"I have been interested in fashion for as long as some of my earliest childhood memories."
Model Citizen App is the platform where we recognise fashion models, photographers, designers, makeup artists, hair stylists, creative directors, bloggers, stylists, and labels around the world. Every day, we feature an individual on Model Citizen Interviews. People get to know each of them - their hopes, challenges, aspirations and inspirations in life.
Tell us about yourself. At what age did you start becoming fascinated with fashion?
I have been interested in fashion for as long as some of my earliest childhood memories. I can remember at 5, my mother trying to put these awful corduroy pants on me to go to my brothers bowling tournament and I fought her tooth and nail. When she asked me why I told her how ugly they were. Her response was that of a classic mother to a 5 year old little girl, "who do you think you're going to meet there?". Needless to say she won that battle but sewing and designing was an everyday event growing up at my house. We made everything from dresses to costumes to formal wear for everyone in the family!
How did you prepare for a career in styling?
I never really prepared for a career in fashion. Due to designing and sewing already being a part of my life I decided to get an education in business where I graduated top of my class with my MBA. It was not until my last year in graduate school that I made the decision to integrate my craft and love for fashion with my business degree to pursue a long fun life as a fashion designer for my own brand.
How do you stay updated on the current trends?
I like to stay up on my trends by watching fashion shows and through street fashion. The streets are where it's at, the neighborhoods that are overlooked, the fashion lovers within, you get to see such a raw sense of style. From that, I try to take what's trendy on the runway and collide it with ready to wear so my brands fashion is what I like to call "street ready".
How do you view Fashion Weeks?
As a fashion designer, we tend to view fashion week as our "holy land". It is truly our mecca. It is a place and a time where designers can create their fantasies and every person coming to that designers show gets to live that fantasy with the designer, which makes it in my eyes so special. It's very important for the designer to be able to connect with their audience like that and fashion week is the platform to which it can be done!
What are your plans for the future? Where do you see yourself taking your designing career?
My dream job is what I'm already doing! One thing I can say is I wake up everyday doing exactly what I love and it brings a smile to my face each and every morning! :)
Name the top three things in your designing kit that are must-haves?
My plans for the future are to build a brand empire. I want to create a lifestyle brand that speaks to those who love fashion, view the world in color, and always want to be noticed.
Tell us your most unforgettable experience as a designer?
My top three items that I always tend to go to are my coconut bag that I got from Hawaii, it was made on the island by a local designer, my Steve Madden boots, and my MK Mini Parker rose gold watch.
What is your most memorable experience so far?
My most unforgettable experience as a designer was at my first fashion show. I was a participating designer for a local fashion event and sadly I was the underdog. I was only designing for petites at the time but they decided to let me in the show anyways and out of all of the showcasing designers, my collection and my models doing their final walk made the front page of the paper! I went into a convenient store the next morning to grab some items quick and saw individuals reading the paper with a huge color picture of my brand front and center! Very surreal moment :)
Who is your favorite all-time designer?
Oh man, I could never just pick one. I like my designers like I like my music. If it sounds good I'll listen to the song no matter what the genre. If I like a look, I'll rock it! Regardless of who designed it!
Do you have any advice?
The best advice for anyone going into the fashion industry is to BE FEARLESS! If you cannot put yourself out there without the fear, you will always be held back.
Photographer: Greenridge Photography
Models: Liz Keopanya and Gina Keopanya, @lizkeopanya @ginaasayss
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