Designer Spotlight: Ashley Rowe
We all shop with our eyes, which is NO surprise to any seasoned online fiend with a credit card addiction. We're attracted to lush textures, pops of color, and one of a kind prints—extra points for sustainably sourced materials and fair trade production. Enter Ashley Rowe, a Toronto native who began her start in fashion back in Marfa, Texas in 2014 and since has moved to Los Angeles to open up her 2nd retail space in Koreatown. I got a chance to catch up with Ashley about her latest collection, her recent move to California and all things that make her one of my—and soon to be yours as well—favorite designers on Garmentory.
TELL US HOW YOU GOT INTO DESIGN. I always knew I wanted to work in fashion, specifically in design. I went to fashion school in Toronto and graduated with a degree in Business Management. After school, I noticed a gap in the market for well-made, accessibly priced clothing. My first line began in Toronto, where I sold to local clientele, then moved to Marfa six years ago where I taught myself to sew and make patterns, evoking a more raw, and yet, complete process. This is when my career took off -- I designed a concise six-piece collection that was picked up exclusively by Need Supply which sold out within a week. After that, ASHLEY ROWE was selling in Tenoversix, Totokaelo, OROBORO, Selfridges, Amomento, and all across Japan.
GIVE US A RUNDOWN OF YOUR DAILY ROUTINE (AM TO PM). Coffee, meditation, and a walk with my dog is how I start the morning. The LA shop is by appointment only so the rest of my day varies playing with fabrics, cutting out ideas, and checking in with the Marfa shop. I’ll go to my favorite coffee shop, Cafecito Organico in Virgil Village, and check my emails or Instagram. My evenings are spent teaching community sewing classes, going to events/networking, playing flag football with my team. I like to finish my day with a To-Do list for the next day, (To-Do lists are sort of my calling card), then I sign off for the day.
LET'S TALK INSPO. I find most of my inspiration while I am cutting or producing core designs. I always keep a note pad nearby and jot down ideas as they come. These are typically variations on existing ideas, and this year, I’m trying to branch out to create new shapes, teach myself new ways to sew and make space for things I have never done or created before.
ANY MENTORS OR NUGGETS OF ADVICE THAT HAVE HELPED YOUR CAREER? I had a great mentor when I was starting out in Marfa. He was with me when I got picked up by Need Supply and mentored me for a few years at the very beginning. He instilled in me the habit of keeping both fabric and stock low. We always have made everything in-house and he was adamant that we should keep it that way. I also love following Sophia Amoruso, I really admire her grit and determination. Her Netflix show, “Girlboss,” resonated with my younger self!
TELL US SOME OF YOUR FAVORITES (VACAY SPOTS, RESTAURANTS, DESIGNERS/BOUTIQUES). Vacation: Marfa, TX. Toronto, Canada. Cornwall, England. Restaurants: Antico, Here’s Looking at You, and Home State Tacos, all in LA. Stellina, Cochineal, and The Water Stop in Marfa. Designers: KKCO, Priscavera, Eckhaus Latta, Collina Strada. Boutiques: LCD, Voyager, Opening Ceremony, Dover Street Market (All in LA).
TRENDS YOU'RE EXCITED ABOUT FOR F/W19? I am on the hunt for a good chunky knit in orange or khaki. Also, printed colorful fall coats, shearling totes, and the perfect puffer for colder weather. Love that sneakers are still going strong everywhere! 👟
STAPLE PIECE THAT WILL FOREVER LIVE IN YOUR CLOSET? I will always have denim; it might be a favorite pair of jeans, coat, or shirt. Likely, all of the above!
DESCRIBE YOUR STYLE IN 3 WORDS. Minimalist, Monochromatic, Unisex.
TELL US ABOUT YOUR FIRST JOB IN FASHION. My mom worked as a retail manager for a Canadian brand, Jacob, so one of my first jobs was counting inventory and working as a store greeter during the holidays. Working with my mom was memorable; she was a real boss, made sure I was on time, wouldn’t let me get away with anything!
CURRENT STYLE MUSE? I ❤️ Ivania Carpio (@llove_aesthetics). Her minimalist approach and subject matter is what my eye and spirit are drawn to. Her DIY items are clever and a great way to differentiate from the sort of standard format and content shown within fashion/styling.
MY FAVORITE ASHLEY ROWE PIECES
Shop the items currently in my wish list!