The Runway Home: Wisteria Way Designs creator Lacie Phillips returns to her Mobile Bay roots for her runway debut at Mobile Fashion Week 2018.
We chatted with Lacie Lindy Phillips of Wisteria Way Designs about her upcoming debut show at Mobile Fashion Week on September 22, 2018 at The Fort of Colonial Mobile. If you want to be part of the ‘biggest fashion statement’ along the Gulf Coast, buy your tickets by clicking this link. We always love couture for a cause – Mobile Fashion Week ticket sales support children with cancer via Camp Rap-A-Hope. Check out our interview with Phillips below.
On why returning home to Mobile for her first runway show is so important for Phillips:
“As big as my world got, home still calls to me. My whole family still lives there. And my heart will always be on the Gulf Coast, wrapped in the salty air and covered in sand. Mobile is always there to open its arms to me when I need to refresh my soul. The second my tires hit the causeway and I get that first real glimpse of the open water, I feel like I can breathe again.”
On her childhood:
“I was born and raised in the tiny town of Saraland, Alabama. I went to a small private school, Mobile Christian, from kindergarten till graduation. I graduated with 13 of the people I started kindergarten with. My world was small and finite. It seemed like everyone and everything always stayed the same. Very typical of small towns, there were jocks, cheerleaders, freaks, and geeks. Honestly, I just never seemed to fit in. There were times where I felt like I fit in, but for the most part I felt like wallpaper or furniture. Just the background noise that filled other people’s lives.
But don’t feel bad for me, it gave me a lot of time to listen and observe. After all, no one really tries to deceive a lamp. No, I got a front row seat to the entire spectrum of human behavior, and it taught me a lot. At 16 I met this shy, goofy guy, who was the first person to really see me. That guy would stick by me, became my best friend, and now 14 years later is my husband (of 8 years) and the most incredible father to our three children. Mabry 5, Weslin 3, and Tucker 1.”
Tell me more about your children:
“They are the best things I have ever had a hand in creating. Although most people say they came straight from their dad and I was just a vessel because two look just like him and one acts just like him. But for the past six years, they have been my life. My blessings, my quiet place, my wild adventure. They have taught me more about myself and who I want to be than I had learned leading up to their existence.
They say you have to love yourself before you can love anyone else, but I am not sure that is true. Because I did not truly know what Love was until I held my daughter in my arms. I didn’t know how amazing my body was until I carried her, brought her into this world, and fed her from it. I didn’t live my life completely until I had two little eyes watching everything I did. No longer was I lost in the world, I was someone’s world. And over time, I became three someones’ world. No longer was I waiting for life to happen, it was here, it was happening right in front of me and I needed to get on board.”
And that is when you started your brand, Wisteria Way?
“On my 29th birthday, I decided that I would take the year to be brave. I started my business wanting to create a movement of women embracing themselves. Not just being body positive, but people positive. In a world where the focus is appearance and beauty standard and conformity, we lose sight of how beautiful our individual selves are. And it’s crazy really, how much time is wasted on fitting in to stand out, when there are so many beautiful differences between us. Just think, if we encouraged our differences and gave each other room to be, what kind of future we could build.”
Tell me more about Wisteria Way Designs as a brand:
“My brand really isn’t about me, but about who I want to become. I am so in love with my children, as all mothers are. I want my beautiful daughters to grow up in a world where they feel valued, secure, and empowered. I want my son to speak with his actions and not just his words, because after all, actions speak more loudly than any words.
Parents really do shape the future because we, generally, shape the values of our children and our children are the future.”
So what does that have to do with your brand?
“Well, it sets an example in the most relatable way. I want my daughters to grow up in a world where women value who they are, instead of being told what they should be. With our clothing we have the opportunity to profess who we are without ever saying a word. The freedom of custom design is that I do not say, “here these are the set parameters of what I believe to be beautiful and socially acceptable, you may choose from these.” I have the privilege of asking, “what statement do you want to make to the world about who you are?”
Allowing people the opportunity to express themselves without set parameters reinforces the belief that our uniqueness is what makes us beautiful. When one feels comfortable in who they are, they are more secure in their interactions with others. It is no longer a competition. It pains me when I hear women talk about competing against one another in social situations. I am secure in saying that the only person that I am in competition with is who I was yesterday. I always go to bed wanting to be better, a better mother, a better friend, a better wife, a better designer than who I was that day. That is not to say that I did not try my best or feel that I have fallen short, but it is a reminder that every day is an opportunity to learn to be better. To continue to grow as a person in every way. Once we stop growing, we start dying, and that is not something I intend to model for my children.”
When did your love for sewing begin?
“At 18, I struck out for college to The University of Alabama, where my world got a bit bigger. Bigger, better, so much more me. I got to know more about life. I held my first job which I got at a yard sale a few weeks before my freshman year at the university of Alabama. Yep, I met my first boss while she was having a yard sale, she heard I was going to be a freshman and was looking for a student assistant in her office and I was more than happy to apply. I held that position for two years but anyone who has ever worked as a student worker in college, knows that they pay next to nothing, so to make extra money I went and bought me a sewing machine at Walmart, an $89 singer, and started sewing for people. I first sewed for myself out of necessity, needing things that I had left at home and having to make them instead. People took notice and asked what I would charge to make them something. It kind of took off from there. On my dorm floor I would cut patterns and sew on the coffee table, not the most comfortable set up but it was perfect for me. I picked things up as I went, having no real training beyond one sewing lesson when I was 8 years old. I will never forget when I discovered how much easier sewing got when I bought an iron. I know, I can hear the collective gasp of all the seamstresses in the world. And to answer the question, no, I have no idea how I made flat seams or hems before that. And truly, that is how my sewing knowledge grew, bit by bit, learning from each new project. Now there is YouTube and Pinterest where you can find pretty much any answer for anything and you better believe I still learn something from every project.”
Photographer: Caitlen Babb Photography
Hair and Makeup: Brushed + Blushed
Styling: The Southern Atelier
Model: Lacie Lindy Phillips
Photography: K Ruiz Photography
Wardrobe & Styling: Wisteria Way Designs
Jewelry: Harvest Jewels
Florals: The White Willow Events
Hair: Kristen Johnston
Makeup: Brushed + Blushed
Location: Bella Sera Gardens
Henna: Blue Lotus Mehndi
China: Tea and Old Roses
Leather Journal: Leathered with Love