STIR article - Color by Design: One Fun Summer header image
Originally published in STIR®

BY HEIDI PEARSON

 

The inspiration for Karen Weaver’s colorful, pattern-rich One Fun Summer apparel line? Personal fashion frustration.

Karen Weaver’s One Fun Summer apparel line isn’t the fulfillment of a lifelong entrepreneurial dream; rather, it was born out of her personal fashion frustration. “We were living in Savannah, Ga., at the time, and I just couldn’t find any casual-but-classy tops that were comfortable enough for me to run around in the heat all day, yet still be stylish enough to join my husband for dinner in the evening,” says the self-taught seamstress.

Drawn to the universally flattering lines of the classic tunic silhouette, Weaver whipped up a few tops for herself. “I wore them with white cropped pants and sandals to run errands with the kids and used them as swimsuit cover-ups at the pool,” she says. “They became my uniform!” When friends — and complete strangers — started asking about her tunics (and almost always commented on the bright, fun and cheerful color combinations), a business was born. Karen launched One Fun Summer on Etsy, and soon after, the Atlanta Apparel Mart asked her to be one of 10 “Emerging Designers” at their huge August 2012 show.

STIR® sat down with Weaver to discuss how she uses her untrained eye to create the vibrantly hued color combinations that are quickly becoming the trademark of One Fun Summer.

STIR: What comes first when you’re selecting fabrics — color, pattern or a combination of both?

Karen Weaver (KW): For me, color and pattern go hand in hand when selecting fabrics. To qualify as a One Fun Summer–type fabric, the color must have that preppy, nautical, shore-to-city vibe that’s my signature. As for the pattern, it must be of the correct scale so that it looks good when worn, meaning it’s not too small or too large.

STIR: How do fabrics make the cut for One Fun Summer pieces?

KW: Selecting colors, and the fabrics that follow, is the most enjoyable part of my business! I absolutely love fabrics. I can spend hours looking — I kind of get lost in it. When a certain fabric gives me butterflies in my stomach, I know I’ve found a contender.

STIR: Does One Fun Summer have a signature color palette?

KW: Navy, the new black, has been at the core of my color palette the past couple of seasons. It’s not as harsh as black and goes with so many of my favorite colors — orange, yellow and hot pink.

STIR: Your tunics often feature two contrasting fabrics. How do you know which colors will play nicely with each other?

KW: Very often fabric designers produce a palette that includes complementary colors rendered in both a larger-scale and smaller-scale design. So to some degree, selecting the two fabrics that will strike the right chord is almost done for me. The trick is to select the color combinations that will excite my buyers.

STIR: Where do you receive color inspiration? How do you keep track of what you love?

KW: I get my color inspiration from all sorts of places — food, flowers, storefronts. My last inspiration actually came while watching one of my favorite ’80s movies, Dirty Dancing. I keep track of my online fabric finds using Pinterest. I pin the actual swatches of fabric that make it into my final selection process on a corkboard in my studio.