How long have you been biking?
Seriously, probably about three years. Off and on since I was 13 when I finally embraced bicycles and felt that cliché freedom of riding fast and being alone. As a kid I had a silly crash into the ONLY telephone pole in a parking lot while learning to ride without training wheels and it turned me off of bikes for the next six years. I finally rediscovered an old drop bar road bike in my grandparents’ shed and started taking it out whenever I visited. It was a game changer.
What kind of bike do you ride?
I’ve got a Public Diamond V7. It’s black, has front and rear racks, and I love it. It’s the first bike I have really loved to ride and it made all the difference in my biking habits.
If you could change one thing about your bike commute to make it easier or more comfortable what would that be?
My main qualm about my ride is that I tend to have to carry tons of stuff to work and it can be cumbersome to load up my bike. Using baskets instead of panniers helps some because I can just toss stuff in, but you can only have so many baskets!
I also hate screwing up my nice heels biking in them, but I also hate the idea of having to change for my commute. I like biking but I’m not into “bike clothes” as it were. I firmly believe that anything worth doing can be done in a dress.
How do you feel about helmets?
I am 1000% in favor of helmets. I never ever bike without one. Taking the photos for this is the only time that I have biked without a helmet in…..years? Weighing my brain against a freak accident involving pavement, cars, or even a crazy moment of clumsiness? I’ll take the precaution. Always.
What is it about Portland that keeps you here? Where are you from originally?
I’m originally from Golden, Colorado. I moved to Portland for college and despite leaving off and on, knew this was where I wanted to be. I love the adorable pocket neighborhoods, the bizarre things you can discover, and I love the extended autumn here.
Do you believe in marriage?
Yes. I’m married and its something I never imagined for myself, but at some point it just felt natural and meant a lot to us. Sometimes I’m surprised to think of myself as a married person!
I believe everyone should have the right the get married, but that shouldn’t be the defining feature of a committed relationship or family. Families come in all kinds of configurations and should have access to the same legal benefits.
Tell us about your decision to open Amelia.
I had been designing, sewing, and selling my dresses to local stores for a handful of years while simultaneously working part time retail jobs. I took a long road trip through the Southwest with my husband a little over a year ago and while out of contact and in the desert realized that what I really wanted to do was have a store, and that if I was going to work retail for the rest of my life, then I had better do it just for myself! I (rather impulsively) called a realtor and just got the ball rolling.
What’s your design process? How do you get inspired?
I sketch a lot, but in the end it’s often an inspiring fabric that really gets the ideas going. I love designing ready to wear, everyday clothing, but every now and then I love to dig into an elaborate costume or a purely creative, editorial project.
Why is it important for you to support local designers?
Supporting local designers allows people like me to be creative and live the lives they want. I’m so happy that I can create a place to get these designers' work in touch with more customers. Keeping the money in our local communities helps keep more money local, create/maintain local jobs, and let more of us live the dream. Having a vibrant, creative, and independent community supports the identity and community of our neighborhoods. That’s the kind of place I want to live. And luckily, I can.
What do you love most about owning your own shop?
I love interacting with people, and being able to connect with customers is a really gratifying part of it. I also enjoy being able to support other independent designers and to curate a shop that really excites me. I love walking through the shop and getting excited about everything I see and being able to share that with other people. It’s pretty awesome.
How long have you had your adorable dog Bambi? Does she come with you everywhere?
I’ve had Bambi for just about four months. She’s 14 years old and it was something of a surprise adoption. She belonged to a friend’s mother who was unable to continue caring for her and when she came to us she had a lot of health problems. She has made an impressive recovery and now you can hardly believe she’s such an old lady! She comes with me to work everyday (sometimes on my bike!), and often out to friends’ places. She is such a sweet lady and I love being able to spend so much time with her.
How would you describe your current style?
Vintage inspired, feminine, an affinity for black, and I’m really into amazing big jewelry.
Anything new coming up for the shop that we should know about?
A couple things!
I’m working on a fun, collaborative project with my favorite photographer and models right now where I am making a handful of custom dresses just for the shoot. It should be amazing – black lace, crystals, caftans, and fog. We’re looking at the end of Jan or Feb for release!
I’m also in the process of bringing in more clothing to fit a wider range of body types and sizes.
A couple of designers currently in the store are expanding their size ranges and I hope to be able to follow suit with the house line. Hopefully by spring or late spring I’ll have something in place. It’s something I’m very excited about!
Amelia is wearing the 24 Hour Dress in Charcoal