Image: Ryan McVay

HE CREATES COSTUMES for Paula the Swedish Housewife, one of the city’s most eccentric burlesque characters; leads quilting bees at Stitches, a hipster craft shop; and constructs hand-finished, made-to-measure wool shirts and bridal and evening gowns for private customers. All the world’s a stage for designer and seamster Mark Mitchell, but he’s nothing if not well-rounded.


Personal style in three words Detailed, tactile, exuberant.

Seasonless Northwest classics I wear these Ralph Lauren Rugby cords year-round. I even bleach them periodically; they’re standing up nicely to the wear and tear. The shirt is one of my made-to-order designs, a sort of luxed-up Pendleton. I use contemporary Pendleton plaids or vintage wools that I’ve collected. Around here, you can basically live in them.

The scarf Louis Vuitton, a big splurge from a vacation in San Francisco several years ago. It was part of Marc Jacobs’s tribute to the designer Stephen Sprouse. Kate Moss called it one of her favorite accessories shortly after I got it, so I had people offering me money for it on the street. 

The costume designer’s costume I used to dress more theatrically, but as I’ve gotten older that’s fallen away a bit. I do have a Hedi Slimane for Dior Homme eight-foot bandanna that I wear almost every day, but I love my classic Johnston and Murphy penny loafers, Levi’s, and the vintage Mötley Crüe T-shirt I stole from my boyfriend. I pop one of my plaid shirts over that, and I’m good to go for most of the events Seattle has to offer. A good bag gooses everything up nicely. I’ve always liked a high-low mix. 

Permanent pieces I sort of forget about my tattoos. I realize they add a certain edge; I can be wearing the most conservative clothing possible, and I’d still stand out from the crowd. 

Local characters I’ve lived on Capitol Hill for 25 years and I still find it inspiring. The Pike/Pine corridor is overflowing with the carefully dressed! Bands like the Ononos have amazing stage looks, Seattle Central Community College brings young people from all over the world, and Oddfellows is really all you need to dig the scene.


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