Rosie Barker

Rosie Barker

Mar 19, 2024Katrina Arellano

Crafted from the vision of artist and designer Rose Ponizil in 2022, Rosie Barker stands as a Los Angeles-based design studio. Specializing in repurposing salvaged textiles, Rosie Barker breathes new life into its creations, spanning from artwork, clothing, and home goods. Founded with a mission to ignite conversations about consumption habits and the enduring impact of our purchases, Rosie Barker serves as a beacon of mindful creation and sustainability in the design world.

What does creativity look like to you and how do you find inspiration? How do you incorporate creative processes into your everyday life and work?

I find a lot of inspiration from discarded materials and the potential for what they can become in their "second life." I also feel inspired by romanticizing my daily routines, especially when I cook since I'm a big foodie. I enjoy finding ways to add a little something extra to my meals like adding fresh herbs in my salad or my morning dose of hot water with a squeeze of lemon and fresh chopped ginger. I'm always pondering how I can add a little something extra to my daily routine to make it feel special.

Can you tell us a little bit about the artwork/designs for the sock collection and inspiration behind it? 

My original inspiration for the collection was going to be a collage of the past four years -- my "post-30s era" and the birth of Rosie Barker -- since I feel like this is when life really started to happen and I began to find myself. As the collection evolved, I strayed from the theme a bit, but you can still see it in the collage pieces. I went from living in Encinitas near the beach to moving to the mountains for a year then eventually settled in LA. The styles Rue and Paco were inspired by my love for mixing color as well as my textile design work and quilts. I love the way socks can really make an outfit come together and since I often dress in neutrals, I'm always looking for that extra kick to spice things up.

What inspired you to create your line of hand-sewn quilts? How do you go about finding salvaged textiles that are used in your quilts?

When the pandemic hit in 2020, I threw myself into making face coverings and didn't stop for six months. There was something very calming about making them, and as a life long designer, I've always had an extensive collection of fabrics since I focused mainly on swimwear for most of my 20s. I'd been saving all the leftover bits from making masks in a giant trash bag and one day I started piecing them together. What started as a small block kept growing, and I was amazed at what I was creating and how soothing it felt. Eventually, it was big enough to become a quilt and I didn't stop there. I used scraps from leftover face masks and purchased a bag of vibrant earth toned linen scraps from a cutting room floor, which was a big inspiration for the first quilt, Louisa. During the pandemic, Etsy was the only place you could find fabric, but once things started to open up, I would frequent the thrift stores in the eastern Sierra and dig for bed linens. I also experimented with natural dye and used avocado pits and tea to dye my fabric.

What is your favorite style from your sock collection?

Paper is my favorite sock from the collection.


How would you describe your personal style?

I'm a Libra sun and moon, which shows through in my style because I'm constantly finding new ways to "balance" my love for plain white button downs and tees paired with denim in contrast with my love for bold prints and colors. I love to explore the balance of textures, feminine with sporty, and so on.

What inspired your artistic path and where did you get started? When did you know you wanted to pursue art full-time?

I've been obsessed with fashion for as long as I can remember. I was sketching designs for my Barbies and American Girl dolls at a young age and learned how to sew at around six years old. At the time, I never thought I was "good enough" to become a designer or artist since it felt so out of reach, but you can't kick the things you love -- they follow you. In junior high, I started making purses and this was the first time my peers recognized me for my work. Little by little I started to see that pursuing something creative might actually be a possibility.

Before Rosie Barker's debut, you had your swimwear and lingerie brand Rosa Swim, how did that begin? 

Rosa Swim was born from my love for swimwear. I grew up minutes away from the beach and my summers were spent primarily in a bikini. I would get one new bathing suit every year and was often disappointed with the selection. I became somewhat of a swimwear connoisseur after landing a sales job in high school selling Brazilian bikinis. When I was 18, I went on a three month backpacking trip throughout Central America, and before I left, I sewed my first bathing suits. After learning how to crochet a bikini top on a virgin island off Honduras and meeting a Peruvian woman who taught me how bikini bottoms were made, it was on this trip where I realized that my calling was to start making my own bathing suits. In the beginning, I had no intention of selling them and was more interested in turning each bathing suit into a work of art pieced together with vintage textiles or clothing showcased through photoshoots or fashion.

What inspired your focus on sustainability, both in Rosa Swim and now with Rosie Barker? 

My focus on sustainability was fueled by two factors: 

1. My parents, who are big environmentalists and instilled these values in me at a young age

 2. As an artist, I like constraints and structure. It feels really exciting to create something out of limited resources. Too many options feels overwhelming and having an abundance of stuff feels wasteful to be buying new fabrics when there is more than enough waste to go around.

What subjects or concepts do you explore in your creative work?

As a recovering perfectionist, this is a theme I continue to come back to. As I've healed some of these tendencies, it's made me see that I'm not alone. In fact, as humans, we are really hard on ourselves! This is something I've only begun to start unpacking but plan to dig deeper and hope to help people see we can be productive AND still be nice to ourselves.

What does your collage process look like? Do you have a preference on where you find your fabric scrap pieces or the type you use?

In terms of my textile collage practice, I prefer fabrics like linen and other natural fibers. I shop mainly at Goodwill bins and look for fabrics in color and textures that speak to me. I love incorporating things like a button placket or a pocket to show a bit of life in its original form.

Who are some of your favorite artists/designers and why? Do you derive forms of inspiration when working with different mediums of art, such as quilts versus clothing?

Color is a huge inspiration for me, and a brand that never disappoints in this department is Tibi. I love to pull inspiration from different categories, so if I'm designing a top, I might look at shoes or handbags. I used to love using couture gowns as inspiration for my swimwear. The Bauhaus art movement has been a big inspiration for my collage work as well as a handful of smaller textile designers like Adam Pogue, Thompson Street Studio, and my mentor Niki Tsukamoto from Lookout and Wonderland.

Do you have advice for other aspiring artists?

Keep showing up but be gentle on yourself when you need rest. Stop worrying about what you're "supposed to do" and just follow your heart. Try not to take yourself so seriously. For every exceptional piece of art, there are a handful that...well...aren't great. Remember, making art is a PRACTICE, so stop obsessing over everything being perfect.

What do you find most fulfilling about your creative pursuits?

There are different phases; in the beginning, it's really satisfying to receive an idea and bring it into reality by turning some old clothing that might have ended up in the landfill into a piece of art. Then, to see the work of art hanging in its new space or the piece of clothing being styled on its new owner -- this brings me pure joy! 

What should we expect to see from you this year? Anything exciting in the works or any goals for 2024?

I have a couple of collaborations with other artists that I'm feeling really excited about. One is focused on creating a garment out of different types of trash with minimal use of actual fabric. The other project involves mixed media and dance that explore themes such as the subconscious and the human experience.

Where can people find out more about you?


Instagram & TikTok: @byrosiebarker


More articles