Behind The Scenes with Allison Lei of Avessa
Meet Allison Lei of AVESSA!
I am so grateful to be a part of such an inspiring community.
When I started this business, I simply was entertaining the idea of what I really wanted to do with my life. ..You know, if money wasn’t a concern, if outside judgements/expectations didn’t matter... and for as long as I can remember, I have always wanted to make things--beautiful things. This may not seem like a nobel prize worthy goal, but it is my way of sharing my abilities with the world. I don’t know much in this life, but I do know that I am constantly bombarded with ideas of how to make things more delightful to look at, more enjoyable to wear.
I grew up in the Hudson Valley of New York on the East Coast, and I have always been different from the pack. As an introvert, and a complicated expresser, I felt the most comfortable in my skin when I wore clothes that said what I needed to without actually saying it. I was always interested in fashion as a way of better projecting my inner image of myself.
Through a variety of events experimenting with different mediums, I inevitably fell down a path of study in textiles and learned the art of natural color. This happened while I was still working for an industry that was shockingly and unavoidably wasteful.. wasteful in the excess of fabric, goods, samples etc. that get made and thrown out--and wasteful in the sense that it encourages the consumer to always and quickly believe that he/she needs more, that he/she isn’t enough that he/she should look just like everybody else, and in order to do that they need to purchase that blouse, that dress or that new sweater.
Perhaps in rebellion, I began to shop less; less from commercial retailers, and less overall in frequency. When I did shop, I tried to either support local artists and makers (people who were creating special things) making investments I would love for ages instead of moments. I also started to peruse thrift stores and vintage markets more, giving another person’s “excess” or “waste” new life.
Thus was born the premises behind AVESSA, a shop made of unique either completely individual or very small batch, hand dyed and ethically made textile products. Each piece is a celebration of uniqueness, made to help you stand out from the pack and embrace who you are without apology, honoring the inner goddess within.
Each time I make something for AVESSA, I consider it a blessing and I am continuously amazed and awed by the beauty of the nature; the things plants and food wastes can yield. It is my hope that this wonder, this joy in searching for beauty, and this choice in celebrating my own differences can help you in your journey to your own. Stand Tall. Stand Proud. Embrace your unique beauty. I know when I see you, I certainly do.
Photographs taken by: Alicia Clapper.