Designer Files: Danielle Canfield

If there was a list of fashion designers titled “Ones to Watch” model turned designer, Danielle Canfield would definitely be featured. She is making her mark in the fashion industry by presenting her collections at Midwest Fashion Week, DC Fashion Week and most recently Tiffany’s Paris Fashion Week.
She is super talented so you know I was excited that she made the time to answer my “Take 5” questions.

How did you begin your career in the fashion industry?
I began sewing when I was 12 years old. I would go to a studio after school and learned all about patternmaking, stitching, fitting, the works. My first big feat, and I remember it well, was making a colonial dress and hat for a Halloween costume. When I graduated high school, I attended Virginia Commonwealth University’s art program and was accepted into the fashion design major. During that time, I also began to model which gave me a whole new perspective on the fashion industry. In my junior year, I chose to study abroad in Italy and two months turned into three years. I finished my bachelor’s degree in Italy; then held an internship at a luxury lingerie brand, Ikonostas. Finally, I moved on to get my Master’s degree at Polimoda Fashion Institute in Florence.

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What inspires you?
My largest inspiration is people and movement. Everyone has unique qualities that can be observed and translated into fashion. Human nature carries an energy that is captivating and capturing that energy in the shapes, textures, and flow of my clothing is very important to me.

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What are the differences between the fashion markets overseas vs. in the USA? If any.
From my perspective, European markets tend to be more classic, taking care to include unique pieces that are largely fashion forward. The United States tends to have a much faster market. We look for the trend of the day and tend to be more commercial. However, everyone’s take on this is different and people may not necessarily agree with me on this one ☺.

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Do you follow trends or do you set them?
Well as a designer, I think of myself as a trendsetter. Today people are very independent and dress in a way that represents individuality. There are no longer the large directed trends like there have been in decades past. I create clothing that represents my aesthetic as an artist while also looking at the customer that I am designing for in order to create something unique and appealing.

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What advice would you provide to up and coming designers?
My biggest advice would be to keep moving forward. This industry is not an easy one. There will be many major obstacles. This may sound cliché but it is very true that if you want this badly enough make it happen. Don’t take no for an answer and believe in yourself.

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Danielle Canfield A/W ’14 collection

Designer Files: Thierry Baptiste

If you are from the Midwest and have never heard of or seen the artistry of the featured hairstylist/locstar, Thierry Baptiste, you may have possibly been living under a rock. As a natural hair care educator, his work has been seen on countess fashion runways and featured on several natural hair care forums and blogs.

I have been a fan of his work for many years and when you take a look at his creations, you will understand why.

1.)  What prompted you to start your career as a hairstylist?
The funny thing about me doing hair is that I had never touched anyone’s hair prior to going to cosmetology school. I was soul searching for a career doing something I was passionate about and being a former model I always remembered that the hairstylists looked HAPPY and with that always being a goal within my peace of mind, I went for it and the rest is history. I’m now an internationally renown stylist.

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2.) How did you make your transition from doing mainstream styles to focusing on locs?
It was important for me to master every texture of hair to discover my niche and in my “Rites of Passage”, my soul drew me to the texture that reflected the essence of me the most which is locs. I will admit that my artistry is somewhat nonconventional at times because of my “Think Out The Box” ideology of doing colors and cuts that we as a culture had been brainwashed to believe was restricted to European textures of hair and without me being skilled in all types of hair, I would not have been able to transcend these concepts on Afrocentric Hair. Therefore my journey had been exciting, educating and eventually with no regrets. I love hair!

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3.) One of your specialties is being a top notch hair colorist. How were you able to perfect the craft?
That quite simple. EDUCATION & EXPERIENCE. I’m a educator who also takes continual education courses annually and I believe that the top colorists in the game wear custom colors, therefore I change mine to some degree every season and because I’m in the Midwest, we have 4 complete seasons to play and master the chemistry of color on my own Crown & Glory. Those techniques are utilized on my clientele who come from around the world to Get BAPTIZED!

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4.) What advice would give to other up and coming hairstylists?
Stay Educated. Stay Excited. Network with talents in your industry from around the world and not just in your social circle in your city. And last but not least, stop just looking at pretty pictures of styles and read what the steps were to achieve it and what inspired the stylists to create it.

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5.) Do you follow trends or do you set them?
I’m definitely a trendsetter who incorporates some classic style fundamentals to my artistry that makes it timeless because sometimes you can go too far with trends and look back on your work and it looks dated. My work from my portfolio from a decade ago is still the standard for editorials like my current Look Book because nothing is really new, there just are new ways of doing what works.

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Designer Files: Catherine Fritsch

Indianapolis based designer/costumer and owner of Rue Violet, Catherine Fritsch is the featured designer in this installment of  “Designer Files: Take 5” series.  With her busy schedule of running a boutique and making garments for the Indiana Repertory Theater, I genuinely appreciate her taking time out to chat with me.  As she answered each question, she took my mind on a journey of her life. I learned so much about the designer’s point of view in the fashion industry.

