Tell us about yourself, how did you get your start, what drew you to the fashion industry?
As a high school student, I had narrowed down my career paths to two possibilities, and interned in both fashion and child psychology to determine which field was the best fit for me. Although I possessed an extraordinary adoration for children and a knack for helping people, I felt my true passion was in fashion. I am drawn to the rewarding aspect of being part of a process that begins with a concept and ends with a fully wearable and saleable collection seen on runways, in stores and eventually on people around the world!
What was the inspiration behind writing “becoming a FASHION DESIGNER”?
It was important to me to write the book from an insider’s perspective; not only from me who has spent 20 years working in the New York fashion industry, but from top designers who have each taken their own unique journeys to become successful designers. I was so honored to have interviewed Manolo Blahnik, Ralph Rucci, Nanette Lepore (who also wrote the forward), Anna Sui, Peter Som, Stuart Weitzman, Reem Acra, and so many more who offered their insight and invaluable advice. I also wanted to include all the resources and tools needed to become a designer in one place – to make it easy and effortless for those aspiring to become a designer.
What did you take away from writing your book? What did you learn?
I noticed that there was a pattern in the advice given from the fashion designers that I interviewed for the book. Many of them said that to be a successful designer, you must have a vision and stick to that vision.
Having worked with so many important industry insiders throughout your career, what have you learned that you want to share?
At Ralph Lauren, I was fortunate in that I was able to partake in design meetings with Mr. Ralph Lauren. I was so taken by the level of detail that he puts into every single phase of putting a collection together. If it is not perfect, he does not approve it. I was also thrilled to be able to work for Gilles Mendel of J. Mendel as his fabric and trim manager. It was so fascinating to be able to work for a true couturier right in the heart of New York, rather than Paris. Nothing beats buying $150/yard drop dead gorgeous fabric!
Where do you see the industry going?
With the influx of celebrity fashion designers, it almost seems that anyone can become a fashion designer these days. So the industry is definitely going in this direction, but I hope the craft of fashion design never gets lost because at the end of the day, it is still an art form and a respected trade and an education in fashion design in still integral.
Any advice for aspiring fashion professionals?
When first graduating, don’t be disillusioned by a design assistant position. This position will allow you to pay your dues and pave your way for a higher-level designer role. Before launching your own collection, get as much experience as you can so you can understand all the steps that go into creating a collection or at least hire an consultant such as myself to help guide you!