· Introduce yourself
I’m a 19 y/o indie fashion designer, and I’ve been designing clothes my entire life. I started off making dresses for my sisters’ Barbie dolls out of socks and old pillowcases. I launched my brand in April 2016 and I’m currently a student at the Illinois Institute of Art in downtown Chicago. My brand is unisex ready-to-wear, and I sew every garment from scratch.
· When did you pursue fashion as a career, rather than just a dream?
I decided to take the risk my sophomore year of high school when my best friend was killed in a drunk driving accident. As kids, we used to talk about what we wanted to do when we grew up and unfortunately, she never got to make her dream a reality. When she died I realized life is too short for dreams. In honor of her, I stopped making excuses and I taught myself how to sew.
· You decided to venture out and start your own company called Fantôme. What does Fantôme represent?
Fantôme is an extension of myself. Each collection is my interpretation of life at the moment, and through Fantôme, I’m able to give a voice to my thoughts and emotions. I think of my brand as a vale I use to protect and project my mind.
· What’s your favorite collection you’ve put out so far and why?
So far, my favorite would have to be my most recent collection, FLIGHT (fall/winter 17’). This collection was a follow up to the previous collection LEARNING TO FLY (spring/summer 17’). It was a proof of concept for me, and the first time I ignored all second guesses. I went completely broke and borrowed money from my mom to make FLIGHT, and it paid off. With FLIGHT, I also held my first solo fashion exhibition at the Connect Gallery, which was an extremely humbling experience. That collection helped me believe in myself and gave me the push I needed to keep going.
· Last month you tweeted, “I’ve thought about this for awhile and I don’t want to be apart of the fashion industry. Going to do my own thing.” What caused that feeling?
That was a reaction to the things I’ve learned about the fashion industry. The fact that profiting has become more important than art bothers me. I feel like that is a huge factor in fashion being viewed as commercial. I hope to be a voice in changing that. I want people to view clothing as a story, to appreciate the emotion that goes into every garment.
· Where do you see your brand going in 2018?
My plan is to successfully release two collections, dress singers/musicians, and launch a weekly free open to the public sewing workshop.