Making Conversation with Julie Robinson
Today we talk with Julie Robinson whose journey as a maker crosses traditional routes with unconventional destinations. Throughout our conversation, we return to Julie's bravery and risk-taking along her path. With an education and profession in the world of fashion design, her creations have shifted from creating for the masses to making for the individual. As a designer, Julie shares her expertise through patterns and masterclasses that inspire and clothe diverse bodies with care.
Julie's exquisite knitwear designs and accessories are available on her website julieatwork.com and are featured in Making Magazine's No. 12 / DUSK and No. 10 / INTRICATE, both available at makingzine.com. You can follow Julie's journey on Instagram at @julieatwork and find her masterclasses at thetecheditorhub.com.
/ listen /
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/ notes & resources /
- Julie Robinson / julieatwork.com
- Follow Julie on Instagram / @julieatwork
- Making No. 12 / DUSK / Rivi Hat .
- Find Julie's masterclasses / thetecheditorhub.com
/ giveaway: rivi hat /
This week we're giving away a knit kit for the Rivi Hat designed by Camille Romano for Making Magazine. Each kit includes 2 skeins of Biches et Buches Le Gros Silk and Mohair yarn to create your very own Rivi Hat as seen in our latest issue No. 12 / DUSK.
To enter this giveaway, download our new app, Making, and leave a comment on today's podcast episode post. Find us in the Apple App Store and Google Play Store with a search for "Making." Or enter the giveaway with a comment on today's episode blog post at makingzine.com.
The biggest of thanks to everyone involved in this weeks episode, Julie, the Making team and our producer Alice Anderson. I hope you'll join me each week as we talk and learn from more fascinating makers. For podcast notes and transcription, visit makingzine.com and themakingapp.com. Have a wonderful week!
Ashley Yousling [00:00:05] Welcome to Making Conversation, a podcast for makers where we share with you some incredible people within this community we love so much. Here's where you get to listen to a little part of their making journey. I'm your host, Ashley Yousling. Today, I'm talking with Julie Robinson, whose journey as a maker crosses traditional roots with unconventional destinations. Throughout our conversation, we return to Julie's bravery and risk taking along her path with an education and profession in the world of fashion design. Her creations have shifted from creating for the masses to making for the individual. As a designer, Julie shares her expertize through patterns and masterclasses that inspire and clothe diverse bodies with care. Julie's exquisite knitwear, designs and accessories are available on her website, julieatwork.com, and are featured in Making Magazine's No. 12 / DUSK and No. 10 / INTRICATE, both available at makingzine.com. You can follow Julie's journey on Instagram @julieatwork and find her masterclasses at thetecheditorhub.com. And with that, here's Julie.
Julie Robinson [00:01:17] Knitting has always been kind of really central to my story. I first learned how to knit at a Borders bookstore because they happened to have this woman who was teaching for a kids class that night and we were just there at the store and I was like, Mom, this is so cool. And so she took me down the strip mall to the other side where there was a Michaels and we got some yarn and some needles, and she taught me how to do it. And that was the beginning and end of it. For a long time, I just kind of made the world's longest swatch, you know, full of holes and was always just trying to like, think back to like what I had learned in that one class to remember. So I was learning to read my knitting like pretty early on. And eventually I got a couple of books like Stitch and Bitch by Debbie Stoller. That was huge for me. That was it. That was like my Bible. And Knitty was around the same time, Knitty had launched. And so between Stitch and Bitch and Knitty.com, that was like the world of knitting to me. So when I was in high school, I had like one friend and we would work on stuff and I just loved it. I love knitting, I was learning how to sew at the same time, and it was like my dream to kind of do the complete opposite of what I had grown up with, which was in this very American suburb. You know, I had this really great, very comfortable childhood, and my parents were always really supportive of me. And I was like, what if I didn't have access to brand name paper towels? What if I had to make it all? What if I had to live off the land? And, you know, the less extreme version of that that was like available to me was still like, play with my clothes. And so I'm like, well, what if I could like make all my clothes? So that's why, led me to learn how to sew, let me learn how to knit. And through that, I kind of decided, you know, what if I went into fashion design? Because obviously I like making all of this stuff, and that's kind of what I did. So I went to fashion school and that brought me to New York City. And that's kind of what I've been doing with my life for the last 10 years is working in fashion. Design quickly found out when I started studying fashion design that it is not like what I was doing as a kid where I was just like making stuff for myself all the time. It's very different. And actually, as a fashion designer, you don't spend a lot of time doing handwork basically at all. Most of it is done on the computer. So, you know, I've kind of ended up coming back around to my making because I missed it. I missed making stuff. I missed making things for myself. I missed doing the handiwork. And one day it just kind of hit me like, I could be doing that. I have all of the tools that I need to make my own patterns. I've never written a sewing pattern before 2018, but I knew how to draft patterns, sewing patterns, and even though I hadn't done it in a while, I'm like, well, it's the same principles. Let me take all of this garment knowledge that I have and learn a little bit about technical writing. And, you know, we can kind of like mash these things together and I can start creating knitting patterns. And that's opened up like a whole new world for me because, you know, it's all of the things that I loved about fiber, about garments, about fashion to begin with. I love the handicraft. I love the making. I love inspiring other people to get creative in that way and creating just for the sake of creating. That's always been my driving force to start with, and so I'm trying to get back into that. And when you work in fashion design, it's obviously a lot of external factors. You're working on a team, there's a lot of people who have a lot of needs and so you're creating, but you're creating for somebody else. You're creating for the market, whatever the market or whoever is in charge of telling you what the market says. Whatever the market says it wants, that's what you have to make. And when you are doing it just for you, then it's just for you. You don't have to answer to all of that.
