by Rebecca Ochab 

Sarah Donofrio is no stranger to a graphic print or a bright punchy color. You may recognize her from her appearance on this season of Project Runway, but this Portland based fashion and print designer has been up to much more. With features in British Vogue, Marie Claire, The Portland Mercury, and more, the designer certainly has a presence. Donofrio is behind the line One Imaginary Girl, which is continuously inspired by the music of the 80’s and 90’s. It’s open to interpretation though, whether her pieces are evocative of a mood, contain a rhythm, or capture the zeitgeist of the time period. Regardless, Donofrio brings a newness to each piece she creates, an amalgamation of inspiration that results in something refreshing. In her own words, her specialties are, “original prints and classic silhouettes- wearable pieces with edge.” She recently has been dabbling in textile creation as well by upcycling materials and creating her own jacquards. The designer has her studio and retail space all in one, in which carries other brands along with her own. The emphasis is on taking the focus away from marketability and conveying a more creative point of view. One Imaginary Girl presented the “Spectator Sport” collection at New York Fashion Week with Oxford Fashion Studio in September. I got a chance to speak with the designer more on her creative process.

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RO: Where did your initial interest in fashion / textiles begin? Was it from a young age or did you fall into it later?
SD: I was interested in fashion from a very young age, as I grew up loving Madonna before I could walk. Once I found out who designed her clothes, I wanted to be a designer. I was also always drawing, so eventually turning those sketches into prints was inevitable for me.

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RO: So, you’re one of the designers that’s designing both 2D and 3D. What do you find challenging about design/ production/ buying for your brand ?
SD: As a label that does smaller size runs and doesn’t adhere to seasons, everything is so unpredictable. Like, when I’m buying fabric from Europe, the lead time is a few months in advance, but maybe by the time the fabric delivers, I don’t want to use it anymore. Or the color story has changed. Or I didn’t order enough, etc. I have to remember that sketching out a concept is just that- a concept. Things will always change, but it’s better to be prepared, than to have to scramble for second rate materials once you know exactly what pieces you want to produce.

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RO: It’s definitely a process. Where do you usually begin when starting a new collection? Is it something that initially inspires (a color, concept, person, etc.?) In other words, how is your design process usually started?
SD: I start with a color palette, which could be inspired by everything from an album cover to a vintage textile, and then I start putting together prints, silhouettes and trims. Once I have the materials on hand, I just start making one piece at a time, and then see what needs filling in. Maybe this color/print started out as a coat in the sketch, but now I realize I have two coats, and should probably make this into a dress.

submissions magazine, submission fashion magazine, online fashion magazine, fashion magazine, fashion magazines, jute magazine, jute fashion magazine, style, fashion, editorial, model, New York, NYC, New York Magazine, NYC fashion magazine, New York fashion magazine, Portland, Oregon, Project Runway, One Imaginary Girl, designer, Sarah Donofrio, Rebecca Ochab, NYFW, SS18
RO: Describe your design aesthetic in a few words.
SD: Wearable and timeless statements.

submissions magazine, submission fashion magazine, online fashion magazine, fashion magazine, fashion magazines, jute magazine, jute fashion magazine, style, fashion, editorial, model, New York, NYC, New York Magazine, NYC fashion magazine, New York fashion magazine, Portland, Oregon, Project Runway, One Imaginary Girl, designer, Sarah Donofrio, Rebecca Ochab, NYFW, SS18

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