Q&A: Abbey Glass
The up-and-coming local designer talks minimalism, the romance of her Spring collection and how to add color to your wardrobe.
How do you define your aesthetic?
We don’t want to define ourselves as Southern style. We want to define ourselves in the South as classic style that could go anywhere, that could take a person anywhere in the world and they would feel like they fit in. I think that’s what good design is. It means that you can use the product that you’re creating in a lot of different contexts. It’s not just solving one problem, it’s solving a lifestyle problem.
How have your designs evolved in the past two years?
The evolution of the line has been honing in on why I like things and what I want to achieve from them. I’m less of a fine artist and more of a designer now, because I’m trying to design things for a purpose rather than just to make something look pretty. I’ve maintained similar sensibilities about proportions, lines and structure, but I’ve allowed myself to get more complex—to add without subtracting. I think my sense of color has gotten more sophisticated. The line as a whole has become more cohesive.
What are some trends for 2017?
This might be a big year for people getting the clutter out of their lives. We need to be more deliberate about what we buy.
How does fashion tie into this resurgence of minimalism?
People are going to buy or wear things that are multipurpose. Separates are going to become really important. I’ve been designing a lot of things for that because people can get a little more bang for their buck, but it’s still interesting and not stuffy.
Color will play a huge role in determining where the balance is. So, if the color is wild then the balance is that the silhouette is very reserved; and if the color is very reserved and more traditional then you can dig into the texture and the cut and do something a little more wild.
Why do you think multipurpose fashion is catching on this year?
Even in the first part of the 20th century, that’s where we were—not because of trend but because of finances or material restrictions. Right now, I think it’s because people are more aware of their carbon footprint. Minimalism is becoming popular, rather than just being a hipster thing.
Tell us about your newest line.
The whole [Spring 2017] line is about adventure and vacation—the Italian Riviera and Grace Kelly. It’s unapologetically feminine, but it’s clean lines. Every time we hit a more traditional color, we made sure the fabrication was exciting or that the use of color was something new and different. I know that Cinque Terra, Grace Kelly and the Italian Riviera will never not be intriguing to me and that ties back to the ethos of the clothes, which is that they shouldn’t go out of style.
What are some essential pieces for a minimalist wardrobe?
You need a classic party dress—that could go black tie, cocktail, New Year’s Eve party. Make sure you have that and you feel amazing in it. I think a leather jacket is important to have, and that will help you edge up any dressier or more feminine pieces. Shirt dresses are worth investing in—a very unique, cool shirt dress. They’re a really versatile, key part of a woman’s wardrobe. A classic pair of trousers that can be dressed up and down is important.