Ashley Yousling [00:05:18] So taking a little step back to your childhood, was there anyone in your family that you had witnessed doing any sort of making?
Julie Robinson[00:05:30] We have a couple of things. My mom sometime before I was born, crocheted and so we have some Afghans that she made, but we never even really use them. And so after I showed an interest, she's like, oh, here, you know, they're like these books that I have laying around. You can, you know, take a look at them and use them. And I was like, ugh, these are old. They're not cool, but thanks anyway. So, yeah, my parents were not craft people. They're creative, but they're creative in a completely different way from me. They're both automotive engineers, and they met because they had this shared interest in photography. So that's an interest that they always had, but they weren't doing a lot of it when I was growing up the way that they've always supported me and, you know, help me get into my craft is just, I said, I think I want to do this and they're like, that's great. How do we get you to do that?
Ashley Yousling [00:06:25] Which I don't think is always common. I think a lot of times parents are kind of worried about creative endeavors versus something that's more esteemed.
Julie Robinson [00:06:38] Sure. Yeah. I think they definitely worry about me sometimes. But they're also like, Well, Julie wants to do it. She means it. She's going to go for it. She can't not do it. So they always do that. Yeah, I remember, I didn't find out until after the fact, I found out from my dentist, which I think just tells you what kind of little magical middle class suburb I grew up in was like. Found out through my dentist that my dad was very concerned that I didn't apply to enough colleges and I only applied to fashion school
Ashley Yousling [00:07:11] That is hilarious.
Julie Robinson[00:07:13] Yeah, but like I said, you know, I didn't know that. He didn't tell me. He didn't let me know. But I guess inside he was like, oh no, what if she fails? What if this doesn't work out for her, you know? But all I ever saw was, yeah, this is for you. Of course you're going to make it. Yeah, that's really my parents. They're very, very encouraging.
Ashley Yousling[00:07:31] Did your mom ever, as you kind of started to get into knitting and that kind of thing, or over the years, has she ever rediscovered an interest in it?
Julie Robinson[00:07:40] No, not really. That's just not really her thing. She comes from the time when, like Home Ec was like mandated in class. So like, she's got her skills and like, she can do it, but I don't think it's ever really been the focus of hers. She grew up with brothers. She's the only girl in her immediate family. And that era, like one of her foundation myths that she always told me was about a woman who lived down the street. And unfortunately, you know, at around like 40, her husband passed away and she all of sudden had to go out and get a job. And so I think she's always just been like, very career focused and she was always interested in STEM. And at that time, you know, that wasn't a big thing for women because she told me about engineering school that they went to. It was a huge deal. The year that she started going, they had a whole floor for the girls. You know, every woman that went to that college, they all fit on one floor. So yeah, she always was interested in science and mathematics and not so much of like the soft, feminine world of craft. Like, I think she admires it, but that's just not her focus.
Ashley Yousling[00:08:46] Mm hmm. I think that that's resonant of what I hear a lot from just the different generations, you know, and kind of the different time. And what is so beautiful about where we're at right now is the accessibility and the ease to take our creative desires and passions and interests and make a career out of them and make money and a living, coming from being sort of the internet generation.
Julie Robinson[00:09:17] Oh, totally, totally. Yeah, I think it's great. Like all the tools that we have to start to make new kinds of careers and make them on our own terms because I know I would not think about doing what I'm doing right now without it, because I'm in a creative career. I've always been doing creative things, but I've been doing it the normal way, the way you're supposed to. You know, I went to the school that I was supposed to in the city that I'm supposed to where my industry is. I took internships with established brands, and I pursued the kind of companies that I was told would be able to give me stable employment and, you know, a decent life. And there's obviously been a lot of changes since, you know, they gave me that advice. So what I found was a little different than what was described. And so I am grateful that I have these alternatives to start to try to, like, make a career on my own terms. And that's another thing that's like brought me back to craft is just, yeah, trying to make a life for myself, by myself. Yeah, doing what I love, encouraging other people to do what I love. Definitely.
