Alli DitsonPhoto by Todd Cooper

Allihalla, All The Time

EW catches up with the independent designer

EDITOR’S NOTE: EW first profiled Alli Ditson in 2009 when she was a 20-year-old designer, just getting started. 

Three years later, she’s still going strong.

What have you been working on lately?

I have been doing a lot of online custom orders. People will email me and then I’ll work with them and get their measurements and design something with them that suits their style and needs.

Where can your products be found or purchased?

Right now I have a little Etsy shop; it’s For custom work I have people email me inquiring, and I’ll write them back giving them the parameters about ordering and design. Since everything is one-of-a-kind it’s harder to have an online store. A lot of the time I’ll just tell people to look at my Tumblr and browse through my past work for inspiration.

How much time are you able to spend with fashion design while having another job?

I’m kind of phasing my other job out. I work at Kitsch downtown and I’m only there two days a week now, so I’m doing this pretty much full-time.

I’ve almost reached 300 sales on my Etsy shop. I’ve been almost averaging a sale a day for the last three to four months. I sell a lot of stuff to New York, Texas, New Jersey and Florida. I get orders from Canada and today I shipped something to the United Kingdom. I feel like I definitely have a part-time job sewing, if not full time.

Do you have a favorite fashion blog or magazine?

Not really. [Laughs.] Every once and a while I’ll pick up a magazine and check out the trends and stuff, but more than anything I just get inspired with whatever fabric I have or whatever is around me or who I’m working with or what event its for. I don’t pay attention to the mainstream.

Which designs of your current collection or past projects are you extremely proud of?

I feel like everything I make gets better and better, so it’s been just really fun just pushing myself seeing how far I can go. I did this show in Portland a couple weeks ago, and I made a really good bikini for my friend to model. It had these meshed side panels and a mesh heart on the butt that was see-through and metallic and solid pink — it was cool because it used a lot of techniques that I haven’t used before, like the under-layers on the top that made it strapless. Making suits more structured has been an interesting thing for me.

Working with spandex can be really easy or really hard because it’s going to stretch to fit, so you don’t have to do a really good job of patterning it and forming it to a body. But if you do, it puts it in this new level. I’ve been experimenting with these second-level efforts and techniques. So that’s been really fun pushing myself learning new techniques.

Where do you see yourself five years from now?

Well, I’ve been really trying to figure that out. [Laughs.] I’m 23, and I think when turned 21 I wanted to commit to this and see where it takes me.

I think in five years I would like to still be doing this but maybe have it more standardized and dependable and really lock in on a clientele and understand more of the business side of it. It’s cool that it’s all online because it’s kind of liberating — I can live anywhere and still have this going. I think for sure by then, I’ll be doing this full time.

For more information about Ditson’s products, go to