Designer Spotlight: Flying Solo Designers this Fashion Week

Each season, Flying Solo showcases new talented independent designers from across the globe.

Today, we’ve interviewed some designers who got selected for this season to be showcased in New York and Paris.

 
Flying Solo

Marc Bernstein
Patricia Govea
Alicia Calero
Volta Atelier
Jacqueline City
Suzette Bussey
LO Boutique
09719
Ashale
Christine Joy
Dhanir
Divineity
Dorothy Zudora
Emma Altman
Fancy Troubles
Julia Daviy
Lily_s Bridal Studio
Miashan
Nazarene Fashion
Not-A-Label
Ohhmiaaa
Saba Asad
Simona Rusk
Tala Made
Tamara
Tiffany Brown Fashion
Wonderland Childrenswear

Marc Bernstein

Patricia Govea

Alicia Calero

Volta Atelier

Jacqueline City

Suzette Bussey

LO Boutique

09719

Ashale

Christine Joy

Dhanir

Divineity

Dorothy Zudora

Emma Altman

Fancy Troubles

Julia Daviy

Lily_s Bridal Studio

Miashan

Nazarene Fashion

Not-A-Label

Ohhmiaaa

Saba Asad

Simona Rusk

Tala Made

Tamara

Tiffany Brown Fashion

Wonderland Childrenswear

Marc Bernstein thumbnail
Patricia Govea thumbnail
Alicia Calero thumbnail
Volta Atelier thumbnail
Jacqueline City thumbnail
Suzette Bussey thumbnail
LO Boutique thumbnail
09719 thumbnail
Ashale thumbnail
Christine Joy thumbnail
Dhanir thumbnail
Divineity thumbnail
Dorothy Zudora thumbnail
Emma Altman thumbnail
Fancy Troubles thumbnail
Julia Daviy thumbnail
Lily_s Bridal Studio thumbnail
Miashan thumbnail
Nazarene Fashion thumbnail
Not-A-Label thumbnail
Ohhmiaaa thumbnail
Saba Asad thumbnail
Simona Rusk thumbnail
Tala Made thumbnail
Tamara thumbnail
Tiffany Brown Fashion thumbnail
Wonderland Childrenswear thumbnail

 
Marc Bernstein, Marc Bernstein New York

Q: How did you start your brand?

My first love was always wood-working and my friend had a handbag line so I went down to her workshop and saw that working with leather was very translatable. I found some source for leather and came up with a pattern called the “staple stitch”, similar to when a surgeon does sutures. I created a bracelet for myself and that was the beginning of it. I guess you could say I saw a void in the market. Some stylists saw my bracelet and asked me to develop pieces for fashion stories in various magazines and it really just took off from that point.

Q: What was your inspiration for your current collection?

In summer camp I had a blue trunk with a really cool lock on it, that’s the base hardware for it. The ‘Journey’ collection is about understanding different elements of culture which can be anything in a museum to an item found in local or street flea markets. The concept is to bring these elements in to help people understand and connect with other cultures.

Q: If you could describe your collection 3 words, what would they be?

Urban-chic, sophisticated, artisanal.

 
Patricia Govea, Patricia Govea

Q:How did you start your brand?

This is a social impact enterprise. So I started my brand to be conscious about the need of indiginous people in Mexico. I was in a museum in Paris and I saw a long line of people waiting to appreciate a piece of art and I realized that the piece of art was from my state in my country, Mexico and I realized that I had no idea about what my culture was. That made me feel so embarrassed and at the same time made me want to learn more about my culture. So I started to educate myself about these communities and about the needs of these communities. Like they suffered from segregation and discrimiation and I thought about what I could do for these communities which were completely forgotten and invisible in this situation.

Q:What was your inspiration for your current collection?

The DNA of the brand and the inspiration is to empower the indiginous people.

Q:If you could describe your collection in 3 words, what would they be?

Sophisticated, art, consciousness.

 
Alicia Calero, Alicia Calero

Q:How did you start your brand?

I worked as a stylist for 6 years but had been designing since I was a kid, just never pursued it. One night around 3am I got a text message from my ex-husband. I was worried something happened so I called him and he said, “You know what, you stood by me when I started my business and I couldn’t have done it without you and now I want to do the same for you.” So, here we are.

