We are excited to announce our latest collaboration with local designer and mother Darcy Barber. Darcy began creating quilted outerwear during COVID lockdown, thus SAJ was born.
What is the inspiration behind your work?
I love working within the zero-waste challenge! I’ve being designing women’s clothing for 15 years and can't help but feel that it’s my duty to right some of the wrongs in my industry. For SAJ, (Socially Acceptable Jammies), it’s SO FUN for me to puzzle forgotten and often discarded materials together to discover something new. I’m dedicated to the idea that clothing should be cherished and I strive to create very special heirloom pieces that can be passed down vs. tossed out.
What medium and technique do you use?
100% recycled, repaired and repurposed textiles. For the cold months I like to use quilts and blankets that may need a good bath and a stitch here or there. What’s better than stepping outside in the cold wrapped up snuggly like you're still in bed?! I’ve been paying other people to sew for me for many years so it’s been a real joy to flex that muscle again. I draft the patterns on my kitchen counter while my toddler attempts to “help” and I cut the fabric on my coffee table while cuddling my 5 month old daughter. We listen to true crime podcasts, and I piece the garment together on my windowsill in my tiny Brooklyn apartment. Soon I’ll dive into my linen and terry collections when the sun comes out to play. I’m excited to try some Mama & Me matchups out of pre-loved goodies!
Tell us about your background as an artist?
I always joke that I have a four year degree in sewing on a button! After college I started in women’s design with an embellishment focus making grandma sweaters, (those insane boiled wool holiday vests where the appliqué Santas beards light up? You have me to thank!) I’ve designed for so many brands since, that sometimes it’s hard to develop your own voice in that space.
I moved into trend forecasting in 2012, and was tapped by Champion to curate their concept and color dept. I’m very proud of the work we did there. We brought that iconic brand from a 90's throwback to a modern powerhouse!
During my time there I launched Barber, a sustainable women’s clothing line. I started upcycling a portion of the collection and fell in love with promoting fashion as a force for good.
When Covid hit last year the world stopped we all slid into a pair of sweatpants—putting on jeans became like wearing sandpaper. One lazy afternoon while VERY pregnant I took my mom's home sewing machine for a test drive with a vintage bed sheet and was reunited with a quar-friendly activity to occupy my scattered mom brain. Enter Socially Acceptable Jammies, an idea tossing around in my head for a couple years.
I've found a new freedom in making for the kiddos that I never felt in women’s design. It’s so much more expressive and I feel like I can break all the rules!
SAJ is available in-store and online
Follow Darcy’s creations @saj_nyc