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Rachel Antonoff

Rachel Antonoff makes pretty, frilly clothes—and Bass shoes!—that we all want to wear. Hot tip: she recently went blonde, which we think was a ballsy, brilliant move.

Lucky: How'd you start makin' this shiz?

RA: I had a line before this with a partner. We were roommates and had all these ideas for dresses we wished we had and decided to see them through. We ended up going our separate ways and I started Rachel Antonoff in Spring 2009. 

What did you do prior to being a designer?

I was a freelance writer. I wrote for Nylon and Teen Vogue. Occasionally I still write for Lula.

What's your favorite part about your job?

Daydreaming up the clothes and then seeing them become real. Sometimes it feels like magic.

What do you do when you're not designing clothing?

I am involved in most aspects of the business so there is a ton of work to be done separate from design when I'm not working. 

What's your idea of personal style?

Confidence and comfort. I don't care how amazing a pair of shoes are, if it's obvious someone is sacrificing comfort for fashion, it's just not attractive.   

Who is your favorite designer?

I love so many. Miu Miu, Peter Jensen, Rachel Comey.

Who is the designer you'd most like to collaborate with?

Lizzie Fortunato, Jansport, RAY SIEGEL

Who is your favorite rapper?

I really like Chiddy Bang right now, does that count? Will always love Biggie. Kind of love Fabolous.

What's your advice for designers who are just starting out?

Try not to think too much and just do. Insecurity and overthinking will keep you from getting shit done. 

What's next for Rachel Antonoff?

Stuff!! Working hard on the Spring 2013 show and working on a project with my brother that I'm really excited about.  

Will you marry me?

In a New York minute.

Who is your favorite seashell?

MARCEL!!!!

The Decades Hat Co., Matt & Brooks

Matt and Brooks design these totally '90s hats that all the cool kids wear.

How'd you start makin' hats?  

Brooks: It started really out of the love for wearing hats. 

What did you both do prior to starting your hat biz?

Brooks: I was a co-owner designer and printing monkey for Fresh Melt Water. It was a mainly graphic tees line and we had a storefront in Philly.

Matt: I attended The Art Institute of Philadelphia for Video Production and interned for a few local studios.

What's your idea of personal style?

Matt: Style for me is something that's always evolving and changing. Right now I wear a lot of vintage Tommy/Polo/Nautica—basically what I was wearing in the early-mid '90s—with the difference being that my clothes actually fit me now. It's all just a cycle and I like to mix stuff from the past and present.

Brooks: I've been through a lot of styles in my life and I'm comfortable drawing from any of them on a given day. Currently I'm more in to solid colors/color blocking and functional, quality. This summer I was pretty into vintage Reyn Spooner three-button pullovers with wild patterns. I thrift a lot so I'm usually wearing something contemporary and something old mixed in with a pattern somewhere.

Who is your favorite designer?

Matt: I'd have to say Ralph Lauren circa the early '90s.

Who is the designer you'd most like to collaborate with?

Matt: Right now we have so many ideas of our own that we aren't really looking to collaborate.

Brooks: Yea we aren't interested in focusing on collabs right now. We want to build our name and showcase what we can do before affiliating with another brand. We are working with photographer Lucas Stevens from Shantydorm.com on a series of lookbooks, though. I'd consider that to be the biggest collaborative effort right now. 

Who is your favorite rapper?

Matt: My favorite rapper of all time is Ghostface, but currently I'm really messin' with Joey Bada$$.

Brooks: Choosing a favorite rapper of all-time is tough, but right now I'm usually playing Grande Marshall.

What's your advice for designers who are just starting out?

Matt: Be original, be willing to take risks, and keep putting the money back into your business and not in your pockets until your budget is where you want it to be. Understand strategy and the psychological side of things when it comes to marketing. Have your designs reflect who you are, draw from your influences and make what you want to make.

Brooks: Read Amarillo Slim In a World Full of Fat People.

Sunghee Bang

With plenty of experience at big time labels—McQueen! Som!—Sunhee really knows how to cut a t-shirt.

What did you do before you started your line?

