“I have an amazing picture of my great-grandfather and his sons in front of their women’s tailoring shop in New York,” Cameron Levin says. “I guess it’s just in the blood.” But Levin’s familial predisposition to a career in design wasn’t always so evident. For six years she worked in fundraising at the Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle. Though she had always considered herself an artist of sorts, it wasn’t until after the 2006 shooting at the Federation that she began to reach out to the creative world for healing and escape. In 2009, she enrolled in night classes at a small Seattle design school before officially stepping into fashion design in 2011.
Levin describes her collections as thoughtfully chic, designed with artistic, smart women in mind. Her eponymous line (found at lovecameron.com) is modern without being trendy, sophisticated without seeming dowdy, and full of luxurious fabrics and flattering shapes that you’d expect to see at a much higher price point. Her designs caught the eye of the buyers at Butch Blum, one of the region’s most lauded boutiques, where Levin is one of only a select few local designers to ever be carried by the shop.
Fashion isn’t just about the clothes. In 2012, after the Susan G. Komen Foundation threatened to cut funding to Planned Parenthood, Levin quickly organized the Pink Carpet Project, a fashion show that raised money for Planned Parenthood Northwest. “Fashion is interesting in that it sits at the intersection of so many social, political, and environmental issues,” she says. “The bikini and miniskirt — designed in the ’40s and ’60s, respectively — are good examples of fashion being a catalyst for women’s rights and personal liberties.”
Levin also takes pride in building a brand focused on organic and domestically sourced materials, as well as production done almost entirely in Washington state. “While few consumers are aware of the apparel industry’s environmental toll, fashion revolves around natural resources,” she says. The result is a higher quality product made with preservation in mind and a garment that the wearer can feel both good in and about.
Her ancestors would be proud.