Designer Spotlight: Natalie & Alanna

Brooklyn designers and childhood friends, Natalie and Alanna, joined creative forces back in 2010 after their own respective experiences in the fashion industry.  Classic with a twist is this duo’s motto; whether it’s a  pencil skirt featuring chains and a crocodile front, or an off the shoulder blouse, one can see the contrasting elements of conservatism and edginess work to create a novel style.  In today’s designer spotlight, we speak with these sisterly designers about how they began their partnership and their shared fashion philosophy.

How and why did you start designing?

We have known each other since we were 12 years old.  We used to dye and stud shirts in our parents kitchens when we were teenagers and taught ourselves to sew.  Then, we would wear some of our pieces to punk rock shows which was like the reward for our efforts- we would show off our work by wearing it.  Eventually, we each went to fashion school (first in south Florida, then Italy, London and New York) and really learned our craft and each had internships and design jobs here in New York.  I think we have always wanted to design together.  Natalie and I are like sisters; we have similar tastes, but our differences compliment each other quite well.

What is your biggest hurdle building a brand today?

Our biggest hurdle is definitely getting our brand out there.  I wouldn’t say that we’re the most outgoing people.  It’s hard to promote your own work and not second guess it when you are the creator.  You can experience a lot of self doubt, which comes across to buyers when you present your line.  It’s something that we’re working on, though.

What is your fashion philosophy?

Natalie and I design things that we like.  Trends come and go, but I think it’s important to keep your voice and point of view.  We believe in having a lot of control over our design process.  We sketch, drape, pattern make and sew our first samples.  It keeps us in touch with our craft.

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

We often take inspiration from our travels, books we’re read and music that we listen to.  We have long talks on our apartment stoop about our plans over coffee.  As a partnership, these talks help us to cement our ideas for the upcoming season.

Any tips and tricks of the trade?

If you want to design, keep going for it. It’s not easy out there. If we didn’t have the backbone, we would’ve quit a while ago.  Also, be humble. Ego won’t get you anywhere in this business. Lastly, listen to your gut feelings. They’re usually spot on.

Shop more of Natalie and Alanna’s looks here.