I went to Fashion Institute of Technology majoring fashion design and specializing in knitwear. Interlacing internship experiences at Alexander McQueen, Donna Karan, J Mendel, Jill Stuart and Peter Som, I developed my own sense of design. Upon graduating, I immediately and without hesitation set out to create my first collection.

What did you learn during your internship at McQueen?

In 2008, I designed Eiffel tower and Coil body prints for his Spring 2009 collection. Working in London with Alexander McQueen provided me with an entirely different perspective on fashion. McQueen’s approach to design showed me that there is no one-way to design. 

Also, this experience is a big influence that I am now more concentrating on print along with knit. Starting from textile allows me to move beyond cut-and-sew so that I can incorporate different textures and techniques to the clothes I design. And, it gives my collection an allure and depth.

Which designer would you most like to collaborate with?

I would like to collaborate with designer Manish Arora. If I collaborate with him, it could bring something more quirky and new from me. I love the sense of humor in his designs. Maybe, I would create a crazy colorful knit dress?

Who is your favorite designer?

My favorite designer is Sandra Backlund. When I saw her knitwear collection, I immediately fell in love with her. Her craftsmanship is just amazing.

Who is your favorite cartoon character?

My favorite cartoon character is Gargamel. I love this character because he is evil but stupid. I remember I was very scared of him when I was a child, haha.

What's the last album that you bought?

Making Mirrors by Gotye—I like the songs that are minor scales.

What is your favorite thing that you own?

My favorite things are yarns in my studio. They show the history of my collection. Each season, I create new knit stitches so I order different kinds of yarn from all over the world. New yarns will arrive soon from Italy. I think I need to have one more shelf to store them though. I can’t wait to start the new season!

How would you describe your personal style?

My personal style is simple and casual. I always wear something minimal. I don’t really wear jewelry and accessories.

What plans, if any, do you have to extend your brand?

My plan is to be able to present my collection at New York Fashion Week because I want my line to [be introduced to] more people.

What do you hope to communicate to people through your designs?

I want people to associate my designs with quality, beauty and an element of surprise.

Daniel Vosovic

You may know Daniel Vosovic as the designer that everyone wanted to win on the second season of Project Runway. We know him as our favorite contestant to ever grace the show. His prints and construction are to die over, and we're all excited to see what's next. Plus, he's just a really nice guy.

Who is your favorite designer?

Me, duh.

What did you do before you started your brand?

Worked the trenches of the fashion industry and got my reality show on!

What are your hobbies?

People watching, coffee breaks, reading well written fiction and throwing shade.

What do you collect?

Mid century furniture.

How'd you begin to design?

After years of art history, painting, sculpting and a failed attempt at architecture, I took a sewing class on a whim and went from making boxer shorts to cocktail dresses. The rest is history.

What is your idea of personal style?

Authenticity is key.

Who is your favorite rapper?

Biggie Smalls or Lil Kim.


Who would you most like to collaborate with?

Shalom Harlow + Inez and Vinoodh + Nicholas Kirkwood—I feel like something amazing could happen there.

What will the next extension of your brand be?

Handbags and small leather goods.

When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?

A professional roller skater or an animator.

What do you hope to communicate to others through your designs?

I want my clothes to bring out the best of what is already inside the woman who puts them on.

Who is your favorite cartoon character?

The Animaniacs!

Will you marry me?

Do I get health insurance and a stipend?

Reece Hudson

You've seen her and her luxury accessories collection on our site many times before—and we're still watching to see what Reece Solomon will do next. We've had a sneak peek at her latest collection—and let's just say the girl knows her way around those exotic skins.

Who is your favorite designer? Riccardo Tisci, and Rick Owens.  

What do you collect?
Vintage clothing and jewelry.  
 
How'd you begin to design?

I started interning for Proenza Schouler when I was in college. After that studied fashion design at Parsons while continuing to intern for Proenza as well as Rag & Bone, who gave me my first opportunity to design for a proper collection. Shortly after I graduated from Parsons I began my own line with my business partner, Max.
 
What is your idea of personal style?

Knowing what works for you and not having to try too hard or force a particular trend on yourself. It never looks right because you won't carry it well.
 
Who is your favorite rapper?
Lil Wayne, ASAP Rocky, Raekwon
 
Who would you most like to collaborate with?
I'd love to work with Mary Katranzou and play with translating her vivid prints onto leather and snake skins for bags.
 
