Interview: Dominique Mills Talks ‘Young Picasso’ Nickname, Painting Aesthetic, Future Endeavors & More

Today we step into the fascinating mind of Dominique Mills. Since spotting his creations, Dominique has been one of the very few designers who I always remember to keep on my radar. His artistic talent have been part of the reason as to why his brand is on his rise and today we get to know Dominique a bit more personally. Click the link below to read the full interview.

1. So who is Dominique since there isn’t much information floating around about you?

“My name is Dominique Mills, I’m 19 and I was born and raised in Philadelphia, PA. I’m currently a student at Parsons School for Design and studying full-time to get my BFA in Fashion Design.

My brand, Dominique is a small independent company formed by me and my friend Marquies Smith. I created Dominique to tell my story through fashion.” – Dominique

2. I remember when I first stumbled upon you and saw the first piece that you did. Initially I was blown away by that and I questioned myself if you could get any better, this was until I saw the two pieces that came after that first release. How are you able to reinvent and separate your style/brand from the rest of the pack?

“Thank you! Reinventing myself is easy because to me it’s natural. I change naturally every few months. I like change. I like to make things that feel fresh and new. If I followed every other brand out there I would feel like a copy… I HATE COPIES. I would rather my work surprise and excite people. I would rather search for new things than hold on to the old. My work comes from my hand so its harder for anyone to copy.” – Dominique

3. The last two pieces have featured t-shirts that have been directly painted on. Is this what you’re going to stick with for now or is it just the mood that you’re in at this particular time?

“It’s just the mood I’m in right now. I started painting tees to make a statement. Fashion is self-expression. Fashion isn’t any different from painting, poetry or film making. It’s all art! I wasn’t the first person to paint on clothing. Painting on clothing originally started with the earliest French couturiers. I thought it would be interesting to bring the style to our times, combining Haute couture, Abstract Expressionism and street-wear culture.” – Dominique

4. Those painted designs have not only demonstrated your full-on ability to truly bring art to life but they have paved the way for your new nickname ‘Young Picasso’. How does that feel? Do you truly see yourself as a ‘Young Picasso’ and if so do you feel enormous pressure with such a title?

“It feels great! To mention my name with Picasso is an amazing compliment! And a big hyperbole. I want to keep the nickname, but no I see myself as a young Picasso, I see myself as a young Dominique. I know who I am and I know what I’m capable of. Still, I love the idea of a black artist/designer being compared to Picasso especially since many art critics don’t even consider Basquiat to be as good as Picasso, Pollock, Warhol or any other white artist. To me Basquiat was the original black Picasso but doesn’t get the credit he deserves. They just see him as a cash cow.” – Dominique

5. When it comes to your brand, do you feel as if it is more art than just garments? Was this intended when you first began or did your vision change as things got further in?

“No, I think all garments are art. So the fact that anyone would question whether it’s art, fashion or some sort of fusion is the point. Art is anything that questions itself. If it doesn’t make people think or react, then why would you create it. Everything that I make either comes to me in dreams or randomly as I’m creating it.” – Dominique

6. What do you hope to accomplish with your brand? Is there a bigger picture outside of creating extravagant works of art? Where do you see yourself headed?

“It might seem like a stretch to some but my goal is to be considered the best or one of the best artist/designer to ever live hahaha ever since I was a kid I’ve wanted to be the best at something and luckily I’ve been blessed with the potential in art. Everything that I make either comes to me in dreams or randomly as I’m creating it. I try to feed my unconscious mind with as much images and ideas as possible to make it easier. Without the biggest library ever aka the internet I would be nothing lol

The bigger picture is to help others. I want to be the best, to be renowned so I can help get people through hard times the same way some of my favorite artist have helped me. I care about making sure everyone lives a good, fun life. I’ve been through a lot in my very small 19 years. I’ve gone from insecure to suicidal to confident and happy. I know I can help other people who have gone through similar or worse. I know that I can make a difference.” – Dominique

7. When you look back five years from now, what will you hope to say to yourself?

“I hope to say to myself that I put my all into making a better life for my family, my friends and myself and that I’ve succeeded.” – Dominique

Interview: JQ by Julius Q Talks Leather Aesthetic, Fall Collection, Aspirations & More

Seen on rappers such as Wale and Juicy J, JQ by Julius Q has been picking up steam as of late. Fixated on the leather wave at the moment, JQ has more than just one of the summer’s hottest trends up their sleeves. In the interview below, he sheds like on how far the creation of the brand has came, future plans, inspirations behind the brand and more. Read the full interview below now.

