Merline Labissiere | When Design Meets Business

Merline Labissiere | When Design Meets Business

LUX by LuxBox Case yH5BAEAAAAALAAAAAABAAEAAAIBRAA7 Merline Labissiere | When Design Meets Business stylist project runway Fashion designer

A familiar face on Project Runway, the super talented Merline has a good yearning for success.  The designer has the disposition to navigate the intersection of architecture, fashion design, and business.  It is why she’s the foremost expert in futurist and non-traditional fashion.  In addition, Merline reconciles her work ethic with her Haitian heritage- she’s just resiliently ambitious.  She longs to have the exact scale of influence as the great art and design movements: “Personally, I want to have the same impact, I don’t want to just design…”

Merline feels she has a responsibility to help in her capacity as a leading voice in the industry: “For me no matter how many awards I receive, no matter how many TV shows I’m in- it’s nothing more just to see the next generation dream and continue to grow”.  As such, she launched Provoke Style Fashion Camp, a non-profit that offers fashion education to inner-city students.

The 36-year-old fashion entrepreneur has a habit of writing journals at her favorite coffee shop. She’s mostly free on weekends and she could take a whole day to be by herself at the beach.

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Design Orientation

I love to design!  My brand is about designing for the modern woman in the business world.  I design for her daily wear as she goes on to take the world through business, in meetings, and in her interaction with the world.  I also design for her special days like her wedding day.

On Evolving

I started at a really young age.  I’m Haitian-American; my first language is Haitian-Creole.  I was always different.  My parents will send me with church dress and tennis shoes and I’ll have huge ribbons in my hair.  When I look at many pictures in the 80s from Haiti, those were so cool.  There was one where I had the big berets.  I’ll go to school and didn’t even speak English.  At that time also, the kids that were born in America had Nike and all that.  They were so cool.  I stood out like a soft bum and they’ll pick on me then I’ll come home crying.  It really impacts me.  I’ll be in my room and say “if I had all the money in the world how will I dress?” 

So I started designing in my head.  It was in the 7th or 8th grade when my parents were giving me money to pick my clothes up that I was creative with my choices.  Even with that, I got these shoes with different colors and the kids at school were calling it clown shoes and I was like “what?!”  So I’m always sticking out like a soft bum**laughs** I think as a person and designer I’ve evolved over the years and been refined.

Right before Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) I self-taught myself how to sew wedding dresses and I was into prom dresses right before college.  When I went to SCAD it refined me.  I put in perspective what I was doing on my own and now I’m obsessed with fashion and I love it.  I started my first company when I was into set and graphics design at 24-years-old and right after college in 2011, I started my brand, officially.  I got incorporated and ever since it’s been baby steps to get to where I am.  I think I’ve evolved and made it like a solid company right after college but I’m obsessed now with everything fashion- the brand and the visual of the brand.  That’s how I got serious.

LUX by LuxBox Case yH5BAEAAAAALAAAAAABAAEAAAIBRAA7 Merline Labissiere | When Design Meets Business stylist project runway Fashion designer   Personal Style

My personal style is very different sometimes from the person I am actually designing for, in my head. My personal style is very cocky, vintage, colorful, and bright because it matches my personality.  It influences my modern girl when I design for her. I love vintage stuff (pleated pockets, jackets that align et al) – I feel like they are classics. I’m obsessed with vintage. My personal style is fun, free, almost sliding to Bohemian. So I feel like going back and forth with a Bohemian girl; very like tiny hole movement, shipping container to like very sophisticated pencil dresses and pumps when I have to go to meetings. I try always to balance those two girls but I think my personal style is very Bohemian ish. **laughs**

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Identifying Passion

I have always been a designer from a very early age.  I started crushing in early on in middle and in high school where I actually started selling my crushing.  I will make these purses and sell them.  I remember one of my counselors actually found one and was like “hey remember the one I bought from you? I think it’s super cool”. 

However, I haven’t always been a designer.  I have been in drama, and done housing design for a couple of years in high school in my early 20s.  It was in my first company where I did graphic design, branding, costume, self-design.  So though fashion has really evolved over the years, designing has always been in my DNA.  I have loved fashion since elementary school- I remember a girl who used to be next to me, she was drawing one time and I was curious about that.  That was the first time I fell in love with fashion and I’ve never looked back. 

Over the years, I have gotten better but right after high school, I really wanted to do fashion but I went to the direction of architecture because I grew up in a strict environment.  They wanted something where I could make money to support myself, so I went to SCAD.  That was the time I really pursued fashion.  Before that, I did prom dresses- it was self-taught- for fashion design.  Being a fashion designer and an architect, I see myself more as a designer than label myself a fashion designer.

Childhood and today’s success stories

I am the first generation and my Mum came here on a boat which is insane.  To get on a boat from Haiti in the middle of the ocean and some make it some don’t to come to America.  I think she’s the biggest entrepreneur ever.  We’re first generation while growing up we didn’t really have much but my family worked super hard.  This is why I’m a workaholic also partly because I love the American dream, as a first generation I look around and I see my friend and they’ll say they’re born in America and I’m like “you can accomplish anything you want because this is America”.  So I think that drive is in me.   

We didn’t really have much when I was a child so I strived to have a lot and I’m really different from a lot of people in my family.  Being an artist, collected, outgoing, out there- I think my personal attributes inspire me and I think this is why I personally love to wear color.  My Haitian culture just really impacts how I see color, how I view color, and I’m not really afraid to tackle prints, I even design my own prints which is insane.  So I think a lot from my Haitian heritage impact me.  Just working hard, you know, when you grow up you hear your Mum came here from a boat you’re just like, I have to work hard. 

We accomplish so much with that mentality.  Going to school with those church dresses, imagine 80s Tees, the bow tie in your hair, and being picked on for being different, I had to rise above all that. I think my childhood really impact me.  My Mum was also serious about education, being successful, how that looks like and having that opportunity really had an impact on my story today.

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Milestones

I got accepted admitted to my favorite college, I graduated at the Associate of Arts in Architecture,  Miami Dade College and I got admitted into my dream school which was Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) that was a huge accomplishment.  It was a private art school in Savannah Georgia. Also, I went on to graduate.  That was huge because a lot of people didn’t have the opportunity to graduate.  That’s another milestone.

