Based in Berkeley, Erica Varize has quickly become one of our favorite local designers.
Erica's collections feature a contrast between soft, fluid jersey knits, and structural, vibrant Ankara print cotton. Her designs remain simple, allowing the fabrics to speak for themselves, but are always offering a unique architectural silhouette that works on every body type.
Recognized for being one of the first cut and sew boutiques in the bay area, Erica has now transitioned to off the rack collections so that she can quickly satiate the rising demand for her designs.
While Erica is deeply rooted in the urban community, her heart lies in Africa where she spent time as a teenager, and later as an adult, living and working in Guinea and Uganda. Erica's passion for her experiences in Africa inspired her use of traditional African wax fabrics from Uganda, which she incorporates into her collections through modern silhouettes.
Erica has also used her design skills to start a sewing camp for girls called Sew What, teaching them how to draft patterns, sew, and develop their creativity.
We love Erica's unique designs, and based on how quickly they've been flying off the McMullen racks, we're pretty sure you do to!
Check out an interview with Erica below, as well as a link to her website where you can find out more about her design process and involvement with the local community.
Q. Your designs utilize both architectural and fluid elements. What is your inspiration when creating your collections?
A. I have been asked this question many of times and the truth is this: I design for the woman that is in me, my inspiration comes from women that I am surrounded by ~ Self confident, moms, singles, career driven, women who understand the beauty of work and play ~ these women inspire our bohemian separates and also appreciate their own beauty when wearing one of our gowns. She is the same woman.
Q. Many of your designs feature traditional African wax fabrics. Do they have a particular meaning for you other than aesthetic appeal?
A. My love for the Ankara fabric began in 2007 after visiting Uganda, I immediately wanted to share my gift of design through this fabric, designing modern clothing with Ankara fabric that any woman could rock! I began supporting my passion of the fabric by purchasing from women in Uganda whom sell the fabric to support their families. Since 2007 EVarize has supported these women, and continues to design with Ankara.
Q. What is your style tip for women (of any age)?
A.Wear whatever the hell you wanna wear; just make sure you look good!
Q. What is your favorite fashion indulgence?
A. Shoes Shoes Shoes, all day!!!
Erica's pieces are available at McMullen and McMullen in Old Oakland. Stop by and browse her amazing collection! Click here for a link to her website where you can see more designs, and read more about this amazing local designer.