It’s all about the material for designer Kellie Lewis, who takes vintage fabrics and refashions them into modern clothing. The material that she works with is so key to her design process that Kellie actually named her clothing line, Material. Kellie says that by working with vintage fabric, she gets to create something completely unique every time she designs something. “I might make the same style dress many times but by using the vintage/ re-purposed fabric, each item is completely different.” Because the patterns and colors of vintage fabric are often times more fun than new fabric, Kellie’s designs have a playful, cheery vibe that is sometimes hard to get from modern clothing.
Even though she sells her clothing at multiple boutiques around town including Parts & Labour, Lovely, and ATown, it’s amazing that Kellie does not outsource the production of her line. Kellie designs and still sews each garment herself in her Hyde Park apartment here in Austin. When we went to go pick up the clothes to borrow for our photo shoot, I was amazed to see how tiny Kellie’s workspace was! Its obvious that sewing is a big passion for Kellie. Moments before we came to pick up the clothing for our shoot Kellie asked her boyfriend, “Do you think I can sew another dress real quick before they get here?!”
Kellie has only lived in Austin 2 years now, but this girl from Texarkana has come a long way in the local fashion world, especially for someone with no formal training. After she received her first sewing machine, her Mom’s friend gave her a 45 minute lesson on how to thread the machine and the other basics of getting started, but the rest was up to Kellie to figure out. Kellie attributes her artistic background to helping her create clothing, but I have a feeling determination also played a key role. Kellie says she is unsure what her ultimate goal is for Material, but that she is always looking to experiment and reach new customers. Having previously only sewn dresses, skirts, and tops for women, Kellie has recently dipped into menswear by making bow ties out of vintage neckties. Our male model Cole actually went back to go buy one after our photo shoot because he liked it so much!
Because Kellie works mostly with cottons and vintage lightweight materials, Material clothing is very appropriate for the Austin summer. Just throw on a cotton dress, add a belt, and you are good to go! Check out the photos from our Material photo shoot:
tops average: $45
tunic & strapless dresses: $55- $65
gather skirt dresses: $75-$85
bow ties: $45 and up
Keep Austin Stylish