March 2nd, 2015 at 2:00am

At some point in our youth, many of us have California dreams. There’s just something so appealing about the relaxation and hazy whimsy of the Gold Coast. When I think of California, I hear Under the Bridge by the Red Hot Chili Peppers and envision the decadent motion of Sunset Boulevard, home to some of the most iconic moments in rock ‘n’ roll. I guess some of us just have a golden state of mind. I can say with certainty that this golden state of mind extends to fashion designer Kalli Sternberg (better known as Kalli Rae).

Name: Kalli Rae

Role: Founder and CEO of KalliRaes

CollegeFashionista: How did you first get involved with fashion design?

Kalli Rae: I started my own clothing line a few years ago. My senior year in high school I began sewing clothes for my friends. Some of my friends told me I should start my own line. I already had my brand envisioned, KalliRaes. So after high school I really began to expand on my brand, especially this year.

CF: What are some of your most notable accomplishments?

KR: I’ve been able to design for a couple fashion shows including Cleveland Fashion Week. Following my Floral Fantasy show for Cleveland Fashion Week, I was contacted by the manager for Jordyn Woods (Los Angeles socialite, Kylie Jenner gal pal) and asked to design a halter top for her. I was also able to do a show for Parkinson’s Pals and had a pop-up shop following the show to help raise money for research. I’ve done a few internships in L.A. as well, including working for Bobby Hundreds, CEO of a streetwear brands called The Hundreds which is inspired by California culture.

CF: How would you best describe your personal style?

KR: I like to use the words fun, funky and whimsical. I don’t know. I have more of a West Coast kind of style. My clothing is colorful and fun and I think that definitely represents my style. I love Jeremy Scott and the clothing he designs for celebrities. I want my clothing to be exclusive and to create a lifestyle like Jeremy Scott.

CF: What is your advice to other young designers hoping to break into the industry?

KR: I know this sounds cliche, but never give up. Every little thing you do is an accomplishment. It does get hard but it’s so worth it, especially when you see your designs on a celebrity or walking down a runway. I know I’m still learning, but every little step is an accomplishment. Just keep moving forward.

Learn More: Both the top and bottom featured in this post are from KalliRaes. Shop the collection at Follow Kalli, her designs, and her adventures on Instagram.