Paul Kramer - On Working with Ingrid Harshbarger

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Well it was a wonderful experience for me working with Ingrid. I'd learned how to make tent patterns, I'd learned how to make sleeping bag patterns and other kinds of patterns and I understand the rise and stuff and pants and can say whether it’s fitting and how to do things, but I’m not the designer of clothing that Ingrid was. She actually was originally a goldsmith but she was a meticulous German lady, a wonderful person, who basically had a great eye.

And we would go off to the factories or the -- normally it’s not just a factory, you’re going to some – your broker or something like that and they basically have a room and we would be sitting in that room when it was Odyssey, we would be there from 9:00 in the morning, we get there late and we’d leave at 9:00 at night. And Ingrid would be working on her sketches then we’d be making a little – we have maybe a sample and she’d be pinning. She had hundreds of pins, thousand pins and scraps of fabric and she’d have a pinned stripe here like the Exposure Parka as you well know, well that must have gone through not a drawing of five times of something, but probably 40 different iterations where she’d move the line one eighth of an inch, which is a nightmare and just tremendous amount of work, but she would do it constantly.

And so ever night we would go home, Odyssey had a bus that would take us from Sha Tin back into Kawloon where we were staying, usually at the YMCA which was a nice spot to stay and every night it was the same thing, we would get off the bus and we’d go up the elevator and I’d say, “Okay, dinner and dancing?” Every night it was dinner and dancing? And she said, “Oh, I think I’m too tired tonight.” It was our daily joke, I mean never went dinner and dancing, and we hardly ever went out to dinner. Basically she would get some in her room or something and frankly we’d eaten enough. Your contractors or whatever take you out for too big a lunch and we generally just go back to our rooms and I work on something, some spreadsheet or watch TV or something and Ingrid would be there on her bed and I’d be coming in and she’d be pinning up little things all day long, all night.
 

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Story Copyright
10/22/14