Another milestone is going self-employed- my first studio in downtown Savannah was huge.  It was a leap of faith and a couple of months after that I featured in Savannah magazine.  That was cool to be the cover girl and be honored by the magazine.  And being on Project Runway and even having the opportunity to go back to Project Runway and fast forward to right now I feel like I’m at my biggest accomplishment.  I say that because this is the first time my company is structured (business plan, cash flow sheet et al).  I’m literally transitioning to 100% fashion designer and 100% businesswoman.  For me having that business plan and understanding profit margins, knowing my products and five-year projection as a designer, I think I’m at my biggest accomplishment.

Satisfaction

One of my biggest rewarding starting my non-profit, I teach fashion and it’s called Provoke Style Fashion Camp.  Just seeing the next generation eye lit up when they know how to sew, when they see their work up for the first time, even at the fashion show watching their faces and their family’s eye lit up- For me no matter how many awards I receive, no matter how many TV shows I’m in- it’s nothing more just to see the next generation (those that never had the opportunity to sew) dream and continue to grow.  Personally, that’s the most rewarding part of my journey so far.

On discovering new styles

As a designer new collections are all about discovering different styles and different ways of looking at fashion so that we incorporate it.  One thing that I always do in my collection is to merge architecture and fashion and I also love to look at the 1900s especially men tailoring (I love it).  So I’m always incorporating men tailoring or sport wear into new collections.

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Aspirations

As an individual, finding the balance between being an entrepreneur, designer, and human (balance between work and life) is a goal for me.  I want to make sure I’m enjoying life and I have time for my soul and do the things that I really love.  What’s next for my company right now is structuring it.  I’m obsessed with that. I’ll tell you I’m obsessed with my spreadsheet, my cash flow sheet, my business plan just making sure my finances and everything are in order so I can dream bigger and have more financial room to explore in the design field.

I think that will give my company a platform to grow and have a team where I bring the designers and we can grow the business together.  That’s next for me and for my non-profit, I want to partner up with organizations where I can bring in the tools to teach the next generation all the things that I’ve learned.

Favorite style and fashion accessory

I’m obsessed with my hat. I made my first beaded hat recently so my hat is my signature look and I love it.  I’m not a shoe person, I love accessories but my hat is like number 1.

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Preferred area of expertise

As a fashion designer and a creative entrepreneur, I’m constantly juggling many hats.  I don’t know if I’m an expert but I think as an entrepreneur fashion designer, I have to do it all but if I have to be an expert in an area I think it would be mass production.  I want to be an expert in producing garments really fast.  Can one be an expert in designing? **laughs** But I think manufacturing, I’m obsessed now with how things are been created and what speed they can be created in.

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Fashion-ism

The first advice I’m going to tell you is to be you!  Don’t compromise; don’t try to be something you’re not.  The second thing is learning what’s good on your body.  I do that and usually keep that template and just tweak it a little.  So for a lot of us, we don’t look at ourselves and say “wow this jacket makes my hips look skinnier or this jacket makes me this”.  We all have our favorite jacket, we all have our favorite pant but sometimes we need to ask why it is our favorite.  It’s important we know our body and style.  I think there’s a quote that says “fashion change but style is eternal”.  So having your own swag is important.  Perhaps you like purses or you’re a shoe person, having that look work set you apart from any other thing. Be you.  Don’t change because fashion says you have to change.  Be you and then do it in different seasons in different ways.

Understanding market demands

I went to fashion school and I felt the market was missing something. I felt fashion is supposed to be simple so I was like it had no style or simple clothes.  I thought I didn’t see a lot of clothes that are really cool, dope, and different but still has that sophistication- I’m talking about amazing garments that are out of the box and creative.  When I look in the market, I thought that was missing when it comes to my ready-to-wear style.

I design for the average woman like me, so sometimes even for my size, I think I’m a size 6 or 8, probably a 10 in the market **laughs** but I felt like there weren’t cool clothes for even my size.  That pushed me to do ready-to-wear for body sizes like mine.

I started doing wedding (garments) the last couple year and a half now and I’ve been loving it. I didn’t think it was something I’ll love but I’m really in love with the wedding industry. For a while I also did custom and a lot of my customers will come and say “hey can you make me this? I’ve been looking for it in the market and I haven’t seen it”. So for me, over the last year and a half, I’ve got to talk to the clients one on one to see how the market is especially the wedding industry. When it comes to design and price point, the wedding industry is still catching up in terms of what they’re offering. I feel like I need to have a voice in there.

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I’m super lucky that I always have feedback. I think feedback always helps me understand the market.  From one of my studio at Savannah Georgia I’ll create garment and women will come into my studio and give me positive feedback.  I remember when I first opened my pop up shop right before I auditioned for my Project Runway the third time, I had it where people could leave feedback in a big container.  There was a lot of positivity. I feel OK as a designer because I think I’m always growing and changing. I’m always in the position where I invite feedback.  I did a project, Scatter to the Air program where I had women come in. I’ll interview them and ask to bring their favorite things in their closet and ask them why.  For me, I love that kind of connection with these women.  And I’ll give cloth to them and tell them to give me feedback: “tell me what you like about it, did you want the arm bigger?”

Another thing I’ve also done is I started to wear all my collection because I need to know as a designer how comfortable the garment is (I’m so creative, I can really go out of the box) and sometimes it doesn’t make sense on the average woman on their day today.  So I made a decision a couple of years ago to wear all that I design because I want to experience everything I’m putting out there in the market.

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Project Runway experience and behind the scenes

It is really hard. Imagine school final every day.  I think people don’t know that.  We would wake up that morning we would go to mood and harp about 8 hours to put it all together but that’s literally it, like 8 hours!  For me, it’ll blow my mind, whenever I create.  Sometimes people get to see a glimpse of the show, it’s TV, they condense it to about 30 minutes to shop and 8 hours to make something. I think that’s insane.  So sometimes I don’t think people understand how hard the show is and it is super stressing as its like finals every day.

