Brooklyn Dyer Katrin Reifeiss Tells Stories With Color

katrin Reifeiss

Katrin Reifeiss Voyage Dress in Black

Brooklyn natural dyer Katrin Reifeiss says she has an incurable wanderlust and love of color.

“Every item I create tells a story. Influenced by my love of travel and painting, to inspiration found in the starry skies and sea, each piece tells of a personal narrative,” she adds.

Focusing on craftsmanship and the creativity and spontaneity of design found in hand-dyeing fabric, Reifeiss says her love and specialty is Japanese Shibori and each item is designed and dyed in small batches in her studio in Brooklyn.

When possible, all materials are organic and sourced from the USA and recently, made a small batch of Voyage Dresses at the Brooklyn Fashion+Design Accelerator.

We recently caught up with Katrin to ask her about process and what it was like working with the BF+DA.

Can you tell me what the process was like setting up production at the BF+DA?
I found the process setting up production with BF+DA very simple. I had initially attended a tour at the BF+DA and was really taken with their production capabilities and their attention to small designers like myself. When I was ready to set up a meeting to discuss production for my Voyage Dress I contacted the BF+DA through their website. My first meeting was with Tara St. James who is in charge of production. We sat down together and discussed the style of dress I needed sewn, the information Tara would need from me, lead times and pricing for small run production. My second meeting I brought the pattern and all production information and we went over the pattern together and made any adjustments we thought were necessary. And then I left everything in Tara’s capable hands.

In the past were you doing things yourself or working with another production house?
Yes I worked with a factory in the garment district previously. Some designs I sew in my studio. Luckily this past year I had a terrific assistant.

Did you dye your fabrics before the BF+DA got them?
The Voyage Dress was a garment dyed dress so the dress needed to be sewn first then dyed. Otherwise I dye the fabric in panels to the size of the pattern, then cut out the pattern and sew the design.

Did you come with a pattern or did you work on that too with the BF+DA Production Lab?
I came with my own pattern but am happy to know that if I need a pattern drafted I can rely on Tara.

Tell me about your dress: Inspiration, your woman…
Inspiration for a design starts with what I would like to wear and also for someone like myself who appreciates the time, passion and human touch that goes into every product. I see my style as laid-back and create pieces that are easy to pack and can be worn freely – from city to surf, beach to street. My designs are not bound by time, rather as timeless items not meant to be disposed of after one season. I focus on craftsmanship and the creativity and spontaneity of design found in hand-dyeing fabric, specializing in Japanese Shibori.

What’s the biggest challenge for you as a designer?
A big challenge now is time as I had a little baby boy this past May 27th. It will be a challenge! And of course always money. I make items to order to keep my cost down. Although this has worked well for me going forward for those items that sell well I should reassess the made to order model and have a small inventory of these items on hand. For the remainder of 2016 into 2017 I will need to redefine my goals to make my work sustainable and financially successful.

Do you think small run production gives emerging designers power?
Yes. Small run production gives emerging designers a place where they know they can go work with talented people who understand their needs and give them the power to keep within their budget.

To shop Katrin Reifeiss go here.