My love for Sophomore first began when C40 editor Jill introduced me to the site, and it was love at first sight. I was immediately obsessed with the line that includes dresses, skirts, shorts, tanks and tees. Wanting to find out more, I became determined to interview Sophomore’s creator Chrissie Miller. Sophomore, which started out as a T-shirt line, has developed into a sought-after collection worn by celebrities and hipsters alike. A New York ‘70s-inspired line, Sophomore has everything I love for fall–especially leather! After sitting down for a phone interview with Chrissie, it’s easy to see how she has gone from a graphic T-shirt designer to an influential creative director of her own line in only a few years.
Q: How did you get the idea to start the Sophomore line?
A: I went to art school, and my boyfriend was a graphic designer so I learned how to use Photoshop and Illustrator and all that stuff. So I wanted to get a job in graphic design, but I couldn’t find one so I just basically made T-shirts, and I learned how to silk screen. Even before we had the name Sophomore, I was selling them and selling the shirts we made at my friend Charlotte Ronson’s store. And then we got all this attention from them and other buyers saw them and wanted them for their store so actually Bloomingdales was our first store. And we didn’t even have a name of the brand yet.
Q: Really? Wow!
A: [laughs] Yeah I just called them Chrissie’s T-shirts or something. So yeah I just did graphics for a long time.
Q: So how did you begin to expand into sportswear?
A: It took off really quickly and basically the way it worked was every time we sold stuff we had more and more money to do things we wanted to do. Like, ok now we have enough money to get an office or now we have enough money to hire someone. I’m not a trained designer so I found Madeleine von Froomer. So she’s like super professional like the real deal, she went to school for it. And for me I’m more into jeans and T-shirts, she’s more into dresses and that kind of thing. And she had been working at Proenza [Schouler] so she had this fancy background. So I asked her to leave Proenza to work for me, which took some convincing. But she’s really happy, and it worked out great. So she’s like the main designer, and I’m more like the creative director of the company.
Q: What was your inspiration for your Fall ’09 line? I took a look at it, and I’m obsessed with the leather shorts and leather skirts!
A: Oh thank you! Well it was a weird thing because you know we weren’t planning on doing leather stuff. But because Opening Ceremony is our showroom, they kind of cater to a more fancy, higher–end audience, so we wanted to offer something more higher end. It was actually the worst time to do it because of the recession, but it worked out okay! We just did leather in almost everything, and the leather shorts and skirts. We just kind of experimented with it. Every season what we’re going to do is use a different material. For Fall ’09 we did leather for Spring ’10 we are doing oxford. We try to incorporate a new fabric every season.
Q: So do you show in any fashion shows? How do you market your clothes?
A: You know, no, it’s funny we are more of a contemporary brand. People kind of think we are high end because of Madeleine or whatever, but I just kind of think for those contemporary lines it’s not a good idea to show for fashion week, that’s more meant for the high-end stuff. I’m sure you know, you’re overwhelmed with all this new stuff like Alex Wang and Chanel, and I feel like we get lost in the shuffle. So what we do is a party in Paris during Fashion Week in Paris. We do a party at La Barone. And we are going to do something off-season so everyone can see what we’re doing.
Q: How many stores carry the Sophomore line in the US?
A: I think we’re up to 40, but it’s not enough for me!
Q: Would you think about coming to the Midwest?
A: Well the thing is that the showroom is in charge of all that, like for a designer to do their own store stuff is kind of impossible. So they help us with that. But yeah I want it to be a wider distribution kind of thing. So we’re working on it. Are you from there?
Q: Yeah we are based in St. Louis, but I checked online and the nearest store that carried Sophomore was in Ohio.
A: Oh really? Yeah we are definitely trying to get more stores. But we sell our stuff online too!
Q: So what’s coming up next for Sophomore and Chrissie Miller?
A: Well we’re working on doing a collaboration with Keds. We’re going to do sneakers, which is really cool. We are doing a leather sneaker to go with the fall stuff. Then we’re going to do another one for spring. And we just finished Spring ’10 which is really cute, and we did a video lookbook this time. It’s pretty elaborate-like a mini movie. And that will show in Paris for Fashion Week!
For all of you Narcisco Rodriguez fans who love his designs but can’t afford his glamorous gowns, I have huge news. Recently, rumors have been flying that Rodriguez will be designing exclusively for eBay. Yes, eBay. Apparently, the popular auction-based site has not yet to garner respect from the fashion industry and this is the company’s attempt to enter the inner circle. The collaboration will, in turn, benefit Rodriguez as he’ll be expanding his customer base to an audience who normally can’t fork over the funds for his fabulous designs.
Rodriguez’s line for eBay will be called “Narcisco Rodriguez for eBay”. How clever. The pieces will be sold at prices ranging from $75 to $350–which is quite a steal, compared to the price of his original collection. The line will debut in Spring 2010, and I can’t wait to see what the pieces will look like. I’ll keep you posted!
When it comes to making unique, hand-printed designs, designer Victoria McGrane can’t help but be a perfectionist. Becoming a designer was all she ever wanted, and making clothing she loved to wear just came naturally. Now, the London-based designer of Neurotica is finally at a place where she can do what she loves and actually get paid for it. The line is appropriately named, as Victoria is a self-proclaimed neurotic when it comes to her clothing.