Project Runway takeaway

I can genuinely do anything!  If someone came up to me right now and they’re like ‘I need a wedding dress by Friday’ and I’ll be like OK, I got this!  Project Runway made me fierce because it was the scariest thing to do- you leave home, you’re stressed, and scared. I doubted myself, I really wasn’t sure.  I think I needed that.  I knew the world was watching but I didn’t know they’ll like my work.  There were competitions where I was in the bottom and I got criticized on social media but they never questioned my creativity and I feel that was pretty.

Project Runway story

Many people don’t know that was my third try to apply on the show.  The first time was when I was doing my architecture at Miami Dade College and at that time I self-taught myself how to sew.  I never even went to the school for fashion sewing but I will look at a garment and just sew it together.  That’s how I was making a garment. I remember being in line, I think it was about 4 am, in downtown Miami. I remember interviewing with people.  I think Tim Gunn was there at that time and they basically said I’m super talented and they love my personality but I won’t make it to the show because I don’t know what a pattern was.  That got my feelings hurt **laughs**.

I actually went to college because of that, so I told myself I was going to be better because that was great feedback.  So I went to college to learn fashion design and I graduated.  At that time someone sent me a link to try it out and I did. I remember driving to Atlanta for a fashion show before my presentation and I felt it was a big mistake because I brought my fashion show clothes because it was so recent but they wanted to see my portfolio so I brought one dress from that- a new beaded garment collection.  They gave me a maybe. S o I had to stay in Atlanta for the outcome but they said they love me but I needed to work on my craft.  The third time, I longed for people to look at my work and just give me feedback, I was meeting with my teachers- that’s when I got my first studio in Savannah Georgia downtown and it was amazing.  They still gave me a maybe but they wanted me.  I think that was super cool because I wasn’t really into it the third time.  I remember being at the audition and one of the designers on the panel was like “wow I love it and I think if you tweet this you’ll make a lot of money” and that’s how I got it! I just wanted feedback.  Three is a charm.  It was a great experience.

5-Year Projection

I want to have a successful company with a whole team in place. I also want to focus on ready-to-wear, the bridal wear, and also creating spaces because I have an architecture background I really love to transform spaces even if it’s a wedding or an installation where I’m all about redesigning spaces and not just creating garments but creating those spaces with the garments interacting with them. In the next five years, I’ll love to have those 3 elements in my company.

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Merline Labissiere

MerlineLabissiereOfficial.com

@merline.labissiere

Ruxandra Ioana Marinescu

Ruxandra Ioana Marinescu

The Brussels stylist who came from nothing is building a fashion empire.

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3 words aptly describe Ruxandra’s story- tribulation turn triumph. Behind the insightful styling posts on Instagram and her blog is a smart hard working person whose motto is “grit, regardless”. Proud of her humble beginning, she’s learned a lot that’s helping her maintain her spot as a respectable voice in the ever-dynamic European fashion space.  When asked about aspirations, she seems to have a matured approach to life, “it’s because at a certain age, you have other expectations from life and we need to start living more in quality than in quantity.” Ruxandra takes great mirth in uplifting people through her blog, for her “it’s like having an alternative reality, a completely different life. No financial or material compensation would ever replace that!”

It could be a tough ask to have free time with a stylist and beauty expert in today’s digital world. If Ruxandra isn’t sharing her experience and creativity on her blog and on her social media channels, you’ll probably catch her at the Royal Park of Brussels busy in her workout sessions.

You might see her adoring the poignant arts at the Marolles/Sablon area. Rux is a woman with the in-built eye for quality and style.  She also frequents the Kaffabar for their hot chocolate- a Brussels girl through and through!  Let’s have you know Ms. Rux!

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Personal Style, Fashion, and Influence

It’s true that my style has changed a lot over the years and I would most probably “blame” the fact that I moved to another country, learned to be more organized with what I buy, how I follow trends; in a way growing in what I call today my style. Even though I don’t have a specific style, I do let myself influenced by my mood, music, art, other stylists/celebrities and of course, the latest statement pieces and trends from the runway.

Passion for Fashion

I think I have always been passionate about fashion and style; it’s just that it was a bit suppressed inside of me due to my current situation at the time. I would not say I had a role model growing up, but I was always fascinated how I could pull out so many “outfits” with a simple big scarf from my grandmother’s closet back when I was like 5 years old. I guess that, in a way, her closet was my inspiration.  

Style should be Dynamic

I would say – complex and always changing. It’s like why have just pie for the rest of your life when there are so many other amazing sweets out there?

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Design Influence

I would say celebrities’ outfits (I follow Rihanna, Kim Kardashian, etc.), magazines of course (Vogue is the most current one and ELLE too), and then you have really beautiful items that just inspire me to create outfits and share them with my readers.

Driving Force

To be completely honest, I enrolled myself in college and wanted to create clothes, but when that didn’t work out, I started the blog because I was following a popular blogger from the US, Dulce Candy, that inspired me to start this journey and express myself through photos and thoughts.

Childhood and Inspiration

Except for my grandmother’s closet and the fact that I used to go through my auntie’s jewelry box, I don’t think that my family helped otherwise to cultivate this passion. I am 100% self-made.  I didn’t have much growing up, no clothes, and no finances so it was mainly just survival mode for me.  I remember that I used to lend clothes from my friends when going out and when I went to the shops in Belgium for the very first time, I remember coming home crying cause I couldn’t afford anything.

Proudest Accomplishment

I am proud of everything that I have done until now, my blog is the biggest accomplishment ever and I’m proud that I made something from nothing- I didn’t have rich parents, rich husband, rich relatives and at first, everyone was quite skeptical of what I was doing and since they didn’t understand, no one encouraged or helped me. After a while, things changed and now I have more support of course.

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Fulfillment

The fact that people know my blog and they like what I’m doing; a lot of them have been with me from the beginning and were there for me whenever I was sad or happy.  It’s like having an alternative reality, a completely different life.  No financial or material compensation would ever replace that!

Self-investment

I spend a lot of time reading and documenting myself about the latest trends, designers and their legacy, searching new garments, statement pieces, investing in myself, my knowledge and so I can come up with a great outfit, tips& tricks, etc.  

Dynamic Design

I am a fan of changing styles as I don’t have one that represents me.  Now that I am approaching 30, I’m not wearing some styles anymore as they don’t fit my age.

