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DESIGNER OF THE MONTH—Stephanie Waldrip

Some designers are able to answer the allusive question of “What women want.” Stephanie Waldrip, half of the team behind the label WALDRIP NYC, is one such designer. Besides innovative silhouettes and jet set-inspired looks, Waldrip’s clothing all come down to one thing: stunning textiles. Because the perfect skirt is nothing without the perfect fabric, right?

We caught up with this Georgia-native and SCAD alum as she discussed fabrics, some pinch me moments and her favorite looks for spring (hello ’70s!). Read on to learn this and more about Waldrip.

CollegeFashionista: What inspired you to start designing?

Stephanie Waldrip: I was always a creative child, expressing myself through various forms of creativity be it pottery, painting or drawing. Eventually, I came to a point where I was sketching everyday. It was after some time as a design assistant in my first NYC job that I made the decision to launch my own line. My inspiration to design was and still is largely derived from my journey of sourcing textiles each season; I have come to appreciate and research the histories of my fabrics. I take true care in hand selecting each textile and silhouette. Aside from the fabric selection I would say I am also inspired by what is going on in my life and the people around me.

CF: How did your studies at SCAD influence your work and how has that shaped where you are now?

SW: I had an incredible experience at SCAD and still to this day I have wonderful relationships with some of my professors. I still keep in touch with a few who always provide me with invaluable perspective. SCAD’s program is rigorous and challenging and ultimately it gave me the confidence I needed to start my own collection.  

CF: What was your break into the industry?

SW: I was very fortunate that from my very first collection, retailers picked up the line and supported it’s growth. 

CF: What was your vision for your brand?

SW: Waldrip is about offering timeless yet innovative silhouettes in unforgettable textiles. My vision for Waldrip is to continue to grow and for every woman to have Waldrip in her closet! 

CF: What was the inspiration behind/how would you describe your latest collection? 

SW: My spring 2015 line was much inspired by my summer travels and Slim Aarons photography. The collection in whole, fabrics and silhouettes, embody the jet set vibe. I sketched every weekend when I was out in the Hamptons and just loved the easy feel of light fabrics in beautiful silhouettes. Lucky Magazine said it best in this most recent March issue, calling Waldrip “the weekend wardrobe of our dreams.”

CF: What are some spring trends you are currently loving?

SW: Well being in New York City, I’m really hoping spring finally comes our way! I’m looking forward to wearing sky high platform with high-waisted bell bottom jeans soon—the ’70s are back! 

CF: Textiles are very important in your designs, what are your favorites?

SW: Jacquards and custom prints are my top favorites. I really enjoy customizing a print on a great fabric every season. I also love working with fur. I wear my fur jackets on repeat.

CF: What has been the highlight/biggest challenge of your career?

SW: My proudest moments are when talented women like Lady Gaga or Taylor Swift wear Waldrip. They have countless options and the ability to wear pieces from any designer in the world and so it feels incredible to know that they felt beautiful and comfortable in what I designed. 

The biggest challenge is being a small company and finding the best team to support your vision. 

CF: What advice would you give for anyone entering the industry?

SW: Make sure you set goals for yourself and be realistic with your goals. Also, be sure to surround yourself with individuals who have your best interests at heart. You will lean on your support base and you will ask their opinions and you need to make sure you have a smart team in place before moving forward with your creative endeavors.