We had the good fortune of connecting with Laura Tanzer and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Laura, what makes you happy? Why?
Making stuff. Teaching. Traveling the world and immersing myself in other cultures, other art, music, traditions. All of this feeds my creative soul, allows me to be even more creative. My clients love how I make them feel with the wearable art pieces I make for them, and that makes me very happy.
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
I started my business about five years ago, in Tucson, AZ. I had always wanted to start a business, and after working for others, and following more than a decade teaching at university, I decided to just do it. My family and friends were very supportive. I developed a loyal following from the outset. While there have been bumps along the way, I have learned a huge amount about running a business, hiring and firing people, collaborating, and negotiating in a very competitive industry. I set out with parallel goals – to produce really well made clothing for women, and to do it in the most sustainable way possible. My research told me that women in their 30s and beyond were not being well served with style and fit. So my focus landed there. I created my Body Geometry system for styles/patterns so I could fit women of different body types with clothes that were easy to wear, well made, and beautiful. And made from natural fiber textiles. I focused on Sustainable Practice from the very beginning. This is not easy, especially as a small business. The clothing industry does not support sustainable production. As a matter of fact, it is one of the most wasteful industries in the world. I persevere. I educate consumers. I participate in sustainable forums. Educate some more. Teach workshops on sustainability, fashion, and in technique/skill needed so others can also be sustainable. I source only natural fiber textiles from small mills. I source dead stock (remainders that the mill has not sold). I source vintage and/or end bolts from mills no longer operating. I source unusual textiles, such as vintage damask tablecloths, upholstery textiles. I created a collection I call Frammento (Italian for remnant). I literally drape one of a kind garments with my remnants. Nothing goes to waste in my atelier. I make scarves, clutches, wristlets, etc. with smaller remnants. Tiny remnants are donated to local schools (k-12) for art programs. I would love to see more ‘reshoring’ in the clothing industry. I make everything locally. I teach skills to others, and take on interns. It is a ripple effect. The more positive energy you put out, the more it will expand.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Hmmm. Before pandemic, I would take them on my favorite hikes, to the Sonoran Desert Museum, Tucson Museum of Art, MOCA, walk downtown and the Sunshine Mile. We are a City of Gastronomy, so our food choices are fabulous. We have everything from Mexican, Thai, Vietnamese, Vegan, New American. It is all amazing. And then there are the food trucks! We also have great breweries, vintners, and whiskey bars. And music, concerts, interactive theater! A week is not enough!
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
My family and friends and loyal clients are all part of my sphere of creativity. I could not be where I am without them!