—Maker Mondays in Austin


Vanessa Crook

Vanessa Crook is a maker in Austin, TX where she uses drawing and embroidery to create colorful, sassy and textured textiles for her clothing and accessory brand Realm.

IG: shoprealm

1325 S. Congress Ave., Austin, TX 78704

(512) 441-1400

Thank you for coming out!

Check out the pictures below. 

Q + A with Vanessa Crook

Q: Describe your style in 3 words.

A: Bold (actions) bright (thoughts) tropical (inspiration).

Q: How did you get into embroidery?

A: I was taught embroidery by my grandmother, who is a grade-a seamstress and crafter and taught me to make my own clothes early on. I've used embroidery as a drawing technique in my sculptural work as I went through college and got my BFA so it was a pretty fluid thing to continue expanding my use of it in my commercial work as well.

Q: Tell us about your creative process?

A: do a lot of drawing and painting to keep myself creative and moving. Making a design for a bag can feel really intimidating sometimes so allowing myself to draw all kinds of things without ever having the intention of turning them into products is freeing and allows the process of finalizing a design to be much less of a hurdle. All of my Realm designs are drawn or painted by me first and then I digitize and embroider them in my studio, as well as make patterns for the bags and construct them in house as well. My brain never truly shuts off from thinking about my work and items that I want to create, so I always have a sketchbook on me, sometimes two. My ideas often come out as long lists in my brain so I need somewhere to jot them all down with some visual cues.

Q: What about Austin inspires you?

A: Austin gets me out of the studio and into nature which is an automatic creativity trigger in my brain. I can have a frustrating bottleneck of a day and as soon as I'm out on the trail it's like a rush of answers to problems and new ideas.

Q: Favorite artist?

A: Hard to narrow down, but Tracey Emin has been with me for a long long time.

Q: Song on repeat?

A: Masune ft Bola- It's Tuff (https://soundcloud.com/elestialsound/05-masune-its-tuff) I listen to everything on my brother's (masune) soundcloud on repeat in my studio, he's an awesome music producer who lives far away from me so I like that I can check in on what he's creating, feel close to him, and- BONUS -everything he makes feels like the perfect soundtrack to create to.

Q: Call or text?

A: Call with my headphones in when I'm out on a long walk, text jokes with friends constantly. Dread listening to voice mails.

Q: First memories of American Apparel?

A: Growing up in Gainesville, FL I read about AA and their moral-minded production model long before I was able to step foot in one, so when I moved to NYC for college and was ~finally~ somewhere cool I was able to start shopping there. It felt very big city at the time (until I returned home for winter break and they had opened one in Gainesville, haha)

Q: Favorite new AA item?

A: Tie-Dye t-shirt romper in Stevie pink. I love a romper.

Q: American Apparel item you wish they’d bring out of retirement?

A: The terry cloth jumper. I'm from Florida, that is my jam.

Q: New talent to look out for?

A: I think this Celine Dion woman is going to be huuuge.

Q: Your key to success?

A: Flowing through open doors- saying yes to new opportunities, not trying to force one's that aren't working, stepping back when work gets too frustrating to get some exercise and get your mind right, learning to be kind to yourself in failures and allow yourself to celebrate your successes. Also, just stick with something.

Shop Vanessa Crook's Favorite American Apparel Looks