When did you first find yourself attracted to the design field?
I remember sitting in art class in the 5th grade and I said to myself, “someday I want to be a graphic designer!” Although, at the time I wasn’t quite sure what that meant!
Did this interest continue in High School?
I grew up in the Midwest and by High School was involved in art and theater. I found myself quite fascinated with the notion of costume design and fashion, but my life took a bit of a detour when I headed West for College.
A detour, how?
Well, for a brief semester or two, I actually found myself
studying technical design. I thought I might consider becoming a product designer. This was a time when the graphic, product, and fashion design fields were merging for me, and I liked them all. I eventually ended up at UCLA studying design with an art history minor. I had a workstudy program with the art history archives, and I was very drawn to the magic and elegance of the great European Masters.
What happened after UCLA?
I was fortunate to be mentored under the great Saul Bass. His iconic, bold style influenced me to later devote my initial career to graphic design with an emphasis in corporate identity and packaging design. During this time I took additional postgraduate studies at Art Center College of Design. I eventually found myself working in the consumer design field and developed packaging for a number of Fortune 500 brands. But I never felt fulfilled in pushing pixels around for others. The integration of product and fashion was still in my heart. And then, I spent a couple of weeks in Europe, and I knew that what I must do – I would develop my own line of luxury goods.
How did this evolve?
I began sketching and working on my own original ideas, initially in the accessories and handbag category. I was able to source wonderful networking relationships for leathers and hardware in Paris and Milan, and through something that I can only serendipitous, I fell into a relationship with one of the leading ateliers in Paris who was willing to work with me in bringing my designs to life.