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I decided I wanted to become a fashion designer by default; having always a strong interest in art, my mother being an extraordinary painter (who also taught me to sew), my father, an English major with an obscure sense of humor in language as well as in illustration, I graduated high school planning to become a sculptor, painter, or jeweler. I moved to San Miguel de Allende in Guanajuato, Mexico, to study fine arts at an international institution and became entranced by silver-smithing. A year went by and I realized that body adornment was extremely important to me, having always worn clothes that had been altered to my liking, or as a teenager, made by myself, I decided I was keen to study fashion design. True to my wandering nature, I enrolled myself in another international program which landed me in the morosely beautiful city of Florence, Italy. Our design rooms were perched upon a striking yellow ocher building which nested at the base of Ponte Vecchio on the river Arno. Learning to drape changed my perspective on fashion design completely. With a few props & tools there are endless patterns and forms to create, it’s incredibly addictive.

To bring my message to you in less than 1000 words, I will sum up the meaning of this explanation by saying that sewing & design changed my life. And created what is meaningful in my life now. To be able to create a unique piece of clothing is invaluable, and being able to wear this creation and interact with the world while in it is incredibly fulfilling, a unique experience unto itself. I have had my own line since the day I graduated from college. I moved to Los Angeles upon getting my BFA and set up shop in a tiny little closet above the stairs in my apartment. I would scour the garment district for old bolts of washed silk and jersey to make limited edition, 1-off collections and bring them around to stores where many buyers placed the limited collections on consignment. I also did many "punk-rock flea markets, and other more upscale flea markets where I’d sell t-shirts and dresses to boys & girls for $20 each.

The popularity of these mini-collections became an issue at a certain point; the buyers always wanted more, yet I had used up the entire roll of a vintage washed silk print and it was gone. Forever. As much as I loved the exclusivity of 1-offs, I decided it was time to transform the line into a wholesale collection. I moved to New York City in the winter of 2006 and while searching for an apartment, I auditioned, much against my own will at first, for Project Runway, the hit fashion design competition series. I found out I had been cast as a contestant in May. Everything changed.

7 Comments

  • Mekidsmountain_large

    Sep 8, 2008, 01.56 PMby Lucha Suarez

    Congrats on being selected for project runway! You are living what I dream of every time I watch the show!!! Please fill us in on all the details so my daydreams will be all the more intricate!!!! I will be routing for you!!!!

  • Ee8014d4ca996c57355c462f568cd1e7ab199fe2_large

    Aug 28, 2008, 06.39 AMby mirela

    Oh waw, silver-smithing and fashion design! I wish I had all the training you have and I’m sure we will learn so much from you here at BurdaStyle! Love your collection!

  • Aa151ed2840a3a25733a797a56652c283a7ade13_large

    Aug 27, 2008, 11.26 AMby fiftiestwistdiy

    You are very inspiring! I enjoyed the introduction, it gives great insight into becoming a designer. I am adventuring into designing myself, finally realizing that there is quite a bit to it, but it makes it all the more interesting.

  • 526e154b1afd847a50daa7af1c056f47b5391707_large

    Aug 27, 2008, 06.04 AMby sunnyb64

    Great introduction! It’s great to see the story behind the designer, since I find it hard to get a real sense of a person based on the intro blurbs that Project Runway gives. And reading about how your family and travel experiences shaped you as a designer was very inspiring.

  • 1764061c40d5784b810435682ef3c93c7a245e99_large

    Aug 27, 2008, 05.50 AMby gocksfrocks

    Allison-

    it is a pleasure to read your personal introduction…I love the international background that shaped your creativity and what sounds like a very supportive & artistic family…I am looking forward to reading more from you as I stumble through my own 1 off endeavors in childrens clothing!

  • Photoge01_large

    Aug 26, 2008, 07.41 PMby gedwoods

    Alison,

    It’s a pleasure to read you… you write very well as well as telling a good story :) I’m not sure why you say Florence is “morosely beautiful” though – mind you, I’ve spent time in several cities in Italy but not in Florence… I love what you have to say about design and clothes. Thanks for sharing this with us.

  • 9f736d56336e08a01c0c1cd07915a3784a3b6f0e_large

    Aug 26, 2008, 12.39 PMby alysonwondarland

    inspiring :)

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