Even if you’re Born with IT, it takes work | Carol McClellan

Dressing rock stars in the 70’s & 80’s had to have been an amazing gig I’m sure. And, if anyone could make the Seattle scene cool at the time, it was Carol McClellan.

One of the main reasons I am so thrilled that Carol McClellan was awarded the prize at The Bellevue Fashion Week’s Independent Designer Showcase is that we can finally showcase someone with tenacity and talent in Fashion that is a true “Artisan”. I love this part of wikipedia’s definition of  the word: …”An artisan is therefore a person engaged in or occupied by the practice of a craft, who may through experience and talent reach the expressive levels of an art in their work and what they create.”

As an eager student and lover of design, I found Carol early in my career and have loved watching her stick to her guns. Her ability to take fur and leather and make it look new and hip every season is fabulous.

Over the years, I have sent clients to her to rework their vintage leather and fur which to me, is the ultimate in sustainable choices. For her Bellevue Collection show, this was one of my favorite pieces. A recycled fur bomber. Fabulous.

Carol’s Gypsy Dress was a stand out with the pleated leathers and the wide shoulders accented by her signature copper zipper. It was the piece selected by Vogue to show in Saturday night’s Front Row Fashion Show that closed Bellevue Fashion Week.

Carol is the designers’ designer. I heard over and over again from my fellow garmentos that finale’ piece was one of their fav’s. The texture play with fur, wool, tapestry…divine. The designer also supports other “artisans” as she did for this collection collaborating with jeweler, Martha Driver – Rock Star Jewelry and, Artist, Juan Alonso-Rodriguez (the silk prints are his art)

I am very proud of Carol and want young designers everywhere to know that you can do it. But you have to put in the time to your trade. Carol is the best example of the work it takes to do it on your own terms. This month Carol created another collection that will also be showcased at EMP Museum’s “Project Leather” opening on October 20. Carol McClellan reminds us that if you choose this profession,sometimes it can’t be learned. You are just born with it. Once you recognize you can’t do anything else, you take it and develop the skill set to match your passion. RL


Photo Credits | Connie Lysene


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