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MEET: Autie Carlisle


November 2, 2015
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Autie Carlisle.

Current location and where you come from.

Currently living in a converted schoolhouse in Brooklyn. Most classically wonderful of Bushwick stereotypes. I originally hail from Northern California, the tiny town called Mount Shasta.

What do you do?

Make garments.

How long have you been doing what you do? Why did you start?

Since I was 11 or 12. My mother had taught me how to sew when I was about 7, as I was homeschooled my whole upbringing until college. I didn’t pick it up again until I was 11 when I couldn’t find clothes to fit me like I wanted. I started adjusting the store bought patterns. I had no idea it was a career choice. I really fell for the field based on a hands-on quality, not for the glossy pages of fashion with a capital F. Though I do remember looking at images online when I was in high school, sneaking into the community college to use their computers with faster internet. I had terrible taste in designers at the time!

Where is your favorite place to go for inspiration and why?

I do love the act of traveling — something about progress vs. destination which is really where the happiness in most of my projects lies. I have the grandest thoughts while in commute — whether on the subway, when I’m on a trip back home, when I’m flying to some place new. There is an openness and freedom and wonder that makes more things possible than a still space.

What ideas, books, people, films, artists, etc are inspiring you personally or informing your work right now?

The people I am surrounding myself with or spending time listening to. Bryson is my fit model this season (featured in the shower video) and her personality is just remarkable. She is an academic and philosopher and has a new way of seeing the things I see everyday. I gain a lot by learning from people who are in other industries such as Sean Wilsey, a close writer friend of mine — how they have similar struggles as I do. I’ve been listening a lot to Marc Meron and his interviews. Books wise, my new collection I’m working on is inspired by this underrated book called A Useful Dream: African Photography from 1960-2010. Just phenomenal. Music wise, Piero Umiliani transports me. Go listen to Risaie.

Who are your favorite people to collaborate with and what does collaboration bring to your work?

To be honest, I need to collaborate more. Currently I am doing that with the prints for my collections, which is very enriching.

Do you have any rituals or practices that help you get into the creative zone? 

No, as long as I have had some coffee that day. I believe that there is a time slot each day where pure creativity flows  — but that time is never consistent. So if I can align with that time when I am able to be creative, I do, and it’s inevitable if it happens. It also can’t be forced. So I segment my day depending on where I’m at mentally and creatively. There are some tasks that have to happen in the process that are much more technical or mundane (for a non-glorious word). And I like those times too, because the creative process is so undefined, you can drive yourself crazy wondering if you did it good enough, or if that was the right choice, edit etc. When making patterns or updating my website, there is usually a way that is more right or wrong to do things. Same reason I like math a little bit.

If you could collaborate with anyone in the world (living or dead), who would it be and what would you do together?

Elon Musk! Could you imagine? Nothing is impossible in his mind. I don’t know what we would collaborate on, but I’d be up for it. Cab Calloway is contagious to me, but probably really difficult to collaborate with. Salvador Dali would be fascinating — I’d love to make both of those men some outfits. Some futuristic meals with Marinetti. Some choreography by Pina Bausch. Charline Von Heyl in a more realistic way for prints. Andre 3000, only for his voice.

What’s been your career highlight?

I think it is when the world feels a bit smaller — when you know people behind the scenes. I think there are a lot of small successes that are highlights and I’m working towards a brighter highlight, so it’s unknown currently and there is not one thing that stands out.

What do you think our generation’s creative legacy will be?

Probably Instagram, to my chagrin. Not that the instant transportation of information or images is a bad thing, but the homogenization and falseness that it breeds I feel will infect deeper than we realize.

What’s the most memorable dream you’ve had recently?

I had a dream I had a baby. Only the second dream I can remember where I’ve had a baby — a thought that does not occupy my brain much. It was very casual. The dream started with me in a dark green hospital gown on my back. I wasn’t sure I had had the baby until I touched my stomach. I was relieved to find out I had already given birth due to my non-pregnant belly shape. The doctor came in, and placed the baby on my belly. The baby was older than he would be for a newborn, and could sit up, and hold up his neck all on his own. He was not wrapped in a blanket but was naked — except he had on a wife beater tank top tan lines.

Where are your favorite places to eat, drink, visit, or hang out in your city?

Musket Room, Little Branch (drinking a Dominicana), my friend’s pool in Bedstuy, Roman’s, Sunny’s bar

What’s something that you haven’t experienced yet that you want to?

Honed relevance. And the butterfly stroke.

Tell us a secret.

I am deathly afraid of fruit stickers.

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