An Interview with Trisha DeHall
Tell us about your experience in design?
Before I graduated from college I started an athletic sportswear company in 1985. That came about because I was also a competitive bodybuilder and designed all my own clothes. I manufactured spandex shorts, pants, capri and tops for exercise and padded bike shorts for bicyclist. I sold to stores and health clubs across the USA and several stores in Japan – I sold that company in 1989. I then became a consultant for a supplement company designing sportswear. I moved to Branson Missouri in 1991 where I designed costumes for entertainers and professional and competitive dancers. I also developed a line of leather jackets and shirts which I sold to high end western clothing stores.
I am now involved with interior design and am able to take my creative ideas to a new level.
What was your inspiration for creating the Trisha DeHall line?
In 2003 I walked into a Harley Davidson dealer and bought a bike. I had no idea how to ride it, so I took a class, got my license and now ride about 10,000 miles a summer. I have been from one end of the US to the other. Since I did most of my riding in the summer, the traditional leather chaps available was just to hot to wear so I thought of making a pair out of perforated leather. This would offer me protection from the elements of the road (ie, bugs, rocks flying up, dirt, etc.) yet be cool enough for me to wear in hot weather. Thus became the creation of the first pair of my perforated leather chaps and being a designer I had to add my own personal design features - the cutout inlays of Exotic Skin, Conchos and Buckles.
How is your line different from other riding attire lines?
My line varies considerably. Most of the chaps on the market today are made of heavy 2.5 to 3-ounce low grade cow hide leather and basically black with no design features - very boring. This is great for cold weather riding but useless in the summer. Also, most if not all the biker leathers are now manufactured in China or Pakistan. I don't know about you, but I have had just about enough of China and their lack of quality control. My line is made right here in the USA using outstanding craftsman who take pride in their work. Each piece is a limited edition so the customer wearing one of my garments will stand out in the crowd.
Explain why you selected the types of materials and leathers.
I selected leather and exotic skins from not only American tanners but Italian as well. I look for superior tanning process, variety of colors and textures and the beauty of the feel. The Conchos and Buckles I use are unique in their own way and coordinate perfectly with the designs I use them in. I also use Italian lambs’ skin. This is very soft and supple and conforms to your body like a fine pair of gloves. The minute you put it on it feels good and the longer you wear it the more it shapes to your body.
How do you care for your leather attire?
I highly suggest you use "Leather Therapy" which can be purchased at https://absorbine.com/products/leather-care/. Their product line consists of a wash, leather finish, restorer & conditioner and a water repellant. You can use this product line to spot clean any part of the garment. It is possible to gently wash these garments following the directions on the "Leather Therapy" label, HOWEVER we feel it best that a professional leather dry cleaner be used.
Professional leather cleaning is recommended when needed, depending upon the wear and care you give your garment. Essential oils are removed during cleaning and can be restored ONLY by a professional leather cleaner. It should be noted that because the tanning process cannot be duplicated, the cleaner must use a different method to restore the garment. This may cause the color and texture of the garment to vary slightly from its original appearance. For this reason, it is important to clean matching garments at the same time. The LAA provides listings of accredited cleaners across the United States.
Leather ages gracefully and can last a lifetime with the proper care right from the start. Always hang leather garments on wide or padded hangers to maintain their shape. Never store leather goods in plastic or other non-breathable covers. This will cause leather to become dry.
Allow wet or damp leather to air-dry naturally away from any direct heat source.
Leather can be treated with a conditioner to restore flexibility while suede can be brushed with a terry towel to restore its look. Do not use waxes, silicone products or other leather preparations that will impair a garments' ability to breathe.
Wrinkles should hang out. If ironing is desired, set iron on rayon setting, use heavy brown wrapping paper as a pressing cloth on right side of the garment and a quick hand to prevent overheating and shine.
Avoid spraying perfumes or hair sprays while wearing your garment and do not apply pins, adhesive badges or tape. Wearing a scarf at the neckline will help keep hair and body oil away from the collar. Hems may be fixed with a tiny amount of rubber cement. For best results, see a leather care professional. All products formulated for at-home use should be tested on an inconspicuous part of the garment.
How would you describe the “look” of your line and what makes it unique?
The look is that of a very stylish and "avant-garde" line of high-quality leather garments. Our look is classic, vogue and current. We use embossed as well as real exotic skins. Our leather garments are available in solid and perforated skins to create a polished and sophisticated look. I offer a "couture" line of motorcycle clothing.
What is the technique used in the construction of these garments that help them to last?
We start with the finest skins available which are then stitched together with superior nylon thread. We use a heavy weight interfacing to add support and durability where needed. Each seam is glued open to add constancy, and stamina to each garment. Top stitching is utilized as a design feature and in stress areas to prevent garment from ripping or tearing. The zippers used are unbreakable nylon with medal pull tabs. The snaps and eyelets are reinforced to prevent them from pulling out. All Conchos and Snaps are installed using Lock Tight to insure they never loosen.
How did you go about making this career choice to design biker clothing?
The choice actually evolved from the lack of being to find unique riding apparel for myself. After an exhaustive search of finding nothing suitable for my taste, I decided to design a line and offer to my fellow bike riders.
What is your background in design - education and influence?
I am a graduate of the University of Cincinnati - Design, Architecture, Art, and Planning College (DAAP for short) with a Bachelor of Science in Fashion Design. I am influenced by some of the great designer of yesteryear, such as Schiaparilli, Cassini, Valentino, Balenciaga, Christian Dior, Versace, Erte, Issey Miyake and Edith Head to name only a few. The golden age of fashion design from the 20's to the early 50's is the time period I am most passionate about.
What inspired you to create the decorative patterns for your line?
I get my inspiration from the exotic skins I touch and feel. I try to use them is a pattern on the garment that best utilizes their unique characteristic.
What do you love about your line?
Whenever I wear one of my collections someone always asks me where did you get that - just the fact that I can create something that someone else would want to own is very rewarding to me.
Why did you choose to design biker attire specifically? What do you like best about the biker culture?
We (bikers) have a saying - If you have to ask, you wouldn’t understand - when you are a biker you belong to a large family that shares the same compassion. Bikers no longer carry the stigma of years go by but are a benevolent group of people who give more to charity than any group I know. They are sympathetic to their fellow man (and woman) and welcome new riders with open arms. Our goal is to ride whenever and wherever we choice and help as many people as we can along the way. "We live to ride and we ride to live" and it only seemed natural to design clothing that relates to my personal passion.
Do you anticipate more men or more women being the primary purchaser?
That is a hard question to answer, there are 10 times more men rider than women, but more women buy clothing in general than men. Only time will tell. I enjoy designing for both, however in the past (even with my spandex line) I had a very large part of my sales volume from men.
In a single sentence, summarize what you want your visitors to take away from visiting your website.
I want them to see that biker apparel has arrived and we no longer have to dress like the bikers of yesteryear, there are choices and these choices are vogue, in style and innovative.