Peta Odini Sutherland

Peta Odini Sutherland, referred to by some as Odini, by others as Peta, is a fashion designer who gives "a slightly wayward spin on what menswear ought to be. Tailored influences with a healthy dose of Caribbean cool." This crayon creates her own lines, and colours them with her 20 shades.

Making happy clothes

Peta Odini Sutherland

1. How do you define creativity and what does it mean to you?

Creativity is the execution an idea. For me it's using materials that really shouldn't work in a given situation but using it anyway to create something unexpected.

2. How much of your creative ability do you think is innate? Or is your creativity a skill that you have developed?

I believe we are all born with the ability to create things. If you leave a really young child in a room with craft materials I'm pretty sure they will build something cool, they have no fears, no pre-conditioning. We lose that as we get older so people feel like they aren't creative but they probably were/are in the traditional sense of design. Even in business the successful people are creatives, because they come up with groundbreaking business ideas, it's not painting or drawing but that's still creativity.

3. When did you realize that you wanted to express your creativity? Was it encouraged by others (e.g., parents)?

I remember one of my friends having a fashion design kit and I loved going to her house and we would spend hours using that thing. I always drew and doodled but the conditioning kicked in and I sort of thought it was just a hobby. But in the end it won out and after I had been working in marketing for about two years, I was like, enough of the desk job, I want to go study fashion and my mom was like if this is what you want to do, do it. So I did.

I think clothes should make you a little bit happier

4. What is your standard for evaluating your own creative work and the works of other people? Do you think that monetary rewards can be compatible with creativity in general? Are monetary rewards relevant to your own work?

Fashion is difficult for me to evaluate. I change my criteria often depending on the designer/situation. For me personally, I think clothes should make you a little bit happier. Either by the colour or print used or simply by being comfy so you can relax, climb a fence or whatever. Some people think creativity in fashion is a dramatic showcase of flesh or architecture, so I try to understand what the person's aim is and attempt to decide if it's good or not by that. I usually fail though. If I think, ok yes, it is not my particular cup of tea but I could wear it, I guess it is successful to me. 

I think if money was a necessity for everyone's creative work we probably wouldn't have a lot of art around. But I imagine it must be nice to be able to make a living off something you create. For me, I make things hoping someone would buy it but most of the times hoping they won't so I can wear it myself :)

You must know and understand the rules in order to break them effectively

5. Do you think your own perception and evaluation of your creative endeavors are influenced by the views of other people? What role do you think the culture that you live in plays in your creative efforts?

I think the culture plays a significant part in what I do... the people operate within society that is filled with culture whether it be traditions, consumerism, etc so I think it plays a big part. Even if most days the indications from what I see or have been told are taken in, and then I create something that is totally opposite of what I'm being encouraged to do. I think this is what many artists do. You must know and understand the rules in order to break them effectively they say.

Photography by: Tanya Marie Williams | Designer Island | http://designerislandlife.com

6. What do you do when you experience a creative block?

Lots of TV or play with my puppy and when all else fails, sleep.

7. How do you make the leap from a "Spark" in your head to the action you produce?

I get off the bed/chair (out the shower) wherever the spark occurs and either start pattern cutting, if I'm not at home then maybe drawing on a piece of paper or sketch book so I won't forget, because I always forget. Then when I do get home I start pattern cutting and making samples, unless I have forgotten - in which case, this happens a few days down the road when I remember to check that piece of paper or sketch book.

8. Do you have any special rituals that you do in order to achieve your creative goals?

Not particularly. There isn't any one thing I have to do when I'm working or prepping to work. But having said that, having candy at hand usually helps.

9. Has your creativity changed stylistically as you have matured? If it has changed, please explain how?

It's hard to say. When I was at design school I think I was heavily influenced by tutor's opinions. Being in London, things were very grey or black, but I did experiment more with pattern making. That's something I still enjoy but I haven't had a lot of time to experiment of late. So I'm looking forward to merging the colour and print with some conceptual pattern cutting very soon.

