Baltimore modiste Patrice Gentile is the one-woman dynamo behind the local fashion brand ALICEANNA. She makes her clothing in small batches, puts comfort and form before trends, and operates with ethical, eco-friendly material in a way that also leaves minimal waste. You might wonder, how does she do it all? We decided to ask.
How would you define ALICEANNA’s style?
I describe it as a wearable dessert. I make clothing that is playful and fun to wear, as well as structured and functional. You can wear the same ALICEANNA dress to the grocery store just as well as to a wedding.
Has ALICEANNA changed since you first launched in 2015?
Over the years, I’ve moved to a more sustainable method of production. I was sourcing new fabrics that were able to be reordered, but a few years ago, after educating myself on the toxic environmental effects of the fashion industry and its contribution to greenhouse gas emissions, I switched to using deadstock and reclaimed fabric.
What is your creative process like?
Honestly, it’s all over the place. My head is full of design ideas, and my home is full of fabric. Fabric sourcing is my favorite part of the creative process, so that’s where I start. When I find great fabric, I usually know right away what I’m going to cut and sew it into. I’m thinking mainly two thoughts: Will my customer feel good wearing this design, in terms of the fit of the garment and quality of the fabric, and will this be fun to wear? On the surface, I’m selling clothing, but on a deeper level, I’m selling the feeling you get when you wear the clothing, and I want that feeling to be joy.
What could you wear for the rest of your life?
My go-to uniform lately has been a tiny top and wide-leg pants. I love a lot of volume and also have a newfound appreciation for my body after giving birth and finally feel comfortable showing it. A balance between the two is usually where I land. If we’re talking literally for the rest of my life, then bury me in straight-leg Levi’s and a white tank or button-down.