1. Where did it all start?

It all began about 8 years. Started off with a clothing line called Cheese Wagon which was one of my friends’ clothing line. Cheese Wagon was being pushed into boutiques such as Brooklyn Circus, Vinnie Styles and Pulse. Working with the boutiques, we saw that there were some pieces they were interested in and some that weren’t. Because of this, I went ahead in 2008 and started the Wagon Boutique. The Wagon was around for about five years and then once the lease was up, we decided that we wanted to go in a different direction. We started getting into production and a bit more wholesale. The production side was what inspired me to start my own brand. I actually partnered up with a few brands but JQ by Julius Q was actually the very first brand I started.” – JQ

2. Leather has been one of the biggest trends but also one of the most difficult to execute. How were you able to create such beautiful pieces?

It’s a lot with detailing. I always had an eye. I definitely work with a good team as a lot of times we sit down in the factory for hours and sometimes days. A lot of traveling, going out and being inspired. I’m definitely trying to aim at styles and things that I was really into growing up. It’s a lot of pieces from brands and designers that aren’t made anymore and I try to bring a more futuristic edge to them. Leather is a trend now, it is what it is, but we’re definitely doing a lot more than leather. Leather is what’s catching people’s eyes at the moment. To be honest, I’ve been doing cut and sewn leather pieces with other brands in the past but it didn’t catch a buzz like how leather is now.” – JQ

3. Does the future hold more than leather for you? What exactly has grabbed your attention recently in the fashion world?

” I’m feeling a lot of the new high-end sneakers/footwear. I feel like there’s nothing new really as things are just being done in a more spiced up form. As far as the brand goes, there a lot of interesting things other than leather. We have some things that we’re doing with silk, some reversible jackets. We have some linen pieces and some crazy denim pieces. Of course mixed with some other fabrics. We have some things mixed with fur for the Fall. Of course we are sticking to leather at the moment because it’s in demand but the brand isn’t based solely around that. You know when the trend fades, JQ will still be around. The biggest thing that we try to do is statement pieces.” – JQ

4. When people think about your brand, what’s the first word you’d like to hear when describing it?

The first words I’d like to hear are well-detailed and constructed.” – JQ

5. Midway through 2013, do you feel as if you have accomplished your goals? What are the plans for the rest of the year?

” I definitely feel that we are getting work done and accomplishing our goals. We are getting a lot of awareness and exposure for the brand. We have been getting in a lot of magazines, we are in the current Source magazine right now. The brand has been progressive. I’ve had the opportunity to work with a couple of artists. The brand is currently being sold in Japan as well so it’s going cool for what it’s worth. Even this interview here is more progress and more growth for the brand.” – JQ


6. Where do you see your brand headed in the future? Brands such as En Noir have set a standard for brands of your nature but what do you hope to bring to the table?

” I try not to study other brands. I am abrupt to everything just to be aware. Where do I see the brand going? I see it being picked up by many boutiques. More press, a lot of placement, I’m definitely trying to make it a very notable brand. When people are attending events I want them to know that JQ is the brand to go to. We are definitely going for custom work and we’re just having a lot of fun. A lot of cool, strong pieces coming out. I’m feeling big on jackets and outerwear so you can expect for much more of those in the Fall season.” – JQ

Interview: Melanie Rodriguez of Milanè Noir Talks Brand Development, Upcoming Fashion Show & More

Last time you saw Melanie, she was partaking in our Affair segment but she’s back today with updates on what’s been going on in her life. Gearing up for a very interesting and defining Fall/Winter season, Melanie caught up with us to talk about her brand, where it’s headed, and her goals for the next year. She even goes on to reveal quite a few things. See the full interview below after the jump.

1. Since our Affair interview, what has been new with you and the brand?

” When I did the affair interview with you guys everything was merely a thought, a vision, and now it is a reality. I am working on a brand new fall collection. Every week I buy a new magazine, looking for new inspirations. My inspiration board is bigger than ever and it is so exciting to see my collection grow one more every week!” – Melanie

2. You last spoke about the fashion show that you plan on having in Fall, what preparations have you taken to make sure that things go as plan?

” So many plans are in the works as we speak. I think the most important thing that you have to remember is, time management. Every single day I come home, I work on something new, or I’m perfecting something old. I go over my work, time and time again to make sure there isn’t something missing. My work is very important to me not just how it looks but functionality as well. As far as the business aspect, I’ve been networking, going on business meetings, looking at venues setting up photo shoots, casting models. Time is moving REALLY fast for me so I’m just making sure it doesn’t get ahead of me! Everything is looking very promising though!” – Melanie

3. There’s little that’s known of the collection that you will be presenting at the fashion show. What can you reveal to us? What’s the theme? Do you have a name yet?

