Many little girls have special memories of learning to sew with their grandmothers. However, only a select few are able to take moments at fabric stores selecting textiles, buttons and patterns, and turn them into full-fledged design careers. Atlanta’s Abbey Glass is one of them. As a young girl, Abbey dabbled in entrepreneurship by selling bags, belts and even dresses to her classmates. Each time, she remained fascinated by how her pint-sized customers styled her creations. Fast-forward many years later, and Abbey has established a career of creating timeless, tailored womenswear using modern fabrics. Just this March, Abbey opened her first brick and mortar location, Abbey Glass, at Ponce City Market. Her whimsical designs along with her extensive experience working with some of the industry’s most well-known designers make Abbey a creative force to be reckoned with. We’re honored to feature Abbey Glass as today’s FACE of Atlanta.
How was Abbey Glass developed?
I began Abbey Glass by working with individual women in Atlanta to make custom coats and gowns for special events. I would pattern-make, cut and sew every garment. I later hired seamstresses to work with me and grew the line into a ready-to-wear business.
What is your proudest moment with Abbey Glass so far?
I think one of my proudest moments thus far has been designing and creating my older sister’s wedding gown and bridal party dresses. It was probably the most meaningful gift I could give her. It was interactive, brought us all closer and is something that will live in our memories forever.
Some little girls (and little girls at heart) dream of working in fashion. What was it like to work under Marc Jacobs and Francisco Costa at Calvin Klein?
These were some of my most favorite learning moments of my life. Francisco Costa is a lovely person on top of being an incredible visionary. Working for him and his team exposed me to an aesthetic and design process I wasn’t familiar with previously, which opened my mind. The way their designers sketched with live models, experimented and delegated is something I try and emulate to this day. Minimalism is so strikingly beautiful once you begin to understand the extent of development behind something so simple.
Marc Jacobs was a completely different experience. It was a much larger team and a wildly different aesthetic. I learned a lot about teamwork and company culture at Marc. Highlights were that I got to help build concept boards for the runway knitwear collection with Marc and my direct boss, who was based in Paris, cut and sew prototypes for samples, and dye garments and accessories for the runway show.
What would surprise people about what it’s really like to be a designer?
Being a designer is different than owning your own business. I’m a designer by training, but 70% of my time is running the business.
How, if anything, has the South inspired your classic silhouettes and tailored clothing?
The South is a huge inspiration for my line. I think there is that classic woman in most of American society, but the unapologetically feminine flair and use of color really speaks to my Southern roots.
Your Spring/Summer 2017 collection is filled with florals, gingham and pinstripes. What makes your designs quintessential for the season, yet unique additions to a woman’s closet?
The inspiration for SS17 was Grace Kelly in Cinque Terra. Who doesn’t want to live that dream?! The colors and shapes are classic summer favorites, but each piece is unique because of the modern tailoring and fabric choices.
If you were to pack a bag to hit a resort this summer, which Abbey Glass piece are you tossing in?
My favorite resort dress would be the Jojo Dress in seafoam puckered cotton. It’s super lightweight and easy, but looks a little dressed up.
What’s the best piece of advice that you’ve ever been given?
Have a strong point of view.
You’ve partnered with Atlanta-based jewelry designer Mickey Lynn for the flagship store. How do Mickey’s designs complement yours? What other young Atlanta designers have caught your attention?
I love Mickey’s use of color and delicate details. Her pieces are dreamy and bohemian with the perfect level of sophistication and modernity. I love KZ Noel jewelry, an Atlanta brand, which is also sold in our store. I’m also loving our neighbors at Ponce City Market, Cobbler Union and Elk Head clothing. PCM is such an electric place to be.
What are three things you can’t live without, excluding faith, family and friends?
Sun, bacon and eggs, and dogs.
Thank you to Abbey Glass for a realistic, but still rather dreamy, glimpse into the world of being a fashion designer. To learn more about Abbey, click here.
Special thank you to Catrina Maxwell of CatMax Photography for capturing Abbey so beautifully.