Glam and Graffiti Interview
Designer | Zoë Damacela
Zoë’s Seventeen Magazine Cover photo!
GG: Where did you go to school/ major?
ZD: I go to Northwestern and I’m majoring in History and Costume Design.
GG: Why costume design? How is that different than attending a fashion school? Does it give you any advantages you wish to have when you pursue a career?
ZD: I chose costume because Northwestern doesn’t offer fashion design. I chose not to attend fashion school because I took four years of fashion in high school and at the Art Institute in Chicago. I wanted to learn more than just fashion when I went to college, which is why I chose to major in history. It is actually extremely helpful in design. I’ve used much more from my history classes and astronomy classes than fashion classes in terms of inspiration and original ideas.
GG: That’s really interesting! How old were you when you first started a career direction in Fashion and what was your first job?
ZD: I was sketching clothes since I could hold a pencil, I always loved designing even before I realized that being a fashion designer was a career! I was fourteen when I learned how to sew, when I started my apparel business (Zoë Damacela Apparel), and began sewing and selling my own designs.
“…make an impression with everyone you meet and everything you do.
You never know what it can lead to.’ – Zoë Damacela
GG: What a great start! Where do you see your career in 3 years?
ZD: In 3 years, I would love to get more involved in the international fashion scene. I’ve done a handful of shows in Europe and South America, but I really would love to get more of a presence outside of the US. I also plan on hiring more designers and expanding into children’s and possibly menswear.
GG: What’s the best advice you have received? Best you have ever given?
ZD: The best advice I’ve ever received was to make an impression with everyone you meet and everything you do. You never know what it can lead to. And the advice I always give is when you’re deciding on a career, pick something you would be willing to do for free. If you would do it without getting paid, you’ll always be happy because you’ll do what you love and the money will just be an added bonus!
GG: I love that advice! That is so true and probably the driving reason behind why I blog! What specific advice do you have for a young fashionista/o looking to get started in the fashion industry?
ZD: It’s never too early to get started! I started my first business at 8, and my apparel business at 14. Even though I started really small, the skills I learned are what lead to the success I have now.
GG: Alright, so I must ask – what has been your favorite design thus far?
ZD: I think every design is my favorite. Asking me to choose would be like asking a mother to choose her favorite kid!
GG: Despite the snow outside – what trends do you see this spring that GG readers should keep an eye on?
ZD: My favorite trends for spring are pastel ombres, studs, and cage dresses.
GG: How did the Pretty Amazing Contest with Seventeen Magazine aid your learning and success in design?
ZD: It definitely helped me get some exposure and publicity! But it also helped me get more in touch with my teen customers. I was able to really focus on that age group.
GG: What was the most exciting part about being name Seventeen Magazine’s Pretty Amazing winner? You were the first ever reader on the cover!
ZD: I think the most exciting thing was the fan mail. I got thousands of emails, messages, letters, and phone calls from people all around the world who had read my story and been inspired to follow their own dreams, and by far that was the most rewarding thing about the whole experience.
GG: That’s incredible! You previously commented that you love museums, is that where you find your inspiration for your designs?
ZD: Absolutely! I’m always at museums, aquariums, zoos, and planetariums. I actually don’t read fashion magazines or follow any shows, and so everything comes from the influences in my life. I find that my designs are much more unique and interesting that way.
GG: That’s really interesting. What market do you design for?
ZD: I design primarily for age 16-24 women who are a little quirky, eclectic, and fashion forward. My customer values uniqueness and artsy details.
Zoe Damacela in the GG Streetlight:
Hometown: Santa Barbara, CA
The perfect Friday night would include these three things… pizza, art supplies, and more pizza.
My role model is … my Momma.
Favorite place to get lost: outer space.
Favorite Fashionista/o: Philip Sullivan. (Her boyfriend!)
When I was growing-up I always wanted to be a… mermaid.
The artist on repeat on my iPod right now is… Lana del Rey. (Me too.)
The go-to item in my closet is… my studded motorcycle jacket.
Favorite Store to shop at… my sewing machine!
My favorite fashion source is… art and science museums.
I live by the quote… “you are the agent of your own success.”
Thank you Zoe! It was a pleasure interviewing you. I know that you will inspire many readers and future designers!
To read more about Zoe, visit her website or tweet her at @ZoeDamacela.