Ashley Yousling[00:10:28] So let's talk a little bit about fashion school, and–
Julie Robinson[00:10:33] Let's talk about it!
AshleyYousling[00:10:36] I do think you're right in that there's this idea that fashion school, I don't know, you kind of have this idea of what it's going to be and and who you're going to be, and then you get there and it's different. And I think that's probably very similar to a lot of things that we glamorize in our heads and our minds. Share with me a little bit more about that transition for you and what you believed in so much that kept you there.
Julie Robinson[00:11:10] I think when you get to fashion school, it's not the being in fashion school that is necessarily the problem. There's a disconnect between the program that I went through. I went to Parsons if anybody's interested. But I went to Parsons and there's a big difference between the way that the program is run and then what you encounter in the industry. So when you're in school, you're basically pretending to be the creative director of a fashion brand. It's all about you and your creative vision and what you want to do. And what I found when I started interning was there was very little in common between what I was being taught and what I was learning in school and like how the industry actually ran. I was learning about how to construct clothing. I was learning about myself and about my interests creatively. But when you get to your internship what you find out is a lot of that is not needed. If you are pursuing like the creative side of fashion, you are not the one who is doing the pattern making. You are not at the mannequin unless you're working at like a very high end company. And your creative input as an assistant, let alone an intern, is usually unwanted is what I found. So, yeah, just like a big difference, and I was there at this kind of transitioning time where people were going from doing stuff more by hand. So like more hands sketching. We have these things called tech packs, which are kind of instruction manuals on how you put clothing together and you give those to the factory or they'll give you back the garment that you ordered. Those used to be made by hand, then they weren't being made by hand anymore. They were being made in Excel or in Adobe Illustrator or any number of other programs. And so people were starting to learn how to draw flat sketches or, you know, we know them as schematics and the knitting world, drawing those on the computer for the first time. And in school, they would tell you like, Oh, you can like, learn that if you want. And everything I was learning in my internships was like, this is a necessity. You can't not learn this stuff. So that was one of the first big schisms. But yeah, I think what I had wanted in going into fashion design was to make things that were fantastical and new and capital A "Art" and just big and impactful, right? Because that's what I used to love when I was growing up. You know, kind of coming into my own style and dressing myself in high school, and you kind of create these whole stories around yourself, you know, change your shoes, change your life, but it's real, right? Like you change your outfit and people think of you in a completely different way. And so like, that's what I loved, and that's why I wanted to go into fashion. But when you get into fashion design, it's like a business. There's money involved and people don't like to lose money, and so you have to make things that other people want. That changes the dynamic of the creativity. Like I said, you know, it's like you're not creating for yourself anymore. You're not creating just to like, entertain, you're creating to sell. So it's a completely different way of thinking about things. And there's like a big difference between if you want to have like a hobby creating and if you want to turn it into a business. I think a lot of people would love for it to be true that you're just going to make the thing that you love and that everybody else is just going to love it as much as you do. And if that happens for you, I am so glad. That is incredible and it's such a gift and it is so rare. If you're going to make something for somebody else, you have to think about them. You have to take them into consideration and their needs and desires come before yours. Or you can think about what you want and what you like, but you have to bring those other people into the equation sooner rather than later.
Ashley Yousling [00:14:58] I mean, the same goes for the tech world. If I'm not considering the end user or the end customer, it still has meaning but it might not have the longevity or the impact financially that I'm looking for.
Julie Robinson[00:15:14] Yeah, I've worked at some places that sell like to pretty big clients. So like when you get bigger too, like as things scale up, the stakes become higher, you know, you can't just say like, oh yeah, I would love to make this in orange or something because the client's going to order 25,000 at least to start, and that's millions of dollars. So like when any one mistake can be millions of dollars, people are incredibly risk averse. So that's one thing I like about kind of coming back around too. It's like, OK, I'm making for a smaller audience. The stakes are lower. It's such a gift, you know, you can do whatever you want.
Ashley Yousling[00:15:55] Yeah, I don't know how much longevity is really in just this very binary "I make a pattern, I sell a pattern, you make the pattern." But the longevity, I think, is in empowering creators, both the designers and the makers, to take that craft or that whatever it is and make it their own, and that's what brings the value, does that resonate with you at all?