Fashion Icons

There was a time when Rihanna was always making statement looks, but not so much anymore. I used to look up to her a lot.   I’m noticing also a twist in the fashion industry as the beauty/make-up industry is taking so much more notoriety. Nowadays people just want to have a fab make-up and dress minimalistic.   But I do also take inspiration from platforms like Pinterest, Instagram and fashion magazines like Vogue.

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Fashion Objective

I intend to try to tap more on the beauty niche and matching make-up with my outfits more.

Plans

I want to start vlogging. I want to start buying fewer items that are more in value and doing a closet detox more often.  It’s because at a certain age, you have other expectations from life and we need to start living more in quality than in quantity.

Favorite Fashion Accessory

I have a lot of favorites, but I am currently seeking the iconic YSL logo drop earrings (they’re vintage and hard to find) so let’s say that would be my favorite for now ;).

Area of Fashion Expertise

I think the styling is my thing. I also work as a stylist for that matter.

How the Best Stylist and Fashionistas Imitate 

Most of them take inspiration from the outfit posts.  A lot of people ask me how the things fit, but other than that, they try to “copy” the look that they see created.  Also, I see people saving the outfits for future inspiration.

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Ruxandra Ioana Marinescu

ByRuxandra.com

@ruxandraioana

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Sandhya Garg | The Feel, Fabric, and Fashion

Sandhya Garg | The Feel, Fabric, and Fashion

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Confident, fierce, and artistic.  Sandhya’s idea of self-empowerment embodies an approach in fashion.  For her, having one’s self-styled and dressed to look powerful makes all the difference.  To create textiles and clothing, she draws inspiration and research street styles to have a well-informed perspective.  The London College of Fashion graduate has learned a wide range of crafts and techniques, from hand embroidery to vintage knitting-lace making.  This has made delving into the scarce niche of making gorgeous conversational prints easier.

Sandhya was featured in the Project Runway Season 13 where she caught world attention. She refined her skills at International design studios at Alexander McQueen, Alice Temperley, and Izmaylova, learning the essentials of the industry.  Consequently, her fashion is about glamour and unique personal style.  She loves seeing the museum and walking the park with her toddler son.  You can catch all her latest women fashion tips on her website where she also shares her experience and creativity.

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Encapsulating Magic

I basically design dresses for vacation or traveling and they also transcend into special occasion dresses that you could wear to a wedding or to a baby shower or a party. And of course my clothing is inspired by travels to these exotic locations; it could be Caribbean or Mexican so it’s about encapsulating magic that itself, is contained within itself in terms of art, architecture, folklore. I also make my own textiles. So all the prints you see are my own. We work with custom embroideries, custom embellishment, and a lot of hand-maid stuff. I make my stuff in India, it’s all ethically produced by small factories. There’s a lot to the brand and I’m happy to answer any specific questions with regards to that.

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Unique Proposition

In terms of being print-based fashion more result brand, I’ll say that there are a brands out there but no one is doing prints the way I do it at my price point.  There is this need to do gorgeous conversational prints that have these stories behind them, these beautiful bold colors- there’s no one doing them and if someone is doing this pretty prints it’s a Dolce & Gabbana or Alexander McQueen where it’s a $2,000-$4,000 dress.   Another thing is that, still people are scared of doing bold prints.  They’ll put it on a scarf but no one is willing to put it on a dress and I know people who, like me, will love to wear a bold conversational print.

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Responsive feedback

I spoke to a lot of people and in conversations with people into these bold conversation prints, but they say it’s so hard to find anything like this out there and that’s how I knew this is what people wanted because I was doing a lot of different things when I started.  So that’s how came to print. It’s when I got the feedback from my customers.

Acceptance

My products have been received very well. I do sell a lot of products in my events and through my websites and people love the clothing, the feel, the fabric.  It’s all designed after getting feedback and every time, it’s more refined to what the customer is looking for and what they want.

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How it started

The very first time that I got interested in and passionate about fashion and style was when I was 10 years old.  I always designed and stitched clothes for my dolls and when I saw a cousin work on her textile design project I was fascinated and knew this is what I wanted to do for life.

On personal style

My personal style is very casual for everyday living but for dressy occasions, I am a bit of a maximalist in terms of wearing a pattern and I love to include bold color accents with accessories if I am wearing a neutral toned dress.  I love to dress up and look powerful in the way I style myself.

Heritage, crafts, and inspiration

I grew up in New Delhi, India.  India has probably one of the largest and most complex textile histories in the world.  We have so many weaves, regional crafts, embroideries, fiber techniques, dyeing techniques- the list goes on.  It’s hard not to be inspired by the rich cultural craft history of being in India.  My mother also inspired my life as she would knit, crochet and fascinatingly talk about textiles, silks, embroideries and heritage craft knitting of these drawstrings that truly stuck with me.

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Proudest milestones

I am most proud of my design internship at Alexander McQueen studio, my stint on Project Runway season 13 and my journey of creating my namesake resort wear label in the US.

The most rewarding part of the journey

The most rewarding part of my journey so far has been connecting with people and being able to talk to women about their concerns and what speaks to them in terms of fashion, travel, and style.

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Connection

I’ll say in terms of expressing my personal style I’m very passionate and artistic about my work the way I talk to people and tell them about it.  When they listen to me they feel the energy of the story, the kind of magic- it really connects with them.  I recently drew inspiration from Amalfi coast Austin and there were people had visited Amalfi coast Austin and they really couldn’t capture the magic of the travel with just buying souvenirs but through my print and dresses, they could wear what they merched to them.  So I think the 20% is the inspiration and design, reaching out on social media which gives me the 80% impact and of course me talking about it and expressing the whole inspirational.

Discovering New Styles

I do a lot of research and look at street styles too.  It’s how I discover new styles for each of my new collections.

