With so many talented designers and savvy store owners to blog about in DC, it wasn’t a surprise I bumped into one at one of our CapFABB Meetups! I was lucky enough to meet Kelly Tang, a budding fashion designer who also happens to be an avid blogger. Kelly is a recent graduate of Marymount University’s Fashion Design program. At 22, she has fears just like any other recent graduate, about making it out in the “real world”–but at the same time has full of hope and enthusiasm to make it as a fashion designer and to one day start a family.
Do you feel your formal fashion education at Marymount helped prepare you for finding a job in the industry?
I feel like I got a well-rounded education at Marymount. I didn’t want to go to just a fashion school because I wasn’t sure I was going to like it. But of course, I did. I feel like I got to learn so much more and I got to meet different people, not just fashion people, that it molded me as a designer. One day I would like to design for them—for different kinds of people.
How would you describe your design asthetic?
Modern, playful, and clean. They play with classic silhouettes, and to give it a twist, I like to play with cut-outs and prints. I like to play with colorful fabric prints. That’s really fun for me because one of my main sources of inspiration is architecture. I’m interested in clean lines and geometric shapes. My designs are fashion forward but very wearable–I want people to wear it, that is my goal.
Where do you get your design inspiration?
Everywhere and anything. It could be the colors from a painting or a building I find fascinating. It could be from a fabric that I see. I buy it it and it morphs into a design. It’s an organic process. I see something, I get an idea, and then I sketch it. I evolve it and transform it based on whether or not its something wearable. It just keeps evolving so the process is pretty organic.
How do you like living in the DC area, and would you like to find/continue your fashion career here?
I love DC. I love going to museums and trying out different restaurants. I get my inspiration from museums, too. There’s just so much inspiration in DC. And I’ve seen it change, having lived here my whole life
What’s your favorite neighborhood for shopping?
Everywhere. I don’t have a specific place–I shop in the city, Maryland and Virginia. I especially like shopping abroad–Asia, Taiwan, and Korea. They have a lot of great ideas and I like to transform that into a more western take.
What trends do you see being big for 2012?
So many. I feel like different time periods are coming back—50s with the big skirts. And neon colors—the 80s are here to stay for a while! Mixing patterns are still going to be pretty big.
When did you realize your passion for fashion?
When I was 14. Every time I would watch cartoons and play games, I would observe the clothing. I would draw from what I saw. In high school, I took some fashion classes and I fell in love with fashion. It’s been a really long time since I wanted to be a fashion designer. It’s just something I’ve known I wanted to do.
If you could be a famous designer for a day who would it be and why?
Rachel Roy. I love her. I think she’s really down to earth—I just watched a video clip. She’s just really down to earth—she loves what she does. I have a lot of respect for her because she’s a single mom and she’s still designing clothes. She has it all, and I don’t know how she does it but I really respect that! That’s the designer I want to be—I want to be able to do everything. It’s a little rough right now, but I have to remind myself that I just graduated and that I have time!
If you could design the wardrobe for a movie star for the Oscars, who would it be?
Gwyneth Paltrow. She’s so much fun and is really daring on the red carpet. I could design something that is edgy and still glamorous…that is my style.
Here are some pictures from her spring/summer 2012 collection. You can also see her special couture collection in the Synergy Fashion Show at the National Aquarium on April 21. Tickets are available at http://www.missiontix.com/events/product/13789/synergy-fashion–arts-for-a-cause.
Kristine Thomas is the founder and owner of Dewdrop, a style blog and event production company. A native of Washington, DC, she moved to her beloved city of New York where she attended and graduated from the Fashion Institute of Technology. She loved the creativity and energy of New York–she did everything from dressing models for New York Fashion Week to organizing star-studded fashion events. After a decade of living in New York, Kristine longed for a change of pace and moved to San Francisco. There she embraced living a green, yet fashionable, lifestyle. She’s now back to her roots in DC, and her mission is to bring the sophistication of New York and the eco-consciousness of San Francisco by means of her fashion-forward clothing swaps.