Designer Spotlight: Karen Davis of Moulagerie

Posted on 28 May 2013

We Garnish gals easily get smitten over fabulous local design. And Portland designer, Karen Davis of Moulagerie is giving us just that! Moulagerie {pronounced moo LA zhuh REE} flawlessly combines romantic femininity with classic sophistication and natural fibers for a fashion forward look with enduring style. We  had a chance to sit down and chat with Karen about what inspires her work, her thoughts on the latest trends, and her TOP 3 style tips every woman should know. ----------------------------- G: Karen, what inspired you to become a designer? What that always the plan? K: My mother was a model when I was young. I still have some of the beautiful dresses that she wore "back in the day". So I've always had an appreciation for stunning clothes and beautiful design. I started sewing when I was eleven on an old, black singer sewing machine and immediately fell in love with the medium. Tweaking store bought patterns to suit my imagination, I made everything from christening gowns to couture wedding gowns and everything in between. So yes, I guess it's always been part of the plan. But after getting married and having children I put that dream on a shelf in order to devote myself to raising my family. I'd really given up on it until a few years ago when I took a pattern making class at Portland Sewing and the world opened up to me once again. Then the Fashion Forward Program was offered to me - an accelerated program that taught both design and the business of fashion. With the kids grown there was no reason why I shouldn't dust the cobwebs off that old dream and take it down from the shelf. I'm so glad that I did. G: How did Moulagerie come to be and what is unique about your designs? K: Moulagerie is more than just a fashion label. It was birthed out of a desire to be true to my beliefs, to walk them out consciously and to encourage others to do the same. So, what makes Moulagerie unique is the business model. We create quality crafted, truly fashionable clothing with respect toward the consumer, the worker, the local community and the environment without compromise. Our hangtags are printed with a "responsibility breakdown" empowering women to make informed and responsible decisions with each Moulagerie purchase.  A portion of each sale is contributed to the fight against human trafficking and to rescue and educate orphans, widows and salvaged young women in and around Cambodia's garment factories. And all of our clothes are locally manufactured. So, Moulagerie is as much about giving back, restoration and compassion as it is about fashion. G: Where do you go for inspiration? K: Everywhere! I'm inspired by fabrics and textiles but I can also be inspired by anything in my world - The Portland skyline, bridges, the ocean. The other day I saw a spiderweb with hundreds of baby spiders, little yellow spiders with black bottoms, suspended on that web. I took a picture of it and am totally exited for the next Moulagerie collection. G: What trends are you seeing in design and fashion that you are loving right now? K: I love the athletic, architectural detailing that we are seeing in sophisticated dresses. You see it in Jason Wu and Alexander McQueen. It balances strength with femininity for a body beautiful look without the sensuality.  I'm also loving the return to bold, bright color. I've always loved color and I'm so hoping that Portland embraces it! G: Sometimes a gal can use some help. What are your TOP 3 "Must Know' style tips? K: Be true to yourself. If you don't feel comfortable in it then what's the point? Next, know your body type and the cuts that look best on you. You'll save a lot of frustrating moments in the dressing room that way. And finally, throw out the spandex!!! I know it's comfortable but it's also never stylish. G: Besides fashion, is there anything else- a hobby or pastime- that you absolutely enjoy? K:  Travel. We've had some incredible opportunities to travel to various parts of the world - Cambodia, Mexico, Scotland, France, Italy. It has had a profound impact on my understanding of my place in this world and my responsibilities to it. The people, the landscape, the hardships and the beauty are all overwhelming to me. G: Is there any essential advice you would like to pass on to all of the aspiring designers out there? K: Begin with the discovery of who you are and what you stand for. Use that knowledge to develop your brand and don't sway from it. It's what will keep you grounded and keep you passionate about whatever you do no matter how tough it gets. Take the time to hone your craft. Don't be afraid to take it slowly. It's the one's who don't give up who eventually succeed. ------------------------------ We invite you to join Karen Davis and us Garnish Gals for a Moulagerie Trunk Show on Thursday,  June 6th from  6-9pm at our Garnish Boutique in the Pearl. Enjoy Moulagerie Summer designs, wine and light bites, mixing and mingling with friends, a live fashion show with model Raquel Romans, and a preview of Moulagerie's Fall 2013 Chateau Collection. Ah, and also we don't want to forget to tell you that Portland Makeup Artist & Fashion Stylist- Claudine Ebel- will be painting gorgeous lips with shades perfect for this Summer and will be talking about personal styling tips and tricks to help Capture Your Style. Thursday June 6th. 6-9pm. Garnish in the Pearl District- 404 NW 12th Ave. Portland, OR. See you there! Love, The Garnish Gals

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1 comment

  • Kateshia P: May 05, 2015

    This is a great interview! I really love this designer’s work. I am excited to see her Fall 2013 Chateau Collection!

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