MEET THE MAKER: Summer Dalton of TIGEROWL
We're constantly inspired by the talented makers that are within our community and in our markets! In today's segment of Meet The Makers, we're getting to know Summer Dalton of TIGEROWL. We can't wait to see what else she has in store for us at our Findings Market Holiday Fair this season!
How did the idea for TIGEROWL come about? What started this journey?
I left a career in the NYC art world and moved back to my hometown of Ventura in 2010 not exactly sure what I would do, but knowing I needed to get back to the west coast, so I followed my heart and began TIGEROWL as a creative side project.
At the time, I was screen printing my drawings onto t-shirts. Years passed and I had a full time job but the need to create was still nagging at me. During my first pregnancy, I began to sew a lot more, though with no real intentions of creating a clothing line. Interest grew in some of the designs I would wear (none of which I had made patterns for) including the early iterations of the Wrap Pants so here we are now, with a small but growing collection of garments!
What inspires your work?
Life. I'm pretty hard on my clothes and I'm very much a jeans and t-shirt kind of girl most days for the ease and versatility, but that can get boring. My goal is to create garments that are durable and basic enough for everyday wear but feel a little more special and different than your super basic wardrobe.
Being a mom of a couple young kids, I need something that isn't too fussy or precious, and its got to have functional pockets, but I want to feel a little unique. I also spend a lot of time and thought on sustainability and how the garments I'm putting out in the world are going to be used. Are they going to be something that the wearer only pulls out on special occasions? (Hopefully not!) Or are they going to be worn, loved, and lived in?
I highly encourage mending whenever possible and do my best to utilize my fabric scraps for various projects, minimizing any waste.
Can you tell us a little bit about your process?
One thing about me is that I move pretty slow. I am not following a ton of trends or even launching new seasons of products at this time. I try to be really organic about how I navigate this business right now, not pushing too hard if it seems like something isn't working. I spend a lot of time trying to work on new designs and get them just right, but I'm hoping as I get more help, I can speed up that process (at least a little!). But I like sitting with something new for a bit and making sure I believe in it enough to go through the process of actually making it to sell.
Up until now, I've been cutting and sewing everything myself, but I'm not able to grow or continue to make more new products if I stay in that cycle, so my upcoming new products will be the first release of products that I'm having sewn for me by a contract sewer in LA. I'm super excited about starting this partnership and am hoping it helps me free up some time to develop new products I've been wanting to make. I also met a lovely local quilter who has been helping with the laborious process of piecing together some of my scraps to make some fun one-of-a-kind things!
What is essential in your workspace? What helps you set the mood and get into your creative flow?
Podcasts! I sew a ton and if I don't have someone else talking in my ear, my mind wanders like crazy and I end up in some weird places (in my mind!). So unless I'm writing emails or doing something that requires a ton of brain power, I need those stories to get into a good work flow.
Also the presence of other creatives. I'm currently in a shared studio space. Alexa Coughlin of Rat Boi and I moved in together after working in our garages for years and I immediately fell in love with co-working. She has since moved into a bigger space but Daniella Manini is still in our building so that's great to have people around to chat with so I'm not just living in my head all day.
We’d love to know what a perfect day in Ventura looks like for you when you aren't busy in your studio!
On warm days, I love a good long beach day. Both my kids have been so into boogie boarding so a day at the beach that involves lots of ocean dunks and snacks is the best. We live in downtown, so as a family we really love walking out of our house and being on Main St. for a stroll, or biking down to the beach path. I love that the creative community in Ventura has become so vibrant so being a part of that and continuing to meet new creatives has been a highlight for sure.
Is there anything new you're working on or any fun new collections you're bringing to our markets?
I am hoping I have my first run of production done in time for the Findings Market events! I have 2 new products coming out, as well as a new and improved version of the Grace Dress and I can't wait to launch them! I'll also have a handful of one-of-a-kind Quilted Coats as well as some oversized tote bags that are made up of my linen scraps.
You can find Summer's beautiful designs, here, and at our Findings Market Holiday Fair on November 26th and our Good Tidings Market, December 3rd!