There is a certain look many fashion forward women have in Seattle. It’s a mix of deconstructed tops, bottoms and dresses that are simple, comfortable and also cool. Mix all of that together and you have Camilla Eckersley and Davora Lindner, the dynamic duo behind Seattle’s own “Prairie Underground.”
Housed in their newly minted warehouse in Georgetown, Davora describes Prairie Underground as a brand that comforts women. There’s even a cult following in parts of Seattle and Portland. Prairie fans save up all year for a chance to stock up during the annual fall sample sale. We caught up with Camilla and Davora just days after moving into their new space, which in the future will open its doors for the public to purchase clothing or enjoy Prairie Underground events.
How did “Prairie Underground” come to be?
“Camilla has always been a talented sewer and moved from production work to design over a number of years,” explains Davora. “She's one of those magical individuals who can conceive of an idea, make a flat pattern and sew the garment perfectly all in the same day. Being an entrepreneur is second nature to me. I never would have considered starting a clothing company on my own. When Camilla sent a proposal via email (in 2004) I instantly thought it was unique opportunity. “
Prairie Underground? Where did the name come from?
Back in 2004, the pair moved to Seattle from the Midwest and according to Davora, she and Camilla wrote pages of potential names into a notebook. Davora practiced writing different names with a calligraphy pen in a journal. It was a way she says, of willing the collection into being. They settled on Prairie Underground to signify their extension of friendship and community in Nebraska.
There’s a sense of nostalgia in the clothing and comfort (there’s that word again) that Davora says, fits with the idea behind their designs. “Our customers either identify with the entire line or a particular piece but the attachment is strong,” says Davora. “Camilla is an amazing pattern maker, really that's been the key to our success.”
What is the most rewarding thing about designing clothing?
“Seeing women who look great wearing our clothing at the airport. Or anywhere really, we're still breathless with gratitude. I rode in an elevator with a woman wearing a Cloak Hoodie at the New Museum in New York and held my breath for the entire ride.”
What's been the response in Seattle specifically?
“People in the Pacific Northwest truly support local industry with a passion that is humbling and inspiring,” says Davora. “We work to offer a different style of dress that also remains practical for our region. We're still inspired by the women of Seattle.”
What can Prairie Underground clothing fans expect for the future?
“We've been moving increasingly into outerwear in the past year and are testing a couple styles for fall. Though we're primarily known for hoodies, our denim business has always been strong and has increased significantly in the past year,” says Davora.