Designer Q&A: Tillvaro Designs by Corie Lyn Beer

Originally from the coast of North Carolina, now on the North Shore of Oahu, designer Corie Lyn Beer mixes the elements of a laidback, ocean lifestyle into her Tillvaro label. From her studio in Pupukea, the totally one-of-us gal opened up about breakout moments, switching Beer(s) and a dress that takes the cake.

Brush Strokes drawstring dress, $128 • Blue ikat tank, $62 • Stripe Swing dress, $108


Stress reliever: I love to surf on the North Shore. Nothing makes me forget about everything I have to do like being in the ocean.
Grub: The Beet Box Cafe in Haleiwa always hits the spot. My favorites are the acai bowls and the healthy plate.
Closet refresher: I pretty much live in bikinis, so I’m always craving more. I’ve got my eye on some cute Acacia swimwear styles right now.
• Accessory want: I make most of my clothing, but do splurge on jewelry. My favorite jewelry line is Noelani Designs.

HONOLULU Magazine: Tillvaro means …
Corie Lyn Beer: It’s a Swedish word that means life. I like the sound of the word, and my mom's side of the family is Swedish. She and my grandmother taught me how to sew when I was 10.

HM: What were some of your first projects?
CLB: Barbie clothes, pajamas, Halloween costumes, gifts for my family and friends, and my prom dress!

HM: Describe your current designs in three words.
CLB: Free-spirited, versatile, feminine.

HM: What are your style influencers when starting a new collection?
CLB: I’m certainly influenced by current fashion trends, but I like creating a look that is unique with my own spin on it. A major reason I learned to design and sew was to be able to make exactly what I want in my closet at any time. Sometimes I’ll get an inspiration at 11 at night and literally can’t sleep until I have a chance to sketch the idea out and start playing with fabrics.

HM: Fabric choices?
CLB: Finding good apparel fabrics in Hawaii is a big challenge. I love working with jersey knit—it’s fluid, drapes beautifully and is perfect for a beach climate. I’m also a big fan of lightweight, breezy rayon and cotton. I prefer designing for spring and summer weather, so Hawaii truly is my dream style locale.

HM: Challenging moment?
CLB: I recently started making some prototypes of bathing suits and they’ve been a challenge, although a really fun one. There are so many things to consider regarding the fit of a bikini. I’m also in the midst of designing my wedding dress. I have so many ideas and inspirations. It’s turning out to be the most challenging piece I’ve ever designed!

HM: So will you be changing your last name?
CLB: I constantly get comments about my last name, everyone wants to know if my family owns a brewery and usually people don't believe it's my name until I show them my license. It would be strange to check out at the grocery store and not have the clerk ask me what my favorite beer is.

HM: On my days off, I dream of…
CLB: I work full time for a software company and run Tillvaro on the side, so days off are very cherished! If I’m not designing or sewing, I’m surfing, hiking, biking, hanging out at the beach and daydreaming of traveling and exploring new places. I love soaking in the style and fashions of places around the world and then bringing those inspirations home to create interpretations of my own.

HM: Future plans for Tillvaro?
CLB: I recently came across an article in The Wall Street Journal that described how digital technology is transforming manufacturing, making the process leaner and also more cost effective to produce in smaller quantities. Currently each of my pieces is designed and sewn by me in my studio, which is my way to ensure quality, but I’d like to find a manufacturer to produce my line in small production runs. I think there’s a lot of potential for technical design and computer-driven product development in the fashion industry and I’m certainly hoping to be a part of those exciting changes!

Available at Olive Boutique, 43 Kihapai Street, 263-9919.