Running a bustling handmade fashion brand along with managing a brick and mortar storefront offers great rewards, but we all need to get away sometimes. That’s why Matrushka owner Laura Howe planned an escape to the lush forests of the Pacific Northwest and the sparkling Emerald City. Nothing like the breath of a fresh landscape to use as inspiration for new art and design work!
Perhaps one of the most exciting aspects of traveling to a different environment is having the opportunity to learn how much we have in common with folks from all corners of the world. So when Laura met up with a selection of new-to-her designer buddies, she felt things were falling into place.
Amy Tipton of Seattle’s Sassafras in Belltown is one of such kindred spirits, along with a collection of other stellar designers who are creating thoughtful and unique pieces at the space for the discerning fashionista. Like Matrushka, Sassafras is a sustainable boutique that values its clients’ individuality with signature work. The vibe is chic, stylish, and positive, and full of artistic inspo.
Howe was invited to Seattle from Los Angeles to create work at the Sassafras studios, situated at a front window as she sewed new pieces. In such a creative environment, the week was super productive for Howe and the group, with Laura making her famous signature one-of-a-kind tops and dresses. The week culminated in an event connected to the city’s monthly Friday night art walks, a Seattle favorite. Tipton also contributes to the community through curating compelling art exhibits at several local hot spots.
Another designer working out of the Sassafras shop is KFLY’s Katy Flynn, whose contoured patterns form and shape to the body in the loveliest of ways. Flynn even offers an incredible 4-way reversible bamboo dress to awe and delight. This level of innovation was a central motivating factor in Howe’s trip to the Emerald City. And if you are in the mood to try your hand at a needle and thread, Flynn is currently embarking on presenting sewing classes.
Howe had a fan base of loyal clients from L.A. who had previously moved up to the Seattle area and came out to check out her new scene there. Howe was warmed with knowing that her work is valued in Seattle, and indeed she ships to clients all over the world. This sparked yet another idea: to offer a mobile Matrushka that can pop up with events and collaborations all over in various cities and towns.
Howe was hosted for the week by a dear friend Charlie of the band PopDefect. The two have known each other for upwards of twenty years (but don’t tell). As another L.A.-to-Seattle transplant who happened to have grown up in Seattle, Charlie was the ideal tour guide. Howe relished in the foodie’s paradise that is Seattle. She visited old school seafood spots along the waterfront as well as high concept eateries downtown. Charlie led the way to local flavor, history, and culinary delights.
Howe says her experience creating and meeting all these incredible artists makes her want to spend more time in Seattle. But the urban appeal of Seattle is definitely not the only awesomeness in the Pacific Northwest. She rounded out her trip with a drive and hike through the stunning Redwoods of Oregon and Northern California. Howe packed in a serious dose of inspiration in a short time, and she will pass it on to her clients.