Designer of the Week - Babette

This week get to know Geeta Patel of Babette. She lives Northern New Jersey with her spirted 3 year old daughter.

See Geeta's current eBay auctions: babette! and add Babette your favorite eBay sellers list: Click Here:

JM: Geeta, when did you get started sewing and creating?

GEETA: I have been sewing since I was a child- my mother was an excellent seamstress and I can still hear the whirring sound of her industrial machine in my mind…. She used to make all our clothes and even went as far as to re-upholster a sofa! It certainly stood out- it was red velvet and clashed wildly with our funky purple 70’s geometric wallpaper!

As far as creating, my entire life has been driven by this. I remember being obsessed with drawing and painting from an early age. I would stay awake all night with little ‘still lives’ that I’d set up and just observe and sketch, getting lost in the moment. From age 19, I spent the next 6 years in Art Schools in England, my birthplace. I studied Fine Art for one year and Womenswear Fashion Design at London’s Central St. Martin’s School of Art for 5 years. It was a great place to experiment and meet extraordinarily talented people. I have great memories of this unique time, and have a BA (Hons) and MA in Fashion Design from CSM.

JM: When did you start selling your designs on eBay?

GEETA:I ventured into selling on Ebay last November, 2005, and don’t currently sell elsewhere. I worked as a womenswear fashion designer for internationally recognized designers in NYC and London. My work took me to wonderful places like Paris and Italy, and I have been lucky to have met some of the most talented people in the industry. It has been both glamorous- because of the unbelievable type of work I got to do and the excitement building up to the runway shows, but also very stressful- due to the pressure to be original, the deadlines and constant changes which are part of the makeup of this industry. I also co-founded a womens leather accessories company, and designed collections of leather handbags and belts, which were sold to boutiques in the U.S, England and Canada.

JM: Do you remember the first outfit you sold on eBay?

GEETA: I certainly do, and I couldn’t have sold it to a nicer person. It was a prairie inspired cotton dress using vintage embroidered fabric and trim I bought in London. I think it sold for around $30.

JM: How did come up with your name, Babette?

GEETA:Names are so important to me; they speak volumes about you before an image is even seen. So I searched for a very special word, (changing names three times!) for one that would conjure up the right feeling. Babette happens to come from a masterpiece Danish film I love, called ‘Babette’s Feast’. The story is bittersweet, just like life itself, but a feast for the senses. The sweet name Babette just seemed to stir up the right images in relation to my work. This is a labour of love for me and I like to create a complete experience. The other-worldliness and softness of the name just reminded me of many children.

JM: Do you belong to any boutique group?

GEETA:I don’t belong to a group.

JM: Do you have a favorite item to create?

GEETA: I get so lost in the bliss of creation- so whatever I am creating at the time becomes my favorite. It’s the details that matter to me, so I try to put a little soul into every piece. Babette is about darling forever clothes, timeless wearable looks that pull ideas from bohemian to vintage influences. I grew up in a big city, so these clothes are for modern children who love being girls. I love to mix opposites to create soft, elegant, fresh looks that don’t overwhelm a child. Denim is a favorite material. It’s not only beautiful, but is so functional and versatile- you can do almost anything to it and it will survive!.

JM: If you could learn some new skills, what would they be?

GEETA:I am attempting to use my experience with leather to research the possibility of creating handcrafted children’s leather shoes. I’m not too thrilled with the hard shoes on the market and one can’t put sneakers on a child always, so I believe there could be a market for soft and irresistibly pretty shoes that allow a child’s foot to grow and look fabulous at the same time…in some cultures, a child’s shoes have such significance that they preserve their shoes by ‘bronzing’ them. I thought that was fascinating.

JM: If you could travel anywhere, where would it be?

I’ve been fortunate to have traveled a lot in my late teens…but I have always wanted to visit a place relatively close by: ‘Falling Water’, the house that Frank Lloyd Wright built in PA. I’d love to tour English country gardens one summer and thirdly, I would love to go back to India. I took many photographs of children in streets, small villages and towns when I traveled around India 15 years ago…when I look at their pictures, I always wander what paths their lives have taken? I would love to go back and find them.

JM: What other things do you enjoy besides sewing?

GEETA: I try to spend as much time as possible with my little one and involve her in everything I do. I love listening to her commentaries on life and we enjoy gardening and listening to music together in the morning. We live close to Manhattan, so we sometimes just wander around there as a family at the weekend, rummaging around at flea markets and stopping when we like the look of a restaurant or an old bookstore. I have a great interest in nature, architecture, fine art, photography, fashion & food.

JM: Anything else you would like to add?

GEETA: I must thank my little one, she is my partner and muse in this venture- (though you do make it almost impossible to photograph you as you bolt around the garden, I couldn’t do it without you). I also have to thank my family for their constant interest and the wonderful people who buy from me. And last, but not least, a thank you to you Amy for this wonderful opportunity!

Do you have a question that you are dying to ask Geeta? Comment about something she said or designed? Post it here and she will answer it!

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| Tuesday, September 5, 2006 2:39 PM | flag
Love Love your work, so beautiful! ~Jeana

Angie ~Pretty*Me | Sunday, September 3, 2006 7:08 AM | flag
Loved reading your interview Geeta! Your designs are so original and amazing.

Geeta/Babette | Friday, September 1, 2006 5:09 AM | flag
Thank you for your compliments, whoever you are...

| Thursday, August 31, 2006 5:07 PM | flag
love your work

| Thursday, August 31, 2006 2:04 PM | flag
Wow! Very original designs. Love them.

Some past Babette Designs

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