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Samantha Pleet’s Dream World.
Samantha Pleet is a womenswear designer whose printed dresses, perfect jumpsuits, and dreamy campaigns have been making us swoon since we first laid eyes on them. She lives and works with her husband in New York.
Q / Hi Samantha!!! How do you usually start your day?
A / One word really sums it up and that is coffee. I have a hard time getting up in the morning, so I need to roll into the bath, then I’ll make a small breakfast (like avocado toast) for my husband Patrick and I to enjoy before our twenty-five minute walk over to the studio.
Q / Do you have a daily uniform or anything you carry with you every day?
A / Sometimes I just wear a skirt or short set, or my plank pants and matching tanks. I always have to wear matching sets, it makes me feel more put together. I always have my phone and a camera. I love to take pictures. But for important things like my keys or wallet, I tend to leave them at home way to often. 🙁
Q / Is there a time of day that you feel most productive? Anything specific that helps keep you focused?
A / I get really productive when I have a deadline approaching, that gives me major motivation and I’m an evening person, I like to get creative after business hours as that is when none distracts me. Coffee helps too, I’m way too addicted.
Q / What is your favorite place to work?
A / My new studio is my dream workspace. There is a couch for getting comfy while sketching and it’s all light pink, I call it the Samantha Pleet Dream House.
Q / How do you try to balance your time?
A / When I leave the studio, I try leave work behind. Patrick and I use that time to relax, cook, and watch movies so that we have time to think.
“My new studio is my dream workspace. There is a couch for getting comfy while sketching and it’s all light pink, I call it the Samantha Pleet Dream House.”
Q / How do you keep yourself organized with all the projects you have going on?
A / I tend to be involved with a lot of different things at once. I have been trying to learn how to say no more to things that are not my main focus so that I can concentrate on the things that are most important, like designing clothes. My husband Patrick is the organized one, we work together to get everything done. It’s great to have someone to plan with all the time.
Q / What is something you are good at? Something you struggle with?
A / I like to think I have pretty good instincts…strong feelings and visions of clothes when I’m designing. I can get really into an idea. I struggle with planning and sometimes bite off more than I can chew. The good news is that I am good at coming up with ideas and then seeing them through to fruition. If I commit to something, I go through the process and make sure I get it done well. Whether it’s designing a dress, planning a photoshoot, or making a film.
“I have been trying to learn how to say no more to things that are not my main focus so that I can concentrate on the things that are most important…”
Q / What do you enjoy most about your work? What are the most challenging things about it?
A / Having a small business has its day to day challenges but lucky for me, I love problem solving so I’m in the right career.
Q / Is there anything you will never take seriously in terms of your work?
A / Fashion should not be too serious. It should be fun and have humor.
Q / Something that’s very important to you in you work?
A / It’s important for me to be offering clothing you can’t find anywhere else, otherwise what is the point of making it? I want to make clothes for smart and creative women so they will have pieces that they love.
Q / Where do you go to be quiet and think?
A / I love to go upstate and hiking with friends (and to get away for a few nights).
“It’s important for me to be offering clothing you can’t find anywhere else, otherwise what is the point of making it?”
Q / How does your home influence the kind and quality of work you produce?
A / I need to surround myself with design I find inspiring, beautiful, and comfortable. I have the squishiest blue felt couches from Ligne Roset. I really love to collect great pieces of furniture that have a bit of a sense of humor, like my clothing.
Q / Where did you grow up and what led you to your current home. How would you say these places shaped your perception of work?
A / I grew up right across the street from the city limits of Philadelphia. There was a an enchanting forest…horses in my backyard (they were my neighbors) and I thought I was actually living in a fairy tale. I was constantly making up plays with my sister Gillian, who is now a psychology student, and our neighbor Leon Benn, who is now an amazing artist and just moved from NYC to Maine. We were magical beings and we would wear all these crazy costumes. Then when I got older, I still was searching for some sort of unknown fantasy. I went to raves as a teenager and felt like finding a secret party was a gateway into a magical world. Then I went to school at Pratt in Brooklyn and did internships at magical places like threeASFOUR and Harper’s Bazaar where I found out what I wanted to do.
“…when I got older, I still was searching for some sort of unknown fantasy.”
Q / What is your first memory of work? Of success? Of failure?
