This week on Friendly Friday, I am catching up with my friend Jillian Shatken, designer and founder of SAYLOR. I am in love with her designs and if you see me around this summer, you will probably catch me in her Mackenzie romper.
What is new and exciting with SAYLOR?
In February we launched e-commerce! For the first couple of years we were solely focused on our wholesale business, but are now are excited to connect directly with our customers. Most importantly, selling through our own platform enables us to showcase a wider selection of our product than on any other retailer. And the feedback is so valuable! It has been extremely inspiring to see what our customers are buying and base our designs on this knowledge. We have also been ramping up more exclusive product with Free People, one of our biggest retailers. The very first dress we ever shipped was to them, so we love partnering with them on special initiatives.
How did you come up with SAYLOR? Where does the name come from?
I had been saving the name for my future daughter, but instead gave it to my brand, which I consider my true first born. Our family grew up sailing every summer—from Martha’s Vineyard to Shelter Island, to as far away as Belize or the Virgin Islands. SAYLOR is definitely inspired by my seaside upbringing, but our spelling feels more feminine, like the collection.
If you had to pick a favorite from your current collection, what would it be and why?
I have been living in the Monaco romper. The poplin fabric I used to make it is actually based on my favorite cotton pajamas. I dress for ease and comfort, so it’s not surprising that my favorite piece is PJ-inspired. Luckily, the hand pleating at the neckline and modern silhouette give it a lot more polish than my PJs ever had. I’m also sort of obsessed with our Kaci top. The only place I ever manage to relax is at the beach and this immediately became my grab and go cover-up. I designed the stripe pattern directly with our mills in India and hand crochet at the hem and dip dye tassels make it feel extra special.
Where do you get your inspiration for designs?
I am usually inspired most by fabric—sourcing textiles is definitely one of my favorite parts of the design process. There is nothing I enjoy more than digging through fabric stores in India or trim markets in southern China and discovering something I’ve never seen before. The New Yorker in me generally thinks of everything in solids and dark colors, but once I get to the markets I am surprisingly drawn to the brightest, happiest, and most unique textiles I can find.
You are recently engaged! How did it happen?!
I am always working, so it was a struggle for my fiancé to get me away from my laptop long enough to propose. He had planned to do it on the roof of the Whitney, our favorite museum, but after one too many late nights of waiting for me to wrap up at my desk, he ditched his plan and surprised me on our walk to dinner. We then celebrated with both of our families together in Shelter Island the following weekend.
Follow SAYLOR on Instagram here!