You recently won Charleston Fashion Week’s Emerging Designer competition! We were there and witnessed firsthand how spectacular and bold your collection was walking down the runway. When they announced your name, what went through your mind?
I was pretty calm the whole time. I think it was because I was extremely pleased with how all my garments were cohesive and really stood out on the runway because they were so different from the other designers. So when we were standing up there I thought I had a pretty good chance of winning and when they called my name I was very happy and appreciative. I’m a person who doesn’t really overly display my emotions, but I was very excited.
I have to say on stage you appeared to be sweet and shy, but your designs demanded attention with their bold colors and print. How are you able to blend these two sides of yourself?
Yes, the shy part is sort of correct. I would say that I’m more calm and collected and slightly reserved, but I don’t have a problem going up to people and talking to them. I may be reserved in person, but I guess it balances out the craziness that is going on inside of my head all the time.
When working, what music do you typically listen to?
I like to listen to all types of music and it mainly depends on what mood I’m in. If I have to get work down ASAP I will listen to Lady Gaga or something really popish and upbeat like dance music and when I’m designing I like to listen to very relaxed music…Over the past few months I’ve been playing Lana Del Ray, Cults, Ana Tijoux, and Sleighbells.
How did you come to be here? When did fashion first speak to you?
I was first drawn towards fashion in high school. That’s when I started to pay attention to brands. I am from a small town in NC and the malls and other stores were getting boring to me so I started to design my own clothes and experimenting with different styles. I decided to focus on fashion for my Undergrad at NC State and actually considered fabric or textile design as a possibility, but stuck with fashion. After I finished my undergrad I immediately came to SCAD to pursue my education further with an MA degree because I felt that I needed to grow more as a designer before I went out into the real word.
In the world of fashion, what designer blows your mind?
There are so many designers that catch my attention and it varies from season to season. What does it for me and makes me take a second look is when a designer can combine print, texture, multiple fabrications and techniques and make a cohesive collection with it (much like my own aesthetic). I think right now the designers who do that really well are: Manish Arora, Mary Katrantzou, Peter Pilotto, and Prabal Gurung.
Can you share with us any of your local favorite boutiques?
Right now I’m into vintage because I’m a student and I love to find designer clothes for cheap! So I like to shop at ARC and Civvies, and for shoes I love Globe. And of course for supplies I love Fabrika.
Where do you find inspiration? Do you look to blogs, magazines, travel, or is it simply internal?
Yes to all of the above. I like to look to blogs just to see what new trends are out there and to stay on top of what is new in the fashion/art scene. Editorials are great in magazines because they make me think of different ways of combining silhouettes, prints, jewelry etc to create a look. When I travel I like to see how people dress and how it relates to their environment and that also inspires me. Pretty much I can get inspiration from anything that catches my eye.
What advice can you give to any young designers?
Well, I still am a young designer, but if I were to give advice to designers still in school or fresh out it would be to make the most of every opportunity you are given even if you think it won’t make a difference because in the grand scheme of things it will. You learn from every experience. Also, in this industry you have to go for it. Whatever you want, it isn’t just gong to fall into your lap, you have to give 110% and put yourself out there.
Where do you hope to see yourself in ten years?
Hopefully in ten years I will have started my own label. Most likely in New York City.
What do you like and dislike about living in Savannah?
I love the atmosphere, the quaint unique old time feel you get. Also the community of people is so unique and different to anywhere else and it’s wonderful to be surrounded by such a great group of creative people because it lets you think in different ways and develop as an artist/designer. I do get annoyed by all of the tourists, trolleys, and horses and buggy’s but I know that that is a necessary evil.