When did you know you wanted to become a designer?
I realized at a young age that I loved to draw and was into fashion. I always sketched and made clothes growing up. After spending many years searching for the right career path, a lightbulb went off. I found my calling and I went back to college for fashion design.
What is your earliest design memory for your brand?
I realized there was a need in the market for a well-fitted, smart casual button-down oxford shirt and created The Academic. It was the shirt that started Highland Duds.
"Fashion is individual – it is what makes people feel good and look good for themselves."
How would you define fashion?
Fashion is individual – it is what makes people feel good and look good for themselves.
Where do you find inspiration?
I find inspiration in all things around me; people watching, art, nature, interiors, vintage, pop culture, traveling, etc.
What sets your brand apart from the rest?
Fit, design, quality, and attention to detail.
Do you find it difficult to have a brand based in New York City? What are the perks versus the challenges?
Not at all. The perks are that NYC is the fashion capital of the US and we have access to unlimited resources. There is also lots of inspiration here and people associate NYC with fashion. The only challenge would be the expense of being based here. It can be extremely costly!
What was the biggest rookie mistake you made when just starting out?
I made the mistake of overbuying inventory and believing that building a brand would be easier than it is.
"My advice would be to learn all aspects of the business, not just focusing on the creative."
What is the one piece of advice you would give to a new designer?
My advice would be to learn all aspects of the business, not just focusing on the creative.
How has the fashion industry changed since you first started out?
When I started out in fashion, I had unrealistic expectations of what the industry would be like. I have come to realize that maintaining strong relationships with colleagues, having a good work ethic and a great attitude goes a long way. You can be nice in fashion and get ahead! Furthermore, don’t take yourself so seriously.
How did your brand navigate and overcome the pandemic in 2020?
Like all brands, we struggled with the early stages of the pandemic. Fortunately, we were able to keep our head above water with our online business.
What do you envision for the future of your brand?
Global domination! In all seriousness, I’d like to grow our store and online presence, as well as expand into women’s, children’s and home. I want to see Highland Duds become a fully recognized lifestyle brand.
What is your favorite fashion film or show?
The September Issue.
Where is your favorite place to travel? Why?
Most places in Europe, specifically France, Switzerland, and Israel. I enjoy the incredible beauty, culture and food.
What are your greatest strengths and weaknesses?
My greatest strengths are creativity, being personable and friendly, efficiency and versatility (design, production, fit).
My weaknesses are being emotional in business, wanting to work independently, time management and being able to focus.
How would you describe your personal style?
Modern, classic, smart, and casual.