Kristin Wood, fashion designer
He & Me Apparel Trunk Show
Ziabird • May 14, noon-5 p.m.
1900 Eastwood Rd. Ste. 9
At times, life tends to present opportunities for change—a turning point or proverbial fork in the road, when we choose a new path and direction for exploration. For local designer Kristin Wood, the turn ended up being a very dangerous one, amping speed at 55 miles per hour.
“About five months ago, I was in a pretty severe car accident,” Wood recounts. “I broke my pelvic bone and was no longer able to walk for about two months.”
Rightfully shaken from the accident and feeling ready for a new start, Wood’s family helped refresh her young passions with a single drawing pad. It eventually led her back to a creative life.
“I come from two parents who were both extremely creative and artistic,” Wood says, “my father, a documentary photographer and director, and my mother, whose degree is in art and design. Art has surrounded me for as long as I can remember, in some form or fashion. From grade school through college, I found myself constantly drawing, painting or taking photographs. This was my obsession; it’s all I ever wanted to do.”
But eight years ago, that changed. Even with a degree in fine art and photography, as well as a job in photojournalism, she couldn’t overlook her passion for wine. So when Classic Wines was looking for a representative for the Outer Banks area, she decided to give the career a go—which eventually led to marriage, many adventures and her current change of pace today.
encore spoke to Wood about her beginnings, her transitions and the future of her blossoming, new career in fashion design. Here is how He and Me Apparel was born.
e: Tell me about your career in wine and why you transitioned into it from photography.
KW: I was making every effort to keep an imaginative mind, yet life threw me a curve ball when I discovered the elements of wine while working in fine dining. From my young artistic view, this was as strong a medium as any other. Simply put, the artist is the wine-maker, and the palate consists of many colors and flavors. While drawing and painting all the while and taking the photographs I needed to pay the bills, wine was something I couldn’t resist learning more about.
Wine gave me the enthusiasm I had with art. Somehow, I stopped painting, took little time to draw and only broke out my old manual Nikon when needed on a wine trip. Art, all of a sudden and for the first time in my life, had taken a back seat.
e: You recently made a big career transition, though, bringing you back to art.
KW: Sitting in a hospital bed is where I decided that my expiration date had passed with the wine business. Although I would always love it, I wanted something more.
Four days after the accident, I was able to go home. My mom and my husband, Garrett, literally handed me a sketch pad and said, “Why don’t you draw again?” So, I did. I soon after began to not worry about the career that I had lost, but now I thought about the second chance I had been given and what I wanted to do with it. I haven’t stopped drawing since.
e: Why do you think you turned to fashion this time?
KW: I had to make something materialize from this pivotal experience that could bring me the pleasure and inspiration that I had found during my eight-year career in wine. Something that could make my unrecognizable world not seem so unfamiliar. So I thought about the things I truly love: drawing, fine art, landscape photography and, of course, fashion. It was another wonderful medium that I have always been intrigued by and have pursued.
e: How have you translated your background with painting, drawing and photography into designing clothes?
KW: I thought about what every woman wants from her wardrobe, something comfortable and soft but not homely—versatile and effortless to wear, forgiving when she wants it to be, however, flirty when she’s feeling good about her curves. This question sparked many other questions that I needed answers to. I thought about designing T-shirts with illustrations, cotton dresses that could be decorated with designs I came up with, but I wanted to make something I had not seen everywhere.
e: What would you say is your brand’s signature?
KW: The “Silhouette.” It is a seamless circle of a soft cotton-blend material that is somewhat like a scarf; only it’s 4 feet tall by 3 feet wide, allowing a woman to wear it in several ways. From dresses to wraps and shrugs, shawls and vests and, yes, a scarf if that’s what she’s looking for. I have taken illustrations I’ve drawn, such as the large-scrolled feathers, and adorned the sides and corners with them so that you can pull or twist them to be anywhere on the body you’d like. I have chosen color schemes that I find to be both complimentary of the season and what’s hot on the runways, but more importantly, to flatter a woman’s skin tone, size and shape—their silhouette. What makes it unique is that in all of my years of exploring fashion, I’ve never seen anything like it.
e: Where did the name for your design company originate?
KW: “He and Me Apparel” is where it all came together. My husband was that guy those eight years ago who was looking for a rep on the coast to sell wine. He introduced me to the industry, and we got married four years later. He has always wanted the most for me—to be that woman who went after something she believed in and loved. We are truly best friends. He helped me get my head on straight when I didn’t know where to turn: back to the wine industry after I had healed from my wreck or do something I had only dreamed about?
e: How does he inspire you?
KW: I fully believe that we all need a person in our lives to help us along the way—and remind us of how lucky we are to have our family and friends behind us no matter what. This person for me is my husband; the “he” in He and Me. We’ve been together for eight years and have had our fair share of ups and downs. We’re best friends because we look for the ups when we’re down.
e: What’s next for He and Me Apparel?
KW: I have just gotten my manufacturer and printer to finish the very first orders of Silhouettes. They’re available [now] in the Outer Banks at Islands by Amity in Duck and Kitty Hawk, and at Birthday Suits, all four locations from Corolla to Kill Devil Hills.
Here, in Wilmington, Aqua Fedora downtown and Ziabird in Lumina Station will both be carrying them. Ziabird will be hosting a trunk show for He and Me Apparel on May 14th from noon to 5 p.m. We will be showing both the sheer Silhouettes, which make the most beautiful beach cover-ups and wraps, and the original Silhouettes that have a slightly thicker material and are perfect for dresses and shawls, vests and hooded caplets. We will be showing how to twist and wrap this special garment into about eight different styles and fashions. The versatility is endless, it will spark the creative side of any woman.