Charleston Fashion Week is fast approaching and there are so many talents that will be contending for the emerging designers competition. One of the aspiring designers, Felicia Barth-Aasen of Collective 26 shares her inspirations and conceptual process. Her ethical American made clothing line embodies a youthful and modern look that echos the 90’s grunge spirit.
What is your design aesthetic? I like to call it upscale bohemian grunge.
Are there designers that have inspired you? I love the simplicity and modern asthetic of Calvin Klein. I was very fortunate to work with Mr. Klein during my senior year at F.I.T. and I feel like I learned a lot about designing in a modern and clean way during that time. I also find great inspiration from Rick Owens, I love the drape of his garments and the fact that they are so wearable yet conceptual at the same time.
What is the concept behind your current collection? The concept was actually inspired from a time in my life when I was living in New York City and everything just felt really chaotic all of the time…the constant rat race, doing everything just to get by etc. I realized I was seeking nature and solitude within my life, so I packed everything up and moved to a small mountain town in upstate, NY (Lake Placid) I found the mountains and peace in nature really inspiring. It recharged me and living there actually pushed me to start my brand. So this line plays off of that concept by mixing urban and edgy silhouettes with an athletic inspiration taken from hiking, yoga and meditation. So the concept is really a fusion of city style mixed with relaxed silhouettes and fabrication.
When designing a garment what do you think of 1st? Color, silhouette, form, function, customer, act.
The first thing I think of is, what is inspiring? What is the story I want to tell? And in a way who are the characters? Then I flip through so many images and make a mood board and start sketching…From there I move onto silhouette, fabrication, and lastly color and print. It’s important for me to have a strong character in my mind when I start designing, it shapes the story for the entire collection.
Where do you like to keep up on what’s going on in fashion – magazines, blogs, ect. and which ones?
I like to follow blogs, some that I frequent are – Modern Hepburn
That Kind of Woman, and Quite Continental
Of course I use Pinterest as well! I also really like looking at street style, I love seeing how people let their personalities show through using fashion as the outlet.
Do you have a style icon? I wouldn’t say that I have a specific style icon, I do love 90’s fashion- the grunge movement esp. As well as bohemian fashion throughout history. MY icons are just people that live their lives in really interesting ways outside of the norm. I find free-spirited lifestyles incredibly inspiring and I try to have that spirit in my style too.
What are you most excited about for CFW? I’m so excited to take part in such a professional show. I can’t wait for everything to come together from the clothing and styling, to the hair/makeup, music and overall production. CFW is such an amazing opportunity and I feel like the competition aspect is really pushing me to think outside of the box and to even design in a way that’s maybe a little outside of my comfort zone. I’m so excited to have this type of spotlight on my brand and to meet new people.
What do you think about Charleston? I love it! Charleston has such class and sophistication, yet it’s fun and hip at the same time. I’m so excited to be in Charleston for the show, it seems like the community really embraces art and fashion and to me that’s so cool!
Where do you see yourself in 5 years from now? I hope my brand continues to grow and that I’ll still be doing this! I love what I do, (designing) and I can’t see myself not doing this. I just hope we can be sold in boutiques and stores all over the country and find loyal customers who love the lifestyle we are geared towards. I want to be a brand that people know and love.