Laura S. Howe & Matrushka
I always loved making things. I’ve continually worked with my hands, whether it is drawing, sewing, building, or being in the outdoors. My family’s history runs deep as artisans. My Grandmother was from England and sewed air balloons to protect London from the Nazis during World War II. She came to America on the Queen Mary in 1946. In Ohio, most of my family either did sewing, knitting, woodworking, welding or photography. When I first teamed up with ‘Matrushka Construction’ it made perfect sense “Fashion for the people…” was our original motto, “…for the smart, sexy, independent woman at an affordable price.”
I originally received my Bachelor in Fine Arts from USC and worked and showed in the Fine Arts world. I derived influence from the years I spent welding and fabricating artwork for myself and others. I thought there was nothing cooler than being able to be great at work that was considered more masculine. I find it interesting that now, I work almost exclusively with woman and that I should end up being most successful in fashion construction and design.
Originally, it was about being fast, cool, and simple. I was inspired by the early punk years, with the use of vintage fashion and thrift stores. In the early 90’s I was in an art/rock performance band called “Too Much Girl“. We designed and coordinated outfits for our performances around the Los Angeles area. Another major inspiration is Diane Von Furstenberg’s designs. I love the way her clothes fit. Fit is very important to me. Ease and elegance is the best of both worlds. That is why it is important to have sewing machines in the Matrushka store. I am able to, if necessary, tailor pieces for each unique woman. Matrushka clothes should look and feel like they were made for you. We work on patterns until they fit the shape of most women, large or small. I don’t give the dresses names until they pass the “in store test”.
The Matrushka Store is located in the small artsy Silverlake neighborhood of Los Angeles. After living in the industrial lofts of downtown, I moved to Silverlake to be around the hills and trees of Griffith Park. The area is home to many great musicians, writers, and artists who have influenced my work and hopefully, in some small way, I them. By engaging with the community and giving back, we support one another. I strongly believe in making items local and sustainable. Handmade bags and scarves are just a few examples of how we conserve and re-use.