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April 21 2014

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1 posts tagged "Nicole Phelos"

Each In Her Own Way: A Conversation With Women Designers

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On Friday afternoon, Tracy Reese (left), Maria Cornejo (center), and Suno’s Erin Beatty (right) assembled for “One of a Kind: Individuality, Integrity, and Innovation in Fashion,” a panel discussion hosted by Style.com’s own executive editor Nicole Phelps as part of the 14th annual Initiatives in Art & Culture fashion conference. The three designers touched upon topics ranging from social media to personal time management to dressing Michelle Obama, which each speaker has crossed off her bucket list. Of the latter matter, Reese (who most recently outfitted the First Lady for her Democratic National Convention appearance) said, “That evening was huge for my business, but people kept talking about the dress and I was like, what about her amazing speech?”

The designers are all keenly aware of the pressures facing working women—i.e., those without the time for several outfit changes a day. “Wearing the same thing all day long is the definition of a modern woman,” Beatty opined. “With social obligations in the evening, you get up at 6:45 a.m. and go until midnight. You change your shoes and put on lipstick, and that’s it,” Cornejo said. “I keep a curling iron in my desk,” chimed in Reese, “and assume our customers’ days are just as busy.”

The Internet cropped up as both a positive and a negative. With new collections posting instantly online, Cornejo said, “It’s very hard for anything to feel surprising anymore.” Reese concurred. “It’s difficult to focus the customer on what’s available in stores now because she’s thinking about what’s next. By the time the clothes hit stores months after the show, they’ve already been so exposed on the Web.”

But ultimately, that pressure to keep going back to the well is what drives the designers forward. “It’s indescribable how empty you feel right after a show,” Beatty said, “but that’s what makes us do it again every season.”