Mom Muse | Tabitha Sillin
Tabitha Sillin was born to be a fashion designer. She started sewing in kindergarten and by age 19 had graduated with her Associate of Arts degree in Fashion Design from the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising (aka FIDM), then immediately went to work for GUESS in Los Angeles. Following her stint at GUESS, Tabitha went on to work at Lucky Brand Jeans, Modern Amusement, and the oh-so-popular brand, Quiksilver/Roxy. A combination of her talent and strong work ethic propelled her up the ladder quickly. At age 26, Tabitha was in place as the senior youth patternmaker for the Roxy girls division.
While at Quiksilver/Roxy, Tabitha focused on learning how everything operated at the company – far beyond just her job — from production to screen printing to accounting. This gave her the in-depth knowledge she would need to start her own line when the time came. And, almost two years ago it did when Sillin, Inc. was born. As both the owner and designer, Tabitha is putting all her business experience to work for her, while creating beautifully-made clothes, as she so loves to do.
Now living in Arizona, Tabitha is married to “an adorable man” — as she describes her husband Patrick — and they have four children – Zoe (9), Jackson (7), Alexander (5) and Lilly (2). A dog and cat round out the close-knit family.
The Sillin family hams it up for the camera. Photo Credit: Dusty Draper Photography.
Tabitha and her husband Patrick.
Other fun facts about this uber-talented, up-and-coming designer that she shared with us:
- I have a passionate love of shoes. I want to wear them all. So does Lilly, my two year old. She is quite adept at running away down the hallway in my stilettos… it’s very impressive.
- I enjoy knitting. And cooking sometimes.
- I hate dishes with a passion. When my kids get in trouble, dishes are the default chore because I hate dishes that much. I love default chores.
Keep your eye on Sillin, Inc. – we predict Tabitha with her passion for designing gorgeous garments is going places!
Tabitha adjusts a train on the Edna dress at the Spring ’16 collection shoot. Credits: Photographer, Michelle Herrick; Model, Aleksandra Kras; Stylist, Ashley Yazzie; Makeup, Morgan Teresa; Hair, Lauren Bates.
From the Spring ’16 collection. Credits: Photographer, Michelle Herrick; Models, Aleksandra Kras and Blake Johansson; Stylist, Ashley Yazzie; Makeup, Morgan Teresa; Hair, Lauren Bates.
MSL: Describe your style in five words or less.
Chic, rocker, tailored, comfortable, “hot stuff”!
MSL: What inspired you to become a fashion designer?
I have been sewing since I was about five years old. I learned by watching my mother, and in junior high it progressed to altering and making patterns and severely ugly junior high clothes. In high school I just thought of it as a hobby, but my career counselor told me I could be paid for it, and so I decided to go to FIDM and study it. I’ve always loved the technical aspects of clothing, and construction and fit. That to me, is the very basis of design. If it is not quality, and doesn’t fit right, or the proportions aren’t right, then it doesn’t matter what the design is, it wouldn’t flatter.
One of Tabitha’s favorite pieces, the Brooke flounce jacket. Made of thicker moleskin, it feels like suede with a copper foil printing on it.
MSL: Most exciting moment of your career so far?
Probably when MTV bought a lot of my clothing for one of their TV shows. But I don’t really get excited about publicity (although I am aware of the importance), I get excited about creating a really awesome style I want to wear the crap out of. I get excited about shiny fabrics or buttons. I’m a super big nerd. The process excites me, which is why I can’t stop making stuff!
MSL: What inspired your latest collection? Your favorite pieces?
My current collection is Holiday, and that is what is featured online. I wanted a chic look (with holiday sparkle) and a comfort that can endure my four children. I always design for me, and what I want my husband to look like next to me. I design in pairs, since I create both men’s and women’s clothing.
From the Holiday ’15 collection. Model Blake Johansson wears the Candon top and Max pant. Model Aleksandra Kras wears the Teena dress and Aubrey jacket. Credits: Photographer, Michelle Herrick; Stylist, Ashley Yazzie; Makeup, Morgan Teresa; Hair, Lauren Bates.
From the Holiday ’15 collection. Model Blake Johansson wears the Stanley top, Vincent jacket and Chase pant. Model Aleksandra Kras wears the Ingrid turtleneck, Freya sweater and Alexia leggings. Credits: Photographer, Michelle Herrick; Stylist, Ashley Yazzie; Makeup, Morgan Teresa; Hair, Lauren Bates.
MSL: Future plans and goals for Sillin Inc.?
I think my next goal is to get a bigger space. I do have a large studio at my house that I use, but I think that if I have to go somewhere else for work, then I will be forced to abandon pajamas as work wear. Hefty goal there, I’m aware. (Probably why I have so many leggings in my collection. Ha!)
MSL: Being a mom and successful businesswoman takes a lot of juggling. How do you achieve good work-life balance?
I schedule the snot out of stuff. Some days my little girl comes to work with me as well. (Thank you, my patient assistant!) On a typical day, I wake up, start laundry and get kiddies ready for school, then I work from 8:30-3 when I pick my kiddies up from school. We do homework, chores, playtime/parktime, dinner and activity, then bed. Then I go back to work for a few hours. (Or 5 hours, usually waiting for UPS to un-kidnap my husband.) Being a business owner and following my passions is important to me, but not as important as being a structure in my children’s lives. I don’t want to sacrifice time and teaching moments with my kids in pursuit of a career, so I plan my life around it. It is something I am very passionate about.
Lilly at work.
Tabitha’s beautiful kids.
MSL: What is your family’s favorite thing to do together in your free time?
We love to play card/board games and binge watch TV shows on Netflix. Our favs are Once Upon a Time and the Flash.
MSL: What’s the one item in your closet you can’t live without?
My Alexia leggings. I would wear them every day if I could. (I stole two pairs from stock and I’m thinking of confiscating a third.) This girl loves her spandex. They are the perfect combo of ponte knit and vegan leather and I can bend in them and look sassy. Throw on a large shirt and that is my default wardrobe.
The designer sports a Sillin logo tee.
MSL: What’s your best style advice for other moms out there?
Give it five more minutes. I know when life gets crazy and I just want to wear pajama pants and my husband’s shirts (which, let’s face it, if I don’t have to go in public it’s going to happen), it makes a difference in my posture and perception of myself vs. when I take the extra time to make myself look good. As mothers sometimes we are pulled in different directions adhering to the needs of a bunch of tiny humans, but it’s important we take care of ourselves too. A well-put-together outfit and a few accessories can be a small step for us, but we are worth the extra time!