Q:What was your inspiration for your current collection?

Midnight in the garden of good and evil. It’s dark and twisty.

Q:If you could describe your collection in 3 words, what would they be?

Bold, romantic and surreal.

 
Claire Elizabeth, Claire Elizabeth

Q:How did you start your brand?

From the time I was 10 I wanted to be a fashion designer. I went to college and majored in apparel design and mathematics. I decided to continue with apparel design. I kept sewing out of my little apartment in Brooklyn and posting on Instagram. Then I got scouted for Vancouver Fashion Week this past October and applied for the Flying Solo show and things are working out. My main thing is to bring confidence to whoever wears my pieces.

Q:What was the inspiration for your current collection?

Noticing the trends and making use of what fabrics were available as far as reusing older fabrics from other designers and color schemes and jewel tones.

Q:If you could describe your collection in 3 words, what would they be?

Confident, elegant and fun.

 
Fernanda Daudt, Volta Atelier

Q:How did you start your brand?

Volta Atelier is a purpose driven brand of upcycled leather bags hand-stitched by Haitian refugees living in Brazil. The brand was created as a consequence of my previous experiences working as a trend forecaster and design consultant in Brazil and China.

Q:What was your inspiration for your current collection?

We believe that there are many ways of being connected with our times without necessarily following trends. As we are constantly working on timelessness and simplification, we have chosen classic shapes to highlight the manual work and the leathers characteristics.
For this nyfw edition we focused on contrasts and we are showing very small bags versus large totes and backpacks . For the materials, plain metallic versus earthy tones in organic looks and embossed leathers.

Q:3 words to describe the collection?

Upcycling, conscious, contemporary

 
Jacqueline City, Jacqueline City Apparel

Q:How did you start your brand?

I was a huge fan of fashion growing up and taught myself how to sew at the age of 6. I developed a disability in 2014 and while relearning how to walk, talk, read and write; was bedridden from 2015 to 2016. I had to develop a way to express my creativity again so I decided to create a brand at the end of 2018 and debuted in February/March of 2019. It has mens, womens, unisex, kids and plus sizes. Because of my disability it was really important for me to create a brand that was very curated for anyone to wear and also very affordable and inclusive of everyone.

Q:What was your inspiration for your current collection?

The inspiration for the fall/winter collection is the winter solstice. The death and rebirth of the sun.

Q:If you could describe your collection in 3 words, what would they be?

Celestial, whimsical and rebirth.

 
Suzette Bussey, Nortonandhodges

Q:How did you start your brand?

I spent a 6 week honeymoon in South Africa and fell in love with how natural and rugged it is. I wanted something I could wear every day to remind me of and commemorate the amazing trip. Something with zebra or from that area. My husband said, “Well if you can’t find one then why don’t you make one?” Because that’s what we have a lot of access to, like exotics from our farm in Africa. That’s what we eat there. I said, “okay,” and 8 years later the brand went from being inspired from my trip to wanting to inspire others to know more about Africa and it’s materials and sustainability. They are sustainable in Africa out of necessity because they don’t have access to all the things we have access to, so it’s a great way to have a conservation about sustainability when I’m using materials from there.

Q:What was the inspiration for your current collection?

We drive around Africa to places so different, but with a unifying look and feel in the richness and wildness. I wanted to bring in different textures like Fall in Zimbabwe; these places talk to you after a while. I bring these elements into the collection with hats, purses, shoes, and necklaces inspired by tribal looks, but making it accessible to western looks; mixing in a little romance.

Q:If you could describe your collection in 3 words, what would they be?

Wild, elegant and unexpected.

 
Sofia Mantoni, LO Boutique

Q:How did you start your brand?

5 years ago, we decided to move from Argentina to the United States and my husband said, “you’re so talented at making clothes that we’re doing a clothing brand.” I did it just for the fun of it. Just for me and my girls and friends.

Q:What was the inspiration for your current collection?

Sustainability and minimalism. My collection has to do with being functional yet refined and abandoning anything redundant. I focus on comfort and create my patterns based on that. I use a lot of colors, which are important because certain colors make you feel. Colors have energy. Functionality and comfort weigh in as well.

Q:If you could describe your collection in 3 words, what would they be?

Minimalism meets comfort.

 
Mareah Peoples, Vinter

Q:How did you start your brand?

