I met Syreeta 14 years ago when she placed an order on the website. A few years later, I needed someone to sew for a wardrobe planning client living in the DMV area close to Syreeta’s studio. Her work was amazing! I admired her designer eye and fashionable point of view. This talented fashion designer is collaborating with me to show you how to combine fabrics from Sew Much Fabric with patterns for an elevated fashion twist. Meet Syreeta!
Where are you from?
I was born in Washington, D.C. and raised in Maryland.
How long have you been sewing, and who taught you how to sew?
Sewing experimentation started in elementary school for me and I began my formalized training at 16. So, although I’ve been crafting almost my entire life, I’ve been doing it seriously for a little over 15 years. The childhood experiments were primarily driven by solo trial and; error – when I didn’t feel like an article of clothing suited me anymore, it quickly became material for DIY or doll clothes. 16-year-old me was incredibly studious and academic however had not been talked out of this habit by her parents. I attended a summer college program after my junior year in high school and focused on fashion design. I quickly fell in (a deeper) love and felt myself shift from medical doctor aspirations to design. I later enrolled and completed my BFA in Fashion Design.
Tell us about Syreeta C Fashion.
I began the Syreeta C | Fashion journey in 2011. After completing my BFA in Fashion Design, I didn’t expect my Entrepreneurship minor to become as big of a resource. I had initially added it to my college curriculum for balance but received a request for custom design soon after graduating. My first client expressed hardship finding a seamstress that could create ideas she sketched out herself without a pattern. I didn’t bat an eye since I could draft patterns myself and “the rest is history,” as they say.
The years since have been a learning experience, but I’ve fallen and stayed in love with being a resource for self-expression and empowerment. I continue to service custom womenswear and diverse tailoring projects. I also mentor, teach, and have an appreciation for community-engaged work.
My endeavors can be followed at:
Do you teach sewing classes?
I have over 10 years of arts and sewing education experience and will be stepping back into the mentor and instructor realm in 2023. I’m excited to announce those new offerings soon. Stay tuned!
What kind of sewing machine(s) do you use?
My sewing machine collection contains a variety inclusive of Juki, Singer, Husqvarna, Brother, Kenmore, and more. I use sergers, straight stitch, and hemmers of both industrial and home types, and they include vintage and modern appliances.
What is your favorite client make to date?
This is an incredibly challenging question. It’s hard to choose, although I often am biased towards projects that I recently finished because they best reflect my current creative notions and skillset. With that in mind, I’m very proud of the Washington Mystics (WNBA team) collaboration I recently completed. Coincidentally, it’s a bit of a departure from the formalwear I create more often. But I’ve always said I don’t necessarily have a favorite type of garment to create. I really enjoy being challenged and dabbling in different applications and working with many muses! That’s the beauty of custom design.
What is your favorite garment you made for yourself?
The 2-piece skirt and top set I created for the opening gala of the National Museum of African American History and Culture comes to mind. I remember feeling regal yet comfortable. I wanted to dress for a formal occasion yet do something unexpected, so I split the look into a 2 piece color block with a dramatic asymmetrical crop top. I even remember taking my time browsing color theory in the fabric store and the customer behind me observing and then buying the same combination behind me. Ha! My decisions were affirmed and they’re still pieces I’ll wear today (when I’m notorious for not wearing things I’ve made again – more from boredom than lack of love)!
What other interests do you have outside of sewing?
I love all things arts and culture, from music to food to travel. Reading is a pastime of mine and I enjoy the outdoors. In contrast to what some may expect from a chic fashion professional, I love a good adrenaline rush. I like spectator sports, biking, and outdoor recreation and exploration. I truly just love trying new things, whether it be baking recipes or white water rafting!
What keeps you inspired?
Naturally, culture and life are always evolving, thus making it easy to remain curious about people and trends. Fashion influence is in a constant state of flux due to environmental, social, and other factors. Additionally, because I specialize in custom, I always have a different allotment of projects and clients going on, so all of that keeps me on my toes!
What is your goal with this collaboration?
My goal with this collab is the same goal of my overall work: empowering self-expression and authenticity. Fashion is truly the perfect tool for exploring autonomy. We use it (pretty much every day!) to articulate who we want to be and what we wish to accomplish. As a seamstress or hobbyist specifically, there’s already an understanding of how beautiful the creative process can be. I’m excited to inspire people to take that to the next level by re-envisioning and reimagining a foundation until it’s more unique to them. Creating pieces that exemplify confidence and pride is a lovely joy and reprieve in a life that’s so often dictated by outside influence.
Is there anything else you would like to share?
There is a lot in the making for Syreeta C | Fashion in 2023. Stay tuned for the new studio and service announcements, collaborations, and product releases! Please also feel free to engage with the brand on social media. I always enjoy chatting with people about creativity, culture, and what makes them feel impassioned.