When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?

Veterinarian, but when I found out that the job entailed more than playing with animals all day, I switched to fashion designer  
 
What do you hope to communicate to others through your art and design?
A modern, fashion forward design that has classic appeal, with a great attention to detail and a focus on quality and craftsmanship. I love handbags for their ability to transform an outfit (or in many cases make an outfit) and so there's a challenge in designing a handbag that represents someone's personal style while maintaining a neutral quality in many ways. I also love the mystery handbags hold in hiding a woman's personal possessions, and I have a lot of fun playing around with that notion, even if its only through interior details and pocket placements that only the wearer of the bag would notice.  Women enjoy secrets.
 
Who is your favorite cartoon character?

 Betty Boop (I dressed as her for Halloween).
 
Who is your favorite person?
Ray Siegel, naturally. Or Michele Lamy, but that's from afar (I unfortunately have never met her).
 
What is your favorite thing that you own?
My dog, Georgia, second would be a Donald Sultan "Smoke Rings" photograph my parents gave me for my college graduation.

Katie Ermilio

The daughter of a third generation bespoke tailor, Katie Ermilio's work is so precise, so fine, it's often difficult to believe it was imagined by a woman in her mid-20s. Super impressive.

Who is your favorite designer?
It’s so hard to keep this list short but I’ll try to limit it to a handful...Cristobal Balenciaga, Phoebe Philo, Raf Simons, Lyn Devon.

Who is your muse?

Always my clients. My tastes and aesthetic as a designer are always evolving, but they’re the one constant in the equation.

What did you do before starting your line?
I worked at Teen Vogue

What's your favorite hobby?
Favorite hobby of the moment is watching art history documentaries on Netflix.

Who is your ideal customer?

Someone who can’t get enough of wearing her favorite KE dress. I love a customer who buys my clothes to wear for life.

Who is your favorite rapper?

I’m pretty sure my best friend Lauren would never speak to me if I didn’t go with DMX.

What else is on the horizon for Katie Ermilio?

Besides the SS13 collection? Be on the look out for more accessories in the coming seasons.



8. What's your favorite part about being a designer?
Designing. Sounds kind of obvious, but there are so many layers to this job that I totally immerse myself in the moments that I get to do what I got into this business to do.




9. Who would you most like to collaborate with?
Right now? Lipstick Queen.




How do you think fashion has changed in the last decade?

The immediacy of it all is definitely a collective talking point. At the rate we share information today, fashion’s shifts and changes are literally playing out in real time before our eyes.


Baron Von Fancy, aka Gordon Stevenson

New York-based artist and designer, Gordon Stevenson, is one of the most creative people you'll meet. He's quiet in person. But as you'll see from his somewhat sarcastic responses, everything else he does delivers the message loud and clear. Whether it's button-ups made out of his childhood bedsheets or one of his explicit graphics, we're pretty much down with everything he's doing.

Who is your favorite designer? Whomever designs the tees sold on Canal Street.
 
What do you collect?
Ephemera of New York City.

What is your idea of personal style?
Being yourself.

Who is your favorite rapper?
My favorite wrapper is probably my aunt, she makes a sick bow and always has amazing wrapping paper.

Who would you most like to collaborate with?

I'd love to make something with Barack Obama for the White House gift shop.   


Why do you do what you do?
I am addicted to making things. A day without being creative is like a year without summer for me.

You go by Baron Von Fancy, but your prints are signed Stevenson… Explain? What's the difference?
Gordon Stevenson is my birth name and Baron Von Fancy is the namesake I came up with I started making objects intended to be sold commercially.  I originally used my birth name for any work intended to be shown in a gallery and Baron Von Fancy for anything intended to be sold in a store.  I felt the brand name Baron Von Fancy was much more appealing than Gordon Stevenson.  Over time, the line has blurred and they have become interchangeable (at least to me). In time I hope they are synonymous with each other so I attempt to blur the line between the two as much as I can.  
 
Is there a BVF mission statement? 

Baron Von Fancy is an artist and designer born, raised, and living in New York City. Questioning conventions and pushing boundaries, his work can be found on gallery walls, street corners and retail counters.

