Featured Designer

Featured Designer Interview

Julia Poteat - Fashion Instructor and Designer

How did you first get interested in fashion?
My interest in fashion started at a very young age. Both my mother and grandmother were seamstresses. My mother also worked in the fashion industry as a sample maker. I began sewing my own clothes at age 10. It was a natural progression to apply to Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, NY after graduating from high school to study Fashion Design.

Were you involved in designing before you were involved in teaching?
I worked in the New York Fashion Industry for twenty plus years before becoming employed at Parsons School of Design.

For students that enter fashion studies at Parsons, is a working background in fashion a pre-requisite?
Most of the students accepted at Parsons do not have a background of working in the fashion industry.

How is the learning environment at Parsons conducive to students developing or testing their own materials?
Parsons students are encouraged to experiment and test the norm to develop their own unique design ethic. This would include materials, which are not those expected to be used in the fashion industry.

Are catwalks a part of the fashion curriculum?
At the end of the year, there is a benefit that features a runway show of the collections of the premier graduating fashion design students.

Do students that graduate from Parsons generally apprentice with established fashion companies?
Some of the graduating students go on to paid internships at established Design Brands. Others start their own companies or take entry-level jobs at fashion design houses.

Is there a specific course or curriculum that fish leather falls under?
The fish leather has been used in both garment design and fashion accessories.

Has there been a constant interest in fish leather, on the part of students, or has it waned and risen, like a fad?
I promote fish leather and there is always an interest. Most students are not aware of its possibilities.

What types of products have you and your students made with fish leather?
My students have included fish leather in garments and in the accessory area. The fact that the skins are small in size pushes the students to become quite inventive.

Between carp,salmon and perch, is there a reason why you might consider one type of fish, rather than another?
When I show the fish leathers to my students they are drawn to the look and feel of the carp and perch in the suede finish. I have liked to experiment with all of the skins, starting first with salmon and then the large sized perch. I also prefer the feel of the suede leathers. I have not yet used the carp, but one of my students is using it and I am encouraged to produce an accessory using that.

What are the challenges that you find, working with fish leather, if different from working with other leathers?
The only challenge that I find is producing a larger sized product. The joining of the skins is somewhat time consuming. I have used the same construction methods and glues that I use with other leathers.


Previously Featured Designers:

VENIA, Los Angeles
Michael Wright, shoe designer