” The reason why there is little to be known is because I want the chance to Blow everyone away. If they see garments in the show that they’ve seen already, it’s not memorable. I’m trying to make sure my first show wows everyone. First impression is everything. Unfortunately I can’t talk much about it, but I’ll give you one hint; monochromatic. Either way, hate it or love it, you will remember it!” – Melanie


4. What’s your goals for the collection? What do you see it doing for the development of your brand? Do you feel as if you have something to prove? What are the pressures you are dealing with or that you have placed on yourself?

” My goal for the collection is to succeed and make women happy. When I wear certain designers or certain pieces that I love, it makes me feel good, and my garments are included! Looking good goes hand in hand with your emotions, and that’s what I want my clothing to provide for all women.
I do feel like I have a lot to prove. In this day and age everyone is designing and styling. I need to stray away and show why I’m different, and BETTER. Which is why I go hard everyday!
The pressure I deal with everyday is making sure I put my dreams first. There’s plenty of days where I battle going to the gym instead of working on a dress, going out instead of finishing up a jacket. Oh, and my favorite, sleeping vs. getting work done. But I have to hold on to the vision and understand that it’s work now and play later!” – Melanie

5. By this time next year, what would you have hoped to accomplished? Where will Milané Noir be a year from now?

” This time next year, I am going to have an amazing website. I am going to have investors giving me a helping hand, my client list will go from a few to a few hundred, I am going to have a book full of models, hair stylists, make-up artists, photographers etc that I can choose from should a project arise. I am going to have my ready to wear line launched, and ready for purchase from anyone world wide. Now notice I said, “I AM”. It WILL happen, because there’s no room for “can’t”
All of my hard WILL pay off.” – Melanie

Mad Colour by Alonys

Alonys is a self taught artist. To regain sanity in an insane world, she began to express her thoughts and life in the form of abstract art. Simply beginning on supermarket paper bags, her work blossomed when it reached canvas of all sizes. She developed her style with acrylic paint, and began to add anything she could find around her to create original mixed media pieces. Surrounded by the entertainment industry, a major element in her art entails the use of vinyl records, cd’s, and clothing. She attempts to provoke thought by infusing words, vibrant colors, and textures in her work.

In 2008 Alonys began MAD COLOUR by Alonys, creating a custom painted handbag line made from bamboo and canvas. Each one is an authentic one of a kind work of art. Alonys has spent years creating the perfect blend of her main passions… Fashion and Art. In spring 2010 Alonys added custom painted hats to the Mad Colour by Alonys Line, which she has coined the “Head Piece Collection”.

Define the word beauty.

Something that makes your heart skip a beat and makes you feel life.

When did you decide to become a designer?

In 2008

What does fashion mean to you?

Freedom and Expression of self

Who would you like to thank for your success?

My husband who has always been my number 1 supporter, and the amazing collectors of my work that inspire me to Live life in Colour and create bold and beautiful things.

Who are your influences?

The world of entertainment.

What are your biggest personal/professional challenges that you face day to day?

Personally, keeping sane in an insane world, and professionally being patient.

What has been your biggest professional achievement so far?

Having my friends call me and tell me they saw my artwork on MTV Cribs in one of the collector’s homes. That was a great way to start my day.

How do you see the brand developing over the next couple of years?

Right now everything is one of a kind and handmade, so I would like to create manufactured limited

edition collections out of canvas. I also plan to continue customizing everything from

shoes, vests, jeans, etc. I travel to Japan a lot, so I plan to expand overseas.

When you think of Seattle Fashion, what comes to mind? How would you define Seattle’s fashion style?

As a teenager in the 90’s I automatically associate Seattle with a low-key grunge or alternative style, but that couldn’t be far from the reality of Seattle fashion now. I would describe it as unique, fresh, and vibrant. I look forward to seeing the emergence of more Seattle designers.

How has the Seattle Fashion landscape changed over the years?

I feel there is a growing pivotal presence on the fashion map, especially in the states. I think it’s good to have not only LA, NY, Miami, and SF on the map for inspiration of American style.

What excites you about the future of Seattle fashion?

The influence it will have in the fashion world.

What are your inspirations, your dreams for your brand?

The Mad Colour motto is “Live Life In Colour”. As a visual artist/designer I am inspired to give fashion lovers the option to be walking art. My dream is to make the world my canvas.

