporate YKK® products into their unique creations. Introducing Atlanta-based fashion designer, Brittani Bumb. Brittani's love for vintage fashion has influenced her designs and inspired her to create a clothing line called Untitled Thoughts. We asked Brittani to share with us about her journey to become a designer, her advice for fashion students, and more.
Tell us a bit about your background, where you grew up, your hobbies, where you went to school, etc.
I grew up in Louisiana, just outside of New Orleans for the first half of my life. Then, in 2005, we lost our house to Hurricane Katrina and we moved up to Georgia, just outside of Atlanta. It's here that I finished out high school and college and where I really got into sewing as a creative pastime. I had just started sewing things before we left New Orleans, and it just really took off for me as we settled into Georgia. I was primarily self taught--using patterns at first and then making up my own-- until I went to college. I went to SCAD (Savannah College of Art and Design) and got my BFA in Fashion Design. I studied at both the Savannah and Atlanta campuses and went on to showcase in the annual SCAD Fashion show at the end of my senior year. Once I was through college, I had a long and winding road of jobs throughout the fashion industry before landing where I am now. I interned in NYC, then got a junior designer assistant job at a fast fashion company, then came back to GA and started doing alterations which led into creating custom wedding dresses, opening my own RTW line of bespoke clothing which eventually shifted into an indie sewing pattern line. I currently run that indie sewing pattern line under my brand name, Untitled Thoughts, and I also am a pattern drafter/ office administrator/ sewing instructor for Topstitch Studio and Lounge inside Ponce City Market.
Tell us a little bit about your creative process… What inspires you?
I have always been really inspired by fabrics. When I see a fabric I like I generally see the garment I hope to make in the end. Sometimes I see quite a few ideas crop up! I am also heavily inspired by vintage fashion. There was such care put into to clothing in the past because it was much more expensive and a much more highly valued resource than it is today. Plus, there were just so many amazing little details added to vintage garments that you don't really see nowadays. Like the French Dart or waist stays or hand sewn finishings. All of those extra details I find so incredibly charming.
What is your advice for young people who want to pursue a career in fashion?
Ah this is such a good question. I suppose I would have to say, stay open to all the different avenues of fashion you could possibly pursue. I used to be so dead-set on my own definition of what success looked like in the realm of fashion, i.e. fashion designer of your own label selling season after season of new designs. However, once the indie sewing community was introduced to my life, I realized that there were other opportunities I hadn't ever even thought of and that became a much better fit to my ethos and my personality! So I highly recommend anyone pursuing a career in fashion- Take on as many different jobs as you can that all relate to fashion to see which avenue you like best. And definitely learn how to sew clothing- you will be a much better designer (if that's the route you wish to take!) if you understand how clothing is constructed and the basic properties of fabrics.
Why do you think it's important for people to learn how to design and/or make their own clothes?
I think it's super important for people to learn how to design/ make their own clothing for a number of reasons, but my two top reasons would have to be: 1) It will help prolong the life of your clothing if you know how to make basic alterations to your wardrobe & 2) it gives you a level of body confidence that RTW clothing just can't compete with. When I got really heavily into sewing for myself, I found that I actually stopped worrying about my dress size or the numbers I'd see on the scale. Instead, I gained a more objective eye for how clothing felt on my body and what clothing I felt most confident in. I look at my measurements as they are: simply numbers that help me create clothing that will express my personality. I don't equate the numbers with my self worth like I might have done just 3 or 4 years ago. It's been very empowering and I have heard similar stories from others in the sewing field as well!
What are some of your favorite YKK® products and why do you choose YKK® products?
Oh goodness, I think my favorite YKK® products would have to be the invisible zipper and the metal exposed zippers. I use a lot of invisible zippers in my dress garments and the exposed zippers for bags or as a beautiful accent piece to dresses and coats. I love YKK® products mainly because I know that they will stand the test of time and I won't have to replace them often. YKK® zippers are the only zippers I actually trust the quality of and will go back to again and again!
How do you market your brand? Do you have any advice for new designers on how to do their own marketing?
I use Instagram and an email service, Mailchimp®, to market my brand. I think that if you are doing your own marketing, it's really important to choose one or two platforms and do those really well instead of spreading yourself across multiple platforms. I am bad at taking my next piece of advice, but consistency is also key. People will remember you and think of you often when you are consistently updating them on happenings in your world. You don't want to be obnoxious or anything, but just an update on a consistent basis keeps you fresh in people's minds. And above all else- be authentic. Nobody really likes to feel like they are being sold something. If you are just true to yourself and open and authentic with your audience, you will develop strong, personal bonds to your audience that will reward you in ways you never thought possible!