Julie Robinson[00:16:26] Yeah, yeah, definitely. I think teaching people and inviting that creativity from other people is the part that creates the community that I think a lot of people talk about and that a lot of people are looking for. I don't think that as a business like selling patterns or something like that is going anywhere. But I think, you know, you can't just dump something out and be like, it's here, come get it. You know, like, it's in a bin. Jacqui Cieslak did something recently, she had a whole slew of courses, so you could sign up, and it's small groups that were meeting with her over Zoom and working on her patterns together. And I was like, that's so smart because I see people all the time, you know, they get like real hung up on themselves, like, my yarn choice, ahh, whatever! And it's like, OK, well, if you're going to make Jacqui's patterns, who better to ask than Jacqui herself.
Ashley Yousling[00:17:16] Mm Hmm. Jacqui is a great example because her patterns are so amazing that they have ways that you customize it for your body type. And I think just that small added value to the pattern is what allows a maker to make it more of their own.
Julie Robinson[00:17:34] Oh yeah, I love seeing that. So I've done a little bit of research about sewing patterns, and I've tried to do a little bit on knitting patterns. I found that a little bit harder to do, but watching how sewing patterns have developed from when they were first introduced in like the 1850s, 1870s to what they are today is so funny. I found this illustration from a Harper's Bazaar and I'll have to send it to you. But it's just every single pattern piece is just printed one on top of the other, and it is for one size and it just looks like a Jackson Pollock, just like, you know, over the place. And I show it to people and they're like, how in the world am I supposed to do this? There's not a cutting list. There's not any sort of written instructions. It's just like, it's a dress. Figure it out. And then to see what we have now where, yeah, you have people like Jacqui who are telling you, this is how you customize it. Here's, you know, the formula to figure out the new measurement for your bicep or whatever you're doing. Yeah, it's a totally different world. It's much better for beginners, I think starting out because I feel like even from when I started learning, like I said, Knitty.com was kind of like my world. And I didn't know until way too late about the forums, but we didn't have video online back then. So, you know, I'm pretty jealous of everybody who's learning through YouTube because I remember trying to teach myself how to do fishermans rib for the first time. I could not get it. And a decade later, I was like, let me look that up on YouTube and got it in like five seconds.
Ashley Yousling[00:19:15] Mm hmm. So going back to the fashion world? Tell me about where you're at with it right now. What is your stake in it? What's your role in it?
Julie Robinson[00:19:24] Sure. I mean, I haven't actually worked in the fashion industry since 2020. So right at the beginning of 2020, end of 2019, we all saw what was coming. I was working with a lot of people who were stationed overseas, so I was like, oh, this is no good. This is about to get real bad. And my company ended up laying me off at the end of January, which was, you know, mixed blessing, to be sure. And since then, I've just kind of pivoted full time into working with knitters and with, yeah, this online course and just doing my own thing.
Ashley Yousling[00:20:01] So tell me about your own thing. I want to hear all about it.
Julie Robinson[00:20:03] Yeah, so I started designing knitting patterns in like 2018, and I've been doing a mix of independent and, you know, third-party publications. So I worked with you guys over at Making. That was very exciting. I think that was 2019. So I've been doing a little bit of designing and I think the biggest thing I've been working on, also debuted in 2019, is the course a masterclass on grading. And I've been doing that with a website called The Tech Editor Hub, and I teach this class with two other women, Sarah Walworth and Melissa Metzbower, who are both designers, but they are also technical editors, and they're both very, very good at what they do. So it's been pretty fun to put this whole thing together. So we teach people how to grade garments, and it's specifically for knitters and crocheters, and it's pretty much everything we could think of that people might want to know about grading. So we've been teaching that for about two years, and we're actually just about to debut a new version of the course in a couple of months here, so we're very excited about that.
Ashley Yousling [00:21:14] I remember when I first started designing patterns and I had to learn through books, I wish there was a course back then.
Julie Robinson[00:21:23] What books were you reading?
Ashley Yousling[00:21:24] The Principles of Knitting by June Hiatt. It's kind of, I think for a long time was regarded as like the Bible of knitting. And I just remember going through and just studying what I'm supposed to do. And being a designer, I think the schematic part and figuring out measurements was easier for me. But figuring out just the processes for the different sizes and ensuring that it's not just a scaled up version, but taking into account how a body shifts and the different sizes and things, like that was much trickier.
Julie Robinson[00:21:58] I've been there myself, and maybe this resonates with you, but it's like, this is so huge. This is so overwhelming. I have no idea how I'm going to like, get this into any sort of order. I have to do this over and over again every time I'm starting from scratch. But there comes a time I swear to you, there does, where it kind of clicks and you're like, oh, that's how that works. Oh!
Ashley Yousling [00:22:19] I think empowering yourself and learning that, especially in today's age is so important and very much needed, especially on the magazine side, working with a lot of newer designers. Yeah, I think it teaches you how to be a really good designer.
