Room for Cream

Scatha Allison


Check out craft vendors and more at SN&R’s Third Saturday on December 19, noon-6 p.m.; free. Westfield Downtown Plaza,

Judging by her at-home workspace, you would never guess that Miss Velvet Cream fashion designer and Jean Therapy author, Scatha Allison, has only lived in Sacramento for barely two months. The place bursts with fabrics and clothing designs, which left me in awe, to say the least. Allison recently chatted about her book, her clothes and hoops of fire.

Why the name Miss Velvet Cream?

It’s an artist, Patrick Woodroffe, who illustrated a sonnet by Edith Sitwell, and the line is, “We bear velvet cream.” And he did a drawing based off of that. I’m referencing other artists. I’m sure other people have come up with a visualization of what the name means and what it is.

I was afraid to click the link; the Internet can be a very tricky, dirty place.

Yes, there is an element of playfulness. I feel that the name completely suits the line.

When did you begin designing clothing fashions?

2003. I was a painter before I was a fashion designer. It’s a good balance for the parts of me that are very meticulous, precise and organized, because clothing is like construction. If it doesn’t fit right, I’m able to tweak it and fix it. That part of me that didn’t work in painting really works in clothing. I don’t have a hard time thinking in three dimensions, so communicating artistically through clothing is much easier for me. It’s much more immediate and engaging. People are wearing it, they have it on their body and get the feeling. It’s tangible and accessible.

You recently moved here from San Francisco. How has Sac been treating you?

I love it here so far. It is taking me to a whole different level creatively, and I can already see my work getting better.

How do people here react to your designs?

My theory is that Sacramento deeply wants to be dressed up, like really dressed up. There was a whole range of stuff, but most people [want] the fantastical and grand. Of course, they would then say, “Darn! I have nowhere to wear it!” …

When I had my booth at Third Saturday, I had a lot of fantastical pieces, but overall a huge range of everything. I immediately noticed that almost every single person was attracted to the fancy clothes.

Let’s start dressing up in top hats and gowns when we walk our dogs and go to the store!

That’s what I’m saying! Why not?

Your work has been described as being for “tomorrow’s urban nomad.” Explain.

We’re all traveling on this planet, and we’re all moving around it in different ways. Hopefully, I’m creating clothing that is like the next layer of your skin, and wherever you are and wherever you go and whatever you’re doing, it becomes part of that experience.

Another description would be “for the global creature.” I actively seek inspiration from every culture and all aspects of time.

I took a gander at pictures from your last runway show, and I saw hoops of fire.

I also had fire performers with swords and people dancing with colored fire. It was very amazing. I’ve been very lucky, because I’ve had a lot of fellow artists and friends donate their time to my cause. It’s all about helping each other in the artistic world. I’m looking forward to putting on a great show here.

Tell me a bit about your book, Jean Therapy.

Generally, the book gives you jean-reconstruction ideas. However, my hopes would be that people don’t limit the ideas in this book to denim. They can utilize the patterns and overall ideas and apply them to any fabric or old pieces; denim is not the limiting factor.

When will you be showcasing your work next?

I’m going to do a pop-up store in December. I’m going to take a loft works office on J Street [in the MARRS building] and turn it into a boutique for two nights. I’m hoping to invite a few S.F. designers to showcase with me and meet some great designers here as well. My work is both very human and fantastical. Everything is made from my hands, everything comes from my heart.