How would you describe your own personal style?

I dress by my mood, and sometimes I will change 4 times a day. I could start my day in jeans, or ripped tights and a tee and end up in a corset and tutu. I’m like a 5 year old that wants to play dress up all day. Haha. In L.A. on Melrose there is a store called Speed. It is amazing!!!! The first time I walked in there I wanted to buy everything!! I get compliments everytime I wear a piece I bought there.

If you weren’t a fashion designer then what would you be?

A rock star or an actor. I think acting is amazing and very challenging. I would love to test my limits of sanity in that art form.

What is the one item you never leave the house without (other than a cell phone)?


What exciting things are on the horizon?

I am about to go to Tokyo for New Years Eve. An amazing way to start 2011.

What are you looking forward to in the future?

Expanding my brand, creating amazing artwork, and continuing to travel the world with my husband.

Which designers currently working do you admire most? (change per profession)

I love the free spirit of Betsey Johnson. I love the in your face approach of Jeremy Scott. I am really drawn to Lanvin this year, and Alexander Wang. Always love Roberto Cavalli. The list can truly go on and on.

What is the biggest mistake you have made with your business?

Trying to walk before crawling. You learn so much by taking the approach of a baby.

When did you fall in love with fashion?

From the moment I could dress myself and develop my own sense of style.

Do you have any advice for anyone entering your field?

Make a statement. Making a statement doesn’t always mean being loud either. Your art should reflect your personality. So stay true to that. And always always wear your own designs.

What do you design?

I design clutches, hats, and customize men’s and women’s clothing.

When did you fall in love with fashion?

From the moment I could dress myself and develop my own sense of style.

Who and where do you find your inspiration for your designs?

Fashion, Art, Music and Travel.

What are your thoughts on the show “launch my line”, do you think you can compete and come up with designs that will potentially give you and Seattle the exposure it needs?

I personally would not go on a reality television show, even a competition based one for exposure. I think its a good platform for some designers, but it’s not for me.

What is up next for “Mad Colour by Alonys” and what can we expect?

Mad Colour will continue into 2011 with one of a kind clutches, hats, and clothing for artists in the entertainment business, with focus on red carpet events. Expanding the brand in Japan is also on the radar.

What were the first items you remember designing?

Shirts and jeans for local music artists for shows.

What item of clothing (if any) do you wish that more men/women wore (specify which)?

I always love the androgynou style on women. So sexy.

If you could go back in time and experience any fashion moment, what would it be?

The 60’s style of Edie Sedgwick, and the 70’s.

What advice would you give a prospective fashion student?

Embrace the tools, but manifest your own voice and vision.

Do you have any aspirations to expand your line to other lines or industries?

I aspire to create art/design for women, men, and home decor. I would definitely love to create a perfume that exuded the essence of “Living Life in Colour”.

If you could collaborate with one big name international designer, who would it be and why?

I love Betsey Johnson and her approach to fashion… It would be amazing to just meet her and be in the presence of her energy.

What is your design philosophy?

Never overthink. Let your vision breathe.

Do you have a typical type of person in mind when designing and if so does this evolve with each season?

Someone that loves to have fun with fashion and ultimately stand out and be recognized for individual style.

Which fellow designers/brands do you admire (locally)?

I’ve just recently moved, so I haven’t had the opportunity to get familiar with local designers.

Which brands do you wear, other than own?

I’ve been keeping it recession proof and customizing my closet. Making the old new again.

What would you say are the benefits for Seattleites of buying from local designers?

Anytime you buy from local designers you have the opportunity not only to build the social and fashion aesthetic of your city, but to also be cutting edge by wearing a lot of one of a kind designs.

South American Flare with Agua Brava Swimwear

My name is Irina Sosa. I am a native from Venezuela, I have been living in Seattle, Washington for 11 years. I moved here after I finished college with a degree in computer science. The reason for moving was because I wanted to improve my English. I decided to stay because I fell in love with the city, the people, and the culture. I live in Seattle with my husband, David Yesland, and my dog Lola.

1. When did you fall in love with fashion?

Fashion has always been an important part of my life; I love fashion, every detail is important to create a great look.

