How This Sustainable Children’s Clothing Designer Finds Inspiration in Artworks at the High Museum

High Museum of Art
May 22 · 3 min read

Watch our first Perspectives video featuring the creative philosophy of Laurel Thompson, designer of sustainable clothing for kids.

By Eva Berlin, Digital Content Specialist, High Museum of Art

Where do you find inspiration? When you come to the Museum, what speaks to you?

Atlanta is full of creative individuals — and I’m not just talking about painters and sculptors. Creativity manifests differently in each person, and we all need inspiration to fuel our ideas.

In the High Museum of Art’s new Perspectives video series, we meet with creative Atlantans and explore how art informs their life and work. We watch them work in their own spaces, learn about their process, and discuss how they find inspiration from artworks and museums.

Laurel Thompson, designer and business owner, gets silly with her daughter.

How does a chemist experience a painting? Why would an architect be interested in sculpture? What does a dancer see in a paper cutout? Where does a chef’s eye linger in a photograph?

Each individual brings his or her own background, personality, talents, and perspective to art. Each perspective is valid, and that diversity of approaches is what makes our city vibrant.

For our very first installment in the Perspectives series, we talked with Laurel Thompson, founder and creator of Beya Made — a sustainable children’s clothing company.

Watch the video above to find out how this Atlanta native draws inspiration from the High’s permanent collection to create her long-lasting, stylish designs.

About Laurel

Before starting her own business, Laurel worked at a large, fast-fashion children’s clothing brand. She saw how unsustainable the industry can be as children cycle through clothing rapidly. The textile industry is one of the major polluting industries in the world, contributing to growing landfills, carbon emissions, and chemical runoff. She knew the problem begged creative solutions, so she looked to her background in art and her designer’s sense to create stylish clothing with long-lasting fits and durable materials.

Laurel explained that the industry wasn’t always so wasteful. “We didn’t always live like this. In the history of fashion, all babies wore dresses because they could just keep growing into them.” Examples of these more versatile, longer-lasting garments can be seen in several artworks at the High, including the two paintings below.

Samuel Finley Breese Morse, Portrait of Mrs. Morse
And Her Two Children
, 1823; Hugues Merle, Maternal Love, 1880

Although she doesn’t just make dresses, she uses traditional constructions that allow clothing to adjust and accommodate several sizes as children grow.

Speaking about her process, Laurel said, “I could see something that inspires me anywhere. One of my favorite things is to choose the colors. And that’s generally the first thing that happens. I could get my color scheme in a museum; I could get the color scheme from a painting, from the color of a wall, a poster I’ve seen; it just kind of happens everywhere and incidentally, and I like the serendipity of that.”

Laurel gathers inspiration from the colors in the modern and contemporary art galleries at the High Museum.

Are you a creative Atlantan? Does art inform your life or work? Are you inspired by art or museums in an unexpected way? If you’re interested in expressing yourself and your creative philosophy in our next Perspectives video, tell us why in the comments below!

High Museum of Art

Stories from the High Museum of Art in Atlanta

High Museum of Art

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The High is the Southeast’s leading art museum, bringing creativity to your everyday. Our collections, exhibitions, and programs are always here for you.

High Museum of Art

Stories from the High Museum of Art in Atlanta

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