Meet Rebecca Turley, Winner of Dress A Celeb!
Last month, we announced the start of the first SeamBLiSS Dress A Celeb contest. Any and all emerging fashion designers could submit their ideas for the perfect outfit for our celeb, the lovely and talented Ana Berry. Public voting decided the Top 5 designs (thanks again to everyone who voted!), and the Grand Prize winner was chosen by Ana. And the winning design is… the Bree Peplum Dress created by Rebecca Turley!
This is a beautiful dress that truly reflects Ana Berry’s personal style. Designer Rebecca Turley has been passionate about design since she was a child, and her talent definitely shines through in this design. Rebecca was kind enough to answer a few questions for us. Read on to hear her thoughts on design, fashion, and advice for aspiring designers.
1. Congrats on winning the SeamBLiSS Dress A Celeb contest! Tell us a little bit about yourself and your background.
For as long as I can remember I’ve wanted to design clothing. I started sketching dresses when I was 3, and learned how to sew in grade school. My mom came from a family of 6 girls (all very close in age), so she was taught to sew at a very young age due to financial circumstances. Because of my desire to see my ideas come to life, I implored my mother and grandmother to teach me how to sew. By the time I was in Junior High I knew I wanted to study Fashion Design and have my own label someday.
Upon gradating from High School I was discouraged from pursuing my passion. I was told it was an impractical field to go into, due to the competitive nature of the industry. So I started off studying more traditional majors such as Elementary Education, Business Management, etc… By the time I was 24 and had spent several years working at various types of jobs I decided enough is enough. There was still that burning desire to pursue Fashion Design! So off I went to FIDM in San Francisco without a penny to my name. I worked full time in Silicon Valley to put myself through night school. Upon graduating, I worked in the industry for a several years to get my feet wet (so to speak) and learn about different aspects of production, design, product development, sales and many other areas.
Being very close to my family and a bit home sick, I decided it was time to move back to Arizona and finally pursue my life long dream of having my own label. It’s been many years in the making, but I’ve finally gotten there and I’m eternally grateful for the support of those you have kept me going and believed in my dream even when I had lost hope. There is no greater joy in life than doing what you love and sharing it with others!
2. How would you summarize your design philosophy?
Fit is everything! If you’re not comfortable in what you’re wearing, it shows. Clothing should accentuate the curves of a women’s body. I’m all about balance too! You should have just the right amount of sophistication countered by a little vavavoom! Garments should flatter the women’s figure, show off her assets with out being too revealing. It’s always good to leave some things to the imagination. Also, the fabric’s color, texture and quality can make or break a design.
3. What inspired you to create the Bree Peplum Dress?
I wanted to create a knit dress that could go from Fall to Spring. I wanted it to be body conscious, sophisticated, sexy and a little conservative at the same time. I’ve always loved peplums, so it was easy to incorporate that detail as well.
4. What makes the Bree Peplum Dress so suited to Ana Berry’s personal style?
She has a busy life and needs pieces that translate well from the office, to a night out and even to the red carpet. This dress definitely has that versatility. It’s feminine and sexy without being too over done. It will also show off her great curves without being risqué.
5. How would you describe your design aesthetic?
Vintage inspired with a modern twist. I love taking classic looks and translating them in my own way. I design pieces that are wardrobe staples and accentuate the curves of a women’s body. Ultra feminine but not too girly…does that make sense? I like my pieces to look polished, sophisticated, a little edgy sometimes…but never contrived. Because of the importance I place on the material, I spend months choosing my color palette and fabrics before I start each new collection.
6. When did you know that you wanted to design clothing?
In the womb…just kidding. But seriously, for as long as I can remember I’ve been obsessed with seeing my vision materialize. Grade school was probably the first time I thought about doing it as a career.
7. Your designs have a wonderful vintage feel! What’s your favorite fashion era?
The 40’s for sure! However, I love that the 70’s recently came back around because I love wide leg pants and boho style diaphanous blouses. I’m also very excited that the 20’s and 30’s style is trending right now. But the 40’s just is so polished, feminine, buttoned up and yet sexy at the same time.
8. What designers do you admire in particular?
I recently saw a Dior exhibit at the PhoenixArt Museum. I’ve always admired his work…of course (who doesn’t) but to see some of his original designs up close and in person was so inspiring and mind-blowing! I also have always loved Carolina Herrera, Zac Posen, Alexander McQueen, Charles James, and Jean Patou.
9. What advice would you give to an aspiring fashion designer?
Learn as much as you can about the industry before you decide whether or not this is the field for you. Many people think that it’s all about glamour and fame, but it’s a lot of hard work, long hours and paying your dues. It’s critical to understand the business side of it as well as the creative side.
10. Do you have a New Year’s resolution for 2013?
Yes, several personal and business-related. As far as my line goes though, I want to start putting more knit pieces in my collection. I think women these days prefer knits over wovens because they tend to travel better, can be more comfortable and depending on the cut and design, more versatile. I will always do my structured woven pieces, but I want to mix it up a bit more. I also want to do more prints and mixing of patterns.
Thanks again to everyone who participated in the first SeamBLiSS Dress A Celeb contest. It was a great success and a lot of fun! Stay tuned for more great contests in 2013.