Brianna Westlund is a young fashion designer from Longfellow who is having her first independent show, Vintage Vixen, this Saturday at T’s Place on East Lake Street. In February, she was one of four designers to be included in MN Fashion’s Emerging Designer’s Showcase during Fashion Week. Her designs have been described as “feminine and classic…not only wearable, but meticulously constructed” by l’etoile, a Minnesota arts magazine.
We wanted to learn more about Westlund, her designs, and plans for growing her design business SIX25designs.
MB: When did you first become interested in pursuing fashion design?
BW: I have approached the world from a design perspective since I was a very young child and, as my family often reminds me, the signs were there from very early on that I would follow this path. It wasn’t until my sophomore year of high-school that I realized that I could pursue design as a career choice however. Once I became aware of it that was kind of it for me, I knew from then on that I would work towards this and here I am incredibly sleep deprived but elated to know that I have the skills and determination to move forwards with this venture. I couldn’t be happier to be showing my fist commercial collection Vintage Vixen this weekend and I am excited to see what the future holds.
MB: What do you hope to accomplish with your work?
BW: I do this because I love it and like most designers my primary goal is simply to figure out how I can keep doing this. That means figuring out how to make SIX25designs a self-sustaining and profitable business with potential for growth and future development. It would sound cliche to say that I want to be the next great American designer, and I won’t say that, but I would really like to be recognized for my work and see my garments on the women I have designed them for. My ultimate goal is to develop SIX25designs into a lifestyle brand and address a wider spectrum of daily life.
MB: What’s the best part about fashion design?
BW: I find the best part of designs is usually when I finally get to see the clothes come together on the models. That’s when the designs ultimately feel as though they have been brought to life.
MB: What’s the most challenging?
BW: The most challenging part is often simply dealing with the constraints of how much you can do or show in one collection and wrestling with the limitations of your time or your budget.
MB: Who do you have in mind when designing your pieces?
BW: To describe my aesthetic in three words I say it is edgy, elegant and effortless. I would also use these three words to describe the woman wearing my clothes. For this collection I imagined I was exploring the wardrobe of the goddess Artemis (otherwise known as Diana of the Hunt) if she were to have been re-incarnated over the centuries as a human woman. I was drawn to her as a understated but elegant figure in Greek and Roman Mythos with a strong connection to nature and felt she represented a sense of balance and clarity that I could see reflected in the women that I design for today. The most significant aspect of my clothes; and what distinguishes my customer from your average fashionista is a sense of timeless style. I felt this was the best way to explore that concept for this collection.
MB: What can people expect to see at your show?
BW: Vintage Vixen represents a classic mix of period inspiration and modern flair. This collection takes inspiration from unique textiles and fabrics playing up contrasts in color, texture and pattern. I will be showing a range of styles from my classic wide-leg trousers perfect for the office to little shift dresses perfect for cocktails. People will see the vintage influences throughout the collection but they might be surprised at how modern some of the clothes still are. What I am most excited about however is the fresh and perhaps somewhat surprising color pallet I have cooked up for winter 2013. This collection will have the largest range in colors, styles and fabrics that I have incorporated so far and I can’t wait to share it.
MB: Are your pieces available for purchase? If so, where can people find them?
BW: I am currently available for special projects, commissions and collaborations. This collection marks the preview of my first commercial collection which I plan to produce for sale this fall. I will likely sell both through a local boutique(s) and online when my line does go up for sale. If someone wants to special order a piece for themselves in the meantime however the best way to contact me is by email or through my Facebook design page.
MB: What’s next for you and SIX25designs?
BW: The next step for me is working on getting my line ready for production so I can begin to sell to the public next fall. This will be the first time I am able to offer my clothes for purchase in a range of sizes and styles, and my present goal is to begin selling pieces from this collection in several local boutiques this fall. In the meantime, I will be preparing a collection for spring/summer 2014, which will include pieces for SIX25Signature as well as my new lower priced SIX25Street line, which I hope to debut sometime this summer. If SIX25Signature and SIX25Street are a commercial success I hope to continue building on both lines in the coming seasons.
Photos courtesy of Brianna Westlund. Photography by Rhea Pappas, Hair and Makeup by the Beauty Lounge, Models are Sherita Moss and Lindsey Kuehl.