LUX by LuxBox Case yH5BAEAAAAALAAAAAABAAEAAAIBRAA7 Sandhya Garg | The Feel, Fabric, and Fashion womenswear Style project runway Fashion dress designer

Project Runway behind the scenes

I think what people don’t know about the Runway experience is that at the end of the day even we (contestants) don’t know what they’re going to show on TV.  And sometimes a lot of it looks heavily edited even to us because in our heads there’s a different scenario so they basically cut, copy, edit, mix videos, and show clips that are probably not related to what the current show is going about.  Say we say something we in the first episode, they’ll use that edited clip in the sixth episode.  You know, there’s a lot of editing and they kind of create this whole story that sometimes the contestants aren’t even aware of.

Getting on the Project Runway show

It is not an easy process, to be honest.  I was very confident when I applied that I was going to in, so I gave it a try because I felt I had nothing to lose and in my application I got a mail to move on to the next stage.  All through the process, my idea was just to have a lot of fun and I was very honest of who I was.  I had watched a few episodes of Project Runway but to be honest I didn’t follow it religiously season after season.  So I was very unaware and I think that helped in being very authentic, and being who I was on the show and not being scared or intimidated by the gravity of how big the show is.

It’s like a 7-10 steps process of getting on the show and it’s not easy but if you have fun with it and if you’re the right applicant, all the best.

Project Runway lessons

I’d say you cannot take an opportunity for granted. I knew Project Runway, it’s such a huge opportunity and I gave it my best.  Never take an opportunity for granted because Project Runway changed my life in a good way so I’ll say that the most valuable thing to not undermine the value of making strong connections or your fellow participants and judges.  In addition, you should always create strong connections as a fashion designer.

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5-Year Projection

I have my own special result boutique.  There’s a massive experience when you enter to shop and having a great online presence and building this whole business.  You can wear different dresses inside the hanger.  That’s where I see myself.

Icons in the Fashion Industry

They are many!  The industry is changing everywhere but what has remained constant is the impact that emerging fashion designers have on the industry.  They bring in the fresh stuff. I would say that in terms of fashion, Alexander McQueen still has a lot of impacts and all other big brands.  They are the icons, they’ve been in the business for so long and they have a strong identity.  It takes a lot of decades to create a big brand and the fact that you can identify these brands with your eyes closed is the true mark of being a fashion design industry icon.

What are your Area/s of expertise?

I’d say I’m an expert on creating conversational fashion prints that make dresses stand out and incredibly unique.

Incorporating Color and Patterns

Life is too boring to wear dull clothes. I consider myself an expert in wearing color as well so I’d say I could give you a tutorial on how you could best incorporate color and pattern in your life. I know a lot of people who do not do a pattern or color because they think it’s too loud. For such people, you can start with a scarf around your shoulder or around the neck in a beautiful color. From there you can do a top and then do a jacket on top. Touch those areas and slowly build your confidence towards wearing colors and patterns so you don’t have to bold colors in big size, you can do a grey trouser and a grey or a black top and do a small colorful scarf or an accessory and that’s you can incorporate color and pattern in your every day style.

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Sandhya Garg

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Easy Timeless Style – Jeremy Mitchell

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Jeremy Mitchell is a fashion photographer that has turned the camera back on himself and shone a light on his own unique and wonderfully curated style. His look is one that has a lot of vintage inspiration but is so cleverly timeless that it looks suave and stylish no matter what the year on the calendar is.

Like so many fashion industry pros, Jeremy lives in and is based out of New York City. The city provides innumerable opportunities for contextual backdrops and lively sceneries.

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“I love how every corner in NY gives you something different. It can be anything from food to culture, even the energy.”

– Jeremy Mitchell

When you follow Jeremy you can see that he isn’t pigeon-holing himself into any specific menswear category like suits, streetwear, casual, etc…

His style is one that flexes from casual to what would be suitable for a boardroom but always with a little something extra that makes you take a second look.

“You have to take risks to move forward.”

– Jeremy Mitchell


Jeremy Mitchell (@xxjmitch) * Instagram photos and videos

25.3k Followers, 1,035 Following, 1,338 Posts – See Instagram photos and videos from Jeremy Mitchell (@xxjmitch)

That Modern Man Style with Steven Onoja

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“Fashion is a form of expression for me,”

– Steven Onoja


Steven Onoja is a style influencer and visual storyteller that uses his keen style eye and aesthetic to tell visual stories. Starting out as a mission to elevate the IG menswear fashion to another level with timeless looks and classic styles… Of course in today’s world of big brand social media influencers, Steven is telling a lot of brand stories through his personal style expression.

Born in Nigeria and moving to NYC, Steven says “It was difficult to leave the place where I grew up and considered my home, but I felt ready for a new challenge. New York in America was the right place and I moved to Brooklyn. Here I learned a lot because I understood that I needed to adapt to be competitive in a new country. Switching mentality was fundamental to keep expressing myself and New York helped me to do exactly that.”

If you follow Steven you’ll see a very restrained but beautifully minimal style palate that emphasizes timeless colors like black, white, and grey tones.

Steven describes his look as, “easy and elegant at the same time.”

HATS….

Oh yeah, hats are a BIG part of Steven’s look

Style can involve a deep and more intimate perspective – like outwardly presenting your own vision of who you are.

– Steven Onoja

“I’m Grateful to God and feeling very blessed to have made it this far and grateful for all the people I’ve met in the process, both blessing and lessons.”

– Steven Onoja


Steven Onoja (@stevenonoja) * Instagram photos and videos

95.8k Followers, 54 Following, 1,602 Posts – See Instagram photos and videos from Steven Onoja (@stevenonoja)

I Mean Business | Victoria Van Nessa

I Mean Business | Victoria Van Nessa

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LUX by LuxBox Case yH5BAEAAAAALAAAAAABAAEAAAIBRAA7 I Mean Business | Victoria Van Nessa style blogger Style Fashion
“I always say that I first became interested in fashion when I started traveling and I saw how different women around the world dressed.” -Victoria Van Ness

Victoria Van Ness takes the entrepreneur lifestyle and does it with style and grace! “I’m a traveling entrepreneur + blogger. My publication covers all things travel, fashion, and beauty. I recently launched my business, Cheat Sheet co. – which helps small business define and execute their online strategy,” Victoria says.