I fell in love with fashion when I was 17 years old. In college I started selling swimsuits from local designers in order to have extra money. I was so immersed in the whole process; I remember thinking of all the things I could change and do to better with the designs, details, colors, fabric etc. Every time I sold a swimsuit, it took great restrain to stop myself from adding my personal touch to it to make it better! I think it was then that I discovered there was something about creating a piece that ignited a sense of love within me. That is how I create

2. Do you have any aspirations to expand your line to other lines or industries (i.e. men’s wear/women’s wear, perfume, home decor)

In the future, I would like to design men’s wear, but for now I want to dedicate more time to designing for women and kids. In spring 2012, I will be launching beach bags, hair accessories and summer dresses.

3. Did you have to train or apprentice with another designer? How was the experience?

The only training i’ve had was in Venezuela with my friend who is a designer as well. We shared ideas about her line, fabrics and colors, it was very helpful and it has marked my life to see such a talented and passionate person.

4. What was the first item you remembered designing?

A one Piece Swimsuit, when I was 18 years old, I still keep my sketches.


5. What inspired you to start designing?

I always felt  influenced by fabrics, colors, and tendencies. I decided to start putting those influences into my collection, taking my Venezuelan roots and combining them with fashion forward details from American women, creating a sensual, classy, fun and comfortable line.

6. If you weren’t a designer then what would you be?

I am an Entrepreneur at heart, I am always working on different ideas, and I am constantly thinking of how to turn these ideas into successful business. I love the whole process from conceiving an idea; putting into a business plan, developing it, and seeing it grow into a successful product! If I was not a designer, I will probably like to open a restaurant that has Latin American fare, specifically Venezuelan food.

7. Being creative is an everyday challenge for a designer; tell us what keeps your creative motor running?

Anything and everything. I feel inspired from the color and silhouette of a flower, to the waves in the ocean, music and art. I try to stay in line with the new trends, and  always add my own personal touch to all my designs. My main goal is to bring the Venezuelan tendencies and styles to the U.S.; showcasing great color palettes, fun details, and styles that flatter women’s curves.

8. Tell our viewers how do you want them to feel when they wear your brand?

Beautiful, Sexy, Comfortable in your own skin, and the most important thing is that women will be wearing ONE OF A KIND PIECE. I want them to feel that my pieces were specifically created to showcase their best attributes and assets. I want all women to feel secure while wearing an design from  Agua Brava Swimwear.

9. Do you have any advice for anyone entering your field?

Be yourself. Do not be afraid or care what other people think, trust in your instincts

10. What is one skill you can pass onto someone who wants to be a designer?


11. What excites you about the future of Seattle fashion?

The local fashion and apparel industry in the Pacific Northwest is growing by the second, you can notice new trends, tendencies and more diversification. The future of Seattle’s fashion is in the hands of all local designers. It’s time to support the talent of our city!

12. How do you see the brand developing over the next couple of years? What can we expect?

This was my first run; I learned a lot of things from simple mistakes. The brand motto will remain the same, sexy, beautiful, and authentic with a South American flare. Over the next couple years, I want to keep consistency, and I want to start adding more texture to the designs.

13. Quickly, what are the benefits for Seattleites of buying from local designers?

Buying from local designers supports local economic growth and it helps to develop our markets. I think that local designers always have a certain flare to their designs that are drawn from inspiration within their surroundings. By buying from local artist, designers etc, you are giving the seal of approval that if it is good enough for the locals, it is good enough for the rest of the world

Michelle Moore: Seattle Photographer Making it Big

Michelle Moore is fashion editorial and high school senior portrait photographer working in both Seattle and Los Angeles. She had the pleasure of shooting her first Magazine Cover last October with 90210 star Jessica Lowndes (See bottom of page). Michelle loves helping high school seniors see their inner and outer beauty with her boutique-like portrait experience, and bringing awareness to healthy body image through her fashion and celebrity editorial work. Learn more about Michelle and her photography at

How did professional photography enter your life?

I came to professional photography by a number of factors. I had taken a photography class… or three… between my senior year of high school and freshman year of college. I had a definite interest in photography, but was unsure that I would be able to create a business out of something I was so passionate about. During my sophomore year of college I was photographing bands and taking headshots for my actor friends. One day I just decided that I could start charging for my services, and therefore, start a business as a professional photographer.

Who are your influences?

I am definitely inspired by brands such as Anthropologie, Free People, We Are Handsome, Ruche – all brands that are soft and romantic. Teen brands such as Forever 21, Seventeen Magazine, Roxy – inspire me on a California, youthful side. I always have adored J.Crew and brands that have a clean polished studio work. I’m across the board for inspiration. I turn to the cinematography in movies and the lovely things from a great website called Pinterest for more inspiration as well!


What themes were iconic when you began to grow as a professional?