Julie Robinson[00:22:34] Oh, I totally agree. Learning how to grade will make you a better designer. It will make you a more empathetic designer. And like I was saying earlier, you know that shift between just focusing on yourself and making something for yourself versus knowing other people and what they want and how to accommodate them, like, that's really the shift that you need to make to kind of go pro. And that's what I see a lot of people. I mentioned this in my thing last week, but I had a woman come to me and she said, I'm like a master knitter. I get people asking me to design things for publications, and I've turned them down because I don't know how to grade. And her thing was like, I just can't conceptualize other people's bodies and like, I get that. I really get that. And one of the things I found really valuable from my experience working in fashion design is that we do fittings and you do fittings on people who are not me. So I look at people who are similar in size to me, smaller than me, larger than me. And I have to, you know, be able to look at a garment that's on their bodies and say, OK, that doesn't fit right, but how do we fix it? And through doing that, you learn a lot. And I got to do that on a lot of different garments very quickly because unlike a lot of knitwear crochet designers they might put out if you're extremely prolific 12 patterns in a year, right? And when I'm working in fashion design, we're doing like 30 or 40 per delivery. So the speed at which I go through all of this and got to learn about different garments and how they're constructed was much faster. So, you know, at this point, I feel very comfortable. If you just bring me your design, I'll just sit down and look at it like, OK, yeah, you know, this looks good. We might have some issues over here. Keep an eye on the shoulders. You know, what are you going to do about the stitch repeat? All of that sort of stuff. So that's what I hear from other people is where they get in trouble and where they start to feel out of their depth is they don't feel like they know what to look out for, and they don't feel confident in assuming what other people look like. And I think they also kind of run into issues with trust around size charts that are available to them because there's only very few that are available that are targeted towards people who are doing knitting. And I find that, you know, knitters and crocheters, they really want that. They want something that's speaking to them. They want somebody to say, this is for you. You know, not just this is a chart, because in our class, we recommend using the ASTM charts. And this size chart is put together by people who do pattern development for humongous corporations, you know, and they make like pattern making software, all of that sort of stuff. So like this is, you know, literally what the pros use and knitters and crocheters, I think they see it and see how comprehensive these charts are and they get a little bit overwhelmed by that because they're like, which of these measurements applies to me? But then sometimes they get these like more simplified charts that are available and, you know, created for them. And what I find is that you're missing certain things and they're like, well, I don't even know to ask for that measurement, you know. So it's like this real push-pull and that's kind of something I hope that my class is doing is helping to make people more confident in that and make people more confident in their process and their approach to evaluating the garments that they work on. In looking at body charts and saying, like, yeah, that looks good or going like, uh I don't know about that, you know. I just like asking questions and interrogating and kind of getting into a rhythm, getting into a system and, you know, knowing that you didn't leave any rocks unturned. And so that's, you know, something that I learned when I was like working in fashion. So that's what I'm trying to kind of bring in here. I'm kind of bringing in like a number of things and I hope that doesn't scare too many people, because sometimes I tell people I used to work in fashion design and they're like, no, this is craft, this isn't fashion. And I'm like, No, no, no, I don't want to bring like, you know, the bad, the overproduction parts. Like we can leave all of that. But there are some systems that are in place here that I think you will find very useful and helpful. And thankfully, our students have been pretty open to that. But yeah, I've been wanting to do something new, so I have the pattern grading bootcamp. And so this is like the essentials form of the master class. And so it's like just about the process. We are only talking about literally how to do this or not going to go into a bunch of the other stuff we do in master class. We talk about history of grading, we talk about, you know, like how in the world did we get into this mess of, you know, standardized sizes? What is a standardized size? All that sort of good stuff. We're just like, leave that at the door. We can come back to that later. You have a pattern that you need to get graded. Let's just do it. So, yeah, that's been really, really exciting and people seem really excited for it. So hopefully this one goes pretty well because I would love to do it again.
Ashley Yousling [00:27:24] Yeah, that sounds exciting. And what about your personal design? What are you passionate about right now and what are you excited about for the future?
Julie Robinson[00:27:33] I'm kind of reworking my personal style right now. I think, like in the last year, you know, lots of things have changed for all of us. I've not been going out so much. But I never really wanted to truly embrace the whole like, ooh, I'm at home and I'm totally dressed down. I'm definitely not, you know, lounging around in ball gowns or anything crazy like that, but I like to get dressed stuff. I like to do things that are like extravagant. So I think I think that's kind of where I'm heading. I'm heading towards things that feel more extravagant. And I think that kind of still speaks to what something that kind of drew me into doing more craft too, is you can be outrageous and over-the-top. I think something that I really like about making my own clothes is that they can be made completely to your taste and you can make something way nicer than you could ever afford to buy in the store. You know, one of my favorite luxury fibers, I love alpaca. I love baby alpaca. I love silk. Like one of my favorite things that I made was from mano. It's this blown yarn, so it's like a little sock basically made of silk, and it's just like blow in all the alpaca. And so it's all fluffy and kind of iridescent and stuff like that. I don't want to think about what that cardigan would cause retail if I bought it. Even though it's still not inexpensive to make, to buy at retail would be way out of reach for me. And so that's the sort of stuff that I like to make. Things that are really luxurious, that I just love, that make me feel incredible. That's what I like.