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LUX by LuxBox Case yH5BAEAAAAALAAAAAABAAEAAAIBRAA7 I Mean Business | Victoria Van Nessa style blogger Style Fashion
“Whenever I am running low on inspiration going to a new place gives me more ideas.” -Victoria Van Ness

Start

With business on the brain and fashion in the heart, Victoria has created a masterpiece! As we began to break down all of the various moving parts of her life, I dived right in and asked how did all of this begin? “I dropped out of college after my first semester to travel. But I didn’t have the create outlet I so desperately needed. Therefore, I launched my blog in 2015 and it’s truly grown with me through such experimental years of my life. My blog landed me jobs in marketing, social media, etc. which then introduced my love of that world, which led me to launch my company,” Victoria glowingly expresses.

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“Once a week my boyfriend (also my photographer) and I go out, explore a new area, and shoot for my blog or Instagram. We get to do something creative that we both love. We have different styles so when we come 50/50 together on a projects, it gives me a new perspective. Which funnels into different aspects of my life. Whether it’s business or personal – you have to look at things from a different view.” -Victoria Van Ness

Milestone

Of course being able to do the things she loves on a daily basis has many rewards. For Victoria, it has felt so good to accomplish so many things at such a young age. “I always knew it was something I wanted to do. It was a an end-term goal for me. I noticed my love for marketing, entrepreneurship, and truly connecting with other creatives was fueling my fire more than blogging, I decided to take the leap sooner rather than later,” Victoria exclaims!

However, her achievements hasn’t made her stop pushing for even greater things. After all, it’s the process that Victoria really finds exciting! “I don’t think I’ve had a real ‘pivoting’ moment. My favorite thing about my journey is really the journey. I’ve learned so much about myself in these past three years. From resilience and perseverance, to understanding where my weaknesses lie and adjusting. It’s cool to step back sometimes and take note of who you really are,” Victoria continues.

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“My main focus right now is building Cheat Sheet co. Eventually I want to become more involved in offline connections, like conferences and mentoring girls my age with their business goals. But until then, then, I’m working on really making it more of a name in the space.” -Victoria Van Ness

What style/fashion accessory is your favorite?

I’m a bag lady through and through.

If you can/could consider yourself an expert in one area of style/fashion, what would it be?

Packing for any weather in a small amount of space! I’ve been living out of my suitcases for a year now. It’s gotten me through every season and 9 cities.

Can you give me a tutorial on how people can best incorporate that style/fashion advice in their life?

It’s all about a capsule wardrobe! Stick to one solid color, versatile piece of everything and your wardrobe will take you wherever.

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Life of Fashion | Jessica Hunter

Life of Fashion | Jessica Hunter

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Some find their calling early in life and never let it go. For Jessica Hunter, fashion was always something that intrigued and lead her to her calling. Her primary goal is to inspire others. Whether it be through style,  story or the content she creates. Jessica wants every person she encounters to come away from an interaction with her or her brand feeling empowered.

“Style has been something that interested me since I was little. I loved to go shopping, and would plan my outfits weeks in advance when I was in grade school. Oddly enough though, it wasn’t until I had graduated from college and started working in finance that I realized that style and fashion were what truly inspired me. Women like Tamara Mellon the founder of Jimmy Choo and Kate Moss were my icons and so when I relocated to Scottsdale after more than 5 years in finance, I took my first step into the fashion industry working part time as a Sales Associate at Jimmy Choo,” Jessica shares.

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Intrigued

Interested in learning more about Jessica’s love of fashion, I asked her if she could share some of her first fashion memories. Right away, this question took Jessica all the way back to her childhood. Her mom and dad are her first and favorite fashion icons and even inspired her blog.

“Growing up, my mom was a corporate powerhouse and would dress in absolutely immaculate Armani suits, TSE cashmere and David Yurman cuffs. She had her finger on the pulse of timeless fashion since before I can remember. She is my Chic.

My dad on the other hand, had his own way of dressing that was equally as stylish, yet could not be more opposite Ripped up 501’s, Chuck Taylor’s that he had sharpied drawings onto and a ornate hat and sunglass collection that would rival any collector. He is my Disheveled.

Together they taught me the value of High-Low fashion, taking risks and that confidence is key when it comes to style,” Jessica lovingly describes.

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As the conversation kept flowing, I learned that her mom and dad weren’t the only ones who had a hand in Jessica’s journey to pursue a career in the fashion industry. As fate had it set out, her brother and his wife played a crucial part!

“I was in New York for the first time visiting my brother and his girlfriend (now wife) Roxanne. As fate would have it, they lived blocks from the Lincoln Center and New York Fashion Week was in full swing.

We were walking through the neighborhood one day and I saw a group of people running through to the tents with long sleeve shirts on that read ‘volunteer’.  I immediately went home to look up the program and applied to volunteer for the next season. Because of my retail sales experience I was accepted and went on to volunteer and eventually work for LDJ productions as a volunteer team manager.

That experience really lit a fire under my ass to find fashion wherever I could get my hands on it, which eventually led to my career as a fashion stylist. Through time I realized that it was street style and my own personal relationship with style that inspired me more than  publishing high fashion editorials, so I started my blog, Chic & Disheveled. I felt like so many people misunderstood what high fashion editorials tried to convey so I began to dissect trends and translate them into something more relatable, Jessica reveals.

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Style

One thing you have to know about Jessica is that she really enjoys putting her style on display. This doesn’t mean flashy or super fancy. Jessica has a more laid-back approach to fashion, however she wears everything with confidence. The confidence she brings allows her style to stand out and her personality to shine through.

Comfort + Confidence are the two major factors in my style. It doesn’t matter how trendy or ‘IN’ something is, if I feel like an asshole wearing it, it will never make it to my closet. Comfortable doesn’t just mean leggings either – (but I am a BIG fan of the athleisure trend). To me, comfort goes way beyond how comfy something feels. It also has to do with mental comfort, you have to feel your best regardless of what’s trending or what a Personal Stylist tries to sell you.  

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Style is such a personal thing for me, and it comes from so many different channels that it’s hard to pinpoint just one. It is totally irrational and feeling based. I know it when I see it because of how it makes me feel. I still create actual lookbooks with fashion magazines which is a time-honored tradition from girl’s night with my mom and sister.