In college I went through a period where I was very influenced by water. It was a recurring theme in my work. Nowadays my portrait work for high school seniors is very influenced by sun, positive energy, and happiness. Iconic (and important) themes are staying consistent with my work (a light, carefree, happy vibe) no matter what I am working with in terms of natural light. This means keeping my style consistent with overcast weather, and sunny weather.

How did you develop your skill as a photographer?

A mixture: A little bit of school and A LOT of shooting! Taking pictures every day, studying the way light works and constantly examining your own work is key to developing your skills.

What is the best way to find work as a fashion and beauty photographer?

Get out there and network! Seattle is such a small community and the best way to get your name out there is to meet people!

How would you describe your photography style?

My style is natural, bright, and youthful.

How did you end up following a career in Seattle?

I was born and raised just a bit north of Seattle, went to high school and college in Seattle. My family, best friends, and network have always been here. I tried to move away, but too many factors keep me here! I have built my brand in this city. It is my home and no matter where work takes me (LA or New York, etc.) – Seattle will always be my home base.

Do you have any other photography interest other than fashion?

Fashion has always been my interest from the beginning. Before I even started taking pictures, I was always into fashion magazines and advertisements. I collected things I ripped out of magazines and pasted them all over my walls and ceiling in high school. I can’t see myself doing anything without a fashion element, like my senior portraits or celebrity editorial work.

What is you dream photo assignment?

I would love to shoot an editorial in Ireland, on the countryside with models on horses – something elaborate, enchanting and ultimately heart stopping. For a magazine, fashion spread, or celebrity, traveling somewhere unique for a photoshoot is my next dream.

If you weren’t a photographer then what would you be?

I think I would either be a Producer, or Cinematographer. I love working in a creative field and I’m very organized. I enjoy putting all the pieces together when doing a fashion shoot.

What is the best advice you received that you can pass down to potentials photographers out there?

Shoot EVERY day!

What do you love most about your job?

I love the flexibility of working for myself, creating my own hours, getting to work with the clients I want and creating something that truly helps girls feel better about themselves. Below are some of my favorite Senior Portraits!




Who would you like to thank for your success?

My family, friends, mentors and everyone that has offered support, advice and friendship along the way! (Below is my first magazine cover with 90210 star Jessica Lowndes!)

What is the photographic philosophy behind your work?

Helping to bring healthy body awareness to young teens by giving them a photoshoot experience that helps them see their own true beauty (inside and out!). Also, by working on fashion projects that help support a healthy body image in that industry as well

Heilyke by Heili Aun Nalla

What do you design?

I design women’s ready to wear and evening wear.

What is your design philosophy?

The longevity of design is my motto while creating garments for Heilyke. Heilyke brand stands for elegant, well-crafted garments that are targeted for the woman desiring a sophisticated and unique look.

When did you decide to become a designer?

I do not remember one definite moment; it has been more gradual progression from one decision to another. But I remember when I first interned and then worked for one of a top designer in Estonia, Kai Saar, I was inspired by her life story and her success, and I remember thinking I want to be like her, I want to create beautiful garments that people wear and feel beautiful in. It was so gratifying to see happy costumers coming in and out her studio every day.

What does fashion mean to you?

Fashion is an art form through which people express themselves and add interest to the visual world.

How has the Seattle Fashion landscape changed over the years?

I have only been here for 8 years, but I have noticed some improvement in people appreciating fashion, due to TV shows such as Project Runway, and large number of fashion events happening locally. Also, I have noticed people looking into personalizing their style to stand out from the crowd.

How would you describe your own personal style? Can you share a few address book recommendations to our readers (hairdressers, tailors, shops… anything you like really)?

My favorite hair stylist is Quint Eby of Quint Eby Salon in Belltown. My new favorite destination for jeans is Derek Andrew in Bellevue, and there is where I found my current favorite pairs of skinny jeans by Genetic Denim, the fabric they use is amazing, it is comfortable, and dries super fast. My current favorite earrings are by local designer Iris Guy Sofer I found at Re Soul in Ballard. My personal style is classic with touch of art, for example I like to dress up my outfits with high quality unique handmade jewelry. I do not follow seasonal trends religiously, I only buy what speaks to me, and that can stay in my wardrobe for a long time. I always prefer quality over quantity.

What item of clothing (if any) do you wish that more men/women wore?

I miss having men wearing beautifully tailored pants and suit jackets more often; I am tired of seeing men only walking around in jeans that are often too baggy and t-shirt or dress shirt only without vest or jacket. I wish they would pay more attention to the entire attire to be well fitted, and try to have more personality to their style. For women, I wish we would not be so into wearing pants, I want to see more dresses and skirts, including on myself.

