From summers in Japan with her fashion model mother to publishing two sewing books born of a wildly successful blog, Bay Area-based designer Rashida Coleman-Hale has lived a life brimming with excitement and inspiration. After attending FIT in New York, she ended up trading the fashion world for design, teaching herself Photoshop and Illustrator and dabbling in freelance graphic design, but she can actually credit motherhood for her segue to fabric design. “I met my husband and we had our first baby. She was so easy that it gave me time to get back into sewing, and soon after, I began my blog.”
What began as a hobby for a stay-at-home mom turned into a successful business venture, and a magazine soon reached out to Rashida about creating sewing articles for them, which led to the opportunity to write a sewing book. But Rashida soon yearned for her next adventure – designing fabric. Before Ruby Star Society, Rashida designed collections with Timeless Treasures and Cloud 9 Fabrics, and she was a founding designer of Cotton+Steel. A full-fledged member of the sewing and quilt community, Rashida’s favorite thing about her industry is the connections she’s made with her fellow sewers and designers. “It’s the warmest, nicest community,” she says. “They’re so welcoming and supportive… I was so shy at my first market, and they instantly made me feel comfortable and included.”
On Her Tools...
Rashida draws on a family tradition of working with thread and needle – her grandmother was an avid sewer and her grandfather was a tailor in the West Indies and taught her most of what she knows about sewing. “When my grandfather passed away, my grandmother gave me all of his scissors and I still use them to this day,” she explains. “I think about him often when I sew.”
Her Advice For Creatives...
Ruby Star Society is all about togetherness and supportive collaboration, and Rashida is a huge proponent of getting into the community: “Find a local fabric shop, then get online and find a group. You can learn a lot on the internet, but there’s something about interactive, in-person collaboration that is so special.”
Harkening back to her multicultural upbringing, Rashida’s greatest muse is the Japanese language. “I just love how it sounds; it inspires me so much. The words themselves, how you pronounce them and the flow – it’s music to me.”
On Her Passions...
“Creativity in all its forms is what I’m passionate about,” Rashida says. “Just being able to create is such an awesome thing, whether its writing, or making things or playing with color.”
Bright & Japanese-Inspired
Inspired by childhood summers in Japan, Rashida is heavily influenced by the Japanese Zakka-style of sewing, with a mismatch of colorful, cute and quirky things. “I think a lot of my work has that funky, weird Japanese vibe. I love the culture so much, and it really shines through in my work.” Rashida’s style tends to tell a story with doodling, and a color palette that gravitates toward aqua, magentas, fuchsias and even metallics.