Interview by Charlie Price
Edited by Tiaja Pierre
In person you are quite demure – but your runway shows are anything but – is it accurate to portray you (and your brand) as “shy/wild”?
When I was younger, I was extremely quiet and awkward. Fashion became a shield and allowed me a place to fit in. My clothes could speak on my behalf when I was too nervous to speak for myself. Now that I’m older, my relationship with fashion has changed a bit but that lesson regarding clothing as a form of communication has made an indelible impression on me. Because I have always been a very quiet and reserved person, I took full advantage of using clothes to make a statement in my personal style. That is my approach to design. Each look is meant to make a statement.
Your designs are always very feminine but have somewhat Goth or even punk undertones. How do you describe your aesthetic?
My aesthetic is very feminine with a gothic edge. I am really drawn to darker imagery; there’s a complexity to it that inspires me. You see this harsh edgy shell juxtaposed with softness and vulnerability. I try to bring that to my designs. The idea is to take gothic and rocker motifs and elevate them. Often, people see the Goth or rocker aesthetic and dismiss it as a rebellious phase. So, I like to say that my clothes are for the woman for whom it was not just a phase. Interestingly, I get great feedback from women of all different styles, which is incredible. I certainly see it from the girls with a more alternative aesthetic but I also get love from women who have a sweet and reserved sense of style. The first time I did a darker collection, I felt more like myself but I worried a little that it would be alienating. I am so happy that people are loving and accepting it.
I know in your runway shows you cast many petite models – is that the body frame you enjoy dressing the most?
I love petite models! The main reason I cast so many petite models stems from having a couple of models I really love working with. I choose models that are not much taller, so that my petite models do not look out of place. When casting models, I am looking for a great walk, personality and presence. So if I find a model I love but they happen to be 5’3”, I make it work.
The music in your shows is very hard – which is always refreshing and exhilarating – what are your favorite bands and do you listen to this type of music as you sew?
One of my favorite things to talk about is music. I am a metal head, through and through. My favorite band is Aerosmith but I listen to all kinds of rock music. I will listen to anything from Led Zeppelin to Slipknot. Lately I am listening to a lot of Bush, Halestorm, The Pretty Reckless, and Badflower. Once upon a time I was a major pop princess (Madonna was one of my favs), but that changed the minute I heard Dream On. I think as a perfectionist, I was really drawn to rock’s reckless abandon. It is a very human genre of music; very emotional and raw. I do listen to this music as I sew, although my recent background noise of choice has been Criminal Minds reruns.
The character you portray in your shoots and shows is that of an Uber – cool – effortlessly stylish “rock n roll” woman. What type of woman do you see as your perfect muse?
I really love Zoe Kravitz’s look. She is that perfect balance of edginess and soft femininity. There is a tension between hard and soft in my design, so I think she is absolutely the perfect muse.
What does being a citizen of The West mean to you?
Something that I really love about being from The West and Colorado in particular is that there is a very laid back and relaxed culture here. We are extremely in tune with the environment. I think designers from The West can bring that free-spirit and eco-consciousness to fashion.