I started my brand to solve the problem of leaving your mittens or scarf behind on the bus or in a cafe. As a solution I created a winter coat with functional accessories like a detachable winter scarf, a chest warmer, and mitten pockets. I wanted to create a product that can be adapted to not only the weather, but also people’s occasion and their mood. I designed the accessories to also allow you to modify your style according to the atmosphere you’re in and the environment that you’re going to.

Q:What was the inspiration for your current collection?

Different cultures. While I am a black American by nationality and ethnicity, I lived most of my life as an expat, from my childhood in Saudi Arabia to my adolescent period in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania and my adult life in Norway. In the Middle East garments cover the body and are designed to keep warmth out using lighter colors. In Norway clothes are designed to keep warmth in and be functional because of dramatic weather conditions.In the U.S. I changed clothes and styles as a means of expression and wanted to design a garment that allowed people to change their expression to suit how they wanted to feel. All these cultures have the adaptation to physical and cultural landscapes in common. The colors in people’s physical environment are the primary colors used in their dress. The Vinter collection also uses natural primary colors as an inspiration. The Vinter scarf can be worn as a traditional winter scarf and as a Middle Eastern head scarf. If you wear it as a belt it gives the illusion of a Japanese kimono. The mitten pockets are designed after the Norweigan Selbu mittens but also give the illusion of the French moufle. In the U.S. our chest warmer is deconstructive as well and gives a modern perspective to classic style. Various human cultures is the vantage point of my creation for Vinter.

Q:If you could describe your collection in 3 words, what would they be?

Modifiable, subtle and sharp.

 
Maria Venturini, Venturini Couture

Q:How did you start your brand?

I went to fashion school and discovered I love sewing. I had the examples of my mom and two grandma’s that were sewers. I’ve seen sewing and making patterns all my life. It gives me therapy and I feel really great. I’m the kind of person that likes to dress classy and romantic at the same time and that’s what I’m portraying in my designs, I want to emphasize in the shape of a woman’s body. I want to teach the youngsters how to dress up. Dressing up can lift a woman’s spirit and I want to teach that with my brand, using organic fabrics.

Q:What was the inspiration for your current collection?

Nature. I like the colors of the fall and winter, emphasizing classy ready to wear. I have pencil skirts and blouses which are things everyone should have at least one of in their closet. I want to make women feel good every day.

Q:If you could describe your collection in 3 words, what would they be?

Respect nature and environment.

 
Kiara C. Morrow, KICOMO

Q:How did you start your brand?

Kiara C. Morrow started her own design studio in her bedroom. As a one woman business, she began freelance designing for various fashion shows in the Washington D.C. area. She ultimately established her own brand, KICOMO, in 2018.

Q:What was the inspiration for your current collection?

Intermixing beautiful things. I mixed & matched colors with geometric prints with natural hues to create a collection full of edgy contrasts.

Q:If you could describe your brand in 3 words what would they be?

Intrepid, Bold, Different

 
Mojgan Razani, Razani Design

Q:How did you start your brand?

I started designing and wearing my own clothes and received positive comments about them from friends and strangers. I decided to start my own brand while attending fashion school in Vancouver, Canada.

Q:What was the inspiration for your current collection?

I am a strong advocate of women’s rights and also that unique fashion does not have to be very expensive. The calligraphy on my designs are from the Persian poet, Foroogh Farrokhzad. She broke many taboos about what a womans’ role should be in traditional society. The calligraphy is done in a modern and unique way, different from traditional views of Persian calligraphy. It is the signature of the brand, flowing with simple lines yet unique. Not exclusive to certain age groups, they are accessible to every woman.

Q:if you could describe your collection in 3 words, what would they be?

Simple, elegant and unique.

 
Simona Rusk, Simona Rusk Design

Q:How did you start your brand?

The brand evolved from a desire to create shoes that make women feel beautiful, confident, and glamorous. I wanted to re-imagine heritage and tradition for a modern, global-minded woman and showcase Italian and British craftsmanship at the same time.

Q:What was the inspiration for your current collection?

This collection is inspired by the lavish interiors and ornate architecture of British stately homes. It pays homage to both Britain’s rich heritage in interior design and its shoemaking tradition. Archival prints and fabrics have been re-created in bold, modern colourways, while the silhouettes take inspiration from history.

