Meet Stella Rose Saint Clair, the Brooklyn-based designer and self-proclaimed misfit who is ready to take the fashion world by storm. From styling pop-stars like clown babies to creating kawaii-punk accessories for her friends and fans, Stella’s name has always been ringing in the ears of the industry. Now, with her full clothing line launch in collaboration with Print All Over Me, all eyes are on her too. Take a peek at our interview with Stella to find out about her creative process, how she finds inspiration and what it really takes to build your own brand.
“Fashion lets us show the world who we are without saying a word.”
What is your latest collection inspiration and collection name?
My latest project is a collaboration between myself and Print All Over Me titled STELLA X PRINT ALL OVER ME. I wanted to use this as an outlet to experiment with textile design and printing. In the past, I’ve been very thematic with my fashion projects, but I just wanted this particular project to encompass my work on a grander scale. It’s a collage of things I love right now – plants and flowers, babydoll style, and some tongue-in-cheek humor.
How would you describe your personal style and brand?
I’m heavily influenced by midcentury modernism, the early punk movement, and the super sweet and often ironic style cultures of Tokyo. I think these elements bleed heavily into everything I create. My brand is just a very pink extension of myself. It’s illustrated and eccentric yet wearable. I love to create functional clothing that makes a loud statement.
Where do you normally shop, both IRL and online?
I don’t shop, I just acquire, and most of my favorite clothing has a story.
How would you describe the state of the fashion industry currently and how does it make you feel?
I am a major misfit in every industry and fashion is no different. I seem to do everything a bit backwards. I feel like an island much of the time. The fashion industry is killing the planet. It’s such a struggle to feel the need to create within something that has such a large scale effect on our ecosystem due to production waste, toxic resources, and poor working conditions. My biggest challenge as I go is to find ways to contribute minimally to these factors while still being able to make my design dreams a reality.
Why is fashion important to you? How does it relate to your identity?
I think we’d all die without fashion. Fashion is identity. It creates tribes and bridges gaps while expanding them as well. It’s a paradox. Fashion lets us show the world who we are without saying a word. It helps us find where we might fit in. In my case, it is my favored artistic outlet. As a younger person, I was unhappy with who I appeared to be. With fashion, I was able to become whomever I wanted and ultimately, it helped me begin to find myself. I’m still finding myself. This is me right now, but the me you see will continue to change. My identity is rarely stagnant.
Do you prefer working with your hands or with a machine?
Hand work is great for lazy days. You’ll find me binge-watching Netflix quite often while tackling a pile of tedious hand sewing.
How did you develop your personal style? Do you have a process for finding your inspiration?
Phases are great for developing your own taste in fashion. The world is a grocery store full of sample platters of fashion trends and you can taste all of them. You might put several on your plate at once and that’s how I made my style happen. I get inspired by random things too like package design, things found in nature, and especially feelings I get when I see something wonderful. I want to live in those feelings forever. I would like to try on the world. I also like eating.
As an emerging designer, what are some ways you have raised capital for your brand? What tools do you use? What works best for you in terms of promotional strategy?
Social media is blessing for small brands. Just think how crazy it will be in 50 years when some jerk has decided to put rigid internet laws into effect and we’ll all look back longingly to these days when everyone could be their own brand instantly. We are living in a pre-code era and I’m living it up while there’s still time. Using the skills you have is all one can do. I’m terrible at most things, but I eat, sleep, and breathe visuals. Having a platform like Instagram is integral to someone like me in order to get the word out about my work. Of course, if accounting is your strong suit well then, lucky you.
What advice can you give to other emerging designers?
If you stick with anything long enough, it will grow. I mean, you’ve stuck with yourself all this time and look at you now! Don’t be afraid to go it alone. Don’t be afraid to be dramatically different. Also trust your instinct. Also make people sign contracts, damn.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
Let’s put it this way. 30 years ago I was six months old and was just learning how to sit upright and keep my diapers on. Five years later I had hair and teeth, and could walk and talk, and down a McDonalds Happy Meal like nobody’s business. If this right here is the diaper stage of my design work, you bet I’m holding out for the Happy Meal years. I really can’t wait to see how my my business grows and I want to keep creating magical designs and having magical experiences while wearing them and sharing them.
What do you love the most about creating your own brand? What is the most challenging?
I live completely within my own universe in terms of my brand. Being the queen is terribly fun when you get to spend your work day making lipsticks out of glitter, drawing cats, and taking cute pictures but you also have to be your own asshole boss who storms in demanding too many deadlines and keeps you late everyday for no extra pay. I am ever learning to be tough on myself in ways that will aid my growth.
Who do you look to for designer inspiration?
Vivienne Westwood always. She has always made her own rules and she has always ruled everything she’s made.
Check out the “Stella Needs A Vacation” lookbook and images from the “STELLA X PRINT ALL OVER ME SS2017″ collection below!
For more information please visit itsstellarose.com.
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