Her line, which is sold in London, New York, LA and Tokyo, was something that I instantly fell in love with. This may seem to happen often, but her clothing seriously looks like it is catered to my style. She describes her clothing as being designed for the “kind of girl who is a bit dark and weird, but unashamedly cute”. Hello? That’s me. And, as if I didn’t already love Neurotica enough, I just found out she’s also designed a Neurotica for TopShop line. The line came out on September 6 and can still be found online; prices range from $46 to $58. I feel like I’ve died and am in Neurotica heaven..
I have an announcement. Well, more of a resolution, really. Most people who know me know that I care more about my street style than my style when I’m forced to get all dolled up. C40’s lovely Kris has labeled my personal style “Mormon Glam”; he’s dead-on. Give me a great pair of boots, some jorts and a vest, and I’m all set. So, in 2010, I vow to make my street style the best it has ever been. I want to get grungy and raw and, most importantly, flawlessly put together.
With this said, I have discovered my inspiration for my 2010 resolution–Mike & Chris‘ Holiday 2010 Collection. I am BEYOND excited about this line. Seriously, it has my heart beating fast; I’m definitely “getting the feelings” for the leather, vests, cut-up jorts, zippered tanks and oversized dresses and shirts. One of the outfits I basically already have, which speaks to how much this collection seems made for me. If you love Mike & Chris’ latest as much as I do, we should hang out and start borrowing each other’s clothes. In summary, bravo, Mike & Chris–but I think your holiday collection should be renamed “The Megan”.
While I love discovering new designers, I love sharing my finds with all of you even more! Recently I came across a line—Mel en Stel—that I knew I had to feature. Upon further investigation, I discovered this line is designed by a woman named Ilse Erikkson from Antwerp, Belgium. She launched her label, which was inspired by such findings as US canvas mail bags and WWII parachutes, in 2005. Though she has expanded the line in the last couple of years, I would love to see her clothing sold in St. Louis; the closest Mel en Stel retailer I could find is in Milwaukee, WI.
Although I have yet to see Erikkson’s SS10 line, I am loving her FW09 collection. Long hemlines and bright colors make up a majority of the collection, but tweeds and hoods are also incorporated. Uh-maze-ing. I also love how Erikkson incorporates of-the-moment geometric shapes. So hot!
When it comes to the holidays, I’m pretty much obsessed. From classic Christmas songs to basically every Christmas movie ever made (Favs= White Christmas and It’s A Wonderful Life), I love this time of year! However, I am always stressed out when anybody asks me what I want for Christmas. There are few things that I absolutely need, and I’m so picky when it comes to what I want that I usually end up picking it out myself. So my favorite part of Christmas is giving presents. I love finding that perfect gift for a family member–something they didn’t think to ask for but now can’t live without. This year I’ve gone a bit overboard with the shopping, but Christmas is almost here so my credit card can take a breather. To celebrate the season, here is my wishlist. Some are a bit out of my reach for now, but that’s what a wishlist is for right?
1. It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia- A Very Sunny Christmas
Lets be honest, Always Sunny is the greatest show on television. If you haven’t gotten obsessed yet, then you need to add all of the seasons to your wishlist. For me, I will take all of the seasons and A Very Sunny Christmas. What better way to celebrate Christmas than with a sweaty naked Danny DeVito emerging from a leather couch at an Xmas party? That’s what I thought.
2. The Samsung Instinct
I seriously NEED a new phone. This is more of a need than a wish, but let’s go with it. I would love an iPhone, but since I have Sprint I’ll settle with the Instinct. Also, since my current phone has stopped loading the Internet, I have been without mobile Twitter for incredibly too long. Tragic.
Ok, this may seem like a weird thing for a Christmas wishlist.. but hear me out. I have been talking with Moira about her cutting my hair for the past 4 months and have yet to take the plunge. But when I do, I want to be dramatic. And by dramatic, I mean adding blunt bangs to my ‘do. My inspiration? Rachel Bilson, of course!
4. Range Rover
Clearly, this is unattainable right now. But if we’re considering this to be more of a life wishlist then…I need to have a Range Rover sometime in the next 40 years. Write that down.
5. Leather Shorts
I need leather shorts! Perfect for the spring with no tights underneath, and perfect for the winter when paired with tights. The first pair of Alexander Wang shorts are a bit out of my price range (over $1,000), but the second pair of ASOS leather shorts are only $85!
6. Black leather bag
This Mr. Zipalot bag from Bonadrag.com is $425, and I need to have it. Leather and a huge gold zipper? Um, yes please!
7. Black leather ankle booties
Are you seeing a theme with the black leather? Yeah I’m that obsessed. But after my quest for the perfect black high-heeled bootie, I found this Annie Croc Pointed Ankle Boot from TopShop. Priced at $115, it’s a must have.
8. Charlotte Ronson’s SS10 line
Self explanatory. I LOVE this line!
9. Trip to Italy
I have been wanting to go to Italy for YEARS! Milan. During Fashion Week, please!
10. Vintage clothing from IndieCult Vintage
My love for vintage clothing is well known. This year, I discovered how much I love eBay vintage stores–especially IndieCult Vintage! I’ll take pretty much anything on their site!