Instagram and Pinterest are also great source of inspiration because I am such a visual creature that seeing cool pictures often lead to ah-ha moments about what I wear and how I style it,” Jessica explains.

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Future in Fashion

Jessica wants to continue to find new ways of sharing her style and helping others discover theirs. And she also is growing in  personal sense too. I couldn’t wait to find out what she has in store for us next!

“Businesswise, my next main focus is to develop my e-newsletter and start sending that out consistently. I have been building my subscriber list for a while now and am in the final throes of design. I want it to really benefit peoples’ lives and have it be something people look forward to so I am really taking my time to make sure that the content is engaging and worth subscribing to.

YouTube is also at the forefront of my mind. I have been partnering with a bunch of cruelty free beauty brands and so I want to start bringing that content to life via more how-to videos! Stay tuned and make sure you subscribe to my YouTube channel here to stay in the loop for when they launch:

YOUTUBE CHANNEL

On the more personal front, I just got engaged and my fiancée moved in with me so we are in the process of decorating our little love shack and starting to plan our wedding,” Jessica exclaims!

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A Piece of Advice

“For anyone who’s looking to start a blog or entrepreneurial endeavor YAY!!! I think my biggest piece of advice would be to follow your own heart.  It can be so easy to get so caught up in what everyone else is doing that you can forget your own accomplishments and goals. Remember, you are the only person who can share your point of view and that’s valuable! Stay true to yourself and believe in yourself and surround yourself with people who lift you up and genuinely support you!

Believe it or not, I graduated college and became the branch manager of a financial institution. After about 5 years of my year career, I realized I detested the industry and began to look for ways to transition into the fashion industry. Thankfully, my honesty with my District Manager was well-received and he allowed for me to work part-time at the branch while working part time as a sales associate at Jimmy Choo and eventually at a modeling agency.

After 2 years I had made a full transition into the PR and Marketing world. If anyone reading this is looking to leave the corporate world, keep in mind that when you transition into a completely different field be prepared to take a pay cut. Instead of focusing on the money, I began taking opportunities based on the experience I could gain to help my own business such as InDesign, Photoshop and Word Press.

For the next two and a half years I held three different positions for that very reason. First is was Social Media Manager at the nations 2nd largest RV company’s, and then it was Director of Communications for launch of InMexico Magazine, a luxury lifestyle print publication…then took the leap to become a full-time content creator and blogger.  There are nights I don’t sleep, at times I might be broke AF…but found a calling that speaks to my soul,  and keeps me engaged every single day, and that is priceless.” -Jessica Hunter

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Fashion Trip | Daniela Correia

Fashion Trip | Daniela Correia

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Fashion and travel, a duo that never dies.

Traveling can be great inspiration for style and your style can be inspiring to others you meet in your travels. This classic pairing of a love of travel and fashion is the foundation of Daniela Correia’s works. She has created a place to share her adventurous fashion and travels.

“I am sharing what I like the most in life, Fashion and Travel. I don’t pretend to be an influencer, I was just like to write about the things I’m passionate about. And I want to share with people that they can realise their dream to travel in the magnificent places that I am sharing or even wear the crazy stuff that I do as well. Nobody should be ashamed of anything in their life. We should just do what we like.

I share love for anybody who wants to receive it,” Daniela says.

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Inspired

Daniela was into fashion for as long as she remembers. She grew up creating her own living room fashion shows and tearing down the runway in her mom’s clothes and shoes. As she grew older, the world became her runway. Living in different cities has inspired her fashion. For instance, living in California brought the free spirit out of Daniela. “I love to say that I am a hippy. I lived in California for a year and that really brainwashed me. I love the Boho style. Everything is so simple and colorful. I don’t know, it’s just the style where I feel the most comfortable. Unfortunately, Living in Switzerland is not easy to find those beautiful boho items than I did in California,” Daniela explains.

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“I have always been a happy kid and really enthusiastic in what I did. When you grow up, you lose a bit this mentality but traveling makes me realise what really matters and I come back from my many travels with this mentality of being still this kid dreaming.” -Daniela Correia

On the move

Currently, Daniela is situated back in Switzerland but has high hopes on chasing her dream in California. The year she spent in LA was truly life changing and she wants to continue to go after all the opportunity that is there, especially in fashion. “ I am super proud of that decision because that just change everything on my life. I came back off this trip really different and in love. I will be moving, I hope, pretty soon in order to accomplish my real dream. I would love to be an editor in a Fashion Hippie Boho area in California.  My main goal is always to make people understand that they can experience and enjoy fashion without spending all the money that they have,” Daniela says.

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Life lesson

The lesson here is to not be bound by anything if it keeps you from exploring the things you love. Let your adventurous side lead you to your dreams. It will leave you with a happy, loving and satisfying life. Don’t be that person that has to live with the doubt of not fulfilling your true destiny. Go after what you want, no matter where it leads you!

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Can you give me a tutorial on how people can best incorporate that style/fashion advice in their life?

People must be feeling good about themselves otherwise nothing is gonna be beautiful on them. The most important thing on earth for me regarding fashion is to feel good about yourself and then we can work on which style reflects your personality. Because style is just a way to express yourself without speaking.

“I want people who follow me to be motivated every time i post something. I hope that people won’t hesitate to ask anything about style, motivation, goals, travel, fashion or even beauty!” -Daniela Correia

What are your favorite places to travel to?  Why?

California, Los angeles (because of the craziness and the artistic way of this busy city)

San Diego (because it reminds me so much souvenirs in my head that changed me forever)

What’s next?  & why?

I will be moving, I hope, pretty soon in order to accomplish my dreams in California.

What are you reading these days?

Eat, Pray, Love

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Creative Inspiration | Zia Domic

Creative Inspiration | Zia Domic

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Here at LUX we admire creative vision. Running a fashion blog takes A LOT of creativity. Putting together looks, capturing the attention of an audience, and creating promotions all take a large amount of inventiveness. The more imaginative you are, the better the outcome.  

Using herself as a muse, fashion blogger, Zia Domic, expresses her creative side through her personal style. Above all else, she inspires others to unleash their originality too! “I followed other blogs and felt I had something to contribute by starting my own, I have been collecting clothes since high school and believe if you buy quality you will own certain pieces for a lifetime. I love to incorporate my older pieces with new ones, ultimately hoping to inspire others along the way,” Zia says.

