Interview with Angelys Balek
I always dreamed of becoming a fashion designer,” says Angelys Balek, “but it was always important for me to create each piece of clothing as a work of art.” And her dreams have come true — as a trained painter and a visual artist at heart, Balek’s designs look just as stunning on clothing as they would on the walls of a museum.
IVY, the world’s first ‘Social University,’ will feature Balek’s Spring | Summer 2017 line in a special Fashion Week presentation at the High Line Hotel hosted by Miss USA 2015, Olivia Jordan.
Balek, who grew up in Thailand and studied design in London, has earned international recognition for her innovative synthesis of fine arts illustration and fashion-forward design. In 2013, she was nominated as a finalist in WGSN’s Global Fashion Awards, reflecting the breakout success she has since garnered. Her work has been featured in fashion publications including WWD, Marie Claire, Elle, Lucky, and Harper’s Bazaar, and she continues to build a red-carpet clientele of Hollywood’s leading stars.
Schooled originally as a painter, Balek won’t compromise when it comes to combining her crafts, holding fashion to the standards of contemporary painting practices. She incorporates her original artwork into a complex process of manipulating fabric and texture to create nothing less than ‘wearable art.’ And her jet-setting lifestyle (Balek maintains a flagship store in Bangkok and production in New York) is echoed in her designs, which draw upon both eastern and western influences to achieve a universally striking aesthetic.
IVY’s upcoming presentation with Balek will feature models tastefully showcasing her work for IVY members, VIPs, press, and fashion influencers. In anticipation of this special event, we sat down with Balek for an inside look at her process, perspective, and plans for the future.
Q: Was there a designer or artist who inspired you most to become an artist-designer yourself?
It’s hard to choose just one designer that inspired me, to be honest. I grew up completely enamored with fashion, spending any free time I had looking at fashion magazines and studying the colors, textures, and styling of the looks in the editorials. That inspired my own imagination and prompted me to start drawing and painting on my own. I always dreamed of becoming a fashion designer, but it was always important for me to create each piece of clothing as a work of art — I love to paint in a more abstract style and it only seemed natural to use my own paintings and art as the basis for my designs.
It was always important for me to create each piece of clothing as a work of art.
Q: Can you describe the “Angelys Balek woman”?
The Angelys Balek woman is a strong, empowered female who can freely celebrate her individuality, always confident in her self expression. She is feminine and playful, yet also artistic and bold. We aim to mirror that tenacity with our one-of-a-kind prints, designed to make women feel beautiful but still comfortable.
The Angelys Balek woman is a strong, empowered female.
Q: What would you say differentiates your designs from other designers?
I am a fine artist — my prints, embroidery, and shapes all manifest inside me first and in the form of abstract fine art before being transferred to our fabrics, which I don’t think many designers do these days. My prints tend to be more complex to execute on clothing because, like my paintings, there are layers and layers that build the final result. My work is very personal and I love that many of our clients really understand this and choose to wear our designs for that reason — they feel connected to the pieces.
My work is very personal.
Q: What have been the most difficult challenges you’ve faced?
One of the most difficult challenges we’ve faced as a company is growing our brand over the years and having the patience to wait for it to truly become recognized in the market. Additionally, coming up with the original artwork that will serve as the basis of the prints season-after-season, as well as executing the final product to my standards can be challenging, but that’s also fun and exciting at the same time.
Q: What has been your proudest moment or a time you were particularly excited about someone wearing your designs?
I think with each collection that is completed, I reach a new proud moment so really seeing the brand evolve and my vision come to life season-after-season is the most rewarding part of what we do. Hopefully, after my first show during New York Fashion Week I will reach my next proud moment as showing the collection to so many people at once in such a fantastic setting has always been a dream of mine.
Q: What do you believe in that you don’t think everyone else does?
That’s a tough question as it’s hard to know what anyone else believes in, however, I believe in my artistic process and the fact that I can push myself to be a better designer with each season. I think as a designer, your job is never really done.
Q: What is the one idea that you want to impart to everyone in the world or impact you’d like to leave as a legacy?
Develop your own design aesthetic and sense of branding. Focus on your vision no matter what might shake your passion along the way. Celebrate your core values and unique point of view.
Celebrate your core values and unique point of view.
Q: What do you aspire to do next with your brand?
It’s been exciting to grow our company into a true global luxury lifestyle brand that offers products across many categories including ready-to-wear, swimwear, and accessories. We hope to expand more in the swimwear and accessories categories globally, as well as explore other products that would work well with our original prints.
IVY is the world’s first Social University, dedicated to education and inspiring the next generation of leaders. To join IVY, please visit ivy.com.