Last Wednesday night, I met up with my amazing new friend Alexa from A Life in the Fashion Lane for Saint Louis Fashion Week's "Emerging Designer Competition" presented by Brown Shoe Company. Contestants Daniella Kallmeyer, Jessie Liu, Lisa Panza and Liz Patelski (Remi Canarie), Emily Koplar (Wai Ming Designs), Charles Harbison (Harbison), and Hillary Taymour (Collina Strada) let their collections speak for themselves on the lengthy runway of St. Louis' Union Station.
Although she currently resides in New York City, Daniella Kallmeyer charmed both the judges and the guests in St. Louis alike, capping off the evening by claiming the the $15,000 prize given by Brown Shoe Company. After the runway show, I had the amazing opportunity to sit down with Daniella and ask her several questions regarding her collection...
|Daniella Kallmeyer and Marci Ranger. (photo c/o ALIVE magazine)|
DK: "So as always, its about the woman, her lifestyle and who she's influenced by. It's sort of who she wants to portray in the way that she carries herself. I'm always influenced by iconic, empowered women like the Katherine Hepburn's of the world. So that's what I want to portray, even through the dresses and the skirts, that's always what I'm influenced by. From season to season, she may be more influenced by here she's traveling or what she's reading or what music she's listening to or even who she's hanging out with, but those are such slight differences. You don't throw away your whole wardrobe from one season to the next. Each season you may be influenced by different things but you always carry yourself in the same way. Maybe last season she was more city influenced but this season, she's styled her own looks with the influences of the markets that she walked through or the mountains that she climbed and the colors that she saw there."
ADITO: "What do your goals look like for the line in the future? Like the next ten years or so?"
DK: "One of the things that I'm happy that I could express to the judges is that I've already introduced leather goods and I think that's been a strong interpretation of the brand so far. I want to expand and continue with leather goods, probably more with accessories. The goal from the beginning for me has always been to create a lifestyle brand. So once I feel that the essentials are provided to my customers, I want to have fun with objects for the home like candles, coasters, those kinds of things through collaborations so that I can create the full experience for this woman."
ADITO: "I'm a student and I wanted to ask you, as a young designer yourself, what is some advice you would give to someone who's not quite ready to jump into creating a line or pursuing a career in fashion, but so close to that point in my life?"
DK: "Work for other brands. You always think that you're ready, I mean I thought I was ready. But it's about more than what you learn from another designer and their mistakes and their experiences and their exposure. It's also about collaborating. And learning how to collaborate. Because a lot of times when you step out on your own, you don't have the money to pay a whole staff and that is so isolating. To create something that is really meant for other people...So that's why I say collaborate. Know what it's like to work for and with other people. Don't be competitive. Work with as many people as you can for as long as you can and keep those connections strong."