Screen Shot 2014-07-18 at 3.28.49 PMDesigner Spotlight: Erika Schrieber

Erika Schrieber’s designs exude a smart, metropolitan cool that serves to counteract the heat of DC, where her brand is based. She began her eponymous line three years ago; since then, she has launched a series of sleek and sophisticated pieces that translate seamlessly from the office to drinks with friends.  In our second Designer Spotlight, we spoke with Erika to gain some insight into her perception of the fashion industry and how her brand appeals to the working woman with no time to waste.

How and why did you start designing?

My collection emerged from necessity. I found that simultaneously living in and enjoying all a big city has to offer, and working long hours left minimal time to stand around and play dress up. I wanted easy to wear and versatile; garments that could act as a canvas, but also stand alone; and most importantly, made right here in our back yard. I created a collection that addressed this unique set of expectations because I knew I wasn’t alone.

What is your biggest hurdle building a brand today?

My biggest hurdle has been navigating the world of domestic manufacturing. I always knew I wanted to produce my clothing here in the US, but when I first started there were almost no manufacturing facilities with websites, let alone companies willing to work with young designers on small production runs. While it is still a very closed door industry, there are more and more production facilities and online communities geared toward developing emerging designers.

What do you think about fashion today?

Fashion is painfully saturated. Sometimes beautifully, other times not. Fast fashion has it’s place in the market and there’s no denying that. But I’m akin to the growing segment of shoppers who are kicking it old school, connecting with brands on a personal level that’s just not attainable in a department store that houses so many brands.

What is your fashion philosophy?

Dress smart — both sartorially and intellectually.

Where do you go and what do you do for inspiration?

I look to people, places, and things that move me. My dynamic and diverse support system of family, friends, and fellow creatives. The chic downtowners on the metro that exit to DC’s fine architecture. My travels when I’ve encountered how, and maybe more importantly why, people dress the way they do from the streets of London to the beaches of Thailand.

Any tips and tricks of the trade?

Plan far ahead, but be flexible. Make connections, nurture, and cherish them. Don’t make business decisions based on emotions. Don’t make emotional decisions based on business. And don’t be an asshole. Ever.

Browse Erika Schrieber’s versatile pieces in her virtual studio and follow her on instagram.