2012 November 19
With new designers coming out of the woodwork on the daily, it's often difficult to decide which ones to keep an eye on, non? Consider Erin Barr: This Wisconsin native and former makeup artist has progressed far beyond mastery of the perfect cat-eye. After graduating from Parsons, interning with Alexander Wang, and a design assistant stint at Cushnie Et Ochs, Barr debuted her own eponymous collection, titled “An American Tomboy in Paris” for Spring 2012. Now onto her third season, Barr chatted with Chic about her industry journey so far.
What sparked your interest in the fashion industry?
Growing up, I naturally gravitated towards fashion. I did hair and makeup, but fashion wasn't really a career path that was acceptable in Wisconsin; it was an unattainable dream. Once I moved to New York to do hair and makeup, I saw another side [to the fashion industry].
Who's the Erin Barr lass?
She is strong and sexy but has this tomboy edge to her. She's not uber sexy and doesn't want to be uber girly...but she wants to be sexy every now and then.
Does your beauty experience help you as a designer?
It helps with the overall sense of the look. I can communicate the vision as a whole to other stylists.
So do you take care of the tresses and faces for your own collections?
I could! But I don't; that might be a little stressful. This past season, I worked with M.A.C. and Bumble and Bumble and communicating the concept was easy.
What'd you learn from clocking in internship time at Alexander Wang?
I worked mostly with the T By Alexander Wang team; I also sat next to Alex as he was designing the knits. He is such a nice person. He's super cool and super real; working with him was kind of awesome!
What was his best advice to you?
His best advice was to work really hard because it may not seem like it's paying off, but it does in the end. Follow your gut and if you feel like something isn't working, that's because it probably isn't. What was really cool about working for him was that he does so much research and he tries to find something new through the old, the streets, and real people. That kind of research was really inspiring.
What can we expect from the next collection?
We will be going less graphic, while still keeping the bold stripes. We are going to get moodier, while still playing with prints.
Thoughts on the industry buzz you've generated thus far?
It's exciting to see your work being appreciated. It makes me a little less nervous knowing that people are accepting it!
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