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Zia’s Style

Zia style has a lot if class and even more sassiness. She often pairs more simplistic pieces with bold prints and vibrant accessories. She is really great at using a pop of color to bring her fun outfits to life. “My parents are European and have great appreciation for clothes raising me to believe you should always look your best, polished and stylish. I’ve been a fashion lover since early childhood; I’ve always had a strong sense of personal style and recall arguing with my mom in first grade over what to wear to school. With the option of wearing, whatever I feel like now, I love classic styles with a little femininity or rocker chic edge,” Zia explains.

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Milestones

Zia’s blog has become extremely popular among the crowd.  She has over 48,000 followers on Instagram which has helped her translate into a highly successful blog. “The day my blog was launched I was extremely emotional. I felt I had accomplished such a huge feat,” Zia recalls. Looking back now, Zia realizes that her blog is only the beginning. Since she has been featured in Redbook magazine and has thought about expanding her brand even further. “Expanding to YouTube, as an actor I have a hard time posting anything that’s not perfect on all levels although I know YouTube is not about professional perfection.  I also hope to expand into travel because I love it and it inspires my style,” Zia exclaims!

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While having all of these opportunities is beyond Zia’s wildest dreams, it’s the personal reward that provides Zia with great satisfaction. “Refining my own style has been the most rewarding aspect of my blogging career. as the stakes are higher being in the public eye. Also meeting so many wonderful like-minded people, although there are some people out there that I have met and weren’t so wonderful. The fashion world is very competitive on all levels and it motivates me to be the best,” Zia says.

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Think about the 80/20 rule; if you get 80% of your impact from 20% of what you do, what is that 20% for you as it pertains to developing and expressing your personal style?

IM A BIT OF A PERFECTIONIST AND IF I DONT THINK IT’S WORTHY I DONT PUBLISH IT AND I THINK THAT RESONATES WITH MY READERS

What about discovering new styles to incorporate into your look and style?

I FOLLOW OTHER BLOGGERS, SCAN INSTAGRAM AND PINTEREST FOR INSPO AND OF COURSE PEOPLE WATCHING

Who do you consider the icons in the fashion & design industry?

I REALLY THINK BLOGGERS HAVE TAKEN OVER CELEBRITIES AS THE NEW ICONS

What style/fashion accessory is your favorite?

SHOES MAKE ME HAPPY AND THEY MAKE OR BREAK THE OUTFIT

If you can/could consider yourself an expert in one area of style/fashion, what would it be?

DRESSING MYSELF

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Catch Her

Catch Her

Fashion industry expert & model Thania Peck is the creator of the popular blog, ‘Catcher in the Style’ as well as a fashion director.
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Life of Fashion

Thania has had a lifelong passion for the fashion industry. Starting off as a model worked in the fashion industry from a young age. Thania became intrigued by the production of fashion shows. “Every show that I’ve ever been to was an artistic piece.” She took interest in every aspect of putting a show together. From the designers that created the clothes to the make-up and hair stylist that tied the look all together, she loved it all. But, it wasn’t until she actually attended her first show as a member of the audience that she experienced the artistic production of the show. “My first show was a Tommy Hilfiger event. It was so inspiring…Watching the trends was so dynamic, “ Thania recalls. This inspiration is what allowed Thania to view fashion in a different light.

While Thania knew she would always work in fashion, blogging didn’t come along for her until about three years ago. One day, Thania had a creative director ask her opinion on a few pieces of a new collection. After she gave her detailed opinion, Thania realized she had a knack for explaining trends. That’s when she decided she should share her opinions with the world and began the process of launching her blog, ‘Catch Her Style.’

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Giving Back

Fashion isn’t Thania’s only passion. She also has a heavy interest in working with charities. Often time she uses photos on her blog to create a message for the charities. She uses her blog to promote many different charities. A couple of those charities are the Young and Brave Foundation and R-Ranch. She also pairs philanthropy with the various brand campaigns that she coordinates. “I want to use my status in the industry to make an impact in the world. It feels good to help people,” Thania says. She uses the events to gain more exposure for the charities and donates a portion of the proceeds to them as well.

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Blogging Style

Thania blogs about the newest fashion trends that interest her. She usually focuses on on the cutting edge of where the industry is going. The blogosphere is fast paced and it allows people to share new trends at a rapid pace. Thania says this is in part because “we post trends at a fast pace, faster than magazines.” In addition to that, she uses her blog to display new trends in street style. This is what translates each particular piece from the market to the consumer.  “You get to see the product on real people of different body types.”

“As bloggers, we’re basically taking clothes and showing you how to style it,”

Sure, 6-foot models look pretty dashing in designer clothes on the runway, but it’s a lot easier to imagine yourself in an outfit when you can see it interpreted by someone who shares your unique tastes. “It’s all about the interpretation from market to consumer. Most people see clothes in a store and think ‘How would I wear that!?’ Im here to provide an answer to that question.”

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Thania also gets to put a lot of her personality into the outfits she pieces together. She describes her personal style as edgy, chic, and tomboyish. All of that personality it is reflected through the outfits Thania styles. “Putting together outfits is like puzzle pieces,” Thania says. She also likes to add her favorite accessories to complete the look. Thania particularly loves shoes and hand bags. “If you have a perfect chic shoe and an iconic bag, that’s going to tie your outfit together.” Thania also expresses that one of the best parts of blogging is if you don’t like her particular style, there are many other bloggers you can view different styles from.

“My style isn’t for everyone,” says Thania. “But the great thing about fashion blogging is that I can pair a dress with combat boots while my friend pairs the same dress with a pair of heels! Two great looks, two different styles.”

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What are some up and coming Fall fashion trends?

Velvet( Blazers and shoes)
Red and Blush Pink colors
Leather jackets over dresses
Over the knee boots
Suede skirts
Bomber jackets
Military inspired clothing
Embroidery on jeans and jackets
Re-done/Patched Jeans

What are your favorite topics to blog about?

Tips on Fashion
Music
Art
Interviews with stylist and stylish people

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Thania Peck

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