David- Thank you for taking the time to speak with Fashionista Chicago. We love that your new CrOp collection was inspired by the array of colors and swanky jazz of the Big Easy, New Orleans. Do you often get your collection ideas from traveling?
Thanks! I am often inspired by my travels and the places that I have lived. New Orleans is a place that has quickly become very special to me because I have so many connections there through family and friends. The Fall 2012 collection is inspired by some of the many places that I have called home, so there’s definitely a theme there!
Being a fashion website that supports emerging designers, we noticed that you also like to give back while creating Eco-friendly materials that are sustainable and you donate a portion of each sale to a charity tied to the inspiration for that season. WOW! Not too many successful designers throw all that in while designing a new collection. When and how did you decide to give back?
For me, design is such an interactive process. I’ve always been mindful of my environment because of having been raised in such beautiful places like Santa Fe and Colorado. It only made sense that when I started a business that I wanted to be conscious while creating. Inherently, there is always waste in the process of creating something new, but if I can offset that in any way, I will.
The charitable aspect of the business probably stems from my parents who always stressed the importance of giving back. We may not have always had much, but we always made time to volunteer and be involved in charity. I really couldn’t have been able to start a business without planning to give back. My wife and many of my closest friends have backgrounds in international development work. When you are surrounded by people whose goal in life is to help those in need, you can’t help but be inspired.
That is really nice to hear David. What advice can you give our emerging designers?
Have a business plan. The one thing that fashion school doesn’t prepare you for is the shear amount of planning and budget work that goes into making a successful collection. The better you are able to understand how the business functions, the more powerful your work will be. Good design has to be aware of the marketplace. Always educate yourself. I spend a good part of my time researching what is happening in business and in fashion.
It’s also important to have internships/jobs and both small and large companies. Both can teach you valuable lessons about what works and what doesn’t. Learn from the successes and failures of others.
Can you give us any inside scoop that nobody knows yet? We like to get the hush hush piece when we do an interview. Soooo, whatcha got?
If I told you, then I’d have to kill you!
We worked with photographer/videographer Christelle de Castro and stylist Annie Ladino on our Fall 2012 collection video that we will be releasing this summer when the clothes start to arrive in stores. It’s completely different from our Spring 2012 video, which was more of a documentary. This season it’s about the mood and the girl in the clothes and it’s gorgeous!
Lastly, did you find some fab shopping while in Bucktown last Saturday? What boutiques did you enjoy other than Tangerine (where your pieces are carried)?
There were so many great shops! I really liked Stitch next door to Tangerine. They have fantastic accessories, and these great anthropomorphic portrait items for the home that I love. We also stopped in the brand new BHLDN store downtown, which is beautiful!