10. What has been the greatest sacrifice that you have made for your craft? 

I just resigned from my day job. Adios steady pay cheque (but hello more time to make more things).

11. Who or what has helped you to persevere and not quit?

Would it be cheesy if I said social media philosophy? It's weird whenever I get down or I'm being plagued by a problem or doubting the path that I'm on and I happen to go on my FB feed or Instagram feed someone has just posted a quote or liked a Ted Talk vid about your current situation and gives you hope and makes you think, yes, I can do it. Is that just me? It's so weird.

But beside that weird social media phenomena my mother definitely, even though sometimes she does question my process, but in answering those questions I solidify why I need or want to do something.

I’m trying to just do what feels right to me because at the end of the day I have to live with what I do.

12. Do you believe that it is important to be accepted by others as being creative or is just doing what you love to do enough to justify your work? Explain.

I think doing what I love is usually enough, and I hope people like it, I suppose. I pretty much do what in my gut feels like it would be cool. Sometimes I shoot people pics or talk to them about ideas for new products or show them fabrics I've seen and they're a little skeptical and sometimes that gives me pause. And there have been times when I was like ok maybe not. And I ALWAYS regret that. So I'm trying to just do what feels right to me because at the end of the day I have to live with what I do. So if it makes sense in my head, I'm gonna do it because if I don't I'm probably going to regret the time I wasted doing something more "acceptable".

13. Has rejection ever affected your creative process? Explain.

At University I had a pretty rough time with a tutor and I think it threw off almost most of my time at school. He told me I was bad at drawing and I stopped drawing. He generally made me feel like I was not up to scratch and I struggled with that, probably still dealing with it, but he must have had his reasons, as misguided as they seemed to be. I still get angry at myself for letting one person have such a big and negative impact on my work like that. Never Again.

14. Looking at what you have created in the past, would you change anything today? Why or why not?

I don't think I would. It probably all isn't great stuff but it is a part of the journey and is an indication of my development. So no, I wouldn't change any of it, I probably won't post it on any of my social media feeds but I wouldn't change it lol.

15. Have you ever doubted your talent? If so, how did you work through your doubt?

Almost every day. Because there is a LOT of talent in the world. So every day I have to remind myself that yes, there will always be scores of people who are better than I am at what they do, but I'm working to be the best at doing what I do.

Photography by: Thomas Gallagher | https://www.facebook.com/Gallagherphotos

Photography by: Jamila Soso-Vincent | https://www.facebook.com/JayEssVeePhotography

16. What piece of work are you most proud of? Why?

I created a pair of men's trousers and a blazer from sequinned lace. It's like the stuff you would make an evening gown from. It irritated the hell out of me as I had to cut away all the beads where I needed to stitch and then had to reattach them after and it took like 3 times the amount of time a normal trouser or blazer would take, but when it was done I was like yesssss! 

One of my very good friends in Barbados got it to wear for his music video he did for Crop Over about 2 seasons back and up to the other day he was wearing those trousers for a live performance. All that cutting and stitching and endless hours of sewing were definitely worth it, because every time I see a pic or vid of him in them I feel the greatest sense of pride and accomplishment.

17. Have you helped or mentored anyone else? Is there someone that you see (name drop) that you would like to Mentor?

I'm not sure. I mean, I try my best to listen and I have other friends who are in this design struggle so we generally sound off about projects and such. I do hope that sometimes things I have said have been beneficial to others in some way.  

Gosh who would I mentor, I haven't a clue. I guess anyone from a small island who has found themselves in a big city to study design and you need someone to tell you you won't freeze to death during winter ... holla at me!

Photography by: Thomas Gallagher | https://www.facebook.com/Gallagherphotos

18. To a young Creative emerging in your field, what advice would you impart unto them?

Work Hard. Learn the technical stuff. Sketching does not make you a fashion designer, learn to sew, learn how to pattern cut. If you know how to construct, your design ability increases exponentially.

19. What would you most like to be remembered for?

Making happy clothes

20. If you were a crayon, what would be the name of your colour?

Sequin Grey

You can view more of Peta's work on her website,  and follow her on Facebook.