1.). How did you get your start in the fashion industry?
I have been designing and sewing things since I was little. I had lots of Barbies including my favorite Indian Barbie and made them clothing. There was this cool fabric store in biking distance from my house that I went to with my best friend. They sold scraps by the pound, which for a kid is amazing. It was like a candy store to us! Actually, I think it was right by the candy store. I also sketched designs all the time as a kid. I didn’t actually get a machine until I was in junior high and my dad bought me a serger in high school. (Dads love sergers for some reason).

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When I was looking at college, I really had no idea what to do. I had been on a very academic math/science track in high school, but when I visited IU, we walked past the costume shop and I was enchanted. I think the mix of literature and clothing made me feel like what I was doing was less “frivolous” than fashion. I also loved the collaborations that happen in design for stage. I try to carry that over into our local Fashion community but fashion is generally so competitive!

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In any case, I had a career as a costumer (I was mostly a pattern maker but also did design) from 1992-2006. I got pretty burned out though and applied for and received a Creative Renewal Grant in 2005 (through the Arts Council). I used that money to create my first fashion collection and hosted a fashion show in 2006. I invited a number of textile artists to show with me and that was my first foray into fashion here in Indianapolis.

Since then, I participated in the Project IMA shows and met with a lot of other local designers, stylists, and photographers. Some of us banded together to create Indianapolis Fashion Collective which is now Pattern. And that is the weird and twisted story of how I ended up in fashion in Indianapolis!

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2.). What inspires you when creating your designs?
What inspires me? It’s mostly who inspires me. I know a lot of creative people, and as I said collaboration is very interesting to me. The people I know inspire me to do better, and I find myself bouncing ideas off of my friends and that helps me grow. I also get inspired by colors and textures I see in nature, or in my environment. I get inspired by projects that come through my studio-I tend to combine ideas that don’t normally seem to go together and it’s because of the side work that I do. For instance, a donation of That silks and working on football jerseys at the same time inspired some fantasy runway apparel. Lastly, of course textiles inspire me.

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3.). What do you like creating the most? Ready-to-wear or costumes?
It’s a tough choice. I love making wearable items and I really dig tailoring details like pockets, topstitching, seaming details, etc. However, when I’m making ready to wear, those details create a higher cost and make the item less likely to sell in a market where I am competing with discount stores and foreign made goods. The fashion items that I want to design and sell become impractical to sell.
That means I only get to do those labor intensive and fabulous items when I make costumes, so I still do some costume work. I just finished working on a show at IRT, Two Gentleman of Verona. I made several tailcoats, a vest and two long caped coats. I am fairly set for my tailoring desires right now! Back to knits.

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4.) How do you prepare for a fashion show?
I try to not do many fashion shows anymore. While I love the hype and “glamour” (see the sarcasm there), it’s a big load of work and very little payoff. Things that people want to see on the runway are rarely sellable. People expect a show but don’t want to buy, which is not a great investment.
But, when I did do shows, I was careful to create a collection of items that were interesting, told a story and went well together. I found models who branded me well, tried my best to get a variety of looks and a nice diversity of race, hair color, etc. I pre-fit my models and altered looks to fit them if necessary, but generally chose models to fit my items. No matter how you prepare, though, the show day is exhausting and in my opinion, rarely worth it. Yeah, you get a few pics in the paper, but then it’s all forgotten!

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5.) What advice would you give to aspiring designers?
Advice: be realistic but allow yourself to dream. I guess what I mean is, if we all did all the research before starting nobody would be in this business. It is hard to succeed, takes a lot of money and you really have to be willing to stick it out. So there has to be a balance of knowing what you can afford to do and believing in yourself. But don’t go broke! 🙂

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Shop Catherine’s Rue Violet collection
Mercurious Designs

 

Designer Files: Take Five

I am so excited to be sharing with you a new series on my blog titled “Designer Files: Take Five”. Basically, I will be speaking to different designers and hairstylists asking 5 questions about their career and how they made their start in the fashion industry.
What prompted the idea was the following of the featured designer, Bryan K. Osburn. I began following him on Facebook in 2011 after seeing his amazing designs during Midwest Fashion Week.
I recently contacted Bryan, who was gracious enough to answer my “Take 5” questions.

How did you start your career in fashion design?
I started my career in fashion, first at a very early age when I began to draw fashion at the age of 8, and later attending design classes while in high school and later attending design college in Chicago and New York.
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What is your source of inspiration for some of your designs/collections?
My source for some of my ideas, old movies, music, fabrics and architecture.
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What advice would you give aspiring fashion designers?
My advice to aspiring fashion designers: stay focused, stay determined and plan to work very hard!…Network!
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What are some things you do to prepare for a fashion show?
Preparing for a fashion show: I pack the collection with matching accessories..I prepare my line up (order of dresses coming out on stage). I select models for fittings either prior to show or the day of show.
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If you weren’t in fashion design what what would have been your career choice?
My career choice from fashion would have been in journalism.
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Bryan K. Osburn Collection website