Q:Three words?

Opulent, unexpected and fiercely feminine

 
Tala Surace, TalaMade

Q:How did you start your brand?

TalaMade has been a working concept since I can remember. I wanted to create a label that would express my own sense of individuality. At the completion of university, I decided to pitch my concept/business plan to investors who took TalaMade on board and believed in the brand as a whole.

Q:What was the inspiration for your current collection?

The 100.K ZONE & UNLIMITED Collections are designed to be both extensions of myself and the 100.K ZONE concept as a whole which philosophises the components of a dystopian, planned landscape; a society parallel to society.

Q:If you could describe your collection in 3 words, what would they be?

Uniformed, Diverse, Versatile.

 
Tyrone Reid, Reganalds

Q:How did you start your brand?

I started my brand because I hate fashion; the same look, the same colours and the same patterns. I got invited to help a friend at a fashion trade show in America and met a clothing manufacturer who said “I should just start doing fashion for myself” and the rest is history.

Q:What was your inspiration for your current collection?

To make a statement. A lot of times, people only get one chance to shine and show what they are really made of. Our newest collection has that in mind; to be bold and own the whole show.

The other collection is Midnight Blue, which is about looking at the night sky when it’s not too dark and you can start to see the stars sparkling ever so slightly. It’s an amazing and peaceful sight to see.

Q:If you could describe your collection in 3 words, what would they be?

Unique , bold and luxury.

 
Gabriela Sobral, Wonderland Childrenswear

Q:How did you start your brand?

In 2016 my mother made a black floral skirt and whenever I wore it I’d be asked where got it from. We decided to create an online store and Instagram profile to sell custom made skirts and it all just escalated from there. Now I do all the designing and my mother, Suzana, is the head seamstress.

Q:What was the inspiration for your current collection?

Our main goal with Wonderland is to create age appropriate, fun, and stylish fashion for children and teens. Our collection is divided into two very distinct styles. One is influenced by the beauty of tropical flowers in South America, featuring fun styles with vibrant colors like orange, blue, and red, and eye-catching floral prints. The second part is a more formal style inspired by the loveliness of a starry sky and the soothing calmness it brings. We wanted this collection to represent childhood and how simple and beautiful it can be, focusing all the attention on turning simplicity into something captivating.

Q:If you could describe your collection in 3 words, what would they be?

Made. For. Kids.

 
Orbit Lin, 09719

Q:How did you start your brand?

Neither of us received authentic fashion design training. Orbit Lin was an internet engineer and I was a designer from a fine art background. We were both highly interested in fashion from skateboarding culture and the impacts on fashion trends back when we were students. Our ignorance became our advantage and unconventional solutions often lead to garments that “no one has done before.”

Q:What was the inspiration for your current collection?

Our inspiration originates from the pure passion of where we are from – the oriental local culture, oriental philosophy. We love to reinterpret concepts such as the polarities of the Yin and Yang in Tai Chi via magnetic buttons. We like to use recycled materials such as polyester texturized yarn or leather made by dam sediment. We’ve also used oyster shell powder mixed with plastic pellets made from recycled PET bottles. Oyster shells are great multi-function materials for temperature adjustment, deodorant, anti-bacteria, anti-UV etc. From materials to processes, exchanging ideas with professionals has always enlightened us for unlimited possibilities.

Q:If you could describe your brand in 3 words, what would they be?

Diversification, unlimited and free.

 
Tamara, TamaraNY

Q:How did you start your brand?

Tamar Tsomaia is originally from the country of Georgia and moved to New York in 2013. She graduated from Art School in Tbilisi, Georgia, and continued studying fashion at FIT, NY. After working with different companies in NY and Miami as an accessory and jewelry designer, Tamar created her own company based in her Brooklyn studio. Her women’s accessories line is inspired by flowers and feminine energy.

Q:What was the inspiration for your current collection?

Audrey Hepburn’s sophisticated and elegant style. Alien and futuristic shapes take us to a new level where past and future find their harmony.

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Flying Solo’s NYFW show took place at Pier 59 Studios in February 2020; the Paris Fashion show took place at Salons Marceau. Head stylists were Alina Kotsiuba and Stasi Berezovskaya.

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With love,

FWO