Iris Garcia is our pattern maker. She single-handedly created all of the patterns and samples for our current collection. She’s also Puerto Rican. Chicago born, New York raised. An avid coffee drinker. A UFC gym member. And incredibly passionate about both clothing and life. Iris has met me at 7am in the Garment District to hand me samples for our photoshoot (she lives an hour away in The Bronx). We’ve had fittings in the middle of blizzards. We’ve clinked wine glasses over lunch. We share vacation photos. And tips for living life with passion and purpose. To me, Iris Garcia is a wonder woman. And without her, there would be no Eenvoud. Sometimes, there are people that come into your life that you know were meant to be there. And for that reason, I am so happy to share a little more about Iris with the world in our first Maker Q+A.
You’re a pattern maker by trade. What exactly does that mean?
It has come to mean for me — after oh so many years — the whole package. It means everything that it takes to make a design into the best garment that I can. I consider all that this entails my work as a pattern maker.
How did you get in to pattern making?
In truth? I simply loved getting dressed. For as far back as I can remember. Most occasions are ‘an occasion’ for me and I drag along anyone else that I can to dress up. Every doll that I ever had as kid was stripped of whatever she was wearing at the time of purchase and introduced to her new wardrobe. This lead to making garments from scratch. I was given a Necchi machine that had belonged to an old tailor. I believe I was 14 at the time. I have it still. My sisters and my sisters-in-law were my ‘guinea girls’. Then there were the wonderful Vogue, McCall’s and Simplicity patterns and the The High School of Fashion Industries, where I learned how to really make a pattern from scratch and to sew far more beautifully then I ever had before. Then there was FIT. But I must say that everything I needed to start me on this long career in pattern making — which I have many times hated, but never truly abandoned (as in all true love) — I learned in that old high school.
Was is the most difficult garment that you’ve ever had to create?
A pastel green dress with big true circles that had center button-like contraptions and bias ruffles sewn around them; that were inserted, NOT sewn on top of the dress. It took the designer I was working about two hours just to explain it, which is saying a lot, because you know that I am not slow on the uptake. That seriously caused me to question my cognitive capabilities.
What’s the most fun garment that you’ve worked on?
I’d be lying if I didn’t say ‘The Circle Dress’! What a joy to wear!
Do you have any advice for aspiring or young designers?
Love what you have chosen to do. Love requires respect and devotion and is extremely sustainable. Be kind and patient with yourself during all of the real and imagined ‘OH MY GOD’s’ you will commit in your life’s pursuits. Learn, learn and keep learning in preparation for all of the vicissitudes and the sublime opportunities that life will graciously hand you. And now, to quote a dear friend, “remember, you have to have fun”.
If you could only wear one outfit for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Finish this sentence. Simplicity is:
Comfort and grace.
Thank you, Iris, for everything that you do. And most of all for your joie de vivre.