TFR First Look: Designer Mandy Coon
By Shantee Gordon
[simage=2286,320,y,left] On the horizon is the career of fashion new comer Mandy Coon. She is an up and coming designer, whose innovative ideas are sure to make her a household name. I had the opportunity to meet with Mandy while at the kickoff event for the launch of her 2010 line at the boutique “Debut” New York. Besides the fact that she was very down to earth and a pleasure to talk to, her collection is eye catching, edgy, and at times reminiscent of the 80’s.
What stood out for me is the way the pieces can be altered into something new with great ease. With the simple unfastening of zippers, a form fitting dress can be transformed into several new looks. This collection allows you to escape from the mundane and venture into an emerging world of fashion where a single item of clothing has more versatility. The pieces displayed were ready to wear and geared towards women. Another addition to the collection is the materials chosen to create each piece. These fabrics felt wonderful against the skin. I don’t know about you, but what woman doesn’t love to slip into an outfit that not only flatters but “feels good”. There is nothing better than an outfit that feels like butter against the skin.
Further intrigued by her work I asked a few questions to get to know a little more about this fab designer.
TFR: What does fashion mean to you?
Mandy Coon: It’s a way of expressing yourself.
TFR: How would you define your personal style?
MC: I would describe my personal style as dark with a sense of fun and humor.
TFR: You mentioned that you were inspired by the kaleidoscope for this collection and what you liked most is the fact that the image seen is easily changed with a turn of the kaleidoscope. This concept is what you used when putting the collection together. You also mentioned that the colors seen through the kaleidoscope also inspired you. Describe the general process you go through to design and realize a piece of clothing? Do you have a fave fabric or pattern you enjoy using?
MC: Well, this was my first collection, so I’m still figuring out my design process. I feel like I have many inspirations at once. I’m not one of those people that can pick one theme and design an entire collection around it. I really fell in love with silk noile- it’s a beautiful soft, nubby silk that I used for a lot of pieces. I also love working with chiffon and organza,playing with layering sheers.
TFR: There was a black romper with ruffles where the fabric appeared hard in texture but felt wonderful against the skin. What fabric did you use for that particular piece?
MC: it’s leather. I use a really soft worn in looking leather.
TFR: I am aware that before you designed clothes you were a popular DJ…What inspired you to make the transition? Do you joggle both careers? How long have you worked as a designer?
MC: I’ve actually been in the fashion industry for over 10 years, in different forms, and I’ve only been djing a few years. I think people just know me as a DJ before I started design, because it’s very public. I’ve always wanted to design; it was just a matter of getting the courage to actually do it. I went back to school at FIT for a bit, took all the technical stuff, along with tailoring and haute couture sewing, etc and then started interning for Camilla Staerk. I then started working for her, and she really pushed me to go for it. I gained so much valuable experience with her, I felt like it was time. I do still DJ, but it’s never been a full time thing, so it works out for now. I tend to get booked to DJ a lot for fashion week parties, so we’ll see if that works out, but otherwise it’s worked out well. And I love djing still, I feel like it’s my super fun hobby. [simage=2287,288,y,right]
TFR: What are some of your most memorable moments/accomplishments to date as a designer?
MC: Since I’ve really just started, I’d have to say having my first presentation, getting my first sales orders…I had my first presentation during NY Fashion Week at Dactyl Foundation. It’s all very exciting right now because it’s the beginning.
TFR: What celebrities wear your clothing and do you have a star who you would love to see in designs?
MC: I’d love to see Tilda Swinton (she played the angel “Gabriel” in the film “Constantine”) wearing my designs.
TFR: Say next year you get a call saying that Tilda Swinton would love to wear one of your designs. What would you like to see her in? And for which event?
MC: I would love to see her in anything!! But maybe one of the last dresses (the two sheer black layered pieces).
TFR: What matters to you most as a fashion designer?
MC: It’s very important to me that I would wear every piece in the collection. If I wouldn’t wear it, I can’t fully believe in it.
TFR: What do you believe makes a quality article of clothing?
MC: Something that’s made well and has had a lot of thought put into it.
TFR: What advice do you have for aspiring fashion designers?
MC: Learn the technical stuff- pattern making, etc. I think it’s very important.
Here are a few of the pieces from the line.
You can purchase the items you see at Debut New York located at
298 Mulberry Street in Manhattan or contact Mandy Coon directly at MandyCoon.com
Most images thanks to Mandy Coon.com