In 2010 Francine Moo-Young moved from Southern California to Seattle, Washington. Francine began experimenting with leather scraps by accident in the living room of her home in Bellevue. Untrained in traditional leather crafting and hailing from a self-taught sewing background, Francine's venture in leather was both unlikely and original. Late in 2012, the MOO-YOUNG label was born out of a small studio in Georgetown.
Today, Francine continues to create wearable art and push the boundaries of shibori leather out of her Capitol Hill workspace.
What is shibori?
Francine: Shibori is an ancient Japanese technique dating back to the 8th century traditionally used to dye silk, hemp and cotton fabrics. The results are generated through resist dyeing—a series of tying or folding to get the “tie-dye” effect.
Why is it so unique to use this technique on leather?
F: Traditionally, shibori and leather aren’t seen together. You can’t fold leather in the same way as cotton because the dye won't seep through the dense hide. I’ve had to do a lot of experimenting and test out different folding techniques in order to mirror the effects of cotton on leather.
What principles does MOO-YOUNG live by?
F: MOO-YOUNG strives to live by zero waste principles. I grew up in Jamaica with a big family who stressed frugality. All of my great aunts were self-taught makers who transferred those skills to me. My upbringing has influenced my work immensely in the sense that my first priority in creating is to be conscious about waste. Additionally, I gravitate towards making pieces that are easy and no-fuss. If Moo-Young had a life motto, it would be "if there's a will there's a way."
How does MOO-YOUNG fit in the ever-changing industry of fashion and design?
F: MOO-YOUNG as a brand is always morphing depending on my personal style and influences of the time. I don’t follow seasons or trends. Instead, I try to make beautiful and long lasting pieces.
Overall, I think making intentional choices about waste and being conscious about the slow-fashion movement sets MOO-YOUNG apart from most brands.