What will the next extension of your brand be?

Actually becoming a brand.

When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?
A boss.

What do you hope to communicate to others through your art and design?

An escape portal to another dimension.

Who is your favorite cartoon character?
Minnie Mouse or Dizzy Devil.

Eddie Eddie by Billy Tommy, Sean Kinney

Sean Kinney's reworked vintage sweatshirts and bunny key chains are sold at American Two Shot in New York. Olivier Zahm likes them.

Where are you from?  

I grew up in Sag Harbor—I moved to the Hamptons from upstate when I was two.

Who is your favorite designer?

Ralph Lauren, Hermes, Iceberg and maybe Mecca.

What are your hobbies?

Making stuff: Art, clothes, furniture, music, writing and probably definitely partying, too.

What do you collect?

I try to collect things, but I am constantly losing things, so IDK.

What is your idea of personal style? 

I believe in style over fashion.

Who is your favorite rapper? 

I love all rap, but maybe Camron, Beanie Sigel and Outkast.

Who would you most like to collaborate with? 

Anyone as long as the idea is smart.

What will the next extension of your brand be? 

I honestly have no idea—it could be anything.

When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up? 

A cook, a teacher or famous.

Who is your favorite cartoon character? 

I like the cowboy from Roger Rabbit.

Who is your favorite person? 

This question is insane, but I think my mom and Tupac.

What is your favorite thing that you own? 

My brain.

ALL Knitwear, Annie Larson

Annie Larson is a one-woman knitting machine.

What did you do before you started your brand?

I designed juniors and men's apparel for Target Corporation in Minneapolis.

Who is your favorite designer?

Bonnie Cashin, Issey Miyake, Mary Quant.

What are your hobbies?

I like to practice my nail art and eat delicious food when I'm not working.

What do you collect?

Swatch watches and miniatures.

How'd you begin to design?

I was first romanced by the knitting machine in late 2009 and have been designing and knitting sweaters ever since.

Who is your favorite rapper?

Biggie.

Who would you most like to collaborate with?

I'm not sure?

What will the next extension of your brand be?

I would like to expand to children's apparel someday....

When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?

A doctor or a professional pianist.

Who is your favorite cartoon character?

Stewie.

What do you hope to communicate to others through your designs?

That I'm having a good time.

Dusen Dusen, Ellen van Dusen

What did you do before you started your brand?

Before I started my brand I was working for another designer in Brooklyn, Mary Meyer. I was her assistant and was helping her with all aspects of the business, and I learned a ton.

Who is your favorite designer?

My favorite designer is Jean Charles de Castelbajac. He's a French designer who uses unexpected materials (like stuffed animals, shoes, blankets, etc), crazy colors and really literal interpretations of his influences. It's so nuts that it's almost unwearable, but I love seeing what he comes up with every season.

What do you collect?

I collect everything sharks and watermelon. I have a real shark jaw, two shark hats, a shark shower curtain, shark towels... the list goes on. Everything in my kitchen has a watermelon on it. I went by Watermelon Ellen as a kid. For my birthday last year my boyfriend made me a Tumblr called shark melon where it's only images of sharks and watermelons. He keeps updating it, it's one of my all time favorite gifts. I also have a large collection of artist editions and zines, which we have on a rotating magazine rack in our apartment.

Who is your favorite rapper?

My favorite rapper is Biz Markie. He has a great song about shopping in Brooklyn that I really relate to.

Who would you most like to collaborate with?

If I could collaborate with anyone I would choose Natalie du Pasquier. She was one of the founding members of the design group Memphis, which was a major source of inspiration for my spring collection. Her patterns are really amazing and it would be so incredible to incorporate them into one of my collections.

What did you want to be you grow up?  

When I was a kid I wanted to work with the Muppets. After I graduated from college I applied for a job making puppets at Jim Henson's workshop, and it's still a dream of mine to visit the studio.

Who is your favorite cartoon character?

My favorite cartoon character is Trent from Daria. He's such a babe!

What's next for you?

There are no immediate plans for this, but I would love to get into the housewares and upholstery fabric market. I made pillows as part of a recent collection and I really enjoyed the change of pace. My favorite part of the design process is designing prints, and I would love to explore that more with a new medium in mind.