She may have named her label DumbClothing, but Paula Fletcher is anything but. From wild ‘n out styles begging to hit the club to go-anywhere patterned tees, this local designer, purveyor of fur concoctions befitting future Playa parties and creator of sassy everyday apparel for women, men, dogs and home interiors has an intelligent mission: to promote freedom of expression, acceptance and respect through fashion.
Today, DumbClothing launched its first online store – which means you can finally find Fletcher’s one-of-a-kind wearables anytime you so desire. A strong supporter of fashion for all sizes, Fletcher says she’ll even custom-fit online orders to your size specifications. No studio visit required.
A small sampling of our favorite every day looks from DumbClothing’s current collection:
We recently caught up with Fletcher to ask her some questions. Read on for her answers (they aren’t dumb, either).
SF Indie Fashion: Much of your work looks ready to walk on the wild side and mixes an element of fantasy with a dose of what I’d call the Burning Man aesthetic. Do you create clothing with special events and revelry in mind? If so, what is it about the materials, silhouettes, construction, etc., that makes your clothing ideal for stepping outside of the mainstream with enthusiasm?
Fletcher: I create clothing with special events in mind, definitely. We have clients aged 16, and we have clients that are 60. It appeals to anyone looking for something unique, well fitting and also fun.
In terms of revelry, the silhouettes and materials are perfect. Mostly, we focus on stretch fabrics that are soft, comfortable, form fitting and sometimes fluffy. They allow for any kind of movement. On that note, the pants and hot pants are great for yoga. We use a lot of swimsuit fabrics. Some of the pieces are not so far outside mainstream, just unique enough to stand alone.
SF Indie Fashion: I’m curious about whether you think fashion can influence or change the vibe of a social gathering? If so, how….
Fletcher: Absolutely. I have seen it time and time again. People come to me for clothing.Â Â They are consumed with their day, their life, their relationship, their boss (you get the picture) and after a short time trying on the clothingÂ – something shifts in them. They lighten up. They can actually come out of their head and into their body. Outfits, cut, colors and textures can all shift your mood. Positive attention and compliments further serve to elevate you. Add a handful of people in an elevated state into a room â€“ it can be inspiring and liberating for everyone.
SF Indie Fashion: Is fashion important? What does one’s fashion personality say about a person, his or her approach to life?
Fletcher: This is an interesting question for me, in many ways. For so long my clothing was designed to shock and say, â€œScrew you, I will wear (do) what I want.â€ It serves a community in search of their own answers and ways to create society and life as they want it.Â For me, it has changed to some degree, not being in reaction to what I â€œshouldâ€ be looking like, but feeling freer to choose….That feeling of truly being able to express yourself and not hide or blend in, is priceless.
SF Indie Fashion: You design for all sizes, and I think that’s really important. Was that a conscious decision? Why is it important to you?
Fletcher: This was THE most important thing to me. For so long I personally struggled with body image, weight, media and social expectations. Until very recently, actually. In some way, designing with every body type and the intention that everyone feel comfortable in their body and clothing helps to heal me. Learning to accept things the way they are and not the way you wish they were or think they are “supposed” to be. It translates to every part of your life.
SF Indie Fashion: You just launched your web store today. Tell us about it. What can visitors expect?
Fletcher: Visitors can expect to find quite the selection. Originally, I was going to keep it very simple â€“ only a small selection of styles. It has been a process, and I have found a way to provide the service I do personally â€“ and do it online. Most products in the online boutique are one of a kind, with the exception of some line items. There are 2 or 3 sizes to choose from. How this works is: you select your size. If it isnâ€™t the size of the piece, it will be graded down and altered to fit. This is what I offer in person. In the future, there will be many inseams and sleeve lengths to choose from. It is almost like being able to custom-make your own piece online.
Everyday wear is placed in the menâ€™s and womenâ€™s sections. There will be a business casual line added shortly. The fun party clothes are in the More Fluff section. There will be a Dumb Dogs line to follow. Cute little matching dog clothes. Just how ridiculous and funny can it get with you and your pooch wearing matching outfits?
Also, a Home DÃ©cor section will be available in 2009. On here will be faux fur throws, custom made bedding, cushions, tablecloths etc. There is a feature built into the site making it possible to design your own bedcover, cushion covers, curtains, tablecloths. I will upload swatch samples and trims in different categories. You choose one from each category and are able to see how it looks before you order it. There isnâ€™t any way to get this wrong. Only compatible swatches and textures and colors will be added. There is quite the demand for custom made home products to suit your own personal needs.
People can also expect to find other designers and services on the site in the Ooh, whatâ€™s this? section.
SF Indie Fashion: If you were a fabric, what would you be and why?
Fletcher: Ooh, tough one. There are too many to choose from. Iâ€™d like to say a darker stretchy hologram. Looks one way on the surface but when it hits the light, you never know what you will find. It is different every time. Difficult to pin down and describe. Maybe that is wishful thinking, wanting to be mysterious and an enigma. Haha. Maybe that isnâ€™t me at all.
SF Indie Fashion: What is the DUMB truck and how can I get it to visit me?
Fletcher: It used to be “pinky,” which was a beaten up rusted old Toyota van, painted Barbie pink. I had stalked a man for months trying to persuade him to sell it to me. One day he said yes. Eventually, it rusted its way out of being useful to me. So the Dumb truck was born.Â A few times a year, DumbClothing hits the road, all the way up to Portland and Seattle, out to Tahoe, down to LA. The truck is loaded up with quite the collection of goodies.Â Enough to fill a store. People host trunk shows in their stores, places of business, homes etc. Their friends and clientele are invited. Clothing is tried on. Much merriment is to be had by all. It is such a great way to shop. Your friends are on hand for honest opinions.Â New friends are made. It is a more fun and relaxing way to shop. That is how you can get it to come and visit you. We are always looking for new hosts.