design by MK

September 20, 2012

In the fashion industry, it really is all about who you know – networking means everything! I am lucky enough to keep in touch with an old friend from high school, Shawn, who is now living the life in NYC & has one of the coolest jobs (at least to me!) in the planet: a designer for Michael Kors Collection.

Shawn is part of the ready-to-wear team, designing for the woman’s woven, fur, & swimwear lines – swoon! Not to mention, he was recruited from previously working at Derek Lam, & before that he designed at Calvin Klein & Cushnie et Ochs. Did I mention he is MY age? Young & killin’ it.

A huge thank you to Shawn for letting me pick his brain in the midst of Fashion Week insanity, & for these killer behind the scenes pictures. Read on to hear about his NYFW experience, a day in the life at MK, & what items you need add to your closet for Fall & Spring!

As a designer, where do you get your inspiration?
Inspiration varies every season depending on the mood of the designer & what’s going on in culture. Usually the inspiration starts with something familiar, like a decade in fashion, a fashion icon, art or a movie. Then, as a team, we intensely research the subjects of our inspiration & build upon our ideas. With the inspiration as a common focus, we are all able to design our interpretations of the mood, but still have it look cohesive.

What’s a typical day in the shoes of a MK designer? If there is one.
A-typical is typical. Usually days are filled with a number of various tasks, from communicating with our factories in Italy, corresponding with local contractors, sketching, design meetings with Michael, fittings & lots of updating.

NYFW has just ended. How did you prepare?
The week leading up to the show was the most fun. All of our samples arrive from Italy, & we spend time figuring out the looks for the show. We work with the stylist to create the story, combining the clothes & accessories. Meanwhile, we have model castings to pick girls that will best compliment the season’s mood. It’s a creative process, where you can see how all of your hard work has paid off. Once the looks for the show are decided & are in order, it’s like.. placing the last few pieces of the 500-piece puzzle.

What was your favorite part of this NYFW show?
The show itself is always an exciting moment. There’s a huge sigh of relief & accomplishment when the models walk out for the finale, & Michael steps out to take his bow – it’s a rush of emotions. 

How does the MK team celebrate after?
We go out to a big lunch with different departments who participated on the collection, watch the show together on a big TV screen, then catch up on sleep!

What’s next?
We have already started working on the next collection, even before the show. We are always juggling at least two seasons at once.

What are key pieces for fall that we should stock our closets with?
MK is known for his luxurious materials & classic clothes. In the stores now you can find a great selection of texture; full of plaids, tweeds, & chunky knits. It’s all about being cozy in the winter, but still looking put together.

What’s in for spring?
Bright colors! Optimistic prints like clouds & pools. There’s a slight preppy undertone with 1960’s detailing.

For some, fashion is much more than a passion, it’s a life-style. If it wasn’t for creative innovators like Shawn, who know how to dress a woman (& man) beautifully, we’d have no reason to get use of our sneakers as we run to the mall!

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