Aly Barohn is a textile designer currently residing in Denver, Colorado. Originally from Nebraska, Aly attended Chicago's Columbia College, where she majored in Fashion and Costume Design. She spent six years working in the film and television industry in Chicago and NY until leaving Brooklyn in 2011. Seeking a little quiet, Aly relocated to rural Arkansas where she began really exploring embroidery and other textile arts, all the while growing what would become her successful vintage clothing business, Vaux Vintage.
How did you get started in embroidery and textile design?
I went to school for fashion design and I took some fabric manipulation classes that taught me a lot of great skills like knitting. It didn't include embroidery but it really sparked my interest in it. I set that interest aside for a long time. In between living in Brooklyn and Denver, I lived in Arkansas for seven months to get away from NY which was at times over stimulating. My friend and I rented a cabin and created a retreat. We made time to relax and do what we wanted to do, like cook and make art, and that was when I started playing with embroidery.
Where do you get your inspiration?
I base most of my pieces off of shapes. I love geometrics but find organic shapes really appealing. I'm also inspired by shapes I see in movies, the mountains and sometimes from just playing around with different textures and seeing where they go.
What was your process for your "Push" collection?
Each design started with a simple sketch; I usually start by drawing a basic shape. I knew I wanted to do a gradient for this collection so I decided to hand-dye cotton thread. Each design is made up of a specific carpeting texture that I work into many of my pieces because of the dimension it adds to the shapes and design of the composition.
What's your typical daily routine?
I wake up pretty early so I can have some relaxing time for coffee and reading before I start my workday at 9am (that was one of my mandatory rules... setting a strict "work starts at 9am" rule). Then, the beginning of the day is usually spent on the vintage shop; shipping out orders, emails, and social media. From there I will either work on my website or on artwork - depending on what day it is and what my weekly goals are. Once the sun goes down it's much harder for me to focus, so I push myself all day to then relax at night.
Being a shop owner and designer, how do you balance the two?
It's an ongoing goal to settle into a routine I'm happy with. Honestly, it's hard to balance the two. It takes a lot of self-discipline, and I think I was lucky to get practice with that when in Arkansas. When you have an entire day to make yours, with no other interruptions, and you have to make a living, you get used to staying in control of your schedule. Some tricks that help me stay focused throughout the day are: taking 10 minute breaks every few hours to hang out with the chickens and saving my favorite podcasts for the times when I have to do my least favorite tasks.
We're addicted to podcasts, which ones are you listening to?
I listen to a lot. Current favs are the Fresh Air Podcast, TED (TED Talks), Radio Hour, Serial, The Treatment, The Polished Palace and Reverberation - the best music podcast.
And finally, favorite places to eat in Denver?
We love going to Uncle but lately also love a place called Rosenberg's, a bagel shop where the owner recreates the same type of water in NY to make authentic NY bagels.