Q&A: Isolda Marie Meade

  • Photo by Alysia Burton
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From the January 5, 2012 edition

Sewing from childhood, Isolda Marie Meade has studied fashion at several universities, interned for Betsey Johnson in New York City and completed freelance work overseas. Her experience and expertise currently collide in Isolda Couture — an edgy, bohemian label becoming increasingly popular around Columbus.

Meade talked about stitching together a dream.

The name Isolda comes from Wagner’s [opera] “Tristan and Isolde.” In the fashion world I go by Isolda, and in my personal life I go by Marie. My dad was a musician, and my mom was an attorney. She just had good taste, and he was always into music. The name’s grown on me. I hated it when I was little.

My mom taught me how to sew. I started making clothes for Barbie dolls and stuff out of toilet paper and tinfoil. Nothing good, I promise you. We would work on projects together. I remember a couple times we would make an Easter dress for myself.

My inspiration comes from all different sources — music, nature and traveling abroad. Pin-up girls are a really big influence. The other thing I draw inspiration from is Japanese fashion. I’d describe my style as bohemian-, vintage- and lingerie-inspired.

The best garments I’ve ever designed are two floral dresses that were part of my senior line at Marymount University. I won’t sell them. I put a price on them, because I feel it necessary to as a designer. But I try to price them so high that no one would realistically buy them.

The worst garment I’ve ever designed is this skirt with sort of an asymmetrical cowl at the top of it, which I think makes you look bigger at the hip. I didn’t like how I designed the waistline. It just makes her look too big there. Most women don’t want that.

The single most important thing I’ve learned so far is that passion and persistence is key. If you lose that, you’re not going to get anywhere.

It’s funny: I never actually wanted to have my own company. I really just created Isolda Couture to keep my hand in fashion — to do little things here and there on the side. I always wanted to be the big designer behind the top designer in the spotlight.

Things I’d want with me on a desert island are a machete, a lighter and a gun.