If you could go back in time and experience any fashion moment, what would it be?

I like it now; I like the mixture of different eras all together so one can choose their style as of what the mood and their body type need, rather than trying to fit in the norm. I also am a big fan of the detailed and luxurious attire of 1600s to 1800s in Europe.

What are your inspirations?

I draw my inspiration from everything around me; nature is one of the main influences. I love how plants are so beautiful, complex, but seem so simple, and not touched by humans. I try to reflect that structure and beauty in my designs. I also am inspired by world cultures. For example my usage of color is inspired by colors of Indian culture, the spices, exotic plants and the colors of textiles.

Who are your influences?

People who have found their purpose in life and do all to pursue their dreams, and try to make a difference.

Do you have a typical type of person in mind when designing and if so does this evolve with each season?

I start with myself lots of times, me as a woman, what do I feel is missing in the world of fashion for women.

Which designers currently working do you admire most?

I really liked Fall 2010 collection by Narciso Rodriquez, and Fall 2010 collection by Nicholas Ghesquiere’s for Balenciaga.

Which fellow designers/brands do you admire (locally)?

Michael Cepress

What are your biggest personal/professional challenges that you face day to day?

Challenge to manage time and tasks at hand.

What has been your biggest professional achievement so far?

Taking steps to first start and to further develop my women’s wear brand Heilyke. The proudest moment as a fashion designer is the honor of winning the title “Best in Show” in the Seamless in Seattle 2010 competition organized by Seattle Magazine.

Do you have any advice for anyone entering your field?

To be a good fashion designer you have to think about who your client is, and how to complement and enhance their natural beauty. Also, you have to believe and stand behind your creations, and make sure you do your best and don’t cut corners in design nor execution.

What would you say are the benefits for Seattlelites of buying from local designers?

When buying directly from the designer then one gets more than just a garment, you get to learn more about the designer behind the clothes, and then your garments are more than just lifeless cover ups.

Who would you like to thank for your success?

That is a long list of people, so to keep it short I want to thank my families by birth and the ones I have created along the way, my teachers in Seattle, USA and in Estonia, my husband, and friends that have been an influence and support.

Caitlin Collins

What does fashion mean to you?

Fashion is the wonderful opportunity to wear art. It captures the consciousness of our time, helping to express what we feel and who we are in the here-and-now. When you look back on past styles, they are all connected to movements and attitudes of the time.

What excites you about the future of Seattle fashion?

If all the talent that resides here rises up together to make their Seattle statement, which I believe they soon will, it’s going to put our city on the map of fashion, and that would be very exciting!

How would you describe your own personal style? Can you share a few address book recommendations to our readers?

My own personal style is a mash-up of the 1960’s, classic femininity and 19th century sailing. Though I adore buying new clothes, nothing beats a unique piece of vintage clothing—my favorite vintage shop is definitely Lucky in the Udistrict, located on the Ave. I can always find something there, and the owner is really nice.

If you weren’t a model then you would be?

A sailor, traveling all around the world. And a novelist. So a sailor-novelist.

What is the one item you never leave the house without?

Pen and paper. I love to write and draw, and you never know when or where you will encounter inspiration!

Which designers currently working do you admire most?

I just found (and now adore) AF Vandevorst. I especially love his Spring 2010 collection.

Do you ever get nervous before a photoshoot or runway show? What do you do to give you that spark of confidence?

Yes, I do get nervous. My best way to beat the butterflies is to spend the couple of hours before I leave for my photoshoot listening to Ladytron’s Witching Hour.

What advice can you give to those who are looking to get into the modeling industry?

Whatever you do, do it completely with confidence. Chances are if you believe in what you do, so will everyone else.

Built for Man by Francisco Hernandez

When did you decide to become a designer?

I am a designer from birth, I have been doing ever since I can remember. Fashion has been good to me , and now is my turn to be good to it.

What does fashion mean to you?

21century , comfort , practical with a strong element of design.  Edgy enough to be innovative yet familiar still to the eye.

Who are your influences?

The people that make my clothes and the people that wear my clothes.

What is your design philosophy?

We build from the yarn up , by empowering rural communities to collaborate with us inspiring them to think alongside us while creating beautiful garments.  Comfort , style, and a strong element of design for the 21 century.

What has been your biggest professional achievement so far?

Establishing a good society and empowering 28 weavers to work alongside us in rural Peru.

