My favorite Vogue is Chinese Vogue and for good reason, it’s pages are filled with terrifically curated spreads of smart, classy, sophisticated and avant garde styles that I would totally wear any given day. My good pal, Anna, of These Are Powers brought one back after touring with her band in China last year and I was hooked.
There’s a great magazine store on 40th street and 6th avenue across from Bryant Park here in NYC that sells just about every fashion magazine made AND back issues, so snatch one up if you’re in town. Speaking of China, I had the great pleasure of being interviewed by the lovely, Katrina Cheng, of Techmag, a magazine in China. I have copied and pasted my English answers, as the issue was obviously published in Chinese. Thanks so much, Katrina. ;o)
- Could you please briefly introduce yourself?
I am Desira Pesta and grew up with a menagerie of interests in the woods of Pennsylvania. I received my BFA in Painting and Interior Architecture from Syracuse University and printmaking training from a tiny studio in Italy and have a well-rounded repertoire of life experiences. I’ve held a variety of odd jobs including being a personal chef, wedding coordinating, shepherding, jewelry restoration for Alexander Calder’s work, housing construction, and gelato serving.
2. You have done the work of organic farming and shepherding in Italian Alps, then, you have been a chef and art assistance for wild media in NYC. Since you are so young, why you take so many jobs before your being a seamstress? Do they impact your design works now? (Namely, do they impact the present you?)
I have had to work since a young age because my family needed me to. I therefore instilled a great deal of discipline, self-motivation, professionalism, and various business skills into my life at a young age. Having held a lot of very different jobs has helped me to understand various types of business, whether they’re corporate ice cream companies or managing a student-run non-profit coffee shop, or experiencing a farm owned by one farmer. Having held at least ten jobs has made me extraordinarily more well-rounded than if I had only gone to design school.
3. In 2003, you started your new career of being a self-taught seamstress and designer. Why makes you try a career that is quite different from the jobs you have done before? What makes you do this decision? In 2005 I was going to be graduating from college and having studied painting in college, I knew it would be very hard to earn a living painting. The inception of my clothing company was in 2004 on my twenty-third birthday when I brought a box of freshly made five color print silkscreened t-shirts into a tiny boutique in Florence, Italy called Open. With meager Italian, I convinced them to start selling my painterly t-shirts and they obliged. After returning from Italy after a six month stay, I became obsessed with silkscreening and sewing, had a fashion show and garnered selling spots in eleven U.S., Italian, and Canadian boutiques. I started selling my paintings by way of screenprinting them onto tshirts and fabric and so I never stopped…
- You have said that you are a die-hard Renaissance woman. So, is it the reason why we can see the shadow of Renaissance style in your designs?
Hmmm, I have studied a great deal of art history and so I suppose that could be why you see some elements of Renaissance style! Thank you!
- Your designs sometimes are kinda GothicLolita, kinda Punk, having rich elements. And you have mentioned that your designs are inspired by the art, architecture, and fashion. Actually, as to you, what do you define your design styles? “Futurist postmodern early to Mid 1900’s play clothes” can be a way to describe my clothing, yet my style is very dependent on a mixing of color, texture, and an unsaid balance of femininity and masculinity, as well as vintage and new.
6. Someone said a design work can reflect the different sides of the designer’s character. Do you agree with this? Do you think that you want to express something through your designs?
Yes, definitely. I have a painterly approach to clothing design because of my background in fine art. I also am much more of a tomboy than my designs and clothing suggests, so I suppose I am conveying a more girly, frilly, and/or exotic version of my style through my line.
7. You put your designs in the eco-fashion-list on Flickr. When did you start to have the sense of attaching sustainable ideas to your design? Usually, what materials are used in your design? Or, you just reconstruct the old clothes? (Both the attachment of sustainable materials and the reconstruction of the old clothes are the green and sustainable ideas)
I have been a hippie since I was a kid and using sustainable materials is something I have done since the first day I started making and selling clothing. I am a huge environmental activist and have always wanted to continue that ethos in every part of my life. I started out reconstructing clothing and working with vintage fabric, but now I use recycled designer surplus, organic, bamboo, and vintage fabrics and materials.
8. How do you define the eco-fashion? Someone just think that the sustainable products cannot survive together with fashion. But what’s your opinion?
To me, being a green designer means that one employs a low energy-using, low/no waste, responsible business or practice. The product or output should avoid detrimental environmental effects. By environmental, I mean the overarching environment we all inhabit. This is open-ended and obviously provides a lot of room for interpretation. It could entail anything from using only recycled materials to create a new design; to operating out of a solar-paneled and wind-powered studio; to creating new products from something recycled. Sustainable products can and will survive with fashion.
- As the world is facing so many environmental problems such as global warming, people are called for the green and sustainable fashion-style. But there are still some fashion designer ignored this and kept their designs which more or less brings the pollution to the environment. As an eco-designer, what do you think of your mission? Do you think that the fashion born under the sacrifice of environment will die finally? What is the eternal element people can find in eco-fashion?
I do not think that the fashion born under the sacrifice of environment will die finally. There are so many worse industries out there that are polluting the environment so much more than fashion is, although fabric production is a major pollutant. I think we need to realize that there is no utopian ideal that can be actualized so we need to do our best with what we have and be very smart in how we operate. There are so many fabrics and materials and waste products in the world that should be used or reconfigured, as opposed to making new supplies. PET plastic fleeces is a warm fleece fabric made from recycled plastic bottles. That fabric is an excellent example of how we can be sustainable, smart, and also provide the same product as regular old fleece or any fabric or product without the stigma of being eco. The term eco-fashion has come to denote a hippie hemp look and it shouldn’t be. There are and will continue to be incredible high fashion products made available for designers to use. I think as time passes, these eco products will meld with fashion in general and people won’t have to keep saying, “eco, eco eco” and can just look at it as fashion. Eco fashion is very new. It needs to develop and change so people can see that a sustainable world is possible without changing the look of high design.
- It’s very hard for a young girl to self-teach herself being a seamstress. Since you have stick on until now, what is the power that supports you? Have you ever met some difficulties which make you want to give up?
Yes, of course. I would love to take more classes and learn more because learning anything yourself is the hard way. I’m creative so that always helps, but I do get very frustrated at times. Luckily I have great and skilled friends who offer help.
- In your six-year seeking your design world, what is the biggest treasure you gain?
- I know you will have your debut in Greenberg soon, right?
13. What is your next plan for the eco-fashion?
More men’s clothing and more bags.
- Almost every artist has his/ her Muse. Whom do you want to design for most?
My sister I think. She has amazing style and a great eye and looks EXACTLY like Chloe Sevigny, so that helps.
- Could you please give some advice to those who want to be an eco-designer?
Realize that being eco doesn’t have to make you look like any of the other eco-designers. You don’t have to have an earthy aesthetic. Make as many contacts as you can and always ask for advice when you can. Don’t ever think you know what you’re doing without some assistance and guidance, there’s too much to know. Keep pushing yourself despite any hardships, and really know your craft and perfect it. Never stop experimenting with new things. When it comes to what you do, become an expert. Never spread yourself too thin, and always charge a fair price for your work.