Ashley Yousling [00:29:16] You said something early on that something that you loved about fashion is that you could change what people saw of you or thought of you based on what you were wearing. I want to dig into that a little bit more because I think that's so true. Why is it that we do that?
Julie Robinson[00:29:33] Definitely. I think when when I first started getting interested in that sort of thing, it was because I was really interested in subcultures generally, and having an internet connection was a great way to be able to explore that online. So, you know, I could like see all these pictures of people, you know, from the 70s, from the 80s, dressing punk and that sort of thing. I was definitely a pop punk kid. But my local mall was not carrying those classic eight eye Doc Martens, you know? But I could, like, look at them online and I could kind of like, fantasize about it. You could see all these people who are interested in these very specific subcultures and people would have these really strong reactions to them. It felt kind of like a costume. You could, you know, put it on and be part of this group for this day. And maybe tomorrow I'm feeling a completely different way and I'm going to do something else completely different. So I think that's kind of, you know, that drew me in because it was all of those places to right. They're all kind of hinged on creativity, whether it was about the clothes or about the music or some other kind of mode of creative production. They all kind of celebrated that. They celebrated being creative and newness. I think that's just something in general that I like. I definitely, you know, have aspects of my life where I need things to be constant and need them to be stable. But as long as I have, you know, those things, my art and my creativity, that's where I like to constantly be pursuing newness and fresh ideas, and I like to be surprised and delighted. And I hope that's what other people find in in my work.
Ashley Yousling [00:31:11] So how has your personal style, you know, morphed over time through the experiences that you've had and where are you landing now in areas that you want to explore?
Julie Robinson[00:31:24] I think I've been getting more bold in my choices. I think I've been pretty conservative in a lot of the things that I do. Like I said, you know, like I went to the school I was supposed to, I got the jobs I was supposed to, and working at these places that are like, relatively big. So I don't get to do a lot of like outside of the box stuff, and I'm like, but that's what you wanted to do. Like, why have you not done that yet? And so I'm like, yeah, why haven't I done that yet? So you think I've been choosing things that are more out there? I mean, you can see I've got well, nobody can see this, but there's a sheepskin coat in my in my closet that Ashley's been looking at. Yeah, I've definitely been getting more bold in my choices because what I've kind of discovered slowly over the years is kind of like, why not? So I mentioned my parents are not creative in the same ways that I am. And in a lot of ways, you know, the kind of decisions that I've been making where it's like, oh, this is the right choice. This is the conservative choice. This is the one that is most likely to work out. That's what they did. And that's why, you know, I've been able to have the life that I have and why they're able to support me in the way that they have. And now I'm kind of like, you know, one of the things they always told me was like, well, you know, we worked hard, we did all this stuff, and what we always wanted for you is for you to kind of like, follow your heart, follow your dreams, do what makes you happy. And I'm like, let me do that! It's not like, I didn't, you know, believe them. But like I said, you know, I'm very much influenced by like what they demonstrated for me, which in a lot of ways was to, you know, be cautious and make smart choices and stuff. And now you know what I kind of found in my extremely unstable industry is like even when you make all the right choices that it doesn't work out like that all the time. And so I'm like, well, if I'm going to, you know, work in this extremely unstable industry and you know, these are the terms, I can't think of a reason not to pursue my own thing, and I can't think of a reason not to buy this in, not black or, you know, get this ridiculous fur coat because it's ridiculous. Yeah, I think I was always kind of worried when I was younger that I would buy things that were ridiculous and over-the-top and that I would get tired of them. And, you know, then I would want to get rid of them and what I've kind of come to realize is like, no, I buy things not on a whim. And especially, you know, since I don't really buy fast fashion, you know, they're not cheap. It's not it's not something that's an easy like, yeah, I guess I'll just get it. So even if it's ridiculous on the face of it, it's not classic. That's not a reason not to engage with it. And so I've been kind of leaning into that more. Yeah. And just buying for things that make me happy and things that excite me. Yeah.
Ashley Yousling[00:34:10] I think as we get older, we're learning to give ourselves permission and it can be in so many different forms. And whether it's because we live in a capitalistic or patriarchal society. Fitting in a box or in a mold based on what we think we should do or what others might perceive of us is a form of oppression and we can break free of that if we give ourselves permission to wear these clothes or buy this nice yarn.
