Fine Print: Vivisect Apparel

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

Alice Staaby's geometry-inspired line, Vivisect Apparel, is 100-percent organic and 100-percent original.

Vivisect is Staaby's reaction to the corporate clothing world, which she grew frustrated with while working for two years as a denim and knit tops designer in New Jersey. When Staaby realized she couldn't change the drive for the bottom line around her office, she decided to start her own line of organic, mostly American-made tops.

She dug back in her mind to a high school screenprinting class, constructed a small-but-quality setup and studied instructional videos to get started.

She registered the business about a year ago, after moving to Columbus with her husband, and embarked on the market circuit, making regular appearances at North Market Artisan Sundays and recently setting up at Pearl Market.

"I'm taking every festival as they come," she said, adding, "It's amazing how Columbus embraces the indie art/apparel scene."

Staaby's designs draw heavily from art-nouveauaestheticsand a German book published in 1932 that shows hand-drawndiagrammedmath equations, giving her work a geometric edge.

"I love the imagery, and so when I started out, that was sort of my beginning," Staaby said. "It's a little pamphlet, and each design is named after the page number in the book."

The tees, in men's and women's sizes, are mostly black, white or earth-tone colors with black print, reflecting Staaby's personal style. She also prints canvas bags and recycled quilts and other fabrics.

Her second-annual Vivisect collection will be available in December, and she also produces occasional wholesale orders for businesses and organizations on the side.

Limiting sales to festivals and through Etsy helps keep prices down on her organic line, she said. She might eventually sell wholesale to retailers outside of Columbus.

And Staaby has dreams of starting a denim line - all-organic, of course.

"Granted, how much I sell is not even a drop in the bucket, but at least it's something," she said. "At least I'm making my income in the U.S., I'm spending my income in the U.S."