Note:Amy Ly (formerly Amy Kunkel-Patterson) of Gather Design Co. in Seattle created the unforgettable SUNFLOWER GOWN for American Flowers Week in 2017. She recently posted about how she produced this exquisite floral garment, along with her recipe and techniques. Here is an excerpt and link to her full post and the full gallery of Anna Peters’ beautiful images.
The Sunflower Gown
I am the kind of person who always says yes to an outlandish idea, even before I know how I might make it happen. This dress came from one of those conversations, that went something like this:
Amy: Oh, that’s exciting! What do you have in mind?
Debra: Well, I am wanting something really bold. I’d love to take what Susan McCleary did last year with botanical fashion and commission a designer to create something even bigger, like a whole dress made out of sunflowers. I want it to feel like classic Americana, but with a high end design.
Amy: Great, I’ll do it.
Debra: Wait, are you serious? Do you know how to create a dress out of flowers?
Amy: Not yet, but I will soon!
From this initial conversation in mid-August, we compared calendars and talked to the Seattle Wholesale Grower’s Market about when sunflowers would be at their peak, settling on a day in early September. Debra graciously let me choose the photographer for the project, and Anna Peters was the first person I called. I could tell she was skeptical when I explained the idea of a dress made out of sunflowers (I fear she was picturing something like this), but we’d worked together before and she trusted my idea and agreed.
In Year Three, American Flowers Week Salutes Iconic U.S.-Grown Flowers and Foliages with a Couture Approach
We’re so excited to share the story of American Flowers Week 2017 in the new issue of Florists’ Review! Here’s a sneak peek of the spreads in Debra Prinzing’s story, titled “Homegrown Event presents Floral Fashions.”
The opening paragraphs tell how American Flowers Week came to be:
In 2015, while in London for the Chelsea Flower Show, I met with Helen Evans, one of the geniuses behind New Covent Garden Market’s successful British Flowers Week campaign (June 19-25, 2017). The U.K.’s most important wholesale floral hub launched BFW in 2013 as a low-budget, social media-driven “annual celebration of seasonal, locally-grown flowers and foliage united the U.K. cut flower industry and sparking public and media interest in where our flowers come from.” It has become a popular and successful campaign to promote British flowers — and floral designers.
By the time we had finished sipping from our steaming mugs of tea in the Market’s employee break room, I was thinking to myself: “I should start American Flowers Week.”
Helen and her colleagues were immensely helpful and supportive. I returned to the U.S. in late May 2015 inspired by the BFW model, equipped with Helen’s suggestions and resources, and by the end of June, I introduced American Flowers Week.
It seemed entirely fitting that our week coincides with Independence Day, July 4th. Not only do these dates provide a patriotic hook on which to hang AFW, the timing is perfect because there are local flowers growing on farms in all 50 U.S. states, Alaska included, in late June and early July. And, as one wholesale floral manager suggested: “It’s otherwise a down time in floral, so we love having a new event to help promote flowers.”
The initial grass-roots endeavor enjoyed 400,000 social media impressions during the 2015 campaign. In 2016, we added beautiful collateral material, a free USA floral coloring map that participating florists and flower farmers could download and share with customers, and even red-white-and-blue stickers used by florists, flower farmers and retailers to label their AFW bouquets. Impressions on social media hit 1.3 million last year.
For 2017, I’ve borrowed yet another page from British Flowers Week. BFW selects five iconic U.K.-grown flowers and pairs each with a high-profile florist or design team to produce installations and vignettes. The press and online media devour these images — and of course, the publication of them creates a buzz about British flowers and the farmers and florists who supply them.
Slow Flowers, which presents AFW, has commissioned several floral-inspired fashion shoots depicting iconic American grown blooms. The designers who contributed their creativity and artistic talents teamed up with generous flower farms that donated stems straight from their fields and greenhouses.
The goal? To showcase domestic and seasonal flowers in a new and engaging way — and to show how inventiveness and ingenuity, along with American grown flowers, produce beautiful results.
These All-American floral looks would never have been possible without the support of Slow Flowers’ sponsors, including Certified American Grown, Arctic Alaska Peony Cooperative, Longfield Gardens, Syndicate Sales, Seattle Wholesale Growers Market, Johnny’s Selected Seeds and Association of Specialty Cut Flower Growers.
Congrats to all of our talented designers, photographers, models, hair/makeup artists — AND ESPECIALLY, the Flower Farmers who provided the blooms. See credits below.
Floral Palette: California-grown hybrid tea roses, garden roses and spray roses and their seasonal companions Designer: Teresa Sabankaya, Bonny Doon Garden Co., (Santa Cruz, CA)
Floral ingredients supplied by California Pajarosa, Watsonville, CA, and Bonny Doon Garden Co., Santa Cruz, CA
Model: Antalia Sabankaya
Makeup: Zachary Winer
Hair: Carly Vollers
Photography: John Kaemmerling Photography
Location: Sabankaya family garden, Bonny Doon, CA
AMERICAN FLOWERS WEEK PRESENTS . . . SLOW FLOWERS SUMMIT