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Black DIY: Black Women Who Design! An Interview with druChristine Couture

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This week’s highlight is with fabulous fashion designer, Drue Thompson, the founder and owner of druChristine Couture.  Drue has a special place in my heart because we attended undergrad together at Kent State University; I have witnessed her growth and progression as a fashion designer and I am so very proud of her.  Here is a chance to get to know Drue and check her out!

What inspired you to go into the craft business? 

My main inspiration to become a designer came from my family; mostly everyone has some creative outlet.  There was always some type of ‘project’ going on in my house…my family was the first experience I had in relation to doing things yourself; from sewing, to cooking, to cars….each member of my family had their own niche.  I think I am the first one in my family to go out and make it a business, but they are all just as or even more talented.

Do you do this full-time or do you still have a day job?

After years of working in a mainstream field, I am pleased to say that I have decided to make my fashion design business a full time venture, which is quite a feat here in Cleveland.

What’s behind the name of your craft business?
Initially, when I first started my business back in college, I worked under the name, druewho?.  It was catchy and believe it or not, people still call me that even now.  Eventually, when I wanted to take a different approach in my branding, I decided to change my design name to druChristine Couture, in order to grow with my clientele.  The name is a combination of Drue and my middle name, Christine.

How long have you been in business?
I have been sewing and designing for almost 20 years.  WHEW!

Describe your aesthetic/creative process when designing/making your product line.

I wish I could say I have this deep, methodical process for creating my collections, but I must say, inspiration comes to me in several ways; I can be inspired through music, nature, even a dream. 

Is there a product in your line that you specialize in or are most proud of?
What am I MOST proud of??  I have to choose??  I am proud of everything I design!  I can’t choose, that’s like picking a favorite child!

What is your biggest seller?
My biggest seller, to date is a dress called ‘Tie One On’. It has a tie neck, with a curved silhouette and side pockets.  I showed it in my 2009 collection in linen and have made the dress in several fabrications from denim to satin.  People love the versatility of the dress and as long as people still want it, I will keep selling it!

What’s the best thing about what you do?
The best thing about what I do is that I LOVE how my clients continue to challenge me and push me to create new ideas and techniques for my designs.  Many of my clients trust me and my ideas enough to just say, ‘Do what you do!’   The best moments is when I make someone’s vision come to life – even better than what they imagine!

And the worst??
I wouldn’t necessarily say I have a ‘worst’ part about my job more like a challenge.  Living in Cleveland has proven to be extremely challenging for any fashion related business.  In Cleveland, many designers struggle to find an outlet to showcase new designs as well as find a market for current collections.  I am thankful that we live in the time of the Internet and Social Media; thanks to these avenues, I am able to reach a wider range of clientele, those who would have never been introduced to my product without Facebook, Twitter or other social media sites.


What’s your opinion about the whole DIY Movement? What impact do you think this will have or has had on the Black Community? Why is knowing your DIY roots important to us?

Like I mentioned before about my background, I come from a family of DIY…so the ‘movement’ was embedded in me from the beginning.  I always found a certain amount of satisfaction in completing a project myself.  I truly, love it!  In my opinion, the DIY movement is not about an economic choice, it is more about sustainability and caring about what we leave behind and how we leave this planet.

As a community, we (Blacks) have to start teaching the importance of becoming self reliant and not so caught up on what the media tells us is ‘in’ or ‘fashionable’.  I know it sounds strange coming from a designer, but, as much as I love to recreate new things, I am not above going to the thrift store or even my own closet to re purpose items. 

As a people, we have always been creative and resourceful, throughout history, we have been able to ‘make a way out of no way’.  We are the only race of people, that I know that have consistently, throughout history been able to develop our own styles in fashions, hair designs, inventions, recipes, etc. with little to nothing.

What’s the best advice you’ve been given about your business or craft practices?
The best advice I can give to any business person is to remember that at the end of the day, all you have is your word.  Also, don’t burn bridges.  This advice can be applied to life as well.

Are there other crafters/designer or businesses you follow and why?
Generally, I tend to stay updated on other independent designers.  I like to keep up with their projects and often times, we offer each other support, trade techniques or maybe simply a sounding board for ideas.

Do you currently have any specials or sales going on right now?
Currently, I am in the process of transitioning from the seasons, prom along with my clientele, so there are no specials going on right now.  But, stay tuned for more exciting progress coming from druChristine Couture.  I don’t want to let the cat out of the bag too soon….they can follow me on Twitter @druchristine or on Facebook at druChristine Couture to keep updated.


Is there anything else you would like readers to know?
I just want to thank everyone who has supported my line from druewho? To druChristine Couture, I love the letters and emails of support that I receive from my friends, family and classmates.  The positive messages truly keep me motivated to keep pushing and living my dream…..

How to Find druChristine Couture:

Business Information:  druChristine Couture
Business Name: 
druChristine Couture
Founder/Creative Director’s Name: 
Drue Thompson
Location: 
Cleveland, Ohio (or as I like to say, WORLD WIDE….through the world wide web!!!)
Business Phone (if applicable
): 216.533.5195
Website: 
www.druchristine.com  Email: druewho1@gmail.com

Etsy Page: druChristine

 

Thank you for reading and supporting Black DIY. Stay Tuned for the Black DIY Holiday Shopping Guide, Coming Soon!

Follow me on twitter: @ivywriter

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