Kevin ShahrooziNot everyone knows what they want to be when they grow up and this week’s designer spotlight is no exception.  After going to school for business and marketing, Kevin Shahroozi rediscovered his love of fashion design at the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT). With a style built on function with embellishments, his brand speaks to the fashion lover with a busy city lifestyle. Who doesn’t want to look good throughout the day?  In today’s Designer Spotlight, we talk about what it takes to do what you love and look your best, even if it takes hustle.

1. Why did you start designing?

I did not choose fashion. Fashion chose me. It moved me. I have always had a passion for fashion. I remember in kindergarten and being choosy about what I would wear that day, how my style was, and how my appearance was. I also liked to draw a lot as a kid. As I grew up, I actually did not think fashion would be my career. I studied marketing and business administration in college, I thought I was going to end up in a corporate office job. Shortly before graduating, I met a good friend by the name of Andre C. Hatchett, he is an older seasoned entrepreneur. He helped me tap into my passion for fashion. With that encouragement, I have been going full steam ahead.

2. What is your biggest hurdle building a brand today?

Myself. Success in this industry – and building many types of brands – is geared towards the hungriest person who takes the most action to get their brand out there.

3. What do you think about fashion today?

Fashion must adjust to the world, what’s going on, and the people’s lifestyle. A person in today’s world is very busy, doing many activities from day to night, and going to many occasions. The fashion trend today is more of dressy mixed with casual. It is tailoring mixed with sportswear. It is different across the US, but, on the bright side, I see more people are taking more thought into their appearance, even men.

4. What is your fashion philosophy?

Your appearance is important. How you are dressed is the first impression you give to others. People get an impression before they speak to you and have a conversation with you. Most of my designs are classic reinterpretations into a modern style. It is great to wear clothes people can recognize with a new, modern touch and features that speak to who they are.

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

I go traveling a lot and look at everything in and outside the fashion world for inspiration. I went to Europe and Berlin, London, and Paris it gave me a lot of inspiration. I also traveled around Asia, from Taiwan, to Hong Kong, to Macau, and Beijing. I read fashion magazines and media a lot. I am always reading Vogue magazines, GQ magazines,, and WWD (Women’s Wear Daily). Last but not least, I look at everything around me – the people in the street, the buildings, the landscape, and more.

6. Any tips and tricks of the trade?

I am going to answer this for shoppers first and then designers:

  • For men, add a little detail or something different that men would not usually wear. Do not make it too much, you don’t wear an all floral print suit. You can put the floral print or another print on one sleeve, keep everything neutral and solid like in my Floral Sleeve Shirt.
  • For women, there is the luxury of wearing almost anything! Its okay for wearing a print all over your body! Its okay for mixing two bright colors! Bright beige and teal blue is okay. If you have a darker skin tone, wear bright colors. It looks so good. With the popularity of sportswear and casual edge to clothing, women can dress more comfortably. This is not an excuse to wear your oldest pair of sweatpants! What you should do is get a new pair of jogger trousers and throw it on with a blazer. There’s an example of mixing tailored and sportswear there!
  • As for designing and building your own brand, make clothes that are wearable and has a unique difference. Too many times I see young designers from a prestigious school or from their own learning make clothes that are VERY creative, however, too creative is not good. Both arms should be able to move freely. I like function and fashion.

Lastly, when being your own entrepreneur, do not follow the money, follow your passion, and everything else will work itself out. Intern, work for different designers and fashion brands. Go to a fashion school, if you can’t go full-time, take night classes while you work in fashion. Know that it does not come easy, it will come with a lot sacrifice. It is not even 24/7, it is 25/8.  Ego and achieving your goals do not come together. Be humble, do it with a smile, be happy while you work. Even if you have to say “would you like fries with that?”

Learn more about Kevin and his designs on his Virtual Studio and check out his interview in Anolie Magazine out this month in NYC.