How did you start designing?
My uncle and my dad started a wholesale clothing manufacturing business. It is very different from what I do now, but it taught me about sampling and manufacturing. I did a capsule collection for my uncle, who mostly did shirts. It was for an older customer than my current ones. The styles I designed would always be the best sellers of the season and the department stores always loved them. I knew I wanted to do more and make it my own. It’s better now that I am on my own because I can do my entirely own thing and design for my friends and my customer.
Tell me about that first collection and the start of your own label.
My first collection was a lot of long johns! It started with my girlfriends coming over to my house and needing to borrow something, and I’d give them boxer briefs or long johns with a big shirt. They’d wear them with earrings and heels and look amazing. I loved the idea of menswear inspired womenswear. The girls would never want to give me back my clothes. So then I started designing boxers in silk lame and novelty fabrics. Editors and fashion girls loved them, but when it came down to it not that many girls are going to wear lame boxers.
What were some early challenges you faced as a young designer?
I think it was about making the collection more feminine while maintaining the fundamentals of the masculine vibe. It was always that boyfriend borrowed feel, but trying to make it more commercial. A lot of designers that are in the same place I am have done internships for bigger houses and had that real design background, but I came from a more manufacturing standpoint. I had to learn the balance of how many pieces needed to be editorial or commercial. It took me about three seasons to battle it out myself. It was costly to experience those challenges on my own, but six or seven seasons later it has paid off because I truly understand.
Is there a moment that was a real breakthrough for you?