"Good clothes open all doors."-Thomas Fuller
For me, the best distraction from current economic woes, negative political rhetoric and Sarah Palin's "Tina Fey" glasses is the fashion show goodness that was called September. From New York earlier this month to Milan and Paris this week, fashionistas have their eye on the catwalk; analyzing the trends for Spring and of course, spotting hot new designers. One such designer adding to all the goodness is Dallas-based Abi Ferrin. Already making a name for herself in the Texas fashion scene with creative designs and "fashion with freedom and purpose", Ferrin was named 2007's Stanley Korshak and the Dallas Fashion Incubator "Texas' Next Top Designer". She has also become a celeb favorite. Her designs have been worn by Carrie Underwood, Molly Sims and Kelly Ripa, who just last week donned one of Ferrin's designs on Live with Regis and Kelly.
So it was no surprise that this rising star made her first appearance at New York Fashion Week. Ferrin debuted her Spring 2009 line at STYLE360 by Elle Magazine.
Ferrin's spring line includes whimsical, artistic prints like in the "Shirley" and "Elissa" dresses pictured above. The collection also contains classic Abi Ferrin with her signature jersey styles and bold colors from tangerine and bright green to sultry white.
I had a chance to chat with Ferrin in her Dallas studio which was abuzz before her and her team jetted off to New York. In this two part exclusive interview, she gave Pink Rickshaw the inside scoop on her spring line, tips for fall fashion and her dedication to empowering women with her outreach programs.
PR: Describe the Spring line. What was the inspiration?
AF: "It is called Primavera which means spring in Spanish and Italian and is my nickname for my cousin Lisa who helped me get started in my starving artist days. I have collaborated with an amazing artist, Julie Cox who hand painted my prints. So we have been able to really shape this collection from the ground up. The bold prints, bright colors and amazing artistic touch that she added to these prints make them the best I have yet unveiled. I also have Rachelle Dauphinee hand-customizing jewelry elements such as shoulder straps, hooks and built in necklaces.
So many creative women have touched, inspired, shaped and contributed to the final product. They are my inspiration. You will see me continue to name pieces after individuals who touch my life."
At PR, we say everyone can take four minutes to save the world, so it definitely caught my eye that Ferrin's website says her team is "changing the world one outfit at a time." And, it is true. Ferrin's motto, "fashion with freedom and purpose" is something her team takes quite literally. Ferrin empowers and employs women rescued from the sex trade in Nepal and Cambodia by incorporating their hand-made goods into her designs. For example, through the Nepal project, Ferrin works with an organization that provides skills to women such as crafting buttons. She then purchases the buttons at a fair market value from the now trained women and a micro-business is born. The company donates to the cause as well. And that is just the tip of the iceberg for this fashion do-gooder.
PR: Your clothing has been commended for its philanthropic elements and eco-friendly aspects. Why are these issues important to your line and how you do you plan to continue to emphasize this in your work?
AF: "We are so excited about our work with Guardian Village in Nepal and have been able to expand to Sak Saum in Cambodia. Sak Saum means dignity in Cambodian and that ultimately is why this work is so important. There is no price for dignity. Women who previously had no hope are being offered an opportunity for a new perspective that offers self-worth and value. The more we are able to help and contribute, the more I want to do. It is infectious.
We are showing our Sak Saum clutches on the runway for our Spring 2009 collection, Also, look for the Nepal button which will continue to be woven into the collection. We will also continue shipping buttons on each hang-tag of shipped garments so that every single sales contributes to this amazing cause.
In terms of the environment, I will continue to be eco-conscious in every possible way-- from using recycled paper in every aspect of my company to utilizing factories and vendors that provide fair labor practices and are conscious of the environment. Also, they must utilize the most responsible materials."
Abi Ferrin's spring 2009 collection will be available in stores nationwide and at abiferrin.com next year. For more fashion goodness, be sure to read part II of Ferrin's interview where she gives tips for fall fashion and advice for up and coming designers.
image source: elle.com, abiferrin.com