Introducing my new designer friend, Suzanne Park of Plaid Doctrine. She started following me on twitter and when I looked into her bio and discovered her laptop bag website, PlaidDoctrine.com.I am in lust with her environmentally conscious yet gorgeously designed computer bags made of high grade recycled fabrics and vegetable tanned leathers, all sourced and made in the USA!This is the first time I have seen Suzanne's face! We have communicated through twitter and email.Every aspect of her bags are American and that is one of the most appealing factors besides the actual designs of the bags.Unisex and retro: I would use any of these scrumptious laptop bags.I found out Suzanne discovered me through her sister who owns several Tina Tang pieces. This is her sister's all time favorite Tina Tang piece, the Champagne Bubbles Necklace.The Champagne Bubbles goes with every thing, day or night!I interviewed Suzanne so you could learn a little more about her business and her:1. When did you start designing and what inspired your company? How old is the company?A: I started designing late 2008, and launched the company on Earth Day 2010. It took me many months to source American-made raw materials and to find high-quality sewing contacts in the US. My company is just over a year old.2. What is your motto in life?A: Try to do interesting things with your life so you have great stories to tell when you're old.3. What inspired the environmentally friendly aspect of your products?I have a niece who was diagnosed with autism. Although there isn't a proven environmental cause, I read many articles that suggested that PVC (vinyl) might be linked to autism. There are so many handbags and laptop bags made out of vinyl or have PVC coating. Many fancy bag designers actually sew vinyl into the panels of the bag as a cost-effective way to keep the bag sturdy. I took apart a well-known designer's bag just to see what kind of padding he used, and I was nearly knocked over by the noxious fumes from the vinyl and glue that were unleashed as soon as I unstitched the seams.Lots of eco-fashion bands use recycled materials such as billboards and sails, but I couldn't find information about whether those materials had been tested for prolonged, direct skin contact. My goal was to find environmentally-sound fabrics from reputable, established sources. Most of my fabrics are sourced from textile mills on the East Coast.For my higher-end bags, I wanted to find leather that was supple but sturdy, and the more I read about chrome-tanned leather the more I wanted to find alternatives. I found a tannery in the Midwest that tans leather with tree bark, and it's super-high quality - the leather is water -repellent and the color doesn't bleed.4. What did you do before designing?A: I worked in advertising for many years. And, I was also a semi-professional stand-up comedian. I know, comedian-turned-bag designer - so cliche.5. How do you describe your personal style?A. Since I had a baby? Machine-wash only. I think I fit in really well in the Pacific Northwest. I love coats and boots, and of course, bags! I usually wear classics paired with a fun accessory or two. And, I love stripes. I think half my wardrobe consists of stripes Maybe it was my childhood obsession with Fruit Stripe gum that influenced this.6. How is it being in "fashion" and not being in NYC?A: Launching my brand in Seattle was a great experience because there are so many supportive, indie designers here. And, the local press is wonderful. I do think my brand could benefit from being in a bigger city, I'd like to be closer to trade shows and fashion events. I'm actually moving to LA soon, and I have a great feeling it will open new doors for me.7. What is your favorite place to eat in Seattle? Favorite place to hang out with friends?I love Volunteer Park Cafe - it might be my favorite restaurant in Seattle. They have a killer bread pudding. It's off the beaten path- it's actually in a residential neighborhood. I meet friends and business contacts there because I love the atmosphere. It's quaint and homey. I hope I can find a place like that in LA.__________________Suzanne, I cannot wait until we meet in person!
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