Julie Robinson[00:34:45] Yeah, I heard a couple of people talking about this recently, but humans tend to be very risk-averse and trying to reframe the way you consider risk where it's like if you do something and you perceive it as risky, then you're going to focus on all the negative outcomes, the potential negative outcomes. I know that's me, as you could tell. But what these people were saying was to try to reframe it and be like, what are the risks of not doing this thing, not taking this road less traveled or whatever? And I think that's really been speaking to me. Some of my family members, you know, they're getting a little bit older so, one of my uncles, who is like almost 70, I think, and he said to me, he saw a picture of Jeff Goldblum in like a leopard print suit and he was like, Oh, could I wear that? And I'm like, why could you not wear that? You're retired. You like own your home. You're asking me the girl with student debt, who rents, if you can wear the leopard print suit? If you can't, who can? Just go for it. Put it on and wear that. And you know, obviously that's like stuck with me. I'm like, yeah, just get it. Just wear it. Who cares, you know? I think that's something that I really like too about, like moving to New York and getting to meet a bunch of the people that I have. I have this really great friend of like intergenerational friends, and I've been able to meet them through through knitting. I go to this craft night called Make It with Breeny. And it's just a really great mix of people who come. So I have all of these friends who are all, you know, like older than me, and you get to see all these different ways of like being an adult that just were not necessarily models for me in my, in the place that I grew up. It's like, oh, there's other ways to be an adult and there's other ways to make a family and there's other ways to exist. And I really like that, and I hope that other people get that too. Make intergenerational friends, hot tip.
Ashley Yousling[00:36:48] Yeah, the risk averse you mentioned that, you know, in the fashion industry and then this, and I think without, you know, having gone too deep into leaving the fashion industry. But I'm sure that felt very scary to a certain extent.
Julie Robinson[00:37:05] Yeah, it was like an easy and hard decision, right? Because it was easy because of what was going on in the world. And I was just like, listen, I don't trust all, y'all. I'm not coming in this office, you know. And I had most of the things that after I was laid off, people were like, oh, do you want to come and make face masks for big box store? And I'm like, no, there's truly nothing I want less in this world right now than to do that.
Julie Robinson[00:37:29] In those ways, it was very easy. But it was kind of hard because, as you can tell from, you know, what I've shared about my family, it's like, you know, very much like a kind of workaholic type and very much wrapped up in, you know, what you do in your identity. And so I'm like, wait, if I stop taking jobs working in fashion, you know, what does that mean for me? Where am I? Because it has been such a big part of my life for the past more than a decade now. All I wanted to do was to study fashion design, and then I went to New York and I studied fashion design. And immediately afterwards I became a fashion designer. And truly, that is what I've done with my life for the last almost 15 years is pursue and study and work as a fashion designer. And now I'm still using some of those skills, like I said, but conceptualizing of myself as something outside of that or feeling like, oh, can I say that about myself when I haven't worked at one of those companies in like a year at this point? Is that still true about me? It's something I've had to kind of sit with.
Ashley Yousling [00:38:30] Mm hmm. I love that you just shared that because I think again, that's part of that permission. I hope that we're moving a bit away from that. You know, that we can define our own value or our own experience in that. And if we go after it and chase it and create it and make it our own, why can't we?
Julie Robinson [00:38:52] Mm hmm. Yeah, there's always that push-pull of the imposter syndrome. Did I do it right, you know, because I see that a lot when I go to events around making, around fiber arts, you know, there's all these people who are starting their businesses or want to start their businesses, and that always ends up being like, this huge topic of conversation is, you know, people who are basically looking for permission from whoever's leading whatever session that, you know, like, can I start my own business? Is that like allowed, you know? Yeah, it's always it's always kind of there.
Ashley Yousling[00:39:23] Sometimes it takes these crisis or these moments of profound discomfort for us to have enough confidence to take that leap. To realize exactly what you said earlier, this like quote-unquote stability that like I've been told, isn't actually stable. And so, how much more am I going to lose? And actually, how much would I gain from doing this thing?
Julie Robinson[00:39:52] Yeah, that instability it like shakes up your vision. Yeah, that whole thing where it's like, well, I could stick with it, but what if I don't? Maybe it's better to not.
Ashley Yousling[00:40:04] Mm hmm. Exactly. So when you think about your future, what are you excited about personally as you are really just newly broken out on your own. This is your debut, essentially. And what are you most excited about to foster, to incubate, and then release or experiment in?
