While the majority of college students relish their newfound freedom and spare time over the summer, Erica Appleby was not one of them. In Summer 2013, as an FIT senior, she felt the pressure of finishing her newest collection for Caribbean Fashion Week in Kingston, Jamaica. She had been designing since high school and launched her first line in 2012, but never shown at a fashion week before. We sat down with Appleby who shared her exhilarating and challenging experiences with us.
What is your design aesthetic?
I feel like I am a cross between Stella McCartney and Marc Jacobs. I used a lot of color and geometric shapes. My designs are all sort of tribal feeling.
If you could dress any celebrity in your clothes, who would it be?
Jada Pinkett Smith. She is socially conscious, a brilliant linguist, seems like she can learn a different language in like a month, and I think she has such strength.
How do you see sustainability evolving in the fashion industry?
The industry is always evolving. New things are always happening, new textile innovations are coming out. I think designers are finding their own niches, ways that sustainability can work for them. It really comes down to what fashion was, what is now, and what it can be. It was Louis Vuitton, Gucci. Now, it is Stella McCartney and Rachel Roy. What it can be is all about the new people now who are designing sustainably.
In ten years where do you see yourself as a designer?
What I have learned is that my line and I go hand-in-hand. While I grow and mature and become a woman, so will my line. I see myself having a few boutiques and selling out of stores. Really, I just see my clothes as an inspiration for women. I just want to make women feel sexy and beautiful.
Who is your inspiration?
My mother. I know it sound corny, but my mother is really my best friend. I know where we came from, where we are now, and what she still does for me today. We are like the same person.
If you weren’t a designer, you would be?
When I was little, I wanted to be a paleontologist. Really. Until I was like, six, and then I realized I hate bugs and I hate dirt.
Who is your celebrity crush?
Cam Newton. He is an NFL quarterback and a beautiful, beautiful man.
If you could go on an all-expenses paid vacation anywhere, where would you go?
I would go to Brazil or Morocco. I love the energy, the people, and the culture. I could draw so much inspiration.
What is your favorite area of NYC?
Soho. I feel more alive there. In Soho, there’s an energy in the area I really like. There are so many people, and they are all showcasing themselves and their art.
What is a cause that is really important to you?
Art for kids. Art was always with me. My mom took me to art museums when I was a kid. I taught myself to draw and paint. I think it is so important to teach a child art because it teaches them to develop new perspectives and enhances their imaginations. It’s so sad art programs are dwindling away in schools across the country. I think kids should always have art and science.
What social media outlets are you most active on?
What is your book recommendation?
Anything written by Paulo Coelho. He wrote The Alchemist and Warrior of Light. Warrior of Light teaches you how to be a warrior of your passion. It is full of inspirational passages. I have read it probably ten times now. When you’re on a journey to your dreams, he’s very inspirational.
What is your movie recommendation?
Eat, Pray, Love. I watch it whenever I am just feeling calm and relaxing.