Studio Visit: Liam of York


A mood wall, with hand-dyed fabric swatches and some of Designer Rebecca's experiments

Liam of York's Fall coat from the Autumn '15 collection, I can't help but love that she uses masculine details, like this passport pocket, in a woman's coat- what woman doesn't need an inside pocket?

A custom-made dress, hand-dyed by Rebecca using Shibori

Solomon, super-friendly resident fauna 

Rebecca lounges in her design seat

Yesterday afternoon I stepped into Rebecca Wolsten's sunlit studio and admired some truly beautiful fabrics. Rebecca, the founder and designer behind Liam of York, had lured me into her space with the promise of DOUGH donuts and an afternoon discussing the industry we both find ourselves in. 

It's hard to stand by Rebecca's hand-crafted (and dyed!) pieces without feeling the warmth of her passionate handiwork. From her home/studio, she carefully ties and plucks intricate patterns using an ancient Japanese hand-dyeing technique called Shibori, a method renowned for centuries for its graphic capacity to reflect nature, and a natural fabric's connection to the earth it grew from. By using this method, Rebecca is able to create pieces that are completely individual, as no two are alike and each garment takes to the dye differently.

When Rebecca's pieces aren't hand-dyed, they're crafted from handmade fabrics that are created using heritage techniques, sourced from around the world. For Rebecca, her clothes constantly seek to cross planes of  meaning: modern design meets ancient craft, masculine tailoring meets the charm and specialness of the intelligent gamine wearer. All are qualities I can't help but admire and enjoy.

I asked Rebecca about her process and what makes each and every one of her pieces so special:

You live and work in Brooklyn now, and I always love meeting Brooklyn-based designers! Is there a part of working here that is particularly conducive to your work? 

In Brooklyn I have a large home studio and I don't think that would be possible in Manhattan.  I also like the culture; Brooklyn Museum, galleries, great food, and that my best friends all live with in a mile and that we all bike.  There is nothing better than biking on Kent Ave along the water in the summer.

What was the first aspect of Fashion (process, design, textiles, photography- anything) that really piqued your interest and made you think "Yeah, I wanna do this!" 

My first experience with fashion was in a general theater class in high school.  I got stuck on the costume design section.  I then started altering things from second hand stores. Cutting, embellishing, sewing. Fashion design, making things, and my art classes really gave me self confidence and the freedom to be myself at a young age.  

I'm beyond intrigued by your use of historical processes for your hand-dyed fabrics. Could you give a little low-down on which process you use to dye your textiles yourself? 

I use shibori dyeing methods which originated in Japan in the 8th century, I like doing handwork and took a class at the Brooklyn Textile Arts Center a few years ago and have been doing it on my own ever since.  I love how silk takes dye so vibrantly.  Hand dyeing is also unpredictable so no two fabrics will come out the same even if you follow the same process.  There's a lot of surprise and experimenting.

How have you chosen which colors to work with these past few seasons? Do these have special meanings for you? 

I tend to start by gathering images and fabrics that I am drawn to.  I do not first choose a color palette.  I whittle down the fabrics I have sourced and start by grouping them instinctively.  I have a background in painting and naturally think of my collection as a formal composition in terms of color, forms, and proportion.

If you could see your clothes in a landscape, would you want them to stand out or blend in, depending on where you see them? 

That is a draw.  I want my woman to blend when she wants and draw attention when she wants.  I am planning a trip to Greece soon and can't wait to wear lots of Liam of York. I am hoping to be very inspired by the natural landscapes and ancient ruins.

I'm so happy to see you add pockets to many of your designs, which adds utility to your beautiful pieces. Do you see LIAM OF YORK pieces being worn everyday? What kind of lady do you envision sporting your clothes? 

I do see Liam of York as being worn everyday and I use a lot of cotton fabrics. I like my clothes to be casual enough that they are easily thrown on for a full day, from morning to night.  My clothes are for professional creative woman, she has places to go and people to see and doesn't want to look like everyone else in the room. She feels different because she is different.

You also make jewelry! Did you always want jewelry to play a part in your looks? 

For a while now I have been more focused on my clothing collection, but as a designer jewelry design also interests me.  The jewelry I have made is for the same Liam of York girl as my clothes she likes pieces that are special, classics with a twist.

As a crafts-person and designer who embraces slow fashion and more thoughtful modes of consumption, what criteria do you look for in something when you bring a new piece of clothing into your life/closet? 

I am beyond picky when I am buying clothing as I know how to make things and don't like buying clothes that fall apart after a few wears.  I look for pieces that feel special to me that I haven't seen everywhere that speak to my style in general and good quality.  I stay away from trends and really look for things I will want to wear year after year.

Any exciting developments as you work on the next step for Liam of York? 

I am starting to work on my Spring 16 collection and making a few custom pieces for clients which is always exciting!

BROOKLYN FOLK! ebecca's also holding a presale for her Autumn/Winter collection this Saturday, deets here:

Saturday 3/28
241 Taaffe Pl #209
Mimosas and PREORDER for AW15 and some made to order summer goodies

Payments accepted: Cash, CC, Venmo


  1. My favorite posts are those that highlight a new or emerging designer. I love to read about their creative process and the how and why of the choices they make. I ole to know the inspirations and influences and I love featuring new designers on my blog. This is a really great interview and the photos of fabrics and details are just fabulous.

    Accidental Icon

  2. Those pieces are amazing!! I especially love the blue dress. Thanks for posting!!

  3. Love this interview! Great pictures also. That custom-made dress is GORGEOUS. Need one ASAP.



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