Heather Frazier: The Modern Day Dressmaker
Who? Heather Frazier
What? Modern day dressmaker
Where? Frazier & Wing; Portland, Oregon
Why? Creating a new business model for the way we think about and buy our clothes.
FF Favourite? The Greta Dress.
I love a favourite dress the way I love a favourite pair of jeans — items of clothing that you always reach for, fully confident that they aren’t going to let you down in comfort, fit and their ability to make you feel fantastic in yourself. My favourite dress at the moment is my Greta Dress designed and made by modern day dressmaker, Heather Frazier, founder of Frazier + Wing. Its quiet simplicity and stylish practicality mean that I can put it on in the morning, wear it straight through the day at my desk or out and about and then into the evening for dinner — as evidenced in a photo below when I wore it to Fabster Cindy Polemis‘ recent art tour at Tate Britain.
With a background in art and design, the Portland, Oregon – based dressmaker honed her understanding of fit and quality while working with a range of women when she owned her own retail store in San Francisco. “I watched and learned from the clothing designers and manufacturers whose lines I bought and sold,” Heather says.
When it came to her own line Frazier + Wing, founded in 2016, Heather decided to produce her designs on the made-to-order, direct to consumer model, which means she designs, cuts and sews every garment herself. By executing all the parts of the business, she avoided the risk of losing a large amount of capital that would have been required to go into production with a factory. Starting small and slow, she can build and learn over time, giving her the flexibility to adjust and change as required. And most importantly to Heather, working this way means she can create a closer connection to her customers. “It feels personal and receiving direct feedback from my customers is valuable,” she says.
In our recent interview with Heather, we learn more about her designs and the customers who are wearing them. And should you decide to be a member of the club, Heather is offering a one time only 15% discount off for all Fabulous Fabsters readers. Click here to shop and type in “FABFAB” at check out. Many thanks, Heather!
Fabulous Fabsters: Why do you love dresses?
Heather Frazier: I love dresses because they are easy. One piece dressing simplifies things.
FF: Why do you consider yourself a modern day dressmaker?
HF: Because I make clothes for everyday living — the way we live now.
FF: Tell us about the fabrics you use?
HF: I use natural fabrics such as cotton, linen, wool and silk. The exception to that would be a stretch cotton that has a very small percentage of synthetic yarn women in for stretch. Right now, most of the fabrics I am using are sourced from Japanese mills. I really love the quality and colour ranges that are available from the Japanese vendors. My goal is to move towards using organic fabrics.
FF: Who are your customers?
HF: My customers are women who have an interest in where and how their clothes are made. They are looking for something special that they don’t see everywhere. They care about quality and are willing to invest in it. I think they also want a connection to the person or business that designs and makes their clothes. They actively seek out smaller brands and make an effort to support local businesses because they want an experience that is richer and more personal than an anonymous transaction in a department store.
FF: Any Wardrobe Wisdom?
HF: One of the perks of age is knowing my style and what feels right. It’s all about how it feels — comfort is key but it also has to be but clothes also have to be the expression of an interior life. I have learned not to deviate from what I know works for me. I like clean, structural and simple clothes with a bit of an artistic vibe. I love a good cardigan and scarves are essential. My colours are black, navy, gray, greens and blues. I love socks — that’s where I will introduce pattern and colour. My preferred shoes are Oxfords, sneakers and slides — occasionally a platform but never a heel. From an early age, I was drawn to natural fabrics and quality. I do not have a huge wardrobe and prefer to have fewer high quality pieces that I love and wear all the time.
FF: What’s in your Prescient Pantry?
HF: Olive oil, butter, eggs, brown rice, lentils, olives, lots of seasonal fresh fruit and vegetables, honey, cinnamon and all kinds of fresh herbs. Jasmine tea is essential. I love to cook and eat — it is one of my passions but now that I am focused on my business, there is less time for cooking. We eat very well but simply. The agriculture in Oregon is phenomenal.
FF: How do you stay strong and well in body and mind?
HF: I eat a very healthy and organic diet. I was introduced to “health food” in the late 70’s when I worked in a natural foods restaurant during my first year of college. I have been eating this way for my entire adult life. I have regular acupuncture treatments and treat myself to the occasional massage. As for exercise — I am failing completely at the moment. In the past, I have practised yoga, danced, swam and walked to keep my body healthy.
FF: If you could send a message to your younger self, what would it be?
HF: Oh, this is a hard one because I have too many! I think I would say relax and don’t be so hard on yourself. Give up on perfectionism.
FF: Besides your family, what do you hold most dear to your heart?
HF: That’s easy — freedom and beauty.
Photography by Christine Taylor.