“Let me show you something ridiculous I made,” Prima said when I arrived in Brattleboro. “It’s not going in the shop, it’s just something I made for myself, but I love it. Look at that, isn’t it absurd!” She showed me this beautiful red bra made of swimsuit fabric with a bit of lace at the center and matching shorts. Not your average swimsuit, but quite a lovely thing, and something I think others would enjoy. I insisted on photographing it so she could list it in her shop, and it got us thinking about what inspires our best work, what sells, and what is worth working on.
I always think Prima’s craziest projects, the ones that she makes for herself because she loves them, are her best work. As a shop owner, she worries about whether anyone else wants to wear a swimsuit that looks more like lingerie, and that’s definitely a reasonable concern. But she had so much fun making this swimsuit, and I think that comes through. When you love what you’re making you pay attention to it in a way that is difficult to force – you notice all the little details and have an intuitive sense that the peach elastic band should peak through in the center. So my vote is that she should list the clothes she wants to make for herself and not worry about designing specifically for her shop.
There’s no question that you should make the things you love, because it’s just fun to do so. But what about when you’re designing for a shop? How important is it to think about what other people want to wear? Prima and I decided last weekend that for her it might be better to just make the things she wants to wear and hope that someone else will have as much fun in this lacy red swimsuit as she does.