A / I started my business without really knowing how a legitimate business worked. In some ways it was a failure as I lost a lot of money and had a hard time for years, but it was also great because I learned so many real life lessons that can’t be taught in school. A lot of my friends have started lines and I can always give them advice on what not to do.
Q / Do you keep any collections? If so, how do they influence you creatively?
A / I have collected many things in my life, like plants and crystals, but my favorite things to collect of all are books. I find so much inspiration in them.
Q / How would you define beauty and what part does it play in your work?
A / You just feel it when you think something is beautiful. It’s just a feeling, chemistry I guess.
Q / How does social media factor into your work?
A / I love it. It’s a great way for me to get my current work out there in the world.
Q / Do you use the internet on vacation or do you prefer to completely disconnect?
A / I do use the internet. I love to share my photos and I also need the maps as I’m pretty bad with directions. I often skip the emails though!
“You just feel it when you think something is beautiful. It’s just a feeling, chemistry I guess.”
Q / Is there anything in particular that you do to take care of yourself and relax?
A / My new thing is focusing on the moment at hand and not letting my mind wander to much…a great way to stay happy and relaxed. I’ve also been on a beauty kick lately after becoming obsessed with reading Into The Gloss. I’ve learned a lot of strange and interesting tips like face yoga and washing your face with cold water.
Q / Was there any particular person who helped shape your career in formative way?
A / My husband Patrick, we have been together since we were 18. He has always helped with the business but joined me full-time three years ago from the architecture field. I truly feel we are even stronger as a brand now with him on board full time.
Q / How did your parents feel about your career path? Does anyone in your family work in the same industry?
A / I am lucky to have supportive creative parents, though they had no experience with fashion. My dad is a lawyer and my mom is an occupational therapist. I have a great relationship with them. My mom had wanted to be an artist, but her parents did not want her to go to art school. I feel she has always seen a bit of herself in me, and she often comes to the studio and helps out. She is so talented and could be doing this as well if that was what she put her time into.
“My new thing is focusing on the moment at hand and not letting my mind wander to much…a great way to stay happy and relaxed.”
Q / What’s the worst/funniest job you’ve ever had?
A / I wish I could give an interesting answer for this, but my past jobs were pretty mundane. My first job in high school was at Express, and during college I worked for a junior’s underwear line called Polkadot USA. It was really cute stuff actually. Then I went on to internships…and then my line. Here we are!
Q / In what capacity do you work with those around you?
A / I collaborate with photographers, models, stylists, film makers, artists, pattern makers, sewers, fabric sellers, and customers. I feel so lucky to have all these amazing inspiring people in my life!
Q / What is the most fulfilling part of your job?
A / Seeing the clothes being worn out and about. I sometimes see people wearing pieces at a coffee shop or on the subway and I always am tempted to approach if I feel like I don’t look like a crazy person that day.
“I sometimes see people wearing pieces…and I always am tempted to approach if I feel like I don’t look like a crazy person that day.”
Q / How does your work affect the rest of your life?
A / It affects everything. I live and breath my work. We have a small business, so we live check by check, and some months are for sure better than others. Also, I tend to only really see people who I’m working with because there are just not enough hours in the day for a lot of social commitments, but I really try to see my friends who are dear to me no matter how busy everything gets.
Q / What has been your proudest career moment thus far?
A / There are a lot of ups and downs all the time in this business, so it’s hard to pinpoint an exact event. I feel so proud when I launch a new collection to the customer and shipping is always such a satisfying feeling.
Q / What are you looking forward to this year?
A / I recently moved my studio back to Brooklyn from midtown Manhattan. I’m looking forward to getting back a laid back lifestyle that does not involve having to commute during rush hour and avoiding the throngs of tourists on the street. I’m excited to join my peers Williamsburg, a neighborhood I’ve been a part of for the last 15 years.
“I’m looking forward to getting back a laid back lifestyle that does not involve having to commute during rush hour…”
Q / Lastly, ten of your favorite people, places, and things that we should discover too?
A / The film Daisies, Wes Anderson, Bona Drag, Campfire candles from Concrete + Water, my friends Hannah & Landon Metz, Cold Picnic Rugs, Burrata with tomato and basel, Contax cameras, Mr. Twin Sister, The Unicorn Tapestries, Coco tea in Peru, Darjeeling in India at a tea plantation, and the most amazing coffee in the Columbian Airport!
Photography & Interview