Today I am trying out a new feature I hope will become a regular on The World According to Jessica Claire: “5 questions with...”
The subject could be a designer, a shop-owner, an artist - whoever tickles my fancy – and once I chat them up I will post a mini q&a that can teach you my dear readers about what inspires people to create and share insider info about that person’s industry.
The inaugural subject is Erin Kleinberg, who not only produces the most amazing line of T’s, but is also a young success story at the ripe age of 22. Erin and I interned together at Fashion magazine a few years ago (that’s us playing in the fashion closet) and I’m excited to post about her debut collection, which is available at Barney's, her exclusive distributor in the states.
Erin’s T’s are a chic twist on a wardrobe staple that work euqally well day or night, plus the fact that she has fellow-Torontonian and 90210 star Shenae Grimes modeling her wares on her website doesn’t hurt the buzz factor either!
Q: What inspired you to choose T’s over traditional formal garments considering the extent of embellishment you use in your designs?
A:I felt that there was a lack of the embellished tee in the market. I made them as an alternative to the “going out” tops that we see so often on the floors; that silky kind of fabric seems tired. I wanted to work with a new, semi-organic comfy fabric -- it is so soft -- and I am obsessed with that Vera Wang sort of homeless meets vintage diamond motif. For example, I love the super thin sheer heathery grey tencel fabric with vintagey Swarovski beading or chain.
Q: How does it feel to see your stuff at Barney's?
A: Obviously it is the most unbelievable experience a person could imagine, but at the same time I feel exposed because my work is so out there on a large scale! Barney’s is the number one stop for young designers. I’m so lucky because they are so loyal in helping new entrepreneurs.
Q: How do you see this line evolving?
A: I really want to stay true to the roots of the brand and continue to make awesome t-shirts, but for Fall 2009 I am planning a revamp and feeling a very dark dark mood - sort of medieval Joan of Arc meets dark jewel tones and crosses. But all of my intense themes translate into wearable tops or sweaters for the everyday gal. I am not trying to be Rodarte or a couturier, I just want to make the clothes that I want to wear everyday! But I am really looking forward to getting into leathers - the perfect leather jacket is something I always search for. ..this season they seem to short for me.
Q: Who are your fashion heroes and mentors?
A: Nicolas Ghesquière [of Balenciaga] is a huge fave, especially his most recent Fall collection with the chunky massive vintage diamond necklaces and bracelets. Margiela [of Maison Martin Margiela] also does the most amazing accessories--I am very inspired by jewelry, as you can see in the collection. Especially Spring, I did tons of chains, vintage buttons, Swarovski, and I custom made these fierce massive cataract glasses that are crystal clad. Very Kanye. Killer.
Q: how did you snag Shenae Grimes, new star of 90210, to model your debut collection?
A: Shenae is a stunner and I new that I had to have her right that minute. So I called up her publicist stat, and grabbed her the week before she moved to LA! Shenae interned at Fashion Television [in Toronto] and she is very into the biz, so she was happy to model for the brand. She looked so gorgeous, I am so lucky I caught her before she moved, as she is blowing up hollywood.
PS- I’ve caught a sneak peek of Erin’s spring line and it’s totally drool-worthy, so you best be keeping tabs on this up-and-coming talent!