Julie Robinson[00:40:26] I've been really focused on myself, obviously, through this process. And so I'm excited to get myself to a place where I'm like a little bit more stable because I have kind of dabbled in this last year, just like working with other collaborators on possible projects. And I forgot how much I really like group projects because it's been a while since I've done one outside of corporate work, so I'm like kind of remembering how rewarding those can be. And I'm just kind of trying to get myself on a schedule with working on individual designs and working on creating like a sustainable lifestyle for myself, which I know can be really difficult in this industry. So I've been kind of utilizing some of my fashion background of like, you know, analyzing and I'm like, OK, well where am I going to put my effort? So my big effort obviously has been in my class and I'm trying to, you know, kind of learn from how I've been putting that together as a product and how I launch that. And now I have a bunch of stuff that I've been sitting on for over a year at this point, like design wise, that I need to just start releasing. So, yeah. I'm excited to start doing more group projects, and I think there's a lot of room in this industry to kind of switch things up with group experiences, with classes. Yeah, I think there's a lot of room for growth and a lot of room for some innovation. I've been really excited to see you guys just announced BRIGHT, and what you're doing with that. Because I'm excited to see some, some craft magazines that don't look like every other craft magazine. You know, like, we all love a calming cup of tea, but come on.
Ashley Yousling[00:42:22] I also love, with BRIGHT, that we're really targeting multicraftual. So it's not just textile, it's very much all different kinds of making. But it's also different form factors–digital, print, and audio. And I think so many times people disregard fashion even as not being technology. But it is.
Julie Robinson[00:42:45] Totally it is. Yeah, I think you're hitting on something, too. Like there's a lot of people who get involved in these sort of crafts and they're just incredibly tech-phobic, which always kind of struck me as weird when I started seeing it because of the way that I came into it was through online and even some of those people who I've seen, who I've kind of known about from, like back in the day seeing them now, you know, like they're on social media, but they're not like of social media, if that makes sense. They get some of it, but there's always a little lag and think this is going to be more of a thing. It's becoming more of a thing. And I mean, I see this in the fashion industry, too. When you have small businesses, you have a small number of people at the top who are making decisions, who are being served with fake information. And it leads to, you know, an echo chamber and it's like, this is what works. This is how much money we have on the line. These are, you know, real jobs and real people. And so people are kind of really risk averse. Like we said, it's all about risk aversion. And it's all about, yeah, it's really hard to start something big, I think. That's what I've been kind of noticing when I talk to people is like, oh, I want to start something, but you know, it's hard to start something now. And people expect so much like even this was years ago, I heard Cassidy from Ravalry on Twitter. She's like, we could never start Ravelry now. Could never start it now. People expect way too much. It needs to be too polished. And I completely agree. It could never start now, and I see similar problems with other people who want to start stuff like a new magazine or a website, and the needs to start it are so high. So it's like it's easier to start your own thing in craft right now as an individual running an individual business, publishing patterns, that sort of thing. Being a personality. That could never have been easier than it is right now. But I think people get messed up when they're like, it's easy to start a business and it's like, it's not easy to start a business. You need a plan. You need money. You need people. You need time and you need trust. That is huge. Trust is huge. Yeah. Like, even if you know you already are like a known quantity. If you're starting something new, I think people are still kind of like, hmm. Maybe that resonates with you guys, I don't know how it's been.
Ashley Yousling[00:45:02] You know, I think we are very fortunate in that we do have a lot of trust and I think what we've lacked is a trust in ourselves. I think a lot of people, when they're looking out over the ledge at these decisions that they could make, it's so scary and what they lack is trust in themselves to make that decision. And it seems so basic and there is a level of privilege that comes in here. Some people can make certain decisions and not others based on where they're at in their life and their circumstance. But I think sometimes you have to look at that decision and look at the risk and do what you said, which is, what is the cost if I don't do this thing?
Julie Robinson[00:45:51] Yeah.
Ashley Yousling[00:45:52] If there was a thought or an intention that you could leave makers with today, what would that be?
Julie Robinson[00:46:02] I think we have to go back to our unofficial theme. It's got to be take a risk, right? Go for it.
Ashley Yousling[00:46:10] And that means us, too.
Julie Robinson [00:46:11] That means us, too. Yes.
Ashley Yousling[00:46:22] This week, we're giving away a knit kit for the Rivi hat designed by Camille Romano for Making Magazine. Each kit includes two skeins of Biche et Busche Le Gros Silk and Mohair yarn to create your very own Rivi hat, as seen in our latest issue No. 12 / DUSK. To enter this giveaway, download our new app, Making, and leave a comment on today's podcast episode post. Find us in the Apple App Store and Google Play Store with a search for "Making." Or you can enter the giveaway with a comment on today's episode blog post at makingzine.com. The biggest thanks to everyone involved in this week's episode, Julie, the Making team and our producer, Alice Anderson. I hope you'll join me each week as we talk and learn from more fascinating makers. For podcast notes and transcription, visit makingzine.com And themakingapp.com. Have a wonderful week.