Meet the woman behind the amazing illustrations on our lightweight base layers and new bags coming out this Fall. Hillary G. is based in Boulder, CO just down the street from the Krimson Klover office. Hillary has a natural talent when it comes to art and design. She has vast experience in apparel design starting with Diane von Furstenberg and ranging from Macy’s to Neve Designs and now Krimson Klover. I had the pleasure of meeting up with her to ask a few questions about her artwork and her lifestyle and how each influences the other.
When it comes to what inspires her artwork, her base layer designs are motivated by vintage ski posters and retro ski fashion ranging from the 1920’s through the 1970’s. She aims to modernize the vintage ski look into a new, fun, yet relatable image. For her folkloric prints, she focuses on different themes each season. Hillary explained, “If you stick with the same traditional Nordic motifs and patterns they tend to look a little repetitive and can be overdone. Each new collection is inspired by traditional art motifs from different cultures to keep it fresh and interesting.”
Some of her Fall ’18 inspiration came from the Ukrainian Psyanka designs (traditional Easter eggs) with intricate line work, whereas her upcoming Fall ’19 designs are influenced by Romanian embroidery motifs and Peruvian floral designs. She gives her vintage fashion girl designs a modern retro vibe in fun après ski scenes. Adding bright pops of color makes this artwork come off as modernized and fresh pieces that are highly sought after.
North Star Base Layer
After touching on her inspiration from different places around the world, I wanted to know where she likes to travel and how much of an influence that has on her work. Immediately after asking her, she responded with “Everywhere inspires me”. Wherever Hillary goes she is searching for and aware of her surroundings that inspire her. “The more you travel, the more knowledge and inspiration you gather”, she told me, so she tries to travel any chance she can. Hillary went to Morocco last year and found herself drawn to the beautiful tile work, natural dye colors and architecture around her. On her honeymoon in Italy she was surrounded by gorgeous ceramics with ornate patterns and bright colors. Just a few months ago she traveled throughout Scotland and was inspired by all the rich plaid tartans and elegant wool and cashmere knitwear. Hillary is hoping to explore Peru next, and I’m sure many more places in the future.
Hillary started illustrating custom prints at Neve Designs in 2012. Rhonda, founder of Krimson Klover, founded Neve designs back in 2010. When she started designing at Krimson Klover, Hillary and Rhonda wanted to transition those dynamic prints into something a little more modern and fresh, and still reflect the retro flair of the European ski heritage.
Hillary was fascinated with art from the moment she was able to hold a crayon. Her mom saw the talent and potential that she possessed and signed her up for many art classes as she grew up. Hillary’s mom and sister are both designers as well, so the passion clearly runs in the family. She attended CSU for fashion design and was admitted into the competitive fashion program as a freshman where at the time only 25 students were accepted. As her apparel design career developed, “It was a nice surprise falling into print design”, she told me as she talked about her life after graduating from CSU. Hillary has designed prints in previous roles and learned how to design knitwear when she was hired as an Assistant Sweater Designer at Macy’s in New York.
With two offices, one at home and one on swanky Pearl Street in Boulder, Hillary likes to switch up her location of work to keep ideas flowing and fresh. “Staying in one place for too long creates a bit of a road-block for me, so I like to change up my surroundings.” She shares her office in Boulder with her older sister, Jillian, who works as a contract Art Director. The two are actually starting their own apparel brand called Glenn + Glenn, launching in the Spring of 2019. Glenn + Glenn will feature women’s woven contemporary apparel such as tanks, dresses, skirts, blouses and items of the sort. They are aiming to achieve a minimalistic, clean and modern look. “This line will be very different from what I currently design for other clients, but will still have that same modern, fresh look. It has been a lot of work in the making, but we are very excited to create this together.” Be sure to look out for Glenn + Glenn coming out next spring!
Adrenaline Base Layer
Lots of artists and designers have a ritual or routine they do before getting into their work. Hillary likes to take a couple of days after she gets her design brief to begin looking for inspirations and motivations. She likes to go through her daily routine with the idea in the back of her mind, seeing what might pop out to her. Like most of us creatives, she likes to look through Pinterest, magazines, and books to spark ideas. “Inspiration takes the longest time, for sure, but it is the most fun”, Hillary said while talking about the process. “Once you know what your client is looking for, it’s helpful to keep that idea rolling around in the back of your head for even several weeks before putting anything on paper.” On that note, I was curious to see if she found herself creating several drafts before presenting her final idea. Since she takes her time curating the idea in her head, she is able to come up with several options once she begins her sketches to present. Rarely does she completely throw away an idea, rather just narrows down and makes changes when presenting them to her clients.
Hillary’s favorite thing about illustrating is seeing her sketches evolve into actual garments. Usually the initial print idea and the final product evolve quite a bit along the way as tiny details emerge in the design, so she loves to see how the final design compares to her original vision. “Seeing my rough black and white sketch turn into colored vector art on the base layers is a really fun experience. Typically, the original design ideas are done in pen and ink because the color palette has not been finalized yet. “This makes the process very exciting as the design kind of jumps to life when we add in the color,” she told me when talking about her sketches. If she ever gets stuck on a design or idea, she tries to switch gears, work on something else and then goes back to it. It usually just takes reworking the design until it flows– whether it’s moving motifs around or re-doing spatial patterns. Attached at the end are a few examples of her sketches moving through the process.
North Star Base Layer
When it comes to working with Krimson Klover, Hillary likes the fact that we are easy and fun to work with. “Rhonda gives me a lot of creative leeway, which is nice because it allows me to add in my personal creativity and come up with a few different ideas that maybe weren’t initially included on the design brief.” She said that Rhonda likes to push the envelope as much as she can with ideas and imagination, which creates a productive working environment. “Rhonda is so great to work with because she can look at my initial designs and can see the vision and potential. After working together for several seasons, we both have an understanding in the process. Rhonda shows confidence in my initial ideas and they usually turn out better than we originally expected. It makes it a lot easier to work with someone who is creative in that way and can see my vision from the beginning.” Hillary also mentioned how important Krimson Klover’s new “slow-fashion” movement is and how Rhonda really stands by that. “Rhonda understands that creating detailed prints takes time. She wants to get it right for the customer and doesn’t rush the process which is very helpful for a designer.” Something Hillary really notices about Rhonda is that she is very in-tune with the Krimson Klover customers; “If there is a piece they really loved from last season, we will be sure to include a new update in the next season to serve those customers wants and needs.”
Back Country Base Layer
Hillary has a few people that really inspire her and that she would love to do a co-lab with if she ever got the chance. “Print-wise, Diane von Furstenberg has always really inspired me because I was able to go behind the scenes of their design process. Every print is done in house and created by their designers. They also resurrect a lot of DVF’s classic vintage prints and rework them in a fresh way. Mara Hoffman is another fabulous designer I would love to do a co-lab with. Her use of color and variation of print work is always exciting to look at.”
When it comes to how Hillary Lives Boldly, she is very active and loves to take advantage of living so close to the mountains and being outside as much as she can. “I love to snowboard and travel. That is the benefit from being a contractor – you can work from almost anywhere!” Tennis is a big love of hers and she also attempts to keep up with her husband mountain biking. Whenever she has the extra time, Hillary loves to be a part of the community and participate in any social events happening in the Denver and Boulder area.
Submitted by: Emma Feeney, Krimson Klover Intern