Because your wardrobe should speak for you — no matter what it is you’re feeling.

back tie dye dana decoursey

photographed by DANA DECOURSEY

model ALINA at FRAME and headpieces by OUTRAGEOUS BABES

written and interviewed by INNY TAYLOR

Wildly fun and youthful—Natalie Fragola has designed a collection full of dreamy-vamped up silhouettes with fantastical textiles and textures. This line defines girls who have the need to change their clothes as much their mood rings change colors. Stand out, be loud, and most of all, be proud of being young and beautiful this summer. Girls just want to have fun and with Obra Obscura’s colorful collection, you’ll be ready for wonderful days. SHK chats it up with Obra Obsura’s Natalie Fragola on what sets apart tie dying from colorists and textile designers, perfect summer days, and her dream girl collection.

Natalie Fragola: This is a mini collection I created using an array of dye techniques. The accessories are made of hand-dyed horsehair that I handmade into necklaces — they’re actually leftover from artwork that I created. It’s a collection that’s supposed to reflect the senses, that’s how I design. I’m interested in things that excite you whether it’s the feel, vision or sound. It’s about things that are flattering, silhouettes that are basic, and I enhance them through my textile background by dyeing and painting, so the horsehair is beautiful texture and it’s interesting material to work with.

Tiedie collarshirt dana decoursey

SO EXPLAIN TO ME THE DEFINITION OF “COLORIST” AND HOW YOU WORK WITH COLOR.

A “colorist” (in the textile world) is someone who has an understanding of color theory as well as the process of developing and manufacturing fabric. We are responsible for understanding color as a language and need to possess a sensitivity to this huge world of color that we live in. I work within color matching, color trends and I make color. My favorite is working with natural dyes and sourcing color naturally.

After I create a color, I experiment with it; which is never-ending and addictive. I love adding texture and imperfections to color. I work very intuitively and I have a child-like approach to that method. I am not afraid to go for it, I enjoy experiments and let science and nature be in control — you know? With chance and different element variables — things that are out of my control. I really embrace those imperfections. Those details are what make the work unique and inspire me to re-invent my approach to creating an interesting textile or piece of clothing. There is beauty in what came before, but if it doesn’t evolve it becomes boring to me.

floralheadpiece Dana Decoursey

TELL ME ABOUT THE GIRL YOU ENVISION WEARING YOUR COLLECTION

For me, I see it as a girl who has a strong interest in color. She is laid back but still knows what she likes. I like to design silhouettes for women of different sizes and still make them feel sexy. I think sex appeal is very important, but not in a trashy way. My moods change all the time, so when I develop something I want it to appeal to all different moods and types of demographics. One day you feel one way and then the tide changes all you feel like wearing is a kimono! [laughs]

I like to have soft and hard next to each other; it’s a nice contrast. Everything becomes like a walking contradiction and it’s very attractive to me. I don’t want my designs to lead back to one specific trend or era, but nostalgia does tie into it.

pink floralheadpiece dana decoursey

WHAT MADE YOU WANT TO START DESIGNING?

Long story short I studied fashion and fibers in school, so I all ready knew I wanted to pursue design, but I wasn’t quite sure what I wanted to do with it. I spent a few years working for fashion companies in New York, but I always continued to make my own stuff on the side. Fabric has always been my medium. The dyeing was kind of an after-thought though. I was taught that in school and I didn’t really think much about it, until every place I worked at ended up needing something dyed. Not many people work in that medium by hand. So here I am at this stage and who knows what it will turn into.

blackshorts-dana-decoursey

WHAT’S YOUR IDEA OF A FUN SUMMER DAY?

 A fun summer day in New York? [Laughs] I have to be outside, picnic, and wine. It’s really lovely to go to the botanical gardens in Brooklyn. I really just enjoy good food, looking at artwork or nature, and sharing in that experience with friends or my boyfriend. The type of experience where you can walk around and not have to talk to anyone, but you’re still interacting.

jeanshorts dana decoursey

pink headpiece dana decoursey

IN CONCLUSION, IT’S 2014, ARE YOU WHO YOU’VE ALWAYS DREAMT OF BEING?

I think each year I grow into myself more and more. I’m always trying to push forward and I’ve become a lot more positive in the past few years. It has helped me grow and cope with living in a city that can be quite negative or selfish—and I like that challenge. I see myself as a person who is very competitive and feisty, and I channel that energy into my work. Color really helps display my emotions because I’m basically regurgitating everything I experience. Each year I live here, I come out with things and designs—and I guess if I find myself declining, I’ll probably bust out of the city and go live in a little cabin in the woods or something. Who I am now is someone who is definitely more confident. I’ve gotten a lot of encouragement from my peers and co-workers and that’s helped me do what I want to do. I’m going to keep creating things; I cannot stop—and I never run out of ideas. It’s just about learning how to work with the resources you’re given.

What really keeps me going are the people I meet each day; some of them can be awful, but a lot of them propel you forward. I love waking up each day thinking of what I want to do personally, but also ideas of where I can incorporate all of my creative friends. I look at the world as if we’re all in this together and I try to keep a positive attitude with all things. It’s that energy that bounces off of people. I try to live by that mantra each day — how does that work? You just learn by getting older — and yoga helps! [laughs]

closedeyes dana decoursey

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