Sally Tran + Print All Over Me's Jesse Finkelstein

Sally Tran + Print All Over Me’s Jesse Finkelstein
October 24, 2014 Sally Tran

A Conversation

Fashion designer, turned filmmaker, Sally Tran’s latest project is a music video for Afro-Pop band Fool’s Gold. The project generated an enormous number of awesome patterns, so Grand Quarterly and Sally partnered with Print All Over Me to create an exclusive line of clothing, which will debut this fall.  Sally sat down (via email) with Print All Over Me Creative Director Jesse Finkelstein to talk about the collaboration.

I saw you went to school for Political Science and Visual Arts. How did you plan on mixing the two?

I never planned on integrating my interests in political science and visual arts in any explicit way. I felt that the language and thinking around art criticism would offer an interesting context when applied to political science. However, when I graduated from college I took a job in DC
that involved very little critical thinking, which prompted me to move back to New York and pursue a career in design. Over the course of a 8 years I guess everything circled back, and in many respects Print All Over Me is the result of this internal dialogue between art and political thinking.




I studied fashion in New Zealand and designed a few lines of my own, but I felt stifled by the creative limitations and ability to incorporate other visual mediums – hence my new role as a film director. I can imagine you had similar experiences which led to the creation of Print All Over Me.

For me, one of my greatest frustrations AND sources of interest in fashion is how directional the conversation is between the designer and the consumer. The designer imagines this entire universe and then we figure out ways to integrate ourselves within that given identity. I think this dynamic is changing – I think brands are becoming porous, and people are becoming more empowered to establish a dialogue rather than act as spectators.
What I love about Print All Over Me is how we’ve encouraged a creative community of individuals who are redefining what it means to be a brand, and who feel powerful enough to articulate that creativity beyond the given limitations of the fashion industry.


Design and creativity has suddenly become a very democratic process – something you can see happening all over the web. Were you inspired by any specific sites or artists creating work today?

The democratization of design is complicated. Personally, I think we should leave democracy to politics, because design never perform well by committee. I’ve never been excited by sites that allow you to vote on your favorite t-shirt or clothing. In my mind, a successful designer is someone who answers a need, even if that need is unarticulated. Our goal with Print All Over Me is less to democratize the design process, than offer the tools for anyone to become a designer.
In this respect creative platforms like tumblr, pinterest,, dribbble, kickstarter, have all been major sources of inspiration – because they’re a way for people to communicate creatively – we see ourselves as a logical extension to go beyond curation to actually making.




Do you think allowing anyone, anywhere to create a personalized piece of clothing diminishes the work and value established by traditional designers?

That’s a really good question and sort of goes back to my point about the democratization of design. Not everyone wants a career in design – there are plenty of people using the site to upload photos of their pets, and I think that’s awesome and they should be able to do that. But there a lot of people who treat the site as a traditional designer in that respect they invest time into creating artwork for clothing which they hope to sell.
I think the greater issue that the site needs to address is how we can go beyond the print. There’s this instagram affect on fashion – we experience new fashion primarily on our computers, so that the print ends up communicating a lot the design, and things like construction and material are sidelined. One of the things that we often talk about for Print All Over Me is how we can offer great attention to those details and flexibility with the shape of a garment.

Do you have a favorite item currently available on the site?

We just did a collaboration with the amazingly talented Leta Sobierajski, and she created a black and white painted jumpsuit, which I’m very excited to wear this winter.

The site is only one year old. Where do you see it going in the future?

For us the most important thing is to develop and empower our community – so I see us offering more tools in the design process, like being able to pick materials and alter the shape of a garment. We want to continue thinking of interesting ways to pay people for investing their energy on the site.
Principally, we believe that people should be paid for their participation in a social community like ours. We want to figures out ways of encouraging creative off-line collaboration amongst our users. Get people to have fun and make stuff.




all designs by Sally Tran & Rosalie Garlow