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As an advocate of the local garment industry, Pelaez practices what she preaches. “If garment production left Brooklyn or New York, it would be a very sad day. Independent designers are the future of American fashion, and if the local manufacturers were no longer here, neither would be the designers and therefore American fashion. It’s too expensive to produce overseas for most small businesses, not to mention that it takes away from the art and craft of it all. The inspiration and the creation would be gone.” Seeing Pelaez’s work space, with patterns spread out across tables and an ironing board set up beneath a window, it makes perfect sense that an artist’s work should, and does, reflect where that work is generated. Pelaez crafts exquisite clothes, the products of personalized attention and detail which would be impossible to attain from garments manufactured in some overseas factory. It is the essence of the current Brooklyn ethos of keeping things local and specific.
And at a time when there’s so much attention—some might say too much attention—on Brooklyn’s creative community, how does Pelaez feel about being a part of that? “Everyone wants a piece of Brooklyn—fashion, music, art... everything cool. It feels good, but I don’t want it to blow up so much that it goes away. Brooklyn as it is now is sort of perfect: nice areas, sketchy areas, lots of character everywhere. Lots of culture too. There’s a real earnest vibe, and I’m riding that wave and totally digging it.”