How do you see the brand developing over the next couple of years?

We need to showcase our fashions outside our city, we need to get our message out , we are good, just look at the quality and the vision we have.  If we can do this we have full potential to grow. We are also planning to re shape  and rethink the way we see our designs and our direction for 2011 will be very futuristic, we need to make sure we are present and we are living in the 21century a dynamic moment in  time now

When you think of Seattle Fashion, what comes to mind?

How would you define Seattle’s fashion style? Seattle fashion needs to grow we need to see it from with-in not necessary look at it from a thrift/vintage perspective or from a high end , but from a ethical angle, imagine how it would be if everyone in the city dress to par with the rest of the stylish people of the world but had a social responsibility to those that made the clothing.

How would you describe your own personal style?

I like fashion that works I also like fashion that really is visionary, I like the idea that there is a thought process at work, when I dress I look to local designer to support for example I am wearing a pair of jeans I bought years ago at David Lawrence, Sling and Stone, organic denim, from Japan design by a local company.  Still wear them , for me is all about who makes the clothing and what is the process.

What exciting things are on the horizon?

We are currently working with an new community of artisans to develop a silver and leather collection of accessories and we are also capacitating a new community in rural Peru , we are building an industry with them.  Is an ancient community they have Alpacas and Viscunyas, we are trying to get them to safe some of the fleece , normally they would sell all the fleece to the mills for yarn, what we are trying to do is have them keep some in there communities , we would than have them grade the fleece, clean it, spin it , yarn it , than weave it.  By doing so we can capacitate them.   Thinking industrially and build and industry from the yarn up.

What item of clothing do you wish that more men/women wore?

I would love to see more men/ women wearing more Corvatts , I do think they offer a stylish approach to comfort.

If you could go back in time and experience any fashion moment, what would it be?

I want to be in the future not in the pass, maybe is my age, but I, like to think of 2098 when will have a different idea of how to dress, maybe guys can start owing up to new ways of dressing.

If you could collaborate with one big name international designer, who would it be and why?

Gucci, for the fabrics, it takes a lot of money to design your own textiles, Gucci is a master on how to , as are most of the Italians designers.

Who would you like to thank for your success?

My effort , waking up every day and taking the bull by the horns and making every day work. The driving force.

Caitlin Hynes

Define the word beauty.
Beauty is what makes a person special.  Everyone has their own kind of beauty be it in their smile, voice, attitude, or what they do for the world.  The people that allow their own beauty to shine in the way they carry themselves make the world beautiful.  One of my favorite quotes by Nelson Mandela captures the idea perfectly: “And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

Who are your influences?
I do not really have any influences modeling or fashion wise.  I just go with what I feel works for me and hope for the best!

What are your biggest personal/professional challenges that you face day to day?
I wish there were more hours in a day.  I get worn out being a student, working, and finding time to play.  I am constantly baffled by how quickly time goes by.

What excites you about the future of Seattle fashion?
I am excited by the idea of unknown styles to be brought by designers that are yet unknown and in generations to come.  Fashion is ever-changing and I believe as our population continues to become more diverse, new thoughts and inspirations will make their way to the fashion scene.

How would you describe your own personal style?
My personal style is relaxed and comfortable.  Most days you can find me in my favorite pair of skinny jeans and Chuck Taylor tennis shoes.  I also love cute, fitted dresses and plaid especially.  I prefer to buy my clothes secondhand (go recycling and cheap prices!), so I shop at Crossroads and Buffalo Exchange on University Way a lot.  Often times you can find a brand new piece of clothing at a great price in these places.  They also sell brand new items from various boutiques at good prices.  I get my hair cut at Shear Madness on University Way as well.  I have had my hair cut by a different hairdresser every time, and all have done a great job!

If you weren’t a model then what would you be?
I am a model among many things: student, barista, and tutor.  Modeling is a release for me in the rest of my busy life.  I taking a day to put on some cute clothes, get my makeup done, and learn something new at a photo shoot.

What is the one item you never leave the house without?
I’m trying to get into the habit of never leaving the house without a water bottle- it’s important to stay hydrated!

What are you looking forward to in the future?
I am really just looking forward to seeing where my life takes me.  Slowly breaking into my adult life has show me that there are endless possibilities in my future.

What advice can you give to those who are looking to get into the modeling industry?
For anyone that wants to get into the modeling industry, I urge you not to hesitate.  There are so many outlets and ways to get involved in modeling that you can do on your own.  Start an MM page and see who you can meet!  Nobody will discover you if you don’t put yourself out there.