7 Minutes with: gr.dano

Two looks from gr.dano's spring 2008 collection

Two looks from gr.dano's fall 2008 collection

Fresh from showing their fall 2008 collection in New York, Jill Giordano and Brian Scheyer, the duo behind SF-based women’s wear line gr.dano, caught up with 7x7 recently to dish about their new collection, life in Sausalito and what it’s like to work with your mate.

How have you combined your creative backgrounds to create the line?
JG:  I graduated from the Academy of Art University in 2004 with a degree in fashion design. Working at small apparel companies in the Bay Area gave me hands-on experience in the field and helped me to make valuable contacts.
BS: I graduated from Savannah College of Art and Design in 1993 with a degree in Graphic Design. The combination of our two disciplines allows us to create a contrasting and unique design sensibility.

Do you ever find it challenging to live and work with each other?
JG: Brian and I have been together for eight years and we’ve been producing the gr.dano line for four years now. We collaborate well together and don’t compete creatively. We can go into a fabric store separately and meet up later with the same fabric swatches in our hands. We have similar tastes, but bring our own backgrounds into the collection.

What influenced you to design in the Bay Area?
JG: I’m from New York and Brian is from Georgia. We moved here separately during the dot-com boom and met shortly afterwards. The natural beauty of the Bay Area, as well as the independence and creativity of the people here is the primary reason we both moved here.
BS: We knew it would be easier for us if we moved to LA or NY, but we loved it here and wanted to make it work. We plan to stay here to continue designing and producing our collection locally.

Most of the designs are structured and straightforward – what’s your primary source of inspiration?
JG: We’re actually inspired quite a bit by architecture, as well as art, photography, theater and more. It’s the creativity of others that inspires us. We’re always keeping our eyes open for that next spark of inspiration.

For spring ‘08, there was a lot of layering in the line. What was the main inspiration for that collection?
BS: A book called “How to Wrap an Egg” inspired the spring collection. The book showcases natural containers used in Asian markets to carry food (bamboo, leaves, baskets, etc). Everything was made from nature, but the structures had a modern, architectural look.
JG: We wanted to do the same with the collection – wrap and contain the body with beautiful and structured shapes.

For fall ‘08, you have two different collections. What's the difference between the two?
BS: The entire collection was inspired by the illustrations of Edward Gorey. His books have a somber, nonchalant mood. He uses textures to create interest, which is what we did with the collection.
JG: The Treehorn collection is more sculptural, draped and dramatic. There’s texture and interest without the use of prints or dramatic color. The Willowdale collection has a more classic, structured feel. Many of Gorey‘s characters have a quiet intensity, which is how we wanted this collection to look. The overall look is polished and sophisticated, but the details show expert tailoring and finishing.

Where do you hang out when you’re not at home or working in the studio?
BS: We live in Sausalito and work in San Francisco. There’s nothing better than spending our days in the city and coming home to the comfort and quiet of Sausalito. It truly is the best of both worlds.
JG: In SoMa, we like to grab a cup of coffee from Philz Coffee near Cal Train and just walk around the neighborhood. Especially in South Park – you can get a great salad at South Park Café, a hair cut at Grasshopper, and a drink at 21st Amendment.

Where do you sell the line in the Bay Area?
BS: We sell the entire gr.dano line at 440 Brannan Studio. Other Bay Area boutiques that carry the line are Paparazzi in San Francisco, Morning Glory in Burlingame and Betty Ann in Marin, although our line is currently sold throughout the U.S. in specialty stores and boutiques.

All images courtesy of Drake White.
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