When did you first realize you wanted to pursue a career as a designer?
When I was about 7 years old, I started sewing, after being taught by my grandmother. I loved creating things from fabric. At the time I was sewing pillows, but as I grew older my passion in sewing turned to clothing. At the age of 17 I was sewing costumes for school plays and altering my sister’s clothes to make them more “fashion-forward”.
When did you land your first internship/job and what was the most valuable thing you learned from this experience?
I started working for Dana Buchman directly out of FIT and it was such a great experience because I started with a huge company which helped me see how the real industry worked. In school you just can’t be exposed fully to that daily routine. It taught me that it would take hard work and dedication if I wanted to succeed in the industry.
“Never let anyone change your vision.”
What did you wear to your first interview?
As I recall, I wore grey pants, a white collared shirt and a jacket with a pocket square. The interview was with Oscar de la Renta… talk about starting out with the best!
If you could go back and tell yourself one thing before beginning your career what would it be?
To always stay true to yourself. Never let anyone change your vision. It took me many years to build that confidence level.
What was the biggest rookie mistake you made when just starting out?
I think I started out with too large of a collection and with too many fabrics. I think you have to start small and dream big. I always approached my business as a multimillion-dollar brand…even from day one, but you need to focus on product that means something and has a true vision. Each piece must be uniquely yours.
“I want women to feel confident and comfortable.”
How do you define fashion?
Fashion is a feeling for what you are wearing. Being able to take the highs and lows of fashion and work them all into a look that catches the eye and makes you feel good. It’s easy to go and buy a look from a runway as the designer imagined it, but when you take items from 4-5 designers and layer those items with thought in color and texture, that is FASHION.
How do you want women to feel when wearing your clothes?
I want women to feel confident and comfortable. As a male designer in the women’s ready to wear area, I have a challenge in knowing how women feel in my clothes, but that is why I am constantly in the stores meeting them face-to-face. If I only sit behind my desk, I can’t know those women. Knowing their lifestyle and getting their feedback on fit is so crucial to the development of upcoming collections.