Samantha Richelle makes a debut as a fashion designer with her Fall/Winter 2017 collection that "reflects a collaboration of luxury and streetwear design." Fit for the modern woman, her designs feature a sense of minimalism underlined with masterful tailoring. Her reimagination of gender fluidity becomes evident in androgynous pieces that she hopes to be the "future of fearless streetwear."
Samantha studied fashion design at The Art Institute in New York City before transferring to Los Angeles to study at The Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising a year later. She perceives her clothes as her means to tell a story about the wearer, desiring for them to know "who they are and why they are wearing what they are wearing."
Below, Preview talks to the young designer about her latest collection.
How would you describe your design aesthetic and philosophy?
"Our design philosophy and pivotal focus in creating our pieces center on masculine silhouettes with a feminine flair. I took my first years in fashion school interning under a company that specialized in menswear. I closely worked with men's tailoring and men's streetwear and that's where I established my design style. I always loved a masculine silhouette on a woman. To me, it's so glamorous, sexy, and not to mention, very powerful. Looking back at old photos, my mom mastered the tailored pant suit and I just think the look is so classic and timeless."
Where did the inspiration for this collection come from? Please walk us through your creative process.
"For this collection, I took a painting that my sister did that was inspired by a piece from Salvador Dali. That painting was used in the collection and it became a big part of my design process: taking the brand's main aesthetic—tailoring—and mixing it with a few feminine details and also adding silhouettes that I love. When it comes down to my thought process, I don't have any rules, I like to be open minded with how I design for the certain collection. I still incorporate the things I love at the moment. I sketch them out, I bring them to my design team, and we throw around ideas. And most of the time, the design evolves when we actually get around to making the sample pieces. So there's a lot of freedom and playing around with the styles in the studio. It's a fun process, and that's how I prefer it to be: fluid. Our main focus is simple. What looks interesting, what fits well, and what is wearable."
How many pieces are in the collection? Do you have a favorite?
"There are 51 pieces in the collection. The bottoms with the skirt and the pants with detachable pockets have to be my favorite pieces. I love pockets. As you can tell from this collection, almost every piece has pockets. More so than none, the pockets make the piece. The large pockets have that "fanny pack" feel that you can detach depending on what look you want to go for. I just think they're fun!"
What are the key elements of the collection?
"The tailoring, the print, and the pockets."
Was there a specific girl you had in mind while designing the collection?
"Honesty I didn't have a specific girl in mind. For this collection I would probably have to say myself. All the pieces in this collection are pieces I would wear. It is my introduction as a designer and I want people to enjoy the clothes as much as I do."
What were the challenges you encountered while putting together this collection?
"The editing. Figuring out which pieces to keep and which to take out."
To what occasions/events are these pieces best worn?
"I would say it depends how you feel like dressing that particular day. It's hard for me to answer this question, because I myself would wear certain pieces in the collection for casual or dressy occasions. I believe it depends on how you mix and match the pieces, but that could be just me. I don't want to categorize where the clothes could be worn."
See the rest of her collection here.