I kinda, maybe fell in love with Blue Platypus Clothing and am so happy to feature Heidi today. I love the patterns, and the colors and the thought that goes into the prints and clothing. And I love her practical advice to creatives to believe in what you do! Meet Heidi and enjoy her creations!
Please introduce yourself.
I am Heidi Gates, owner & designer for Blue Platypus Clothing, which I consider my other child since it occupies so much of my time and requires a lot of energy. I grew up in Michigan, went to the University of Michigan (I was pre-Med in another life) and then had a quarter-life crisis and decided to go to fashion school in Los Angeles. We lived there for almost 15 years, started a family and then moved back to Michigan where all my people still live. We still produce everything in Los Angeles and have it shipped to us for QC and shipping out to our stores and websites.
What do you make or do?
We make women’s tees, tanks, dresses out of fabrics knit in USA. We pick the fabrics and have them custom-sewn, dyed and printed with our awesome dye colors and artwork created by me. Made with love, from scratch, in USA.
Where can we find your creations?
You can find our things at www.blue-platypus.com which is our retail site.
www.modcloth.com is a major customer, and our creations are also in many stores throughout the US like:
White Balcony in Fort Collins CO
Mes Amies in Madison WI
Frock in Portland OR
Unfurl in Manzanita OR
Frida/The Peacock Room in Detroit MI
Spirals in Traverse City MI
and in boutiques around the country and a few internationals too!
Is there an interesting story behind the name of your business? How did the name come about?
We wanted something unusual, so we thought of the platypus, since it’s a wonder of evolution- a mammal that lays eggs, has fur, a poisonous spike on its back leg (males only), and the bill of a duck… what could be more magnificent or mysterious? And we picked the color blue because it’s soothing, flattering to all skin tones, and it’s the color that costume designers put on characters they want us to trust.
Is creativity a luxury or a necessity for you?
Definitely a necessity! I love that every day is different. I love waking up not knowing what will come at me. I constantly have situations (not just design, but also in production), where I have to really think about the best way to complete a task or which color is best (I know what I love but it needs to sell too!) I love changing up the designs and silhouettes frequently, because I get bored. Boredom is the enemy, and creativity seems to be the cure for that.
What inspiring advice would you give to other creatives be they established or just starting out?
I would say, first of all, stay true to your style and don’t sell out just because something is trending… and always take it too far. Some of our kitschier, crazier designs are the best sellers. I refuse to put another generic factory blank with 1 color print into the universe… always do it better, and stay true. Don’t cut corners, and keep searching, because your customer is out there, but maybe not right in front of you… believe in what you do, or do something else.