When it comes to fashion, Tiffani Williams has a style all her own. A self-proclaimed fan of “old-lady chic” who’s always on the search for handmade adornments and random vintage finds, Tiffani has mastered the art of coordinating unexpected yet perfectly put-together ensembles. Lucky for us, this style-savvy vintage-lover decided to bring her one-of-a-kind creative talent to Alternative’s Los Angeles Design Lab. As Senior Product Development Manager, Tiffani specializes in developing and engineering those famous fabrics and specialty washes that give Alternative clothes their signature vintage softness.
How did you get involved in the fashion industry?
For the most part, I’m self-taught; I didn’t go to art school. As a teenager, I just started sewing clothing on my mother’s sewing machine and created patterns by tracing clothes. Growing up, I made a lot of costumes and fun, wild going out clothes. While living in San Francisco, I decided to get serious about fashion and trained with a private tutor drafting patterns and learning draping techniques. I created a small collection, photographed it and started working in the business. After a few years, I realized I needed to leave San Francisco to develop my career in either New York or Los Angeles… I chose L.A.!
What is your fashion philosophy and who are some of your design idols?
My philosophy and motto are synonymous: shoes come first. When putting together an outfit, I strive to include a decent shoe, new or vintage, and then I mix in vintage clothing or add something unique to every outfit. I have so many designers that inspire me on different levels. I have to put them in categories from small indie designers like A Detacher, Bless, Acne, Jasmin Shokrian and Creatures of Comfort to more mainstream designers such as Martin Margiela, Marni and Rodarte.
What fuels your creativity and keeps you inspired?
Blogs! I pull inspiration for fabric, color and shape from small indie blogs like Weird Friends, Intelligent Clashing and Youth Quakers among others. I’m drawn to the most obscure and the most obvious of ordinary objects, as well as to vintage retrospectives. I also like to curate these inspirations and musings as montages on my Tumbler blog, Arts-and-Science.
What are your favorite styles from Alternative’s forthcoming spring 2012 line?
I’m really looking forward to the new specialty washes because I put a lot of creative focus there—especially the new men’s roller-washed rugby stripes, which are a hand-crafted take on classic rugby stripes. Our double-dye mesh fabric for women is also perfect for lightweight spring layers—definitely something unique for the season. From a silhouette standpoint, I’m looking forward to the women’s Cherokee Rose Skirt, Dorado Maxi Dress and Deep Wells Tank.
photos by Stephen Zeigler