Welcome to my “About” page.
Shall we begin?
From sewing prototypes, pattern making and grading to extensive overseas factory sourcing and inspection, I have immersed myself in just about all angles of making clothing for other companies for most of my life.
After turning 50, I decided it was high time to use the knowledge I had gathered for my own design and manufacturing. I call my line “Jeaja”. It is part of my mother’s name and part of my son’s name. My past and my future so to speak.
Inspirations, lets see...I’m inspired by street fashion,- commuters on Bart and First Fridays in Oakland, People wearing their culture. Fabric....Fabric whispers to me and orders me about. "I deserve to be a badass coat....make me....now!"
But I am galvanized by women who embrace their full figured bodies, mature curves or lack thereof and just go on and turn heads with their vibrant style! Style that is Bill Cunningham worthy. (He’s my hero!) Ensembles that are a study in subtle contrasts; modern retro, classic with a glimpse of edge, graceful with a sense of adventure, elegant but with a touch of quirkiness.
I make clothing that fits you beautifully that brightens and compliments all your good stuff. That adds to the adventure of who you are and strengthens your presence.
Jeaja fabric comes from what is already available. I look for luscious rayon jerseys in vibrant jewel tones , vintage silks and wools, retro prints, classic stripes, essential black knits, stretch wovens that can hold a belly in like a pair of spanx. I find all this and more from bolt ends, surplus or discarded from factories, salvaged from businesses gone under and donated to places like the East Bay Depot for Creative Reuse. Jeaja does not order new fabric to be made at a fabric mill, we can more than make do with what is available- we can actually flourish.
Jeaja is 90% manufactured by the skills and talents of local Bay Area people..(.including myself. I love to sew.) Only the best sewing is acceptable. Five years of quality control inspection has made it impossible for me not to obsessively check for straight seams and missed stitches.
Please check out my blog. I have many wacky yet informative tales of my garment industry work in factories all over Asia as well as fabric forays- silk weaving villages in Cambodia, buying recycled wedding saris in India, etc. You can follow my fears and triumphs as my business unfolds. There are so many hats to wear and so much to learn. I invite you to join me.
Paula Pfotenhauer lives and works in downtown Oakland, California. She is mother to one amazing son, a daughter of parents who are still tremendously in love with each other after 63 years of marriage, sister to six tight siblings and an aunt to an ever growing population who want more for their birthdays than sewing lessons.