How To Be A Fashion Designer: Meet Elizabeth Wicka

“It is a difficult thing to find your purpose and hold onto it. I think it is something that can be everchanging. I know my purpose is to be in NYC pursuing a creative career, most likely in a path that I did not have planned out. But, who does have it all figured out?” 

Hey boss babes, and welcome back to another Feature Friday! As usual, we have another amazing interview from a cool fashionista that I totally admire. I saw her designs at the Runway Fashion show and absolutely loved everything about her collection. Her designs stood out to me, and I knew that one day, we would be connected again. I thought she would be the perfect person to feature this week in my blog. Also, she always wears the best color lipsticks! I love her fashion style too – pretty sure I could raid her closet and find an outfit I’d like. For all my aspiring fashion designers out there, this one is for you. And don’t miss her list of favorites below, she listens to an amazing podcast. Grab a cup, and enjoy your Friday read! Get to know…..

Current City: Brooklyn, NY

Hometown: Buffalo, NY

Girl Boss Status: Retail

Hi Elizabeth! Welcome to The Boss Diary! So glad you’re here. Tell me all about how you started as a Fashion Designer.

Hi Nkay, thank you for reaching out and including me! I always had a love for fashion growing up, through costumes I would wear to perform in for dances and through shows I would watch. I’ve had a passion for creativity as long as I can remember. After high school, I pursued and finished my degree in Fashion Textile Technology with a concentration in Apparel Design at Buffalo State College. Now, I am currently working on pursuing my career as a designer.

I see that you moved to NYC – love it! How has your life changed (or not changed) since you made the move?

Yea, I moved here just over a year ago now! Crazy. It’s been very exciting. My life has changed a lot. It was a big shift moving away from my family, friends, and town I had grown up in not long after finishing college to a big city where I did not know anyone, scrambling to find a job. It was difficult at first and can be sometimes. Here is so fast-paced, you can feel it. When I visit Buffalo, it is much more calm. Waiting for crowded trains instead of hopping in my car is a big difference, haha. My life has changed too because I have met many like-minded individuals that are very goal-oriented and we want to work together to help one another achieve our goals. I think that support has been very important in my move here.

I remember seeing your designs at Runway and was completely blown away. Your Destroy -> Restore collection is everything! Can you tell us a little about the process behind the scenes, and how long it takes to prepare for a fashion show?

Thank you so much! That really means a lot. It takes a great deal of planning for a fashion show. Everyone that is in charge of running the show has a ton of work to do as far as planning a spectacular show. The show was in April 2017, and us designers got started on our trend research, inspiration boards, sketches, and consumer profiles during the prior Fall semester. We had to present our ideas for our collections and had some editing to do. We had to source our fabrics and choose models before we could begin draping and/or patternmaking. There were numerous fittings and countless hours spent in the studio making patterns, sewing, re-sewing, and perfecting. We also partnered with stylists and graphic designers. And before you could see the finished collections walk down the runway, we presented our collections to a jury. There was a lot of pressure at the time and sometimes I look back at how I worked full-time, went to class full-time, and worked on this project: I truly do not know how I did it, but I am so glad I did. The skills and experience I gained from working on my own collection felt very rewarding.

Everyone has a purpose, and it’s so refreshing to find women who are truly living out their dreams.. How would you define your own purpose?

It is a difficult thing to find your purpose and hold onto it. I think it is something that can be everchanging. I know my purpose is to be in NYC pursuing a creative career, most likely in a path that I did not have planned out. But, who does have it all figured out? I know events in my life and who I am as a person has led me to where I am now and what I want to become. I think I am here for a reason and as long as I am staying true to myself and having fun along the way, that’s how you know it’s worth it.

Who are some of your favorite designers or fashion icons that you look up to?

Surprisingly enough, I don’t look to other designers too much for fashion inspiration. Of course, I admire designers like Marc Jacobs and Maison Margiela; however, I look more to musicians and artists I like for style inspiration. Luke Spiller of The Struts has killer stage style! Also, all of Palaye Royale.

Tell me one thing that most people may not know about you.

A lot of people don’t know that I danced for most of my life. From when I was five years old to about seventeen, then I did it again my junior year of college. I did tap, ballet, jazz, lyrical, modern, pointe, and hip-hop briefly. I would do all sorts of competitions, conventions, and recitals with my team. I had such a passion for it that it was what I wanted to do as a career originally. I still think dance is where I got my love for music and fashion from.

What would you say is your biggest challenge that is holding you back from achieving your goals?

I think my biggest challenge thus far is that the industry is so competitive. To get to the career I would like, you need so many internships and years of experience under your belt. It’s difficult figuring what step to take next in which path to get me where I would like to be. That has been a big challenge that I am still figuring out. Once my mind is set on something that I want to achieve, then there’s no stopping me.

Name one thing that your hometown city is known for that some people may not know.

Everyone I meet here that when I say I’m from Buffalo, the cold and the snow is the first thing they think of. Or the Buffalo Bills. They also refer to wings as buffalo wings and pop as soda, so I’m not sure if they know if that is a Buffalo thing. But seriously, Buffalo is the city of good neighbors. And it’s true. Some of the kindest people I have met to this day are from my hometown.

What would the “18-year old you,” say to you today?

My 18 year old self I think would be pretty proud of me. I think she would say to not give up and to keep going. I was strong enough to prevail through every situation that has been thrown at me, and I will be just fine. She would tell me I am living the life right now in the city I have always wanted to live in, and that I should cherish it. I should keep on working on my fashion career because I’m on my way to making all my dreams come true.

Before you go, what is one piece of advice you would give to women out there who want to start their own business or become  a fashion designer?

I advise going to college for your degree, of course. Then, get as many internships as you can. The experience and varied skill set will set you apart from the rest and you will be more likely to land a job. As much experience you can get in what you specifically want to do will set you up more so for success. And, always hold onto your passion, whatever it may be. Never lose sight of your goals, work towards them, and you will be successful.

Fave 7:

  1. Summer activity: Going to festivals with my best friends
  2. Restaurant in your neighborhood: The Wheelhouse – amazing grilled cheese sandwiches!
  3. Podcast: Nicole Byer’s “Why Won’t You Date Me” – honestly the only one I listen to
  4. Lipstick: MAC Matte in Stone
  5. Color: Black
  6. Social Media App: Instagram
  7. Disney movie: Sky High

Random 7:

  1. If you won $20 million dollars in the lottery, what would you do with that money? I would pay off all mine and my family’s debt, buy an apartment to myself, spend some time traveling and experience life, and take time to work on my own designs.
  2. How would you describe your best friend in 3 words? Fierce, Fun, Warm
  3. What is the last good book that you’ve read? Honestly, my patternmaking book for college. I miss making clothes all the time.
  4. What is the best concert that you’ve been to? This is tough, I’m such a lover of live music. Probably any time I have seen The Struts, Foster The People, or TwentyOnePilots with my sister.
  5. Number one travel destination in the world that you would like to visit? I’d love to see Machu Picchu. But really, anywhere that has historical significance or where the architecture is vastly different.
  6. Who is your current celebrity crush? Andy Biersack from Black Veil Brides
  7. 3 things on your bucket list? Skydive, learn how to ride a skateboard, see The Strokes perform live

Thank you so much Elizabeth for joining us today, and sharing your story in my diary! So much gratitude. Ladies – be sure to follow Elizabeth on social media – links below. Thanks for reading babes, and I’ll see you next Friday for our next feature!

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