Interview with Alison Kelly

Project Runway Season 3, may have rid itself of designer Alison Kelly just a bit too quickly because she’s one to watch in the design world, in my humble opinion. I had an informal interview with Alison to get to know her a bit better.

What age were you when you knew you loved fashion design and how did it come about? Was it a big revelation or gradual progression?

Since I can remember, clothing has been very important to me, important in the sense of how it fits and falls across the body. Growing up in the mountains of Vermont and beaches of Cape Cod we
were less exposed to avant-garde fashion but more to trends and commercial chains. I was never happy with what I was supposed to wear so my mother helped me manipulate the trends into my own expression of style and taught me to sew my own innovations.

What is your favorite type of clothing to design?

I am primarily inspired to design for myself and can never seem to have enough dresses, which are
certainly my favorite pieces to wear and to design. Dresses are my bread and butter, you can so easily dress them up with stockings and fancy shoes, or dress them down with leggings or jeans. People always comment on how light I pack, but actually, 10 of my dresses rolled up in a bag hardly take up any room.

What is a fashion tip you always share with friends/clients? (my new one is – never say never until you’ve tried it on with Spanx!)

You can always wear it with leggings!What was your favorite part of NYC Fashion Week last month?

I participated in an event which was hosted by Barneys New York, Pure & Natural and Earth Pledge. I designed a bag from recycled paper which you can bury in the ground and baby’s breath will bloom! There was a fashion show, showcasing an array of designers, Stella McCartney, Rodarte, Martin Margeila, Givenchy and more. The designers were to use an organic, recycled or natural fiber textile to create a look, it was stunning.

What are some of the fashion shows you loved & why?

I loved, vicariously through, the Paris & London shows especially Vivienne Westwood. If you look at the Central Saint Martins’ grad show on that site you will see some of the most inspiring and avant-garde looks of the decade.

What trends did you see that you want to carry over to your upcoming designs?

I am very much inclined to start using organic bamboo and an incredible textile called Abaca,which is made from banana leaves. As a designer, I am in the beginning stages of gathering inspiration for my next collection, which is Spring-Summer 2009, which in some ways forces
us to define the future of fashion. I have an image now of a floor length dress that is decadentyet casual and will be using some of my own prints.

Where do you see yourself in a year? In five years?

Within the next year, I see myself appearing not only as a fashion designer, but as a mentor to
others, to help build confidence in yourself and your wardrobe, whether this will be through television or online, you shall have to see. In 5 years, I would like to have a large Dahl empire. Or at least not be so broke anymore and be able to afford meals! What is your favorite piece of clothing that you wear all the time?

A dress. I don’t have just one, I have 100s, but here is an example (pictured left).

Do you have any fashion shows coming up?

I have a rep who is working on circulating my line into boutiques across the country. You have to build up steadily, which is why I have done exclusives for It is a huge task to undertake to produce & distribute a wholesale clothing line and I want to know where everything is coming from, where it is going, and how it will be represented. I want to feel full of confidence that my work, which is so dear to me, is being seen and exposed in a thoughtful & inspiring way.

Find Alison Kelly designs at and

Thank you Alison. It was such a pleasure and I hope we’ll see much more of you and your designs in the near future!
photos courtesty of Alison Kelly